“Bolivian President Evo Morales steps down following accusations of election fraud” proclaims CNN.
“Bolivia’s Morales resigns amid scathing election report, rising protests” reports The Washington Post.
“Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down” says The New York Times.
“Bolivian President Evo Morales resigns amid fraud poll protests” declares the BBC.
“President of Bolivia steps down amid allegations of election rigging” we are informed by Telegraph.
“Bolivia’s President Morales resigns after backlash to disputed election” says the Sydney Morning Herald.
So, there you have it. The indigenous leader of a socialist South American government which has successfully lifted masses of people out of crushing poverty, which happens to control the world’s largest reserves of lithium (which may one day replace oil as a crucial energy resource due to its use in powering smartphones, laptops, hybrid and electric cars), which has an extensive and well-documented history of being targeted for regime change by the U.S. government, simply stepped down due to some sort of scandal involving a “disputed election.” Nothing to do with the fact that right-wing mobs had been terrorizing this leader’s family, or the fact that the nation’s military literally commanded him to step down and are now currently searching for him to arrest him, leading to ousted government officials being rounded up and held captive by soldiers wearingmasks.
All perfectly normal and not suspicious at all.
Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people’s will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) 10 ноября 2019 г.
The field of narrative management keeps making more and more advances.
They never did find any evidence of fraud in the October 20th election, but the media repeated the allegation so many times that it became “true,” in this post-truth world. Thread: https://t.co/8oWFNKNebT
— Mark Weisbrot (@MarkWeisbrot) 10 ноября 2019 г.
And the empire can afford to do this. When you have all the power and resources, you can bide your time, knowing that if the current attempt at toppling the government in a sovereign nation fails, there’s always tomorrow.
At a United Nations Security Council meeting last year, Morales summed up the true nature of America’s role in the world very accurately, and, it turns out, very presciently.
“I would like to say to you, frankly and openly here, that in no way is the United States interested in upholding democracy,” Morales said. “If such were the case it would not have financed coups d’etat and supported dictators. It would not have threatened with military intervention democratically elected governments as it has done with Venezuela. The United States could not care less about human rights or justice. If this were the case, it would have signed the international conventions and treaties that have protected human rights. It would not have threatened the investigation mechanism of the International Criminal Court, nor would it promote the use of torture, nor would it have walked away from the Human Rights Council. And nor would it have separated migrant children from their families, nor put them in cages.”
“The United States is not interested in multilateralism,” Morales continued. “If it were interested in multilateralism it would not have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement or given the cold shoulder to the global compact on migration, it would not have launched unilateral attacks, nor have taken decisions such as illegally declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. This contempt for multilateralism is motivated by the thirst of the United States for political control and for the seizing of natural resources.”
“Each time that the United States invades nations, launches missiles, or finances regime change, it does so behind a propaganda campaign which incessantly repeats the message that it is acting in the course of justice, freedom and democracy, in the cause of human rights or for humanitarian reasons,” Morales also said.
“The responsibility of our generation is to hand over a fairer and more secure world to the following generation,” Morales concluded. “We will only achieve this dream if we work together to consolidate a multipolar world, a world with common rules that are respected by and defended from all the threats ranged against the United Nations.”
Indeed, the only reason the U.S. is able to wage its endless campaign of regime change agendas against unabsorbed governments is because the unipolar world order it rules has allowed it the power, resources and leisure to do so. A multipolar world would enable the citizenry of this planet to have a say in what happens to them in a way that is not dictated by a few sociopaths in and around Washington, DC. A multipolar world is to democracy as a unipolar world is to monarchy. The citizens of the world should oppose this unipolarity.
CaitlinJohnstone.com via consortiumnews.com
Conducted by Leslie Stahl, the lead November 3 CBS 60 Minutes segment on Maria Butina, is on par with Stahl’s January 7, 2018 hit job on RT. At play, is a concerted effort to misrepresent mainstream Russian perspectives. This establishment bias against Russia/Russians typically doesn’t acknowledge certain aspects like the diverse views aired on RT. That station has given ample time to the likes of Michael O’Hanlon, Kenneth Roth, Dick Pound, Richard McLaren, Richard Goodstein and Mark Galeotti.
Stahl’s feature with Butina started off with subjectively stacked talking points. The not so well substantiated mantra of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election was harped on – something that Butina wasn’t accused of.
Stahl expressed astonishment that someone Butina’s age (23 at the time) had been doing the activity she was involved in. Butina said that remark was sexist. In actuality, Stahl was exhibiting age discrimination and possibly doing so in a hypocritical way. Consider Mark Zuckerberg’s age when he achieved far greater fame than Butina. Other early bloomers include Joshua Wong and Catherine Chumachenko. Now 23, the Hong Kong political activist Wong started getting noticed in his teens. Chumachenko (the wife of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko) headed the pro-Stepan Bandera Captive Nations Committee in her early twenties.
John Demers’ appearance on the 60 Minutes segment was for the purpose to mop up on Butina. No one was there to mop up on him. Demers’ US government office was involved with prosecuting Butina. He projected his deceptive manner to Butina. Demers belittled her comment on the anti-Russian biases evident in the US, while highlighting the image of Butina lobbying for a foreign government in the US, without being registered to do so.
BS aside, it’s fairly well known that numerous individuals in the US have in one way or the other, done the bidding for foreign countries/governments without being registered as a foreign agent. This very matter can be murky and with varying factors, which arguably go against taking the marching orders of a given foreign government.
Someone can independently have a pro-American and pro-Russian stance, without coordinating his/her views with a government. This observation doesn’t omit the possibility of such a person periodically interacting with government or government-connected people (American, Russian or other) – a point that concerns Butina.
Relative to Butina, is it too much of a stretch to characterize Alexandra Chalupa as a foreign operative? Butina is a guns rights advocate, who also seeks improved US-Russian ties. How horrible! We’re to believe that there was a grand Russian plan to takeover the US, with the infiltration of the National Rifle Association (NRA) as a stepping stone. If anything, the NRA was more on the verge of gaining influence in Russia than vice versa. To underscore this point, Butina sought NRA like influence in Russia.
In comparison, during the 2016 US presidential election, Chalupa interacted with Ukrainian government personnel to find dirt on Trump’s campaign for the benefit of the Democratic National Committee – specifically Hillary Clinton. At the time, the Kiev regime wasn’t pleased with what Trump said about Russian-Ukrainian issues. This was also true among US based neocons, neolibs and some others. The US mass media interest in Chalupa’s activity has been limited, when compared to Butina and the Russiagate hoopla.
On the subject of acting like a foreign agent, Michael Pillsbury has presented evidence indicating that Joe Biden (when he was vice president) adopted a more pro-Chinese position after his son received a lucrative arrangement in China.
Demers’ belittling of anti-Russian biases in the US runs counter to reality. A prime comparative example is evident with the hypocritical condemnations on CNN and MSNBC, over the second guessing of Alexander Vindman, the Ukrainian SSR born US army officer, who said that Donald Trump’s phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelensky was inappropriate. (Vindman was one of several individuals who listened in on that phone discussion.)
There was some pro-Trump backlash over Vindman, suggesting that he isn’t pleased with what the US president has said over the course of time regarding Russian-Ukrainian matters. Thereafter, CNN and MSNBC ran segments suggesting that the pro-Trump response to Vindman is discriminatory – in the form of questioning the loyalty of a foreign born person. Among those leading that charge are Brian Williams, Michael McFaul and Max Boot.
Relatively speaking, not much is known about Vindman’s views, unlike William Taylor, who (in articles and live appearances) is pro-Euromaidan Ukrainian and Russia unfriendly. (Taylor like Vindman had testified before the Adam Schiff led investigation of the Trump-Zelensky phone conversation.) A retired US army officer Jim Hickman, describes Vindman as a pro-Democratic Party leaning individual, lacking scruples. Noting Vindman’s Jewish background, the Alexei Bayer and Julia Ioffe pieces on Vindman are limited in scope. Regardless of ethnicity or religion, those of a former Russian Empire and/or former Soviet heritage aren’t monolithic.
Bayer takes a pro-Euromaidan Ukrainian/anti-Russian leaning slant, as evidenced by his frequent Kyiv Post appearances. His article at issue presents Trump as being more pro-Russian than pro-Euromaidan Ukrainian. Another way of reviewing Trump is to observe that he’s not anti-Russian, along the lines of Bayer, Taylor and the Kyiv Post, while having America’s best interests (as Trump sees it) at heart. (BTW, among the high profile of former Soviet based English language media, the Kyiv Post is better at promoting nationalist anti-Russian leaning views, when compared to The Moscow Times’ approach to patriotically reasonable Russian perspectives.)
Whatever the case is with Vindman, the comments second guessing him, fall well short of the clearly stated anti-Russian bigotry, expressed by James Clapper, the former national security adviser, who was hired by CNN as an analyst. When discussing the CBS 60 Minutes feature on Butina, CNN’s Brian Todd belittles the otherwise clear anti-Russian bigotry, which his employer is casual about. Todd’s November 4 CNN bit muddies facts with questionable opinions. From that, a creative attempt is made to suggest something sinister. Butina didn’t do anything close to stealing or attempting to steal classified US government information.
Contrary to Todd, given the anti-Russian backdrop evident, it wasn’t unreasonable for Butina to (at one point) advocate a low profile Russian presence in the US. A thought that Todd spun as something underhanded.
As I previously noted, US sports legal politico Travis Tygart’s support for a collective ban on all Russian Olympic athletes is very much in line with the anti-Russian biases dominating the US mass media and body politic. A November 6 New York Times article gives credence to the belief that American University is too soft on Russia. Never mind doing an overall comparison with the anti-Russian biases evident in high profile situations. You’d be hard pressed to find any US mass media follow-up on the anti-Russian biases at numerous places, including the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Atlantic Council.
If anything good can come from the Democrat’s incessant efforts to impeach Donald Trump it will be the outgrowth, from the nurturing ‘mother of necessity,’ of a more inclusive political system that acknowledges more than just a compromised duopoly as the voice of the American people
With complete disregard for the consequences of their actions, the Democrat House Intelligence Committee under Adam Schiff has abandoned all pretense of democratic procedure in their effort to remove the 45th President of the United States from office.
Indeed, the Democrats have provided the Republicans with a Machiavellian crash course on the subtle art of decadent behavior for getting what you want, which of course is ultimate political power, and to hell in a proverbial hand basket with the consequences. The Republicans have been snoozing through a game of 2D checkers, holding out hope that Sheriff Billy Barr and his deputy John Durham will round up the real criminals, while the Democrats have been playing mortal combat.
The dark prince in this Gothic tale of diabolical, dare I say biblical, proportions is none other than Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, who, like Dracula in his castle dungeon, has contorted every House rule to fit the square peg of a Trump telephone call into the bolt hole of a full-blown impeachment proceeding. Niccolò Machiavelli would have been proud of his modern-day protégé.
As if to mock the very notion of Democratic due process, whatever that means, Schiff and his torch-carrying lynch mob took their deliberations down into the dank basement, yes, the basement, of the US Capital where they have been holding secretive depositions in an effort to get some new twist on the now famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky back in June. But why all the cloak and dagger theatrics when the transcript has long been available for public consumption?
At one point, the frazzled Republicans bared a little backbone against this bunker mentality when they crashed the basement meetings for some really outstanding optics. Schiff, betraying a lack of foresight, could not defenestrate the well-dressed hooligans since the meetings, as mentioned, are being held inside of a windowless dungeon. The Republican troublemakers were ushered back up the stairs instead.
Considering what Prince Schiff has managed to pull off over the course of this not-made for television impeachment process is astounding, and could not have happened without the drooling complicity of the lapdog media corporations. Schiff got the ball bouncing when he performed a Saturday Night Live skit of the Trump-Zelensky phone call on the hallowed floor of Congress. The imaginary voices in Schiff’s head made the president sound like a mafia boss speaking to one of his lackeys.
Not only did Schiff survive that stunt, it was revealed that he blatantly lied, not once but several times, about his affiliation with the White House insider, reportedly a CIA officer, who, without ever hearing the Trump-Zelensky phone call firsthand, blew the whistle anyways. The Democrats claim Trump was looking for some ‘quid pro quo’ with Kiev, which would dig up the dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for the release of $400 million in military aid. The transcript, however, points to no such coercion, while Zelensky himself denies that he was pressured by Trump.
Meanwhile, Schiff has taken great efforts to keep the identity of the whistleblower a ‘secret’ out of “safety concerns.” The Republicans in the House said they will subpoena the whistleblower for the public impeachment that starts next week, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters. Yet Schiff has awarded himself the power to reject any witnesses the Republicans may wish to grill.
“We’ll see if he gives us any of our witnesses,” Jordan said.
A person need not feel any particular fondness for Donald Trump to find these circumstances surrounding the impeachment show trial as disgraceful, dishonorable and beneath the dignity of the American people. And whether they want it or not, the fallout from Schiff’s shenanigans will have repercussions long into the future of the US political system, which is groaning under the weight of corruption and deceit.
It is doubtful the Republicans will soon forgive and forget what the Democrats have put them through ever since Trump entered office in 2016. From Russiagate to Ukrainegate, the Trump White House has been held hostage by a non-stop, media-endorsed hate campaign to oust a democratically elected POTUS. Although it would be difficult for the Republicans, who lack the support of the media, an overwhelmingly left-leaning propaganda machine, to exact an equal amount of revenge on the Democrats when the latter have one of their own in the White House, they will certainly try. This will lead the Republic into an inescapable vortex of infighting where the sole function of the political system will be based on that of vengeance and ‘pay backs’ and more waste of time and money as the parties investigate the crimes of the other side.
The public, which is slowly awakening to the problem, will ultimately demand new leadership to break the current two-party internecine struggle. Thus, talk of a civil war in the United States, while possible, is being overplayed. The truth will be much simpler and far less violent. Out of the dust and ashes of the defunct duopoly that is now at war with itself, the American people will soon demand fresh political blood in Washington and this will bring to the forefront capable political forces that are committed to the primary purpose of politics: representing the needs of the people, once again.
A Bloomberg report of October 22 was concise and uncompromising in declaring Russia to be a surveillance state. Harking back to the good old days of the Cold War, as is increasingly the practice in much of the Western media, Bloomberg recounted that “The fourth of 10 basic rules Western spies followed when trying to infiltrate Russia’s capital during the Cold War — don’t look back because you’re never alone — is more apt than ever. Only these days it’s not just foreigners who are being tracked, but all 12.6 million Muscovites, too. Officials in Moscow have spent the last few years methodically assembling one of the most comprehensive video-surveillance operations in the world. The public-private network of as many as 200,000 cameras records 1.5 billion hours of footage a year that can be accessed by 16,000 government employees, intelligence officers and law-enforcement personnel.”
Terrifying, one might think. Straight out of Orwell’s 1984, that dystopian prediction of what the world could become, as noted in one description of how the face of the state’s symbolic leader, Big Brother, “gazes at you silently out of posters and billboards. His imposing presence establishes the sense of an all-seeing eye. The idea that he is always watching from the shadows imposes a kind of social order. You know not to speak out against The Party — because big brother is watching… The face always appears with the phrase Big Brother is watching you. As if you could forget.” Such is the terrifying Bloomberg picture of Moscow where there are supposedly 200,000 video cameras. You can’t blow your nose without it being seen. And wait for the next phase, in which Big Brother will hear you laugh.
In line with the Western approach, there is little mention of surveillance in other cities, but the website ‘Caught on Camera’ has analysed world-wide practices. It reports that there are some 25 million closed-circuit surveillance cameras world-wide and “the United Kingdom [with 4 million cameras] has more CCTV activity than any other European country, per capita… surprisingly, the Wandsworth borough in London in particular has more CCTV cameras than Boston, Dublin, Johannesburg and San Francisco put together. It is estimated there are 500,000 cameras dotted around London. The average person living in London will be recorded on camera 300 times in one day.”
The statistics obtained by Caught on Camera and comparitech differ markedly from those in the Bloomberg story which was retailed throughout the Western world by many news outlets, who increasingly refer to the West as “the Free World”. Comparitech records that as at August 2019 Moscow, with a population of 12.4 million, had 146,000 (not 200,000) cameras, while London’s 9 million citizens were being watched by 627,707 cameras. The picture (if one may use that word) is slightly slanted. To put it another way, London has 68 cameras for each 1,000 people, and the ratios elsewhere are enlightening: Shanghai 113 (China is in treble figures in three cities); Atlanta (Ga) 15; Chicago 13; Baghdad, Sydney and Dubai 12; Moscow and Berlin 11; and St Petersburg, Canberra and Washington DC tie at 5.
The slanting doesn’t stop there, because there are other ways of attacking Russia, spearheaded by such as the Washington Post, which highlighted the Bloomberg surveillance tale. The Post behaves like Big Brother focusing on Winston Smith, the hapless victim/hero of 1984 whose job it is “to rewrite the reports in newspapers of the past to conform with the present reality.” There is an eerie resonance in this, because the Post’s reportage on Russia verges on the obsessively censorious, while it avoids mention of anything remotely positive.
Understandably, the Post relies heavily on such sources as “Meduza, a Latvia-based online news outlet that covers the Kremlin” which reported that the Russian government “passed a law earlier this year that lets Vladimir Putin take all the country’s Internet traffic off the World Wide Web if he decrees that there’s an ‘emergency’.”
The fact that the intelligence services of the West have worked for a long time to devise strategies and tactics to destroy internet services in Russia and many other countries is neither here nor there, but it is important for Western propaganda purposes to condemn Russia for taking measures to counter the manoeuvres of the West’s cyberwar agencies. The Post emphasised that arrangements were made by various Russian ministries and agencies, including the Emergencies Ministry and the Federal Security Service which “is the successor to the KGB, where Putin was once an officer.”
The absurdity of that needlessly-injected personal point is amusing in a way, and serves to highlight the unending reiteration of detail intended to set the western public against Russia. Naturally, there is exclusion of information that could lead to audiences approving of Russia in any way.
The news site Axios states it aims to “deliver the cleanest, smartest, most efficient and trust-worthy experience for readers and advertisers alike” but when it comes to Russia it appears that there could be a bit of selectivity in that delivery. For example, in October the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported approvingly that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), alcohol consumption in Russia “has dropped by 43% since 2003” and commented that the WHO had “put the decrease down to a series of measures brought in under the sport-loving president, Vladimir Putin, including restrictions on alcohol sales and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.” But Axios didn’t report it quite like that.
The Guardian also noted that “The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, led an anti-alcohol campaign with partial prohibition, which brought down consumption from the mid-1980s until 1990. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, alcohol consumption exploded, continuing to rise until the start of the 2000s. Under Putin, Russia has introduced measures including a ban on shops selling any alcohol after 11 pm, increases in the minimum retail price of spirits and an advertising blackout.” The result has been “increased life expectancies in Russia, which reached a historic peak in 2018, at 78 years for women and 68 years for men. In the early 1990s, male life expectancy was just 57 years.”
This is an amazing societal development. In no other country has there been a comparable initiative that resulted in such a massive and positive shift in community habits.
The BBC was more coy than the Guardian about allocating approval for the remarkable success of the programme, and confined itself to reporting that the WHO “attributed the decline to a series of alcohol-control measures implemented by the state, and a push towards healthy lifestyles.” There was no reference to President Putin, and indeed the credit went elsewhere, because “alcohol-control measures introduced under former President Dmitry Medvedev included advertising restrictions, increased taxes on alcohol and a ban on alcohol sales between certain hours.”
Axios followed suit, and ‘Radio Free Europe’ didn’t mention Presidents Putin, Medvedev or Gorbachev, retailing simply that the “decline in consumption was due to “alcohol-control measures introduced at the beginning of the 2000s.” There were no reports of the achievement in US mainstream outlets or the UK’s resolutely right-wing anti-Russia media. (The Guardian doesn’t carry a Russian flag; it merely reports without xenophobic bias.)
The WHO Case Study provides an admirably detailed timeline of legislature and other developments concerning Russia’s successful drive against alcohol abuse, recording, for example, that in 2018 there was a “presidential decree on ‘National Purposes and Strategic Development Challenges of the Russian Federation until 2024’… including in the field of public health. The aim is to increase life expectancy to 78 years by 2024 and to 80 years by 2030, as well as the proportion of citizens leading a healthy lifestyle and systematically engaging in physical activities and sports.”
Don’t expect such an initiative to be praised or even mentioned by the Western media. Big Brother prefers to slant the cameras.
International Man: Last year, President Trump took the unusual step of bypassing his advisors to announce his intention to withdraw all US troops from Syria quickly. The decision rattled Washington and the mainstream media. It caused former Defense Secretary Mattis to resign. Almost a year later, the US has withdrawn only a token number of soldiers. It still has thousands of troops occupying the part of the country where oil fields are located. What is going on here?
David Stockman: Well, that’s the Deep State at work.
Donald Trump is all by his lonesome. He’s home alone in the Oval Office. Now, half of it, he can blame himself. If he hires someone, a known idiot like John Bolton, what does he expect is going to happen except that everything he wanted to do is going to be undermined.
Nevertheless, he can’t seem to find anybody who can articulate on a day-to-day basis a pathway to the more restrained America First posture that he had in mind.
He’s surrounded by people who constantly countermand his orders. You have James Jeffery, the US Ambassador and special envoy to Syria saying, “Well, Trump didn’t mean that when he said he wanted the troops out of Syria.”
We have the same thing with North Korea. Trump finally said, here we are, 66 years after the armistice and we still don’t have a peace treaty, and we’re still occupying the Korean peninsula, which is of no interest to our national security one way or the other.
You have to do what I would call “contrafactual history.” In other words, if you understand what could have happened the other way, then maybe you’re not going to be so impressed with all this threat inflation.
I go back to why the Korean War happened, because I think it’s important to this whole thing going on now, with Trump trying to make a deal with Kim Jong-un.
In the late ’40s, Washington officials said that Korea is outside our sphere of influence, the line between North and South hastily drawn at the Potsdam war conference in July 1945. Dean Acheson, the US secretary of state in the late 1940s, said it was a mere surveyor’s line; it’s of no strategic influence. What if common sense had prevailed, instead of the hot-headed advice that President Truman got?
What if Truman had said, “Okay, we’re vacating this damn peninsula”? Well, it would have become a quasi-province of China, just like all the rest of them.
They’d probably be making all kinds of stuff, sending it to Walmart today, and nobody would know the difference.
Instead, we had a war. If I remember right, 54,000 servicemen were killed. The whole peninsula was pummeled, carpet bombed, and literally destroyed. It was like a wasteland in the north. There are reasons why the Kim family has survived all these years, because they hate us for what happened. People remember. It was really scorched earth. I mean, it was in some sense genocide, even then.
So, all of that happened, and Eisenhower comes in and is astute enough to say that we don’t really have national security on the line. He negotiated an armistice, and yet the War Party kept tension on the DMZ for all those years because it had to be in the playbook of threats.
I remember well when I was fighting the big Reagan defense build-up, back when I was budget director. It was always, we need all these different new tanks and attack aircraft and resupply logistics capabilities, because we have to have the ability to fight two and a half wars.
Well, where was the half war? I knew where the other ones were. The half war was in Korea. Well, why did we have to have a half war in Korea? But nevertheless, that was part of the rationalization—justification—for this massive military force that really is a tool of empire and not a tool of homeland defense.
Today, we have Trump finally saying, let’s let the Koreans decide how to run the future of Korea—and back off this long-running, 65-year confrontation.
And yet as courageous in some ways as he has been, he’s constantly being undermined by his own people, who as soon as he’s not looking send real nasty messages to the North Koreans—that will only set Kim back on his heels—and therefore nothing gets done. Even though it could very easily be done.
When you have a regime change policy—and this was the one real positive thing Trump brought to the table. He said regime change has failed; we’re not going to do it under my policy.
Why do you think the North Koreans are quasi-starving? And I know the Communist elite and Kim’s family and so forth live a pretty fat life, but nevertheless they’re in dire straits economically.
Why do they invest all this money in developing nuclear capability and missile capability? Because they don’t want to be regime changed. Kim is a young man, he’s in his mid-30s, and he doesn’t want to be another Muammar Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein.
He knows what happens. You get hung on national TV if you’re a Hussein, or you get tortured and drugged behind a Jeep if you’re a Gaddafi.
Obviously, this stuff has consequences. These idiots in Washington and all these think tanks that talk about regime change and bringing democracy to the world and so forth—never even think about the consequence—the message that these violent episodes send—and the unfortunate reaction that people take in order to defend themselves.
International Man: With John Bolton out of the picture, do you see US talks with North Korea bearing fruit for Trump?
David Stockman: I think it’s touch and go.
The problem is there’s lasting damage when you engage in all this regime change over so many years and episodes. They don’t trust you.
Trump has worked very hard, using an odd, idiosyncratic personal diplomacy to build up trust with Kim. It seems to be working, but there are just so many forces at work behind the scenes that are aiming to undermine that trust-building so that nothing happens.
They want to keep 29,000 troops in South Korea, in harm’s way, as a tripwire, so that the North Koreans obey us as we tell them to behave. It’s crazy.
I would give it a 50/50 chance. I know he wants a big victory, a foreign policy win. He’s desperate for one, because not much is happening elsewhere and what he intended to do is being totally undermined.
Maybe there’s a chance that something could happen here, but I am so distrusting of the Deep State machinery and their need for perennial threats.
If you take away the Korean threat, if you recognize the Iranians aren’t a threat, if you see that Russia is a tiny little country that’s not going to invade Western Europe and crash through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and so forth—
All of a sudden somebody is going to do the math as we get into the coming fiscal crisis and say, “We can’t afford all this defense that we don’t need. Let’s cut it back dramatically.”
They don’t want this to happen. And so, they have to keep these hot spots burning and these threats maintained or inflated, because they know if the real truth of the world were considered by Congress, the defense budget would be slashed dramatically.
International Man: So far, President Trump has had a very different foreign policy than Candidate Trump. What will happen to Trump’s chances for re-election if he doesn’t make any progress on ending the war in Afghanistan, withdrawing from Syria, and bringing peace to Korea?
David Stockman: I think his re-election is binary.
If the stock market holds up and the economy manages to skirt recession, he’ll be in good shape. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I think the stock market is in its last days of bubble excess. I think the economy is slouching toward recession within a matter of a few quarters or months. If that happens, Trump is toast. Elizabeth Warren becomes president, and then that’ll be a whole new ball game that is hard to figure.
International Man: What kind of role do you see foreign policy playing in the 2020 election?
David Stockman: It won’t be the normal sense of debating policy—where there’s usually the bipartisan duopoly, with nuanced shades of difference that they like to debate and pretend are meaningful.
That isn’t even going to happen this time. Foreign policy has been totally taken over by the Democratic paranoia about Russia and Putin and meddling in our elections.
Now it’s extended to the whole impeachment inquiry and Ukraine-gate. That’s what the whole debate is going to be about. The debate is going to be about a sideshow.
The underlying issues are why we are constantly steaming warships into the Black Sea. That’s like the Gulf of Mexico to Russia.
Why are we sending warships into the Baltic?
Why are we constantly doing big maneuvers in Poland and in the Baltic states, right on Russia’s doorsteps with these tens of thousands of forces going through these maneuvers and exercises? What the hell are we doing all this for?
Those are the issues. But they’re not even going to get debated.
One last point: Trump had raised the question, isn’t NATO obsolete? The Soviet Union is gone. The 50,000 tanks allegedly on the central front facing western Europe have been melted down for scrap. And yet, he can’t even do anything about NATO.
He’s had to double-talk his way into saying, “Well, the other countries are going to commit some more money they don’t have. They’re going to waste more money on defense.” That’s all that’s come of it.
The point is we ought to be debating what the hell are we doing with NATO 25 years after the Soviet Union disappeared from the face of the earth?
Why isn’t Washington and the president leading the world with this disarmament conference so that we can begin to reduce this massive expenditure for weapons that nobody can afford?
This is what Washington should be doing. The president of the United States should be leading the great global disarmament conference of 2021, and yet that won’t even come up. It’s not even on the radar screen.
It’s not even mentioned because, as I say, the Warfare State machinery essentially squelches any kind of debate, suffocates any kind of thought that at all deviates from the status quo.
The big issue in the world today is war and peace, and we’re facing a campaign in 2020 where it won’t even be mentioned.
Who cares about public pension liability? Well, you should – after all, it’s the reason entire cities and even states are facing bankruptcy.
On October 17th, Hillary Clinton did an hour-long podcast interview with David Plouffe, who had been Barack Obama’s 2008 Campaign Manager, and she spent over half the time on the topic of Russia’s destroying American democracy by using minor political parties to draw votes away from Democratic candidates but not away from Republican candidates, and she also accused Russia of using the internet in order to deceive Democratic Party voters into not voting, or else to vote for more-progressive third parties instead of for the Democratic Party’s nominees. Her underlying assumption was that Russia does all of this in order to cause Republican nominees to become elected. Whereas Joseph R. McCarthy, in the 1950s, accused the communist Soviet Union of infiltrating the US Government in order to place Democrats into control of the government, Hillary Clinton now is accusing non-communist Russia of doing something similar, in order to place Republicans in control.
Here will be presented the first full transcript of the complete passage in which Hillary Clinton accused both the Democratic Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (who has been a Representative in the US House of Representatives for 6 years) and the Green Party leader (who hasn’t ever held any elective governmental office) as being “Russian assets”; and, regarding Gabbard, alleged also that Russia is “grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” Hillary meant there that Russia, and those two “Russian assets,” are planning to do this so as to reduce the votes for whomever will be the Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee, and thus to throw the 2020 election to Donald Trump, like Ralph Nader threw the 2000 Presidential election to George W. Bush, by taking more votes away from Gore than away from Bush in both New Hampshire and Florida and thus actually enabling the Republican US Supreme Court to step in and choose Bush to be the US President. But Hillary never alleged that Nader had been “a Russian asset.” Maybe there isn’t a Russian under every rock, just like there isn’t a Jew under every rock. However, bigots can be found almost everywhere, and evil politicians of every political party can play them like a Paderewsky upon the keys. And Obama’s former campaign manager played right along with her.
Regarding this podcast, I warn anyone who clicks onto either of the two URLs to that podcast: it blasts one’s ears out and has no volume-control on it (at least on my system); so, I advise that, in order to save your ears, it might be safer just to read the transcript that I present of it, below:
Apple Podcasts: Campaign HQ with David Plouffe
Th. 17 October 2019 David Plouffe interviews Hillary Clinton
Google Podcasts: Campaign HQ with David Plouffe
17 October 2017
35:30-36:25: Hillary Clinton (referring to Russians): “They’re also going to do third party again. And, I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary, and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. She’s a Russian asset, I mean, totally, and so they know they can’t win without a third party candidate. And so I don’t know who it’s going to be but I guarantee they’ll have a vigorous third-party challenge — in the key states that they most need it.” [Commercial break]
That’s all there is of it. The rest of the hour was mainly her regular accusations against Russia, which she has stated many times before, plus a bit of her thoughts about how Republicans deceive stupid voters (whom she once called a “the basket of deplorables” — as if she had none, or else a smaller “basket,” but surely a different “basket,” of them — whomever they might be) to vote for Republican nominees. So, Hillary promotes hatred of Russians for being evil and dangerous people, and contempt for Republicans, as their being Russians’ dupes. Maybe she hopes this way to win enough dupes of her own, in order to win something, other than the Senate seat from New York, which she did win, as the departing First Lady.
Since Jill Stein has no actual public-policy record, because she’s never been a public official, there is nothing to indicate to an intelligent voter what her polices and policy-priorities — as opposed to mere campaign-promises — are; but Tulsi Gabbard does have an actual policy-record, and it is approximately as hostile against Russia as that of most members of Congress. Here are some of her key votes, and statements explaining them, so that one can reasonably judge whether Gabbard is hostile, or friendly, toward Russia (since Hillary seems to think that Gabbard is deficiently hostile toward Russia):
GABBARD AGAINST RUSSIA:
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll114.xml 6 March 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll117.xml 11 March 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll148.xml 27 March 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll149.xml 1 April 2014
http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll413.xml 25 July 2017
https://www.congress.gov/ 12 Feb. 2015
https://www.congress.gov/ 6 Jan. 2017
Here is Gabbard’s press release in March 2014, specifically about her position regarding the overthrow in February 2014 of the democratically elected Ukrainian President who was very popular both in Crimea and in far eastern Ukraine and who refused to accept that Ukraine pay the full projected $160 billion cost which would be entailed if Ukraine were to join the European Union (which the US demanded that he accept):
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Russia Must Face Consequences for Continued Aggression in Ukraine
March 17, 2014 Press Release
Calls for US to offer weapons, military training assistance
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement after the President’s announcement of expanded sanctions against Russian officials:
“Russia has violated the sovereignty and independence of the Ukrainian people, in direct contravention of its own treaty obligations and international law,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an Army combat veteran and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I support the sanctions announced today, and I strongly urge the President to go further and consider a broader range of consequences. If Russia is allowed to continue its aggressive push for control in Ukraine, there will be long-term, serious, and costly security risks for the United States and Europe. Russia must face serious consequences for their actions; the US must consider options that truly isolate Russia economically and diplomatically — not just sanction a handful of oligarchs — and send a message of unity and strength from the international community.
“We cannot stand by while Russia unilaterally degrades Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We must offer direct military assistance — defensive weapons, military supplies and training — to ensure Ukraine has adequate resources to respond to Russia’s aggressions and defend themselves. We cannot view Ukraine as an isolated incident. If we do not take seriously the threat of thinly veiled Russian aggression, and commit to aiding the people of Ukraine immediately, we will find ourselves in a more dangerous, expensive and disastrous situation in the future.”
In a House Foreign Affairs Committee mark-up of H.Res. 499 recently, the congresswoman gained unanimous approval on including amendments on anti-corruption, and protection of civil and political rights throughout Ukraine. She also supported the House passage of H.R. 4152, which authorized loan guarantees for Ukraine.
So: she was just as determined as the rest of Congress to force the residents in Crimea and in far eastern Ukraine to accept the illegally imposed post-coup leaders that Victoria Nuland, President Obama’s point-person controlling the overthrow, chose to lead Ukraine. Nuland did it in this phone call, when she instructed the US Ambassador to Ukraine to have Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “Yats,” chosen to lead the country, and for the Ambassador not to allow the EU’s preferred person, “Klitch” or Vitaly Klitchko, to be appointed. She angrily said there, “Fuck the EU,” because “Klitch,” actually, wasn’t nearly as anti-Russian as “Yats.” And having “Klitch” even so much as work under “Yats, “It’s just not going to work,” she said. The EU’s choice — the person who didn’t seethe with hate for Russians — needed to be excluded, entirely, from serving in the new, US-imposed, government.
Here’s that phone-call:
A transcript of its main parts can be seen here:
The head of the ‘private CIA’ firm, Stratfor, called it “the most blatant coup in history.”
Tulsi Gabbard was just as supportive of this as were virtually all other members of Congress. So: when did Gabbard become a “Russian asset?”
If one clicks onto the votes that she had made in 2014, 2015, and 2017, when the big anti-Russian bills were being voted on in Congress, she was just as hostile toward Russia as the others were, wasn’t she?
So: when did it happen?
Frankly, if Gabbard remains in that Party, and doesn’t try to form a less war-mongering party to replace today’s rabidly neoconservative (like the Republicans are) Democratic Party, and to present an authentically progressive alternative to the fascism of both of America’s two existing, billionaire-backed, Parties, then would she really be a supporter of ending America’s “regime-change wars” — the string of US invasions and coups to overthrow governments that are allied with, or even merely friendly toward, Russia — as she claims to be? How can she stay in either of the existing Parties, if she doesn’t support regime-change wars? These wars are intended to isolate and ultimately destroy Russia: these wars are waged only against Russia-friendly or -allied countries, which never invaded, nor even threatened to invade, the United States. Who is she, if she doesn’t separate herself from both neoconservative Parties, which Hillary now dares her to do? Does Tulsi Gabbard really oppose “regime-change wars”?
Hillary Clinton condemns Tulsi Gabbard actually for opposing regime-change wars, but Gabbard’s voting record in Congress is almost as supportive of those wars as the rest of Congress is. So: what is Clinton’s complaint?
Gabbard claims to despise Hillary Clinton, but Gabbard has voted mostly for the initiatives in Congress that Ms. Clinton had helped to lead. (Victoria Nuland is a close friend of Hillary’s.) If Gabbard actually will split from the Democratic Party, then I, for one, would vote for her against both the Democratic and the Republican Parties, because I am anti-fascist, and both of today’s Parties are fascist. But she would need to explain why she condemns both Parties though supporting their regime-change wars and coups.
The choice between two fascist Parties isn’t any democracy — none at all. But I’m not sure where Tulsi Gabbard really stands, on the necessity to give Americans a real choice, real democracy. That’s not clear. It’s not clear where she actually stands.
George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003. Barack Obama invaded Libya in 2011, and Syria in 2012-. What’s to choose between such fascists? It that democracy? It’s empire, and empire was sought by the Axis powers in World War II — three imperialistic fascist countries: Germany, Italy, and Japan. America is now imperialistic fascist. Does Tulsi Gabbard really support that? If not, then why has she voted in Congress for it (just like virtually all other members of Congress — none of whom condemn “regime-change wars,” as she does)?
Where does she really stand? That’s the actual question about her, not “When did Tulsi Gabbard become a Russian asset?” Hillary simply lies about that (even if Gabbard does end up running as a third-party candidate).
For many decades, any politician daring to fight for economic justice was liable to be denounced for engaging in “class warfare.” It was always a grimly laughable accusation, coming from wealthy elites as well as their functionaries in corporate media and elective office. In the real world, class warfare — or whatever you want to call it — has always been an economic and political reality.
In recent decades, class war in the USA has become increasingly lopsided. The steady decline in union membership, the worsening of income inequality and the hollowing out of the public sector have been some results of ongoing assaults on social decency and countless human lives. Corporate power has run amuck.
Now, the billionaire class is worried. For the first time in memory, there’s a real chance that the next president could threaten the very existence of billionaires — or at least significantly reduce their unconscionable rate of wealth accumulation — in a country and on a planet with so much human misery due to extreme economic disparities.
When Elizabeth Warren stands on a debate stage and argues for a targeted marginal tax on the astronomically rich, such advocacy is anathema to those who believe that the only legitimate class war is the kind waged from the top down. In early autumn, CNBC reported that “Democratic donors on Wall Street and in big business are preparing to sit out the presidential campaign fundraising cycle — or even back President Donald Trump — if Sen. Elizabeth Warren wins the party’s nomination.”
As for Bernie Sanders — less than four years after he carried every county in West Virginia against Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary — the state’s Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin flatly declared last week that if Sanders wins the nomination, he would not vote for his party’s nominee against Trump in November 2020.
Some billionaires support Trump and some don’t. But few billionaires have a good word to say about Sanders or Warren. And the pattern of billionaires backing their Democratic rivals is illuminating.
“Dozens of American billionaires have pulled out their checkbooks to support candidates engaged in a wide-open battle for the Democratic presidential nomination,” Forbes reported this summer. The dollar total of those donations given directly to a campaign (which federal law limits to $2,800 each) is less significant than the sentiment they reflect. And people with huge wealth are able to dump hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at once into a Super PAC, which grassroots-parched AstroTurf candidate Joe Biden greenlighted last month.
The donations from billionaires to the current Democratic candidates could be viewed as a kind of Oligarchy Confidence Index, based on data from the Federal Election Commission. As reported by Forbes, Pete Buttigieg leads all the candidates with 23 billionaire donors, followed by 18 for Cory Booker, and 17 for Kamala Harris. Among the other candidates who have qualified for the debate coming up later this month, Biden has 13 billionaire donors and Amy Klobuchar has 8, followed by 3 for Elizabeth Warren, 1 for Tulsi Gabbard, and 1 for Andrew Yang. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders has zero billionaire donors.
(The tenth person who has qualified for the next debate, self-funding billionaire candidate Tom Steyer, is in a class by himself.)
Meanwhile, relying on contributions from small donors, Sanders and Warren “eagerly bait, troll and bash billionaires at every opportunity,” in the words of a recent Los Angeles Times news story. “They send out missives to donors boasting how much damage their plans would inflict on the wallets of specific wealthy families and corporations.”
The newspaper added: “Sanders boasts that his wealth tax would cost Amazon owner Jeff Bezos $8.9 billion per year. He even championed a bill with the acronym BEZOS: The Stop Bad Employers By Zeroing Out Subsidies Act would have forced Amazon and other large firms to pay the full cost of food stamps and other benefits received by their lowest-wage employees.”
For extremely rich people who confuse net worth with human worth, the prospect of losing out on billions is an outrageous possibility. And so, a few months ago, Facebook mega-billionaire Mark Zuckerberg expressed his antipathy toward Warren while meeting with employees. As a transcript of leaked audio makes clear, Warren’s vision of using anti-trust laws to break up Big Tech virtual monopolies was more than Facebook’s head could stand to contemplate.
“But look,” Zuckerberg said, “at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.”
The fight happening now for the Democratic presidential nomination largely amounts to class warfare. And the forces that have triumphed in the past are outraged that they currently have to deal with so much progressive opposition. As Carl von Clausewitz observed, “A conqueror is always a lover of peace.”
Donald Trump has been accused of racism since the moment he decided to run as a Republican, but The Washington Post is pushing this narrative one step farther, claiming that the President of the United States is so blinded by his own “loathing” for Ukraine, that he is blowing critical American foreign policy opportunities in that nation. CNN has also jumped on the propaganda bandwagon declaring that Trump has a “disdain” for the Ukraine that is “raising alarm bells”. Trump does not have an irrational hatred for Ukrainians and there is nothing in this region to be gained which has not already been achieved in recent years.
“WaPo’s” bizarre and utterly irrational condemnation of Trump begins with the following statement…
“Three of President Trump’s top advisers met with him in the Oval Office in May, determined to convince him that the new Ukrainian leader was an ally deserving of U.S. support.”
Ukraine’s leadership has no choice but to be an ally of the United States, much in the same way that India had to be allies of Britain during Queen Victoria’s reign. Ukraine is a vassal entity whose near future will be determined by Washington and/or Moscow. Ukraine is too battered and poor and infiltrated by both greater powers to actually have any real self-determination, meaning that there is no need for Trump or any other President to woo Kiev. The region is now almost completely under Washington’s control thanks to the US meddling that was the cause for the Maidan and the war in the Donbass. The “powers that be” in Kiev push a hardcore anti-Russian\pro-EU\pro-Western agenda because they have to serve masters who got them into power, this is only natural. Presenting the Ukraine as a sovereign nation that needs to be won over to America’s side is a complete lie and a slap in the face to The Washington Post’s readership. But this is only the beginning…
“They had barely begun their pitch when Trump unloaded on them, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the meeting. In Trump’s mind, the officials said, Ukraine’s entire leadership had colluded with the Democrats to undermine his 2016 presidential campaign.”
The words “In Trump’s mind…” imply that his beliefs of Ukrainian influence against his campaign are completely made up and irrational. Basically the big hint is that Trump’s fears are paranoia/delusional, which could be true if fake dirt hadn’t actually been directly thrown onto Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort from Ukraine. The implication that Trump has just dreamt up a conspiracy against himself from around the Dnieper is factually proven to be untrue.
“So far, a dozen witnesses have testified before House lawmakers since the closed-door impeachment inquiry began a month ago. One theme that runs through almost all of their accounts is Trump’s unyielding loathing of Ukraine, which dates to his earliest days in the White House.”
No examples of these tweets were supplied (Trump is known to be very loose with his tweets so this very well could be fully true) but you can see in this statement that there is a heavy handed hinting that a dislike of the status quo in Kiev is now a form of hatred and racism.
This is the most cheap and basic way to try to get a politician to shut up – using the “if you don’t approve of X, then you are a racist against X”, which sadly very often works. A “loathing” for some Israeli policy makes one anti-Semitic, a “disdain” for sending US troops to die in countries with odd names means you are against the troops or at the very least unpatriotic.
But thankfully for the President of the United States, unlike Israel or “The Troops”, no one actually cares about the Ukraine outside of the Beltway. Furthermore, if Trump had been projecting a blazing hatred towards everything Russian over the last few years, no one would be accusing him of Russophobia.
The Washington Post’s wretched hypocrisy in this article can me smelled from over the ocean.
“Inside the administration, Trump’s top advisers debated the origins of his ill-feeling. Some argued that Trump saw Ukraine as an impediment to better U.S. relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was angry about U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and for the Kremlin’s ongoing support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.”
If the Russians took away the entire South of the United States, put a puppet government into power that is fanatically anti-American that then killed thousands of its own citizens (i.e. Americans) one would sure see that as an “impediment” to better US-Russian relations. Ukraine is a blip on the radar for America but for Russia it is basically the holy land from which it was born and an inalienable part of its civilization. Russia can be Russia without Tajikistan, but not without the Ukraine and Belarus. The horrors in the Donbass witnessed by many Russian-speakers that reminded them of the atrocities committed by the Nazis on the Eastern Front will not be soon be forgotten and make a submissive compromise situation a non-option. Thus, unless Washington throws away half of its current territorial control of Ukraine to the Russians (i.e. the regions that are strongly pro-Russian) there is no chance of reaching some sort of resolution that will improve US-Russian relations.
“Trump’s entire national security Cabinet unanimously supported it. But Trump hesitated. “He kept saying it… wasn’t worth pissing off Russia and what a bad country Ukraine was,” said the former senior White House official.”
If we take the time to reformat this question we can see where Trump could be coming from – “is it worth risking WWIII over a region of the world that means nothing to America (or the West) and everything to the Russians?”. Protecting American territory from the Russians is important, protecting the West as a whole is also worth it, but funneling buckets of money into an endless Ukrainian hole on former Russian territory will not yield anything positive for America.
“None of those lofty arguments worked with Trump. “Many Americans feel strongly about supporting Ukraine because it’s the little guy and is fighting for values we consider fundamentally American”
There are more Americans who are concerned over plastic straws and the rights of men in dresses to pee in the women’s room than the Ukrainian situation. American men often voluntarily signed up for WWII and to a lesser extent Vietnam to fight a real ideological threat to the USA. How many guys would register for the draft over the Donbass? The overwhelming majority of Americans do not care about the fate of Kiev and why should they?
Fundamentally this primitive article by The Washington Post, is one long blunt implication that if Trump does not want to use American resources to push for maintaining a firm grasp on a heavily anti-Russian Ukraine then he is a racist bad person or at the very least is heavily misguided and irrational due to hurt feelings from his election campaign.
The Washington Post demonstrates in this piece the mentality of a Medieval peasant – if you don’t agree with me then you must be evil or possessed by demons blinding your judgment. This publication’s motto is “Democracy dies in Darkness” but their attitude towards the President having a viewpoint they don’t like is straight out of the Dark Ages.
Despite Nancy Pelosi’s “prayerful” concerns and the cowardice of the party she leads, impeachment time has come at last! Republicans must now decide whether to flee their Dear Leader, like rats on a sinking ship, or to stand by his big and very stable brain.
As of now, the smart money has them remaining on board – agonizing over their own fates.
Agonize away, miscreants! When bad things happen to bad people, it “proves the heavens more just.”
Republican – that is, Trump Party — strategists, in the White House and Congress, know that defending Trump on the merits, on any merits, is out of the question.
They have also come around to the realization that, even with Fox and Worse behind them, they can no longer defend him by complaining about the procedures Democrats have put in place in their impeachment inquiries – not with “the revolution,” or whatever it is, about to be televised.
And so, by all accounts, they are about to concede that, yes, Donald Trump is guilty as charged. Since there will soon no longer be any remotely plausible way to claim that the Democrats have not been fair to a fault, they will stop harping on that too.
What they will do instead is insist that the case against Trump somehow doesn’t “rise to the level” required for impeachment.
But for the fact that hardcore Trump supporters are unmoved by reason and could care less about evidence, that line of defense would qualify technically as a “hail Mary pass.” Anyone who doesn’t know what I mean by that should check with the Chamber of Commerce or, better yet, the hapless mayor of South Bend, Indiana, home of the Fighting Irish.
Republicans, especially the Republican Senators now gearing up to keep Trump in office after the House impeaches him, seem to think that they can ride out whatever comes their way as long as the economy doesn’t turn south in time to matter in next year’s election.
They are also counting on the suckers Trump has bamboozled – in America, it seems, there really is one born every minute — hanging onto the belief that even if their man is an asshole, a swindler, and a moral reprobate, at least he is their asshole, swindler and reprobate.
Their expectations are not unreasonable. Evangelicals have been with Trump, the personification of all they supposedly abhor, since Day One; why not the rest of his vaunted base as well?
They will also argue, of course, that the Democratic nominee is too far out in left field to win.
That will be their contention even if, through some aberration in the light of reason, the Democrats nominate Joe Biden or that ridiculous South Bend mayor or any other “moderate” – in other words, anyone who defends the status quo within the Democratic Party and in the larger society by seeming to oppose at least some of what is driving the views of many potential Democratic voters far to the left of their party’s leaders.
Our “democratic” institutions make a mockery of such core democratic notions as political equality, equality of political influence, one person one vote, and so on; they also make it extremely difficult to reverse bad electoral choices, regardless what most citizens demand.
In line with that, Republicans, finding all other avenues exhausted, now want Trump’s fate to hinge on what counts as an impeachable offense. The trouble with that is that everything or nothing could, as it were, “rise” to that level.
What is impeachable is whatever the House and Senate say is impeachable. According to any remotely plausible reading of a Constitution that all sides claim to regard as the supreme authority on the matter, there is no principled way to gainsay their judgment; they are, for all practical purposes, more infallible than the Pope.
There has long been ample evidence supporting Samuel Johnson’s claim that “patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” In the Land of the Free, we have scoundrels aplenty; in recent years, the escapades of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, his éminence grise, produced a bumper crop.
But because Trump makes everything worse, Johnson’s contention must now be revised. Patriotism is no less noxious than it used to be, but, in our time and place, it is no longer the very last refuge of scoundrels. Lawyerly gobbledygook is. Who’d have thunk it?
* * *
When first developed more than a century ago, the jurisprudential doctrine now called “legal realism” was of a piece with the pragmatist philosophies of the time. Like the pragmatists, legal realists were naturalists. Thus, in their view, laws are not grounded in any special rationally accessible or theologically prescribed authority; they are, and ought to be, based on empirically accessible matters of fact.
As such, they are, in the final analysis, neither more nor less than, as Oliver Wendell Holmes famously put it, “predictions” of what courts will do.
For a long time now, most legal theorists have distanced themselves from views like Holmes’, arguing, in various ways, that reasons to respect laws and follow their dictates are defensible in their own right, irrespective of contingent matters of fact.
This is not the place to engage the several debates that raged around these issues, except to note that everyone involved in them took for granted the basic probity of the legal system itself.
Those who held that legal arguments are ultimately mere formalities that are justifiable or not depending on facts about human nature, the human condition, and the circumstances at hand, and those who claimed that they articulate rationally defensible substantive constraints on what courts my rightfully do, agreed that, for the most part, the American legal system could be counted on to do the right thing.
The American public thought so too.
Not only did confidence that this was the case run deep; for a long time, it seemed entirely justified. It survived Nixon and Reagan and the Bushes diminished, but still basically intact. The judges that Republican presidents nominated, retrograde as they often were, were still, for the most part, faithful guardians of the rule of law. Even the diminution of privacy rights and the attacks on civil liberties brought on by the Bush-Obama “war on terror” changed nothing fundamental in that respect.
But Trump makes everything worse. With the villainous Mitch McConnell doing the heavy lifting, and with the Republican Senate in tow, he has made assumptions about the basic probity of the federal judiciary a lot harder to sustain.
McConnell has done his level best to pack the federal judiciary with troglodyte judges, and the Trump-Barr Justice Department cannot be counted on to uphold anything like the rule of law, at least not when the matters in dispute involve Trump himself.
With two Trump appointees now joining the rightwing menagerie already there, the Supreme Court itself could soon follow suit. For years after Trump is gone, the consequences will reverberate.
What to do about this is among the most important questions of this historical moment; its urgency will become acute if all goes well, or at least not too disastrously, next November.
But with Trump’s defenders now reduced to playing a legalistic jibber-jabber card of their own contrivance, a low-grade battle is already on.
It has therefore become timely to ask what does “rise to the level,” as they say, of an impeachable offence? Liberal columnists in the “quality press” and the talking heads featured on the liberal cable networks – most of them former Republicans or unreconstructed Democratic centrists – nowadays write or talk about little else.
What they have to say, however, is not exactly clarifying.
For one thing, they tell us that impeachment is a political, not a legal, process. What might that mean?
It could mean that it is not about following precedents or legal principles, even if there were suitable ones to follow, but about doing what legislatures are supposed to do. On some not too outlandish views, that would involve trying to figure out what would be the best thing to do.
Engage that issue and it becomes glaringly obvious that it should be easy, not practically impossible, to get rid of a sitting president as awful and dangerous as the one with whom the United States and the entire world must now contend.
To hear leading Democrats and their media flunkies tell it, impeachment is such a monumental act that Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats who think like her, or say that they do, are, or claim to be, reduced to fear and trembling by the gravity of their task, even to the point of prayerfully asking (or, in case there is no one there to answer, thinking that they are asking) God for guidance.
The gravity of the situation is not caused just by the Constitutional strictures that make the impeachment process hard to execute. Democrats are at fault too; for their role in the bipartisan effort to take up where the Constitution leaves off – by turning impeachment into a quasi-legal process, after all.
This makes the whole business a lot like going after Al Capone for taxes. Capone, by the way, must be turning over in his grave, seeing a man not half the crook he was, getting away with whatever it is he is keeping the IRS from revealing. How ironic!
It was like that with Nixon too. Much of what he did was a lot worse than what he would have been impeached for, had he not resigned first. The disparity is even more extreme in Bill Clinton’s case. In his circumstances, can anyone really blame him for falling for Monica Lewinsky or even, to save his ass, for lying about it.
Now it is Trump’s turn. Reasons why he should be removed from office are as plentiful as the stars in the sky. If not quite with every breath he takes, then with every barely literate rant he tweets, he adds to their number.
But count on him being impeached for almost none of it, and certainly not for the worst things he has done. Indeed, Pelosi and Company seem about to insist that the House Judiciary Committee go no farther than some comparatively harmless extortion and obstruction of justice offenses.
In fairness, we do not yet know what the articles of impeachment that the House will finally settle on will be. But it is far more likely than not that they will barely scratch the surface of Trump’s iniquity. If Pelosi gets her way, they could well involve nothing more than Trump’s efforts to extort Ukraine for help in smearing the Bidens, Hunter and Joe.
One of the myths surrounding Trump is that he is, or was, a great businessman. What he was great at is taking advantage of the political juice bequeathed him by his father, his father’s cronies, and sleazeballs like Roy Cohn, weaseling out of debts to creditors, stiffing contractors and workers in his employ, and using bankruptcy laws to his advantage. Yet the myth survives, no matter how often and how compellingly investigative journalists make mishmash of it.
Another myth is that the Donald is a great political tactician. If he were, why would he target the one Democrat with any chance of becoming the Democratic nominee who could blow an easy victory in 2020 just as surely as Hillary Clinton did in 2016?
Biden is cut from the same center-right cloth as Clinton. The difference is that he is goofier and even more inept. He is also more “moderate” and “pragmatic – in other words, more rightwing.
It took a Clinton to lose to Trump; what kind of “very stable genius” could think that Biden, a lesser Hillary by any measure, is the biggest threat to his reelection now?
Democrats who favor Biden because they consider him more electable than Sanders or Warren or any of the other contenders seeking their party’s nomination are not exactly geniuses either. They are all confounding the skills of a political tactician with those of a snake oil salesman running a con.
That is what Trump is. That is how he built his base and how he keeps the thirty-five to forty percent of Americans who still support him on board.
He is not half bad either at recruiting and retaining his marks; for that, he is more than cunning enough. But if he thinks Biden is all that stands between him and a second term, he is even more of an idiot than he seems.
Meanwhile, Pelosi has taken the place formerly occupied by G-man Mueller in the imaginations of liberals and others who cannot wait for Trump to be gone and for the Trump era to be over.
The consensus among them is that, unlike Trump, she really is a master tactician. Apparently, Steve Bannon thinks so too. That is a good sign. Bannon is evil but, unlike nearly everyone else in Trump’s camp, he is capable of thinking clearly.
If the consensus view is sound, then, since removing the menace Trump poses – or, failing that, hobbling him beyond repair — is the most urgent task at hand, accepting Pelosi’s leadership on impeachment may actually be wise.
As a good liberal, she is useless for addressing systemic causes. But she can be good for dealing with some of their effects. Until the ambient political culture radicalizes a good deal more than it already has or soon will, there really is no alternative but to make common cause with her and her cohort, and to make the best of it.
* * *
This is not incompatible with also addressing matters beyond the liberal ken.
It would be a shame, after all, not to take advantage of the opportunity impeachment presents for making the impeachment question less about what Southern planters and wealthy merchants in the Mid- Atlantic and New England states thought some two and a half centuries ago, and more about what makes the most sense here and now.
If there is bipartisan agreement that impeachment should be treated as a legal, or quasi-legal, proceeding, despite all the talk about how it is a political, not a legal process, then now is a time to expose the incoherence of the consensus view, not to embrace it.
After all, unlike in true legal contexts, there really are no precedents that could plausibly be considered binding; there are no overarching principles that could be appealed to either.
Therefore, even if our legislators and others who talk about what does and does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense, are, for whatever reason, intent on mimicking proceedings in American courts, they are nevertheless free to create relevant precedents and principles as they go along, whether they realize it or not.
Now is therefore a time to go on the offensive against those who, whenever Constitutional issues arise, gravitate towards the “originalism” of the Scalias and the Kavanaughs and others of their ilk. What a strange bunch those bozos are! How odd that so many of them are Catholics defending what is essentially a Protestant ethos, according to which a sacred text, though susceptible to countless interpretations, is nevertheless deemed inerrantly correct.
This is one thing that cannot be blamed on Trump. The oddness of their thinking predates the Trump era; it is one of the few facets of our political culture that he has had almost nothing to do with and has therefore been unable to make worse. But, in order to keep his Evangelical backers on board, he has done all he can to give them the retrograde judges they crave – effectively normalizing originalist nonsense and making it the dominant view.
Thus, across what passes for a political spectrum, nearly the entire political class is, or claims to be, determined to work within parameters set by social and economic elites in a pre-industrial era, structured, in both the North and the South, by the exigencies of the Atlantic slave trade.
Needless to say, The Federalist Papers are well worth studying; there is much in them from which readers today can learn many things, including much that is relevant to legislators about to impeach the worst American president ever.
But none of it justifies viewing what the authors of the Constitution wrote, including the Constitution itself, as if it were Holy Writ.
We are not dealing, after all, with revealed truths, but with a philosophically insightful and relevant, but nevertheless historically particular, line of thought.
From the sixteenth century until the early nineteenth, Topic A for many of the best political minds in Europe, in France especially, was the suitability of various forms of executive power for different kinds of emerging nation states. The contenders were essentially those that Aristotle had discussed nearly two millennia earlier.
The authors of the American Constitution were immersed in that literature.
How ironic that what gave them the leisure to philosophize and then to concoct “a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men (sic) are created equal” was a slave economy — directly in the South, especially in Virginia, home of the most gifted thinkers among them, and indirectly everywhere else.
How remarkable too that, even nowadays, in on-going discussions about grounds for impeachment, hardly anyone comments on this. Even Black Lives Matter militants seem, on this issue at least, to excuse those founding fathers of ours for being in the grip of contemporaneous norms.
Evidently, we Americans, like those Enlightened late eighteenth century Virginians, are good at compartmentalizing.
The consensus view among nearly everybody who thought about the issue in that long-ago historical period was that the larger the political community, the more concentrated and powerful, and therefore the less democratic, a state’s executive branch should be. In the same vein, it was widely believed that, up to a point, democracy does better the weaker the state is.
Updating these thoughts somewhat, we might say that empires need a strong executive branch, and that democracies do better when the executive power is weak.
As everyone knows, the founding fathers wanted a republic, not a monarchy.
Of course, the monarchies they had in mind were not the benign, effectively powerless, kind that can now be found in the UK – note the irony there! – or in Japan or in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries. What they opposed were the absolutist monarchies of the emerging Western European nation states of the early modern period.
The founders wanted a republic, but they could already see that the country whose institutions they were constructing would discover its “manifest destiny” expanding westward, eventually controlling large swathes of the North American continent. They could already see that the United States of America would not be a republic in the classical sense. If anything, it would be the antithesis of that; it would be an empire.
But not an empire of the kind found elsewhere, seemingly from time immemorial. It would however grow out of an imperial project and was therefore in need of an executive stronger than the kind generally deemed appropriate for a democratically governed republic.
No doubt, this consideration at least partly explains why those founders were so ambivalent about impeachment; why they thought of it as something that should somehow be, at the same time, both easy and impossibly hard to do.
In a parliamentary democracy, a vote of “no confidence” would suffice to make short order of a rogue executive branch. That can sometimes be difficult to pull off too, but the founding father’s way compounds the difficulty many times over.
Or, rather it does, when the consensus view has it that the words of the founders, like the word of God, must be called upon to deem an offense impeachable.
Surely, the time is past due to put that notion to rest. Should it really be necessary to fashion legalistic arguments, grounded in indefensible premises, to rid the world, as swiftly and thoroughly as possible, of a president who poses a clear and present danger to life on earth as we know it?
Shouldn’t those who, at least on this, are effectively founders themselves simply be free to do what is so plainly the right thing, the more democratic thing, just because it accords with what reason, not ersatz Scripture, demands?
What rises to the level of impeachability? The short answer is or ought to be: pretty much everything Trump does.
By 1937, the German Army, the Wehrmacht was confident enough to show off its new Panzer armored combat tactics to visiting military delegations from other nations. Senior officers from Germany’s ancient enemy France were especially impressed – and appalled – at the radical new weapons systems and tactics on display.
According to one story, which may be apocryphal, a French general asked a senior German officer where the new concepts came from. “But we just read the book of your own great armored theorist, De Gaulle,” the answer came.
The French generals were even more puzzled: None of them had heard of their own lowly Colonel Charles De Gaulle, author of “Vers l’Armée de Métier” (“Towards a Professional Army”). Only 700 copies were sold in all of France.
In Germany, Heinz Guderian and other senior commanders eagerly seized on De Gaulle’s teachings of integrated armor, artillery and infantry forces. They developed the Blitzkrieg techniques that conquered the large nation of Poland in only five weeks in September through early October 1939. Still the French generals would not listen to De Gaulle. The following year, their own nation -supposedly the supreme military power in the world – fell to the Wehrmacht in only eight weeks.
Today, the United States and its allies have received a military wakeup call and warning in the Middle East as epochal as the Conquest of Poland was in 1939.
For a new Revolution in Military Affairs has just begun. Three brigades of the Saudi Arabian Army armed to the teeth by the United States in Riyadh’s $90 billion a year military budgets have just been wiped out by a handful of Houthi rebels from Yemen employing military equipment that was largely adapted from commercial models now easily available in chain stores all across the United States and the rest of the developed world.
The Houthis used cheap and easily available Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones and small, precision-guided missiles and ordinance. Neither the US-supplied Saudi Hardware nor the US-inculcated Saudi tactics proved a match for them.
Ironically, the US armed forces have introduced the military use of drones for surveillance and targeted assassinations on an enormous scale. But they have failed to take the next step and integrate this new military technology with all its myriad potential into tactical combat doctrine for full-scale land battle.
In very large part, this is because since the catastrophic decisions of George W. Bush and his Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the US Army over the past 18 years has been sucked into endless, exhausting counter-insurgency campaigns around the world – always without any realistic political framework or strategy at all.
The British Empire made the same mistake in its own long counter-insurgency campaigns of the 1920s and 1930s in Ireland, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan – all territories that have an eerily contemporary ring.
When the great land clash of armies to decide the fate of Europe came in May 1940, therefore, the British Army and its High Command were woefully unprepared for it: The US Army leadership over the past two decades has gone down the same rabbit hole.
The brilliant Houthi military victory over the Saudis fulfilled the predictions in military doctrine made by America’s own De Gaulle, a retired US Army Colonel, Douglas Macgregor with an outstanding combat and command record who has been treated over the past 20 years by most of his own country’s four star generals and civilian theorists with contempt: Just as the French Army ignored De Gaulle’s armored warfare doctrines 90 years, when they were being read and applied passionately by the generals of Germany.
Macgregor observed after the Houthi victory in September that that there was no reason for surprise. Sure enough, two and a half years earlier, in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on March 7, 2017, he stated:
“The skies over the battlefield will be crowded with loitering munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones). These agile cruise missiles are designed to engage beyond line-of-sight ground targets. With proximity-fused, high-explosive warheads, these systems will remain airborne for hours, day or night. Equipped with high resolution electro-optical and infrared cameras, enemy operators will locate, surveil, and guide the drones to targets on the ground… When these loitering missiles are integrated into the enemy’s Strike Formations armed with precision guided rocket artillery that fires high explosive, incendiary, thermobaric, warheads including sub-munitions with self-targeting anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions warfare as we know it changes.”
Macgregor was even more prescient in predicting the previous Houthi precision missile strikes that wiped out half the production capacity of Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries earlier in September. Those attacks humiliatingly exposed the ultra-expensive, endlessly praised US missile defense systems sold to Riyadh as worthless dinosaurs.
Yet, writing in his book “Transformation Under Fire” published back in 2003, Macgregor had said: “The idea is to link maneuver and strike assets through a flatter operational architecture empowered by new terrestrial and space-based communications throughout the formation… Long-range, joint precision fires and C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] offer the possibility to reach over enemy armies to directly strike at what they hope to defend or preserve. Precision strategic strikes closely coordinated and timed with converging Army combat forces would present a defending enemy with an insoluble dilemma.”
In an article in “Joint Force Quarterly” in 2011, Macgregor concluded that such “precision effects (kinetic and non-kinetic) using a vast array of strike forces enabled by the rapid and timely dissemination of information through networked ISR capabilities point the way to a fundamental paradigm shift in the character of warfare.”
Thanks to the lowly Houthis, supposedly reduced to the status of cannon fodder for Saudi Arabia’s hot shot F-15 pilots and the most expensive munitions the United States could sell to its Riyadh ally, that paradigm shift foreseen by Macgregor has arrived. Its effects will soon be felt all across Asia and Europe as well as in the more obscure corners of Arabia. We are about to enter dangerously interesting times.
In Latin America several countries are under turmoil, as people cannot even meet their most basics needs. The last few months have seen a remarkable spectacle: hundreds of thousands of citizens are taking to the streets to protest to what they perceive is their governments’ attack on their well-being, and the governments’ responses have been late and inadequate.
A reason for these failures can be found in an anecdote related by Jean Cocteau. A couple of drivers suffer a car malfunction in a small Chinese town: there is a hole in the gas tank. They find a mechanic that can repair it; he can do an exact replica of the tank in a couple of hours. When they pick up the car they restart the trip when, in the dark hours of the night, they face the same problem. The reason: the mechanic had also copied the hole in the gas tank. Governments, and alas, not only those in Latin America, are trying to solve problems facing them using the same recipe, the one that hadn’t succeeded before.
What is happening now is important not only in its dimension, but also in the possibility of a generalized continental chaos with unpredictable consequences. And this is happening after Latin America seemed to be a on a path to sustained development, based on years of high commodity prices. However, governments, rather than taking advantage of this situation, have instead used the remarkable financial resources obtained for their own spurious aims.
The citizenry, tired of false promises, resorts to voting for populist governments that, although they increase the countries’ external debt, have at least a policy of redistribution of resources that solves immediate problems and gives people a false sense of security. This has been starkly seen now in Argentina, where Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (they are not related) won the country’s presidential election although she has more than a dozen criminal cases against her.
Present economic and social crises have special characteristics according to what countries are considered. The common denominator to all is the profound economic inequality which, according to the United Nations, is greater in Latin America than in any other part of the world. The Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean states that, although in Chile poverty levels went down three percentage points between 2016 and 2019, one percent of the country’s population still owns 26.5 percent of its wealth.
David Konzevik, an Argentine economist and advisor to many governments, has developed the theory called “The revolution of expectations”. According to Konzevik, the degree of knowledge and information that exists today makes people aware of possibilities for better living that are unfulfilled. Governments by and large remain deaf to people’s demands. “The poor today are rich in information and millionaires in expectations,” Konzevik told me recently in New York.
In addition, in almost all countries judicial institutions are weak and as a result widespread corruption remains unpunished. As the worldwide economy has slowed down, governments lack resources to pay for social programs. As a result, the public has become increasingly more vocal in its demands for better services and salaries, and less willing to accept great levels of social inequality.
However, today not only the poor participate in the protests against the governments. Protesting as well are vast sectors of the middle class who also see their quality of life considerably lowered by government policies that favor mainly the rich.
Is there a way out of this morass? The answer may be in the following story told by the Spanish-Mexican historian Juan María Alponte. “A man, passing a quarry, saw three stone cutters. He asked the first: ‘What do you do?’ ‘You see, cutting these stones.’ The second said: ‘I prepare a cornerstone.’ The third one simply said, unaffected. ‘I build a cathedral.’” We need politicians who want to build a cathedral.
The western media has been hit with warnings of “financial Armageddon” and the need for a “global hegemonic synthetic currency” to replace the collapsing US dollar under a new system of green finance. These statements have been made by former and current Bank of England Governors Mark Carney and Mervyn King respectively and should not be ignored as the world sits atop the largest financial bubble in human history reminiscent of the 1929 bubble that was triggered on black Friday in the USA which unleashed a great depression across Europe and America.
While I’m not arguing that a systemic change is not vital to protect people from the effects of a general meltdown of the $1.2 trillion derivatives bubble sometimes called “the western banking system”, what such central bankers are proposing is a poison more deadly than the disease they promise to cure.
In principle, the world crisis, is no different from the artificially manufactured crises which the world faced in 1923 when unpayable Versailles debts were heaved onto a beaten Germany, which I elaborated upon in my previous report. It is also no different from the nature of the folly that unleashed unbounded speculation during the “roaring 1920s” which led to the bank-run and general meltdown. Similarly, the solutions being proposed to put out the fire by those same arsonists who lit the matches today are identical to what the world faced in 1933 as a “central bankers” solution for the world depression.
How the 1929 Crash was Manufactured
While everyone knows that the 1929 market crash unleashed four years of hell in America which quickly spread across Europe under the great depression, not many people have realized that this was not inevitable, but rather a controlled blowout.
The bubbles of the 1920s were unleashed with the early death of President William Harding in 1923 and grew under the careful guidance of JP Morgan’s President Coolidge and financier Andrew Mellon (Treasury Secretary) who de-regulated the banks, imposed austerity onto the country, and cooked up a scheme for Broker loans allowing speculators to borrow 90% on their stock. Wall Street was deregulated, investments into the real economy were halted during the 1920s and insanity became the norm. In 1925 broker loans totalled $1.5 billion and grew to $2.6 billion in 1926 and hit $5.7 billion by the end of 1927. By 1928, the stock market was overvalued fourfold!
When the bubble was sufficiently inflated, a moment was decided upon to coordinate a mass “calling in” of the broker loans. Predictably, no one could pay them resulting in a collapse of the markets. Those “in the know” cleaned up with JP Morgan’s “preferred clients”, and other financial behemoths selling before the crash and then buying up the physical assets of America for pennies on the dollar. One notable person who made his fortune in this manner was Prescott Bush of Brown Brothers Harriman, who went onto bailout a bankrupt Nazi party in 1932. These financiers had a tight allegiance with the City of London and coordinated their operations through the private central banking system of America’s Federal Reserve and Bank of International Settlements.
The Living Hell that was the Great Depression
Throughout the Great depression, the population was pushed to its limits making America highly susceptible to fascism as unemployment skyrocketed to 25%, industrial capacity collapsed by 70%, and agricultural prices collapsed far below the cost of production accelerating foreclosures and suicide. Life savings were lost as 4000 banks failed.
This despair was replicated across Europe and Canada with eugenics-loving fascists gaining popularity across the board. England saw the rise of Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists in 1932, English Canada had its own fascist solution with the Rhodes Scholar “Fabian Society” League of Social Reconstruction (which later took over the Liberal Party) calling for the “scientific management of society”. Time magazine had featured Il Duce over 6 times by 1932 and people were being told by that corporate fascism was the economic solution to all of America’s economic woes.
In the midst of the crisis, the City of London removed itself from the gold standard in 1931 which was a crippling blow to the USA, as it resulted in a flight of gold from America causing a deeper contraction of the money supply and thus inability to respond to the depression. British goods simultaneously swamped the USA crushing what little production was left.
It was in this atmosphere that one of the least understood battles unfolded in 1933.
1932: A Bankers’ Dictatorship is Attempted
In Germany, a surprise victory of Gen. Kurt Schleicher caused the defeat of the London-directed Nazi party in December 1932 threatening to break Germany free of Central Bank tyranny. A few weeks before Schleicher’s victory, Franklin Roosevelt won the presidency in America threatening to regulate the private banks and assert national sovereignty over finance.
Seeing their plans for global fascism slipping away, the City of London announced that a new global system controlled by Central Banks had to be created post haste. Their objective was to use the economic crisis as an excuse to remove from nation states any power over monetary policy, while enhancing the power of Independent Central Banks as enforcers of “balanced global budgets”. elaborate
In December 1932, an economic conference “to stabilize the world economy” was organized by the League of Nations under the guidance of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and Bank of England. The BIS was set up as “the Central Bank of Central Banks” in 1930 in order to facilitate WWI debt repayments and was a vital instrument for funding Nazi Germany- long after WWII began. The London Economic Conference brought together 64 nations of the world under a controlled environment chaired by the British Prime Minister and opened by the King himself.
A resolution passed by the Conference’s Monetary Committee stated:
“The conference considers it to be essential, in order to provide an international gold standard with the necessary mechanism for satisfactory working, that independent Central Banks, with requisite powers and freedom to carry out an appropriate currency and credit policy, should be created in such developed countries as have not at present an adequate central banking institution” and that “the conference wish to reaffirm the great utility of close and continuous cooperation between Central Banks. The Bank of International Settlements should play an increasingly important part not only by improving contact, but also as an instrument for common action.”
Echoing Carney’s current fixation with “mathematical equilibrium”, the resolutions stated that the new global gold standard controlled by central banks was needed “to maintain a fundamental equilibrium in the balance of payments” of countries. The idea was to deprive nation states of their power to generate and direct credit for their own development.
FDR Torpedoes the London Conference
Chancellor Schleicher’s resistance to a bankers’ dictatorship was resolved by a “soft coup” ousting the patriotic leader in favor of Adolph Hitler (under the control of a Bank of England toy named Hjalmar Schacht) in January 1933 with Schleicher assassinated the following year. In America, an assassination attempt on Roosevelt was thwarted on February 15, 1933 when a woman knocked the gun out of the hand of an anarchist-freemason in Miami resulting in the death of Chicago’s Mayor Cermak (1).
Without FDR’s dead body, the London conference met an insurmountable barrier, as FDR refused to permit any American cooperation. Roosevelt recognized the necessity for a new international system, but he also knew that it had to be organized by sovereign nation states subservient to the general welfare of the people and not central banks dedicated to the welfare of the oligarchy. Before any international changes could occur, nation states castrated from the effects of the depression had to first recover economically in order to stay above the power of the financiers.
By May 1933, the London Conference crumbled when FDR complained that the conference’s inability to address the real issues of the crisis is “a catastrophe amounting to a world tragedy” and that fixation with short term stability were “old fetishes of so-called international bankers”. FDR continued “The United States seeks the kind of dollar which a generation hence will have the same purchasing and debt paying power as the dollar value we hope to attain in the near future. That objective means more to the good of other nations than a fixed ratio for a month or two. Exchange rate fixing is not the true answer.”
The British drafted an official statement saying “the American statement on stabilization rendered it entirely useless to continue the conference.”
FDR’s War on Wall Street
The new president laid down the gauntlet in his inaugural speech on March 4th saying: “The money-changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit”.
FDR declared a war on Wall Street on several levels, beginning with his support of the Pecorra Commission which sent thousands of bankers to prison, and exposed the criminal activities of the top tier of Wall Street’s power structure who manipulated the depression, buying political offices and pushing fascism. Ferdinand Pecorra who ran the commission called out the deep state when he said “this small group of highly placed financiers, controlling the very springs of economic activity, holds more real power than any similar group in the United States.”
Pecorra’s highly publicized success empowered FDR to impose sweeping regulation in the form of 1) Glass-Steagall bank separation, 2) bankruptcy re-organization and 3) the creation of the Security Exchange Commission to oversee Wall Street. Most importantly, FDR disempowered the London-controlled Federal Reserve by installing his own man as Chair (Industrialist Mariner Eccles) who forced it to obey national commands for the first time since 1913, while creating an “alternative” lending mechanism outside of Fed control called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) which became the number one lender to infrastructure in America throughout the 1930s.
One of the most controversial policies for which FDR is demonized today was his abolishment of the gold standard. The gold standard itself constricted the money supply to a strict exchange of gold per paper dollar, thus preventing the construction of internal improvements needed to revive industrial capacity and put the millions of unemployed back to work for which no financial resources existed. It’s manipulation by international financiers made it a weapon of destruction rather than creation at this time. Since commodity prices had fallen lower than the costs of production, it was vital to increase the price of goods under a form of “controlled inflation” so that factories and farms could become solvent and unfortunately the gold standard held that back. FDR imposed protective tariffs to favor agro-industrial recovery on all fronts ending years of rapacious free trade.
FDR stated his political-economic philosophy in 1934: “the old fallacious notion of the bankers on the one side and the government on the other side, as being more or less equal and independent units, has passed away. Government by the necessity of things must be the leader, must be the judge, of the conflicting interests of all groups in the community, including bankers.”
The Real New Deal
Once liberated from the shackles of the central banks, FDR and his allies were able to start a genuine recovery by restoring confidence in banking. Within 31 days of his bank holiday, 75% of banks were operational and the FDIC was created to insure deposits. Four million people were given immediate work, and hundreds of libraries, schools and hospitals were built and staffed- All funded through the RFC. FDR’s first fireside chat was vital in rebuilding confidence in the government and banks, serving even today as a strong lesson in banking which central bankers don’t want you to learn about.
From 1933-1939, 45 000 infrastructure projects were built. The many “local” projects were governed, like China’s Belt and Road Initiative today, under a “grand design” which FDR termed the “Four Quarters” featuring zones of megaprojects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority area in the south east, the Columbia River Treaty zone on the northwest, the St Laurence Seaway zone on the North east, and Hoover Dam/Colorado zone on the Southwest. These projects were transformative in ways money could never measure as the Tennessee area’s literacy rose from 20% in 1932 to 80% in 1950, and racist backwater holes of the south became the bedrock for America’s aerospace industry due to the abundant and cheap hydropower.
Wall Street Sabotages the New Deal
Those who criticize the New Deal today ignore the fact that its failures have more to do with Wall Street sabotage than anything intrinsic to the program. For example, JP Morgan tool Lewis Douglass (U.S. Budget Director) forced the closure of the Civil Works Administration in 1934 resulting in the firing of all 4 million workers.
Wall Street did everything it could to choke the economy at every turn. In 1931, NY banks loans to the real economy amounted to $38.1 billion which dropped to only $20.3 billion by 1935. Where NY banks had 29% of their funds in US bonds and securities in 1929, this had risen to 58% which cut off the government from being able to issue productive credit to the real economy.
When, in 1937, FDR’s Treasury Secretary persuaded him to cancel public works to see if the economy “could stand on its own two feet”, Wall Street pulled credit out of the economy collapsing the Industrial production index from 110 to 85 erasing seven years’ worth of gain, while steel fell from 80% capacity back to depression levels of 19%. Two million jobs were lost and the Dow Jones lost 39% of its value. This was no different from kicking the crutches out from a patient in rehabilitation and it was not lost on anyone that those doing the kicking were openly supporting Fascism in Europe. Bush patriarch Prescott Bush, then representing Brown Brothers Harriman was found guilty for trading with the enemy in 1942!
Coup Attempt in America Thwarted
The bankers didn’t limit themselves to financial sabotage during this time, but also attempted a fascist military coup which was exposed by Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler in his congressional testimony of November 20, 1934. Butler had testified that the plan was begun in the Summer of 1933 and organized by Wall Street financiers who tried to use him as a puppet dictator leading 500 000 American Legion members to storm the White House. As Butler spoke, those same financiers had just set up an anti-New Deal organization called the American Liberty League which fought to keep America out of the war in defense of an Anglo-Nazi fascist global government which they wished to partner with.
The American Liberty league only changed tune when it became evident that Hitler had become a disobedient Frankenstein monster who wasn’t content in a subservient position to Britain’s idea of a New World Order. In response to the Liberty League’s agenda, FDR said “some speak of a New World Order, but it is not new and it is not order”.
FDR’s Post-War Vision Destroyed
While FDR’s struggle did change the course of history, his early death during the first months of his fourth term resulted in a fascist perversion of his post-war vision.
Rather than see the IMF, World Bank or UN used as instruments for the internationalization of the New Deal principles to promote long term, low interest loans for the industrial development of former colonies, FDR’s allies were ousted from power over his dead body, and they were recaptured by the same forces who attempted to steer the world towards a Central Banking Dictatorship in 1933.
The American Liberty League spawned into various “patriotic” anti-communist organizations which took power with the FBI and McCarthyism under the fog of the Cold War. This is the structure that Eisenhower warned about when he called out “the Military Industrial Complex” in 1960 and which John Kennedy did battle with during his 900 days as president.
The New Silk Road as the 21st Century New Deal
This is the structure which is out to destroy President Donald Trump out of fear that a new FDR impulse is beginning to be revived in America which may align with the 21st Century international New Deal emerging from China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Eurasian alliance. French Finance Minister Bruno LeMaire and Marc Carney have stated their fear that if the Green New Deal isn’t imposed by the west, then the New Silk Road and yuan will become the basis for the new world system.
The Bank of England-authored Green New Deal and Synthetic Hegemonic Currency which promise to impose draconian constraints on humanity’s carrying capacity in defense of saving nature from humanity have nothing to do with Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and they have less to do with the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. These are merely central bankers’ wet dreams for depopulation and fascism “with a democratic face” which their 1933 conference failed to achieve and can only be imposed if people remain blind to their own recent history.
(1) Zingara was labelled a “lone gunman” and promptly executed before any proper investigation could be done.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
Last week’s impeachment headlines show why. If all you read is the New York Times, you’d think that the dump-Trump movement was going swimmingly. On Tuesday, Oct. 29, it announced that Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democrat leading the impeachment charge, had landed a key witness, a decorated army officer willing to testify that Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior.” Two days later, the Times dropped another bombshell, the news that neocon regime-change advocate John Bolton, furious at Trump for firing him as national security adviser two months ago, might testify as well.
“Many Democrats regard Mr. Bolton as the perfect witness,” it said, “a respected conservative national security hawk who was nonetheless incensed by the how the president and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, and who broke sharply with the president upon his departure from the White House.”
Finally, another epic disclosure came on Friday. Yet another National Security Council official, the Times said, had “confirmed a key episode at the center of the impeachment inquiry, testifying that a top diplomat working with President Trump told him that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigations the president sought.”
Wow! Two star witnesses plus confirmation, even if only second hand, that the president was guilty of a quid pro quo. Send up the flares — impeachment was on the way.
Except that it wasn’t. The Times was only telling half the story while trying desperately to keep the other half, far less favorable to the Democrats, under wraps.
Take the Oct. 29 article announcing Schiff dramatic new witness, a National Security Council staffer named Alexander S. Vindman. Deep inside was a curious tidbit:
“Because he emigrated from Ukraine along with his family when he was a child and is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian, Ukrainian officials sought advice from him about how to deal with [Trump attorney Rudy] Giuliani, though they typically communicated in English.”
The Times began to hem and haw as soon as conservatives seized on the item. “We have a US national security official who is advising Ukraine while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interest,” laughed Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “And, usually, they spoke in English. Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on this story?” When rightwing internet activist Jack Posobiec tweeted that Vindman was trying “to counter President Trump’s foreign policy goals” and then cited the Times as the source, the paper declared huffily that, “in fact, the Times reported no such thing.”
But it did. Indeed, a subsequent Times piece was even more explicit. “During a May meeting in Ukraine to mark Mr. Zelensky’s inauguration,” it said, “the colonel advised him to try to avoid becoming ensnared in politics in the United States” by stonewalling Trump’s request for an investigation into corruption and Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.
If this wasn’t counseling a foreign government about how to counter White House policy, then what is? As the always provocative Moon of Alabama website pointed out, Vindman’s statement to Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, conveniently leaked to the press, was revealing in other ways as well,.
“[A] strong and independent Ukraine,” it said, “is critical to US national security interests because Ukraine is a frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.… The US government policy community’s view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity.” But, it continued, “outside influencers [are] promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency.”
References to a US government policy community should have raised all sorts of alarms. After all, what is such a community and who on earth appointed it? Who gets to decide what the consensus view is? How do we know outside influencers are promoting a false narrative – because the consensus says so?
What Vindman doesn’t understand is that in order to set policy, you’ve got to get elected, something Trump is – if only by the Electoral College – and something that self-appointed foreign-policy experts are not. Trump can seek policy advice from whatever source he wants, and it’s not up to some NSC flunky to tell him otherwise.
The other big news that the Times managed to ignore last week was the disclosure that the whistleblower who kicked off the furor over the Trump-Zelensky phone call is a 33-year-old CIA agent named Eric Chiaramella, an Obama holdover who advised Joe Biden on the Ukraine and who worked with a Democratic operative named Alexandra Chalupa, whose job was to meet with Ukrainian officials and dig up dirt on Trump.
Paul Sperry’s report in RealClearInvestigations.com – which Chiaramella’s attorneys have so far failed to deny – is a big deal because of what it says about the infighting between Trump and Obama loyalists that is now tearing Washington apart. Chiaramella also turns out to be a member of Washington’s self-appointed policy community who thinks that Trump’s job is to do as he’s told. As an unnamed White House official told Sperry:
“My recollection of Eric is that he was very smart and very passionate, particularly about Ukraine and Russia. That was his thing – Ukraine. He didn’t exactly hide his passion with respect to what he thought was the right thing to do with Ukraine and Russia, and his views were at odds with the president’s policies.”
So Chiaramella reported his findings to Adam Schiff, who agreed right off the bat to prosecute the president for daring to set a new course. This is what impeachment is about, not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost the Ukraine – plus Syria, Libya, Yemen, and other countries that the Obama administration succeeded in destroying – and why Trump should pay the supreme penalty for suggesting that Democrats are in any way to blame.
Of course, the Times is to blame as well. It twisted the news so as to cheer on such misbegotten policies just as it cheered on the twin invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq a dozen years or so earlier. This is why it’s furious with Trump for holding Democrats to account and why it now fills its pages with endless blather about quid pro quo’s just as it once did about Russian collusion.
But it won’t work. The only thing Democrats will succeed in impeaching is their own integrity.
A 10 percent drop in manufacturing and dwindling investment due to tariffs could lose him the election
Jon Basil UTLEY
Decisions based on false or misleading information can lead to wrong and harmful solutions. The constant harping on Chinese trade having “cost” America millions of jobs is false, especially given what we now know: that 85 percent of American job losses have resulted from technology, not trade.
This complicated issue is detailed in a Yale University School of Management report. However, this is not the end of the story.
Millions of simple manufacturing jobs have been replaced with service and advanced manufacturing jobs, where America still leads. In fact, American manufacturing’s major problem right now is a shortage of a million skilled workers. We need better worker re-training programs and a campaign to change attitudes towards the social standing of skilled workers in place of our current hyper-focus on college degrees.
Trump excluded service jobs from his trade statistics, yet they represent 90 percent of American employment and a $250 billion export surplus. Dismissed as “flipping burgers,” these jobs actually involve education, medicine, travel, transport, tourism, banking, computer programming, sales, and a vast array of tasks far preferable to manning old-fashioned factory production lines. A major reason the U.S. economy is still creating jobs, despite trade war-related losses in the farm sector, is because it’s so large and dynamic that it can weather the loss of a major sector’s prosperity—and because it’s still creating those service jobs we love to demean.
Steel and aluminum prices were supposed to be buoyed by Trump tariffs; instead they’ve declined because of a global drop in prices caused by the slowdown in trade. Trump’s tariffs have led to lower prices, less business, lower profits, and fewer jobs. Steel and aluminum fabricating industries have been hurt. Ford alone lost $1 billion from higher prices. Forbes reports that a Tax Foundation study estimates 16 lost jobs in fabricating for every new job the tariffs are expected to create. Protectionists argue that manufacturing jobs are important for national defense, but the trade war has sunk U.S. manufacturing to a 10-year low.
So-called National Conservatives promote protectionism, often for cultural rather than economic reasons, opposing immigrants and trade, which they see as harming American culture. But they are totally wrong to promote tariffs as the solution to lost jobs.
Just look at your iPhone as an example of how new technology displaces old jobs and creates new ones. Add up the dozens of industries that it’s helped change or make obsolete—from taxis to cameras, from film to alarm clocks. Trade and technology do cause job losses but they’ve also created millions more throughout human history.
Many in the anti-trade lobby are conservatives who yearn for a return to the 1950s, with local shops and local factories. Some argue that it’s China’s fault for supplying Amazon and Walmart with low-cost goods. But advanced computing and the internet have created an era of growth and change not seen since the 1890s. The creative destruction of capitalism has resulted in all sorts of economic dislocations, yes, but shuttered shops and lost jobs in Appalachia are not the fault of trade (especially with China). And the evidence is already in that raising tariffs won’t bring back those jobs. Domestic factory activity hit a 10-year low in September, while new jobs expanded at the slowest rate in 18 months. Farmers now depend upon Washington subsidies for 40 percent of their income because of lost trade with China and Europe.
Withdrawing from trade with China, as some protectionists advocate, would lower our standard of living and our security. America has flourished mostly from the international order and the rule of law, which Trump’s policies are destroying. His overnight decree violating World Trade Organization treaty agreements and cutting off certain nations from buying some of our exports has made America look unreliable. Already China has designed computer chips to replace some of those imported from the American company Qualcomm, which Trump embargoed. More of our export markets will contract as other nations begin to fear similar abrupt cancelations of U.S. trade contracts.
I predicted this crisis a year ago in an article that disproved many of the shibboleths bandied about in the campaign against trade.
Unless Trump pulls back from most of his demands upon China, the Midwestern farm states will continue to suffer because of lost foreign markets. That could send the whole American economy into recession just in time for next year’s election. Trump will risk losing a second term if the Democrats can field a moderate candidate to take him on.
And while it isn’t clear whether Trump’s trade policies are a direct cause of this, his approval ratings have plummeted in the key manufacturing states—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan—by 17 to 18 points.
Our great economic prosperity, engendered by the Trump tax cuts, regulatory reform, and deficit spending, is now being contravened by the trade war. Business investment is declining as companies grow uncertain over how new tariffs and consequent foreign retaliation will affect future supply chains and competition. The election is Trump’s to win—or lose—depending on what he does next.
The United States — the world’s largest historic greenhouse gas emitter — will become the only country outside the accord.
The current frenzy to impeach President Donald Trump sometimes in its haste reveals that which could easily be hidden about the operation of the Deep State inside the federal government. Congress is currently obtaining testimony from a parade of witnesses to or participants in what will inevitably be called UkraineGate, an investigation into whether Trump inappropriately sought a political quid pro quo from Ukrainian leaders in exchange for a military assistance package.
The prepared opening statement by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, described as the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council (NSC), provides some insights into how decision making at the NSC actually works. Vindman was born in Ukraine but emigrated to the United States with his family at age three. He was commissioned as an army infantry officer in 1998 and served in some capacity in Iraq from 2004-5, where he was wounded by a roadside bomb and received a purple heart. Vindman, who speaks both Ukrainian and Russian fluently, has filled a number of diplomatic and military positions in government dealing with Eastern Europe, to include a key role in Pentagon planning on how to deal with Russia.
Vindman, Ukrainian both by birth and culturally, clearly was a major player in articulating and managing US policy towards that country, but that is not really what his role on the NSC should have been. As more than likely the US government’s sole genuine Ukrainian expert, he should have become a source of viable options that the United States might exercise vis-à-vis its relationship with Ukraine, and, by extension, regarding Moscow’s involvement with Kiev. But that is not how his statement, which advocates for a specific policy, reads. Rather than providing expert advice, Vindman was concerned chiefly because arming Ukraine was not proceeding quickly enough to suit him, an extremely risky policy which has already created serious problems with a much more important Russia.
Vindman apparently sees Ukraine-Russia through the established optic provided by the Deep State, which considers global conflict as the price to pay for maintaining its largesse from the US taxpayer. Continuous warfare is its only business product, which explains in part its dislike of Donald Trump as he has several times threatened to upset the apple cart, even though he has done precious little in reality. Part of Vindman’s written statement (my emphasis) is revealing: “”When I joined the NSC in July 2018, I began implementing the administration’s policy on Ukraine. In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to US government policy. While my interagency colleagues and I were becoming increasingly optimistic on Ukraine’s prospects, this alternative narrative undermined US government efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine.”
Alexander Vindman clearly was pushing a policy that might be described as that of the Deep State rather than responding to his own chain of command where it is the president who does the decision making. He also needs a history lesson about what has gone on in his country of birth. President Barack Obama conspired with his own version of Macbeth’s three witches – Rice, Power and Jarett – to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine in 2014 because it was considered to be too close to Moscow. The regime change was brought about by “mavericks” like the foul-mouthed neocon State Department officer Victoria Nuland and the footloose warmonger Senator John McCain. Vice President Joe Biden also appeared on the scene after the “wetwork” was done, with his son Hunter trailing behind him. Since that time, Ukraine has had a succession of increasingly corrupt puppet governments propped up by billions in foreign aid. It is now per capita the poorest country in Europe.
Washington inside-the-beltway and the Deep State choose to blame the mess in Ukraine on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the established narrative also makes the absurd claim that the political situation in Kiev is somehow important to US national security. The preferred solution is to provide still more money, which feeds the corruption and enables the Ukrainians to attack the Russians.
Colonel Vindman, who reported to noted hater of all things Russian Fiona Hill, who in turn reported to By Jingo We’ll Go To War John Bolton, was in the middle of all the schemes to bring down Russia. His concern was not really over Trump vs. Biden. It was focused instead on speeding up the $380 million in military assistance, to include offensive weapons, that was in the pipeline for Kiev. And assuming that the Ukrainians could actually learn how to use the weapons, the objective was to punish the Russians and prolong the conflict in Donbas for no reason at all that makes any sense.
Note the following additional excerpt from Vindman’s prepared statement: “….I was worried about the implications for the US government’s support of Ukraine…. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”
Vindman’s concern is all about Ukraine without any explanation of why the United States would benefit from bilking the taxpayer to support a foreign deadbeat one more time. One wonders if Vindman was able to compose his statement without a snicker or two intruding. He does eventually go on to cover the always essential national security angle, claiming that “Since 2008, Russia has manifested an overtly aggressive foreign policy, leveraging military power and employing hybrid warfare to achieve its objectives of regional hegemony and global influence. Absent a deterrent to dissuade Russia from such aggression, there is an increased risk of further confrontations with the West. In this situation, a strong and independent Ukraine is critical to US national security interests because Ukraine is a frontline state and a bulwark against Russian aggression.”
The combined visions of Russia as an aggressive, expansionistic power coupled with the brave Ukrainians serving as a bastion of freedom is so absurd that it is hardly worth countering. Russia’s economy is about the size of Italy’s or Spain’s limiting its imperial ambitions, if they actually exist. Its alleged transgressions against Georgia and Ukraine were both provoked by the United States meddling in Eastern Europe, something that it had pledged not to do after the Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine is less an important American ally than a welfare case, and no one knows that better than Vindman, but he is really speaking to his masters in the US Establishment when he repeats the conventional arguments.
It hardly seems possible, but Vindman then goes on to dig himself into a still deeper hole through his statement’s praise of the train wreck that is Ukraine. He writes “In spite of being under assault from Russia for more than five years, Ukraine has taken major steps towards integrating with the West. The US government policy community’s view is that the election of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity. The United States and Ukraine are and must remain strategic partners, working together to realize the shared vision of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine that is integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community.”
Alexander Vindman does not say or write that the incorporation of Ukraine into NATO is his actual objective, but his comments about “integrating with the West” and the “Euro-Atlantic community” clearly imply just that. The expansion of NATO up to Russia’s borders by the rascally Bill Clinton constituted one of the truly most momentous lost foreign policy opportunities of the twentieth century. The addition of Ukraine and Georgia to the alliance would magnify that error as both are vital national security interests for Moscow given their history and geography. Vindman should be regarded as a manifestation of the Deep State thinking that has brought so much grief to the United States over the past twenty years. Seen in that light, his testimony, wrapped in an air of sanctimoniousness and a uniform, should be regarded as little more than the conventional thinking that has produced foreign policy failure after failure.
With the U.S. presidential cycle gearing up, Elizabeth Vos takes stock of lessons from 2016.
Establishment Democrats and those who amplify them continue to project blame for the public’s doubt in the U.S. election process onto outside influence, despite the clear history of the party’s subversion of election integrity. The total inability of the Democratic Party establishment’s willingness to address even one of these critical failures does not give reason to hope that the nomination process in 2020 will be any less pre-ordained.
The Democratic Party’s bias against Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential nomination, followed by the DNC defense counsel doubling down on its right to rig the race during the fraud lawsuit brought against the DNC, as well as the irregularities in the races between former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tim Canova, indicate a fatal breakdown of the U.S. democratic process spearheaded by the Democratic Party establishment. Influences transcending the DNC add to concerns regarding the integrity of the democratic process that have nothing to do with Russia, but which will also likely impact outcomes in 2020.
The content of the DNC and Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks demonstrated that the DNC acted in favor of Hillary Clinton in the lead up to the 2016 Democratic primary. The emails also revealed corporate media reporters acting as surrogates of the DNC and its pro-Clinton agenda, going so far as to promote Donald Trump during the GOP primary process as a preferred “pied-piper candidate.” One cannot assume that similar evidence will be presented to the public in 2020, making it more important than ever to take stock of the unique lessons handed down to us by the 2016 race.
Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2016 Democratic primary debate.(YouTube/Screen shot)
Social Media Meddling
Election meddling via social media did take place in 2016, though in a different guise and for a different cause from that which are best remembered. Twitter would eventually admit to actively suppressing hashtags referencing the DNC and Podesta emails in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Additional reports indicated that tech giant Google also showed measurable “pro-Hillary Clinton bias” in search results during 2016, resulting in the alleged swaying of between 2 and 10 millions voters in favor of Clinton.
On the Republican side, a recent episode of CNLive! featured discussion of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which undecided voters were micro-targeted with tailored advertising narrowed with the combined use of big data and artificial intelligence known collectively as “dark strategy.” CNLive!Executive Producer Cathy Vogan noted that SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, provides data, analytics and strategy to governments and military organizations “worldwide,” specializing in behavior modification. Though Cambridge Analytica shut down in 2018, related companies remain.
The Clinton camp was hardly absent from social media during the 2016 race. The barely-legal activities of Clintonite David Brock were previously reported by this author to have included $2 million in funding for the creation of an online “troll army” under the name Shareblue. The LA Times described the project as meant to “to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical.” In other words, the effort attempted to create a false sense of consensus in support for the Clinton campaign.
In terms of interference in the actual election process, the New York City Board of Elections was shown to have purged over one hundred thousand Democratic voters in Brooklyn from the rolls before the 2016 primary, a move that the Department of Justice found broke federal law. Despite this, no prosecution for the breach was ever attempted.
Though the purge was not explicitly found to have benefitted Clinton, the admission falls in line with allegations across the country that the Democratic primary was interfered with to the benefit of the former secretary of state. These claims were further bolstered by reports indicating that voting results from the 2016 Democratic primary showed evidence of fraud.
DNC Fraud Lawsuit
“Bernie or Bust” protesters at the Wells Fargo Center during Democrats’ roll call vote to nominate Hillary Clinton. (Becker1999, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)
The proceedings of the DNC fraud lawsuit provide the most damning evidence of the failure of the U.S. election process, especially within the Democratic Party. DNC defense lawyers argued in open court for the party’s right to appoint candidates at its own discretion, while simultaneously denying any “fiduciary duty” to represent the voters who donated to the Democratic Party under the impression that the DNC would act impartially towards the candidates involved.
In 2017, the Observer reported that the DNC’s defense counsel argued against claims that the party defrauded Sanders’ supporters by favoring Clinton, reasoning that Sanders’ supporters knew the process was rigged. Again: instead of arguing that the primary was neutral and unbiased in accordance with its charter, the DNC’s lawyers argued that it was the party’s right to select candidates.
The Observer noted the sentiments of Jared Beck, the attorney representing the plaintiffs of the lawsuit:
…“People paid money in reliance on the understanding that the primary elections for the Democratic nominee —nominating process in 2016 were fair and impartial, and that’s not just a bedrock assumption that we would assume just by virtue of the fact that we live in a democracy, and we assume that our elections are run in a fair and impartial manner. But that’s what the Democratic National Committee’s own charter says. It says it in black and white.”
The DNC defense counsel’s argument throughout the course of the DNC fraud lawsuit doubled down repeatedly in defense of the party’s right to favor one candidate over another, at one point actually claiming that such favoritism was protected by the First Amendment. The DNC’s lawyers wrote:
“To recognize any of the causes of action that Plaintiffs allege would run directly contrary to long-standing Supreme Court precedent recognizing the central and critical First Amendment rights enjoyed by political parties, especially when it comes to selecting the party’s nominee for public office.” [Emphasis added]
The DNC’s shameless defense of its own rigging disemboweled the most fundamental organs of the U.S. body politic. This no indication that the DNC will not resort to the same tactics in the 2020 primary race,
Tim Canova’s Allegations
Tim Canova with supporters, April 2016. (Canova For Congress, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)
If Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s role as disgraced chairwoman of the DNC and her forced 2016 resignation wasn’t enough, serious interference was also alleged in the wake of two contests between Wasserman Schultz and professor Tim Canova in Florida’s 23rd congressional district. Canova and Wasserman Schultz first faced off in a 2016 Democratic primary race, followed by a 2018 general congressional election in which Canova ran as an independent.
Debacles followed both contests, including improper vote counts, illegal ballot destruction, improper transportation of ballots, and generally shameless displays of cronyism. After the controversial results of the initial primary race against Wasserman Schultz, Canova sought to have ballots checked for irregularities, as the Sun-Sentinel reported at the time:
“[Canova] sought to look at the paper ballots in March 2017 and took Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes to court three months later when her office hadn’t fulfilled his request. Snipes approved the destruction of the ballots in September, signing a certification that said no court cases involving the ballots were pending.”
Ultimately, Canova was granted a summary judgment against Snipes, finding that she had committed what amounted to multiple felonies. Nonetheless, Snipes was not prosecuted and remained elections supervisor through to the 2018 midterms.
Republicans appear no more motivated to protect voting integrity than the Democrats, with The Nation reporting that the GOP-controlled Senate blocked a bill this week that would have “mandated paper-ballot backups in case of election machine malfunctions.”
Study of Corporate Power
A 2014 study published by Princeton University found that corporate power had usurped the voting rights of the public: “Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”
In reviewing this sordid history, we see that the Democratic Party establishment has done everything in its power to disrespect voters and outright overrule them in the democratic primary process, defending their right to do so in the DNC fraud lawsuit. We’ve noted that interests transcending the DNC also represent escalating threats to election integrity as demonstrated in 2016.
Despite this, establishment Democrats and those who echo their views in the legacy press continue to deflect from their own wrongdoing and real threats to the election process by suggesting that mere discussion of it represents a campaign by Russia to attempt to malign the perceptionof the legitimacy of the U.S. democratic process.
Hillary Clinton’s recent comments to the effect that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is being “groomed” by Russia, and that the former Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein is a “Russian asset”, were soon echoed by DNC-friendly pundits. These sentiments externalize what Gabbard called the “rot” in the Democratic party outward onto domestic critics and a nation across the planet.
Newsweek provided a particularly glaring example of this phenomenon in a recent op-ed penned by columnist Naveed Jamali, a former FBI double agent whose book capitalizes on Russiagate. In an op-ed titled: “Hillary Clinton Is Right. Tulsi Gabbard Is A Perfect Russian Asset – And Would Be A Perfect Republican Agent,” Jamali argued:
“Moscow will use its skillful propaganda machine to prop up Gabbard and use her as a tool todelegitimize the democratic process.” [Emphasis added]
Jamali surmises that Russia intends to “attack” our democracy by undermining the domestic perception of its legitimacy. This thesis is repeated later in the piece when Jamali opines: “They want to see a retreat of American influence. What better way to accomplish that than to attack our democracy bycasting doubt on the legitimacy of our elections.” [Emphasis added]
The only thing worth protecting, according to Jamali and those who amplify his work (including former Clinton aide and establishment Democrat Neera Tanden), is the perception of the democratic process, not the actual functioning vitality of it. Such deflective tactics ensure that Russia will continue to be used as a convenient international pretext for silencing domestic dissent as we move into 2020.
Given all this, how can one expect the outcome of a 2020 Democratic Primary — or even the general election – to be any fairer or transparent than 2016?
On October 30th, there was a panel discussion broadcast live on C-Span from the National Press Club and the Michael V. Hayden Center. The discussants were John Brennan, Michael McCabe, John McGlaughlin, and Michael Morrell. They all agreed with the statement by McLaughlin (former Deputy CIA Director) “Thank God for the ‘Deep State’”, and the large audience there also applauded it — nobody booed it. John Brennan amplified upon the thought, and there was yet more applause. However, that thought hadn’t been invented by McLaughlin; it instead had evolved recently in the pages of the New York Times. Perhaps the discussants had read it there. Instead of America’s ‘news’-media uncritically trumpeting what government officials assert to be facts (as they traditionally do), we now have former spooks uncritically trumpeting what a mainstream ‘news’-medium has recently concocted to be the case — about themselves. They’ve come out of the closet, about being the Deep State. However, even in that, they are lying, because they aren’t it; they are only agents for it.
In America, the Deep State ‘justifies’ itself in the ‘news’-media that it owns, and does so by falsely ‘defining’ what the “Deep State” is (which is actually the nation’s 607 billionaires, whose hired agents number in the millions). They mis-‘define’ it, as being, instead, the taxpayer-salaried career Government employees, known professionally as “the Civil Service.” (Although some Civil Servants — especially at the upper levels — are agents for America’s billionaires and retire to cushy board seats, most of them actually are not and do not. And the “revolving door” between “the public sector” and “the private sector” is where the Deep State operations become concentrated. That’s the core of the networking, by which the billionaires get served. And, of course, those former spooks at the National Press Club said nothing about it. Are they authentically so stupid that they don’t know about it, or is that just pretense from them?)
How the Deep State’s operatives perpetrate this deception about the meaning of “Deep State” was well exemplified in the nine links that were supplied on October 28th by the extraordinarily honest anonymous German intelligence analyst who blogs as “Moon of Alabama” and who condemned there (and linked to) 9 recent articles in the New York Times, as posing a threat against democracy in America. As I intend to argue here, the 9 articles are, indeed, aimed at deceiving the American public, about what the true meaning of the phrase “the Deep State” is. He headlined “Endorsing The Deep State Endangers Democracy”. (And that’s what the October 30th panel discussion was actually doing — endorsing the Deep State.) However, he didn’t explain the tactic the NYT’s editors (and those former spooks) use to deceive the public about the Deep State, and this is what I aim to do here, by showing the transformation, over time, in the way that that propaganda-organization, the New York Times, has been employing the phrase “Deep State” — a remarkable transformation, which started, on 16 February 2017, by the newspaper’s denying that any Deep State exists in America but that it exists only in corrupt nations; and which gradually transitioned into an upside-down, by asserting that a Deep State does exist in the United States, and that it fights against corruption in this country. As always, only fools (such as that applauding audience on October 30th) would believe it, but propagandists depend upon fools and cannot thrive without them. In this case, the Times, in those 9 articles, was evolving quickly from a blanket denial, to an American-exceptionalist proud affirmation, that a Deep State rules this country and ought to rule it. I agree with the statement that “Endorsing The Deep State Endangers Democracy”, but I am more concerned here to explain how that endorsement — that deceit — is being done.
The first of these NYT articles was published on 16 February 2017, and it denied that the US has any “Deep State” whatsoever. The second, published on 6 March 2017, blamed President Trump (since the NYT represents mainly Democratic Party billionaires) for mainstreaming the phrase “the Deep State” into American political discourse, and it alleged that that phrase actually refers only to “countries like Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan, where authoritarian elements band together to undercut democratically elected leaders.” The third, published on 10 March 2017, repeated this allegation, that this phrase applies only to “the powerful deep states of countries like Egypt or Pakistan, experts say.” The fourth, published on 5 September 2018, was an anonymous op-ed from a Government employee who condemned Trump and “vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.” So: still the NYT’s editors were hewing to their propaganda-line, that no “Deep State” exists in America — there are just whistleblowers, here. The fifth, on 18 December 2018, said, for example, that “Adam Lovinger, a Pentagon analyst, was one of the first to wrap himself in the deep state defense” — namely, that they consist of “people who have been targeted for political reasons.” So, the NYT’s editors were now reinforcing their new false ‘definition’ of “Deep State,” as consisting just of Government whistleblowers. The sixth, on 6 October 2019, said, “President Trump and some of his allies have asserted without evidence that a cabal of American officials — the so-called deep state — embarked on a broad operation to thwart Mr. Trump’s campaign. The conspiracy theory remains unsubstantiated.” So: the NYT’s editors were back, again, to denying that there is any “Deep State” in America. This was a signal, from them, that they were starting to recognize that they’d need to jiggle their ‘definition’ of “Deep State,” at least a bit. The seventh, on 20 October 2019, was by a member of the Editorial Board, and it boldly proclaimed, about “the deep state,” “Let us now praise these not-silent heroes.” The propagandists now had settled firmly upon their new (and previously merely exploratory) ‘definition’ of “Deep State,” as consisting of whistleblowers in the US Government’s Civil Services, “individuals willing to step up and protest the administration’s war on science, expertise and facts.” The eighth, on 23 October 2019, equated “the deep state” even more boldly with the impeachment of President Trump: “Over the last three weeks, the deep state has emerged from the shadows in the form of real live government officials, past and present, who have defied a White House attempt to block cooperation with House impeachment investigators and provided evidence that largely backs up the still-anonymous whistle-blower.” The ninth, on 26 October 2019, which came from “a contributing opinion writer and professor of history,” alleged that the origins of “the deep state” are to be found with Teddy Roosevelt in the 1880s, when “A healthy dose of elitism drove Roosevelt’s crusade, as the spoils system had been the path to power for immigrant-driven political machines in big cities like New York. Yet the Civil Service laws he and others created marked the beginning of a shift toward a fairer, less corrupt public realm.”
In other words: the Deep State, in America, are not perpetrators of corrupt government (such as in “countries like Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan, where authoritarian elements band together to undercut democratically elected leaders”), but are instead courageous enemies of corrupt government; and they are instituted by the aristocracy here (today’s American billionaires), in order to reduce, if not eliminate, corruption in government (which, the Times now alleges, originates amongst, or serves, the lower classes).
The lessons about Big Brother, which were taught by George Orwell in his merely metaphorical masterpiece 1984, were apparently never learned, because even now — as his “Newspeak” is being further refined so that black is white, and good is bad, and truth is falsehood — there still are people who subscribe to the propagandists and cannot get enough of their ridiculous con-games. Though in some poor countries, a corrupt Deep State rules; a Deep State rules in America so as to reduce if not prevent corruption, the New York Times now concludes.
You can see how it’s done, in those nine NYT articles. Isn’t it simply amazing there?!
While world’s attention is absorbed by tectonic shifts unfolding across the Middle East, and as many Americans are brainwashed to believe the 2020 elections are driven by the need to impeach President Trump, something very ominous has appeared “off of the radar” of most onlookers. This something is a financial collapse of the western banks that threatens to unleash chaos upon the world.
In my last report, I discussed why the current financial system is on the verge of a 1923-Weimar style hyperinflation driven by Federal Reserve bailouts trying desperately to support a deleveraging of the $1200 trillion derivatives bubble that has taken over the western banking system. I also discussed the Bank of England-led “solution” currently to this crisis involves a new global “green” digital currency with new “rules” which are very similar to the 1923 Bank of England “solution” to Germany’s economic chaos which eventually required a fascist governance mechanism to impose it onto the masses.
In this article, I wish to take a deeper look at the causes and effects of Weimar Germany’s completely un-necessary collapse into hyperinflation and chaos during the period of 1919-1923.
Versailles and the Destruction of Germany
Britain had been the leading hand behind the orchestration of WWI and the destruction of the potential German-Russian-American-Ottoman alliance that had begun to take form by the late 19th century as foolish Kaiser Wilhelm discovered (though sadly too late) when he said: “the world will be engulfed in the most terrible of wars, the ultimate aim of which is the ruin of Germany. England, France and Russia have conspired for our annihilation… that is the naked truth of the situation which was slowly but surely created by Edward VII”.
Just as the British oligarchy managed the war, so too did they organize the reparations conference in France which, among other things, imposed impossible debt repayments upon a defeated Germany and created the League of Nations which was meant to become the instrument for a “post-nation state world order”. Lloyd George led the British delegation alongside his assistant Philip Kerr (Lord Lothian), Leo Amery, Lord Robert Cecil and Lord John Maynard Keynes who have a long term agenda to bring about a global dictatorship. All of these figures were members of the newly emerging Round Table Movement, that had taken full control of Britain by ousting Asquith in 1916, and which is at the heart of today’s “deep state”.
After the 1918 Armistice dismantled Germany’s army and navy, the once powerful nation was now forced to pay the impossible sum of 132 billion gold marks to the victors and had to give up territories representing 10% of its population (Alsace-Loraine, Ruhr, and North Silesia) which made up 15% of its arable land, 12% of its livestock, 74% of its iron ore, 63% of its zinc production, and 26% of its coal. Germany also had to give up 8000 locomotives, 225 000 railcars and all of its colonies. It was a field day of modern pillage.
Germany was left with very few options. Taxes were increased and imports were cut entirely while exports were increased. This policy (reminiscent of the IMF austerity techniques in use today) failed entirely as both fell 60%. Germany gave up half of its gold supply and still barely a dent was made in the debt payments. By June 1920 the decision was made to begin a new strategy: increase the printing press. Rather than the “miracle cure” which desperate monetarists foolishly believed it would be, this solution resulted in an asymptotic devaluation of the currency into hyperinflation. From June 2020 to October 1923 the money supply in circulation skyrocketed from 68.1 gold marks to 496.6 quintillion gold marks. In June 1922, 300 marks exchanged $1 US and in November 1923, it took 42 trillion marks to get $1 US! Images are still available of Germans pushing wheel barrows of cash down the street, just to buy a stick of butter and bread (1Kg of Bread sold for $428 billion marks in 1923).
With the currency’s loss of value, industrial output fell by 50%, unemployment rose to over 30% and food intake collapsed by over half of pre-war levels. German director Fritz Lang’s 1922 film Dr. Mabuse (The Gambler) exposed the insanity of German population’s collapse into speculative insanity as those who had the means began betting against the German mark in order to protect themselves thus only helping to collapse the mark from within. This is very reminiscent of those Americans today short selling the US dollar rather than fighting for a systemic solution.
1923: City of London’s Solution is imposed
When the hyperinflationary blowout of Germany resulted in total un-governability of the state, a solution took the form of the Wall Street authored “Dawes Plan” which necessitated the use of a London-trained golem by the name of Hjalmar Schacht. First introduced as Currency Commissioner in November 1923 and soon President of the Reichsbank, Schacht’s first act was to visit Bank of England’s governor Montagu Norman in London who provided Schacht a blueprint for proceeding with Germany’s restructuring. Schacht returned to “solve” the crisis with the very same poison that caused it.
First announcing a new currency called the “rentenmark” set on a fixed value exchanging 1 trillion reichsmarks for 1 new rentenmark, Germans were robbed yet again. This new currency would operate under “new rules” never before seen in Germany’s history: Mass privatizations resulted in Anglo-American conglomerates purchasing state enterprises. IG Farben, Thyssen, Union Banking, Brown Brothers Harriman, Standard Oil, JP Morgan and Union Banking took control Germany’s finances, mining and industrial interests under the supervision of John Foster Dulles, Montagu Norman, Averill Harriman and other deep state actors. This was famously exposed in the 1961 film Judgement at Nuremburg by Stanley Kramer.
Schacht next cut credit to industries, raised taxes and imposed mass austerity on “useless spending”. 390 000 civil servants were fired, unions and collective bargaining was destroyed and wages were slashed by 15%.
As one can imagine, this destruction of life after the hell of Versailles was intolerable and civil unrest began to boil over in ways that even the powerful London-Wall Street bankers (and their mercenaries) couldn’t control. An enforcer was needed unhindered by the republic’s democratic institutions to force Schacht’s economics onto the people. An up-and-coming rabble rousing failed painter who had made waves in a Beerhall Putsch on November 8, 1923 was perfect.
One Last Attempt to Save Germany
Though Hitler grew in power over the coming decade of Schachtian economics, one last republican effort was made to prevent Germany from plunging into a fascist hell in the form of the November 1932 election victory of General Kurt von Schleicher as Chancellor of Germany. Schleicher had been a co-architect of Rapallo alongside Rathenau a decade earlier and was a strong proponent of the Friedrich List Society’s program of public works and internal improvements promoted by industrialist Wilhelm Lautenbach. The Nazi party’s public support collapsed and it found itself bankrupt. Hitler had fallen into depression and was even contemplating suicide when “a legal coup” was unleashed by the Anglo-American elite resulting in Wall Street funds pouring into Nazi coffers.
By January 30, 1933 Hitler gained Chancellorship where he quickly took dictatorial powers under the “state of emergency” caused by the burning of the Reichstag in March 1933. By 1934 the Night of the Long Knives saw General Schleicher and hundreds of other German patriots assassinated and it was only a few years until the City of London-Wall Street Frankenstein monster stormed across the world.
The New Silk Road or New World Order
Today’s world sits atop a bubble of unimagined proportions which began to blow in 2008 and has been kept afloat by nothing more than a decade of blind hope mixed with money printing, zero interest rates, speculation and austerity. The PHYSICAL economic basis supporting the money system has been crippled due to 40 years of post-industrial consumerism rampant across the west. While it is admitted that the U.S dollar cannot remain the reserve currency for the world as it has from 1945-present, those same central banking forces from London have admitted that if their plans for a “one-world” green digital currency is not forced onto nations, then China’s Yuan and the New Silk Road will shape the new system.
Whether London will manage to succeed in 2020 pushing a fascist de-carbonization (ie: depopulation) scheme onto the world where their 1920 Monster failed remains to be seen.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Legendary founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Lew Rockwell, delivers a fascinating and very important talk at the 2019 RPI Washington Conference.
A gun is usually acknowledged to be a weapon from which a bullet is fired, and a ‘smoking gun’ is literally one from which a bullet has emerged, causing a puff of smoke to appear at the end of the barrel. On the other hand, a smoking gun is frequently defined as “a piece of incontrovertible incriminating evidence”, and there are countless smoking guns in the United States right now: some in politics, but many in literal circumstances in which people have been killed. We are told that “as of September 24, 2019, 334 mass shootings have occurred in 2019… In these shootings, 1,347 people were injured and 377 died.” In almost every other country in the world, this would be regarded as a massive social problem that required decisive action, such as that taken so swiftly by New Zealand after a horrific gun attack by a terrorist in March 2019.
But not in America, where concentration is on political smoking guns, and the attention given to mass killings is bizarrely dismissive.
One of the latest smoking gun reports concerns the ongoing Trump impeachment inquiry, in which evidence is mounting that he tried to persuade the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival, former vice-president Biden. The Economist reported that “On October 22nd America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, testified to House investigators that President Donald Trump threatened to withhold $391 million in military aid unless Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine’s president, opened an investigation into the son of Joe Biden, one of Mr Trump’s potential rivals in next year’s election. It was the clearest and most detailed account to date—from a public servant whose career spans five decades and nine administrations—of Mr Trump leaning on a foreign leader to help his re-election effort.” This was followed by similar statements from several other trustworthy individuals who even in the era of Trump were surprised at the squalid deceit they had witnessed.
Killing, however, was not confined to the US, and it was reported on 10 October that in Germany “A gunman in military outfit went on a rampage in the city of Halle, killing two people, with further bloodshed averted only because the attacker’s homemade firearms malfunctioned” Footage on a livestreaming platform showed the gunman becoming increasingly frustrated as his weapons repeatedly malfunctioned. “In at least three instances the video shows the suspect pointing a gun directly at a victim only for the weapon to jam.”
At the end of his shooting frenzy he is heard saying “At least I’ve proved homemade weapons are useless” and later it was reported that the accused assailant was Stephan Balliet, aged 27, who “spent several hours giving evidence before a federal court judge.”
We are informed by German Culture that “The German system of gun control is among the most stringent in Europe. It restricts the acquisition, possession, and carrying of firearms to those with a creditable need for a weapon. It bans fully automatic weapons and severely restricts the acquisition of other types of weapons.”
On the other hand, in the United States of America any individual may own a personal weapon, as confirmed by the Supreme Court District of Columbia v. Heller decision of 2008, and soundly endorsed by President Trump in a speech to the National Rifle Association in 2017 when he declared “let me make a simple promise to every one of the freedom-loving Americans in the audience today: as your President, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms — never, ever. Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God.” Like the votes of the NRA’s gun-loving fanatics.
But there would have been a very different outcome to the Halle shooting onslaught if all Germans had the right to keep and bear arms, and if there had been the gift of freedom for Stephan Balliet to go to a supermarket where they are for sale to all.
In a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, 2019, 21 year-old Patrick Crusius shot dead 22 people with an assault rifle. Two of the 25 injured were still in hospital when he appeared in court on October 10. A month after the shooting, as reported by CNN, Walmart “said it will stop selling handgun ammunition and ‘short-barrel rifle ammunition,’ such as the .223 calibre and 5.56 calibre, that can also be used on assault-style weapons, after selling all of its current inventory [emphasis added]. Walmart will continue to sell long barrel deer rifles and shotguns and much of the ammunition for those guns. The company sells guns in about 3,900 stores.”
Walmart’s modest anti-slaughter actions after the El Paso killings prompted the National Rifle Association to berate the company and announce on September 3 that “The strongest defence of freedom has always been our free-market economy. It is shameful to see Walmart succumb to the pressure of the anti-gun elites. Lines at Walmart will soon be replaced by lines at other retailers who are more supportive of America’s fundamental freedoms. The truth is Walmart’s actions today will not make us any safer. Rather than place the blame on the criminal, Walmart has chosen to victimize law-abiding Americans. Our leaders must be willing to approach the problems of crime, violence and mental health with sincerity and honesty.”
It is difficult to imagine the mental processes of whoever wrote that demented gibberish, and their lack of balance is placed in perspective by the New York Times’ report that it “examined all shootings between Memorial Day [27 May] and Labor Day [2 September] in which three or more people died, not including the gunman” and counted 26 mass gun attacks in which 126 people were killed. The National Rifle Association cannot explain how these hideous atrocities could possibly demonstrate “fundamental freedoms” but it seems it doesn’t need to explain anything very much in order to maintain its influence over the American people, because it has the backing of countless politicians including Trump, who spoke with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association (annual salary $985,000), for half-an-hour on August 20.
Then on September 27 Mr La Pierre visited the White House where he and Trump “discussed prospective gun legislation and whether the NRA could provide support for the president as he faces impeachment and a more difficult re-election campaign.” It is notable that so far in the 2020 presidential election cycle the NRA has donated $16,800 to Trump and over a quarter of a million dollars to other politicians and political agencies.
The moral smoking gun in America is the repulsive behaviour of the National Rifle Association, an organisation whose reaction to the real smoking guns that kill US citizens in horrific and ever-increasing numbers is to denigrate those who seek to control and reduce the slaughter. They are the traitors to true American values, as was demonstrated by Trump’s tweet tirade about Beto O’Rourke, a politician supporting gun control who withdrew from the list of those seeking the democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election. Mr O’Rourke’s home town is El Paso, scene of the August Walmart slaughter, and he had proposed the buyback of assault rifles, which prompted ferocious criticism from the gun fanatics. He wants to “end the epidemic of gun violence” but Trump called him ‘pathetic’, ‘nasty’ and a ‘poor bastard’.
The guns will continue to smoke in America, and it must be hoped that the political ones directed against President Trump will assist in his removal before there are even more mass murders of innocent people by assault weapons endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
…and just as I am completing this piece, the Washington Post reports that “Five people were killed and several others were injured after gunfire erupted at a Halloween party in Orinda, California”. Freedom, anybody?
As the political temperature in Washington rapidly rises to unprecedented boiling levels, when accusations of attempted coup and state treason are exchanged between the president and the speaker of the House, what’s the danger of spillover into the foreign policy arena?
Nowadays Russia is the perfect scapegoat when practically any domestic or world problem can be blamed on President Vladimir Putin. The latest example is provided by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who detected his long hand in what she claims is an impeachable crime, meaning a telephone exchange between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Not to be outdone, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long” — blew up the cover of Iraq war veteran Rep. Tulsi Gabbard whom Mr. Putin has “successfully implanted” in Congress.
Some “Deep Staters” are obviously not very happy that the Russiagate plot is slowly sinking into oblivion and freeing space for Ukrainegate or Bidengate. This is not good and must be corrected ASAP to reverse the process, return Russia to the crime scene spotlight, and uncover new evidence of the Trump-Putin “comrades in arms” alliance.
There’s a wide choice of angles, from recycling the old sins to the anticipated meddling in 2020 elections, the California power grid failure, the Turkish invasion in Syria or fresh Barcelona riots in Spain.
A renewed and reinvigorated anti-Russia campaign might especially benefit Democrats by redirecting the public and media attention from the upcoming and potentially devastating for them results of the Attorney General William Barr, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, and U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham “investigation into the investigators.”
All this makes some people in the know worry that we are getting closer and closer to an extremely dangerous point.
In his recent book “The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe,” George Beebe, the former head of Russia analysis at the CIA, states that the actual threat of nuclear war is much greater than we realize: “Diplomacy and a desire for global peace have given way to complacency and a false sense of security that nuclear escalation is outside the realm of possibility.”
The list of well-known and respectable experts who share this opinion is constantly growing, but there is no sign that Washington is getting ready to resume any dialogue with Moscow.
One unexpected but pleasant surprise was a Wall Street Journal article by recently retired U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, who said that “we need more, not less, dialogue with Russia.” Mr. Huntsman now may be in danger of getting onto the swamp’s list of Putin bootlickers for noting that “In the U.S. sanctions have become our go-to foreign policy tool” and “while it is easy to initiate sanctions it has become politically perilous to discuss removing them. … blithely implementing sanctions without making sure they fit into a larger strategy of engagement costs us the ability to shape outcomes.”
It was refreshing to hear this from Mr. Huntsman after his previous statement on the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln traveling through the Mediterranean. At that time, the ambassador declared the carrier to “represent 100,000 tons of international diplomacy,” saying it demonstrates to Russia that they have to change their activities around the world to come into line with U.S. expectations.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov immediately responded saying that he hopes the U.S. will realize that they’ve failed to find normal, constructive dialogue options with partners instead of relying on “megaphone diplomacy.”
On another occasion Mr. Huntsman declared that “The real secret of diplomats is that we are trained to say something when we have nothing to say and say nothing when we have something to say.”
Well, so much for dialogue but hopefully after reading Mr. Huntsman’s newest op-ed Moscow will forget his previous escapades and welcomes his newly open-minded position.
President Trump keeps repeating the same line over and over again about importance for U.S. national security to get along with Russia. But the only thing that his detractors on both sides of the isle agree is that this is out of question.
At the same time, the latest Gallup congressional approval rating is 18% with 78% disapproval. What does it say about American democracy when the body that has lost its trust with the people prevents the president to make decisions about war and peace?
Of course this sad state of affairs can be also blamed on Mr. Putin since according to Congress and the media it is he who hijacked our democracy in 2016. One wonders how much democracy there really was left at this point to hijack.
Oh, oh, here we are again! In 1967, it was then the ‘threat’ of the standing Arab Armies (and the ensuing six-day war on Egypt and Syria); in 1980, it was Iran (and the ensuing Iraqi war on Iran); in 1996, it was David Wurmser with his Coping with Crumbling States (flowing on from the infamous Clean Break policy strategy paper) which at that time targeted secular-Arab nationalist states, excoriated both as “crumbling relics of the ‘evil’ USSR” and inherently hostile to Israel, too; and in the 2003 and 2006 wars, it was Saddam Hussein firstly; and then Hezbollah that threatened the safety of the West’s civilizational ‘outpost’ in the Middle East.
And here we are once more, Israel cannot safely ‘live’ in a region containing a militant Hezbollah.
Not surprisingly, the Russian Ambassador in Beirut, Alexander Zasypkin, quickly recognized this all too familiar pattern: Speaking with al-Akhbar on 9 October in Beirut (more than a week before the protests in Beirut erupted), the Ambassador dismissed the prospect of any easing of regional tensions; but rather identified the economic crisis that has been building for years in Lebanon as the ‘peg’ on which the US and its allies might sow chaos in Lebanon (and in Iraq’s parallel economic calamity), to strike at Hezbollah and the Hash’d A-Sha’abi — Israel’s and America’s adversaries in the region.
Why now? Because what happened to Aramco on 14 September has shocked both Israel and America: the former Commander of the Israeli Air Force wrote recently, “recent events are forcing Israel to recalculate its path as it navigates events. The technological abilities of Iran and its various proxies has reached a level at which they can now alter the balance of power around the world”. Not only could neither state identify the modus operando to the strikes (even now); but worse, neither had any answer to the technological feat the strikes plainly represented. In fact, the lack of any available ‘answer’ prompted one leading western defense analyst to suggest that Saudi should buy Russian Pantsir missiles rather than American air defenses.
And worse. For Israel, the Aramco shock arrived precisely at the moment that the US began its withdrawal of its ‘comfort security blanket’ from the region – leaving Israel (and Gulf States) on their own – and now vulnerable to technology they never expected their adversaries to possess. Israelis – and particularly its PM – though always conscious to the hypothetical possibility, never thought withdrawal actually would happen, and never during the term of the Trump Administration.
This has left Israel completely knocked, and at sixes-and sevens. It has turned strategy on its head, with the former Israeli Air Force Commander (mentioned above) speculating on Israel’s uncomfortable options – going forward – and even postulating whether Israel now needed to open a channel to Iran. This latter option, of course, would be culturally abhorrent to most Israelis. They would prefer a bold, out-of-the-blue, Israeli paradigm ‘game-changer’ (i.e. such as happened in 1967) to any outreach to Iran. This is the real danger.
It is unlikely that the stirring of protests in Lebanon and Iraq are somehow a direct response to the above: but rather, more likely, they lie with old plans (including the recently leaked strategy paper for countering Iran, presented by MbS to the White House), and with the regular strategic meetings held between Mossad and the US National Security Council, under the chairmanship of John Bolton.
Whatever the specific parentage, the ‘playbook’ is quite familiar: spark a popular ‘democratic’ dissent (based on genuine grievances); craft messaging and a press campaign that polarizes the population, and which turns their anger away from generalized discontent towards targeting specific enemies (in this case Hezbollah, President Aoun and FM Gebran Bassil (whose sympathies with Hezbollah and President Assad make him a prime target, especially as heir-apparent to the leadership of the majority of Christians). The aim – as always – is to drive a wedge between Hezbollah and the Army, and between Hezbollah and the Lebanese people.
It began when, during his meeting with President Aoun in March 2019, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo reportedly presented an ultimatum: Contain Hezbollah or expect unprecedented consequences, including sanctions and the loss of US aid. Leaked reports suggest that Pompeo subsequently brought ally, PM Hariri into the picture of the planned disturbances when Hariri and his wife hosted Secretary Pompeo and his wife for a lunch banquet at Hariri’s ranch near Washington at the end of the Lebanese premier’s August visit to the US.
As the Lebanese demonstrations began, reports of an ‘operations room’ in Beirut managing and analyzing the protests, and of large scale funding by Gulf states proliferated; but for reasons that are not clear, the protests faltered. The Army which originally stood curiously aloof, finally engaged in clearing the streets, and returning some semblance of normality – and the Central Bank governor’s strangely alarmist forecasts of imminent financial collapse were countered by other financial experts presenting a less frightening picture.
It seems that neither in Lebanon or in Iraq will US objectives finally be achieved (i.e. Hizbullah and Hash’d A-Sha’abi emasculated). In Iraq, this may be a less certain outcome however, and the potential risks the US is running in fomenting chaos much greater, should Iraq slip into anarchy. The loss of Iraq’s 5 million barrels/day of crude would crater the market for crude – and in these economically febrile times, this might be enough to tip the global economy into recession.
But that would be ‘small beer’ compared to the risk that the US is running in tempting ‘The Fates’ over a regional war that reaches Israel.
But is there a wider message connecting these Middle East protests with those erupting across Latin America? One analyst has coined the term for this era, as an Age of Anger disgorging from “serial geysers” of discontent across the globe from Equador to Chile to Egypt. His theme is that neoliberalism is everywhere – literally – burning.
We have noted before, how the US sought to leverage the unique consequences arising from two World Wars, and the debt burden that they bequeathed, to award itself dollar hegemony, as well the truly exceptional ability to issue fiat credit across the globe at no cost to the US (the US simply ‘printed’ its fiat credit). US financial institutions could splurge credit around the world, at virtually no cost – and live off the rent which those investments returned. But ultimately that came at a price: The limitation – to being the global rentier – has become evident through disparities of wealth, and through the incremental impoverishment of the American middle classes that the concomitant off-shoring brought about. Well-paid jobs evaporated, even as America’s financialised banking balance sheet ballooned across the globe.
But there was perhaps another aspect to this present Age of Anger. It is TINA: ‘There is no alternative’. Not because of an absence of potentiality – but because alternatives were crushed. At the end of two World Wars, there was an understanding of the need for a different way-of-being; an end to the earlier era of servitude; a new society; a new social contract. But it was short-lived.
And – long story, short – that post-war longing for ‘fairness’ (whatever that meant) has been squeezed dry; ‘other politics or economics’ of whatever colour, has been derided as ‘fake news’ – and in the wake of the 2008 great financial crisis, all sorts of safety-nets were sacrificed, and private wealth ‘appropriated’ for the purpose of the re-building of bank balance sheets, preserving the integrity of debt, and for keeping interest rates low. People became ‘individuals’ – on their own – to sort out their own austerity. Is it then, that people now are feeling both impoverished materially by that austerity, and impoverished humanly by their new era servitude?
The Middle East may pass through today’s present crises (or not), but be aware that, in their despair in Latin America, the ‘there is no alternative’ meme is becoming reason for protestors ‘to burn the system down’. That is what happens when alternatives are foreclosed (albeit in the interests of preserving ‘us’ from system collapse).
Legendary political and media persona Pat Buchanan has recently published a serious lamentation about the dying state of Democracy we find ourselves in. His piece “Is Democracy a Dying Species” asks a profound and very relevant question that I will humbly try to answer for Mr. Buchanan is one of the few people in politics capable of listening to answers he may not like.
His overall line of thinking revolves around an apparent paradox within Democracy as he sees it. That in many of the most prosperous nations on Earth, whose wealth Mr. Buchanan attributes to Democracy there are large Anti-Democratic violent movements which seem to be only increasing size and number.
“Yet, one wonders: Why are these outbursts of violent protests and rioting taking place in stable, free and prosperous societies?
Chile is the most stable and wealthy country in South America. Catalonia is the most prosperous part of Spain. Paris is hardly a hellhole of repression. And Hong Kong is the freest city of China.
If the beneficiaries of freedoms and democratic rights come to regard them as insufficient to produce the political, economic and social results they demand, what does that portend for democracy’s future?”
The problem in Mr. Buchanan’s reasoning is the foundational idea that change within Democracy has at any time ever been done by the majority. Every revolution, be it towards or away from Western-Style Democracy (or for radial change within it) has been the passion project of a tiny elite majority.
The “Russian” Communists in 1916 were a small network of intellectuals sharing underground newspapers and waiting for an opportunity and when they got their chance they were able to woo the angry frustrated (by WWI) masses to their side. Besides dying with rifles in their hands to crush the Whites, few of them probably even truly knew what they were fighting for. Communism offered “land to the peasants” and that is all they needed to know. An intelligent elite started this revolution and the masses fought it.
On the Declaration of Independence, there are 56 signatures, not countless thousands. The elite of the Colonies determined it was time for a change, not the masses. After victory and the failed Articles of Confederation, the Constitution was written by a handful highly intelligent, highly ideological, powerful individuals. The masses simply had the greatest agreement in human history between man and government handed to them as an article of faith to be accepted, which they did. How many of them truly understood the concept of Liberty in the context of the Enlightenment? How many understood the debate between Hobbes and Locke? Probably none, but many died fighting as if they did.
Moving away from revolutionary change in a violent sense, it is obvious that the ability of the majority to elect officials, is a key part of Democracy, but many of the big issues that they have voted on have been put on the table due to lobbyists and activists. And these individuals represent a tiny minority of society that is highly ideologically passionate, very active and at times well funded. The toiling masses never woke up one day to demand gender neutral bathrooms, hate crime legislation or to eliminate plastic straws. Public support for these things was created by activists/lobbyists.
The real truth and one of the key reasons, why I argue that Democracy “does not exist” is that the masses do not and cannot actually reflect their will systemically. 40 million Ukrainian citizens now life in Europe’s Zimbabwe because 40,000 of them created the Maidan leading to thousands of deaths in the Donbass and the Russian language being made all but illegal which is blasphemous to Enlightenment principles. No Democratic system would allow this, but the will of the majority who are busy toiling away their lives is never counted.
As we move forward, the goals of activists will only continue to grow more and more pointless and baffling, as those who have time for activism tend to be traditionally the absolute bottom of society – angry rejects without jobs or families living on some sort of welfare. It is this type of person who has the free time necessary to conduct the ideological work needed to convince the media that they are the majority instead of the tiny but vocal minority they are. Every revolutionary group and political movement always insists that it speaks for the majority, but none of them ever actually do.
Richard Nixon had a moment of genius when he coined the phrase “silent majority” because that is exactly the way in which the working, busy, toiling, child-raising overwhelming majority behaves in society – silently, only until an organized, motivated by a tiny elite minority can rile them up to fight for their own ideological ends.
I think what Mr. Buchanan actually wants is for the majority’s voice to be heard because it is a far more traditional, conservative, pro-human worldview and I whole-heartedly share his dream. It is the factory worker and farmer in the heartland that give a nation its soul and are the source of goodness in society. The American Rugged Individual in the fly-over states and the Russian “Muzhik” far from Moscow’s MKAD highway are the backbone of the two societies in which I live, but sadly they are eternally silenced by the San Fransisco’s and Downtown Moscow’s activist freak show.
Is there anyone in the Trump Party, formerly known as the GOP, who is not worthy of contempt?
Perhaps somewhere within the Fox News demographic there are a few. Thanks largely to that propaganda outfit and other rightwing media, there are people who don’t know better, who are that dumbed down and disinformed.
But the GOP’s Trump toadies and enablers, its Senators and House members especially, have no excuse.
Like Trump himself, they have to be taken seriously – for the power they wield. Otherwise, they would not even be worth despising.
Anyone who is paying attention at all to the political scene who doesn’t realize this has a serious problem. If anything, the Republican Party nowadays is worse than contemptible; more often than not, it is beneath contempt.
This is worth bearing in mind when sanctimonious politicians and pundits call for “bipartisanship,” for working “both sides of the aisle.”
Of course, Democrats are not so great either. However, they are a lot less odious.
Thus, in 2011, when Barack Obama ordered Navy Seals, his very own Murder Incorporated, to “take out” – extra-judicially murder – Osama Bin Laden, he seemed somber and almost regretful that the man had to be killed rather than brought to justice.
By all appearances, he was mindful of the fact that a country purporting to be “the city on the hill,” a country that once championed modern notions of international law, could not, or would not, be civilized enough at least to try to appear law abiding. He was also humble, not taking all the “credit” for himself.
Needless to say, this didn’t stop him from exploiting the Bin Laden assassination to the hilt when he ran for a second term. But that was almost forgivable; “hypocrisy is,” after all, “a tribute vice pays to virtue,” just as de la Rochefoucauld said it is.
Nevertheless, how shameful that no one anywhere near the mainstream called him and his assassins to account; all they did, and still do, was pile on praise.
This is not nearly as surprising as it ought to be because civilization was already in retreat long before Bush the Younger and Dick Cheney launched their war of revenge — not exactly against Al- Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11, but against the Taliban and, worse, against Afghanistan itself, not for being involved directly in 9/11, and not, like Saudi Arabia, for providing most of the terrorists who carried out the atrocity, but for sheltering those who were calling the shots.
Perhaps, in the cosmic scheme of things, the moral decay of the ambient political culture should count as a mitigating factor. By the time Obama came along, this sensibility had become so pervasive that hardly anyone even bothered to notice how worrisome revenge killing is from a moral point of view.
It is like the African slave trade and the extermination of the native populations of the Americas was in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For a very long time after Columbus, hardly anyone in Europe or in the settler cultures of the New World thought any of that problematic, much less objected to it.
Could it be that moral obtuseness will always be with us? However that may be, Obama’s position is morally fastidious in comparison with Trump’s.
Trump made the extra-judicial murder of Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi all about himself – no surprise there! – while he gloated over the blood and gore, in much the way that a troubled adolescent boy might act out after knocking off an enemy avatar in a violent video game. Even as his body has aged normally, Trump’s mind never matured beyond that stage.
Thus, although they are both guilty of more or less the same thing, Trump’s moral level is worse than Obama’s. Therefore, so is the moral level of his Republican toadies, especially the ones who echo the barely literate rants and tweets of the Dear Leader without a hint of irony or shame.
This about says all there is to say about Democrats and Republicans, except that while all or nearly all Republicans are by now damaged beyond repair, there are Democrats who are not. Some of them – many more since 2018 than before — are not merely lesser evils. They are our best chance for emerging intact and in a good place from the morass Trump, even more than his predecessors, has laid upon us.
Unfortunately, the vast majority, including the party’s leaders, are not among them. Thanks to their penchant for moderation, they are Trump enablers too.
Moderates say, and probably believe, that they have to be, or seem to be, moderate because commonsense demands it. Perhaps so, but common sense can sometimes be dead wrong.
The history of medicine provides many examples. Does a patient have a bad heart? Then commonsense tells us that exercise is out. It took a long time and a lot of contrary evidence to overturn that morsel of medical wisdom; meanwhile, many were worse off for it and many died sooner than they otherwise might have on its account.
The political case is more complicated, but the basic idea is the same, especially in a political landscape in which only Democrats and the Trump Party matter. What commonsense then dictates is clear: promote positions close to the ones that the Trump Party favors, but not so close that bona fide progressives would be unable to bring themselves to go along.
This is the functional equivalent of endorsing discarded views about exercise for heart patients; it is what “moderation” now means in Trump’s America.
Commonsense positions that do not cause Democrats to pull their punches are a different story. Running against Republicans, they do have nothing to lose and much to gain by being more civilized, more informed and more decent than their opponents, just as commonsense requires. This is how they ought to be in any case, but it is also a good way to enthuse Democratic voters and to bring more independents over to their side.
As for hardcore Trump supporters, forget about it; they are a lost cause. Some of them actually like Trump’s vulgarity and moral decrepitude. They also like sticking it to big city, bicoastal, educated “elites”; anything to get their goat. There is no point expending time or effort trying to win them over.
They will not move out of the vaunted Trump base – unless, of course, Trump starts to look to them like the loser he is. Promoting policies that make them worse off won’t do it, at least not until their impact is felt in ways that even they cannot deny.
The problem is not exactly “false consciousness.” Many of them already know that they are more likely to be harmed by Trump’s policies than helped by them, but they don’t care.
Outside comparatively tiny plutocratic circles, greed is not a major motivator. Rightwing Evangelicals are on board because, in their pathologically benighted condition, they look to Trump to give them the theocratic judges they yearn for, and because, as Christian Zionists, they see him as an instrument of God’s will. Racism and resentment motivate the rest.
Even so, if the gods would just bring on the next economic downturn in time to register in the minds of the forty percent or so of Americans who are still standing by their man, or rather their teenage boy in an old man’s body, some of them might finally realize the error of their ways. More often than not, self-interest ultimately does trump values, especially transparently ridiculous ones.
Cycles of boom and bust are inevitable in capitalist economies for reasons that have been generally understood for at least the past century and a half. The next downturn is long overdue; the question is not whether, but when.
When the next downturn finally does come, it is likely to be brutal, thanks in large part to the policies Trump has championed. If anything can knock the scales off the eyes of Trump supporters, it will.
That is a big “if,” of course, but unless Democrats flub an eminently “teachable moment” monumentally, at least some hardcore Trumpians should at last take consciousness of what has always been clear as can be – that his tax cuts for the rich, his trade wars, and his assault on already feeble welfare state institutions will not only have made life worse for them and everyone else who is not rich and heinous, but also made America anything but “great again.”
However, the gods are mean-spirited, sadistic, and unreliable, and so, for Democrats who think that winning is all or, at the very least, that defeating Trump should take priority over everything else, it is important not to succumb to the temptations of meretricious common sense.
Over the years, many heart patients managed to survive restricted exercise regimens, and quite a few Democrats have pulled their punches and won anyway. In both cases, though, the best assessments of the pertinent evidence suggest that such success as there has been came despite of, not because of, the dictates of commonsense.
In politics today, with a public way out ahead of the less bad duopoly party, moderation is more often than not a cause of trouble, if not outright defeat. Moderates do sometimes win but, as a path to victory for Democrats now, the best one can say for moderation is that it leaves much to be desired.
It is additionally problematic as a way of ridding the body politic of Trumpism because, like the Democratic Party generally since even before the Clintons came on the scene, it is associated with the kind of politics that made Trump possible and Trumpism, or something like it, all but inevitable.
That would be Wall Street and Pentagon friendly politics, the neoliberal and liberal imperialist politics demanded by the movers and shakers of our almighty military industrial complex, our foreign policy establishment, and the institutions that comprise our national security state.
Clinton lost in 2016 mainly because she ran a poor campaign. In retrospect, though, in view of all the nefarious things she stood for and all the political currents she embodied, it was bound to be tough going for her even with an opponent as preposterous as the one she had.
Democrats ought to take that lesson to heart. But Democrats will be Democrats and so many of them are hellbent instead on doing just the opposite.
Their moderation has become so extreme that Clinton, along with some of her unreconstructed supporters, have lately been floating feelers about her running again. Seriously!
Worse by far – not just because it is far more likely to happen — leading Democrats and their toadies on the cable news networks are still pushing the idea that only Joe Biden, the doddering dufus himself, can guarantee a Trump defeat.
Biden very likely could defeat Trump, even if the economy next year is no worse than it now is; at this point, anybody the Democrats might think to nominate should be able to win, despite the unrelenting flood of dire warnings issued by Democrats in search of contributions. After all, the man has spent the past three years demonstrating how mistaken it was to give him – the businessman, the new guy — a chance. That was not just a bad idea; it was a catastrophically awful one.
However, the passage of time has made this consideration nearly irrelevant. With Trump decomposing in full public view, causing befuddlement everywhere and making a mockery of the office he holds, it is impossible to say even how things will look tomorrow, much less in a year’s time.
But Democrats should still take heed. In 2016, the election was between Trump and the conditions for his possibility. Why redo that? Why, in other words, give Biden even a moment’s thought?
In Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, she got nearly everything about the Arab Spring and much else too wrong. This was true to form; there is not much that she has worked on throughout her life that came out well. In the Middle East, the consequences were especially dire; they have been reverberating, indeed intensifying, ever since.
But bad as she is, Biden is worse. In the zillion or so years he has been in public life, has he ever gotten anything right?
It is worth recalling that when Obama was running to become the Democratic nominee in 2008, only two Democrats ran to his right – Clinton, of course, and Biden. Biden even ran to Clinton’s right.
It was therefore not surprising, at least to people in the know on Wall Street where he had been well vetted, that those two would be the rivals he would go on to empower after he became president, making Biden his running-mate and Clinton his Secretary of State.
In giving the more consequential, if not the more honorific, position to Clinton, he chose well; however awful Clinton was, Biden would have been worse.
* * *
Better any of the Democrats now seeking the nomination than Trump, but the only ones worth considering at this stage are Sanders and Warren. How instructive it would be were those two to debate one another, without a gaggle of moderates attacking them and trying to score points against one another.
If not from them directly, then from the discussions their debates would encourage, the public might learn a thing or two about what socialism is and is not, and about the prospects for liberty, equality, social solidarity, and democracy in capitalist and socialist societies.
Sanders and Warren could discuss questions of war and peace, inequality and the problems it causes, and the ways that actually existing capitalism is exacerbating the environmental catastrophe our planet is facing.
To be sure, some of the other contenders have worthwhile things to say too: Tulsi Gabbard on military and foreign affairs, Andrew Yang on basic income, Tom Steyer on equality and the responsibilities of billionaires, Marianne Williamson on whatever it is she is talking about.
From time to time, some of the more standard issue moderates have worthwhile things to say as well. But the last thing we need now are Biden understudies, and that is what they all ultimately are.
At first, Trump ran not to win, but to enhance his brand. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way.
Perhaps the moderates running now for the Democratic nomination have some ulterior motive too, or perhaps they think that lightening will strike for them as it did for the Donald.
To the extent that they do, they are, for now, just hangers on, awaiting the day when Biden goes back out to pasture so that they can break out of the pack and take his place – as the chosen defender of the Democratic Party of the Clintons and of Joe’s bestie, the corporate Democrat, and mastermind of extra-judicial killing, whom he never misses a chance to call “Barack.”
Any one of them would be better than Biden, but not one among them would do nearly as much good — building a post-Trumpian world – than Sanders or Warren would. Our politics would be in a better place if all those damn moderates would just go away.
As long as Biden is still around, there is little point in discussing the comparative merits or shortcomings of any of the moderates who might take his place.
For what it’s worth (not much!), I’ll just say that the ones I like least are Mayor Pete – I struggle not to call him “Mayor Buttcrack” — and Corey Booker, that I kind of like Kamala Harris, not so much for president as for Grand Inquisitor, and that, although she is more up front with her moderation than most of the others, I do like Amy Klobuchar. It must be the “Minnesota nice” thing.
Of greater interest, though, than their suitableness for taking on the Donald, is the way they are treated in the press.
Corporate media never dismantled the cordon sanitaire they drew around Sanders in 2016. No matter how newsworthy his campaign may be, and no matter how many genuinely enthusiastic supporters he has, they still ignore him or downplay his efforts or disparage them any way they can.
Now that Warren is as much of a horserace “frontrunner” as Biden, expect more of the Bernie treatment to fall on her as well.
If we come out of this alright, expect books and dissertations to be written about these matters, and about how corporate media have been trying in vain to work up enthusiasm for someone, anyone, corporate America can live with.
This is a job only for those more able than most to suffer fools. Count me out. Ever since I developed an allergy to Rachel Maddow – I blame it on overexposure, waiting for her to make her point – I find nearly everybody on the cable networks and most of the opinion writers at The Times and The Post extremely hard to take. For me, researching the topic would be cruel and unusual punishment.
I have noticed, even so, that whenever I do lapse, I see the face of Klobuchar, right there amidst the fossil fuel and Big Pharma ads on MSNBC. Other venues seem to prefer Harris, though she has had a terrible time getting traction. Needless to say, they all look kindly upon Mayor Pete, the boy wonder and goody-goody extraordinaire.
But who needs any of them! Certainly, not anyone seriously concerned with de-Trumpification.
Time spent picking winners in a popularity contest between moderates would be better spent thinking about how best to undo the harm Trump and his minions have done – to the federal judiciary, to the environment, and to the black, brown and white working class.
Now is a time too to think about how best to advance liberty, equality, and social solidarity, not pre-Trumpian normality.
To that end, it is urgent not just to think beyond impeachment, but also to think about impeachment in a new way.
Because his being in the White House poses such a clear and present danger to the entire world, it is urgent that Trump be removed from office as quickly as our institutions allow – even though all that would bring us, for at least the next thirteen months, is Mike Pence.
But if proponents of bipartisanship and moderation want to get there by making some Obama-Holder style let-the-past-be-past-while-we-look-forward deal, then shame on everyone who goes along.
That was the Obama-Biden administration’s Original Sin, the first of many greater and lesser sins to follow. It was what enabled them to go on to do all the harm they did, including all they did to make the Trump presidency a reality with which humankind will have to contend in the years ahead.
A similar failure of nerve in the current electoral cycle would likely be even more detrimental. This is why, it is not enough just that Trump be removed from the office he is so plainly unfit to hold. It is also crucial that, once he is finally disgorged, that he end up where he rightly belongs, in a (color coordinated) orange jumpsuit at one or another Club Fed.
Former CIA officer Larry C. Johnson breaks into detail the three year intelligence community plot to overturn the 2016 elections at the Ron Paul Institute’s 2019 Washington Conference.
Make no mistake about it: Hillary Clinton still craves the Presidency of the United States and she is convinced she can get it: Her strategy is all drawn up and she is ready to launch yet another Russia-hating witch hunt lie that would put Senator Joe McCarthy to shame. What a prospect for Halloween 2020!
Fittingly, the Arch Witch of the West’s latest Lust for Power grab was signaled by her husband, former President Bill Clinton the day before Halloween.
On October 30, Clinton attended an event at Georgetown University Law School with Hillary and their always loyal ally Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginzburg.
Commenting on his wife’s stupendous and undying ambition, the former president and longtime associate and repeated guest of murdered pedophile Joseph Epstein said, “She may or may not run for anything but I’m never running for president again.”
Neither Bill nor Hillary appeared to realize the serendipitous timing of his comment right before Halloween: For with the passing years, Hillary has come to eerily resemble her close friend passionate admirer, actress Bette Midler.
Especially as Midler played Salem witch Winfred Sanderson in the 1993 comedy horror movie “Hocus Pocus.”
But Hillary herself has made her goal and her strategy to achieve it crystal clear already. She always slowly and supposedly meticulously prepares the path to her goals with all the obvious slow, ponderous and painfully predictable progress of a lumbering mammoth.
Veteran US foreign correspondent Bill Thomas, formerly of the Los Angeles Times and one of the funniest and shrewdest political commentators in the business diagnoses Hillary’s familiar trope of ponderous preparations for her next power grab in an important article on the “American Greatness” web site that appeared on October 7.
“Until the field narrows and more funds are available Hillary’s working her blue-state base in community centers, churches, and lesbian bookstores while her publisher picks up the tab,” Thomas wrote. “It has to feel a little like old times to the aging grafter [con artist]. In 2000, she listened her way through every county in the state of New York to win a seat in the Senate. In 2008, she tried the same thing in her first run for the White House.”
Second, Thomas noted that Hillary and her 39-year-old daughter Chelsea “wrote a book together (or at least saw the page proofs before they went to the printer). It’s called The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience. The book is said to contain uplifting profiles of women and girls from civil rights pioneer Harriet Tubman to Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate alarmist from Village of the Damned.”
Thomas continues: “All the key words in the title are qualities Hillary pretends to have, especially ‘courage.’ When, in reality, if she had been either courageous or gutsy, Hillary, the country’s most cheated on woman, would have divorced her philandering husband years ago.”
Earlier in October, Clinton with her usual stunningly bad timing and lack of self-awareness picked a vicious fight with Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
Gabbard is everything Clinton is not – and never was: She is a proven American patriot; she is happily married; she is athletic, relatively young, beautiful and gutsy; she served with success and honor in the US armed forces and she is even a member of not one but several minorities – Samoan American by race and Hindu by religion.
Unfortunately, Gabbard is also politically principled, courageous, personally honorable and decent.
It is therefore inevitable that Hillary hates her.
Hillary lashed out at Gabbard accusing her with no evidence whatsoever – an inevitable Clinton specialty – of being a puppet of Russia and its president.
Joe McCarthy at his abusive alcoholic worst 65 years ago was never as repulsive or absurd.
Yet Hillary’s attack was entirely unnecessary: Though Gabbard has won the respect of a handful of thoughtful Americans on both left and right for her courage, independent thinking and responsible desire to rein in the US permanent warfare Deep State, these forces had already effectively muzzled and marginalized her.
She has polling at 2 percent to 3 percent in the opinion polls and tracking data the Democratic Party establishment uses – and manipulates – to control access to its nationally televised debates.
All Hillary therefore succeeded in doing was reviving Gabbard’s campaign and helping her to politically survive until the real voting starts in the US state of New Hampshire primary elections on February 11, 2020.
It is striking that even Hillary’s old colleagues the Democratic members of the Senate whom she served alongside for eight years are now heartedly sick and tired of her.
At least six of them – Senators Tammy Duckworth, Jon Tester, Joe Manchin, Martin Heinrich, Dick Durbin and Doug Jones – have already publicly called for her to publicly fade back into the woodwork and murky shadows from whence she came and trouble them politically no longer, “Politico” newspaper reported on October 24.
In February 2016, I wrote a column in an obscure US media platform in which I compared Hillary’s long, joyless trudge to the Democratic presidential nomination in Philadelphia to Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky’s 20,000 mile trek around the world in 1905 so that his entire fleet could be sunk or captured by a Japanese force with only half as many battleships at the Battle of Tsushima.
I was particularly struck by the comparison of Hillary to a Loser Navy that used up 500,000 tons of coal (precious fossil fuels) and then sank on sight when the moment of battle finally came.
True Believers still hopefully waiting for Hillary’s Hocus Pocus Halloween Horror 3 should know what to expect.
Sanctions on North Korea have been harming the civilian population, and that harm has intensified over the last three years of the “maximum pressure” campaign. A new study concludes that sanctions are responsible for directly contributing to almost 4,000 avoidable deaths in 2018 alone:
The authors of the new assessment say the existence of those sanctions, the difficulty of securing exemptions for humanitarian assistance, and the reluctance of financial institutions to participate in projects involving North Korea, have combined to create “unintended adverse humanitarian consequences,” from diminished agricultural production to medical shortages and lack of access to clean water.
Inability to access humanitarian assistance due to sanctions has caused “irreparable damage,” according to the report, which estimates that more than 3,968 people died in 2018—3,193 children under five and 72 pregnant women among them—“as a result of sanctions-related delays and funding shortfalls” that impact U.N. programs, especially those dealing with acute malnutrition; vitamin A deficiency; water, sanitation and hygiene issues; and the need for emergency reproductive health kits.
North Korea is another example of the immorality and inefficacy of sanctions. The sanctions have been effective only in preventing sick and needy people from obtaining humanitarian assistance. They have not compelled North Korea to modify its behavior, and they certainly haven’t caused the North Korean government to make any significant concessions. There are hardly any governments in the world that are less likely to yield to economic pressure than North Korea. Meanwhile, ordinary North Koreans still suffer from the deleterious effects of sanctions. The authors of the study say that their estimate of deaths is on the conservative side, and the loss of life is almost certainly higher. No doubt the government of North Korea bears responsibility for the poor conditions that make this humanitarian relief necessary, but the people are then punished a second time by sanctions that impede their access to the relief that they depend on.
The study distinguishes between targeted sanctions and more recent sectoral sanctions that began in 2016:
The latter category, they contend, has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in North Korea, with disproportionate effects on women.
Broad, sectoral sanctions are bound to harm the civilian population because they strike at the entire economy, and we see this again and again everywhere they are used. The same thing is happening in Iran and Venezuela, and it makes sense that it would also be happening in North Korea. The administration’s interference with humanitarian relief work in North Korea has been known for some time. I first wrote about it more than a year ago, and then again in December of last year. This study is the most thorough accounting of the harm sick and hungry people in North Korea have suffered as a result of the “maximum pressure” policy. Restrictions and impediments to humanitarian work have contributed to the damage:
The experts cited the challenges faced by humanitarian organizations seeking to provide medical care to vulnerable populations in North Korea—including delays and shortages to which the report attributes deaths.
Dr. Kee Park, a neurosurgeon and lecturer at Harvard Medical School who provides medical assistance in North Korea, said the restrictions on humanitarian organizations are inappropriate.
“We should not have to ask permission to go and help people,” Dr. Park said.
Joy Yoon, co-founder of Ignis Community, which provides humanitarian assistance focused on providing medical care for children with developmental disabilities, echoed that contention.
Mrs. Yoon said “the amount of red tape that humanitarian organizations have to go through is just unprecedented,” citing three years of licensing and associated delays to her group’s efforts to open a spinal rehabilitation facility.
As usual, it is the sick and the vulnerable who are made to pay the price for a sanctions policy that has completely failed in every other respect. The U.S. shouldn’t be getting in the way of humanitarian relief for a suffering population, and the Trump administration ought to adopt the recommendations that the study’s authors make for making it easier to deliver humanitarian assistance to North Korea.
It took almost two contentious years and a multitude of parties to finally establish a 150-member ‘Constitution Committee’ to draft, either by writing or rewriting, a constitution for the Syrian Arab Republic. A relatively easy first step on the path towards a peaceful resolution to the ongoing Syrian conflict. The next step is for the newly established Constitution Committee to draft a constitution.
During many meetings I had with members of the opposition in several countries several years ago, they kept insisting that the first and central objective of their “Revolution”, was the downfall of President Al-Assad. This was a precondition for the start of the political process to establish a transitional governing body in line with Security Council Resolution 2254; under no condition, they insisted, would they negotiate with President Al-Assad.
That was then; today, the opposition has been reduced to a minority component of a Constitutional Committee to draft a constitution for Syria which amounts to an admission by the opposition and the regional and international powers who supported them, of the end of their presumed “Revolution”. It is also an admission of the legitimacy of the present Syrian constitution and the 2014 election of President Al-Assad, whose downfall they insisted on for years and now with whose representatives they will negotiate to draft a constitution; an anathema for the opposition and their sponsors. In fairness, it should also be noted that the willingness of the Syrian government to be part of the Constitution Committee and negotiate with the opposition is legitimizing the opposition which the government previously considered a terrorist threat.
Presently, a contentious issue between the Syrian authorities and the opposition revolves around whether the Committee shall draft a new constitution or rewrite the 2012 constitution. The 2012 constitution includes 157 articles, the majority of which should, rationally, be acceptable to the opposition. A minority of articles are contentious; of the most contentious and possibly insurmountable articles, the following stand out, starting with the least contentious ones:
For both the government and the opposition, the extensive presidential powers and President Al-Assad’s nomination in the next presidential elections in 2021, amongst others, are the crux of the matter, the carpenter’s knot, as the Arabs would say; an irresistible force colliding with an immovable object. In view of the adoption of the 75% majority voting rule, giving each component a veto power, either of these two issues, could sabotage drafting a new constitution, and rendering the attempt at a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis null and void and back to square one, which the government probably would not mind.
The government is united with clear sequential peace process steps leading to where it wants to get. The first step is adopting a new constitution, after which other steps follow. Conversely, the opposition is plagued by many ills including disunity, disorganization, mismanagement, rivalries, etc. It is not united on a clear sequential peace process steps: Is the first step adopting a new constitution or establishing a transitional governing authority? Time is on the side of the government and it will use rules of procedures to delay the drafting of a constitution. The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has made it clear that there is no rush in drafting a constitution.
Finally, the government and the opposition are aware of the power disparity between them, which brings to mind Thucydides dictum “The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” However, the ultimate question and determining factor is: will the influentials see to it that a new constitution is drafted and the peace process moves on to the next step?
There have been protests (mostly pointing up economic stress) across the region for some months: from Egypt to Iraq. But the Lebanese demonstrations have caught the global attention. And there is no doubting that the Lebanese protests represent a major phenomenon. We may ask whether they are essentially a local manifestation, reflecting only the well-attested Lebanese problems of corruption, widening disparities in wealth, nepotism and failing state structures, or do they signal something much deeper? Lebanon, historically, has been viewed as ‘the bell weather’ – pointing up the general health of this region.
Well, if Lebanon is indeed such, we might conclude that the patient is presenting rather feverish symptoms. But that should not be so surprising. For, the region is already experiencing strategic ‘shock’ – and this condition is likely to be much aggravated by the additional psychological stresses of fast-approaching economic crisis. Of course, Lebanon is ‘special’ in its own distinct way – but ‘yes’, Lebanon precisely is giving warning of a turbulence quietly incubating across the Middle East.
The ‘strategic shock’ is represented by the collapse of long-established landmarks: the US is departing Afghanistan, and the Middle East. The Wolfowitz doctrine of US primacy across the region is drawing to a close. Yes, there will be push-back in parts of the ‘liberal’ western Establishment – and there will be periods of two US steps ‘out’ from the region, and with another ‘in’.
But the psychic reality of this incontrovertible ‘fact’ has seared itself into the regional psyche. Those who dined liberally from the cornucopia of power and wealth under the ‘old order’ are understandably frightened – their protective cover is being snatched away.
This shift has been signalled in so many ways: the US non-reaction to the Iranian downing of its drone; the US’ non-reaction to the 14 September Aramco strikes; the red-carpet laid down for President Putin in Riyadh – that the direction of US policy ‘travel’ is plain. Yet, nothing signals it more evidently than Secretary Pompeo’s recent message to Israel, during his last visit: i.e. you, O Israel, should feel free to respond to any threats to your security, from whatever source, and arising from wherever. (Translation: You (Israel) are on your own), but please don’t escalate tensions. (Translation: don’t place our American forces as ‘pig-in-the-middle’ of your disputes, as we want the withdrawal to proceed smoothly). Of course, Trump doesn’t want Congress snapping at his trouser legs, as he unfolds this controversial act.
If this be the message handed out to Israel, then of course, it applies – in spades – to the Lebanese élites who have dined so well under the previous regime – whilst their Lebanese compatriots succumbed to ever greater impoverishment. The Russian diplomatic and security achievement for Syria, as evidenced in the communiqué issued this week after the Sochi summit with Erdogan, upends the old landmarks across the northern tier of the Middle East. In Syria evidently, but Lebanon and Iraq too. The new reality demands new dispositions.
This might be ‘bad news’ for some, but the very moment of facing reality – of making hard choices (i.e. that the US can no longer afford, and the world will no longer finance, its global military presence) – may also have ‘its silver lining’. That is to say, the end to US occupation of part of Syria may concomitantly well unlock a political settlement in Syria – and upturn fossilised and corrupt establishments in neighbouring states too.
This – the uprooting of old, embedded landmarks – which leaves America and Saudi Arabia as waning stars in the regional political cosmos – is but one backdrop to events in Lebanon. An old order is seen to be fading. Might even the Ta’if constitutional settlement in Lebanon, which Saudi Arabia used to lock tight, and petrify, a Sunni-led sectarian establishment be now in play?
Again too, across the Arab world, there is a legitimacy-deficit staining existing élites. But it applies not just to the Middle East. As protesters peer around the world, through their smart phones, how can they fail to observe the low-intensity ‘civil war’ – the polarised protests – in the US, the UK and parts of Europe, waged precisely against certain élites. What price then, western ‘values’ – if westerners themselves are at war over them?
Of course, this dis-esteem for global élites is connected to that other powerful dynamic affecting the Middle East: the latter may not be in a ‘good place’ politically, but it is in an even worse place economically. In Lebanon, one-third of Lebanese are living below the poverty line, while the top one percent hold one-quarter of the nation’s wealth, according to the United Nations. This is not the exception for the region – It is the norm.
And intimations of global slow-down and recession are touching the region. We all know the figures: half of the population in under 25. What is their future? Where is there some ‘light’ to this tunnel?
The western world is in the very late stage to a trade and credit cycle (as the economists describe it). A down-turning is coming. But there are indications too, that we may be approaching the end of a meta-cycle, too.
The post-WW2 period saw the US leverage the war-consequences to give it its dollar hegemony, as the world’s unique trading currency. But also, circumstances were to give US banks the exceptional ability to issue fiat credit across the globe at no cost (the US simply could ‘print’ its fiat credit). But ultimately that came at a price: the limitation – to being the global rentier – became evident through the consequence of the incremental impoverishment of the American Middle Classes – as well-paid jobs evaporated, even as America’s financialised banking balance sheet ballooned.
Today, we seem to be entering a new cycle period, with different trade characteristics. We are in a post-general manufacturing era. Those jobs are gone to Asia, and are not ‘coming home’. The ‘new’ trade war is no longer about building a bigger bankers’ balance sheet; but about commanding the top-end of tech innovation and manufacturing – which is to say, gaining command of its ‘high peaks’ that, in turn, offer the ability to dominate, and impose the industry standards for the next decades. This – tech standards – is, as it were, the new ‘currency’, the new ‘dollar’ of the coming era. It is, of course, all about states maintaining political power.
So, what has this to do with the Middle East? Well, quite a lot. The new, global tech competition implies a big problem (as one Washington commentator noted to me). It is this: what to with the 20% of Americans that would become ‘un-needed’ in this new top-end tech era – especially when lower paid jobs are being progressively robotised.
Here is the point: This tech ‘war’ will be between the US, China and (to a lesser extent) Russia. Europe will be a bit-player, hard pressed to compete. If the US thinks it will end with 20% of population surplus to requirement, for Europe it likely will be higher; and for the Middle East? It does not bear thinking about.
The Middle East is still a fossil fuel fed economy (at time when fossil fuel is fast falling out of fashion, capital expenditure is paused, and growth forecasts for demand, are being cut). Even Lebanon’s economy – which has no oil – is (paradoxically) still an oil economy. The Lebanese either work in the Gulf, servicing the ancillary services to a fossil-fuel based economy and remit their savings to Lebanese banks, or work in the Lebanese financial sector, managing savings derived largely from this sector.
The point is, how will the region find a future for a young population that is out-running the continent’s water and (useful) land resources, if fossil fuel cannot be the employment driver?
It won’t? Then expect a lot more protests.
Citizen Jimmy – A David against an army of Goliaths.
Roham Alvandi and Mark Gasiorowski describe in detail how the U.S. overthrew Iran’s prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953, and they push back against the false revisionism being pushed by Iran hawks and the Trump administration that seeks to absolve the U.S. of responsibility for the coup:
Behbahani and Kashani were maverick, populist political activists, distant from—and often disdained by—the mainstream Shiite clergy epitomized by Borujerdi. Their involvement in the coup should not be taken as evidence that the mainstream clergy supported or participated in the coup, as Bayandor implies. And the clerics who did participate did so with U.S. support.
Acknowledging the role of Iranian actors, including some of the Shiite clergy, in the 1953 coup does not absolve the United States of responsibility for the coup. Many historians of the 1953 coup, most recently Ervand Abrahamian and Ali Rahnema, have judiciously documented the overwhelming evidence that the United States played a central role in toppling Mosaddeq. But their voices are being drowned out by a shrill cacophony of opportunistic politicians and revisionist scholars and pundits.
While British and Iranian actors played significant roles in the events before and during the coup in August 1953, it was the Americans who organized and led the overthrow of Mosaddeq, mobilizing and directing the Iranians who carried it out.
The 1953 coup was a clear case of blatant U.S. interference in Iran’s internal affairs. Overthrowing Mossadeq was one of the earliest examples of destructive U.S. meddling in the affairs of other nations during the Cold War, and it should be taken as a cautionary tale about what happens when the U.S. tries to dictate the political future of another country. Our government bears responsibility for the coup, and it seems fair to conclude that without our government’s involvement the coup would not have happened. Iran’s political development was severely distorted as a result of the coup, and Iranians have been living with the consequences of this interference for decades.
Meddling in Iranian affairs didn’t just blow up in America’s face later on, but it was also the wrong thing to do at the time. It was one of the first things Eisenhower did as president, and it was one of his worst mistakes. Whatever the U.S. might have gained from the coup in the short term has been far exceeded by the damage that U.S. support for the shah did to Iran and to U.S.-Iranian relations over the longer term. We need to remember the truth about this shameful intervention so that it isn’t whitewashed and erased by propagandists, and we also need to learn from it that our government has no right to meddle in other countries’ affairs.
It is interesting that the leading “revisionists” that have tried to cast doubt on the importance of the U.S. role in the coup are leading proponents of interfering in Iranian internal affairs today. Iran hawks today are strangely eager to minimize the U.S. role in 1953 in order to promote a regime change agenda now. They seem to think that if they can shift the blame for the coup to Iranian clerics that this will help to undermine the current government:
If the revisionists can pin the blame for Mosaddeq’s downfall on the Shiite clergy of the 1950s, so the thinking goes, then they might be able to use Mosaddeq’s ongoing popularity to mobilize Iranians against their clerical rulers today.
The problem for the “revisionists” is that there is so much evidence of U.S. culpability that this will never work, but their attempt to rewrite history needs to be refuted just as Alvandi and Gasiorowski have done in their article. Iran hawks want to rewrite Iran’s past so they can justify another outrageous U.S. intervention in Iranian politics, and they mustn’t be allowed to get away with it.
The momentum pushing for the overhaul of the financial system from its current disorderly state of unbounded speculation (amounting to over $1.5 quadrillion of derivatives) towards a “reformed central bank-driven” system of green finance is moving startlingly fast. The fact that this momentum is both coming from “top down” echelons of the City of London as well as the “bottom up” anarchist mobs of Extinction Rebellion is also not a coincidence as it has now been firmly proven that both are coordinated by the same billionaire speculators who created the economic bubble of an economy now ripe to blow.
In the case of Mark Carney’s Bank of England, the former Bank of Canada governor/Goldman Sachs man has recently led the hectic campaign for a green digital crypto-currency to replace the bankrupt US dollar. Since his announcement of this crypto plan on August 22, the Bank of Canada quickly fell into line declaring its support of the agenda on October 15.
Carney’s colleagues in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) amplified this message on October 15 saying: “What is needed is a Global Green New Deal that combines environmental recovery, financial stability and economic justice through massive public investment in decarbonizing our energy, transportation and food systems while guaranteeing jobs for displaced workers and supporting low carbon growth paths in developing countries… through the transfer of appropriate technologies”.
Carney was joined by former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King who recently warned that a “financial Armageddon” is looming unless central banks are permitted to unleash unbounded quantitative easing once more.
The Storm now Emerging
The fact that this highly coordinated push is happening now is not unconnected to the elephant in the room: not only is it a myth that the financial system recovered after the near-meltdown of 2008, but the truth is that the crisis has only become magnitudes worse today, with many signs now pointing to an even bigger blowout that no amount of quantitative easing can solve.
Since September 17, a radical new wave of bailouts have been unleashed with the NY Federal Reserve pumping $50-$100 billion of short term loans/day into the big banks in order to fight an immanent “liquidity crunch”. Meanwhile the IMF Global Financial Stability Report of 2019 has sounded the alarm that the corporate debt of eight leading nations has grown to a record $19 trillion upon which sits innumerable trillions of derivatives bets. The IMF Report authors stated that “a sharp, sudden tightening in financial conditions could unmasks the vulnerabilities” of the system.
Derivatives and the Unreality of Modern Banking
When the 2008 crisis hit, many people woke up to the ugly fact that they had been living a lie.
Illusions had blown up so dramatically that many were able to examine their own axioms and began to think more clearly about the real principles of political economy which globalization had denied to exist. This was hard not to do when Congressmen like Brad Sherman publicized that he and others were threatened with Marshall Law in America if he did not support a bailout of “too-big-to-fails”. Sadly, as the post-2008 “bailout system” emerged, speculation only continued to grow and the west was told that “the fundamentals were sound”, Globalization and the neoliberal paradigm had proven themselves and people went back to sleep.
What was the lesson we SHOULD have learned in 2008?
Economics is not digital. It is not even monetary. Hell it is not even resource-based. Of course, resources, money and even digital currencies may play important roles in an economic system, but the system’s viability- what we may call the “cause of value”, is not premised upon any of those things. This fact was understood more widely in the thirty post WWII years among trans-Atlantic nations. But with the 1971 floating of the US dollar off of the gold standard and onto speculative markets, the new paradigm of “money-first, reality second (or never)” was unleashed and nations stripped of their qualified leaders soon also became stripped of their real assets as well as their ability to generate credit for long term infrastructure or impose protective tariffs in defense of their own interests- both practices officially banned by NAFTA, the WTO and the EURO-cage.
Throughout the 1990s derivatives increased from $2 trillion in 1992 to $70 trillion in 1999 at the height of the Y2K bubble. Once that bubble blew, many thought the “end was nigh”, and started waking up again but due to the 1999 repeal of Glass Steagall followed by the 2000 deregulation of over-the-counter derivatives now being supported with supercomputers and “high-frequency trading”, the illusion was given new life and the $70 trillion bubble became $500 trillion by 2007 when the subprime bubble blew. To put things in proportion, global GDP amounts to $85 trillion.
Where was the Resistance?
Why didn’t more people fight throughout the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s against this collapse of manufacturing, decay of vital infrastructure and the loss of those very practices which created the foundations first world living standards which generations unborn required to survive?
Admittedly, a few did.
Deutschebank President Alfred Herrhausen tried to revive the pro-industrial growth model as the Berlin Wall fell, but a November 1989 assassination put an end to that. American presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche admittedly led a powerful resistance within America, but an FBI crackdown in 1988 put the man and his leading allies in maximum security prison for years. There were a few others, but for the most part the lesson learned by the political class, and citizens who should have known better was “don’t make waves”, keep your head down, and you might get material comfort while the outskirts of the empire go to hell.
New Silk Road or New Green Deal
It is no secret that Carney as well as French Finance Minister Bruno LaMaire have recently stated that if a Global Green New Deal is not imposed quickly then China’s New Silk Road will become the basis of a new post-Bretton Woods system. In the minds of an oligarchical governing class obsessed with control, this multipolar future premised on long term growth and international development projects WITH NO DEFINED ENDPOINT POSSIBLE is a horror not to be permitted- even at the cost of launching WWIII.
This is where the economic meltdown and the green digital currency “solution” are revealed in their full ugliness.
The reason why those countries led by Russia and China are jumping on board a New Silk Road is because the paradigm governing it is premised upon REAL VALUE! By lifting people out of poverty (800 million in China alone), and valuing the creative powers of mind which multiply their opportunities of action when given a pro-industrial growth-oriented paradigm, these Eurasian powers have tapped into the source of value which guided the west in the post WWII years. The problem with this paradigm which zero-sum thinking geopoliticians HATE is that once any genuine program of serious development starts, you can’t really stop. It’s an open system and since it is premised on human creative thought and free will, it is also non-linear. This fact of open-non linearity is really humanity’s saving grace.
When nations elevate their citizens to higher standards of living, rates of consumption increase, as do rates of attrition of existing resource baskets, but cognitive powers also increase which must offset that entropy with greater rates of anti-entropy through new discoveries and inventions! These must be applied in the form of industrial and technological progress. Imagine what the world would already look like if JFK’s program for a space based economy powered by nuclear fusion wasn’t de-railed over his dead body!
This entire science of physical economy is both at the heart of the Belt and Road Initiative today and its principles were discussed already many decades ago in the 1984 textbook So You Wish to Learn All About Economics and associated video the Power of Labor. It is well worth taking the time to work through this material seriously if one considers themselves a truth-seeker in today’s world.
The only reason why the Bank of England’s green digital currency is taken seriously at all today is because westerners have become so psycho-spiritually detached from reality during the years since the “consumer society cult” led people to believe that a nation could magically exist as a services economy without producing.
Just like those technocrats in 1919 who imposed impossible Versailles reparations onto a defeated Germany while simultaneously gouging the physical economic basis of the Weimar Republic’s existence, today’s technocrats are hungry for a new fascist solution to the problem of sovereign nation states. We know what almost happened in Germany when the last project funded by the Bank of England failed in 1945… but what about today?
The author can be contacted at email@example.com
The presidential election in Argentina pitted the people against neoliberalism and the people won. What happens next will have a tremendous impact all over Latin America and serve as a blueprint for assorted Global South struggles.
The presidential election in Argentina was no less than a game-changer and a graphic lesson for the whole Global South. It pitted, in a nutshell, the people versus neoliberalism. The people won – with new President Alberto Fernandez and former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) as his VP.
Neoliberalism was represented by Mauricio Macri: a marketing product, former millionaire playboy, president of football legends Boca Juniors, fanatic of New Age superstitions, and CEO obsessed with spending cuts, who was unanimously sold by Western mainstream media as the new paradigm of a post-modern, efficient politician.
Well, the paradigm will soon be evacuated, leaving behind a wasteland: $250 billion in foreign debt; less than $50 billion in reserves; inflation at 55 percent; the U.S. dollar at over 60 pesos (a family needs roughly $500 to spend in a month; 35.4 percent of Argentine homes can’t make it); and, incredible as it may seem in a self-sufficient nation, a food emergency.
“The Head of Macri: How the First President of ‘No Politics’ Thinks, Lives and Leads.”
Macri, in fact the president of so-called Anti-Politics, No- Politics in Argentina, was a full IMF baby, enjoying total “support” (and gifted with a humongous $58 billion loan). New lines of credit, for the moment, are suspended. Fernandez is going to have a really hard time trying to preserve sovereignty while negotiating with foreign creditors, or “vultures,” as masses of Argentines define them. There will be howls on Wall Street and in the City of London about “fiery populism,” “market panicking,” “pariahs among international investors.” Fernandez refuses to resort to a sovereign default, which would add even more unbearable pain for the general public.
The good news is that Argentina is now the ultimate progressive lab on how to rebuild a devastated nation away from the familiar, predominant framework: a state mired in debt; rapacious, ignorant comprador elites; and “efforts” to balance the budget always at the expense of people’s interests.
What happens next will have a tremendous impact all over Latin America, not to mention serve as a blueprint for assorted Global South struggles. And then there’s the particularly explosive issue of how it will influence neighboring Brazil, which as it stands, is being devastated by a “Captain” Bolsonaro even more toxic than Macri.
It took less than four years for neoliberal barbarism, implemented by Macri, to virtually destroy Argentina. For the first time in its history Argentina is experiencing mass hunger.
In these elections, the role of charismatic former President CFK was essential. CFK prevented the fragmentation of Peronism and the whole progressive arc, always insisting, on the campaign trail, on the importance of unity.
But the most appealing phenomenon was the emergence of a political superstar: Axel Kicillof, born in 1971 and CFK’s former economy minister. When I was in Buenos Aires two months ago everyone wanted to talk about Kicillof.
The province of Buenos Aires congregates 40 percent of the Argentine electorate. Fernandez won over Macri by roughly 8 percent nationally. In Buenos Aires province though, the Macrists lost by 16 percent – because of Kicillof.
Kicillof’s campaign strategy was delightfully described as “Clio mata big data” (“Clio kills big data”), which sounds great when delivered with a porteño accent. He went literally all over the place – 180,000 km in two years, visiting all 135 cities in the province – in a humble 2008 Renault Clio, accompanied only by his campaign chief Carlos Bianco (the actual owner of the Clio) and his press officer Jesica Rey. He was duly demonized 24/7 by the whole mainstream media apparatus.
What Kicillof was selling was the absolute antithesis of Cambridge Analytica and Duran Barba – the Ecuadorian guru, junkie of big data, social networks and focus groups, who actually invented Macri the politician in the first place.
Argentina’s new president, Alberto Fernandez, at right, with his vice president, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. (Screen shot/YouTube)
Kicillof played the role of educator – translating macroeconomic language into prices in the supermarket, and Central Bank decisions into credit card balance, all to the benefit of elaborating a workable government program. He will be the governor of no less than the economic and financial core of Argentina, much like Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Fernandez, for his part, is aiming even higher: an ambitious, new, national, social pact – congregating unions, social movements, businessmen, the Church, popular associations, aimed at implementing something close to the Zero Hunger program launched by Lula in 2003.
In his historic victory speech, Fernandez cried, “Lula libre!” (“Free Lula”). The crowd went nuts. Fernandez said he would fight with all his powers for Lula’s freedom; he considers the former Brazilian president, fondly, as a Latin American pop hero. Both Lula and Evo Morales are extremely popular in Argentina.
Inevitably, in neighboring, top trading partner and Mercosur member Brazil, the two-bit neofascist posing as president, who’s oblivious to the rules of diplomacy, not to mention good manners, said he won’t send any compliments to Fernandez. The same applies to the destroyed-from-the-inside Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, once a proud institution, globally respected, now “led” by an irredeemable fool.
Former Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, a great friend of Fernandez, fears that “hidden forces will sabotage him.” Amorim suggests a serious dialogue with the Armed Forces, and an emphasis on developing a “healthy nationalism.” Compare it to Brazil, which has regressed to the status of semi-disguised military dictatorship, with the ominous possibility of a tropical Patriot Act being approved in Congress to essentially allow the “nationalist” military to criminalize any dissidence.
Hit the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Beyond Argentina, South America is fighting neoliberal barbarism in its crucial axis, Chile, while destroying the possibility of an irreversible neoliberal take over in Ecuador. Chile was the model adopted by Macri, and also by Bolsonaro’s Finance Minister Paulo Guedes, a Chicago boy and Pinochetist fan. In a glaring instance of historical regression, the destruction of Brazil is being operated by a model now denounced in Chile as a dismal failure.
No surprises, considering that Brazil is Inequality Central. Irish economist Marc Morgan, a disciple of Thomas Piketty, in a 2018 research paper showed that the Brazilian 1 percent controls no less than 28 percent of national wealth, compared to 20 percent in the U.S. and 11 percent in France.
Axel Kicillof in 2014. (2violetas, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)
Which bring us, inevitably, to the immediate future of Lula – still hanging, and hostage to a supremely flawed Supreme Court. Even conservative businessmen admit that the only possible cure for Brazil’s political recovery – not to mention rebuilding an economic model centered on wealth distribution – is represented by “Free Lula.”
When that happens we will finally have Brazil-Argentina leading a key Global South vector towards a post-neoliberal, multipolar world.
Across the West, usual suspects have been trying to impose the narrative that protests from Barcelona to Santiago have been inspired by Hong Kong. That’s nonsense. Hong Kong is a complex, very specific situation, which I have analyzed, for instance, here, mixing anger against political non-representation with a ghostly image of China.
Each of the outbursts – Catalonia, Lebanon, Iraq, the Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests for nearly a year now – are due to very specific reasons. Lebanese and Iraqis are not specifically targeting neoliberalism, but they do target a crucial subplot: political corruption.
Protests are back in Iraq including Shi’ite-majority areas. Iraq’s 2005 constitution is similar to Lebanon’s, passed in 1943: power is distributed according to religion, not politics. This is a French colonizer thing – to keep Lebanon always dependent, and replicated by the Exceptionalists in Iraq. Indirectly, the protests are also against this dependency.
The Yellow Vests are targeting essentially President Emmanuel Macron’s drive to implement neoliberalism in France – thus the movement’s demonization by hegemonic media. But it’s in South America that protests go straight to the point: it’s the economy, stupid. We are being strangled and we’re not gonna take it anymore. A great lesson can be had by paying attention to Bolivian Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera.
As much as Slavoj Zizek and Chantal Mouffe may dream of Left Populism, there are no signs of progressive anger organizing itself across Europe, apart from the Yellow Vests. Portugal may be a very interesting case to watch – but not necessarily progressive.
To digress about “populism” is nonsensical. What’s happening is the Age of Anger exploding in serial geysers that simply cannot be contained by the same, old, tired, corrupt forms of political representation allowed by that fiction, Western liberal democracy.
Zizek spoke of a difficult “Leninist” task ahead – of how to organize all these eruptions into a “large-scale coordinated movement.” It’s not gonna happen anytime soon. But, eventually, it will. As it stands, pay attention to Linera, pay attention to Kiciloff, let a collection of insidious, rhizomatic, underground strategies intertwine. Long live the post-neoliberal Ho Chi Minh trail.
A year ago, the corporatists and anti-socialist militarists in the Donald Trump administration appeared ecstatic over the electoral successes of neo-fascism in Latin America. Jair Bolsonaro, a self-proclaimed admirer of Adolf Hitler and who is nicknamed the “Trump of the Tropics,” sat in the presidential palace in Brazil; billionaire right-winger Sebastian Pinera had, once again, become president of Chile; and Lenin Moreno, the one-time leftist and progressive ally of former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, had invited the US military back into his country and made common cause with the Lima Group, an anti-Nicolas Maduro bloc subservient to Washington.
Although there are attempts by the right-wing in Latin America and the United States to turn Bolivian progressive president Evo Morales into a Hugo Chavez or Nicolas Maduro, and thus, worthy of sanctions on him and his government, there are clear indications that Morales won the election for his fourth term in receiving 47.07% to 36.51% for former President Carlos Mesa in the first round of the presidential election held on October 19th and 20th. Morales’s 10.56 edge over Mesa gave him a 10 percent lead with over 40 percent of the vote, the threshold necessary to be declared winner of the first round.
Although the usual suspects in the Organization of American States (OAS) and European Union, reinforced by right-wing US senator Marco Rubio of Florida – Washington’s main lobbyist for all of Latin America’s oligarchs and narcotics lords – demanded a second-round election, Morales and his Movement for Socialism party was confident of their victory to agree an OAS audit of the vote tally. However, Mexico’s government warned the OAS not to interfere in the Bolivian election. Since the advent of the Trump administration, the OAS has become more vocal against progressive governments in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, all of which have been hit with crippling US economic and travel sanctions.
The Trump administration and its right-wing allies in the OAS and the governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia cried foul and demanded a second-round vote. Those questioning Morales’s victory are the same corporatist quarters that propelled Bolsonaro, Pinera, and Argentine president Mauricio Macri into power. Morales’s traditional political enemies in provinces like Beni and Santa Cruz, hit the streets with protests. It is well-known that the Bolsonaro government in Brazil has provided political and financial support to Morales’s right-wing opposition, the Civic Community alliance.
Rather than rely on military coups to overthrow popularly-elected progressive governments – a tactic long used by the Central Intelligence Agency in the Western hemisphere – the new architects of “regime change” in Langley, Virginia have discovered “lawfare,” the use of corrupt judges and prosecutors, to bring falsified criminal charges of corruption against leaders opposed by Washington.
In Brazil, lawfare was used to justify the impeachment and removal from office of progressive President Dilma Rousseff and the imprisonment on a cooked-up bribery conviction of her progressive predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula’s imprisonment and ineligibility to run for president in 2018 opened the door for the victory of Bolsonaro in the presidential election. The selection by Bolsonaro of Sergio Moro as his justice minister exposed the entire corruption that is inherent with Moro and Brazil’s far-right. Moro was the federal prosecutor who waged lawfare actions against Lula and Rousseff in charging them with involvement in the “Operation Car Wash” bribery scandal involving the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht SA. It is more than apparent that Car Wash was a lawfare tactic developed by the CIA to overturn progressive leaders in Latin America.
A ruling by Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court in November of this year could overturn Lula’s conviction. If that occurs, Lula will be free to challenge Bolsonaro in the 2022 presidential election. Bolsonaro, who plans to run for re-election, has been trying, along with Moro, to unconstitutionally and illegally influence the Supreme Court decision. Workers Party leaders Lula and Rousseff were not the only progressive leaders painted with the wide brush of the Car Wash probe. Others targeted include Chile’s former president, Michelle Bachelet and Argentina’s former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
The right-wing plot to tarnish Mrs. Kirchner with Car Wash was a complete failure. Although Macri, with the support of the administration of his old business partner, Trump, and the Bolsonaro regime, launched a propaganda campaign against Kirchner, her leftist Frente de Todos party scored a major win over Macri in the October 27 presidential election in Argentina. The victory of leftist presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez and his vice-presidential running mate, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (no relation to the presidential candidate), sent a message to Latin America and Washington that the rightward tilt of the hemisphere was in check. In one of his first statements after his victory, Alberto Fernandez called on Brazil to release Lula from prison. A revitalized progressive left bloc emerged with Argentina’s President Fernandez and Mexico’s leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrado as its cornerstones.
In Uruguay, the leftist Frente Amplio, which has ruled Uruguay for over 14 years, saw its presidential candidate, Daniel Martinez, with a plurality of the vote over his right-wing challenger, Luis Lacalle Pou. Since neither candidate achieved a 50 percent threshold, the election will go to a second round on November 24. Uruguayans have been alarmed by Pou’s willingness to reconstitute the country’s national security force. During past military rule, such a force was responsible for countless human rights violations.
The accusations in Chile against former President Bachelet came as her right-wing billionaire successor, Pinera, was coping with massive street protests that resulted in a state of emergency declaration. Pinera’s security forces killed 11 protesters. The heavy-handed response was reminiscent of the darkest days of military junta rule of dictator General Augusto Pinochet, someone who Pinera generally admires. The timing of the charges against Bachelet was extremely suspicious and appeared to undermine Bachelet’s position as the head of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and her condemnation of the human rights abuses by Pinera’s government.
The protests in Chile were mirrored by those in Ecuador, where President Moreno, who was named Lenin because of his father’s great admiration for Vladimir Lenin, had decided to break with the socialist policies of his predecessor, Correa, but had instituted crippling austerity measures, including slashing fuel subsidies, which were all designed to placate the International Monetary Fund and foreign creditors. The protests against Moreno were so intense, the government was forced to temporarily relocate government functions from Quito, the capital, to Guayaquil amid a declaration of a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the faltering Moreno regime continues its attempts to have former President Correa extradited from Belgium, where he has political asylum. As Moreno’s hold on power became shakier, his regime grew closer to the US military while Moreno began making wild accusations about Correa “spying” on him from Belgium.
Another US puppet, President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras, was faced with massive labor and student protests after his younger brother, Tony Hernandez , was convicted of drug trafficking charges by a US federal court in New York. During the trial, several witnesses linked the Honduran president to his brother’s drug trafficking cartel. The US has ensured that CIA-approved puppets like Hernandez have maintained political control of Honduras ever since a CIA-backed coup toppled progressive president Manuel Zelaya in 2009. Evidence presented during the trial implicated not only President Hernandez, but also his predecessor, Porfirio Lobo, who was installed after the 2009 CIA coup against Zelaya. Former President Zelaya and supporters of his leftist LIBRE party were among several protesters on the streets of Tegucigalpa calling for Hernandez’s resignation.
Protests also swept Haiti, with demonstrators calling for the corrupt president, Jovenel Moise, to step down. As with Honduras, Haiti has been subjected to repeated CIA-backed coups, with two directed against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Recent local elections in Colombia, governed by the far-right President Ivan Duque, were marred by the assassination of one of several leaders of the de-mobilized FARC leftist guerilla movement. The latest victim was Alexander Parra. Although a peace agreement was negotiated between the FARC and Duque’s more centrist predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos, the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, Duque and his narco-trafficker ally, former President Alvaro Uribe, have done their best to scuttle the FARC peace deal by assassinating its leaders.
Election results from throughout Colombia were devastating for Duque; his political godfather, Uribe; and Uribistas tied to right-wing paramilitary groups and drug cartels. In Medellin, an Uribista stronghold, Daniel Quintero, an opponent of Duque and Urbe, was elected mayor. Reformist mayors also won mayor’s races in Bogota, which saw its first female mayor, Claudia Lopez, elected on the Green Alliance ticket. A progressive party, Fuerza Ciudadana, won the governorship in the right-wing paramilitary stronghold of Magdalena province.
Trump and his fellow neo-fascists in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Honduras, and Colombia were hoping for a right-wing tide to continue to sweep through the Western Hemisphere. The news from Buenos Aires, La Paz, Bogota, and Montevideo suggests that the region’s right-wingers can put away their champagne bottles.
President Trump is reversing his foreign policy decisions so quickly these days that it almost seems like he overturns himself before making the decision in the first place. Last week he was very clear that the US was pulling its troops out of Syria. “Bringing soldiers home,” he said. “Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.”
But then he overturned himself later in the same speech. He said: “We’ve secured the oil and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil. And we’re going to be protecting it and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”
Where does President Trump think he gets the legal or moral authority to send US troops to illegally occupy foreign territory and determine what that foreign country can or cannot do with its resources? After eight years of Obama’s disastrous “Assad must go” policy, during which the US provided weapons and training to radicals and terrorists with a half million people killed as a result, President Trump had the opportunity to finally close that dark chapter of US foreign policy so the Syrian people could rebuild their country.
Instead he sat down on Thursday with Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been wrong in every foreign policy position he’s ever taken, and decided to follow Graham’s advice to take Syria’s oil. Even though Trump himself has said many times that ISIS is 100 percent defeated, he claims we must take Syria’s oil to keep it from ISIS.
The real reason the neocons want the US military to occupy Syria’s oil fields is they are still convinced they can overthrow Assad by carving out eastern Syria for the Kurds. They don’t want to keep the oil from ISIS, they want to keep it from the Syrian government. They don’t want the oil revenue to be used to help rebuild the country because they still want to make life more unbearable for the population through sanctions so they will overthrow Assad. They don’t care how many innocent civilians die.
So instead of bringing the troops home like he promised, President Trump has allowed himself to be convinced to actually expand the US presence in eastern Syria! Instead of ending a foolish mission, he’s giving them an even more foolish mission – and sending in more troops and weapons. Instead of removing the approximately 200 troops in that region as promised, Trump is going to add more troops to equal about a thousand. He’s also sending in tanks and other armored vehicles, according to the Pentagon.
If President Trump believes following neocon advice on Syria is going to produce results different than the past eight years of following neocon advice on Syria, he’s naïve or worse. This new mission is going to cost tens of millions of dollars per month and will only serve to inspire the next generation of radicals. Trump is right that the people of the region, including Russia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey have all the incentive to keep ISIS at bay. So why does he fold like a cheap suit every time the neocons strong-arm him into another dumb foreign policy position?
From extraordinary candid admissions made separately by US President Donald Trump and the New York Times, there can be no illusion about what American forces are really deployed in Syria for. It’s an illegal occupation against the Syrian government and in particular to deprive the Arab country of its oil resources. Read Finian Cunningham’s article to find out more.
At face value, the protests in Chile against the right-wing government of Sebastian Piñera are about the 3 per cent rise in metro fares which would put Chileans outside elite circles at increasing socio-economic disadvantage.
However, the protests indicate a simmering anger over the ongoing ramifications of the neoliberal experiment unleashed upon Chile by the US-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Decades after the democratic transition, the dictatorship constitution remains in place. A commodity for governments, be they right-wing or centre left, to entrench social divisions and provide the foundations upon which dictatorship practices can be implemented in a democracy, as Chile has experienced since Piñera imposed a curfew on the capital city, Santiago, which has now been extended across the country.
A photo of Piñera dining at an elite restaurant as Santiago erupted in protests and military violence contributed to the Chileans’ growing repudiation of the president’s authority. Some contrasted his stance with that of Salvador Allende, who kept his pledge to remain with the people until the end.
Piñera has framed the people’s uprising through a declaration of war. Eliminating reference to the people by using the metaphor of “the enemy who is willing to use limitless crime and violence”, the Chilean president justified the curfew, including the presence of the military on the streets, by stating that “democracy not only has the right, it has the obligation to defend itself.”
But what if Chile’s transition to democracy continues to prove it is merely a veneer for the dictatorship practices ushered in by Pinochet?
This is not the first time Chile has mobilised against government policies. In 2011, the student protests for free education and the assurance of education rights for Chile’s indigenous Mapuche also pointed towards the need to move away from the business model which privatised education. At the time, Piñera claimed that nationalising education would detract from quality and freedom. In 2011, the students were met with violent repression in the form of tear gas and rubber bullets.
The nationwide protests have triggered concerns among Chileans of a return to the dictatorship era. More than 10,000 military personnel have been deployed in Santiago. National Defence Chief Javier Iturriaga, who has family links to the dictatorship’s National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) declared the curfew a means of “protecting the people”. The government is calling upon people to stay in their homes, yet Chileans are defying the curfew and mobilising on the streets. To stay at home, on government’s orders, is an acquiescence which Chileans cannot afford. Even in their homes, however, Chileans aren’t safe from military violence.
Meanwhile, the first victim of military aggression has been announced – 25 year old José Miguel Uribe Antipani, who was shot in the chest during a demonstration in Curicó. Reports by Chile’s National Institute of Human Rights have confirmed the military’s use of excessive force, including beating of protestors, among them minors, torture and sexual harassment and abuse of women. More than 2,000 Chileans have been detained and the death toll is reported to have increased to 15.
The link between neoliberalism and violence must not be negated. Chile’s social inequalities have persisted and the country’s management since the democratic transition has prioritised keeping Pinochet’s legacy intact through privatisation, exploitation and the expectation that the people remain tethered to their subjugation in order to ensure the elite’s retention of privilege. Piñera understands the underlying causes of the current mobilisation, yet prefers to keep to a selective narrative in order to maintain his impunity. As organisations and workers across Chile call for the people’s demands to be met, the government can no longer hide behind the veneer of metro fare increases. As this façade crumbles, Piñera must be held accountable, yet the scrutiny of past governments and their loyalty to the dictatorship agenda must not be erased from memory.
The low-ball mudslinging and pantomime palaver among America’s political class is like a theater of absurd. Any form of vilification is now acceptable. President Trump and his Twitter rants may have helped set the bar of indecency to an all-time low, but Democrats and Republicans have quickly joined the descent into madness.
The sanity test was spectacularly failed recently when former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lashed out at her party member Tulsi Gabbard, inferring she was a “Russian asset”. The Hawaii congresswoman, who is vying for a run at the presidency in next year’s elections, was defended by some fellow Democratic politicians. But many Clinton aides and media pundits doubled down on Clinton’s smear campaign, reiterating that Gabbard was “working for the Kremlin”.
This bipartisan Russophobia can be traced back decades to the Red Scare paranoia of the Cold War and McCarthyite persecution during the 1950s of suspected Soviet sympathizers in Washington and Hollywood. But for the past three years, since the 2016 election, the Cold War has been crazily enlivened with the “Russiagate scandal” of alleged interference in American political affairs by Moscow. It was the Clinton campaign, establishment media and her intelligence agency supporters that launched that canard against Trump.
Despite lack of evidence and credibility as shown by the vacuous Mueller probe earlier this year, the ridiculous Russiagate narrative and its underlying Russophobia still manages to dominate the views of the US political class, as exemplified by how Clinton’s preposterous smearing of Gabbard was given undue media coverage and supportive commentary. Affording trust and respect for such inane paranoia is surely a sign that America has officially gone insane.
Another symptom of collective madness is seen when truth and factual evidence are presented, but then the truth-teller is pilloried and the facts are blankly ignored.
Tulsi Gabbard told the truth on a recent national TV debate when she said plainly that “the US supports Al Qaeda terrorists”. The incredulous looks from the other Democratic candidates indicated that they are cocooned in a fantasy-world of official American propaganda which claims that US military forces are in Syria and elsewhere to “fight terrorism”.
For speaking such unvarnished truth, veteran servicewoman Gabbard was savaged in media reports and commentary for disseminating disinformation and lies. As well as being labelled a “Russian asset”, she is also denounced as an “Assad apologist”.
However, this week two developments demonstrate that Gabbard is correct in her linking of US support to terror groups in Syria and the Middle East more widely.
First, we had President Donald Trump announcing approval of $4.5 million in aid to the White Helmets, the so-called rescue group operating in Syria. Trump hailed them as “important and highly valued”. Last year, the president also signed off on $6.8 million of aid to the White Helmets.
Despite this group winning an Oscar award for one its propaganda films, the White Helmets have been outed by several investigative reports as a media arm for the Al Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al Shams (formerly, Nusra Front) and other Islamic State (ISIS) outfits. The pseudo rescue group only works in the diminished areas that are under the control of the jihadist terror network. The White Helmets are unknown to, or repudiated by, most of the Syrian civilian population. They have been exposed for having mounted false-flag terror attacks with chemical weapons and falsely attributing the attacks to the Syrian Arab Army or allied Russian forces. “They are a complete propaganda construct,” says award-winning journalist John Pilger.
For Trump and other Western governments like the British and French to openly support the White Helmets with millions of dollars is irrefutable proof of the official sponsorship by Western powers of the terrorist network in Syria. Of course, that is consistent with the analysis that these same governments have waged a covert criminal war of regime change against Syria. Again, it is only Tulsi Gabbard among American politicians who has explicitly stated this nefarious involvement of Washington in Syria. Yet she is condemned from all sides as a liar and foreign agent.
The second development this week indicting US links to terror groups – but which is studiously ignored by the Western media – are credible reports of American military force airlifting Al Qaeda-type jihadists out of northeast Syria.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu this week confirmed that hundreds of suspected jihadi prisoners had escaped from jails and camps amid the turmoil of the Turkish offensive against Kurdish militia.
Syrian state media reports that, “US occupation continues to transport hundreds of Daesh [ISIS] terrorists from Syria to Iraq”.
Many of the detained terror suspects were lifted by American transport helicopters from the giant Al Houl camp near Hasaka city and relocated to western Iraq. Rather than handing over these illegal militants to advancing Syrian state forces, the Pentagon seems intent on holding on to its proxy assets. Maybe to fight in a renewed insurgency against Syria or elsewhere that Washington designates for regime-change operation.
In separate media reports, US forces are also being relocated from eastern Syria to set up bases in western Iraq. This suggests a concerted consolidation between US military forces and the terror groups which were used to wage the failed war in Syria.
Whenever Washington’s political class has descended into name-calling and smearing based on clueless prejudice and paranoia, and whenever the stark truth of America’s criminal war-making is roundly rejected – indeed twisted to demonize truth-tellers like Tulsi Gabbard – then we surely know that the USA now stands for the United States of [Mental] Asylum.
On October 3rd, countless tens of thousands of Ecuadorian citizens began a general strike and occupation of public spaces, throughout the country but targeting the capital of Quito. President Lenin Moreno has made himself one of the most hated men in the history of the country in the course of his rule, and was forced to flee as a consequence, and re-establish the capital in Guayaquil. In addition, facing a larger and wider revolution all together, Moreno was forced to rescind Decree 883 – the new law which appears to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in Ecuador.
But this is far from over, and Moreno’s continued existence as head of government threatens to see the expansion of this newly awakened movement. Internationally too – for it is Moreno who also betrayed Julian Assange, after Raphael Correa offered him protection.
Media are accurately reporting the obvious, but in limited context: Moreno enacted Decree 883, which brought an end to the popular fuel subsidies. As the story goes, this was part of an austerity agreement made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for a loan. Decree 883 threatens the country’s most vulnerable and historically marginalized cross-sections of Ecuadorian society, indigenous communities in particular. These indigenous communities, along with labor and citizen’s group, were at the forefront of these protests and the general strike, leading and organizing them. Moreno accuses his popular predecessor Correa for planning and executing the protests, with assistance from Cuba and Venezuela. The ‘random Soros guy’ from Brazil, Juan Guaido, has echoed Moreno’s accusation.
The Looming Econocide which Decree 883 Threatened
Beyond this, however, is the real story of Decree 883 and the recent history of Ecuador, and the real betrayal represented by Mr. Moreno – a visceral hatred he has earned for himself, which extends far beyond Decree 883.
Mr. Moreno baffled the public when he announced that the subsidies policy introduced in the 70’s, which if accounting in a very narrow and segregated way, appear to ‘cost’ the government some $1.3bn annually, were no longer affordable. But what macroeconomists and the public both understood, and what was particularly outrageous, was this: these subsidies, based on Ecuador’s socialized gas industry, in fact made possible all sorts of economic activity; risk taking and opportunity making, and consumption in other sectors of the economy – not possible without such a subsidy.
And so the ripple effect of Decree 883 would result in pessimism and a bearish national economy, all around. The cognitive and theoretical deficiency of believing that one can shore up nominal debts that exist under certain conditions of subsidy, by eliminating an economy enhancer like an energy subsidy, without this in turn deleteriously effecting overall GDP indices, to in turn qualify for a loan which would in all obvious reality create further balance of payment and debt problems, is itself either negligent, criminal, or both.
The real consequence would be that it would place the Ecuadorian economy further in debt, which means in further reliance on the IMF, which means further loans will be needed, which means further austerity, and ultimately privatization of the public weal. Upon such a cycle, creating permanent servitude and insolvency, the final aim on the part of the IMF cannot be simply a vicious debt cycle, (as this is ultimately unpayable) but the total private and foreign ownership of Ecuador, with some sort of mass impoverishment, even genocide of its indigenous people, as an obvious – if not wanted – consequence. At this point it becomes perhaps secondary to note that none of these ‘IMF loans’ will be used to develop the country’s physical economy – the only real signifier of wealth building for a whole society, if viewed scientifically and rationally as an organic unit with mutually interrelated symbiotic components.
There are few words to describe such aims as Decree 883 without delving into deep, profound, philosophical and theological questions about the nature of the forces of good and evil in the world. Questions was force us to ask what universal principles give meaning to our lives as human beings, and what really and fundamentally motivates those with such a blatant misanthropic agenda.
But at any rate, it is more than obvious how this move by Moreno, in the name of Decree 883, had led to the near toppling of the Ecuadorian government – leading to Moreno declaring a state of emergency.
Moreno – from Lenin to Judas
A success so far for the people has been the apparent repeal of Decree 883, but why Moreno is so very much hated deserves our attention, as this is only the beginning. During his tenure, Moreno has gained himself the nickname among the opposition ‘Judas’: a name necessary as it distinguishes that he is ‘no Lenin’.
What Moreno has done has resulted in the largest popular uprising the country has seen in many years. After years of working to reverse the progress and stability brought by the noble and just government of Raphael Correa, Moreno brought about a condition of instability and ignobility. Within months of assuming office, he disavowed Correa who had brought him where he had arrived, and began to work under the orders of Washington to undo Correa’s social and legislative reforms that had been aimed at deepening the strength of Ecuador’s civil society, labor, and justice. Under Correa, poverty would see a 30% decline.
And despite this obvious reality, this obvious truth, Moreno doubles-down on his contempt for reason and rationality, by accusing the protestors of being agents of Correa, even of Maduro (!). This affront to the wisdom of the people of Ecuador is comparable to blaming the blood for the wound, or for blaming the wound for the accident which causes these.
For the latest affront to dignity and fairness, in the form of yet another IMF sell-out from Moreno, came in the form of the elimination of gas subsidies for people most in need. And one cannot offer any real logic or reason for ending these subsidies, for the gas itself is largely owned by and for the people, through EP Petroecuador, the state oil firm.
But this deep-seated scorn is not simply related to contempt for his policies, but much more profoundly for his betrayal. Because we might expect such austerity from a centrist or right-wing candidate, given the history of politics in Latin America – there is something honest in this; they deliver what they campaign on. But given that Correa had essentially groomed Moreno, and Moreno in turn endorsed the policies of Correa – we encounter the crux of the matter, and how Moreno turned from Lenin to Judas.
To wit, it was Raphael Correa’s broad plan to rescue Ecuador from the predatory claws of the IMF, by fomenting a public campaign, a brilliant simulacrum strategy of sorts, borrowed from Venezuela, that an entire program of socialist revolution was underway, such that it had the effect of lowering the value of Ecuador’s bonds, owned by foreign interests. This made it so that Ecuador was able to succeed in buying back some 91% of these bonds, and made possible Ecuador’s thumbing the IMF and not taking on new debt. This was done by intelligently weaponizing Ecuador’s apparent weakness in not having its own real national currency, as this was dollarized by corrupt national leaders in 2000, using the excuse of the damage caused by Hurricane ‘El Niño’, to eliminate Ecuador’s monetary sovereignty. It had been widely believed that without a national, sovereign currency, that Ecuador could have no sovereign monetary policy – Correa proved this wrong by turning expectations and dynamics on their respective heads. While this dictum is true in the long-term, Correa used the dollarized nature of Ecuador’s currency values in a gambit to buy-back Ecuador’s bonds.
When Correa was elected president of Ecuador, it had come as the result of years of struggle by the popular forces of resistance, against all odds, and overcoming a particularly unstable and disastrous period were Ecuador had seen come and go some ten presidents in the period of just eleven years.
Correa would go on to serve for a decade, and continued to build popular support, and this had signaled the realization of an even broader dream of social and economic justice in Ecuador, but also a visionary long-term plan to integrate the Latin American economy into a single civilization-wide economic bloc.
The history of modern Ecuador is one of tragedy, hope, and never lacking in contradictions. During the time of Correa he was faced with the strongest opposition from the most intransigent and short-term thinking, narrowest in scope and vision, of the country’s billionaire class.
And it only so happened to be that this same class, who had been responsible for the years of instability and rampant poverty, were also those closest to Washington DC and New York City – placing the country at the hands of the Washington Consensus – the IMF, City Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and the rest of the “usual suspects”.
Rejecting this, in February 2007 that Correa’s economy minister Ricardo Patiño stated: “I have no intention […] of accepting what some governments in the past have accepted: that [the IMF] tell us what to do on economic policy.” “That seems unacceptable to us,” Patiño concluded.
The U.S and the IMF hated this, and hated Correa for this. Correa confused many –at first seeming to be a center-leaning social-democrat reformist. His biography and optics were misleading: young and well groomed, with waxed hair and Spanish features, he appeared very much like the kind of candidate historically installed by Ecuador’s wealthy comprador class. His credentials in governance had come about through being Ecuador’s finance minister under the prior neo-liberal government of Alfredo Palacio. And yet Correa was a man of the people and once in office quickly became allies with the Castros of Cuba and also Chavez, and then Maduro of Venezuela.
Correa understood he would be termed-out eventually, under Ecuador’s constitutional provisions, and had worked early on to groom a successor.
Again, the biography and optics were misleading: this successor was Lenin Moreno, the son of a communist teacher; Moreno inspired empathy with his soulful eyes, reminiscent of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, and being wheelchair-bound, he inspired sympathy.
The people had expected that a man who inspired such sympathy and empathy, would himself be capable of tremendous sympathy and empathy for the people in turn.
And yet the people were wrong. Instead, what lurked in the heart of Lenin Moreno was so dark, so depraved, so shallow and so selfish, that it exploded the left’s understanding of character.
It would turn out that Nietzsche’s dictum that weakness lays at the root of evil, and strength at the root of good, was true. If the apparent meekness of Moreno would allow him to inherit the world of Ecuador, then it was his cruelty and hatred, his Ressentiment born of weakness, for those healthy and happy people, even if poor, that would threaten to destroy it.
The government of Moreno has been a betrayal so monumental and significant to the living history of Ecuador, that it has indeed earned him the name ‘Judas Moreno’, an allusion both to Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ to the wishes of the Sanhedrin, and also to Leon ‘Judas’ Trotsky, who is believed by mainline communists internationally to have conspired to betray the Russian Revolution through his alleged conspiracy with the forces of Fascism in Europe.
And this leads us to the real heart of our investigation, for the apparent revolution that Judas Moreno has betrayed was the popular democratic, electoral ‘revolution’ of Correa. And this is why Moreno is so hated, and lacks any mandate. And this is also why his power decreases by the day, as his legitimacy in question after his first months in office, and his actions against the people – the repression, arrests, and persecutions which have heightened in the last ten days of protests against his regime, are only but the culmination of several years of the same.
Now there are dead, martyrs in this struggle, murdered by Moreno’s security forces.
Decree 883 may have been repealed, but coming about on the precipice of a broader revolution, the coming weeks and months only promises more conflicts, surprises – and we should expect yet another betrayal from Judas Moreno, and another explosion in response.
International Man: The United States and Iran appear to be closer than ever to war. Where do you think this is headed, and what would the consequences of a war with Iran be?
David Stockman: If it ever really happened in a hot-war sense, it would be catastrophic, because everything in the Persian Gulf would be sunk.
There would be massive amounts—tens of thousands of tons—of metal clogging up the Strait of Hormuz from all these sunken ships, both ours and theirs.
The oil fields on the eastern Persian Gulf of Saudi Arabia would be in ruins, and so would most of Iran. Obviously, it would be catastrophic, because the price of oil would shoot to $200 or $250 a barrel—and the world economy would buckle. The governments would then go crazy printing money—stimulating and borrowing. That would be the ultimate Armageddon. But I don’t really think it’s going to happen.
At least the Saudis appear to be rational enough to avoid a hot-war escalation, even though the crown prince has proven he’s a bit of a hot head, he’s impulsive, and he’s gotten them into places they had no business engaging. The Yemen thing is a catastrophe for them and they’re beginning to see that, but I think we can read the tea leaves.
After the Saudis were attacked right in the heart of their oil production complex, they didn’t counterattack Iran. They’re trying to organize a coalition of willing countries—and there aren’t too many people willing to get in the middle of it, especially the Europeans. So, I think there’s a little bit of hope there that somehow this thing will drag along in a rhetorically heated but not militarily engaged sense.
On the other hand, this whole situation is due to the fact that people who basically are part of what I call the Israeli branch of the War Party convinced Donald Trump that the Iran nuke deal was the worst deal ever made—when it was one of the best deals ever made.
He tore it up under the influence of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo and all the rest of these neocon creeps—I want to use the strongest language I can. They not only convinced him to walk away from it—which was totally imprudent and stupid—but then to reengage in the most vicious economic-sanction campaign ever.
It’s just flat out economic war designed to destroy Iran’s economy. The heart of the Iranian economy is their energy: natural gas and oil.
Without exports, they can’t earn the money to keep their economy going. Yet what the US is doing is harassing and hounding every country in the world, every company, every port where oil tankers can be berthed to not take Iranian oil, not buy Iranian oil—on threat of severe secondary sanctions from the United States.
This is extremely nasty stuff. This is imperial arrogance beyond belief. That’s the reason we have this tense and dangerous situation in the Middle East today. At some point, the Iranians have to find ways to fight back, or their economy is going to be destroyed and their people are going to suffer badly.
The reason I bring it up, though, is because it’s the opposite of America First. Trump came in wanting America First, but are the Iranians a threat to homeland security, really?
Iran has a GDP of $450 billion. Their defense budget is about $15 billion. The US government wastes that amount about every seven days at the Pentagon.
Iran has no long-range missile capacity. They have no blue-water navy. Their missiles have a range that maybe can get to Rome but certainly not most of Europe—to say nothing of North America.
They’ve never threatened to attack North America. They’ve said, “If you do harm to us, you’ve got all these forces in our neighborhood. We’re going to have to retaliate.” They’re not a threat to the American homeland—and if we didn’t have imperial forces domiciled all around their neighborhood, they wouldn’t be a threat to any American.
The reason for all of this confrontation is that the neocons don’t like Iran’s foreign policy.
Iran is the heartland of the Shia confession of Islam. So they have allied with the Alawite branch of Shia Islam in Syria—which is what the government and Bashar al-Assad is.
Iran has to be allied with Hezbollah, because Hezbollah is Shia. It’s the biggest political party, duly elected in Lebanon. They have also allied with the Houthi in northern Yemen, who also are like a second-cousin branch of Shia Islam.
So, what the neocons are saying is Iran, unlike us or anybody else, can’t have a foreign policy that allies with people of the same political or religious confession because Bibi Netanyahu doesn’t like it. That’s the only reason for it.
There is no reason for us to get in the middle of the stupid fight between the Israelis and Hezbollah. Hezbollah was created by Israel when it occupied southern Lebanon several times after 1982 and did very nasty things to the local population.
That’s why we’re bringing the Persian Gulf to the brink of war—because of stupid decisions that were made by Ariel Sharon and especially Benjamin Netanyahu over the years—regarding the politics of Lebanon and Syria.
International Man: Of course, Saudi Arabia plays into this, because they also don’t like Iran’s expansion of influence.
As you know, Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on advanced US weapons. Those top-dollar weapons have failed to protect it from even a relatively unsophisticated enemy like Yemen’s Houthis. What are the implications?
David Stockman: First of all, there’s a large implication about the massive hardware budget we have for military.
In this day and age, technology is becoming so sophisticated. Relatively cheap things like drones can threaten very expensive facilities like this big oil processing plant—or penetrate and destroy property that costs 100, 1,000, 10,000 times as much.
Not to segue too far, but we’re buying a series of aircraft carriers now, $12–14 billion apiece. Then you’ve got to have all the escort ships, and you’ve got to have the 70 or 80 aircraft and attack helicopters and so forth to go with each carrier battle group.
Yet with today’s technology, they’re sitting ducks. When sitting out on the water, they can be destroyed by even relatively unsophisticated enemies who get their hands on this kind of modern technology.
We’re in such an asymmetric world in terms of technology that this massive conventional capacity is an utter and complete waste—and is only part of a self-perpetuating syndrome of contractors who want to keep reporting profits to their shareholders.
Yes, Saudi Arabia has bought all these weapons, but the key point to understand is that without US technical support and a constant supply of spare parts, its entire military capacity is useless.
So, it essentially cannot function as either a foreign policy actor or a military force without Washington’s complete blessing. That’s why it’s so outrageous about what’s going on in Yemen today with over 100,000 civilians, men, women, and children killed—hunger, starvation, cholera, disease.
It’s a genocidal environment, and yet the Saudis could have been told by the US a couple years ago, “It’s a do-not-go zone into Yemen. Stop, or we’re going to stop the spare parts and the technical assistance.”
If that were to happen, frankly, the royal family would be living in Switzerland within six months, because they would be finished.
Without the military and without the US technical and spare parts support for it, they wouldn’t last a few months. Yet we don’t exercise that power, because imperial Washington would rather have a war going in Yemen in order to convince people that the world is a scary place and we need all these weapons—and all these aggressive offensive forward positions—in order to keep America safe. It’s just a lot of damn nonsense.
International Man: Earlier you spoke a little bit about what it would look like if there was an attack on Iran.
Overall, with what’s going on in the Middle East, what do you think are the consequences for the price of oil?
David Stockman: As I said before, I don’t think it’s going to lead to a hot war, unless there’s an accident—a series of very quick-moving misunderstandings—or something that happens in the middle of the night when Trump gets up on the wrong side of bed and authorizes something unhinged or crazy. That’s always a risk—but he understands if he has a war in the Persian Gulf, he won’t get re-elected.
If he doesn’t get re-elected, he’ll end up in a place that won’t be as commodious as Trump Tower, after the Democrats are done with him and he’s out of office. So, I don’t think a hot war is going to happen.
The price of oil in the Persian Gulf is a function of the global supply demand equation—100 million barrels a day. It’s a massively complex supply chain and supply/demand situation that affects things on the margin everywhere—whether they reinvest in Russian oilfields or how many new drilling rigs are put into the Permian Basin. And it goes on and on.
We don’t need the Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf to protect oil supplies or keep the price down. The best cure for high prices is high prices—the free market.
Yet we’ve been on this 45-year stint, ever since the early 1970s—as a result of economic ignoramuses like Henry Kissinger and a lot of those who followed, who said we have to protect the oil supply because bad guys will get hold of it and do bad things to us.
This is absolutely not true. Even when bad guys get hold of the oil supply, like ISIS did temporarily with some wizened old oil fields in eastern Syria—what did they do? They produced as much as they could because they needed the revenue.
What does Iran do when we’re not putting an embargo on them? They produce as much as they can because they need the revenue. Everybody needs money.
I don’t care who takes power in these countries. They’re going to produce oil, because they’re going to need the revenue, either for their military or to feed their population or to buy off political support.
We don’t have to worry about it. Get the damn Fifth Fleet out of the Persian Gulf. Let the global oil market do its thing. Let supply and demand manage the energy system, and we’ll be a lot better off.
Recent events have pointed to the weakness of the United Nations in dealing with international crises. The UN is experiencing the same diplomatic inertia that doomed its predecessor, the League of Nations. The UN Secretary General is not using all the powers granted to him by the UN Charter to try to extinguish flames of civil conflict breaking out around the world, from Catalonia to Syria and Hong Kong to the British Isles.
Although the major world powers engineered the UN and its predecessor, the League, to accommodate as members only independent states, the UN Secretary General does have the power to invite non-members, whose rights of statehood or independence are contested by one or more UN member states, to address the UN Security Council to air their grievances before the world body.
On October 14, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled on the fates of 12 government leaders of Catalonia, who were criminally charged for their roles in the 2017 declaration of independence proclaimed in Barcelona, the Catalonian capital. The leaders, who were hauled off to prison in Madrid, a city viewed as the capital of a foreign entity by many Catalonians, were sentenced to between 9 and 13 years in prison for “sedition, misappropriation of government funds, and civil disobedience.” The harsh sentences for a political action are in direct contravention of the responsibilities of Spain under the European Union, Council of Europe, and European Court of Human Rights. The most severe prison sentence was meted out to Catalonia’s former Vice President, Oriol Junquera: 13 years. Eight former Catalonian government ministers received between 10 to 12 years in prison.
The handing out of the severe Franco-style prison sentences to the Catalonian leadership resulted in massive street protests in Barcelona and throughout Catalonia. A mass protest in support of the Catalonians was held in San Sebastian by Basque nationalists. Catalonian and Spanish police reacted violently to the protests in Catalonia, even resorting to the brutal clubbing of protesters and journalists, alike.
There is no question that the Spanish government, bowing to the ghost of Spain’s longtime fascist dictator, Generalissimo Francisco Franco, who, along with his Nazi German and Italian fascist allies, violently suppressed Catalonia during and after the Spanish Civil War, had acted in the extreme. In June of this year, the same Supreme Court that sentenced Junquera to 13 years in prison for abiding by the results of a popular referendum on independence for Catalonia, handed down 15-year prison sentences to five men who violently gang-raped an 18-year old woman at the 2016 Pamplona bull run. In the case of Junquera and his fellow Catalonian leaders, it was the Catalonian nation and culture that was figuratively “raped” by the Spanish Supreme Court. Yet, the “esteemed” justices saw no need to sentence themselves to 15-years in prison.
UN Secretary General António Guterres, who is from Portugal, has the authority and ability to invite the seven Catalonian leaders who fled into exile into other European nations, including former President Carles Puigdemont, to address the UN Security Council and confront before the world body the Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations. Guterres, more than any past UN Secretary General, should understand the bellicosity of the domineering Castilians toward other nationalities on the Iberian Peninsula. There was a time, under Franco, when the fascist Falangists wanted to annex Portugal to the Spanish state. If that had occurred, it could have been Guterres who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for Portuguese “sedition” against the Spanish state.
Similarly, after President Donald Trump reneged on US military security protection of the Syrian Kurdish inhabitants of the Rojava region of northern and eastern Syria and the Syriac-Assyrians of Gozarto in northeastern Syria and withdrew US special operations forces to make way for Turkish ethnic cleansing of Kurdish territory, Guterres could have invited the political leaders of Rojava and Gozarto to address the Security Council. There, the Kurds and Assyrians could have directly confronted the representatives of Turkey and the United States before a world audience. It is for exactly these types of situations that the UN Secretary General was invested with the powers to invite representatives of non-member states to address the Security Council.
Previously, representatives of Palestine, even before it became a non-member official observer state of the UN, were able to confront the Israeli ambassador before the Security Council. In 1975, Secretary General Kurt Waldheim invited the observers of two applicant member states – the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of South Vietnam, which had just militarily defeated the United States after a long war, to address the Council. Even though US ambassador Daniel Moynihan welcomed the two observers, Nguyen Van Luu of North Vietnam and Ding Ba Thi of the Provisional Revolutionary Government in Saigon, he cast a US veto on UN membership of the two states, which eventually merged into one, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Moynihan’s no vote was the only one cast, with Japan, the United Kingdom, China, the USSR, and France voting to admit the two states. Only Costa Rica abstained. If the North Vietnamese and Vietcong could send emissaries to the Security Council in 1975, there is absolutely no reason why Catalonia and Rojava/Gozarto cannot do the same today. The failure of the UN Security Council to do so is yet another indication of how the UN has sold itself to global corporate interests and those of the host nation, the United States.
In 1948, Secretary General Trygve Lie invited a representative of the State of Hyderabad to address the Security Council. India was threatening to invade the princely state, which did not opt to join the Indian Union after Britain granted independence to India and Pakistan. The Indian Permanent Representative argued that the representative of the Nizam of Hyderabad had no right to address the Council. However, Lie and the UN Secretariat rejected the Indian stance and no member of the Security Council questioned that decision. There is no reason why the current Secretary General cannot invite representatives of the former Autonomous State of Jammu and Kashmir, which was dissolved on the orders of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to address the Council. Similarly, representatives of the Free Territory of Trieste, citing the Treaty of Peace with Italy signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, were denied the right to bring their grievances, arising from the 1954 annexation of Trieste by Italy, before the Security Council, due mainly to pressure from the United States, Britain, and France. The US was exercising more control over the UN with a new Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold, at the helm than it could under Lie.
The US Mission to the United Nations is mired in the past. From 1951 to 1954, the UN accepted no new members because each and every aspirant member state was subjected to Cold War rivalry politics. In some ways, the hostility toward new members was a result of policies carried over from the failed League of Nations. Those states already independent saw any newcomers as beneath recognition, either diplomatically or as a result of admission to the League or the UN. In 1920, the League rejected Liechtenstein’s application because the small principality was seen as a vassal state of Switzerland. This same policy by the UN saw the situation that between 1947 and 1955, there were almost as many full membership-desiring observer nations at the UN as there were actual full members!
Current UN members should have some empathy for those who are not recognized as states but have legitimate grievances to air before the Security Council. In 1961, Kuwait’s application to join the UN was opposed by Iraq and vetoed by the Soviet Union because it was argued that Kuwait did not possess legitimate statehood. Iraq pointed out that the Sheikh of Kuwait considered most of the 250,000 inhabitants of the territory to be foreigners. In fact, it was the US representative at a UN meeting in San Francisco in 1948 who argued that “some political entities which do not possess full sovereign freedom to form their own international policy” could still have the essential characteristics “requisite of United Nations membership.” It is because of this caveat that saw such states as Kuwait, Monaco, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and San Marino admitted as full UN members.
Before Nepal was admitted as a UN member in 1955, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru maintained that India’s northern border with China was the Himalayan mountain range. That contention placed Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan to the south of the claimed Indian border. Although Nepal and Bhutan eventually became UN member states, Sikkim was invaded and forcibly annexed to India in 1975. Sikkim’s request to address the Security Council was deep-sixed by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in a Confidential April 16, 1975 State Department cable to the US embassy in New Delhi: “Our support for a Sikkimese request to have the United Nations look into the problem might be welcomed in Nepal, Pakistan, or China, this would not be productive approach. The only result would be to create new and serious bilateral problems with India, and it would run the risk of creating heightened tension in the Himalayas.”
Kissinger helped usher the era of status quo enthusiasm at both the State Department and UN. No longer would the Security Council welcome pleas from non-member delegations, whether they were from Sikkim, Western Sahara, Cabinda, and East Timor in 1975 or Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Ajaria, Transnistria, Gagauzia, or Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s. In fact, Secretary General U Thant believed that entities with populations smaller than 100,000 were not even viable UN member states.
Secretary General Guterres should re-adopt the policies of the first Secretary General, Trygve Lie, and extend invitations to non-member aspirant states to bring their cases before the world body. Only then, will the UN be recognized, once again, for its neutrality and universality.
Russia responds to US move by accusing United States of ‘international banditry’
MEE and agencies
Washington began sending reinforcements into oil-rich east Syria, a US defence official said on Saturday, as a military convoy flying American flags crossed into the war-torn country from Iraq, sparking Russian criticism.
The official told AFP that Washington has begun reinforcing positions in Deir Ezzor province with extra military assets in coordination with Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The aim was to prevent the Islamic State (IS) group and other actors from gaining access to oil fields in an area of Syria that was once under IS control, he said, declining to elaborate.
Russia’s Defence Ministry responded by accusing the United States of “international banditry.”
The US official’s comments came as a convoy of about 13 military vehicles crossed into Syria from Iraq, an AFP correspondent said.
About 200 US troops are already in Deir Ezzor, but President Donald Trump earlier this month ordered an American pullout from Syria’s northern border, paving the way for a long-feared Turkish invasion.
Trump last week said a “small number” of US troops would stay to secure the oil, changing the rationale for his country’s involvement in the war.
A US defence official on Thursday told MEE in an email: “The US is committed to reinforcing our position, in coordination with our SDF partners, in northeast Syria with additional military assets,”
The deployment is supposed “to prevent those oil fields from falling back to into the hands of ISIS or other destabilizing actors,” the official added, using another acronym for IS.
In a statement on Saturday, Russia’s Defence Ministry said that Washington had no mandate under international or US law to increase its military presence in Syria, and said its plan was not motivated by genuine security concerns for the region, according to Reuters.
“What Washington is currently doing – seizing and placing under control the oil fields of eastern Syria – is simply international banditry,” the Russian ministry said.
US troops and private security companies in eastern Syria are protecting oil smugglers who make more than $30m a month, the statement added.
Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad and has helped him turn the tide of a bloody civil war, has long insisted that the US military presence in Syria is illegal.
Remember the Spinal Tap scene where the witless band member explains that because their numbers go to 11 they can always get that little bit extra? Putin Derangement Syndrome went past 11 a long time ago: we need a whole new set of superlatives, “craziest” just won’t do any more
After writing this compendium of nonsense about Putin from Western sources in 2015, I ran a short series on Putin Derangement Syndrome; I gave up when Putin Derangement Syndrome and Trump Derangement Syndrome merged into a crescendo of craziness, far past what I could have imagined.
(And Trump Derangement Syndrome is also passed 11 – “Why Ivanka Trump’s new haircut should make us very afraid“.)
In the past, American hysteria campaigns against the enemy-of-the-moment ended when their target did. Noriega went to jail, Milosevic died in jail, Hussein and Qadaffi were killed, bin Laden was killed, Aidid – but who remembers him? The frenzy built up and up and stopped at the end before it got to 11. But Putin is still there and growing stronger by the moment. And the frenzy therefore has to go past 10, past 11 and ever upwards. One of the craziest (to say nothing of disgusting) things was this absurd cartoon from the (formerly) staid NYT. But that was a whole year ago.
No longer bare chests, Aspergers, big fish, gunslinger walks – in 2015 they were laughing; today Putin has super powers. Two events sent it past 11. Somebody leaked e-mails from the DNC showing that it was rigging the nomination for Clinton and she lost a 99% certain election. Immediately, her campaign settled on blaming Russia for both.
That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. [9 November 2016] Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument. (From Shattered, quoted here.)
The bogus – bogus because most of the people on his team were part of the conspiracy and knew there was no collusion – Mueller investigation dragged on until – despite the endless “bombshells” – it finally stopped. But the crazies insist… not guilty but… not exonerated! And Trumputin’s principal conspiracist rants on.
Wikipedia tells us that “A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful actors, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable.” The CIA, referring to the Kennedy assassination, is said to have coined the expression in 1967. The “trusted source” media (an description it likes to award itself) is dead set against “conspiracy theories” and quick to denounce them as crazy, prejudiced and criminal. For example, Trump’s statement that Mueller was a hitman, is a “conspiracy theory” as are Trump’s ideas about the Bidens and Ukraine.
Everything I mention below comes from “trusted sources”. Therefore we must assume that all of them – Putin wants Trump to buy Greenland, Russians want to get Americans arguing about pizza, Russians have no moral sense and all the rest – are not “conspiracy theories” but honestly “more probable”.
Mere evidence – for example that the DOJ Admits FBI Never Saw Crowdstrike Report on DNC Russian Hacking Claim… or No Evidence – Blame Russia: Top 5 Cases Moscow Was Unreasonably Accused of Election Meddling or U.S. States: We Weren’t Hacked by Russians in 2016 or The Myth of Russian Media Influence by Larry C Johnson.. or Biden admitting to doing what USA Today insists is nothing but a conspiracy theory invented by Trump – makes no difference. The dial is turned up one more and we are solemnly and (incoherently – Paul Robinson again) warned that Russia might/could meddle in Canada’s forthcoming election.
Anti-Russia prejudice can have unhappy consequences. We have just learned that Putin phoned Bush a couple of days before 911 to warn him that something long-prepared and big was coming out of Afghanistan. Other Russian warnings had been dismissed by Condoleezza Rice – supposedly a Russia “expert” – as “Russian bitterness toward Pakistan for supporting the Afghan mujahideen”. One is reminded of Chamberlain’s dismissal of Stalin’s attempts to form an anti-Hitler alliance because of his “most profound distrust of Russia” (see Habakkuk comment). In some alternate universe they listened to Moscow in the 1930s and in the 2000s, but, in the one we live in, they didn’t. And they don’t.
Or maybe (foolish optimism!) this is starting to end: after all, it’s been a complete failure. I especially enjoyed the NYT, that bastion of the Russian-conspiracy/Putin-superpowers/Trump-treason meme, solemnly opining: “That means President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia and peel it away from China. But his approach has been ham-handed and at times even counter to American interests and values.” Ham-handed! – here’s the NYT’s view of the Trump-Putin “love affair” again if you missed it the first time. And now it’s Trump’s fault that relations with Russia aren’t better! French President Macron has recently said that “I believe we should rebuild and revise the architecture of trust between Russia and the European Union.” And Trump rather brutally delivered the message to Ukraine’s new president that he ought to talk to Putin.
Well, we’ll see. Russophobia runs deep and the Russians have probably got the message. As long as we’re stuck in a mindset of “Nine Things Russia Must Do Before Being Allowed to Rejoin the G7” it’s not going to change. An arrogant invitation is not an invitation.
Hundreds of American soldiers are remaining in Syria to occupy its oil reserves and block the Syrian government from revenue needed for reconstruction. Trump said openly, “We want to keep the oil.”
US President Donald Trump has reassured supporters that he is “bringing soldiers home” from the “endless” war in Syria. But that is simply not the case.
While Trump has ordered a partial withdrawal of the approximately 1,000 American troops on Syrian territory — who have been enforcing an illegal military occupation under international law — US officials and the president himself have admitted that some will be staying. And they will remain on Syrian soil not to ensure to safety of any group of people, but rather to maintain control over oil and gas fields.
The US military has already killed hundreds of Syrians, and possibly even some Russians, precisely in order to hold on to these Syrian fossil fuel reserves.
Washington’s obsession with toppling the Syrian government refuses to die. The United States remains committed to preventing Damascus from retaking its own oil, as well as its wheat-producing breadbasket region, in order to starve the government of revenue and prevent it from funding reconstruction efforts.
The Washington Post noted in 2018 that the US and its Kurdish allies were militarily occupying a massive “30 percent slice of Syria, which is probably where 90 percent of the pre-war oil production took place.”
Now, for the first time, Trump has openly confirmed the imperialist ulterior motives behind maintaining a US military presence in Syria.
“We want to keep the oil,” Trump confessed in a cabinet meeting on October 21. “Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”
Three days earlier, the president tweeted, “The U.S. has secured the Oil.”
Just spoke to President @RTErdogan of Turkey. He told me there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated. He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work. Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen. Too bad there wasn’t…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 18 октября 2019 г.
“President Trump is leaning in favor of a new Pentagon plan to keep a small contingent of American troops in eastern Syria, perhaps numbering about 200, to combat the Islamic State and block the advance of Syrian government and Russian forces into the region’s coveted oil fields.
… A side benefit would be helping the Kurds keep control of oil fields in the east, the official said.”
Trump then explicitly reiterated this policy in a White House press briefing on the Syria withdrawal on October 23.
“We’ve secured the oil (in Syria), and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said. “And we’re going to be protecting it. And we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”
Using ISIS as an excuse to occupy Syria’s oil fields
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper – the former vice president of government relations at top weapons manufacturer Raytheon, before being promoted by Trump to the head of the Pentagon – revealed the actual US policy on Syria in a press conference on the 21st:
“We have troops in towns in northeast Syria that are located next to the oil fields. The troops in those towns are not in the present phase of withdrawal.
… Our forces will remain in the towns that are located near the oil fields.”
Esper added that the US military is “maintaining a combat air patrol above all of our forces on the ground in Syria.”
Unlike Trump, Esper offered an excuse to justify the continued US military occupation of Syria’s oil fields. He insisted that American soldiers remain to help the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hold on to the resources and prevent ISIS jihadists from taking them over.
This led mainstream corporate media outlets like CNN to report, “Defense secretary says some US troops will temporarily stay in Syria to protect oil fields from ISIS.”
But any observer who carefully parsed Esper’s comments during his press conference would have been able to detect the real goal behind the prolonged US presence in northeastern Syria. As Esper said, “A purpose of those [US] forces, working with the SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned.”
An excerpt from the Pentagon’s official transcript of the Mark Esper press conference
“And others who may benefit from their revenues earned” is a crucial qualifier. In fact, Esper used this language – “ISIS and others” – two more times in his presser.
Who exactly Esper meant by “others” is clear: The US strategy is to prevent Syria’s UN-recognized government and the Syrian majority that lives under its control from retaking their own oil fields and reaping the benefits of their revenue.
US military massacred hundreds to keep control of Syrian oil fields
This is not just speculation. CNN made it plain when it reported the following in an undeniably blunt passage, citing anonymous US senior military officials:
“The US military has long had military advisers embedded with the Syrian Democratic Forces near the Syrian oil fields at Deir Ezzoir ever since the area was captured from ISIS. The loss of those oil fields denied ISIS a major source of revenue, a one-time source of funds that has differentiated the organization from other terror groups.
The oil fields are assets that have also been long sought after by Russia and the Assad regime, which is strapped for cash after years of civil war. Both Moscow and Damascus hope to use oil revenues to help rebuild western Syria and solidify the regime’s hold.
In a bid to seize the oil fields, Russian mercenaries attacked the areas, leading to a clash that saw dozens if not hundreds of Russian mercenaries killed in US airstrikes, an episode that Trump has touted as proof he is tough on Russia. That action helped deter Russian or regime forces from making similar bids for the oil fields.
The US forces near the oil fields remain in place and senior military officials had previously told CNN that they would likely be among the last to leave Syria.”
CNN thus acknowledged that the US military had killed up to “hundreds” of Syrian and Russia-backed fighters seeking to gain access to Syria’s oil fields. It massacred these fighters not for humanitarian reasons, but to prevent the Syrian government from using “oil revenues to help rebuild western Syria.”
This shockingly direct admission flew in the face of the popular myth that the US was keeping troops in Syria to protect Kurds from an assault by NATO member Turkey.
The CNN report was an apparent reference to the Battle of Khasham, a little known but important episode in the eight-year international proxy war on Syria.
The battle unfolded on February 7, 2018, when the Syrian military and its allies launched an attack to try to retake major oil and gas reserves in Syria’s Deir ez-Zour governorate, which were being occupied by American troops and their Kurdish proxies.
The New York Times seemed to revel in the news that the US military massacred 200 to 300 fighters after hours of “merciless airstrikes from the United States.”
The Times repeatedly stressed that Deir ez-Zour is “oil-rich.” And it cited anonymous US officials who claimed that many of the slaughtered fighters were Russian nationals from the private military company the Wagner Group. These unnamed “American intelligence officials” told the Times that the alleged Russian fighters were “in Syria to seize oil and gas fields and protect them on behalf of the Assad government.”
The Times noted that US special operations forces from JSOC were working with Kurdish forces at an outpost next to Syria’s important Conoco gas plant. The Kurdish-led SDF had seized this facility from ISIS in 2017 with the help of the US military. The Wall Street Journal noted at the time that the “plant is capable of producing nearly 450 tons of gas a day,” and was one of ISIS’ most important sources of funding.
The newspaper added, “The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, are racing against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for territorial gains in Syria’s east.” The commodities monitoring websites MarketWatch and OilPrice.com were closely following the story and analyzing which forces would take over one of Syria’s most important gas plants.
Starving Syria of oil and wheat, the basics of survival
For the Syrian government, regaining control over its oil and gas reserves in the eastern part of its territory is crucial to paying for reconstruction efforts and social programs — especially at a time when suffocating US and EU sanctions have crippled the economy, caused fuel shortages, and severely hurt Syria’s civilian population.
The US has aimed to prevent Damascus from retaking profitable territory, starving it of natural resources from fossil fuels to basic foodstuffs.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama deployed US troops to northeastern Syria on the grounds of helping the Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fight ISIS. What started as several dozen US special operations forces quickly ballooned into some 2,000 troops, largely stationed in northeastern Syria.
As these US soldiers enabled the YPG retake territory from ISIS, they solidified Washington’s control over nearly one-third of Syrian sovereign territory — territory that just so happened to include 90 percent of Syria’s oil, as well as 70 percent of its wheat.
The US subsequently forced the Kurdish-led YPG to rebrand as the SDF, and then treated them as proxies to try to weaken the Syrian government and its allies Iran and Russia.
In June, Reuters confirmed that Kurdish-led authorities had agreed to stop selling wheat to Damascus, after the US government pressured them to do so.
The Grayzone has reported how the Center for a New American Security, a leading Democratic Party foreign policy think tank bankrolled by the US government and NATO, proposed using the “wheat weapon” to starve Syria’s civilian population.
A former Pentagon researcher-turned-senior fellow at the think tank declared openly, “Wheat is a weapon of great power in this next phase of the Syrian conflict.” He added, “It can be used to apply pressure on the Assad regime, and through the regime on Russia, to force concessions in the UN-led diplomatic process.”
Donald Trump appeared to echo this strategy in his October 21 cabinet meeting.
“We want to keep the oil, and we’ll work something out with the Kurds so that they have some money, have some cashflow,” he said. “Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”
While Trump has pledged to bring US soldiers home and end their military occupation of Syrian territory – which is illegal under international law – it is evident that the broader regime change war continues.
A brutal economic war on Damascus is escalating, not only through sanctions but through the theft of Syria’s natural treasures by foreign powers.
The truth is that in addition to Turkey, the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have armed, financed and trained about 250 thousand jihadis from all around the world since 2010 for the purposes of attacking Syria, precipitating a disaster in the region, with repercussions felt in Europe, and committing crimes against humanity.
The Syrian Arab Army, with the assistance of its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies, has managed to overcome the depredations of al-Qaeda and ISIS, confining them to the Idlib region, creating in the process some problems for the countries that armed and supported these monsters.
One of these problems lies with two of NATO’s most important countries, and the respective factions that they support in Syria.
Ankara considers the PKK-affiliated YPG to be a terrorist organization, using the jihadis of al-Nusra Front, Daesh, al-Qaeda and the FSA to attack areas under the control of Damascus in order to exterminate the Kurds.
Before the alt-media started to talk about the use of terrorists against Syria, the complaints emanating from Damascus about what was going on were dismissed as propaganda. Now the mainstream media is all of a sudden beside itself with concern for the wellbeing of the Kurds. When Syrian civilians were under similar assault, the likes of CNN and other international media created a smokescreen to prevent people from understanding what was happening in Syria. Such deliberate obfuscation has caused thousands of deaths that are no less heinous than those committed by Daesh.
Behind the obfuscating fog is the fact that the United States helped create Daesh in Iraq and used them in 2012 as a weapon against Damascus, in full coordination with Erdogan. Dozens of jihadist groups were armed and equipped to support US plans to destroy Syria.
Washington is a master at creating “problems” (al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc.) for its own geo-political purposes that require the ready-made solution. However, when things do not go to plan, there is a Plan B to fall back on in order to justify an illegal presence under the pretense of fighting terrorism.
Syria was subjected to just this gameplan. But with Damascus getting the better of Daesh, the Pentagon had to fall back on Plan B, which involved the occupation of northern Syria, under the pretext of protecting the Kurds from Daesh as well as advancing the noble quest of fighting terrorism. It is only thanks to the complacency of the mainstream media that such heights of contradiction have been achieved.
The SDF and the YPG illegally occupy Syria under the enabling umbrella of the illegal presence of the US, which hoped to use these proxies to partition Syria through the cause of Kurdish separatism.
Interestingly, the mainstream media never reveals that a good deal of Syria’s Kurds, who have been living for months in areas under the control of Damascus, actually support the Assad government.
Unsurprisingly, the SDF and YPG are supported politically by many Western countries seeking to partition Syria in favor of a Kurdish enclave. Israel, even as it destroys the lives of millions of Palestinians, shamelessly demands self-determination for the Kurds in Syria.
The SDF masters in Washington understand well that without a force on the land controlled by them, they could not prevent Assad from reuniting the country and taking over the a commercial, economic and energy connection project between Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran, with the Beijing Economic blessing that intends to invest / grant lines of credit of more than 600 billion dollars between Iran, Syria and Iraq.
The only legitimate authority in Syria that is able to guarantee the safety of civilians from the depredations of Daesh, the FSA, al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and all the other 256 iterations of jihadists (none of whom is “moderate”) is the Syrian Arab Army and its central government in Damascus.
Turkey, the SDF and the United States are three irregular, illegal and illegitimate occupants of Syrian soil who are fighting in the midst of thousands of civilians and are causing death and destruction that could easily be avoided.
The international political and media reaction to events happening in Syria confirms in my mind that there is an internal wrangle between the United States, Turkey and the SDF stemming from their defeat at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army and allies; a win for civilization.
From extraordinary candid admissions made separately by US President Donald Trump and the New York Times, there can be no illusion about what American forces are really deployed in Syria for. It’s an illegal occupation against the Syrian government and in particular to deprive the Arab country of its oil resources.
Subsequently this week it is being reported that the Pentagon is to deploy Abrams tanks and other heavy equipment to the oil fields near Deir Ez-Zor. The troops involved for such a new deployment would far outnumber the 1,000 or so soldiers that President Trump had said were “coming home”.
The oil fields of Syria are located mainly in the eastern provinces bordering with Iraq. Those areas (about a third of the country) are the last-remaining territory still outside of the control of the government in Damascus. The Syrian state will need to recover its oil fields in order to fund the reconstruction of the nation after nearly eight years of war.
In a tweet last weekend, Trump stated: “USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. We have secured the Oil [sic]. Bringing soldiers home!”
The president was referring to the dubious deal he hatched with Turkey last week which resulted in the US abandoning its Kurdish allies and unleashing a deadly offensive by Turk forces against northeast Syria. After incurring much criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, as well as military experts and media pundits for his withdrawal of US troops, Trump is understandably trying to put a positive spin on his move.
Hence he is bragging about having defeated the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) jihadi terror network “100 per cent” and “bringing soldiers home”. The latter is an apparent fulfillment of Trump’s 2016 election promise to “end endless wars” and return American troops home from foreign interventions.
So, what’s that cryptic reference by Trump about “securing the Oil about?” Notice too how he used capital O when writing “Oil”, indicating something strategic about his reference to Syria’s resource. Evidently, the purported defeat of terrorism and bringing troops home is not the full story. The oil oozes out between the lines.
A NY Times’ report on Monday sheds more light on that aspect. Admittedly, the Times is hardly a reliable source, given its embedded links to US intelligence agencies and its trenchant anti-Trump agenda warping almost everything it publishes. Nevertheless, given that Trump and the NY Times appear to be consistent here on the issue suggests that there is indeed substance to the admission.
The Times quotes an anonymous senior Trump administration official and Pentagon sources who say that the president is giving the go-ahead for a small contingency of American special forces, perhaps numbering 200, which are to remain in eastern Syria. That nails the lie that Trump is pulling all US troops out of Syria. He is not “bringing soldiers home”, as he keeps whooping about.
Mark Esper, the US Defense Secretary, also confirmed to reporters on route to Afghanistan last weekend that American forces will transfer to Iraq from Syria and remain near the Syrian border. Esper said the US military would be “defending Iraq” and deployed to prevent a potential resurgence of ISIS. At any rate, that’s the hackneyed official rationale.
However, on the matter of US special forces remaining in Syria, the NY Times reports: “President Trump is leaning in favor of a new Pentagon plan to keep a small contingent of American troops in eastern Syria, perhaps numbering about 200, to combat the Islamic State and block the advance of Syrian government and Russian forces into the region’s coveted oil fields, a senior administration official said on Sunday.”
That is an astounding admission. Forget about “fighting terrorists”, the real objective of US military deployment in Syria is to control the country’s oil resources which are predominantly located in the eastern provinces, where the US had been working in partnership with Syrian Kurdish militia for the past five years. That partnership was supposedly in the name of “defeating ISIS”.
Trump’s cavalier jettisoning of the Kurds in acquiescence to Turkey’s demand for a military attack on the Syrian Kurds, which Ankara regards as terrorists, is a clear demonstration that Washington’s agenda with the Kurds was never really about fighting ISIS, but rather it was about using them as proxies to balkanize Syria’s territory, in particular the oil-rich eastern region.
Trump’s self-congratulations about “ending endless wars” is all disingenuous platitude to drum up his re-election chances in 2020.
This president has been talking about withdrawing US troops from Syria for the past year, yet there are an estimated 1,000 still remaining there, as well as warplanes. The Pentagon has built bases and air fields in eastern and southern Syria near the border with Iraq. The troops moving out of Syria are taking up positions in neighboring Iraq from where they will conduct counterinsurgency operations, no doubt intended to maraud into Syria when desired.
Trump has agreed to keep 150 troops at the US base at Al Tanf in southern Syria, where the camp is a training ground for thousands of jihadist militants known as Maghawir al-Thawra. The Maghawir al-Thawra are not fighting ISIS, as the Pentagon claims. They are more accurately just another proxy for US interests, involved in a nefarious division of labor along with ISIS and the Kurds.
The militants out of Al Tanf can be expected to link up with the 200 US special forces and perhaps some remnant Kurdish mercenaries assigned to “block the advance of Syrian government and Russian forces into the region’s coveted oil fields,” as the NT Times reports.
This is no doubt what Trump meant when he alluded to “securing the Oil” in Syria. In that way, President Trump and the NY Times are admitting that the real purpose of American military being in Syria is for imperial conquest.
A cruel twist is that Syria needs to harness its oil in order to reconstruct from a war launched covertly on that nation by the US and its NATO partners back in 2011. Now, with sickening vindictiveness, the US seems intent on preventing Syria utilizing its own vital oil resources for recovery, by planning an illegal American military occupation of eastern Syria indefinitely.
Many astute observers of the eight-year in Syria always knew that Washington’s agenda was regime change and that its anti-terror claims were a fraudulent pretext. Now we have the US president and America’s leading newspaper owning up to the criminal occupation of Syrian territory and a land grab for oil.
The apparent communications problems that have arisen between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are basically due to Trump’s failure to understand that Erdogan is essentially his Turkish counterpart in more ways that the title of the office that they both hold. They rose to power in a similar fashion, based on an understanding that there were large numbers of disenchanted essentially conservative voters, and they continue to rule in an unorthodox fashion that combines a high level of personal sensitivity with a tolerance for corruption plus a tendency to come out with brash misstatements.
One does not expect Trump to actually know anything about Turkey and its history, or, for that matter, about the political trajectory of Erdogan, but the American president’s businessman’s belief that his personal relationship with other countries’ leaders is enough to run a foreign policy is nevertheless seriously flawed. Trump has described Erdogan as a “friend” based on several personal meetings and phone calls, though it is very unlikely that the canny politician Erdogan would describe the relationship in the same manner. Trump’s most recent personal letter to the Turkish leader was reportedly thrown into the waste basket without being read.
Istanbul-born Erdogan, unlike Trump, came from a poor family and first became known as a professional soccer player. Also unlike Trump, he was and is deeply religious. He became a ward politician in Istanbul and was subsequently elected Mayor of the city in 1994 as the candidate of the moderately Islamist Welfare Party. Openly espoused religious parties were at that time illegal under the secular constitution imposed by the military in 1982, so he was stripped of his position by a military tribunal, banned from political office, and imprisoned for four months for the crime of “inciting religious hatred.”
After he was released from prison, Erdogan considered how to get around the ban on religion in politics, co-founding the ostensibly moderate and secular conservative Justice and Development Party known as AKP in 2001. In 2002, AKP won a landslide victory in national elections, but as Erdogan was technically still prohibited from holding office, the AKP’s co-founder, Abdullah Gul, instead becoming Prime Minister, which then led to the Chamber of Deputies’ legislative annulling of Erdogan’s political ban. Erdogan replaced Gul as Prime Minister in 2003. Erdogan led the AKP to two more election victories in 2007 and 2011, before being elected president in 2014, winning again in 2018.
The first years of Erdogan’s prime-ministership were politically moderate as Turkey was still governed under the military imposed constitution. There were promising negotiations for Turkey to enter the European union, foreign investment was encouraged, the economy benefited from measures to free up businesses from state control, and there was considerable state money spent on infrastructure. Behind the scenes, however, Erdogan worked closely with Fethullah Gulen and his Gulen Movement, currently designated as a terrorist organization, to purge the government of secular bureaucrats and army officers using Gulen’s networking and the judicial system, most notably through several show trials of military officers that led to constitutional referenda that both weakened the military’s grip and enabled the legalization of expressions of Muslim piety.
Erdogan was damaged by a series of anti-government protests that began in 2013. His response, like that of Donald Trump, has been to become increasingly authoritarian, claiming that the opposition to him was treasonous. He banned social media, took control of the judicial system, and arrested both journalists and opposition politicians. Opponents responded by going after massive corruption in the administration that included the prime minister’s sons and his chief financial supporters. A file containing recordings of conversations between Erdogan and his son in December 2013, in which he appeared to be providing instructions on how to conceal very large amounts of money, was made public. Erdogan denied that the conversation was genuine, instead calling it an “immoral montage.”
Subsequently, a widely publicized failed military coup in 2016 was blamed on Gulen but was more likely than not allowed to develop by Erdogan himself to provide an excuse for further repression of critics. More than 150,000 civil servants have since that time been fired and replaced by Erdogan loyalists.
In 2017 Erdogan formed an alliance with the far-right National Movement Party (MHP) to promote a constitutional referendum on the form of government. In spite of fierce opposition and considerable electoral fraud, the referendum passed and the new system of government, a presidential system without a prime minister, formally came into place after the 2018 national election, which was won by Erdogan and the new AKP-MHP People’s Alliance.
A currency and debt crisis beginning in 2018 have caused a significant decline in Erdogan’s popularity and led to a loss in the 2019 local elections in which the ruling party lost control of the capital Ankara and largest city and financial hub Istanbul for the first time in 25 years. After the loss, the Turkish government ordered a re-election in Istanbul, in which AKP-MHP lost the election again by an even greater margin. The two successive losses severely damaged Erdogan politically speaking. He had once said that if we “lose Istanbul, we would lose Turkey,” with critics calling the loss the “beginning of the end” for him.
The central point is that, like Trump’s plea to Make America Great Again, Erdogan rose to power by virtue of his realization that the often deeply religious Turkish peasantry, which was increasingly moving to the country’s large cities, was a disaffected pool of voters that had not been tapped emotionally or even practically by any of the major political parties. That that was so was largely due to the fact that the country’s military imposed constitution enshrined the secularism of the nation’s founder Kemal Ataturk and appointed the army as the guarantor of the Ataturk principles. Erdogan was arrested but he subsequently skillfully avoided prosecution during his rise due to his willingness to use language and metaphors that appealed to what he perceived as the devout but largely un-politicized majority. This is not dissimilar to Trump’s appeal to the so-called “deplorables” and it explains why both leaders have core supporters who follow them with a real passion.
Other similarities between the two include a propensity to say things spontaneously that are both absurd and politically damaging, a belief that the chief executive should have no restraint exercised over his policies and positions, sons who are benefitting from their father’s position, and a lack of discretion when using the telephone.
And then there is the style issue – both men are blunt, thin skinned and assertive, unwilling to be upstaged by anyone, which suggests that they have had a tendency to talk past each other either on the phone or in person. This explains the curious misunderstanding of what the Americans and Turks pledged to do over the phone in the aftermath of the partial withdrawal of US troops from the Syrian border region several weeks ago. It also explains why there will be no quick resolution to the problems that both Ankara and Washington have created as Syria struggles to return to something approaching normalcy.
This article is about the role ideology actually played in World War II, the Cold War, and plays in today’s world. The links here provide access to deeper explorations, regarding each linked issue. Readers who aren’t interested in ideology won’t be interested in understanding that the US is now a certain type of fascist country, but that’s what’s explained here, for whomever is interested:
In every nation where an aristocracy exists, what really matters isn’t whether or not aristocrats possess official titles but whether they actually are the few individuals whom the government actually represents. If they are, then the government is an aristocracy, no democracy (which is where there is rule by no few people, but actually by a government that authentically represents all of the nation’s residents). And those few individuals (the actual aristocracy, or “Deep State,” which rules that country) are always the wealthiest in the land, who hire lobbyists and others to pay whomever needs to be paid in order to carry out their intention by means of the Government, via its legislature, chief executive, courts, police, and military. In other words: such a country is a dictatorship — and a corrupt one, at that. Dictatorship formerly used to be done as feudalism, during the Agrarian Age, but increasingly, in the Industrial Age, after 28 October 1922, it’s being done as fascism, which Mussolini sometimes called “corporationism”.
Both of those systems — feudalism and fascism — are typically carried out also internationally, by means of imperialism and conquest, and control over, and exploitation of, foreign countries, called colonies or vassal-nations. The difference between fascism and nazism is simply that nazism is racist fascism, but both of those ideologies impose rule over a nation by its aristocracy (the owners of the controlling blocs of stock in that nation’s major corporations) and therefore are dictatorships, not democracies. (Under feudalism, the aristocracy had control over land, instead of control over corporations. That’s the difference between feudalism and fascism.) The dictatorial government can never become a democracy unless conquered by their own public (in an authentic revolution, which can be either violent or non-violent) or else by a foreign democracy that seeks no empire. (If they’re defeated by yet another imperialistic regime, then the government will remain a dictatorship.)
During World War II, the United States and its allies were waging war against three imperialistic fascist regimes — Italy, Germany, and Japan — because those three fascist regimes were imperialistic: they were not only domestic dictatorships, but also internationaldictatorships, conquering other lands, distant from their own, and therefore constituted severe threats against the national security of all other nations. America and its three main allies — Britain, USSR, and China (plus the nations that were allied with each one of those) — weren’t waging war against fascist Spain, because that fascist regime wasn’t trying to conquer any foreign country. Spain’s Government was a non-imperialist fascism, and therefore posed no threat to any of the Allies.
Consequently, the “isolationists” who, in the non-fascist countries, wished to avoid war against the three imperialistic fascist regimes, were supporting imperialism, not supporting peace, because the only way to support peace when there is an imperialistic regime is to prepare to defeat that imperialistic regime — to prepare for war against it, because that war will be coming, and the only real question is when it will come. (This is why lend-lease was done by Franklin Delano Roosevelt even before America overtly entered WW II.) Some of the pacifists in the 1930s were authentically naive, but others of them were pro-fascist. WW II was not actually a war about fascism versus democracy (such as the propagandized myth says), but instead was a war about imperialism versus the sovereignty of each nation. This reality is misrepresented by many ‘historians’, who simply — and falsely — presume that WW II was about dictatorship versus democracy. The reason why this myth is propagandized is that wherever the military-industrial complex control the government and the ‘news’-media (such as after FDR died), this myth is the way to get the public to support invasions such as against Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, and Syria during 2013-2019 (all of them sovereign countries, which posed no actual threat to America).
In this context, it’s important to make clear that to say (as many people do) that support for the sovereignty of each nation necessarily means opposition to the formation of a world government, is wrong — it’s simply false. A global federal government could develop in which all of the existing governments are democratically represented in a global republic as constituting its federal districts (which was FDR’s goal with the UN). Doing this would support the sovereignty of each nation within each nation’s territory, and would assign to the global government the exclusive control over nuclear and other strategic weapons, so that only by means of a majority-vote, in that global legislature, could strategic weapons be mobilized for war. However, a fascist world government — a global corporate dictatorship such as US President Barack Obama was trying to advance — would eliminate the sovereignty of nations and replace it by the sovereignty of international corporations. What would be supremely inconsistent with a global democracy of sovereign nations, is a global dictatorship — any type of dictatorial world government. There is strong evidence that Adolf Hitler (like Obama) aspired to establish a dictatorial world government, and that he (unlike Obama) even expected to achieve such global dictatorship within his own lifetime.
Hitler’s Nazism was fascist like Mussolini’s Fascism, but with a more pronounced residual feudalistic element of land and of race (and this feudalistic element includes the Old Testament’s zionism, of Israel being the land that God gave to “God’s People”; so, zionism is based upon that ancient feudal concept, which is concerned more with land than with any corporations).
Hitler hated Jews as a race. He didn’t consider them a religion, because in his private notes in 1919 at the time when he entered politics, he cited his authority, “The Bible — Monumental History of Mankind,” and this included the Old Testament, from which he often paraphrased in his subsequent speeches and writings. As a supremacist Christian, he despised Slavs as a nation of slaves to Jews, via the racially Jewish Karl Marx’s communism reigning over Slavic lands, which Hitler was convinced should therefore become controlled by his pureblooded Christian God’s People, or “Aryans.” For Hitler, race was thus supreme above nation, and this racial supremacy was what he referred to by emphasizing the “Volk,” or people, as being represented by his Nazi Party. To him, their race was “Aryan,” and this meant that they were pure-blooded Christians, the direct descendants of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, as that was being interpreted in light of the New Testament. In Hitler’s theology (roughly outlined in those 1919 notes, and subsequently developed in his speeches and published writings), the snake Satan from Genesis 3 had spawned the Jews, as Hitler interpreted Genesis 3 upon the basis of Matthew 23:33-38, John 8:44, and over a hundred other biblical passages that he paraphrased from in his notes, letters, speeches, and books. Thus, he said, “Jesus was not a Jew” — Jesus was descended from Adam and Eve, not from the snake. In his private notes during September 1919, at the time when his notes mentioned “The Bible — Monumental History of Mankind,” he was pondering the meaning of “original sin” and referred to the “blood poisoning” of “the Aryan” or “Children of God” by “the Jew” via “miscegenation,” violating “Racial purity the highest law” (as he interpreted the Old Testament) and so constituting “a terrible fact” that produces “misery forever.” He feared that he might be the illegitimate son of (“miscegenated” from) a Jew (though he actually was not, and he never got to know this). From September 1919 onwards, he was determined to atone for his “original sin” (the alleged Jewish bastardization) (and never to let the public know that this is what he was aiming to do). This was the basis of his racist fascism. Thus, in the May 2003 The Atlantic, Timothy Ryback headlined “Hitler’s Forgotten Library: You can tell a lot about a person from what he reads. The surviving — and largely ignored — remnants of Adolf Hitler’s personal library reveal a deep but erratic interest in religion and theology.” Ryback pointed out especially Hitler’s passionate markings in the books that Hitler was the most interested in. For example, Ryback wrote:
As I traced the penciled notations, I realized that Hitler was seeking a path to the divine that led to just one place. Fichte asked, “Where did Jesus derive the power that has held his followers for all eternity?” Hitler drew a dense line beneath the answer: “Through his absolute identification with God.” At another point Hitler highlighted a brief but revealing paragraph: “God and I are One. Expressed simply in two identical sentences — His life is mine; my life is his. My work is his work, and his work my work.”
As I had noted in my 2000 book about Hitler and the Holocaust, WHY the Holocaust Happened, Hitler on several occasions said in private, or only to devoted followers, such as he did on 18 December 1926, “The teachings of Christ have laid the foundations for the battle against Jews as the enemy of Mankind; the work that Christ began, I shall finish.” In that book, I wrote, regarding Hitler’s “final solution,” that (p. 274):
as is shown by Revelation 20:1-6, this solution [his ‘final solution’] will actually last for only a thousand years: exterminating Satan’s people will eliminate the blood-poisoning from Satan, and restore Paradise for one thousand years, the Thousand-Year Reich, during which God’s People — the Aryans — will rule the Earth, carrying out God’s will in Paradise restored.
In order for Hitler to do this, he needed to rise to become Germany’s leader, and to ultimately become the world’s leader; and this required WW II. So: that’s why he entered politics. WW II was essential in order for him to become enabled to wipe out all Jews.
But Jews were only his main target. He had actually two primary targets — two main war-aims — which were for Jews to become eliminated, and for Slavs to become Aryans’ slaves. Another way to phrase it is for Jews to be exterminated (not only in Germany but everywhere), and for the Soviet Union to be colonized by Aryans. As he saw it at that time, Slavs were being exploited by Jews, and he wanted Slavs to be exploited instead by Aryans. Hitler’s focus against the Soviet Union was secondary to his focus against Jews. But almost immediately when, on 12 April 1945, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died, Hitler’s secondary focus became adopted as the US Government’s primary focus.
Under the naive US President Harry S. Truman (deceived by agents of America’s wealthiest citizens), America’s dominant foreign-policy theme became (beginning on 26 July 1945) — and it increasingly has become — Hitler’s anti-Slav theme: under the guise of “anti-communism”. It was to be conquest of all of the Slav republics, virtually all of which, except Russia itself, have, indeed, successfully been taken over by the US regime — that is, by the US aristocracy, its billionaires who control all of America’s international corporations and the US Government. Hitler’s chief of anti-Russian intelligence actually became hired by US President Truman’s Government, in order, first, to set up West Germany’s foreign-intelligence operation against the Soviet Union; and, then (once Truman became replaced by one of his own core former advisors, the cunning Republican Dwight David Eisenhower) to help the fascist, even Nazi, Allen Dulles’s own CIA, to defeat the communist Soviet Union. After the Cold War ended in 1991 on Russia’s side, it was secretly continued on the US side, and US President Barack Obama’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine (which he had started in 2011 to plan) was one of its culminating events, which brings us to today. Here’s some of the deeper background behind that outcome (and explaining the nazism of the Government that Obama imposed upon Ukraine):
Reinhard Gehlen had been the chief of Hitler’s “military intelligence service on the eastern front during World War II” and he had been chosen by Hitler for this assignment because of his intense devotion to conquering the Soviet Union so as to expand the Lebensraum (living-space) of Germany’s Aryans, or pureblooded Christians, and to impose the enslavement of the Slavs who lived there. Gehlen’s amply documented methods entailed mass-murder and individual torture, all on a vast scale. He would have been a cynch to hang at Nuremberg. But he was sufficiently cunning so as to have secretly turned against Hitler in 1943 as soon as he could see that Germany would lose the war, and so he reached out at that time to Allen Dulles in America’s nascent CIA, the OSS, offering him assistance after the war would be over. Gehlen knew better than to reach out to any of Stalin’s people to offer help, and Truman turned out to be as naive as Gehlen possibly could have hoped for. Truman’s CIA set Gehlen up to run West Germany’s intelligence operation. Dulles did this, under the ignorant Truman. As John Loftus and Mark Aarons put it, in their masterful 1994 The Secret War Against the Jews (p. 151), “Allen Dulles had arranged for General Reinhard Gehlen, chief of Nazi intelligence on the Eastern front, to receive special treatment. Gehlen was flown to Washington in 1945, dressed as an American General.” Dulles was one of Gehlen’s secret friends. Truman didn’t like Dulles, but Eisenhower, who intermittently advised Truman, did.
Gehlen, one of the top Nazi war criminals, was not hung at Nuremberg, because the influential American who shared his chief values — both anti-Semitism but also and especially anti-Russian — Allen Dulles — assigned Gehlen to establish West Germany’s CIA division, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or national intelligence service, against the Soviet Union. General Gehlen already had thousands of secret “left behind” agents in the Soviet sphere, who had helped the Nazis while Hitler was still alive, and who remained committed to overthrowing communism there, even if not particularly supporting the post-WWII, after-FDR, really very new and increasingly anti-democratic, US government, which was rapidly becoming fundamentally different from what FDR had been hoping and trying to establish for post-WWII America and for the world-at-large.
The post-FDR US has instead become, and increasingly it is, a two-Party, Republican and Democratic Party, imperialistic fascist regime, which is bent upon world-conquest not much different from what Hitler had propounded for Germany in his 1928 Second Book, except that, in the American instance, the global-empire goal was not specifically anti-Jewish but instead is anti-Russian — and, at first, it was not even that (at least not nominally) but instead was ideological, “anti-communist,” so as to provide a ‘moral’ cover for what was actually a rising American imperialism, serving the billionaires who control the military-industrial complex. Global control has been the focus of this American fascist regime. It benefits America’s international corporations. The main aim of America’s post-WWII foreign policy has been to demonize Russians and anyone who opposed overthrowing the Soviet Union’s, and subsequently post-communist Russia’s, government (so that the United States would ultimately control Russia and finally the world).
At the end of WW II, the Soviet Union included not only Russia but also Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Then, because of FDR’s agreement with Stalin that it needed buffer-states in order to protect itself — just as the US had buffer states in Mexico, Canada and throughout the Western Hemisphere — Stalin was allowed by FDR to continue controlling the formerly Nazi-controlled Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland and eastern Germany, each of which nation therefore entered the post-War era with hundreds or thousands of left-behind agents who reported either directly to Gehlen’s organization or else to that of James Jesus Angleton, who worked under Allen Dulles. Angleton’s father, Hugh Angleton, had, while FDR was President and the CIA was called the OSS, collected the names and contacts of 3,000 Axis secret agents, which list he handed to his son when retiring from Government service at the end of WW II. Under FDR, the likely expectation was to target those 3,000 people after the war, to expose and disempower them, but under Truman the list was instead used so as to recruit them to be used against the Soviet Union. And the Angletons’ list, plus Gehlen’s personal list of his secret agents, thus became the basis of the new CIA’s Operation Gladio, which for the first time became fully and publicly exposed by a masterful BBC documentary in 1992, which was being telecast right after the Soviet Union disintegrated but before the management of the BBC yet knew that the war against Russia was secretly to continue even after Russia had already just ended the Cold War on their side.
Here is that extraordinary, and historically important, breakthrough documentary, which everyone who wants to understand the world today should see:
In other words: Virtually as soon as Truman came into office, J.J. Angleton was organizing the Gladio contingent, who were, at their very start, comprised of fascist and racist-fascist (or nazi) aristocrats who had previously been having the “partisans,” or anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi fighters against the fascists and nazis — the leading supporters of the Allies against the fascists — lynched. America now was secretly working against, instead of (as under FDR) working for, the heroic Europeans who had so courageously fought against Mussolini and Hitler during WW II. The leading fascists’ and nazis’ loyalty now was to be against the Soviet Union and to be organized and run by the US Government (no longer by either Hitler or Mussolini), with the cooperation and under the immediate direction of the most-far-right aristocrats of Europe, so as, ultimately, to conquer, first, the Soviet Union, and, then (ultimately), Russia (and China to be dealt with later). The ignorant and manipulable Truman became followed immediately, as President, by the intelligent and cunning outright fascist General Dwight Eisenhower, who knew what he was doing — building up America’s military-industrial complex, for global conquest — and, then, three days before he left office, he warned Americans against it as being a danger to America, as if he hadn’t been building them up all along. (Like Obama’s vision, Ike’s vision was for a dictatorship of the world by the controlling stockholders in America’s international corporations. And also like Obama, Ike was a mild-mannered and extremely cunning charmer.)
Behind the scenes, after FDR’s death, the US Government was — and it still is — a totalitarian international regime, no democracy at all, but instead an imperialistic dictator over almost the whole world, a nation that’s bent upon making the entire world serve as its imperial colonies. In other words: imperialistic fascist. And this wasn’t to be fascism in one nation, like under Franco in Spain (who would have been happy to serve as one of Hitler’s mere vassals); it was to be the full-fledged thing: expansionist fascism, which is imperialistic fascism, like Mussolini, Hitler, and Hirohito. This is today’s America, though, under FDR, it was America’s enemy.
A sophisticated operation by today’s fascists and nazis has arisen after WW II (including even in Israel) to pretend that Hitler did not intend to take over the world but that Stalin (whose philosophy derived from the communist Marx who condemned all imperialism) did. And, beside that fact against such ‘historical’ lies, is this: Stalin, within the communist movement, stood opposed to Trotsky who opposed this anti-imperialist feature of Marxism. Stalin instead insisted upon “communism within one country,” which meant that beyond the Soviet Union and its buffer-states, there was to be no spread of communism until communism within the Soviet Union first would manage to lead the world economically and thus would stand as the global economic model, which success of “communism within one country” would then (he was expecting) cause workers around the world to rise up in local revolutions and overthrow and replace capitalism. But today’s fascists and nazis lie nonetheless to allege that both Hitler and Stalin together had caused WW II and were imperialistic, trying to conquer the whole world. The fact is: Hitler was imperialistic, but Stalin was — in this regard, like FDR himself — anti-imperialistic.
This post-WWII fascist and nazi movement contends that Hitler actually was only responding to Stalin’s imperialism. Here is one recent argument along this line, and it’s based upon and extols the Oxfordian A.J.P. Taylor’s 1962 The Origins of the Second World War. A succinct good review of that book was written by Stephen Cooper at Amazon and headlined there “AN OUTRAGE”. One of the currently two negative reader-comments against that review of it was by an “Infidel” and took Taylor’s review to task because the only thing that Cooper presented against Taylor’s argument was “a completely different book,” which “Infidel” did not identify, but Cooper had especially cited Mein Kampf, as indicating that Hitler even in 1925 was promising to invade and conquer the Soviet Union. So, I responded there, to “Infidel,” as follows:
Responding to the comment here by “Infidel”: I presume that by your dismissive reference to “a completely different book,” you are referring to Hitler’s 1925 Mein Kampf, which book stated two primary goals in international policy: one being the elimination of Jews everywhere, and the other being the enslavement of Slavs in the Soviet Union so as to take their land for Lebensraum or living-space to become controlled by Aryan, or pureblooded Christian, Germans. However, Hitler’s 1928 Second Book stated in more detail his subsequent war-aims, and fleshed them out a bit on a country-by-country basis, while suppressing the emotional intensity of his more blatantly anti-Semitic expressions in Mein Kampf. And yet even in his Second Book, he emphasized that “Jewry,” meaning Jews everywhere, were responsible for Germany’s defeat in WW I. And even in his Second Book it is clear that the only way in which he could accept a foreign nation is if it has no Jews. He would not live in peace with a Britain that still had Jews. In fact, though his war-aim to enslave Slavs was one of his two main objectives in foreign policy, it was, for Hitler, secondary to his anti-Semitic goal of eliminating all Jews. Although the Second Book said that Italy would be an ally, and that England, and maybe Hungary and Spain would be, there was no question that the Soviet Union would not be. Furthermore, only a USA. that eliminates its Jews would be. I have read all of Hitler’s published letters, private notes, and speeches, and much else, and do not find anything in them that is contrary to this. Consequently, I agree with Stephen Cooper’s calling this book by A.J.P. Taylor “AN OUTRAGE” but I go further and call it a hoax.
Unfortunately, as soon as I posted that comment, Amazon’s editors simply removed the one that I was contradicting.
At that same site where I said above here that had posted “one recent argument along this line” against Russia and especially against communism, the same writer had earlier extolled another rabid hater of both Russia and communism, David Irving, the famous Holocaust-denier and defender of Hitler. (Irving portrayed Hitler as having been a well-intentioned but weak dictator who had unfortunately become manipulated into anti-Semitism by his underlings and who had really been just an anti-communist himself, not originally an anti-Semite at all.) I responded there to that writer’s adulatory review of David Irving’s Hitler’s War, and headlined there “Against David Irving’s View of Hitler”. So, readers here can judge for themselves whether what I am saying is true, or whether what the nazis (or racist fascists) are saying is true. Since I was writing there at a site which favors nazism — except as it’s practiced by almost all Jews in Israel against non-Jews there — most of the 854 reader-comments to that article from me are supportive of the article (in favor of David Irving) that I was attacking, and opposed to the views that I expressed there against that (pro-David-Irving) article. The readers at that site seem generally to favor Hitler against Stalin, Christians against Jews, and Whites against Blacks, instead of to favor truth against lies. I should state here, for the record, that I favor no group against any other group, and that in terms of ideology, I favor democracy; and in terms of economics, I reject both Adam Smith and Karl Marx, and favor both Marriner Eccles and FDR. When writing about ideology (such as I am doing here), it is important for the writer (me) to state clearly his or her own personal ideological orientation. When discussing ideology, questions about the writer’s motives are not unscientific; they’re not merely, ad-hominem, but instead possess also an ad-rem (i.e., scientifically justifiable) component, and therefore should be addressed.
More recently, the US-regime-created EU’s European Parliament voted on September 19th for a resolution condemning both Hitler and Stalin for having started World War II, which is a lie — and an especially outrageous one, considering that the Soviet Union did more than any other country to defeat Hitler and to enable all of those countries to not now be controlled by a Nazi regime.
The EU’s lie is especially blatant in regard to what Hitler stated in his Second Book to be the aims of the war-to-come.
He said in Chapter 5 of his Second Book, “I am a socialist. I see no class and no social estate before me, but that community of the Folk, made up of people who are linked by blood,” so that “its foreign policy is to be be determined by the necessity to secure the space necessary to the life of our Folk.” Also, “I am a German nationalist. This means that I proclaim my nationality.” That was his nazism: his National Socialism (or, as it was called in Ukraine, “Socialist Nationalism”). None of it was at all Marxist. He despised Marxism as “Jewish.” However, many post-War nazis lie to condemn nazism as “socialist” in the same sense that Marx’s communism is. They refuse to acknowledge that they’re nazis, and blame only communism. In Chapter 11 of his Second Book, Hitler said that it is impossible “to achieve an understanding with a State whose greatest interest is the destruction of this very national Germany. Obviously, should such an alliance finally come into being today, its result would be the complete rule of Jewry in Germany exactly as in Russia.” In other words: peace with Russia would be impossible unless the “Bolshevists” there became replaced by Nazis. Furthermore, common purpose could never be achieved between Germany and Russia, because “For then, Germany would no longer be allied with the Russia of a great, noteworthy, ethical, bold idea, but with the despoilers of the culture of mankind.” He then critically paraphrased proponents of a German-Soviet detente, and said: “This is a very great error. It rests on an extraordinary ignorance of the psyche of the Slavic Folk Soul.” Like in Mein Kampf, he was virtually declaring the Soviet Union to be Germany’s Jewish-controlled enemy. Slavs, in his view, were merely a slave-people, and their masters needed to be changed, from Jews to Aryans. This was part of his Lebensraum concept. His argument to this effect was unambiguously clear, and it was remarkably consistent throughout his entire political career. Stalin (who had figured this argument out from Mein Kampf, because the Second Book remained unpublished) achieved the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact only in order to delay Hitler’s invasion so as to help to prepare for it. Today’s nazis blame Stalin not only for the delaying-tactic but for his preparations against Germany’s invasion.
The cover-up of this is all part of America’s post-WWII victory for fascism and nazism. However, it’s not yet an ultimate victory — an all-encompassing global dictatorship by the US regime over the entire world. Some hope therefore still remains that the UN will become the global democracy that FDR had intended.