Foreign Aid for Dictators

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Notice something important about the hoopla regarding President’s Trump withholding of US foreign aid to Ukraine while he was requesting Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for possible corruption: Nobody in Washington, D.C., or within the establishment press is questioning the concept of foreign aid itself. Foreign aid has become such an established and accepted way of inducing foreign regimes to comply with the dictates of US officials that the thought of ending it entirely doesn’t even enter the minds of Republicans, Democrats, or member of the mainstream media.

But questioning foreign aid itself is precisely what the American people should be doing. Not only does foreign aid contribute to the out-of-control federal spending and debt that is hanging over the American people (with the debt now at $22.6 trillion and climbing), it also constitutes one of the most evil and immoral practices of the US government.

Case in point: Egypt. Notwithstanding the fact that the country is governed by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world, the US government delivers $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt’s military dictatorship every year.

Like the United States, Egypt’s government is based on the concept of a national-security state, which is a type of governmental system in which a vast and permanent military-intelligence establishment plays a major role in society. In Egypt, that role is much more pronounced and predominant than it is here in the United States. Here in the United States, the power and influence that the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA wield are indirect and often hidden. In Egypt the military-intelligence establishment wields direct control of the government and the economy.

To get a sense of how Egypt’s national-security state operates, think back to the national-security state system of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who US national-security state officials helped install into power in 1973. Pinochet was an unelected military dictator who ruled Chile with an iron fist. His forces rounded up tens of thousands of people who were considered to be threats to “national security” and tortured, raped, or killed them.

Egypt’s military dictator, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who, like Pinochet, took power in a coup, holds a presidential election, but everyone knows that it is a sham. For all practical purposes, el-Sisi stands in the same position as Pinochet — as an unelected dictator.

Moreover, el-Sisi is every bit as brutal as Pinochet was. For example, in the past couple of weeks demonstrations have broken out in Egypt against the corruption within el-Sisi’s dictatorial regime. El-Sisi’s forces have immediately gone into action to ensure that things do not get out of hand. So far, they have arrested some 2,000 protestors. According to an article in Aljazeera,

In Cairo, security forces closed off entrances to Tahrir Square, the hub of the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak. There was a heavy police presence around the square and at some junctions in the city centre…. At Cairo’s Al-Fateh mosque, a starting point for protests in 2011, dozens of police, some in uniform and others in plain clothes with masks and large guns, stood near the exit as prayers finished. At least 20 security vehicles were stationed around the mosque or patrolling nearby. Security forces also stepped up their presence in main squares in major cities and plainclothes police have been checking motorists’ and pedestrians’ mobile phones for political content…. In a brief statement on Thursday, Egypt’s Ministry of Interior warned it would “confront any attempt to destabilise social peace in a firm and decisive way.”

Moreover, Egypt’s criminal-justice system mirrors that of the Pentagon and the CIA in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — indefinite detention, torture, denial of due process of law, denial of effective assistance of counsel, and denial of trial by jury.

There is also the economic aspect of Egypt’s national-security state. The economic system is based on the concept of socialist central planning, with the military-intelligence establishment doing the planning. Not surprisingly, this socialist system has brought economic impoverishment to Egyptian citizens, while enriching the regime’s military-intelligence personnel. Dismal economic conditions and corruption within the regime are partly what is motivating the protesters.

Guess who is enabling this tyranny and socialism. Yes, the US government, with its $1.3 billion in annual delivery of military armaments, which, like all US foreign aid, is nothing more than a bribe to ensure that el-Sisi remains loyal to the US government. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, those military armaments provide Egypt’s tyrants with the ability to suppress or deter dissent within the country. They also provide a means by which the military-intelligence establishment is able to use domestic tax revenues to feather their own nests.

The US government’s partnership with and support of Egypt’s regime should not surprise us. Since the US government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II, US officials have demonstrated an affinity for foreign national-security states. That’s why they installed Pinochet, a military general, into power. Twenty years before their Chilean regime-change operation, US national-security state officials destroyed democratic systems in Iran and Guatemala and replaced them with national-security states and tyrants. Before the Persian Gulf War, the US government partnered and allied with Saddam Hussein and his national-security state in Iraq. In the 2003 Iraq war, the US government made certain that Iraq continued with a national-security state type of governmental system, albeit one with an elected pro-US dictator. It did the same in Afghanistan after it invaded that country.

Just a few days ago, President Trump expressed the sentiment of America’s national-security state when he called el-Sisi a “great leader.” Trump, of course, has also expressed a love for the brutal, unelected communist dictator of North Korea’s national-security state.

Americans who are looking to Washington, D.C., to put America on the right track are looking in the wrong direction. The American people need to look inward, into themselves, into their consciences. That is the only way for people to recognize the moral and economic debauchery of foreign aid and, for that matter, the entire national-security state form of governmental structure. Once a critical mass of Americans comes to that realization, we will be on our way toward restoring sound moral, political, and economic principles to our land.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.

Daniel McAdams: ‘The US Has Ceased Being a Republic and Has Become a National Security State’

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Mohsen Abdelmoumen: Your Twitter account has just been closed. Why?

Daniel McAdams: In August I was watching a segment of the Sean Hannity program while at a friend’s house and noticed that despite an hour of Hannity ranting against the “deep state” in the US, he was wearing a lapel pin bearing the seal of the US Central Intelligence agency, which most would agree is either the center or at least an important hub of the US “deep state” itself. I tweeted about this strange anomaly and as a comment to my own Tweet on it I happened to say that Hannity is “retarded.” Twitter informed me that I had committed “hateful conduct” for “promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.” It is clear on its face that I did none of these. I used a non-politically correct term to ridicule Hannity for attacking the “deep state” while wearing the symbols of the deep state on his very lapel.

It is clear that Twitter is deeply biased against any voices outside the mainstream, pro-empire perspective. As a leading Tweeter in opposition to interventionist US foreign policy, I had long been targeted by those who enable and enforce Twitter’s political biases. Look at who Twitter partners with and you will understand why I was banned for a transparently false reason: the US government-funded Atlantic Council and other similar organizations are working with Twitter to eliminate any voices challenging US global military empire.

 In your opinion, what exactly is the role of the CIA in the regime changes of some countries around the world?

From its creation by the National Security Act of 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency carried the dual role of analyzing intelligence for its customers in the Executive Branch of the US government and conducting covert actions and operations in pursuit of (claimed) US foreign policy goals. The history of CIA action in post-war Europe is extensive and includes founding front organizations to prop up socialist and far-left publications and institutions as a challenge to Soviet communism as well as backing far-right groups and political parties and even violent terror organizations to directly confront communism and overturn elections where communists made gains.

After the Cold War and the defeat of Soviet Communism, where one would expect a reduction if not elimination of such a global secret warfare organization, the CIA only ramped up its operations overseas. Today the CIA is merely one arm in a multi-faceted US “regime change” apparatus that includes the US State Department, USAID, and, very importantly, US government-funded “non-governmental” organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy and its sub-grantees. This “regime change apparatus” uses CIA methods developed during the Cold War (by “experts” like Gene Sharp and others) such as mobilization, training, subterfuge, agitation, and propaganda. We saw this apparatus at work in events like the “Arab Spring” and before it in the overthrow of the Milosevic government in Yugoslavia. We saw it in the Ukraine coup of 2014 and we see it in Venezuela and in Hong Kong today.

The practical value to the United States of such operations is less than zero, the costs to the American taxpayer are enormous, and the immorality of manipulating the globe toward an outcome preferred by Washington’s elites is self-evident.

When we see the generalized NSA surveillance, do you think we live in a democracy or a tenebrous fascist regime?

Americans have been manipulated by the elites in government and its allies in state propaganda (otherwise known as the “mainstream media”) to accept, particularly post-9/11, the deeply anti-American proposition that we must yield our privacy and Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties to a government that promises it will not abuse its increased power over us but will only use it to keep us safe. These promises have been over and over again proven to be lies. Government is not targeting terrorism or terrorists: they are targeting average American citizens.

Americans were told that only terrorists’ phone calls would be intercepted, but then Edward Snowden revealed that all of our phone calls are intercepted. Americans were mad for a few weeks but then Washington promised “reform” of the PATRIOT Act in the form of the FREEDOM Act and everybody calmed down. Even though the FREEDOM Act is actually worse than the PATRIOT Act because it legalized all of the illegal activities that were taking place under the PATRIOT Act. “Reform” in Washington means obfuscation and perception manipulation.

Likewise, Americans seeking to travel within their own country have been forced to allow strangers to invade and touch the most private areas of their bodies – and their children’s bodies! American sheep just bow to the authorities and keep watching their freedoms stolen from them, murmuring to themselves as they are raped by the authorities, “well…I have nothing to hide…”

 You mentioned one time Operation Mockingbird, where the CIA manipulated journalists in the 1950s. In your opinion, does the CIA continue to use these same practices today?

I have no doubt that the CIA continues to maintain a close relationship with both mainstream and independent journalists. This is critical to establishing and controlling the narrative in each foreign “crisis.” It is no accident that each mainstream media outlet – regardless whether left-wing or right-wing or any wing - has the exact same perspective on events like the Ukraine coup or the Venezuela attempted coup, or Hong Kong protests. Part of this is the US “deep state” or “national security state” and part of it is the increasing integration of US corporate entities into the US government. Major media outlets are owned by US corporations that also own weapons manufacturing companies and cannot be trusted to report on events objectively. Similarly, virtually every US mainstream media outlet employs “former” members of the US intelligence community to “explain” foreign events to their viewers.

When is the last time a credible non-interventionist or pro-peace analyst has been featured in any mainstream media outlet? As in Soviet times, any view at odds with Washington’s “party line” is simply disappeared. When independent media outlets begin gaining traction and challenging the narrative, they are “de-platformed” on social media and even from their Internet service providers under the recommendations of US government-funded NGOs like the Atlantic Council or the German Marshal Fund.

 Is not what is currently happening in Hong Kong a CIA manipulation targeting China in the context of the Trump administration's economic war?

There is plenty of evidence of US government involvement in the Hong Kong protests. That does not mean that every single body out in the street is in the pay of the CIA. That is the red herring argument of those who are determined that we never see the US government hand in unrest overseas. Or to ridicule as “conspiracy theorists” those who point out obvious US government involvement.

It is undeniable that the US government has been involved in grooming, training, and funding the anti-Beijing movement in Hong Kong for years. They don’t even hide it: you can easily find on USAID and National Endowment for Democracy website the level of funding the US government provides these organizations and political parties. And when these party leaders come to Washington, they are received by the US Vice President, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, and other high-ranking US government officials. Which foreign opposition movements that Washington does not support are given such treatment?

Imagine a movement dedicated to overthrowing the US political order that was funded by the Chinese, whose activists regularly went to Beijing for training in organization and mobilization, and whose leaders met with leading members of the Chinese Communist Party. How would such a movement in the United States be viewed by the US government? How would it be portrayed by the US mainstream media?

You mentioned a US-supported coup when you talked about Venezuela. In your opinion, does the US administration continue the same interventionist policy to destabilize Latin American countries?

Any Latin American government not in Washington’s constellation has been and is targeted for destabilization and overthrow. We saw this with the 2009 coup in Honduras, whose architect was then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We see it in Cuba. We see it in Venezuela. We saw it with Ecuador, where a government wary of US persecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was “changed” in favor of a regime that handed Assange over to the authorities in exchange for a few billion dollars from the IMF. Do what Washington says and get paid; oppose Washington and get overthrown. That is the foreign policy of the US empire. And like the Soviet empire that preceded it, it is a policy doomed to failure.

Why in your opinion does the United States always need an enemy? Is not there a danger of world war when we see the multitude of US imperialist interventions around the world?

The US has ceased being a republic and has become a national security state. The US national security state enriches its elites – be they in the military-industrial complex, the think tanks, or the media – at the expense of middle class and working-class America. It does this by promoting an “enemy scenario” whereby the American people are made to believe that if they ever challenge the US military budget – larger than the next seven military budgets combined – they are not only putting themselves and their families at risk, but they are deeply unpatriotic and anti-American. The US national security state fought an 18-year “war on terror” which only seemed to generate more terrorists! Intervention in Iraq and Libya and Syria to “fight terrorism” resulted in more, not less, al-Qaeda and ISIS. It was not until Russia and Iran stood up in 2015 and began fighting these US-backed groups that there was a reduction in their power.

After the Russian and Iranian success in beating back the jihadist threat in Syria, the 2017 US national security strategy did an Orwellian about-face and abandoned the “war on terror” in favor of a declaration that our new enemies were again our old enemies: China and Russia. It is literally Orwell’s 1984: “we are at war with Eastasia. …We had always been at war with Eastasia.”

What do you think about the North Korean and Iranian case, where the Trump administration lacks a clear vision and where some neoconservatives are pushing for a war?

There are few consistencies in President Trump’s foreign policy. One emerging consistency, however, is that he seems genuinely reluctant to take the country into a bona fide war. He’s happy with sending a few dozen Tomahawk missiles into the Syrian countryside, but when faced with an actual robust response to any US strike, he to this point has chosen de-escalation. This may be a function of his keen eye for politics rather than any philosophical or moral concerns, but it to this point seems thematic. The problem is that by surrounding himself with neoconservatives – and make no mistake his replacement for Bolton is at least as much a neocon as the Mustached One himself – the president is isolating himself from any inputs advising military constraint when facing crises overseas. That is why many of us were so much hoping that Bolton would be replaced with a Realist like Col. Douglas Macgregor. There is a big danger that the president will be cornered by a lack of non-war options to the next crisis simply because he gives no quarter to non-war voices in his administration.

When we consider the plight of activists and whistleblowers, such as Assange, Snowden, etc. can we still talk about freedom of speech and human rights? Shouldn't we mobilize more to support these activists and others around the world?

The plight of Snowden and Assange and all of the persecuted whistleblowers and truth-tellers is the plight of what is life of our liberty, freedom, and even Western civilization. When all dissent is quashed, imprisoned, tortured, we are left with only the Total State. The Total State, as we know from history, brooks no dissent because it can only maintain power by continuing the illusion that it alone is the source of truth. Thus any voice challenging the Total State, as the embodiment of truth, must on its face be a lie. Why would truth allow lies to undermine it? Why would any sane person oppose “the people” as represented in their Soviet government? Surely such a person would be insane and need of treatment rather than a citizen raising a legitimate question or differing opinion.

This is what we are facing in the US today. A Total State, where opposing views are de-platformed and disappeared. Where truth-tellers are jailed and tortured – pour servir d’avertissement aux autres (to serve as a warning to others).

What is your assessment of the Trump Presidency and what do you think of its foreign policy?

The Trump Presidency thus far has been an enormous disappointment. The president had the opportunity to name a top-notch foreign policy and national security team that would reflect and carry out his stated policies as a candidate – getting along with Russia, NATO skepticism, opposition to endless war, etc – but once in power he has again and again drawn from that same neoconservative cesspool that no matter who is elected always find its way to positions of power and influence. He did not chart a wise course in building a solid administration of professionals who agree with him – and there are plenty to choose from – and instead he actually hired an entire team of people who not only disagree with his stated positions, but they actually publicly ridicule them and work against them. It is unprecedented in my memory to see those who serve the president publicly undermining his stated positions, yet Bolton and Pompeo never hesitated or hesitate to do just that. This is an enormous missed opportunity for President Trump and for the United States.

You have been an advisor to Congressman Ron Paul and you are doing an excellent job as Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Can you explain to our readers what the missions of this institute are?

Our mission as a non-profit educational institution is to make the case for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the restoration of our civil liberties at home. We are the continuation of the Ron Paul liberty movement. To that end, we publish thousands of articles making the case for non-interventionism on our website, we broadcast a daily Ron Paul Liberty Report, and we hold conferences throughout the country bringing together a broad coalition of Americans – and non-Americans – to learn and promote peace and prosperity!

Who is Daniel McAdams?

Daniel McAdams is executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-host of the “Ron Paul Liberty Report,” a daily live broadcast. He served for 12 years on Capitol Hill as foreign affairs and national security advisor to former US Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled through the former communist bloc as a human rights monitor and election observer.

Reprinted with permission from the American Herald Tribune.

Houthis Rout Saudi Military – End Of The Road For MbS?

The Saudi military appears to have suffered an historic defeat with a Houthi trap capturing up to three Saudi brigades. Houthis claim 500 Saudi fighters killed and 2,000 Saudi fighters captured. Houthi footage appears to show Saudi jets bombing long lines of surrendering Saudi forces. Is this latest Saudi loss the end of the road for presumptive heir to the throne, Mohammad bin Salman? Palace coup? Plus - an update on the CIA "whistleblower" trying to take down the president. Tune in to today's Liberty Report...

Do Voters Not Bear Responsibility for Those Who They Choose to Govern?

Building on the momentum of millions of people taking part in worldwide strikes to demand action on fighting climate change, an environmental group, Stop Ecocide, has called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to recognize ecocide as a crime against humanity.

Activist Jojo Mehta of Stop Ecocide defined ecocide as “large scale and systematic damage and destruction to ecosystems.”

Mehta blames leaders of certain countries for contribution to, and inaction on, tackling climate change and proposes that the leaders of such countries be held criminally culpable by the ICC.

Yet, in so-called democracies, such as Canada, do not the citizenry bear some responsibility through their act of voting for so-called representatives who do far too little or nothing to fight climate change?

In a recent poll gauging attitudes toward climate change, 77 per cent of 1599 Canadians responded that they either strongly or partially agreed with the statement “The world is facing a climate emergency and unless greenhouse gas emissions fall dramatically in the next few years global warming will become extremely dangerous.”

A little over half of the Canadian respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a political party or candidate who promised to cut Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Furthermore, 43 per cent expressed the strongly felt sentiment that politicians are subservient to the interests of big oil companies before communities.

In Canada, there are two political parties that make environmental protection a cornerstone in their party’s policy: the New Democratic Party and the Green Party. That fact that two such pro-environment parties are available for Canadians to vote for should allow for them to electorally push the climate change agenda to the forefront. Are these the parties that Canadians vote for in elections?

In the 2015 federal election in Canada, the NDP grabbed 44 seats (a drop from 103 in the previous 2013 election) and the Green Party held on to its single seat from the 2013 election in 2015. With 63.8 per cent of eligible voters participating, the environmentally oriented parties garnered 45 seats out of the 338 available. Should this not cause one to question to what extent climate change is genuinely important for a large number of Canadians?

Some might argue that Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party campaigned on fighting climate change, but that would cause some cynics to wince since the Liberal Party is a corporate-backed party. Trudeau ran on a copied-from-Barack-Obama campaign that promised change, and like Obama, Trudeau has disappointed many Canadians who had hoped for better.

This raises another question: flawed as electoral democracy is, do the people who participate in choosing their leader and government not bear any responsibility for their choices? Do Canadians not bear some responsibility for Trudeau’s support for pipeline construction schemes (even to the point of his government buying out a troubled pipeline company to push through construction)? No one would argue that expanding the infrastructure for fossil fuels is in accordance with a commitment to fighting climate change.

Conclusion

Holding the leaders chosen by citizens criminally culpable is hardly likely to pass muster. Canadians chose the climate change charlatan Trudeau, Americans choose Donald Trump who withdrew from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and Brazilians elected Jair Bolsonaro who has allowed the Amazonian lungs of the Earth to burn. The fact is that the citizens of most of the world allow capitalists to reap profits from the environment too often in blatant disregard for the health of the environment and oblivious to the opinions expressed in polls by the citizenry.

Impeachment…or CIA Coup?

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You don’t need to be a supporter of President Trump to be concerned about the efforts to remove him from office. Last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced impeachment proceedings against the President over a phone call made to the President of Ukraine. According to the White House record of the call, the President asked his Ukrainian counterpart to look into whether there is any evidence of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election and then mentioned that a lot of people were talking about how former US Vice President Joe Biden stopped the prosecution of his son who was under investigation for corruption in Ukraine.

Democrats, who spent more than two years convinced that “Russiagate” would enable them to remove Trump from office only to have their hopes dashed by the Mueller Report, now believe they have their smoking gun in this phone call.

It this about politics? Yes. But there may be more to it than that.

It may appear that the Democratic Party, furious over Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss, is the driving force behind this ongoing attempt to remove Donald Trump from office, but at every turn we see the fingerprints of the CIA and its allies in the US deep state.

In August 2016, a former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell, wrote an extraordinary article in the New York Times accusing Donald Trump of being an “agent of the Russian Federation.” Morell was clearly using his intelligence career as a way of bolstering his claim that Trump was a Russian spy – after all, the CIA should know such a thing! But the claim was a lie.

Former CIA director John Brennan accused President Trump of “treason” and of “being in the pocket of Putin” for meeting with the Russian president in Helsinki and accepting his word that Russia did not meddle in the US election. To this day there has yet to be any evidence presented that the Russian government did interfere. Brennan openly called on “patriotic” Republicans to act against this “traitor.”

Brennan and his deep state counterparts James Comey at the FBI and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper launched an operation, using what we now know is the fake Steele dossier, to spy on the Trump presidential campaign and even attempt to entrap Trump campaign employees.

Notice a pattern here?

Now we hear that the latest trigger for impeachment is a CIA officer assigned to the White House who filed a “whistleblower” complaint against the president over something he heard from someone else that the president said in the Ukraine phone call.

Shockingly, according to multiple press reports the rules for CIA whistleblowing were recently changed, dropping the requirement that the whistleblower have direct, first-hand knowledge of the wrongdoing. Just before this complaint was filed, the rule-change allowed hearsay or second-hand information to be accepted. That seems strange.

As it turns out, the CIA “whistleblower” lurking around the White House got the important things wrong, as there was no quid pro quo discussed and there was no actual request to investigate Biden or his son.

The Democrats have suddenly come out in praise of whistleblowers – well not exactly. Pelosi still wants to prosecute actual whistleblower Ed Snowden. But she’s singing the praises of this fake CIA “whistleblower.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer once warned Trump that if “you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” It’s hard not to ask whether this is a genuine impeachment effort…or a CIA coup!

Florida: Terminate Public Funds for Charter Schools

Nearly 10 county school boards in Florida recently took collective action to pursue a case against privately-operated-owned charter schools in the Florida Supreme Court.

These public school systems that serve tens of thousands of students oppose the dreaded HB 7069 legislation, which the neoliberal governor of Florida, Rick Scott, signed into law in 2017.

The law does many things, including allowing the transfer of enormous sums of public money from public schools to privately-operated-owned charter schools, thereby leaving public schools in a worse position. Understandably, public school systems want to stop the flow of tens of millions of public dollars to privately-operated-owned charter schools.

As in other states with privately-operated-owned charter schools, Florida’s charter schools are notorious for being non-transparent and rife with corruption. Many also regularly perform poorly. And like many other non-profit and for-profit charter schools across the country, Florida’s charter schools under-enroll different types of students and intensify segregation. Public schools in Florida serve considerably more poor students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities than privately-operated-owned charter schools.

Florida passed its charter school law in 1996. Currently, about 290,000 students are enrolled in more than 650 privately-operated-owned charter schools.

Jacques Chirac: The Art of Being Vague

The tributes have been dripping in heavy praise: former French president Jacques Chirac and mayor of Paris, the great statesman; the man who said no to the US-led war juggernaut into Iraq; the man loved for being loved.  Many of these should have raised the odd eyebrow here and there. “We French have lost a statesman whom we loved as much as he loved us,” claimed current French president Emmanuel Macron.

When greatness is tossed around as a term in French commemorations, there is always a sense of merging the corporeal flesh with the non-corporeal state.  The person thereby “embodies” France, inhabiting that rather complex shell that passes for a state. But the comparisons are all too loose and ready, showing an awkward accommodation.

Eulogies are often the poorly chosen instruments to express the mood of an occasion rather than the reality of a life.  Given the crises facing the European Union, the pro-European sentiment of Chirac was cause for nostalgia. (He had encouraged a United Europe of States rather than a United States of Europe, moving France away from the Gaullist credo of self-sufficiency.)  “Europe is not only losing a great statesman, but the president is losing a great friend,” claimed Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission in a statement.  Former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt saw his Europhilia and interest in Europe as the making of the man, “the real statesman that we will miss.”

Terms of amity were also reiterated by former French President François Hollande, whom Chirac had described in previous political battles as “Mitterrand’s labrador”.  “I know that today, the French people, whatever their convictions, have just lost a friend.”  Smaller figures of history were also effusive in their praise: Boris Johnson, current British prime minister flailing in the Brexit imbroglio, expressed his admiration for that “formidable political leader who shaped the destiny of his nation in a career that spanned four decades”; one term UK prime minister John Major also doffed his cap.

Where Chirac excelled without question was in his role as political hypocrite (a kinder term would be political gymnast, or a weathervane, as he was sometimes associated with).  Mayor of Paris for a touch under two decades, two stints as prime minister and two presidential terms suggest ample opportunity to master it.  It also suggests shifts, adjustments and moving across hardened political divisions, the pragmatist rather than the polemicist.

His customary in that regard could be exquisite.  He could readily give the “le bruit et l’odeur” address in 1991 yet become the anti-racist option in the 2002 election, in which shell-shocked progressives were urged to vote for the crook rather than the fascist, Jean-Marie Le Pen.  In foreign affairs, he did something memorable: fabricate the image of France as suspicious of war and interventions, a peaceful state above reproach and self-interest.  This enabled him to lead the anti-war effort against Iraq mounted by the United States and Britain in 2003.

The populist jab is worth noting for its current relevance: the terror of an overcrowded Europe, the fear of tax-payer funded marauders – often of the swarthy persuasion – that has been played upon from Nigel Farage in Britain to Viktor Orbán in Hungary.  Imagine, posed Chirac, the humble French worker with his wife who sees next to his council house a father with three or four spouses with some twenty children all supported by welfare.  “If you add to that the noise and the smell, well the French worker, he goes crazy.”

He was also a creature of a brand of politics that would wear against the regulations.  Mountainous ambition will do that to you, and the rust on Le Bulldozer was bound to be discovered at some point.  In 2011, he was handed a two-year suspended sentence on two counts of embezzling public funds, something he did during his time as Paris’s mayor.  The specifics centred around the creation of fake jobs at his RPR party and suggested no grand scheme of self-enrichment.  Even after his conviction, Chirac the amiable, Chirac the admired, was a theme pressed home by his lawyer, Georges Kiejman.  “What I hope is that this ruling doesn’t change in any way the deep affection the French feel legitimately for Jacques Chirac.”  Kiejman had little reason to worry.

While hardly virtuoso, he advanced the uncomfortable question of French complicity in Nazi crimes, the otherwise great untouchable subject of post-war identity.  The measure was significant, sinking, at least in some way, the notion that the French republic somehow retained its purity in abolition during German occupation and Vichy rule.  That rule had resulted in a mutant political creation and monster; France the Republic could not be blamed, having ceased to exist.  As former French President François Mitterrand claimed, rather unconvincingly, “In 1940, there was the French state, this was the Vichy regime, it was not the Republic.”  Mitterrand, as with many in his position, did not feel an urging to join the French resistance till 1943; prior to that, he had been a civil servant in Vichy.

On July 16, 1995, Chirac noted how “the criminal folly of the occupiers was seconded by the French by the French state.”  In July 1942 in the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup, 13,000 Parisian Jews were arrested by 4,500 French police in preparation for their murderous end in Auschwitz. “France, the homeland of the Enlightenment and of the rights of man, a land of welcome asylum, on that day committed the irreparable.”  The country had broken “its word, it handed those who were under its protection over to their executioners.”

Court historians will be kept busy wondering about the man’s ideologies and beliefs.  They will ponder legacies left, and things unachieved.  Structural and social divisions, for instance, remained unaddressed.  With Chirac, appearances and demeanour had their distorting effects.  Chirac, wrote French journalist Anne-Élisabeth Moutet, sported a “forceful manner” that concealed “terminal policy indecision”.  While leaving no lasting legacy, he had one up over the current, struggling leader.  Despite being a chateau-owner, in the pink as far as the bourgeoisie was concerned, and married to an aristocrat, he had the common touch.  For Professor Pascal Perrineau of the Paris School of International Affairs, he was a president who jogged and rode a Vespa, and appreciated for that fact.  His lasting skill, however, was to immortalise the art of being vague in politics.

The Disaster of Negative of Interest Rates

President Trump wants negative interest rates, but they would be disastrous for the U.S. economy, and his objectives can be better achieved by other means.

The dollar strengthened against the euro in August, merely in anticipation of the European Central Bank slashing its key interest rate further into negative territory. Investors were fleeing into the dollar, prompting President Trump to tweet on August 30:

The Euro is dropping against the Dollar “like crazy,” giving them a big export and manufacturing advantage… And the Fed does NOTHING!

When the ECB cut its key rate as anticipated, from a negative 0.4% to a negative 0.5%, the president tweeted on September 11:

The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term.

And on September 12 he tweeted:

European Central Bank, acting quickly, Cuts Rates 10 Basis Points. They are trying, and succeeding, in depreciating the Euro against the VERY strong Dollar, hurting U.S. exports…. And the Fed sits, and sits, and sits. They get paid to borrow money, while we are paying interest!

However, negative interest rates have not been shown to stimulate the economies that have tried them, and they would wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, for reasons unique to the U.S. dollar. The ECB has not gone to negative interest rates to gain an export advantage. It is to keep the European Union from falling apart, something that could happen if the United Kingdom does indeed pull out and Italy follows suit, as it has threatened to do. If what Trump wants is cheap borrowing rates for the U.S. federal government, there is a safer and easier way to get them.

The Real Reason the ECB Has Gone to Negative Interest Rates

Why the ECB has gone negative was nailed by Wolf Richter in a September 18 article on WolfStreet.com. After noting that negative interest rates have not proved to be beneficial for any economy in which they are currently in operation and have had seriously destructive side effects for the people and the banks, he said:

However, negative interest rates as follow-up and addition to massive QE were effective in keeping the Eurozone glued together because they allowed countries to stay afloat that cannot, but would need to, print their own money to stay afloat. They did so by making funding plentiful and nearly free, or free, or more than free.

This includes Italian government debt, which has a negative yield through three-year maturities. … The ECB’s latest rate cut, minuscule and controversial as it was, was designed to help out Italy further so it wouldn’t have to abandon the euro and break out of the Eurozone.

The U.S. doesn’t need negative interest rates to stay glued together. It can print its own money.

EU member governments have lost the sovereign power to issue their own money or borrow money issued by their own central banks. The failed EU experiment was a monetarist attempt to maintain a fixed money supply, as if the euro were a commodity in limited supply like gold. The central banks of member countries do not have the power to bail out their governments or their failing local banks as the Fed did for U.S. banks with massive quantitative easing after the 2008 financial crisis. Before the Eurozone debt crisis of 2011-12, even the European Central Bank was forbidden to buy sovereign debt.

The rules changed after Greece and other southern European countries got into serious trouble, sending bond yields (nominal interest rates) through the roof.  But default or debt restructuring was not considered an option; and in 2016, new EU rules required a “bail in” before a government could bail out its failing banks. When a bank ran into trouble, existing stakeholders–including shareholders, junior creditors and sometimes even senior creditors and depositors with deposits in excess of the guaranteed amount of €100,000–were required to take a loss before public funds could be used. The Italian government got a taste of the potential backlash when it forced losses onto the bondholders of four small banks. One victim made headlines when he hung himself and left a note blaming his bank, which had taken his entire €100,000 savings.

Meanwhile, the bail-in scheme that was supposed to shift bank losses from governments to bank creditors and depositors served instead to scare off depositors and investors, making shaky banks even shakier. Worse, heightened capital requirements made it practically impossible for Italian banks to raise capital. Rather than flirt with another bail-in disaster, Italy was ready either to flaunt EU rules or leave the Union.

The ECB finally got on the quantitative easing bandwagon and started buying government debt along with other financial assets. By buying debt at negative interest, it is not only relieving EU governments of their interest burden, it is slowly extinguishing the debt itself.

That explains the ECB, but why are investors buying these bonds? According to John Ainger in Bloomberg:

Investors are willing to pay a premium–and ultimately take a loss–because they need the reliability and liquidity that the government and high-quality corporate bonds provide. Large investors such as pension funds, insurers, and financial institutions may have few other safe places to store their wealth.

In short, they are captive buyers. Banks are required to hold government securities or other “high-quality liquid assets” under capital rules imposed by the Financial Stability Board in Switzerland. Since EU banks now must pay the ECB to hold their bank reserves, they may as well hold negative-yielding sovereign debt, which they may be able to sell at a profit if rates drop even further.

Wolf Richter comments:

Investors who buy these bonds hope that central banks will take them off their hands at even lower yields (and higher prices). No one is buying a negative yielding long-term bond to hold it to maturity.

Well, I say that, but these are professional money managers who buy such instruments, or who have to buy them due to their asset allocation and fiduciary requirements, and they don’t really care. It’s other people’s money, and they’re going to change jobs or get promoted or start a restaurant or something, and they’re out of there in a couple of years. Après moi le déluge.

Why the U.S. Can’t Go Negative, and What It Can Do Instead

The U.S. doesn’t need negative interest rates, because it doesn’t have the EU’s problems but it does have other problems unique to the U.S. dollar that could spell disaster if negative rates were enforced.

First is the massive market for money market funds, which are more important to daily market functioning in the U.S. than in Europe and Japan. If interest rates go negative, the funds could see large-scale outflows, which could disrupt short-term funding for businesses, banks and perhaps even the Treasury. Consumers could also face new charges to make up for bank losses.

Second, the U.S. dollar is inextricably tied up with the market for interest rate derivatives, which is currently valued at over $500 trillion. As proprietary analyst Rob Kirby explains, the economy would crash if interest rates went negative, because the banks holding the fixed-rate side of the swaps would have to pay the floating-rate side as well. The derivatives market would go down like a stack of dominoes and take the U.S. economy with it.

Perhaps in tacit acknowledgment of those problems, Fed Chairman Jay Powell responded to a question about negative interest rates on September 18:

Negative interest rates [are] something that we looked at during the financial crisis and chose not to do. After we got to the effective lower bound [near-zero effective federal funds rate], we chose to do a lot of aggressive forward guidance and also large-scale asset purchases. …

And if we were to find ourselves at some future date again at the effective lower bound–not something we are expecting–then I think we would look at using large-scale asset purchases and forward guidance.

I do not think we’d be looking at using negative rates.

Assuming the large-scale asset purchases made at some future date were of federal securities, the federal government would be financing its debt virtually interest-free, since the Fed returns its profits to the Treasury after deducting its costs. And if the bonds were rolled over when due and held by the Fed indefinitely, the money could be had not only interest-free but debt-free. That is not radical theory but is what is actually happening with the Fed’s bond purchases in its earlier QE. When it tried to unwind those purchases last fall, the result was a stock market crisis. The Fed is learning that QE is a one-way street.

The problem under existing law is that neither the president nor Congress has control over whether the “independent” Fed buys federal securities. But if Trump can’t get Powell to agree over lunch to these arrangements, Congress could amend the Federal Reserve Act to require the Fed to work with Congress to coordinate fiscal and monetary policy. This is what Japan’s banking law requires, and it has been very successful under Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and “Abenomics.” It is also what a team of former central bankers led by Philipp Hildebrand proposed in conjunction with last month’s Jackson Hole meeting of central bankers, after acknowledging the central bankers’ usual tools weren’t working. Under their proposal, central bank technocrats would be in charge of allocating the funds, but better would be the Japanese model, which leaves the federal government in control of allocating fiscal policy funds.

The Bank of Japan now holds nearly half of Japan’s federal debt, a radical move that has not triggered hyperinflation as monetarist economists direly predicted. In fact, the Bank of Japan can’t get the country’s inflation rate even to its modest 2 percent target. As of August, the rate was an extremely low 0.3%. If the Fed were to follow suit and buy 50% of the U.S. government’s debt, the Treasury could swell its coffers by $11 trillion in interest-free money. And if the Fed kept rolling over the debt, Congress and the president could get this $11 trillion not only interest-free but debt-free. President Trump can’t get a better deal than that.

This article was first posted on Truthdig.com.

A Week in the Northeast

“Are you going to write something about this?  If you do, I’ll share it.”

This wasn’t exactly a writing assignment, from one of the co-founders of the venerable anarchist newspaper from Detroit, Fifth Estate, but close enough to prompt a travelogue that I’d likely have written anyway…

Peter Werbe and I were walking away from the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, after spending most of the afternoon visiting our mutual friend, Marius Mason — prisoner number 04672-061.

I don’t tour in my own country much anymore for financial reasons that my regular readers and listeners have already heard too much about, but occasionally a short regional tour works itself out, and this was the case last week in the northeastern US.

Months ago, Peter had told me he was planning to visit Marius in prison in September, and so I poked around to see if there might be a gig out there that would cover my airfare so I could join him in that endeavor.  Sure enough, there was — my sister Bonnie decided to throw her formidable energies into helping to organize a movement to end the ban on rent control in the state of Massachusetts, with last weekend being a sort of kickoff for the campaign.  As my accidentally good timing would have it, there were also other events for me to participate in during the week I was around there in my old stomping grounds.

Peter and I both flew into Boston and headed up in our rental car towards Waterville, Maine.  The first sort of gig on the little tour would be the opening for an exhibit of Marius’s artwork, art made in prison over the years, that he mailed to different people.  Various people were involved with organizing the exhibit, including someone I hadn’t seen in decades, back when he lived in the Boston area.  Now far from Boston, Peter and I spent our one night in Maine deep in the woods north of Waterville, in a very impressive homestead full of organic vegetables, a maple sugar shack, big solar panels, and all sorts of sculptures and such embedded in the landscape.  If a political prisoner has gotten a letter postmarked in Maine in the past 25 years, there’s a good chance it came from here.  Posters with the faces of Herman Bell and other current and former political prisoners adorned various walls.

It was, coincidentally, the day of lots of climate-related protests around the world, including outside the UN in Manhattan with Greta Thunberg, and in thousands of other towns and cities, including Waterville, Maine.  Peter and I got into town early enough to explore it a bit, and to participate in a small protest, after spending the night at the homestead.  As with so many other protest vigil type things in the US, the focus was on a major intersection in town.  People with signs faced the traffic.  I understand why this is done, but I always find it disheartening that we have to be so oriented towards people in their cars, in order for anyone to know we’re there.  It also means we’re not paying attention to each other, but only to getting the attention of people who are in their cars.  There were two people with acoustic guitars, but you couldn’t hear them over the traffic noise.  Being a fair-weather sign-holder myself, I didn’t stay long.

Another old friend of Marius’s, former spokesperson of the Earth Liberation Front who is part of a book store collective in Buffalo, New York these days, Leslie James Pickering, gave a talk, along with Peter, where the exhibit was happening, in the lobby of an art cinema in Waterville, and I sang.  One of the movies being shown was Official Secrets, so whether people had come for the art opening or for a movie, it was a good crowd.

The art we were looking at included pieces that the artist himself had not been able to look at in years.  They were made, and mailed off, never to be seen again.  There are ways, but as with most things involving prisoners, there are, at least, extra steps involved.  Forget about mailing packages or exchanging emails.  Only a handful of people are allowed to email with Marius, and then it’s on a special platform run by the prison, that doesn’t allow for things like pictures, or music.

Peter and I headed back to Boston after the opening, getting in late.  The next day was filled with events around the rent control campaign, my favorite of which was the dinner event attended by many veteran organizers from around the Boston area, some of whom I first encountered myself when I lived in Boston in the 90’s, like former city councilor, Chuck Turner.

Visiting hours at the prison are from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, more or less the same as at the federal prison in Ft Worth, Texas, where Peter and I had made several prior trips to visit Marius.  The events in Boston were on Saturday, so early Sunday morning we left for Danbury, Connecticut.

I was born in New York City, and raised in Wilton, Connecticut, which is a bit south of Danbury on Route 7.  In the summers, my family rented half of a dilapidated farmhouse north of Danbury, in Cornwall Bridge, a sparsely-populated part of northwestern Connecticut in the foothills of the Berkshires, a bit more than a stone’s throw from the borders of both New York and Massachusetts.  As a young man, my father moved to Danbury, and I have long had friends in the little city as well.  So basically I had driven past the federal prison there on the road between the center of Danbury and the town of New Fairfield, probably a thousand times or more.  Last weekend was the first time I ever actually turned in down the road that leads to the prison, and the first time I ever went over that hill and got a good look at all the barbed wire.

I was glad to hear that Marius had been transferred from Texas to Connecticut.  I live on the west coast these days, but I still manage to get back to Connecticut more often than I have reason to go to Texas.  Also, my assumption was that being imprisoned in Connecticut would be better than being imprisoned in Texas.  After visiting Marius there, I’m not at all sure that’s an accurate assumption.

The climate is nicer, for sure.  And you can see mountains with trees on them, which is better than being on the outskirts of the sprawling city of Ft Worth, adjacent to a huge military base.  There is no gate you have to go through to get into the prison complex, so it seems slightly less unwelcoming for visitors, at first.

Inside it’s the same.  The same barbed wire, the same manicured little lawns outside the same impossibly thick, automatic steel doors.  Three plastic chairs and a plastic table were set out for us to sit around in the visiting room.  In past visits in Texas, we visited Marius in a room that was only for certain very scary prisoners like him, where we were alone with Marius and a guard.  Later, we’d visit him in a bigger room, with other prisoners and their visitors, which was the situation in Danbury.  But in Texas, we could go outside and hang out in one of the little manicured lawn areas.  Here, we couldn’t.  I also learned that Marius has even less access to guitars and materials for writing and art in Danbury, compared with Texas.

The vending machines in the visiting room were full of the same dire, nutritionless crap as the vending machines in Texas.  For a vegan like Marius there’s nothing edible.  We had almost three hours together, but it went so quickly, as always.  It’s much longer than the fifteen minutes we’re allowed to talk on our rare phone conversations, so you’d think three hours would seem luxurious, but it doesn’t.  There’s far too much to say, much too much to catch up on — personal lives, logistics of various kinds, political analyses.  There are no clocks on the walls and no watches, given that visitors aren’t allowed to bring their phones with them, and no one wears watches anymore.  So when it was 3 o’clock, Peter and I were both caught unawares.

Though once the guard announced the time, I realized that other people around us knew the time was coming.  This, I realized, was why there were two different small children having meltdowns in the room.  Their time with their mother would be ending, and they had to leave the prison with their father, who had taken them to visit their mother.  Seeing the children processing their environment the whole time we were in there was constantly heartbreaking.  The children’s father was kind and loving, and if he hadn’t been like that, it’s hard to imagine how much more heartbreaking it might have been to witness them walking away from their mother once again, clearly not wanting to leave without her, clearly resigned to the profound injustice of their lives, knowing the procedure, what was coming next, and how no tantrum would be enough to cause anything to change at all.

Driving from Danbury to New York City the next day, I wondered how another long-term ELF prisoner, Daniel McGowan, is doing.  Last I saw him, he was under house arrest in Manhattan.  Then he spent many years in prison, and now he’s out again.  We exchanged a letter once.  Too many things slip through the cracks.

The event I was singing at in Manhattan was radically altered in terms of the speakers who’d be speaking, due to the fact that two of the people who were supposed to be the main speakers, diplomats from Cuba and Venezuela I believe, were suddenly not allowed to leave the United Nations.  Traditionally, diplomats from the many countries that had bad relations with the US could travel freely within a 25-mile radius of the UN, but the Trump administration had just informed certain diplomats that they were now only allowed to travel from the airport to their residence, and to the UN — nowhere else.

My last gig on the trip was back in Danbury, where the organizer, an academic named John Coleman who is starting up a little school of some kind, wanted me to focus my set on the end of the First World War, a period I’ve written about fairly extensively.  1919, like 2019, was a period of great uncertainty about the future, and conflict within this and many other societies.  It was a crossroads, a period where the future was being determined, largely by those advocating some form of socialism, or those advocating some form of fascism.

Flying home, catching up on rapidly-evolving news developments, with the Democrats announcing their latest impeachment plans, it is once again abundantly obvious why people like me and John keep on coming back to these historical parallels between the present time and the interwar period that began a little over a century ago.

As I have pointed out on various occasions in song and prose, the rise of fascism in Germany was born out of the failure of democracy, basically.  The democratically-elected government, led by social democrats who supposedly were interested in the welfare of the working class, failed to harness the immense wealth of the country — ravaged, of course, in so many ways by World War 1 as it was — in such a way that would have allowed the German people to eat.

Fascism became more and more popular while the left remained both fractured and inept.  And now I learn about the extent of the corruption of the Biden family dynasty, which is perhaps going to be attempting to represent some kind of more progressive alternative to Trumpism in the 2020 US elections.  This man whose son made $50,000 a month lobbying for a Ukrainian gas company, after his father helped orchestrate a coup against the former government there, is to be the guy who is ostensibly going to bring together the working class and all kinds of other folks to defeat Trump, who is also the current patriarch of a family of corrupt lobbyists and business people.

To be clear:  barring Trump’s imminent impeachment, assuming the 2020 election goes forward, we are being given choices between one politician who is accused of being compromised by Russian money, and another who appears to be compromised by Ukrainian money.  And both of them are in bed with the arms industry.  Welcome to the auction.

On the bright side, it would seem entirely possible that Marius will be joined in the federal prison there sometime soon by someone with either the last name of Trump or the last name of Biden – maybe both!

The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Defeats Tulsi Gabbard

The military-industrial-congressional complex (MIC) is the noxious alliance comprised of the Pentagon, the war industry, and Capitol Hill. U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard has spoken out against U.S. military interventions in such sovereign nations as Iraq, Syria, and Libya. While Gabbard’s public discussion of the costs of war rankles some within the MIC, she does not pose a threat to the status quo, even if she beats the odds and becomes President.

Gabbard spouts MIC pabulum (e.g. troops fight for freedom, and military deployments serve the country) and consistently votes for bloated military budgets. Gabbard says she is against regime change, not war. She has made clear time and time again that she’s in favor of using military forces to hunt down al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Such non-stop global war has led to millions of civilian deaths, more terrorism, and, yes, regime change wars; the MIC has used the war on terror to justify invading Iraq, Syria, and Libya. One cannot be pro-war on terror and anti-regime change, because GWOT and regime change are brothers in arms. If Gabbard enters the White House, all three sides of the military-industrial-congressional triangle will seize her support for GWOT and mold it into sustenance for ongoing imperial operations. Gabbard’s pro-war ways blend smoothly with the MIC’s modus operandi.

The war industry is comprised of the corporations and academic institutions that develop, market, and sell goods and services to the Pentagon and allied capitalist governments. The war industry is entrenched in Hawai‘i, Gabbard’s home state. War corporations fester right now in the Aloha State: AECOM contractors, Boeing cargo aircraft, CACI signals intelligence software, DynCorp technicians, ECS information technology, Fluor supervisors, General Dynamics submarines, Huntington Ingalls aircraft carriers, and InDyne launch control. Get the point? Through a comprehensive strategy (including funding think tanks and corporate media, lobbying, financing congressional campaigns, spreading factories across congressional districts, and rotating corporate executives into the Pentagon’s leadership), the U.S. war industry does its damnedest to push for and sustain a permanent war footing. This is what many supporters of Tulsi 2020 are up against.

U.S. military installations comprise roughly 25% of Hawai’i. This is a larger percentage of territory than the Pentagon has in any other state, as made clear in the 2018 Base Structure Report (pdf). Major military facilities include Camp H.M. Smith, Marine Corps Base Hawai’i, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on O‘ahu; the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai; the Pōhakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawai’i; and the High Performance Computing Center located at the Maui Research & Technology Park. Substantial military-intelligence facilities pockmark the colony, including NSA’s Hawai’i Cryptologic Center on the island of O‘ahu. The military’s presence in Hawai’i is expanding. Military construction is ongoing at all of the aforementioned sites. Notable projects include a communications facility at Marine Corps Base Hawai’i, an electrical distribution facility at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, telecommunications infrastructure at Pōhakuloa Training Area, and warehouses at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Expansive military infrastructure forestalls any chance of peace.

No presidential candidate poses a genuine threat to the military-industrial-congressional triangle. Gabbard’s rhetoric and voting record complement military infrastructure and corporate products in Hawai’i. In order for any peace candidate to be successful, there needs to be a grassroots movement demobilizing the U.S. Armed Forces and demilitarizing the economy. Demobilizing the Armed Forces requires a strenuous effort to bring the troops home, retrain them in non-militant fields, and offer them all the university education they desire. Demilitarizing the economy involves banning war profiteering, passing a constitutional amendment declaring corporations are not people, reversing the 2010 Citizens United decision, and methodically disassembling the biggest U.S. war corporations, liberating the scientists and engineers to pursue peaceful endeavors. Where will we get all the money to do this? There’s plenty of money to go around, starting with the annual $1.25 trillion “national security” budget and the coffers of war profiteers. If we do not demobilize the Armed Forces and demilitarize the economy then the wars will endure, and the MIC will continue to manufacture death at home and abroad.