President Joe Biden has ordered the Financial Stability Oversight Council to prepare a report on how the financial system can mitigate the risks related to climate change. The Financial Stability Oversight Council was created through the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform act and is supposed to identify and monitor excessive risk to the financial system. The council is composed of the heads of the major federal financial regulatory agencies, including the Federal Reserve.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is no doubt pleased with Biden's order. Powell has been pushing for the Fed to join other central banks in fighting climate change. Among the ways the Fed could try to mitigate the risks related to climate change is by using its regulatory authority to “encourage” banks to lend to “green” businesses and deny capital to “polluters.” The Fed could also use “quantitative easing” to give green industries an advantage over their non-green competitors. Another way the Fed could “fight climate change” is by committing to monetizing all federal debt created by legislation implementing the Green New Deal.
Climate change is not the only area where the Fed is embracing the agenda of the “woke.” Some Federal Reserve Banks have taken the lead in a series of events called “Racism and the Economy” that are concerned with dismantling “systemic racism.” The Fed’s commitment to ending systemic racism could lead the central bank to requiring that banks and other financial institutions further relax their lending standards for minorities. The role the Community Reinvestment Act played in the 2008 housing meltdown shows that when government forces financial institutions to give loans to otherwise unqualified applicants, the recipients of those loans often are unable to make their payments, lending to foreclosures and bankruptcies.
Racial justice arguments could also justify an easy money, low interest rate policy on the grounds that curtailing money creation slows economic growth, disproportionately harming minorities.
The Fed may court favor with the Biden administration and its congressional allies by going woke. However, it will face a backlash from those who oppose expanding government power to address nonexistent threats of climate change and to promote the lie that free markets are causing systemic racism. This backlash will be fueled by rising anger over widespread price increases. This will increase the already strong public support for the Audit the Fed legislation. A complete Federal Reserve audit will provide to Congress and the American people the truth about the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy, including how politics affects the Fed’s actions.
The use of the woke agenda as an excuse to further politicize the allocation of capital and continue to expand the Fed’s easy money, low interest rate policy will hasten and deepen the next economic crisis. This crisis will either be precipitated by or result in the rejection of the dollar's world reserve currency status. It will also likely result in the collapse of the entire Keynesian welfare-warfare system. Unfortunately, there is a likelihood that the current system will be replaced with a government even more authoritarian than the current one. But, if those of us who know the truth can educate enough people about liberty, we can make sure the next economic crisis leads to a rebirth of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty.
“Dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors and then throw three feet of dirt on top. . . . It’s the dirt that does it. . . . . If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody’s going to make it.” This bit of cheery advice was offered by Thomas K. (“T.K.”) Jones, deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, strategic and theater nuclear forces in a 1982 interview with Robert Scheer of The Los Angeles Times. Jones’ assurance that a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union could be survived with a little sweat and ingenuity, allowing for two to four years recovery time, reflected the optimism of his boss, President Ronald Reagan, before Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev talked some sense into him.
The conviction that the U.S. could win a nuclear war was key to the nuclear policy early in the Reagan administration. Not only could such a war be survived, it would present a potential opportunity for the victor. With the deployment of Pershing II and other tactical nuclear weapons, the U.S. and the Soviets might even conduct a nuclear exchange confined to Europe, entirely outside their borders. “I could see where you could have the exchange of tactical (nuclear) weapons against troops in the field without it bringing either one of the major powers to pushing the button,” Reagan suggested in 1981.
While the best hopes around Reagan’s and Gorbachev’s Reykjavik summit of October 1986 for the elimination of nuclear weapons were never realized, the more modest areas of agreement defined there may have at least given us extra time. Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 dark comedy, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was hardly fiction at all, we now know and it is astonishing that humanity survived the cold war.
There is a resurgence of the delusional belief in the winnable nuclear war by U.S. war planners, evidenced in the June, 2019, report by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Nuclear Operations,” that again threatens life on this planet. “Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability,” the joint chiefs’ document says. “Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.” In the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan and T.K. Jones revealed the insanity of U.S. war plans, millions of people around the world took to the streets in protest. Their massive dissent was at least as decisive in stepping back from the brink of destruction as Reagan’s and Gorbachev’s détente. The present relapse into madness, on the other hand, seems to “alarm” only a few “experts.”
While T.K. Jones’ plan to dig holes to survive a nuclear war really amounted to nothing more than incipient victims digging their own graves, international activists are giving a new, hopeful and proactive meaning to the concept of having enough shovels to survive a nuclear war. “Digging for Life” is an action idea for Büchel Air Base in Germany near Cochem on the Mosel River, for July 19, 2021.
At the Büchel Air Base, about 20 U.S. nuclear bombs are stored, which NATO wants to replace in the coming years with new B61-12 bombs. Around the airbase there is a highly armed fence with surveillance cameras, motion sensors and a deep concrete foundation. Previous civil disobedience actions there deliberately cut through the perimeter fence, but this time activists will not go through the fence, but under it. The activists converging on the base with shovels painted pink will not be digging holes to hide and die in. Their goal will be to reach the runway and prevent the launching of Tornado fighter bombers to practice nuclear war.
“We have a vivid picture in front of our eyes, in which each and every one can go as far as their own determination allows. You can join in digging until the police ask you to stop and hand over your shovel to another, you can peacefully continue to dig until arrested, you can picnic near the diggers and be a witness,” reads the invitation to the nonviolent event. “If you plan to join in for the digging, we ask you to arrive no later than Saturday July 17th 4 pm at the peace camp to get to know each other, do a nonviolence training, make affinity groups, paint shovels and other preparations. This action is part of the international week of action from 12 – 20 July of the campaign ‘Büchel ist überall! atomwaffenfrei.jetzt!’ (‘Büchel is everywhere!’ ‘End nuclear weapons now!’) so you could also come earlier than Saturday to the peace camp.”
Activists in the United States might feel a special obligation to dig with our European sisters and brothers and it is hoped that the predicted opening of Germany to summer tourists will allow us to attend. Please contact ten.efil-rof-gniggidnull@ofni to register or for more information.
“If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody’s going to make it!”The post “If There Are Enough Shovels to Go Around” first appeared on Dissident Voice.
The ceasefire on May 21 has, for now, brought the Israeli war on Gaza to an end. However, this ceasefire is not permanent and constant Israeli provocations anywhere in Palestine could reignite the bloody cycle all over again. Moreover, the Israeli siege on Gaza remains in place, as well as the Israeli military occupation and the rooted system of apartheid that exists all over Palestine.
This, however, does not preclude the fact that the 11-day Israeli war on the besieged Gaza Strip has fundamentally altered some elements about Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, especially the Palestinian Resistance, in all of its manifestations.
Let us examine the main actors in the latest confrontation and briefly discuss the impact of the Israeli war and the determined Palestinian resistance on their respective positions.
“Mowing the Grass’ No More
‘Mowing the grass’ is an Israeli term used with reference to the habitual Israeli attacks and war on besieged Gaza, aimed at delineating the need for Israel to routinely eradicate or degrade the capabilities of the various Palestinian resistance groups on the street.
‘Mowing the grass’ also has political benefits, as it often neatly fit into Israel’s political agendas – for example, the need to distract from one political crisis or another in Israel or to solidify Israeli society around its leadership.
May 2021 will be remembered as the time that ‘mowing the grass’ can no longer be easily invoked as a military and political strategy by the Israeli government, as the Gaza resistance and the popular rebellion that was ignited throughout all of Palestine has raised the price by several-fold that Israel paid for its violent provocations.
While Israeli military and political strategists want to convince us, and themselves, that their relationship with Gaza and the Palestinian Resistance has not changed, it actually has and, arguably, irreversibly so.
The Altered Equation
The Palestinian fight for freedom has also been fundamentally altered, not only because of the unprecedented resilience of Palestinian resistance, but the unity of the Palestinian people, and the rise of a post-Oslo/peace process Palestinian nation that is united around a new popular discourse, one which does not differentiate between Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza, or anywhere else.
Palestinian unity around resistance, not peace process, is placing Israel in a new kind of quandary. For the first time in its history, Israel cannot win the war on the Palestinians. Neither can it lose the war, because conceding essentially means that Israel is ready to offer compromises – end its occupation, dismantle apartheid, and so on. This is why Israel opted for a one-sided ceasefire. Though humiliating, it preferred over-reaching a negotiated agreement, thus sending a message that the Palestinian Resistance works.
Still, the May war demonstrated that Israel is no longer the only party that sets the rules of the game. Palestinians are finally able to make an impact and force Israel to abandon its illusions that Palestinians are passive victims and that resistance is futile.
Equally important, we can no longer discuss popular resistance and armed resistance as if they are two separate notions or strategies. It would have been impossible for the armed resistance to be sustained, especially under the shocking amount of Israeli firepower, without the support of Palestinians at every level of society and regardless of their political and ideological differences.
Facing a single enemy that did not differentiate between civilians and fighters, between a Hamas or a Fatah supporter, the Palestinian people throughout Palestine moved past all of their political divisions and factional squabbles. Palestinian youth coined new terminologies, ones that were centered around resistance, liberation, solidarity and so on. This shift in the popular discourse will have important consequences that have the potential of cementing Palestinian unity for many years to come.
Israel’s Allies Not Ready to Change
The popular revolt in Palestine has taken many by surprise, including Israel’s allies. Historically, Israel’s Western supporters have proven to be morally bankrupt, but the latest war has proved them to be politically bankrupt as well.
Throughout the war, Washington and other Western capitals parroted the same old line about Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel’s security and the need to return to the negotiation table. This is an archaic and useless position because it did not add anything new to the old, empty discourse. If anything, it merely demonstrates their inability to evolve politically and to match the dramatic changes underway in occupied Palestine.
Needless to say, the new US Administration of Joe Biden, in particular, has missed a crucial opportunity to prove that it was different from that of the previous Donald Trump Administration. Despite, at times, guarded language and a few nuances, Biden behaved precisely as Trump would have if he was still President.
What ‘Palestinian leadership’?
The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and his circle of supporters represent a bygone era. While they are happy to claim a large share of whatever international financial support that could pour in to rebuild Gaza, they do not represent any political trend in Palestine at the moment.
Abbas’s decision to cancel Palestine’s elections scheduled for May and July left him more isolated. Palestinians are ready to look past him; in fact, they already have. This so-called leadership will not be able to galvanize upon this historic moment built on Palestinian unity and resistance.
The Palestinian Authority is corrupt and dispensable. Worse, it is an obstacle in the way of Palestinian freedom. Palestine needs a leadership that represents all Palestinian people everywhere, one that is truly capable of leading the people as they attempt to chart a clear path to their coveted freedom.
Expanding the Circle of Solidarity
The incredible amount of global solidarity which made headline news all over the world was a clear indication that the many years of preparedness at a grassroots level have paid off. Aside from the numerous expressions of solidarity, one particular aspect deserves further analysis: the geographic diversity of this solidarity which is no longer confined to a few cities in a few countries.
Pro-Palestine solidarity protests, vigils, conferences, webinars, art, music, poetry and many more such expressions were manifest from Kenya to South Africa, to Pakistan to the UK and dozens of countries around the world. The demographics, too, have changed, with minorities and people of color either leading or taking center stage of many of these protests, a phenomenon indicative of the rising intersectionality between Palestinians and numerous oppressed groups around the globe.
A critical fight ahead for Palestinians is the fight of delegitimizing and exposing Israeli colonialism, racism and apartheid. This fight can be won at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), UNESCO and numerous international and regional organizations, in addition to the countless civil society groups and community centers the world over.
For this to happen, every voice matters, every vote counts, from India to Brazil, from Portugal to South Africa, from China to New Zealand, and so on. Israel understands this perfectly, thus the global charm offensive that right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been leading for years. It is essential that we, too, understand this, and reach out to each UN member as part of a larger strategy to deservingly isolate Israel for ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity.The post “Mowing the Grass” No More: How Palestinian Resistance Altered the Equation first appeared on Dissident Voice.
His comments would not have fallen on deaf ears. While metropolitan London would have been aghast at his pedigree and remarks, a Brexit-audience in the rustbelts and areas of deprivation, would have felt a twang of appreciation. For them, migration has not been a boon and glory. For Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, it has been an opportunity to make valuable enemies and court new friends.
The meeting between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Orbán on May 28 did more than raise eyebrows and prompt head scratching. The statement released by No 10 was anodyne enough, filling space and not much else. “The leaders discussed the importance of the UK and Hungary working together bilaterally to increase security and prosperity in our countries and to address global challenges such as climate change.”
Johnson is also said to have “raised his significant concerns about human rights in Hungary, including gender equality, LGBT rights and media freedom.” In terms of foreign policy, Johnson saw his Hungarian counterpart as a man of influence. “The Prime Minister encouraged Hungary to use their influence to promote democracy and stability.”
The critics, notably those drenched in the juice of Britannic values, were bemused and baffled. Labour MP Alex Sobel outlined Orbán’s resume ahead of the visit: “a renowned anti-Semite, fuelled violence against the Romany, clamps down on the LGBT and Muslim communities.” He had also “suppressed democratic norms and press freedom”. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy took issue with the visit given Orbán’s record on attacking “press freedom and democracy”, refugees as “Muslim invaders” and was “a cheerleader for Putin and Lukashenko.”
Nandy then turned on that resource so commonly drawn upon when faced with discomforting leaders. Orbán, being one of Europe’s “most regressive leaders” was effectively undermining “the values the UK government says it wants to defend”.
The government of Boris Johnson may well spout the values argument, but Brexit has meant courting and entertaining widely. The world is less its opportune oyster than a pressing necessity. Friends need to be won over, agreements inked and secured. As a No 10 spokesman put it, “As president of the Visegrád group of Central European nations later this year, cooperation with Hungary is vital to the UK’s prosperity and security.” UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was even more explicit: the UK had to, at times, speak to the unsavoury and approach the unlikeable. “I think Viktor Orbán’s views on migrants are things I would not endorse in any way.”
Kwarteng distils the amoral British position with accuracy, though it also says much about what Timothy Garton Ash described as “the dilemma of self-inflicted weakness” that burdens post-Brexit Britain. Arms contracts with Saudi Arabia while a theocracy maims and molests remain a matter of course. The relationship with China privileges the business imperative, despite claims about holding a liberal international order together. Deals are to be made, even with authoritarian regimes and those with a sketchy record on human rights.
Orbán, by comparison to some of the UK’s trading partners, is almost civil. And more to the point, he never disappoints as one of the great critics of the EU, even as he remains in its tent. The abundant admiration for Brexit, described as the opening of a “fantastic door, a fantastic opportunity”, has not gone unnoticed.
Then there is that niggling issue that Johnson and his party members might not be entirely at odds with the Hungarian PM. While the official statement on the No 10 meeting mentions a concern for rights and liberties, Johnson could hardly have disagreed with some of his counterpart’s views, notably on Islam. The recent Singh report into claims of Islamophobia within the Conservative Party found degrees of discrimination from the Prime Minister to grass roots organisations, though it rejected claims of “institutional racism” made by such prominent Tory members as Baroness Warsi. The Prime Minister’s previous remarks, mocking those wearing burqas as “looking like letterboxes” were also picked up in the report. “I am obviously sorry for any offence taken,” Johnson said in response, though he also added a rounding qualifier: “My writings are often parodic, satirical”.
Orbán’s views on immigration and Islam are far from satirical, though they do not resist unintentional parody and farce. Reprising himself as a nationalist warrior fending off a modern Ottoman surge, the grave Hungarian leader wears the habitual costume of a defender of European civilisation.
And what of anti-Semitism? Specifically referring to his troubled relationship with George Soros, the billionaire was described as “a talented Hungarian businessman… he is very much in favour of migration, financing and helping the NGOs who are doing that. We don’t like it but it has nothing to do with ethnic identity.”
The shambolic rollout of the EU vaccination program has also gifted much room to Orbán to mock opponents and stifle detractors. Vacillation in Europe on how best to approach COVID-19 and poor planning has meant the courting of other countries for vaccines. The EU is not working, he can say, and this is how we respond. The result is a range of options for Hungarians, sourced from Russia and China. As he has done so, Orbán has pursued an aggressive campaign against contrarians within his country. The pro-government media mobbing of political scientist Peter Kreko, who cautioned against the speed the Orbán government was seeking the Sputnik V vaccine, was typically sinister.
In the indignant storm surrounding the visit, a White Hall source may have provided the most accurate summary that reflects the British PM’s approach to policy in general: “Number 10 has walked into a bear trap.”The post Laying the Bear Trap: Orbán visits No 10 Downing Street first appeared on Dissident Voice.
Reporters joke the easiest job in Washington is CIA spokesman. You need only listen carefully to questions and say “No comment’ before heading to Happy Hour. The joke, however, is on us. The reporters pretend to see only one side of the CIA, the passive hiding of information about itself. They meanwhile choose to profit from the other side of the equation, active information operations designed to influence events in America. It is 2021 and the CIA is running an op against the American people.
Leon Panetta, the Director CIA from 2009 to 2011 explained bluntly his CIA did influence foreign media outlets ahead of elections in order to “change attitudes within the country.” The method, Panetta said, was to “acquire media within a country or within a region that could very well be used for being able to deliver a specific message or work to influence those that may own elements of the media to be able to cooperate, work with you in delivering that message.”
The CIA has been running such information ops to influence foreign elections since the end of WWII. Richard Bissell, who ran the agency’s operations during the Cold War, wrote of “exercising control over a newspaper or broadcasting station, or of securing the desired outcome in an election.” A report on the CIA in Chile boasts the Agency portrayed its favored candidate in one election as a “wise, sincere and high-minded statesman” while painting his leftist opponent as a “calculating schemer.” At one point in the 1980s foreign media insertions ran 80 a day.
The goal is to control information as a tool of influence. Sometimes the control is very direct, simply paying a reporter to run a story, or, as was done in Iraq, simply operating the media outlet yourself (known as the Orwellian Indigenous Media Project.) The problem is such direct action is easily exposed, destroying credibility.
A more effective strategy is to become a source for legitimate media such that your (dis)information inherits their credibility. The most effective is an operation so complex one CIA plant is the initial information source while a second CIA plant acts seemingly independently as a confirming source. At that point you can push information to the mainstream media, who can then “independently” confirm it, sometimes unknowingly, through your secondary agents. You can basically write tomorrow’s headlines.
Other techniques include exclusive true information mixed with disinformation to establish credibility, using official sources like Embassy spokesmen to appear to inadvertently confirm sub details, and covert funding of research and side gigs to promote academics and experts who discredit counter-narratives. The academics may never know where their money comes from, adding to their credibility.
From the end of WWII to the Church Committee in 1976, this was all just a conspiracy theory. Of course the US would not use the CIA to influence elections, especially in fellow democracies. Except it did. By its nature reporting on intelligence always requires one to work with limited information. Always give time a chance to explain.
Through Operation Mockingbird the CIA ran over 400 American journalists as direct assets. Almost none have ever discussed their work publicly. CIA documents show journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations. The New York Times alone willingly provided cover for about ten CIA officers over decades and kept quiet about it. Such long term relationships are a powerful tool, so feeding a true big story to a young reporter to get him promoted is part of the game. Don’t forget the anonymous source who drove the Watergate story was an FBI official who through his actions made the careers of cub reporters Woodward and Bernstein. Bernstein went on to champion the Russiagate story. Woodward became a Washington hagiographer. Ken Dilanian, formerly with the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and now working for NBC, maintains a “collaborative relationship” with the CIA.
That’s the tradecraft and the history. The problem for America is once again the tools of war abroad have come home. The intelligence community is currently operating against the American people using established media.
Some of it can’t be more obvious. The CIA always planted stories in foreign media for American outlets to pick up. The Agency works directly with Hollywood to control movies about itself. Turn on any of the advocacy media outlets and you see panels of former CIA officials. Journalist Matt Taibbi even created a list (and since ex-‘s need agency clearance to speak, all are of the officially approved class.) None is more egregious than John Brennan, former Director CIA, who for years touted Russiagate when he knew from information gathered while he was still in office it was all a lie. The uber-lie that Trump was dirty with Russia was leaked to the press most likely by Brennan in January 2017 as the kick off event to the info op still running today.
Brennan’s role is more than speculation. John Durham, the US attorney leading the ongoing “how it happened” Russiagate investigation into the intelligence community, has requested Brennan’s emails and call logs from CIA. Durham is also examining whether Brennan changed his story between his public comments (not under oath, say anything) and his May 2017 testimony to Congress (under oath, watch out for perjury) about the dossier. Reporter Aaron Mate is less delicate, laying out the evidence Brennan was “a central architect and promoter of the conspiracy theory from its inception.” Even blunter is Senator Rand Paul, who directly accuses Brennan of trying “to bring down a sitting president.”
Let’s see how that worked to understand how info ops intertwine with covert ops. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report shows the FBI unleashed a full-spectrum spying campaign based on the root of the information op, the Dossier. Horowitz’s report shows it was a team effort among the 5 Eyes — Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, a man with ties to his nation’s intel services, arranged a meeting with Trump staffer George Papadopoulos to set in motion FBI FISA surveillance. Trump officials were also monitored by British GCHQ. The op used CIA assets, the shadowy academics Mark Halper and Joseph Mifsud, as dangles. We see a honey trap run in classic style, with a female FBI undercover agent inserted into social situations with a Trump staffer. Dossier author and ex-British intel officer Christopher Steele created a textbook officer’s information loop, secretly becoming his own corroborating source.
It was all based on nothing but disinformation and the American press swallowed every bit of it, turning the op into a three year tantrum falsely convincing a vast number of citizens their nation was run by a Russian asset. Robert Mueller, whose investigation was supposed to propel all this nothing into impeachment hearings, ended up exercising one of the last bits of political courage Americans will ever see in walking right to the edge of essentially a coup and refusing to step off into the abyss.
The CIA is a learning institution, and recovered well from Russiagate. Details can be investigated. That’s where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn’t true. But the a-ha discovery was since you’ll never formally prosecute anyone, why bother with evidence. Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. The new paradigm included let the nature of the source — the brave lads of the intelligence agencies — legitimize the accusations this time, not facts. Go overt and use the new, unexpected prestige of the CIA as progressive heros to substantiate things.
So in December 2017 CNN reported Donald Trump, Jr. had advance access to the WikiLeaks archive. Within an hour, NBC’s Ken Dilanian and CBS both claimed independent confirmation. It was a complete lie, based on fabricated documents. How do you confirm a lie? Ask another liar.
In February 2020, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee the Russians were election meddling again to favor Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries in his favor. Both briefings were leaked, the former to the New York Times to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, the latter to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to damage Sanders.
In June 2020 The New York Times stated CIA officials concluded the Russians “secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The story ran near another claiming Trump had spoken disrespectfully about fallen soldiers. Neither story was true. But they broke around the same time Trump announced his plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, aimed at discouraging pro-military voters.
Earlier this month The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, claimed the FBI gave a defensive briefing to Rudy Giuliani in 2019, before he traveled to Ukraine. Giuliani supposedly ignored the warning. The story was “independently confirmed” by both NBC and The New York Times. It was totally false.
The American system always envisioned an adversarial role for the media. One of the earliest challenges to freedom of the press was the Colonial-era Peter Zenger case, which established the right of the press to criticize politicians free from libel charges. At times when things really mattered and even as other journalists hid under their beds, men like Edward R. Murrow worked their craft to preserve democracy. Same for Walter Cronkite finally reaching his opposition to the Vietnam War, and the New York Times reporters weighing imprisonment to publish the Pentagon Papers.
In each of those instances the handful of reporters who risked everything to tell the truth were held up as heroes. Seeing the Times fighting for its life, the Washington Post co-published the Pentagon Papers to force the government to make its case not just against a rival newspaper, but the 1A itself.
Not today. Journalism is today devoted to eliminating practitioners unwilling to play the game. Few have been targeted more than Glenn Greenwald (with Matt Taibbi as runner up.) Greenwald exploded into a journalistic superhero for his reporting on Edward Snowden’s NSA archive, founding The Intercept to serve as a platform for that work (Greenwald’s downfall parallels Julian Assange, who went from liberal hero for exposing the foundational lies of the Iraq War to zero when his Wikileaks was demonized for supposedly helping Donald Trump.)
Greenwald’s criticism of the media for accepting Deep State lies as truth, particularly concerning Russiagate, turned him into a villian for progressives. MSNBC banned him, and other media outlets ran stories critical of him. Then something very, very odd happened to make it appear The Intercept outed one of its own whistleblower sources. Evidence suggests the source was a patsy, set up by the intel community, and exposed via Matt Cole, one of The Intercept journalists on this story. Cole was also involved in the outing of source CIA officer John Kiriakou in connection with torture claims. Either way new whistleblowers will think twice before turning to The Intercept. Greenwald recently quit the site after it refused to publish his article on Hunter Biden’s ties to China unless he deleted portions critical of Joe Biden.
Greenwald seems to have figured out the intel community’s game, writing “the most significant Trump-era alliance is between corporate outlets and security state agencies, whose evidence-free claims they unquestioningly disseminate… Every journalist, even the most honest and careful, will get things wrong sometimes, and trustworthy journalists issue prompt corrections when they do. That behavior should be trust-building. But when media outlets continue to use the same reckless and deceitful tactics — such as claiming to have ‘independently confirmed‘ one another’s false stories when they have merely served as stenographers for the same anonymous security state agents while ‘confirming’ nothing — that strongly suggests a complete indifference to the truth and, even more so, a willingness to serve as disinformation agents.”
Democracy has no meaning if people simply vote uninformed, as they are propagandized. It will be sport for future historians to mark the thing that most pushed America into decline. Seeing decades of success abroad in using info ops, the CIA and others turned those weapons inward. So seeing her Deep State meddle in presidential politics, simultaneously destroying (albeit mostly with their cooperation) the adversarial media, while crushing faith in both our leaders and in the process of electing them, will certainly be a top qualifier.
Reprinted with permission from WeMeantWell.com.
What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa?
― W.E.B. DuBois
He died. In an assisted (sic) care (oxymoron) home (nope) facility/prison (yes). Homeless for a few years; he was a photographer; and his life went to shit in four years. He overspent on photo equipment, a studio, gave away shoots, and alas, he ended up living in his car, putting the entire inventory in an expensive storage unit, and then he tried surviving.
I met him when I was a social worker helping him as a short-term veteran (Army, 12 months, no combat) in a housing program, 24/7, where my job was to get him on his feet, get his VA benefits together, get him back on some financial track, and getting him inspired to live.
He was curious, could run in mixed company, and he was fragile. That is the way of families — estranged, bizarre old men (father) moving on with second and third wives, and just giving shit about offspring.
I worked for the Starvation Army, one bloody year, and you can read about that hell hole of a fake (maybe not) religious wacko institution (poverty pimps): Here, Here and Here, over at Dissident Voice.
The preachers and lecturers deal with men of straw, as they are men of straw themselves. Why, a free-spoken man, of sound lungs, cannot draw a long breath without causing your rotten institutions to come toppling down by the vacuum he makes. Your church is a baby-house made of blocks, and so of the state.
…The church, the state, the school, the magazine, think they are liberal and free! It is the freedom of a prison-yard.
― Henry David Thoreau, I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau
He lost one leg to diabetes, and it was typical – small black dot on his foot, and then, living the rough life, cold weather chills in a vehicle, long walks in the cold when the car broke down. Bad diet, and stress.
They chopped it (the leg) off at the knee. He was having eye/vision issues. He was a smart guy, even did a trivia night for his fellow homeless vets and their families. His memory, though, was flagging. He never wanted to learn how to deal with a prosthetic leg. He was getting more and more confused, obsessed with CNBC-type shit, and anti-trump disease to the max.
He had to be reminded of everything, daily, and we worked on getting him housing vouchers, and, alas, he was finally getting Social Security, and then, the VA took care of some of his stuff.
He went to a couple of my fiction readings in Portland, and he was always there for my movie nights to watch some documentary that pushed to push against the military mindset, and he was there to listen to me rail and rail.
He found out his estranged father left some money to him when he died. It was a windfall, and my vet could not handle all the information and financial asides. It took two years to get that money, and he gave one leech a $10,000 loan for some scheme for a new dog food patent (right!), and alas, that leech never paid him back. The vet’s dead, and this deadbeat who pried money from him has no reason to pay back.
Before death, and after the Starvation Army, my vet got into an apartment (with my help), and they screwed him over. The one ground floor apartment with a large step and stoop, impossible for him to navigate his wheelchair, that wasn’t in the bargain. He already signed the lease and wanted out of the Starvation Army. He and I worked on getting the apartment to build a stone or cement pathway from the back slider, to the parking lot, so he could get his Uber or handicap buses trips.
It was another eye opener – largest (now #3) property management company in the USA for apartments, out of Texas, and not one of them responded to my emails or calls. Terrible, since that has never happened to me ever in my life. I have always gotten responses, even harsh ones back. From cops, senators, CEOs, IRS, more. These people are human leeches.
Pinnacle comes in at number three in the rankings for the largest property managers in the country, with 172,000 units under management. The company manages a diverse array of assets, including mixed-use properties, commercial properties, affordable developments, senior properties, and student housing. It also specializes in the turnaround of distressed assets and assisting in the management of HOAs and condo associations. Pinnacle is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and is currently headed by President and CEO Rick L. Graf.
So think about that. He had to pay for this walkway, and it was an improvement for that unit, to say the least, so why should he have to pay? He had volunteers with a construction company and from the Rotary Club, and that Pinnacle nixed it. They had to have their vetted company. We are talking about $500 for the job using volunteers and a bonded contractor, versus the $2500 through Pinnacle’s outfit.
That apartment life did not last long. He was having major choking issues, and cognitive ones. He wasn’t eating right. No phone calls taken, or texts.
We are talking about a man, 68, no family. He had no one but a friend he met at the Rotary Club and acquaintances. And me, his former social worker. Who happened to move on the Coast, so I was 3 hours from him one way, via car.
He had to leave the apartment, to a care center (sic). That apartment would not give him a break, since he had to break the lease because of medical reasons. No big deal he was a veteran.
These are parasites.
Then, he ends up in one of the larger senior living places, and that was a living hell for him as he slipped more and more, had no decent meals, and never had a case manager for months. Then, lockdown, March 2020.
Here it is, Wikipedia –
Brookdale Senior Living owns and operates over 700 senior living communities and retirement communities in the United States. Brookdale was established in 1978 and is based in Brentwood, Tennessee. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Fortress Investments became the majority owner of Brookdale, holding approximately 51% of its share. Currently, Glenview Capital Management (a hedge fund) holds the largest number of shares. Brookdale has approximately 70,000 staff members and 100,000 residents. As of 2018, it was the largest operator of senior housing in the United States. In 2021, a New York Times investigation revealed that Brookdale submitted wrong and manipulated data to the government, thus inflating ratings of the quality of care in Brookdale facilities. Shortly thereafter, the state of California filed a lawsuit against Brookdale, alleging that the company manipulated the federal government’s nursing-home ratings system.
He was paying out of his social security and this money he got from his father: $4100 a month plus another $2000 for “special services.” There were no “Special services.” This happens every minute in the USA. Imagine, a society with how many aging people? How many with chronic illness? Who the fuck has $6100 a month to pay for these scabies outfits?
Again, we can either prepare for the ultimate disaster that disaster capitalism gives us, or, put our heads back in that sand:
In 10 years, more than half of middle-income Americans age 75 or older will not be able to afford to pay for yearly assisted living rent or medical expenses, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.
The researchers used demographic and income data to project estimates of a portion of the senior population, those who will be 75 or older in 2029, with a focus on those in the middle-income range — currently $25,001 to $74,298 per year for those ages 75 to 84.
And it doesn’t look good for that group because of the rising costs of housing and health care. The researchers estimated that the number of middle-income elders in the U.S. will nearly double, growing from 7.9 million to 14.4 million by 2029. They will make up the biggest share of seniors, at 43%. — Source
This three paragraphs cited above are from a two-year-old article. You think the plandemic has assisted with this? Socialism is about planning for and building out facilities and holistic ways to help the aging, the poor, the sick. Capitalism is about planning for and setting out a million ways to fleece and fleece people. Maybe blood and plasma and bone marrow transplants are the only way to get through. Or, just donating body and soul to Big Pharma for their Mengele stuff. A 10 by 10 room, with a roommate, and mac’n’cheese six days a week, fasting on Thursdays.
This is how America runs, as a continuing criminal enterprise, an elaborate multi-layered system of bilking and outright theft, casino capitalism on steroids, and zero concern by the majority of the people with investments, banks (owners) and the elected officials to make safety nets. Who the hell can afford $6100 a month for a studio apartment? Crappy food? Surly workers (underpaid, over worked)? This is prison on a whole other level.
He had to go to the VA, via ambulance, and with taxis, a few times with this female friend.
She got him to get a will prepared, and to get some things in order, but he was failing, vacant, not there, and alas, he died August 2020 age 70, and that should never have happened. If I had a community, 100 acres, gardens, small (tiny) homes, pets, chickens, and community conversations, he would NOT have died. Life expectancy dropped because he ended up in an apartment, isolated, alone, scared, and with deeper cognitive issues. A supportive community getting him off his duff, getting him involved, would have saved him. Could save millions of Americans. Hundreds of millions of global citizens.
So who owns the land, the farms, the concepts of living and aging in place, intergenerational, cooperatives, decent air and water? Dog-eat-dog. And who thinks that a coronavirus lives and breathes in the summer? Oh, that flu season, now 365 days a year, some rain or shine.
You know, I didn’t get a chance to talk to this vet too much about his concerns around lockdown, the SARS-CoV2, and, well, like many things once a person ages, sometimes talking real stuff about real things is too much for a mind that is going south.
Not all pandemics are caused by the obvious suspects. Though the media have us whipped up into a frenzy over a select cast of superstar pathogens, the villain in the next global drama may be lurking in the unlikeliest of places; perhaps it hasn’t even been discovered yet.
“I think the chances that the next pandemic will be caused by a novel virus are quite good,” says Kevin Olival, a disease ecologist from the EcoHealth Alliance, a US-based organisation that studies the links between human and environmental health. “If you look at Sars, which was the first pandemic of the 21st Century, that was a previously unknown virus before it jumped into people and spread round the world. So there’s a precedent there – there are many, many viruses out there in the families that we’re concerned with.”
Out of millions of viruses on the planet, very few have ever caused a major outbreak
Olival is not alone. Earlier this year, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates warned that the next pandemic could be something we’ve never seen before. He suggested that we prepare for its emergence as we would for a war.
Meanwhile, the WHO is so firmly convinced that they have updated their list of pathogens most likely to cause a massive, deadly outbreak to include “Disease X” – a mystery microorganism which hasn’t yet entered our radar. By Zaria Gorvett, 13th November 2018
The irony of ironies, I was talking about things like this way before that BBC (bad bad organization) put out these pabulum pieces as quoted about NOV. 2018, a year before the official Wuhan and Italian flu hit (sic).
The death of the vet, of course, create a nightmare for his friend, designated as the executor of his “estate.”
Comcast screwed the estate by keeping service going (charging $90 a month) even though he was dead. He had a storage unit that was charging $215 a month. That Brookdale ended up hitting the estate with more bills in the thousands. The apartment complex, Pinnacle, was looking for several thousand for fees and penalties. The bills came in, and the collection agencies rose to the occasion.
And this vet’s friend (sic) who had borrowed the money paid nothing back.
It is May, 2021, and those proceeds to his small estate have not yet been disbursed. Pandemic lockdown has hurt the process. Two of the beneficiaries are a free clinic that attended to this vet’s needs during his hours of need. And a food pantry out of a church who also helped him with food and electricity money.
He probably had $340,000 total, most of it in a Morgan Stanley account. Mind you, this is all from his dead old man, and the vet had not expected that. There are tax filing fees, moving expenses for his stuff to a furniture nonprofit, fees for the storage unit. Some prescription bills and other outstanding bills that should have just vanished. The creditors came out of the woodwork, and because I was not a family member, brother, say, of nephew, all those bills got paid. If I had been that family member, I would/could have wrangled many of the bills into either zeroed out bills, or some with a dime on the dollar. It takes letter writing, advocating, and pounding down these leeches.
As of May 18, 2021, the five beneficiaries – two nonprofits in need – have not seen a cent. Because the executor has had to do so much, and the fact the vet had no family, my vet’s estate is getting whittled down by that great American tick – middle men, fees, penalties, taxes, this and that amount extracted as part of the ugly middle and middle man/woman mentality of the USA.
Some people came up to the plate and did pro bono work, but because I was close to this whole thing, and talked with the executor a lot, I see how the total amount that could have been distributed five ways — $70,000 each – might now be even close to $60,000 each. What the beneficiaries don’t know won’t hurt them, right? All those leeches sucking the dead, well, they just don’t know it. It was money they were not expecting, so what’s the big deal.
That’s not the point. This is a minute-to-minute situation in USA. Millions of people and their families get screwed in the tens of billions each year by the ticks and leeches. I have had to deal with PayDay loan companies, repo men, collection agencies, courts, companies, telecoms and hospitals and others who have their hands out for more and more cuts of many of my clients who were making $730 a month in Social Security, and some way less. I contacted hospitals and businesses and others to get fees and bills reduced or zeroed out.
Young or old, many of the homeless people I worked with could NEVER work in a competitive work environment. Their health and minds are shot to shit. Much of that (PTSD and complex PTSD) was caused by the Armed Forces, and by the systems of punishment that hit these guys and gals after departing that shit hole.
Not everything in their lives is someone else’s fault and responsibility. They made bad choices. Booze and drugs, you betcha, took them down. Bad food, bad thinking smoking, and more, deteriorated them at a young age. Trying to pay rent, evictions, etc., all that adds up to the weathering.
Living in a truck or car or tent or in a garage, that also weathers these people. In the end, pre-Covid and now during it, these people are throwaways. The Stock Market is busting at the seams. Zoom school, and Zoom work for the middle class, the new normal abnormal. The rest of the workforce or citizen? Screwed blued and tattooed.
The irony is that my vet friend “made” more money in that investment account dead than when he was alive. And we know the great history of Morgan Stanley.
I’m writing this because I am delaying something bigger, and poetry, tied to the absolute hell hole that is American Zionism a la Israeli Zionism. War crimes that are ten thousand George Floyd’s “I Can’t Breathe” murder.
And I can’t wrap my head around this in a rural community. No marching here, no groups, and hell, in France and Germany and England, it is illegal to peacefully march for Palestine.
I’m thinking about Canada and USA, supporting murderous arms and murderous policies of that racist “country.” I am thinking about my vet’s account at Morgan Stanley:
The broker got him stocks in Walmart, Northrop Grumman, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Blackstone, BlackRock. This guy was a friend, and asked about investing, and I had a guy in mind, but my buddy went with a friend of the Rotary who said this broker with Morgan Stanley would take care of him. My buddy wanted social responsible investing, and that, alas, is yet another bullshit marketing tool of the masters of the casino capitalist Walled Street.
Northrop Grumman’s medium-caliber cannons boast unrivaled reliability and effectiveness. When paired with our exceptional training, services, certified accessories and warranties, the result is exceptional value and performance over the entire gun system lifecycle. The company has produced solid propulsion systems for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptor, as well as for the Trident II D-5 and Minuteman III strategic missiles. Northrop Grumman has 100 percent propulsion success on strategic production motors. For nearly half a century, Northrop Grumman and its heritage companies have been designing and developing bomb fuses that have stayed on pace with the technological advancements of the time.
How many parts in a missile or Bushmaster automatic cannon? Parts equal jobs. Parts designed equal academic jobs. Think of all those people in all those companies, in factories and warehouses, and manufacturing plants, and marketing plants, paint plants, PR plants, all of them down to the web master and the photographer making money on dead Palestinian children. It comes down to that.
I have relatives whose kids (grown adults) are blonde beauties in the sense of USA beauty, and they are tall, and lean, and they are pulling down $120,000 a year as 28 year old’s, working for one of those California based military death companies.
More listed here —
Here are California Dreaming Death Machine (139) openings for just one hiring site —
In 2019, here are the top states, but remember, those figures are not the true amount of money made on death since so much more tied to offensive weapons and space should be factored in. Sort of the multiplier effect of all the businesses service and hard industries making bank because of those contractors and their employees and their subcontractors and their employees living and eating the California dream, or whichever state listed is the dream. Forget about the billions in Hollywood and their enormous entanglement of people making money off those Tom Clancy, et al crap movies. Death, death, death, even in the form of liberal actors spewing off on this or that thing, but in the end, they love the DoD.
- California: $66.2 billion
- Virginia: $60.3 billion
- Texas: $54.8 billion
- Florida: $29.8 billion
- Maryland: $26.1 billion
- Connecticut: $19.7 billion
- Pennsylvania: $18.1 billion
- Washington: $17.8 billion
- Alabama: $16.0 billion
- Massachusetts: $15.8 billion
So, I am having a difficult time focusing, with this Industrial Complex tied to killing Palestinians, and so many other people’s of the world, through the training, outfitting, arming, and educating of the despots of the world. This is a telling interview. Malak Mattar, Dan Cohen and Miko Peled join MintCast to discuss the ongoing Israeli violence in the Gaza Strip. See interview here.
I am still processing all of this, trying to listen to Zoom continuing education credited things like trauma and social service workers in a time of lockdown and Covid-19. Things like that, which are bullshit, really. Just amazing bullshit now on Zoom, most of it. But I am just cruising through these people who believe they are thinking and saying something new.
© 2021. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.
BAR’s poet in residence Raymond Nat Turner is an accomplished performing artist. You can find much more of his work at https://www.youtube.com/user/zigilow
BAR’s poet in residence Raymond Nat Turner is an accomplished performing artist. You can find much more of his work at YouTube.
The acrobats are back…(gimme a bleepin’ break!)
The acrobats are back—riding bareback and backwards on Donkeys! They’re back juggling hocus-pocus focus groups; Back, spinning Wall Street straw into fools’ gold for the war- mongering mouth of a punch drunk politician. Back hallucinating on FDR Fairytales. Back somersaulting over scarlet streets, strikes and factory seizures; back vaulting over violence/militant eviction resistance
The acrobats are back—Lilliputian left-Munchkin Marxists—juggling Classless analysis; doing back-flips erasing millions; Tumbling above herds of handcuffed communists, socialists, anarchists, trade unionists who waged pitched battles with Pinkerton-police-national guard-gun thugs. The acrobats are back turning cartwheels; Flipping history on its head— Landing squarely in the laps of generals and statesmen…
The acrobats are back—flipping LBJ minus 34 dead and smoke-filled skies over Watts/43 dead in Detroit/27 dead, 1400 arrests in Newark; LBJ minus millions marching NO to Jim Crow, war/women’s oppression; Minus martyrs—whose M’s include Mickey, Medgar, Malcolm, Martin… The acrobats are back, dancing in donkey dung down the Yellow Brick Road for the Emerald City Intersectional Empire—strangely resembling the Pentagon…
The acrobats are back—daredevils who dangled dangerously for 8 yrs. from the Drone Ranger’s dick. They’re back—Capitalist Hill cartwheels and flips—sticking stealth socialist landings as Comrade Schmo plays them like The Great Oz—ominously warning: “Pay no attention to Wall Street-War-Profiteer- Big Pharma/Fossil Fuel-Credit Card Companies behind my thin blue curtain of Promises!” Then he quietly pulls his pistol and mumbles, ”What’s in your wallet?”
And the reality is that Wall Street and those Mutual Funds and Exchange Tradeable Funds (ETF’s), all are tied to bombing, booze, tobacco, big pharma, the entire shooting match. Just can’t go to sleep at night, or can’t look myself in the mirror, when thinking about all that time and energy and research and writing, and educating, and the reality is we are what we are — war criminals. Or, read, “Try as You May to Deny, but Evil is in Our DNA“!
Israeli Forces spokesman Zilberman announced the start of the bombing of Gaza, specifying that “80 fighters are taking part in the operation, including the advanced F-35s” (The Times of Israel, May 11, 2021). It is officially the baptism of fire for the US Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation fighter, whose production Italy also participates in as a second-level partner.
Israel has already received twenty-seven F-35s from the US, and last February decided to buy no longer fifty F-35s but seventy-five. To this end the government has decreed a further allocation of 9 billion dollars: 7 were granted by a US to Israel free military “aid” of 28 billion, 2 were granted as a loan by the US Citibank.
While Israeli F-35 pilots were being trained by the U.S. Air Force in Arizona and Israel, the US Army Engineers built in Israel special hardened hangars for the F-35s, suitable for both fighters’ maximum protection on the ground, and their rapid take-off on attack. At the same time, the Israeli military industries (Israel Aerospace and Elbit Systems) in close coordination with Lockheed Martin enhance the fighter renamed “Adir” (Powerful): above all its ability to penetrate enemy defenses and its range of action which was nearly doubled.
These capabilities are certainly not necessary to attack Gaza. Why then are the most advanced fifth-generation fighters used against Palestinians? Because it serves to test F-35s fighters and their pilots in real war action using Gaza homes as targets on a firing range. It does not matter if in the target houses there are entire families.
The F-35s, added to the hundreds of fighter-bombers already supplied by the US to Israel. are designed for nuclear attack particularly with the new B61-12 bomb. The United States will shortly deploy these nuclear bombs in Italy and other European countries, and will also provide them to Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East with an arsenal estimated at 100-400 nuclear weapons. If Israel doubles the range of F-35 fighters and is about to receive eight Boeing Pegasus tankers from the US for refueling the F-35s in flight, it is because it is preparing to launch an attack, even nuclear, against Iran.
The coronavirus pandemic, the deepening economic crash, dangerously divisive political responses, and exploding social tensions have thrown an already declining American capitalist system into a tailspin. The consequences of these mounting and intertwined crises will shape our future. In this unique collection of over 50 essays, “The Sickness is the System: When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself,” Richard D. Wolff argues clearly that “returning to normal” no longer responds adequately to the accumulated problems of US capitalism. What is necessary, instead, is transition toward a new economic system that works for all of us.“A blueprint for how we got here, and a plan for how we will rescue ourselves” – Chris Hedges“A magnificent source of hope and insight.” – Yanis Varoufakis“In this compelling set of essays, and with his signature clarity, intensity, accessibility and deference to historical and present perspective, Wolff has issued not just a stark warning, but concrete reasoning, as to why this time really should be different.” – Nomi Prins“One of the most powerful and incisive voices in America. As an economist he transcends that “dismal science”, he is a tribune of Main St, a voice of the people.” – George Galloway“Wolff clearly explains the ways that capitalism exacerbates unemployment, inequality, racism, and patriarchy; and threatens the health and safety of workers and communities – i.e., most of us.” – Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D.“If you care about deeper measures of social health as Americans suffer the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, you will find here a wealth of insight, statistics, and other ammunition that we all need in the fight for a more just society.” – Adam Hochschild“The current failed system has a noose around all of our necks. Richard Wolff offers an economic vision that gets our society off the gallows.” – Jimmy Dore
Such a contradiction means that one side must abandon its aims if a disastrous conflict is not to ensue. Which country should step back? Is there a moral, ethical or common-sense basis for making that call, a basis on which humankind can readily agree?
What are these contradictory goals?
China’ overwhelming objective is clearly economic development, a policy to which it has hewed closely and which it declares for its future. That is no surprise; it is the dream of every developing nation. It is “The Chinese Dream.”
f such goals were no more than words on paper, there would be no problem. But China is succeeding as is widely acknowledged now. Its economy surpassed the U.S. in terms of GDP (PPP) in November of 2014 according to the IMF and is growing faster. Over 700 million have been brought out of poverty, with extreme poverty eliminated in 2020. The middle class now comprises over 400 million people. The retail market is enormous and the ecommerce market by far the world’s largest. China is the world’s largest manufacturer and trader.
According to the World Bank, China is 7th from the top of the Upper-middle-income group as of 2020 and poised to enter the ranks of the 59 countries in the High-income group. China has a set a new goal, a standard of living enjoyed by the most prosperous countries in the West, to be achieved by 2049 the centennial of the birth of the Peoples Republic of China.
With this in mind let’s turn to the American side of the equation. The U.S. has a long history of expansion and imperialism with the inevitable appeals to Exceptionalism and racism. However, the ambition of world dominance, global hegemony, emerged consciously among the US foreign policy elite in 1941 before entry into WWII as Stephen Wertheim documents in Tomorrow the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy. Henry Luce expressed the idea in his 1941 essay, “The American Century” in which he enjoined the U.S. “to accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful nation in the world and in consequence to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit.”
After World War II when the U.S. colossus looked down at the rest the world prostate after the war, we heard a similar sentiment from George Kennan considered as perhaps the principal architect of postwar U.S. foreign policy:
Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. … Our real task in the coming period is to … maintain this position of disparity …. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality …. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.
— George F. Kennan1
(This statement of Kennan’s is discussed in detail here.)
More recently and equally starkly at the end of the Cold War, the Wolfowitz Doctrine was enunciated by Paul Wolfowitz Under Secretary of Defense for Public Policy.
It can be summed up in a single sentence:
We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.2
China fits the definition of a “potential competitor”; it not only “aspires” to a larger regional role and global role but has already attained it! By the Wolfowitz principle, China must not only be “contained” but returned to a non-competitor status by whatever “mechanism” that the US can devise.
And so we come to the basic contradiction. The U.S. insists that it be the world’s greatest power, an unassailable hegemon. This means that it must be the number one economic power since all power ultimately derives from economic power.
Now assume that China’s per capita GDP is equal to that of an advanced Western country, the goal of China by 1949. Take the US as an example. Since China’s population is about four times that of the US, then it will have a total national GDP four times that of the US! The US will then be far from the dominant power; the Wolfowitz Doctrine will go up in smoke.
This does not mean that the U.S. will lapse into penury or even that its living standard will be compromised. Indeed, there is no reason that the U.S. cannot continue to be an increasingly prosperous country. In that sense the contradiction between the US and China is not a conflict of interests between the American people and Chinese people. But it is a contradiction between the U.S. governing Elite and 1.4 billion Chinese dreamers.
Even now with China on a par with the U.S. economically in GDP (PPP) terms the U.S. cannot operate as a hegemon or as an unchallenged world power.
How can the U.S. maintain its ambition of hegemony? Simply put, China’s development must be halted or reversed. Thus, the drive for U.S. superiority is a war on the aspirations of the vast Chinese population, not simply a war on the Chinese state. Will China’s people, nearly 20% of the global population, passively accept this fate?
How then are we to look at the China-US contradiction in moral or ethical terms? Given the U.S. goal of hegemony versus the Chinese dream of a Western standard of living, which has the greater claim on the support of decent humans everywhere? The 1.4 billion Chinese dreamers or a tiny U.S. governing Elite?
- Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, Volume I, p. 509-529.
- Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999 fiscal years, dated February 18, 1992, from the office of Paul Wolfowitz.