Category Archives: Democrats

Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 with an Oil, Gas, Coal, and Nuclear Heyday

Instead of championing solar, wind and conservation energy, the GOP (Greedy Old Party) is championing the skyrocketing profits and prices for the omnicidal fossil fuel and atomic power companies.

Surging gasoline prices at the pump are not met with excess profits taxes on profit-glutted Big Oil. Rather the GOP and the Democrats are suspending taxes on gasoline sales that are used to repair roads and bridges. An excess profits tax could be used to provide rebates to consumers who are being gouged at the pump.

The case for an excess profits tax is made in a new report, Big Oil’s Wartime Bonus: How Big Oil Turns Profits Into Wealth, April 5, 2022, by Bailout Watch, Public Citizen and Friends of the Earth. Profits (and stocks) of companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron zoomed so much that Big Oil, not wanting to moderate their wholesale prices, have spent $45 billion of your money to buy back their stocks this past year and increase the compensation of their bosses.

Unleashing their lobbying forces in Washington, Big Oil and Gas are demanding, the report relates, “faster approval for natural gas pipelines … and increased drilling on public lands and waters.” Biden is opening up more oil and gas leases on public lands even though he reported some 9000 leases already granted are still not being utilized by the oil and gas companies.

The Biden administration is spending $6 billion to shore up aging nuclear plants that safety advocates say should be mothballed.

Washington is silent on using taxes on fossil-fuel price profiteering for more wind, solar and the little mentioned energy conservation retrofits of buildings throughout the U.S. The energy savings and renewable approach would be faster, cleaner, produce more jobs and benefit more directly to Main and Elm Streets USA.

The becalmed Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission should swing into bold action under their anti-monopoly and consumer protection authorities.

It shouldn’t have taken Consumer Watchdog in California to sound the alarm on the price manipulation by the five big oil refiners that control 96 percent of the gasoline made in California, led by Chevron. Jamie Court, the dynamic president of Consumer Watchdog, declared: “with California taxes and environmental fees adding about 60 cents per gallon, Californians have long wondered where the extra $1.50 per gallon more they are paying than other US drivers (from 5 to 7 dollars per gallon) goes, and with this legislation (SB1322) we will finally know. California has been an ATM for oil refiners for too long. SB1322 requires California oil refiners to document monthly how much they pay for the average barrel of crude oil they process into gasoline and how much they charge for the barrel of finished gasoline. At 42 gallons per barrel, we will then know how much they are making per gallon of gasoline sold in California, and be able to take back the excessive profits.” That is, assuming the completely Democratic Party dominated California state legislature enacts this legislation.

If Democrats do not stand tall in going after gasoline price inflation and other price gouging, the GOP will succeed in putting the blame on the Dems in the November elections. Washington is decades late in cutting our addiction to fossil fuels that are causing the climate crises.

On the first Earth Day in April 1970, over 1500 demonstrations against air, water and pesticide pollution were held on college campuses around the country. With the onset of the omnicidal fossil-fuel-driven climate catastrophes, leading to even more virulent wildfires, hurricanes, droughts and floods, the college campuses are now too silent, the streets are too empty, and the Congress too somnolent.

Congress is on another vacation this week so citizens should be buttonholing their representatives back home and pressing them to take action to counter the fossil fuel industry’s greed and to move toward a clean energy future.

Except for the far too small number of authentic advocates pressing decision-makers in government and industry to “follow the science”, the country’s officials appear too resigned, too attentive to short-term campaign money and political myopia to be stewards of the people, the natural environment and the planet.

If these power brokers need any more evidence of the ominous threat to humanity and its tiny planet, they should read the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said humanity has a “brief and rapidly closing window” to head off a hotter, deadly future.” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world is “sleepwalking to climate catastrophe” as the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and lack of political willpower undermine the necessity to cut greenhouse gas pollution by about half before 2030 and get rid of the carbon footprint by 2050.

It is not as if an abused Nature is not warning homo sapiens daily with unprecedented intensifications of its deadly outbursts and disruptions all around the world.

Once again, given the way our government is structured, it is the Congress – with just 535 members – which can become the rapid engine of energy transformation to the readily known renewable solutions. Solar panels are now seen on rooftops, and windmills on hillsides. Energy efficient technologies are affordable and abundant. Unfortunately, the GOP blocked the infrastructure proposals for clean energy proposed by Biden and the Democrats. Will the voters remember in November?

You know the Congressional switchboard number: 202-224-3121. Summon your representatives to your own town hall meetings and directly confront their desire for re-election in the fall. Tell them, for the sake of the world, their country and their state, it is time to shake off whatever invisible chains are around them and do what they and most of America knows has to be done. A clean energy future is better for the climate, the economy, the health and consumer pocketbooks of ALL THE PEOPLE, regardless of their self-described political labels.

When it comes to the ravaging climate disruptions, all people bleed the same color. Summon your Senators and Representatives directly to your community. (See my book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think, Pages 144-145).

The post Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 with an Oil, Gas, Coal, and Nuclear Heyday first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Do We Have a Failure to Communicate!

Ted Rall gets it right here: The Left Must Continue to Avoid the Ukraine Trap

“Find a way to be against the war in Ukraine, please.” That was the subject line of one of my recent hate emails. “If you look through Mr. Rall’s cartoons for the past month, there isn’t a single one condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” an anonymous online commenter chided. “There’s plenty of ones based around whataboutism condemning us for condemning them but not a single one that just comes right out and says what Russia is doing now is wrong.”

The Right — in the U.S. that includes Republicans, Democrats and corporate media — has set a clever trap for the anti-war Left. The rhetoric in this essay’s first paragraph is an example. If the Left were to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Right would portray us as Russia-loving hypocrites who only oppose wars when the United States starts them. If the Left backed Ukraine, they’d be joining an unholy alliance with a government installed in a CIA-backed coup that pointlessly provoked Russia by asking to join NATO and is so tolerant of neo-Nazism that it allows soldiers wearing Nazi insignia in its military and seems to be trying to set some sort of record for building statues to World War II Nazi collaborators and antisemites. Plus, they’d be helping the Right distract people from the murderous sins of American imperialism, which are ongoing.

So, again, the offensive weapons industry, from the grenade to the guzzling B-1 bomber, from the pant zipper to the propelled hand-held rockets, from the Meals Ready to Eat to the Missiles from the Drones’ Mouth, all of those shell casings and depleted uranium bullet heads, all of that, including Burger Kings for Troops to the Experimental Anthrax Vaccines, all of that, and all the paper-mouse pushers, all the middlewomen and middlemen, all the folks in this military everything industrial complex, that is what the Russian Right to Stop Extremists/Murderers/ Nazis in Ukraine is all about. USA/UK/EU can take out wedding parties, but Russia can’t take out Nazi’s.

So, we have Angela Davis (throw away your blackness black panther card) and Chomsky and Sean Penn and every manner of woke and wise idiot calling Putin a dictator, a thug, an authoritarian leader. Oh, the authoritarian BlackRock and Raytheon and Biden Administration and USA Lobbying Network, and on and on, so, again, tenured professors with book contracts and speaking (paid big bucks) engagements, forget about them.

This is the American Way — Making Money on/off of WAR. The Racket that General Butler talked about is so so more complicated than his experiences in the 1890s through 1940s. These times are filled with buckets of DNA we might think have zero to do with war, but are so attached to the inbreeding of the war machines that every nanosecond of business and every transaction in this society is all tied to WAR. Like embedded energy and life cycle analysis, the military complex, if we really did the true cost of war/warring, the one or six trillion dollars that Brown University comes up with would be factored up by 10 or more.

The 2022 spending bill, which passed both chambers with gleeful bipartisan support last week, included billions of dollars for ships and planes that the Pentagon didn’t ask for, a common occurrence in Congress. Then, here it is — just one angle. Congress authorized $27 billion for Navy ships, including $4 billion for several vessels the Navy didn’t ask for, and $900 million for additional Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets the Navy had hoped to phase out. The bill also provides billions to purchase 20 more Lockheed Martin C-130J transport planes than the Pentagon requested.

And, the details are in the sausage making, from scarred land for corn, to the poisons to grow the corn, to the ponds of pig blood and guts, to the butchering of antibiotic-filled and toxin-laden pigs, to the transportation of poisoned meat, to sausage warehouses, to all of the packaging and happy meal advertisements, and then, of course, the cost of clogged arteries and obesity and colon cancers, all of that, well, figure in a similar cost analysis for every Hellfire missile produced for the profits of the offensive weapons Mafia.

Since the start of the new year, Lockheed Martin’s stock has soared nearly 25 percent, while Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman each saw their stock prices rise by around 12 percent.

In a January earnings call, Lockheed Martin CEO James Taiclet said that the “renewed great power competition” would lead to inflated defense budgets and additional sales. On the same day, Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told investors that the company expected to see “opportunities for international sales” amid the Russian threat.

“The tensions in Eastern Europe, the tensions in the South China Sea, all of those things are putting pressure on some of the defense spending over there,” Hayes said. “So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.”

The defense lobbyist also predicted a major gain for U.S. defense firms thanks to increased European defense spending.

“As much as many countries have their own defense industrial base, they don’t make everything they need themselves. So they are going to rely on us in many cases for missiles, for aircraft, for ground vehicles,” they said. (source)

These are sociopaths. Read it again and again if you are dense. “…. thanks to increased EU spending . . . .” Or, “. . . . fully expect we’re going to see … benefit from it (wars) . . . ” These are golf course dealing misanthropes. Their kids go to Yale, and they have two or four homes around the country. They attend $500 a ticket Hamilton galas. They are the Titans of Terror.

Alas, the offensive weapons-equipment-PSYOPS-marketing-financing INDUSTRY is the gift (poison, PTSD, maiming, mauling, murdering) that keeps on giving. The sacking of our own personal and collective agency, that is, where is the fight for our poor, for our huddled masses, for our general anxiety disordered citizens? Where are those bandaids and nurses staffing those free drop-in clinics? Where are those hefty checks for clean water systems, R & R-ing lead pipes? Where are those insulating old homes programs? Where are those funds for aging in place programs? Where are the deals for the poor and struggling to get into national parks free? Where are those used tires for aging cars that take mother and daughter to their fast-food/child care/adult care jobs? Where are those food vouchers even the French are handing out? Where is all that help, uh?

Over decades of brainwashing and history scrubbing and agnotology and consumerism and propaganda and plain bad PK12 education. After years of mediocre college degrees, and after throwing money at computer engineers, the AI Hole in the Autism Wall Gang, and after so much celebrity pimping, the American public will pull out a yellow and blue hanky and smear their crocodile tears for a billionaire lying comic ZioLenskyy and wax nostalgic for those Nazi-loving Ukrainians, but never a word for fellow human beings in, well, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Russia.

We wonder about Word Press — a non-profit (sic) that takes $100 a year just for this little shit show? Will the site be hacked, cut, or disengaged because of Russia’s flag above and the UkiNazi image below?

 

Oh, the stories over at Grayzone or Consortium News or Mint Press or Covert Action Magazine, or . . . .

‘Gods of War’: How the US weaponized Ukraine against Russia TJ COLES

And the evil is the shutdown of discourse. True evil. Makes Mossad and CIA and Stasi and KGB look like Keystone Cops:

And, so, Zelenskyy wants hundreds and hundreds of billions in weapons and aid and for his padded luxurious life. Yep, a failure to communicate — the US of A! But there is still some sanity — Black Agenda Report:

Left Voices are Censored

Censorship is supposed to happen in other places, not in the U.S. But big tech, in alliance with the state, is silencing Black and other left voices in the media. The war in Ukraine is bringing this process into high relief and making a mockery of claims of freedom of expression. Jacqueline Luqman, co-host of the Sputnik program, By Any Means Necessary , explains.

The U.S. Crisis Plays Out in Ukraine

Joe Biden travelled to Europe for NATO and G7 meetings one month after Russian troops entered Ukraine. Biden predictably condemned Russia but also suggested he was seeking regime change against Vladimir Putin. Dr. Gerald Horne , author and historian who currently holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, analyses US policy in Ukraine.

The end game is lies, all the spin, the tens of thousands of outlets, the social media monsters, all of the PSYOPS, all the roots of Edward Bernays, Milton Friedman, Madmen, the entire suite of propaganda tools. A failure to communicate is now an avalanche of lies, as in the Empire of Lies. Russia loses that war — information 5.0 USA style, is Russia 1.0. Honesty is a crutch.

We’ve studied this system of propaganda, and it is sophisticated, way before Goebbels, but still, he is the master 2.0. Israel is a killer of a liar. Britain. USA.

Russia’s approach to the Ukraine question is remarkably different from the West’s. As far as Russia is concerned Ukraine is not a pawn on the chessboard but rather a member of the family with whom communication has become impossible due to protracted foreign interference and influence operations. According to Andrei Ilnitsky, an advisor to the Russian Ministry of Defence, Ukraine is the territory where the Russian world lost one of the strategic battles in the cognitive war. Having lost the battle, Russia feels all the more obliged to win the war — a war to undo the damage to a country that historically has always been part of the Russian world and to prevent the same damage at home. It is rather telling that what US-NATO call an “information war” is referred to as “mental’naya voina”, that is cognitive war, by this prominent Russian strategist. Being mainly on the receiving end of information/influence operations, Russia has been studying their deleterious effects. (source)

Marketing 101 is now hyperspace marketing, and the tools of bots, AI, algorithms, etc., they are like neutron info bombs.

  1.  Bandwagon propaganda
  2.  Card Stacking propaganda
  3.  Plain Folk Propaganda
  4.  Testimonial Propaganda
  5.  Glittering Generality Propaganda
  6.  Name Calling Propaganda
  7.  Transfer Propaganda
  8.  Ad nauseam propaganda
  9.  Stereotyping propaganda
  10.  Appeal to prejudice propaganda
  11.  Appeal to fear propaganda

So therefore, this relentless manipulation of people’s emotions and coginitive disassociation and associative thinking has unleashed a dangerous whirlwind of mass insanity.

The most dangerous purveyor of it:

US Propaganda 100 Years ago and how the Media was influenced (3) | by Melmac Politics | Medium

 

The New Age of Propaganda: Understanding Influence Operations in the Digital Age

World Economic Forum Blasted for 'Insane Pro-CRT Propaganda' Video - Miami Standard

Putin's digital aggression is backfiring in Ukraine - The Hill Times

The post Do We Have a Failure to Communicate! first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Fabricating Putin Quotes and Banning Paraplegic Athletes to Undermine Russia

Mobilizing a population to vilify and hate a targeted enemy is a tactic that leaders have used since before the dawn of human history, and it is being used to demonize Russia and Vladimir Putin in the current conflict. If we want to join the march to war, we can join the hate fest.  But if we want a more objective and honest assessment of events, we must rely upon facts that our government and its cheer-leading mainstream media are not anxious for us to view.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,  all things Russian are being punished. Russian athletes, including paraplegics, are barred from international sports competition. Century old Russian writers and musicians such as Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky are being removed from book shelves and concerts. Even Russian bred cats are not exempt.

If such actions are justified, why was there no such banning of US athletes, musicians or writers after the US invasion of Iraq?  Moreover, why are so few people outraged by the bombing and killing of 370,000 Yemeni people?  Why are so few people outraged as thousands of Afghans starve because the United States is seizing Afghanistan’s national assets which were in western banks?

Why Ukraine?

There has been massive and widespread publicity about Ukraine. It is a simple Hollywood script:  Ukraine is the angel, Russia is the devil, Zelensky is the hero and all good people will wear blue and yellow ribbons.

Maintaining this image requires propaganda to promote it, and censorship to prevent challengers debunking it.

This has required trashing some long held western traditions. By banning all Russian athletes from international competition, the International Olympic Committee and different athletic federations have violated the Olympic Charter which prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality.

Censorship

The West prides itself on free speech yet censorship of alternative viewpoints is now widespread in Europe and North America.  Russia Today and other Russian media outlets are being blocked on the internet as well as cable TV.  Ironically,  numerous programs on RT were hosted by Americans, for example journalist Chris Hedges and comedian Lee Camp.  The US is silencing its own citizens.

Censorship or shadow banning is widespread on social media. On April 6, one of the best informed military analysts, Scott Ritter @realScottRitter, was suspended from Twitter. Why?  Because he  suggested that the victims of Bucha may have been murdered not by Russians, but rather by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and the US and UK may also be culpable.

The 2015 Netflix documentary titled “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” deals with the Maidan (Kiev central square) uprising of 2013-2014.  It ignores the most essential elements of the events: the management provided by the US  and the muscle provided by ultra-nationalists of the Right Sector and Azov Battalion. The attacks and killing of Ukrainian police are whitewashed away.

By contrast, the 2016 documentary “Ukraine on Fire provides the background and essential elements of the conflict.  It is not available on Netflix and was banned from distribution on YouTube for some time.

Most people in the West are unaware of the US involvement in the 2014 Kiev coup, subsequent US funding and training of ultra-nationalist and Neo Nazi battalions, and the eight year war in eastern Ukraine resulting in fourteen thousand deaths.

Sensational Accusations

Backed by US and UK intelligence agencies, Ukraine knows the importance of the information war. They make sensational accusations that receive uncritical media coverage. When the truth eventually comes out, it is ignored or buried on the back pages. Here are a few examples:

– In 2014,  eleven civilians were killed in eastern Ukraine when an apartment was hit in rebel held territory.  Ukraine tried to blame Russia even though no bombs were coming from Russia and the population is ethnically Russian.

– At the beginning of the current conflict, Ukrainian President Zelensky claimed that soldiers on Snake Island died heroically rather than surrender. Actually, all the soldiers surrendered.

– Ukraine and western media claim a maternity hospital in Mariupol was bombed by Russia. Evidence shows the hospital was taken over by Ukrainian military forces on March 7, two days before the bombing on March 9.

– The latest sensational accusations are regarding dead civilians in Bucha,  north of Kiev. Again, there is much contrary evidence. The Russian soldiers left Bucha on March 31, the mayor of Bucha announced the town liberated with no mention of atrocities on March 31, the Azov battalion entered Bucha on April 1,  the Ukrainian Defense Ministry published video of  “Russian” atrocities on April 3.

In most cases, western media does not probe the accusations or use simple logic to ask if they make sense.  However, in the case of Bucha story, the NY Times had to acknowledge they were “unable to independently verify the assertions by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.”

Self Censorship

In addition to actual censorship, there is widespread self-censorship. Instead of reading what the Russians are saying, western political “analysts” engage in outlandish amateur psychology and speculation. With no factual basis, they speculate about what Putin wants and his mental state.

This is convenient if one does not want to deal with the real issues and arguments.

Most western analysts and journalists are afraid or unwilling to read or listen to what the Russian leaders say. That is unfortunate because those speeches are more clear and direct than those from western politicians who rely on public relations, spin and platitudes.

Fabricating quotes

Ignorance of Russian foreign policy is such that Truthout online magazine recently published an article which contains a sensational but completely invented quote from Putin. It says,

Putin here is clear enough: “Ukraine has no national rights that Russians are bound to respect. Prepare for reunification, reabsorption, or some other euphemism for subaltern status with Mother Russia.”

Putin said no such thing and any moderately knowledgeable person would recognize this to be fake.

When I emailed the co-author, Carl Davidson, asking where the quotation came from, he admitted inventing it. This is significant because the statement goes to the core of what the conflict is about. Is Russia trying to absorb all of Ukraine? Do they intend to occupy Ukraine?  Anyone who reads the speeches of Putin and Lavrov, such as here, here and here,  knows they do not. Davidson’s fabricated quote suggests he has not read the speeches himself.

Ukraine in the Global Context

The article with the made-up quote contends that “Putin is part of a global right-wing authoritarian movements that seeks to ‘overthrow’ the 20th Century.” This analysis is close to that of the US Democratic Party, which sees the major global division being between “authoritarianism” vs “democracy”.

It is highly US-centered and partisan, with Putin somehow lumped with Trump. It  is also self-serving, with US Democrats as the embodiment of “democracy”.  It is completely contrary to a class analysis.

This faulty analysis has major contradictions. It is well known that Biden is unpopular. Biden’s latest approval rating is under 42%. It is less well known in the West that Putin is popular in Russia. Since the intervention in Ukraine his approval rating has increased to over 80%.

Also largely unknown in the West, most of the world does NOT support the Western analysis of the Ukraine conflict.  Countries representing 59% of the global population abstained or voted against the condemnation of Russia at the UN General Assembly. These countries tend to see US exceptionalism and economic-military domination as a key problem. They do not think it helpful to demonize Russia and they urge negotiations and quick resolution to the Ukraine war.

Cuba said:

History will hold the United States accountable for the consequences of an increasingly offensive military doctrine beyond NATO’s borders which threatens international peace, security and stability…. Russia has the right to defend itself.

South African President Ramaphosa blamed NATO saying:

The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region.

The Chinese representative said:

The final settlement of the Ukraine crisis requires abandoning the Cold War mentality, abandoning the logic of ensuring one’s own security at the expense of others’ security, and abandoning the approach of seeking regional security by expanding military bloc.

Many western anti-war movements are critical of Russia’s invasion. Others, such as the US Peace Council, see the US and NATO as largely responsible. However, they all see the necessity of pressing to stop the war before it gets worse.

In contrast, the western military-industrial-media complex is fueling the war with propaganda, censorship, banning, demonization and more weapons. It appears they do not want a resolution to the conflict. Just as they supported NATO pushing up against Russia, knowing that it risked provoking Russia to the point of retaliation, they seem to be pushing for a protracted bloody conflict in Ukraine, knowing that it risks global conflagration.  Yet they persist, while crying crocodile tears.

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Biden’s $7 billion Afghan heist

With his Executive Order redefining Afghanistan’s Fiscal Reserve as a slush fund to be disbursed on his whim and with the stroke of his pen, President Biden has taken what may well be the final step in an experiment gone amok. The U.S. first attempted to make Afghanistan into a Western democracy, instead installed a kleptocracy, made Afghans endure 20 years of violence and then left in a whirlwind of chaos. With Biden’s latest move to deprive Afghanistan of its monetary reserves, the nation is likely to come full circle, turning once again into a failed state that, in the absence of economic recovery, will become a breeding ground for extremism and the recruitment of terrorists.

Of the country’s reserves, $7 billion were “parked” in U.S. financial institutions. This is normal procedure for developing countries, with the, now in retrospect, very ironic purpose of keeping funds in a secure place. Watching this latest Biden debacle, Central Banks of multiple countries are now surely contemplating pulling their monies out of U.S. financial institutions to protect them against arbitrary dictatorial disposal.

After the Executive Order was issued, Da Afghanistan Bank — Afghanistan’s U.S.-built Central Bank — issued a statement that was both judicious and, to an American reader, embarrassing. It offered a measured, dumbed down 101 on what a monetary reserve is and what a Central Bank does. One might have hoped that a U.S. president, or at least his advisers, would know this, but evidently not.

From their tutorial:

As per the law and relevant regulations, Federal Exchange Reserves…are used to implement monetary policy, facilitate international trade and stabilize the financial sector. The real owners of these reserves are the people of Afghanistan. These reserves were not and are not the property of governments, parties or groups and are never used as per their demand and decisions…The Foreign Exchange Reserves are managed based on international practices.

President Biden, however, announced that he was assigning half of the money, $3.5 billion, to settle ongoing claims by 9/11 families against the Taliban for hosting Al Qaeda. The other half will go to international NGOs that provide aid to Afghanistan, a move that was pitched as an act of amazing generosity. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that it shows America will always stand by Afghanistan.

But a closer look shows America is not standing by Afghanistan, but instead draining Afghan’s coffers. The current situation in Afghanistan is as follows. When the Taliban took power in August 2021, after the calamitous U.S. withdrawal and the instant caving of President Ghani and the Afghan National Army, Biden ordered the freezing of Afghan assets and accounts. Instead of experiencing a “peace dividend” now that active warfare had ceased, and being able to start slowly rebuilding houses, homes, businesses and lives, the Afghan economy went into free-fall.

With no cash in the Central Bank, savings could not be withdrawn and salaries could not be paid. Most trade ground to a halt. International agencies and NGOs were unable to help very much, because they, too, could not transfer money into the country and could not withdraw their deposits since there was not enough currency in circulation. The UN and humanitarian groups began to issue dire warnings about the severity of this year’s winter, the depleted food supplies as a result of an unusually long drought, and the inability to import food and fuel due to sanctions and frozen assets. While pledges were made by donors, almost always, the pledges fell well short of the enormous needs and only a fraction of pledges end up being fulfilled. Besides, delivery of aid by international institutions with their enormous overhead is a wasteful, expensive and inefficient method that does nothing to make recipients self-sufficient or give them hope for their future.

Once the United States decided to withdraw and leave Afghans to their fate, the right thing to do was to at least give them back their property and with it, a fighting chance. To allay concerns about possible Taliban misuse of the funds, banking professionals have proposed releasing the money in monthly tranches. Monitors would check exactly where that money goes and what is done with it. The moment anything seems improper, a freeze could instantly be reinstituted.

If their Central Bank could stabilize the currency and the exchange rate, inject liquidity into the system and get the banking system as a whole back on an even keel, organic economic recovery could commence.

But as it stands now, this man-made economic collapse is crushing a vulnerable population at the most vulnerable moment in its recent history. More than 40 percent of Afghans are below the age of 14. If there is no work to be had, their older brothers will be open to recruitment by ISIS, or will make their way across the borders into neighboring countries and from there, join the refugee stream towards Western Europe.

It may satisfy the vindictive impulses of some to see the Taliban preside over a population sinking into misery and disorder, but let’s examine what we are actually doing here. We are punishing 40 million people because we don’t like the Taliban. We are holding responsible for 9/11 a population whose majority was not even born in 2001 and who certainly bear no blame. In the name of benefiting 9/11 families, we are seeding the ground for the next 9/11 and disgracing our own principles of justice.

After World War II, the United States was remarkably generous towards a population that arguably could have been held more to blame for elevating, electing, and cheering for a genocidal dictator. A Marshall Plan allowed for Germany and Austria to rebuild their industries and economies, repair their devastated cities and bring their families back to good health. The Biden Plan, by contrast, aims to turn Afghanistan into a failed state and to turn its population into a nation of beggars.

After the humiliating U.S. exit from Afghanistan, Biden’s decision to freeze and then redistribute the nation’s reserves was a political move designed to show his Republican opponents how tough he can be on the Taliban. But a political move that will lead to more starvation and chaos cannot be allowed to stand. Already, legal teams are looking at how to block the $3.5 billion from being awarded to 9/11 families.

The NGO Unfreeze Afghanistan has issued a call urging all NGOs not to accept any of the other $3.5 billion allocated for “humanitarian aid.” And people in both Afghanistan and the United States are organizing protests and petitions to rescind this order. Even 9/11 family members are weighing in. Barry Admunson, who lost his brother in the 9/11 attack and is part of the group called 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, is advocating against Biden’s decision. “We can’t bring our loved ones back,” he told us, “but we can save the lives of people in Afghanistan by advocating that the Biden Administration release this money to its rightful owners: the Afghan people.”

Reprinted from Responsible Statescraft

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Biden’s Big Fail… the Russian Invasion Fantasy

© Andrew Harnik

US President Joe Biden accused Russian leader Vladimir Putin of “wanting things he cannot get”. He was referring to Moscow’s security demands in Europe with regard to the US-led NATO military alliance.

Looks like the man in the White House is inadvertently doing a bit of self-projection. It’s Biden who seems to want things that he can’t get.

Top of that wish-list is for Russia to invade Ukraine. If that sounds a bit illogical, then why is Biden so obsessed about predicting an imminent military move by Russia against its western neighbor?

The American president and his administration have been warning that Moscow could order an assault on Ukraine “any day”. Well, days and indeed weeks go by and there is no outcome as touted.

Biden has also predicted that Putin doesn’t want to pursue diplomacy and that the Russian leader is driven to make war. Then a few days later, Putin hosted French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow for marathon talks about resolving tensions.

Russia has repeatedly rubbished the invasion claims – that have largely emanated from the United States – as baseless hysteria. President Putin said this week he has no intention of escalating the tensions over Ukraine.

Moscow says that troops marshaled within Russia’s borders are not a threat to any neighboring state. The premise of American accusations about internal Russia’s military maneuvers is absurd. The precedent for interference it would establish is an affront to any nation’s sovereignty.

Even the Ukrainian government and security officials have pushed back against the American claims of an imminent Russian invasion.

Nevertheless, in spite of the lack of evidence and rationale, and in spite of a United Nations’ rebuke to desist from such inflammatory rhetoric, Washington keeps insisting on making its bogus predictions of Russian aggression.

So, when is this gargantuan hoax going to be held to account? This contemporary version of “crying wolf” should have political and legal consequences for the hoaxers.

Arguably, the Biden administration’s media campaign regarding Ukraine is a cynical exercise in manipulating public perception and manufacturing a crisis. Washington wants Russia to invade Ukraine in order to justify a US policy of division and conflict. American imperial ambitions for hegemony must rely on inciting tensions and ultimately conflict within Europe and towards Russia.

A specific objective for American global ambitions is to sabotage the strategic energy trade between the European Union and Russia.  The problem for the US is that its charade of Russian aggression is simply not working. That’s because Moscow has no intention of starting a war with Ukraine or anyone else for that matter.

Sure enough, Russia has put down red lines regarding its national security. They include no further eastward expansion of the NATO bloc and the exclusion of offensive American strike weapons from near Russia’s borders. To most reasonable observers, those demands are hardly signs of “aggression”. In fact, they sound like a plausible basis for discussing a new security framework for Europe.

It seems that because the Biden administration can’t get what it wants – that is, a Russian invasion of Ukraine – it is hellbent on forcing or fabricating one.

While European leaders this week anxiously appeal for more diplomacy to avert confrontation, it is salient and damnable that Washington is desperately militarizing the tensions. Biden has ordered more troops to deploy in Eastern Europe provocatively under the pretext of “defending allies from Russian aggression”. His administration is airlifting plane-loads of lethal weaponry to Ukraine which has the seeming intended effect of undermining any chance of finding a peaceful settlement to the Ukrainian civil war that has been simmering since the CIA-backed coup in Kiev in 2014.

It is significant that Washington and London are the most hawkish advocates for trying to impose harsher economic sanctions against Russia. This is while the United States and Britain are taking the lead in militarizing Eastern Europe and talking up belligerence towards Moscow. The combined Anglo-American stance appears to be one of goading Russia into an armed conflict which can then be used as a pretext for sabotaging Europe’s energy relations with Russia.

The danger is that the longer this American charade continues and the fantasy over Russia’s alleged invasion becomes more and more apparent, the risk increases of the US forcing a provocation for war. Perhaps not intended as a direct war, more likely as a proxy war using Ukraine.

President Biden and his administration, as well as the entire US corporate media, are at risk of being exposed in the eyes of the world as war hoaxers. Included in that list of criminal warmongers is Britain.

This portends Biden’s biggest foreign policy failure which, hard to believe, exceeds even the historic US defeat in Afghanistan.

First published in Sputnik International

The post Biden’s Big Fail… the Russian Invasion Fantasy first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Memo to Congress: Diplomacy for Ukraine Is Spelled M-i-n-s-k

Peace protest at the White House – Photo credit: iacenter.org

While the Biden administration is sending more troops and weapons to inflame the Ukraine conflict and Congress is pouring more fuel on the fire, the American people are on a totally different track.

A December 2021 poll found that a plurality of Americans in both political parties prefer to resolve differences over Ukraine through diplomacy. Another December poll found that a plurality of Americans (48 percent) would oppose going to war with Russia should it invade Ukraine, with only 27 percent favoring U.S. military involvement.

The conservative Koch Institute, which commissioned that poll, concluded that “the United States has no vital interests at stake in Ukraine and continuing to take actions that increase the risk of a confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia is therefore not necessary for our security. After more than two decades of endless war abroad, it is not surprising there is wariness among the American people for yet another war that wouldn’t make us safer or more prosperous.”

The most anti-war popular voice on the right is Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has been lashing out against the hawks in both parties, as have other anti-interventionist libertarians.

On the left, the anti-war sentiment was in full force on February 5, when over 75 protests took place from Maine to Alaska. The protesters, including union activists, environmentalists, healthcare workers and students, denounced pouring even more money into the military when we have so many burning needs at home.

You would think Congress would be echoing the public sentiment that a war with Russia is not in our national interest. Instead, taking our nation to war and supporting the gargantuan military budget seem to be the only issues that both parties agree on.

Most Republicans in Congress are criticizing Biden for not being tough enough (or for focusing on Russia instead of China) and most Democrats are afraid to oppose a Democratic president or be smeared as Putin apologists (remember, Democrats spent four years under Trump demonizing Russia).

Both parties have bills calling for draconian sanctions on Russia and expedited “lethal aid” to Ukraine. The Republicans are advocating for $450 million in new military shipments; the Democrats are one-upping them with a price tag of $500 million.

Progressive Caucus leaders Pramila Jayapal and Barbara Lee have called for negotiations and de-escalation. But others in the Caucus–such as Reps. David Cicilline and Andy Levin–are co-sponsors of the dreadful anti-Russia bill, and Speaker Pelosi is fast-tracking the bill to expedite weapons shipments to Ukraine.

But sending more weapons and imposing heavy-handed sanctions can only ratchet up the resurgent U.S. Cold War on Russia, with all its attendant costs to American society: lavish military spending displacing desperately needed social spending; geopolitical divisions undermining international cooperation for a better future; and, not least, increased risks of a nuclear war that could end life on Earth as we know it.

For those looking for real solutions, we have good news.

Negotiations regarding Ukraine are not limited to President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s failed efforts to browbeat the Russians. There is another already existing diplomatic track for peace in Ukraine, a well-established process called the Minsk Protocol, led by France and Germany and supervised by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The civil war in Eastern Ukraine broke out in early 2014, after the people of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces unilaterally declared independence from Ukraine as the Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics, in response to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev in February 2014. The post-coup government formed new “National Guard” units to assault the breakaway region, but the separatists fought back and held their territory, with some covert support from Russia. Diplomatic efforts were launched to resolve the conflict.

The original Minsk Protocol was signed by the “Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine” (Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE) in September 2014. It reduced the violence, but failed to end the war. France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine also held a meeting in Normandy in June 2014 and this group became known as the “Normandy Contact Group” or the “Normandy Format.”

All these parties continued to meet and negotiate, together with the leaders of the self-declared Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics in Eastern Ukraine, and they eventually signed the Minsk II agreement on February 12, 2015. The terms were similar to the original Minsk Protocol, but more detailed and with more buy-in from the DPR and LPR.

The Minsk II agreement was unanimously approved by the U.N. Security Council in Resolution 2202 on February 17, 2015. The United States voted in favor of the resolution, and 57 Americans are currently serving as ceasefire monitors with the OSCE in Ukraine.

The key elements of the 2015 Minsk II Agreement were:

–           an immediate bilateral ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and DPR and LPR forces;

–           the withdrawal of heavy weapons from a 30-kilometer-wide buffer zone along the line of control between government and separatist forces;

–           elections in the secessionist Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) People’s Republics, to be monitored by the OSCE; and,

–           constitutional reforms to grant greater autonomy to the separatist-held areas within a reunified but less centralized Ukraine.

The ceasefire and buffer zone have held well enough for seven years to prevent a return to full-scale civil war, but organizing elections in Donbas that both sides will recognize has proved more difficult.

The DPR and LPR postponed elections several times between 2015 and 2018. They held primary elections in 2016 and, finally, a general election in November 2018. But neither Ukraine, the United States nor the European Union recognized the results, claiming the election was not conducted in compliance with the Minsk Protocol.

For its part, Ukraine has not made the agreed-upon constitutional changes to grant greater autonomy to the separatist regions And the separatists have not allowed the central government to retake control of the international border between Donbas and Russia, as specified in the agreement.

The Normandy Contact Group (France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine) for the Minsk Protocol has met periodically since 2014, and is meeting regularly throughout the current crisis, with its next meeting scheduled for February 10 in Berlin The OSCE’s 680 unarmed civilian monitors and 621 support staff in Ukraine have also continued their work throughout this crisis. Their latest report, issued February 1, documented a 65% decrease in ceasefire violations compared to two months ago.

But increased U.S. military and diplomatic support since 2019 has encouraged President Zelensky to pull back from Ukraine’s commitments under the Minsk Protocol, and to reassert unconditional Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea and Donbas. This has raised credible fears of a new escalation of the civil war, and U.S. support for Zelensky’s more aggressive posture has undermined the existing Minsk-Normandy diplomatic process.

Zelensky’s recent statement that “panic” in Western capitals is economically destabilizing Ukraine suggests that he may now be more aware of the pitfalls in the more confrontational path his government adopted, with U.S. encouragement.

The current crisis should be a wake-up call to all involved that the Minsk-Normandy process remains the only viable framework for a peaceful resolution in Ukraine. It deserves full international support, including from U.S. Members of Congress, especially in light of broken promises on NATO expansion, the U.S. role in the 2014 coup, and now the panic over fears of a Russian invasion that Ukrainian officials say are overblown.

On a separate, albeit related, diplomatic track, the United States and Russia must urgently address the breakdown in their bilateral relations. Instead of bravado and one upmanship, they must restore and build on previous disarmament agreements that they have cavalierly abandoned, placing the whole world in existential danger.

Restoring U.S. support for the Minsk Protocol and the Normandy Format would also help to decouple Ukraine’s already thorny and complex internal problems from the larger geopolitical problem of NATO expansion, which must primarily be resolved by the United States, Russia and NATO.

The United States and Russia must not use the people of Ukraine as pawns in a revived Cold War or as chips in their negotiations over NATO expansion. Ukrainians of all ethnicities deserve genuine support to resolve their differences and find a way to live together in one country – or to separate peacefully, as other people have been allowed to do in Ireland, Bangladesh, Slovakia and throughout the former U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia.

In 2008, then-U.S. Ambassador to Moscow (now CIA Director) William Burns warned his government that dangling the prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine could lead to civil war and present Russia with a crisis on its border in which it could be forced to intervene.

In a cable published by WikiLeaks, Burns wrote, “Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.”

Since Burns’s warning in 2008, successive U.S. administrations have plunged headlong into the crisis he predicted. Members of Congress, especially members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, can play a leading role in restoring sanity to U.S. policy on Ukraine by championing a moratorium on Ukraine’s membership in NATO and a reinvigoration of the Minsk Protocol, which the Trump and Biden administrations have arrogantly tried to upstage and upend with weapons shipments, ultimatums and panic.

OSCE monitoring reports on Ukraine are all headed with the critical message: “Facts Matter.” Members of Congress should embrace that simple principle and educate themselves about the Minsk-Normandy diplomacy. This process has maintained relative peace in Ukraine since 2015, and remains the U.N.-endorsed, internationally agreed-upon framework for a lasting resolution.

If the U.S. government wants to play a constructive role in Ukraine, it should genuinely support this already existing framework for a solution to the crisis, and end the heavy-handed U.S. intervention that has only undermined and delayed its implementation. And our elected officials should start listening to their own constituents, who have absolutely no interest in going to war with Russia.

The post Memo to Congress: Diplomacy for Ukraine Is Spelled M-i-n-s-k first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Parasite Empire Unravelled

So before Covid, a local school where one of my kids used to attend, had prominent race issues. Namely, teachers were being accused of being blind to obvious racist incidences against black students. The normalized notion of racism was so rampant that the school was forced to embrace some sort of deprogramming sessions by a parent-led committee on the issue.  However, this committee itself was ultimately deemed rather racist in its own way by the school’s black alumni group. To me, at the end, it became rather obvious that the whole momentum was part of a corporate political campaign for the Democratic Party establishment.  The same people who raised their fists and said “Black Lives Matter” turned out to be the supporters of Joe Biden who has bragged that he was the architect of crime bills and The Patriot Act—the very root of the school to prison pipeline, the racist, colonial “war on terror,” the prison industrial complex and so on.  Is irony completely dead as “reality” continues to be stretched to fit the ruling class interests? In the end, I felt so dirty and violated to be a part of that committee’s activities.

Fast forward to the Black-Lives-Matter-only-if-you-are-vaccinated era, and this school is voluntarily implementing a strict mandatory vaccine policy with few exemptions.  My son doesn’t like to gossip and he never really talks behind anyone’s back. But the other day, he said that the whole school is basically bullying the few kids that have not received the experimental injections.  He was particularly upset about his Black friend being given a hard time, after being subjected to the blatant racism previously.

There are some harsh numbers regarding race-related matters and the Covid “vaccines”.  In NYC, where Covid “vaccine” mandates are effectively shutting people out from indoor activities, roughly half the Black people have chosen not to receive the experimental injections. How can anyone justify segregating half the Black people from indoor activities? What is that?  And what is wrong with businesses that, without a mandate, voluntarily exclude unvaccinated people from entering their premises when statistical risk factors for getting the illness in question range from obesity to old age to having chronic conditions.  To be clear, the efficacy of the Covid injections are being debated by scientists and doctors vigorously, along with their safety issues. Yet, there are business owners who are calling themselves “community leaders” for being medical cheerleaders for big pharma, proud of being brown-nosed social climbers at the expense of those who make their own medical choices.  And if we take the whole US,  40% of small Black-owned businesses have been wiped out.  This whole virus event is a giant urban renewal push disguised as war on virus—don’t they realize what people have gone through with war on crime, war on drugs and so on?

The cozy Covid life for privileged, resourced people who can work from home or afford not to work is propped up in many ways at the expense of many who are suffering under the economic restructuring process for the oligarchy.  An unprecedented wealth transfer from the already exploited population to extremely rich and powerful people has been ongoing for the past two years, while the kind of neoliberal restructuring they’ve been dreaming about has been implemented in the name of saving lives.

It’s really demoralizing to really understand that the mechanism of exploitation and subjugation is rather simple.  The power of the wealthy oligarchs is so huge that they own everything.  They own the media.  They own the politics.  They own the governments. They own the scientists. They own the military.

And the same people who own everything tell us that we have to respect the separation of powers, we have to rely on “representative democracy,” and we have to obey the legal system which is ultimately ruled by Supreme Court judges who are appointed by, well, the same people who own everything. Needless to say, the whole thing is made to divide us and consecrate the rich and powerful as priests of capitalism, because they own everything and all powers are designed to concentrate in their hands, while  the people are effectively deprived of all power.

In the US, the power of the people is represented by two corrupt corporate political parties.  I mean, they don’t really represent people, but they pretend that they do.  The situation is so obvious and blatant that it is tedious to even mention, but the reality is that this mechanism of two corporate entities engaging in ritualistic battles within a strictly curated capitalist framework has been so effective in staging the appearance of “democracy” that it is hard to discuss the social dynamics in the US without it.  No matter what ideological leaning one has as an American, the larger than life theater of historical myths, dramas, glories of wars, nationalistic emotions and the reverence of the American flag are likely to be a part of the internalized authority which builds its footings in the minds and the bodies of those who are born on this land.

Today, many of the rich and powerful are associated with the Democratic Party—for example, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros, Bill Gates, and so on. This is strange because it is the Republican Party that is supposed to represent business interests. Recent numbers also indicate the trend:  “Some recent US figures on the distribution of income by party: 65 percent of taxpayer households that earn more than $500,000 per year are now in Democratic districts; 74 percent of the households in Republican districts earn less than $100,000 per year. Add to this what we knew already, namely that the 10 richest congressional districts in the country all have Democratic representatives in Congress“.

Anyway, it really doesn’t matter because when people play politics—meaning you cheer for one of the corrupt political parties—you are not supposed to talk about how money controls social institutions and how our values, beliefs and norms are determined by the interests of the ruling class, and how the economic caste order effectively enforces capitalist imperatives to perpetuate the reign of money and violence.

Believe it or not, today, this sort of understanding is labeled as “conspiracy.”  Right, you are a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy nut case if you happen to call out corporate crimes, their criminal conspiracies and so on and so forth.   How obvious can it get? Rich people dominate corporate politics with the good old righteousness of exceptionalism, and a colonial attitude with the kinder, gentler face of liberal politics, and it is perfectly OK to call a simple Marxist analysis of exploitation a “conspiracy.”

The tendency to obscure the mechanism of capitalism is mirrored exactly among many of those who oppose the overwhelming push for Covid lockdowns, Covid “vaccine” mandates and so on. For many of those who stand on the other side of the virus event, the entire mobilization is described as a “communist takeover.” That’s right.  All those diehard capitalists who have been conspiring to perpetuate their interests through World Economic Forum, IMF, World Bank and so on are communists now. How convenient?  You can’t have capitalism without opportunism.

But the whole thing makes perfect sense. Both ends of the capitalist spectrum, fascists and social democrats, have always struggled to perpetuate capitalist hegemony together. At the end of the day, their ultimate goal is to perpetuate the capitalist caste hierarchy and their righteous positions within it.  One step with the left leg goes forward as the right leg moves forward to balance the momentum of the imperial hegemony — just as the hopelessly corrupt Hilary Clinton gives birth to a Donald Trump Presidency, which, in turn, gives the Democratic Party a reason to exist.  Left, right, left, right, the empire moves forward as it gently shifts its weight left to right.  As they march the imperial-scape together, they sing derogatory smears against any revolutionary momentum.  Both sides are free to argue and fight as long as they adhere to the imperial imperatives of capitalism.  The corporate media ensure that the narratives are told to fit this dynamic.  Those who do not belong to the dynamics are portrayed as “others”–fringe extremists to be demonized from multiple angles.

How does the empire gain its mythical aura of authority?  Easy. They play a good old protection racket scheme against unsuspecting “good people.”  For example, they tell people that terrorists are coming, while “secretly” funding the killers in ways which are not so secret to the people. People get the idea: “Oh I see. we have to pay the protection fee. Otherwise, we get fucked up.” Or, for example, they tell people that plague is coming, and force people to get injected with special medicines.  If the people refuse, their jobs are taken away, their families are split apart, you can’t eat at a restaurant and so on. They can effectively turn everyone into a dangerous element with an infection until proven “healthy” by the designated means of the authority.  There goes the presumption of innocence along with informed consent out of the door.

This is a big deal. There is a huge reason why an authority must prove someone guilty without a reasonable doubt.  Otherwise, people can be arbitrarily accused of committing any crime and then punished for it.  And without informed consent, people can be forced to drink Cool Aid just because they are told to do so. Moreover, as soon as the feudal overloads deal with the life and death of the people, they effectively consecrate themself as gods.  A politician would claim that Covid “vaccines” are sent by God.  Cultural figures would start accusing those who refuse the medication of “defying the law of nature,” defying “science” and so on, effectively turning Bill Gates and the rest of the snake oil salesmen into gods of our times.

So now it seems that even this pretend “democracy” is being taken away by the acceptance of decrees under an “emergency” just like any other fascist take-over.

Colonizing humanity and nature

How is it even possible, though?  The capitalist assaults come in stages. First, it attacks to destabilize, infiltrate and tear communities apart.  It destroys the fabric of communities and turns vital institutions useless.  It cultivates the ground on which the invaders can turn themselves into the new providers of artificial social relations, resources and facts. Then the colonizers embark on domesticating people with their own beliefs, norms and values to exploit them and subjugate them.

Social institutions are taken over by capital. As they lose their functions for the people, they are further bought and sold by the oligarchs to transform themselves into machines for the ruling class interests. In every step of the process, people are mobilized to destroy and reassemble their own institutions only to be domesticated by the resulting fake institution for the ruling class. Corporate NGOs, corporate think tanks, paid academics, paid scientists, corporate politicians are always ready to help in this regard.  This is how education has been taken away from the people.  This is how healthcare has been taken away.  This is how politics has been taken away.

The people’s institutions are intentionally deprived of resources so that they must rely on the rich and powerful to function.  Then, privatizing and corporatizing transform the institutions into entities for profit, indoctrination and domestication. The more you struggle financially, the more you are likely to be trapped in a cycle of exploitation—an ironic reality imposed by the capitalist hierarchy in which those who could gain the most by overthrowing the establishment are pressured the most to obey the capitalist imperatives. Meanwhile those with privileged positions are conditioned to protect the status quo. Hierarchies of ideas, ideologies, religions, and people are formed.  The caste system built by all elements permeates the empire—what’s good for the empire naturally floats as the opposing elements sink systemically and structurally. People are forced to compete in serving the interests of the oligarchs regardless of the ultimate consequences to them.

This is how people are indoctrinated to hate the system that gives power to the people—socialism, and are forced to crave the system that strangles them—capitalism.  Here is a brief summary of how socialism is actively demonized in our society:

1. Point out results of imperial assaults against socialist countries and claim socialism doesn’t work.

Examples:

  • Give them economic sanctions, then call the countries “economic disasters”.
  • Send death squads to destabilize their countries, then call the enemies of the western hegemony “strong man,” “dictator,” “butcher” and so on.
  • Attempt to overthrow the government by massive propaganda campaigns, then call them oppressive.

2. Claim that no ideology, country or government is perfect, in order to ignore the injustice and inhumanity systematically and structurally imposed on the entire capitalist hegemony and beyond by the western ruling class.

Examples:

  • Claim that socialism and capitalism are the same when they are not historically and in practice.  Capitalism is a system guided by forces of accumulated wealth and power. It manifests as imperialism at the global scale. Historically, socialism has emerged to counter imperial exploitation and subjugation. Socialist countries have been vehemently assaulted by organized forces of imperialism.  The equation totally dismisses these obvious historical dynamics, while also obscuring the very nature and mechanism of capitalism, itself.  This position is often expressed with the use of the word totalitarianism.  Although the term has been largely normalized in the western cultural sphere, historically, this term has been used by reactionary forces to equate fascism (which operates within the framework of capitalism) and socialist countries with the intention of demonizing socialist countries.
  • Claim that all violence must stop as the capitalist hegemony targets a socialist country, knowing that the imperial hegemony can topple the socialist country by many means if the country stops engaging in self-defense.
  • Demonize political leaders who defy the western hegemony saying that although the West is atrocious the dictators aren’t worth saving anyway.

3. Utilize an emotional personal anecdote in demonizing “socialism” in its entirety, totally ignoring its inner workings to forward the interests of the people, imperial dynamics and so on.  Reactionary voices of those who betray their countries of origin in seeking to secure positions within the empire are often promoted by the capitalist media.

Examples:

  • “My grand dad was killed by communists.”
  • “My family members were imprisoned by a socialist regime.”
  • “So and so is killing its own people.  I know because I’m from there and you are not.”

4. Simply rely on propaganda lies concocted by capitalist social institutions.

Examples:

  • Just mock, ridicule and demonize socialists.  The notion is fully normalized so there is no need to explain. The burden of proof is on those who defy the notion.
  • Engage in 1, 2 and 3 using the propaganda lies.

Where is this giant monster swinging right to left, guided by the selfish motives of the ruling class, going?  Is it going to put us all in a digital prison as it continues to digitalize, financialize, and transhumanize, colonizing humanity and nature?  Is it going to declare a war against China?  These are very significant concerns, but it is unlikely that they will be on the table for all of us to examine anytime soon.  Our thoughts and ideas are constantly, systemically and structurally beaten into shapes by layers of capitalist institutions over and over so that they fit into the capitalist framework. Then the momentums of pros and cons are safely exchanged within the imperial framework at the expense of the people who struggle to secure their livelihood within it.

When we are beaten by the capitalists, we are put against each other.  As we fight back, we are forced to attack our fellow community members as our institutions are further colonized as I described above. In the corporate political theater billions of dollars are spent in picking between hardened corporatist Joe Biden, and “reality TV show star” Donald Trump, but we cannot embrace the political institution which can truly function as our own—such a drastic shift is firmly demonized, again, as “socialism,” “communism,” Marxism and so on.

Look at how doctors and nurses are forced to be complicit in the ongoing virus event. They are forced to limit treatment options.  Effective early treatments such as Ivermectin or HCQ, which have saved countless lives in other countries, are being ridiculed as snake oil, because as long as there are effective treatments for the virus, the experimental gene therapy drugs can’t have emergency use status.  All this goes on as Covid “vaccine” deaths are blatantly covered up in the US and in other Western countries. The health professionals are forced to put people on deadly ventilators, deadly remdisivir, and deadly sedatives—the real reason why there are so many deaths in the US, along with the fact that obesity is a hidden killer in patients with seasonal respiratory illness.  The more they try to protect their positions within the institution, the more they compromise the whole institution. Doctors, scientists and the rest of the healthcare professionals who wish to protect the institution by speaking the truth about the virus and experimental injections are censored, harassed and fired for doing so, while those who obey are forced to be complicit in failing their patients with profit-oriented protocols.

This is what the system does when it’s driven by, and for, the oligarchs.

Their exploitive schemes create crises on many fronts—environmental crisis, health crisis, housing crisis, economic crisis, psychiatric crisis, you name it. The ruling class officially designates a chosen crisis to impose prepackaged corporate “solutions” for more profits, more power grab and readjustment of the capitalist trajectory.  In the process, they destroy vital social institutions and reassemble them for domestication.  Nothing else matters other than the chosen crisis and the associated corporate schemes. Other crises deepen as the capitalist trajectory is recalibrated and the capitalist hierarchy is readjusted. They will not run out of crises as long as they exploit and subjugate.  Crises are not predicaments for those who can buy their way out of anything, they are opportunities for them.  And they have nothing to lose in the process.  We are forced to do their work of destroying our own institutions.  We are forced to do their work of turning them into our cages.  They can buy most of anything, and if they can’t, they destroy it, then they can simply buy and sell any remaining elements, repackage them as something else and sell them back to the people.

See how it works?

As we further lose our connections to ourselves, to each other, to our community and nature, we are freely subjected to propaganda and indoctrination through ruling class sanctioned entities. Psychology has been applied to adjust individuals to the hardships of capitalist behavioral conditioning. Sociology has been applied to shape collective behaviors within the capitalist framework. Economics has been applied to justify the capitalist domination. Politics has been applied to ritualize the normalization of the feudal hierarchy. Now, we see science being applied to shift the trajectory of exploitation and subjugation.

Our behaviors are largely based on establishment-supplied social relations, facts, culture, and so on.  We don’t generally act because we perceive actual events in our lives.  Most of us go through our lives on auto-pilot mode within the structurally sanctioned capitalist framework.  The Covid event clearly shows this aspect of our lives.  People wear masks, social distance and follow lockdown measures when clearly stipulated; however, at the personal level, most of us do not act like there is a deadly plague out there.  The masks, very possibly contaminated with the “deadly virus” are thrown away everywhere without being treated as biohazard materials.  People wear masks only to enter a restaurant, then take them off to eat with strangers stuck in an enclosed space. As soon as we are born into our society, we learn to perceive the capitalist framework as our guiding principle over our actual perceptions.  This makes us extremely vulnerable to top-down mobilization, as we see with the virus event.  As soon as we are systemically and structurally forced into following instructions, then facts, our perceptions, and experts’ opinions become totally irrelevant before the decrees coming out of the establishment. The process of colonization of humanity and nature has been ongoing for generations, deeply affecting how we are, and it is accelerating.

Being deprived of our actual perceptions based on material reality, and the subsequent manufacturing of our perceptions based on the imperatives of the ruling class interests contributes to acute divisions among dissidents as well.  The urgency of capitalist oppressions together with marginalization of ideological positions has often cornered those who voice their concerns into prescribing “solutions” based on their own condition, regardless of the consequences to others.  This often happens over class lines, or against those who are victims of imperial violence.  The classic example was seen during the imperial war against Syria.  Many anti-war dissidents had taken a position in support of the US military intervention of Syria to varying degrees due to the western demonization of the Syrian government, western propaganda that glorified the US backed terrorists as victims of Syrian violence and etc.  (Those who stand with enemies of the empire are strongly urged to amend their anti-imperial positions. This urging comes from across the spectrum; for instance, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges and others who are considered “dissidents” adamantly demonized leaders of targeted countries and repeated official propaganda narratives justifying the toleration of violence against those countries–By the way, both Chomsky and Hedges also hold starkly discriminatory opinions against unvaccinated people, echoing their strong condemnations of the middle eastern leaders.)

This has resulted in acceptance of the US military attacks and the US support for violent opposition groups inside Syria. Those American people who insisted on saving the children of Syria by bombing Syria and by supporting brutal terrorists, who would behead children, failed to see the great sacrifice paid by the majority of Syrian people, who were in support of their government and their military.  Activist communities were split into pieces, while the momentum greatly exacerbated the US led war against the Syrian government.   The situation began to turn as independent journalists—Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett and others—started to report from Syria on the actual situation—in which the majority of the Syrian people have approved the determined government policy against the west backed terrorists and the US colonial policies which had strangled Syrian people on many grounds.

The war on virus, which has directly targeted our entire society, as well as the global dynamics, has presented itself as a great divider among us.  Our alienated perceptions have effectively prevented our ability to understand the course of action taken by others.  The excruciating hardship of those who wear masks 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, or more, to keep their jobs, or the anger and bitterness of those who were forced to be vaccinated against their will to remain employed,  or the predicaments faced by those who chose to be fired for their medical choice, are not shared by those who do not share the circumstances and perspectives.  The virus event kept people away from each other, prevented freedom of speech, and prevented freedom of assembly while deeply dividing people on many grounds.  It is appalling that US media outlets actually told their audience to cut their ties to friends and family members who are not vaccinated.  Anger, frustration, fear and hatred have been boiling in our communities.

Sadly, the situation is not any better among those who oppose the draconian virus measures. For example, some people see anyone who complies with a government mandate as an enemy, even if non compliance would have meant a total loss of livelihood.  I’ve seen a sad instance in which a bar owner, who courageously spoke against the government “vaccine” mandate for his customers, was mocked and ridiculed for complying with the strict mandate, though not doing so could have resulted in loss of his business.  This sort of atmosphere effectively prevents constructive community actions.  It prevents natural growth of genuine social relations among the people based on creativity and practical means.  The real struggle involves real observations of facts and spontaneous reactions to associated events. Ultimately, it cannot be prescribed by those who stand outside of the particular circumstance.  Without the existence of a genuine institution for the people to coordinate overall strategies and educate people about the mechanism of exploitation, this sort of arbitrary behavior of purging would emerge only to exacerbate alienation and division among those who should be united to counter the ruling class assaults. What Lenin said in last century still stands on this regard. It also cultivates a defeatist attitude to embrace martyrdom as the only plausible goal of resistance.

The establishment understands this mechanism very well.  That is why organized efforts of socialists, communists, and Marxists have been vehemently attacked by the US empire.  As long as we stand with the establishment in demonizing any potential to build revolutionary momentum, we are bound to stay within the framework of the exploitation. Our goal is to change the exploitive system to the one that benefits our mutual well-beings.  We are not the enemies of each other.  On this point, we have a lot to learn from the Syrian government, which has been allowing reconciliation between those who took weapons against the people and those who lost their family members by the violence.

Anti-Chinese sentiment

I have already written briefly about China and the virus event here, and here.  This topic continues to be crucial because China continues to present itself as the biggest obstacle to the western capitalist hegemony.  Although China is fully integrated in the global market economy, it continues to resist western domination of its social fabric through western neoliberalization and financialization.  This makes total sense if we understand the very reason why China opened itself to the market economy—it has done so to put its economic activities under the guidance of the Communist Party of China.  It allows China to grow economically in providing for its people while preventing western propaganda infiltration, development of western guided black market, and western capitalist restructuring of Chinese social structure.

That is why we are flooded with anti-Chinese rhetoric today.

All western wars are ultimately imperial in nature.  War on virus is not an exception. Those who operate within the capitalist framework— including those who claim to resist the lockdowns and the experimental Covid injections—express their disdain toward the imperial enemy as a gesture to express their allegiance to the empire even when they must oppose their feudal overlords.

Historically, the western capitalist mobilizations—war on poverty, war on drugs, war on terror and so on—that reshape and perpetuate its structural integrity occur in tandem with imperial dynamics. The slogans and talking points have always included anti-communist/anti-socialist elements.

The war on drugs was about destruction of minority communities as much as about destruction of Latin American movements to defy the US hegemony. The war on terror ended up destroying the middle eastern countries which have cooperated with the US hegemony to varying degrees.  The US simply does not tolerate an alternative system that demonstrates the viability of social relations outside of the imperial framework. Millions have perished.  One out of hundred people became refugees. Countries were destroyed. The momentum of war on terror exacerbated institutionalized racism and structural violence within the US as well, ultimately depriving people of legal rights through the National Defense Authorization Act, the Patriot Act, installation of the surveillance state, militarization of police and etc.

China has experienced capitalist onslaughts of colonialism, colonial wars, chemical/biological attacks, proxy wars, propaganda campaigns, regime change operations, trade embargoes, trade sanctions, economic war and more even before it embarked on the path of socialism with its revolution.

China has seen it all.

There is a reason why we keep hearing “China is complicit,” “the Chinese system is coming,” and “China is violating human rights” over and over. Because the war on virus follows the same rule.  It restructures our society to perpetuate the oligarchy, and the momentum of exploitation and subjugation parallels the imperial violence against targeted countries.  This is why hundreds of military bases are surrounding China, while multiple propaganda projects are being carried out—Hong KongTibetUyghur, continued lies about Tiananmen Squareoutright deceptions stating China has killed millions of its own people.

As long as the movement of resistance being built in the west stays within the framework of imperial exploitation and subjugation, ultimately, it will serve the empire very effectively.  The oscillation between fascism and social democracy applies within imperial dynamics as well.  For example, within the imperial framework, Nazi Germany was cultivated by the US industries to assault USSR, its failure to do so then became a justification for the US to construct its imperial hegemony.  Famously, Nazi scientists and even some political figures were absorbed into the US empire (see Operation Paper Clip).  The current atmosphere emerging is not new or any more deadly than the imperial essence, itself.  This dynamic is crucial to understand.  Failure to do so would allow another oscillation within the empire which could perpetuate the empire.  On the surface, China seems to be a part of the momentum generally referred to as the “Great Reset.”  However, meanwhile, the western allies in the pacific are also arming themself to encircle China militarily.  China is under tremendous pressure to accept western led financialization and neoliberalization of their social structure.  The situation greatly echoes how USSR and its allies were subjected to containment and encirclement.  China seems to recognize the dynamics very well as I explain shortly.

Or, down the road, the fascist “Great Reset” might grow into a modern day economic Nazi to give a legitimacy to its counterpart within the western hegemony just like how the US achieved its imperial status after the WW2.  The history could certainly rhyme.  Such a possibility can’t be ruled out, but who wants to become another Nazi to be destroyed by the empire?  All players understand these dynamics.  The US won’t allow its own allies to threaten its own interests, while some allies are very eager to please the empire by playing their role in enforcing imperial imperatives—see how draconian measures in pushing big pharma vaccines, along with digitalization, financialization and the rest of the 4th Industrial Revolution, are forcefully forwarded in Australia, Canada and so on.

Perhaps the role of Israel in the imperial dynamics should be pointed out here to illustrate the dynamics.  The violence which has been inflicted by the Israeli regime against neighboring countries and beyond serves the war-based US economy while punishing those who defy the imperial hegemony. Israel plays a violent guard dog for the empire under US protection, takes on the blame for it and sustains itself in this imperial relationship. Israel has been faithfully playing its role in the war on virus by relentlessly vaccinating its people while introducing various associated measures as well.  Again, understanding the war on virus requires understanding imperial dynamics.

Meanwhile, China clearly understands its position within the imperial dynamics.  China is not about to impose on itself a deadly neoliberal restructuring such as the USSR suffered as it was being demolished. China is not about to accept colonial war on its soil in any form including biological attacks, proxy war or economic war.  If China sees its economic sphere as a part of its socialism with Chinese characteristics, it stands to reason that China would have to confront the waves of the western socio-political-economic restructuring associated with the virus event appropriately.

It’s none of western business if China decides to prepare itself for potential western biological attacks with any measures it deems necessary considering that the US owns the biggest pile of WMDs along with hundreds of bio weapon facilities across the globe, along with the history of actually using such weapons during the Korean War and on other occasions.

It’s none of western business if China develops its own Covid vaccines and virus measures in order to protect its financial sovereignty against western waves of Covid-related neoliberal restructuring and financialization.

It’s none of western business if China ends up succeeding in all of the above and turning the occasion into an opportunity to strengthen its economic viability, scientific progress and international presence with the overwhelming approval of its people.

Parasites devouring paralyzed hosts

Twisting around fear and putting people against each other in consecrating the unconditional authority of corporate entities over families torn apart, communities destroyed, and individuals rendered hopeless and hateful is not anything nature meant for us humans.

We are looking at parasites devouring paralyzed hosts.  This is the very essence of an inhumane social formation called capitalism described precisely by Karl Marx. It is revealing that the formation is called “communism” even by those who claim to “resist”.

Again, the colonized institutions ultimately act as cages for capitalism. They work together to recalibrate the caste system.

Over and over we’ve been deceived.  We are mobilized to play ritual battles on political theaters. We are mobilized to play “activism” on social theaters. We are mobilized to play good citizens on cultural theaters. We are mobilized to fight “others” on colonial theaters of war.  As long as we run around within the framework of the oligarchs, we just shift the blame among ourselves and we keep fine tuning the very feudal hierarchy that traps us as expendable beings.

The wealth and power hoarded by the parasitic minority never belong to them. They are blessings of nature and humanity belonging to the harmony among us. Those oligarchs have only one thing—they are astronomically richer than the rest. They monopolize what belongs to us all in order to domesticate humanity and nature. But life can’t be contained by their primitive cage.  So they have been modifying life to fit within the narrowly defined framework of their own kingdom. We became dumber, we are less brave, we are more cynical and hypocritical.  None of it is acceptable from any angle from which we look at it. The current social formation is extremely destructive to our species. If we fail to grasp the situation, gene therapy drugs, psychotropic drugs, behavioral conditioning and so on will be fully used to exacerbate the situation, commodifying our minds and bodies as our lives are more and more digitized and financialized.  If we become the products to be consumed, we are subjected to planned obsolescence, reduced quality, reduced diversity and so on just like any other items around us.  They spread their tentacles in taking over social institutions.  They freely attenuate and amplify the roles of institutions in orchestrating the material reality to suit their interests.  Again, they paralyze people with illusions, lies, deceptions, drugs, carrot and stick and eat us alive.  We do not deserve this parasitic social formation.

We need a system which firmly ensures that the material reality reflects a harmony of man and nature.  For one thing, the ridiculous rituals of corporate politics, corporate slogans for health, and so on have no place in getting us out of this feudalism of money and violence.  How can we all step back a little and take a look at what is really going on, calling out the parasites for what they are?  How can we recognize that the same colonizers who destroyed countries across the globe have embarked on psychological asymmetrical urban warfare against us? We are told that we are all in this together only to find ourselves shooting each other. We are told to flatten the curve only to see our communities flattened to be swallowed by corporate entities. How can we build our communities with social relations based on our needs?  How can we build social institutions which can help us build a social formation that serves us all?

The parasites devour the hosts because they do not have the ability to engage in the creative process of life. They must lie and deceive to imprison the subject population so that the captive beings are forced to construct the kingdom for the parasites. Parasites are not the all-seeing gods which they present themselves to be.  In order to survive and embrace the blessings of the universe as one of the species on our planet, we must recognize this destructive state of being and somehow move beyond it.

We are hardly the only ones screaming.  We are a fraction of a huge momentum of humanity continuing to make a point about our species’ obvious predicaments. The following words came from George L. Jackson shortly before he was murdered in California’s San Quentin Prison (I thank John Steppling for mentioning the quote recently):

Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution.

— George L. Jackson, Blood in my Eye, January 1, 1972

Like Fred Hampton said:

… you can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution. You can run a freedom fighter around the country but you can’t run freedom fighting around the country. You can murder a liberator, but you can’t murder liberation.

— Fred Hampton,  Speech delivered on April 27, 1969 (Movement Vol. 5. No. 12, The Movement Press, January, 1970)

The post Parasite Empire Unravelled first appeared on Dissident Voice.

After a Year of Biden, Why Do We Still Have Trump’s Foreign Policy?

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President Biden and the Democrats were highly critical of President Trump’s foreign policy, so it was reasonable to expect that Biden would quickly remedy its worst impacts. As a senior member of the Obama administration, Biden surely needed no schooling on Obama’s diplomatic agreements with Cuba and Iran, both of which began to resolve long-standing foreign policy problems and provided models for the renewed emphasis on diplomacy that Biden was promising.

Tragically for America and the world, Biden has failed to restore Obama’s progressive initiatives, and has instead doubled down on many of Trump’s most dangerous and destabilizing policies. It is especially ironic and sad that a president who ran so stridently on being different from Trump has been so reluctant to reverse his regressive policies. Now the Democrats’ failure to deliver on their promises with respect to both domestic and foreign policy is undermining their prospects in November’s midterm election.

Here is our assessment of Biden’s handling of ten critical foreign policy issues:

  1. Prolonging the agony of the people of Afghanistan. It is perhaps symptomatic of Biden’s foreign policy problems that the signal achievement of his first year in office was an initiative launched by Trump, to withdraw the United States from its 20-year war in Afghanistan. But Biden’s implementation of this policy was tainted by the same failure to understand Afghanistan that doomed and dogged at least three prior administrations and the U.S.’s hostile military occupation for 20 years, leading to the speedy restoration of the Taliban government and the televised chaos of the U.S. withdrawal.

Now, instead of helping the Afghan people recover from two decades of U.S.-inflicted destruction, Biden has seized $9.4 billion in Afghan foreign currency reserves, while the people of Afghanistan suffer through a desperate humanitarian crisis. It is hard to imagine how even Donald Trump could be more cruel or vindictive.

  1. Provoking a crisis with Russia over Ukraine. Biden’s first year in office is ending with a dangerous escalation of tensions at the Russia/Ukraine border, a situation that threatens to devolve into a military conflict between the world’s two most heavily armed nuclear states–the United States and Russia. The United States bears much responsibility for this crisis by supporting the violent overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014, backing NATO expansion right up to Russia’s border, and arming and training Ukrainian forces.

Biden’s failure to acknowledge Russia’s legitimate security concerns has led to the present impasse, and Cold Warriors within his administration are threatening Russia instead of proposing concrete measures to de-escalate the situation.

  1. Escalating Cold War tensions and a dangerous arms race with China. President Trump launched a tariff war with China that economically damaged both countries, and reignited a dangerous Cold War and arms race with China and Russia to justify an ever-increasing U.S. military budget.

After a decade of unprecedented U.S. military spending and aggressive military expansion under Bush II and Obama, the U.S. “pivot to Asia” militarily encircled China, forcing it to invest in more robust defense forces and advanced weapons. Trump, in turn, used China’s strengthened defenses as a pretext for further increases in U.S. military spending, launching a new arms race that has raised the existential risk of nuclear war to a new level.

Biden has only exacerbated these dangerous international tensions. Alongside the risk of war, his aggressive policies toward China have led to an ominous rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, and created obstacles to much-needed cooperation with China to address climate change, the pandemic and other global problems.

  1. Abandoning Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. After President Obama’s sanctions against Iran utterly failed to force it to halt its civilian nuclear program, he finally took a progressive, diplomatic approach, which led to the JCPOA nuclear agreement in 2015. Iran scrupulously met all its obligations under the treaty, but Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA in 2018. Trump’s withdrawal was vigorously condemned by Democrats, including candidate Biden, and Senator Sanders promised to rejoin the JCPOA on his first day in office if he became president.

Instead of immediately rejoining an agreement that worked for all parties, the Biden administration thought it could pressure Iran to negotiate a “better deal.” Exasperated Iranians instead elected a more conservative government and Iran moved forward on enhancing its nuclear program.

A year later, and after eight rounds of shuttle diplomacy in Vienna, Biden has still not rejoined the agreement. Ending his first year in the White House with the threat of another Middle East war is enough to give Biden an “F” in diplomacy.

  1. Backing Big Pharma over a People’s Vaccine. Biden took office as the first Covid vaccines were being approved and rolled out across the United States and the world. Severe inequities in global vaccine distribution between rich and poor countries were immediately apparent and became known as “vaccine apartheid.”

Instead of manufacturing and distributing vaccines on a non-profit basis to tackle the pandemic as the global public health crisis that it is, the United States and other Western countries chose to maintain the neoliberal regime of patents and corporate monopolies on vaccine manufacture and distribution. The failure to open up the manufacture and distribution of vaccines to poorer countries gave the Covid virus free rein to spread and mutate, leading to new global waves of infection and death from the Delta and Omicron variants

Biden belatedly agreed to support a patent waiver for Covid vaccines under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, but with no real plan for a “People’s Vaccine,” Biden’s concession has made no impact on millions of preventable deaths.

  1. Ensuring catastrophic global warming at COP26 in Glasgow. After Trump stubbornly ignored the climate crisis for four years, environmentalists were encouraged when Biden used his first days in office to rejoin the Paris climate accord and cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline.

But by the time Biden got to Glasgow, he had let the centerpiece of his own climate plan, the Clean Energy Performance Program (CEPP), be stripped out of the Build Back Better bill in Congress at the behest of fossil-fuel industry sock-puppet Joe Manchin, turning the U.S. pledge of a 50% cut from 2005 emissions by 2030 into an empty promise.

Biden’s speech in Glasgow highlighted China and Russia’s failures, neglecting to mention that the United States has higher emissions per capita than either of them. Even as COP26 was taking place, the Biden administration infuriated activists by putting oil and gas leases up for auction for 730,000 acres of the American West and 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. At the one-year mark, Biden has talked the talk, but when it comes to confronting Big Oil, he is not walking the walk, and the whole world is paying the price.

  1. Political prosecutions of Julian Assange, Daniel Hale and Guantanamo torture victims. Under President Biden, the United States remains a country where the systematic killing of civilians and other war crimes go unpunished, while whistleblowers who muster the courage to expose these horrific crimes to the public are prosecuted and jailed as political prisoners.

In July 2021, former drone pilot Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison for exposing the killing of civilians in America’s drone wars. WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange still languishes in Belmarsh Prison in England, after 11 years fighting extradition to the United States for exposing U.S. war crimes.

Twenty years after it set up an illegal concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to imprison 779 mostly innocent people kidnapped around the world, 39 prisoners remain there in illegal, extrajudicial detention. Despite promises to close this sordid chapter of U.S. history, the prison is still functioning and Biden is allowing the Pentagon to actually build a new, closed courtroom at Guantanamo to more easily keep the workings of this gulag hidden from public scrutiny.

  1. Economic siege warfare against the people of Cuba, Venezuela and other countries. Trump unilaterally rolled back Obama’s reforms on Cuba and recognized unelected Juan Guaidó as the “president” of Venezuela, as the United States tightened the screws on its economy with “maximum pressure” sanctions.

Biden has continued Trump’s failed economic siege warfare against countries that resist U.S. imperial dictates, inflicting endless pain on their people without seriously imperiling, let alone bringing down, their governments. Brutal U.S. sanctions and efforts at regime change have universally failed for decades, serving mainly to undermine the United States’s own democratic and human rights credentials.

Juan Guaidó is now the least popular opposition figure in Venezuela, and genuine grassroots movements opposed to U.S. intervention are bringing popular democratic and socialist governments to power across Latin America, in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Honduras – and maybe Brazil in 2022.

  1. Still supporting Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and its repressive ruler. Under Trump, Democrats and a minority of Republicans in Congress gradually built a bipartisan majority that voted to withdraw from the Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen and stop sending arms to Saudi Arabia. Trump vetoed their efforts, but the Democratic election victory in 2020 should have led to an end to the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Instead, Biden only issued an order to stop selling “offensive” weapons to Saudi Arabia, without clearly defining that term, and went on to okay a $650 million weapons sale. The United States still supports the Saudi war, even as the resulting humanitarian crisis kills thousands of Yemeni children. And despite Biden’s pledge to treat the Saudis’ cruel leader, MBS, as a pariah, Biden refused to even sanction MBS for his barbaric murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  1. Still complicit in illegal Israeli occupation, settlements and war crimes. The United States is Israel’s largest arms supplier, and Israel is the world’s largest recipient of U.S. military aid (approximately $4 billion annually), despite its illegal occupation of Palestine, widely condemned war crimes in Gaza and illegal settlement building. U.S. military aid and arms sales to Israel clearly violate the U.S. Leahy Laws and Arms Export Control Act.

Donald Trump was flagrant in his disdain for Palestinian rights, including tranferring the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to a property in Jerusalem that is only partly within Israel’s internationally recognized border, a move that infuriated Palestinians and drew international condemnation.

But nothing has changed under Biden. The U.S. position on Israel and Palestine is as illegitimate and contradictory as ever, and the U.S. Embassy to Israel remains on illegally occupied land. In May, Biden supported the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, which killed 256 Palestinians, half of them civilians, including 66 children.

Conclusion

Each part of this foreign policy fiasco costs human lives and creates regional–even global–instability. In every case, progressive alternative policies are readily available. The only thing lacking is political will and independence from corrupt vested interests.

The United States has squandered unprecedented wealth, global goodwill and a historic position of international leadership to pursue unattainable imperial ambitions, using military force and other forms of violence and coercion in flagrant violation of the UN Charter and international law.

Candidate Biden promised to restore America’s position of global leadership, but has instead doubled down on the policies through which the United States lost that position in the first place, under a succession of Republican and Democratic administrations. Trump was only the latest iteration in America’s race to the bottom.

Biden has wasted a vital year doubling down on Trump’s failed policies. In the coming year, we hope that the public will remind Biden of its deep-seated aversion to war and that he will respond—albeit reluctantly—by adopting more dovish and rational ways.

The post After a Year of Biden, Why Do We Still Have Trump’s Foreign Policy? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Seven Myths about the January 6th Capitol Building Incident

After over a year of incessant publicity, the Capitol building incident of January 6, 2021, has taken on mythic proportions. While all myths are prone to hyperbole, not all are entirely false as the following accounting relates.

1.  January 6 was an attempted coup

According to Noam Chomsky: “That it was an attempted coup is not in question,” likening the incident to Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. However, after storming the Capitol building and taking selfies, the demonstrators simply left after a few hours. Their attempt to influence the electoral process by disruption did not and could not have led to the seizure of state power.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald points out, “after a full year of a Democrat-led DOJ [Department of Justice] conducting what is heralded as ‘the most expansive federal law enforcement investigation in US history’ [no rioters] have been charged with inciting insurrection, sedition, treason or conspiracy to overthrow the government.”

Then on January 13, eleven were charged with “seditious conspiracy,” which according to the New York Times is difficult to prove. This raises the embarrassing question for the government of how could some two thousand people conspire in broad daylight to stage an insurrection and the FBI and other agencies didn’t know about it until after the fact.

Greenwald continues, “the Department of Homeland Security issued at least six separate ‘heightened threat’ warnings last year, not a single one of which materialized. There were no violent protests in Washington, D.C. or in state capitols on Inauguration Day; no violent protests materialized the week after Biden’s inauguration…Each time such a warning was issued, cable outlets and liberal newspapers breathlessly reported them, ensuring fear levels remained high.”

What did happen is that a sitting president unprecedently called for a march on the Capitol to contest an election, signifying a breakdown of bourgeois political norms. Quite unlike Al Gore, who took a hit for elite political stability rather than contest the 2000 presidential election, Trump flagrantly broke the rules of orderly succession.

2.  January 6 ranks with Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of 9/11

Vice President Kamala Harris (no relation to this author) solemnly proclaimed: “Certain dates echo throughout history…when our democracy came under assault…December 7th, 1941. September 11th, 2001. And January 6th, 2021.”

According to the US Senate report, seven fatalities are attributed to 1/6: one person was fatally shot by police, one succumbed to an overdose of amphetamine, and two others died of natural causes; all were Trump supporters. In the days that followed, Officer Brian Sicknick “died of natural causes” according to the coroner’s report, contrary to false news that his passing was due to injuries on 1/6. Two other police officers died of suicide.

In contrast, 2,390 perished in Pearl Harbor; 2,977 in 9/11.  The former marked the beginning of active US military engagement in World War II, which took an estimated 70–85 million people. The latter sparked the “War on Terror,” claiming an estimated 1.3 to 2 million casualties.

3. Trump and his supporters are ignorant

Some suppose Trump and his supporters get by on crude cunning and animal instinct. An unfortunately pervasive left-liberal trope is that people who see the world differently from them must be “militantly ignorant,” otherwise they too would be Democrats. The self-faltering conceit is that if some half of the voting public, the “basket of deplorables,” were better educated, they would have better politics. Little wonder that Trump can play to the justified resentment to this class chauvinism.

4.  Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history and the world has never seen an organization more profoundly committed to destroying planet earth

Noam Chomsky, citing 1/6, made the above claim, which is partially true. The Republican Party is part of the bad cop/good cop dyad, which is the political leadership of the US empire. And that empire is the greatest threat ever to humanity. But focusing all the animus of one component of the ruling duopoly tends to render the duopoly itself – that is, the two-party system of capitalist rule – invisible. Demonizing the bad cop does not eliminate the system, but only renders the presumptive “lesser evil” more cosmetically acceptable.

How different are the Republicans from the Democrats? Perceptions of reality are mediated by perspective. For instance, very small and near objects such as a house fly appear to be moving very fast. Very large and distant objects like the stars appear to be moving not all. The physical reality is the opposite. Likewise, the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats appear great or not much at all depending on one’s class and historical perspective.

From an historical perspective, the affinities between Obama and Reagan are greater than between, say, the neoliberal Obama and New Deal LBJ. For a true-blue Democratic Party partisan, the chasm separating the parties is huge. For the Venezuelan whose cancer medications are blocked by the bipartisan US sanctions, the differences are imperceptible.

After the Democrats lost the presidency in 2016 to as repugnant a figure as Donald Trump, they conjured up the alibi of Russian interference in the election and milked that for four years. Now the Democrats can no longer plausibly claim that Vladimir Putin is pulling strings in the White House. So, the January 6th incident has become the ruse of convenience for retaining the presidency and congressional majorities without offending their donors by doing anything significant for their voter base. As candidate Joe Biden assured his wealthy supporters, “nothing would fundamentally change” if he’s elected.

5.  White supremacy is on the rise

Part of the perception of growing white supremacy is a commendable increased awareness and reporting of this national blight and a growing movement in opposition. A KKK bombing in the late 1960s of an Historically Black College in Mississippi where I was a junior faculty did not even get into the news. Earlier this month, seven Historically Black Colleges received bomb threats and that made national headlines. The successes of anti-racist efforts like the Black Lives Matter movement, which mounted the largest mass demonstrations in US history, should be recognized.

It also should be recognized that white supremacy didn’t originate with Trump, nor will it end with his departure, but is deeply embedded in the national DNA. Ask a Native American, whose ancestral lands were expropriated by the European settlers as part of a brutal process of displacement and extermination. Ask an African American, whose forrbearers were brought here as chattel slaves and upon whose labor much of the wealth of the nation was accumulated. Ask a Japanese American about the internment of the West Coast Japanese, which was the project of the arguably most liberal president in US history.

As Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace comments: “Fascism is nothing new for us, a colonized people, people who have been enslaved. It has typically been called fascism only when white people do certain things to other white people.”

Listen carefully to “our” national anthem, which celebrates: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave, from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, and the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

6.  What is happening today is the same as Germany in the 1930s with Trump as the new Hitler

Analogies of Trump to Hitler can be misleading. While material conditions for many Americans are distressing, they are not as dire as Weimar Germany, following its economic collapse. Nor do the Proud Boys and company approximate the hundreds of thousands of trained and armed paramilitaries under Hitler’s direct command. Most important, the mass working class Communist and Socialist parties in Weimar Germany were positioned to contend for state power, while trade unions and third parties challenging bourgeoise rule are in decline in the US today.

Under fascism, the capitalist class voluntarily cedes a degree of economic decision making to a dictatorial state in exchange for guarantees of public order and promises to keep their profits. As long as any serious challenge to their power is absent, the US ruling elites have little incentive to resort to such measures.

The charges that Trump is “power hungry” are likely true, though that does not necessarily distinguish him from other politicians. But the force of even his big ego is insufficient to win over a sufficient faction of the bourgeoisie to support a fascist dictatorship when the theatrics of the two-party system are working so well for their interests and billionaire fortunes are skyrocketing.

But that does not mean that they need not prepare for the contingency of fascist rule, which is where the present danger resides. January 6 is being used to justify further expansion of the security state, which has and will continue to be used against the left.

7.  January 6 is symptomatic of a body politic polarized as never before

Polarization is the meta myth that overarches all others. According to a Pew poll, “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.” This dysfunctional disintegration takes place in the context of a body politic lurching to the right. One side of the political duopoly blocks progressive change; the other uses the excuse of the blockage for failing to make progressive change.

The palpable polarization of the Republican-Democratic hostilities serves as a distraction from the bedrock elite consensus on matters of state (i.e., which class rules) and economics (i.e., which class benefits).

The smoke of the wrangling over the minutia of Build Back Better obfuscates the fact that a world record “defense” budget, greater than even the Pentagon requested, passed in a heartbeat. The squabble over masking distracts from the failure of the world’s richest nation to provide universal health care in a time of pandemic. The issues that truly affect the future of humanity – militarization and global warming – are obscured in the fog of cultural wars that divide working people. Meanwhile state security and surveillance measures become more pervasive, with the nominally more liberal party of the ruling class championing the FBI, CIA, and NSA.

There are fault lines of class and fault lines of partisan politics. For now, those fault lines do not coincide. The narrow positing of the threat of the right around what happened on January 6 omits the larger issues of militarism, the surveillance state, welfare for the corporations, and austerity for working people. On these fundamental issues and despite sharp contention on other issues, there is a fundamental consensus between the ruling Republican and Democratic leadership.

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