Category Archives: Imperialism

The New U.S. War on Western Sahara

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen (left) and his wife Janet Langhart Cohen (center) meet with King Mohammed VI, of Morocco, at his palace in Marrakech, on Feb. 11, 2000. Cohen and the King agreed to open an expanded security and defense dialogue, and discussed ways that Morocco could expand its leadership role in promoting regional stability in the Mediterranean and on the African continent. DoD photo by R. D. Ward. (Released)

I’m not misusing the word “war” to mean something like the war on Christmas or drugs or some TV pundit whom somebody else insulted. I mean war. There is a new U.S. war in Western Sahara, being waged by Morocco with the support of the U.S. military. The U.S. military, unbeknownst to most people in the United States — it’s perfectly knowable but few give a damn — arms and trains and funds the militaries of the world, inlcuding almost all of the most brutal governments of the world. I can’t compare this with the outrage in the U.S. media over the U.S. government feeding a few hungry people in the United States, because there isn’t any outrage over it at all. One of the people the U.S. military backs is:

His Majesty the King Mohammed the Sixth, Commander of the Faithful, May God Grant Him Victory, of Morocco

Yes, that’s his name. King Mohammed VI became king in 1999, which seems to have been a banner year for new dictators. This King had the unusual qualifications for the job of his father dying and his own heart beating — oh, and being a descendant of Muhammad. The King is divorced. He travels the world taking more selfies than Elizabeth Warren, including with U.S. presidents and British royalty.

May God Grant Him Victory’s education included studying in Brussels with then-President of the European Commission Jacques Delors, and studying at the French University of Nice Sophia Antipolis. In 1994 he became Commander in Chief of the Royal Moroccan Army.

The King and his family and government are famously corrupt, with some of that corruption having been exposed by WikiLeaks and The Guardian. As of 2015, Commander of the Faithful was listed by Forbes as the fifth richest person in Africa, with $5.7 billion.

The U.S. State Department in 2018 noted that “[h]uman rights issues included allegations of torture by some members of the security forces, although the government condemned the practice and made substantial efforts to investigate and address any reports; allegations that there were political prisoners; undue limits on freedom of expression, including criminalization of libel and certain content that criticized Islam, the monarchy, and the government’s position regarding territorial integrity; limits on freedom of assembly and association; corruption; and criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex (LGBTI) conduct.”

The State Department chose not to mention the U.S. support for Morocco’s military, or Morocco’s military occupation of territory belonging to the people of Western Sahara. Perhaps discussing some topics would just not be good for business.

The post The New U.S. War on Western Sahara first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Ramblings of a Self-confessed Liar, Cheater, and Thief

On 10 November 2020, the United States secretary-of-state Mike Pompeo, he of the ill-famed confession “We lied, we cheated, we stole,” spoke at the Ronald Reagan Institute.

The liar Pompeo can even speak candidly, “I’ve talked about American exceptionalism. I did so in Brussels; I did it in Cairo; I did it in Jakarta, and every opportunity that I’ve had in my public life. Sometimes it was met with a resounding thud as well. I’ve walked out of quiet ward rooms.”

Imagine a US secretary-of-state admitting that people walked out on American exceptionalism.

The cheater Pompeo boasted, “In the Middle East, American strength has replaced leading from behind. We destroyed the caliphate, the ISIS caliphate. We killed Baghdadi and Soleimani, and we have restored substantial deterrence.”

It is a bizarre form of exceptionalism to brag about assassinations carried out by one’s country. The US created Daesh and later killed their associate, the Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as well as the major destroyer of Daesh, Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani, commander of its Quds Force.

Speaking of theft, Pompeo chortled, “And by just simply recognizing Jerusalem – candidly recognizing Jerusalem – as the capital of Israel and acknowledging that the Golan Heights are part of Israel, we’ve helped secured our ally, the Jewish state, as central to the region’s future.”

The colonial-settlers managed to wipe out many Indigenous nations in what is now called the United States, and they later aided European Jews in stealing the land of Indigenous Palestinians. But as the events in Armenia and Azerbaijan indicate, territory conquered in the past can be regained in the future. Sitting on stolen land can be like sitting on a ticking time bomb.

Finally Pompeo got to the crux of his speech where he identified the “foundation for America’s policy towards the world’s number-one threat to freedom today: the Chinese Communist Party.”

Liars, cheaters, and thieves count on their audience to accept their proclamations and not probe into the background of the speaker and the glasshouses in which they reside. Thus Pompeo could smugly assert of China, without an iota of evidence presented:

And it also means no more illegal claims in the South China Sea, no more coercion and co-optation of American businesses, no more consulates used as dens of spies, no more stealing of intellectual property, and no more ignoring fundamental human rights violations. And the party’s atrocities in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere will not be tolerated.

Is China a paragon of virtue? No. And the US is no paragon of good either. Illegal claims? Do settler-colonialists have a legitimate legal claim to the landmass of the US? To the Hawaiian islands? To Puerto Rico? To Guam? Where is the evidence that US corporations were co-opted or coerced by the Chinese? One hears such claims over and over but never with evidence. Why? Because entry to the Chinese market was conditioned on access to technology, a decision that US corporations could have refused. This is not coercion. That a former CIA head speaks of dens of spies is risible. Theft of intellectual property? And what was the forced sale of China’s social media TikTok in the US supposed to represent? US protesting human rights violations? Like the occupation and oppression of Palestinians by the Jewish state? Like the Muslim holocaust?1 Like the police murders of Blacks in the US? How about the human right to freedom from poverty and to have a roof over one’s head?

Pompeo said, “The fight is between authoritarianism, barbarism on one side and freedom on the other.”

As I wrote recently:

Among other items “proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,” the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “… human beings shall enjoy freedom … from want.”

The UDHR preamble goes on to state that “fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person … have [been] determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

China is the country that addresses the fundamental dignity and worth of the human person. The US falls abysmally short of addressing dignity of all citizens. Chinese have freedom from homelessness and poverty. Consequently lying and cheating is required by US politicians to hide their thievery.

China conquered COVID-19 while Americans suffer. Americans are warring in several countries while the Communist Party of China calls for peace. Who are the barbarians? If it is a choice between two countries, it seems an easy choice to make.

  1. Gideon Polya, US-Imposed Post-9/11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide (Korsgaard Publishing, 2020).

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White Supremacy Sanctions Internal and External Colonialism

Introduction

Regularly, the media has reported the dire effects of European dominance on the communities of a disenfranchised minority: the public execution of African-Americans by police, the epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Canada, the shadow of residential schools in North America, the legacy of red-lining, the impact of the murders of the oil-rich Osage County Indians in Oklahoma, the victimization of native lobster fisherman in Nova Scotia, and the Tulsa race massacre of 1921. None of these things would have been if they were not fueled by a racist ideology. We will explore the connection between racism and imperialism as it played out in the United States.

  1. Why would racist ideology intensify after the slaves were freed?
  2. Why was the Monroe Doctrine insufficient for American capitalism, such that oceans had to be crossed at the turn of the twentieth century?
  3. How did white supremacist theories of racial hierarchy support the aggression of imperial capitalism?
  4. How and by whom was the deception of “spreading democracy and civilization” used? What war crimes might be charged today to the aggressors?
  5. How did American foreign policy in the East lay the groundwork for Pearl Harbor?

My reading of three books1 worked as complementary texts which raised historical questions about the function of race in imperial capitalism, and in combination,  gave me answers to these questions.

Why would racist ideologies begin after the slaves were freed?

Tracing the intellectual roots of racism in The Condemnation of Blackness, Khalil Gibran Muhammad explores the Darwinian theories of race regarding inferior genetics and the cultural biases of the late 19th century and early 20th century America, those in the academic world of prestigious universities.   On the surface we might think that racist ideology would co-extensively appear with racist practices at the same time the slaves first were brought over. But it was only after the Civil War that they became fully developed.  The reason was the fear of what African Americans might do politically. After the Civil War, a Harvard scientist, Nathaniel Southgate Shaler, wrote that the Black people were “a danger greater and more insuperable than any of those that menace the other great civilized states of the world” (Muhammad, p. 15). Therefore, the newly emancipated African American had to be scrutinized and evaluated for fitness in citizenship.  Such scrutiny would demand newly minted scientific methods of analysis to demonstrate that inherited qualities enhanced “criminality…alongside disease and intelligence, as a fundamental measure of black inferiority” (Muhammad, p. 20).  Such a practice would lead eventually even to the measurement of the volume of skulls as with the Darwinian studies of Samuel George Morton, repeated even as recently as 1989 and touted by Philippe Rushton in a TV debate with David Suzuki on CBC in Canada.  Contributions made to this Anglo-Saxon narrative of civilization entrenched the imperial European supremacist views derived from its self-admiring historiography and political vanities.  The trajectory was clear: German to Anglo-Saxon to American — emancipation did not ensure equity.

Within the United States what were the purposes of creating a racial hierarchy? Divide and conquer

Still within the United States, as the varying races of the European stock had the challenge of unifying its branches, the Celts and the Slavs were granted grudging acceptance.  However, the African was simply excluded.  Muhammad, in The Condemnation of Blackness, identifies the hierarchy of races in the Eurocentric world by citing W.E.B. Du Bois who condemns the social stratification of the Anglo-Saxon, Teuton, Celt, Slav, yellow Asian, brown Indian, but “with the Negroes of Africa we come to a full stop, and in its heart the civilized world with one accord denies that these come within the pale of nineteenth-century Humanity” (Muhammad, p. 25).  However, it is this qualitative gradation of races that becomes the moral validation for the explosion of American imperialism onto foreign shores and for its burgeoning market capitalism, while being touted as necessary for the advance of civilization.

Capitalist imperialism needs racism in order to spread

Both James Bradley in The Imperial Cruise and Stephen Kinzer in The True Flag document the imperial expansion of the Spanish-American War. But having been established by the slavery of European mercantilism, the wealth accumulation of American capitalism was becoming increasingly hemmed in with the closing of the West at the end of the nineteenth century. However, the Aryan urge for its sense of rightful dominance refused to be limited, and so the American imperial era was born with McKinley and Roosevelt’s reaching beyond the strictures of the Monroe Doctrine, now becoming a global doctrine of security and democracy.

Westward Ho and Southward Ho: Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico

As documented in The True Flag by Stephen Kinzer, the destinies of Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico, would fall to the brutal wiles of men such as Henry Cabot Lodge, the expansionist icon, wielding his more-than-significant weight upon the fantasies of imperial buckaroos such as Theodore Roosevelt.  As Lodge charged, the Enlightenment principle, the “consent of the governed,” offering “a great lack of definite meaning,” must be supplanted, for “to abandon the islands or to leave them now would be a wrong to humanity…[as he] would regard their loss as a calamity to our trade and commerce, and to all our business interests, so great that no man can measure it…” (Kinzer, p. 165). The capitalist priority was clear.

Filipino resistance to the imperial hand

So, it came to pass, with the killing of a Filipino by Private William Grayson on February 4, 1899, that within twenty-four hours, three thousand Pacific Negroes, with the soldiers so erroneously using the n-word, (Bradley, p. 102) lay dead; being dark and indigenous earned that degrading American appellation even for these non-Africans.  Because even with tens of thousands killed, they refused American kindness as the killing, the slaughters, the concentration camps, and the waterboarding were carried out by such barbarians as Jake Smith in deeply criminal aggression.  Of course, justified back home by racial ideology, Roosevelt was promising “our earnest effort is to help these people upward along the stony and difficult path that leads to self-government” (Bradley, p. 124).  The pancake maquillage of paternalistic munificence was applied heavily under the imperial stage lights. At the Minnesota State Fair Roosevelt claimed “our duty toward the people living in barbarism is to see that they are freed from their chains, and we can do it only by destroying barbarism itself” (Kinzer, p. 206). Lodge would get his wish.

Imperialism by Proxy: the Japanese

In Asia, the supremacist operation took a different turn as the Chinese Open-Door Policy became threatened with such inconveniences as the Boxer Rebellion, the Chinese Boycott of 1905 and Russian interests.  Although control of Hawaii, the Philippines and Guam were firm, what was needed was a proxy, not only superior technically and militarily, but inherently superior. The love-in began between Japan and the United States for direct action would have been impossible in a region complicated by Russian, French, German, American and Japanese incursions. Because America was amassing capital from the growth of agricultural and industrial strength, it had to find opportunities to grow in foreign lands; capitalism stagnant is capitalism moribund. Following its victories, as Stephen Kinzer states, “Americans were eager for the adventure of conquest. They had been convinced that the stability of their economy, and of the United States itself, depended on taking foreign lands” (Kinzer, p. 201). Threatened by competition in the East especially from Czarist Russia, an alliance, with utmost discretion, was consolidated between Japan and the United States.

The ideological construction of a hierarchy of races was foundational in the nurturing of the proxy. Bradley clarifies:

To Roosevelt, the Japanese were the champions of Anglo-Saxon civilisation in North Asia and an antidote to the degraded ‘Chinks’ and slovenly Slavs. Roosevelt was convinced…that the Japanese…were ‘a wonderfully civilized people…entitled to stand on absolute equality with all the other peoples of the civilized world’  (Bradley, p. 208).

After May 28, 1905, the Naval Battle of Tsushima destroyed the Russian Navy. Reverend Robert MacArthur of New York City’s Calvary Baptist Church, offering his religious insights, intoned to his faithful, “The victory of the Japanese is a distinct triumph for Christianity.  The new civilization of Japan is largely the result of Christian teaching” (Bradley, p. 236).  With its victory, Japan, in this Darwinian evolution of societies, now spiritually, socially and technically becomes worthy of being the proxy warrior for American capitalism, the honorary Aryan. The Japanese had been groomed to affect their Asian Monroe Doctrine from thirty years earlier as the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere. The American diplomat General Le Gendre stated when guiding the Japanese Foreign Ministry, “One must act courageously for the purpose of pushing forward the flag of the rising Sun in Asia and for the sake of the expansion of our empire” (Bradley, pp. 187-8).  The deputy was expected to serve the interests of the master, but he learned more than the master bargained for.  This unholy alliance of mutual self-interest, reciprocal flattery and unintended consequences turns ugly, culminating in Pearl Harbour and Nagasaki.

Global imperialism

However, those others—the “pacific negroes” (Bradley, p. 97)—anywhere, must duly play their role in gratitude and subservience. At the time, Senator Orville Platt [of the Platt Amendment] called Western Pacific expansion, “the law of our national growth…the great law of our racial development,” (Bradley, p. 98). The newspaper, the Baltimore American, called upon “the same old law of the survival of the fittest.  The weak must bend to the strong and today the American race is the sturdiest, the noblest on earth” (Bradley, p. 99).  Such is an idea that would plague the 19th and 20th centuries in years to come.

As James Bradley states, quoting the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Lewis H. Morgan (1818-1881) in The Imperial Cruise, “The Aryan family represents the central stream of progress, because it produced the highest type of mankind, and because it proved its intrinsic superiority by gradually assuming control of the earth” (Bradley, p. 33).  The white man had a right to the globe through his inherent superiority. The rights of the indigenous peoples were to be subordinate.

Conclusion: The Fate of Rome

Warnings are so often dismissed. So, after the Patriot Act and the endless wars of conquest, the “full spectrum dominance,” the ruin and death as imperial capitalism takes its toll in the name of bringing democracy, I quote the words of Moorfield Storey.  On June 15, 1898, as the House of Representatives were debating the annexation of Hawaii, the founding president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, stood on the steps of Faneuil Hall in Boston and announced, “Let us govern any considerable body of men without their consent, and it is but a question of time how soon this Republic shares the fate of Rome!” (Kinzer, p. 15)

• First published in Planning Beyond Capitalism

  1. The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America, Kahlil Gibran Muhammad, (2019); The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire, Stephen Kinzer, (2008); and The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War, James Bradley, (2010).

The post White Supremacy Sanctions Internal and External Colonialism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Countering Rightward Drift In The United States: This Struggle Is Long Term

This week, people are planning protests across the nation beginning the day after the election. Some, like Democratic Party-aligned groups and unions, will only demonstrate if President Trump loses and refuses to leave office. Trump will fail if he tries because the ruling class has clearly shifted its support to Biden. Professor Adrienne Pine explains this in her analysis of the opposition to Trump. Others such as issues-based groups, coalitions and community groups are planning to take the streets no matter what the outcome of the election is.

This is good news because a mass mobilization of left and progressive groups is needed to change the rightward direction in which the United States is headed. Michael J. Smith’s explanation of the “ratchet effect” describes the roles both Republicans and Democrats have played in moving our politics in that direction since 1968. In a nutshell, each time the Republicans moved to the right, the Democrats followed with the excuse that it’s necessary to win votes. This locks in the rightward motion, opening space for Republicans to move to the rightward again.

But Smith also writes, “the Democratic Party has assumed the role of ensuring that the countervailing pressure from the Left doesn’t happen. The party contains and neutralizes the Left, or what there is of it. Left voters are supposed to support the Democrat, come what may.” This is one of the reasons why the expression “the Democratic Party is the graveyard of social movements” exists. How do we counteract that?

SignsofJustice.com.

2020 vision on who we are

In a recent episode of Eleanor Goldfield’s series, Deception 2020, she and Eugene Puryear discuss why the trope of “this is the most important election ever” is recycled in every presidential election. It serves as a great distractor that puts the focus on personalities rather than the broader social context of where we are. It pits Republican and Democratic voters against each other while the ruling class plays both sides, putting the most money on the one that has the best chance of winning. The people hold their noses and vote for whomever they consider to be the lesser evil while the wealthy class knows their interests will be served no matter who wins.

The year 2020 has brought into clear focus that we are living in a failed state and can’t afford to be drawn into this distraction.  The number of new COVID-19 cases surpassed 100,000 in one day. The recession is likely to deepen into a prolonged depression due to Congress’ failure to provide supports for families and their businesses and farms. The climate crisis is raging. And structural racist violence goes on in all of its forms while the Pentagon continues its insatiable consumption of the federal budget leaving austerity for the rest of us

Instead of being caught up in this “political ping pong”, as Kevin Zeese would call it, we need to focus on these grave issues before us. I learned some lessons to avoid this ping pong during my involvement with the health reform process in 2009-10 when we were advocating for national improved Medicare for all while the Democrats were pushing their version of a healthcare bill that protected the profits of the health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and big businesses.

The lesson is best summarized using the acronym “ICU.” Think of it as what is needed, especially in a time of crisis. The “I” stands for independent. It is important not to tie our issue to the agenda of a political party but to maintain independence from them while we press for what we need, lest our struggle be co-opted. The “C” stands for clarity, meaning we must be clear about what we are demanding. Members of the corporate duopoly will always try to water our demands down with proposals that may sound positive but are less than what we need. Look at the Democrat’s Green New Deal as a current example that protects the dirty energy industries and is too little, too late. And the “U” stands for uncompromising. The ruling class will always tell us we are asking for too much but we can’t compromise on fundamentals such as health care, housing, education, financial security and an end to violence against us. These are universal basic needs that nobody should be denied.

With this 2020 vision, we can mobilize a broad movement that puts forth a bold agenda of what we need and fights for it, no matter who is elected. This is how we reverse the ratchet effect. We can look to Chile as a recent example of a people succeeding in their struggle to reverse the ravages of neoliberalism. Patricio Zamorano describes how a similar situation to what we face, great inequality and injustice, drove people to mobilize despite severe repression and win the right to remake their Constitution.

Jeff Bachner/New York Daily News.

Violence on the rise

One reality we must prepare for is the continued rise in right wing violence no matter who wins the election. If Trump wins and people continue to struggle to end the injustices we face, right wing extremists will be emboldened by a president who encourages them. If Biden wins, they will be angered at what they view as a threat to the gains they have made and may lash out.

In light of this, communities need to organize to be vigilant to what is happening around them and to be proactive in creating structures that provide safety and mutual aid, particularly for those who are most vulnerable.

We live in an era of great polarization. This is expected because it goes hand in hand with great inequality and it often precedes moments of social transformation. Think of it as heightening the contradictions and forcing a choice. Who are we and how do we want our society to be?

George Lakey puts the polarization into historical context. Almost one hundred years ago, when extreme polarization existed in Europe, some countries moved to fascist dictatorships while others moved to socialized democracies. The difference was how the people organized and mobilized. Lakey suggests a road map.

If people who consider themselves left or progressive fail to organize and mobilize, we may go the way of a fascist dictatorship no matter who wins this presidential election. If Trump wins, he may do what others have done by trying to further consolidate his power into an authoritarian state. If Biden wins, and he continues the neoliberal and repressive policies that have marked his 47 years in elected office, then the conditions will be created in 2024 or beyond for another Democratic Party loss and an opening for a right wing leader who is more effective than Trump at consolidating power.

Either way we must mobilize and protect our rights. While most of our organizing will take place outside the electoral system because that is where we have power, it will also be necessary to focus on preserving whatever democratic rights exist and strengthening them.

Common Cause NY.

Protecting and improving the election process

As flawed as the electoral process in the United States is, it is the system we currently have. Fair election and third party activists have been working to change it for decades. Now, as it is on so many issues, the major problems with that system – voter suppression, lack of transparency and the process for choosing a president – are more evident.

While the United States has never been a democracy, in fact a look at the founding of the country shows the ruling class who wrote the Constitution were afraid of it, the people believe in democracy. Focusing on democratic rights in this election will bring people together and build momentum to change the system.

Focusing on what President Trump says is a distraction. Recall that Trump was also saying that he would not commit to accepting the outcome in the lead up to the 2016 election. The Democrats and the groups aligned with them are amplifying fears to drive voter turn out, and it seems to be working. The latest Gallup Poll finds almost 70% of registered voters are enthusiastic about the election, which is an increase from the 50% who were enthusiastic in 2016 and similar to 2008 levels. This is highest among registered Democrats.

Five Thirty Eight predicts that due to the electoral process in a few states, for example Pennsylvania is not allowed to start counting mail-in ballots until Tuesday, and the way the states are looking right now, neither of the major party candidates could reach the required 270 electoral votes on election night. It could take a few days.

This is not cause for panic. Instead, let’s take a collective deep breath and watch for problems with the process in our states. Documenting these can be used to challenge and improve the process for the next round. Already, people have been challenging the election process with more than 300 lawsuits filed in 44 states.

There is a small chance that President Trump will be re-elected. If that happens, it will be critical to respect that result. To reject an outcome of the election process we have opens the door to a breakdown of that system and a vacuum that could threaten the hope of building more democratic structures.

Remember, no matter what happens on November 3, our struggle goes on. It is a long term struggle against deeply entrenched structures of racism, capitalism, colonialism and imperialism that will have successes and failures. Our best chance for a better future is to keep our eye on the world we hope to create and keep working toward that goal.

The post Countering Rightward Drift In The United States: This Struggle Is Long Term first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The World is Changing: China Launches Campaign for Superpower Status 

The outdated notion that China ‘just wants to do business’ should be completely erased from our understanding of the rising global power’s political outlook.

Simply put, Beijing has long realized that, in order for it to sustain its economic growth unhindered, it has to develop the necessary tools to protect itself, its allies and their combined interests.

The need for a strong China is not a novel idea developed by the current Chinese President, Xi Jinping. It goes back many decades, spanning various nationalist movements and, ultimately, the Communist Party. What sets Xi apart from the rest is that, thanks to the unprecedented global influence acquired by Beijing during his incumbency (2013 – present), China is now left with no alternative but to match its ‘economic miracle’ with a military one.

US President, Donald Trump, made the trade deficit between his country and China a cornerstone in his foreign policy agenda even before his rise to power. That aside, it is the military deficit that concerns China most. While world media often focuses on China’s military encroachment in the South China Sea – often dubbed ‘provocations’ – little is dedicated to the massive US military presence all around China.

Tens of thousands of US troops are stationed in the West Pacific and in other regions, creating an encirclement, all with the aim of cutting off the possibility of any Chinese strategic expansion. Numerous US military bases dot the Asia-Pacific map, stationed mostly in Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Guam and Australia.

In response to China’s military maneuvers in the South China Sea, the US composed the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which is raising the prospects of military confrontations between the US and its Asian allies on the one hand, and China, on the other. US military expansion soon followed. On September 8, the Wall Street Journal, citing US officials, reported that the Republic of Palau has “asked the Pentagon to build ports, bases and airfields on the island nation”.

It is obvious that the Pentagon would not base such a consequential decision on the wishes of a tiny republic like Palau. The immensely strategic value of the country – spread over hundreds of islands in the Philippine Sea, with close ties to China’s arch-enemy and US ally, Taiwan – makes Palau a perfect choice for yet more US military bases.

This is not new. The rise of China, and its clear intentions to expand its military influence in the Pacific, has irked the US for years. Barack Obama’s administration’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ in 2012 was the genesis of the new American belief regarding the imminent challenges awaiting it in that region. The National Defense Strategy of two years ago was a further confirmation that the focal point of US foreign policy has largely shifted away from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific.

The compromising language that became a feature in China’s foreign policy throughout the 1980s and 90s is now being supplanted by a different discourse, one of political resolve and unprecedented military ambitions. In his speech at the historic October 2017 Communist Party Congress in Beijing, Xi declared the dawn of a “new era”, one where development and strength must synchronize.

“The Chinese nation … has stood up, grown rich, and become strong. It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind,” he said.

Since then, Xi has tirelessly aimed to strike the balance between strength, bravery and victory with that of progress, ingenuity and wealth. For the “China dream” to be realized, “it will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there.”

The Chinese quest to reach its coveted ‘center stage’ has already been launched in earnest. In the economic realm, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is in full swing. Announced by Xi in 2013, the giant plan hopes to outweigh all traditional trade channels that have been put in place over the course of many years. When completed, the China-led infrastructure network will establish connectivity throughout Asia as well as the Middle East and Africa. If successful, a future China could, once more, become a world-leading hub of trade, technological renovation and, of course, political power.

In contrast, the US has solidified its global dominance largely based on military might. This is why the US counter-strategy is now intently focused on military expansionism. On October 6, US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, said that his country’s navy requires more than 500 ships to counter China. Of this number, 355 traditional warfighting vessels are needed by 2035. This future fleet is dubbed “Battle Force 2045”.

Particularly intriguing in Esper’s recent announcement is the claim that by 2045, “Beijing wants to achieve parity with the United States Navy, if not exceed our capabilities in certain areas and to offset our overmatch in several others.” In fact, Beijing already has. China currently has the largest navy in the world and, according to the Pentagon, “is the top ship-producing nation in the world by tonnage.”

By China’s own calculations, Beijing does not need 25 more years to fully change the rules of the game. On October 15, President Xi told the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Marine Corps to focus their energy on “preparing for war”. Many interpretations have already been made of his statement, some linking it to the US, others to Taiwan, to various South China Sea conflicts and even to India. Regardless, Xi’s language indicates that China does not ‘just want to do business’, but is ready to do much more to protect its interests, even if this means an all-out war.

China’s foreign policy under Xi seems to portray an entirely different country. China now wields enough wealth, economic strategic influence – thus political power – to start the process of strategic maneuvering, not only in the Asia Pacific but in the Middle East and Africa, as well.

Another central piece in Xi’s strategy is to copy the American model and to rebrand China as a stately power, a defender of international law and against global crises. The US’ growing isolationism and failed leadership at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic have been Xi’s perfect opportunity for this new China debut.

The world is changing before our eyes. In the coming years, we are likely to, once more, speak of a bipolar – or, possibly, tri-polar — world, one in which Washington and its allies no longer shape the world for their benefit. In some way, China is well on its way to reclaim its new status.

The post The World is Changing: China Launches Campaign for Superpower Status  first appeared on Dissident Voice.

70 Years after China and the DPRK Defeated the United States in Korea

There is a piece of news on an important anniversary missing from western state and corporate news. This year, 2020, is the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Volunteers (CPV) army entering the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to help in, what the Chinese call, the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.

It is described by the People’s Daily thus:

The war, which happened 70 years ago, was forced upon the Chinese people by invading imperialism. After the U.S. repeatedly ignored the warning from the Chinese government, brazenly started the war against Korea and even attacked the territory of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government resolutely made the historic decision to resist the aggression of the U.S., aid Korea and protect its homeland, shouldering the historic mission of safeguarding peace with indomitable courage.

After the United Nation forces invaded the DPRK in October 1950 and advanced quickly towards the Yalu River, which forms the border with China, the CPV crossed the Yalu and joined with the DPRK people and army. Two years and nine months later, the CPV and DPRK had “won a great victory.”

American author Bruce Riedel referred to it as “the catastrophe on the Yalu.”

By December 31, 1950, the Americans had been driven 120 miles south back to the 38th parallel and were still retreating. Seoul would fall to [the direct commander of the CPV] Peng [Dehuai]’s armies in early 1951. It was by far the worst military debacle the U.S. armed forces suffered in the entire twentieth century.

It was a military victory for the peasant Chinese and DPRK fighters, but as the People’s Daily made clear this was not military triumphalism.

The Chinese people love and cherish peace. They take safeguarding world peace and opposing hegemony and power politics as their sacred responsibility. They firmly oppose resorting to threat of military force for solving international disputes, and interfering in other countries’ domestic affairs under the name of the so-called democracy, freedom and human rights.

CPC chairman Xi Jinping echoed this earlier on 28 March 2014:

The Chinese nation, with 5000 years of civilization, has always cherished peace. The pursuit of peace, amity and harmony is an integral part of the Chinese character which runs deep in the Chinese people.1

The People’s Daily argued,

The victory of the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea proves that a nation, which is awakened and dares to fight for its glory, independence and security, is undefeatable.

Does this hold true in all cases? The relative size of the combatant nations and the level of military and technological development likely play a large role.

Nonetheless, there are numerous examples that support this contention. For instance, consider that impoverished Yemen (population 28.5 million) has not only steadfastly resisted the 2015 invasion by US-backed, oil-rich Saudi Arabia (population 33.7 million) but has inflicted some severe strategic damage itself to the invader. And the US is still mired in Afghanistan after 20 years. Following the Vietnamese defeat of French imperialists, who were aided by the US, the US military took over, with the military support of allies such as Australia and South Korea. The final military outcome featured US personnel escaping by helicopters from the rooftops in Saigon.


Video of an apartment complex in Saigon housing CIA and USAID employees.

The DPRK has never attacked the US. It is only the US, when it intervened in a Korean civil war, that attacked the DPRK.

During the US-UN-China-Korean war the US destroyed crops, food reserves, and the energy grid when it attacked the DPRK2 – actions designed to cause food shortages. It was war in which the US used biological and chemical weapons.3 US military commanders had even sought permission to use nuclear weapons.4 The US caused enormous destruction during the war on the peninsula, a war that some claim was started by the US and the Republic of Korea (ROK).5 There had been several ROK troop incursions into the North preceding the DPRK invasion that began on 25 June 1950.6

Korea expert Bruce Cummings wrote: “it is the Americans who bear the lion’s share of the responsibility for the thirty-eighth parallel.”7 The DPRK and China blame the US for the war — a blame that is logically unassailable. Because if the US had not insisted on splitting the Korean peninsula, the casus belli of reuniting the two Koreas wouldn’t have existed. Consequently, today’s precarious security situation would have been avoided.8,9

Ramifications to China of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea

Today, although beset with crunching economic sanctions, the DPRK is independent and fully capable of thwarting any attack. It would be foolish to attack a nuclear-armed opponent. The DPRK for its part has pledged no first use of nuclear weapons.

On the China-US front, the US abrogates its undertaking to recognize one China by supplying the breakaway province Taiwan with military armaments. The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea had thrown a large wrench into the plans of chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist forces to liberate Taiwan from the Guomindang (KMT) and reincorporate it with the Chinese motherland.10

As with the division of the Korean peninsula, the US was complicit in the separation of Taiwan from mainland China,

The [KMT] Generalissimo [Chiang Kai-shek aka Jiang Jieshi], his cohorts and soldiers fled to the offshore island of Taiwan (Formosa). They had prepared their entry two years earlier by terrorizing the slanders into submission—a massacre which took the lives of as many as 28,000 people. Prior to the Nationalists’ escape to the island, the US government entertained no doubts that Taiwan was a part of China. Afterward, uncertainty began to creep into the minds of Washington officials. The crisis was resolved in a remarkably simple manner: the US agreed with Chiang that the proper way to view the situation was not that Taiwan belonged to China, but that Taiwan was China.11

China is economically rising while the US is battling negative growth. Although now militarily powerful, China is committed to peaceful existence.

The expected outcome is with the US in decline that their Taiwanese kin will proudly one day rejoin the resurgent and unified China.

  1. Xi Jinping, “China’s Commitment to Peaceful Development” in The Governance of China (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2014).
  2. Nhial Esso, What You Don’t Know about North Korea Could Fill a Book (Intransitive Publishers International, 2013): 63%.
  3. See (23 June 2001). Korean International War Crimes Tribunal: Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea 1945-2000, (Korean Truth Commission).
  4. Bruce Cummings, “Korea: forgotten nuclear threats,” Le Monde diplomatique, December 2004.
  5. See Ho Jong Ho, Kang Sok Hui, and Pak Thae Ho, The US Imperialists Started the Korean War (Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1993).
  6. See Won Myong Uk and Kim Hak Chol, Distortion of US Provocation of Korean War (Pyongyang : Foreign Languages Publishing House, 2003).
  7. Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2005): 186.
  8. Carole Cameron Shaw, The Foreign Destruction of Korean Independence (Seoul: Seoul National University Press, 2007).
  9. Nhial, 11-22%.
  10. Lin Cheng-yi, “The legacy of the Korean War: Impact on U.S.-Taiwan relations,” Journal of Northeast Asian Studies, Winter92(11) Issue 4, p40.
  11. William Blum, Killing Hope (Zed Books, 2003): 23.

The post 70 Years after China and the DPRK Defeated the United States in Korea first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Killing Unknown

It’s hard to talk about the myriad issues piled in our society in a cohesive way, and when we try, we often get the same response:  “What is your solution?”  People get frustrated and demand an instant solution to the structural problem they are very much a part of. The very insistence on a single, cure-for-all-answer betrays their unwillingness to see the structural and systematic nature of the problem. Meanwhile they allow themselves “solutions” which are concocted by those who have created the problems. Those “solutions” are bound to be strictly incremental and reformist, otherwise the self-serving nature of the overall trajectory becomes blatantly obvious.  Confrontation with the flaws of the “solutions” triggers an emotional response:  A clear indication that the criticism points to the obvious flaws of the system itself, which in turn resonates as a criticism against the self.  The emotional burst and the denial to recognize the system for what it is are indications of pathological adhesion to abusive power. This is the condition that forces many American people to prop up the capitalist hierarchy and continue to prove their allegiance to it.

The real solution must involve a structural change. The feudal hierarchy which structurally imposes extortion schemes of money and violence on people by domesticating their humanity, to be harvested over and over within the capitalist framework, is inhumane and destructive to our species.  Such an idea must not be brushed aside as untenable idealism if we are to live harmoniously with one another and with our environment.

Capitalist Cage

In the vastness of space and unimaginable span of geological time, our presence is small: smaller than a spec of dust on a whole planet.  As conscious beings, we have created narratives and theories to explain what it means to be in this mysterious sea of matter and time.  Such ideas are central to our social organization as well as how we relate ourselves to it.  They very much affect how we perceive things as individuals and as collectives.  Those ideas can take the shape of religion, history, ideology, tradition, myth and so on, constituting parts of the individual psyche as well as the collective psyche.

Those ideas are supposed to be promoted and perpetuated by the community members because they serve them by validating the given social order which serves their best interests. They are supposed to give us ways to reconcile with the unknown in collective manners, by which we find ways to accept the mystery of life with reverence and awe.

But do they?

As we are born into the social order, where those ideas are reinforced and physically manifest as social framework, we internalize those ideas, we become a part of the social mechanism and the ideas become “reality”.

But strictly speaking this “reality” is somewhat different from what is inherently real in a material sense.  What we perceive as “reality” is our interpretation of matter which has been shaped by the imperatives of the social order.

For example, in a capitalist society, a fact can deviate from material reality because an institution which specializes in the fact is influenced by the interests of the ruling class. For example, industrial waste material can be dumped as a harmless substance.  The effect of the lie increases progressively against the oppressed people since the profits are made with the expense of those who are exploited and subjugated by the lie.  People suffer from the erroneous information but to different degrees.  Those who suffer the most are subjected to the most strict measures, while those who exploit and subjugate can change the measures according to their needs while being well equipped to face material hardships.

Social institutions under capitalism always have the risk of failing since experts’ opinions are necessary to understand a complicated fact.  People with bigger platforms can simply dominate the fact because people don’t have the time and resources to examine the fact.  A louder opinion can simply get its way.  The economic hierarchy ensures that those who have dire interests in getting the fact right can not get it right.

Now, this mechanism also works vertically. Different institutions are affected differently by the false fact. A fact twisted by the special interests creates conflicts among institutions. This creates conflicts among the people.  However, the degree of the divisions gets narrower and narrower as it gets closer to the level of the ruling class, where the lie can create broader benefits to the already wealthy and powerful people as they have the ability to access all moneyed institutions in creating “reality” that serves them.  Dangerous policy, dangerous substance, dangerous practice and so on affect those who do not have the means to avoid them, while they can be part of enacting lucrative business schemes for the ruling class.  We are put against each other in artificially scarce material conditions where we compete and form hierarchy based on the imperatives imposed by the capitalist framework, instead of according to the material facts.

A few major things happen from the lie. First, the ruling class succeeds in profiting from the exploitation and subjugation and/or succeeds in preserving the capitalist hierarchy. Second, the lie creates divisions among the oppressed.  Third, the lie requires more lies to cover it up, depriving people’s ability to relate to themselves, to each other and to nature according to material reality.  The dynamic repeats itself in many ways, creating a false reality in which misinformation, disinformation and propaganda merge with facts as institutions are manipulated to serve the interests of the ruling class while the rest of the people are divided, confused and disempowered. The Founding Fathers of the US probably knew this mechanism very well when they installed “separation of powers” within the US government.  The separation would effectively institutionalize the mechanism, ensuring that the interests of the people are checked and balanced by the ruling class which can have access to all branches of the government.

Moneyed social institutions as well as some “dissidents” and “community activists” can function as a crucial part of the capitalist hierarchy, maintaining and perpetuating the system regardless of their intentions. First, those who neglect to reveal the aims of the ruling class by solely pointing out criminal acts and refusing to recognize the mechanism of exploitation distract the people from what is really happening.  Second, those who refuse to see the structural mechanism of exploitation within the capitalist hierarchy can end up protecting their own positions at the expense of the people at the bottom while serving the ruling class.  Third, those who fail to recognize the lies or actively repeat them help facts to be subordinated to the capitalist framework while destroying the credibility and integrity of the social institutions, leading to destabilization of social relations—making us more susceptible to lies and manipulations.  The paralyzed state can be utilized in further privatizing the institutions, resulting in more extensive domestication of humanity and nature.

These are only a few examples of how seemingly constructive social dynamics within the capitalist hierarchy can function to prop up the capitalist  hierarchy. The risk of people truly recognizing the nature of the capitalist hierarchy, armed with experts and unity, is real as we observe instances of socialist revolutions across the globe. Capitalist institutions carefully accommodate those people who do not pose fundamental threats to the capitalist framework in maintaining the social structure that serves them.

Parasitic Tendency of Capitalism

Some may wonder, if the system is so fascistic and draconian, why it would allow “dissidents” to play a role in the social structure at all.  It is because an authoritarian structure with commands, decrees, and rigid rules and their punitive consequences can not cultivate active social relations to prop itself up.  Human minds can not free the potential of creativity to do so under such conditions.  Just enough freedom to move within the cage is necessary for the capitalist hierarchy. Also, without allowing some degree of “freedom” within its framework, some people might establish communities with a true sense of freedom within the social structure, which can pose a threat to the system. For this reason, the illusion of safety and freedom are allowed within the capitalist framework.  Within this environment, people engage in creative activities, the exchange of ideas and products, and the rest of the daily routines.  These activities are guided by moneyed social institutions ensuring that the boundaries are set to perpetuate the capitalist framework.  Governmental organizations, media, culture organizations, NGOs and so on play significant roles in ensuring that the subject population are domesticated within the framework.

Those organizations’ roles center on a moment by moment maintenance of the capitalist hierarchy.  But they also curate acceptable “crises” within the structure in order to shift the direction of exploitation and subjugation in combatting unavoidable cyclical economic downturns (they are structurally unavoidable), and to continue deepening their colonization of humanity and nature.  A country defying the capitalist hegemony might be called “a deadly threat to humanity” before bombs rain on its people.  Population growth in certain countries might be termed “population bomb” before an assortment of colonial measures are implemented against them.  The issues that generate profits and help augment the capitalist framework are ignored, or normalized no matter how enormous they are—cancer epidemic, drug epidemic, mass incarceration and so on and so forth, until the momentum to fight them becomes useful in perpetuating the capitalist hierarchy.

However, despite the efforts by the ruling class to construct the invisible prison for all, our creative energy can occasionally escape the artificial boundaries set by the capitalist domination.  And some individuals could manage to garner the support of a broader population.  However, they would be smeared by media, be attacked by various social institutions, or even be killed by government agencies.  The element of fear is crucial in preventing our creative energy from going beyond the capitalist cage.

Fear of unknown must have been an essential perception of ours from the beginning of our species.  Our efforts in understanding ourselves and our surroundings stem from it. Our sense of reverence toward nature, spirituality and so on stems from its mystery and unimaginable depth.  The momentum to dominate by accumulation of wealth confronts fear of the unknown with its brute force.  When capitalists destroy a pristine forest filled with wild lives and their intricate system, they destroy and colonize the natural environment while stealing the fear of unknown. When capitalists destroy cultures and traditions and replace them with a capitalist market, they destroy what they can’t steal in order to play God of Money.

Cultivation of fear

A protection racket scheme works the best when the service provider appears to be capable of inflicting the very violence that you wish to avoid.  9/11 is an embodiment of such a shady marketing strategy.

We are told what happened. We are told to think accordingly.  But there are obvious inconsistencies— the failure of the Air Force to intercept the hijacked airplanes, suspicious lack of actions against the suspected hijackers prior to the attack by intelligence agencies, numerous testimonies indicating the presence of explosives in the 9/11 buildings, circumstantial evidence indicating that an event like 9/11 was necessary to embark on a series of colonial wars against the Middle East while curtailing the civil and legal rights of the people and so on.  The authority itself doesn’t deny those points, as if to say “what are you gonna do about it?”  And we are told “you are either with us, or against us”.

9/11 has become the go-to justification for colonialism, corporatism and militarism for the empire.  Countries that defy the western capitalist hegemony have been destroyed. People who defy it have been ridiculed, excluded, jailed or killed.

The obvious inconsistencies of the state policies simply turn into fear, which in turn strengthens the sale of the imperial protection racket. After all, the empire is armed with the sheer might of 800 military bases across the globe and numerous WMDs.

The absolute power of violence that defeats logic and humanity is the manifestation of wealth and power, which are the essence of the US empire:  a feudal hierarchy, inflicting countless structural extortions against its people 24/7.

There are many other examples of such events throughout the history of the US empire, which cultivate unspeakable fear among the people while giving the authority blank checks to impose repressive measures. The assassination of a prominent figure can be such an event.1 These and other events are always augmented by disclosures by intelligence agencies confirming that such events can actually take place.  These events continue to prevent the subject population from questioning their leap of faith into the destructive system—again, capitalism colonizes our fear of unknown as it establishes itself as God of Money.

Covid-19

It stands to reason that measures appropriate to the risk of the virus should be taken as legitimate medical precautions, just as occasional school closures during a flu season, basic sanitary precautions to avoid getting sick, the protection of vulnerable people, and so on can be considered necessary.  But an obvious restructuring of a society in ways which would inflict repressive measures of censorship, banning of free assembly, destruction of communities, restriction of human rights, and creation of lucrative business opportunities for the ruling class should raise serious questions.  Especially, as the “new virus” has turned out to be not so new 2 according to scientists, and it also turns out to be not so deadly.3

As we undergo Covid-19 lockdown measures, the rich and powerful are showered with bailouts, economic opportunities, political decisions to be “rescued”, making billions and billions, while the rest of us endure neoliberal restructuring—losing wages, losing workers’ rights, losing legal rights and losing human rights.4

The momentum for the Covid measures has been pushed through our society with the same momentum of a protection racket scheme. Just as 9/11 or JFK’s assassination have left numerous undeniable evidence indicating that the events are pivotal in forwarding economic projects, the Covid panic situates itself within the context of a web of financial interests.5 Misinformation and disinformation and crucial evidence indicating conflicts of interests on the part of large international institutions with strong corporate and military ties — the World Economic Forum, WHO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, various prominent NGOs, government agencies, and giant corporate entities—signal to the people that this requires unconditional compliance.  Under such circumstances, facts about the virus, inconsistencies, and the rest of the questions become fuel for doubt.  The doubt opens the door for the possibility that those who claim to protect you are, in fact, the perpetrators of the pain and suffering.  The people face a catastrophic crisis of their identity:  they face a major cognitive dissonance.  No amount of facts would convert their positions.  In fact, the more they know, the more they become afraid and adamant in sticking to the state-sanctioned Covid rituals.

Germaphobia

Obsessive compulsive behavior manifests to gain a sense of control.  It forces physically healthy individuals to engage in ritual cleansing of their body parts and their surroundings, so much so that their actions interfere with their daily lives.  The action is purely psychological and ritualistic.  Germaphobes are not rational, sanitary or healthy.  Just as dirty masks are worn over and over.  Just as people wear masks on streets, and immediately take them off as soon as they sit down to eat at an enclosed restaurant.

Logic and reason don’t matter for those who engage in rituals of cleansing in order to escape from facing the ultimate truth about the system and their own positions in it.   The ritual behaviors are stipulated by the system —social distancing, wearing masks, no assembly.  Obedience and complacency are enforced even if the measures might not be effective in reducing the risk of virus and the detrimental effects of the measures can surpass the supposed lethality of the virus 6  As their behaviors become habitual in the daily repetitions, the accompanying slogans sink into the psyche of the population. The fear of abuse and pain are pushed under their consciousness as they engage in the rituals. Images of black people getting shot by police officers, whistleblowers mercilessly thrown in prisons, and so on fade as they make sure that their masks are on their faces.

Capitalism preys on the most vulnerable people as the subject population upholds the deadly tendency to protect their own positions in it . Seemingly bright people suddenly acquire a mental block and fail to see the structural mechanism of economic extortion and exclusion as soon as the system turns to them and whispers “what can you do about it?”. Yet, the very presence of the capitalist hierarchy becomes visible as the population shamelessly goes along with flimsy official narratives:  “WMDs in Iraq is the biggest threat against humanity”, “inner-city minority kids are super predators who need to be brought to heel” , “the Russians are coming”, or “a deadly plague is here”. Why not? After all, people seem to believe that a country founded by slave owning colonizers with 800 military bases across the globe, which, killing, raping and stealing in a culture of domination, is actually a defender of freedom. The fear of the God of Money is in full motion.

Meanwhile, those who refuse to conform are excluded and shamed.  The dynamic is actively encouraged to stay within the corporate political framework, invigorating the illusion of “democracy” dominated by two US imperial political parties.  Narratives are prepared by the party establishments.  Positions are stipulated.  If you are for this selected issue or that issue, or if you are against them, you are drawn into the mudslinging match within a state-sanctioned ring of acceptable ideas.  This culminates in a ritual fight called the US Presidential election.  Seemingly smart people are cornered into cheering for a gladiator battle between two imperialists who will perpetuate the feudal hierarchy of money and violence.   Their scream urging you to vote in order to save the oppressed people is firmly in line with the colonial vestige of manifest destiny. They vote for the very government that kills people in “enemy countries”.  They vote for the very government that cages children and incarcerates immigrants.  They vote for the government that locks up people who haven’t committed crimes.  They vote for the government that kills people for the color of their skin. All those people they claim to save cannot vote.  They don’t have to vote because the saviors—American people—will vote to determine their fate.  US corporate politics provides some of the main rituals for the God of Money.

Even those dissidents, activists and so on, who are generally insightful and aware have also contracted this condition, attacking their fellow comrades for questioning the lethality of the virus, effectiveness of mask wearing, validity of various lockdown measures and so on for the reasons already described above. However, it should also be noted that those who subscribe to various sorts of fascist ideologies actively align themselves with the restrictive measures of the state as well.  For those people, the structural consequences of the capitalist hierarchy and its deceptions do not pose any problem.  The momentum of fascism is always useful in eliminating the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist momentum in times of “crisis”.

The mechanism of conformity and compliance is in place working with a full imperial force 24/7, creating an imperial gravity that lifts those who go along with the establishment, while putting weights on those who don’t. The people are forced to form groups gathered at various levels on the hierarchy, aimed to protect their own existences along with the structural layers of the caste order.  Their own values, beliefs and norms are formed to serve themselves but they are built within the capitalist framework.  They may oppose those who are above or below but ultimately their worst enemies are those who do not conform to the hierarchy itself.  Anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists are often eliminated by the authoritarian momentum within the social networks which must exist within each layer in order to float at the particular position—the imperial gravity permeates throughout the hierarchy at all times.

Pathological conditions have been cultivated among people to cope with the situation: addictive behaviors, obsessive compulsive behaviors, depression, anger, and suicidal ideation.  Mental health problems among minors are skyrocketing as well.  However, those are not the main concerns of the establishment.  Meanwhile, those who refuse to wear masks are openly called psychopaths, just as enslaved people who escaped were said to have a mental illness called drapetomania, or women who could not bear ruthless gender discrimination were said to have hysteria.

Meanwhile, the unconditional authoritarian hierarchy constantly turns minds under the spell of learned helplessness.  Some are wrapped up in acute cynicism refusing to consider any possible alternatives.  The pain of abuse and neglect force children to internalize abusiveness as a defense mechanism, forcing them to cultivate abusers in their psyche to overcome their traumas, turning them into good candidates for enforcers of pain within the capitalist hierarchy.  The God of Money destroys those who defy, while colonizing those who obey at psychological levels.

Organically grown communities that help to connect people harmoniously are forced into the framework of Covid measures to be divided, nullified and assimilated into the capitalist framework.  Covid measures alienate people by removing our tools of intimacy, communication, organizing, and etc., while digitizing them into commodifiable data. Those who can afford “the new normal” within their gated communities are blessed with the time to reflect, appreciate art and nature and embrace their fantasy world of a dystopic now, at the expense of the people who are domesticated within the strict measures of structural extortion regimes. Visits to the doctor become online chats based on profit incentives.  Education becomes digital indoctrination without the intricacy of sharing and depth of creative pursuit. Small businesses which can foster community values are replaced with global corporations with imperial values.  Oppressive measures continue to concentrate among those who are already oppressed.  The result of lacking healthcare, weakened immunity, and prevailing health issues manifest as justifications to entangle them with more lockdown measures and financialization of their sufferings.

Capitalism:  A Serial Arsonist by Night, A Brave Firefighter by Day.

The head of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, writes:

COVID-19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects is only intensifying. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable. To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.

Independent researcher Cory Morningstar writes:

Schwab refers to the COVID-19 crisis as a watershed moment for fourth industrial revolution technologies. And while people are distracted with masks and COVID-positive cases reported incessantly in order to sow anxiety and compliance, the global consolidation of power is happening in real time. In servitude to the power elite, World Economic Forum founder and CEO Klaus Schwab is advancing “a new global architecture”, upheld by a new “global governance”. May 18, 2018: the World Bank partners with the United Nations. June 13, 2019: the World Economic Forum partners with the United Nations. Oct 18, 2019: a high stimulation exercise, modeling a fictional coronavirus pandemic, was held by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, [5] in partnership with the in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Approximately five months later, on  March 11, 2020: the World Economic Forum partners with the World Health Organization (a UN body) launching the COVID Action Platform, a coalition of 200+ of the world’s most powerful corporations. (By May 6, 2020 this number had swelled to over 1,106.) On this same day, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic.

On March 26, 2020, with  87% of the world’s student population affected by COVID-19 school closures, the Global Education Coalition was announced as a means to accelerate the transition to a global forth industrial revolution digitalized education fueled by emerging markets (SDGs). Founding partnersinclude Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Other partners include BBC, McKinsey, IBM, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, and the Global Business Coalition for Education. [Global Business Coalition for Education Advisory Board Members and Founding Members] This is the global commodification of children, as data commodities, a new class asset. An emerging market, under the guise of SDGs (presided over by the World Economic Forum), built on child data surveillance and human capital assets. [April 15, 2019: From Billions to Trillions: Investing in the Next Generation]

Winter Oak straightforwardly describes Kaus Schwab’s world view as “fascistic” and describes how Covid-19 can help realize “his great fascist reset”:

21st century fascism has found different political forms through which to continue its core project of reshaping humanity to suit capitalism through blatantly authoritarian means.

This new fascism is today being advanced in the guise of global governance, biosecurity, the “New Normal”, the “New Deal for Nature” and the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The global capitalist ruling elite have certainly been doing their best to “take advantage of the shock inflicted by the panic”, assuring us all since the very earliest days of the outbreak that, for some unfathomable reason, nothing in our lives could ever be the same again.

Schwab and Malleret are, inevitably, enthusiastic in their use of the New Normal framing, despite their admission that the virus was only ever “mild”.

“It is our defining moment”, they crow. “Many things will change forever”. “A new world will emerge”. “The societal upheaval unleashed by COVID-19 will last for years, and possibly generations”. “Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never”. (97)”

Historian Luciana Bohne writes on her facebook wall:

Ominous words from the World Bank (see beow). They say post-Covid, we’ll have a “different economy.” By “different” they mean “new businesses and sectors.” They mean “the older are being driven to bankruptcy or absorbed into monopolies.” They mean, “You are going to lose your jobs and not many of you will find them in the new sectors because you won’t have the skills.” They blame Covid, but the old economy–that they’re shutting down– well before Covid was in growth ZERO (Germany for example) and most Western-style economies were well below the minimum tolerable 3%. So, Covid didn’t kill it. They drove it to the edge, And now it’s being “restructured,” and “downsized” — it’s NEOLIBERALISM ON STEROIDS. If that is possible, and they think it is.

In order to reverse this serious setback [Covid] to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will need to prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labor, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors. — World Bank, October 2020 Reported

In the past, we’ve seen the US government engage in destruction of communities by cornering people into destitute poverty, violence, drug epidemic, only to introduce “solutions” which gentrify, incarcerate, murder and steal. We’ve seen western governments engage in destabilization of countries by sanctions, economic embargo, propaganda campaigns and proxy wars, only to declare “so and so must go”, “so and so is killing his own people” and unleash its military might in protecting the western capitalist hegemony. The events surrounding Covid-19 illustrates a text book pattern of events within the capitalist framework in which a concerted momentum of fear, crisis and economic assaults are orchestrated in order to introduce favorable conditions for more exploitation and subjugation.

It must be strongly noted that the urgency of virus measures and their repressive aspects can augment violent strategies against “enemy” in and out of the empire, corporate green schemes against nature, commodification of digitized social relations and financialization of oppressed populations. The human costs as well as environmental costs of plunderings will be enormous. The schemes described by various independent journalists reflect how dangerous those imaginations of domination, which are devoid of material reality, can be.

The active initiatives to replace humanity and nature with an artificial-scape of algorithm, machines, and artificial intelligence are in line with the colonization of humanity and nature by capitalism.  Ultimately, digitization of social relations and currency allow the capitalist establishment to put strings on people’s behaviors just as the capitalist hierarchy controls people’s behavior with economic structural extortions (I highly recommend research by Alison McDowell on it below).   People’s paths are further atomized and divided without organic social interactions within a rigid framework to be controlled, moderated, and harvested as commodified data.  Here are some good materials on the topic and more. Please do look into each materials:  7

“Good Americans”

American people are deeply domesticated people with a grand sense of narcissism as “Americans”.  The country has inflicted so much pain and suffering against the world with its colonial policies and wars, yet American people generally perceive themselves as citizens of freedom.  Ironically, the more they are cornered into enduring the consequences of their own complacency, the more they cling to the fact that they are at least “Americans”.   Because, as it was described above, rejecting their countryhood is a rejection of themselves—the biggest fear of all for the proud Americans.

Such a core value bursts out in the open when we see white people screaming “I’m white!” as they get beaten up by police officers.  It’s not that they don’t know the nature of the stratified structure of the caste system when they insist on “diversity“ without dismantling the exploitive system of subjugation.  Most of them do know it and they do know their positions in it and they want to keep it that way.

That’s why so many people buy the idea that Russians are messing with their “democracy”.  It is not that they actually believe that Russians do stuff to them, but they sense the position of Russia in the imperial framework.  “How dare Russians get in the way of the United States of America!”.  How ironic is it that those who are going through the economic shock therapy now at the hands of those who inflicted an economic shock therapy against the Russian people after the destruction of USSR fail to see what is happening to themselves.  Needless to say, imperial gravity is global.  Some western proxy powers, on the other hand, are eager to comply and do extra miles in order to hold better positions in the imperial hierarchy.  Neoliberal restructuring of their economies, compliance for military strategic necessities, and demonization of “enemy countries” and so on can be more prominent in those countries than the US itself.

China and Covid-19

Now, I feel compelled to discuss briefly why I think China has acted so drastically to the virus situation since this has been raised over and over to either validate western actions on the virus or to demonize the Chinese government for taking such strict measures.

First of all, it should be noted that there are drastic differences between fully for profit measures implemented by the western countries and measures implemented by China which include considerations for job security, wage compensation, viable treatment options and so on.  The measures were effective in keeping the fatality at the very minimum.  A recent poll shows the level of of happiness among the Chinese people to be extremely high compared to that of western countries.

China has been cornered by the imperial forces to realize what it sees as a Marxist Leninist society with a long term plan.  There have been a few major lessens for China. First, industrialized western powers have attempted to colonize China multiple times.  This has necessitated that China have its own industrialization through centralized planning in order to provide for its population while avoiding being exploited and subjugated by the western capitalist framework.

In order to do so, China has established its Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. Based on this idea of non-interference, China engages in economic activities with countries that do not share such principles—which include major imperialist powers and proxies.

As a result, China has indeed expanded its economic sphere, successfully pulling countless people out of poverty, while gaining its economic power against the imperial forces.  This has attracted criticism among those who see China as an anti-imperial force. “How come China is working with Israel, the US and so on in its economic projects?”, they would ask.  The answer to me is in its aim of economic development for its people as well as in its non interference policy.  As a sovereign country, China is deciding its own path by weighing a particular balance between pragmatism and moving toward its goal within the world in which imperial powers are dominant.

Now, there is another angle we must pay attention to.  The introduction of its market economy for China has been another necessity to avoid destruction of its economy, as well as its nationhood, by development of the black market as well as infiltration by the western colonial interests.  By allowing free market activities under the framework of the CPC, China ensures its emerging billionaires to follow Chinese agendas instead of the Western imperial framework.

This background helps us to understand China’s very active position in Covid-19 measures.  If indeed what the global economic powers term as the 4th industrial revolution is a determining factor for their future economic powers, not having a stake in it puts China in a secondary position to the Western imperial hegemony. The Covid situation needs to be seen in this dynamic of the economic struggle between the imperialist forces and the rest of the world since it is an introduction to the 4th industrial revolution in many regards.

China simply sees the medical measures against the virus as well as the 4th industrial revolution as a part of the economic phenomenon that needs to be under the guidance of the CPC.  This might be hard to swallow for those who recognize the grave danger of further digitizing our social relations under the corporate framework, as well as its financialization and its associated assortments of exploitation and subjugation.  This is understandable but such a judgment should not be made according to the western capitalist history and its contexts.

This point has been fully utilized by the western establishment in erroneously labeling China as leading online censorship and repressive measures associated with new technologies.  For one thing, regulations against western political infiltration can not be equated to “censorship” or “human rights abuse” when we look at the history of the western colonial destabilization schemes against subject countries.  The Chinese government gets more support from its own people than most western governments do for good reasons.  The income inequality as well as the poverty rate is lower in China than the US now.   Meanwhile, reality shows us that it has been the US police that kills three people on average everyday, and it is the US government interfering with human rights, imposing mass incarceration, violent police forces, institutional discrimination of various sorts, deprivation of social safety nets, and global surveillance and so on against the people.  Credit score, racial demography, and tools of oppression have been used to perpetuate exploitation and subjugation in the US for so long.

It just doesn’t make sense to target China when the US is clearly the leading force of exploitation globally, and China to the empire is the biggest obstacle in its path today.

And let’s say that the 4th Industrial Revolution is detrimental to the people in the west.  Would it make sense to demonize China and demand that it stop developing AI technology, online capabilities and so on? Isn’t it like destroying all nuclear weapons of Russia and China during the Cold War?

China has its own problems stemming from its introduction of the market economy, environmental issues and so on.  Although the structural issues have emerged from reactions against the imperial forces, needless to say, allowing imperial forces to “solve” them totally defeats the purpose.  Those problems are not the white man’s burden to be solved by the west. China has its own ways of solving them and it is simply not the business of the imperial west to decide the fate of the Chinese people.

Last but not the least, the imperial forces, including the pre-WW2 imperial Japan, have engaged in bio attacks against China, Korea, Cuba and so on.  The US military possesses numerous bioweapon facilities across the globe.8  The preparedness against such attacks is another determining factor in overcoming western imperialism as it is a deterrence against an imperial bio attack.  This matter is particularly urgent when the western media, government agencies, corporate entities, NGOs and other political, economic and military forces of the West have been orchestrating various destabilizing projects against China — Uyghur region 9, Hong Kong10  and blatant lies regarding the Tiananmen Square event11 to name a few.  The empire has been colonizing and co-opting those who defy, and when it fails, it has mercilessly destroyed them.

Understanding these dynamics between China as well as its allies and the Western capitalist hegemony should be a positive step toward our harmonious existence.

Lastly, I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to all of you who stand where imperial gravity is strong. Thank you.  Uncovering facts buried in the sea of capitalist propaganda and discerning dynamics rooted in our genuine circumstances and its historical context is important.  Because grasping the material reality is a key to remaining human when we are domesticated in the capitalist cage of lies and deceptions.

  1. TalkingStickTV.  Jim Douglass – MLK, JFK, RFK and the Unspeakable.
  2. Aylin Woodward.  Some T cells recognize the new coronavirus without having seen it before, Business Insider, August 6, 2020.
  3. Swiss Policy Research.  Studies on Covid-19 Lethality,  First published May 12, 2020; updated October 20, 2020.
  4. Nick Baker. In the Worst of Times, the Billionaire Elite Plunder Working Class America, Counterpunch, September 3, 2020.
  5. Cory Morningstar.  COVID-19 as a weapon.  The crushing of the disposable working class — by design, blog, April 13, 2020.
  6. The HighwireMask Whistleblowers Tell All; Patrick Corbett. “Covid-19: the war against the elderly in uncaring “care” homes“, UKColumn, May 2, 2020; Dennis Riches.  Fever, Famine and War… and SARS-Cov-2, Lit by Imagination, July 29, 2020;  Perspectives on the Pandemic/The (Undercover) Epicenter Nurse/Episode Nine, June 9, 2020; and Dr. Reiner Fuellmich. The Biggest Crime Against Humanity Ever Committed.
  7. Whitney Webb and Raul Diego.  All Roads Lead to Dark Winter, The Last American Vagabond,  April 1, 2020; Alison McDowell. Introduction to the Fourth Industrial Revolution & the Covid Economic Reset, Wrench in the Gears, July 24, 2020; and James Corbett. Covid 911: From Homeland Security to Biosecurity, The Corbett Report, Episode 383, September 11, 2020.
  8. Dilyana Gaytandzhieva.  The Pentagon Bio-weapons, April 29, 2018.
  9. Tony Cartalucci. The Biggest Lie About China’s Xinjiang “Internment Camps”, Land Destroyer Report, September 4, 2020.
  10. Laura Ru.  A web of Deceit: Amnesty International in Hong Kong, May 25, 2020.
  11. Max Parry. 30 years after Tiananmen Square, the U.S. is still trying to destabilize China, Dissident Voice, July 10, 2019.

The post Killing Unknown first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Adding More Dust onto a Threadbare Empire

Barbara Lee: I’m very terrified with regard to what we see taking place. And the signs are there. When you talk about shutting down the media, putting out their alternative facts, banning dissent and opposition, criticizing people who are exercising their First Amendment rights; trying to get people to believe, really, the distortions that they’re putting out there. That, to me, is very scary. It’s very dangerous. And you see also the corporate and military consolidation of the public sector. You see efforts to privatize schools. When you just look at the nominees, you see very few people with experience in the public sector. And so when you have the corporate sector merging with the military sectors, and when you have cabinet officials who have historically said they want to dismantle the cabinets and the agencies that they’re running, that I’m very terrified that we are beginning to see an erosion of our democratic values and an erosion of the public sector.

Hellraiser' cartoonist wants to offend, help others criticize government | CBC News

The new normal is of course abnormal, antithetical to being a human being, or at least a being that is Homo Sapiens before say, errr, the industrial revolution, or in the new parlance, before the Fourth  Industrial Revolution, or before the internet of all things . . . .

Schooling was bad, for decades, for sure, but redeemable in some sense. Things like educational systems are fixable, or they were before the Zoom Doom decade has begun to unfold. Face to face discourse was always discordant, yet the only way for some sort of consensus or arbitrated whole, but now, with Zoom Doom, etc., and especially now that many western (whites) people want to isolate, stay at home glued to this evil screen, as if glued to some sordid 6-hour daily soap opera, really  want to do things on line, do things sheltered, well, the new species of Western (white) Adam and Eve is, well, not the people I want in my trench if the revolution ever happens . . . .

Which will not unfold, this “revolution,” if this generation and the next one is bred to take a $1000 a month UBI, takes the pink and blue pills/vaccines, and continues to listen to the putridity that is commercialism-retail-PR-spin mixed in with the noise of the day, the propaganda of them all – 2,700 billionaires pointing their antennae in all the right directions for more and more control, overlording and alas gouging the economic and socio-economic and political power from the super majority, us.

So many people I talk with, gentrified with a bit of a retirement, or at-home income, plus the house paid off, more or less, and fairly good health, they are blaming the victims, blaming the poor, blaming the kids who got the wrong degrees and who are now in debt.

The divide and conquer is subtle with democratic voters, and overt with MAGA mutts.

This is the scam of capitalism – the people who have “made it” have done so on the backs of people, and many in capitalism make money on people who are struggling, who are lower income, who are not part of the 20 percent. Divide and conquer. Classify us. Put us on a spectrum. On a scale. Rate us. Give us a score, some detailed credit report, educational report, health report, activity report. Google and the other gulag thinkers, they have the tools to put us all on dashboards, even as I type out this screed, the data and the nanoseconds of my moves will be recorded.

Making money on fines, penalties, arrests, convictions, probation, and then all those middle-middle-middlemen making money on turning this financial screw or flipping this toggle or that investing switch to exact more and more economic pain, more and more generalized anxiety disorder pain. You can’t just do things without added-on layer after layer of people and systems taking a penny here, a dime there, a dollar over there, and a 20 percent or more cut there and there.

The reality is this country is threadbare, and county governments do not have the resources for that D-minus nationwide infrastructure that needs tending to. Counties and states do not have the money for sustaining public health, safety and well-being. We are in a system of money that banks have “loaned” communities putting them into bankruptcy. The loan sharks are large and sophisticated, repo experts of the highest order, foreclosure kings on a grand scale.

Imagine the concept of no clinics in communities, no diabetes clinics, public school nurses and counselors doled out like rare truffles (like one nurse per five schools, one counselor per 400 kids!). Imagine now in Oregon, the current college enrollment is down 20 percent. Think. Where does that go, where do we make up the work people have at community colleges? How do those worthy students move forward? Fulfillment centers? Two college degrees and working in a warehouse at $15 an hour (if you are lucky to be in a few states with that minimum wage) and praying for a universal basic/bumbling income?

And that discourse of a UBI is insane, no? No talk about public ownership of utilities, pharmaceuticals, medicine, hospitals, clinics, state banks, guaranteed housing, food security, and public transportation that can only be imagined by Phillip K. Dick. And I am not talking flying taxis, but clean trollies and constant schedules. Imagine, the end of the car for many people – that internal combustion disease maker, the thing that sits 90 percent of the time in a driveway or parking space. Imagine.

Nope. It’s the transfer of $1,200 a month basic income to the rich and the richest. A basic income in super predatory capitalism. Imagine. That is the paradigm. Sort of the same insanity of a Bill McKibben or Liz Warren saying a cleaner military – one running on biodiesel and one that recycles missile parts, on that repurposes medical waste and builds global bases at a net zero waste LEED Platinum level. Solar panel-wind turbine air force drone bases. All ships and carriers running on forever fuel, nuclear energy. Imagine that insanity. From the greenies.

The democrats and republicans are vicious, are psychopaths, and Americans on both sides of that manure pile who believe this is an exceptionalist society will believe anything to hold up their version of reality. They will wrap themselves up in the red, white and blue in varying ways. Voting is their emancipation from actually doing and acting.

Listen to this freak of a man, Trump, and watch the media just flatten down. Think about how impotent ” rel=”noopener nofollow ” target=”_blank”>mainline media is:

AMY GOODMAN: So, by April 2017, just three months into his presidency, Trump launched a Tomahawk missile attack on Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians. Jeremy, you say in your series, “Like Pavlov’s dogs, the bipartisan war machine responded accordingly.” Let’s go to some of the media coverage of Trump’s attack on Syria. This is MSNBC anchor Brian Williams referring to a Pentagon video of U.S. missiles fired at Syria as “beautiful” three times in 30 seconds.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Go into greater detail. We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean. I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.” And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield. What did they hit?

AMY GOODMAN: That was MSNBC’s Brian Williams. And this is CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

FAREED ZAKARIA: I think Donald Trump became president of the United States. I think this was actually a big moment, because candidate Trump had said that he would never get involved in the Syrian civil war. He told President Obama, “You cannot do this without the authorization of Congress.” He seemed unconcerned with global norms. President Trump recognized that the president of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms, does have to have this broader moral and political purpose.

And yet, this country is waxing poetic about the “clear skies over our cities,” and how the lockdown has “given me space to think, to reflect, to evolve,” and “we are really getting closer to our roots” THANKS to Covid-19.

Dangerous-dangerous thinking. This is it, though … as more and more people (sic) who can work from home (not real work) accept permanent correspondence school-work-medicine-business. No big questioning of the motivations of the tech world, the billionaires, the pigs of AI and Surveillance. No bigger demands for this shit-hole country. No demands for holding all corporations accountable. No pitchforks and tar and feathers for the politicians, the cops, the multimillionaires, the billionaires and their evil seeds.

It is a passive culture, a giant joystick, operation, a couch potato citizenry. The Covid-19 plan-demic fit the narrative so-so well.

It is now rubber-necking to the tenth power. Almost everyone in the United Snakes of BlackRock and then those fleas on the tail of that US dog, Canada, UK, and Australia, is generally looking like a giant cast in a Jerry Springer outtake. The celebrity culture, the thugs of politics, the billionaire lizard class, the entire mauling media, the incompetence of the general population who self-identify as MAGA deplorables and/or middling liberals who believe in Manifest Destiny and Exceptionalism with a little bit of LGBTQA spin, it is the seeding of more and more weeks, months and years of stupidity. To mask or not to mask, to listen to this group of scientists, or that swath of virologists, that is the question.

No deep discussion about how broken the system(s) was/were way back when, and then this rewritten history covering up the bulldozing through the Regan years and up to now. Gutting rights, gutting checks and balances for Wall Street, Banking, Real Estate, oligarchs, polluters, thieves in suits, and the thuggery of cops and troops. Shock and awe, with this crappy media and amusing ourselves not to death but to neutering and spaying glee.

Imagine over 200 rural hospitals shut down just since 2006. Imagine simple compound fracture medical bill of $80,000. Just imagine, brand new aircraft carriers and supersonic jets, football stadiums filled with shiny bullets, and entire shipping ports filled with drones and bombs. This country has no checks and balances to demand human and township/city/state assistance during fires, hurricanes, floods and flu pandemics. No safety nets, no massive shut downs of the perpetrators of fire, poison, imprisonment, shock and awe on the streets by the murdering cops.

Then, we argue how much the thieves are hiding, ripping us off for, and on and on, the broken system.

Some of the most despicable people now are on mainstream media and in the odd-ball media, and the academicians are scurrying like the careerists they are, and then the homegrown extremists, the pussy Trump (not a man’s man or a woman’s man), the murder incorporated men and women on the thin blue line, and on and on. We make those old “banana republic” epithets against our brethren south of the border seem tame. We are a thug nation, a new gilded age society of 18-carrat 5,000 square foot bathrooms for the Botox, and a 1988 Chevy van for the fulfillment worker families parked in an alley.

It all seems like a giant mental anguish experiment.

Mr. Fish Toon- Trump's Yoda - Democratic Underground

The news-news-news is a constant drone of national and international frayed stories, and in the eye of the storm, we have community after community in the USA broken, breaking apart, sliding and of course it never was meant to be a system that is for, by, with, because of the people.

This all brings me to the deplorables, the across-the-street neighbors, whose boys decided my 12 by 14 inch sign that states we believe in a woman’s right to choose and black lives matter, etc., should not only be stolen, but that my car’s window bashed in because of that sign.

Yeah, two deputy sheriff calls, two citations, and then two separate no trespassing citations, and then more and more of my time spent on tracking these cases. So many moments of my mental state thrown into the criminal injustice system. How many phone calls from county courts folk and victims rights folk telling me in their 20 or 30 or 40 years they have never seen such a backlog, a cluster fuck.

Oregon’s lockdown measures, and now property crimes – this putrid 39-year-old boy-man, all 6’5” of him, caught by a neighbor throwing a 10 pound paving stone in my car window and then prancing around the street with hands up and juking as if he just made a dunk.

Then my spouse and I start digging into this “family,” this upstanding MAGA family, and lo and behold, the mother has been evicted from two homes, and she and her current husband filed for bankruptcy in CA more than five times. The perpetrator of the criminal mischievous also has a fine white boy, blued eye semi-man rap sheet – DUIs in CA, and felony charges for, err, animal abuse, AKA cock fighting. This guy’s CA record shows he failed to appear, failed to do court-mandate classes in animal abuse. Charges dropped.

As you peel back layer after layer in America – the blond mother, prancing around the neighborhood telling anyone who will listen how upstanding she and her breed are – the dirty laundry comes flying in your face.

So these anti-Chinese, pro-MAGA mutts, they have some ridiculous business of beach footwear (whatever that is) and they stamp a sea turtle on them, and on their web site, they say “from every purchase we support the sea turtles.” Imagine that, no sea turtle environmental group listed, and alas, these anti-Chinese/China MAGA get those loafers and flipflops from, well, you guessed it – China.

The court systems are super blogged. The property crimes are going unpunished. Cases are being tossed out. Retraining orders are not being followed up on. And this is just one small slice of the angle in America where things are falling apart. Under lockdown. Before lockdown. Beyond lockdown.

Too much on the American mindset’s bandwidth. Again, the mess of crap that comes into Facebook, on Twitter, on those hate channels, on MSNBC, Fox, et al. The paraded queens of stupidity, and the kings of crime, every minute of the day, dragging any attention span left in the American collective intellect/consciousness, pulled out.

This is America. I have former colleagues who are retired, who have their little house on the gentrified hill in this or that town. They believe in this shit-hole country. They think Trump is aberration. They think that all he’s done will go on in perpetuity (lifetime appointments of judges). They believe in this shit-hole system, just putting a few new lipstick shades on the predatory-parasitic-disaster pig that is capitalism left of center, center or right.

POSTS — Lifesigns

You get a chunk of cement thrown into your car window, and you are thrown into the morass that is/was/will be the dead pool of America. All systems no-go. All entertainment zones displaying all those sacrifice zones. All those Netflix documentaries, all those mini-series, all those years and years of drama and soap operas. It’s here, the lobotomy, the collective lobotomy.

A nation of 160 million and counting developing one or more  chronic diseases. One out of five (easily) with recurring depression. A middle manager class and intellectual class stuck in the inertia of cynicism. The gilded age that pushes more and more people into poverty and learned helplessness. This is the country of proud to be stupid . . . proud to be overweight, diabetic, hypertensive and yet, “lock them up . . . give ‘em a good beating . . . shoot them on Pennsylvania Avenue . . . give them a good dump into the east bay with a sack of cement.”

This wimp of a human (bully of that species), Trump, and his suits and ties that are warped (every single GOP before, during and after his death) and who  hold up the violence and extrajudicial beatings and murders this un-man Trump and his un-man Stephen Miller and his Sessions and Barr, putrid puffer fish in Florsheims, demand, we are there, man.

Chris Hedges: We’ve personalized the problem in Trump without realizing that Trump is the product of a failed democracy. Trump is what rises up from the bowels of a decayed and degenerate system. And you can get rid of Trump, but you’re not going to get rid of what the sociologist Émile Durkheim called that “anomie” that propels societies to engage in deeply self-destructive behavior.

Trump 2020 - Mr. Fish

Thanks to Mr. Fish and his incredible mind and drawings/art! Watch his documentary — https://www.mrfishmovie.com/

The post Adding More Dust onto a Threadbare Empire first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Lighting up the Elite’s Solutions will Still Smell of Sulphur

I also know that one must do what one can do. No matter how little it is, it is nonetheless a human testimony and human testimonies, as long as they are not based on greed or personal ambition for power, can have unexpected positive effects.…I believe in local action and in small dimensions. It is only in such environments that human creativity and meaningful identities can truly surface and flourish.

Manfred Max-Neef

There are many-many gross things in the news every nanosecond of anti-social media’s and mass mainlining media’s dead from the navel up “stories.”

Imagine, now, the Great White Hope, the Sir David and the Prince William doling out a few million bucks here and there for, drum roll, individuals, companies and agencies that come up with solutions to the world’s environmental problems.

Imagine that, the deeply steeped in eugenics Attenborough, and the DNA-mutated mentally inbred royalty, having people jump through hoops to help move forward the powers that be in capitalism.

Here’s a doozy from this insipidly wet milquetoast PR spin — “We can’t cut down rain-forests forever and anything that we can’t do forever is by definition unsustainable,” says Attenborough. Adding that “if we act now we can yet put it right,” how amazing would that be? We must all act now.

Oh, cry for me, Military Industrial Complex. Nary a word about the Prince’s jets and missiles. Nothing about the deeply embedded complex that holds up the war lords. Again, to repeat – that’s Silicon Valley, that’s fast food, that’s paint, hardware, clothing, IT, telecom, med, media, pharma, oil, gas, nuclear, wires, plastics, satellites,  technical writers, office supplies, water, air, soil suppliers, engineering outfits, lumber, milling, smelting, big earth movers, drone makers, all of those grand pieces and bits that put together this zombie squid of war war war.

You will not hear that in the Attenborough line – no more war machines, soldiers, flyovers, Kings Guards, air-naval-ground-moon bases. Imagine, he states how he was 11 years old with a world population of, drum roll, 2.3 billion (1937).

And, now it’s 7.8 billion, and huge parts of the globe are dead of wild lands and are invaded by, well, you guessed it (but not coming from the Prince’s or Knight’s mouths) – capitalists and empires running their criminal operations for the banks, the investors, the elites. Oh, mining, ag, metals, fossil fuel, minerals, fish, water, data, human lives for the operation that gets old Attenborough flying around the world in his jet-setting ways.

Let’s see, since 1937, hundreds of trillions spent on missiles, NASA/aerospace, satellites, war-war-war; and what else has occurred since wee David grew up to be 94? No mention of the amassing of chemicals, industrial farms, the huge consumer-capitalist bases of seizing power, products, resources and people from other countries, all for god, country, queen, and Goldman Sachs, BlackRock and, pick your bank poison here  ____________! He will not speak of the accumulation of wealth and land and power by his own Anglo-Saxon greedy men of war-debt-slavery.

He wants birth-control, forced sterilization for the dark people, and LEED and zero waste third and fourth homes-castles-island enclaves for the beautiful people. No limits on the beautiful people’s families and 5.6 earths for their lifestyle Earth Footprint.

This is more of the same bizarre stuff – five prizes, $1.2 million each, for 10 years. This is the infantilism of the globe and the great super hero rescuer narrative for the beautiful people who want nothing more than capitalism that pays, has returns on investments and smells-tastes-feels-looks-sounds like green porn.

“We rely entirely on this finely tuned life-support machine” says Sir David Attenborough when describing our little blue planet, in his recently released book and documentary “A Life on Our Planet.” The legendary naturalist and broadcaster, now 94, has spent his entire life traveling the world documenting wildlife, for us to enjoy from the comfort of our living rooms. He is thought to be one of the most well-traveled people on the planet, for The Life of Birds documentary alone, it is estimated he traveled a whopping 256,000 miles. That is the same as traveling around the world ten times. And this was only for one of the eight series he has made for the BBC over the course of almost 30 years. He now joins forces with Prince William with whom he shares a passion for the environment, to help launch the Earthshot Prize. Aiming to be the most prestigious global environment prize, it will be awarded to those who come up with extraordinary ways to help tackle some of the biggest environmental challenges of our planet. [source]

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough launch Earthshot Prize

Quaint. Bad writing. It is like a Jack and Jill nursery tale. Not journalism.

Here’s my email – contact me ASAP, Sir David and Prince Billy. No millions spent on techno fixes, on big giant scoops for ocean plastic, seed storage projects for the moon or mars. No 29 million studies and 29 white papers and a hundred million sad-sack pretzel logic to save the planet. I got the idea, man, and we can distribute that $60 million to sue the shit out of the main perpetrators of poisons. Outfits like British Petroleum? Uh?

Simple stuff, so again, my contact email, Davey and Willie,  is below. Here

Here, my idea — I can think of a massive one weekend event – how about a thousand or 10,000 thousand two-day charrettes. Globally. Giant brainstorming sessions. Giving young people the facilitation tools to come up with a 10-part or 100-part plan to save people, planets, plants, populations of animal species.

Easy, man – with all the shit-show tools of Zoom and satellite feeds and computers and, well, you think that maybe 10,000 teach-ins and brainstorming sessions simultaneously might produce a few common threads, in the countries on the African Continent, North, Middle and South America, Middle East, Far East, Island nations, and more.

Let’s see – I bet with the right engagement, those young students and their tag-along parents and uncles and aunts might be coming up with this:

  • immediate end to military spending
  • utilizing the equipment militaries have for restorative natural, agro-ecological, and community projects
  • no more billionaires
  • no more men and women ruling from the top down
  • no more corporations dictating the size, shape, limits, lifespans of individual humans, ecosystems, bio-regions, nations, and hemispheres
  • massive collective agro-ecological farming to feed the world
  • massive eminent domain for empty buildings, second, third, fourth homes
  • microhome villages served with intergenerational diverse people healing minds-bodies-earth-natural systems
  • a collective and massive global year of strikes
  • the new framework for producing food, producing goods, producing small-locally owned businesses
  • colleges for all, and all departments engaged in connected and holistic teaching . . .
  • no more economy over anything thinking
  • deep ethics taught in all those subjects
  • community schools led by students and people in the communities
  • native and indigenous led governance, land ethic, air ethic, and cultural engagement
  • arts, culture, intergenerational housing, and, alas, no more shit jobs (RIP David Graeber!)

And, more, and can you imagine all those 10,000 community-based charrettes, where people – the young and the very old and the most vulnerable – are not just at the table, but are the facilitators. Sure, the concepts of global heating will be tantamount as well as restorative cultural-economic-spiritual-racial justice.

I am convinced that these youth forums will produce manifestos so similar, so tied to the very idea of “an injury to one is an injury to all” that all the retrograde, violent, and colonized war lord and banking lovers would be pushed out of the realm. Join us, sure.

But imagine now this Earth-Shot prize being something completely different than the old model of “who has the best ideas to fit into the capitalist paradigm to play around with some of the major issues earth and people are facing.”

Solve microplastics? Well, first, now, stop the plastic’s industry and yank them all out of the hands of felons and profit gougers. The packaging industries? Done. The clear cutters, strip miners, mountaintop removers – gone, out of business.

The commodities trading? Gone. The stockholders, the monopolies, the BlackRocks, gone. I believe those 10,000 or 100,000 charrettes and youth-led think tanks and solutions cabals would produce the tools, the language and the spirit of structural global change. Email me, Dave and Billy.

Oh, I know it will be a lot of work, but the young and the very old and the vulnerable are up to the task. There is really nothing else on earth to do but working for the human/animal/plant family and natural world and working collectively so people in the next county don’t suffer while the other county doesn’t suffer.

Precautionary principle, life cycle analysis, and much more-more for an ecosocialist world. Whoops, did I use the term, Socialist?

The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change,
and the disease is the capitalist development model.
— Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, September 2007,

The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration

Youth who are not completely damaged by consumerism/anti-social media/drugs/epigenetics/Breaking Bad parents are naturally connected to other peoples, and given the space and chance, they are the solutions makers.

No more TED Talk white bread talkers, no more mass mainlining media info-tainment, no more celebrity culture dominating everything, no more-no more.

Again, utilize this shit-show Zoom Doom and media platforms to get these 10,000 or 100,000 teach-ins/charrettes up on all platforms. Imagine, even all those colonized millionaire media fakes, all those prune headed politicians, all those stem-cell sucking CEO’s like Bezos and Zuckerberg, well, they will have to watch, man.

Old Knights and Princes are not the future. The rich and the white race rampaging throughout history in their empires of greed, religion, conquistadors of rape-pillage-theft-murder; those manipulators, those penury-creators, those bamboozlers, the smoke and mirror charlatans, the debt holders, the criminal injustice purveyors, all those blood diamond types, I know for a fact that two day teach-in and charrette, they will be tossed out as anything more than thieves and destroyers.

Give peace a chance? Give the youth the platform, the facilitation, the attention, the manifestos to change this world.  Coming up with some bio-mimic paint that self cleans will not cut it. Global shit in who is at the table, who writes the rules, who brings forth the ideas. N O  M O R E  white guys setting the stage and making the rules.

Oh, what a world it would be, and what would it take to get those 100,000 global charrettes working? Technology. Computers? Some WIFI connections? Email me now, sirs and princes!

Let the youth, the young from lower economic communities, the people of the so-called developing or less developed world make their mark now. Forget about the compostable toilets and home-sited wind turbine.

And this is what the Earthshot Prize aims to do. Just as the moonshot that John F. Kennedy proposed in the 1960s was a catalyst for new technology such as the MRI scanner and satellite dishes that helped us go to the moon, this prize aims through Earthshot challenges to create a new wave of ambition and innovation around finding ways to help save the planet. The committee has announced it will spend the next 10 years $60 million, awarding annually five, $1.2 million prizes to individuals, organizations and those around the world who are working to provide solutions to the world’s biggest environmental problems.

It is no surprise that the dominant global system which is responsible for the ecological crisis also sets the terms of the debate about this crisis, for capital commands the means of production of knowledge, as much as that of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Accordingly, its politicians, bureaucrats, economists and professors send forth an endless stream of proposals, all variations on the theme that the world’s ecological damage can be repaired without disruption of market mechanisms and of the system of accumulation that commands the world economy.

But a person cannot serve two masters – the integrity of the earth and the profitability of capitalism. One must be abandoned, and history leaves little question about the allegiances of the vast majority of policy-makers. There is every reason, therefore, to radically doubt the capacity of established measures to check the slide to ecological catastrophe.

Belem Ecosocialist Declaration

The post Lighting up the Elite’s Solutions will Still Smell of Sulphur first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Eternal Impunity of Capitalism’s Crimes

The very idea of War Being a Racket penetrates so deeply into capitalism’s flair for murder by a thousand cuts, a thousand miles in a Corvair, a thousand sips from diet Coke, a thousand sucks from Nestle baby formula, a thousand hours on the video screen, a thousand seconds inside the nuclear core, a thousand nanoparticles chewed, a thousand days living under high tension power lines, a thousand slices of mercury-cured tuna, a thousand puffs of the e-cigarette, a thousand days in law school, a thousand clicks hiked in clear cut, a thousand bombs bursting in air, a thousand doses of any one of millions of drugs or chemicals, a thousand seconds of a presidential debate, a thousand launches from NASA, a thousand bullets into Black bodies, a thousand spent uranium laced shells, a thousand drips of PCBs in our water supply, and, on and on, the drumbeat plays, a thousand cuts.

I just finished watching the documentary, The People versus Agent Orange. Carol Van Strum (here and here) is the American contingent and Nga To Tran the Vietnamese contingent. Like so many other documentaries, this one cuts to the chase – the liberation of humankind and ecologies from the death ray of capitalism is the ONLY way forward.

Veterans, Survivors Unaware of Agent Orange Benefits

The origins of Agent Orange lie in an obscure laboratory at the University of Chicago where, during World War II, the chairman of the school’s biology department, E. J. Kraus, discovered that direct doses of 2,4-D can kill certain broadleaf vegetation by causing the plants to experience sudden, uncontrolled growth not unlike that of cancer cells in the human body. Kraus, thinking his findings might be of use to the Army, informed the War Department, which initiated testing of its own but found no use for the stew of hormones prior to the end of the war. But experiments with 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T continued through the 1950s. — Orion Magazine

Ad nauseum the bantering back and forth with deplorable MAGA and shallow democrats on mainline TV/Cable, is much ado about nothing when we put into perspective every single action the corporation makes to not only rip-off each and every customer, but to delimit free speech, to eviscerate participatory democracy, to use their hit squads of lawyers to obfuscate and obliterate the righteous people up against these Titans of Tyranny – chemical, pharmaceutical, agriculture, fossil fuel, mining, data, prison, space, industrial, food, medical, media, education, criminal justice, banking, insurance, investing thieves and manslaughter experts.

The entire farm has been sold down the river a million times, so when we look at Agent Orange, the USA government, the US Air Force, the Dow corporation, the endless legal deaths by a thousand motions against some sort of reparation for the millions of Vietnamese, Americans and dozens of others in Vietnam during the tyranny of corporations and the French and the USA in fighting in another person’s land. Vietnam!

Carol Van Strum’s story is linked to my neck of the woods – the Central Oregon coast range. She is just a few dozen miles up the road, in Five Rivers. For more than 45 years, she has been both victim of, and battler against, the chemical spraying operators here where timber companies clear cut vast thousands of square miles of forest, and then deploy the markers of Agent Orange and other brews to include Glyphosate and atrazine, among others.

The film is understatement, but thorough and clear – some of us knew early on that the herbicide Agent Orange was more than a Ho Chi Minh Trail defoliant. It was part of a plan by the despotic South Vietnamese president Diệm ’s worldview – supported and supplied by the USA – that the Viet Cong should not have jungle cover and that the rice crops in the North should not only be destroyed but contaminated from the soil up.

Opinion | The Forgotten Victims of Agent Orange - The New York Times

Tran is an amazing voice for Vietnam and the millions of victims of Agent Orange – many dead, by the millions, and many by several million surviving in varying levels of debilitation, and for her and millions of other women, giving birth to deformed, sick and dying babies.

Back in Oregon, the mothers and then the doctors came together to compare notes, and alas, the number of miscarriages/spontaneous abortions experienced by local women always coincided a month after helicopters working for the timber companies unloaded thousands upon thousands of gallons of the toxic brew, a mix of hormone disruptors and growth inhibitors that scour animals, plants and humans to the point of genetic mutations and untold physical ailments as adults.

We see the coughing “chemical guy” in Oregon, who is cell phone filming himself loading up the helicopters with the brew. He hacks up blood at night. He is another victim of better living through chemistry. His story is vital to the telling of the Agent Orange story back home, in Oregon.

Tran’s case seeks accountability for “the deadliest use of chemicals in the history of warfare.” The case is still held up in court.

Why the United States Won't Admit Guilt Over Agent Orange

Tran was told by her heroic mother, captured by the South Vietnamese, in 1953, “If I don’t come back, you will replace me.” Tran ended up writing news for the National Liberation Front. She met her husband in the forest, who was part of the Foreign Relations Commission. “We spent our youth engaged in war.”

In June 1968 their daughter was born, and three days later the infant’s skin  began falling off. She had difficulty breathing, and she had major heart issues. “I always blamed myself thinking I was the reason for her illness and the cause of her death. Even though I have my other two children, it is the face of my first that remains anchored in my soul,” Tran states.

Tran says she carried that guilt for 40 years. “Until I found out what killed my daughter, the poison Agent Orange.”

Her second daughter was born with alpha thalassemia, a major defect of her pancreas. Same with Tran’s third daughter, and a granddaughter. Thanks, Agent Orange and the Boys at Dow!

Back and forth the documentary travels from Carol’s and Oregon’s battle against the chemical companies and the university forestry guy who was in the back pocket of Dow, and with Tran, who has several lawyers working to “put an end to the eternal impunity,” as French barrister William Bourdon calls it.

That was Operation Ranch hand, from 1962 to 71, approved by JFK and his henchmen in the DoD and military. The idea was to take away the forest cover but also to be part of a food-denial program, which under any auspices of international conventions, is an act of genocide, and a war crime.

Dr. James Clary was with the Air Force in Vietnam, which ran the program. He was ordered to dump the computer and erase all memory. Instead, he printed out a stack of documents two feet high – missions, sorties, coordinates, dates, gallons dropped throughout all of Southeast Asia and Laos.

“We had the information coming from Dow that there were real problems for people associated with this chemical. It was all locked up for 35 years.”

Playing down all the negative effects of this chemical was part of the Dow plan. Dioxin was the byproduct in the brew. Dow told the US government they were having difficulty producing the volume of the chemical the US wanted. The government told them to not worry about safety standards and quality control, and that a fast production process which produced more of the dioxin would not matter, since the crops and forest were being sprayed, and if people got in contact with it, the idea coming from both industrialists at Dow and those in government and the military was, “Hey, so what, this is a war . . . these are the effing Vietnamese.”

However, a former military man like Clary never saw it that way. He reiterated that 20 million gallons of it was dumped on Southeast Asia. The Ranch Hand program stopped in 1971, but then the chemicals were enlisted by the US on forest land – clear cuts that were sprayed to denude the razed land of any opportunities weeds and shrubs. The money has to be made, and the stockpiled product has to go! Sell it to the state forestry department and timber outfits.

Dr. Clary tears up on the film, showing a deep regard for the Vietnamese. He cried at the sight of the deformed children. The filmmakers state: “He is not a typical war monger, and never said that. He became a whistle-blower to expose such attitudes. They are the opposite of how he feels.

“They went back and said, ‘Don’t worry about it, we need the quantities. Besides it’s going to be sprayed on the jungle over there. Not gonna be any people there and if they happen to get into it, so what? We’re at war.'”

Oregon Community Rights Organizer Featured in New Documentary 'THE PEOPLE vs. AGENT ORANGE' | CELDF

Carol Van Strum reiterates that the half-life of a dioxin molecule is 2 billion years. Dioxin, the forever chemical and the gift of cancer and birth defects and mutagenic ailments that keep on giving. Tran is now fighting for the fourth generation of people affected by the millions of gallons of this poison sprayed on her homeland. She has breast cancer.

Dr, Clary breaks down emotionally, saying he never thought his government would betray all the veterans who directly were affected and whose offspring were/are still affected. The judge in the Agent Orange case is a pure case of misanthropy that infects all chambers of the judicial and legal class.

Andre Burny, author of Agent Orange: Apocalypse Vietnam, makes it clear that this is a “crime against humanity, an attack on the human genome.”

It’s telling that one of several scientists featured in a clip, Dow’s Dr. Cleve Goring, says, “The attack on the chemical is entirely emotional. 2,4 5-T is about as toxic as Aspirin. We have not done a good job with our PR campaign.”

As benign as Aspirin! You haven’t heard this before, right? Farmed chemical-laced salmon, safe as mother’s milk. Oh, antibiotic-laced meat and poultry are safe for all consumers. You know, it would take a bathtub of the stuff a day for twenty years to cause cancer. Or, lab rats are not humans . . . no comparison. 5-G is like an apple a day. Violent video games are A-Okay. Genetically Engineered crops are better than those old fashioned heritage crap. What’s a little used motor oil dumped into the pond.

Oh, dear reader, you have as many of these “it’s safer than the alarmists yammer about” stories, I am sure. Imagine, the bottom line of Dow is to cover up, drag court cases on and on until the plaintiffs are six feet under. What a little rebranding won’t fix. Or some heavyweight like Brad Pitt or Betty White endorsing the product bringing people all together now.

The documentary, The People versus Agent Orange,” delves into many of the treatment centers for victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. There are dozens. I have been to two of them, years ago, and they were not even tied to Agent Orange. Like Tran, most of the mothers blamed themselves for children coming out twisted, stunted, without limbs, craniums asymmetrical or ballooned out.

This is how capitalism works – lies, deceit, murder, cover, cover-up, blame the victim, pass on the diseases and poisons and clean up costs to the people. This is the price of capitalism, many Americans will say. This is the price of convenience. This is the price of Low Prices and instant soup, instant turkey, instant husband/wife.

Blame the child for the crimes of consumerism. Blame the fetus for the mother taking the advice of western medicine. Blame the communities for the sprayed hog blood-urine-shit in their backyards.

Capitalism is more than some giant smoke and mirrors game, bigger than some house of cards, bigger than snake oil salesmen/women grifting, bigger than shoveling up billions into the debt (poor) house. It is a system of rackets, and while Gen. Butler may have written War is a Racket about the MIC, we have to transpose that military industrial complex to Banks/Hospitals/Insurance Companies/Courthouses/Police Stations/Law Firms/Colleges/Mining Companies/Drug Manufacturers/Big Ag Outfits/Media Conglomerates/So-Called Liberal Press and the like are the very definition of Rackets, certainly perfect actors for Dante’s Circles of Hell.

We are the fodder for that inferno, and if anyone of any political stripe doesn’t end up being pissed off after watching The People versus Agent Orange, then they are misanthropes, cult followers, colonized zombies. And I can say that about any number of hundreds of righteous documentaries — bear witness and then what? Retreat to stupidity, retreat to the capitalist’s see-speak-hear no evil while the evil eats your soul from the inside-out!

Please note that I was in Vietnam in 1994 and in 1996. I worked first with several biological teams doing a huge transect of the forest near the Laotian border. I met amazing Vietnamese scientists. I revisited places my military father was at as a CW4 cryptographic guy. His stories were my stories.

I was in Vietnam in 1994 the same age my father was there, shot twice. That was age 36.

I made a point of getting into many villages after the science report was done. I drove a motorcycle down Highway One. I met amazing people there, and had two Vietnamese who helped me navigate the language.

I was embraced by men the same age as my father. Men who fought as Viet Cong, and those men, of course, did not do an eight-month and then a 12-month set of tours like my Army father. They spent more than a decade or more fighting the French, fighting the Americans.

I met a woman in Hanoi who was bombed as a child in an orphanage. I met people studying the breast milk of lactating women, in 1996, with 16 times the level of PCB’s (US standards) in their systems.

Vietnam came to me again, as I worked with many veterans, and some Vietnamese back in Texas putting on the 20th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon (April 1975). I had Le Ly Hayslip at the event, and she blessed my daughter who was still in her mother’s womb. Den Yen was the vice mayor of Saigon, and he too showed up. John  McAfee, A Slow Walk in a Sad Rain, was just one of many writers, historians, artists who were in this historical event in 1995.

I worked with then Thomas Daniel, now taking on his mother’s name, Vu, who was both my student and friend and we worked together on art projects. My play, Tiger Cages, was partly written after I ended up in London after watching the bad play, Miss Saigon. My short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam, tells the story of people somehow connected to the Vietnam war.  I have taught college courses for US military, even at the Sergeants Major Academy at Biggs Field. Vietnam, “Never another Vietnam,” the “tragedy of Vietnam War,” and more is in my DNA. I even worked as a social worker helping homeless veterans and their families secure housing and benefits.

This film is powerful in that it tells a simple story of ecocide and American hubris. Several million Vietnamese were killed directly by US bombs. Many more died later from injuries and chemical death. The trauma on a country is also part and parcel of this illegal and unethical war.

Ecocide as a military practice was first coined for the war against the Vietnamese the US conducted. This documentary and Dr. Clary discuss this heinous war crime, of destroying the crops, the food sources, the soil as part of military stratagem.

As a note, my piece here was in my blog, and at first I thought I covered all bases. One of the filmmakers, Alan Adelson, made it clear to me some of my juxtapositions of quotes were wrongly attributed. I was writing this “review” as I watched the documentary, The PEOPLE versus Agent Orange. I let my passions and zeal overtake my editor’s calm and thorough copy-editing.

I appreciate Alan’s email, and I know this sort of review is not mainstream, and probably not usable for the director. I am able to take off one revolutionary cap and put on a more traditional journalist’s cap. I hope the film shows in Portland and if so, that I can have a crack at talking with the filmmaker. I have other gigs, including Street Roots, in Portland. While my column, Finding Fringe, is not textbook newspaper “objective” reporting, it still provides a look into people like Carol and her son, Jordan Merrell — A letter a day for 15 years and 9 months

War is a Racket – Major General Butler, 1935 | Creative by Nature

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes. — Smedley Butler, War is a Racket (1935)

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I don’t think so. I think that the – the hook for many of our supporters was the idea that this was an unusual messenger for an important environmental message. You know, people who support environmental issues are constantly trying to find a way to preach beyond the choir, to reach beyond their base of people who are already on board, and I think one of the things that’s very appealing about the film, but primarily Jerry as a messenger, is that you don’t expect this message to come from a career military person.

And through Jerry, you’re – we’ve been able to reach this audience of military folks who maybe wouldn’t be attuned to the environmental message about the effects of toxins on health and things like that. So I think there was a real appeal to many of those organizations from that perspective. — Rachel Libert, co-producer of film, Semper Fi

 

 

The post Eternal Impunity of Capitalism's Crimes first appeared on Dissident Voice.