Category Archives: Neoliberalism

People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We

Protest in Peru:  The people demand neither corruption or exploitation

This weekend, ten thousand people took to the streets in Guatemala to protest the President and Congress over a proposed budget, the largest in its history, that cuts funds for health care and education as poverty rises, and provides slush funds to politicians and governments. In Colombia, the people held a national strike to protest their violent, right-wing government. In Peru, protests against a right-wing power grab have ousted one appointed president and people are demanding a new government and constitution. And people in Chile won the right to a new constitution. Now they are defending the process to make sure it represents them.

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria, in what began as a response to ongoing and severe state violence, the #EndSARS movement, has evolved to a struggle for full liberation from a corrupt and repressive government. Their new hashtag is #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria. I spoke with Abiodun Aremu, a long time movement leader in Lagos, on Clearing the FOG, about the current conditions and history of looting and exploitation by those in power.

In these countries and more, the people are rising up against the elite power structure to fight for their rights. Across borders, we share a common enemy, neoliberal economies that funnel wealth to the top, deregulate industries so they violate worker rights and destroy the environment, and impose austerity programs to deny our basic necessities. We also share a common vision for a world where the self-determination of peoples is respected and all people have equitable access to a life of dignity and prosperity.

Boxes of food were handed out by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Gene J. Puskar/AP.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has a new report that finds the economy, which improved slightly over the summer, is stagnating again. As the provisions from the CARES Act expire, poverty is rising, especially for black and brown people. Women are also being adversely impacted because of the lack of childcare. Most of the jobs that have been lost, 52 percent, are low-wage jobs.

They point to a recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services that predicts ten million more people will become impoverished by the end of this year. Currently, 24 million adults say they don’t have enough food in their homes and 80 million adults say they are struggling to afford basic necessities. Without adequate support from the government, the economy won’t recover and people will continue to suffer.

The COVID-19 pandemic is surging with more than 200,000 cases in one day last week and deaths are rising again. Across the country, hospitals are struggling without enough beds and the staff to care for patients. The United States is expected to remain at this crisis level through the winter unless drastic steps are taken such as a national shut down, including all non-essential businesses. At present, that is not an option being considered by either President Trump or President-Elect Biden.

Both Trump and Biden are putting corporate profits over the needs of people by focusing on reopening businesses rather than providing the relief people desperately need. The Institute for Policy Studies reports that billionaires have increased their wealth by nearly $1 trillion since the start of the pandemic while their workers are left unprotected and without increases in their wages. They specifically call out a “delinquent dozen” of “pandemic profiteers.”

David McNew/Getty Images.

As Congress refuses to provide support for the millions who have lost their jobs, their health insurance and their homes, people are calling on the incoming Biden administration to take immediate action. For example, David Dayen points out that a provision in the Affordable Care Act allows the President to use executive power to expand Medicare to whomever needs it.

Biden, unfortunately, has made it clear that he opposes Medicare for All.  I spoke about the COVID-19 crisis and our for-profit healthcare system with Chris Hedges on his program, On Contact, this weekend.

This past week, more than 235 organizations called on Joe Biden to cancel student debt, which can also be done using executive power. Student debt has reached a staggering $1.6 trillion, a burden that is crippling people in the current recession. The groups state, “Cancellation will help jumpstart spending, create jobs, and add to the GDP. Short-term payment suspension alone is not enough to help struggling borrowers who are unemployed, already in default, or in serious delinquency.”

In addition to failing to address the pandemic and economic hardship at home, the United States government also inflicts pain and suffering across the planet through the many regime change efforts and military aggressions. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies outlined ten steps Joe Biden could take immediately to change our foreign policy to one that is in line with international law, provides humanitarian aid instead of bombs and reduces the threat of nuclear war.

Federal spending on the security state dwarfs what is spent on domestic needs. Only 32 percent of the federal discretionary budget is used for health care, education, energy and housing and the biggest chunk of that goes to the Veterans Health Administration. The rest goes to the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the State Department, and NASA. Imagine what could be done to provide universal health care, child care, fully-funded education through the university level, low-cost clean energy and affordable housing if we stopped our wars and brought the military home.

Sean Rayford/New York Times.

Now that it is clear the next president will be Joe Biden, some people may think it is time to relax and let him go to work running the country. This is the message the power holders want the people to hear. The Biden administration will go to great lengths to give the appearance that it is different and that it will make positive changes, but just as we have experienced over and over again, when it comes to domestic economic policy or foreign policy, there is little difference between Democratic and Republican administrations. Both serve the wealthy class and the military industrial complex.

The power elites are never going to give us what we need. We must demand it. As we see people in other countries doing, we must organize and mobilize with a clear set of demands now. Joe Biden can take immediate steps to relieve suffering, and in a time of crisis as we are in now, he can do it using executive power. We must not give Biden a honeymoon. We must not be fooled by the excuses used to convince us it can’t be done.

The post People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We first appeared on Dissident Voice.

People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We

Protest in Peru:  The people demand neither corruption or exploitation

This weekend, ten thousand people took to the streets in Guatemala to protest the President and Congress over a proposed budget, the largest in its history, that cuts funds for health care and education as poverty rises, and provides slush funds to politicians and governments. In Colombia, the people held a national strike to protest their violent, right-wing government. In Peru, protests against a right-wing power grab have ousted one appointed president and people are demanding a new government and constitution. And people in Chile won the right to a new constitution. Now they are defending the process to make sure it represents them.

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria, in what began as a response to ongoing and severe state violence, the #EndSARS movement, has evolved to a struggle for full liberation from a corrupt and repressive government. Their new hashtag is #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria. I spoke with Abiodun Aremu, a long time movement leader in Lagos, on Clearing the FOG, about the current conditions and history of looting and exploitation by those in power.

In these countries and more, the people are rising up against the elite power structure to fight for their rights. Across borders, we share a common enemy, neoliberal economies that funnel wealth to the top, deregulate industries so they violate worker rights and destroy the environment, and impose austerity programs to deny our basic necessities. We also share a common vision for a world where the self-determination of peoples is respected and all people have equitable access to a life of dignity and prosperity.

Boxes of food were handed out by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Gene J. Puskar/AP.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has a new report that finds the economy, which improved slightly over the summer, is stagnating again. As the provisions from the CARES Act expire, poverty is rising, especially for black and brown people. Women are also being adversely impacted because of the lack of childcare. Most of the jobs that have been lost, 52 percent, are low-wage jobs.

They point to a recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services that predicts ten million more people will become impoverished by the end of this year. Currently, 24 million adults say they don’t have enough food in their homes and 80 million adults say they are struggling to afford basic necessities. Without adequate support from the government, the economy won’t recover and people will continue to suffer.

The COVID-19 pandemic is surging with more than 200,000 cases in one day last week and deaths are rising again. Across the country, hospitals are struggling without enough beds and the staff to care for patients. The United States is expected to remain at this crisis level through the winter unless drastic steps are taken such as a national shut down, including all non-essential businesses. At present, that is not an option being considered by either President Trump or President-Elect Biden.

Both Trump and Biden are putting corporate profits over the needs of people by focusing on reopening businesses rather than providing the relief people desperately need. The Institute for Policy Studies reports that billionaires have increased their wealth by nearly $1 trillion since the start of the pandemic while their workers are left unprotected and without increases in their wages. They specifically call out a “delinquent dozen” of “pandemic profiteers.”

David McNew/Getty Images.

As Congress refuses to provide support for the millions who have lost their jobs, their health insurance and their homes, people are calling on the incoming Biden administration to take immediate action. For example, David Dayen points out that a provision in the Affordable Care Act allows the President to use executive power to expand Medicare to whomever needs it.

Biden, unfortunately, has made it clear that he opposes Medicare for All.  I spoke about the COVID-19 crisis and our for-profit healthcare system with Chris Hedges on his program, On Contact, this weekend.

This past week, more than 235 organizations called on Joe Biden to cancel student debt, which can also be done using executive power. Student debt has reached a staggering $1.6 trillion, a burden that is crippling people in the current recession. The groups state, “Cancellation will help jumpstart spending, create jobs, and add to the GDP. Short-term payment suspension alone is not enough to help struggling borrowers who are unemployed, already in default, or in serious delinquency.”

In addition to failing to address the pandemic and economic hardship at home, the United States government also inflicts pain and suffering across the planet through the many regime change efforts and military aggressions. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies outlined ten steps Joe Biden could take immediately to change our foreign policy to one that is in line with international law, provides humanitarian aid instead of bombs and reduces the threat of nuclear war.

Federal spending on the security state dwarfs what is spent on domestic needs. Only 32 percent of the federal discretionary budget is used for health care, education, energy and housing and the biggest chunk of that goes to the Veterans Health Administration. The rest goes to the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the State Department, and NASA. Imagine what could be done to provide universal health care, child care, fully-funded education through the university level, low-cost clean energy and affordable housing if we stopped our wars and brought the military home.

Sean Rayford/New York Times.

Now that it is clear the next president will be Joe Biden, some people may think it is time to relax and let him go to work running the country. This is the message the power holders want the people to hear. The Biden administration will go to great lengths to give the appearance that it is different and that it will make positive changes, but just as we have experienced over and over again, when it comes to domestic economic policy or foreign policy, there is little difference between Democratic and Republican administrations. Both serve the wealthy class and the military industrial complex.

The power elites are never going to give us what we need. We must demand it. As we see people in other countries doing, we must organize and mobilize with a clear set of demands now. Joe Biden can take immediate steps to relieve suffering, and in a time of crisis as we are in now, he can do it using executive power. We must not give Biden a honeymoon. We must not be fooled by the excuses used to convince us it can’t be done.

The post People Are Rising Up Against The Elites, So Should We first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Implosion of Capitalism in Guatemala

On 21 November, 2020, thousands of Guatemalans rallied in the central square of the country’s capital, took over the Congress and set fire to several rooms inside. The immediate trigger for this outburst of anger was the 2021 budget – now revoked by the Congress after sustained protests – which, despite being the largest in the country’s history, slashed funding for both education and healthcare. The spending plan was negotiated in secret and approved by congress before dawn on 18 November, 2020. It was passed while the country was recovering from the devastating hurricanes Eta and Iota – a perfect example of disaster capitalism.

With thousands of people suffering from hunger throughout the country as a result of decades of neoliberalism, export-oriented agro-industrialization and the government’s recent carelessness in response to Hurricanes Eta and Iota this year, the opaque budget proposed to cut funding to combat malnutrition  and dedicated $1.9 billion for servicing interest payments. It intended to additionally reduce the budgets of the judiciary which has overseen many government corruption cases. While the budget clearly tried to abandon the poor in the midst of a pandemic, it gave no shortage of funds to politicians. Politicians negotiated an extra $65,000 to fund their own meal budgets. Moreover, the budgets of the nation’s Departmental Development Councils (CDC), bodies run by governors and mayors without significant supervision, were nearly doubled. Out of the $13 billion of the total budget, the budget for the CDC accounted for roughly $4 billion.

In response to the protests, Vice-President Guillermo Castillo offered to resign, telling Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei that both men should relinquish their positions “for the good of the country.” In contrast, the President reacted to the anti-austerity demonstrations through a message which stated: “I reiterate that you have the right to demonstrate according to the law. But we cannot allow vandalism either to public or private property. Whoever is proven to be involved in these criminal acts will bear the full weight of the law”. This tone-deaf approach towards the legitimate grievances of the people resulted in repression being utilized against agitators.

Immediately after the fire at the Congress, the Police Special Forces moved in against the protesters with anti-riot gear, tear gas canisters and water cannons. Fourteen demonstrators were treated at the nearby hospital due to excessive force and effects of the tear gas—one lost an eye, and another remained in serious condition—and 40 were arrested. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned this state repression as an “excessive use of force” by the police. Undeterred, protests continued for a second day with demonstrators again filling the central square and carrying signs with slogans including “I would rather die as a rebel than live as a slave” and “Giammattei Out.”

Instead of representing a simple opposition to the 2021 budget, the protests in Guatemala were organically rooted in the wider framework of capitalism which has comprehensively devastated the daily lives of the poor. The inter-mixing the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency – the latter of which affected a combined 935,000 people – converted the country into a powder keg capable of being ignited by a single event – in this case the 2021 budget. Contemporary protests, therefore, are not an episodic occurrence – they are part and parcel of a nation torn apart by a “normality” which designates permanent poverty and endless exploitation.

US-backed Coup

Whenever Guatemala has tried to work even a bit for the people, predatory forces have intervened, thwarting processes of social change and heavy-handedly imposing capitalism from above. In March 1951, Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán took office as the President of Guatemala. Landless movements and the Left had fought to elect him so that he could push through a moderate land reform agenda of nationalization. This project threatened the US based United Fruit Company which owned a lot of land in Guatemala. As a result, the CIA got to work, the goal being: to “remove covertly, and without bloodshed if possible, the menace of the present Communist-controlled government in Guatemala”. Through a covert operation named PBSUCCESS, the US overthrew Árbenz in a coup in 1954 and installed retired Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas who said, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify, I will not hesitate to do so.”

In 1960, Civil War broke out between US trained counterinsurgency forces and leftist guerrillas. James Painter writes in “Guatemala: False Hopes, False Freedom” that “the Army’s response [to leftist activists] was to launch a campaign of terror that has rarely been paralleled for its savagery (and lack of publicity) in the history of Latin America.” The Civil War lasted 36 years from 1960 to 1996 and resulted in over 200,000 deaths, the majority of which were indigenous civilians. The war included waves of violence which targeted Indigenous populations. One such wave of violence was the “scorched-earth” campaign or “la violencia” that took place from 1981 to 1983 and in which 100,000-150,000 people were killed. The Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification stated in 1999 that the national army was responsible for the destruction of 600 villages and 93% of the deaths in the civil war. Mayan school teachers were often targeted and killed by the Guatemalan army in the 1980s because it was believed the teachers were helping the opposing guerrillas.

Ever-Worsening Neoliberalism

Ever since the coup of 1954, Guatemalan subalterns have continued to battle a downward spiral of neoliberalism, filled with existential wretchedness and capitalist madness. Income inequality and poverty in Guatemala are extremely high. In 1998, Guatemala had the second highest incidence of poverty in Latin America, just behind Nicaragua. According to the United Nations (UN), the overall poverty rate in Guatemala increased during the 1990s and early 2000s (the years of neoliberalization); in 2002 it stood at 57% of the population. The incidence of extreme poverty was even more disturbing at 21.5%. In 2002, the poorest 20% of the population shared 1.7% of the national income, while the richest 20% possessed 64% of the national income. 71% of the indigenous population was considered to be living in poverty. The starkness of poverty in Guatemala is epitomized by an ossuary pit near the back of La Verbena Cemetery. In 2012 the Guatemalan Forensics Team began to perform exhumations in the pit, attempting to locate the remains of about 45,000 bodies in the pit, the vast majority of them victims of the violence of poverty; of having died because they were impoverished or because families could no longer afford the cost of a tomb in the cemetery.

Despair and deprivation are put on full display in the agricultural sector which has been utterly ruined by savage neoliberalism.  In 1988, the Guatemalan Bishops issued a pastoral letter entitled “The Clamor for Land” wherein they argued that the agrarian problem was the country’s most important issue. “The clamor for land”, the bishops stated, “is without doubt the strongest, most dramatic and desperate cry heard in Guatemala.” Two-thirds of the agricultural land in Guatemala is dominated by 2.5% of the country’s farms, less than 1% of landowners hold 75% of the best agricultural land, 90% of rural inhabitants live in poverty, 27% of rural dwellers do not own land and more than 500,000 peasant families live below the level of subsistence. Such a high level of land concentration and rural poverty implies that peasants are invariably subjected to unprecedented amounts of hardships and live a life of complete bleakness.

In a 1977 article, Norma S. Chinchilla, wrote:

Although agricultural production has become large and modern, working conditions are almost as harsh as they were under forced labor. Seasonal workers, recruited on large fincas [farms], often work as a family unit to pay off loans incurred earlier in the year. Their hours are long, their rations meager, their housing sparse. Women and children risk transportation in open trucks and often die in accidents or of carbon monoxide fumes. They live primitively, with as many as 500 workers in large open-air dormitories that have dirt floors and laminated roofs, no sanitary facilities, electricity, or portable water. They sleep on the ground, in hammocks, or on straw mats. They are given about twelve to fourteen pounds of corn per week, one to two pounds of beans, and occasionally some sugar and rice. Children receive half rations and women none if they do not work because of their young children. Sickness among workers who migrate from the highlands to the coastal lowlands is common. Insecticide poisoning is frequent.

With worsening material conditions, class tensions in Guatemala are continually re-surfacing in the form of social explosions. There is no end in sight to rising class struggle since Guatemala has an exceptionally weak healthcare system which will keep burdening the poor with incalculable pain. In his book Becoming Evil, James Waller notes that “over 60 percent of the Guatemalan population lives in dispersed rural communities of less than 2,000 people. Health and educational services are scarce to nonexistent in most of those communities. All told, 45 percent of the population lack minimal health services, and the mortality rate for children under age five was 67 per 1,000 live births in 1995—one of the highest such rates in the industrialized world.” As systemic contradictions come to a head in Guatemala, protests for dignity and justice will keep occurring in the country.

The post The Implosion of Capitalism in Guatemala first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Charter School Promoters Complain About Inability to Pilfer More Public Funds

While they have constantly been at it, every now and then charter school advocates self-servingly complain more vociferously than usual about how they are unable to funnel even more public funds from public schools into the hands of narrow private interests.

A quick review of charter school news in recent days shows no fewer than a dozen well-coordinated articles about how privately-operated charter schools are not receiving their “fair share” of public funds and that public schools are getting more money than them and this supposedly puts charter schools “at a disadvantage.” The well-synchronized news articles revolve around a November 2020 “study” from the University of Arkansas, Department of Education Reform, titled: “Charter School Funding: Inequity Surges in the Cities.”1 Not surprisingly, the Department of Education Reform is funded by the main billionaire supporters of school privatization such as the Walton Foundation. Such “studies” are usually capital-centered disinformation pieces, not rigorous research conducted on the basis of fidelity to the public interest.2

First and foremost, crisis-prone charter schools are privatized education arrangements that operate according to the outdated ideologies of individualism, consumerism, and the “free market.” Charter schools are contract schools, not state agencies like public schools. Charter schools are not public schools in the proper sense of the word. Charter schools and public schools are different entities with different legal, social, historical, and economic profiles and aims. They cannot be equated. It is a misnomer to call charter schools public schools. It is self-serving and intellectually lazy to blur the critical distinction between public and private. As such, charter schools have no legitimate claim to a single public penny. They have no right to public funds. Public funds belong only to public schools and no one else. Many state constitutions even prohibit the transfer of public funds to private entities, including private schools. If charter schools want money, they can get it from somewhere other than the public purse.

In addition, privately-operated charter schools not only already receive billions of dollars in public funds from the federal government and state governments, they also have a large and steady stream of money pouring in from venture philanthropists and other millionaires and billionaires, including virtue-signaling movie stars and sports celebrities. And unlike public schools, which are not private businesses, charter schools were recently able to seize enormous sums of PPP funds (from the CARES Act) which are meant for private businesses.

There is also the issue of how privately-operated non-profit and for-profit charter schools typically provide students and teachers with fewer resources and programs than public schools, while spending lots of money on administrators and advertising (just like a private business). This is especially true in for-profit charter schools which openly and casually admit to running schools to profit off kids. Many think this is immoral. Public schools, even in their under-funded and constantly-demonized state, provide students with more resources, programs, and benefits than privately-operated charter schools. And unlike privately-operated charter schools, public schools accept all students at all times. Public schools do not have the same discriminatory enrollment practices that privately-operated charter schools have. The student profile in a charter school usually differs from the student profile in a public school. It should also be observed that corruption and embezzlement remain widespread in the non-transparent charter school sector. Arrests of charter school employees, owners, and operators appear in the news every week. The real number is likely higher.

Privately-operated charter schools have always been pay-the-rich schemes masquerading as “innovations in education” that “empower parents” and “raise student achievement.” As part of the neoliberal antisocial offensive, advocates of these privatized arrangements work non-stop to figure out how to structure state arrangements in a way that funnels even more socially-produced wealth into the hand of private interests under the veneer of high ideals.

The public must step up its opposition to pay-the-rich schemes and demand greater investments in public schools and social programs. Funneling even more public funds to the rich will make things worse for education, society, the economy and the national interest. Pay-the-rich schemes have not solved any problems confronting education and society. The existence and expansion of charter schools, for example, has made things worse for both charter schools and public school systems.

The issue with charter schools is not test scores, “innovation,” “fair funding,” “choice,” “opportunity,” or “parent power.” These hackneyed phrases are part of the anachronistic neoliberal lexicon designed to divert and disorient people. The core issue is that charter schools are privatized education arrangements that are an integral part of the neoliberal antisocial offensive to destroy the public interest and enrich owners of capital in the context of a continually failing economy that is causing owners of capital to become increasingly desperate in their efforts to use the state to stave off falling profits. Charter schools, in this sense, are a mechanism to avert declining profits, and they are no different, in principle, from other pay-the-rich schemes (e.g., “Public-Private-Partnerships”) to funnel more public money to the rich.

The current thinking has to move beyond “are charter schools ‘good’ or bad’?” This is not analysis or investigation. Such an approach is a recipe for inaction and paralysis and enables further wrecking of the social and natural environment. The level of analysis, thinking, and discussion around charter schools needs to be raised on an uninterrupted basis so as to develop the social consciousness to unleash the human factor to stop privatization and advance the public interest. The intense objective contradictions maturing in the current period are providing people with openings to advance the New over the Old.

  1. DeAngelis, Corey A., Wolf, Patrick J., Maloney, Larry D., May, Jay F. (2020). Charter School Funding: Inequity Surges in the Cities. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, Department of Education Reform.
  2. Professor Gene Glass describes this education department here.

The post Charter School Promoters Complain About Inability to Pilfer More Public Funds first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Active Shooter in the Brain

Oh, the act of deactivating, the process of disconnecting, the very process of uncluttering the brain — bye-bye Facebook — Emancipation!

Pin on Funny Bone

Some might say we are caught in a fun-house . . . or caught in a psych ward. I have more and more people in my sphere — work, friends, email world, Facebook world, family — who are not only showing signs of insanity, but also lobotomy, or massive electro-shock therapy (sic-sick). They actually buy into that Matrix shit, that we are part of a sophisticated code god, a program that creates the “reality” we are in. A Super Duper Mario Brothers Hollywood style. Really, and then the ancient astronauts and those aliens that had to help build Chichén Itzá and the great Pyramids of Gaza.

Conversations about this new normal sort of circle the drain, and in so many instance, the putrid politics of “never Trump” come spewing from the mouths of these people, unsolicited. And as a frame of reference, this “Trump is Gone Now — Hurray for Harris and Biden” (sigh of relief, smiles, giddy chortles) — I am back in the back of the back of the intellectual and political bus. You see, many of us know, through study, travel, experience, rebuff — that the system both Biden and Trump adore is the shooter in the brain. Active Shooter in the House. Active Shooter in the Books they Read (not many). Active Shooter in their Consumer Choices. Active Shooter in the Work Places. Active Shooter in the State Capitals. These Active Shooters are everywhere, and have been since the founding of the Active Shooter Society that is called United (hahaha) States (really?) of America (a map maker, man!).

Pin on Greeting Cards and Party Supply. Home and Garden

Just the way the Kingdom of Puritans and Kingdom of Capital laid the groundwork for this sick-in-the-head, sick-in-the-heart, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-body, sick-in-the-spirit, sick-in-the-commercial-culture has galvanized all those parts to the Active Shooter scenario and Active Shooter response to everything.

A Good Indian is a Dead Indian. There Will be Blood. Atonement for their Savagery. Beat the Dickens Out of their Native Soil/Soil/Spiritual Being. It’s that Collective Psychological Response to the Active Shooter White Patriarchal Rapist/Land Stealer/Murderer Government working out of the White House vis-à-vis all those houses of ill repute, from the CIA, to Pentagon, from NASA, to Every University, from the New York Times to Netflix, from Bank of America to BlackRock, from Jerusalem, to Geneva. Here a few other things these presidents said —

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted putting “dangerous or undesirable aliens or citizens” in “concentration camps.” During World War II, Roosevelt signed an executive order that led hundreds of thousands of people of Japanese descent––including 80,000 U.S. citizens––to be incarcerated in concentration camps on the West Coast of the U.S. The U.S. was in a war against Japan at the time. It was also fighting Italy and Germany, but did not broadly incarcerate people in the U.S. of Italian and German descent.

  • In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren white Southerners “are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes” while discussing the desegregation of schools.
  • Johnson is often credited as one of the most consequential presidents with respect to civil rights, having signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But for much of his political career, Johnson opposed civil rights legislation. According to a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Johnson, during the two decades he served in the U.S. Senate he would use the phrase “nigger bill.” Johnson also reportedly defended appointing Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court––the court’s first black justice in U.S. history––by stating, “Son, when I appoint a nigger to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.”
  • Recorded conversations of Nixon’s time in the Oval Office reveal extremely bigoted views of black people, among other groups. In one conversation, Nixon said, “We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like [New York Sen.] Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls. That’s the key.”
  • Nixon added, “I have the greatest affection for [blacks], but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they’re dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don’t live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.” On Jewish people, Nixon said, “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”

And then, butter-for-brains Vice President Joe Biden, with more and more of his racist toes and feet in his mouth — “The way Trump deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” Biden said. “No sitting president has ever done this, never, never, never. No Republican president has done this, this no Democratic president,” he continued. “We’ve had racists and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president but he’s the first one that has. And the way he pits people against one another is all designed to divide the country, divide people, not pull them together.”

Shall I say more about the absurdity of the presidential election/selection? I’d end up in the poor house if I gave a reader a penny for each racist thought-or-statement written by or yammered by USA politicos, media mavens, Holly-Dirters, authors, celebrities, Fortune 1000-ers, et al!

With the continual panic and lockdown mentality and genuflection to authority, this society pre-and post-Trump has been the bum’s rush for me and my ilk. When we put this society through the settler-colonial lens, we are lambasted on both sides of the political manure pile. “You know, the Indians were not all these noble savages. You know, they came here using the Land Bridge. You know, progress means adaptation.” These people have always believed in American exceptionalism, believed in the red and white and blue. Always believed those alabaster statues of Lincoln or Jefferson or even Martin Luther King. That Active Shooter in the House is what creates that Collective Stockholm Syndrome. It can be collective in rarified forms — the Stockholm Syndrome of Branch Davidians or MAGA or QAnon. The Stockholm Syndrome of Greta/350.org/David Attenborough. The Stockholm Syndrome of K-Street. Stockholm Syndrome of the Military Police State. Stockholm Syndrome of Techies and Bezos Types. That Syndrome is the result of the Active Shooter Mindset.

Siberian eatery is ideal spot for a Putin fan | Reuters

Until we end up here, in Lockdown, in a society where stores are boarded up. Streets are empty. Barricades of the mind and spirit erected from sea to shining sea. Incomes frozen. Assets Hacked. Lives Set Inside that Funhouse, or to use non-PC lingo, Madhouse. That Active Shooter rules of engagement also include not speaking out and not moving too quickly, or use anything in reach to subdue and escape, or to crawl and stop and hide. Lights out, doors locked, no sounds, no whispering, nothing, just crouch and hold still until, what? Whirling Blackhawks and Rumbling SWAT Armored Vehicles with Machine Gun Turrets?

The perceptions from the individual and collective Stockholm Syndrome, and the intellectual actions and inactions in this Active Shooter Lockdown Abide by All Leaders’ Laws/Regulations/Rules/ Fines/Admonishments/ Recommendations/Edicts/Penalties/Crimes/Offenses/Dictates, well, that certainly has constructed a very mean and very ostrich like society, and the see-hear-speak no evil and head in the sand and the lashing out and the hyper propaganda and the hyper-knee jerking, and, well, with it all facilitated by unsocial media, we are in the super minority if we dare question the question and the responses and the answers. We dare to go up against any of the narratives, and alas, we then become the pariah and the Scarlet-ed Letter “A” for Anarchist or Anachronistic or Abnormal or Ambiguous or Antagonistic or Adversarial or Asymptomatic or Argumentative or even the letter “A” for Anticlockwise.

“All forms of perception are “subjective” in the sense that they represent only those aspects and properties of the world that can be detected by an organism’s sensory transducers. Hence all perception is subjective in the sense of being partial. Moreover, once organisms reach a stage of cognitive complexity where they start to encode some sort of model of the surrounding world through their sensory contact with it, then the result is subjective in an even deeper sense. For what is represented will only comprise those aspects of the world that potentially matter to the organism (whether this is explicitly represented in the organism’s values, or implicit in the lifestyle that has been selected for it by evolution).”

— Peter Carruthers, from Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Questions Laid to Rest ( Oxford University Press, Jan 5, 2020;  p. 68)

Imagine that, the very act of just shutting it off, that Fuck You Book, that social ingratiation book, that rotting of the brain book. I was on it only because I had to set up an account for the nonprofit that was/is Gig Economizing me to work on their rather bombastic project of getting billionaires and millionaires and governments and philanthropies to put in “cash” transfers to poor people during, before and after (there will be no after) the Plan-demic Covid-19, SARS-CoV2, corona virus thing. Then, with the multitasking aplomb of wanting to take a break from this or that writing project, alas, I ended up messing with the Paul Haeder Facebook page, and then “befriending” a thousand or so, and then letting loose the philosophical and political tirades of our age. I did end up exposing folk to left of left stuff, to things that are pretty mainstream to me like Black Agenda Report, and groups like the Black Alliance for Peace. Discourse around why Trump or Trump-lite or Pence or GOP-lite, or DNC, or AOC or Biden-Obama-Hillary lite, and the hard stuff brewed by Empire of the Capitalists, that it’s all the same to revolutionaries or those with the Scarlet Letter “A” emblazoned on our t-shirts. Pure addictive and mind-blowing shit, this country is, and that is the unholy alliance of a country tis of me based on torture, raping, burning, immolating, murdering, beheading, pollution, animal slaughter, and air and soil and water destruction, all in the name of toilet paper for the masses, and kingdoms of jewels, banks, homes, mansions, castles for the Capitalists in Power. The ethanol brain rot of Capitalism a la North America.

I would throw out bombs on why Biden and Trump come from the same patriarchal DNA, how the Democratic Party Machine is as Bad and Corrupt as the Republican Party Machine. How the Machine is greased with Capital, and the Machine is not of, for, by, with, entwinned to the People, US, but for the banks. The techno-fascists, and brothers and sister of the Military Industrial Complex of Another and Another and Another Mother/Mothership.

United Snakes of America. United States of BlackRock. Un-united States of Capitalism, what have you, in variations on the theme, well, those stars on that other Banner, tell the story, and the story shifts with the logos, and those stores are indeed just banners, hiding the real sophisticated thugs of Transnational, Transhuman, Transcultural, Transhumane capital.

Corporate Logo Flags (US Flag) from Reclaim Democracy

In that abortion of Facebook just days ago, I find myself less distracted, though I have always worked as a writer, done my time in the world of nature, walks, paddles, bike riding, and now another gig for the 63-going-on-64-white (self-loathing, sort of)-communist-male-who-has-to-in-polite (mixed up)-company-call-himself-socialist. This one, well, full-time, with benefits, and back in the slog of things, working with adults with developmental and intellectual (and psychological and physical) disabilities. As a counselor, in this case all-around job-employment counselor, developers, what have you. Back to getting my expired certificates re-upped, and then all the vocational rehabilitation and department of human services and department of developmental disabilities courses and trainings. Deja vu, and well, in the beach life of the Central Oregon Coast, my spouse and I have to work, even though it feels fluttering around here that half the people are retired and enjoying high lifestyle, or at least solid retired middle class, and then, there are those who service this place, and many of them are struggling big time. In Oregon with the Nanny Governor and the schizophrenia of Red-Neck and Blue-Neck, the pain of businesses shuttering and main streets depopulating, well, this makes for a very hard time for the clientele I work with — how to get a job for someone who has to usually work 20 hours or less to keep the SSI under wraps. People who are not “normally” those we see in the workplace (the highest unemployment rate for any demographic is adults with developmental disabilities — think 83 percent). Getting creative in Plan-Demic times, well, I am up for the challenge, but alas, working that 40-hour a week schedule, and then doing my own thing as a journalist and novelist and such, well, I have to utilize as much brain-space and keyboard and mouse time as possible for MY work.

Facebook was a kick for a while, then for many of those nanoseconds (they do add up to minutes and then an hour is wasted on Fucker-Berg’s Mind Manipulation Tool, I was put on 24 hour and then three-day and then one week suspension. Expelled from posting and commenting. Then, to make matters even more hilarious (sad, too) those dyed in the wool exceptionalists, those with the Democratic Party diarrhea dreams dream, I just had to call it quits. They are the worse of the worse, the same as Christian MAGA and Conservative MAGA and Military MAGA and Retiree MAGA and Female MAGA, and the like. Total cognitive dissonance, and the Active Shooter mind-scape, well, that got the best of me (not really). Endless stupid dead-end posts and mini-discussions about why Trump is in and why Biden is bad, and, then, just coming from this angle as a communist, err, in Active Shooter land, a “socialist,” the arguments are back on the table about how great it is to have that first person of color in as VP-soon-to-be-Prez . . . (1928-’32, Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was a member of the Kaw Nation).

Endless stupidity about the lesser of two evils, about the evils of two lessers, about how a Biden win will allow for pressure on the left side of things to move the party and the country leftier . . . . Right! Bankers, bombers, baggers, bottom-feeders, bombasts, buccaneers, bag men/women, broadcasters, botulism boys, and the like, already lined up for the Harris-Biden Kill Show. Active Shooters show. Then, the Trump All Encompassing Digital and Cable Network . . . . all the while the offense industrialists (elites in and out of the military industrial complex) will bilk the nation, the globe, the resources until a future is this below, the fighting orangutan’s, a la Homo Psychopithecus!

Alternate text

PETITION TARGETCambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry

The Phnom Penh Safari zoo in Cambodia showcases disturbing orangutan boxing matches, forcing innocent apes to fight each other in a boxing ring. The animals are also made to ride bikes, hula-hoop, and wear degrading outfits, as shown in numerous TripAdvisor photos.

Orangutans aren’t the only animals abused at this zoo: tigers jump through flaming hoops and cower in fear of trainers’ electric prods; crocodiles are hit with sticks and have their mouths taped shut for selfie opportunities; and elephants are controlled with bullhooks.

The animals appear neglected, too. The tigers are declawed and extremely thinaccording to EARS Asia. And the drinking water is filthy, according to a Khmer Times article that has since been deleted.

Animals do not exist for human amusement. They deserve natural habitats and loving caretakers, not cruel zoos where they’re forced to perform for park-goers.

The abuse must stop. Sign this petition urging Cambodian Ambassador to the United States Chum Sounry to call for an end to all cruel animal performances at the zoo and push for a thorough investigation into the animals’ treatment.

The abusive husband in this loveless marriage of capitalists ruling the roost, writing the narrative, spinning the malignant history, fears the loss of her/his master because that abusive system has turned him/her into a clinging hopey-dopey thing who believes all those decades of oppression will somehow be redefined to allow this shattered individual and collective to lose all self-esteem to the point that we are no longer capable of imagining a life without our parasitic master.

We are collectively servants of those masters who have for centuries plotted and prodded populations into fearing agency, revolution and radical transformation. We are that Disney-fied and Disney-fed collective, and those elites especially, yammering and yammering about the LGBTQA+ minority’s play (Lin-Manuel Miranda), “Hamilton,” being so wonderous and so emblematic of the good of this nation, well, not a one would question the slaver’s role in America — a slaver, new documents do show that not only was Alexander Hamilton a slave trader for his in-law family, the Schuyler’s, his own account books demonstrate that Hamilton bought, sold and personally owned slaves. But try and have that conversation about Miranda and the elite’s bullshit love of this bullshit play on Fuck-You-Book, or in person (of course, masked up and at least six feet of separation, please, and no more than 8 gathered in an open space, please or else!!!).

I would have expected a few of the people on Fuck-You-And-The-Horse-You-Rode-Into-Town-On BOOK, to nuance the Biden-Harris gig, the bullshit nature of GOP and DNC, and the trillions thrown at the sex addicts and money changers in the billionaire class, while mom and pop, sister and brother, downtrodden and almost-to-be-downtrodden, get shit from Pelosi and Mitch, but instead, the Collective Stockholm Syndrome of the liberal lite kind has just plummeted our 2021 into the new normal of following more anti-civil rights and anti-free speech and anti-freedom of movement laws backed by thousand-dollar fines, the fuzz with their assault rifles and, well, the GIANT Scarlet Letter A for, well, fill in the blank of anti- as prefix. You get expelled from Zoom Doom school, get cut from the team, get sacked, get ostracized, and get kicked to the curb if you dare question narratives of the ruling class. Dare to question this science (sic) versus that science. You know, that is the mob mentality of America, whether it is in the village square burning heretics, or on the greasy grass mowing down dancers and drummers. We are in a Little Bighorn, and the Big-Small-wannabe Eichmann’s are there, mostly, in places of “authority,” the elites, the nanny governors and their cadre of pencil neck followers, the compliant ones, the ones who follow order, those who say LGBTQA+, but are hope-dopey Stockholm Syndrome sufferers of the major kind, creating dictate after dictate.

You can’t even talk about small businesses closing. Can’t talk about the renter and mortgage class (sic) sticking it and sticking it and resticking it to the masses. Imagine this fucked up Corona World, where stupidity and no-deep questioning rule. Can you imagine scum bucket governors from red and blue states, yammering and yammering.

There is no plan for the resettling in and after Plan-demic. But there is that Fourth Industrial Revolution, the big plans by big tech, and the Google world and the economies of scale of the Amazon-kind variety and the satellites launched at sunset and the Elon Musks and the entire shit-show that is Forbes and Rockefeller and Council on Foreign Affairs, the Aspen Institute, the Federalist Society, the Family, the TED Talk crews, all of them, from QAnon to the Tweets, and everything in between, it is the world of the ACTIVE Shooter, and duck and cover, the name of one generation’s game, and now, the slave master will say, “All Money, All Movements, All Things” will and must be on a digital platform. Passports from Hell to Enter a New Hell. No Travel Unless Eyes Are Scanned and Vaccination Record Checked.

Somehow, that has been the pathway of the elites, from Holly-Dirt, to the schools, to the drone programs at two-bit community colleges, to the food purveyors. We have colonized each generation, and the baselines of old hopes — agency, real food, real relationships with people-land-planet, real debate, real learning, real arguing, real water, real air, real art, real feelings, real history, real enfranchisement, real conversations — that too has been put on Red Flag Active Shooter hold. Deep Sixed.

Conversations and philosophical constructions and deconstructions are put on hold as the majority of people in the United Snakes of BlackRock, well, they talk about “things” as bifurcated nonsense, politics, histrionics, heliographs, shit shows and PT Barnum One-Upping Scams of the Mind and of the Culture.

I love what John Steppling has to say in the front of his essay, The Mechanical Soul:

One of the reasons I keep writing about AI is that the entire construct of an artificial intelligence has become both a symbol and metaphor for contemporary thought, and, is part of this ongoing reshaping of human consciousness.

I admit I am surprised how many people believe in the entire project of AI. Clearly it holds something very appealing that people WANT to believe in. And a key element in this is the idea of predictability. And predicting means controlling. So, in one sense, there is nothing new in this desire to foretell the future.

Now the first problem when discussing “consciousness” is that finding a definition for that word is nearly impossible.

“Moreover, the explicit dualistic beliefs of children in Western cultures get less strong with age (Bering 2006). This suggests that dualism is the default setting of the folk-psychological system, which gets weakened by cultural input in scientific cultures—at least at the level of explicit verbal expression—rather than depending on such input (Riekki et al.2013;Willard & Norenzayan 2013; Forstmann & Burgmer 2015). Indeed, dualist intuitions are prevalent in both children and adults, even in cultures whose norms discourage overt attention to mental states, albeit becoming weaker as a function of exposure to Western education (Chudek et al.2018).” –Peter Carruthers (Human and Animal Minds)

With Facebook and Twitter and even consumption of the low art of Netflix and everything on the Internet, that is, almost all of it on the Web, we are losing the race for dualistic beliefs, of holding many counter-arguments in our brains, and even just considering counter-intuitive things. But, the news, the real news, should send shudders down any human’s spine — Bend, Oregon, on the frigid east side of the Cascade Range, is currently without a warming shelter, largely due to complaints by rich residents about a location. Early Tuesday morning, the body of Dave Melvin Savory, 57, a homeless double amputee, was found slumped against a dumpster outside a Rite Aid pharmacy.

Finally, of course, any real leftist would be cheering the defeat and dethroning of any ruler of the empire. Christ, just watching both sides of the sewer pond is what a revolutionary would hope for. Trump defeated and his slim-balls and himself slipping and sliding in their own shit, that is a good day to be a human being. And, the end of Biden and Harris and all the hit men he and she are hiring on for the Biden-Harris Empire Shit Show, that too will be a very good day for humanity.

Something About Heads on Pikes and All Chained up in the Docks? Banned on Facebook.

America’s Active Shooters!!!

One-time rival Senator Kamala Harris backs Joe Biden for president | amNewYork
Oh Say Can You See by the Dawn’s Early Covid Lockdown…
Pope Francis offers prayers for President Trump - The Dialog
… and Christian Bombs Bursting in Air while laughing all the way to the bank!

Final Note — Imagine this shit show America, and this blog, and the few things I wrote in it, enough to toss me to the curb. Big Brother and Big Sister, they are all watching. Just this recent new job, I was told by a person in the nonprofit involved in hiring me that “I Googled you . . . I had to really get beyond that to think, ‘there is more to this guy than all that.'” Hmm. Is this the proverbial digital straw that broke the human being’s back?

The post Active Shooter in the Brain first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Biden will fail to bring back “normal” politics

Analysts are still grappling with the fallout from the US election. Trumpism proved a far more enduring and alluring phenomenon than most media pundits expected. Defying predictions, Trump improved his share of the overall vote compared to his 2016 win, and he surprised even his own team by increasing his share of minority voters and women.

But most significantly, he almost held his own against Democratic challenger Joe Biden at a time when the US economy – the incumbent’s “trump” card – was in dire straits after eight months of a pandemic. Had it not been for Covid-19, Trump – not Biden – would most likely be preparing for the next four years in the White House.

Of course, much of Trump’s appeal was that he is not Biden. The Democratic party decided to run pretty much the worst candidate imaginable: an old-school machine politician, one emphatically beholden to the corporate donor class and unsuited to the new, more populist political climate. His campaigning – on the rare occasions he appeared – suggested significant cognitive decline. Biden often looked more suited to a luxury retirement home than heading the most powerful nation on earth.

But then again, if Trump could lead the world’s only superpower for four years, how hard can it really be? He showed that those tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorists might be right after all: maybe the president is largely a figurehead, while a permanent bureaucracy runs much of the show from behind the curtain. Were Ronald Reagan and George W Bush not enough to persuade us that any halfwit who can string together a few cliches from a teleprompter will suffice?

No return to ‘normal’

The narrowly averted Trump second term has at least prompted liberal pundits to draw one significant lesson that is being endlessly repeated: Biden must avoid returning to the old “normal”, the one that existed before Trump, because that version of “normal” was exactly what delivered Trump in the first place. These commentators fear that, if Biden doesn’t play his cards wisely, we will end up in 2024 with a Trump 2.0, or even a rerun from Trump himself, reinvigorated after four years of tweet-sniping from the sidelines. They are right to be worried.

But their analysis does not properly explain the political drama that is unfolding, or where it heads next. There is a two-fold problem with the “no return to normal” argument.

The first is that the liberal media and political class making this argument are doing so in entirely bad-faith. For four years they have turned US politics and its coverage into a simple-minded, ratings-grabbing horror show. A vile, narcissist businessman, in collusion with an evil Russian mastermind, usurped the title of most powerful person on the planet that should have been bestowed on Hillary Clinton. As Krystal Ball has rightly mocked, even now the media are whipping up fears that the “Orange Mussolini” may stage some kind of back-handed coup to block the handover to Biden.

These stories have been narrated to us by much of the corporate media over and over again – and precisely so that we do not think too hard about why Trump beat Clinton in 2016. The reality, far too troubling for most liberals to admit, is that Trump proved popular because a lot of the problems he identified were true, even if he raised them in bad faith himself and had no intention of doing anything meaningful to fix them.

Trump was right about the need for the US to stop interfering in the affairs of the rest of the world under the pretence of humanitarian concern and a supposed desire to spread democracy at the end of the barrel of a gun. In practice, however, lumbered with that permanent bureaucracy, delegating his authority to the usual war hawks like John Bolton, and eager to please the Christian evangelical and Israel lobbies, Trump did little to stop such destructive meddling. But at least he was correct rhetorically.

Equally, Trump looked all too right in berating the establishment media for promoting “fake news”, especially as coverage of his presidency was dominated by an evidence-free narrative claiming he had colluded with Russia to steal the election. Those now bleating about how dangerous his current assertions of election fraud are should remember they were the ones who smashed that particular glass house with their own volley of stones back in 2016.

Yes, Trump has been equally culpable with his Twitter barrages of fake news. And yes, he cultivated rather than spurned support from one of those major corporate outlets: the reliably right wing Fox News. But what matters most is that swaths of the American public – unable to decide who to believe, or maybe not caring – preferred to side with a self-styled maverick, Washington outsider, the supposed “underdog”, against a class of self-satisfied, overpaid media professionals transparently prostituting themselves to the billionaire owners of the corporate media.

Once voters had decided the system was rigged – and it is rigged towards the maintenance of elite power – anyone decrying the system, whether honestly or duplicitously, was going to prove popular.

Indebted to donors

Trump’s appeal was further bolstered by styling himself a self-made man, as his campaign riffed on the long-standing myths of the American Dream. The US public was encouraged to see Trump as a rich man prepared to gamble part of his own fortune on a run for the presidency so he could bring his business acumen to USA Ltd. That contrasted starkly with Democratic party leaders like Clinton and Biden who gave every appearance of having abjectly sold their principles – and their souls – to the highest-bidding corporate “donors”.

And again, that perception – at least in relation to Clinton and Biden – wasn’t entirely wrong.

How can Biden not end up trying to resurrect the Obama years that he was so very much part of during his two terms as vice-president and that led directly to Trump? That was why corporate donors backed his campaign. They desire the kind of neoliberal “normal” that leaves them free to continue making lots more money and ensures the wealth gap grows.

It is why they and the media worked so hard to pave Biden’s path to the presidency, even doing their best to bury political stories embarrassing to the Biden campaign. Maintaining that “normal” is the very reason the modern Democratic party exists.

Even if Biden wanted to radically overhaul the existing, corporate-bonded US political system – and he doesn’t – he would be incapable of doing so. He operates within institutional, structural constraints – donors, Congress, the media, the supreme court – all there to ensure his room for manoeuvre is tightly delimited.

Had his main rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, been allowed to run instead and won the presidency, it would have been much the same. The important difference is that the existence of a President Sanders would have risked exposing the fact that the “world’s most powerful leader” is not really so powerful.

Sanders would have lost his battles trying to defy these structural constraints, but in the process he would have made those constraints far more visible. They would have been all too obvious had someone like Sanders been constantly hitting his head against them. That was precisely why the corporate class and the technocratic leadership of the Democratic party worked so strenuously to make sure Sanders got nowhere near the presidential race.

Resistance posturing

Biden will do his best to achieve what his donors want: a return to the neoliberal “normal” under Obama. He will offer a sprinkling of initiatives to ensure progressive liberals can put to rest their resistance posturing with a clear conscience. There will be some “woke” identity politics to prevent any focus on class politics and the struggle for real economic justice, as well as some weak, corporation-friendly Green New Deal projects, if Biden can sneak past them past a Republican-controlled Senate.

And if he can’t manage even that … well that’s the beauty of a system tailor-made to follow the path of least financial resistance, to uphold the corporate status quo, the “normal”.

But there is a second, bigger problem. A fly in the ointment. Whatever Biden and the Democratic party do to resurrect the neoliberal consensus, the old “normal”, it isn’t coming back. The smug, technocratic class that has dominated western politics for decades on behalf of the corporate elite is under serious threat. Biden looks more like a hiccough, a last burp provoked by the unexpected pandemic.

The neoliberal “normal” isn’t coming back because the economic circumstances that generated it – the post-war boom of seemingly endless growth – have disappeared.

Plutocracy entrenches

A quarter of a century ago, the Cassandras of their day – those dismissed as peddlers of false conspiracy theories – warned of “peak oil”. That was the idea that the fuel on which the global economy ran either had peaked or soon would do. As the oil ran out, or became more expensive to extract, economic growth would slow, wages would fall, and inequality between rich and poor would increase.

This was likely to have dramatic political consequences too: resource wars abroad (inevitably camouflaged as “humanitarian intervention”); more polarised domestic politics; greater popular dissatisfaction; the return of charismatic, even fascist, leaders; and a resort to violence to solve political problems.

The arguments about peak oil continue. Judged by some standards, the production peak arrived in the 1970s. Others say, with the aid of fracking and other harmful technologies, the turning-point is due about now. But the kind of world predicted by peak oil theory looks to have been unfolding since at least the 1980s. The crisis in neoliberal economics was underscored by the 2008 global economic crash, whose shockwaves are still with us.

On top of all this, there are looming ecological and climate catastrophes intimately tied to the fossil-fuel economy on which the global corporations have grown fat. This Gordian knot of globe-spanning self-harm urgently needs unpicking.

Biden has neither the temperament nor the political manoeuvre room to take on these mammoth challenges and solve them. Inequality is going to increase during his term. The technocrats are again going to be exposed once again as impotent – or complicit – as plutocracy entrenches. The ecological crisis is not going to be dealt with beyond largely empty promises and posturing.

There will be lots of talk in the media about the need to give Biden more time to show what he can do and demands that we keep quiet for fear of ushering back Trumpism. This will be designed to lose us yet more valuable months and years to address urgent problems that threaten the future of our species.

The age of populism

The ability of the technocratic class to manage growth – wealth accumulation for the rich, tempered by a little “trickle down” to stop the masses rising up – is coming to an end. Growth is over and the technocrat’s toolbox is empty.

We are now in the age of political populism – a natural response to burgeoning inequality.

On one side is the populism of the Trumpers. They are the small-minded nationalists who want to blame everyone but the real villains – the corporate elite – for the west’s declining fortunes. As ever, they will search out the easiest targets: foreigners and “immigrants”. In the US, the Republican party has been as good as taken over by the Tea party. The US right is not going to repudiate Trump for his defeat, they are going to totemise him because they understand his style of politics is the future.

There are now Trumps everywhere: Boris Johnson in the UK (and waiting in the wings, Nigel Farage); Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil; the Le Pen dynasty in France; Viktor Orban in Hungary. They are seeding the return of xenophobic, corporate fascism.

The corporate media would have us believe that this is the only kind of populism that exists. But there is a rival populism, that of the left, and one that espouses cooperation and solidarity within nations and between them.

Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Sanders in the US are the first shoots of a global reawakening of class-conscious politics based on solidarity with the poor and oppressed; of renewed pressure for a social contract, in contrast to the worship of survival-of-the-fittest economics; of a reclaiming of the commons, communal resources that belong to us all, not just the strongmen who seized them for their own benefit; and, most importantly, of an understanding, lost sight of in our industrialised, consumption-obsessed societies, that we must find a sustainable accommodation with the rest of the living world.

This kind of left wing populism has a long pedigree that dates back nearly 150 years. It flourished in the inter-war years in Europe; it defined the political battle-lines in Iran immediately after the Second World War; and it has been a continual feature of Latin American politics.

Warped logic

As ever, the populism of the nationalists and bigots has the upper hand. And that is no accident.

Today’s globalised wealth elite prefer neoliberal, technocratic politics that keep borders open for trade; that treat the labouring poor as human chattel, to be moved around on a global chess board as a way to force wages down; and that ensure the elite can stash its ill-gotten gains away on island sanctuaries far from the tax man.

But when technocratic politics is on its death bed, as it is now, the corporate elite will always settle for the populism of a Trump or a Farage over the populism of the left. They will do so even if right wing populism risks constraining their financial empires, because left wing populism does much worse: it upends the warped logic on which the corporate elite’s entire hoarded wealth depends, threatening to wipe it out.

If the corporate elite can no longer find a way to foist a neoliberal technocrat like Biden on the public, they will choose the populism of a Trump over the populism of a Sanders every time. And as they own the media, they can craft the stories we hear: about who we are, what is possible and where we are heading. If we allow it, our imaginations will be twisted and deformed in the image of the deranged totem they choose.

We can reclaim politics – a politics that cares about the future, about our species, about our planet – but to do so we must first reclaim our minds.

The post Biden will fail to bring back "normal" politics first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Will the Biden Team Be Warmongers or Peacemakers?

Obama and Biden meet Gorbachev – did Biden learn anything?  (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as America’s next president! People all over this pandemic-infested, war-torn and poverty-stricken world were shocked by the brutality and racism of the Trump administration, and are anxiously wondering whether Biden’s presidency will open the door to the kind of international cooperation that we need to confront the serious problems facing humanity in this century.

For progressives everywhere, the knowledge that “another world is possible” has sustained us through decades of greed, extreme inequality and war, as U.S.-led neoliberalism has repackaged and force-fed 19th century laissez-faire capitalism to the people of the 21st century.  The Trump experience has revealed, in stark relief, where these policies can lead.

Joe Biden has certainly paid his dues to and reaped rewards from the same corrupt political and economic system as Trump, as the latter delightedly trumpeted in every stump speech. But Biden must understand that the young voters who turned out in unprecedented numbers to put him in the White House have lived their whole lives under this neoliberal system, and did not vote for “more of the same.” Nor do they naively think that deeply-rooted problems of American society like racism, militarism and corrupt corporate politics began with Trump.

During his election campaign, Biden has relied on foreign policy advisors from past administrations, particularly the Obama administration, and seems to be considering some of them for top cabinet posts. For the most part, they are members of the “Washington blob” who represent a dangerous continuity with past policies rooted in militarism and other abuses of power.

These include interventions in Libya and Syria, support for the Saudi war in Yemen, drone warfare, indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo, prosecutions of whistleblowers and whitewashing torture. Some of these people have also cashed in on their government contacts to make hefty salaries in consulting firms and other private sector ventures that feed off government contracts.

–   As former Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor to Obama, Tony Blinken played a leading role in all Obama’s aggressive policies. Then he co-founded WestExec Advisors to profit from negotiating contracts between corporations and the Pentagon,  including one for Google to develop Artificial Intelligence technology for drone targeting, which was only stopped by a rebellion among outraged Google employees.

–   Since the Clinton administration, Michele Flournoy has been a principal architect of the U.S.’s illegal, imperialist doctrine of global war and military occupation. As Obama’s Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, she helped to engineer his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and interventions in Libya and Syria. Between jobs at the Pentagon, she has worked the infamous revolving door to consult for firms seeking Pentagon contracts, to co-found a military-industrial think tank called the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and now to join Tony Blinken at WestExec Advisors.

–   Nicholas Burns was U.S. Ambassador to NATO during the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2008, he has worked for former Defense Secretary William Cohen’s lobbying firm The Cohen Group, which is a major global lobbyist for the U.S. arms industry. Burns is a hawk on Russia and China and has condemned NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a “traitor.”

–   As a legal adviser to Obama and the State Department and then as Deputy CIA Director and Deputy National Security Advisor, Avril Haines provided legal cover and worked closely with Obama and CIA Director John Brennan on Obama’s tenfold expansion of drone killings.

–   Samantha Power served under Obama as UN Ambassador and Human Rights Director at the National Security Council. She supported U.S. interventions in Libya and Syria, as well as the Saudi-led war on Yemen. And despite her human rights portfolio, she never spoke out against Israeli attacks on Gaza that happened under her tenure or Obama’s dramatic use of drones that left hundreds of civilians dead.

–   Former Hillary Clinton aide Jake Sullivan played a leading role in unleashing U.S. covert and proxy wars in Libya and Syria.

–   As UN Ambassador in Obama’s first term, Susan Rice obtained UN cover for his disastrous intervention in Libya. As National Security Advisor in Obama’s second term, Rice also defended Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza in 2014, bragged about the U.S. “crippling sanctions” on Iran and North Korea, and supported an aggressive stance toward Russia and China.

A foreign policy team led by such individuals will only perpetuate the endless wars, Pentagon overreach and CIA-misled chaos that we—and the world—have endured for the past two decades of the War on Terror.

Making diplomacy “the premier tool of our global engagement.”

Biden will take office amid some of the greatest challenges the human race has ever faced—from extreme inequality, debt and poverty caused by neoliberalism, to intractable wars and the existential danger of nuclear war, to the climate crisis, mass extinction and the Covid-19 pandemic.

These problems won’t be solved by the same people, and the same mindsets, that got us into these predicaments. When it comes to foreign policy, there is a desperate need for personnel and policies rooted in an understanding that the greatest dangers we face are problems that affect the whole world, and that they can only be solved by genuine international collaboration, not by conflict or coercion.

During the campaign, Joe Biden’s website declared, “As president, Biden will elevate diplomacy as the premier tool of our global engagement. He will rebuild a modern, agile U.S. Department of State—investing in and re-empowering the finest diplomatic corps in the world and leveraging the full talent and richness of America’s diversity.”

This implies that Biden’s foreign policy must be managed primarily by the State Department, not the Pentagon. The Cold War and American post-Cold War triumphalism led to a reversal of these roles, with the Pentagon and CIA taking the lead and the State Department trailing behind them (with only 5% of their budget), trying to clean up the mess and restore a veneer of order to countries destroyed by American bombs or destabilized by U.S. sanctions, coups and death squads.

In the Trump era, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reduced the State Department to little more than a sales team for the military-industrial complex to ink lucrative arms deals with India, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and countries around the world.

What we need is a foreign policy led by a State Department that resolves differences with our neighbors through diplomacy and negotiations, as international law in fact requires, and a Department of Defense that defends the United States and deters international aggression against us, instead of threatening and committing aggression against our neighbors around the world.

As the saying goes, “personnel is policy,” so whomever Biden picks for top foreign policy posts will be key in shaping its direction. While our personal preferences would be to put top foreign policy positions in the hands of people who have spent their lives actively pursuing peace and opposing U.S. military aggression, that’s just not in the cards with this middle-of-the-road Biden administration.

But there are appointments Biden could make to give his foreign policy the emphasis on diplomacy and negotiation that he says he wants. These are American diplomats who have successfully negotiated important international agreements, warned U.S. leaders of the dangers of aggressive militarism and developed valuable expertise in critical areas like arms control.

William Burns was Deputy Secretary of State under Obama, the # 2 position at the State Department, and he is now the director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. As Under Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs in 2002, Burns gave Secretary of State Powell a prescient and detailed but unheeded warning that the invasion of Iraq could “unravel” and create a “perfect storm” for American interests. Burns also served as U.S. Ambassador to Jordan and then Russia.

Wendy Sherman was Obama’s Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, the # 4 position at the State Department, and was briefly Acting Deputy Secretary of State after Burns retired. Sherman was the lead negotiator for both the1994 Framework Agreement with North Korea and the negotiations with Iran that led to the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015. This is surely the kind of experience Biden needs in senior positions if he is serious about reinvigorating American diplomacy.

Tom Countryman is currently the Chair of the Arms Control Association. In the Obama administration, Countryman served as Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs. He also served at U.S. embassies in Belgrade, Cairo, Rome and Athens, and as foreign policy advisor to the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Countryman’s expertise could be critical in reducing or even removing the danger of nuclear war. It would also please the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, since Tom supported Senator Bernie Sanders for president.

In addition to these professional diplomats, there are also Members of Congress who have expertise in foreign policy and could play important roles in a Biden foreign policy team. One is Representative Ro Khanna, who has been a champion of ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen, resolving the conflict with North Korea and reclaiming Congress’s constitutional authority over the use of military force.

Another is Representative Karen Bass, who is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and also of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights, and International Organizations.

If the Republicans hold their majority in the Senate, it will be harder to get appointments confirmed than if the Democrats win the two Georgia seats that are headed for run-offs, or than if they had run more progressive campaigns in Iowa, Maine or North Carolina and won at least one of those seats. But this will be a long two years if we let Joe Biden take cover behind Mitch McConnell on critical appointments, policies and legislation. Biden’s initial cabinet appointments will be an early test of whether Biden will be the consummate insider or whether he is willing to fight for real solutions to our country’s most serious problems.

Conclusion

U.S. cabinet positions are positions of power that can drastically affect the lives of millions of Americans and billions of our neighbors overseas. If Biden is surrounded by people who, against all the evidence of past decades, still believe in the illegal threat and use of military force as key foundations of American foreign policy, then the international cooperation the whole world so desperately needs will be undermined by four more years of war, hostility and international tensions, and our most serious problems will remain unresolved.

That’s why we must vigorously advocate for a team that would put an end to the normalization of war and make diplomatic engagement in the pursuit of international peace and cooperation our number one foreign policy priority.

Whomever President-elect Biden chooses to be part of his foreign policy team, he—and they—will be pushed by people beyond the White House fence who are calling for demilitarization, including cuts in military spending, and for reinvestment in our country’s peaceful economic development.

It will be our job to hold President Biden and his team accountable whenever they fail to turn the page on war and militarism, and to keep pushing them to build friendly relations with all our neighbors on this small planet that we share.

The post Will the Biden Team Be Warmongers or Peacemakers? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Covid and its Man-Made Gigantic Collateral Damage: The Great Reset

The going narrative in the west is: “Covid is on the Rise.  We are entering the second wave.  We must protect our people.”

The offered recipe is testing-testing-testing. It is the instrument for increasing “cases”. The more you test, the more cases you have. Is that so difficult to understand? If tomorrow the world stops “testing”, covid is gone. Finito. Back to life. That’s what they don’t want, though. “They”, the higher-ups. Let me call them the diabolical Deep Dark State.

However, testing and the testing results are never analyzed. How many positives are asymptomatic, who are the “positives’, what are their age groups? According to all those doctors around the world who have stepped out of the Matrix and formed associations of medical professionals and related scientists, most of them call themselves Doctors for the Truth, in Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, Peru, the USA and more – more than 80% of the “positives” are asymptomatic, meaning asymptomatic people feel nothing and never get sick.

About ten to fifteen percent have slight to more serious symptoms, but do not need hospitalization  and the rest who may be hospitalized is above 75 or 80 years of age almost all of them with one to several comorbidities. Of those who die, most die from a medical pre-condition – coronary disease, diabetes, cancer – with “tested” covid-19, but not from covid-19.

According to the various associations of Doctors for the Truth, they concluded, based on their experience, more than 50% of the so-called RT-PCM (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) deliver “false positives”. Of course, the labs, hospitals and doctors who perform them are aware, but they are silenced with a carrot or a stick. And the “false positives” conveniently help drive covid statistics through the roof.

But who would have an interest in that?

Curiously, very curiously, in the northern hemisphere — also called the Global North — the hundreds of years-old common flu has literally disappeared. From one year to another. We have just entered the season of the common flu, or “influenza”. Fall and winter are typical for the annual flu and cold. But nobody talks about it. Suddenly the flu has evaporated. No flu statistics. No mainstream media, no coopted doctors, hospitals or Covid Task Force, and, of course, no government officials, especially not those from the sacrosanct Health Authorities, would ever mention the word flu or “influenza”. Why? They don’t think that We, the people, could get the idea. Or do they?

Is it possible that the flu has been adopted, integrated into covid? This is just an innocent question, of course. One ought not to speculate with things that could put authorities in a corner, or worse, imply that they have been lying to the people who elected them, to the very people who pay their salaries.

And why would they do that? Do they have an obscure reason? Someone, something high-high above them, who tells them, all 193 UN nations at once, they have to cheat their people, because these high-high above them, sinister dark un-people have an agenda to implement? Perhaps Bill Gates’ Agenda ID2020, accompanied by WEF’s Klaus Schwab’s “Covid-19 – The Great Reset” (July 2020, available on Amazon and everywhere)?

It is indeed possible that governments around the globe have been coopted, by carrot or by stick (to put it benignly), to drive up covid statistics, covid “cases”; and what’s more convenient in the fall-winter season than converting the common flu which in any case, when tested, will show corona viruses. The flu and covid viruses are very, very similar; they are practically undistinguishable in a test.

Ask the doctors who stepped out of the Matrix, the doctors for the truth. Virtually all flu viruses contain a proportion of corona viruses, as high as 17% to 20%. So, telling what is what is almost impossible, and even less so if the mix-up can be favorable for covid and help drive the covid statistics up and up and up.

But who would be interested in making the pandemic look worse than it already is? Isn’t it that everybody wants to “flatten the curve”? At least that’s what they said during the first wave. It justified the first lockdown. Why would it be different in the second wave? And, yes, we are suddenly in the midst of the second wave. But nobody dares talking again about flattening the curve.

Virtually all governments have assured their people – frankly, we are more subjects than people for them, subjects that are manipulated with lies and masks and social distancing, separated from their loved ones through senseless quarantines – these potentially resisting subjects, WE, were assured that there will be no second lockdown, that the countries, the world, could not afford a second lockdown. However, gradually but with giant steps, these dictatorial governments, almost all of whom have quietly and without consultation of the people, adopted “Health Emergency Laws” — a close equivalent to Martial Law — have closed all the windows and doors, so that “bang” another lockdown is on the plate. And again, nowhere to escape.

Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Greece, the UK, and so far, partly Switzerland have just declared within the last 48 hours a lockdown, or a quasi-lockdown, with curfews and “house arrests” – isolation at home, shop closings, work-from-home rules, and more.  Worse may follow. People take it. Benign protests only. But no steadfast and unrelenting resistance yet.

Others governments are weighing in, rather “when” than “if” – they want to take this draconian step, eviscerating the last shred of the remaining economy, and causing detrimental damage to humanity, social damage from isolation, social distancing – not being able to get together with family and friends. In some countries like Canada, the tyrannical Trudeau government has already announced that this year “Christmas may be cancelled” – meaning, no visits with families and friends. Others may follow suit. Can you imagine!

In a recent interview with RT, Stanford University Professor, medical doctor and President Trump’s Covid advisor, Scott Atlas, called the lockdown policies an “epic failure” and argued they are “killing people,”. Atlas added, “The public-health leadership have failed egregiously, and they’re killing people with their fear-inducing shutdown policies.” And further, “The lockdowns will go down as an epic failure of public policy by people who refuse to accept, they were wrong.”

Atlas then pointed to job losses, rising suicides, rising drug abuse and the harm being done to young people, tying the issues to the Covid-19 restrictions put in place. He referred to a study showing that 25 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 thought about killing themselves in June “due to the lockdown,” he said. And what’s maybe worse, We’re creating a generation of neurotic children, forcing them to wear masks and be six feet apart from their friends, or not even have school in person.”

People do not take it! Resist!

France, under President Macron, is already considering a third wave. RT reports:

France’s minister of solidarity and health, Olivier Veran, has said he cannot rule out a third wave of the coronavirus, as the country enters a second national lockdown.

As they battle a new spike in Covid-19 cases, French officials are already concerned about the threat of a third wave. Discussing the situation on France Info radio, Veran told listeners that, due to the severity of the virus and the speed at which it’s spreading, it’s not possible to rule out a third wave, even if the second peak is brought under control.

Defending the government’s decision to implement a second national lockdown, which comes into effect at midnight on Thursday (29 October), Veran claimed that it’s “nobody’s failure,” but said there are challenges with containing the spread, as they are dealing with an “invisible enemy.”

A second wave, worldwide, was already predicted in May 2020 because those who call the shots on the “innocent” people knew exactly that the flu season will come, as it does every year.

Now, the flu is blended in with covid, mixed up and adding to the dramatic hike of covid “cases”, covid statistics. This and the media hype will create more FEAR, more – or rather – THE justification for a second lockdown, and obedience, yes.  The scared are weak and vulnerable, they are manipulable, especially when threatened at the same time with disproportionately huge fines for disobedience. FEAR is the strongest weapon of these tyrants.

The FEAR factor makes new parents accept that hospitals impose upon them to wear masks when receiving their newborn. Faceless parents, fearsome world. Their newborn and later toddlers and children will know their parents with masks. Facial expressions are hidden. The child is being isolated in plain sight from their parents. That’s what this monstrous dictatorship, to which every government of this world is submissive, wants. Alienated children – a generation that grows up in a faceless society. This is a sinister form of child abuse that may destroy an entire generation. But that’s what the eugenists behind this covid cum 5G atrocity want – heartless, emotionless people, who may easily become dispensable. The dispensable people is not a new term. It has been used regularly in the circles of the current US Administration to designate people who are in their views worthless for society.

This reminds of an infamous Henry Kissinger saying, “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.” These words were spoken already in the 1960s, by a eugenist. That’s what Kissinger is, a Rockefeller protégé, sharing his Master’s deepest thoughts, and he is joined, by whom else, Bill Gates, who doesn’t make a secret of wanting to reduce “drastically” the world population. It would therefore not come as a surprise, if the Great Reset also had in mind reducing food supply to certain “lesser populations”.

Even without disrupting food supplies, the poor will have no money to purchase food. They will enter a painful phase of famine, parents seeing their children starve  and many will succumb to famine, death by famine. This is the natural consequence of what’s already happening – bankruptcies abound, unemployment rises into unheard dimensions. The International Labor Office (ILO) predicts by end 2020 to mid-2021 that up to half of the world’s workforce may be out of work – most of them in the Global South, where about 70% of labor is “informal”, meaning no social safety nets, no pensions, no unemployment benefits, nothing.

Simultaneously, The World Food Program (WFP) predicts a Famine Pandemic, the consequences of which are far more disastrous than those of the so-called “covid-pandemic”. The WFP reports that today already 821 million people go to bed hungry every night, and an additional 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. That means 135 million people on earth are marching towards the brink of starvation.

WFP predicts that Covid-19 will likely add another 130 million, who could be facing starvation by the end of 2020. That’s a total of 265 million people on the brink of death from starvation by the end of 2020.

The world’s governments – and all 193 UN members participate in one way or another – they are genocidal, since they know exactly what they are doing.

Enter the Great Reset, referred to above. It presents a disaster plan of total destruction – the 4th Industrial Revolution, based on IT, algorithms, robotism, transferring assets from the bottom to the top, what’s left of them, converting them in an “eco-friendly” way into a new capitalism, painted green, The New Green Deal. Will people fall for it? Propaganda is strong. Propaganda had already started with the 1992 Environmental Conference in Rio (The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), from 3-14 June 1992. This conference set the pace for the climate hype that ensued and to which by now almost the entire world is enslaved, leading to “How Dare You” Greta – and now the New Green Deal.

In this 4th Industrial age, where robots call the shots, we the surviving people, other than the commanding elite, of course, would become tele-commanded obedient servants, a bit like Aldous Huxley’s futuristic “Brave New World”.

We can resist. Peacefully, of course. For example, no more testing. Nobody goes “testing” and within no time the covid figures would decline. Covid would actually stop. And the common flu, as it does every year, would bother us a bit. But no reason for fear, because there are plenty of remedies – but NO Vaccines.

We have to peacefully engage in dialogue with the police and military, explain to them what’s at stake. They must understand that they are only the obedient servants of an abject rich elite’s agenda that has nothing to do with protecting public health, that, to the contrary, they are destroying public health and humanity. Police and military are just like us, We, the People. Once this dark sinister elite reached their goal of total control and take-over, police and military will be discarded and replaced by robots. That’s already in the books.

We have to talk to medical personnel in hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners, as well as to teachers from Kindergarten to primary school, all the way to universities – explain to them the “sinister plan” and what it has already done to humanity, to the world’s socioeconomic fabric.

And finally, we have to engage with the numerous country associations of thousands of medical doctors, virologists, immunologists and other scientists in the bio-medical field, who have stepped out of the matrix and sided with the people, often at the detriment of their careers – and worse.

No more testing and covid will be gone. And no vaccines.  Only in unison we are strong and can overcome. And overcome we shall!

The post Covid and its Man-Made Gigantic Collateral Damage: The Great Reset first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Leveraging the Ruling Class’s Loss of Legitimacy

The polls closed with “no winner yet in cliffhanger presidential election,” as of Wednesday evening. Despite a period of uncertainty, which is typically the nemesis of Wall Street, the Dow climbed 0.9%, the S&P 500 opened 1.5% higher, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.6%.

The explanation is that the financial elites know that they win regardless of who occupies the Oval Office, which is something that some leftists, who had advocated temporarily subordinating an independent working-class alternative to campaign for the leading neoliberal candidate, did not firmly grasp.

Trouncing the contender that Noam Chomsky hyperbolically called “worse than Hitler” would be a blow to overt white supremacy. But bedrock institutional racism, entombed in the US carceral state, will still endure and the tasks of the left will remain.

Legitimizing neoliberal rule

The left’s vote was not needed to ensure a Biden victory. But it was needed to justify voting for the “lesser evil” based on the false narrative of TINA – “there is no alternative.”

The Revolutionary Communist Party, normally marginalized by the corporate media, received banner headlines when it declared for Biden. The “paper of record” for the Democratic wing of the two-party duopoly, The New York Times, opportunistically posted an op-ed by a self-described socialist because it pleaded, “leftists should vote for Biden in droves.”

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) readily acknowledged “there is no choice at the top of the ticket that would advance our movement or constitute a ‘victory’ for democratic socialism.” But that did not deter them from jumping on the Biden bandwagon. DSA seemed more worried about Biden losing than about Sanders being excluded by the DNC.

It is not the left’s responsibility to strategize how the Democrats could have run this or future campaigns. Incidentally, a Biden/Harris victory would preclude a liberalish Democrat, such as a member of the Squad, making a run as the Democratic standard bearer for next 12 to 16 years.

The contribution of those parttime leftists who campaigned for Biden was not to put him into the White House – they didn’t have the numbers to do that – but to help legitimize neoliberal rule. Their preemptive political surrender obscured the failure of a political system incapable of addressing the critical issues of our times.

Politics of fear obscured critical issues

Fear was the operational motivator for apocalyptic fantasies of a fascist coup, which served to obviate a progressive agenda. A tanking economy, a still uncontained pandemic, and unprecedented protests against racialized police brutality were attributed solely to Trump’s watch, instead of being understood as also endemic to the neoliberal order.

Neither presidential candidate advocated comprehensive healthcare in a time of pandemic, with both in effect opting for triage of the most vulnerable – people of color and the elderly. The two wings of the duopoly mainly differ on this existential health issue over the advisability of wearing face masks.

Climate catastrophe remains an existential threat. Biden may throw a few more crumbs than Trump in the direction of the alternative energy industry. But both candidates contested to see who was more enthusiastic about fracking, while they agree that tax cuts and subsidies to the fossil fuel industry will be continued. Biden’s predecessor, whom he served as VP, boasted “we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to circle the Earth and then some.” The next four years portends a choice of someone who denies global warming or another who believes in the science but does not act on it.

The financial elites disproportionately lavished their support on the Democrats. The oligarchs understood more clearly than certain elements of the left where their class interests reside. “Wall Street,” Politico reported, grew “giddy about Biden,” because Uncle Joe would best help recover their legitimacy while carrying their water. The financiers also hedged their bets with contributions to Trump. Along with the DNC, they understood that another four years of the current occupant would be better than a Bernie Sanders presidency for the owning class.

Game of Thrones

While the outcome of the presidential election is uncertain, the legitimacy of the ruling class has surely been sullied by the arguably ugliest campaign in recent history. The elite club must now figure out how to anoint their new emperor without further damaging their image. The hiccups over their transfer of power is their dilemma and our good fortune.

It may be too early to tell, but the widely feared Trump coup has yet to be realized. The Proud Boys, with their mail-order munitions, have yet to replace the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Nervous leftists, apprehensive about a Trump coup, are calling upon labor to wage a general strike to install a neoliberal into the White House. Joe Hill would find that ironic at best.

While “President Donald Trump has cast doubt on whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power,” CNN revealed, “the secretive process to prepare a would-be Biden administration has been underway for months with help from top Trump officials (emphasis added).”

Biden may now be less unpalatable than Trump, but Uncle Joe had the advantage of not being in power for the last four years. He may not look so hot after another term of neoliberal rule, characterized by increasing austerity for working people, entrenched institutional racism, oppressive surveillance and security state measures, and an aggressive imperialism abroad. Substantial differences exist between Trump and Biden, but those differences do not extend to which class they serve.

Recovering the left alternative

With record turnout, never before have so many voted for so little. Now is auspicious for alternatives to the two-party duopoly.

As reported by Alan Mcleod, Trump’s abysmal approval rating of 42% is barely edged out by Biden’s of 46%. Two-thirds of prospective Democratic voters polled claim they would be voting against Trump rather than for Biden; only a quarter of the prospective Republicans are voting so much for Trump as against the Democrats. Biden way squeak through on the appeal of not being Trump, but that will wear thin quickly.

With both major parties continuing to abandon the interests of working people, the left must either take the initiative or surrender it to a growing right wing. Rather than this being the time when never before has there been a greater need to support the lesser-evil Democrats and give them an extraordinary mandate to rule, this is a time to leverage the ruling class’s loss of legitimacy to articulate a left alternative.

Taking a left initiative, despite the loss of legitimacy of the ruling elites, is challenging. With a Republican victory, the left has historically gotten absorbed into a resistance that devolves into an assistance – the graveyard of social movements that is the Democratic Party. With a Democratic victory, the illusion of hope and that anyone’s better than Trump are false excuses to “give Biden a chance.” After campaigning for the Democrat, it will be problematic for these same left forces to credibly do an about-face and fight him. As for an independent electoral left, more rigorous party registration rules targeting left alternatives, recently imposed by Democrats, foreshadow fewer left choices on future ballots.

However, the majority of working people support a progressive agenda, which has been ignored and suppressed by the duopoly:

  • Effectively addressing global warming
  • COVID safety over economic activity and economic relief
  • Ending forever wars and sanctions, while de-escalating the threat of nuclear conflagration
  • National healthcare program modelled after Medicare
  • Opposition to the militarization of the police and preservation of civil liberties
  • Reduction of income inequality, stronger anti-trust laws, and fairly taxing wealth

These were among the critical issues that were lost in the distracting political theatre of the 2020 campaign and the basis for a renewed left initiative.

The post Leveraging the Ruling Class’s Loss of Legitimacy 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.