Category Archives: Joe Biden

Biden: Tilt Taxes to the Middle Class

The bad news is that taxes in America are tilted in favor of the rich. The best news is that we could be only weeks away from a tilt in favor of the middle class: the reforms President Biden is urging to help balance the Administration’s $3.5 trillion budget bill.

The changes won’t be going as far as the president first proposed. Congress writes the laws, and House Democrats have already dialed back on Biden’s wish list.  Even so, the bill will almost certainly reflect a sharp shift in America’s priorities.

As Biden himself puts it, “My tax policy is based on a simple proposition, which is to stop rewarding wealth and start rewarding work a little bit.”

Republicans oppose everything, and a few Democrats have differences as well. Here’s a quick rundown of some major items as legislators continue to shape the final bill.

A cut in the top marginal rate was part of Trump’s 2017 tax giveaway. Biden wants the rate back where it was, at 39.6 percent. It would apply to taxable incomes above $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples.

The tax break on capital gains is a huge part of America’s tax handout to the haves. The current levy on long-term capital gains tops out at 20 percent, little more than half the top rate on income from work. Biden hoped to equalize those rates, but that hope is history.

The Democratic-controlled Ways and Means Committee opted instead for a hike in the capital gains tax to 25 percent. Significantly, the new rate would apply to any gains realized after September 13—preventing any stock sell-offs to avoid the 25 percent rate. The Committee also recommended a 3 percent surcharge on taxable incomes above $5 million.

Ending the carried interest loophole is another of Biden’s tax-fairness goals. Candidate Trump promised to do it, but President Trump reneged and let it stand: “a tax dodge for wealthy private equity and hedge fund managers,” allowing them to defer taxes and ultimately treat their income as lower-taxed capital gains.

Bills are advancing in both the House and the Senate to do what Trump turned his back on. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has drafted the most extensive repeal: it doesn’t even include the Biden recommendation for a $400,000 income exclusion.

A supporter of the Wyden bill, former BlackRock managing director Morris Pearl, describes carried interest as an “absurd, regressive loophole with no credible economic justification…that has allowed some of the wealthiest people in the country to cut their tax bill nearly in half.”

Wealthy corporations have also been big winners in the tax-cut sweepstakes: Trump reduced the rate on corporate earnings from 35 percent all the way down to 21 percent. Biden was pushing for an increase to 28 percent—still less than it was before Trump—but he won’t be getting it.

The current Democratic plan calls for graduated corporate rates, moving from 18 percent for incomes below $400,000 to 26.5 percent on incomes above $5 million. The benefit of the lower rates would phase out for firms with incomes over $10 million.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) wants an even lower top rate. Nothing can pass if Manchin doesn’t come aboard (and every other Democrat as well). In other words, the numbers are still in flux.

Liberals are happy enough with what’s in the bill, but deeply unhappy about what isn’t. Listen to Inequality.org: “Without significant changes…billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos will hardly pay a nickel more in taxes. And families like the Waltons…will continue to amass huge dynastic fortunes.”

All the same, America could be on the verge of a seismic change in tax policy.  After decades of tax laws that disproportionately favor the rich, Biden is shifting the focus to the broad middle class.

Instead of putting millions more into the pockets of millionaires, he intends to put billions more into the social safety net—into childcare and healthcare and education.

President Kennedy, 1961: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” President Biden to America’s wealthy, 2021: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what your taxes can do for your country.”

Congress willing, Biden’s message could be delivered within weeks.

• This article first appeared at New York Daily News

The post Biden: Tilt Taxes to the Middle Class first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Anglo Unilateralists Strike

When President Joe Biden won the White House, he promised, with a facility of unceasing boredom, that diplomacy was back.  “Diplomacy is back at the centre of our foreign policy,” he stated on February 4.  “As I said in my inaugural address, we will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s.”

The fact that such diplomacy had never gone away seemed to escape him.  In the simpleton’s view of politics, his predecessor had abandoned the jaw jaw approach to international relations for muscular and mindless US unilateralism.  Allies had been belittled, ignored and mocked.  Strongmen had been feted, admired and praised.  It was now incumbent upon the United States, urged Biden, that “American leadership” confront “this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy.”

It would have been more accurate to say that President Donald Trump’s coarse, business board room model was simply too much of a shock for those familiarly comfortable with guile, deception and dissimulation.  But Biden’s return to acceptable hypocrisy did not mask the “America First” note in his temper.  Since then, that temper has seen a dramatic, ahead-of-schedule exit from Afghanistan, building on Trump’s undertakings to conclude open-ended wars and commitments.  US allies began to wonder whether the Biden model was that different from Trump’s cruder original.

With the announcement on September 15 of the trilateral security pact AUKUS, an agreement between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to deepen military ties in an effort to contain China, the “diplomacy is back” cart was soiled and upended.  The European Union had not been consulted.  A furious France only received a few hours’ notice that the agreement they had made through the Naval Group with Australia to construct the next generation of attack class submarines had been dissolved.  Countries in the Indo-Pacific were also left in the dark.

France, in some ways even more than China, the primary target of AUKUS, is incandescent with rage.  On Franceinfo radio, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was unsparing in his remarks.  “This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr Trump used to do.” He confessed to feeling anger and bitterness. “This isn’t done between allies.”

As recently as July, Le Drian had visited Washington, where he pointedly stated that France was “an Indo-Pacific nation with territories that give [it] the world’s second-largest exclusive economic zone” with a permanent military presence of 8,500 personnel in the region.  Paris, along with EU member states, was in the process of formulating a clear Indo-Pacific strategy.  Efforts were being made in creating “strategic partnerships” with Japan, Australia and India.  Regional organisations such as ASEAN were being brought into the fold.  Any “transatlantic pivot toward the Indo-Pacific” had to be taken “together”.

At the end of August, Australia and France held their inaugural Foreign and Defence (2+2) Ministerial Consultations. No hint was given that something was brewing.  As the joint statement outlined, “Ministers underscored the importance of the strong and enduring commitment of other partners, including the United States, and Indo-Pacific partners in upholding an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific in accordance with international law.”

With notions of sham togetherness shaken, retaliation in the old diplomatic tradition has followed.  President Emmanuel Macron has recalled the French ambassadors to the United States and Australia.  Britain was rebuked somewhat differently, being spared the same harsh treatment; being underhanded was the very sort of thing Paris expected from their historical enemy. In Le Drian’s words, its conduct had been “opportunistic”, with London being little more than “the fifth wheel of the wagon”.

In a joint statement, Le Drian and French Minister for the Army Florence Parly emphasised that this new security arrangement had been arrived at to the “exclusion of a European ally and partner … at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.”  The move signalled “a lack of consistency which France can only notice and regret.”

Special words were reserved for Australia, a country now wooed by an unconvincing promise of eight nuclear-powered submarines that are only promised to enter service sometime in the 2040s.  The decision was “contrary to the letter and the spirit of the cooperation which prevailed between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political trust.”  Le Drian, in a separate observation, weighed on the theme of infidelity, calling the decision, “A knife in the back.”

None of this takes away from the fact that the original Franco-Australian contract, reached in 2016, was an ill-thought out undertaking to build 12 conventional Barracuda class submarines in imitation of the nuclear powered Suffren design.  It was vain, costly and promised obsolescence before viable performance. Then again, the French argument goes, the Australians wanted it.

The justifications for this episode of Anglophonic mischief have varied in their insolence and disingenuousness.  US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was all shine and floss in claiming that France remained “a vital partner” in ensuring security in the Indo-Pacific “and we want to find every opportunity to deepen our transatlantic cooperation” in the area.  To a question suggesting that France had been stabbed in the back, Blinken mechanically repeated the vital importance of a “transatlantic” association.

Australia’s simply disposed Defence Minister Peter Dutton preferred fantasy by way of explanation, claiming that his government had been “upfront, open and honest”.  “We can understand of course, the French are upset at the cancellation of a contract but in the end, our job is to act in our national interest.”  Britain’s Defence Minister Ben Wallace was of like mind, promising that, “Nothing was done by sneaking behind anyone’s back.”  But sneaking there was, and it was the Anglosphere, led by the United States, doing the sneaking.

AUKUS is less a trio than a hefty, bullying chief accompanied by a willing assistant and an enthusiastic supplicant.  It is a declaration of hostile intent in a region of the world that promises to be the Europe of 1914.  It has also encouraged the EU to formulate its own Indo-Pacific policy with haste and independence. “The regrettable decision which has just been announced on the FSP [Future Submarine Program] only reinforces the need to raise the issue of European strategic autonomy loud and clear,” observed Le Drian and Parley.  Policy makers in Beijing will be struggling to stifle their amusement.

The post The Anglo Unilateralists Strike first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Despite its exit, the US will continue to wage war on Afghanistan

The United States has always been a bad loser. Whether it has viewed itself as an imperial power, a military superpower or, in today’s preferred terminology, the “world’s policeman”, the assumption is that everyone else must submit to its will.

All of which is the context for judging the outcry in western capitals over the US army’s hurried exit last month from Kabul, its final hold-out in Afghanistan.

There are lots of voices on both sides of the Atlantic lamenting that messy evacuation. And it is hard not to hear in them – even after a catastrophic and entirely futile two-decade military occupation of Afghanistan – a longing for some kind of re-engagement.

Politicians are describing the pull-out as a “defeat” and bewailing it as evidence that the US is a declining power. Others are warning that Afghanistan will become a sanctuary for Islamic extremism, leading to a rise in global terrorism.

Liberals, meanwhile, are anxious about a renewed assault on women’s rights under the Taliban, or they are demanding that more Afghans be helped to flee.

The subtext is that western powers need to meddle a little – or maybe a lot – more and longer in Afghanistan. The situation, it is implied, can still be fixed, or at the very least the Taliban can be punished as a warning to others not to follow in its footsteps.

All of this ignores the fact that the so-called “war for Afghanistan” was lost long ago. “Defeat” did not occur at Kabul airport. The evacuation was a very belated recognition that the US military had no reason, not even the purported one, to be in Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden evaded capture.

In fact, as experts on the region have pointed out, the US defeated itself. Once al-Qaeda had fled Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s chastened fighters had slunk back to their villages with no appetite to take on the US Robocop, each local warlord or tribal leader seized the moment. They settled scores with enemies by informing on them, identifying to the US their rivals as  “terrorists” or Taliban.

US commanders blew ever bigger holes through the new Pax Americana as their indiscriminate drone strikes killed friend and foe alike. Soon most Afghans outside the corrupt Kabul elite had good reason to hate the US and want it gone. It was the Pentagon that brought the Taliban back from the dead.

Deceitful spin

But it was not just the Afghan elite that was corrupt. The country became a bottomless pit, with Kabul at its centre, into which US and British taxpayers poured endless money that enriched the war industries, from defence officials and arms manufacturers to mercenaries and private contractors.

Those 20 years produced a vigorous, powerful Afghanistan lobby in the heart of Washington that had every incentive to perpetuate the bogus narrative of a “winnable war”.

The lobby understood that their enrichment was best sold under the pretence – once again – of humanitarianism: that the caring West was obligated to bring democracy to Afghanistan.

That deceitful spin, currently being given full throat by politicians, is not just there to rationalise the past. It will shape the future, too, in yet more disastrous ways for Afghanistan.

With American boots no longer officially on the ground, pressure is already building for war by other means.

It should not be a difficult sell. After all, that was the faulty lesson learned by the Washington foreign policy elite after US troops found themselves greeted in Iraq, not by rice and rose petals, but by roadside bombs.

In subsequent Middle East wars, in Libya, Syria and Yemen, the US has preferred to fight more covertly, from a greater distance or through proxies. The advantage is no American body bags and no democratic oversight. Everything happens in the shadows.

There is already a clamour in the Pentagon, in think tanks, among arms manufacturers and defence contractors, and in the US media, too, to do exactly the same now in Afghanistan.

Nothing could be more foolhardy.

Brink of collapse

Indeed, the US has already begun waging war on the Taliban and – because the group is now Afghanistan’s effective government – on an entire country under Taliban rule. The war is being conducted through global financial institutions, and may soon be given a formal makeover as a “sanctions regime”.

The US did exactly the same to Vietnam for 20 years following its defeat there in 1975. And more recently Washington has used that same blueprint on states that refuse to live under its thumb, from Iran to Venezuela.

Washington has frozen at least $9.5bn of Afghanistan’s assets in what amounts to an act of international piracy. Donors from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to the European Union, Britain and the US are withholding development funds and assistance. Most Afghan banks are shuttered. Money is in very short supply.

Afghanistan is already in the grip of drought, and existing food shortages are likely to intensify during the winter into famine. Last week a UN report warned that, without urgent financial help, 97 percent of Afghans could soon be plunged into poverty.

All of this compounds Afghanistan’s troubles under the US occupation, when the number of Afghans in poverty doubled and child malnutrition became rampant. According to Ashok Swain, Unesco’s chair on international water cooperation, “more than one-third of Afghans have no food, half no drinking water, two-thirds no electricity”.

That is an indictment of US misrule over the past two decades when, it might have been assumed, at least some of the $2tn spent on Afghanistan had gone towards Washington’s much-vaunted “nation-building” project rather than guns and gunships.

Now Afghans’ dire plight can be used as a launchpad for the US to cripple the Taliban as it struggles to rebuild a hollowed-out country.

The real aspiration of sanctions will be to engineer Afghanistan’s economic collapse – as an exemplar to others of US power and reach, and vindictiveness, and in the hope that the Afghan people can be starved to the point at which they rise up against their leaders.

Deepen existing splits

All of this can easily be framed in humanitarian terms, as it has been elsewhere. Late last month, the US drove through the United Nations Security Council a resolution calling for free travel through Kabul airport, guarantees on human rights, and assurances that the country will not become a shelter for terrorism.

Any of those demands can be turned into a pretext to extend sanctions to the Afghan government itself. Governments, including Britain’s, are already reported to be struggling to find ways to approve charities directing aid to Afghanistan.

But it is the sanctions themselves that will cause humanitarian suffering. Unpaid teachers mean no school for children, especially girls. No funds for rural clinics will result in more women dying in childbirth and higher infant mortality rates. Closed banks end in those with guns – men – terrorising everyone else over limited resources.

Isolating the Taliban with sanctions will have two entirely predictable outcomes.

First, it will push the country into the arms of China, which will be well-positioned to assist Afghanistan in return for access to its mineral wealth. Beijing has already announced plans to do business with the Taliban that include reopening the Mes Aynak copper mine.

As US President Joe Biden’s administration is already well-advanced in crafting China as the new global menace, trying to curtail its influence on neighbours, any alliance between the Taliban and China could easily provide further grounds for the US intensifying sanctions.

Secondly, sanctions are also certain to deepen existing splits within the Taliban, between the hardliners in the north and east opposed to engagement with the West, and those in the south keen to win over the international community in a bid to legitimise Taliban rule.

At the moment, the Taliban doves are probably in the ascendant, ready to help the US root out internal enemies such as the ISKP, Islamic State group’s offshoot in Afghanistan. But that could quickly change if Washington reverts to type.

A combination of sanctions, clumsy covert operations and Washington overplaying its hand could quickly drive the hardliners into power, or into an alliance with the local IS faction.

That scenario may have already been given a boost by a US drone strike on Kabul in late August, in retaliation for an ISKP attack on the airport that killed 13 US soldiers. New witness testimonies suggest the strike killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, not Islamic militants.

Familiar game plan

If that weren’t bad enough, Washington hawks are calling for the Taliban to be officially designated a “foreign terrorist organisation“, and the new Afghan government a state sponsor of terrorism, which would make it all but impossible for the Biden administration to engage with it. Others such as Lindsey Graham, an influential US politician, are trying to pile on the pressure by calling for troops to return.

How readily this mindset could become the Washington consensus is highlighted by US media reports of plans by the CIA to operate covertly within Afghanistan. As if nothing has been learned, the agency appears to be hoping to cultivate opponents of the Taliban, including once again the warlords whose lawlessness brought the Taliban to power more than two decades ago.

This is a game plan the US and Britain know well from their training and arming of the mujahideen to oust the Soviet army from Afghanistan in the 1980s and overthrow a few years later Afghanistan’s secular communist government.

Biden will have an added incentive to keep meddling in Afghanistan to prevent any attacks originating from there that could be exploited by his political opponents and blamed on his pulling out troops.

According to the New York Times, the CIA believes it must be ready to “counter threats” likely to emerge from a “chaos” the Taliban will supposedly unleash.

But Afghanistan will be far less chaotic if the Taliban are strong, not if – as is being proposed – the US undermines Taliban cohesion by operating spies in its midst, subverts the Taliban’s authority by launching drone strikes from neighbouring countries, and recruits warlords or sponsors rival Islamic groups to keep the Taliban under pressure.

William J Burns, the CIA’s director, has said the agency is ready to run operations “over the horizon“, – at arm’s length. The New York Times has reported that US officials predict “Afghan opponents of the Taliban will most likely emerge who will want to help and provide information to the United States”.

This strategy will lead to a failed state, one immiserated by US sanctions and divided between warlords feuding over the few resources left. That is precisely the soil in which the worst kind of Islamic extremism will flourish.

Destabilising Afghanistan is what got the US into this mess in the first place. Washington seems only too ready to begin that process all over again.

• First published in Middle East Eye

The post Despite its exit, the US will continue to wage war on Afghanistan first appeared on Dissident Voice.

More Mandated Vaccinations Will Not Solve Economic Failure One Iota: May Even Make Things Worse

On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden publicly issued sweeping statements and demands that make it clear that, whether they like or it, millions more people will have to get vaccinated or risk losing their livelihoods and security. His posture has been described by mainstream media as “aggressive.” Many alternative news and information sources describe Biden’s actions as righteous, arrogant, authoritarian, and incoherent. 1 Biden asserted that choice and freedoms are not the issue. He dismissed both in one breath. One’s right to consent to something was banished in three seconds. Many have also asserted that Biden does not have the legal authority to make and enforce such top-down mandates. Others claim that his White House speech on vaccinations is full of contradictions and disinformation.

Like Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and many other capital-centered ideologues and “leaders,” Biden keeps disinforming the polity with the worn-out dogma that economic recovery is largely dependent on getting everyone vaccinated. We are to believe that the broad and stubborn economic failure confronting everyone today is largely caused by the virus and that once the virus is “under control” through vaccines rush-produced by for-profit companies with a long record of malpractice, the economy will soar and flourish. A variety of mainstream news sources have been desperately reinforcing this disinformation for more than a year; they have no interest in economic science.

However, despite an enormous number of vaccinations issued worldwide, despite a large portion of humanity “taking the jab” already, the economy keeps declining and decaying; many serious economic distortions, problems, and uncertainties persist. Inflation, debt, inequality, homelessness, poverty, under-employment, and environmental destruction, for example, appear to be growing. More than one million people per month are still filing unemployment claims in the U.S. alone and job “creation” numbers are superficial and unimpressive. In addition, the U.S. labor force participation rate remains historically low and the number of long-term unemployed remains high. On top of all this, millions of employed workers are living pay-check to pay-check, which means that even full-time employment is no guarantee of security and prosperity. Various surveys also show that large majorities are not hopeful about the future and health of the economy.

It is no surprise that euphoric economic growth forecasts made just weeks or months ago by “leaders” and “experts” are already being revised downward—in some cases significantly. The ruling elite is always embracing magical thinking; they are not on good terms with reality.

It is also being said that large numbers of people will end up leaving their jobs—voluntarily or by being fired—rather than compromise their right to conscience and get vaccinated. This could mean even fewer workers taking available jobs and even more retailers, businesses, and services operating in dysfunctional, disruptive, and unreliable ways without employees. Thus, for example, many nurses, teachers, police officers, and other workers are choosing the right to conscience and unemployment over mandated vaccination. Thousands of businesses are already struggling to fill low-paying positions in the context of constantly-rising inflation and an uncertain future. The American Hospital Association said that Biden’s vaccination plan “may result in exacerbating the severe work force shortage problems that currently exist”. Not surprisingly, some organizations have already started to oppose Biden’s vaccination plan.

The economic depression confronting humanity at home and abroad will not be overcome by leaving major owners of capital in power while workers, the people who actually produce the wealth that society depends on, remain marginalized and disempowered. Economic collapse will not be reversed by funneling more socially-produced wealth to different monopolies and oligopolies, while leaving everyone else with less. Fostering policies, agendas, and arrangements that make the rich even richer is a recipe for deeper problems, not a promising path forward. To date, billions of vaccination shots at home and abroad have not stopped or slowed a range of serious economic problems.

Since the start of the never-ending “COVID Pandemic” more wealth has become concentrated in even fewer hands and more people have experienced more psychological, social, and economic problems. Inequality has soared over the past 18 months.

The current economic crisis started long before 2020 and is rooted in the same contradictions that produced big economic problems before 2020. Even if there were no covid virus mutations, the economy would still be declining because economic upheavals are endemic to the capitalist economic system. Depressions and recessions are not caused by external factors. To claim that the economic system is generally sound but runs into problems now and then because of exogenous forces is nothing more than a way to apologize for the outmoded economic system.

Without major changes, without vesting power in workers themselves, economic crises will keep recurring and deepening. The rich and their representatives have shown time and again that they are unable and unwilling to solve economic and health crises, let alone in a human-centered way.

  1. In December 2020 Biden publicly stated that the federal government should not or could not mandate vaccinations.
The post More Mandated Vaccinations Will Not Solve Economic Failure One Iota: May Even Make Things Worse first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Beast of a Nation: Banality of Evil and Peppy Propagandists

 

I like to get down to brass tacks, into the muck, since I have been in on all aspects of academia and journalism, environmental activism, literary arts, and social work. I’m not pulling some trump card here, but in my more than six decades of confronting these amazingly dead-from-the-head-up members of the 80 percent, and those of the 20 percent, I have seen the complete shut down of discourse, critical thinking and shame.

They really do not care about their people. They really do not care about their patients. They really do not care about their troopers. They really do not care about their students. They really do not care about the homeless, the women in Afghanistan, the Blacks Lives, and all the other BIPOC folk. Crocodile tears and thespian performances do not equate to caring for people. This country, and the West in general, is one giant stage of actors and actresses.

It doesn’t matter if it is Kamala Harris, Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, Macron-Johnson-Trudeau, no matter who is in the acting part, they do not care about the homeless, the disabused, the marginalized.

It could be Howard Stern one moment giving nationwide bits of perverted advice, or it could be the head of the teachers’ union, Randi Weingarten, or it could be the head of the CDC, Microsoft, Apple, FDA, CIA, ICE, ATF, FBI, NAACP, ACLU, no matter, but they all have their limits toward basic freedoms and rights. One day a hero, but the next day scum.

I am talking about the mandates, the hard rule of outcasting, caste creation, and new stitched-on scarlet letters (a la digital dashboards). What is going on while the divide and conquer chatter and discord unfolds on corporate media and in the boardrooms of major and minor companies, in schools, universities, state, county, city agencies, and with the feds, while we watch sports, await Broadway opening up, line up for cruise ships, and eat-drink-&-be-merry in La-La Land.

The reality is clear — there are so many ways to disenfranchise the lot of us: Those who want to stop the mandated experimental jabs, the mandates for useless masks, the absurdity of social distancing and quarantines. Those of us who want robust discourse. Those of us who want to look at the evidence. Those of us who want to uncover the subterfuge. There are great pieces of journalism and deep and passionate opinion pieces on all of this — DARPA, WEF, Fauci, gain of function, Event 201, Dark Winter, and Fourth Industrial Revolution. More. However, when you get into the day to day weeds, with our jobs, our workplaces, with those administrators, things are not looking great.

I had the sickly unhealthy luxury of getting in on a huge national web call/Zoom with a major Human Resources management service, talking about what the thousands of companies they represent can do to force employees to go under the knife, err, jab. These people — your bloody neighbors, the soccer moms, the camping dads, the aunts who take the kids to museums, the grandfathers who have backyard gardens — are none other than the complete embodiment of Eichmann. The Eichmann Syndrome.

These are the $400,000 a year professional managerial class (sic) people running the HR departments, looking at the three major airlines (swooning over them) for the jab mandates — everything from weekly testing AND a $200 a month additional premium to health insurance, to allowing for a religious exemption for a vaccine (sic) but with unpaid forced leave. Whirlpool, man, bribing a $1000 for each employee now to go under the jab.

These HR people are looking at distinguishing jabbed from unjabbed, and they are utilizing all those HR tools in their toolboxes, thankful of the monopolies and big corporations for blazing the trail to take away the right to a livelihood, to informed consent, to travel, to basic human interchanges. They are writing the rules now as I write this around those of us who “get Covid and have to leave work,” but they are sly Eichmanns, as they are nuancing of the new normal of FMLA (family and medical leave act) laws, paid time off for recovery or hospitalization around Covid. They want to make it impossible to live on planet earth without subjugating oneself to the jab . . . and I mean, JABS, since booster x has a human biophysical life of three months, so bring on the Covid 18-pack. The bottom line is, today, September 14 will be harkening in a very different world in a month.

The lawyers are working long and hard to force the jab, to force employees to bend and falter, in order to kick out as many miscreants as possible. This is what your large HR groups are talking about as we debate Saudi Arabia, or 9/11, and as we look at the Continuous Wars, and as we look at cops down under pounding grannies’ heads for coming out to protest.

Typical HR booklets: Case Study: Protecting & Defending Intellectual Property; 5 Measures to Battle Construction Site Theft; Cybertheft & Participant Accounts: A Fiduciary Responsibility?; 6 Best Practices for Fraud Prevention; From Seed to Sale On-Demand Webinar Series: COVID-19 and Cannabis Operations. You get the picture: all about protecting the company, the rich folk, the administrators, stockholders, et al.

Yet the partisan pattern persists throughout, with Democratic majorities favoring vaccine passports in nearly every situation (from 53 percent for indoor drinking and dining to 77 percent for international travel) and at least a plurality of Republicans opposing them (from 48 percent for international travel to 65 percent for indoor drinking and dining). Stores are the only venue where more Democrats oppose vaccine passports (40 percent) than favor them (37 percent).

Sensing a political minefield, the Biden administration has so far deflected the issue of vaccine passports, vowing only to provide guidance for nongovernment initiatives in the days ahead.

“The government is not now nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Yet the Yahoo News/YouGov poll suggests the White House could, in theory, play some role in the process. Asked whether “the U.S. government” — as opposed to U.S. businesses — should require “Americans to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination before participating in certain higher risk activities (travel, concerts, sports games, etc.),” more Americans say yes (46 percent) than no (37 percent).

It’s as if people somehow thought the neoliberals, the democrats, the polite ones, the freaks of nanny statism, would somehow just stick to LGBTQA and transgender bathrooms issues (not). It is the tyranny of stupidity, and I have mentioned this in many pieces here and elsewhere, when you deny authority, when you question the paradigms, when you go up against administrators, college presidents, social services nonprofit CEO poverty pimps, well, the price is more than ostracizing and triangulating. It is the social isolation of the castes these people have set out, in their professional managerial class power.

You don’t need to lecture someone like me on the dirty dirt of republicans, at the governor level, on down. They are despicable. Yes, I am with groups who are against mandates, forced medical experiments on people that contain right wing religious freaks, and cops and fire fighters. These — right wing religious zealots, cops/pigs and overpaid firefighters — they are contrary to almost everything I have fought for, and they have been the despicable ones, too.

This is not a provocative image, pre-Covid:

Vaccine Mandate

But it is now. Imagine this image: But, of course, the dude on the right, well, he has zero concept of communism, but alas, these are strange times — leftists fighting the Draconian measures aligning with, well, cops and dudes like that — “the final variant is called communism.” Funny stuff, since the variants are all about capitalism, and the final conclusion to all this is about the point zero zero one percent riding roughshod over us, with the help of their elites and the Eichmanns. Those communist countries like Cuba and China have, well, non-mRNA true vaccines. But, little do they know, these AmeriKKKans.

Vaccine Mandate Protestors

This person below, well, both, are really part and parcel of the fascism that has been unleashed in USA in several iterations, and following US Patriot Act and the forced shoe donning at airports, we as a country are insipidly inane and accepting of all the wrong kinds of authority. Now, with the dementia democrats in office, the blue bloods, we are now forced to fall under their thumbs, and follow the science religion of a very suspect, dead-end route.

Dr. Walensky addresses press conference

HR So, this meeting I snuck into, with HR fantastics swooning over Walmart’s vaccine policies and the “joints for vaccination” schemes, they are the people I have been warning my students and homeless clients and veterans and others about in order to learn from and defeat. This Rochelle is a monster in so many ways, and Fauci is too. We can’t even get one day of a Lancet article by two former FDA heads without Saint Fauci chiming in —

The current evidence on COVID-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

The current evidence on COVID-19 vaccines does not appear to support a need for booster shots in the general public right now, according to an international group of vaccine scientists, including some from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

“Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high,” the scientists write in a new opinion piece, published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The authors of the paper include two senior FDA vaccine leaders, Dr. Philip Krause and Marion Gruber, who will be stepping down in October and November, the FDA announced late last month. No further details were released about their retirements, although they sparked questions about whether the departures would affect the agency’s work.

United Airlines has mandated that all U.S. employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. Those granted exemptions will be put on unpaid leave.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Two senior leaders in the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine review office are stepping down, even as the agency works toward high-profile decisions around Covid-19 vaccine approvals, authorizations for younger children and booster shots.

But Fauci is now attacking these two who wrote in the Lancet their concerns, and they are not anti-vaccination folk. Speaking of the Lancet: 

A shocking admission by the editor of the world’s most respected medical journal, The Lancet, is saying that medical research is UNRELIABLE AT BEST IF NOT COMPLETELY BOGUS! Lancet editor, Richard Horton “… states bluntly that major pharmaceutical companies falsify or manipulate tests on the health, safety and effectiveness of their various drugs by taking samples too small to be statistically meaningful or hiring test labs or scientists where the lab or scientist has blatant conflicts of interest such as pleasing the drug company to get further grants.”

 

This statement ties in perfectly with the article we have had on our website and been recommending for almost five years now from the World’s Leading Expert on Medical Research, Dr. John Ioanidis from Greece. Dr. Ioannidis told the Atlantic Monthly in an article titled “Lies, Damn Lies, and Medical Science” that 90% of medical research is tainted if not outright bogus due to influence from the industry. (source)

But the HR consultants who charge millions for their services (sic) to companies on what to do with employees, with all the vagaries of those darned dirty and messy real people, now under the Covid Stain of Fascism, they all got their jabs because they are compliant, and they make individually amazing amounts of money for their, well, services. These are the dream hoarders, the true believers in taking as many rights away from people vis-à-vis workplace rules, regulations, laws, steps, credos, trainings, and more, to the point of creating entire legions of, well, the untouchables, the unhireables, terminated for noncompliance. These are mean folk, Hillary and Obama and Biden loving folk:

Obama, the dance man, 60th b-day party, during Covid Maskless Madness?

Performers At Barak Obama's 60th Birthday Share Photos Before Being Told To Delete Them
No mask for AOC, the capitalist entertainer, but all the servants? You betcha!
Notice these freaks, while the press crew, well, has to mask up.

This is it for the great masses, as the screws get screwed down tighter and harder each minute. The news is vapid, and the depth of coverage on almost anything is boiler plate or pre-ordained by the commercial media honchos. And this is the final nail in the coffin for teachers,

To all of my American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union brothers and sisters across America I call upon you RIGHT NOW to immediately LEAVE THE AFT in protest as a moral obligation.

Randi Weingarten HAS FIRED ALL UNVACCINATED STAFF IN ALL AFT FACILITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

So that’s not teachers, that’s secretaries, accountants, lawyers, custodians, doormen, etc…

I personally can and will NEVER return to the AFT as long as Randi is president and as long as this segregationist policy is in place.

The issue of AFT membership is no longer about what AFT does and doesn’t do FOR US as educators, it is now much bigger than that. IF you continue to pay dues to the AFT you are financially supporting a blatantly discriminatory and corrupt multi-million dollar organization.

Please stop supporting them right now. Vote with your money AND LEAVE THE AFT NOW! This is bigger than whether or not YOU still have a PCR testing option at your job or not. This is about choosing your side — do you stand with rank-&-file workers who choose to make their own medical decisions? OR do you stand with the biosecurity state?

Giving even one DIME to the AFT is supporting the biosecurity state. End that support right now!

Please spread this far and wide to all AFT members. We will post at our webaite very soon.

All the best;

www.TeachersForChoice.org

Viewpoint: AFT's Refusal to Challenge Democratic Establishment Leaves Every Teacher Behind | Labor Notes
Biden and Randi — Team USA.
Now She Tells Us | Jay P. Greene's Blog

I don’t know what else to say, since so much of what is behind the biosecurity state, the mandates, all of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is tied to high tech and surveillance capitalism, much of which comes from the bowels of military, Israel, the chosen few.

In the final act of the 2011 film “Contagion,” people wore bar-coded wristbands to prove they had been inoculated against the deadly, pandemic virus. But in 2021, of course, the vaccinated will be able to use a blockchain-powered smartphone app, according to IBM and Salesforce.

The two tech giants are partnering up to help businesses and public spaces smoothly reopen as newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines become more available by integrating IBM’s Digital Health Pass with Salesforce’s web-based employee management platform.

“At the start of the pandemic, many organizations deployed simple COVID-19 screenings, such as self-reported health surveys, to support re-entry to workplaces and other institutions,” said Paul Roma, general manager of IBM Watson Health.

And this is not about health safety, about a shot passport. This is about moving everything into those HR digital libraries, containing background checks, drug screenings, mortgage records, all addresses lived at, court records, education records, criminal records, defaults on loans, credit reports, and, no, not too far fetched, an entire digital library of things written-snapped-photographer-tweeted-downloaded on the World Wide Web. And yet, again, just one little hour listening to the HR wonks talk about all the great things companies can do to coerce, cajole, conspire, contain, and co-opt their employees into doing anything: first the jab, and next some cool nanoparticle atomized air product, to calm the masses, to get more productivity, to erase emotions, what have you.

The post Beast of a Nation: Banality of Evil and Peppy Propagandists first appeared on Dissident Voice.

9/11 Collapsed Towers… And Empire

AFP 2021 / Seth McAllister

The United States’ 245-year history as a political entity has been one long trail of wars and more wars. It is estimated that nearly 95 percent of that historical span has seen the nation involved in either all-out wars, proxy conflicts, or other military subterfuges.

But since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, the US has gone into hyper-war mode. Twenty years ago, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan ushered in multiple other American wars and covert operations from Asia to Africa, from the Middle East to the Americas.

At one point, the former Obama administration was bombing seven countries simultaneously all in the name of “fighting terrorism”. Hundreds of US bombs rain down somewhere on the planet every day.

What is rather sickening is how the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 event this weekend is marked with solemn speeches by US president Joe Biden and his British counterpart Boris Johnson – the two countries that spearheaded the “War on Terror” era.

Biden claims that 9/11 demonstrates the “unity and resilience” of the American people, while Johnson blusters with platitudes about 9/11 showing that “terrorists did not defeat Western democracy and freedoms”. This self-indulgent piffle is contemptible and nauseating.

Two decades after the US and Britain launched their criminal blitzkrieg on Afghanistan and the rest of the world, those two nations are more financially broke than ever. Internally, they are more bitterly divided than ever. More evidently, their so-called democracies are in reality oligarchies where a tiny rich elite rule over a mass of impoverished people who are spied on and treated like serfs by unaccountable secret agencies and a mass media in hock with oligarchic masters.

If there was a genuine commemoration of 9/11 it would entail a mass uprising by the people to overthrow the war-mongering class system that Biden and Johnson serve as frontmen.

Just this week – of all weeks – the American and British states are in effect admitting that their societies are collapsing from vast economic inequality and crumbling infrastructure. The Biden administration is trying to release a budget of up to $4.5 trillion to alleviate poverty and repair decrepit roads, bridges, buildings and other public utilities.

The Johnson regime in Britain is forced to admit that the National Health Service is overwhelmed by a chronic lack of funding. Taxes are being hiked that will hit low-income workers in order to pay for the £12 billion ($16bn) needed to prop up the enfeebled health service.

All of the cost for trying to repair the US and Britain to make these countries a modicum of decency for its citizens to live in could have been covered by the expenditure on wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere that the US and Britain have directly or indirectly been involved in.

A new estimate of the cost for the “war on terror” by the United States alone is put at $8 trillion. This is roughly double the infrastructure bill that Biden is trying to get passed by Congress. American politicians are objecting to the extravagance of that “rescue budget”, yet they had no qualms about spending $8 trillion on wars. It is also estimated that for Britain its military adventurism in Afghanistan alone cost a total of $30 billion. Again, just imagine how British society might be better off if that money had been spent instead on attending to the health needs of its citizens.

But 9/11 also ushered in wanton warmongering regimes in Washington and London that have bled the American and British public of finances and democratic rights. In 2001, the US national debt was about $6 trillion. This year that debt burden on future American generations has escalated to $28 trillion – a crushing, unsustainable burden largely driven by criminal wars.

The healthcare costs for American military veterans wounded and maimed from the wars on terror are projected at $2 trillion. Over 30,000 US service members and veterans are reckoned to have committed suicide over the past 20 years. That’s 10 times the number of American people who died on the day of 9/11.

Untold millions of innocent civilians were killed by the wars that the US and British launched after 9/11. Such suffering and destruction all for nothing except for the enrichment of war-profiteering corporations and the oligarchic elite.

fThe United States and Britain have been so deformed by criminal wars they have become dysfunctional and dystopian. They have inflicted failed states around the world, but none more so than on their own people. The towers that fell on 9/11 were a premonition of much bigger collapse.

The post 9/11 Collapsed Towers… And Empire first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Boycott Vaccine Mandates and Covid Passports

Just as many predicted over a year ago, the rollout of the vaccine for Covid-19 and its implementation has introduced intense polarization and social segregation through the implementation of mandatory vaccination for employees and vaccine passports. Medical authoritarianism and the burgeoning biosecurity state are here, expanding in real time. In New York City, San Francisco, France, and Italy, vaccine passports are mandatory for entrance to nearly any indoor public venue: restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas, and more. Also, hundreds of corporations, colleges, federal and state agencies are mandating rushed emergency experimental injections with no long-term knowledge of side effects.

Yes, we’re all well aware that the Pfizer vaccine just got full FDA approval. Did anyone think that it wouldn’t? Did anyone in the media bother to ask if the forces of power, money, and technocratic medical tyrants would back down and not give full approval, considering how these forces have managed to shape reality and scare to death half of the population over a disease with a very low mortality rate? Regardless of your opinion of how severe the disease is, mandates and passports are incontrovertibly coercive, tyrannical measures. If the vaccines do not stop transmission, which the medical authorities have already admitted to varying degrees, then what is the point of these mandates and passports?

Furthermore, the vaccine passport will effectively be discriminatory since minorities are less likely to get the vaccines. African Americans especially have lower vaccination rates, for good reasons, the US medical establishment experimented on black populations throughout the Cold War and even beyond. It’s not difficult to see the ramifications of bio-digital segregations. One does not need a PhD or medical degree; in fact, these “credentials” seem to blinker one’s view in support of this new form of discrimination.

In the view of what we might term the technocracy, or perhaps the emerging biosecurity establishment, it is virtuous to separate the “clean” vaxxed from the supposedly disease-carrying, uneducated, lower-classes who won’t take these experimental shots.

All of the power and money, all the “Science ™” snowballed into an unstoppable corporate/government momentum which shows no signs of letting up. All that propaganda, the deliberate lies about mask efficiency (they don’t work) and vaccine holiness (they don’t prevent transmission) they’ve been shoving down the public’s throats for over a year and a half? Yeah, the nanny-state politico-medical tyrants are not going to give up this narrative without a fight. They are doubling down on the fear and quest for total obedience and control. It suits late-stage capitalism just fine if small and medium sized businesses go under and the excess labor supply of the unemployed are evicted and go hungry. They are extraneous to the monopoly cartels which run the “economy”, which is run by giant tech corporations, the stock market, the military-industrial complex, and the FIRE sector, multinational conglomerates who operate with almost no competition in nearly every industry.

There is no way to fight back against these abuses of power through the court system. In my opinion, the most rational approach would be to boycott, in any way possible, the corporations and public institutions that are going along with vaccine mandates and passports. Part of this involves the vote with your dollars approach. Hurting the corporate lemmings and technocrat sociopaths in their wallets and lack of tax revenues are the only things they will understand.

If you were thinking of traveling to Europe, skip France and Italy. Guess what?  If globally millions of tourists suddenly gave the middle finger to these two countries and vacationed elsewhere, the dent in lost revenue and GDP might actually have some effect on the political establishment. In France and Italy citizens are rightly fed up with protests every day against the passports, and many vaccinated people have burned their vaccine papers in solidarity.

Similarly, if people in the US abstained from traveling to and spending money in NYC and SF, every restaurant owner, museum board, theater, and small business would then put immediate pressure on city, state, and federal politicians to ban vaccine passports, hopefully for good. If millions of people refuse to shop and do business with companies that have mandatory vaccination requirements for their employees, it would also put immense pressure to relent.

Investors should also divest from corporations that insist on mandating vaccines for employees. It may, in fact, be legal for companies to do so, but it is frankly coercive and is a sort of crossing of the Rubicon, blurring one’s private life and medical choices with public duties, to create a new type of “good citizen”, a biopolitical subject serving capitalism with zero critical thinking skills.

For those in the workforce facing mandates, such as federal/state public employees and health care workers, if possible it is definitely worth considering if another career/job can be found. If enough teachers, nurses, etc., quit or go on strike against their employee mandates, pressure can be applied and the mandates could potentially be lifted.

It’s worth pointing out that the goalposts continue to be changed from slowing the pace of transmission to eradicating the virus- from two weeks to flatten the curve (tacitly acknowledging that coronaviruses cannot really be stopped) to mandates for wide swaths of public and private work, as well as military and police presence on the streets of Australia, to name one of the most obvious police state measures. The goalposts are changing to determine our “good citizen” status. Before, one simply had to go along to get along, obey the laws, pay taxes, and keep one’s head down; now, not only are we expected to do and say the right things, but to inject the right experimental drugs into our bodies.

My humble prediction is the goalposts are going to continue to move. The game is akin to the frogs boiling slowly in the pot; by consenting to our own freedom being curtailed and our own imprisonment, the establishment gets what it wants without having to crack down using excessive force and coercion. The innate desire to have access to public spaces, to go on vacation, will lead many people ignorant of the wider implications to accept these new dystopian measures.  The horizon of getting “back to normal” will recede faster as new variants naturally emerge, as viruses tend to do, and this will continue to be used as a new scare tactic, even as death rates effectively returned to normal four months ago (May of 2021) in the US, and many other countries show no more excess deaths, or none outside normal yearly variations, as well in 2021.

The virus is now endemic, but the powers that be are going to insist upon using it as a weapon for total control over the population. We’re through the looking-glass, we now have a form of “scientism” which is irrefutable no matter how unsettled the truth really is. Statistics such as death counts from Covid are unreliable, with doctors confessing to listing Covid-19 as the primary cause of death when it’s not- dying “from Covid” is conflated as dying “with Covid”. Deaths from the lockdowns are not seriously considered, even though many scientists are on record stating that the lockdowns led to a large chunk of the excess deaths.

Frankly, the near future looks pretty bleak for the US and the chances to have an open, honest dialogue about the seriousness of the pandemic, the capitalist world-system which stands to gain by using a 21st century tech-driven shock doctrine, and the police-state that will be built on the back of the panic caused by incessant propaganda. The fault lines are deepening and Democrats yammer to “trust the science” without any understanding themselves, and are willing to demonize anyone who doesn’t get an experimental jab or wear two masks while alone in their car; while Republicans continue to frame the “reopen the economy” debate in terms of those supposedly wonderful job-creating corporations, all the while being willing to sell the average worker out for an extra buck or two. Both parties are more than willing to screw over the poor, minorities, and working classes; if either cared about their citizens’ lives they wouldn’t throw people out into the streets via the mass evictions that are already underway.

As imperial decline and rot deepen, and the domestic surveillance apparatus pulls its noose tighter against our necks, our best bet to resist these freedom-crushing decrees is to deploy citizen power, mass protests, and coordinated direct action against inhumane vaccine mandates and police-state vaccine passports.

The post Boycott Vaccine Mandates and Covid Passports first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Droning Disasters: A US Strike on Kabul

No more profoundly disturbing statement was needed.  In the dying days of the official US departure from Kabul, a US drone etched its butcher’s legacy with a strike supposedly intended for the blood-lusty terrorist group ISIS-K, an abbreviation of Islamic State in Khorasan Province.  Its members had taken responsibility for blasts outside Harmid Karzai International Airport that had cost the lives of at least 175 individuals and 13 US service personnel.  Suicide bombers had intended to target “translators and collaborators with the American army”.

President Joe Biden promised swift retribution. “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive.  We will not forget.  We will hunt you down and make you pay.” American “interests and our people” would be defended “with every measure at my command.”

In his sights was ISIS-K.  “I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership and facilities.”  A response “with force and precision” would take place “at our time, at the place we choose and a moment of our choosing.”

On August 28, an announcement by the Pentagon was made that two “high-profile” members of the group had been killed in a drone strike in Khorasan Province.  That same day, the President warned that the group was likely to conduct another attack.  The US military was readying itself.

The following day, to demonstrate such precision and choice, a vehicle supposedly carrying an unspecified number of suicide bombers linked to ISIS-K and speeding towards Kabul airport was struck in a second drone attack.  The site of the attack, being a residential neighbourhood in the city, should have given room for pause to those precisionists in the military.

The strike was meant to leave a lasting impression upon ISIS-K fighters.  Initially, US officials were pleased to inform the Associated Press that “multiple suicide bombers” had perished in the attack.  “US military forces conducted a self-defence unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Harmid Karzai International Airport,” stated US Central Command spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban.

The outcome of the strike was apparently something to be proud of.  “Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”  But this came with a rounding caveat. “We’re assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, although we have no indications at this time.”

The story started to congeal over interviews, discussions and threads.  A dribble of information suggested loss of civilian life.  A number quickly emerged in the flood that followed: ten family members had lost their lives.  From the New York Times, there was Matthieu Aikins patching things together.  Bodies were named: Somaya, daughter of Zemari.  Farzard, Zemari’s son, also killed.  The narrative twists, inverts and disturbs more: Zemari’s nephew, Naser, was an Afghan army officer, former guard of the US military.  He had applied for an SIV (Special Immigrant Visa), hoping to flee Afghanistan for the United States.

To the BBC, Ramin Yousufi, a relative of the victims, could only tearfully despair. “It’s wrong, it’s a brutal attack, and it’s happened based on wrong information.”  Questions followed.  “Why have they killed our family?  Our children?  They are so burned out we cannot identify their bodies, their faces.”

At a press briefing on August 30, Army Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor of the Joint Staff tried to make something of yet another messy bungle in the annals of the US military.  “We are aware of reports of civilian casualties. We take these reports extremely seriously.”  John F. Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, was “not going to get ahead of it.  But if we have significant – verifiable information that we did take innocent life here, then we will be transparent about that, too.  Nobody wants to see that happen.”  Urban also stated that the Pentagon was aware of civilian casualties “following our strike on a vehicle in Kabul today.”

The attack had that sheen of atrocious incompetence (Kirby preferred the term “dynamic”), but that would be a misreading.  Killing remotely is, by its nature, inaccurate, though it has a disturbing fan club deluded into thinking otherwise.  The death of civilians, subsumed under the euphemism of collateral damage, is often put down to shonky intelligence rather than the machinery itself.  As Rachel Stohl of the Stimson Centre is a case in point.  “These are precise weapons,” she erroneously observed in 2016.  “The failure is in the intelligence about who it is that we are killing”.

Drone strikes have demonstrated, time and again, to lack the mythical precision with which they are billed.  Those in proximity to the target will be slain.  Whole families have been, and will continue, to be pulverised.  “Gradually,” the New York Times observed with stunning obviousness in 2015, “it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess.”

In 2016, research conducted by the Bureau of Investigative journalism found that the lethal returns from the US-UAV program proved to be overwhelmingly civilian.  A mere 3.5% could be said, with any certainty, to be terrorists.

The use of drones in combat is also politically baffling, self-defeating and contradictory.  As Michael Boyle has explained, referring to the use of UAV warfare in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, such a counterterrorism strategy was distinctly at odds in providing, on the one hand, a flow of arms and financial resource to the very governments whose legitimacy they undermined through the use of such strikes.  By all means, we supply you, but have no trust in your competence.

A mere month after the conviction of whistleblower Daniel Hale, who did more than any other to reveal the grotesque illusion of reliability behind the US drone program, UAV warfare was again shown to be a butchering enterprise praised by the precisionists and found politically wanting.  Those attending the funerals of the slain family members, an event taking place in the shadow of US power in retreat, needed little convincing who their enemy was.

The post Droning Disasters: A US Strike on Kabul first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Afghanistan: Drug Trade and Belt and Road

All flags are on half-mast in the US of A. The cause is the 13 American soldiers killed in this huge suicide bombing outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday, 26 August.

As it stands, at least 150 people – Afghans, including at least 30 Taliban, plus 13 American military – were killed and at least 1,300 injured, according to the Afghan Health Ministry.

The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bombing via Amaq Media, the official Islamic State (ISIS) news agency. The perpetrators, the message says, were members of the ISIS-Khorasan, or ISIS-K.

As reported by RT, US military leaders knew “hours in advance” that a “mass casualty event” was planned at Kabul airport. However, accounts from the troops in harm’s way suggest that nothing was done to protect them or the airport. See here.

RT further reports: “The bombing provoked the US into launching two drone strikes, one targeting an alleged “planner” and “facilitator” with the group responsible, and another supposedly wiping out “multiple” would-be suicide bombers but reportedly annihilating a family and children alongside them.

Why was nothing done to prevent this bloody, atrocious attack?  In fact, the Pentagon announced just yesterday that another massive attack was likely, meaning they have information that another mass-killing may take place?

In the meantime, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that the last three US military transport planes have departed the Hamid Karzai Airport just ahead of the August 31, 2021, deadline, officially ending the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The war is over. America’s last troops have just left Kabul airport,” RT’s Murad Gazdiev tweeted from Kabul, adding that the war lasted “19 years, 10 months and 25 days.

What he didn’t say is that the monetary cost of the war was at least 3 trillion dollars, that about 241,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zone since 2001. More than 71,000 of those killed have been civilians. These figures include (through April 2021) 2,448 American service members; 3,846 U.S. contractors, and some 66,000 Afghan national military and police.

Twenty years of war – and only ten days to defeat the US military.

Really? Is this really the end of the US involvement in Afghanistan? Too many strange events and occurrences are pointing in a different direction.

Let’s have a closer look. The Islamic State — ISIS — claims responsibility. As we know by now and since quite a while, ISIS is a creation of the CIA. The sophistication of the attack, the Pentagon non-interference, despite their prior knowledge, might, just might indicate that this attack may have been a well-coordinated “false flag”?

Who benefits? Cui Bono?

On August 19, 2021, the Washington Post, referring to President Trump’s Peace Agreement with Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020, reports:

As President Donald Trump’s administration signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020, he optimistically proclaimed that “we think we’ll be successful in the end.” His secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, asserted that the administration was “seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation.

Eighteen months later, President Joe Biden is pointing to the agreement signed in Doha, Qatar, as he tries to deflect blame for the Taliban overrunning Afghanistan in a blitz. He says it bound him to withdraw U.S. troops, setting the stage for the chaos engulfing the country.

But Biden can go only so far in claiming the agreement boxed him in. It had an escape clause: The U.S. could have withdrawn from the accord if Afghan peace talks failed. They did, but Biden chose to stay in it, although he delayed the complete pullout from May to September.

So, again who benefits from such an atrociously deadly attack like the one of 26 August at Kabul Airport?

President Biden, though unjustified, can and does blame President Trump for the chaos he left behind by negotiating this “irresponsible” Peace Deal. Why “irresponsible”?  Wasn’t it time after 20 years without apparent “success” – whatever that means, or may have meant at some point in time – to end this senseless bloodshed and destruction of a sovereign Afghan society let alone the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, most of them civilians?

It seems that Mr. Trump may have done the right thing. Peace over war should always win, on the ground as well as in the minds of people, and foremost of politicians. However, there are several reasons, why Peace is not welcome. And chaos and destruction and death as demonstrated by the 26 August suicide attack, and who knows, maybe more to follow, might justify sending back US troops?

There are several other irons in the fire about which hardly anybody talks and the bought anti-Trump and pro-Biden mainstream media are silent.

The Heroin Trade

There is a multi-multi-billion, perhaps up to a trillion-dollar heroin trade at stake, for the US and for the US and European pharma-industry – the huge and deadly opioid-market.

As reported by Michel Chossudovsky on 21 August 2021:

One of the key strategic objectives of the 2001 war on Afghanistan was to restore the opium trade following the Taliban government’s successful 2000-2001 drug eradication program which led to a 94% collapse in opium production. This program was supported by the United Nations. (For details, see below)

In the course of the last 19 years following the US-NATO October 2001 invasion, there has been a surge in Afghan opium production. In turn the number of heroin addicts in the US has increased dramatically. Is there a relationship?

There were 189,000 heroin users in the US in 2001, before the US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan.

By 2016 that number went up to 4,500,000 (2.5 million heroin addicts and 2 million casual users).

In 2020, at the height of the covid crisis, deaths from opioids and drug addiction increased threefold.

It’s Big Money for Big Pharma.”

See the full report here.

The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

Both China and Russia have already indicated that they would help the new Taliban regime to gain stability and to develop towards a newly independent, sovereign state. Afghanistan’s border with China, only about 70 km wide, but it forms a crucial connection to China’s western most Province, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is a vital pivot for China’s Belt and Road, or “One Belt One Road” – OBOR – also called the New Silk Road.

While transit routes already go through Pakistan to the Indian Ocean, an OBOR rail and road transit through Afghanistan would connect China directly with Iran, facilitating among other trade, hydrocarbon transport from Iran to China. OBOR would also be an effective development instrument for war destroyed Afghanistan. A reconstruction and economic development scheme for Afghanistan could bring Afghanistan back to a respected nation state — even through the Taliban.

Furthermore, Afghanistan might be prepared for becoming an active member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), one of the world’s most significant political, economic and strategic defense organizations. In addition to China and Russia and the Central Asian former Soviet Republics, India and Pakistan are already full members, while Iran, Malaysia and Mongolia are, so far, in observer and associate status.

SCO covers almost half of the world population and controls some 30% of the world’s GDP. Afghanistan would be in a solid and guiding association as a  SCO member. Afghanistan’s socioeconomic development and improvement of war-damaged people’s standard of living, could benefit enormously.

Washington, however, dislikes OBOR with a passion. They see it as Chinese expansionism and competition. It is actually neither. China has in her thousands of years of history never had expansionist trends, or ambitions, and always respected other countries’ sovereignty. OBOR, an ingenious idea of President Xi Jinping, is patterned according to the ancient Silk Road, a trading route of 2100 years ago connecting Asia with Europe and the Middle East.

OBOR is an instrument to help develop and connect the world, while respecting each nation state’s independence and sovereignty.

The hugely profitable Heroin Trade and the further development of China’s OBOR – and particularly bringing Afghanistan under the wings of the east through association with the SCO – would spoil America’s multi-multibillion heroin trade, as well as another Middle East country would orient itself to the east – and away from the fangs of the ever weakening and crumbling Anglo-US empire.

Hence, commanding US-created ISIS to sow chaos and death in Afghanistan, blaming the Taliban, might be a good reason for Biden to bring back US troops – to fight a new kind of war – fighting for the continuing highly profitable heroin trade and, simultaneously, fighting against OBOR. On top of it all, it would suit Biden and his globalist agenda image and standing in a totally misinformed world.

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Afghanistan Collapse reveals Beltway Media’s Loyalty to Permanent War State

Biden’s popular and long overdue withdrawal from Afghanistan triggered a big media meltdown that exposed its de facto merger with the military.

In the wake of a remarkably successful Taliban offensive capped by the takeover of Kabul, the responses of corporate media provided what may have been the most dramatic demonstration ever of its fealty to the Pentagon and military leadership. The media did so by mounting a full-throated political attack on President Joe Biden’s final withdrawal from Afghanistan and a defense of the military’s desire for an indefinite presence in the country.

Biden’s failure to establish a plan for evacuating tens of thousands of Afghans seeking to the flee the new Taliban regime made him a soft target for the Beltway media’s furious assault. However, it was Biden’s refusal last Spring to keep 4,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan on an indefinite basis – flouting an aggressive Pentagon lobbying campaign – that initially triggered the rage of the military brass.

The media offensive against Biden’s Afghan withdrawal advanced arguments that the military could not make on its own – at least, not in public. It also provided the military with important cover at the moment when it was at its most vulnerable for its disastrous handling of the entire war.

Among the most disingenuous attempts at salvaging the military’s reputation was a Washington Post article blaming the Afghan catastrophe on an over-emphasis on “democratic values” while ignoring the the tight alliance between the U.S. military and despotic warlords which drove local support for the Taliban.

Playing the al Qaeda threat card

On the eve of the Taliban takeover of Kabul, the New York Times’s David Sanger and Helene Cooper fired the opening salvo of the Beltway media’s assault on Biden’s decision. Sanger and Cooper began by acknowledging that the U.S. military had “overestimated” the results of its intervention for years, and that the failure of the Afghan government to pay soldiers for months had sapped the will to resist the Taliban.

But they then homed in on Biden’s refusal to keep troops in Afghanistan for counter-terrorism purposes. Recalling that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley had tried in the Spring to compel Biden to maintain 3,000 to 4,500 troops in the country, Sanger and Cooper cited “intelligence estimates predicting that in two or three years, Al Qaeda could find a new foothold in Afghanistan.”

That speculation was based on the assumption that the Taliban would allow such a development despite its well-established record of opposing al Qaeda’s use of its territory to plan terrorism abroad. In fact, the Taliban’s policy went back to before 9/11, when Osama bin Laden formally agreed to honor the Taliban’s restrictions while secretly plotting the 9/11 attacks in Germany rather than in Afghanistan.

In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal, the Taliban has an even stronger motivation to prevent any jihadist organizations from planning international terror attacks from Afghan territory.

To support their broadside against Biden’s withdrawal, the Times’ Sanger and Cooper turned to the retired general with arguably the greatest personal vested interest in an indefinite U.S. military presence in Afghanistan: former U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, who oversaw the war effort from 2010 through 2011 and has since led a group of former commanders and diplomats lobbying for an endless US presence in the country.

Petraeus asserted that Biden failed to recognize the risk incurred by the swift withdrawal” of intelligence drones and close air support, and thousands of contractors who had kept the Afghan Air Force flying.”

Next, Sanger and Cooper turned to Richard Fontaine, the chief executive of one of the most militaristic think tanks in Washington, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

As The Grayzone has reported, CNAS has reaped millions in funding from the arms industry and US government institutions to advance Pentagon and military thinking inside the Beltway. Among the many Beltway media insiders that enjoy writers in residence fellowships at the think tank is the New York Times’ Sanger.

For his part, Fontaine complained that the Biden administration had failed to continue providing the contractors that the Afghan Air Force depended on to keep its planes in the air. But he failed to acknowledge the obvious point that contractors would be unable to function in Afghanistan without sufficient U.S.-NATO troops to provide military protection on the ground.

On August 16, after the US-backed Afghan government was eliminated, the liberal interventionist magazine, Foreign Policy, chimed in with another attack on Biden featuring interviews with “a dozen people who held posts in Afghanistan.”

According to Foreign Policy, current and former diplomats anonymously expressed “deep anger, shock and bitterness about the collapse of the government they spent decades trying to build.” Several currently-serving officials were quoted — again off the record — about their considering resigning in protest, citing an “overwhelming sense of guilt and fear for the lives of former Afghan colleagues and local staff whom the American government left behind.”

That same day, the New Yorker’s Robin Wright expressed similar anguish over the harrowing images of U.S. defeat in Afghanistan. In an article subtitled, “It’s a dishonorable end that weakens U.S. standing in the world, perhaps irrevocably,” she lamented that the United States “is engaged in what historians may some day call a Great Retreat from a ragtag army that has no air power….”

The U.S. retreat from Afghanistan, Wright asserted, is “part of an unnerving American pattern dating back to the 1970s,” starting with Reagan’s pull-out from Beirut and Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. Echoing those insisting on an indefinite U.S. military role in Afghanistan, Wright claimed that because the Taliban had “won a key battle against democracy in Afghanistan,” the country would “again, almost certainly become a haven for like-minded militants, be they members of al Qaeda or others in search of a sponsor.”

Meanwhile, during an August 21 panel on PBS’s Washington Week, Peter Baker of the New York Times, Anne Gearan of the Washington Post and Vivian Salama of the Wall Street Journal formed a one-note chorus blaming Biden’s hasty withdrawal for the crowds of anguished Afghans desperately seeking to escape the Taliban at Kabul’s airport.

The implicit – and clearly fanciful – premise of the discussion was that the United States could have somehow embarked weeks or months earlier on a sweeping program to rescue tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of interpreters and other collaborators with the U.S. military, and that it could all be done cleanly and efficiently, without triggering any panic.

A second theme pressed by the New York Times’ Baker was that Biden had been heedless of the risks of his policy to U.S. national security. Baker said Biden had made up his mind a decade ago that the U.S. must withdraw from Afghanistan and was determined to do it “regardless of what Gen. Milley and others might have warned him about the danger of a collapse.” Baker made the same argument, along with the others embraced by his big media colleagues, in a long-winded August 20 news analysis.

Flournoy obscures the real cause of military failure

The Washington Post’s national security reporter, Greg Jaffe, took a different tack from most of his Beltway colleagues in his coverage of the Afghanistan endgame. In an August 14 article, Jaffe implicitly acknowledged the widely-accepted fact that the war had been an abject failure, contradicting claims by military leaders. Unfortunately, the reporter offered space for one particularly credibility-deprived former official that was obviously designed to deaden popular hostility toward those responsible for the fiasco.

Among the most questionable characters to lay into Biden’s withdrawal strategy was Michelle Flournoy, who was expected to be appointed as the next Secretary of Defense until Biden froze her out because of her role in advocating the failed troop surge in Afghanistan during the Obama administration.

Flournoy had been Obama’s Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and was responsible for supporting the commanders in the field from the Pentagon. Prior to that role, she co-founded CNAS, the arms industry-backed, Democratic Party-affiliated propaganda mill for the Pentagon and military services.

In a revealing interview with the Post’s Jaffe, the former Pentagon official blamed the failure of the U.S. war in Afghanistan on an excessive commitment to “democratic ideals,” arguing they supposedly blinded the policymakers to the realities on the ground. It all started, she claimed, with “the Afghan constitution that was created in Bonn and…was trying to create a Western democracy.” The policymakers set the bar “on our democratic ideals, not on what was sustainable or workable in an Afghan context,” she added.

But the problem was not an excessive U.S. concern for promoting democracy, but the way that U.S. policy sold out “democratic ideals” to support a group of warlords who represented the essence of anti-democratic despotism.

In explaining the Obama administration’s decision to more than double the totals of U.S. troops, Flournoy claimed that she and other U.S. officials only discovered the festering wound of Afghan corruption when it was too late, fatally dooming the military strategy. “We had made a big bet only to learn that our local partner was rotten,” she insisted.

However, Flournoy deliberately obscured the crucial fact that the U.S. war was based from its very inception on an alliance with a group of corrupt and murderous warlords. The military leadership, as well as the CIA, relied on the warlords because they had militias and were ready to oppose the Taliban. The warlords offered a steady supply of militiamen as police in the provinces and were given well-paid contracts to provide security for the constant flow of convoys to and from U.S. and NATO bases.

But the militia-police maintained their loyalty to their respective warlords, rather than to any civilian government in Kabul, and in return were given a free hand to steal from Afghans, falsely accuse them of crimes, torture them and release them only for a ransom. In many cases, the police extorted money from local families by abducting and raping their wives, daughters and sons — a pattern of abuse documented by Amnesty International as early as 2003.

The Taliban easily ousted the U.S.-supported regime from large parts of Afghanistan’s Helmand province beginning in 2005-06 because of the local population’s hatred of the lawless warlord militias designated by the U.S. military as police. And when U.S. troops re-occupied those districts in 2009, the militias returned to their brutal ways — including abducting and raping pre-teen boys, prompting bitter complaints from the local residents to the U.S. marines and threats to support the Taliban if the U.S. didn’t intervene to stop them.  But the U.S. military never moved to disturb its cozy relationship with the warlords.

So Flournoy’s claim that senior military and Pentagon officials were unaware of the corruption of their Afghan allies until after the Obama administration’s massive commitment of troops is simply devoid of credibility. When she and other key policymakers made their “big bet” later in 2009, they were fully aware that the U.S. was backing a group of powerful warlords whose militia-police were committing heinous abuses against the population that forced Afghans to support the Taliban as their only defense.

The patent falsehoods peddled by the Beltway press corps in response to the Biden withdrawal reveals just how tightly they have become linked to the interests of the military and Pentagon. And its flamboyant opposition to a pull-out favored by a solid majority of the American public is yet another factor that will accelerate the decline of an already cratering corporate media.

• First published in The Greyzone

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