Category Archives: Protests

Oakland Protest Against Barbara Lee’s Vote for $40 billion to fund War in Ukraine

On June 23, 2022 a protest was  held outside the offices of Oakland’s rep, Barbara Lee, as a result of her voting in support of the US providing 40 billion to Ukraine for its ongoing war with Russia.   For additional information see this John V. Walsh article published at DV on June 18, 2022.  Here is a video of the protest:

 

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June 23 Oakland Protest Against Barbara Lee’s Vote for $40 billion to fund War in Ukraine.  Join Us.

On Thursday June 23 people will gather outside Rep Barbara Lee’s office in Oakland at 11:30 am to protest her recent vote for $40 billion for the war in Ukraine. The demonstration is called in conjunction with the International Day of Action for Peace in Ukraine called by the Peace in Ukraine Coalition.  There will be a companion demonstration on the same day in at the Northampton, MA, office of Rep. Jimmy McGovern who also voted for the murderous $40 billion, and accompanied Pelosi in her recent visit to Ukraine.

This massive funding package represents a clear escalation of the war in Ukraine by the government of the United States using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder in a proxy war with Russia.  The funding pours fuel on the flames of that war.  It will prolong the war, resulting in thousands more Ukrainian and Russian deaths, at the very least.

And this funding is one more step in escalating and widening the scope of the war – up to and including nuclear war.

WHAT: Protest of Barbara Lee’s vote for $40 Billion for the War in Ukraine. This protest is in conjunction with a global day of action against the war, preceding the NATO summit in Madrid, called by the Peace in Ukraine Coalition.

WHERE: 1 Kaiser Plaza, Oakland, California. (Barbara Lee’s Oakland Office)

WHEN: Thursday, June 23rd at 11:30 am.

WHO: Community and AntiWar activists and organizations including Code Pink, Democratic Socialists of American (DSA), East Bay Vets for Peace, Peace in Ukraine Coalition, United Against War & Militarism.

Despite promising just two months ago to “work relentlessly toward de-escalation” of the war in Ukraine, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee voted in lockstep with every Democrat in Congress behind President Biden’s war policy.  This includes not only Barbara Lee but all the other self-styled progressives in Congress, including Bernie Sanders, AOC and the rest of the “Squad.”

Barbara Lee because of her lone vote in opposing the two decade war in Afghanistan, is held up as an icon proving that there are progressive Democratic politicians who will vote for peace.  The promise held out by Lee and her Democratic colleagues that they could be a force for peace now lies in ruins.

Why U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine must be opposed.

One can look at the war in several ways.

If it is a war between Russia and Ukraine, then it is no business of the United States.

If one believes that it is a war by an idealistic to US to defend sovereignty and national borders, ask the people of Iraq if the US respects sovereignty – or the people of Afghanistan or Libya or Vietnam or Venezuela … the list goes on and on.

If one believes that this is a war to defend democracy, then ask the Palestinians suffering under Apartheid imposed by Israel which is supported by the US government or the people of Saudi Arabia or the many other dictatorships around the world that the US has supported.

No, this is a proxy war of the US against Russia being waged to the last Ukrainian.  If that has not been evident since the role of the US in backing the violent coup in 2014 against a duly elected Ukrainian President, then it is beyond doubt now with the declaration of Defense Secretary Austin that the goal of the US is to “weaken” Russia, the declaration of Joe Biden that Putin must not be allowed to govern and the declaration of Nancy Pelosi that the US must have total “victory” over Russia.  The Biden administration has chosen to confront another major nuclear weapons power, Russia – and that confrontation constitutes an existential threat to all of humanity.

Ukraine now wages war only to improve its bargaining power at the inevitable negotiations which will end the conflict admitted David Arakhamia, who leads Ukraine’s negotiations with Russia and is one of Volodymyr Zelensky’s closest advisers. 200-500 Ukrainian soldiers dying each day with a total of 1000 dead or wounded daily, the latest numbers given by Ukraine, simply to improve a negotiating position is a highly immoral exercise.  Ukraine has now become essentially a puppet state at the mercy of the US for arms and aid.  It is naïve beyond belief to believe that Ukraine proceeds in this immoral fashion without approval of the US – or even perhaps coercion by the US to fight on so as to save face for its patron Biden.

The Biden administration can stop the proxy war.  And we have the power to influence the Biden administration and the pols who support it.  It is our right and responsibility to exercise that power and stop this war.

Who benefits from the war and who is damaged?

Cui bono? Billions in funding for the war serves the interests of weapons manufacturers, military contractors, who pocket untold profits from the war in Ukraine.  Some of these dollars go to funding the endless proliferation of hawkish think tanks whose well paid employees show up as talking heads or op-ed writers in the mainstream media doing all in their power to convince us that “the other” is evil and that war is the answer.  These are media manikins and are ideologues driven by a desire for US world domination and therefore very dangerous

At the same time funding cannot be found for the many problems we face in the US – homelessness, inadequately funded schools, crumbling infrastructure, failure to deal adequately with climate change and now even shortages of baby formula!  Inflation in the U.S. was already running at over 7% before the conflict began due to the tragically inadequate response to Covid-19 and out of control “quantitative easing”; i.e., printing money with abandon.  But the war and sanctions have worsened the inflation which is now running at over 8%.  The average American sees this daily at the gas station and supermarket where soaring prices are now the rule.

Beyond that we must look to the entire world and especially the Global South both of which are suffering beyond belief from inflation and food shortages due to the US sanctions and the continuation of the war.  Led by India, China and nations representing the overwhelming majority of humanity, the world has refused to respect the illegal sanctions.  That leaves only the US and its European allies, former colonial powers, in supporting the US proxy war.  It is not Russia but the US that is isolated.

  • No weapons for war in Ukraine
  • No Proxy War with Russia
  • No to Nuclear War
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Japan’s Toxic Dumping Faces Growing Protests

Storage tanks for radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters)

The Japanese government’s decision one year ago to dump radioactive water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant storage tanks into the Pacific Ocean, starting in the spring of 2023, is facing increasing pressure to back off, especially in light of the facts that not only is it illegal but also morally reprehensible as well as a despicable disregard for the lifeblood of the ocean.

Meanwhile, in a startling maneuver indicative of desperation to convince citizens of its true worthiness, the Japanese government is using mind control tactics reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (Chatto & Windus, 1932), which depicts harmful effects that the expansion and development of a capitalist ideology can impose on a society.

To wit: Japanese citizens are outraged over a new government policy of brainwashing children by distributing flyers to primary school students claiming TEPCO’s “diluted, nuclear-contaminated water is safe.”

The government sent a total of 2.3 million booklets directly to elementary, junior and senior high schools across the nation in December in an effort to prevent reputational damage caused by the planned water discharge. The school staffers say the leaflets are unilaterally imposing the central government’s views on children. 1

A Fukushima resident surnamed Kataoka told the Global Times on Wednesday that the Japanese government’s move was a kind of mind control, and she was strongly opposed to it.2

Japanese citizens are fighting back as four separate civic organizations from Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures submitted a petition signed by 180,000 people to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and to Tokyo Electric Power Company on March 30th, 2022 expressing opposition to the government’s plan.

Additionally, Japanese environmental protection groups have organized national rallies in Tokyo and Fukushima, stating they will continue to rally in the streets until the government revokes its decision: “Once the nuclear-contaminated water is discharged into the sea, the result is irreversible. It’s not only Fukushima. The ocean connects the whole world. We hope we don’t discharge toxic substances into the sea,” said protester Ayumu Aoyanagi. “I am angry. They completely ignored public opinion. I hope people understand that the danger may not appear soon but will definitely affect our health in the future,” said another protester named Makiyo Takahashi.”3

Zhao Lijian of the Chinese Foreign Ministry claims the Japanese government has turned a deaf ear to any and all opposition, failing to provide any convincing evidence of the legitimacy of the discharge program, no reliable data on the contaminated water and effectiveness of purification devices, and no convincing evidence about environmental impact. 4

Moreover, “this water adds to the already nuclear polluted ocean. This threatens the lives and livelihoods of islanders heavily reliant on marine resources. These include inshore fisheries as well as pelagic fishes such as tuna. The former provides daily sustenance and food security, and the latter much needed foreign exchange via fishing licenses for distant water fishing nation fleets,” Vijay Naidu, adjunct professor at the School of Law and Social Sciences at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, told Al Jazeera5

The principal radioactive isotope to be released “tritium is a normal contaminant from the discharges, the cooling water from normal reactor operations, but this is the equivalent of several centuries worth of normal production of tritium that’s in this water, so it is a very large amount,” according to Tilman Ruff, a Nobel laureate and associate professor at the Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne in Australia. 6

Japan claims the radioactive water dump will be safe, however: “Obviously, the higher the level of exposure [to radiation], the greater the risk, but there is no level below which there is no effect,” Ruff said. “That is now really fairly conclusively proven, because in the last decade or so there have been impressive very large studies of large numbers of people exposed to low doses of radiation. At levels even a fraction of those that we receive from normal background [radiation] exposure from the rocks, from cosmic radiation. At even those very low levels, harmful effects have been demonstrated.”6

Chang Yen-chiang, director of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea Research Institute of Dalian Maritime University is urging the international community to stop the discharge by first requesting the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on the illegality of Japan’s dumping plan followed by motions to stop the process by China, South Korea, Russia, North Korea, and Pacific Island nations at the UN General Assembly.

Japan, as a signatory to: (1) the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (2) the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident (3) the Convention on Nuclear Safety (4) the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management, and (5) the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management has clearly and knowingly breached its obligations under international law.

According to the plan released by TEPCO for the disposal of nuclear-contaminated water generated by Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the country will soon begin official preparations for the release of the contaminated water and plans to begin long-term discharge of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean in the spring of 2023.

However, according to an article in People’s Daily Online d/d April 15, 2022: “Data from TEPCO showed that the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear accident still contains many kinds of radionuclides with a long half-life even after secondary treatment.”

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace East Asia, claims the toxic water dump risks additional nuclear debris into the Pacific Ocean whereas the discharge is not the only option as “ the Japanese government once admitted that there is enough space near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and areas around Fukushima prefecture to build more storage facilities for the water.” (Global Times)

The Citizens Committee on Nuclear Energy recommends proper storage on land in Japan similar to storage the country uses for its national oil and petroleum reserves. “The argument that they make… is that, if this water was stored not for an indeterminate period, but even for a period of about 50-60 years, then, by then, the tritium will have decayed to a tiny fraction of what it is today and hardly be an issue.” (Al Jazeera)

Even though the US boldly approves of the dumping plan, the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory with a population of over 50,000 people, has declared Japan’s plan as “unacceptable.” In December 2021, the US territory adopted a joint resolution opposing any nation disposing of nuclear waste in the Pacific Ocean as well as suggesting the only acceptable option is long-term storage and processing using the best technology available.

In all similar circumstances, historical events have a way of swinging back and forth in time and landing smack dab in the middle of new controversies; for example, when it comes to radioactivity in the Pacific, memories are long. More than 300 atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests by the US, UK, and France from the 1940s, especially in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and French Polynesia, left uninhabitable land in many locations as well as long-term health disorders throughout the region. Japan’s dumping plans bring back haunting memories.

“Satyendra Prasad, the Chair of Pacific Islands Forum Ambassadors at the United Nations, reminded the world in September last year of the Pacific’s “ongoing struggle with the legacy of nuclear testing from the trans boundary contamination of homes and habitats to higher numbers of birth defects and cancers.” (Al Jazeera)

Meantime, and especially over the past couple of decades, Japan increasingly and fearlessly adheres to, and puts into actual practice, the overriding theme as expressed in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which is “the dangers of state control” whilst the father of liberalism John Locke (1632-1704) not surprisingly spins in his grave.

For example, in December 2013 Japan passed the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets Act providing for whistleblowing civil servants to face up to 10 years in prison and the journalists who work with them could face up to five years for leaking state secrets.

Here’s a major twist to that law: The guidelines empower the heads of 19 ministries and agencies to subjectively “designate which documents and subjects comprise state secrets.” In short, subjective judgment by any given state official determines who goes to jail.

“The result is that while civil servants will be aware of a document’s classification, journalists cannot be sure just what comprises a state secret. Whistleblowing civil servants and journalists could face arrest even if they are convinced they are acting in the public’s interest.”  7

Since Japan appears to be adhering to the precepts of Brave New World, it’s interesting to note that thirty years following publication of Brave New World, Huxley wrote Brave New World Revisited ((Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, Harper & Brothers, 1958.)) :

If the first half of the twentieth century was the era of the technical engineers, the second half may well be the era of the social engineers— and the twenty-first century, I suppose, will be the era of World Controllers, the scientific caste system and Brave New World.

Huxley warned that a Brave New World type of order could be the “final” or “ultimate” revolution when people have their liberties taken from them, but “they will enjoy their servitude and so never question it, let alone rebel.”

Really?

  1. “Booklets Touting Fukushima Plant Water Discharge Angers Schools”, The Asahi Shimbun, March 7, 2022.
  2. “Japanese Groups Voice Growing Opposition, Organize Rallies Over Govt’s Nuclear-Contaminated Water Dumping Plan Decided One Year Before”, Global Times, April 13, 2022.
  3. “Fukushima Residents Oppose Government Dumping Radioactive Water Into Ocean”, CGTN News, April 14, 2022.
  4. “Japan Severely Breaches Obligations Under International Law by Persisting in Discharge of Nuclear-contaminated Water Into Ocean”, People’s Daily Online, April 15, 2022.
  5. “‘Not a Dumping Ground’: Pacific Condemns Fukushima Water Plan”, Al Jazeera, February 14, 2022.
  6. Ibid.
  7. “Japan’s State Secrets Law, A Minefield for Journalists”, Committee to Protect Journalists-NY, November 4, 2014.
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Deconstructing Preemption, De-Nazification, Right to Protect . . . In the Eyes of Empire of Lies (and Hate)

Interesting Teach-in, well, discussion, with the speakers below. You will hear Scott Ritter divert from some of these speakers saying that the actions by Russia in Ukraine are legal, ethical and necessary.

Here is Ritter, just interviewed, Strategic Culture. Note that Ritter is called a traitor (for looking at the Russian military and political angles) and a Putin Stooge (this is it for Western Woke Culture) and he’s been banned on Twitter for a day, and then back up, and the seesaw of social media continues (more McCarthy: The New Democratic Opperative). You do not have to agree with militarism, but here we are, so the Western Woke Fascist Media and the Mendacious Political Class want nothing to do with, well, military minds looking at Russia (Ritter studied Russia big-time, and studied their military big time, both Soviet Union and Russia). He also is married to a Georgian. But again, this is it for the Western Intellect (sic).

Like we can’t watch Graham Phillips work, without being called, well, Russian Stooges. The Mainlining Mendacious Media calls him a Russian Sympathizer. Imagine that. For years,, he’s been a sympathizer (he is British, speaks Russian and goes to the actual places with camera in hand. Look at the one on Ossetia, the breakaway republic of Georgia. It is delightful (note the dinner he is served by the typical family):

Here, from, “The Ukrainian Conflict Is a U.S./NATO Proxy War, but One Which Russia Is Poised to Win Decisively – Scott Ritter” by Finian Cunningham, April 9, 2022

Question: Do you think that Russia has a just cause in launching its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24?

Scott Ritter: I believe Russia has articulated a cognizable claim of preemptive collective self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The threat posed by NATO expansion, and Ukraine’s eight-year bombardment of the civilians of the Donbass fall under this umbrella.

Question: Do you think Russia has legitimate concerns about the Pentagon sponsoring biological weapons programs in laboratories in Ukraine?

Scott Ritter: The Pentagon denies any biological weapons program, but admits biological research programs on Ukrainian soil. Documents captured by Russia have allegedly uncovered the existence of programs the components of which could be construed as having offensive biological warfare applications. The U.S. should be required to explain the purpose of these programs.

Question: What do you make of allegations in Western media that Russian troops committed war crimes in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities? It is claimed that Russian forces summarily executed civilians.

Scott Ritter: All claims of war crimes must be thoroughly investigated, including Ukrainian allegations that Russia killed Ukrainian civilians in Bucha. However, the data available about the Bucha incident does not sustain the Ukrainian claims, and as such, the media should refrain from echoing these claims as fact until a proper investigation of the evidence is conducted, either by the media, or unbiased authorities.

While one may be able to mount a legal challenge to Russia’s contention that its joint operation with Russia’s newly recognized independent nations of Lugansk and Donetsk constitutes a “regional security or self-defense organization” as regards “anticipatory collective self-defense actions” under Article 51, there can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of Russia’s contention that the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass had been subjected to a brutal eight-year-long bombardment that had killed thousands of people.

Moreover, Russia claims to have documentary proof that the Ukrainian Army was preparing for a massive military incursion into the Donbass which was pre-empted by the Russian-led “special military operation.” [OSCE figures show an increase of government shelling of the area in the days before Russia moved in.]

Finally, Russia has articulated claims about Ukraine’s intent regarding nuclear weapons, and in particular efforts to manufacture a so-called “dirty bomb”, which have yet to be proven or disproven. [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a reference to seeking a nuclear weapon in February at the Munich Security Conference.]

The bottom line is that Russia has set forth a cognizable claim under the doctrine of anticipatory collective self defense, devised originally by the U.S. and NATO, as it applies to Article 51 which is predicated on fact, not fiction.  (Ritter, Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression)


[Nuremberg Trials. 1st row: Hermann Göring, Rudolf Heß, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel. 2nd row: Karl Dönitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel. (Office of the U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality/Still Picture Records LICON, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S)]

All the speakers, except maybe excluding John Kiriakou, have great points to make: Andrei Martyanov, expert on Russian military affairs, author The Real Revolution in Military Affairs; Chris Kaspar de Ploeg, author Ukraine in the Crossfire; James Carden, Adviser U.S.-Russia bilateral commission during the Obama administration & Ex. Editor of The American Committee for East-West accord; Scott Ritter, former U.S. Marine Intelligence officer, UN Arms Inspector, exposed WMD lie in U.S. push to invade Iraq; John Kiriakou, CIA whistleblower and Radio Sputnik host; Ron Ridenour, peace activist, author The Russian Peace Threat; Gerald Horne, historian, author, Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston; Jeremy Kuzmarov, CAM Managing Editor and author of The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce.

Imagine, the provocations.

The US government invoked self-defense as a legal justification for its invasion of Panama. Several scholars and observers have opined that the invasion was illegal under international law.

Watch, Panama Deception here: C-Span!

Oh, those Freedom Fighters, the back-shooting, civilian-killing, village-burning Contras:

Appendix A: Background on United States Funding of the Contras

In examining the allegations in the Mercury News and elsewhere, it is important to understand the timing of funding of the Contras by the United States. The following dates explain the periods during which the United States government provided funding to the Contras or cut off such funding.

  • Anastasio Somoza Debayle was the leader of Nicaragua from 1967 until July 1979, when he was overthrown by the Sandinistas. When President Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, he promptly canceled the final $15 million payment of a $75 million aid package to Nicaragua, reversing the Carter administration’s policy towards Nicaragua. On November 17, 1981, President Reagan signed National Security Directive 17, authorizing provision of covert support to anti-Sandinista forces. On December 1, 1981, Reagan signed a document intending to conceal the November 17 authorization of anti-Sandinista operations. The document characterized the United States’ goal in Nicaragua as that of interdicting the flow of arms from Nicaragua to El Salvador, where leftist guerrillas were receiving aid from Sandinista forces.
  • In late 1982, Edward P. Boland, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 1983 Defense Appropriations bill that prohibited the CIA, the principal conduit of covert American support for the Contras, from spending funds “for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.” However, the CIA could continue to support the Contras if it claimed that the purpose was something other than to overthrow the government. In December 1983, a compromise was reached and Congress passed a funding cap for fiscal year 1984 of $24 million for aid to the Contras, an amount significantly lower than what the Reagan administration wanted, with the possibility that the Administration could seek supplemental funds later.
  • This funding was insufficient to support the Administration’s “Contra program” and the decision was made to approach other countries for monetary support. In April 1984, Robert McFarlane convinced Saudi Arabia to contribute $1 million per month to the Contras through a secret bank account set up by Lt. Col. Oliver North.
  • In October 1984, the second Boland amendment took effect. It prohibited any military or paramilitary support for the Contras from October 3, 1984, through December 19, 1985. As a result, the CIA and Department of Defense (DOD) began withdrawing personnel from Central America. During this time, however, the National Security Council continued to provide support to the Contras.
  • In August 1985, Congress approved $25 million in humanitarian aid to the Contras, with the proviso that the State Department, and not the CIA or the DOD, administer the aid. President Reagan created the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO) to supply the humanitarian aid. In September 1985, Oliver North began using the Salvadoran air base at Ilopango for Contra resupply efforts.
  • On October 5, 1986, a plane loaded with supplies for the Contras, financed by private benefactors, was shot down by Nicaraguan soldiers. On board were weapons and other lethal supplies and three Americans. One American, Eugene Hasenfus, claimed while in custody that he worked for the CIA. The Reagan Administration denied any knowledge of the private resupply efforts.
  • On October 17, 1986, Congress approved $100 million in funds for the Contras. In 1987, after the discovery of private resupply efforts orchestrated by the National Security Council and Oliver North, Congress ceased all but “non-lethal” aid in 1987. The war between the Sandinistas and the Contras ended with a cease-fire in 1990.
  • Although the Contras were often referred to as one group, several distinct factions made up the Contras.
  • In August 1980, Colonel Enrique Bermudez, a former Colonel in Somoza’s National Guard, united other former National Guard officers and anti-Sandinista civilians to form the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (FDN). This group was known as the Northern Front because it was based in Honduras. In February 1983, Adolfo Calero became the head of the FDN.
  • In April 1982, Eden Pastora split from the Sandinista regime and organized the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE) and the Sandinista Revolutionary Front (FRS), which declared war on the Sandinista regime. Pastora’s group was based in Costa Rica and along the southern border of Nicaragua, and therefore became known as the Southern Front. Pastora refused to work with Bermudez, claiming that Bermudez, as a member of the former Somoza regime, was politically tainted. The CIA decided to support the FDN and generally declined to support the ARDE.

Again, let’s think about what is actually happening in Ukraine, and where the country is, and what the Russians in that country are facing, and, gulp, where is Ukraine? Thousands of miles away, like Panama and Nicaragua are from USA?

Here, a Dutch journalist:

Sonja at the place of the rocket attack in Donetsk, the ATM machine. [Photo Courtesy of Sonja Van den Ende]

Read her work:

As the war in Ukraine rages on, I visited the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as an embedded reporter with the Russian army.

Both of the republics are the trigger of the current conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared their independence on February 24, 2022, something a lot of people were waiting for since the CIA backed coup in Ukraine of February 2014. That coup had resulted in the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and new laws forcing the Ukrainian language on Russian-speaking residents. Luhansk and Donetsk consequently voted on their independence and Ukraine attacked them, precipitating the war.

European support for the so-called Maidan coup was considerable: the Dutch MP Hans van Baalen from the ruling Dutch VVD party (Mark Rutte), for example, was at the protests that helped trigger the coup, as was the former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt. Both were seen cheering on the crowds, surrounded by right-extremists on the stage, shouting “democracy.”

So what is preemptive defense? Right to Protect? What is big ugly history of Nazi’s in Poland and Ukraine? What is that all about, uh, Americanum?

At least 32 countries have sent direct military aid to Ukraine this year! US and NATO Allies Arm Neo-Nazi Units in Ukraine as Foreign Policy Elites Yearn for Afghan-style Insurgency

So, plans by ZioLensky for Dirty Bombs from the wasteland of Chernobyl, not a provocation?

How many were immolated in Waco? Why? Mount Carmel Center became engulfed in flames. The fire resulted in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidians, including 25 children, two pregnant women, and David Koresh himself.

Oh, the impatience of the USA, FBI, ATF, Attorney General, Bill Clinton, the lot of them.

Or, dropping bombs on Philly, to kill, well, black people:

How many died, and what happened to the city block? Bombs dropped on our own people, again! Police dropped a bomb on a West Philly house in 1985. The fire caused by the explosion killed 11 people, an atrocity that Philadelphia still grapples with today.

 

Oh, the irony.

Black Lives Do Not Matter, here, or in Ukraine. Below, representation of those lives killed by cops, of all races, in one year. Many of these in a year, 60 percent, did not involve a person with a gun, and a huge number, 40 percent, involved people going throug mental health crises.

More than one thousand people are killed by police every year in America

Oh, being black in Ukraine:

[Foreign students trying to reach the Ukrainian border said they were thrown off trains, not allowed on buses, and made to wait hours in the cold before crossing over.]

Yes, the first casualty of war is truth, and with the USA as the Empire of Lies and Hate, the casualty is now a larger framework of a Zombie Nation of virtue signalers and those who want the fake news to be real, please!

So far as I know, this is the first war in modern history with no objective, principled coverage in mainstream media of day-to-day events and their context. None. It is morn-to-night propaganda, disinformation and lies of omission — most of it fashioned by the Nazi-infested Zelensky regime in Kiev and repeated uncritically as fact.

There is one thing worse than this degenerate state of affairs. It is the extent to which the media’s malpractice is perfectly fine to most Americans. Tell us what to think and believe no matter if it is true, they say, and we will think and believe it. Show us some pictures, for images are all.

There are larger implications to consider here. Critical as it is that we understand this conflict, Ukraine is a mirror in which we see ourselves as we have become. For more Americans than I wish were so, reality forms only in images. These Americans are no longer occupants of their own lives. Risking a paradox, what they take to be reality is detached from reality.

This majority — and it is almost certainly a majority — has no thoughts or views except those first verified through the machinery of manufactured images and “facts.” Television screens, the pages of purportedly authoritative newspapers, the air waves of government-funded radio stations — NPR, the BBC — serve to certify realities that do not have to be real, truths that do not have to be true.

Before proceeding to Bucha, the outrage of the moment, I must reproduce a quotation from that propaganda-is-O.K. piece The Times published in its March 3 editions. It is from a Twitter user who was distressed that it became public that the Ghost of Kiev turned out to be a ghost and the Snake Island heroes didn’t do much by way of holding the fort.

‘Why can’t we just let people believe some things?’ this thoughtful man or woman wanted to know. What is wrong, in other words, if thinking and believing nice things that aren’t true makes people feel better? (Patrick LawrenceSpecial to Consortium News)

Daniel Boorstin’s The Image: A Guide to Pseudo- Events in America, has been cited by yours truly several times. It is a completely amazing work, sixty years ahead of its time, and it is almost completely ignored!.

boorstin daniel - the image - AbeBooks

I describe the world of our making, how we have used our wealth, our literacy, our technology, and our progress to create the thicket of unreality which stands between us and the facts of life. …. The reporter’s task is to find a way to weave these threads of unreality into a fabric the reader will not recognize as entirely unreal. (Boorstin)

The post Deconstructing Preemption, De-Nazification, Right to Protect . . . In the Eyes of Empire of Lies (and Hate) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Scientists Hit the Streets

A revolutionary slogan by climate scientists “1.5C is Dead – Climate Revolution Now!” emblazoned the streets of the world on April 6th spawned by the Sixth Assessment Report, Mitigation of Climate Change, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released April 4th.

Overnight, civil disobedience by climate scientists erupted in 25 countries on every continent enraged that the IPCC report was “watered down” at the behest of governments that are “unwilling to phase out fossil fuels.”

Wednesday, April 6th will go down in history, as Global Warming Bastille Day marked by the world’s largest ever protests by scientists sick and tired of mealy-mouthed responses by governments that cater to the fossil fuel wealth syndrome that intentionally misleads the public and pays off politicians to keep pumping oil regardless of massive ecological destruction.

Scientists have had enough. They are fighting mad and striking back by hitting the streets, chaining themselves to government and private industry buildings, gates, bridges, and entryways in bold demonstrations to stop fossil fuel dead in its tracks.

Scientists chained themselves to the front door of the JP Morgan Chase building in downtown LA. The bank is the world’s leading funder of oil and gas projects.

Climate scientists chained themselves to the White House fence demanded that President Biden declare a “climate emergency.”

Scientists splashed red paint on the steps of the Congress of Deputies in Madrid and blocked a bridge near Germany’s parliament building… calling out “political mismanagement” and “lies” and “business as usual” destroying the planet’s ecosystems.

An op-ed in The Guardian declared: “Earth breakdown is much worse than most people realize.”

And, that is a primary issue and major catalyst for rebellion by scientists throughout the world. They see the breakdown; they measure it; they live with data that shows rapid deterioration of the planet’s life-giving ecosystems.  Deterioration is pronounced and advanced beyond climate models. The survival of the planet is at stake.

In a letter to President Joe Biden 275 scientists demanded: “Follow the Science, Stop Fossil Fuels.” Food & Water Watch, along with the group of climate scientists, coordinated this effort, including scientists Peter Kalmus (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Sandra Steingraber (American biologist), Robert Howarth (Cornell University), Mark Jacobson (Stanford University), and Michael Mann (Penn State).

President Biden was urged to “build a renewable energy economy” by exercising his “executive authority to redirect these massive investments, mobilize the country, and rally the global community around a program of energy security through a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

“We urge you to lead boldly, take on the fossil fuel titans, and rally the country towards a renewable energy future,”

At Shell’s London headquarters scientists used modified fire extinguishers to spray biodegradable fake oil on the building’s façade.

Microbiologist Abi Perrin, taking part in the London action, said:

I’m here today because I’m so frightened by seeing the stark warnings of the world’s scientists being ignored and suppressed by governments and powerful corporations who are putting economic growth and short-term profit above the survival of life on Earth. I am joining hundreds of scientists across the globe taking similar actions today, in the hope that this will help in some small way to change the course that we are on. Shell has known about the harm their products and activities cause since before I was born, yet throughout my lifetime they have kept expanding their fossil fuel operations, wrecking lives, communities, ecosystems, the world’s climate and our prospects for the future in the process.  1

Extinction Rebellion is the world leader via civil disobedience holding governments responsible for fossil fuel destruction.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Net zero by 2025!

  1. Breaking: “Scientists and Academics Throw Fake Oil Over Shell Hq“, Extinction Rebellion.uk, April 5, 2022.
The post Scientists Hit the Streets first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Serbia Stomps on Rio Tinto’s Lithium Mining Project

On the face of it, there seems to be little in the way of connection between the treatment of Novak Djokovic by Australian authorities and the cooling of the Serbian government towards Rio Tinto.  The Anglo-Australian mining giant was confident that it would, at least eventually, win out in gaining the permissions to commence work on its US$2.4 billion lithium-borates mine in the Jadar Valley.

In 2021, Rio Tinto stated that the project would “scale up [the company’s] exposure to battery materials, and demonstrate the company’s commitment to investing capital in a disciplined manner to further strengthen its portfolio for the global energy transition.”

The road had been a bit bumpy, including a growing environmental movement determined to scuttle the project.  But the ruling coalition, led by the Serbian Progressive Party, had resisted going wobbly on the issue.

Then came the maligning of the world number one tennis player in Australia.  Djokovic had been tormented by a brief spell of confinement in quarters normally reserved for refugees kept in indefinite detention, and eventually defeated in the Full Court of the Federal Court.  During the course of events, he saw his visa cancelled twice, first by a member of the Australian Border Force, the next time by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.  Along the way, lynch mobs were thrilled that “Novaxx” Djokovic, that great threat to Australia’s vaccinated innocence, was finally on a flight home.

The Serbian government attempted to intervene.  President Aleksander Vučić made a plea to the Morrison government to resist cancelling Djokovic’s visa; the Australian Open was the Serbian tennis player’s favourite tournament, one he had won numerous times.

A diplomatic incident, more murmur than bark, was sparked.  “In line with all standards of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic,” promised the Serbian premier.  But for an Australian government that has flouted international law and fetishized border control, the call mattered little.

In Serbia, Rio Tinto then faced a rude shock.  The Vučić government, having praised the potential of the Jadar project for some years, abruptly abandoned it.  “All decisions (connected to the lithium project) and all licenses have been annulled,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić stated flatly on January 20.  “As far as project Jadar is concerned, this is an end.”

Branabić insisted, somewhat disingenuously, that this decision merely acknowledged the will of voters.  “We are listening to our people and it is our job to protect their interests even when we think differently.”

This is a bit rich coming from a government hostile to industry accountability and investment transparency.  The same government also decided to begin infrastructure works on the jadarite mine before the granting of an exploitation permit.  Such behaviour has left advocates such as Savo Manojlović of the NGO Kreni-Promeni wondering why Rio Tinto was singled out over, for instance, Eurolithium, which was permitted to dig in the environs of Valjevo in western Serbia.

Zorana Mihajlović, Serbia’s mining and energy minister, preferred to blame the environmental movement, though the alibi seemed a bit forced.  “The government showed it wanted the dialogue … (and) attempts to use ecology for political purposes demonstrate they (green groups) care nothing about the lives of the people, nor the industrial development.”

Rio Tinto had been facing an impressive grass roots militia, mobilised to remind Serbians about the devastating implications of proposed lithium mining operations. The Ne damo Jadar (We won’t let anyone take Jadar) group has unerringly focused attention on the secret agreements reached between the mining company and Belgrade.  Zlatko Kokanović, vice president of the group, is convinced that the mine would “not only threaten one of Serbia’s oldest and most important archaeological sites, it will also endanger several protected bird species, pond terrapins, and fire salamander, which would otherwise be protected by EU directives.”

Taking issue with the unflattering environmental record of the Anglo-Australian company, numerous protests were organised and petitions launched, including one that has received 292,571 signatures.  Last month, activists organised gatherings and marches across the country, including road blockades.

Djokovic has not been immune to the growing green movement, if only to lend a few words of support.  In a December Instagram story post featuring a picture of anti-mining protests, he declared that, “Clean air, water and food are the keys to health.  Without it, every word about health is redundant.”

Rio Tinto’s response to the critics was that of the seductive guest keen to impress: we have gifts for the governors, the rulers and the parliamentarians.  Give us permission to dig, and we will make you the envy of Europe, green and environmentally sound ambassadors of the electric battery and car revolution.

The European Battery Alliance, a group of electric vehicle supply chain companies, is adamant that the Jadar project “constituted an important share of potential European domestic supply.”  The mine would have “contributed to support the growth of a nascent industrial battery-related ecosystem in Serbia, contributing to a substantial amount to Serbia’s annual GDP.”  Assiduously selective, the group preferred to ignore the thorny environmental implications of the venture.

The options facing the mining giant vary, none of which would appeal to the board.  In a statement, the company claimed that it was “reviewing the legal basis of this decision and the implications for our activities and our people in Serbia.”  It might bullyingly seek to sue Belgrade, a move that is unlikely to improve an already worn reputation.  “For a major mining company to sue a state is very unusual,” suggests Peter Leon of law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.  “A claim under the bilateral treaty is always a last resort, but not a first resort.”

Another option for punters within the company will be a political gamble: hoping that April’s parliamentary elections will usher in a bevy of pro-mining representatives.  By then, public antagonism against matters Australian will have dimmed.  The Serbian ecological movement, however, is unlikely to ease their campaign.  The age of mining impunity in the face of popular protest has come to an end.

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Naive Documentary (-ies) Makers Barely Scratch the Surface!

W.E.B. DuBois: ‘To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.’

This documentary (see below, first one linked) is not news, and then, of course, it’s Trump in office blather, too. As if UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal are havens for social and people and environmental justice.

How Poor People Survive in the USA — vapid.

The documentarian is done, really, through the auspices of Euro trash context, POV, narrative framing. Contrarily, you have to be in the mix, in the middle, from the chambers of power, schools, colleges, social work, to real journalism, and into the mess personally, with daily fear of losing the job and seeing savings go go go. That is the slippage in the death spiral of USA. 

This is a Reservation/Rez Society. Boarding School Society. Celebrity Cults. Internment Camp FEMA Village (Soon). This entire unfolding of history the past 70 years has been this big time military propaganda operation embedding into all systems. Confusion creator. Mystical hatred or subservience  while praying for that blue-eyed, blond hippie Jesus. Dirt poor, and loving Trump. College student loans over $100K,  and loving AOC and Biden.

The enemy for me, and I’d say for 80 percent of USA, is that grouping — colonized Eichmann’s, the upper classes, the dream hoarders, the intelligence/knowledge workers, the higher ups in education-medicine-incarceration-pharma-medicine-energy-banking-data collecting-surveillance-real estate-Chamber of Commerce-AI-science-ag-retail-logistics-transportation, and then, MIC, congressional military complex. Join the mercenary forces, and lucky you, get your teeth pulled and a GI Bill.

Bullshit.

Ahh, my old platform to rail against the system — LA Progressive! Terminal Velocity no More! Or here! Paul Haeder. 

I’ve asked why the stuff I send and publish elsewhere is no longer getting up on LA Progressive. No answer! Again, this documentary is broken (above), but that is documentary making, most times — focused, rarified, gatekeeping on steroids, with people on the projects not deep systems thinkers, and a willingness to leave out a lot.

Stan Brock memorial remembers founder of Remote Area Medical, Wild Kingdom  star

Missing:

  1. Tens of millions on the edge of the cliff of eviction, foreclosure, endless bad jobs, in the car or van, bunking up with family or friends, while working for middle managers who do not care, and the upper management and the billionaires and millionaires.
  2. Inflammation — Capitalism is a complete, holistic, top-down disease, creating inflammation in the veins, brain, organs, belly. But worse — cuts the thinking process, deforms the mutual aid ethos, destroys collective action, kills the ability to squat and reappropriate wealth, land, whatever.
  3. The rat race of those with a roof over their heads that continue to fuel prescriptions, Disneyland la-la-land thinking, buy-buy-buy, watching sports-stars-musicians, I got mine, you better fight to get yours
  4. This country, USA, is the rotting roots and DNA of Europe, of that narrator above. These are not real people, and they are so sculpted in news speak, in priviledge.
  5. This documentary doesn’t get to the fabric of colonization of cities, schools, the bullshit of privatization, and this wacky religious and wacky elitist country of Indian Removal, Enslavement then and now, and Nomadlands.
  6. Americans are children, and that is thanks to the Media, the Boss, foolish k-6 education, and, well, we are here now, 355 million, and this is pre-covid crazies. Now? Complete imprisonment!

Oh, hell, the list is a thousand points long: Stan Brock, Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom. This is one fellow, and great heart, but in a world of Space Suits, Billionaires and Yachts, Lies Casted in Media-Banking-Digitalization, well, one guy. “He founded Remote Area Medical in 1985 to give people in need essential health care. Since then, RAM has provided free dental, vision and basic health care to more than 740,000 people.”

 

Here, the documentary on RAM above, description: During the U.S. debate about healthcare reform, the media reporters and news crews and filmmakers failed to put a human face on what it means to not have access to healthcare. Remote Area Medical fills that gap; it is a film about people, not policy. Focusing on a single three-day clinic held in the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, Remote Area Medical affords us an insider’s perspective on the ebb and flow of the event, from the tense 3:30 a.m. ticket distribution that determines who gets seen to the routine check-ups that take dramatic turns for the worse, to the risky means to which some patients resort for pain relief. We meet a doctor who also drives an 18-wheeler, a denture maker who moonlights as a jeweler, and the organization’s founder, Stan Brock, who first imagined Remote Area Medical while living as a cowboy in the Amazon rainforest, hundreds of miles from the nearest doctor. But it is the extraordinary stories of the patients, desperate for medical attention, that create a lasting impression about the state of modern health care in America.

This can’t be ramped up, taken to the ultimate level? It’s socialism, brothers and sisters, the only way forward. Forget the hate that the right and the middle of the road have against socialism. They will ply the words of “one world government.” Or, the “government controlling us.” They will talk about Universal Basic Income. They will say it is brainwashing, and communism, and, well, that socialism means all rights are taken, managed, given to and taken away by some master groups of dictators. So we are dead in the water with capitalism by any means necessary: predatory, parasitic, casino, dog-eat-dog, shock therapy, zombie, trickle down nothingness.

That is, you know, vaccine passport, no. But, there is no Forced Healthcare for All. No, Massive Take Over the Empty Lots and Buildings for Massive Rehousing. No guerrilla farming everywhere. Nothing. Because, well, Capitalism is All about “We are all champions. We are all the New Eve and Adam. You can rest assured that the masters will NOT take care of you, but at least you have the stars and bars, god almighty, baby-land.”

This exceptionalism is what has detroyed many in the 80 percent. Many. They will work and think and do things against their own well-being. When you are a lost dog in this country, a limping stray, a hungry desperate pooch, well, you will jump to the master, run for the beasts of slapping, kicking, yelling, and hitting. Under the table, curled up, belly and organs exposed as its tail is between the legs.

Heartbroken Senior Dog Cowering At A Shelter Just Wants To Be Loved
Inflamed — Moreover, they point out how modern medicine has often missed these necessary connections—to our global detriment. What is needed is “deep medicine,” which, according to the authors, “requires new cosmologies, ones that can braid our lives with the planet and the web of life around us.”
 
Rupa Marya and Raj Patel spoke to YES! about the ravages of colonialist capitalism, the failures of modern medicine to treat them, and, most importantly, how a “deep medicine” approach can heal us all.
 
*This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
 
Sonali Kolhatkar: Is the title of the book, Inflamed, a metaphor for what is happening to our planet and its living systems?
 
Rupa Marya: It’s not at all a metaphor. It’s a description of what’s happening inside of our bodies and around us on the planet and our societies. The inflammatory response is the body’s ancient evolutionarily conserved pathway to restoring its optimal working condition when it’s been thrown off by danger or damage or the threat of damage. (Source, Yes Magazine)
 
No jobs, no good jobs, decayed systems, penalties, bad credit, criminal offenses, drugs, booze, and bodies torn at a very young age with multiple chronic diseases, many many diseases.
 
https://youtu.be/YrEwPp2bG48
 
This is the system that the beautiful people in the sciences, in technology, in the Reset Star Chamber, all of those hoarding money and the opportunities have set loose, and these fascists want these people — us, we the people — on UBI, held as data pools — body snatchers, mind snatchers, attention snatchers, activity snatchers, all part of mining people, putting us, them, the 80 percent, in the cloud, in algorithms, in data banks, all mashed up for social impact — do as we say, follow what we command, eat-drink-think like we say, and you will get the tokens, man, the money, the slice of a 200-square-foot-per-person habitat. No pets allowed.
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We’ve Still Got the Numbers

In the Vietnam War protest song “Five to One,” Jim Morrison of The Doors sings:

The old get old/And the young get stronger
May take a week/And it may take longer
They got the guns/But we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah/We’re takin’ over 

In my youth, I took solace in the whole “we got the numbers” thing but it eventually became crystal clear that the ones with the guns have had it all figured out for a very, very long time. Philosopher David Hume, in 1758, explained it this way:

As force is always on side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion only that government is founded and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments as well as to the most free and most popular.

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world,” added Gore Vidal, far more recently. “No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity, much less dissent.”

This potent combination of muscle and misinformation manifested itself in the events leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. On February 15 of that year, tens of millions of earthlings marched and carried signs to declare their unambiguous disapproval of America’s plan to drastically ratchet up what had (at that point) essentially been a 12-year war against the people of Iraq. But…  The massive global protests were ignored by the elites.

  • The massive global protests were ignored by the elites.
  • The shock-and-awe invasion went on as planned.
  • The occupation, violence, and despair continue to this day in one way or another

Doesn’t say a whole lot for “having the numbers,” huh? “We” still have the numbers. Morrison’s “they,” however, give no indication they’ll be surrendering their guns — or their propaganda or their “science” — any time soon. As a result, dissent in America is pretty much limited to permitted marches, protests, boycotts, petitions, candlelight vigils, documentaries, free speech zones, the occasional vote for a third-party candidate, and social media flame wars.

All of these methods (at least in their safe-for-mass-consumption versions) are deemed “legal” by those with the guns and, in their own way, legitimize the power held by those with the guns. Thus, all such tactics are ultimately futile in terms of provoking systemic, long-term change.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why you haven’t taken your rebellion beyond the methods listed above. Even as the tyranny is now happening in plain sight, are we really relying on memes? Maybe author Derrick Jensen had it right when he said: “We still think we have something to lose. That’s what’s stopping us. As soon as we realize we have nothing left to lose, we’ll be dangerous.” After all, in “Five to One,” Jim Morrison also sang: “No one here gets out alive.”

The post We’ve Still Got the Numbers first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Our Future vs. Neoliberalism

(Photo:  Tom Pennington)

In country after country around the world, people are rising up to challenge entrenched, failing neoliberal political and economic systems, with mixed but sometimes promising results.

Progressive leaders in the U.S. Congress are refusing to back down on the Democrats’ promises to American voters to reduce poverty, expand rights to healthcare, education and clean energy, and repair a shredded social safety net. After decades of tax cuts for the rich, they are also committed to raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations to pay for this popular agenda.

Germany has elected a ruling coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats that excludes the conservative Christian Democrats for the first time since 2000. The new government promises a $14 minimum wage, solar panels on all suitable roof space, 2% of land for wind farms and the closure of Germany’s last coal-fired power plants by 2030.

Iraqis voted in an election that was called in response to a popular protest movement launched in October 2019 to challenge the endemic corruption of the post-2003 political class and its subservience to U.S. and Iranian interests. The protest movement was split between taking part in the election and boycotting it, but its candidates still won about 35 seats and will have a voice in parliament. The party of long-time Iraqi nationalist leader Muqtada al-Sadr won 73 seats, the largest of any single party, while Iranian-backed parties whose armed militias killed hundreds of protesters in 2019 lost popular support and many of their seats.

Chile’s billionaire president, Sebastian Piñera, is being impeached after the Pandora Papers revealed details of bribery and tax evasion in his sale of a mining company, and he could face up to 5 years in prison. Mass street protests in 2019 forced Piñera to agree to a new constitution to replace the one written under the Pinochet military dictatorship, and a convention that includes representatives of indigenous and other marginalized communities has been elected to draft the constitution. Progressive parties and candidates are expected to do well in the general election in November.

Maybe the greatest success of people power has come in Bolivia. In 2020, only a year after a U.S.-backed right-wing military coup, a mass mobilization of mostly indigenous working people forced a new election, and the socialist MAS Party of Evo Morales was returned to power. Since then it has already introduced a new wealth tax and welfare payments to four million people to help eliminate hunger in Bolivia.

The Ideological Context

Since the 1970s, Western political and corporate leaders have peddled a quasi-religious belief in the power of “free” markets and unbridled capitalism to solve all the world’s problems. This new “neoliberal” orthodoxy is a thinly disguised reversion to the systematic injustice of 19th century laissez-faire capitalism, which led to gross inequality and poverty even in wealthy countries, famines that killed tens of millions of people in India and China, and horrific exploitation of the poor and vulnerable worldwide.

For most of the 20th century, Western countries gradually responded to the excesses and injustices of capitalism by using the power of government to redistribute wealth through progressive taxation and a growing public sector, and ensure broad access to public goods like education and healthcare. This led to a gradual expansion of broadly shared prosperity in the United States and Western Europe through a strong public sector that balanced the power of private corporations and their owners.

The steadily growing shared prosperity of the post-WWII years in the West was derailed by a  combination of factors, including the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, Nixon’s freeze on prices and wages, runaway inflation caused by dropping the gold standard, and then a second oil crisis after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Right-wing politicians led by Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in the U.K. blamed the power of organized labor and the public sector for the economic crisis. They launched a “neoliberal” counter-revolution to bust unions, shrink and privatize the public sector, cut taxes, deregulate industries and supposedly unleash “the magic of the market.” Then they took credit for a return to economic growth that really owed more to the end of the oil crises.

The United States and United Kingdom used their economic, military and media power to spread their neoliberal gospel across the world. Chile’s experiment in neoliberalism under Pinochet’s military dictatorship became a model for U.S. efforts to roll back the “pink tide” in Latin America. When the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe opened to the West at the end of the Cold War, it was the extreme, neoliberal brand of capitalism that Western economists imposed as “shock therapy” to privatize state-owned enterprises and open countries to Western corporations.

In the United States, the mass media shy away from the word “neoliberalism” to describe the changes in society since the 1980s. They describe its effects in less systemic terms, as globalization, privatization, deregulation, consumerism and so on, without calling attention to their common ideological roots. This allows them to treat its impacts as separate, unconnected problems: poverty and inequality, mass incarceration, environmental degradation, ballooning debt, money in politics, disinvestment in public services, declines in public health, permanent war, and record military spending.

After a generation of systematic neoliberal control, it is now obvious to people all over the world that neoliberalism has utterly failed to solve the world’s problems. As many predicted all along, it has just enabled the rich to get much, much richer, while structural and even existential problems remain unsolved.

Even once people have grasped the self-serving, predatory nature of this system that has overtaken their political and economic life, many still fall victim to the demoralization and powerlessness that are among its most insidious products, as they are brainwashed to see themselves only as individuals and consumers, instead of as active and collectively powerful citizens.

In effect, confronting neoliberalism—whether as individuals, groups, communities or countries—requires a two-step process. First, we must understand the nature of the beast that has us and the world in its grip, whatever we choose to call it. Second, we must overcome our own demoralization and powerlessness, and rekindle our collective power as political and economic actors to build the better world we know is possible.

We will see that collective power in the streets and the suites at COP26 in Glasgow, when the world’s leaders will gather to confront the reality that neoliberalism has allowed corporate profits to trump a rational response to the devastating impact of fossil fuels on the Earth’s climate. Extinction Rebellion and other groups will be in the streets in Glasgow, demanding the long-delayed action that is required to solve the problem, including an end to net carbon emissions by 2025.

While scientists warned us for decades what the result would be, political and business leaders have peddled their neoliberal snake oil to keep filling their coffers at the expense of the future of life on Earth. If we fail to stop them now, living conditions will keep deteriorating for people everywhere, as the natural world our lives depend on is washed out from under our feet, goes up in smoke and, species by species, dies and disappears forever.

The Covid pandemic is another real world case study on the impact of neoliberalism. As the official death toll reaches 5 million and many more deaths go unreported, rich countries are still hoarding vaccines, drug companies are reaping a bonanza of profits from vaccines and new drugs, and the lethal, devastating injustice of the entire neoliberal “market” system is laid bare for the whole world to see. Calls for a “people’s vaccine” and “vaccine justice” have been challenging what has now been termed “vaccine apartheid.”

Conclusion

In the 1980s, U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher often told the world, “There is no alternative” to the neoliberal order she and President Reagan were unleashing. After only one or two generations, the self-serving insanity they prescribed and the crises it has caused have made it a question of survival for humanity to find alternatives.

Around the world, ordinary people are rising up to demand real change. The people of Iraq, Chile and Bolivia have overcome the incredible traumas inflicted on them to take to the streets in the thousands and demand better government. Americans should likewise demand that our government stop wasting trillions of dollars to militarize the world and destroy countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, and start solving our real problems, here and abroad.

People around the world understand the nature of the problems we face better than we did a generation or even a decade ago. Now we must overcome demoralization and powerlessness in order to act. It helps to understand that the demoralization and powerlessness we may feel are themselves products of this neoliberal system, and that simply overcoming them is a victory in itself.

As we reject the inevitability of neoliberalism and Thatcher’s lie that there is no alternative, we must also reject the lie that we are just passive, powerless consumers. As human beings, we have the same collective power that human beings have always had to build a better world for ourselves and our children – and now is the time to harness that power.

The post Our Future vs. Neoliberalism first appeared on Dissident Voice.

It’s What the Babies Eat: Inflammatory Capitalism in Mush

Again, you can’t shuttle through the headlines, the so-called news, without having spasms and fits. You will not get journalists doing shit to really go after the capitalists, uh? Baby food. And these transnational Wall Street thieves, these stockholding companies, not even a slap on the wrist. So, if I as an unjabbed person goes into a public place, and then the rabid fascists find out, they then can call the cops, do a citizen’s arrest, and take my ass down, zip ties and all. But, do these billionaires and multimillionaires get hog-tied or frog-marched into court, and have their ill-gotten profits used for a reparations fund for all those babies? Dream on:

Baby Food Makers Kept Selling Products with Arsenic Levels Exceeding FDA-Approved Limits

HEADLINESEP 30, 2021

 

Baby food manufacturers allowed products contaminated with heavy metals to remain on store shelves — even after dangerous levels of the toxic chemicals were detected in their products. That’s according to a new congressional report released Wednesday, which found baby food makers Gerber and Beech-Nut failed to recall infant rice cereals tested to have arsenic levels above FDA limits.

This is how these felons roll, these dirty rotten propagandists, the smoke and mirrors crowd, the polluters, all those elites and money grubbers:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-14.png

Going from baby food to land, forests, indigenous rights, we can see more putridity of the White Savior Civilizations (sic) facilitating the land rapists and the water polluters. This is not outrageous in Can/Klan/Ada?

In Canada, a judge has ended an injunction granted to logging company Teal-Jones, which the court says was used to crack down on activists at the Fairy Creek watershed blockade in a way that violated their civil liberties and infringed on press freedom. Police have arrested over 1,000 land defenders, often violently, as they fight to protect the remaining trees in Vancouver Island’s ancient forests. The First Nations-led protest is Canada’s largest act of civil disobedience. Click here to see our coverage of this issue

It’s a simple formula, a simple illustration of how syphilitics the ruling class is, and here, “David Graeber’s bestselling book Debt: The First 5000 Years revolutionised our understanding of the origins of money and the role of debt in human societies. But intellectual revolutions take time, and David’s sudden and untimely death left this revolution unfinished. David’s widow Nika Dubrovsky has established ‘The Fight Club’ to keep David’s unique way of challenging conventional wisdoms alive. Each ‘Fight’ will pit leading advocates of different visions of how society functions against each other. The inaugural fight, to mark the first anniversary of David’s death, is a debate between the renowned economists Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and Michael Hudson, author of And Forgive Them Their Debts. Thomas Piketty wrote the preface to the tenth anniversary edition of Debt: the First 5000 Years. Michael Hudson’s anthropological research into the origins of money and debt in ancient Sumeria was the basis of much of David’s analysis in that book. Join us for an unmissable encounter between two celebrated and highly influential economic thinkers as they debate: what is money and what is debt? What are the most serious problems of today’s finance-capital economies? And what are the best remedies?”

Finally, the new brisk and slick predators, those capitalists, those impact bond folk, the algorithms, the mining of our minds, bodies, dreams, aspirations. Wrench in the Gears, a long one, with lots of sources to click on to enhance Alison’s work:

This past week someone sent me a paper on augmented cognition. As I read it, a number of pieces clicked for me about earlier research I’d done into executive function. I wanted to preserve the thread, so I captured it in the screen shots below. Follow along to see how grit and resiliency intersect with Metaverse navigation and soul theft.

Also, this week Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite briefed the Federal Reserve. Listen carefully to hear him setting up human capital bond markets in ed-tech, social emotional learning (SEL), nutrition, and tele-health via public-private partnerships with “philanthropic” predators.

This is accepted behavior, accepted “follow the science” bullshit; accepted state paid for university research; accepted elite school work and disgust? This is what Americans cannot handle:

So, how can lead in Flint’s water be a big deal? Arsenic in baby food? Arresting protestors in Canada? Think about how polluted media are, how broken universities are, and how confused and full of Collective Stockholm Syndrome the public is. This last comment is pretty telling:

The post It’s What the Babies Eat: Inflammatory Capitalism in Mush first appeared on Dissident Voice.