Category Archives: US Defence Department

Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again

Time and time again, the left sites just keep pushing all those international stories, all those stories tied to this or that political party head, and while China is important, and while we know the dirty deeds of Blinken to Pompeo, all the way back, we still miss out on the common people, us, the little ones.

Sure, this is a trending story, in California, tied to the vaccine mandate, the hysteria, the fascism:

The University of California, Irvine has placed their Director of Medical EthicsDr. Aaron Kheriaty, on ‘investigatory leave’ after he challenged the constitutionality of the UC’s vaccine mandate in regards to individuals who have recovered from Covid and have naturally-acquired immunity.

Last month Kheriaty, also a Professor of Psychiatry at UCI School of Medicine, filed a suit in Federal court over the mandate.

Natural immunity following Covid infection is equal to (indeed, superior to) vaccine-mediated immunity. Thus, forcing those with natural immunity to be vaccinated introduces unnecessary risks without commensurate benefits—either to individuals or to the population as a whole—and violates their equal protection rights guaranteed under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment,” Kheriaty wrote in a Sep. 21 blog post.

“Expert witness declarations in support of our case include, among others, a declaration from distinguished UC School of Medicine faculty members from infectious disease, microbiology/immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, pediatrics, OB/Gyn, and psychiatry,” the post continues (click here to read the rest).

…there is now considerable evidence that Covid recovered individuals may be at higher risk of vaccine adverse effects compared to those not previously infected (as seen in studies herehere, and here, among others). -Dr. Aaron Kheriaty

This issue, though, is more important on a local level for schmucks like me, who are overeducated, aging in a hateful society, left of left in a centrist and capitalism hard left/right contradictory world. I am back at a job, and the pay is embarrassing, and the fact that I am in a rural county with rural thinkers and with a service economy tied to beach combing, fishing, crabbing and vacation rentals also contributes to precarity.

You think I am ready to leave to go somewhere else, to some big sophisticated city, some harbinger of high tech and military industrial complex to find more sustainable and lucrative work? Each day, my skill sets, my background, all the ground-truthing and other on the job training, all the travel, all those deep learning moments in my life in several fields, all of that is mush to the masters of academia, the masters of companies that are small and large, getting on the gravy train of city, county, state, national and international money. Tax cheats and welfare queens and kings are those in the complex, the big C for the CRC, Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment.

Yep, bad that an environmental lawyer was under ankle bracelet house arrest for more than two years and faces six months in jail for contempt as a lawyer who sued the pants off of Chevron for killing and polluting communities south of this border. Sure, the hellfire and brimstone of this rotting empire is addictive, with all these blogs and newsfeeds and whatnot tapping into the lizard part of the collective American brain.

Chevron Steven Donziger Feature photo

Judge Loretta Preska, an advisor to the conservative Federalist Society, to which Chevron is a major donor, sentenced human rights attorney and Chevron nemesis Steven Donziger to six months in prison Friday for misdemeanor contempt of court after he had already spent 787 days under house arrest in New York.

Preska’s caustic outbursts — she said at the sentencing, “It seems that only the proverbial two-by-four between the eyes will instill in him any respect for the law” — capped a judicial farce worthy of the antics of Vasiliy Vasilievich, the presiding judge at the major show trials of the Great Purges in the Soviet Union, and the Nazi judge Roland Freisler who once shouted at a defendant, “You really are a lousy piece of trash!”

full image
Original illustration by Mr. Fish

So, note the “proverbial two-by-four between the eyes” comment from this judicial devil . . . . From a multimillionaire “judge.” Imagine that! If I told a pig that exact same thing, after stopping me for a dangling mud flap on my minivan, just think what might happen to me. Or if I told that she needed a proverbial two by four between the eyes to a judge during my trial or someone else’s? Or, to the boss, uh? Or to the teacher if I was an 11th grader. Or, to the drill sergeant? Or the TSA guy smelling my feet at the airport.

This judge is human scum, and while this is of national and international importance, I have been in courtrooms (local, small and midsized town) where women lost their children, where drug addicted got the book thrown at them, where homeless rough sleepers were fined and incarcerated, where people more sane than this judge were committed to mental ward. This is the truth about systems of oppression, about modern white civilization, a fucked up rule of law lawlessness. This is it in our world. But it happens every day a few ten thousand times. To we the small ass people.

Now, multiple that by a factor a ten thousand — try suing Boeing, or Pfizer or FDA, or Ford, or General Mills, or Bayer, or Trump Towers or Bank of America, or Amazon, or Google, or the manufacturer of the air bag in the minivan or the pretzel maker  your kid is choking on.

Now, bring it back to a real perspective. Local, where cities have no money for infrastructure, where medical systems are threadbare at least, or missing altogether. No country for old men, for young people, for the sick, disabled, poor, mentally challenged, psychiatrically impaired. This is a country for no regular people.

Paperback No Country for Old Men Book

Yet, we will hear the media mental midgets yammer on and on about us bumkins, us flyover fucks, deplorables, or deploying any other laundry list of pejoratives or socio-psych mumbo jumbo for their elite brains to find more ways to subjugate the many in the name of profits, and in the words of their deep alter egos — “The world of elites and beautiful and worthy and good members of society have to deal with these useless breeders, breathers and eaters. Really, all we want is what’s best for the masses, for these misbegotten, less than high IQ, and multiple-dysfunctional people who in some cases, well, don’t mean to be useless eaters, breeders, breathers, existers. But we can corral them into good deeds, and we can make so much money from their faults, chronic illnesses, their low IQ’s, their inbreeding, their constant bad bad bad decisions in life. Their mistakes and pain and dysfunction are our opportunity to make society the way we want it designed, with a few trillion of profits in greenbacks to boot. But we would never say this outright to Anderson Cooper or Oprah or NPR or what not.”

But reality is always local, no matter how much bullshit college sports and pro football teams and idiotic Republican and Democrat lying and spewing interferes with their noggins. For example, the outfit I work with, as a social services guy, doesn’t ask our clients — developmental and intellectual disabled adults — if they have had “the jab,” but rather, they ask: “If an employer asks you to provide proof of vaccination, will that be a problem?”

That is the reality now — adults barely surviving, after their whole lives have been spent in special ed programs and being evaluated, separated, roomed, housed and institutionalized, and many coming from proverbial messed up families, dysfunction being the functional word — I have to navigate more of the same systems of oppression-poverty inducing-safety net fraying eating at our communities’ very souls. The chances of getting part-time work in a field tied to the five F’s (food, fur, factory, filth, foliage — restaurants, dog cleaning, warehouses, janitorial, and landscaping) are already slim, as so much is stacked against these folk. Think about the propaganda around “those with developmental disabilities are more vulnerable to the covid so they need to be vaxxed first” ideology.

Many clients were so scared that they were more or less forced into getting the Pfizer or J & J, both mRNA biomedical experimental treatments. Most live in supported housing, and most of these in group homes, sanctioned by the state, so the vaccine mandates are not just inferred, but demanded. Boosterism (booster x, y, z, omega) will continue to run rampant. More will be sick. Some will die, or course.

The reality is I know people who are losing jobs, and they are not sitting on piles of cash like a lot of professionals you might read about that are opting out of the forced chemical jabs. These people do not have the luxury of taking a stand with unlimited credit card limits, or fully owned homes, or hobby gardens out back with the swimming pool. These are people who read up about this planned pandemic, who take precautions, who listen to experts. Their choice is to not get jabbed.

Imagine, being a teacher, PhD in physics, after  20 years, and you have 130 accrued sick days (paid) and you refuse to do the jab but accept the draconian test and mask. You are still going to be fired, or put on unpaid leave, and those PTO days you have accrued, well, forget about them.

LEAKED GRANT PROPOSAL DETAILS HIGH-RISK CORONAVIRUS RESEARCH
The proposal, rejected by U.S. military research agency DARPA, describes the insertion of human-specific cleavage sites into SARS-related bat coronaviruses.” (source)

This is reality for one of my friends. Forget about the death proclamations of the Death Cult of Fauci. This guy is criminal, and he has sold millions a bill of goods. This bill of goods is dangerous, deadly, injurious.

A bill of goods, man, the lies, the continuing criminal enterprises, and then, remade, make overs, etc. Take these middle of the road news sites: Robert Scheer is not my favorite, but this takes the cake, no, as he appears as Mister New York Times and Most About USA is Good Scheer. So, no doubts about this fellow joining up with the CIA, and then now in Holly-Dirt?

This is the very celebrity culture that Chris Hedges rails against. This is a sick little blurb here promoting Scheer’s podcast of this criminal — CIA is a criminal outfit of the highest order.

A former CIA officer and Emmy award-winning creator of the hit FX series “The Americans” about two Soviet agents living secretly in Washington during the Cold War, Weisberg offers a refreshing perspective on the tense relationship between the two countries throughout his work. He joins Robert Scheer on this week’s “Scheer Intelligence” to talk about his latest book, “Russia Upside Down: An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War,” in which he examines how he, like so many Americans, got Russia wrong.

The author tells Scheer about his childhood growing up in a liberal Jewish household in Chicago, Ill. before studying Soviet politics at Yale University and joining the CIA, eager to do his “duty as an American” and fight what he considered then to be the “evil” Soviet empire. Now, after years of writing fiction about the Soviet Union in novels and TV scripts, Weisberg has decided to reflect on the historical events that he briefly played an active role in during his brief time at the CIA as the Soviet Union was collapsing through a more critical, factual lens. Based on both his personal experience as well as detailed research, Weisberg dispels common misconceptions about Russia that he once held to be true in “Russia Upside Down.”

Here we go: More meaningless Hollywood-CIA-millionaire stuff that the average Joe in Tucson or Portland, in Kansas or Utah has zero connection to. But we get he is Jewish (hmm, why this?) a Yale graduate (Yale being a CIA-Imperialist school), and lover of CIA and USA (when he was young — what puke). Fiction writer, and now a book writer and TV series producer, wow, what a radical.  This is the upper echelons of America Putridity, and you couple that with his millions thrown at him as a Holly-Dirt thing, and we have the mini-Celebrity fawning.

Scheer Intelligence Is America’s View of ‘Evil’ Russia Merely Projection?

The Americans: The Complete First Season (DVD)
More TV junk!

I was at a hospital two weeks ago, and the nurses must have thought I wasn’t awake (I never sleep in a hospital, in jail, or on a plane). They talked about the Samaritan Hospital system they work for introducing a “no vaccine, no medical service” protocol. They did not sound happy about it. And here we have it yesterday:

The Associated Press

Leilani Lutali, foreground, and Jaimee Fougner pose for a photo, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Lutali recently found out her hospital wouldn’t approve her kidney transplant surgery until she got the COVID-19 vaccine. Even though she has stage 5 kidney disease that puts her at risk of dying without a new kidney. (AP Photo/Thomas Peipert) — source

A hell of a country, and a hell of a “follow the science” kind of messed up system, no? Idiots of the Biden-Obama variety, like Thom Hartman, are yammering on and on about how these hospitals have a right to refuse un-jabbed folk. This is it for the liberals — you eat junk food, you drink booze, you suck on fags, you drive recklessly, you think this or that anti-Democratic Party thought, then we, the good beautiful, Hillary-Obama-Harris have a right to cut you off, cut you down, chop you off at the knees!

Many people I speak with and communicate with are tired of the pro-pro-pro forced jab perspective we are getting from the leftist Counterpunch, and from St. Clair.

I am referencing “Roaming Charges,” Counterpunch, 10/8/2921, from the anti-science pro-some-science get-out-of-that-science’s way thinking coming from some of the articles posted on the site. Very sad in many ways, so sad that there is not a robust discussion of the vaccination that we see on Dissident Voice, even Mint Press, and especially OffGuardian and Left Skeptics. Here, bullet points, direct quoting from “Roaming Charges”:

+ I’m against any exemptions (our social contract should require either all of us to get it or that the jab be completely voluntary ), but if there’s a religious exemption there should be one for philosophy, too. “Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s worried that people resisting COVID-19 vaccine shots based on religious grounds may be confusing that with a philosophical objection.”

+ Merck is selling its high-touted new Covid pill Molnupiravir, whose development was federally financed by NIH and the Department of Defense,  back to the U.S. government for 40 times what it costs to make.

+ These people, if you want to call them that, seem to have taken their “tactics” from the Westboro (“God Hates Fags”) Baptist Church which used to (and I suppose still does) scream their godly obscenities at mourners during the funerals of people who died of AIDS.

+ Anti-vaxism is itself a kind of brain-eating virus…A Cumberland, Maryland man murdered his brother and sister-in-law in their Ellicott City home last week because his brother, a local pharmacist, had administered COVID-19 vaccines.

+ Cuba began vaccinating its population 150 days ago. In that time, it has administered 192 doses per 100 people. In contrast, the US began its vaccination program 297 days ago and has managed to administer only 119 doses per 100 people. The Covid death rate in Cuba is: 684 per million. The death rate in the US is: 2190 per million. This seems to provide pretty clear evidence that the embargo has been placed on the wrong country for the last 60 years. (end quote)

And therein lies the problem with fake leftists — attacking even doctors and virologists and journalists and educated/educators who have doubts about the entire pandemic and mRNA and coronavirus multiplicity of very pro-pro Capitalist and pro-pro Authoritarian and pro-pro Government Bureaucracy rhetoric. The reality is Cuba is not jabbing its people with mRNA: “All of Cuba’s vaccine candidates—Abdala, Soberana 1, Soberana 2, Soberana Plus, and Mambisa, are subunit protein vaccines, like the Novavax vaccine. Crucially, the vaccines do not require extreme refrigeration, are cheap to produce, and are easy for the country to manufacture at scale. They are made by fermentation in mammalian cells, a process Cuba already uses for monoclonal antibodies.”

A nurse holds up a vial of vaccine

Now, we are worried about more of the celebrities, this time, a professor who was sacked —

Now, think about any criticism against any university, when you are employed by the institution. I was employed by the University of Texas at El Paso. I was an English Department faculty, part-time, a radical, and I fought like hell for adjuncts, for students, etc. I was part of a group of students as a faculty member who made a human chain to stop the group of overweight sheriff posse dudes dressed up as Conquistadors on horses strutting on campus. That was 1992, the 500th anniversary of that evil contact we call Columbus Day. The El Paso Times ran a front page photo of these undercover cops jumping out of the bushes, and wrangling students, clobbering male and female with forearms to the neck. I was right in the middle, and I had to answer for myself to the Provost and president.

This is what a university, then, in 1992, was encapsulated inside, under a rich white president, a campus that was and still is 80-plus percent Mexican-American, Latinx, now. You can’t protest without our permission and our approval of signs!

More cities are recognizing Native Americans on Columbus Day

This was a campus that introduced a free speech zone out of the way of foot traffic. A state sponsored school, with a limited small postage stamp of land near dumpsters where people can gain the public square for protesting. And the campus Nazis demanded permission, permits, and full written details of the “protest” or “information gathering.” Now, sure, talk about Covid, about Nuremburg protocol, about mandates, about those who have the jab and those who do not. Talk about NIH and Fauci and the shadowy origins of the SARS-CoV2, or the doctors who have protocols to stop not only Covid patients getting on ventilators, but getting patients out of the hospital and back home in recovery zone. Not allowed.

These articles are verboten on campuses:

And, if I was still on that campus, how quickly would I be sacked for criticizing a campus– that pushes the Hispanic University of the World theme while colonizing Hispanics (mostly Mexican Americans) — for lock-step falling into the fold of the Corruption Racket Complex — military-banking-ag-energy-prison-pharma-education-medicine-mining-chemical-AI-surveillence-real estate-insurance-prison-legal-media-entertainment? This campus is the whoring field of military, aerospace, drone and weapons makers, and even more nefarious. What ugly optics! Four Star Murder Bomber Air Force General all smiles and the PhD’s just lapping up the uniform!

So, back into that ground-truthing — try being a radical, a revolutionary, a critic of bureaucracies and corporate mandates and this sort of bullshit on a local level. UTEP is a sell-out, an embarrassment, but so are most all the colleges and universities in this shit hole. (Source) I have gone up against every single college and university I have taught in. EVERY ONE.  Can you imagine bringing this into the classroom — anti-war, anti-military, anti-corporation discourse and readings and critical thinking debates? Shit! Then, this? Pfizer Exposed! 

And while the big house is for us in the 80 percent, the ground-truthing in your neighborhood is littered with the poisons of that Complex, the Continuing Criminal Enterprise called capitalism.

[The aim of the international bankers was] nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.

— Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy & Hope, p. 324 (source)

Finally, another point from a friend: “Fishy Felonious Fraudulent Fauci: Read Whitney Webb’s latest.”

During the panel, the moderator—Michael Specter of the New Yorker—asked the question: “Why don’t we blow the system up? Obviously, we just can’t turn off the spigot on the system we have and then say ‘Hey! everyone in the world should get this new vaccine we haven’t given to anyone yet,’ but there must be some way.” Specter then mentioned how vaccine production is antiquated and asked how sufficient “disruption” could occur to prompt the modernization of the existing vaccination development and approval process. Hamburg responded first, saying that as a society we are behind where we need to be when it comes to moving toward a new, more technological approach and that it is now “time to act” to make that a reality.

Several minutes later, Anthony Fauci stated that the superior method of vaccine production involves “not growing the virus at all, but getting sequences, getting the appropriate protein and it sticking in on self-assembling nanoparticles,” essentially referring to mRNA vaccines. Fauci then stated: “The critical challenge . . . is that in order to make the transition from getting out of the tried and true egg-growing [method] . . . to something that has to be much better, you have to prove that this works and then you have got to go through all of the critical trials—phase 1, phase 2, phase 3—and show that this particular product is going to be good over a period of years. That alone, if it works perfectly, is going to take a decade.” Fauci later stated that there is a need to alter the public’s perception that the flu is not a serious disease in order to increase urgency and that it would be “difficult” to alter that perception along with the existing vaccine development and approval process unless the existing system takes the posture that “I don’t care what your perception is, we’re going to address the problem in a disruptive way and an iterative way.”

During the panel, Bright stated that “we need to move as quickly as possible and urgently as possible to get these technologies that address speed and effectiveness of the vaccine” before discussing how the White House Council of Economic Advisers had just issued a report emphasizing that prioritizing “fast” vaccines was paramount. Bright then added that a “mediocre and fast” vaccine was better than a “mediocre and slow” vaccine. He then said that we can make “better vaccines and make them faster” and that urgency and disruption were necessary to produce the targeted and accelerated development of one such vaccine. Later in the panel, Bright said the best way to “disrupt” the vaccine field in favor of “faster” vaccines would be the emergence of “an entity of excitement out there that’s completely disruptive, that’s not beholden to bureaucratic strings and processes.” He later very directly said that by “faster” vaccines he meant mRNA vaccines.

The Bright-led BARDA and the Fauci-led NIAID in just a few months’ time became the biggest backers of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, investing billions and co-developing the vaccine with the company, respectively. As will be explained in Part II of this series, the partnership between Moderna and the NIH to co-develop what would soon become Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine was being forged as early as January 7, 2020, long before the official declaration of the COVID-19 crisis as a pandemic and before a vaccine was proclaimed as necessary by officials and other individuals. Not only did the COVID-19 vaccine quickly become the answer to nearly all Moderna’s woes but it also provided the disruptive scenario necessary to alter the public’s perceptions of what a vaccine is and eliminate existing safeguards and bureaucracy in vaccine approval. (Watch the 2019 Universal Flu Vaccine event here.)

As Part II of this series will show, it was an alleged mix of “serendipity and foresight” from Moderna’s Stéphane Bancel and the NIH’s Barney Graham that propelled Moderna to the front of the “Warp Speed” race for a COVID-19 vaccine. That partnership, along with the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 crisis, created the very “Hail Mary” for which Moderna had been desperately waiting since at least 2017 while also turning most of Moderna’s executive team into billionaires and multi-millionaires in a matter of months.

However, Moderna’s “Hail Mary” won’t last – that is, unless the mass administration of its COVID-19 vaccine becomes an annual affair for millions of people worldwide. Even though real-world data since its administration began challenges the need for as well as the safety and efficacy of its vaccine, Moderna – and its stakeholders – cannot afford to let this opportunity slip through fingers. To do so would mean the end of Moderna’s carefully constructed house of cards.

The post Back at Ground-Truthing Again and Again and Again first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Security U.S. Fears of China Nuclear Expansion… Déjà Vu of Soviet Missile Gap Hype

China is providing the equivalent scaremongering of the Soviet “missile gap” in order to sustain America’s militarist-dependent capitalist economy.

Media reports from the U.S. this week – regurgitated by the European press – highlighted concerns that China is embarking on a massive scale-up of underground silos for launching nuclear weapons.

Hundreds of silos are alleged to be under construction in the western regions of Xinjiang and Gansu, according to U.S. media reports citing commercial satellite data. American military officials and State Department diplomats are quoted as saying they are “deeply concerned” by the purported expansion of China’s nuclear arsenal.

For its part, Beijing has not yet commented on the claims of new nuclear silos. Some Chinese media reports say that the excavation could be due to something else entirely – the construction of large-scale wind farms. A Global Times dismissed the U.S. claims as “hyped”.

Context, as ever, is crucial. For a start, the U.S. headlines are equivocal and heavily qualified, indicating that the information is far from conclusive.

The Wall Street Journal reported: “China Appears to Be Building New Silos for Nuclear Missiles, Researchers Say”.

While CNN headlined: “China appears to be expanding its nuclear capabilities, U.S. researchers say in new report”.

Despite the lack of definite information that didn’t stop Pentagon and government officials from saying they were “deeply concerned”, thus adding a veneer of factuality to reports that were speculative.

Here’s another consideration. So what if China is expanding its nuclear arsenal with new silos? The People’s Republic of China has a stockpile of warheads numbering 350. The United States has a stockpile of some 5,550 warheads, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The U.S. has a nuclear offensive power 15 times greater than China. So even if China is planning to double its arsenal of nuclear weapons, according to the Pentagon, that increase is still a fraction of American destructive capability.

Beijing maintains that the onus is on Washington to de-escalate its nuclear arsenal. The United States and Russia have resumed talks this week in Geneva on renewing arms-control efforts – efforts that have been put on hold by Washington since the Trump administration. Washington and Moscow – both possessing over 90 percent of the world’s total nuclear warheads – need to get on with their obligations for disarmament before China is reasonably brought into the discussion, along with other minor nuclear powers, such as Britain and France.

Another consideration for context is the ramping up of hostility by the United States towards China. The Biden administration is continuing the aggressive agenda of its Trump and Obama predecessors. Arming the renegade Chinese island territory of Taiwan, sailing warships into the South China Sea, media vilification of China over allegations of human rights abuses, genocide, malign conduct in trade, cyber attacks, and the Covid-19 pandemic. All of this speaks of stoking confrontation with China and inflaming U.S. public opinion to accept war with China.

Pentagon officials tell Congressional hearings that they consider war with China a distinct possibility in the near term.

Given this context, it would be reasonable to expect China to expand its nuclear defenses in order to shift the American calculation away from contemplating a war. The problem is not the alleged Chinese military buildup. It is Washington’s criminal policy of hostility towards Beijing that is fueling the risk of war.

But here is another key factor: the United States is undergoing a trillion-dollar upgrade of its nuclear arsenal. That began under Obama and was continued under Trump and now Biden. That puts alleged Chinese expansion into perspective. The United States has already nuclear power that dwarfs China’s and yet the U.S. is expanding what is a provocative threat to China.

Furthermore, Washington’s nuclear upgrade of its triad of submarines, silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic bombers is hurtling out of control financially.

A recent report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office warned that the trillion-dollar nuclear upgrade was ballooning with “stupefyingly expensive” cost overruns. In just two years, the cost was over-budget by $140 billion and the upgrade program is to run for a total of three decades.

This eye-watering waste of taxpayers’ money has led some U.S. lawmakers to call for drastic cuts in nuclear arms expenditure. Senator Ed Markey and others have decried “our bloated nuclear weapons budget”. Given the crumbling state of America’s civilian infrastructure, popular opposition to exorbitant military spending is potentially a major political problem for the Pentagon and its industrial complex.

The U.S. media hype over the alleged expansion of Chinese silos begins to look like déjà vu of the alleged “missile gap” with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the 1950s and 60s, Washington and the compliant corporate media became animated by CIA data that purported to show the Soviet Union outpacing the U.S. in the numbers of nuclear missiles. It turned out that the “missile gap” was non-existent. But the fear-mongering it engendered, in turn, created public acceptance of massive military expenditure by Washington that has become structural and chronic to this day. The warped allocation of financial resources is a parasitical drain on American society. Any rational, democratic mind would abhor the grotesque priorities.

China today is providing the equivalent scaremongering of the Soviet “missile gap” in order to sustain America’s militarist-dependent capitalist economy.

The post Security U.S. Fears of China Nuclear Expansion… Déjà Vu of Soviet Missile Gap Hype first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Global Deep State: A New World Order Brought to You by COVID-19

A psychotic world we live in. The madmen are in power.
― Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle, October 1962

For good or bad, COVID-19 has changed the way we navigate the world.

It is also redrawing the boundaries of our world (and our freedoms) and altering the playing field faster than we can keep up.

Owing in large part to the U.S. government’s deep-seated and, in many cases, top-secret alliances with foreign nations and global corporations, it has become increasingly obvious that we have entered into a new world order—a global world order—made up of international government agencies and corporations.

This powerful international cabal, let’s call it the Global Deep State, is just as real as the corporatized, militarized, industrialized American Deep State, and it poses just as great a threat to our rights as individuals under the U.S. Constitution, if not greater.

We’ve been inching closer to this global world order for the past several decades, but COVID-19, which has seen governmental and corporate interests become even more closely intertwined, has shifted this transformation into high gear.

Fascism has become a global menace.

It remains unclear whether the American Deep State (“a national-security apparatus that holds sway even over the elected leaders notionally in charge of it”) answers to the Global Deep State, or whether the Global Deep State merely empowers the American Deep State. However, there is no denying the extent to which they are intricately and symbiotically enmeshed and interlocked.

Consider the extent to which our lives and liberties are impacted by this international convergence of governmental and profit-driven corporate interests in the surveillance state, the military industrial complex, the private prison industry, the intelligence sector, the security sector, the technology sector, the telecommunications sector, the transportation sector, the pharmaceutical industry and, most recently, by the pharmaceutical-health sector.

All of these sectors are dominated by mega-corporations operating on a global scale and working through government channels to increase their profit margins. The profit-driven policies of these global corporate giants influence everything from legislative policies to economics to environmental issues to medical care.

Global Disease

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled us into a whole new global frontier. Those hoping to navigate this interconnected and highly technological world of contact tracing, vaccine passports and digital passes will find themselves grappling with issues that touch on deep-seated moral, political, religious and personal questions for which there may be no clear-cut answers.

We are about to find our ability to access, engage and move about in the world dependent on which camp we fall into: those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not.

“It is the latest status symbol. Flash it at the people, and you can get access to concerts, sports arenas or long-forbidden restaurant tables. Some day, it may even help you cross a border without having to quarantine,” writes Heather Murphy for the New York Times. “The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate.”

This is what M.I.T. professor Ramesh Raskar refers to as the new “currency for health,” an apt moniker given the potentially lucrative role that Big Business (Big Pharma and Big Tech, especially) will play in establishing this pay-to-play marketplace. The airline industry has been working on a Travel Pass. IBM is developing a Digital Health Pass. And the U.S. government has been all-too-happy to allow the corporate sector to take the lead.

Global Surveillance

Spearheaded by the National Security Agency (NSA), which has shown itself to care little for constitutional limits or privacy, the surveillance state has come to dominate our government and our lives.

Yet the government does not operate alone. It cannot. It requires an accomplice.

Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of our massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental bureaucracy.

Take AT&T, for instance. Through its vast telecommunications network that crisscrosses the globe, AT&T provides the U.S. government with the complex infrastructure it needs for its mass surveillance programs. According to The Intercept:

The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s ‘extreme willingness to help.’ It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it ‘has access to information that transits the nation,’ but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.

Now magnify what the U.S. government is doing through AT&T on a global scale, and you have the “14 Eyes Program,” also referred to as the “SIGINT Seniors.” This global spy agency is made up of members from around the world (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India and all British Overseas Territories).

Surveillance is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these global alliances, however.

Global War Profiteering

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire and its incestuous relationship with a host of international defense contractors, is one of its biggest buyers and sellers.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth. For example, while erecting a security surveillance state in the U.S., the military-industrial complex has perpetuated a worldwide military empire with American troops stationed in 177 countries (over 70% of the countries worldwide).

Although the federal government obscures so much about its defense spending that accurate figures are difficult to procure, we do know that since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $1.8 trillion in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (that’s $8.3 million per hour). That doesn’t include wars and military exercises waged around the globe, which are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

The illicit merger of the global armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today. America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars. That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe.

Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure,  spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. There’s a good reason why “bloated,” “corrupt” and “inefficient” are among the words most commonly applied to the government, especially the Department of Defense and its contractors. Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.

It’s not just the American economy that is being gouged, unfortunately.

Driven by a greedy defense sector, the American homeland has been transformed into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone. President Biden, marching in lockstep with his predecessors, has continued to expand America’s military empire abroad and domestically in a clear bid to pander to the powerful money interests (military, corporate and security) that run the Deep State and hold the government in its clutches.

Global Policing

Glance at pictures of international police forces and you will have a hard time distinguishing between American police and those belonging to other nations. There’s a reason they all look alike, garbed in the militarized, weaponized uniform of a standing army.

There’s a reason why they act alike, too, and speak a common language of force: they belong to a global police force.

For example, Israel—one of America’s closest international allies and one of the primary yearly recipients of more than $3 billion in U.S. foreign military aid—has been at the forefront of a little-publicized exchange program aimed at training American police to act as occupying forces in their communities. As The Intercept sums it up, American police are “essentially taking lessons from agencies that enforce military rule rather than civil law.”

This idea of global policing is reinforced by the Strong Cities Network program, which trains local police agencies across America in how to identify, fight and prevent extremism, as well as address intolerance within their communities, using all of the resources at their disposal. The cities included in the global network include New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Paris, London, Montreal, Beirut and Oslo.

The objective is to prevent violent extremism by targeting its source: racism, bigotry, hatred, intolerance, etc. In other words, police—acting as extensions of the United Nations—will identify, monitor and deter individuals who exhibit, express or engage in anything that could be construed as extremist.

Of course, the concern with the government’s anti-extremism program is that it will, in many cases, be utilized to render otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist.

Keep in mind that the government agencies involved in ferreting out American “extremists” will carry out their objectives—to identify and deter potential extremists—in concert with fusion centers (of which there are 78 nationwide, with partners in the private sector and globally), data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

This is pre-crime on an ideological scale and it’s been a long time coming.

Are you starting to get the picture now?

On almost every front, whether it’s the war on drugs, or the sale of weapons, or regulating immigration, or establishing prisons, or advancing technology, or fighting a pandemic, if there is a profit to be made and power to be amassed, you can bet that the government and its global partners have already struck a deal that puts the American people on the losing end of the bargain.

We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing army of militarized police and a political elite determined to maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all started going downhill, but we’re certainly on that downward trajectory now, and things are moving fast.

The “government of the people, by the people, for the people” has perished.

In its place is a shadow government—a corporatized, militarized, entrenched global bureaucracy—that is fully operational and running the country.

Given the trajectory and dramatic expansion, globalization and merger of governmental and corporate powers, we’re not going to recognize this country 20 years from now.

It’s taken less than a generation for our freedoms to be eroded and the Global Deep State’s structure to be erected, expanded and entrenched.

Mark my words: the U.S. government will not save us from the chains of the Global Deep State.

Now there are those who will tell you that any mention of a New World Order government—a power elite conspiring to rule the world—is the stuff of conspiracy theories.

I am not one of those skeptics.

I wholeheartedly believe that one should always mistrust those in power, take alarm at the first encroachment on one’s liberties, and establish powerful constitutional checks against government mischief and abuse.

I can also attest to the fact that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I have studied enough of this country’s history—and world history—to know that governments (the U.S. government being no exception) are at times indistinguishable from the evil they claim to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug trafficking, sex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

And I have lived long enough to see many so-called conspiracy theories turn into cold, hard fact.

Remember, people used to scoff at the notion of a Deep State (a.k.a. Shadow Government). They used to doubt that fascism could ever take hold in America, and sneer at any suggestion that the United States was starting to resemble Nazi Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

As I detail in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’re beginning to know better, aren’t we?

The post The Global Deep State: A New World Order Brought to You by COVID-19 first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Biden’s Appeasement of Hawks and Neocons is Crippling His Diplomacy

Biden with NATO’s Stoltenberg (Photo credit: haramjedder.blogspot.com)

President Biden took office promising a new era of American international leadership and diplomacy. But with a few exceptions, he has so far allowed self-serving foreign allies, hawkish U.S. interest groups and his own imperial delusions to undermine diplomacy and stoke the fires of war.

Biden’s failure to quickly recommit to the Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, as Senator Sanders promised to do on his first day as president, provided a critical delay that has been used by opponents to undermine the difficult shuttle diplomacy taking place in Vienna to restore the agreement.

The attempts to derail talks range from the introduction of the Maximum Pressure Act on April 21 to codify the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran to Israel’s cyberattack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. Biden’s procrastination has only strengthened the influence of the hawkish Washington foreign policy “blob,” Republicans and Democratic hawks in Congress and foreign allies like Netanyahu in Israel.

In Afghanistan, Biden has won praise for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops by September 11, but his refusal to abide by the May 1 deadline for withdrawal as negotiated under the Trump administration has led the Taliban to back out of the planned UN-led peace conference in Istanbul. A member of the Taliban military commission told the Daily Beast that “the U.S. has shattered the Taliban’s trust.”

Now active and retired Pentagon officials are regaling the New York Times with accounts of how they plan to prolong the U.S. war without “boots on the ground” after September, undoubtedly further infuriating the Taliban and making a ceasefire and peace talks all the more difficult.

In Ukraine, the government has launched a new offensive in its civil war against the ethnically Russian provinces in the eastern Donbass region, which declared unilateral independence after the U.S.-backed coup in 2014. On April 1, Ukraine’s military chief of staff said publicly that “the participation of NATO allies is envisaged” in the government offensive, prompting warnings from Moscow that Russia could intervene to protect Russians in Donbass.

Sticking to their usual tired script, U.S. and NATO officials are pretending that Russia is the aggressor for conducting military exercises and troop movements within its own borders in response to Kiev’s escalation. But even the BBC is challenging this false narrative, explaining that Russia is acting competently and effectively to deter an escalation of the Ukrainian offensive and U.S. and NATO threats. The U.S has turned around two U.S. guided-missile destroyers that were steaming toward the Black Sea, where they would only have been sitting ducks for Russia’s advanced missile defenses.

Tensions have escalated with China, as the U.S. Navy and Marines stalk Chinese ships in the South China Sea, well inside the island chains China uses for self defense. The Pentagon is hoping to drag NATO allies into participating in these operations, and the U.S. Air Force plans to shift more bombers to new bases in Asia and the Pacific, supported by existing larger bases in Guam, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Meanwhile, despite a promising initial pause and policy review, Biden has decided to keep selling tens of billion dollars worth of weapons to authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Persian Gulf sheikdoms, even as they keep bombing and blockading famine-stricken Yemen. Biden’s unconditional support for the most brutal authoritarian dictators on Earth lays bare the bankruptcy of the Democrats’ attempts to frame America’s regurgitated Cold War on Russia and China as a struggle between “democracy” and “authoritarianism.”

In all these international crises (along with Cuba, Haiti, Iraq, North Korea, Palestine, Syria and Venezuela, which are bedevilled by the same U.S. unilateralism), President Biden and the hawks egging him on are pursuing unilateral policies that ignore solemn commitments in international agreements and treaties, riding roughshod over the good faith of America’s allies and negotiating partners.

As the Russian foreign ministry bluntly put it when it announced its countermeasures to the latest round of U.S. sanctions, “Washington is unwilling to accept that there is no room for unilateral dictates in the new geopolitical reality.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping echoed the same multipolar perspective on April 20th at the annual Boao Asian international business forum. “The destiny and future of the world should be decided by all nations, and rules set up just by one or several countries should not be imposed on others,” Xi said. “The whole world should not be led by unilateralism of individual countries.”

The near-universal failure of Biden’s diplomacy in his first months in office reflects how badly he and those who have his ear are failing to accurately read the limits of American power and predict the consequences of his unilateral decisions.

Unilateral, irresponsible decision-making has been endemic in U.S. foreign policy for decades, but America’s economic and military dominance created an international environment that was extraordinarily forgiving of American “mistakes,” even as they ruined the lives of millions of people in the countries directly affected. Now America no longer dominates the world, and it is critical for U.S. officials to more accurately assess the relative power and positions of the United States and the countries and people it is confronting or negotiating with.

Under Trump, Defense Secretary Mattis launched negotiations to persuade Vietnam to host U.S. missiles aimed at China. The negotiations went on for three years, but they were based entirely on wishful thinking and misreadings of Vietnam’s responses by U.S. officials and Rand Corp contractors. Experts agree that Vietnam would never violate a formal, declared policy of neutrality it has held and repeatedly reiterated since 1998.

As Gareth Porter summarized this silly saga:

The story of the Pentagon’s pursuit of Vietnam as a potential military partner against China reveals an extraordinary degree of self-deception surrounding the entire endeavor. And it adds further detail to the already well-established picture of a muddled and desperate bureaucracy seizing on any vehicle possible to enable it to claim that U.S. power in the Pacific can still prevail in a war with China.

Unlike Trump, Biden has been at the heart of American politics and foreign policy since the 1970s. So the degree to which he too is out of touch with today’s international reality is a measure of how much and how quickly that reality has changed and continues to change. But the habits of empire die hard. The tragic irony of Biden’s ascent to power in 2020 is that his lifetime of service to a triumphalist American empire has left him ill-equipped to craft a more constructive and cooperative brand of American diplomacy for today’s multipolar world

Amid the American triumphalism that followed the end of the Cold War, the neocons developed a simplistic ideology to persuade America’s leaders that they need no longer be constrained in their use of military power by domestic opposition, peer competitors or international law. They claimed that America had virtually unlimited military freedom of action and a responsibility to use it aggressively, because, as Biden parroted them recently, “the world doesn’t organize itself.”

The international violence and chaos Biden has inherited in 2021 is a measure of the failure of the neocons’ ambitions. But there is one place that they conquered, occupied and still rule to this day, and that is Washington D.C.

The dangerous disconnect at the heart of Biden’s foreign policy is the result of this dichotomy between the neocons’ conquest of Washington and their abject failure to conquer the rest of the world.

For most of Biden’s career, the politically safe path on foreign policy for corporate Democrats has been to talk a good game about human rights and diplomacy, but not to deviate too far from hawkish, neoconservative policies on war, military spending, and support for often repressive and corrupt allies throughout America’s neocolonial empire.

The tragedy of such compromises by Democratic Party leaders is that they perpetuate the suffering of millions of people affected by the real-world problems they fail to fix. But the Democrats’ subservience to simplistic neoconservative ideas also fails to satisfy the hawks they are trying to appease, who only smell more political blood in the water at every display of moral weakness by the Democrats.

In his first three months in office, Biden’s weakness in resisting the bullying of hawks and neocons has led him to betray the most significant diplomatic achievements of each of his predecessors, Obama and Trump, in the JCPOA with Iran and the May 1 withdrawal agreement with the Taliban respectively, while perpetuating the violence and chaos the neocons unleashed on the world.

For a president who promised a new era of American diplomacy, this has been a dreadful start. We hope he and his advisers are not too blinded by anachronistic imperial thinking or too intimidated by the neocons to make a fresh start and engage with the world as it actually exists in 2021.

The post Biden’s Appeasement of Hawks and Neocons is Crippling His Diplomacy first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Anti-Communist Political Science: Propaganda for the Yankee Capitalist State

Orientation

I returned to college 20 years after dropping out in the late 1960s. After a couple of weeks in the political science class I was taking, I challenged the instructor by asking:  “Where are the Marxists and anarchists in your presentation of political science?” Here is what I was told. “Marxists and anarchists are political ideologies and not scientific. In political science we have no ideologies. It’s strictly science. We measure and count. We are objective. You should take a class in political theory if you want to discuss those subjects.” This article is about how “objective” political science actually is.

Assumptions of political science

The image political science presents to students and to anyone who cares to listen is the following:

  • It is an objective science that investigates politics, yet somehow remains outside of politics
  • Its most basic concepts have nothing to do with the national interest of Yankeedom
  • Since it is a science, it can be applied to any society rather than a distinctive Yankee view of politics

The historical relativity of “liberalism and democracy”

American political scientists automatically associate political science with liberalism and democracy as if these terms were the foundations of all types of human societies from hunter-gatherers, horticulturalists, agricultural states, herding societies to maritime states. In fact, both liberalism and representative democracy are relativity recent.  In spite of this, political scientists categorically support liberal democracy while ignoring their absence in different types of societies and even most of the history of Yankeedom itself. Yet the rah, rah touting of liberalism and democracy is presented as a self-evident objective science.

Political centrism as the norm

Even within modern contemporary societies liberal democracy occupies a relatively small slice of the political spectrum. The spectrum of politics, if measured by the actual interest and support by the world’s peoples, stretches from anarcho-communists on the left to right-wing libertarians or fascists on the right. Liberal democracy is a point on the centralist spectrum, yet it is treated as the default normative position. What kind of objective science is this?

The Anti-Communist nature of political science

The field of political science has never supported an oppositional movement against capitalism which was entrenched since its founding around the 1880s. There has never been an objective attempt to evaluate the viability of socialism using scientific instruments.  During the Cold War political science was so “objective” that it changed its name from “social science” to “behaviorism” because social science sounded too much like socialism for the foundations that supported it. This term “behaviorism” was a desperate attempt to call it something, anything but “social” even though the new label had nothing to do with behaviorism that was the psychological discipline founded by Pavlov, Watson or Skinner.

Cross-national insensitivity of political science: we’ve got it all figured out

Neither has there been an objective attempt to weigh Yankee political science against how other states evaluate politics in order to develop a real cross-national political science.  Perhaps other states have different concepts which might explain a greater range of political phenomenon. For most political scientists, US institutions are robust and require no learning from other countries. This triumphant form has little to gain from states. In the form of modernization theory, political scientists actively insisted that the rest of the world has much to learn from the US. Other political scientists claim that the Yankee political institutions should not be the model for other states because the circumstances of Yankeedom are so exceptional that no society could measure up to Yankee political institutions. In fact, the central thesis of Dorothy Ross’s The Origins of American Social Science is that her subject owes its distinctive character to its involvement with the national ideology of American exceptionalism. No matter how you roll the dice, Yankee liberal democracy comes up seven. Political scientist Ido Oren claims that the welfare of America is the master value of the discipline.

In short, as Oren claims, political science uses the term ideology for human thought that avoids reflection on the circumstances in which it is embedded or the interests it serves. But they almost never apply this concept to their own discipline.

My claim

The claim in this article is that political science is not a science but a promoter of anti-communist extreme centralist Yankee foreign policy. This can be seen in that:

    1. Its concepts of the state, bureaucracy, fascism, communism and democracy do not stand the test of time but change historically with the triumphs and defeats of the Yankee state; and,
    2. The major practitioners of political science were deeply enmeshed with national security agencies, the State Department and even counter-insurgency movements. To make these claims I will be referring to the terrific book by Ido Oren called Our Enemies and US: America’s Rivalries and the Making of Political Science.

Political Science Concepts Do Not Stand the Tests of Time But Change According To The Triumphs Or Defeats Of The Yankee State

Rise and fall of the concept of the state

After the Civil War, the pioneers in political science located their state roots in an American Teutonic heritage. A Teutonic theory claimed most western state societies, including the English, French, Lombards, Scandinavians, Germans and North Americans were part of an Aryan civilization with German origins. These countries had an obligation to uplift the dark races including Native Americans, Asiatics and Africans, who were viewed as having no political civilization to contribute. John Burgess, a Civil War veteran who viewed states’ rights and non-Teutonic immigration as threats to America’s political stability, regarded Germany as a model of centralized political order. From the 1880s to the 1930s, generations of public administration scholars looked to Germany’s efficient bureaucratic state in their quest to energize the American state. But after fighting Germany in World War I, the American state no longer identified Germany as part of its political roots. Now, political scientists make fun of it as a theory of the state.

The United States admired the 2nd German Reich as a model bureaucracy to learn from.  Even at the end of the 19th century when Germany became a major economic powerhouse with whom it had to compete, the United States still admired the Prussian bureaucracy. Political scientist William F. Willoughby thought there were advantages of the unitary over the multiple forms of the state. He saw centralization of power in Germany as a potential model for shifting the balance of power in America from the states towards a political center in Washington. However, as a result of two world wars, the once efficient Prussian state was now named a bureaucratic authoritarian regime.

As far back as the 1920s, in the hands of political pluralists the whole concept of the state became suspect and was replaced in political science by the word “government”. After two world wars with Germany pluralism became even stronger. Pluralism’s weak state, pluralistic interest group politics and racial diversity came to be seen as sources of political strength.  Germany’s strong state and Teutonic identity became fatal flaws. Imperial Germany was now far from being an impressive model of bureaucratic efficiency. Instead, the German state was seen as a precursor to Nazism as opposed to the new Anglo-American and French political development. Funny how times change.

In fact, as Oren points out, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the importance of the state as a category of political science and the actual involvement of political scientists with the state. For example, during the early Cold War the pluralists stopped using the state as a concept in political science the very moment that many political scientists were recruited into the state to fill government and national security posts.

The same thing happened earlier. Before World War I, when the state was the centerpiece in political science, there were few direct contacts between the political scientists and the existing Yankee state. Then in the post-Vietnam era, radical political theoreticians like Theda Skocpol called to “bring the state back” into political analysis, and the profession’s actual ties to the state were becoming strained. This is a way of saying that when political scientists become actually involved in the state, they stop using it as a political concept. If they didn’t stop using it, it might lead to some awkward moments being caught crossing boundaries, like foxes caught in the hen house!

Bureaucracy as part of the state

According to Oren, before the World Wars began German administration was the envy of the United States. The German model had poverty relief, insurance, saving banks, as well as the maintenance and supervision of railways. These bureaucratic techniques seemed to be a separate undertaking from politics. But after 1917 Woodrow Wilson changed his tune.  In 1917 he declared Germany to be an autocracy. Still, even as late as the 1930s, the Nazi administration was still seen as better than the spoils system in US.

At first, Woodrow Wilson commended Japan’s leaders for their wisdom in modeling their constitution on Prussia. But as the Japanese became more aggressive internationally and allied with Germany against the Yankees, its former wisdom turned into something else. In the eyes of those who claimed to track world political development, both Germany and Japan were thrown off the train of “progress” and they became “special cases” as happened with the Soviet Union. My, how times change!

Even up until the end of World War II the United States still thought it was possible to separate administrations from politics. It was only after the horrid efficiency of what the Nazi doctors did to the Jews that the administration became inseparable from politics. In fact, the world “administration” lost all credibility as a political science term. It was only then that American political scientists discovered Max Weber’s pessimistic view of bureaucracy. At that point the whole public administration field fell into a prolonged identity crisis soon after the war.

The evolution of fascism in the minds of political scientists

No political scientist today would argue that Nazi Germany had anything positive to offer political scientists. After all, they were totalitarians. But things haven’t always been so. Mainstream political scientists in the 1930s were far from hostile to Nazism. For one thing, Oren points out that anti-Semitism and admiration of Nazi Germany were widespread in the interwar years. Anti-Semitism in the field of political science made it easier not to come down too hard on the Nazis. Some American eugenic scientists and social work experts regarded Nazi Germany as an interesting experimental laboratory for their ideas.

Some celebrated new immigrations statutes which “preserved the Northern European elements in our community. The laws cut out the influx of inferior Eastern people which brought about decay of ancient civilizations.” (53) Publicist Ivy Lee worked to upgrade Mussolini’s image among Yankee business leaders and later became a paid Nazi propagandist. In his book Political Power, published in 1934, Merriam portrayed Hitler as an underdog and compared him to Gandhi.

When political scientists were worried about urban “instabilities”, they talked to officials in German cities to see how the Nazis did it. When Albert Lepawsky visited Germany, he wrote “Goebbels would make an interesting professor of propaganda at the University of Chicago”. After all, the press, the posters, the radio and the movies were all coordinated. Political scientist James Pollock in 1934 avoided dealing with the morality of Nazism: “The German experiments were admirable – for example the camaraderie, the discipline and the goodwill fostered by German labor camps” (77). Roger Wells regarded Hitler as no more than a German conservative who could do Germany some good by stabilizing the economy. He commended Hitler for rescuing the German municipal government from the multi-party system of the Weimar Republic

Willoughby urged Americans to examine carefully the institutions of the Germans for the purpose of the possible integration of popular government with the advantages of autocracy. Carl Friedrich who wrote Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy in 1956, which saw Nazi Germany as one of three totalitarian systems, was not raising alarm bells 20 to 30 years earlier. It wasn’t until 1936 that political scientists changed their tune.

Communism: from interesting experiment to the devil incarnate

Mainstream political science in any period was always against socialism, let alone communism. However, during the insecurity of the late 1920s and early 1930s, they couldn’t help noticing how little the USSR was being affected economically compared to their own capitalist economy. As early as 1926 Russian expert Samuel Harper was opposed to calling the Soviet Union totalitarian.

Some political scientists ignored the suppression of their precious civil rights in the Soviet Union. I would think for liberal democrats that might be the first thing they noticed. Merle Fainsod, great scholar of the Soviet Union, looked favorably upon Russian, state-guided industrial rationalizing. The examination of socialist farming ignored mass starvation and liquidation the Soviet Union was later accused of. Frederic Schuman pointed out that Soviet constitution included the right to employment, free medical care, material security in sickness and in old age. Charles Merriam, probably the most famous political scientist of the 1930s, writes that the Soviet Union was a “most interesting experiment in civic education”. While the Stalin-Hitler pact was the Rubicon for most political scientists, a few said that the pact with Hitler was a defensive maneuver imposed on Stalin after the West refused to form a pact with Stalin against Hitler. What is vital to understand is that none of these political scientists were socialists, let alone communists.

After the pact between Stalin and Hitler “totalitarianism” became a term that was applied to both Germany and Russia. After the War, America’s flaws in political participation were recast as virtues and the former virtues of the Soviet Union were seen as flaws. Political scientists once again reversed their fields in the concepts for both fascism and communism.

Democracy from economic stability to voting

Before the Cold War, political scientists tended to define democracy in ways that played down the importance of the electoral process. In the 19th century, John Burgess opposed universal suffrage and was reluctant to endorse elections as the best method for selecting the nation’s top leaders. Woodrow Wilson wanted to make the world safe for democracy – but he wanted to entrust it to a professional managerial class. He thought a civil service examination was an eminently democratic method for leadership selection.

After WWI, the managerial view of democracy was rearticulated in the political science of Charles Merriam. Under the banner of democratic social control, Merriam and Harold Lasswell envisioned America as a state in which the American would be guided towards progressive democratic ends by an enlightened elite of social planners. On the left, Merle Fainsod believed that democracy should be economic. It should be concerned with the eradication of poverty with the guarantee of a living wage and with the alleviation of unemployment. He was less concerned with universal suffrage.

After World War II, economic and managerial visions of democracy fell into disfavor because they made US appear too similar to our enemies.  For example, Burgess’ vision of democracy via constitutionalism became a casualty of the first German-American conflict because, measured against its standards, England, which did not have a constitution, appeared less democratic than Germany. We couldn’t have that since England was on our side.  David Truman, in his book, The Governmental Process and Dahl’s A Preface to Democratic Theory, emphasized voting as the ultimate criteria for democracy as did Seymour Martin Lipset in his book Political Man, and Gabriel Almond in The Civic Culture.

Political Scientists Have Been Enmeshed With Yankee Foreign Policy For Over 100 Years

Charles Merriam

Towards the end of World War I in 1917 and 1918, political scientists participated in the massive campaign to promote the war.  Led by publicist Edward Bernays they attempted to persuade a reluctant American pubic to rally around Wilson’s decision to enter the war. Charles Merriam was the most important political scientist of the time, but objectivity did not stop him from taking charge of psychological warfare division in Italy.

Harold Lasswell

Political scientist Harold Lasswell received a sizable grant from Rockefeller Foundation in 1930s to study immigrants’ susceptibility to Soviet propaganda. He consulted with the Office of Strategic Services, the US Office of War Information and the War Department’s Psychological Warfare branch.

Evron and Jeane Kirkpatrick

When the OSS was disbanded in late 1945, its research and analysis staff was transferred to the State Department, and Evron Kirkpatrick remained with the intelligence section of the state department for eight years. He played a central role in a covert effort to recruit Eastern European refugees and scholars, including Nazi collaborators. He also worked with Hubert Humphrey and the liberal anticommunist camp of the Democratic Party. He became active in Humphrey’s political campaign along with Brzezinski. His wife Jeane Kirkpatrick promoted the liberal anti-communist wing of the Democratic Party. She had covert ties to US intelligence agencies.

Clyde Kluckhohn, Margaret Mead, Geoffrey Gorer

These anthropologists were all involved in consulting with the secret service psychological warfare operations against Japan in World War II.

Gabriel Almond

Gabriel Almond was among the most famous of all political scientists. He held teaching posts at Yale, Princeton and Stanford Universities. In his books, he depicted Anglo-American culture as a model for the world. He consulted with the Air University, the State Department, the Office of Naval Research and the RAND corporation from 1948 -1955. His book The Civic Culture was designed to steer third world countries away from communism.  His book Appeals of Communism addressed the power of the French and Italian communist parties. Both books were funded by the Carnegie Corporation.

 Lucian Pye and Samuel Popkin

Pye worked for MIT’s Center for International Studies. His book Guerrilla Communism in Malaya portrayed colonial authorities favorably. He expanded his studies to Asia to the investigation of the appeals of communism. He did a report for the Office of Naval Research which urged the government to award contracts to social scientists for counterinsurgency research. He taught courses in counterinsurgency for the State Department. Samuel Popkin also did counter-insurgency research.

Edward Shils

Shils was central activist for CIA sponsored Congress for Cultural Freedom.  This organization covertly recruited Trotskyists and non-communist leftists to the cause of cultural freedom in an attempt to divide left forces against communism.

Seymour Martin Lipset

Lipset received two sizable grants from the US Air Force in the late 1960s to examine the implication of comparative national development for military training and to study emerging leaders in developing nations.

Daniel Lerner

His research was used by CIA in designing the Phoenix program which sought to “neutralize Vietcong.

Samuel P. Huntington

Famous political scientist Samuel Huntington was a busy man. Not only did he work with national security and foreign policy agencies, but he advised Lyndon Johnson on the Vietnam War. He lectured and consulted at war colleges and some of his published research was funded by the CIA. Is Huntington’s scholarly career independent of his foreign policy career? Is Huntington’s scholarship unaffected by the politics of US foreign policy in which he took an active part?

Juan Linz and Amos Perlmutter

Confirmed anti-communist from Franco’s Spain, Linz developed a typology of differences between authoritarian and totalitarian typology. Amos Perlmutter was part of the Operations and Policy research on how to improve understanding of the role of foreign military forces in “stabilization” of the Middle East.

Whatever the intentions of these comparative political scientists, one effect of their research was to give theoretical support for the United States to overthrow regimes not to its liking and installing right-wing military dictatorships. Up to now, political scientists had the world divided up into “traditional” societies “democratic societies” and “totalitarian societies”. When Linz and Perlmutter inserted “authoritarian” regimes and developed the typological differences between them and totalitarian states, it provided the ruling-class with a wedge for US foreign intervention. In order to control rebelling masses in third world countries, the US all too often picked a military dictator to restore “law and order” while doing the bidding of foreign capitalists. But what do we call the military dictatorship? They must be characterized as authoritarian rather than totalitarianism to spare the State Department the embarrassment of overthrowing a government while installing a totalitarian regime. At the same time, socialist governments, no matter how democratically elected would always be called “totalitarian”. The regimes of Chavez and Maduro are examples.

Every political scientist named was no marginal right wing-nut. Every one of these political scientists were the biggest names in the field. I haven’t even mentioned Arthur Schlesinger, Walt Rostow, Talcott Parsons and Daniel Bell, all of whom are discussed in my article Dictatorship and Democracy as Loaded Language. In fact, before Michael Parenti in the 1960s, I doubt there were more than a handful of political scientists, at best, in the entire field of political science who were communists. I doubt the same is true in the fields of sociology, political sociology or history.

Conclusion

I hope to have convinced you that political science in the United States has little, if anything, to do with objectivity. Firstly, its concepts of the state, bureaucracy, fascism, communism and democracy are not stable political concepts that have stood the test of time over decades. Rather, these terms have changed dramatically based on the triumphs or defeats of US foreign policy. Secondly, the most famous political scientists between 1914 and 1964 served as advisors or promoters of US foreign policy, as you can see in Table A. In Ido Oren’s summary he writes “Political scientists were, on balance, more supportive of the administration’s policy than were other American intellectuals.” (153)

In the 1960s there was a rebellion within political science against professional involvement with the deep state. What has happened since? Oren concludes:

Collaboration with the national security agencies did not stop after Vietnam. To site one example:  Soviet specialist Myron Rush openly accepted a scholar-in-residence position at the CIA. Oren closes with a recent investigation of the state and political science relations in international studies which found that the line between political scientists and the state has pretty much vanished.  “According to H. Bradford Westerfield, a Yale University political scientist with ties to the CIA, cooperation between university professors and US intelligence agencies is now very much to the fore…There is a great deal of actually open consultation, and there’s a lot more semi-open, broadly acknowledge consultation” (170-171).First published in Socialist Planning Beyond Capitalism

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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Image:  Calvin Shen

In 2004, journalist Ron Susskind quoted a Bush White House advisor, reportedly Karl Rove, as boasting, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” He dismissed Susskind’s assumption that public policy must be rooted in “the reality-based community.” “We’re history’s actors,” the advisor told him, “…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Sixteen years later, the American wars and war crimes launched by the Bush administration have only spread chaos and violence far and wide, and this historic conjunction of criminality and failure has predictably undermined America’s international power and authority. Back in the imperial heartland, the political marketing industry that Rove and his colleagues were part of has had more success dividing and ruling the hearts and minds of Americans than of Iraqis, Russians or Chinese.

The irony of the Bush administration’s imperial pretensions was that America has been an empire from its very founding, and that a White House staffer’s political use of the term “empire” in 2004 was not emblematic of a new and rising empire as he claimed, but of a decadent, declining empire stumbling blindly into an agonizing death spiral.

Americans were not always so ignorant of the imperial nature of their country’s ambitions. George Washington described New York as “the seat of an empire,” and his military campaign against British forces there as the “pathway to empire.” New Yorkers eagerly embraced their state’s identity as the Empire State, which is still enshrined in the Empire State Building and on New York State license plates.

The expansion of America’s territorial sovereignty over Native American lands, the Louisiana Purchase and the annexation of northern Mexico in the Mexican-American War built an empire that far outstripped the one that George Washington built. But that imperial expansion was more controversial than most Americans realize. Fourteen out of fifty-two U.S. senators voted against the 1848 treaty to annex most of Mexico, without which Americans might still be visiting California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Utah and most of Colorado as exotic Mexican travel spots.

In the full flowering of the American empire after the Second World War, its leaders understood the skill and subtlety required to exercise imperial power in a post-colonial world. No country fighting for independence from the U.K. or France was going to welcome imperial invaders from America. So America’s leaders developed a system of neocolonialism through which they exercised overarching imperial sovereignty over much of the world, while scrupulously avoiding terms like “empire” or “imperialism” that would undermine their post-colonial credentials.

It was left to critics like President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana to seriously examine the imperial control that wealthy countries still exercised over nominally independent post-colonial countries like his. In his book, Neo-Colonialism: the Last Stage of Imperialism, Nkrumah condemned neocolonialism as “the worst form of imperialism.” “For those who practice it,” he wrote, “it means power without responsibility, and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress.”

So post-World War Two Americans grew up in carefully crafted ignorance of the very fact of American empire, and the myths woven to disguise it provide fertile soil for today’s political divisions and disintegration. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and Biden’s promise to “restore American leadership” are both appeals to nostalgia for the fruits of American empire.

Past blame games over who lost China or Vietnam or Cuba have come home to roost in an argument over who lost America and who can somehow restore its mythical former greatness or leadership. Even as America leads the world in allowing a pandemic to ravage its people and economy, neither party’s leaders are ready for a more realistic debate over how to redefine and rebuild America as a post-imperial nation in today’s multipolar world.

Every successful empire has expanded, ruled and exploited its far-flung territories through a combination of economic and military power. Even in the American empire’s neocolonial phase, the role of the U.S. military and the CIA was to kick open doors through which American businessmen could “follow the flag” to set up shop and develop new markets.

But now U.S. militarism and America’s economic interests have diverged. Apart from a few military contractors, American businesses have not followed the flag into the ruins of Iraq or America’s other current war-zones in any lasting way. Eighteen years after the U.S. invasion, Iraq’s largest trading partner is China, while Afghanistan’s is Pakistan, Somalia’s is the UAE (United Arab Emirates), and Libya’s is the European Union (EU).

Instead of opening doors for American big business or supporting America’s diplomatic position in the world, the U.S. war machine has become a bull in the global china shop, wielding purely destructive power to destabilize countries and wreck their economies, closing doors to economic opportunity instead of opening them, diverting resources from real needs at home, and damaging America’s international standing instead of enhancing it.

When President Eisenhower warned against the “unwarranted influence” of America’s military-industrial complex, he was predicting precisely this kind of dangerous dichotomy between the real economic and social needs of the American people and a war machine that costs more than the next ten militaries in the world put together but cannot win a war or vanquish a virus, let alone reconquer a lost empire.

China and the EU have become the major trading partners of most countries in the world. The United States is still a regional economic power, but even in South America, most countries now trade more with China. America’s militarism has accelerated these trends by squandering our resources on weapons and wars, while China and the EU have invested in peaceful economic development and 21st century infrastructure.

For example, China has built the largest high-speed rail network in the world in just 10 years (2008-2018), and Europe has been building and expanding its high-speed network since the 1990s, but high-speed rail is still only on the drawing board in America.

China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty, while America’s poverty rate has barely budged in 50 years and child poverty has increased. America still has the weakest social safety net of any developed country and no universal healthcare system, and the inequalities of wealth and power caused by extreme neoliberalism have left half of Americans with little or no savings to live on in retirement or to weather any disruption in their lives.

Our leaders’ insistence on siphoning off 66% of U.S. federal discretionary spending to preserve and expand a war machine that has long outlived any useful role in America’s declining economic empire is a debilitating waste of resources that jeopardizes our future.

Decades ago Martin Luther King Jr. warned us that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

As our government debates whether we can “afford” COVID relief, a Green New Deal and universal healthcare, we would be wise to recognize that our only hope of transforming this decadent, declining empire into a dynamic and prosperous post-imperial nation is to rapidly and profoundly shift our national priorities from irrelevant, destructive militarism to the programs of social uplift that Dr. King called for.

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Democratic Party Fascism: 2020 Edition

Now that Joe Biden will be America’s next president, it might be worthwhile to take a closer look at some of the choices for his cabinet, White House staff, and national security positions. There are some real crazies here, as we shall see. As we dig deeper and deeper, what emerges is a network of people whose views can quite literally be defined as fascist. This is not to deny that in many ways Trump and his administration were worse than many of these officials profiled below. What is noteworthy is that Biden’s team of imperialists is potentially more competent at wielding power and using the machinery of empire; or the national security state as it’s sometimes called, to further the genocidal and ecocidal agendas of US foreign policy, by advocating for more disastrous “interventions” abroad.

Again, to reiterate, I am in no way arguing that Republicans are the better choice. In fact, the Democrat foreign policy agenda is slightly better, but that is not saying much. The point is that both parties are two sides of the same coin in support of capitalism and empire, and that Democrats harbor many of the same fascist ideas as their Republican colleagues; they are simply better at hiding it and are more subtle about their intentions. The point of this essay is to expose that Democrats are also culpable in advancing neo-fascist ideology and there are many more similarities than differences between the parties. It’s slightly painful to have to point this all out, but the abysmal political discourse and low level of critical thinking, the polarization of politics, and the reactivity of those who think about politics as binary choices between good and evil leads to the inevitable “you’re criticizing x; you must be a supporter of y”. Just because this essay focuses on Democrats does not mean the same problems don’t also apply to Republicans.

Starting with the president-elect, Biden claims to have learned from his past “mistakes”. The mistakes are many — being against school integration in the seventies, sponsoring the 1994 crime bill, leading Democrats to favor going to war in Iraq in 2003, and the continuation of the global war on terror (even if the name was changed) during the Obama presidency. Biden is a war criminal and a depraved person — so if it were possible for him to change, he would not allow for the appointment of the nefarious individuals profiled below. But he’s not going to change, and his underlings in power aren’t either.

Spinning through the revolving door of public bureaucracy and corporate executive and board member positions in the private sphere, the individuals profiled below define one of the core features of fascism: the fusion of public and private life in the service of nationalist and imperialist conquest. In no particular order, here are some of the most fascistic and egregiously awful ideas and life choices from a few of Biden’s appointments.

Anthony Blinken

Anthony Blinken is Biden’s pick for Secretary of State. He has worked in various foreign policy positions in the Obama administration. From the beginning, he supported the war in Libya and the genocidal US-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen. So he is a very typical bureaucratic, hawkish, liberal interventionist apparatchik. He’s just another boring psycho who probably sleeps like a baby while people are sold into slavery in Libya and kids die of starvation and cholera in Yemen every day due to policies he devised and continues to advocate for.

What makes him interesting are his connections, and many are documented in an article in The Prospect titled “How Biden’s Foreign Policy Team Got Rich”, as well as a Politico piece entitled “The secretive consulting firm that’s become Biden’s Cabinet in waiting”, both of which I rely heavily on here. Along with Michele Flournoy (who was floated as Biden’s Defense Department pick before Lloyd Austin was chosen, both of whom we’ll get to) Blinken worked for a consultancy firm called WestExec Advisors. One of Blinken and Flournoy’s paymasters was one John Thain, a former Merrill Lynch executive, who like Trump, once had a golden toilet and conned his company out of millions.

Like most consulting firms getting fat and rich off helping military contractors, their “work” involves helping large corporations secure contracts by flashing their credentials and contacts, navigating tricky international trade laws and using legal loopholes to secure contracts for clients, leveraging diplomatic intricacies to work with unsavory/unstable/dictatorial foreign powers, as well as using cloak and dagger skills honed as US diplomats to secure backroom deals for multinationals and foreign governments. Sitting at the intersection of banking, military defense, advanced technology, and international relations, these consultants exercise a whole lot of power and influence that the ruling classes cannot do overtly — so they use lowly, greedy, corrupt diplomats like Blinken and Flournoy who function basically as lobbyists and middle-men for the military industrial complex; doing the dirty work of greasing trading partners and dealing with corrupt foreign leaders and the comprador class abroad.

Now, as The Prospect points out, Flournoy’s private sector consulting firm was tied almost exclusively towards defense contracts. Another WestExec employee, one Robert Work, is a former Marine officer who sits on the board of Raytheon. Yet another employee of WestExec is Avril Haines (profiled below), who worked in the CIA under Gina Haspel and approves of CIA torture and assassination programs. Flournoy also worked on the board of Booz Allen Hamilton, who, by the way, consults directly for the Saudi government in military, engineering, and logistics as it massacres civilians in Yemen. As business partners, Blinken and Flournoy are joined at the hip: they both approve and preside over the most pernicious and destructive aspects of the imperial directives within the national security state.

Neera Tanden

Neera Tanden is Biden’s pick for director of Office of Management and Budget. In 2011, following the US and NATO bombing of Libya, an internal email from Tanden to her think tank Center for American Progress was leaked to The Intercept. Here is what Tanden wrote:

We have a giant deficit, they have a lot of oil. Most Americans would choose not to engage in the world because of that deficit. If we want to continue to engage in the world, gestures like having oil rich countries partially pay us back doesn’t seem crazy to me.

This is exactly how fascists talk. This is exactly what Donald Trump said about seizing Syrian oil fields for US control and profiteering. Just like Trump, Tanden is infamous for being a notorious Twitter addict and a toxic online personality. She’s also been accused of punching a journalist.

Of course, what she’s advocated for, the stealing of another nation’s natural resources, is a gross violation of international law, and it’s not exactly a secret that she wrote this. So why is there no outrage from Democrats? Are they that narrow-minded that they’re unaware, or simply don’t care, or believe that Tanden can learn from her “mistakes”, or what? Probably a combination of all of the above, yet it doesn’t matter, as the Democrats just like Republicans, cannot be bothered to be held responsible for the horrible things they say and do. The leadership of both parties believes that they are the elect; great beings that while fallible ultimately are destined to rule regardless of the stupidity or destructiveness of their whims. Apparently nothing disqualifies them.

Ezekiel Emanuel

Mr. Emanuel has been picked to be a part of Biden’s Covid-19 task force. He is the brother of the one and only Rahm Emanuel, a real piece of work in his own right (who was Obama’s chief of staff, and Chicago’s former mayor). Ezekiel is a medical doctor, and chair of Medical Ethics (this is relevant) at University of Pennsylvania.

He managed to write a piece in The Atlantic in 2014: “Why I Hope to Die at 75“. He lists quite a few reasons, such as the declining quality of life for seniors. Then, he shows his true colors, because he explains that one of the major factors in his view is how seniors are no longer contributing to society, and therefore create strains on health care, the economy, etc. He writes that “but the fact is that by 75, creativity, originality, and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us”. Oh, really now? He continues: “The deadline [of dying at 75] also forces each of us to ask whether our consumption is worth our contribution.”

Hang on, there’s more. In a 2019 interview with MIT Technology Review, Emmanuel doubles down and says that:

When I look at what [the elderly] do, almost all of it is what I classify as play. It’s not meaningful work. They’re riding motorcycles; they’re hiking. Which can all have value—don’t get me wrong. But if it’s the main thing in your life? Ummm, that’s not probably a meaningful life.

Yes, you are reading this right. Our elders who’ve worked their asses off their entire lives for corporations and a government that does not give one single fuck about them should not be entitled to enjoy their retirement because they “play” too much. They are no longer contributing in a manner considered productive or meaningful to this super-genius doctor and bioethicist, therefore, he questions their right to exist, because they are useless consumers in his view.

So, just to be clear here, this is straight up fascist and eugenicist rhetoric. The elderly (and by extension the disabled) are not worthy of life because they no longer work. As he repeatedly implies in both articles, the elderly are a drain on societies’ precious resources. The best he can muster not to sound like a complete ass is he acknowledges the communal ties and “mentorship” the elderly provide, yet even when he tries to seem empathetic it comes off as phony and cold. Elder’s aren’t just mentors teaching us how to contribute more and be more “productive”, they are role models who impart wisdom on how to live a decent life. How about instead we honor, cherish, and look up to our elders not only because they have lessons to teach us, but because they are human beings and worthy of dignity and respect regardless of how “productive” they are. How about we acknowledge that seniors have much more to teach us than can be quantified in a research paper, Dr. Emanuel? How about we realize that seniors are one of the only groups left in our narcissistic society that truly embody the humility, gratitude, and reverence for life that we all claim to want to emulate?

Lloyd Austin

Lloyd Austin is a retired 4-star general who once headed Central Command (CENTCOM) in the US military. Now, he serves on the board of Raytheon, one of the largest defense companies in the world which self-reinforces the belief that our modern war machine is necessary to “create jobs” and “stimulate the economy”, and which sells billions in weapons to various dictatorial regimes around the globe.

Once again, notice the revolving door phenomenon. You acquisition a crap-ton of weapons as a general, use them to kill and maim a whole lot of innocent people on the other side of the world, and you are rewarded after leaving “public service” with a “job” where you show up to a meeting every six months for a hefty salary and a golden parachute of stock options.

This is modern day fascism. There are no more gas chambers, but there are slave-labor private prisons, concentration camps for undocumented immigrants, multiple wars raging abroad, and trillions of dollars flowing into defense, intelligence, and security agencies which only make things more dangerous and insecure for the vast majority of the world’s population, even in the West. The only difference is the media is much better at propaganda today, with much greater capabilities to convince people to rationalize and compartmentalize the immense devastation of today’s lone imperial and colonial superpower, the USA.

Avril Haines

Haines has been nominated for the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI). In this role she would oversee the alphabet soup of intelligence agencies, most notably, of course, the CIA and NSA. She previously worked her way up through the State Department before becoming the Deputy Director of the CIA in the Obama administration. Obviously only a very dangerous and deluded person would take on such a role anyways, and what’s notable is she supported Gina Haspel as CIA director, who was an architect of the CIA’s torture program. She also worked directly with Obama and John Brennan in the extra-judicial assassination drone bombing program.

As noted above, Haines worked for WestExec Advisors as a consultant. It’s also been reported that one of her clients was Palantir. Palantir, for those who don’t know, is owned by libertarian billionaire and Trump supporter Peter Thiel, and most of their work is tied in with military and intelligence contracts. Palantir was started with CIA money, as the New York Times and others have reported. It’s been reported widely that one of Palantir’s clients is, in fact, the Department of Homeland Security and ICE, which has used its secretive computer surveillance programs to hunt down, arrest, and deport undocumented immigrants. Thiel is also connected to AI facial recognition software start-ups, and Palantir software can also be used by domestic police forces to spy on potential suspects and “criminals”.

So, yet again the Democratic “good guy/gal” spooks like Haines have been caught red-handed working for the same fascistic authoritarians that fund Trump, that lock up innocent Latinos who come to the US in search of a better life, and that brutally murder civilians on the other side of the globe while they get rich off military contracts, in which they set the policies for in the public sector, and then consult for in the private sphere. Is this not as depraved as anything we’ve heard in the past four years about Trump and his administration? Again, where is the outrage? This is such a blatant double-standard, and the lack of any real serious reporting on these issues once again blows out of the water any notion of a “fair and balanced” political stance in the media.

Jake Sullivan

Sullivan has been tapped as Biden’s National Security Advisor. Much like Blinken, he is a liberal-interventionist-imperialist, boring law-nerd psycho who worked in the State Department under Clinton and shifted to Biden’s advisor under Obama after Clinton left State.

There is not much to go on with Sullivan. He is a model liberal elitist national security state technocrat, a faceless drone, a cipher. In case one thought that, since he worked under Obama, he would have some sense of restraint or at least “respectable” liberal decorum, his wife, as it turns out, used to advise John McCain and Joe Lieberman, two of the most bellicose US senators of the past few decades. According to liberal and conservative logic, you’d think that would make for some awkward dinner conversations. But these are not people with any real convictions or beliefs. They are hollow, empty vessels, nihilists in a sense. This guy is an archetypal centrist bureaucrat.

Biden referred to Sullivan as having a “once in a generation intellect”. Coming from such a mediocre mind, that’s really not saying much, but what it means in empire-speak is that this dude actually possesses levers of power and influence to play multiple sides of government in order to smooth over differences in service of America’s imperial ambitions.

In Conclusion

For the love of all that is holy, don’t get it twisted and think that these people were somehow chosen for their positions in spite of these “mistakes”. The paper trail shows a blood-drenched path where they are willing to plan and commit whatever war crimes it takes for their self-aggrandizement, personal enrichment, and to better serve their oligarchic masters. Further, they are actually competent at what they do, which is piloting the death machine that we call the US Empire. These are not good people on the sidelines or the fringes of developing US domestic and foreign policy. These are the architects of a modern-day neo-fascism cloaked in the guise of “liberal democracy”.

Rather, each of these individuals have been selected precisely because they espouse such dangerous and deadly views, are willing to advocate for them without any ability to critically examine their actions or what the consequences will be. They are all well trained at leveraging their connections within the military industrial complex to serve the ruling classes and their capitalist, colonialist, and fascist agendas.

The post Democratic Party Fascism: 2020 Edition first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What is the United States of America? A Military Democracy

Military leader, council, assembly of the people are the organs of gentile society developed into military democracy – military, since war and organization for war have now become regular functions of national life. Their neighbors’ wealth excites the greed of peoples who already see in the acquisition of wealth one of the main aims of life. They are barbarians: they think it more easy and in fact more honorable to get riches by pillage than by work. War, formerly waged only in revenge for injuries or to extend territory that had grown too small, is now waged simply for plunder and becomes a regular industry. Not without reason the bristling battlements stand menacingly about the new fortified towns; in the moat at their foot yawns the grave of the gentile constitution, and already they rear their towers into civilization and similarly in the interior. The wars of plunder increase the power of the supreme military leader and the subordinate commanders…

— Frederick Engels, Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State

The label full spectrum dominance implies that US forces are able to conduct prompt, sustained,and synchronized operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains—land, sea, air, space, and information. Additionally, given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its  overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance. Achieving full spectrum dominance means the joint force will fulfill its primary purpose— victory in war—as well as achieving success across the full range of operations, but it does not mean that we will win without cost or difficulty.

—  Joint Vision 2020, 2000

The United States must retain overmatch—the combination of capabilities in sufficient scale to prevent enemy success and to ensure that America’s sons and daughters will never be in a fair fight. Overmatch strengthens our diplomacy and permits us to shape the international environment to protect our interests. To retain military overmatch the United States must restore our ability to produce innovative capabilities, restore the readiness of our forces for major war, and grow the size of the force so that it is capable of operating at sufficient scale and for example duration to win across a range of scenarios.

National Security Strategy of the United States , 2017

So the United States wants to play hardball with China; and, naturally Russia, by resurfacing the Cold War era doctrine of Containment, along with Nuclear Triad upgrades, a 500 ship US Navy, new Long Range Bombers  — and a replacement for the F-35 — hypersonic weapons and, of course, more bodies for the all-volunteer US military. That means more dollars have to be funneled to the Pentagon and its suppliers. But there is more: US military initiatives in Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Autonomous Combat Drones (undersea and air), Space Based Weapons, and Synthetic Biology all add to the truckloads of dollars needed to take on China and Russia, never mind North Korea and Iran.

The fiscal year 2021 defense budget comes in at a whopping $740.5 billion dollars. But there is more security to be had: The Department of Homeland Security will spend roughly $50 billion and the Department of Justice (houses the FBI) $30 billion. US intelligence agencies are expected to spend approximately $85 billion in 2021 with a new focus on China. That adds up to about $905 billion dollars.

Merchant of Death, For Real

The USA also maintains its status as the number one arms dealer in the world with distasteful customers including Saudi Arabia and Egypt. According to Forbes:

US bombs, aircraft, attack helicopters, and other military equipment have been used in [Yemen for] indiscriminate attacks that have killed thousands of civilians, enabled destruction of civilian infrastructure, and bolstered a blockade that has impeded the provision of vital humanitarian supplies.  The result has been up to 100,000 unnecessary deaths and the placement of millions of Yemenis on the brink of famine.  In Egypt, torture, unlawful confinement, and forced disappearances are now routine, under what many analysts view as the most repressive regime in the history of that nation.  In addition, the Egyptian regime has engaged in forced displacement, strikes on civilians, and other abuses in its anti-terror campaign in the northern Sinai, all the while attempting to hide these abuses from the media and foreign governments, including major aid suppliers like the United States.

And the militarization of democracy and the world will continue unabated. No one dare speak against it or try to stop it: A fool’s errand, indeed.

According to the Project on Government Oversight, “Defense spending increased sharply in the Trump years and is now substantially higher than it was during the Korean or Vietnam War eras or during the massive military buildup President Ronald Reagan oversaw in the 1980s. Today, it consumes well over half of the nation’s discretionary budget, which just happens to also pay for a wide array of urgently needed priorities ranging from housing, job training, and alternative energy programs to public health and infrastructure building. At a time when pandemics, high unemployment, racial inequality, and climate change pose the greatest threats to our safety and security, this allocation of resources should be considered unsustainable. Unfortunately, the Pentagon and the arms industry have yet to get that memo. Defense company executives recently assured a Washington Post reporter that they are “unconcerned” about or consider unlikely the possibility that a Biden administration would significantly reduce Pentagon spending.

Add it all up and you are looking at billions in cash that has to be printed, or found, every year to sustain and enhance the massive US national security/defense machine even as the United States is getting hammered by the COVID-19 Pandemic which is, in turn,  crippling its economy.

If that weren’t enough to be concerned about, there is the dicey constitutional matter of a sitting president (Donald Trump) who has contacted the governor of the US State of Georgia and the speaker of the state house in Pennsylvania in an unprecedented attempt at an “art of the deal” coup to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election that saw the defeat of Trump by Democrat Joe Biden. A defeat that Trump and many Republicans refuse to acknowledge going so far as to file baseless lawsuits seeking to overturn the election. What Trump and his supporters are doing to degrade representative democracy is as close to treason as is possible.

At any rate, what’s the point of the United States spending billions of dollars — some estimates as high as 1.2 trillion — on national security/defense when its healthcare system, critical infrastructure (bridges, sewage pipes, roads, etc.), small to mid-sized businesses, and social safety nets — even the constitutional order— are collapsing? Maybe it is all part of the plan.

How China Became an Evil Doer: Rabid Imperialist Running Dog, Peter Navarro

Why is China being led to the electric chair? Well, there’s America’s number one anti-Chinese imperialist running dog to thank for that, Peter Navarro, White House trade and manufacturing advisor to President Donald Trump. Navarro is a rabid, foam-at-the-mouth Chinese hate machine, a racist by any other name. His book Death By China borders on lunacy. According to Vox:

Navarro doesn’t only want to crackdown on China’s economic practices in order to boost the American economy. He also believes slowing China’s growth is essential to taming its military might and ambitions for global dominance. On this front, his views — which include calling for the US to colonize the moon with American-style capitalism before China turns it into a communist stronghold — become particularly difficult to follow. [He warns] the reader against ever purchasing Chinese products [and claims that] unscrupulous Chinese entrepreneurs are flooding world markets with a range of bone-crushing, cancer-causing, flammable, poisonous, and otherwise lethal products, foods, and drugs. At one point, Navarro asks the reader to engage in a cautionary thought experiment and — using a military phrase popularized during the Vietnam War — imagine that your best friend is fragged when the [Chinese-made] cell phone in his chest pocket explodes and sends bone shrapnel into his heart.

Navarro was a key figure in the development of Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) which laid the groundwork for the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy (NDS) and yet another doctrine with an acronym: Great Power Competition or GPC. Particular emphasis was placed on China: The alleged threatening commercial investments in Central and South America, claims on the South China Sea and remote islands, and the $178 to $225 billion they spent on their military in 2019. And Russia has been naughty too: It secured its strategic interests by taking back Crimea (prime Navy base there which the US was eyeing for itself), intervening to protect its interests in Georgia, and supporting rebels in Ukraine and the hapless regime in Syria (where Russia has interests in the form of military bases).

“It is just business,” as Michael Corleone said in the movie Godfather II. It was just that when the US invaded Iraq in 2003 (a failure by all accounts). But it’s just fine when the US makes moves on the geopolitical chessboard, not other nations. The attitude goes something like this:  “How dare they try to mess with the post-WWII order created by the USA?”

GPC, No More GWOT

The NDS normally follows the president’s NSS as the Pentagon has to outline how it will meet the Commander in Chief’s vision. The NDS was also pushed out by the Pentagon in 2017 with then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis being the lead cheerleader. He claimed that the era of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) was something that belonged in the dustbin of history. According to Defense One, “The National Defense Strategy declares a decisive shift in America’s security priorities, away from the age of ISIS-level terrorism and toward a return to great-power competition with regional giants China and Russia. This shift, Pentagon planners say, will require a ‘more lethal, resilient, and rapidly innovating’ military that can regain the overwhelming advantage the United States once held over those rivals and lesser adversaries such as Iran and North Korea.”

So the USA may stagger into a war with China thanks to a well placed anti-Chinese kook (Navarro) in the White House who was in on the development of both the NSS and NDS of 2017. The Pentagon and Defense Industrial base are for anything that’ll get them more dollars. So China is the #1 totalitarian monster of the day.

And they say one person can’t make a difference.

Maybe Boeing, Walmart and Apple — who invest heavily in Chinese supply chains and technical know-how — might have something to say about the GPC.

Anyway, let’s say that the US military suddenly vanished. What would America be then? It would be a Paramilitary and Carceral Democracy.

The USA is a Military Democracy that refuses to adequately take care of its people. Is that really worth fighting for?

The post What is the United States of America? A Military Democracy first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Planet Cannot Begin to Heal Until We Rip the Mask off the West’s War Machine

Making political sense of the world can be tricky unless one understands the role of the state in capitalist societies. The state is not primarily there to represent voters or uphold democratic rights and values; it is a vehicle for facilitating and legitimating the concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands.

In a recent post, I wrote about “externalities” – the ability of companies to offset the true costs inherent in the production process. The burden of these costs are covertly shifted on to wider society: that is, on to you and me. Or on to those far from view, in foreign lands. Or on to future generations. Externalising costs means that profits can be maximised for the wealth elite in the here and now.

Our own societies must deal with the externalised costs of industries ranging from tobacco and alcohol to chemicals and vehicles. Societies abroad must deal with the costs of the bombs dropped by our “defence” industries. And future generations will have to deal with the lethal costs incurred by corporations that for decades have been allowed to pump out their waste products into every corner of the globe.

Divine right to rule

In the past, the job of the corporate media was to shield those externalities from public view. More recently, as the costs have become impossible to ignore, especially with the climate crisis looming, the media’s role has changed. Its central task now is to obscure corporate responsibility for these externalities. That is hardly surprising. After all, the corporate media’s profits depend on externalising costs too, as well as hiding the externalised costs of their parent companies, their billionaire owners and their advertisers.

Once, monarchs rewarded the clerical class for persuading, through the doctrine of divine right, their subjects to passively submit to exploitation. Today, “mainstream” media are there to persuade us that capitalism, the profit motive, the accumulation of ever greater wealth by elites, and externalities destroying the planet are the natural order of things, that this is the best economic system imaginable.

Most of us are now so propagandised by the media that we can barely imagine a functioning world without capitalism. Our minds are primed to imagine, in the absence of capitalism, an immediate lurch back to Soviet-style bread queues or an evolutionary reversal to cave-dwelling. Those thoughts paralyse us, making us unable to contemplate what might be wrong or inherently unsustainable about how we live right now, or to imagine the suicidal future we are hurtling towards.

Lifeblood of empire

There is a reason that, as we rush lemming-like towards the cliff-edge, urged on by a capitalism that cannot operate at the level of sustainability or even of sanity, the push towards intensified war grows. Wars are the life blood of the corporate empire headquartered in the United States.

US imperialism is no different from earlier imperialisms in its aims or methods. But in late-stage capitalism, wealth and power are hugely concentrated. Technologies have reached a pinnacle of advancement. Disinformation and propaganda are sophisticated to an unprecedented degree. Surveillance is intrusive and aggressive, if well concealed. Capitalism’s destructive potential is unlimited. But even so, war’s appeal is not diminished.

As ever, wars allow for the capture and control of resources. Fossil fuels promise future growth, even if of the short-term, unsustainable kind.

Wars require the state to invest its money in the horrendously expensive and destructive products of the “defence” industries, from fighter planes to bombs, justifying the transfer of yet more public resources into private hands.

The lobbies associated with these “defence” industries have every incentive to push for aggressive foreign (and domestic) policies to justify more investment, greater expansion of “defensive” capabilities, and the use of weapons on the battlefield so that they need replenishing.

Whether public or covert, wars provide an opportunity to remake poorly defended, resistant societies – such as Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria – in ways that allow for resources to be seized, markets to be expanded and the reach of the corporate elite to be extended.

War is the ultimate growth industry, limited only by our ability to be persuaded of new enemies and new threats.

Fog of war

For the political class, the benefits of war are not simply economic. In a time of environmental collapse, war offers a temporary “Get out of jail” card. During wars, the public is encouraged to assent to new, ever greater sacrifices that allow public wealth to be transferred to the elite. War is the corporate world’s ultimate Ponzi scheme.

The “fog of war” does not just describe the difficulty of knowing what is happening in the immediate heat of battle. It is also the fear, generated by claims of an existential threat, that sets aside normal thinking, normal caution, normal scepticism. It is the invoking of a phantasmagorical enemy towards which public resentments can be directed, shielding from view the real culprits – the corporations and their political cronies at home.

The “fog of war” engineers the disruption of established systems of control and protocol to cope with the national emergency, shrouding and rationalising the accumulation by corporations of more wealth and power and the further capture of organs of the state. It is the licence provided for “exceptional” changes to the rules that quickly become normalised. It is the disinformation that passes for national responsibility and patriotism.

Permanent austerity

All of which explains why Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, has just pledged an extra £16.5 billion in “defence” spending at a time when the UK is struggling to control a pandemic and when, faced by disease, Brexit and a new round of winter floods, the British economy is facing “systemic crisis”, according to a new Cabinet Office report. Figures released this week show the biggest economic contraction in the UK in three centuries.

If the British public is to stomach yet more cuts, to surrender to permanent austerity as the economy tanks, Johnson, ever the populist, knows he needs a good cover story. And that will involve further embellishment of existing, fearmongering narratives about Russia, Iran and China.

To make those narratives plausible, Johnson has to act as if the threats are real, which means massive spending on “defence”. Such expenditure, wholly counter-productive when the current challenge is sustainability, will line the pockets of the very corporations that help Johnson and his pals stay in power, not least by cheerleading him via their media arms.

New salesman needed

The cynical way this works was underscored in a classified 2010 CIA memorandum, known as “Red Cell”, leaked to Wikileaks, as the journalist Glenn Greenwald reminded us this week. The CIA memo addressed the fear in Washington that European publics were demonstrating little appetite for the US-led “war on terror” that followed 9/11. That, in turn, risked limiting the ability of European allies to support the US as it exercised its divine right to wage war.

The memo notes that European support for US wars after 9/11 had chiefly relied on “public apathy” – the fact that Europeans were kept largely ignorant by their own media of what those wars entailed. But with a rising tide of anti-war sentiment, the concern was that this might change. There was an urgent need to further manipulate public opinion more decisively in favour of war.

The US intelligence agency decided its wars needed a facelift. George W Bush, with his Texan, cowboy swagger, had proved a poor salesman. So the CIA turned to identity politics and faux “humanitarianism”, which they believed would play better with European publics.

Part of the solution was to accentuate the suffering of Afghan women to justify war. But the other part was to use President Barack Obama as the face of a new, “caring” approach to war. He had recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – even though he had done nothing for peace, and would go on to expand US wars – very possibly as part of this same effort to reinvent the “war on terror”. Polls showed support for existing wars increased markedly among Europeans when they were reminded that Obama backed these wars.

As Greenwald observes:

Obama’s most important value was in prettifying, marketing and prolonging wars, not ending them. They saw him for what U.S. Presidents really are: instruments to create a brand and image about the U.S. role in the world that can be effectively peddled to both the domestic population in the US and then on the global stage, and specifically to pretend that endless barbaric US wars are really humanitarian projects benevolently designed to help people — the pretext used to justify every war by every country in history.

Obama-style facelift

Once the state is understood as a vehicle for entrenching elite power – and war its most trusted tool for concentrating power – the world becomes far more intelligible. Western economies never stopped being colonial economies, but they were given an Obama-style facelift. War and plunder – even when they masquerade as “defence” or peace – are still the core western mission.

That is why Britons, believing days of empire are long behind them, may have been shocked to learn this week that the UK still operates 145 military bases in 42 countries around the globe, meaning it runs the second largest network of such bases after the US.

Such information is not made available in the UK “mainstream” media, of course. It has to be provided by an “alternative” investigative site, Declassified UK. In that way the vast majority of the British public are left clueless about how their taxes are being used at a time when they are told further belt-tightening is essential.

The UK’s network of bases, many of them in the Middle East, close to the world’s largest oil reserves, are what the much-vaunted “special relationship” with the US amounts to. Those bases are the reason the UK – whoever is prime minister – is never going to say “no” to a demand that Britain join Washington in waging war, as it did in attacking Iraq in 2003, or in aiding attacks on Libya, Syria and Yemen. The UK is not only a satellite of the US empire, it is a lynchpin of the western imperial war economy.

Ideological alchemy

Once that point is appreciated, the need for external enemies – for our own Eurasias and Eastasias – becomes clearer.

Some of those enemies, the minor ones, come and go, as demand dictates. Iraq dominated western attention for two decades. Now it has served its purpose, its killing fields and “terrorist” recruiting grounds have reverted to a mere footnote in the daily news. Likewise, the Libyan bogeyman Muammar Gaddafi was constantly paraded across news pages until he was bayonetted to death. Now the horror story that is today’s chaotic Libya, a corridor for arms-running and people-trafficking, can be safely ignored. For a decade, the entirely unexceptional Arab dictator Bashar Assad, of Syria, has been elevated to the status of a new Hitler, and he will continue to serve in that role for as long as it suits the needs of the western war economy.

Notably, Israel, another lynchpin of the US empire and one that serves as a kind of offshored weapons testing laboratory for the military-industrial complex, has played a vital role in rationalising these wars. Just as saving Afghan women from Middle Eastern patriarchy makes killing Afghans – men, women and children – more palatable to Europeans, so destroying Arab states can be presented as a humanitarian gesture if at the same time it crushes Israel’s enemies, and by extension, through a strange, implied ideological alchemy, the enemies of all Jews.

Quite how opportunistic – and divorced from reality – the western discourse about Israel and the Middle East has become is obvious the moment the relentless concerns about Syria’s Assad are weighed against the casual indifference towards the head-chopping rulers of Saudi Arabia, who for decades have been financing terror groups across the Middle East, including the jihadists in Syria.

During that time, Israel has covertly allied with oil-rich Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, because all of them are safely ensconced within the US war machine. Now, with the Palestinians completely sidelined diplomatically, and with all international solidarity with Palestinians browbeaten into silence by antisemitism smears, Israel and the Saudis are gradually going public with their alliance, like a pair of shy lovers. That included the convenient leak this week of a secret meeting between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.

The west also needs bigger, more menacing and more permanent enemies than Iraq or Syria. Helpfully one kind – nebulous “terrorism” – is the inevitable reaction to western war-making. The more brown people we kill, the more brown people we can justify killing because they carry out, or support, “terrorism” against us. Their hatred for our bombs is an irrationality, a primitivism we must keep stamping out with more bombs.

But concrete, identifiable enemies are needed too. Russia, Iran and China give superficial credence to the war machine’s presentation of itself as a “defence” industry. The UK’s bases around the globe and Boris Johnson’s £16 billion rise in spending on the UK’s war industries only make sense if Britain is under a constant, existential threat. Not just someone with a suspicious backpack on the London Tube, but a sophisticated, fiendish enemy that threatens to invade our lands, to steal resources to which we claim exclusive rights, to destroy our way of life through its masterful manipulation of the internet.

Crushed or tamed

Anyone of significance who questions these narratives that rationalise and perpetuate war is the enemy too. Current political and legal dramas in the US and UK reflect the perceived threat such actors pose to the war machine. They must either be crushed or tamed into subservience.

Trump was initially just such a figure that needed breaking in. The CIA and other intelligence agencies assisted in the organised opposition to Trump – helping to fuel the evidence-free Russiagate “scandal” – not because he was an awful human being or had authoritarian tendencies, but for two more specific reasons.

First, Trump’s political impulses, expressed in the early stages of his presidential campaign, were to withdraw from the very wars the US empire depends on. Despite open disdain for him from most of the media, he was criticised more often for failing to prosecute wars enthusiastically enough rather than for being too hawkish. And second, even as his isolationist impulses were largely subdued after the 2016 election by the permanent bureaucracy and his own officials, Trump proved to be an even more disastrous salesman for war than George W Bush. Trump made war look and sound exactly as it is, rather than packaging it as “intervention” intended to help women and people of colour.

But Trump’s amateurish isolationism paled in comparison to two far bigger threats to the war machine that emerged over the past decade. One was the danger – in our newly interconnected, digital world – of information leaks that risked stripping away the mask of US democracy, of the “shining city on the hill”, to reveal the tawdry reality underneath.

Julian Assange and his Wikileaks project proved just such a danger. The most memorable leak – at least as far as the general public was concerned – occurred in 2010, with publication of a classified video, titled Collateral Murder, showing a US air crew joking and celebrating as they murdered civilians far below in the streets of Baghdad. It gave a small taste of why western “humanitarianism” might prove so unpopular with those to whom we were busy supposedly bringing “democracy”.

The threat posed by Assange’s new transparency project was recognised instantly by US officials.

Exhibiting a carefully honed naivety, the political and media establishments have sought to uncouple the fact that Assange has spent most of the last decade in various forms of detention, and is currently locked up in a London high-security prison awaiting extradition to the US, from his success in exposing the war machine. Nonetheless, to ensure his incarceration till death in one of its super-max jails, the US empire has had to conflate the accepted definitions of “journalism” and “espionage”, and radically overhaul traditional understandings of the rights enshrined in the First Amendment.

Dress rehearsal for a coup

An equally grave threat to the war machine was posed by the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of Britain’s Labour party. Corbyn presented as exceptional a problem as Assange.

Before Corbyn, Labour had never seriously challenged the UK’s dominant military-industrial complex, even if its support for war back in the 1960s and 1970s was often tempered by its then-social democratic politics. It was in this period, at the height of the Cold War, that Labour prime minister Harold Wilson was suspected by British elites of failing to share their anti-Communist and anti-Soviet paranoia, and was therefore viewed as a potential threat to their entrenched privileges.

As a BBC documentary from 2006 notes, Wilson faced the very real prospect of enforced “regime change”, coordinated by the military, the intelligence services and members of the royal family. It culminated in a show of force by the military as they briefly took over Heathrow airport without warning or coordination with Wilson’s government. Marcia Williams, his secretary, called it a “dress rehearsal” for a coup. Wilson resigned unexpectedly soon afterwards, apparently as the pressure started to take its toll.

‘Mutiny’ by the army

Subsequent Labour leaders, most notably Tony Blair, learnt the Wilson lesson: never, ever take on the “defence” establishment. The chief role of the UK is to serve as the US war machine’s attack dog. Defying that allotted role would be political suicide.

By contrast to Wilson, who posed a threat to the British establishment only in its overheated imagination, Corbyn was indeed a real danger to the militaristic status quo.

He was one of the founders of the Stop the War coalition that emerged specifically to challenge the premises of the “war on terror”. He explicitly demanded an end to Israel’s role as a forward base of the imperial war industries. In the face of massive opposition from his own party – and claims he was undermining “national security” – Corbyn urged a public debate about the deterrence claimed by the “defence” establishment for the UK’s Trident nuclear submarine programme, effectively under US control. It was also clear that Corbyn’s socialist agenda, were he ever to reach power, would require redirecting the many billions spent in maintaining the UK’s 145 military bases around the globe back into domestic social programmes.

In an age when the primacy of capitalism goes entirely unquestioned, Corbyn attracted even more immediate hostility from the power establishment than Wilson had. As soon as he was elected Labour leader, Corbyn’s own MPs – still loyal to Blairism – sought to oust him with a failed leadership challenge. If there was any doubt about how the power elite responded to Corbyn becoming head of the opposition, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times newspaper soon offered a platform to an unnamed army general to make clear its concerns.

Weeks after Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, the general warned that the army would take “direct action” using “whatever means possible, fair or foul” to prevent Corbyn exercising power. There would be “mutiny”, he said. “The Army just wouldn’t stand for it.”

Such views about Corbyn were, of course, shared on the other side of the Atlantic. In a leaked recording of a conversation with American-Jewish organisations last year, Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state and a former CIA director, spoke of how Corbyn had been made to “run the gauntlet” as a way to ensure he would not be elected prime minister. The military metaphor was telling.

In relation to the danger of Corbyn winning the 2019 election, Pompeo added: “You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

This was from the man who said of his time heading the CIA: “We lied, we cheated, we stole. It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses.”

Smears and Brexit

After a 2017 election that Labour only narrowly lost, the Corbyn threat was decisively neutralised in the follow-up election two years later, after the Labour leader was floored by a mix of antisemitism slurs and a largely jingoistic Brexit campaign to leave Europe.

Claims that this prominent anti-racism campaigner had overseen a surge of antisemitism in Labour were unsupported by evidence, but the smears – amplified in the media – quickly gained a life of their own. The allegations often bled into broader – and more transparently weaponised – suggestions that Corbyn’s socialist platform and criticisms of capitalism were also antisemitic. (See here, here and here.) But the smears were nevertheless dramatically effective in removing the sheen of idealism that had propelled Corbyn on to the national stage.

By happy coincidence for the power establishment, Brexit also posed a deep political challenge to Corbyn. He was naturally antagonistic to keeping the UK trapped inside a neoliberal European project that, as a semi-detached ally of the US empire, would always eschew socialism. But Corbyn never had control over how the Brexit debate was framed. Helped by the corporate media, Dominic Cummings and Johnson centred that debate on simplistic claims that severing ties with Europe would liberate the UK socially, economically and culturally. But their concealed agenda was very different. An exit from Europe was not intended to liberate Britain but to incorporate it more fully into the US imperial war machine.

Which is one reason that Johnson’s cash-strapped Britain is now promising an extra £16bn on “defence”. The Tory government’s  priorities are to prove both its special usefulness to the imperial project and its ability to continue using war – as well as the unique circumstances of the pandemic – to channel billions from public coffers into the pockets of the establishment.

A Biden makeover

After four years of Trump, the war machine once again desperately needs a makeover. The once-confident, youthful Wikileaks is now less able to peek behind the curtain and listen in to the power establishment’s plans for a new administration under Joe Biden.

We can be sure nonetheless that its priorities are no different from those set out in the CIA memo of 2010. Biden’s cabinet, the media has been excitedly trumpeting, is the most “diverse” ever, with women especially prominent in the incoming foreign policy establishment.

There has been a huge investment by Pentagon officials and Congressional war hawks in pushing for Michèle Flournoy to be appointed as the first female defence secretary. Flournoy, like Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, has played a central role in prosecuting every US war dating back to the Bill Clinton administration.

The other main contender for the spot is Jeh Johnson, who would become the first black defence secretary. As Biden dithers, his advisers’ assessment will focus on who will be best positioned to sell yet more war to a war-weary public.

The role of the imperial project is to use violence as a tool to capture and funnel ever greater wealth – whether it be resources seized in foreign lands or the communal wealth of domestic western populations – into the pockets of the power establishment, and to exercise that power covertly enough, or at a great enough distance, that no meaningful resistance is provoked.

A strong dose of identity politics may buy a little more time. But the war economy is as unsustainable as everything else our societies are currently founded on. Sooner or later the war machine is going to run out of fuel.

The post The Planet Cannot Begin to Heal Until We Rip the Mask off the West’s War Machine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Ending Regime Change in Bolivia and the World

Bolivian woman votes in October 18 election

Less than a year after the United States and the U.S.-backed Organization of American States (OAS) supported a violent military coup to overthrow the government of Bolivia, the Bolivian people have reelected the Movement for Socialism (MAS) and restored it to power.

In the long history of U.S.-backed “regime changes” in countries around the world, rarely have a people and a country so firmly and democratically repudiated U.S. efforts to dictate how they will be governed. Post-coup interim president Jeanine Añez has reportedly requested 350 U.S. visas for herself and others who may face prosecution in Bolivia for their roles in the coup.

The narrative of a rigged election in 2019 that the U.S. and the OAS peddled to support the coup in Bolivia has been thoroughly debunked. MAS’s support is mainly from indigenous Bolivians in the countryside, so it takes longer for their ballots to be collected and counted than those of the better-off city dwellers who support MAS’s right-wing, neoliberal opponents.

As the votes come in from rural areas, there is a swing to MAS in the vote count. By pretending that this predictable and normal pattern in Bolivia’s election results was evidence of election fraud in 2019, the OAS bears responsibility for unleashing a wave of violence against indigenous MAS supporters that, in the end, has only delegitimized the OAS itself.

It is instructive that the failed U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia has led to a more democratic outcome than U.S. regime change operations that succeeded in removing a government from power. Domestic debates over U.S. foreign policy routinely presume that the U.S. has the right, or even an obligation, to deploy an arsenal of military, economic and political weapons to force political change in countries that resist its imperial dictates.

In practice, this means either full-scale war (as in Iraq and Afghanistan), a coup d’etat (as in Haiti in 2004, Honduras in 2009 and Ukraine in 2014), covert and proxy wars (as in Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen) or punitive economic sanctions (as against Cuba, Iran and Venezuela) — all of which violate the sovereignty of the targeted countries and are therefore illegal under international law.

No matter which instrument of regime change the U.S. has deployed, these U.S. interventions have not made life better for the people of any of those countries, nor countless others in the past. William Blum’s brilliant 1995 book, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, catalogues 55 U.S. regime change operations in 50 years between 1945 and 1995. As Blum’s detailed accounts make clear, most of these operations involved U.S. efforts to remove popularly elected governments from power, as in Bolivia, and often replaced them with U.S.-backed dictatorships: like the Shah of Iran; Mobutu in the Congo; Suharto in Indonesia; and General Pinochet in Chile.

Even when the targeted government is a violent, repressive one, U.S. intervention usually leads to even greater violence. Nineteen years after removing the Taliban government in Afghanistan, the United States has dropped 80,000 bombs and missiles on Afghan fighters and civilians, conducted tens of thousands of “kill or capture” night raids, and the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Afghans.

In December 2019, the Washington Post published a trove of Pentagon documents revealing that none of this violence is based on a real strategy to bring peace or stability to Afghanistan — it’s all just a brutal kind of “muddling along,” as U.S. General McChrystal put it. Now the U.S.-backed Afghan government is finally in peace talks with the Taliban on a political power-sharing plan to bring an end to this “endless” war, because only a political solution can provide Afghanistan and its people with the viable, peaceful future that decades of war have denied them.

In Libya, it has been nine years since the U.S. and its NATO and Arab monarchist allies launched a proxy war backed by a covert invasion and NATO bombing campaign that led to the horrific sodomy and assassination of Libya’s long time anti-colonial leader, Muammar Gaddafi. That plunged Libya into chaos and civil war between the various proxy forces that the U.S. and its allies armed, trained and worked with to overthrow Gaddafi.

A parliamentary inquiry in the U.K. found that, “a limited intervention to protect civilians drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change by military means,” which led to “political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of Isil [Islamic State] in north Africa.”

The various Libyan warring factions are now engaged in peace talks aimed at a permanent ceasefire and, according to the UN envoy “holding national elections in the shortest possible timeframe to restore Libya’s sovereignty”—the very sovereignty that the NATO intervention destroyed.

Senator Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser Matthew Duss has called for the next U.S. administration to conduct a comprehensive review of the post-9/11 “War on Terror,” so that we can finally turn the page on this bloody chapter in our history.

Duss wants an independent commission to judge these two decades of war based on “the standards of international humanitarian law that the United States helped to establish after World War II,” which are spelled out in the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions. He hopes that this review will “stimulate vigorous public debate about the conditions and legal authorities under which the United States uses military violence.”

Such a review is overdue and badly needed, but it must confront the reality that, from its very beginning, the “War on Terror” was designed to provide cover for a massive escalation of U.S. “regime change” operations against a diverse range of countries, most of which were governed by secular governments that had nothing to do with the rise of Al Qaeda or the crimes of September 11th.

Notes taken by senior policy official Stephen Cambone from a meeting in the still damaged and smoking Pentagon on the afternoon of September 11, 2001 summarized Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s orders to get “…best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time – not only UBL [Osama Bin Laden]… Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

At the cost of horrific military violence and mass casualties, the resulting global reign of terror has installed quasi-governments in countries around the world that have proved more corrupt, less legitimate and less able to protect their territory and their people than the governments that U.S. actions removed. Instead of consolidating and expanding U.S. imperial power as intended, these illegal and destructive uses of military, diplomatic and financial coercion have had the opposite effect, leaving the U.S. ever more isolated and impotent in an evolving multipolar world.

Today, the U.S., China and the European Union are roughly equal in the size of their economies and international trade, but even their combined activity accounts for less than half of global economic activity and external trade. No single imperial power economically dominates today’s world as overconfident American leaders hoped to do at the end of the Cold War, nor is it divided by a binary struggle between rival empires as during the Cold War. This is the multipolar world we are already living in, not one that may emerge at some point in the future.

This multipolar world has been moving forward, forging new agreements on our most critical common problems, from nuclear and conventional weapons to the climate crisis to the rights of women and children. The United States’ systematic violations of international law and rejection of multilateral treaties have made it an outlier and a problem, certainly not a leader, as American politicians claim.

Joe Biden talks about restoring American international leadership if he is elected, but that will be easier said than done. The American empire rose to international leadership by harnessing its economic and military power to a rules-based international order in the first half of the 20th century, culminating in the post-World War II rules of international law. But the United States has gradually deteriorated through the Cold War and post-Cold War triumphalism to a flailing, decadent empire that now threatens the world with a doctrine of “might makes right” and “my way or the highway.”

When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, much of the world still saw Bush, Cheney and the “War on Terror” as exceptional, rather than a new normal in American policy. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize based on a few speeches and the world’s desperate hopes for a “peace president.” But eight years of Obama, Biden, Terror Tuesdays and Kill Lists followed by four years of Trump, Pence, children in cages and the New Cold War with China have confirmed the world’s worst fears that the dark side of American imperialism seen under Bush and Cheney was no aberration.

Amid America’s botched regime changes and lost wars, the most concrete evidence of its seemingly unshakeable commitment to aggression and militarism is that the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex is still outspending the ten next largest military powers in the world combined, clearly out of all proportion to America’s legitimate defense needs.

So the concrete things we must do if we want peace are to stop bombing and sanctioning our neighbors and trying to overthrow their governments; to withdraw most American troops and close military bases around the world; and to reduce our armed forces and our military budget to what we really need to defend our country, not to wage illegal wars of aggression half-way round the world.

For the sake of people around the world who are building mass movements to overthrow repressive regimes and struggling to construct new models of governing that are not replications of failed neoliberal regimes, we must stop our government — no matter who is in the White House — from trying to impose its will.

Bolivia’s triumph over U.S.-backed regime change is an affirmation of the emerging people-power of our new multipolar world, and the struggle to move the U.S. to a post-imperial future is in the interest of the American people as well. As the late Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez once told a visiting U.S. delegation, “If we work together with oppressed people inside the United States to overcome the empire, we will not only be liberating ourselves, but also the people of Martin Luther King.”

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