Archive | July 16th, 2015

“Payback’s a Bitch”

NOVANEWS
Rural Wisdom and the Gathering Storm
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The furor over the Confederate flag, think I, has little to do with the Confederate flag, which is a pretext, an uninvolved bystander. Rather it is about a seething anger in the United States that we must not mention. It is the anger of people who see everything they are and believe under attack by people they aren’t and do not want to be—their heritage, their religion, their values and way of life all mocked and even made criminal.

The talking heads inside Washington’s beltway, in editorial suites in New York, do not know of this anger. They do not talk to people in Joe’s Bar in Chicago or in barbecue joints in Wheeling. They are cloistered, smug, sure of themselves. And they are asking for it.

We are dealing with things visceral, not rational. Confusing the two is dangerous. Hatreds can boil over as syllogisms cannot. The banning of the flag infuriates, for example, me. Why? Although a Southerner by raising, I would far prefer to live in New York City than in Memphis. Yet I value my boyhood in Virginia and Alabama. My ancestors go back to the house of Burgesses, and I remember long slow summer days on the Rappahannock and in the limestone of Athens, Alabama.

When the federal government and the talking heads want to ban my past—here, permit me to exit momentarily the fraudulent objectivity of literature—I hate the sonsofbitches.

lot of people quietly hate the sonsofbitches.

To them, to us, the Confederate flag stands for resistance to control from afar, to meddling and instruction from people we detest. It is the flag of “Leave me the hell alone.” And this Washington, Boston, and New York will…not…do.

A surprise may be coming.

What is the anger about? Most visibly, but far from uniquely, race: the illegals, the Knock-Out game, and Washington’s protection of both. The racial hostility that pervades the country today is largely the doing of the talking heads and its perverse social policies. The rancor is unlike anything I have seen.

Curious. When I was a lad ages ago, I thought well of Brown vs. the School board. Southerners said that integration would never work and they were right, but what came before was just wrong. I thought so then, and I think so now. I favored the civil-rights acts. I reluctantly favored affirmative action (I was very young) thinking it meant a hand up instead of an entitlement. I wrote hopefully of the prospect of educating blacks.

But look what happened. We now see forced hiring of the incompetent as a right, endless accounts of blacks destroying shopping malls, burning cities, brutally attacking whites in gangs, and the giving to blacks of anything they want because they are black. You don’t like the Confederate flag, Jesse? Why then, it must go. Whatever you say, Jesse.

It wasn’t this way, but it is now. It is getting worse. But there is far more than race. We now are compelled to live in a national sexual-freak show. Day after day after day the media are full of trans-this and trans-that, of homosexual marriages, all thrust in our faces, a parade of prancing peculiarities demanding and demanding and demanding. People who dare not say so are sick of it.

It isn’t viciousness. I don’t know anyone who wants to persecute the erotically baroque. Poofters in particular are usually bright, productive, decent people, and do not attack whites in wheel chairs with hammers. Yet I weary of their endless tedious concerns. I say, go. Go with God, but for God’s sake go. Or just shut up. That would do as well.

I, we, will be told, “But Fred, homosexuality is natural.” So is hemorrhagic tuberculosis. So is sadism. So is genocide.

Any sexual predilection can be called natural, and arguments can be made for all of them: Polygamy, or marriage with a sheep, or copulating on a public bus, or sex with girls of nine years. (How about, “Sex is natural. Children are erotic: Don’t they play doctor? Little girls are only afraid of it because of puritanical conditioning by society. Oral sex feels good, and adults do it, so why not…? Why shouldn’t her father gently teach her….” And so on.)

And crime is out of control, protected by a President and Attorney General with whom we, so many Americans, have nothing in common, who dislike us, and who want to disarm us and flood our country with illegal and incompatible aliens.

Do you think that wanting a gun is silly? Last week I started getting emails: “Chuck got shot.” On Breitbart I found that Chuck De Caro, a journalist and friend for so long that I forget how I met him, had checked into a motel in Albuquerque with his wife, whereupon an armed dirtbag tried to rob them and perhaps worse. I suppose that a white couple in their sixties must have seemed a soft target. Oops. It wasn’t a swell career move. Chuck is ex-Special Forces and a longtime war correspondent. Threatening his wife doesn’t fly well with him.

Anyway, Chuck apparently had other ideas about being robbed and perhaps killed. He also had a handgun. In the ensuing gunfight, he was hit several times and rushed to the hospital. Chuck will be okay, the dirtbag less so. He escaped to the parking lot, where he decided to lie down and bleed to death. A good choice. The news stories didn’t describe the perp, which meant….

DecaroThis gem, Tomorio Walton, is, or was, a career criminal and was, of course, on parole. Can you guess why so many of us want guns and carry permits? Characteristically I had to find the photo in the Mail Online, an English paper.

Then there is the de-Christianizing of the country. Religion, both historically and currently, is a potent thing. Play with it at your risk. It is not always really a matter of religion. Many of us, I among them, are not believers but value Christmas and its traditions. But no. We must not have nativity scenes or sing Christmas carols on public streets. Easter-egg hunts are unconstitutional. Mommy Washington doesn’t like them, and we have to do what Washington says.

Unless, of course, one day we don’t.

We are winding a spring.

bloody-beatdownStandard beatdown of white man by black mob at Fourth of July in Cincinnati. Almost a daily occurrence. The media will hide it. This is not a part of my culture. Why do we put up with it?

Stoking the flames under the pressure cooker is the unending, ever-tightening control of every aspect of life by Washington. People inside the city’s beltway, a venue I know well, do not understand what they are playing with. They are sure that they know best, and they are going to make us toe the line.

Federal bureaucrats tell people in Casper, Laredo, and Knoxville what they can and cannot teach their children in the schools, what religious practices they may have and what their children may eat. They set curricula, determine to whom bakeries must sell cakes, decide who can marry what, and with whom we must associate.

I could go on. There is quiet fury about open borders, the forced acceptance of criminal aliens, of 100,000 Somalis by Minnesota, the endless wars, the declining standard of living, the insane censorship (say “nigger” and your career of thirty years ends) and the ungodly surveillance. Washington pushes, pushes, and pushes, thinking that with just enough pressure, we will all come to kowtow.

What if one day we don’t?

And there is governmental corruption, the sense—“realization,” I would say—that Washington is entirely in the hands of the arms manufacturers, of the Israeli lobby, of big pharma and ethnic lobbies and, well, anyone who bribes Congress. Elections are a sham, serving only to decide the division of the spoils for eight years. All decisions of importance are carefully kept out of the public’s hands.

Maybe Washington will always get away with it. Maybe it won’t. White Americans are an obedient and passive people, easily cowed, but maybe enough will prove enough. Maybe things will blow. Maybe jurisdictions will just ignore the feds, as begins to happen.

But it is dangerous. The economy declines, people out of college can’t get jobs, the ghettos simmer, automation surges across the board, and one day soon we will have cutbacks in the entitlements. When groups begin competing for dwindling resources, things will get ugly. It could explode. It really could. You might be surprised how many people out there think, “Bring it on.” Not a good idea, but we go that way.

Tick Tick. Tick.

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The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Vol. 1

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(History of Soviet Russia)

by Edward Hallett Carr  (Author)

 

The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Vol. 1 (History of Soviet Russia) + The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Vol. 2 (History of Soviet Russia) + The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, Vol. 3 (History of Soviet Russia)
Buy the selected items together

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The Pentagon’s “2015 Strategy” for Ruling the World

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Here Come the Daisycutters
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On Wednesday, the Pentagon released its 2015 National Military Strategy, a 24-page blueprint for ruling the world through military force. While the language in the report is subtler and less incendiary than similar documents in the past, the determination to unilaterally pursue US interests through extreme violence remains the cornerstone of the new strategy. Readers will not find even a hint of remorse in the NMS for the vast destruction and loss of life the US caused in countries that posed not the slightest threat to US national security. Instead, the report reflects the steely resolve of its authors and elite constituents to continue the carnage and bloodletting until all potential rivals have been killed or eliminated and until such time that Washington feels confident that its control over the levers of global power cannot be challenged.

As one would expect, the NMS conceals its hostile intentions behind the deceptive language of “national security”. The US does not initiate wars of aggression against blameless states that possess large quantities of natural resources. No. The US merely addresses “security challenges” to “protect the homeland” and to “advance our national interests.” How could anyone find fault with that, after all, wasn’t the US just trying to bring peace and democracy to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria?

In the Chairman’s Forward, Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey attempts to prepare the American people for a future of endless war:

“Future conflicts will come more rapidly, last longer, and take place on a much more technically challenging battlefield. … We must be able to rapidly adapt to new threats while maintaining comparative advantage over traditional ones … the application of the military instrument of power against state threats is very different than the application of military power against non state threats. We are more likely to face prolonged campaigns than conflicts that are resolved quickly … that control of escalation is becoming more difficult and more important.” (Document: 2015 U.S. National Military Strategy, USNI News)

War, war and more war. This is the Pentagon’s vision of the future. Unlike Russia or China which have a plan for an integrated EU-Asia free trade zone (Silk Road) that will increase employment, improve vital infrastructure, and raise living standards, the US sees only death and destruction ahead. Washington has no strategy for the future, no vision of a better world. There is only war; asymmetrical war, technological war, preemptive war. The entire political class and their elite paymasters unanimously support global rule through force of arms. That is the unavoidable meaning of this document. The United States intends to maintain its tenuous grip on global power by maximizing the use of its greatest asset; its military.

And who is in the military’s gunsights? Check out this excerpt from an article in Defense News:

“The strategy specifically calls out Iran, Russia and North Korea as aggressive threats to global peace. It also mentions China, but notably starts that paragraph by saying the Obama administration wants to “support China’s rise and encourage it to become a partner for greater international security,” continuing to thread the line between China the economic ally and China the regional competitor.

“None of these nations are believed to be seeking direct military conflict with the United States or our allies,” the strategy reads. “Nonetheless, they each pose serious security concerns which the international community is working to collectively address by way of common policies, shared messages, and coordinated action.” (Pentagon Releases National Military Strategy, Defense News)

Did you catch that last part? “None of these nations are believed to be seeking direct military conflict with the United States or our allies. Nevertheless, they each pose serious security concerns.”

In other words, none of these countries wants to fight the United States, but the United States wants to fight them. And the US feels it’s justified in launching a war against these countries because, well, because they either control vast resources, have huge industrial capacity, occupy an area of the world that interests the US geopolitically, or because they simply want to maintain their own sovereign independence which, of course, is a crime. According to Dempsey, any of these threadbare excuses are sufficient justification for conflict mainly because they “pose serious security concerns” for the US, which is to say they undermine the US’s dominant role as the world’s only superpower.

The NMS devotes particular attention to Russia, Washington’s flavor-of-the-month enemy who had the audacity to defend its security interests following a State Department-backed coup in neighboring Ukraine. For that, Moscow must be punished. This is from the report:

“Some states, however, are attempting to revise key aspects of the international order and are acting in a manner that threatens our national security interests. While Russia has contributed in select security areas, such as counternarcotics and counterterrorism, it also has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and it is willing to use force to achieve its goals. Russia’s military actions are undermining regional security directly and through proxy forces. These actions violate numerous agreements that Russia has signed in which it committed to act in accordance with international norms.” (2015 NMS)

Russia is an evildoer because Russia refused to stand by while the US toppled the Ukrainian government, installed a US stooge in Kiev, precipitated a civil war between the various factions, elevated neo Nazis to positions of power in the security services, plunged the economy into insolvency and ruin, and opened a CIA headquarters in the Capital to run the whole shooting match. This is why Russia is bad and must be punished.

But does that mean Washington is seriously contemplating a war with Russia?

Here’s an excerpt from the document that will help to clarify the matter:

“For the past decade, our military campaigns primarily have consisted of operations against violent extremist networks. But today, and into the foreseeable future, we must pay greater attention to challenges posed by state actors. They increasingly have the capability to contest regional freedom of movement and threaten our homeland. Of particular concern are the proliferation of ballistic missiles, precision strike technologies, unmanned systems, space and cyber capabilities, and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) technologies designed to counter U.S. military advantages and curtail access to the global commons.” (2015 NMS)

It sounds to me like the Washington honchos have already made up their minds. Russia is the enemy, therefore, Russia must be defeated. How else would one “counter a revisionist state” that “threatens our homeland”?

Why with Daisy Cutters, of course. Just like everyone else.

The NMS provides a laundry list of justifications for launching wars against (imaginary) enemies of the US. The fact is, the Pentagon sees ghosts around every corner. Whether the topic is new technologies, “shifting demographics” or cultural differences; all are seen as a potential threat to US interests, particularly anything related to the “competition for resources.” In this skewed view of reality, one can see how the invasion of Iraq was justified on the grounds that Saddam’s control of Iraq’s massive oil reserves posed a direct challenge to US hegemony. Naturally, Saddam had to be removed and over a million people killed to put things right and return the world to a state of balance. This is the prevailing view of the National Military Strategy, that is, that whatever the US does is okay, because its the US.

Readers shouldn’t expect to find something new in the NMS. This is old wine in new bottles. The Pentagon has merely updated the Bush Doctrine while softening the rhetoric. There’s no need to scare the living daylights out of people by talking about unilateralism, preemption, shrugging off international law or unprovoked aggression. Even so, everyone knows that United States is going to do whatever the hell it wants to do to keep the empire intact. The 2015 National Military Strategy merely confirms that sad fact.

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The Superpower Conundrum

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The Rise and Fall of Just About Everything
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The rise and fall of great powers and their imperial domains has been a central fact of history for centuries. It’s been a sensible, repeatedly validated framework for thinking about the fate of the planet. So it’s hardly surprising, when faced with a country once regularly labeled the “sole superpower,” “the last superpower,” or even the global “hyperpower” and now, curiously, called nothing whatsoever, that the “decline” question should come up. Is the U.S. or isn’t it? Might it or might it not now be on the downhill side of imperial greatness?

Take a slow train — that is, any train — anywhere in America, as I did recently in the northeast, and then take a high-speed train anywhere else on Earth, as I also did recently, and it’s not hard to imagine the U.S. in decline. The greatest power in history, the “unipolar power,” can’t build a single mile of high-speed rail? Really? And its Congress is now mired in an argument about whether funds can even be raised to keep America’s highways more or less pothole-free.

Sometimes, I imagine myself talking to my long-dead parents because I know how such things would have astonished two people who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and a can-do post-war era in which the staggering wealth and power of this country were indisputable. What if I could tell them how the crucial infrastructure of such a still-wealthy nation — bridges, pipelines, roads, and the like — is now grossly underfunded, in an increasing state of disrepair, and beginning to crumble? That would definitely shock them.

And what would they think upon learning that, with the Soviet Union a quarter-century in the trash bin of history, the U.S., alone in triumph, has been incapable of applying its overwhelming military and economic power effectively? I’m sure they would be dumbstruck to discover that, since the moment the Soviet Union imploded, the U.S. has been at war continuously with another country (three conflicts and endless strife); that I was talking about, of all places, Iraq; and that the mission there was never faintly accomplished. How improbable is that? And what would they think if I mentioned that the other great conflicts of the post-Cold-War era were with Afghanistan (two wars with a decade off in-between) and the relatively small groups of non-state actors we now call terrorists? And how would they react on discovering that the results were: failure in Iraq, failure in Afghanistan, and the proliferation of terror groups across much of the Greater Middle East (including the establishment of an actual terror caliphate) and increasing parts of Africa?

They would, I think, conclude that the U.S. was over the hill and set on the sort of decline that, sooner or later, has been the fate of every great power. And what if I told them that, in this new century, not a single action of the military that U.S. presidents now call “the finest fighting force the world has ever known” has, in the end, been anything but a dismal failure? Or that presidents, presidential candidates, and politicians in Washington are required to insist on something no one would have had to say in their day: that the United States is both an “exceptional” and an “indispensible” nation? Or that they would also have to endlessly thank our troops (as would the citizenry) for… well… never success, but just being there and getting maimed, physically or mentally, or dying while we went about our lives? Or that those soldiers must always be referred to as “heroes.”

In their day, when the obligation to serve in a citizens’ army was a given, none of this would have made much sense, while the endless defensive insistence on American greatness would have stood out like a sore thumb. Today, its repetitive presence marks the moment of doubt. Are we really so “exceptional”? Is this country truly “indispensible” to the rest of the planet and if so, in what way exactly? Are those troops genuinely our heroes and if so, just what was it they did that we’re so darn proud of?

Return my amazed parents to their graves, put all of this together, and you have the beginnings of a description of a uniquely great power in decline. It’s a classic vision, but one with a problem.

A God-Like Power to Destroy

Who today recalls the ads from my 1950s childhood for, if I remember correctly, drawing lessons, which always had a tagline that went something like: What’s wrong with this picture? (You were supposed to notice the five-legged cows floating through the clouds.) So what’s wrong with this picture of the obvious signs of decline: the greatest power in history, with hundreds of garrisons scattered across the planet, can’t seem to apply its power effectively no matter where it sends its military or bring countries like Iran or a weakened post-Soviet Russia to heel by a full range of threats, sanctions, and the like, or suppress a modestly armed terror-movement-cum-state in the Middle East?

For one thing, look around and tell me that the United States doesn’t still seem like a unipolar power. I mean, where exactly are its rivals? Since the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries, when the first wooden ships mounted with cannons broke out of their European backwater and began to gobble up the globe, there have always been rival great powers — three, four, five, or more. And what of today? The other three candidates of the moment would assumedly be the European Union (EU), Russia, and China.

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Economically, the EU is indeed a powerhouse, but in any other way it’s a second-rate conglomeration of states that still slavishly follow the U.S. and an entity threatening tocome apart at the seams. Russia looms ever larger in Washington these days, but remains a rickety power in search of greatness in its former imperial borderlands. It’s a country almost as dependent on its energy industry as Saudi Arabia and nothing like a potential future superpower. As for China, it’s obviously the rising power of the moment and now officially has the number oneeconomy on Planet Earth. Still, it remains in many ways a poor country whose leaders fear any kind of future economic implosion (which could happen). Like the Russians, like any aspiring great power, it wants to make its weight felt in its neighborhood — at the moment the East and South China Seas. And like Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the Chinese leadership is indeed upgrading its military. But the urge in both cases is to emerge as a regional power to contend with, not a superpower or a genuine rival of the U.S.

Whatever may be happening to American power, there really are no potential rivals to shoulder the blame. Yet, uniquely unrivaled, the U.S. has proven curiously incapable of translating its unipolar power and a military that, on paper, trumps every other one on the planet into its desires. This was not the normal experience of past reigning great powers. Or put another way, whether or not the U.S. is in decline, the rise-and-fall narrative seems, half-a-millennium later, to have reached some kind of largely uncommented upon and unexamined dead end.

In looking for an explanation, consider a related narrative involving military power. Why, in this new century, does the U.S. seem so incapable of achieving victory or transforming crucial regions into places that can at least be controlled? Military power is by definition destructive, but in the past such force often cleared the ground for the building of local, regional, or even global structures, however grim or oppressive they might have been. If force always was meant to break things, it sometimes achieved other ends as well. Now, it seems as if breaking is all it can do, or how to explain the fact that, in this century, the planet’s sole superpower has specialized — see Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere — in fracturing, not building nations.

Empires may have risen and fallen in those 500 years, but weaponry only rose. Over those centuries in which so many rivals engaged each other, carved out their imperial domains, fought their wars, and sooner or later fell, the destructive power of the weaponry they were wielding only ratcheted up exponentially: from the crossbow to the musket, the cannon, the Colt revolver, the repeating rifle, the Gatling gun, the machine gun, the dreadnaught, modern artillery, the tank, poison gas, the zeppelin, the plane, the bomb, the aircraft carrier, the missile, and at the end of the line, the “victory weapon” of World War II, the nuclear bomb that would turn the rulers of the greatest powers, and later even lesser powers, into the equivalent of gods.

For the first time, representatives of humanity had in their hands the power to destroy anything on the planet in a fashion once imagined possible only by some deity or set of deities. It was now possible to create our own end times. And yet here was the odd thing: the weaponry that brought the power of the gods down to Earth somehow offered no practical power at all to national leaders. In the post-Hiroshima-Nagasaki world, those nuclear weapons would prove unusable. Once they were loosed on the planet, there would be no more rises, no more falls. (Today, we know that even a limited nuclear exchange among lesser powers could, thanks to the nuclear-winter effect, devastate the planet.)

Weapons Development in an Era of Limited War

In a sense, World War II could be considered the ultimate moment for both the narratives of empire and the weapon. It would be the last “great” war in which major powers could bring all the weaponry available to them to bear in search of ultimate victory and the ultimate shaping of the globe. It resulted in unprecedented destruction across vast swathes of the planet, the killing of tens of millions, the turning of great cities into rubble and of countless people into refugees, the creation of an industrial structure for genocide, and finally the building of those weapons of ultimate destruction and of the first missiles that would someday be their crucial delivery systems. And out of that war came the final rivals of the modern age — and then there were two — the “superpowers.”

That very word, superpower, had much of the end of the story embedded in it. Think of it as a marker for a new age, for the fact that the world of the “great powers” had been left for something almost inexpressible. Everyone sensed it. We were now in the realm of “great” squared or force raised in some exponential fashion, of “super” (as in, say, “superhuman”) power. What made those powers truly super was obvious enough: the nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union — their potential ability, that is, to destroy in a fashion that had no precedent and from which there might be no coming back. It wasn’t a happenstance that the scientists creating the H-bomb sometimes referred to it in awestruck terms as a “super bomb,” or simply “the super.”

The unimaginable had happened. It turned out that there was such a thing as too much power. What in World War II came to be called “total war,” the full application of the power of a great state to the destruction of others, was no longer conceivable. The Cold War gained its name for a reason. A hot war between the U.S. and the USSR could not be fought, nor could another global war, a reality driven home by the Cuban missile crisis. Their power could only be expressed “in the shadows” or in localized conflicts on the “peripheries.” Power now found itself unexpectedly bound hand and foot.

This would soon be reflected in the terminology of American warfare. In the wake of the frustrating stalemate that was Korea (1950-1953), a war in which the U.S. found itself unable to use its greatest weapon, Washington took a new language into Vietnam. The conflict there was to be a “limited war.” And that meant one thing: nuclear power would be taken off the table.

For the first time, it seemed, the world was facing some kind of power glut. It’s at least reasonable to assume that, in the years after the Cold War standoff ended, that reality somehow seeped from the nuclear arena into the rest of warfare. In the process, great power war would be limited in new ways, while somehow being reduced only to its destructive aspect and nothing more. It suddenly seemed to hold no other possibilities within it — or so the evidence of the sole superpower in these years suggests.

War and conflict are hardly at an end in the twenty-first century, but something has removed war’s normal efficacy. Weapons development has hardly ceased either, but the newest highest-tech weapons of our age are proving strangely ineffective as well. In this context, the urge in our time to produce “precision weaponry” — no longer the carpet-bombing of the B-52, but the “surgical” strike capacity of a joint direct attack munition, or JDAM — should be thought of as the arrival of “limited war” in the world of weapons development.

The drone, one of those precision weapons, is a striking example. Despite itspenchant for producing “collateral damage,” it is not a World War II-style weapon of indiscriminate slaughter. It has, in fact, been used relatively effectively to play whack-a-mole with the leadership of terrorist groups, killing off one leader or lieutenant after another. And yet all of the movements it has been directed against have onlyproliferated, gaining strength (and brutality) in these same years. It has, in other words, proven an effective weapon of bloodlust and revenge, but not of policy. If war is, in fact, politics by other means (as Carl von Clausewitz claimed), revenge is not. No one should then be surprised that the drone has produced not an effective war on terror, but a war that seems to promote terror.

One other factor should be added in here: that global power glut has grown exponentially in another fashion as well. In these years, the destructive power of the gods has descended on humanity a second time as well — via the seemingly most peaceable of activities, the burning of fossil fuels. Climate change now promises aslow-motion version of nuclear Armageddon, increasing both the pressure on and the fragmentation of societies, while introducing a new form of destruction to our lives.

Can I make sense of all this? Hardly. I’m just doing my best to report on the obvious: that military power no longer seems to act as it once did on Planet Earth. Under distinctly apocalyptic pressures, something seems to be breaking down, something seems to be fragmenting, and with that the familiar stories, familiar frameworks, for thinking about how our world works are losing their efficacy.

Decline may be in the American future, but on a planet pushed to extremes, don’t count on it taking place within the usual tale of the rise and fall of great powers or even superpowers. Something else is happening on Planet Earth. Be prepared.

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Report outlines criminalization of girls

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In a new bombshell of a report, “The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story,” it was revealed that in many states nearly 80 percent of the girls in the juvenile justice system are victims of sexual or physical abuse. In Oregon, the figure is 93 percent; in California, it is 81 percent, with 40 percent of those young women having been raped at least once and 45 percent having been burned or beaten.

These figures are a window into a nationwide pattern where young women, thrown into the streets by the social problems of our society, are criminalized simply for trying to survive. Of course, once you are in the juvenile justice system, the chances of entering into the adult justice system are greatly increased. Unsurprisingly, a disproportionate number of these girls are Black, Latina, and Native.

This is another example of how mass incarceration in the United States is not truly about stopping crime but about containing the explosive social problems that exist in the U.S. capitalist system.

Poor girls of color criminalized for surviving

In general, the profile of girls in the juvenile justice system is what one may have come to expect. For instance, while Black girls are 14 percent of the general population, they are 33.2 percent of the girls in the juvenile justice system. As the report itself notes, looking at this data per capita can be quite revealing:

Native American girls are in residential placements at a rate of 179 per 100,000; African-American girls at a rate of 123 per 100,000; and Latinas at a rate of 47 per 100,000. By comparison, 37 per 100,000 of non-Hispanic white girls are confined.

The data also reveal that LGBTQ or gender non-confirming youth make up 40 percent of the girls in the juvenile justice system.

The report explains that the “most common symptoms of abuse” including truancy, running away and substance abuse are also the most common crimes for which girls are arrested. There is no other way but to put it bluntly: Our society is racked by sexual violence against women and girls; when many low-income girls do whatever they need to do to survive this abuse, they are frequently criminalized or thrown in jail where next to nothing is done to help them.

The report notes that “the system itself typically overlooks the context of abuse” when deciding whether or not to arrest a girl and that the “juvenile justice system typically fails to address, and often exacerbates trauma that caused girls to be there.”

Mass incarceration is the symptom, revolution is the cure

This is part of a general trend in the criminal justice system. For instance, as I note in the book Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America, significant numbers of prisoners suffer from substance abuse and mental health issues, yet prisons do little or nothing to address these issues. Our prisons are filled with the social fall-out from the grinding oppression and exploitation of poor communities.

What this report reveals truly should be a national scandal. Poor girls, disproportionately of color, are being brutally abused and criminalized for it. There could not be a clearer example of how the problems of our society have deep roots in the oppression, bigotry and exploitation that we live with daily. Even much-needed reforms to the system can only scratch the surface. Solutions designed to deal with symptoms not roots will never truly take hold.

We have to embrace the definition of radical, going to the root, in order to uproot the patriarchal rape culture that births this kind of abuse. That means looking directly at our system of class society. We must demand that we end the criminalization of girls who are simply surviving in a world that more often than not is stacked against them. We also must demand that we take the steps necessary so no one is ever victimized by other people or the state like this ever again.

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German imperialism’s Greek coup

NOVANEWS
By Walter Smolarek and Brian Becker
Image result for alexis tsipras photos

Alexis Tsipras

There is a reason the hashtag #thisisacoup became an overnight sensation. German imperialism, using its power within the EU, has essentially taken control over the Greek government.  Greece’s sovereignty was placed against the wall by German bankers as they seek to take control of and manage Greece’s economy.

In the early hours of July 13, a new, imperialist-imposed agreement was reached between the Greek government and the German-led European bloc. Details are still coming to light, but the terms are nothing short of astonishing. Not only will the cuts and other anti-worker measures be deepened, but a trust fund of sorts managed by an outside entity will be established in which Greece will deposit tens of billions of Euros worth of state assets, serving as both a staging ground for sweeping privatization and to strip the Greek government of sovereignty over its own property. Greece is to become even more of a German neo-colony.

The German ruling class’ shockingly hard line is aimed at sending a message: opposition of any type to its brutal austerity doctrine in the less powerful periphery will not be tolerated. They have made the calculation that the SYRIZA government must fall or move sharply to the right by dumping its radical wing for Germany’s stranglehold on Europe to continue.

Germany, which is the dominant imperialist power in Europe, faces growing opposition not just in Greece, but throughout the periphery of the Eurozone. New left-wing parties have attracted a great deal of popular support. In Spain, which will hold a general election later this year, the anti-austerity party Podemos stands a serious chance of winning. Sinn Fein in Ireland, another country that was forced into a cash-for-austerity bailout agreement, has been on top of some opinion polls.

Just days ago it appeared that everything was falling in line – the SYRIZA-led government seemed to turn its back on its own referendum which allowed the Greek people to overwhelmingly vote NO to the austerity package. Syriza’s leadership acquiesced to the Troika’s demands, the parliament approved, and the offer for a third bailout program received positive early reviews from European officials. As finance ministers met last weekend to prepare for the now-cancelled heads of state and government meeting on Sunday, the Eurozone crisis took yet another unexpected turn – Germany rejected the Greek proposal.

At first glance, German imperialism’s brinkmanship may seem to be highly irrational. After all, the Greek government’s initial post-referendum offer gave the Troika basically everything it had been asking for.

Although SYRIZA does not intend to lead a revolutionary break with capitalism and squandered the momentum of the referendum victory, it is also worth noting that the Greek working class has not yet been politically prepared for the extreme hardship associated with the overthrow of the ruling class – an enterprise that historically includes warfare of both the military and economic variety. Even an exit from the Eurozone and the re-creation of a Greek currency will lead to harsh economic suffering in the short term. The Communist Party of Greece, which does advocate the socialist transformation of society, has throughout this process unfortunately followed a sectarian strategy that has not allowed it to be a major factor in changing the relationship of forces.

Germany did not reject the Greek offer simply because it did not include enough cutbacks, privatizations and anti-worker “reforms” – they had signed off on effectively the same deal just two weeks earlier. By drawing out the negotiating process so extensively, the SYRIZA government has shown more defiance than the German ruling class is willing to tolerate, and it appears intent on making an example out of Greece. German imperialism’s aim is no less than the overthrow of SYRIZA or the expulsion from its ranks of the more left wing forces and the utter humiliation of the Greek masses.

The latest deal struck between Greece and the Eurozone appears to be advancing the latter aim. There must be yet another parliamentary vote on these even harsher terms, which will likely see a further rebellion of left-wing SYRIZA members. Labor Minister Panos Skourletis has already publicly questioned the new agreement.

 

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A historic achievement for Iran

NOVANEWS
By PSL Statement

Iran deal photo

The agreement reached today, July 14, in Vienna is a historic achievement for Iran. While there are many imperialist-imposed conditions in the agreement, what is most important is that it has set the stage for the breaking of the U.S. and UN sanctions regime, the purpose of which was to bring about the overthrow of the Iranian government. Iran has agreed to wide-ranging inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The signers of the agreement include the five members of the UN Security Council—Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States—Germany, the European Union, and Iran.

Unlike the British-U.S. sanctions embargo that set the stage for the CIA coup against Iran’s first independent government in 1953, the current campaign of economic strangulation seeking regime-change has failed. Celebrations are taking in place in the streets across Iran.

The preface to today’s document reads in part: “This JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance and energy.”

The lifting of sanctions, increased exports of oil, gas and other products, and the return of hundreds of billions of dollars of frozen Iranian international assets should significantly aid the Iranian economy and population, which have been hard-hit by sanctions.

The JCPOA also recognizes Iran’s right to develop “a peaceful nuclear programme, including its enrichment activities, to a commercial programme for exclusively peaceful purposes, consistent with international non-proliferation norms.”

The phrase “international non-proliferation norms” refers to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran is a signer of the NPT, and has repeated for many years that its nuclear program has been for peaceful purpose related to power generation and medical applications.

Point iii of the JCPOA states: “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.”

The extreme double-standard involved in the NPT is illustrated by who is leading the charge against the agreement—the Israel government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu and significant forces inside the U.S. Congress and political establishment.

Israel has never signed the NPT and is the only state in the Middle East that actually possesses an arsenal of nuclear bombs.

And while the Obama administration has pushed hard for an agreement with Iran, it has also been engaged in further developing its vast array of nuclear weapons, in violation of the NPT, which calls for nuclear weapons states to engage in nuclear disarmament.

Over the years, President Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, have repeatedly threatened Iran with nuclear weapons, often declaring that “no options are off the table.” These threats are clear violations of the NPT, which prohibits nuclear weapons states from using such weapons against non-nuclear weapons countries.

The JCPOA agreement will be submitted to Congress and the parliaments of the other participating states. Most Republicans and many Democrats in Congress have opposed any agreement in favor of stepped-up aggression against Iran — military as well as economic — actions that would threaten a new war.

Obama has stated that if Congress passes a resolution against accepting the JCPOA, he will veto it. To override a veto would require a two-thirds’ vote in both the Senate and House, which is possible but unlikely.

The decision of the Obama administration to seek a negotiated settlement with Iran does not mean that the imperialists have given up their dreams of returning Iran to its former status as an immensely profitable and highly strategic neo-colony, as it was under the Shah from 1953 to 1978. But, at least for the time being, Iran’s relative stability and increasingly strategic role in the region have necessitated a major shift in Washington.

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Muslim basher, Peter king, is fake and biased

NOVANEWS
By Mahmoud El-Yousseph
Fox News gloats over its news coverage with its infamous logo as “fair and balanced”, where as Muslim basher, Peter King goes through pain to publicly insult Americas’ Muslims with his “fake and biased” tirades.
Days before this July 4th, the Republican law maker from New York who chaired the subcommittee of Department of Homeland Security in Congress warned during his radio interview that there will be terrorist attacks during the celebrations committed by Muslim Americans. Luckily, the predication of Mr. King was dead wrong, even though the host of the show never demanded any evidence or a citation of the Congressman.  Rep. King tells Americans what they want to hear about their perceived enemy.  He never apologized or retracted his statement or offered any explanation about his Muslims impending attack during July 4 celebrations.
Peter King is “fixated on Muslims in America, like a drug addict hooked on drugs.”  He has in the past expressed particular concerns about American mosques serving to promote radical Islam and that there are too many mosques in America!  Does this law maker prefer Muslims to build more casinos, brothels, or hookah bars? It worth noting here that The American Council on Islamic Relation(CAIR) Took out a full page ad in The New York Times to condemn the 9/11 attacks, in which it urged all American Muslims to contribute money, donate blood and help with the medical relief operation. [ The N.Y. Times 16 September, 2001].
Had Rep. King made similar remarks about any other religious or ethnic group in America, he would have been nationally condemned, forced to resign his post or censured in the House of Representatives for his remarks. America’s Muslims should not be fair game!  Insulting and defaming Americas’ Muslims is not what one expects of a public official.  Such comments are dangerous, indecent and un-American.  One gets the impression  that Rep. King is using prejudice and racial division to advance his political career. I wish to challenge Mr. King’s False assumptions. First of all, there are nearly 6,500 Muslims serving currently in all branches of our Armed Forces. Muslims and Arabs soldiers took part in every war and major conflict since the founding or our nation.  More can be learned about Muslims’ and Arabs’ contributions in the defense of America by visiting the website of Patriotic Arab-American in the Military www.apaam.org 
It is a religious and moral duty for Muslims to defend their country, or the country in which they live, against enemies within or threat from the outside. It makes no difference if they live in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya Palestine or in the good ol’ USA.
In March of 2011 Rep. King conducted a Kangaroo Court hearing on alleged “radicalization of Muslims”. The same year, King accused Muslims in America, like yours truly, of supporting terrorism, of not being loyal or patriotic citizens, and implied in an interview that Muslims are not truly Americans. During that time I wrote four articles about that bigoted Chairman. I would like to share excerpts with readers as I feel this man’s views on Muslims add insults, subtract pleasure, multiply ignorance and divide attention.
It is fascinating to read a story by Ed Moloney in the February 19, 2011 issue of The Irish Times on King’s hearing. The report reveals who Peter King really is. The story’s first paragraph sums it all up, by stating, ” Not so many years ago the BBC banned him from the airwaves for his terrorist sympathies, a judge threw him out of a Belfast court because he was a “collaborator” with the terrorists on trial, and the FBI was opening his mail because of his views. The US secret service once listed him as a threat during a presidential visit to his neighborhood.”  Rep. King’s statement against Muslims is dishonest and disingenuous. Americans deserve facts not a demagoguery ”  
1- Here is a part of my column titled, Peter King- Isalamophobe and Phony which was published by Veteran Todays on from Feb. 26, 2011: (Special thank you goes to my friend Ingrid B. from Norway for her help and assistance in getting this published by VT).
” US Rep. Peter King owes his rise for his political career to his own support for a foreign terrorist group. He accuses Muslims in America of supporting terrorism, not loyal or patriotic citizens and implied in a recent interview that Muslims are not truly Americans.
This coming from a former cheerleader, confidant and friend to the leaders of one of Europe’s bloodiest and most violent terrorist groups, namely the Irish Republican Army, better know as the IRA, is a sad sick joke. He is the last person who should be trying to paint Muslims, or anyone else, with a terrorist brush.
To create ill will for Americas’ Muslims and divert the public’s attention from his long history of supporting terrorism abroad, the Chairman of Home Land Security Committee in Congress, Rep. Peter King [R-N.Y.] is holding a hearing on alleged ” radicalization of Muslims” on the week of March 7th.
Tracking down Peter King’s Mickey Mouse Hearing for the last two months, I have learned some pretty interesting and amazing stuff. First of all the so called “alleged Muslim radicalization” is bogus and only intended to feed the hungry Muslim-bashers. Had Mr. King been genuine about our home front, he should have engaged and reached out to Muslim leaders, instead of referring to them recklessly as, ‘the enemy amongst us.’
So, why isn’t Mr.King inviting law enforcement officials and anti terrorism task force to testify? He claimed in a recent Fox News interview that, “they are too busy or scared.” I say, Bologna! Fact is, FBI Director Robert Mueller, the Chief law enforcement official in the US, has told the Senate Judiciary Committee two years ago that “Muslim and Arab communities have been tremendously supportive and worked very closely with [the FBI] in a number of instance around the country.”
It is also worth nothing here that recent study reveals that 38 out of 120 attempted terror plot since 9/11 that involved Muslims were foild by either Muslim parents, mosque leaders or simply a friend on Facebook. It is public record that the father of the “underwear bomber” was the one who tipped US diplomats in Kenya about his son suspicious travel activity. So, why did Mr. King refuse to investigate or conviently ignore other acts of terror committed on US soil that were not Muslim related? Aren’t they are equally worthy of investigation?
Two new research projects by the think tank New America and the New York Times found that White Supremacists, anti-government extremists and other have killed nearly twice as many people as radical Muslims since the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Despite all of that, those new finding were conveniently ignored by Rep. Peter King during his July 4 “terror alert” address.
One week after Dylann Roof killed nine people at the historical black Church in Charleston, S.C., the Chairman of Homeland Security in Congress referred to this cold-blooded killer as ” deranged” person and not a terrorist, even though his act fits the FBI definition of terrorism. Rep King then attacked the New York Times for comparing the white supremacists with international terrorist and saying that it amounts to the New York Times at its worst.
2- Another in part of an article published by the Ugly Truth on Jan. 28, 2011 , under the title, “Excuse Me Rep. King, But this is my America too”:
” The newly elected House Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Peter King [R-N.Y.] is on a crusade. This law maker is fixated on Muslims in America, like a addict hooked on drugs. He will go through all imaginable pain to defame, smear and insult Muslims in our country. First thing on his agenda–holding congressional hearings, on alleged “hidden radicalism” amongst American Muslims and in mosques. In other words, putting Muslims on trial and in the crosshairs.
This “honorable” law maker has made many reckless and absurd remarks about Muslims recently that have had a chilling effect. At first, Rep. King complained that there are “too many” mosques in America. What is that supposed to mean? Does this lawmaker prefer that Muslims build more casinos, brothels, porn shops, or Hanukkah bars instead? Personally, I would rather hang around with people who frequent the house of God than the aforementioned.
New York is considered to have the second largest Muslim population in America, after Michigan, and Rep. King is supposed to represent his constituents–INCLUDING Thos who happen to be MUSLIMS–in Washington, rather than being their declared enemy.
Rep. King is targeting a Long Island mosque located in his district, and even though not one single member of the Islamic Center has ever been accused of terrorism, King claims the mosque is a hotbed of “radical Islam”, calling its leaders extremists, who should be put under surveillance as if this were the Soviet Union. He further argues that most Muslim leaders in the United States aren’t cooperating with authorities. Rep. King is either ignorant or a liar!”
3- On March 11, 2011 Aljazeerah.info published my guest column, titled, ” Open letter To Rep. Peter King from a Muslim veteran”:  Here is the full text.
Dear Rep. Peter King,
This is in response to your email letter addressed to me dated March 8th. You got it wrong, Mr. Chairman, on all accounts. Let me explain!
First of all, I do not support or stand by you. You are conducting a Kangaroo Court hearing against Muslims like me in America. Your hearing is nothing more than a witch hunt against our fellow Muslim American citizens.
Secondly, your false claim about Muslim terrorism, radicalization, extremism or what ever you want to call it is unfair and un-American, as it targets Muslims only, while ignoring all other acts of terror.
Besides, how does a man like you with ties to Europe’s bloodiest and most notorious terrorist
organization become the Chairman of US Homeland Security Committee, let alone paint all Muslims with the same terrorism brush?
As the old saying goes, Mr. King, “Those in glass houses should not throw stones.”
Two distinguished lawmakers are on record condemning your Mickey Mouse hearing, Rep. Michael Honda of California and Rep. Beanie Thompson of Mississippi, both wrote Op-Ed pieces challenging your false claims against Muslims and disputed all of your allegations.
Finally you ended your letter with, and I quote, “As I go forward, it is very reassuring to know that I will have good Americans like you on my side.”
I am not so sure as to how you came to this conclusion. Have you or any of your staff ever read my letters?
Well Mr. Chairman, you were half right on that regard. I am a good American. In fact I served the country that I love for 20 years. And I was willing and ready to die for America if need be. But, I am not on you side!
To give you further proof, here is a copy of a letter I wrote last night after I watched you on CNN spewing your venom. BTW, the was sent to local news publications.
“US Rep. Peter King is a flat liar!  He has told CNN news in an interview on March 7th that AG Eric Holder stated/told him that Muslims in America keep him up at night. That is a false claim. There was no where in AG Holder’s quoted statement that the word “Muslims” was ever uttered.
To set the record straight, here is AG Holder’s exact statement:
“It is one of the things that keeps me up at night,” Holder said. “You didn’t worry about this even two years ago — about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And — that is of — of great concern.” The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born.” 
As a Muslim and patriotic American, I am sick and tired of bigots and hatemongers like Peter King who unfairly attack Muslims, falsely accuse them of evil doing and treat them as suspects instead of law obeying citizens. This former terrorist cheerleader help promote ill feeling towards Muslims and instill hate and fears into people hearts and minds, just to promote his own political career. It is about time The Speaker of the house should remove this Islamophobe from his post.
Finally, I believe Peter King is Muslim basher who is fake and biased and if he has his way, he will introduce a law requiring every Muslim in America to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times.” He will even propose that the government bug Muslims in their homes, work and place of worship. May be even opening interment camps.
Mahmoud El-Yousseph
Retired USAF Veteran
July 15, 2015

Posted in USA1 Comment

Greece: Why No Means Yes

NOVANEWS
Greece Rejects the Troika. Where Do We Go From Here?
 • JULY 6, 2015
 • 1,400 W
shutterstock_93145318

Just after 7 PM Greek time on Sunday, I was told that the “No” vote (Gk. Oxi) was winning approximately 60/40. The “opinion polls” showing a dead heat evidently were wrong. Bookies across Europe are reported to be losing their shirts for betting that the financial right wing could fool most Greeks into voting against their self-interest. The margin of victory shows that Greek voters were immune to media misrepresentation during the week-long run-up as to whether to accept the troika’s demand for austerity to be conducted on anti-labor lines.

It should not have been so great a surprise. Voting age for the referendum was lowered to 18 years, and included army members. Faced with an unemployment rate of over 50 percent, Greek youth understandably wanted no more euro-austerity.

The Troika’s demand was for austerity to be deepened solely by taxing labor and reducing pensions. Its policy makers had vetoed Syriza’s proposed taxes on the wealthy and steps to stop their tax avoidance. The IMF for its part vetoed cutbacks in Greek military spending (far above the 2% of GDP demanded by NATO), despite even the European Central Bank (ECB) and German Chancellor Merkel agreeing to this.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to expel Greece from Europe, despite no law permitting this to occur. Let us see now whether he still tries to carry out his bluff, which has been echoed by right-wing leaders throughout Europe.

His retaliatory actions from an ostensibly non-political, non-elected office are not alone. The eurozone class war in support of finance against labor and industry is now open and in earnest. Instead of doing what a central bank is supposed to do – provide liquidity (and paper currency) to banks, ECB head Mario “Whatever it takes” Draghi forced them to shut down even their ATM machines for lack of cash. Evidently this was intended to frighten Greek voters to think that this would be their country’s future if they voted No.

It is an old strategy. Andrew Jackson expressed his vindictiveness toward the Second Bank of the United States by shutting it down. When it refused to appoint his corrupt political cronies, he deposited the U.S. Treasury’s money in his “pet banks.” The drain of money plunged the economy into depression. The Southern slave states welcomed deflation, because they sought low prices for their cotton exports, and also opposed northern industry with its protectionist policies and anti-slave politics.

What Greece needs is a domestic central bank – or failing that, a national Treasury – empowered to create the money to monetize government spending on economic recovery. Mr. Draghi has shown the ECB not to be “technocratic,” but a cabal of right-wing operatives working to bring down the Syriza government, in a way quite willing to empower the far-right Golden Dawn party in its stead. In light of his refusal to carry out the duties of a central bank and act as lender of last resort when Greek banks run out of cash, Mr. Varoufakis has said that: “If necessary, we will issue parallel liquidity and California-style IOU’s, in an electronic form. We should have done it a week ago.”

U.S. popular media echoed the European right by trying to frighten Greeks and their sympathizers into believing that the vote is whether or not to remain part of Europe – as if Britain does not have its own currency while remaining part of the European Union. However, the vote does throw into question just what it means to be what pro-austerity advocates call “committed to the European project.” Eurozone officials are unanimous that it means a commitment to financial war against labor – to austerity and yet further economic shrinkage; to faster privatization selloffs (but not to Russians if they offer higher prices, as Gazprom did) and hence higher prices for hitherto public utilities; to no rejection of past insider privatization deals to higher value-added taxes on consumers; and to lower pensions for labor.

This prospect was at the center of a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on July 2 – Peripheral debts: Causes, consequences and solutions, sponsored by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, GUE/NGL. (My speech begins at about 27 minutes.)

There was of course unanimous support for a “No” vote to the anti-labor, pro-creditor demands by the IMF, European Central Bank and European Council. But there also was concern that the Syriza leaders did not begin immediately upon their January election victory to educate voters on what actually is at issue: why remaining subject to the junk-economics dictates by the IMF and ECB will make the economy subject to chronic debt deflation. Instead of spending the past six months educating the public over what is at issue with the Troika, Syriza focused on playing political rope-a-dope to demonstrate how firmly the ECB and EC were committed to austerity.

The left-wing Syriza members with whom I met during the last two weeks in Athens, Delphi and Brussels felt that more should have been done to educate the Greek public as to how impossible it is for Greece to pay the debts with which the Troika had loaded it down, with abject surrender by its pro-bank Pasok/New Democracy coalition that had ruled Greece for a generation. (New Democracy leader Samaras resigned after the vote was in last night.)

One factor that may have incensed Greeks to vote “No” was the revelation that an internal IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis – which Lagarde had sought to suppress – had endorsed what Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras has been saying all along: Greece needs a debt writedown. Its official debt is unpayable, and never should have been forced upon it in the first place – under conditions where the Troika removed the elected prime minister from office to put in their own technocrat (Lucas Papademos, who had worked with Goldman Sachs to falsify the government’s 2001 balance sheet to enable it to meet the eurozone’s entry conditions).

It was revealed last week that IMF head Christine Lagarde has overruled her staff and board to defend specifically French interests. As in 2010-11 under Dominique Strauss-Kahn, French banks are major holders of Greek bonds (including via their ownership of Greek banks). Strauss-Kahn notoriously overrode his staff when they urged the IMF not to capitulate to ECB demands to pay French, German and other private bondholders with Troika bailout loans for which they made Greek taxpayers liable.

Two weeks ago the Greek Parliament released a report by its Debt Truth Commission explaining why Greece’s debt to the IMF, ECB and European Council was legally “odious.” It was imposed on Greece by Ms. Merkel and other pro-bank leaders that Greece not hold the referendum that Pasok Prime Minister Papandreou had proposed on the bailout of French and German banks at Greek expense.

That was the root of today’s problems. It also was the occasion on which European finance and democracy become antithetical, prompting the late Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung editor Frank Schirrmacher to write his famous editorial, “Democracy is Junk.”

The Troika have refused to write down a single euro of unpayably high debt. They pretended that debt relief is an issue for later. That is what enabled Tsipras to depict his nation as being victimized by the eurozone’s vicious class war. The Syriza position has been “We’d like to pay. But there simply is no money – as the IMF’s own calculations have clearly and explicitly shown.”

Last Tuesday, Tsipras explained to Greek voters that the Troika had put nothing in writing about debt writedowns. This pierced the haze of media-induced panic. His seeming willingness to surrender simply dared the Troika to back up their promises in writing. He certainly was not going to make the tragic mistake that Russian leader Gorbachev made when he believed the verbal NATO promises that it would not move into the post-Soviet countries of Central Europe and the Baltics.

The Troika’s position was and is: “Impose austerity now. We’ll talk about debt writedowns later. But first, you must sell off what remains of your public domain. You must lower wages by another 20%, and force another 20% of your population to emigrate. Only then, when we’re sure that we can’t get another euro out of you anyway,then we may be willing to talk about writing down some of your debt. But not until we have stripped you of anything left to pay in any case!”

Tsipras and finance minister Varoufakis have been widely criticized in the U.S. media for seeming to capitulate to Troika demand. The reality is that they have been civil and polite, even taking a conciliatory stance if only to show how totalitarian and unyielding the Troika has been.

That contrast between reason and totalitarian “free market” austerity is what convinced the Greeks to vote No.

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Young, Male, and Single

NOVANEWS
The Babylonian Marriage Market, by Edwin Long (1829-1891)  Credit: Wikimedia Commons.  There are too many young men on the mate market, particularly in the White American community.

The Babylonian Marriage Market, by Edwin Long (1829-1891) Credit: Wikimedia Commons. There are too many young men on the mate market, particularly in the White American community.

It sucks being young, male, and single. Don’t think so? Go to the Interactive Singles Map of the United States and see how it looks for the 20 to 39 age group. Almost everywhere single men outnumber single women.

And the real picture is worse. For one thing, the imbalance is greater among singles without children. This is not a trivial factor, since single mothers are “single” only in the sense of being available for sexual relations. They are still raising offspring from a previous relationship and many are not interested in having more children.

Then there’s polygamy—or “polyamory,” to use the preferred term—where a minority of men controls sexual access to a larger number of women. If we compare the 1940-1949 and 1970-1979 cohorts of American adults, we find an increase in the number of median lifetime partners from 2.6 to 5.3 among women and from 6.7 to 8.8 among men (Liu et al., 2015). Because this figure is more variable for men than for women, young women are more likely to be sexually active than young men. This is crudely seen in infection rates for chlamydia—the most common sexually transmitted disease. Hispanic Americans still show the traditional pattern of greater sexual activity among men than among women, the rates being 7.24% of men and 4.42% of women. White Americans display the reverse: 1.38% of men and 2.52% of women (Miller et al., 2004).

Finally, there’s a racial angle. This sex ratio is more skewed among White Americans than among African Americans, mainly because the latter have a lower sex ratio at birth and a higher death rate among young men.

It’s hard to avoid concluding that a lot of young white men are shut out of the marriage market … or any kind of heterosexual relationship. This wife shortage was once thought to be temporary, being due to baby-boomer men getting divorced and marrying younger women from the smaller “baby bust” cohort. With time, they would get too old to compete with young men, and the problem should resolve itself.

Today, the crest of the baby boom is entering the seventh decade of life, yet the update to the Interactive Singles Map shows no change to the gender imbalance. So what gives? It appears that demographers have focused too much on the baby-boomer effect and not enough on other factors that matter just as much and, more importantly, show no signs of going away. These factors can be summarized as follows.

Re-entry of older men into the mate market

We have a mate market where 20 to 50 year old men are competing for 20 to 40 year old women. That in itself is nothing new. But something else is.

The baby boom eclipsed an equally important but longer-term trend: more and more men are living past the age of 40. With or without the baby boom, we’ll still see large numbers of older men getting divorced and marrying younger women. The cause isn’t just liberal divorce laws. It’s also the fact we have far more older guys out there as a proportion of the population.

Sure, we will also see younger men pairing up with “cougars” but there are limits to that option, as noted in a New Zealand study:

The male partner may want to partner up with someone younger or have children, which may not be possible with an older woman (for physical reasons or because she chooses not to have (more) children). The younger male partner may not want to become a step-father to existing children. Research has shown that childbearing can be the ultimate deal breaker in this kind of relationship. (Lawton and Callister, 2010)

Persistence of the imbalanced sex ratio at birth

About 105 males are born for every 100 females among people of European origin. This sex ratio used to decline to parity during childhood because of higher infantile mortality among boys. It then declined even farther in early adulthood because of war, industrial accidents, and other hazards. This isn’t the distant past. If you talk with women who came of age in the postwar era, they will tell you about their fears of remaining single past the age of thirty. At that age, very few single men were left to go around.

Well, things have changed. The skewed sex ratio at birth is now persisting well into adulthood, thanks to modern medicine and the relative peace that has prevailed since 1945. Women begin to outnumber men only in the 35-39 age group in the United States and in the 40-44 age group in the United Kingdom.

Equalization of male and female same-sex preference

Historically, same-sex preference was more common among men than among women. This gender gap appears to be closing, according to a recent study:

The percent distributions were quite similar for men and women; however, a higher percentage of men identified as gay (1.8%) compared with women who identified as gay/lesbian (1.4%), and a higher percentage of women identified as bisexual (0.9%) compared with men (0.4%). (CDCP, 2014, p. 5)

Disparities in outmarriage

At present, there are more White American women outmarrying than White American men, particularly in younger age groups. This disparity is mainly in marriages with African American men, there being no gender difference in marriages with Hispanic Americans and the reverse gender difference in marriages with Asian Americans (Jacobs and Labov, 2002Passel et al., 2010). Overall, this factor further skews the ratio of young single men to young single women in the White American community.

This disparity isn’t new. What is new is its extent, for both legal and common-law marriages. An idea may be gleaned from statistics on children born to White American women, specifically the proportion fathered by a non-White partner. For the U.S. as a whole the proportion in 2013 was between 11% and 20% (the uncertainty is due to 190,000 births for which the father’s race was not stated). By comparison, the proportion in 1990 was between 5% and 13% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013; see also Silviosilver, 2015).

Whenever this issue comes up for discussion, there are often reassurances that the disparity will disappear in a post-racial world that has been cleansed of “White privilege.” I’m not so sure. The European female phenotype seems to be very popular, and this was so even when white folks were geopolitical weaklings. Today, the term “white slavery” is merely a synonym for prostitution, but it originally meant the enslavement of fair-skinned women for sale to clients in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. At the height of this trade, between 1500 and 1650, over 10,000 Eastern Europeans were enslaved each year for export (Kolodziejczyk, 2006; Skirda, 2010). The overwhelming majority were young women and pre-pubertal boys who were valued for their physical appearance. And yet they were powerless.

No, I don’t think this kind of preference will disappear as whites lose “privilege.”

Exit strategies

So more and more young men are being left on the shelf, particularly in White America. How do they cope? Mostly by turning to porn from Internet websites, videocassettes, or magazines. Love dolls are another option and may grow in popularity as they become more human-like, not only physically but also in their ability to talk and interact.

Another option is outmarriage. In the past, this trend largely concerned older men marrying East Asian or Hispanic women, but we’re now seeing plenty of young men outmarrying via Internet dating sites. Despite the local supply of single women in the African American community, there is a much stronger tendency to look abroad, generally to women in Eastern Europe, South America, or East Asia.

Then there’s gender reassignment, which means either entering the other side of the mate market or tapping into the lesbian market. It’s a viable strategy, all the more so because many white boys can be turned into hot trans women. I’m not saying that some young men actually think along those lines, but gender reassignment is functioning that way.

Finally, there’s “game.” My attitude toward game is like my attitude toward gender reassignment. Both are attempts to push the envelope of phenotypic plasticity beyond its usual limits, and neither can fully achieve the desired result. A lot of boys aren’t wired for game, and there are good reasons why, just as there are good reasons why some people are born male. Male shyness isn’t a pathology. It’s an adaptation to a social environment that values monogamy and high paternal investment while stigmatizing sexual adventurism. Our war on male shyness reflects our perverse desire to create a society of Don Juans and single mothers.

But if game works, why not? Whatever floats your boat.

Conclusion

Ideally, this gender imbalance should be dealt with at the societal level, but I see little chance of that happening in the near future. If anything, public policy decisions will probably worsen the current imbalance. Changes to public policy generally result from a long process that begins when people speak up and articulate their concerns, yet it’s unlikely that even this first step will be taken any time soon. Young single men prefer to remain silent and invent nonexistent girlfriends. They also tend to be marginal in the main areas of discourse creation, like print and online journalism, TV, film, and radio production, book writing, etc. Leaf through any magazine, and you’ll probably see more stuff about the problems of single women.

So this imbalance will likely continue to be addressed at the individual level through individual strategies.

 

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Sexual Orientation in the 2013 National Health Interview Survey: A Quality Assessment, Vital and Health Statistics, 2(169), December
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_02/sr02_169.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Vital Statistics Online
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data_access/Vitalstatsonline.htm (for discussion, see Silviosilver, 2015 http://www.unz.com/pfrost/the-last-push-back-against-liberalism/#comment-896920)

Jacobs, J.A. and T.B. Labov. (2002). Gender differentials in intermarriage among sixteen race and ethnic groups, Sociological Forum17, 621-646.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1021029507937

Kolodziejczyk, D. (2006). Slave hunting and slave redemption as a business enterprise: The northern Black Sea region in the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries, Oriente Moderno86, 1, The Ottomans and Trade, pp. 149-159.
http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/25818051?sid=21105312761261&uid=3737720&uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=4

Lawton, Z. and P. Callister. (2010). Older Women-Younger Men Relationships: the Social Phenomenon of ‘Cougars’. A Research Note, Institute of Policy Studies Working Paper 10/02
http://ips.ac.nz/publications/files/be0acfcb7d0.pdf

Liu, G., S. Hariri, H. Bradley, S.L. Gottlieb, J.S. Leichliter, and L.E. Markowitz. (2015). Trends and patterns of sexual behaviors among adolescents and adults aged 14 to 59 years, United States,Sexually Transmitted Diseases42, 20-26.
http://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/Abstract/2015/01000/Trends_and_Patterns_of_Sexual_Behaviors_Among.6.aspx

Miller, W.C., C.A. Ford, M. Morris, M.S. Handcock, J.L. Schmitz, M.M. Hobbs, M.S. Cohen, K.M. Harris, and J.R. Udry. (2004). Prevalence of chlamydial and gonococcal infections among young adults in the United States, JAMA291, 2229-2236.
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=198722

Passel, J.S., W. Wang, and P. Taylor. (2010). One-in-seven new U.S. marriages is interracial or interethnic, Pew Research Center, Social & Demographic Trends,
http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/06/04/ii-overview-2/

Skirda, A. (2010). La traite des Slaves. L’esclavage des Blancs du VIIIeau XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Les Éditions de Paris Max Chaleil.

Soma, J. (2013). Interactive Singles Map
http://jonathansoma.com/singles/

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