Archive | November 15th, 2018

Trump Escalates “New Cold War” with China. President Xi Refuses Washington’s Demands

NOVANEWS

 

Cold war with Russia and China could turning hot. The risk of unthinkable war between nuclear armed states is real.

According to the Washington Post,

“(i)f  China wants to avoid an all-out cold war with the United States and its partners, it must fundamentally change its behavior,” citing Mike Pence as the source of the view expressed.

It’s a policy position Beijing strongly rejects, wanting cooperative relations with all other nations, but unwilling to bow to unacceptable demands of any – especially nothing compromising its fundamental sovereign rights.

Pence is representing the Trump regime in Singapore at the November 11 – 15 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

Major Sino/US political, economic, financial, trade and military differences persist, resolving them unlikely any time soon.

China’s Xi Jinping reportedly won’t meet Pence at the ASEAN summit. He’s scheduled to meet with Trump on the sidelines of the November 30/December 1 G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Prospects for a deal between both leaders, resolving longstanding differences are virtually nil. China rejects unacceptable US demands.

According to Pence, if Xi refuses to accept them, Washington will escalate political, economic, and perhaps military pressure on the country.

Washington’s Indo/Pacific strategy is all about seeking regional dominance by whatever it takes to achieve its aims – not an encouraging sign going forward.

According to a Washington prepared US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) report to Congress, China’s growing political, economic and military power “risk(s) the national security and economic interests of the United States, its allies, and its partners.”

It “risks” Washington’s ability to dominate the Indo/Pacific region unchallenged, wanting Russia and China marginalized, weakened, contained and isolated – a strategy doomed to fail.

The USCC report to be presented to Congress on Wednesday reportedly says China’s Belt and Road objectives include “bolstering energy security, expanding China’s military reach, and advancing its geopolitical influence by moving China to the center of the global order,” adding:

Beijing “will be quick to cast any pushback or legitimate criticism as fear, nationalism, protectionism, and racism against the Chinese people.”

China gains allies with carrots, not sticks, a winning strategy longterm:

In late October, Mike Pompeo threatened to “oppose” China economically, politically, militarily, and in bilateral trade, saying:

“Whether that’s a risk through the stealing of intellectual property or trade rules that are unfair or activity in the South China Sea or their continued expansion in space, and their efforts to develop their military, each of those actions has been met with a strong and vigorous response from the (US) and we’ll continue to do so,” adding:

Beijing’s strategy “presents risks to American interests, and we intend to oppose them at every turn.”

US policy involves pressuring other nations to deal with America, not China or Russia, economically, warning them against accepting investments from China and Russia in their countries, nor normalized trade relations, the same true for Iran.

Pompeo lied saying

“(w)hen China comes calling, it’s not always to the good of your citizens.”

Unlike one-way US investments, exploiting trading partners, Chinese investments benefit both sides equitably, why its gaining economic partners worldwide at Washington’s expense.

US efforts to undermine China, Russia, Iran, and other independent countries economically and in other ways are counterproductive. They haven’t worked before and won’t ahead. They make more enemies than allies longterm.

They’ll damage bilateral relations more than already, risking possible confrontation.

Posted in USA, ChinaComments Off on Trump Escalates “New Cold War” with China. President Xi Refuses Washington’s Demands

Unwrapping Armageddon: The Erosion of Nuclear Arms Control

NOVANEWS
 

The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF) appears to be part of a broader strategy aimed at unwinding over 50 years of agreements to control and limit nuclear weapons, returning to an era characterized by the unbridled development weapons of mass destruction.

Terminating the INF treaty—which bans land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of between 300 and 3400 miles— is not, in and of itself, a fatal blow to the network of treaties and agreements dating back to the 1963 treaty that ended atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. But coupled with other actions—George W. Bush’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002 and the Obama administration’s program to upgrade the nuclear weapons infrastructure— the tapestry of agreements that has, at least in part, limited these terrifying creations, is looking increasingly frayed.

“Leaving the INF,” says Sergey Rogov of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, “could bring the whole structure of arms control crashing down.”

Lynn Rusten, the former senior director for arms control in the National Security Agency Council warns,

“This is opening the door to an all-out arms race.”

Washington’s rationale for exiting the INF Treaty is that the Russians deployed the 9M729 cruise missile that the US claims violates the agreement, although Moscow denies it and the evidence has not been made public. Russia countercharges that the US ABM system—Aegis Ashore—deployed in Romania and planned for Poland could be used to launch similar medium range missiles.

If this were a disagreement over weapon capability, inspections would settle the matter. But the White House—in particular National Security Advisor John Bolton—is less concerned with inspections than extracting the US from agreements that in any way restrain the use of American power, be it military or economic. Thus, Trump dumped the Iran nuclear agreement, not because Iran is building nuclear weapons or violating the agreement, but because the administration wants to use economic sanctions to pursue regime change in Teheran.

In some ways, the INF agreement is low hanging fruit. The 1987 treaty banned only land-based medium range missiles, not those launched by sea or air —where the Americans hold a strong edge—and it only covered the U.S. and Russia. Other nuclear-armed countries, particularly China, India, North Korea, Israel and Pakistan have deployed a number of medium range nuclear-armed missiles. One of the arguments Bolton makes for exiting the INF is that it would allow the US to counter China’s medium range missiles.

But if the concern was controlling intermediate range missiles, the obvious path would be to expand the treaty to other nations and include air and sea launched weapons. Not that that would be easy. China has lots of intermediate range missiles, because most its potential antagonists, like Japan or US bases in Asia, are within the range of such missiles. The same goes for Pakistan, India, and Israel.

Intermediate range weapons—sometimes called “theater” missiles—do not threaten the US mainland the way that similar US missiles threaten China and Russia. Beijing and Moscow can be destroyed by long-range intercontinental missiles, but also by theater missiles launched from ships or aircraft. One of the reasons that Europeans are so opposed to withdrawing from the INF is that, in the advent of nuclear war, medium-range missiles on their soil will make them a target.

But supposed violations of the treaty is not why Bolton and the people around him oppose the agreement. Bolton called for withdrawing from the INF Treaty three years before the Obama administration charged the Russians with cheating. Indeed, Bolton has opposed every effort to constrain nuclear weapons and has already announced that the Trump administration will not extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) when it expires in 2021.

START caps the number of US and Russian deployed nuclear weapons at 1550, no small number.

The Bush administration’s withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty in 2002 was the first major blow to the treaty framework. Anti-ballistic missiles are inherently destabilizing, because the easiest way to defeat such systems is to overwhelm them by expanding the number of launchers and warheads. Bolton—a longtime foe of the ABM agreement—recently bragged that dumping the treaty had no effect on arms control.

But the treaty’s demise has shelved START talks, and it was the ABM’s deployment in Eastern Europe—along with NATO’s expansion up to the Russian borders—that led to Moscow deploying the cruise missile now in dispute.

While Bolton and Trump are more aggressive about terminating agreements, it was the Obama administration’s decision to spend $1.6 trillion to upgrade and modernize US nuclear weapons that now endangers one of the central pillars of the nuclear treaty framework, the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

That agreement ended the testing of nuclear weapons, slowing the development of new weapons, particularly miniaturization and warheads with minimal yields. The former would allow more warheads on each missile, the latter could increase the possibility of using nuclear weapons without setting off a full-scale nuclear exchange.

Nukes are tricky to design, so you don’t want to deploy one without testing it. The Americans have bypassed some of the obstacles created by the CTBT by using computers like the National Ignition Facility. The B-61 Mod 11 warhead, soon-to-be-deployed in Europe, was originally a city killer, but labs at Livermore, CA and Los Alamos and Sandia, NM turned it into a bunker buster, capable of taking out command and control centers buried deep in the ground.

Nevertheless, the military and the nuclear establishment—ranging from companies such as Lockheed Martin and Honeywell International to university research centers—have long felt hindered by the CTBT. Add the Trump administration’s hostility to anything that constrains US power and the CTBT may be next on the list.

Restarting nuclear testing will end any controls on weapons of mass destruction. And since Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires nuclear-armed powers to eventually disarm their weapons of mass destruction, that agreement may go as well. In a very short time countries like South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia will join the nuclear club, with South Africa and Brazil in the wings. The latter two countries researched producing nuclear weapons in the 1980s, and South Africa actually tested one.

The demise of the INF agreement will edge the world closer to nuclear war. Since medium range missiles shorten the warning time for a nuclear attack from 30 minutes to 10 minutes or less, countries will keep their weapons on a hair trigger. “Use them or lose them” is the philosophy that impels the tactics of nuclear war.

In the past year, Russia and NATO held very large military exercises on one another’s borders. Russian, US and Chinese fighter planes routinely play games of chicken. What happens when one of those “games” goes wrong?

The US and the Soviet Union came within minutes of an accidental war on at least two occasions, and, with so many actors and so many weapons, it will be only a matter of time before some country interprets a radar image incorrectly and goes to DEFCON 1—imminent nuclear war.

The INF Treaty came about because of strong opposition and huge demonstrations in Europe and the United States. That kind of pressure, coupled with a pledge by countries not to deploy such weapons, will be required again, lest the entire tapestry of agreements that kept the horror of nuclear war at bay vanish.

Posted in EuropeComments Off on Unwrapping Armageddon: The Erosion of Nuclear Arms Control

Theresa May’s No-Brexit/Brexit Deal

NOVANEWS

On June 23, 2016, majority UK voters supported leaving the EU – what Western Europe countries never should have agreed to in the first place – subordinating their sovereignty to America.

The European Union was a CIA creation. Harry Truman’s secretary of state Dean Acheson originated the idea, a way for the US to colonize Western Europe post-WW II.

It was all about Washington wanting control over EU member countries as vassal states, largely doing America’s bidding – even when harming their own interests.

France’s Charles de Gaulle was the only Western European leader against surrendering his country’s sovereignty to the US.

Truman threatened to cut off Marshall Plan aid if France refused to bend to Washington’s will.

Nearly two-and-a-half years after Brits voted for British exit from the European Union (Brexit), Theresa May failed to deliver what she promised.

Her earlier words proved hollow, saying “Brexit means Brexit. Britain won’t remain “half-in (and) half-out” of the EU.

“We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. My job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do.”

All along, her support for Brexit was more rhetorical than real. A May 2016 leaked audio recording  caught her as home secretary saying:

“I think the economic arguments are clear. I think being part of a 500-million trading bloc is significant for us.”

“I think, as I was saying to you a little earlier, that one of the issues is that a lot of people will invest here in the UK because it is the UK in Europe.”

“If we were not in Europe, I think there would be firms and companies who would be looking to say, do they need to develop a mainland Europe presence rather than a UK presence? So I think there are definite benefits for us in economic terms.”

“There are definitely things we can do as members of the European Union that I think keep us more safe.”

Her view on Brexit as home secretary contrasts markedly with her remarks as prime minister, indicating opposition to leaving the EU, not supporting it.

It’s up to Britain’s parliament to decide. Many MPs oppose the deal she cooked up with Brussels. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn called it “half-baked (following over) two years of bungled negotiations,” adding:

It gives MPs a false choice “between a half-baked deal or no deal…a failure in its own terms. It doesn’t deliver a Brexit to the whole country.”

“It breaches the prime minister’s own red lines. It doesn’t deliver a strong economic deal that supports jobs and industry. And we know they haven’t prepared seriously for no deal.”

“Even (Tories) say the the prime minister is offering a choice between the worst of all worlds and a catastrophic series of consequences.”

Former Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage slammed May’s deal, calling it “the worst (one) in history,” urging true Brexit supporters in her cabinet to “resign or never be trusted again.”

May and her cabinet members agreed on a deal critics call shameful capitulation to Brussels, likely what the prime minister had in mind all along – supporting Brexit rhetorically while undermining what it’s supposed to be.

Economic powerhouse Germany is the dominant EU member state. Its Foreign Minister Heiko Mass welcomed what May agreed to, saying:

“I am very happy that the participants of the EU-UK talks have reached preliminary agreements in their Brexit talks,” adding:

“After months of uncertainty, we have finally received a clear signal from the United Kingdom about how the orderly (British) withdrawal can proceed” – rhetorically leaving the union while remaining in fact by acceding to key Brussels’ demands.

The deal involves Britain remaining more in than withdrawn from the EU before end of March 2019 – betraying the majority will of UK voters.

Leaked information about the deal shows Britain will remain in the EU customs union, Brussels “retain(ing) all the controls.” No duties are levied on trade between member countries. A common tariff is imposed on goods entering them.

Brussels is in charge of negotiating trade deals with other countries, not individual member states.

Northern Ireland effectively remains in the EU. Minister of State for Northern Ireland Shailesh Vararesigned over the deal, a major blow to May, saying the following:

“The EU referendum offered a simple choice – to either stay in or leave the EU. The result was decisive with the UK public voting to leave, and that is what we as their elected representatives, must deliver.”

“The agreement put forward however, does not do that as it leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation.”

“We are a proud nation and it is a say day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart.”

“We can and must do better than this. The people of the UK deserve better.”

Tory UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab also resigned over May’s capitulation to Brussels, saying:

“I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

May’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey also resigned over opposition to the Brexit deal, saying she had no other choice, telling the PM her agreement with Brussels doesn’t honor the June 2016 referendum result – “fail(ing) to secure the right outcome for the future of our country.”

It’s unclear if May has majority parliament support to approve her deal. Labor MPs and at least some Tories and UKIP parliamentarians oppose it.

Clearly, she failed to deliver what majority Brits voted for – agreeing to subordinate UK interests to Brussels, surrendering British sovereignty to a higher power.

MPs have final say. It won’t be easy getting majority support. Strong opposition may reject the deal – opposed to Brussels retaining control over key UK policymaking.

Posted in Europe, UKComments Off on Theresa May’s No-Brexit/Brexit Deal

Medicare for All: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

NOVANEWS

Marketplace medicine prioritizes profits over human health. In America, it leaves growing millions uninsured.

Most others are way underinsured because exponentially rising costs of coverage are unaffordable for most US households, double the cost in other developed nations, things worsening, not improving.

Long ago, insurance providing good coverage was affordable, polar opposite how things are today.

When I finished school in 1960, healthcare as a percent of GDP was 5.1%. In 2002, it was 15%, in 2017, 18%. By 2020, it’ll likely exceed 20%.

In inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars, average annual per capita US healthcare spending rose from $1,082 in 1960 to $10,348 in 2016, increasing more annually, average incomes failing to keep pace.

Prescription drugs were once cheap. Many now are exorbitant. Overall high healthcare costs force countless US households to adopt practices detrimental to good health.

At times they have to choose between paying rent or serving mortgages and high medical expenses – an intolerable choice in the world’s richest country or anywhere else.

Along with food, shelter and clothing, healthcare is a fundamental human right, not a commodity for sale to individuals able to afford it.

Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says every “(e)veryone, as a member of society, has a right to social security…” Every nation is obligated to provide it.

Article 25 states “(e)veryone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Article 30 says “(n)othing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

Social justice is fundamental. Yet it’s fast eroding in America and the West, heading toward disappearing altogether. Neoliberal harshness supersedes it.

So does spending countless trillions of dollars on endless wars of aggression – making the world safe for Wall Street, Big Oil, America’s military/industrial/security complex, and other corporate interests – at the expense of ordinary people struggling to get by.

Time and again since the early 20th century, healthcare reform the way it should be fell woefully short, Obamacare the latest example, the program rife with inequities.

It made a dysfunctional system worse for countless millions, rationing healthcare, making it unaffordable for many households to enrich insurers, drug companies, and large hospital chains.

Universal single-payer coverage is a long overdue idea in the US. Most Americans and doctors support it.

It could save around $500 billion annually, according to Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) – by eliminating insurer middlemen and the bureaucratic nightmare it creates for physicians and hospitals.

A PNHP working group of 39 physicians drafted a single-payer plan it calls Beyond the Affordable Care Act,” far superior to the current system, providing coverage for all Americas – everyone in, no one left out, the way it should be.

Removing financial barriers to healthcare is its most important feature, PNHP saying:

“The plan would save enough on administrative overhead to provide comprehensive coverage to the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for everyone else, thus requiring no increase in total health spending.”

It includes “effective mechanisms to control costs, lowering the rate of medical inflation and making the health system sustainable for future generations. Significantly, it would restore free choice of clinician and hospital to all Americans.”

When ill, everyone wants and needs the best care possible to restore their health and vigor, to be able to live normal productive lives.

“Coverage would include outpatient and inpatient medical care as well as rehabilitation, mental health care, long-term care, dental services, and prescription drugs,” said PNHP, adding:

“(T)he plan improves on traditional Medicare’s benefits and expands coverage to all Americans. It would eliminate premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance” – along with bureaucratic headaches for providers, freeing up time to be productively devoted to providing care for patients.

The program would be federally financed like Medicare – administered at the federal, state and local levels, eliminating private insurance no longer needed, replacing it with “a streamlined single-payer system.”

According to Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office estimates, administrative/bureaucratic savings would free up enough funds to provide world-class healthcare for all Americans – without increasing total spending.

“The program would be paid for by combining current sources of government health spending into a single fund with modest new taxes that would be fully offset by reductions in premiums and out-of-pocket spending,” PNHP explained.

Universal single-payer coverage is an idea whose time has come, the only system working the way healthcare is supposed to be – providing high-quality care for everyone.

A Final Comment

Bloomberg News explained the dilemma countless US households face, relating the story of one family, typical of many others, forced to choose between paying for healthcare coverage, or other major expenses.

The husband in the family in question has an annual income of about $113,000, almost double the 2017 median US household income. Yet he’s struggling to get by financially because of exponentially rising healthcare costs.

He kept his good-paying job but lost healthcare coverage. He used to pay $260 monthly for insurance provided by his company.

It rose to $1,375 monthly. Along with servicing his mortgage, covering other household expenses, and facing high college tuition costs for his son, he’s faced with taking on debt or opting out of health insurance for some or all family members, hoping for the best.

Bloomberg said the family in question is “rocked by escalating health insurance costs,” seeing no hope for improvement.

The husband took on debt to try covering rising expenses. In 2016, his health insurer announced a 38% increase in premiums for 2017, escalating his monthly expense to nearly $1,900 – a near $23,000 after tax burden, increasing annually much faster than annual household income gains nationwide.

His daughter is about to start college. Despite his high income, he can’t cover expenses. He dropped family healthcare insurance, taking a big risk, leaving two of four members alone covered.

His monthly debt is increasing, along with maxing out credit-card debt to cover rising expenses. Millions of US families face the same dilemma. “If something happens to me, who’s going to pay the bills, he asked?”

The nation I grew up in no longer exists. Healthcare, higher education, and other major expenses were affordable unlike today.

I paid for nearly all my college and graduate work expenses myself with minimal family help, and without the burden of debt bondage from today’s student loan racket.

For a year before beginning my formal working life and receiving company insurance, I bought healthcare coverage in 1959 for $100 and change. It included what today would be called catastrophic coverage.

Those days are long gone. What was affordable long ago, no longer is for most US households.

The world’s richest country serves its privileged class exclusively – at the expense of most others.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on Medicare for All: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Libya – A Prime Example of Secularism Versus Extremist Islam

NOVANEWS

For years I and other commentators on MENA developments, have consistently written that Field Marshall Haftar is the only solution for Libya. And yet again the latest ridiculous Italian attempt to broker a solution after dozens of similar conferences took place. In the words of the former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi it was as “a resounding flop”.

Its been 7 years since the ‘unnatural’ revolution causing disgracefully regime change, brought about by the imperialist land and oil grab by the ‘great powers’ using unashamedly NATO.

If this chaos continues, Libya will inevitably split into two countries and very soon.

When the hell are the fools that inhabit the UN, EU and even Russia going to ‘get out’ of Libya?

To repeat the obvious; the only key figure in Libya is Khalifa Haftar.

For the record, he arrived in Palermo on Monday evening, but was not going to play their game; he barely participated in the conference.

The Italian government press office said Haftar was not having dinner with the other participants nor joining them for talks, though some of them heads of state or government. Haftar specifically opposed the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood champion, Qatar at the event .

Haftar clearly only attended because he had a few days before visited Moscow, who sent to Sicily, Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev and because also of Egyptian President Sisi’s presence.

To repeat what has been stated countless times by serious commentators as opposed to mostly American corrupt, bought think tanks, the Libyan people reject Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood – secularism must prevail. If it succeeded in Libya, it could catch on in other Islamic countries and reverse the extremist Islamic trends that produced ISIS, Al Qaeda and the repulsive murderess and despicable Wahhabi regime in Saudi.

After all it was the great Kamal Ataturk, before WW11, in Turkey that despatched and banished mullahs from political life, as by the way did Shah Reza Pahlavi of Persia.

Libya is but a symptom of the real issue and problem; the clash of civilisations.

Its time to send these Islamic fanatics back a thousand some years. Why are people afraid to state the bleeding obvious? Because our so called leaders are moral and physical cowards, unable to call a spade a spade, in an Orwellian age of political correctness.

If only we could send these savages in a time machine back to around the 8th century, when admittedly the Islamic empire extended from Iberia, modern Spain, in the west to the Indus river in the east, we could then get on with dealing with the complex problems of over population, global warming and the consequences of the technological age, artificial intelligence being the most worrisome.

A man called Phillip Husband expressed it, (partly paraphrasing his words) very well:

“Any form of dogmatism is incompatible with the modern world. The literal meaning of the word Islam is submission: submission, in this case, to a set of dogmas that were established 1400 years ago by an Arab who is considered by most Muslims to be al-Insaan al-Kaamil, the Perfect Man, whose example is to be followed in every possible way, even in the 21st century.

This being the case, it might be apparent that rigid followers of Islam will not feel quite at home in modern societies which tolerate things that Islam, pretends, hypocritically, to forbid: homosexuality, polytheism, atheism, blasphemy, alcohol, drugs, premarital sex, et al.

On the other hand, it is unfortunate that many Muslims come to the West with a sense of innate superiority. They’re happy to take advantage of the benefits of living in our societies which offer incomparably greater opportunities and living standards than their own Muslim countries, yet profess to despise the boozing, half-dressed fornicators who let them in. Not forgetting their absolutely unacceptable attitudes and treatment of women.

Further if they advocate overthrowing our societies in order to impose Sharia law: the fact that some Muslims actually support this position is what makes people in the West not wish further Muslim immigration into their countries, not to mention the terrorist attacks that have been carried out by people of this faith in recent years.”

Important to mention since the previous paragraph refers to terrorism, lest we forget, the greatest terrorists exists courtesy of States like America, Saudi and Israel, to mention but a few, not by these small band of die hard revolutionary terrorists groups.

Get real people. See the truth, say the truth which is more profound than our pathetic ‘big brother security call’ in the West ”See something, say something”.  All right then, we say this; we the people, see gross injustice and corruption, domestically and internationally by politicians and bureaucrats, and so what are we going to do about it?

Ballot or bullet..maybe we need both.

Enough is enough. Let’s decide and move forward, not be paralysed into non action.

Be done with political correctness and call a spade a spade, would be a start.

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The Moral Fiber of Justin Trudeau. Palestine and the BDS Movement

NOVANEWS

A Willfully Blind Eye to the Racism and Oppression Suffered by Palestinians

For any appeal to ethics and morality to have any legitimacy, the principles so enounced must be applied rigorously, without favor or prejudice, to all human beings whatever grouping they may be slotted into. In other words, favoritism and morality are an antithetical mixture.

The principle that holds morals apply equally to all humans seemingly eludes Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau.

On 7 November, Trudeau stood in the House of Commons and railed against anti-Semitism and rightly so. Anti-Semitism, as with any form of racism or hatred expressed against any grouping, is anathema.

Yet Trudeau’s taking up the cause of anti-Semitism by attacking the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is transparently, logically, and morally flawed.

Trudeau correctly apologized for Canada’s turning away Jewish refugees in 1939. Trudeau followed up the apology bemusedly:

Anti-Semitism is far too present. Jewish students still feel unwelcomed and uncomfortable on some of our colleges and university campuses because of BDS-related intimidation.

And out of our entire community of nations, it is Israel whose right to exist is most widely and wrongly questioned.

Any form of racism in any iota is an iota too much. This applies to all groupings of humans. No one should be despised, looked down upon, or discriminated against merely by virtue of being attached to a group through birth or circumstances beyond one’s control. [1]

Yes, anti-Semitism exists. Probably every form of racism exists. It is deplorable to despise someone for the mere fact of being Jewish.

However, Zionism is a different animal. Political Zionism is racist to its core and highly discriminatory. Hence, if one is opposed to racism, then one must also speak out against racism by Jews against others. Some try to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism; however, this is palpably fallacious. Imagine if someone tried to argue that if a person is opposed to the KKK that that person must therefore be against all white people (which would include most Jews). It is patently ludicrous, and it speaks ill to the intellectual rigor of any individual who would make such a claim.

Trudeau made blanket assertions. He did not back up what he said. What did he mean by they “feelunwelcomed”? What is “BDS-related intimidation”? BDS is widely understood to be a non-violent means of attempting to end Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

Furthermore, even if there were intimidation, it would pale in comparison to the slow-motion genocide experienced by Palestinians, the open-air concentration camp maintained by Israel against Palestinians (in blatant contravention of the Geneva Conventions — thus being a war crime), and the myriad racist laws designed to humiliate Palestinians. BDS is a means for Palestinians to keep their heads up and resist with dignity. Trudeau attempts to take this dignity away from Palestinians.

One might even think after listening to Trudeau that Jews were being oppressed by Palestinians instead of vice versa. Renowned academic Noam Chomsky put the racism into a comparative framework:

Anti-Arab racism is, however, so widespread as to be unnoticeable; it is perhaps the only remaining form of racism to be regarded as legitimate. [2]

… Contempt for the Arab population is deeply rooted in Zionist thought. [3]

And what should one make of Trudeau’s proclamation that “it is Israel whose right to exist is most widely and wrongly questioned”? What about the state of Palestine? When has the government of Canada, and when has Trudeau, ever spoken sincerely of the right for a Palestinian state to exist?

Could Trudeau be unaware of how the Canadian state came to be? It is established on the territory of the First Nations, also through the dastardly crime of genocide. [4] What about the right of First Nations to a nation state or nation states?

Trudeau might do well to learn from anti-racism activist Tim Wise who explained the antipathy that Jewish Zionism arouses. [5]

Of course, Israel itself is a suicide culture, though they left this part out of my Hebrew School classes. What else could one call a nation erected amidst folks who don’t want you there, whose land you had to steal, if not a land rooted in a death wish? We may not blow ourselves up, but we sure as hell have come up with a creative way to put our individual and collective lives in danger — become usurpers of other people’s stuff: always a sure way to make people hate you. [6]

Human rights and opposition to racism are not pick-and-choose principles. To be regarded seriously and exude moral integrity, one must resolutely support the equal and fair application of human rights for all humans, and one must resolutely oppose racism against any group of people.

*

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Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen.

Notes

  1. For example, some mitigating circumstances might exist such as having been raised in a white-supremacist household.
  2. Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (Haymarket Books): 550.
  3. Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: 551.
  4. See, for example, Bruce Clark, Ongoing Genocide caused by Judicial Suppression of the “Existing” Aboriginal Rights (2018). Review. Tamara Starblanket, Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State (Clarity Press, 2018). Review. Kerry Coast, The Colonial Present: The Rule of Ignorance and the Role of Law in British Columbia (Clarity Press and International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, 2013). Review. Tom Swanky, The Great Darkening: The True Story of Canada’s “War” of Extermination on the Pacific plus The Tsilhqot’in and other First Nations Resistance (Burnaby, BC: Dragon Heart Enterprises, 2012). Review.
  5. Yes, there are Christian Zionists as well. They are basically motivated by Scriptural interpretation rather than the racially based in-group supremacism of Jews. Also, it should be axiomatically understood that when one speaks of a group that the members of a group do not form a monolithic consciousness.
  6. In Adam Engel, A Conversation with Tim WiseCounterpunch, 6 December 2003.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, CanadaComments Off on The Moral Fiber of Justin Trudeau. Palestine and the BDS Movement

General in the Room: Trump Names Abizaid Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

NOVANEWS

Washington signals a renewed commitment to Riyadh at a time when ties to the kingdom and its crown prince are under intense scrutiny

President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate retired general John Abizaid as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, marking the end of a nearly two-year vacancy, the White House said.  

As America’s longest-serving Central Command chief, Abizaid oversaw the Iraq War from 2003 to 2007. The West Point graduate, who according to The New York Times twice declined the diplomatic post, will now be competing with a longstanding backchannel between Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushnerand Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Abizaid, who is of Lebanese descent and speaks Arabic, will bring an experienced hand to the relationship with Riyadh at a volatile time.

The bet by Kushner, a real estate developer, on Saudi Arabia’s brash young crown prince, has come under intense scrutiny following the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

In the wake of the killing, initially brushed off as a disappearance by the Saudis, Turkey leaked a string of gruesome pieces of evidence suggesting otherwise and played an audio recording of the murder to the head of the CIA.

In the recording, a member of the Saudi hit squad says, “tell your boss,” the NYT reported Monday, citing US intelligence officials pointing to the crown prince as the presumed boss who could have ordered such an act inside a Saudi diplomatic mission.

The Saudis, who were forced to admit to the murder, have nonetheless maintained that the crown prince had no knowledge of the incident.

The murder, a sloppy attempt at a coverup, and Turkish ascendence to renewed regional leadership have hurt US efforts to isolate rival Iran. After threatening that not one liter of Iranian oil would be sold after the imposition of sanctions on November 5, the US was compelled to grant waivers to a number of countries — including Turkey.

The Saudi crown prince, promoted as the lynchpin of a grand new Middle East strategy by Kushner, has since had to lean heavily on his father’s influence to ride out the crisis and calm allies. The king and his heir recently wrapped up a domestic tour seemingly aimed at presenting a united front.

Trump’s appointment of a seasoned military man and Council on Foreign Relations member as envoy to Saudi Arabia after a 22-month vacancy may signal a shift — at least officially — away from the Kushner-MBS bromance.

Posted in USA, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on General in the Room: Trump Names Abizaid Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Washington’s Weak Hand in Syria

NOVANEWS

With Damascus and its allies firmly in control of Syria’s largest cities and the vast majority of Syrian territory west of the Euphrates – not only has the US-led proxy war against the nation failed – with Russian and Iranian forces involved indefinitely – the return of additional territory under Damascus’ control seems all but inevitable.

However, the US still holds territory east of the Euphrates, and – as American policymakers like to gloat – much of Syria’s oil wealth falls within this territory illegally occupied by US troops.

There is also the northern city of Idlib and surrounding countryside – the future of which is still nebulous due to the presence of Turkish forces and Ankara’s ever-shifting agenda and alliances.

Each side involved in the proxy war has pursued a number of policies – diplomatic, political, and military in nature – to strengthen their positions before the war finally concludes.

For Damascus, Russia, and Iran – decisive military victories across western Syria have served as the central pillar of Syria’s victory over the foreign-backed militancy. Diplomatic efforts both within Syrian borders and beyond them continue and also play a significant role in ending the war in all of Syria’s favor – even including many groups involved in opposing the government now being offered amnesty and reconciliation.

The United States – stretched by global wars of aggression, decades-long military occupations, and significantly diminished geopolitical clout – finds itself depending more on political ploys than producing any meaningful military or diplomatic leverage.

Staged chemical weapon attacks and increasingly absurd and equally baseless accusations of human rights violations now stand in where American military might once stood.

The repetitive nature of such ploys feeds into a circular process that both exposes Washington’s impotence and serves to exasperate it. Despite this – Washington and its many functionaries across political, diplomatic, and information spheres – continue feeding into this process. Thus, while the US still has forces in Syria, and continuously seeks to not only sabotage peace in Syria – but infect Iran with the same strain of proxy war – patient persistence by Damascus and its allies will see to Washington’s complete failure both in Syria and the wider Middle East.

Seeking Humanitarian Leverage 

As America’s proxy war in Syria continues to unravel, Washington continues to seek what leverage it can. This includes headlines flooding news cycles attempting to blame the bloodshed in Syria on the current government headed by President Bashar al Assad, and depicting Damascus as ruled by a “brutal regime.” Washington hopes to poison the Syrian government’s image to the point that any political settlement involving President Assad’s continued rule is unthinkable.

Yet, with each ploy, the US and its allies simply reaffirm that not only was the opposition in Syria manufactured abroad as was the war they helped trigger in 2011, so too is the humanitarian component of America’s pretext for remaining involved in Syria.

The Independent’s article, “The brutality of the Syrian regime must be told,” is an apt example of this.

The article is written by Amina Khoulani – founder of “Families for Freedom” – one of many UK-based fronts posing as human rights advocacy groups – but is in reality just one of many components in the West’s propaganda war against Syria.

Families for Freedom’s website admits it is “supported” by Women Now for DevelopmentDawlaty, and The Syrian Campaign (PDF) – all in turn funded by Western corporate-funded foundations and the very Western governments who conspired to overthrow the Syrian government and were complicit in arming and funding militants sent into Syria to do so.

The article attempts to rewrite the history of the Syrian conflict, claiming that Khoulani and her family were merely peaceful activists and that by 2012, the Syrian military was rounding up her family and friends, and bombing cities to stop protests.

Khoulani claims:

Before the civil war in Syria started, I lived in a small city called Darayya on the outskirts of Damascus, with my husband, children and other close family.

I worked as a history teacher in a high school in the centre of Damascus, which I loved. And I was an activist with a huge passion for the protection of human rights. I always knew that Syria was controlled by an oppressive, brutal regime. Long before the uprising in 2011 the people of Syria had no human rights, no freedom of expression, and there was certainly no democracy in the country.

Forced disappearances and detentions had been the norm since the days of Hafez Assad, who ruled before his son Bashar took over in July 2000.

She would also claim:

On 20 August 2012 the Darayya massacre started. It lasted for six days. It was just after the Eid holiday. The regime blocked the access and exit routes to the city. It was then that the bombing started. They used mortars, missiles, all types of bombs – they didn’t care where they targeted.

In reality – even by the US State Department’s own admission – terrorist organizations like Jabhat Al Nusra were already active in every major Syrian city – including Khoulani’s – by the end of 2011. Syrian forces were not rounding up peaceful activists and bombing protesters – they were fighting armed terrorists and arresting those providing them material support.

The abuse of human rights advocacy illustrated by Khoulani’s propaganda campaign served a central role in the Syrian war since it began in 2011. By Washington’s own admissions, the proxy war against Syria was planned long before 2011, with militant groups groomed, armed, and funded as early as 2007. The 2011 “Arab Spring” was likewise planned and prepared for years before it finally “sprung.”

The protests merely served as a smokescreen for the start of foreign-sponsored armed subversion.

Claims of human rights abuses were used as a pretext by the US and its NATO allies to invade and destroy Libya that same year. A similar and what Washington had hoped would be a swift  repeat of the Libyan war was aimed at Syria. Many of the Western-armed militants who fought in Libya were even transferred to Syria, entering via Turkey and participated in the seizure of Idlib and much of Aleppo.

In essence, it was the United States and its allies who committed premeditated crimes against humanity – engineering a destructive war that has consumed all of Libya and much of Syria since 2011. Through the use of the West’s still potent media monopolies – public perception is still being shaped to believe that the victims of Washington’s serial acts of armed aggression are actually the perpetrators – that governments fighting backed against foreign-sponsored armed extremists are “brutal dictatorships” and terrorist organizations and those supporting them are “activists” and “freedom fighters.”

Articles like Khoulani’s appearing in the Independent seek still to shape public perception, to wring whatever leverage still remains from an otherwise tired, battered, and abused “humanitarian” pretext.

By continuing to expose these “human rights advocates,” who funds them, and to what end, it may be possible to protect the legitimacy of genuine human rights concerns and how the former poses as the greatest danger to the latter.

For the Syrian conflict, as it reaches its conclusion we can expect the US to continue rolling out political ploys particularly in the form of propaganda couched behind “humanitarian concerns.” Barring any drastic and risky military escalation – the US has few other cards left. Its “humanitarian” card is unlikely to wrest concessions in Washington’s favor and the continued, repetitive abuse of this card only further undermines this ploy elsewhere it is used by American policymakers.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Washington’s Weak Hand in Syria

US Intel. Will Bring Assange to US in Chains

NOVANEWS

It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government, says Ann Garrison.

  

It appears increasingly likely Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange will wind up in the clutches of the U.S. government.

It’s hardly surprising, given that in ten years’ time, Wikileaks published more classified information than all other media combined. It exposed human rights abuses, government spying, torture, and war crimes on an unprecedented scale.

WikiLeaks put government, corporations and even the Pentagon, the FBI, the CIA and other intel agencies on notice that they could no longer count on operating in secret.

It created a trove of primary source material that serious journalists and researchers will mine for years to come. Its publications are accessible to readers who prefer primary sources to mostly mediated news.

Wikileaks so infuriates the USA’s most violent, corrupt, and criminal institutions that Hillary Clinton half-jokingly suggested drone-bombing Assange. Other U.S. politicians called for his execution by other means.

California’s 28th District Congressman Adam Schiff, who became the chair of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats reclaimed the House, said he would speak to Assange “when he is in U.S. custody, not before.”

Schiff is a vociferous and supremely self-righteous leader of the Democratic Party’s “Resistance,” which sullies the name of the underground movement formed in France during World War II to fight Nazi Germany’s occupying forces and the collaborationist Vichy government.

The “Resistance” tolerates only one truth and one loyalty: Russia is the enemy, interfering in Syria, the Ukraine and even U.S. elections. Russia elected Trump with Wikileaks’ help, it says. Russia dares to position missiles on its own borders, it says, to respond to NATO’s missiles on the other side. The U.S. must build more missiles, more drones, more nuclear weapons, and every other sort of weapon to defend the European world against Russia and its ally China.

Moral and Racial Superiority

Moral and racial superiority entitles the U.S. to occupy the world with military bases, ringing any nation that challenges its hegemony with military aircraft, battleships, assault vehicles, and military surveillance. Moral and racial superiority entitles its spy state agencies to shut down access to information deviating from its narratives and therefore to arrest and extradite Julian Assange.

The Republican Party shares the same supremely intolerant nature as the Democrats, but differentiates itself by insisting that, although Russia is the enemy, Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.

The Republicans also want to silence the founder of Wikileaks and find a way to shut the organization down. Trump’s former CIA director, and now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has called Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” and vowed to hunt Assange down.

Has Time Run Out?

Assange has been an asylee in Ecuador’s London Embassy for more than six years—since August 2012. Ecuador and the UK, however, are no closer to an agreement that would allow him safe passage out of the embassy. In a recent video conference#Unity4J organizer Suzie Dawson said she fears Assange and those working to free him are running out of time:

“Right now time is not on our side. And I had someone today complaining because they want us to do a big, big action day march. When you do those types of actions it takes two or three months to organize. You need to have an organizing committee, you need to wallpaper the town, you need to have one date that you do it on, you need to do a ton of advertising. You need to get all the unions and various other organizations to sign on board, and then you have this one action day.

“Well, there’s a couple of problems with that. First of all, I don’t think we have three months right now. If we schedule a February giant march in support of Julian, I honestly don’t think we have until February. I hope I’m wrong. I hope that the actions we take in the short term, in the next days and weeks, will buy us that much time for Julian, but I don’t see it.”

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who spent two years in prison for exposing the agency’s official use of torture, said if Assange walks out of the embassy without a guarantee of safe passage, he will be extradited to the U.S. in chains:

“We all know why the British have that embassy ringed. It’s to snatch him and to turn him over to the United States. If that happens, the CIA and the FBI are both going to be on that plane and they’re both going to be at least attempting to interrogate him all the way back home. They will bring him back to the United States in chains because that’s what they do.“

Dawson feels the FBI and CIA will interrogate and torture Assange to try to obtain information that would allow them to bring Wikileaks down. She has no doubt he’s been preparing for this eventuality for years. She believes he will have made sure the organization has adopted security codes and measures he himself doesn’t know and therefore can’t reveal—even if he’s tortured.

“They want to know about security files for example. They want to know about the inner processes and workings of Wikileaks. They want access to the knowledge that’s inside Julian’s brain. And they will torture him. And they will interrogate him in order to attempt to get that.

“Now I trust Julian to be smart enough to have made sure that even he doesn’t possess a lot of that knowledge. In my personal opinion, Julian has spent years planning for these various eventualities, but it won’t stop them from trying.”

Dawson aded intelligence agencies are eager to punish him: “At the end of the day they want to punish him for outing their corruption and their crimes. They’ve been waiting eight years to do it, and they will be rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospect of the UK detaining him and extraditing him to the USA.”

Posted in USA, Media, UKComments Off on US Intel. Will Bring Assange to US in Chains

Midterm Elections Generate Further Polarization in the United States

NOVANEWS

Voter suppression, ending modern day slavery, Jim Crow and the prospects for social transformation

US

November 6 was a day in which people across the United States and indeed the world were watching for some indications of the future political prospects for the leading capitalist state.

It had been predicted that the House of Representatives would be lost by the Republicans to the Democrats. This was the outcome of the elections where Democrats could pick up approximately 40 seats outperforming the party of President Donald Trump.

Trump played down the loss of the House and emphasized that the Senate would remain under Republican control. Nonetheless, there is a major shake-up in the cabinet of the Trump administration with the immediate departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions with more ousters being imminent. 

A large number of women, national oppressed people and younger politicians ran for public office while a significant number were elected. The results of the elections were in part due to the higher than normal turnout of voters for a midterm poll. 

With these new faces in Congress and the Senate it still remains to be seen what actual impact this will have on the overall political atmosphere prevailing in the U.S. Trump, whose 2016 campaign is still under investigation by a special counsel, continues his right wing, neo-fascist posture and agenda aimed at stoking fears of African Americans, Latinx people, Middle Easterners, immigrants, LGBTQ communities and anyone who does not agree with the policies of the current administration.

A series of high profile racial and political incidents occurred leading up to the midterms. 14 packages containing what appeared to be pipe bombs were addressed to two former Democratic presidents, a previous Secretary of State, a famous actor, the Manhattan building of Cable News Network (CNN), among others, with a return address containing the name of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

On October 24 a white racist shot to death two African American seniors at a Kroger supermarket in a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky. Just minutes before this same assailant unsuccessfully attempted to gain entry into an African American church. Some three days later, another domestic terrorist entered the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill district of Pittsburgh and killed 11 Jewish worshippers. 

Both gunmen were imbued with hatred for various sectors of the population in the U.S. and internationally. Trump through his campaign rallies across the country has agitated for stricter immigration laws even sending thousands of troops to the southern border with Mexico. The president’s attitude towards African Americans, particularly women, has been expressed through his derogatory statements to journalists who were merely asking him critical questions about domestic issues.

The culmination of these violent acts and inflammatory rhetoric has created a socially tense atmosphere in the U.S. Although the official unemployment rate has declined sharply over the last two years (3.7%), a significant number of working families are continuing to suffer from poverty and economic marginalization. The ruling class is growing wealthier at the expense of the majority while a burgeoning federal budget deficit threatens the future stability of the country.

Voter Suppression, Institutional Racism and the Legacy of Slavery

Two gubernatorial and one senatorial race in the states of Georgia and Florida have become a focal point for millions throughout the country and the world. Democratic State Representative Stacey Abrams has refused to concede to former Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp in Georgia where a narrow margin separates the contenders.

The Abrams campaign has objected to documented evidence of voter suppression targeting mainly African Americans and naturalized citizens. Abrams is demanding that all votes be counted, strongly believing that the gap between her and Kemp would deny him 50% of the vote necessitating a runoff election in early December. Kemp has already resigned as Secretary of State claiming victory and setting up a transition team.

An article by Khushbu Shah published in the Guardian on November 10 states that:

“In the three months leading up to election day more than 85,000 voters were purged from rolls under Kemp. During 2017 668,000 voters were purged, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Of those 2017 numbers, investigative reporter Greg Palast told Salon, 200,000 people left the state, died or moved out their district, making them legitimate cancellations. However, through litigation, he got the entire purge list. ’Of the 400,000 who supposedly moved, our experts will tell a court that 340,134 never moved – wrongly purged,’ Palast told the Guardian, saying people had been purged for not voting in an election or two.” 

Such a high degree of irregularity within the Secretary of State’s office should have prompted a Justice Department investigation. However, considering that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fired from the Trump administration the day after the midterm elections, has been accused of being a racist for many years, it is not surprising that no administration intervention on the side of the disenfranchised has been forthcoming. In fact Trump has sided with the Republican candidates in Georgia and Florida, where similar charges have been made. 

 This same Guardian report continues noting:

“Furthermore from 2012 to 2016, 1.5 million voters were purged – more than 10% of all voters – from records, according to a 2018 report from the Brennan Center for Justice. In comparison, 750,000 were purged from 2008 to 2012…. On the first day of early voting a bus full of African American senior citizens on their way to a voting center were turned back. Organizers called it ‘live voter suppression.’…  The Guardian witnessed long lines in various parts of metro Atlanta, where the majority of counties lean Democrat. MIT’s Election Performance Index for 2016 suggested Georgia ranked 49th out of 50 for wait times to vote.”

Similar developments occurred in the state of Florida where African American Mayor of TallahasseeAndrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Governor, is in another undecided race against Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis. Voter suppression is a perennial systemic problem in Florida as well. 

In 2000 the presidential race between Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Governor George Bush, Jr. was decided in Florida after a 5-4 Supreme Court decision ordered the state election commissions to stop counting the votes, giving the election to the Republican candidate. Broward County became a focal point of the 2000 election and this center of Democratic African American voters is once again being targeted for disruption by the right wing supporters of the Republican Party.

Carol Anderson of the Guardian wrote on November 14 saying:

“Florida is, once again, in an election debacle that is straining the bonds of credibility and democracy. Governor Rick Scott has actually called in the state police to investigate ‘voter fraud’ (none was found), then ordered the voting machines impounded in Broward county, all to protect his precarious lead in the US Senate race. A judge, however, emphatically blocked that last command.”

A referendum was passed in Florida on November 6 which restored the right to vote to 1.4 million people denied the franchise as a result of previous felony convictions. Nonetheless, these potential voters could not cast their ballots in the midterms. The recounts for Governor and the Senate will intensify the struggle generating more animosity from the right wing towards African Americans and other national minorities.

Impact on Domestic and Foreign Policy

Even with a majority Democratic House of Representatives the question remains as to which course the party will take as it relates to domestic and international affairs. Many Democratic politicians and their allies within the corporate media have focused attention on allegations of Russian governmental interference in the 2016 presidential elections which brought Trump to the White House. 

Yet this preoccupation with Russia’s influence and the U.S. electorate completely neglects the political bankruptcy of the Democratic campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During the administration of President Barack Obama the militarist policies of U.S. imperialism continued in full force leading to an escalation of Pentagon and NATO troops in Afghanistan; the destruction of the North African state of Libya in 2011, the most prosperous nation on the continent, resulting in the brutal assassination of Pan-Africanist leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi; an initiation of a counter-revolutionary war aimed at toppling the legitimate government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad which fueled the crises of migration and displacement, the worst since the conclusion of World War II, triggering the advent of neo-fascist regimes in Eastern Europe and the threat of the breaking up of the European Union (EU).   

On a domestic level after the ascendancy of Obama in 2008, the following midterm elections in 2010 saw a major swing to the right in both the Congress and the Senate. By 2014, the Democrats had loss both the House and Senate along with numerous state legislative bodies and governorships. 

During the period of 2009 through 2016, African Americans were subjected to greater levels of state violence and socio-economic depravation spawning rebellions in Ferguson, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Charlotte. There was the proliferation of racist organizations while the Democratic Party seemed helpless in countering the reactionary trend. 

The struggle for voting rights among African Americans extends back to the years following the Civil War (1861-1865). The defeat of Black Reconstruction after 1876 and extending through the remaining decades of the 19th century returned African Americans to conditions reminiscent of enslavement where state governments enacted segregation laws which were reinforced by a penal system which constitutionally within the framework of the 13th Amendment coupled with local laws could in fact subject detainees to involuntary servitude.

An enslavement policy in the state of Colorado was overturned by the voters in the midterms shining a light on this practice as it exists in the 21st century. Nevertheless, the prison system whose inmates are disproportionately African Americans, Latinx and poor is not being dismantled. 

How will the incoming Democratic Congress address these fundamental questions? Are they even capable of such a challenge considering that the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties represents the ruling capitalist class.

The political rights of African Americans must be defended as a principle within the concept of universal suffrage. Nonetheless, the genuine democratic aspirations of the nationally oppressed in the U.S. and their right to self-determination cannot be realized under the racist capitalist system. The capitalist system was built on the enslavement of African people and the extermination of the Indigenous nations in North America. Consequently, a revolutionary reconstruction of the contemporary dispensation must overturn the material basis for this centuries-long national oppression and economic exploitation in order that a truly democratic system comes into existence. 

Posted in USAComments Off on Midterm Elections Generate Further Polarization in the United States

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