Archive | October 11th, 2019

Donald Trump, the “Christian warrior”, and his bigoted religious adviser, Robert Jeffress

Top Trump bigot Robert Jeffress
By Lawrence Davidson

A top religious advisor

It turns out that President Donald Trump has a “top religion advisor”. This is surprising because there is no evidence that President Trump has a “top religion”, or any religion at all. The only regular activities to occupy this president’s church-going Sundays are rounds of golf and the composing of malicious Twitter messages. 

To understand just how irregular his lack of religion is, keep in mind that Trump is president of a country, the leaders of which have been proclaiming for 200 years that God is the national co-pilot. So, how does a faithless president handle this discrepancy? Well, he finds a frontman – a Trump-team religious ambassador. You need someone with sufficient religious credentials to argue that a Christian deity is among the president’s “base”. You need someone who can “authentically” declare that if you’re not for President Trump, you’re not for God.

Given Trump’s unethical lifestyle, you would think it would be difficult to find such a God-connected spokesman. However, it is exactly President Trump’s utter lack of ethics that has made this possible. The man is an opportunist extraordinaire: and unencumbered by ethics he can claim adherence to any belief whatsoever. Thus, it turns out that Donald Trump has made himself appear “the most pro-life president” the United States ever had, even as he simultaneously gives unqualified support to the National Rifle Association. He has turned himself into the “most pro-Israel president” while at the same time giving unqualified support to Saudi Arabia. And, Trump is now also mistaken for the “most pro-religious” president ever, even though, arguably, he is the most impious and profane of modern Oval Office occupants. 

Enter Dr Robert Jeffress

It takes a special type of God-connected trickster to pull off the transposing of Donald Trump into a “Christian warrior”. So, who is it that is making such claims for the president? He is Robert Jeffress, 64-year-old American Southern Baptist pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. His local congregation runs to 13,000 members. He is also a televangelist whose sermons are broadcast to more than 1,200 TV stations in the US and 28 other countries. Finally, he looks like an unwholesome Mr Rogers.

Jeffress is a one-dimensional ideologue. Like all ideologues, he has an obsessive certainty in his own point of view – when he talks about God and the “Biblical way” of things, you get a strong impression that he is talking about what he himself sees as right and wrong. Jeffress has a list of such things. At the top of the list of what is wrong is abortion. Jeffress just knows, absolutely, that abortion is evil in the eyes of God. Donald Trump agrees, or at least he is acting as if he does. 

According to pastor Jeffress, “the God of the Bible doesn’t sanction the killing of millions and millions of children in the womb”. This happens to be an inaccurate reading of the Bible. For instance, (1) as the story (Joshua 6) goes, the God of the Bible sanctioned the killing of every last Canaanite in the city of Jericho, including “man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey”. He/She/It forgot to exclude women (or the females of other animal species) who might have been pregnant. (2) When the God of the Bible allegedly wiped out 99.9 per cent of life on earth with a great flood (Genesis 5), did He/She/It stop to figure how many of the condemned were with child? In fact, the Bible is full of intermittent slaughter, and this raises an important point which seems never to occur to Jeffress. Throughout this bloody mess, God never gives much thought to the worth of babes in the womb.

And yet here is pastor Jeffress, hypercritically declaring that Democrats who support women’s reproductive rights aren’t Christians. Instead, “the god they worship is the pagan god of the Old Testament, Moloch, who allowed for child sacrifice”. Oh, by the way, if we are to believe Genesis 22, the God of the Bible comes awfully close to doing just that. Remember God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac? He/She/It might have had a change of mind at the last second, but the whole affair must have left both Abraham and Issac with severe cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD.

We can repeat this whole scenario when Jeffress comes to (1) same-sex relations: Jeffress says “it is not ok to be gay” – gay people’s lifestyle is “paving the way for the anti-Christ; and (2) Israel and its racist oppression of Palestinians: Jeffress proclaims that “racism is a sin. Period”, and that “segregation is wrong”. Yet, somehow, it is just fine for the Israelis to be racists. Maybe this exception is made because Israel is supposedly paving the way for the Second Coming of Christ—which, in terms described in the Book of Revelation, signals worldwide chaos and destruction.

What does all of this have to do with Donald Trump? A lot. Trump is the driving force that is carrying Pastor Jeffress from the realm of theory into the field of practice. As long as Trump the opportunist holds course as the most pro-life, pro-Israel, anti-LGBTQ president Jeffress has ever encountered, he warrants the “Christian warrior” title. Does it bother our God-connected pastor that Trump cavorts with porn stars, is a congenital liar, gives not a fig for the US Constitution, and, given his treatment of children at the border, is certainly no family man? No. For the pastor all of this is “irrelevant” as long as the president’s policies measure up to God’s alleged standards. That old saying “God works in mysterious ways” seems to have justified what amounts to Jeffress’s “Faustian bargain” with Donald Trump. 

Conclusion

In some significant ways the president’s “top religious adviser” is more troubling than the president he advises. As mentioned above, Trump is an opportunist. In fact, he used to be a card-carrying Democrat hanging out in the same social circles as the Clintons. He was quite capable of adapting to any political position that would work in his favour. Of course, in practical terms, this is no longer likely. With his capturing and reshaping of the Republican Party in 2015-16, he made an alliance with the extreme political right that now precludes any serious flip-flopping. But this is not due to any principled commitment on his part. It is due to self-serving political impulsiveness at a strategic level. 

The case of Robert Jeffress is quite different. With him, there never can be any serious thought of flexibility. He is a one-dimensional man whose interpretation of “divine law” is set in ideological stone. Thus, while Pastor Jeffress regards his version of Christianity as unquestionably God’s true faith, Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism and whatever else in religious terms is out there are heresies “from the pit of hell”. And yet, we have seen how problematic are his own interpretations of the Bible. 

One might be tempted to dismiss Pastor Jeffress as someone with an unfortunate personality disorder (egomania, rigidity and a weakness for fantasy – much like Donald Trump) if it were not for the fact that his 13,000 congregants loyally follow him as if he were the Pied Piper on steroids. And, they are probably but a drop in the bucket of the total number Jeffress influences.

We have seen this before – and indeed it is almost certainly a constant in human society – the willingness of untold numbers to forgo critical thought, swallow some “big lie” and follow the leader over a cliff. By choosing Robert Jeffress as his “top religious advisor”, President Trump has tied himself to the pastor’s particular set of big lies: abortion is evil,same-sex relations are evil, and Israeli racism is just fine. The two men, the opportunist and the ideologue, seem to be made for each other. However, it is a match that bodes ill for the rest of us.

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US Zionists target academic freedom: On the liberty to teach, pursue and discuss knowledge without restriction

Protect academic freedom
Gilad Atzmon writes:

It didn’t  take long for the American administration to crudely interfere with open society’s most sacred ethos, that of academic freedom. We learned recently that the US Department of Education has ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake their joint Middle East studies programme after concluding that they were offering students “a biased curriculum that, among other complaints, did not present enough ‘positive’ imagery of Judaism and Christianity in the region”.

Academic freedom is a relatively simple principle. It refers to the ”liberty to teach, pursue and discuss knowledge without restriction or interference, as by school or public officials.”

This principle seems to be under attack in US. The American administration has openly interfered with the liberty to freely teach, pursue and discuss knowledge. 

The New York Times writes:

in a rare instance of federal intervention in college course content, the department asserted that the universities’ Middle East programme violated the standards of a federal programme that awards funding to international studies and foreign language programmes.

According to the New York Times, the focus on “anti-Israeli bias” “appears to reflect the views of an agency leadership that includes a civil rights chief, Kenneth L. Marcus, who has made a career of pro-Israel advocacy and has waged a years-long campaign to delegitimise and defund Middle East studies programmes that he has criticised as rife with anti-Israel bias”.

One may wonder why America is willing to sacrifice its liberal ethos on the pro-Israel altar? Miriam Elman provides a possible answer. Elman is an associate professor at Syracuse University and executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, which opposes BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). Elman told the New York Times that this “should be a wake-up call… what they’re [the Federal government, presumably] saying is: ‘If you want to be biased and show an unbalanced view of the Middle East, you can do that, but you’re not going to get federal and taxpayer money.”

In Elman’s view, academic freedom has stayed intact; it is just the dollars that will be  withheld, unless a university adheres to pro Israel politics.

Those who follow the history of Zionism, Israeli politics and Jewish nationalism find this latest development unsurprising. Zionism, once dedicated to the concept of a “promised land”, morphed decades ago into an aspiration towards a “promised planet”. Zionism is a global project operating in most, if not all, Western states. Jewish pressure groups, Zionist think-tanks and pro-Israel lobbies work intensively to suppress elementary freedoms and reshape the public, political and cultural discourse, all to achieve Zionism’s ambitious goal. After all, Jewish power, as I define it, is the power to suppress criticism of Jewish power.

This authoritarian symptom is not at all new. It is apparently a wandering phenomenon. It has popped out in different forms at different times. What happened in the USSR  provides a perfect illustration of this symptom. In the early days of Soviet Russia, anti-Semitism was met with the death penalty as stated by Joseph Stalin  in answer to an inquiry made by the Jewish News Agency: “In the USSR anti-Semitism is punishable with the utmost severity of the law as a phenomenon deeply hostile to the Soviet system. Under USSR law active anti-Semites are liable to the death penalty.”

Germany saw the formation of Jewish anti-defamation leagues, which attempted to suppress the rise in anti-Jewish sentiments. There’s no need to elaborate on the dramatic failure of these efforts in Germany. And despite Stalin’s early pro-Jewish stance, the Soviet leader turned against the so-called rootless cosmopolitans“. This campaign led to the 1950s Doctors’ plot, in which a group of doctors (mostly Jewish) were subjected to a show trial for supposedly having plotted to assassinate the Soviet leader.

In Britain and other Western nations we have seen fierce pro-Israel campaigns waged to suppress criticism of Israel and Jewish politics. Different lobbies have been utilising different means, among them the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism by governments and institutions. In Britain, France, Germany and other European countries, intellectuals, artists, politicians, party members and ordinary citizens are constantly harassed by a few powerful Jewish pressure groups. In dark Orwellian Britain of 2019, critics of Israel have yet to face the death sentence, but they are subjected to severe reprisals, ranging from personal intimidation to police actions andcriminal prosecution. People have lost their jobs for supporting Palestine, others have been expelled from Corbyn’s compromised Labour Party for making truthful statements. Some have even been jailed for satirical content. And, as you might guess, none of this has made Israel, its supporters or its stooges popular. Quite the opposite.

I learned from the New York Times that the US administration “ordered” the universities’ consortium to submit a revised schedule of events it planned to support, a full list of the courses it offers and the professors working in its Middle East studies programmes. I wonder who in the administration possesses the scholarly credentials to assess the academic level of university courses or professors? Professor Trump himself, or maybe Kushner and Ivanka, or Kushner’s coffee boy Avi Berkovitch, or maybe recently retired “peace maker” Jason Greenblatt?

It takes years to build academic institutions, departments, libraries and research facilities. Apparently, it takes one determined lobby to ruin the future of American scholarship.

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When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History

DALE SPRUSANSKY

A Tunisian Jewish woman lights a candle at the Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba, during the annual Jewish pilgrimage, on May 25, 2016. Tunisia’s Ghriba synagogue is the oldest in Africa. (FETHI BELAID/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)1111111111

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 2019, pp. 65-66

Book Talks

By Dale Sprusansky

wagingpeace5x400

Journalist Massoud Hayoun discussed his new book, When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History, at Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books in Philadelphia, PA on July 24. Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, the owner of Uncle Bobbie’s, moderated the discussion.

A Jew of Moroccan, Tunisian and Egyptian descent, Hayoun explained what it means to identify as both Jew and Arab at a time when white nationalism is on the rise and the State of Israel is promoting a narrow definition of the Jewish identity.

The author began his talk by noting that the Arab identity has long been correlated with backwardness, resulting in some Arabs running away from or minimizing their identity. It’s time for Arabs to reclaim their identify from racist, colonialist and simplistic narratives, he implored. The “colonial problem of not seeing ‘Arabness’ as transnational, border-less, colorless and race-less” needs to be corrected by remembering the diversity of the Arab world, Hayoun said. Arabs, he noted, are “people who don’t maybe always look the same, or maybe don’t always have the same faith, or maybe don’t always have the same dialect of Arabic.”

While Hayoun is proud to identify as Arab, he also expressed a humanistic view of the world in which, he believes, “colorized categories of human existence” ought to be deemphasized. “There’s no such thing as ‘peoples,’” he said. “There are so many people who throughout history moved through different spaces—It’s very possible for me as a North African person to say I’m Phoenician, or that I’m Amazigh (Berber), or that I’m an Arab, or that I’m an Ottoman, or a Circassian, or Greek, or Roman, or any of these things that moved through our lands.”

Hayoun said his decision to intentionally identify as an Arab Jew is more about combating hateful stereotypes and policies than it is about relishing an identify that makes him distinct from other people. His identity, he said, is “something that at its core is a beautiful legacy that deserves to be taken and uplifted for the sake of shutting up the forces that say otherwise.”

He made painfully clear the level of unease he feels as an Arab and Jew in the United States today. The era of Donald Trump “makes it impossible for me to have this very event tonight without worrying that somebody’s going to come through that door with a MAGA hat and shoot us all dead,” he said. “I was very afraid to call myself a Jewish person and an Arab American and come and speak to you guys tonight, because we are living in an unsafe environment.”

As a Jew, Hayoun said he is also appalled by historical accounts that often solely emphasize the history of anti-Jewish discrimination in the Arab world and extol the State of Israel as a safe-haven for Arab Jews. “There were very frequent instances of discrimination, murder and acculturation that happened to us throughout history,” he acknowledged, but “that isn’t the only narrative that exists.” While these hate-filled incidents should by no means be dismissed, he said his book offers a “counterbalance” by showing the ways Arab Jews thrived in the region and noting the “role that the Zionist state played in divorcing us from those societies.”

Hayoun condemned Israel’s attempts to use attacks against Jews in Europe, the Arab world, the U.S. and elsewhere as a reason to encourage Jews to abandon their homelands and move to Israel. “The response to international hatred against Jewish communities has been time and again to ghettoize us on a very narrow parcel of land on the ash heap of another civilization of displaced people,” he said.

He also called out Israel for its cordial relations with leaders who promote hatred against minorities, including Jews. “If Israel were in earnest concerned with preserving the legacy of the Holocaust and ensuring that it never happened to anyone again, their response to various attacks on our faith community internationally would not be to emigrate to Israel, they would be to ensure an environment of white supremacist genocide did not exist,” he said. “We see the very opposite happening, especially with the Israeli administration’s close and fond relationship with [Brazilian President Jair] Bolsonaro, [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban and [U.S. President Donald] Trump.”

Hayoun said his impetus for writing the book came from long, daily conversations he held with his grandmother—who he called his best friend—in which they frequently discussed identity and “why ‘Arabness’ had become such a difficult concept.”

These talks led him to a thought that provoked the book: “Not calling ourselves Arab divorced us from humanity.” This sentiment perhaps best describes the dual but congruent intent of When We Were Arabs—to defend and celebrate a targeted and complex identity, while calling for a shared, inclusive human identity.

 When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History is available from Middle East Books & More.

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Donetsk Village Resident Question to the West: “Why Do You Support (Ukrainian) Nazis?”

By Eva Bartlett

Global Research,

In Krutaya Balka, a village north of Donetsk which is routinely attacked by Ukrainian forces with shelling and heavy machine gun fire, I meet a man standing outside his home, where he lives with his wife, roughly 600 metres from the front line.

To my question about where his home has been damaged he laughs, “Many times. Which house hasn’t been? The roof, the wall… from mortar fire and heavy machine gun fire.”

His replies are in line with the others I’ve spoken with: things got worse after Zelensky became president; the attacks are daily; where would he leave to? He is in favour of joining Russia.

“We should go to Ukraine, which damaged my house? I’m Russian, this is Russian land. Everyone who knows history knows this. Of course I want to join Russia! In earlier times, before the war, I didn’t care either way. But after all Ukraine did what it has done, absolutely I want to be a part of Russia. I can’t imagine being back in Ukraine. Anyway, most of the people here would be killed as ‘separatists’. A known Ukrainian politician (Boris Filatov) said: ‘At the beginning, give them what they want, later hang them.’

I ask if he has anything to say to a Western audience. At first he says there’s no point, people already know, the West gives money to Ukraine…

“The snipers use US rifles, if they gave less money it would be better.”

But later in our conversation he adds:

“Going back to the question of a message to the West…You remember WW2. Why do you support Nazis if you remember WW2? Why do you now support Nazis. Openly Nazis. They wear swastikas. Why is Europe silent? Everyone comes here and agrees with me, but nothing changes. OSCE shouts, but when they are under fire, they are silent, they don’t say that Ukraine attacks them.”

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U.S. Sanctions Could Push Turkey to Leave NATO

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research,

The administration of the Kurdish-controlled regions in north-eastern Syria announced on Sunday that they had reached an agreement with the central Syrian government in Damascus to deploy Syrian troops along areas of the border region with Turkey to help repel the Turkish aggression.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan legitimized Turkey’s operations in Syria because of so-called security concerns, particularly from the Islamic State and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). However, with the YPG finally allowing Syrian troops to enter their controlled areas, what options does Erdoğan have left?

Turkish officials have endlessly said that the establishment of a “safe zone” that penetrates 30km into Syria is for the purpose of expelling the YPG from this region and to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees. With the Syrian Army soon to control the area with the withdrawal of the YPG, Erdoğan’s “safe zone” has now been achieved, thus illegitimating his operation once Syrian government control has been established.

Turkey assured that its operation was only against terrorism and not territorial expansionism with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stating in an interview that

“Russia is concerned about some sensitive issues, such as territorial integrity and the unity of the country. We are also worried. If we look at all the joint statements of Turkey, Russia and Iran, we emphasize it.”

Although Turkish leaders assure that the purpose of the operation is not for annexation, this has not eased the belief among Syrians that Turkey plans to permanently occupy the area, as they remember the illegal 1939 Turkish annexation of Hatay and the invasion of neighboring Cyprus in 1974, with the status of the occupied Turkish-controlled northern regions of the island remaining doggedly unresolved by Ankara.

Therefore, with patient diplomacy with the political branches of the YPG, the Syrian government has trapped Erdoğan into leaving all Syrian territory since terrorism cannot be cited as a reason, a reason they heavily focused on. If Turkey does not withdraw from the occupied territories, it will surely become an international issue involving all major countries.Syria: Dangerous Fracture in US, Turkey and Russian Interests, as Operation to Oust ISIS from Raqqa Begins

Such a situation will not be easy for Washington. In fact, the major factor for Ankara’s split from the U.S. is because of the American support for the YPG, despite contradictorily recognizing the PKK as a terrorist organization. Although Ankara is a NATO member, Turkey has been strengthening relations with Russia, a source of American anger against its supposed NATO ally.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened the complete destruction of the Turkish economy last week if Ankara exceeded its operation targets. With the U.S. putting a direct threat against Turkey, it is unlikely for Ankara to submit to Washington’s demands, which will inevitably create another source of division between Ankara and Washington.

This is especially crucial as Çavuşoğlu boldly stated that

“We are not afraid to remain isolated if the truth is on our side, since we are destined to fight terrorism.”

It would suggest that if Turkey is willing to be isolated over fighting the YPG, then it would be willing to be isolated for the goal of territorial expansionism, a suggestion that can be legitimized if the Turkish military does not withdraw after Syrian government administration is achieved in the border region.

For its part, Moscow understands Turkey’s concerns about its safety but advocates that Ankara respect its agreements with Damascus. With Russian and Turkish relations strengthening in the economic, military and diplomatic fields, Erdoğan’s next move can also affect the image of Russia, who is also a close ally of Syria, having defended the country from terrorism since September 2015.

As Russia has consistently adhered to international norms and laws, and strongly advocates that all states should follow such norms and laws, any refusal of the Turkish military and its proxies to withdraw from Syrian territory could be a source of resentment from Moscow. Russia has invested heavily into flourishing its relations with Turkey after its Black Sea neighbour downed a Russian jet in Syria, leading to the murder of the pilot by Turkish-backed forces.

However, any chance for Washington to reconcile with Ankara is all but over with the imposition of sanctions on Monday. These measures have been considered ineffective by Republican senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris van Hollen who want wider sanctions against Turkey and to cut military support, despite being NATO allies. This is in a supposed effort to stop Turkey’s widespread human rights abuses and the release of ISIS terrorists.

Therefore, Erdoğan’s next decision towards Syria will heavily impact the future of not only the region, but his relations with the U.S. and Russia. With murmurings existing for years now whether Turkey should leave the NATO alliance, these sanctions against Turkey, a country already in a deep economic crisis, will only bring this question to the forefront of debate.

Although the U.S. cites human right abuses as the reason for the sanctions, an allegation that cannot be taken seriously considering their own long list of war crimes, it is likely Trump is ‘punishing’ Erdoğan for his insistence and defiance in buying the Russian S-400 system. This means that the souring relations between Washington and Ankara provides the perfect moment for Russian President Vladimir Putin to consolidate his country’s relations with Turkey.

Turkey has the second largest military in NATO, but more importantly has sovereignty over the imperative waterways of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles that gives Russia access to the Mediterranean from its Black Sea ports. Whether Putin will be able to convince Turkey, a fellow Eurasian country and Black Sea neighbour of Russia’s, to leave the NATO alliance is to be seen. But, if he can convince Turkey to leave, this would not only be a powerful military blow to NATO, but a strategic one as they will lose any challenge they could pose against Russia in the Black Sea.

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Ecuador Regime’s “Fake Deal” with Protesters: Neocon Moreno Surrendered to IMF “Financial Terrorism”

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

President Lenin Moreno betrayed ordinary Ecuadorians by abandoning his pledge to continue progressive policies of his predecessor Rafeal Correa.

Instead he instituted force-fed austerity, enforced with police state harshness, and sold Julian Assange to the US and UK for a loan shark of last resort $4.2 billion IMF loan — requiring corporate-friendly policies at the expense of beneficial social justice continuity, abandoned by his regime.

Days of police state violence against legitimate protesters from early October through Sunday left at least 10 dead, around 2,000 injured, and over 1,000 arrested — ignited by a Moreno decree to end longstanding fuel subsidies, doubling prices overnight in deference to an IMF diktat.

Following weekend talks with indigenous and other protest leaders, he cancelled his unacceptable order, saying:

“With this agreement, the mobilizations…across Ecuador are terminated, and we commit ourselves to restoring peace in the country.”

It all depends on fulfilling his campaign pledges, requiring much more than reinstating fuel subsidies.

As long as neoliberal harshness continues, mass outrage could erupt again any time ahead.

Moreno surrendered to IMF financial terrorism. It obligates borrower nations to sell their soul for blood money.

It assures debt bondage, requiring new loans to service old ones, structural adjustment harshness against millions most vulnerable, and policies favoring Western and internal monied interests at the expense of governance for everyone equitably.

Nations in bed with the predatory IMF are required to let bankers and other dominant corporate interests strip mine their material wealth and resources, tolerate no democratic values, abandon social justice, and exploit working class people as serfs.Ecuador under President Neo-coño Moreno: The IMF’s Deadly “Economic Medicine”, The Weaponization of Neoliberal Reforms

An elite few benefit at the expense of most others, entrapped nations controlled by Western monied interests, their sovereign independence lost to a higher power.

IMF diktats mandate no public sphere, unrestrained corporate empowerment, elimination of social spending, and earmarking state resources for predatory profit-making, national security and internal control.

It’s war by other means on ordinary people in affected countries, transformed into dystopian backwaters, Western and internal privileged interests benefitting from exploitive harshness.

IMF debt bondage assures mass unemployment, underemployment, and impoverishment, loss of essential to life social services, and economic decline.

Years after agreeing to onerous terms for IMF loans, borrower nations are worse off, deeper in debt, their ordinary people paying the biggest price.

Yet Article I of the IMF Articles of Agreement states the following:

Its loans to nations are intended to “facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and to contribute thereby to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy.”

There’s more, claiming IMF policies are to “give confidence to members by making the general resources of the Fund temporarily available to them under adequate safeguards, thus providing them with opportunity to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments without resorting to measures destructive of national or international prosperity.”

Claiming loans aim to “promot(e) and maint(ain) high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy” is mass deception.

So is saying “(i)n difficult economic times, (the IMF) helps countries…protect the most vulnerable in a crisis.”

Its agenda is polar opposite, force-feeding deprivation on vulnerable millions so privileged interests can benefit from their immiseration.

It works the same way everywhere under IMF mandates, including mass impoverishment, public wealth transferred to private hands, out-of-control corruption and cronyism, and nations transformed into dystopian shells to benefit monied interests exclusively.

What’s ahead for Ecuador after Moreno reinstated fuel subsidies remains to be seen.

He capitulated to Western interests. Ordinary Ecuadorians want him replaced by equitable rule — not likely coming while he’s in office.

As long as neoliberal harshness continues, mass outrage could erupt again any time.

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China Vows Strong Countermeasures in Response to Hostile US Legislation

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research,

The so-called US Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 was unanimously adopted by House and Senate committees.

On Tuesday, House members unanimously passed the measure, Senate adoption virtually certain, perhaps by unanimous voice vote.

The measure ignored made-in-the-USA color revolution-style violence and chaos, ongoing in Hong Kong for months, US officials actively collaborating with its leaders.

The measure falsely calls demonstrations “peaceful.” It turned truth on its head, claiming the bill “support(s) the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong” — a notion US officials tolerate nowhere, especially not domestically.

It calls for imposing “punitive measures against government officials in Hong Kong or mainland China who are responsible for suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong (sic).”

A second unanimously adopted House measure, the so-called Hong Kong Act, bars US exports of military and crowd-control items to city authorities.

A third measure recognizes US/Hong Kong relations, denouncing Beijing’s “interference” in its affairs, along with supporting ongoing (violent, chaotic) protests — ignoring US dirty hands all over them.

A fourth bill commended Canada for detaining Huawei’s chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou — following her unlawful arrest in Vancouver last December.

The unacceptable measures are the latest examples of how the US illegally meddles in the internal affairs of other nations, a flagrant breach of international and constitutional law.

In response, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang denounced the measures, saying they’ll

“not only harm the interests of China and the China-US relations, but also severely undermine the interests of the United States,” adding:

“Hong Kong belongs to China and its affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs that brook no foreign interference.”

“We advise the US side to get a clear understanding of the situation, rein in on the brink of the precipice immediately, and cease to promote the subsequent deliberation of the act and interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs immediately.”

Beijing intends “strong countermeasures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty, safety and developmental interests” if US anti-China bills are adopted by the Senate and signed into law by Trump.

Geng noted that US House members ignored “serious crimes such as arson, damaging shops and violent assaults” committed by protesters.

On Wednesday, China’s official People’s Daily broadsheet slammed passage of unacceptable House measures, accusing the US of “stir(ring) the pot and…fan(ing) the flames of (violent) protests…providing oxygen to the worst political and militant elements within the protest movement.”

Hong Kong official Junius Ho Kwan-yiu denounced Washington’s double-standard and flagrant interference in the city’s affairs.

Academic Tian Feilong said US legislation has no international legal standing, examples of unacceptable US hegemonic actions.

“US politicians want…to keep (the anti-China) fire burning.” They want US-orchestrated violence and chaos in Hong Kong continued, Tian adding:

When Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam “tries to solve economic problems, and especially when those violent radical protesters and rioters are losing support, the US moves to provide more support to anti-government forces by passing (legislation).”

Without it and other US pot-stirring, the turmoil (might) die out” as protester energy wanes, signs appearing before House members acted on Wednesday, the Senate likely to follow in short order.

On Tuesday, China’s Global Times said

“(r)ioters…use(d) knives and a home-made explosive device in their attacks on police officers during last weekend’s illegal assembly, which further angered ordinary Hong Kong people.”

Unacceptable US legislation will likely encourage more of the same — commonplace tactics during illegal US color revolution attempts against sovereign states.

Posted in USA, ChinaComments Off on China Vows Strong Countermeasures in Response to Hostile US Legislation

Millions Hungry and Food Insecure in the US

By Stephen Lendman

American workers

Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, hunger, food insecurity, and overall deprivation affect million of households in the world’s richest country USA.

Why? It’s because both right wings of its war party devote most of the nation’s discretionary income for militarism, maintaining the Pentagon’s global empire of bases, and endless aggression in multiple theaters — along with bailouts for and handouts to corporate America.

In the new millennium alone, countless trillions of dollars went for the above interests, combined with tax cuts for the rich, while food stamps and other social justice programs are fast eroding to help pay for them as the national debt soars by over $1 trillion annually.

Most US households with one or more working members have little or no savings — leaving them vulnerable to hunger and homelessness from one or more missed paychecks.

According to Feeding America, 79% of US households the organization aids rely on “inexpensive unhealthy food to feed their families,” 84% of households with children functioning this way.

The vast majority of Feeding America (FA) client households face unacceptable choices — 69% forced at times to choose between food and utilities, 66% between food and medical care, 31% between food and education.

Force-fed neoliberal harshness by Republicans and undemocratic Dems contributed to 58% of FA’s client households having one or more members with high blood pressure, 33% affected by diabetes — these numbers much higher among households with seniors, 77% and 47% respectively.

Nearly half of FA client households have one or members in “fair or poor health.”

Because of unemployment or poverty wages, one in six FA client households “experienced a foreclosure or eviction in the past five years.”

The vast majority of FA client households are food insecure (84%) — without access to sufficient, affordable, nutritious food, at times going hungry.Hunger in America

According to the US Department of Agriculture in 2018, food insecurity affects 37 million Americans, including over 11 million children — the numbers likely way understated.

Feeding America explained that impoverished households and others above the poverty line experience food insecurity for inadequate ability to buy what’s needed, adding:

“Food insecurity does not exist in isolation, as low-income families are affected by multiple, overlapping issues like lack of affordable housing, social isolation, chronic or acute health problems, high medical costs, and low wages.”

“Taken together, these issues are important social determinants of health” and well-being — fast deteriorating in the United States of I Don’t Care, the world’s richest country with the greatest wealth disparity among developed nations.

The state of the nation is shameful, serving its privileged class exclusively, exploiting most others to benefit its well-off members.

Food insecurity and hunger impact virtually “every community in the United States,” said FA.

Do Something.org discussed “11 facts about hunger in the US,” saying the following:

Around 40 million Americans experience hunger annually.

At least 15 million US households endure food insecurity.

Hunger is caused by poverty and inadequate financial resources, a nationwide problem.

Around 45 million Americans rely on food stamps, an eroding program providing inadequate help.

“1 in 6 American children may not know where their next meal is coming from.”

“22 million children in America rely on the free or reduced-price lunch they receive at school, but as many as 3 million children still aren’t getting the breakfast they need.”

Food insecure children are at greater risk to develop physical and emotional health issues. They perform poorly academically and in physical activities.

Food insecurity affects both urban and rural areas nationwide.

People of color (Blacks and Latinos) are disproportionately affected by hunger and food insecurity.

The states with the highest rates of food insecurity are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, and Oklahoma.

“(H)ouseholds with children ha(ve) a substantially higher rate of food insecurity” and hunger, said Do Something.org.

US Census data show around half of US households are impoverished or bordering it — a permanent underclass in the world’s richest country, young children and the elderly most affected.

Poverty, homelessness, hunger, food insecurity, unaffordable healthcare, and overall deprivation affect countless millions of Americans.

It’s the shame of the nation — a let ‘em eat cake society, uncaring about the vast majority of its citizens.

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Millions Hungry and Food Insecure in the US

Stable Ignoramus Trump: Kurds Didn’t Help US Win World War II

By Kurt Nimmo

Global Research,

It is a strange experience witnessing The Donald fumble his way through foreign policy, which he knows almost nothing about.

In the awkward press conference below, Trump stumbles his way through history. His explanation for abandoning the Kurds? They didn’t help “us” win the Second World War.  

Undoubtedly, there were Kurds fighting during that completely avoidable carnage that killed more than 70 million people, 25 million of that debated number in Russia alone. Trump does not know if soldiers of Kurdish ancestry died at Normandy. The stable ignoramus is famous for not doing his homework and talking off the top of his coiffured head. 

Moreover, the United States did not single-handedly “win” the Second World War—that achievement should be credited to Stalin and the Soviet Union. Ditto Syria. It was Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah that beat back the CIA and Saudi Arabia’s murderous jihadi proxies, not Trump and his neocons. 

Abel Cohen writes: 

America shouldn’t mythologize a war against the Nazis we didn’t wage until the last minute. Like Truman said: “If Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible.” America waited as long as it could to join the war—and ended it by firing the first shots of the next one.

Abel Cohen writes: 

America shouldn’t mythologize a war against the Nazis we didn’t wage until the last minute. Like Truman said: “If Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible.” America waited as long as it could to join the war—and ended it by firing the first shots of the next one.

Truman’s final homicidal act was to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and traumatizing millions of others. He then inaugurated the Cold War, founded the national security state, and set the stage for the military-industrial complex which, incidentally, Trump mentioned during his press conference. Since taking office, Trump has acted as salesman-of-the-month for the MIC, selling death merchandise far and wide. This is just about the only growth industry in a crumbling America. 

The Kurds probably knew Trump would betray and leave them at the mercy—and, if news reports are accurate, mercy is in short supply—of Turkey with its resurgent form of Sunni Islam exploited by President Tayyip Erdogan

“Uniting around our common Islamic identity is the only way to solve the Kurdish problem,” a leader of Justice and Development party told The Economist. “Islam bound us in Ottoman times and during the war of independence, why not today?”

Left out of the discussion is the fact two-thirds of Kurds follow the Shafi‘i madhhab, which distinguishes them from Arabs and Turks in the region who are primarily Hanafi. In Islam, like any religion, divergent sects rarely make peace. For example, consider the death count attributed to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Europe (instrumentally, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, responsible for more than 30,000 dead in France).

Erdogan’s solution to the “Kurdish problem” is to invade Syria and Iraq and kill as many Kurds as possible. 

Trump’s response is to move US troops—illegally in Syria in violation of its national sovereignty—out of harm’s way, which is, of course, the sensible thing to do, never mind the ranting criticism of neocons and their Republican and Democrat fellow travelers. 

However, it is impossible to hold this president to anything. He changes with the wind, following the weathervane of his outsized ego. 

Posted in Middle East, USA, Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Stable Ignoramus Trump: Kurds Didn’t Help US Win World War II

Syrian Army Taking Control of Key Positions in SDF-held Area ‘Video’

By South Front

Global Research,

On October 14, units of the Syrian Army started entering areas controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria.

The terms and conditions of the deal made by the SDF and Damascus are yet to be revealed, but government troops already deployed in Tabqah, Tabqah Airport, Tabqah Dam, Ayn Issa and Tal Tamir, and in the Manbij area. Syrian Army troops also moved towards the border town of Kobani. However, the situation there remains unclear. According to pro-Kurdish sources, US troops deployed there have attempted to prevent Syrian troops from entering the town by blocking the Qaraqozak bridge.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper officially stated that the US did not sign up to fight the Turks for the SDF. Nonetheless, this does not mean that Washington would help the SDF in implementation of its deal with Damascus.

Video: Syrian Forces Deployed against Turkish Invasion, US backed SDF Forces Seek Cooperation with Damascus Against Turkey

Watch the video here.

The US is not planning to fully withdraw its troops from the country. According to Esper, the US military presence will remain in Syria, especially in al-Tanf. Additionally, there is no timeline for the announced withdrawal of 1,000 troops.

Turkey reacted to the Damascus-SDF deal by increasing its military efforts against the SDF around Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ain. Furthermore, Turkish-led forces launched an advance towards Ain Assa and Manbij, where they clashes with detachments of the Syrian Army. According to pro-Turkish sources, Turkish-backed militants captured a T-55 battle tank belonging to the Syrian Army near Manbij.

The military situation in northeastern Syria may escalate even further if the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish-backed militants continue their advance into the areas where the Syrian Army is already deployed. At the same time, Ankara’s attempts to capture Manbij will likely only strengthen the military and political cooperation between the SDF and Damascus.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syrian Army Taking Control of Key Positions in SDF-held Area ‘Video’


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