Archive | July 28th, 2020

Jews Demand NAACP Fire Leader For Warning Fellow Blacks That Jews Rule Over Them

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Some powerful Jewish supremacist groups in Philadelphia have called for the head of the local NAACP, Rodney Muhammad, to be immediately fired after he posted a known antisemitic™ meme on his public Facebook page:

The meme, known as “the Happy Merchant,” is an anti-Semitic image used by extremists that the Anti-Defamation League says is commonly used by white supremacists. The meme on Muhammad’s Facebook page included photos of Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson and Nick Cannon, Black celebrities who recently posted anti-Semitic comments on social media, and the quote “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” falsely attributed to French philosopher Voltaire, but which originated with Kevin Strom, an American neo-Nazi. (Jackson and Cannon have both apologized.)

Muhammad, 68, is a civil rights figure and local Nation of Islam leader who often praises Louis Farrakhan, who has called Jews “bloodsuckers” and “termites,” the news website Billy Penn reported. He had previously posted criticism of the backlash that Cannon, Jackson and others have faced after posting anti-Semitic content on social media.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in a statement calling on the NAACP to remove Muhammad from his position “immediately,” said that Muhammad “intentionally initiated the spread of anti-Semitism on his Facebook page. This vile behavior from a civic leader is incredibly dangerous for Jewish communities across the world.”

It is inconceivable that a person who theoretically works to uphold civil rights would engage in such blatant hate. To defend the anti-Semitic rhetoric of others is bad enough, but to post virulently anti-Jewish symbols and conspiracy theories is simply unacceptable,” Shira Goodman, ADL Philadelphia regional director, said in a statement that noted the ADL’s longstanding collaboration with the NAACP.

Muhammad’s post was taken down amid the backlash, and he said in a statement that he had not known the image before sharing it.

I was not familiar with the image at the bottom of the post,” he said in his statement, which the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “I was responding to the individuals not able to speak out. I have worked with many in the city over the years. I would be happy to have a discussion with other leaders to better understand our history.”

Well, Muhammed just found out who extactly he — and his fellow Blacks — are not allowed to criticize — and who indeed rules over them.

The irony of all this, of course, is lost on the Jews — they immediately call for the head of anyone who criticizes them, and do so with impunity — to demonstrate their inordinate power to everyone.

Until people start suing the Jews for falsely slandering them as “antisemites”, their behavior will not change — but make it a financial liability to call anyone an “antisemite” because of the financial harm it causes them, could make them think twice.

Jews throw the term “antisemite” around freely because they know the harm it will do to someone’s reputation — but a lot of the time, it’s done frivolously with no real evidence to support the accusation.

Blacks have been under attack in the media recently because they are using their wealth, popularity and fame, courtesy of the Jewish media overlords, as a platform to publicly criticize Jews — biting the hand that feeds them.

And Jews have begun to complain that public expressions of “antisemitism” are not punished with the same severity as anti-Black ‘racism’ — perhaps they sense they are losing their grip on Blacks.

And constantly playing the Holocaust card doesn’t have the same effect that it used to when Jews were the only minority in town besides Blacks.

Whites can’t play the race card the way Blacks can — so now’s the time for Blacks to stop backing down from these empty Jewish threats and put the Jews on the defensive — make them look like the supremacists that they truly are.

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Jews Claim Newly Discovered Ukrainian Victims Of Soviet Holomodor Were Jews ‘Gassed’ By Nazis

By CFT TEAM 

78 years after they were allegedly ‘gassed’ by the Nazis, the remains of the bodies of 286 Jews, mostly women and children, were found in a basement under the market square in the town of Stanov in Khmelnytsky Oblast, Ukraine:

The remains of the bodies were collected in sacks – and these will be buried in a mass grave in the city’s ancient Jewish cemetery.

According to KGB documents and testimonies of Jews returning to the city after the war, on the night of May 14-15, 1942, the Nazis rounded up 286 Jews, mostly women and children, and put them in two cellars – where they killed them with gas. “The Nazis did not even use With bullets and killed the Jews with terrible cruelty in the cellars, “says Rabbi Alexander Feingold, rabbi of the Khmelnytsky and Ternopil districts in Ukraine, where about 7,000 Jews.

After the war, the cellars were opened, but it was decided to leave the bodies in place with a sign indicating that they had been murdered by the Nazis. Above the basements was a ruined house, and over the years the entrances to them disappeared. A large market operated for many years.

For the past six years, Rabbi Feingold has waged a struggle with the authorities and with the landowners to allow him to search for the remains of the bodies and remove them. The landowner refused, and the community waged a legal battle against him in which they lost. Eventually, they were able to reach an agreement with him and the community took ownership of the land.

In 2019, searches began at the site, and one of the basements was discovered. About 200 sacks were collected at the site, including human bones. “We brought in experts from Israel and the Ukraine and we could not find the second basement,” says Rabbi Feingold. “It was very hard work. We did a lot of drilling and lifted the ground with bulldozers, but we didn’t find any. At some point we were already discouraged. About two weeks ago we made another attempt, and then we managed to find the second basement opening.”

In the basement were the remains of the bodies of the Jews, along with pieces of clothing, children’s shoes, and even parts of arrangement with which they went to their deaths. “It was very difficult to collect the remains because they were connected to the ground. We also found a mezuzah house there, and from this we conclude that above the basement was a house of Jews.

We keep all the bags in the basement, and after we finish the work we will bury them in a mass grave in the old Jewish cemetery in the city where Jews have been buried for over 500 years. When you see shoes of children aged two and three it is impossible to describe the feeling. It’s really chilling.” According to Rabbi Feingold, the community will establish a park in memory of the victims near the site of the massacre.

We know there’s something fishy with this story because the mainstream Jewish news sites don’t mention any Nazi ‘gassings’ in the basement — merely that their were ‘suffocated’ — apparently even the Jewish editors at JTA didn’t believe the preposterous ‘gassing’ allegation.

Not only that, the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel claims the victims were either ‘suffocated’ or ‘starved‘ — which should set off alarm bells for anyone who understands real Ukrainian history.

The Nazis didn’t intentionally starve anyone to death — that’s what the Jews did to the Ukrainians during Soviet farm ‘collectivization’.

And, yes, the Ukrainian men and women were often separated — which accounts for why mostly women and children were discovered in the basement.

During the 1930s, the Jewish Bolsheviks, under direct orders from the Jew Lazar Kagonovich, at least 10 million White Christian Ukrainians were intentionally starved to death in what today is known as the Holodomor — the greatest single mass murder of the 20th century.

That’s what the so-called “Holocaust” actually is — an clumsy attempt to blame the Nazis for crimes against humanity committed by Soviet Jews — before, during, and after WWII.

That’s what the Jews attempted to do with their infamous mass murder of Poles in the Katyn Forest — blame it on the ‘evil’ Nazis.

And notice the story doesn’t mention any DNA tests that were run on the bodies found in the basement — the only ‘proof’ that the bodies were Jews is that there was allegedly a ‘mezuzah’ on the door way to the house — but all that means is that a Jew probably lived in that home at some time in the past.

Of course it would be very easy to prove that these people were ‘gassed’ by the ‘Nazis’ by detecting cyanide gas — or whatever gas was available — in the hair and clothing of the victims — but no such tests, of course, were done.

That’s because there is not one shred of objective evidence that even one single Jew was ever ‘gassed’ during World War II.

And the claims of mass cremations are scientifically and physically impossible.

Here’s what really happened: the local Jewish commissar ordered the corpses of a couple hundred dead women and children who were starved to death thrown in the basement of an abandoned house formerly owned by a Jew who fled the area once the mass killing started.  After the war, the Soviets didn’t want to go to the bother or expense of burying all those bodies, so they ordered the whole building bulldozed over — and if anyone asks questions, blamed it on the defeated Nazis.

And the greatest insult of this whole story is that Christian victims of Jewish genocide will be buried in a Jewish cemetery — and misidentified as ‘Jewish’ victims.

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Now Merely Stealing Anything From A Jew Is Considered An Antisemitic™ ‘Hate Crime’

By CFT TEAM 

The details of this ‘crime spree’ are intentionally vague, but apparently two Black men in Brooklyn are wanted by police for ‘antisemitic larceny’ because they allegedly stole some articles from some Orthodox Jews in their neighborhood:

The New York Police Department Hate Crimes Task Force is seeking two suspects in four separate recent acts of antisemitic harassment in Brooklyn.

The Task Force tweeted on Monday that the suspects were wanted for “antisemitic grand larceny” after “stealing religious items” from four people on Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue.

The tweet included a video showing the suspects riding a bicycle, one of them holding the type of black hat worn by Haredi Jews.

The NYPD is asking for the public to contact it if they have further information at 800-577-TIPS.

These Orthodox Jews live in crime-ridden Black neighborhoods — and are often slumlords, too — which is going to automatically make them more likely to be robbed or verbally ‘harassed’ — whether they are Jewish or not.

Jews have recently started using the phrase “visibly Jewish” to justify charging anyone who robs or beats them with an additional hate crime.

That’s right, if a Jew is wearing anything on their person to make them identifiable as a Jew — a kippah, a black hat, etc. — then anyone who targets them will also be charged with a hate crime — the assumption being that they are being robbed, not just for money or property, but also just because they are Jews — who are “known to be rich”.

Jews believe that if Blacks who rob them are also charged with Federal hate crimes, then eventually Blacks won’t dare rob any Jew.

But Jews run New York City, and if Blacks aren’t going to “behave themselves”, then they are going to a Federal prison just for stealing a rabbi’s black hat, if that’s what it’s going to take to stop this wave of ‘antisemitism’.

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Jewish Actor Seth Rogen Admits He’s ‘100% Afraid Of Jews’

By CFT TEAM 

The Jewish actor, Seth Rogan, appeared the “WTF” podcast this past Monday hosted by fellow Jew Marc Maron, who warned his audience before the interview started, “If you don’t like Jews, you’re gonna get triggered”:

It was a fair disclaimer, given that his hour-long conversation with Seth Rogen touched on just about every general aspect of modern Jewish identity, from Jewish summer camp to cultural Jewishness to sitting shiva.

But a second warning came part of the way through the episode, as the conversation turned to Israel. “We’re gonna piss off a bunch of Jews,” Maron said.

Rogen, who grew up attending Jewish schools and Jewish camp in Vancouver, said he was “fed a huge amount of lies about Israel” and questioned why the state should exist. Maron, who often references his Jewishness in his standup comedy material, concurred.

Rogen: ‘To me it just seems an antiquated thought process. If it is for religious reasons, I don’t agree with it, because I think religion is silly.  If it is for truly the preservation of Jewish people, it makes no sense, because again, you don’t keep something you’re trying to preserve all in one place — especially when that place is proven to be pretty volatile, you know? ‘I’m trying to keep all these things safe, I’m gonna put them in my blender and hope that that’s the best place… that’ll do it.’ It doesn’t make sense to me. And I also think that as a Jewish person I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life! They never tell you that — oh by the way, there were people there. They make it seem like it was just like sitting there, like the fucking door’s open!…They forget to include the fact to every young Jewish person.’

MaronI get frightened to talk about it.

RogenI’m afraid of Jews! I’m 100% afraid of Jews.

The entire conversation was what Maron called “the most Jewy talk” he has had on his popular podcast, which has aired over 1,100 episodes…

RogenI remember my dad frankly telling me “People hate Jews. Just be aware of that. They just do.” And it’s honestly something that I am so glad was instilled in me from a young age, because if it wasn’t, I would constantly be shocked at how much motherf***ers hate Jews, because they do! It is pervasive and it is prevalent and it is to many Jewish people so confounding that they don’t assume it’s true…I’ve tried to put a lot of thought into why it’s happened … People obviously hate people who do not look like them. … I think people also have a weird fear of people who look like them but do not believe the same thing they do fundamentally…

As a liberal Hollywood Jew, it’s still socially acceptable for Rogen to criticize Israel and show sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians — but if a non-Jewish actor expressed these same sentiments about Israel, they’d be blackballed and never work again.

While he accepts that he was lied to as a child about Israel, he never the less uncritically accepted the fatuous idea from his father that people simply hate Jews for no reason whatsoever.

A normal child would ask, “But, Dad, why would people hate us for no reason whatsoever?”  But Jews are not normal.

They have blindly accept being hated for no reason for literally thousands of years as if it is some kind of unchangeable force of nature.

And Rogen’s ‘insights’ into why Jews are hated are simply banal — because, as he admitted, he’s afraid of Jews, and he doesn’t have the guts to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

Even President Trump has openly admitted that Jews are “brutal killers” and “not nice people”.

While Rogen knows the Jews in Israel mistreat the Palestinians, but won’t dare take it a step further and conclude that Jews are hated, in part, for wontonly murdering the Palestinians and stealing their land.

Even the ultra-liberal, Jew-friendly Swedes acknowledge that when the Israelis slaughter Palestinian children, there’s a noticeable increase in ‘antisemtism’ in Sweden.

One thing is clear: Jews are far more afraid of each other than they are of any so-called ‘antisemites’.Didn’t Do AnythingVideo PlayerShareTweetPinShare

https://christiansfortruth.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/is4sii.mp4?_=1

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The fatal mistake .. How did Corona spread “silence” among the countries of the world

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

The New York Times, quoting doctors and researchers, revealed that underestimating the Corona patients who did not show any symptoms led to a widespread epidemic in the world during the first two months of the health crisis.

According to the source, it was initially believed that people who contracted the new coronavirus without showing symptoms, did not transmit the infection, but this was not true.

Initially, the researchers suggested that the virus would not transmit from people who had no symptoms, thinking that the emerging Corona virus had the same genetic characteristics as another virus from the Corona family, SARS.

In Germany, for example, the virus entered the country through a person who was in China, and arrived through the airport while he was in full health and wellness, and it was assumed that he would not transmit the infection to others, but the opposite was the case.

This person from China did not suffer from any rise in body temperature, nor did he complain of coughing, fatigue or sneezing.

The researcher specializing in infectious diseases at the University of Munich, Rothy, said that the researchers were confident of their findings on the Corona virus and its transmission methods. Because health authorities ignored those who did not show symptoms, an emphasis was placed on measuring heat at airports, and wearing masks was not imposed on healthy people during the first stage. A scientific team from the University of Munich was among the first to warn of the transmission of the virus by infected people who did not show any symptoms, but their warnings were not heeded.

In light of this disregard, the epidemic prevailed in more regions of Europe, and a record number of deaths were recorded in many countries of the old continent.

And the “New York Times” reported that the world had wasted a full two months in discussing whether the infected people who did not show symptoms of people transmitting the infection.

She added that this delay was due to scientific errors or as a result of competition and rivalries between academics, or perhaps reluctance to accept a clear fact that the containment of the virus requires strict and severe measures.

Researchers say it is difficult to estimate how many people could be prevented from the disease, but some scientists say it would have been possible to protect tens of thousands of lives if governments had taken appropriate measures.

Today, people who are asymptomatic are treated as highly likely carriers of the virus, but the overall responsibility for this group for the epidemiological situation remains unclear.

But mathematical models from scientific bodies in Singapore, China and Hong Kong suggested that between 30 and 60 percent of infections were caused by people who were infected with the Corona virus without showing any symptoms.

Posted in Health, Human Rights, Politics, WorldComments Off on The fatal mistake .. How did Corona spread “silence” among the countries of the world

Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama

by PAUL STREET

Photograph Source: thierry ehrmann – CC BY 2.0

The biggest of the many moral blind-spots that mar the politics of the Democratic Party is American imperialism.

Biden Helped Lead the Charge into Iraq

Look at the Inauthentic Opposition Party’s[1] presumptive presidential nominee.

Biden recently chided Donald Trump in not-so veiled terms for failing to overthrow the democratically elected socialist Maduro government of Venezuela? How imperialist was that?

Go back seventeen years. Joe Biden did not just briefly go along with and get “fooled” by George W. Bush’s case for undertaking the monumentally criminal, racist, mass-murderous, and petro-imperialist invasion of Iraq in 2003. Biden helped champion that epic imperial transgression as a veteran Democratic leader in the U.S. Senate. This was consistent with his strong support for Bill Clinton’s lethal economic sanctions (responsible for the death of at least half a million Iraqi children) and missile strikes on Iraq, for Clinton’s criminal bombing of Serbia, and (later) for (of course) his future boss Barack Obama’s many targeted drone assassinations and disastrous attack on Libya.

Why does this not cancel his candidacy? Because of the giant blind spot that Democrats have on the U.S. imperialism past and present.

Tammy Duckworth was Not “Defending America” or “Democracy”

It is, yes, absurd and offensive for Fatherland News’ star white-nationalist commentator Tucker Carlson to say that U.S. Senator and wounded “Iraq War” veteran Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) “hates America” because she thinks it merits discussion that George Washington was a slaveowner should be heard. George Washington (known to the Iroquois as “Town Destroyer”) was a big-time slaveowner. Anyone who doubts that that makes his national glorification morally problematic is a stinking racist bastard like Tucker Carlson.

But here’s something else that is absurd: Democratic politicos and their media allies leaping to Duckworth defense by claiming that she was injured while “defending democracy” and America. That is Orwellian nonsense: the U.S. invasion, occupation, torture, and damn-near murder of Iraq was a brazenly imperial action. Iraq posed no threat – zero – to the United States in March of 2003.

Bounty Bombast

Look at the drama that Democrats and their many media allies have created over the claim that “Russia paid the Taliban bounties for killing our soldiers in Afghanistan.” The claim is highly dubious, to say the least: even the so-called U.S. intelligence community cannot say for certain that the “bounty program” existed. But what if it did? Who is Uncle Sam to be getting riled up over Russians and Afghans killing American occupation troops half-way across the world just below Russia’s southern border? The U.S. equipped and trained Islamo-fundamentalist extremists like Osama bin-Laden to murder masses Afghanis and Russians in Afghanistan during the late 1970s and 1980s.

What would Washington be doing if Chinese and/or Russian troops were strutting around “on patrol” in northern Mexico? Paying bounties to Mexican drug gangs for every Russian and/or Chinese soldier killed there? No: The Pentagon would be launching missiles and sending in combat troops in the name of the Monroe Doctrine.

And why does anyone think the Taliban needs money from Moscow to want to kill imperial troops occupying their country from the other side of the world?

This is the kind of total absurdity that arises from the doctrinally imposed blind spot that plagues the Democratic Party and its backers.

The Audacity of Orwellian Deletion

With rare marginalized exceptions like Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, Democratic presidential candidates never acknowledge the giant world-historical historical reality that is U.S. imperialism. Take the deeply conservative Barack Obama, whose center-right record has been ironically burnished by the neofascist president (Donald Trump) he helped birth. Released just as he prepared to announce his presidential candidacy in late 2006, Barack Obama’s widely read 2006 book The Audacity of Hope praised the militant racist Woodrow Wilson for seeing that “it was in America’s interest to encourage the self-determination of all peoples [emphasis added] and provide the world  a legal framework that could help avoid future conflicts” (p. 283).

Too bad the Wilson administration’s extreme racism found expression in the brutal U.S. invasions of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. As Noam Chomsky noted, “Wilson’s troops murdered, destroyed, reinstituted virtual slavery and demolished the constitutional system in Haiti.”  These actions followed in accord with Wilson Secretary of State Robert Lansing’s belief that “the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organization” and possessed “an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilization which are irksome to their physical nature.”

Obama’s Audacity audaciously honored U.S. Cold War foreign policymakers for combining “Wilsonian idealism” with “humility regarding America’s ability to control events around the world” (p. 284).  Obama justified lovely examples of that “humility” like the U.S. overthrow of democratically elected governments in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) and the sponsorship of mass-murderous dictatorships in Indonesia, Latin America (Brail, Chile, Paraguay, etc.) and across the world by recycling the doctrinal myth that the U.S. was protecting the world against an “expansionist” and “totalitarian” Soviet Union (p. 284).

In a further act of Orwellian audacity, Obama’s Audacity claimed that “the biggest casualty” of the “Vietnam War” was “the bond of trust between the American people and their government and between American themselves” – not the 3 to 5 million Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians slaughtered by the “U.S. crucifixion of Southeast Asia” (Chomsky’s excellent phrase at the time). For Obama, the massive and racist imperial onslaught inflicted on peasant nations by the world’s greatest military-industrial power was a “mistake,” not a crime. (He even blamed this “mistake” for helping generate the supposed “radical excesses” of 1960s protests!)

Consistent with it right-wing take on the so-called Vietnam War, Obama’s Audacity of Hope also failed to accurately identify the George W. Bush administration’s Biden-backed invasion of Iraq as a monumental crime. In Obama’s myopic eyes, Bush and Biden’s (and Hillary Clinton’s) invasion was a strategic blunder – a “dumb” and “botched” (p.308)war but not a criminal one, It was carried out with “the best of [democratic] intentions” (pp. 290-309).  It was a mistaken effort “to impose democracy with the barrel of a gun” (p.317).

Obama’s blood-soaked imperial presidency was richly congruent with the whitewashing of U.S. foreign relations history in The Audacity of Hope – and in various speeches candidate Obama gave to elite foreign policy groups. Survivors of the Obama years in Honduras (where Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary aided and abetted a vicious right wing coup), Venezuela, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, northern Africa, Palestine and Yemen (among other locations) can tell you a thing or to about it.

And so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut used to say.

Pentagon-Budgetary Cancel Culture

The Democratic Party’s blind spot on imperialism informs and reinforces its giant matching and disastrous blind spot on the Pentagon budget, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of global military spending and up eats more well more than half of federal discretionary spending. The nation’s vast military outlay cancels out remotely proper domestic social spending while funneling massive taxpayer-funded subsidies to high-tech “defense” (war and empire) companies like Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Martin Marietta. Captive to the nation’s giant military-industrial-complex and to corporate and imperial power more broadly even as the nation descends into a runaway pandemic and a Second Great Depression, the Democratic Party has no substantive social policy counter to the extreme right-wing party in presidential, U.S.-Senatorial, Supreme Court, and majority state government power. The Democrats can only pretend to function as a serious popular opposition.

As the Republicans have gone full-on white nationalist and apocalyptic under the command of the Orange Fascist Death Machine (OFDM) called Donald Trump, the dismal, dollar-drenched Democrats spent three years ostensibly trying to the nail the OFDM not for its worst crimes – racist-nativist-sexist neofascism, reckless war-mongering, bacteriological terrorism, and (last not least) eco-cide – but for being corruptly out of step with U.S.-imperial foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia and Eastern Europe. As the liberal Russian dissident Masha Gessen tried to warn Democrats early on, the “Russia Conspiracy Trap” proved a great political gift to the OFDM, which has been accurately described by Chomsky as “the most dangerous criminal in human history.”

Hey Obama: Is it the Apocalypse Yet?

Speaking of fascism, apocalypse, Trump, and Obama, here’s what Obama said privately to the “lying neoliberal warmonger” Hillary Clinton’s Weimar-like vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine during the 2016 presidential campaign: “Tim, remember…you’ve got to keep a fascist out of the White House.” Obama 44, no fool, had an accurate read on his successor, but his assessment was for private and elite consumption only. Here is what Obama said to the American people the day after Trump was elected:

“Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr. Trump’s remarks last night. That’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly.”

And here’s what Obama has just said to younger staff in the Oval office before giving us all the good news about how the next president wanted what was “best for this country”: “This is not the apocalypse.”

When The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick asked Obama about that consoling remark two days later, Obama said “I don’t believe in the apocalyptic – until the apocalypse comes. I think nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world.”

Here we are three years and eight months later. The U.S. is heading to a world-leading 200,000 or more COVID-19 deaths (“America[ns] First”!) by September while the OFDM encourages millions of Amerikaners to disregard and even resist basic public health recommendations. The OFDM has just falsely claimed that the coronavirus is “harmless in 99% of cases.” It has threatened to cut federal funding for school districts who determine that it is unsafe to resume in-person classes next fall. It has pulled the U.S. out of the World Health Organization amidst the global pandemic. Meanwhile, the tangerine-tinted mad-dog killer is taking his fascistic conduct to new heights, embracing “white power” and calling Black Lives Matter a “hate”-slogan while all-too quietly doing everything he can to destroy what’s left of livable ecology.

All of this and more raises an interesting question: Hey Obama, is it the apocalypse yet? Are we there yet?

It probably doesn’t feel like it on a $12 million mansion on Martha’s Vineyard, but it sure does down here on the mean streets of Chicago, where Obama falsely claimed to be from many years ago.

Endnote

1. The description of the Democrats as the “Inauthentic Opposition” belongs to the late Princeton political scientist Sheldon Wolin. In his 2008 book Democracy Incorporated: Corporate-Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, published just half a year before Obama was elected, the Princeton philosopher Sheldon Wolin laid out the nature of what was to come. “Should Democrats somehow be elected,” Wolin prophesied, they would do nothing to “alter significantly the direction of society” or “substantially revers[e] the drift rightwards. … The timidity of a Democratic Party mesmerized by centrist precepts,” Wolin wrote, “points to the crucial fact that for the poor, minorities, the working class and anti-corporatists there is no opposition party working on their behalf.” The corporatist Democrats would work to “marginalize any possible threat to the corporate allies of the Republicans.” It was a prophetic observation. A nominal Democrat was elected president along with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in 2008. What followed under Obama (as under his Democratic presidential predecessor Bill Clinton)– was the standard “elite” corporate and financial manipulation of campaign populism and identity politics in service to the reigning big-money bankrollers and their global empire. For similar predictions issued around the time, see my 2008 book Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (New York: Rooutledge, 2008). For an early “told-you-so” catalogue of Obama’s White House service to each of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, called “the triple evils that are interrelated: – racism, poverty/class inequality/capitalism, and militarism/imperialism – see Paul Street, The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (New York: Routledge, 2010).

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Bounty Tales

by EVE OTTENBERG

The corporate press exploded recently with the dubious story that Russia paid the Taliban bounties to kill U.S. soldiers. This volcanic claim came without one quote for attribution. All sources were anonymous. The New York Times broke the story, but the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and CNN quickly followed suit, boasting that they had confirmed this tale. They had not. They simply parroted the same murky, unnamed, security state sources.

Meanwhile, the CIA was unenthusiastic and the NSA outright skeptical. With good reason. Even your average, media-befogged citizen can see that the Taliban, fighting the U.S. invasion for two decades, does not need bounties from Russia or anybody else as an incentive to kill U.S. soldiers. (And in fact, under Trump, only a few dozen U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan, far fewer than under Obama, so arguably, the bounties, if they exist, have not been very effective.)

In the immortal words of one twitter user, “Putin is hiding WMDs in the Gulf of Tonkin.” That this bounty tale was a fabrication of the first order was obvious to many. So was its purpose: to derail Trump’s peace negotiations with the Taliban. These negotiations are key for a desperate Trump. Anti-war voters put him over the top in the 2016 election, and he wants to snatch those votes again and thus must distract from his horrible, war-mongering record: bombing Syria, nearly starting war with Iran, bombing Iraq, sending more troops to the Middle East, assassinating high-ranking Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, putting a bounty on the Venezuelan president and on and on.

Trump needs a win to claim he’s a peacemaker. And he may get one with the Taliban. So: enter the corporate media, followed quickly by House Democrats and some Republicans. The war party kicked into high gear. Even though the Times published a “clarification” that the article was questionable some days later (a clarification buried inside the paper), the damage had been done.

On June 30, the House Armed Services Committee voted to block these Afghanistan troop withdrawals. Most votes were Democratic, though some Republicans, notably Liz Cheney, joined in. According to The Hill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) “would require several certifications before the U.S. military can further draw down in Afghanistan.” It prohibits expenditures to cut U.S. troop numbers. In other words, the House committee threw sand in the gears of bringing the troops home.

The NDAA also restricted Trump’s plan to remove “9,500 troops from German soil,” Glenn Greenwald wrote in the Intercept, “reducing the number of U.S. troops in this extremely prosperous, rich European nation from 34,500 to 25,000.” Fundamentally, the House committee disgraced itself: it sandbagged two of Trump’s very few decent moves. Hopefully the full House or Senate will strip this amendment out of the bill. If not, maybe Trump will veto it. Then no NDAA until the end of the impasse, which is basically a win for the world.

Meanwhile in South Korea, Trump is accused of letting the U.S. military situation go to seed. But so what? It could be argued that both Koreas should just declare peace and send the U.S. soldiers home. Not, however, according to a recent Foreign Affairs article by Sue Mi Terry, entitled “The Unraveling of the U.S.-South Korean Alliance.” This formerly CIA-associated author cites John Bolton’s new book approvingly, to complain that Trump is more interested in public relations stunts with North Korea than in preserving the military alliance with South Korea.

With this Foreign Affairs article, once again, the security state becomes hysterical at Trump’s very few unorthodox moves – moves which it feared so intensely, from the get-go, that it concocted the whole, phony Russiagate fiasco, which distracted and demobilized people for three and a half years from Trump’s many other atrocious policies, like tax cuts for billionaires, gutting environmental protections, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, and sanctioning countries all over the globe like there’s no tomorrow.

The war party scents danger. But frankly, it can relax. The likelihood that many of the U.S. empire’s over 800 foreign military bases will be closed is very slim. Trump may shutter a few, amid great fanfare about what a nonpareil peacemaker and deal-maker he is, but he is not suicidal. Nor is he up to the task of systematically dismantling the biggest, most aggressive war machine and military empire the world has ever seen, and even if he were, he would not want to become the next JFK. He is a show-man, full of bluster and braggadocio. As he himself has crowed – no president has been harder on Russia than he has.

Trump is more than willing to coddle the pentagon and to shower it with billions of dollars. He just wants fodder for the Trump Show. Alas for him, that show with its public relations stunts involve pentagon interests, and if there’s one thing the military has no sense of humor about, it’s attempts to curb its power. Also, the U.S. military has a very long, tenacious, institutional memory, as countries like Iran, Russia and North Korea can attest. And anyone who dares challenge those grudges, better be ready for the full force of the war party’s wrath and its media’s hysterical prevarications.

Posted in USA, Afghanistan, RussiaComments Off on Bounty Tales

Racism in America: Police Choke-Holds Are Not the Issue

by AHRAR AHMAD

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

The American project was founded on rank hypocrisies. On the one hand, President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the stirring words in the Declaration of Independence which upheld “these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal”, did not free his own slaves (not even Sally Hemings, who bore him six children).

Similarly, the Constitution of the US, celebrated as the first and one of the finest examples of a self-conscious construction of a liberal democratic order, defined Blacks as only three-fifths of a person, not a full human being. Though “slave trade” was abolished by Congress in 1808 a brisk market in slaves continued since it was considered essential for the maintenance of the “Southern life-style” and inherent to the mode of production in a plantation economy. Even in 1857, the Supreme Court ruled (Dred Scott v Sanford) that Black people were to be deemed “property” not “citizens”.

It took a Civil War, and three momentous amendments to the constitution (the 13th in 1865, the 14th in 1868 and the 15th in 1870), for slavery to be abolished, for Blacks to be accorded the “due process” protections of citizenship, and for them to receive the right to vote. (Women did not receive that right till the 19th in 1920).

While the abject inhumanity of slavery may have been legally mitigated to some extent, the institutions, practices and values of exclusion, exploitation and devaluation were not. Constitutional guarantees, and Supreme Court decisions, could be cleverly subverted by States. For example, Black people were denied the right to vote through poll taxes, arbitrary registration requirements, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, white primaries and so on. In 1940, 70 years after they had received the right to vote, only 3% of Blacks in the South were registered as voters. Less overt voter suppression efforts continue to this day.

Similarly, discriminatory laws, often manifested as Jim Crow practices, also imposed second-class citizenship on them in many Southern states.. There were restrictions on residence, employment, bank loans, travel (they had to sit in the back of the bus) and, till the Court’s decision in Brown (1954), the schools they could attend. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 removed many of these ostensible barriers, but the shadows remained long, corrosive and cruel.

ii

While slavery may have been “the original sin” through which America came into being, its treatment of other minorities was not very tender. The ones who suffered the most immediately and most grievously were the Native Americans. This land which was theirs was taken away from them. Today most live in reservations which constitute only 4% of US land area.

They were also physically decimated. They became collateral damages in the relentless westward expansion of the Europeans based on notions of “manifest destiny”. They were killed through forced marches, e.g., the “trail of tears” between 1830-1850, when almost 60,000 of them were uprooted from their habitats and relocated elsewhere, with almost one-fourth dying on the way. There were massacres e.g., in Bear River, Idaho, 1863, Oak Run, California, 1864, Sand Creek, Colorado, 1864, Marias, Montana, 1870, Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 1890, and many others. And there were summary executions, e.g., the largest execution in US history was of Dakota men in Mankato after the Sioux Wars in 1862.

When Columbus had “discovered” America, the Native population was between 10-15 million. By the end of the 19th century, thanks to the efforts to civilize and Christianize those “red savages”, it had been reduced to 238,000. Today, it is less than 7m, or about 2% of the population.

Smaller minority groups in the US faced similar discrimination. Jews were saddled with the long-standing accusation of being “Christ-killers” and their intellectual cleverness and business acumen (both learned from the diasporic challenges they had faced) generated envy and anxiety. They were also considered to be consummate conspirators intent on taking over the world, ironically as bankers and financiers (Henry Ford’s argument), or as Bolshevik revolutionaries (Hitler’s conviction, also echoed by White supremacists in the US).

The Chinese were the only people to be formally denied immigration into the country through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Many Chinese, welcomed earlier as “coolie” laborers to lay the railroad tracks, faced harsh treatment and even violence. The Japanese, restricted through a “gentleman’s agreement” in 1907 from coming into the country any more, were herded into internment camps after Pearl Harbor even though there was not a shred of evidence that anyone had done anything wrong. “Indians” i.e., from South Asia, were not considered to be “free Whites” and thus not eligible for citizenship (US v Bhagat Singh Thind, 1923). Asian immigration was completely banned in 1924, and when the door was slightly opened in 1946, limited by strict quotas of about 100 annually from these three countries.

iii

Thus racism was sown right into the fabric of American history, practices and values. The question that is frequently asked is why, while other minority groups subjected to discrimination were able to prosper later, Blacks did not. There is usually a racist subtext to that question to underscore White assumptions about Black laziness, intellectual inferiority, moral weakness, and collective inability to cooperate, organize and develop social capital. That conclusion is both self-serving and untrue.

First, no other group endured the sheer ferocity and persistence of bigotry in the same way that Blacks did. All others (except Native Americans, whose conditions have not improved) had voluntarily come to the country. The Blacks were captured, enslaved and commodified. They were not scrappy immigrants who came to the land of opportunity to pursue the American dream, they were forcibly brought here and left to contend with their American nightmare.

Second, while others also faced stereotypes and prejudice, none encountered the uncouth mockery and the sheer physical violence that were inflicted on the Blacks. Minstrel shows which caricatured Black people as sub-human beings (played by White folks in blackface), were wildly popular.

But it was the slaps and kicks, the lashes and chains, the nigger hunting licenses and tar-and-featherings, the burning of crosses and the lynchings that were emblematic of the dehumanization of Black people. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, between 1877 and 1950, more than 4400 Blacks were lynched. Many of these lynchings became public events which communities enjoyed as spectacle and the celebration of White power.

It is certainly not that Blacks only understood the language of violence. But this was certainly the only language preferred by Whites to speak to them. Those attitudes and tropes remained, manifested in new forms, sometimes hiding behind police badges. This is vigilante justice dispensed and protected by the instruments of the state, and sanctioned by historical practice. Hence we hear about teaching them a lesson, demonstrating overwhelming force, putting them in their place, to “dominate” as Pres. Trump advised the other day, threatening to use military force if needed. It is for this reason too that Philonise Floyd poignantly pointed out, in his testimony to the US Congress, that his brother had been subjected to a modern day lynching.

Third, there was a psycho-sexual dimension to this relationship that complicated matters even further. While White men had always been fiercely protective about “their women”, their concern and insecurity regarding Black men were particularly pronounced. Even a hint, a look, a word, the slightest of moves that could be construed as expressing Black lust for a White woman, would provoke savage reprisal. This lasted well into the 20th century.

In 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a Black teenager was accused of molesting a white woman, even though she never pressed charges. In the resulting carnage, there were 10-15 White casualties and, by some estimates, up to 300 Black. The entire Black neighborhood of Greenwood, one of the most prosperous Black enclaves in the entire country, was set on fire, more than a 1000 homes and businesses were destroyed. Not a single person was convicted.

Similarly, in 1955, Emmet Till, a 14 year old boy from Chicago visiting his aunt in Mississippi, was accused of making a pass at a White woman by whistling at her. The boy was tortured to death, so badly brutalized that his mother could not even recognize her own son. The perpetrators were acquitted by an all-White jury.

One hears the same refrain in Harper Lee’s 1961 classic To Kill a Mocking Bird.

iv

The Black situation in America remains rather grim. According to the Sentencing Project’s Report to the UN in 2018, Blacks are 3 times more likely to be searched, twice as likely to be arrested, and receive longer prison sentences for committing the same crime. 35% of all executions in the US have been Black, they constitute 34% of prison inmates, and 42% of people on death row.

However, while police brutality and related injustices are obvious, the most overwhelming burden for Blacks is the political disempowerment and economic inequities which they have to bear.

Blacks are approximately 13 % of the population. But currently while their presence in the House is roughly equivalent (52 out of 435), they have only 3 Senators (the highest ever), and no Governors. Of 189 American Ambassadors, only 3 are Black, usually in “hardship posts” or less relevant assignments.

According to Valerie Wilson from the Economic Policy Institute, in 2018, a median Black worker only earned about 75% of what a White person does ($14.92 per hour to $19.79), and the Economist reported that in 2019 mean household wealth was $138,000 for Blacks, and $933,700 for Whites. While more than 72% of Whites own homes usually in nice neighborhoods, only 42% of Blacks do usually in shabbier environments. Unemployment rates are typically twice that of Whites.

Approximately 23% of covid-19 patients are Black, and similar discrepancies are seen in terms of people suffering from blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, asthma, cancer, and other health challenges.

Educational disparities are clear. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, while almost 80% of Whites graduate from high school, only 62% of Blacks do. While 29% of White males and 38% of White females graduate from college, only 15% of Black males and 22% of Black females do.

This is not because of innate intellectual differences traditionally used to explain the “achievement gap” (comparative lower scores in reading and math for Black students). As John Valant of Brookings has pointed out, Black performance in standardized tests has much more to do with “exclusionary zoning policies” that keep Black families from better school districts, “mass incarceration practices” that remove Black parents from children, and “under-resourced Black school districts” that imposes relatively poor quality teachers, weak supportive infrastructure and an environment of hopelessness and despair that students are compelled to endure. Expecting these kids to perform at the same level as others is like tying a weight to their legs and hoping that they can be competitive in a marathon.

Pres. Johnson’s effort to “level the playing field” (his language) led to some Affirmative Action policies, and the formation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965, to provide historically disadvantaged groups some extra educational and economic opportunities. Some progress has certainly been made. A small Black middle class of professionals has gradually come into existence, some Black entrepreneurs have been notably prosperous, and a few Black performers have gained spectacular success in the entertainment and sports industries (unrelated to affirmative action).

But, on the other hand, many Whites resented these programs which were gradually challenged and, in some ways gutted, through charges of “reverse discrimination” (Bakke v Board of Regents University of California, 1978). The sentiment was that these policies unfairly violated a merit-based system of rewards, and created an entitlement culture for undeserving Blacks (conveniently forgetting that Whites had gained from it for centuries). Sometimes affirmative action only meant incorporating a few Blacks in various positions to prove an institution’s quantitative adherence to EEOC requirements. It was tokenist, grudging and alienating. Instead of bridging racial divides, they deepened them.

v

Ay, and there is the rub as Shakespeare would say. The issue of racism is not about a chokehold of a White police officer, but its stranglehold on US society. It is ingrained in the predatory capitalism that the US worships with its emphasis on ugly materialism over human development, selfish individualism over collective welfare, desperate profit-seeking over social responsibility, immoral inequalities over a sharing culture, patriarchal dominance over an inclusive democracy, mindless consumerism over ecological concern, and a phenomenally successful cunning strategy of keeping people, particularly the working class, divided and loathing each other.

It is also true that the races are prisoners of their respective assumptions, perceptions and judgments that lead them to see “the other” in radically distorted terms. Their narratives of history, their engagement with reality, and their judgment of events, condemn them to their own rhetorical echo-chambers, making communications difficult. What the Blacks will see and remember will be vastly different from what the Whites will (e.g., Blacks will hear George Floyd crying out for his mother as a casually sadistic White officer chokes him to death, Whites will be more prone to see the looting). In these conditions hate becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Finally, when racism is reduced, and isolated, to a simple problem (e.g., police brutality), it will let politicians shake their cynical heads and issue condemnations with platitudes and clichés that will come trippingly to their tongues. It will permit them to tinker with this or that aspect of law enforcement and claim to have “fixed it”. It will encourage the power-elite to seek TV-rich moments such as taking a knee, or carrying a BLM placard, or raising a fist at a funeral memorial – high in symbolism but pitifully, perhaps deliberately, low in accomplishment.

As long as they ignore the larger historical, political and psychological context in which White defensiveness and Black weaknesses are located, one can treat the symptoms and not the virus of racism. The intellectual honesty and moral courage this would require has been absent in the past, and there is neither much evidence, nor much hope, that we will see it anytime soon.

Post Script: Having lived in America for many years, I can personally attest to the fairness and decency of the vast majority of colleagues, students, and others my wife and I have met, and the genuine graciousness and warmth of many friends that we have been blessed to have. This merely underscores the point that the issue is not individual but institutional, not personal but structural.

Posted in USA, Human RightsComments Off on Racism in America: Police Choke-Holds Are Not the Issue

COVID-19 Exposes the Weakness of a Major Theory Used to Justify Capitalism

by RICHARD D. WOLFF

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

A cornerstone of orthodox economics is the idea that capitalists’ decisions about investing and producing are inherently “efficient.” This means that capitalists select among all alternative courses of action those whose costs are minimal and whose benefits are maximal. Keeping costs to the lowest possible level while producing goods and services that yield the most possible revenue is what maximizes profit, the difference between costs and revenues. Capitalism, we are told, is the best system because it drives all those in charge of production (the owners and top executives of enterprises) to maximize profits and thus economic efficiency. Capitalists get profits, and the rest of us benefit from the efficiency of production within a capitalist system.

COVID-19 exposes the sham of orthodox economics. It was not profitable for capitalists to produce and stockpile adequate quantities of tests, masks, gloves, beds, etc., to be prepared for the virus. Given the costs to produce these commodities, there was no way of knowing how long they would need to be stockpiled before there would be a demand for and purchase of them. Stockpiling costs. So do monitoring stockpiles for deterioration and replacing deteriorated stocks or insuring against deterioration. There was, in short, no way to know (and thus be able to calculate) the costs in the manner fantasized by orthodox economics.

Likewise, there was no way for capitalists to know or calculate the prices they might receive for selling the commodities they might stockpile. If no major disease arrived, revenues might be very small and take a long time to materialize. If a pandemic arrived, high prices might be charged, but when? If a national emergency brought in the government as the single buyer of such commodities (then delivered freely to the people in need), the prices would likely be much lower. If the United States cooperated with other countries on producing and distributing these commodities, and if such cooperation included pricing, that too would impact revenues from selling them. In short, capitalists cannot know or calculate revenues in the manner fantasized by orthodox economics.

Capitalists in general—and U.S. capitalists in particular—calculated that profits would be greater in other investments than those that could have produced the items needed to prepare for and contain COVID-19. The results (negative revenues) of having inadequately prepared and inadequately contained COVID-19 far outdistance whatever it might have cost to make adequate preparations. Efficiency in dealing with the pandemic was not what capitalism achieved: quite the opposite.

Most orthodox economics textbooks—those actually used now in most college and university economics courses—teach the simple-minded cost-benefit or cost-revenue “model” as if it captured capitalists’ decision-making. Profit-maximizing capitalism is thus justified, as “efficient” society gets the most return for the least effort. The magical sleight of hand here requires that students be told that the model captures the essence of what capitalists actually do.

But that is false. The model captures nothing of the irreducibly unknown and unknowable in both costs and revenues. Instead, the model blithely assumes the opposite, that costs and revenues are in general knowable and known. Only then can the textbook claim that capitalism is efficient. And that is the point of the model and of the textbook: to justify and rationalize a capitalism that would otherwise risk the exposure that COVID-19 now performs.

Actual capitalists know perfectly well how they must constantly guess about costs and revenues, how their guesses are often wrong, and how the fortunes of their enterprises rise and fall as their guesses encounter realities. The difference between economics textbooks and capitalist reality explains the difference between academic departments of economics and “business schools.” Most U.S. universities include both. They don’t have two history or anthropology or English departments. There is a reason for two separate faculties: In economics departments, capitalism is justified and rationalized by “models” such as those based on calculating costs and benefits. In business schools, the models are mostly ignored in favor of examining how to run actual businesses confronting irreducible unknowns (not only in costs and revenues but also in personnel management, enterprise organization, and financing).

One desperate effort of orthodox economics to banish the unknown from their models is worth considering because it seems to have persuaded some. They can admit that the costs and revenues they refer to are not known for certain, but that the “probability” of specific costs and revenues occurring can be known. We can then speak, they tell us, of costs and revenues that are 50, 30, or 1 percent certain, and that can then allow for efficient capitalist decisions based on the known probability of outcomes.

This is yet more magical sleight of hand. Simply put, to know the probability of any specific cost or revenue requires that we know the full range of possible costs or revenues and how frequently each specific cost occurs (how costs are “distributed” across all possibilities). But that is precisely what is not known or knowable. Poor capitalists: in fact, they can know neither what their costs and revenues are nor what all the possible costs and revenues might be nor what probability attaches to each of them. Uncertainty and unknowability are irreducible; they always were.

Thus capitalism does not generate, let alone guarantee efficiency. It’s all a mirage of ideological justification. Capitalism serves capitalists first and foremost. That minority occupies or selects the occupants of most of the dominant positions in society. In this they are like the masters and lords in slave and feudal societies. In those societies, the self-justification of their dominant minorities concerned their physical, mental, or moral superiority and/or their special relationship to God or Gods. Capitalist societies that broke from slave and feudal predecessors also rejected those systems’ self-justifications. Capitalism had to find a different kind of self-justification.

It found one: the fantasy of “efficiency” as guaranteed by capitalists’ profit maximization. We are all supposed to bow down to capitalism the way our ancestors bowed down to slave masters, feudal lords, and kings. COVID-19 exposes what is at stake in continuing to believe in this fantasy.

For centuries, capitalists undertook investments that were “profitable” only because they did not know (and thus miscounted or ignored) all the ecological costs entailed. It was capitalists who moved enterprises from one part of the world to another for higher profits who did not know (and thus did not take into account) the social and human costs involved. It was capitalists who found more profitable investments than to prepare for and stockpile the needed protective equipment to defend public health against COVID-19. They did not know either.

Moreover, it was partly belief in the fantasy—that private profit-driven enterprise is the “most efficient” economic system—that hobbled governments around the world. They did far less than they could and should have done to compensate for capitalism’s failures adequately to prepare for or contain the virus. Across the globe, the more entrapped in that fantasy (as in the U.S., the UK, and Brazil), the worse the death and destruction of COVID-19. Where entrapment was less (as in New Zealand, Vietnam, and Japan)—sometimes because of competing traditional values not or not yet displaced by the capitalist fantasy—death and destruction were minimized.

A positive outcome of the coronavirus disaster would be a wider appreciation that liberating ourselves from capitalism requires rejecting its self-justifying ideology of efficiency.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on COVID-19 Exposes the Weakness of a Major Theory Used to Justify Capitalism

Electoral Interventions: a Suspiciously Naïve View of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World

by TIMOTHY M. GILL

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

If there has been one overarching silver lining to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it is that it has sparked a broader discussion of U.S. intervention abroad. In his new book, Rigged: America, Russia, and 100 Years of Covert Electoral Interference, David Shimer, a New York Times correspondent, pursues the ambitious agenda of examining the last century of U.S. and Soviet/Russian electoral interference. In doing so, Shimer conducted dozens of interviews with high-ranking U.S. foreign policy elites, including CIA members and individuals who served in recent U.S. presidential administrations. In the end, though, he offers up a highly naïve and suspiciously uninformed portrait of U.S. foreign policy, particularly as it involves U.S. state activities in the post-Cold War world.

In its first chapters, Shimer provides a clear view of U.S. intervention in Italy following World War II, as well as U.S. efforts to keep former Chilean President Salvador Allende from coming to power and then collaborating with opposition forces, including General Augusto Pinochet, to have him ousted in a violent coup. The elephant in the room of these discussions, however, is that U.S. intervention existed long before efforts in Italy in the 1940s. Since the inception of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, the U.S. had formalized its self-proclaimed dominance over the Western Hemisphere. Shimer admittedly only sets out to examine the last century of intervention; however, there’s hardly any mention of U.S. interventionist policies particularly in Central America and the Caribbean during the early 20th century – in places such as the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nicaragua. During the past century and before the Cold War, such policies extended even beyond the hemisphere into the Philippines and Guam. All of this is a serious omission from the text.

All together, Shimer seemingly excuses U.S. behavior during the Cold War due to existing global relations with the Soviet Union. According to him, the Soviet Union posed a serious threat to the U.S. and, as a result, the U.S. couldn’t absolutely pursue its allegedly natural interest in democracy. In doing so, he offers very little in the way of criticism of U.S. support for dictatorial governments. Instead, he opts to humanize many of the actors who manipulated elections and deceived foreign citizens abroad. This is somewhat fascinating at times, but paired with the overall tone of the book, it feels rather celebratory.

In the post-Cold War world, Shimer views the U.S. as finally able to pursue its mission all along: democracy promotion. However, there is next to no critical attention paid to the type of democracy that is promoted, what parties and individuals receive assistance, and what actors are sidelined in the process. There is no critical interrogation of U.S. agencies and their objectives, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (and its associated groups: the International Republican Institute, and the National Democratic Institute), and the U.S. Agency for International Development. There is next to no engagement with literature produced by social scientists or even by former employees of the NED/USAID, some of whom have deeply criticized the partisan nature of U.S. democracy promotion. Instead, Shimer believes that such efforts are truly non-partisan in most instances and that funding flows to any democratic actor interested in receiving it.

Research on this topic, though, has shown that funding does not simply flow to any actor interested in it. Rather, it primarily flows to actors that U.S. state elites view as maintaining a similar geopolitical worldview as the U.S. Research has also shown that the U.S. promotes a liberal form of democracy, which while it might include some form of civil and political rights, any emphases on social and economic rights are largely absent. More concretely, support has largely flowed to parties that accept or at least do not challenge U.S. global power, such as the right-wing opposition in Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Shimer’s characterization of this sort of funding as “above board” and out in the open is equally suspect. The NED and USAID provide very little information to the public on what it is they do with taxpayer money abroad. In fact, I waited nearly seven years to receive all of the documents I requested from the NED through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on its activities in Venezuela. This is hardly transparency; it’s public relations management that has apparently fooled some into believing that the U.S. engages in no more covert action. Indeed, much of the discussion hinges on the term “covert,” a term that the NED surely detests what with its Cold War connotations. I know this, of course, because the group requested that the Washington Post alter a headline given to an article I published with them on NED funding in Venezuela in February 2019 initially titled “The U.S. has quietly supported the Venezuelan opposition for years.” As a result, the term “covertly” was changed to “quietly” several hours after its publication. (The link itself, however, contains the original headline.)

We can agree that the NED and USAID at least list the locations they work around the world on their respective websites and within their brochures. But, does it disclose to existing leftist governments that they are helping opposition groups develop campaign platforms? Does it disclose that they work with student groups that protest their leadership? Does it disclose they are funding rock bands to critique them? Does it disclose they are creating fake community groups, and designing all of their materials in order to change the political affiliations of poor, barrio residents?

It’s also stunning how despite the legacy of CIA deceit and lies, Shimer thinks that the former CIA employees he interviews are providing him with the truth. His conclusion from his interviews with CIA members is that the organization no longer attempts to influence electoral outcomes. His evidence, again, are his own interviews with CIA members. It’s quite a feat of naïveté to take such individuals at their word.

Only a few years ago, for instance, former CIA Director John Brennan lied to the public about the CIA domestically spying on Senate staffers investigating CIA use of torture. Earlier, he had lied about the extent of civilian casualties amid the CIA drone warfare program.

Why would any CIA officer tell Shimer the truth about their activities abroad, particularly while on the record? Why would they disclose to him whether or not they are manipulating elections? These sections involving contemporary CIA activities read like propaganda and parody: “I asked the CIA if they manipulate elections these days. Their answer? No, or perhaps very rarely. So there you have it.”

There is a rich, social scientific history involving contemporary forms of U.S. intervention abroad. It shows how the U.S. still engages in partisan forms of intervention. In my own research, members from both USAID and NED told me this: they want geopolitical allies around the world. Even if Hugo Chávez or Evo Morales are democratically elected, so what? If they oppose major aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then the U.S. democracy promotion community will work to change minds and enhance opposition parties. In the instance of Venezuela, this even included working with actors who had undemocratically sought to depose Chávez in a coup in 2002.

As for Shimer’s sections on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, there is nothing new.

It’s a deeply unfortunate book. Shimer gained access to all sorts of political elites, from Bill Clinton to several former heads of the CIA. Yet, he comes away with nothing insightful or nuanced – just a regurgitation of their carefully crafted statements, all of which you could find in their institution’s mission statements. The book has received accolades from The Guardian and the New York Times, to Leon Panetta, David Petraeus, and Hillary Clinton. The latter is not surprising. For a book all about recent intervention, there is little mention of Clinton’s own attempt to keep the democratically elected and undemocratically toppled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from running in elections in the post-coup period.

Hillary herself sought to whitewash her memoirs by removing this information from subsequently published copies of her book. The NED carefully selects adverbs to describe its uniformly non-transparent funding. And we now get an author drinking it all in and providing a suspiciously uninformed and under-explored treatment of U.S. intervention abroad. Look elsewhere for the truth.

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