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The Nation’s New Crime Boss

BY JOHN DAVIS

Photograph Source: Dale Cruse – CC BY 2.0

A great deal of energy was expended recently to influence who would be the next president of the criminal enterprise that is the United States of America. The nation’s criminality was established historically by its extermination of indigenous populations inconvenient to its imperial goals and its enslavement of Africans expressly imported into the country under hideous conditions for the further ease and enrichment of the already wealthy. Although these were crimes initiated long before the formal constitution of the U.S., when the slave trade was belatedly outlawed in 1808, slaves were bred in the Upper South and driven in chains across the country or shipped down the Mississippi to be sold in the Deep South. There, they joined their brothers and sisters in an industrialized system of enforced labor cruelly driven by the whip. The expansion of cotton across the south required the removal of Indian tribes who lived on the land the plantation owners wished to cultivate. Their forced removal included documented acts of genocide.

The nation’s criminality continues into the present, most egregiously but not exclusively, by its refusal to make adequate reparations for these historical acts of inhumanity; by its acceptance of the violently racist policing of minority populations; by its ongoing program of mass incarceration of non-white men and boys; by its deportation of so called ‘illegals’ and by its frequent refusal to give asylum to those fleeing dire political, economic, and environmental conditions south of the border for which the U.S. is primarily responsible. Government sanctioned domestic executions, extra-judicial drone hits on foreign subjects, which may on occasion also kill American citizens, and numerous instances of psychological and physical torture inflicted on its perceived enemies, domestic and foreign, further impugn the probity of the state. A federally sanctioned health care system that is leveraged for corporate profit rather than human need represents a systematic attack on the well-being of large sections of the civilian population, and thus can be considered a crime against humanity. All the while, the nation’s nuclear-armed war machine, embedded in its planetary network of military bases, pursues declared and undeclared wars, creating a global backdrop to the nation’s domestic offenses.

The current president has done nothing to correct this underlying criminality. Indeed, he has exacerbated it by his personal corruption, his fostering of the inhumane treatment of migrants at the country’s southern border, his explicit support of racist, white nationalism and, arguably, his criminal mismanagement of the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The incoming president, however, is deeply enmeshed in the vicious turpitude of Empire, a condition to which he has either actively contributed or passively countenanced during his thirty-six years in the Senate and his eight years as vice president.

Now that the leadership decision has been made, most of the population is split between jubilation and anguish. On the other hand, I spent the long and fevered days of this election in a state of relative equanimity, invested in neither the continued leadership of the family currently at the helm nor in the now imminent installation of a family that not only has a long history of enabling this criminal enterprise but has also personally benefited from its association with the highest echelons of the Empire’s leadership. It would have been useful to have maintained the illusion that the recent contest was between private notions of corruption as practiced, for instance, in the world of casinos, real-estate development, hotels, private clubs and golf resorts, versus the public corruption of influence peddling as practiced, for instance, in the Empire’s outlands where it can be sold in markets awash with armaments and cold hard cash. But such distinctions are razor thin. Thus, there is little reason for either jubilation or anguish at the result. More meaningful perhaps, is to gauge the erstwhile contestants’ wider responsibility, as accessories to the maintenance of the establishment under which the broader sins of Empire are permitted to flourish.

In this time of a recalcitrant lame duck who, it is widely proclaimed, threatened and continues to threaten ‘democracy’ – the fig leaf of respectability under which the nation’s criminality festers – liberal triumphalism is shadowed by a residual anguish that rises to fever pitch when confronted by criticisms of Biden, or suggestions raised, in the enclaves of the enlightened, that he is not the savior whom we all seek. Those liberals whose egos are bound up in the defeat of the incumbent remain immensely fragile – their inner core beaten to a pulp by the ungainly, ungrammatical, incoherent, Trump, and their sense of propriety deeply wounded by the déclassé president.

In early November, sufficient ballots made their way into the hands of upstanding election officials for reliable confirmation that Trumpworld had foundered on the shores of the deep state. The president’s political insurgency is now forestalled, at least until 2024. But this is hardly cause for celebration when his defeat has resulted in the reaffirmation of business as usual, a business which, for half a millennium, has thrived on the exploitation of the great many for the enrichment of the very few, and which, in the modern state, is now expressed as neoliberalism – an ideology which comfortably accommodates the state’s criminal offenses. While this criminality is primarily predicated on an invidious taxonomy of human worth, the government’s gaping ethical void also allows for the relentless breeding, fattening and killing regimes of factory farmed livestock, and permits the gross, unsustainable exploitation of botanical, lithic, and chemical elements for industrial use. The nation’s vast historic and contemporary mining of fossil biomass and its conversion into cheap thermal energy has significantly contributed to the chemical restructuring of the Earth’s atmosphere and to the resultant global warming. The cheap energy of oil and gas has metastasized urban development and enabled rural monocropping which together have decimated the biological diversity of the U.S. land mass. These profoundly existential planetary ills exist as the ultimate brand extensions of the criminal enterprise that is the United States.

Almost four years of the Trump insurgency have not changed these fundamental realities, but they have shifted the terms of the debate. Generals, politicians, lawyers, financiers, the intelligence community, tech entrepreneurs, factory farmers and developers lay awake at night because one of the levers of power over which they believed they had some control was wrested from their hands by an uncultured, overweight, racist, loud-mouthed, sexist pig. For that we should be grateful, for it exposed a vulnerability that has rarely been evident in the almost impregnable bastions of wealth, power and privilege that exist at the core of this nation. It was, as so many in this country recognized and related to, a moment in which the cunning of the uncouth triumphed over the self-servingly venal noblesse oblige of the well-born, well-educated, well-dressed and well-mannered.

Now, we are about to return to a time when the evils of Empire operate with impunity, fully protected within the carapace of democracy, that shell of legitimacy that occludes its own fraudulence and shelters the broader larcenies of the state. The porcine face of corruption soon departs to be replaced by the establishment candidate who has, over his almost five decades in subaltern power, faithfully served the super-rich and the egregiously powerful whose interests are served by their government’s inhumane criminality.

Any euphoria experienced in Trump’s dismissal must surely be tempered by the depression that descends upon consideration of the impending elevation of Biden, poster-boy of the Peter principle, to the highest political post in the land. A career politician deeply mired in mediocrity, connivance and compromise; he reached his apotheosis in the eight years he served as Obama’s wingman. Infinitely less patrician and vastly less intelligent, he was nevertheless an appropriate ornament to Barack’s imperial presence, emphasizing the president’s blackness in ways unavailable to the man himself. Now, he will be assisted in his work of walking back every mildly progressive program blithely promised during his lackluster campaign, by Prosecutor Harris: younger, smarter, more ambitious and far more ruthless than her boss. Thus threatened, we can be sure that her role in the traditionally thankless task of vice-president will be further trivialized by ‘The Big Guy’ and reduced to a token signifier of his commitment to The Movement for Black Lives.

Biden’s elevation to the Presidency will critically constrain the development of a progressive agenda within the Democratic party for a further four or eight years and likely assure a more aggressive foreign policy. In the last half-century, there was never a military action, CIA assassination, or trade sanction against a foreign power that he meaningfully opposed. Despite campaign trail disavowals, we can expect a continuation of Obama’s criminal war in Yemen as well as the cessation of troop withdrawals from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The generals will be back in charge.

Long-time recipient of thin blue line union support, Biden is incapable of delivering peace on our streets – which demands a defunding of their militarized police presence. The future president’s commitment to the continued success of the health insurance industry will fatally constrain the development of socialized health and welfare provisions. Wall Street will continue to be privileged over Main Street. Already reneging on his campaign promise to ban fracking, he remains supportive of the country’s oil industry and seems increasingly confident in his eschewal of the Green New Deal.

The nation’s new crime-boss-elect is a man of mind-numbing mediocrity, but he will, I suspect, be hugely successful in sustaining the criminal enterprise with which the electorate has entrusted him.

John Davis is an architect living in southern California. Read more of his writing at urbanwildland.org  

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Trump’s election defeat: A near miss with despotic selfishness

Racist Trump
By Lawrence Davidson
Trump vs Biden

Donald Trump’s presidential days are numbered and the latest campaign in the culture war for control of the American lifestyle is drawing down to a shaky truce. The campaign waged by the Trump forces was particularly ugly. For the sake of ideologically shaped prejudices, which cut the believer loose from social responsibility, we got the following outcries: (1) “I don’t care if it sickens the community, I ain’t wearing that mask!” (2) “I don’t care if it takes away a woman’s control over her body, abortion has to be outlawed!” (3) “I don’t care if the environment goes to hell in a hand basket, entrepreneurial rights have priority.” And there are a lot more examples of the fractured “ethics” that characterised America’s “exceptional” democracy under the Trump administration.

Donald Trump spent four years glorifying and modelling this selfishness. His worst performance came with the COVID-19 pandemic. At that point, Trump played the role of the despotic Nero fiddling while the United States went down in the flames of a worldwide plague. That display of uncaring inadequacy may be the main reason he lost re-election in the recent 2020 matchup with Joe Biden.

It followed naturally that Biden ran a campaign that contrasted with Trump’s modelled selfishness. Biden repeatedly said that he would “restore decency”, “save the nation’s soul”, “build back better” and “make America America again”. Finally, Joe Biden repeatedly claimed that Trump and his narcissistic ways “is not who we are! We are better than this.” As heart-warming as these sentiments might be, they raise the question whether America has a single, agreed-upon standard for decent behaviour. What if Biden’s claim that Trump’s America isn’t the real America is wrong?

That possibility was set forth on 5 November 2020 by Jenice Armstrong, an opinion writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She lays out a different reality: “the fact that roughly half of Americans voted to re-elect President Donald Trump, despite four years of watching his lying and hateful ways, shows just how wrong Biden is… This is who we are. And, unfortunately, we are not better than this.”

I think Armstrong has a strong argument here, and her conclusion is reinforced by the fact that presently, with Joe Biden having won the election, and no evidence of fraud or conspiracy revealed, millions of Americans continue to believe Trump’s claim that the Democrats stole the election from him. Nor do they recognise that Trump’s ploy is actually an attempt to steal the election from Biden. According to a recent poll by the respected Monmouth University Polling Institute, “44 per cent of Americans think we do not have enough information about the vote count to know who won the election. Nearly one-third believe Biden won only because of voter fraud.”

The near miss

For many among the slight majority of Americans who were glad to see Trump lose, this situation comes as a shock, because to side with Trump and his radicalised Republican Party, to excuse his moral depravity, racism, sexism and disregard for the public good, contradicts the stereotypical image of American exceptionalism – America as the land of good guys, the ones wearing the white hats, spreading democracy and so forth. As Armstrong points out, this image of American exceptionalism is historically false. “America has been on this [ethically indefensible] path since this country’s ignoble inception when our forefathers enslaved Blacks, exterminated Native Americans, denied women the right to vote.”

Yet, there have been recent efforts at redemption. In terms of human and civil rights, aspects of recent American history can be seen as an effort to drag the nation out from the gravity well of cultural depravity. One high point of that effort came in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes and the desegregation of the public sphere. However, it is probably the case that a significant number of American white citizens feared those reforms and never quite reconciled themselves to their implementation. Much of Trump’s support was fed by surviving underground resentment that goes back to Johnson’s efforts. Then came the present pandemic, which spurred a challenge to extreme personal “freedom” in the form of mask mandates and lockdowns. Trump became a hero of those who spurned the needs of public health.

Trump’s incompetence in the face of COVID-19 undermined his general support, and if indeed it cost him reelection, it can be seen as the basis of the country’s near miss with despotism. Yet consider the following: What would have happened if Trump had not botched the pandemic response? In that case, perhaps the large minority who supported Trump in 2020 would have turned into a sufficient majority to drown Biden’s “we are better than this” in a sea of reactionary impulses. The country did indeed dodge a bullet.

Conclusion

Jenice Armstrong of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks that the divide that Donald Trump so dramatically brought forward is too wide for Joe Biden, who sees himself as a national healer, to bridge. As with the Palestinian search for accommodation with Israel, Biden has no “peace partner” among the opposition. Yet, according to Armstrong, the problem goes deeper. She believes the national divide is a permanent condition, “rooted in the fabric of America”. This means that Biden’s pledge to be “a president for all Americans” and unite the country may be nearly impossible.

Yet in the end, a majority of voters did choose Biden. And, in the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson’s success at reform did open up new and positive possibilities. In truth, Trump and his minions do not represent all of us, but just enough of us to frustrate continued progress in the nation’s social condition. And that is the way things will stay as long as the Republican Party is controlled by those allied to Donald Trump’s quasi-fascist worldview – and supported by 74 million voters. Also, Trump does not plan on simply retiring from politics, even though he will now vacate the White House. He sees himself as a once and future president and will spend the next four years planning for his political revival and vindication.

Presently, we are experiencing what Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labour and now Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, calls a “cold civil war”. He concludes:

We may have defeated Trump, but we haven’t defeated Trumpism. We must work to push the Biden administration to tackle the systemic conditions that allowed Trump to seize power in the first place.

Actually, that was what Johnson’s Great Society programmes were supposed to do. At this stage, some 60 years later and in the face of our near miss with Trump’s despotic selfishness, we might ask if Reich’s stated goal is achievable. If Janice Armstrong is correct, American democracy may not be up to the task.

Trump’s degeneracy and America’s moral angst

In “Home”

Truth vs Donald Trump

In “Home”

Donald Trump’s moment: Will it last?

In “Home”

Posted in USA, Politics0 Comments

Will America still be Israel’s bitch? Or will Biden-Harris resist shaming the West?

America as Israel's bitch
By Stuart Littlewood

Keen as I am to see justice done for the Palestinians, I’ve lately become less interested. This is because, for decades, they’ve allowed their rulers to make fools of them. The endless Fatah-Hamas rivalry is eagerly exploited by their enemies Israel, the US and the UK – the “axis of evil” – and provides them a convenient reason for blocking independence. It’s a sad thing when people who have been savagely oppressed and illegally occupied for 70-plus years, and who have all legal and moral rights on their side, cannot unite and speak with a single authoritative voice.

What is even more depressing is the way a criminal pursuit, Zionism, which terrorises the Holy Land, has the West by the balls, terrified to act.

But the other day I was jolted out of my snooze by another great article from Miko Peled: “Yes, Biden and Harris are self-declared Zionists, but a glimmer of hope remains.” He reminds us that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris both brag about being Zionists and most American politicians are infected too, but Trump’s removal from the White House “presents a sense of a new beginning and should be used as an opportunity to change the paradigm on Palestine”.

How come? Because although the politicians might not get it, it’s plain to everyone else (except evangelicals) that Israel is a dangerous, reckless, apartheid state and supporting it only promises instability. “Furthermore, the Netanyahu government is tightly connected to Trump. In fact, one could argue that Trump’s entire foreign policy regarding the Middle East and Iran were dictated by Netanyahu.”

Louder voices please

Peled believes Americans are at last “growing weary of the US arming and financing Zionist ambitions” and beginning to see that Israel not only violates international law and human rights, but is itself a violation of those laws and rights.

Every day that Palestinian refugees languish in camps is a violation of human decency as well as international law… the fact that the homes, land, and property of these refugees were stolen by Israel after they were forced to flee by armed Zionist terror squads – that is an ongoing violation of international law. Each day that Palestinians in Gaza remain locked up in the world’s largest open-air prison is a violation of international law and the human rights of the over two million people who live in the Gaza Strip… No one can be progressive while supporting Israel.

Israel has armed itself with the weapon of anti-Semitism, and the IHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition of anti-Semitism foolishly accepted by governments and non-governmental organisations has created a shield that protects Israel from criticism. But, says Peled, “when the facts are laid out clearly, even the weaponisation of anti-Semitism cannot protect Israel.

There is a change in the air in the United States and although the Biden-Harris duo has declared themselves Zionists, there is an opportunity to push forward an aggressive pro-Palestine, pro-justice agenda… Biden and Harris may be supporters of Zionism today, but that can change. It is the duty of those who care for Palestine to make their voices heard now louder than ever before.

When I interviewed Miko two years ago, he was saying: “The US, and particularly the current administration, accepts that Israel has swallowed all of Mandatory Palestine and there is no room for non-Jews in that country.” European politicians on the other hand “want to appease Israel and accept it as it is. Their constituents, however, demand justice for the Palestinians so, as an act of cowardly compromise, the EU countries in true post-colonial fashion treat the Palestinian Authority as though it was a Palestinian state… even though there is no such state.

They do it in order to appease their constituents without actually doing anything to further the cause of justice in Palestine. These recognitions have helped not one Palestinian, they have not freed a single prisoner from an Israeli prison, they have not saved a single child from bombings in Gaza, they have not alleviated the suffering and deprivation of Palestinians in the Naqab desert or in the refugee camps. It is an empty, cowardly gesture.

What the Europeans ought to do, he says, is adopt BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)

They should recognise that Palestine is occupied, that Palestinians are living under an apartheid regime in their own land, they are victims of ethnic cleansing and genocide and that this must stop, and the Zionist occupation must end completely and without conditions.

Miko back then wanted expulsion of Israeli diplomats and Israel to be totally isolated. 

There is too much tolerance for those who promote Zionism and promote Israel… Elected officials need to be forced to accept BDS entirely. The Palestine solidarity groups need to move from solidarity to full resistance, and BDS is the perfect form of resistance available. Using the tools we have, like BDS, is crucial.

He felt the passing of the Israeli Nation State Law was an opportunity to bring together the refugees, the West Bank and Gaza, and demand equal rights. And to insist that the Zionist regime, which has been terrorising Palestine for seven decades, be replaced by a free and democratic Palestine. “This opportunity will hopefully be seized.”

Unfortunately it wasn’t.

And BDS hasn’t been adopted by the UK Parliament because it is stuffed with Zionist stooges from the prime minister and the Leader of the Opposition down. The government itself vehemently opposes BDS and seeks to criminalise any organisation or public body that supports it, while happily rewarding Israel for every vile crime it commits. The UK’s corridors of power need disinfecting just as badly as America’s.

Meanwhile the Palestinians remain their own worst enemy, giving their quisling rulers a free ride. And their ambassador in London is quiet as a mouse.

David Harris

The ideologue’s tunnel vision: the case of US Zionist David Harris

In “American stooges”

Reality of Zionism

Debunking Zionist dogma

In “Home”

David Harris of AJC

Debunking US Zionist David Harris’s “special Israel” arguments

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, PoliticsComments Off on Will America still be Israel’s bitch? Or will Biden-Harris resist shaming the West?

Kayleigh McEnany sets a bad example for American children

How cartoons are spoofing Trump's heated reaction to the election results -  The Washington Post

By: Mahmoud El-Yousseph

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany Says “Plan Is In Place To Fight Pandemic in ‘Second Trump Administration.’ “Does the White House “Barbie doll” live in Dreamland?The whole world knows that Trump has lost the election two weeks ago.

Good luck to her finding a job that pays her to lie.After all, if Miss McEnany wants to bear false witness, she should at least tuck her cross when she stepped on the podium in the White House Briefing Room next time.

A true Christian is not supposed to lie. She also sets a bad example for American children who see her as a role model.
Besides, the Holy Bible says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness (another word for lie).”

Posted in USA, PoliticsComments Off on Kayleigh McEnany sets a bad example for American children

Micheal Flynn: Treason should not be rewarded

By: Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Inline image


Dear editor

As promised today, President Trump granted Micheal Flynn a full pardon. Wait, wait, don’t tell me! Was he not the same White House official about who Trump once tweeted: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” Flynn has pleaded guilty to those lies about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the presidential transition period.” 

It has been reported that Ret. Gen. Flynn and his son Michael Flynn, Jr. were involved in a plot to kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the US and deliver him to the Turkish government for a $15 million fee During his time in office as Trump’s first national security advisor, which last only 14 days, Flynn has the audacity to call the entire Islamic religion a “vicious cancer” in the body of 1.8 billion people on this planet.

I am old enough to remember the 1985 Iran-Contra Scandal when President Ronald Regan then pardoned Lt. Col. Oliver North for taking the bullet for him. In other words, your loyalty to your boss will be rewarded. That is the way it goes in politics. Trump’s message to America is, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” My two cents on the subject is: What Gen. Flynn did was treasonous and treason should not be rewarded!

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Escalating the Demographic War: The Strategic Goal of ‘Israeli’ Racism in Palestine

BY RAMZY BAROUD

Photograph Source: ISM Palestine – CC BY-SA 2.0

The discussion on institutional Israeli racism against its own Palestinian Arab population has all but ceased following the final approval of the discriminatory Nation-State Law in July 2018. Indeed, the latest addition to Israel’s Basic Law is a mere start of a new government-espoused agenda that is designed to further marginalize over a fifth of Israel’s population.

On Wednesday, October 28, eighteen members of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) conjured up yet another ploy to target Israeli Arab citizens. They proposed a bill that would revoke Israeli citizenship for any Palestinian Arab prisoner in Israel who, directly or indirectly, receives any financial aid from the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Worthy of mention is that these MKs not only represent right-wing, ultra-right and religious parties, but also the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) ‘centrist’ party. Namely, the proposed bill already has the support of Israel’s parliamentary majority.

But is this really about financial aid for prisoners? Particularly since the PA is nearly bankrupt, and its financial contributions to the families of Palestinian prisoners, even within the Occupied Territories – West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza – is symbolic?

Here is an alternative context. On Thursday, October 29, the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, revealed that the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, plans to expand the jurisdiction of the Jewish town of Harish in northern Israel by 50 percent. The aim is to prevent Palestinians from becoming the majority in that area.

The contingency plan was formulated by Israel’s Housing Ministry as a swift response to an internal document, which projects that, by the year 2050, Palestinian Arabs will constitute 51 percent of that region’s population of 700,000 residents.

These are just two examples of recent actions taken within two days, damning evidence that, indeed, the Nation-State law was the mere preface of a long period of institutional racism, which ultimately aims at winning a one-sided demographic war that was launched by Israel against the Palestinian people many years ago.

Since outright ethnic cleansing – which Israel practiced during and after the wars of 1948 and 1967 – is not an option, at least not for now, Israel is finding other ways to ensure a Jewish majority in Israel itself, in Jerusalem, in Area C within the occupied West Bank and, by extension, everywhere else in Palestine.

Israeli dissident historian, Professor Ilan Pappe, refers to this as ‘incremental genocide’. This slow-paced ethnic cleansing includes the expansion of the illegal Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the proposed annexation of nearly a third of the Occupied Territories.

The besieged Gaza Strip is a different story. Winning a demographic war in a densely populated but small region of two million inhabitants living within 365 sq. km, was never feasible. The so-called ‘redeployment’ out of Gaza by late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, in 2005 was a strategic decision, which aimed at cutting Israel’s losses in Gaza in favor of expediting the colonization process in the West Bank and the Naqab Desert. Indeed, most of Gaza’s illegal Jewish settlers were eventually relocated to these demographically-contested regions.

But how is Israel to deal with its own Palestinian Arab population, which now constitutes a sizeable demographic minority and an influential, often united, political bloc?

In the Israeli general elections of March 2020, united Arab Palestinian political parties contesting under the umbrella group, The Joint List, achieved their greatest electoral success yet, as they emerged as Israel’s third-largest political party. This success rang alarm bells among Israel’s Jewish ruling elites, leading to the formation of Israel’s current ‘unity government’. Israel’s two major political parties, Likud and Kahol Lavan, made it clear that no Arab parties would be included in any government coalition.

A strong Arab political constituency represents a nightmare scenario for Israel’s government planners, who are obsessed with demographics and the marginalization of Palestinian Arabs in every possible arena. Hence, the very representatives of the Palestinian Arab community in Israel become a target for political repression.

In a report published in September 2019, the rights group, Amnesty International, revealed that “Palestinian members of the Knesset in Israel are increasingly facing discriminatory attacks.”

“Despite being democratically elected like their Jewish Israeli counterparts, Palestinian MKs are the target of deep-rooted discrimination and undue restrictions that hamstring their ability to speak out in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people,” Amnesty stated.

These revelations were communicated by Amnesty just prior to the September 27 elections. The targeting of Palestinian citizens of Israel is reminiscent of similar harassment and targeting of Palestinian officials and parties in the Occupied Territories, especially prior to local or general elections. Namely, Israel views its own Palestinian Arab population through the same prism that it views its militarily occupied Palestinians.

Since its establishment on the ruins of historic Palestine, and until 1979, Israel governed its Palestinian population through the Defense (Emergency) Regulations. The arbitrary legal system imposed numerous restrictions on those Palestinians who were allowed to remain in Israel following the 1948 Nakba, or ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

In practice, however, the emergency rule was lifted in name only. It was merely redefined, and replaced – according to the Israel-based Adalah rights group – by over 65 laws that directly target the Palestinian Arab minority of Israel. The Nation-State Law, which denies Israel’s Arab minority their legal status, therefore, protection under international law, further accentuates Israel’s relentless war on its Arab minority.

Moreover, “the definition of Israel as ‘the Jewish State’ or ‘the State of the Jewish People’ makes inequality a practical, political and ideological reality for Palestinian citizens of Israel,” according to Adalah.

Israeli racism is not random and cannot be simply classified as yet another human rights violation. It is the core of a sophisticated plan that aims at the political marginalization and economic strangulation of Israel’s Palestinian Arab minority within a constitutional, thus ‘legal’, framework.

Without fully appreciating the end goal of this Israeli strategy, Palestinians and their allies will not have the chance to properly combat it, as they certainly should.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights, PoliticsComments Off on Escalating the Demographic War: The Strategic Goal of ‘Israeli’ Racism in Palestine

In Promoting New Nuclear Power, Biden-Harris Back Fiction Over Science

BY LINDA PENTZ GUNTER

Nuclear fuel assemblies being inspected before entering a pressurized water reactor in the United States – Public Domain

Although possibly a sad comment on his predecessors, incoming U.S. president, Joe Biden, is offering the most progressive climate policy so far of any who have previously held his position.

As Paul Gipe points out in his recent blog, the Biden-Harris climate plan uses the word “revolution” right in the headline — a bit of a departure from the usual cautious rhetoric of the centrist-controlled Democratic Party.

But ‘revolution’ is proceeded by two words which let us know we are still lingering in conservative ‘safe’ territory. They call it a “clean energy revolution”, which Gipe rightly refers to as “focus-group shopped terminology.” He goes on:

”Clean energy is a term forged by Madison Avenue advertising mavens in the crucible of focus groups. It ‘polls well,’ as they say. It means one thing to one interest group, something else to another. So it’s perfect for politics in America.

“To environmentalists, it means wind and solar energy, often only those two forms of renewable energy, and sometimes only solar. It also means good times to the coal and nuclear industry. (Ever hear of ‘clean coal’?)

“So clean energy is one of those misleading words that party leaders and, importantly, fundraisers can use to elicit money from donors of all stripes. Why say renewable energy, when you want to raise money from the coal and nuclear industries?”

The Biden-Harris energy plan hits all the right notes in its opening paragraphs, focusing on a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and emphasizing infrastructure, international collaboration and the protection of poor communities of color, who suffer the most harm from unfettered polluters.

As we know from his public statements, Biden will bring the US straight back into the Paris Agreement on climate and sees the climate crisis as the “number one issue facing humanity”. The Paris Agreement isn’t enough, but the US absence weakens it further.

Still on the right track, the Biden-Harris climate plan looks to the rights and wellbeing of workers and jobs creation. It will adhere to “science, not fiction” and recognizes that energy efficiency has an essential role to play.

And then it goes very badly — if predictably — wrong.

In the section entitled “Biden’s Year One Legislative Agenda on Climate Change,” the document proclaims “We have to get rid of the old way of thinking,” then reverts precisely to that, clinging on to nuclear power as a necessary component of its plan.

So the Biden-Harris agenda lists small modular reactors under its “game-changing technologies.” In a way, that’s correct. Diverting money into small modular reactors will be game-changing. It will put us firmly on the road to climate failure.

The good news is that nuclear power does not play much of a role in the Biden-Harris plan. But the bad news is that, when it comes to nuclear power, the Biden camp has indeed chosen fiction over science.

A bullet point called “Identify the future of nuclear energy” reverts right back to the failed Obama “all of the above” approach to “look at all low- and zero-carbon technologies”, instead of recognizing that nuclear power, a failed 20th century technology, does not have a future.

As Amory Lovins points out, this “low-carbon” approach is a perpetual mistake made by politicians and seized on and influenced by the nuclear industry — to look only at carbon savings, and not at cost and time as well.

“Costly options save less carbon per dollar than cheaper options,” Lovins writes. “Slow options save less carbon per year than faster options. Thus even a low- or no-carbon option that is too costly or too slow will reduce and retard achievableclimate protection. Being carbon-free does not establish climate-effectiveness.”

When you look at the precipitating drop in renewable energy costs versus the ever soaring nuclear ones; when you examine how you can reduce more carbon emissions faster and more cheaply with renewables than nuclear; and when you observe the real life examples of countries whose carbon reductions are greater after investing in renewables rather than clinging onto nuclear; then the only reason to include nuclear power in a climate plan is political.

The Biden-Harris platform will likely continue to listen to the old school. After all, it’s who they know. But if they really want that revolution, they should open their eyes to the reality on the ground.

A recent article in the Socialist magazine, Jacobin, pointed to an example in the Netherlands where a decision was made not to expand an existing nuclear power plant and instead build two offshore wind farms. Although the Fukushima disaster slightly influenced the decision, at the end of the day, as the article pointed out, it was all about “the law of value”, in other words, money. “With the declining cost of renewable energy, nuclear power simply does not make economic sense,” it said.

In an important new study out of Sussex University in the UK — Differences in carbon emissions reduction between countries pursuing renewables versus nuclear power — the researchers concluded that choosing nuclear crowds out renewables and vice versa. This means that continuing to use old uneconomical nuclear plants — or investing in new ones — actually hampers renewable energy development, and thereby progress on climate change, and results in smaller carbon reductions and at a much higher cost.

The study notes that, “per dollar invested, the modularity of renewables projects offers quicker emissions reductions than do large-scale, delay-prone nuclear projects,” the same point made by Lovins. And, as the study also says, the more we use renewables, the more improved their performance, exactly the opposite of nuclear which sees “rising costs or reduced performance with the next generation of technology.”

This last is an important point for the Biden-Harris energy team to note. By including so-called new nuclear, they are dooming themselves to wasting both time and money better spent focused on renewables. Small modular reactors will not, as their plan asserts, come in at “half the construction cost of today’s reactors.” They will be far more expensive in relation to the electricity they would eventually produce. And of course they would arrive too late, and in too small a quantity and generate too little — and very expensive — electricity to make any difference to climate change at all.

Biden-Harris must look at empirical data, not listen to spin doctors and establishment cronies who will keep them anchored to the status quo, thus deferring the very energy revolution they claim they will lead. If Biden-Harris remain in favor of action on climate AND for nuclear power, then they are part of the problem, not the solution.

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Trump’s Nuclear Weapons are Standing Up And Standing By

BY BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

Photograph Source: The White House – Public Domain

The President of the United States has the power to fire off thousands of nuclear weapons and destroy the world.  As succinctly explained by William Perry and Tom Collina in the New York Times, “Mr. Trump has the absolute authority to start a nuclear war. Within minutes, the president could unleash the equivalent of more than 10,000 Hiroshima bombs. He does not need a second opinion. The defense secretary has no say. Congress has no role.”

This is the Trump who contracted the Covid 19 virus and on October 2 was taken to hospital where he was drugged to the eyeballs, referred to the infliction as “a blessing from God”, and declared “I’m a perfect physical specimen.” He then was flown to a massive election rally in Florida on October 12, joining his supporters in shoulder-rubbing maskless happiness and announced “Now they say I’m immune. I feel so powerful. I’ll walk in there. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, just give you a big fat kiss.”

The mental instability evident in these and many other utterances of that “perfect physical specimen” is disturbing.  And the fact that it exists in a man who could destroy the world is terrifying.

The immediacy of nuclear danger is evident in Trump’s attitude to the presidential election itself. As the Financial Times noted, he “has refused to commit himself to a peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose on November 3, citing unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud. He told one rightwing group, the Proud Boys, to ‘stand back and standby’ during last month’s presidential debate.”  His ‘Proud Boys’ supporters constitute one of the armed and deeply bigoted militias that have recently surfaced in the U.S., and nobody knows how they will react in the event of a Trump defeat.  It is of some concern that “Facebook has taken down at least 6,500 pages and groups linked to more than 300 US militias [emphasis added] after it announced in mid-August that it was culling groups that host ‘discussions of potential violence’ on its platform, including ‘when they use veiled language and symbols’.”

If Trump refuses to stand down and get out of the White House in January in the event of a Biden victory, what happens to the nuclear football carried by the military aide who is always the president’s closest shadow?  Would Trump insist on retaining possession of the case containing the essentials required for ordering nuclear war?  Would the military officer carrying the football obey such an order?  What would the rifle-toting ‘Proud Boys’ or other armed militias do about it?

Trump told CNN that “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if this election is rigged” and tweeted “This will be the most corrupt Election in American History!” but did not elaborate on what he will do if in his own judgement he loses the election by alleged fraud. In any event the period between announcement of the result and Inauguration of the 46th President on January 20 will be fraught with uncertainty because Trump will still have the power to issue executive orders that do not require Congressional approval and, above all, the power to commit his country to war.

Given Trump’s mental condition and likely reaction to electoral defeat, the immediate future looks dark indeed, but the one certain thing is that Trump will not lift a finger to help the poor and unemployed who are struggling against the effects of the pandemic.  It is recorded that in 2019 there were 34 million Americans living in poverty.  There were countless millions of children going hungry in the world’s richest country and their lives have got immeasurably worse since the virus struck, but the bankers haven’t been suffering, any more than suppliers of nuclear weapons and associated gadgetry.

On October 14 the New York Times reported that the Goldman Sachs “had a significantly more profitable quarter than expected, lifted by continued strength in the trading of stocks and bonds and gains from certain investments. The bank reported earnings of $3.62 billion, far higher than Wall Street analysts had projected, and revenue of $10.78 billion for the third quarter.”  Just along the road, JPMorgan Chase enjoyed third-quarter profits of $9.44 billion which was a mighty increase on its $4.76 billion last quarter and even better than the $9.08 billion it raked in the same quarter a year ago.

This year in the United States, while children starve and banks are making vast profits, the nuclear arms’ industry is being given $28.9 billion for “modernization” of its vast assets, including $7 billion for command, control and communications, $4.4 billion for Columbus Class nuclear submarines, and $2.8 billion for B-21 long range strike bombers.

So Trump is assured of much support from the money kings and the military of which he is Commander-in-Chief.  In September Fox News reported that 235 retired generals and admirals had signed an open letter saying among other things that “Donald J. Trump has been tested as few other presidents have and is the proven leader to confront these dangers” which is an intriguing claim to make about a man whose heartless crackdown on would-be immigrants resulted in a thousand children being taken from their parents. NBC reported that Trump “instituted a ‘zero tolerance’ policy that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border” and officials “have yet to track down the parents of 545 children.”

These kids were torn away from their parents and are unlikely to ever see them again. And the irony is that Trump has the backing of hundreds of retired generals who believe “the 2020 election affords the American people an urgently needed opportunity to affirm their devotion to the Constitution of the United States and to the American way of life.”

The Generals are right up there with the Proud Boys with the American Way of Life.

Realism does exist among some of the right wing, as in the case of Mitt Romney who is a longtime Republican and was the party’s selection to run for president against Barack Obama in 2012.  Now a Senator, he is ferociously opposed to such humanitarian schemes as Social Security and Medicare, is committed to increasing military spending, and opposes reform of the financial sector of the economy. In short, he is a card-carrying, authoritarian near-copy of President Trump.

But Romney has realized what is happening in America and unlike other Republicans who have similar sentiments has spoken out against its current state. On October 13 he tweeted that the country “has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free nation. The world is watching America with abject horror.”  He now admits that Trump has spent four years confronting and insulting fellow-Americans as well as nations that have even mildly opposed his disjointed foreign policy.

America is suffering from instability in the White House and carnage on its streets. While poverty is rife and the pandemic is killing thousands in the richest country in the world its nuclear weapons are under jurisdiction of an unhinged egotistical sociopath.  Given Trump’s public pronouncements it is likely he will not accept defeat in the November 3 election.  The country will then descend even further into what Romney calls a “hate-filled morass” —  but the main international anxiety concerns control of nuclear weapons.  Is this unstable man in the White House going to be allowed to continue to wield his present authority to start a nuclear war?

It is not surprising that the world is “watching America with abject horror”, because Trump’s nuclear weapons are standing up and standing by in a period of major international tension. Is anyone in Washington prepared and able to control him?

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What the Election Should Have Been About

BY STEVEN DANDANEAU

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Consult Roger Cohen in the Times on the “shrinking American mind” or Max Boot in the Post on the “sleaziest presidential campaign ever,” or any number of kindred spirits, and it is clear that the pundit class is dissatisfied with the depth of political debate in the run up to the 2020 national plebiscite. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, they are correct: political discourse is superficial, drug-down by scandal mongering, juvenile slurs, and, even in the best of times, stale “liberal” and “conservative” talking points. What is done is done. Let me suggest three ways that we might improve going forward.

The U.S. suffers from state-sponsored opacity surplus. In their own ways and at different times, Bill Moyers and Daniel Patrick Moynihan bemoaned excessive governmental secrecy, security state secrecy particularly, and were right to do so. Whether in protection of sources-&-methods or “national security” itself, we know that the Church Commission and Freedom of Information Act have been largely thrown on the ash heap of history. For every Panama Deception and Hazel O’Leary, there are untold instances of mum’s the word, nothing to see here. For every Pentagon Papers and Extraordinary Rendition, there is a movie starring Tom Hanks or Adam Driver instead of a real-live public reckoning. The effect is to increase business for the “true crime” section at Barnes & Noble, and, as noted, fuel a subgenre of Hollywood films (safely produced well after the shooting). But secrecy also undermines public confidence in public veracity and with it the legitimacy of public institutions. They may be wacko, but at least QANON followers exhibit a deep-seated desire to know the truth. If they are not getting it from the White House or Capitol Hill or Pentagon briefing room, then they will look elsewhere.

Let us be clear that this problem is structural. The growth of the U.S. state during the Great Depression and Second World War gave us a form of national state unprecedented in human history. In terms of scale and integration with economy and culture, in terms of its command over nuclear weapons, in terms of its Cold War machinations, the post-war American state is the root source of our opacity surplus, and, in some ways, its chief beneficiary. We can read Charles Beard, C. Wright Mills, Sheldon Wolin, or even Gary Wills, and come away with a good sense of it. But my undergraduate mentor, Robert A. Solo (he the economist author of the little known The Positive State), drummed into me and I have never forgotten, the need for a systems-oriented, structuralist perspective to understand the full dimensions of what FDR et al. bequeathed to their progeny.

Speaking of economics, the superficiality of public discourse on matters economic is no less a problem, the brilliance of Krugman, Stiglitz, Piketty, and Sachs notwithstanding. Call this core issue myopia. What we have here is not a failure to communicate: to communicate mathematically complex analyses, communicate germane historical lessons, or to communicate multidimensional, dynamic policy prescriptions; what we are experiencing, I believe, is a failure to question basic assumptions, and to grapple, not with the last war, but the war we are fighting currently. In a word, economists are like almost everyone else: they are myopic with respect to the implications of climate change.

Economists, and I stress, most people, even me, have not quite admitted to themselves, nor fully gamed out, that the global economy, in broad strokes, is unsustainable. More to the point, it is killing us. Capitalism is an inherently growth-oriented economic system, but infinite “growth” was bound to end up a problem on a finite planet. Sure, we might eliminate use of fossil fuels, eventually. We might even regulate the pursuit of self-interest, reigning in corporate power and mercantile state policies and bolstering worker rights and environmental protection in all four corners. But the core issue would remain unscathed: the continual expansion of production and consumption worldwide, as currently organized and protected by law and vested interests, is detrimental to sustainable human existence, and for “surplus populations” especially (but don’t tell them, whoever they are, lest they get restless).

Instead of debating what to do about this dire predicament, pols, pundits, genuine economic experts, and charlatans alike skate past the core issue in favor of well-worn ideological debates born at the dawn of modern times and given their current shape by the Great Depression. Joe Biden wants to increase home ownership. Donald Trump wants to protect the oil and gas industry. Joe Biden wants to address “the existential threat” of climate change by rejoining the Paris Accords. Donald Trump wants to rake forests. It is mind-numbing, and worse, beside the point. Meanwhile, intellectual surrogates tout policies agendas that, if they worked perfectly, would restore a measure of perhaps less unacceptable class inequality alongside a measure of perhaps not completely unhelpful entrepreneurial freedom, disturbing the basic set-up that is modern global capitalism not one iota. Even the self-labelled democratic socialist from Vermont, if he had full run of the house, would deliver little more than a new New Deal. Compared to FDR’s early rhetoric and policy agenda, let alone Norman Thomas’, Sanders’ democratic socialism is, I am afraid, weak brew and nothing like what is needed in postmodern times.

I do not want to leave an impression that politics concerns only state and economy, however preponderant they and the issues rooted in them are. We might add a third essential sphere to the analysis, the sphere of culture, and here we might identify that which underlies debates on abortion, racism, and sexuality as surface manifestations of what is really a debate about enlightenment. Call it w[h]ither enlightenment? Those fortunate enough to have access to accumulated knowledge about nature and humanity are in relatively superior position to weigh and assess the very meaning of our existence. Those less fortunate may be ignorant, or, more likely, immersed in irrational alternatives. As quantity and quality of education rise, so, too, does the citizenry’s inclination toward “progressive” political positions. In the opposite direction we find what Marx and Engels derided as “rural idiocy.”

But if it were only that easy, then we would have a clarity about what needs doing: more modern western education, more urbanization, and, voila, we have lessened if not eliminated socio-cultural backwardness and intellectual immaturity. The problem, however, is deeper, and is suggested by the fact that France gave the world “race,” Germany the Holocaust, and the United States of America the atomic bomb. The paragons of “rationality,” the societies and peoples regarded as locus classicus of science, technology, and cultural edification, have loosed destruction and mayhem upon the world and are no less responsible for McDonalds, Planned Residential Neighborhoods, and Planned Parenthood. Might there be fundamental problems with “science,” “enlightenment,” core Modern Western values? Should we continue to view Earth as for humanity? Should we view ourselves as bereft of spirit? Should our lives begin and end in hospital, with lots “General Hospital” viewing in between? For a moment, do not take a position on these questions. Just give yourself permission to imagine the vitality of the public conversation. Our politics might be less superficial and more engaging if we listened to, maybe not Marianne Williamson per se, but her learned sisters around this mishappened planet-based world.

So there you have it. To deepen political discourse for several hundred million voting-age adults in the United States (perhaps elsewhere too), we might try lifting stifling state secrecy (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, anyone?), talking seriously about how we can make a living in the twenty-first century (maybe start with the food system?), but save room for self-critical reflection on life and learning themselves (Francis and the Dali Lama may be willing to moderate a helpful discussion). Yes, with youth suicide rates through the roof, maybe we could spare time for talk about life worth living.

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NPR and the Corporate Criminal Element

BY RUSSELL MOKHIBER

John Lansing, CEO, NPR.

Ever wonder why you rarely hear serious discussion on National Public Radio (NPR) about corporate crime and violence?

For a hint as to why, pick up the most recent NPR annual report, and flip through the listing of corporate criminals and other major recidivist law violators on the corporate sponsor page.

ExxonMobil (guilty plea Exxon Valdez oil spill), Lumber Liquidators (guilty plea environmental crimes), Panasonic (guilty pleas antitrust crimes) and Tyson Foods (guilty plea clean water violations).

ExxonMobil, Lumber Liquidators, Panasonic, Tyson Foods — those are just some of the major corporate donors to NPR that have pled guilty to crimes.

And then there are many more major corporations on the NPR sponsors list that settle serious criminal charges with the watered down deferred and non prosecution agreements.

And then there are those major companies that settle major False Claims Act and other charges of major law violations with multi-million civil settlements.

Suffice it to say that the corporate criminal element has infused NPR with millions of dollars of donations.

And what does NPR have to say about this?

NPR did not return calls seeking comment.

Nor did NPR CEO respond to a letter from Ralph Nader.

Nader last month wrote to NPR CEO John Lansing wanting to know about NPR’s guidelines for taking money from recidivist corporations.

Nader took to Twitter to try and get an answer from Lansing.

“The head of NPR @johnlansing is not responding to our request for criteria applied to misbehaving corporate donors like Raymond James. We’re asking @NPR when such corporate donors deserve a ‘no thanks,’” Nader wrote.

With just a quick scan of the list of NPR corporate sponsors, it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly that NPR either doesn’t have such guidelines or doesn’t enforce them.

“Raymond James is a major sponsor of National Public Radio,” Nader wrote to Lansing. “One sponsorship promotion on NPR, Raymond James says: ‘Since our beginning, our business has been people and their financial well-being.’”

“Raymond James’ business has also been about regularly settling charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other regulators alleging that Raymond James violated the law,” Nader wrote.

Nader listed a number of recent Raymond James settlements, including last year when Raymond James paid $15 million to settle SEC charges alleging that it improperly charged advisory fees on inactive retail client accounts and charged excess commissions for brokerage customer investments in certain unit investment trusts (UITs).

“A quick search of the Internet finds no NPR reporting of these and other instances of Raymond James alleged law violations,” Nader wrote. “In case I missed it, could you please send me some NPR reporting on these and other instances where Raymond James has strayed from its commitment to ‘people and their financial well-being’? In addition, could you please send me your guidelines for taking money from recidivist corporations?”

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