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American Resistance To Empire

2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, 850 Tons Beyond MVRhosus Capacity

“Gross tonnage 1900 tons”

[It has been reported that there were 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in the warehouse at Beirut Port, all reportedly from the MV Rhosus.  That is 850 tons more than the Rhosus was capable of holding…on top of that, it is reported that the Rhosus originally stopped at Port of Beirut in hopes of taking on extra cargo on top of their full load.]

RHOSUS, IMO 8630344

IMO number 8630344
MMSI 214181621
Name of the ship RHOSUS
Former names RHOSUS CL (2012, Moldova)
RHOSUS (2012, Georgia)
NEW LEGEND GLORY (2008)
ZHENG LONG (2007)
SEOKJUNG NO.505 (2005)
DAIFUKU MARU NO.8 (2002)
Vessel type General cargo vessel
Operating status Active
Flag Moldova
Gross tonnage 1900 tons
Deadweight 3226 tons
Length 86 m
Breadth 12 m

Damage Map–Beirut Explosion Aftermath

NASAs ARIA team, in collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore, used satellite data to map the extent of likely damage following a massive explosion in Beirut.

NASA’s ARIA team, in collaboration with the Earth Observatory of Singapore, used satellite data to map the extent of likely damage following a massive explosion in Beirut. Dark red pixels represent the most severe damage. Areas in orange are moderately damaged, and areas in yellow are likely to have sustained somewhat less damage. Each colored pixel represents an area of 30 meters (33 yards).

The map contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by ESA (European Space Agency) and analyzed by ARIA team scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, and Earth Observatory of Singapore. Based in Pasadena, California, Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information on ARIA can be found here: https://aria.jpl.nasa.gov/.

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Zionists and Neocons Fumble Sympathy Bid, Seize Opportunity To Blame Beirut Explosion On Hezbollah

[SEE: Zionist State Feigns Sorrow Over Beirut Blast, After Everyone Started Blaming Them]

Hezbollah is responsible for the Beirut disaster

LEBANON—WHAT HAPPENED?–By Dr. David Wurmser

S. Nasrallah: Hezbollah has nothing to do with the explosion of the port. The accusers are despotic liars.

sayed

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks on the latest national events and incidents on August 7, 2020.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah dedicated his entire speech to the tragedy that struck Lebanon by the nitrate explosion at the port of Beirut.

He began his speech by offering his condolences to the victims, the martyrs, the wounded and the missing, their families and those who lost their homes and were injured by this incident that cost more than 150 people and wounded more than 5,000.

“We are facing an exceptional incident in our modern history, which requires a specific related reaction in all areas”, he stressed.
Paying homage to the state, medical corps, civil defense and popular institutions that rushed to rescue the victims, Sayyed Nasrallah also praised the help and support efforts that have been provided by foreign states and organizations, according to him, which should “give opportunity to lift the embargo imposed on Lebanon ”.

However, he stopped at the third scenario, the Lebanese political scenario, where some political leaders, in addition to some regional states and their media, explored the incident to settle their accounts with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the government of Hassan Diab and especially with the Hezbollah.
“Even before they understood what had happened, these parties began to accuse Hezbollah, either by claiming that it has weapons and ammunition deposits in the port of Beirut, or by saying later, when the preliminary investigation certified that the shipment of nitrate nitrate to origin of the problem, what faith Hezbollah who deposited it in the port. They wanted to tell the affected Lebanese that Hezbollah is responsible for this disaster, for the death of people, for the wounded and for the destruction of their homes ”, he lamented, assuring that it is only lies and misinformation.

“These are unjust and arbitrary accusations against us. These are unfair claims that I wanted to answer, ”he said.
Nasrallah continued: “I can be sure that there has never been a deposit of Hezbollah weapons or ammunition at the port, neither in the past nor now. The investigation will soon reveal all the truths ”.

Proposing that the investigations be carried out by the Lebanese Army, which enjoys the confidence of all Lebanese protagonists and of all communities, the leader of Hezbollah, insisted on the need for them to be carried out, and that those to be tried should be punished he “the only eats from that the Lebanese Government really exists or from that there is hope that it can exist ”.
Addressing those who blame Hezbollah, he Garantieu that his efforts will fail.

“Anyone who has opened a war against us, against resistance and the axis of resistance, knows that their efforts will not have the desired results. This resistance thanks to the confidence of the people, their national and regional positions is certainly greater than being wronged by liars who incite civil war and deforming reality, the despotics. They will fail ”, he concluded.

Key speech ideas

I had announced that I wanted to speak last Wednesday before this tragic incident, some issues related to the current situation, about the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine, about the international tribunal and the date of August 7 (the announcement of his verdict final) and about the new coronavirus that had a new increase in Lebanon and the national fuel crisis besides some regional problems. But when this tragic incident happened I decided to change it and I will only talk about this tragic incident that happened in the last few days.
We are facing a large-scale disaster, which has affected all Lebanese. Beirut is home to all communities. There were more than 150 Lebanese, Syrian and other national martyrs.Thousands of wounded, dozens of people missing and homeless. The population experienced a panic seeing the buildings trembling as if there was an earthquake. Its side effects are very dangerous and the scenes that we have all seen show this very well.

We are facing a real tragedy, an exceptional, unprecedented incident and this will have consequences in several areas, aggravating the economic and financial crisis.

I extend my condolences to all families that have been harmed and affected by this explosion. I ask God for the healing of all the wounded and to give us patience and we demand a specific reaction in all areas.

It has a collegial feeling of solidarity and compassion that deserves great national and moral esteem that characterizes our people. Several State institutions took to the streets, but the most captivating was the popular enthusiasm that followed, civil organizations, young people, citizens came down to sweep the streets and remove debris, in addition to blood donation campaigns. Many families offered their homes to shelter the victims of the disaster.
Hezbollah, for its part, has not failed in its duty and all its institutions and human and material capacities are at the service of the institutions of the State and our people.The shelter project for those who lost their homes must be given priority and be taken seriously and we are fully prepared to help families who have lost their homes to find shelter and accommodation.

The second scene that presents itself comes from outside: the positions of many states of the world, religious, Christian and Muslim references, Sunnis and Shiites, political forces and others were part of a great movement of compassion and solidarity. We can only greet and thank them.
It is the various delegations that have come to Lebanon, including the visit of the French President, whom we welcome. All calls for help from Lebanon and to unite Lebanese are welcome. We want to emphasize the positive aspects, although some of these should be treated with caution. This opens up a new opportunity for Lebanon to exit the embargo.

The third scene before us is at the Lebanese national political level:

It is said that people who enjoy a certain moral standard and a certain sense of responsibility, when a tragedy or catastrophe occurs, all freeze their conflicts and suspend their internal disputes. They act morally in order to overcome the disaster and then open their notebooks again.
What happened, unfortunately, since the early hours of the disaster, when people didn’t even know what had happened yet, about the nature of the explosion, what the nature of the explosion was for, about the nature produced, whether fortuitous or premeditated , certain forces together with their media have gone out to spread a clear and definitive version, according to which the explosion of the deposit is due to Hezbollah missiles, or is a deposit full of Hezbollah ammunition and weapons.

Even when official authorities assured that there were no missiles or ammunition and that it was the nitrate that exploded, they went on to accuse Hezbollah of having done so.

In addition to the fact that it was a fortuitous accident, or due to missiles or aircraft attacks, the main thing for them was to accuse Hezbollah, to tell the Lebanese that it was this party that destroyed their homes.
This is a great injustice and is not called freedom of expression. We were also wronged, and we were directly affected in the incident, as we lost lives, we have many injuries in addition to material losses and jobs.

Although this subject does not deserve to be talked about, but a category of people can be influenced by this speech and really believe that Hezbollah is to blame because it has not reacted. I was told it was not worth talking about, but I made a point of raising this injustice.
I can say with certainty that there was never a deposit of Hezbollah weapons in the port, neither in the past nor now. Tomorrow the investigation will reveal all the truths.

It is important that these unjust and arbitrary lies and manipulations pass.
No foreign media serialized this version of events that remained the prerogative of these local and Arab political forces. Some have adopted another version that although Hezbollah does not have an arms depot at the port, it will be held responsible for the disaster because it controls the port. That is a big will lie.

We have nothing to do with the port, we do not know what is happening there, or what is stored inside.
Yes, we know what is happening in the port of Haifa much more than in the port of Beirut, because it is related to the conflict with the enemy. We know that we will always hear this symphony from this oppressive and despotic people who have always continued to speak.
The investigations will allow in the near future to clarify everything about what happened, and I hope that Lebanese public opinion will judge these media that have sown lies by abstaining from hatred and resentment, and not follow them because they will no longer have credibility and are part of the battle that the country craves.

This is not a political charge, when you lie to people by accusing a party and blaming it for death and destruction. In addition, we saw the political exploration of the event. Who has problems with the head of state, with the government and with us has to abstain.

We do not want to talk about this because now is the time for solidarity and action to reverse the aftermath of this tragedy. But as soon as it ends catastrophe, we will shelter the files. I don’t want to raise controversy now. The priority today is solidarity and compassion.

The main thing now is to carry out investigations to appoint those responsible and hold them accountable. An investigation must be carried out, at the request of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, ensuring that all involved are judged. This will be a good start.

What the Lebanese unanimously aspire to is a serious and diligent work for a transparent and complete investigation, to punish those responsible.
We are among those who demand this. It is not allowed to hide reality. We must avoid the ancestral means that have always governed Lebanon on a confessional basis and on confessional balance sheets. Those responsible must be tried in public for their crimes and responsibilities. They should not be spared because they are members of the community. Nor to condition that there is community balance and verdict.

I want to give answers to the political forces that ask which parties will carry out this investigation and that express their suspicions. Knowing that all Lebanese protagonists trust the Lebanese army, they are the ones who must carry out the investigations. All Lebanese have to trust our security agencies and encourage them to do a thorough job and a serial investigation. The army is the best choice.

On this point, I would like to add something:

As the incident is exceptional, the behavior of the Lebanese state must also be serious and responsible, as this is not an issue related only to the head of state or the government. All state institutions are concerned. It is not allowed to politicize an event like this.
The behavior of these institutions will have an impact on the fate of the country, whether or not there is a state in Lebanon or whether there is hope that there is one. If the State institutions do not carry out this investigation, it means that there is no State and that there will never be ‘.
Even if the incident was accidental or premeditated, this disaster reflects the problem of corruption and neglect.If we cannot elucidate what happened and try those responsible, it means that there is no state. This would mean that we are facing a crisis in the state system.
I appeal to be extremely serious and determined to prosecute those responsible for this incident to give hope to the Lebanese people.

I end with a colon

Disaster days are days of sacrifice and additional burdens, but they must also offer new opportunities. The reaction of different countries and states of compassion to the disaster presents this opportunity and we must take advantage of it.

The final point: all those who have opened a battle against our party, against resistance and the axis of resistance, know that they will not achieve any of the desired results. Their efforts will end in failure because the national and regional powers of our resistance, in addition to the trust of the people, are greater than being wronged or judged by unjust and despotic people who incite civil war, as faith always does. They are liars who disguise reality.

END

Source: Al-Manar

Speed of Beirut Blast Wave Confirms Ammonium Nitrate, NOT Military Grade Bomb

giant plumes of black smoke from a ship burning with tall buildings in the background
Early reports of the blast revealed that the building that sparked the eruption may have been storing large quantities of ammonium nitrate, a flammable chemical that has relatively harmless manifestations as fertilizer but has also been experimented with as a rocket fuel.PHOTOGRAPH: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

RACHEL LANCE

A blast injury specialist explores the chemistry—and history—of explosions like the one captured in videos that swept across the world.


ON AUGUST 4, 2020, a massive explosion blasted deadly waves through downtown Beirut. Then, video of the fireball rippled around the world almost as quickly. Now, details of the blast that started in a fireworks storage area by a small storage building at the end of a Beirut pier trickle in as the world waits to hear what the final death, injury, and destruction tallies will be. However, in a way, the world already has some idea what to expect, because similar blasts have occurred before.

As a biomedical engineer with a doctorate in the patterns of injury and trauma that follow an explosion, scraping together information from accidental blasts is part of my daily work. The more mundane explosions are rarely this size, but the same principles of physics and chemistry apply. Science, along with a few case studies from history, let me do some preliminary calculations to puzzle out this explosion, too.

In 1917, an accidental detonation of 6 million pounds of hodgepodge high explosives in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, left a swath of wreckage that, at least until Tuesday, was the largest nonnuclear explosion ever created by humanity. As we learn more about Beirut, which could possibly challenge that record, the story of Halifax tells us what we might expect to learn about the ensuing trauma, and the modern cell phone videos, along with the blast physics gleaned by scientists in the intervening century, tell us why those patterns of trauma occurred in quite the way they did.

The Frisky Chemistry of Ammonium Nitrate

Every fire is a rearrangement of molecules, and an explosion is basically a fire turbocharged into a hyper-energy-fueled frenzy. Unstable structures barter and swap atoms with one another until all of them, happy with their trades, blissfully settle into more relaxed, lower-energy states, like rocks reaching the bottom of a hill. But their excess energy has to go somewhere. In a campfire, where the chemical reactions are facilitated in a leisurely way by the oxygen in the air alone, energy is released slowly as enjoyable levels of heat and light. In an explosion, however, the devilish little instigator that is oxygen shoves the process into overdrive.

Early reports of the blast revealed that the building that sparked the eruption may have been storing large quantities of ammonium nitrate, a flammable chemical that has relatively harmless manifestations as fertilizer but has also been experimented with as a rocket fuel. Oxygen is the key to ammonium nitrate’s deadly habit of exploding, and given that 47 known, major, accidental ammonium nitrate explosions have occured in the last century, it is undeniably a habit. “Ammonium” is a nitrogen atom with four hydrogens, written NH4+, whereas the “nitrate” part of the mix is a nitrogen with three oxygens, NO3. Under boring everyday conditions, the + of the ammonium and the  of the nitrate pull the two molecules into a harmless hug, but when you add a spark—or a firework—the molecules realize that their very atoms can get a little friskier and convert into something completely new.
When ammonium nitrate is manufactured as fertilizer, it is mixed with other chemicals that usually stop this reaction from happening, though as the 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer Company proved, those chemicals are not always successful. The first reports out of Beirut suggested fertilizer may have once again been the culprit. However, photos shared on social media showed bags marked “Nitroprill HD” supposedly being stored at the Beirut pier, and some have speculated that if those photos are accurate, Nitroprill may be a knockoff of the name-brand blasting agent Nitropril. Nitropril is designed for use in coal mines, so this particular breed of ammonium nitrate would not have been mixed with quieting chemicals like a fertilizer would be; rather, it would have been mixed to blow.

And nitrate, when mixed to blow, wants to ditch those little Os. It’s chemically unstable, meaning the bonds between the Ns and the Os vibrate with an unhappy level of physical tension. Overloaded with three oxygens, NO3 is eager to shove some onto any neighbor, and with a little bit of heat to get things moving, it will do so willingly. NH4+ is all too happy to accept.

The chemical rearrangement of ammonium nitrate answers a lot of the public questions about the videos, including the source of the startling red color of the plume. One of the byproducts of NO3 as it sheds all that oxygen is nitrogen dioxide, which has a logically obvious chemical structure of NO2 and looks deep, blood red. Many explosive materials give off tints and hues during a blast that suggest their chemical composition—chemical additives to color both smoke and explosions have been around since before the 1920s and are how we get different-colored fireworks and signaling flares—and it’s nitrogen dioxide that gives an ammonium nitrate explosion its signature, ominous blood-like tone. A small blast can look subtle and orange-ish, but on a large scale like at Beirut, the sunlight helps deepen its hue.

According to Brad Wojtylak, a special agent bomb technician and certified explosive specialist with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, when smoke plumes are large enough, they begin to catch the sunlight, and refraction will darken the normal colors produced by any explosion. Wojtylak is not directly involved in the Beirut investigation but has 16 years of experience investigating blast accidents. He says as sunlight bounces around within the cloud of contaminants, other, less determined wavelengths get refracted off in different directions. When a smoke plume happens on such a large scale, only the longest wavelengths, the red shades, persevere all the way through to the viewer on the other side. So, the natural reddish color becomes even deeper, richer, darker than it would be for a small blast.

An explosive with a pure burn, like any explosive used in military-grade weaponry, will produce smoke that looks equally pure: snowy, billowy white, or sometimes a pale grey. But accidental explosions are far less tidy, and their sloppy combustion also produces ash, particulates, and gross black charred contaminated matter. This black gunk billows into the sky along with the other byproducts, coloring the smoke plume, like the charcoal residue left behind after the more efficient parts of the campfire wood have burned away. To a blast expert, the videos, with their roiling cloud of black and red curling over the pier of Beirut, scream “ammonium nitrate.”

Not a Shock Wave

The videos also show an unnervingly uniform hemisphere of white propagating outward from the blast site, a dome of vicious vapor that eventually hurtles toward every person filming and announces its arrival in the audio with a crash. This hemisphere is the pressure wave produced by the explosion.

No, it’s not a shock wave. It’s a pressure wave, and that key difference affects the number of casualties expected. A shock wave goes from zero pressure to its absolute maximum pressure in literally zero seconds. The impact of a pressure wave is like hitting the ground after rolling down a steep cliff; the force of a shock wave is like hitting the ground after falling through the air and reaching terminal velocity. High explosives produce shock waves; low explosives, like ammonium nitrate, produce pressure waves, which have a bit of slope to their shape, a period of time over which the pressure increases more gradually.

Shocks, because of their fascinating and complex physics, travel faster than the speed of sound, and they cause far more damage than pressure waves. Thankfully, we know this blast did not produce a shock because the speed of the water-vapor-filled white dome can be measured.

The speed of sound in air is 343 meters per second. Based on the viewing angle and distinctive red chairs pictured in some of the later frames, I traced one of the Beirut videos posted by The Guardian to its filming location on the rooftop terrace of La Mezcaleria Rooftop Bar, and measured it to be 885 meters from the center of the blast. From that vantage, the pressure wave can be seen neatly traveling from the center of the blast first to the point halfway between the end of the pier and the edge of the long, massive gray grain silo building, a distance of 151 meters, then to the end of the pier, 262 meters, then eventually to La Mezcaleria.

By measuring the times at which the pressure wave reaches these landmarks on the video, we know that, as it blazed down the pier, its rampage occurred at a speed of only 312 meters per second. That’s slow for a bomb. Then by the time the audible crash and mayhem reached the formerly peaceful and picturesque outdoor bar, it had slowed to at most 289 meters per second. The pressure wave, slower than the 343 meters per second speed of sound, caused destruction, horror, confusion, shattered glass, torn-apart flat surfaces, and disorientation for onlookers as their ears were subjected to the rapid pressure fluctuations. But a shock wave could have caused them to drop dead from lung trauma as they watched.

In the 6 million-pound Halifax explosion of 1917, the propagation of the shock wave through downtown left a swath of fatalities reaching 1.5 miles from the center of the blast, killing an estimated 1,950 and leaving another 8,000 with devastating injuries. (The ships that exploded in the harbor were known to be carrying high explosives, which by their nature always make shock waves.) In Beirut, thankfully, while building damage has been reported up to 5.6 miles away, because the low-explosive ammonium nitrate made a pressure wave rather than a shock wave, the fatality estimates so far are still in the hundreds, even though the charge size was likely larger than the bomb in Halifax.

Thanks to modern technology that charge size can be calculated scientifically too, even while waiting for more complete information to trickle out, using the size of the telltale crater. Analysis of the aerial photographs of the pier shows a crater in the range of 120 to 140 meters in diameter; blast physics mixed with history tell us that to carve a chunk that size from the side of the planet requires a charge equivalent to 1.7 to 5.4 million kilograms of TNT (that’s 3.8 to 11.8 million pounds for any Americans dragging their feet on converting to metric). For reference, the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 used the equivalent of 1.8 thousand kilograms of TNT. So, Beirut was at minimum a thousand times more boom than Oklahoma City.

As an aside, nuclear weaponry is set to detonate several hundred feet above ground level, and therefore doesn’t exert enough force directly on the soil to create a crater. The detonation of the first atomic weaponry above Hiroshima occurred almost exactly 75 years ago to the day, and despite its historically unprecedented trauma to the city and populace, it left behind no crater.

Germany, too, knows the destructive power of improperly stored ammonium nitrate, and an accident in that country reinforces the calculation of the charge size. In 1921, a fertilizer explosion in Oppau, Germany, carved a remarkably similar crater. At 120 meters in diameter, following the explosion of 4.1 million kilos of ammonium nitrate, the size of the Oppau crater supports the idea that the Beirut pier, which early reports said held only 2,750 metric tons—2.75 million kilograms—may have held some number of millions more kilograms of charge. However even using only those 2,750 metric tons, Special Agent Wojtylak says his preliminary calculations indicate that those safe from all risk of carnage would have needed to be at least 15 kilometers from the Beirut pier.

Within that radius, the injuries from such a massive blast in a downtown location can be as varied as the victims who experience them, but a number of them are likely from glass and other flying projectiles. Flat, delicate, frangible, and installed in large sheets, glass is the perfect target for a blast wave of even minuscule magnitude; it shatters and flies easier than any other substance.’

In Halifax, the fire that eventually triggered the main explosion meant that citizens were already positioned at their windows to watch the excitement when the bomb detonated. As a result, of those wounded on that morning in 1917, injuries of shattered glass penetrating the eyes of onlookers were described as “extraordinarily prevalent.” The accident of the fireworks storage area and its alarming plume of smoke similarly guaranteed plenty of onlookers for Beirut. Without smoke drawing these witnesses, we would not have such ample cell phone footage, but there also might have been fewer injuries.

After the Blast

The Halifax explosion resulted in the same series of events that, according to Duke University Hospital emergency room physician Dan Buckland, still occurs in emergency rooms today after mass casualty incidents. Buckland treated casualties following a natural gas explosion in Durham, North Carolina, in 2019 which, while substantially smaller in size, occurred in a densely populated downtown area. The first wave of patients are those who were physically near emergency services, he says, those unlucky enough to get hurt but lucky enough to do it in close proximity to an ambulance. After that, the hospitals get flooded by “walking wounded,” those who are wounded enough to seek medical care but intact enough to transport themselves. The key to increasing the number of survivors, Buckland says, is getting the third wave of patients through the door, through the crowds of this second wave. The third wave is made up of those at the core of the site, too injured to walk, whom the emergency responders combing the wreckage medically prioritize next.

After a blast in a civilian area, emergency responders aren’t the only heroes. Just after 9 am on December 6, 1917, in Halifax, mustachioed 45-year-old train dispatcher Vincent Coleman knew the lazy plume of smoke coming from the explosive-laden vessel in Halifax harbor was a terrifying portent of worse to come. But as the other dispatchers ran for their lives, Coleman realized the number of train passengers set to arrive at Halifax any moment, and so he stayed long enough to send one final telegram: “Hold up the train. Munitions ship on fire and making for Pier 6 … Goodbye boys.” Coleman died in the blast at 9:05, but his final message saved thousands, not just the passengers on the trains that were able to stop before entering the zone of destruction, but also the citizens already in Halifax: The telegram signal reached every operator in the surrounding region, and because of Coleman’s quick thinking, every doctor who felt the earth rumble, up to 160 km away, had almost immediate access to news about what had happened. They rushed in to help.

Medical personnel dealt with as many of the first, second, and even third waves of injured patients as fast as humanly possible, some of them even creating makeshift treatment centers on trains. From Beirut too, will gradually emerge stories of heroism and savvy, along with the final accounting of lives lost. But in the meantime, between those who filmed the blast and the application of physics, we can prevent any escalation of conspiracy theories or misunderstandings. The explosion wasn’t a military-grade bomb; it most certainly wasn’t a nuclear one. It was, sadly, tragically, history repeating itself yet again: Explosives can be devastatingly lethal, and we should never underestimate their destructive fury.

 

Rachel Lance is a biomedical engineer who specializes in patterns of injury and trauma from explosions. Her investigations of historical blasts include incidents from WWI, WWII, and the explosion set by the submarine *HL Hunley*, which was the topic of her recent book [In the Waves: My Quest to Solve… Read more

Trump Gives Our Most Incompetent “Diplomat”/Troublemaker Elliot Abrams the Job of Destroying Iran

Trump Starts Regime Change War In S. America, By Giving Notorious Repub/Neocon War Criminal Elliot Abrams the Job of Venezuelan Dissection

US special envoy for Venezuela has long, controversial history in Latin America

Failing upward? After botched Venezuelan regime-change, Elliott Abrams picked as Iran rep

The US is putting Iran on regime-change notice, appointing Iran-Contra convict Elliott Abrams as Special Representative for Iran in addition to his duties as Special Representative for Venezuela, a State Department release shows.

Abrams, who oversaw a series of failed coups in Venezuela both in the past year and during the botched 2002 coup against then-President Hugo Chavez, will take over from Brian Hook, who has “decided to step down,” according to a press release from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo lauded Hook’s efforts in the statement, declaring he had “achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime.” The outgoing official oversaw the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, leveling sanction upon sanction against the Islamic Republic after withdrawing the US from the JCPOA nuclear deal in 2018. Hook praised his own record to the New York Times on Thursday, declaring that

by almost every metric, the regime and its terrorist proxies are weaker than three and a half years ago.

We have been very successful,” he said.

Tensions between the two countries nearly spiraled into war in January after a US airstrike killed Quds Force leader Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, provoking a barrage of missiles from Iran targeting two coalition bases in Iraq. The US has also flooded the Persian Gulf with military assets and placed bounties on Iranian ships and other military assets.

The promotion comes ahead of a hotly-anticipated UN Security Council vote on extending the arms embargo on Iran. If the measure does not pass, the US has threatened to trigger “snapback” sanctions agreed upon as part of the 2015 nuclear deal – despite having pulled out of the deal years ago and therefore lacking an ability to enforce its provisions as a “participating nation.”Abrams has been a ubiquitous presence in the US’ regime-change efforts in Latin America, helping to replace left-leaning governments with right-wing dictatorships in El Salvador and Guatemala and attempting similar makeovers in Nicaragua and Venezuela. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to two minor criminal counts regarding the Iran-Contra scandal, in which the CIA illegally funneled weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras. However, he was subsequently pardoned by then-President George HW Bush and went on to continue undermining democratically-elected governments under George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

Zionist State Feigns Sorrow Over Beirut Blast, After Everyone Started Blaming Them

Netanyahu Says ‘Hezbollah Playing With Fire’ After Lebanon Border Incident

The Dahiya Doctrine and Israel’s Use of Disproportionate Forcehttp://web.mit.edu/akpia/www/AKPsite/4.239/beruit/beirut.html

Israel is in shock, in a sickening show of hypocrisy - Israel News ...An Israeli woman sits as the municipality building is illuminated with the Lebanese flag In Tel Aviv, Israel, August 5, 2020.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner,AP

Official Israel presented itself as shocked at the disaster that struck its neighbor, Lebanon, yesterday. Almost everyone put on a sorrowful face. Except for Richard Silverstein, who writes a blog, Tikkun Olam, no one accused Israel of causing the disaster. Except for Moshe Feiglin and a few other racists, no one expressed satanic joy over it. Fortunately, former Israeli army spokesman Avi Benayahu ran Feiglin out of the race: “With such statements, you don’t belong to the Jewish people,” declared Benayahu, the man of Jewish morality, and the stain was removed.

Benayahu is right: The Jewish state never caused such disasters, and when our enemies fell it never rejoiced. The Israel Defense Forces, whose voice Benayahu was, never such caused destruction and devastation, certainly not in Lebanon, certainly not in Beirut. What does the IDF have to do with the destruction of infrastructure? An explosion in the Beirut port? Why would the most moral army in the world have anything to do with bombing population centers? And so the country’s leaders hastened to offer help to the stricken land of the cedars, such a typical Jewish and Israeli gesture, human, lofty and moving to the point of tears.
True, the Israel Air Force thumbs its nose at Lebanon’s sovereignty and flies through its skies as if they were its own. True, Israel has devastated Lebanon twice in war, but who’s counting. Israel’s president issued a statement of condolences to the Lebanese people, the prime minister and the ministers of foreign affairs and defense said they had “given instructions to offer humanitarian and medical assistance to Lebanon.”
As if all this beneficence was not enough, the mayor of Tel Aviv ordered the municipality building illuminated with the colors of the Lebanese flag. Words fail. All past hatred has been set aside, Israel is now a friend in need to its suffering neighbor. Maybe it was Tu B’Av, the holiday of love, marked yesterday. But still, a vague memory threatens to spoil the how-beautiful-we-are party, which we love so much around here.
Was it not that same defense minister that only last week threatened that same Lebanon with destruction of infrastructure? Didn’t the prime minister also threaten Lebanon? And how does destruction of infrastructure look in Lebanon? Just like what was seen in Lebanon on Tuesday. The sound of thunder shook the city, black smoke billowed over it, destruction and devastation, civilian blood spilled, 4,000 injured at hospital doors, as described in horror by the ambassador of a European country in Beirut, who had previously served in Israel. She was injured Tuesday in the blast and was in shock.

Half of Israel and the entire IDF General Staff know how to recite the acclaimed Dahiya Doctrine. Every second politician has threatened to carry it out. That is our language with Lebanon and Gaza. It’s the doctrine espoused by the Israeli Carl von Clausewitz, former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, the current hope of the Israeli left, when he was chief of the Northern Command.

And what is this sophisticated doctrine? It’s the use of disproportionate, unbridled force against infrastructure, the sowing of destruction and shedding of as much blood as possible. “Flattening” – to teach the enemy a lesson “once and for all.” The IDF has tried this more than once in the past, in Lebanon and in Gaza, and it was a dizzying success story. It looks just like what was seen in Beirut on Tuesday.
Not a week had passed since Israel threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lebanon if Hezbollah dared avenge the killing of one of its fighters in a limited military action on the border, and Israel the destroyer becomes Israel the merciful. Would you accept humanitarian aid from such a country? Is there a more sickening show of hypocrisy?

When Israel demolished Dahiya and other neighborhoods in Beirut, the Tel Aviv Municipality building was not illuminated with the colors of the Lebanese flag. When Israel killed thousands of innocent women and children, old and young, in Gaza during the criminal Operation Cast Lead and Operation Protective Edge, the municipality was not lit up in the colors of the Palestinian flag. But on Wednesday we were all so humane, so Lebanese for a moment. Until the next Dahiya.

At 8:15 a.m. August 6, 1945…

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the single greatest acts of terrorism in human history?

new statesman

Surely 70 years is long enough for us to put to rest the tired canard of the atomic bombings on Japan being “the lesser of the two evils”, and recognise the true gravity of this crime against humanity.

The ground crew of the bomber Enola Gay. Photo: Getty
The ground crew of the bomber Enola Gay. Photo: Getty

Seventy years ago today, the Unites States dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second nuclear weapon, “Fat man”, was dropped over Nagasaki. To date, these are the only nuclear attacks in the history of human warfare.

The devastation caused by this new weapon was terrifying. The shockwave instantaneously obliterated almost everything within the blast radius. Houses, buildings and trees were levelled to the ground, as if they had been constructed of mere paper. The toll on the cities’ hapless inhabitants was even more dreadful, with the bombs claiming as many as 250,000 lives – the overwhelming majority civilian.

Around half the number died on the day of the bombings. The intense heat and pressure of the nuclear reaction wrought unspeakable horror on the soft bodies of the victims in its path – their blood rapidly boiling inside them, before leaving them as dried husks that crumbled to ash.

h02Shadows of people were etched onto walls and pavements, eerily marking the spot they had been standing only moments before incineration. Subsequent pressure waves squeezed the survivors until their internal organs ruptured inside them.

charonboat_dot_com_hiroshima_victim

Those who survived the initial explosion succumbed to their dreadful injuries over the following days, or developed strange new illnesses from radiation exposure in the bomb’s aftermath.

It is difficult to survey the carnage and devastation, even in the cold light of day 70 years later, and not be appalled at this flagrant crime against humanity. The key justifications for the bombings still rest on the fallacy that they were necessary to end the war in the Pacific, representing the lesser of the evils. Apologists for the bombs claim the only alternative would have involved a protracted ground offensive that would have proved too costly for the Allies.

The somewhat racialised argument goes that the Japanese adhered to a “bushido” warrior ethic of sacrifice, considered surrender to be dishonourable, and were committed to the notion of “total war”, in which every man, woman and child would be mobilised for war, armed with rudimentary bamboo spears if need be. In other words, the Japanese, having rejected all opportunities to surrender, had vowed to fight to the bitter end. Consequently the planned invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall, would have resulted in much higher casualty figures. The US anticipated losing up to 1m US soldiers during the invasion, alongside another 10m Japanese deaths.

However, none of this cold calculation detracts from the fact that the bombings were indisputably heinous acts of state terrorism, fitting the standard definition almost perfectly: the use or threat of violence against civilians, to instil fear and achieve a political goal. Indeed, the Secret Target Committee in Los Alamos proposed that the large population centres of Kyoto or Hiroshima should be deliberately targeted for the “greatest psychological effect,” and to ensure the bombs’ “initial use was sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognised”.

Incidentally, this curious phrasing also points to the true targets of the bombs – the Soviet Union. This atomic diplomacy was effectively a display of strength and a warning to Stalin, representing the opening salvos of the Cold War.

The selection of the cities to be bombed was also more akin to a scientific experiment, rather than a purely strategic military calculation. The nominated cities had thus far been left deliberately untouched during the regular nightly bombing raids, in order to accurately assess the full capacity and damage inflicted by the atomic bombs.

The decision to use the bombs was also predicated on racist and dehumanising attitudes towards the Japanese. The Japanese were frequently depicted as “yellow vermin”, “living snarling rats” or “monkeys”. Indeed, the dehumanisation was such that the mutilation of Japanese soldiers became widespread. US servicemen frequently removed ears, teeth and skulls as grisly war trophies. Even President Roosevelt was infamously sent a letter opener carved from a Japanese bone by a US congressman. It was easier to drop inhumane weapons on those who were not really human to begin with.

But perhaps the greatest condemnation of the bombings is that they were unnecessary on the eve of the inevitable Allied victory, as the 1946 United States Strategic Bombing Survey later concluded. The Japanese were militarily exhausted and on the verge of defeat at this stage. In addition to staggering casualty figures, and extensive devastation of infrastructure through the aerial bombardment and firebombing campaigns, the naval blockade codenamed Operation starvation had also completely crippled the wartime economy.

Yes, unconditional surrender was publicly rejected by Japan’s leaders. However, privately, they were also making desperate entreaties to the then neutral Soviet Union, to mediate peace on more favourable terms. The Japanese would also have been keenly aware that the collapse of Nazi Germany had worrying implications for the redeployment of Allied forces.

The “betrayal” by the Soviets, who declared war on Japan on 9 August, just before Nagasaki was bombed, was the final straw. The Soviet army quickly defeated the Japanese in Chinese Manchukuo, crushing any vestige of hope that Japan might survive the conflict intact.

There is little disagreement that the atomic bombings constituted war crimes, even amongst its architects. As the US Secretary of Defence, Robert S. McNamara, famously reflected: “If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.”

Surely 70 years is long enough for us to put to rest the tired canard of the lesser of the two evils, and recognise the true gravity of this crime against humanity.

Dr Akil N. Awan is associate professor in Modern History, Political Violence and Terrorism at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Victoria, Australia Covid Restrictions Adopt Draconian Measures To Control

Police have been forced into the extraordinary measure of smashing car windows to get Victorians to comply with second wave COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. “On at least three or four occasions in the past week we’ve had to smash the windows of people in cars and pull them out of there so they could provide us their details because they weren’t telling us where they were going, they weren’t adhering to the chief health officer guidelines, they weren’t providing their name and their address,” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said. Mr Patton said the discretion period for COVID-19 rules in Victoria had “virtually closed” and more than 1500 patrolling officers and PSOs would enforce the restrictions every day. “It will only be in an exceptional circumstance – in an exceptional circumstance – that Victoria Police will be using discretion because we just have to stop this movement,” he said. “In the last week we’ve seen a trend, an emergence if you like, of groups of people, small groups, but nonetheless concerning groups who classify themselves as sovereign citizens – whatever that might mean – people who don’t think the law applies to them. “We’ve seen them at checkpoints baiting police, not providing their name and address. “There are consequences for your actions, and if you’re not doing the right thing we will not hesitate to issue infringements, to arrest you, to detail you where it’s appropriate.”
5km radius Covid Limitations

Info On Massive Fireworks-Caused Beirut Port Explosion

Extremely close up video of the Beirut Port explosion shows the fireworks before explosion

Beirut Blast Wrap-up

Yesterday 2.750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, exploded. The blast killed more than 100 people and wounded more than 4,000. Many buildings in Beirut were severely damaged. The pressure wave broke windows as far 10 miles away. Beirut’s port is mostly destroyed.

Lebanon’s national grain reserve, stored in grain silos next to the explosion, is gone.

This comes on top of an economic and currency meltdown in Lebanon and during a exponential growth phase of the Coronovirus epidemic.

In 2013 Lebanese authorities arrested a ship (pdf) that had been abandoned by its owner:

On 23/9/2013, m/v Rhosus, flying the Moldovian flag, sailed from Batumi Port, Georgia heading to Biera in Mozambique carrying 2,750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate in bulk.En route, the vessel faced technical problems forcing the Master to enter Beirut Port. Upon inspection of the vessel by Port State Control, the vessel was forbidden from sailing. Most crew except the Master and four crew members were repatriated and shortly afterwards the vessel was abandoned by her owners after charterers and cargo concern lost interest in the cargo. The vessel quickly ran out of stores, bunker and provisions.

Owing to the risks associated with retaining the Ammonium Nitrate on board the vessel, the port authorities discharged the cargo onto the port’s warehouses. The vessel and cargo remain to date in port awaiting auctioning and/or proper disposal.

The ammonium nitrate was stored in a quayside warehouse. The picture shows the 1,000 kilogram big bags labeled “Nitroprill HD” in bad storage conditions at the ‘Hanger 12’ warehouse in Beirut.

“Nitroprill HD” is a knock-off product of the trademarked Nitropril, a premium grade porous prilled ammonium nitrate manufactured and sold by the Orica Mining Services in Australia. It is used as a commercial explosive in mining and quarrying. The safety sheet of the original product says it “May explode under confinement and high temperature, but not readily detonated. May explode due to nearby detonations.”

An Orica safety assessment (pdf, Appendix III) sets the TNT (military explosive) equivalence for fire of bulk Nitropril in big bags at 15%. 2,750 tons of Nitropril are thereby the equivalent of 412.5 tons of TNT.

Specific hazards arising from the chemical:
WARNING:
Explosion risk in case of fire, especially if contaminated or confined. Molten product may explode from friction, shock
or containment. In the case of an intense fire evacuate all personnel to at least 1000 m.
Oxidizing substance. Increases intensity of a fire, even in the absence of oxygen. Ammonium nitrate on its own is not
combustible, however it supports the combustion of other materials. Contact with combustible material may cause fire.
Decomposes on heating emitting irritating white fumes and/or brown fumes. Brown fumes indicate the presence of
toxic oxides of nitrogen.

A video taken from the top of the grain silos next to the warehouse shows uncontrolled explosions of small fireworks within a port warehouse near to where the ammonium nitrate was stored. The small crackling fireworks explosions are followed by a very huge one. The video is consistent with other videos taken from further away. What set of the fireworks which set off the ammonium nitrate  is yet unknown but it is assumed to have been accidental.

The damage as shown in the before-after picture below is huge.

A look at the quay from the east with the crater of the explosion in front of the grain silos. The silos have protected the western part of the city from more damage. Wheat has spilled out. The grain reserves of Lebanon are down to less than a month of consumption.

larger image (huge crater)The ammonium nitrate should not have been stored in a warehouse within the city. But similar could be said of the Iranian ammunition that was stored at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base in Cyprus. It had been seized at U.S. urging en route to Syria in January 2009. On July 11 2011 a wildfire at the base set off the ammunition. The explosion killed dozens and destroyed the main power station of the island.

An aerial video taken this morning shows the utter devastation of Beirut’s port facilities. Lebanon depends on imports. 80% of those come through Beirut port.

Pictures and videos from various correspondents in Beirut show their damaged apartments (1234). All windows are broken and glass shards are strewn all over the places. The breaking windows must have caused most of the injuries. According to the mayor of Beirut some 300.000 people have lost their homes.

The Middle East correspondent for the Independent tweeted:

Bel Trew @Beltrew – 16:57 UTC · Aug 4, 2020My flat is completely destroyed. Not just windows blown in- like door and window frames ripped out. The cats are alive thank god.

Utter chaos outside St George hospital which has no electricity- medics are treating patients in the car park where the drive through COVID-19 tests were being done. It is now the ER, since the ER is destroyed. Patients screaming in agony in the background. #Beirut #Lebanon

Bel Trew’s full report of the explosion and its aftermath is here.

Syria and Iran have immediately promised aid for Lebanon. An Iranian emergency hospital is currently on its way to Beirut and is expected to open later today. Syria dispatched medical teams and is receiving patients from Beirut’s overwhelmed hospitals.

The explosion hit Beirut at a moment where the country is under U.S. sanctions and while its currency is cratering with inflation reaching 90% per month after a Ponzi scheme run by its Central Bank blew up. People who do not own foreign currency will be unable to replace their broken windows. The whole country is disintegrating.

Foreign aid from Arab and other states will now hopefully flow in and help to alleviate the suffering.

Gigantic Blast At the Port of Beirut

Beirut explosion: footage shows massive blast shaking Lebanon’s capital

Lebanese army soldiers stand while behind a helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. STR / AFP

Dozens killed, thousands wounded in Beirut blast: Live updates

Officials expect death toll to rise after huge blast rips through Lebanon’s capital.

by

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan says more than 50 people have been killed and 2,700 are wounded in a massive explosion at the port in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut.

The explosion released a shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear.

Here are the latest updates:

19:38 GMT – More than 50 people killed: health minister

In televised remarks, Lebanon’s health minister says more than 50 people have been killed and 2,700 have been injured.

19:35 GMT – Lebanon PM says those responsible for Beirut explosion will pay the price

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said that those responsible for an explosion at a “dangerous” warehouse in Beirut port area that rocked the capital would pay the price.

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability… Those responsible will pay the price,” he said in a televised speech.

“Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations”.

A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking
A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut [STR/AFP]

19:33 GMT – Israel offers humanitarian aid

Israel says it has offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon via foreign channels, as the two countries have no diplomatic relations.

“Under the direction of Minister of Defence Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel approached Lebanon through international defence and diplomatic channels to offer the Lebanese
government medical humanitarian aid,” the two said in a joint statement.

19:22 GMT – Explosion destroys Italian civilian ship

Orient Queen

19:22 GMT – Explosion destroys Italian civilian ship

At the port Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari spoke to Vincenco Orlandini, 69, a crew member of an Italian civilian ship, the Orient Queen, that was docked near the blast site.

marinetraffic.com

Orient Queen, approx. 1500′ from blast, on far right.

Orient Queen

At the port Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari spoke to Vincenco Orlandini, 69, a crew member of an Italian civilian ship, the Orient Queen, that was docked near the blast site.

He was covered in blood after the explosion threw him across a room of his ship, while several people on board were wounded and taken to hospital, Azhari said.

“I heard the blast and I flew to the opposite [side] of the lobby. I landed on the carpet and I’m lucky; I think that saved me. The ship is totally destroyed – the cabins, the lounge, everything,” Orlandini said.

A civil defense worker who has worked in the sector for 20 years was in disbelief at the scale of the damage.

“I’ve seen the assasinations and the explosions but this is something else. There is something wrong here,” he told Al Jazeera.

19:13 GMT – Israel: No reason not to believe Beirut blast was an accident

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi says the massive explosion in Beirut “was an accident caused by a
fire. I suggest caution with speculation – I do not see any reason not to believe the reports from Beirut”.

He made the comments to Israel’s Channel 12.

19:07 GMT – UK PM Johnson offers support to Beirut

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the UK is ready to provide any support it could to help Beirut.

“The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident.

“The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”

18:53 GMT – More than 25 people dead, 2,500 wounded: health minister

Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan says more than 25 people have been killed and more than 2,500 are wounded.

“It is a disaster in every sense of the word,” Hassan said in an interview with several television channels while visiting a hospital in the Lebanese capital.

18:50 GMT – Iran ready to help Lebanon, Zarif tweets

Iran is ready to help Lebanon in any way necessary, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has tweeted.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and resilient people of Lebanon. As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary. Stay strong, Lebanon,” Zarif tweeted.

18:48 GMT – More than 2,200 injured: Lebanese Red Cross

The Lebanese Red Cross says that more than 2,200 people have been injured and that the numbers are likely to rise, local broadcasters have reported.

Lebanese army soldiers stand while behind a helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. STR / AFP
Lebanese army soldiers are seen while a helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut [STR/AFP]

18:34 GMT – Secretary General of Lebanese Kataeb Party among the dead

Among the dead is the Secretary General of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, the party has announced.

The headquarters of the Kataeb Party, one of the oldest parties in the country, is located right next to the port.

18:31 GMT – Some 400 – 500 people wounded: hospital sources

Local television quoted hospital sources as saying some 400 to 500 people have been wounded, and that all of the hospitals in the capital are overwhelmed as people are brought in.

18:20 GMT – Dozens of people being turned away from hospital

Dozens of people are trying to enter a hospital in Beirut and are being turned away, Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari said.

“People are discussing about which hospital they can get to across the city. This hospital, the Hotel-Dieu hospital has formally announced that people should stop coming here.”

“There are corridors lined with wounded, bloody people,” Azhari said.

“There are people crying. The hospital itself has sustained damage; its ceiling looks very precarious, it looks like it’s going to fall apart.”

18:17 GMT – PM calls for day of mourning on Wednesday

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called for an emergency meeting of the country’s Supreme Defence Council, according to the presidency’s Twitter account.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called for a day of mourning on Wednesday.

18:08 GMT – Ammonium nitrate stored in the port: Interior Minister

The Lebanese Interior Minister has said that ammonium nitrate was stored in the port, which is what caused the explosion, local media reported.

He said Lebanese customs should be asked about why it was there.

Lebanon-based broadcaster Mayadeen cited the country’s customs director saying tonnes of nitrate exploded.

17:51 GMT – In Pictures: Lebanon’s capital Beirut shaken by massive explosion

A massive explosion has rocked Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, causing many casualties, damaging buildings and shattering windows.

The blast, which flattened much of the capital’s port, was felt across the city as a giant mushroom cloud rose above it.

View the photo gallery here.

People help a man who was wounded in a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging building
People help a man who was wounded in a massive explosion in Beirut. [Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]

17:38 GMT – ‘Cars were thrown three floors up onto roofs of factories’: Al Jazeera correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari reaching the Beirut port shortly after the explosion, said the site looks like a “wasteland” with debris seen everywhere.

“Cars [from the ground] were thrown three floors up onto roofs of factories here,” Azhari said.

“Rescue services have not been able to reach the actual site of the explosion yet because fires are still raging. Helicopters are circling the area trying to extinguish the fire.

“It really was an incredible explosion. People here are saying that they have never seen anything like it.
Even on the way here the roads were covered in glass,” Azhari said.

17:27 GMT – Explosion ’caused by highly explosive material stored in warehouse’: Official

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reporting from Beirut said the head of General Security, General Abbas Ibrahim, visited the site of the explosion and said it appears the explosion was caused by highly explosive material that was stored in a warehouse.

According to Ibrahim, the explosive material was confiscated years ago.

“We are at the entrance of Beirut’s port, you can see behind me the chaos. Ambulances continue to arrive, continue to evacuate the casualties,” Khodr said.

“So far according to security sources, at least 10 people have been killed, but we are expecting that number to rise because we understand from the health minister as well as the Lebanese Red Cross that there has been hundreds of injuries.

“Ambulances have been called from across the country to help in the rescue effort. It was a massive explosion; you can see the fire trucks arriving at the scene trying to put out the flame.”

17:25 GMT – Newsfeed: Large explosion rocks Lebanon’s capital

Large explosion rocks Lebanon’s capital

17:22 GMT – Israel not involved in Beirut explosion, Israeli official says

Israel has nothing to do with a huge explosion at the Beirut port area, an Israeli official has said.

“Israel has nothing to do with the incident,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told Israeli N12 television news that the explosion was most likely an accident caused by a fire.

16:51 GMT – At least ten people killed in explosion: Report

At least 10 bodies have been taken to hospitals following the explosion in Beirut’s port area, a Lebanese security source and a medical source has told Reuters news agency.

16:50 GMT – Hundreds of people wounded: health minister

Hundreds of people have been wounded in a huge explosion that ripped through Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, Hamad Hassan, the country’s health minister, told Al Jazeera.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

“Jewish Power” In the US Is Very Real, But To Say So Is “Anti-Semitic”

Jewish Press Boasts On Jewish Political Domination Of US Homeland Security Funds

PRO-ISRAEL LOBBY CAUGHT ON TAPE BOASTING THAT JEWISH MONEY BUYS INFLUENCE IN WASHINGTON

NY Times Fails To Debunk “Canard” of Jewish Money Dominating Congress, Because It Is the Cold Truth

Mainstream Media Giant, Newsweek, Breaks Ultimate Taboo, Mentions Jewish Domination of American News Media

Mueller’s Trump Probe Inadvertently Exposing Juicy Center of Jewish Patronage

[SEE:  “Jewish Power“]

Congress is now three times as Jewish as the US is

Jews make up only 2 percent of the nation’s population, but have 34 representatives in Congress, or 6 percent of 535 lawmakers in both chambers

By BEN SALES

Members are sworn in at the House of Representatives during the opening session of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 3, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

JTA — More than 6 percent of the new Congress is Jewish, with 34 Jews among the total of 535 lawmakers in the US House of Representatives and Senate.

Jews make up 2% of the US population, so Congress as a whole is more than thrice as Jewish as the country in general, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center on religion in the new Congress, which was inaugurated Thursday.

The number is even larger in the Senate, where eight, or 8%, of the 100 members are Jewish.

This Congress has four more Jews than its predecessor, which had 30 Jewish members. But it’s far from the most Jewish Congress ever. That was the 1993 Congress, which boasted 51 Jews — nearly 10% of the total.

All of the Jews in the Senate are Democrats, as are all but two in the House. The Republican exceptions are Reps. Lee Zeldin and David Kustoff, from New York and Tennessee, respectively. They are the only non-Christian Republicans in the Congress, according to Pew.

Congress as a whole is overwhelmingly Christian — even more so than the country. Seventy-one percent of Americans identify as Christian, compared to 88 percent of Congress. Both Protestants and Catholics are overrepresented on Capitol Hill.

The most underrepresented group is unaffiliated Americans. Twenty-three percent of Americans don’t identify with a religion, but that’s true of just a sole member of Congress — new Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Unitarians are also represented in Congress.

Something Twisted Grows in the Big Cities Run by Democrats


fxsoriginal

If Trump wins in November, it is foreseeable that his many enemies will ratchet up their hatred for him to even more destructive extremes. A bloody civil war would become likely, escalating an already violent cultural battle to a new threshold. How this might impact our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods is unpredictable even if the tactical outcome is not. The red states, wide-open spaces where politically conservative Americans tend to live and work, have superior firepower, to put it mildly, and their geographical vastness has rendered them invulnerable to attack.

They also provide most of the food consumed by blue-zone denizens, implying red partisans could lay siege to blue, bringing the color war to a relatively quick end. Political liberals have taken to boycotting the wares of nearly everyone perceived as unfriendly to their cause. It remains to be seen whether conservatives can get sufficiently aroused to return fire, not only by boycotting every product or service associated with liberal ownership, but by disrupting the flow of essentials into the big cities where they live.

Starvation Videos at Six!

It is not hard to imagine the Democrats’ urban strongholds running up the white flag in a month or two, when they’ve come to resemble hell-holes like the ill-fated Chaz in Seattle.  Cities that have been run into the ground over the last 50 years by Democrats would become far worse, virtually unlivable even for the dregs. Who would want to remain in such a place? Even Antifa, when they are done looting and setting businesses ablaze, return to their parents’ basements to quaff beer and watch themselves on television. Watching themselves starve would surely take the fun out of their Visigoth notoriety.

I used to imagine that America’s Second Civil War would begin when a gang of Che wannabes got caught in the middle of the night trying to topple a statue in Boise, Idaho. The local militia would put a quick end to this mischief while the perps’ 911 calls went unanswered for a few critical minutes. They’d become instant martyrs on CNN and MSNBC, but only for the dwindling audience that still tunes to these stations for news. Although this scenario seems likely to play out somewhere in America, and perhaps in many places, a siege is even more likely to decide the coming war’s outcome.

Small-Town Papers Will Save Us

We shouldn’t get our hopes too high that it will make the nation a better place overnight. The culture wars will continue, perhaps for decades, and those who have poisoned Americans’ sense of themselves will be extremely difficult to dislodge. This is notwithstanding the fact that most of us recognize we are not racists, that our history is not deserving of shame, and that we are not the monsters we are portrayed to be by those who foment the news.  Ironically, a revival of small-town newspapers is the best pathway we have for restoring the values that made America great. This will happen because the demand for news at the local level has always been insatiable. It remains for entrepreneurs to find ways to gather and distribute news economically by jettisoning the brick-and-mortar model.  Once revived, small-town papers will allow Americans to come together in ways that we cannot as long as the major purveyors of news act as provocateurs.

Concerning Trump’s odds in November, it’s hard to see how he could lose. The canvassers are even more wrong than they were in the months prior to the 2016 election.  Conservative pollster Karl Rove deserves special opprobrium because he should know better. He’s been so busy splitting electoral hairs in blue-collar states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan that he’s blind to the massive shift of working men and women away from the Democrats that began 50 years  ago. Construction workers were fed up then with sending their sons to Vietnam to die while campus protestors dodged military service. They are even more fed up now, having witnessed the implosion of the nation’s schools, the abysmal failure of a $20 trillion war on poverty, the heightening of racial tensions to a state of war, and now the abandonment of our biggest cities to sociopaths.

Voters’ Deep, Dark Secret

These are the voters that the polls would have us believe are in Biden’s back pocket?  Add in fifteen million centrists who wouldn’t dare confide to a stranger from Harris or Gallup that they plan to vote for the Orange Man, and you can see why Trump is going to win, and not by just a few votes.  His re-election cannot but beget a violent reaction, as noted above, but it will take nothing less to produce a catharsis capable of putting America back on track. As leftists are fond of saying, you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs.

America really is screwed

“It’s too late for America to recover. It left it too long. It was arrogant and conceited, paying for things it didn’t need, like wars and mega-mansions, but not those it did. So it didn’t invest when it should have, but now the bill is due, but nobody can pay it. What do you call a society like that? Bankrupt. Just like most Americans are, only they don’t know it. What do you call a whole society of people, after all, who die in debt?America’s broke, my friends. And when you’re broke, what do you have left to invest in yourself?”

Trump supporters in America in support of MAGA

By Umair Haque

A few years ago, I wrote a post called “Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse.” Sadly, I think my predictions have proven to be true — though I suppose you can judge that for yourself. 90,000 dead and counting. A president who calls the death toll a “badge of honor.” A paralysed Congress. 40 million unemployed. Today, I often get the question, “Why are you negative, Umair?” or, “What can be done to fix all this?” These are really the same question, and my answer, which you probably won’t like, goes like this: we’re still underestimating American collapse.

The economics of American collapse say that it’s probably too late to fix America. It’s probable that this is the new normal. Chaos, decline, incompetence, malice, poverty, hopelessness, despair.

Let me explain, as clearly as I can.

You can see, right about now, that America is what political scientists call a failed state. A President who tells people to drink bleach during a pandemic. 90,000 dead, of which 90% are needless. A society that’s not able to provide basics for it’s citizens anymore. A nation in which income, savings, life expectancy, happiness, trust are all in free-fall. This is the stuff of epic social collapse.

Now, the reason that America collapsed is straightforward. Americans never invested in building expansive social systems, unlike Europe. Systems to provide healthcare, retirement, childcare, finance, and so forth.

The result has been twofold. One, the average American now goes without these things. That’s because they’re largely unavailable. For example, the fresh food that I can get on any block in Europe is simply absent in huge chunks of the States. You buy processed food, or you don’t get food. The same is true of many, many things, like, say, education, or income. You don’t have a job with guarantees and protections like in Canada or Europe. You have a lower quality — not just quantity — of income.

Two, the average American pays prices that the rest of the world considers absolutely absurd — because they are — for the very same things. Having a child? That’ll be $50K, thank you. An operation? That’ll be more than a house. Want to educate a kid? There go your life savings. Want a few fresh apples? That’ll be ten times the price Canadians or Europeans pay. These things — the basics of life — are eminently affordable in the rest of the rich world. In America, though, they cost more than the average person can afford.

How do I know that? Because the average American now dies in debt. Their whole life is one long sequence of unpayable debts now. First, there’s “lunch debt” which becomes “student debt” which becomes a mortgage and credit card debt which becomes “medical debt.” The forms of debt in quotes don’t even exist in most other rich countries. In America, though, they define life — precisely because the average American is now a poor person, in the sense that they can’t make ends meet when it comes to paying for the basics of life.

Sure, they might have a big car and big house and a big gun. But the economic truth is this: all those things are had on debt, and the average American now lives like an impoverished person. No savings, no assets, no liquidity. 80% — eighty percent — of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, struggle to pay basic bills, and can’t raise say $500 for an emergency. Those are the statistics of a nation having descended into poverty.

Now. I don’t write all that to make some theoretical point, so let’s come back to the question. Can America save itself from collapse? If you really understand the numbers, then the answer above — sadly — is: probably not. The economics say that America has more or less almost certainly reached a point of no return now, and collapse is nearly inevitable.
To stop collapse, America would have to start investing — massively, suddenly, historically — in functioning systems. To stop longevity and health cratering, it needs a healthcare system. To stop happiness and trust cratering, it needs affordable education and retirement. To stop incomes and savings plummeting, it needs retirement systems and protections for workers. And so forth. Every single facet of American collapse requires massive, large-scale, sustained public investment to be turned around, that goes on for a decade or more.

Many Americans even support that much. They get, by now, that without a new social contract, America is finished. Sure, the American Idiot — Trump and his army of bleach-drinking morons — don’t. But maybe the average American does — sure, let’s allow that much. The tragic wrinkle is that it makes no difference. Even if the majority of Americans want a better America — is it too late to actually build one? Probably.

Why? Well, who’s going to pay for it? Remember those dismal statistics above? The average American lives like a poor person now? So who exactly is going to pay for all these expansive new systems? The average person simply can’t afford the very improvements to society that they need anymore. Bang! What happens then? The answer is: nothing does. More of this does: a slow, shocking collapse and descent. Because there’s no other option, choice, alternative. Nobody much has the money for one. You see, if I say to the average American — “let’s fix America. All you have to do is pay ten percent more in taxes, and you’ll have world-class healthcare, retirement, childcare, and so on” — they might even support it, whole-heartedly. They might genuinely want it.

But the economic truth is that they cannot afford it. That ten percent is now crucial income. That’s what “the average American dies in debt” tells us. The average person can’t give up that ten percent. He or she needs it — usually desperately — to pay off simple everyday bills. They have no real savings to speak of. So where is the money to fund this wonderful new social contract going to come from? The bitter truth is this: Americans are now too poor to afford a better social contract. Even if Americans support a Canadian or European style social contract, the hard economic truth is that are probably now too poor to ever have one. Americans are now so poor they can barely afford to support themselves and their own —80% live at the edge — so how can they afford to support anyone else, let alone everyone else?

That’s not just some idle opinion. You can see stark evidence of these fatal economics already doing their work. Americans just rejected their best chance at reform in generations, Bernie and Liz Warren. That was on the left — the 70% or who say they want decent healthcare, retirement, education, and so on. Only they never, ever vote for it, when it comes down to it. Why? Raising the spectre of higher taxes to fund a functioning society is something that simply can’t be borne by even those who want. Nobody can afford it now. Even Americans who say they want a better society don’t seem able — predictably, consistently — to follow through now. There’s a reason for that, and it’s that America is too poor as a country to afford to be a functioning society anymore.

Even if, as Bernie promised, taxes wouldn’t rise — Americans don’t seem to believe it. Why not? It’s not just they don’t — with good reason — distrust their government. It’s also that they can’t bear any more uncertainty. When your whole life and future seems to be going up in smoke, when you bear all the risk in society — the last thing you can take is even more. So while Bernie and Liz might have championed a functioning society at the same tax rate, the risk of taking having to pay for a functioning society is simply now too much for Americans who already live at the edge. What if taxes do end up rising by five percent? When you’re already perpetually struggling? Bang! Then it’s game over. Americans can’t afford to bear the risks or costs of fundamental reforms to a broken society, and that seals in collapse as the only trajectory left to follow.

On the right, by the way, people are so confused and bewildered that, like the protesters above, they’re willing to give up their lives to keep their livelihoods. That’s how desperate things have gotten. See the point: on the left, people might want a functioning society, but never, ever vote for it, because nobody can afford it, while the right has given up on it altogether, hoping only for the chance to be exploited, just so long as food can still be put on the table. That leaves…nobody much…in society…who both wants a functioning nation, and can afford to pay for it.

Sure, it’s true that corporations and the super rich can be taxed. And they should be, heavily. But that’s not enough. There’s a reason that Europe and Canada ask people to pay higher taxes to support a better social contract, and that reason is that is the only way such a contract is sustainable. You can’t get there from a one-off tax on corporations and the rich alone.

It’s also true that if America were to build a better social contract — with say good healthcare and retirement and so forth — everyone’s bills would decline over time. But that doesn’t solve the problem, which is that Americans can’t afford the costs in the first place. Sure, if American had public healthcare, people wouldn’t have to pay $10K per person per year for it. But they do — and it’s not as if someone’s magically going to raise their incomes by that much if they don’t. Do you think corporate America’s going to give anyone a raise just because it’s paying less in healthcare costs? That’s why all the plans for overhauling America’s broken public healthcare system involve, still, employers paying into some kind of fund — nobody wants to give people more money. But without giving people more money, Americans stay too poor to live in anything but…the collapsing society America’s become.

If that doesn’t make sense, just think about it in your own life. Could you really afford to lose 10% of your income right about now? Ever? More likely, like most Americans, your life is balanced right on the razor’s edge. A few percent either way, and — kaput!! — you lose most or everything you have. There goes the mortgage, school, the credit ratin, and so forth. The plainer economic translation of that is: you’re too poor to afford a functioning society. You can barely support your own — how can you support anyone, everyone, else?

So how was America left too poor to afford anything but collapse? In Europe and Canada, there’s a certain kind of fairness that came to prevail. People pay about half their incomes in taxes. Half for me, half for everyone else. But that also means that society’s surplus is distributed far more equitably in the first place. That half you pay in taxes goes on to employ doctors, nurses, professors, public servants of all kinds that simply don’t exist in America. It’s used to invest in hospitals, schools, universities, parks, libraries — every single year. That’s been happening for something like 50 years by now: a cycle of equitable redistribution that became sustained investment and reinvestment. What happens if you invest in a thing like a park, hospital, library for fifty years? It gets better and better. Its returns grow and grow. There’s more of everything to go around for everyone. The battle for self-preservation doesn’t lock people into poverty, as it has in America. That is what it means to be a truly rich society.

America’s been doing exactly the opposite, for the same fifty years, and longer. See any reinvestment in…anything? Everything’s decrepit, from airports to schools to libraries, precisely because there hasn’t been any. There hasn’t been any — or enough, anyways — because Americans didn’t want to pay those higher taxes Europeans and Canadians did. They believed the strange, foolish, and evidence-free ideologies of trickle-down economics and neoliberalism and all the rest of it — we’ll all be richest if we invest in…precisely nothing together. Nobody should care about anyone else. Nobody should ever support anyone else in the pursuit of anything. Life was to be purely individualistic, adversarial, and acquisitive.

That led Americans straight into a poverty trap. They were paying lower taxes, sure. But their public goods were decaying. Their common wealth was eroding. Their systems and institutions were corroding. What happens to metal that isn’t polished, a street that’s never cleaned, a house that’s never repaired? Well, in the end, you have to pay a bigger bill. But you might not be able to afford it by then. Bang! Then you’re done. You live in that crumbling house until it finally turns to dust, if you can’t pay the roofer, plumber, electrician. That’s where America is now.

Do you know what a poverty trap is? When a poor person spends more than rich people just to have the basics — think of a poor person spending most of their income on low-quality food, transportation, medicine, and so on, because it’s all they can get. That’s where America is now, from a global perspective. In a classic poverty trap. Too poor to ever afford to be rich again, because it doesn’t have the money to invest in it’s own self-improvement or betterment now. Decades of underinvestment mean that there was less and less to go around — until American life became a brutal daily battle for self-preservation. But when all you can do is barely even struggle to preserve yourself, put food on the table, keep your family afloat — what do you have left to give back to a better society? Nothing, is the grim answer, and it’s borne out by America’s spectacularly low — negative — savings rate, aka, everyone but the mega-rich dies in debt.

To achieve European or Canadian living standards, how much would America have to invest now? Think of it: gleaming hospitals for everyone, thriving public squares, expansive childcare, good retirement, jobs that pay the bills, oversight of it all. It would take trillions. Probably dozens of trillions. Much, much more than average Americans all put together can afford to spend now. Those are the brutal economics of collapse. Societies who let themselves become poor can hardly then wave a magic want and become rich.

What it means to be a poor society, which is what America has become, is also the experience of life in it by now: political chaos, economic ruin, emotional paralysis, cultural degeneration. Europe and Canada, again, have been investing in life for decades, while America’s been ignoring it. The result is that they are ahead now — and America probably can’t ever catch up. America let itself become a poor society, and this — the chaos and dislocation of now — is what it means to be one.

I know this is grim reading. It’s terrible and horrific. Is it “negative,” though? Well, I know that it comes across that way. I want to do a job that the typical pundit won’t, though, which is try to tell you simple truths. The one that economics tells me is this.

It’s too late for America to recover. It left it too long. It was arrogant and conceited, paying for things it didn’t need, like wars and mega-mansions, but not those it did. So it didn’t invest when it should have, but now the bill is due, but nobody can pay it. What do you call a society like that? Bankrupt. Just like most Americans are, only they don’t know it. What do you call a whole society of people, after all, who die in debt?America’s broke, my friends. And when you’re broke, what do you have left to invest in yourself?

There’s one way out, by the way, if you’ve followed me closely. Give people money. No strings attached, no questions asked, now, on a large-scale, more or less permanently, forget how much needs to be borrowed to make it happen. So people can fund a working society again. Or else. That’s the big question for America. The rest is noise. Until something along those lines begins to take shape — my answer is simple: Americans made themselves too poor to now afford to have the luxury of a functioning, civilised, modern society. Or is all that a necessity?

*Umair first published this in Medium

The CIA Democrats–Part one

“Candidates from a military-intelligence background are seeking the Democratic Party nomination in 40 percent of the congressional districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2018 elections.”– Part three

The CIA Democrats: Part one

By Patrick Martin
7 March 2018

PART ONE | PART TWO | PART THREE

An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored “star” recruit.

A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, “homeland defense” and cyber warfare.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called “Red to Blue” program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats—in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.

The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call “spy vs. spy.”

The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter’s website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.

CNN’s “State of the Union” program on March 4 included a profile of Jones as one of many female candidates seeking nomination as a Democrat in Tuesday’s primary in Texas. The network described her discreetly as a “career civil servant.” However, the Jones for Congress website positively shouts about her role as a spy, noting that after graduating from college, “Gina entered the US Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the US military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy” (the last phrase signaling to those interested in such matters that Jones is gay).

According to her campaign biography, Ortiz Jones was subsequently detailed to a position as “senior advisor for trade enforcement,” a post President Obama created by executive order in 2012. She would later be invited to serve as a director for investment at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where she led the portfolio that reviewed foreign investments to ensure they did not pose national security risks. With that background, if she fails to win election, she can surely enlist in the trade war efforts of the Trump administration.

How this article was prepared

The House of Representatives is currently controlled by the Republicans, with a majority of 238 compared to 193 Democrats. There are four vacancies, one previously held by the Democrats. To reach a majority of 218 seats in the next Congress, the Democrats must have a net gain of 24 seats.

The DCCC has designated 102 seats as priority or competitive, including 22 seats where the incumbents are not running again (five Democrats and 17 Republicans), and 80 seats where Republican incumbents could be defeated for reelection in the event that polls predicting a sizeable swing to the Democrats in November prove accurate.

The World Socialist Web Site has reviewed Federal Election Commission reports filed by all the Democratic candidates in these 102 competitive districts, focusing on those candidates who reported by the latest filing date, December 31, 2017, that they had raised at least $100,000 for their campaigns, giving them a financial war chest sufficient to run in a competitive primary contest. In addition, there a few cases where a candidate had less than the $100,000 cutoff, but was unchallenged for the nomination, or where last-minute retirement or resignation has led to late entry of high-profile candidates without an FEC report on file. These have also been included.

The total of such candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 102 districts is 221. Each has a website that gives biographical details, which we have collected and reviewed for this report. It is notable that those candidates with a record in the military-intelligence apparatus, as well as civilian work for the State Department, Pentagon or National Security Council, do not hide their involvement, particularly in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They clearly regard working as a CIA agent in Baghdad, an Army special ops assassin in Afghanistan, or a planner for drone missile warfare in the White House or Pentagon as a star on their résumé, rather than something to conceal.

One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates. National security operatives (57) outnumber state and local government officials (45), lawyers (35), corporate executives, businessmen and wealthy individuals (30) and other professionals (19) among the candidates for Democratic congressional nominations.

Of the 102 primary elections to choose the Democratic nominees in these competitive districts, 44 involve candidates with a military-intelligence or State Department background, with 11 districts having two such candidates, and one district having three. In the majority of contests, the military-intelligence candidates seem likely to win the Democratic nomination, and, if the Democrats win in the general election, would enter Congress as new members of the House of Representatives.

There are some regional differences. In the Northeast, 21 of the 31 seats targeted by the Democrats have military-intelligence candidates. This area, not the South or Midwest, has the highest proportion of military-intelligence candidates seeking Democratic nominations.

In the West, only 7 of the 23 targeted seats have military-intelligence candidates, while in a half dozen seats the leading candidates are self-funded millionaires, mainly from the IT industry. There has been a wave of Republican retirements in California and wealthy people are bidding for these seats.

The military-intelligence candidates are disproportionately favored by the party apparatus, encouraged to run in districts that are the most likely takeover targets. Military-intelligence candidates account for 10 of the 22 districts selected for the most high-profile attention as part of the “red-to-blue” program, or nearly half. In some cases, military-intelligence candidates have amassed huge campaign war chests that effectively shut out any potential rivals, an indication that the financial backers of the Democratic Party have lined up behind them.

To be continued

Black and White Militia Groups Meet In Louisville

Live updates from weekend protests: Man shot to death at Austin protest, Seattle police declare riot, armed militia in Louisville

“The highest overall firearm sales increase comes from Black men and women who show a 58.2 percent increase in purchases during the first six months of 2020 versus the same period last year,” NSSF Director of Research and Market Development Jim Curcuruto said in a statement.–Fox News

Gun, ammo sales surging amid coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest: survey

Trump says he could send as many as 75,000 federal agents to US cities

Not F**king Around Coalition

NFAC is in its infancy. The gestation period may have been ten years (probably closer to one year), but they have only had a public presence for less than a month.

Their purposes and goals are very different from BLM and Antifa, but do has some overlap with each of them.

They have virtually no track record to examine, but they strong leadership, who has made clear claims. At this point I have no reason to doubt the grand Master statement of intentions, and many reasons to accept them. He has made some historical claims that are questionable.

John Fitzgerald Johnson is the Grand Master, and only spokesperson. He goes by “Jay”. He ran for President in 2016, prior to NFAC. He appears to be a very noteworthy individual, in a class with Stokely Carmichael, perhaps even Malcolm X.

He is a veteran, as are all members of NFAC. That gives them credibility not shared with BLM and Antifa.

All members are black, and veterans, characteristics not shared by BLM or Antifa.

They openly support violence, and because of this are not aligned with BLM. Unlike Antifa, they claim their violence is defensive, not instigated or offensive. No reason to doubt this at this time. Their purpose is to defend blacks and others against white supremacists.

They are all black, and although not clearly self described as segregationist, do have that appearance, more later.

I would describe them as a black populist militia, and a very reasonable response to white supremist militias. If I were black, I would be seeking them out, to join up.

Here is a quote from Grand Master Jay.

“Black Lives Matter does not represent the sentiments of the black community. We have distanced ourselves from them completely,”

“BLM doesn’t believe in violence, we do. We chose America’s Independence Day to send that message as we were slaves when that happened, we were not members of this country.”

I did not find a detailed explanation for the distancing from BLM. There certainly appears to be more than the violence issue. BLM welcomes woke white support, and seeks full integration with white society, whereas NFAC wants segregated societies. This would certainly be a basis for distancing.

More from Jay:

“We have no identity, they call us African Americans but tell me, where in Africa? There are 55 countries in Africa.”

“My goal is much loftier than that, not only to facilitate the exodus of the black nation here in America but the implementation of what we would call the United State of Africa.”

I take issue with his claim of “they call us African Americans”.

Clearly this refers to the establishment, and it seems to refer to whites.

Until 1966 blacks referred to themselves as “Negros”. Today, this is considered a racial slur, only slightly better than the other N word.

“Colored” was the commonly used adjective until the 1920s, when Booker T Washington and others advocated for “Negro”. Blacks chose “Negro” as their preferred term. Society accepted and agreed. NAACP has retained the use of “colored”, for their own reasons.

In 1966 Stokely Carmichael popularized the call for “Black power”. The shift began from negro, to black.

In 1988, Jessie Jackson started for a push to African-American. This was accepted by government agencies, and came into widespread usage. Today, among blacks, there seems to be no strong preference between black and African-American.

So, historically, colored, negro, black, African-American, are all terms blacks have accepted (in the case of colored) or originated (for the other three), by blacks for self-description.

I remember learning that “negro” was the preferred and respectful term for black people. Today that is a racial slur. I remember switching to “black”, as oppressed blacks in my age group preferred that. I remember being confused and indecisive about “African-American”. I always respected Stokely Carmichael, and had very little respect for Jessie, but it did seem the black establishment preferred African-American. Carmichael was decidedly antiestablishment, which some view as undesirable. Eventually the dust settled, and I accepted that official forms wanted AA, but person to person, black was referred, or at least not objectionable.

For the last 100 years blacks have chosen the term referring to their group, but Grand Master Jay has implied that the AA terminology was thrust on them by whites. My guess is Jay recognizes Jessie is responsible, but JJ is cozy enough with white establishment, to commingle him with whites, rather than find fault with another black. A completely understandable position, and slightly misleading, which I point out.

Jay has the goal for NFAC of establishing an autonomous black Nation, within the boundaries of the USA, or elsewhere. He is expecting prime real estate. Texas has been mentioned as a “for instance”, although he has no particular designs on that particular piece of ground.

It is difficult to consider his wishes without considering how Native Americans faired. Their problem was they lacked unity. One people, but many Nations (tribes). They got rocks and sand. Jay expects much more.

White supremacists have been saying for 100 years ‘Go back where you came from.’ Jay is willing to accept a variation of that. Other blacks before him have as well. Unlike BLM, NFAC wants no part of white society, whereas BLM wants full control of it. There is some middle ground between them, but not much. BLM and Antifa have so much middle ground, they are virtually indistinguishable.

If I were black, I would be embracing NFAC, and avoiding BLM/Antifa like the plague.

SecState Psycho Pompeo Begs the World To Join Our War On China

GOVERNOR WILSON: Well, thank you very much, Chris. Most generous. I’m not sure your grandfather would have recognized me.

I have the great pleasure – in addition to welcoming all of you to the Nixon birthplace and library, I have the great pleasure of introducing to you an extraordinary American who is here at an extraordinary time. But the fun of it is in introducing our honored guest, I also am welcoming him not just to the Nixon Library, but I’m welcoming him back home to Orange County. (Applause.) That’s right. Mike Pompeo was born in Orange. (Applause.)

He attended Los Amigos High School in Fountain Valley, where he was an outstanding student and athlete. In fact, I have it on good authority that among the fans of glory days of Lobo basketball, a reverent hush descends upon the crowd whenever the name “Pompeo” is mentioned. (Laughter.)

The Secretary was first in his class at West Point. He won the award as the most distinguished cadet. He won another award for the highest achievement in engineering management. He spent his active duty years, his Army years, in West Germany, and as he put it, patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 1988 – excuse me – retiring with a rank of captain, he went on to Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review. In 1988, he returned to his mother’s home state of Kansas and began a stunningly successful business career. He was elected to the House of Representatives from Kansas in 2011, where he soon gained great respect for a reputation as one of the most diligent and astute members of the House Arms – excuse me, the House Intelligence Committee.

In 2017, President Trump nominated him to be the director of Central Intelligence. And in 2018, he was confirmed as our 70th Secretary of State.

You have to admit, that’s quite an impressive resume. So it’s sad there’s only one thing missing, prevents it from being perfect. If only Mike had been a Marine. (Laughter.) Don’t worry, he’ll get even.

Mike Pompeo is a man devoted to his family. He is a man of faith, of the greatest patriotism and the highest principle. One of his most important initiatives at the State Department has been the creation of a Commission on Unalienable Rights where academicians, philosophers, and ethicists advise him on human rights grounded in America’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Rights.

He is here today for a very special reason. The epitaph on President Nixon’s gravestone is a sentence from his first inaugural address. It says, quote, “The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.” Richard Nixon received that title. He won that honor not only because he was acknowledged even by his critics to be a brilliant foreign policy strategist, but it was far more because he earned it. He learned as congressman, senator, president, and every day thereafter as a private citizen ambassador that peace is not achieved by signing documents and declaring the job done. To the contrary, he knew that peace is always a work in progress. He knew that peace must be fought for and won anew in every generation.

It was President Nixon’s vision, determination, and courage that opened China to America and to the Western world. As president and for the rest of his life, Richard Nixon worked to build a relationship with China based upon mutual benefits and obligations that respected America’s bedrock national interests.

Today, we in America are obliged to assess whether or not President Nixon’s labors and his hopes for such a relationship have been met or whether they are being undermined.

That is why it is of such great significance that our honored guest, Secretary Pompeo, has chosen the Nixon Library from which to deliver a major China policy statement. It will, I promise you, be a statement of complete clarity delivered with force and with belief because it is of critical importance.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor and pleasure to welcome to this podium and to this audience our honored guest, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, the honorable and really quite remarkable – honorable Michael R. Pompeo. (Applause.)

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you. Thank you all. Thank you, Governor, for that very, very generous introduction. It is true: When you walk in that gym and you say the name “Pompeo,” there is a whisper. I had a brother, Mark, who was really good – a really good basketball player.

And how about another round of applause for the Blue Eagles Honor Guard and Senior Airman Kayla Highsmith, and her wonderful rendition of the national anthem? (Applause.)

Thank you, too, to Pastor Laurie for that moving prayer, and I want to thank Hugh Hewitt and the Nixon Foundation for your invitation to speak at this important American institution. It was great to be sung to by an Air Force person, introduced by a Marine, and they let the Army guy in in front of the Navy guy’s house. (Laughter.) It’s all good.

It’s an honor to be here in Yorba Linda, where Nixon’s father built the house in which he was born and raised.

To all the Nixon Center board and staff who made today possible – it’s difficult in these times – thanks for making this day possible for me and for my team.

We are blessed to have some incredibly special people in the audience, including Chris, who I’ve gotten to know – Chris Nixon. I also want to thank Tricia Nixon and Julie Nixon Eisenhower for their support of this visit as well.

I want to recognize several courageous Chinese dissidents who have joined us here today and made a long trip.

And to all the other distinguished guests – (applause) – to all the other distinguished guests, thank you for being here. For those of you who got under the tent, you must have paid extra.

And those of you watching live, thank you for tuning in.

And finally, as the governor mentioned, I was born here in Santa Ana, not very far from here. I’ve got my sister and her husband in the audience today. Thank you all for coming out. I bet you never thought that I’d be standing up here.

My remarks today are the fourth set of remarks in a series of China speeches that I asked National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, FBI Director Chris Wray, and the Attorney General Barr to deliver alongside me.

We had a very clear purpose, a real mission. It was to explain the different facets of America’s relationship with China, the massive imbalances in that relationship that have built up over decades, and the Chinese Communist Party’s designs for hegemony.

Our goal was to make clear that the threats to Americans that President Trump’s China policy aims to address are clear and our strategy for securing those freedoms established.

Ambassador O’Brien spoke about ideology. FBI Director Wray talked about espionage. Attorney General Barr spoke about economics. And now my goal today is to put it all together for the American people and detail what the China threat means for our economy, for our liberty, and indeed for the future of free democracies around the world.

Next year marks half a century since Dr. Kissinger’s secret mission to China, and the 50th anniversary of President Nixon’s trip isn’t too far away in 2022.

The world was much different then.

We imagined engagement with China would produce a future with bright promise of comity and cooperation.

But today – today we’re all still wearing masks and watching the pandemic’s body count rise because the CCP failed in its promises to the world. We’re reading every morning new headlines of repression in Hong Kong and in Xinjiang.

We’re seeing staggering statistics of Chinese trade abuses that cost American jobs and strike enormous blows to the economies all across America, including here in southern California. And we’re watching a Chinese military that grows stronger and stronger, and indeed more menacing.

I’ll echo the questions ringing in the hearts and minds of Americans from here in California to my home state of Kansas and beyond:

What do the American people have to show now 50 years on from engagement with China?

Did the theories of our leaders that proposed a Chinese evolution towards freedom and democracy prove to be true?

Is this China’s definition of a win-win situation?

And indeed, centrally, from the Secretary of State’s perspective, is America safer? Do we have a greater likelihood of peace for ourselves and peace for the generations which will follow us?

Look, we have to admit a hard truth. We must admit a hard truth that should guide us in the years and decades to come, that if we want to have a free 21st century, and not the Chinese century of which Xi Jinping dreams, the old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won’t get it done. We must not continue it and we must not return to it.

As President Trump has made very clear, we need a strategy that protects the American economy, and indeed our way of life. The free world must triumph over this new tyranny.

Now, before I seem too eager to tear down President Nixon’s legacy, I want to be clear that he did what he believed was best for the American people at the time, and he may well have been right.

He was a brilliant student of China, a fierce cold warrior, and a tremendous admirer of the Chinese people, just as I think we all are.

He deserves enormous credit for realizing that China was too important to be ignored, even when the nation was weakened because of its own self-inflicted communist brutality.

In 1967, in a very famous Foreign Affairs article, Nixon explained his future strategy. Here’s what he said:

He said, “Taking the long view, we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside of the family of nations…The world cannot be safe until China changes. Thus, our aim – to the extent we can, we must influence events. Our goal should be to induce change.”

And I think that’s the key phrase from the entire article: “to induce change.”

So, with that historic trip to Beijing, President Nixon kicked off our engagement strategy. He nobly sought a freer and safer world, and he hoped that the Chinese Communist Party would return that commitment.

As time went on, American policymakers increasingly presumed that as China became more prosperous, it would open up, it would become freer at home, and indeed present less of a threat abroad, it’d be friendlier. It all seemed, I am sure, so inevitable.

But that age of inevitability is over. The kind of engagement we have been pursuing has not brought the kind of change inside of China that President Nixon had hoped to induce.

The truth is that our policies – and those of other free nations – resurrected China’s failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that were feeding it.

We opened our arms to Chinese citizens, only to see the Chinese Communist Party exploit our free and open society. China sent propagandists into our press conferences, our research centers, our high-schools, our colleges, and even into our PTA meetings.

We marginalized our friends in Taiwan, which later blossomed into a vigorous democracy.

We gave the Chinese Communist Party and the regime itself special economic treatment, only to see the CCP insist on silence over its human rights abuses as the price of admission for Western companies entering China.

Ambassador O’Brien ticked off a few examples just the other day: Marriott, American Airlines, Delta, United all removed references to Taiwan from their corporate websites, so as not to anger Beijing.

In Hollywood, not too far from here – the epicenter of American creative freedom, and self-appointed arbiters of social justice – self-censors even the most mildly unfavorable reference to China.

This corporate acquiescence to the CCP happens all over the world, too.

And how has this corporate fealty worked? Is its flattery rewarded? I’ll give you a quote from the speech that General Barr gave, Attorney General Barr. In a speech last week, he said that “The ultimate ambition of China’s rulers isn’t to trade with the United States. It is to raid the United States.”

China ripped off our prized intellectual property and trade secrets, causing millions of jobs[1] all across America.

It sucked supply chains away from America, and then added a widget made of slave labor.

It made the world’s key waterways less safe for international commerce.

President Nixon once said he feared he had created a “Frankenstein” by opening the world to the CCP, and here we are.

Now, people of good faith can debate why free nations allowed these bad things to happen for all these years. Perhaps we were naive about China’s virulent strain of communism, or triumphalist after our victory in the Cold War, or cravenly capitalist, or hoodwinked by Beijing’s talk of a “peaceful rise.”

Whatever the reason – whatever the reason, today China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else.

And President Trump has said: enough.

I don’t think many people on either side of the aisle dispute the facts that I have laid out today. But even now, some are insisting that we preserve the model of dialogue for dialogue’s sake.

Now, to be clear, we’ll keep on talking. But the conversations are different these days. I traveled to Honolulu now just a few weeks back to meet with Yang Jiechi.

It was the same old story – plenty of words, but literally no offer to change any of the behaviors.

Yang’s promises, like so many the CCP made before him, were empty. His expectations, I surmise, were that I’d cave to their demands, because frankly this is what too many prior administrations have done. I didn’t, and President Trump will not either.

As Ambassador O’Brien explained so well, we have to keep in mind that the CCP regime is a Marxist-Leninist regime. General Secretary Xi Jinping is a true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology.

It’s this ideology, it’s this ideology that informs his decades-long desire for global hegemony of Chinese communism. America can no longer ignore the fundamental political and ideological differences between our countries, just as the CCP has never ignored them.

My experience in the House Intelligence Committee, and then as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and my now two-plus years as America’s Secretary of State have led me to this central understanding:

That the only way – the only way to truly change communist China is to act not on the basis of what Chinese leaders say, but how they behave. And you can see American policy responding to this conclusion. President Reagan said that he dealt with the Soviet Union on the basis of “trust but verify.” When it comes to the CCP, I say we must distrust and verify. (Applause.)

We, the freedom-loving nations of the world, must induce China to change, just as President Nixon wanted. We must induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity.

We must start by changing how our people and our partners perceive the Chinese Communist Party. We have to tell the truth. We can’t treat this incarnation of China as a normal country, just like any other.

We know that trading with China is not like trading with a normal, law-abiding nation. Beijing threatens international agreements as – treats international suggestions as – or agreements as suggestions, as conduits for global dominance.

But by insisting on fair terms, as our trade representative did when he secured our phase one trade deal, we can force China to reckon with its intellectual property theft and policies that harmed American workers.

We know too that doing business with a CCP-backed company is not the same as doing business with, say, a Canadian company. They don’t answer to independent boards, and many of them are state-sponsored and so have no need to pursue profits.

A good example is Huawei. We stopped pretending Huawei is an innocent telecommunications company that’s just showing up to make sure you can talk to your friends. We’ve called it what it is – a true national security threat – and we’ve taken action accordingly.

We know too that if our companies invest in China, they may wittingly or unwittingly support the Communist Party’s gross human rights violations.

Our Departments of Treasury and Commerce have thus sanctioned and blacklisted Chinese leaders and entities that are harming and abusing the most basic rights for people all across the world. Several agencies have worked together on a business advisory to make certain our CEOs are informed of how their supply chains are behaving inside of China.

We know too, we know too that not all Chinese students and employees are just normal students and workers that are coming here to make a little bit of money and to garner themselves some knowledge. Too many of them come here to steal our intellectual property and to take this back to their country.

The Department of Justice and other agencies have vigorously pursued punishment for these crimes.

We know that the People’s Liberation Army is not a normal army, too. Its purpose is to uphold the absolute rule of the Chinese Communist Party elites and expand a Chinese empire, not to protect the Chinese people.

And so our Department of Defense has ramped up its efforts, freedom of navigation operations out and throughout the East and South China Seas, and in the Taiwan Strait as well. And we’ve created a Space Force to help deter China from aggression on that final frontier.

And so too, frankly, we’ve built out a new set of policies at the State Department dealing with China, pushing President Trump’s goals for fairness and reciprocity, to rewrite the imbalances that have grown over decades.

Just this week, we announced the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston because it was a hub of spying and intellectual property theft. (Applause.)

We reversed, two weeks ago, eight years of cheek-turning with respect to international law in the South China Sea.

We’ve called on China to conform its nuclear capabilities to the strategic realities of our time.

And the State Department – at every level, all across the world – has engaged with our Chinese counterparts simply to demand fairness and reciprocity.

But our approach can’t just be about getting tough. That’s unlikely to achieve the outcome that we desire. We must also engage and empower the Chinese people – a dynamic, freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party.

That begins with in-person diplomacy. (Applause.) I’ve met Chinese men and women of great talent and diligence wherever I go.

I’ve met with Uyghurs and ethnic Kazakhs who escaped Xinjiang’s concentration camps. I’ve talked with Hong Kong’s democracy leaders, from Cardinal Zen to Jimmy Lai. Two days ago in London, I met with Hong Kong freedom fighter Nathan Law.

And last month in my office, I heard the stories of Tiananmen Square survivors. One of them is here today.

Wang Dan was a key student who has never stopped fighting for freedom for the Chinese people. Mr. Wang, will you please stand so that we may recognize you? (Applause.)

Also with us today is the father of the Chinese democracy movement, Wei Jingsheng. He spent decades in Chinese labor camps for his advocacy. Mr. Wei, will you please stand? (Applause.)

I grew up and served my time in the Army during the Cold War. And if there is one thing I learned, communists almost always lie. The biggest lie that they tell is to think that they speak for 1.4 billion people who are surveilled, oppressed, and scared to speak out.

Quite the contrary. The CCP fears the Chinese people’s honest opinions more than any foe, and save for losing their own grip on power, they have reason – no reason to.

Just think how much better off the world would be – not to mention the people inside of China – if we had been able to hear from the doctors in Wuhan and they’d been allowed to raise the alarm about the outbreak of a new and novel virus.

For too many decades, our leaders have ignored, downplayed the words of brave Chinese dissidents who warned us about the nature of the regime we’re facing.

And we can’t ignore it any longer. They know as well as anyone that we can never go back to the status quo.

But changing the CCP’s behavior cannot be the mission of the Chinese people alone. Free nations have to work to defend freedom. It’s the furthest thing from easy.

But I have faith we can do it. I have faith because we’ve done it before. We know how this goes.

I have faith because the CCP is repeating some of the same mistakes that the Soviet Union made – alienating potential allies, breaking trust at home and abroad, rejecting property rights and predictable rule of law.

I have faith. I have faith because of the awakening I see among other nations that know we can’t go back to the past in the same way that we do here in America. I’ve heard this from Brussels, to Sydney, to Hanoi.

And most of all, I have faith we can defend freedom because of the sweet appeal of freedom itself.

Look at the Hong Kongers clamoring to emigrate abroad as the CCP tightens its grip on that proud city. They wave American flags.

It’s true, there are differences. Unlike the Soviet Union, China is deeply integrated into the global economy. But Beijing is more dependent on us than we are on them. (Applause.)

Look, I reject the notion that we’re living in an age of inevitability, that some trap is pre-ordained, that CCP supremacy is the future. Our approach isn’t destined to fail because America is in decline. As I said in Munich earlier this year, the free world is still winning. We just need to believe it and know it and be proud of it. People from all over the world still want to come to open societies. They come here to study, they come here to work, they come here to build a life for their families. They’re not desperate to settle in China.

It’s time. It’s great to be here today. The timing is perfect. It’s time for free nations to act. Not every nation will approach China in the same way, nor should they. Every nation will have to come to its own understanding of how to protect its own sovereignty, how to protect its own economic prosperity, and how to protect its ideals from the tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party.

But I call on every leader of every nation to start by doing what America has done – to simply insist on reciprocity, to insist on transparency and accountability from the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a cadre of rulers that are far from homogeneous.

And these simple and powerful standards will achieve a great deal. For too long we let the CCP set the terms of engagement, but no longer. Free nations must set the tone. We must operate on the same principles.

We have to draw common lines in the sand that cannot be washed away by the CCP’s bargains or their blandishments. Indeed, this is what the United States did recently when we rejected China’s unlawful claims in the South China Sea once and for all, as we have urged countries to become Clean Countries so that their citizens’ private information doesn’t end up in the hand of the Chinese Communist Party. We did it by setting standards.

Now, it’s true, it’s difficult. It’s difficult for some small countries. They fear being picked off. Some of them for that reason simply don’t have the ability, the courage to stand with us for the moment.

Indeed, we have a NATO ally of ours [?] that hasn’t stood up in the way that it needs to with respect to Hong Kong because they fear Beijing will restrict access to China’s market. This is the kind of timidity that will lead to historic failure, and we can’t repeat it.

We cannot repeat the mistakes of these past years. The challenge of China demands exertion, energy from democracies – those in Europe, those in Africa, those in South America, and especially those in the Indo-Pacific region.

And if we don’t act now, ultimately the CCP will erode our freedoms and subvert the rules-based order that our societies have worked so hard to build. If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party, whose actions are the primary challenge today in the free world.

General Secretary Xi is not destined to tyrannize inside and outside of China forever, unless we allow it.

Now, this isn’t about containment. Don’t buy that. It’s about a complex new challenge that we’ve never faced before. The USSR was closed off from the free world. Communist China is already within our borders.

So we can’t face this challenge alone. The United Nations, NATO, the G7 countries, the G20, our combined economic, diplomatic, and military power is surely enough to meet this challenge if we direct it clearly and with great courage.

Maybe it’s time for a new grouping of like-minded nations, a new alliance of democracies.

We have the tools. I know we can do it. Now we need the will. To quote scripture, I ask is “our spirit willing but our flesh weak?”

If the free world doesn’t change – doesn’t change, communist China will surely change us. There can’t be a return to the past practices because they’re comfortable or because they’re convenient.

Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time, and America is perfectly positioned to lead it because our founding principles give us that opportunity.

As I explained in Philadelphia last week, standing, staring at Independence Hall, our nation was founded on the premise that all human beings possess certain rights that are unalienable.

And it’s our government’s job to secure those rights. It is a simple and powerful truth. It’s made us a beacon of freedom for people all around the world, including people inside of China.

Indeed, Richard Nixon was right when he wrote in 1967 that “the world cannot be safe until China changes.” Now it’s up to us to heed his words.

Today the danger is clear.

And today the awakening is happening.

Today the free world must respond.

We can never go back to the past.

May God bless each of you.

May God bless the Chinese people.

And may God bless the people of the United States of America.

Thank you all.

(Applause.)

MR HEWITT: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Please be seated. I’m Hugh Hewitt, the president of the library, and Secretary Pompeo graciously invited some questions as I was listening. Thank you for joining us, Mr. Secretary, at the Nixon Library.

My first question has to do with the context of the president’s visit in 1972. You mentioned the Soviet Union was isolated, but it was dangerous. He went to the People’s Republic of China in 1972 to try and ally and combine interests with them against the Soviet Union; it was successful.

Does Russia present an opportunity now to the United States to coax them into the battle to be relentlessly candid about the Chinese Communist Party?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I do think there’s that opportunity. That opportunity is born of the relationship, the natural relationship between Russia and China, and we can do something as well. There are places where we need to work with Russia. Today – or tomorrow, I guess it is, our teams will be on the ground with the Russians working on a strategic dialogue to hopefully create the next generation of arms control agreements like Reagan did. It’s in our interest, it’s in Russia’s interest. We’ve asked the Chinese to participate. They’ve declined to date. We hope they’ll change their mind.

It’s these kind of things – these proliferation issues, these big strategic challenges – that if we work alongside Russia, I’m convinced we can make the world safer. And so there – I think there is a place for us to work with the Russians to achieve a more likely outcome of peace not only for the United States but for the world.

MR HEWITT: President Nixon also put quite a lot of store in personal relationships over many years with individuals. That can lead wrong. President Bush famously misjudged Vladimir Putin and said so afterwards. You have met President Xi often. Is the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party someone with whom we can deal on a transparent and reliable basis, in your opinion, based on your personal diplomacy with him?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So the meetings that I’ve had and the meeting that the President – we’ve had – they’ve been good, frank conversations. He is the most powerful leader of China since Mao. He has also in many ways deinstitutionalized the Chinese Communist Party, thus giving him even more capacity and more power.

But Hugh, I think the way to think about it is how I spoke about this today: It’s about actions. And so how one evaluates one’s counterparts sitting across the table from them – it’s important to think about how you can find common understandings and make progress. But in the end, it’s not about what someone says or the agreement that they sign, but are they prepared to lead, to do the things that they committed to? Are they prepared to fulfill their promises?

And we’ve watched – we’ve watched this China walk away from their promises to the world on Hong Kong, we watched their – General Secretary Xi promised President Obama in the Rose Garden in 2015 that he wouldn’t militarize the South China Sea. And Google the South China Sea and arms; you’ll see another promise broken.

So in the end, from my perspective, it’s much more important to watch how leaders behave and how they lead than what it is you think when you have a chance to talk to them on the phone or meet them in person.

MR HEWITT: Mr. Secretary, you said this is not containment. I heard that very clearly. I have read the three previous speeches by Ambassador O’Brien, Director Wray, Attorney General Barr, and now listened to you very closely. It isn’t containment, but it is a fairly comprehensive, multidimensional, relentlessly objective candor. Is that dangerous in a world that’s not used to speaking clearly about delicate subjects?

SECRETARY POMPEO: My experience, and I think President Trump’s experience too in his life as a businessman, is the best policy is always true candor, identifying the places that you have a redline, identifying places that you have a real interest, making clear if there’s places where you don’t, and there’s things that you can work on alongside each other.

I think the real danger comes from misunderstandings and miscommunication and the failure to be honest about the things that matter to you, because others will move into that space and then conflict arises. I think the world is a heck of a lot safer when you have leaders who are prepared to be honest about the things that matter and prepared to talk about the things their nation is prepared to do to secure those interests. And you can reduce risk by these conversations so long as you’re honest about it.

So I – no, I don’t think it’s dangerous. I think it’s just the opposite of that.

MR HEWITT: You also said – and I’m sure the speech will be known as the “distrust but verify” speech – when you distrust but verify, that still premises verification is possible. It is still possible to do agreements and to verify them; correct?

SECRETARY POMPEO: It is, yeah, you can still do it. Each nation’s got to be prepared for a certain amount of intrusiveness connected to that. And it is not in the nature of communist regimes to allow transparency inside of their country. And so it’s been done before. We’ve had – we had arms control agreements with the Soviet Union that we got verification that was sufficient to ensure that we protected American interests. I believe we can do it again. I hope that we can do this on these – I mean, the Chinese Communist Party has several hundred nuclear warheads. This is a serious global power. And to the extent we can find common ground, a common set of understandings to reduce risk that there’s ever a really bad day for the world, we ought to do it, and it’s going to require agreement and verification.

MR HEWITT: Ambassador Richard Haass, who is now chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, said very recently – it may have been yesterday, it might have been this morning; I saw it this morning preparing – quote, “Secretary Pompeo doesn’t speak of China but of the Chinese Communist Party as if there were a China apart from the party. This is meant to antagonize and make diplomacy impossible. Quite a stance for America’s chief diplomat to take unless his goal is to ensure diplomacy fails.” Is that your goal?

SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) Ah, goodness. Hard to begin. Here’s where I’ll begin: It’s a bit patronizing to the people of China to make such an assertion that they are not free-thinking beings, that they’re not rational people who were given – I mean, they too were made in the image of God, right. They have all the capacity that anybody in the world does. So to somehow think that we ought to ignore the voices of the people of China seems to me the wrong approach. It is true the Chinese Communist Party is a one-party rule. And so we will deal with the Chinese Communist Party as the head of state for China, and we need to, and we need to engage in dialogue. But it seems to me we would dishonor ourselves and the people of China if we ignored them.

MR HEWITT: Now, Ambassador O’Brien, whose speech you referenced, put heavy emphasis on the ideology of Marxist-Leninism. It was almost quaint to hear that conversation again; it’s gone from our vocabulary. Does the American people, and especially American media, need to reacquaint itself with what Marxist-Leninists believe, because the CCP genuinely does believe it?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I always get in trouble, Hugh, when I comment on the media. So I’ll say this much: For those of us who have lived and seen and observed, there are other Marxist-Leninist nations today as well – and have seen – they believe – they have an understanding, a central understanding of how people interact and how societies ought to interact. And it is certainly the case today that the leadership in China believes that.

We should acknowledge that, and we should make sure that we don’t for a moment think that they don’t believe it. It’s what Ambassador O’Brien’s speech was about. It was the fact – it was acknowledging that they believe it and recognizing that we have to respond in a way that reflects our understanding of the way they view the world.

MR HEWITT: Let’s not talk about the American media. I want to talk about the Chinese media for a moment. They are aggressive, to say the least, and right now they are aggressively defending, for example, TikTok. A small question within a large question: Is TikTok capable of being weaponized? Is that an example of what’s going on? And generally, Chinese media has become far more aggressive than I’ve seen in 30 years since I was at the library the first time of watching it. Is that something you’ve noticed as well?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, they’re very aggressive. Two pieces to this, one you hit upon. One is I’ll describe as their technology medium. Without singling out any particular business, our view of these companies is we’re neither for or against the company; we’re about making sure that we protect the information that belongs to each of you – your health records, your face if it’s a facial recognition software, your address. All the things that you care that you want to make sure the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t have, we have a responsibility to make sure that the systems that you’re using don’t give them access to that. And so whether it’s the efforts we’ve made against Huawei or the work that we’re doing on other software firms, the American task is to protect the American people and their information.

The second piece of this has to do with their – what I’ll call the state-sponsored media of China and their disinformation. You should know – and this is where I am concerned about the American media, too – these are state-sponsored media organizations that take their messaging from the Chinese Communist Party each day. When American institutions pick up those storylines and carry them forward, they are, in fact, propagating Chinese propaganda, and we all ought to be wise to that.

There was an editorial in The New York Times yesterday by someone who had a clear view that was antithetical to the American way of life. The New York Times ran it straight-up without comment, forwarding – although albeit in the opinion section, but propagating Chinese propaganda. That is certainly not instructive when they’re telling senators from Arkansas they can’t simply talk about America and American freedom in that same media outlet.

MR HEWITT: You mentioned that a lot of corporate America – and you mentioned specifically Hollywood – have got deep intertwinement with the Chinese economy. So I don’t want to talk about soft power; I want to talk about soft appeasement. One of my favorite sports figures, LeBron James, falls silent when China comes up. In the new Top Gun movie, the Taiwan and Japanese patches are taken off Maverick’s jacket. They’re not going to be in Top Gun 2; they were in Top Gun 1. What do you say not to those individuals, but to everyone who has an American spotlight about their responsibility to be candid about the People’s Republic of China?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Here’s our ask: Our ask is if you claim that you care about human rights or social justice or these things, if you make that part of your corporate theology, then you ought to be consistent. And you can’t be consistent if you’re operating there in China without talking about and acknowledging what the Chinese Communist Party is doing in certain parts of their country – the oppression that’s taking place. Look, every business leader has got to make decisions for themselves. They’ve got to be able to live with the decisions that they make. You highlighted a few.

I’d simply ask this: If you run an entity and the United States Government were to tell you you couldn’t do something, put a particular symbol in your movie or put a particular name on your menu – if we were to tell you that, you’d say nope, that’s not appropriate, and it, of course, would not be appropriate. It seems to me that if you permit the Chinese Communist Party to limit you in that way, it’s got to be difficult for you to go home at night.

MR HEWITT: Two more questions, Mr. Secretary. (Applause.) Because it is hot and it is warm, and everyone out here has been in the sun for a while. You’re a West Point graduate, and as Governor Wilson noted, number one, so this might be tough for you. But we are an, like Athens was, a naval power. America is a naval power. And as like Sparta is, China is a land power. Do we not have to change how we approach defense spending to put more emphasis on our naval resources than on our Army resources?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Oh, that’s tough for an Army guy to say. (Laughter.)

MR HEWITT: I know.

SECRETARY POMPEO: You’re killing me. Look, I’ll leave to Secretary Esper the details of this, but I can – here’s what I can say. When President Trump set out our National Security Strategy early on in the administration, for the first time we identified China in a way that was fundamentally different than we had done – this isn’t partisan – for decades.

That was important because that was a signal to all of us, whether it’s the State Department or the Defense Department, that we needed to reoriented our – reorient our assets. And so yes, you’ve seen the Department of Defense begin to do that. These are big things to turn. These budgets are multiyear. It takes a while.

But if you look at how Secretary Esper and President Trump are positioning our military capabilities – not just the tactical, operational, and strategic capabilities, but our cyber capabilities, our space capabilities – if you look at how we’re thinking about this and spending resources in year two, three, four, and five, I think you’ll see that our focus has shifted pretty dramatically.

It’s not to say that our efforts to protect America from terrorism are behind us. We still have work to do there. But I think this great power challenge that presents itself is something that we have recognized and we begin to make sure that we allocate your money – our taxpayer resources that we have – to the appropriate ends to achieve American security.

MR HEWITT: My last question has to do with a former secretary of state who was also an Army man, George Marshall. He gave a speech in 1947 at your alma mater, Harvard, in which he called on all the nations of the world to recognize that the world was in crisis and to choose a side. And he assured them in that famous address that if you chose the American side in (inaudible) Europe, you could count on America.

So as you make the appeal you did today, not just to Europe, where it’s relatively easy to be outspoken, though Norway has found it not to be outspoken, but to Taiwan and Japan and Vietnam and all of the – Australia, all of the nations of that region – can they rely on America in the way that people opposing the Soviet Union could rely on George Marshall’s assurance in 1947?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Undoubtedly, undoubtedly, Hugh. The only thing I’ll say is when – this language of “pick a side” does make sense to me, but I think about picking a side differently than picking America or picking China. I think the sides, the division – the shirts and skins, if you will – is between freedom and tyranny. I think that’s the decision that we’re asking each of these nations to make. (Applause.)

And here’s the good news of this. The good news is it does take American leadership often in these cases. To your point, they need to know that America will be there for them. I’ve seen the tide turn. In just – in just these three and half years of our administration, I’ve watched other nations have less timidity, become more prepared to stand up for their freedoms and for the freedoms of their people. We don’t ask them to do this for America. We ask them to do it for their country and for their nation – the freedom and the independence and to protect the rights of their people.

And when we do that and we tell them that America will be there, I am very confident in the end that this is a world that with the hard work applied will become one that is governed by a rules-based order, and the freedom of the American people will be secured.

MR HEWITT: Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us here today.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you.

MR HEWITT: Please join me in thanking the Secretary. (Applause.)

SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you all.

Sec. State Psycho Pompeo Pushes Allies To Join Trump War Against China

Pompeo suggests global coalition against China for ‘exploiting’ coronavirus

The US and UK maintain a ‘special relationship’ in condemning China’s recent actions

Speaking from a press conference in London Tuesday, Pompeo said he and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab discussed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) recent moves to “bully its neighbors, militarize features in the South China Sea, and instigate a deadly confrontation with India.”

“We hope we can build out a coalition that understands this threat, will work collectively to convince the Chinese Communist Party it’s not in their best interest to engage in this kind of behavior,” Pompeo said.

US, INDIAN NAVIES CONDUCT JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS AS TENSIONS SIMMER WITH CHINA

Pompeo also applauded Prime Minster Borris Johnson’s recent moves to scrap all Huawei products and the country’s involvement in the development of the U.K.’s 5G network — a decision that Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said will likely delay the U.K.’s progress and cost them an additional $2.5 billion.

Relations between the U.S. and China have been increasingly tense since the outbreak of the coronavirus, which President Trump refers to as the “Chinese virus.”

U.S. lawmakers have also condemned China’s lack of transparency surrounding the outbreak.

“The CCP’s exploitation of this disaster to further its own interests has been disgraceful,” Pompeo said Tuesday. “Rather than helping the world, General Secretary Xi [Jinping] has shown the world the party’s true face.”

Pompeo did not expand on how China has exploited the coronavirus.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ADDS 11 COMPANIES TO SANCTIONS LIST OVER UIGHUR OPPRESSION, INCLUDING SUPPLIERS FOR US FIRMS

The U.S. has imposed several recent sanctions on China for human rights abuses against Uighurs and for interfering with Hong Kong’s autonomy — a pressure that the U.K. government is now feeling.

U.K.-China relations have become strained with the recent passing of new security laws in Hong Kong, which vastly extended China’s reach into the once semi-autonomous territory. Pompeo’s visit came within hours of the U.K.’s decision to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

“The U.K.’s erroneous remarks and moves on Hong Kong is a serious breach of international law and basic norms governing international relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a news conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

“Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference.”

The U.K. foreign secretary said Sunday that the decision to enforce sanctions is not a “willy nilly” decision, the Finical Times reported.

“We want to see every nation who understands freedom and democracy… to understand this threat that the Chinese Communist Party is posing to them,” Pompeo said Tuesday.

The Corporate State–vs–the Rights of the Human Race–July 22, 2008

[Blast from the past…highly relevant still today.–ed.]

The Corporate State –vs –the Rights of the Human Race

By: Peter Chamberlin

July 22, 2008

The Secretary of the Ministry of Propaganda, Condolezza Rice, has informed us that we should not be concerned with the frightening rumbling noises coming out of the Middle East –they are merely the sounds of the “birth pangs” of a new order being born. We are supposed to be reassured by the calming words of one of the principle authors of the latest “final solution,” which they dreamed-up in their fevered minds, to turn the human race into a new planet-wide slave class.

The world that the corporate elite has planned for us is a nightmare vision straight out of Dante. The coming big event will bring untold human suffering to the world’s poor and the middle class, dwarfing all ongoing despair by comparison. Even Ron Paul is warning of the coming calamitous event:

“Some Big Events are about to occur. These fast-approaching events will not go unnoticed. They will affect all of us. They will not be limited to just some areas of our country. The world economy and political system will share in the chaos about to be unleashed.”

The events Congressman Paul is referring to are the planned escalation of the terror war and the planned economic collapse of the United States. He knows the same facts that the rest of our Congressional leaders know, but only he and Dennis Kucinich have chosen to warn the public about the approaching storm. The other 533 Congressmen and Senators have accepted our Nation’s fate without caring about the rest of us. They are all supporting the elitist plan, which is to treat this disaster as an opportunity for profiteering, without concern for anyone’s constituents, in direct opposition to their legal duties to represent the people.

Our representatives know what the leadership of the elite has known for decades. America has been set on a course leading directly to an era of despair. They have had many opportunities to change that course, but instead, they have chosen to do the opposite, doubling their efforts to reap enormous profits from the coming global catastrophe. Instead of living-up to the oaths they had all taken, to defend the Constitution and their country, they refused to simply give the wheel of the ship of state just a slight turn, to avoid certain destruction. Instead of fixing our morally bankrupt economies and ideologies, they planned to react with massive force, whenever the people reached the breaking point and decided to fight back. This is treason of the highest order. Aiding and abetting hostile foreign forces and traitorous elitist American financiers who have purposely brought-about the destruction of the United States of America is the definition of “treason.”

Once the parasitic elite have finished bleeding-dry the national lifeblood, the empty husk will be discarded. There will then be nothing standing in the way of their planned global conquest. The thunderous sounds you hear are the sounds of the Global Imperium being born. As things now stand, it is to be American power that will be used to reduce the free nations of the world to mere colonies under the imperial dictatorship of the “New World Order.” The caustic irony of America’s new “mission” should not be lost to a nation of sheeple, who have always believed in the iconic national image of destroyer of empires. We have given-up on restraining the forces of evil, to embrace our own evil natures, to join their fight against freedom, democracy and human decency. To use a Biblical reference in a prophetic description of the unfolding tragic epic, when “the one who now restrains is taken out of the way” (America), the Beast will be free to reveal his tyrannical global empire.

A few years ago, I did my best to convince myself that these were not really the “end times” that we were living in, but a simulation of that scenario by evil men who were intent upon replicating the despicable conditions described in that prophecy. Now, I see things differently; the prophet was looking forward to our own era, when darkness was to be allowed to sweep over the face of the Earth. Contrary to popular belief, George Bush is not the “anti-Christ,” but he is the man who volunteered to clear the path before his evil ascension to the global throne.

The prophecies concerning this tragic event foretell of “sudden destruction” coming upon us, with one-third of all human and animal life being destroyed in the melee. This is a reasonable estimate for the death toll from a combination of nuclear war, famine, pestilence and environmental upheaval, the “four horsemen of the apocalypse.”

For those doubters of predictions such as these, think of a combination of nuclear war against Iran and its Russian and Chinese patrons and a fulfillment of the “Global 2000” recommendations (here, here and here). The “2000” is a plan for mass genocide, which describes the poor people of the earth as “useless eaters,” and calls for the elimination of at least half of them by any means necessary. The elitists who write such appalling documents are monsters in human form. What normal human being could even think of such things, let alone write such a report, which seriously contemplates the ways to kill billions of their fellow humans. Is the elitist class some sort of sub-human species, which has taken control of the planet?

The people of the earth have a duty to their ancestors and to posterity to end the reign of terror these alien-like beings have inflicted upon us, by any means necessary. We must shatter the yokes that they have placed around our necks. How is that to be accomplished? By standing together, we can fight our individual slavery.

The human race must find solidarity in common cause, the cause of liberation and outright survival. We must refuse to go along with their evil plans for us. We have to be united in opposition to their “Big Push,” the planned military assault upon the world. The world war will begin with a nuclear attack upon Iran. [More likely, WWIII will be a war with China, probably beginning with an EMP nuclear attack over the United States, leaving most of the country blacked-out, within seconds.–ed.]

The doubters among us, as well as the advocates of violent revolution, scoff at suggestions that mass actions, or passive resistance can have any effect at all. It can alter our present course if we can convince the angry American people to act upon their beliefs. The American majority already opposes the terror war, our task would simply be to motivate them into resisting efforts to escalate the terror war,or to expand it to include China. It is my belief that the unfolding economic situation will drive many people to reconsider their own hesitancy. If we can inspire millions to refuse to cooperate with the parasitic super-wealthy who feed upon our resources and our labor, then how could they continue to gorge themselves upon the US/world economy?

We have to shut this country down, if are to survive as a semi “free” people. We have to reject the new surrogate “presidents” that have been offered to us. The only means we have to preserve democracy and freedom is through democratic actions, anarchy or revolution.

We have an obligation to our Constitution and to the millions of men who have defended it before us, to find a quick, peaceful solution to our problem – democratic action. The inalienable First Amendment rights that flow from our Creator, to speak-up for ourselves, to petition and to assemble, demanding a new course for our ship of state, have to be tried before we resort to the Second Amendment –to keep and bear arms. The elitist authority over us will be brought to an end, it is only the means to that end which remains undetermined, at this time.

SHUT THIS COUNTRY DOWN!

This goes for all those countries that are allied with the US, SHUT THEM ALL DOWN, as well! Nothing less than an absolute international rebellion against the encroaching world order will change the deadly course we are now on. Stop your governments from following America’s deadly lead. I call upon the friends of liberty, wherever you are, to band together and “JUST SAY NO TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER!”

Shut it all down; defend the human race.

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

 

The Neoliberal Political Economy of the Organized Crime Syndicate

The Neoliberal Political Economy of the Organized Crime Syndicate

PHOTO: Medium/Christine Roy/Unsplash 

‘Is it really necessary for every economist to be brain-dead apologist for the rich and powerful and predatory, in every damn breath?’ — Bruce Wilder in comments to ‘Clash of Autonomy and Interdependence’

A neglected economic superstar was Professor Susan Strange (1923-1998) of the London School of Economics, one of the founders of the field of international political economy. In a series of groundbreaking books – “Casino Capitalism,” “States and Markets,” “The Retreat of the State” and “Mad Money” – Strange showed how epidemic levels of financial crime were a consequence of specific political decisions based on an ideology.

Image result for professor susan strange
Professor Susan Strange

It would have hardly been possible to design a system, she said, “that was better suited than the global banking system to the needs of drug dealers and other illicit traders who want to conceal from the police the origin of their large illegal profits.”

Here are four ways she showed how politics and the financial crime epidemic were intimately connected.

1. Money is Global, Regulation is National

There was nothing inevitable about financial globalization, Strange said. It was born out of a series of political decisions. It means that global money can skip freely across borders beyond the reach of national laws and supervision. For smart operators, tax, regulations and compliance become a choice, not an obligation. Strange argued that international organizations lack the power to control global money. Only coordination between the world’s major economies can rein it in.

2. Tax Havens Are an Open Invitation to Embezzlement

Image result for offshore tax havensUnless you have somewhere to stash the cash, the looting of public money and state enterprises can only go so far.

Tax havens give “open invitations,” Strange said, to corrupt politicians to steal from their people.

Banking secrecy in the havens allows money from tax evasion, drug trafficking and public embezzlement to mix together until they become indistinguishable from legitimate business.

3. Extravagant Banker Bonuses Contaminate Politics

For Strange, the “obscenely large” bonuses paid to those in financial markets leads to a kind of “moral contamination,” she wrote, and has “reinforced and accelerated the growth of the links between finance and politics.”

Strange recognized that corruption and bribery were a problem in London and New York, as well as Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“Bribery and corruption in politics are not new at all,” Strange wrote. “It is the scale and extent of it that have risen, along with the domination of finance over the real economy.”

Winter Watch: Perhaps not even Strange fully realized how deeply organized and systematic (la sistema) kompromat went!

Image result for the bankers before congress
The Bankers on Capitol Hill: Neoliberals love a good crisis

4. Money Is Political Power

Globalization has redefined politics, Strange argued. Political power is not just what happens in governments, but money and markets also have power.

As legitimate and illegitimate private operators grow richer, they increase their power to shape the world system. States starved of tax revenues grow weaker and retreat, and eventually it becomes a reinforcing spiral. National politics becomes captured by global money markets.

Neoliberal Trotskyism

Neoliberalism is essentially Trotskyism refashioned for the needs of the global financial kleptocracy. But instead of “proletarians of all countries unite” we have “neoliberal elites of all countries unite.

Read: Firebrand Bolshevik Leon Trotsky: Fully Backed by International Banksters and the Pederast British War Party

Note for newer readers: I use the terms kleptocracy and Crime Syndicate interchangeably. CS is employed when I am describing actual acts. I avoid use of the word “elites” to describe organized criminality.

It’s “socialism for corporations, feudalism for everybody” adapted a large part of Trotskyism ideology and, especially, political instruments, carefully hiding the origins.

The key goal of neoliberalism is redistributing and concentrating wealth to the top at the expense of the working class and middle class – and future generations.

Neoliberalism is totally artificially constructed and explicitly planned to be enforced on unsuspecting people via subversive actions of a totalitarian sect. In the same way Bolshevism was the dictatorship of the Communist Party nomenklatura, neoliberalism is the dictatorship of the financial Kleptocracy.

Instead of Communist International we see the formation of the powerful Transnational Kleptocrat International.

The transnational Kleptocrat no longer feels in the same boat as the rest of the society and openly worships on the altar of unlimited, pathological greed. As cosmopolitans, they have little loyalty or offer no support to host nations. The kleptocrats of today are bound to their corporations, and to their in-groups. This overwhelms and decimates all other considerations such as patriotism and moral obligations. Amorality is the norm. People outside the Crime Syndicate in-group are just tools, not compatriots and their standard of living means nothing.

Like Trotskyism in the past, it’s a militant and dogmatic faith that ostracizes heretics and utilizes the full power of propaganda to brainwash the population. Neoliberals have zero tolerance for other social systems or deviations from so-called Washington consensus. The kakistocratic intellectual class demands political correctness and advocates a pseudo-radical wedge agenda.

There is the creation, notably, of neoliberal “newspeak,” which is similar to Marxist newspeak. For example, the word “free” is redefined as “unregulated.” That helps to provide a pseudo-scientific justification for redistributing wealth upward and increasing poverty for the lower 80% or so of the population endemic to the system.

Neoliberals, like Trotskyites, are globalists par excellence who dream about a worldwide neoliberal revolution. Their primary method of doing business (much illegal) is via foundations and so-called non-governmental organizations (NGO). The foundations, in turn, work through captured intelligence agencies.

The neoliberal state always evolves into the national security state.

This doctrine was artificially constructed by bribed intellectuals and a network of foundation-funded neoliberal think tanks. The use of the term “think tank” as the major weapon for unleashing neoliberal tyranny was also a direct borrowing from Bolshevik practice.

For further reading:

The Clinton Foundation is just the tip of iceberg. And when the curtain is pulled back on the maze of foundation activities, the controlled neoliberal media crushes coverage like a bug.

Neoliberal doctrine is built and enforced by “The Party.” The Party hides behind a contrived left-right dialectic and circus clown world politics. Both the GOP (and especially Trump) and Democrats are hardcore neoliberals and for all practical purposes are “The Party”.

The Party is Machiavellian and uses cult style methods. There is an obsessive preoccupation with getting to power and staying in power, but any means, criminal if necessary. Instincts are psychopathic. There is blatant disregard to fact and truth in order to achieve a political victory. They view political activities as a war and fight to the bitter end.  False flags and bamboozle staged deception operations are the norm. Wedge issues are the centerpiece of policy. There is adherence to big lies.

The Party is too preoccupied with dividing spoils among friends and corporate sponsors to effectively govern. High positions are populated with revolving-door flying monkeys with ideologically correct views — but who have zero, or near-zero, abilities to perform (“subzeros” or negative selection).

Along with fake promises, Machiavellians try to use militarism and jingoism as a unifying force for the nation. This also provides cover for a ragtag collection of lobbyists serving the interests of the military-industrial-surveillance complex, Wall Street and Israel.

The ultimate end outcome of this could very well be Civil War.

As Christopher Hayes noted, the spark is a “national mood of exhaustion, frustration and betrayal at near total failure of each pillar institution of our society.”

The Trump administration is stuffed to the gills with neoliberal brute capitalist Ayn Rand acolytes and predatory Zionists. Trump himself identifies with Fountainhead character Howard Roark; former secretary of state Rex Tillerson listed Atlas Shrugged as his favorite book in a Scouting magazine feature; his replacement Mike Pompeo has been inspired by Rand since his youth. Ayn Rand’s influence is ascendant across broad swaths of our dominant political culture.

Ayn Rand will be the topic of a standalone post.

But the culprit isn’t just “markets.” This is a story of power using theory. The mixed economy was undone by kleptocrats, who revised rules for their own benefit. They invested heavily in friendly theorists to bless this shift as sound and necessary economics and in friendly politicians to put those theories into practice.

This flying-monkey cronyism is in large part due to a revolving door between not only Wall Street and Washington but also the incestuous relationship between Wall Street, Washington and academia.

The leading neoliberal think tanks are American Enterprise Institute, Heritage, Cato and the Manhattan Institute. But there are more insidious investments in academia. Lavishly funded centers and tenured chairs were underwritten by the Olin, Scaife, Bradley, Koch and other neoliberal foundations to promote such variants of free-market theory as law and economics, public choice, rational choice, cost-benefit analysis, maximize-shareholder-value and kindred schools of thought. These theories colonized several academic disciplines. All were variations on the claim that markets worked and that government should get out of the way.

The actual realities and results of neoliberal parasite guildism is evident. It’s impossible to make everybody rich, so this is reserved to the top 1% or 0.01%, while the standard of living among “schmucks” deteriorates a lot.

Neoliberals eliminate political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Once protections for the 99% are removed, globalization and financialization were “just forces” that “just happened.”

For example, weaponized migration serves the neoliberal kakistocracy in two ways: 1) destabilizes and weakens national sovereignty as a bulwark to protect existing citizens; 2) keeps the wages of the 90% depressed and their costs high.

Neoliberals don’t care about democracy. They care only about “free markets” — which, in actuality, they control primarily through central banking and banksterism.

The key to parasite guild neoliberalism are extractions — not just of the living 99% but of future generations. The ethics of neoliberalism, is heavily tilted toward viewing people as “homo economicus.

Central banking, as practiced by the kakistocracy, keeps borrowing costs for the kleptocracy very low. Strangely, however, this is never passed on to consumer loans, which remain usurious. Savers are crucified, even subjected to negative yields. Kleptocrats play the arbitrage, or spread, and their takings keep compounding while members of the broader society are like hamsters on a tread mill.

The neoliberal is always on the lookout for some shit storm to roll by or to create. In a country like Libya, the 99% was doing fine under a different kind of system. So the neoliberal hires mercenaries and takes the country down. Not feeling content with just that, it then organizes weaponized migrations whereby most African migrants are looted, killed and enslaved. Then the traffickers have the audacity to cry about “compassion.”


Read “Migrations to Libya: An Enslavement Operation from Start to Finish”

Neoliberals in general, and neocons in particular (aka “neoliberals with guns”), are hell-bent of creating the Global Neoliberal Empire and killing millions people in the process. Since global reach is their goal, destroying the well being of the majority of people in their host country is no obstacle.


Read “‘The Purge: Election Year’ — Revelation of the Method?”

Global financial institutions are the bastion of neoliberal ideology, and they can bully most poor countries into adopting neoliberal policies.

The USA as a superpower state is used to support subservient regimes that favor business interests of transnational companies, putting those interests above interest of the country and its people. And if necessary it will remove non-complaint regimes by force. The USA foreign policy now is essentially based on the coercive use of economic, political, and military power to expropriate other nation’s land, labor, capital, natural resources, commerce, and markets in the interests of the transnationals, not in the interest of the American people.

Neoliberalism, like Marxism in the past, as an ideology has become strongly associated with a specific culture (the U.S. culture, or Anglo-Saxon culture in more general terms) and a specific language (English). In reality, the English language combined with Hollywood culture has created a Satanic plague.

For further reading:

When real environmental degradation and threats takes place — such as antibiotic super-bug cesspools or pesticides killing bees en mass, and on and on — the neoliberal kakistocracy diverts attention away and invents Greta climate-change scams. Then, we learn there is an incredible menu of financialization objectives behind the scam.

For further reading:

Another nasty manifestation of kleptocrat neoliberal misdirection is the “white privilege” and “deplorable” or “Dear Fellow White Person” scam. This takes aim at lower stratus white people who are barely staying above water.

The faux progressives who fall for this distraction are typically embittered debt slaves from their excessive borrowing for poor educations where they are in turn brainwashed by neoliberal and neoMarxist flying monkeys.

But despite this curated and controlled narrative a series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown that nine out of 10 aged 18 to 35, agreed with the statement, “Banks and money rule the world.”  But this sentiment is kept hidden as the diversions and black magik run amok.

For further reading:

The term “neoliberalism” itself is obscured and hidden from the population, and its discussion is a taboo in neoliberal MSM.

They also pervert the idea of the Rule of the Law, which animated so much of modernity. Today, there’s the hollowing out of democratic practices and institutions, while at the same time catalyzing radical, brutal neo-feudal forms of kleptocratic dominance.

They are hard at work with internet censorship and are even beta testing behavioral enforcement against hand gestures and haircuts. This is typical of Trotskyite neoliberals and their fellow travelers Trotskyite Marxists. Political pressure and money create an environment in which intellectually bankrupt and inverted ideas prevail.

Neoliberals or Marxists, it’s all the same Judas Goat paycheck.

Read “The ADL Tags Benign Things as White Supremacist to Manufacture Boogeymen, Remain Relevant”

Neoliberal nomenklatura is very similar to communist nomenklatura. In both cases, position in the social hierarchy is, by and large, determined by the position the individual has in government, military or private industry. Winter Watch is uncovering more and more evidence that these players are multi-generational actors.

For further reading:

In fact, I’m pleased to see more attention being paid (by folks like David Icke) to this ponerology inquiry that has historical family links and cults going back to Sabbattean- Frankism and Illuminism. Once the true believers of these cults infiltrate and take power, it becomes quite easy to identify, recruit, brainwash and train whole legions of other natural psychopathic flying monkeys to carry out their agendas.

For further reading:

Delusional American Voters Excited To Elect Another Government By the Worst Individuals

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Kakistocracy is a term that was first used in the 17th century; derived from a Greek word, it means, literally, government by the worst and most unscrupulous people among us. More broadly, it can mean the most inept and cringeworthy kind of government. The term fell into disuse over the past century or more, and most highly informed people have never heard it before (but to kids familiar with the word “kaka” it might resonate).

As I wrote my new book with E.J. Dionne and Tom Mann, One Nation Under Trump, I kept returning to the term. Kakistocracy is back, and we are experiencing it firsthand in America. The unscrupulous element has come into sharp focus in recent weeks as a string of Trump Cabinet members and White House staffers have been caught spending staggering sums of taxpayer dollars to charter jets, at times to go small distances where cheap commercial transportation was readily available, at times to conveniently visit home areas or have lunch with family members. While Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign after his serial abuse, others—including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, remain in place.With Pruitt and Price, the problems were evident before they were confirmed. Pruitt told the Senate he had done no official business on a personal email account while serving as Oklahoma attorney general. When a judge ordered Pruitt’s emails to be made public, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rushed through his confirmation before they appeared—and, too late, they showed he had misled the Senate. Tom Price had engaged in a string of stock transactions while in Congress that led to accusations of manipulation and insider trading; McConnell and his Republican Senate colleagues brushed the evidence aside. Similarly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s misleading claims in his confirmation hearing about his own relationships with Russians during the campaign met with no pushback or interest from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.

The Constitution prohibits anything of value other than a salary going to a president from the federal government or the states. (Trump had also been pushing the District of Columbia for more favorable property taxes.) The failure of GSA top officials to act on Trump’s apparent violation is under investigation by the agency’s inspector general. Foreign-government entities falling over themselves to stay in the hotel and schedule meetings and events there at premium prices may have violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause, just one of a string of in-your-face elements of a president enriching himself via his office. Doubling the initiation fee at Mar-A-Lago to $250,000, and advertising that those putting on weddings there or at his Bedminster, New Jersey, country club might get a photo-op with the president of the United States, are equally outrageous examples.

News that the president’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner had used a private server and private email accounts for official business—multiplying to several accounts, then hurriedly transferred to the Trump business server after the revelations—showed a remarkable indifference to the rules; Kushner’s repeated failure to disclose his foreign contacts on security-clearance forms represented clear violations that underlined that cavalier attitude. And the efforts of Ivanka’s business and the Kushner family business to leverage their White House status parallel the ethical violations of the president. A competent and honest Congress would be all over these issues, with hearings and efforts to clean up the system. The number of hearings on any of these issues of absence of ethics, abuse of power, and misuse of taxpayer money: zero.

Awful as the grifterish mentality and behavior may be, worse is the other part of kakistocracy—inept, corrupt, and disruptive governance. Impulsive, stream-of-consciousness communications from the president by tweet are one thing. Examples like a budget that aims to knock out our weather satellites and cut our ability to respond to a pandemic, along with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) removing from its website information about the disastrous conditions in Puerto Rico while pumping up the good news, are another.

More troublesome still is the danger to world stability reflected in the embarrassing contretemps-triangle involving Secretary of State Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Mattis, and Trump. Within the last week, Trump undercut Tillerson via tweet, taking diplomatic talks with North Korea off the table while his secretary of state was in China (after undercutting our vital ally South Korea by attempting to blow up our joint free-trade agreement). Then NBC reported that Tillerson had privately called the president a “moron.” Mattis then told the Senate that America should continue to certify the Iran-nuclear deal, as it is in our national-security interest—after which the president threatened to decertify the deal, undercutting the credibility of his defense secretary.* While we have seen many instances in the past of presidents and Cabinet members at odds—remember Gerald Ford and James Schlesinger; Ronald Reagan and Alexander Haig—we have had nothing like these public disputes and contradictory signals involving the most sensitive trouble spots on earth.

Donald Trump campaigned by promising to run government like a business. Unfortunately, that business is Trump University. There are 602 key policy positions in the executive requiring Senate confirmation. Almost nine months into the Trump presidency, only 142—less than a quarter—have been filled, and nearly half, 289, have not even had a nominee chosen. The record here is starkly worse than under the previous four presidents, from George H. W. Bush through Obama. At the State Department, we have a secretary and two deputy secretaries in place—but only two of the nearly 30 critical undersecretaries or assistant secretaries, with none even nominated for the vast majority of the positions. A slew of key ambassadorships remain vacant, including sensitive spots like South Korea, Congo, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Venezuela—none of which even have a nominee! Rumors have circulated that Tillerson has proposed many experienced Bush hands for some of these posts, which have been blocked by a White House personnel office that screens for early support for Trump, and vetoes those who offered any criticism during the campaign—which eliminates the vast majority of those with any experience in foreign affairs.

To be sure, Trump himself suggested that he did not need to fill many of these 602 posts, because there are “hundreds and hundreds of unnecessary jobs.” It is true that we have had, as scholar Paul Light has put it, a “thickening of government,” with multiple layers of management added over the years. Substituting political appointments with career senior managers taking on their responsibilities would make sense.

But at the same time that there are hundreds of key vacancies in presidential appointees, the administration is signaling deep distrust in the bureaucracy and waging war on the Senior Executive Service. Tillerson has moved actively to hollow out the diplomatic corps, purging the department of many distinguished experts in regions and in management. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is under investigation by the inspector general for trying to move a series of senior managers out of their posts and home areas without following the civil-service rules.

The New York Times reported that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has filled his schedule almost exclusively with meetings and fancy dinners with coal-mining and chemical companies and others EPA regulates—often followed by moves to deregulate them—while scheduling almost no meetings with environmental groups. Pruitt has also spent $25,000 in taxpayer money to put a soundproof phone booth in his office, raising red flags about why this was necessary.

The kakistocracy applies as well to Congress. I have already outlined some of the failures of the confirmation process for Cabinet officers and the abysmal lack of oversight of kleptocratic behavior. Add to those the eleventh hour backdoor effort in the House in January to eviscerate its independent Office of Congressional Ethics and the outrageous attempts by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, unchecked by Speaker Paul Ryan, to collude with the Trump White House to mislead about allegations of its own ties to Russian officials during and after the 2016 campaign. Nunes was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation—but has continued to try to use his office to influence the process.

Moreover, Republican leaders, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have blown up most of the remaining norms about how laws are developed, debated, and enacted. The process used to attempt the single most significant congressional promise, repealing and replacing Obamacare, was an embarrassing jumble of ineptitude, casuistry, irregularity, and abnormality. After eight years of promises to offer an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress only slapped together careless and unworkable plans after they took the White House and both houses of Congress. In the Senate, the plan was crafted behind closed doors by a small group of older, white male senators without the involvement of experts from the two relevant committees, Health and Finance, and with no input from the most savvy health experts, conservative or otherwise, or any of the stakeholders in the health-policy world.

The plan, and its even more embarrassing alternative crafted by Senators Cassidy and Graham after the first one flamed out, were opposed by every major health organization and provider group, and were ripped by Senator John McCain for violating every principle of deliberation and debate. The sponsors lied repeatedly to their colleagues and to journalists and others about what the bills did and did not do, and made ham-handed efforts to throw money or exemptions at individual senators in Maine and Alaska to induce their votes.

The failure to pass any health measure, or to send Trump any significant bills he can use to have lavish Rose Garden victory ceremonies to show how much he is winning, has led to another round of presidential insults aimed at his own party leaders McConnell and Ryan, and at apostates like John McCain and Jeff Flake.

The latest is a round of ridiculous and counterproductive attacks by Trump on Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker, who responded with his own broadsides at an unstable president lacking adult supervision. Many observers are now writing and talking about a Republican civil war, with the latest battle being the Senate primary in Alabama that led to the nomination of radical Roy Moore.

“Can’t anybody here play this game?” was Casey Stengel’s famous lament about his inept 1962 New York Mets. The same lament could apply to the Trump administration and its majority team in Congress—but the problem is deeper and worse when ineptitude joins with venality and recklessness, and when the stakes are far more than baseball pennants.

Norm Ornstein is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal, and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

Jewish Press Boasts On Jewish Political Domination Of US Homeland Security Funds

The Department of Homeland Security allocated to Jewish institutions $12 million, or 94 percent, of $13 million in funds for securing nonprofits.

The Jewish Federations of North America’s Washington office director, William Daroff, said Tuesday that the allocation made sense particularly in light of an intensification of threats on Jewish community targets in the United States and overseas.

“In the current environment there are threats to nonprofits and to Jewish institutions,” he told JTA, noting a swell of attacks on Jewish institutions in Europe in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

“We see it clearly in Europe, but we also see it here in the United States in Kansas City, in Seattle and numerous occasions that are not made public or do not come to fruition,” Daroff said. He referred to attacks in recent years on Jewish community centers in Kansas City and Seattle.

The allocations, announced July 25, are based on applications that are then assessed for threat by local and federal law enforcement officials.

The $13 million disbursed last week brings to $151 million the amount disbursed since the program started in 2005, most of it to Jewish institutions.

Leading the lobbying for the program have been the Jewish Federations of North America, the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America.

In a statement, the JFNA thanked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as well as lawmakers for championing the funds, among them Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.), and Reps. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), John Carter (R-Texas) and David Price (D-N.C.).

Israel Reopens Schools w/10 Cases of Covid Nationally…2 Weeks Later, 28,147 Students and Teachers Are Quarantined

Israeli Data Show School Openings Were a Disaster That Wiped Out Lockdown Gains

GRADING ON THE CURVE

Of 1,400 Israelis diagnosed with COVID-19 last month, 657 (47 percent) were infected in schools. Now 2,026 students, teachers, and staff have it, and 28,147 are quarantined.

Xinhua News Agency/Getty

JERUSALEM—Israel’s unchecked resurgence of COVID-19 was propelled by the abrupt May 17 decision to reopen all schools, medical and public-health officials have told The Daily Beast.

“We know Israelis have terrible discipline, but now, it’s the leadership. ”
— Galia Rahav, Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv

The assessment of Israel’s trajectory has direct bearing on the heated debate underway in the United States between President Donald Trump, who is demanding a nationwide reopening of schools for what appear to be largely political reasons, and health authorities who caution it could put the wider population at risk.

Importantly, on May 17 in Israel it appeared the virus not only was under control, but defeated. Israel reported only 10 new cases of COVID-19 in the entire country that day. In the U.S., the debate often is about reopening schools where the disease is not only not in decline, but surging.

On Sunday, for instance, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, “There’s nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous.” But that is not the case in Israel, where the data from June, the last month for which there is a full set of statistics, appear all too clear.

The road from anti-coronavirus paradigm to rampant infection in this country of 9 million people followed two months of almost total lockdown. May 17 also was the day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz swore in their “corona emergency government,” whose sole declared purpose is to fight the spread of the virus. Netanyahu’s decree that the nation’s entire school system would reopen was a political flourish to signal everything was under control.

The announcement followed a more cautious experiment of several weeks in which only children in the first, second, and third grades were brought back to classrooms, and taught in small, non-intersecting groups called “capsules.”

Hagai Levine, an epidemiologist at the Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and chairman of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians, said: “There was no measurable increase in contagion” while the capsules for young children were being tried out.

The association even offered the government an investigation into school-based infections of COVID-19, but was turned down.

Then, Levine says, “contrary to our advice, the government decided to open the entire system all at once on May 17. What happened next was entirely predictable.”

On June 3, two weeks after schools opened, more than 244 students and staff were found to test positive for COVID-19.

According to the education ministry, 2,026 students, teachers, and staff have contracted COVID-19, and 28,147 are in quarantine due to possible contagion.

Just in the first two weeks of July, 393 kindergartens and schools open for summer programs have been shuttered due to cases of COVID-19.

The level of school contagion became public last week during testimony provided to Israeli legislators by Udi Kliner, the health ministry’s deputy director of public-health services, whose boss had just quit in protest against the government’s mishandling of the crisis. Israel now surpasses 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 a day.

On Tuesday, Israel reported 1,681 new cases of COVID-19 infection, its worst result since the outbreak began.

The source of the infection explosion can be seen clearly in the numbers from June. As Kliner told the Knesset, 1,400 Israelis were diagnosed with the disease last month. Of those, 185 caught it at events such as weddings, 128 in hospitals, 113 in workplaces, 108 in restaurants, bars, or nightclubs, and 116 in synagogues, according to Kliner, while 657—which is to say 47 percent of the total—were infected by the coronavirus in schools.

“Not a single school was prepared,” says Mohammad Khatib, who teaches public health at the Zefat Academic College and is the epidemiological expert on the health ministry’s newly formed advisory committee on the coronavirus in the Arab sector.

“Adults, including teachers and other employees, brought it into schools, which are, in the end, closed spaces,” he said, underscoring the finding that middle-school children proved to be the most dangerous vectors.

“The younger students were more obedient and easier to control in a classroom setting,” Khatib said, “and had more respect for their teachers. Among high schoolers, there was a greater ability to understand. But it is in the nature of middle-school kids to rebel, not to obey teachers, not to wear masks or keep apart.”

The ministry of health did not respond to questions regarding the breakdown of schools and infections, and accurate, detailed numbers have become harder and harder to come by.

Levine, the Hebrew University epidemiologist, said that in general, “There is no transparency regarding the statistics. The data is not being made available to epidemiologists, so it is impossible to gauge precisely, but we saw many confirmed cases of COVID-19 in middle schools— it is very possible that caused the outbreak.”

The month of June, which began exactly two weeks after Israel’s school system was suddenly and shambolically reopened, “caused the second wave,” Khatib says. “Whatever else we say, the fact is that schools were not prepared to take students back under the necessary conditions to contain the epidemic.”

“The reopening happened too fast. It was undertaken so quickly that it triggered a very sharp spike, and the return to more conservative measures came too little, much too late,” Khatib says, summing up Israel’s dilemma.

Six weeks after forming an emergency government to handle the pandemic, and one week after promising that a “corona czar” would be appointed to take charge of the country’s haphazard response, Israel seems further than ever from its desired goal.

Calls are mounting for a national commission of inquiry to be appointed to investigate the government’s “dereliction of duty,” in the words of former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.

On Sunday, Roni Numa, a retired army general who was the only known candidate for the czar job, withdrew his name after realizing he would not be given the authority needed to coordinate a national response.

Netanyahu devoted Monday to attempting to fire Yifat Shasha-Biton, chairwoman of the Knesset’s corona committee and a member of his own Likud party, for the crime of defying his directives regarding the reopening of public pools and gyms.

The prime minister, who is struggling to keep ultra-religious coalition parties in line in the face of their demand to allow synagogues to admit up to 50 congregants at a time, ordered Shasha-Biton to keep gyms and pools closed.

But without evidence proving that pools and gyms cause an uptick in contagion, Shasha-Biton allowed her committee to vote for opening.

The health ministry has not released its own epidemiological findings on gyms and pools, if they exist, and the ministry of education indicated it “intends to open schools as usual” on Sept. 1, even though the numbers from June would seem to provide conclusive data about the risks. In any case, no strategy is in place to prevent a second round of school epidemics.

Galia Rahav, who chairs the department of infectious diseases at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, said in an interview that “what happened in schools is just too much gathering, day after day, and kids come home and infect mom and dad. The top numbers of new infections were in kids.”

Due to the large number of infections among children, she noted, “the average age of an Israeli with COVID-19 has gone down to between 20 and 39,” while infections in citizens over 65 have held steady. In Jerusalem, the Israeli city with the highest rate of infection, most of the people with COVID-19 are under the age of 35.

“It is certainly not impossible that the second wave started in schools,” Rahav said, carefully understating the case. “Discipline is at an awful level. We know Israelis have terrible discipline, but now, it’s the leadership that is completely inconstant, with one ‘leader’ saying one thing and another the contrary.”

State-Sponsored Disinformation–every government uses it

State-sponsored disinformation in Western democracies is the elephant in the room

Discussions on disinformation mostly focus on the external sources of disinformation: Russia and China. If we focus exclusively on disinformation as a foreign challenge, we are simply ignoring the elephant in the room. Democratically-elected leaders are increasingly fuelling the spread of disinformation.

Contemporary disinformation is distinct from propaganda. It is neither based on ideologies nor facts. In many ways, it is predicated on a much more pessimistic and cynical worldview where, as Peter Pomerantsev writes about the disinformation of the Putin-regime, “Nothing is true and everything is possible.”

The goal of disinformation is not to persuade the audience with one message. Rather, disinformation is intended to confuse people with multiple messages. As a result, it does not need ideology or to be fact-based at all. It can be almost anything, which is why it is so much more dangerous than propaganda.

Without the pesky requirement of being beholden to facts or ideas, one can simply throw out any sort of (false or strange) information to confuse the public. And it is increasingly being exploited for political gain. We live in an era where political campaigns are less focused on winning hearts and minds; rather, campaigns now tend to gain traction by sowing division and engendering tribalism.

Disinformation creates chaos. The public finds itself confused about what is true and reality suddenly becomes murky. Without clear and reliable information, people revert to visceral tribalism based on the narrative they like the most. Cleavages deepen. The mission of the disinformation campaign is accomplished.

Western democratic leaders generally oppose authoritarians who deliberately deceived their citizens to create and sustain a virtual reality… But suddenly, state-sponsored disinformation is no longer reserved for authoritarians and dictators. It has infiltrated the Western democratic world, catching us all off guard.

The pandemic has given a dangerous boost to domestic disinformation narratives in the democratic world.

In Hungary, a NATO and EU member state, Viktor Orbán has created the most centralised media empire ever within the European Union, with more than 400 media outlets all parroting similar political messages. The Hungarian government and its media have also successfully blamed Iranian students in Hungary for the onset of the pandemic, falsely claiming that the primary source of the pandemic is illegal migration. Orban and his media have also blamed George Soros for the tanking Hungarian currency and claimed that a vocal critic of Orban’s anti-democratic tactics was descended from Nazis. These narratives are not only for domestic use: Orbán is spreading them throughout the Ango-Saxon world through his news agency V4NA and throughout the Western Balkans via media acquisitions.

Russia Today, the state-financed disinformation outlet planned to open a branch in Budapest a few years ago. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov announced the plan and the editor-in-chief was selected. Ultimately, RT abandoned the idea. Why? Most probably because they felt there was no need for such an outlet in Hungary, as the state-owned media is misinforming voluntarily for free. As a study by Political Capital – in association with Euronews – found, Euroskeptic narratives representing Moscow’s interests are present in the Hungarian media space without any efforts being made by the Kremlin (for instance, the messaging that “only Russia and China help, the EU does not”).

Meanwhile, in Poland, state-owned media have been claiming that opposition mayors have enacted policies that are contributing to the spread of the virus. At the same time, Central European governments like Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria – in order to silence critical voices – have passed harsher criminal punishment for media outlets that they claim are spreading “fake news.”

Even the United States – once a respected global beacon of democratic principles and a trusted ally of other like-minded democratic states – is spearheading massive disinformation campaigns, especially related to COVID-19. During the pandemic, which has seen a hugely disproportionate death toll in the US (relative to its percentage of the global population), we have seen democratically-elected political leaders flood the public discourse with disinformation.

President Trump is attempting to alter the narrative of the pandemic and its effects to achieve particular political ends and kickstart his re-election campaign. Rather than providing the public with clear and digestible facts, he touts wild and unproven medical treatments and puts forward man-made sources of COVID-19 without evidence, often contradicting scientists and American intelligence agencies. Trump lies repeatedly about US testing capabilities, and regularly fabricates data regarding the scope of US infections and deaths. When a journalist deigns to question him on the information he puts forth in his press briefings, he becomes agitated, casts doubt on the credibility of the journalist or media outlet, and cries “fake news!”

Trump also promotes notable conspiracy theorists in his Twitter feed. He recently accused an MSNBC anchor, Joe Scarborough, of murder and has been claiming that young children interfere with mail-in voting in an effort to call into question its efficacy and to discourage voters. Trump has also publicly retweeted conspiracy theories about coronavirus espoused by Diamond & Silk, two celebrities whose Twitter feed was suspended for disinformation, and recently argued that a 75-year old protestor in Buffalo was a member of Antifa.

President Trump will likely continue his disinformation campaign with the purpose of creating chaos and dividing constituents, as tribal politics can always benefit from more division and polarisation. The public confusion and division it breeds may just be enough to save him.

Historically, dictatorships and authoritarians have effectively utilised state-sponsored disinformation tactics and the politically-elected leaders of Western democracies have aggressively condemned them. In fact, the US government and the European Union have proactively opposed the use of such flagrant authoritarian tactics, as they pose a fundamental and profound threat to well-established democratic principles. Western democratic leaders generally oppose authoritarians who deliberately deceived their citizens to create and sustain a virtual reality: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and in the 21st century, Kim Jung-Un and Vladimir Putin.

But suddenly, state-sponsored disinformation is no longer reserved for authoritarians and dictators. It has infiltrated the Western democratic world, catching us all off guard.

In the last general election campaign in the UK, the incumbent Tories deployed a flood of fake news regarding Brexit and their political opponents until tech giants (including Google) had to step in and remove some of their misleading ads.

We must now recognise the painful truth that – even in a Western democracy – there is almost no way to stop disinformation, especially when it comes from the top. Viritually all of the funds and institutions in the Anglo-Saxon world are aimed exclusively at targeting disinformation coming from the outside – from foreign sources.

Because such extensive disinformation campaigns are a relatively new phenomenon in the West, we do not yet have adequate norms and/or institutional practices in place to combat this new challenge. There are no institutions ready to deal with domestic, homegrown politically-charged disinformation – neither in the US, nor in the UK or in the EU. As a result, we are no longer simply ignoring the elephant in the room. We have allowed the elephant to take over the room.

  • Sohini Chatterjee is an associate professor at Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs and a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Péter Krekó is the Director of Political Capital Institute in Budapest and a Europe’s Futures Fellow of the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) and Erste Foundation

The Facebook disinformation virus needs a vaccine

The Facebook disinformation virus needs a vaccine

Since Zuckerberg won’t limit the spread of conspiracy theories, he should be charged a fee like tobacco companies

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, above, is trying to have it both ways: Signaling his personal disgust with President Trump’s behavior while allowing Facebook to monetize it.

Mark Zuckerberg wants you to know that he’s “deeply shaken and disgusted” by President Trump’s incendiary social media posts.

But don’t worry Mr. President, Zuckerberg isn’t actually going to use his power as Facebook’s founder to limit your ability to spread conspiracy theories and misinformation on the platform he invented.

That’s just not his business model.

Instead, Zuckerberg is trying to have it both ways: virtue signaling his personal disgust with Trump’s behavior while allowing Facebook to monetize it. Talk about disgusting.

Facebook is a monopoly, a sprawling, borderless behemoth that needs to be reined in before it destroys the foundation of our democracy: shared truth.

We are suffering through a once-in-a-century pandemic caused by an unseen virus while living with a disinformation virus that we can see — most often on Facebook — that sows deep divisions by erasing the edges of truth.Disinformation, disguised as memes and news, has become so prominent in our public discourse that it is sending us and our democracy to the ICU.

With Facebook, there is no social distancing. Simply logging on means exposure to fake cures, bogus news and foreign agents stoking our country’s divisions.

Some have looked to remedy this by breaking up the social media giant, but that won’t undo the damage already done. Nor will it protect us going forward.

No, we need to immunize ourselves from the disinformation virus, and Facebook should pay for the vaccine.

Facebook should be charged a Disinformation Consumption Fee for each of its U.S. users. For instance, a surcharge of $40 annually would generate at least $6 billion to fight disinformation.

There’s precedent for such an initiative. Under a 1998 settlement agreement with states, major tobacco companies contributed billions of dollars to state budgets and funded anti-smoking public service announcements, helping reduce smoking rates to their lowest levels in almost a century.

Like Big Tobacco, Zuckerberg has chosen to put profits before truth, spreading disease throughout the land and refusing to take responsibility for the damage he’s caused.

We can no longer allow a 36-year-old billionaire to rule over a global town square of 2.5 billion people like a feudal lord selling megaphones to truth-tellers and disinformation agents alike, drawing no distinction between the two.

If Zuckerberg was really disgusted by divisiveness, he would have acted on Facebook’s own research that the social media platform was driving people apart.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a Facebook team’s internal report concluded that “our algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness. If left unchecked,” Facebook would feed users “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform.”

Presented with this evidence, Zuckerberg shelved it. All so Facebook can continue to make billions selling disinformation and divisiveness.

He is responsible for helping to tear the country apart and he knows it.

Disinformation, like terrorism, is a mortal threat to our democracy. After 9/11, Congress created a commission to find out what went wrong and to prevent it from ever happening again.

We need Congress to act again, this time creating a bipartisan panel to make recommendations on how to structure a Disinformation Consumption Fee to raise and spend the billions needed to educate Americans on how to fight this insidious threat.

If Zuckerberg won’t do it himself, we need to do it for him. Nothing less than our democracy is at stake.

Tom Cosgrove is the co-creator of the documentary about healing a polarized America, “Divided We Fall: Unity Without Tragedy,” airing nationally on PBS, and the president of the non-profit New Voice Strategies.

Defund the thought police–Put An End To Political Correctness

Defund the thought police

Due process is not the strong suit of mobs. Neither is nuance, open discussion or disagreement. These inherent defects should be painfully obvious as mobs pull down statues, seize sections of cities and demand the public approach them on bended knee, literally.

Anyone who dares push back faces immediate censure. If the mob is successful, any offenders will lose their jobs. Feckless employers are all too eager to appease the mob and hope it turns on another target.

In this perilous environment, the most frenzied voices do more than dominate the public square. They monopolize it by silencing dissent. They have received full-throated support from the tech giants that control discussion and the media giants determined to shape the narrative rather than report the news.

Twitter and NBC are the poster children for this assault on free discussion. Their suppression in the name of “social justice” betrays the idea, best articulated in John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty,” that competing, divergent views lead to greater understanding.

The idea of an open forum, so basic to democracies, already lies a-moldering in the grave of academia, at least in the humanities and social sciences. Imagine applying for a job in gender studies and saying you oppose abortions after, say, week 38. The term for such a person is “unemployed.”

Imagine merely calling for a discussion on the pros and cons of affirmative action, taking the negative side, and hoping to win tenure. Bad career move.

University administrations are equally rigid. Rejecting affirmative action, questioning the implementation of Title IX or opposing Black Lives Matter would end your chances of being hired at nearly every U.S. university. Yet all of them proudly tout, with no sense of irony, their “office of diversity and inclusion,” fully staffed and generously funded. For them, of course, diversity never includes diverse viewpoints. It’s all about DNA and gender identity.

Modern universities are now well-oiled machines to stamp out dissenting views. That’s been true for decades. What’s new, and disturbing, is seeing this orthodoxy spread to K-12 education, corporate HR departments, churches and newsrooms.

The “thought police” are on patrol, twirling the twin batons of guilt and moral superiority. Dissent from their views is not just considered an error, much less an innocent one. It is considered immoral, illegitimate and unworthy of a public hearing.

Although both left and right have moved steadily toward this abyss, the worst excesses today come from the left, just as they came from the right in the 1950s. Opponents are seen as apostates who deserve to be symbolically burned at the stake.

The last time we saw this frenzy was during the dark days of Joe McCarthy and the Hollywood Blacklist. People flocked to Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible,” because it likened the moment to the Salem witch trials. Today’s audiences would be appalled to hear the critique applies to them. Alas, it does.

Suppressing free speech is not the same as violence, but the two are invariably intertwined. The threat of violence not only underscores the intensity of particular views — it heightens the danger of voicing disagreement.

Large-scale violence, whatever its source or purpose, undermines social stability and assails democratic procedures. It won’t stand for long because the public won’t tolerate it. They will demand leaders who restore order. The only question is what kind of order and at what cost.

The first duty of any government is to establish order and safety, ideally with popular support. Constitutional democracies have procedures to establish order, enforce it and administer penalties for violating it.

In the U.S., we have one additional constraint, a fundamentally important one: personal rights, such as freedom of speech and religion, cannot be overridden, even by large majorities. This social and political order is not static — it is always evolving — but there are well-established procedures to make those changes, ensure all voices are heard and protect each citizen’s inalienable rights.

Calls to “defund the police” attack the very idea of establishing this peaceful public order. Cities foolish enough to attempt it will unleash violence and predation and meet a predictable backlash from citizens determined to protect their lives and property. They will either stand and fight or flee to safer spaces.

Although mobs are not always violent, rule by mobs is always a threat to constitutional democracy. Even peaceful protests can morph into mob rule when they stamp out dissenting voices or quash democratic procedures.

We are seeing some of that today, where peaceful protests, guaranteed under the First Amendment’s rights to free speech and assembly, attempt to suppress speech, topple symbols they claim to hate and smear anyone bold enough to disagree.

To preserve our democracy, we must resist the mob. That begins with understanding the gravity of the threat. Yielding the public square to this “thought police” is the road to tyranny. It leads away from our hard-won achievement of ordered liberty and constitutional democracy.

Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago. This article is reprinted with permission from Real Clear Politics, where it first appeared.

Real Democracies Do NOT Cast Votes For “the lesser of two evils”

The Deep State’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy Is Working

Tyranny Without a Tyrant

In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can present grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless, we have a tyranny without a tyrant.

― Hannah Arendt, On Violence

What exactly is going on?

Is this revolution? Is this anarchy? Is this a spectacle engineered to distract us from the machinations of the police state? Is this a sociological means of re-setting our national equilibrium? Is this a Machiavellian scheme designed to further polarize the populace and undermine our efforts to stand unified against government tyranny? Is this so-called populist uprising actually a manufactured race war and election-year referendum on who should occupy the White House?

Whatever it is, this—the racial hypersensitivity without racial justice, the kowtowing to politically correct bullies with no regard for anyone else’s free speech rights, the violent blowback after years of government-sanctioned brutality, the mob mindset that is overwhelming the rights of the individual, the oppressive glowering of the Nanny State, the seemingly righteous indignation full of sound and fury that in the end signifies nothing, the partisan divide that grows more impassable with every passing day—is not leading us anywhere good.

Certainly it’s not leading to more freedom.

This draconian exercise in how to divide, conquer and subdue a nation is succeeding.

It must be said: the Black Lives Matter protests have not helped. Inadvertently or intentionally, these protests—tinged with mob violence, rampant incivility, intolerance, and an arrogant disdain for how an open marketplace of ideas can advance freedom—have politicized what should never have been politicized: police brutality and the government’s ongoing assaults on our freedoms.

For one brief moment in the wake of George Floyd’s death, it seemed as if finally “we the people” might put aside our differences long enough to stand united in outrage over the government’s brutality.

That sliver of unity didn’t last.

We may be worse off now than we were before.

Suddenly, no one seems to be talking about any of the egregious governmental abuses that are still wreaking havoc on our freedoms: police shootings of unarmed individuals, invasive surveillance, roadside blood draws, roadside strip searches, SWAT team raids gone awry, the military industrial complex’s costly wars, pork barrel spending, pre-crime laws, civil asset forfeiture, fusion centers, militarization, armed drones, smart policing carried out by AI robots, courts that march in lockstep with the police state, schools that function as indoctrination centers, bureaucrats that keep the Deep State in power.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

How do you persuade a populace to embrace totalitarianism, that goose-stepping form of tyranny in which the government has all of the power and “we the people” have none?

You persuade the people that the menace they face (imaginary or not) is so sinister, so overwhelming, so fearsome that the only way to surmount the danger is by empowering the government to take all necessary steps to quash it, even if that means allowing government jackboots to trample all over the Constitution.

This is how you use the politics of fear to persuade a freedom-endowed people to shackle themselves to a dictatorship.

It works the same way every time

The government’s overblown, extended wars on terrorism, drugs, violence, illegal immigration, and so-called domestic extremism have been convenient ruses used to terrorize the populace into relinquishing more of their freedoms in exchange for elusive promises of security.

Having allowed our fears to be codified and our actions criminalized, we now find ourselves in a strange new world where just about everything we do is criminalized, even our ability to choose whether or not to wear a mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strangely enough, in the face of outright corruption and incompetency on the part of our elected officials, Americans in general remain relatively gullible, eager to be persuaded that the government can solve the problems that plague us, whether it be terrorism, an economic depression, an environmental disaster, or a global pandemic.

We have relinquished control over the most intimate aspects of our lives to government officials who, while they may occupy seats of authority, are neither wiser, smarter, more in tune with our needs, more knowledgeable about our problems, nor more aware of what is really in our best interests. Yet having bought into the false notion that the government does indeed know what’s best for us and can ensure not only our safety but our happiness and will take care of us from cradle to grave—that is, from daycare centers to nursing homes—we have in actuality allowed ourselves to be bridled and turned into slaves at the bidding of a government that cares little for our freedoms or our happiness.

The lesson is this: once a free people allows the government inroads into their freedoms or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny.

Nor does it seem to matter whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican at the helm anymore. Indeed, the bureaucratic mindset on both sides of the aisle now seems to embody the same philosophy of authoritarian government, whose priorities are to milk “we the people” of our hard-earned money (by way of taxes, fines and fees) and remain in control and in power.

Modern government in general—ranging from the militarized police in SWAT team gear crashing through our doors to the rash of innocent citizens being gunned down by police to the invasive spying on everything we do—is acting illogically, even psychopathically. (The characteristics of a psychopath include a “lack of remorse and empathy, a sense of grandiosity, superficial charm, conning and manipulative behavior, and refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions, among others.”)

When our own government no longer sees us as human beings with dignity and worth but as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police, conned into believing it has our best interests at heart, mistreated, and then jails us if we dare step out of line, punishes us unjustly without remorse, and refuses to own up to its failings, we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic. Instead, what we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which “operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.”

So where does that leave us?

Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives. And for as long as we let them, government officials will continue to trample on our rights, always justifying their actions as being for the good of the people.

Yet the government can only go as far as “we the people” allow. Therein lies the problem.

The pickle we find ourselves in speaks volumes about the nature of the government beast we have been saddled with and how it views the rights and sovereignty of “we the people.”

Now you don’t hear a lot about sovereignty anymore. Sovereignty is a dusty, antiquated term that harkens back to an age when kings and emperors ruled with absolute power over a populace that had no rights. Americans turned the idea of sovereignty on its head when they declared their independence from Great Britain and rejected the absolute authority of King George III. In doing so, Americans claimed for themselves the right to self-government and established themselves as the ultimate authority and power.

In other words, in America, “we the people”— sovereign citizens—call the shots.

So when the government acts, it is supposed to do so at our bidding and on our behalf, because we are the rulers.

That’s not exactly how it turned out, though, is it?

In the 200-plus years since we boldly embarked on this experiment in self-government, we have been steadily losing ground to the government’s brazen power grabs, foisted upon us in the so-called name of national security.

The government has knocked us off our rightful throne. It has usurped our rightful authority. It has staged the ultimate coup. Its agents no longer even pretend that they answer to “we the people.” Worst of all, “we the people” have become desensitized to this constant undermining of our freedoms.

How do we reconcile the Founders’ vision of the government as an entity whose only purpose is to serve the people with the police state’s insistence that the government is the supreme authority, that its power trumps that of the people themselves, and that it may exercise that power in any way it sees fit (that includes government agents crashing through doors, mass arrests, ethnic cleansing, racial profiling, indefinite detentions without due process, and internment camps)?

They cannot be reconciled. They are polar opposites.

We are fast approaching a moment of reckoning where we will be forced to choose between the vision of what America was intended to be (a model for self-governance where power is vested in the people) and the reality of what it has become (a police state where power is vested in the government).

This slide into totalitarianism—helped along by overcriminalization, government surveillance, militarized police, neighbors turning in neighbors, privatized prisons, and forced labor camps, to name just a few similarities—is tracking very closely with what happened in Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

We are walking a dangerous path right now.

No matter who wins the presidential election come November, it’s a sure bet that the losers will be the American people.

Despite what is taught in school and the propaganda that is peddled by the media, the 2020 presidential election is not a populist election for a representative. Rather, it’s a gathering of shareholders to select the next CEO, a fact reinforced by the nation’s archaic electoral college system.

Anyone who believes that this election will bring about any real change in how the American government does business is either incredibly naïve, woefully out-of-touch, or oblivious to the fact that as an in-depth Princeton University study shows, we now live in an oligarchy that is “of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.”

When a country spends close to $10 billion on elections to select what is, for all intents and purposes, a glorified homecoming king or queen to occupy the White House and fill other government seats, while more than 40 million of its people live in povertymore than 40 million Americans are on unemployment, more than 500,000 Americans are homeless, and analysts forecast it will take a decade to work our way out of the current COVID-induced recession, that’s a country whose priorities are out of step with the needs of its people.

Be warned, however: the Establishment—the Deep State and its corporate partners that really run the show, pull the strings and dictate the policies, no matter who occupies the Oval Office—is not going to allow anyone to take office who will unravel their power structures. Those who have attempted to do so in the past have been effectively put out of commission.

Voting sustains the illusion that we have a democratic republic, but it is merely a dictatorship in disguise, or what political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page more accurately refer to as an “economic élite domination.”

In such an environment, the economic elite (lobbyists, corporations, monied special interest groups) dictate national policy. As the Princeton University oligarchy study indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen. As such, the citizenry has little if any impact on the policies of government.

We have been saddled with a two-party system and fooled into believing that there’s a difference between the Republicans and Democrats, when in fact, the two parties are exactly the same. As one commentator noted, both parties support endless war, engage in out-of-control spending, ignore the citizenry’s basic rights, have no respect for the rule of law, are bought and paid for by Big Business, care most about their own power, and have a long record of expanding government and shrinking liberty

We’re drowning under the weight of too much debt, too many wars, too much power in the hands of a centralized government run by a corporate elite, too many militarized police, too many laws, too many lobbyists, and generally too much bad news.

The powers-that-be want us to believe that our job as citizens begins and ends on Election Day. They want us to believe that we have no right to complain about the state of the nation unless we’ve cast our vote one way or the other. They want us to remain divided over politics, hostile to those with whom we disagree politically, and intolerant of anyone or anything whose solutions to what ails this country differ from our own.

What they don’t want us talking about is the fact that the government is corrupt, the system is rigged, the politicians don’t represent us, the electoral college is a joke, most of the candidates are frauds, and, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we as a nation are repeating the mistakes of history—namely, allowing a totalitarian state to reign over us.

Former concentration camp inmate Hannah Arendt warned against this when she wrote, “Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.”

As we once again find ourselves faced with the prospect of voting for the lesser of two evils, “we the people” have a decision to make: do we simply participate in the collapse of the American republic as it degenerates toward a totalitarian regime, or do we take a stand and reject the pathetic excuse for government that is being fobbed off on us?

Never forget that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He wrote the book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015). He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.orgRead other articles by John W..

Popular Rapper Slams Black Lives Matter As Soros Movement, Hijacked by Gays

Rapper Lord Jamar, a member of the hip-hop group Brand Nubian, sparked controversy when he rejected the Black Lives Matter organization over its Marxist roots, alleging it was created by far-left philanthropist billionaire George Soros and saying it is robbing Black Americans of their own “organic movement.”

In a video that has quickly gone viral, Lord Jamar (real name Lorenzo Dechalus) said that he is not a “Black Lives Matter” supporter, citing the organization’s radical views that fall outside its original mission statement.

“I’m not a Black Lives Matter supporter,” Jamar said in an interview on SCUM.

“You’re not?” the interviewer asked in surprise.

“No, absolutely not,” responded Jamar. “Because it’s not our movement. This is a movement that was given to us by, you know, George Soros and his f***ing boys. Because they saw how things were going and they didn’t want to go back to the 60s to where we started having our own organic movements. That was a big f***ing problem for them. So let’s give the people a movement that we can control. We’ll provide them the leaders and all this type of s**t. That’s what black lives matter is.”

Lord Jamar then directed people to look at the leaders of Black Lives Matter and their allegiance with the LGBTQ movement to illustrate his point. “Look at the leaders of Black Lives Matter,” he said. “These lesbian women who are trying to incorporate, you know, LG whatever the f*** the letters are, incorporate their concerns into black people’s concerns. Go to the website. Look it up.”

Black Lives Matter states on its “What We Believe” page that the organization is a “queer-affirming network” that seeks to “dismantle cisgender privilege” and “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family.”

We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.

We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

Black Lives Matter (BLM) founder Patrisse Cullors also emphasized in 2015 that the leaders are “trained Marxists” steeped in ideological theory. “We actually do have an ideological frame, myself and Alicia, in particular, are trained organizers,” said Cullors. “We are trained Marxists.” Many Black Lives Matter rallies have included calls to “abolish capitalism” along with the police.

Dr. Ron Paul Challenges Texas Exaggeration of Covid Virus Numbers

 

Map of Covid-19 cases in Texas

Graphs showing cases in regions of US

SOURCE

Is the Texas Covid ‘Spike’ Fake News?

On July 2nd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating the wearing of face masks across the state, whether indoors or outdoors, when six feet cannot be maintained between people. In the governor’s decree, he cited a rise in Covid cases, a rise in test positivity, and a rise in hospitalizations as justification to force people to cover their faces in public.

The move is not only a violation of the civil liberties of all Texans. Abbott may have based his executive order on inaccurate information about a “rise” in Covid cases due to the Texas State Department of Health Services changing the definition of what constitutes a “Covid case.”
Thanks goes to Collin County Judge Chris Hill for blowing the whistle on what appears to be a move in mid-May to redefine what was a “Covid” case to open the door to a massive increase – all to match the mainstream media line that a “second wave” was on the way.

In a Commissioners Court hearing for Collin County on May 18th, it was revealed that while previously the determination of a Covid “case” was a confirmed test result, the definition was suddenly changed to count “probable” cases as “cases.” At the same time, the threshold for determining “probable” was lowered to a ridiculous level.

As Judge Hill said at that May 18th meeting, “If you have a subjective fever and you have a headache and you live in Collin County, you now meet the qualifications to be a probable COVID patient. It is remarkable how low the standard is now.”

Even worse, once a “probable” case was determined based on possibly unrelated subjective criteria, up to 15 people in possible contact with that “probable” case were also listed as “probable cases.” And “probable cases” were considered cases.
Repeat that farce across Texas and is it any wonder there was a “spike” in “cases”?

Also, Governor Abbott’s claim that hospitals were being over-run by Covid patients was refuted by the Houston hospital directors themselves, who said they were nowhere near actual capacity and in fact were about the same level as they were last year.

The basis for Abbott’s unconstitutional “executive order” has been shown to be false. Will he admit his mistake?

It is encouraging to see so many local and county officials across Texas announcing they will refuse to enforce Governor Abbott’s unconstitutional face mask order. Thankfully the spirit of freedom and love of liberty is still alive in Texas.

The “second wave” is driven by propaganda. Across the country, Covid testing increased from about 150,000 to more than 700,000 per day. You can’t drive through Houston without seeing a flurry of signs advertising “Free Covid test! Results in 15 minutes!” Last week Reuters reported that tests shipped around the country by the federal government were contaminated.

Deaths from coronavirus – even the deaths “with” coronavirus rather than deaths “from” coronavirus – are down more than 90 percent since the peak in April. The decline in deaths continues. That means we are closer to the “herd immunity” that will finally kill this virus. Yet Governor Abbott and others across the country see this as a reason to lock the country back down.

The Real Civil War Was the Rich Against Everyone Else, Just Like Now

The True War

At his trial in Nuremberg, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring is recorded as saying, “Der Sieger wird immer der Richter und der Besiegte stets der Angeklagte sein,”   In common speech, this is often misquoted as, “History is written by the victor.”  The actual words are, “The victor is always the judge and the loser is the accused.”  Truer words he probably never spoke.

To this I would add that the judge always positions himself as the moral superior.  After all, might makes right, sine qua non?

America is convulsing because its history is a bedtime story told to itself to hide the painful truth.  On all sides of the current mess there, folks are asking, or rather stating that Civil War 2.0 is underway.  In a profound sense, it is just a continuation of the original, much like World War 2 was inevitable because the wrongs of World War 1 where never settled.

After orgies of violence we humans call wars, the winners – and losers – are in a rush to turn away from the horrors that were committed on all sides, and in that rush a convenient narrative is concocted to ease the vivid nightmares.  The winners absolve themselves of the crimes by heaping guilt on the shoulders of the losers, regardless of right or wrong, or the truth.

As any good lawyer will tell you, there are three sides to every story – your side, my side and the truth.

When it comes to the American Civil War of 1860-63, the soothing narrative the winners concocted was that the evil South wanted slavery, and the bright shiny North wanted to abolish it.  Since the North won, their side of the story has dominated the narrative, but that makes it neither right nor the truth.  The real story is much more complex with plenty of guilt to go ’round.  As we proper Southerners know it, it was the War of Northern Aggression.

As the great Greek tragedian Aeschyius reminds us, “The first casualty of war is the Truth.”

The issue of slavery began simmering in the Union before the ink was dry on the Constitution.  Abolitionists wanted to end slavery primarily because it was a vestige of British colonialism, but also because it was antithetical to the ideals of the new nation.

Many abolitionists advocated sending slaves back to Africa, which eventually happened when a US colonial group created the western African nation of Liberia and offered passage to any slaves wanting to emigrate there.  Abraham Lincoln recognized Liberian independence in 1862, and liked the idea of repatriating slaves, as he was not a fan of racial integration.

In 1824, the Democratic Republican Party split into two factions – the Democrats and Republicans – over support for John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.  Among the issues at the core of the split was slavery and abolition.  The Democrats were willing to compromise on slavery, as demonstrated by The Missouri Compromise of 1820, which brought the free state of Maine and the slave state of Missouri into the Union.

While the compromise placated both sides for  atime by maintaining the balance between free and slave states, it was undone by the Kanas-Nebraska Act of 1858.

Aside from all the idealistic rhetoric, the underlying tensions were primarily economic.  The northern states were dominated by industrial and financial interests, while the southern states were agricultural.  The balance that the politicians sought to maintain was between the suppliers of raw materials and food in the south, and the factories and banks in the north.  This tension was exacerbated by the apportionment of representation using population.  This one fact is the seed from which the Civil War and two centuries of social unrest have sprung.

The north benefitted from cheap raw materials that made its finished products highly competitive in global markets.  This made the industrialists and financiers grossly wealthy.  But they also faced increasing pressure to raise wages and offer benefits to labor, an issue that didn’t affect the slave states.  Furthermore, it was in the best interests of the northern parties to maintain the supply of cheap raw materials.

The south, on the other hand, found that they could fetch much better prices for their goods in Europe, and could buy manufactured goods cheaper than from the north.  More and more of the south’s output was shipping overseas.  The southern plantation owners were also hiking the prices for northern buyers, while buying fewer and fewer finished goods from the north, and their wealth was beginning to rival that of the industrial-financial interests.  Thanks to slavery, the plantation owners didn’t have an expanding middle class to deal with.

The United States enacted Protective Tariffs almost as fast as the nation came into being.  While they were initially intended to be temporary to help fill up the Treasury, they were never lifted and became a tool of northern interests to maintain control over the south.  By making southern goods more expensive overseas, they forced the flow of raw materials to their factories.  Import tariffs were levied to force the south to buy finished goods from the north.

This made the industrial-financial interests happy, and the expanding middle class enjoyed rising wages, who thus threw their support behind the tariffs, as well.  In the election of 1860, the Morill Tariff was a major plank in the Republican party’s platform, and James Buchanan ended up signing the Morill Tariff into law before Abraham Lincoln took office on 4 March 1861.

In November of 1860, frustrated by tariffs, economic shenanigans and the northern dominance of Congress, the southern senators walked out and secession soon followed on 12 April 1861.  The northern bankers and financiers, fearing a middle class uprising and shrinking profits, persuaded Lincoln to set up a blockade.

The blockade was a blatant act of war against sovereign states who were exercising their Ninth Amendment and Tenth Amendment rights.  The blockade covered 3,500 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, cutting off the newly formed Confederacy from their trading partners in Europe.  The same act today is still considered an act of war against a sovereign nation, though the US still uses it as a routine sanction against nations it doesn’t like (i.e. the banking and financial interests disapprove of).

There was and is no law preventing secession from the Union and every foundational document of the united States recognizes this fundamental right.  Thomas Jefferson himself wrote in the Declaration of Independence that a people had the right to sever ties with another when the government of the latter was abusive to their interests and liberty.

We must pause here to note that the abolutionist argument at the time was not about ending slavery, but whether new territories conquered by the federal government in its war on the native population would expand slavery into those regions or not.  We must also note that not a single slave ship ever flew the Confederate flag.  They were either British of Union flagged ships.

Having undermined the Confederate economy and brutally invaded a sovereign state (a common practice of the US), the Union forces decimated the South, which produced raw materials and not the finished goods of the north.  So the north cut off the South’s livelihood, while protecting their interests by purchasing raw materials from colonial powers abroad.

Note well that the Confederate states were exercising their rights, as recognized and memorialized in the US Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Also note that the Union invaded the Confederacy, and not the other way around.

The north clearly profited from slavery on all sides and had no intention to end its practice.  On the other side, the cost of purchasing and maintaining slavery was becoming a burden on the southern producers and would have ended one way or another before the end of the century.

On 1 January 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Contrary to the legend propagated by the victors, this document did not “free” any slaves.  It promised escaped slaves that made it past the Mason-Dixon line that they would not be returned to the Confederacy.    It did not grant equal rights or suffrage or even freedom – just that they would not be returned to their owners.  In other words, it was yet another act of deception by the Union, which it was quite adept at even then.

In fact, slavery in the north did not end for several years after the Civil War and emancipation proclamation.  There was a slave market right where Wall Street is today into the 1870s.

The Dred Scott decision, which affirmed the right of property to a human being, was not overturned until the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted in 1868, a full three years after the end of the Civil War, and even then the practice of slavery in the north tapered off slowly.

That the Fourteenth Amendment destroyed God-given rights in favor of “privileges and immunities” is the topic of many a long and dry essay.  Suffice it to say that the bankers and financiers did not free any slaves, but rather made slaves of every citizen of the “United States,” itself a corporate entity created by the Act of 1871. (note “united States” versus United States)

It may seem like legal hair-splitting, but there is a profound difference between a “right” and  “privilege”.    In Enlightenment philosophy, a right is the sacred property of an individual by virtue of birth.  A privilege is granted by an authority and requires a license or permission to exercise.  Go back and read the Fourteenth Amendment again.  As Thomas Jefferson noted in the Declaration of Independence, rights are “unalienable” or incapable of having a lien placed on them.  In other words, no authority may claim possession of those rights.

The American Civil War was not about slavery as we commonly think of it.  It was in point of fact about expanding slavery to everyone, not ending it for some.  It was a key expansion of the banking and financial interests in the US, and by means of two world wars, expanding that error to the entire world.

Until we recognize the truth of the Civil War, and acknowledge that we are all slaves to the banking class, we will never be truly free.  In many ways, this one Great Lie has caused so much death and destruction in our modern world.  Because we labor under a profound deception, we can never cure the ills that afflict us at this very moment.

Think about how many times you have heard or said, “The Constitution grants us the right to…”  It does no such thing, nor does the government grant rights.  We are born with them as a gift of Nature and Nature’s Creator.

The American Civil War never ended, it only became a global conflict with vile banksters pulling the strings.  We need only look a bit closer at where groups like Black Lives Matter or Antifa get their funding to see the subversive hand of banking and finance.

It is not just American blacks who are owed reparations, it is every human being on this planet born since the banksters took over.

New York Slave Market
Dred Scott decision
Franklin Pierce

Statue War Payback–Black Statues/Memorials Destruction Will Go Much Faster

Frederick Douglass statue removed at Rochester park

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – A statue of Frederick Douglass was removed from its base during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The statue stood at Maplewood Park in Rochester.

The neoliberal counter-revolution–latest phase in Democrat’s War Against Trump

The neoliberal counter-revolution

We’re witnessing a reaction to the nationalist uprising

America is not in the middle of a revolution — it is a reactionary putsch. About four years ago, the sort of people who had acquired position and influence as a result of globalization were turfed out of power for the first time in decades. They watched in horror as voters across the world chose Brexit, Donald Trump and other populist and conservative-nationalist options.

This deposition explains the storm of unrest battering American cities from coast to coast and making waves in Europe as well. The storm’s ferocity — the looting, the mobs, the mass lawlessness, the zealous iconoclasm, the deranged slogans like #DefundPolice — terrifies ordinary Americans. Many conservatives, especially, believe they are facing a revolution targeting the very foundations of American order.

But when national institutions bow (or kneel) to the street fighters’ demands, it should tell us that something else is going on. We aren’t dealing with a Maoist or Marxist revolt, even if some protagonists spout hard-leftish rhetoric. Rather, what’s playing out is a counter-revolution of the neoliberal class — academe, media, large corporations, ‘experts’, Big Tech — against the nationalist revolution launched in 2016. The supposed insurgents and the elites are marching in the streets together, taking the knee together.

They do not seek a radically new arrangement, but a return to the pre-Trump, pre-Brexit status quo ante which was working out very well for them. It was, of course, working out less well for the working class of all races, who bore the brunt of their preferred policy mix: open borders, free trade without limits, an aggressive cultural liberalism that corroded tradition and community, technocratic ‘global governance’ that neutered democracy and politics as such.

Conservatives generally don’t tend to pay much attention to class analysis. But in this case, it does help to explain what’s going on. And it helps to illuminate the true nature of social movements that pose as, and can get mistaken for, revolutionary leftism.

Does anyone seriously believe the American establishment — Walmart, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, the trustees of Ivy League universities, the major sports leagues, even Brooks Brothers, for God’s sake — would sign on to a movement that genuinely threatened its material interests? And yet these and many other firms and institutions are falling over themselves to express solidarity with the ‘uprising’, some going so far as to donate millions of dollars to Black Lives Matter, an outfit that lists among its objectives the abolition of the nuclear family.

Over the past four years, every trick in the book has been used to end the ‘nightmare’ of national conservatism and populism. The methods deployed by the elite reflect its tendencies and preferences as a class. Just think of recent skirmishes. A decisive majority of British voters resolved to leave the EU and then had to spend three years fighting a political establishment that marshaled all its vast resources to thwart Brexit. It failed. In America the liberal establishment tried harder, failed harder, but learned more. From the minute Trump won the presidential election, Democrats, elements of the security apparatus, and their media allies set out to undo the result. The marquee events were the ‘collusion’ probe and an impeachment push that was perhaps the single biggest insult ever to the intelligence of the American people. There were also countless smaller attempts to unseat Trump and destroy his entourage.

Trump survived it all. Now comes the new wave of rioters and mad iconoclasts, which many corporates and Democratic governors and mayors have actively encouraged, even as they continue to bar children from public parks and families from holding outdoor funerals, citing COVID-19 risks.

But wait: riots and statue-toppling — such things aren’t congenial to establishment figures, are they? The logic becomes apparent when you see it as a form of class struggle. For all its fury, the storm of the riots ends. There is little resembling demands for ongoing redistributive justice of the kind the old left championed. No labor solidarity, nothing to do with wages and job security. Just demands for ‘representation’ or diversity (on corporate boards, in university curricula, etc). And, of course, the firing of those who say the wrong or awkward thing in the digital public square, in workplaces or in classrooms.

The goal isn’t to rectify concrete economic injustices: massive inequalities in wealth, health and job security. The goal is precisely the opposite: to mitigate, to defer, to smooth over, to mask these substantive disagreements and instead have battles on procedural mechanisms for upholding manners.

Which social class most excels at politically correct manners? That would be the professional-managerial class, the laptop class. Its children learn the patois for discussing ‘issues of race, gender and sexuality’ from an early age. They’re expected to have mastered it by the time they take their entry-level jobs. It’s a skill that private schools are doubtless teaching already.

Working-class people, meanwhile, are most likely to struggle with this language. Even when they mean well they don’t always get it right, not least because the rules constantly shift with the vagaries of critical race theory and LGBTQ acronyms. By fortifying the requirements to speak and think correctly — and raising the stakes for failures — the neoliberal class has now built a repressive new mechanism for staying at the top and keeping the oiks down. Especially those who voted the wrong way in 2016.

So whatever you do, don’t call it a leftist revolution. With the flags, the protests, the kneeling and the new language, it’s a counter-revolution. The outcome remains uncertain, but the class war is well and truly under way.

Sohrab Ahmari is op-ed editor of the New York Post. His next book, The Unbroken Thread, will be published in spring 2021. This article was originally published in The Spectator’s UK magazine

Opposing, Armed Racial Militias, Converge On Stone Mountain, Birthplace of New KKK

Black Militia at Stone Mountain July 2020

Armed Black Demonstrators Challenge White Supremacist Militia in Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park

About 1,000 heavily armed militia, all of whom were Black, marched through Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park on Independence Day, challenging white nationalist groups in the area to either come out and fight or join them in demonstrating against the government.

Stone Mountain State Park officials said the Black militia group was peaceful, orderly and escorted by police Saturday as they called for the removal of the country’s largest Confederate monument near Atlanta. Videos posted to social media show the group, the “Not F**king Around Coalition” (NFAC), meeting at the massive nine-story quartz sculpting that depicts Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Southern generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

NFAC Founder Grand Master Jay told Newsweek via phone Sunday that the militia members at Stone Mountain on Saturday were “100 percent black” and they are not affiliated with Black Lives Matter. “We are a black militia. We aren’t protesters, we aren’t demonstrators. We don’t come to sing, we don’t come to chant. That’s not what we do,” he said.

The NFAC head explained why several videos show the militia members alongside demonstrators earlier in the day before heading to Stone Mountain. Grand Master Jay told Newsweek the sister of Rashard Brooks, who was killed outside an Atlanta Wendy’s by police last month, requested the NFAC militia provide her with a security escort to a downtown rally which began at the site of her brother’s death.

“Our initial goal was to have a formation of our militia in Stone Mountain to send a message that as long as you’re abolishing all these statues across the country, what about this one?” Grand Master Jay said, referencing the massive Confederate carving.

He added that he must commend Stone Mountain police for offering the all-black militia support as they exercised their constitutional rights on July 4th.

“It was all black … there were no brown people, no white people… everyone was black. I am not a protester, I am the commanding general of my militia, we were swearing in new members,” he added, highlighting there was a second militia “show of force” Saturday near Phoenix.

“I don’t see no white militia, the boogie [boogaloo] boys, the three percenters and all the rest of these scared-ass rednecks. We here, where the f**k you at? We’re in your house,” one protester said into a PA system during the Stone Mountain Park march.

John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, said the protests were orderly and acknowledged the Confederate monument is frequently used as a meeting place for far right-wing militia.

“It’s a public park, a state park. We have these protests on both sides of the issue from time to time. We respect people’s First Amendment right,” Bankhead told WXIA-TV. “We understand the sensitivities of the issue here at the park … so we respect that and allow them to come in as long as it’s peaceful, which it has been.”

Newsweek reached out to Stone Mountain Park officials for additional remarks.

The illusion of freedom–The police state is alive and well

“All the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.” — Historian Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45

Brace yourself.

There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country.

Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by the antics of the political ruling class that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware. Anytime you have a government that operates in the shadows, speaks in a language of force, and rules by fiat, you’d better beware. And anytime you have a government so far removed from its people as to ensure that they are never seen, heard or heeded by those elected to represent them, you’d better beware.

The world has been down this road before.

We are at our most vulnerable right now.

The gravest threat facing us as a nation is not extremism — delivered by way of sovereign citizens or radicalized Muslims — but despotism, exercised by a ruling class whose only allegiance is to power and money.

We’re in a national state of denial.

Yet no amount of escapism can shield us from the harsh reality that the danger in our midst is posed by an entrenched government bureaucracy that has no regard for the Constitution, Congress, the courts or the citizenry.

If the team colors have changed from blue to red, that’s just cosmetic.

The playbook remains the same. The leopard has not changed its spots.

Scrape off the surface layers and you will find that the American police state is alive and well and continuing to wreak havoc on the rights of the American people.

“We the people” are no longer living the American Dream.

We’re living the American Lie.

Indeed, Americans have been lied to so sincerely, so incessantly, and for so long by politicians of all stripes — who lie compulsively and without any seeming remorse — that they’ve almost come to prefer the lies trotted out by those in government over less-palatable truths.

Here’s a truth few Americans want to acknowledge: nothing has changed (at least, not for the better) since Barack Obama passed the reins of the police state to Donald Trump.

The police state is still winning. We the people are still losing.

In fact, the American police state has continued to advance at the same costly, intrusive, privacy-sapping, Constitution-defying, relentless pace under President Trump as it did under President Obama.

Here’s the problem as I see it: “We the people” have failed to recognize these warning signs as potential red flags to use as opportunities to ask questions, demand answers, and hold our government officials accountable to respect our rights and abide by the rule of law.

Unfortunately, once a free people allows the government to make inroads into their freedoms, or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican at the helm, because the bureaucratic mindset on both sides of the aisle now seems to embody the same philosophy of authoritarian government.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is what happens when you ignore the warning signs.

This is what happens when you fail to take alarm at the first experiment on your liberties.

This is what happens when you fail to challenge injustice and government overreach until the prison doors clang shut behind you.

In the American police state that now surrounds us, there are no longer such things as innocence, due process or justice — at least, not in the way we once knew them. We are all potentially guilty, all potential criminals, all suspects waiting to be accused of a crime.

So you can try to persuade yourself that you are free, that you still live in a country that values freedom, and that it is not too late to make America great again, but to anyone who has been paying attention to America’s decline over the past 50 years, it will be just another lie.

The German people chose to ignore the truth and believe the lie.

As the wife of a prominent German historian recalled: “[O]n the whole, everyone felt well. … And there were certainly eighty percent who lived productively and positively throughout the time. … We also had good years. We had wonderful years.”

In other words, as long as their creature comforts remained undiminished, as long as their bank accounts remained flush, as long as they weren’t being discriminated against, persecuted, starved, beaten, shot, stripped, jailed and turned into slave labor, life was good.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

Remember, freedom demands responsibility.

Freedom demands that people stop sleep-walking through life, stop cocooning themselves in political fantasies, and stop distracting themselves with escapist entertainment.

Freedom demands that we stop thinking as Democrats and Republicans and start thinking like human beings, or at the very least Americans.

Freedom demands that we not remain silent in the face of evil or wrongdoing but actively stand against injustice.

Freedom demands that we treat others as we would have them treat us.

In other words, if you don’t want to be locked up in a prison cell or a detention camp — if you don’t want to be discriminated against because of the color of your race, religion, politics or anything else that sets you apart from the rest — if you don’t want your loved ones shot at, strip searched, tasered, beaten and treated like slaves — if you don’t want to have to be constantly on guard against government eyes watching what you do, where you go and what you say — if you don’t want to be tortured, waterboarded or forced to perform degrading acts — if you don’t want your children to grow up in a world without freedom — then don’t allow these evils to be inflicted on anyone else, no matter how tempting the reason or how fervently you believe in your cause.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s Female “Judas Goat” For Grooming Girls, Finally Arrested

Ghislaine Maxwell with Epstein in New York in 2005. Epstein killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell last summer.
 Ghislaine Maxwell with Epstein in New York in 2005. Epstein killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell last summer. Photograph: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite and close friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested, an FBI spokesman has said.

Maxwell was accused by many women of recruiting them to give Epstein massages, during which they were pressured into sex. Those accusations, until now, never resulted in criminal charges.

Maxwell had kept a low profile, and her location was unknown since Epstein’s arrest last July on charges that he abused and trafficked in women and girls in Manhattan and Florida between 2002 and 2005. The search for Maxwell has been the subject of intense speculation, with reported sightings and rumors of her whereabouts popping up across the US and even abroad.

She was arrested in the small town of Bradford, New Hampshire at 8.30am.

Epstein, who pleaded not guilty, killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell in August last year.

The 17-page, six-count indictment filed by the FBI charges Maxwell with a host of crimes, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury.

The indictment described Maxwell’s relationship to Epstein as “personal and professional” – and that she was “in an intimate relationship” with him from about 1994 to 1997.

Epstein paid Maxwell “to manage their various properties”, the document says.

The court paperwork provides chilling detail into how Maxwell allegedly lured minors into Epstein’s orbit.

According to charging documents, Maxwell “befriended” some of these victims, “including by asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families”. She and Epstein spent time forging relationships with these girls, by taking them shopping and to the movies. The alleged grooming happened, according to the documents, at Epstein’s manse on the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, his ranch in Sante Fe, New Mexico, as well as Maxwell’s residence in London.

After developing a rapport, the documents allege, “Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein”.

Sometimes, Maxwell would give Epstein massages in front of victims whereas other times, she urged them to give him massages, “including sexualized massage during which a minor victim would be fully or partially nude.” These would often involve Epstein sexually abusing these minors.

On some occasions, Maxwell was “present for and participated in the abuse”.

Maxwell’s father was the British media baron Robert Maxwell. She was was a one-time girlfriend of Epstein’s and key presence at his side in his glittering social life, which often included rich, influential and powerful people from around the world in politics, the arts and science.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, has said in a civil lawsuit that Maxwell recruited her into Epstein’s circle, where she claims Epstein forced her to have sex with him and friends including British royal Prince Andrew – who has strongly denied the allegations.

Maxwell has said Giuffre’s allegations are untrue. Giuffre in response filed a defamation suit against Maxwell in 2015.

Capitalism In Meltdown–‘World on fire’

Image: Socialist Appeal

‘World on fire’: capitalism in meltdown

As society begins to reopen, the ruling class is hoping for a return to ‘normality’. But the future will look nothing like the past. A deep depression looms, threatening to throw us back to the 1930s. We must fight for revolution.


With the easing of the lockdown, we are in a period of apparent calm. But it is a calm before the storm.

In the hurly-burly of events, especially at this time, it is possible to get bewildered. Events are moving so fast that there is hardly enough time to catch one’s breath. It is therefore important to occasionally take a step back in order to see the bigger picture.

The Bank of England has stated that the present crisis is deeper than anything we have witnessed for 300 years. The United States economy – the most powerful capitalist country in the world – fell by a phenomenal 52.8 percent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve. China’s economy shrank 6.8 percent in the first three months of 2020, the country’s first such contraction on record. The UK economy plunged by 20.4 percent in April alone, following a 5.8 percent fall in March, a previous record.

The capitalist system is in meltdown. Out of sheer desperation, trillions of dollars have been poured into the economy by governments and central banks to prop it up. The US Federal Reserve is expanding its balance sheet by $12 trillion, twice the level of 2008. Others have followed suit. The rise in the ratio of UK government debt to national income is the highest for 57 years – nearly 100 percent of GDP, and rising.

This is completely unprecedented, and nothing short of catastrophic. This represents a decisive turning-point in Britain and the world. The aged Henry Kissinger, a strategist of capital, warned of a “world on fire”.

Cause and effect

Coronavirus economic crash Image pixabayThis is no ordinary crisis, but an endemic crisis, reflecting the utter exhaustion of the capitalist system / Image: Pixabay

The pandemic was not the cause but the trigger for this downswing. Nevertheless, the scale of the outbreak has certainly aggravated the crisis.

“The pandemic was just the trigger for a recession that was already approaching,” stated the Financial Times (3 June), in an unusually frank admission.

However, there are signs that a second wave will hit in the coming period. Cause has become effect, and effect has become cause.

Marx explained that as soon as a social system is not able to develop the productive forces – namely its economy – it enters into crisis and the era of social revolution opens up. This is precisely the period we have now entered.

This is no ordinary crisis, but an endemic crisis, reflecting the utter exhaustion of the capitalist system. What we have entered is a new world depression, worse than in the 1930s. This will last for years, with no end in sight. A trade war is also looking very likely, as countries try to export their way out of the crisis.

“Unless institutions such as the IMF and IADB [Inter-American Development Bank] sharply step up their lending, a new wave of debt defaults could make it the 1930s all over again,” states the Financial Times. But, in reality, whatever they do will be wrong.

“This is a deeply sobering outlook, with the crisis likely to leave long-lasting scars and pose major global challenges,” said Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, from the World Bank Group.

Class war

Great Depression Image public domainIn the 1930s, the Great Depression, as it was known, was only ‘solved’ by the devastation of the Second World War / Image: public domain

In the 1930s, the Great Depression, as it was known, was only ‘solved’ by the devastation of the Second World War.

A new depression, deeper than anything we have known, cannot be brought to an end this time by world war. Such a war – in the present epoch of nuclear weapons – is ruled out, as it would obliterate the planet. That being the case, all the contradictions of capitalist crisis will be internalised. Therefore, not war, but class war is on the agenda.

This depression means permanent mass unemployment. Already in the United States, 45 million workers have been ejected from the factories – some 25 percent of the workforce. In Britain, over 9 million workers have been furloughed. Millions everywhere will face the nightmare of unemployment and austerity. But they will not take this lying down.

With this death agony of capitalism, vicious austerity and falling living standards are on the order of the day. As the furlough is run down, the real situation will become increasingly exposed.

Consciousness is being transformed on the basis of these events, especially as people realise there will be no return to ‘normality’, as before. The mass movement in the USA is a case in point. Millions are going to be radicalised, and draw even revolutionary conclusions.

This crisis therefore poses vital questions before the labour and trade union movement. The ‘business as usual’ of the past is utterly out of date. We need to draw all the conclusions from this unprecedented situation.

The ruling class is preparing a massive offensive against the working class, with massive cuts, job losses and attacks on wages and conditions. This means all-out class war, posing a threat to all the gains of the past.

Capitalism’s catastrophe

The choice is clear: either we bow down and accept the capitalist system; or we must fight to overthrow it. There is no middle road. A return to the ‘good old days’ is ruled out. The trade unions and workers’ organisations must either become “labour lieutenants of capital”, or they must transform themselves into revolutionary organisations.

We must tell workers the truth: on a capitalist basis, there will be nothing short of a catastrophe for working people. It is essential that the movement adopts a revolutionary perspective, or it will be ground down.

Faced with this onslaught, we must resist every attack. In the face of mass redundancies, we must fight for work-sharing with no loss of pay. In the face of closures, there should be factory occupations, with a view to them being nationalised under workers’ control. We must oppose all wage cuts, and fight for a real living wage.

Faced with this unprecedented depression, the economy should be taken out of the hands of the capitalists and placed in the hands of the working class. In this way we can rationally plan the economy for our needs, and not the profits of the banks and monopolies.

Seize the moment

Manchester Tory Conference Protest Image Socialist AppealThe ideas of Marxism have never been more relevant / Image: Socialist Appeal

The fight must also continue to clear out the careerists from the Labour Party and to fight for a bold socialist programme – not to patch up capitalism, but to overthrow it. This may seem unrealistic to many, but we live in unprecedented times. Things that appear unrealisable one day become realisable the next. Above all, we are in a period of sharp and sudden changes.

In 1992, Ted Grant, who helped found Socialist Appeal, explained that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major historical event. But he stated that it would be nothing compared to the collapse of capitalism. This prediction is being realised in front of our very eyes.

The call to rearm the labour movement must go hand-in-hand with the building of the forces of Marxism in Britain and internationally. As a guide to action, the ideas of Marxism have never been more relevant.

The world is on fire. We need to seize the moment and fight to change society.

Originally published at socialist.net

Daily Beast Quotes Dead Taliban Leader Niazi, To Validate Report of Russian Taliban Bounty

[MULLAH ABDUL MANAN NIAZI reported killed late 2018 by drone strike.]

Russian Bounties for Killing Americans Go Back Five Years, Ex-Taliban Claims

THE LONG WAR

Russia has been courting the Taliban at least since 2014 with money and weapons, ostensibly to fight ISIS, certainly to undermine the American effort in Afghanistan.

Wali Sabawoon/NurPhoto/Getty

Taliban veterans like to laugh about the first time, according to their lore, that the Russians dumped a lot of American dollars on them. During the Taliban campaign to take over all of Afghanistan in 1995, they actually had a few fighter planes, and they used one to force a Russian cargo plane—a huge Ilyushin Il-76TD flying for a company called Airstan—to land in Kandahar.

The Taliban held the Russian crew members prisoner for a year until, one day, they supposedly “escaped” and managed to take the plane with them. How many millions of dollars that took to arrange, the Taliban have never said, but after the long, bloody decade of the 1980s throwing off Soviet occupation, squeezing the Russians for money like that remains a source of amusement.

Mullah Manan Niazi [dead], who was the spokesman for Taliban leader Mullah Omar in those days, brought up the incident when The Daily Beast asked him about reports that the Russians have offered—and perhaps paid—bounties to Taliban who kill American soldiers.

“The Russians paying U.S. dollars—it’s not odd for the Taliban,” he said, his voice fraught with irony over the encrypted phone call as he recalled the Airstan incident. As for the current situation, “The Taliban have been paid by Russian intelligence for attacks on U.S. forces—and on ISIS forces—in Afghanistan from 2014 up to the present.”

 Mullah Manan Niazi

In the world of intelligence gathering, such a statement from such a figure would be worth noting, and just the kind of thing that could lead to what the Trump White House has called “inconclusive” reporting the Russian offer of bounties to kill Americans.

Mullah Manan Niazi was a very senior figure in the Taliban when they were in power, and also when they were driven into exile and underground after 2001. But since the death of Mullah Omar was made public in 2015, he has been a dissident and liable to be killed by the current Taliban leadership if it catches up with him. They have accused him of collaborating with the CIA and the Afghan government’s intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), which he denies.

So, Niazi speaks as someone who knows the organization and its top people very well, but who also has an agenda very different from theirs, with his own reasons for confirming the bounty story, and he does not offer further specifics on that. But he does offer details about what he says are the longstanding ties between the Taliban and the Russians as well as the Iranians, and U.S. officials have been tracking those developments.

A U.S. intelligence report about Russian assistance to the Taliban has circulated on Capitol Hill and throughout the national security apparatus over the last several days. According to three individuals who have read or who are familiar with the report, the assessment is long and covers the span of several years, focusing generally on how Russia provides support, including financial assistance, to the Taliban. The report also touches on the Russian bounties first reported by The New York Times, though those who read the report say that data point is circumstantial and that the investigation is ongoing. Two individuals who spoke to The Daily Beast, though, said it is clear from the report that there’s an increased risk for U.S. troops in Afghanistan because of Russia’s behavior.

In important ways, this classified report mirrors an unclassified document produced last month by the Congressional Research Service which offered a crisp summation: “In the past two years, multiple U.S. commanders have warned of increased levels of assistance, and perhaps even material support for the Taliban from Russia and Iran, both of which cite IS [Islamic State, ISIS] presence in Afghanistan to justify their activities. Both nations were opposed to the Taliban government of the late 1990s, but reportedly see the Taliban as a useful point of leverage vis-a-vis the United States.”

“We introduced two Taliban to the Russians under cover as businessmen,” said Niazai looking back on operations when he was still part of the Taliban insurgent leadership. “They went to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. With Russian-supplied funds, we purchased oil, wheat and flour and imported it to Afghanistan and  then sold it there. That’s how we converted Russians funds to cash in Afghanistan.”

Both men, contacted by The Daily Beast, vehemently denied such activity. “I don’t want to comment—I don’t even want to talk about Niazi,” said one of them who, as a matter of fact, pays frequent visits to Moscow. “Niazi is our enemy and playing into the hands of the NDS.”

Other monies come through the hawala system, which originated in India and is used throughout South Asia and, now, in many other parts of the world. The U.S. treasury notes hawala is distinguished by “trust and the extensive use of connections such as family relationships or regional affiliations. Unlike traditional banking … hawala makes minimal (often no) use of any sort of negotiable instrument. Transfers of money take place based on communications between members of a network of hawaladars, or hawala dealers.”

A senior Afghan security officer told The Daily Beast that he is “not aware of any Russians smuggling money,” but noted that the international Financial Action Task Force combating support for terrorism recently put pressure on the Afghan government to take “practical” action against suspect hawala dealers, “so the Afghan security forces raided some of the money changers.”

Many sources, including Mullah Manan Niazi, note the Russian and Iranian role supporting the Taliban in the fight against the so-called Islamic State in Khorasan (a.k.a.  ISIS-K or ISIL-K).

Early on in the Trump administration, Gen. John Nicholson—then the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan—warned Congress that Russia “has become more assertive over the past year” in Afghanistan and was “overtly lending legitimacy to the Taliban to undermine NATO efforts and bolster belligerents using the false narrative that only the Taliban are fighting ISIL-K.”

Russia reportedly complemented its public rhetorical support for the Taliban with a covert supply program. The Washington Post reported that year that U.S. intelligence believed Russia had sent machine guns to the Taliban. An anonymous military source told the Post that the U.S. had found Russian-provided weapons areas where the group was waging war on coalition forces and ISIS’s Afghan affiliate had little presence.

“We’ve had weapons brought to this headquarters and given to us by Afghan leaders [who] said, ‘this was given by the Russians to the Taliban,’” Nicholson said in a 2018 BBC interview. “We know that the Russians are involved.”

— Gen. John Nicholson

Indeed. Various Taliban have told The Daily Beast they were quite proud of the guns they were given as gifts or rewards—whether for specific acts or simply to cement relationships—is unclear.

In 2018, Russia denied reports that it sent any arms but Russian special envoy Zamir Kabulov admitted that Moscow had established contacts with the Taliban because it was “seriously worried about possible terror threats for the Russian mission and Russian citizens in Afghanistan.”

But in September 2019, Russia elevated its talks with the insurgents to a formal visit by a Taliban delegation in September.

According to a well-placed Taliban source, after some of the group’s representatives made a trip to Moscow they were given 30 state-of-the-art guns, apparently large caliber sniper rifles powerful enough to shoot through walls. “I personally saw three of them in Helmand,” said the source. “They were still full of grease,” which is to say brand new out of the box.

As military scholar David Kilcullen points out in his recent book The Dragons and the Snakes: How the Rest Learned to Fight the West, the U.S. obsession with its “global war on terror” after 9/11 created an opportunity for Russia and other hostile powers. They were “exploiting our exclusive focus on terrorism, seeking to fill the geopolitical, economic, and security vacuum we had left as we became bogged down in the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

In the present day, it serves Russia’s interests to keep the United States bogged down there, despite official Russian statements to the contrary.

What others call “hybrid warfare” Kilcullen defines somewhat differently as exploitation of situations in flux, which certainly is the case in Afghanistan with a U.S. president determined to declare he’s made a complete exit, even though there are only 8,600 U.S. troops left on the ground at the moment.

“Things that are in limbo, transitioning, or on the periphery, that have ambiguous political, legal, and psychological status—or whose very existence is debated—are liminal,” write Kilcullen. “Liminal warfare exploits this character of ambiguity, operating in the blur, or as some Western military organizations put it, the ‘gray zone.’”

That, precisely, is where the Russians have learned to thrive.

—with additional reporting by Sam Brodey

The Chemical Warmongers Desperation…So Much Excess Product…So Little War

CAPTAGON—Saudi Mind Control Drug of Choice

The Kingdom of Captagon

Dubai Axis of Captagon Mind-Control Drug Network

A still from a video shows huge buckets full of pills and members of Italy's police and customs.
Italian police say the 14 tonnes of the drug labelled “captagon” is the biggest amphetamines haul of all time.(AP)

Italian police are claiming to have made the biggest amphetamines bust of all time after seizing 14 tonnes of drugs allegedly produced in Syria by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Investigators on Wednesday said they impounded three container ships that had docked in the southern Italian port of Salerno and found 84 million pills inside machinery and large paper cylinders.

Customs Police Colonel Domenico Napolitano called the discovery the biggest amphetamine seizure ever made.

Colonel Napolitano said on Italian state radio that investigators believed the drug’s production provided IS with vital revenue for its militant activities.

Investigators hypothesise that amphetamine production in Europe has been hampered by the pandemic lockdown, and so drug traffickers may have turned to Syria-based producers to fill the market.

Thousands of pills are poured out of a heavy metal container into a huge bucket.
Italian police released video of heavy machinery being used to pour the drugs from their containers into buckets.(AP) 

“It is possible that the local Camorra crime groups are involved in this business,” Lieutenant Colonel Giordano Natale told Reuters.

The amphetamines were labelled “captagon”, the street name for a drug whose chemical base was originally fenethylline.

However, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Drugs Report 2020 what drug organisations call “captagon” these days is usually a mixture of amphetamine, caffeine and other substances.

It’s unclear whether the drugs seized in Italy were fenethylline-based or a substitute.

The ‘drug of the Jihad’

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa, Syria
The drugs are believed to have been produced by the Islamic State in Syria.(Reuters) 

Used in the 1960s to treat narcolepsy and depression, Captagon is one of several brand names for fenethylline hydrochloride, a drug compound belonging to a family of amphetamines that can inhibit fear and ward off tiredness.

The imitation captagon is popular in the Middle East, and widespread in war-torn areas such as Syria, where conflict has fuelled demand and created opportunities for producers.

Production was initially concentrated in Lebanon and IS sells it to finance its activities, police said in a statement.

It said captagon was known as the “drug of the Jihad” after being found in militant hideouts, including one used by the Islamists who killed 90 people at the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015.

Police say they’re investigating if Naples-based Camorra organised crime clans might have ordered the huge shipment for international sale.

Two weeks earlier, a much smaller shipment of the drug was also seized in Salerno’s port in a shipment of clothing.

A metal container full of thousands and thousands of grey pills.
The drugs were labelled Captagon, which has been used in the past to treat narcolepsy and depression.(AP) 

Salerno is about 50 kilometres south of Naples in the Campania region, the historic base of the Camorra, where drug trafficking is one of the syndicate’s revenue-makers.

The 14 tonnes of amphetamines would have raked in about 1 billion euros ($1.62 billion) in street sales had they ultimately made it to consumers, customs police said.

Police used electric saws to cut through two-metre high cylinders, made thick enough to try to elude customs’ scanning devices, to remove the pills in the hollow centres.

Video of the bust shows heavy machinery being used to lift the cylinders and pour the pills into huge baskets.

In 2019, Greek authorities claimed to have made the biggest amphetamines bust of all time after seizing 5.25 tonnes of captagon, also produced in Syria.

ABC/wires

Trump Running July 4th Political Rally At Mt. Rushmore

Despite COVID-19 concerns, Gov. Kristi Noem said the thousands anticipated for the Friday Independence Day fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore, including President Donald Trump, will not practice social distancing.

“We’ve told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home. But, those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free facemasks if they choose to wear one. But, we won’t be practicing social distancing,” Noem told Fox News host Laura Ingraham late Monday.

Meanwhile, as social unrest and racial tension continue throughout America as they have in the month since George Floyd died while in the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, the eyes of the nation will soon be on South Dakota’s famous monument. Not only are protesters expected to show up for the Trump event, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier is offering to tear down the monument.

“Nothing stands as a greater reminder to the Great Sioux Nation of a country that cannot keep a promise or a treaty (than) the faces carved into our sacred land on what the United States calls Mount Rushmore. We are now being forced to witness the lashing of our land with pomp, arrogance, and fire, hoping our sacred lands will survive,” Frazier wrote in a prepared statement released late Monday.

“This brand on our flesh needs to be removed and I am willing to do it free of charge to the United States, by myself, if I must,” Frazier added.

Throughout the country, liberal activists are working to remove symbols of American history. There is video of them attacking the statue of President Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C.

“The United States of America wishes for all of us to be citizens and a family of their republic, yet, when they get bored of looking at those faces, we are left looking at our molesters,” Frazier added of the four presidents whose faces are famously carved into the mountainside:

  • President George Washington (1789-1797)
  • President Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
  • President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1901-1909)
  • President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)

This is a profoundly different view of Mount Rushmore than the one endorsed last week by U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.

“These presidents championed the cause of freedom,” Johnson said while introducing the Mount Rushmore Protection Act. “Those seeking to remove these iconic faces are undermining the contributions these leaders made in pursuit of a more perfect union. Removal would do nothing to move our country forward.”

“George Washington was a unifier. He brought this country together to lead us at a time when we needed the birth of the nation to get started. We have Thomas Jefferson who was an author of the Declaration of Independence,” Noem added last week of those represented at Mount Rushmore during one of her frequent Fox News appearances.

Frazier said although he would strip the faces from Mount Rushmore by himself, he does not believe he would be alone.

“Lakota see the faces of men who lied, cheated and murdered innocent people whose only crime was living on the land they wanted to steal,” Frazier added. “When I can remove those faces from our land, I believe I would not be alone.”

All the while, Trump is making moves to attend the Mount Rushmore fireworks on Friday. According to the National Park Service, the event is slated to start at 4 p.m. Friday, with the fireworks set for approximately 9:15 p.m.

The entire event will be livestreamed at: www.TravelSouthDakota.com/RushmoreFireworks.

“We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country, and to talk about our history and what it brought us today — with an opportunity to raise our kids in the greatest country in the world,” Noem added of the Mount Rushmore event during her Monday discussion with Ingraham.

National polls show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden by wide margins heading into the November Electoral College. However, on the last day of June, the president showed no signs of stepping aside early.

“This is a battle to save the Heritage, History, and Greatness of our Country! #MAGA2020,” Trump tweeted late Tuesday.

Drug-Makers’ Greed Guaranteed To Cause “Vaccine Noncompliance”–$3,000/per patient

[7.8 billion people x $3000 = 

23.4 trillion US]

Oceanside maker of COVID-19 drug says it will cost about $3,000 per patient

by:

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — The Oceanside company that makes the COVID-19 drug Remdesivir announced Monday the price for the drug moving forward.

Gilead Sciences said a single dose of Remdesivir will cost $390.  A typical course of treatment requires six vials administered over five days in the intensive care unit of a hospital. That means a typical five-day treatment will cost $2,340 per patient.  However that price is only available to the US government, which is handling distribution to hospitals temporarily due to the lack of availability.  For patients covered by private insurance, the price will jump to $520 per vial, which adds up to $3,120 per patient — almost a thousand dollars more.

Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day issued a letter outlining the company’s decision. It reads in part, “As with all our actions on Remdesivir, we approached this with the aim of helping as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible and in the most responsible way. This has been our compass point throughout, from collaborating to find rapid answers on safety and efficacy, to scaling up manufacturing and donating our supply of Remdesivir through the end of June. In each case, we recognized the need to do things differently to reflect the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic. now, as we transition beyond the donation period and set a price for Remdesivir, the same principle applies.” 

Remdesivir is approved only for patients who are severely sick.  It is administered intravenously, and it is the only drug that has an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Adminisration to treat coronavirus infections.

According to experts in this field, the price set by Gilead is comparable with the cost of other ICU drugs. However, compared to the cheap and widely available corticosteroid dexamethasone, which costs a few dollars a day and is showing just as much promise for COVID treatment, Remdesivir is a lot more expensive.

The Trump administration has stockpiled half a million courses of Remdesivir treatment for distribution to hospitals around the country.

When Democracy Gives Way To Mob Rule

The creeping nihilism of the American left

If the mob believes it is justified, anything it does is justifiable

The twin temptations of American liberalism are to radical excess and conservative stasis. Because liberalism is a practical philosophy of government, given its most comprehensive expression in the Democratic party, it sometimes lists left and other times right. The Minneapolis moment is different in that it sees liberalism lean in two directions at once and get it wrong on both counts.

Scenes of rioting, looting and the firebombing of a police station bring out the Rousseauean id of the liberal psyche and a righteous impatience to burn it all to the ground and start over. (‘Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death/ The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies/ We, the people, must redeem…/ And make America again!’) The drift towards radicalism on the center-left did not begin with the killing of George Floyd. Some American progressives are done with America, as the New York Times’s flawedfervently defended and Pulitzer-winning 1619 Project illustrates. The taking of another black life has poured accelerant on this process.

The creeping of nihilism into the mainstream American left has brought with it a decadent attitude towards mob violence. If the mob believes it is justified, anything it does is justifiable. Commenting on the riots, the New York Times’s Nikole Hannah-Jones (creator of the 1619 Project) says: ‘Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence… When we have people who say people should respect the law — they’re not respecting the law because the law’s not respecting them. You can’t say that regular citizens should play by all of the rules when agents of the state clearly are not.’ We are so accustomed to being told speech is violence that it hardly fazes us to hear that violence is not.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo monologues: ‘Too many see the protests as the problem. No, the problem is what forced your fellow citizens to take to the streets, persistent, and poisonous inequities and justice. Please, show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful.’ That would be the First Amendment, adopted, in part, to protect ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances’. CNN’s primetime line-up: the last line of defense between Donald Trump and the Constitution they haven’t read.

Steven Thrasher, assistant professor in journalism at Northwestern University, writes in Slate:

‘As any military tactician or social justice organizer can tell you, direct action gets the goods. The destruction of a police precinct is not only a tactically reasonable response to the crisis of policing, it is a quintessentially American response, and a predictable one. The uprising we’ve seen this week is speaking to the American police state in its own language, up to and including the use of fireworks to mark a battle victory.’

Thrasher may believe that re-enacting the plot of Assault on Precinct 13 is a legitimate response to what he calls ‘the lynching of George Floyd’, but what is a liberal magazine like Slate doing publishing his manifesto?

Liberals have leapt on a leftwards-zipping conveyor belt that will carry them far from the philosophy that has until now defined them and defined American progress. They will have to accede to the slander that America is at root a racist enterprise systemically geared towards white supremacy. They will have to declare the rule of law illegitimate and the rule of the mob the path to justice. They will have to embrace racial division rather than work to overcome it. They will have, in short, to stop being liberals.

Radicalism might burn with a virtuous fury but it harbors its own prejudices, as rioters’ attacks on synagogues in Los Angeles and Richmond underline. Liberals should resolve to remain liberals, but that does not mean standing still. This is a moment to reassess American liberalism’s surrender to conservatism on criminal justice, traceable to the 1994 Crime Bill drafted by Joe Biden and signed by Bill Clinton. The Marshall Project best sums up this bloated sack of good intentions, bad intentions and terrible policies: ‘The crime bill did not inaugurate the era of mass incarceration, but it certainly escalated the scale of its impact.’ What it also did was cement a bipartisan consensus that to be ‘tough on crime’ meant more cops with bigger guns enforcing more laws with harsher penalties. Police, as the frontline of this authoritarian spasm, were transformed into civilian soldiers and symbols of fear for citizens, not least minorities.

In the roll call of black men killed by police, George Floyd is another name to be forgotten. Michael Stewart (Brooklyn; 1983; blunt force trauma; all officers acquitted) was meant to stick in the public consciousness, as were Amadou Diallo (Bronx; 1999; 19 gunshot wounds; all officers acquitted) and Samuel DuBose (Cincinnati; 2015; gunshot wound to the head; mistrial, hung jury, charges dismissed). Time isn’t a healer, it’s an accomplice. We don’t know if George Floyd was killed because he was black but we do know he was killed by a cop. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, an officer’s knee pressed down on his neck, all the while he pleaded: ‘I can’t breathe.’ That is not police brutality; that is sadism.

This is an immediate policy problem liberals can direct their energies to. Start by removing the roadblock to reform: police unions. Restrict collective bargaining to salary and benefits so that police commissioners and oversight bodies, not union negotiators, determine internal disciplinary regimes. Legislate mandatory 360-degree bodycams for all patrol officers and demilitarize the police by limiting procurement of armored personnel carriers, riot equipment, and military-grade weapons. (Between 2006 and 2016 US police forces acquired more than 83,000 M16s, an assault rifle favored by the Kurdish Peshmerga.) The next step up involves stripping police of the qualified immunity that makes it perversely difficult to bring civil rights suits against excessive force or racial discrimination.

Overpolicing is only one dysfunction in a multi-dysfunctional criminal justice system. 55.7 percent of state prisoners (and only 7.8 percent of federal prisoners) are serving time for a violent offense and, while black prisoner numbers are falling, black male incarceration is still 5.8 times that of whites. Sentencing reform aimed at minimizing custodial terms for non-violent crimes should be a lively liberal cause.

The failed war on drugs has destroyed too many lives and too many families. Getting government out of the prohibition business would remove more than a quarter-million inmates from US prisons, 80,000 of them black. Liberals should also revive their opposition to the death penalty. For all the other arguments against capital punishment, racial bias should particularly trouble liberals: Black Americans constitute 13.4 percent of the general population but account for 42 percent of death row inmates. Democrats fearful of the electoral consequences of adopting a reform agenda should know they have Republican allies in organizations like Right on Crime and Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.

The cry ‘no justice, no peace’ is in the air but without peace there can be no justice. Revolution and reaction can deliver one or the other but only liberalism promises both.

This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.

The Sickness of American Capitalism Revealed in Our Crippled Food Supply System

[SEE:  RIGGED GAME]

The Sickness in Our Food Supply

“Only when the tide goes out,” Warren Buffett observed, “do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” For our society, the Covid-19 pandemic represents an ebb tide of historic proportions, one that is laying bare vulnerabilities and inequities that in normal times have gone undiscovered. Nowhere is this more evident than in the American food system. A series of shocks has exposed weak links in our food chain that threaten to leave grocery shelves as patchy and unpredictable as those in the former Soviet bloc. The very system that made possible the bounty of the American supermarket—its vaunted efficiency and ability to “pile it high and sell it cheap”—suddenly seems questionable, if not misguided. But the problems the novel coronavirus has revealed are not limited to the way we produce and distribute food. They also show up on our plates, since the diet on offer at the end of the industrial food chain is linked to precisely the types of chronic disease that render us more vulnerable to Covid-19.

The juxtaposition of images in the news of farmers destroying crops and dumping milk with empty supermarket shelves or hungry Americans lining up for hours at food banks tells a story of economic efficiency gone mad. Today the US actually has two separate food chains, each supplying roughly half of the market. The retail food chain links one set of farmers to grocery stores, and a second chain links a different set of farmers to institutional purchasers of food, such as restaurants, schools, and corporate offices. With the shutting down of much of the economy, as Americans stay home, this second food chain has essentially collapsed. But because of the way the industry has developed over the past several decades, it’s virtually impossible to reroute food normally sold in bulk to institutions to the retail outlets now clamoring for it. There’s still plenty of food coming from American farms, but no easy way to get it where it’s needed.

How did we end up here? The story begins early in the Reagan administration, when the Justice Department rewrote the rules of antitrust enforcement: if a proposed merger promised to lead to greater marketplace “efficiency”—the watchword—and wouldn’t harm the consumer, i.e., didn’t raise prices, it would be approved. (It’s worth noting that the word “consumer” appears nowhere in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed in 1890. The law sought to protect producers—including farmers—and our politics from undue concentrations of corporate power.)1 The new policy, which subsequent administrations have left in place, propelled a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the food industry. As the industry has grown steadily more concentrated since the 1980s, it has also grown much more specialized, with a tiny number of large corporations dominating each link in the supply chain. One chicken farmer interviewed recently in Washington Monthly, who sells millions of eggs into the liquified egg market, destined for omelets in school cafeterias, lacks the grading equipment and packaging (not to mention the contacts or contracts) to sell his eggs in the retail marketplace.2 That chicken farmer had no choice but to euthanize thousands of hens at a time when eggs are in short supply in many supermarkets.

On April 26, John Tyson, the chairman of Tyson Foods, the second-largest meatpacker in America, took out ads in The New York Times and other newspapers to declare that the food chain was “breaking,” raising the specter of imminent meat shortages as outbreaks of Covid-19 hit the industry.3 Slaughterhouses have become hot zones for contagion, with thousands of workers now out sick and dozens of them dying.4 This should come as no surprise: social distancing is virtually impossible in a modern meat plant, making it an ideal environment for a virus to spread. In recent years, meatpackers have successfully lobbied regulators to increase line speeds, with the result that workers must stand shoulder to shoulder cutting and deboning animals so quickly that they can’t pause long enough to cover a cough, much less go to the bathroom, without carcasses passing them by. Some chicken plant workers, given no regular bathroom breaks, now wear diapers.5 A worker can ask for a break, but the plants are so loud he or she can’t be heard without speaking directly into the ear of a supervisor. Until recently slaughterhouse workers had little or no access to personal protective equipment; many of them were also encouraged to keep working even after exposure to the virus. Add to this the fact that many meat-plant workers are immigrants who live in crowded conditions with little or no access to health care, and you have a population at dangerously high risk of infection.

When the number of Covid-19 cases in America’s slaughterhouses exploded in late April—12,608 confirmed, with forty-nine deaths as of May 11—public health officials and governors began ordering plants to close. It was this threat to the industry’s profitability that led to Tyson’s declaration, which President Trump would have been right to see as a shakedown: the president’s political difficulties could only be compounded by a shortage of meat. In order to reopen their production lines, Tyson and his fellow packers wanted the federal government to step in and preempt local public health authorities; they also needed liability protection, in case workers or their unions sued them for failing to observe health and safety regulations.

Within days of Tyson’s ad, President Trump obliged the meatpackers by invoking the Defense Production Act. After having declined to use it to boost the production of badly needed coronavirus test kits, he now declared meat a “scarce and critical material essential to the national defense.” The executive order took the decision to reopen or close meat plants out of local hands, forced employees back to work without any mandatory safety precautions, and offered their employers some protection from liability for their negligence. On May 8, Tyson reopened a meatpacking plant in Waterloo, Iowa, where more than a thousand workers had tested positive.

The president and America’s meat eaters, not to mention its meat-plant workers, would never have found themselves in this predicament if not for the concentration of the meat industry, which has given us a supply chain so brittle that the closure of a single plant can cause havoc at every step, from farm to supermarket. Four companies now process more than 80 percent of beef cattle in America; another four companies process 57 percent of the hogs. A single Smithfield processing plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, processes 5 percent of the pork Americans eat. When an outbreak of Covid-19 forced the state’s governor to shut that plant down in April, the farmers who raise pigs committed to it were stranded.

Once pigs reach slaughter weight, there’s not much else you can do with them. You can’t afford to keep feeding them; even if you could, the production lines are designed to accommodate pigs up to a certain size and weight, and no larger. Meanwhile, you’ve got baby pigs entering the process, steadily getting fatter. Much the same is true for the hybrid industrial chickens, which, if allowed to live beyond their allotted six or seven weeks, are susceptible to broken bones and heart problems and quickly become too large to hang on the disassembly line. This is why the meat-plant closures forced American farmers to euthanize millions of animals, at a time when food banks were overwhelmed by demand.6

Under normal circumstances, the modern hog or chicken is a marvel of brutal efficiency, bred to produce protein at warp speed when given the right food and pharmaceuticals. So are the factories in which they are killed and cut into parts. These innovations have made meat, which for most of human history has been a luxury, a cheap commodity available to just about all Americans; we now eat, on average, more than nine ounces of meat per person per day, many of us at every meal.7 Covid-19 has brutally exposed the risks that accompany such a system. There will always be a tradeoff between efficiency and resilience (not to mention ethics); the food industry opted for the former, and we are now paying the price.

Imagine how different the story would be if there were still tens of thousands of chicken and pig farmers bringing their animals to hundreds of regional slaughterhouses. An outbreak at any one of them would barely disturb the system; it certainly wouldn’t be front-page news. Meat would probably be more expensive, but the redundancy would render the system more resilient, making breakdowns in the national supply chain unlikely. Successive administrations allowed the industry to consolidate because the efficiencies promised to make meat cheaper for the consumer, which it did. It also gave us an industry so powerful it can enlist the president of the United States in its efforts to bring local health authorities to heel and force reluctant and frightened workers back onto the line.

Another vulnerability that the novel coronavirus has exposed is the paradoxical notion of “essential” workers who are grossly underpaid and whose lives are treated as disposable. It is the men and women who debone chicken carcasses flying down a line at 175 birds a minute, or pick salad greens under the desert sun, or drive refrigerated produce trucks across the country who are keeping us fed and keeping the wheels of our society from flying off. Our utter dependence on them has never been more clear. This should give food and agricultural workers a rare degree of political leverage at the very moment they are being disproportionately infected. Scattered job actions and wildcat strikes are beginning to pop up around the country—at Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, and some meat plants—as these workers begin to flex their muscle.8 This is probably just the beginning. Perhaps their new leverage will allow them to win the kinds of wages, protections, and benefits that would more accurately reflect their importance to society.

So far, the produce sections of our supermarkets remain comparatively well stocked, but what happens this summer and next fall, if the outbreaks that have crippled the meat industry hit the farm fields? Farmworkers, too, live and work in close proximity, many of them undocumented immigrants crammed into temporary quarters on farms. Lacking benefits like sick pay, not to mention health insurance, they often have no choice but to work even when infected. Many growers depend on guest workers from Mexico to pick their crops; what happens if the pandemic—or the Trump administration, which is using the pandemic to justify even more restrictions on immigration—prevents them from coming north this year?

The food chain is buckling. But it’s worth pointing out that there are parts of it that are adapting and doing relatively well. Local food systems have proved surprisingly resilient. Small, diversified farmers who supply restaurants have had an easier time finding new markets; the popularity of community-supported agriculture (CSA) is taking off, as people who are cooking at home sign up for weekly boxes of produce from regional growers. (The renaissance of home cooking, and baking, is one of the happier consequences of the lockdown, good news both for our health and for farmers who grow actual food, as opposed to commodities like corn and soy.) In many places, farmer’s markets have quickly adjusted to pandemic conditions, instituting social-distancing rules and touchless payment systems. The advantages of local food systems have never been more obvious, and their rapid growth during the past two decades has at least partly insulated many communities from the shocks to the broader food economy.

The pandemic is, willy-nilly, making the case for deindustrializing and decentralizing the American food system, breaking up the meat oligopoly, ensuring that food workers have sick pay and access to health care, and pursuing policies that would sacrifice some degree of efficiency in favor of much greater resilience. Somewhat less obviously, the pandemic is making the case not only for a different food system but for a radically different diet as well.

It’s long been understood that an industrial food system built upon a foundation of commodity crops like corn and soybeans leads to a diet dominated by meat and highly processed food. Most of what we grow in this country is not food exactly, but rather feed for animals and the building blocks from which fast food, snacks, soda, and all the other wonders of food processing, such as high-fructose corn syrup, are manufactured. While some sectors of agriculture are struggling during the pandemic, we can expect the corn and soybean crop to escape more or less unscathed. That’s because it takes remarkably little labor—typically a single farmer on a tractor, working alone—to plant and harvest thousands of acres of these crops. So processed foods should be the last kind to disappear from supermarket shelves.

Unfortunately, a diet dominated by such foods (as well as lots of meat and little in the way of vegetables or fruit—the so-called Western diet) predisposes us to obesity and chronic diseases such as hypertension and type-2 diabetes. These “underlying conditions” happen to be among the strongest predictors that an individual infected with Covid-19 will end up in the hospital with a severe case of the disease; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that 49 percent of the people hospitalized for Covid-19 had preexisting hypertension, 48 percent were obese, and 28 percent had diabetes.9

Why these particular conditions should worsen Covid-19 infections might be explained by the fact that all three are symptoms of chronic inflammation, which is a disorder of the body’s immune system. (The Western diet is by itself inflammatory.) One way that Covid-19 kills is by sending the victim’s immune system into hyperdrive, igniting a “cytokine storm” that eventually destroys the lungs and other organs. A new Chinese study conducted in hospitals in Wuhan found that elevated levels of C-reactive protein, a standard marker of inflammation that has been linked to poor diet, “correlated with disease severity and tended to be a good predictor of adverse outcomes.”10

A momentous question awaits us on the far side of the current crisis: Are we willing to address the many vulnerabilities that the novel coronavirus has so dramatically exposed? It’s not hard to imagine a coherent and powerful new politics organized around precisely that principle. It would address the mistreatment of essential workers and gaping holes in the social safety net, including access to health care and sick leave—which we now understand, if we didn’t before, would be a benefit to all of us. It would treat public health as a matter of national security, giving it the kind of resources that threats to national security warrant.

But to be comprehensive, this post-pandemic politics would also need to confront the glaring deficiencies of a food system that has grown so concentrated that it is exquisitely vulnerable to the risks and disruptions now facing us. In addition to protecting the men and women we depend on to feed us, it would also seek to reorganize our agricultural policies to promote health rather than mere production, by paying attention to the quality as well as the quantity of the calories it produces. For even when our food system is functioning “normally,” reliably supplying the supermarket shelves and drive-thrus with cheap and abundant calories, it is killing us—slowly in normal times, swiftly in times like these. The food system we have is not the result of the free market. (There hasn’t been a free market in food since at least the Great Depression.) No, our food system is the product of agricultural and antitrust policies—political choices—that, as has suddenly become plain, stand in urgent need of reform.

—Originally published in The New York Review of Books May 12, 2020

1
This history is recounted in Barry C. Lynn, Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction (Wiley, 2011), pp. 135–138. ↩

2
See Claire Kelloway, “Why Are Farmers Destroying Food While Grocery Stores Are Empty?,” Washington Monthly, April 28, 2020. ↩

3
See “In America, the Virus Threatens a Meat Industry That Is Too Concentrated,” The Economist, April 30, 2020. ↩

4
See Leah Douglas, “Mapping Covid-19 in Meat and Food Processing Plants,” Food and Environmental Reporting Network (FERN), April 22, 2020. FERN has covered this story extensively and compiled statistics. Also see Esther Honig and Ted Genoways, “‘The Workers Are Being Sacrificed’: As Cases Mounted, Meatpacker JBS Kept People on Crowded Factory Floors,” FERN and Mother Jones, May 1, 2020. Civil Eats, FERN, and Mother Jones have done an excellent job of covering the outbreaks in the meat industry. ↩

5
See Magaly Licolli, “As Tyson Claims the Food Supply Is Breaking, Its Workers Continue to Suffer,” Civil Eats, April 30, 2020. ↩

6
See Tyler Whitley, “Don’t Blame Farmers Who Have to Euthanize Their Animals. Blame the Companies They Work For,” Civil Eats, April 30, 2020. ↩

7
It’s worth remembering that the federal government actively promotes meat consumption in myriad ways, from USDA advertising campaigns—“Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner”—to exempting feedlots from provisions of the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, to the dietary guidelines it issues and the heavy subsidies it gives for animal feed. ↩

8
See, for example, Daniel A. Medina, “As Amazon, Walmart, and Others Profit Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Their Essential Workers Plan Unprecedented Strike,” The Intercept, April 28, 2020. ↩

9
See Shikha Garg et al., “Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Patients Hospitalized with Laboratory-Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-NET, 14 States, March 1–30, 2020,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 69, No. 15 (April 17, 2020). ↩

10
See Xiaomin Luo et al., “Prognostic Value of C-Reactive Protein in Patients with COVID-19,” medRxiv, March 23, 2020. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed. ↩

Before Covid19, There Was “the Great Reset”

“Within the next 5–10 years, we have to end (the debt and government promises.  What I mean by government promises are)…pensions and healthcare benefits.”–Brace Yourself For ‘The Great Reset’,

MSM SILENCE: ELITISTS GATHER IN SWISS TOWN TO FINALIZE OUR ENSLAVEMENT, “THE GREAT RESET,” & NWO

Mac Slavo
June 15th, 2020

Make no mistake, this will be absolute tyranny on a global scale. The mainstream media is silent as the elitists who want power over every human on Earth plan to meet in a Swiss town to discuss “the Great Reset,” a push to a one-world currency – one in which they have ultimate control.

The plan is to make sure a “post-COVID” world is built the way they want it. Slavery and totalitarian control. If you haven’t figured out now that the system was put there to protect them, not you, line up for the Bill Gates sponsored vaccine.  Things are going to get much uglier, and quick. The objective of this meeting is the “rebuilding” of the world’s economic and social system in order to make it more “sustainable.”

It sounds good, right? But, by more sustainable, they mean more enslaveable.

“Nothing will ever be the same again.” It was the mantra that we heard in many countries at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It came with a warning that a “new normal” would replace the existing order. Easy travel, interpersonal relations, large gatherings, even things like shaking hands would have to give way to long-term social distancing, drastic rules, and surveillance. But these changes on the personal level are only a part of the picture. The World Economic Forum, together with Prince Charles of England and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has launched an initiative revealingly dubbed “The Great Reset,” with the objective of “rebuilding” the world’s economic and social system in order to make it more “sustainable.” –Life Site News

The Great Reset Is Here: Prepare For The NWO & Enslavement

If you cannot be bothered to understand that the best way to protect yourself is to remove yourself from the system of slavery that was already set up, that they are desperately trying to keep you in, then you’re going to likely get caught up in this mess.

The idea of a “Great Reset” has received the full support of the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, former president of the Socialist International from 1999 to 2005. Is anyone surprised? The reset has been planned for a long time:

The End Game Has Arrived: ‘All Signs and Evidence Point to the Great Global Economic Reset’

It was already being talked about before the Chinese coronavirus was moving out of Wuhan. On December 30, 2019, for instance, the Financial Times published a YouTube presentation under the title

“Why capitalism needs to be reset in 2020.” (As if any country has capitalism anymore.  Most, and yes, even the United States, are now at the very least, corporatocracies – the merging of governments and corporations, masquerading as crony corporatism.) But the globalists are pushing a theme that capitalism (which means no interference in the market/economy) is the problem, even though literally everything is centralized.  The recurring theme is “stakeholder capitalism,” by which “a company’s approach to people, the planet, and innovation — including how it protects and applies the value-added of its data — must figure more prominently in capital-allocation decisions” (as the WEForum site explains).

Prepare by refusing to accept their new one-world currency.  Stock up on precious metals, gold, silver, and lead.

Author: Mac Slavo

Kosovo Special Prosecutor Charges Pres. Thaci with War Crimes

Testimony about KLA/CIA Tortures

A ten-count indictment has been filed against Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci charging him with crimes allegedly committed in the independence war of the late-1990s, including murder and torture.


Hashim Thaci in Pristina, Kosovo, 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

The Hague-based Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, SPO, according to a press statement on Wednesday, has filed a ten-count indictment with the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, KSC, charging Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, the Kosovo politician Kadri Veseli, and others with a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.

“The indictment alleges that Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, and the other charged suspects are criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders. The crimes alleged in the indictment involve hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents,” the press release said.

A Specialist Chambers Pre-Trial Judge is currently reviewing the indictment to decide on whether to confirm the charges.

According to the press release, the Specialist Prosecutor deemed it necessary to issue this public notice because of repeated efforts by Thaci and Veseli to obstruct and undermine the work of the KSC.

“Mr Thaci and Mr Veseli are believed to have carried out a secret campaign to overturn the law creating the Court and otherwise obstruct the work of the Court in an attempt to ensure that they do not face justice.

“By taking these actions, Mr Thaci and Mr Veseli have put their personal interests ahead of the victims of their crimes, the rule of law, and all people of Kosovo,” the statement reads.

Over the past year, more than 100 people, mostly former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, have been summoned for questioning by the Specialist Prosecution as suspects or witnesses in relation to crimes allegedly committed during Kosovo’s war of independence from Serbia between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 1999 in Kosovo.

Those questioned included former KLA guerrilla fighters who have become high-profile politicians, such as Ramush Haradinaj, who resigned as prime minister of Kosovo after being summoned.

The Specialist Chambers will hear cases arising from an EU task force report which said that unnamed KLA officials could face indictments for a “campaign of persecution” against Serbs, Roma and Kosovo Albanians during the war. The alleged crimes include killings, abductions, illegal detentions and sexual violence.

The report was commissioned after the Council of Europe published an inquiry in 2011, which alleged that some senior Kosovo officials, including Thaci, were responsible for various human rights abuses. Thaci has strongly denied the allegations.

The negotiations to establish the court lasted from 2011 until 2015. International judges and prosecutors staff the new court, although it operates under Kosovo’s laws.

Since the Kosovo war ended, the international community has been overseeing the justice system in Kosovo whose results in prosecuting war crimes have been poor – fewer than 20 final verdicts in war crimes cases.

It was believed that the Kosovo prosecution couldn’t handle the political pressure in sensitive cases concerning senior officials, which was one reason why the international community decided to establish the new court.

The crusade to erase history—Philadelphia

A crew from Mural Arts paints over the Frank Rizzo mural on 9th Street in Philadelphia, on Sunday, June 7, 2020. The image of the former Philadelphia mayor was removed from the side of a building in south Philadelphia amid large protests in the city on the issue of police brutality.  (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)Mural of controversial ex-mayor Rizzo removed amid protests

The Democrat Plot To Rewrite History Starts To Erase Jesus and His Churches
Shall We Defend Our Common History?

The crusade to erase history

Christine Flowers

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” – George Orwell, “1984”

When I saw people painting over the mural of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo last week, I felt a lot of different emotions. Anger, mostly, at the destruction of a tribute to a man who, although imperfect, devoted his life to the city of his birth. A man who integrated the police force. Who was beloved of many in the black communities he helped keep safe from the drug scourge. A man who made enemies, and friends who’d take a bullet for him.

The anger was accompanied by bemusement at the foolishness of the act, one that was as unnecessary as it was futile. Erasing Rizzo’s face, or tearing down his massive metal effigy, will not remove him from our collective institutional memory. To tell us not to remember, to look away, is a guarantee that we will seek out that memory in defiance.

But the most visceral emotion was fear, tied to the increasingly successful efforts to turn George Orwell’s prophecy into our current reality.

People on the left have been quite busy these days downplaying the significance of what is happening. To them, fascism can only be experienced on the right, and takes the shape and form of a president who fires tear gas into a crowd of “peaceful protesters.”

But as Orwell expressed so well, fascism is not a partisan phenomenon, and can exist wherever and whenever a society decides to exert dominion over its citizens by usurping the one true thing that sets them apart as human: their independent minds.

Taking hold of a man’s mind by denying him access to the truth can turn him into something less than human. It makes him into an unthinking, unquestioning half-creature that might breathe and eat and walk and work and even love, but who is a simple cog in the wheel of the state machine.

When I saw the aftermath of the Rizzo mural’s destruction, a chill took over me. There was a blank place where there used to be color, where there was life and history. Drained from that wall was the figure of a man who represented not only himself, but generations of Italians and their pride. That empty space was more upsetting than the graffiti on the Rizzo statue, because it was a first successful result of what I call the Crusade to Erase.

The irony is that the mural was on private property, and I’ve been told that the owner would have left it up but for the threats he started receiving. Other businesses in the neighborhood demonstrated their cowardice by signing a letter agreeing to have the mural destroyed. But in good Orwellian style, they will insist it was an effort to honor black lives. This will be the new normal: Honor one culture by insulting another.

Now they say they are coming for Christopher Columbus, who has been caricatured as the great genocidal Satan. They are trying to teach our children that he was an evil man, crushing context, creating facts, conning the naive. Orwell knew the playbook and blueprint intimately, and wrote it down for us.

I have represented asylees and refugees from totalitarian states. They understand what it is to live in countries where society, either directly through the government or by the intimidation of special interest groups, tells you what to think. They fled their own private dark places to escape, to find freedom.

I am horrified to have them see those tragic histories repeat themselves here.

And so, I will not say the appropriate things. I will not apologize for a guilt I do not bear. I will not engage in pithy, socially woke slogans. I will not grovel, bend the knee or worry that my words might get me ostracized, unemployed or even killed.

I choose to follow Orwell’s warning. I hope I’ll have company.

The Democrat Plot To Rewrite History Starts To Erase Jesus and His Churches

Statue Wars come for JESUS as activist claims Christ and Virgin Mary are ‘white supremacy’

Statue Wars come for JESUS as activist claims Christ and Virgin Mary are ‘white supremacy’

“Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down,” King tweeted on Monday. “They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.”

He also argued that all “murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down,” calling them “a gross form [of] white supremacy… tools of oppression [and] Racist propaganda.”

King is no fringe figure, either – the well-known racial justice activist rose to prominence through the Black Lives Matter movement and most recently served as a surrogate for Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who sought the Democrat presidential nomination.

His tweets came just a day after conservative pundits predicted the statue-smashing spree would come after Jesus.

For several weeks now, protesters across the US have targeted “racist” statues – starting with generals who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War, but quickly moving onto Christopher Columbus, President Ulysses S. Grant, and others, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, two of the Founding Fathers of the US.

Not even the monument to the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry – an African-American regiment that fought in the Civil War – was spared vandalism. Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum in New York has decided to remove the statue of 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt, saying that its depictions of Native Americans and Africans made it a “hurtful symbol of systemic racism.” 

King’s tweet amounted to inciting federal hate crimes, argued conservative filmmaker Mike Cernovich, comparing it to the Ku Klux Klan’s terror campaign against churches.

Some laughed it off with memes daring the “woke” activists to actually try.

This would not be King’s first controversy. In 2019, he falsely claimed the killing of a 7-year-old black girl in Houston was a racially motivated hate crime. In 2018, he falsely accused a Texas state trooper of rape. He has also been accused by other Black Lives Matter activists of embezzling or misusing donations sent his way.

“October Surprise?”–Civil War 2?

A demonstrator is arrested during a protest in Minneapolis

Ten years ago a model of how states fail predicted that political instability in the US would “peak in the years around 2020”. Its authors say it’s now pointing to “civil war”.  Image: Getty

In the early 1990s, when Bill Clinton was in the White House and the United States looked unshakeable, the administration appointed Jack Goldstone to study how states fail. They meant other states; not the US. Few expected that his model would later predict their country’s collapse.

In an unpublished paper submitted for peer review, Professor Goldstone, who is a sociologist, and Peter Turchin, an expert on the mathematical modelling of historical societies, have concluded that the US is “headed for another civil war”.

The conditions for civil violence, they say, are the worst since the 19th century — in particular the years leading up to the start of the American Civil War in 1861.

The reason for this are trends that began in the 1980s, “with regard to inequality, selfish elites, and polarisation that have crippled the ability of the US government to mount an effective response to the pandemic disease,” they write.

This has also “hampered our ability to deliver an inclusive economic relief policy, and exacerbated the tensions over racial injustice.”

Professor Goldstone is a leading authority on the study of revolutions and long-term social change at George Mason University. The model developed by him and Peter Turchin tracks such data as the ratio of median workers’ wages to GDP per capita, life expectancy, average heights, and the number of new millionaires. It also measures political polarisation or the degree of overlap between the parties.

Applied to US history, it ‘predicts’ the 1861 Civil War and the unrest of the 1930s — a time of Jim Crow segregation, Gilded Age inequality, and fascism.

Ten years ago, Professor Turchin pointed his model towards the future, and made an uncannily accurate prediction. Just like in the 1850s, crisis indicators were rising, he wrote in the journal Nature. They could be a reliable indicator of looming instability and “look set to peak in the years around 2020,” he wrote.

Speaking from his home in Virginia on Monday — the day before a member of an armed militia shot a protester beneath a statue of a conquistador in New Mexico — Professor Goldstone described these predictions as “scary as hell”.

“The general feeling is horror,” he said.

‘Collapse happens slowly and then very suddenly’

In fact, the present disorder was forecast as far back as 1991. In the book Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World, Professor Goldstone used an early version of his model to predict the rise of a leader similar to President Trump.

It came down to population changes, Professor Goldstone argued. The American population surged after World War II — the Boomer generation born in a time of relative peace and plenty. As this massive cohort aged and accrued wealth, they could make the country vulnerable to political crisis. But this would only happen, he wrote, if the elites did three things: tighten up the path to mobility to favour themselves and their children (like increasing the cost of university); dampen wage growth and claim a greater share of economic gains for themselves; and resist taxation so that government is starved of needed revenues.

As it turned out, this is exactly what would happen over the following three decades.

At the non-profit Fund for Peace in Washington DC, the Fragile States Index tracks data such as the state of public services and income inequality and assigns countries a score indicating its resilience or ability to cope with shocks. It’s been running the index since 2000, and in the last few years the US’s position has steadily worsened. Charles Fiertz, a programs manager at the fund, told Hack that, although the index was not designed to make predictions, he had noticed some interesting correlations.

“In 2016, when the Trump election and the Brexit referendum happened, we looked back and found that the US, along with the UK, was actually one of the most worsened countries in the world over the preceding several years in the indicators of group grievance and factionalised elites,” he said.

These trends in the indicators have continued in recent years, Mr Fiertz says. Looking at other countries that have collapsed, he sees a pattern of several indicators steadily worsening before a sudden shock “overwhelms the system”.

“It could be a pandemic or a loss in a war or perceived abuse by public security forces,” he said.

“And normally, prior to this worsening process, a country would be able to adapt to, to deal with that. But because of this long-term buildup of vulnerabilities, it cannot.”

“It happens slowly and then very suddenly.”

Whichever side loses could dispute election outcome

Professor Goldstone predicts the real problems will begin after July 31, when Americans’ $600 a week COVID-19 unemployment welfare expires.

“Social tensions likely continue to grow as we move to November,” he said.

“The risks of violence in November are very high.”

November is the US presidential election — now less than five months away. As the big date nears, the tone of predictions are darkening. Both Republicans and Democrats see a loss as a cataclysm — not just a setback, but the end of America. Four more years of Trump would ‘destroy democracy’, one side says. The other claims that Biden would destroy the economy as well as ‘law and order’. The Trump campaign has launched an ‘Army for Trump’ website to “recruit and mobilise Americans … committed to fighting to re-elect President Trump.”

“There’s a real risk that, if the election is close, whichever side loses will be strongly motivated to mobilise people to challenge the result,” Professor Goldstone said.

There’s another scenario: The protests calm down, Biden wins easily in November, Trump accepts the result, as do his supporters, and the country makes a peaceful transition to Democratic Party leadership. Unfortunately, this is “low probability”, Professor Goldstone says. The chances of violence are higher.

“The fissures in our society that led to the last outpouring of protest are deep-rooted and have been around for a long time,” he said.

“The concerns about racial injustice, gender discrimination, and severe economic and material inequality have been building for many decades.

“COVID-19 like the 2009 housing crisis has exacerbated these differences.”

Could this mean a revolution? No, he says. The population of the United States is relatively aged and unlikely to be carried away by ideological fervour. Enough people would prefer to have leadership settled by election results rather than battles in the street. There’s a chance, he says, of something like Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. In 2004, after an election perceived to be marred by fraud and corruption, huge peaceful protests occupied central areas of the major cities and demanded a revote. When this took place, and the election was declared fair and free, the bloodless revolution was over.

This has never happened in the US. A presidential election has never been re-run.

“If we see an upsurge of violent protest and the election results are disputed the Democratic and Republican congressional leaders may try and get together across the party lines and maybe even justices of the Supreme Court,” Professor Goldstone said.

“They’ll say that, ‘We feel that we need to stop a popular battle in the streets over who will lead our third branch — the Executive — and we need to have a new election to satisfy everyone that the government is legitimate.’

“Then they’d schedule an election in January.”

Can it be turned around?

Some fragile states are able to turn themselves around, Charles Fiertz says.

“It requires a lot of investment over a long time and across a whole bunch of different areas, but it can be done,” he said.

Professor Goldstone points to the 1930s, when President Herbert Hoover was leading the US at a time of growing fascism and democratic failure around the world. In the midst of the Great Depression, he was succeeded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who tilted the economic balance away from the corporations and the wealthy.

“It wasn’t easy and it didn’t all magically go away in one term,” Professor Gladstone said.

The professor, who grew up in the 1950s, in the shadow of Roosevelt’s achievement, sees a “new wave of progressivism” in the mass peaceful protests of the Black Lives Matter movement. He believes the present has also brought out the best in some Americans.

“There’s something good in America that’s still very much alive,” he said.

“There’s good as well as bad going on at the same time — and we always hope the good will win.”

Bethel, Ohio, “0.5% of the population identifies as Black,” Yet They Were Targeted For Racial Protests

Counterprotesters watch a Black Lives Matter march as curfew approaches June 15 in Bethel, Ohio. Protesters took to the streets after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer kneeled on his neck, ignoring Floyd's pleas that he could not breathe.

‘It got ugly’: What happened when Black Lives Matter protests came to small town Ohio

Dan Horn

Cincinnati Enquirer

BETHEL, Ohio – Donna Henson sat on her front porch last weekend, as she always does when the weather is nice, and watched dozens of her neighbors walk by with bats in their hands or guns strapped to their sides.

They were married couples, friends and relatives, young people and old. All heading up Union Street, toward the center of town.

Henson, 78, figured they’d heard the same rumors she had, the ones about busloads of people coming to her town to join small Black Lives Matter protests on Sunday and Monday. Word was hundreds could arrive from Cincinnati or Columbus or Detroit.

Henson was afraid, and she guessed her neighbors were, too. If they didn’t do something, if they didn’t show up armed and ready, the unrest they’d seen on TV for weeks on far off American streets could come to Bethel, a village of 2,800.

“Everybody had a gun,” Henson said Tuesday, recalling the scene. “Like a cowboy show.”

A movement that had swept into many of the nation’s big cities was about to reach a small town, a rural enclave where the message from demonstrators would be heard not as a wake-up call or a rallying cry but as a challenge to a way of life.

In Bethel, peaceful protesters would be seen by some as no different from looters and rioters. They represented chaos, the problems of other people from other places.

The protesters call for police reform, decry racism and criticize President Donald Trump. Many from Bethel support the police, say racism isn’t a problem here and fly “Trump 2020” flags in their front yards.

 

“We just want it to stop,” said Brad McCall, a carpenter and longtime resident who joined counter protesters. “We got a peaceful town. We don’t want our town destroyed.”

As it turned out, there were no busloads of protesters, there was no invasion by outsiders. Police estimated 80 to 100 people showed up to support Black Lives Matter, including the organizer, a 36-year-old substitute teacher from Bethel who makes arts and crafts.

Some yelled at the protesters to leave, blocked their way when they were marching and pushed and shoved them to the ground. A man with a Confederate flag covering his face ripped up one of the protesters’ signs while the crowd cheered.

“I felt like we were walking a gantlet,” said Lois Dennis, 63, who attended the demonstration with her daughter.

Images of the confrontation went viral on social media, in part because few had seen anything quite like it since the protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis began almost a month ago.

Suddenly, tiny Bethel was another act in an unfolding national drama. Critics called the town a racist backwater. Supporters praised residents for standing up to ignorant protesters. Townspeople, for the most part, were stunned by all the attention.

Bethel is 97% white, according to the U.S. Census, and almost 0.5% of the population identifies as Black.

“Why bring it to Bethel?” McCall said. “Why not go to Chicago? Look how many Black people are getting killed in Chicago. Black people are not getting killed in Bethel.”

‘They don’t want change’

Sharon Middleton listened Tuesday afternoon as McCall spoke in a parking lot not far from the site of the protests the previous days. Middleton was born and raised in Bethel and still lives in the house she grew up in.

She said the demonstrations were a mistake but not for the same reason McCall did.

“It’s not a tolerant community,” she said.

Middleton, who is white, has been living for years with Jon Richardson, an African American man. She said most people don’t give her trouble about it, but some do, including her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her in months.

When she read about the Black Lives Matter protest on Facebook, Middleton figured the protest organizers didn’t know her town as well as she did. “They were naïve,” she said. “They think they can put their Black Lives Matter signs up and change people’s minds.”

Richardson said he went to the protest and took some photos, but he said he wasn’t going to carry a sign. Since only a handful of the protesters were people of color, Richardson said, he would’ve stood out and been an easy target if things got ugly.

“I live here,” he said.

Counterprotesters confront demonstrators June 15 in Bethel, Ohio.

Richardson said he saw neighbors who never carry guns carrying them for the first time at the protest. “A lot of it is foolishness,” he said.

For Middleton, the guns and the anger are all about the fear of change. She said Bethel hasn’t changed much in her lifetime and that’s fine with most of its residents. “They don’t want change,” she said.

Richardson put his arm around Middleton and kissed her cheek.

“People are just people,” she said. “He just has a little more melanin in his skin.”

‘A sad day for Bethel’

Chris Karnes hasn’t lived in Bethel as long as Middleton, but he said he’s more hopeful the town’s residents can find common ground.

He moved here with his wife, a native, about 10 years ago, and he likes the place. He said his neighbors are friendly, even if they don’t share his more liberal politics. “It’s Trump country,” he said Tuesday. “You have to learn to live with people’s differences.”

Karnes wasn’t encouraged by the response to the protests. He saw people he knew, some better than others, swearing at protesters and trying to intimidate them. He saw punches thrown at a man who did nothing but carry a sign.

“You live in a small community like this, you get to know a lot of people,” he said. “I don’t know. It was a sad day for Bethel.”

Wayne Sulken and Chris Karnes, both Bethel residents, shake hands after having a discussion in the parking lot of the Bethel Municipal Building on Tuesday, June 16.

As he spoke, Wayne Sulken, who’s lived in Bethel for almost 30 years, parked his pickup and got out. He listened to Karnes for a few minutes before speaking.

“I know it got ugly,” he said. “But there were thugs on both sides.”

Sulken said he went to the protests Sunday and Monday, bringing his pistol Monday, not to cause trouble but to keep the peace. He said that’s why most residents showed up: They had heard outsiders were coming to stir things up.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Sulken said. “Are our homes going to get burned down? Are our stores going to get looted? We heard the rumors they were going to bus them in.”

Sulken told Karnes he thought outsiders were behind the protests, namely antifa, a loose-knit anti-fascist group Trump has blamed for protests and unrest. Whoever was behind it, Sulken said, Bethel residents didn’t want any part of it.

Karnes and Sulken were on opposite sides of the protest, but they agreed on one thing Tuesday afternoon. Sort of.

“The worst thing is the impression the world is getting from Bethel,” Karnes said. “I’d say it was the actions of a few violent individuals.”

“On both sides,” Sulken said.

“Ahhhhh,” Karnes said, shaking his head. “I thought you might say that.”

Before parting ways, the two men shook hands. Karnes walked toward his home a few blocks away and Sulken climbed back into his pickup.

Hope for more conversations, less anger

As evening approached Tuesday, Bethel Police Chief Steve Teague responded to a noise complaint about a man with a bullhorn across the street from the Grant Memorial building, where protesters had gathered on previous days.

He found an African American man shouting, “Black lives matter” on the sidewalk. He told him about the complaint and asked him to stop.

Then the two sat down on the steps with a few other Bethel residents and talked about what was happening.

“Everybody was respectful,” Teague said. “We welcome all of them, as long as they’re peaceful.”

“We welcome all of them, as long as they’re peaceful,” says Steve Teague, police chief of Bethel, Ohio.

He said most have been. Despite the images circulating on social media, Teague said, most interactions were nonviolent and only a few counterprotesters got physical with demonstrators.

Teague, a former jet engine designer at GE, has been chief in Bethel for a year. The past few days are unlike anything he’s faced on the job, and he knows it doesn’t look good for the town he’s called home for the past six years.

“Those people have a 15-second clip, and they’re judging our entire town,” Teague said. “That’s just not right.”

A few blocks away, Donna Henson was on her front porch again, watching evening fall on an empty Union Street. It was another beautiful afternoon.

She sat next to her boyfriend, Mike Luck, surrounded by flower boxes and an American flag flapping in the breeze. Her dog, a Pekingese named Goldie, roamed the porch.

Henson said she’s watched the protests on TV for weeks and struggles to understand why everyone has been so upset for so long. She’s lived in Clermont County her whole life and, until now, the protests and unrest had seemed distant, like someone else’s problem.

“I’ve never been around Black people,” she said. “I just wish everybody could get along.”

She said she was appalled by the video of George Floyd’s death, but she wants the protests to end. She wants her town to get back to normal, back to the way it’s always been.

Contributing: Erin Glynn and Cameron Knight 

Follow reporter Dan Horn on Twitter: @danhornnews

First, Primary Target of Coronavirus, Next, To Be Hit Hardest By Mass Evictions…Black Community Rightly Feels Victimized

Coronavirus is disproportionately killing the black community. 

Black community braces for next threat: Mass evictions

 

 

A federal moratorium on evictions — which only applies to the 1 in 4 rental units that are backed by the government — expires in a matter of weeks.

Apartment buildings in Brooklyn

A new tremor is threatening to shake minority communities as protests over racial injustice sweep the country: A wave of evictions as a federal moratorium on kicking people out of their rental units expires.

The ban on evictions — which applies to rentals that are backed by the government — expires in a matter of weeks. On top of that, the federal boost to unemployment benefits that many laid-off workers have used to pay their rent is set to end July 31.

The moratorium covers evictions, not rent payments, and nearly 26 million people will have trouble coming up with the rent by September amid the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, according to Zach Neumann of the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project. Forty-four percent of black tenants said they have little or no confidence they would be able to meet their next rent payment, according to the latest snapshot from the census, conducted the last week of May.

That and rising black unemployment could make for a combustible mix on the streets. The May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of cops has sparked protests in cities around the country. Mass evictions this summer would almost surely fuel additional unrest.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told housing advocates on a call last week that the furor over Floyd’s death had brought new urgency to discussions of the racial disparities endemic in American life.

“One knee to the neck just explode[d] a tinderbox of other injustices that we must address, and one of them is housing,” Pelosi said. “Housing security is a matter of justice, as structural racism puts communities of color unfairly at risk of being rent-burdened or homeless.”

The congressionally mandated eviction plan applies to tenants in buildings with federally backed mortgages — covering just over 12 million of the nearly 44 million rental units in the country. Others may be covered by a patchwork of state and local moratoriums, but those are also starting to expire. Twelve states ended eviction protections in May, and the 8.2 million renters in New York will see their protections start to lapse on Aug. 20.

That gives a large advantage to white people: While about 74 percent of white households live in homes they own, only about 44 percent of black households and 49 percent of Latino households do, according to census data.

Black and Latino households also pay a higher share of their income on rent in most major metropolitan areas, according to a Zillow analysis.

House Democrats have passed sweeping legislation that would replace the current eviction ban on federally backed properties with a 12-month expanded moratorium on evictions for all tenants. It would also give tenants $100 billion in rental assistance to prevent falling behind on payments and getting hit with a massive bill when moratoriums end.

It’s not just Democrats who are worried about a potential rash of evictions, though. Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) said this week that policymakers need to figure out “what else can be done for the renters to ensure that they’re not put in a situation of potential eviction once the grace periods might end.”

But Senate Republicans are pumping the brakes on pouring more stimulus into the economy before the last relief package is exhausted, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell floating August as a timeline for the next round.

Key Republicans also oppose continuing to provide expanded unemployment benefits, arguing that the enhanced payments are discouraging recipients from returning to lower-paying jobs.

Housing advocates warn that landlords around the country are already preparing eviction proceedings to file the moment they’re allowed to proceed, even as more than 20 million Americans — including more than 1 in 6 black workers — remain out of work.

“Unless Congress intervenes soon, the coming tsunami of evictions and homelessness will disproportionately harm black and brown people,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

About 40 percent of homeless people in the U.S. and over half of homeless families with children are black, even though just 13 percent of the population is black.

Rice said Floyd’s death was “just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and that decades of redlining — the government practice of blocking off black neighborhoods on official maps to discourage mortgage lending — was one of the main underlying contributors to the current unrest.

“It’s all connected — when you really pull back the layers of the onion, the root cause is residential segregation and systemic structural racism,” she said. “I think making sure we don’t have massive wholesale evictions is a sort of a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, but ultimately we’re going to have to get to the root causes.”

The Real Economic Catastrophe Hasn’t Hit Yet. Just Wait For August.

What Happens When the Homeless Populations Suddenly Double?

The Real Economic Catastrophe Hasn’t Hit Yet. Just Wait For August.

After a terrifying spring spent in lockdown and a summer of protests in the streets, things are going to get a lot worse in the fall.

BuzzFeed News

More than 40 million people lost their jobs in the last few months, in the fastest and deepest economic slowdown ever recorded. More than half of all households with low incomes in the United States have experienced a loss of earnings, as have a quarter of all adults. The numbers are grim — but as bad as things look today, they’re on track to get much, much worse.

The US economy right now is like a jumbo jet that’s in a steady glide after both its engines flamed out. In about six weeks, it will likely crash into the side of a mountain.

What’s kept us in the air so far is an extraordinary government relief effort. In most states, evictions have been temporarily banned, preventing a mass homelessness crisis. Most federal student loan payments have been put on hold, removing one of the largest recurring monthly expenses that millions of people face. Banks were ordered to give their customers a six-month break on mortgage payments if requested.

Most importantly, and counterintuitively, household income sharply increased in April as hundreds of billions of dollars in lost wages were replaced by trillions in government spending. The government sent out more than 159 million stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per adult (more if you have kids), and more than 20 million unemployed people became eligible for an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. The result, according to Bloomberg, was the largest monthly increase in household income ever recorded.

This happened in April, when there were far fewer things to spend your money on; shops and restaurants were closed, nobody went to the ball game or took the kids to a theme park, and a shaggy nation longed for a haircut. Meanwhile, the prospect of a massive economic crash meant that Americans who were still on the job were more likely to tuck money away that they might otherwise have spent. So the national savings rate — the share of people’s income that is saved rather than spent — hit 33%, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, also the highest level ever recorded. In the same month that we reached the worst mass unemployment in living memory, Americans saved a total of $6.15 trillion — up by $4 trillion from the month prior.

The massive interventions that made all this possible will soon come to an end — but the unemployment won’t.

On July 31, the $600 federal unemployment payments going to unemployed people every week will end, and there’s no sign they’ll be replaced with anything nearly as generous. In fact, many Republicans want to replace them with nothing at all — and there’s also little sign that another round of one-time stimulus checks will get mailed out. So income for tens of millions of households is likely to nose-dive in August.

That will coincide with evictions returning after being put on hold for months. This month, about one-third of renters were unable to pay their rent in full or at all, despite all the stimulus money. A federal law that bans evictions in any properties financed by federally backed mortgages — more than a quarter of all households, according to one estimate — expires on July 25, just a week before millions of people’s main economic lifeline is pulled away. Unless they are extended, statewide orders banning all evictions in places that have been hardest hit by the unemployment crisis will also expire around then: Florida’s on July 1, California’s on July 28, and New York’s on Aug. 20.

As millions of people experience a sudden collapse of their income at the very moment their landlords are allowed to start kicking them out, other bills will also come due. Payments on millions of paused student loans will begin again at the beginning of October; the more than 4 million homeowners who received a six-month pause on their mortgage after April’s mass layoffs will need to start making payments again at the end of October.

Few seriously expect the US economy to recover as fast as those bills come due; the federal government’s own projections expect unemployment will remain frighteningly high well into next year, even as people return to work as the lockdowns are lifted. Many companies will only rehire workers as quickly as consumer demand returns, and in labor-heavy industries, such as restaurants, entertainment, and travel, nobody expects things to go back to normal anytime soon.

And across the economy, big employers will use this moment as a kind of workforce reset button — a chance to rethink how many workers they really want, outsource some jobs, offshore others, and eliminate some entirely. By some estimates, more than 40% of all the job losses of the last few months could be permanent, not temporary.

You might have noticed a few major things — like, well, the coronavirus pandemic — missing from this equation. If we’re really lucky, we won’t experience a nasty second wave of infections in the fall and early winter, spurring new rounds of attempted lockdowns shortly after the economic plane crashes into the mountain — lockdowns that will once again disproportionately affect Black people and people with low incomes who can’t safely work from home. Fingers crossed on that one.

And I didn’t mention the nationwide protest movement that shows no sign of slowing down, or the US election that will be overheating in the fall, involving a phenomenally unpopular and wildly divisive president whose passionate supporters tend to distrust the government.

These are all ingredients in what Adam Elkus memorably described recently as the “omni-crisis” that we’re currently stumbling our way through. “The omni-crisis has significantly enlarged the space of possible outcomes beyond that normally considered day-to-day by most Americans,” he wrote. “And it is not clear how many people in positions of influence and authority recognize this.”

That will become clearer in the next few weeks as Congress considers what comes next. So far, the Democrat-controlled House has passed an expansive new relief bill with trillions in new spending, which was declared dead on arrival by the Republican-controlled Senate — and Republicans don’t seem to be in much of a hurry to even begin negotiations. There are hints that our political leaders understand the gravity of the crisis, but they may be simply incapable of rising to the moment. ●

U.S. Orders Canadian Arrest of Daughter of China’s 5G Huawei Corp Founder

FILE PHOTO: Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s intelligence agency warned that arresting the daughter of billionaire Huawei founder Ren Zheng would set off global “shock waves” and seriously affect ties with China, just before her detention in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request, new court documents show.

Released on Friday, the documents show the involvement of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in the December 2018 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, which soured diplomatic ties between Ottawa and Beijing.

Meng is chief financial officer of China tech giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the company at the center of next generation 5G wireless technology and a long-running dispute the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

A CSIS report was disclosed in the court documents as part of Meng’s extradition proceedings. In a redacted Dec. 1, 2018 memo, CSIS said it was advised by the U.S. FBI of plans to arrest Meng when she arrived on a flight to Vancouver International Airport later that same day.

“The arrest is likely to send shockwaves around the world,” CSIS said. “The planned event will be of great consequence internationally and bilaterally,” the report said.

Huawei lawyers called the documents proof that authorities had conspired against Meng.

Meng is accused by U.S. authorities of bank fraud for misleading HSBC (HSBA.L) about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran, putting HSBC at risk of fines and penalties for breaking U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

Meng’s lawyers have argued the case should be thrown out because Canada did not have sanctions against Iran. Meng says she is innocent. Last month, a Canadian judge allowed the case to continue, rejecting defense arguments that the U.S. charges against Meng do not constitute crimes in Canada.

The new court documents show the CSIS was concerned about when Meng’s arrest might become public. Her lawyers noted the point was of particular interest, since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were attending the G20 summit in Argentina and dining together on the evening of Dec. 1.

Reporting by Denny Thomas, Editing by Tom Brown

What Happens When the Homeless Populations Suddenly Double?

As eviction bans across the country start to lift, the US could face an eviction ‘apocalypse’

Housing crisis
Many Americans are now at risk of being evicted from their homes. 
John M Lund Photography Inc / Getty Images

The United States is preparing to deal with yet another crisis: an eviction crisis.

On Thursday, Business Insider’s Carmen Reinicke reported that 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last 12 weeks. The mass layoffs and cratering industries have left many unable to pay their rent or utilities due to the lack of income.

Because of the financial crisis, the pandemic has caused, the federal government put a temporary ban on evictions in federally assisted properties, set to last until July 25. Individual states — like Michigan, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania — had their own eviction moratoriums. But those have expired or are set to expire soon, with no extensions in place: Michigan’s moratorium expired on June 11, while Louisiana’s and Pennsylvania’s are expected to expire on June 15 and July 10 respectively.

The extra funds the stimulus bill extended to Americans are also running out. At the end of July, the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits will expire, and there’s no confirmation yet whether additional stimulus checks are coming.

This is the money that has been allowing people who lost their jobs to continue paying their rent, CNBC’s Alicia Adamczyk reports. The loss of extra income, in conjunction with the end of eviction moratoriums, may cause a nationwide eviction crisis — or worse. Aaron Carr, founder and executive director of the Housing Rights Initiative, told CNBC that evicting people right now, during an ongoing pandemic, could turn “a catastrophe into an apocalypse.”

Homeless shelters in the United States are not set up for social distancing

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on renters since the outbreak and subsequent lockdown measures first began in the US in March.

Between March 25 and April 10, the Urban Institute found that almost half of the renters between the ages of 18 and 64 had trouble paying their rent or utilities, were food insecure, or couldn’t afford necessary medical care. And this issue was far more pronounced in some communities than others: In May, the institute found that 25% of Black and Latino renters deferred or could not pay their rent, compared to just 14% of white renters.

Now, Axios, citing the weekly US Census survey which measures the impact the pandemic has had on Americans, reported that one-fifth of adults said in May that they were unsure whether they’d be able to pay their rent or mortgage in June.

As Carr told CNBC, evicting people from their homes could lead them into homelessness or unstable housing, which could raise their risk of catching COVID-19.

Mass evictions could also create a mental health crisis, causing an emotional and mental strain on those who lost their shelter, and who could end up food insecure. Evicting people also generally ruins credit, which may make it harder to find new housing, especially during a pandemic.

All of these factors could result in an “eviction apocalypse,” with widespread evictions leading to a surge in homelessness and rising COVID-19 infections throughout the country.

Even though activists have been pushing for reforms on rental assistance and cancellation, states have been slow to adopt such measures. A glimmer of hope could be the HEROES Act, which has an extension of the nationwide moratorium on evictions that would last 12 months. The bill was passed by the House in May but has stalled in the Senate.

Why Manufacture 2 Billion Doses of A “Potential” Vaccine?

“AstraZeneca recognises that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk.”

nonetheless:

“AstraZeneca’s enormous manufacturing and distribution layout represents the single largest effort so far to pump hundreds of millions of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine hopeful onto the market before the end of 2020. “

Syringe injection vaccine needle
AstraZeneca said its total capacity for COVID-19 vaccine production has exceeded 2 billion doses per year. (Pixabay)

What America and the World Need Now–Stephen Lendman

What America and the World Need Now

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Mass protests in the US and elsewhere over racist killings of Black males like George Floyd aren’t good enough.

They divert attention from an array of core issues ignored by officialdom and establishment media.

Justice won’t be served unless they’re all addressed and corrected, systemic change that requires longterm struggle.

Days, weeks, even a few months of street protests alone will fail like always before, especially if pacified by cosmetic changes alone.

Tinkering around the edges alone assures status quo forever wars, inequity and injustice for ordinary people while privileged ones enjoy gravy train benefits.

That’s the American way that’s replicated throughout the West and elsewhere worldwide — governance of, by, and for special interests at the expense of the exploited vast majority.

All lives matter, those most disadvantaged harmed most by institutionalized fantasy democracy, racism, inequity and injustice in the US and worldwide.

Systemic change that’s needed demands going for the following — without compromise:

Money power put back in public hands where it belongs, in the US by abolishing the Wall Street owned Fed and giving back to Congress what’s constitutionally mandated.

Break up and prohibit too-big-to-fail banks, including an end to allowing commercial and investment banking combinations, along with letting them own insurance companies.

End countless billions of dollars of corporate handouts and bailouts.

Rescind the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that greatly contributed to speculative excess, including no regulartory oversight of derivatives and leveraging that turned Wall Street more than ever into a casino

Enact progressive policies, eliminating neoliberal ones, including force-fed austerity on ordinary people, the nation’s wealth used for everyone, not just the privileged few.

Mandate social justice in the US by constitutional amendment, including universal healthcare, public education to the highest levels, along with human, civil and organized labor rights, what was omitted in the US founding document.

Breaking up and banning corporate monopolies and oligopolies.

Getting money entirely out of politics.

Changing rigged elections to free, fair and open ones.

In the US, ending one-party rule with two right wings, fostering a climate that encourages parties independent from the current system.

Mandate ecosanity over raping and plundering the earth for maximum profits.

Reestablish and strengthen the vanishing middle class.

Reinstate progressive taxes, requiring the wealthy and business to pay their fair share.

Slash military spending, declaring a new era or peace and stability by beating swords into plowshares, using the revenue for rebuilding US infrastructure and enhancing social programs.

End corporate personhood, the US gulag prison system, capital punishment, and unrestrained predatory capitalist practices.

The difference between the latter and my decades of experience in small family business is worlds apart — public service v. big business rapaciousness for maximum profits in cahoots with big government, an unholy alliance against peace, equity and justice.

Todays America is the product of its founders — a men-only Wall Street crowd equivalent, given their economic status and prominence.

Designers of the nation’s founding document were bankers, merchants, lawyers, politicians, judges, and other wheeler-dealers.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights five years later served their interests, not the general welfare — notably not African Americans considered property, not people.

Not women at the time, considered child-rearers and homemakers alone, not decision-makers, not independent from their husbands.

The general welfare was off the table, special interests alone served, not ordinary America — fantasy democracy institutionalized from inception.

In his last State of the Union address on January 11, 1944, Franklin Roosevelt proposed a second bill of rights, economic ones, because original ones in the Constitution’s first 10 amendments “proved inadequate to assure us equality…”

FDR didn’t live long enough to push for what he proposed to become the law of the land post-WW II.

Economic rights he proposed are more greatly needed now, what should be core demands of protesters on US streets. They included the following:

Full employment with a guaranteed living wage adjusted to the real cost of living the way it was calculated pre-1990.

Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies.

Ending homelessness by assuring housing for all.

Universal healthcare and public education to the highest levels.

Enhanced social security beyond what New Deal legislation provided — that’s greatly eroded today.

All of the above and more are needed for egalitarian rule over governance serving privileged interests alone like now.

Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, his economic bill of rights along with him.

The vast majority of protesters on US streets know nothing about it, along with little about the nation’s dark history from before its inception to the present day.

Ending institutionalized racism and police brutality are vital objectives.

It’s not enough. Key is ending all forms of inequity and injustice along with forever wars on humanity at home and abroad.

These are goals to pursue by committed longterm struggle.

Achieving them won’t come any other way. 

Iconoclast muckraking journalist IF Stone once explained the following:

“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins…”

That’s what longterm struggle is all about — fighting the good fight for peace, equity and justice so one day what’s now unattainable is possible.

If that’s not worth fighting for, what is?

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Knees will be on everyone’s necks in the months ahead.

The Shallow Deep-State Goes Deeper as It Moves Toward Martial Law

Edward Curtin

Iam not trying to be cute and play with words. That title is meant to convey what it says, so let me explain.

The people who own the United States and their allies around the world have a plan. It is so simple that it is extremely devious.

Their plan has been in operation for many years. It has most people bamboozled because it is Janus-faced by design, overt one day, covert the next, but both faces operate under one controlling head. Some call this head the Deep-State. Even the Deep-State calls itself the Deep-State in a double fake. It is meant to make people schizoid, which it has.

The so-called Deep-State has been given many names over the years. I will not bore you with them, except to say that it was once called the power elite. They are the upper classes, the super wealthy who control the financial institutions, Wall Street, the intelligence agencies, the corporate media, the internet, the military, and the politicians. They are multinational.

They are the wealthy nihilists who care not one jot for the rest of the world. They operate in secret, yet also run above-ground organizations such as the World Bank (WB), the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), etc. Their bloodstream runs on war, the preparations for war, and economic exploitation of the world.

All wealthy people are not party to their machinations, but they are almost always complicit in profiting from their crimes, unless they are very stupid. Or play stupid. Since I am talking about a great confidence game, that is quite common.

Other people, all other classes, the poor, middle-classes, even a portion of the upper middle classes mean nothing to the power elite unless they can serve their interests. They are always waging class warfare to maintain their domination and control. Their recent version of this class war is underway in the United States and in many other countries.

As of today, they are using race fears to create chaos and outrage to disguise their class warfare that is leading to the imposition of martial law. Soon they will shift back to the coronavirus fraud. Back and forth, in and out, now you see it, now you don’t.

By shutting down the world’s economy, they have destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people and are creating poverty on a vast scale. Much famine and death will follow. In the United States alone, 40-45 million people have applied for unemployment insurance and job loss is the greatest since the Great Depression. The reason: a massive propaganda campaign created around Covid-19 fear porn.

This class war is not new, but it is conducted today at warp speed since these people control the technology that has allowed them vastly increased power.

In the USA, it is conducted as usual under the guise of Republicans versus Democrats, the two representative political factions that are the faces of the controlled “opposition,” who are actually allies in the larger confidence game. Keeping “hope” alive is central to their strategy. Mind control is what they do. Speed is their greatest ally. Race is central to their game plan. They always say they are protecting us.

It is all a lie. A show. Nothing but a spectacle for the gullible. A shadow play.

The current president, Donald Trump, is the choice of one faction of these psychopaths. This year, Joseph Biden, is the shaky presumptive choice of the other. Both are deranged puppets. Regular people fight over who is better or worse because they are living inside what Jim Garrison, the former District Attorney of New Orleans and the only person to ever bring a trial in the assassination of President Kennedy, long ago called “the doll’s house.”

It is a place where illusions and delusions replace reality. It is 24/7 propaganda. It keeps people engaged. It gives them something to argue about, one team to root for. It’s a sport. It is similar to Plato’s Cave. Fire has been replaced with electronic lighting and screens, but little has changed.

The sick system of exploitation is oiled and greased with the tantalizing bait of hope dangled for the masses. Shit slogans like “We are all in this together.”

But there is no hope for this system.

But when the propaganda is so slick that it creates a double-bind, people grasp at any neurotic “solution” out of frustration. As I write, huge angry crowds are out in the streets protesting the sick murder of a black man, George Floyd, by a white cop. Police infiltrators have started violent looting. Chaos reigns, as planned.

Such killings are routine, but someone turned a switch for this one when just yesterday operation corona lockdown with its fear and fake statistics had everyone cowering behind masks at home as the economic lives of vast numbers were destroyed in a flash.

For today, the masquerade is in the streets. Many good people are caught up in it. In a few days the scene will shift and we can expect another “bombshell.”

These surprises will keep happening one after another for the foreseeable future. Shock and Awe for the home crowd. The war come home. The controllers know you can’t wage war against the rest of the world unless you do so at home as well.

When one group within the deep-state won the internecine battle in 2016 and “shocked” the country with the election of the comical Trump, the other deep-state group called the Democrats, immediately set in motion a plan to try to oust him or to make it seem as if they were trying to do so.

The naïve thought this may happen, and their deluded yearning has been stretched until the 2020 presidential election, although some probably think Trump might go before then. He won’t.

So many people have destroyed their minds and relationships because they can’t see through the fraud.

Early in 2017, as the outgoing front man for the CIA/warfare/Wall St. state, Barack Obama, left his time bombs for the future. The pink pussy hats were sent out marching to open the show. Russia-gate was launched; eventually impeachment was tried. The Democrats. with their media allies, went on a non-stop attack.

It was all so obvious, so shallow in its intent, as it was meant to be. But millions who were in the doll house were outraged, obsessed, frantic with rage. They bought the con-game. Both those who hate Trump and those that love him have spent almost four years foaming at the mouth, breathless.

Trump was cast as the personification of evil. A relentless attack on Trump began and has continued all this time. It is pure theater. Trump remains at the helm, as planned, holding the Bible aloft in a style reminiscent of a Bible thumping Klansman from The Birth of a Nation. Only the ignorant thought it might have been different.

He knows how to perform his role. He is a fine actor. He outrages, spews idiocies, as he is supposed to do. That Mussolini style stance, that absurd hair, the pout. Just perfect for an arch-villain. It’s so obvious that it isn’t. Herein lies the trick.

And who profits from his policies? The super-rich, of course, the power-elite.

Who just stole 6-10 trillion dollars of public money under the hilariously named Cares Act? The super-rich, of course, the deep-state.

It was a bi-partisan bank robbery from the public treasury carried out under the shadow of Covid-19, whose phony hyped up numbers were used to frighten the populace into lockdown mode as the Republican and Democratic bank robbers smiled in unison and announced forcefully, “We care!” We are here to protect you.

Remember how Barack Obama “saved” us by bailing out Wall St. and the big banks to the tune of trillions in early 2009. Then waged unending wars. Left black Americans bereft. He cared, too, didn’t he. Our leaders always care.

Obama was the black guy in the white hat. Trump is the white guy in the black hat. Hollywood on the Potomac, as Gary Wills called it when Ronald Reagan was the acting-president.

Now Obama’s war-loving side-kick, the pale-faced, twisted talking Biden is seriously offered as an alternative to the Elvis impersonator in the White House. This is the false left/right dichotomy that has the residents of the doll’s house in its grip.

If you can’t see what’s coming, you might want to break out of the house, take off your mask, go for a walk, and take some deep breaths. The walls are closing in.

Knees will be on everyone’s necks in the months ahead.

Now Trump Suddenly Wants To Bring US Troops Home From Germany…First Afghanistan, Now This

[Trump Ex. Order Activates National Guard, Up To One Million Soldiers, For Up To Two Years ; What If Trump Tried to Cancel the November Election? ; Why Does Trump Suddenly Want Combat Troops Home From Afghanistan By Election Day? ]

Trump orders Pentagon to remove thousands of troops from Germany: report

President Trump has directed the Department of Defense to send 9,500 troops home from Germany, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, which would bring the total stationed there down to 25,000.

A defense official told the Journal the plan, which was ordered by national security adviser Robert O’Brien, has been underway since September and is not related to rising tensions between Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who also served as Trump’s ambassador to Germany, has advocated for the reduction of troops in Germany and pushed for Berlin to spend more on its own defense.

When asked, National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot did not confirm the move to The Hill, but said Trump “continually reassesses the best posture for the United States military forces and our presence overseas.”

“The United States remains committed to working with our strong ally Germany to ensure our mutual defense, as well as on many other important issues,” Ullyot said.

The Hill has reached out to the Department of Defense and the White House for further comment.

The Journal noted under current conditions, there can be up to 52,000 U.S. troops in Germany at a time as units rotate in and out or take part in training exercises.

The troop reduction will reportedly take place by September.

Trump has pushed for fewer U.S. service members to be deployed overseas, including in Afghanistan, the site of America’s longest military conflict.