Sympathy for the Devils...

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sun Feb 25, 2024 9:08 pm


You Can’t Be A “Lesser Evil” When You’re Sponsoring A Genocide

You don’t get to apply the label “lesser evil” to a president who is backing a literal genocide. That’s not a thing.

Caitlin Johnstone
February 25, 2024

You don’t get to apply the label “lesser evil” to a president who is backing a literal genocide. That’s not a thing. Past a certain point you’re just plain evil.

If you were to make a list of the absolute worst things a powerful leader can do, genocide and carelessness with nuclear brinkmanship should be on the very top of that list. Biden has done both of these. You can’t legitimately call such a person a “lesser evil”.

Israel supporters are scum. Lower than them are the Biden supporters who avoid thinking too hard about his genocide in Gaza and make excuses for it, because at least the Israel supporters are honest about what they are. Lower even than the overt Bidenists are the “progressives” who condemn Israel’s actions out of one side of their mouths while still pushing the need to vote for Biden out the other, because they’re even less honest about themselves than the outright shitlibs. If you’re going to be a genocidal shitstain, at least do it without also sowing confusion and muddying the waters.

So it turns out The New York Times hired an actual genocide supporter who’d never even been a reporter before to co-author atrocity propaganda about mass rapes on October 7. If the western media actually told the truth and reported the news, this revelation would be a major international story today.

Being an ally country to the USA is like being friends with a really bitchy drama queen where you’re only allowed to help her tear down her social enemies and can’t ever talk about what she’s doing to create all the conflict in her life because if you do she’ll come for you next.

Palestinian lives are more important than western feelings. It doesn’t matter if criticizing Biden’s actions makes your feelings feel nervous about Trump. It doesn’t matter if pro-Palestine activism makes your feelings feel like you’ve been persecuted. Your feelings don’t matter.

Western liberal leaders are always trying to get you to trade feelings in exchange for concrete improvements in material conditions. Now Biden administration officials are proclaiming how “disappointed” they are in the Netanyahu government for approving thousands of new West Bank settlements, even as they continue their unconditional material support for Israeli butchery of Palestinians. Before that western leaders were all babbling about how “concerned” they are about the impending assault on Rafah while physically pouring more and more weapons into Israel. Before that they were telling everyone we should focus on how some Jewish Zionists feel threatened by pro-Palestine demonstrations instead of focusing on the human butchery that is being experienced by Gazans.

You see this over and over again, on all issues. You want an end to genocide, they solemnly tell you their hearts are with the people of Gaza who are experiencing unimaginable hardship — but never actually do anything to stop it. You want an end to police brutality, they tell you they hear you, they support you, they stand with you — but never actually change policing policy. You want healthcare, they tell you to focus on getting emotionally hysterical about Donald Trump instead of helping to improve your material conditions. You want economic justice, they tell you to instead get worked up about culture war issues the powerful don’t care about and focus on how good it feels to be on the correct side of that war.

They’ve set up this counterfeit currency system where you hand them political power and consent to the murderousness, tyranny and exploitation of the globe-spanning empire — and they pay you for it in feelings.

“Here is unipolar planetary hegemony,” we tell them.

“And here are your feelings,” they reply magnanimously.

“Here is our consent for unfettered capitalism, neoliberal imperialist extraction, wars, militarism, starvation sanctions and proxy conflicts,” we say.

“And as payment for your product, we present you with some feelings,” they tell us with a warm smile.

“Here is our health, the health of our biosphere, our future, and our sanity,” we say.

“And here’s a big fat briefcase full of feelings,” they reply.

The message we’re fed over and over again is that feelings matter more than Palestinian lives. Feelings matter more than your neighbors having a roof over their head and being able to provide for their children. Feelings matter more than freedom from tyranny and abuse. Feelings matter more than the ecosystem we depend on for survival. Feelings matter more than avoiding nuclear armageddon.

And everything keeps on getting worse and worse, and somehow all these feelings we’re being traded aren’t actually making us feel any better. Somehow supporting the correct leaders who say the correct words isn’t actually improving anything. We’ve traded these people the entire world, and looked down to find ourselves holding a big plastic bag of Monopoly money. ... -genocide/

(Bolding added)
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Wed Feb 28, 2024 3:29 pm

Recognizing the Revolutionary Potential of the Abandon Biden/Listen to Michigan Initiatives
Jacqueline Luqman, Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright 28 Feb 2024

Abandon Biden campaign press conference in Dearborn, where organizers said the president shouldn't "show his face" in Michigan until a ceasefire is called between Israel and Palestine. (Screenshot from a video provided by by Associated Press)

It is prudent for Black people to join in coalition with the Arab and Muslim people collectively refusing to support President Biden and connect the struggle for Palestinian liberation to the struggle for the liberation of oppressed people globally.

This week, the neoliberal, war-mongering machine known as the Democratic party held its presidential primary in Michigan - a key state that will play a major role in the outcome of the general election in November. Michigan is home to Detroit, one of the largest Black cities and the largest Arab population in the nation, including the state’s majority Arab city of Dearborn, roughly nine miles from Detroit. Both the Black and Arab populations are critical voting blocs that both corporate political parties are looking to for electoral success, the Democrats much more so than the Republicans.

The State of Israel’s brutal occupation and genocide of Gaza, that’s murdered nearly 30,000 Palestinians, the majority of them women and children, and gravely injured over 60,000, has become a thorn in the side of President Biden’s re-election bid. Adding to the pressure is the Abandon Biden initiative that commenced last December when Arab and Muslim leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania pledged to withdraw support from the president due to his refusal to facilitate a permanent ceasefire. And, earlier this month, a group of Democrats in Michigan launched the Listen to Michigan initiative, which is urging voters to select the “uncommitted” option when they vote in the state’s primary on February 27th.

Africans and Black people of consciousness support principled efforts that demonstrate solidarity with our Palestinian comrades and siblings, and we have for decades. While the principled efforts of the Arab community in the US to refuse to support Joe Biden, who recently compounded his proud declaration of being a zionist, and the Democratic party in the upcoming primary are strategically important as they pose a grave and immediate threat to the Democratic Party’s fortunes in the upcoming presidential election, revolutionary Africans and others must look beyond these groundbreaking actions and consider how we take this campaign for the end of genocide and the establishment of human rights, dignity, and self-determination for Palestinians.

Additionally, we must connect the struggle for Palestinian liberation to the struggles of oppressed people in the US and around the world. To this end, we must not agitate only for a ceasefire in Gaza, but also the following:

A permanent cessation of the occupation;
Dismantling of Israel’s apartheid pogrom;
Establishment of Palestinians’ right of return,
Establishment of one independent and secular state that guarantees equal rights for all residents, including Jews from Ethiopia and other African nations;
Ending the flow of weapons and military aid to Israel; and
Dismantling of U.S. imperialism in every country it exists and represses people

Combining the organizing and voting power of Michigan’s Black, Arab, and Muslim communities is an axiomatic tactic that should be utilized to the fullest extent in an effort to confront and dismantle all instances of settler colonialism and accompanying white “supremacy” ideology that continues to dehumanize, sacrifice, and extract from oppressed and colonized people the world over. Moreover, it’s clear that combining principled efforts of Black, Arab, and other marginalized populations in Michigan represents the potential for a larger and sustained campaign for power building that could reach every state in this country, and reach out in solidarity and collaboration with similarly situated communities internationally who are in the crosshairs of this government. The reality is that while voting itself is important, it is one tool in a deep arsenal of tactics needed to effect deep and lasting society-level change, which is also something the masses need to be guided to understand.

Political and popular education must continue beyond the electoral cycle to keep these issues at the forefront of people’s consciousness and remove them from simply an election-year issue. If this tactic is successful and either Joe Biden is forced to change course on Israel before the presidential elections in November OR he does not and loses the election in November, organizers of the Abandon Biden strategy can claim a decisive victory, but should not abandon continuing to organize and build coalitions and collaborate with Black Michiganders and other Black people of conscience to indict the duopoly in order to collectively engage our respective communities to chart a path forward to mapping out the kind of society we want to build.

This is critical because the end result of organizing is not to elect another “lesser evil” candidate who will only do the same evil things the previous figurehead did, just with a folksy smile this time. Instead, the end result of organizing is the empowerment of the masses to challenge and dismantle this corrupt and anti-human system of capitalist dictatorship at home, imperialist dictatorship abroad, and brutal militarism to keep the oppressed in line, so that that system can be replaced by the people with representatives and a system that puts the power in the hands of the people. A long-term collaborative outreach, education, and organizing effort to that end between Black, Arab, and Muslim organizers could produce a tidal wave of enlightenment and interest among our people.

This will not be an easy task, and it is a level of collaboration and solidarity that will not go unpunished by the system and its proponents who are desperately holding onto power by ramping up our oppression. For example, It has come to our attention that certain Black operatives representing neoliberal forces are attempting to temper Black solidarity with Palestine. For instance, writer Coleman Hughes who desires a “colorblind America” recently uttered, “The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians bears little resemblance to the African American quest for civil rights in the U.S., or South Africa’s system of apartheid.” And renowned bootlicker, Bakari Sellers, aligned with this sentiment when he decried the interruption of Joe Biden’s speech at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Emanuel) in Charleston, SC, and declared, “[it’s] hard to see the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a “parallel struggle” with any social justice movement in the U.S.”

Both languorous offerings are in part informed by the so-called Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), where one in three members embrace the zionist-led American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and accept their financial support, including CBC Chairman, Steven Horsford, as well as other holders of the Black Misleadership Class such as Hakeem Jeffries, James Clyburn, and Gregory Meeks. All who are also adamant supporters of the notorious Deadly Exchange program between Israel and the United States, where the brutal Israeli military that occupies, oppresses, imprisons, and wantonly murders Palestinians trains US police forces at every level, including Border Patrol, ICE, and the FBI.

Operating under the white supremacist settler colonial logic that violently suppressing “undesirable” populations will create safety and security for the dominant and settler colonial occupying population, amid the current genocide being carried out in Gaza, Jewish lobby groups are decrying the criticism of the Deadly Exchange program as anti-Semitic because ”Accusing Israel or Zionists (see Zionists) of complicity in the murder of Black people is malicious, perpetuates antisemitism, and blames Jews for societal ills .” But they do not deny that both countries practice repressive tactics against specific populations in their respective countries, and they indeed exchange tactics on how to subvert, suppress, and control those populations. So Bakari Sellers simply refuses to acknowledge the similarity in struggles against oppression among Black people in the US and Palestinians in their own country. Coleman Hughes simply refuses to see the connections between the struggles of the two peoples, which directly contradicts how revolutionary Africans and Palestinians see our struggle as connected. Then again, “colorblind society” is a lie, too.

It’s unfortunate that far too many agents of the petit bourgeois guild, these negroes for hire, consistently allow themselves to be used as props and dangled in front of liberal and conservative audiences, as well as other forces that maintain and upkeep settler colonialism and the larger system of white “supremacy” ideology. Worse, these bootlicking backstabbers of the people are paraded in front of us as the first line of defense for the empire in quieting the dissent that is clearly growing among Black people against the continued injustice, brutality, and oppression we live under here. Many of our people are now more attuned to the international arm of US imperialism as they see the same state apparatus that does us such a vile disservice in this country open its coffers wide in shipping weapons to the Apartheid State of Israel, just as the U.S. and Israel did in arming Apartheid South Africa. Our people can plainly see the types of tactics used by the Israeli army against Palestinians because they look horrifically familiar to the way U.S. police brutalize us.

And while there may still be deep imperialist propaganda and misinformation at work in attempting to keep our people silent and unengaged in this fiendish crisis in Gaza, we should be clear that these bootlicking operatives of the State do not speak for or represent revolutionary African people in the US and the world over. The vast majority of principled Black folk and African peoples hold and exercise inexorable and ubiquitous solidarity with our Palestinian comrades and siblings because we are clear that our struggle is similar because our enemy is the same. Even the corporate and liberal outlet New York Times recently conducted a poll that revealed Black voters are more likely than their white and “Hispanic” counterparts to sympathize with Palestine’s struggle against the State of Israel’s myriad transgressions and draconian campaign against Gaza.

This support continues a historic solidarity Black folk have held with Palestine that dates back to the 1960’s Civil Rights epoch. As Michael Fischbach wrote in his book, Black Power and Palestine, “ was the Black Power movement in the 1960s that issued the first significant pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel viewpoints ever to reach a large American audience outside the hard Left.” He adds, “Black militants latched on to the Palestinian cause as another liberation struggle waged by a people of color deserving their support. They saw themselves and the Palestinians as kindred peoples of color waging a revolution against a global system of oppression”

Revolutionary Black people and organizations celebrate the continuation of this legacy of solidarity as other principled Black-led formations including, but not limited to, Black for Palestine who released their “Black Solidarity with Gaza - #CeasefireNow” statement that was signed by over 6,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students and over 225 organizations including The Dream Defenders, Movement for Black Lives, and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. We concur with the statement made by Free Palestine Charleston and Black Lives Matter Charleston, who righteously disrupted Joe Biden during his speech at Emanuel, “As residents and community members of Charleston, we know that all struggles for liberation are intertwined. Atrocities committed against Black folks in the U.S. and Palestinians in Gaza have always belonged to the same system of violence.”

To this end, we reiterate support for all principled efforts that demonstrate solidarity with Palestine and those that seek to seize power from both corporate legacy political parties, and otherwise allow for poor, working class, and oppressed people to confront and dismantle agents of the U.S. empire. Black people of conscience should closely examine the efforts in Michigan and elsewhere that bring Genocide Joe Biden to task for decades of unmitigated support for the settler colonial experiment of Israel and the white “supremacy” ideology associated with Zionism and apply those tactics and others to expose his role in perpetuating crimes against African people in the forms of domestic mass incarceration and international imperialism as demonstrated through interventionism in the Revolutionary Republic of Haiti and the expansion of AFRICOM’s operations on the continent, as well as the role of both Israel and the US in the ongoing genocide in Congo, and other atrocities and denial of the human rights and self-determination of Africans on the continent and throughout the diaspora.

The current crises experienced simultaneously by Africans in the US, Africans in the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Haiti, and Palestine, as well as the repression of working class and poor people under capitalist dictatorship all over the world, connects all of us in what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called a single garment of destiny that we are all wrapped in together. Creating peace and justice, equality and human rights and dignity for all people requires nothing less than unbreakable solidarity, deep and purposeful organization, and unending resistance to every instance of oppression that will ultimately lead to the dismantling of this brutal empire so the people of the world can finally live in peace. Compare this sentiment to that of the Black Misleadership Class, who are currently preparing to embrace massa Joe Biden on the hallowed grounds of Selma for the annual commemoration of Bloody Sunday.

The opportunism of the CBC and other members of the petit bourgeois guild is an embarrassment for Black people, and we must not allow ourselves to be ensorcelled or hoodwinked by this forthcoming minstrel show produced and funded by the Democratic Party. Instead, as noted earlier, we must accentuate and extend the valiant efforts of our Arab and Muslim comrades and the fervor of our white accomplices like our departed comrade Aaron Bushnell, who showed more courage and principle in one act than the CBC has since being bought by zionists, the fossil fuel industry and other agents of white “supremacy” ideology.

Regardless of the outcome of the Abandon Biden/Listen to Michigan initiative, our Arab and Muslim comrades and their accomplices in Michigan have achieved much to be celebrated. They have made their initiative a national story and, in doing so, continued the larger discussion on Israel’s genocidal pogrom in Gaza and illegal occupation of Palestine writ large. Their efforts also sent a message to all presidential hopefuls that replication of, or being adjacent to, the junior varsity and misguided foreign policy of Joe Biden will fail to galvanize the larger left, including principled Black folk who are paying close attention to positions and statements on Palestine, Russia/Ukraine, the many issues on the Continent, and the fate of true and righteous political prisoners as we see all of these issues as an interlinked entity. ... nitiatives
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 02, 2024 3:47 pm

Biden touts stock market, but workers ask: when will our wages rise?
March 2, 2024 Gary Wilson

Workers demand a raise in New York’s minimum wage at state Capitol rally in Albany, N.Y.

Twin manias have gripped the stock market. The stock market has soared to record highs.

On March 1, CNBC reported that “the stock market wrapped up its fourth straight winning month … The tech-heavy Nasdaq index was the last of the major U.S. stock benchmarks to reach a record close this year — when it achieved the milestone Thursday. This move has been fueled by enthusiasm over artificial intelligence, which has lifted mega-cap tech stocks – and the broader market – through 2023 and into this year.”

An Artificial Intelligence gold rush has fueled a meteoric rise in technology stock. Nvidia, which powers much of the AI boom, has become the poster child of this frenzy. Other tech titans are also having staggering stock climbs.

Paired with the AI mania is the war industry bubble.

The war industry is booming with the expectation that the gravy train of increasing military budgets and foreign arms sales will continue. Valuations of major weapons firms like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have ballooned to near-all-time highs.

The major U.S. stock indexes like the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average have set new highs since the March 2020 COVID market plunge. However, the rise is isolated to a few mega tech and digital economy stocks like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Nvidia, as well as the war industry stocks of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics.

Compared to the bond market, U.S. stocks are near their most expensive levels in over two decades. The last time stocks were this pricey relative to bonds was during the dot-com boom.

(Continued at link.) ... onomy.html
The dot-com bubble of internet-based company stocks in the late 1990s culminated in a market crash from 2000-2002. Today’s intense concentration on the stock market in just a handful of tech behemoths and war industry monopolies echoes the dot-com bubble. Most of the rest of the market is struggling.

Rises in the stock market don’t mean gains for the working class — the rich guys at the top own stocks. So to say that the stock market is doing well is to say that the 1% is doing well.

You have to laugh when you see President Biden’s response. On Feb. 10, Biden tweeted, “The stock market going strong is a sign of confidence in America’s economy.”

Biden must be talking to the 1%, trying to convince them that he deserves another term. Workers don’t want to hear about the financial gains of the wealthy class. ... ages-rise/


The Reality of Bidenomics: How Good Was Biden for the Economy?
Posted on March 2, 2024 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Radihka Desai and Michael Hudson provide an in-depth, data-driven takedown of the Democratic party cheerleading over the supposedly great state of the economy under Biden.

By Radhika Desai and Michael Hudson. Originally published at Geopolitical Economy Report

To read a transcript with the charts embedded, please visit Geopolitical Economy Report ... el-hudson/

RADHIKA DESAI: Hello and welcome to the 23rd Geopolitical Economy Hour, the show that examines the fast-changing political and geopolitical economy of our time. I’m Radhika Desai.

MICHAEL HUDSON: And I’m Michael Hudson.

RADHIKA DESAI: And working behind the scenes to bring you this show every fortnight are our host, Ben Norton; our videographer, Paul Graham; and our transcriber, Zach Weisser.

2024 is being billed as the greatest election year in history. More than 50 countries are going to the polls, that’s 7 out of its 10 most populous countries, with a combined population of 4.2 billion, that is more than half the world’s 8 billion population.

Among these, for good or ill, one might add, the US election will be the most consequential, deciding life and death questions such as how much war the world will witness, how well its economy will do.

This is not because the US is a force for peace and development. On the contrary, it’s been weighing down on the prospects of peace and development for decades. Of course, the formal choices before the US public promise to change little, though a worsening on both fronts is entirely in the cards, no matter which of the two main contenders on the scene at present win the election.

But will they even, will either of them win the election because there are so many uncertainties around this election? Will Biden run? Can Trump run? If not they, then who will represent this increasingly divided country?

And if no one can, is civil war a possibility that has been canvassed in practically every major news outlet on the cards? And what will civil war in the US mean for the rest of the world?

All these questions are part of the story of the 2024 elections. These are the circumstances in which they are being held.

Biden’s approval rating is only 38%. Indeed, it had dipped into negative territory by August of the first year he took office. And since then, they have only gotten worse.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, what does the public see that Biden and his supporters are not recognizing? That’s really the question that I think we have to talk about today.

RADHIKA DESAI: Exactly. And what is the public seeing and what is the public experiencing to give him these negative ratings? Biden’s one hope was to unite the country behind him through good economic stewardship.

After all, it was James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, the guy who helped reshape democratic politics in the aftermath of the Reagan electoral earthquake, who said, it’s the economy, stupid. You can’t win elections without a good economy.

And you can’t say Biden hasn’t tried. He’s even ponied up a new term: “Bidenomics”. We are told that this is going to solve the US’s deep-seated economic problems.

And certainly his Bidenomics has included considerable sops to the biggest US corporations, the idea being that somehow this is going to induce them to invest, although it is not clear what sort of quid pro quo had actually been set up. And nor is it clear that they’re actually investing even after receiving these sops.

The pro-Biden establishment, of course, has picked up this term and run with it. They’re trying hard to set up an election year narrative that under Biden, the US economy has done very well, Bidenomics is working, and it has moreover achieved that miracle of miracles, a soft landing, by which is meant that it has slain the dragon of inflation without inducing a recession.

However, their job is not easy, and the holes in the story that they’re trying to weave together are widening.

So Michael and I thought it would be a good time to do a 360-degree check on the US economy, and we want to do it by going through a number of major topics.

We’ll talk about employment, we’ll talk about the investment situation, the trade situation, the real story about inflation in the US, because it’s not so clear that the dragon of inflation has been slain, the problem of financial stability, and finally, of course, the issue of the budget. So these are the topics we are going to go through.

But before that, before we go through these topics, we must begin with a contrast. On the one hand, the stock market is soaring.

Let me just show you a few of the stock market indices here.

This is the S&P, so Standard and Poor 500. You can see it is at the highest point it’s ever been in its history.

This is the Dow Jones Industrial Average, similarly at a peak.

And the NASDAQ is, if not at a peak, at a peak pretty close to its previous peak.

So you can see that all the stock markets are doing really, really well. But Michael, does this mean that the US economy is doing well?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, it certainly means that there is a tech bubble and a war industry bubble. But let’s look at all the things that are increasing. Since your chart, not only are stocks going up, but when stocks go up, economic polarization increases, because most of the stocks are owned by the top 10% of the population.

So economic polarization is increasing as wealth is concentrated at the top of the economic pyramid. And a lot of voters see this as unfair.

So to say that the stock market and the 1% are doing well is not really a good political selling point, unless you can convince people that, well, you can be a capitalist in miniature.

You can invest your pension funds in the stock market, you can invest your savings, and maybe you can get rich just like the billionaires.

How do you get them to think of themselves not as wage earners, but as stock market investors? If you can convince voters to think that they’re finance capitalists instead of wage earners, you’ve got a good selling point.

But let’s look at other things that are up: Crime is up. Shoplifting, robbery, phone and internet scamming. I’ve already got my morning internet scam call.

Rents are up, utilities are pricing, and food outside the home is pricing. I think we’ll get to these charts later. There we go:

Basic food, eggs. All of a sudden, people are having to pay more, whether they’re eating at home or whether they’re buying the food at the stores.

Everybody’s noticing the prices are rising and the packages are getting more and more empty. You’ll get a box of cornflakes and a lot of it is air now.

RADHIKA DESAI: It’s called shrinkflation. Prices go up and what they sell you, the quantities go down.

MICHAEL HUDSON: That’s right. Exactly.

Housing is also basically up. When housing prices are up, you also get homelessness up.

Taking the subway in New York, you’ll see a very crowded subway car, and then all of a sudden, you’ll see cars with hardly anyone in it, and that’ll be a homeless person that maybe hasn’t had a chance to take a bath for quite a few days. You’re seeing that already.

RADHIKA DESAI: If I may just interject, this is the percentage of households who spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

Overall, 30% of all US households are spending more of their housing, but among renters, this ratio goes up to 50%, while among owners, it is 21%. You can see that those who are wealthy and relatively better off who own their own homes are penalized less than those who are relatively worse off.

You see here, again, another really shocking statistic. This chart goes back to 1960.

You can see that the ratio of house prices to the median household income went down after the 60s and remained low right into the 1980s, but from about 2000 onwards, basically coinciding with the easy money policy of the Federal Reserve, house prices as a proportion of median income has risen, and although they again fell after the 2008 housing bubble burst, they began rising again, and today they are even higher than they were in 2008.

MICHAEL HUDSON: The situation is actually much worse than that chart says, because not only have housing prices gone up, but the mortgage rates have gone up. They’ve doubled from about 3% to almost 7%.

Now, if you have a mortgage, you want to buy a house, you don’t want to be a renter, you want to escape from being a renter, you buy a house, and your mortgage has to be 7%.

That means the entire price of the house, the mortgage that you’re paying, doubles in 10 years, and if it’s a 30-year mortgage, it doubles again and it quadruples in 20 years and multiplies eight times by the end of the 30-year mortgage, so that the bank will get eight times as much for the house you buy as the person who sells the house to you.

The mortgage rate and the debt attached to the house is expanding even more rapidly than the housing prices.

That’s what debt deflation is, and that’s part of why the economy is being malstructured.

So what voters are seeing is not simply the economy’s getting worse, but the whole way in which it’s structuring and the direction it’s going in, financialization and the whole neoliberal plan makes them want to throw the rascals out of office.

RADHIKA DESAI: Indeed, the approval ratings figures are showing exactly that.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes, what they’re disapproving of is the economy above all, and people say, oh, it’s just because Mr. Biden’s getting senile. Well, it’s not that he’s getting senile, it’s that he’s a nasty, bad person running a nasty, bad economy. That’s really the key.

We haven’t even mentioned the medical costs going up for people who have lost their jobs or they have to stay home because of COVID. There’s a whole COVID effect of the economy. Long COVID is a problem that isn’t being counted. A lot of people are having to take part-time jobs.

So what you’re seeing is a kind of crapification of the economy. You mentioned that about the prices that we’re seeing. A whole new vocabulary is being developed to describe what’s happening in the economy, and shitification, the whole bit.

So let’s look at what hasn’t increased. Maybe there’s a bright spot there: well, lifespans have not increased, and health generally has gone way down.

You have a reversal in the whole post-war rise of lifespans. They’ve gone down. They’ve gone down especially for people who earn less than $50,000 a year. For non-white people, they’re turning down. Wages have been turning down.

The Financial Times last week had a story that wages are growing more slowly for employers working at home because employers want to see them in the office.

And yet what they’ve found in your country now, England, is that workers from home, the productivity is going up even faster than workers who actually have to go to the office and sit on the long transportation train to get in, whether it’s London or New York.

So the Financial Times said this is a success story. Employers gain in both ways. The workers get to stay home, and they’re more productive, but you’re paying them less for the right to stay home.

RADHIKA DESAI: And you’re not paying for all those offices. We’ll come back to that as well. But shall we go into our discussion of the various topics now?


RADHIKA DESAI: So the first topic we wanted to discuss was employment. So on the employment front, recently, as many of you will have seen, the Biden administration is making much of a report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports that 350,000 new jobs were created in the previous month. However, there are huge problems with that.

First of all, let me just show you the story, the official story that the Biden administration would like to emphasize. So this is the official unemployment rate that is shown on the Federal Reserve website:

And you can see this chart also goes back to 1950. And you can see that there have been various peaks in unemployment in the 1980s and again after 2008. And then unemployment went down.

And then, of course, this huge narrow spike is the COVID pandemic, when, of course, it hit nearly 15%, officially, at least. And since then, it has declined.

And so President Biden feels that he can pat himself on the back for bringing down the unemployment rate.

However, there are many, many other elements to this story, which are not being talked about. First of all, as opposed to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, coming up with this number of 353,000 new jobs, a private payroll company, which essentially gathers, you know, basically, it knows who is paying whom, how much in wages, etc., what is the payroll of different companies, reported that only 107,000 private sector jobs were created, which is a very small amount.

And even if to this, you add the public sector jobs that are created, which will have expanded, because of Biden administration initiatives, nevertheless, it, you know, this would mean that if 353,000 new jobs were created, then job creation is being led by the government.

But at the same time, let’s also see something else, full time employment has fallen. That means, and this is, of course, been historically the issue, the United States always claims that it is such a wonderful job-creating economy. But few people point out that the bulk of the jobs that are created are part time jobs, they may even be zero hours contracts, and so on.

So, the actual quality, and of course, the kind of jobs there are, the benefits are low, the wages are low, etc. So, you essentially have an epidemic of McJobs rather than good-paying jobs.

Furthermore, this unemployment rate that I showed you is, unemployment rate is always calculated as the number of people who have failed to find work out of a total number, which includes those who are, those who are either working or actively seeking work. But it does not include those who have stopped actively seeking work.

And that number has actually … been going up for a long time, but it has particularly spiked in recent years.

So, in reality, the actual number of American people who are employed as a proportion of the labor force is going [down] … I want to show you the chart:

The labor force participation rate was fairly low, just below about 60% in the 50s, because of course, at that time, most women did not work. But beginning in the 1960s, as women began entering the labor force, the labor force participation rate began to go up, and it rose steadily through all those decades, up to about 2000, when you see this final little peak here. And since then, it has been in decline.

So, essentially, what workers are saying is that as neoliberalism has matured, as labor legislation, which decreased the onus on employers and essentially allowed employers to offer workers worse and worse jobs for worse and worse conditions and pay and so on, people who could choose to leave the labor force have been leaving the labor force, of course, we’re not even counting those who become disabled, particularly after COVID and so on.

But it has been declining, it declined massively during COVID. Since then, it has recovered, but it still remains short of the point it was at when COVID struck.

So, you can see that this is a relatively favorable story that the administration is trying to, is able to tell entirely because of this matter of labor force participation rates.

And finally, a couple of final points. Wage growth has been down for a year, particularly, as Michael was saying, for work-at-home employees. But the productivity is higher, so employers are gaining.

Workers’ insecurity is very high, and it is high precisely because they don’t have stable, permanent jobs. They have jobs that don’t last very long, that are part-time, that they hold at the whim of the employer. So, the traumatized worker syndrome still remains.

Back in the late 1990s, when Alan Greenspan was asked why, if the economy was running so, you know, the economy was running so hot, essentially, it was running so well, how come there was not more inflation? And he said it’s because of the traumatized worker. Workers are unwilling to demand higher wages, even though, according to him, the labor force, you know, the employment rate was very high.

But the simple reason was the workers were getting bad jobs, that they were getting insecure jobs. So, they were traumatized and insecure. They were unable to complain.

So, and finally, the quitting rate is very high, partly for medical reasons, but also because hospital workers, teachers, etc., do not feel medically protected at their job.

So, and according to the Biden administration, of course, COVID is over. So, these are some of the problems with this idea that somehow the Biden administration has given Americans a low unemployment rate.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, you’ve made all the points that I would have made, so I don’t have to make them.

I would like to see a chart for statistics they don’t collect: The employment by U.S. multinational corporations worldwide. Their employment in the U.S. may have gone down, but their employment abroad, especially in Asia, the maquiladoras along the Mexican border, their employment has gone up, but just not employment for their workers in the United States because it’s not really economic to employ American labor, given the rise in housing costs that we’ve just discussed, medical costs, and all the other costs that are going up.

America has priced labor out of the market, except for monopolies, especially artificial intelligence monopolies and military-industrial complexes. These are not competitive, so America doesn’t really have to do anything there.

You pointed to the structural shift in labor. It’s dangerous to go back to the office if they don’t have clean air and if you’re exposed to COVID, and the COVID rates continue to go up, and there’s nothing being done to encourage air purifiers or even the use of masks. You’ve made the points that I would have made.

RADHIKA DESAI: Okay. There’s another couple of points, though, and Michael, I think you wanted to talk about pensions as well, but let me make one point here further, which is that there’s a very odd discrepancy in U.S. growth figures that is increasingly being talked about.

And that is that there are two measures of GDP. One is GDP, gross domestic product, and the other is GNI, gross national income, and very often these two are basically supposed to match. I mean, there were maybe some statistical discrepancies, but the first, GDP, which measures essentially how much value was made out of the production of goods and services, and the GNI, gross national income, which measures how much people earned out of that process, this discrepancy is essentially being put down to the fact that workers are not buying, workers essentially are not, you know, they’re not getting high wages, they’re not buying enough goods, and a lot of their income is actually replaced by debt.

And the second thing is that, in fact, a lot of the things that are actually being produced are not, in fact, being sold. So, both of these things are also problems

Michael, you wanted to talk about pensions on the employment.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes, that’s the problem. Not only are the workers’ conditions getting poor, but pensions are no longer defined-benefit pensions, and many of the pension plans in the United States are actually broke.

Again, there was a Financial Times article last week that said that, Brooks Masters wrote, that the typical Generation X household has just $40,000 saved for retirement, and 40 percent of their 401k pension plans are zero. So, this is the result of not having a pay-as-you-go pension policy like Germany has and Europe has. Pensions have been financialized. In other words, instead of just paying out of the current economic surplus that you’re producing, workers and companies have to pay, save up money in advance instead of investing.

The post office, for instance, post office rates, postage prices in America are soaring because the attempt by Congress to privatize the post office means you have to include the pension plans for the next 75 years all in the price of your postage by saving it in advance, not hiring more labor, not improving the mail delivery, but just the turnover to the stock and bond markets to invest so you can pay pensions if there are any postal employees left.

Of course, the whole objective in increasing the public pension plans is to say, oh, I’m sorry, the post office and other public agencies are broke. We’ve got to privatize them. You privatize them, and what happens is what happened in England under Margaret Thatcher. You wipe out all of the pensions because there’s no company to pay them anymore.

Now, Peter Drucker called this pension-fund socialism before, because he said this is wonderful, workers and companies are going to pay for stocks, and that’s going to create financial wealth that’s going to be spent on new factories and new employment, and workers will be capitalists in miniature. Through the pension plans, they’ll be stockholders.

But the effect is simply to divert wage income into the financial markets, into the stock market. The pension system is a bonanza for the stock market and for bondholders because it’s financializing the economy, but it’s an awful noose for the workers who have to pay their own pensions instead of making pensions a public right like it is in socialist economies.

RADHIKA DESAI: Exactly, and if I may add a few points to this, this idea that the Peter Drucker idea that somehow you will get a kind of pension-plan socialism.

There’s a very interesting real-life example of this. In the 1970s in Sweden, thanks to a very high level of coordination between trade unions, governments, and employers, what had happened is that they had managed to create a fairly high-wage economy, a fairly prosperous working class, a very, very generous welfare state providing a whole range of services.

So then the question was, how would workers, whose wages will continue to increase thanks to rising productivity, what would be now done with the rising wages? What would they do? So they decided that they would create a wage earner fund, and the wage earner fund would slowly start buying up the stock of existing corporations for which they work, and slowly they would eventually become the owners of these companies, and that was the general idea. It was called the Rehn-Meidner plan.

And this plan was much discussed. Everybody thought it was great, but what immediately followed, beginning in the 1980s, was a major capitalist counter-offensive, an attack on the unions, which essentially meant that this wage earner fund plan was watered down to an extent that it became meaningless. And of course, today, in many ways, people would say that Sweden has gone from a Valhalla of socialism or social democracy to being a Valhalla of neoliberalism. So I did want to say that.

MICHAEL HUDSON: I want to add a technical twist, and that already occurred in the 1970s in Chile under the University of Chicago guidance. You’ll have the Chilean companies found out how to do pension plans the neoliberal way. You do have the workers buy the stock in the company, but the company owner will also have a whole array of companies. They’ll have a holding company for the industrial company, they’ll have an offshore bank account to hold the stock in the company, and the company will continue to make basically loans to its holding company and be loaded down with more and more debt. It’ll borrow, borrow, and then the holding company, the actual industrial employer, will be left to go bankrupt. It’s a corporate shell, and all the money will have been taken by the holding company.

And so very quickly, Sam Zell, the real estate owner, did this with the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune had exactly what you’re saying. We’re going to be part owners, we reporters and news people. And so Zell bought the Tribune, then he took all the money in the pension plan, lent it to himself and the holding company, and then said, oh, it’s broke, and wiped out all of the stockholders. I discuss that in my book, Killing the Host. That’s the pension plan finance capitalism.

RADHIKA DESAI: Exactly. And this is exactly the reason why, as this is particularly true in the United States, one reads every few months, one reads that some or the other pension plan has essentially lost its money. And that means the workers who had put in their money, their hard-earned money into these financialized pension plans, essentially are getting nothing in return.

But there’s a couple more points to be made. First of all, when you financialize pension plans, workers are encouraged to think that somehow they are also becoming capitalists, that they have a stake in the stock market, et cetera.

Now, what really happens when our pension money goes into, essentially becomes privatized and is now being managed by some or the other private financial institution, is that our pension money just becomes so much throw weight that they can use in order to move markets in their favor. Remember, when you are speculating, if you are speculating with a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, you are a price taker, a market taker. But when you are speculating with millions of dollars and maybe even billions of dollars worth of money, you are a market maker, you are a price maker, which means that you essentially get to rig the system.

So, our money is used by these fund managers and so on as throw weight in their speculative activities. So, this actually increases speculation, it inflates asset bubbles, and it makes financial crisis, from which we all suffer as working people, more regular, more frequent, and so on.

MICHAEL HUDSON: The situation actually gets worse than fund managers. Because the pension plans are in deficit, the pension managers are desperate. How are they going to get more money? They turn the money over to private capital. And private capital is much worse than the pension fund managers. Private capital makes its money by buying a corporation and driving it bankrupt.

Private capital does to the U.S. economy what it’s done to Sears Roebuck, to Toys R Us. The company will borrow a lot of money from a bank. It’ll pay a special dividend to the private capital owners. The owners will immediately say, we’ve got the increased earnings, we’re going to cut back productivity. When workers leave, we’re not going to replace them. We’re going to work them harder. We’re going to give the traumatized workers syndrome with emphasis. And so, by workers thinking, I’m going to be a capitalist, just like the rich people, and my pension fund is going to make money for me as a capitalist. But making money as a finance capitalist means hurting their identity as a wage earner. What are they going to think of themselves as?

RADHIKA DESAI: Well, exactly. And so, definitely. And the other thing as well is that, of course, the companies that are brought into the control of private capital, these CEOs, etc., they borrow money in order to also, like Michael said, they certainly borrow money in order to pay huge dividends, but they also borrow money in order to engage in share buybacks, which increases the value of the shares. And all of this is being done on the backs of existing employees.

And of course, in doing so, they very often misuse and misapply pension funds so that they can go bust as well.

But my second and third point are equally important, which is that workers who think that they are participating in the stock market and therefore rising stock markets are good for them, etc., should always remember two things.

Number one, when markets go up, they may benefit, but they always benefit much less than the people who are controlling these markets, the big financial institutions and so on. They are very low on the pecking order of benefit from financial speculation.

And number two, when there is a loss, they lose much more than those who are controlling these pension funds, etc., who have their golden parachutes and so on.

So that’s about the employment situation. Now, let us look at the next point, which is what is happening with investment.

So here again, you know, we are being told that parts of the US economy are finally doing much better because investment rates are somehow better and so on. But let’s look at what’s really happening with investment.

So this is a chart showing gross fixed capital formation in the United States from 1970 to onwards:

And you can see that on average, if you drew a trend line in this chart, it would basically be pointing downwards. So basically throughout the neoliberal era, investment, which is in many ways the main driver of the economy, consumption is also important, but investment is essentially, you know, the more there is investment, there is the more growth there will be because investment itself creates growth and it increases productivity and growth.

So this has essentially been going down. This peak here is at the end of the 1970s. It’s going down. This is about 1990, going up again just with the tech bubble up here and then with the housing and credit bubble, but then essentially declining after 2008. Since then, it has risen, but as you can see, it remains below, in fact, even many of the low points of the previous 50 years, let alone the high points.

So and in the last couple of years of the Biden administration, these figures are only available to us for now up to 2021. But you can see that under Biden’s first year, it effectively took a downturn.

And let me also add one other thing, which is that investment is a proportion of GDP:

You know, the United States and the Biden administration make much of competing with China and so on. Let’s take a look at this graph. It only goes to 2015, but I don’t think the story has changed.

And this graph, by the way, is the work of my partner, my husband and intellectual partner, Alan Freeman.

And here you can see he has given investment as a proportion of GDP for China, which is this bold blue line, and for many other countries. But we just want to focus on China and the United States, which is the green line.

And indeed, as you can see, the green line is basically at the bottom of all these comparable countries, including Europe, Japan, other industrialized countries, and so on, and even the global south, which is here in this thin blue line.

So you can see if you’re going to compete with China in terms of growth and productivity and so on, China at its peak is spending 45 percent of its GDP on investment. By contrast, the US is spending less than 20 percent, less than half in investment. So this is the sorry state of investment in the United States.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Oh, it’s much worse than that. It doesn’t say how the composition of this investment has shifted. This re-rising of the US investment is largely military industrial. A lot of it is also real estate. That’s probably the largest element of a lot of this investment. And the real estate investment has been transforming the whole economy.

And that includes buying out existing companies. That’s counted as a new investment. If you buy a building that was at a low price before, buying it at a high price is a new investment. In London, for instance, you just had the sale of the British telephone phone tower last week to a hotel company. So it’s privatized. They’re going to essentially use that as a new investment. But it’s not building a new building. It’s just taking something over.

In the United States, you had the last few months, you had Greyhound bus terminals sold. That was an investment, sort of like Stagecoach in London. The company that bought Greyhound is a real estate company. They said, we’re going to tear down the terminals that are put in the center of the city. The reason they’re in the center of the city is so that they’ll be convenient for people who ride the bus. They can go to the terminal, have a place to sit, buy tickets. We’re going to make them go to the outskirts of the city and wait outside, regardless of the weather, because we don’t care about the users of our service. We want the real estate. So we’re going to essentially dismantle the public service investment and make a gentrified version out of this.

And in New York, you’re having the Wall Street area. All of these commercial office buildings in New York, there’s a 40% vacancy rate on commercial buildings. So companies are coming in to try to invest the company, saying, well, there’s no more industrial economy to put in these buildings. Let’s gentrify it for all the people who are getting rich on the financial sector, making money de-industrializing the economy.

Well, there’s one problem with this that they’re suddenly finding out. You can take an office building, a bank, or a publishing company, or whatever, and divide it into residential units, but where are you going to put the kitchens? These buildings are not geared to have gas and electricity and venting for kitchens. And what about bathrooms? If you look at how your employer is set up at a company, this is not the kind of bathroom that you’re going to want near a bedroom or living room for a residential person. So there’s an idea that somehow you can do to the commercial office buildings in America what President Obama did to Chicago before president when his job was tearing down black neighborhoods and getting rid of the low-income blacks and gentrifying them for his sponsor, the Pittsburghs, to make a real estate fortune there.

So fortunes are being made by real estate investment, not exactly industrial investment. Real estate is, again, part of the FIRE sector, finance, insurance, and real estate. You’re having investment in research and development. That’s called capital investment. You’re getting the picture that the investment that is taking place isn’t the kind of investment that originally helped an industrial economy. It’s a de-industrializing form of investment.

RADHIKA DESAI: And there’s also, I mean, well, gross fixed capital formation will actually measure physical investments, so that there’s definitely some physical investment taking place. But as we see, it’s much lower than China’s, it is not really recovering. And more to the point, if there has been any kind of recovery or whatever little investment is taking place, let’s put it that way, whatever little investment in actual plant and machinery is taking place under the Biden administration is happening in large part because of the sops he’s giving to industry via his Inflation Reduction Act and other such initiatives. So essentially, he is giving certain corporations money to invest in certain sectors. And this is why you are seeing it. So it’s the dynamo or the dynamic, the mojo of American capitalism is definitely not back. It is definitely very weak.

MICHAEL HUDSON: You mentioned the inflation and that act. One of the high points of it was advertised by Taiwan, taking its computer chip company, wanting, getting, I think, over vast billions of dollars to set up a computer chip system in Arizona. The people came up here and they say, oh, it’s not going to work. There are no workers. You know, you said that you were going to provide us with American labor to work in the investment plant, but there aren’t any American workers because they’re not trained as working industrially. You know, who are we supposed to hire as workers for our computer chip plant if you don’t have workers trained to work in computer chip plants or other industries?

RADHIKA DESAI: And, you know, that also reminds me, I mean, we haven’t even talked about this, but the state of public education, that is the education that most ordinary American kids get, has actually been declining to such an extent, as we know, for decades. You know, teachers will complain that they spend all their time trying to keep control of the classrooms. How are they going to teach kids anything? So if your kids are not learning what they need to learn, how are they going to become even semi-skilled workers, let alone skilled workers? So absolutely, I’m not at all surprised.

Some time ago, I remember reading somewhere that the Japanese companies that were being encouraged to invest in car plants in the so-called right-to-work states, these companies were having to produce the literature to minimally give instructions to workers using symbols rather than putting it in writing, because many of these kids were functionally illiterate.

But let’s go on, because we have quite a few things more to talk about, and we don’t want to go too much over an hour.

So very briefly, we said that we would talk about the U.S. trade deficit, and once again, vis-a-vis the trade deficit, the Biden administration is crowing about its great achievement.

You see here the U.S. trade deficit, which, of course, historically had been very [high]. That is, you know, in this graph, the higher the line is, the better the situation. So when the line dips, the deficit grows.

So you can see beginning around the 1980s and then really taking off in the 1990s, the U.S. trade deficit was quite, you know, dipped quite low. People were really worried about the so-called twin deficits and so on. And then after 2008, precisely because of the massive recession in the United States, the trade situation improved. The trade deficit actually narrowed. And this is also very interesting, you know, historically because of deindustrialization.

The United States has a tendency that when the economy grows, the trade deficit grows. Why? Because American consumers prefer buying foreign goods. So this has been the case for many decades in the United States. So obviously, with incomes shrinking, so did the trade deficit.

But once again, it resumed declining. And as you see here, in the Trump years and also in the Biden years, the trade deficit declined. You know, as you see, it reached a really, really low point already under the Trump administration. And it has recovered, but it still remains at historic high levels.

So in that sense, if there has been any improvement in the trade deficit, again, this is largely because of the sickness of the American economy, the poverty of American consumers, not because of any miracle that the Biden administration has executed or has brought off in the U.S. economy.

MICHAEL HUDSON: I think the Biden administration has vastly helped the trade deficit. You know, what is Bidenomics? It’s a slogan for a war economy, financed by a financial bubble. And the State Department official, Victoria Nuland, just gave another plea for Congress to give a few hundred, a hundred million dollars for the weapons in Ukraine and Israel. And since our show focuses on geopolitics, I want to point out how war spending is contributing to the trade balance and also to American affluence against Europe’s NATO countries that America has just conquered economically.

Nuland picked up President Biden’s point that in reminding politicians that almost all the money for the war in Ukraine is going to be spent here in the United States, employing labor in the local districts of all the congressmen on the military and national security committees. That’s why war stops are going up. And it’s the merchants of death business.

And Biden is pretending to reindustrialize the economy by emphasizing how this military industrial sector is not subject to price competitiveness. You can do it with low productivity, high cost labor, because it’s a proprietary good. It’s an economic monopoly good for the weapons. Biden said, quote, but patriot missiles for air defense batteries made in Arizona, artillery shells manufactured in 12 states across the country, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and so much more.

Well, these are the swing states in the election. And you have Biden, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and the other Democrats recognize that the world economy is splitting up between the U.S. and NATO neoliberal countries called “democracies” and the global majority seeking independence. Well, it’s almost as if they’re channeling Rosa Luxemburg. She said the choices between socialism and barbarism. And Biden and Nuland agree, except what socialism is, what’s occurring in the global majority. Barbarism is what’s occurring in the American NATO militarization and the fight in Ukraine and the Near East.

But the fight in Ukraine has helped the U.S. balance of payments, the trade balance, by essentially forcing the NATO countries to impose the sanctions against Russia that we’ve talked about. The anti-Russian sanctions have broken the German industrial economy for good. And that’s why German companies, Mercedes, Porsche, BASF, are moving to the United States, because they can’t get the oil and the gas and the energy that’s needed to make industrial goods.

And what’s happening as a result? America is not buying European investments. America is replacing Russia as a supplier of gas, liquefied natural gas. That’s way up for the exports. Oil, way up. Basically, America is gaining.

And also, this $100 million, all these billions that NATO have given to Ukraine have emptied out their war stocks. And they now say, we have to buy new arms of up to 2% to 3% of our GDP. And who can make it? America can make it, because we don’t have any oil and gas to power the industry to make these stocks. This is going to be a huge, huge increase in the American trade balance while the euro goes down and down and down.

RADHIKA DESAI: If I may add, one of the things that I forgot to mention earlier is that a large part of the improvement in the US trade deficit under Biden in the last couple of years, particularly, has come precisely from the export of liquefied natural gas. So think about it. Instead of having some kind of serious industrial policy, the United States is once again an exporter of primary products like natural gas, an exporter of energy.

Two more quick points. You’re so right to emphasize that, you know, many people think that NATO exists to defend the West against all, you know, originally against communism, and then now against all these vague, you know, dictators and what have you.

In reality, the NATO exists so that the US military-industrial complex will have an export market because of NATO interoperability considerations. Essentially, when a country joins NATO, they become a captive market for the American military-industrial complex.

But there is one final point I’d like to make. You know, many, many decades ago, a couple of decades, maybe two or three decades ago, Madeleine Albright is supposed to have said, what’s the point of having such a vast and sophisticated army if you don’t get to use it? Because she was saying, you know, we should, of course, we should go to war if we want to, etc.

I’d like to paraphrase her on this. What’s the point of having a $1.5 trillion annually military-industrial complex if it actually cannot produce sophisticated weapons today? As far as technological sophistication is concerned, Russia and even China are further ahead of the United States. They can produce things like hypersonic missiles. They can produce electronic technology to fight wars that is far superior to anything the United States has.

So, this is another really interesting point, which is that the United States today can only get customers for its coddled military-industrial complex, which has become incapable of producing anything decent, when it essentially makes people join NATO and essentially convinces the governments of various countries to act against the interests of those countries. Because every country that is being brought into NATO on the premise that its security is going to increase is actually going to have its security decreased.

First, because, of course, NATO is increasing in security around the world. And second, because in reality NATO is not capable of defending these countries. It has deficient armies, it has deficient industrial and military production, and it has deficient weapons technology.

So, for all of these reasons, and the reason why the Russians and the Chinese are able to surpass the United States in terms of military technology is very simple. Yes, they have also in military industries, but their military industries and their armies are actually devoted to the defense of the country, not devoted to their own expansion for their own reasons. So, that’s another thing that I wanted to mention, that this is really in terms of the trade deficit.

But we also have three more interrelated things to discuss, which is what’s really happened on inflation, what’s really happening to the financial sector and financial stability, and what’s really happening to the budget deficit, and how are all these things interacting.

So, let’s take inflation first. What I’d like to say about inflation is the following. Throughout the last many months, the story has been that the Federal Reserve has managed to create a soft landing. We have vanquished inflation while not being in recession.

Now, Michael and I have already told you how the U.S. economy is doing far less well than you might imagine, and that if you look at the GNI statistics, the Gross National Income statistics, the U.S. economy is in recession. It has had several quarters of declining GNI.

On inflation then, the story that we are being told, the official story, is that the Federal Reserve has performed a miracle. It has achieved a soft landing, it has defeated inflation, and the U.S. economy is not in recession. But the reality of it is that if you go by the GNI figures, the Gross National Income figures, the U.S. is in recession in reality.

And the other problem is that, in fact, it’s quite possible that inflation has not been vanquished, because the fact is that while the more volatile prices, but particularly energy prices, have indeed gone down, at least they are down for the moment, core inflation remains stubbornly high, which is why the Federal Reserve, after talking for so many months about reducing interest rates in 2024, is already beginning to postpone the reduction of interest rates.

So, in that sense, inflation has not gone away as a problem, and this creates massive problems for financial stability to which the widening U.S. budget deficit is making its own contributions, and we’ll talk about that in a minute.

Let’s take a look at financial stability then. The fact of the matter is that we already saw at the beginning of this year that we had a series of failures of American banks, the Silicon Valley Bank and a few other banks failed, and they failed chiefly because of the way in which the Federal Reserve is trying to deal with the problem of inflation.

We’ve already discussed in the past that the problem of inflation cannot be really resolved by raising interest rates. Indeed, one economist, Robert Solow, had essentially referred to the raising of interest rates as a means of dealing with inflation as burning a house to roast a pig. I mean, you don’t need to do that. You are basically creating a lot of destruction.

But nevertheless, the U.S. Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, and this began affecting the financial institutions like Silicon Valley Bank and the other banks that went bust that had relied on the continuation of easy monetary policy.

So, in a certain sense, we are facing the prospect of another financial crisis, which in 2008, also the financial crisis occurred because in the mid-2000s, the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates once again because the dollar was falling too low, because commodity prices were rising, and as they brought interest rates up to about 5.25 percent, which is roughly where they are at right now, this was enough to prick the housing and credit bubbles, and you got the 2008 North Atlantic financial crisis as a result.

The new financial crisis has arguably already begun. It already began with the bank failures earlier in 2023, and now we read headlines like this, “Bad property debt exceeds reserves at the largest U.S. banks”. This is a Financial Times story: “Loan provisions have thinned even as regulators highlight risks in commercial real estate markets”.

So, they are showing us these major banks, how many lost reserves they have in relation to loans that have already become delinquent, loans on which payments have already been missed. These are the six largest banks, and except for J.P. Morgan Chase, which has a ratio higher than 1 percent, compared to 2022, in 2023, which is this light blue line, practically every bank has less than one dollar of reserve for every dollar of its exposure to bad loans in the commercial real estate market.

And these sorts of problems are, by the way, not just commercial real estate is just one, but there is also private equity. There are many other asset markets in which trouble is brewing.
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sun Mar 03, 2024 6:11 pm


On Palestine And The Worthlessness Of The Western Liberal

There’s an infuriatingly common type of liberal who purports to oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza while also saying they support “Israel’s right to exist”, as though Israel’s existence is somehow separable from its genocidal murderousness.

Caitlin Johnstone
March 4, 2024

There’s an infuriatingly common type of liberal who purports to oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza while also saying they support “Israel’s right to exist”, as though Israel’s existence is somehow separable from its genocidal murderousness. This is a state that literally cannot exist without nonstop violence and tyranny, as demonstrated by its entire unbroken history since its inception. It was set up as a settler-colonialist outpost for western imperialism from the very beginning, and that’s exactly what it’s been ever since.

History has conclusively established that it is not possible to drop an artificial ethnostate on top of an already-existing population in which the pre-existing population is legally subordinate to the new one without tremendous amounts of warfare, police violence, mass displacement, apartheid, disenfranchisement and oppression. This is not actually debatable. It is a settled matter (no pun intended).

Is it possible to have a nation in which Jews are welcomed and kept safe? Of course. Many such nations exist outside of Israel, and the majority of the world’s Jews live in them. What isn’t possible is a Jewish ethnostate in historic Palestine in which the pre-existing population is treated as less than the Jewish population that does not necessarily entail nonstop violence, tyranny and abuse. This is self-evidently a direct contradiction in goals, but it’s what the liberals we’re discussing here pretend to believe is a reasonable possibility.

There absolutely could be a state in that region wherein Palestinians and Jews coexist peacefully, but it would be so wildly different from present-day Israel that you can’t pretend it would be the same state as the one we see now. It would entail such a radically dramatic overhaul of Israeli civilization, such a comprehensive dismantling of deeply ingrained racism, such a drastic restructuring of governmental and living systems, so much labor, sacrifice, humility, inner work and reparations, that to call it by the same name as the state that presently exists would be nonsensical.

And that isn’t what the liberals in question are talking about instituting when they say they oppose Israel’s atrocities in Gaza but “support Israel’s right to exist”. What they are saying is they want Israel to remain the unjust and tyrannical apartheid state that is has always been, but for the killing to stop. They want the injustice to continue, but they want its most overt manifestations to stop causing them cognitive dissonance. They want the status quo, without the murderous savagery that is necessary for the status quo’s existence. They want to pretend they live in an imaginary fantasyland where such a thing is possible.

In order to make this fantasy seem more believable, liberals will pretend that the violence we are seeing can be blamed entirely on the Netanyahu government, as though things would be fine without Bibi in office despite the fact that Israel’s abusiveness began long before he showed up, and despite the fact that Israel’s atrocities in Gaza have the approval of the vast majority of Israelis. Israeli violence isn’t the product of Netanyahu, Netanyahu is the product of Israeli violence. He built his political career upon sentiments that were already in place.

They’ll also tell themselves fairy tales about a two-state solution to make their position seem more valid, ignoring inconvenient facts like that Israeli officials have been openly saying a Palestinian state will never happen, that Israeli Jews overwhelmingly oppose such a measure, and that Israeli settlements are being built in Palestinian territories with the explicit goal of making a future two-state solution impossible. Liberals subscribe to these fantasies as a kind of cognitive pacifier, which allows them to relax and feel okay with themselves despite the fact that they’re not actually endorsing any viable path toward justice.

And to be clear this isn’t just what liberals do with regard to Israel-Palestine; it’s their whole entire position on everything. On every issue their position is little more than “Maintain the status quo, but make it pretty and psychologically comfortable for me.” They never want to do what’s right, they just want to feel like they are right. Theirs is an imperialist, militarist, tyrannical oligarchic ideology with a bunch of feel-good social justice bumper stickers slapped on top of it. A boot on your neck and a flower in its hair.

That’s who liberals are. It’s who they’ve always been. Phil Ochs released the song “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” in 1966, and they haven’t changed one iota ever since. The issues change, their arguments change, but their “maintain the status quo but let me feel nice about it” values system has remained exactly the same for generations. ... n-liberal/
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sat Mar 09, 2024 4:38 pm

IMPEACHMENT: A Rapid Succession of Events
March 8, 2024
Patrick Lawrence on the indictment of key witness Alexander Smirnov; the under-reported testimony of Jason Galanis from a federal prison; and Hunter Biden’s testimony under oath.

Hunter Biden, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden during the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. (acaben, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

This is the fourth in Consortium News’ series on the congressional investigation into President Biden’s allegedly corrupt involvement in the business affairs of his son Hunter. Earlier reports can be read here, here and here.

It has been an eventful few weeks as the House Oversight Committee proceeds with its hearings on the case for impeaching President Joe Biden for his alleged participation in the influence-mongering schemes of his 54–year-old son, Hunter.

At issue is whether Joseph R. Biden, Jr., during his years as vice president and in the interim before he assumed the presidency in January 2021, was corruptly involved in Hunter’s various ventures and misadventures to his own benefit and/or the benefit of various family members.

The first of a rapid succession of events came Feb. 15, when David Weiss, the special counsel in charge of the Justice Department’s probe into Hunter Biden’s business affairs, announced a grand jury indictment of Alexander Smirnov, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s long-serving informant, who, in 2020, told two F.B.I. agents that Biden père et fils had effectively extorted $5 million each from Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder and chief executive of Burisma Holdings, a once-prominent Ukrainian gas company under investigation for corruption.

David Weiss. (Delaware U.S. Attorneys Office, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Hunter Biden served on the Burisma board from April 2014 to April 2019, taking in, if not earning, roughly $1 million yearly for most of this time.

Weiss’ indictment charges Smirnov with fabricating his reports of the Burisma bribery scheme and lying to the F.B.I.

Smirnov was arrested in Las Vegas when Weiss announced the indictment. On Feb. 20, a federal magistrate released him on bond with a tracking device clamped to his ankle.

Two days later a federal judge in California, contending Smirnov was a flight risk, ordered him rearrested. Smirnov is now in “protective custody” indefinitely at a federal prison in Los Angeles.

Several questions are raised by the indictment and arrest of Smirnov, who has pleaded not guilty.

One concerns Weiss, who has covertly and for years protected Hunter Biden, and by extension the president, from various DoJ and Internal Revenue Service investigations. Among much else, Weiss appears to have worked with other DoJ officials to cover up the F.B.I.’s finding — this via Smirnov’s research — that Zlochevsky allegedly paid the Bidens for protection against the anti-corruption authorities in Kiev.

In addition to the suspicions attaching to Weiss’ past conduct and motivations, there is the question of Smirnov’s identity and his relations with the F.B.I. The bureau had used Smirnov as an informant for roughly a decade and, having concluded several investigations successfully, found him highly reliable.

Why would the F.B.I., a part of the DoJ, suddenly conclude he was unreliable — “a fabulist,” as The New York Times describes him — who, it is now said, got his false stories from Russian intelligence?

Why, in this same line, would the field agents working with Smirnov send his findings on the Bidens and Burisma to Washington, where the bureau entered them into what is called a 1023, a document wherein the F.B.I. formally records the results of its investigations? Does it make sense that it would issue a 1023 to record the reports of an informant they had concluded — suddenly — was a liar?

Russian Intelligence

There is one other feature of Weiss’ indictment that is at this point typical of DoJ documents relating to the Biden case. Indictments typically contain information indicating the propriety of the charges and little else. Weiss’ indictment is freighted with assertions related to Smirnov’s alleged relations with Russian intelligence and his alleged assertions — while in federal custody — that the Russians had informed him in detail of Hunter Biden’s movements in Kiev during his years on Burisma’s board.

Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevskiy in 2010. (Svetlana Pashko, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

This has a recognizable reek to it. Jack Smith, the prosecutor overseeing two of the four legal cases against former President Donald Trump, has similarly decorated his indictments with entirely inappropriate assertions that turn indictments into documents self-evidently motivated by Democratic Party politics.

Democrats in Washington, finally, have pounced on the Smirnov indictment to call for the immediate end to the Oversight Committee’s investigation. Mainstream media have, per usual, amplified Democrats’ assertions that the committee had built its case on evidence so flimsy and fanciful it could not be counted as such. This, too, is suspect. Two reasons.

One, an indictment is not a guilty verdict. The case against Smirnov would have to be heard in court for the charges against him to be proven. It is sheer politics to demand the committee shut down its investigation in consequence of Weiss’ indictment.

Two, it is sheer disinformation, in turn, to suggest that the House Committee’s case rests solely on Smirnov’s allegations of bribery in the Burisma matter. The F.B.I.’s findings are one dimension of the much wider investigation into the Bidens, as events since Smirnov’s arrest plainly demonstrate.

Jason Galanis’ Testimony

One day following Smirnov’s rearrest came another significant development in the House investigation. Jason Galanis, who was for a time among Hunter’s business associates, testified that he was present at a dinner with a Russian oligarch and her husband during which Hunter, putting his cellular telephone on speaker, introduced the two to “Pop,” who was then Barack Obama’s vice-president.

The dinner took place in Brooklyn on May 4, 2014, according to Galanis’ testimony. Those present included Yelena Baturina, a prominent Russian investor; her husband, Yuri Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow; and Devon Archer, another of Hunter’s business partners.

Yelena Baturina and Yuri Luzhkov in 2010. (Evgeniy Nachitov, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

For reasons that remain unclear — Archer testified last July that he could not recall — Baturina had recently sent $3.5 million to a firm Hunter Biden and Archer controlled; a few days after the dinner, Galanis testified, he was informed that Baturina had committed — a “hard order” — $10 million to $20 million to an investment vehicle Archer and Biden also controlled.

Separately, Baturina invested $120 million in a real-estate investment company, Rosemont Realty, in which Hunter had an interest for a brief interim — this according to Archer’s testimony last summer.

At one point during the May 2014 dinner the younger Biden gathered the guests in a corner of the restaurant and placed a call to his father. With his cellular line on speaker, he then introduced the two Russians, saying, as Galanis recounted the occasion, “I am here with our friends I told you were coming to town, and we wanted to say hello.”

Biden senior greeted the two visitors and briefly exchanged pleasantries before signing off, “O.K., then, you be good to my boy.”

Jason Galanis in 2011. (Jason Galanis, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0)

Galanis testified to House investigators from a federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama, where he is serving a 14–year sentence for defrauding a South Dakota Indian tribe of $60 million in a bogus bond deal. Recounting his reactions to the call at the time, he testified to the investigators:

“I recall being stunned by this call — to actually hear the vice-president of the United States speaking on the phone. It was clear to me this was a pre-arranged call with his father meant to impress the Russian investors that Hunter had access to his father and all the power and prestige of his position.”

A couple of observations are due with regard to this remark.

One, reports in The New York Times and other corporate dailies repeatedly stress that V–P Biden’s remarks on these occasions never went further than small talk about the weather and other inconsequential matters — so demonstrating he had no involvement in Hunter’s business dealings.

This is wholly disingenuous, as is much of the media coverage of the allegations against Joe Biden and his family. As Galanis makes plain, small talk was all Hunter needed from his father to signal to clients that he, Hunter, would provide them the access to power they sought.

Two, it is not clear what financial benefit, if any, accrued to Joe Biden from his son’s dealings with the Russians. While evidence that the president received funds from Hunter’s influence-peddling schemes would of course be highly significant, as in the Burisma case, it is not essential to the case for impeachment.

Abuse of office is an impeachable crime if the person under investigation has used the power of his office to the benefit of his family or any other person seeking to leverage his or her influence. This is all the House Oversight Committee must establish to put impeachment to a full House vote.

If we analyze the interpersonal dynamics during the May 2014 dinner, such as we know them by way of Galanis’ account, the occasion suggests itself as a clear case of influence peddling on the part of Biden father and son.

As an aside here, almost no major media have reported Galanis’ testimony from his prison cell. The exception is the New York Post, which obtained a transcript of Galanis’ testimony: this account draws from the New York Post’s report on Galanis’ statements and descriptions.

There is pertinent background to the May 2014 dinner. Miranda Devine reported last month in the New York Post that Hunter hosted it for the daughter of Alex Kotlarsky, who, Devine reported, is thought to have got Hunter Biden and Devon Archer their board seats at Burisma. In Laptop from Hell (Post Hill Press, 2021), Devine’s book on the Bidens, she described Kotlarsky as “a New York–based Eastern European employed by consulting firm TriGlobal Strategic Ventures.”

On Feb. 28, five days after Galanis testified to House investigators, the Oversight Committee questioned Hunter Biden under oath in a closed-door session that lasted more than six hours. This was an occasion the younger Biden obstinately resisted until the House threatened to cite him for contempt of Congress. It is now clear why.

Bravado & Evasion

Hunter Biden’s testimony may stand as one of the most revealing occasions in the committee’s evidence-gathering process. By any disinterested reading of the 229–page transcript the House Committee subsequently released, it is now evident that the Bidens’ various defenses against allegations of corruption and abuse of office — Hunter Biden’s, Joe Biden’s, that of James Biden, the president’s brother — would almost certainly and very swiftly collapse if ever subjected to a formal impeachment trial in the Senate.

On numerous occasions during his interrogation Hunter Biden was aggressively critical of the House investigation to the point of purposeful insult: “This improper process,” he calls it at one point, and on another, “The pattern that I see is that you literally have no evidence whatsoever.”

But as the transcript makes clear, it is difficult to read his performance as other than the bravado of a man who has no case to make on the merits and is left to ineffectual improvisations and posturing.

“I am here today to provide the committee with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry,” Biden says early in his testimony. “I did not involve my father in my business, not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions, domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist, never.”

This is typical of the evasive elisions to which Biden resorted on matters of substance. There has been no suggestion that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s investments, transactions and so on.

As Miranda Devine of the New York Post makes clear in Laptop from Hell, the division of labor in the Biden family left Hunter to get his hands dirty running the businesses and generating revenue so Pop was always “clean.”

Joe’s role was to advertise his influence and collect his share of the take.

What a difference an oath makes, we must conclude. Hunter Biden managed not to lie when he asserted his father had nothing to do with his business doings — this while avoiding telling the truth.

‘The Big Guy’

One of the other major topics, bound to come up given its prominence in the evidence the House committee has so far gathered, was the identity of “the Big Guy” as referenced in a key email sent on May 13, 2017. The date is important. Joe Biden had left office the preceding January, and by May, Hunter Biden and his partners were apportioning equity to proceed from CEFC, a large Chinese energy and investment firm.

In the memo, James Gilliar, one of the partners, runs down the equity distribution: Hunter Biden and his three business partners were to get 20 percent shares, making 80 percent. An additional 10 percent was for James Biden. After running down these figures, Gilliar writes, “10 held by H for the big guy.”

Biden again evades when first asked about this. Naming his partners he says, “There’s an executed agreement in which I got 20 percent, Jim got 20 percent, Rob got 20 percent, Tony got 20 percent, and James Gilliar got 20 percent. Nothing [to] do with Joe Biden.”

When a committee member returns to the topic later in the proceeding, Biden claims ignorance:

“I truly don’t know what the hell that James was talking about. All I know is that what actually happened. All I know is that what was executed in the agreement, and the agreement didn’t have anything to do with my father…. I think that it was pie in the sky. Like Joe Biden’s out of the [sic] office. Maybe we’ll be able to get him involved. Remember, again, is that Joe Biden, for first time in 48 years, is not an elected official and is not seeking office. And so James is probably, like, wow, wouldn’t be great if a former vice-president could be in our business together?”

There are three things to consider here. One, in Hunter Biden’s initial response, James Biden’s equity — 10 percent in the Gilliar summary — is now 20 percent, leaving no room for a 10 percent share to Joe Biden. Two, to explain the “10 percent for the Big Guy” as a partner’s trial balloon makes absolutely no sense. If Gilliar wanted to bring the out-of-office Joe Biden into a partnership it stands to reason he simply would have said so.

Three and most important here, there is no documentary evidence that Hunter Biden objected or otherwise questioned the 10 percent allocation Gilliar noted in the May 2017 email. When pressed repeatedly, Biden says, “I’m not even sure whether I ever fully read this,” in reference to the Gilliar note.

And at no point, finally and far from least, did Hunter Biden deny that his father was “the Big Guy.” At the conclusion of Biden’s testimony, the identity of the Big Guy is left as a complete mystery.

Hunter Biden’s testimony is full of such anomalies and hard-to-believe assertions. He relied heavily on his dissolute years of drunkenness and drug use as he failed to recall, roughly two dozen times, key events, letters he wrote, documents he signed, and meetings he attended. There is the much-noted text he sent via WhatsApp to a Chinese investor in 2017 saying, “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to know why the commitment has not been fulfilled.”

Asked about this during his interrogation Biden replied that he did not remember sending the message and if he had he was either drunk or high. “I take full responsibility for being an absolute ass and idiot when I sent this message, if I did send this message,” he told the committee. The Chinese investor wired $5 million to one of Biden’s partnerships a few days later.

It is possible, of course, that Hunter Biden did fake Joe Biden’s presence when he wrote the WhatsApp message to the Chinese executive. Bluffs of this kind are common enough in business. But even if this were so, Hunter Biden invoked precisely the kind of father-son partnership Devine described in Laptop from Hell and that the House Committee alleges was at the heart of their influence-selling schemes.

Asked about funds from business ventures disbursed directly to family members without going through his account, Biden replied, “I sometimes can be, oxymoronically, cheap. It’s to save on two wire transfers.”

As these examples suggest, the impression the transcript leaves is of a man glossing events and business dealings or otherwise papering over them, more than occasionally filibustering the committee’s interrogators, in a fashion unlikely to withstand a formal trial were his father to be impeached and he called as a witness.

The events of the past several weeks suggest some conclusions as to the direction of the House Committee’s case.

First and most significantly, President Biden and his allies in the Democratic Party and the DoJ will continue to instrumentalize the Justice Department for their shared political ends. This amounts to the wanton corruption of the nation’s judicial system — an act of institutional destruction from which America may not recover.

As of Hunter Biden’s deposition in the House late last month, the flimsiness of his case is now perfectly clear. The blanket denials — in policy circles, in the media — of the validity of the House Committee’s investigations allegations are threadbare. As the Times reported in a moment of candor months ago, the White House’s strategy is to fight the investigation in “the court of public opinion,” not in House hearing rooms. It is, in other words, to make a media circus of it.

The House will have enough to bring a vote to impeach to the floor. This is all but certain. Whether it will do so, and the outcome of such a vote if there is one, are among the outstanding questions now. ... of-events/

Biden and Trump are both 'victims' of political persecution. Biden and Trump are both most likely to be guilty of much of what they are being accused of, and more. They do and did what the rich and powerful do and hate being singled out when "everybody does it". The 'gentlemen's agreements' and 'understandings'' which greased the skids of our pseudo-democracy no longer apply and this is a significant factor, though not the only, in the fracturing of bourgeoise democracy. The system worked pretty well(for them!) for 200 years excepting the Civil War and the lead-up to it. The Dems were fine with the backslapping glad-handing but the Republicans broke the unspoken compact, due to the looming demographics which favored the Dems, I guess. The Republicans now play hardball while the Dems, supposedly party of the 'little people' continue to play pickleball. Which suits the ruling class fine as they get more of their agenda without the misrepresentation and evasions necessary for a Democratic regime to accomplish the same.

But if we elect more Dems it will all be different.......


Biden’s Gaza Aid Policy Is An Electioneering Spectacle
MAR 9, 2024


Most pro-Palestinian Democrats are unlikely to be duped by Biden’s charade, and if they remain more committed to the Palestinian cause than to their party’s and vote for a third party out of protest, then Trump’s return might be a fait accompli.

Biden announced during his State Of The Union address on Thursday that “I’m directing the U.S. military to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters.” He added that “No U.S. boots will be on the ground. This temporary pier would enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day.”

The European Commission, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, the Republic of Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom subsequently released a joint statement with the US about the complementary maritime corridor that they’re pioneering to assist with these port plans. This comes as some countries have begun airdropping aid over Gaza as global concern grows about the enclave’s humanitarian crisis, which is entirely the result of Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinians.

These American-led efforts might appear noble in principle, but they’re really cynical in substance since Washington refuses to exert meaningful pressure on Tel Aviv to curtail its military operations and allow the required level of aid to enter Gaza via traditional land routes through Israel. Furthermore, the Associated Press report on Sunday that this latest initiative won’t bear fruit for at least two months, during which time the aforementioned crisis will inevitably worsen.

The only reason why Biden is going through with these air and maritime aid plans while continuing to veto UNSC ceasefire resolutions, which are the only way to alleviate the Gazan Palestinians’ suffering, is because of domestic electoral considerations. Al Jazeera recently drew attention to how 13% of Democrat voters in Michigan’s primary cast “uncommitted” ballots while a whopping 19% did so in Minnesota, which are key battleground states and show that his base is protesting his regional policy.

Each has a significant Muslim minority, but these statistics suggest that more than just those believers are souring on Biden as a result of the blank check that he’s given Israel in this conflict despite rhetoric about its responsibility to prevent civilian casualties. The Palestinian movement is as potent of a force for political mobilization nowadays as the COVID-skeptic one has become, and this newfound political dynamic could sink his re-election bid if he isn’t able to regain control over it.

Since Biden isn’t considering a policy recalibration towards this conflict, and any such one in theory would likely be considered by his base to be too late if it even happened, the only recourse for trying to win back single-issue pro-Palestinian voters is to carry out these air and maritime aid spectacles. The intent is to make it seem like the US is taking the lead to alleviate the Palestinians’ Israeli-inflicted plight, possibly after pressuring it behind the scenes to agree to this, though that’s not at all what’s happening.

Israel is going along with these plans because it expects that they’ll reduce some of the global pressure that it’s coming under, especially among Western civil society, not because the US twisted its arm. Moreover, it continues blocking aid at the border and only letting a trickle through, while its Egyptian ally – despite its representatives’ theatrical rants about supporting Palestine – also keeps the border closed to fleeing refugees in violation of international law and is only letting a trickle of aid through too.

Egypt benefits from Biden’s electioneering spectacle just as much as Israel does since it serves to distract some of the public from its similarly immoral policy towards Palestine even if most activists, including American ones, aren’t fooled by this ruse. Therein lies the problem since Biden desperately needs to win back the pro-Palestinian faction of his base lest they vote for a third party in November as a principled political protest instead of the Democrats and thus hand the presidency back to Trump.

Few are expected to fall for this charade since many Palestinian activists are very informed about this conflict and therefore know fully well that these air and maritime aid plans are just a spectacle. On the one hand, it shows them that Biden’s team is aware of their “uncommitted” protest in the primaries and is reacting to it, but it’s also completely insufficient on the other hand. The only possible way to secure their support is to force Israel to accept an immediate ceasefire that leads to Palestinian independence.

That’s unrealistic to expect since the time for doing that has long passed, and while any new ceasefire would predictably be spun by the US as alleged proof of its commitment to that UNSC-endorsed cause, it never did anything significant in pursuit of it all these decades. Most pro-Palestinian Democrats know this and that’s why they’re unlikely to be duped by Biden’s Gaza aid spectacles, and if they remain more committed to the Palestinian cause than to their party’s, then Trump’s return might be a fait accompli. ... tioneering
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Sun Mar 10, 2024 5:31 pm


Saying “Hamas Just Needs To Surrender” Is Saying “We’ll Kill Kids Until We Get What We Want”

Such a tactic is not meaningfully different from lining up children on their knees on the battlefield and shooting them one by one in the back of the head until the enemy unconditionally surrenders.

Caitlin Johnstone
March 9, 2024

Of the many awful warmonger comments President Biden made in his State of the Union address Thursday night, arguably the worst was when he reiterated the US empire’s position that it is fine and good for the IDF to keep murdering Gazan civilians until Hamas bows to all of Israel’s demands.

Biden did this by lamenting the “heartbreaking” death and starvation of civilians in Gaza while in the same breath stating that Hamas could end all of this violence by laying down arms and surrendering those responsible for the October 7 attack.

“Israel has a right to go after Hamas,” Biden said. “Hamas ended this conflict by releasing the hostages, laying down arms — could end it by — by releasing the hostages, laying down arms, and surrendering those responsible for October 7th.”

“This war has taken a greater toll on innocent civilians than all previous wars in Gaza combined,” Biden went on to say. “More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of whom are not Hamas. Thousands and thousands of innocents — women and children. Girls and boys also orphaned. Nearly 2 million more Palestinians under bombardment or displacement. Homes destroyed, neighborhoods in rubble, cities in ruin. Families without food, water, medicine.”

biden's takes on palestinian lives are disgusting. no other words, he mentions the 30k+ killed by the idf as though they are victims of a natural disaster.

— hasanabi (@hasanthehun) March 8, 2024

“It’s heartbreaking,” added Biden, referring to the genocide that he himself is actively backing and could choose to end at any time.

(Democrats love babbling about how “heartbreaking” Gaza is. It’s their favorite thing to do. They love nothing more than to weep publicly over the death and starvation and unfathomable human suffering they themselves are directly responsible for, as though it’s some kind of natural disaster and not a US-backed genocide that is only happening because this Democrat-run administration actively facilitates it.)

We don’t talk enough about how horrifyingly evil it is that the actual, stated position of Israel and its immensely powerful allies is that all of the killing and starvation of Palestinian civilians in Gaza is entirely the fault of Hamas, because Hamas has not acquiesced to the military demands made by Israel. In effect, it is saying “We will kill thousands and thousands of children until you give us everything we want.”

I mean, imagine if Russia did that. Imagine if Putin started raining military explosives on parts of Ukraine known to be densely packed with children, and then saying the mass-scale child-killing will continue until Ukraine surrenders and that all of the child deaths are actually the fault of the Ukrainians because they still haven’t given Putin everything he wants.

I think we all know that if such a thing were to happen it would be the subject of worldwide condemnation, and justifiably so. Such a tactic is not meaningfully different from lining up children on their knees on the battlefield and shooting them one by one in the back of the head until the enemy unconditionally surrenders.

New: The Biden doctrine in Gaza: bomb, starve, conceal, deceive, by @aaronjmate

— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) March 8, 2024

They’re not just doing this with airstrikes and bullets — they’re doing it with food as well. Aaron Maté has a new article out titled “The Biden doctrine in Gaza: bomb, starve, deceive” which picks apart statements from White House officials about the temporary pier this administration is planning to build on Gaza’s coast over the next several weeks, ostensibly to allow for the arrival of more aid into the enclave.

Maté writes the following:

“The US military pier, Biden claimed, ‘will enable a massive increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza every day.’ His own aides acknowledge that this is a ruse. According to the Washington Post, administration officials quietly concede that ‘only by securing the opening of additional land crossings would there be enough aid to prevent famine.’ And given that the pier will take at minimum 30 days to complete, that ‘[raises] questions about how famine in Gaza will be staved off in the critical days ahead,’ the New York Times notes.

“The White House has given the answer: rather than compel Israel to open those land crossings and prevent famine, it is instead adopting the Israeli position that the land crossings can be used as a tool of leverage against Hamas — and that Israel can control everything that gets in. In ceasefire talks, Israel has demanded that Hamas release hostages in exchange for, at best, a six-week pause to the massacre.”

Maté explains that Vice President Kamala Harris recently gave a speech in which she said Hamas needs to agree to a hostage deal in order to “get a significant amount of aid in,” which is the same as saying Israel and its allies will help starve Gazan civilians until Hamas capitulates to their demands.

“The very fact that the delivery of ‘a significant amount’ of aid is conditional on Hamas accepting Israeli demands underscores that Israel, with US backing, is using that aid as a tool of coercion,” Maté writes, noting that this directly contradicts Biden’s admonishment to Israeli leaders in his State of the Union address that “Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip.”

Washington’s role in the mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza makes a lot more sense when you stop looking at it as a reluctant passive witness to Israel’s crimes and begin viewing it as an active participant. US officials will occasionally wag their fingers at the Netanyahu government and act like Israel’s worst atrocities are being carried out against the beneficent humanitarian wishes of the United States, but if you mentally mute all the narrative spin that’s being placed on this thing you just see a giant concentration camp packed full of children being murdered at mass scale by the most powerful empire that has ever existed. ... t-we-want/
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Mon Mar 11, 2024 2:45 pm

Biden Parachutes TV Dinners Into Gaza. Sounds Absurd? It Is

Finian Cunningham

March 8, 2024

It’s a wonder the parachutes have not got a picture of a smiling Biden emblazoned on them with the slogan: “A gift from the White House”.

It’s a classic American public relations stunt. All show and drama signifying nothing else. President Joe Biden ordered U.S. military transport planes to airdrop food aid into Gaza purportedly to save starving people.

Well, they’re starving to death because the United States is supporting the genocidal siege by the Israeli regime of 2.3 million people for nearly five months.

The situation is unprecedented, invoking the worst crimes of Nazi Germany. Babies dying in hospitals from lack of food and water. And all due to American support for the Israeli regime carrying out this genocide.

But, hey, come on, drop those food parcels. It sort of looks good. The C-130 cargo planes throw bails of ready-made dinners into the sky, which slowly descend on parachutes to the desperate masses on the ground. It’s the kind of Hollywood narcissistic depiction of American greatness always riding to the rescue. Pass the popcorn and soda.

Only when you think about it, the whole airdrop mission is absurdly inadequate. The U.S. Air Force has parachuted in 38,000 dinners to Gaza so far, and more are reportedly on the way. That’s only crumbs for millions of people who are starving to death because the U.S.-backed Israeli regime has blocked the hundreds of food aid trucks that should be entering Gaza daily.

When a trickle of aid deliveries are permitted on the ground, the Israeli military has opened deadly fire on hungry Palestinians clambering for relief.

International aid agencies have slammed the airdropped relief supplies as an inefficient way to meet the dire humanitarian needs in Gaza.

Besides, the real target of the Biden administration’s relief effort is the American people who are disgusted by the complicity of Washington in genocide.

The public relations exercise of parachuting food into Gaza is meant to appease the growing criticism of Biden’s White House.

As Joe Biden squares up to Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election this November, the incumbent Democrat is in real danger of losing. Biden’s poll ratings have been flagging anyway, and especially over the horrendous disaster in Gaza.

Younger voters and Muslim Americans who would normally vote Democrat are alienated by Biden’s craven complicity in the Israeli siege of Gaza.

For months, Biden has refused to call on the Israeli regime of Benjamin Netanyahu to implement a ceasefire and let humanitarian aid into Gaza. The U.S. has blocked three UN Security Council resolutions demanding a cessation of military operations.

In recent days, however, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris finally voiced support for a ceasefire. And then we see the American Air Force dropping off food supplies.

The belated moves are as cynical as they can get. They’re only motivated by Biden’s political need to bolster his electoral campaign.

This week, it was reported that the Biden administration has secretly overseen over 100 separate weapons supply deals to Israel since it began its offensive on Gaza in October. Those sales amount to thousands of munitions including bunker-buster bombs, artillery shells, and other types of lethal ordnance. The transfers have been deliberately kept quiet by Biden owing to the potential public outcry.

President Biden and his senior aides like Secretary of State Antony Blinken have refused to impose any conditions on Israel for the use of American weapons.

Thus, Israel has the green light from this White House to commit the worst and most flagrant genocide since the Second World War. Not only merely permission but actual material support to enable the horror that has killed over 30,000 people – 70 percent of whom are women and children.

Biden may be suffering from senile dementia but he and his handlers are savvy enough to know that he could lose the November election because of the complicity in genocide. Not that Trump would be any better given his servile dedication to supporting Zionism. But the public protest against Biden’s involvement in Israel’s crimes could cost him more politically than Trump.

“Genocide Joe” is getting desperate as his electoral doomsday looms.

Cynical, insincere calls for a ceasefire by Harris and Blinken are part of the charade. Blinken is making out that American shuttle diplomacy is working overtime to try to produce a ceasefire from discreet talks in Cairo with Arab envoys. Blinken says it’s up to the Palestinian Hamas group to agree to a truce. This is while the Israelis have repeatedly rebuffed any proposals and are blocking virtually all humanitarian relief efforts.

Dropping meals into Gaza by parachute from U.S. military transport planes has nothing to do with humanitarianism. It’s Biden’s electioneering. It’s disgusting and obscene.

Given the American shamelessness, it’s a wonder the parachutes have not got a picture of a smiling Biden emblazoned on them with the slogan: “A gift from the White House”.

Biden and the American government are guilty of genocide owing to their deliberate and systematic political and material support for the Israeli regime. No amount of airdropping of food aid and belated empty calls for a ceasefire can mitigate the criminal responsibility. Indeed, the cynical and self-serving attempt to lessen the image of culpability makes it all the more despicable. ... urd-it-is/


On the State of the Union Speech: What Biden Left Out
Posted on March 10, 2024 by Lambert Strether
By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

This is a post about nothing; or rather the nothing that is where one would expect a something to appear. Most of the coverage of the Biden speech — leaving aside, mercifully, the partisan rancor over whether Biden is shouting (strategically, no less) or merely being (at long last) “fiery” slash “feisty” — focuses on policy implications (for good, or ill). All this coverage is so instrumental as to be useless. The worst of it is that it might not be hypocritical; maybe they really believe what they’re saying. Anyhow, you may think our democracy works something like this famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) poster, which I have helpfully annotated:


If you do[1], then the outcome of whatever proposals Biden might make will be determined by the correlation of forces in the governing and ruling classes, and will have little to do with the desires or opinions of voters. So why bother with policy, treated as anything other than a talking point engineered to appeal to three of the six basic emotions? (happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, and anger)[2]. In any case, why should I waste my beautiful mind on Biden’s policy policy proposals after how he stiffed us all on Covid: (Audio at link)

Anyhow, the dude owes me six hundred bucks.

So, examining what Biden says is useless (with the exception of the pointillist approach of looking for tells to the correlation of forces in the language, which I do not have the energy to do, the [family blogging] time change having thrown me for a loop. I can never remember whether it’s “Fall forward and spring back, or fall back, and spring forward.” For the same reason, this post will not be as link-rich as I like to be). However, I think it will be useful to examine what Biden does not say. Rather than putting on my yellow waders and splashing about in the shadows, I am going to, as it were, pick up my birding binoculars and scan the empty horizon for what I would expect to be there, but is not.


Democrat Complicity

On abortion, Biden says this:

Like most Americans, I believe Roe v. Wade got it right.

I thank Vice President Harris for being an incredible leader defending reproductive freedom and so much more. Thank you.

My predecessor came to office determined to see Roe v. Wade overturned. He’s the reason it was overturned, and he brags about it. Look at the chaos that has resulted.

If you — if you, the American people, send me a Congress that supports the right to choose, I promise you I will restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.

Roe was decided in 1973. Here is a site that lists “House and Senate Concurrence with Presidents” (that is, when all are from the same party). 1977-1980 (the Carter Administration); 1993-1994 (the Clinton Adminstration); and 2009-2010 (the Obama Adminstration). It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that if Roe was never “the law of the land,” it’s because Democrats didn’t pass the law (and if they thought other things were more important, then what is Biden whinging for?). To be fair, though, it’s easy to avoid that conclusion if you’re a Democrat. Oh, and every single judge that overturned Roe was moved up the ladder until they got to the Supreme Court with Democrat complicity, since they never made Roe a litmus test (due to the Norms Fairy, or something). And here is what Biden has to say about that: (Audio at link.)

If a Democrat administration was complicit in any disaster that befell the American people, especially the working class, you will hear, in a pattern so obvious as to verge on pathology, nothing about that from Biden, although, as with Roe, you will hear about a Democrat effort to claim credit for “fighting” to solve the problem they themselves created. (Biden’s remarks on deindustrialization are so scattered and vacuous I can’t pull out a quote, but you can bet he will say nothing about Bill Clinton and NAFTA.)


APPENDIX Biden’s Demeanor

Here are some still shots of Biden’s microexpressions from the first seven minutes of his speech (that is, before he really went on the attack against his “predecessor”):




Look at the set of Biden’s mouth. I think it’s safe to say that Biden’s two dogs, Major and Commander, are vicious because their master is vicious.

APPENDIX Biden’s Diagnosis

The Babylon Bee has the best joke: DC-Area Pharmacies All Out Of Stimulants. But as I wrote:

As readers know, I’m not a fan of remote diagnosis (and I’m still waiting for a White House “reporter” to ask Biden to count backwards by sevens during a presser). That said, the dogs aren’t barking in the night on this. The first non-barking dog is the White House: Given the givens, it seems reasonable to conclude that no cognitive tests were run because the White House, at a minimum, was unsure what the results would be. Therefore, the conclusion that “Biden has cognitive issues, known to his inner circle,” seems inescapable (and says nothing about their nature or degree, or the effects of hyypothesized “juice”). By the same token, I would expect the efficient Republican oppo machine to have produced serious, medically-driven videos documenting Biden’s gait, flubs, etc., by now. That hasn’t happened either. Perhaps they want to prop Biden up just as much as Democrats do?

That’s what we know, and we don’t and can’t know more. I really do think the snark about Biden’s cognitive issues should slow down, and at this point it’s mere lazy cynicism. We don’t know what we would need to know to make a diagnosis, so let’s not use words (“dementia”) that imply that we do. Biden gave a very good performance at the SOTU, and under enormous stress. All we can do is watch how he continues to do on the campaign trail, which is the only data that really matters. ... t-out.html

(Red added for emphasis. And double that for Taft-Hartley.)

And yeah, me and my sweetheart got stiffed on that $600 check too.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Tue Mar 12, 2024 3:48 pm

Biden, Along With NATO, Is Losing His Grip on Reality

Martin Jay

March 12, 2024

The state of the union speech was an insight into how the senile U.S. president is stuck in the past, out of touch with the reality of a multipolar world.

The state of the union speech was an insight into how the senile U.S. president is stuck in the past, out of touch with the reality of a multipolar world.

While many will wonder whether he wrote the speech himself or it was drafted for him, President Joe Biden made his case to the American public in simple terms. Vote for me, as I am living the dream of USA 80 years ago. The references to the second world war should have shocked the American public who are more concerned about the price of groceries, gas pumps and their utility bills rather than what was going on in 1941.

And yet 1941 for any half-rate history teacher in Alabama would seem an odd choice of dates to pluck out of nowhere and use as a reference point to present America as an unchallenged superpower. As it was, after all, the date where German troops took on their greatest challenge – Russia – and were mercilessly defeated through, amongst other military considerations – being both deluded about their strengths and poor military planning.

Those two points might be on the minds of western elites while Biden used the podium to once again beg Congress to approve his aid package for Ukraine. As even the BBC correspondent in Ukraine admitted – that Russia was now advancing and its troops no longer taking villages but now towns – it would seem that NATO planners have indeed repeated the Barbarossa lesson. Is this the real reason why the bill cannot get passed? The Americans have realised they have simply bitten off more than they can chew in Ukraine and the humiliation already of three U.S.-made Abrams tanks – the most cumbersome, impractical and overrated piece of modern U.S. military hardware ever conceived – along with a general ground swell of opinion that the war can never be won is weighing down on them. Even the Guardian newspaper recently published an opinion piece by Simon Jenkins who argued the case the NATO had become “reckless” in Ukraine, citing the carelessness of the German phone tap which revealed the plan to hit the bridge in Crimea, seemed to draw a new water line of despondency.

Perhaps this explained why Biden didn’t take too much time on harping on about Ukraine in his speech, preferring more to use the opportunity to strike out at Trump – a tactic which surely confirms that he is as stupid as he looks as it will surely backfire on him and raise Trump’s prowess ever further. Instead, Biden attempted at great length to divert cash back into the pockets of humble Americans who don’t understand how the so-called trickle down affect is supposed to work – how big businesses making huge profits don’t always distribute their gains throughout the financial system – by admitting that it is not working. On paper, the figures show that the U.S. is doing well. Try explaining that to millions of Americans facing hardship on a scale never before seen. Biden is going to be remembered in history as the buffoon who left office while two wars raged in the world, while he raised taxes from corporations and can’t remember where he is, or what day of the week it is. He will be remembered for the fiasco of the pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and for his incoherent dithering. And for that bloody ice cream.

But one has to wonder if there is a slight, but noticeable change in policy in the White House towards the Ukraine war – and how the West gets out of it and still keeps face. Victoria Nuland, the very architect of the Ukraine war itself, is to step down from her post in the state department, remembered really only for her transformation from a babe to the monster from the black lagoon with her own facial transformation cruelly portrayed on social media posts with the before and after photo montage. It is reported by the NYT that she has resigned but the only real question is whether she was pushed out or not and by whom. Is there a new strategy in the pipeline to pull out of Ukraine as well, one which she woefully disagreed with? Is this perhaps part of the reason why, I’m informed, that eight German special forces soldiers hastily left Ukraine in the last few days following the phone tap scandal which exposed the Germans for being the amateurs they are? ... n-reality/



Liberals Are Always Trying To Distance Biden From Netanyahu, And Netanyahu From Israel

Liberals only try to compartmentalize these things away from each other to stave off the cognitive dissonance inherent in their contradiction-soaked worldview.

Caitlin Johnstone
March 12, 2024

Western liberals are always doing this weird dance where they try to rhetorically create space between Biden and the atrocities of the Israeli government, working tirelessly to frame the president as an innocent passive witness to the genocide he is directly facilitating in Gaza. Those western liberals who support Israel are also simultaneously performing a second bizarre contortion in which they try to distance the Israeli state from Benjamin Netanyahu, as though Israel would be a nice, normal, non-genocidal nation if it only had a different prime minister.

Two good examples of this frantic compartmentalization campaign came out in the mass media in the last few days, with a New York Times article titled “Providing Both Bombs and Food, Biden Puts Himself in the Middle of Gaza’s War” and an Axios article titled “Biden breaks with Netanyahu but sticks with Israel”.

Both the New York Times and Axios write-ups go out of their way to inform the reader that Biden has been growing “frustrated” with the Netanyahu government — yet more examples of a trend in liberal media reporting that’s been going on for months in which spinmeisters convey the idea that Biden is secretly hopping mad at Bibi and his cohorts behind the scenes despite all of his actions and decisions and public statements conveying the opposite. The idea is to manipulate the reader into accepting that while Biden may be backing a genocide, secretly his feelings feel very upset at the people he’s backing so you should like him and vote for him anyway.

The New York Times’ Peter Baker and Michael Crowley present a poetical reframing of Biden’s genocide in which they depict this lifelong Beltway swamp monster’s self-evident depravity as a poignant story about a kindhearted leader facing difficult decisions, saying “The United States finds itself on both sides of the war in a way, arming the Israelis while trying to care for those hurt as a result.”

“From the skies over Gaza these days fall American bombs and American food pallets, delivering death and life at the same time and illustrating President Biden’s elusive effort to find balance in an unbalanced Middle East war,” write Baker and Crowley, presumably while high-fiving about their eloquent prose.

“Mr. Biden has grown increasingly frustrated as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel defies the president’s pleas to do more to protect civilians in Gaza and went further in expressing that exasperation during and after his State of the Union address this past week,” write the authors, before adding, “But Mr. Biden remains opposed to cutting off munitions or leveraging them to influence the fighting.”

That last sentence right there is all anyone needs to know about Joseph R Biden. Those are the raw facts, and everything else is narrative spin. Israel gets the actual material weapons it requires to continue its genocidal atrocities, and the readers of The New York Times get empty narrative fluff about aid drops and Biden’s feelings to help them feel okay about it.

Axios’ Barak Ravid is somehow even more ham-fisted, writing that “President Biden has begun a tricky maneuver: breaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Gaza war strategy — while sticking with Israel and its fight against Hamas.”

“U.S. officials say Biden — and many other senior officials at the White House and the State Department — are extremely frustrated by what they see as ungratefulness by Netanyahu,” writes Ravid, because when you’re writing about Biden and Gaza in a liberal publication you’re required to work that “frustrated” angle in somewhere.

To substantiate his claim that Biden is “breaking” with Netanyahu, Ravid references Biden’s oblique finger-wagging at “the leadership of Israel” in his State of the Union address and the president’s “I told Bibi ‘You and I are going to have a come-to-Jesus meeting’” hot mic moment immediately thereafter, as well as Biden’s statement on MSNBC that Netanyahu is “hurting Israel more than helping Israel” by tarnishing Israel’s image.

Then, immediately thereafter, Ravid nullifies everything he just wrote in the preceding paragraphs by noting another quote from Biden’s MSNBC appearance: “I’m never gonna leave Israel. The defense of Israel is still critical.”

Liberals love pretending there’s a meaningful difference between supporting Netanyahu’s murderousness and supporting Israel, as though Israeli murderousness does not have a healthy and vibrant existence entirely independent of who its prime minister happens to be. Pinning all the blame for Israel’s depravity on one evil bad guy lets them justify their continued support for Israel despite that position’s self-evident contradiction with everything they claim to stand for.

Polling by the Israel Democracy Institute has found that three-quarters of Jewish Israelis support Netanyahu’s planned assault on Rafah, which the prime minister has said will proceed as planned despite Biden’s empty bloviations that doing so would be crossing a “red line” with this administration. Polls also found that 68 percent of Jewish Israelis oppose any humanitarian aid entering Gaza via any agency at all, which is to say they support starving huge numbers of Gazan civilians to death.

Israeli violence isn’t the product of Netanyahu, Netanyahu is the product of Israeli violence. He built his political career upon popular sentiments that were already in place long before he turned up. If it wasn’t him inflicting violence and abuse on Palestinians it would be someone else, and it has been in the past, and it will continue to be for as long as Israel exists.

There is no state of Israel that is separate or separable from the violence, abuse, apartheid and racist indoctrination necessary for its continued existence. Liberals like to pretend they live in this imaginary fantasyland where a nice and peaceful Israel is possible, despite Israel’s entire historical existence making an obvious lie of this premise.

Israeli violence is not distant from Israel; they are fully united. Israel is not distant from Netanyahu; they are not meaningfully distinct. Netanyahu is not distant from Biden; they are partners in every way that matters. Liberals only try to compartmentalize these things away from each other to stave off the cognitive dissonance inherent in their contradiction-soaked worldview. ... om-israel/


Patrick Lawrence: Old Man Shouting
March 11, 2024

In his State of the Union address, Biden was the face of the U.S. imperium as it insists on prolonging itself. This is not a role with any originality or vision.

U.S. President Joe Biden giving State of the Union speech on March 7. Vice President Kamala Harris, left; Mike Johnson, House speaker, right. (C-Span screenshot)

By Patrick Lawrence

Democratic elites and the reporters who clerk for them were effusively approving of Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech Thursday evening — not so much for what he said, which came nothing new, as for the demeanor of the enfeebled president.

Never mind that Biden reduced an occasion intended to address all Americans as to the condition of their nation to a cheap stump speech. He avoided falling down for his hour at the podium while stringing coherent sentences (mostly) together in the cause of his political survival. That is what counted.

“This was not Old Man Joe,” Peter Baker fairly ejaculated in Friday morning’s New York Times. “This was Forceful Joe. This was Angry Joe. This was Loud Joe. This was Game–On Joe.”

Wow. I seemed to have missed that, Joe.

I saw Joe who trades in hollow appearances. This was Joe urging both houses of Congress and 32 million television viewers to join in making believe we still live in the 20th century.

This was Joe pretending America’s global primacy is intact. This was Joe refusing to recognize the emergence of new poles of power and the high cost this refusal exacts.

“A nation that stands as a beacon to the world. A nation in a new age of possibilities”: You wouldn’t believe an American public figure, to say nothing of a president, would still trade in this kind of exhausted pabulum. Denial of this kind, we must not fail to remind ourselves, does not come cheap.

You have to wonder who is driving the bus after listening to a speech as vapid as Biden’s, and I will attempt an answer to this question in due course.

Here is the passage in Biden’s speech that most aroused all the Peter Baker liberals eager to see him reelected in November:

“My fellow Americans, the issue facing our nation isn’t how old we are, it’s how old are our ideas …. [Y]ou can’t lead America with ancient ideas that only take us back. To lead America, the land of possibilities, you need a vision for the future and what can and should be done.”

These remarks — Biden rehearsed them severally in preceding days — bring us to some very difficult recognitions, even if Biden’s speechwriters intended them otherwise. No recent president I can think of has proven more abjectly bereft of new ideas than Joe Biden.

The reckless support of “the Jewish state,” the proxy war in Ukraine, the obsessive Russophobia, the provocations across the Taiwan Strait, the covert operations in Syria and elsewhere, the sanction regimes imposed on too many nations to count, the vassalization of Europe: There is no new thinking in any of this.

These are ideas so old they leave the U.S. in a state of ever more extreme isolation in a world eager to get on with the 21st century. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., is the face of the American imperium as it insists on prolonging itself. This is not a role with any originality or vision to it.

Biden gave the houses of Congress and the millions who watched him on television a performance Thursday evening, just as Peter Baker and numerous others celebrated it. And his speech was performative in precise proportion to its vacancy.

Presentation has always been important in politics. But those purporting to lead us, having nothing new to say and much to obscure as to America’s conduct, lead us into what we may as well call a culture of appearances. These are all that matter as the imperium gets on with its frequently criminal business.

We come to one of several disturbing recognitions now facing us. The nation’s leaders, and the West’s altogether, have succumbed to a state of paralysis that leaves them incapable of the one thing our moment requires most of leadership. This is the capacity to make the bold decisions that are necessary if we are to set ourselves on a new course and do well in a century of historic transformations.

Who was the last president to prove unafraid of new thinking and decisive action?

John F. Kennedy as he resolved the Bay of Pigs crisis? Or when he called for a new global order and world peace — “a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived yet it is the most important topic on earth” — in his famous speech at American University in the spring of 1963?

Richard Nixon when he opened to China?

Put this next to Biden’s response to the savagery in Gaza, to take a single example of many.

Instead of declaring the new policy toward apartheid Israel these atrocities require, he sends more than 100 weapons shipments to Israel since Oct. 7 — covertly to avoid asking for congressional approval, as The Washington Post reported last week, while airlifting virtue-signaling pallets of “prepared dinners” to a starving population of 2.3 million.

Using its typical cotton-wool language, in its Sunday editions the Times termed this “the delicate position the United States has found itself in.”

“Rank hypocrisy” would have been shorter and better. There is no change in Biden’s stone solid support for a regime whose conduct more than casually resembles that of the Reich — only another performance in the service of facile appearances.

Costs of Denial

U.S. support for the genocide in Gaza, the proxy war it spent many years provoking in Ukraine: These disasters reflect the Biden regime’s mistaken assumption that America lives in an unchanged world.

These policies have profoundly alienated the vast majority of the world’s people — this as measured by population or a count of nations. This majority is no longer with America as it once might have been.

The “international community,” that ever-hollower phrase, now comes down to the Group of 7 and a few clients and G–7 hangers-on. This is what I mean by the costs of denial.

There are many other miscalculations to note in this line. The Iraq invasion, Afghanistan, the ongoing covert ops in Syria, the destruction of Libya — all failures reflecting an overestimation of U.S. power in the 21st century and an underestimation of its accumulating weaknesses.

The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines two summers ago counts a success as a well-planned covert operation. As an expression of American foreign policy it is a measure either of Washington’s bankruptcy in the way of new thinking or of its desperation, if not both.

Economic vitality is essential to the conduct of empire, as history shows plainly enough. Those purporting to lead the U.S. appear lost as to how to address this matter as it grows too evident to ignore.

There is no need to elaborate on the increasing desperation of many working Americans in direct consequence of America’s imperial overstretch. The national debt, now at $34.5 trillion, is 129 percent of gross domestic product.

This compares very unfavorably with China, Brazil, Egypt, Sierra Leone and numerous other developing and middle-income nations. As a measure of America’s decline, its debt-to-GDP ratio averaged half its current level from 1940 to 2022 and compares with a low of 32 percent as recently as 1981.

You don’t hear much about globalization anymore, do you? This is because America can no longer compete in numerous cutting-edge sectors. Economic nationalism and straight-out protection is the new economic ideology.

The Biden regime is midway in erecting export controls and other barriers intended to damage China’s high-technology industries. Late last month it announced that it intends to block Chinese-made electric vehicles from the American market — this on the pretext that they represent a security threat.

Pitiful all around.

It is not difficult to explain this (very partial) list of political, diplomatic, military, and economic policy misjudgments. One need look no further than President Biden’s SOTU performance, wherein the fundamental impediment is plain.

He is unwilling to acknowledge the emergence of non–Western powers, notably but not only those forming the BRICS group. And in consequence he is unable to act sensibly, wisely, imaginatively to 21st century realities, the two most evident of which are the rise of the non–West and America’s relative if not absolute decline.

Think once more about that speech and all the cheerleaders who shouted into megaphones afterward. These people are no more than nostalgists, and I have long considered nostalgia a form of depression that grips those unable to face the present.

As denialists they are directly responsible for inhibiting any chance America may have of genuinely altering course to find a new direction forward.

U.S. House chamber during Biden’s State of the Union speech. (C-Span still)

America is not, to put this point another way, incessantly creating and recreating its world in the fashion of a vibrant civilization. The U.S. is a diminished world devoid of that élan vital Henri Bergson thought essential to any dynamic society: There is no forward movement in the present circumstances.

U.S. leaders instead enforce an eternal present, a “what is” from which there is no escape because there is no one to lead us out of it into a dynamic new future. We had better be careful as these failings lead us to conclude there is no one driving the bus.

Biden’s ineptitude certainly encourages the thought, but this obscures a larger reality that seems yet more daunting than these others. Joe Biden is symptom, not cause, in the final analysis.

Many presidents before Biden were guilty of selling American foreign policy to those who proposed to buy it. In the case of Israel, this derives from a lobby that has grown grotesquely powerful and thinks nothing of using its wealth to destroy America’s political process, silence critics of the Zionist state, and so dismantle altogether what remains of U.S. democracy.

As to Ukraine, it is merely the latest in a long line of conflicts waged, like money-laundering schemes, to benefit the military-industrial complex.

Capital, to finish the thought, drives our bus. And of all the things that must not come in for criticism in the nation America has made of itself, the power of capital is surely near the top of the list.

Josep Borrell in Munich

Borrell in 2022. (European Parliament, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Josep Borrell, the plain-speaking Spaniard currently serving as the European Union’s foreign minister, made some observations late last month that are singular for their unvarnished honesty. These appeared Feb. 25 on the E.U.’s foreign affairs website, External Action, where Borrell reprised for the general public his presentation at the just-concluded Munich Security Conference.

In his Munich speech and subsequently in his External Action essay, Borrell identified “the four main tasks on E.U.’s geopolitical agenda.” Three of these are easily anticipated: support for Ukraine, ending the Gaza crisis, “strengthening our defense and security.”

Any European technocrat could have ticked off this list. It was the remaining “task” facing Europeans — the third as Borrell ordered them — that catches the eye. This concerns “our relations with the so-called ‘Global South’ countries.”

Here is the forthright Borrell on this topic:

“If the current global geopolitical tensions continue to evolve in the direction of ‘the West against the Rest,’ Europe’s future risks to be bleak. The era of Western dominance has indeed definitively ended. While this has been theoretically understood, we have not always drawn all practical conclusions from this new reality.

… Many in the ‘Global South’ accuse us of ‘double standards.’ … We need to push back on this narrative but also to address this issue not only with words: In the coming months, we must make a massive effort to win back the trust of our partners.”

Borrell has been all over the place on the question of the West’s evolving relations with the non–West since assuming his E.U. duties five years ago this coming July. Addressing an audience in Bruges two years ago, he famously blundered into an indiscretion the match of any Joe Biden gaffe:

“Europe is a garden. We have built a garden. Everything works. It is the best combination of political freedom, economic prosperity and social cohesion that the [sic] humankind has been able to build — the three things together.

The rest of the world is not exactly a garden. Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden.”

Borrell quickly apologized for his remarks and seems to have come a considerable distance in the intervening years if we are to go by his speech in Munich and the essay he wrote afterward.

And for all his inconstancy, he is one of the few in positions of influence — the few Western leaders, I mean — who understands that the Atlantic world has reached an inflection point, a moment of historical magnitude. And he is right about what brought the West to this point.

Post–Gaza and post–Ukraine, it is already becoming clear, the West will find that it has redefined its relations with the wider world. But to set a new course requires a certain surrender Western leaders — all of them, not just Biden — cannot yet accept.

Presumption of Superiority

Bust of Vasco da Gama in S. Pedro de Alcântara garden, Lisbon. (Bosc d’Anjou, flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

When the U.S. finally succeeded in provoking Russia to intervene in Ukraine two years ago last month, when the Biden regime led the whole of the Atlantic alliance into unqualified support for Israel as it began — or resumed, better put — its siege of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank, the West still rested on a presumption of global superiority that we can date to 1498, when Vasco da Gama arrived on the Indian coast.

This has been construed ever since as material superiority, certainly, but it has also extended to the cultural, moral, and institutional spheres. There is the West and the rest, as Borrell noted, the garden and the jungle, the lawful and the lawless, the first world and the third. To become modern requires becoming Western.

It has been some years since this paradigm began losing credibility. We might date this to the liberation struggles of those post–World War II decades known as the Independence Era.

Being cautious, the West’s claim to superiority in all things has certainly looked ever emptier since the Berlin Wall fell and people and nations were freed from the Cold War binary the U.S. imposed on the planet. Unless you are given to primitive charlatans such as Robert Kagan, you must count this a very excellent turn in the human story.

The Atlantic alliance’s dramatic failure in Ukraine and its craven support for Israel’s Old Testament barbarities in Gaza (see, e.g., Numbers 31: 1–54) have together shredded whatever remained of the West’s pretenses.

No claim to superior morality or the rule of Western law is any longer possible. All that remains is material superiority, primarily by way of the weaponry of war, just as it was when da Gama got to southern India.

As many have remarked, there is no coming back from this for Israel and no coming back for the U.S. I would add there is no coming back for the West altogether.

We are in consequence face to face with many realities from which most of us in the West have long flinched. This has many implications. High among them, I would say, is whether the beleaguered West can continue to cohere.

At this point Europe exhibits two contending impulses. One is to make the Atlantic wider, so reclaiming some of the independence it gave up in the early postwar decades. There is no assumption among Europeans that America’s turn from globalization to economic nationalism will not bear consequences for them as well as others.

The Nord Stream operation was in large measure driven by geopolitics, but the U.S. also had an economic motive not lost on Europe. There are, conversely, many Europeans — Borrell among them — who advocate drawing yet closer to the U.S., so continuing the Continent’s long, unfortunate habit of sheltering under the “American security umbrella” at the cost of its sovereignty and sense of self-worth.

One question that is shared on both sides of the Atlantic implies the greatest task the Western world has faced in a long time — maybe centuries, depending on how one counts. I have already suggested it. It is the task of surrendering those claims to superiority from which the Western consciousness has drawn its identity for the past half a millennium.

To do this would be an immense positive for the West and everyone living in it. It would mean not defeat but an immense unburdening; it would open up many true possibilities — these as against that “land of possibilities” Biden conjured of thin air Thursday evening.

But the West’s leaders, America’s above all, have no clue of the surrender this moment asks of them. To surrender, as I mean this term, will require leadership of a kind Western nations have rarely before seen, and there is none in sight. ... -shouting/
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Wed Mar 13, 2024 2:02 pm

The State of the Union is "Failed"

Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist 13 Mar 2024

President Joe Biden (second right) speaks with Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg (left), Sec. of State Antony Blinken (second left), and Senator Michael Bennet (back to camera) during his "hot mic" moment at the SOTU address. (AFP via Getty Images)

The State of the Union address exemplifies everything that is wrong with this country. Trivialities are spun as being important, the most serious issues are glossed over, and lies are said to be true. The state of the union is one of failure.

If there were any question that this nation is a failed state, the recent State of the Union (SOTU) address makes the case and removes any doubt about the depth of decline. The constitutional requirement that the president, “... from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union…” is now an extravagant combination of nonsense, mendacity, and war propaganda that reveals the depth of rot in the U.S. body politic.

The SOTU address is an opportunity for serious issues to be addressed but which are instead discussed as sophomoric saber rattling as members of congress jump up and down clapping like trained seals as the president pledges to stop Putin, stand up to Putin and not back down to Putin who we are told is on the march and sowing chaos throughout all of Europe. While democrats over acted the republicans sat and frowned. So-called journalists give undue attention to the pantomime and draw phony conclusions based on the theatrics. Corporate media play an important part in aiding and abetting the spread of obfuscations, confusion, and outright lies.

The manufactured drama is bipartisan and members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) happily participate in the tawdry show along with the rest of their colleagues. This year they invited as their guest a Texas high school student, Darryl George , who has been suspended from school for refusing to cut his dreadlocks. His stance is commendable and the treatment he has received is contemptible, but one would think that the CBC could highlight an issue of greater importance to the masses of Black people.

But taking care of the people’s business is simply not on the agenda, for the CBC or anyone else. “The CBC stands in full support of Darryl's personal right to wear his hair the way he chooses…” was CBC Chair Steven Horsford’s statement. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman chimed in about the CROWN Act, which would give legislative protection to wearing the their hairstyle of one’s choice. This undue attention to a lack of substance is an indication of the CBC’s political irrelevance. Then again they aren’t alone in having diminished themselves. The entire political class plays right along.

Of course the president is the star of the show and Joe Biden didn’t disappoint. His active and enthusiastic participation in Israel’s war crimes has lowered his already anemic approval ratings, and now thousands of primary election voters are casting ballots for “uncommitted” as opposed to the incumbent president. What better moment to pretend that he and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu are in opposition to one another than to put on a show at the State of the Union address?

The clumsiness of the performance made it all the more outrageous when the president pretended to insult Netanyahu on camera. Democratic senator Michael Bennet began the charade with Secretary of State Blinken and Transportation Secretary Buttigieg by his side as extras in the movie.

“Great speech. I was telling the Secretary, I was in Jordan and Israel this weekend and we’ve got to keep pushing on what you are doing on the humanitarian stuff.” Biden jumped in on cue, “I told him, Bibi, and don’t repeat this, but you and I are going to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.” A staffer comes in and murmurs something to Biden who ends the conversation with, “I’m on a hot mic here. Good. That’s good.”

The response to millions of people expressing outrage over genocide was treated as a public relations stunt, which is what SOTU and the U.S. presidency have become.

If nothing else SOTU laid bare the utter fraudulence of the Biden presidency. It is harder to make the case of lesser evilism or holding one’s nose to vote when the betrayals are so blatant. Claims of moving Biden to the left or holding feet to the fire were always made by the cynical to the naive. Both the con artists and their targets have a lot of explaining to do when Biden used the SOTU speech to appeal directly to the Trump voters we are otherwise told to view as deplorable.

Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene was decked out in MAGA regalia and gave Biden a button which read, “Say her name, Laken Riley.” The suspect in the murder of this young Georgia woman is an undocumented man. After chastising republicans for failing to pass an immigration bill which liberals should have opposed on principle, Biden said, “Lanken [Laken] Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed. By an illegal. That’s right. But how many thousands of people are being killed by illegals?”

We are otherwise told that Donald Trump is a fascist and his supporters are extreme MAGA and also very fascist and they all want to undo democracy. Then Biden makes a lie out of his own propaganda and appeals to the very people we are told are so dangerous with a quote that could easily have come from a Trump rally.

Jim Crow Joe is nothing if not consistent. Blatant racist appeals have been his stock in trade throughout his political career. Of course he referred to an undocumented person as an “illegal.” His back tracking afterward was also part of the SOTU stunt, an effort to disappear what he had intentionally given attention to. The farce continued after he was criticized for apologizing but then claimed he hadn’t apologized when in fact he had. Biden first made an appeal to racism, then winked and hoped everyone would forget, but the more open racists attacked him and he then went full circle and embraced the racist remark he made in the first place.

The “illegal” fiasco would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Of course this country is governed by very unserious people and they aren’t serious because they don’t really govern anything. The oligarchs do and their puppet strings are more and more visible and their errand boys and girls look more and more foolish.

Giving serious attention to Biden, the State of the Union, or the congress can only lead to being scammed. The devolution of the political process is always more obvious in an election year and shows that the state of the union is one of failure. ... owardmoore
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Re: Sympathy for the Devils...

Post by blindpig » Thu Mar 14, 2024 3:07 pm

Biden’s Gaza Ceasefire Talk ‘Political Ploy’ To Appease Voters at Home: Activist
MARCH 13, 2024

Compilation image with Daniel Kovalik (Left), Joe Biden (Center) and Benjamin Netanyahu (Right), over a backdrop with the Palestinian flag. Photo: PressTV.

By Alireza Hashemi – Mar 12, 2024

Joe Biden administration has no real intention of pushing for a ceasefire deal in Gaza, and its verbal support is just a “tease” and a “political ploy” to appease voters ahead of presidential elections in the US, says a US-based lawyer and peace activist.

Dan Kovalik, a human rights lawyer and peace activist, told the Press TV website that the US is “aiding and abetting” the Israeli genocide in the besieged territory by secretly sending arms to it.

The statements about the ceasefire are only meant to woo the US audiences and to get them to vote for the oldest occupant of the Oval Office in the upcoming presidential elections, he asserted.

“The US is aiding and abetting. Now, we know from the Washington Post that Biden has been secretly sending over 100 arms shipments to Israel since October 7, even as he’s saying he cares about the civilians. He doesn’t care about the civilians,” Kovalik told the Press TV website.

More than 31,000 Palestinians have been killed in relentless Israeli bombings in Gaza since October 7, almost 14,000 of them children and 9,000 women, with no end in sight to the unbridled aggression.

As the holy month of Ramadan commenced on Monday, Palestinians in the coastal territory continued to grapple with devastating airstrikes and crippling siege that have wreaked havoc in Gaza.

Despite weeks of negotiations involving the US, Qatar, and Egypt, no ceasefire agreement was reached, exposing Palestinians to more violence and bloodshed, backed by the Western countries.

Biden, who has been under blistering criticism for his steadfast support for Israel, has spoken of a need for a ceasefire and a temporary seaport off the Gaza coast to facilitate more aid deliveries.

However, human rights organizations have criticized his announcements as a publicity stunt, urging him to end his unconditional and unwavering support for the Israeli regime.

Kovalik said the US is a party to what he called the “final solution” that Israel had for the blockaded Palestinian territory, which is to “destroy the civilian population of Gaza”.

“The US is a party to what I call the final solution that Israel has for Gaza and that’s why I don’t think you’re going to see a ceasefire. They keep teasing that. But it’s a tease,” he said.

“It’s a political ploy aimed at Western audiences and in particular US audiences to get them to calm down and to stop protesting and to vote for Biden. But there’s no intention to help civilians. The goal is to destroy the civilian population of Gaza.”

The US-based lawyer, who has authored several books, said the prospects for a ceasefire appear bleak, as Israel’s goal is to “fully carry out the cleansing of the Palestinians from Gaza” and that it did not care about its captives or the humanitarian situation.

“I think the prospects for a ceasefire, certainly in the short to medium-term, are not good,” he said.

“The issue is that Israel wants to fully carry out the cleansing of the Palestinians from Gaza in the name of destroying Hamas.”

He said until the regime does not reach that “goal”, it won’t settle for a ceasefire.

“They don’t care about their captives. We know that the Hannibal directive has been ordered,” he said, referring to a procedure used by the Israeli army that troops must stop the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by all means, even at the price of harming their own forces.

Reports say the ceasefire talks are still ongoing. But observers foresee a difficult path ahead, especially since Israel has openly declared that it will keep up attacks on people in Gaza.

According to the UN and humanitarian organizations, Israel’s near-total blockade of Gaza since October 7 has prevented most of the essential aid from reaching the 2.4 million population. ... -activist/
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