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Introduction

Political leaders and the mass media deluge the public with a constant stream of frightening incidents caused by the enemy-of-the-week: nerve gas killing dozens of little babies in Syria, Russian-directed poison assassination attempts in England and terror incidents throughout Europe, requiring an increase in domestic police state surveillance and spying. Extensively monitored bank records, intrusive workplace controls, and all personal and, especially, political communications, are in the hands of state security officials or corporate security contractors.

Hundreds of prosecuting attorneys look forward to career-enhancing investigations in perpetuity, tracking the complex networks of extended personal and family links, including long forgotten acquaintances and the contents of casual conversations. Everyone may be subject to interrogations without warrant or explanation. And the ‘media’ cheers on the process.

Political trials and convictions in court and the media are rampant. Social, work-place and academic self censorship and blacklisting of dissident voices have become pervasive and accepted.

Elections and appointments are rigged by corporate and special interests to favor the most bellicose ideologues who manufacture the pretexts for war.

Political intimidation, trade wars and sanctions run amok .

‘Exceptional’ people in authority are defined by their power to bludgeon the majority into passive submission. Corporate mass media propaganda repeats brief and lurid messages calling for the death and destruction of the latest ‘fill-in-the-blank’ enemy.

War fever is everywhere infesting the weak minds of local opinion leaders, who echo the rants and raves of psychotic leaders without pausing to question.

Last week, the Mexican immigrant workers were described as dangerous invaders, drug dealers, rapists and threats to the every day life of ordinary citizens. Walls are being constructed and thousands of National Guard are called to the border to confront the invading agricultural workers and their families.

Before that, Muslims were broadly described as brainwashed terrorists, programed to plant bombs at their first opportunity anywhere and everywhere – on mass transport, in congested amusement parks, in any public space where the innocent may be harmed. A draconian ban of the entry of Muslims has been instituted – including elderly parents joining their citizen sons or daughters.

After the latest maniac massacre of students, understaffed public schools, (but not private, elite schools), are urged to arm the teachers with baseball bats, rocks and guns. Instead of multiplication drills, terrified teachers hold daily and weekly drills in their over-crowded classrooms – stuffing their pupils into closets and bathrooms. Elementary school lunchtimes have become prison-like exercises in ‘total silence’ drills as if to fool the would-be shooter. Images of little Oliver Twist meekly whispering to an armed guard for a bathroom pass come to mind. Haunting some outraged parents is the fear that a mad intruder might set fire to the school suffocating scores of children locked in closets and bathroom stalls because ‘fire-drills’ have been superseded by ‘shooter-drills’.

Fear stalks the land! Where will it end?

An Empire Built on Fear

Domination is the driving force of US Empire builders. But today’s empire is built on fragile economic foundations. An Empire, which has aimed to dominate the world for the long duration, now stumbles over a series of military defeats abroad and increasingly relies on instilling fear, intimidation and propaganda on its domestic citizenry to regain its dominance.

Inculcating fear, especially at home, is the method of choice.

Since the ruling class of ‘the 1%’ seeks to maintain its world domination, based on increasing exploitation and widening inequalities, voluntary submission of the majority cannot be taken for granted.

The vast majority of citizens no longer trust the ruling elite. The school lessons in democracy and civic responsibility have lost their credibility. How can public school children, who now cower in closets, believe in citizen and constitutional rights?

Unending economic insecurity and the increasingly phony patriotic sideshows are beginning to stir up popular discontent. Large scale, long-term trillion-dollar bank bailouts and exorbitant military budgets are financed by the slash and burn of workers’ wages, job security, public services and the social safety net. Soaring medical costs are the primary cause of personal bankruptcy among the working and lower middle classes. A physician-pharmaceutical industry fueled opioid addiction crisis is narcotizing millions and killing well over one hundred Americans each day. The unemployed are prescribed multiple mood altering drugs to numb their anxieties about the future. Fear, incompetent medical care, self-destruction, despair and pain all lead to premature death causing the life expectancy among workers to drop for the first time in US history.

Professionals and opinion leaders, from teachers and physicians to journalists, have abandoned their ethics and enabled the mass deception and oppression of their students, patients and readers.

An empire, which fails to reward its supporters, like President Trump’s marginalized voters, and repeatedly reneges on its promises, can only rely on fear.

The fear we experience is brought about by the ruling class; repeated and embellished by the mass media; and made legitimate by local opinion leaders through face-to-face daily encounters. Teachers and terrified parents instill this fear into the very young without stopping to analyze the origins and motives behind the fear mongering.

The mass message tells us that we face daily threats from terrorists; that we must increase our vigilance; that we must constantly strengthen police state powers; that we must accept the use of advanced lethal police weaponry on our streets; that we must turn to informing on our neighbors and co-workers as potential terrorists, militants, activists, critics and immigrants embedded in offices, factories, schools, churches and neighborhoods. Meanwhile our oligarch-leaders bless themselves with massive tax-cuts and enjoy the greatest concentration of wealth in history.

Fear diverts attention from the imperial state as it engages in dozens of wars and occupies several hundred overseas military bases. The simplest comment that this has resulted in countless thousands of deaths and countless millions of destroyed lives, not to speak of the countless billions of dollars funneled into the bulging pockets of the ruling class, is censored from all public debate.

Fear permeates society: Communications are bugged and manipulated. People are afraid to discuss, let alone move to solve, their common socio-economic problems for fear of reprisals. The message to the many is ‘keep it to yourself or to your closest kin”.

Fearful people are compelled to publicly demonstrate their loyalty to the State – wear flag-pins and repeat illogical propaganda about the ‘enemy of the week’.

Peaceful objections to worshipping the symbols of the State are demonized and non-conformists, even among talented athletes, are punished by the State and see their careers demolished before the eyes of the entire society – collective punishment for any who resist injustice.

Fear and hopelessness feeds the opioid epidemic –with millions of workers addicted, a direct result of work place injury and job insecurity, as well as of incompetent medical care in the absence of a truly accountable national health care system. Physicians may have been ‘pressured’ to prescribe highly addicting drugs to workers, but they grew rich in the process.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Russia, Syria 
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Introduction

As of April 7, nearly three thousand unarmed Christian, Muslim and secular Palestinians have been wounded, over three dozen are in critical condition and at least twenty-five unarmed protestors, including children have been assassinated by hundreds of Israeli snipers and heavily armed troops shooting tank shells into crowds of civilians protesting their decades of incarceration by the racist Israeli state.

The Israeli government praised the ‘restraint and morality’ of the IDF, as did the fifty-two Major Jewish American Organizations (MJAO) who largely control the US Congress. These grotesque massacres began during the Christian Holy Week on Good Friday and Easter, coinciding with the Jewish Passover. The self-righteous officials of the MJAO and their relatives and friends broke matzos at joyful Seders as the blood of Palestinians soaked into ground at the fence containing the largest open-air prison camp in history, Gaza.

While tribal loyalties bonded the Israeli and Jewish American leaders, the politicians of the Western oligarchic electoral regimes refrained from criticizing the shocking display of brute force and even defended Israel’s cold blood mass killings of Palestinian civilians in their Gaza prison.

This paper will discuss and analyze the reasons for Israel’s willing Western accomplices and the centrality of its fifth column in the United States.

Israel’s Willing Accomplices

Because of the US veto power, the United Nations Security Council refused to condemn or even discuss Israel’s wanton slaughter in Gaza. The Secretary General of the UN meekly mentioned ‘violence’ and the need for an ‘investigation’ into the killings. The United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, prevented any investigation into the ongoing Israeli war crimes. She characterized Israel’s mass murder of unarmed Palestinians as ‘defensive action against terrorists’.

Both major US political parties defended Israel’s crimes against humanity and threatened critics, labeling them as ‘hypocrites’, while deflecting attention away from the state slaughter of Palestinian civilians, pointing to the behavior of the Arab countries.

With the notable exception of Bernie Sanders, both legislative houses and the executive branch expressed unconditional support for Israel’s ongoing slaughter.

The mass media, including all the major television, newspaper and radio outlets echoed the vituperative speeches of Israel’s Ziofascist leaders.

All the major political lobbies in Washington followed the leading arm of the US-Israel lobby, the ‘52 MJAO’.

The key question is what explains the power of Israel to continuously commit crimes against humanity with impunity?

Clearly Israel, by itself, lacks the economic, political and media power to influence international organizations. Nor does Israel exercise sufficient ‘soft power’ or cultural influence to neutralize the tens of millions of critics around the world with any persuasive arguments . . . except in the United States.

Where does the power that protects Israel from any consequences for its brutal crimes reside?

The key to Israel’s impunity lies in a chain of command beginning with the local grass roots of hundreds of fanatical, unconditional Zionist-Israel First organizations in the US.

Every major and minor US city has local Zionist-councils who use their influence to intimidate local professional, business, political and media groups into ensuring that critics are censored and Israel’s war crimes are covered up. The tactics range from ‘friendly’ influence within local civic organizations to outright threats, bullying and slander.

Local Zionist organizations are linked to state-wide and national political and economic confederations that influence the nomination and financing of all candidates, the elected officials and the composition of editorial boards of the major media outlets.

Equally important, Zionist activists pressure and recruit leaders of civil society groups through guided propaganda tours to Israel. They enforce obedience and submission to Zionist objectives by blacklisting critics, contacting their places of employment and demanding they be fired. They employ even more repressive tactics against perceived threats to Israel’s interests, including threatening phone calls and unwelcome ‘visits’. At the commanding heights of the Zionist pyramid, hundreds of billionaires and millionaires finance and influence the corporate mass media, the political parties and conservative and liberal religious and educational institutions and demand adherence to Israel’s agenda.

The Zionist power configuration (ZPC) parlays its influence far beyond its dues-paying members, who, in reality, comprises only a very tiny fraction of the US population.

Wider networks extend and magnify the Zionist presence, multiplying power centers up to the highest levels of public policy making. The ideological influence of the Israel Fifth Column is concentrated on a single issue: Defending Israel and its crimes against humanity. They succeed because of their enormous impact on the US role in world politics, including Washington’s trade and military policy in strategic regions, especially in the Middle East.

The members of Israel’s Fifth Column may be liberal or conservative on a broad spectrum of domestic socio-cultural issues, (gay rights, immigration reform, racial and cultural identity, feminism, the environment, etc . . . ) while, at the same time, they provide unconditional support for Israel’s oppression, imprisonment, expulsion and massacre of tens of thousands of Palestinians.

In fact, the Fifth Column’s primary commitment to Israel has guaranteed that the US would wage a sequence of catastrophic wars against Israel’s regional rivals and targeted adversaries – Iraq, Libya and Syria – even at enormous cost in US lives and wasting multi-trillion dollars of US taxpayers funds. This Zionist-promoted drain on the US treasury to finance disastrous wars has completely undermined any policies to address the domestic needs of US working people (which the progressive Zionists have loudly claimed to support!) The consequences have been tragic to the people of the Middle East and to the increasingly impoverished and desperate American working poor and minorities.

Israel’s power to freely murder unarmed civilians in Gaza is derived from the Fifth Column’s influence in the US. Without it Israel would have no power to block the UN from imposing sanctions, or the International Court of Justice from convening a tribunal for war crimes. Israel would not have nuclear weapons or advanced missiles to threaten its neighbors and destabilize the hundreds of millions of civilians who live in the greater Middle East, were it not for the its US-based Zionist power configuration. The nation of Israel would be ‘confined’ within internationally agreed borders and it would be forced to reverse its policy of ethnic cleansing. Israel would have to become a diverse – society based on laws, instead of a lawless, apartheid ethno-fascist police state dedicated to oppressing half of the people within its declared and occupied territories.

The key to Israel’s power is found in its leaders’ command structure, which dictates policy to its tribal diaspora. Their overseas accomplices command the regional, state and local organizations to relay “the message” and apply various means to enforce it. Dissent by Jews and non-Jews are swiftly and viciously punished, adherence to Zionist dictates is rewarded.

Opponents are ostracized, blacklisted and slandered – without recourse.

 
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Introduction

During his recent visit to New Hampshire on 3/20/18, President Trump declared once again that the US is facing a ‘drug epidemic’. This time he advocated the death penalty for criminal drug dealers as the solution to a national crisis that has killed over 1 million Americans since the 1990’s (when the blockbuster prescription opiate Oxycontin was first released on the market). Trump promised that the Justice Department would develop the most severe penalties for criminal drug traffickers, by which he meant foreigners. He argued that his proposed “Wall” (between the Mexican- US border) would cut the flow of drugs responsible for the ongoing addiction of millions of US citizens – as though the prescription opiate addiction epidemic resulted from a foreign invasion, and not corporate decisions from Big Pharma.

President Trump’s claim that 116 ‘drug deaths’ occur every day (42,000 a year) is a major underestimate. In 2017, alone over 64,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in official statistics (with many unreported cases signed off as natural or undetermined, especially in counties too poor to afford autopsies and expensive forensic toxicology). Another 4 million Americans, at least, are currently addicted to opioids and at risk for overdose.

In comparative terms, more American workers have been killed or devastated by narcotics (mostly via prescription) in 2017 alone, than in the entire decade of the Vietnam War with its 58,000 dead and 500,000 wounded. In 2017, 40,000 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents and another 39,000 by gun violence – and these statistics are not broken down to include vehicular accidents due to drug intoxication or gun violence over drugs. Prescription or illegal opiates, alone or mixed with other sedative drugs, like Valium, or alcohol, are the most prominent and preventable cause of premature death in the United States today.

This pattern is unique to the United States, where the irresponsible medical prescription of highly addicting narcotics has been the primary portal of entry into the degrading life of addiction for millions. Despite President Trump’s claims, the addiction crisis is not a product of urban Afro-American street dealers or Mexican narco-traffickers: This uniquely American crisis has been created and fueled by billionaire-owned US pharmaceutical corporations, which produced, distributed and wildly profited from legal narcotics. They were aided by the irresponsible prescription practice of tens of thousands of doctors and other ‘providers’ who introduced millions of vulnerable patients to the world of narcotic dependency – including youngsters with sports injuries and workers with job-related pain. These are physicians and medical providers who rarely stopped to examine their own responsibility, even when their otherwise healthy patients overdosed or were destroyed by addiction. It is especially outrageous that doctors and ‘Big Pharma’ worked hand in hand for over 20 years to create this epidemic, enjoying wild profits and almost total legal immunity. Few have dared to openly question their irresponsibility and greed. In the poorest and most vulnerable areas of this country, the most irresponsible and unaccountable incompetence has replaced real medical care and created a health care apartheid.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have protected the corporate drug traffickers and ensured the manicured and cultured narco-bosses the highest rates of return on their products. These polished pushers have their names engraved on the walls of museums and opera houses around the country.

The majority of Presidential, Federal, State and municipal candidates from both major parties have received millions of dollars in electoral campaign funds from these huge legal narcotic manufacturers and distributors, as well as from physicians and other representative of the ‘pain-treatment industry’. Over the past decades, politicians have openly or secretly opposed or weakened legislation designed to address this crisis.

Why not just ask President Trump to direct his Justice Department to impose the death penalty on the board of directors of the big corporate narcotic manufacturers or distributors or on the CEOs of major ‘pain clinics’ or on the owners of local rural ‘health centers’ that drove the villagers of West Virginia into their life-destroying downward spirals?

When will the DEA finally storm the medical centers to arrest the over-prescribing ‘providers’ of narcotics and benzodiazepine tranquilizers (a very common deadly combination)?

When will the SWAT teams seize the vacation homes of the CEOs of major US hospitals where the convenient and fake ideology of promising a ‘pain-free’ experience (‘make it Zero on the Pain Scale’) led to the generalized promotion of highly addicting narcotics for minor injuries, arthritic pain, or chronic back discomfort due to work or obesity? Responsible alternatives existed and were used in the rest of the world – largely untouched by this prescription-fueled crisis.

No doubt what President Trump has in mind is something else: the expulsion of Latin American workers under the pretext of going after the drug dealers and the even more massive incarceration of petty street dealers in the African American community.

Trump will then turn to further monitoring and arresting small-scale American marijuana farmers, who earn a basic income from growing a product that many believe is safe, non-addicting, and significantly reduces demand for dangerous narcotics.

As ugly as this all seems, the complicity of the political, economic and the medical elite in exponentially spreading deadly narcotics among the poor, working class and downwardly mobile middle class, points to a deeper and more sinister policy goal: the systematic elimination of millions of American workers made redundant in the new economy. This is a ‘gentler genocide’, where millions of workers die prematurely seeking an escape from pain as they have been replaced by a new technology and a new ideology: Robots, artificial intelligence and digitalization have rendered them disposable, while the out-sourcing of work to low paid overseas laborers and immigrants have guaranteed unimaginable profits for the elite decision makers.

This highly profitable process, benefiting the political, pharmaceutical, financial, police and judicial elites, conveniently blames the victims, a significant proportion of whom come from the poor and working class in this country, including white rural and small town addicts, especially youth, stuck at minimum wage jobs with no prospects of a decent future – injured construction workers, 15% of whom abuse prescription narcotics for work-related injuries, as well as the marginalized petty drug dealers from the urban slums and desperate Latino immigrants forced to accommodate the cartels. These people have little rights and are easily monitored, incarcerated, expelled and just written-off in one-line obituaries.

The narcotic-fueled genocide had grown out of a calculated corporate strategy meant to cull and subdue a huge population of potentially restive marginalized workers and their families, blaming the overdosing victims for their own ‘irresponsible’ choices, their reliance on prescription opiates, their lack of access to competent medical care, and their untimely deaths as though this were all a collective suicide as the great nation marches forward.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Drugs, Opioids, Oxytocin, Poverty, White Death 
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Introduction

US Presidents, European leaders and their academic spokespeople have attributed China’s growing market shares, trade surpluses and technological power to its “theft” of western technology, “unfair” or non-reciprocal trade and restrictive investment practices. President Trump has launched a ‘trade war’, – raising stiff tariffs, especially targeting Chinese exports – designed to pursue a protectionist economic regime.

The China-bashers of the western world ignore the developmental experiences of the past two hundred and fifty years, starting with the post-revolutionary United States policy of protecting ‘infant industries’.

In this essay we will proceed to criticize the model underlying the current western attack on China. We will then turn to outlining the experience of countries which overcame backwardness in the course of successfully industrializing their economies.

Development in Historical Perspective

Western ideologists claimed that ‘backward economies’ should follow a development path originally established by successful countries, namely the UK.

They argued that ‘stages of development’ begin by embracing liberal free market policies, specializing in their ‘comparative advantages’, namely exporting raw materials. Economic ‘modernization’ would lead, stage by stage to a mature high consumption society.

The advocates of the liberal stage theory dominated the economic departments of major US universities and served as the planning strategy advocated by US policy makers.

Early on, dissenting economic historians pointed out serious anomalies. For example the ‘early developers’ like the UK secured trade advantages, products of a world-wide empire which forced colonies to exporting raw materials under unfavorable terms of trade, an advantage which ‘later countries’ lacked.

Secondly the post-revolutionary US led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton successfully promoted protectionist industrial policies to protect US “infant industries” from the established UK Empire. The US civil war was fought precisely to prevent US plantation owners from linking their exports to British liberal free traders and manufacturers.

In the mid-19th and early 20th century, developing countries like Germany, Japan and Soviet Russia rejected the ideology of free trade and open markets in favor of state-centered protected industrialization. They succeeded in overcoming backwardness, competing and overtaking the ‘early developers’ like the UK.

In the post-World War 2 period, after unsuccessful attempts to follow the ‘western free market’ model, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia successfully pursued statist, protectionist export models of development.

Regions and countries which followed western free-market policies specializing in primary goods exports like Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Philippines failed to overcome stagnation and backwardness.

A leading economic historian Alexander Gerschenkron argued that economic backwardness provided emerging countries with certain strategic advantages which involved systematic substitution of imports by domestic industries leading to dynamic growth and subsequently competitive export strategies. (Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective: A Book of Essays)

The successful late developing countries borrowed and acquired the latest productive techniques while the early developed industrializer remained with the existing outmoded methods of production. In other words, the developing countries, guided by the state, ‘jumped’ stages of growth and surpassed their competitors.

China is a superb example of Gerschenkron’s model. Through state intervention, it overcame the constraints imposed by the monopoly controls of existing imperial countries and rapidly advanced through borrowing the most advanced technology and innovations and then moved on to become the most active filer of advanced patents in the world. In 2017 China surpassed the US filing 225 patents in 2017 while the US lagged behind with 91 (FT 3/16/18 p. 13).

An excellent example of China’s advances in technological innovation is the Huawei Group, which spent $13.8 billion on research and development in 2017 and plans to increase its annual R&D budget to $20 billion a year. Chinese companies will lead standard setting in next-generation technologies, including networking (FT 3/31/18 p 12). Washington’s resort to excluding China from US markets has nothing to do with China ‘stealing’ US patents and secrets and everything to do with Huawei’s R&D spending directed at obtaining talent, technology, equipment and international partnerships. The White House’s protectionist Sinophobia is driven by its fear of Chinese advances in fifth generation high-speed data networks, which are undermining the US ability to compete in cutting edge technology.

China’s competitive excellence was the result of the state’s systematic substitution of advanced technology, which allowed the economy to gradually liberalize and out-compete the US in global and domestic markets.

China has followed and exceeded the example of earlier late developing countries (Germany and Japan). It combined advanced industrial export growth as the leading sector with a relatively backward agricultural sector providing cheap labor and low-cost foodstuffs.

China is now moving up the development ladder, deepening its domestic market, advancing its high technology sector and gradually reducing the importance of the low value consumer and rust belt industries.

Cry-Baby Economies Revert to Protectionism

The US failure to compete with China and its resulting trade deficits are a result of its inability to incorporate new technologies ,apply them to domestic civilian production, increasing income and upgrading and incorporating the labor force into competitive sectors which could defend the domestic market.

The state has surrendered its leading role to the financial and military elites which eroded US industrial competitiveness. Moreover, unlike China the state has failed to provide leadership in identifying priority targets compatible with intensified competition from China.

While China exports economic products, the US exports arms and wars. The US has a surplus of arms exports and a growing commercial deficit.

China has multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments in over fifty countries that enhance trade surplus. The US has multi-billion-dollar expenditures in over 800 overseas military bases.

Conclusion

US charges that China has emerged as a world-economic power by unfair trade and theft of US technology ignores the entire history of all late developing countries, beginning with the US rise and eclipse of the UK during the 19th century.

The US attempt to turn back the clock to an earlier stage of protectionism will not raise US competitiveness nor increase its share of the domestic market.

US protectionism simply will result in higher prices, unskilled labor, war debts and financial monopolies. A US “trade war” will simply allow the Chinese state to divert trade from the US to other markets and re-direct its investments toward deepening its domestic economy, and increasing ties with Russia , Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceana.

The US ‘blame game’ with China is misplaced. Instead it should re-examine its reliance on a laissez faire economy with neither plan nor reason. Its resort to tariffs will increase costs without raising income and improving innovation.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: China, Donald Trump, Free Trade 
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Introduction

For the greater part of a decade the US, the UK and the EU have been carrying out a campaign to undermine and overthrow the Russia government and in particular to oust President Putin. Fundamental issues are at stake including the real possibility of a nuclear war.

The most recent western propaganda campaign and one of the most virulent is the charge launched by the UK regime of Prime Minister Theresa May. The Brits have claimed that Russian secret agents conspired to poison a former Russian double-agent and his daughter in England , threatening the sovereignty and safety of the British people. No evidence has ever been presented. Instead the UK expelled Russian diplomats and demands harsher sanctions, to increase tensions. The UK and its US and EU patrons are moving toward a break in relations and a military build-up.

A number of fundamental questions arise regarding the origins and growing intensity of this anti-Russian animus.

Why do the Western regimes now feel Russia is a greater threat then in the past? Do they believe Russia is more vulnerable to Western threats or attacks? Why do the Western military leaders seek to undermine Russia’s defenses? Do the US economic elites believe it is possible to provoke an economic crisis and the demise of President Putin’s government? What is the strategic goal of Western policymakers? Why has the UK regime taken the lead in the anti-Russian crusade via the fake toxin accusations at this time?

This paper is directed at providing key elements to address these questions.

The Historical Context for Western Aggression

Several fundamental historical factors dating back to the 1990’s account for the current surge in Western hostility to Russia.

First and foremost, during the 1990’s the US degraded Russia, reducing it to a vassal state, and imposing itself as a unipolar state.

Secondly, Western elites pillaged the Russian economy, seizing and laundering hundreds of billions of dollars. Wall Street and City of London banks and overseas tax havens were the main beneficiaries

Thirdly, the US seized and took control of the Russian electoral process, and secured the fraudulent “election” of Yeltsin.

Fourthly, the West degraded Russia’s military and scientific institutions and advanced their armed forces to Russia’s borders.

Fifthly, the West insured that Russia was unable to support its allies and independent governments throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Russia was unable to aid its allies in the Ukraine, Cuba, North Korea, Libya etc.

With the collapse of the Yeltsin regime and the election of President Putin, Russia regained its sovereignty, its economy recovered, its armed forces and scientific institutes were rebuilt and strengthened. Poverty was sharply reduced and Western backed gangster capitalists were constrained, jailed or fled mostly to the UK and the US.

Russia’s historic recovery under President Putin and its gradual international influence shattered US pretense to rule over unipolar world. Russia’s recovery and control of its economic resources lessened US dominance, especially of its oil and gas fields.

As Russia consolidated its sovereignty and advanced economically, socially, politically and militarily, the West increased its hostility in an effort to roll-back Russia to the Dark Ages of the 1990’s.

The US launched numerous coups and military intervention and fraudulent elections to surround and isolate Russia . The Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Russian allies in Central Asia were targeted. NATO military bases proliferated.

Russia’s economy was targeted: sanctions were directed at its imports and exports. President Putin was subject to a virulent Western media propaganda campaign. US NGO’s funded opposition parties and politicians.

The US-EU rollback campaign failed.

The encirclement campaign failed.

The Ukraine fragmented – Russia allies took control of the East; Crimea voted for unification with Russia. Syria joined with Russia to defeat armed US vassals. Russia turned to China’s multi-lateral trade, transport and financial networks.

As the entire US unipolar fantasy dissolved it provoked deep resentment, animosity and a systematic counter-attack. The US’s costly and failed war on terror became a dress rehearsal for the economic and ideological war against the Kremlin ..Russia’s historical recovery and defeat of Western rollback intensified the ideological and economic war.

The UK poison plot was concocted to heighten economic tensions and prepare the western public for heightened military confrontations.

Russia is not a threat to the West: it is recovering its sovereignty in order to further a multi-polar world. President Putin is not an “aggressor” but he refuses to allow Russia to return to vassalage.

President Putin is immensely popular in Russia and is hated by the US precisely because he is the opposite of Yeltsin – he has created a flourishing economy; he resists sanctions and defends Russia’s borders and allies.

Conclusion

In a summary response to the opening questions.

1) The Western regimes recognize that Russia is a threat to their global dominance; they know that Russia is no threat to invade the EU, North America or their vassals.

2) Western regimes believe they can topple Russia via economic warfare including sanctions. In fact Russia has become more self-reliant and has diversified its trading partners, especially China, and even including Saudi Arabia and other Western allies.

The Western propaganda campaign has failed to turn Russian voters against Putin. In the March 19, 2018 Presidential election voter participation increased to 67%. Vladimir Putin secured a record 77% majority. President Putin is politically stronger than ever.

Russia’s display of advanced nuclear and other advanced weaponry has had a major deterrent effect especially among US military leaders, making it clear that Russia is not vulnerable to attack.

The UK has attempted to unify and gain importance with the EU and the US via the launch of its anti-Russia toxic conspiracy. Prime Minister May has failed. Brexit will force the UK to break with the EU.

President Trump will not replace the EU as a substitute trading partner. While the EU and Washington may back the UK crusade against Russia they will pursue their own trade agenda; which do not include the UK.

In a word, the UK, the EU and the US are ganging-up on Russia, for diverse historic and contemporary reasons. The UK exploitation of the anti-Russian conspiracy is a temporary ploy to join the gang but will not change its inevitable global decline and the break-up of the UK.

Russia will remain a global power. It will continue under the leadership of President Putin .The Western powers will divide and bugger their neighbors – and decide it is their better judgment to accept and work within a multi-polar world.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Britain, EU, Russia 
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Every year over 30,000 Americans are killed by gunfire. Every month, in public schoolyards, dance clubs, concert venues, work places and public gatherings, innocent people are slaughtered by assassins wielding legally purchased high powered semi-automatic weapons. The National Rifle Association (NRA), a 3 million-member organization, supports and sponsors free and easy access to military-level weaponry. The vast majority of US legislators, Presidents and judges support the possession of the very weapons responsible for massacres.

The question is why does the US political system bemoan the frequent occurrence of mass shootings, and yet turn around and endorse the political process that makes these killings possible? The size, scope and duration of massacres requires that we examine the large-scale, long-term systemic features of the US political economy.

The Politics of Wars: Massacres Abroad as ‘All American’ Heroism

The US government has engaged in multiple bloody wars where it has massacred millions of civilians – including whole families in their homes – representing no conceivable threat to the American people. The wars feature the success of destruction and death as a means to advance US political programs. War criminals are honored. Domestic political conflicts and social problems are resolved by destroying invented adversaries and entire nations.

In a political economy where overseas massacres are perpetrated by democratically elected leaders, who is to question the behavior of ‘a neighborhood sociopath’ who is merely following the practices of his president? This should surprise no one: Wholesale massacres abroad, fostered by our leaders, are reflected in the domestic retail massacre unleashed by the local ‘nutcase’.

The Mass Media: Weapons Talk, Killings Resolve and the Media Profit

Everyday, at every hour, on every media outlet, guns and slaughter dominate the minds, thoughts and fantasies (or nightmares) of viewers, especially the millions who absorb ‘the message’. Films, TV programs and computer games are saturated with conflicts resolved by guns, killing victims – whether police or civilians. Problems are solved through violence.

The message of the mass media is that victories come from mass killings.

Wars and killings are portrayed in a wide variety of settings: Homes, public buildings, public schools, workplaces, streets and plazas.

If wars and massacres are essential in this political system, the mass media ensures that it permeates and normalizes in the minds of the masses.

Economy

Weapons, used in massacres, represent a very lucrative business: The manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, gun clubs, and police and military institutions all thrive in this free marketplace of murder. The arms industry thrives on wars and media messages – and mass consumption. Political leaders rely on the gun economy to finance their election campaigns. Politicians approve of wars, gun industries and associations. They perpetuate the conditions for massacres. Big business is protected from massacres at home, school and play. Why would the CEO’s and political elites worry about public school massacres when their own children are safe in expensive private schools? After all, votes and profits are at stake. Only ‘losers’ send their children to dangerous public schools. The ‘winners’ have safe alternative…

Alternatives

To confront the epidemic numbers of mass shootings, changes in the political economy are essential.

1. Replace the policies of imperial wars with the promotion of diplomacy, negotiations and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

2. Replace the mass media gun culture with cultural values of solidarity and safe, publicly engaged communities.

3. Replace the mania to possess military-level weapons among civilians with a vision of one’s life built around a healthy environment shared among socially engaged neighbors.

4. Outlaw or regulate gun clubs and militias – abolish the sale of military-level weapons used in these massacres. Guns used for marksmanship and hunting are separate from the weapons of war used to slaughter dozens of small children huddled in their classroom.

Fake and Positive Approaches to Massacres

President Trump proposed to arm school teachers as a ‘solution’ to school massacres. This is a bizarre alternative that will only exacerbate the spread of weapons, encourage more shooting and massacres, undermine the role of teachers as educators and create new ‘role models’ for would-be assassins. Trump’s proposal also underscores his administration’s profound contempt for the role of public education and public educators in building a healthy society. His tendency to blame the victims…’if only the teachers were armed…’ shows the grotesque Social Darwinism inherent in his ideology as he seeks to utterly destroy the public sector. The children of the elite and politicians do not have to attend their French or calculus classes taught by armed teachers. According to the logic of Trump and the political and business elite, armed shootouts in the public school class rooms merely underscore the need to dissolve the Departments of Education at all levels, as well as all public services in this nation.

Teachers should be able to focus their work on educating students to become productive, competent citizens who prize community and cooperation over weapons and war. They should graduate students who can critically evaluate the role of the mass media in promoting violence. They should provide their students with the civic skills to mobilize against political leaders who have accepted bribes (‘donations’) from death cults, like the NRA.

Community organizers can boycott businesses that provide political and material support to the war mongers, militias and other gun-toting extremists to stop the violence.

National legislation should be passed, limiting firearms to very specific areas and events, like shooting clubs or hunting.

Individual gun owners should be licensed based on strict psychological criteria and renewal of license should be frequent. The US military must inform local civilian authorities of any criminal violent behavior of its discharged soldiers; they cannot just release a ‘ticking time bomb’ into the civilian population they are sworn to protect. Mental illness is a public health issue and public funds for hospitals and facilities to identify and treat individuals should be increased. The mentally ill should not be warehoused in and out of the jails or dumped on the streets.

Gun dealers and gun shows should be regulated and forced to follow procedures or face penalties.

Hunters should use weapons appropriate to the game they are shooting. Semi-automatic firearms are not appropriate for hunting deer, rabbits or turkey. Semi-automatic weapons are used for hunting and killing human beings, including unarmed children in their classrooms.

Conclusion

Cultural, political and economic changes can take place over time but require mass sustained struggles. In the meantime, short term reforms that regulate and reduce the frequency and fatality of local massacres should be implemented.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Gun Control 
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The US empire spans the globe; it expands and contracts, according to its ability to secure strategic assets, willing and able to further military and economic power to counter emerging adversaries.

The map of empire is a shorthand measure of the vectors, reach and durability of global power and wealth. The map of empire is changing — adding and subtracting assets and liabilities, according to the successes and retreats of domestic and overseas power centers. While the US empire has been engaged in intense conflicts in the Middle East, the imperial map has been enlarged elsewhere at lower cost and greater success.

Enlarging the Empire

The US empire has substantially increased its scope and presence in several regions, especially in Latin America. The additions and enlargements include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Central America, Peru and the Caribbean. The most important asset redrawing the empire in Latin America is Argentina. The US has gained military, economic and political advantages. In the case of Argentina, political and economic advances preceded military expansion.

The US provided ideological and political support to secure the election of its client Mauricio Macri. The new Argentine President immediately transferred over $5 billion dollars to the notorious Wall Street Vulture speculator, Paul Singer, and proceeded to open the floodgates for a lucrative multi-billion dollar flow of financial capital. President Macri then followed up by inviting the Pentagon and US intelligence services to establish military bases, spy stations and training operations along its borders. Equally important, Argentina embraced the US directives designed to overthrow the government of Venezuela, undermine Bolivia’s nationalist government under Evo Morales and pursue a policy of US-centered regional integration.

Argentina: A Client without an Economic Patron

While Argentina is a useful political and military addition to the US empire, it lacks access to the US market — it still depends on China – and has failed to secure a strategic trade agreement with the European Union. Washington has enlarged its military presence with a one-legged client.

Colombia and Mexico, long time US client states, have provided springboards for enlarging US influence in Central America, the Andean region and the Caribbean. In the case of Colombia, the US has financed its war of extermination against anti-imperialist insurgents and their peasant and working class supporters and secured seven military bases as launch pads for Washington’s destabilization campaign against Venezuela.

Mexico has served a multitude of military and economic functions – from billion dollar manufacturing platforms to multi-billion dollar laundering of narco-profits to US banks.

Brazil is the new addition to the empire with the ousting and arrest of the leaders of the Workers Party. The shift in political and economic power has enhanced US influence through its leverage over the wealthiest country in the continent. In sum,the US has enlarged imperial influence and control via its acquisition of Latin America. There is one caveat: At least in the cases of Brazil and Argentina, the US advance is tentative and subject to reversal, as it lacks firm economic and political foundations.

If Latin America reflects an enlargement and upsurge of US imperial influence, the rest of the global map is mostly negative or at best contradictory.

The empire-building mission has failed to gain ground in Northeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. In Europe, the US retains influence but it appears to face obstacles to enlarging its presence.

The key to the enlargement or decline of empire revolves around the performance of the US domestic economy.

Imperial Decline: China

The determination of the US in remapping the global empire is most evident in Asia. The most notable shift in US political and economic relations in the region has taken place with China’s displacement of the US as the dominant investment, trading infrastructure building and lending country in the region. Moreover, China has increased its role as the leading exporter to the US, accumulating trade surpluses of hundreds of billions of dollars each year. In 2017, China’s trade surplus reached $375 billion dollars.

Against the relative economic decline of the US, Washington has compensated by widening the scope of its maritime-military presence in the South China Sea, and increased its air and ground forces in South Korea, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and Guam. As to how the bolstering of the US military presence affects the US ‘re-mapping’ of its imperial presence, it depends on the dynamics of the US domestic economy and its ability to retain its existing principal military clients – South Korea, Japan, Australia and the Philippines. Recent evidence suggest that South Korea shows signs of slipping outside of the US economic and military orbit. Seoul has trade issues with the US ‘protectionist agenda’ and opportunities to expand its trading links with China. Equally important, South Korea has moved toward reconciliation with North Korea, and downgraded the US military escalation. As goes South Korea, so goes the US military power base in northern Asia.

The US military strategy is premised on sustaining and expanding its client network. However, its protectionist policies led to the rejection of a multi-lateral trade agreement, which erodes its economic ties with existing or potential military partners. In contrast to Latin America, the US remaking of the imperial map has led to economic shrinkage and military isolation in Asia. US military escalation has poured even more deadly strategic US arms into the region, but failed to intimidate or isolate China or North Korea.

Re-mapping the Middle East

The US has spent several trillion dollars over the past two decades in the Middle East , North Africa and West Asia. US Intervention from Libya and Southern Sudan, Somalia, across to Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan has resulted in enormous costs and dubious advances. The results are meagre except in terms of suffering. The US has spread chaos and destruction throughout Libya and Syria, but failed to incorporate either into an enlarged empire. The Middle East wars, initiated at the behest of Israel, have rewarded Tel Aviv with a sense of invulnerability and a thirst for more, while multiplying and unifying US adversaries.

Empires are not effectively enlarged through alliances with with armed tribal, sectarian and separatist organizations. Empires, allied with disparate, fractured and self-aggrandizing entities do not expand or strengthen their global powers.

The US has waged war against Libya and lost the political leverage and economic resources it enjoyed during the Gaddafi regime. It intervened in Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, and has gained enclaves of warring self-serving ‘separatists’ and subsidized mercenaries. Afghanistan, the US’s longest war in history, is an unmitigated military disaster. After seventeen years of warfare and occupation, the US is holed up in the walled enclaves of the capital, Kabul. Meanwhile, the puppet regime feeds on multi-billion dollar monthly subsidies.

Iraq is a ‘shared’ imperial outpost — the result of fifteen years of military intervention. Kurdish clients, Sunni-Saudi warlords, Shia militia, Baghdad kleptocrats and US contractor-mercenaries all compete for control and a larger piece of the pillage. Every square meter of contested ‘terrain has cost the US five hundred million dollars and scores of casualties.

 
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Few government organizations have been engaged in violation of the US citizens’ constitutional rights for as long a time and against as many individuals as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Seldom has there been greater collusion in the perpetration of crimes against civil liberties, electoral freedom and free and lawful expression as what has taken place between the FBI and the US Justice Department.

In the past, the FBI and Justice Department secured the enthusiastic support and public acclaim from the conservative members of the US Congress, members of the judiciary at all levels and the mass media. The leading liberal voices, public figures, educators, intellectuals and progressive dissenters opposing the FBI and their witch-hunting tactics were all from the left. Today, the right and the left have changed places: The most powerful voices endorsing the FBI and the Justice Department’s fabrications, and abuse of constitutional rights are on the left, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and famous liberal media corporations and public opinion makers.

The recently published Congressional memo, authored by Congressman Devin Nunes, provides ample proof that the FBI spied on Trump campaign workers with the intent to undermine the Republican candidate and sabotage his bid for the presidency. Private sector investigators, hired by Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, worked with pro-Clinton operatives within the FBI and Justice Department to violate the national electoral process while flouting rules governing wiretaps on US citizens. This was done with the approval of the sitting Democratic President Barack Obama.

The liberals and Democrats and their allies in the FBI, political police and other elements of the security state apparatus were deeply involved in an attempt to implicate Russian government officials in a plot to manipulate US public opinion on Trump’s behalf and corrupt the outcome of the election. However, the FBI, the Justice Department and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have produced no evidence of collusion linking the Russian government to a campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in favor of Trump. This is despite thousands of interviews and threats of long prison sentences against former Trump campaign advisers. Instead, they focus their attack on Trump’s early campaign promise to find common ground in improving economic and diplomatic ties between the US and Russia, especially in confronting jihadi terrorists.

The liberal-progressive FBI cohort turned into rabid Russia-bashers demanding that Trump take a highly aggressive stance against Moscow, while systematically eliminating his military and security advisors who expressed anti-confrontation sentiments. In the spirit of a Joe McCarthy, the liberal-left launched hysterical attacks on any and every Trump campaign adviser who had spoken to, dined with or exchanged eyebrows with any and all Russians!

The conversion of liberalism to the pursuit of political purges is unprecedented. Their collective amnesia about the long-term, large-scale involvement by the FBI in the worst criminal violations of democratic values is reprehensible. The FBI’s anti-communist crusade led to the purge of thousands of trade unionists from the mid-1940’s onward, decimating the AFL-CIO. They blacklisted actors, screen writers, artists, teachers, university academics, researchers, scientists, journalists and civil rights leaders as part of their sweeping purge of civil society.

The FBI investigated the private lives of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, even threatening their family members. They illegally spied on and infiltrated civil liberties organizations, and used provocateurs and spies in anti-war groups. Individuals lives were destroyed, some were driven to suicide; important popular American organizations were undermined to the detriment of millions. This has been its focus since its beginning and continues with the current fabrication of anti-Russian propaganda and investigations.

President Trump: Victim and Executor

President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale. Trump’s violation of international law includes collaboration and support for Saudi Arabia’s tyrannical invasion and destruction of the sovereign nation of Yemen; intensified aid and support for Israel’s ethnic war against the Palestinian people; severe sanctions and threatened nuclear first-strike against North Korea (DPRK); increased deployment of US special forces in collaboration with the jihadi terrorist war to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria; coup-mongering, sabotage, sanctions and economic blockade of Venezuela; NATO missile and nuclear encirclement of Russia; and the growing naval threats against China.

Domestically, Trump’s response to the FBI’s blackmail has been to replace the original political leadership with his own version; to expand and increase the police state powers against immigrants; to increase the powers of the major tech companies to police and intensify work-place exploitation and the invasion of citizens’ privacy; to expand the unleash the power of state agents to torture suspects and to saturate all public events, celebrations and activities with open displays of jingoism and militarism with the goal of creating pro-war public opinion.

In a word: From the right to the left there are no political options to choose from among the two ruling political parties. Popular political movements and mass demonstrations have risen up against Trump with clear justification, but have since dissolved and been absorbed. They came together from diverse sectors: Women against sexual abuse and workplace humiliation; African-Americans against police impunity and violence; and immigrants against mass expulsion and harassment. They staged mass demonstrations and then declined as their ‘anti-Trump’ animus was frustrated by the liberal-democrats hell-bent on pursuing the Russian connection.

In the face of the national-political debacle local and regional movements became the vehicle to support the struggles. Women organized at some workplaces and gained better protection of their rights; African-Americans vividly documented and published video evidence of the systematic brutal violation of their rights by the police state and effectively acted to restrain local police violence in a few localities; immigrant workers and especially their children gained broad public sympathy and allies within religious and political organizations; and anti-Trump movements combined with critics of the liberal/democrat apparatus to build broader movements and especially oppose growing war-fever.

Abroad, bi-partisan wars have failed to defeat independent state and mass popular resistance struggles for national sovereignty everywhere – from North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela and beyond.

Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, FBI 
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The public denunciation by thousands of women and a few men that they had been victims of sexual abuse by their economic bosses raises fundamental issues about the social relations of American capitalism.

The moral offenses are in essence economic and social crimes. Sexual abuse is only one aspect of the social dynamics facilitating the increase in inequality and concentration of wealth, which define the practices and values of the American political and economic system.

Billionaires and mega-millionaires are themselves the products of intense exploitation of tens of millions of isolated and unorganized wage and salaried workers. Capitalist exploitation is based on a rigid hierarchy with its private prerogatives, which enables the oligarchs to demand their feudal privileges, their seigniorial sexual predations.

US capitalism thrives on and requires unlimited power and the capacity to have the public treasury pay for its untrammeled pillage of land, labor, transport systems and technological development. Capitalist power, in the United States, has no counterpart; there are few if any countervailing forces to provide any balance.

Today, 93% of US private sector workers have no organized representation. Moreover, many of the 7% who are in unions are controlled and exploited by their corrupt union officials – in league with the bosses.

This concentration of power produces the ever deepening inequalities between the world of the billionaires and the millions of low-wage workers.

The much-celebrated technological innovations have been subsidized by the state and its educational and research institutions. Although these are financed by the taxpayers, the citizen-workers are marginalized by the technological changes, like robotics, that they originally funded. High tech innovations flourish because they concentrate power, profits and private privilege.

The hierarchical matrix of power and exploitation has led to the polarization of mortality rates and moral codes. For the working poor, the absence of competent health care has led to the massive use and abuse of prescription opioids and other addictive drugs. For the upper class, it has led to the flagrant physical and psychological abuse of vulnerable employees, especially, but not exclusively young working women. The prestigious bourgeois media blur the class polarization by constant reference to what they term ‘our shared traditional democratic values.’

The pervasive and growing vulnerability of workers of both sexes coincides with the incorporation of the latest technological innovations in production, distribution and promotion. This includes electronic and digital advances, artificial intelligence, robotics and extensive surveillance on workers, which incorporate high profits for the investors and long hours of demeaning monotonous work for those who manufacture and transport the ‘products’.

The proliferation of new technology has grown in direct relation with the abject debasement of labor and the marginalization and trivialization of workers. Amazon and Walmart approach trillions of dollars in revenue from mass consumption, even as the Chaplinesque speed-up of robotized humans race to fill the overnight delivery orders. The entertainment industry amuses the population across class lines with increasingly vulgar and violent offerings, while the moguls of film entertain themselves with their young workers – who are depersonalized and even raped.

The more egregious immorality exposes itself one time too often and is condemned, while the victims are temporality lionized for their courage to protest. The worst predators apologize, resign to their yachts and mansions and are replaced by new avatars with the same power and structures in place which had facilitated the abuse. Politicians rush to embrace the victims in a kind of political and media ‘Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy’ when one considers their own role as enablers of this dehumanization.

The problem is not merely corrupt and perverted individual miscreants: It is the hierarchy of inequality which produces and reproduces an endless supply of vulnerable workers to exploit and abuse.

The most advanced forms of entertainment thrive in an environment of absolute impunity in which the occasional exposé of abuse or corruption is hidden behind a monetary settlement. The courage of an individual victim able to secure public attention is a step forward, but will have greater significance if it is organized and linked to a massive challenging of the power of the bourgeois entertainment industry and the system of high tech exploitation. Sexual abuse of an individual in the workplace is just part of a chain that begins with exploitation of workers in general and can only be stopped through collective worker organization.

Can anyone say with a straight face that the US remains a nation of free and autonomous citizens? Servitude and moral degradation are the outcome of an atomized, impotent laboring class who may change one boss for another or one vulgar president for a moralizing hypocrite. We hope that the exposés will start something but without class conscious organizations we don’t know what will arise.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Capitalism, Inequality, Working Class 
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The prophets and forecasters for the coming year have already set out their global vision ranging from rising economies to catastrophic global wars.

I want to argue from a different perspective, focusing on the increasing subdivision of markets, the deepening autonomy of political action from economic development, the greater threat of military interventions and increasing political accommodation. I believe that we will experience a radical making and remaking of political and economic integration, East and West, within and without nation states. ‘States Rights’ will re-emerge as an antidote to globalization. Big countries will compete in regional wars with limited commitments but with global goals.

Catastrophic developments are unlikely but radical incremental changes will be frequent and have cumulative consequences.

To understand these important trends, it is important to analyze and discuss the major national actors in this panorama – starting with the United States.

Trends in the US

The present and near future of the US is and is not about the Trump Presidency and its domestic opposition.

The struggles between the Congress and the President have not produced major changes in the global position of the United States. The US continues to impose sanctions on Russia, Iran and Venezuela. Its trade with China grows. The military exercises and threats against North Korea raise the specter of nuclear war. In other words, incremental and inconsequential activity accompany the fiery rhetoric. Corporate economic policies benefit from the state’s largesse, but are divorced from everyday politics. What is most significant, ‘markets’ have fragmented or disconnected: Stocks rise, but productivity stagnates. Corporate debt skyrockets, but high tech profits boom. Exports and imports move in opposite directions. Jobs increase and wages decrease.

There are one, two, many markets, each operating on similar principles, all deepening the concentration of wealth and the interlock of corporate directorates.

Just as there are several markets, there are multiple centers of political leadership. Specifically, the US is a multi-polar ‘Presidency’. For all the talk about ‘Trump’, policy and strategy are defined, promoted and opposed in many centers of decision making. In general terms, the intelligence, military, media, financial, legislative, trade and international policy elites are mired in rivalries as well as temporary alliances, making strange bed-fellows. Moreover, new international power configurations have entered and appropriated positions of power.

Rulership

Who rules America? This question should be rephrased to take into account the plurality of authoritarian self-serving elites totally divorced from the majority of the manipulated public.

Nominal ‘President’ Trump shifts foreign policy decisions according to the interests of multiple domestic and overseas power centers. Trump argues against and is opposed to multilateral trade agreements while favoring unilateral, US-centered pacts. Despite his rhetoric, nothing of the sort has emerged. Trade with Asia, Europe and Latin America has increased. China, Japan, India, Germany, Korea, Canada and Mexico remain centers for US exports and imports. Bankers, multinational corporations, Silicon Valley billionaires continue to over-ride Trump’s stated agenda.

Trump argued for reconciliation with Russia and was threatened with impeachment. The Congress, the intelligence agencies, the legislature and NATO contradict, reverse and redirect the US both toward and away from nuclear confrontations.

Trump proposes to renegotiate trade with Asia, particularly with South Korea, Japan and China. Instead, the Pentagon, the media, the neo-cons and the Japanese militarist elite dictate nuclear confrontation with North Korea and threats against China. (Japan’s Prime Minister Abe is the grandson of the ‘Butcher of Manchuria’ Kishi Nobusuke.) The business, financial and Silicon Valley elite challenge the ‘America First’ ideologues, the Pentagon and local US manufacturers over China. Meanwhile thousands of container ships carry raw materials and merchandise between China and the US, their captains waving to the handful of US warships patrolling a few piles of rocks in the South China Seas.

Trump flourishes his threats against the European Union and the World Trade Organization and then hops on his jet to Davos to socialize with the German, French, British and American ‘Free-Traders’.

The big decisions are the non-decisions. The continuities of policies and the elites, at best simply deepening the prior policies that promote financial markets, depress wages and multiply local wars and military confrontations. The decisive decisions of 2018 are those which are not made by Trump, but by his allies and adversaries at home and abroad.

Trump’s Marginal America First

A close-up of the marginal decision-making, bypassing Washington would include: the North-South Korea conciliation; Russia-China agreement over US sanctions; Israel’s overt power grab against the Palestinians; Iran’s challenge to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and the Pakistan-Taliban ‘covert’ alliance.

Washington’s marginalization is evident in the economic spheres. The US stock market booms but productivity declines; profits surge but worker life expectancy drops; immense concentration of wealth parallels a rise in maternal and infant mortality; American youth have the highest chance of dying before adulthood among all industrialized countries. Mortality has replaced mobility.

Washington is the center of intense warfare over inconsequential issues.

Beyond US marginalization, new regional power centers have emerged and successfully annihilated or neutralized US clients. Turkey is a striking example. Ankara has attacked and undermined the Pentagon’s plans for an armed Kurdish client force controlling Northern Syria. Iraq has over-run the US-Israeli backed Kurdish militias under the Barzani warlords in Kirkuk. The Taliban are moving from the Afghan countryside and mountains and staging almost daily uprisings in the urban centers and capital Kabul. The Venezuelan government has effectively defeated the US-backed uprisings in Caracas and other cities. The US puppet regime in Kiev has failed to conquer the ethnic Russian separatist enclaves in the Donbas region where a de facto government operates with Russian support.

Let us recognize that marginality, retreats and defeats do not spell the ‘end of Empire’; but let us also admit that the competing sectors of the US economy (stocks, bonds, technology and profits) are in a dynamic phase, even if they are heading for a major correction. The probable reason is because the economy operates independent of the political system, the turmoil in Washington and the US marginality abroad. The mass media-propagates domestic partisan conflicts thru scandal-mongering. Its vision of an impending collapse and demise of Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China have not a whisper of influence on the real dynamics of global market forces. China grows by 7% and all the major US-EU economic players from Airbus to Amazon, fight to join Beijing’s multi-polar markets. Markets ignore, if not flourish with, government shutdowns. Markets ignore the latest eruptions from the Pentagon, ‘The New Military Strategy’ against China and Russia. South Korean businesses embrace US markets while seeking to secure access to North Korea’s skilled labor force.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Donald Trump, Globalization 
James Petras
About James Petras

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.


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