Posted by Pamela Richard · February 05, 2021 1:56 PM
CUBA WHEREAS, the 60-year-old US economic blockade of Cuba is the longest and most severe set of sanctions ever imposed on any country, its purpose being to “bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of the government” of Cuba (US GAO report of November 2007); and WHEREAS, this policy of hostility has provided no benefits to the people of the US and has cruelly impacted the standard of living of the 11.3 million Afro-Latinx people of Cuba; and WHEREAS, in spite of the US sanctions, which were made even more severe during the Trump administration, Cuba has conducted an impressive campaign against the COVID pandemic both at home and abroad; and WHEREAS, the United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world—26.5 million infected, with deaths of over 447,000; and WHEREAS, in the U.S. the deaths fall disproportionately on Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities, elders, and workers, especially those deemed essential, and their families; and WHEREAS, Cuba, with a population of 11.3 million, has had a total of 27,600 cases and only 216 deaths; and WHEREAS, Cuba has sent medical teams of about 4,000 to 40 different countries to assist local healthcare providers in fighting COVID, and has been recognized internationally for these efforts; and WHEREAS, Cuba offers treatment regimens and immune boosters for patients plus prevention protocols for health workers. The US has had more than 1,700 health worker deaths, while within Cuba, no health care worker has died after being infected by a patient with Covid-19; and WHEREAS, worldwide, 80% of COVID-19 patients in critical condition are dying, and by contrast, in Cuba, 80% of patients in critical condition are now being saved due to new treatments developed in Cuba; and WHEREAS, the US blockade not only denies people in the US access to these Cuban medical advances, it also impedes Cuba’s access to the materials it needs to make the equipment and medicines it is using to fight COVID; and WHEREAS, resolutions calling for collaborations with Cuba have been introduced or passed in cities including San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, and Berkeley, California, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chicago, Illinois; states including Minnesota; and labor unions including the Washington State Labor Council, MLK Labor Council, and Sacramento Central Labor Council with many more resolutions in the pipeline; and WHEREAS, the easing of restrictions during the Obama administration resulted in successful medical collaborations between Cuba's Center for Molecular Immunology and
Buffalo's RoswellPark Comprehensive Cancer Center regarding the Cuban lung cancer vaccine CIMAvax, as well as between Cuba and the University of Illinois Chicago regarding infant mortality; and WHEREAS, in 2015 the World Health Organization recognized Cuba as a worldwide leader in biotechnology for its significant contributions such as the treatment that prevents 77% of diabetic amputations; WHEREAS, people in the United States would benefit from Cuban bio-technical, medical, and public health expertise during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond; NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we urge the U.S. Congress and President Biden to suspend U.S. economic and travel sanctions against Cuba and to lift restrictions on access to Cuban medical expertise and treatments in order to more effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the federal government to cease ongoing measures that deter Cuba from importing medical equipment and medicines to confront COVID- 19 and to cease all attempts to stop other countries from accepting Cuban medical assistance.
“But where will you get the money?” is usually a right-wing question, completely forbidden during all discussions of the military and corporate bailouts and fossil-fuel subsidies and prison-building rampages, yet somehow immediately front-and-center with the pretense that it was always there whenever something good is proposed. “We have always been at war with East-Asia, er, with the Deficit.”
Biden’s new spending proposal (details here, rhetoric here) involves $1.9 trillion in immediate new spending. One of its best parts, the achievement of endless activism by working people, costs the U.S. government approximately $0. It’s the partial restoration of lost value to the minimum wage, moving it to $15 per hour. Other major parts cost money much or all of which wouldn’t be needed if the U.S. government would join those many nations that have relatively successful healthcare systems that cost less by eliminating the insurance profiteers. Single-payer / Medicare For All / several-other-names-that-won’t-make-it-happen-through-the-magic-power-of-naming, is as critical a demand as that for a $15 minimum wage, but still a work in progress.
Biden proposes, not monthly $2000 checks, but one-time $1400 checks, plus major spending on vaccinations, nutrition, rental assistance, businesses, first-responders, childcare, etc. His plan could be better in many ways. But I suspect a lot of people are just happy it says nothing of banning Muslims or walling off Mexicans or putting children in cages or inciting thugs to beat-up protesters and promising to pay their legal bills. The I’m-Not-Trump glow is at full-charge. But the Howyagonnapayforit chorus is inhaling, getting ready to sing.
The question asked by that chorus is asked in bad faith, but it is a question that it is nonetheless important to answer, and to not allow that chorus to answer in the way it chooses. The answer must not be “There is no money,” because the United States is rolling in money. The answer must not be “Squeeze it out of poor people.” But what should the answer be?
Biden’s plan says nothing about how to pay for it. His speech says this: “And where we are making permanent investments as I said on the campaign, we will pay for them by making sure that everyone pays their fair share in taxes. We can do it without punishing anyone by closing tax loopholes for companies that ship American jobs overseas or that allow American companies to pay zero in federal income taxes.”
So, how will he propose to pay for the bits of his plan that are not “permanent investments”? How many years of “permanent” closing of this particular tax loophole will it take to pay for the bits that are “permanent investments”? How will the U.S. government pay for other big spending needs during those years? What about raising taxes on the mega-wealthy in general, as also promised “on the campaign”? The fact is that, though it goes unmentioned in his plan and in his speech, what the Biden campaign is telling journalists who ask for details is that they’ll just pay for things by borrowing money and going deeper into dept.
Going deeper into debt is not a sin, not a simple mistake, and not something the U.S. government doesn’t always do — and do principally during Republican presidencies when nobody hears any complaints about it in the media. Money is not in finite supply. The Federal Reserve invents more of it when it wants to. But there are some problems with going into debt, including: (1) it costs a lot more than they tell us, because of interest, (2) it’s harder to pass through Congress, (3) it further empowers the people who loan the money, and especially (4) it creates a major lost opportunity to move funding out of places where it shouldn’t be into places where it should be. It fuels the “big government” vs “small government” debate, displacing the badly needed “what kind of government” debate.
The better course is not simply taxing the rich and corporations, wealth and financial transactions. That all needs to be done, as a good in itself, as a step away from oligarchy and monopoly. But it’s not enough, not if the U.S. government funnels much of what it taxes back into the oligarchy through corporate subsidies and spending on destructive, deadly programs, even programs risking environmental and/or nuclear apocalypse, but programs that further enrich the rich.
Biden wants to spend $1.9 trillion as a first step, to be followed by other possibly larger steps. The federal discretionary budget looks like this. Setting aside mandatory spending required by law, such as spending Social Security money on Social Security and paying the interest on past spending sprees, the money that Congress decides on each year is currently spent as follows:
$741 billion on Military.
$595 billion on Education plus Medicare and Healthcare plus Housing and Community plus Veterans Benefits plus Energy plus Environment plus Science plus Social Security plus Unemployment plus Labor plus Food plus Agriculture plus Transportation plus International Affairs plus every tiny program too small to show up on a pie chart but dominant in media coverage of government spending.
$1,900 billion on Biden’s new plan,
is a major addition. So will be his next proposal. So will be a Green New Deal.
Shifting from war industries and environmentally destructive industries (the two overlap heavily) leads to major savings on healthcare and environmental cleanup and assistance to refugees and the supposed need for yet more wars, etc. It is also the key to immediate funding.
What’s missing from Biden’s proposal and the reporting around it is that little item in the federal budget that sucks down $741 billion every year. That’s treating Veterans benefits as non-military, nuclear weapons as “energy,” the State Department as independent of the Pentagon, the secret alphabet spying and coup-instigating and drone-murdering agencies as separate, Homeland Security as having something to do with home economics, etc. The full cost of militarism is well over $1 trillion every year. The “militarized budget” including all militarized activities and costs is 64% of discretionary spending.
That spending is immoral, counterproductive, environmentally destructive, eroding of liberties, fueling bigotry, economically destructive, and politically unpopular. It’s also “permanent.” The $4 trillion piled up by U.S. billionaires must be taken away from them, but cannot be taken away from them more than once. The $4 trillion spent on militarism every 4 years is spent on it again the next 4 years. If you move 10% of military spending to human and environmental needs every year, you get $100 billion the first year and every subsequent year. So, the second year you have $200 billion to put to good use that year and every subsequent year. After decades of watching military spending increases increase wars, rather than somehow prevent them, and understanding that the spending itself has killed far more people than the wars, and seeing how much good just not spending dollars on the military does for the environment and the economy and transparent government, never mind the good that can be accomplished by redirecting those funds to positive actions, we have a responsibility when it comes to spending money to take at least some of that money out of the military.
The United States is rolling in money. Much of it is in the hands of the super-wealthy, much of it in the hands of the weapons makers (two groups with a lot of overlap). The savings involved in redirecting money to peaceful purposes is so huge that not one single person has to suffer in the process. Central to any decent “rescue plan” or demilitarized Green New Deal or conversion to sustainable peaceful practices should be a commitment that not one single person be harmed, that no one lack anything they need to transition to new employment which they approve of at least as much as they liked their old jobs destroying the earth or distant dark-skinned children.
Pandemic rescues, economic rescues, and Green New Deals should not fail to draw on the plans and successes and scholarship that has for decades been poured into the project of conversion to peaceful industries. Congress Members elected to finally represent their constituents, and a Progressive Caucus finally claiming it will use its power, and a Military Spending Reduction Caucus finally being formed, should not fail to make clear to President-Elect Biden that only a commitment to take 10% of military spending and put it to good use will get his spending plans through Congress.
Posted by Pamela Richard · January 12, 2021 11:58 AM
NATIVE AMERICAN NEWS!
“Back 40” Sulfide Mine Permit Denied: “A Win for Wetlands” MARQUETTE, MI – Regional environmental groups are celebrating the news that a disputed Wetlands Permit for Aquila Resources’ Back Forty sulfide mine has been denied by a Michigan Administrative Law Judge, concluding a two year review of the contested case. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (now the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) sparked controversy when it approved Aquila’s Wetlands Permit in 2018, over the objections of regulatory staff who were prepared to deny the permit.
The permit was contested by multiple petitioners, including an adjacent landowner, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, represented by Earthjustice attorneys, and the grassroots Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River. According toEarthjusticeattorney Janette Brimmer, Aquila “refused to provide all of the information the state needed to determine the full environmental impacts the mine will have on the Menominee River and the surrounding area.”
YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Join UPEC's upcoming Livestream Event "A WIN FOR WETLANDS" to learn more about this important environmental legal decision. "A WIN FOR WETLANDS" will offer a panel discussion featuring Al Gedicks of theWisconsin Resources Protection Council,Dale Burie of theCoalition to Save the Menominee,Guy Reiter ofMenikanaehkem,and Kathleen Heideman of theMining Action Group.
The event will take place on Thursday, January 14, 2020, at 7 pm EST, livestreamed via Facebook and Zoom. Connect using these links:
Peace Action WI member, Sarah Little Redfeather, left, protesting Line 3 Tar SandsPipelineFirst day of Kwanzaa. Join us!
DECEMBER 30, 2020
Two Ojibwe bands have petitioned the Minnesota Court of Appeals to suspend state regulators' approval of Enbridge's new Line 3 and stop construction of the controversial pipeline across northern Minnesota.
The petition filed late Tuesday by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa and the White Earth Band of Ojibwe is the second such filing in the past week by pipeline opponents to shut down construction on the $2.6 billion pipeline. Enbridge earlier this month started work on the replacement for the aging and corroding current Line 3 earlier this month.
The two bands — plus the Sierra Club and the Indigenous environmental group Honor the Earth — last week sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking for a preliminary injunction to stop construction of Line 3.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the state's primary pipeline regulator, approved Line 3 in February after nearly six years of review.
"The tribes anticipate that this court would issue a final order in approximately July 2021, at which time construction will likely be complete or nearly complete, such that in the event of reversal tribes would not obtain the relief they seek," Red Lake and White Earth said in legal filing.
Calgary-based Enbridge expects to complete construction by the end of September. Over 3,000 workers already are building the 340-mile pipeline.
In a court filing, the tribes said that without a stay, "their treaty-protected interests in the land, waters, plants, animals and environment" would be destroyed or damaged by construction — as would their cultural and religious rights.
The pipeline's potential to degrade lakes, rivers and streams would harm "Native Americans' spiritual connectedness to water, a sacred element to native culture," the filing said.
STOP THE LINE 3 PIPELINE
Protests Continue by Native Americans and Water Protector Allies
Join us to protect our water, land, and culture: StopLine3.org
OnJan 9, 2021, water protectors walked on to multiple Line 3 construction sites, and successfully stopped construction at one of these sites.
They were also bearing witness to the destruction (done by Enbridge) of a cultural and sacred ground that local water protectors have used for ceremonies known as Grandma's Table.
These construction sites were all on the Fond Du Lac Reservation, and protectors were led by Taysha Martineau, a member of the Fond Du Lac band. The water protectors were being followed from site to site by police, giving a prime example of how Enbridge is working with the police to build this destructive pipeline.
Last week, two blockades were erected ten miles apart on a road into the wetlands of Savanna State Forest, blocking access to construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline.
The silence continues from the Walz administration as Enbridge bulldozes through Anishinaabe territory and water protectors face arrest.
Our numbers are growing. Today, Jan 9, 2021, 250-300 water protectors gathered in Aitkin County MN to #stopline3 starting with a#jingledressdancefor healing
Posted by Pamela Richard · January 12, 2021 11:55 AM
We are outraged to see that the Trump Administration has once again added Cuba to the list of State Sponsors of Terror. This is a politicized move that has one goal: to place obstacles in the path of diplomatic engagement and normalization that the incoming administration has pledged to pursue. It is particularly shameful for the Trump Administration to make evidence-free accusations of terrorism against Cuba just days after a mob of their supporters, including dangerous far-right extremists, attacked our own Capitol.
We are grateful that prominent members of the House and Senate have strongly condemned this move, including Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the new Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Cubans on the island and in the U.S. are the primary victims of moves by the Trump administration to reverse critical policies that promoted normalization of relations with Cuba and its people. Every time a presidential administration works to reinforce the embargo, the people of Cuba and their families in the U.S. suffer the inhumane consequences — made even worse now by the effects of the global pandemic.
The path forward with Cuba is one of engagement and normalization that works to heal the relationship between our two nations and Cubans on the island and here in the United States. Perpetuating the myth that Cuba is a threat to the US American people — while minimizing the threat posed by far-right extremists at home — is an embarrassment to our country on the world stage.. hypocritical. It is clear that the far-right in our own country poses a far greater threat to the United States than the people of Cuba.
We call on the incoming Biden Administration to commit to an immediate reversal of this move and a return to the path of engagement and normalization.
Editor posted: " Original illustration for ScheerPost by Mr. Fish By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost Joe Biden and the systems managers of the deep state and empire are returning to power. Trump and his coterie of buffoons, racists, con artists and Chri"
Joe Biden and the systems managers of the deep state and empire are returning to power. Trump and his coterie of buffoons, racists, con artists and Christian fascists are sullenly preparing to leave office. U.S. pharmaceutical corporations are starting to disseminate vaccines to mitigate the globe’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 that has resulted in more than 2,600 deaths per day. America, as Biden says, is back, ready to take its place at the head of the table. In the battle for the soul of America, he assures us, democracy has prevailed. Progress, prosperity, civility and a reassertion of American prestige and power are, we are promised, weeks away.
But the real lesson we should learn from the rise of a demagogue such as Trump, who received 74 million votes, and a pandemic that our for-profit health care industry proved unable to contain, is that we are losing control as a nation and as a species. Far more dangerous demagogues will arise from the imperial and neoliberal policies the Biden administration will embrace. Far worse pandemics will sweep the globe with higher rates of infections and mortality, an inevitable result of our continued consumption of animals and animal products, and the wanton destruction of the ecosystem on which we and other species depend for life.
“One of the most pathetic aspects of human history,” Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, “is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously, compounds its partial and universal values most convincingly, and claims immortality for its finite existence at the very moment when the decay which leads to death has already begun."
Biden’s appointments are drawn almost exclusively from the circles of the Democratic Party and corporate elite, those responsible for the massive social inequality, trade deals, de-industrialization, militarized police, world’s largest prison system, austerity programs that abolished social programs such as welfare, the revived Cold War with Russia, wholesale government surveillance, endless wars in the Middle East and the disenfranchisement and impoverishment of the working class. The Washington Post writes that “about 80 percent of the White House and agency officials he’s announced have the word ‘Obama’ on their résumé from previous White House or Obama campaign jobs.” Bernie Sanders, apparently rebuffed in his efforts to become secretary of labor in the Biden administration, has expressed frustration with the Biden nominations. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was denied a seat by House Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee because of her support for the Green New Deal. The message of the Biden administration to progressives and left-wing populists is very clear – “Drop dead.”
The list of new administration officials includes retired General Lloyd J. Austin III who is being nominated to be secretary of defense. Austin is on the board of Raytheon Technologies and a partner at Pine Island Capital, a firm that invests in defense industries and also includes Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee to be secretary of state. Blinken, who was deputy national security adviser and deputy secretary of state, is a strong supporter of the apartheid state of Israel. He was one of the architects of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and a proponent of the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, resulting in yet another failed state in the Middle East.
Janet Yellen, former Federal Reserve chair under Barack Obama, is slated to be Treasury Secretary. Yellen as the chair of Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) and later as a member of the board of the Federal Reserve, backed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which led to the banking crisis of 2008. She supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She also lobbied for a new statistical metric intended to lower payments to senior citizens on Social Security. Yellen backed “quantitative easing” that provided trillions in virtually no-interest loans to Wall Street, loans used to bail out banks and corporations and engage in massive stock buy-backs while the victims of financial fraud were abandoned.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry is to become a special envoy for climate. Kerry championed the massive expansion of domestic oil and gas production, largely through fracking, and, according to Obama’s memoir, worked doggedly to convince those concerned about the climate crisis to “offer up concessions on subsidies for the nuclear power industry and the opening of additional U.S. coastlines to offshore oil drilling.”
Avril Haines, a former Obama deputy CIA chief, is to become Biden’s director of national intelligence. Haines oversaw Obama’s expanded and murderous drone program overseas and backed Gina Haspel’s nomination to be the head of the CIA, despite Haspels’ direct involvement in the CIA torture program carried out in black sites around the globe. Haines called Haspel “intelligent, compassionate, and fair." Brian Deese, the executive who was in charge of the “climate portfolio” at BlackRock, which invests heavily in fossil fuels, including coal, and who served as a former Obama economic adviser who advocated austerity measures, has been chosen to run the White House’s economic policy.
Neera Tanden, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, has been picked to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden, as the head of the Democratic Party’s thinktank, the Center for American Progress, raised millions in dark money from Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Her donors include Bain Capital, Blackstone, Evercore, Walmart and the defense contractor Northrup Grumman. The United Arab Emirates, a close ally of Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen, also gave the thinktank between $1.5 million and $3 million. She relentlessly ridicules Sanders and his supporters on cable news and social media. She also proposed a plank in the Democratic platform calling for the bombing Iran.
The perpetuation of the deeply unpopular wars and onerous neoliberal policies by the Biden administration will be accompanied by a fevered demonization of Russia, most recently blamed for cyber-attacks. A new Cold War with Russia will be used by the corporate Democrats to discredit domestic and foreign critics and deflect attention from the political stagnation and the corporate pillaging of the country. It will allow MSNBC and The New York Times, which spent two years slogging empty Russiagate conspiracies, to disseminate a daily stream of emotionally charged rumors and shady accusations about Russia. Cable celebrities such as Rachel Maddow will hyperventilate night after night about Russia while ignoring the corruption of the Biden administration. The only reason Russia is not blamed for rigging the election in 2020, as opposed to 2016, by the Democratic Party is because Trump was defeated.
Biden, after his defeat in the Democratic Party Caucus in Nevada by Bernie Sanders, where Sanders got more than twice his vote, immediately played the Russian card, telling CBS News that the “Russians don’t want me to be the nominee, they like Bernie.” Hillary Clinton started this dirty game when she attacked 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein as a “Russian asset” and in 2020 leveled the same charge against Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. The Democrats need an enemy, real or fictious, and Silicon Valley and major manufacturers will not allow them to target China.
More of the same means more disaster. If we want to reclaim our open society and save the ecosystem, we must abolish the corporate stranglehold on global economic and political power. If we want to avert zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, swine flu, avian flu, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease), Ebola, and SARS we must stop consuming animals and their bodily secretions. We must abolish factory farming and adopt a vegan diet. And we must keep fossil fuels in the ground.
The belief that we can maintain current levels of consumption, especially of animal products, capitalist expansion, imperial wars, a reliance on fossil fuels and abject subservience to unfettered corporate power, which has solidified the worst income inequality in human history, is not a form of hope but suicidal self-delusion. We are not headed under the policies of the Biden administration and the global ruling elite for the broad sunlit uplands of a new and glorious future, but economic misery, vast climate migrations, waves of new and more virulent pandemics, of which COVID-19 is a mild precursor, along with irreversible ecological systems collapse and frightening forms of societal breakdown, authoritarianism and neofascism.
Global warming is inevitable. It cannot be stopped. At best, it can be slowed. Over the next 50 years the earth will most likely heat up to levels that will make whole parts of the planet uninhabitable. Tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of people will be displaced. Millions of species will go extinct. Cities on or near a coast, including New York and London, will be submerged.
Oceans absorb much of the excess CO2 and heat from the atmosphere. This absorption is rapidly warming and acidifying ocean waters, resulting in the deoxygenation of the oceans. Each of the earth’s five known mass extinctions was preceded by at least one part of what climate scientists call the "deadly trio" – warming, acidification and deoxygenation of the oceans. The next mass extinction of sea life is already under way, the first in some 55 million years.
This is not defeatism. It is realism. We appear to have bought four years with Biden’s election, but if we do not use it wisely – and there is nothing in the Biden nominations that offer any encouragement – we are merely reconstructing a shabby Potemkin village that will soon be flattened by the gale-force political and environmental hurricanes that are gathering around us.
One of the lessons I learned from covering wars and revolutions as a foreign correspondent is that the political, economic and cultural systems that are erected by any society are very fragile. The façade of power remains in place, as I saw in Eastern Europe during the 1989 revolutions and later in Yugoslavia, long after terminal rot has consumed the foundations. This façade fools a society into thinking the structures of authority remain solid, impervious to collapse. So, when collapse comes, which should have been long predicted, it appears sudden and incomprehensible. The ensuing chaos is disorienting and frightening. The cognitive dissonance between the perception of power and its rapid dissolution feeds self-delusion. It creates, as I witnessed in the former Yugoslavia, what anthropologists call crisis cults, as well as bizarre conspiracy theories, fascism and the embrace of inchoate violence to purge society of the demons blamed for the national debacle. Hatred becomes the highest form of patriotism. The vulnerable are scapegoated. Intellectuals, journalists and scientists rooted in a fact-based world are despised. Ruling elites and ruling structures lose all credibility. This collapse is often a portal to a world of nihilism and blood-drenched fantasy.
After four years of lies, the stoking of racist violence, stunning ineptitude, rampant corruption and an abject failure to cope with a national health crisis, Trump expanded his base by 11 million votes. This should be a huge, flashing red light. Worse, 70 percent of Trump voters, 51 million Americans, believe that “radical Left Democrats” and the deep state rigged the elections through “voter fraud,” including the importation of Venezuelan voting software, illegitimate mail-in ballots and the wholesale destruction of Trump ballots by election officials. One hundred and twenty-six Republican House members joined a lawsuit filed by 18 Republican state attorneys general asking the Supreme Court to overturn Biden’s victory. The vast majority of Republican senators refused to acknowledge the election results following the November vote. Electors from the Electoral College were forced in several states to deliver their votes to state legislatures under armed guard. Some two dozen armed protesters carrying American flags and chanting “Stop the Steal” descended on the home of Democratic Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Seven hundred members of the white nationalist group the Proud Boys took over streets in Washington last weekend to protest the alleged theft of the election, leading to more than three dozen arrests, four stabbings, the vandalizing of four Black churches, and Black Lives Matter banners and signs ripped down and burned.
Trump may be gone soon, but he leaves behind a party that is openly authoritarian, dismissive of democratic norms, an enemy to science and fact-based discourse and which attempted a coup d'état. The next time around they won’t be so disorganized and inept. This hostility to democracy by one of the two ruling parties, supported by millions of Americans, many of whom were betrayed by Biden and the leaders of the Democratic Party, will not dissipate but grow, especially as the hammer of economic dislocation, including the looming evictions of millions of Americans, pummels the country.
The decades-long corporate assault on culture, journalism, education, the arts, universities and critical thinking has left those who speak this truth marginalized and ignored. These Cassandras, locked out of the national debate, are dismissed as unhinged and depressingly apocalyptic. The country is consumed by a mania for hope, which our corporate masters lavishly provide, at the expense of truth. It is this delusional hope that will doom us.
The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, who with a handful of other writers and artists desperately tried to warn of the suicidal folly of World War I, wrote of what he called “the mental superiority of the defeated.” His anti-war play Jeremiah, based on the Biblical prophet Jeremiah who issued warnings in vain, illustrated that those who face reality, however bitter, are able to endure and rise above it.
“Awaken, doomed city, that thou mayest save thyself,” the prophet cries out in Zweig’s play. “Awaken from your heavy slumbers, heedless ones, lest you be slain in sleep; awaken, for the walls are crumbling, and will crush you; awaken.”
But the warnings from Jeremiah, called “the weeping prophet,” were ignored and ridiculed. He was attacked for demoralizing the people. There were plots against his life. When the Babylonian army captured Jerusalem, Jeremiah, like Julian Assange, was in prison.
“I was always attracted to showing how any form of power can harden a human being’s heart, how victory can bring mental rigidity to whole nations, and to contrasting that with the emotional force of defeat painfully and terribly ploughing through the soul,” Zweig wrote in his memoir, “The World of Yesterday”. “In the middle of war, while others, celebrating triumph too soon, were proving to one another that victory was inevitable, I was plumbing the depths of the catastrophe and looking for a way to emerge from them.”
We cannot use the word hope if we refuse to face the truth. All hope rooted in self-delusion is fantasy. We must lift the filter from our eyes to see the danger before us. We must heed the warnings of our own prophets. We must destroy the centers of power that lure us and our children, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, to certain doom. The walls, daily, are closing in around us. The radical evil we face is as real under Trump as it will be under Biden. And if this radical evil is not smashed, then the world ahead will be one of torment and mass death.
Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.
Fwd: World Peace Council Statement in Solidarity with Venezuela
Statement of Condemnation of the Decision of USA Against Venezuela
The World Peace Council condemns strongly the decision of the US Attorney General, on behalf of the US administration, to announce criminal charges against the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and other high-ranking officials with the pretext of their alleged involvement in international drug trafficking.
The US General Attorney threatens to designate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as “a state sponsoring terrorism”. This decision of the US-administration constitutes not only a further escalation in the provocations, coercive measures and interference against a sovereign country, it proves also the cynical and arrogant approach of the USA, which is using the critical times of the pandemic of COVID 19 worldwide, to impose new additional sanctions on the country and its people.
The people of Venezuela are already suffering from the sanctions and restrictions imposed by the US imperialists and its allies from EU and the “Lima Group”, which do not allow the country to purchase medicine and other vital products since more than one year. It is the same forces who recognize a self-proclaimed puppet as their “chosen leader” against any legitimacy, logic and international law and it is the same forces which do not allow during the COVID 19 crisis the country to buy and provide technical equipment and health products for the National Health System in the international markets.
The new decision of the USA today, acting as the “world sheriff” and announcing millions of US Dollars for the capturing of the legitimate President Nicolas Maduro, officers and ministers of the country has no precedent and are arbitrary and void.
The WPC expresses its profound solidarity to the people of Venezuela, to the anti- imperialist peace-loving forces in their struggle to defend their sovereign right to choose their leadership and destiny alone and without any foreign interference and to fight back the imperialist aggression, interference and provocations.
We call upon all WPC members and friends to strengthen the solidarity actions with the people of Venezuela and to plan for the19thApril, which is theInternational Day in Solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, actions in protest of the imperialist threats and actions in solidarity of the Venezuelan people in coordination with our Member Organisation in Venezuela (Committee for International Solidarity and Struggle for Peace-COSI)