The U.S. government is certainly in the running for worst handling of coronavirus on earth. Where did this grotesque incompetence and indifference to human lives come from so suddenly?
What if it was always there?
What if it’s to be found in long-standing U.S. policies on environment, energy, labor, healthcare, education, and retirement?
What if U.S. policy on climate collapse is just as catastrophic as on coronavirus, but the clown car simply hasn’t yet reached the edge of the cliff it’s been barreling toward?
What if the scientists who are screaming that the Doomsday Clock is nearer midnight than ever before, that the earth is more likely than ever to experience nuclear apocalypse, don’t view U.S. nuclear policy as somehow wiser than U.S. coronavirus policy? What if we’re still here at all principally because of outrageously great luck that cannot possibly hold out much longer?
What if all the killing and destruction and all the restrictions on privacy and self-governance and activism and journalism established in the name of “fighting terrorism” have been part of a decades-long “war on terrorism” that has predictably (and it was predicted) increased terrorism?
— Read on davidswanson.org/how-many-revelations-does-it-take-to-make-a-light-bulb-go-off/
When I look around the world today, it strikes me that we’re living in the age of the sociopath. I don’t just mean that in the technical psychological sense of the word — a certain head of state and his goons come to mind — but first, in a deeper, truer, broader sense. Sociopathic: hostile to the idea, the notion, the purpose, of society. Not just “their” society or “mine” or “yours” — but the great and historic ideal of society itself. Sociopathy to the point that nations like Britain and America were simply unable to lock down in time, to protect society’s most vulnerable. Sociopathy to the point that Americans sunbathe on beaches while the death rate is the equivalent of a 9/11 every day. Sociopathy to the point that despite the fact that the infection hasn’t peaked yet, Trump is still trying to “reopen” the economy.
A new collection of maps found here displays what militarism looks like in the world. Here’s a brief guide to using and understanding them.
Across the top are 10 drop-down menus on these topics: Wars, Weapons, U.S. Weapons, Money, Nukes, Chemical and Biological, U.S. Military, Air Strikes, Law, and Promotes Peace and Security.
Some of the topics only include one map, others multiple maps. The one with the most has eight maps. When you click on the name of a map in a drop-down menu, you’ll see that map displayed. If the map contains data for multiple years, you can see previous years by changing the date at the bottom. You can even make it scroll forward through the years like a short video. You can select a particular country from a list or on the map. You can zoom in or out. You can click on the color key to display only the countries in a particular range of data (such as those with the highest spending on wars or suffering the highest number of air strikes). You can print any map or get a direct link to any map set to any date and other settings.
Each map has a year as part of its name. While the maps have all just been updated for 2020, the latest available data for some of them is from 2019 or an earlier year. The dates on the maps correspond to the years the data is from. None of the maps reflect any changes already brought about by or predicted or hoped for as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s a bit of information about each topic that has been mapped.
— Read on worldbeyondwar.org/militarism-mapped/
People’s Strike: Fighting for Our Lives, Forging Our Future
Take Action Friday May 1st, 2020 – May Day
The CODVID-19 pandemic has starkly revealed the inequalities and injustices that daily plague the world.
The triple crises of viral plague, systemic economic breakdown, and the failure and/or unwillingness of Governments to provide necessary protections, especially for the poor and people subjected to white supremacy, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and mysogyny has thrown us into a fight for our lives.
The “Free Markets” that right-wing political figures like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro and others are seeking to protect and rely upon to address the COVID-10 pandemic will continue to produce chaos and needless suffering for millions of people. The economic nationalism and imperial rivalry we see on full display in the midst of this pandemic magnify the threat of war.
In the U.S. we are fed a steady stream of lies and authoritarian posturing. From Palestine to South Africa to Brazil to the U.S. and beyond, oppressive regimes are actively sacrificing vulnerable peoples and communities and treating frontline workers as uttlerly disposable.
We say ENOUGH! It is time to stand up! It’s Time To Strike Back – For Our Lives and Our Futures!
— Read on generalstrike.mayfirst.org/our-principles/
The Bill for MAGA is Due
In October 2016 my 15- year-old daughter was dying. That was also the month that Trump was campaigning hard in his bid to win against Clinton. My daughter wasn’t into in politics, but she watched the news and debates with us that month with a modicum of interest. At the time, we thought America was on the cusp of having its first female president.
At one point we were watching news coverage of a Trump rally in Nevada and my breath caught in my throat when Trump urged terminally ill people to vote for him.
Trump said, “ I don’t care how sick you are. I don’t care if you just came back from the doctor and he gave you the worst possible prognosis, meaning it’s over. Doesn’t matter. Hang out till November 8. Get out and vote.”
I don’t care how sick you are. The words made my heart hurt. Did he know that real dying people — even children — might hear those words? Was it some kind of joke to him?
“We need to stitch this movement together, bit by bit, stitch by stitch… That’s how we’re going to win it all.”
— Read on www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/09/ocasio-cortez-and-sanders-draw-largest-iowa-crowd-democratic-primary-so-far-call
Trump is leading us down a path to war with Iran. We cannot sit idly by. On January 2, 2020, under orders from Donald Trump, the Pentagon carried out the airstrike assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem…
American Friends Service Committee
Beyond the Bomb
Friends of the Earth Action
Justice for Muslims Collective
National Priorities Project
World Beyond War
— Read on actionnetwork.org/letters/sign-the-petition-congress-must-not-allow-the-us-to-enter-into-a-war-with-iran
Late last week, President Trump authorized the radical escalation of America’s 40-year-long conflict with Iran. The January 3 drone attack at Baghdad International Airport was not aimed at deterring an “imminent” attack on Americans, as claimed. It was the preplanned exploitation of a pretext.
Haaretz has reported that Israel, but not the United States Congress, was briefed on the proposed drone strike days before it took place. Its purpose was to eliminate a senior foreign official the Trump administration had designated as an enemy. The killing of the commander of an Iraqi militia hostile to the United States was a bonus. The assassinations were an act of war that will inevitably evoke reprisal. Iran has already promised that it will exact “savage” retribution for the murder of a senior official of its government by the United States.
Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was the equivalent of the US national security adviser or the commanders of CENTCOM, SOCOM, and SOCCENT. All are now potential Iranian targets. In Iraq itself, the followers of Kataeb Hezbollah’s commander, Abu Mahdi (whose sobriquet was “al Muhandis” or “the Engineer”), will seek their own revenge. The fact that they are part of the Iraqi national security establishment and armed forces is not irrelevant. Kataeb Hezbollah is likely to be joined in its campaign against US forces and officials in Iraq by other patriotic militias, including some historically hostile to both it and Iran.
The Iranian government seldom makes decisions in haste. It is the heir to one of the world’s longest and greatest traditions of politico-military statecraft. It will make considered judgments as it calculates and plans asymmetric responses that hurt Americans without provoking a large-scale conventional war with the United States. If Tehran miscalculates, which is a very real possibility, the now open but low-intensity warfare between the United States and Iran will escalate. Those, like Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and former US national security adviser John Bolton, who have long sought a war with Iran will get one. So will everyone else.
A properly functioning National Security Council would never have let it happen, for good reason.
Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama had considered taking out General Suleimani but rejected it — not for lack of nerve, but for fear of undue escalation and an unnecessary war with Iran. The fundamental facts on the ground have not changed, and in the kind of robust interagency, national security decision-making process that the National Security Council staff is supposed to supervise, such concerns would have been systematically raised, dissected and discussed, and a consensus reached to inform presidential action. No such process seems to have occurred here.
The Pentagon has claimed, facilely, that General Suleimani was hit because the Revolutionary Guard was planning attacks on American targets in the region. But in a proper interagency review, the intelligence community could have pointed out that “decapitation” is a patently unreliable means of pre-emption — particularly when the organization in question is the Revolutionary Guard, an integral part of a well-honed security state with considerable depth of command talent.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2020/01/04/opinion/trump-soleimani-strike.html
WHILE THE MEDIA focus for three years of the Trump presidency has centered around “Russia collusion” and impeachment, the most dangerous collusion of all was happening right out in the open — the Trump/Saudi/Israel/UAE drive to war with Iran.
On August 3, 2016 — just three months before Donald Trump would win the Electoral College vote and ascend to power — Blackwater founder Erik Prince arranged a meeting at Trump Tower. For decades, Prince had been agitating for a war with Iran and, as early as 2010, had developed a fantastical proposal for using mercenaries to wage it.
At this meeting was George Nader, an American citizen who had a long history of being a quiet emissary for the United States in the Middle East. Nader, who had also worked for Blackwater and Prince, was a convicted pedophile in the Czech Republic and is facing similar allegations in the United States. Nader worked as an adviser for the Emirati royals and has close ties to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince.
— Read on theintercept.com/2020/01/03/qassim-suleimani-assassination-trump-administration-war/
Iran: Trump “Wagging the Dog” as Democrats Egging on His Militarism
January 3, 2020
Consortium News reports in “Fear of a Major Mideast War“: Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani, assassinated by the U.S. on Thursday night, “had been head of the Quds Force for 23 years. The Pentagon allegation is that he directed attacks on U.S. military during the U.S. illegal occupation of Iraq after its 2003 invasion. Soleimani was one of the men most responsible for defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria. …
“The assassination comes after Trump was impeached and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted last year. Both are facing difficult re-election campaigns in 2020 and have long portrayed Iran as the greatest enemy of Israel and the United States.”
RAED JARRAR, jarrar.raed at gmail.com, @raedjarrar
Jarrar is an Iraqi-born human rights activist and writer based in Washington, D.C. He has been on two recent accuracy.org news releases warning against such U.S. actions. He was recently quoted in USA Today. He just tweeted: “Unfortunately, the news of the U.S. assassination of Soleimani … is not only an escalation, it marks the end to the proxy war between the U.S. and Iran … now it’s just war.”
FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle’s books include Destroying World Order. See his essay, “American Militarism Threatening to Set Off World War III.” He said today: “This attack is a violation of the UN Charter and also the War Powers Clause of the U.S. Constitution and War Powers Resolution by Congress. … Trump is wagging the dog to stave off conviction by the Senate.” In 1998, Bill Clinton launched a bombing campaign against Iraq just before his scheduled impeachment.
DAVID BARSAMIAN, barsamian at riseup.net
Barsamian is author of Targeting Iran and the forthcoming ReTargeting Iran. He was visited by the FBI following his most recent trip to Iran. He said today: “The assassination of General Qassem Soleimani is pouring gasoline on a region in flames. The Trump administration has been itching for a fight with Iran ever since it pulled out of the nuclear deal in May 2018.” Barsamian stressed the humanitarian toll of the sanctions the U.S. government has placed on Iran and the building of U.S. military bases that surround Iran. He added: “The Trump administration has threatened Iran with ‘obliteration.’ … Iran will respond to Soleimani’s killing and the possibility of a wider conflict will increase.”
DAVID SWANSON, davidcnswanson at gmail.com, @davidcnswanson
Executive director of World Beyond War, Swanson notes the militaristic policy commonalities between Trump and establishment Democrats.
Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept notes: “While warning us that Trump is the gravest threat in U.S. history, many leading Democrats have voted to give Trump unprecedented military budgets and sweeping surveillance powers.”
Swanson notes for example that Rep. Chris Murphy tweeted on New Years Eve: “The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable. Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us. America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away. What a disgrace.”
See from Ali Abunimah: “Why Trump is escalating the U.S.-Israeli war on Iran.”
See “Dogs of War” by Sam Husseini about the dynamics surrounding the Clinton impeachment.
— Read on accuracy.org/release/iran-trump-wagging-the-dog-as-democrats-egging-on-his-militarism/