The world is becoming increasingly split between two groups of governments who are becoming increasingly hostile toward each other, and you don’t have to be a historian to know it’s probably a bad sign when that happens. Especially in the age of nuclear weapons.

The American State Department’s Victoria Nuland is now saying that America is supporting Ukrainian strikes on Crimea, drawing sharp rebukes from Moscow with a stern reminder that the peninsula is a “red line” for the Kremlin which will result in escalations in the conflict if crossed. On Friday, Ukraine’s President Zelensky told the press that Kyiv is preparing a large offensive for the “de-occupation” of Crimea, which Moscow has considered a part of the Russian Federation since its annexation in 2014.

As Anatol Lieven explained for Jacobin earlier this month, this exact scenario is currently the one most likely to lead to a sequence of escalations ending in nuclear war. In light of the aforementioned recent revelations, the opening paragraph of Lieven’s article is even more chilling to read now than it was when it came out a couple of weeks ago:

The greatest threat of nuclear catastrophe that humanity has ever faced is now centered on the Crimean peninsula. In recent months, the Ukrainian government and army have repeatedly vowed to reconquer this territory, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014. The Russian establishment, and most ordinary Russians, for their part believe that holding Crimea is vital to Russian identity and Russia’s position as a great power. As a Russian liberal acquaintance (and no admirer of Putin) told me, “In the last resort, America would use nuclear weapons to save Hawaii and Pearl Harbor, and if we have to, we should use them to save Crimea.””

And that’s just Russia. The war in Ukraine is being used to escalate against all powers not aligned with the American empire, with recent developments including drone attacks on an Iranian weapons factory which reportedly arms Russian soldiers in Ukraine, and Chinese companies being sanctioned for “backfill activities in support of Russia’s defence sector” following American accusations that the Chinese government is preparing to arm Russia in the war.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been holding multiple meetings with top military officials regarding potential future attacks on Iran to neutralize the alleged threat of Iran developing a nuclear arsenal, a “threat” that Netanyahu has personally been lying about for years.

If you’ve been reading (and if you care about this stuff you probably should be), you’ve been seeing new articles about the latest imperial escalations against China on a near-daily basis now. Sometimes they come out multiple times per day; this past Thursday Dave DeCamp put out two completely separate news stories titled “US Plans to Expand Military Presence in Taiwan, a Move That Risks Provoking China” and “Philippines in Talks With US, Australia on Joint South China Sea Patrols“. Taiwan and the South China Sea are two powderkeg flashpoints where war could quickly erupt at any time in a number of different ways.

If you know where to look for good updates on the behavior of the American empire and you follow them from day to day, it’s clear that things are accelerating toward a global conflict of unimaginable horror. As bad as things look right now, the future our current trajectory has us pointed toward is much, much, much worse.

Empire apologists will frame this trajectory toward global disaster as an entirely one-sided affair, with bloody-fanged tyrants trying to take over the world because they are evil and hate freedom, and the American empire either cast in the role of poor widdle victim or heroic defender of the weak and helpless depending on which generates more sympathy on that day.

These people are lying. Any intellectually honest research into the west’s aggressions and provocations against both Russia and China will show you that Russia and China are reacting defensively to the empire’s campaign to secure American unipolar planetary hegemony; you might not agree with those reactions, but you cannot deny that they are reactions to a clear and deliberate aggressor.

This is important to understand, because whenever you say that something must be done to try and avert an Atomic Age world war, you’ll get empire apologists saying “Well go protest in Moscow and Beijing then,” as though the American power alliance is some kind of passive witness to all this. Which is of course complete bullshit; if World War III does indeed befall us, it will be because of choices that were made by the drivers of the western empire while ignoring off-ramp after off-ramp.

This tendency to flip reality and frame the western imperial power structure as the reactive force for peace against malevolent warmongers serves to help quash the emergence of a robust anti-war movement in the west, because if your own government is virtuous and innocent in a conflict then there’s no good reason to go protesting it. But that’s exactly what urgently needs to happen, because these people are driving us to our doom.

In fact, it is fair to say that there has never in history been a time when the need to forcefully oppose the warmongering of our own western governments was more urgent. The attacks on Vietnam and Iraq were horrific atrocities which unleashed unfathomable suffering upon our world, but they did not pose any major existential threat to the world as a whole. The wars in Vietnam and Iraq killed millions; we’re talking about a conflict that can kill billions.

Each of the World Wars was in turn the worst single thing that happened to our species as a whole up until that point in history. World War I was the worst thing that ever happened until World War II happened, and if World War III happens it will almost certainly make World War II look like a schoolyard tussle. This is because all of the major players in that conflict would be armed with nuclear weapons, and at some point some of them are going to be faced with strong incentives to use them. Once that happens, Mutually Assured Destruction ceases to protect us from armageddon, and the “Mutual” and “Destruction” components come in to play.

None of this needs to happen. There is nothing written in adamantine which says America must rule the world with an iron fist no matter the cost and no matter the risk. There is nothing inscribed upon the fabric of reality which says nations can’t simply coexist peacefully and collaborate toward the common good of all beings, can’t turn away from our primitive impulses of domination and control, can’t do anything but drift passively toward nuclear annihilation all because a few imperialists in Washington convinced everyone to buy into the doctrine of unipolarism.

But we’re not going to turn away from this trajectory unless the masses start using the power of our numbers to force a change from warmongering, militarism and continual escalation toward diplomacy, de-escalation and detente. We need to start organizing against those who would steer our species into extinction, and working to pry their hands away from the steering wheel if they refuse to turn away. We need to resist all efforts to cast inertia on this most sacred of all priorities, and we need to start moving now. We’re all on a southbound bus to oblivion, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.


The Fourth Amendment To The Constitution, Requires Judicially Issued Search Warrants For All Searches And Seizures, Protects The Contents Of Devices That Store Data.

During the course of an FBI written response to a Freedom of Information Act request asking about the trade names and suppliers of surveillance software the FBI had purchased, and in a legal brief submitted to a federal judge, the government has yet again quietly acknowledged its antipathy to constitutional provisions that all of its employees have sworn to uphold.

Since we are dealing with software used to spy on Americans in America and abroad, the constitutional right being transgressed is the right to privacy.

This is the ancient natural right to be left alone, which the Supreme Court took 175 years to recognize as being protected by the Fourth Amendment. Since that recognition in 1965, however, notwithstanding near universal judicial acceptance of the constitutional protection of the right, the executive branch of the government has persistently negated it.

Here is the backstory.

The Fourth Amendment, which requires judicially issued search warrants for all searches and seizures, protects the contents of devices that store data. Thus, the owners of mobile devices and desktop computers have a privacy right in the data they have stored there. Even a narrow interpretation of the amendment, which guarantees privacy in “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” must acknowledge that a computer chip is an “effect” and thus its owner enjoys this protection.

It is an allegiance to the plain language, general understanding and definitive judicial interpretations of the Fourth Amendment to which all in government have sworn.

During the Trump administration, and likely behind the president’s back but with the knowledge of senior folks appointed by him, the FBI purchased Israeli-manufactured software known as zero-click. Zero-click refers to the ability of the user of the software to target and download the contents of a computer without the need for tricking an unwary target into clicking on to a link. The manufacturer of this diabolic software is known as NSO, and the trade name of the software is Pegasus.

When President Joe Biden learned of the FBI’s use of Pegasus without search warrants, he banned it from government use, and his Department of Commerce banned all American purchases from NSO. The FBI now stores this software in a warehouse in New Jersey.

Why didn’t Biden just do his job and prohibit all warrantless domestic spying?

Last week, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the outgoing chair of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed that the Drug Enforcement Administration has purchased a similar product to Pegasus, called Graphite, from another Israeli manufacturer, called Paragon. Schiff revealed this in time for Congress to include in its $1.65 trillion omnibus legislation, enacted just before Christmas, provisions that give the director of national intelligence power to prohibit all parts of the intelligence community from purchasing or using foreign spyware.

Why didn’t Congress just do its job and prohibit all warrantless domestic spying, irrespective of the software?

The answers to these questions reflect that the intelligence community knows too much about Biden and too many members of Congress for Congress to defy it. Thus, Schiff’s proposal, which became law, was premised upon a supposed congressional fear that the Israeli-manufactured spyware, when employed by the FBI or DEA, could serve as a spying mechanism by the Israeli government on the American government.

How quaint; spies and allies spying on each other! Taxpayers paying for this. The Constitution trashed yet again.

When Rep. Schiff’s civil liberties-defending colleague, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked the DEA about this, it declined to give him a clear answer. Sen. Wyden was concerned about the DEA spying on Americans outside America? Yes, outside. For years the governments of presidents of both parties have argued that the Fourth Amendment only restrains law enforcement, not intelligence, and they have argued that the Constitution only restrains the government within America.

This discredited argument has been rejected by the Supreme Court since the 1940s, and as recently as 2008, when the court held that wherever the government goes to do its work, the Constitution goes with it. This holding is hardly novel. Rather, it is based on 400 years of British law that prohibited kings and sheriffs from removing defendants to places outside of Britain for torture and interrogation, only to be returned for trial.

Were this rule – wherever the government goes, so goes the Constitution – not so, then nothing would prevent the FBI and DEA from doing what British officials tried to get away with.

Now, back to the DEA. Joe Biden’s DEA, and Donald Trump’s before it, takes the position that when it operates outside America – such as its drug war against Mexico and Mexican civilians – it also operates outside the Constitution. In order to prevent a judicial prohibition of its extra-constitutional lawlessness, lawyers for the DEA must labor mightily to keep its behavior and its well-discredited arguments from being aired in an American courtroom.

They do this in two ways. First, as addressed above, is to use quiet threats to coerce government officials to decline to prohibit expressly these practices. And second, if necessary, to dupe federal judges and defense lawyers by creating a fictitious version of its acquisition of evidence. The fiction usually posits a foreign intermediary handing over evidence to the feds who hand it to other feds who do not know of its criminal origins.

Criminal? Yes, criminal. Hacking a computer without consent or a search warrant is a crime, no matter where it is committed or by whom.

Rep. Schiff and Sen. Wyden are well-intended. They each have a consistent track record of defending civil liberties from attacks by the government. But the culture in Congress today prevents full-throated congressional defenses of privacy, no matter which party is in control.

We have elected a government and hired its employees to protect our liberties and our property. Today it does neither. Rather, it assaults them.

What do we do about it?


The Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Expands Government, Reduces Liberty, And Increases Government Debt, While Increasing Militarism.

Those hoping for a Christmastime government shutdown were once again disappointed when Congress passed a 4,000-page, $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill that few, if any, Representatives and Senators read before voting on. The Republican leadership celebrated this bloated monstrosity because it spends $858 billion on warfare while “only” spending $772.5 billion on welfare.

No one should think Republican insistence on more warfare than welfare spending means Democrats oppose the warfare state. Under President Biden and a Democrat-controlled Congress, “defense” spending has increased by 4.3 percent over the last two years. Similarly, every Republican President in recent years – including two who had a Republican-controlled Congress for at least part of their term – supported huge increases in welfare state spending. Most Democrats only pretend to oppose warfare and most Republicans only pretend to oppose welfare to appease their parties’ respective bases.

The Omnibus appropriates a $44.5 billion giveaway to Ukraine. This brings the total American spending on Ukraine’s military to over $100 billion – approximately 50 percent more than Russia’s entire military budget! This money is spent in a conflict that does not affect American security, yet one that would likely have not occurred were it not for prior American meddling in the region.

The Omnibus bill provides $11.3 billion for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a $569.6 million increase and $524 billion above the President’s request. According to the Democratic leadership, the funding increase is so the FBI can better fight “extremist violence and domestic terrorists.”

The public recently learned what the FBI considers an appropriate way to fight “extremism,” with the release of emails between Twitter officials and the FBI. These memos show the Bureau was working with Twitter – and almost certainly other social media companies – to suppress certain stories, such as Hunter Biden’s laptop, and points of view, such as skepticism regarding masks, lockdowns, and vaccine mandates. The bureau even used taxpayer funds to reimburse Twitter for the costs of implementing these “requests.” Government officials working with private companies to silence American citizens is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

This is hardly the first time the FBI has violated the constitutional rights of American citizens. In fact, since its founding the Bureau has targeted political activists and leaders such as Martin Luther King, whose agenda was considered “extreme” or “dangerous” by the Bureau’s corrupt leadership. The idea of a national police force with the power to target Americans because of their political beliefs would have horrified the drafters of the Constitution. The federal government has no constitutional authority over criminal law except for cases of piracy, counterfeiting, and treason. Libertarians, constitutional conservatives, and progressives who still care about civil liberties should join together to defund the FBI.

The fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill expands government, reduces liberty, and increases government debt, forcing the Federal Reserve to monetize more debt leading to more price inflation. Our political elites prioritize militarism abroad and authoritarianism at home over addressing the problems facing the American people like the Federal Reserve’s destructive monetary policy. This will fuel growing discontent with the political system. As the economy continues to worsen and the attempt to run the world continues to result in failures, the discontent will grow until the welfare warfare system collapses and, hopefully, a new error of liberty peace and prosperity dawns.


A Group Of Former Senior American Officials Is Saying Putin Will Attack Nato Next, But That Is Highly Unlikely And Used To Exacerbate The Situation.

President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February 2022 was a self-proclaimed act of preventative war. Better to go to war now, before NATO’s Ukrainian bridgehead on Russia’s borders becomes an imminent existential threat, said Putin at the time.

The longer war was delayed, he argued, the greater would be the danger and the more costly a future conflict between Russia, Ukraine, and the West.

The starting point for all preventative war thinking is an imagined future, a future in which an existential threat must be confronted. This is then paired with a claim that such a future danger can be averted — or at least minimised — by taking decisive preventive action in the present.

Such reasoning has characterized preventative war thinking throughout the ages. “It’s now or never,” exclaimed Kaiser Wilhelm II in July 1914 when he urged Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia before it became too powerful, thus setting in motion an escalatory sequence that resulted in a cataclysmic war involving all Europe’s great powers.

The world will hold its breath,” Hitler predicted when he launched his crusade to liquidate the perceived strategic-ideological threat of the “judeobolshevik” Soviet regime. Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser was a new Hitler, claimed the British and French when they seized control of the Suez Canal in 1956, while President Eisenhower’s “domino theory” had the communists’ advance in Vietnam threatening all of South East Asia.

And according to President George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had to be stopped before he acquired deliverable weapons of mass destruction and became too strong to be defeated.

All these occurrences led to degrees of disaster for their initiators. But not all preventative wars end in failure. Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine may well succeed: Russia’s conquest of the Donbass and its occupation of vast swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine seems all but inevitable. However, the costs to Russia in the present seem to have been exponentially greater than those Putin may have anticipated when launching his invasion.

While this war may end with a ceasefire or even a peace agreement, the new world order emerging in its wake will not resemble the sunlit uplands of stable multipolarity as imagined by some of Putin’s Western supporters. Much more likely is something akin to Soviet ambassador Ivan Maisky’s apocalyptic vision after the October 1938 Munich carve-up of Czechoslovakia: “International relations are entering an era of the most violent upsurge of savagery and brute force alongside an armoured-fist policy.”

Above all, the heightened risk of nuclear war between the great powers will linger for years if not decades because of Putin’s war on Ukraine. It is a danger that threatens Russia no less than the United States and the rest of the world.

A group of former high-ranking American officials recently issued a statement calling for the United States to escalate its proxy war with Russia by supplying greater quantities of advanced weaponry such as long-range missiles and air defence systems to Ukraine. Such armaments could be supplied without fear of retaliation, the signatories sought to reassure their readers, since Putin is bluffing about nuclear escalation. Nuclear deterrence still works, they said, and it is a strategic mistake to assume otherwise.

US must arm Ukraine now, before it’s too late” ran the headline in The Hill, which published the call. “Putin’s aggressive designs do not end in Ukraine,” say the signatories. “If Russia wins in Ukraine, our Baltic NATO allies are at risk, as are other allies residing in the neighborhood.”

Once again it is an imagined future threat as the motive for a proposed preventive escalation, not the present-day interests, needs, or plight of Ukraine. Yet, if anything, Ukraine requires support to defend its position while seeking a ceasefire and a negotiated peace. The terms of any peace with Putin will be repugnant. But this is surely preferable to the actual devastation and massive material, territorial, and human losses resulting from fighting that continued to the proverbial last Ukrainian in order to avert an imagined existential threat to America’s “allies”.

In 1914 the Kaiser thought Serbia and Russia wanted to destroy the Austro-Hungarian empire. In 1941 Hitler believed Stalin was striving for a world revolution that would destroy the German nation and empower an international Jewish conspiracy. In reality, the goals of both sets of Germany’s adversaries were limited and defensive, and the same is true of Putin today.

Putin’s aims in relation to Ukraine are increasingly radical but there is no actual evidence — as opposed to unfounded speculation — that he has far-reaching revisionist ambitions. He is extremely hostile to NATO and to some member states in particular, but he has not threatened them nor made any preparation for attack. There are tensions arising from NATO’s continued expansion to Russia’s borders but no disputes with neighboring states of the depth and intensity of those that characterised Russo-Ukrainian relations following the anti-Russia “Maidan Revolution” of 2014.

Putin surely wants to overturn the so-called rules-based international order favored by the West — as does China — but his stated alternative is a global politics based on multipolarity not, as is often claimed, spheres of influence and the hegemony of an alliance of authoritarian states.

Regarding Russia’s conventional capabilities, the war has shown that while these are considerable in the limited context of fighting Ukraine, Putin is in no position to threaten the United States or its NATO allies even if he wanted to.

It is highly unlikely that Putin will be tempted to launch another adventurist military operation, though that calculus might change if the Ukraine conflict becomes a long war of attrition with escalating intervention by Western states, or if NATO attempts to build yet another heavily armed bridgehead on Russia’s borders, for example in Finland.

The former officials end their call for American-backed armed escalation with a classic re-statement of their preventative war posturing. Since confrontation with the Kremlin is inevitable, they argue, the United States must hasten to supply Ukraine with the weapons it needs, not only to defend itself but to win the war: “The smart and prudent move is stop Putin’s aggressive designs in Ukraine, and to do so now.”

The signatories rail against the Biden administration’s determination to limit American aid to Ukraine to avoid America’s proxy war with Russia escalating into a direct military engagement. We can only hope that restraint continues, and President Biden resists calls for escalation that could trigger the nuclear catastrophe of a third world war.

Better still, would be if the United States shifted its strategy to one of pressurising Russia into a negotiated peace so as to salvage as much as possible of Ukraine’s remaining territory, resources, and infrastructure while saving the lives of the tens of thousands of people who will undoubtedly die should this real — rather than future-imagined — war continue.


Can You See That The More The American Government Kills, The More The Crazies Among Population Do So As Well? Do You Get It Yet?

What if the purpose of sending nearly $60 billion in cash and military aid to Ukraine is to extend the war Ukraine can only win if American troops become involved? What if the government is giving Ukraine more borrowed federal dollars in six months than Ukraine’s entire annual budget? What if the government wants American troops in this war to take the minds of American voters off the dismal economic, cultural and social mess that America has become?

What if American troops are present on the ground in Ukraine today? What if they are out of uniform so that the government has plausible deniability when asked if troops are fighting there? What if troops not in uniform who are captured may be summarily executed as spies? What if the government doesn’t care?

What if governments love war? What if war is the health of the state? What if war is an excuse to raise taxes, demand patriotism, curtail civil liberties and claim the loyalty of folks who want to be left alone? What if war transforms the culture of America from liberty to force? What if the true nature of government is a monopoly of force in a given geographic area? What if war allows the government to exercise more force at home as well as abroad?

What if war was the excuse for Abraham Lincoln arresting without trial over 3,000 journalists who were critical of him? What if war was the pretext for Woodrow Wilson arresting without trial Princeton students who read the Declaration of Independence aloud outside draft offices? What if war was the justification for Franklin Roosevelt locking up without trial 120,000 Japanese Americans in a barbed wire-surrounded camp in the Utah desert from which they could not leave, while their homes and businesses were destroyed?

What if the government reinstitutes the draft? What if the draft is prohibited by the 13th Amendment, which outlaws slavery? What if slavery is government-enforced control of the individual’s will? What if the draft is slavery? What if the government would prefer to enslave young people, put them to work for forced low wages and then dispatch them to kill their Russian or Iranian counterparts?

What if presidents love to kill? What if the greatest act of mass murder — if measured by the number of deaths per second — in the history of the world was caused by Harry Truman when he ordered an atomic bomb to be dropped on a Catholic cathedral in Japan just days before Japan was to surrender in World War II?

What if Lyndon Johnson made up the nonincident in the Gulf of Tonkin so Congress would support his futile, unlawful, immoral war in Vietnam? What if Richard Nixon knew the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened but he ordered the killings of thousands of Cambodians and Vietnamese anyway?

What if George H.W. Bush killed thousands of innocents so as to “liberate” Kuwait from Iraq? What if there was no conceivable articulable American interest to be served by such killings?

What if George W. Bush caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Afghans because of the negligent blindness of his own government on 9/11? What if he caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis because “Saddam tried to kill my daddy”? What if Barack Obama used drones to kill Americans in Yemen who were not charged with any crime, who had never engaged in any violence and who were peacefully sitting in an outdoor cafe when they were murdered?

What if Donald Trump directed the CIA to murder an Iranian general who was on his way to lunch with an Iraqi general in Iraq? What if there were no criminal charges against the Iranian general? What if the America was not at war with Iran?

What if President Biden used drones to kill a 71-year-old cleric who was neither charged nor convicted of the 9/11 attacks? What if the government was afraid to arrest and try the cleric? What if the government has never tried any person for any crime for the 9/11 attacks? What if the last thing the government wants is a jury trial over who caused 9/11?

What if Mr. Biden’s drone killing was designed to foster patriotism, neutralize Republican critics by giving them what they want and change the subject from runaway inflation to secret government killings?

What if the government can only lawfully kill pursuant to a declaration of war duly enacted by Congress, or if a strike on America is imminent, as it was on the mornings of 9/11 and Dec. 7, 1941? What if the government was asleep at the switch on 9/11 and was more than willing to kill a million innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq to divert public scrutiny from its failures on 9/11?

What if on Dec. 7, 1941, the government silently rejoiced as it had successfully manipulated the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor and was more than willing to sacrifice the lives of 2,400 sailors so as to change the attitude of Americans so they would support the American entry into World War II? What if it worked?

What if the last declaration of war by Congress was against Japan, Germany and Italy in December 1941? What if all presidential killings since World War II have been unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, but generally lauded?

What if all modern presidents think they can kill any enemy, torture any foe, dispatch any troops, unleash any planes or drones, whether there is a congressional declaration of war or an imminent attack on America or not? What if presidential killing is contagious? What if Mr. Biden kills to deflect voters’ attention from inflation?

What if a well-timed presidential killing has become politics by other means? What if the more the government kills, the more the crazies among us do so? What do we do about it?


Surprisingly, Never In Israel’s History Has A Prime Minister Been In Such A Hurry To Kill Innocents.

Israel once again launched a criminal assault on the Gaza Strip, a moment before the killing of the first Palestinian toddler, who won’t be the last: “The residents of Israel deserve to live in safety. No sovereign state would agree to a terror organization besieging its residents. … I support the security forces.”

Benjamin Netanyahu hadn’t yet reacted, Itamar Ben-Gvir hadn’t woken up, Yoav Gallant didn’t yet threaten the head of the snake, and already the leader of the Zionist left falls in line with the right, salutes the military and supports a war that hadn’t even begun. This time she even got there before Shimon Peres.

Michaeli cannot be forgiven for her unbelievable lack of awareness: After four days of a voluntary partial lockdown in the south, the leader of the left says that no state would agree to a “siege.” Without blinking, no state. A member of the government that is responsible for a horrific 16-year siege dares to be shocked by a 2-minute voluntary, partial lockdown. Instead of supporting the government’s momentary restraint, which lasted the eternity of the life of a butterfly (time’s a-wasting, the elections is nigh), the Labor Party once again supports a foolish war of choice, as did all its predecessors. The Zionist left once again gives the concept of a double standard a bad name. Perhaps at least now the penny will drop for more supporters of the center-left: There’s no real difference between it and the right. Israel can no longer even pretend that it didn’t start this war – whose infantile name, Operation Breaking Dawn, was given to it at birth – or that it had no choice. This time they even forewent the advance saber-rattling and got straight to the point: the arrest of an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, which they knew ahead of time would provoke a severe response, and the assassination of a senior commander in the Gaza Strip, after which they knew there was no way back, and Israel is already waging a “defensive war,” a just war of a state to which everything is permitted. The peace-loving country that only wants security for its inhabitants – such an innocent. The state that has everything except deterrence: There is nothing or no one to deter Israel from attacking Gaza.

But this time, the government is one of “change and healing.” Fifteen months after the last delight, Operation Guardian of the Walls, dawn has broken. Five weeks after the fastest gun in the West took office, Prime Minister Yair Lapid is already sending the army to war. Never in Israel’s history was a prime minister in such a hurry to kill. All the Netanyahu cases pale in the face of the crime of launching a needless war that will contribute nothing but more bloodshed, most of it Palestinian. And all of Netanyahu’s failings pale in the face of his relative restraint in using military force while in office. Keep on getting riled up about the cigars – at least Netanyahu doesn’t have to prove his macho credentials, as Lapid does.

It’s true that the analysts, the old boys club and the mayors in the south pressed for this war, as they always do, but never was there such a rapid capitulation to the caprices to launch a war; Israel was hardly given a minute for passionate excoriations on the air. Now, when only a few months separate one attack in Gaza from another, there’s no point in even asking what the goals are. There are no goals, except the desire to prove that theirs is bigger. If there were goals, and if quiet were one of them, and if this were a government of change, then Lapid would have taught Israel a lesson in restraint; and if Lapid were also a courageous statesman he would have led to change by recognizing Hamas, lifting the siege and making an effort to meet with the Gaza leadership. Anything less than this is a direct continuation of the policies of all of Israel’s governments, in whose DNA baseless wars run deep. That’s why there is no need for a government of change. Just be sure to remember who started this war, and who supported it.


Nancy Pelosi’s Welcome To Taiwan Was Far From Unanimous, And Her “Support For Human Rights” Is In Question Even In Her Home Town.

Despite earnest counsel from many quarters against going to Taiwan, including threatening warnings of dire consequences from Beijing, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, insisted on making the trip. She landed in Taipei in pitch-black conditions near midnight on Tuesday.

Her plane landed on the little-used Songshan Airport close to the Taipei city center. The runway and other lights on the ground were lowered just in case.

Her flight path from Malaysia took an exaggerated circular route over Indonesia and then around the east coast of the Philippines and landed in Taipei from the east. Thus she completely avoided China’s airspace over the South China Sea and the Chinese coastline.

Her flight took significantly longer than if she had simply flown directly by line of sight from Kuala Lumpur to Taipei. Apparently, an exact replica of the military aircraft did take off from KL hours earlier and flew directly to Taipei. We have to wonder how that crew must have felt as a decoy to test the resolve of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

American fighter jets took off from the carrier USS Ronald Reagan to provide escort service with the help midair-fueling tankers, needed to extend the fighters’ limited range. As Pelosi’s plane approach Taiwan airspace, Taiwan-based jets took over the escort service.

Happily, Pelosi’s plane landed without incident.

So, other than burnishing her credentials as a champion of democracy and human rights – subject to further discussion later – what has her tour accomplished?

Well, President Tsai Ing-wen awarded Pelosi with the Order of Propitious Clouds, Taiwan’s highest civilian order. And the award came with a pretty turquoise sash worn across the body as if she were Miss California.

In fact, the pro-Democratic Progressive Party faction of the Taiwan media gushed enthusiastically over the beauty of Pelosi when she was young, repeatedly showing a photo of her standing with then-president John F Kennedy, who was giving her an appreciative ogle.

Other members of the Taiwan media were less complimentary and flattering. One commentator observed that Pelosi promised more security for Taiwan. Yet as a result of her visit, the tension across the Strait has heightened, and now people in Taiwan face frequent fighter-jet incursions from the mainland. Taiwan has become less secure.

Another said that the cross-Strait problems should have been left to the two sides to resolve and not commandeered by the American empire. Now, he lamented, “We have been reduced to a chess piece between two great powers.”

Yet another asked the rhetorical question: “Can Taiwan become the next Ukraine?” Heretofore, we have been secure and peaceful and faced no risk of war across the Strait, he said. But the Western media are pushing Taiwan to the front line of conflict.

The response from the mainland was for its customs authority to announce suspension of imports from Taiwan encompassing more than 3,000 products, most of which are foodstuffs and agricultural goods. The announcement came on the eve of Pelosi’s arrival and will likely incur heavy losses and put a dent in the trade surplus Taiwan normally enjoys.


Tsai’s government is supposed to have realized the possible consequential fallout of heavy economic losses and had quietly asked Pelosi if she could consider not coming, but to no avail.

It’s not as if Pelosi was unaware of the potential damage and negative consequences of her visit. On the eve of her departure from America, voters in her own congressional district demonstrated in front of her office asking her not to visit Taiwan.

She also elicited vocal protest in Taipei after her arrival. One sign read, “War Speaker Pelosi get out of Taipei.” Laotaipo, “old woman,” is one of the nicer name-callings for her. Less kind, some thought of the American military transport as her personal broom to fly into Taipei.

China’s show of displeasure came with the announced live-fire drills commencing shortly after Pelosi’s departure for South Korea. The drills will in essence surround the entire island and threaten Taiwan in every direction. Pelosi’s visit has given China an excuse to do a practice run for a potential future invasion.

No wonder Republican members of Congress, while enthusiastically encouraging her and voicing their support for her trip to Taiwan, all found reasons to stay home and not join her. Only former secretary of state Mike Pompeo volunteered to make it a bipartisan tour, but apparently no one cared for his company.

One final measure of the popularity of Pelosi’s foray to Taiwan is South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol informing her that he is on vacation and can’t take the time to see her.

Since being elected president, it took less than three months for Yoon’s popularity to drop below 30%. He could see the reaction Pelosi got from Taiwan and saw no upside for him to meet with her.

Pelosi has represented the city of San Francisco in Congress for well over three decades. During this time, she has risen in seniority to become the Speaker of the House, two steps from the presidency. She has also taken on the mantle as a champion of democracy and human rights.

In her more than 30 years of public service, we have seen the institution of democracy in America erode and deteriorate to the point of gridlock and impasse. True, it would not be fair to blame it all on her. It took many petty politicians to make the mess that we Americans are in, but she is one of them.

During her term of office, the blight of her district has worsened every year. San Francisco has become the major city with the worst homeless problem in all of the country. The sidewalks, doorways and public areas are just gross beyond description.

Nancy Pelosi apparently cares about human rights as far away as China but not much in San Francisco.


AIPAC’s All-Out Assault On Andy Levin And Donna Edwards Reflects Their Ongoing Effort To Shift The Boundaries Of Acceptable Politics On Israel.

Andy Levin, currently the Democratic Representative from Michigan’s 9th District, was always going to have a difficult path to re-election. Because of redistricting in Michigan, he could either run in the new 10th District—where he certainly would have won the primary, but in a district that leans Republican, so it was questionable whether he would win the November election—or the new 11th District, which is a safely Democratic seat but where he was going to face another Democratic incumbent, Haley Stevens.

Democratic leadership wanted Levin to run in the 10th, hoping to flip that seat for themselves. Levin, who didn’t think it likely a Democrat would win the 10th, decided to take on Stevens. Stevens had flipped a generally Republican district in 2018, so the Democratic establishment are enamored of her, but redistricting made the district much more solidly Democratic, including bringing in more progressive voters. There seemed to be a solid chance that Levin could win there and maintain his place as one of the more progressive, non-“Squad” Democrats in Congress.

Then AIPAC got involved.

AIPAC spent well over $3 million to defeat Levin, using their new political action committee, the United Democracy Project, to leverage the race. That is an enormous amount of money in a single district primary race. But this is the AIPAC strategy, and it has proven effective. Last week, AIPAC used over $6 million in campaign spending to defeat Donna Edwards in Maryland, a progressive with a strong congressional track record who was trying to get back into Congress.

The race is looking grim for Levin. A poll released on July 21 showed Stevens with a commanding lead of 58% to 31% over Levin. The poll could be overstating the margin, and the head of Target Insyght, Ed Sarpolus, which carried out the poll noted that, “sometimes polls like this get much tighter by election day,” but it’s a huge margin. Sarpolus also stated that “Unless something happens, Haley is going to win.”


Andy Levin is hardly a radical anti-Israel voice. He raises legitimate questions about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. He supports military aid to Israel but believes it should be given under the conditions spelled out in United States law that bind all recipients of American aid. He opposes BDS but supports a two-state solution.

That is not the profile of an anti-Zionist or a Palestinian solidarity activist. He fits solidly in the profile of a liberal Zionist. Levin says of himself: “Here I am a Jew, a proud Zionist, who can talk to people across lines. I can talk to IfNotNow, I can talk to JVP [Jewish Voice for Peace], I can talk to Palestinians, I can talk to other Arab Americans, I can talk to anybody.”

Moreover, Levin is a former president of his synagogue, a pillar of his Jewish community and holds, as he quite correctly put it, “a pretty f***ing conventional view of Israel” within that community. Yet he was described by David Victor, a former president of AIPAC as “the most corrosive member of Congress to the U.S.-Israel relationship.” Considering the things that AIPAC and its fellow travelers have said about Bernie Sanders, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and others, that’s a remarkable thing to say about a self-defined Zionist.

The all-out assault on Levin represents AIPAC moving the goalposts in their ongoing effort to define the boundaries of acceptable political stances on Israel. Victor defined the thinking: “Andy sincerely claims to be a lifelong Zionist, proud Jew and defender of Israel. So, when Andy Levin insists he’s pro-Israel, less engaged Democratic colleagues may take him at his word.” Unspoken here is that Levin’s word, in this case, is solid gold. What Victor and AIPAC are worried about is that fellow Democrats would hear even this much truth.

The strategy would seem to be to go hardest after people who can fit neatly into the J Street sector of liberal Zionism, and to either defeat them at the ballot box or intimidate them into a more hawkish position. That would then leave the few, more outspoken members in an isolated and vulnerable position.

AIPAC has focused its financial resources on Levin while hoping that another new PAC, Urban Empowerment Action PAC (UEA), will be able to undermine Rashida Tlaib in the nearby 12th District. It is a measure of AIPAC’s current strategy that Levin is of greater concern to AIPAC than the one Palestinian-American woman in Congress, a much sharper critic of Israel than Levin. The strategy would seem to be to go hardest after people like Levin and Edwards, who can fit neatly into the J Street sector of liberal Zionism, and to either defeat them at the ballot box or intimidate them into a more hawkish position on Palestine and Israel. That would then leave the few, more outspoken members like Tlaib and Omar in an isolated and vulnerable position, even if they hold on to their seats or pick up a few more allies. Fellow leftists like Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Jamaal Bowman who are already nervous about treading into the issue of Palestine, would become even more reluctant to risk their seats and their agenda for Palestine. But will it work?


Levin said, “I think that AIPAC is so freaked out by J Street.” He is likely correct, but even more, AIPAC is probably concerned about the growing support for the Palestinian cause and the declining image of Israel among younger Democrats. With human rights groups documenting Israeli crimes, and more of them calling Israel an apartheid state, it is more and more difficult to paint a positive image of Israel to a critical or questioning audience. Instead, through its PACs mobilizing money and using a strategy of stealth attacks where it defends Israel without ever mentioning Israel or, frequently, foreign policy at all, AIPAC is seeking to block political avenues to support Palestinian rights.

In the short run, there are already signs of success for this strategy, but there are major pitfalls that will grow worse as time goes on. One is that there is already considerable backlash to AIPAC’s influence in Democratic politics. The fact that AIPAC’s two SuperPACs get a significant amount of their funding from major Republican donors will be an increasingly sore point for the lobbying group to overcome. So too will the fact that their PACs, in their zeal to be bipartisan and capture as many members of Congress as possible, have drawn considerable criticism for their support for some 100 Republicans who, to one degree or another, supported efforts to nullify the 2020 election.

More than this, though, AIPAC is targeting comparatively progressive candidates at a time when progressives are steadily gaining popularity in the Democratic party. Candidates like Levin, Donna Edwards, Summer Lee (who managed to overcome AIPAC’s campaigning against her) and others hail from the more progressive wing of the Democratic party. As more of these sorts of candidates are defeated, and as it becomes ever clearer that AIPAC, and therefore Israel, is the reason, sentiment against the lobby will rise and progressives will be able to counter AIPAC simply by naming them.

Few Democrats, including pro-Israel ones, want to see AIPAC’s far-right views on Israel become a litmus test. Democratic voters are far away from AIPAC’s zealous opposition to a two-state solution. The bill that Andy Levin authored, called The Two-State Solution Bill could be criticized for lack of input and support from Palestinian, or even any Arab groups, but there’s no doubt that it falls squarely within the mainstream of the Democratic view of Israel and Palestine. That’s what AIPAC is attacking.

But more than that, in attacking Levin, AIPAC has gone after one of the more outspoken progressive voices in Congress on many issues. This is how AIPAC plans to maintain bipartisanship with its new PACs: by supporting conservative Democrats and insurrectionist Republicans. The worst of both worlds.


This Visit Has Ignited A Lot Of Controversy, Even In Mainstream Punditry Where Criticism Of The American Empire Is Only Rarely Tolerated.

The White House has officially confirmed reports that President Biden will indeed be visiting Saudi Arabia in contradiction of his campaign vows to make the nation a “pariah” for its human rights violations, and everyone’s acting like visiting a murderous tyrant is somehow beneath the dignity of an America president.

The President will then travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is the current chair of the GCC and the venue for this gathering of nine leaders from across the region, at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud,” the White House statement reads. “The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation. He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades.”

The president will meet with the nation’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), to discuss what the White House calls “means for expanding regional economic and security cooperation, including new and promising infrastructure and climate initiatives, as well as deterring threats from Iran, advancing human rights, and ensuring global energy and food security.”

But what they will primarily be discussing is oil, as America flounders in its economic war against Russia.

This visit has ignited a lot of controversy, even in mainstream punditry where criticism of the American empire is only thinly tolerated.

I wonder who will die because Biden decided to show the world that MBS can kill with impunity,” tweeted Project on Government Oversight’s Walter Shaub in reference to the Saudi leader’s assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

I don’t understand why it’s necessary to go see MBS,” former presidential advisor David Gergen said on CNN. “Do you want one more big controversy? This one the left will come after him, because they think, the human rights crowd believes very strongly, and with justification, that the murder of Khashoggi rests heavily on MBS and the team around him.”

His blood stain has not been cleansed,” Senator Tim Kaine told CNN. “And I get it that circumstances change. But what’s the fundamental issue in the world right now? It’s the authoritarians. You know, insistence ‘we’ll do it our way’ versus democratic ideals.”

I have real worries about patching up relationships with the crown prince absent some real commitments for justice for political dissenters in Saudi Arabia and families that have already been the targets of a dizzying campaign of repression,” Senator Chris Murphy told CNN.

All this hand wringing about an American president visiting a Saudi leader overlooks the fact that the Biden administration openly acknowledges the presence of thousands of American troops in Saudi Arabia, and that America already actively collaborates with Saudi royalty in myriad ways with immensely far-reaching consequences.

More to the point, though, the controversy over Biden’s meeting with MBS ignores the fact that America is quantifiably a far more murderous and tyrannical regime than Saudi Arabia.

The United States is currently circling the planet with hundreds of military bases and waging wars which have killed millions and displaced tens of millions just since the turn of this century. Its sanctions and blockades have been starving people to death en masse every single day. It works to destroy any nation which disobeys its dictates by toppling their governments via CIA coups, proxy wars, partial and full-scale invasions, and the most egregious number of election interferences in the entire world.

Saudi Arabia cannot compete with those numbers. Riyadh exerts totalitarian control over its own populace and commits war crimes and funds violent extremists in its immediate surroundings. Washington does all of these things throughout the entire world. It is true that America exports most of its tyranny and murderousness to other nations (though it certainly exerts plenty of it at home as well), but that only makes it less tyrannical and murderous if you believe non-American lives are worth less than American lives.

Saudi Arabia is not working to dominate the entire planet with an iron fist. Saudi Arabia is not threatening the life of everyone on earth by ramping up nuclear brinkmanship with both Russia and China. Mohammed Bin Salman had someone dismembered with a bone saw. Joe Biden manages a globe-spanning empire that is fueled by human blood.

It’s just so funny how everyone’s arguing about whether the single most murderous and oppressive regime on this planet should be sullying its good name by associating with a far lesser evil than itself. If anything, MBS should be embarrassed to be meeting with an American president.

In truth America is friends with Saudi Arabia not in spite of the Saudi regime’s murderousness and depravity but exactly because of it. America doesn’t oppose tyrannical dictatorships; it loves them. A totalitarian monarchy which operates in an immensely geostrategically crucial region with complete control and zero transparency is the most perfect friend a globe-dominating empire could possibly ask for.

If you believe a meeting between Biden and MBS is any kind of transgression of the American government’s values, it’s only because you haven’t looked closely enough and thought hard enough about what those values really are.