Category Archives: politics

COVID – a quadruple mission?

It was frightening to see how quickly the liberal left collapsed into totalitarianism when the causes for the measures were presented as being «compassion» and «care for the elderly and weak». As if compassion had any place in the neoliberal, capitalist economy and even less in US foreign policy (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, etc.).
It is also puzzling that the media reporting resembles in large parts Goering’s recipe for totalitarianism. ‘Being attacked’ is extended to ‘attacked by a virus’, and ‘the pacifists’ are replaced by ‘those who do not have compassion with the elderly’.

“Naturally, the common people don’t want war …. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”
– Herman Goering

Having a «war against the virus» — a war — makes airplanes honoring the soldiers on the ground (health workers) fit well into the picture.

cui bono?

Apart from the 5 trillion financial aid that will be distributed with little oversight (i.e. to the usual suspects), corona killed the Sanders movement or at least derailed it substantially. Now people are asking for survival — and want to remain at home (!) — instead of going out and demonstrating for social democratic corrections of the system.

Was this Corona Hysteria orchestrated?

How was COVID turned into a weapon against the Sanders movement? The ‘simulitis’ article from the Washington Post seems to have started a propaganda coup for the lockdown.  Presented with logic in itself — but without proof of applicability — the article tricked plenty into believing that for flattening the curve lockdown is a necessity. Meanwhile, the simulitis model is logic in and of itself, if this model is applicable to the present situation is an entirely different question. How does the virus spread in reality? The model is nice but it is just a model. If it maps current reality sufficiently well is another question.

Climate change

If the whole COVID hysteria will turn out to have just been a panic without substantial underlying danger — and the chances are quite high for that — the movement against climate change will be put back for years. Scientific arguments demanding measures to prevent climate change will not be credible after «science» told us to go into lockdown for nothing and killed millions of jobs. That it was not science that ordered the lockdown but politicians listening to certain very questionable scientists with ties to big business will be rather irrelevant. The MAGAs who lost their jobs will not listen — understandably to a certain extent — as they were demonstrating and defending the constitution meanwhile the liberal leftists were — by following «science»  — sitting at home and watching the country go bankrupt.

Surveillance state

Instead of forcing a surveillance state on the people, let the people ask for it. With COVID fear people will demand that everyone is tracked 24-7 and has his or her vaccination data implanted in order to be checked anywhere at any time. To use an airplane a scanner scans all your vaccination. If you don’t have the required one, you can’t fly. Period. The same goes for concerts, metros, jobs, etc. It’s not compulsory, it’s just necessary to join the society.

By knowing who has contact with whom — allegedly for tracking infection — the organizational structure, i.e. the participants of any political movement will be known in detail.  Imagine everyone Sanders spoke to for more than fifteen minutes and everyone that spoke to those that are around Sanders mapped minuscule details known to an organization that wants to undermine that movement …

So this little coronavirus ended socialist (social democratic) dreams, gives Wall Street et al. new cash they direly need, puts the climate movement back for years to the delight of the oil-industrial sector and starts the total surveillance state.

I think it’s time to start a war against this virus now!

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Covid-19 and Game theory

 

Could this crisis be a successive build-up of more and more restrictions according to the decisions of the players involved? I am not at all an expert in game theory but I want to share some thoughts.

Situation:

The virologist

The virologist is asked by the politician what to do as there seems to be a pandemic coming. The virologist has two options to offer:

Option A: do nothing

Option B: do quarantine

With option B the virologist has far less responsibility because the result is a) in the future and b) it is not he but others who implement the restrictions. When asked later, he can always say «I spoke from the perspective of a virologist, I am not a politician …» what is, of course, correct.

But option A makes him practically alone responsible for the outcome. If the catastrophe comes, he will be blamed for all future deaths. Therefore the virologist chooses B.

The politician

The politician sitting on coals due to all the frightening media reports – has two options:

Option A: do nothing

Option B: do quarantine

As long as possible he chooses option A because of economics. But then the media heats up the situation and neighboring countries take measures so he gets uncomfortable. If others take measures but he not, all will blame him. So he does what other countries do: take measures (option B) and deflects responsibility to experts and others.

Next

After imposing restrictions, improvement is needed at all cost. The politician has three options:

Option A: end restrictions

Option B: continue with balanced & adapted restrictions

Option C: constantly increase restrictions

Option A is impossible as it would directly contradict the step taken before. It would look like a confession of the wrong decision.

The measures must bring positive results. If the more extreme measures were needed or not can only be verified much later and not with 100% accuracy so all strict measures will be right for now. Option B, on the other hand, even if it were the better option bears a big risk that people will complain that he didn’t do enough.  If more restrictions would improve the situation nor not is just secondary. The risk of «he didn’t do enough» looms to frightening.

Option C is the safe bet: Even if the draconic measures will just have a slightly higher chance of reducing the infections, it will be impossible later to discern if the measures were truly necessary or not (or the findings come months of years later when the public does not care any more).

«We tried everything possible» (Nb. possible not best) is the slogan. So the politician will rather increase restrictions for some time.

Back to normal

With time – a few weeks to a few months – the public longs for and expects that things become normal again. As people long for it, the politician can now reduce the restriction step by step to please people. If the reductions of restrictions do not create a spike in infections then the decision will be accepted as everyone wants them.

 

Let’s see the crisis as a change. One looser is already obvious: the free market and capitalism do not solve the crisis.

But Solidarity does.

 

 

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Hands Off Venezuela

US interventions in other countries – a.k.a regime change – have brought innumerable suffering and death to millions but never fulfilled the stated aims: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria among others have been ruined with billions of dollars needed to rebuild the infrastructure and much more to heal the wounds inflicted. The goals like spreading democracy, reducing terrorism, etc. were never fulfilled and in case of terrorism the conditions have even been substantially worsened.

The well-being of the people is never the goal of US intervention. Simple measures for improvement like ending sanctions, normalising diplomatic relations, opening borders are routinely ignored and after destruction the people are left alone with their fate. Reparations are never paid.

International Law clearly forbids the use of force and the threat of it. The US routinely ignores International Law, using force and threatening to use force against independent states.

We all remember the lies that lead to Iraq war 2003 («weapons of mass destruction») – and we remember the outcome! Do not be fooled this time again.

Say no to meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

 

#HandsOffVenezuela

 

 

further reading:

A Call to Halt an Illegal Invasion of Venezuela

The War on Venezuela is Built on Lies

Why Venezuelan is Rejecting U.S. Aid

DemocracyNow/Venezuela

 

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How should heads of states greet Muhammad bin Salman?

At the G-20 summit the question «how to greet Muhammad bin Salman?» has become the litmus test for politically correct behaviour. The public judges and rates politicians for how they greet Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. Putin’s «high-five» to Salman was especially despised on social media.

Well, there are a few aspects to consider here.

Etiquette

The fist aspect is that state representatives have to respected. It is rather silly to think that we can solve human rights violations or any other problem by simply spitting another head of state in the face. Showing contempt for a representative that one is meeting is a contradictio in eo ipso. Just don’t meet him or her if you want to express contempt. But refusing to talk will rarely solve things.

In most cases the best option to solve a problem is dialogue. And dialogue can only happen with manners and politeness. Protocol applies[1].

The war in Yemen

Next, this one murder is just a tiny, almost insignificant detail in the main killing spree of Saudi Arabia[2]. The war in Yemen with probably more than 50’000 dead and children starving daily surpasses this single assassination by orders of magnitudes. Indignation about this killing has an odour of hypocrisy.

Business with Saudi Arabia

But not only Saudi Arabia is guilty of murder, mass murder. All the countries that continued and continue making business with Saudi Arabia in general and selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in particular during the last years are guilty of supporting the massacres in Yemen.

Should a ugly face when greeting the Prince Salman be enough to whitewash all the complicity?

A vicious world

When Trump was asked about who should be held accountable for the killing, he deflected the question and said that «maybe the world should be held accountable, because the world is a vicious place. The world is a very, very vicious place».[3] Meanwhile a vicious world can’t whitewash murder, that the world is a vicious place is correct: the one million killed in the Iraq war since 2003, the war in Afghanistan, the 500’000 children killed by US-imposed sanctions (Iraq 1991-2003), the chaos in Libya after US intervention, the drone strikes, etc. The list of US crimes is long but only a few on the radical left demand that we stop shaking the hands of Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, etc.

20’000 dead children daily

Every single day about twenty thousand children die from preventable diseases due to lack of basic necessities (clean drinking water, malnutrition, etc.).[4] The cause is mainly the current global world order, i.e. (US-led) neoliberal capitalism. If we feel indignation about the murder of Khashoggi, we must feel indignation for the murder of all these children, too.

Acting collectively

The world is indeed a vicious place but most of it is man-made[5]. As long as head of states do not attempt to change neoliberal capitalism, the daily mass murder continues. Most of the guests at the G-20 summit are the guardians of the neoliberal world order. In such meetings – in principle – world order can be changed: military de-escalation, nuclear disarmament, Tobin-tax, carbon-tax, fair trade commitments, poverty alleviation, etc. are possible. It all just depends on political commitment, unlikely at the moment but possible …

Leaving NATO …

The states themselves can do their part, too, even when the current political climate is clouded by Trumpian egoism. European states could leave NATO and say no to an increase of military budgets. The EU could promote fair business with development countries[6] and increase development aid.[7] That would also help reduce some of the causes for migration.

The minimum …

Of course, to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and to any other state that is involved in illegal wars is the top priority. That means that not just Saudi Arabia has to be banned from receiving weapons but also Israel and the US!

It is obvious that these actions will not happen – not because they are impossible but because our leaders are so deeply entrenched in the global neoliberal world order that they don’t care about the twenty thousand children that die daily nor for the children in Yemen nor about US crimes. They care only for business.

The Khashoggi murder – with its exceptionalism – is therefore a welcomed opportunity to show indignation without having to act and change. Praise to our moral superiority …

 

1 There is a distinct difference between form and content. Formal politeness does not mean to agree in content. And it is a entirely different case when one personally knows and meets a person in private compared to a meeting between states.

2 Unless we introduce the concept worthy and the unworthy victims (unpeople) and rate a wealthy Washington Post columnist like Khashoggi as worthy in relation to the unworthy Yemeni, continuous mass murder is far worse than a single murder.

3 https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/26/whitewashing-murder-is-simply-wrong/

4 http://www.whatnewsshouldbe.org/front-page-news/11-million-kids-die-each-year-whose-deaths-could-have-easily-been-prevented

5 To be honest, I guess some women have also their share in it …

6 Like ending the flooding African markets with cheap meat and other goods that destroy local production especially agriculture.

7 A long-term demand of NGOS is the raise of development aid to 1% GDP, a “burden” the Western nations could shoulder easily.

 

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One sidedness in anti-Assad posts in fb

I repost here a text that was posted on fb.  After commenting it briefly, I was – as expected – blocked by the other original poster. Those who reduce the crisis to Assad only, do not tolerate different opinions.

The Post

1. Assad continues to commit genocide, bombing his people daily. He has murdered half a million people. If you’ve ever wondered what you would’ve done during the Holocaust, you’re doing it now.

The term genocide is not appropriate even with all the war crimes committed by the Al-Assad regime. It is a civil war fuelled and prolonged by outside powers. Those that supported militant groups have at least the same responsibility. The US funded, trained and armed militant groups with $ 7 billion.

2. The world together agreed that using chemical weapons is one of the most heinous acts you can commit. It is strictly outlawed internationally. Assad is responsible for 214 chemical attacks (SNHR).
These are not unverified or false flags. Aside from our timelines filled with endless videos of children frothing at the mouth and dying the most agonising death imaginable, independent bodies like WHO confirm these attacks are without question.

It is without question true that chemical weapon attacks are one of most heinous crimes and that chemical weapons are banned. But it is a very different question to proof who used it. The situation is not as clear. Further, the only body that is entitled to decide about military actions in case of violations against the ban of chemical weapons is the UN. Unilateral strikes are forbidden (a war crime) and undermine the authority of the UN.

3. Strikes from the UK, USA and France isn’t ‘war’. It isn’t ‘bombing’ as the term is usually used either. Technology has moved on a great deal. Taking out Assad’s chemical and airforce capacity is the only way to stop his daily attacks.

Such statements should hardly be necessary to comment. To say our bombs are not bombs but love is sheer cynicism. These strikes were not legalized by the UN and are therefore a clear act of aggression. Such actions undermine the authority of the UN and weaken international law in future.

4. In this type of action a few people might get hurt. But tens of thousands more may be rescued. There are no reported casualties from the night before last.

History shows that acts like those committed by US/GB/FR hardly save people. It increases aggression and leads to more victims. The strike is therefore counterproductive.

5. There is no evidence that this action would escalate into war, just as it didn’t several times recently.

First, this action does not escalate INTO war it IS an act of war. Secondly, there is evidence in history that Russia was wise enough to save the world and de-escalate situations in the past like during the 1963 Cuba crisis when Kennedy risked the lives of 600 million people. We can only hope that Russia does not strike back. The provocation was surely there.

6. What is being proposed is vastly different to what happened with Iraq, Libya and so on. It’s pointless to compare this situation with those. Avoid ‘whataboutery’.

Ignoring history is a decent way to obscure likely outcomes and push people into emotional decisions without reflections about the consequences. In other words: stop thinking, let’s follow emotions … That is propaganda, pure and simple!

7. Yes, Trump and May no doubt have many other horrible reasons for this action. Yes they ignore Syrian refugees. Yes we sell arms. Yes we ignore other similar situations elsewhere. But in the face of a cowardly world, this action is all we currently have.

No, we have plenty more. Refugees can be given asylum and cared for. Turkey and Saudi-Arabia pressured not to support militant groups; diplomacy on a realistic level can be resumed. But it means that the US has to stop aiming at regime change. As long as the main objective is the weakening or removal of Assad, there is no change of truce and peace.

8. Assad has blocked all other types of diplomacy. Again and again and again. Russia vetoed peace talks eight times. The situation has continued for many years. This is a last resort, not a reactive impulse.

This is propaganda. The diplomacy of the US always intended to make Russia cast a veto. Preconditions like Assads removal were made clearly anticipating a rejection and failure of the talks so war could be sold as the ‘last resort’.

9. The current actions won’t end Assad’s regime or the war, nor are they intended to.

What is the intention then? Only the UN has the legal position and the authority to call for a military strike to punish an actor that used chemical weapons. A «punishment» by the US/GB/FR is just a provocation that will most likely lead to heaver conventional bombing. The people will pay the price.

Articles like this seem to have to only goal of fomenting hatred against Assad and reduce the crisis to a single cause. Simple problem – simple solution. The removal of a dictator, however, does hardly change a country into democracy – Libya and Iraq the recent examples.

If the militant, Islamist groups win, Syria will deteriorate into chaos were competing war lords will be fighting for power leading to a second Libya or Afghanistan in the 1990.

If the US enters with troops on the ground (unlikely), we can expected an Iraqi scenario.

If the Syrian government recaptures Syria, the chance for a lasting truce is real. Fighting and bloodshed will end.

Over a period of 20 years a transition to democracy might then be possible.

 

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Trump’s decision most anti-semitic act of last 30 years

With his decision to formally recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, Trump committed probably a massive disservice to Israelis in particular and Jews in general. The future victims of this decision will be Israelis and Jews worldwide. The decision will make it much more difficult for Israel in finding a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians and the Arab world. It will create massive, negative feelings toward Israelis and Jews – from the world community in general to the Arab world and Palestinians in particular. Israel as a neo-colonial entity that unilaterally annexes territory and ignores UN decisions is once more confirmed.

The Jews world-wide will feel more aggression towards them because of this decision. And the price of a potential third intifada (apart of the Palestinians themselves) will be paid by the Israeli-Jewish public. It will be the Jewish Israelis that have to endure security checks when going to a restaurant, avoid buses and public places out of fear of bombs and it will finally be the Israeli public that suffers from suicide attacks – not Donald Trump or Jared Kushner who is the mastermind behind this decision.

In short, Trump’s action is probably the most anti-Semitic one of the last three decades.

 

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Outraged at Sean Spencer’s appearance?

If you outraged about Sean Spencers appearance this years’s Emmy Awards then understand that “there [is] nothing whatsoever surprising about any of this, as it is the logical and necessary outcome of the self-serving template of immunity which D.C. elites have erected for themselves.”

So if initiating an aggressive war (which the Nuremberg Tribunal called “the supreme international crime”), instituting an international torture regime (which Ronald Reagan called “an abhorrent practice” that no circumstance can justify), and embracing the full model of presidential lawlessness does not result in ostracization, sanction, or exclusion from polite society, why on earth would anyone expect that Sean Spicer would face any sort of actual recrimination or consequence?

Glen Greenwald, The Intercept

Read the full article here. Highly recommended!

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The man who saved the world

‘I was just doing my job’: Soviet officer who averted nuclear war dies at age 77

https://www.rt.com/news/403625-nuclear-soviet-officer-died/

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Quote of the day

It is no longer unusual to hear leftwing activists turn FBI or CIA apologists, since these agencies became a home for a covert opposition to Trump and the source of many leaks.

Serge Halimi, https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/as-bellicose-as-ever

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Does Nikki Haley want to speed up Armageddon?

The US seems to be determined to escalate the conflict in Syria. Meanwhile the world is discussing the origin of the gas attack at best, the questions of the true motives receive little focus.

Regime change is the official goal of Nikki Haley, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations. Fighting ISIS the alleged second. But it is a strange coincidence that the US just bombed the Shayrat Military Airport that is one of the Syrian Air Force’s most important installations in the fight against the Islamic State due to its proximity to the Palmyra and Deir Ezzor fronts.” [AMN] In other words the US is supporting ISIS in order to weaken Syrian President Assad.

Remembering the neocons in the 2006 Lebanon war that had “goosebumps” when hearing about it in Middle East, Nikki Haley might not just be aiming at regime change but at all out chaos to speed up the ‘second coming of Christ’. As Trump badly needs a distraction from his incompetence and failures, a war in the middle east comes in rather handy. As I wrote here, war might be the one thing that can change Trump’s standing in the world and hide his inexorable coming failures. The media celebrates Trump’s illegal air-strike against Syria1 and proclaims that Donald Trump has finally “become president”, even lauding this act of aggression as an emotional act by a man suddenly aware that the world’s problems were now his”2 while ignoring that the same  ‘man of heart’ keeps the borders close to the very children he pretends to care for.

True Christianity

True Christianity demands

  • a humanitarian response towards all the refugees. ALL Syrians have to be allowed to enter the US.
  • helping people – especially children – in the refugee camps in and around Syria. Instead of spending about $300 million to launch an illegal air-strike that only escalates the conflict, use this money where it will benefit children and saves lives.
  • to end arming and training ‘rebel groups’ that only prolong the war and have no prospect of ever bringing peace to region. Even if the so-called rebel groups were successful in regime change, Syria would immediately become another Libya were different fractions fighting each other. The chaos would continue endlessly.
  • respect for international law. International law and the UN is the base to solve conflicts.

 

But with the current US government, we can not expect true Christian values but rather more bloodshed for power.

***

1 The military strike was against international law – a war of aggression – and probably against US law, too.

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