Lawlessness / Ruined – part 25

From Toronto Star:
Avi Lewis says NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is moving in the right direction, but “he’s taking a little step, and he needs to leap.” (JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“Could left-wing populism take flight in Canada?” by Alex Ballingall (Toronto Star)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

OTTAWA—The symbolism, to Avi Lewis’s eye, was spot on. The leader of the federal New Democratic Party, on Bay St. on Friday morning, talking about how the “ultra-wealthy” need to pay their share.

But, for Lewis, the imagery fizzled with Jagmeet Singh’s message: a trio of policy proposals about stocks, corporate wealth and taxation that might be too technocratic to get people worked up. And if you, like Lewis, believe Canadians are ready for a firebrand version of left wing politics — a populism of the left, he says — then that’s just not going to cut it…

But populism isn’t exclusive to one side of the political spectrum. Jan-Werner Mueller, a politics professor at Princeton University, told the CBC last week that populists can come in different ideological shades, so long as they trade in a rhetoric of divisiveness that questions the legitimacy of those who don’t share their views. “It’s always about excluding others,” he said.

For that reason, Mueller considers Hugo Chavez, the late Venezuelan socialist strongman, a populist of the left. He doesn’t use the label for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn — politicians who rail against inequalities perpetuated by unbridled capitalism, for instance, but who don’t necessarily vilify their opponents as illegitimate contenders for power…

But Lewis insists populism is the path to success for the NDP. He said the right has “appropriated” the populist mantle from the left, in that politicians like Ontario Premier Doug Ford argue they are governing “for the people.” New Democrats need to compete with a similar slogans, which Lewis describes as “demands” that grab attention and boil down complexities about climate change, the push for a sustainable economy, and the role of government into simple messages like “Free Transit For All” or “Federal Jobs Guarantee.”

Whatever. The Toronto Star, Alex Ballingall, the NDP and its sorry leader and Avi Lewis all belong to the ‘good cop’ liberal camp in the ‘good cop bad cop’ rightwing act that stands in the way of democracy and has completely taken over the electoral marketplace. The hypocrisy is astounding. And notice the demonstration thinking (which involves being presented with [dishonest] thinking we are supposed to imitate) on display here. Ballinghall is happy to quote Jan-Werner Mueller who calls Hugo Chavez a “strongman” hero of the Left who was happy to vilify opponents (who were trying to murder him and tried twice to remove him via a coup, even though he was democratically elected and popular). The fool Mueller suggests that people like Chavez (who show solidarity with their people rather than foreign investors) want socialism for themselves and not for others, when the opposite of that assertion is the truth. Nice guy Bernie, as Paul Street makes clear, was never ‘not’ establishment and were he president, he’d tinker (possibly) but he wouldn’t (and couldn’t) alter fundamentally the war-making character of the State. But he wouldn’t if he could. This is a guy who signed off on wars and urged the genocidal Saudis to bomb people! Mueller, notes Ballingall, says, in regard to the label of “strongman,” that “He doesn’t use the label for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn — politicians who rail against inequalities perpetuated by unbridled capitalism, for instance, but who don’t necessarily vilify their opponents as illegitimate contenders for power.” In other words, That civilized approach (failure to call a spade a spade and failure to side decisively with the people in the ‘real’ class war that is raging) is supposed to be a good thing and we are supposed to think the way Ballingall would have us think here – in a fashion that is, in fact, not in our best interests. Of course.

Ballingall quotes politics professor Jan-Werner Mueller, who says that populism is about deliberately creating division. Why does he quote him on that? Then he quotes David Laycock, a political science professor, who says that “one of populism’s central tenets is an argument that the fundamental division in society is “between the people and some sinister elite.”” Why does he quote him? Because there certainly is a sinister elite. (I personally don’t view the Right as being a moral equivalent of the real Left. The Right is evil or turned toward it. Take note Avi; If you try that wishy washy language on wounded working class people, it won’t work, at least not on those among the working class who have two brain cells to rub together. And I will admit that there’s too many regular people who are down to one brain cell. Is that your idea of fiery populism?) Liberals (today’s variety, which is different than yesterday’s variety, just as today’s Conservatives are different than yesterday’s Conservatives) can pretend that they aren’t extreme, like those on the Right, but when you in fact support war and killing for profit (like Bernie Sanders) and neoliberal capitalism, then you are extreme – from the standpoint of aware victims of neoconservatism and neoliberalism. As for Avi Lewis, Clearly the man has sold his soul.

related: “Canada’s New Democratic Party’s Anti-Palestinian History” by Yves Engler (Dissident Voice)

related: “Has it become NDP policy to support US-backed coups in Latin America?” by Yves Engler (Canadian Dimension)

related: “NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh embraces Imperialist Policies of Helene Laverdiere” by Yves Engler (Canadian Dimension)

related: “The “N” in NDP Now Stands for Neoliberal” by Yves Engler (Canadian Dimension)

“Saudis Secretly Purchased $250M Spy Package from Israel to Track Foreign Journalists and Activists” by Randi Nord (Geopolitics Alert)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Riyadh (MPN) – Jamal Khashoggi’s death serves as a dark example of the Kingdom’s growing global espionage apparatus and the actions it’s willing to take against foreign nationals.

Saudi Arabia has inked a deal worth $250 million in advanced espionage technologies with Israel after a series of backroom meetings, according to a recent report from Emirati outlet Al-Khaleej.

This revelation highlights the Kingdom’s increasingly aggressive spy apparatus under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) — used to heighten attacks on journalists and dissidents living abroad, as evidenced by the recent killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A security personnel looks out from the entrance of the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Writer Jamal Khashoggi, vanished after he walked into the consulate on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

“Angered By Saudi Plan to Purchase Russian S-400, Trump Admin Exploiting Khashoggi Disappearance to Force Saudis to “Buy American”” by Whitney Webb (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Istanbul (MPN) – The response of the Trump administration and many U.S. politicians to Khashoggi’s disappearance is largely being guided by the military-industrial complex — in this case, Lockheed Martin — but masquerading as a response motivated by “human rights.”

The disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi continues to strain relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, President Donald Trump warned the Saudis of “severe punishment” if the Saudi government was found to have been responsible for the journalist’s alleged murder.

The Saudi government has vocally denied any involvement even though Khashoggi disappeared within the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and responded to Trump’s threats by vowing an even “stronger” response if the Gulf monarchy is ultimately targeted by the United States. The exchange of threats caused Saudi stocks to sustain their biggest one-day loss since 2016 when trading opened and has brought the upcoming three-day Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Saudi Arabia much unwanted negative publicity.

However, there is considerable evidence pointing to the fact that the U.S.’ response to the Khashoggi affair is likely to be determined, not by any Saudi government responsibility for Khashoggi’s fate, but instead whether or not the Saudis choose to follow through with their promise to purchase the $15 billion U.S.-made THAAD missile system or it cheaper, Russia-made equivalent, the S-400…

William Hartung

“Pentagon Socialism” by William Hartung (TomDispatch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Given his erratic behavior, from daily Twitter eruptions to upping his tally of lies by the hour, it’s hard to think of Donald Trump as a man with a plan. But in at least one area — reshaping the economy to serve the needs of the military-industrial complex — he’s (gasp!) a socialist in the making.

His plan is now visibly taking shape — one we can see and assess thanks to a Pentagon-led study with a distinctly tongue-twisting title: “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.” The analysis is the brainchild of Trump’s adviser for trade and manufacturing policy, Peter Navarro, who happens to also be the key architect of the president’s trade wars.

Navarro, however, can hardly take sole credit for the administration’s latest economic plan, since the lead agency for developing it was also the most interested of all in the project, the Pentagon itself, in particular its Office of Defense Industrial Policy. In addition, those producing the report did so in coordination with an alphabet soup of other agencies from the Department of Commerce to the Director of National Intelligence. And even that’s not all. It’s also the product of an “interagency task force” made up of 16 working groups and 300 “subject matter” experts, supplemented by over a dozen industry “listening sessions” with outfits like the National Defense Industrial Association, an advocacy organization that represents 1,600 companies in the defense sector…

First, were you aware that the Pentagon even had an Office of Defense Industrial Policy? It sounds suspiciously like the kind of government organization that engages in economic planning, a practice anathema not just to Republicans but to many Democrats as well…

Where could alternatives to Pentagon job-creation programs come from? The short answer is: invest in virtually anything but buying more weapons and waging more wars and Americans will be better off. For instance, Pentagon spending creates startlingly fewer jobs per dollar than putting the same taxpayer dollars into infrastructure repair and rebuilding, alternative energy creation, education, or health care. A study conducted by University of Massachusetts economist Heidi Garrett-Peltier for the Costs of War Project at Brown University found that, had the government invested in civilian activities the $230 billion per year wasted on America’s post-9/11 wars, that sum would have created 1.3 million additional jobs. A more equitable tax policy that required wealthy individuals and corporations to pay their fair share could similarly fund a $2 trillion infrastructure program that would support 2.5 million new jobs in its first year, according to a proposal put forward by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Not only would socialism for ‘all’ be better than what neoconservatives, who believe in inequality, desire, but others’ (conventional socialists for example) ideas of socialism for ‘all’ would be better than what bloodspillers like Trump et al want.

related: “Cold War Means Mainly Class War” by Noam Chomsky

Jim Miles

“Canada doubles down on double standards” by Jim Miles (Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Canadian politicians pride themselves in being guardians of “Canadian values”, one of which is its support of humanitarian principles throughout the world. When that attitude is compared to what Canada actually does, it does not hold up very well…

The Canadian government recently bought the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Canada from its U.S. parent company, intending to double the pipe’s capacity in order to ship bitumen – tar sands – dilbit – call it what you will it is essentially unrefined tar such as used for roofing and roads – to Burnaby from the Alberta tar sands operations…

At the same time, Canada’s internal politics are squabbling about whether to accept a federal carbon tax, use cap and trade, or impose their own carbon protocols in order to alleviate climate change. As all the proposals so far are based on some form of monetary control/punishment for carbon use, they will probably have minimal if any real impact on global warming.

So perhaps this is not so much a double standard as a single standard, being we don’t really care about global warming because it hurts our finances. The double standard returns at the pretence and the rhetoric that the government does care…

The government is determined to build the pipeline project. This is also regardless of the various Indian bands in B.C. that are against the project and at the same time have never conceded through treaty or sale their rights to their original territories (most of B.C.). Oops, sorry, that would be a third double standard as the federal rhetoric is all about consultation and working with the natives and making them equals in our society…

For all its rhetoric, Canadian actions speak much louder than its words. Effectively it puts money ahead of both humanitarian rights and global climate change – and where the two come together with the indigenous rights of the local Indian bands.

If Canada was truly concerned about humanitarian rights it would stop selling arms to the Saudis, indeed stop selling arms to anyone (it has a government department set up to facilitate this), and stop wallowing in the wake of U.S. foreign policy.

“‘The methods are the same; the lies are the same'” by Render Peña, César Trompiz, Marco Esteban Caballero and Alberto Mora (Nicaragua – a different focus via Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Alberto Mora: We are pleased to be able to talk this morning with Compañero Render Peña, from Venezuela, head of international relations for the youth directorate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. Thank you for being with us this morning and for talking to us…

Render Peña: Firstly, thank you and greetings to all the people of Nicaragua via the cameras of Channel Four. A revolutionary Bolivarian greeting from the youth directorate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and from the President of our party, Compañero and Comrade Nicolás Maduro Moros, who has been following the proceedings of this Second Forum of Peace and Solidarity with Nicaragua, because as we were saying earlier, for us Nicaragua isn’t just an ally or a friend, it’s a brother and sister and the People of Nicaragua are brothers and sisters of the Bolivarian People of Venezuela.

So on the question you asked me, when I was listening to the Forum it was as though I were listening to what has been happening in Venezuela. Beyond any doubt there’s a Standard Procedure, a very clear Manual that North American imperialism, the centers of imperial power, hold ready to use against Peoples who decide to go their own way…

We saw how the roadblocks and barricades did great damage to the Nicaraguan people. In Venezuela they are called “guarimbas”. We have seen the face of fascism in its clearest expression, we have seen how they have burned people alive. In Venezuela, we had people burnt alive…

People of Nicaragua, sisters and brothers, in Venezuela, they tried to burn 80 children in a preschool because that preschool was located in a Ministry, the Ministry of Public Works, in our country. And since the preschool was located there and anything connected to the government was a target, for the national right wing it deserved to be attacked and was a target.

They burned it and only the immediate response of the People nearby stopped them realizing their most ruthless desire. But coming to think or imagine that you can burn down a preschool with 80 children inside, burn down a public maternity center just because it was created by the Revolution and has certainly been part of the Bolivarian government’s social policy and doing so without caring that there were mothers inside, or that there were new-born infants there, that happened in Venezuela.

If we can take something away from this, it is that we have matured greatly, not because we have read about fascism, or been told about it but because we have seen fascism face to face, looking it in the eye.

“Break-in Attempted at Assange’s Residence in Ecuador Embassy” by Joe Lauria (Consortium News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

An attempted break-in at Julian Assange’s residence inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Oct. 29, and the absence of a security detail, have increased fears about the safety of the WikiLeak’s publisher.

Lawyers for Assange have confirmed to activist and journalist Suzie Dawson that Assange was awoken in the early morning hours by the break-in attempt. They confirmed to Dawson that the attempt was to enter a front window of the embassy. A booby-trap Assange had set up woke him, the lawyers said…

Later on the day of the break-in, Sean O’Brien, a lecturer at Yale University Law School and a cyber-security expert, was able to enter the embassy through the front door, which was left open. Inside he found no security present. Someone from the embassy emerged to tell him to send an email to set up an appointment with Assange. After emailing the embassy, personnel inside refused to check whether it had been received or not…

O’Brien said that previous visitors had described to him “closed and locked doors. Security guards manning the desk at all times. Privacy drapes, dark rooms with shuttered blinds. For such a reversal of position to have occurred, there is only one conclusion: the Ecuadorian Embassy is open for business. Wide open.”…

The break-in attempt last Monday occurred on the morning that Assange was due to testify via video-link to a court in Quito regarding Assange’s conditions of asylum. Technical problems interrupted Assange’s testimony. The court ruled against his lawyer’s petition for protections for Assange.

related: “LIVE: Assange Emergency Meeting”


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