Joe Biden

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Can Joe Biden make America great again?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 8:00pm in

His skills as a fixer are finely honed – but they cannot restore a pre-Trump normality. As president, Biden’s private self, shadowed by loss, must come into its own

Every year after 1975, Joe Biden, his second wife Jill, his sons Beau and Hunter and their growing families, would gather for Thanksgiving on Nantucket island off Cape Cod. Part of the annual ritual was that the Bidens would take a photograph of themselves in front of a quaint old house in the traditional New England style that stood above the dunes on their favourite beach.

In November 2014, when Biden was serving as Barack Obama’s vice-president, he found, where the house should have been, an empty space marked out by yellow police tape. The building, he wrote in his memoir Promise Me, Dad had “finally run out of safe ground and run out of time; it had been swept out into the Atlantic”.

There has been an open attempt to turn the US into an authoritarian regime – what has happened once can happen again

Biden has to create a bold departure from the hollow promises of the American dream and towards a new, real equality

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Biden’s New Chapter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 3:30am in

Biden’s plan is far larger than a way to address our current crisis. It outlines a vision for America that reaches back to an older time, when both parties shared the idea that the government had a role to play in the economy, regulating business, providing a basic social safety net, and promoting infrastructure. Continue reading

The post Biden’s New Chapter appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The Case Against Donald Trump – Simplified

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 3:19am in

The US Constitution establishes a system of checks and balances consisting of three equal branches of government – legislative (Article I), executive (Article II), and judicial (Article III). On January 6, 2021, the head of the executive branch, Donald Trump, incited a mob to attack the legislative branch and then did nothing to stop it. Continue reading

The post The Case Against Donald Trump – Simplified appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Steady Statesmanship and Climate Policy in the Midst of a Fascist Threat

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/01/2021 - 4:36am in
By Brian Snyder

The insurrectionist mob that stormed the Capitol last week has been frequently described as fascist. Certainly, it was a far-right, racist mob attempting to overthrow a democratic election, as with the Beerhall Putsch or the March on Rome. Yet, the real fascists in the Capitol weren’t the mob. The actual fascists are far more powerful than a bunch of conspiracy-addled cosplayers. The real fascists were the half-dozen senators and 140 or so representatives who abetted and instigated the insurrection. Furthermore, the real problem in American democracy is not determining how to punish the rabble, but determining how to handle the fascists who’ve infiltrated our American government.

Trump

Donald Trump: Conservative or fascist? (Image: CC BY 2.0, Credit: Michael Candelori)

The Mob Was Not Fascist

Do not mistake my argument that the mob was not fascist for sympathy. Quite the opposite. But the difference between fascism and conservatism—even far-right conservatism—is profound. Conservatives believe in democracy; fascists do not. Conservatives and fascists may (or may not) have similar policy preferences, but fascism seeks power through any means—democratic or not. Conservatives, because of their respect for the rule of law, propriety, and precedent, would not seek to abrogate the results of an election. Mitt Romney is a conservative; Donald Trump is better described as a fascist. Of course, this definition seems to suggest that the rioters were fascists. Followers of Trump tried to undermine democracy.

Yet, it would appear that the rioters did not think that they were undermining democracy. They seem to have been deluded into believing that the democratic process had been corrupted and that it was up to them to right that wrong. They saw themselves as democracy’s savior, not its destroyer.

Fascism in the Republican Party

While I do not believe that most of the mob could be fairly called fascists, some members of Congress clearly are fascists, and this should be far more frightening. The mob was enabled by a group of senators and House members who planned to object to the results of free and fair elections in six states. In most cases, they followed through with these objections even after the insurrection. These politicians, all of whom are high-achieving, highly educated individuals, surely knew they were misleading Americans. They knew the elections were fair and that Joe Biden rightfully won, but they did not care. They were willing to trade democracy for power. That makes them nihilists. That the power they sought—another term of Trumpism—was racist, nationalist, and far-right, makes them fascists.

Of course, the Republican Party also has a conservative, non-fascist core centered around Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, and a handful of Never Trumpers. At present, it seems like there will be a prolonged dispute within the party between those who will seek power at all costs, and those who believe in democracy. If this conflict occurs—that is to say, if Mitch McConnell is able to rid the party of Trumpism—the mainstream conservatives will win. What they lack in an enthused base, they will more than make up for in corporate dollars, and so a new iteration of the Republican Party may emerge, if not simply revert to the pre-Trump version.

What Now?

In the midst of all of the problems of 2020 and 2021—an attempted coup, racial injustice, a global pandemic, increasing tensions with Iran—we still have all of the problems we had in January 2017 when Donald Trump took office, and most of them are worse. The past 12 months will be the warmest in recorded history—until it is overtaken soon—as global emissions continue to rise. The national debt has ballooned due to the stimuli and tax cuts used to maintain growth. Our geopolitical rivalry with China has deepened, causing concern about a new cold war. The government’s ability to leverage political capital has plummeted as our European allies wonder if we will elect more fascists in the coming years. In just about every way, the USA is worse off than it was four years ago.


Global heating: Concurrent with political division, no less. (Image: CC0, Credit: NASA)

Meanwhile, some of us have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. Dealing with all of these problems at once will be like riding a unicycle while eating meatloaf. Yet, that appears to be the hand we’ve been dealt, and the consequences if we fail—if we remain divided by race and class, divided on climate and energy, at odds with the world—will be catastrophic. Trump has brought us to the precipice of the abyss, and it is up to Joe Biden to walk us back.

Joe Biden has a task before him unlike any president has https://steadystate.org/dating-sites-without-fake-profiles/; and, as in 1932, the problems we face cannot be solved in a divided, polarized nation. Thus, Biden’s first job must not be climate or economic policy but unity. Unfortunately, Biden can only accomplish something approaching unity with the help of Republicans in the Senate, especially Mitch McConnell.

The unicycle is on a bumpy path when the highest hopes for the Republic rest with Mitch McConnell, yet if anyone in the Democratic Party can work with McConnell, it’s probably Biden.

What Does This Mean for Environmental and Steady-State Policy?

While many of the issues facing the USA are critically important, climate change takes on a special urgency and needs to be addressed immediately. But climate change lacks the immediacy of a pandemic, or insurrection, or a conflict with Iran. As a result, there is a risk that it will be pushed to the back burner. That would be both disastrous and understandable.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden: Not a steady-stater, but a symbol for climate stability. (Image: pink dating app, Credit: sri lanka dating womens)

Further, it is hard to imagine how climate legislation could be passed in a nation so divided. We cannot even agree if our elections are fair or if the President incited a violent mob. How can we possibly agree on a contentious policy that we have argued over for decades?

Yet there is room for a certain degree of optimism. History is instructive. Our nation has been divided in the past: During the late 1960s following the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the riots following King’s assassination, the Kent State Massacre, the My Lai Massacre, and the police assault during the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Then, as now, domestic terrorist organizations were dedicated to overthrowing the U.S. government from the left (Weather Underground) and the right (the Klan).

Despite these stark divisions, the early 1970s witnessed the passage of nearly every major piece of environmental legislation in U.S. history. The National Environmental Policy Act (1970), the Clean Air Act (extended 1970), the Clean Water Act (1972), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1976) were all passed or strengthened during this period and still, five decades later, form the backbone of U.S. environmental policy. Perhaps this was just the culmination of growing environmental awareness, or perhaps it was because passing environmental legislation was easier than dealing with issues of race or war. Whatever the cause, something positive emerged from this great division. Perhaps something similar can happen today.

Perhaps Americans watching this division and hatred will recoil and attempt to build a more community-centered nation, along the lines of that explored in Herman Daly and John Cobb’s For the Common Good.  Perhaps they will react against the gilded excess of Trumpism and return to a saner level of personal consumption and debt. Perhaps Americans will begin to understand that they should not rely on their drunk uncle’s Facebook feed as a source of information and return to factual news sources. Or perhaps Americans elect representatives in future elections that make real, substantive change in our political culture, our public policy, or both. If they are looking for a place to start, I might humbly submit the Full and Sustainable Employment Act (FSEA). Indeed, steady-state economics is a curious mix of progressive ideals and conservative values. (What could be more conservative than community-centered, fiscally-conservative conservationism?) The FSEA could make for common ground from which to start.

Brian F. Snyder is an assistant professor of environmental science at Louisiana State University and CASSE’s LSU Chapter director.

The post Steady Statesmanship and Climate Policy in the Midst of a Fascist Threat appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.


Unsanitized: The Democratic Policy-Smorgasbord Mistake

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/01/2021 - 3:54am in

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Joe Biden

First Response In US politics at the moment, I’d rather be the Democrats. The Republican president has just been impeached for a second time for inciting insurrection, some far-right allies appear to have aided and abetted the effort, and the party … Continue reading

The post Unsanitized: The Democratic Policy-Smorgasbord Mistake appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Storming of the Capitol: The Working Class Has its Own Battles to Fight

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 7:20am in

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Statement of the Internationalist Communist Tendency

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A Record of Hawkish Intervention: Biden Picks Samantha Power to Head USAID

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 6:53am in

President-elect Joe Biden has selected longtime Democratic insider Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “There is simply no one better to ensure our development agenda is a core pillar of our foreign policy,” the 78-year-old Delawarean said in a video statement, claiming that, under previous Democratic administrations Power, “fought tirelessly to prioritize human rights.”

USAID styles itself as a human rights organization, a Washington-sponsored group promoting democracy and development around the world. But if one delves deeper than merely the surface level, the organization has been crucial in financing a number of regime change operations across the globe. USAID money has been used to back opposition insurrections in Venezuela and Nicaragua, for example, while it continues to use its grants to provide leadership training for its preferred political candidates worldwide. Allen Weinstein, a co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy, an organization USAID funds, told the Washington Post, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

Power’s appointment was warmly endorsed by Biden’s vice-president, Kamala Harris. “One of the most pressing challenges facing our nation is restoring and strengthening America’s global leadership as a champion of democracy, human rights, and the dignity of all people,” she said, adding that, “Few Americans are better equipped to help lead that work” than the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

Others were not so sure. Journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote,

“This is a good choice in the sense that as the head of USAID, an agency *ostensibly* devoted to assisting other countries, Samantha Power can work to repair the damage to all the countries she helped destroy the last time she was in government with her unhinged militarism.”

 

“A Problem from Hell”

Power came to national attention with the publication of her book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.” The book was published in 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan and in the run up to the Iraq War. Unlike other critics of U.S. foreign policy, Power castigated Washington for not intervening enough in other countries, arguing the U.S. has a responsibility to protect the weak in the world. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work. 

In general, Power supported the Iraq War, stating on television that, “An American intervention likely will improve the lives of the Iraqis. Their lives could not get worse, I think it’s quite safe to say,” although she criticized the Bush administration harshly for not effectively managing the conflict. 

 

She got her chance in government once Bush’s years were over, being appointed to a number of positions in President Obama’s State Department and National Security Council, before being appointed Ambassador to the U.N. in 2013. Power presents herself as someone who stopped genocide in Central Africa and was strongly in favor of military interventions in Libya and Syria for the same reasons. Yet in her roles in the Obama administration, Power was a key promoter of some of the worst violence of the twenty-first century. 

 

Power goes to bat for human rights abusers

Yemen is the clear standout example. Described for years by the U.N. as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” the Saudi-led onslaught on the country has led to 80% of the country needing humanitarian assistance, including some 20.5 million lacking access to clean water and sanitation, as Saudi planes target medical, water and sewage facilities. As Ambassador, Power defended Saudi Arabia from criticism and helped block international efforts to respond, even focusing the blame for the violence on Houthi rebel groups. Millions of Yemenis have died or been displaced due to the violence. 

Power also strongly defended Israel from criticism at the U.N., despite the country’s bombing campaigns against the civilian population of Gaza. She excoriated the institution for their “unequal treatment” of the Jewish state and for their, “indefensible silence in response to terrorist attacks on Israelis.” 

In her latest memoir, “The Education of an Idealist,” there is no mention of Yemen, Israeli attacks on Gaza, or drone warfare, subjects she seemingly edited out of history for convenience. Her “education” already appeared complete by 2014, however, when she attended a baseball game with Henry Kissinger, one of the world’s worst human rights abusers and a man she had previously harshly criticized.

Two years later, she accepted the Henry A. Kissinger Prize from the man himself, a sign that she had earned his respect and admiration. 

 

In a sense, Power could be seen as the perfect pick for the Biden administration; a woman who continues to use the language of human rights, but completely committed to the U.S. imperial project and is every bit as hawkish as her Republican counterparts. With groups close to the president already advising him to push for increasing tensions with Russia and China, Biden might have found the right person for the job. 

Feature photo | Samantha Power, center, walks with U.S. soldiers away from the military demarcation line during a visit to the south side of the Joint Security Area at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone which separates North and South Korea, Oct. 9, 2016. Ed Jones | Pool Photo via AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post A Record of Hawkish Intervention: Biden Picks Samantha Power to Head USAID appeared first on MintPress News.

A New Secretary for the Department of Education

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 13/01/2021 - 12:53am in

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Joe Biden

What does the selection of Miguel Cardona for Secretary of Education portend for K-12 education? Kevin Welner, head of the National Education Policy Center, joins Jack and Jennifer to discuss how Cardona is likely to differ from Betsy DeVos – and Arne Duncan.

Complete transcript of the episode is here. The financial support of listeners like you keeps this podcast going. Subscribe on Patreon or donate on PayPal.

Jennifer and Jack’s book, A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, is out and available wherever you buy books!

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Have You Heard · #104 A New Secretary for the Department of Education

Call a Coup a Coup

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 5:05am in

January 10, 2021 Unbelievably, it was only a week ago—last Sunday — that we learned Trump had called Georgia’s Secretary of State and pressured him to change the results of the 2020 election. Trump demanded that Brad Raffensperger “find” the … Continue reading

The post Call a Coup a Coup appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

While Railing Against Trump Coup, Biden Appoints Chief Ukraine Coup-Plotter Victoria Nuland

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 09/01/2021 - 5:15am in

Describing it as “one of the darkest days in American history,” President-elect Joe Biden denounced Wednesday’s spectacular assault on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. as a coup attempt fomented by Donald Trump. 

“I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming, but that isn’t true. We could see it coming,” the 78-year-old Delawarean said. 

The last four years we’ve had a president who’s made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law, clear in everything he has done. He unleashed an all-out assault on the institutions of our democracy from the outset, and yesterday was but a culmination … of that attack.”

“This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It’s chaos,” he added, calling the events an “unprecedented assault” on the very fabric of U.S. democracy.

Yet, almost at the same time as the future president was denouncing Trump’s coup attempt, he was appointing Victoria Nuland — the driving force behind the 2014 insurrection that overthrew the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych — as his new Under Secretary for Political Affairs. 

The United States and NATO had been making overtures to Ukraine for some time before the coup, hoping that the country would become the latest post-Soviet state to fall into their fold as they continued to expand eastwards. Yanukovych, however, was in favor of steering Ukraine in a more Russia-friendly direction. The decision spurred demonstrations across the country from pro-E.U. forces. The Obama administration immediately sensed an opportunity, sending Nuland across the world to lead and support the movement, the senior diplomat rallying protestors, and was even photographed handing out cookies in the streets. 

Victoria Nuland Ukraine

Victoria Nuland, right, offers cookies to pro-EU protesters in Independence Square in Kiev, Dec. 11, 2013. Andrew Kravchenko | AP

While in the West, the revolt was presented as being led by tech-savvy, forward-thinking students. In reality, most of the muscle was supplied by neo-Nazi militias who helped force through Yanukovych’s downfall and continue to hold an oversized role in Ukrainian politics and society. In December, the United States and Ukraine were the only two nations to vote against a United Nations measure (passed 130-2), “combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.” This was done as they felt the resolution could be used to target the Ukrainian government and the U.S.’ continued funding of it. Leaked phone calls show that Nuland and American Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt had long conversations about who should make up the post-coup government. 

The events of early 2014 spooked Russia so badly that it flew troops into Crimea to annex the territory. The affair led to increasing tensions between the U.S., Ukraine, and Russia, and almost led to a hot war between the two nuclear-armed countries. In the end, President Obama refused to escalate tensions to that point, angering many in Washington. 

Among them, seemingly, was Nuland, who promises to again be a Russia Hawk. As Politico wrote this week, she has been an “outspoken critic of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy — particularly his appeasement of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” In reality, however, Trump was extremely bellicose with Moscow, sanctioning the country, bombing a Russian base in Syria, and letting a number of anti-nuclear treaties expire, much to the Kremlin’s consternation. 

 

Biden’s regime change agenda

While vice-president, Biden’s administration also oversaw the 2009 overthrow of the democratically-elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, aiding in his ouster and replacement with a brutal military dictatorship that continues to rule the country to this day. In her memoir, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boasted that she helped “render the question of Zelaya moot.” She did so by blocking action from regional bodies like the Organization of American States.

Wednesday’s events also resemble a number of other U.S.-planned coup d’etats, including that of Venezuela in 2002. With help from the American embassy in Caracas, right-wing and far-right forces marched on the Miraflores presidential palace, joining up with sympathetic military units to storm the building and capture President Hugo Chavez. In the melee, dozens of people were killed and Chavez was overthrown, replaced by a well-known businessman with no political experience. The White House immediately welcomed what it euphemistically called a “change in the government.” (Two days later, the coup was reversed by a huge popular uprising). 

In 2018 MintPress reported that many American far-right and white nationalist groups were receiving training from precisely the same Ukrainian neo-Nazis that the U.S. government had tutored. Those far-right groups were out in force at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017, where they killed a counter-protester. Thus, it is eminently possible that many of those storming the Capitol Building on Wednesday were taught insurrectionary tactics from individuals trained to do so on behalf of the U.S. empire abroad, a classic case of blowback, and an event that allows Americans to experience a tiny taste of what it has wrought on the world for several decades. 

Feature photo | Victoria Nuland, center, watches cadets of the Ukrainian police academy receiving training from American policemen in Kiev, Ukraine, May 16, 2015. Sergei Chuzavkov | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post While Railing Against Trump Coup, Biden Appoints Chief Ukraine Coup-Plotter Victoria Nuland appeared first on MintPress News.

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