Joe Biden

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ScoMo Plans To Cook Coq Au Vin To Appease France

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/09/2021 - 8:22am in

Prime Minister for Sydney Scott Morrison has told his advisers to not worry about the country’s rift with France as he’ll solve it when he gets back to Australia by cooking a Coq Au Vin for the family and posting the pics on Facebook.

”A lot of these diplomats tend to panic too easily,” said the PM. ”Not sure why they are too concerned, it’s not like the people of France will be voting at the next election.”

”Besides, if the French get too uppity Rupert and his boys will get their editors and photo shoppers onto them.”

When asked why he was seemingly more focused on the next election rather than Australia’s standing with the rest of the World, the Prime Minister said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”Just have a look at my Facebook page, in the last year alone I’ve been to New York, England and cooked curries from both Sri Lanka and India.”

”Throw in my attempt at a Coq Au Vin and I think you’ll find that Australia has never had such a Worldly leader.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to call Engadine Maccas to see if the French really do call it a Royale with Cheese.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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PM Sends Message Of Support To All Residents of Albury Affected By The Earthquake

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/09/2021 - 8:28am in

Prime Minister for Sydney Scott Morrison has taken time away from his American jaunt to send a message of support to residents of the NSW Victoria border town of Albury who were affected by yesterday’s earthquake.

To the people of Albury I just want you to know that your Prime Minister is here for you,” said the PM. ”Admittedly, I’m not there physically but mentally I am there.”

”As we speak I am looking at having resources from other parts of Australia redirected to NSW to help with the recovery.”

When asked why he was so focused on Albury and NSW rather than Melbourne where the actual earthquake did the most damage, the PM said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”May I remind you and the people of Victoria that we are all this together.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am trying to contact the President of France. No luck with the telephone thus far so I might do as Barnaby suggested and send him a French letter.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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PM’s Creepy Mate Asks Him To Bring Back Some Duty Free Ivermectin

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/09/2021 - 7:00am in

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s creepy mate George Christensen has asked him to bring back some duty free Ivermectin when the PM returns from his trip to America.

”George is a good bloke. He did offer to drop me at the airport, but it turns out he had an important lockdown protest to attend,” said the PM. ”He did ask me to bring back some duty free Ivermectin though.”

”Lucky he didn’t ask me to bring back any duty free Tia Maria though, as I thought I might grab a bottle or two of that for Jen.”

When asked why he refused to pull his creepy mate George Christensen into line over his anti-lockdown and anti-science stance, the PM said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”No one is tougher on old mate George than myself. Why, just the other day he ate the last chicken wing and I was the first to admonish him.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s a long flight to America and I need to pick up some reading material for the trip. Christian Porter recommended me this great book on blind trusts that sounds interesting.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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AOC, the dress, the stunt and the real dilemmas beneath

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 10:35pm in

The row over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunt with the “Tax the Rich” dress at the Met Gala strikes me as a frustrated displacement from dealing with some more fundamental and difficult issues. Those are that the US left, of which AOC … Continue reading →

My own Forever War: Afghanistan and 9-11

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 11/09/2021 - 7:41pm in

Last week, Fawad Andarabi, a well-known folk singer in Afghanistan, invited the new Taliban leaders to his home to show his compliance and respect. 
Taliban don’t approve of folk singing. But they enjoyed his luncheon, then took him out and shot him in the head. The same day I heard of Fawad’s execution, I got an email from... READ MORE

Exclusive: Haitians Reject Calls For US Military Intervention

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/07/2021 - 1:24am in

Two weeks after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, the specter of U.S. military intervention looms large over the island nation. While the Biden administration has rebuffed a request for intervention made by Claude Joseph – a longtime NED asset whom Washington briefly backed as prime minister in the immediate aftermath of the killing – it has not completely ruled out the possibility. 

​In the days immediately following Moïse’s grisly machine-gun murder on July 7 by U.S.-trained Colombian mercenaries, the Washington Post editorial board published a call for a “swift and muscular intervention” — what would be the fourth U.S. military invasion of Haiti since 1915, when U.S. Marines first occupied the hemisphere’s second independent nation.

 

On July 13, as the Biden administration signaled its reluctance to launch a full-scale invasion of Haiti, the Post editorial board published a second call for U.S. military intervention, suggesting that it was the least bad option.

 

The same day, Post columnist and neoconservative writer Max Boot published an op-ed asserting that Haitians actually desire a U.S. invasion, entitled “Sorry, Haiti. The world’s policeman is officially off duty.”

 

Even the ostensibly progressive lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) refused to take a clear position against an intervention, saying that she opposed it “right now” and “without any sort of plan.”

While the Washington consensus is firmly in support of U.S. military deployment in Haiti, MintPress News traveled to Port-au-Prince to ask random Haitians in the street what they thought of a possible intervention.

​“We don’t want a military intervention,” Adrien Willien told MintPress. “We are for Haitians putting their heads together.”

​“We don’t want any foreign intervention to come resolve our problems for us,” echoed Ernst C. Denoir. “On the contrary, that would be pouring gas on the fire, making the situation worse.”

Contrary to the claims of self-appointed spokesman for the Haitain people Max Boot and his fellow neoconservative ideologues at The Washington Post, not a single Haitian with whom MintPress News spoke agreed. In fact, many were outraged at the suggestion and hold the United States responsible for the current violence and dysfunction plaguing Haiti.

“The insecurity you see here is programmed by the oligarchy and the imperialists,” thundered Denoir.

Meanwhile, thousands of Haitians turned out on Friday, July 23 for Moïse’s state funeral in Cap Haïtien, the capital of the northern department where he was raised. Many hurled curses at the U.S. delegation — which included U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison, and was headed by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield — as it approached the funeral’s stage. The U.S. delegation fled the ceremony before it was over, when police fired warning shots and tear-gas to repel angry crowds wanting to enter the ceremony or stop it until the intellectual authors of the assassination are found.

​Despite its claims to have no plans “for now” to invade Haiti, the U.S. has appointed a Special Envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, and will begin advising the Haitian National Police (PNH) in “anti-gang fighting,” Haitilibre reported July 24.

​U.S. troops, backed by those from France and Canada, last invaded Haiti immediately following the February 29, 2004 coup d’état against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. As was done after their 1994 intervention, they handed the ensuing military occupation of Haiti over to a United Nations “peace-keeping” force after three months. UN forces occupied Haiti for the next 15 years.

​The troop deployment violated Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which specifies that the Security Council can use force only “to maintain or restore international peace and security” (i.e., in a conflict between two states), not to meddle in an internal political conflict. The Haitian Constitution also forbids foreign troops on Haitian soil.

​The 2004 intervention began on February 28 when a SEAL team, led by U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Louis Moreno, surrounded Aristide’s home, then threatened and browbeat the president into boarding an unmarked jet, which whisked him away to Africa. Aristide later called the abduction a “modern kidnapping.”

​“We remember that the U.S. came and took our charismatic leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide,” in 2004, recalled Willien. “That coup d’état is the cause of the state we are in today.”

“The U.S. betrayed the Haitian people when it kidnapped Aristide,” Willien concluded.

The bitter taste of past military interventions and occupations informs the almost universal Haitian public opinion against another U.S. incursion.

Featured photo: A protester holds up a sign during a protest to demand the resignation of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.  ( AP Photo/ Dieu Nalio Chery)

Dan Cohen is the Washington DC correspondent for Behind The Headlines and MintPress News. He has produced widely distributed video reports and print dispatches from across Israel-Palestine. He tweets at @DanCohen3000.

The post Exclusive: Haitians Reject Calls For US Military Intervention appeared first on MintPress News.

Lipstick on a Pig: Why Biden is Fawning over Israel’s New Government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 25/06/2021 - 12:06am in

When former US President Barack Obama used an old cliché to denigrate his political opponent, the late US Senator, John McCain, he triggered a political controversy lasting several days. 

“You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” Obama said at a campaign event in 2008. The maxim indicates that superficial changes have no bearings on outcomes and that modifying our facade does not alter who we really are.

American politicians are an authority on the subject. They are experts on artificial, rhetorical, and, ultimately, shallow change. Once again, Washington’s political make-up artists are busy at work. 

Since the dramatic ousting of his former mentor, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, is now being presented as the alternative to Netanyahu’s right-wing, chauvinistic and rowdy political style. However, for this to happen, more makeup is required. 

Much can be said about Bennett and his party of ultra-nationalists and right-wing extremists, Yamina. 

Yamina is a decidedly racist political party. Their meager seven seats at the Israeli Knesset (parliament) were garnered through their constant appeal to the most violent and racist constituencies in Israel, whose oft-repeated chant “Death to the Arabs” is a daily reminder of their sinister political discourse. 

If Bibi Was the Frying Pan, Is Bennett the Fire? What To Expect from Israel’s New PM

Bennett is often cited for this famous statement from 2013: “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life and there’s no problem with that”. Yet, there is more to the man’s politics than such an abhorrent declaration. Since Israeli leaders do not perceive any form of Palestinian resistance to be legitimate and, in their eyes, Palestinians are either terrorists or potential terrorists, consider the following ‘solution’ offered by Bennett to deal with the problem of ‘Palestinian terrorism’. 

As Israel’s Minister of Education in 2015, Bennett proposed the building of a ‘deterrence’ wall, one which “demands that incitement be ended and that terrorists are shot dead before they have a chance to hurt innocent people. It means that a terrorist who is shot will be dead and never walk again. It means that Israel remains in control of its homeland forever, unmoved by terrorism.”

So why does the Biden Administration want us to believe that Bennett is different? 

Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden was the first world leader to call and congratulate Bennett on the new post. This act carries a deeper symbolic meaning when compared to the fact that it took Biden a whole three long weeks to phone Netanyahu, following the former’s own inauguration to the White House in January.

A close aide to Israel’s new prime minister explained the nature of the amiable phone conversation between Biden and Bennett in an interview with the Axios website. “The White House wants to have close and regular consultation and engagement with Bennett and his team based on candid exchange of views, respect for differences, a desire to work toward stability and security,” the Israeli source was quoted as saying.  

Aside from the emphasis on candor and ‘respect’ with reference to the US-Israel future relationship, there has also been an equal and constant emphasis on the need for privacy in dealing with differences between the two countries. “Unlike its predecessor,” the Times of Israel reported with reference to Netanyahu, the Bennet government “would voice its criticism (of Washington) in private.” For months, the US had pleaded with Netanyahu to tone down his attacks on Washington, to no avail.

Now that Bennett is in charge, he is clearly ready to play along. And why should he not? He is eager to present himself as the antithesis of Netanyahu. By making such a ‘concession’, he would surely be expecting Washington to reciprocate. For Bennett, it is a win-win. 

Bennett understands that US politics towards Israel is not determined by the attitude of Israeli leaders. For example, in comments made last May, Biden laid to rest any suggestion that the US will hold Israel accountable during his term in power. There is “no shift in my commitment, commitment to the security of Israel. Period. No shift, not at all”. If this solid pledge was made when boisterous Netanyahu was still in power, no change whatsoever should be expected, now that the supposedly agreeable Bennett is Israel’s new prime minister.

American politicians are fawning over Bennett and his main coalition partner and future Prime Minister, Yair Lapid. They are eager to turn a new page, and move forward past Netanyahu’s tumultuous years. Bennett is expected to visit the US in July, while Lapid has already been invited to visit Washington by US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Meanwhile, a large Israeli military delegation headed by Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Aviv Kohavi, should already be in the US to discuss various subjects, including Iran, Hezbollah and to ‘negotiate’ yet more US gifts to Israel in the form of military hardware.

Bennett’s Fragile Hookup with the Zionist Left Offers Little Promise for a Post-Apartheid Israel

The US is keen on rebranding its relationship with Israel, not because Israel has changed, but because Washington has suffered repeated humiliation at the hands of ousted Netanyahu. Under Netanyahu, the US found itself often accused of not doing enough for Israel. Even Obama’s $3.8 billion annual military aid package did not spare him the repeated Israeli verbal assaults. Biden is willing to do whatever it takes to avoid that sordid scenario.

Biden’s doctrine on Israel and Palestine is simple. He does not want to make an actual commitment to relaunching the peace process, for example, nor does he want to be placed in a position where he is forced to make demands from, let alone put ‘pressure’ on Israel. Since Biden has little or no expectations from Israel, Bennett seems willing to play the role of the accommodating and sensible politician. He would be foolish not to do so, for, per his own political ‘vision’, he merely wants to manage the conflict and prolong the occupation while, like his predecessor, continue to promote his own version of the deceptive notion of ‘economic peace’.

While the Americans and the Israelis are busy engaging in the ever-familiar ritual of ‘putting lipstick on a pig’, the Palestinians remain irrelevant in all of this, as their political aspirations continue to be discounted, and their freedom delayed. 

Feature photo | Then-U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden walks in the cemetery on Mt. Herzel in Jerusalem in 2010. Ariel Schalit | AP

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

The post Lipstick on a Pig: Why Biden is Fawning over Israel’s New Government appeared first on MintPress News.

Rinse and Repeat: Will Biden Make Normalizing Relations With Cuba a Priority?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 02/06/2021 - 12:27am in

HAVANA — Silvia from Miami, Eduardo from Hialeah, Abel from Lakeland. The names pour in on the donations page for “Syringes to Cuba” as Carlos Lazo promotes the campaign on his popular Facebook livestream. An energetic Cuban-American high school teacher in Seattle, Lazo created a group called Puentes de Amor, Bridges of Love, to unite Cuban Americans who want to lift the searing U.S. blockade that is immiserating their loved ones on the island.

Puentes de Amor is the latest addition to the Syringes to Cuba initiative, which was started by the Saving Lives Campaign and the humanitarian organization Global Health Partners to help Cuba vaccinate its people against COVID-19. With the help of two other groups, The People’s Forum and CODEPINK, the campaign has raised over $350,000 and has already placed an order for four million syringes. Two million will arrive in June and the balance in July.

This initiative is in response to the dire economic situation in Cuba, where the economy shrank by 11 percent last year—Cuba’s worst economic downturn since the early 1990s when the country was left reeling from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc. The present economic meltdown is largely a result of the COVID-induced shutdown of the tourist industry and a tightening of the embargo under Trump. Reversing the gains made by the Obama-Biden administration in normalizing relations with Cuba, Trump added over 200 restrictive measures, including limiting remittances Cuban Americans can send to their families, stopping U.S. flights to every city but Havana, and prohibiting cruise ships from docking in Cuban ports. As a final stab in his parting days, Trump took the completely bogus step of adding Cuba to a U.S.-created list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation that discourages investments and substantially limits the entry of foreign currency.

As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden pledged to “promptly reverse the failed Trump policies that have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.” Early in the Biden administration, the White House announced that it was undertaking a review of Cuba policy. But to the surprise and disappointment of many Cuba watchers, and despite the fact that most of Trump’s policy changes could be reversed with a single executive order, Biden has not moved an inch. Questioned about this at an April 16 press conference, Press Secretary Jen Psaki callously claimed that changing U.S. policy towards Cuba was “currently not among the president’s top foreign policy priorities.”

On May 25, the State Department even announced that it would continue Trump’s determination that Cuba does not cooperate with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs fired back, calling this action “irresponsible and shameful” and reminding U.S. officials that Cuba itself has been “the victim of 713 terrorist attacks, in their majority organized, financed and executed by the U.S. government or individuals and organizations that are protected and act with impunity in U.S. territory.”

On June 23, the U.N. General Assembly will hold its yearly vote calling for the U.S. to lift its embargo on Cuba. Every year since 1992, the world’s nations overwhelmingly reject the embargo, leaving the U.S. and one or two of its allies, like Israel and Brazil, clinging to this unpopular and anachronistic policy. In 2016, the Obama administration broke with 25 years of U.S. opposition to the UN resolution by abstaining. A new lobby group ACERE (Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect), with the support of over 100 organizations, is calling on Biden to follow President Obama’s lead by not opposing this year’s resolution, and instead using the occasion to announce the measures that his administration will take to provide relief for the Cuban people and a return to the path of normalization.

A push for action has also come from the grassroots, through creative and growing anti-blockade car and bicycle caravans held on the last Sunday of every month. The largest of the nation’s caravans winds through the heart of the pro-blockade world: Miami. In the most recent May 30 Miami caravan, over 200 people participated, most of them Cuban-Americans. “We’ve had 10 of these caravans so far,” said organizer Jorge Medina (a.k.a. El Proteston Cubano on YouTube). “Each one is bigger than the last and the energy is fantastic.” But so far, the media–and the Biden administration–have ignored them.

Congress has been pushing Biden as well. In March 2021, 80 representatives, led by Congressman Bobby Rush, sent a letter to Biden urging him to take swift executive action to reverse the Trump administration’s draconian policies and return to the diplomatic path charted by the Obama–Biden administration, and Congressman Rush later introduced a bill to that effect. On May 21, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced the bipartisan Freedom to Export to Cuba Act that would eliminate the legal barriers to Americans doing business in Cuba, a move that would be particularly popular with farm and business groups interested in trade and export opportunities.

Unfortunately, Biden seems more concerned about catering to right-wing Cuban Americans in southern Florida, where the Democrats, failing to stand up to Trump’s red-baiting, lost the state and two congressional seats in the last election. Despite the talk that his administration is guided by human rights concerns, Biden ignores what the humanitarian group OXFAM, in its detailed report on the devastating effects of U.S. policy, called “The Right to Live Without a Blockade.”

But Biden ignores the crisis in Cuba at his own peril. The dire food and medicine shortages may well spark a migration crisis that will exacerbate the rush of Central American asylum seekers at the Mexican border that the Biden administration is already unable to cope with. Cuba expert Bill LeoGrande predicts “a mass exodus of desperate people” if Biden doesn’t act soon.

Biden would do well to heed the warning and with the stroke of a pen, lift trade and travel restrictions and allow unrestricted remittances. These measures would quickly infuse more money into Cuba’s economy and alleviate the needless suffering Cubans are experiencing at the hands of an administration that does not consider the well-being of 11 million Cubans “a priority.”

Feature photo | A television set shows former U.S. President Donald Trump in a living room decorated with images of Cuban leaders at a home in Havana, Cuba. Ramon Espinosa | AP

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including No Free Lunch: Food and Revolution in Cuba.

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Bishops’ Attempt to Deny Communion to Biden Will Backfire Even More Spectacularly Than Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/05/2021 - 5:23am in

If only President Joe Biden didn’t carry a rosary or quote the popular Catholic hymn...

Chris Hedges: Don’t Be Fooled By Joe Biden

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/05/2021 - 4:37am in

Princeton, New Jersey (Scheerpost Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden. He knows his infrastructure and education bills have as much chance at becoming law as the $15-dollar minimum wage or the $2,000 stimulus checks he promised us as a candidate. He knows his American Jobs Plan will never create “millions of good paying jobs – jobs Americans can raise their families on” any more than NAFTA, which he supported, would, as was also promised, create millions of good paying jobs. His mantra of “buy American” is worthless. He knows the vast majority of our consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and industrial supplies are made in China by workers who earn an average of one or two dollars an hour and lack unions and basic labor rights. He knows his call to lower deductibles and prescription drug costs in the Affordable Care Act will never be permitted by the corporations that profit from health care. He knows the corporate donors that fund the Democratic Party will ensure their lobbyists will continue to write the laws that guarantee they pay little or no taxes. He knows the corporate subsidies and tax incentives he proposes as a solution to the climate crisis will do nothing to halt oil and gas fracking, shut down coal-fired plants or halt the construction of new pipelines for gas-fired power plants.  His promises of reform have no more weight than those peddled by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who Biden slavishly served and who also promised social equality while betraying working men and women.

Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. He was a prominent promoter and architect of a generation of federal “tough on crime” laws that helped militarize the nation’s police and more than doubled the population of the world’s largest prison system with harsh mandatory sentencing guidelines and laws that put people in prison for life for nonviolent drug crimes, even as his son struggled with addiction. He was a principal author of the Patriot Act, which began the stripping away of our most basic civil liberties. And there has never been a weapons system, or a war, he did not support.

Nothing substantial will change under Biden, despite the hyperventilating about him being the next FDR. Biden’s request for $715 billion for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2022, a $11.3 billion (1.6 percent) increase over 2021, will support the disastrous military provocations with China and Russia he embraces, the endless wars in the Middle East and the bloated defense industry. Wholesale government surveillance will not be curbed. Julian Assange will remain a target. The industries that were shipped overseas and the well-paying unionized jobs will not return. The grinding machinery of predatory capitalism, and the sadism that defines it, will poison the society as mercilessly under Biden as it did when Donald Trump was conducting his Twitter presidency.

Sadism now defines nearly every cultural, social and political experience in the United States. It is expressed in the greed of an oligarchic elite that has seen its wealth increase during the pandemic by $1.1 trillion while the country has suffered the sharpest rise in its poverty rate in more than 50 years.  It is expressed in extra-judicial killings by police in cities such as Minneapolis. It is expressed in our complicity in Israel’s wholesale killing of unarmed Palestinians, the humanitarian crisis engendered by the war in Yemen and our reigns of terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It is expressed in the torture in our prisons and black sites. It is expressed in the separation of children from their undocumented parents, where they are held as if they were dogs in a kennel.

The historian Johan Huizinga, writing about the twilight of the middle ages, argued that as things fall apart sadism is embraced as a way to cope with the hostility of an indifferent universe. No longer bound to a common purpose, a ruptured society retreats into the cult of the self. It celebrates, as do corporations on Wall Street or mass culture through reality television shows, the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lying, deception and manipulation; and the incapacity for remorse or guilt. Get what you can, as fast as you can, before someone else gets it. This is the state of nature, the “war of all against all,” Thomas Hobbes saw as the consequence of social collapse, a world in which life becomes “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” And this sadism, as Friedrich Nietzsche understood, fuels a perverted, sadistic pleasure.

The only way out for most Americans is to serve, as Biden does, the sadistic machine. The impoverishment of the working class has conditioned tens of millions of Americans to accept being recruited into the service of the militarized police that function as lethal armies of internal occupation; a military that carries out reigns of terror in foreign occupations; intelligence agencies that torture in global black sites; the government’s vast network of spying on the citizenry; the theft of personal information by credit agencies and digital media; the largest prison system in the world; an immigration service that hunts down people who have never committed a crime and separates children from their parents to pack them in warehouses; a court system that condemns the poor to decades of incarceration, often for nonviolent crimes, and denies them a jury trial; companies that carry out the dirty work of evictions, shutting off utilities, including water, collecting usurious debts that force people into bankruptcy and denying health services to those that cannot pay; banks and payday lenders that burden the destitute with predatory, high-interest loans; and a financial system designed to keep most of the country locked in a crippling debt peonage as the wealth of the oligarchic elite swells to levels unseen in American history.

These are some of the few jobs that are well compensated. They bring with them feelings of omnipotence, for the victims are largely powerless. In service to the state or corporations, employees can abuse, humiliate and even kill with impunity, as the near daily murder of unarmed civilians by the police illustrates. This service to monolithic centers of power absolves people of moral choice. It imparts a God-like omnipotence.

We know what this sadism looks like. It looks like Derek Chauvin nonchalantly choking to death George Floyd as his police colleagues watch impassively. It looks like Andrew Brown Jr. shot five times by police in North Carolina, including once in the back of the head. It looks like Abner Louima, who had a broomstick pushed up his rectum by police in a bathroom at the 70th Precinct station house in Brooklyn, requiring three major operations to repair the internal injuries. It looks like Navy Seal Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher randomly shooting to death unarmed civilians and using a hunting knife to repeatedly stab to death an injured, sedated 17-year-old Iraqi prisoner and then photographing himself with the corpse. It looks like Iraqi civilians, few of whom had anything to do with the insurgency, naked, bound, beaten and sexually humiliated and raped, and at times murdered, by army guards and private contractors in Abu Ghraib. Prisoners in Abu Ghraib were routinely dragged across the prison floor by a rope tied to their penises and chemical lights were used to sodomize them or snapped open so the phosphoric liquid could be poured over their naked bodies. It looks like women who are tortured, beaten, degraded and sexually violated, often by numerous men, in porn films, who are then discarded after a few weeks or months with severe trauma, along with sexually transmitted diseases and vaginal and anal tears that must be repaired surgically.

Sadistic societies condemn segments of the population – in America these are poor Blacks, Muslims, the undocumented, the LGBTQ community, radical anti-capitalists, intellectuals – as human refuse. They are viewed as social contaminants. Laws, institutions and bureaucratic structures are built in sadistic societies that function, in the words of Max Weber, as an “inanimate machine.” The machine forces most people into the mass, but it allows some willing to do its dirty work to rise above the multitude. Those that carry out the sadism on behalf of the power elite fear being pushed back into the mass. For this reason, they energetically carry out the degradation, cruelty and sadism the machine demands. The more they insult, persecute, torture, humiliate and kill, the more they seem to magically widen the divide between themselves and their victims.  This is why Black police and corrections officers can be as cruel, and sometimes crueler, than their white counterparts.

The sadism eradicates, at least momentarily, the sadist’s feelings of worthlessness, vulnerability and susceptibility to pain and death. It imparts pleasure. I was beaten by Saudi military police and later by Saddam Hussein’s secret police when I was taken prisoner after the first Gulf War. The goons carrying out my beatings clearly enjoyed them. Israel’s abuse of the Palestinians, the assaults of Muslims and girls and women in India and the denigration of Muslims in the countries we occupy are part of a global breakdown that extends beyond the United States. Wilhelm Reich in “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” and Klaus Theweleit in “Male Fantasies” argue that sadism, along with a grotesque hyper-masculinity, rather than any coherent belief system, is the core of fascism, although communist regimes in China and the Soviet Union could be as murderous and sadistic as their fascist counterparts.

Jean Amery, who was in the Belgian resistance in World War II and who was captured and tortured by the Gestapo in 1943, defines sadism “as the radical negation of the other, the simultaneous denial of both the social principle and the reality principle. In the sadist’s world, torture, destruction, and death are triumphant: and such a world clearly has no hope of survival. On the contrary, he desires to transcend the world, to achieve total sovereignty by negating fellow human beings – which he sees as representing a particular kind of ‘hell.’”

Amery’s point is important. A sadistic society is about collective self-destruction. It is the apotheosis of a society deformed by overwhelming experiences of loss, alienation and stasis. The only way left to affirm yourself in failed societies is to destroy. Johan Huizinga in his book “Waning of the Middle Ages” noted that that the dissolution of medieval society provoked “the violent tenor of life.” Today, this “violent tenor of life” drives people to carry out police murders, evictions of families, court-ordered bankruptcies, the denial of medical care to the sick, suicide bombings and mass shootings. As the sociologist Emil Durkheim understood, those who seek the annihilation of others are driven by desires for self-annihilation. Sadism imparts the rush and pleasure, often with heavy sexual overtones, which lures us towards what Sigmund Freud called the death instinct, the instinct to destroy all forms of life, including our own. When enveloped by a death-saturated world death, ironically, is embraced as the cure.

Corporate capitalism, which has perverted the values of American society to commodify its every aspect, including human beings and the natural world, and teaching us that the dictates of the market should govern our existence, is infused with sadism. It is about the pleasure derived from exploiting others, as Frederick Nietzsche wrote in “On the Genealogy of Morals:”

[T]he creditor is given a kind of pleasure as repayment and compensation – the pleasure of being allowed to discharge his power on a powerless person … the delight in ‘de fair le mal pour le plaisir de le faire’ [doing wrong for the pleasure of it], the enjoyment of violation. This enjoyment is more highly prized the lower and baser the debtor stands in the social order, and it can easily seem to the creditor a delicious mouthful, even a foretaste of a higher rank. By means of the ‘punishment’ of the debtor, the creditor participates in a right belonging to the masters. … The compensation thus consist of a permission for and right to crueltyEnron energy traders, in a dialogue that could have come from any large corporation, were caught on tape in 2000 discussing “stealing” from California, sticking it to “Grandma Millie.” Two traders, identified as Kevin and Bob, dismissed demands by California regulators for refunds because of the company’s constant price-gouging.

Kevin: So the rumor's true? They're fucking takin' all the money back from you guys? All those money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?
Bob: Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she's the one who couldn't figure out how to fucking vote on the butterfly ballot.
Kevin: Yeah, now she wants her fucking money back for all the power you've charged for fucking $250 a megawatt hour.
Bob: You know – you know – you know, Grandma Millie, she's the one that Al Gore's fightin' for, you know?
Later in the same conversation, Kevin and Bob denigrate Californians.
Kevin: Oh, best thing that could happen is fucking an earthquake, let that thing float out to the Pacific and put 'em fucking candles.
Bob: I know. Those guys – just cut 'em off.
Kevin: They're so fucked and they're so like totally – –
Bob: They are so fucked.

We will not extract ourselves from predatory capitalism and its culture of sadism with meager government handouts. We will not extract ourselves because Biden’s slick speech writers and public relations specialists, who use polls and focus groups to feed back to us what we want to hear, can make us feel the administration is on our side. There is no good will in the Biden White House, the Congress, the courts, the media – which has become an echo chamber of the privileged classes – or corporate boardrooms. They are the enemy.

We will extract ourselves from this culture of sadism the way the dispossessed extracted themselves from the stranglehold of crony capitalism during the Great Depression, by organizing, protesting and disrupting the system until the ruling elites are forced to grant a measure of social and economic justice. The Bonus Army, World War I veterans who had been denied pension payments, set up huge encampments in Washington, which were violently dispersed by the army. Neighborhood groups, many of them members of the Wobblies or the Communist Party, in the 1930s physically prevented sheriff departments from evicting families. In 1936 and 1937, the United Auto Workers union carried out a sit-down strike inside factories that crippled General Motors, forcing the company to recognize the union, raise wages and meet union demands for job protection and safe working conditions. It was one of the most important labor victories in American history and led to the entire automobile industry in the United States becoming unionized. Farmers, forced into bankruptcy and foreclosures by the big banks and Wall Street, founded the Farmer’s Holiday Association to protest the seizure of family farms, one of the reasons bank robbers such as John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and the Barker Gang were folk heroes. The farmers blocked roads and destroyed mountains of farm products, reducing supply and raising prices. The farmers, like unionized auto workers, endured widespread government surveillance and violent attacks from the FBI, company goons, hired gun thugs, militias and sheriff’s departments. But the militancy worked. The farmers forced the state to accept a de facto moratorium on farm foreclosures. Mass demonstrations outside state capitals at the same time pressured state legislatures to block the collection of overdue mortgage payments. Tenant farmers and sharecroppers in the south unionized. The Department of Labor called their collective action a “miniature civil war.” The unemployed and the hungry throughout the country squatted in vacant homes and on vacant land forming shantytowns that were known as Hoovervilles. The destitute took over public buildings and public utilities. This constant pressure, not the good will of FDR, created the New Deal. He and his fellow oligarchs eventually understood that if there was not reform there would be revolution, something Roosevelt acknowledged in his private correspondence.

It is not until people are reintegrated into the society, not until corporate and oligarchic control over our educational, political and media systems are removed, not until we recover the ethic of the common good, that we have any hope of rebuilding the positive social bonds that foster a healthy society. History has amply illustrated how this process works. It is a game of fear. And until we make them afraid, until a terrified Joe Biden and the oligarchs he serves look out on a sea of pitchforks, we will not blunt the culture of sadism they have engineered.

Feature photo | Original illustration by Mr. Fish

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.

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