Donald Trump — facing four government-run investigations, three criminal and one civil, targeting himself and his business — is not being targeted because of his crimes. Nearly every serious crime he is accused of carrying out has been committed by his political rivals. He is being targeted because he is deemed dangerous for his willingness, at least rhetorically, to reject the Washington Consensus regarding neoliberal free-market and free-trade policies, as well as the idea that the U.S. should oversee a global empire. He has not only belittled the ruling ideology, but urged his supporters to attack the apparatus that maintains the duopoly by declaring the 2020 election illegitimate.
In 2005, Kurt Vonnegut wrote: Most of you, if not all of you, like me, feel inadequately educated. That is an ordinary feeling for a member of our species. One of the most brilliant human beings of all times, George Bernard Shaw said on his 75th birthday or so that at last he knew enough to become a mediocre office boy. He died in 1950, by the way, when I was 28. He is the one who said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I turned 83 a couple weeks ago, and I must say I agree. Shaw, if he were alive today, would envy us the solid information that we have or can get about the nature of the universe, about time and space and matter, about our own bodies and brains, about the resources and vulnerabilities of our planet, about how all sorts of human beings actually talk and feel and live. This is the information revolution. We have taken it very badly so far. Information seems to be getting in the way all the time.
The past week has seen record-breaking heat waves across Europe. Wildfires have ripped through Spain, Portugal and France. London’s fire brigade experienced its busiest day since World War II. The U.K. saw its hottest day on record of 104.54 Fahrenheit. In China, more than a dozen cities issued the “highest possible heat warning” this weekend with over 900 million people in China enduring a scorching heat wave along with severe flooding and landslides across large swathes of southern China. Dozens of people have died. Millions of Chinese have been displaced. Economic losses run into the billions of yuan. Droughts, which have destroyed crops, killed livestock and forced many to flee their homes, are creating a potential famine in the Horn of Africa.
In the US, discourses of inequality seldom are rooted to the nation’s long history of violent class conflict. Two examples of that history which come quickly to mind are the 1892 Homestead steel strike in Pittsburgh, which earned a place in labor history as the Homestead Massacre and the 1921 coal strike known as the Battle of Blair Mountain in which workers saw their homes bombed as they faced army troops. These were extreme but not unique moments in the history of labor. Oppressive working conditions and inadequate pay have never been an accident or the result of an oversight — they have been for profit.
The neofascist movements currently rising around the globe differ from the fascist movements of the 20th century. Fascism in the last century arose to break radical workers’ movements, many organized by the Communist Party. But the current neofascists, figures such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Narendra Modi in India, do not need to focus on destroying unions, which have already been decimated by globalization. Instead, they can directly channel the anger of the unemployed and underemployed towards minorities and the vulnerable. Vijay Prashad addresses these deformations—and explains how we can fight back—in conversation with Frank Barat in his new book Struggle Makes Us Human: Learning from Movements for Socialism.
The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, whose first of six televised hearings began last Thursday, is spectacle replacing politics. There is nothing substantially new in the accusations. The committee lacks prosecutorial power. No charges have been filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland against former President Donald Trump and none are expected. The choreographed hearings, like the two impeachment trials of Trump, will have no effect on Trump voters, other than to make them feel persecuted, especially with more than 860 people already charged (including 306 guilty pleas) for their role in storming the Capitol. The committee echoes back to Trump opponents what they already believe.
Something strange is going on with the narrative put forward by the ruling elite. They seem to be admitting to a lot of very unusual things over the past couple years. Everything from UFOs to the culpability of Saudi Arabia in the planning of 9/11, the US government seems to be letting loose. Have they lost control of the narrative or are they trying to intentionally muddy the waters? Lee Camp has a theory as to why.
Rulers divide the world into worthy and unworthy victims, those we are allowed to pity, such as Ukrainians enduring the hell of modern warfare, and those whose suffering is minimized, dismissed, or ignored. The terror we and our allies carry out against Iraqi, Palestinian, Syrian, Libyan, Somali and Yemeni civilians is part of the regrettable cost of war. We, echoing the empty promises from Moscow, claim we do not target civilians. Rulers always paint their militaries as humane, there to serve and protect. Collateral damage happens, but it is regrettable. This lie can only be sustained among those who are unfamiliar with the explosive ordinance and large kill zones of missiles, iron fragmentation bombs, mortar, artillery and tank shells, and belt-fed machine guns.
Chanting "shame on you," activists rallied amid a heavy police presence Monday evening outside a swanky reception for world leaders and others attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland to protest their inadequate response to the planetary emergency. Members of Britain's royal family and corporate executives joined heads of state and other leaders at the exclusive dinner event, which was hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. "How dare these world leaders have a fancy dinner on the first night of COP26, as if they have something to be proud of," said Cat Scothorne of the group Glasgow Calls Out Polluters, according to STV News.
Dennis Kucinich served as a US representative from Ohio from 1997 to 2013, losing his seat after the state Democratic Party machine redrew Ohio’s 10th Congressional district, a redistricting designed expressly to oust him, although he is a Democrat, from his seat, which is what happened. He was also the 53rd mayor of Cleveland. As mayor he took on the entrenched power of the big banks and business interests, along with the mob, which controlled City Hall. His anti-corruption campaign included battling back against the efforts to privatize the city’s municipal electric utility, a scheme that would have jacked up utility rates for the city’s residents and netted millions in profits for the banks and the privately owned Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company.
The established ruling elites know there is a crisis. They agreed, at least temporarily, to throw money at it with the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 bill known as American Rescue Plan (ARP). But the ARP will not alter the structural inequities, either by raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour or imposing taxes and regulations on corporations or the billionaire class that saw its wealth increase by a staggering $1.1 trillion since the start of the pandemic. The health system will remain privatized, meaning the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations will reap a windfall of tens of billions of dollars with the ARP, and this when they are already making record profits. The endless wars in the Middle East, and the bloated military budget that funds them, will remain sacrosanct.
I write about humanity’s problems as a species in all sorts of ways in this space, but really if you want to get straightforward about things all we’re ever actually talking about here is a lack of awareness of what’s true and the need to eliminate that lack. A lack of awareness is the source of all our major problems, whether we’re talking about war, poverty, ecocide, corruption, exploitation, authoritarianism, prejudice, or even much smaller-scale problems like abusive family dynamics or the psychological suffering of the individual. If there were sufficiently widespread and penetrating awareness of the contributing factors in any of these problems, these problems would cease to exist. All you’d have left would be the odd natural disaster and the inevitability of sickness and death, which would also become far less problematic with the introduction of more awareness.
Since March, more than 58 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment. The Internal Revenue Service now predicts that the U.S. economy will have almost 40 million fewer jobs in 2021 than they predicted before the pandemic, as a result of the prolonged economic depression. As it becomes widely recognized that the economy is not going to “bounce right back” into full activity – even when coronavirus cases do eventually decline – and that the current depression will continue for a long time, companies are doing anything they can to drive their stock prices higher.