Going Down With the Bad Ship U.S.A.

Source:  Black Agenda Report
March 15 2018

going down with the bad ship.jpgGoing Down With the Bad Ship U.S.A.

“All that it can offer to the emerging nations of the world is a bad example and the threat of annihilation.”

There is no mystery to the ideological collapse of U.S. ruling class politics under late stage capitalism and imperial decline. Simply put, the corporate duopoly parties have nothing to offer the masses of people except unrelenting austerity at home and endless wars abroad. A shrunken and privatized Detroit serves as the model for U.S. urban policy; Libya and Syria are the scorched-earth footprints of a demented and dying empire. The lengthening shadow of economic eclipse by the East leaves the U.S. Lords of Capital with no cards left to play but the threat of Armageddon.

As China reclaims its historic place at the center of the earth, alongside the huge and heavily armed landmass of Russia, Washington flails about in a frenzy of firewall-building, buying time with the blood of millions, hoping to somehow preserve its doomed hegemony. But the “exceptional” superpower has no Marshall Plan to rescue itself from the throes of systemic decay, and all that it can offer to the emerging nations of the world is a bad example and the threat of annihilation. Its own people tire of the “Great Game,” finally realizing that they are the ones who have been played.

“Washington flails about in a frenzy of firewall-building, buying time with the blood of millions.”

George Bush drawled the “last hurrah” of empire with his declaration of “Mission Accomplished,” 15 years ago — and was quickly contradicted. With the failure in Iraq, the pretense of “spreading democracy” came ingloriously undone. A refurbishing of the imperial brand was attempted, with a bright and shiny new face – a Black-ish one — plus a new logo to justify invasion and regime-change: “humanitarian” intervention. But Obama’s assault on Syria revealed that the U.S. and its junior partners could only project power in the region through an alliance with Islamic jihadist terror. The architects of the War on Terror were, in fact, the godfathers of al Qaida.

“Do you realize now what you’ve done?” Vladimir Putin demanded of the Americans, at the United Nations, in 2015. “It is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.”

The U.S. and its junior partners could only project power in the region through an alliance with Islamic jihadist terror.”

Washington’s jihadist strategy has rapidly unraveled ever since. The empire was unmasked in the world’s most public forum, revealing the utter depravity of U.S. policy and, more importantly, the weakness of Washington’s position in the region. The mighty fortress of global capital, the self-appointed defender of the world economic “order,” was revealed as, not just in collusion with head-chopping, women-enslaving, sectarian mass-murdering terrorists, but militarily dependent on the very forces it claims to wage a twilight, “generational” battle to destroy. The U.S. has been spouting The Mother of All Lies, and most of humanity knows it. Deep down, most Americans suspect as much, too.

With its intervention in Syria as a stalwart foe of jihadism and in defense of the principle of national sovereignty, Russia spoke the language of international law and morality, presenting a fundamental challenge to U.S. imperial exceptionalism. By deploying his forces against Washington’s jihadist proxies, in a region infested with American bases, Putin put muscle behind his call for a “multi-polar” world order.

China understands clearly that the ultimate U.S. aim is to block China’s access to the region’s energy and markets, at will. Beijing has praised Russia’s military role in the war, and stood with Moscow in vetoing western Security Council resolutions targeting Damascus. China routinely joins with Russia – and most other nations on the planet — in pursuit of a more “multi-polar world.”

“Putin put muscle behind his call for a “multi-polar” world order.”

The U.S. now uses the desperate Kurdish militia as surrogates in Syria, in an attempt to justify its presence in the country, while continuing to arm, finance and train other “rebel” groups, reportedly including former ISIS fighters. The U.S. has always avoided targeting the al Qaida affiliate in Syria, formerly known as the al Nusra Front — which, with ISIS on the run, remains the most effective anti-government force in the country.

The Trump administration declares that it will remain in Syria for the foreseeable future — without even a fig leaf of legal cover. Although there is now no possibility for a jihadist victory, Washington seems intent on drawing out the war as long as possible. The truth is, Washington doesn’t know how to extricate itself, because to do so would amount to yet another admission of defeat, and lead quickly to the dissolution of the jihadist networks the Pentagon has so long cultivated.

Withdrawal from Syria — and, sooner rather than later, from Iraq, whose parliament this month called for a timetable for U.S. forces to vacate the country — would totally unravel U.S. strategy to dominate events in the oil-rich region. Obama launched the jihadist war against the Syrian government in 2011 to force his way into the country. ISIS’s seizure of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, gave the U.S. the opportunity to return to that country, militarily. There will be no third chances, in Syria or Iraq.

“Washington doesn’t know how to extricate itself, because to do so would amount to yet another admission of defeat.”

The American people will not stand for another such adventure. They feel tainted by the experience in both Syria and Iraq, and don’t trust what their government says about the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in the Arab world. If only for reasons of racism, they want out.

Everyone smells U.S. defeat, inside and outside the empire. It is a stink that only Americans that were conscious in the Vietnam era can remember. It makes folks anxious — like the loss of a cocoon. Just as whites reaped a “psychological wage ” from Jim Crow privileges, according to W.E.B. Dubois, even if they were poor, so do citizens of empire feel psychological benefits, even when the cost of the war machine is impoverishing the country. U.S. politics in the era of imperial decline will be nasty, stupid, petty and racist — just as we are already experiencing. There must be scapegoats for the national de-exceptionalization. The Russians fit the bill, for now, and so does anybody that talks like a Russian, or a Chinese — for example, people that would like to live in a “multi-polar world.”

Do not expect the Republicans or the Democrats to make any sense of a world of diminishing empire. The duopolists are incapable of seeing any future beyond their rich patrons’ vision –- and the rich have no vision beyond continued accumulation of wealth, which requires a harsher and harsher austerity.

Most dangerous, they cannot imagine a world in which they are not on top. We will have to fight to keep them from blowing us all up, in rich man’s despair.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

US Lawmakers Predictably Take Aim at Petro as Iran, Russia Consider Following Venezuela’s Lead

Source:  TeleSUR
February 24 2018

marco rubio us republican senator.jpgU.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio. | Photo: Reuters

 Russia and Iran have expressed interest in developing their own digital currencies to help combat U.S.-imposed sanctions.

Democratic United States Senator Bob Menendez and his Republican counterpart, Marco Rubio, have co-authored a letter denouncing Venezuela’s newly-launched cryptocurrency, the Petro, and requesting that the Treasury Department closely monitor its progress. The lawmakers also made suggestions on the measures the agency can take to undermine the success of the digital currency, which has raised over US $1 billion for the South American country since it was launched on Tuesday.

RELATED:  Iran, Russia Consider Developing Own Cryptocurrencies

During a hearing convened by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs earlier this month, Menendez also made his intention to subvert the Petro in any way he can clear. Jay Clayton, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, and Christopher Giancarlo, Commodity Future Trading Commission chairman, declined to respond whether their agencies could undercut the Petro, Giancarlo assured that his “would certainly look at” the cryptocurrency to guarantee that it doesn’t swindle U.S. buyers.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department had issued a statement on Petro in January. It read that “a currency with these characteristics would appear to be an extension of credit to the Venezuelan government” – a measure forbidden by U.S. sanctions – and that “U.S. persons that deal in the prospective Venezuelan digital currency may be exposed to U.S. sanctions risk.”

In reference to the Petro, a spokesperson for Menenedez said: “We continue to look for ways to prevent the Maduro regime from brazenly evading U.S. sanctions and plan to follow up with the Department of Treasury following their issuing of these guidelines.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the goal of the Petro is to combat sanctions and the “economic war” waged by the U.S. government and its junior partners against his country and advancing “on issues of monetary sovereignty, to make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”

The launch of the Petro was announced in December. It is regulated by the Superintendence of Cryptocurrencies and Related Activities, as well as the Blockchain Observatory.

Russia and Iran have expressed interest in developing their own digital currencies to help combat U.S.-imposed sanctions, following this week’s successful launch of Venezuela’s first cryptocurrency. Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, head of Iran’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, said the test model for a “cloud-based digital currency” is currently under development and will be submitted to the Iranian bank system soon.

The Iranian official announced the move following a meeting with the state-owned Post Bank of Iran on Wednesday, according to NPR.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan Financial Minister Simon Zerpa Delgado was in Russia this week, where he spoke with officials about strengthening collaboration and about the Latin American nation’s newly launched cryptocurrency.

Russian officials have previously exchanged ideas about issuing some kind of digital equivalent of the ruble to circumvent U.S. sanctions, according to The New York Times.
China and Singapore have also expressed interest in creating their own forms of cryptocurrency, but experts say the nations will wait to judge Venezuela’s success with the Petro before bringing their own versions to market.

Cryptocurrencies typically are not backed by any government or central bank, nor are they regulated. However, the U.S. Security and Exchanges Commission has been increasingly tracking digital currencies, classing some tokens as securities, thus making them subject to oversight.

Maduro said: “We have taken a giant step into the 21st Century… We are on the world’s technological vanguard.”

Venezuela Defies Western Attempts at Debt Strangulation

President Maduro: “We have reached an agreement to refinance and restructure the debt with Russia”

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced this Sunday that the government had reached an agreement to refinance and restructure the Venezuelan debt with Russia.

“We have reached an agreement with Russia, this week will be signing an agreement where refinancing is established,” the president said.

“We have complied with all our international commitments,” the Venezuelan leader recalled.

Maduro Tweeted: “This Monday, the first round of renegotiation of the Venezuelan external debt will take place, we are overcoming the economic war, they will not be able to beat us.”  It is worth noting that 91 percent of all holders of the Venezuelan debt will participate tomorrow in the first stage of debt renegotiation and refinance.

Nicolas Maduro Nov 2017 1.jpg

Cuba takes centre-stage at the 19th World Festival (Photos)

Source:  TeleSUR
October 22 2017

Russia Hosts the World Festival of Youth and Students

IN PICTURES: More than 20,000 young people from 150 countries are attending the event in Sochi.

The festival has as its theme, “For peace, solidarity and social justice, we struggle against imperialism. Honoring our past, we build the future!”

During the week-long event, discussions are focusing on global political issues, ranging from the fight against xenophobia in the United States to student movements, as well as health and education.

The World Federation of Democratic Youth founded the gathering to combat fascism and imperialism after World War II.

cuba takes centre stage in russia.jpgThis year’s WFYS is dedicated to Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, for his “legacy, and contributions to … such festivals and the defense of their founding principles,” said Radio Havana.Photo:@CubanitoenCuba

cuba takes centre stage in russia 2.jpgCuban delegate Rafael Bogonin said, “At a time when Latin American countries are facing a resurgence of hegemonic capitalism, Cuba stands out as a beacon of hope, an example for revolutionary youth”Photo:@CubanitoenCuba

cuba takes centre stage in russia 3.jpgYouth enjoy the many cultural events. Sochi Jazz and the People’s Artist of Russia will also perform.Photo:@CubanitoenCuba

cuba takes centre stage in russia 4.jpgSingers from Cuba entertain the youth participants as part of the evening events at the WFSY.

cuba takes centre stage in russia 5.jpgPeople from 150 countries are taking part in the event.Photo:Reuters

cuba takes centre stage in russia 6.jpgRussia’s President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the festival in Sochi.Photo:Reuters

Gold Trade Between Russia and China – A Step Closer Towards De-Dollarization?

Source:   Information Clearing House
September 8 2017

By Peter Koenig

Transcript of Sputnik – SKYPE Interview

sberbank russia.jpg

Background for the Interview:

September 08, 2017 “- MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The largest Russian bank Sberbank is planning to increase the supply of gold to China up to 10-15 tons in 2018, the head of Sberbank CIB, the bank’s investment department, told Sputnik.

Igor Bulantsev“In July, our subsidiary bank in Switzerland started trading in gold in the Shanghai stock market. Under the pilot deal, we delivered 200 kilograms [440 pounds] of bars of gold to Chinese financial institutions. This year we are planning to additionally deliver about 3-5 tons of gold to China. Next year we expect the increase in deliveries to China of up to 10-15 tons. Perhaps we will even exceed this figure,” Igor Bulantsev said ahead of the third Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok.

Sputnik
Could you, please, enlighten us about what could possibly stand behind Sberbank’s plans to increase the supply of gold to China?

PK
This is just a continuation of the economic and trade agreements between Russia and China; the first such official deal was the 2014 currency swap agreement of about US$ 25 billion equivalent, or rather 150 billion Yuan.

Let’s not forget, both currencies the ruble and the Yuan are 100% covered by gold; actually, the ruble is backed about twice by gold.

Both, the China – Russia economic cooperation and trade agreements, as well as their currencies being covered by gold is part of a larger already fairly advanced scheme of de-dollarization of their economies. In other words, Russia and China as well as the entire Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), are rapidly moving out of the US dollar hegemony.

Let’s face it, the entire western monetary system is basically a fraud. It is privately made and privately owned, with the entire international payment system being controlled by the FED – which is totally privately owned – and the BIS (Bank for International Settlement, in Basle, Switzerland – also called the central bank of centrals banks). All international transfers and payments have to transit through Wall Street banks. This is the only reason why the US can “sanction” countries that do not behave according to Washington’s dictate. It is illegal, and would not stand up before any international law.

But since international courts are also controlled by Washington – there is no chance that the US will be called to account for their criminal economic actions around the world – at least not for now; at least not as long as the western dollar-based monetary system has supremacy on the world markets. But this may change rapidly. And China and Russia are moving fast towards complete independence from the western economy.

The BRICS summit that just ended in Xiamen, gave other clear signs that their enhanced economic cooperation among themselves and with the other SCO countries will be a further blow to the western monetary hegemony.

Already now, The SCO and BRICS countries contain about half of the world’s population and control one third of the world’s GDP. They truly do not need the west for survival. To the contrary. They can easily break this fraudulent dollar based ‘monopoly’. But – it has to happen prudently and gradually, because all the emerging economies that would like to join the BRICS and the SCO are still to a large degree dependent on the US-dollar; their reserves are still largely dollar-denominated. And if the western system collapses rapidly, they would tend to lose out dramatically.

Sputnik
Follow-up: What is the reason behind China’s active enlargement of the national gold reserves? 

PK
In my opinion, this may be a temporary measure to protect their currencies – I’m talking specially about China and Russia – from a drastic last minute “dollar-rescue” action by Washington.

For example, I could imagine that as a last-ditch effort, the FED or the US Treasury could instruct the IMF to go back to some kind of a ‘gold standard’ – which may come in the form of a massive devaluation of the dollar, where all those countries who do not have gold reserves or otherwise gold-convertible currencies would end up paying the enormous US dollar debt – becoming once again slaves to a new dollar-dependence.

By increasing gold reserves, Russia and China would be protected. Also, China and Russia, the world’s largest gold producers, accounting for almost a quarter of annual gold production (3,100 tons in 2016), will be instrumental in making the international gold price.

The problem with gold today is that it is completely beholden to the western monetary system – the price of gold on the international market is quoted in US dollars.

In the medium to long run, I believe gold is no viable indicator or back-up for a monetary system. Gold is just a step better than fiat money, because the price of gold is vulnerable and can be manipulated, as we see time and again.

For example, on 25 August, Blomberg reports a mysterious 2 million-ounce gold trade. It says – In a span of one minute, gold futures contracts equaling more than 2 million ounces traded — about 20 minutes before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was to address a gathering of policy makers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The episode jolted the market after a measure of 60-day volatility on the metal touched the lowest since 2005. Gold had been in quiet mode even amid political discord in Washington, concerns about rising U.S. interest rates and tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.”

One wonders whether this clear manipulation of the price of gold has anything to do with the increased gold trade between Russia and China…..?

Sputnik
Now, China is soon expected to launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold. How could this initiative change the rules of the global oil game? How soon do you think this landmark transition would happen? Who will profit from this initiative? 

PK
It will change everything.

Already now – since about three to five years – China and Russia and other members of the SCO are trading hydrocarbons no longer in US dollars, but in their local currencies or gold.

An oil futures contract in yuan and gold is about the equivalent of an ‘oil bourse’ – or a hydrocarbon exchange in yuan and gold – where every oil producer or trader can deal in hydrocarbons in non-dollar denominated contracts.

This will be an enormous blow to the US dollar hegemony. One of the key reasons the US dollar has maintained its hegemonic nature around the globe, is that according to an unwritten agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia of the early 1970s, Saudi Arabia, the head of OPEC, was to make sure that petrol and gas are traded only in US dollars. In return, the Saudis received “US protection” – lots of US bases, from which the wars in the Middle East are directed and carried out.

Those who wanted to depart from that unwritten and completely unlawful rule had to pay dearly – i.e. Saddam Hussein, when he announced that he would trade his oil in euros instead of dollars when the ten-years sanctions regime came to an end in 2000… we know what happened to him. We also know what happened to Gaddafi, who had similar ideas – and Iran was suddenly faced with accusations of having a nuclear weapons program, when they announced in 2007 the Teheran Oil Bourse – where all hydrocarbons could be traded in other currencies than the US dollar.

This US imposed ‘rule’ – totally illegal – allowed the US Treasury to print dollars indiscriminately, because the world needed dollars to pay for their energy.

The other reason for unlimited US Dollar printing was when the Nixon Administration abandoned the gold standard in 1971, and the dollar became de facto the world’s reserve currency. – It’s time that this fraud comes to an end. China and Russia offer an alternative.

Sputnik
Experts say that China’s decision to launch a crude oil futures contract will allow exporters such as Russia to circumvent U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan. What implications would yuan-denominated gold contracts have for Russia, in your view?

PK
Up to about 5 to 10 years ago, most international trading contracts were denominated in US- dollars, regardless whether they involved the US or not. This was also an unwritten, WTO-imposed rule. This is no longer the case.

Therefore, yes, detaching from the dollar-based western monetary system, and instead trading in Yuan, rubles or gold, or any other local currencies for that matter, will make ‘sanctions’ completely ineffective. This is already largely the case today, since Russia and China and many of the SCO countries are already trading in other than US-dollar denominated contracts.

It is through non-dollar international trade contracts that the western dollar-based monetary system will be gradually dethroned and dismantled.

Sputnik
How would these developments affect the dollar as a global reserve currency? What implications will it have on its hegemony?

PK
By dealing in other currencies than the US dollar, including in gold, world demand for the dollar will rapidly decline and so will the dollar’s significance as a world reserve currency.

Some 20 years ago, about 90% of all reserves were established in US dollar denominated assets. Today, this figure is less than 60% and shrinking. Once dollar-denominated reserves fall below 50%, abandoning the dollar as reserve currency worldwide may progress rapidly. That’s when a last-ditch effort by Washington to save the dollar hegemony may come in the form of a new gold-standard – at the cost of the countries that hold dollar reserves.

The western economy today and for the last at least 100 years has been based on a fraudulent, debt-driven privately-owned and manipulated monetary system – on fiat money. When in reality, it should be the economy of a nation or a region that makes and backs the monetary system.

If I may, I predict that in the foreseeable future, it will not be gold or other minerals that back a monetary system, but the economy itself; the strength of a country’s – or association of countries’ – socioeconomy that determines the monetary system. The strength of an economy will be determined by indicators well beyond the linear GDP; they will include societal values, such as education, health services, and behavioral values, like how a society deals with the environment, natural resources and conflict resolutions.

This is what I believe the new Eastern Economy, based on China and Russia – the Economy of Peace – will offer to the world as an alternative.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around th

 

As the Democrats Press for War, the Left Must Demand Peace and Social Transformation

Source:  Black agenda Report
January 11 2017
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“The Left’s job is to oppose the warmongers, not band with them.”

as the democrats press for war.jpg

The Democrats are whipping up war hysteria and “cynically seeking to harness people’s well-founded fears of Trump’s domestic policies in order to sabotage the possibility of a relaxation of international tensions.” Some folks have taken the bait. “Leftists that think they can exploit the split between the Trump troglodytes (fascists) and the Obama/Clinton/Old Line GOP War Party (fascists) will ultimately wind up caught in a pincer between the two.”

 

The most imminent threats to human survival

As is ordained by law, at the end of the week much of President Obama’s legacy will become Donald Trump’s powers, including the power to detain Americans indefinitely (forever) without trial or charge, an authority the First Black President secured from Congress in 2011. Obama’s wars become Trump’s wars, which, if Trump follows Obama’s example — and if he succumbs to the furious pressures of leading Democrats, old line Republicans and an openly aggressive and “politicized” national security establishment — will be expanded and multiplied. The most imminent threats to human survival under a Trump presidency flow, not from the billionaire’s own belligerent instincts and unpredictability, but from the momentum of Obama’s policies of ever-escalating confrontation with Russia and China — his deliberate “pivots” towards brinksmanship on all the geopolitical fronts of Empire.

“U.S. policy is to militarily intimidate the world into submission — a gangster’s game.”

It is the Democrats that have whipped up war hysteria and a new McCarthyism, attacking Trump from the Right to force him to keep Obama’s imperial “surge” moving forward. With western economic power fading fast, U.S. policy is to militarily intimidate the world into submission — a gangster’s game. For the Lords of Capital and their national security servants, Obama’s greatest achievement was to put the U.S. back on the offensive after George Bush’s defeat and humiliation in Iraq. From their perspective, Obama has already “Made America Great Again” with his “humanitarian” military intervention doctrine, trampling every principle of international law, including the sovereignty of nations, in Libya and Syria. Trump’s talk of “deal-making” with Russia and China threatens to slow the imperial offensive.

The ruling class realignment that congealed in the Clinton campaign’s Big Tent sees any relaxation of U.S. military pressures against Beijing and Moscow as a prelude to imperial collapse. For them, de-escalation is an existential threat. They don’t give a damn about the damage Donald Trump intends to inflict on what remains of the U.S. social safety net — and neither did Obama, who came into office scheming to forge a Grand Austerity Bargain with the Republicans. And, if his preventive detention bill were not enough, Obama’s support for creation of a “Ministry of Truth” — officially, a joint governmental commission to police the media for “foreign disinformation and manipulation” — screams out to high heaven that protection of civil liberties is not part of their agenda, either. Internet publications like Black Agenda Report, cited by the Washington Post as “fake news” and “minions” of Russia, will be punished for deviance from imperial “exceptionalism” and aggressive war policies.

“Trump’s talk of ‘deal-making’ with Russia and China threatens to slow the imperial offensive.”

This is all about war. The Democrats, massed corporate media and the fully mobilized legions of spooks and disinformation specialists are cynically seeking to harness people’s well-founded fears of Trump’s domestic policies in order to sabotage the possibility of a relaxation of international tensions. Leftists that think they can exploit the split between the Trump troglodytes (fascists) and the Obama/Clinton/Old Line GOP War Party (fascists) will ultimately wind up caught in a pincer between the two.

The ruling class is, indeed, in an acute political crisis, to match its larger, systemic crisis. The duopoly system that has served the rich so well for most of the history of the Republic has come undone, split at the seams, endangering the corporate-imposed national “consensus” on empire and war. The War Party, deploying every disinformation trick in the book, foments anti-Russian hysteria to create a mass base for its imperial agenda. They point fingers at phantom “minions” of Moscow in order to make leftists into political foot soldiers of the Pentagon, Langley and the military industrial complex. MoveOn.org moves to their beat, as does the entire Congressional Black Caucus, including Barbara Lee (D-CA), the nation’s most left-leaning congressperson. Fine; they are duty-bound to go down with the Bad Ship Hillary. But the social movement activists that allow themselves to be swept up in the Democrats’ offensive-from-the-Right against Trump are the biggest dupes of all.

“They point fingers at phantom ‘minions’ of Moscow in order to make leftists into political foot soldiers of the Pentagon, Langley and the military industrial complex.”

The Democrats are incapable of agitating for anything more than defense of Barack Obama’s “legacy” — chiefly, his doomed Affordable Care Act, which was already disintegrating from its own contradictions and whose final demise will create an acute crisis that cries out for single payer health insurance, the outcome Obamacare was designed to forestall. The Left should be making that demand right now, rather than helping Democrats join with Republicans to patch together an even worse private-based system, down the road.

The precariat economy that is emerging from Obama’s post-Meltdown restructuring, in which 94 percent of the new “jobs” are so contingent, inadequate and insecure they can hardly be called jobs at all, demands a National Minimum Income – a potentially transformative leap that the Left should be loudly championing, right now.

Five years after Occupy Wall Street, the Left should finally call for the nationalization — not fragmentation — of the big banks, and creation of a public development bank to rebuild the national infrastructure without going into debt to private capital. Anybody that doubts masses of people will join in this demand doesn’t know their fellow Americans and their deep hatred for Wall Street banks.

“The social movement activists that allow themselves to be swept up in the Democrats’ offensive-from-the-Right against Trump are the biggest dupes of all.”

Ferguson set the new Black movement on a course of confrontation with the Mass Black Incarceration State, in all its manifestations. Obama’s legacy — and that of the Black misleadership class that has collaborated with mass Black incarceration for two generations – is to intensify intelligence gathering in Black communities, while dispersing Black population concentrations through gentrification. Trump or no Trump, there is no avoiding the logic of the movement’s central grassroots demand: Black community control of the police. Non-Blacks on the Left must support that demand.

There is no such thing as a genuine Left that supports imperialism, but there are plenty of fakers that do, including phony socialists. How sad — and maddening, at the same time — that a Donald Trump can speak of “cutting down” on “regime change,” while purported leftists rally to Obama’s “humanitarian” military interventionism, the lip-stick on the imperial pig. The Democrats want war so badly, they are fouling their bourgeois institutional nest and bearing down hard from the Right to prevent any let-up in tensions with Russia and China. The Left’s job is to oppose the warmongers, not to band with them.

There is no mystery to what the moment demands. What’s needed is Left movements for social transformation, not a farcical, Democrat-led anti-Trump pseudo-movement, whose real agenda is war.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Most Russians Prefer Return of Soviet Union and Socialism: Poll

Source:  TeleSUR
December 24 2016

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Demonstrator holds picture of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics | Photo: EFE

Over 50 percent of Russian citizens believe the collapse of the Soviet Union was bad and could have been avoided.

The majority of Russians polled in a recent study would prefer living under the old Soviet Union and would like to see the socialist system and the Soviet state restored.

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According to the latest poll conducted by the Levada Center, over 50 percent of Russian citizens believe the collapse of the Soviet Union was bad and could have been avoided. Only 28 percent of the population surveyed felt positive about its collapse, while 16 percent were unable to answer such a complex question.

A little more than half of respondents stated that the demise of the Soviet Union could have been prevented, while 33 percent said it was inevitable.

Fourteen percent of respondents see the restoration of the Soviet Union as quite realistic, while 44 percent consider it unfeasible. Thirty-one percent of people said they would not be happy with such a turn of events, however.

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The center also published that nostalgia for the USSR is at an all-time high since 2000.

This could be tied to the fact that for the first time since the recession era of 2008-2009, Russians are spending more than half of their monthly income on food, according to a study by the Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting Institute. And state subsidies are minimal.

Back in 2005, Vladimir Putin was reported to have said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the major geopolitical disaster of the (last) century.”