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The Transformation of America into a “de facto” Apartheid State

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The difference between “de jure” and “de facto” legislation is not one of semantics – if a law is discriminatory on its face, it is called “de jure.” However if an enacted law has the effect of being discriminatory, it is called “de facto.” Most de jure laws are thankfully illegal in the United States, however de facto discriminatory legislation is rampant throughout this country, with the effects often not seen for years, if not decades, on the populace.

This means that if a President or sitting Legislature passes a bad discriminatory law, the damages usually aren’t seen until a long time in the future, long after that leader has left office, usually after he has made millions if not billions in the private sector, using his past laurels as an American politician.

This is the ultimate mark of a true scoundrel – and unfortunately characterizes the vast majority of our political leaders.

The combined effect of this morass of discriminatory laws, regulations and ordinances, coupled with the actual encouragement of police departments to recruit low IQ racist applicants while rejecting higher scoring ones, or the awarding of complete and total immunity for unethical, dishonest, or politically motivated prosecutors and judges who selectively prosecute and punish based on racial/ethnic/political grounds, whether federal or state, ensures a Josef Stalin-style police state more reminiscent of the days of the SS/Gestapo NAZI political dragnet targeting political dissidents and minorities, than what the Founding Fathers probably envisioned. As famed criminal defense lawyer Harvey Silverglate aptly stated, “The average US Citizen now commits at least 3 felonies per day unknowingly.” And as Lavrenty Beria, Stalin’s Secret Police Chief said, “Show me the man, and I will show you the crime.” Adding to this mix are recent admissions by FBI Chief James Comey that racist organizations have been infiltrating police departments for decades. Or that FBI Agents have been lying for decades in order to falsely convict people who may be innocent.

Because of this de facto American-style of segregation, not open and state-sanctioned, it has outlived the openly de jure segregationist state of South Africa which had an official governmental policy of apartheid, and because of its open and explicit state action, made it vulnerable to local and global anti-segregationist forces.

For example, when past Housing and Urban Development Commissioner Andrew Cuomo passed sweeping legislation reducing the credit requirements for people to buy or mortgage a home, this allowed tens of millions of minorities and poor people, who could not afford to buy a home, to buy into a financial albatross trap around their neck, and when the economy started to sputter in mid 2008, the vast majority of those people who couldn’t afford a house anyway, began to default, and then a huge avalanche of defaults ensued, causing the housing bubble to burst. Investment banks like Goldman Sachs actually betted against the people, and set up “credit swap derivatives” based solely on the cynical prediction that this housing mortgage bubble crisis would occur, and then they sickeningly made money off of this.

Adding insult to injury, then President Bill Clinton, bowing to pressure from ex-Goldman Sachs big-wigs Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Gene Sperling, who were in his Cabinet at the time in “government service,” repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, thus dissolving the wall between private checking/savings accounts of the people, and the wild and crazy gambling antics of the investment banks. This allowed these big banks to place high-stake, high-risk global investments using the American taxpayers’ hard-earned money. But of course, even though Bill Clinton dissolved Glass-Steagall in 1999, the American people of course did not feel its after effects until December 2008. And Andrew Cuomo was involved with HUD from 1993 to 2001, a full 7 years before his housing bubble mortgage crisis hit the fan.

Similarly, the Violence Against Womens’ Act (“VAWA”), written by then Senator Joe Biden and passed by then President Bill Clinton in 1994 seemed harmless, if not helpful, to battered women at that time, but the Trojan Horse of this very bad legislation allowed corrupt and racist local law enforcement, con-artist women, activist corrupt judges, money and power-hungry feminist womens’ groups, and others with a political agenda in the district attorneys office, to use the federal law’s ability to summarily suspend anyone’s 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 13th and 14th Amendment Rights whenever a complaint was made that someone engaged in some type of domestic dispute, even if no violence or evidence was found, arrest and charge that person, and then throw them into the abyss of the criminal justice system, where dishonest and unethical prosecutors, or activist judges “on the take” from various special interests and lobbying groups, could selectively prosecute or dismiss the case at their whim, with little to no recourse, or remedy for the accused. This means that after 20 years, marriage is at an all time low, more domestic violence has taken place, more children are growing up without parents, the Child Protective Services have grossly enlarged and are now being accused of being vehicles for child abduction/abuse/sexual trafficking, and other horrific crimes. Furthermore, the very fabric of the American family has been broken down into damaged components, while the “state machinery” operates to keep couples apart, even if they want to reconcile, thus further breaking down families and exposing innocent children to the wolves of providence and predators.

Bill Clinton also passed the newly amended federal Child Support Enforcement Act in 1994 which also summarily tossed good men into jail without a trial or inquest, suspending their drivers and professional licenses, even if they missed a few child support payments due to disability, loss of a job, bankruptcy, personal tragedy, or other unforseen event. The effects of these two above laws re-instituted the Debtors’ Prison in America, and many would argue that Slavery was in fact re-instituted as well, in violation of Abraham Lincoln’s greatest triumph, the 13th Amendment prohibiting Indentured Servitude and Slavery. Many a con-artist in American society has taken advantage of these two laws with the full force and brute power of the state against that targeted individual. The same story applies to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, sponsored by U.S. Representative Jack Brooks of Texas, which bill was also originally written by then Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, passed by Congress, and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton. And again, these laws target racial minorities much harder than their white counterparts.

Bill Clinton recently admitted in April 2015, more than 15 years after he left office, that mass incarceration on his watch “put too many people in prison.” He went on to further state that poor whites and minorities in America were victimized as a result of America’s unparalleled rate of imprisonment due to the horrific laws that he enacted. Ibid. More than 2 million people are still held in captivity in prisons and jails, giving the country 25% of the world’s prison numbers despite having only 5% of its overall population. Id. Bill Clinton’s drug enforcement laws of 1994 created a crime bill that laid down several of the foundations of the country’s current mass incarceration trends vowing to be “tough on crime” with his “triangulation” policy of creating incentives to individual states to build more prisons, put more people behind bars and to keep them there for longer, introducing a federal three-strikes law that brought in long sentences for habitual offenders, creating “truth in sentencing” states which sentenced people to long terms in prison with no chance of parole being rewarded with increased federal funds, and the Clinton COPS program, ie, the “Community Oriented Policing Services,” where federal money was provided to states to allow them vastly to increase the number of police officers on the streets and consequently resulting in more arrests and convictions of poor whites and minorities. Id.

In terms of real estate, buying homes and leases of property, the real estate market is notorious for working with local, city, state and federal “urban planners” to literally, under the color of law and authority, “zone entire areas” to create the de facto result of segregating whites and other minorities from living, working, or going to school together.

According to the seminal study “Spatial Segregation and Neighborhoods” by Carl Nightingale, “during the 1890s, the word segregation became the preferred term for the practice of coercing different groups of people, especially those designated by race, to live in separate and unequal urban residential neighborhoods. In the southern states of the United States, segregationists imported the word originally used in the British colonies of Asia—to describe Jim Crow laws, and, in 1910, whites in Baltimore passed a “segregation ordinance” mandating separate black and white urban neighborhoods. Copy-cat legislation sprang up in cities across the South and the Midwest. But in 1917, a multiracial team of lawyers from the fledgling National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) mounted a successful legal challenge to these ordinances in the U.S. Supreme Court—even as urban segregation laws were adopted in other places in the world, most notably in South Africa. The collapse of the movement for legislated racial segregation in the United States occurred just as African Americans began migrating in large numbers into cities in all regions of the United States, resulting in waves of anti-black mob violence. Segregationists were forced to rely on non-statutory or formally nonracial techniques. In Chicago, an alliance of urban reformers and real estate professionals invented alternatives to explicitly racist segregation laws. The practices they promoted nationwide created one of the most successful forms of urban racial segregation in world history, rivaling and finally outliving South African apartheid. Understanding how this system came into being and how it persists today requires understanding both how the Chicago segregationists were connected to counterparts elsewhere in the world and how they adapted practices of city-splitting to suit the peculiarities of racial politics in the United States.”

These neo-segregationists escaped allegations of housing discrimination due to the relative lack of interest and enforcement of civil rights laws by the local, state, and federal government. Some claim that organizations like the NYS Division of Human Rights often do nothing more than provide an illusion of enforcement, while simply notifying or tipping off the offender so that they can cover themselves, and then retaliate against the complainer. In 2008 by a bipartisan federal commission on housing equity found that in the United States only about twenty thousand out of an estimated four million acts of housing discrimination receive any official attention in any given year.

As was described above, when in 1999 Bill Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall Act dissolving the wall between investment banks and the peoples’ hard-earned money, three de facto racially discriminatory and apartheid-causing results occurred: predatory “subprime” loans to poor minorities; mortgage-backed securities consisting of predatory loans bundled with other loans and re-sliced into highly lucrative “tranches,” and “credit default swaps” meant to insure the mortgage-backed securities.

These three apartheid-spawning spiderwebs trapped huge numbers of minorities and poor people into bad mortgages using grossly fraudulent practices with guaranteed defaults.

Furthermore according to Nightingale, black people were more than 2-3 times as likely as white people of the same income to be steered into subprime loans even though 2/3 were eligible for standard mortgages that on average cost $100,000 less over the life of the loan. The resulting racial disparities in housing foreclosures widened the large inequalities in wealth on either side of the American color line. Ibid. Furthermore, according to Nightingale, “in 2008, as the American mortgage bubble burst, bringing on a global recession, U.S. whites possessed a staggering ten times more wealth on average than blacks of equal income, largely because of segregation in the American housing market. Four years later, as Obama finished his first term, the black-white wealth gap had doubled to twenty to one.” Id.

Reflecting on the above, it is no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the United States of America, through the de facto manipulation of its laws, especially in the last 20 years, in the laboratory-like settings of the family, criminal, and civil courts, both federal and local, as well as in its House of Representatives and Senate, and capped off by the Executive Branch, has devolved into a fully functional Apartheid State. Not on its surface, but in its practice. And this is the essential difference between a de jure apartheid state, and a de facto one.

And as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe so eloquently stated, “None are more hopelessly enslaved, than those who falsely believe they are free.”

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Americas

The hegemony of knowledge and the new world order: U.S. and the rest of the world

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In today’s world, knowledge and technological advantages determine – to a large extent – differences in the management of international policy. The increase in a country’s intellectual power directly defines an increase in its economic power, thus changing its position in the international competition for dominance.

The power policy, first in the agricultural age and later in the industrial age, was characterised by military and then economic hegemony, while the power policy in the information age gradually reveals the characteristics of knowledge hegemony at both the scientific and intelligence levels.

The hegemony of knowledge in contemporary international relations manifests itself specifically as unequal exchange in international trade, exploitation of high-value information and various conditions related to technological production. Hence, we see the transfer of polluting industries from privileged to poor countries: energy-consuming and high-intensity activities.

Western culture and values are disseminated vigorously, through the so-called soft power in information and mass media, and take on obsessive and oppressively hypnopedic forms.

Developed countries have patents in the use of outer space, as well as in the development of deep sea resources and in the production of environmental resources that pollute, while developing countries can only sigh as they look at other’s oceans and satellites, which fly around, do reconnaissance activities and monitor them.

The resources of the great and deep seas – which should be shared by mankind as they belong to everybody like the air, the moon and the sun – are instead exploited by the developed countries. On the contrary, they freely and ‘democratically’ share with the wretched ones only the evil consequences of environmental pollution.

With specific reference to sanctions and armed interference in international relations, the technique of violent and conscious bullying is adopted: whoever is militarily stronger imposes the validity of their interests, also at legal level.

The root cause for generating knowledge hegemony lies in the polarisation of the intellectual status of the nation-State. Western developed countries have already crossed the threshold of an information society, while developing countries are still struggling to climb towards industrial civilisation from the most primitive and closed state of existence. Although developing countries hold most of the world’s natural and human resources (just think of Africa), they are far behind in science and technology. Just look at the continental histogram of the 207 Nobel Prizes in Physics from 1901 to 2017 (winners are counted by country of birth except for the Algerian Nobel Prize winner Claude Cohen-Tannoudji [1997], who was born when Algeria was a French territory):

Source: Nadua Antonelli <<Africana>> XXIII (2017) page 12

If they have no means to study, even the greatest and most brilliant brains cannot make discoveries or file patents, looking only at the sky and the earth.

About 80 per cent of science and technology staff and their achievements are concentrated in developed countries. The knowledge advantage gives developed countries the right to set the rules of the game and of communication for all global knowledge production and dissemination. In particular, the developed countries’ knowledge advantages in the military and high-tech media enable them to expand their influence on the civil and military fronts and achieve their strategic objectives.

Developing countries wander between traditional society, modern industrial civilisation and post-industrial civilisation, and are often challenged and oppressed by the third party’s hegemony of knowledge.

The new economy created by the information revolution is still a ‘rich-country phenomenon’, the core of what is called ‘advantage creation’, under the cover of ‘competitive advantage’, or rather: competitive towards those who cannot compete.

The country leading the information revolution is the United States, which is the biggest beneficiary of these achievements. The digital divide highlights the status of the US information superpower. In the global information sector, in 2000 the central processing unit production in the United States accounted for 92%, and software production for 86%.

IT (Information & Technology) investment in the United States was 41.5% of global investment, Microsoft’s Windows system accounted for 95% of global platform applications, while the US Internet users accounted for more than half of global Internet users, and 58% of all e-mail goes through US servers.

E-commerce is worth 75% of the global total and US commercial websites account for 90% of the planet.

Currently, there are almost three thousand large-scale databases in the world, 70% of which are in the United States. There are 13 top-level domain name servers in the world and 10 of them are located in the United States.

The above figures far exceed the share of US GDP, which is 28% of the world total. The United States is far ahead of all countries in the world, including the other developed countries. The leading position in information technology allows the United States to control the basics in the field of information with its strong economic and talent advantages, as well as to master the actual rights, and to set standards and formulate rules and regulations.

The status as cradle of the information revolution has brought enormous wealth and development benefits to the United States. Since the 1990s, the development of information technology and the rise of the related industry have become an accelerator of further economic advancement in the United States.

In the growth of US GDP – from 1994 (the beginning of the Internet) to 2000 – the share of the information industry in the value of the country’s total output has caused the economy to rise from 6.3% to 8.3%, and the contribution provided by the information industry development to the actual US economic growth is estimated at 30%.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the United States – with its strong national-global power and the relative hegemony of knowledge/information – was already ready to build a new world order.

Knowledge is also the soul of military hegemony. Since the 1990s the United States (after the USSR’s demise) has taken advantage of its absolute leadership in information technology to vigorously promote a new military revolution and equip its armed forces with a large number of modern sophisticated weapons, especially cyber weapons: an overwhelming advantage in the conventional field, clearly overtaking the Third World, as well as its Western allies.

The US superiority in equipment ranges from one to two generations (i.e. from 15 to 30 years) over developing countries and from 0.5 to one generation over allies. All this has established the hegemonic status of the United States as the world’s number one military power.

Gulf Wars II (1991) and III (2003) (the first was the Iran-Iraq War in 1980-88), the Kosovo War (1999), the Afghanistan War (2001- still ongoing), and the Iraq War (2003-2011) were four localised wars that the United States fought to establish a new world order after the Cold War. During those events, the US hegemony was strengthened on an unprecedented scale and its attempt to establish a new order made substantial progress.

Moreover, backed by strong military advantages (scattering the planet with its own bases and outposts), as well as economic and technological advantages, those events ensured that the United States had and still has a leading position in the world, thus making the White House a planner and defender of the new world order. (1. continued)

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Hardened US and Iranian positions question efficacy of parties’ negotiating tactics

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The United States and Iran seem to be hardening their positions in advance of a resumption of negotiations to revive a 2015 international nuclear agreement once Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi takes office in early August.

Concern among supporters of the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program which former US President Donald J. Trump abandoned in 2018 may be premature but do raise questions about the efficacy of the negotiating tactics of both parties.

These tactics include the Biden administration’s framing of the negotiations exclusively in terms of the concerns of the West and its Middle Eastern allies rather than also as they relate to Iranian fears, a failure by both the United States and Iran to acknowledge that lifting sanctions is a complex process that needs to be taken into account in negotiations, and an Iranian refusal to clarify on what terms the Islamic republic may be willing to discuss non-nuclear issues once the nuclear agreement has been revived.

The differences in the negotiations between the United States and Iran are likely to be accentuated if and when the talks resume, particularly concerning the mechanics of lifting sanctions.

“The challenges facing the JCPOA negotiations are a really important example of how a failed experience of sanctions relief, as we had in Iran between the Obama and Trump admins, can cast a shadow over diplomacy for years to come, making it harder to secure US interests,” said Iran analyst Esfandyar Batmanghelidj referring to the nuclear accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, by its initials.

The Biden administration may be heeding Mr. Batmangheldij’s notion that crafting sanctions needs to take into account the fact that lifting them can be as difficult as imposing them as it considers more targeted additional punitive measures against Iran. Those measures would aim to hamper Iran’s evolving capabilities for precision strikes using drones and guided missiles by focusing on the providers of parts for those weapon systems, particularly engines and microelectronics.

To be sure, there is no discernable appetite in either Washington or Tehran to adjust negotiation tactics and amend their underlying assumptions. It would constitute a gargantuan, if not impossible challenge given the political environment in both capitals. That was reflected in recent days in Iranian and US statements.

Iranian Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested that agreement on the revival of the nuclear accord was stumbling over a US demand that it goes beyond the terms of the original accord by linking it to an Iranian willingness to discuss its ballistic missiles program and support for Arab proxies.

In a speech to the cabinet of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, he asserted that the West “will try to hit us everywhere they can and if they don’t hit us in some place, it’s because they can’t… On paper and in their promises, they say they’ll remove sanctions. But they haven’t lifted them and won’t lift them. They impose conditions…to say in future Iran violated the agreement and there is no agreement” if Iran refuses to discuss regional issues or ballistic missiles.

Iranian officials insist that nothing can be discussed at this stage but a return by both countries to the nuclear accord as is. Officials, distrustful of US intentions, have hinted that an unconditional and verified return to the status quo ante may help open the door to talks on missiles and proxies provided this would involve not only Iranian actions and programs but also those of America’s allies.

Mr. Khamenei’s remarks seemed to bolster suggestions that once in office Mr. Raisi would seek to turn the table on the Biden administration by insisting on stricter verification and US implementation of its part of a revived agreement.

To achieve this, Iran is expected to demand the lifting of all rather than some sanctions imposed or extended by the Trump administration; verification of the lifting;  guarantees that the lifting of sanctions is irreversible, possibly by making any future American withdrawal from the deal contingent on approval by the United Nations Security Council; and iron-clad provisions to ensure that obstacles to Iranian trade are removed, including the country’s unfettered access to the international financial system and the country’s overseas accounts.

Mr. Khamenei’s remarks and Mr. Raisi’s anticipated harder line was echoed in warnings by US officials that the ascendancy of the new president would not get Iran a better deal. The officials cautioned further that there could be a point soon at which it would no longer be worth returning to because Iran’s nuclear program would have advanced to the point where the limitations imposed by the agreement wouldn’t produce the intended minimum one year ‘breakout time’ to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb.

“We are committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely. At some point, the gains achieved by the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) cannot be fully recovered by a return to the JCPOA if Iran continues the activities that it’s undertaken with regard to its nuclear program…The ball remains in Iran’s court, and we will see if they’re prepared to make the decisions necessary to come back into compliance,” US Secretary Antony Blinken said this week on a visit to Kuwait.

Another US official suggested that the United States and Iran could descend into a tug-of-war on who has the longer breath and who blinks first. It’s a war that so far has not produced expected results for the United States and in which Iran has paid a heavy price for standing its ground.

The official said that a breakdown in talks could “look a lot like the dual-track strategy of the past—sanctions pressure, other forms of pressure, and a persistent offer of negotiations. It will be a question of how long it takes the Iranians to come to the idea they will not wait us out.”

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Wendy Sherman’s China visit takes a terrible for the US turn

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Photo: Miller Center/ flickr

US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, had high hopes for the meeting in China. At first, the Chinese side did not agree to hold the meeting at all. The reaction had obvious reasons: Antony Blinken’s fiasco in Alaska left the Chinese disrespected and visibly irritated. This is not why they travelled all the way.

So then the State Department had the idea of sending Wendy Sherman instead. The US government actually needs China more than China needs the US. Sherman was in China to actually prepare the ground for Biden and a meeting between the two presidents, expecting a red carpet roll for Biden as if it’s still the 2000s — the time when it didn’t matter how the US behaved. Things did not go as expected.

Instead of red carpet talk, Sherman heard Dua Lipa’s “I got new rules”. 

That’s right — the Chinese side outlined three bottom lines warning the US to respect its system, development and sovereignty and territorial integrity. In other words, China wants to be left alone.

The bottom lines were not phrased as red lines. This was not a military conflict warning. This was China’s message that if any future dialogue was to take place, China needs to be left alone. China accused the US of creating an “imaginary enemy”. I have written about it before — the US is looking for a new Cold War but it doesn’t know how to start and the problem is that the other side actually holds all the cards

That’s why the US relies on good old militarism with an expansion into the Indo-Pacific, while aligning everyone against China but expecting the red carpet and wanting all else in the financial and economic domains to stay the same. The problem is that the US can no longer sell this because there are no buyers. Europeans also don’t want to play along.

The headlines on the meeting in the US press are less flattering than usual. If the US is serious about China policy it has to be prepared to listen to much more of that in the future. And perhaps to, yes, sit down and be humble.

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