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Why the James Comey episode cannot be compared to the Watergate Scandal

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] L [/yt_dropcap]ast week, the ex FBI Director James Comey was fired by Donald Trump. Unanimously, Trump has been criticized for this action. Trump gave the reason as James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton emails episode. Critics have questioned the reasons and the timing of the decision.

There are a few aspects to the Comey firing. One is that clearly the reasons that Trump gave – saying that it is Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email episode which is the reason behind the firing are laughable. It is obvious that the real reason is Comey’s request for the investigation into Russian ties with the Trump campaign to be expanded. Did Trump go about the entire process in a proper manner? Absolutely not !!!

In fact, James Comey did not have a single clue about what was going to happen to him. He was speaking to FBI employees on May 9 when the announcement was done on Television. Initially he commented saying that it was a fairly funny prank. Only later did he get to realize the truth. That is not the way in which any person, leave alone a Director of the FBI, ought to lose his job. As American comedian and political commentator Bill Maher noted, all that Trump needed to do was to pick up the phone and speak to James Comey and inform him about what was being done. How difficult was that?

Now to the question was his firing right? The answer is that James Comey set himself up for the firing to be done. This was done by his highly unnecessary request of asking for an expansion of resources for the Russian investigation into Trump campaign ties. Already the mainstream media and the Democratic Party are going haywire with allegations of Russia’s links to Trump. What was the need for asking for extra resources when the present ‘2 cents worth’ investigation, by itself, could not find anything credible? Comparisions are being made of the Comey affair with the Watergate scandal. The Comey episode is no Watergate Scandal and will not lead to a Trump impeachment – the one that many people so desperately want !!!

Let’s move over to the Watergate scandal briefly. On June 17, 1972, several burglars were arrested inside the office of the DNC in Washington DC. The burglars were connected to Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign. The prowlers had been caught while attempting to wiretap phones and steal secret documents. In August of that year, Nixon gave a speech where he swore that his White House staff was not involved in the break-in. Nixon was reelected in a landslide victory in the November elections. It later came to light that a few days after the break-in, he arranged to provide huge cash as “hush money” to the burglars. Then he and his aides hatched a plan to instruct the Central Intelligence Agency to impede the FBI’s investigation of the crime.

Nixon also secretly taped every conversation that took place in the Oval office. When Archibald Cox, who was the independent special prosecutor, kept demanding the tapes, Nixon fired him. These events took place on October 20 1973 and were known as the Saturday Night Massacre. Comparisions are made of Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox and Trump’s firing of James Comey with the James Comey firing being called the Tuesday Night Massacre.

Neither is the James Comey firing comparable to the Archibald Cox firing nor is the Watergate Scandal comparable with the ‘so-called’ scandal that is happening here. In the Watergate scandal, following the June 17 episode, a lot of facts were unearthed. On August 1, a US $ 25,000 cheque was wound up in the bank account of a Watergate burglar. On January 30 1973, two former Nixon aides were convicted of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping. On April 30, Nixon’s top White House staffers resigned over the scandal.

Nothing of that sort has happened or is likely to happen here. Even the former NSA Mike Flynn had to resign not because he had any involvement in the hacking of the DNC. If he had just simply told Mike Pence that he did discuss the issue of sanctions on Russia with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, he would have stayed. In any case, there are a substantial number of people, even in the West, who feel that the sanctions on Russia over Ukraine/Crimea should be removed without any delay.

When Russia hacked into the DNC, there was already a cloud hanging over the Democratic Party due to the Hillary Clinton email episode. Against this background, Trump also called upon Russia publicly to hack into Clinton’s emails. Even though this issue of allegations of Russian hacking had been going on throughout the election campaign process, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party referred to the issue only when they were posed uncomfortable questions. One example is the question about Clinton’s open borders comment. She used the Russian interference to pivot from the question.

Also it should be noted that the Russians were clever enough to ensure they brought into light only the internal manipulations that took place in the closed doors of the Democratic Party. They did not misuse the information that they had access to. That is one important reason why the investigation into Russian ties with the Trump campaign will not be a cracker but only a flower-pot !!!

Finally, Trump has distanced himself from Steve Bannon, his Chief Strategist. While it is true that Steve Bannon needs to moderate himself, chucking a person like Bannon away totally would not be doing Trump any good. For example there are reports which say that Steve Bannon was opposed to the recent airstrike on Syria but was overruled by Jarod Kushner. It at all he has any dreams of a second term Presidency, Donald Trump would do well to remember that Jarod Kushner and Ivanka Trump are not going to win him the votes. Rather it would be people like Steve Bannon who will do so!! In fact, Steve Bannon could well play the same role for Trump that Amit Shah manages to do so effectively for Narendra Modi.

Of course there is one difference. Narendra Modi is single while Donald Trump is not. It is an esoteric fact that a single person can think more clearly than a married one. If only more people had realized that yesterday, mother earth would be better off today…

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author

Harish Venugopalan is a Research Assistant with the Observer Research Foundation. He has done his Masters in International Relations from the Dublin City University (DCU) in 2011-2012. His current research interest is ‘Conflict Management in Africa’.

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The Despair of American Youths under an Overly ‘Critical Society’

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A recent tragic incident in the United States has stunned the world. This incident, is not merely “domestic terrorism”, but its root cause, that of a “critical society”, is far more serious than people think.

Payton Gendron, from Conklin, New York, drove a few hours to Buffalo, which is about 200 miles away, to a predominantly African-American, low-income neighborhood, about 3 miles north of the central Buffalo. It is surrounded by residential areas, a university, a nearby Family Dollar store, and a fire station. –

In an act that shocked everyone, Payton Gendron pulled up his rifle and walked into the supermarket, and started killing people, women, the elderly, and cashiers. Not only did he shoot at the unarmed people, but he also broadcast the gory scene of the massacre live on Twitch. This vicious mass shooting incident left at least 10 people dead and 3 others injured. Of the 13 victims, 11 were black.

In the aftermath, it was horrifying to discover that the white young man who did the mass shooting was only 18 years old. “This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now”, said Mayor Byron Brown.

After the incident, President Joe Biden urged unity to stem racial hate as a remedy to get rid of the “hate that remains a stain on the soul of America.” Biden said that, “violence inflicted in the service of hate and a vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group. A hate that through the media and politics, the Internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost, and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced”.

The so-called “Great Replacement Theory” alluded to in the speech of President Biden in his condemnation of the massacre refers to the belief that immigrants or other people of color are “replacing” white Americans. Propagated by the media and the Internet, and deliberately exaggerated by political shows and politicians, there are those who become firm believers that the “Great Replacement” is the reality and the future of the United States. The Buffalo massacre is but one of the countless hate crimes. In today’s American society, no one is completely happy, and everyone seems to have different reasons for dissatisfaction, disappointment, and hatred.

The reason for this is that the U.S. is typically a “critical society”, which does not often offer much justice and truth. Instead, discrimination, grievances, conspiracies, and hatred more often than not emerge in such a society seemingly plagued by despair and pain. The real United States might not be exactly like this, of course. Yet, countless people from all over the world are eager to come to America by all means to seek hope there, not knowing that Americans, especially young people who are overwhelmed by disappointment, are not hopeful about the future.

There are many reasons why the U.S. has become a critical society.

Education in the U.S., with its strong emphasis on critical thinking, trains young people from an early age to not only possess critical spirit, but also to have critical point of view. This started with English composition among young children, and continues to dissertation among college students. Such critical spirit is like a contagious disease, which is easily transmissible. In books, in movies, in TV shows and newspapers, in culture as well as in fashion, Americans are always criticizing all the time, trampling. Yet, their critical mind does not come with constructive strength. There is a serious lack of respect for the classics. It is as if only through crushing the past and the traditions that allows them to show their superiority.

The cultural model that balances the critical and classical, empirical and traditional do not seem to be the dominant model in American society, nor an integral part of its popular culture. American institutions of higher learning, which are supposed to be places where the classics are taught, are now the venues that instill radical critical thinking. Therefore, the non-technological departments in colleges there are nothing short of houses of madness. This has led to a pernicious consequence of increasingly polarized critical thinking, turning the U.S. into a very harmful critical society.

In such as overly critical society, it is difficult for people to see the presence of the classics that represent all things positive. Since everything can be criticized, then everything is problematic, where there are flaws everywhere, where everything is imperfect. In an overly critical society, no one is normal, and everyone has a vicious side. If one cannot find shortfalls in a person, then standards will be raised up or lowered down, or new standards are invented, so that everyone becomes the target of criticism. All doubts are noble, and the classics themselves are the best objects of doubt.

The biggest problem with a society like this is that there is no hope, only hate. All that is left is despair. A young man like Payton Gendron is actually just a victim who goes astray in such a society. In an overly critical society, every young adult is in despair.

The U.S. today is already very worrying enough, its future is even more so. With the Internet, disappointment and hatred are ubiquitously amplified. From the country’s power center to its legislature departments, in terms of constructing, developing, and protecting the nation, the professional politicians there contribute less than regular nine-to-five office workers. These politicians expose, create, amplify, and criticize any possible flaws of political opponents without hesitation, in accordance with the modus operandi of professional politicians there. Such amplification and role model effects have made the United States a desperate country.

The world of information is complex, and not everyone possesses the ability to process information objectively, and not everyone should be expected to do so.

In the face of all kinds of information sweeping in, using the “believe it or not” mentality to deal with the survival challenges of the modern information society is a major blunder. The right approach is to recognize and analyze information, but this is too difficult for the average person and requires good training in information analysis. In China, it seems that there is only one think tank that has that kind of training in both critical and empirical information analysis. In this sense, Chinese academia does not always lag behind its counterpart in the United States. As for the U.S., the path of seeking science and technology to solve overly critical problems through specialized information processing is most certainly not going to work. Technology will always be objective, and as it can be used to clarify doubts, it can also certainly be used to create problems.

To bring things to a close, the sole way for the United States to get more people to see the light is for its society to make changes and move out of an overly critical society.

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Are Biden’s Troubles of his Own Making?

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Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

What a fractious world we live in.  The somnambulist Biden has woken up in his nocturnal wanderings to hear complaints about China for its sea incursions close to the littoral areas of allies like Taiwan and Japan.  Thus at the “Quad” (Australia, Japan, US and India) meeting in Tokyo, he reaffirmed US support for Taiwan, militarily if need be, to defend Taiwanese independence in what appeared to be a reversal of policy as earlier the US had recognized it as a province of China.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) an economic union of the Quad and other Asia-Pacific countries has been revived — Trump had buried it earlier, aiming presumably higher but missing.  Mr. Biden announced its reincarnation as the new Inter Pacific Economic Federation (IPEF).

All of which is the least of Mr. Biden’s headaches.  There’s a full blown war in Ukraine to consider.  And he promptly announced a $40.1 bill military aid package for Ukraine.  Defense contractors couldn’t be more pleased.  Lockheed Martin stock is up 6 percent in two days as it ramps up production of the Javelin anti-tank missile, doubling it according to the CEO to supply Ukraine.

Congress has now passed a $40 billion aid package.  The amount is not trivial.  For comparison, India, a country of more than a billion people with the third largest defence budget in the world, spends less than half that sum on weapons procurement.

The real question is going to be Mr. Putin’s response.  He might well call it a move aimed at slaughtering young Russian boys, when he himself is asking for peace talks.  Even President Zelensky, the quintessential blowhard politician, has been forced to admit that 50-100 Ukrainian soldiers are dying daily.

American interference in Ukraine has a long history.  The planning and participation in a coup eight years ago (when Biden was vice president) and the selection of future leaders thereafter are all documented.  On lack of European support for it at the time, Victoria Nuland, the then Deputy Secretary of State for Eurasian Affairs responded famously, “F–k the EU.”  She has the dubious distinction of being the chief promoter of the so-called “soft coup” which led eventually to the fall of the elected Viktor Yanukovych government and thence to the divisions in Ukraine.  The results have been the deaths of an estimated 13,000 people and the displacement of millions.

Since 2014 about one million refugees have left the country as a result of wars in the Donbas.  Another 1.6 million were internally displaced.  Following the latest fighting in 2022, the number of Ukrainians who have left the country has risen by another 6.6 million and another 7.7 million are displaced from their homes to other parts of the country.  That in total is over a quarter of the country’s population of 44 million. 

It is painful, pitiful, atrocious and appalling that in the 21st century, political leaders instead of resolving disputes have behaved in a manner ending in a human tragedy of these proportions.  Let’s just say, none of the participants need queue up for a Nobel Peace Prize, although one had already received it before this and other misadventures. 

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The WW III that Biden and All Other Neocons Are Leading U.S. Toward

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Official White House Photo by Erin Scott

The intensely neoconservative U.S. President Joe Biden is leading the world into a World War III against both Russia and China, but despite the U.S. spending annually around half of the entire planet’s military expenditures (not only in its ‘Defense’ Department but in its Treasury Department and other Government agencies), America is actually inferior to both Russia and China regarding leading-edge geostrategically crucial technologies of both nuclear and laser weapons, and is getting farther behind each year, because for both Russia and China their own national sovereignty is what their enemy, the U.S. Government, aims to conquer, whereas no one poses a threat to the U.S. Government’s continuing rule over its own people (it becomes increasingly a police-state). The U.S. Government is the only and supreme champion of sanctions and coups and invasions for regime-change producing the creation of new vassal-nations throughout the globe, whereas both Russia and China must protect themselves from that or else become themselves new U.S. vassal-nations. So: they are laser-focused on NOT allowing America to grab their nation. Truly, for them, this is an existential issue, NOT a matter (such as is the case regarding the U.S. Government) of growing to become the world’s first and only all-encompassing global empire (a luxury that only America’s billionaires, who control the U.S. Government, require). This basic distinction is the reason why whereas the U.S. has over 800 military bases spread throughout the planet, Russia and China are concerned ONLY about not allowing U.S. forces to be based so near to their borders as to enable a U.S. missile to annihilate their capital’s command-and-control within less than ten minutes and so to enable the U.S. Government to grab control of them so fast that the targeted nation’s (Russia’s and China’s) retaliatory weapons won’t be launched in self-defense.

Consequently, for example, the geostrategically-focused CRUX youtube site headlined on May 23rd “Why The World Fears Putin’s ‘Flying Chernobyl’ Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile”, and reported on Russia’s emerging “Buravestnik” nuclear-powered nuclear-warheaded missile that will be able to avoid all known types of anti-missile detection and tracking technologies and that will be able to fly for any distance because of its nuclear fuel. Though that pro-U.S.-Government, anti-Putin, CRUX-produced video says “Experts have underlined the threat that … this weapon may pose to the environment and human health” due to radioactive waste that’s released into the air during its flight, because there is no space inside the missile to store waste, even America’s National Defense magazine has admitted that “the amount of nuclear waste that this will produce is very tiny, … basically negligible,” which is hardly what CRUX headlines it as being — a “Flying Chernobyl.” CRUX went on to say, “Experts say that Putin’s Cold War mindset has normalised the development of such doomsday weapons.” It’s all regime-change-in-Russia propaganda.

In other words: the neocons’ aim to destroy Russia so fast that Russia won’t be able to destroy America in retaliation, is hogwash that’s probably funded, ultimately, by corporations such as Lockheed Martin, whose sales are exclusively or mainly to the U.S. Government and its allied governments (vassal-nations), which U.S.-and-allied weapons-making firms’ stock-values have soared ever since the end of the Cold War in 1991. It ended only on Russia’s side in 1991, but this supercharged it on America’s side.  This unleashed a solely military-industrial-complex-controlled U.S. Government, which demands an ever-increasing percentage of the U.S. Government’s expenses to go toward its military, which, nonetheless, is privately owned and controlled; and its profits have soared.

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