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Venezuela’s Maduro mocks US criticism of democracy

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Democracy and human rights are the two issues on which USA claims advantages and therefore criticizes the weak or anti-capitalist –imperialist nations and, whenever possible, it attacks to further weaken and destabilize them.

Destabilization of entire world except USA thus is basis of US democracy that USA seeks especially in the Islamic world. It is indeed a perfect anomaly that the super nation which has killed maximum people across the globe during its existence after “discovery” as the closest ally of its English master UK and has also terrorized the humanity, is still talking about democracy, human rights and rule of law.

USA can still talk because it is the super nation effectively controlling entire world, including the nations that oppose US domination. Though these days Washington does not speak much about democracy deficits in other nations as many human rights are denied to American citizens on some flimsy grounds, recently it did criticized democracy of Venezuela in Latin America where, like in West Asia, it does not have many friends or allies. 

Seeking to make the world of global US colonies to help advance military supremacy forever, USA, even after the fall of the mighty Soviet Russia and weakening of non committed China,  still hates socialism and communism, though both themselves have not been able to provide safety, security and prosperity to the common global people.

The atomic bomb is too dangerous to be loose in a lawless world. That is why Great Britain, Canada, and the USA that have the secrets about its production, do not let others make nukes and do not intend to reveal that secret until means have been found to control the bomb so as to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger of total destruction.

The USA, which intervenes in the domestic affairs of any weak or totally independent nation which does not promote US interests in the region, refuses to let them advance their legitimate interests if that does not toe the US line, has a long sordid history of interventionist meddling and regime change in Latin America and around the world, and that is what’s going on in Venezuela.

Maduro wins Venezuela

Venezuela is one the few remaining countries that claim to be socialist but continue to ignore the popular concerns while the super power USA considers them as shame nations without essential human rights. The main concern of Venezuela is to save the nation from the western propaganda manipulative tactics to showcase Socialism as anti-human.

Last week Venezuela’s socialist government won a popular mandate with all seats having been won to dramatically recast the country’s political system against the will and fancies of capitalist USA. Electoral authorities said more than 8 million people voted July 30 to create a constitutional assembly endowing President Nicolas Maduro’s ruling party with virtually unlimited powers, while opposition members and independent analysts put the total number from between 2 to 4 million.

The official result would mean the ruling party won more support than it had in any national election since 2013, despite a crisis ridden economy, spiraling inflation, shortages of medicine and malnutrition. President Nicolás Maduro has suggested the constitution needs to “restore peace” to the country so that measures could be implemented to  improve the living conditions of the people. .

A newly-elected body, consisting mostly of Maduro allies and even his wife, will be given the ability to dissolve state institutions and possibly rewrite the constitution. The people have delivered the constitutional assembly,” Maduro said on national television. “More than 8 million in the middle of threats.  It’s when imperialism challenges us that we prove ourselves worthy of the blood of the liberators that runs through the veins of men, women, children and young people.”

Maduro said he had received congratulations from the governments of Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua, among many others. Maduro and his supporters have dismissed criticism of the assembly as merely the latest in Washington’s attempts to interfere in Venezuela and other Latin American countries.

Maduro promised that the new assembly would quickly “restructure” the office of the chief prosecutor.

Rejection

Maduro called the vote for a constitutional assembly in May after a month of protests against his government, which has overseen Venezuela’s descent into a devastating crisis during its four years in power. Due to plunging oil prices and widespread corruption and mismanagement, Venezuela’s inflation and homicide rates are among the world’s highest, and widespread shortages of food and medicine have citizens dying of preventable illnesses and rooting through trash to feed themselves.

Venezuela is in turmoil following the contentious vote over the weekend which critics say is an attempt by Maduro to consolidate power. More than 120 people have died this year in clashes protesting the Venezuelan president’s rule, including a candidate for the assembly killed in the night of the election.

The opposition, which the USA considers as its own ally against the regime, estimated only 2.5 million ballots were cast. Opposition leaders estimated the real turnout at less than half the government’s claim in a vote watched by government-allied observers but no internationally recognized poll monitors.  Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, the governor of the central state of Miranda, urged Venezuelans to protest against an assembly that critics fear will effectively create a single-party state.

Opposition leaders had earlier called for a boycott of the vote, declaring it rigged for the ruling party. Ahead of the vote, the opposition organized a series of work stoppages as well as a July 16 protest referendum that it said drew more than 7.5 million symbolic votes against the constitutional assembly.  The president of the opposition-led National Assembly, Julio Borges, told Venezuelan news channel Globovision that Maduro’s foes would continue protesting until they won free elections and a change of government. He said Sunday’s vote had given Maduro “less legitimacy, less credibility, less popular support and less ability to govern.”

Opposition decried the vote as a fraud and called on supporters to protest again as of midday.  “The constitutional assembly will not resolve any of the country’s problems, it just means more crisis,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said. “As of tomorrow, a new stage of the struggle begins.”

Several countries refused to recognize the results, while Spain and Canada joined in the condemnation. Latin American nations from Argentina to Mexico, which are historically wary of siding with Washington in hemispheric disputes, sharply condemned the vote.  The EU said the constituent assembly could not be part of the negotiated solution to the country’s crisis, noting it was elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances.

Throughout these past four months of often violent protests in Venezuela, the country’s army has, several times, reaffirmed its “unconditional loyalty” to President Maduro. Despite the incident as well as demonstrations, the situation appears to be calm in the country. Meanwhile a search is under way in Venezuela for 10 men who escaped with weapons after an attack on a military base, according to President Nicolás Maduro.

Protests

Venezuela has been rocked by months of protests against the government of Maduro, who was elected in 2013 following the death of Hugo Chavez, and there have been at least 125 deaths. Opposition leaders call the election a naked power grab meant to keep the Socialist Party in office despite anger over an economic crisis that has spurred malnutrition and left citizens struggling to obtain basic consumer products.

Countries across the Americas, as well as the European Union, denounced the creation of the assembly, which will have the power to rewrite the constitution. The USA – the top market for the OPEC oil – called the vote a sham, and officials in Washington said they were preparing oil-sector sanctions. “A spokesperson for Emperor Donald Trump said that they would not recognize the results of Venezuela’s constituent assembly election,” Maduro told a crowd of cheering supporters following the completion of the vote. “Why the hell should we care what Trump says?” he added. “We care about what the sovereign people of Venezuela say.”

Opposition leaders call the election a naked power grab meant to keep the Socialist Party in office despite anger over an economic crisis that has spurred malnutrition and left citizens struggling to obtain basic consumer products. Opposition leaders decried the vote as a fraud and called on supporters to protest again as of midday.  “The constitutional assembly will not resolve any of the country’s problems, it just means more crisis,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said. “As of tomorrow, a new stage of the struggle begins.”

Meanwhile, the Vatican has urged Venezuela’s president not to proceed with a controversial new assembly that his critics say would give him unprecedented power. In a statement issued on the day  Maduro was set to install the new assembly – a vote for which last week was boycotted by the opposition parties and denounced as “rigged – the Vatican called on “all political actors, and in particular the government, to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the existing constitution”. “The Holy See appeals firmly to all of society to avoid all forms of violence and invites, in particular, the security forces to refrain from excessive and disproportionate use of force,” it said. The statement also it urged the government of Maduro “to prevent or suspend ongoing initiatives such as the new Constituent Assembly which, instead of fostering reconciliation and peace, foment a climate of tension”.

At least 10 people were killed in protests against the unpopular Maduro, who insists the new body known as the constituent assembly will bring peace after four months of protests that have killed more than 120 people. Countries across the Americas, as well as the European Union, denounced the creation of the assembly, which will have the power to rewrite the constitution.

Maduro has also said he would use the assembly’s powers to bar opposition candidates from running in gubernatorial elections in December unless they sit with his party to negotiate an end to hostilities that have generated four months of protests that have killed at least 125 and wounded nearly 2,000. Maduro says a new constitution is the only way to end such conflicts.

US agenda

USA has a major agenda globally – to ferment troubles in every region by suing the opposition parties. It obstructs peaceful environment everywhere and invades energy rich Arab nations, among others, maintain military superiority. It uses  major powers even in Mideast to its own advantage and help sustain the tensions in every region.

As the super power, the USA has a vast nuclear arsenal capable of blowing up the planet several times. The World commemorates the 72nd anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6, 9, 1945)- the worst  human tragedy ever inflicted upon the people of Japan by the corporatist American regime. .

Fishing in the troubled regional waters has been the key foreign policy parameter of USA and every president- white or black- dutifully pursued imperialist policies by promoting global capitalism. . .

USA badly wants a regime change in Venezuela in order to make entire Latin America pro-American. Opinion polls highly influenced by outside forces showed 85 percent of Venezuelans disapproved of the constitutional assembly and similar numbers disapprove of Maduro’s overall performance.

Maduro said the opposition had been backed by anti-government leaders based in the USA and Colombia. Maduro has threatened that one of the constitutional assembly’s first acts would be jailing opposition leader Freddy Guevara inciting violence.

The USA quickly pledged potentially devastating oil sanctions and condemnations of the process poured in from governments around the capitalist world and the opposition at home. Many capitalist countries, among them the USA, the UK, and Mexico, have denounced the move by Maduro, claiming it is a move to seize additional power for his party at a time when his approval rating stands at just 20 per cent. The USA has issued sanctions against Maduro and 13 of his close advisors and threatened more.

The European Union and nations including Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, Britain and the USA criticized Sunday’s vote. The Trump government promised “strong and swift actions” against Venezuelan officials, including the 545 participants in the constitutional assembly, many of them low-ranking party members.

Crippling sanctions are indeed economic terrorism being imposed by USA and its powerful western allies on weak nations that do not subscribe to US agenda. After Iran and North Korea now USA and its cohorts seek to impose sanctions on Venezuela with which it has problems.

Politicians throughout the Americas, as well as leaders from the UN, expressed concern with the decision and demanded its reversal, though the Venezuelan government justified its decision as a reaction to “coup-like actions” allegedly performed by the opposition. On 1 April 2017, the TSJ reversed its decision, thereby reinstating the powers of the National Assembly.

Under pressure from USA, Latin American nations from Argentina to Mexico, which are historically wary of siding with Washington in hemispheric disputes, sharply condemned the vote. Several refused to recognize the results, while Spain and Canada joined in the condemnation. The EU said the constituent assembly could not be part of the negotiated solution to the country’s crisis, noting it was elected under doubtful and often violent circumstances. ‘Nobody can escape the food shortages and spiraling inflation faced by millions every day’.

Perspective and Problems

Like Turkey, Venezuela is also facing troubles from outside especially USA that uses the opposition to advance its capitalist and anti-national objectives.

The people of Venezuela are struggling with food shortages, economic hardship and an inflation rate of around 600 per cent. If the US goes ahead with its threat to sanction the oil industry – Washington currently purchases 700,000 barrels a day from Venezuela – the situation would likely worsen considerably. Many supporters of Chavez appear to have lost faith in Maduro, yet reports suggest most of them are still supporting him in fear of what might follow him. The conservative opposition parties in Venezuela have long had ties to Washington, and some of their leaders were involved in a 2002 coup that briefly unseated Chavez.

America believes economic terrorism in the form of sanctions would weaken the Venezuela and make people fight against the regime.

The US sanctions are planned to cripple the economy of Venezuela, make the life of common pepole miserable so that they oppose the elected government.  In a strike at Venezuela’s already flailing economy, the Trump government is preparing to levy new sanctions on Venezuela, following through on threats to impose penalties if the country went through with the weekend election. The new sanctions could be imposed and will likely target Venezuela’s oil sector, including possibly its state owned petroleum company. One official said an announcement was imminent. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Many experts believe the US has been seeking a change of government in Caracas since Chavez was elected in 2002. During  past years, Venezuela has been facing serious crisis alongside protest era.

Following the death of President Hugo Chávez, Venezuela faced a severe socioeconomic crisis during the presidency of his successor, Nicolás Maduro, as a result of their policies. Due to the country’s high levels of urban violence, inflation, and chronic shortages of basic goods attributed to economic policies such as strict price controls, civil insurrection in Venezuela culminated in the 2014–17 protests. Protests occurred over the years, with demonstrations occurring in various intensities.

The discontent with the Bolivarian government saw the opposition being elected to hold the majority in the National Assembly for the first time since 1999 following the 2015 parliamentary election. As a result of that election, the lame duck National Assembly consisting of Bolivarian officials filled the TSJ with allies. Into early 2016, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (TSJ) of Venezuela alleged that voting irregularities occurred in the 2015 parliamentary elections and stripped four lawmakers of their seats, preventing an opposition super-majority in the National Assembly which would be able to challenge President Maduro. The TSJ court then began to approve of multiple actions performed by Maduro and granted him more powers.

After facing years of crisis, the Venezuelan opposition pursued a recall referendum against President Maduro, presenting a petition to the National Electoral Council (CNE) on 2 May 2016. The opposition organized an unofficial referendum over Maduro’s plan earlier in July, when more than 7 million voters overwhelmingly rejected his constituent assembly and voted in favor of early elections. On 21 October 2016, the CNE suspended the referendum only days before preliminary signature-gatherings were to be held. The CNE blamed alleged voter fraud as the reason for the cancellation of the referendum. Western observers criticized the move, stating that CNE’s decision made Maduro look as if he were seeking to rule as a dictator.

Days after the recall movement was cancelled, 1.2 million Venezuelans protested throughout the country against the move, demanding President Maduro to leave office, with Caracas protests remaining calm while protests in other states resulted in clashes between demonstrators and authorities, leaving one policeman dead, 120 injured and 147 arrested. That day the opposition gave President Maduro a deadline of 3 November 2016 to hold elections, with opposition leader Henrique Capriles.

Days later, then National Assembly President and opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup announced the cancellation of 3 November march to the Miraflores presidential palace, with Vatican-led dialogue between the opposition and the government beginning. By 7 December 2016, dialogue halted between the two and two months later on 13 January 2017 after talks stalled, the Vatican officially pulled out of the dialogue. Further protests were much smaller due to the fear of repression, with the opposition organizing surprise protests instead of organized mass marches.

Actions by President Maduro and his Bolivarian officials included a 7 February 2017 meeting which announced the creation of the Great Socialist Justice Mission which had the goal of establishing “a great alliance between the three powers, the judiciary, the citizen and the executive”, with Maduro stating that “we have been fortunate to see how the judicial power has been growing and perfecting, carrying a doctrine so complete with the constitution of 1999” while stating that the opposition-led National Assembly “took power not for the majority not for the people but for themselves”.

On 29 March 2017, the TSJ took over legislative powers of the National Assembly. The Tribunal, mainly supporters of President Nicolás Maduro, also restricted the immunity granted to the Assembly’s members, who mostly belonged to the opposition. The dissolution of assembly was termed as a “coup” by the opposition while the Organization of American States (OAS) termed the action a “self-coup”. The decision was condemned by some media outlets, characterizing the move as a turn towards authoritarianism and one-man rule.

Observation

USA is eager to unseat President Nicolás Maduro. American worry is compounded by a communist model poll in Venezuela as allies of the Socialist Party won all 545 seats in the new assembly, which will also have the power to dissolve state institutions such as the opposition-run Congress and sack dissident state officials.

The electoral council’s vote counts in the past have been seen as reliable and generally accurate, but the widely mocked announcement appeared certain to escalate the polarization and political conflict paralyzing the country.  

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro celebrated the election of a new legislative superbody that is expected to give the ruling Socialist Party sweeping powers and mocked US criticism that the vote was an affront to democracy. Venezuela’s socialist government says a national election has given it a popular mandate to dramatically recast the country’s political system even as condemnations of the process have poured in from nations abroad and the opponents at home.

The 545-seat constituent assembly will have the task of rewriting the country’s constitution and will have powers above and beyond other state institutions, including the opposition-controlled congress.

On Friday, the new 545-member assembly was formally opened. Maduro promised that the new assembly would quickly “restructure” the office of the chief prosecutor.   The assembly unanimously elected well-known Socialist Party leaders to its leadership, with former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez to serve as the president and former Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz as First Vice President. The constituent assembly would hold sessions in the same legislative palace as the existing congress, which the opposition took over in a landslide 2015 victory. 

Calling itself “The Binary Guardians”, a hacking group has attacked Venezuelan government websites in an operation targeting the “dictatorship” of President Nicolás Maduro. The group posted messages appearing to support the actions of a group of armed men who attacked a military base in the central city of Valencia on Sunday.

Meanwhile, supporters of President Maduro marched in the capital Caracas. They called for an end to months of opposition protests and unrest.

Interestingly, Americans, while criticizing polls in countries like Russia, China, Venezuela, are unable to control their own presidential poll.  Americans blame Russia for interference in US presidential poll that demolished the hopes of Democratic Party’s Madam Clinton just like the besieged Palestinians and their children have real hopes of a future under the continued attacks and genocides by Israel which keeps the occupational crimes and control mechanism to squeeze the youth of Palestine.

Maduro made it clear in a televised address that he intends to use the assembly not just to rewrite the country’s charter but to govern without limitation. Describing the vote as “the election of a power that’s above and beyond every other,” Maduro said he wants the assembly to strip opposition lawmakers and governors of constitutional immunity from prosecution — one of the few remaining checks on ruling party power. Declaring the opposition “already has its prison cell waiting,” Maduro added: “All the criminals will go to prison for the crimes they’ve committed.”

Any country, and particularly any socialist governed country, that nationalizes their oil industries (or any other US corporate interests, i.e., United Fruit Company in Guatemala and Honduras) become targets for regime change by the USA by using the opposition parties. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Venezuela, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan et al are living examples. The methods begin with economic warfare, destabilizing their economies via sanctions and withholding of investments and loans, denial of access to markets and imposition of punitive tariffs. When the people feel the economic pain they blame the government and this is exacerbated by covert CIA teams and CIA fronts like National Endowment for Democracy (see Ukraine) who infiltrate and organize, fund and foment “democratic” opposition.  USA achieves total destabilization thanks to Neocon plans.

It is unfortunate that any independent nation must also obey the “democratic” US dictates in order to survive in the comity of nations. Any refusal to dance according to the CIA-Pentagon muse should be ready for a terror attacks.

Who can tie the ball around US neck?

Only in fairy tales a super hero emerges to save the weak ones from monsters.

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Americas

Gallup: Americans Tend to Trust Only News That Confirms Their Beliefs

Eric Zuesse

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On September 11th, Gallup headlined “Bias in Others’ News a Greater Concern Than Bias in Own News”, and reported (based upon polling a randomized sample of 20,046 American adults) that:

69% of Americans say they are more concerned about bias in the news other people consume than its presence in their own news (29%).” In other words: 69/29, or 2.38 times, as many Americans are closed-minded (prejudiced) regarding information-sources which don’t fit their ideology, than are not. Overwhelmingly in America, only Democratic Party information-sources are trusted by Democrats, and only Republican information-sources are trusted by Republicans. Each side distrusts the other’s information-sources. Gallup’s news-report aptly noted the important fact that “This plays into the political polarization in the U.S. national discourse.” The more prejudiced a population are, the more polarized it will be. Of course, one would expect this to be the case, but Gallup has now found striking new empirical evidence for it — that the public’s closed-mindedness is greatly increasing America’s political polarization. Each side is craving propaganda instead of truth, but each side’s voters want only the type of propaganda that is funded by the billionaires who also fund that side’s politicians and control that side’s ‘news’ media. Consequently, American politics is controlled by the conflict between liberal billionaires versus conservative billionaires — totally controlled by billionaires (instead of by the public). There is the liberal herd, and the conservative herd, but they’re both herds — not by the public in an actual democracy. And each of these two herds is controlled by its shepherd, who are its billionaires. (Here is how that’s done.) Billionaires control each Party and thereby control the Government. This is why the Government ignores the preferences of America’s public. As will be shown here, the September 11th Gallup findings help to explain how and why that results.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans can become exposed to the other side’s evidence and arguments unless they see those — the other side’s evidence and arguments, both for its own case and against the opposite side’s case (i.e., against the case that oneself believes). Not to see the opposite side’s viewpoint is to be blind to it, and thus to become locked into whatever oneself believes. This 69/29 is like a jury’s rendering its verdict and nearly three quarters of the jurors having not listened to — and thus not considered — the opposite side’s presentations. That’s a frightening situation to exist in any court of law, and it is an equally frightening situation to exist in any nation’s electorate.

As a consequence of Americans’ strong tendency to be closed-minded, America’s politics are, to a very large extent, driven more by prejudices than by the realities that the public are actually facing. Individuals are seeking for sources that will likeliest confirm what they already believe, and are seeking to avoid sources that are the likeliest to disconfirm their beliefs. This is consequently a population that’s highly vulnerable to being manipulated, by playing up to, and amplifying, the given Party’s propaganda, to which the given individual already subscribes. Republican Party billionaires (by their use of their conservative newsmedia and think tanks, etc., which they control) can easily manipulate Republican Party voters, and Democratic Party billionaires can, likewise, easily manipulate Democratic Party voters, by their liberal media, think tanks, etc. That’s billionaires, on each of the two sides, guiding each of the two Parties’ voters; and, therefore, the nation is an aristocracy — a country which is controlled by its wealthiest fewinstead of an authentic democracy (which is controlled not by the numbers of dollars, but actually by the numbers of residents, each one of whom is independently and open-mindedly seeking for credibly documented facts).  An aristocracy rules any such land. The public are not the rulers in such a nation. It’s not a democracy; it is a collective dictatorship, by its billionaires (its aristocracy). Both of the two Parties’ voters vote in accord with their billionaires’ agenda, but especially in accord with whatever is on the agenda that’s shared by both liberal and conservative billionaires — billionaires fund both of the national Parties: Democrats and Republicans, and thereby control both Parties. Billionaires, in each Party, have their very golden, very heavy, thumbs, pressing down hard upon the scale of any such ‘democracy’, such that regardless of which group of billionaires ends up winning any ultimate election, the public inevitably will lose, because it’s really just a contest between billionaires, who are stage-managing the nation’s entire political proceedings. This is like two boxers fighting in a ring, in which the selection-process which placed them there was corrupt; and, so, even if the ultimate winner is not equally corruptly pre-determined, the final result has nonetheless already been rigged (during the primaries). When the contenders have been selected by a corrupt process, the ultimate outcome cannot be a democracy.

This happens not only regarding elections, but regarding particular issues. For example, in 2002 and 2003, “regime-change in Iraq,” and “Saddam’s WMD,” were just as much agendas of liberal billionaires’ media and think tanks as they were of conservative billionaires’ media and think tanks (and were thoroughly based on lies); so, a closed-minded public were actually trapped, into the lies that were agreed-upon by both sides of the domestic American political spectrum — the sides that are funded and controlled by the liberal billionaires, and by the conservative billionaires. The nearly $2 trillion cost of the invasion and military occupation of that country, and the consequent destruction of that country, were done for America’s billionaires, and produced nothing for the American people except that enormous public debt and those injuries and deaths to America’s soldiers and to Iraqis. And that’s typical, nowadays, in this (just as in any) aristocracy: the aristocracy are served; the nation’s public serve to them. (In the U.S., this has caused “U.S. Satisfaction at 13%, Lowest in Nine Years”, as Gallup headlined on 4 August 2020; and it has caused Americas’ satisfaction with their Government to have ranged from its all-time low of only 7% in 2008, to its all-time high of only 45% at the very start of 2020 — well below 50%, for as long as Gallup has surveyed this.)

What all of the billionaires want is what the American public get as their Government. It’s bipartisanship amongst its billionaires. That’s what produces this Government’s policies. It’s what determines the Government that Americans get. However, what is basic in making it a dictatorship of the aristocracy-type (such as this America is) is that the population is very prejudiced, not open-minded — not each individual constantly seeking solid evidence to change one’s mind about how society works (what the reality in the nation actually is), so as for one’s view to become increasingly accurate over time. Instead, one’s myths are constantly being fed. Such a public, as this, are not individuals, in a democracy, but more like mobs, very manipulable

Often, America’s bipartisan views are based upon lies that virtually all billionaires want the public to believe. In such cases — and these instances are frequent — the truth is being simply ignored, or else outright denied, by both sides (and by the media, for both sides). Individuals’ prejudices are thus being increased, instead of reduced, by what the public see and hear in “the news.” Everyone has prejudices, and truth can predominate only if people are constantly skeptical of the sources that they are relying upon — constantly trying to root out and replace whatever false beliefs they have. This is the essence of scientific method. Democracy depends upon it. Aristocracy requires the opposite. America has the opposite.

Change away from this present situation, to a democracy, would be difficult. On both of America’s political sides, there needs to be far less trust of the Establishment (including its politicians, its media, its think tanks, etc.), in order for any real democracy to become able to exist. It’s not even able to exist now. And, therefore, it does not exist.

But what is even more depressing is that America’s educational system, most especially its colleges and universities, are encouraging, instead of discouraging, this situation, this closed-mindedness. The more educated an American is, the more closed-minded that person becomes — as is further shown in this same September 11th Gallup news-report:

Whereas 52% of Americans with a high school education or less are more concerned about bias in others’ news than in their own [and 45% of that minimally educated group think that the news which they are reading might be biased], the figure is 64% among those with some college education and is even higher among college graduates (73%) and those with postgraduate education (77%) [and only 22% of that maximally educated group think that the news which they are reading might be biased].” The most-educated Americans are the most-manipulable (the most closed-minded) Americans.

No finding in this Gallup report was as extreme as the finding that the more highly educated an American is, the less open that person is likely to be to changing his or her mind (outlook) about the situation. In other words: the more educated an American is, the more closed-minded that person tends to become. Higher education in America increases, instead of decreases, an individual’s closed-mindedness. However, other contrasts which were almost as extreme are:

“Those who identify as liberal (80%) are more concerned than conservatives (68%) and moderates (65%) with other people’s media bias. In other words: liberals are 80/65 or 1.23 times as closed-minded as are moderates, and are 80/68 or 1.18 times as closed-minded as conservatives are.

“While 58% of Black adults are more concerned about bias in others’ news than in their own, fully 73% of Asian Americans and 72% of White adults say the same.” Thus, African-Americans are 58/72.5 or 80% as closed-minded as are Euro-Americans and Asian-Americans.

This is the worst combination possible: it’s a closed-minded population, which is especially closed-minded amongst its most educated segment. The leading segment is also the most closed-minded segment. These are crucial agents of the billionaires, and they crucially inculcate into the next generation of Americans the aristocracy’s values.

This means that the leaders keep themselves, conceptually, inside a cocoon. They have minimal contact with the most vulnerable members of the society, which is the less-educated members. That enhances inequality of opportunity, throughout the society. Since the most-highly-educated Americans are the group that are the most-closed to opinions which are contrary to their own, it’s easy for the most-highly-educated Americans to view individuals who disagree with those persons’ views as being simply a “basket of deplorables.” Their disagreement then becomes their contempt. ‘Facts’ about politics are — for those persons, highly educated persons — more derived from their values and priorities, than their values and priorities are derived from the political facts. Scientific epistemology is being turned upside-down, regarding political issues, in such a country. Overwhelmingly, some sort of faith, instead of any sort of science, determines what individuals in such a country believe about politics. In every aristocracy, this is the way that both conservative and liberal persons view any persons in the general public who oppose themselves: they’re viewed as being a “basket of deplorables.” It’s the very essence of elitism — on both sides. (For prominent examples of this: both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had contempt for each-others’ voters — blotted them out.) 

The leadership’s minimal contact with the public makes exceedingly unlikely the leadership’s compassion, concern about the sufferings that they, themselves, are causing down below. Actually, though every aristocracy claims to want to improve conditions for their public, the reality is that whenever doing that would entail their own losing power, that claim becomes exposed to be sheer hypocrisy — a lie; often a self-deception, and not merely a deception against the public. Deceiving themselves about their own decency is easy, because they have minimal contact with the most vulnerable members of the society, the very people whom they claim to care the most about (and to be working in politics to help). Fakery is built into each and every aristocracy. Americans’ strong tendency to be closed-minded causes the aristocratic con to be widely accepted as if it were instead truth. (Again: the “WMD in Iraq” con was a good example of this — the aristocracy’s media just blocked-out the reality.) Scientific studies have even demonstrated that the wealthier a person is, the less compassion the individual tends to have for people who are suffering.

Furthermore, since the less-educated persons aspire to be more-educated, they are — even without knowing it — aspiring to become less open to contrary views, instead of to become more open to such views. One bad consequence of this is: it strangulates imaginativeness, openness, and creativity, in favor of being rote, rigid, and bureaucratic. Another bad consequence of it is that the authority-figures, in such a society, are, in some important ways, actually inferior to the rest of the population. Moreover, America’s colleges and universities are not increasing their students’ open-mindedness (as they should) but the exact opposite — they are reducing their students’ open-mindedness. Even if professors are teaching some truths, the professors are training their students to be authoritarian, instead of to be open to a more truthful, comprehensive, and deeper understanding, which encompasses those truths, but also many more — which the majority of professors either ignore or else deny, because such deeper understanding violates the existing Scripture, or standard viewpoint (shaped by both sides’ billionaires). At least in the United States, this is now the normal situation. That Gallup poll showed it not merely weakly, nor even only moderately, but extremely.

This is a perverse situation, which bodes ill for the future of the entire nation. Any country which is like this is not only an aristocracy instead of a democracy, but it is greatly disadvantaged, going forward. It will be disadvantaged both in the arts and in the sciences. Its future will be stultifying, instead of dynamic. Aristocracies tend to be this way. Also, because it will remain highly polarized, its internal ideological frictions will waste a large proportion of the nation’s efforts. As a nation, its forward-motion, its progress, will thus largely be crippled, by its internal discord and distrust, between the two warring factions of its aristocracy — and friction between the respective followers on each side. 

This describes a declining culture — a nation that is in decline.

That’s what this poll-report, from Gallup, indicates, as clearly as any poll-findings can.

It indicates a nation in decline.

During the Presidential primaries in the Democratic Party, a major point of difference between the two major candidates, Joe Biden versus Bernie Sanders, was whether billionaires are bad for the country: Biden said no; Sanders said yes. (This was a major reason why the billionaires made sure that Sanders would lose.) In any country where wealth-inequality is so extreme, there can be no authentic democracy. America’s extreme inequality of wealth makes democracy impossible in this country. America’s other problems follow from that. In reality, it’s a one-party state, and that party is controlled not actually by the counts of voters, but by the counts of dollars. It is an aristocracy; and its decline — to what has been documented here — follows from that fact. Whatever democracy America might once have had is gone now. It has become replaced by a land of mass-deceptions, which are bought and sold.

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

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Americas

What is the pocket pinch to stay at the White House?

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If you’re thinking about running to be leader, get ready to pony up more than half a billion dollars, judging from the last two campaign cycles and current fundraising trends.

Presidential elections are an expensive venture. At first glance, it may not appear that standing on a stage telling people why they should vote for you would be costly. However, the costs associated with getting a candidate’s name out there nationwide for all to become familiar with can be quite expensive.

It’s very difficult to track campaign expenditures across time. Changes in the numbers might be due to different campaign finance disclosure requirements. For example, thanks to the Citizens United decision in 2010, politicians can rely on outside groups called Super PACs to run advertisements, even if they technically aren’t supposed to “coordinate” with each other. Campaign operations have also changed significantly over the last few decades, evolving from a focus exclusively on TV and radio to robust online advertisements. Even when adjusted for inflation the amount of money it takes to become President has increased more than 250-fold from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump. Super PACs have no limit on contributions. Corporations, labour unions, and other organizations may contribute as much as they want.

The catch is that a Super PAC must be independent and cannot contribute directly to a candidate and must disclose their donors (although by funnelling through a non-profit organization, disclosure rules can often be avoided or obfuscated). Super PACs can run ads supporting preferred candidates or bashing their opponents — they are just not able to coordinate with the candidate’s campaign or have a direct connection.

The amount of funds raised from corporations and other groups outside traditional campaign committees increased with the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which, along with other legal developments, loosened laws around election fundraising and spending. In addition, it seems campaigns are feeling more pressure, with each subsequent funding cycle, to raise more and outside groups are getting better at raising money.

These loopholes allow candidates to raise money through Super PACs they support and remain separate enough to stay within the law. Jeb Bush delayed his campaign specifically to raise as much money as possible directly through Super PACs. You are not violating any laws if you have not declared as a Presidential candidate yet.

To win the 2004 election, George W. Bush spent $345 million, which was the most expensive campaign in history at the time. The record didn’t last long: In 2008, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, the total amount of money spent by and for Barack Obama came in at $730 million, far surpassing Republican nominee John McCain, who spent a mere $333 million—and more than double Bush’s outlay.

Usually, the candidate who spends the most money wins. However, that did not prove true during the 2016 elections, when the runner-up, Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton, spent $768 million, nearly twice as much as the eventual winner, Republican candidate Donald Trump, who spent $450 million. Many also noted that the figure could have been even higher had Trump not used free media coverage.

But fundraising in the 2020 presidential race is outpacing that of the last two campaigns. Bernie Sanders with about $74 million, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with about $60 million and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, with $51 million, based on Federal Election Commission data posted on Oct. 16. Despite polls showing former Vice President Joe Biden as the front-runner, his fundraising lagged at about $37 million.

Since Trump is planning to run for re-election in 2020, he chose not to terminate his campaign committee. He has targeted $1 billion as the total he would like to raise for his campaign.  The Trump campaign said it raised $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, bringing the campaign’s cash on hand to $40.8 million.

It’s worth wondering if these numbers are anything to worry about. Is a billion dollars that much money when it comes to deciding who should be President? To keep things in perspective, Americans spent over $1.8B on peanut butter in 2017 alone. Picking a President seems much more serious and rather inexpensive by comparison, even if Trump decides to advertise during the Super bowl.

To address the original question: you can spend as much as you want in running for President, but if you want to win, the ante is somewhere around $500 million, and it may actually top $1 billion per major party candidate this year. Yes, it seems outrageous, but keep things in economic perspective. We spent almost $600 million on snacks during the last Super Bowl. Surely, a Presidential election is more important than halftime guacamole.

So, if you’re planning to make a run for the White House, you’ll want to start saving your money now!

Note: All information collected from the data in Investopedia website

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Americas

Presidential Evil And American Good: Can They Coexist?

Prof. Louis René Beres

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Niccolò Machiavelli

If men or nations do evil in a good cause; if they cover themselves with guilt in order to fulfill some high responsibility; or if they sacrifice some high value for the sake of a higher or equal one they make a tragic choice.-Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History

When Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr posited the tragic choice of evil for the sake of good – a choice inherent in both the “human condition” and the anarchic state of nations – he was not focused on differences within a specific national government. Today, however, in the dissembling United States, a similarly tragic choice confronts America’s citizens in particular. Here the apparent choice is bold and straightforward:

               Shall Americans support an evil president in the greater interest of some wider political good?

               Though plausible in principle, no such dilemma actually exists. In  current US political circumstances, there is no supportable argument that Donald Trump’s disjointed and seat-of-the-pants policies, either foreign or domestic, can bestow any verifiable net benefits. To the main point, by allowing a willfully corrosive president to act in its name, the United States has defiled American national interests and  global human interests simultaneously.

               Apropos of proper logic, one presumptive conclusion is unambiguous: There is notragic” choice involved here (the choice identified above by Realpolitiker[1] Reinhold Niebuhr),  just an obvious and overriding imperative to rid both nation and planet of Trump-era toxicity. Prima facie, in this case at least, presidential evil and American good are mutually exclusive.

               There is more. With each passing day, weary Americans must face several stark and ironic contradictions. At an historical  moment when uplifting numbers of good people are making great personal sacrifices to help others (e.g., medical communities working against Covid19;  firefighters in the west; hurricane search-and-rescue personnel in the south, etc.), a US president acts wittingly to undermine his own country’s safety and security. This behavior includes a continuously incomprehensible stance of support for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president who it would appear can wish no harms upon the United States.[2]

               While according to any reasonable criteria of intellectual assessment these cumulative Trump behaviors are injurious and inexcusable,[3] millions of US citizens still maintain that his plainly deranged presidency represents a calculable “net positive.”

               What does this really mean? By definition, even now, these Trump-supporting Americans believe that manifest presidential evil can be compatible with national welfare and national progress. Somehow, in this case, they believe that such once-unimaginable evil can also be good. Credo quia absurdum, said the ancient philosophers, “I believe because it is absurd.”

               How can all this be helpfullyexplained? Conceptually, it would be best to begin at the beginning. The contradiction we are so painfully witnessing with this stumbling White House administration is not uniquely American. Already, back in the sixteenth-century, philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli observed famously,  “A man who wishes to  make a profession of goodness in everything must necessarily come to grief among so many who are not good.”

               Machiavelli need not always be clarifying or relevant. There is nothing here to suggest that this classic argument from The Prince would in any way support Donald J. Trump’s foreign and/or domestic policies. This president’s particular descents into wrongdoing and dereliction are not an expression of any gainful policy “realism.” Rather, they are singularly lamentable expressions of wantonly gratuitous harms.

               In an unsteady age when the risks of a nuclear war[4] could coincide with expanding biological destructions – that is, with the devastating microbial assaults of a Corona-Virus “plague”[5] – such harms can have no conceivable justifications.

               None at all.

               There is more. Context is important. All humans, wherever they may live, must bear persistent witness to the distressingly thin veneers of  “civilization.” Recalling William Golding’s marooned boys in Lord of the Flies, we must repeatedly discover, beneath any delicate varnish of supposed coexistence, a lascivious human inclination to brutalize  certain “others.”

               However informally it may be calculated, this primal inclination is “normally” judged agreeable and cost-effective.

                Science and technology notwithstanding, empathy and compassion remain in calculably short supply on planet earth. Accordingly, substantial fractions of humankind remain slouched in a perpetually bruising darkness, hoping not to create promising new forms of human civilization, but to “better” inflict myriad varieties of unspeakable slaughter. During the debilitating “Trump Years,” years of steadily-expanding presidential evil, the United States has made an egregious choice.

               Knowingly, it has placed itself directly within such nefariously cascading “darkness.”

               As “analysts,” Americans should now be more policy-specific. In Donald Trump’s United States, there is always some blatantly self-serving presidential explanation for human rights abuse. To wit, we are instructed, the latest victims are despicable, “illegal” or, in some ways at least, not fully human. Always, they are “others,”  mere others. And as we are repeatedly informed by the president’s reliably obsequious minions, this particular victim population is not at all like us. It is deserving of necessary “punishment.”

               Credo quia absurdum.  “I believe because it is absurd.” It is a very old story. The struggle between “Us and Them” is very plainly generic, not US-specific. If we are “good,” they are not. Period. Such grimly bifurcated reasoning is especially perverse and ironic today, during a pandemic crisis when the common biological “oneness” of the human species couldn’t possibly be more obvious

               In high tragedy, as originally performed back in fifth-century BC Athens, humans were routinely presented as inherently flawed guests in a divinely-created universe. This ancient presentation, though presently “modified” with assorted  regional and religious nuances, remains difficult to dispute. After all, following even a “small” nuclear war –  a plausible event, at least in the currently downward trajectory of world affairs – cemeteries the size of whole cities could be needed to bury the uncountable dead.

               Then, recalling the pre-nuclear imagery of poet T S Eliot, there could be no “lilacs breeding out of the dead land.” Then, there would be no discernible “good,” only variously decaying bearers of “evil.”

               Promptly, in far-flung parts of the world, both within and between individual nation-states, a “waste land” could become the new normal. Such “normalcy,” one substantially worse than even the new-normal of Covid19 life on earth, ought never become an intentionally sought-after expectation. For rational thinkers, this point hardly requires any present-moment clarifications.

               No sane person can be in favor of necropolis.

               “Art is a lie,” noted Pablo Picasso, “that lets us see the truth.” In this paradoxical description, theatrical tragedy can remind us that earthly spheres of order, justice and good remain severely compromised  by evil, and that  no amount of technology or science can ever compensate for our species’ multiple leadership transgressions. If, as in high tragedy, we humans should sometimes be punished in apparent excess of our specifically personal wrongdoings –  “Whom God wishes to destroy,”  warned the Greek tragedian, Euripides, “He first makes mad.” –  even this “unfair” fate could not declare us to be “innocent.”

               Not reasonably.

               There is more. Always, it is the gripping silence and self-inflicted fears of ordinary people that sustain the human world’s abundant madness. Often, these primal fears center on certain irrepressible expectations of personal death. But sometimes they can also rest on various corollary anxieties about personal exclusion. More than anything else, and for several markedly different yet intersecting reasons, we humans continue to seek the comfortingly calming warmth of  “mass.”

               It is the “mass man.” an elucidating and derivative construct of Spanish existentialist philosopher Jose Ortega y’Gasset (The Revolt of the Masses,1930) who created US President Donald J. Trump. Stated differently, this American president, who promises to “Make America Great Again” is the openly evil product of American “mass.”[6] By itself, this collective does not intend to create evil, but intent is not at all determinative.

               It is quite enough that the mass prefers baseless opinion to documented fact and a willful anti-Reason to proper learning or tangible science.

               There is more. As a species, not just as Americans, there exists no compelling or defensible reason for us to fawn upon myriad past mistakes. Now, instead, with a view to achieving some still-plausible and verifiable progress, Americans must look back courageously. “How much treasure,” they must finally inquire, “how much science, how much labor and planning, how many vast oceans of sacred poetry, have we already ransacked, just to render our disparate human civilizations even more miserable and more imperiled?”

               I don’t know each pertinent answer. I do know, however, that our shallow and corrupted civilizational institutions, including America’s humiliating presidential elections, can never save us. This nation’s most revered universities,  perched deliberately above the distressingly mundane clamor of work, politics and family, remain unmindful of the world’s most urgently important intellectual questions.

               Thoroughly unmindful.

               Unassailably, though painfully indelicate to acknowledge, higher education in the  expansively deranged Trump-Era proceeds hand in hand with a ubiquitously crude and predatory commerce. In partial consequence, our colleges and universities shamelessly crush most residual reflexes of lingering student intellect or individuality. This crushing is not undertaken with any insidious intent – and the challenges to academic success during a pandemic are anything but minor –  but the US posture of anti-Reason is nonetheless destructive. Sorely destructive.

               In today’s Trump-defiled United States, American Transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson’s once venerable goal of a people that is “plain living and high thinking” is more than just forgotten. This once-lofty objective presently now lies very far beyond any identifiable popular interest or hint of public imagination. Why not? Living together with unhidden presidential evil, what else should we expect?

                The American university, a dutifully obliging adjunct of the wider corporate/political universe, now lies distant not only from human learning, but also from human survival. French philosophers of the eighteenth-century Age of  Reason had preferred to speak optimistically of a siècle des lumieres, a “century of light,” but today, the ivy-covered walls are inestimably fouled by a congealing darkness, by a suffocating pall of excruciating conformance, vulgar self-interest and even a peculiarly-fashionable loathing of anything detached from money.

               There is a professionally favored euphemism here. It’s called “wealth maximization.” The language provides cover for a nation’s abject indifference to serious learning.

               None of this devaluation was initially created by the Trump “ascendancy,”[7] but it has been strongly reaffirmed in absolutely every respect by a starkly unworthy American president.[8]

               As an easily verifiable matter of human history, resisting evil has had little to do with human intelligence. More often than we may care to admit, such intelligence is conveniently manipulated to justify or enlarge certain “others'” most excruciating forms of  human suffering. Indeed, looking over the still-mounting wreckage of Donald Trump’s presidency in the United States, we see the palpably grim results of such manipulation,  both domestically and in various other countries harmed by the dissembling American foreign policies.

               In some cases, these are harms of US omission or inaction, rather than of commission. A specific case in point would by Syria, where Trump’s immutable unwillingness to get on the wrong side of Vladimir Putin has already created societal disintegration and unspeakable torment.[9]

               The main theme or question before us allows only a single coherent response. There is no way that a “good” American society can be created or sustained by an “evil” American president. Period. Before the United States allows itself to become even more thoroughly lost to any still credible hopes for human improvement  and national survival, American citizens will have to build more purposefully upon this rudimentary wisdom. To be sure, we remain disturbingly far from understanding (let alone electing) Plato’s “Philosopher King,”[10] but now we are at least better advised to reject American presidential evil at absolutely all costs.

               Donald J. Trump does no evil for the sake of good. There is nothing “tragic” about his persistent across-the-board choice of evil              postures and policies. In essence, he makes these barbarous choices because he is authentically committed to evil for evil’s own sake.

               Left uncorrected, Trump will continue to bring to these deeply unhappy United States a self-inflicted future of national humiliation and determined anti-reason.

               No such future could ever “make America great again.”


[1] On Realpolitik or power politics, see, by this author, Louis René Beres, Reason and Realpoliitk: US Foreign Policy and World Order (Lexington Books, 1984). See also his later book: Louis René Beres, America Outside the World: The Collapse of US Foreign Policy (Lexington Books, 1987).

[2] Incontestably, of course, Russia remains a significant nuclear threat to the United States. See, for example, by this author, Louis René Beres, at The War Room (US Department of Defense: Pentagon): https://warroom.armywarcollege.edu/articles/nuclear-decision-making/

[3] Journalist Bob Woodward called Trump’s efforts to conceal his knowledge of the virus from the public “one of the most tragic, outrageous acts by a sitting president in, maybe in history.”

[4] For early and informed assessments of nuclear war risks and consequences by this author, see: Louis René Beres, Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 2nd. ed., 2018);   Louis René Beres,  Apocalypse: Nuclear Catastrophe in World Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Louis René Beres, Mimicking Sisyphus: America’s Countervailing Nuclear Strategy (Lexington MA:  Lexington Books, 1983);  Louis René Beres, Reason and Realpolitik: US Foreign Policy and World Order (Lexington MA;  Lexington Books, 1984); and Louis René Beres, ed.,  Security or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (Lexington MA:  Lexington Books, 1986). See also, by Professor Beres, at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: https://thebulletin.org/2016/08/what-if-you-dont-trust-the-judgment-of-the-president-whose-finger-is-over-the-nuclear-button/

[5] Such biological assaults have thus far been considered only as natural occurrences. Going forward, however, it is possible that pertinent pathogens could be weaponized, and that future instances of “plague” could emerge as a deliberate form of warfare and/or terrorism.

[6]Like Jose Ortega y’Gasset, the Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung spoke usefully of  “mass.” Earlier, Friedrich Nietzsche, had referenced this demeaning phenomenon as the “herd;” Sigmund Freud, as the “horde;” and Soren Kierkegaard, as the “crowd.”

[7] See,  by this author, at The Daily Princetonian, Louis René Beres: https://www.dailyprincetonian.com/article/2018/06/a-core-challenge-of-higher-education

[8] See, by this author, at Yale Global Online, Louis René Beres: https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/trump-and-destruction-american-mind

[9] These are not just matters of moral responsibility. The United States is obligated by the international law of human rights to intervene on behalf of such cruelly victimized populations. These international legal obligations are also incorporated in the national law of the United States, per Article 6 of the US Constitution (the “Supremacy Clause”) and several major US Supreme Court decisions. In the precise words of Mr. Justice Gray, delivering judgment of the US Supreme Court in Paquete Habana (1900): “International law is part of our law, and must be ascertained and administered by the courts of justice of appropriate jurisdiction….” (175 U.S. 677(1900)) See also Opinion in Tel-Oren vs. Libyan Arab Republic (726 F. 2d 774 (1984)).

[10] See, by this author, at Oxford University Press, Louis René Beres: https://blog.oup.com/2011/08/philosopher-king/

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