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The Media-Responses to Bernie Sanders’s Climate-Plan

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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a U.S. Presidential candidate in the Democratic Party primaries, presented on August 22nd the most-detailed climate-plan that has ever been presented by any U.S. Presidential candidate — 14,000 words, or the equivalent of a normal 55-page booklet.

One of the billionaires-controlled news-media, the New York Times, promptly headlined its news-story about it, “Bernie Sanders’s ‘Green New Deal’: A $16 Trillion Climate Plan”, and said little else about it than its total expense-side, no mention at all about its income side (and virtually nothing at all about its benefits, which were detailed in those 14,000 words). The report also said that the Democratic National Committee had just banned CNN’s planned and unofficial Democratic Presidential candidates debate about the climate, which had been scheduled by CNN for September 4th. The NYT reported that the DNC would permit the candidates to appear only one-after-another — without any interaction with each other, regarding climate-issues. The news-site Vice then promptly headlined “The DNC’s Climate Debate Is As Good As Dead”, and reported that, “Democratic voters want to talk about climate. Three quarters of respondents to a June CNN poll said that they wouldn’t vote for a candidate who didn’t recognize climate change as humanity’s greatest existential threat.” Of course, if Democratic Party voters are really serious about that, they’ll follow through on it. But, evidently, the DNC is quite convinced that they won’t be. 

Another billionaires-controlled news-medium, Mother Jones, issued online its official blogger, Kevin Drum, bannering “Bernie Sanders Gets a D- for His Climate Plan” and he opened:

Bernie Sanders released his climate change plan today, and Bernie being Bernie it was naturally the biggest, leftiest, most socialist plan out there. And that was the good part. The bad part is that it’s practically designed to fail.

If you’re going to propose a massive, $16 trillion plan, the first thing you should do is get as many people on board as possible. Instead, Sanders practically revels in pissing off as many stakeholders as possible.

Mr. Drum wanted Sanders to be proposing things that the billionaires who fund political campaigns find acceptable.

However, The Intercept, a site that’s owned by Pierre Omidyar, a Democratic Party billionaire from Silicon Valley (and who is not committed to fossil fuels himself), has been remarkably honest about “climate change” or “global warming” (which are the accepted euphemisms that are pumped for global burnout — the actual  threat). In fact, back on 3 July 2019 it had bannered “WILL BERNIE SANDERS STICK WITH A CARBON TAX IN HIS PUSH FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL?” and it honestly presented the reason why that ought to be included in a plan but also mentioned that all pollings show that the public don’t and almost certainly won’t understand that, and so any commitment to a carbon tax would probably sink any candidate who would specifically include it. (Sanders’s new plan does not.) And, then, on 22 August 2019, The Intercept headlined “BERNIE SANDERS’S CLIMATE PLAN IS MORE RADICAL THAN HIS OPPONENTS’ — AND MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED”. That was the nitty-gritty truth about the matter: All of the other candidates are so afraid of going up against the billionaires (including not up against the Republican ones), but Sanders is doing it nonetheless, and his new plan shows that he really means it when he says, “We must take action to ensure a habitable planet for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren.” He is now putting his entire candidacy on the line for this. 

Sanders is the only candidate who is still in the race who has zero billionaires backing him. He has already committed himself: zero dependency upon any of the billionaires. You can agree with him, or disagree with him, but that’s a fact about him. Obviously, the DNC is just as much against him now as it was in 2016. Practically nothing has changed in the Democratic Party since then. 

Part of his climate plan even mentions: “Trade deals have been written in secret by billion-dollar companies to give polluters special handouts and protections, as well as the right to sue governments that pursue stronger environmental protections. Under a Sanders Administration, this will end. Trade deals will be renegotiated to ensure strong and binding climate standards, labor rights, and human rights with swift enforcement.” That’s a slam against not only both Bushes and both Clintons, but against the lionized-by-Democratic-voters Barack Obama, whose biggest effort, of all, was to pass his mammoth proposed TPP, TTIP and TISA trade-deals, all of which were even worse in that regard than any of its predecessors such as NAFTA were. And Sanders had led the fight in Congress against all of them. (None of them became passed, though Hillary Clinton would have resumed Obama’s push to pass them if she had become President. Trump isn’t worse in every respect than she was.)

Also, here are some of the passages in the plan that I find particularly striking:

Instead of accepting that the world’s countries will spend $1.5 trillion annually on weapons of destruction, Bernie will convene global leaders to redirect our priorities to confront our shared enemy: climate change. …

we will support less industrialized nations in the Global South, excluding China, to help them reduce emissions by 36 percent from 2017 levels by 2030, consistent with meeting our fair share of emissions reductions under the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendations. …

Bernie recognizes that the Pentagon is the largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and that the United States spends $81 billion annually to protect oil supplies and transport routes. We are uniquely positioned to lead the planet in a wholesale shift away from militarism. …

When we are in the White House, we will create millions of union, family-wage jobs through the Green New Deal in steel and auto manufacturing, construction, energy efficiency retrofitting, coding and server farms, and renewable power plants. We will spend $1.3 trillion to ensure that workers in the fossil fuel and other carbon intensive industries receive strong benefits, a living wage, training, and job placement. We will protect the right of all workers to form a union without threats or intimidation from management. …

End overseas fossil fuel financing. The federal government currently supports investments in fossil fuels through the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, OPIC, the Export-Import Bank, and other multilateral institutions.  …

Bernie will make fossil fuel corporations pay for the irreparable damage they have done to our communities and our planet, and he will ensure that all fossil fuel workers affected by the transition are entitled to new jobs, health care, pensions, and wage support. He will not allow fossil fuel executives to reap massive profits while endangering the future of humanity. He will not leave it to the market to determine the fate of the planet. …

Prosecute and sue the fossil fuel industry for the damage it has caused. …

Scientists have been clear that in order to solve the climate crisis, we must leave fossil fuels in the ground. …

The last two of those are the most important. For example: to “leave fossil fuels in the ground” means to lay off a large percentage of fossil-fuels corporations’ workforces, especially all who are involved in exploring, and negotiating for the exploitation of, new wells and mines; and, furthermore, the stock-market values of all of those corporations will crash, because the vast majority of their market-value is their assets-in-the-ground, their “Reserves”. As the leading study of this matter phrased it in 2013:

If CAPEX continues at the same level over the next decade it would see up to $6.74 trillion in wasted capital developing reserves that is likely to become unburnable. This would drive an even greater divergence between a 2DS and the position of the financial markets. This has profound implications for asset owners with significant holdings in fossil fuel stocks. It is particularly acute for those companies with large CAPEX plans that continue to sink shareholder funds into the development of additional new reserves that are incompatible with a low-carbon pathway.

Furthermore: “Oil, gas and coal mining companies spent $674billion of capital expenditure in the last year seeking to develop more reserves.” This at a time when 100% of such expenditures is actually waste — unburnable excess upon the already-existing excess of unburnable carbon reserves, which those corporations already own and are already producing from.

This is the way capitalism is. Democratic socialism (such as in the Scandinavian countries) isn’t, at all, like Karl Marx’s communism, but billionaires equate those two — democratic socialism and dictatorial socialism — in order to discredit democratic socialism (progressivism), by lies, because billionaires are the only people who really benefit from capitalism. 

Especially the owners of fossil-fuels corporations will lose their entire investments in those corporations, because not only of the inevitable crash in their stock-values but also because whatever value still remains in those corporations will then — under the Sanders plan — become transferred to the government, as a partial payment for the massive criminality of those corporations during the many decades in which they were bringing to the precipice the very continuance of life on Earth. 

So: it is clear why this nation’s media — which are controlled (even when not outright owned) by billionaires — will do everything possible in order to prevent Sanders from becoming its President. For them, the choice is stark, and it is between either him, or else any of the other candidates. They will congeal around whichever of the other candidates is the likeliest one to defeat Sanders. That’s the reality, about the Democratic Presidential primaries. The Sanders climate plan makes this absolutely clear.

Author’s note: first published at Washington’s Blog

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Americas

Who won the interaction with the “free press” at the Geneva Summit?

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Before the much anticipated Geneva Summit, it became clear that President Biden would not be holding a joint press conference with President Putin because Biden wanted to go speak to the “free press” after the meeting. This was Biden’s way to show Putin, to rub it into Putin’s face that in Russia the media is not free.

Then the day of the meeting came and it turned out that Biden had a list of pre-approved reporters “as usual” whose names only he had to call. And Biden told everyone to the dismay of not only Republicans but pretty much anyone, including the free press.

Then Biden had a hard time answering questions even from that list. When CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked him a regular question along the lines of “why do you think this would work?”, Biden lost it and suggested that Collins did not belong in the journalistic profession.

Collin’s question was a softball question, in fact. It was not even a tough question according to international standards. It was a critical question from an American mainstream media point of view, assuming Biden as the good guy who just can’t do enough to stop the bad guy Putin.

It was not even a tough question and Biden still couldn’t handle it by mustering something diplomatic and intelligent that makes him look like he was in control. Biden is no Obama. We knew that already but he should be able to at least respond to a regular question with a regular answer.

If you think American mainstream media were mistreated at the Geneva Summit, you should have seen how the rest of the international and local media were treated at another venue, at the request of the American government. I already described what happened at the point where the Biden and Putin convoys were going to pass. You should have seen how we were treated, at the request of the US authorities, and how the Swiss authorities really played by the US’s drum. Later on, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on CNN’s State of the Union that Biden gave Swiss companies exemptions from sanctions imposed on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Biden refused a joint press conference with Putin because he wanted to rub the “free press” in Putin’s face. Well, Biden surely showed him. It was the other way around, in fact. Biden didn’t take questions from the other side. Putin took highly critical questions from American journalists and he did it like it was business as usual. Putin didn’t have a list of blocked or preapproved journalists from the other side, or people he dismissed on the spot. Russian journalists were in fact denied access to the venue, in front of Parc la Grange.

Supporters of Black Lives Matter like me naturally didn’t like the substance of Putin’s answers. President Putin attacked Black Lives Matter, even though ever since the Soviet times the treatment of black people has always been a highlight of Russian criticism of American society and values. It seems like President Putin doesn’t want a big, sweeping movement that would reform everything, so that the issues can persist and so that Putin can keep hammering on the same point over and over again. If one is truly concerned about rights and well-being, one has to be in support of the social justice movement trying to address the problems.

In fact, Putin’s approach to black people’s rights is a lot like the FBI’s view of the radical, violent far left: the FBI do not wish to address the violent elements which probably represent 5% of the whole movement, just so that the FBI can keep the issues alive and discredit the whole movement. One saw that the Capitol riots groups really calmed down as soon as the FBI stepped in but FBI director Chris Wray is not interested in doing the same with the violent radical left, precisely so that the issues can persist and the FBI can keep pointing to violent “Black identity” extremists. It is the FBI’ style to keep little nests of fire here and there, so that they can exploit or redirect them in their own preferred direction from time to time. Let’s not forget that the leader of the Proud Boys was actually an FBI informant for a long time, probably taking instructions from the FBI.

At the Geneva Summit, Putin also stated that he saw nothing criminal in the Capitol riots on 6 January that undermined democratic principles and institutions. That was an example of someone trying to use and support existing forces within American society in order to undermine it.

But the substance of Putin’s answers had nothing to do with the process of interacting with the “free press”. Putin took questions from everyone, Biden didn’t. Putin didn’t screen out or dismiss journalists from the other side, Biden did. Putin didn’t lash out on anyone suggesting that they should not be in that job. Biden did and he did it even to his own pre-approved list of media that he was supposed to like.

In terms of process, Putin passed the test and Biden couldn’t handle interacting with the free press even in very restricted, sanitized conditions. Despite what you think of each leader and their policies, it has to be said that Putin handled interacting with the media as business as usual, and Biden struggled in his interaction with the media. Even when Biden was reading from a teleprompter, even with a preapproved list of journalists and even when he was not in the same room as Putin, Biden still made mistakes and couldn’t handle it. Even when everything was chewed for him, Biden still couldn’t do it.

In fact, Biden looked more like an overwhelmed Kardashian abroad who had to have his hand held at any moment and less like the leader of the free world. First lady Jill Biden in fact did hold Biden’s hand on occasion and rushed him out of places like a child when the President seemed to wonder off in the wrong direction, such as at the G7 Summit in Cornwall. And that guy has the nuclear codes?

There have been concerns with Biden’s cognitive abilities. President Biden confused President Putin with President Trump, while reading from a teleprompter. What was remarkable is that Putin stated that he found Biden to be actually knowledgeable and prepared on the issues, and that Biden is actually not in a mental and cognitive decline contrary to mainstream understanding. While on the face of it, the statement sounded 100% positive and in defense of Biden, this was a very aggressive, veiled jab of the sort “many are saying that but I don’t think that”. Putin raised the doubt, gave Biden an evaluation and proved to be a total player.

In total, the bottom line of who won the interaction with the “free press” at the Geneva Summit was clear: Russia 1, the US 0.

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Americas

Joe Biden’s European vacations

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biden-syria
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Joseph Biden, better known as Joe Biden, is an American politician from the Democratic Party who won last year’s presidential elections amid scandals and accusations of fraud. In his autobiography, Biden describes himself as a leading figure in determining US policy in the Balkans, and openly admits having convinced President Bill Clinton to intervene militarily in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and becoming the main architect of NATO enlargement.

Here are just a few facts from his past that can shed light on the possible  line of actions that could be taken by America’s current President.

Biden is certainly no stranger to Balkan issues. In 1999, he played an important role in the administration of President Bill Clinton, when NATO bombed Yugoslavia without a UN resolution, an act of aggression that resulted in Kosovo being proclaimed an independent state and which is now home to the largest US military base in Europe – Camp Bondsteel.  In 1999, the current US president was one of the most outspoken supporters of the bombing of Yugoslavia, which is something he took pride in.

“I propose to bomb Belgrade. I propose to send American pilots and blow up all the bridges over the Drina River,” said Biden, then a US Senator.

On September 1, 1999, Senator Joseph Biden visited Bulgaria as a representative of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, meeting with President Peter Stoyanov, Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhailova and local lawmakers. Biden has become a key figure in Bulgaria’s integration into the North Atlantic Alliance.

Today, after several years of lull, tensions in Ukraine are shooting up again.  At the close of 2013, a series of riots were provoked there eventually leading up to the 2014 coup and the subsequent conflict in the country’s eastern regions. During the armed confrontation, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics were established, which to this day remain at loggerheads with Kiev. After a region-wide referendum, over 95 percent of the residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea announced their desire to reunite with Russia. The role of Washington in the violent overthrow of power in Ukraine was clearly visible. US officials openly supported the Maidan, and Senator John McCain met with future government officials. Victoria Nuland, then US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, publicly stated that Washington had allocated $5 billion to support democracy in Ukraine. She personally distributed food to “peaceful demonstrators”, many of whom later ended up on the Maidan with weapons in their hands. Nuland, who served as Assistant Secretary of State to three presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, retired in 2017. Today, Biden is bringing her back into politics, nominating her to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Political Affairs – the third most important in the State Department.

Biden visited Ukraine five times during and after the Maidan. The United States, along with Germany, Poland and France, forced the country’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych to make concessions to protesters, which quickly led to the government’s collapse. Immediately after the resignation of Yanukovych in February 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Biden as his official representative in Ukraine. A little later, Biden’s son, Hunter, was appointed to the board of directors of Ukraine’s Burisma gas company.

After the coup, the Americans took deep roots in Ukraine with their representatives appearing both in economic structures and in the government and special services. Years later, details of their work became available to the media. Former US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani said that he had managed to find witnesses and obtain documents demonstrating attempts to cover up violations of the law by Burisma and Hunter Biden’s involvement in the laundering of millions of dollars. Giuliani unveiled a scheme how $16 million, including $3 million “earned” by Biden Jr., had been withdrawn through a network of companies, a number of which were located in Cyprus. Other investigations initiated by the media have also revealed large flows of “dirty” money that was flowing from Ukraine through Latvia to Cyprus and other offshore companies such as Rosemont Seneca, founded by Hunter Biden and Devon Archer.

In April 2019, journalist John Solomon published a post in the American edition of Dakhil about how Joe Biden was helping his son in his business dealings after leaving the post of vice president and bragging to foreign policy experts that, as vice president, he had forced the dismissal of Ukraine’s chief prosecutor. Biden related how in March 2016 he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that Washington would withdraw its $ 1 billion loan guarantees and drive the country into bankruptcy unless Attorney General Viktor Shokin was dismissed immediately. And dismissed Shokin was, accused of not being active enough in fighting corruption. However, when talking about his victory, Biden misses an important point. Prior to his dismissal, the attorney general had launched a large-scale audit of the Burisma mining company where Hunter Biden was working. According to the US banking system, between spring 2014 and autumn 2015, Hunter’s company Rosemont Seneca regularly received transfers from Burisma to the tune of about $166,000.

This whole story gives us an idea of what kind of a person Joe Biden really is  and the question is how he will behave in the future.

Even before Biden’s inauguration as president, media representatives and analysts predicted an aggravation of the military situation, an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and an increase in US activity in the Balkans. In the spring of 2021, these predictions were confirmed, and the military rhetoric of the US administration began heat up. In a March 17 interview with ABC TV, Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “killer.” Even during the Cold War, world leaders did not allow themselves such disrespect for one another. Similar statements from American politicians are often made against foreign leaders whom they want to overthrow or physically eliminate. A number of analysts believe that the absence of an apology from Washington indicates that such a statement was not accidental, but well thought out and comes as a new step in the information war against Russia.

The further development of events in the international arena appears more and more is scary each day. In the media and in public statements by a number of politicians the topic of possible military action is almost becoming “business as usual.” Therefore, the new American president’s personality and his inner circle is extremely important for understanding the future and assessing global risks around the world.

From our partner International Affairs

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Americas

The Private And Public Joe Biden: Belief And Policy

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Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

Joe Biden supports abortion rights politically, a position conflicting with doctrine in the Catholic church.  Despite the pope issuing a warning to act with care, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is now ready to prepare a teaching document that could potentially bar Biden from receiving Holy Communion at mass.  A central sacrament during mass, Catholics believe that eating the consecrated wafer dipped in wine, representing the body and blood of Jesus Christ, unites them with their savior fortifying them to face evil temptations.

The USCCB vote to prepare the document was an overwhelming 168-55, and a committee of US bishops has been assigned the task.  Responding to questions, President Biden called it a private matter.  The document is expected to be ready in time for debate at the November bi-annual conference of US Catholic Bishops.

If that is one headache for Biden, another is in the offing.  Perhaps as a consequence of US policy towards Iran, the election of a hard-liner in Iran’s presidential election seems almost certain.  Judge Ebrahim Raisi, who is also Iran’s top judge, is on his way to victory on the basis of the votes counted so far.

The 60-year old cleric spent most of his life as a prosecutor until he was appointed Iran’s top judge in 2019.  He is fiercely loyal to his fellow clerics, particularly to Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who has the final say in all matters.  All the same, the president does the administration and has significant input in both domestic and foreign policy.  Suffice to say, Raisi lost in a landslide to Hassan Rouhani, who sought accommodation with the West, in the previous election four years ago.

Having played hardball with Iran, the US is repeating itself with a Russia anxious for better relations.  Following the G7 meeting in Cornwall a week ago, President Biden flew to Geneva meeting President Putin at the Villa La Grange for a closely-watched summit.

Relations between the two countries have been tense following a series of events including the Russian annexation of Crimea.  The latter was transferred to Ukraine for administrative convenience when a connecting bridge was being constructed so that both ends of it would fall under the same authority.  The people of Crimea have no other connection with Ukrainians other than they were both part of the Soviet Union. 

Climate change, arms control, cyber security and American interest in jailed dissenters in Russia including Alexei Navalny .  Reading the riot act to Mr. Putin does little to further stability in relations.  Peace is not a problem among like-minded countries with a commonality of interests, it is a challenge when the parties are rivals, nuclear armed, and capable of blowing up the world.  Mr. Biden may be proud of his performance but is he able to accept the challenge, for if not where does it leave the rest of us …

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