Joe Biden was one of the U.S. Senate’s leading segregationists; and he was condemned by the NAACP for it in 1977 hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but he has claimed instead to have participated in anti-segregation sit-ins, which were led by black ministers all of whom were conveniently deceased at the time when he made those assertions, and so they could not be asked whether he had participated. He was making those assertions while running against Bernie Sanders, whom the Chicago Tribune showed in their photo during the 1960s being arrested as a college student for his peacefully demonstrating against Chicago’s segregationist policy at the time. Sanders in his Presidential campaign didn’t brag about it; only Biden bragged about his anti-segregationist activity, though it was fictitious; and so Biden swamped Sanders in the South Carolina primary on February 29th — the turning-point in the 2020 Democratic Presidential primaries — where most of the voters were Blacks, who had been deceived by Biden’s claims and who didn’t know that Biden had actually been a leading northern segregationist. (Biden had even backed an anti-integration bill by North Carolina Republican segregationist Senator Jesse Helms to prohibit the federal government from requiring school districts to be or become desegregated in order to qualify to receive federal funds and to allow instead ‘separate-but-equal’ education of Black and White children.) Notwithstanding Biden’s having been condemned by the NAACP for his support of ‘natural’ segregation, Biden appeared on a broadcast to young Blacks, on 22 May 2020, saying “The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run.” The very next day, the NAACP quietly said “The NAACP is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates for political office at any level.” They did it quietly, because, if Biden becomes the President, they want to have the President’s support; they don’t want to antagonize a future President by conspicuously making a point of what a fraud he is, regarding racism.
The NAACP official, at that Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, condemned Biden’s legislative proposal, by saying (among other things) that Biden was trying “to enact an unconstitutional set of technical obstacles whose sole purpose is to interfere with and delay the courts in their work in school segregation cases.” Would that condemnation by the NAACP be consistent with Biden’s currently saying “The NAACP has endorsed me every time I’ve run” — even if the fact weren’t that the NAACP refuses to endorse any candidates?
Biden had opened that 1977 Judiciary Committee hearing by attacking the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, saying against it: “The average citizen, and finally his representatives in Congress, have come to the conclusion that the courts have gone too far in education cases.” He was actually referring there to only one case: Brown v. Board of Education, in 1954 (which still hasn’t been implemented in law). The NAACP’s lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, had been the NAACP’s advocate arguing before the Court, to come to that decision. In 1967, Marshall became himself the first Black on the U.S. Supreme Court. Ten years later, in 1977, Senator Biden was being condemned at the Senate Judiciary Committee, by Jack Greenberg, Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In 1940, Thurgood Marshall had founded, and became the first Director-Counsel of, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and his title is the one that Marshall had held when he argued the Brown v. Board of Education case at the Court. Jack Greenberg was Marshall’s immediate successor; and, so, when he condemned Biden, Greenberg was doing it as the immediate heir to Marshall. Biden was the NAACP’s chief enemy on this matter, the enemy of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.
In that same 22 May 2020 broadcast to young black voters, Biden said:
Joe Biden: (09:10)
I opposed that three strikes and you’re out bill. I oppose the position taking that, saying that you’re going to have any mandatory sentences.
But here’s what Biden had told Katie Couric on NBC’s Today Show on 1 February 1994:
what I support is a three strikes and you’re out, if in fact, they’re very violent crimes–arson, rape, murder, manslaughter. Three strikes in those areas, and you should be out.
He called it there “the Biden bill” — all of it was. The law’s “Sec. 70001. Mandatory life imprisonment for persons convicted of certain felonies” spells out its Three-Strikes-And-You’re-Out provisions, and they apply equally to “each serious violent felony or serious drug offense.” “Serious drug offense” needn’t be “violent”; so, non-violent “serious” drug-law violations can and do place prisoners behind bars permanently. But, regardless, Biden lies when he asserts that “I opposed that three strikes and you’re out bill.” He supported it.
Later in that May 22nd interview, he said:
The only mandatory was in there was carjacking, which I opposed and three strikes and you’re out, which is ridiculous. It only was imposed three times but still even once makes no sense. The idea of three times three strikes and you’re out, give me a break.
Of course, that’s false (to the extent that his broken syntax makes any sense).
In that May 22nd broadcast, Biden diminished the law’s relevancy to federal drug-law violators, by saying “94% of every prisoner in jail is in a state prison, not a federal prison. No federal law.” However, the fact is that there are 226,000 federal prisoners, and that 100,000 of them are in prison for federal drug-law violations. So, 44% of inmates in federal prisons are in for having violated federal drug-crimes. Yet again, Biden lied, to say “No federal law.” (Furthermore, the numbers he cites — such as “94%” — are inaccurate.)
A section in the Wikipedia article on the law notes its “Elimination of higher education for inmates.” It observes that this provision “effectively eliminated the ability of lower-income prison inmates to receive college educations during their term of imprisonment.” Biden’s trashing of convicts led him to want them to come out of prison as lacking in higher education as they were when entering prison. That’s an excellent way to encourage them to stay out of the productive and legal workforce, and to be hopeless about their futures, and thus inclined to a life of continuing crime.
Biden also said in that May 22nd interview:
Change the entire prison system for one, that is punishment to rehabilitation. There’s only a couple of things everybody has in common in jail. One is they were the victims of abuse or their kids were, or their mother was. Number two, can’t read. Number three, they don’t have any job skills. They were in a position where they didn’t get a chance. Why does it make sense? Why did I come along and write the first act that said, when you get out of prison, you don’t just get a DOSA where you get 25 bucks and a bus ticket. You end up under the bridge and just do the same place.
So every single solitary person being released from prison should have access to every single government program. Why does it not make sense to have African Americans who were getting out of prison, served their time, everybody for that matter, be able to have public housing? Why didn’t it make sense that they can have Pell grants to go to school? Why did it make sense they can have access to healthcare? What are we nuts? That’s what we keep doing.
He doesn’t mention, and wasn’t asked by his interviewer about, “the Biden bill” (as he called it) having eliminated any and all higher education in federal prisons. He pretends to be a different person, and to have done different things, than he actually is, and did. And thus far, he has gotten away with it.
Those are just a few examples, but they are typical ones.
The hegemony of knowledge and the new world order: U.S. and the rest of the world
In today’s world, knowledge and technological advantages determine – to a large extent – differences in the management of international policy. The increase in a country’s intellectual power directly defines an increase in its economic power, thus changing its position in the international competition for dominance.
The power policy, first in the agricultural age and later in the industrial age, was characterised by military and then economic hegemony, while the power policy in the information age gradually reveals the characteristics of knowledge hegemony at both the scientific and intelligence levels.
The hegemony of knowledge in contemporary international relations manifests itself specifically as unequal exchange in international trade, exploitation of high-value information and various conditions related to technological production. Hence, we see the transfer of polluting industries from privileged to poor countries: energy-consuming and high-intensity activities.
Western culture and values are disseminated vigorously, through the so-called soft power in information and mass media, and take on obsessive and oppressively hypnopedic forms.
Developed countries have patents in the use of outer space, as well as in the development of deep sea resources and in the production of environmental resources that pollute, while developing countries can only sigh as they look at other’s oceans and satellites, which fly around, do reconnaissance activities and monitor them.
The resources of the great and deep seas – which should be shared by mankind as they belong to everybody like the air, the moon and the sun – are instead exploited by the developed countries. On the contrary, they freely and ‘democratically’ share with the wretched ones only the evil consequences of environmental pollution.
With specific reference to sanctions and armed interference in international relations, the technique of violent and conscious bullying is adopted: whoever is militarily stronger imposes the validity of their interests, also at legal level.
The root cause for generating knowledge hegemony lies in the polarisation of the intellectual status of the nation-State. Western developed countries have already crossed the threshold of an information society, while developing countries are still struggling to climb towards industrial civilisation from the most primitive and closed state of existence. Although developing countries hold most of the world’s natural and human resources (just think of Africa), they are far behind in science and technology. Just look at the continental histogram of the 207 Nobel Prizes in Physics from 1901 to 2017 (winners are counted by country of birth except for the Algerian Nobel Prize winner Claude Cohen-Tannoudji , who was born when Algeria was a French territory):
Source: Nadua Antonelli <<Africana>> XXIII (2017) page 12
If they have no means to study, even the greatest and most brilliant brains cannot make discoveries or file patents, looking only at the sky and the earth.
About 80 per cent of science and technology staff and their achievements are concentrated in developed countries. The knowledge advantage gives developed countries the right to set the rules of the game and of communication for all global knowledge production and dissemination. In particular, the developed countries’ knowledge advantages in the military and high-tech media enable them to expand their influence on the civil and military fronts and achieve their strategic objectives.
Developing countries wander between traditional society, modern industrial civilisation and post-industrial civilisation, and are often challenged and oppressed by the third party’s hegemony of knowledge.
The new economy created by the information revolution is still a ‘rich-country phenomenon’, the core of what is called ‘advantage creation’, under the cover of ‘competitive advantage’, or rather: competitive towards those who cannot compete.
The country leading the information revolution is the United States, which is the biggest beneficiary of these achievements. The digital divide highlights the status of the US information superpower. In the global information sector, in 2000 the central processing unit production in the United States accounted for 92%, and software production for 86%.
IT (Information & Technology) investment in the United States was 41.5% of global investment, Microsoft’s Windows system accounted for 95% of global platform applications, while the US Internet users accounted for more than half of global Internet users, and 58% of all e-mail goes through US servers.
E-commerce is worth 75% of the global total and US commercial websites account for 90% of the planet.
Currently, there are almost three thousand large-scale databases in the world, 70% of which are in the United States. There are 13 top-level domain name servers in the world and 10 of them are located in the United States.
The above figures far exceed the share of US GDP, which is 28% of the world total. The United States is far ahead of all countries in the world, including the other developed countries. The leading position in information technology allows the United States to control the basics in the field of information with its strong economic and talent advantages, as well as to master the actual rights, and to set standards and formulate rules and regulations.
The status as cradle of the information revolution has brought enormous wealth and development benefits to the United States. Since the 1990s, the development of information technology and the rise of the related industry have become an accelerator of further economic advancement in the United States.
In the growth of US GDP – from 1994 (the beginning of the Internet) to 2000 – the share of the information industry in the value of the country’s total output has caused the economy to rise from 6.3% to 8.3%, and the contribution provided by the information industry development to the actual US economic growth is estimated at 30%.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the United States – with its strong national-global power and the relative hegemony of knowledge/information – was already ready to build a new world order.
Knowledge is also the soul of military hegemony. Since the 1990s the United States (after the USSR’s demise) has taken advantage of its absolute leadership in information technology to vigorously promote a new military revolution and equip its armed forces with a large number of modern sophisticated weapons, especially cyber weapons: an overwhelming advantage in the conventional field, clearly overtaking the Third World, as well as its Western allies.
The US superiority in equipment ranges from one to two generations (i.e. from 15 to 30 years) over developing countries and from 0.5 to one generation over allies. All this has established the hegemonic status of the United States as the world’s number one military power.
Gulf Wars II (1991) and III (2003) (the first was the Iran-Iraq War in 1980-88), the Kosovo War (1999), the Afghanistan War (2001- still ongoing), and the Iraq War (2003-2011) were four localised wars that the United States fought to establish a new world order after the Cold War. During those events, the US hegemony was strengthened on an unprecedented scale and its attempt to establish a new order made substantial progress.
Moreover, backed by strong military advantages (scattering the planet with its own bases and outposts), as well as economic and technological advantages, those events ensured that the United States had and still has a leading position in the world, thus making the White House a planner and defender of the new world order. (1. continued)
Hardened US and Iranian positions question efficacy of parties’ negotiating tactics
The United States and Iran seem to be hardening their positions in advance of a resumption of negotiations to revive a 2015 international nuclear agreement once Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi takes office in early August.
Concern among supporters of the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program which former US President Donald J. Trump abandoned in 2018 may be premature but do raise questions about the efficacy of the negotiating tactics of both parties.
These tactics include the Biden administration’s framing of the negotiations exclusively in terms of the concerns of the West and its Middle Eastern allies rather than also as they relate to Iranian fears, a failure by both the United States and Iran to acknowledge that lifting sanctions is a complex process that needs to be taken into account in negotiations, and an Iranian refusal to clarify on what terms the Islamic republic may be willing to discuss non-nuclear issues once the nuclear agreement has been revived.
The differences in the negotiations between the United States and Iran are likely to be accentuated if and when the talks resume, particularly concerning the mechanics of lifting sanctions.
“The challenges facing the JCPOA negotiations are a really important example of how a failed experience of sanctions relief, as we had in Iran between the Obama and Trump admins, can cast a shadow over diplomacy for years to come, making it harder to secure US interests,” said Iran analyst Esfandyar Batmanghelidj referring to the nuclear accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, by its initials.
The Biden administration may be heeding Mr. Batmangheldij’s notion that crafting sanctions needs to take into account the fact that lifting them can be as difficult as imposing them as it considers more targeted additional punitive measures against Iran. Those measures would aim to hamper Iran’s evolving capabilities for precision strikes using drones and guided missiles by focusing on the providers of parts for those weapon systems, particularly engines and microelectronics.
To be sure, there is no discernable appetite in either Washington or Tehran to adjust negotiation tactics and amend their underlying assumptions. It would constitute a gargantuan, if not impossible challenge given the political environment in both capitals. That was reflected in recent days in Iranian and US statements.
Iranian Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested that agreement on the revival of the nuclear accord was stumbling over a US demand that it goes beyond the terms of the original accord by linking it to an Iranian willingness to discuss its ballistic missiles program and support for Arab proxies.
In a speech to the cabinet of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, he asserted that the West “will try to hit us everywhere they can and if they don’t hit us in some place, it’s because they can’t… On paper and in their promises, they say they’ll remove sanctions. But they haven’t lifted them and won’t lift them. They impose conditions…to say in future Iran violated the agreement and there is no agreement” if Iran refuses to discuss regional issues or ballistic missiles.
Iranian officials insist that nothing can be discussed at this stage but a return by both countries to the nuclear accord as is. Officials, distrustful of US intentions, have hinted that an unconditional and verified return to the status quo ante may help open the door to talks on missiles and proxies provided this would involve not only Iranian actions and programs but also those of America’s allies.
Mr. Khamenei’s remarks seemed to bolster suggestions that once in office Mr. Raisi would seek to turn the table on the Biden administration by insisting on stricter verification and US implementation of its part of a revived agreement.
To achieve this, Iran is expected to demand the lifting of all rather than some sanctions imposed or extended by the Trump administration; verification of the lifting; guarantees that the lifting of sanctions is irreversible, possibly by making any future American withdrawal from the deal contingent on approval by the United Nations Security Council; and iron-clad provisions to ensure that obstacles to Iranian trade are removed, including the country’s unfettered access to the international financial system and the country’s overseas accounts.
Mr. Khamenei’s remarks and Mr. Raisi’s anticipated harder line was echoed in warnings by US officials that the ascendancy of the new president would not get Iran a better deal. The officials cautioned further that there could be a point soon at which it would no longer be worth returning to because Iran’s nuclear program would have advanced to the point where the limitations imposed by the agreement wouldn’t produce the intended minimum one year ‘breakout time’ to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb.
“We are committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely. At some point, the gains achieved by the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) cannot be fully recovered by a return to the JCPOA if Iran continues the activities that it’s undertaken with regard to its nuclear program…The ball remains in Iran’s court, and we will see if they’re prepared to make the decisions necessary to come back into compliance,” US Secretary Antony Blinken said this week on a visit to Kuwait.
Another US official suggested that the United States and Iran could descend into a tug-of-war on who has the longer breath and who blinks first. It’s a war that so far has not produced expected results for the United States and in which Iran has paid a heavy price for standing its ground.
The official said that a breakdown in talks could “look a lot like the dual-track strategy of the past—sanctions pressure, other forms of pressure, and a persistent offer of negotiations. It will be a question of how long it takes the Iranians to come to the idea they will not wait us out.”
Wendy Sherman’s China visit takes a terrible for the US turn
US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, had high hopes for the meeting in China. At first, the Chinese side did not agree to hold the meeting at all. The reaction had obvious reasons: Antony Blinken’s fiasco in Alaska left the Chinese disrespected and visibly irritated. This is not why they travelled all the way.
So then the State Department had the idea of sending Wendy Sherman instead. The US government actually needs China more than China needs the US. Sherman was in China to actually prepare the ground for Biden and a meeting between the two presidents, expecting a red carpet roll for Biden as if it’s still the 2000s — the time when it didn’t matter how the US behaved. Things did not go as expected.
Instead of red carpet talk, Sherman heard Dua Lipa’s “I got new rules”.
That’s right — the Chinese side outlined three bottom lines warning the US to respect its system, development and sovereignty and territorial integrity. In other words, China wants to be left alone.
The bottom lines were not phrased as red lines. This was not a military conflict warning. This was China’s message that if any future dialogue was to take place, China needs to be left alone. China accused the US of creating an “imaginary enemy”. I have written about it before — the US is looking for a new Cold War but it doesn’t know how to start and the problem is that the other side actually holds all the cards.
That’s why the US relies on good old militarism with an expansion into the Indo-Pacific, while aligning everyone against China but expecting the red carpet and wanting all else in the financial and economic domains to stay the same. The problem is that the US can no longer sell this because there are no buyers. Europeans also don’t want to play along.
The headlines on the meeting in the US press are less flattering than usual. If the US is serious about China policy it has to be prepared to listen to much more of that in the future. And perhaps to, yes, sit down and be humble.
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