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U.S. Judge Urges Supreme Court to End U.S. Police State It Imposes

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This article reports important news-events that are not being reported in America’s mainstream news-media and that are crucial for understanding both the murder of George Floyd and the current U.S. Presidential contest:

A black U.S. District Court Judge in Mississippi — one of America’s most bigoted-against-Blacks states — issued on August 4th a 72-page decision, Jamison v. McClendon, containing a plea for the U.S. Supreme Court to discontinue its imposition of police legal immunity when police are being accused of — while on the job — having violated Constitutionally guaranteed rights of American citizens (such as by shooting innocent persons — such as George Floyd). Legally immune police is what defines a police state; and, so, this was a black judge’s request for the U.S. Supreme Court to end the existing police state it imposes in America — to end a police state that this judge attributed to (and which he documented to have been produced by) choices that the U.S. Supreme Court itself had made, and that only they therefore can possibly reverse. 

His basic point was that nothing which allows a public official to violate the U.S. Constitution is Constitutional, and that therefore these U.S. Supreme Court decisions themselves violate the U.S. Constitution, and should therefore be reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which created this situation of legal immunity for police misconduct. 

The decision by this judge, Carlton W. Reeves, asserted: “The Constitution says everyone is entitled to equal protection of the law — even at the hands of law enforcement. Over the decades, however, judges [at the U.S. Supreme Court] have invented a legal doctrine to protect law enforcement officers from having to face any consequences for wrongdoing. The doctrine is called ‘qualified immunity.’ In real life it operates like absolute immunity.” Because of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, he had to — in the particular case at hand that he was ruling on — grant a police officer’s “qualified immunity” from prosecution, regardless of what is Constitutional, or even justice in any meaningful sense. Implicitly, he is saying, in this ruling, that because of the existing legal tradition of stare decisis or adhering to existing juridical tradition — and especially of doing so when the prior rulings come from a higher court, most especially from the U.S. Supreme Court — he is required, in the present case, to issue a ruling that violates the U.S. Constitution itself. And so, he did that, he admits. This is an exceptionally bold ruling, far beyond what is normal. Basically, he says that in order for him not to be reversed on appeal, he had to rule against the U.S. Constitution, in the particular case that he was ruling on. He was pleading with the U.S. Supreme Court to end this, so that judges in the lower courts will be able to enforce — instead of compelled to violate — the Constitution.

This ruling by judge Reeves was extremely tactful, such as by its saying, “A review of our qualified immunity precedent makes clear that the Court [he pointedly didn’t say “the Supreme Court,” but that’s what he was actually referring to] has dispensed with any pretense of balancing competing values [meaning that only police are protected, their victims are not — the public is being jeopardized — by these decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court].” Then, Reeves went on to say, “Our courts [he was referring here to today’s U.S. Supreme Court] have shielded a police officer who shot a child while the officer was attempting to shoot the family dog.117.” That was a case which had been only recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, on June 15th, and which decision by this Supreme Court was ignored by the nation’s press, since that decision exposes how totalitarian this country has actually become. That Supreme Court decision, which (especially because of the recent headlines about the George Floyd murder case) should have been front-page news throughout the country, was instead hidden from the public by the ‘news’-media, though that decision — and the others which were similarly dismissed that day on the very same ground of “qualified immunity” of police officers — probably constituted the most important decision of the current Supreme Court term, and directly relate to the George Floyd case. That June 15th decision (now virtually a precedent protecting the murderer of George Floyd) ruled in a slew of cases that had been brought against police officers by their victims. This Supreme Court dismissed all of them, on the basis of this absurd court-precedent, which had been established in 1967, and which was further defined in 1982. It’s “qualified immunity”, and asserts that police are allowed to do anything to anyone unless Congress has passed a specific law against what they did, and in that law, has described and identified exactly the same circumstances that the claimant against the police is claiming had existed — each and every detail of it — in his/her specific case. It’s a Supreme-Court precedent, for a police state (unaccountable government-officials) to be ‘Constitutional’ in America, and this black judge in Mississippi was here essentially begging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the precedent that the 1967 Supreme Court had established (and which had been reaffirmed and worsened yet further, by the Supreme Court in 1982). It is horrific judge-made ‘law’ that is no real law but instead nothing but an extremely evil precedent, which today’s Supreme Court continues to impose; and judge Reeves expressed that he reluctantly is bound to follow it and therefore he pleads requesting the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse itself on this matter. 

The June 15th U.S. Supreme Court ruling had been dissented from by only a single member of today’s U.S. Supreme Court, and that person happens also to be its only black member: Clarence Thomas. All of the white members reaffirmed this police-state precedent. Ironically, Justice Thomas, who along with judge Alito is the farthest-rightwing member of the U.S. Supreme Court, dissented against the police on that occasion. And, of course, all of the Democratic-Party appointees to this Court (the Court’s liberals) voted for the police, against the public, in that June 15th ruling. Today’s Democratic Party is liberal Jim Crow. (The Republicans are conservative Jim Crow, which is closer to the 19th Century variety.) The Democratic Party’s nominee for the Presidency, Joe Biden, was one of the U.S. Senate’s leading segregationists, and he was condemned for it by Senator Ted Kennedy, the NAACP and others (though the U.S. ‘news’-media hid — and continue to hide — that fact, too).

I had headlined on June 20th about this June 15th ruling, “U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms U.S. Police State”. The Court in that decision had reaffirmed that America’s law-enforcement officers have this “qualified immunity” from prosecution, and so the Constitutional rights of Americans are effectively meaningless if the police abuse them. (As originally established in 1967, police have “qualified immunity” if they have acted “in good faith,” but since 1982 they posses this immunity even if they clearly did not.) 

As the libertarian lawyer Jay Schweikert put this matter on June 15th: “the Supreme Court let stand an Eleventh Circuit decision granting immunity to a police officer who shot a ten-year-old child in the back of the knee, while repeatedly attempting to shoot a pet dog that wasn’t threatening anyone.” The officer who had been accused in that particular case, Corbitt v. Vickers, was Deputy Sheriff Michael Vickers, of Coffee County, Georgia. He had been chasing a suspect, who happened to cross into the yard of Amy Corbitt, who at that time happened to be chatting with another adult, Damion Stewart. One of her children was referred to in the case as “SDC.” Here is how the lower court ruling stated the incident:

At some point after Vickers and the other officers entered Corbitt’s yard, the officers “demanded all persons in the area, including the children, to get down on the ground.” An officer handcuffed Stewart and placed a gun at his back. …  Then, “while the children were lying on the ground obeying [Vickers’s] orders … without necessity or any immediate threat or cause, [Vickers] discharged his firearm at the family pet named ‘Bruce’ twice.” The first shot missed, and Bruce (a dog) temporarily retreated under Corbitt’s home. No other efforts were made to restrain or subdue the dog, and no one appeared threatened by him. Eight or ten seconds after Vickers fired the first shot, the dog reappeared and was “approaching his owners,” when Vickers fired a second shot at the dog. This shot also missed the dog, but the bullet struck SDC in the back of his right knee.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Deputy Sheriff Michael Vickers. The case against Vickers was one in a batch of eight throughout the country challenging the existing court-precedent of “qualified immunity,” and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling dismissed all of them (“certeriori denied”) for the same reason: “qualified immunity” stands as-is — is valid as-is. (“Certeriori denied” means that at least five of the nine ‘Justices’ were satisfied with the existing legal precedents on the matter and with the appeals court’s application of those precedents to the given case — so: nothing gets changed. In this batch of 8 cases, 8 ‘Justices’ voted against accepting any of these 8 cases.) In each one of these cases, the appeals court had ruled in favor of the police officer, on the basis of his “qualified immunity.” And, so, 8 members of this Supreme Court approved of that. In other words: no matter how bad a police officer is, he has this legal immunity, and the only recourse that might be even possible is to reassign or maybe even fire him, if the Police Department decides to do so. Police officers are above the law, but they can be fired in some circumstances.

Here is how the Rutherford Institute, which backed all of these cases against the officers, phrased the officers’ argument in one of these cases:

Qualified immunity shielded the defendants’ actions from liability because Petitioner could not point to any factually identical case clearly establishing that law enforcement officials exceeded the scope of Petitioner’s consent to enter her home when they essentially destroyed her home. That reasoning sets an impossible standard. Because courts are free to advance to the ‘clearly established’ prong of the qualified immunity inquiry without first deciding threshold constitutional questions, it is unlikely that a body of case law with closely analogous factual circumstances will ever develop.

In other words: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that unless Congress will pass a new law which will specifically apply the 4th and the 14th Amendments so as to enable prosecution of law-enforcement officers who do the specific listed sorts of things that unequivocally are identified in such new statutes as being prohibited under those Amendments, America’s law-enforcement officers are free to continue doing these sorts of things and to avoid any sort of legal liability for having done them.

Attorney Schweikert headlined on June 15th “The Supreme Court’s Dereliction of Duty on Qualified Immunity”, and he wrote about the Court’s ruling:

It’s impossible to know for sure what motivated the Court to deny all of these petitions. But one possibility is that the Justices were looking closely at developments in Congress — where members of both the House and the Senate have introduced bills that would abolish qualified immunity — and decided to duck the question, hoping to pressure Congress to fix the Court’s mess. It is certainly encouraging that so many legislators have finally turned their attention to qualified immunity. But the mere fact that Congress can fix this mess doesn’t absolve the Supreme Court of its obligation to fix what it broke — the Court conjured qualified immunity out of nothing in the first place, and the Justices had both the authority and responsibility to correct their own blunders, no matter what happens in the legislature.

An evil that was introduced by the U.S. Supreme Court cannot be eliminated by the U.S. Congress and a good President. Nor can it be eliminated by successfully going through the lengthy and arduous process of passing a new Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. No matter what types of actions by law-enforcement officers would be specifically listed in any such new law or new Constitutional Amendment, it would fail. An arbitrary, basically evil, U.S. Supreme Court will always be able to place its imprimatur upon and validate new rationalizations for the police-state that they have been constructing in this country, especially after 9/11. (This particular evil, however, was introduced by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967, and has been and remains virtually ignored by the press since then, though it protects police officers in the George Floyd case and all other cases where police injure or kill innocent people. “Black Lives Matter” protesters get the news-coverage, but “qualified immunity” doesn’t, because this is where the rubber really hits the road and the power-structure would really be under threat — and they own the media, and the President, and Congress, who appoint and confirm new members to the U.S. Supreme Court.) 

Congress and the President can’t fix this, even if they wanted to; they can’t fix a problem that they didn’t themselves create; but Congress and the President can condemn and shame the Court — which they never do. Better yet, they can impeach and remove all of the sitting ‘Justices’ and replace them with decent people — such as Carleton Reeves. But each of this Court’s members was placed there by the Congresses, and by the Presidents. It’s an extremely vicious circle, and no part of it can fix other parts of it. (A good example of this is Joe Biden himself, the U.S. Senate’s leading northern segregationist, who also was the head of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, whose approval was needed by each new member of the U.S. Supreme Court. America’s press hides the reality, so that it can continue — they’ve even hidden, from the public, the fact that Biden was the most influential segregationist in the Democratic Party.)

This isn’t a failure ONLY by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is instead an expression of the American system as it now exists, and which failure renders the U.S. Constitution itself almost meaningless, especially as regards the rights of the people and the obligations of federal officials at all levels in the government. There is no accountability; there is only blame. And, as in any authoritarian system, all blame goes downward, and all praise goes upward. That’s the reality. It’s totalitarianism. The U.S. Constitution is by now just a string of words. America’s Founders are dead, gone, and no longer really even an influence. That’s the reality. Pretending otherwise (such as Schweikert does, who urges Congress to pass news laws in order to ‘solve’ this problem) won’t fix anything. Drastic changes are needed. And the American public has proven itself not up to the challenge, still refuses to face the reality. This is system-failure. And the public simply refuses to face it. It’s a nation of myths. There are Republican Party myths, and there are Democratic Party myths, but the worst myths of all are the bipartisan ones, which protect the people in power, of all  Parties. (Ultimately, the people in power in America are its billionaires. In effect, they own the Government.)

Judge Reeves happens to be a black Democrat in Mississippi (appointed in 2010 by the black Democrat, President Obama). He opened his decision by citing, as the reporter Madison Pauly phrased it, “19 killings of Black people at the hands of police before turning to the case before him, which involved a Black man, Clarence Jamison, who was subjected to a lengthy and humiliating traffic stop and search by a white police officer.” However, Reeves’s lengthy decision downplayed the racial aspect of the case before him, and even avoided the racial aspect in each of those 19 earlier cases, which he was citing against “qualified immunity” — the Supreme Court doctrine that Reeves was compelled to apply to the case-at-hand. Being tactful, Reeves didn’t want to overemphasize the fact that “qualified immunity” functions as a new type of Jim Crow law — no law at all, but only invented ‘law’, from the Supreme Court, that violates published statutes and even the U.S. Constitution. And, yet, the only judges who have forcefully dissented from “qualified immunity” are black ones, such as the Democrat Reeves, and the Republican Thomas. They don’t do it on account of their political Party, or even because of their ideology; they do it because they are Black, and because they have suffered or personally know people who suffer from the U.S. Government’s institutionalized (such as at the Supreme Court) racism — of which institutionalized racism, “qualified immunity” is a significant part.

In fact, Justice Reeves’s lengthy ruling is virtually a book about how gradually white racists — first, Democrats in the states of the Confederacy, and then increasingly in both Parties and throughout the entire country — have taken over and made ‘law’ from and by the Supreme Court, whenever the electorate itself isn’t willing to go quite that far into White-supremacy and vote for overtly racist candidates. It’s a brief, but fully documented, book about how the Confederacy has increasingly become the system of Government over the entirety of the United States (such as it is in regard to “qualified immunity” — a nominally non-racial precedent). 

The August 4th ruling by Reeves was well discussed in an article by Matt Agorist, on August 16th, “Federal Judge Makes Radical Move to End Qualified Immunity for Bad Cops, Nationally”. A good description of the “qualified immunity” concept itself is here.

Currently, the phrase “American justice” is simply oxymoronic. Such a thing doesn’t exist, though some people are lucky and therefore think it does.

Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture

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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America’s Two-Tiered Justice System

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The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. These words have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of government must operate within the law and provide fair procedures to all its citizens.

In this politically divisive climate, the central promise has been broken with little to no assurance that one can trust the American democratic system where some courts have disavowed their responsibility to uphold the Constitution’s meaning of the laws passed by Congress. For instance, the Bill of Rights was passed because of concepts such as freedom of religion, speech, equal treatment, and due process of law were all deemed so fundamental to protect every legal resident in the nation; yet we are now witnessing politically charged judicial appointments eradicating these principles under which all persons and entities are accountable to equally enforce and independently adjudicate, as well as being consistent with international human rights.

On the heels of the Chinese coronavirus, there is an escalating epidemic of unequal justice and character assault where much of the news media is politically aligned with the rulers in turning a blind eye or complicit in the coverup; and in some cases, ravenously endorses the demise of what has essentially now become political dissidents falsely accused, intimidated, and jailed. While many Americans are attempting to scrape by in difficult times, they remain astute to the moral failure of the elites in power as well as the tacit elected opposition’s assiduous silence in whitewashing the legal duplicity. Historical trends over centuries of betraying the peasants eventually succumbs to a reckoning where the privileged corrupt politician and their corporate fascists will be exposed and held accountable in some fashion.  

Americans are confounded by the coronavirus decrees requiring masks to be worn for thee and not for me double standards. The politicians hammer away at enforcing mask mandates on the common folk, yet they do not adhere to their own edicts while attending fine dining with their elite backers. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Californian Governor Gavin Newsome, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot all violated their own mask mandates in public venues while the masked servants waited on them.

President Biden was caught on video walking maskless through a swanky Washington restaurant in violation of the District’s laws on facial coverings, yet regular citizens are subject to civil penalties which result in fines of $1000.00 or revocation of licenses during the COVID-19 emergency. In defending the emperor, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said we should ‘not overly focus on moments in time that don’t reflect overarching policy.’ These double standard by the progressives are a far cry from Americans being punished and ostracized all over the country for not wearing a mask.

Identity politics has resulted in two systems of justice – one where BLM rioting and looting is described by the media as peaceful demonstrations and where assaulting police has no criminal consequences; yet the January 6th actions at the Capital has resulted in the largest round up of protesters ever seen in America. It is estimated that the Federal Government has upwards to 70 rioters/trespassers in solitary confinement and they are only let out in a larger area for one hour at 2 am due to COVID. Some of those being held in detention have been charged with trespassing on restricted grounds, others with assault and obstruction, and some haven’t been charged with anything. There are no bail hearings for these political activists yet BLM and Antifa rioters typically spend one night in the brig and let out the next day to rejoin the frontlines of carnage.  

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vocally pushed for the January 6th ‘insurrectionists’ to be added to the TSA no-fly list. Civil liberties are being trampled by exploiting insurrection fears with people in attendance no longer permitted to take a flight in their own country and they have not been convicted of a crime. This action by the government had previously only happened to suspect foreign terrorists, and now it is happening to Americans under suspicion. We see no similar actions taken against the militant Antifa anarchists who attacked and torched federal buildings in Portland.

Washington DC has essentially been abusing these inmates in captivity. There have been complaints on the nourishment of their fellow Americans where they are served white bread and a packet of tartar sauce. This is ultimately a violation of the 8th Amendment that prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, nor cruel and unusual punishments, and from inflicting unduly harsh penalties. Some judges are expressing concern at the length of these pretrial incarcerations, however they’ve largely deferred to the Justice Department. Meanwhile anarchists who burn down buildings and shoot projectiles at police officers and federal buildings have charges dismissed. Justice is not equal.   

One female trespasser was shot dead by police during the Capital unrest and there was no outcry or charges against the officer. She was white and a Trump supporter. Federal prosecutors are not seeking criminal charges against the police lieutenant whose single shot killed Ashli Babbit, the 14-year veteran who served four tours with the US Airforce. If the unarmed Babbit committed any crime, it would have been for trespassing, a misdemeanor that should have seen her arrested and not slain. The lieutenant’s life was not at risk nor was he saving the lives of others as he stood with numerous police officers in riot gear and strapped with submachine guns. If a member of BLM was shot dead by police during an unlawful riot, there would have been an immediate racial outcry from political elites and from across the news media for justice followed by looting local retailers and ransacking a police precinct. The action by BLM is considered righteous violence whereas the slain Babbit had it coming to her.  

On a very disturbing and new level of injustice is the threatening actions being taken against parents of schoolchildren by the Department of Justice. Most Americans are familiar with the Patriot Act following 9-11 where the National Security Division conducts counterterrorism operations against foreign adversaries planning suicide bombings and stealing nuclear secrets. Now the Biden Administration, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, has turned the NSD’s crosshairs against everyday Americans conducting their civil duties and free speech as school board meetings.

Garland’s actions followed the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) claim that American public schools and its education leaders are under immediate threats and intimidation as parents grow frustrated over the divisive neo-Marxist Critical Race Theory being injected into their children’s curricula. This is clearly an injustice to weaponize the DOJ and FBI investigators to intimidate and arrest parents under the same counterespionage to that of Al Qaeda and ISIS. Parents may be angry, but they are certainly not domestic terrorists in taking on the powerfully partisan school unions who somehow believe they are justified to influence civilization by indoctrinating their children.        

Garland’s poster boy for his hideous partisan support of the NSBA is a Virginia father who was arrested at a school board meeting when he attempted to raise the alarm over his young daughter being raped in the school washroom. The father became the symbol of angry parents confronting school officials when he was taken down by several police officers and apprehended for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He became vocally upset when school officials denied the attack on his daughter, but he was not physically confrontational.

The father said it is scary that our government will weaponize themselves against parents and they’re using my video across the nation to spread fear; while the school officials did not seem to want to listen to him regarding his daughter being assaulted by a boy wearing a skirt who took advantage of transgender rules to access the girl’s washroom. The boy has now been charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio related to the incident at that school. At a later date, the same boy was charged for a similar attack at neighboring school where he allegedly forced a victim into an empty classroom where he held her against her will and inappropriately touched her.  Regardless of the raped daughter, Garland and the NSBA still have their video of the father being wrestled down to support the use of the FBI against parents and send a chilling effect on harmless dissent.  

The Russian collusion narrative against then President Donald Trump may seem dated, however it can never be swept aside or forgotten in what may well have been the biggest political scandal and injustice to a man in American history. The country endured four years investigating Russian collusion into the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 presidential win with senate and congressional impeachment hearings over a Clinton-paid-for fake dossier, the biased Obama hatchet men overseeing the FBI and CIA shirking the law, a frenzied media that never let up on Trump’s guilt, and a special counsel comprised of Clinton partisans that turned over every leaf that eventually found the nearly crucified Trump to be innocent of the false charges. The former president had to withstand an incessant blitzkrieg of injustice through his entire presidency while leading the most powerful country in the world.   

On the hand, there is compelling evidence that President Joe Biden spent years while in government enriching himself through family ties, specifically his son Hunter, to the tune of millions of dollars in foreign money from China, Russia, and Ukraine. The foreign players simply used the unqualified son to leverage access to Biden while satisfying Hunter’s greed and questionable lifestyle. Biden has little to no ability to stand up to China or Russia knowing they are holding damaging transactions over his head. There have been no investigations into Biden’s quid-pro-quo against Ukraine or the transfer of tens of millions of dollars to Biden family members, no impeachments, and the news media buried these stories; including damaging information found on Hunter’s laptop during the 2020 presidential election. Had Trump and his sons engaged in these activities, there would have been a very different level of justice.   

What of this injustice that is making its mark on history? If we take a moment to think through the confusion of the moment and see the morale issue involved, then one may refuse to have this sense of justice distorted to grip power rather than for the good of the country. Those who have sown this unjust wind may eventually reap a whirlwind that provokes reform by convulsion of the people instead of a natural order of business. We must all remember that democracy lies with the people of this land and whether the nation will be stirred to stand for justice and freedom in this hour of distress and go on to finish in a way worthy of its beginning.  

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Biden’s Department of Justice: parents as domestic terrorists

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In recent developments in the United States, US Attorney General, Merrick Garland, and the FBI have put under the FBI radar parents as potential domestic terrorists. You heard it right. This is now a new formal legal policy contained in memos of the Department of Justice trying to reign in parents discussions on Biden’s new school curricula. They are not going after potential outbursts but outright terrorism. 

This is an attack on freedom of speech in the sense that parents have the right to discuss and disagree with the new Biden school curricula. This is where the issue originated: parts of Biden’s new school curricula are not accepted by many parents and if they disagree, the FBI treats them now as potential domestic terrorists as a matter of policy. Apart from a First Amendment case, this is also a case for international human rights law and I reported the development to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of speech this week hoping to get a statement.

The Department of Justice is referring to some constitutional provision on “intimidation of views” to override and take down one of the most firmly established rights, the right to freedom of speech, in quite frankly a ridiculous interpretation. Those parents that dare to speak up against controversial parts in the new text books could be investigated for domestic terrorism. This is the most incompetent interpretation on limitations of freedom of speech I have seen in awhile. 

Garland and the FBI have totally lost their marbles. The woke discussion is not funny to me anymore. It increasingly looks like a woke tyranny that has nothing to do with rights and equality anymore but simply serves as a vehicle to empower the FBI to run wild against regular people. This lunacy needs to be stopped.

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Iran poll contains different messages for Biden and Raisi

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“It’s the economy, stupid.” That is the message of a just-published survey of Iranian public opinion.

However, the substance of the message differs for newly elected hardline Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the Biden administration as Mr. Raisi toughens his negotiating position and the United States grapples with alternative ways of curbing the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme should the parties fail to agree on terms for the revival of the 2015 international agreement.

Iranians surveyed last month by Iran Poll and the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies were telling Mr. Raisi that they are looking to him to alleviate Iran’s economic and other problems and have little hope that a revived nuclear agreement will make the difference, given lack of trust in US and European compliance with any agreement reached.

The Iranians polled seemed in majority to endorse some form of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s notion of a “resistance economy” as a way of blunting the impact of the US sanctions imposed by former President Donald J. Trump after he walked away from the nuclear agreement in 2018. Some 65 per cent of the responders said they favoured a self-sufficient economy; 54.2 per cent expected the economy to at least improve somewhat in the next three years.

A large number expressed confidence that Mr. Raisi would significantly lower inflation and unemployment, increase Iran’s trade with other countries, control the pandemic and root out corruption.

Meanwhile, 63 per cent suggested that Iran’s economic situation would be the same, if not better, if there were no return to the agreement and the government continued to pursue a civil nuclear programme. The figure seemed at odds with the 80 per cent who said Iran’s economic situation would improve if Iran and the United States returned to the agreement and both fulfilled their obligations under the deal.

The divergence may be a function of the fact that the poll, unsurprisingly, indicated that Iranians (64.7 per cent) had little trust in the United States living up to its commitments even though they expected the Biden administration to return to the deal (57.9 per cent). As a result, 73.1 per cent of those surveyed said Iran should not make concessions given that world powers would not live up to commitments they make in return.

At the same time, 63 per cent blamed the troubled state of the economy on domestic mismanagement rather than US sanctions. Only 34.4 per cent believed that the sanctions were the main cause of their economic difficulty. Iranians pointing the finger at the government rather than external forces was also reflected in the 60.5 per cent of those polled blaming Iran’s water shortages on mismanagement and bad policies.

The poll suggested that by emphasising domestic mismanagement, Iranians were going to judge Mr. Raisi on his success or failure in countering the debilitating effect of the sanctions even though 77.5 per cent of those surveyed said that the sanctions had a negative or somewhat negative impact on the economy.

Implicitly, Iranians were holding former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responsible for the mismanagement given that Mr. Raisi only took office in August. Rated very favourable by 61.2 per cent of Iranians surveyed in 2015, Mr. Rouhani’s favorability dropped to 4.6 per cent in the most recent poll. By contrast, the favourable views of Mr. Raisi soared from 38.3 per cent in 2014 to 77 per cent last month. IranPoll and the Center have been conducting annual of surveys since 2014.

Mr. Raisi may have taken pleasure from that but more importantly, the poll implicitly suggested that he does not have much time to produce results before his significant public support starts to wane.

Of those polled, 66.7 per cent expected Mr. Raisi to improve Iran’s international standing, 55.7 per cent said he would be in a better position to negotiate with world powers, and 45.2 per cent predicted that he would enhance Iran’s security. Those expectations may have been to some degree validated in the public’s mind by last month’s acceptance of Iran’s application for membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that groups China, Russia, India, Pakistan and several Central Asian states.

The survey results seemed to suggest that ordinary Iranians were framing their message to the United States differently from the assessment of prominent scholars and analysts. The divergence may well be one primarily of timing but nonetheless has implications for policymaking in Washington. The message of the respondents to the poll was one of immediate impact while analysts and scholars appear to be looking at the middle term.

Without referring to the poll, Vienna-based economist and strategic consultant Bijan Khajehpour argued this week, seemingly contrary to the poll, that “mismanagement and the Covid-19 pandemic have both contributed to Iran’s poor economic performance in recent years, but it remains that US sanctions…will be the key factor in determining Iran’s future prospects.”

Mr. Khajehpour went on to say that “high inflation, capital flight and the erosion of household purchasing power alongside mismanagement of resources and the deterioration of the country’s infrastructure have the potential to spark more protests and further undermine the already faltering legitimacy of the Islamic Republic in the eyes of the public.”

No doubt, the jury is out on how Iranians respond if and when Mr. Raisi fails to live up to their expectations. If the past is any indication, Iranians have repeatedly taken to the streets at often substantial risk to liberty and life to make their discontent with government performance evident as they did with the low turnout in this year’s election that brought Mr. Raisi to power.

The risk of renewed protests was reflected in the fact that responses to various questions regarding the electoral system, the limited number of presidential candidates (because many were barred from running), and the public health system showed that it was often a slim majority at best that expressed confidence in the system.

Add to that the fact that 68 per cent of respondents to the poll said that the objectives of past protests had been a demand that officials pay greater attention to people’s problems.

Yet, at the same time, they were telling the United States that its efforts to generate pressure on Iranian leaders to moderate their nuclear and regional policies by imposing harsh sanctions had for now backfired. Iranians were backing a tougher negotiating position by the Raisi government.

Ultimately that could be a double-edged sword for Mr. Raisi. He has to prove that he can be tough on the United States and simultaneously improve the lives of ordinary Iranians. Failure to do so could have in Mr. Khajehpour’s words “unpredictable consequences.”

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Human Rights29 mins ago

No safe harbour: lifting the lid on a misunderstood trafficking crime

The crime of harbouring, in which victims of human trafficking are accommodated or forced to stay in a specific location,...

Religion2 hours ago

Why specific Muslim community bothering Indian BJP government

India, a place with a strong political history governed and ruled by Muslims and colonial powers during their regime setup....

EU Politics5 hours ago

Conditions worsen for stranded migrants along Belarus-EU border

At least eight people have died along the border between Belarus and the European Union, where multiple groups of asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants have been...

Reports6 hours ago

Renewable Energy Jobs Reach 12 Million Globally

Renewable energy employment worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.5 million in 2019, according to the eighth edition...

Africa Today8 hours ago

Madagascar: Severe drought could spur world’s first climate change famine

More than one million people in southern Madagascar are struggling to get enough to eat, due to what could become the first famine...

South Asia10 hours ago

Bangladesh violence exposes veneer of Indo-Bangladesh bonhomie

Protests in Chittagong, Comilla and elsewhere left 10 dead, besides loss of property. The protests were sparked over an allegation...

East Asia12 hours ago

Importance of peace in Afghanistan is vital for China

There are multiple passages from Afghanistan to China, like Wakhan Corridor that is 92 km long, stretching to Xinjiang in...

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