U.S. President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is one of America’s top artists. That means he has become able to sell his paintings to the largest number of America’s richest people at the highest prices: his artistic patrons are millionaires, centi-millionaires, and billionaires, who know that the Biden Family operation splits its money among all of its members, including the “Big Guy”, U.S. President Joe Biden, who could benefit when such a buyer pays money to Hunter for a painting. They operate as a family business (or, actually, businesses), and everybody (including “the ‘Big Guy’,” and including “H” or Hunter, and also James Biden, Joe’s brother) gets a cut in it. This fact was reported by the Wall Street Journal, on 23 October 2020, whose sources were the corporation’s CEO (Bobulinski), who owned half, and “corporate documents reviewed by the Journal.” However, the American “true”/“false” news-rating firm PolitiFact dismissed that report, by alleging “there is no smoking gun” because “Credible news organizations have found no evidence to corroborate Bobulinski’s claims about a role in the proposed venture for Joe Biden. Joe Biden’s financial documents show no indication of any income related to the venture.” PolitiFact implicitly didn’t consider the WSJ a “credible news organization.” (They didn’t explain why.) However, the WSJ had not made any claim that Joe Biden — or anyone else — had profited, at all, from this particular corporation, SinoHawk Holdings, which was only one of a number of such ventures (such as Rosemont Seneca, which was involved with Ukraine’s Burisma Holdings) in which enterprise Hunter Biden partnered with his father, and father’s brother Jim, as well as with Biden friends. There was no follow-up by the press on the matter of Hunter Biden’s apparent influence-peddling (such as about Britain’s Daily Mail having reported, on 17 December 2020, that “Bobulinski revealed an email sent from Hunter Biden to Ye in June of 2017 in which he sends Ye his ‘best wishes from the entire Biden family’” — including, of course, the U.S. President). But federal authorities have copied the contents of at least one of Hunter Biden’s laptops, and know all the email and documents that were on it, and yet the press (other than Britain’s Daily Mail) shunned any evidence, anywhere, that might go beyond what Bobulinski and “corporate documents” had disclosed to the WSJ. All liberal ‘news’-media (and most conservative ones) shunned any such investigations. (There are no mainstream progressive U.S. news-media; and, therefore, liberal and conservative ones are pretty much the entire media-spectrum in the U.S./UK empire.)
Other such similar matters have likewise been ignored by most of the billionaires-controlled U.S. and UK press; but a few conservative, pro-Republican-Party, billionaires have had their media look further into Hunter Biden’s influence-peddling. And, now, influence-peddling is being carried out in — and corrupting — the high-end contemporary art market, as will soon be described here.
Influence-peddling has been prominent among aristocracies for thousands of years. There’s nothing unusual about the Bidens regarding this. But, before describing the way it’s being carried out now in the high-end art market, a few more examples about the Bidens’ doing it in the fields of finance will show more of the basic pattern that’s now being applied in art-sales:
To start with, as published by the Republican billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper N.Y. Post on 15 October 2020 under the headline “Emails reveal how Hunter Biden tried to cash in big on behalf of family with Chinese firm”, a 2 August 2017 email on Hunter Biden’s computer, emailed from him to Gongwen Dong and copied to Mervyn Yan Yan stated:
My Understanding is that the original agreement with the Director was for consulting fees based on introductions alone a rate of $10M per year for a three year guarantee total of $30M. The chairman changed that deal after we me[t] in MIAMI TO A MUCH MORE LASTING AND LUCRATIVE ARRANGEMENT to create a holding company 50% owned by ME and 50% by him. Consulting fees is one piece of our income stream but the reason this proposal by the chairman was so much more interesting to me and my family is that we would also be partners in the equity and profits of the JV [Joint Venture]’s investments. Hence I assumed the reason for our discussion today in which you made clear that the Chairman would first get his investment capital returned in the profits would be split 50/50. If you [are] saying this is not the case then please return us to the original deal $10M per year a guaranteed 3 years plus bonus payments for any successful deal we introduce. let’s discuss thank you
That is clearly influence-peddling.
Then, as published in the UK Conservative Party’s billionaire Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere’s newspaper Daily Mail, on 10 December 2020, under the headline “Revealed: Hunter Biden raked in $6M in just nine months from Chinese business dealings – and that doesn’t include the 2.8 carat-diamond he got as a gift”, it opened with a summary:
• Hunter Biden raked in $6m over nine months from his Chinese business dealings according to a timeline of his affairs which goes into unprecedented detail
• Joe Biden’s son was involved with a series of transactions which were flagged for ‘potential financial criminal activity’, a Senate report has revealed
• The payments began days after Hunter sent his infamous email to one associate in 2017 talking about money for ‘the big guy’ and deals for ‘me and my family’
• The money included a $5m payment from a Chinese energy company with ties to the Communist party
• He also made $1m for work with an associate who was later jailed for bribery
• The report concludes that Hunter’s business associates were ‘linked to the Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army’
• The Senate report focuses on Hunter’s work for Chinese company CEFC China Energy to invest in US energy projects
• CEFC’s founder and former chairman Ye Jianming gave Hunter a 2.8-carat diamond after a business meeting in Miami, CNN has reported
Their article continued:
The payments began days after Hunter sent his infamous email to one associate in 2017 talking about money for ‘the big guy’ and deals for ‘me and my family’.
The report concludes that Hunter’s business associates were ‘linked to the Communist government and the People’s Liberation Army’.
It states: ‘Those associations resulted in millions of dollars in cash flow’.
The report prepared by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, which was first reported by Fox News, comes as Hunter revealed that authorities in Delaware are investigating his tax affairs. …
According to Politico, [in an excellent article covering many different apparently corrupt business deals that Hunter and his family have participated in and that the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland ought to have launched investigations into] federal prosecutors in Washington and New York are also looking into possible securities fraud and money laundering by the troubled 50-year-old, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction.
The Senate report focuses on Hunter’s work for Chinese company CEFC China Energy to invest in US energy projects.
These matters are highly relevant to Hunter’s high art prices, because buying a painting from an influence-peddler is one possible way to buy influence.
For example: let’s say that a particular painting by Hunter Biden is worth, to be generous about it, $5,000, but that a billionaire who wants some decision from the White House to go in a certain way is paying $500,000 for it. This would be a $495,000 advance-payment for the decision to go that way; and, if the President then decides to go a different way on that decision, then the President might lose $5,000,000 in campaign-donations from that buyer during the next campaign-cycle. And, maybe, on the opposite side of the gamble, if the President’s decision instead goes the way that the purchaser has been wanting, that buyer will end up tens-of-millions dollars richer as a result of this $495,000 advance-payment to the President’s son. So: a President, in retirement, can become a very wealthy person, by having sold-out the American public, to the highest bidders. This has become ‘democracy’, in today’s America. It’s aristocracy instead.
On 8 July 2021, Britain’s Telegraph, which is owned by the Conservative twin aristocratic brothers, the Barclays, bannered “The Art of the Deal: Is a painting by Hunter Biden really worth $500,000?” and opened “White House ethics experts have expressed alarm at plans to sell paintings by Hunter Biden for up to half a million dollars each. The US president’s son has reinvented himself as an artist after a turbulent struggle with addiction.”
Then, on 22 September 2021, The Atlantic, which the neoliberal (libertarian) neoconservative (imperialist) (or now otherwise called simply “liberal”) Democratic Party billionheiress, Laurene Powell Jobs, owns, bannered “The Emerging Artistry of Hunter Biden: His upcoming solo show is a headache for the White House — and a window into the murky finances of the international art market”, and described the seedy arrangements that Hunter and the White House have made with the New York City art gallery that will be opening Hunter’s exhibition this month. Ms. Jobs takes advice from and highly respects David G. Bradley, the prior neoconservative owner of that and several other prominent American magazines.
Then, on October 5th, another Laureen-Powell-Jobs-backed magazine, Mother Jones headlined “Check Out These Exclusive Pics From Hunter Biden’s Big LA Art Opening”, and reported:
On Friday night, at a pop-up event in Hollywood, Hunter Biden shared his artwork with the LA glitterati. In a big white room at Milk Studios, usually the site of photo or video shoots, 200 or so people gathered to experience the art of President Joe Biden’s son.
As has been previously reported, his gallerist, George Bergès, is looking to fetch between $75,000 and $500,000 a piece for Biden’s paintings.
Ms. Jobs is also a strong backer of current V.P. Kamala Harris, who is even more intensely neoconservative (pro-imperialist, pro-military-industrial complex) than is Joe Biden, and therefore Harris received backing from even more billionaires during the 2020 Democratic Party Presidential primaries than Joe Biden did. Neoconservative Democratic-Party billionaires generally want Harris to be the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate in 2024. They therefore want Biden not to run again. Ms. Jobs is now perhaps the top kingmaker in the Democratic Party, and maybe she wants Kamala Harris to be the Party’s nominee in 2024.
Then, On October 6th, Britain’s Daily Mail (which had been the only mainstream news-medium to have published, on 11 August 2021, lots of photos and other information from Hunter’s own computers, showing him naked with prostitutes and using cusswords while conversing with them) headlined “EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Biden is seen hanging out with star-studded potential buyers of his half-million-dollar art at LA’s Milk Studios debut show, despite White House claims he will have no idea who is buying his pieces”. It opened by reporting:
Hunter Biden made his professional debut on Friday at his first art exhibition in Hollywood, California, DailyMail.com can reveal
His paintings were showcased at Milk Studios to 200 guests including Sugar Ray Leonard, Moby, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the artist behind the Obama ‘hope’ poster
Other notable artist guests were British performer Millie Brown and LA-born Gary Baseman – famed for his ABC/Disney animated series Teachers Pet
A writer who attended the exhibition told DailyMail.com the crowd appeared ‘conservatively wealthy and would look to be buying the work’
The event had raised ethics concerns after the president’s son’s paintings were priced at $75,000 to half a million dollars
The White House claims they are avoiding any ethical conflict by ensuring neither the president nor Hunter will know the identity of the buyers
The LA exhibition – hosted by gallerist Georges Bergès – was one of two art shows Hunter’s work will be featured in this fall
Rupert Murdoch’s N.Y. Post bannered, on October 9th, “Art gallery repping Hunter Biden received $500K federal COVID loan, records show” and reported that,
A federal COVID loan to the art gallery repping Hunter Biden more than doubled after his father took office, records show.
The Georges Berges Gallery initially received a $150,000 COVID “disaster assistance loan” from the Small Business Administration last year, according to public records.
But the loan was recently “revised,” with the SBA approving a further $350,000 to the SoHo gallery this summer, records show. …
All tolled, $580,000 in taxpayer-funded COVID relief aid was doled out to a gallery with only two employees, according to SBA records. …
While there is no evidence President Biden helped secure the additional $350,000 loan, a watchdog group found that of the more than 100 galleries in New York City’s 10th congressional district, which includes SoHo, TriBeCa and Chelsea, the Georges Berges Gallery received “by far” the largest SBA disaster loan windfall.
It’s so easy to become rich in America if you’re in business with ‘the right people’.
Joe Biden is, to the Democratic Party, what Donald Trump was to the Republican Party — not its billionaires’ #1 choice for the U.S. Presidency, but an acceptable choice to them. Whereas Republican billionaires’ #1 choice was Ted Cruz, and they settled on Donald Trump in order to beat Hillary Clinton, Democratic billionaires’ #1 choice was Pete Buttigieg, and they settled on their #5 choice Biden in order to stop Bernie Sanders’s Presidential campaign. Not even a single one of America’s approximately 700 billionaires donated to Sanders, who was the most progressive of the candidates.
And, of course, billionaires and centi-millionaires are also the most sought-after customers for works of art. Hunter Biden knows the ropes in America’s high-end art market because he’s one of America’s aristocrats (despite his family’s not having yet gotten into the billionaire-class, the top class in the aristocracy). The Biden family is working its way up, in today’s American ‘democracy’. This is called “capitalism,” isn’t it? Or, is it, instead, fascism — a capitalist dictatorship, instead of any longer being a capitalist democracy? After all, America now spends approximately half of the entire world’s military expenditures, and since 1945 has done more coups and foreign invasions and military occupations than any other nation in all of the world’s history has done. And the U.S. also has a higher percentage of its residents in prisons than does any other nation on the planet. How can a nation like that NOT be a fascist regime — a capitalist imperialistic regime? (Such regimes used to be called empires, or simply imperialistic aristocracies.) Has its propaganda been fooling people?
In a country like this, the billionaires control both of the major Parties; and, whereas most Democrats view Republican politicians as being corrupt, and most Republicans view Democratic politicians as being corrupt, the truth is, instead, that the likelihood of a successful politician of either Party being not corrupt is about as probable as would be to find snow in hell. This isn’t really about the Biden clan (nor about the Trump clan); it is, instead, about today’s America: it’s simply the way that an imperialist capitalistic regime works. When has an empire NOT been corrupt? Never. It can’t function without being corrupt.
America’s Two-Tiered Justice System
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.
Biden’s Department of Justice: parents as domestic terrorists
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.
Iran poll contains different messages for Biden and Raisi
“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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