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The Mother of All Bombs: U.S. Foreign Policy

The Mother of All Bombs: U.S. Foreign Policy

Published at CounterPunch onFebruary 6, 2019

Following the horrific destruction left in the wake of World War II, the United Nations in its seminal and founding document, the Charter of the United Nations, set out to prevent future wars among member nations. The Charter’s admonition against war was also voiced in the lessons learned from the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals in its condemnation of war: “starting or waging a war against a territorial integrity, political independence or sovereignty of a state, or violation of international treaties or agreements.” are crimes against peace and “makes all war crimes possible.”

The few and the wealthy of many nations are no longer constrained by rules that categorize civilized and enlightened behavior toward other nations such as Venezuela and Iran. They’ve had many nations in their crosshairs and have met with much “success.” Their attacks against Venezuela’s sovereignty are the final nail in the coffin of the endless wars, and the preparation for war, that are now all the rage among the sycophants of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Venezuela is absolutely no threat to the U.S., and therefore, the U.N. Charter prohibits the kinds of dangerous and lethal idiocy that the Trump administration is now orchestrating against Venezuela. Readers need to consider that presidents are viewed in a positive light when they are seen as acting in a presidential manner, i.e., threaten or incite war against other nations. Recall the popularity of the newly elected Trump when he ordered the use of the mother of all bombs against Afghanistan. The bipartisan talking heads in the U.S. loved that theatre (“Trump Drops The Mother Of All Bombs On Afghanistan,” New Yorker, April 14, 2017).

Even billionaire Michael Bloomberg got in on the act of Venezuela bashing in his attacks against mild reformers of the political system like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren:
To plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, Sanders is a “demagogue” preaching “unreason,” while Sen. Elizabeth (D-Mass.) will transform the United States into a “non-capitalistic” system where “people are starving to death,” like “Venezuela” (“What The Left Gets Wrong About Bernie Sanders And Elizabeth Warren,” Huffington Post, January 31, 2019).

Critics of Nicolas Maduro’s government are right to point out that some of the blame of the current state of domestic affairs in Venezuela is attributable to Maduro’s handling of dissent among ordinary Venezuelans. Additional responsibility is undeniable in that the Venezuelan economy has not diversified to the extent that could have offset the declining price of oil. But, these serious failings do not rise to the level of the attacks against Venezuela by those with power and wealth and their errand “boys” who want a one-dimensional political and economic world where their wildest whims of power and control go unchallenged.

The mass media have been the biggest and most vocal cheerleaders of regime change in Venezuela. Following upon the heels of Russia bashing from mass media outlets such as MSNBC, the New York Times and the Guardian have made Juan Guaido the poster boy of their own agendas in support of the few and the wealthy: “Si puede! (“Yes we can!”) shouts rapturous crowd at Juan Guaido rally,” (January 31, 2019). Quickly forgotten is the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq, based on lies that turned that nation into a quagmire of sectarian hatreds and civil war.

Will Maduro be dragged through the streets in the manner of Muammar Gaddafi (a scoundrel in his own right) following the U.S.-led bombing campaign that turned that nation (Libya) into yet another quagmire? The Trump administration has Cuba and Nicaragua next on its hit list with absolutely no basis. The rules of war specify that a direct threat must be established before any aggressive actions are taken against sovereign nations. No direct threats exist! We seem to have learned next to nothing from history and are condemned to repeat the egregious and lethal mistakes of the past! And why not, they’re big money producers for some.

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer.

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The Right and Neoliberals Get Away With Murder Because They Can

Women’s March, January 21, 2017. Photo credit: Howard Lisnoff

Kavanaugh and Trump Photo credit: journallaband.com

The Right and Neoliberals Get Away With Murder Because They Can

Published at CounterPunch on October 10, 2018

Every time that the Trump administration or the Congress take another egregious position, or enact some inhumane new distortion of what it means to inhabit a livable world, the emails and text messages arrive in masses.

And here’s the kicker, readers: It all has made such a small difference that it appears to those who still hold on to the crumbs of rationality and reason like a grand waste of time. The Internet gives the impression that by signing some petition, or belonging to some Internet-based groups, that change can actually come about. Defeat follows upon the heels of yet another defeat and a new batch of online petitions appear. What an absolute delusion!

As for mass demonstrations, they achieve just about the same results. Look at the recent debacle of the Supreme Court. Millions marched on the streets for women’s rights and the result is just about less than nothing. Misogyny is accepted by a significant number of people. No one marches anymore for peace, except small groups of atomized people, and we get an annual military budget exceeding $700 billion. The war in Afghanistan is now 17-years-old and it has all of the trappings of privatization on its doorstep and on its land. Erik Prince, the founder of the mercenary company formally known as Blackwater, has a presence in this war that largely goes unreported in the mass media. When Barack Obama ordered a drone strike that killed 16-year-old American citizen, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, in Yemen while he was eating dinner, almost nobody gave a damn. The environment, the single greatest existential threat, similarity attracts small groups that will take great risks to their freedom, and the result is that the entire ecosystem is tanking. The lists do go on. The antinuclear group Plowshares takes demonstrative action against the obscenity of nuclear proliferation (including the so-called modernization of nuclear weapons arsenals) and the sentences handed down to protesters are draconian. The message: Don’t mess with profits, private property, or endless wars. Those folks, the protesters, survive only because they have a community from which to seek and receive sustenance, while the rest of us have shopping malls and the Internet.

Once, during the Vietnam antiwar movement, people took big risks to fight for freedom. Most were young, and although self-interest played some part in our actions on the streets, we had youth and ideals on our side. Even though public opinion was always against us, we brought a hideous war of mass aggression and mass murder to an end.

Now, despite huge rallies for popular liberal candidates for office, many of the young don’t even bother to go out and vote. Voting, in and of itself, is only one way to bring about some limited measure of change. Here are the Census Bureau’s May 2017 statistics about who voted in 2016 (“Voting in America: A Look at the 2016 Presidential Election”):

Voting rates have also historically varied according to age, with older Americans generally voting at higher rates than younger Americans. In 2016, this was once again the case, as citizens 65 years and older reported higher turnout (70.9 percent) than 45- to 64-year-olds (66.6 percent), 30- to 44-year-olds (58.7 percent) and 18- to 29-year-olds (46.1 percent). However, in 2016, young voters ages 18 to 29 were the only age group to report increased turnout compared to 2012, with a reported turnout increase of 1.1 percent. All older age groups either reported small yet statistically significant turnout decreases (45- to 64-year-olds and those age 65 and older) or turnout rates not statistically different from 2012 (30- to 44-year-olds).

While 46.1 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds voted in 2016, a slight increase from the 2012 election, they are at the lowest end of all voting age groups, so while it appears that they turn out in great numbers at political rallies, etc., when the shoe leather meets the ground in various ways, they’re just not there and if the young are not there to force change at a critical mass, then the show is over. Seventy-year-olds don’t generally make revolutions, and if people cannot even be relied upon to do something as simple as voting, then what will those same people demand and how will they make demands in the face of catastrophes of all kinds?

An appeal to the young is not simply ageism in reverse, but a recognition of the essential fact that only some of those who are young have more energy and ideals.

Readers may want to take part in some simple action research next time they are on the streets, or on a campus, or in an elevator (a great place to view human behavior). It is the exception to find anyone in these situations without a cell phone in hand and head bowed in awe of the Internet.

Individual and group rights have been so diminished since 2001 that most don’t even know that a citizen of the U.S. can be killed without due process and the organized pushback against egregious violations of rights is weak.

It’s symbolically past midnight and we’re standing on the deck of the Titanic. It’s all so damn depressing!

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer.

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