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FAIL: Despite Media Alarm, Back-to-Back Gulf Hurricanes Have Happened Before

By Anthony Watts | Watts Up With That? | August 26, 2020

Over the past few days, there’s been a persistent media buzz over the National Hurricane Center’s prediction of two hurricanes to hit New Orleans. Jason Dunning, a TV meteorologist at NBC2 WBBH-TV in Fort Meyers, Florida posted on Facebook: “… it would be the first time in recorded history with two hurricanes in the gulf at the same time.

Needless to say, the post went viral. Now it appears his Facebook post has been removed.

And then there’s the ever-hyping CNN, which published the story ‘Unprecedented’ back-to-back hurricanes will target the same state, forcing evacuations in Louisiana.  According to the article, the two storms, Marco and Laura, are forecast to arrive within two days of each other, making landfall somewhere between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama as reason to say such an event is “unprecedented.”

Then there’s USA Today with this ridiculous guest commentary by opinion contributor Monica Medina:

How can Trump ignore climate crisis with twin hurricane-season storms barreling toward us?
Climate change is wreaking havoc on people’s lives right now. This month alone, not a section of the country has been spared a devastating event.

How can Trump ignore climate crisis with twin hurricane-season storms barreling toward us?

Climate change is wreaking havoc on people’s lives right now. This month alone, not a section of the country has been spared a devastating event.

Typical alarmist, confusing weather with climate for an agenda.

Dunning, CNN, and Medina are wrong, and badly so. All they had to do is look at the historical records of hurricanes to know this has happened before, and it is nothing new.

Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer commented in a Facebook post:

“When I researched the 500-year history of hurricanes hitting the New World for my Amazon Kindle book Inevitable Disaster: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed On Global Warming, I was struck by the number of cases of back-to-back hurricanes.” Adding,  “… when the Hurricane Center talks about records, they are generally referring to only the last 150 years. A little over 120 years ago, Miami didn’t even exist.”

For example, in his book, Spencer cites the Twin Mobile Hurricanes In late September of 1740; two separate hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast region around Mobile, Alabama within one week of each other. These two hurricanes, together with the hurricane of Sept. 23, 1740, caused major damage to the Louisiana colony.

Finding this information isn’t difficult, and you don’t need a degree in climatology; the Twin Mobile Hurricanes of 1740 are listed in Wikipedia and in Louisiana Cajun History.

There are many other instances of back to back hurricanes hitting near the same location within a few days of each other. Besides the 1740 event, in 1933 and 1959, two tropical storms entered the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. But they were not both hurricanes at those times.

Journalists and some meteorologists seem to have this conceit that if it isn’t recorded in the modern-day record of the past 150 years, it didn’t happen. The worse conceit is the fact that they ignore just how few records we have compared to how long nature has been launching hurricanes at the Gulf Coast. Literally this has been going on for millions of years, and somehow because we have the ability to observe, track, and predict hurricanes like never before in history, it’s “unprecedented”? How many times has it happened before we were around to observe it?

Of course the idea of labeling such things as “unprecedented” goes straight to the heart of climate alarmism, because they are already blaming it on “climate change.” In the story First ever double hurricane could hit the Gulf of Mexico, made this claim“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that as climate change warms the oceans, strong hurricanes are likely to become more frequent than they were in previous years.”

But that’s wrong too, and the data tells us so. In Climate-at-a-Glance: Hurricanes we find there has been no increase in hurricanes as the planet has modestly warmed. Even the UN climate body known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agrees, finding no increase in the frequency or severity of hurricanes in their latest 2018 report.

What has increased is the hype over hurricanes, which started back in 2005 with former vice president turned climate activist Al Gore claiming events like Hurricane Katrina would be the new normal. Following that pronouncement, Gore’s predictions fell flat and there was an 11-year “drought” of major hurricanes hitting the United States. In fact, peer reviewed science shows hurricane activity has been decreasing since 1950.

So, don’t pay any attention to what the media says about the “unprecedented” nature of hurricanes this week. For years, the media and climate change zealots have pushed hype over facts. We would be better off ignoring the hype and focusing on facts.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

American Aerial Massacres in Germany

Tales of the American Empire | December 6, 2020

Swinemunde was a beautiful seaside resort on the German Baltic coast. During World War II, it was of no military value other than a few piers where ships could dock. It had escaped aerial attacks as its population grew with refugees from bombed out cities. On March 12, 1945, the United States Army Air Force carpet bombed the town killing over 23,000 civilians. This was not a mistake, but part of a genocide campaign to kill German civilians and destroy homes.


“The Swinemunde Mission 12 March 1945” provides details on the bombing:…

Details on Allied Terror Bombings in Germany:…

Related Tale: “American Mass Bombings of Chinese Cities in World War II”:…

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

Building Immunity to Viral Pandemics

By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | August 27, 2020

We are facing two viral pandemics in 2020 which are oddly related yet profoundly different – the pandemic of a novel Coronavirus, and the extraordinarily contagious virus of disinformation, falsehoods, and bad science about that pandemic, itself being shared and spread in countries around the globe.

Such a metaphor may be misleading, but also instructive, and possibly leading us to solutions to both pandemics by thinking about them in a different way. Consider two examples; the “lock-down trap” and the “media echo-chamber”.

The lock-down trap is epitomised by the current situation in Melbourne, Australia, where the whole population of five million people is half way through a six-week long “stage 4” lock-down, with a night-time curfew policed by soldiers and enforced with severe on the spot fines. While the introduction of this lock-down might appear to have been justified by the “second wave” outbreak of infections, the origins of that outbreak in an escape from quarantine hotels means that the punishment for government incompetence is being served by the victims. Those victims also include the casualties of COVID, who are almost entirely in insufficiently protected aged care homes, of which an astonishing number were somehow infected.

There are few overt signs of revolt at this injustice, but the repressive conditions are creating a near-hysterical interest in vaccines – presented and seen as the only true way out of the domestic prison. To say this is being exploited by government and commercial interests might be going beyond the evidence, but the situation is certainly “exploitable”. While the media and the public are jumping the gun as even challenge trials are still some way off – at least in the candidate vaccines being considered here – discussion has already turned to the question of mandatory vaccination.

Enter the disinformation pandemic! Unlike the measures taken under state of emergency powers to arrest the progress of the Coronavirus epidemic, the epidemic of disinformation and false ideas going viral is mostly doing so at the hands of the credulous public, albeit echoing the “talking points” or “dog whistles” of health advisors and government ministers.

Rather like the man in “1984” denounced by his own daughter for “thought crime” but who didn’t know he was guilty of it – the “credulous” public truly believe the ideas they have been fed, as if they were their own. So many times people will say to me, as if they’d discovered some gem of knowledge the authorities were loath to admit to – “I heard that some people are suffering strange conditions long after they’ve had the infection, even though they had few symptoms at the time”.

What they didn’t hear, because the authorities really were loath to admit to it, was that “nearly all people” suffered only mild symptoms, with many not even knowing they had it, and henceforth becoming immune. Instead they heard, from various experts and advisors, that “COVID mightn’t produce immunity”, or “young people spread the disease even though they are asymptomatic”, along with many other myths and half-truths and downright lies, like those about Hydroxychloroquine.

And there are more to come, particularly on vaccines. To the Western world’s horror, Russia has developed a very promising vaccine quickly and without fuss, which is already in its final stages of approval and is expected to be both effective and safe. This is not just “Russian propaganda” – which only really exists in the minds of Western media and their captive audience these days. Russia has many of the world’s best scientists and a long history of relevant research, not compromised by excessive commercial interests. Russia’s vaccine is based on a simple formula which can be rapidly developed to suit new types and strains of virus, as described here in detail. As the article points out, the Western world simply doesn’t want to know about the excellent credentials of Russia’s vaccine or admit that it may be more promising than their own. And with the new resurgence of suspicions about things in vials coming from Russia following the “Navalnychok” stunt, we won’t be competing with the twenty countries who’ve already put in orders.

But there is some even more significant and striking news that is likely sending shivers through the boardrooms of favoured Western pharmaceutical companies – the apparent prospect of herd immunity amongst India’s 1.4 Billion people. In a discovery described as “shocking news” by our media, antibody testing in New Delhi had discovered that 29% of the population of 20 million appeared to have been infected with CV19, giving a total of around 6 million cases instead of the 150,000 odd positive test results for the city. Other cities in India showed similar levels of antibodies following a huge testing program of 220,000 people across the whole country.

Even more astonishing, and I would say exciting, was the discovery that in some poor slum areas of cities up to 57% of people tested positive for antibodies, which is approaching “herd immunity” levels. The implications of this were not discussed by the “shocked” reporter in New Delhi, beyond noting that the death toll from Coronavirus would be far lower in relation to infection rate than previously thought, but then concluding that many deaths must be going uncounted. That is possible, but there is another explanation which is more positive – that the widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, and in fact its recommendation by the chief health body in India, has resulted in a far lower death to infection ratio than in countries where it has not been used or has been banned.

The drug has been used for decades in India as a prophylactic against malaria, so is readily available and very well understood and accepted as one of the safest drugs in existence. Consequently its protective effect against infection with the novel Coronavirus was soon noticed, as well as its ability to lessen the depth and duration of infection. While HCQ’s lethal effect on the virus is now incontrovertibly established, a small but well-planned trial of its possible prophylactic effect provided a highly significant finding.

In a survey of 106 Indian health care workers over a fixed period beginning in March, of which half had been taking HCQ, it was observed that twenty developed the infection in the control group, while only four did so in those taking the HCQ prophylactic – representing an 80% cut in infection rate. This research has a special significance for the current outbreak in Melbourne for two reasons. As with so many countries around the world, healthcare workers have been disproportionately affected, and infected by the virus. This is put down to their greater exposure and also failure of protective equipment, both of which may be inevitable, but the invariable response makes the situation worse, often inducing a breakdown in the hospital system thanks to quarantining of infected staff as well as all their contacts.

In Melbourne this knee-jerk response of forcing all staff and contacts into quarantine led to a disaster in aged-care homes, where replacement staff failed to attend to residents’ needs or prevent the spread of infection, and mortality was likely far greater. As it was, infection appears to have initially spread to these centres through staff, who often work in several homes and through labour hire companies, and have not received proper instruction in infection control. They are however mostly conscientious and hard-working – and underpaid – so cannot take any of the blame.

The second point of significance of the Indian trial is that the high infection rate of health workers in Victoria could have been far lower had Hydroxychloroquine been taken prophylactically, and for those who became infected, would have reduced the time they were unable to work. It is more than ironic that while HCQ has been effectively banned in Australia, either by direct prohibition of use for CV19 or by a constant stream of negative comment from health authorities, researchers and media, there is still a trial ongoing in Melbourne of HCQ as a prophylactic treatment in health workers.

When this trial started back in June, I considered it just another attempt to show that HCQ was no use, because there was practically no Coronavirus infection persisting in Australia. Participants would take 200mgs a day or a placebo for four months, when it would be shown that HCQ had no useful effect as none of either group was likely to have been infected!

But how things have changed!  Now some 2700 healthcare workers have been infected in Victoria’s “second wave”, out of a total number of positive cases around 16,000. The “COVID Shield” trial at Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute planned to recruit 2,200 health workers for their study, and unlike many HCQ trials that were abandoned following the fraudulent Lancet study and WHO’s temporary halt on research, the trial is continuing, and due to finish in September. Even at this late stage, an early examination of the results is clearly called for; given that the Indian study was published on June 22nd, one could argue that the failure to examine the early results was negligent, as chance would suggest that tens or hundreds of those involved in the trial would be working at infected sites in Melbourne and there would soon be a clear indication whether HCQ has a useful protective effect.

Demonstrating this prophylactic effect would have obliged authorities to recommend and make it available for all health workers, and ultimately saved many lives, particularly of those for whom normal hospital service has been suspended for months. It’s very hard to see a good reason why this shouldn’t have happened, though it’s too easy to see a bad one. It’s also worth noting (from personal communication) that the drug has been widely used by healthcare workers in South Africa, helping them to deal with the most serious epidemic of Coronavirus in Africa.

But as with signs of developing resistance and immunity, this cheap and effective drug cure is not in the interests of those who seem to be in control of both pandemics, whoever they are. By recruiting willing media to hide the elephant from view, and well-paid scientists to claim it doesn’t exist, their control has become totalitarian.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Pro-Israel Kamala Harris pledges not to condition US aid to Israel on human rights

MEMO | August 27, 2020

Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, has eased the concerns of pro-Israel Jewish donors to her party, by pledging not to condition aid to Israel on its human rights record if Joe Biden is elected President.

“Joe has made it clear he will not tie security assistance to any political decisions that Israel makes, and I couldn’t agree more,” Harris is reported saying in a virtual event held with Jewish donors by the Jerusalem Post.

“As vice president, Joe Biden helped ensure unwavering support for Israel’s security,” she continued. “During the Obama-Biden administration, he was a key advocate in securing support for life-saving technologies, which I have seen.”

Vowing to put Israel first, Harris added: “I pledge to you the Biden-Harris administration will sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation pioneered during the Obama-Biden administration and the guarantee that Israel will always maintain its qualitative military edge.”

The threat of conditioning aid to Israel was suggested by a number of Democrat lawmakers. In July the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders signed a letter calling for the $3.8 billion annual aid given to Israel to be made conditional on the Zionist state ending its violation of Palestinian human rights.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Venezuelan Special Forces Agents Arrested for Extrajudicial Killings

By Manuela Solé | Venezuelanalysis | August 26, 2020

Mérida – Four agents of the Bolivarian National Police’s Special Action Forces (FAES) have been arrested after the extrajudicial executions of two journalists in Cabimas, Zulia State.

Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab informed on Tuesday that FAES officers Jose Contreras and Nestor Olano, who have been charged with premeditated murder, as well as supervisors Freddy Deroy and Deivid Guerrero were in custody.

Four other officers involved in the Friday, August 21 operation reportedly fled after arrest warrants were issued. Public attorney Jackbe Galban was removed from her post and arrested for allegedly collaborating in their escape.

Andres Eloy Nieves Zacarias and Victor Manuel Torres Guerra, 33 and 29 years-old, respectively, were assassinated in a FAES raid on Guacamaya TV, a community media outlet in Zulia State where they worked.

Saab referred to the event as “embarrassing” and decried that FAES agents tried to cover up the extrajudicial killings as an armed confrontation.

“For me, these are infiltrated officers who need to be singled out so this never happens again in a police body,” the attorney general told reporters.

The events were initially investigated by a FAES commission that traveled to Cabimas to take statements from each of the officers participating in the operation.

Saab’s office reported that examinations and autopsy logs showed that the victims were below their shooters, on their knees or sitting, which confirmed the execution hypothesis.

The FAES agents were also accused of stealing the TV station’s equipment after the executions.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol called the procedure an “irregular act” and appointed a multidisciplinary team to carry out an investigation.

“In any situation that constitutes a deviation from the established procedures and protocols, we will be ruthless in the enforcement of the law,” read the official statement issued by the Interior Ministry.

The executions, as well as FAES attempts to present the victims as criminals to the media, have been condemned from various sectors. Several popular and community media outlets, militants of the youth fraction of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and the Francisco de Miranda Front all released communiques, while a hashtag #JusticiaParaAndresYVictor (“Justice for Andres and Victor”) became a trend on social media.

The Inter American Press Society and the International Press Institute likewise made public their condemnation, calling on Venezuelan authorities to thoroughly investigate the killings.

The founder of Guacamaya TV, Franklin Torres, who is also the father of Victor Torres, said that the two journalists were dragged out of the offices by the FAES and ‘vilely murdered’. He went on to claim that the information released about the murder was false and that the weapons allegedly found at headquarters were planted by FAES agents.

“For our murdered kids, we will not rest until justice is served,” read a statement released by the Torres family on Wednesday. The relatives praised the quick response of the Attorney General’s office and demanded a thorough investigation up the Bolivarian National Police’s chain of command.

Nieves and Torres were described by those who knew them as honest workers who were deeply involved with their community. Nieves was also a member of the Francisco de Miranda Front. Tributes painted him as a dedicated Chavista who stood up for just causes and a popular member of the community media scene in Venezuela.

Popular movements have recognized authorities’ response in this case, but the reported increase in heavy handed police tactics and the FAES in particular have been subjects of intense debate. Chavista human rights collective Surgentes launched a campaign in November 2019 to denounce a growing number of police extrajudicial killings in popular neighborhoods and bring back a debate on police reform initiated by former President Hugo Chávez.

Edited and with additional reporting by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Cuba Advocates Denuclearization in United Nations Meeting

Ambassador Ana Rodriguez at the UN Headquarers, New York, U.S., June 1, 2020.

teleSUR | August 26, 2020

The Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations Ana Rodriguez Wednesday reaffirmed her country’s commitment to denuclearization and advocated for a world free of nuclear weapons.

She stressed that it is disconcerting how some countries persist in their drive to modernize atomic arsenals and develop new types of nuclear weapons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rodriguez also pointed out that it is impossible to think about a world free of nuclear weapons when the United States violates both the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Cuban ambassador recalled that the U.S. has withdrawn from several international agreements on disarmament and arms limitation such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

She also mentioned that Cuba supports an effective and total ban on all kinds of nuclear tests. Her government also advocates the closure and dismantling of all facilities used for such purposes.

Rodriguez pointed out that the spending great amounts of money to develop nuclear weapons is unacceptable as international cooperation to face global health problems is needed.

Currently, there are approximately 13,400 nuclear weapons in the world, 3,720 of which are deployed and 1,800 are on high operational alert.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Let’s Talk U.S. Foreign Policy: It Is the Root Cause of Many Evils

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 27, 2020

As the United States sinks deeper into a multi-faceted global crisis that no politician seems able or even willing to address, one hears more and more often demands for radical change in who runs the country and to what end. Of course, Donald J. Trump offered such a dramatic shift in priorities four years ago, but he has been unable to deliver due to his own inability to execute and the ill-conceived machinations of those whom he has chosen as advisers. The Democrats for their part are offering little beyond a repeat of their 2016 pander to grievance groups in an effort to cobble together an unassailable majority based on buying off the party’s various constituencies.

But there is one area where change could come dramatically if either party were actually motivated to do something that would truly benefit the American people, and that is in the area of foreign and national security policy where the president has considerable power to set priorities and redirect both the State and Defense Departments. Unfortunately, foreign and national security policy is almost never discussed during the presidential campaigns and this time would already appear to be no exception. That means that the one thing that is a constant amidst all the smoke and mirrors is the continued bellicosity of both parties on the world stage.

The Republicans are apparently eager to “democratize” Latin America while the Democrats in particular are wedded to the “foreign interference” angle to explain their loss in 2016, with Hillary Clinton predictably advising in her Democratic National Convention speech that the public should “Vote to make sure we — not a foreign adversary — choose our president.” Indeed, the tendency to create and then demonize “foreign conspiracies” is generally supported by the establishment and its parasitical media, since it enables the billionaire oligarchs who really run the country to grow fatter while also avoiding any blame for the declining fortunes of most of the American people.

The Democrats are currently taking pains to recall the so-called “Russian interference” in 2016, and are expecting or possibly even hoping for more of the same this year. Tying Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin is obviously perceived as a game winner, even though the just-completed investigations into the events of 2016 are at best ambiguous. Early prognostications by journalist-pundits in the foreign interference sweepstakes indicate that both China and Iran will be supporting Joe Biden while Russia wants to continue with Trump. No one bothers to explain how those countries will express their preferences or what kind of impact they could possibly have.

One thing that is certain is that both parties will continue their deference to Israel which in turn means hostility towards Iran and its few friends worldwide. The U.S. media has not reported the almost daily bombings of Syria and Gaza by Israel and even largely failed to cover how two weeks ago the United States Navy seized four Greek flagged oil tankers transporting more than a million gallons of fuel to economic basket case Venezuela, a country which is in its sad condition due to sanctions and other “maximum pressure” at the hands of Washington. The fuel was seized based on unilaterally imposed U.S. sanctions on Iranian sale or export of its own petroleum products, a move intended to strangle the Iranian economy and bring about an uprising of the Iranian people. Such a move used to be called piracy.

To be sure, the Democrats have indicated that they will rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Trump withdrew from under orders from top donor Sheldon Adelson in 2017, one of his first acts in office. The JCPOA is intended to monitor and restrain any possible efforts by Iran to enrich uranium to develop a nuclear weapon, which one might assume is in the U.S. interest, but one should make no mistake in thinking that re-entering the agreement signifies any softening towards Iran. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are owned lock, stock and barrel by the Israel Lobby, which is pretty much true of most politicians from both major parties in Washington. Iran is Israel’s target and even lacking any threat to the U.S. so it will remain the American enemy of choice.

America’s efforts to demonize and punish Iran, ineptly stage managed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, frequently lead into the Twilight Zone. On August 17th, the United States suffered what has to be described as a humiliating defeat in the United Nations Security Council. As the Washington Post reported it, “The United States asked the council to approve an extension of the 13-year-old embargo on arms trade with Iran — something that matters greatly to Israel and U.S. Arab allies, and which most of the democratic world favors. Yet only one member of the 15-member council, the Dominican Republic, sided with Washington. Russia and China opposed the motion, while 11 countries — including Britain, France and Germany — abstained. The vote could open the way for Iran to obtain Chinese and Russian arms — for example, missiles it could employ against Israel, the UAE or U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf.”

Note particularly the reliably Zionist Post’s “newspeak” version in describing both the issue and the vote. It states that “most of the democratic world favors” an embargo on selling arms to Iran but then describes how “11 countries – including Britain, France and Germany – abstained.” And, of course, the potential threat to Israel is front and center as the reason for the embargo, an apartheid state that has nuclear weapons developed in secret after stealing both the uranium and triggers from the United States. One might also note that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Israel is not, and its nuclear related research facilities are fully open to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

After the rebuff, Trump subsequently moved on to phase two in its attack on Iran by invoking a so-called “snap-back” provision of the JCPOA that empowers any of the signatories to the agreement to unilaterally call for renewal of the international sanctions that isolated Iran prior to 2015, when the plan of action was signed by the U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, along with the European Union. The U.S. claimed that Iran has been cheating on its enrichment program and also that the accord’s authority is rooted in an accompanying Security Council resolution, which means that Washington can at will address the issue before that body.

Bear in mind that the U.S., though an original signatory, withdrew from the agreement, and any attempt to restore U.N. sanctions through an admittedly sleazy maneuver would be resisted by nearly all the other members of the Security Council, which is precisely what did take place last Thursday, with the Europeans producing a joint letter emphasizing that Washington has no standing on the issue as it is no longer party to the arrangement. Pompeo responded by saying that the Europeans “chose to side with the ayatollahs.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, presumably supported by the president, has been angered by the Security Council’s failure to support him on either extending the arms embargo or re-imposing general sanctions, though he is probably eternally grateful for the fortitude demonstrated by the plucky little Dominican Republic. On both meetings with the Security Council Pompeo complained, using his standard line, saying that “We can’t allow the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell weapons. I mean, that’s just nuts.”

The next step by the White House was a unilateral proposal submitted in writing by the U.S. to reimpose a full range of economic sanctions on Iran in thirty days. That can only be blocked by a Security Council resolution which Washington can veto, meaning that America will again be going it alone in its not-so-secret war against Iran, further isolating the U.S. in world fora and again demonstrating that the Trump Administration has few friends anywhere in this fight but Israel and its newfound Arab associates in the Gulf. It also means that the re-imposed sanctions are unlikely to be actively enforced by anyone that matters, further suggesting that the U.S. might resort to secondary sanctions, as it has done in the past, on those who do not comply, a formula for chaos.

Well, it should seem obvious that we Americans can’t afford a foreign and national security policy that pits the United States against the rest of the world in situations where the U.S. is not actually directly threatened and does not even have a vital interest. Over the next two months, perhaps we will see some serious discussion of America’s place in the world or perhaps not. If 2016 is anything to go by, we are more likely to see a number of bromides tossed out without any real meaning behind them. We are still waiting for troops reductions and the ending of useless wars promised by Trump. We are still waiting for Hillary to concede that Russia didn’t defeat her. She did it all by herself.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

The age of disputed presidencies – is democracy in crisis?

By Uriel Araujo | August 27, 2020

In 1378, it was not clear who the true Pope was. Depending on whom one asked, it was either Clement VII, nowadays listed as an Antipope in the Catholic Encyclopedia, or Urban VI. This was a time of crisis in Western Europe, often referred to as the “Western Schism”.

Likewise today, in the realm of secular politics, we currently have or recently had disputed or contested presidencies – in varying degrees – in many countries. In fact, Venezuela – where Guaidó and the country’s president Maduro are each recognized by a number of countries – is far from the being the only such case in Latin America.

For instance, in Peru, on October 2019, both Vizcarra and Araós claimed to be the legitimate president. In Honduras, Hernández election was contested, amid allegations of narco connections. Even in Colombia, Petro (2018 election runner up) and his party no longer recognize Duque’s presidency, who has also been accused of narco links and of tampering with ballots. In Brazil, Ms. Roussef’s 2016 deposition was perceived by many as an “institutional coup”. The current Brazilian president Bolsonaro, in his turn, also faces accusations of vote fraud through the use of Whatsapp “fake news”.

There are disputed presidencies or leaderships right now in Belarus, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mali (which is under a military coup) and other countries. In the US, Trump’s 2016 election was also hotly contested (there were even wild accusations of “Russian interference”) and many journalists and experts are now writing that the new US election – amid the coronavirus outbreak and other crisis – may not be “swiftly accepted”. Antifa demonstrations are spreading across the country and are becoming increasingly violent.

All such legitimacy disputes are not just narrative wars amongst political rivals – it rather seems that in many parts of the world, the election process itself and democracy are losing credibility. It could turn into a war of models. If the contemporary and rather globalized democratic model is in crisis – and it would appear so – then, what are the alternatives?

The very specific notion of “Democracy” as necessarily including free speech, a multi-party system, alternance in power, a secular state and a Montesquieu’s trias politica separation of powers – with an often bicameral legislature – is of course quite Western in terms of its history and the values underlying it. In Western discourse today, the notion of democracy sometimes gets even more exclusive, sometimes including only societies which recognize gay marriage and do not criminalize abortion.

The United States is often taken as an (unexamined) “standard-bearer” for the entire world. The truth is that political forms and models are not so clearly differentiable but actually are rather intermingled. Thus, the current British monarch, for example, is officially the Defender of the Church of England and, as such, appoints Bishops and Archbishops – and no one dares to call it a “theocracy”. The US president, in his turn, in his authority to conduct war, has the power to maintain anyone under indefinite detention (without due process of law) according to attorney John Yoo (of so called Torture Memos) – and no one calls it a dictatorship. Clearly, labeling one as “non-democratic” is also a weapon of political discourse.

As for alternative models, a few years ago, notions of “Bolivarian” direct democracy were on the rise in South America. Furthermore, Bolivia’s 2010 law acknowledged the rights of Pachamama (Mother Earth) as a collective subject of public interest. The current Bolivian de facto president, Ms. Jeanine Áñez (President Morales was deposed in what many described as a coup), is currently working to undermine such notions as well as the notion of Bolivia as a Plurinational State – as defined by its 2009 Constitution.

So, right now, the left too (and its Bolivarian and indigenist alternatives) has been largely discredited amongst a large part of the population in South America. This has opened the door for the rise of a new kind of right-wing “populism” – which has little regard for current institutions. For instance, according to recent polls, 34% of the Brazilian population would support closing down (abolishing) the Parliament and 32% support doing the same to the Supreme Court. The COVID-19 pandemic could also be paving the way for “authoritarianism” in Europe and the US, according to several political scientists. The new populism is on the rise in Europe too.

In many parts of the world, a large part of society seems to care more about employment and security than abstract notions of the rule of law. If current political regimes fail to provide safety and to economically include the people they rule, dissatisfaction is sure to follow. And in the economically fragile post-COVID-19 world, this could get ugly.

Is it about time to reinvent democracy? Some new forms of it could arise, better suited for their cultural and regional contexts. In the meantime, a lot of instability may ensue (with economic and security consequences), especially in Latin America but in other parts of the world too – perhaps in Europe and the US as well.

Uriel Araujo is a researcher with a focus on international and ethnic conflicts.

August 27, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment