Monday, October 5, 2015

Oregon Shooter Committed Suicide and the Psychology of Mass Shootings

Written by

On Saturday the Oregon state medical examiner’s office ruled that Chris Harper-Mercer, the shooter who killed nine people and injured more than a dozen others at Roseburg's Umpqua Community College last Thursday, died by his own hand and not as the result of a shootout with police, as some initially surmised. Despite being heavily armed, the 26-year-old apparently turned one of his weapons on himself rather than engage the police in a firefight.
This announcement has once again raised the question: Why? Why would a quiet loner with no history of aggressive or threatening behavior enter classrooms and begin taking lives before taking his own?
Part of the answer may be in a “hate-filled” note he left at the scene, which law-enforcement officials said reflected anger. He wrote that he “felt the world was against him,” that he was “in a bad way … depressed … sullen … [that he] had no life … [and that he] would be welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil.”
Harper-Mercer, a student at the community college, apparently had no girlfriends despite putting up his profile on a dating site for “spiritual singles," saying that he was “looking for someone who shares my beliefs … [such as the] Internet, killing zombies, movies [and] music.” On his Myspace profile he listed Sci-fi and horror movies as among his favorites, along with romantic comedies.
He lacked interpersonal communication skills, according to people who knew him. One his classmates, Bryan Clay, said that every day “I’d see Chris … shaved head, combat boots, camo pants and a plain brown or white shirt. He would just walk really fast [and] avoid anybody who came towards him.”
Neighbors commented on his occasional temper tantrums, which they could hear emanating from his mother’s apartment. Said Reina Webb, “He was kind of like a child, so that’s why his tantrums would be like kind of weird. He’s a grown man. He shouldn’t be having a tantrum like a kid.”
He hung out online with a loosely organized group that called itself the “beta boys,” the members of which shared a “profound disappointment” with their lives and the lack of meaningful relationships. Even the U.S. Army discharged Harper-Mercer after a brief stint in 2008 for “failing to meet the minimum administrative standards to serve.”
Adam Lankford, the author of The Myth of Martyrdom: What Really Drives Suicide Bombers, Rampage Shooters, and Other Self-Destructive Shooters, noted that shooters who commit massacres such as the one in Roseburg last week have some common traits: The killer feels victimized, oppressed, unappreciated, or even bullied, and so he feels justified in taking revenge on innocents in order to “get even.”
Often, said Lankford, the disaffected loner first decides to commit suicide, and then to do it in a spectacular fashion that somehow justifies what otherwise would be a singular and largely unnoticed event.
Tim Dees, a criminal justice technology writer, noted that often a shooter such as Harper-Mercer wants to commit one “last great act of revenge and defiance":
Most of these people are angry at the world over the way they have been treated, or at least the way they perceive they have been treated.
This is payback. They go into this situation with the full intent of killing themselves to deny the world its opportunity for retribution.
Justin Freeman, a former police officer, wrote in 2012 that his initial reaction to shooters taking their own lives was that they were cowards, noting that the shooters at Virginia Tech, Newtown, Columbine High School, and elsewhere committed suicide once they were confronted by police. But now he’s not so sure: “Suicides may have been their intent all along … that the shooter’s suicide is really an act of violence against his victims’ loved ones.”
It is worth noting that none of the experts quoted or researched for this article blamed guns, gun availability, or gun ownership as a causative factor in these mass shootings. And when the president (seeking always to advance his anti-gun agenda) or media outlets such as CNN blame “mental illness," they enter a veritable and dangerous minefield. As Dr. Dewey Cornell, a forensic clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia and the author of School Violence: Fears Versus Facts, noted:
It seems intuitive that anyone who commits a mass shooting must be mentally ill, but this is a misuse of the term “mental illness.” Mental illness is a term reserved for the most severe mental disorders where the person has severe symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations.
Decades of mental health research show that only a small proportion of persons with mental illness commit violent acts, and together they account for only a fraction of violent crime. Some mass shooters have had a mental illness. Most do not.
The most dangerous conclusion to make, according to these experts, is to assume that shooters are mentally ill. Even worse, to assume that government should be the final arbiter of just who is mentally ill and who is not.
The Oregon shooter exhibited many of the symptoms of someone who is immature, and angry at the world for not recognizing him as a valued individual — for rejecting him. Finding support in a group that feels the same way merely solidified his feeling of worthlessness.
At some point, he decided to show that world that he was somebody after all, and took it out on not only himself but others as well.

A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at, primarily on economics and politics.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Curse of American Exceptionalism

The Politics of Desperation

Thursday, October 1, 2015

America’s Choice: God-Endowed Right Or Humanly Imposed Tyranny

Alan Keyes
Former Assistant Secretary of State
 The American Declaration of Independence states unequivocally that the purpose of justly empowered human governments is to secure certain unalienable rights, with which God has endowed all humanity. However, in our day many political ideologues in the United States deny divine creation. They therefore deny the authority necessarily associated with the conceptual foresight of the Creator. This, in turn, leads them to reject the premises of just government set forth the in Declaration.  
This rejection is plainly evident in the political culture of the Democratic Party. But it is also evident in the rhetoric and priorities of members of the now misnamed Republican Party. Indeed, the open or implied rejection of the Declaration’s tenets is the characteristic that most clearly indicates that the Democratic and Republican Parties are wings of an elitist faction hostile to the constitutional, republican form of democratic self-government America’s Founders constructed on the premises laid out in the Declaration.
How can the GOP reject the Declaration, but claim the allegiance of voters still loyal to the U.S. Constitution, including many who profess the name of God in Jesus Christ? The Declaration sets forth the political creed in which the American people explicitly acknowledge “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” The logic of the Declaration invokes creation and the authority of the Creator. In the New Testament the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ and the Word through whom all things were made — the Word that was with God and was God in the activity of creation — are recognized as one and the same. (John 1:1-4, 14)
The Declaration’s understanding of right and rights gives rise to the God-endowed unalienable right of liberty. It is the ground in which the people of the United States stake their claim to exercise the sovereign authority by which they ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America. Reject the Declaration and the ground is cut out from under that claim.  As that claim falls away into the void, so does the purported authority of the U.S. Constitution. This is not just a matter of abstract logic. It has, in fact, a profound and immediately damaging effect on the American people’s ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
In recent weeks two controversies have effectively illustrated this damage. In the Obergefell decision, a majority of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court speciously fabricated and asserted the right of homosexual couples to demand that their so-called sexual activities (I say so-called because the sexual difference is functionally and literally irrelevant to those relations) be recognized as marriages under the Constitution of the United States. In the aftermath of the decision, the proponents of this speciously fabricated Constitutional right have sued for its enforcement. They mean to compel all government officials throughout the United States to accord homosexual relations equal status and recognition, in disrespect of the God-endowed unalienable rights of the natural family.
I have elsewhere laid out the reasoning that makes it plain that the Obergefell decision plainly contradicts the tenets of unalienable right set forth in the Declaration of Independence, as well as the clear and explicit language of the U.S. Constitution’s Ninth Amendment. The attempt to enforce the decision has now given rise to religious persecution, as penalties are being inflicted, under color of law, on people of Christian faith who refuse, as a matter of conscience, to comply with a ruling that makes them morally complicit in a violation of right, according to their conscientious understanding of God’s rule.
A problem arises, however, because religious tenets, per se, have never been accepted as sufficient to excuse acts that violate the unalienable rights which it is the aim of just government to secure. The fact that the practice of child sacrifice is the tenet of some ancient religion, for example, does not exempt the act of murder it involves from prosecution and punishment by law. People rely on this fact when they justify Ben Carson’s refusal to accept an openly Muslim president because some tenets of Muslim practice and Sharia law clearly conflict with rights the U.S. Constitution intends to secure. Yet some of the same people maintain that it is a travesty to suggest that Kim Davis be driven from public office, even though her actions violate what the United States Supreme Court recently asserted to be the Constitutional right of homosexuals to marry.
GOP politicians, including Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson, have said say that the Supreme Court’s decision must be accepted as the “law of the land.” Yet they insist that Christians who reject the purported right the decision fabricates should be allowed to remain in public office. But why should a Christian county clerk be allowed to contradict the Constitution by doing what Dr. Carson says he would bar a Muslim from the presidency for believing ought to be done? Dr. Carson’s prejudice in this respect is especially questionable in light of the fact that the U.S. Constitution says plainly that “no religious test shall ever be required for any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article VI)
However much they deny it, self-contradicting politicians like Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump fall onto the horns of a dilemma. Either the Supreme Court’s decision is lawful, or it is not; either it is a violation of law to infringe the right the Justices have fabricated, or it is not. Pretending to have it both ways may be politically expedient, but it turns respect for the Constitution’s authority into a purely whimsical and arbitrary notion.
The confusion disappears, however, once the premises of God-endowed right set forth in the Declaration of Independence are restored to their rightful place in our reasoning. In light of those premises, two things become clear:
  1. Except in the most extraordinary circumstances, when an existential and immediate threat to the nation’s very existence is in progress, the Constitution’s provision’s must be scrupulously respected; and
  2. No humanly fabricated right takes precedence over the unalienable rights endowed by the Creator and retained by the people, as per the Constitution’s 9th Amendment.
Of course the latter point requires invoking, explicating and applying the words and logic of the Declaration of Independence. But the elitist faction’s rejection of the Declaration forbids such argumentation.  
Because they have given in to the culture of shame and fear fomented by this rejection, contemporary politicos neglect the straightforward reasoning the Declaration enables.  Even the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who dissented from the Court’s majority in the Obergefell case were derelict in this regard.  They failed in their duty to invoke the 9th Amendment’s protection of God-endowed unalienable right.  
All these politicians and officials tacitly accept the false conflation of right and licentious freedom. This falsehood vitiates the meaning of unalienable right by denying that it substantially depends on each individual’s willingness to respect the transcendent will of the Creator. But as William Penn prudently observed: “Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” Americans still have the choice, if they care enough to make it. What will it be?

Monday, September 28, 2015

At UN Summit, World Rulers Adopt Agenda for Global Socialism


A far-reaching United Nations plot to re-engineer civilization and impose global socialism on humanity, variously dubbed “Agenda 2030” and the “Sustainable Development Agenda,” was ushered in on Friday with a “thunderous standing ovation,” the UN Department of Public Information reported. Every one of the 193 UN member governments on the planet — from communist and Islamist dictatorships to those ruling what remains of the “Free World” — vowed to help impose the UN's controversial goals on their subjects. Indeed, according to the UN and the global agreement itself, not a single human being will be allowed to escape what one prominent internationalist ominously referred to as the next “Great Leap Forward.”  
That the UN Agenda 2030's 17 so-called “Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) and its accompanying 169 targets are essentially a recipe for global socialism and corporatism is hardly open for dispute, as countless analysts have pointed out in recent weeks. Goal number 10, for example, calls on the UN, national governments, and every person on Earth to “reduce inequality within and among countries.” To do that, the agreement continues, will “only be possible if wealth is shared and income inequality is addressed.” The brutal communist dictatorship ruling mainland China even boasted of its “crucial role” in creating the UN agenda. But as the UN document makes clear, national socialism to “combat inequality” domestically is simply not enough — international socialism is needed to battle inequality even “among” countries.
In other words, Western taxpayers: Prepare to be fleeced so that your wealth can redistributed internationally. Of course, as has been the case for generations, most of the wealth extracted from the productive sector in what remains of the free world will be redistributed to the UN and Third World regimes — not the victims of those regimes, impoverished largely through domestic socialist policies imposed by the same corrupt regimes that will be propped up with more Western aid. More than a few governments and dictators also announced that they would be “aligning their national development plans with the Sustainable Development Agenda,” essentially ensuring a growing supply of poor people to exploit as a pretext for more UN-led global socialism.   
The UN document, formally entitled “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” was adopted on Friday, September 25, at the start of the UN's three-day Summit on Sustainable Development in New York. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the confab, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hinted at just how far-reaching the plot really is. “The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere,” he explained, presumably conflating “leaders” with mass-murdering gangsters such as Kim Jong Un, Raul Castro, and Robert Mugabe who somehow managed to seize control over entire nations. “It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.”
As with all socialist and totalitarian schemes, the UN's controversial agenda was marketed using vague, meaningless platitudes such as, for example, creating a “better” world, and “ending” poverty — common slogans among tyrants stretching back centuries. “It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms,” continued Ban. “It is an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership [that] conveys the urgency of climate action [and] is rooted in gender equality and respect for the rights of all. Above all, it pledges to leave no one behind.” But the “true test of commitment to Agenda 2030,” he added, will be in its implementation. “We need action from everyone, everywhere,” Ban said, pointing to the “guide” offered by the 17 SDGs. “They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”
“Now,” Ban continued, “we must use the goals to transform the world.” “Institutions will have to become fit for a grand new purpose,” he said. “We must engage all actors, as we did in shaping the Agenda. We must include parliaments and local governments, and work with cities and rural areas. We must rally businesses and entrepreneurs. We must involve civil society in defining and implementing policies — and give it the space to hold us to account. We must listen to scientists and academia. We will need to embrace a data revolution. Most important, we must set to work — now.”
Whether the world's adults can be persuaded to willingly join the UN's bandwagon remains to be seen. But when it comes to children, the UN is taking no chances, devoting an entire “goal” in its agenda to ensuring that all children, everywhere, are transformed into what the UN calls “agents of change” ready to push forward the plan for the new global order. “Children and young women and men are critical agents of change and will find in the new Goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world,” the UN goals explain.
The sort of activists that the UN hopes to make your children into is also explicitly defined in the unanimously adopted agreement. “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development,” the global plan for 2030 states. Considering what the UN means by “sustainable development” — population control, central planning, global governance, and more — the agenda for your children takes on an even more sinister tone.
It all sounded so wonderful to some of the world's most brutal dictators, though, that they could hardly contain their glee about the coming brave new world. “This agenda promises a brave new world [sic], a new world which we have to consciously construct, a new world that calls for the creation of a new global citizen,” gushed Marxist dictator Robert Mugabe, the genocidal mass-murderer enslaving Zimbabwe who also serves as chairman of the African Union. “I want to believe that we are up to this task that we have voluntarily and collectively committed ourselves to. Our success, and in particular the promise of a new world that awaits us, depends upon this commitment.” He also promised to vigorously impose the UN Agenda 2030 on the starving and impoverished victims his regime lords over.
The brutal tyrants ruling Communist China, meanwhile, have also been enthusiastic cheerleaders for the UN goals — goals that the regime boasted it played a “crucial role” in developing. Among other “commitments,” the dictatorship promised to spend $2 billion in foreign countries to meet the UN goals in "education" and "health," with its funding increasing to $12 billion by 2030. While only contributing a small piece of the pie — the UN claims its agenda will cost somewhere between $3 trillion to $5 trillion per year — the fact that Beijing is so excited about the agenda is quite revealing. Echoing Chairman Mao's rhetoric, EU and NATO globalist Javier Solana said that, “With a sustained commitment from all countries, developed and developing alike, the world can ensure that it celebrates another great leap forward in 2030.”
The Obama administration, which apparently does not plan to present the UN scheme to the U.S. Senate for ratification as required by the U.S. Constitution, also offered a forceful defense of the UN agenda. Speaking to the UN summit on Sunday after purporting to commit the United States to the global plot, Obama claimed the UN blueprint “is one of the smartest investments we can make in our own future.” He told the assembled dictators and government representatives that 800 million people live on less than $1.25 per day, without, of course, mentioning the reasons for so much poverty: Big Government policies that are remarkably similar in many ways to the UN's new agenda. Obama, who has waged multiple unconstitutional wars, also claimed that “military interventions might have been avoided over the years” if governments had only taken better care of their hapless citizens. 
Even the world's leading religious figure, Pope Francis, addressed UN member governments with a plea to support the UN goals. “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope,” he said. It is worth noting, however, that not everybody within the Catholic Church hierarchy was quite as enthusiastic about the scheme. In their “Common Declaration of the Bishops of Africa and Madagascar” ahead of the UN summit, for example, Africa's bishops blasted the “agents of the civilization of death” and called for much of the scheming to stop. “We implore you to end the filthy campaigns that promote a civilization of death on our continent,” they said, slamming the “terrifying resurgence of a colonialist spirit under the guise of the appealing names of liberty, equality, rights, autonomy, democratization and development.”
Beyond governments and religious figures, much of the private sector also enthusiastically backed the new goals. Among the mega-corporations backing the scheme are the world's top three search engines: Google, Microsoft's Bing, and Yahoo. It was not immediately clear whether those corporations' support for the UN agenda would affect the supposed impartiality of search results, but critics of the UN plan expressed alarm nonetheless. As The New American reported in May, meanwhile, top media outlets around the world are also participating in a massive propaganda campaign to support the UN agenda.
Of course, Obama has no constitutional or statutory authority to commit the American people to the UN's radical blueprint for humanity. But unless the GOP majority in Congress is willing to stop funding the administration's antics, there can be no doubt that the White House will charge ahead using its pen, phone, and taxpayer funding provided by Republican members of Congress. Lawmakers who are serious about their oath of office must work to restrain the Obama administration, and ultimately withdraw the U.S. government's membership from the UN. Faced with a totalitarian UN agenda for global socialism under the guise of “sustainable development,” now would be an excellent time to get busy.
Photo of President Barack Obama speaking at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Sept. 27: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Age of Imperial Wars

| August 25, 2015

The War Epidemic Is Not Receding
2015 has become a year of living dangerously. Wars are spreading across the globe. Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity. Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.
These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.
There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders. Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.
Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia: NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China. Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?
Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts
There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts. Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.
The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops. There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.
Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies. On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists - funded by the monarchist Gulf States.
Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.
Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.
The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.
The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses. Major cities and towns are devastated. Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians. The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.
The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets. Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.
The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands. They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.
Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.
Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.
Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent. Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.
Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.
Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.
Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia. Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.
There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client. Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role
The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria. The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.
Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.
US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.
There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps. It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up. The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.
The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.
The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat. US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.
As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops. The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.
Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties. These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.
In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.
Latin America – On the Verge
Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.
In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes. In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa. They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.
The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.
‘Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading. Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups - to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.
War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America. A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras. The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.
The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies. This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis. The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.
The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico. Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.
The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords. The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives. After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!
From Regional to Nuclear Wars
Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war. The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.
Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.
Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.
In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor. It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.
Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe. The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine. In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.
In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria. In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia. The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.
Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.
Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees
The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.
Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.
Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.
Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.
Droves of refugees perish each day. Tens of thousands crowd detention centers. Local labor markets are saturated. Social services are overwhelmed.
The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.
As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply. The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.
Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.
Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire. The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.
The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses. US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…
War is everywhere and expanding: No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.
Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle. There are no real diplomatic success stories! There are no enduring, viable peace accords!
Some pundits may protest this analysis: They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’. They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China. The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.
Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’. They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.
As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements– are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?
The war epidemic is not receding.
War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.
Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.
Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.
Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them. They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them. Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.
What a packet of lies! Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
It is time to wake up!
It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!
Where to start? Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there! Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame. We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing! Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!
Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune? And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them! As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US? We lead them by the nose . . . !”
Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.
What is to be done?
When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?
# # # #
Professor James Petras, Boiling Frogs Post contributing analyst, is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. Dr. Petras received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. You can visit his website here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Top 10 Times John Boehner Massively Caved

F - Voting Record
Voted 35% of Conservative Issues
Rep. John Boehner (OH) - R
If you want to know where your member of Congress stands on the conservative spectrum and receive updates on the issues that matter most to conservatives, register for a Conservative Review® account today.
 Today, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced his resignation. While this might have come as a surprise to his colleagues, it should come as no surprise to Republican voters who have been consistently let down by Boehner’s commitment to passing Obama’s agenda and caving on conservative principles whenever given the chance. Boehner’s stepping down symbolizes a tremendous victory for conservatives everywhere. While Boehner alleges he was always intending to leave after two terms, it’s no surprise his record of capitulation played a part in this decision.
Here are the Top 10 times John Boehner massively caved:
1.) Boehner pushed through the budget busting Ryan-Murray budget deal which ended the mandatory spending cuts of the sequester. In order to make it happen, he violated a central promise of the 2010 election cycle, that he would allow three days for people to read legislation before the vote. The budget was released and voted on in about 36 hours.

Boehner made a big show of being against President Obama’s executive amnesty. At the end of the day, Boehner, hoping to avoid confrontation, funded Obama’s plan to the tune of $2.5 billion.

2.) Throughout 2015, Boehner blocked religious liberty legislation from coming to the floor of the House in an effort to avoid confrontation with the President. (Conservative Review)
3.) In 2015, Boehner pushed through Trade Promotion Authority legislation for the Trans Pacific Partnership. Given this president’s penchant for implementing major policies without Congress, there is a widespread fear that Obama would use these trade agreements to pursue liberal policies, such as changes to our immigration system, labor laws, and global warming regulations.
4.) In a backroom deal, Boehner negotiated with Nancy Pelosi to increase the nation’s debt by $500 billion with a massive increase in Medicare policy, given the innocuous sounding name of “Doc Fix.” With this bill Boehner failed to address the underlying problems in healthcare entitlements and in true back room deal fashion, included several extraneous provisions designed to buy votes.
5.) In 2014, Boehner made a big show of being against President Obama’s executive amnesty. At the end of the day, Boehner, hoping to avoid confrontation, funded Obama’s plan to the tune of $2.5 billion.
6.) In his close to five years as Speaker, Boehner has been just as responsible for growing the nation’s debt as President Obama.  He has not used the power of the purse to curtail spending.  Perhaps the most egregious debt limit increase was the one that allowed the debt to increase by an infinite amount for the period of one year from February 2014 to March 2015.
When it really mattered, Boehner caved instead of standing up for the most vulnerable in our society.
7.) Boehner has repeatedly pushed for votes to reauthorize the crony capitalist Export-Import bank.  The failure of his plan in 2015 to extend the life of this program was the first chink in his armor.
8.) Boehner, against the objections of conservatives, pushed through a reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, which is being used by the Obama Administration to de facto enact a nationwide curriculum known as Common Core. (Conservative Review)
9.) Boehner led the effort to bailout the Highway Trust Fund to the tune of $1.8 billion in 2014.  For years the Highway Trust Fund has spent more than it has taken in through the federal gas tax. Rather than addressing badly needed fundamental reforms, this legislation papered over the problem with dubious accounting procedures and tax increases to justify higher spending while still leaving the Highway Trust Fund on a path to insolvency.
10.) When it really mattered, Boehner caved instead of standing up for the most vulnerable in our society.  He made a show of defunding Planned Parenthood, but would not fight to send the President a bill that ends the $500 million payment in federal that goes to an organization that lets born alive babies die on cold metal tables, then harvests their organs.  This was the final cave that finally undid his speakership.