PEP Administrator's Blog

Thoughts of Stanley Heller, Administrator of Promoting Enduring Peace

 

Democracy Now’s Schizophrenic Coverage of Ukraine

 

October 3, 2022.  Democracy Now generally has excellent coverage of things on the ground in Ukraine, their Headline stories, their interviews with Ukrainians Oksana Dutchak, Nataliya Gumenyuk, Russian Khrushcheva, etc.

 

But for analysis DN! goes to people who see the world in terms of geopolitics, Jeffry Sachs, members of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, Madea Benjamin, Katrina vanden Heuvel.  The shows hosts almost never talk to Ukrainians about the big picture.

 

Today was no different.  They had on Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad who spent most of their time claiming the U.S. stopped Ukraine from negotiating an agreement with Russia in April.  

 

Chomsky.  "In April there was negotiations between Russia and Ukraine under Turkish auspices that may have been getting somewhere, soon as they were announced and then Boris Johnson then Prime Minister of England flew to Ukraine and apparently informed Ukraine that the West, meaning the United States and Britain would not favor negotiations.  He was followed directly by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who presumably gave the message that is stand[?] that is repeated over and over and that is now official U.S. policy that the war must continue to weaken Russia severely and it follows no time for negotiations.  Well none of this can be said with certainly because there is so little commentary and reporting and what there is, is highly, often highly distorted and in the example that I just gave [Modi of India] The fact is sooner or later there will have to be some kind of negotiated settlement unless one side or another virtually capitulates."

 

It's no secret that that there were talks under Turkish auspices in April, but as far as I can tell there's NO evidence at all that the US and the UK strongarmed the Ukrainian government.  Even Chomsky's words above are full of "may" and "apparently".

 

 It seems to me if Zelensky took a stronger position in the beginning of April it had a lot more to do with Ukrainian troops forcing Putin out of Kyiv and the whole north of Ukraine at the start of April than whatever Boris Johnson said to Zelensky privately.  [Note October 4.  At the time the Ukrainian government 

 

Vijay Prashad on the program goes further with the claim that the  U.S.  pressured Ukraine to break off negotiations.

 

Prashad "And by the way, it’s not just a matter of Ukraine and Russia coming to some understanding because they do have to live next to each other. And as Noam was saying, in April of this year, they had an interim agreement, which looked a lot like Minsk II, but the West said no. "

 

So there was an "interim agreement" and not just Chomsky's claim that the talks "may have been getting somewhere".

 

OK, prove it.  What is this agreement that the U.S. and the UK broke apart?  Where is the evidence that the Ukrainian government was strongarmed?  [No, rumors don't count.  Let's hear the actual audio or see some leaked document or an insider talking on video.]  And WHY would the Ukrainian government reject a deal that it had just worked out with Russia?  Does Ukraine want war for war’s sake?  Is Zelensky just a puppet of the West?  Don’t you think Ukrainians would have been furious with Zelensky if they knew he had rejected peace on Washington’s orders?

 

Finally, if this war by Ukrainians is so unnecessary show us their movement opposing Ukrainian military action.  You can’t because it doesn’t exist.

 

Democracy Now, start talking to Ukrainian Leftists when you want some of the bigger picture.  Start with folks from “Social Movement”.

 

 

CODEPINK Calls for Rallies Based on Myths

Sept. 11, 2022

CODEPINK is calling for rallies this week , opposing weapons to Ukraine, demanding “diplomacy”.   It says “Don’t Escalate” and  “No, to NATO expansion “  There’s no slogan about Russia at all.

 

The rationale for these demonstrations are found in an article by Medea Benjamin co-founder of CODEPINK.  The rallies target U.S. leaders because she says  that  months ago Russia and Ukraine were at the point of a peace agreement and the U.S. pressured Ukrainian leaders to “torpedo” the talks so that the war would go on and weaken Russia.  She writes

"Russia and Ukraine tentatively agreed to a fifteen-point peace plan " in the first month of the war.

 

"Russia was ready to withdraw from all of Ukraine, except for Crimea and the self-declared republics in Donbas. Ukraine was ready to renounce future membership in NATO and adopt a position of neutrality between Russia and NATO."

 

"Ukrainian and Turkish sources have revealed that the U.K. and U.S. governments played decisive roles in torpedoing those early prospects for peace. During U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “surprise visit” to Kyiv on April 9th, he reportedly told Prime Minister Zelensky that the U.K. was “in it for the long run,” that it would not be party to any agreement between Russia and Ukraine, and that the “collective West” saw a chance to “press” Russia and was determined to make the most of it."

 

The problem is there’s no evidence that any of this is true.   There’s no  evidence that Biden or Boris Johnson strongarmed Zelensky, and there’s no source for the claim that Russia was going to withdraw from all the land it had just occupied in the invasion

 

She writes,

“After six months of a U.S. and NATO proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, we are at a crossroads …”

 

Back to the “proxy” war nonsense claim.  It’s as if Ukrainians didn’t volunteer by the tens of thousands as Russian troops smashed their cities.

 

For a definitive answer to the “negotiations” and “diplomacy-will-solve-all" notion read the article in May by Michael Karadjis.  It’s called “Putin’s conquest of southeast Ukraine: Vexed questions of ‘negotiations’, gotcha moments and real imperial interests”

 

We do need anti-war rallies, directed against Putin, the Israeli government and its enabling US politicians and Assad/Putin. 

 

We don't need anti-war rallies against the brave Ukrainian efforts at self-defense.

 

Cease Fire?

I listened to Democracy Now on August 26 interview Anatol Levien for the umpteenth time about Ukraine.  Levien works at the senior fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which is the Koch-Soros funded think tank.  His big point was the military situation was at a stalemate and what we should be working for is a “cease-fire”. 

 

Actually, the worst person in the interview was DN! Co-host Juan Gonzalez. He repeated the trope that the U.S. is forcing Ukraine to fight the war as part of geo-political campaign against Russia.  He asks, “Does the Biden administration want one[cease-fire], or does it prefer to continue to have the Ukrainian people basically be cannon fodder to continue to weaken Russia? “ Levien tells him that Ukrainians do not want a cease-fire at this point.  He says “they still think that they can regain a lot of territory.” Not an unreasonable desire if you think about it.  When Israel invaded Lebanon our call was not for “ceasefire”, but for Israel to get its troops out of Lebanon.

 

Gonzalez then presses him on the “Global South” and how it doesn’t support Ukraine. He refers to an article by (Shock-Therapy) Jeffrey Sachs.  (I’ve criticized him here.) Talking about Sachs, Gonzalez says “the Ukrainian war is a reflection of that, is a continued insistence of the United States and Europe to be the dominant powers in the world, at a time when, really, power is shifting to the Global South.” He strangely considers Russia and China to be part of this “South”, but it is true that in a lot of poor countries exploited by the West there isn’t a lot of solidarity with Ukraine.

 

Rather than criticize Gonzalez further I point to a weakness in the Left solidarity with Ukraine movement.  The reason working people in the Middle East and Latin America are cool to Ukraine’s fight is the titanic hypocrisy they see in the US in resisting Russian imperialism without curbing U.S. imperialism in Palestine, Yemen, Honduras, Colombia, etc. etc. etc.  Solidarity efforts with Ukraine have to be paired without constant criticism of U.S. imperial projects and solidarity with its victims.

 

And could our friends in Ukraine come up with scholars and activists for Democracy Now to interview?

 

P.S. In late September his tour appearances in Poland were cancelled after outrage at his statements on Ukraine

 

Roger Waters Spews Out the Tankie Crap on Ukraine

 

August 7

 

Rock star Roger Waters was interviewed for seven minutes on CNN by Michael Smerconish on August 6.  Smerconish asked him why he had projected a picture of Biden with the words "War Criminal" during his current "This Is Not a Drill" tour. Now Waters could have correctly mentioned Palestine or Yemen, but the great political sage Waters only talked about Ukraine

 

"Joe Biden is fueling the fire in Ukraine for a start. That's a huge crime," Waters said. "Why won't the United States of America encourage [Ukraine President Volodymyr] Zelensky to negotiate, obviating the need for this horrific, horrendous war?"

 

"Bollocks" as the Brits say.  This is all backwards. Back in March Zelensky offered a deal for Ukraine neutrality and for the issue of Crimea to delayed for a decade. Putin just sent in more troops and artillery.

 

Smerconish pointed out the obvious, that Russia was the aggressor. "You're blaming the party that got invaded. You've got this reversed.

 

Waters answered, "This war is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn't do when [Mikhail] Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe."

 

Well, Roger, look at a map. NATO [which indeed sucks and should be abolished] touches Russia only at the very tip of Norway and in Latvia and Estonia. And those last two countries joined NATO 20 years ago and Russia wasn't unhappy about it then. The Russian Foreign Minister then, the very same Lavarov, attended the NATO welcoming ceremony.

 

Smerconish said that the U.S. has taken on the role of "liberator" around the world. Waters, answered, "You got into World War 2 because of Pearl Harbor. You were completely isolationists [beforehand]. Thank God the Russians had already won the bloody war almost by then. 23 million Russians died, protecting you and me from the Nazi menace."

 

A couple huge things wrong here: 1) In December 1941 "Russia" had not "almost won" the war. The battle of Stalingrad which most historians consider the war's turning point hadn't yet started and wouldn't end until 1943. 2) It wasn't "Russia". It was the Soviets who pushed back Hitler in the East. The Soviet Union was made up of lots of nationalities including Ukrainians. 3) Part of the reason the Soviet were able to fight the Nazis effectively was the enormous amount of equipment the U.S. sent the Soviets via "Lend Lease". It started in the summer of 1941. It included, "more than 400,000 trucks, over 12,000 tanks and other combat vehicles, 32,000 motorcycles, 13,000 locomotives and railway cars" and plenty more. 4) The U.S. government has done many, many horrible things, but there was no reason to sell the U.S. short during our finest hour.


Responding to a Smerconish comment Waters said, "Go read a bit more and figure out what the United States would do if China put nuclear-armed missiles in Mexico and Canada."

 

OMG. Need we point out no one had put nuclear-armed missiles in Ukraine and in fact Ukraine had in 1994 given up ALL its nukes in return for a signed guarantee that its "existing borders" would be respected by Russia.  Waters here sounds just like the pig Henry Kissinger and the other "realists" who think the big powers have a right to a "sphere of influence" and the little countries (like Cuba) have no rights at all.

 

[and if you don't know the term "tankie", it refers to those who defended the Soviets when they invaded Hungary in 1956, and similar vicious moronic thinking.]

 

Anti-Zionism is a Traditional and Growing Stream of Jewish Thinking

Answering the Slander from the ADL

 

July 20, 2022. In his misrepresentations of anti-Zionism in Newsweek, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt conveniently failed to mention Jewish anti-Zionism.  Zionism is a political movement just like the temperance movement or the pro-choice movement. It’s a group of ideas with a goal. It calls for a country run strictly for the benefit of Jews. One can certainly oppose that idea without being a racist hater of Jews. Indeed, Zionism has only had a mass following among Jews since the last years of the 1800s and it wasn’t until the Holocaust that it had any real following among Orthodox Jews.

 

Famous Jewish anti-Zionists included New York Times publisher Adolph Simon Ochs, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, Reform rabbi Elmer Berger, Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer, and the anti-Nazi intelligence agent Leopold Trepper. Prominent today are Israeli lawyer Lea Tzemel, the American writer Ben Ehrenreich and Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture at UC Berkeley. Groups of anti-Zionists included the tens of thousands in Europe in the pre-WWII Bund movement, the Israeli Jews in the Matzpen movement, the American Council for Judaism. Anti-Zionist Jewish groups today include 20,000 Ultra-Orthodox Satmar Jews, the Neturei Karta and the U.S. group Jewish Voice for Peace.

 

There are many obvious reasons to oppose Zionism. Among them are Israel’s savage mistreatment of Palestinians, its regard of Jews outside Israel as inferiors and Zionist leaders’ long treacherous history of deals with anti-Semites, ultra-rightists and in some cases killers of Jews.

 

The May 2021 Israeli government attack on Palestinians caused unprecedented anger among a section of the U.S. Jewish community.  They may not declare it, but effectively a quarter of U.S. Jews are anti-Zionist.  Last July the results of a poll were released that had been commissioned by the  by the Jewish Electorate Institute,  which the Israeli paper Haaretz says is a group led by prominent Jewish Democrats.  A quarter of U.S. Jews agreed with the statement that Israel was an “apartheid state”.   22 percent agreed that “Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians”.  On another question, “34 percent agreed that “Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is similar to racism in the United States”.  According to Haaretz, “20 percent said they preferred establishing one state that is neither Jewish nor Palestinian” encompassing Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. 

 

Another anti-Zionist effort was the open letter calling for the removal of the Israeli flag from Jewish spaces. Approximately 150 Jews called for it to be taken down from its place in synagogues, Jewish Federation offices and the like.  The statement said Israeli was “an apartheid regime” and noted that apartheid has been an international crime since the 1970’s.  It declared it is “offensive to see Jewish communal spaces wave the emblem of a criminal system.”  A number of the signers were quite prominent.

 

It’s not just polls that show the growth of anti-Zionist thinking among Jews.  The evidence is shown in the rapid growth of two American Jewish groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now.  Jewish Voice for Peace, which formally voted to reject Zionism, has 16,000 members. Its social media numbers are far higher than AIPAC’s, the quintessential “pro-Israel” group.  Jewish Voice for Peace has 667,000 Facebook followers and 165,000 followers on Twitter.    AIPAC has  174,000 FB followers and 120,000 followers on Twitter.   IfNotNow is a newer group.  It’s younger and it doesn’t take formal political positions, but it’s in the streets more than JVP.  Still, it has more than 47K followers on FB and 78K Twitter followers.

 

Saying anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism is outright slander.  Anti-Zionism has always been a current in Jewish thinking.  As Israel adds to its infamous record of violence and discrimination, the number of Jews and non-Jews opposed to Zionism will grow.

At PEP we were sent a petition on Ukraine and chose not to sign it.

The reasons I think it's defective

1. It doesn't demand Putin withdraw his troops from any part of Ukraine!  Yes, it asks for a ceasefire, but even if enacted that would leave Putin in control of 20-30% of the country.

2. It says "above all we're angry at our own government" and all its demands indeed are pointed at the U.S. government.  This comes from a strange brand of Leftism that worries most about one's own moral purity rather that what affects the masses of people in whatever country.  In the case of Ukraine the worst actor is not the U.S., but it's traditional colonizer, Russia.

To see the petition and more criticisms click here.

Democracy Now Interviews a Putin Apologist

Consortium News Editor in Chief Joe Lauria:   …Plenty missing from the mainstream media coverage of this [Ukraine] from the initial part of this invasion until today. Mostly we have seen reporting in the corporate media based solely on U.S. officials or Ukrainian officials… So, American and European audiences have been fed the idea that Russia has been failing in this war and that Ukraine still has a chance to win,

Lauria’s message is that Ukraine has no chance to “win”, meaning to stop Putin from seizing 25% or 100% of their country.  Since they have no chance, they should accept whatever Putin has in store for them. 

 

To read the whole article click here

 

Andrew J. Bacevich  Doesn’t want Us to Call Putin’s Russia Fascist – He’s Wrong

Quincy Institute president Andrew Bacevich takes exception to those calling Putin’s Russia fascist.  Selections from his article are below. My criticisms of his article are in red.  Ellipses (…) show my deletions of sentences or paragraphs of his piece.

 

Bacevich writes:

 

Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History at Yale University, is a scholar of surpassing brilliance...

I just wish Professor Snyder would stick to history.

It’s not my aim to defend all of Snyder’s statements, but I do want to criticize many of Bacevich’s claims. He’s head of the well-heeled Quincy Institute (Koch-Soros money) which all sorts of liberals turn to for foreign policy guidance.

 

Click here to read the whole article

 

 

Chris Hedges is Getting it Very Wrong on Ukraine

 

June 16, 2022.  For decades Chris Hedges has been a brave and prize-winning reporter, an educator of prisoners, and a fine analyst of the Christian Far-Right.  But in the last few years he’s lost his way.  Perhaps it started in 2017 when he interviewed the alt-imperialists Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton on his Russia Today show “On Contact” as they “doubted” media reports of Assad chemical use.   Certainly. he’s getting it wrong on Ukraine now.  The following is from his April 16 interview on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. My comments are in red and in boldface. To keep to the point I’ve eliminated parts of his comments (which are long indictments of U.S. outrages) and replaced them with an ellipsis (…).  The transcript of the entire interview is here.

 

Ralph Nader: Welcome indeed. Listeners, we're going to cover a lot of ground here – NATO, Putin, Ukraine. We're going to talk first about…tell us your reaction to the media coverage here. …?

Chris Hedges: Well, it gets to what Chomsky and Ed Herman wrote about in their book, Manufacturing Consent: [The Political Economy of the Mass Media]--the difference between worthy and unworthy victims. So our victims are not worthy. Yemenis are not worthy. Palestinians are not worthy. … The two decades of war crimes that we committed that have so far dwarfed anything that Putin has done in Ukraine are ignored.

First, why start by talking about coverage by corporate media?  We all know corporate media for the most part will spin out whatever story the empire wants. We know all about U.S. government horrors and hypocrisy.

Why not start by telling us what’s going on between Russia and Ukraine?

(continued here)

The Alt-Imperialists

 

Since the end of 2015 when a number of prominent anti-war and Left figures started apologizing for Assad or more precisely

when they started “doubting” all the charges of Assad’s use of sarin and other chemicals, the question was what to call this bizarre form of politics.  One term that was used by some was “tankies”.  This goes back to 1956 when most of the world’s Communist parties supported the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia led by its units of tanks. It has the advantage of incorporating the brutality of the view, but it seems a little dated. Another term used is “campists”, people who think the world is divided into one camp which is the U.S. and its allies and underlings and another camp made up of every state and regime not in the U.S.’s good graces.  The problem is that it needs considerable explaining before it can be understood.

 

The Lebanese writer and researcher Joey Ayoub has come up with a brilliant term which he’s been using at least since 2020, “alt-imperialists”.  Its advantages are that it starts with the trendy prefix “alt” and that it is immediately obvious in its meaning.  Alt-imperialists are those who oppose the imperialism of their own country, but support another (or several other) imperialist countries.

 

Who are the alt-imperialists?  The worst are the Grayzone crew, Blumenthal, Norton and Maté. Ex-member of Congress Tulsi Gabbard is also a member of the club.  Not totally infected, but touched by the malady are Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and Katrina vanden Heuvel.  And there’s many more.

 

As Australian Leftist Michael Karadjis has explained anti-war people fall victim to this when their political thinking isn’t based on understanding the exploitation of the working class.  As I see it their anti-war politics has come out of something else, religion or pacifism, or anger at their personal mistreatment by the U.S. government. Instead of being based solidly on empathy and solidarity with the oppressed,  its  foundation is a lot more shaky.  So it morphs into geopolitical campaigns, endlessly rationalizing support for all sorts of grotesque regimes on grounds of “lesser evilism”.

 

Down with Alt-imperialist thinking.  Up with internationalism.

 

Vanden Heuvel on Democracy Now! Repeats False Ukraine “Proxy War” Idea

 

 June 8.  Click here for a point-by-point criticism of Katrina vanden Heuvel's June 6 interview on Democracy Now!  Vanden Heuvel is publisher of "The Nation" and has a regular column in the Washington Post.  I think her "proxy war" notion is false and insulting to the millions of Ukrainians and their terrible sufferings.

 

 

graphic above - Amnesty International

Three Far-Reaching Ideas about Ending the Gun Plague and one Small Suggestion

 

 

May 25.  Yesterday a Texas teenager added another score of kids to the annual carnage of guns.  Face the facts. Reasonable measures to keep guns out of the hands of hotheads cannot be legislated when corporate execs make immense amount of money from gun sales and spend millions to get ad agencies to use hysteria to encourage the buying of firearms.

We can sharply decrease deaths from gun violence, but to do it we need to take strong, far-reaching action.

 

  1. Nationalize all the big U.S. gun making companies. Put public officials in charge who would let them continue to sell guns, but would forbid the industry to spend tens of millions to romanticize guns to children and teenagers or to convince adults that only guns can keep them safe. U.S. government-owned companies would, of course, not be allowed to contribute money to politicians.

 

  1. Investigate the Far-Right NRA for its role in creating the climate that led to the attempt to overthrow the U.S. government on January 6, 2021.

 

  1. Take away guns from most cops. Only allow specially trained police to use them in emergency situations. (see my earlier post.) That's the way it is in Britain.

 

  1. Ask Don McClean (“American Pie”) not to perform at the NRA 2022 convention in Texas. [ See this petition to him. ]

 

As far as proposal #1 goes I use "nationalize" loosely.  The industry would no longer be run with its focus on money making, but we want to avoid some of the Social Democratic or Soviet models of governance.  We don't want to just have some unreachable bureaucracy running things.  We need a popular takeover of the industry with worker control of many aspects.  But first get the gun making industry out of the hands of the salesmen of death.

 

Chomsky Praises Trump as "Statesman"

 

May 2, 2022

 

I saw that Chomsky was trending on Twitter and I feared the worst. Actually what was trending was Chomsky's praise for Donald Trump!

 

Fox contributor Glen Greenwald was bragging Chomsky had called Trump a "statesman" and had said that there was "one Western statesman of stature" who is pushing for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine rather than looking for ways to fuel and prolong it. His name is Donald J. Trump. 

 

The replies to Greenwald pointed to the full interview with Chomsky on April 27. It's here on youtube . Greenwald did not distort what Chomsky said. (see the text of the whole section below)

 

What wise policy is Trump advocating that so impressed Chomsky?

 

Well, on April 18 Trump said, "It doesn't make sense that Russia and Ukraine aren't sitting down and working out some kind of an agreement." That's about it. So what's so wonderful about that sentence? Trump pretends he can make fantastic deals to solve any problem.

 

Sure he can sell weapons, but what kind of "deal" did Trump make to settle Korea or end the conflict [apartheid] between Israelis and Palestinians.

 

But read up on what else Trump has said about Ukraine. In March made two statements the very opposite of "negotiations". Just three weeks earlier on March 22 it was widely reported that on Fox Business Trump advised Biden that if Putin uses the word "nuclear", then "You should say, ‘Look, if you mention that word one more time, we’re going to send them [nuclear armed submarines] over and we’ll be coasting back and forth, up and down your coast. "

 

And weeks before that, on March 6 he told Republican donors in New Orleans that the "United States should label its F-22 planes with the Chinese flag and “bomb the s--t out of Russia.” 

 

Donald Trump is a statesman?

 

Anyway, Noam Chomsky, why always think the magic solution is "negotiations" and "diplomacy", in this case figuring a way to soothe Putin's supposedly justified security fears? Why don't you read "What Should Russia do with Ukraine" which was published in early April by the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti (Russian: РИА Новости) It was written by one of their writers, Timofey Sergeytsev. (See my post immediately below this one) . It's an absolutely horrifying document explaining that Ukraine was entirely Nazi, that it was a worse danger than Hitler and that the majority of its people had to be killed or taken for reeducation, and that "de-Nazification" had to go on for a generation. Putin's government is not worrying about security. It's obsessed with the existence of Ukraine. It's the existence of Ukraine which it defines as Nazism.

 

The RIA Novosti article was never withdrawn or criticized by anyone in the Russian government.

 

You can read my critique of Noam Chomsky's recent interview with Bill Fletcher, Jr. on New Politics.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Text from the April 27 interview with Chomsky starting at 5:43

 

Q. How do you sell Biden's policies on Ukraine?

 

A. There is fortunately one statesman in the United States, a person of high political figure who has made a very sensible statement about how to solve the crisis, mainly by facilitating negotiations instead of undermining them and moving towards establishing some kind of accommodation in Europe in which are there are no military alliances but just mutual accommodations, he didn't say it, but something like George H.W. Bush, the first Bush, not the second, proposed in the early '90's, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, proposed what they called a partnership for peace, which would be open for Europeans generally and for Asians as well. It wouldn't eliminate NATO but would live up to the promise that NATO would not expand to the east, firm promise to Gorbachev, keep to that ...well NATO there but deemphasize it so other countries could join including Russia for that matter or join in the Partnership for Peace that Tajikistan joined for example and not NATO and move it towards a world a Eurasia with no military alliances, actually DeGaulle had similar vision ... Macron in his initiatives trying to contact Putin suggested something similar, going back to the one Western statesman who didn't mention all of this but he suggested something similar, a move towards negotiations and diplomacy instead of escalating the war, try to see if you can bring about an accommodation which would be roughly along these lines. His name is Donald J. Trump, the one statesman I know of in the West, not my favorite person incidentally. I think he's a most dangerous person, maybe in history, but let's tell the truth. He's the one person who said it and it's the right way out. Others have said it too, but not in high positions.

 

 

 

A Disgusting Official Thinker of Putin's Regime

The essay below was published in early April by the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti (Russian: РИА Новости).  It was written by one of their writers.  It’s hideous.

 

 If we can’t directly attribute the ideas to Putin we can certainly say that if Putin had the slightest problem with them they would never have appeared or would have been removed. Historian of mass killings, Timothy Snyder, called the article the “Genocide Handbook”.    I did my own analysis and agree.   The original article is below.  My comments in red. - Stanley Heller

 

What should Russia do with Ukraine?

 

by Timofey Sergeytsev

 

Translation

 

We wrote about the inevitability of Ukraine’s denazification as early as last April. We do not need a Nazi, Banderite Ukraine, the enemy of Russia and a tool of the West used to destroy Russia. Today, the denazification issue has taken a practical turn.

 

Denazification is necessary when a considerable number of population (very likely most of it) has been subjected to the Nazi regime and engaged into its agenda. That is, when the “good people — bad government” hypothesis does not apply. Recognizing this fact forms the backbone of the denazification policy and all its measures, while the fact itself constitutes its subject.

 

This is the situation Ukraine has found itself in.

 

No need to prove any of this.  Most people would think a country where all the Far Right together only got 1% of the vote could hardly be a “Nazi country”

 

The fact that the Ukrainian voter was choosing between the “Poroshenko peace” and the “Zelenskyy peace” must not deceive you: Ukrainians were quite happy with the shortest way to peace via a blitzkrieg, which was strongly alluded to by the last two Ukrainian presidents when they were elected. This was the method used to “pacify” home antifascists in Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro[the RU original uses the city’s former name “Dnipropetrovsk”], Mariupol, and other Russian cities — the method of total terror. And ordinary Ukrainians were fine with it. Denazification is a set of actions aimed at the nazified bulk of the population, who technically cannot be directly punished as war criminals.

 

Those Nazis who took up arms must be destroyed on the battlefield, as many of them as possible. No significant distinction should be made between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the so-called “nationalist battalions,” as well as the Territorial Defense, who have joined the two other types of military units. They are all equally complicit in the horrendous violence towards civilians, equally complicit in the genocide of the Russian people, and they don’t comply with the laws

 

What genocide? This is nuts.  The fighting in the Donbas? Warfare with attacks on civilians on both sides.

 

and customs of war. War criminals and active Nazis must be punished in such a way as to provide an example and a demonstration. A total lustration must be conducted. All organizations involved in Nazi actions must be eliminated and prohibited. However, besides the highest ranks, a significant number of common people are also guilty of being passive Nazis and Nazi accomplices. They supported the Nazi authorities and pandered to them. A just punishment for this part of the population can only be possible through bearing the inevitable hardships of a just war against the Nazi system, waged as carefully and

 

By “inevitable hardships of a just war” you mean murder, right?

 

sparingly as possible relates civilians. The further denazification of this bulk of the population will take the form of re-education through ideological repressions (suppression) of Nazi paradigms and a harsh

 

Nazi “paradigms” such as fair elections, right to assemble, right to a fair trial, etc.

 

censorship not only in the political sphere but also in the spheres of culture and education. It was through culture and education that the pervasive large-scale Nazification of the population was conducted, ensured by the guarantees of dividends from the Nazi regime victory over Russia, by the Nazi propaganda, internal violence and terror, and the 8-year-long war against the people of Donbas, who have rebelled against the Ukrainian Nazism.

 

Denazification can only be conducted by the winner, which means (1) their unconditional control over the denazification process and (2) the authority that can ensure such control. For this purpose, a country that is being denazified cannot possess sovereignty. The denazifier state, Russia, cannot take a liberal approach towards denazification. The denazifier ideology cannot be challenged by the guilty party that is being denazified.

 

There can be no complaints, no due process and no protest no matter what is done to the loser.

 

When Russia admits that Ukraine needs to be denazified, it essentially admits that the Crimea scenario cannot be applied to the whole Ukraine. In all fairness, this scenario was also not possible in the insurgent Donbas in 2014. Only the 8-year-long rebellion against the Nazi violence and terror managed to result in an internal unification and deliberate, explicit, broad-scale refusal of retaining any association with or relation to Ukraine, who has identified itself as a Nazi community.

 

The period of denazification can take no less than one generation that has to be born, brought upm and mature under the conditions of denazification. The nazification of Ukraine has been going on for more than 30 years — starting from as early as 1989, when Ukrainian nationalism was given legal and legitimate forms of political self-expression and led the movement for “independence”, setting a course for Nazism.

 

“independence” means Nazism according to Sergeytsev

 

The current nazified Ukraine is characterized by its formlessness and ambivalence, which allow it to disguise Nazism as the aspiration to “independence” and the “European” (Western, pro-American) path of “development” (in reality, to degradation) and claim that “there is no Nazism” in Ukraine, “only few sporadic incidents.” Indeed, there isn’t a main Nazi party, no Führer, no full-fledged racial laws (only a cutdown version in the form of repressions against the Russian language). As a result — no opposition or resistance against the regime.

 

However, all listed above doesn’t make Ukrainian Nazism a “light version” of the German Nazism of the first half of the 20th century. Quite the opposite: since Ukrainian Nazism is free from such “genre” norms and limitations (which are essentially a product of political technologies), it can spread freely just like a basis for any Nazism — both European and, in its most developed form, the American racism.

 

The fact that Ukraine has nothing that rational people would see as Nazi means it’s a tricky new form of Nazism.

 

That’s why there can be no compromise during denazification, as in the case of the “no to NATO, yes to EU” formula. The collective West is in itself the architect, source, and sponsor of Ukrainian Nazism, while the Banderite supporters from Western Ukraine and their “historical memory” is just one of the tools of the nazification of Ukraine. Ukronazism poses a much bigger threat to the world and Russia than the Hitler version of German Nazism.

 

I almost don’t have to comment here. He says “Ukronazism”,  (a new word “Ukro” and “Nazism”) is a worse threat “to the world”  than Hitler’s Nazism.  It’s a sentence both breathtaking in its stupidity and in its menace.  This is how Hitler talked about the Jews.

 

Apparently, the name “Ukraine” cannot be kept as a title of any fully denazified state entity on the territory liberated from the Nazi regime. The people’s republics, newly created on the territories free from Nazism, must and will develop on the basis of practices of economic self-government and social security, restoration and modernization of systems of essential services for the population.

 

Their political direction cannot be neutral in practice: the redemption of their guilt before Russia for treating it like an enemy can be manifested only by relying on Russia in the processes of restoration, revival, and development. No “Marshall Plans” can be allowed to happen on these territories.

 

In other words treat them worse than the defeated Nazi Germany.  For Sergeytsev declaring independence from Russia was worse than the Germans killing 3 million Soviet POW’s, 1 million citizens during the siege of Leningrad, etc. etc.

 

 No “neutrality” in the ideological and practical sense that is compatible with denazification can be possible. Individuals and organizations who are to become tools of denazification in the new denazified republics cannot but rely on the direct organizational and force support from Russia.

 

Denazification will inevitably include de-ukrainization — the rejection of the large-scale artificial inflation of the ethnic component in the self-identification of the population of the historical Malorossiya and Novorossiya territories, which was started by the Soviet authorities. Being a tool of the Communist superpower, this artificial ethnocentrism was not left unclaimed after its fall. It was transferred in its subservient role to a different superpower (the power above states) — the superpower of the West. It needs to be brought back within its natural boundaries and stripped of political functionality.

 

“natural boundaries”, in other words steal Ukrainian land

 

Unlike, for example, Georgia or the Baltic States, history has proved it impossible for Ukraine to exist as a nation-state, and any attempts to “build” such a nation-state naturally lead to Nazism.

 

Calling for independence from a vicious overlord is apparently the essence of Nazism. 

 

Ukrainism is an artificial anti-Russian construct that has no civilizational substance of its own, a subordinate element of an extraneous and alien civilization. Debanderization alone will not be enough for denazification: the Banderite element is only a hand and a screen, a disguise for the European project of the Nazi Ukraine, which is why the denazification of Ukraine means its inevitable de-europeanization.

 

The Banderite elites must be eliminated; their re-education is impossible.

 

So they will be murdered.

 

The social “bog,” which has actively and passively supported them through action and inaction, must go through the hardships of war and internalize the lived experience as a historical lesson and the redemption of its guilt. Those who didn’t support the Nazi regime and suffered from it and the war it started in Donbas must be consolidated and organized, must become the backbone of the new authorities, their vertical and horizontal framework. History has shown that the tragedies and dramas of the war time benefit the peoples who were tempted and carried away by their role as the enemy of Russia.

 

Denazification as a goal of the special military operation within the limits of the operation itself means a military victory over the Kyiv regime, the liberation of the territories from the armed supporters of nazification, the elimination of hard-line Nazis, the imprisonment of war criminals, and the creating of systemic conditions for further denazification in peacetime.

 

The latter, in its turn, must begin with the establishment of local governments, militia, and defense institutions, cleansed of Nazi elements, the launching on their basis of constituent processes to create a new republican statehood, the integration of this statehood into the close cooperation with the Russian agency on Ukraine denazification (newly established or reorganized on the basis of, for example, Rossotrudnichestvo), the adoption of the republican regulatory framework (legislation) on denazification under Russian control, the definition of boundaries and frameworks for the direct application of Russian law and Russian jurisdiction in the liberated territory in regard to denazification, the establishment of a tribunal for crimes against humanity in the former Ukraine. In this regard, Russia should act as the guardian of the Nuremberg Trials.

 

Perhaps the executed will be punished further.

 

All of the above means that in order to achieve the denazification goals, the support of the population is necessary, as well as its transition to the Russian side after its liberation from the terror, violence, and ideological pressure of the Kyiv regime, and after their withdrawal from informational isolation. Of course, it will take some time for people to recover from the shock of military hostilities, to be convinced of Russia’s long-term intentions, meaning “they will not be abandoned.” It’s impossible to foresee exactly in which territories such a mass of the population will constitute a critically needed majority. The “Catholic province” (Western Ukraine, made up of five oblasts) is unlikely to become part of the pro-Russian territories. The exclusion line, however, will be found experimentally. Behind the line, a forcibly neutral and demilitarized Ukraine will remain, with the formally banned Nazism and hostile to Russia. This is where the haters of Russia will go. The threat of an immediate continuation of the military operation in case of non-compliance with the listed requirements must become a guarantee of the preservation of this obsolete Ukraine in a neutral state. Perhaps this will require a permanent Russian military presence on its territory. From the exclusion line to the Russian border, there will be a territory of potential integration into the Russian civilization, which is inherently anti-fascist.

 

Western Ukraine will be a rump state much like the German created  "General Government" of what once was southeast Poland in 1941

 

The operation to denazify Ukraine, which began with a military phase, will follow the same logic of stages in peacetime as during the military operation. At each stage, it will be necessary to achieve irreversible changes, which will become the results of the corresponding stage. In this case, the necessary initial steps of denazification can be defined as follows:

— The elimination of armed Nazi formations (which means any armed formations of Ukraine, including the Armed Forces of Ukraine), as well as the military, informational, and educational infrastructure that ensures their activity;

— The establishment of people’s self-government institutions and militia (defense and law enforcement) of the liberated territories to protect the population from the terror of underground Nazi groups;

— The installation of the Russian information space;

— The seizure of educational materials and the prohibition of educational programs at all levels that contain Nazi ideological guidelines;

— Mass investigations aimed to establish personal responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, the spread of Nazi ideology, and support for the Nazi regime;

— Lustration, making the names of accomplices of the Nazi regime public, involving them in forced labor to restore the destroyed infrastructure as punishment for Nazi activities (from among those who have not become subject to the death penalty or imprisonment);

Forced labor for millions of Ukrainians who believe in the “Nazi” idea of independence

— The adoption at the local level, under the supervision of Russia, of primary normative acts of denazification “from below,” a ban on all types and forms of the revival of Nazi ideology;

— The establishment of memorials, commemorative signs, monuments to the victims of Ukrainian Nazism, perpetuating the memory of the heroes of the struggle against it;

— The inclusion of a set of anti-fascist and denazification norms in the constitutions of the new people’s republics;

— The establishment of permanent denazification institutions for a period of 25 years.

 

Russia will have no allies in the denazification of Ukraine. Because this is a purely Russian business. And also because it is not just the Bandera version of Nazi Ukraine that will be eradicated. The process will also, and above all, affect Western totalitarianism, the imposed programs of civilizational degradation and disintegration, the mechanisms of subjugation under the superpower of the West and the United States.

 

All ideas like the notions of freedoms, equality, and “degradation” meaning LGBTQ rights are Western totalitarianism

 

In order to put the Ukraine denazification plan into practice, Russia itself will have to finally part with pro-European and pro-Western illusions, acknowledge itself as the last authority in protecting and preserving those values of historical Europe (the Old World) that deserve to preserve and that the West ultimately abandoned, losing the fight for itself. This struggle continued throughout the 20th century and found its expression in the world war and the Russian revolution, which were inextricably linked with each other.

 

Russia did everything possible to save the West in the 20th century. It implemented the main Western project that constituted an alternative to capitalism, which defeated the nation-states — the Socialist red project. It crushed German Nazism, a monstrous offspring of the crisis of Western civilization. The last act of Russian altruism was its outstretched hand of friendship, for which it received a monstrous blow in the 1990s.

 

Everything that Russia has done for the West, it has done at its own expense, by making the greatest sacrifices. The West ultimately rejected all these sacrifices, devalued Russia’s contribution to resolving the Western crisis, and decided to take revenge on Russia for the help that it had selflessly provided. From now on, Russia will follow its own way, not worrying about the fate of the West, relying on another part of its heritage — the leadership in the global process of decolonization.

 

As part of this process, Russia has a high potential for partnerships and alliances with countries that the West has oppressed for centuries and which are not going to put on its yoke again. Without Russian sacrifice and struggle, these countries would not have been liberated. The denazification of Ukraine is at the same time its decolonization, which the population of Ukraine will have to understand as it begins to free itself from the intoxication, temptation, and dependence of the so-called European choice.

“denazification of Ukraine is at the same time its decolonization”, war is peace, hate is love, etc. etc.

* An extremist organization banned in Russia.

Translation: A team of Ukrainian volunteers

 

You do notice there’s nothing here about Russia being afraid of NATO as the reason to attack Ukraine.  It’s all about crushing “Nazism” which to Sergeytsev is the gall of Ukrainian to be disgusted and tired of Russian domination.

 

 

Ukraine has Lesson for Climate Activists Supporting Nuclear Power

 

Update March 14.  The Irish Sun (and the Voice of America) reports 

The International Atomic Energy Agency said: "The Ukrainian regulator informed the IAEA that staff at Chernobyl were no longer carrying out repair and maintenance of safety-related equipment.

"It is in part due to their physical and psychological fatigue after working non-stop for nearly three weeks."

 

March 12.  Terrific people like George Monbiot and James Hansen believe nuclear power is essential to keeping humanity from going over the climate precipice.  They argue that nuclear power is a relatively low-carbon and that problems of escaping radiation and nuclear waste are overblown.  I don’t want to get into those arguments right now.  What I do want to say is that I don’t think pro-nuclear climate activists have much considered the safety of nuclear power plants during wars.

 

That’s understandable. Until two weeks ago I didn’t dream that anyone would deliberately attack a nuclear power plant, but Russian troops are doing just that, taking Ukraine’s closed Chernobyl reactors and waste and the biggest operating nuclear power complex at Zaporizhzhia.  

 

Ukrainian economist Tymofiy Mylovanov on Democracy Now claimed a number of MIT professors have concluded that nuclear waste storage areas at Chernobyl have been opened and “mined”, that is explosives are being put there.  On March 11 the Washington Post reported that on the 9th Russian troops “damaged a high-voltage line that connected the reactor site with the electricity grid.”  It's been off-line since then, running on diesel fuel.  The plants at Chernobyl haven’t been running since 2000, but the electricity is still needed.  It’s used to operate pumps that keep cooling pools working.  The pools are cooling 20,000 spent fuel rods.  We’re told there’s no immediate cause for alarm.

 

The Zaporizhzhia power complex was conquered by Russian troops after a battle that led to a fire that gutted one building, but apparently did not cause the release of radiation.  The plants continue to operate and send out power.  But who is operating them?  Are the Ukrainian workers there allowed to leave?  Did some of the staff flee?  Are the Russians administrating the plants competent?

 

Ukraine has 15 operating nuclear reactors. None so far have leaked significant radiation.  We’ve been lucky.  But do you base a power system on “luck” when an unlucky day could lead to a melt-down?  Should we be putting nuclear power plants all over the world as some want, given humanity’s inability to stop making war?

 

The Tankies New Tactics (part 2)

March 9.  In the runup to the invasion they claimed that U.S. reports about Putin massing troops on Ukraine’s borders were either false or that the U.S. was hysterical for pointing it out.  They couldn’t bring themselves to say, “Putin, don’t invade Ukraine!”  Their slogans were mainly “No US war with Russia” or sometimes “No War Over Ukraine”.  The obvious fact that you don’t bring 150,000 troops to your borders with armaments directed for invasion just to bluff and make a point was beyond them. 

 

Now the campists have switched their tune a bit.  They all react in horror that the Russians actually invaded. OMG, whoever would believe such a thing could happen?  But they can’t bring themselves to express solidarity with Ukraine.  Some say “Solidarity with Russian anti-war protesters” which is good, but they don’t call for solidarity with Ukrainians.  Instead they call for “diplomacy”.  They don’t say it outright, but all find some convoluted way to oppose armaments going to Ukrainians.

 

On Democracy Now! Today March 9 Tariq Ali said, “Further escalation, further armaments, pouring in weapons is going to make conditions worse, principally for people of Ukraine.”   So, no weapons to Ukraine. Instead “diplomacy”.  That’s exactly what the U.S. has been doing in regard to Syria and all the while Assad/Putin ravages the country.  Forgive Ukrainians for not wanting this enlightened outcome.

 

As Gilbert Achcar pointed out in my interview with him last week, what’s going on primarily is not a war between empires (like in 1914), but one empire (Russia) trying to conquer and absorb another much smaller and weaker country (think Vietnam 1967).

 

Yes, Ukraine is getting weapons from “the West”, a nasty empire who at this very moment is keeping Afghan money from starving Afghans.  But think back to 1942.  Then the U.S. allied with the Soviet Union which in the previous decade has murdered about 5 million people under its control.  How many people say it was unprincipled for Roosevelt to ally with Stalin during World War II?

 

March 6 was a day that Stop the War UK and CODEPINK and others called for rallies under the title "Stop the War in Ukraine".  Pictures here.  The Left in Connecticut had a demonstration of 70-100 people in New Haven on that day, but we had a different theme, "Solidarity with Ukrainian Victims of Invasion".  See the stills of the signs and complete video of the New Haven rally here.  I think it's a model for the way the Left should act towards the war.

 

Below is a picture that I think shows the way NOT to be tankie.

 

New Haven, CT  March 6, 2022

 

Waiting

March 4, 2022

 

Mubarak Soulemane's family waiting since January 15, 2020 for a state prosecutor to decide wither or not to indict the state trooper who shot him dead.

 

The family of Omar Abdalmajeed As'ad waiting since January 12, 2022 for any significant punishment for the Israeli soldiers who detained him for no reason and bound him and gagged him and left him for dead.

 

The Tankies New Tactics

 

Feb. 26, 2022.  You may be unfamiliar with the term “tankies”.  In 1956 it referred to the U.S. Communist Party and to those Leftists who apologized for the Soviet Union invasion of Hungary where tanks literally crushed a movement to create a socialism that included democracy.  Another term for these people is “campists”, those who see the world divided into two camps, the U.S. empire and its allies and vassals are one evil imperial camp and everyone else is in the good virtuous camp.  Now the U.S. government sure does lead one imperial camp and does invade or overthrow government whenever it thinks it can get away with it (think Iraq, Yemen, Honduras, etc.), but that doesn’t mean there aren't other imperial camps.  Ask Chechens and Syrians and people from Belarus about what they think of Russia.  Ask people in Tibet and Hong Kong and the Uyghurs what they think of the Chinese government.  But for tankies/campists these people don’t exist or they’re people in the pay of the U.S. CIA.

 

About a month ago 100 peace organizations signed a statement created by ANSWER, CODE PINK, UNAC, the Peace Council and others.  Some of it was fine, its criticism of the U.S. brazen expansion of NATO.  The problem with it though was it all framed as a great power dispute.  The 40 million people in Ukraine who are in fact then threatened with a Russian  invasion were totally ignored.  Small countries have security concerns, too!  While the statement says, " both sides are to blame for causing this crisis" the statement only blamed one side.  It left out the fact that Russia violated its agreement to respect the 1994 borders of Ukraine.  It left out the fact that Russia seized the Crimea from Ukraine and invaded Ukraine's Donbass via Russian "volunteers" and is making those lands de facto part of Russia.  The statement didn’t include the simple demand that Russia obey international law and NOT invade Ukraine further. 

 

Rallies were called for the first weekend in February by the signers of that statement.  They were held in many cities, but they were pitifully small.  The one in DC looked to be 30 people.

 

Now CODE PINK is taking the lead an organizing an “international online rally” today (Feb. 26).  It’s leading headline “No War in Ukraine”

 

For the past week or so these have been its demands:

· No war with Russia

·  Stop the NATO expansion

·  No more weapons to Ukraine and the European Union

·  Obey international laws and the UN Charter

·  Resolve the current conflict within the United Nations Security Council

·  Restore the Minsk Agreements

·  De-escalate the threat of a nuclear war

 

Notice that even though 150,000 Russian soldier surrounded Ukraine on 3 sides there’s no demand that Russia not invade Ukraine.  There’s no refutation of Putin’s claim that Ukraine is not a country and that the land is Russian.  There’s no recognition that there’s an anti-war movement within Russia whose support must be our number 1 priority.  If you look on the CODE PINK site you see their solution for all this is “diplomacy”, getting the great powers together to talk and make a deal.

 

The star speaker for the event is Jeremy Corbyn who made it an act of principal never to support Syrians fighting their fascist overlord and imperial Russia, nor the poisonings of Russians in Britain.  I can imagine his excuses for Putin and his bleatings for ceasefire and  “peace”.

 

Today I notice organizers of the rally added this demand “Withdraw Russian Troops”.  Well, bully for them.

 

I could write more, but I’m going to check out a rally for Ukrainians at noon in Hartford.

 

Also, For the Sake of the Climate We Denounce

the Growing War

 

Feb. 23, 2022. Draft of a statement on climate and war.

 

Obviously, war over Ukraine will directly cause awful death and injury to humans, but already we see what war mobilization and energy preparedness are doing to our hopes to maintain livable climates. As armies are moving and training, they are burning fossil fuels and creating large amounts of greenhouse gases. Warfare between armies will produce far more. 

 

Measures to prepare for cutoffs of Russian natural gas are leading world leaders to go back to even the worst climate polluting methods of creating energy.  The New York Times reports, “In Britain, the Coal Authority gave a mine in Wales permission last month to increase output by 40 million tons over the next two decades. In Australia, there are plans to open or expand more coking coal mines. And China, which has traditionally made energy security a priority, has further stepped up its coal production and approved three new billion-dollar coal mines this week.”  Fracked gas companies are looking to reopen closed drilling sites. 

 

Scientists have been sounding the alarm for decades. We have to stop spewing greenhouse gases into the air.

 

No war.  Russia, get out of Ukraine. Dissolve war alliances like NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

 

The Clock is ticking. Tipping points for climate collapse are approaching.  Stop the imperial wars for resources and power.  Human civilization is at stake.

 

What about Syria?

Feb. 9, 2022.  Listening to Democracy Now this morning about all the heavy sanctions many in Congress want to levy against Putin/Russia because he's massed troops on the Ukrainian border.  Wondering why wasn't any of this considered with Syria against Assad?

 

Putin is threatening Ukraine, right, but he's done a hell of a lot more in Syria.  He's assisted a murderous regime in killing hundreds of thousands and exiling millions.  His intervention in 2015 turned the tide of the fighting, defeated the freedom uprising (or revolution as you will) and paved the way for religious-based extremists from taking over in areas that had been controlled by democratic forces.  His planes bomb Syria constantly, schools, hospitals, markets, crowds of civilians, etc.

 

Not really calling for sanctions which often harm the people more than the regime, but for action.  1) send millions of dollars' worth of concrete to Idlib so hospitals and schools and buildings for homes can be constructed. 2) make U.S. radar tracking of Russian and Syrian jets public so that people in Idlib can have some warning of attacks; 3) press Turkey to allow more trade and refugees to come from Idlib

 

And Take Away Guns from Most Cops, Too 

 

Janury 24, 2022 first printed March 24, 2018

 

In today’s “March for Our Lives” the emphasis is on taking military rifles out of the hands of civilians and other measures to curb the lust to sell weapons from the out-of-control gun industry. Absolutely right. Yet, there’s another demand that should be made: Sharply limit the number of police with guns.

 

A few days ago a young man was shot to death in Sacramento. He was in his own backyard. It was dark and police were looking for someone suspected of break-ins. A policeman said he saw something and yelled, “Gun, gun, gun.” Police shot Stephon Clark 20 times. All he was holding was a cell phone.

 

Last May in Bridgeport, Conn., 15-year-old, Jayson Negron, evidently stole a car and went joyriding with some friends. He was chased by police almost immediately, drove the wrong way down a street, was stopped, a policeman challenged him and within a few minutes Negron is shot dead and a passenger wounded.

 

Angry protests broke out after these killings as they did after Michael Brown and so many others were shot. Demands were made for severe punishment of police, but in all but a few cases, the police were found by prosecutors or juries to have used “reasonable” force.

 

But what if the officers involved with Clark and Negron did not have guns? If they thought their lives were in danger, they could have backed up and taken cover and called for reinforcements. They could have lit up the areas and taken photos. They could have surrounded the suspect, waited him out and talked him into surrendering. Yes, maybe the suspect could have escaped, but we’re not talking about suspected murderers here. The crimes being investigated were stealing, car theft, and in Michael Brown’s case taking something from a store. None of these crimes carry the death sentence. With streets and highways full of cameras and with questioning of witnesses suspects would get tracked down sooner or later.

 

Plain and simple take away guns from the average police officer. Only arm special squads of police with pistols and rifles and only call them into action in grave circumstances.

 

Is this some fantasy? No, it’s the normal way things go in Great Britain. Only 5 percent of police there carry firearms. And British police don’t want to carry guns. A poll by their union found 82 percent want to keep things are they are.

 

A few years ago Metropolitan Police Brian Paddick explained front-line officers would not be keen to face the agonizing, split-second decisions faced by their counterparts in specialist firearms units.

 

“In terms of the police being approachable, in terms of the public being the eyes and ears of the police, officers don’t want to lose that,” he said.

 

According to the British Home Office, there were 14,753 police firearms operations in the year ending March 2016 and seven incidents in which police discharged their guns. You read that right, seven incidents where the police shot the guns. And that year was no exception in the years immediately before 2016 it was often six or four and once just three.

 

The UK is no paradise of civilization. You recall they’ve had a number of terrorist incidents and lots of other serious crime over the years. Yet they have a way of dealing with crime that doesn’t get a lot of civilians (and police) shot.

 

So let’s chill not only by taking AR-15 away from civilians but by removing Glocks and Smith and Wesson’s away from police, too.

 

James Hansen’s Latest Report

on World Temperatures

1/13/2022

 

Temperature2021.13January2022.pdf (columbia.edu)

 

--- 2021 and 2018 are tied for 6th warmest year in the instrumental record

---the 2°C limit also will likely be exceeded by midcentury barring big changes

---An El Nino will probably start later this year and 2023 could be the highest world surface temperature average in recorded history

---One reason that temperatures are going up is a decline in aerosols, fine particles that volcanoes or humans send into the air. Smoke is one of them.  Aerosols reflect back sunlight into space, having a cooling effect.  Of course the burning of wood is on the other hand quite bad for human health.  There 4 million premature deaths from air pollution each year Household air pollution contributes to almost 4 million premature deaths a year » Yale Climate Connections  We want to produce less aerosols to reduce household pollution (cooking over wood or coal fires, etc.) so that make it even harder to meet the 1.5 degree C limit that the UN thinks should be our goal.

We at PEP don’t agree with James Hansen on policy in these areas

1) His pro-nuclear power stance  [too dangerous]

2) the idea of taxing fossil fuel heavily and giving the money back entirely to consumers as a rebate. [very speculative whether this could work, fossil fuel taxes in recent years have gotten severe pushback from working people.  PEP calls for rationing of burned fuels.]

 

But as for Hansen’s reportage of the facts he’s, of course, first rate