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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Biden’

Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2020

Just weeks before the election, the tech giants unite to block access to incriminating reporting about their preferred candidate.

https://theintercept.com/2020/10/15/facebook-and-twitter-cross-a-line-far-more-dangerous-than-what-they-censor/?fbclid=IwAR3L6rzYD8e1usv2XiXgFqJQFzMdHjGKvsifDJ9cObFW9S0Bjpr1MNptSFo

Glenn Greenwald

The New York Post is one of the country’s oldest and largest newspapers. Founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, only three U.S. newspapers are more widely circulated. Ever since it was purchased in 1976 by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it has been known — like most Murdoch-owned papers — for right-wing tabloid sensationalism, albeit one that has some real reporters and editors and is capable of reliable journalism.

On Wednesday morning, the paper published on its cover what it heralded as a “blockbuster” scoop: “smoking gun” evidence, in its words, in the form of emails purportedly showing that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, traded on his father’s position by securing favors from the then-Vice President to benefit the Ukranian energy company Burisma, which paid the supremely unqualified Hunter $50,000 each month to sit on its Board. While the Biden campaign denies that any such meetings or favors ever occurred, neither the campaign nor Hunter, at least as of now, has denied the authenticity of the emails.

The Post’s hyping of the story as some cataclysmic bombshell was overblown. While these emails, if authenticated, provide some new details and corroboration, the broad outlines of this story have long been known: Hunter was paid a very large monthly sum by Burisma at the same time that his father was quite active in using the force of the U.S. Government to influence Ukraine’s internal affairs.  

Along with emails relating to Burisma, the New York Post also gratuitously published several photographs of Hunter, who has spoken openly and commendably of his past struggles with substance abuse, in what appeared to various states of drug use. There was no conceivable public interest in publishing those, and every reason not to.

The Post’s explanation of how these documents were obtained is bizarre at best — they claim that Hunter Biden indefinitely left his laptop containing the emails at a repair store, and the store’s owner, alarmed by the corruption they revealed, gave the materials from the hard drive to the FBI and then to Rudy Giuliani.

While there is no proof that Biden followed through on any of Hunter’s promises to Burisma, there is no reason, at least thus far, to doubt that the emails are genuine. And if they are genuine, they at least add to what is undeniably a relevant and newsworthy story involving influence-peddling relating to Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine and his trading on the name and power of his father, now the front-runner in the 2020 presidential election.

But the Post, for all its longevity, power and influence, ran smack into two entities far more powerful than it: Facebook and Twitter. Almost immediately upon publication, pro-Biden journalists created a climate of extreme hostility and suppression toward the Post story, making clear that any journalist even mentioning it would be roundly attacked. For the crime of simply noting the story on Twitter (while pointing out its flaws), New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman was instantly vilified to the point where her name, along with the phrase “MAGA Haberman,” were trending on Twitter.

(That Haberman is a crypto-Trump supporter is preposterous for so many reasons, including the fact that she is responsible for countless front-page Times stories that reflect negatively on the president; moreover, the 2016 Clinton campaign considered Haberman one of their most favorable reporters).

The two Silicon Valley giants saw that hostile climate and reacted. Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other DC Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was “reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform”: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: “I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.”

While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020

Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.

Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an “error.” Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be “potentially harmful.”

Wow. twitter going even further than FB and is no longer letting ppl tweet the NYPost story. This is what pops up if you try. https://t.co/YVlOTeF1iX pic.twitter.com/66kzYdwq21— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) October 14, 2020

Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning. The last tweet from the paper was posted at roughly 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

And then, on Thursday morning, the Post published a follow up article using the same archive of materials, this one purporting to detail efforts by the Vice President’s son to pursue lucrative deals with a Chinese energy company by using his father’s name. Twitter is now also banning the sharing or posting of links to that article as well.

In sum, the two Silicon Valley giants, with little explanation, united to prevent the sharing and dissemination of this article. As Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce put it, “Facebook limiting distribution is a bit like if a company that owned newspaper delivery trucks decided not to drive because it didn’t like a story. Does a truck company edit the newspaper? It does now, apparently.”

That the First Amendment right of free speech is inapplicable to these questions goes without saying. That constitutional guarantee restricts the actions of governments, not private corporations such as Facebook and Twitter.

But glibly pointing this out does not come close to resolving this controversy. That actions by gigantic corporations are constitutional does not mean that they are benign.

State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

Would anyone encounter difficultly understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.

To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful. In June, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law launched an investigation into the consolidated power of Facebook and three other companies — Google, Amazon and Apple — and just last week issued a sweeping report which, as Ars Technica explained, found:

Facebook outright “has monopoly power in the market for social networking,” and that power is “firmly entrenched and unlikely to be eroded by competitive pressure” from anyone at all due to “high entry barriers—including strong network effects, high switching costs, and Facebook’s significant data advantage—that discourage direct competition by other firms to offer new products and services.”

In his New York Times op-ed last October, the left-wing expert on monopoly power Matt Stoller described Facebook and Google as “global monopolies sitting astride public discourse,” and recounted how bipartisan policy and legal changes designed to whittle away antitrust protections have bestowed the two tech giants with “a radical centralization of power over the flow of information.” And he warns that this unprecedented consolidation of control over our discourse is close to triggering “the collapse of journalism and democracy.”

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“Build Back Better”: Why Are Both Biden and Boris Now Using This Phrase? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 14, 2020

During lockdown, countless commentators waxed lyrical about how “nature was coming back to life” during our miserable house imprisonment. Now, economist Mariana Mazzucato, of University College London, is floating the idea of “climate lockdowns”—that is, forcing people to stay in their homes to limit carbon dioxide emissions. And the UN is pushing a global propaganda campaign to get a good percentage of national bailout budgets siphoned off into “green” gravy train projects with highly questionable environmental and economic returns.

https://mises.org/wire/build-back-better-why-are-both-biden-and-boris-now-using-phrase?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=705dd97dc7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-705dd97dc7-228343965

Mark Tovey

Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article.

The Trump campaign shared a video on social media this week, claiming Joe Biden had ripped off a slogan from British prime minister Boris Johnson.

“We have a great opportunity to build back and to build back better” (emphasis added), Biden said in the video, dated July 9, 2020. Then rolled a video of the British PM, using the same phrase on May 28: “We owe it to future generations to build back better.” Damning evidence—it seemed—that the Democratic nominee had, once again, copied his homework. (Biden was famously caught passing off a Robert F. Kennedy quote as his own during his ill-fated 1988 run for president.)

In fact, the story here is not one of lazy speech writing or plagiarism. The use of the phrase “build back better” by both Biden and the British PM spells something far more sinister. “Build back better” is the rallying cry of a globalist plot to exploit the coronavirus pandemic for the sake of narrow-minded, well-connected lobby groups—particularly of the “environmentalist” stripe.

Boris Johnson did not coin the phrase “build back better”. It first surfaced on April 22 in a UN press release, marking “International Mother Earth Day”—a faux holiday created by the UN in 2009.

As the world begins planning for a post-pandemic recovery, the United Nations is calling on Governments to seize the opportunity to “build back better” by creating more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies.

“The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call,” said Secretary-General António Guterres in his International Mother Earth Day message. “We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.”

But would “Brexit Boris” really swallow a globalist scheme hook, line and sinker? On October 6, the British PM unveiled a plan at the Conservative Party conference to dump £160m into powering every home with wind energy by 2030—all part of a harebrained scheme to “build back greener.”

The Conservative lawmaker Lord Matt Ridley excoriated Boris’s “build back greener” policy in a radio interview the next day: “It takes 150 tonnes of coal to build one wind turbine…if we want a zero-carbon future by 2050, the only way we’re going to get it is nuclear. Wind is messing around and rewarding rich people at the expense of poor people.”

But it is not just Boris Johnson and Joe Biden who are being played like cheap violins by the UN. All around the world, politicians are echoing the same sentiment.

The European Commission used the slogan when announcing their €750 billion stimulus fund on May 27: “Through this fund, officially titled Next Generation EU, the Commission hopes to “build back better,” through channels that contribute to a greener, more sustainable and resilient society.”

In Canada, PM Justin Trudeau signaled his allegiance to the globalist “green” lobby in August, saying: “We need to reset the approach of this government for a recovery to build back better.”

The UN have even taken the liberty of translating the slogan into Spanish (reconstruir mejor), Portuguese (reconstruir melhor), French (reconstruire en mieux), and many other tongues—so that politicians all over the world can sing from the same hymn sheet. The No Agenda podcast, hosted by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak, is a fantastic resource for keeping track of the growing number of co-occurrences of the “build back better” meme.

Some environmentalists are twisting the covid-19 pandemic into a pretext for extreme “green” policies, of the type that would have been unthinkable less than a year ago. During lockdown, countless commentators waxed lyrical about how “nature was coming back to life” during our miserable house imprisonment. Now, economist Mariana Mazzucato, of University College London, is floating the idea of “climate lockdowns”—that is, forcing people to stay in their homes to limit carbon dioxide emissions. And the UN is pushing a global propaganda campaign to get a good percentage of national bailout budgets siphoned off into “green” gravy train projects with highly questionable environmental and economic returns.

Talk of “building back better” and “green growth” obfuscates the tradeoff between growing GDP and limiting carbon dioxide emissions. Globally, GDP is forecast to plummet a whopping 4.9 percent in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Lifting lockdowns, cutting taxes and deregulating would quickly get the world turning again. On the other hand, financing a global racket with billions of dollars of funny money—or “building back better”—will only cause us to sink deeper into this malaise. Author:

Mark ToveyMark Tovey works for a data news agency and has authored numerous reports for London-based think-tanks, including the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Taxpayers’ Alliance. His research has largely focused on health economics issues and the UK foreign aid budget. He graduated in 2016 with a degree in economics from the University of Sussex.

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Tomorrow, Come Here Tomorrow…. | Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2020

Is it possible that some Democratic Party voters begin to suspect that the party officials running this game have lost their minds? A good signifier, of course, is the ghostly figure carrying their battle-flag, Mr. Biden, the Flying Dutchman candidate whose mind slips in and out of fog-banks as he navigates the shoals of defeat. Why did the Party ship out with him on the poop-deck?

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/tomorrow-come-here-tomorrow/

James Howard Kunstler

The Coen Brothers must be writing Nancy Pelosi’s script now, a kind of Macbeth update set in a swampy Potomac lowland at Halloween time: Madam Speaker rides her fabled scepter up in the night sky, around the capitol dome, across the moon’s laughing face, to the White House, trailing vapors of hatred and malice as she curses the Golden Golem within. Her mask matches her designer frock, woven of cobwebs with dark strands of enmity. Her hair is perfect. Her flight-path not so much, as the Golem below easily shoots her down through the oval office window with a rubber band and a paper clip and she augers, smoldering, into the rose garden… Fade out….

Well, tomorrow is here, and exactly the hour this blog regularly gets posted is when Mrs. Pelosi aims to announce her latest scheme for ousting Mr. Trump: perhaps a bill for some kind of new 25th Amendment commission to work around the inconvenience of the law as currently configured, that is, an executive branch prerogative. The stunt has two purposes: 1) to paint Mr. Trump as unfit — a song as old and boring now as I am Woman, Hear me Roar — and 2) to put up a smoke-screen diverting voters’ attention from her obdurate refusal to compromise on the latest Coronavirus relief bill.

The paranoid hysteria on display among the Party of Chaos suggests that those polls showing Ol’ White Joe Biden up twelve points may just be more media dis-info. The purpose: to claim, when the time comes, that the President won reelection by some kind of subterfuge, and justify an all-out post November 3rd Lawfare offensive to challenge the ballots in every swing-state, and do exactly what they are blaming Mr. Trump for in advance: confounding an orderly resolution of the peoples’ will.

Is it possible that some Democratic Party voters begin to suspect that the party officials running this game have lost their minds? A good signifier, of course, is the ghostly figure carrying their battle-flag, Mr. Biden, the Flying Dutchman candidate whose mind slips in and out of fog-banks as he navigates the shoals of defeat. Why did the Party ship out with him on the poop-deck? My guess would be: to deflect indictments of himself and many other former officials as the steady flow of documentary evidence gets released by new DNI John Ratcliffe, including a batch this past week showing pretty incontrovertibly that everybody and his uncle in the Obama executive branch was keenly aware that RussiaGate was a Hillary campaign ploy and allowed themselves to be weaponized into the scheme — under the assumption that she couldn’t lose and they’d never be found out.

She lost. They’re found out. Grand juries have been convened by Mr. Durham. Something wicked is coming their way. Their ship is going down and the rats are all squeaking desperately in the scuppers at the rising water. Won’t this all be a shock to that crew of media fabulists who stupidly maintain that the Mueller Report actually proved something — the David Frenches, Max Boots, and Rachel Maddows of this world and their True Believer followers? History is rhyming again. It’s like 1794 in Paris. The Jacobins’ Reign of Terror comes to its sudden and ignominious end with Robespierre bawling under the national razor. So does today’s Reign of Perfidious Sedition close, with Jim Comey bawling, “I can’t recall,” into his laptop.

Incidental to this is the breaking news — sure to not be reported in The New York Times or by CNN — that one Devon Archer, business partner of Hunter Biden (and John Kerry stepson, Christopher Heinz) has just had his previously overturned conviction for security fraud reinstated by a federal appeals court. Sound abstruse? Yeah, kind of, but, believe me this boy is in some serious hot water, the rap being a federal one, and Mr. Archer now poised to sing like a canary to John Durham’s posse about his various financial exploits in Ukraine and other foreign lands with Joe Biden’s son (and Mr. Kerry’s stepson) in exchange for lighter jail time. You just watch.

Keep your ears pricked also for developments involving Senate Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) and his role in 2016-17 as an active disseminator of Steele Dossier RussiaGate dis-info in coordination with the George Soros funded Democracy Integrity Project, run by former Dianne Feinstein chief-of-staff Dan Jones and assisted by swamp lawyer Adam Waldman, a Steele / Warner go-between who happened to be a $40,000-a-month lobbyist for one Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor (at least $1-million) who also employed Christopher Steele as a dis-info errand boy. Unpacking that one will be like unpacking the surgical batting in a sucking chest wound. Scrub for it.

In this now bi-polar nation, the mood swings get wilder by the week. The President had a bit of a rough seven days, what with his Covid-19 treatment at Walter Reed and stunningly rapid recovery, which sent his adversaries into a transport of hebephrenic distemper. Vice-president Mike Pence calmed the waters a little bit in his Wednesday meet-up with the Harris Administration candidate — no doubt the rogue housefly poised above his right ear fed him juicy debating points. Kamala Harris demonstrated a talent for mugging, face-pulling, eye-rolling, and leering. If the veep thang doesn’t work out, she might consider a career as a mime. Her home turf, San Francisco, used to be full of them until the local pols let homeless junkies take over the streets.


This blog is sponsored this week by McAlvany ICA. To learn more visit: //icagoldcompany.com/

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There Really Is Nothing Smart about Joe Biden | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on September 30, 2020

The superficial nature of presidential elections may not be a new phenomenon, but it is worth noting that this was not always the state of American politics. Once upon a time, party platforms offered substantive analysis of important issues and candidates were expected to have an operational understanding of serious questions. During the election of 1896, for example, the gold standard was such a prominent election issue that it was featured prominently in both campaign literature and candidate posters.

https://mises.org/power-market/there-really-nothing-smart-about-joe-biden?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=9a69b44fd2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-9a69b44fd2-228343965

The big winner of last night’s presidential debate may have been H.L. Mencken, as his opinion of democracy seemed to be embraced by Americans all across the nation.

On one side you had President Trump staying true to his WWE persona, unlike his milder first performance four years ago with President-Assumed Hillary Clinton. On the other, you had Joe Biden, whose combination of short temper and low energy makes him resemble a disappointing Chinese firecracker. In the middle, you had Chris Wallace reduced to begging the participants to follow the rules of the whole affair.

Nothing of real substance was discussed, of course. We still do not know if Joe Biden stands with the mainstream of his party when it comes to stacking the courts and eliminating the senate filibuster (though we can be confident that his opinion on the subject would matter, even if elected). We do not know if President Trump recognizes the fragility of the debt-fueled economic recovery, though in the eyes of Chris Wallace this is “free market ideology.” We do not know if anyone watching these debates is even capable of having their mind changed, or whether the goal is simply to not discourage any would-be supporter from mailing in a ballot (or two).

We do however know two things: people are recognizing the failures of American democracy, and there really is nothing smart about Joe Biden.

The first point is important. First of all, the act of “recognizing” a problem does not mean that the problem is a new one.

While the media will predictably spin last night’s circus as the latest example of Donald Trump embarrassing the presidency, the truth is that presidential debates have long been farces. The 2012 debates were defined by an inaccurate fact check by Serious Journalist Candy Crowley and the phrase “binders full of women” taken out of context. Prior to that, SNL skits ended up doing more for framing candidates than any debate performance (perhaps the decline of SNL is the real tragedy in American politics).

The superficial nature of presidential elections may not be a new phenomenon, but it is worth noting that this was not always the state of American politics. Once upon a time, party platforms offered substantive analysis of important issues and candidates were expected to have an operational understanding of serious questions. During the election of 1896, for example, the gold standard was such a prominent election issue that it was featured prominently in both campaign literature and candidate posters.

Unfortunately, there tends to be an inverse relationship between democratization and serious political campaigns. In much the same way that products intended for mass consumption on the marketplace tend to be of lesser quality than those of specialty niche stores, a political system based on who can convince simply the majority of American adults to vote for them can resemble an intellectual race to the bottom.

This is not true with every election, however. For example, the single issue of school choice was found to have had a decisive impact in Florida’s 2018 gubernatorial election. Studies found that Republican Ron DeSantis won 18 percent of the female black vote, even while running against what would have been the first black governor of the state. The recognition that Andrew Gillum’s defense of traditional state schooling would have a direct impact on the quality of their children’s education was enough to transcend a lot of the typical tribalist instincts that tend to shape national politics.

For those interested in improving governance in America, this is a strong argument in favor of decentralizing democracy. (For those not interested in improving governance, there is another option.)

The second point may seem petty, but it’s also important—Joe Biden is an example of the sort of mediocre talent rewarded by the current political system. Prior to his 47-year career in elected office, he had a brief career as a lawyer with the ambitions of being elected senator and president. To achieve those ends, he falsified his resume to appear far more talented than he was.

His record in the Senate was significant, but he has spent most of his presidential campaign running against the positions he once had. Understandably so. His history of prior presidential runs did more for television comedians than his own legacy. His greatest asset was his relationship with Barack Obama, though much of the Democratic Party is far to the left of the former president. His instincts are so good that he picked for vice president someone who appears to be a true sociopath and is the elected Democrat who has made the most personal attacks on his record.

Of course, none of this matters to Biden true believers who seem to view the former vice president as a shortcut to reviving the nostalgia of the fictional West Wing. The alliance of former Bush and Obama administration officials wants voters to believe that Biden is a return to normalcy.

These are the very same people that mock red America for being gullible.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article – I am voting for Joe Biden, join me

Posted by M. C. on September 30, 2020

Trump campaigned on bringing troops home and ending endless wars.

He hasn’t done such a great job but the war machine can take no chances.

A vote for Biden is a vote for a Harris administration. Even Biden/Harris can’t keep themselves from saying it. Marxist Harris is no threat to the MIC.

War and fear are a money maker. Trump is a potential threat to Ridge Global’s bottom line.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=0a6c54985

 

Tom Ridge

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Trump, Biden, Jorgensen discuss military and veterans issues – Task & Purpose

Posted by M. C. on September 17, 2020

Jo Who?

https://taskandpurpose.com/news/trump-biden-jorgensen-defense-veterans-issues

For the first time, all three major presidential candidates have weighed in on the most pressing issues facing service members, military families, and veterans.

President Donald Trump, his democratic rival former Vice President Joe Biden, and Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen have provided answers to the Military Officers Association of America to a wide variety of questions about their plans for the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

MOAA, a non-partisan group, published the verbatim responses from Trump, Biden, and Jorgensen on Wednesday without any editorial comment.

“We wanted to go beyond the soundbites for our membership,” said retired Air Force Col. Dan Merry, MOAA’s vice president of government relations. “When candidates discuss military and veteran issues on the campaign trail they hit the high notes and play to a wide audience.” 

“Our members have a deeper understanding, and a much deeper involvement, with these topics,” he continued. “We thank the candidates for offering their expanded plans on these important issues, and we hope making the responses available to everyone, members and nonmembers alike, will help all voters make an informed decision.”

Separately, Task & Purpose has submitted questions to the Trump and Biden campaigns. Neither has provided responses.

Here are some of the highlights from candidates’ responses to MOAA:

Greatest national security threats

Trump views China as a growing military and economic threat to the United States as it seeks to increase its influence worldwide. China and other “near-peer competitors” represent the greatest long-term security challenges.

The president also reiterated that NATO allies need to spend more of their own money on defense and he vowed that the United States and its allies would continue to work with partners in the Middle East to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

While Biden acknowledged that Russia and China are both immediate threats, he argued that several of the greatest dangers facing the United States stem from climate change and global pandemics, like the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Biden also vowed to “end the forever wars” while leaving a counterterrorism force in Afghanistan and maintaining a small presence of U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria to prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State terrorist group, adding: “We do not need large deployments of combat forces to maintain our security.”

Jorgensen vowed to bring home all U.S. troops stationed overseas, end all U.S. military aid to foreign countries, and focus on defending the homeland.

“We should turn America into one giant Switzerland: armed and neutral, with a military force that’s ready to defend America’s shores and soil against any foreign attack,” she said.

Defense spending

Trump said he was proud to approve a $738 billion budget for the Defense Department in December, which the president said has helped repair the damage caused by budget cuts under former President Barack Obama.

“In addition to massive acquisitions made over the past two years, our current effort authorizes nearly 100 new F-35s; 24 brand-new F/A-18s; 155 Army helicopters, of all different types; 165 brand-new Abrams tanks; more than 50 Paladin howitzers; 2 new Virginia-class submarines; 3 new Arleigh Burke destroyers; a Ford-class aircraft carrier, and two others on their way; and much, much more. And it’s all made, right here, in the USA,” the president said.

Biden claimed that Trump has “abandoned all fiscal discipline” regarding defense spending by focusing on older legacy weapon systems when the military really needs to prepare for future wars by investing in cyber, space, unmanned systems, and artificial intelligence technologies.

“We can maintain a strong defense and protect our safety and security for less,” Biden said. “The real question is not how much we invest — it’s how we invest.”

Jorgensen said that defense spending would fall under her administration because no U.S. troops would be stationed overseas.

“With no U.S. involvement in foreign wars, a military that’s laser-focused on defending America, and a citizenry with the unabridged right to keep and bear arms, America will be safe,” she said.

Recruitment and the Selective Service System

For Trump, the best recruiting tool for the all-volunteer force is to ensure that veterans successfully make the transition to the private sector.

“To that end, I have signed an executive order supporting our veterans during their transition from uniformed service to civilian life,” the president said. “I’m honored to be at the forefront of the greatest strides ever made at the [Department of Veterans Affairs] for our veterans.”

Biden said he does not believe the United States needs a larger military, nor does he see a reason to bring back the draft.

“I would, however, ensure that women are also eligible to register for the Selective Service System so that men and women are treated equally in the event of future conflicts,” Biden said. “We should explore targeted recruiting efforts to build a military that is more geographically and demographically representative of the nation as a whole and that has the skill sets needed for modern warfare.”

Jorgensen promised to abolish the Selective Service System because there has not been a draft since the Vietnam War.

“The so-called military-civilian divide can best be bridged by staying out of foreign conflicts, and creating as much transparency as possible while maintaining the protection of vital military intelligence,” she said.

Caring for veterans

Trump touted the reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs passed under his administration, including the MISSION Act, allowing veterans to get care from private healthcare providers without prior authorizations.

The president also stressed that the VA is working on reform its health system so that veterans will have one electronic copy of their medical records “from the first day of boot camp until they are honorably laid to rest.”

Biden said he would prioritize research into emerging service-connected conditions including Traumatic Brain Injury and exposure to toxins.

“I would expand the list of presumptive conditions to ensure that no veteran who experienced a TBI or had exposure to burn pits or other environmental toxins goes without access to VA health care and benefits,” Biden said. “We must never again have an Agent Orange-like crisis.”

Jorgensen said she plans to drastically cut the cost of healthcare by reducing government and insurance paperwork so that veterans could afford better medical care.

“I will work to replace the VA with direct payments to veterans who were wounded in combat, so they can spend their health-care dollars how and where they want to spend them,” Jorgensen said. “Veterans deserve better than denied care and bureaucratic roadblocks.”

Related: Here are the biggest national security challenges that Trump or Biden will face after the presidential election

 

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Are the Forever Wars Really Ending? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 15, 2020

George H. W. Bush’s New World Order is ancient history, as are the democracy crusades his son George W. Bush was persuaded to launch.

But what will Trump’s foreign policy legacy be, should he win?

Joe Biden has signaled where he is headed — straight back to Barack Obama:

“First thing I’m going to have to do, and I’m not joking: if elected I’m going to have to get on the phone with the heads of state and say America’s back,” Biden said, saying NATO has been “worried as hell about our failure to confront Russia.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/patrick-j-buchanan/are-the-forever-wars-really-ending/

By

“There is no… sound reason for the United States to continue sacrificing precious lives and treasure in a conflict not directly connected to our safety or other vital national interests.”

So said William Ruger about Afghanistan, our longest war.

What makes this statement significant is that President Donald Trump has ordered a drawdown by mid-October of half of the 8,600 troops still in the country. And Ruger was just named U.S. ambassador to Kabul.

The selection of Ruger to oversee the U.S. withdrawal came as Gen. Frank McKenzie of Central Command announced plans to cut the U.S. troop presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 by the end of September.

Is America, at long last, really coming home from the forever wars?

A foreign policy analyst at the libertarian Charles Koch Institute and a Naval officer decorated for his service in Afghanistan, Ruger has long championed a noninterventionist foreign policy.

His nomination tends to confirm that, should Trump win a second term, his often-declared goal of extracting America from the forever wars of the Middle East, unachieved in his first term, would become a priority.

Yet, we have been here before, bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, only to send thousands back when our enemies seemed to be gaining the upper hand at the expense of the allies we left behind.

Still, this time, Trump’s withdrawals look to be irreversible. And with the U.S. deal with the Taliban producing peace negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban, America seems to be saying to both sides of this endless civil war:

The destiny of Afghanistan is yours. The choice of war or peace is up to you. If talks collapse and a fight to the finish ensues, we Americans are not coming back, even to prevent a Taliban victory.

Speaking in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Trump made a remarkable declaration:

“We don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. … There was a time we needed desperately oil, we don’t need that anymore.” If Trump means what he says, U.S. forces will be out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan early in his second term.

But how to explain the continued presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Diego Garcia?

Another indication of where a Trump second term is pointing is the naming of retired Col. Douglas Macgregor as ambassador to Germany.

The winner of a Bronze Star for valor in the 1991 Gulf War, Macgregor speaks German and is steeped in that country’s history. He has been highly visible on cable TV, calling for the transfer to our allies of the primary responsibility for their own defenses, and elevating the security of America’s Southern border to a far higher national imperative.

In 2019, Macgregor was quoted: “The only solution is martial law on the border, putting the United States Army in charge of it and closing it off would take about 30, 40,000 troops. We’re talking about the regular army. You need robust rules of engagement. That means that you can shoot people as required if your life is in danger.”

That Macgregor’s priorities may be Trump’s also became evident with the president’s announcement this summer of the withdrawal of 12,000 of the 35,000 U.S. troops stationed in Germany.

Yet, at the same time, there is seemingly contradictory evidence to the notion that Donald Trump wants our troops home. Currently, some 2,800 U.S., British, and French troops are conducting “Noble Partner” exercises with Georgian troops in that country in the Caucasus bordering Russia.

In Trump’s first term, his commitment to extricate America from the forever wars went unrealized, due in part to the resistance of hawks Trump himself appointed to carry out his foreign policy agenda.

Clearly, with the cuts in troops in Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the appointments of Ruger and Macgregor, Trump has signaled a new resolve to reconfigure U.S. foreign policy in an “America First” direction, if he wins a second term. Will he follow through?

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has been in an extended argument with itself over America’s role, America’s mission in the world.

George H. W. Bush’s New World Order is ancient history, as are the democracy crusades his son George W. Bush was persuaded to launch.

But what will Trump’s foreign policy legacy be, should he win?

Joe Biden has signaled where he is headed — straight back to Barack Obama:

“First thing I’m going to have to do, and I’m not joking: if elected I’m going to have to get on the phone with the heads of state and say America’s back,” Biden said, saying NATO has been “worried as hell about our failure to confront Russia.”

Trump came to office pledging to establish a new relationship with the Kremlin of President Vladimir Putin.

Is that still his goal, or have the Beltway Russophobes prevailed?

 

 

 

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The Trojan Donkey – Doug Casey’s International Man

Posted by M. C. on September 9, 2020

Since earning the nomination as the 2020 Democratic candidate for the presidency, Joe Biden has stated that he is a “transition candidate.”

This was an odd statement, especially for someone who has hardly begun his formal campaign. (He’s not even in office yet and he’s discussing being on the way out?)

Yet this was not just another one-off Biden gaff, as has been suggested by some. Since announcing his pick for vice president, he has stated, “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else.”

So what’s up here? The candidate is only a place-holder for the real, intended president?

https://internationalman.com/articles/the-trojan-donkey/

by Jeff Thomas

Since earning the nomination as the 2020 Democratic candidate for the presidency, Joe Biden has stated that he is a “transition candidate.”

This was an odd statement, especially for someone who has hardly begun his formal campaign. (He’s not even in office yet and he’s discussing being on the way out?)

Yet this was not just another one-off Biden gaff, as has been suggested by some. Since announcing his pick for vice president, he has stated, “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else.”

So what’s up here? The candidate is only a place-holder for the real, intended president?

Well, let’s have a look at that possibility.

Joe Biden, by any measure, is a poor candidate for the office. After almost half a century in politics, he’s had a career mostly as a political hack who would support any issue that seemed popular at the time. Similarly, his voting record in the Senate has been that of a man who supported whatever bill would please his peers and further his career.

Seemingly, he either has no inner core of belief, or he’s been willing to sacrifice it at a moment’s notice, if it might help his next election. After forty-seven years of elected office, he’s not regarded as having a commitment to… well, anything.

And yet he became the choice of the Democratic party as one candidate after another dropped out of the presidential race. Clearly this was a party that was not only leaderless, but couldn’t even seem to invent a leader for the sake of the election.

Kamala Harris, his presumptive vice president, dropped out of the presidential race in December 2019, when her popularity amongst democrats dropped to 3.4%. Since democrats make up roughly half of the population, this means that less than 2% of Americans would have wanted her as their president.

And yet, as stated above, candidate Biden announces, “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else.”

That’s quite curious. He apparently is stating that his only purpose is to win the election, then pass the baton to the next leader. Presumably, his vice president.

This has never occurred in US politics, although it is true that, at this point, Mr. Biden may well be too far gone to even begin to handle the job.

And that leads us to the possibility that the deal has already been brokered – that Mr. Biden would win the election, then have, let’s say, a “medical emergency,” at which point he would pass the reins to the new president – Kamala Harris.

Clearly, Ms. Harris could not have been elected on her own merit, as even democrats found her to be fundamentally lacking last December. Even the more radical elements of the party have sensed that she is untrustworthy and even dangerous.

At this point in America’s history, there’s much debate as to whether the president is the supreme leader, or whether he or she is merely the face presented by the Deep State, who run the country from the background and give the president his marching orders.

Either way, this eventuality would not bode well for the US. As supreme leader, Ms. Harris, based upon her reputation, would be an autocratic figure who behaved rather ruthlessly toward those who failed to comply with her edicts.

But as the figurehead for the Deep State, she would be a very powerful tool, implementing the loss of freedoms that were passed into law with the 2001 USA PATRIOT Act and the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act.

These two acts, taken together, essentially eliminate the US Constitution in practical terms. All that’s necessary to implement them would be for a highly demonstrative president to declare a national emergency. Both acts would then be in force.

It would not be difficult to imagine Ms. Harris in this role.

Presently, we’re watching a very odd set of events unfolding in the US.

Major cities have seen months of continual protests and even rioting, which apparently have been very organized and well-funded.

In a normal situation, the mayors and governors would call in the police to quell such riots.

Yet we’re seeing the opposite. Local political leaders are consistently hamstringing local police, making it impossible for them to do their jobs, thereby increasing the extent of devastation by rioters.

Rioters are routinely let off with a slap on the wrist, whilst those who defend their homes from rioters are arrested and charged.

This, of course, is the exact opposite of what the Rule of Law is meant to achieve.

There’s every reason to believe that this condition will continue to worsen well after the 2020 election, and at some point, Americans from both the right and left will find themselves begging for the federal government to step in – to return the US to a state of relative safety.

Central governments, of course, perennially dislike local policing, as local police tend to be loyal their own communities. However, federal troops have no such loyalty. They perform as their superiors dictate, regardless of where they are deployed.

But once the local police have been gotten out of the way, it would be quite easy for an authoritarian president to deploy federal troops to re-establish order, and initially, this would meet with the approval of worried Americans.

Historically, this has occurred countless times throughout the world. In every case, martial law is instituted as a “temporary measure,” to quell existing unrest. But, as Milton Friedman said, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

If this development is in America’s future, as events indicate, it’s likely that the media will repeat the words, “public safety” endlessly as the situation unfolds. The words “martial law” and “police state” may be heard amongst some of the populace, but will be unlikely to dominate the news programmes.

Another word that’s unlikely to appear often in the media is “tyranny,” yet this will be precisely the result of the introduction of a police state.

But all the above is dependent upon a political leader who has the forceful demeanour to ensure that the job gets done with a minimum of dissent.

The American public are therefore left to ponder whether it may be that a vastly unpopular Trojan donkey may be closer to the presidency than she presently appears.

Editor’s Note: Disturbing economic, political, and social trends are already in motion and now accelerating at breathtaking speed. Most troubling of all, they cannot be stopped.

There will likely be unprecedented volatility of every kind in the months and years ahead.

That’s exactly why bestselling author Doug Casey and his team just released a free report with all the details on how to survive the crisis ahead.

It will help you understand what is unfolding right before our eyes and what you should do so you don’t get caught in the crosshairs.

 

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When Church Leaders Fail the Faithful – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 8, 2020

What makes the Orthodox and Catholic leaders position on COVID untenable to me is that as LewRockwell.com recently posted, Pastor Chuck Baldwin, who is not Orthodox or Catholic, knows the truth and discussed it:

“From this point forward, anyone who submits to this phony, fraudulent corona narrative is a willing participant in tyranny. Those who continue to go along with this masquerade need to stop waving the flag and stop singing God Bless America, because they are volitionally submitting to their own subjugation. THEY ARE WILLING SLAVES.”

And I would ask are Pope Francis and Metropolitan Hilarion thus willing slaves?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/yvonne-lorenzo/maranatha/

By

I have written on Christian topics for LewRockwell.com previously, but I want to address a disturbing trend that is affecting Christians of many denominations, and this is that both the leadership and individual pastors and priests have at best surrendered and at worse profaned their faith in supplication to the edicts of the state and the ruling Western Oligarchy, as they appear if not indifferent to the truth they are at least hostile to learning it (regarding the COVID-1984 pandemic), or have engaged in what I believe is both obvious anti-Christian and heretical conduct in supporting agendas that include Black Lives Matter.

As readers of this site are well aware, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an admittedly Marxist organization, and supporting articles include the following from Mises.org posted to LewRockwell.com, “Why Marxist Organizations Like BLM Seek to Dismantle the ‘Western Nuclear Family,’” “To Understand BLM” by Michael S. Rozeff, and “The Demand to Have Statues & Paintings of ‘White Jesus’ Torn Down Has Made BLM an Iconoclast Movement, Not Just a Marxist One” by Guy Birchall.

Now I am very much aware of the teachings of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for He said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Yet in the recent reprinting of the English language translation of a Byzantine Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Matthew by Bl. Theophylact, which was written in approximately in 1090 AD and until relatively recently this work was unknown in the English language (the translator used the King James text, with minor clarifications that are documented, for the extensive New Testament quotations in all the commentaries); these four books use the teachings of the Church Fathers accepted by both Catholic and Orthodox denominations, as I’ve discussed in the past here, Church Fathers who include Saint John Chrysostom. Regarding the commandment, “Judge not,” Bl. Theophylact writes simply:

“[Jesus Christ] forbids condemning others, but not reproving others. A reproof is for another’s benefit, but condemnation expresses only derision and scorn. You may also understand that the Lord is speaking of one who, despite his own great sins, condemns others who have lesser sins of which God will be the Judge.”

In that spirit, highly aware and attempting to correct my own sins and sinful nature, and as translator of the commentaries Fr. Christopher Stade wrote in his 1992 introduction to the text on Matthew, “I beg God’s forgiveness for sin, ignorance, and negligence on my part, and I beg you, the reader, your prayers and forbearance.”  Thus, I hope as I reprove the questionable conduct I will highlight in the spirit of helping Christians, and those who condemn Christians for hypocrisy who are not Christians, to understand that these “authorities” do not speak for all of us who believe.

Pope Francis, who is much discussed in LewRockwell.com, was revealed in a Huffington Post piece that he opined,“Let us look in the mirror before judging before a Mass.” I rather suspect that Pope Francis is using this most quoted portion of the New Testament, “Judge not,” in the same manner unbelievers use it as a weapon against Christian believers, who most certainly are cognizant of its true meaning, as I have cited above.

Thus, when Lew Rockwell recently posted on Political Theater “Bergoglio uses COVID-19 to call for an end to individualism” and also “Bergoglio repetitiously backs ‘universal’ COVID vaccination ‘for all’, WHO thrilled,” Pope Francis, I believe, is in fact attempting to forestall non only reproof against him, but also any questioning of his agenda and the powers behind it, which I have already discussed in a prior piece I wrote for LewRockwell.com. I would also explain how “heretic” is understood by the Church Fathers. As Father Patrick Barnes writes in his Book The Non-Orthodox: The Orthodox Teaching on Christians Outside of the Church:

“We live in a culture of extreme atheistic relativism, where the only dogma tolerated is that we should be intolerant of those who actually believe that there are dogmas reflecting absolute truth. Combine this with popular attitudes reflecting sensitivity to ‘multi-cultural diversity’ and ‘politically correct language,’ and the terms ‘heretic’ and ‘heresy’ end up seeming harsh and ‘unloving.’ Yet these traditional terms, found often in the writings of the Fathers, should not be viewed by informed and soberminded people in such an emotionally negative way.”

And then quoting from “What Is Heresy?,” St. Nectarios Education Series No. 63, he cites the following statement:

“[T]hese words [that is, heretic and heresy] have been in the theological glossary of the Orthodox Church from the beginning.

“A ‘heretic’ is simply one who maintains a ‘heretical doctrine.’ The sincerity and

good will of the ‘heretic’ is not in question. Nevertheless, ‘heresy’ is evil, because it is

a powerful means by which the devil seeks to ‘prevail’ against the Church…”

On the other hand, as recently posted on Political Theater linking to this site, “Heroic Priest Fr. Daniel Nolan, FSSP: ‘I encourage everybody not to wear a mask,’” the author writes, “Note: I was told by a parishioner of Fr. Nolan’s parish whom I trust there that ‘Catholic News Agency’ is the one who created this alleged ‘controversy’ by calling to report the priest to the Diocese and to his superiors…I have posted his homilies here before. This one is a must-hear: Latin Mass Priest on COVID: ‘Our republic has become a phobiocracy—ruled by fear. No virus is worse than an out-of-control government!’”

Fr. Nolan shows that he is challenging the heretical Christian authority of his superiors and might suffer adverse consequences for doing so; we Christians of every denomination should pray for him in gratitude for his courage and for his strength to defy authority and speak truth, which I believe is sacred to God.

Lest anyone think I pick on an easy target like Pope Francis, I also find heretical the Russian Orthodox support by the EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia of the polices of the state that does not use Romans 13 as its authority but Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, states in, “NEW YORK CITY: APPEAL OF THE FIRST HIERARCH OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA TO THE GOD-LOVING FLOCK, IN CONNECTION WITH THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:”

“Unfortunately, we also hear of sorrowful instances of insubordination not only to local authorities, but also to the ruling bishops. Such behavior on the part of the clergy and lay parish officers is completely irresponsible and involves risk not only to the physical health of our neighbors, but also to our relationships with these communities and to parish property. Tempting God and man, their actions can result in insurmountable fines and other measures from law enforcement. In so doing, they irreparably damage their relationships with those around them, sowing in them doubts toward Christ’s Church, whose members must serve as an example. As a result of their disobedience and so-called ‘zeal not according to knowledge’ (Romans 10:2), there can even develop divisions and conflicts within the parish communities themselves.

“‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,’ writes the Apostle Peter, ‘That He may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you’ (I Peter 5:6-7).”

So is Metropolitan Hilarion, when he states those who dissent from the totalitarian measures out of “Zeal, not according to knowledge,” when as readers of this site know from writings from Bill Sardi, Jon Rappoport and numerous others that they are not acting out “zeal” but are acting based on the truth. The latest announcement regarding COVID posted on the site was in May and stated in part that, “In a letter to campers, counselors, and families (the full text of which is available here), the Administrative and Advisory Committee members of St. Seraphim Camp announced that camp this year will be suspended, in light of ongoing concerns relating to the Coronavirus pandemic.” Again, there is nothing that supports this position using the facts obtained and discussed by others who have experience and have researched COVID.

But there is good news in one Russian Orthodox community that I know of: Saint Sabbas Monastery, which I wrote about in “Living a Dystopian Nightmare: The Response of the Churches,” is not only open but their wonderful restaurant, The Royal Eagle, in Harper Woods, Michigan, “all proceeds sustain the daily life and development of St Sabbas community,” is also open.

I will also provide this relatively short video by Spiro Skouras, whom I learned about from Lew Rockwell’s posting of his writing and videos, an investigative reporter and who has not posted another new video, even on BitChute  (the source, from his channel there) since its publication on August 24, and he expressed concerns about YouTube deleting his channel as well: Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Muscular’ Foreign Policy: Media Codeword for Violence Abroad — FAIR

Posted by M. C. on September 1, 2020

The result of “muscular” and “robust” policies can also be seen all over the Middle East. In 2017, Trump reversed his earlier promise to pull US troops out of Afghanistan, instead announcing his own surge, having just dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in human history on the country.

https://fair.org/home/muscular-foreign-policy-media-codeword-for-violence-abroad/

John Bolton
WaPo: Kamala Harris’s foreign policy unites the ticket, if not the party

The Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin (8/13/20) writes that “Biden and Harris, if they are elected, will have a chance to prove that Democratic muscular liberalism is still the right approach.”

Writing in the Washington Post , pro-war columnist Josh Rogin appeared relieved that Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate for November—as opposed to a progressive like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, who would have called for cutting military budgets, fewer US interventions and the withdrawal of troops stationed abroad. Biden and Harris, he explained, will together pursue a “robust” foreign policy agenda.

Harris is described approvingly by one source as “pragmatic” (another media codeword—FAIR.org, 8/21/19), and together, Rogin notes, she and Biden can prove that “muscular liberalism is still the right approach.” What that actually means in practice, he is a little vague on, though he does suggest that will entail “aggressively” “confronting” nuclear powers Russia and China.

“Muscular,” along with similar words like “robust,” are commonly used in political reporting, especially with regards to foreign policy. They are inherently positive descriptions, conveying strength and confidence, their opposites being “weak,” “feeble” or “decrepit.” It is obvious which have the better connotations. This is a real problem, because all too regularly the words are used as euphemisms to sugarcoat inflicting violence around the world.

Often the consequences of such a policy are not stated, as when CBS News (6/17/16) reported that John Kerry recommended “a more muscular US role in Syria,” or when a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show (6/18/14) described former Vice President Dick Cheney as wishing for a more “muscular policy” for the US in Iraq. Thus, when CBS’s Face the Nation (3/23/18) aired a segment entitled, “Trump Surrounding Himself With ‘More Muscular’ Foreign Policy Team,” a naif or a foreigner might be forgiven for thinking Jesse Ventura or Arnold Schwarzenegger was advising the president. And when the BBC (12/18/17) reported on the US’s “muscular engagement” with the world, they were not describing a new workout plan.

CBS: Trump surrounding himself with "more muscular" foreign policy team

CBS (3/23/18) described Trump’s hiring hyper-interventionist John Bolton as signaling a “more muscular” foreign policy team.

Sometimes, however, journalists made explicit what such a foreign policy would consist of. The New York Times (5/14/15), for instance, described Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio as offering “a robust and muscular foreign policy,” including the end of normalization with Cuba, a hike in military spending and reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. The Times is a repeat offender in whitewashing the Florida senator’s often disturbing policies; in 2019 it described his advocacy for further sanctions and military intervention in Venezuela as “muscular policy tools” (New York Times, 1/29/19). By this time, the sanctions had already killed an estimated 40,000 people and would go on to kill over 100,000. What about blocking the import of medicines is “muscular”? “Sociopathic” might be a better adjective. Support for regime change in Venezuela is bipartisan, however, with Bloomberg’s Eli Lake (8/3/20) recently noting that support for a “democratic transition” there would be more “steadfast” under a Biden administration.

The result of “muscular” and “robust” policies can also be seen all over the Middle East. In 2017, Trump reversed his earlier promise to pull US troops out of Afghanistan, instead announcing his own surge, having just dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in human history on the country. The Washington Post (8/21/17) described his decision as “muscular but vague.” On Syria, the New York Times (4/21/17) pondered whether a more or less muscular approach would bring better results. And when Trump ordered B-52 bombers to Iran’s doorstep, CBS anchor Margaret Brennan (5/12/19) asked a guest what he thought of the president’s “muscular response” to Iranian provocation.

Or you can also read about Saudi Arabia’s muscular foreign policy in Yemen (LA Times, 4/20/15, 8/11/19; BBC, 4/21/15), thought to have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Likewise, on one of the many recent occasions when Israel bombed Gaza, the Washington Post (3/26/19) noted that some Israeli politicians were calling for an even more “muscular response”—combining the “muscular” media trope with the convention that the US and its allies never initiate violence themselves, but only ever “respond” to enemy provocation (FAIR.org, 6/6/19, 8/21/20).

So reflexive is this media whitewashing of state violence that it is even applied to official enemies. For instance, in an article explaining the rise of Russian president Vladimir Putin, CNN (8/8/19) wrote: “What explained Putin’s surge in popularity over those crucial early months? One factor was clear: Putin’s muscular response to domestic terrorism.” That “muscular response,” CNN explicitly stated, included when “Russian forces leveled the [Chechen] rebel capital of Grozny,” which is thought to have killed around 9,000 people.

The word is also sometimes used in reference to domestic programs as well, but generally only when involving oppressing the powerless. In 2012, Fox News (1/10/12) reported that immigration activists were unhappy with President Barack Obama’s “muscular deportation policy” (which saw more people deported than ever before). Likewise, in the wake of masked federal agents abducting people off Portland’s streets, the New Yorker (7/24/20) worried about the “ever more muscular immigration-enforcement presence in US life.”

Fox Business: Trump canceled China talks, says Biden is weak on foreign policy

“Weak” is used in corporate media as a synonym for “diplomatic” (Fox Business, 8/18/20).

While advocating wholesale violence is “robust” or “muscular” in media speak, opposing it is inherently “weak” and worthy of condemnation. A case in point is Bernie Sanders, whose “weak foreign policy,” according to Business Insider (3/15/20), was a serious black mark against him. Examples of his weakness, it noted, include “an obvious commitment to rejoin the Iran deal” and ending Saudi attacks on Yemen.

More scandalous, apparently, were his “controversial comments” on Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, comments that amounted to not endorsing US regime change efforts against sovereign nations. This, for Business Insider columnist and former US diplomat Brett Bruen, made him a unserious presidential candidate.

And while Rogin and the WaPo might have described Biden as robust on foreign policy, Trump did not see it that way; the president this month telling Fox Business (8/18/20) his opponent was “weak” on the issue. The reason? Biden would pursue a diplomatic solution with Iran, like Obama did.

There is nothing inherently strong about destroying or terrorizing other nations, and nothing weak about opposing it. But our hawkish corporate media continue to present it as such, therefore subtly manufacturing consent for continued conflicts around the world. The next time you hear someone on corporate media praising a “muscular,” or “robust” foreign policy, be on the alert: They might be trying to sell you another war.

Be seeing you

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