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Episode 564: This ‘Deaf’ Culture w/ Michael Korbel of ‘The Invictus Mind’

Episode 564: This ‘Deaf’ Culture w/ Michael Korbel of ‘The Invictus Mind’

49 Minutes

PG-13

Michael Korbel is the host of The Invictus Mind Podcast.

Michael asked Pete to com on his show and discuss the current state of affairs in America especially when it comes to communicating with the masses.

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American Education: Child Indoctrination, Struggle Sessions and Debt Slavery

American Education: Child Indoctrination, Struggle Sessions and Debt Slavery

 

American Education: Child Indoctrination, Struggle Sessions and Debt SlaverySeemingly overnight, a large segment of America has gone insane. We’re not talking about the culture of paranoia and safety that has metastasized in the wake of COVID-19 hysteria. We’re talking about the ideological shift, particularly on cultural issues, that has occurred since the start of the Obama Administration.

To pick an easy example, it would have been fairly uncontroversial even five years ago to say that men should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports, regardless of what they might subjectively “identify as.” And yet, this is now a subject contention across a number of sports, including mixed martial arts and powerlifting. What’s more, having the wrong opinion and expressing it publicly might make you the subject of a public shaming, up to and including losing your job and being de facto blacklisted from your industry.

The point isn’t to litigate the specific topic of trans identified men competing in women’s sports. We use this only as one example of a broader cultural shift. Another, far more troubling development, is how quickly a significant and powerful minority of Americans grew to believe that America is a fundamentally racist country and that white Americans are somehow uniquely evil by virtue of their birth.

Both of the above are extreme viewpoints and would have been recognized as such even five years ago. Now, one can have one’s name blackened for taking the wrong viewpoint.

But this change did not come out of nowhere. In fact, it’s the product of decades of indoctrination of generations of Americans through what is called “education.” We use scare quotes here, because there is little evidence that American schools educate their students anymore – if, by education, we mean imparting knowledge rather than ideology.

This isn’t simply something to handwave away as “those crazy kids on college campuses and their left-wing professors.” Generations of far-left indoctrination have created a critical mass of Americans openly hostile toward American values and the very notion of liberty itself. If one is looking for an explanation for how we got to this point, a deep and critical view of education – from kindergarten through post-graduate – is in order.

The punchline? You’re paying for it in the form of America’s student loan program, which is little more than a massive welfare program for universities with multi-billion dollar endowments.

What Do We Mean When We Say “Indoctrination?”

American Education: Child Indoctrination, Struggle Sessions and Debt SlaveryWhen discussing any subject, it’s important to define terms. So when we say “indoctrination,” what is it that we’re talking about? What do we mean by that?

We mean it in the ordinary sense of being taught to think in terms of a specific ideology, rather than being taught how to think critically. What’s more, it is worth looking at the ideological bedrock on which the indoctrination exists. Not only are students not taught to think critically, but the first premises of the ideology they are indoctrinated in are rooted in hostility toward Western civilization.

We have written about this with regard to the Frankfurt School in another article, which explores the ideological underpinnings of America’s indoctrination of youth. The short version is that American youth, since at least the 1960s, with significant acceleration in the 1980s, have been indoctrinated with hostility toward Western civilization in general, with the obvious corollaries of hostility toward whites, the nuclear family, Christianity, private property and men. Perhaps most troubling is the view that Western civilization and the aforementioned categories are uniquely evil and responsible for the lion’s share – if not all – of the world’s evil.

This indoctrination has active elements, but primarily relies upon passive elements to do its heavy lifting. While one might immediately balk at a narrative being forced onto them, one is much less likely to resist the imposition of a narrative delivered passively, in the background, as if it weren’t a narrative at all, but simply a basic truth that is beyond questioning. This is precisely how the leftist worldview is presented to children as young as five; not merely actively pushing the narrative that the world prior to 1965 – or 2015 – was a hellscape of white, cisheteronormative patriarchal oppression and exploitation, but using this narrative as the background that permeates all other truths.

One example of how this works in practice is an AP history curriculum that relentlessly mentions race. But it is how race is mentioned that is the key takeaway. Rather than a balanced, nuanced and exploratory discussion of America’s complicated racial history, the curriculum simply notes when there are too many white men in a president’s cabinet, presenting it as a given that there are a certain threshold of minority members to be met so that the cabinet would not be considered “racist.”

There is also the reductive nature of indoctrination. That is to say, concealing truths that contradict the narrative being pushed. Children are not taught certain things, or they are simply not mentioned, such as the fact that the United States didn’t invent slavery, but it did fight one of the bloodiest wars in human history to end it. These “lies by omission” are, much like the passive narrative, arguably a much more potent means of indoctrinating children than beating them over the head with modified slogans presented as “knowledge.”

We will get into the specifics of how this indoctrination works as we move through this article. However, what we mean by indoctrination is a substitution of ideological conformity training for critical thinking skills, with a basis in the Western tradition.

School Indoctrination Examples

As we dive into specific examples of how schools indoctrinate, keep in mind that indoctrination is not limited to these ideologies.

Critical Pedagogy: The Ideology of Indoctrination

This indoctrination is not occurring by accident. It is a concerted agenda of the far left under the rubric of what is known as “critical pedagogy.” One should immediately take pause whenever something includes the word “critical.”

The urtext of critical pedagogy is Pedagogy of the Oppresseda book by Brazilian Marxist educator Paulo Freire. Critical pedagogy believes that the purpose of education is not to educate, but to “help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate.” These are, of course, leftist code words for indoctrinating children into a radical left-wing world view. Far from a marginal ideology, it is the prevailing educational philosophy of the 21st century. If you’re looking for a clearinghouse of articles about how it works from the perspective of educational proponents, you need look no further than a teachers’ union magazine – the articles are almost universally dripping with critical pedagogy. We strongly urge you to head down to the library and pick up a physical copy of an issue. It will be very eye opening.

In the following text, we will explore what critical pedagogy looks like in practice. But also the various specific iterations it takes, such as critical race theory and “gender” ideology. We believe this will shed a great deal of light on how children are being indoctrinated in the public schools.

Indoctrination Starts Early: Critical Race Theory for Kindergarteners

One of the biggest misconceptions about the indoctrination of youth is that it begins in college. There is an often touted statistic about how few college students change their opinions and world view over the course of a four-year liberal arts education. This ignores just how early the indoctrination of youth in America and the Western world begins. If we told you that kindergarteners were being “educated” in critical race theory and gender ideology, you would probably think that we were making it up, but this is, in fact, happening as we speak and has gone on for years.

Indeed, the primary and secondary education systems largely get a pass when the subject of far-left campus hijinks is brought up. But this is 13 years of training where children are systematically prepared for the further indoctrination that takes place once they get to higher education.

There’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of the “Racial Literacy Curriculum” from the oddly named company Pollyanna. Before launching into our own opinions on the curriculum, it is worth noting what the company has to say about itself. Racial Literacy Curriculum “aims to help students acquire an awareness of their own racial socialization and skills for engaging in productive conversations about race and racism.”

Anyone who has been paying attention knows that these are essentially code words for anti-white racism and white racial self-loathing. The curriculum begins in kindergarten with a unit titled “The Physical World Around Us – A Celebration of Skin Colors” and trains children as young as five to begin noticing race. First graders begin indoctrination about the importance of “social awareness and empathy.”

By third grade, the curriculum becomes much more explicit in its aims. The third-grade unit is titled “Stories of Activism – How One Voice Can Change a Community (and Bridge the World).” This is also the age where children are introduced to slavery. “[S]tudents will understand and analyze the power of an action and/or voice… and how we can be agents of communal, social, political, and environmental change.” It goes without saying that there is a very specific notion of what kind of “change” is called for.

Fourth graders will learn about the largely discredited theory that it was the availability of certain resources that provided some cultures with an advantage over others. The goal here is for students to “be able to analyze history and other social assertions that fabricate myths of racial superiority, including the ability to critique and dispel Eurocentric perspectives[.]”

Curriculum for fifth and sixth graders is little more than extended denunciation of American history as one of genocide, enslavement and exploitation. Two of the questions asked of fifth graders are “Why do Eurocentric perspectives dominate the historical narrative of immigration?” and “[W]hat were the forms of resistance and various contributions made by those who lived in the U.S.?” Sixth graders will be taught that American society is “a society that’s plagued with violence and efforts of dehumanization.”

Seventh grade curriculum is called “What is race?” and the answer is basically coterminous with the critical race theory and cultural Marxist definitions of race. This prepares students for their eighth-grade unit, which is the apotheosis of the entire project: “Racism as a Primary ‘Institution’ of the U.S. – How We May Combat Systemic Inequality.” Here, students will “upack [sic] sophisticated ideas like white privilege and white supremacy.” The stated goal of this unit – and thus, the entire project – is that “students will set commitments for rectifying current social ills, such as learning and planning how to carry out anti-racist activism and/or social advocacy in their communities and/or to improve their everyday lives.”

Not only is this a troubling left-wing agenda being delivered to your children on your dime, it’s also worth asking what any of this has to do with education. The above is little more than an “age-appropriate” (so-called) version of radical critical race theory. It is not education, it is propaganda. Elementary schools in Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, California, Rhode Island, Missouri, and Illinois have begun indoctrinating children in this.

But more than simply “stupid” or “crazy,” this is an incredibly troubling curriculum. What, after all, will the world look like when the lion’s share of America’s “educated” people have been force-fed the narrative that whites are the source of the world’s problems from the age of five? What will a majority-minority America look like when America’s largest ethnic group is pilloried as uniquely, historically evil?

These are all critical questions, particularly with Joe Biden appointing critical race theorist and San Diego school superintendent Cindy Martens to Deputy Secretary of Education, who told white teachers they were guilty of “spirit murdering” black children and urged them to undergo “antiracist therapy.” She has also stated that only black Americans “know who America really is.”

Séxual Indoctrination of Children in America’s Schools

American Education: Child Indoctrination, Struggle Sessions and Debt SlaverySéx education in public schools has always been a controversial topic. However, with respect to people who have opposed it for years, the content of séx education in public schools is far more troubling today than it was 20, or even 10 years ago. This is because of the way that public schools teach very young children about transgender ideology and abortion.

Children as young as six are being taught about transgenderism – and not just as a social phenomenon, which might be troubling enough – but also as a valid life choice, simply one of many in the marketplace of séxuality. Children from kindergarten to fifth grade are shown the YouTube videos “Queer Kid Stuff,” which we have linked to so that parents can inspect the material for themselves. Was this done in New York, San Francisco or Portland? No, it was inflicted on children in Superior, Colorado, a small town of about 13,000. The same school invited the Trans Community Choir to perform a play about a transgendered bird.

“Queer Kid Stuff” is designed for children as young as three.

Not only is this wildly inappropriate for children, it further séxualizes children and, to the point of this article, indoctrinates them in a radical gender ideology that is likely not the values their parents want to pass onto them.

There is some appetite to federalize this agenda, if you can believe it. The Equality Act would extend the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to “séxual and gender identity” (SOGI). As pointed out by a very valuable article from the Heritage Foundation, this would lead to a deluge of increased gender and séxual propaganda aimed at your children without respect to your personal values or consent of such a curriculum. Five states (California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington) as well as the District of Columbia already have SOGI laws. It is explicitly banned in Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, with Florida and North Carolina mandating that all séxual education focus on “monogamous heteroséxual marriage.”

Some states are even encouraging children to identify as trans by providing medical treatment without parental consent. Denying your child’s “gender identity” (not a real thing) can be considered abuse and neglect, with the attendant consequences.

But the Heritage Foundation article points out that SOGI education is largely an attempt to take such propaganda outside of the carefully watched realms of séx ed and introduce it everywhere. This would include mandating that children read gender propaganda in their literature and history classes, places where there is far less attention paid by parents to what their children are learning, in the naive assumption that the culture wars have not yet entered these classes. Even such seemingly unassailable classes such as math and phys ed will be home to deconstructions of the gender binary and celebrations of trans-identified athletes.

Children are also being indoctrinated with pro-abortion propaganda. Indeed, a 2016 California law mandates teaching children about abortion as a form of birth control. While the law requires that such education be “medically accurate and objective,” a California teacher found themselves in hot water when they showed children videos of what abortion actually looks like. And lest you think this is limited to kooky California, note that Chesterfield, MO (population 47,605) public schools were providing abortion referrals to children as part of their “séx ed” curriculum.

College Brainwashing and University Indoctrination

All of this, however, is simply a prelude to the indoctrination which your children will endure once they are sent off to higher education. This is not only where the most robust and intrusive indoctrination occurs – of course, because the children are finally “out of the clutches of their parents” – but the leftist indoctrination also becomes a sort of semi-official state religion that all are required to pledge fealty to.

Fully 72 percent of all American college professors describe themselves as liberal, with only 15 percent describing themselves as conservative. But as we will see, “liberal” really just means “leftist” – and in many cases, committed Marxists. These people don’t simply hold ideas you disapprove of, they actively seek to indoctrinate your children in contempt and hatred of your values – and you. This isn’t just a contempt for Christians, conservatives and libertarians. Conventional, middle-of-the-road liberals are likewise subject to this scorn.

The professors are only one part of the equation. There is also the growing army of diversity consultants, effectively racial and séxual commissars who police every interaction on campus and whose presence looms large. Even the suspicion of wrongthink can ruin a young person’s academic career and to some extent their life. This army of diversity consultants is incentivized to find racism and injustice without regard to whether or not it actually exists, hence the growing number of infractions against the intellectual orthodoxy that prevails on college campuses today. This is intense pressure that would be hard for fully grown adults to resist, let alone young people away from home for the first time and ripped away from their support networks.

Dissent is not required. A lack of proper enthusiasm is enough. And these are only the foot soldiers of the enforcement of ideological conformity. There is also a seasoned cadre of administrators with the power to enforce their regime. A commitment to social justice as viewed by the far left is increasingly considered a necessary part of one’s education.

Many times, students are subject to what are effectively Maoist struggle sessions during their orientations. Students are told that such widespread beliefs are judging individuals regardless of race, or believing that America is a meritocracy is a “microaggression” or a small act of racism. What’s more, denying that one is a racist is seen as proof that a person is a racist in a strange age of Catch-22 logic.

There is significant evidence that this environment transforms the ideological view of students. An extensive study conducted on college students in the 1990s found that there were significant changes in world view, that these conformed with the ideology of the faculty and that they were so dramatic that they could not be explained simply through the maturing of young minds.

There is an additional layer to this onion that is especially troubling: A college degree is required for an officer’s commission in the United States military. Thus, when President Barack Obama purged the military command structure, there were easy replacements culled from this indoctrination process in America’s universities.

The list of shenanigans taking place on America’s college campuses is far too long to even begin to dive into here. However, if you are looking to follow the latest and greatest in leftist madness on America’s college campuses, The College Fix and Campus Reform are great resources for news in this area.

But as we said in the introduction: The punchline here is that you’re footing the bill for all of it, while your kids are consigned to a life of debt peonage.

The Role of Student Loans

American Education: Child Indoctrination, Struggle Sessions and Debt SlaveryWe’re often told that there has never been a better time to be an American because of an abundance of cheap consumer goods. And while this is somewhat true, it ignores the fact that the cost of houses, healthcare and college education have increased significantly over a short period of time. In the case of a college education, this is particularly problematic because, right or wrong, students are told nearly from the time they are old enough to walk that they need a college degree to get a “good job.”

Between 2008 and 2018, the cost of a college education has increased by 25 percent. One of the primary drivers of this is the federal student loan program. Like many government programs, it is sold to the public as the means of leveling the playing field and increasing fairness throughout society. However, the main result of the federal student loan program is that the cost of a college education has gone through the roof.

It’s fairly easy to understand why. For the last 50-plus years, the federal government has effectively given colleges a blank check for education. No matter how much money is needed for a college education, the federal government will underwrite it. The Parent PLUS Loan is the biggest culprit. With no cap, parents may borrow as much as they need – not just to pay for their children’s education, but also lodging, books (which are often themselves price gouged) and any miscellaneous living expenses associated with a college education.

What’s more, thanks to bankruptcy “reforms” introduced by Senator Joe Biden, it is impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy like every other form of debt.

Only 30 cents for every dollar spent on education actually goes toward education. What’s more, administrators have increased 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, while the number of full-time faculty has actually come down. Meanwhile, academic standards continue to decline – and it’s easy to offer politicized disciplines like Women’s Studies, African-American Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Gender Studies and Whiteness Studies (the last of these being unique in that it is a pillorying of whites rather than a deification of them, as other ethno-narcissistic disciplines are) – with zero educational content when the free money machine is turned on full throttle.

So what can be done about all this? For one, a college education is necessary for a certain style of gainful, white collar employment, regardless of whether or not the degree is actually related to the employment. Only 27 percent of college graduates are actually employed in fields related to their academic discipline. In part, this is because college education is a proxy for IQ tests, which are illegal in employment. This ban should be lifted.

IQ Test Ban: A Major Driver of the University Crisis

The soft skills” – doing things you don’t want to do, showing up on time, working well with others – which are also inadvertently measured by IQ tests. It’s not that every person with a high IQ has good soft skills. Many, of course, do not. But it is, however, true, that measuring IQ is a good proxy for measuring soft skills.

Part of the argument is that IQ tests don’t actually measure anything, but this is demonstrably false: IQ tests are just about the only thing the social sciences have produced that’s actually “science” as it would be understood in any other scientific field. What’s more, IQ tests are neither linguistically nor culturally biased as is often claimed. They are able to meaningfully measure cognitive ability in humans regardless of these subjective factors. Jordan Peterson has pointed out that if IQ is inaccurate, then psychology as a discipline simply doesn’t work.

Throwing out IQ testing for job employment means that employers have to find some other way to determine if applicants are up to the tasks performed. Without IQ to rely on, employers opted, in the main, for requiring a college degree. This, despite the fact that four years spent studying sociology or English literature or American history, fails to prepare one for a career in maintaining spreadsheets and sending emails. These tasks could easily be covered in business classes at the high school level. But again, employers are prevented from using what is a quick, easy and inexpensive metric for employment because of “disparate impact.”

While it’s certainly true that mean IQ scores for black Americans are lower than those for whites, there is no reason to believe that this is unchangeable. While individual IQ is fairly plastic after a certain age, group IQ is not. One example is that women generally scored lower on IQ tests than men, but now generally score higher. There is no need to rely upon mumbo jumbo about how the tests are “racist” – it’s possible to raise group IQ and, in fact, the black-white IQ gap has narrowed considerably. There is also a phenomenon, known as the Flynn effect, where the average IQ in America has increased by three points every decade.

Put simply: Individuals cannot get meaningfully more intelligent after a certain age, but groups can increase their average IQ rather dramatically in short periods of time.

But, as is often the case, the complicated and controversial truth lost out to the quick and easy fix that lined the pockets of insiders. Rather than figuring out how to close the IQ gap, something that would have taken time – and also probably money and effort – college degrees now became a de facto requirement for gainful employment. Three generations of Americans were told that a college degree was a necessity for the American Dream. More to the point, it was required for all manner of white collar employment, specifically due to the ban on IQ tests.

With the market flooded, universities could charge whatever price they liked and the cost of a college education increased accordingly. Between 2009 and 2019 alone, the cost of college increased by 25 percent.

Another driver is that the cost of college is now underwritten by the federal government in the form of student loans. In 1993, the federal government began securing student loans. Unlike Medicare, where the government will only reimburse up to a certain amount that is deemed to be the value of the service, colleges have a blank check. The government will simply come up with whatever students can’t afford.

What’s more, the drive to “forgive” student loans is little more than a boondoggle for the upper middle class, who hold the lion’s share of these loans. Forgiveness might be a solid bargaining chip in reform of the entire system, which would necessarily mean doing away with the student loan system as we know it. In a perfect world, this would be financed, not by passing the bill onto the American taxpayers and consumers, but by making colleges pay for their role in the debacle in the form of heavily taxing their endowments to pay for it. Peter Thiel has suggested making universities foot the bill anytime someone discharges their student loans in bankruptcy, on the basis that they were responsible for the bad loans in the first place.

For those who are able, pulling your kids out of public schools – and being seriously skeptical of private alternatives, many of which are just as bad – is in order.

Conservatives and libertarians might balk at such nakedly confiscatory taxation, but today’s colleges are little more than indoctrination factories for the foot soldiers of a cadre of militants intensely hostile toward Western civilization and the American way of life. We should be mindful about salvaging whatever we can from them while aggressively kneecapping their ability to brainwash our children and attack our freedoms.

American Education: Child Indoctrination, Struggle Sessions and Debt Slavery originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

Episode 554: Everything Except The Libertarian Party w/ Stacie-Ann of ‘The Dissent’

Episode 554: Everything Except The Libertarian Party w/ Stacie-Ann of ‘The Dissent’

93 Minutes

PG-13

Stacie-Ann is the host of The Dissent Podcast on YouTube and a former lawyer.

Stacie-Ann asked Pete to come on to field questions about every topic she could think of except the Libertarian Party. They hit everything from censorship to foreign policy.

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News Roundup 3/10/21

News Roundup 3/10/21

US News

  • The Supreme Court declines to hear the appeal of a man who was beat by police officers while standing on his front porch. The 6th Court of Appeals granted the cops qualified immunity. [Link]
  • South Korea will increase its payment for US soldiers deployed to South Korea by 14%. [Link]

Great Power

  • Germany wants to issue joint sanctions against Russia and China with the US. [Link]
  • Russia says it is concerned by the US plans for cyber attacks. [Link]
  • Biden will meet Friday with the leaders of the other Quad countries. [Link]
  • The head of US Indo-Pacific Command says the US needs land-based forces in the region to combat China. [Link]
  • The US and China are working on a plan for high-level talks in Alaska. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • Senator Bob Menendez – Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee – said the US may keep troops in Afghanistan beyond May 1st because the Taliban are failing to live up to the agreement. [Link]

Iran

  • Senators Menendez and Graham circled a letter that called on Biden to use sanctions to confront Iran. The letter further undermines the Iran Nuclear Deal. [Link]
  • Over a hundred members so the House – 70 D and 70 R – sign a letter calling for a more comprehensive deal with Iran. The letter implies the members do not want to return to the JCPOA. [Link]
  • Biden places sanctions on two Iranians. [Link] 

Bahrain

  • Human Rights Watch reports Bahrain police detained 13 children to prevent protests. The HRW reports claims the children were tortured and threatened with rape. [Link]
News Roundup 3/10/21

News Roundup 3/9/21

US News

  • Scott Horton was suspended by Twitter for quoting a cop. [Link]
  • The Capitol police are asking to expand their police force from 2,000 to 2,850. The police are also asking for a quick response team, for the National Guard to be able to deploy to the Capitol without additional authorization, and mobile fencing. [Link]
  • The New York Times reports the Biden Administration is preparing a series of clandestine cyber attacks aimed at Russia. [Link]

South America

  • Biden plans to sign an order allowing the 300,000 Venezuelans living in the US to apply for Temporary Protected Status. If granted, Venezuelans will be able to live and work in the US for 18 months. [Link]
  • So far in 2021, 11,000 Colombians have been forced to flee their homes due to violence. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • The US is offering a new plan for Afghanistan that calls for an interim government to take control until a new constitution is agreed to by the Afghan government and the Taliban. Then, Afghanistan would hold new elections. [Link]

Iran

  • Biden extended an executive order from 1995 that sanctions Iran. [Link]
  • Biden’s deputy Iran Envoy was key to Obama’s sanctions regime against Iran and bragged about the suffering the sanctions caused for the Iranian people. [Link]
  • The IAEA confirms Iran has activated the third set of nuclear centrifuges . Iran plans to activate six sets. The centrifuges are part of Iran moving away from the JCPOA after Trump exited the deal in 2018. [Link]

Middle East

  • The US sent B-52s to the Middle East. The US bombers were escorted by Israeli fighters. [Link]
  • The Biden administration said it was alarmed by the threat the Houthi pose to Saudi Arabia. [Link]

Africa

  • In his final week in office, Trump granted a sanctions waiver to Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler. Gertler was accused of getting sweetheart mining deals in the Congo. [Link]
  • The New York Times reported the CIA drone base in Niger is continuing to expand and could be used to launch drone strikes. [Link]
News Roundup 3/10/21

News Roundup 2/15/21

US News

  • Trump is acquitted by the Senate in his second impeachment trial. Seven republicans voted to convict. [Link]
  • A grand jury dismissed assault charges against two Buffalo police officers who pushed an elderly man to the ground and fractured his skull. [Link]
  • Buffalo police assist bounty hunters in holding a family at gunpoint and raiding their home. [Link]
  • The Department of Homeland Security will shift its focus to domestic “security.” [Link]

Afghanistan

  • The Taliban now control 52% of Afghanistan. The Afghan government controls territory with 59% of the population. [Link]
  • Several vehicles transporting fuel exploded in Afghanistan, near the border with Iran. Reports say as many as 300 vehicles were involved and 60 people were injured. [Link]
  • Germany planned to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan in March. Now Germany is considering extending the deployment. [Link]

Middle East

  • Iran says it will end snap inspections by the IAEA until the US fulfills its commitments under the Iran Nuclear Deal. [Link]
  • The US seized a shipment of oil it claims belonged to Iran. Iran called the seizure an act of piracy. [Link]
  • Turkey claims the PKK executed 13 Turkish police and soldiers in northern Iraq. The US condemned the executions. [Link]
  • An Iraqi MP says Turkey does not have permission to deploy a large number of fighters to Iraq. [Link]
  • Syria reports it intercepted Israeli missiles over Damascus. [Link]

Yemen

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he will revoke the designation of the Houthi as a terror group on Feb. 16th. [Link]
  • The UN predicts that 2 million Yemeni children will face acute malnutrition this year. About 400,000 of those children will face severe acute malnutrition, putting children at high risk for starving to death. Another 1.2 million Yemeni women who are nursing or pregnant will face malnutrition. [Link]
  • Over 20 fighters were killed in 24 hours during fighting in Maarib, Yemen. The Houthi are continuing its effort to take the Yemeni region with oil resources. [Link]
  • A Yemeni journalist was detained by US-backed forces. [Link]
Mali and the Confiscation of Moral Sentiment

Mali and the Confiscation of Moral Sentiment

For fiscal year 2021, the total United States military budget has come in at a staggaring $934 billion dollars, which includes a base budget of $636 billion dollars plus ancillary Department Of Defense spending and Veterans Affairs related expenses. This easily dwarfs the military budgets of the next nineteen biggest spending nations combined and makes any claims of the existence of an underfunded military in the United States seem preposterous, but beyond the excessive military spending, the most damning aspect of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus is its confiscation of moral sentiment from the American public.

The de rigueur excuses of national security, preserving democracy the world over and winning the war on terrorism fall flat given the results of recent military adventures in the Middle East and Africa. A state of continued instability exists in Iraq and Afghanistan, an epidemic of cholera and famine, nay, gencocide, is consuming Yemen and open slave markets have operated in Libya, all under the guise of the ever popular U.S. mantra of making the world safe for democracy. Countless under-reported military campaigns across Africa are sowing seeds of resentment, which will inevitably lead to terror attacks at home and death and destruction abroad.

A seemingly minor incident in the grand scheme of U.S. military involvement in Africa was the 2013 French led and U.S. supported intervention in Mali. Undertaken ostensibly for humanitarian reasons, the continued military actions should give every American pause given the ongoing chaos in Mali and its surrounding countries. The lack of curiosity and empathy by the American public for the victims of U.S. foreign policy actions speaks volumes to the power and influence of the foreign policy bureaucracy.

If it even were to cross the mind of the casual news observer, the standard assumption regarding Mali would be that the state is addressing the plight of an affected people and the average citizen need not think any more of it. This is a common sentiment that has its roots in the New Deal era. Many of the criticisms levied against the New Deal can be applied in relation to current U.S. foreign policy: that it has needlessly burdened the economy under its crushing weight of debt, it has enabled a massively wasteful bureaucracy, it has encouraged a crony capitalist system, it has vastly reduced individual freedom and it has concentrated an absurd amount of authority in Washington, D.C. 

Although these are all valid criticisms of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, perhaps its most spurious achievement is its ability to have morally corrupted the American public. This concept was identified by Albert Jay Nock, writing in a 1937 article for the American Mercury, wherein he stated that everyday Americans have been, “suffocated of that decent humanitarian spirit, and have allowed themselves to be dried-up of the ordinarily decent humane impulses toward one’s fellow-men.” This is an horrendous achievement indeed.

With over 1,000 military bases in over eighty countries, the U.S. military footprint can be found imposing its will on sovereign people the world over. Grandstanding U.S. politicians confidently wash their collective hands of the realities on the ground so long as the lofty ideals of freedom and democracy are invoked triumphantly before any military action begins. As recounted in a 2018 article by Jim Bovard, historian Irving Babbitt explained (after WWI), “the American judges himself by the way he feels, whereas the foreigner judges him by what he does.” This sentiment continues to hold true today.

A Brief History of Mali

In 1960, France formally agreed to the independence of the Federation of Mali. Not surprisingly, they engineered a system in which Mali would remain economically dependent on them. The inhabitants of the region are commonly referred to as the Tuareg people in French literature, but they call themselves Azawad and they are an extension of the Berber people, whose living area historically extended across numerous modern countries, including northern Mali, southern Algeria, Mauritania and Niger. As is the case with many native populations in the Middle East and Africa, when modern borders were drawn, they were screwed out of valuable resources and were left with very little territory of their own, setting them up for perpetual struggles. 

There have long been tensions between the population residing in the southern part of Mali and the Azawad people of the North, with cultural, economic and social discrimination toward the Azawad, who have a real case for grievances. As such, the Azawad have rebelled numerous times against the South over the course of time since Mali achieved independence. In typical neo-colonialist fashion, the French have pitted one group against another, using one group as a vehicle to control the economic resources of the region. 

The Current Situation

Mali is a desperately poor country, especially for the Tuareg population in the North and for many, the only way for many to make a living was to join up as a mercenary in the Libyan Army. In 2011, with the fall of Gadaffi in Libya (there was no U.S. involvement there, right?), many Tuareg mercenaries came back to their homeland and brought their weapons with them. Given the influx of weapons, the Azawad again saw an opportunity to rebel against the South and they were bolstered by a recent military coup that had taken place in the capital city of Bamako. Not surprisingly, the U.S. played a role in this as well. 

It’s important to note that the Tuareg goals were economic and secular, but one fatal flaw in the Azawad plan was that they teamed up with a couple of Islamist groups, whose goals were radically different. These radical elements eventually took over the movement and began marching South toward Timbuktu and Gao, committing atrocities along the way. The Mali central government was helpless to intervene due to the military coup, which conveniently gave the pretext for international intervention.

Unbeknownst to most, according to African Foreign Policy expert Rob Prince, in two 2013 interviews (here and here) with Scott Horton, the U.S. had spent billions of dollars training the Mali military, but it also had trained the people involved in the coup, who then overthrew the Mali government! The failure of all this money spent training a military that couldn’t function became another pretext for military involvement. Eventually, the coup ended and a civilian leader, Dioncounda Traoré, was installed as President. Interestingly, he happened to have strong ties to Paris and NATO and he immediately wrote a letter to the UN Security Council imploring them to help quell the rebellion. Although attempts were made to convince the Algerians to intervene, ultimately the French and the U.S. entered the fray.

It’s also worth noting that there are two important French facilities in the region: first, there is a large mining company in nearby Niger, owned by the French company Avena and secondly, there is a French military base in Mopti, in central Mali. The French were nervous about their military installation and also concerned that the chaos in Mali might spill over into Niger, providing another pretext for intervention.

The standard narrative presented to the American public regarding the situation in Mali is the well worn excuse of necessary humanitarian intervention, which is a deliberate attempt at deceiving the public into thinking that military action is absolutely necessary. The reality is that it is often military meddling and neo-colonialist attempts at securing resources that have caused the problem in the first place. Add to that, it is occuring in a place that is very far away, the boots on the ground aren’t from the U.S. and the military casualty rate is low, so who cares? The media will put up a series of out of context videos showing scary looking rebels firing their guns into the air, which will suffice for a few news cycles. Soon enough several years will pass, everyone will forget what happened and the process will repeat itself in a different part of the world.

The big picture of U.S. foreign policy includes a long term plan for the militarization of Africa in order to secure oil, uranium and other minerals. But, with the U.S. strategic focus shifting to Asia, the key is to achieve this militarization in such a manner where the U.S. military footprint is not as great as it has been in the Middle East. This will necessarily require other countries to provide the boots on the ground, which is exactly what happened with the intervention in Mali. If this story is news to you and you didn’t know anything about the conflict in Mali, you’re not alone. The military action in Mali is one piece in an enourmously complex puzzle of the never ending war on terrorism. Fortunately, there is a new book out, titled Enough Already by Scott Horton, that encompasses the whole of the U.S. terror wars and is presented in concise and easily digestible chapters, allowing the reader to understand how these seemingly independent interventions are linked together within the broader context of the War on Terrorism.

Understanding the broader context will take some effort and it would be far easier to simply brush it aside and farm out one’s morality to the state, but at what cost? Writing in the aforementioned American Mercury article, Nock summed it up best, “We think a great deal about the State’s ever-increasing confiscations of money and power; why not think a little about its confiscations of sentiment? They seem to me the most damaging and degrading of all its confiscations, as well as the hardest to repair.” Indeed, we would be wise to reject the folly of militarized humanitarian idealism.

Nick Weber lives in Denver, Colorado and writes articles at www.denverdoggery.com covering history, politics, and beer. Follow him on Twitter @denverdoggery or email nick@denverdoggery.com.

Whisphers in the Wind

Whisphers in the Wind

As the fiasco of U.S. democracy shreds at any sense of dignity the world watches on and pretends that the health of the American empire is vibrant, the opinionated social media activist and the interested expert all find outrage in the moment.  Biden and Trump drips from the chanting lips of those who are storming the halls of political might. Far in distant lands, inside the obedient nations of the American empire heads of state read out words of support and condemnation. Outraged citizens from abroad criticise the ousted president, or they cheer for him to troll from the platform of twitter. The social media giants had long ago shown their loyalties as they ban and limit elements of some perspectives of very much the same political monstrosity. But in the end, does it change anything?

The outraged and protesting tug and pull for the reigns of rule. The mob that failed at the sort of works democracy now reveals itself as just that violent destructive blob of people who want more control, want more influence and want a government that does things for them often against others. Whether it is proud boys, ANTIFA, MAGA or BLM the government as it stands really does not change that much, perhaps ‘Amen’ is switched to ‘Awomen’ and pronouns are balanced with some sensitivity or maybe the jingoists get another minority group to blame for the decay of Western or American civilisation. But in the end the empire is ever present abroad and at home.

For the rest of the world, we are forced to watch the melodrama of U.S. politics, again. As though the United States is the centre of the world, or universe. Perhaps the world should care less about what happens inside the U.S. with as much concern as the average American seems to care about the rest of the world. Millions of humans lead their lives despite the petty and often pathetic self importance of US partisan politics and yet some how, the American empire finds them. Whether it is a drone hovering high above, visiting with random murder or a blockade of warships enforcing an almost ancient embargo, it is the American prevalence in all of our lives that seems to be destroying not only the U.S. itself, but the wider world. And when a victor emerges, the world still gets war. Mostly American wars. These are not civil riots protests that waved a fist against state led bigotry, nor are they anti conscription riots over government forcing individuals to fight overseas in another war. Such past riots, have had limited impact in quelling the growth of government or in tempering its destructive might.

Journalist Julian Assange is held captive in legal purgatory, punished for revealing the crimes of war mongers and lifting the up the skirt of many governments. Ross Ulbrycht a prisoner because he created a website, the details of his conviction would  make for an unbelievable fiction and yet it was all too real. Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are pariah patriots, believers in the religious texts that most Americans claim to uphold and yet most of the voting public and voted for rulers disregard the details of such a constitution and Bill of Rights. And millions of poor and desperate foreigners live and die in the frontiers of foreign policy, their homes and day to day ruined so that macho sounding politicians can profit by propping up tyrannies of maniacal madness. Inside the prisons of the U.S. itself are thousands of convicts punished for victimless crimes, the prohibitions and regulations of a cancerous government that claims to be for freedom, when in fact it dissolves it at every chance. The protests are not for any of them.

A small child, perhaps now dead, coiled in infant agony, starved as its innocent eyes bulged in anguish fronted recent articles covering the desperate situation in Yemen. A situation that would be impossible if not for the aid and assistance of the US and it’s imperial allies. Neither Trump of Biden would save that baby and the many others like it.  The Saudi kingdom, is a profitable friend. The protesters that support the two coins of US partisan politics do not care about the children of Yemen either. One needs not look too far to find the victims of foreign policy, recent and distant to see the true outcome of such actions, but it seems few actually care to. And should they be presented with such facts and terrible images, a religious fog washes across their eyes, allowing them to either dismiss or contextualise the murder and suffering. But a slob tweeting from the toilet or a hair sniffing buffoon are both credible enough to lead, and be despised because they are not the other.

Protests inspired by Greta Thunberg visited many cities across the planet, sort of serious protesters found more energy than the Kony2012 social media inspired activists. They chanted and spread hashtags, cheered for the Swedish teen to shame political masters and then as often is the case, the energy dissipated. Nature continues to suffer, but a new smart phone in the hand is more appealing than living inside a canvas tent among the trees. The fixation with taxing the problem away and regulating industry to ‘not pollute’ is one of often curiosity, ignoring the waste of government itself. Not to mention the destructive pollutant that is the war machine. There once was a time when green movements were anti-government and anti-war. Now many of the supposedly green champions are inside the cathedral of government and so long as biodegradable material is used to transport the depleted uranium shells or a tree is planted on a base somewhere as gas guzzling tanks trample trees in distant lands, then the message is sound.

It seems that since the emergence of COVID-19 that the Peoples Republic of China has become popular to despise. An authoritarian government that had bashed human rights since before its inception, a nation of growing power and influence, that with patience managed to take advantage of the laziness and complacency of modern Western culture. Many inside the West profited from and helped to cultivate the communist planners of China. But now supposedly courageous journalists and politicians criticise the communist state.  Those who had their fingers inside the red cookie jar are ousted, the many honey traps are revealed but before COVID-19, few cared about the organ harvesting, mass executions, forced labour camps and surveillance state. It is hard to reveal those things as Chinese money flowed so lavishly.

The future unfortunately is China’s, not because of the billions of unique individuals of China but the regime itself. The culture of control, social credits, censorship, travel restrictions and surveillance. The nationalism of compromise communism that has developed in the decades since the death of Mao. It is a template by which other national governments may adopt, not by any devious design, but inevitable instinct. The protesters, voters and mobs that throw their violent tantrums do not stand opposed to that, unlike those in Hong Kong who feel the crushing tyranny grip them.  In the US and its partner nations, the coming tyranny is inevitable. It is often welcomed and it is one of elite insight, for your health, for your safety. The custodian government is here for the child citizen, and jobs, welfare will be available. Is that not Utopian?

Just as the war on terror normalised the security state, the war on drugs introduced no knock raids and intrusive searches, the war on the virus will bring with it the ever controlling health state. One that had already been creeping in. A health state of supposed benevolence for those nations of Public Health will continue to see grow, where an ideological health care system trumps choice and efficiency. Instead it gives careers and less care and a generic approach to solutions, that seldom suits the many individuals in need. Then the many regulations strangling society to ensure that the consumer, employer and employee are all directed and guided into one homogenised pattern. Choice, freedom, independence and individual responsibility are all deemed to be selfish. To be dependent, to have fewer or no choices and to be part of a collective is considerate, altruistic or even woke. For many of those protest, the public tantrum is about themes of the same controls, not ending them.

Whatever Americans think about their nation, whether they burn or worship their flag. How little or much that they know about their national history, it is insignificant to the perspective of those in foreign lands who understand the USA for what it actions reveal it to be. A war empire. When the mostly slave owners penned those words on that famous cannabis sheet it is unlikely that the republic that they envisioned would some day become greater than the British empire. And when the French sold lands on the North American continent, that never really belonged to them, to the young republic or when the British burned the capital building after defeating the U.S. invaders of Canada it is unlikely that they could imagine their future dependence and partial obedience to mighty U.S. empire. For those who have been visited by U.S. warplanes, tanks and ships the rhetoric of freedom and liberty are bloody lies. Just as they are for most Americans. But that is not being protested about.

So now as social media waffles on over the calamity in the streets of U.S. cities, will it change a thing? In a few months it would have been but one in many riots that have ravaged U.S. streets. Riots that have claimed lives and destroyed property.  None of which changed the perpetual nature of the US government, domestically or abroad. The outraged don’t really care about much other than the shrillness of the other side. The dead children in Yemen or Afghanistan, the burning lands of foreign wars don’t get that much concern, such scars and tears belongs to others. So when one side stands atop of the heaped mess as winner of the US government, the business of war will go on. The dignity of the individual will be bludgeoned and those who want nothing more but to control, to rule and to be taken care of, shall be victorious. But too few really cared enough to stop it. And those who do care, they are but whispers in the wind.

News Roundup

News Roundup 4/15/21

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