Friday, October 28, 2022

Will There Be A Nuclear War?

Will There Be A Nuclear War? 

Jim Kavanagh

At this point, I put the chances at 50-50.

Read on, and see why.

On February 22, the day after Russia recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, I said a situation had now been created in which the second most likely reaction by the US/NATO would be to “Launch a military effort to take back LPR, DPR, and Crimea—using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, or, if they dare, bringing in US/NATO troops directly,” and that would result in a “loss for US/NATO, before or after a devastating, probably nuclear, world war.”

Ten days later, on March 3rd, right after the Russian army entered Ukraine, I wrote: “WWIII is not a remote possibility. We are already in it. The only question is: How much worse will it get?

At that time, I would have put the chances of nuclear war at more than 0 but less than 30%.

By mid-April, I noted that it was now clear that Ukraine was an entirely dependent ward of the US/NATO, which is the principal in this fight, and whose weapons, as well as military and intelligence officers—in Washington, Brussels, and personally in Kiev—are effectively waging this war. I also insisted that the notion that some shrewd, mutually face-saving compromise can be negotiated to end this conflict is wishful thinking, and that the decisive question in this battle between Russia and the US/NATO is not “What compromise can they negotiate?” but “Who is going to accept defeat?” 

Since then, things have gotten much worse. It is now clear that US/NATO personnel are heavily involved in every aspect of the fighting in Ukraine. The Intercept reports of “a broad program” of:

clandestine American operations inside Ukraine are now far more extensive than they were early in the war…There is a much larger presence of both CIA and U.S. special operations personnel and resources in Ukraine than there were at the time of the Russian invasion in February….Secret U.S. operations inside Ukraine are being conducted under a presidential covert action finding…[T]he president has quietly notified certain congressional leaders.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Devil’s Advocate: Farewell to Fauci

Devil’s Advocate: Farewell to Fauci

Jim Kavanagh

Noble Heart

I watched the emergence of Anthony Fauci into international prominence over the past two years with particular interest. He and I are graduates of the same New York City high school, a commonality that gives me some insight into his intellectual formation. Though it was some years after him, I played on the basketball team, too. Somewhere, there’s a picture of me in those cool shorts, that I promise you will never see.

Regis High School is a unique institution. It is a highly selective, academically rigorous, all-boys Jesuit high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is widely considered the best Catholic high school (and one of the best overall) in the country. It gave Anthony Fauci (and me) a strong classical rhetoric-and-logic education in the Jesuit tradition —the Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid and Caesar’s Wars, in the original Greek and Latin. It’s an education that, at its best, laid the foundation for logical and critical thinking, and prepared students for the best liberal arts colleges. It also fostered Catholic and Jesuit ethical values, which, of course, have changed over the years.

The Jesuits were formed as the vanguard of the Counter-Reformation and have historically been attached to reactionary politics, but the order is also highly adaptable to the changes in social ideology, while maintaining a consistent commitment to educating the future elite. By the time I was in high school, some good men like Daniel Berrigan, were teaching smart students to see the world through lenses of intellectual and moral honesty, helping them lapse to the left. Like Fidel, who said the Jesuits who ran the high school he attended, “influenced me with their strict organization, their discipline and their values. … They influenced my sense of justice.”

Even more unusual for an academically elite school on the Upper East Side, Regis is tuition-free. Unique, indeed. That’s because it was endowed in 1914, by the widow of New York City mayor Hugh Grant, to offer a free rigorous education to the boys from the city’s poor Catholic (Irish, Italian, etc.) immigrant families. Yup, before it was the home of the UN and Gossip Girl, the East Side was a neighborhood of slaughterhouses and the East Side Kids.

So, into the 70s at least, Regis was a school to which middle strata (virtually all white) Catholic families—from dockworkers and firemen to lawyers and pharmacists (Fauci’s father)—throughout the NYC region strove to have their sons accepted. Many kids commuted over an hour each way every day. It was understood as the ticket to a solid professional career. And, indeed, it produced a slew of very smart lawyers, doctors, and professors (not so much bankers) who become loyal alumni. Here's a prototypical testimony—including the “it changed my life” part—from a well-known alumnus:

It was definitely my ticket out of Staten Island, because it got me into a Catholic high school called Regis, which would change the course of the rest of my life. I was extremely lucky to get accepted to Regis, because (a) it’s one of the best high schools in the country and (b) it’s free. For Catholics in New York, Regis is almost like the Watchtower building for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Tens of thousands of kids apply for a hundred and twenty spots in each class. To this day, if a Catholic mother hears that I went to Regis, she will grab my face and say, “God bless! What a wonderful place!” --Colin Jost
This Regis High School background might help you to understand a couple of things about how I understand the phenomenon of Anthony Fauci. First of all: Think you've seen Fauci worship in mainstream media over the past two years?  Nothing compared to the Zoom meetings with my Regis classmates! Anathema is the precise word for any criticism of Anthony Fauci in that circle. When I sent them the link to my anti-mandate article last year, I got a slew of derogatory responses, including this wish to see me die in agony: "My one regret is not being present in the COVID ICU to witness the author struggling for his final agonal breath." From a medical doctor. At a Catholic hospital. Noble Hearts, as we Regians call ourselves. (“My Ours Be The Noble Heart” is the school anthem.)

But what best explains the relevance of Regis to Anthony Fauci is an anecdote regarding my nephew, who applied to the school some years after me. His father, my oldest brother (who had not gotten into Regis and pooh-poohed it, though unavoidably respecting it) wanted his son to go, but my nephew was more interested in going to high school with his friends in Queens rather than commuting to the geeky school in Manhattan. Having passed the exam, my nephew headed into the obligatory personal interview with a Jesuit, who asked him a stock interview question: "Who is the historical personage you admire most?"  Sensing the chance to shock the sensibilities of the old priest and the old man, and to banish the prospect of four years in nerdville, my nephew replied: "Judas Iscariot."  When asked to elaborate, he pointed out that Judas did the dirty but necessary work that nobody else would, though it brought shame and scorn on him from all quarters, and performed the key act without which the rest of the story would not have been able to unfold in the gloriously celebrated way that it did, yada, yada.

My nephew was not showing off his knowledge of a recently discovered Gnostic gospel. He was just being a smart-ass. But, "smart" was the operative word. Much to his surprise—though not to those who are familiar with the intricate wiles of the mind that is known as "Jesuitical"—he was accepted. One can just hear the good fathers: "Now that is the kind of student we want at Regis."

And that is what I heard every time Anthony Fauci spoke: The rhetorical skill that crafts a sinuous and compelling narrative that fixes our attention on the best of a worst case and obfuscates the rest. The ability to deceive and dissemble without (for the most) part saying anything demonstrably false, by soliciting sympathetic identification with what his audience likes to think is true about the subject in question, but above all about how smart he and they are. That is the perfect intellectual persona for the apex medical bureaucrat speaking for the most corrupt corporate-captured “public” agency. Pharma is a devil, and Fauci is the Devil’s Advocate. And I know where he developed that rhetorical (in the classical sense of the word) skill and intelligence.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Let Roe Go: Winning Abortion Rights

 Let Roe Go: Winning Abortion Rights

Jim Kavanagh

With Roe v. Wade overturned, and multiple states rushing to institute draconian abortion bans, the abortion-rights movement faces the task of winning—anew, but effectively for the first time—a right many of us mistakenly thought was secured. To do that requires, I think, recognizing and abandoning the diversionary legal-constitutional and partisan-political paths in which confidence was misplaced, and sharpening the tools needed for a strong and irreversible victory in the wider political sense. 

Judge Not

Of course, the abortion-rights battle must be waged on all fronts. But legal and legislative victories will only be won securely as a result of winning broad and deep political support—persuading a majority of people of the justice and necessity of the cause. That is the kind of political work that created the conditions for Roe v. Wade—independent, risky personal and collective political action, including civil disobedience, that highlighted the plight and right of pregnant women, and the hypocrisy and cruelty of criminalizing abortion.

Though it was, at the time, a punctual victory that resulted from such work, Roe also turned out to be Pyrrhic. Roe has arguably weakened the abortion-rights movement, which centered itself on defending the decision, searching for Supreme Court nominees who would support it, and engaging in partisan battles about it—at the expense of building wider and deeper popular support for the substantive right throughout the country.

Roe pre-empted an offensive strategy of growing a mass political movement for abortion rights, and channeled it into defensive, system-reaffirming, judicial and partisan “politics.” The abortion rights movement complacently placed its trust in an alliance with sympathetic magistrates and Democratic politicians and forewent the task of non-partisan persuasion—continually making its case and strengthening its support among masses of people whose support cannot be taken for granted or written off. While “pro-choice” liberals were playing with their RBG dolls, 15-year-old girls (and their parents) throughout the country were being talked to, and shown pictures of dead fetuses, by conservative pastors. Who’s approach was more effective?

Thursday, July 7, 2022

The Wrinkle: Abortion Rights, Vaccine Passports, and Bodily Autonomy

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade marks an enormous defeat for women’s rights in the United States. We must not underestimate its importance, and how difficult it will be to overcome. There is a slew of things to consider about how this defeat occurred, and about how supporters of women’s rights and abortion rights can best organize to win a decisive and irreversible victory for a right that so many of us, mistakenly, thought had already been secured.

I’ll go over a number of those considerations in another essay. But here I want quickly to break out and discuss one wrinkle that has developed during the past two years—one that is of serious consequence for the abortion-rights argument because it directly touches on its essential element, and one that has enmired many leftists and abortion-rights supporters in confusion and contradiction that have weakened their abortion-rights position in ways they do not want to acknowledge.

That wrinkle is the dominant leftist attitude toward the mandatory covid vaccination policies, an attitude that is based, I think, on a strange and increasingly common epistemological stance—an inability, or stubborn refusal, to think things through honestly and consistently, considering all the arguments without pre-ordained conclusion.

Failing to have a consistent position based on bodily autonomy in regard to the forced intrusions of vaccine mandates/passports and abortion criminalization is a mistake of grave consequence, politically and epistemologically. Those who don’t recognize that mistake are undermining their political position in support of abortion rights, fooling themselves, and confusing and harming the movement.

And here’s the proof:

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Important News for Subscribers. Last Media Appearance Posting on This Page

Important News for subscribers: I now have enough email subscribers that my email service (MailChimp) is starting to charge me for excess mailings per month from this page. This has become an issue since I've been posting so many media appearances--usually 2-3 per week. As a result,  from now on, I will only post my media appearance on my Substack page (where I have also been posting them). I will continue, for now, to post my original essays on this page. So, please go over to that page and subscribe. You can take a free subscription and get all the posts, though I would greatly appreciate your support. Thanks for following my work. Here again is the link: 

Jim Kavanagh’s (The Polemicist) Substack

Below are the links to my appearance on The Critical Hour with Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon on Thursday, June 23rd, discussing the dangers of narrative vs. reality discrepancies regarding the Ukraine War, Lithuania’s block of Russian transit to Transnistria, US/NATO/Ukraine's motivation to prolong & widen the conflict.

Critical_Hour_1001_Seg_3 (23 Jun 2022) (Google Drive)

Critical_Hour_1001_Seg_3 (23 Jun 2022) (One Drive)

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of Assange Extradition, Military Budget, End of Unipolarity (6/17/2022)

My discussion with Wilmer Leon. Garland Nixon and Steve Poikonen on the Critical Hour weekly panel on Friday, discussing Priti Patel’s disgraceful decision to extradite Julian Assange, the lingering, delusional US assumption of superiority that is running into the wall of reality, the self-sacrifice of poodle European counties tagging along with it, and other delights.

Critical_Hour_997_Seg_4 (17 Jun 2022)

Friday, June 17, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of U.S. "Walkback" on Ukraine

 My Critical Hour discussion with Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon yesterday, discussing the U.S. "walkback" on Ukraine. Or is it "run forward"? Walk this way? Every which way but sane.

Critical_Hour_996_Seg_8 (16-Jun-2022)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Wide-ranging Interview with Kate Frey of We Are Many, They Are Few

On Saturday, June 11, I had a wide-ranging discussion with Kate Frey for her YouTube Channel, We Are Many, They Are Few. (Check out that channel!. This is my fourth interview for the channel over the past few years, so you know it’s got to be good.)

We covered Jan 6th (event and hearings about it), public-private censorship regime, Ukraine-Russia conflict, gun rights, etc.

Here’s the full one-hour and seventeen-minute interview. Below it are shorter videos of three segments she clipped off, on Freedom of Speech, Ukraine, and Gun Rights.

Interview with Jim Kavanagh of the Polemicist:

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Political Misfits Discussion on Jan 6th Hearings, Proud Boys U-Haul, Gun Safety Deal, Democrats' Leadership Lack (6/13/2022)

My Political Misfits discussion yesterday with John Kiriakou and Michelle Witte on Jan 6th hearings, Proud Boys U-Haul set-up, Senate gun safety deal, Democrats' leadership fiasco, et. al.

Some readers have had problems playing the Google Docs link so I’m including links to both Google Docs and One Drive files.

Political Misfits 561 (06-13-2022) JK Seg (Google Docs file)

Political Misfits 561 (06-13-2022) JK Seg (One Drive File)

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of Foreign Policy Mess, Disinfo Nonsense, & Poles Foraging for Fuel (6/10/2022)

My discussion Friday with Dr. Wilmer Leon, Steve Poikonen , and Garland Nixon on Bidet’s foreign policy mess, more Disinformation Bureau madness, Polan reverting to hunter-gatherer status, and bunny crushing.

Critical_Hour_992_Seg_4 (10 Jun 2022)

Friday, June 10, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion about "operationalizing" Social Media Censorship (6/9/2022)

My Critical Hour discussion with Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon on whistleblower documents about DHS "operationalizing" social media against "disinformation

Critical_Hour_991_Seg_3 (9 Jun 2022)

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of Zelensky's Demands on Confused & Scared Europeans (6/6/2022)

Discussion with Dr. Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon of Zelensky's demands on the confused & scared Europeans, who are trapped in the delusional narrative web of their own spinning. (15 mins)

Critical_Hour_988_seg_3 on Ukraine  (06 June 2022)

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of Incoherent US Narrative on Ukraine, and Gun Rights & Violence (6/3/2022)

My Critical Hour discussion on Friday with Wilmer Leon, Colin Campbell, and Garland Nixon on what Biden says he will and won't do in, and the incoherent US narrative on, Ukraine. We also touch on gun rights and violence.

Critical Hour 987 (6/3/2022) 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Press TV Discussion of Ukraine War (23 May 2022)

My discussion Saturday, May 23rd, on Press TV Spotlight regarding Russia-Ukraine War. I have a few things to say regarding Western media narratives about who is winning, how significant the fascist presence is, etc.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Re-post of The Rifle on the Wall: A Left Argument for Gun Rights (Reprise)

In light of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, and because I'm a glutton for punishment, I'm re-posting a link to my left argument for gun rights from 2017. (One among many. See links at end of article)

Some points covered in the article:
The class concept of the state. It's not a neutral arbiter to be trusted with a monopoly of armed power. "The concentration of wealth and the concentration of armed power in the hands of a few, are both bad ideas—and the one has everything to do with the other."

The net effect of eliminating the right of citizens to possess firearms will be to increase the power of the armed capitalist state. Whatever strict gun-control regime is instituted, ruling-class families and institutions will still have all the guns they want.

But what about horrible mass shootings? Recognize that *gun homicides have declined even as gun ownership has increased,*. that mass shootings are a small portion of gun deaths in the US & a lousy index of the social problem of gun violence. But they do grab one’s attention.

For the full argument, go to the article:

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion on Disinformation Bureau "Pause" (5/20/2022)

My Critical Hour discussion yesterday with Wilmer Leon, Garland Nixon, and Ted Rall on the DIsinformation Bureau "pause" caused of course, by *fa right-wing* disinformation. 'Cause the Democratic Party is the left end of the earth.


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of Jankowicz, Woodrow Wilson redux, NYT Truth on Ukraine, etc.

My Critical Hour panel yesterday with Garland Nixon & Steve Poikonen, discussing Scary Poppins Jankowicz editing tweets, Woodrow Wilson redux, NYT telling some truth about Ukraine, conservative antiwar voices, etc

Friday, May 13, 2022

Critica Hour discussionm of Hunter Biden, Uk9raine to Russiagate, Scary Poppins Jankowicz at DH mS (5/11/2022)80s ol4

My pl Cri

tical Hour discussion with Garlla0d Nixon on Hunter Biden settlement t is ment, Ukraine war als the culmimnako 6

I tion of Russi8mlagate, Scary0m Poppins Jamnoll4. Lm0kowicz managing disinformation at DHS.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Press TV Discussion of Expanding Israeli Settlements (5/6/2022)

My Press TV appearance on Friday, discussing continuing Israeli settler colonialism. With Daniel Lazare​ 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of PayPal Blocking Consortium News & Other Outlets (5/3/2022)

My appearance on The Critical Hour with WIlmer Leon on May 3rd, discussing my article in Consortium News about the full-court wartime censorship that includes blocking and potentially seizing independent media funds.

Monday, May 2, 2022

What Good Are Notebooks? Life During Wartime Censorship

What Good Are Notebooks? Life During Wartime Censorship

Jim Kavanagh

After seeing the news about, and doing a radio segment on, the new Disinformation Governance Board and PayPal blocking  the accounts of Caleb Maupin, Mnar Adley, Alan MacLeod, and  MintPress News, I now see that PayPal has “permanently limited,” and may seize, the account of Consortium News, “because of”—get this: “potential risk associated with this account.”

This is utterly outrageous, and true political censorship. Consortium News, founded in 1995 by the late, great Robert Parry, and continuing under Joe Lauria, has been and still is one of the most honest, trustworthy, unimpeachable sources of information and analysis in the world—infinitely more trustworthy and unassailable than the NYTs and NPRs of the world. It is completely ridiculous, an obviously hollow pretext, to brand it as a "potential risk" to anything but ignorance.

But, of course, that’s the point: The United States Government and the ideological and financial apparatuses of the state are now blatantly determined to keep you ignorant of anything but what they want you to know. There is a risk: that people will hear something true that smashes the heavily-tinted Overton window. The establishment of a Ministry of Truth within the Department of Homeland Security—a repressive state apparatus—coordinated (and you’d have to be quite a fool to think it’s not coordinated) with the sanctions-come-home blockage of the paltry sums independent journalists’ and media platforms’ barely get by on is part of what is now a full-court censorship offensive.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Critical Hour Discussion of "Disinformation Board," Paypal Block, etc. (4/29/2022)

  • Biden Creates Orwellian "Disinformation Governance Board 
  • PayPal Blocks Multiple Alternative Media Figures Critical Of US Empire Narratives
  • Biden asks Congress for $33 billion to support Ukraine through September
  • Pro-Ukraine Rally Attendees Cheer For Nazi Azov Battalion in NYC
  • US and Pacific allies panic over Solomon Islands-China security deal
with Wilmer Leon, Garland Nixon, and Steve Poikonen

Monday, April 18, 2022

Ukraine Negotiation Kabuki

 Ukraine Negotiation Kabuki

Jim Kavanagh

Though they are not given much of a voice in the mainstream media, many people oppose US/NATO sending more arms to Ukraine and oppose direct Western military intervention, because they see that such actions would only prolong an inevitably lost fight “to the last Ukrainian” and/or they do not think it’s worth risking World War III in order to refuse Ukraine neutrality, Russia’s absorption of Crimea, and the independence of the Donbass republics (LDPR).

Good for all of them.

Among many of those, from left anti-imperialists to paleo-conservative realists, the discourse hinges on forgoing war for diplomacy. Let’s not send more weapons; let’s instead encourage negotiations! Negotiate, don’t escalate.

“Every war ends in negotiations,” they will say, and “we”—the US government and NATO—have to encourage Ukraine to compromise.

This attitude is well summed up in Aaron Maté’s citation of former diplomat Charles Freeman regarding US/NATO’s “disregard for diplomacy”: “Everything we are doing, rather than accelerate an end to the fighting and some compromise, seems to be aimed at prolonging the fighting." This is echoed in Noam Chomsky’s insistence that “the prime focus” should be on “moving towards a possible negotiated settlement that will save Ukrainians from further disaster.”

Here’s the thing, however, that is very important to be clear about in this situation: There is no possibility of “negotiations” or “compromise” in the optimistic sense implied—i.e., talks leading to a deal in which, in some mutually satisfactory way, each side gets and gives up something important to it.

There is no possibility of such “negotiations” or “compromise” because that already happened.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Twitter Censorship, Vaccine Risk, and Myocarditis Mumbo-Jumbo

 Twitter Censorship, Vaccine Risk, and Myocarditis Mumbo-Jumbo

Jim Kavanagh

I received this email from Twitter at 12:56 PM, Thursday, April 7, in response to a Tuesday tweet of mine:

Here is my transgressive tweet in the context of the thread as it displayed on Friday, with Twitter’s warning (It seems to have disappeared since):

The important thing here is, of course, the substance of my tweet, which is neither “misleading” nor “potentially harmful” but true. This incident prompts me to address one of my pet peeves in the vaccine mandate debate (because here, as always, the issue of the vaccine always becomes an issue of a mandate): the conversation in which stating the fact that the mRNA vaccines carry an elevated risk of myocarditis (especially to young males) is met with the riposte that “But Covid carries a greater risk!”—delivered, and usually accepted, as a mic drop that shuts down the concern over the vaccine.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Stop Believing: Be Skeptical of the Civilian-casualty Narrative

Stop Believing:
Be skeptical of the civilian-casualty narrative

 Jim Kavanagh

Moscow Times/TASS / CTK Photo / Vladimir Prycek

As I’ve said before, in a full-scale war, no one gets out with clean hands. In any war, both sides are going to kill some innocent civilians and each side is going to downplay its own excesses and highlight the enemy’s. Though we’d like to, we cannot avoid what we all know is the terrible answer to this question: When has any side in any war stopped fighting because of civilian casualties?

In such a context, by no means should anyone believe either the report or denial of an atrocity on the basis of statements from the warring parties and their interested allies alone. To decide what version of events one thinks is true, it is necessary to critically analyze the versions of the interested parties and seek information from as many independent sources as possible who have demonstrated their honesty, fairness, and reliability in such situations.

We’ve had decades of “aggression and atrocity” lies to justify the U.S. going to war—Vietnam’s attack on U.S. ships in the Tonkin Gulf, Iraqi soldiers dumping babies from incubators in Kuwait, WMDs in Iraq, Viagra-pumped Ghaddafi rapist soldiers in Libya, Syrian government poison gas attacks on their own citizens in Syria, etc. In this very conflict, within the space of ten days, we’ve had a number of blatant lies loudly promoted and then demurely retracted—the ghost fighter pilot of Kiev, the heroic Snake Island martyrs who fought to their death, the vicious Russian tank driver who crushed a car, the non-existent then “dangerous” biological research labs, etc. So, I think it’s imperative that Americans not believe, on first hearing, the atrocity reports coming from the media that peddled and memory-holed all those lies.

The U.S. and Western media have demonstrated that they are interested parties, allies and voices of the Kiev government (ward of the U.S. government), who accept and transmit as true any of that government’s accounts of Russian crimes. Without any further proof, they will maintain the truth of those accounts, until and unless someone else (they will never look) provides irrefutable counter-evidence they cannot ignore. Their attitude, which they have successfully inculcated in most of their American audience, is that what Kiev says can must be taken as true and what Russia says must be taken as false. It is the most dangerous attitude in the world.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

The Battle of Ukraine and the War It’s Part Of

The Battle of Ukraine and the War It’s Part Of

Jim Kavanagh


Last week,  I wrote that Russia was “on the offensive and impatient” and would “act very soon.” It did, but in a way that far exceeded my expectations. I thought Russia would make a direct military intervention to secure the Lugansk and Donetsk Republics (LDPR) it had newly recognized, and maybe help them to capture the large portion of their claimed territory still controlled by Ukrainian forces—a more offensive and riskier move that, I warned, would make it easier to create a political narrative detrimental to Russia. Unlikely, I thought, that Russia would engage in a military offensive west of Donbass, let alone aimed at Kiev.

Well, as I was writing that, Russia moved in a way that blew through all my—and just about everyone’s—oh-so-shrewd calculations of how oh-so-shrewd Russia’s strategic thinking would be. Russia mounted a broad, full-scale offensive—destroying military facilities throughout Ukraine, seeking to encircle and capture major cities, and moving on the capital itself. This is nothing less than an attempt to achieve major policy changes in Ukraine by military force.

Russia is insisting that Ukraine recognize Crimea as Russian territory, abide by the Minsk agreement (oops, too late) recognize the LDPR, officially renounce joining NATO and remove any extant NATO infrastructure, adopt a neutral stance, and eliminate the fascist political influence (“de-Nazify”).

It is the Battle of Ukraine. This is a demand for a definitive redefinition of the Ukrainian polity that has emerged since 2014. “Regime change,” if you wish, in a substantive sense. The Kiev government and its patron, the US, will not agree, and never would have agreed, to any of it, except by force.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Path to War

Here’s the unfinished post I was composing when I heard the news about Russian "military action" in Ukraine. 

In my previous post on the subject, I said that Russian actions in recognizing the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LDNR) had placed the U.S./NATO bloc in a lose-lose situation. I maintain that, but I also realize that the United States has developed quite a propensity to lose in a way that destroys everybody’s chance of “winning” any positive outcome. Think Libya, Syria, Iraq, etc. Further details that have emerged about the Russian-LDNR position indicate how their way forward can be turned into a path toward war and generalized destruction.

In a brief press conference last night, Vladimir Putin clarified the Russian position. First, and of most immediate significance, he confirmed that Russia is recognizing the LDNR republics within their administrative borders, as defined before the conflict broke out in 2014. This includes territory now controlled by Kiev forces, including the port city of Mariupol. He also stated that Ukraine should recognize Crimea as Russian territory, should explicitly renounce any intention of joining NATO, and should “demilitarize”—that is, give up “advanced weaponry.”

While he put no timetable on achieving these goals (“It is impossible to predict the scenario that will unfold”), he also, when asked, did not abjure the use of force (“good should be able to defend itself”). The Russian posture now is on the offensive and impatient. As he keeps saying, Putin feels that Russia has been strung along on Ukraine for eight years, it has amassed the necessary forces, and is in no mood to stand down without definitively resolving the major issues.

The question of LDNR territory poses a significant political quandary for Russia. Russia recognizing and intervening to “protect” the LDNR republics in the territory under they currently control, in order to defend them from the Kiev siege has different political valence than Russia intervening to support an LDNR offensive to capture more territory.

Whether Russia and LDNR are right or wrong in their construal of the new legal status of the republics and their territory, and no matter that it actually fixes limits of military advance, such specifically offensive action will be more easily turned to the political benefit of Kiev/US/NATO.  US/NATO would, of course, pour weapons into the defense of the Kiev lines, and, if it were capable (which it’s not), Kiev could help itself by immediately making the people in those areas the most pampered of its subjects.

And there will be pressure from LDNR militias and from Russian military and political circles to take that offensive action. It’s the logical result of the recognition, and there will never be a better time to do it. If this territorial issue is not resolved, and those limits set, now, for how long will it fester? Precisely, why allow any time for US/NATO weaponry and Kiev social seduction to come in?

My sense is that Russia/LDNR will act very soon. Russia cares a lot more about resolving the situation than avoiding somewhat more of a political attack that it will get anyway. This means an offensive, initiated by them against Kiev forces. This will result in tremendous pressure for US/NATO to join in the defense of Kiev, and if they do—even in the guise of undeclared, not-really-there special forces or stand-off missile attacks—that will result in European and/or American casualties and attacks on any launching platforms, anywhere. If necessary, in such a fight, Russia will strike behind the lines, including at Kiev itself—not to take over the country, but to disrupt the leadership and create a crisis that forces withdrawal from the LDNR territories. If it doesn’t force direct US/NATO attack on Russian territory. The danger of war is real and imminent, and no one can be sure how bad it will get.

This is only in relation to the territorial issue. The other issues—renouncing NATO membership, restricting advanced weaponry, etc.—are at least as imperative for Russia, and can easily lead down the same path to war.

Russia knows very well the hurt it will suffer. The Europeans should. The Americans do not.

It is important for Americans to realize that Russia is not bluffing, and will not back down. The card of escalation dominance that the United States has played for decades no longer intimidates Russia, which, certainly in this theater, has a better version of it in its own hand. There will be peace when there is a political resolution that satisfies Russia’s concerns—before or after a deadly military conflict.

—-interrupted by news of Russian military action in Ukraine—

Related articles: The Battle of Ukraine and the War It’s Part Of New World Order. The US Lost.  From 2014: Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist InsurrectionGood for the Gander: Ukraine's Demise Accelerates. From 2018: The Warm War: Russiamania At The Boiling Point.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

New World Order. The U.S. Lost.

Let’s realize how profoundly the game has changed. Russia’s recognition of, and immediate activation of military support for, the Donetsk and Luagansk People’s Republics (DPR/LDR) has created a situation in which the United States (and its cat’s paw, NATO) can do nothing but lose. Indeed, it has already lost. The present situation, as of yesterday, created by Russian action, demonstrates that the US/NATO unipolar control of the world is over. It has nothing but threats that are ignored, the hollow bluffs of a bully who is losing control of the schoolyard and can do nothing that won’t hurt him more than anyone he threatens. 

Something enormous just ended. Let’s go to the videotape to see what that is.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Shallow Marxist Trashing of Truckers

Mao Zedong quote: As for people who are politically backward, Communists  should not...

There’s a talking point being passed around by certain self-identified marxists and socialists, dismissing the truckers who are resisting vaccine mandates because they are not “workers” but “owner-operators” who, since they “own” their own trucks are actually small capitalists and therefore not worthy of class solidarity. Indeed, they can be treated as class enemies.

It’s hard to conjure up a shallower, more self-defeating use of marxist language.

These truckers “own their own trucks” the way most struggling families own their own homes—they own a debt, which makes them more economically insecure, and places a further burden on them to work harder for the banks and finance companies that are always one step away from depriving them of their livelihood. What kind of self-sabotaging “socialist” political paradigm would dismiss all homeowners as petit-bourgeois class enemies rather than approach them with solidarity, working hard to ally with their concrete struggles and persuade them to ally with the more general socialist project—since they are in fact indispensable to it?

“Owner-operator,” “contractor,” “self-employed”—all these ambiguous class locations are the constructs of neo-liberalism, which has reveled in confusing class relations by hiding the power of big capital behind a sea of socially-weakened, infinitely-at-risk, “entrepreneurs.” The project of neo-liberal capitalism has been to destroy jobs themselves, to dispense with any smattering of job security, and to abolish all concepts of capital’s relation to, let alone responsibility to, labor. It’s precisely neo-liberalism’s wet dream to turn the working-class into a mass of incipient "entrepreneurs," every one dreaming to hit the Shark Tank jackpot in a social economy that dooms most of them to failure. For a non-shallow marxism, it’s should be seen as a reversion to a modern version of piece-work. You know, like the nineteenth-century women sent home to work on their sewing machines. Owner-operators.

So, when a diverse and united group of workers actually stands up in solidarity and collective action to resist an injustice for the whole of society—which is what they (and I) consider these mandates to be (argue that if you want, without the faux-marxist diversions)—it is utterly foolish, and destructive of any chance of developing a class-based revolutionary politics, for judgemental “leftists,” using the shallowest of marxist rhetoric, to reject and shit on them for occupying the social position neo-liberal capitalism has forced them into, for not being the abstract “worker” they are supposed to be.

It is a complete abandonment of marxism/communism 101: A mass, left, working-class movement, which we lack, has to be built with the working-class we have, not the one we wish for.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Campaign to Deplatorm Joe Rogan is Hypocritical, Reactionary, and a Danger to Society

Watch this clip (If it’s not immediately deleted) and read the whole thread from Glenn Greenwald. Then tell me the campaign to deplatform Joe Rogan is not the culmination of a hypocritical, reactionary drive to prevent any scientific or political conversation that strays outside the establishment-approved narrative. It has nothing to do with the purported reasons for outrage, which are a phony crock of shit.

Anyone who goes along with this campaign is a fooal and a danger to society. This crap is literally destroying the possibility of reasonable social exchange.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Pawn Takes Pawn: The Joe Rogan Brouhaha

I've watched a few Joe Rogan episodes, on a range of subjects that are usually not overtly political but almost always interesting—from the CIA connection to the Manson family to possible sites of Atlantis. I don't know that I've watched a single episode the whole way through. They're usually very long! They are precisely long-form conversations in which Rogan allows guests to speak and explain themselves in a way you hardly ever see anywhere else in the media.

Rogan is intellectually curious and intelligently inquisitive, open-minded, fair, and intellectually honest. I do not and would not go to him for my politics, and I don't know how deep his politics are, but the notion that he's some kind of right-wing lunatic is ludicrous. He was a Bernie supporter, ffs! The demand to cancel Rogan, coming from an aging, politically-shallow and inconsistent hippie who did not want the “faggot behind the fuckin’ cash register..handl[ing] your potatoes” in the late 80s, and did want to support the USA/Patriot Act, which meant “we’re going to have to relinquish some of our freedoms for a short period of time” in the 2000s (a “shredding of the constitution” for which, take note, he was called out in Countepunch), is particularly precious.

I doubt Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, or most of the people railing against Rogan now have ever seen more than five minutes of one of his interviews. They are exactly the kinds of conversations that everyone keeps saying we need. I struggle to think of an example of something as silly, capricious, and politically senseless and pernicious as trying to prevent everyone from seeing Joe Rogan’s interviews. Closest I can come: It’s like cancelling Larry King or Phil Donahue. What the fuck have we come to that anybody thinks this is some kind of progressive necessity?

I haven't seen the Robert Malone or Peter McCullough conversations that everybody's so worked up about, but what's upsetting to the powers-that-be is precisely that Rogan allowed scientists like them to explain themselves in their own terms at some length. They are, after all, indisputably qualified scientists who have at least as much authority to speak on Covid vaccines and treatments as the approved mainstream “experts,” who have been wrong about…well, everything. The powers-that-be aren't seeking to deplatform Joe Rogan in order to protect you from "misinformation," but because they don't want you to see and hear alternative explanations that you may find cogent, and might lead you to see how dishonest and incompetent they have been.

Nobody's deplatforming Rogan to protect you; they—people with a lot more power than Rogan, Young, or Mitchell—are doing it to close off scientific and political debate, and to protect themselves. What kind of fool do you have to be not to recognize this?

Fools like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell are really Rockin’ in  the Hedge Fund World, pawns in a game run by players like Blackrock (which actually owns Neil Young’s music), the object of which is to further tighten establishment control of discourse and to destroy the possibility of reasonable scientific and political conversation.

The call to deplatform Rogan is reactionary and ridiculous. If you join in, especially if you've never seen one of his conversations, you are a foolish pawn in a reactionary and ridiculous game that is helping to destroy our society.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Fauci's Follies, Covid Policy, and the Left

My conversation with Edward Curtin about our fellow high school alumnus, Anthony Fauci, and the confusions, contradictions, and harms of the coronavirus policies he has promoted.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Press TV Discussion of Syria's Situation (1/16/2022)

Here's my appearance on PressTV yesterday, discussing the good and bad news about Syria's situation. According to the host, I didn't leave any questions unanswered.

Monday, January 10, 2022

PressTV Discussion of Continuing Saudi War on Yemen (1/8/2022)

Saudi Arabia has upped the ante in the war on Yemen by conducting a new round of airstrikes against various areas across the war-wracked Arab country, as Riyadh and its regional allies press ahead with their devastating war and brutal siege against the Yemeni nation. Discussion with Jim Kavanagh and Elijah J. Magnier

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

PressTV Discussion on the Anniversary of the Soleimani Assassination (1-2-2022)

In this edition of Spotlight, we have conducted an interview with Syed Mohsin Abbas and Jim Kavanagh on the occasion of the second anniversary of the assassination of Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani by the United States.

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