zondag 23 april 2017

Bas Heijne's Propaganda 11

De feiten spreken voor zich: voor elke dollar en zes cent die de VS spendeert aan het militair-industrieel complex geeft het 1 dollarcent uit aan de milieubescherming. Kortom 116  keer meer gaat naar oorlogsvoorbereiding en oorlogsvoering dan naar het bestrijden van de milieuvernietiging en  klimaatverandering. Dat de westerse mainstream-media dit niet analyseren, demonstreert hoe corrupt zij zijn. Uiterst relevante informatie wordt verzwegen. De Amerikaanse filmregisseur Oliver Stone, winnaar van drie Oscars, wees erop dat de massa-media de vijand zijn, aangezien ‘[o]ur citizens should know the urgent facts,’ maar die niet kennen

because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths.

Een andere prominente Amerikaan, Ted Rall, een ‘award-winning graphic novelist and the author of non-fiction books about domestic and international current affairs,’ wees midden 2017 het publiek in de VS op de ‘inconvenient truth’ dat de mainstream media, lang voordat Donald Trump op het toneel was verschenen, als

the watchdogs of democracy were mostly lapdogs, gently licking the blood-soaked hands of those who fed them: America’s political and corporate elites.
Media malpractice has been so sustained and widespread that it’s hard to know where to start. Opinion pages and cable news panel shows where no one to the left of Hillary Clinton is allowed? The abandonment of local news coverage? Massive social and economic upheavals ignored because they only afflict the poor and the middle-class-en-route-to-poor: the rusting of the Rust Belt, the meth and opioid epidemics, the replacement of good jobs by bad ones, the faking of low unemployment and inflation rates?
Editors and producers are guilty of many sins. For my money, however, the biggest and lying-est are the big lies of omission that leave important facts unknown to the public for years and even decades, result in many deaths, and let the perpetrators off the hook both legally and historically.
August publications like The New York Times have finally begun reporting that the president lied when he, you know, lied ­— as opposed to some weasel word like “misspoke” or counter-quoting from an opposing politician. They’re even using “torture” to describe torture (instead of “enhanced interrogation techniques”). But that’s new, and it’s only because they’re corporate liberal and Trump is blogosphere crazy right-wing. Give them another Obama and it’ll be back to giving the people the business as usual.
The high body counts of war spotlight the staggering moral failures of a press that, day after day, fail to remind readers of fundamental truths that usually get suppressed from the outset.
or the better part of a decade, American citizens paid good money for newspapers that purported to bring them the news from Vietnam. What those papers never told them was that the reason LBJ gave for entering the war, a 1964 attack on American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, never happened. This isn’t controversial; liberal and conservative historians alike agree the war was sold on fake news.

Imagine if the media had begun every story about Vietnam with a Trump-era-ish reference to Johnson’s big lie? “Continuing Unprovoked Attack on North Vietnam, U.S. B-52s Rain Death on Hanoi Without Reason.” Significantly less than 58,000 Americans and 2 million Vietnamese might have died...
Afghanistan’s Taliban government had nothing to do with 9/11, but few Americans know that. Even the soldiers sent to fight, kill and die there thought they were avenging the attack on the World Trade Center — and why not? Thanks to the Bush-era fake news purveyors, few of even the best read and most informed Americans know that Osama bin Laden was already in Pakistan on 9/11, that the Taliban offered to arrest him and turn him over if the U.S. showed some evidence of his guilt, that Al Qaeda had fewer than 100 members in Afghanistan (the vast majority were in Pakistan, as were the infamous training camps), and that there wasn’t a single Afghan among the 19 hijackers.
Would Afghanistan have become America’s longest war if news headlines had read something like “Bush Promises To Hunt Down Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Country Where They Aren’t, Sends Weapons and Cash to Country Where They Are”? Doubtful.
That the media fell down on the job during the build-up to the Iraq War is well-documented. Yet, even after the WMDs failed to turn up in that country after we destroyed it, the media never applied the standard they now stick on Trump, e.g. “Continuing Unjustified Assault on Innocent Iraq, Marines Prepare For Battle in Fallujah.” Talk about fake news — even if Saddam Hussein had had WMDs, Iraq’s lack of long-range ballistic missiles meant it never could have posed a threat to the United States.
Alternative facts abounded under Obama.
Obama launched hundreds of drone attacks against Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere that killed thousands of people. Studies showed that 49 out of 50 people killed were innocentbystanders, and that the other 1 were local guerilla fighters who hated their own local governments, not anti-American jihadis coming to kill us here. Yet story after story about drone assassinations referred to victims as “militants” or even “terrorists,” without a shred of evidence. 

Hoewel de ‘vrije pers’ het nu doet voorkomen alsof ‘nepnieuws’ een recent verschijnsel is, blijkt uit wetenschappelijke studies dat de mainstream-media zich al meer dan een eeuw schuldig maken aan dit fenomeen. Bovendien wordt de vertekening almaar groter door de verfijning van wat in de mediakritiek ‘conspiracy of silence,’ of ‘lying by ommission’ heet. Al in de jaren twintig van de vorige eeuw benadrukte de invloedrijkste Amerikaanse media-ideoloog Walter Lippmann dat in een massamaatschappij ‘[t]he public must be put in its place,’ opdat de elite ‘live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.’ Het publiek heeft als enige ‘functie,’ zo beklemtoonde hij, de rol van ‘interested spectators of action,’ maar zeker niet die van deelnemers bij de besluitvorming. In zijn standaardwerk Public Opinion (1922) stelde Lippmann bovendien expliciet dat ‘public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press,’  met andere woorden:

[w]ithout some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks is wise or desirable.

De commerciële journalistiek heeft de afgelopen eeuw to taak gehad te zorgen dat de ‘manufacture of consent’ zo soepel mogelijk verloopt, zoals de vader van de public relations-industrie, Edward Bernays, sinds de Eerste Wereldoorlog bepleitte. Alleen op die manier is het mogelijk om de belangen van de elite te beschermen ten koste van de belangen van de massa, waardoor vandaag de dag het politiek mogelijk is geworden om 116 keer meer naar het militair-industrieel complex te laten verdwijnen dan naar milieu-bescherming. Maandag 17 april 2017 berichttePressTV, de Engelstalige Iraanse nieuwszender:

‘The US wants to be the ruler of the world on behalf of corporate interests,’ said Bruce Gagnon, secretary and coordinator at the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, in an interview with Press TV on Sunday.

He was commenting on reports that the US Air Force recently test-dropped an upgraded gravity nuclear bomb to see whether its aircraft can carry the deadly weapon.

The B61-12 bomb, which was the first of the upgraded B-61 variant, was dropped by an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet over the Nellis Test and Training Range Complex in Nevada.

According to the Maine-based analyst, recent attempts for extension of the B61-12 bomb’s life to replace four ageing versions of the B61 in the US nuclear arsenal are part of the US continued effort to dominate the world.

‘The US is telling North Korea, Iran, Russia and China that you must surrender to our domination or we will destroy you. Washington and its aggressive NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies are the world’s pirates. They see the writing on the wall: A multi-polar world in coming, where one nation cannot claim to run the entire planet,’ he noted.

The Friday report was released amid an escalation between Washington and Pyongyang, over North Korea’s nuclear tests.

‘The US and its allies, like Israel, the United Kingdom, France and other nuclear powers, routinely test these systems; Today the Pentagon is testing nuclear and non-nuclear weapons and missile systems to enable Washington to deliver a decapitating first strike attack,’ said the political commentator.

Gagnon further asserted that Washington’s escalation in East Asia over North Korea’s nuclear tests demonstrates the US ‘hypocrisy’ in dealing with the matter.

‘The US is desperate to hang on to its power but the military empire of more than 800 bases is collapsing before our eyes and the US domestic economy is also collapsing due to our addiction to war and military spending,’ said the American analyst.

Het spreekt voor zich dat de grote Amerikaanse media-netwerken als CBS en CNNThe New York Times etcetera, hun landgenoot Bruce Gagnon nooit uitgebreid aan het woord laten, omdat een ter zake kundige vredesactivist domweg als vijand wordt gezien, een dissident die de financiële en geopolitieke belangen van de eigenaren van kranten en netwerken schenden. Begin april 2017 waarschuwde Steven Starr, een ‘senior scientist at Physicians for Social Responsibility and an associate with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’ voor het feit dat 

the international ‘news’ published by the papers of record has mostly become propaganda, especially after the events in Ukraine and Crimea in 2014. While you always expect bias in each country’s news reporting, Western media no longer seems constrained by the need to provide hard evidence to support their arguments and allegations. There has been no investigation about the chemical attack in Syria — Trump launched the missile strike before any investigation could be carried out.

The CIA is deeply involved in this process. There are only six mega-corporations that control 90 percent of US and Western media, and they do not publish stories that are contrary to Washington’s official party line. Censorship by omission with no dissent permitted is the defining characteristic of what we hear today. The use of ‘official sources’ without supporting factual evidence creates a false narrative that is used to support US military actions.

As a result, there has been a deafening silence in the media about what the consequences of what a war with Russia might mean. When have you heard mainstream media have any discussion about the consequences of a nuclear war with Russia?

Steven Starr benadrukte nog eens wat de westerse mainstream-media verzwijgen over de mogelijke gevolgen van een gewapend conflict met de Russische Federatie:

The US and Russia each have about 1,000 strategic nuclear weapons of at least 100 kilotons, all ready to launch within two to 15 minutes. Since it takes about nine minutes for a missile from a US submarine to hit Moscow, this means that the Russian government could retaliate. And these are only the missiles that are on a hair trigger alert.

The US and Russia have 3,500 deployed and operational strategic nuclear weapons (each with a minimum explosive power of 100,000 tons of TNT) that they can detonate within an hour. They have another 4,600 nuclear weapons in reserve, ready for use. There are about 300 cities in the US and about 200 cities in Russia with populations greater than 100,000 people. Given how many nuclear weapons there are, it’s a large chance that most large cities would be hit.

Probably 30 percent of US and Russian populations would be killed in the first hour. A few weeks after the attack, radioactive fallout would kill another 50 percent or more.

Nuclear winter, one of the long-term environmental consequences of nuclear war, would probably cause most people on the planet to die of starvation within a couple years of a large US-Russian nuclear war. The global stratospheric smoke layer produced by nuclear firestorms would block most sunlight from reaching the surface of earth, producing Ice Age weather conditions that would last for at least 10 years.

Another rarely discussed consequence of nuclear war is high altitude electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. A large nuclear weapon detonated at high altitude (100-200 miles high) will produce an enormous pulse of electrical energy, which will destroy electronic circuits in an area of tens of thousands of square miles below the blast. A single detonation over the US East Coast would destroy the grid and cause every nuclear power plant affected by EMP to melt down. Imagine 60 Fukushimas happening at the same time in the US.

New! New! New!

1. Drag the marker to wherever you'd like to target.

Or type in the name of a city:   

2. Enter a yield (in kilotons): 

3. Click the "Detonate" button below.
Note that you can drag the target marker after you have detonated the nuke.

Effects radii for 6000000 kt blast (smallest to largest):
Fireball radius: 15.59 km / 9.68 mi (763.21 km² / 294.68 mi²)
Maximum size of the nuclear fireball; relevance to lived effects depends on height of detonation.

Radiation radius: 16.3 km / 10.13 mi (834.89 km² / 322.35 mi²)
500 rem radiation dose; between 50% and 90% mortality from acute effects alone; dying takes between several hours and several weeks.

Air blast radius: 48.3 km / 30.01 mi (7,329.02 km² / 2,829.75 mi²)
20 psi overpressure; heavily built concrete buildings are severely damaged or demolished; fatalities approach 100%.

Air blast radius: 127.49 km / 79.22 mi (51,061 km² / 19,714.76 mi²)
4.6 psi overpressure; most buildings collapse; injuries universal, fatalities widespread.

Thermal radiation radius: 412.94 km / 256.59 mi (535,701.78 km² / 206,835.61 mi²)
Third-degree burns to all exposed skin; starts fires in flammable materials, contributes to firestorm if large enough.

Note: Rounding accounts for any inconsistencies in the above numbers.

"A convenient rule of thumb for estimating the short-term fatalities from all causes due to a nuclear attack is to count everyone inside the 5 psi blast overpressure contour around the hypocenter as a fatality. In reality, substantial numbers of people inside the contour will survive and substantial numbers outside the contour will die, but the assumption is that these two groups will be roughly equal in size and balance out. This completely ignores any possible fallout effects." (Carey Sublette)

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Created by Alex Wellerstein, 2012. More info.
For more odd nuclear stuff, follow @wellerstein on Twitter.

Effects scaling equations taken from Carey Sublette's Nuclear Weapons FAQ.

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NUKEMAP2 has launched!Try it now! It has better effects calculations, radioactive fallout contours, and casualty estimates! Open your linked URL in NUKEMAP2!


Tegelijkertijd verklaarde Greg Mello, ‘the secretary and executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, an organization that has researched the dangers of nuclear war and advocated for disarmament since 1989,’  met betrekking tot de belangen van de grote wapenfabrikanten:
Fifty-nine cruise missiles cost a lot of money. Each missile used costs, I guess, between $1 and $1.6 million, so the strike as a whole cost between $60 to $100 million. That doesn’t include the cost of the deployment of the ships and the other elements that make up a strike. It’s probably twice as much, if you include those elements. In terms of the missiles, if they are replaced, that’s income for whatever company replaces them.
Companies also get free advertising from such a strike. I saw the clip from MSNBC’s Brian Williams, who praised the missiles using the Leonard Cohen line, ‘I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.’ That’s a priceless advertising clip, especially when the same images and videos of the missiles are on primetime news and across the Internet. I’m sure their stock values, literally and figuratively, went up.

But even this is peanuts compared to the really high dollar amounts that come from continued tensions with Russia and the US government’s need to dominate the world. We’re talking not about millions of dollars, but billions — really, trillions. To maintain the idea that we should be in every part of the world, the US spends on all components of national defense about $1 trillion a year ( dollar. svh). So it really adds up quickly.

And the US military just got an increase to its base budget that is comparable to Russia’s entire defense budget. In the US, we spend way more money on the military than all of our potential adversaries combined. That’s where the real money is.

We get NATO to buy the latest versions of military equipment, compatible with ours. All of those arms sales plus our own national purchases are worth trillions. That’s what this strike upholds. A military spending pattern on a colossal scale…

Trump has said that we won’t go into Syria, but there’s no consistent policy on this. Let’s assume there is another strike, will it involve Russia? Will it kill Russians? What will Putin or any other Russian leader feel he needs to do then?

Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton and New York University, noted that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called American and Russian relations “ruined.” And Medvedev is not a hardliner against the West. For him to say that, you can only imagine what the generals and other hardliners are whispering in Putin’s other ear.

If we make another strike, either with a US airplane or a ‘coalition’ airplane, it could easily be shot down by the high end anti-aircraft weapons that Syria and Russia have deployed. This would lead to an outcry from the US political establishment to do more, to double down (verergeren. svh) on our mistake. All in all, it’s difficult to see how an air campaign could have a decisive effect on the war in Syria without creating an extreme risk of escalation between the US and Russia.

Geopolitically, the situation in Syria has gone so far towards Assad remaining in power and the terrorists being pushed out that a serious US attack on Syria would either fail, or else it would really damage Russian interests, humiliate Russia and kill her soldiers along with Assad’s, and therefore tilt the balance toward WWIII.

The idea that the poisonings in Khan Sheikhoun occurred because of chemical weapons or precursors released by a conventional munitions attack on an Al Qaeda weapons warehouse or workshop, which is the report of the Russian government, makes the most sense given everything we know. The notion that Assad or some rogue element in his army dropped chemical weapons on his own people, just when he is winning militarily and politically, is ridiculous.

Now we see that the US does not want the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons involved in an investigation of the attack. Really?

The OPCW is the world’s policeman for chemical weapons, something the US helped create. They got the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for verifying that all of Syria’s chemical weapons had been destroyed. They destroyed them on a US ship. In this case and in every case, the OPCW would carefully study evidence gathered with chain of custody procedures at an accredited laboratory, all of which are essential when matters of war and peace are at stake. It’s the same way you’d collect evidence in a high-profile murder case.

This hasn’t happened for the most recent chemical weapon attack — and the US doesn’t want it to happen. Instead, the US has recently issued a statement of the ‘facts,’ a piece of paper claiming to be from all 17 intelligence agencies, but without letterheads or signatures, which uses weasel words like ‘we have confidence.’ There is no indication what agencies have signed off on this or what actual evidence has been collected. Moreover, an attack like this takes a few weeks to investigate, not a few days.

This all is happening because Syria is one of the more important crossroads between the hydrocarbons of the Middle East and European customers. If you’re going to get oil and natural gas from Qatar to Europe without going through Iran, you have to have pipelines that go through Syria. This is especially important if you don’t want Europe to be dependent on natural gas from Russia, if you want to prevent Germany and Russia and the rest of Asia from further integration economically. The US government does not want Europe dependent on hydrocarbons supplied by Russia or Iran. 

(Editor’s Note: And this is not just about denying the Russians some income through their hydrocarbons sales. It’s about weakening Russia strategically and economically, so that eventually the nation can be undermined from within and broken up into much smaller states controlled by US-designated puppet leaders. — PG)

So, really, Syria is a proxy war between the US and other regional powers — Iran, allied with Russia — for control over Europe’s gas and oil. In addition, Israel wants control of the Golan Heights in order to drill in that region.

It’s also worth considering that China’s oil production seems to have peaked. The world’s net exports of oil — that is, the oil that can be bought on the international market — are starting to very slowly decline.

Since a barrel of oil will produce more value in countries such as China and India because the workers are paid so much less, China can always outbid the US and Europe for oil. Given a free market, they will. Alongside this problem, the oil-producing countries are using more oil internally as their populations and economies grow, which will inevitably produce a crisis in the availability and affordability of oil. That crisis will be upon us in the 2020s and it implies the potential for great power conflicts over these resources.

You didn’t have this during the Cold War because the US and Russia each had enough resources, as did our allies. But now, the cheap oil is running out and there are no cheap replacements. The potential for conflict, including between nuclear-armed powers, is rising…

To a first approximation, in a nuclear war between the US and Russia, everybody in the world would die. Some people in the southern hemisphere might survive, but probably not even them.

Even a couple of nuclear weapons could end the United States as a government and an economy. It wouldn’t take a great deal to destroy the ‘just in time’ supply chains, the financial markets and the Internet. The whole system is very fragile, especially with respect to nuclear weapons. Even in a somewhat limited nuclear war, say a war where only ICBM silos and airfields were targeted, there would be so much fallout from the ICBM fields alone that much of the Midwest would be wiped out, including places like Chicago.

Then there is the problem of the nuclear power plants, which have stored within them and their spent fuel pools and storage areas truly vast amounts of radioactivity. If their electricity supply is interrupted, these plants are quite susceptible to fires and meltdowns, as we saw at Fukushima.

Keep in mind that nuclear war is not one or two Hiroshima-sized bombs. The imagination cannot encompass nuclear war. Nuclear war means nuclear winter. It means the collapse of very fragile electronic, financial, governmental, administrative systems that keep everyone alive. We’d be lucky to reboot in the early 19th century. And if enough weapons are detonated, the collapse of the Earth’s ozone layer would mean that every form of life that has eyes could be blinded. The combined effects of a US-Russian nuclear war would mean that pretty much every terrestrial mammal, and many plants, would become extinct. There would be a dramatic biological thinning.

I think many parts of the US military just don’t get it. I’ve talked to people on the National Security Council and they have the idea that Russia will back down. I begged them, about 18 months ago, to bring in some Cold War era veteran diplomats from the realist school, people like former ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, to try and convince them that Russia won’t just do what we want, that they have their own legitimate interests that we would do well to understand and take into consideration…

the effort to decrease inequality in the world is at the core of dealing with the threat of nuclear war. We have to get the military-industrial-financial complex off people’s backs. If you have so much power concentrated in so few hands, and have such high levels of inequality, the people in power are blinded by their position. They are insulated from society’s problems. So gross inequality — economic and especially political — leads to sort of political stupidity. It could lead to annihilation. The ignorant masses are not the problem. It’s the ignorance and hubris at the top. It always is.

De onderzoeker Greg Mello heeft gelijk dat de grootste bedreiging van de mensheid de angstaanjagende ‘politieke stupiditeit’ is, die tot de ‘ondergang’ van de mensheid zal leiden. Die politiek wordt uiteindelijk bepaald door een uiterst kleine groep misdadige individuen, van wie de massa niet eens de naam kent, maar die als eigenaren van de belangrijkste westerse kranten en omroepnetwerken wel hun belangen kunnen laten verdedigen door zogeheten ‘democratische’ politici en vooral ook door gezagsgetrouwe journalisten. Zo verkondigde mijn oude vriend Geert Mak in 2008 dat hij simpelweg instinctmatig ‘voelde dat’ Obama als presidentskandidaat ‘meende wat hij zei’ met betrekking tot ‘change we can believe in.’ Ik was een stuk sceptischer. Op woensdag 29 oktober 2008, nog voordat Obama was gekozen, had ik het volgende op mijn weblog geschreven:

Obama is een hype, een bijzonder knappe hype. Hij verkoopt geen boodschap, maar een beeld. Niemand weet precies wat zijn programma is, wat hij politiek gaat doen, maar velen denken toch dat zodra deze man aan de macht is alles beter zal gaan, dat hij de hoop op een goede toekomst is. Obama is op een geweldig slimme manier aan de man gebracht. Hij heeft ook de financiële macht aan zijn kant, hij beschikt over twee keer zoveel geld om reclame voor zichzelf te maken als McCain. Het feit dat iemand als Obama door de werkelijke macht naar voren is geschoven is tekenend voor de ernst van de crisis waarin het kapitalistische systeem verkeert.' 

Eenmaal aan de macht bleek waar Obama werkelijk voor stond. Opnieuw spraken de cijfers voor zichzelf, zo ging 6 procent van de federale begroting dat het Congres kon toewijzen naar onderwijs, terwijl het militair-industrieel complex met 57 procent, bijna tien keer zoveel ontving. Desondanks bleek tijdens de presidentsverkiezing van 2012 Mak als ‘chroniqueur van Amsterdam, Nederland, Europa en de VS’ nog steeds blind voor de realiteit, zo viel op te maken uit een uitzending van Pauw en Witteman. Toen Witteman zijn gasten vroeg:

Waarom is de armoede niet de topic van de campagne? 

en de inmiddels tot 'Amerikadeskundige' verheven Mak reageerde met de verzekering dat de armoede 'onderhuids natuurlijk wel' een topic was. Bovendien, zo verzon de bestsellerauteur ter plaatse, 'Bij Obama speelt het erg over het verdedigen van verworven rechten.' Geruststellend liet Mak nog weten dat de almaar breder wordende kloof tussen arm en rijk tijdens de tweede termijn van Obama kleiner zou worden. Overtuigd van zijn eigen gelijk beweerde hij naderhand in een uitzending van de EO-Radio dat: ‘[h]et beter voor Nederland en de internationale gemeenschap [is] dat Obama de verkiezingen wint.’ De alom geprezen journalist en auteur begreep niet dat als een presidentskandidaat een miljard van de elite krijgt om zijn verkiezingscampagne te financieren, daar iets tegenover moet staan. De rijken zijn immers geen altruïsten, en zeker geen dief van eigen portemonnaie. Voor dit inzicht hoeft men niet intelligent te zijn; gezond verstand is al genoeg, maar helaas is dit voor de ‘vrije pers’ een luxe die zij zich niet kan permitteren, omdat dan ogenblikkelijk marginalisering volgt, en voor die consequentie zijn de meeste mainstream-journalisten toch te narcistisch. ‘In a fundamental sense’ zijn opiniemakers als Mak ‘blind, because they lack the concepts necessary to organize a coherent vision’ van de werkelijkheid, aldus concludeerde de Amerikaanse historicus Mike Davis in zijn essay ‘On presidential blindness and economic castrophe.’ Obama is geen Franklin Roosevelt, die uit een schatrijke patriciërs-familie stamde en financieel onafhankelijk was van de financiële en economische elite, waardoor zij niet in staat waren de New Deal te slopen. Maar ook dat feit kon Mak niet beseffen, omdat het zijn brandende verlangen naar ‘hoop’ zou frustreren. Daarentegen voorspelde de kritische realist, professor Mike Davis, geschoold in de radicale jaren zestig, al in oktober 2008 over het fenomeen Obama ‘we will soon have another blind president,’ wiens belofte van ‘change we can believe in’ uiteindelijk ‘remains more a rhetorical promise than the blueprint for the actual machinery of reformWith baffling courtesy to the Bush administration, he failed to highlight any of the other weak links in the economic system.’ Als Amerikaanse deskundige, beschikkend over talloze goed ingevoerde contacten, voegde Davis hieraan toe dat

both Obama and his vice-presidential partner Joe Biden, in their support for Secretary Paulson’s plan (bankier afkomstig van Goldman Sachs svh), avoid any discussion of the inevitable result of cataclysmic restructuring and government bailouts: not ‘socialism,’ but ultra-capitalism – one that is likely to concentrate control of credit in a few leviathan banks, controlled in large part by sovereign wealth funds but subsidized by generations of public debt and domestic austerity… [Obama’s] talking points... espouse clean coal technology, nuclear power, and a bigger military, but elide (elimineren. svh) the urgency of a renewed war on poverty,

met andere woorden, precies het tegenoverstelde van wat Geert Mak geloofde. Desondanks  bleef Mak in 2012 de leugen steunen dat Obama het 'juist heel erg goed doet,’ want ‘[h]ij heeft ook een enorme puinhoop geërfd. Hij heeft eigenlijk 4 jaar de bende moeten opruimen.’ Mak’s pedante stelligheid, zijn gebrek aan contacten, kennis en inzicht, zijn weigering om zich te informeren voor hij begint te verkondigen, heeft zijn boekenoplagen, inkomsten, en aanzien tot duizelingwekkende hoogte opgestuwd omdat zijn verhaal ‘hoop’ biedt, weliswaar valse ‘hoop,’ maar toch iets waaraan de massa zich kan vastklampen in een tijd zonder zekerheden. Dat hij daarmee de chaos alleen maar groter maakt, interesseert hem niet, net zoals dit alle andere mainstream-opiniemakers onverschillig laat, want de kleinburger is geleerd dat ‘[a]ls je invloed en macht wilt hebben, moet je groots zijn. Dat is iets wat we in Europa van ze (de Amerikanen. svh) kunnen leren,’ om Mak zelf te citeren. Nadat Obama was herkozen zette de prominente oude rot in het vak, de Amerikaanse journalist Robert Scheer, op 7 mei 2013 uiteen: 

The love fest between Barack Obama and his top fundraiser Penny Pritzker that has led to her being nominated as Commerce secretary would not be so unseemly if they both just confessed that they did it for the money. Her money, not his, financed his rise to the White House from less promising days back in Chicago.

'Without Penny Pritzker, it is unlikely that Barack Obama ever would have been elected to the United States Senate or the presidency,' according to a gushing New York Times report last year that read like the soaring jacket copy of a steamy romance novel. ‘When she first backed him during his 2004 Senate run, she was No. 152 on the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans. He was a long-shot candidate who needed her support and imprimatur. Mr. Obama and Ms. Pritzker grew close, sometimes spending weekends with their families at her summer home.’

But don’t sell the lady short; she wasn’t swept along on some kind of celebrity joyride. Pritzker, the billionaire heir to part of the Hyatt Hotels fortune, has long been first off an avaricious capitalist, and if she backed Obama, it wasn’t for his looks. Never one to rest on the laurels of her immense inherited wealth, Pritzker has always wanted more. That’s what drove her to run Superior Bank into the subprime housing swamp that drowned the institution’s homeowners and depositors alike before she emerged richer than before...

In announcing her appointment, Obama joked, 'For your birthday present, you get to go through confirmation. It’s going to be great.' 

It is deeply revealing that in the midst of the continuing cycle of misery brought on by the chicanery of the financial community two key Cabinet positions dealing with business practices will likely be occupied by people who specialized in those financial rip-offs.

Maar omdat feiten voor de Hollandse ‘politiek-literaire elite’ ondergeschikt dienen te blijven aan de heersende ideologie, kan Mak onweersproken van alles en nog wat beweren. De polderpers kent geen intellectuele integriteit, geen waardigheid, geen zelfrespect. Elke handige domineeszoon, op zoek naar erkenning, kan hier knollen voor citroenen verkopen. Het poldermodel is in wezen een eufemisme voor corruptie. De eerder geciteerde Mello berichtte in februari 2010 onder de kop ‘Obama Boosts Nukes. Despite his pledge to seek nuclear disarmament, Obama is investing big in the nuclear complex’ dat:

On February 1, the Obama administration delivered a budget request calling for a full 10 percent increase in nuclear weapons spending next year, to be followed by further increases in subsequent years.

These increases, if enacted, would bring the recent six-year period of flat and declining nuclear weapons budgets to an abrupt end. Not since 2005 has Congress approved such a large nuclear weapons budget. Seeing Obama’s request Linton Brooks, who ran the National Nuclear Security Administration for President Bush from 2003 to 2007, remarked to Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor, ‘I would’ve killed for this kind of budget.’

Obama’s request includes more than twice last year’s funding for a $5 billion upgrade to plutonium warhead core (‘pit’) production facilities at Los Alamos. If the budget request passes intact, Los Alamos would see a 22 percent budget increase in a single year, its biggest since the Manhattan Project.

The request proposes major upgrades to certain bombs as well as the design, and ultimately production, of a new ballistic missile warhead. Warhead programs are increased almost across the board, with the notable exception of dismantlement, which is set to decline dramatically. A continued scientific push to develop simulations and experiments to partially replace nuclear testing is evident.

All these initiatives and others are embedded in an overall military budget bigger than any since the 1940s that includes renewed funding for the development of advanced delivery vehicles, cruise missiles, and plenty of money for nuclear deployments.

Mak’s mening in 2012 dat ‘[h]et beter’ was ‘voor Nederland en de internationale gemeenschap dat Obama de verkiezingen wint,’ laat zien hoe weinig ‘de chroniqueur van Amerika,’ begrijpt van het hegemonistische streven van de elite in Washington en op Wall Street, en dat ‘There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party… and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat,’ zoals de auteur Gore Vidal het verwoordde. Vanuit dit besef is het niet verwonderlijk dat president Obama in 2015 net afgestudeerde kadetten van de ‘U.S. Military Academy at West Point’ liet weten dat ‘I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,’ met andere woorden dat ook hij, net als elke Republikein, het dogma aanhangt    

that the United States is unique, if not superior, when compared to other nations. Champions of American exceptionalism hold that because of its national credo, historical evolution, and unique origins, America is a special nation with a special role — possibly ordained by God — to play in human history. The belief in American exceptionalism is a fundamental aspect of U.S. cultural capital and national identity. It is an essential part of America’s political, cultural, and social DNA,

aldus de definitie van de Amerikaanse hoogleraren David Weiss en Jason A. Edwards in de introductie van de essaybundel The Rhetoric of American Exceptionalism (2011), waaraan zij toevoegen dat 

To believers in American exceptionalism, the United States continues to move in constant upward pattern, remaining the beacon of light in the darkness and the defender of the rights of man as long as the nation exists. Moreover, America and Americans are exceptional because they are charged with saving the world from itself; at the same time, America and Americans must maintain a high level of devotion to this destiny. Ultimately, champions of American exceptionalism argue that American exceptionalism functions to order Americans’ universe and define their place in it.

The rhetoric of American exceptionalism permeates every period of American history… American exceptionalism has been fundamental to political rhetoric, serving as the foundation for the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, which was used to justify the Mexican, Spanish–American, and Vietnam wars as well as the westward expansion of U.S. sovereignty across the American continent.

Het ‘exceptionalisme’ als officiële doctrine verschilt in nagenoeg niets van het nazi-geloof dat de Duitsers een ‘Herrenvolk’ waren, die zo nodig met geweld andere volkeren konden, nee, zelfs moesten onderwerpen. Net als bij de nazi’s is het meedogenloze superioriteitsgevoel vanzelfsprekend niet meer dan een religieus of ideologische concept. Deborah L. Madsen, hoogleraar ‘American Literature and Culture,’ stelt dat het Amerikaans exceptionalisme altijd ‘a mythological refuge' biedt 'from the chaos of history and the uncertainty of life,’ en maakt plausibel dat ‘it was the legacy of the Old World for the New.’ De van hun 'Heimat' vervreemde Europese kolonist, die zich genoodzaakt zag naar de Nieuwe Wereld uit te wijken, schiep zodoende een psychologische houvast in een bedreigende omgeving en onzekere toekomst. Het probleem is dat het geloof in dit ‘exceptionalisme’ het leven van miljoenen niet-Amerikanen heeft gekost en nog steeds kost. Net als het begrip ‘Herrenvolk’ de rechtvaardiging van de nazi’s was om ‘Lebensraum’ te veroveren, zo legitimeert het ‘exceptionalisme’ het Amerikaanse expansionisme. Dat begon tijdens de genocidale verovering van het Amerikaanse continent, en bleef tegen het eind van de negentiende eeuw de rechtvaardiging voor de verovering van overzeese gebieden, zoals Hawaii, Guam en rond 1900 de bezetting van de Filippijnen. Vandaag de dag legitimeert het ‘exceptionalisme’ de uiterst gewelddadige interventies van de VS in soevereine staten. Het wordt daarbij gesteund door de NAVO, waardoor het Europa van Geert Mak’s ‘Geen Jorwert zonder Brussel’ naar een Derde Wereldoorlog dreigt te worden meegesleept. Twee wereldoorlogen in de twintigste eeuw waren voor Europa kennelijk niet genoeg voor de elite, gezien de dreigende gewapende conflicten met Rusland en China. Het feit dat vóór 2020 zestig procent van de Amerikaanse marinevloot in de Zuid Chinese Zee moet zijn gestationeerd maakt duidelijk dat de opkomende wereldmacht China zo nodig militair binnen de perken zal worden gehouden. Het al vijf eeuwen heersende superioriteitsgevoel van de witte man uit een christelijke cultuur vormt vandaag de dag voor het eerst in de geschiedenis niet alleen een bedreiging voor de rest van de wereld, maar ook voor de westerling zelf. Zijn psychische stoornis ligt ten grondslag aan een systeem dat in permanente staat van oorlog verkeert met de mens en de natuur.  De meedogenloze exploitatie van mens en natuur kent natuurlijk haar grenzen. In Een ecologische geschiedenis van Noord-Amerika (2001) stelt de Australische paleontoloog Tim Flannery in verband hiermee:

De kern van de pionierservaring schuilt in de enorme rijkdommen en als die rijkdommen onbegrensd zijn, waarom zou je daar dan zuinig mee omspringen of ze zelfs maar efficient benutten. Het doel is de bestaansbronnen zo snel mogelijk te exploiteren en vervolgens verder te trekken. Het is deze pioniershouding ten aanzien van de benutting van bestaansbronnen die ten grondslag ligt aan het kapitalisme en waar hedendaagse natuurbeschermers het zo moeilijk mee hebben. In deze zin is de erfenis van de Amerikaanse pionier nog altijd onder ons.

In totaal 437 pagina’s lang toont Flannery aan hoe door de geschiedenis heen het Amerikaanse kapitalisme een systeem van roofbouw is geweest dat alles wat in de weg stond radicaal vernietigde. Hij schrijft:

In de jaren vijftig van de vorige eeuw hadden de Noord-Amerikanen ongeveer viervijfde van de dierenwereld van het continent uitgemoord, meer dan de helft van de bomen gekapt, de inheemse culturen vrijwel volledig vernietigd, de meeste rivieren afgedamd, de productieve zoetwater-visserijen verwoest en een groot deel van de bodem uitgeput. Ze hadden een grote overwinning in de oorlog behaald en een van de welvarendste en zelfgenoegzaamste maatschappijen aller tijden gecreëerd, en nog was de plundering van de de natuurlijke bestaansbronnen niet afgelopen. In 1999 stonden twaalfhonderd inheemse Noord-Amerikaanse soorten op de officiële lijst van bedreigde diersoorten en dat is een zware onderschatting, want betrouwbare schattingen gaan ervan uit dat ongeveer zestienduizend soorten ernstig in hun voortbestaan bedreigd worden… superioriteit heeft wel een prijskaartje gehad, want het kostte het continent een groot deel van zijn natuurlijke rijkdommen en zijn ecologische stabiliteit. Zelfs nu nog offert het agressieve kapitalisme rivieren, grond en de armere volkeren van Noord-Amerika op het altaar van de god van fortuin, net zoals de Azteken 500 jaar geleden met hun slachtoffers deden.

De in de VS ontwikkelde neoliberale ideologie is inmiddels, al dan niet met geweld, geglobaliseerd, en vormt vandaag de dag een bedreiging voor het voortbestaan van de mensheid. Maar dat is niet alles. In The Sixth Extinction. An Unnatural History (2014) schrijft de Amerikaanse auteur Elizabeth Kolbert van The New Yorker

No creature has ever altered life on the planet in this way before, and yet other, comparable events have occurred. Very, very occasionally in the distant past, the planet has undergone change so wrenching that the diversity of life has plummeted. Five of these ancient events were catastrophic enough that they're put in their own category: the so-called Big Five. In what seems like a fantastic coincidence, but is probably no coincidence at all, the history of these events is recovered just as people come to realize that they are causing another one. 

De ecologische vernietiging is dermate ernstig geworden dat zelfs de mainstream-media zich al enkele jaren gedwongen zien daarover te berichten. Zondag 30 maart 2014 berichtte The Huffington Post onder de kop ‘UN Report: Global Warming Worsens Security Woes’:

In an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change will complicate and worsen existing global security problems, such as civil wars, strife between nations and refugees.
Dinsdag 27 oktober 2015 opende The International New York Times op haar voorpagina met de vijf kolommen brede bericht dat ‘Greenland Is Melting Away.’ 

Scientists know that the melting of Greenland is accelerating. As the temperature rises, large lakes form on the surface of the ice, which in turn create a network of rivers.

'The rivers melt down faster than the surrounding ice, like a knife through butter,' Dr. Smith said.

The rivers then flow down into giant holes in the ice, called moulins, which drain through tunnels in the ice sheet and out into the ocean. 

De gevolgen van het smelten van de ijskappen zijn rampzalig, het leidt tot ondermeer het stijgen van de zeespiegel en het vrijwel tot stilstand komen van de Golfstroom, die Europa een gematigd klimaat verschaft. Ondertussen blijven halsstarrige neoliberale ideologen en de mainstream-pers het te ver doorgevoerde westers individualisme van het consumptiemodel propageren. Ze kunnen niet anders, hun hele mens- en wereldbeeld is gebaseerd op het parasitaire kapitalisme en zijn dogmatische winstprincipe. Op die manier neemt niet alleen de kloof tussen rijk en arm wereldwijd toe, maar ook de tegenstelling tussen werkelijkheid en illusie, realiteit en virtualiteit. Het is het onvermijdelijk gevolg van een puur materialistisch systeem dat het individualisme verheerlijkt, maar tegelijkertijd het conformisme afdwingt. In zijn boek The American Political Tradition. And The Men Who Made It (1989) zette de Amerikaanse historicus Richard Hofstadter gedocumenteerd uiteen dat:

Democratic ideas are most likely to take root among discontented and oppressed classes, rising middle classes, or perhaps some sections of an old alienated, and partially disinherited aristocracy, but they do not appeal to a privileged class that is still amplifying its privileges. With a half-dozen exceptions at the most, the men of the Philadelphia Convention were sons of men who had considerable position and wealth, and as a group they had advanced well beyond their fathers. Only one of them, William Few of Georgia, could be said in any sense to represent the yeoman farmer class which constituted the overwhelming majority of the free population. In the late eighteenth century 'the better kind of people' found themselves set off from the mass by a hundred visible, tangible, and audible distinctions of dress, speech, manners, and education. There was a continuous lineage of upper-class contempt, from pre-Revolutionary Tories like Peggy Hutchinson, the Governors daughter who wrote one day: 'The dirty mob was all about me as I drove into town,' to a Federalist like Hamilton, who candidly disdained the people. Mass unrest was often received in the spirit of young Gouverneur Morris: 'The mob began to think and reason. Poor reptiles! […] They bask in the sun, and ere boon they will bite, depend upon it. The gentry begin to fear this.' Nowhere in America or Europe — not even among the great liberal thinkers of the Enlightenment — did democratic ideas appear respectable to the cultivated classes. Whether the Fathers looked to the cynically illuminated intellectuals of contemporary Europe or to their own Christian heritage of the idea of original sin, they found quick conformation of the notion that man is an unregenerate rebel who has to be controlled,

om de belangen van de elite veilig te kunnen stellen. In het essay Consuming the American Century,’ gepubliceerd in The Short American Century. A Postmortem (2012), schrijft Emily S. Rosenberg, hoogleraar geschiedenis aan de Universiteit van Californië:

Out of the ideological battles of the twentieth century, consumerism emerged triumphant. Yet even before it had finished unraveling the Communist systems, consumerism had begun to undermine the seemingly preeminent position of the United States itself. Whereas the institutions and desire-making technologies of mass consumerism had once stimulated Amerika's productive capacities and helped solidify its national cohesion and its middle class, the increasingly globalized system of mass production, mass consumerism, and credit 'innovations' began to prey on America's consumer-citizens. The central logic of postwar mass production became driving down prices by driving down costs of production, and Americans, as the world's most reliable consumers, became buyers of last resort in a global economy that inexorably spread productive capacity to ever less expensive areas,

hetgeen professor Rosenberg tot de conclusie voert dat:

Through debt and environmental abuse the Consumer Century that was once identified with the American Century became its undoing.

Door massaal geweld probeert de elite de Amerikaanse hegemonie te prolongeren, maar die poging zal vergeefs zijn omdat culturen die niet meer levensvatbaar zijn ineenstorten, zo leert de geschiedenis. Na de val van de Muur loopt ook het Amerikaanse rijk ten einde. Zowel de Russen als de Amerikanen hebben zich arm bewapend. Het wereldwijd uitstrekkende imperium is te duur geworden. Er is sprake van ‘imperial overstretch,’ een verschijnsel waarvoor de Britse historicus Paul Kennedy al in 1987 waarschuwde, en overtuigend beschreef in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Economic Change and Military Conflict. De Verenigde Staten lijdt nu aan ‘imperial overstretch,’ een bij geschiedschrijvers van de opkomst en het verval van grootmachten vertrouwd begrip. Anders gezegd, beleidsbepalers in Washington en op Wall Street worden vandaag de dag geconfronteerd met het feit dat de Amerikaanse hegemonie te weinig oplevert vergeleken met de kosten ervan. Professor Kennedy

argues that economic strength and military power have been highly correlated in the rise and fall of major nations since 1500. He shows that expanding strategic commitments lead to increases in military expenditures that eventually overburden a country's economic base, and cause its long-term decline. His book reached a wide audience of policy makers when it suggested that the United States and the Soviet Union were presently experiencing the same historical dynamics that previously affected Spain, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, and Germany, and that the United States must come to grips with its own ‘imperial overstretch.’ 

Paul Kennedy heeft zowel in het geval van de Sovjet Unie als in dat van de VS volledig gelijk gekregen. Een rijk:

overextends itself geographically and strategically: if, even at a less imperial level, it chooses to devote a large proportion of its total income to ‘protection,’ leaving less for ‘productive investment,’ it is likely to find its economic output slowing down, with dire implications for its long-term capacity to maintain both its citizens' consumption demands and its international position. Already this is happening in the case of the USSR, the United States, and Britain.

Hoewel de ‘vrije pers’ sinds de opkomst van Donald Trump niet meer kan negeren dat de macht van de Amerikaanse elite zowel binnenlands als in het buitenland tanende is, zijn mijn mainstream-collega’s geenszins bereid of in staat deze ontwikkeling in een bredere context te plaatsen. Met een infantiel simplisme doen zij het voorkomen alsof Trump het ware probleem is, terwijl in werkelijkheid deze zakenman/politicus slechts het symptoom is van een veel fundamentelere malaise van zowel het Amerikaanse neoliberale bestel en de diepe vervreemding in de Amerikaanse consumptiecultuur. Over beide fenomenen is al sinds de jaren vijftig door de belangrijkste Amerikaanse denkers uitgebreid en diepgravend gepubliceerd, zonder dat dit enige invloed heeft gehad op het werk van de polderpers. Eén van de scherpzinnige intellectuelen in de VS, professor Henry A. Giroux, een cultuurcriticus die gerekend wordt tot ‘one of the top fifty educational thinkers of the modern period,’ stelt in zijn boek America at War With Itself (2017):

Trump is representative of a publicity-branding machine that funds and promotes conservative institutes that produce anti-public intellectuals whose role is to snarl at the victims of social injustice, to disdain public institutions in the service of the public good, and to do everything possible to promote a culture marked by a depoliticizing moral and political vacancy. Trump is simply the manifestation of a new type of authoritarianism, one that revels in thoughtlessness and the survival-of-the-fittest ethic marketed in his former TV game show, ‘The Apprentice’ (The Apprentice is een Amerikaanse reality-serie en spelprogramma van NBC, op de Vlaamse en Nederlandse televisie uitgebracht onder de titel Trumps troonopvolger.https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Apprentice).

Corporate media love Donald Trump. He is the perfect embodiment of the spectacle that drives up their ratings. That Trump is a white nationalist, a racist, and a spewer of hate against Muslims, Mexicans, and the Pope all adds to the shock that feeds the spectacle. Karl Grossman argues that the media is intimidated by Trump. He misses the point. In the age of celebrity culture, the media love Trump and he loves them. They chase audiences and he delivers them. Trump is not a media clown, he is an expert at getting the media to promote and fund his self-marketing strategy. His campaign is unique in that it is modeled after the commercial superficiality of game-show TV. Sean Illing is right in stating:

‘Trump's a TV man; he understands the landscape. He knows interesting is preferable to informed or reasonable or lucid. Which is why he eschews talking points or scripts and instead riffs on stage like a stand-up. Trump's free-wheeling approach means he could say literally anything at any moment, and that's the kind of thing people want to watch.’

Dit is de cultuur die het neoliberale kapitalisme nodig heeft om te kunnen bestaan. Trump is geen afwijking of een ontsporing van dit systeem, maar een voorlopig logisch hoogtepunt ervan. Hij is slechts één van de duivelskinderen die door de virtuele werkelijkheid van de massamedia is voortgebracht, en wijkt als zodanig niet af van president Barack Obama en diens voorganger, George W. Bush. Zij zijn het product van de omvangrijke culturele deprivatie die de kapitalistische democratie nodig heeft om te kunnen overleven. Hier staart de vervreemde massamens gebiologeerd naar zichzelf. Zowel Trump, Obama als Bush junior zijn een selfie van de postmoderne mens die even uit de anonimiteit is getild, en in Andy Warhol’s woorden ‘will be world-famous for 15 minutes.’ Zelfs een beroemd mens is tegenwoordig na een decennium vergeten, hetgeen ik opnieuw merkte toen ik onlangs in gezelschap van studenten de naam liet vallen van Henry Kissinger, en de meesten van hen niet wisten over wie ik het had. Bovendien leeft iedere westerling in een tijd waarin niemand meer met zekerheid kan vaststellen wat waar is en wat niet, wat de werkelijkheid is en wat niet. De computertechniek kan ervoor zorgen dat u allen door de Britse vorstin tot ridder wordt geslagen, en wij dat met eigen ogen kunnen zien! Sterker nog, dankzij zijn gefabriceerde virtuele werkelijkheid in zijn bestseller In Europa werd de journalist Geert Mak in 2009 door de Franse staat tot Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur benoemd, waardoor hij zich tot de onsterfelijken op aarde kon rekenen, dat wil zeggen, ‘voor 15 minuten.’ Maar achter die vermakelijke façade voltrekt zich elke dag weer een meedogenloos machtsspel, want, zoals Giroux terecht stelt:

Celebrity culture points to a powerful fusion of power, culture, and politics, but the ideological form it takes and the politics it now serves have to be named, however difficult the task. Trump is the logical result of decades of assaults on democracy by both the Republican and Democratic Parties, which have been skewed (verwrongen. svh) by the enormous economic influence of financial and corporate elites. Trump's popularity in the political arena is about more than the power of politics as entertainment or his ability to direct the narrative; it is also ‘the distilled essence of a much larger disturbing reality,’ the rise of authoritarianism in the United States and the death of democracy. Trump may know how to manipulate the media, but the interests that benefit from the commercial media are the product of the darker elements of elitism, racism, bigotry (hypocrisie. svh), demagoguery, and authoritarianism… The current crisis is not simply about the power of the corporate-entertainment complex, it is about a divide between those who believe in democracy as a protected home for diversity, equality, and social justice, and those who don’t.

Terwijl opiniemaker Geert Mak in zijn boek Reizen zonder John, waarin hij claimt ‘op zoek naar Amerika’ te zijn, vol lof is over de 'vitaliteit van de Amerikaanse democratie,’ en zijn collega opiniemaker, NRC’s ‘powerduider pur sang’ Bas Heijne, met evenveel lof spreekt van ‘het in alle opzichten superieure Amerika’ zijn goed geïnformeerde Angelsaksische intellectuelen aanzienlijk sceptischer over het Amerikaans ‘exceptionalisme.’ Zo benadrukt Giroux dat de ‘hate, bigotry, and exclusion,’ die Trump tot president maakte, tevens ‘expressions’ zijn ‘of authoritarian intolerance’ die ‘resonate deeply in a landscape of American culture and politics crafted by forty regressive years of conservative influence on US society.’ Nu Europa dreigt te worden meegesleept in uitzichtloze en desastreuze Amerikaanse oorlogen is het belangrijk te weten dat Trump een kind is van de Amerikaanse cultuur, die vanaf het allereerste begin gebaseerd is geweest op grootscheeps geweld. Giroux constateert dan ook:  

Heather Digby Parton (Amerikaanse kritische journaliste. svh) is right when she writes that Donald Trump ‘may be the first openly fascistic frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination but the ground was prepared and the seeds of his success sowed over the course of many years. As I have pointed out earlier, we've had fascism flowing through the American political bloodstream for quite some time.’ There is a long, smoldering history in the United States in which fear, racism, resentment, precarity (precarity is a precarious existence, lacking in predictabilityjob securitymaterial or psychological welfare. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precarity), and anxiety fueled a discourse all too similar to previous authoritarian regimes. For example, Trump's hate-laced rhetoric of aggression and intolerance is unleashed to support his claims of an embarrassing national decline, and his disdain for democratic procedures and the rule of law; this rhetoric is also used to legitimate his eagerness to address problems with violence and coercion as well as his shameless appeals to group purity, all of which have been part of previous fascist and authoritarian political manifestations. This is a discourse that betrays dark and treacherous secrets not simply about Trump and the Republicans, but about the shifting boundaries of what the nation is willing to countenance — and even rally around —- as the new American normal: acceptance of the ‘unthinkable’ horrors to come.

The rise of acceptable forms of right-wing fascism in the United States today demonstrates the extent to which corporate evisceration (verzwakken. svh) of democracy and the long-term impact of the Terror Wars have weakened American society, and we should pay close attention to promises for more wars and walls, mass expulsions, censorship, and aggressive repression of protest and dissent. Trump's brutal racism, cruelty, and Nazi-style policy recommendations are more than shocking; they are emblematic of totalitarianism's hatred of multiculturalism, its call for racial purity, its mythic celebration of nationalism, its embrace of violence, its disdain for weakness, and its anti-intellectualism. This is the discourse of terror. And yet, these elements are increasingly a part of the new American normal. The conditions that produced the torture chambers, intolerable violence, extermination camps, and the squelching of dissent are still with us. Totalitarianism is not simply a relic of the past. It lives on in new forms, and its potential to dominate is just as terrifying and dangerous today as it has ever been.

Deze beschrijving van een in de VS gerespecteerde cultuurcriticus wordt door de polderpers en de Nederlandse intelligentsia genegeerd. Dat de oorzaken veel dieper liggen dan het fenomeen Trump beseffen ze niet. Dat Europa via de NAVO meegezogen wordt in het Amerikaans fascisme is iets waarvoor men blind is. Sterker nog, ook hier is sprake van ‘The Media’s Love Affair with War.’ Een met belastinggeld gesubsidieerde propagandist als de oud NRC-journalist Hubert Smeets, een zelfbenoemde ‘chroniqueur’ als Geert Mak, een Volkskrant-correspondent voor Europa in het Brussel van de NAVO en de EU als Arie Elshout, een NRC-columnist als Bas Heijne, allen doen hun uiterste best om het Amerikaans fascisme salonfähig te houden. Zij wakkeren elk vuurtje aan om de oorlogsdreiging met Rusland te vergroten, bijna hysterisch raken zij van een vermeend Russisch ‘expansionisme.’ En dan krijgt men de waanzin van de P.C. Hooftprijswinnaar 2017 met beweringen als dat ‘Voor veel mensen in de VS en Europa, en ook in Nederland, is Poetin de gedroomde sterke man, het tegenwicht tegen het op de idealen van de Verlichting gebaseerde wereldbeeld van’ de naar Bas Hijne’s oordeel ‘immer onkreukbare Barack Obama,’ president ‘van het in alle opzichten superieure Amerika.’ De hoerigheid en doortraptheid van de polderpers is, net als het ‘exceptionalisme’ van de VS, grenzeloos. Nu Trump in het Witte Huis bivakkeert durven ze pas een Amerikaanse president te bekritiseren, zonder duidelijk te maken dat Trump slechts een symptoom is van de ziekte die het Amerikaanse 'neoliberalisme' en ‘exceptionalisme’ hebben veroorzaakt. Of zoals een insider als professor Henry Giroux beklemtoont:

Trump is not an aberration. Rather, he is the successor of a long line of fascists who shut down public debate, attempt to humiliate their opponents, endorse violence as a response to dissent, and criticize any public display of democratic principles. The United States has reached its endpoint with Trump, and his presence should be viewed as a stern warning of the possible nightmare to come.  

Ondertussen blijft de ‘populairste geschiedenisleraar van het land,’ Geert Mak, zijn Europeanen bang maken met  teksten als deze:

Russia is on the move again. After the collapse of the Soviet Empire it wants to start making history once more, and how! Old myths about Russian greatness and the Russian soul are being dusted off. Borders are being redrawn, spheres of influence determined by force — it's as if we re back in the nineteenth century, complete with rigid and short-sighted tsarism. Russians have a sense that the Western world, including Western values and Western ways of thinking, are no longer paramount. In this new situation, Europe is vulnerable, at least in the short term. 

Tegenover het grote Kwaad staat vanzelfsprekend de VS, een grootmacht — waarvoor Mak, sinds hij als kind de eerste Donald Duck inkeek, een ‘geheime liefde’ koestert — en die, aldus mijn oude vriend, in 

large parts of the world is still the worlds indispensable nation; as Madeleine Albright once put it, the ‘anchor,' the 'default power.’ 

Dr. Madeleine K. Albright is bij mensen met enige empathie vooral bekend als de vrouw die op 12 mei 1996 de sancties tegen Irak verdedigde door op de vraag:

We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?’ 

te antwoorden: ‘we think the price is worth it.’

Het offeren van kinderen om Amerikaanse elite-belangen te waarborgen. Vijftien jaar later werd mevrouw Albright tot voorzitter benoemd van de ‘Advies Raad’ van de 

Hague Institute for Global Justice. The Hague Institute for Global Justice is dedicated to address core problems in the field of global justice. Taking a demand-driven and interdisciplinary approach, the Institute seeks to provide new perspectives that will lead to feasible and effective steps in solving current and future global challenges. It does this by combining the best and most innovative knowledge from various disciplines and actors, and geographic and cultural perspectives.
The Hague Institute for Global Justice was established in 2011 by The Hague Academic Coalition, the City of The Hague, the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, supported by the Dutch government,

zodat we nu weten tot hoever het fascisme in ‘onze’ westerse cultuur is doorgedrongen, dankzij ‘het in alle opzichten superieure Amerika’ met zijn ‘Western values and Western ways of thinking,’ die van de VS  een  'indispensable nation' maken, om de mainstream-opiniemakers Bas Heijne en Geert Mak nog eens aan te halen. Hoe 'onmisbaar,' daarover de volgende keer. 

The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War

Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War Friday, 24 May 2013, 4:35 pm Article:  Robert J. Burrowes Love Denied: ...