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The nature of the beast: a dialectical forecast of the Trump administration

US President Donald Trump will not deviate from previous administrations. Here’s why.

Haneul Na'avi

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The will is a beast of burden. If God mounts it, it wishes and goes as God wills; if Satan mounts it, it wishes and goes as Satan wills; Nor can it choose its rider… the riders contend for its possession. — Martin Luther

Part One: The Beast is Healed by the Dragon

Only two months have passed since US President Donald Trump assumed office, and already the machine of American imperialism has wasted little time in continuing its course.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) began his usual routine of making baseless accusations against Tehran’s recent ballistic missile tests, which are used for regional defense, in a bid to derail the Joint Comprehension Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran Nuclear Agreement.

“I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program,” he chided at the 2017 Munich Security Conference.

Although Trump is the Commander-in-Chief, America’s Chief Executive Officer is Secretary of State and oil magnate Rex Tillerson, who reaffirmed his stance on the Diaoyu Islands, without the pretense of ‘national sovereignty’.

“[Tillerson] considered China’s South China Sea activity ‘extremely worrisome’ [and] a threat to the ‘entire global economy’ if Beijing were able to dictate access to the waterway, which is of strategic military importance and a major trade route,” the Japan Times mentioned.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang cautioned him and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis on undermining regional stability by using Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security as a ruse to sell Tokyo more armaments.

“No rhetoric or actions, from whomsoever, will change the fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China or waiver China’s resolve and determination to uphold its national sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Geng sternly warned.

Furthermore, CNN has cited another ‘unnamed official’, who insinuated that Trump could deploy ground troops in Syria; an action already occurring in Iraq.

“It’s possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time,” he or she stated.

The ruling class has once again passed the torch of imperialism to the new administration, setting the stage for another explosive collapse of the capitalist system.

The public, however, lingers on the Trump media circus, trading political consciousness for entertainment and stubbornly ignoring the material conditions that brought him into power.

The Beast with Many Heads (of State)

Wounding the Beast’s heads—the American bureaucracy and its transatlantic network of vassals states—only temporarily incapacitates US imperialism without significant changes to its trajectory.

The Syrian-Russian-Iran coalition landed the most significant blow, after resisting Western attempts to unseat Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and install a hardline Sunni ‘caliphate’ to oversee construction of the coveted Saudi-Qatari-Turkish pipeline.

Fortunately, two rounds of Astana peace talks have facilitated dialogue between warring factions.

“[The] next round of the talks will be held in less than a month”, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari stated optimistically in February.

In recent years, several grotesque heads have emerged, crowning themselves and speaking blasphemies through political coups in attempts to control foreign oil markets for the Beast.

In 2015, Brazil’s former Vice President and CIA asset Michel Temer usurped power from Dilma Rousseff to prevent her from rescuing the Brazilian economy by selling off Petrobras USD holdings.

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’ remains at am impasse between Gazprom’s TurkStream pipeline and the European Union’s costly (pun intended) Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project.

With very little successes, US-backed dictator Petro(leum) Poroshenko continues to brutalize the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in order to gain control of Ukraine’s Soviet-era Drubzu pipeline, as well as break a crippling coal blockade from the regions.

“[The] country’s reserves of coal for energy-generating power plants may be depleted in up to 45 days if the blockade is not lifted,” Ukrainian Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk lamented.

Under the Obama administration, these attempts to extort geopolitically strategic oil markets have proven fruitless for America’s oligarchs, prompting a significant change in their political strategy.

The new strategy is Donald Trump; ‘Plan B’ for the ruling class.

The New Beast Exercises the Power of the First Before Him

The nature of Trump’s presidency was established in a previous article for The Duran, which aims to ensure the primacy of American finance capital through privately funded infrastructure projects.

It was also highlighted that democratic republics can easily mask their material contradictions by manipulating society through identity politics; the most important asset of liberal democracy.

One should reaffirm that the current material conditions of the West follow the Three Stages of the General Crises of Capitalism, defined by A. Leontiev as:

1. The sharp disintegration of the entire capitalist system and fierce struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, going over in a number of countries to open civil warfare.

2. The period of the gradual advent of partial stabilization in capitalist countries (reconstruction).

3. The sharpening of the basic contradictions of contemporary capitalism.

At the start of Obama’s presidency, Stage 1 materialized as the subprime mortgage and finance capital collapse of 2008-2011, initiating the deadliest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The Occupy and Arab Spring movements followed, but the bourgeoisie quickly appropriated them.

The era of Western financial austerity has exacerbated Stage 2, institutionalizing austerity rather than making tactical concessions with the working class.

Stage 3 has manifested as a surge of imperialist interventions throughout the Middle East-North Africa, Ukraine, and NATO aggression in the South China Sea and Baltics, in efforts to save the petrodollar, remove opposition, expropriate finance capital, and control foreign markets.

Conversely, bourgeois democracies such as France have normalized blowback from transatlantic imperialism (terrorism), shifting the cost to the taxpayer in both dollars and human lives.

Again, Donald Trump was selected by the Electoral College, the hall monitor of suffrage, in order to diffuse these crises; thus, the bourgeoisie returns to Stage 2.

To understand the College’s decision, one must conceptualize the 2016 US elections as the ruling class’ 4-year plan, with Trump representing a greater command of the base (material) and Clinton the superstructure (cultural, social, and immaterial).

In his essay, “On Contradiction” Mao Zedong notes that between two contradictions:

[…] one must be principal and the other secondary [with] one playing the leading role in the contradiction. The nature of a thing is determined mainly by the principal aspect of a contradiction, the aspect which has gained the dominant position.

America’s primary crisis is the petrodollar (Trump), with social engineering ambitions (Clinton) playing a subordinate role; therefore, material concerns are a greater existential threat to the US.

Additionally, Clinton’s entire platform was based on superstructure (identity) politics, which backfired not because of Wikileaks, but due to her inexperienced managerial skills, which she proved in Benghazi and pay-to-play foreign policy; notwithstanding her personal email accounts.

This is precisely why Donald Trump, who personifies naked monopoly industry, won the election.

However, Trump only represents a shift in priorities within the bourgeoisie. His MAGA plan will partially stabilize American capital, which is concentrated in the oil, construction, technology, and military monopolies, which operate seamlessly and interdependently through vertical integration, defined this as “the merging together of two businesses that are at different stages of production”.

However, Trump is still an inextricable part of American finance capital, as Marx lucidly defines the role of the capitalist in Capital, Vol. III:

[…] the capitalist is merely capital personified and functions in the process of production solely as the agent of capital.

In his ‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844’, Karl Marx elaborates this theory:

To widen the market and to narrow the sellers’ competition is always the interest of the dealer […] This is a class of people whose interest is never exactly the same as that of society, a class of people who have generally an interest to deceive and to oppress the public.

With a meaningless popular vote, one should note that most modern presidential candidates in capitalist democracies are capital personified, empowered by the bourgeoisie to further centralize and concentrate wealth for the benefit of the bourgeoisie.

Lenin clarifies this further in State and Revolution:

In capitalist society […] democracy is always hemmed in by the narrow limits set by capitalist exploitation, and consequently always remains […] a democracy for the minority, only for the propertied classes, only for the rich. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in the ancient Greek republics: freedom for the slave-owners.

Trump’s victory is a tactical retreat for the bourgeoisie and nothing more, and his limited popularity is no obstacle to the ruling class’s survival.

However, if Trump deviates in any meaningful way, the Beast will devour him whole.

The Heart of the Beast: The Petrodollar

The Beast has many Heads but only one black heart—the petrodollar—whose every beat expropriates surplus value from foreign oil markets and cements US imperialism worldwide.

However, several rising powers have become the precise targets of the Trump and Obama administrations because they pose the greatest existential threat to US hegemony.

F. William Engdahl mentions the following:

[The] petrodollar system […] has been eroding as Russia, China, Iran and even the EU challenge the role of the dollar as reserve currency [whom] have agreed to energy trade for oil and gas paid not in dollars but in own currencies. Iran recently announced it will accept only Euros for its oil.

However, a new contradiction in US capitalist production emerges—increasing domestic production versus declining petrodollar dominance and value.

This will occur at the expense of maintaining relations with America’s Gulf frenemy Saudi Arabia, after it jealously overproduced to sabotage America’s booming shale and fracking industries.

In order to stave off its own collapse, Saudi Arabia could (and probably will) turn to China.

OilPrice reports,

[…] we must now turn our attention to China, which is well positioned to act as white knight to Saudi Arabia. China’s SAFE sovereign wealth fund could easily swallow the [5%] Aramco stake […] A quick deal would help stabilise a desperate financial and political situation on the edges of China’s rapidly growing Asian interests, and keep Saudi Arabia onside as an energy supplier. China has dollars to dispose, and a mutual arrangement would herald a new era of tangible cooperation. The U.S. can only stand and stare as China teases Saudi Arabia away from America’s sphere of influence.

The Trump administration has been feverishly attempting to open domestic oil reserves as foreign markets increase trade in other currencies, in addition to rising petrol demands in the US.

To do this, the US Congress introduced H.Res 71 to rescind Cardin-Lugar regulations within the Dodd-Frank Act, in order to exploit domestic oil consumption, transition more of the global oil supply to the US shale industry, and mitigate the adverse effects of a collapsing petrodollar market.

Vermont-based journalist Nick Cunningham explains the role of rising US production rates:

If OPEC took 1 mb/d off the market in January, why are prices struggling to move from the low- to mid-$50s? […] Rising U.S. production is part of the story. The latest weekly EIA data puts U.S. output at 8.978 mb/d, a touch below 9 mb/d, which is up more than 400,000 bpd from a few months ago. In addition, the EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report estimates that production from the major shale basins will rise in March by nearly 80,000 bpd, the largest increase in five months. Nearly all of that increase is expected to come from the Permian Basin.

The Bretton-Woods System’s demise inseparably binds the means of production and petrodollar for one purpose: to monopolize global oil reserves so that countries cannot buy or sell oil without the Mark, let alone industrialize.

Trump and Co. will centralize and concentrate oil sold in USD within the US in order to survive. Ultimately, domestic production is the best way to do this, which will require astronomical levels of new infrastructure to transport raw materials, with people as a secondary concern.

Meanwhile, America and NATO will continue their gunboat diplomacy, and anyone that attempts to break the American oil racket will become a threat to their neoliberal ‘democracies’. While Trump is in office, this will continue unabatedly as the ruling class will not accept substantial profit losses.

The lake of fire? It is merely the American Heartlands after H.Res 71—the inevitable conclusion of an oil-addicted economy.

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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