Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Do You Drive on Dead Indian Road?


“An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States,” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2014)

This is a relentless history of the U.S. viewed from the perspective of the numerous native nations that once populated the land of north America.  The ‘creation’ of the U.S. is here shown to be a settler-colonial war for land.  Dunbar-Ortiz is of mixed ancestry and lived her early life on an Oklahoma reservation.  She is also a leftist and believes in native American self-determination.
Read This Book

Genocide of the indigenous was foundational to the creation of the U.S.  This might be a cliché for some, but this book fleshes that out in detail. It was done with land seizures, continual war, the mass killing of indigenous women, children and the old, the burning of villages, the destruction of crops and animals - along with bribes, fake treaties and alcohol.  Dunbar-Ortiz argues against mainstream historians who insist disease was the main culprit, or that all this was ‘legal’ or that the U.S. government wasn’t really involved. 

Prior to the arrival of the British, north America was a heavily populated land full of roads, trading routes, villages and large towns and a human-managed sustainable environment.  Deer parks, created bison ranges, massive corn, squash and bean fields, large-scale irrigation – all shared cultural attributes with the Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilizations in central and south America.  Land was not privatized, a form of communism that First Nations try to follow to this day.

Dunbar-Ortiz covers the famous and infamous of U.S. history - people like George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Kit Carson and even Walt Whitman. Of interest, the British expulsion of French-speaking Acadians from Canada to Louisiana was done because they intermarried and settled with native people instead of killing them.  

Dunbar-Ortiz notes the particular role of the Protestant Scots-Irish, who were first used by the British as violent shock troops against the Catholic Irish in the northern counties of Ireland, then against native Americans.  The Scots-Irish used scalping, which is the origin of the term ‘redskin.’ Especially in the south, these same poor Scots-Irish lost the land they stole to the developing plantation system…so they moved west.

She shows how the U.S. military developed through wars against indigenous nations, then carried those methods abroad - into Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Afghanistan.  U.S. counter-insurgency is now used across the globe in many other ‘Injun Countries.’  Understanding these methods of warfare is foundational to understanding modern imperialism.    

If you read one recent book on this topic, this is it. 

P.S. - "Dead Indian Road" is an actual road in Oregon.  There are many others like it.  It echoes that Sherman quote about 'the only good Indian..."

Other posts and reviews on this subject below:  “Loaded,” (Dunbar-Ortiz); “New Zealand Now,” “History of the World in Seven Cheap Things,”  “Drug War Capitalism,” “Sami Blood,” “Stop Tar Sands Oil…,” “Climate Emergency,” “This Changes Everything,” “Indian Country Noir,” “The Heart of Everything That Is – the Untold Story of Red Cloud,” “Empire of the Summer Moon,” “Red State Rebels.”  Use blog search box, upper left.

And I Bought It at May Day Books!  You can too…
Red Frog
January 29, 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

TRUMP CHOKES - No pay, no work!

Sick Out Against the Shut Down!

The only force that can stop this anti-labor and illegal shutdown and lock-out is the labor movement itself – especially the workers who do the work of government.  TSA and Air Traffic controllers have the air transport system in their hands.  IRS and Social Security workers have a good chunk of the financial system in their hands.  Reported this week is that 10% of TSA workers were not reporting to work due to ‘financial’ issues.  Wednesday there were reports that many IRS workers are following suit, but also in organized protest. 
In the Palm of their Hands...

Tuesday on NPR a typically vapid interviewer talked to the head of the Georgia local of the American Federation of Government Employees.  The union ‘leader’ said nothing about the possibility of a sick-out, nor was he asked.  His only mention was that the shutdown might weaken security issues. He mentioned that the union was pointing federal workers to various charity programs.  Other airline unions yesterday questioned the issue of air safety.  The head of the Flight Attendants Union called for a general strike by the rest of labor, which was not publicized.  No doubt Trumka yawned when hearing this.

Hanging over the AFGE interview was the approach of the wretched Super Bowl in Atlanta in early February, which will result in Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport being packed with wealthy fans transiting through.  Some TSA lines have already been shut down at Hartsfield because of absences, and hopefully this is a harbinger of things to come.

Vice News yesterday asked a union rep for the Virginia AFGE if they would go ‘on strike.’  The rep said it was illegal for federal workers to go on strike.  What was not asked was anything about sick outs, absences or employees working other jobs or quitting.  In other words, the interviewer and the rep ignored a tactic already being used.
A Shutdown that Ignores Labor Laws

IRS employees (30,000 of whom are still not counted in the 800,000 figure repeated by the corporate press – along with those from Social Security) are not showing up for work in Ogden, Utah and other processing centers, according to the National Treasury Employees Union.  If Social Security workers and Air Traffic Controllers also begin to ‘get sick’ or take absences, then you will see the howls seriously begin.   

It is hard for workers to leave their jobs when others are working and leave the work-load behind.  So it is incumbent that every government worker who is unpaid and working who can do it - calls in sick or takes personal time.  That is, if the decision can’t be made all at once by groups of workers.  For the AFGE, the best time would be in the days up to the Super Bowl and after.  But will the unions even suggest it under the table? It isn’t likely given the passive record of the labor tops, who are leaders who don't lead.  Sick outs and absences take the legal onus off of the union locals, and what you end up with is a ‘wildcat strike’ if it happens in quantity.   

Toothless and impotent photogenic protests in front of Congress or pointless Congressional votes, as happened yesterday, don’t work.  This shutdown is actually the living dream of Republican and libertarian political advocates who want to ‘drown the administrative state.’  If the working class stands up to Trump now in action, it will show that it is back on the stage of politics and history once again.  Shut Down Trump!  Workers Power!

P.S. - Friday afternoon, worker-hater Trump folded.  Absences of Air Traffic controllers at La Guardia led to a temporary closure of the airport.  Delays continue in Philly and Newark airports. Trump knew absences were going to snowball across the country.  To avoid having hundreds of thousands of workers ignoring him, he 're-opened the government' for 3 weeks.  This is more power than evidenced by Nancy Pelosi and the whole Democratic Party.  Next time this asshole uses a 'shutdown' as a bargaining chip, ( in 3 weeks?) NO ONE should show up from day One.  And in the very unlikely event that the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win federations stir themselves to call for a one-day protest strike nationwide ... that would be even better.  Workers Power!

The Cranky Yankee
Athens, Georgia
January 25, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Capital Actually Gains...

The Ponzi Factor” by Tan Liu, 2019

This excellent short book asks the basic questions about stock markets which are never asked in corporate-controlled ‘economics’ classes.  The first question is if the only way to make a ‘profit’ off of common stocks is to sell them to someone else later for a higher price, why is that not the same logic as a Ponzi scheme?  In a Ponzi scheme, the earliest investors are paid with money from later investors.
You Knew It All Along

Liu was trained in ‘economics’ and worked at several trading firms and hedge funds.  In the process he wondered about this and other very basic issues, but figured he was just ignorant of the real facts.  He accepted the evasive answers of proponents of the market.  But no longer.  Liu starts with the example of Tesla, whose shares are now worth ~$300, while losing $6.3+B as a corporation up to 2018.  Yet Tesla shares do not constitute ownership – that is a myth.  The ~$300 is only a figure on a computer screen.  But for Tesla your payment for their stock is real money.

Liu details his somewhat humorous experiences working at two hedge funds, which both went belly-up.  One was involved in buying life insurance policies, of all things.  He began to question the logic of what was happening, which resembled a Ponzi scheme to him. 

In the book he looks into the fraudulent nature of ‘accrual accounting;’ the data-deficient inaccuracy of ‘positive sum’ market assumptions; the discrepancy between market ‘values’ and the actual amount of cash in existence; the very real nature of fees; the collusion between universities and Wall Street; the bogus idea of ‘shareholder’s rights’; even the symbols used to describe cash, real estate and stocks.   

Bonds that pay interest and the very few stocks that still accrue dividends are exceptions, but they are not the heart of the common stock markets.  Most mutual funds contain these misnamed ‘equities’ to varying degrees, and only some pay dividends, usually 'balanced' or 'bond' funds.  If you 'reinvest' your mutual fund proceeds, you never get that money, only more shares.  So few workers are immune if they have IRAs or 401k/403bs. 

In essence, you are paying-to-play in a casino for capital gains.  But it is Capital that really gains.  Liu concludes that markets in stocks must be ended. The book reveals that Wall Street is an emperor dressed in underwear.

Liu appeared on Lee Camp’s show on RT.  Look up his appearance and BUY THIS BOOK! - which is available locally right now only at  May Day.

P.S. - Here is a YouTube video from Liu on 'investment junkies.' 

Other blog reviews on Wall Street below:  Flash Boys,” “The Big Short,” “The Great Crash,” “Debt & Capital,” “Retirement and Wall Street,” “Liar’s Poker,” “Liquidated - An Ethnography of Wall Street,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “House of Cards,” “Griftopia,” “Den of Thieves.”  Use blog search box, upper left.

And I bought it at May Day Books for a very low price!
Red Frog
January 22, 2019

Saturday, January 19, 2019

To the Real Left


“The Courage of Hopelessness – A Year of Acting Dangerously," By Slavoj Žižek, 2018

This book on the year 2016 is part of Žižek’s long search for the ‘emancipatory project.’ Žižek always likes to take both sides of an argument, in order to sound wise and strew quotes.  After that tease, he comes down on one side or the other.  Here he takes on capital and debates various theorists like Stiglitz, Chomsky and Piketty or trade pacts like TISA & TTIP, while applauding Jeremy Rifkin’s ‘collaborative commons’ and the subversive role of some new technology.  
If Intellectuals Could

Included is a long analysis of the Greek situation and the politics of Syriza.  Žižek tries to answer the question of what radical left government’s do when elected in a corrupt capitalist state while under immense international financial pressure.  He suggests a position between Syriza and the Left Platform.

Žižek gets in some clever praise for the concept of bureaucracy. He follows with a commentary on the re-adoption of Confucianism by the Chinese Communist Party in their attempt to enforce social discipline.   This is part of a discourse on destructive religion, Zionism, Islam and its dialectical successor, atheism. 

Žižek’s other targets are the cultural relativism and political correctness pervasive on the liberal-left.  He specifically focuses on transgender rights, using a class / Lacanian analysis.  He also goes into the issues raised by right and left populism in Europe and the U.S., such as Trump, Le Pen and Sanders  He calls for a radical Left vision of a universalist and united Europe.

In retrospect, Žižek is a man who dined at the banquet table of Marxism, then claimed he didn’t swallow.  So he calls himself a Lacanian Hegelian and rejects dialectical materialism.  He is critical or bored with present or former workers’ states and considers himself part of a liberatory communist project.  He argues against the platform of multi-culturalism and pure identity politics promoted by neo-liberals, as well as the Alt-Right, which also upholds an opposite method of identity politics.   Instead he favors a class perspective.  In the process, he’s an idea factory, such as when he examines odd human events in the news.  A good mind stretch for those in a political rut!

Other books by Zizek reviewed on the blog below:  Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?”, “First As Tragedy, Then as Farce,” “Living in the End Times and "Violence."  Also reviews of books by Piketty and Chomsky.  Use blog search box, upper left.

And I bought it at May Day Books!  You can too…
Red Frog
January 19, 2019

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Keep Up To Date


“How the World Swung to the Right – Fifty Years of Counterrevolutions,” by Francois Cusset, 2016 (2018 English Version)

Merci beaucoup France!  Where they take philosophy seriously.  The gilets jaunes are no accident.
Time To Put Your Thinking Cap On

This is part of a French philosophy series, Semiotext(e), that puts out slim volumes that usually adhere to a Marxist or anarcho-syndicalist perspective.  Cusset himself seems to be part of the current of French philosophers that concentrate on new developments in capital.   Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, Badiou, Barthes etc.  You know, more of the ‘cultural Marxists’ feared by the U.S. Alt-Right.

Cusset describes how the left was defeated world-wide in 3 separate decades.  He tracks the rise of neo-liberalism in the 1980s; the victory of the market in the 1990s over state ‘socialism’ and lastly, the ‘clash of civilizations’ war/security lockdown after 9/11.  Statistics and Cusset’s own optimism show that revolts, protests and resistance against capital are now statistically increasing across the globe.  He indicates that if the gap between class-based ‘macro-politics’ and identity-based ‘micro-politics’ is bridged, along with the North/South divide, a world-wide upheaval against capital is only a matter of time.

He, like Zizek, stands up for the right to violence on the part of the oppressed.  This right at present is reserved to the state and its minions.

Cusset looks at the ‘colonization of time’ and of ‘the mind’ that neo-liberal capital has successfully implemented, especially through the internet. Cusset also looks into the concept of ‘biopolitics’ and how capital has attempted to control the 5 general parts of the human anatomy on a micro level.  These perspectives accelerate individuation and what he calls ‘culturalism,’ to the detriment of united political action.  It is part of a successful pacification program aimed at the world population.

That program is now breaking down.  In the U.S., the waves of teacher, hotel, fast food and warehouse strikes indicate something is changing - even here in the land of conformism, complacency and fear.  In India in 2016, the largest strike in history – 180 million workers – happened.  A week ago another 150 million went out.

An enjoyable read, not too academic, some illuminating new concepts, shines a light on things we ‘know’ but have not thoroughly gone into, ‘named’ or understood in such an elegant way.

And I bought it at May Day Books!  You can too…

Red Frog

January 15, 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Spinoza Lives!

“The Atheist in the Attic, plus …” Samuel R. Delaney, 2018

Delaney is a prolific science fiction writer who also writes prose.  This slim PM Press collection includes a fictional narrative about a visit to Baruch Spinoza by fellow-philosopher Gottfried Liebniz.  The year is 1676, the month November, the locations Amsterdam and south of that city.  Spinoza of course is the famous “Jew” who questioned God even before Nietzsche.  In Spinoza’s discussion with Liebniz, Spinoza describes his philosophically materialist theory about the separation between the concept of God or human thoughts and the actuality of physical reality.   
The Writer and the Coffee

The story is a mannered and florid description of Liebniz’s thoughts and actions, including a visit to an old friend and his encounter with a threatening or servile servant.  “Small clothes” play a role.  (Now known as underwear.)

The second part is a famous essay by Delaney about being segregated from other writers at various science fiction events.  He is gay and light brown, so didn’t fit the regular cream-colored drill. 

The third is an interview with Delaney by Terry Bisson, the writer of “Fire on the Mountain.” 

Other science fiction / dystopian fiction reviewed below:  “Hunger Games,” “The Road,” “The Dispossessed,” “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “World War Z,” “Cloud Atlas,” “The Heart Goes Last,” “Divergent-Insurgent,” “American War,” “Blade Runner,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Handmaid’s Tale,” “Good News,” “Fire on the Mountain.”  Use blog search box, upper left, to find these.

And I bought it at May Day Books!
The Kommissar of Kulture
January 12, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Buy the Dip!

May Day Has Books?

As we sit here in our one-of-a-kind bookstore drinking cheap coffee, Craig started to wonder – again.  We get visitors and book buyers from all over the U.S., from isolated out-state Minnesota communities and from other countries.    Hey India!  Thank you for Europe!  In addition, the website and blog are viewed all over the world.

But the flow of customers from left groups in the Twin Cities is sparser than it should be.  The ‘Christmas’ season showed this up.  Minneapolis has branches of the Democratic Socialists of America, the Communist Party, the Industrial Workers of the World, Socialist Alternative, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Socialist Action, the International Marxist Tendency, the Socialist Workers Party, the International Socialists, the Socialist Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Workers' World and the Committees of Correspondence. (Whew!) There are even some members of the Socialist Rifle Association in town.  No one from the Spartacist Leagued or Solidarity is an official member here, but there are sympathizers.  Did I leave anyone out?  The Black Socialists of America or Black Agenda Report?

Then we have a number of community groups that are grounded in class, anti-racist or left politics of single-issue or smaller multi-issue causes.  Then there are the many independent, ‘poly-vanguardist’ single lefties who are not tied to any one organization.  There is even a Green Party with a rep in the City Council, though their ‘left’ is somewhat mysterious and hard to find.  Now, if you do the numbers, that is a lot of people.  You might ignore my idea that if all of these left groups formed a ‘Left Front” we might scare the bejesus out of the ruling elite in town.  God forbid. But we’re talkin’ books here.  Buying books.

I know almost none of these people are actual Christians.  Christ’s Mass is really a pagan Solstice celebration that the Christians stole – trees, lights, gifts, drinking, movies, family, arguments.  So you’d think more than a few of the above would come through the door and buy some fantastic book for their list.  But noooo!  Is it the unironic hammers and sickles?  The coming recession?  The quiet person behind the counter?  The people sitting at tables and actually talking?  Too many commies?  The low, low prices?  The deep, depressing titles?  The scary West Bank?  Tricky parking?
This was on outside of store for years.  Did Banksy Do This? 

We carry progressive books of every kind ... our 'bench' is deeper than any liberal bookstore in town and perhaps in the nation.  Books by famous authors like Naomi Klein, Slavjo Zizek, Noam Chomsky, Michelle Alexander, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Howard Zinn, Chris Hedges, Murray Bockchin, David Harvey, yadda, yadda, down to unknown ‘losers’ like me.  It is not all Mao, Trotsky, Lenin, Marx, Engels or Stalin’s little brother.  Or are you afraid to be in the same room as the latter group?  They have their own little corner in back …like the porn bookstores of old where they kept ‘the hard stuff.’

It is no secret the left loves labels and unfortunately, our label is 'various.'  Many leftists are so busy they don’t have much time for ‘theory’ or ‘other views’ or even ‘the present.’  It is no secret that many left groups have assigned reading.  Or that they want to cover the Communist Manifesto or The Short Course for the 50th time.  Or that they only read books written a long time ago.  Hey, I get it. I’ve been there. We love you all!  But if you want to actually widen your understanding of the present capitalist conjuncture, you have to read beyond that.  Stuff about now too.  Really! May Day apologizes for carrying books of every kind, for being an up-to-date, non-sectarian, left-wing bookstore.  But we’re here when you get tired of your assigned reading.  Class dismissed.

Of course it takes a movement to raise a bookstore.  Right now we are waiting to be saved by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and I’m a little dubious of that prospect.  So we have to put in our own oar.  When people are active, organized and aggressive, we sell books.  When people are isolated and negative, or falsely hopeful, we don’t.  Don’t sit this one out, your brain included.

Now what I think is also going on is something else.

Reading a blog post, seeing a podcast, perusing Counterpunch, the World Socialist Web Site or The Intercept, a Party newspaper or magazine is not sufficient.  It isn’t!  No more than listening to an iPod download of one Grace Slick tune beats listening to the whole ‘Bathing At Baxters’ Album AND reading the LP or CD liner notes in bright, living color.  Otherwise you are not really serious about the Jefferson Airplane.   Or pick newer groups like My Morning Jacket or the Decembrists or the Black Keys or Happy Apple.  Immortal Technique or Boots Riley would agree.  But you do have to leave your house.

Here's Lookin' At You Kid! - Joe Hill

And we get it.  The internet, not books, is the new weak model of learning.  It has both positive and negative sides.  After all, the internet is incomplete in one sense.  There is more in one book than many, many journalistic posts.  So books and the internet have to work together. Yet attention spans are being molded by on-line life and that means shorter ones. Additionally, doing actual research with real books (like a library) is much more work than Goggling  Which means ‘books are too long.’ Just like many TV series or movies are actually too long.  Which is why you have to choose wisely no matter what you do.  But if length is your only criterion - then woe is you.

So meanwhile, what is going to happen at May Day Books, among other things like dying, is that the “Red Frog” is not going to write uber-detailed descriptions of May Day books for awhile.  This as a science experiment.  The point in doing that was to spread theory and information and incentivize people to read the books or other books.  Kind of a free ‘sampler.’ But if local people are using the reviews to get the ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version of the books and not buying them, then, well, there is going to be nice, general stuff instead.  Good but general.  Generally not specific.  I.E. you will have to BUY THE BOOK to find out what is really in it!  Like a mostly wrapped package.  It starts now.

Reviews of non-May Day issues will continue as normal.  Fahrenheit 451 will be postponed...maybe.  The Book of Eli is still in the future...maybe.
P.S. "...illiteracy has remained stubbornly in place, and the fraction of Americans who read at least one work of literature a year has dropped by almost a quarter in recent decades."  "...the average US high-school leaver tests more poorly in reading today than in 1992." - Guardian 1/22


Prior comments on this issue:  “Why People Don’t Buy Books,” “Reading Paper Books versus Reading E-Books” and books on the digital ‘revolution.’

The Kommissar Of Kulture

Athens, Georgia, USA

January 9, 2019

Friday, January 4, 2019

The New Cold War


“War With Russia?  From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate,” by Stephen Cohen, 2019

This book is a series of somewhat repetitive blog posts between 2014-2018 opposing the new Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.  Cohen was at one time a prominent historian, Russia scholar, journalist and academic who promoted ‘détente’ between the USSR and the U.S. He now laments that there is almost no force in the U.S. – in either Party, in the captive media, in the national security state, even among the capitalist class – that wants a normal ‘big power’ relationship between the two nuclear nations. He targets U.S. aggressiveness as the cause of the ‘new’ Cold War.  Cohen quit the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018 after they endorsed the new Cold War against Russia.  Like Chris Hedges, he is another refugee from the increasingly narrow ruling intelligentsia in the U.S.
It Can't Happen Here

Cohen is a past sympathizer of Nicolai Bukharin’s, but this book is not couched in ideological terms, or indeed any Marxist terms at all.  It ignores the growing ‘cold war’ with China, or the capitalist economic & imperialist rationales behind the demonization of Putin, of Russians or of Russian foreign policy.  But he does see the New Cold war and Russiagate as the policies of U.S. elites, not the population.  Surveys show that a large majority of U.S. citizens want better relations with Russia.  However, the opinions of the population have no role in the foreign policy of the U.S. government.  Cohen thinks Trump is about the only barrier to even more severe actions that might bring a wider conflict.  Trump has been pressured into increasing hostility in response to the Russiagate claims, though he ran as a ‘détente’ candidate.

The new Cold war is actually a product of aggression by the U.S. security state and its wider military wing, NATO.  These are its roots:

A.  Now copious public documentation shows that the U.S. and NATO made promises to Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO would not move ‘one inch further east.’  At present, Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic countries are either in NATO or getting NATO aid – all on the border with Russia.  Tallinn in Estonia is 198 air miles from St. Petersburg. 
B.  George Bush unilaterally canceled the ABM nuclear treaty with Russia in 2002. 
C.  The U.S. and NATO backed an early Georgian proxy-war with Russia in 2008 over South Ossetia on the Russian border.
D.  In 2011 Obama made promises to Russia that Russian ally Gaddafi would not be deposed in NATO’s regime change plans.  A lie, celebrated by Hillary Clinton.
E.  The U.S and NATO backed a militarized regime change coup against the elected and corrupt president of Ukraine in 2014. The shootings in Maidan Square were actually carried out by the Right Sector – then blamed on the government.  The final push came from armed ultra-right and neo-fascist Ukrainian groups like the Right Sector and the Banderist Svoboda Party, who installed another corrupt oligarch, still in power today. 
F.  The U.S. has ignored the Minsk Agreement between Ukraine, Russia and the EU, which would have de-militarized Ukraine, allowed some home rule for Donbass and agreed to Ukraine having economic ties with east and west.
G.  The 2014 ‘annexation’ of Crimea was by an overwhelming popular vote of its nearly all-Russian ethnic population.  This in the face of anti-Russian ethnic laws and terror by the new Kiev coup government, including a massacre of pro-Russian protesters in Odessa. It was actually similar to what the U.S./ NATO did in Kosovo in 1999, when they split Kosovo from Serbian Yugoslavia. 
H.  U.S. & NATO-backed Ukrainian armed forces, including neo-fascist units, are waging a proxy war in Donbass against the Russian ethnic population there.  The neo-fascist Azov Legion has been incorporated into the Ukrainian army.  Anti-Jewish incidents in Ukraine are the highest in Europe.
I.    The legal Russian intervention in Syria overturned another regime change project by the U.S. security state.  It led to the defeat of Daesh and of jihadist groups backed by the Saudis, like Al-Nusra and the polyglot “Free” Syrian Army.  At present, it ‘seems’ to be protecting the Syrian Kurds from a Turkish invasion of Syria.
J.  NATO’s military role in the world since the fall of the USSR has been disastrous.  It started ‘mildly’ with the bloody bombing and breakup of Yugoslavia. Then amped up with invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the destruction of Libya, the failed regime change plan in Syria and now the destabilization of Ukraine and Georgia.   
K.  What Cohen calls ‘media malpractice’ by the New York Times and the Washington Post and their echo chambers at CNN, MSNBC, NPR & PBS has made the thinly or falsely sourced Russiagate story a page one, 24-hour headline for years.  It is a clear example of a full-on propaganda offensive.
L.  Obama stopped negotiations over nuclear issues like ‘no first strike’ and MAD, then passed a massive and expensive ‘updating’ of U.S. nuclear forces in 2016. 
M.  Trump unilaterally left another nuclear treaty, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2018, a goal of the national security state and neo-cons like John Bolton.
N.  Continuing economic warfare sanctions to ‘isolate’ Russia passed by Obama and Trump are viewed by Europeans as actually preventing Russian products from the European market, in favor of U.S. ones.
The Resistance in league with ...the Pentagon?

That is the story of the U.S. initiated and amplified new Cold War against Russia.  These are some of Cohen’s more general points below:

1. There are various forces in the Kremlin and Putin is actually more pro-Europe/U.S. than hardliners who do not trust the U.S. or Europe in any shape or form.  He has shown far more restraint in Syria for instance, where Russian planes were shot down, soldiers killed and airbases bombed by U.S. forces.
2.  Putin is actually more of a statesman than nearly anyone in the U.S. government and is able to get agreements between hostile countries – like the Iran deal.  Obama played a diplomatic but vacillating role, as he too responded to pressure from the U.S. security state. 
3.  Trump’s discussions with Russia ‘were’ and ‘are’ normal procedures for presidents since Eisenhower, including pre-election contacts.
4.   Hysterical ‘traitor’ talk floods the media after condemnations issued by former or present CIA or FBI sources like Brennan, Comey & Clapper.  These actors are not part of a ‘deep state’ – they are part of a very public national security state, which has been obvious since Wilson sent troops into Russia to defeat the Soviet revolution in 1918.  Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept took their arguments apart in his analysis of what Constitutional ‘treason’ legally means.
5.  Russia’s economic outlook was to have a good trading relationship with the EU and even the U.S.  So the idea that Russia is ‘attacking western democratic values’ makes no sense to their economic plans.  They have recently signed deals with Merkel and Macron.
6.  Putin has much more support in Russia (77% in last election) than new cold-warrior Hillary Clinton had in the U.S.  Her political line was revealed early, in August 2016 when she called Trump “Putin’s puppet’ at an electoral debate, long before the propaganda offensive reached its peak, but indicative of the future angle to be taken. 
7.  Cohen questions the allegation that Democratic e-mails were ‘hacked‘ instead of being an inside job.  He also questions the Steele dossier and the national security assessment that was not issued by 17 intelligence agencies. He also briefly looks at the Skripal, Nemtsov, Politkovskya and Litvinenko cases.  He calls all of this ‘Intelgate.’  Convictions so far in the investigation into Russiagate are all about other issues.  In all this, he says there is no actual way to prove that the Russians swayed the election.
8.  The list of hysterical insults by prominent Democrats and some Republicans against Russia or Putin is long and off-base.  “Crime of the Century,”  “another 9/11;” “Pearl Harbor,” “We are at war,” “Trump-Putin axis,” “the Red Menace of Vladimir Putin’s Russia,” and “fascist Putin” are all quotes from U.S. politicians  The latter insult is especially incorrect, as Russia actually played the main role in DEFEATING fascism in WWII.
9.  Cohen does not talk about money-laundering, bribes, quid pro quos or Trump’s building projects in Moscow or loans from Russians to his companies.  Cohen does not ‘follow the money.’ This corrupt behavior is similar what other capitalist corporations in the world do. Corruption is endemic to international capital, no matter what FinCen rules say.  Look at the treatment of the money-laundering bank HSBC, for instance.
10. Cohen counters the inaccurate ‘neo-Stalinist’ verbiage about Putin by mentioning the recent establishment of both a state-sponsored museum and a memorial in Moscow to the victims of the Stalinist gulag.
11.  Neo-McCarthyism in the U.S. has returned in Democratic and Republican attacks on anyone who disagrees with the national security state line on Russia.
12.  Since 1991 and the fall of the USSR, Russia has been treated by triumphalist and ‘indispensable’ U.S. politicians as a defeated and inconsequential nation. 

The hostility to Russia and China (and Iran/Venezuela/Cuba/Syria/N Korea and …) is being manufactured by the U.S. ruling class as it attempts to increase its failing imperial control of the whole world.  If you do not understand imperialism, then you cannot understand world politics.  This book, while only pro-détente, will help.

Other prior reviews on this subject, below:  “Coleen Rowley,” “Doublespeak,” US/EU Meddling,” “Why Are U.S. Oil Prices Dropping,” “Dressed Up For a Riot,” “Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives,” (Cohen); “Look at the War-Monger Facts.”   Use blog search box, upper left.

P.S. - Link to Intercept article published today on resignation of William Arkin as reporter, related to national security state role in present media:  https://theintercept.com/2019/01/03/veteran-nbcmsnbc-journalist-blasts-the-network-for-being-captive-to-the-national-security-state-and-reflexively-pro-war-to-stop-trump/

P.P.S. - and then there are the crickets in Cuba... more anti-Russian disinformation debunked. 

PPPS - "+ Even the Washington Post seems to have thrown in the towel. In an underplayed story by Philip Bump, the paper concedes that the Russian SM trolling operation during the 2016 election wasn’t “sophisticated, specific or targeted.” This was obvious to anyone who took even 10 minutes to actually look at the ads…anyone but Rachel Maddow, that is." – Jeffrey St. Clair, 1/11/2019


And I bought it at May Day Books!
Red Frog
January 4, 2019