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Paul Craig Roberts: “The Entire Western World Lives In Cognitive Dissonance”

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Written by Paul Craig Roberts; Originally appeared on paulcraigroberts.org

In this column I am going to use three of the current top news stories to illustrate the disconnect that is everywhere in the Western mind.

Let us begin with the family separation issue. The separation of children from immigrant/refugee/asylum parents has caused such public outcry that President Trump has backed off his policy and signed an executive order terminating family separation.

The horror of children locked up in warehouses operated by private businesses making a profit off of US taxpayers, while parents are prosecuted for illegal entry, woke even self-safisfied “exceptional and indispensable” Americans out of their stupor. It is a mystery that the Trump regime chose to discredit its border enforcement policy by separating families. Perhaps the policy was intended to deter illegal immigration by sending the message that if you come to America your children will be taken from you.

Paul Craig Roberts: "The Entire Western World Lives In Cognitive Dissonance"

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The question is: How is it that Americans can see and reject the inhumane border control policy and not see the inhumanity of family destruction that has been the over-riding result of Washington’s destruction in whole or part of seven or eight countries in the 21st century?

Millions of people have been separated from families by death inflicted by Washington, and for almost two decades protests have been almost nonexistent. No public outcry stopped George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump from clear and indisputable illegal acts defined in international law established by the US itself as war crimes against the inhabitants of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. We can add to this an eighth example: The military attacks by the US armed and supported neo-Nazi puppet state of Ukraine against the breakaway Russian provinces.

The massive deaths, destruction of towns, cities, infrastructure, the maiming, physical and mental, the dislocation that has sent millions of refugees fleeing Washington’s wars to overrun Europe, where governments consist of a collection of idiot stooges who supported Washington’s massive war crimes in the Middle East and North Africa, produced no outcry comparable to Trump’s immigration policy.

How can it be that Americans can see inhumanity in the separation of families in immigration enforcement but not in the massive war crimes committed against peoples in eight countries? Are we experiencing a mass psychosis form of cognitive dissonance?

We now move to the second example: Washington’s withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

On November 2, 1917, two decades prior to the holocaust attributed to National Socialist Germany, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote to Lord Rothschild that Great Britain supported Palestine becoming a Jewish homeland. In other words, the corrupt Balfour dismissed the rights and lives of the millons of Palestinians who had occupied Palestine for two millennia or more. What were these people compared to Rothschild’s money? They were nothing to the British Foreign Secretary.

Balfour’s attitude toward the rightful inhabitants of Palestine is the same as the British attitude toward the peoples in every colony or territority over which British power prevailed. Washington learned this habit and has consistently repeated it.

Just the other day Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley, the crazed and insane lapdog of Israel, announced that Washington had withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council, because it is “a cesspool of political bias” against Israel.

What did the UN Human Rights Council do to warrent this rebuke from Israel’s agent, Nikki Haley? The Human Rights Council denounced Israel’s policy of murdering Palestinians—medics, young children, mothers, old women and old men, fathers, teenagers.

To critize Israel, no matter how great and obvious is Israel’s crime, means that you are an anti-semite and a “holocaust denier.” For Nikki Haley and Israel, this places the UN Human Rights Council in the Hitler-worshipping Nazi ranks.

The absurdity of this is obvious, but few, if any, can detect it. Yes, the rest of the world, with the exception of Israel, has denounced Washington’s decision, not only Washington’s foes and the Palestinians, but also Washington’s puppets and vassals as well.

To see the disconnect, it is necessary to pay attention to the wording of the denunciations of Washington.

A spokesperson for the European Union said that Washington’s withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council “risks undermining the role of the US as a champion and supporter of democracy on the world stage.” Can anyone image a more idiotic statement? Washington is known as a supporter of dictatorships that adhere to Washington’s will. Washington is known as a destroyer of every Latin American democracy that elected a president who represented the people of the country and not the New York banks, US commerical interests, and US foreign policy.

Name one place where Washington has been a supporter of democracy. Just to speak of the most recent years, the Obama regime overthrew the democratically elected government of Honduras and imposed its puppet. The Obama regime overthrew the democratically elected government in Ukraine and imposed a neo-Nazi regime. Washington overthrew the governments in Argentina and Brazil, is trying to overthrow the government in Venezuela, and has Bolivia in its crosshairs along with Russia and Iran.

Margot Wallstrom, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, said: “It saddens me that the US has decided to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council. It comes at a time when the world needs more human rights and a stronger UN – not the opposite.” Why in the world does Wallstrom think that the presence of Washington, a known destroyer of human rights—just ask the millions of refugees from Washington’s war crimes overrunning Europe and Sweden—on the Human Rights Council would strengthen rather than undermine the Council? Wallstrom’s disconnect is awesome. It is so extreme as to be unbelievable.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, spoke for the most fawning of all of Washington’s vassals when she said that she was concerned by the UN Human Rights Council’s “anti-Israel bias.” Here you have a person so utterly brainwashed that she is unable to connect to anything real.

The third example is the “trade war” Trump has launched against China. The Trump regime’s claim is that due to unfair practices China has a trade surplus with the US of nearly $400 billion. This vast sum is supposed to be due to “unfair practices” on China’s part. In actual fact, the trade deficit with China is due to Apple, Nike, Levi, and to the large number of US corporations who produce offshore in China the products that they sell to Americans. When the offshored production of US corporations enter the US, they are counted as imports.

I have been pointing this out for many years going back to my testimony before the US Congress China Commission. I have written numerous articles published almost everywhere. They are summarized in my 2013 book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism. https://www.amazon.com/Failure-Laissez-Faire-Capitalism/dp/0986036250/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529582838&sr=1-1&keywords=Paul+Craig+Roberts+books&dpID=51HWdHsbtFL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

The presstitute financial media, the corporate lobbyists, which includes many “name” academic economists, and the hapless American politicians whose intellect is almost non-existent are unable to recognize that the massive US trade deficit is the result of jobs offshoring. This is the level of utter stupidity that rules America.

In The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, I exposed the extraordinary error made by Matthew J. Slaughter, a member of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, who incompetently claimed that for every US job offshored two US jobs were created. I also exposed as a hoax a “study” by Harvard University professor Michael Porter for the so-called Council on Competitiveness, a lobby group for offshoring, that made the extraordinary claim that the US work force was benefitting from the offshoring of their high productivity, high value-added jobs.

The idiot American economists, the idiot American financial media, and the idiot American policymakers still have not comprehended that jobs offshoring destroyed America’s economic prospects and pushed China to the forefront 45 years ahead of Washington’s expectations.

To sum this up, the Western mind, and the minds of the Atlanticist Integrationist Russians and pro-American Chinese youth, are so full of propagandistic nonsense that there is no connection to reality.

There is the real world and there is the propagandistic made-up world that covers over the real world and serves special interests. My task is to get people out of the made-up world and into the real world. Support my efforts.

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It appears that Paul Craig Roberts has got his ‘mojo’ back after a few months of ‘wishy washy ‘articles’

” How is it that Americans can see and reject the inhumane border control policy and not see the inhumanity of family destruction that has been the over-riding result of Washington’s destruction in whole or part of seven or eight countries in the 21st century?”

Is it because most Americans have little or no idea where these countries that the US Military/CIA are engaged in and no idea where they are on a map anyway :)
To most Americans they are just ‘ Ay-Rabs, Sand niggers, Communist Ruskies, Towel Heads ‘Mooooslims ‘ etc anyway.

paul ( original )

“ To most Americans they are just ‘
Ay-Rabs, Sand niggers, Communist Ruskies, Towel Heads ‘Mooooslims ‘
etc anyway. ”

Probably so. However,I can not say
they exactly endear themselves to me either as they steam across the
Mediterranean even if they do come at EU invitation.


I am not endeared to them either but I do know that the bulk of them are fleeing wars of terror whose flames have been fanned by NATO.

I feel desperately sorry for all those who have lost everything due to the actions of my government in Britain and all the others within NATO.

S Melanson

I am Canadian but grew up in the States until returning to Canada at age 15. I grew up being taught a US centric worldview so extreme, it was as if the US was the world. World history, culture and achievements that did not involve the US was absent in the classroom, conversation, the news etc. I also remember watching Saturday morning cartoons and they would air propaganda under the title ‘Schoolhouse Rock’. Basically the UScan do no wrong, the problems are with everyone else. I think the show producers took inspiration from Goebbels – and this show was targeting kids aged 6 to 11! I was also indoctrinated to have racist views as my parents would say ‘All niggers are good at is stealing. They are all the same. What you expect anyway, they can’t read or write’.

When I returned to Canada I learned about the world outside the US and my attitudes changed quickly. My lesson about the world outside the US started with my very first day in a public school in a small mill town in Ontario. The mill town was suppose to be rough and the school as well. I thought it was the safest school I had ever been to. And I was also amazed the the smartest guy in my grade (grade 10) was black. I was astonished, how could that be?

Well then I grew up.


Your experience in the US is most interesting and essentially it was and is the brainwashing of any successful cult on a scale that rivals a religious cult.

The list of goals to be achieved in order to fully control a nation in this way were set down in the doctrine of the ‘Frankfurt School of Thought ‘ during the 1920’s and early 30’s.

The USA is a perfect example of Amoral State Power fed by Political and Corporate Corruption, Deviant Behaviour, Nepotism, Self Delusion, Abject Cruelty, a Partisan ‘jewdiciary ‘ , a population that is almost completely ignorant in all senses of the word and totally hedonistic with the national hubris of spoilt children .

S Melanson

Yes indeed. The other issue is US exceptionalism that is pervasive in attitudes towards the rest of the world. First it was manifest destiny that justified expansion at the expense of Spain and most of all the indigenous nations. By 1900, manifest destiny applied to the entire Western Hemisphere as the exclusive sphere of the US. After WWII, the new mantra became leader of the free world. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the whole world was expected to come under the American’s boot.

Now the US is getting pushback as the world reverts to multipolar power versus single hegemon. This will be a good thing for all, including the US. But above all, the US must discard exceptionalism – vanity is one of the 7 deadly sins…


You are correct in all that you say and as I oft say, all empires throughout history have been subject to the hubris of their populations that is encouraged by their rulers.

The US Empire is now crumbling under the weight of the consequence’s of hubris. Only last week the US Senate introduced a Bill to halt ALL new federal spending on national infrastructure and to channel the money to the US military instead :)

Ken Nonickname Nonecknom Under

These neocon pundits live on the Flat Earth under a glass dome on George Soros’ desk.
Everything they say is true, just not in the real world.


–” No public outcry stopped George W. Bush…”–
The runnup to the Iraq invasion was met with some of the largest anti-war protests in US history and across the globe easily the largest collective anti-war movement ever.

It was ignored. The US govt is no longer licensed by the citizens of the country – deranged and amok. Many people recognize the truth of what Dr Roberts speaks, it makes no difference – the govt is beyond the reach of democracy by any legal means.


Well spoken; “easily the largest collective anti-war movement ever. It was ignored”.
The well heeled government “civil service”(sic) and elected reps have been bought and know the bought media will cover their Lies.
It is just as disheartening for Americans who are in the know as it is for the rest of the world.


It has been that way a long time. And it is the ponzi scheme type monetary system that has allowed it.

People still run to vote for someone they are told represents their ideals, and their interests as a citizen. While we live in an oligarch.

Our so called foreign policy has been dictated by international bodies such as the CFR and the
Tri lateral commission since WW2.

“This regionalization is in keeping with the Tri-Lateral Plan which calls for a gradual convergence of East and West, ultimately leading toward the goal of one world government. National sovereignty is no longer a viable concept.”
Zbigniew Brzezinski


And these are owned by the globalist bankers. They now own most everything. They own credit. And usury.

Hegemony via banking, with a US petro dollar sustaining the invasion for globalism. U.S. supplying the muscle. the bombs and guns, the blood. While the media and the rest of the establishment support that purpose.

Globalists have known how to fuck with the herds mind since Eddy Bernays
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
p. 37

“In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons […] who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.”
p. 37–38.

See 2002 documentary for the BBC by Adam Curtis called “The Century of the Self.”
It is also now a pharmaceutic mind fuck. Drinking an EPA designated class 4 developmental neuro toxin, absent any benefit by doing so. Only reduced IQs. There are over 50 studies showing IQ damage. Many hundreds more showing others harms, including cancer.

America drinks 70% or so of the fluoride dispensed in the water, on the planet. Most of the rest of it drank by commonwealth allies such as Canada and Australia. Interesting huh…

“The average loss in IQ was reported as a standardized weighted mean difference of 0.45, which would be approximately equivalent to seven IQ points for commonly used IQ scores with a standard deviation of 15.* Some studies suggested that even slightly increased fluoride exposure could be toxic to the brain. Thus, children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. The children studied were up to 14 years of age, but the investigators speculate that any toxic effect on brain development may have happened earlier, and that the brain may not be fully capable of compensating for the toxicity.

“Fluoride seems to fit in with lead, mercury, and other poisons that cause chemical brain drain,” Grandjean says. “The effect of each toxicant may seem small, but the combined damage on a population scale can be serious, especially because the brain power of the next generation is crucial to all of us.”



Then there are the mass murderer creating SSRI drugs and ilk. Creating zombies.

It is my opinion, that America has been designed to purpose. And I do not blame Americans,
for being dominated and used for purpose.

People refuse the big picture. Discussing bought and paid for Obama or Bush or Trump. They all “what” whacked JFK and a few others.

While the money = debt = slavery goes on. The globalism.

simplicity, is usually the truth. .

The globalist will have to dominate the WHOLE herd eventually , in order to impose a feudalistic sustainability.

Big dogs done won. Clever bankers. And that is called fascism. And the fascists want globalism.


“Some even believe we [Rockefeller family] are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – One World, if you will.If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it ”
| David Rockefeller |


And these clever globalists own oil, and credit, and food, and the majority of international corporations.


“So no, it’s not a hyperbole to say the Banking System is One. We’re not overstating the case when we say it’s just one massive cartel. That the banks own everything, including all the major industries. Oil, Weapons, Pharmaceuticals, Food, Telecom and IT, etc. It’s all one massive monopoly. Controlled from the top down “

’A total of 737 control 80% of it all”

The Money Power is real and these Swiss gentlemen have done us a favor by crunching the numbers.”

Please Google “The network of global corporate control”


Perhaps they feel less need to hide it now. Obama called Americans exceptional. Many beLIEve that. And if anyone protest too loud, they can arrest them, for subjectively determined terroristic behaviors. Without due process. The police state, exists. Under law.

Thing is, I am not sure it would be any better, if they fail. We are likely gonna wipe ourselves out, if we go on gobbling up the planet for profit. Stupid chimps in denial of science, and blind to the results of the currently evident end game of inequality.

“Given a ringside seat to the freakshow”


>>How is it that Americans can see and reject the inhumane border control
policy and not see the inhumanity of family destruction that has been
the over-riding result of Washington’s destruction in whole or part of
seven or eight countries in the 21st century?<<

Simple. They see the border control controversy on TV in prime time, whereas all the various warcrimes in those countries get no coverage, because no Western journalists are present when they happen. And whatever non-Western journalists report NEVER gets mentioned on prime time.


Europe is not awash in foreign invaders because of any wars. It is awash because there is an abundance of economic opportunists and young men of fighting age who prefer to live as parasites in the West. Young men from Africa are propelled northwards because of their abysmal cultures and nations not because of any warfare that can be laid at any Western doorstep.

The Western wars are bad for reasons that all such pointless wars are bad but the reason for the immigration invasion is found elsewhere.

Still, a great article.


You are an idiot. Bombs drive them out of their country. Your bombs blowing up business, and schools , and hospitals.

You are a brainless piece of shit. And you are exactly what kind of person he spoke of. A mindless chump. Babbling stupidity and hate.


too bad we cannot report people for dangerous stupidity….


You would make more sense if you weren’t so emotional. You must be a woman, yes?


Do you think that your speculative ignorance is a rational response? Do you think ignorance is knowledge ?

You must be an idiot, yes?

Seth Appel

Your citing of the Balfour Deceleration in this context is disappointing. Surveys from 1920 show a total of 800,000 residents in the area then called Palestine among whom were Muslims. Christians and Jews — very far off from the ‘millions’ you cite above. And you seem to be oblivious to the history of Jewish oppression in Europe from the point of Roman conquest of Jerusalem up until the creation of the State of Israel. Google: Spanish Inquisition, Papal Bulls and the Jews, French Expulsion of the Jews, British Expulsion of the Jews, Russian Pogroms, and you will learn that anti-semitism in Europe started way before the “holocaust attributed to National Socialist Germany.”


you babble stupidity. It happened, you cannot explain it away. And citing further examples of Jewish hardship do NOT change that one bit.

I see you,. Anti semetism is what you Israel does, by murdering and expropriating from and killing Palestinian Semites.

You are just as bad as the Americans.


This is a Great Article for You

None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained

None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained


The road to total tyranny is littered with tests – moments when those atop reigning oppression structures learn how far they can push the boundaries of decency without sparking potent people’s resistance. One such moment when the demented jackass and imperialist butcher George W. Bush marched down a red carpet to screw up his evil, moronic face to announce the U.S. invasion of Iraq on openly false pretexts including the shamelessly idiotic claim that Saddam Hussein’s government had been involved in the September 11, 2001 jetliner attacks and the equally bogus charge that Iraq possessed a threatening stockpile of “weapons of mass destruction.” The president and his team of Orwellian Neocon war pigs faced two days of mass protest across the country and around the world. Still, they were not deterred from launching a brazenly criminal invasion and occupation that would kill more than a million Iraqis, displace millions more, and devastate Iraq almost beyond recognition.

They got away with it. In a decent society, their crime would have sparked massive and prolonged civil disobedience and even revolution. They would have been prosecuted and jailed, perhaps even executed.

Six years later, the silver-tonged neoliberal Barack Obama would audaciously betray his claims to represent progressive “hope” and “change.” He loaded his presidency with highly placed financial and corporate operatives who worked with him and other Washington politicians to bail out the very Wall Street parasites who had recklessly collapsed the U.S. economy. With Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and an angry, “pitchfork”-wielding populace at the gates, an actually progressive President Obama could have rallied the populace to push back against the nation’s concentrated wealth and power structures by moving ahead aggressively with a number of majority-backed policies: a stimulus with major public works jobs programs; a real (single-payer) health insurance reform; the serious disciplining and even break-up or nationalization of the leading financial institutions; massive federal housing assistance and mortgage relief; and passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have re-legalized union organizing in the U.S.

But no such policy initiatives issued from the White House. Barry Citigroup Obama opted instead for the government to keep giving the U.S. populace what William Greider memorably called “a blunt lesson about power, who has it and who doesn’t.” Under Obama no less than under Bush, Americans “watched Washington rush to rescue the very financial interests that caused the catastrophe. They learned,” Greider wrote:

“that government has plenty of money to spend when the right people want it. ‘Where’s my bailout,’ became the rueful punch line at lunch counters and construction sites nationwide. Then to deepen the insult, the American people watched as establishment forces [under Obama’s fake-progressive cover] re-launched their campaign for ‘entitlement reform’ – a euphemism for whacking Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid.”

Americans also watched as Obama moved on to pass a health insurance reform (the so-called Affordable Care Act) that only the big insurance and drug companies could love, kicking the popular alternative (single payer “Medicare for All”) to the curb while rushing to pass a program drafted by the Republican Heritage Foundation and first carried out in Massachusetts by the arch 1 Percenter Mitt Romney.

Obama was just getting started writing new chapters in the annals of neoliberal duplicity. Over the next seven years, the “liberal” and “progressive” – the right even called him “Left” – Obama:

+ Set new records for prosecuting whistleblowers, deported more immigrants than any president ever.

+ Launched a devastating and criminal war on Libya.

+ Ramped up the reckless New Cold War with Russia, in part by helping set up a neo-Nazi coup regime in Ukraine.

+ Helped install a right-wing coup regime in Honduras.

+ Cuddled up the vicious and arch-reactionary Saudi Arabian regime, keeping U.S. weapons flowing to that absolutist state as it began to pummel Yemen into epic humanitarian crisis.

+ Initiated a Darth Vader-esque retooling of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

+ Offered fake constitutional cover for Bush’s criminal torture practices.

+ Expanded the criminal U.S. war on Afghanistan, slaughtering thousands of innocent Pashtun women and children along the way.

+ Expanded the mass-murderous Pentagon system, sponsoring among other things an unprecedented growth of the U.S. military presence in Africa

+ Oversaw an expanded drone war program that Noam Chomsky reasonably described as “the most extreme terrorist campaign in modern times.”

That’s just a short list.

Obama got away with it all and more, boasting of his service to the rich and powerful while depressing and demobilizing the nation’s progressive majority in ways that contributed richly to the election of the malevolent racist and sexist, arch-authoritarian sociopath Donald Trump (who Obama had famously goaded into running for president during a White House Correspondents Dinner). He’s been cashing on his service to the ruling class ever since.

In a decent society, Obama’s crimes and betrayals would have sparked massive and prolonged civil disobedience and even revolution. He would have been prosecuted for war crimes, jailed, and even perhaps executed.

There was, to be sure, the Occupy moment, which Obama helped dismantle through force, but Occupy never really became a lasting movement dedicated to radical transformation. As Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford noted at the Left Forum three weeks ago, Occupy Wall Street was felled in no small part by its own failure to articulate forthright popular demands. It never even demanded the nationalization of the widely hated banks, “the enemies of all mankind” (Ford).

There have been many tyranny tests under the monstrous orange-tinted white nationalist Twitter clown Donald Trump. Where to begin:

+ The opening day trip to CIA headquarters, where he half-jokingly rambled about the US going back to Iraq to “get the oil”?

+ The repeated attempts to repeal even Obama’s inadequate health insurance measure and thereby remove tens of millions of U.S. citizens from health coverage?

+ The insane claim to have won the popular vote but for the votes of illegal immigrants?

+ The idiotic call for a southern border wall combined with the asinine call for Mexico to “pay for it”?

+ The noxious description of Mexican and other Central American immigrants and asylum-seekers as rapists and murderers?

+ The praise and dog-whistling cover he offered to murderous fascist racists in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017?

+ The giant tax cut that the racist real estate mogul trailblazed for the already obscenely super-opulent Few last Christmas season – a socioeconomic atrocity in a nation where the top 10thof the upper 1 percent already owned as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent?

+ The advance pardon that the Tangerine Satan offered to the sickening racist and nativist tent-camp murderer Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona last year?

+ The racist shaming of federal judges who happen not to rule his way?

+ The repeated transparent attempts to place himself above the rule of law?

+ The open assault on basic environmental protections and the eco-exterminist determination to advance the extraction and burning of every last fossil fuel in U.S. reach?

+ The clear and transparent affection he shows for blood-drenched authoritarians the world over?

+ The snap approvals of the planet-cooking Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines?

+ The open embrace of Saudi Arabia’s practically genocidal war on Yemen?

+ The repeated ugly embrace of the National Rifle Association after yet another and then another mass shooting that amounts to homeland terrorism sponsored by the proto-fascistic and white supremacist gun lobby?

+ The open advance of prison privatization and mass incarceration combined with clear disinterest in curbing the ongoing epidemic of racist police shootings?

That’s just a short list.

What would it take to send millions of U.S.-Americans into the streets to confront the total evil of “their” government in the age of Trump? How about this: “Dragging young children kicking and crying and screaming from their parents, separating those children from their parents indefinitely, locking those children up in cages (‘dog kennels’) like animals, and subjecting them to the predators of the American police state”? Would that be enough? Could that do the trick?

I am quoting from John Whitehead’s recent powerful Counterpunch essay, titled “Caging Children, Separating Families,”which continues as follows:

“In McAllen, Texas, undocumented migrant children are being held in cages made out of wire and net. These children are sleeping on concrete floors with thin foil ‘space blankets’ for a mattress.”

“In Brownsville, Texas, reportedly more than 1,000 children who have been separated from their parents are being held in a former Walmart facility with blacked-out windows that has been transformed into a detention center and is being run by a government contractor.”

“Rep. Pramila Jayapal got a chance to speak briefly with some of the migrant women being held at a federal detention facility near Seattle who had been forcibly separated from their children. Jayapal recounts:

‘Thirty to 40 percent of these women came with children who had been forcibly taken away from them. None got a chance to say goodbye to their children—they were forcibly taken away. One said she was deceived, because they were in detention together. Then the CBP officers told her she was going out to get her photograph taken. When she came back, she was put in a different room, and she never got to see the child again. Some of them said they could hear their children screaming for them in the next room. The children ranged anywhere from one to teenagers.’”

“Bear in mind, there is no bedtime story for these children.”

“There are no parents nearby to protect them from the things that go bump in the night.”

“There is no assurance that they will ever be reunited with their parents again.”

This, my fellow Americans, is fascism.

If it smells like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Nazi Holocaust survivors commonly recall the terrible moment when Third Reich concentration camp authorities removed them and other children from their parents, never to be seen again.

Closer to “homeland,” the soulless tearing of children asunder from their parents – recently caught on soul-chilling audiotape by a whistleblower– resonates darkly with the long history of Black chattel slavery that scarred the first two-plus centuries of white Europeans’ unsettling and blood-soaked “settlement” of North America. The caging, chaining, and buying and selling of children and the separation and destruction of Black families were hallmarks of the sinister forced labor and torture regime that was British colonial and U.S. slavery from the 17thcentury through the Civil War.

If the federal government “caging children” and “separating families” doesn’t put you in the streets, what will? Yes, the streets where history is made. So what if big U.S. majorities tell pollsters they don’t approve of caging children and separating families at the border? Most of the policies and actions listed above in this article were and are opposed by the majority of U.S. citizens. Who cares? Talking to a pollster on whether you like or don’t like a particular policy (or politicians) is a pathetically passive act. And going into a voting booth to choose from among a handful of candidates generally selected in advance for you by the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire isn’t much better.

If you are serious about progressive change, you take into the streets, the offices, the shop-floors, the town-square, the pipeline construction sites, the police stations, the prisons, the army bases, the dean’s offices, the plant managers’ offices, the detentions centers, the ruling class abodes and haunts, the airports, etc.

“There is a time,” Brooklyn’s Mario Savio famously said on the steps of Berkeley’s Sproul Hall in 1964, “when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

Millions of white Baby Boomer U.S. Americans acted in accord with Savio’s advice on and around college campuses and sometimes in other environments (draft boards, the Pentagon) during the late 1960s and early 1970s. U.S. Caucasians have not exhibited militancy and courage in response to government and related societal evil on that scale anytime since. Part of it was the role model and moral force of the struggle for Black equality led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and other Black Civil Rights and racial and social justice activists and leaders during “the Vietnam Era.” But another and big contributing factor of it was the Vietnam War draft, which put millions of young middle-class as well as working-class whites at risk of conscription and service in the bloody and dangerous crucifixion of Southeast Asia. The so-called Vietnam War threatened white people, even middle-class white people. It was in the interests of the white Baby Boomers to try to put their bodies on the imperial machine’s gears and levers.

How to get white Americans – still very much the majority in the U.S. (and over-represented in the U.S. political system) – to care enough to do the same for the disproportionately non-white victims of truly terrible things like Trump’s vicious and proto-fascistic border and child-snatching policies or the United States’ giant military and prison state or the nation’s ongoing epidemic of racist police killings? Appeals to morality and common decency will work with a minority of progressive and honorable whites. But my many years in and around white America tell me that you should – like it or not – appeal first and above all to their self-interest. Whitehead’s article hits the perfect note here:

You who are reading this [mainly white lefties at Counterpunch- P.S.] hold tight to your own children. They won’t be yours for long if the government is allowed to prevail in its view that children of undocumented ‘criminals’ automatically become wards of the state.

The government’s rationale goes like this: illegal immigrants are criminals who should be jailed; criminals in jail don’t get to keep their kids; therefore, illegal immigrants shouldn’t get to keep their kids, either.

Wait and see.

Allow the government to inflict this kind of terror on other people’s children, and it won’t be long before you and yours find yourselves in the government’s crosshairs.

Allow the government to strip naturalized persons of their citizenship under trumped up pretexts (yet another tactic being proposed by the White House), and it won’t be long before your own citizenship hangs in the balance.

Allow the government to treat whomever it pleases with disrespect and an utter disregard for the rule of law, and it won’t be long before your rights are also being disrespected.

Whether you’re talking about weapons of war used abroad or police state tactics deployed against enemy combatants, these methods always come home to roost.

So if you’re inclined to advance this double standard because you believe you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide, beware: there’s always a boomerang effect.

Whatever dangerous practices you allow the government to carry out now—whether it’s in the name of national security or protecting America’s borders or making America great again—rest assured, these same practices can and will be used against you when the government decides to set its sights on you.

Indeed, it’s just a short hop, skip and a jump from the government stripping undocumented ‘criminals’ of their parental rights to the government meting out the same treatment to American citizens.

Martin Neimoller was a German Lutheran minister and early Nazi backer who was imprisoned for opposing Hitler’s regime. It’s long been practically a cliché to quote him on the slippery slope that leads to one’s own oppression after one stays silent on the oppression of others. Timeworn and cliched or not, Neimoller’s recollection is perfect here:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

People can move from self-interest to solidarity in the process of seeing their fates as united across lines of race and ethnicity. During the 1930s, with some help from Communist Party activists like the brilliant organizers Herbert March and Henry Johnson, white Chicago packinghouse workers got it that they could not form potent unions in the city’s giant meatpacking and slaughtering plants without reaching out to and learning from the mostly Black workers on those plants’ strategically located killing floors. What became a union and related political culture of racial equality in that and other industrial locales started out on a note of self-interest. But it became something more – real and heartfelt solidarity – in the process of waging working-class struggle from the bottom up. It developed into an awareness that – in the words of the Solomon Burke, a Black former preacher who became one of the “founding fathers” of American soul music in the 1960s:

None of us are free

None of us are free

None of us are free, one of us are chained

None of us are free

And there are people still in darkness

And they just can’t see the light

If you don’t say it’s wrong then that says it right

We got try to feel for each other, let our brother’s know that we care

Got to get the message, send it out loud and clear

Now I swear your salvation isn’t too hard to find

None of us can find it on our own. (On our own)

We’ve got to join together in sprirt, heart and mind

So that every soul who’s suffering will know they’re not alone

None of us are free

None of us are free

None of us are free, if one of us are chained

None of us are free

*Postscript(6/21/2018): Trump deserves no moral credit for realizing that the horrible political optics of his child-snatching policy required him to seem to benevolently reverse course by issuing an Executive Order calling off the separation of children. (No Executive Order was required. A phone call or memo to his Christian Fascist Attorney General Jeff Sessions [who cited the Holy Bible to justify the family separations] would have sufficed.)

Trump betrayed no remorse for his original kidnapping measure. He offered no federal plan for re-uniting the asylum-seeking families (including 2300 kids or more) already torn up at the border. The families already ripped apart will not be “grandfathered” into the new executive order, the White House explained. It will be up to detained and deported parents to try to locate and retrieve their stolen children, many of whom have been taken far away from the border.

The U.S. will continue to absurdly treat the seeking of asylum by Central American refugees as a crime requiring detention. Trump continues toxically misrepresent the refugees as dangerous lawbreakers. The U.S. continues to carry out policies and to support vicious regimes that create misery and violence in Central America – this while pretending to have nothing to do with terrible living and working conditions in the Northern Triangle nations (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras). The U.S. continues to respond to the asylum-seekers with the goal of deterrence, coldly dismissing their obviously genuine human rights claims.

The U.S. continues to work with the private prison industry to set up “baby prisons” and other child detention facilities. Federal authorities do so with the knowledge that a previous federal Consent Decree means that refugee children cannot be detained with their families for more than 20 days and thus can be re-separated from their parents and siblings in just less than three weeks.

Trump is widely expected to resume the child separations. His stand-down’s primary aim is clearly meant to defuse the political and media shitstorm raised at home and abroad by revelations about the horror resulting from his policy. At the same time, immigration lawyer R. Andrew Free reminds us that Trump’s child-stealing policy was just a double-down on Obama’s horrible response to the “unaccompanied minor” crisis that hit the U.S. southern border in 2014. Trump is following in the footsteps of Obama’s “aggressive deterrence strategy,” which involved family detentions and “fast track deportations” without asylum hearings – pretty much the Trump policy without the unhuman pile-on of child separation. It was challenged by an ACLU lawsuit and a US District Court injunction in 2015.

This essay originally appeared at Black Agenda Report, June 20, 2018. I have added a new postscript,* written on June 21st.


good read thx.

Spot on reflection of fact, and future.

They have already come for our children. Their brains are mush from drinking neuro toxins, mal education, and watching gross media while their blood spills on foreign grounds alongside the blood of those we massacre.


good read. Truth just is. He asks how can the US call itself democratic, and do mass murder and support mass murder. How can some say this.

“risks undermining the role of the US as a champion and supporter of democracy on the world “

Well, I know the answer.

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”

― George Orwell, 1984

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