US intelligence thinks you’re stupid: ODNI report blames Russia, ignores Colombian election interference
Russiagate is back! That’s right. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei meddled in the 2020 U.S. election. But not only they: Lebanese Hezbollah, Cuba and Venezuela did it too. I know what you’re thinking: Where is the evidence? Well, the ODNI report doesn’t show any. But phrases like “we judge,”“we assess,” “probably,” and “likely” are used dozens of times. Apparently for corporate media, that’s good enough.Never mind that, way down on the last page, the report says “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” So it’s the opinion, the estimation of the intelligence agencies.
Joe Biden and the decline of American power
Whether it's the Middle East, Russia, Iran or China, the new administration is changing the language (out goes the "China virus") while keeping the substance. Last month, Blinken said Trump "was right in taking a tougher approach to China", while commerce secretary Gina Raimondo has said she will continue the Trump policy of using the "full toolkit at my disposal... to protect America and our networks from Chinese interference". Economist Jeffrey Sachs describes US exceptionalism - established 200 years ago with the Monroe Doctrine, but actually as old as the first colonial settlement in America - as a “civic religion”, which sees the US having a “destiny and duty to expand its power and the influence of its institutions and beliefs until they dominate the world”. Dwight Eisenhower, who left the role in 1961, was the last US president to seriously question the pursuit of military supremacy and intolerance of other ideologies and political systems that has governed US foreign policy since 1945 when President Truman dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “We must be careful to ensure that the ‘merchants of death’ do not come to dictate policy," Eisenhower warned at the end of his time as president. Biden is no Eisenhower (who still authorised the overthrow of democratic governments in Iran and Guatemala). His support for Israeli colonialism is no less unconditional than Trump’s, even if his officials make weak noises about a long-dead two-state solution. US military aid to dictators like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi continues, despite massive human rights abuses carried out by his regime. In the wider Middle East and beyond it, the US finds itself at odds with too many international agreements and institutions to list - from arms control, to human rights, to climate and health, exemplified by Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organisation just as the Covid-19 pandemic required global cooperation like never before. The US, like Russia, China and Israel, is one of the few countries that is not a signatory to the ICC. Trump even imposed sanctions on the court’s officials. Washington’s ever-growing regime of sanctions against countries that defy its will today includes Iran, Venezuela, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Cuba - imposing immense suffering on their peoples while failing to dislodge any regime.
Austerity-Addicted Media Scaremonger Over Infrastructure ‘Spending Spree’
As soon as Democrats took over Washington with big plans for reviving the economy, corporate media started sounding the alarm about government spending (FAIR.org, 1/25/21). With the party’s infrastructure bill—which could come in around $2 trillion over four years—now pending, the media deficit hawks are on high alert, tossing around big, scary numbers to throw cold water on the bill. It’s hardly surprising to find deficit hawkery from the Washington Post editorial board (3/11/21), which urged Democrats to “offset some or all of the cost [of the infrastructure bill], through higher revenues, reduced spending on lower-priority items or a mix of the two.” But proposals for government spending on long-overdue infrastructure investment are also spurring “straight” news reporting full of largely unfounded assumptions and concerns. On ABC‘s This Week (3/14/21), host George Stephanopoulos framed his first question about the infrastructure bill to House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi with bold certainty: “That’s going to require new taxes. Can you keep Democrats united behind a proposal like that and attract any Republican support?” When Pelosi avoided the question of taxes, Stephanopoulos pressed further: “But it is going to take new taxes, right?”