In the Age of Stupidity

With every new president elect comes the age of New Stupid

As witnessed during Donald Trump’s recent attendance at the G20 Summit in Osaka and his side trip to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea, relying solely on the counsel of one’s daughter and son-in-law resulted in Trump displaying for the world his total ignorance of the fundamentals of international relations and geo-politics.

Trump insisted on placing his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, on center stage in Osaka for the G20 conclave and at Panmunjom for a hastily arranged meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Ms. Trump acted as if she was on some sort of sorority house outing and was keen to impress her friends with inane statements that stepping into North Korea with her father was “surreal.”

Ms. Trump’s husband failed to impress anyone a week earlier after his long-awaited and overly hyped Middle East “peace plan” (a Zionist real estate deal which is nothing new to the Palestinians and their answer has been NO for 70 years) was presented at a “workshop” in Manama, Bahrain.

Ms. Trump’s husband failed to impress anyone a week earlier after his long-awaited and overly hyped Middle East “peace plan” was presented at a “workshop” in Manama, Bahrain.

While Kushner failed to impress anyone in Bahrain with his peace plan nonsense, his wife, Ivanka, made an utter fool out of herself and the United States by appearing center stage at the G20 Summit.

leaders ogling Ivanka Trump

Tweet of G20 Leaders looking at Ivanka Trump
Rarely was Ms. Trump absent from photographs of the gathered world leaders. A short video link was released by the Élysée Palace in Paris showing Ms. Trump attempting to barge in on a conversation between French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

It is clear from the audio that Trump’s daughter was way out of her league and her insertions of babbling nonsense failed to impress the four leaders, three of whom are responsible for major nations and one for an important international organization.

LOL!

Ms. Trump has only been responsible for using her White House position to enrich her portfolio of handbag, clothing, perfume, footwear, and jewelry companies.

Trump’s neo-conservative war hawk national security adviser, John Bolton, did not accompany the president to Panmunjom. North Korea has made no secret of its dislike for Bolton, an opinion that is shared by many other countries and a sizable percentage of Americans.

Instead, Bolton was banished to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, where he conducted talks with Mongolian state security secretary Davaasuren Damdinsuren.

Bolton’s place in Panmunjom was taken by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who would not even have a job in the television business had it not been for the fact that his father, Dick Carlson, was a past president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and director of the Voice of America.

Together with Ms. Trump and Kushner, Tucker Carlson made up the US contingent in Panmunjom for the first ever “visit” by a sitting US president to North Korean soil.

In fact, two past presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, accomplished much more during their post-presidential visits to North Korea than did Trump for a self-serving “photo op.”

When it comes to the G20 leaders, regardless of politics, it can be safely said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa are in a class by themselves when it comes to experienced practitioners of geo-political statecraft.

Ivanka sounds like a Disneyland tour guide!

At the other end of the spectrum, where inexperienced and outright stupid novices roam, is found Trump and Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. During a joint press conference in Osaka, Trump was asked about President Putin’s belief that “western liberalism” was on the political ropes.

Trump, obviously unfamiliar with the concept advanced during the Age of Enlightenment by such 17th and 18th century figures as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Baron Montesquieu – it should be firmly stated that anyone who ever took a college political science or history course is familiar with the refrain “Hobbes, Locke, and Montesquieu” – began blathering about liberal Democratic cities in California, specifically mentioning Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In a cringeworthy moment, Trump incredulously said, “I guess you look at what’s happening in Los Angeles, where it’s so sad to look, and what’s happening in San Francisco, and a couple other cities which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people.”

It is of little wonder why Trump only seems to bond with Bolsonaro, an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Bolsonaro is a disciple of the Richmond, Virginia-based Brazilian polemicist, Olavo de Carvalho.

Bolsonaro criminal friend of Israel

A fierce opponent of former Brazilian Presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, Carvalho rejects Copernican, Newtonian, and Einsteinian physics, choosing to believe that the Earth does not revolve around the sun; that the concept of infinite numbers, as well as manmade climate change, are hoaxes; that there was no such thing as the Spanish Inquisition; that vaccinations kill people or make them crazy; and that Pepsi sweetened its drinks with aborted human fetuses.

Carvalho has also said that there is insufficient evidence to prove whether the Earth is flat or a sphere. No wonder Trump and Bolsonaro admire one another.

They have become the antithesis of the Age of Enlightenment. They represent a modern “Age of Stupidity.”

One could easily dismiss those like Carvalho as lunatic gadflies. However they have powerful admirers and cohorts, as witnessed in March 2019 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Former Trump adviser and campaign strategist Steve Bannon co-hosted a screening of a complementary film about Carvalho.

Present was President Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a representative for South America of Bannon’s global fascist “Movement.” Following the screening of the film, Carvalho declared that all journalists are drug addicts.

Such a Trump-like statement by the political guru of Bannon and Bolsonaro provides further evidence that our world has entered the Age of Stupidity, where up is no longer down, facts are considered false, and imbeciles like Trump and Bolsonaro, along with their corrupt families, now govern major nation-states.

Mueller probes whether Trump sought election help from Israeli firm

UNESCO says Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is “null and void”

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO.)was established in 1946 to “contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations”.

Image result for unesco says golan heights belong to Syrians

Golan Heights Syria, South Lebanon and the whole of Palestine, hostile Israeli illegally occupies and is at war with all it’s neighbors since it’s establishment, and claims they are surrounded by terrorists.

President Trump’s decision to begin moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem — and disclosure that first-son-in-law Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role in a foundation funding Israeli settlements and lobbied against a United Nations’ resolution critical of those settlements during the transition — are reminders that the foreign government with truly broad influence over U.S. politics is Israel.

Image result for netanyahu animated gif

You see now we are the chosen ones.

(JTA) — U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller has sent investigators to Israel to probe the activities of an Israeli-run social media firm that may have led a social media manipulation effort to help Donald Trump get elected.

The co-founder of the firm, identified as Joel Zamel, who was born in Australia, met in New York three months before the 2016 election with Donald Trump Jr., as well as with Lebanese-American businessman George Nader representing the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who he said wanted to help get his father elected, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The Aug. 3, 2016, meeting was arranged by Erik Prince, the founder and former head of private military contractor Blackwater, who also attended the meeting.

It is illegal for foreign governments or individuals to be involved in American elections. The Israel Police and Zamel are cooperating with the investigation, according to the Times.

After Trump was elected, Nader reportedly paid Zamel a large sum of money, reportedly up to $2 million, because among other reasons given, a company linked to Zamel provided Nader with an elaborate presentation about the significance of social media campaigning to Trump’s victory.

Zamel told the Times that his client never carried out any campaign on Trump’s behalf. “Neither Joel Zamel, nor any of his related entities, had any involvement whatsoever in the U.S. election campaign,” the lawyer, Marc L. Mukasey, said. “There was a brief meeting, nothing concrete was offered or pitched to anyone and nothing came of it,” he also said.

A company connected to Zamel, Psy-Group, had been working on a proposal for a covert multimillion-dollar online manipulation campaign to help elect Trump, The Times reported citing three people involved and a fourth briefed on the effort. The plan involved using thousands of fake social media accounts to promote Trump’s candidacy.

The company, whose motto is “shape reality,” consulted an American law firm, and was told that it would be illegal if any non-Americans were involved in the campaign, according to the report.

Companies connected to Zamel also have ties to Russia, according to the Times.

After Trump’s inauguration, Zamel and Nader visited the White House, where they met with White House advisor Jared Kushner and then-chief of staff Steve Bannon.

President Trump’s decision to begin moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to the disputed city of Jerusalem — and disclosure that first-son-in-law Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role in a foundation funding Israeli settlements and lobbied against a United Nations’ resolution critical of those settlements during the transition — are reminders that the foreign government with truly broad influence over U.S. politics is Israel.

Trump’s Jerusalem announcement also threatened to touch off more disorder in the Middle East, which Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, says reflected the Trump administration’s determination to demand a full capitulation by the Palestinians. I spoke with Abunimah on Dec. 5.

One of Islam’s holiest sites the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, seen through barbed wire.

Dennis Bernstein: We turn our attention back to occupied Palestine.  We have now seen the kind of policy we are going to get from the Trump administration.  Jared Kushner has described bringing peace to the region as his dream.  We are going to talk about that in the context of his investment in settlements there. I suppose the central issue in Palestine this week is whether the embassy is going to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and what will the timing be, as in, will it happen some time soon?

Ali Abunimah: Actually, it will not be moved any time soon.  Trump will announce tomorrow [Dec. 6] that the US is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but he will also sign a waiver delaying the move for another six months and the whole process will likely take years.

Dennis Bernstein: How bad is the situation now?  We know that settlements are being built apace, that the repression continues in the Gaza Strip, where life is barely livable.

Ali Abunimah: It is interesting that no one is actually talking about what is happening on the ground in Jerusalem, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians there are facing systematic ethnic cleansing by Israel.  This includes home demolitions, revocation of residency rights, land confiscations.

In the words of B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, since the occupation of East Jerusalem began in 1967, Israel has treated Palestinians in the city as “unwanted immigrants” and worked systematically to drive them out of the area.  Whatever Trump announces tomorrow will not change the situation.  The so-called international community is doing nothing about it and is letting Israel get away with it.

Dennis Bernstein: Jared Kushner is a broker for illegal settlements.

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Israel’s constant harassment and humiliation the indigenous of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.

Ali Abunimah: He is a donor to illegal settlements, a philanthropist for illegal settlements.  How many headlines have been devoted to Kushner failing to disclose important information in his government ethics filings?  The latest is that he failed to disclose the fact that he was a director of his family’s foundation, which has donated to building settlements in the occupied West Bank, particularly the settlement of Beit El, the same settlement that receives philanthropic donations from David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador in Tel Aviv.

Kushner, who is supposedly charged with coming up with a peace plan, is actually busy funding settlements. Kushner’s family are close friends of Benjamin Netanyahu.  It is just farcical to pretend that anyone like Jared Kushner could ever be an honest broker.

Dennis Bernstein: Is all of this legal?

Ali Abunimah: That’s questionable.  Actually, in the past year there were lawsuits filed challenging this massive multi-billion dollar flow of tax-deductible, so-called charitable funds for illegal purposes, including the construction of settlements and massive donations to groups like Friends of the IDF.

Another issue is this whole business of what Jared Kushner was doing during the transition, when he was trying to undermine the policy of the sitting Obama administration and stop the UN Security Council resolution passed last December condemning Israeli settlements.  This all came out in the context of the Mueller investigation and Michael Flynn’s guilty plea, which revealed not so much a collusion with Russia as a very close collusion between the Trump transition and Israel.

Dennis Bernstein: You would think then that MSNBC, which makes a living on pumping up Russiagate, would want to jump into this case of collusion.

Ali Abunimah: The Michael Flynn revelation did not show collusion with Russia and certainly did not show any interference in the US election.  What Flynn pled guilty to was lying about two meetings.  Flynn is a serial liar, he lied about his work for the Turkish government.

The facts that were filed in the documents with his plea show that a “very senior member” of the Trump transition team, who has since been identified as Jared Kushner, had ordered Flynn to contact every member of the UN Security Council to try to defeat this resolution criticizing Israel.  It was also reported in The New York Times that Kushner had acted at the urging of Netanyahu.

None of this has anything to do with Russian interference in the elections.  What it does show is clear collusion at the highest level with a foreign government [Israel] to undermine and sabotage the policy of the sitting administration.

President Donald Trump places a prayer in-between the stone blocks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017

Dennis Bernstein: It doesn’t appear that Arab outrage is going to have much influence over what happens with this plan to move the capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Ali Abunimah: On the contrary, I think that it has actually been facilitated by the fact that Saudi Arabia, which markets itself as the guardian of Islam, has been engaging in this major rapprochement with Israel, pressuring the Palestinians to accept what amounts to surrender, in order to get them out of the way so that Saudi Arabia and Israel can embrace each other and go to war together against Iran.

The New York Times reported details of the so-called Trump peace plan that Jared Kushner has been putting together, which basically creates a Palestinian state in name only.  The Palestinians would have very limited autonomy in very small non-contiguous areas of the West Bank.  They would have no control, no sovereignty, no capital in East Jerusalem, no right of return for refugees, and so on.  But they would be free to call this a Palestinian state if they want to.

All of this sounds familiar to people who have followed this issue because this is a rehashing of the kind of schemes that have been put forward since the 1990’s.  What is different this time is that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader, was called to Riyadh last month and told by Mohammad bin Salman that he was going to accept this or else.  The thinking behind it is that the Palestinian issue is a thorn in the side of the Saudi/Israeli alliance that wants to escalate the catastrophic confrontation with Iran.

Dennis Bernstein: How does the crisis with the prime minister in Lebanon play into all of this?

Ali Abunimah: The Saudis have been behind so many of the regional disasters, including escalating the situation in Syria by funding a proxy war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.  For two years they have been bombing the poorest Arab country, Yemen, with millions suffering famine and tens of thousands killed and injured.  Saudi Arabia has been unable to defeat the people resisting them in Yemen.  They were trying to destabilize Lebanon and that failed because [Prime Minister] Hariri went home and rescinded his forced resignation under pressure from the Saudis.

Dennis Bernstein: I guess maybe the one silver lining in all of this is the boycott/divestment movement.  There is not much else going on in terms of global resistance to the brutality in occupied Palestine.

Ali Abunimah: I suppose it is possible to look at all of this and just feel immobilized and hopeless.  But I think it is important to feel hope as well.  Even in Jerusalem, Palestinians have been standing up to Israel and winning victories, as they did this summer when they forced Israel to back down from its efforts to impose stricter control on entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound.  That was a real victory for people power in Jerusalem against one of the strongest armies in the world.

Despite a twenty-fold increase in lobbying, Israel has not been able to stop the “impressive growth” of the Palestine solidarity movement, particularly the boycott/divestment/sanctions movement.  So it’s not time to be hopeless, it’s time to get on with the work, because there is lots to do and people power is still winning victories.

Dennis Bernstein: I guess you could say that proof of those victories is the amount of repression and clamp-down of Palestinian students and their supporters all over the country.

Ali Abunimah: And it is across the board now, including the effort of the big Silicon Valley companies who are helping the establishment to censor and limit the reach of independent media like us.  They know that people are listening and we are powerful, even though we may sometimes feel small in the face of the forces that are trying to reshape the world.