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They Did Not Want Compromise and Consensus. They Wanted War

Helmut Sorge | Posted : December 22, 2020

“When I got home late that night, the house was dark and Michelle was already asleep. After taking a shower and going through a stack of mail, I slipped under the covers and began drifting off. In that luminal space between wakefulness and sleep, I imagined myself stepping toward a portal of some sort, a bright and cold and airless place, uninhabited and severed from the world. And behind me, out of the darkness, I heard a voice, sharp and clear, as if someone were right next to me, uttering the same word again and again. No. No. No. I jolted out of bed, my heart racing, and went downstairs to pour myself a drink. I sat alone in the dark, sipping vodka, my nerves jangled, my brain in sudden overdrive. My deepest fear, it turned out, was no longer of irrelevance, or being stuck in the Senate, or even losing a presidential race. The fear came from the realization that I could win” , noted Barack Obama in his biography “ A Promised Land.”

The End of the Human Race?

Helmut Sorge | Posted : December 09, 2020

Poker is a game for real men, cowboys, for example, ocean divers, stunt men, gambling away their meager pay. Poker is America, as oversized as its trucks, egos and steaks. Poker made its way from quaint southern New Orleans to the rough west, where gold diggers gambled away fortunes, and settlers risked their wagons and horses for a game of cards. Decades ago I met Johnny Moss, a descendent of this wild bunch in Las Vegas. He is the greatest poker player of our time, as his biographer Don Jenkins wrote in his Champion of Champions (1981). Moss was as pale as a hospital bed sheet because most of his time he worked under neon lights. He had a room upstairs in Binion’s Horseshoe Saloon, which Moss only ever left when he was challenged to a golf game—$50,000 or $100,000 for one hole.

The challenge is, what comes next?

Helmut Sorge | Posted : November 27, 2020

As President elect Biden prepares for the enormous responsibility of becoming President of the United States (US), there is one question I want to ask him, writes Stephen Young, Washington Representative and Senior Analyst of the ”Union of Concerned Scientists” on November 7th, 2020: “Sir ,are you a fan of nuclear arms race? Because you are being handed one, a burgeoning nuclear and technology arms race waged by Russia, China and the United States.” Two weeks after Joe Biden will been sworn into office (January 20) the new head of state has, reports Stephen Young, “a golden opportunity” to make the world safer and more secure, by extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New Start), which will expire on February 5th, 2021, if time doesn’t run out for the current extension negotiations between Russia and the United States. New START is the last remaining bilateral arms agreement between the US and Russia, limiting the number of US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear war heads to 1550 each. Donald Trump was set to end the agreement because China was categorically opposed to joining the treaty as Washington suggested. Joe Biden, it seems, is inclined to negotiate with Moscow, however analyst Stephen Young also judges Joe Biden not as “someone who will be naturally inclined to push for major changes in US nuclear policies, even if they would make us safer. Too much campaign money is linked to defense contractors, and too many Democrats are afraid to appear weak on defense”.

After the Election

Helmut Sorge | Posted : November 16, 2020

Though Donald Trump lost the U.S. presidential election, it didn’t stop him claiming victory soon after the vote closed, and asserting that the counting should be stopped. It was abundantly clear that millions of ballots all around the nation were still being processed but nevertheless the president appeared in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 4, speaking at a podium in front of a Trump/Pence banner. “This is a fraud on the American public,” he said. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win the election. Frankly, we did win this election”. Trump’s accusation of rigged elections were “a worst case scenario for the country”, noted Susan Glasser in the New Yorker. The president’s questioning of the basic institutions of the U.S. government aimed at “the desired result [of] a superpower no longer trusting of its own democracy”. Trump’s attempted victory declaration was nothing less, declared Late Show host Stephen Colbert on his talk show, than “a power grab by a terrified strongman in the dead of night”.

The World is Facing a Maddening Bottleneck

Helmut Sorge | Posted : October 29, 2020

Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, there is unlikely to be a quick return to normality. Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading expert in infectious diseases dared a prediction: “We will know whether a vaccine is safe by the end of November, the beginning of December. The question is, once you have a safe and effective vaccine, or more than one, how can you get it to the people who need it as quickly as possible? You’ll have to wait several months into 2021 when you talk about vaccinating a substantial proportion of the population, so that you can have a significant impact on the dynamic of the outbreak. That very likely will not be into the second or third quarter”. Nine candidate vaccines are currently being evaluated for inclusion in the international COVAX Facility, which eventually will organize the global distribution and financing of chosen vaccines. But none of the giants, such as U.S. group Moderna (Phase III), Germany’s CureVac (Phase I), Institut Pasteur/Merck/Themis, an Austrian-American-French consortium (preclinical), or China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals (Phase I) have confirmed that their vaccine is ready to be distributed around the globe. “Rapid responses by governments, academia and industry”, noted Nature, “have already resulted in the production of more than 180 vaccine candidates, 42 of which are being tested in humans at the time of writing”.

Conflict Returns to the Caucasus

Helmut Sorge | Posted : October 27, 2020

War has started again in the Caucasus, a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea consisting of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. It is a kind of mountainous border between Asia and Europe, in a region with vast oil resources that was conquered by Russia a few hundred years ago. The fighting that has erupted is over an enclave known as Nagorno-Karabakh, a remote territory without strategic value that is nevertheless, as writer Andrew Higgins concluded in the New York Times (October 4), “the center of the most enduring and venomous of the ‘frozen conflicts’ left by the collapse of the Soviet Union”. Nagorno-Karabakh has 100,000 inhabitants, predominantly Armenians, and is located within the borders of Azerbaijan and controlled by factions with close ties to Armenia’s capital Yerevan. Relations between the two former Soviet republics, which together have fewer than 13 million people, have been tense since 1991, when Armenian military forces occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally-recognized as a territory of Azerbaijan, a mainly Muslim nation.

QAnon and Creeping Conspiracy Theories

Helmut Sorge | Posted : October 08, 2020

The so-called QAnon conspiracy theory has inspired groups with millions of members on Facebook and is considered by some observers to be “a new American religion”. For the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, the conspiracy theorists could pose a domestic terrorist threat. Q followers believe the baseless messages of their faceless leader(s) that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is running a global child-trafficking ring and plotting against Donald Trump, who is battling them, leading to a day of reckoning that will involve the mass arrest of journalists and politicians, the enemies of the people. QAnon supported Trump’s early opinion that COVID-19 was a hoax, that face masks are not needed, and that infected lungs could be cleared with industrial bleach. Q’s followers have also been informed that North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Un is a puppet ruler installed by the CIA, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a granddaughter of Adolf Hitler. Other outlandish ideas about extraterrestrials and the British Royal family also proliferate, while members of the Hollywood elite are suspected of so-called adrenochrome harvesting, in which adrenaline is extracted from children’s blood to be oxidized into the psychoactive drug adrenochrome.

The American People, Not Vladimir Putin Should Decide Who is President of the United States

Helmut Sorge | Posted : September 28, 2020

Bank robbers are now and then caught because banks, insurance companies, or robbed personalities promise rewards for the arrest of criminals. In the past, Hollywood took the lead in dreaming up such scenarios. But in early August, the U.S. State Department offered a $10 million reward for information leading “to the identification or location of any person, who works with or for a foreign government for the purpose of interfering with U.S. elections through certain illegal cyber activities”.

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