The Ritz Carlton Hotel in downtown Riyadh is now serving as a temporary prison, holding some of the 201 people that have been detained on the orders of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. 1800 bank accounts have been frozen.
The drama is escalating on the international front as well. The Saudis are blaming Iran for a recent missile attack from Yemen. The Prime Minister of Lebanon has resigned from his post, while in Riyahd, and echoes Saudi rhetoric against Hezbollah. The price of oil is rising again, the highest its been in two years, approaching $58 per barrel.
What’s going on? Something is clearly boiling below the surface on the Arabian Peninsula. How can we interpret these chaotic moves?
While the two profiles of mass murderers across the western world in recent years seem totally different from each other, they seem to share a common theme. While the “angry white men” and “ISIS inspired” “lone wolves” have different world views, backgrounds, and perspectives, it is in the psychological underpinnings driving these killers where we can find common ground.
At this point the perpetrators of brutal acts of violence claiming sometimes scores of innocent lives can be divided into two major categories. The first are usually younger American men of European heritage. Devin Kelley who shot up the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs Texas on November 5th, Adam Lanza who mercilessly killed a room of children at Sandy Hook Elementary, James Holmes who gunned down movie goers in Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of the 1999 Columbine Massacre all fit this profile. While Stephen Craig Paddock, who recently shot down country music fans in Nevada was much older than other mass murderers, he can still certainly be considered an “angry white man.”
On Arts Express at WBAI radio, Prairie Miller interviews journalist Caleb Maupin who shares his ideas about the October Revolution, the Soviet Union, 'not-Capitalism' and much more!
Recorded by Arts Express with host Prairie Miller on WBAI radio
In this segment from the radio program “Art Express” hosted by Prairie Miller on WBAI New York, a selection from Caleb Maupin’s remarks in “The Revolutionary Left vs. The Revolutionary Right” is played alongside poetry. The radio program is syndicated by Pacifica Radio across the country. In the selection, Caleb Maupin describes what socialism in the USA might be like.
Recorded by Arts Express with host Prairie Miller on WBAI radio
All across the planet, especially in the urban areas, the cost of living keeps on rising. Yet, at the same time, millions of homes, apartments and other types of housing units remain empty.
If the much heralded "invisible hand" of the free market were operating as the ideological defenders of capitalism tell us it does, then housing prices should be going down. The law of supply and demand should cause such a drop, in the context of over-abundance.
However, this is not the case. Real-estate is no longer a market driven by consumers, but rather by speculation. The owners make their profits, not by renting out their property, but by waiting for an increase in market value and then selling it.
In a very real sense, housing and real-estate has become a new kind of stock market. In a casino-like atmosphere, wealthy people purchase a building, work to increase its market value, and then "flip it" for profit. The current U.S. President Donald Trump became very wealthy as a real-estate speculator in New York City, pioneering the market environment we now see in urban areas all over the world.
From the moment that the Saudi-led onslaught against Yemen began, the USA has been solidly behind Riyadh. Yemen now faces a humanitarian crisis, yet the forces committed to sovereignty and economic development remain strong, nowhere near surrender. Signs now indicate that as the war continues, some circles within the US power structure may be looking at other options, including negotiations.
US media routinely distorts the conflict in Yemen. The primary narrative is that the war is a complex, internal matter with scores of different factions competing for power. Typical US media reports on the conflict in Yemen overload the reader with references, mentioning “the Houthis”, Saleh, Al-Queda, ISIS, tribal forces, etc.; leaving the reader with the impression that Yemen is simply a disastrous mess of armed factions killing each other in ways that are beyond comprehension.
In addition to the primary narrative, more explicitly hawkish publications, specifically a hardline minority in the US press closely tied to Israel and Saudi Arabia, will repeat an even more distorted narrative. FOX News and the Wall Street Journal, both part of News Corporation, which is partially owned by Saudi Arabia, will often tell a story about Iranian imperialism. They present the war as Saudi Arabia fighting off an attempt by the Islamic Republic to colonize its neighbor.
Both of these narratives distort reality. The war in Yemen is not a deeply complicated mess, and it is not a proxy war with Iran. The war in Yemen is a struggle by one of the poorest countries in the world to assert its independence. Saudi Arabia, aligned with the United States, is fighting to keep Yemen an impoverished, underdeveloped satellite state.
It has become almost cliche to compare the current atmosphere of Russo-Phobia in US politics to the 1950s “Mccarthyism.” The sometimes open and sometimes subtle demonization of alleged Chinese influence in Hollywood has drawn similar parallels. While the anti-Russia, anti-China atmospheres of the 1950s and today are very different, in some ways they are quite similar. The commonalities between the two episodes point to certain truths about the psyche of the American people, especially certain demographics, and what those demonizing the two Eurasian superpowers are really afraid of.
An Inner-Party Purge
The opening of Mccarthyism in the USA, much like the current “Russia Investigation” was a fight within a major US political party. Though Mccarthyism eventually moved toward Republicans calling Democrats “soft on Communism,” the period opened with the Democratic Party purging its own ranks of a distrusted element.
Prior to the Second World War, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had often stood up to his own party in order to transform the United States. Democrats who opposed him had formed the “American Liberty League” in the 1936 Presidential election. Prominent Democratic leader Al Smith urged opposition to Roosevelt saying that the USA “can have only one capital, Washington or Moscow!” This was, of course, a not so subtle recognition of the fact that Roosevelt’s mass movement of supporters had many outspoken Communists and Socialists in its ranks. Though Roosevelt died 1945, after the war, the leftist political army that had backed him remained intact.