Why I’m so “Obsessed” with Russia-gate

Why am I so “obsessed” to expose Russia-gate ( https://consortiumnews.com/2023/01/07/a-look-back-at-clappers-jan-2017-assessment-on-russia-gate/ ) a pundit asked. In same vein, a colleague called me “one-trick pony”. “Russia has nukes”, I told the first; I reminded the second of my other main “trick”, as Patrick Lawrence elaborates
https://scheerpost.com/2023/01/04/patrick-lawrence-the-sino-russian-summit-you-didnt-read-about/

Biblical Justice: It’s Not What You Think

(bears repeating as we start a new year)
By Ray McGovern (Jan. 1, 2000)
https://raymcgovern.com/2020/01/01/biblical-justice-its-not-what-you-think/

The full text of that post:

Someone saw me described on twitter @raymcgovern as a “Justice person” and asked me “what’s that supposed to mean?”  New Year’s Day seems like a fitting time to attempt an explanation.  In short, it is a faith issue, born of life experience and “Justice-person” mentors specializing in what I would call “applied theology.”  One key mentor is Daniel C. Maguire, who taught Ethics at Marquette University for almost 50 years.  I have internalized what Dan wrote in his seminal work: “The Moral Core of Judaism and Christianity: Reclaiming the Revolution.”  ( Dan also has been an occasional contributor to Consortium News. See, for example: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/09/10/donald-trump-is-us/ .)

In my own teaching/speaking/writing/thinking, I have plagiarized Dan with reckless abandon, with his blessing, and I do not plan to stop anytime soon.  Below is a passage lifted from The Moral Core (pp. 131-132) that speaks to what a “Justice person” is or, at least what I try to be.  In sum, I have learned that there is one thing — first and foremost — that Yahweh, Jesus, and The Prophet care about.  It is that we do justice. (After the quote from Dan, I’ll add a short note about another mentor, Dean Brackley, SJ, a Jesuit with a finely tuned activist social conscience pursuing, first and foremost, justice.)

[from The Moral CoreThe Biblical Perspective on Justice

Bias versus Bias

Most modern, Western conceptions of justice stress its essential impartiality.  For us, judges who are supposed to symbolize justice … could not be considered proper judges and at the same time be biased, prejudiced, and partial.  Bias is incompatible with our abstract concept of justice.

Biblical justice will have none of this.  It is forthrightly biased, prejudiced, and partial.  More accurately, it recognized that all systems of justice are biased, covertly or overtly, and it opts for overt discovery of the bias.  Biblical justice theory is biased and it admits it.

Its bias is two-edged: it is unequivocally partial to the poor and suspicious of the “rich.”  This meaning is etymologically grounded in the very word for justice, since the biblical root for sedaqah, the prime Hebrew word for justice, has from the first a bias towards the poor and needy.  The related Aramaic tsidqah meant “showing mercy to the poor.”  Our modern tendency is to think of justice in terms of criminality or litigation.  Our justice is concerned with trouble.  The biblical preoccupation is wholly other.  Justice is “good news,” especially “to the poor” (Luke 4:18).

So positive (versus punitive) is the terminology used for justice.  God says (literally), “I will not do justice … to the wicked.”  Justice applies to the innocent.

Justice is not reacting to evil, but responding to need.  Woe to those who “deprive the poor of justice” (Isaiah 10:2).  The prime focus of this justice is not on the guilty, but on victims and the dispossessed.

Deuteronomy says:  “You shall not deprive aliens and orphans of justice.”  What justice requires is spelled out in detail: never “take a widow’s cloak in pledge” or a poor man’s cloak if he needs to be warm — even if it is owed to you by a mathematically strict standard of justice.  “When you reap the harvest in your field and forget a swathe, do not go back and pick it up; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow.” When you are harvesting your olives or your grapes, leave some behind: “What is left shall be for the alien, the orphan, the widow” (Deut. 24: 10-22).

This early and often repeated formulation of justice primarily involves not contracts or torts, but compassion, benevolence, and redistribution.  Augustine summed up the tradition simply when he said: “Justice consists in helping the needy and the poor.”  The poor, quite simply, are God’s children and they are marked out for special handling.  That special handling is the prime work of justice.

Because of its overarching concern for the poor, biblical justice is not quibbling legalism.  It is largehearted and magnanimous.  It must, in the course of life, descend to the picky details of legality, but its heart is not there.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Another mentor/friend, Dean Brackley, SJ, put it even more simply:

“It all depends on who you think God is, and how God feels when little people are pushed around.”

You may wish to give that some thought.  Too simple?  I don’t think so.

Dean Brackley applied his experience as a Bronx community organizer and his theology training (PhD, U. of Chicago Divinity School), to “doing justice” — including in El Salvador, where he quickly volunteered to take the place of one of the six Jesuit priests murdered there in late 1979.  Dean died in San Salvador in October 2011. 

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Biden’s Blockheads

Biden’s blockheads (Ivy-laden, elite, exceptional) still in denial they have driven Russia & China together and that against the two, the US military does not have a prayer. Tell Biden he is on a fool’s errand in Ukraine. Putin, Xi (and I) tried yesterday…

Alexander Mercouris Comments on Ray’s ‘Biden Reneged – Now Russian Army Will Talk’

(https://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2022/12/29/biden-reneged-now-russian-army-will-talk/)

By Ray McGovern, December 30, 2022

As some will remember, I have been calling attention repeatedly to Biden’s assurance to Putin one year ago today, that “Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine.”

What did it mean when just 13 days later – following a Biden-Putin conversation on Feb. 12, 2022 – the Kremlin (Ushakov) lamented “we have received no meaningful response on non-deployment of strike weapons systems on Ukrainian territory”. In my view, Putin saw this as further proof that Biden is not his own man, that someone had changed Biden’s mind; in other words, that Biden himself is недоговороспособный (not able, not capable of making a deal).

And so, after securing a nihil obstat from Xi Jinping, Russia invaded Ukraine 12 days after Ushakov’s lament.

Media analysis, a highly useful tool in the hands of experienced analysts (Kremlinologists and Sinologists, in particular) has fallen into disuse. One major exception is Alexander Mercouris. So, before submitting my draft to antiwar.com yesterday, I asked Alexander if he saw things the way I saw them on this important question. I had to go ahead and file my story before he could respond. I was happy to receive these comments from him this morning. I share them with his permission.

Following is text of Dec. 30 email from Alexander Mercouris:

I don’t think you are making too much of this.

I was following the news very closely at the time of this call [the Putin-Biden call of Dec. 30] and I remember that the Russians came away from it guardedly but decidedly more optimistic than when they went in.  They definitely came out of it believing that progress was being made.  

Moreover there is no doubt of the very real anxiety the Russians have had about the deployment of US missiles in eastern Europe ever since that disastrous idea was first floated in the Bush II era, and of their extreme concern – set out at length in Putin’s lengthy address in February when he recognised the independence of the two Donbass republics – about the possibility that the US and NATO might install missiles in Ukraine.  

Undoubtedly one of their objectives is and has been to prevent that happening.

Moreover I have no doubt of the accuracy of the Russian readout.  As you rightly say, the US has never denied it.  Given the importance of the issue to them the Russians would not make up a sentence like the one you have highlighted out of empty air, and the sentence is carefully drafted to make it clear that Biden spoke of an intention, as opposed to a commitment, with the Russians undoubtedly believing that he was signaling a willingness to talk about the issue.  If the Russians were simply making it all up, they would have presumably made it seem that Biden was making some sort of commitment or promise, not just stating an intention.  The fact that the readout has Biden speaking of an intention which fell short of a commitment or promise to my mind gives the readout the ring of truth.

When it subsequently became clear that the US would not agree to talks on this issue, or indeed on any other topic (such as Ukraine’s NATO membership) which concerned the Russians, the Russians must have asked themselves what in that case was the point of the talks the US was purportedly offering to them?  They must have concluded – indeed they have effectively said that they did conclude – that on every issue which was important to them – including the one about the missiles in Ukraine – the administration was simply stringing them along.  That would of course have destroyed whatever trust was left.

I would add that White House readouts have in recent years – and not just during this administration – become extremely uninformative, rarely going beyond cliches.  For any real sense of what was actually discussed in a conversation or meeting with a foreign leader, I am sorry to say that one must now go to the readout produced by the other side.

I would add that this pattern of the Biden administration saying one thing and then doing its opposite is not unique to this case.  During our Live Stream [ See: https://raymcgovern.com/2022/12/11/us-intelligence-community-conflict-with-russia-ray-mcgovern-alexander-mercouris-glenn-diesen/ ] I mentioned how a Chinese readout of a conversation between Biden and Xi Jinping had Xi Jinping telling Biden that whilst Biden repeatedly spoke of his commitment to the One China policy, in reality the Biden administration was taking constant steps that contradicted the policy.  There has now been another similar example. A recording has recently come to light of Biden apparently telling a woman that though the JCPOA is dead, the US will not say so publicly, meaning that though the negotiations to revive the JCPOA purportedly continue, they have now become simply a pretence, and are devoid of substance.  

That this is a ruinous approach to discussions with foreign leaders, who must see such behaviour as deeply duplicitous, and who by the way are by now almost certainly comparing notes with each other (the Chinese and the Russians certainly are), does not seem to occur to anyone in a position of authority in Washington.

END of Mercouris email