When I was in the third grade my class was given an assignment. We were each asked to write a letter of support to the presidential candidate of our choice. The two main candidates that were running for president at the time were Republican Gerald Ford and Democrat Jimmy Carter. Since my parents were Democrats and Jimmy Carter seemed to me to be a nice man when I saw him on our black and white Panasonic television, I decided to write to him instead of his opponent.

Jimmy Carter ended up winning the election and a month or so after he won, I received an official signed two page letter of invitation (with a photo that is featured above) to his inauguration. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Riley, was ecstatic about my being invited, saying she’d never seen this happen before in all her years teaching. “Maybe my letter was good?”, I thought. In retrospect getting the invitation probably had more to do with my letter being the only one of 27 letters that wasn’t written to the Republican candidate. Mineola, New York was and still is an overwhelmingly red/Republican town.

My parents were both working at the time so I wasn’t able to attend, but I still have the invitation. This was the beginning of what would, for me, end up being four plus decades of involvement with and membership in the Democratic Party.

The 1980s

When I think back on the 1980s I remember them through a hybrid lens of baseball, break dancing, rock n roll music and girls with big unmoving hair. The general colors and images I associate with the period are a mix of softened yellow, green and purple pastels, Don Johnson via Duran Duran era deck shoes and a lot of sanguine success oriented memes.

I remember sitting in our family car at a red light on Jericho Turnpike with my dad in about 1982 or 83 and him saying “Ronald Reagan will eventually go down as the worst president in history.” This was around the time that Reagan was beginning what would eventually become a forty year Republican and later a bipartisan campaign whose aim was to chip away at Roosevelt’s New Deal, union by union, regulation by regulation, safety net by safety net.

Up until very recently I still thought my dad was right. I still thought that Ronald Reagan would eventually go down as the worst president in American History. I no longer feel that way though. I still feel that his policies ushered in an era of unparalleled decadence and decline, but the title of worst President ever, no. It would be forty years before that crown could be placed, with certainty, on an American president’s head. But I’ve digressed. We’ll get into those details a bit later.

1992 to 2008

Since I’ve written extensively about this period in previous articles I’m going to avoid going into a bunch of details here about how the Clinton administration sold out the Democratic Party and completed the Reagan era deregulation plan. For more info on this I’ve included an article I wrote two years ago that goes into the matter in more depth. That article, along with a few others I’ve written, explains the onset of a burgeoning wealth gap crisis that started taking on monstrous proportions during the Clinton/Bush Jr. years and hasn’t let up since.(1)

What’s most important in the context of this particular article is to note the big policy shift that took place during this period. It’s a shift that has gone largely unmentioned for two decades now by the corporately controlled mainstream media, a media that began taking its’ oligarchical form right after the Telecommunications Act (1996) was put into effect during the Clinton administration’s tenure in Washington.(2) This Act did away with a slew of private ownership limits on mainstream media moguls.

The Big Policy Shift

In the years that followed the dissolution of The Soviet Union in 1991/92, the war industry completely reneged on its promises to Russia to cut back on eastward expansion of NATO and to bring Russia into the cooperative global economic fold. In fact, a massive eastward expansion of NATO was set in motion in the 1990s along with an unprecedented increase in military spending, weapons production and global weapons sales. NATO added Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to its fold over a ten year period spanning from the late 1990s to 2008.

The US’ drive to expand NATO, which was designed over 70 years ago to be a threat to and a protection against a now three decades defunct Soviet Union, has not ceased since 2008. In fact this policy continued throughout the Obama and Trump years and went on unparalleled overdrive during the current Biden administration’s tenure. The question is, Why?!

Getting Back To Me

Two of the three biggest shocks I’ve experienced in the 21st century so far have been the events that took place on 9-11 and Donald Trump’s winning the presidential election in 2016. The night before that election I made a fairly bold proclamation. I said to a room full of people that I thought Hillary Clinton would win without question and that she would surpass Trump by 5 to 7 percent of the popular vote. I was very wrong. And there’s a reason I was very wrong.

Up until the end of 2016 I relied, to a large degree, on mainstream and other accepted status quo sources of news to get my information about major events. Publications like the New York Times and Newsday, TV news programs ranging from the those of the major TV networks to smaller local outlets like PBS and NPR, to cable news shows like CNN, MSNBC and BBC, etc., were where I got most of my information from. I knew that the point of view that these supposedly “left of center” mainstream media outlets were putting forth had been moving to the right, it had been becoming more conservative, at least since 9-11. Up until that point in time though I was confident in my ability to sift through their spin and come to my own conclusions about what I was taking in.

What I became aware of in the years that followed 2016 is that it isn’t only the verbal spin that these news outlets are giving to major events that is problematic, it’s the corporately controlled selectiveness of the reporting and its accompanying images that are the issue.

All of this said, even up until 2020, I still felt that the sources of mainstream left-of-center media, compromised as they were, were at least more truthful than the out and out lunacy that right-of-center media like FOX News spewed. “At least these outlets are not quite as bad as the batshit Republican mainstream sources are.”, I thought. Again, I was wrong.

Sources Outside The Western Mainstream

At the tail end of 2021, just after the Biden administration’s dreadfully mishandled, rushed exit from Afghanistan, I intuitively felt called to begin following the events that were taking shape in and around Ukraine. It was clear to me that the ill-founded Russiagate driven spin that the mainstream media had been framing nearly every post-2016 geopolitical problem in was a deception.(3) It seemed to me that there was more to this developing conflict than was being reported by mainstream Western sources. I started reading up on what was then a possible impending new phase of the current Russia-Ukraine clash which, it turned out, had been taking shape for almost eight years.

The first sources I turned to for information were progressive Western writers and publications that I had come to trust over the last few decades. People like Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges and news publications like The Nation and Common Dreams dot org presented a more rounded perspective of the causes of the conflict than the uniform one-note descriptions that were being disseminated by larger Western corporate media outlets. Later I began to delve into sources outside the Western spectrum. I began listening to news perspectives coming out of all corners of the world. This led me to the development of a parallel perspective, a point of view that didn’t completely jibe with the one I was reading and hearing about in publications and broadcasts like the Washington Post and CNN.

A Deeper Sense Of Doubt Sets In

Aside from reading and listening to alternative perspectives and reports about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I delved more deeply into the recent history of the conflict. In 2014 the US and NATO backed a coup in Ukraine that overthrew a problematic, though democratically elected Ukrainian government. In its place new leadership was installed that became the military pet project of the US and NATO. Well before the 2022 conflict began this new Ukrainian regime received billions of dollars in US weaponry and financial support (a number that will soon reach well over 100 billion in US taxpayer dollars in the coming months of 2023) over an eight year period. (4). I saw that the Ukrainian military had also received seven and a half years of hands on training, on Ukrainian soil, from NATO’s Joint Multi-National training Group.(5)

I also learned that between 10 and 15,000 people were killed in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where a sizable percentage of the population consider themselves to be Russians and are now officially acknowledged by Russia to be Russians. These people have been forced to stop using their native Russian language and they have also been the victim of attacks and bombings by the Ukrainian army since 2015.

Interestingly, I didn’t learn these and other facts about the activities of an extremely violent ultra-right-wing element within the Ukrainian government and military (the Azov Battalion) from outsider sources. I learned these things from articles and exposes I saw on the BBC, in Time Magazine and in other mainstream sources of news and information. These pieces were published between 2015 – 2019 in the years preceding the 2022 phase of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.(6)(7)

None of this led me to side with Russia in their invasion of Ukraine. What it did do was spur me to ask deeper questions about the US’s intentions, not only in this conflict, but in general.

The Third Of Three Huge Shocks

I mentioned earlier that I’ve experienced three particularly big shocks in the 21st century so far. The third of the three began when I learned that at the end of 2021, Joe Biden snubbed Russia’s “red line in the sand”, which stated that it viewed the incorporation of Ukraine into NATO as an existential threat. (8)

Whatever one’s feelings about Russia are, to double down like this, to spit in the face of what has been Russia’s primary concern and dictum since before Vladimir Putin took office in 2000 was deeply reckless. It was an extraordinarily dangerous move.

With this declaration in late 2021, Joe Biden had placed 40 million Ukrainian lives in immediate mortal danger. On top of this, by completely rebuffing Russia’s two-plus decades worth of requests that Ukraine (which sits directly on Russia’s border) remain a buffer state, militarily unaffiliated with either NATO or Russia, Joe Biden placed the future of the entire human race in jeopardy by seriously reigniting the possibility of global nuclear war.(9)

What unfolded a few months later in 2022 was a full-blown manifestation of the imagined worst case scenario that I and so many others feared when Donald Trump took office in 2016. Astonishingly, it turned out that our guy had, without question, trumped Trump’s recklessness and ineptitude. Vertigo had firmly set in.

The Straw That Broke The Donkey’s Back

This information in combination with the US’ unceasing determination to escalate the Ukraine-Russia conflict with no real possibility of negotiation during 2022 made it clear to me that the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian lives meant nothing to US leaders. The US, with its’ lapdog NATO in tow, come hell or high-water, was going to push for a full-on extended proxy war with Russia using the people of Ukraine as cannon fodder. It was to be “A Fight To The Last Ukrainian”.(10)

By the middle of 2022 I would end up reaching a conclusion about the Democratic Party, my party, that shook me to my core. Although I felt this moment coming on for a long time, probably for close to a decade, the last straw had finally been put in its place. In a sense, I had lost what had long been a central aspect of my socio-political religion.

The Hegemonic Hog and The Foxes

If you’ve made it this far in this article there’s a chance that some of what I’ve written has resonated with you on some level. If that’s the case, (really) look into what I’ve said and confirm or reject it for yourself. At the bottom of the citations section (below) I’ll leave a list of clips that offer an alternative point of view to the one that the mainstream Western media has been perpetuating.(11) Hopefully some of it will be of help to you in forming your own opinions about the war and about what the US government and military industrial complex are really up to.

This proxy war has ushered in the death of the US’ hegemonic unipolar era (12). It has produced a strengthening of what were already burgeoning economic alliances between China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Saudi Arabia with Russia.(13) And despite what Western media is telling (and not telling) us, things are not going well for Ukraine on the battlefield. in fact, in all likelihood, Ukraine is not going to win this war.(14)

I take no pleasure in conveying any of this. I voted for the party that’s in power in the US right now. The Democrats have become complete servants of the weapons manufacturing industry and an instrument of potential global destruction. The two-party system has become a corporately run uni-party. The US’ thirty year global hegemonic reign is over. Our greed, our duplicitousness and our violence have overtaken us. We have been outfoxed, largely by ourselves.

(1) https://www.pressenza.com/2020/12/the-fall-of-the-liberal-left-the-rise-of-neoliberalism-and-the-resulting-confusion-that-has-ensued/
(2) https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1095/telecommunications-act-of-1996
(3) https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/rip-russiagate/
(4) https://www.businessinsider.com/congress-explain-how-ukraine-military-aid-advances-us-interests-2023-1
(5) https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/jmtgu
(6) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SBo0akeDMY
(7) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy910FG46C4&t=290s
(8) https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/08/biden-didnt-accept-putins-red-line-on-ukraine-what-it-means.html
(9) https://scheerpost.com/2022/10/24/chris-hedges-stop-worrying-and-love-the-bomb/
(10) https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202203/1255144.shtml
(11) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrMiSQAGOS4 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWuZp1iq72Q , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvYCxK8THbg
(12) https://www.pressenza.com/2022/07/its-the-end-of-the-unipolar-world-as-we-know-it-and-i-feel/
(13) https://www.plenglish.com/news/2023/01/22/several-countries-interested-in-joining-brics/
(14) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC3WjReB_yU