Lee Camp: How Corporate America Supports Racism, Hatred & Exploitation (in New & Fun Ways!)

By Lee Camp

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Corporate America Social Justice
Corporations like General Mills and ExxonMobil aren’t going to save us from white supremacist violence or climate annihilation with their piddly tweets.

modicum of attention to the world at large, you’ve noticed that white supremacists constitute a bit of a problem in America. They led an insurrection at our Capitol recently. They’ve been involved in many mass shootings. I, along with many others, was nearly killed by one a few years ago in Charlottesville, Va.after he tried to murder as many peaceful protesters as possible. Our police forces are brimming with white supremacist assholes. And I think they had a popular TV show about ducks and beards not too long ago.

So I believe we can all admit that there are large groups of racist pricks wandering around our country — usually armed, rarely friendly. Everyone knows it. I bet even the racist parents of a 32-year-old white supremacist know he’s a dick. At Thanksgiving dinner they probably tell him, “Listen, Robbie. We’re very proud of you. We love what you’ve done with hating Black people online. But the thing is — you’re kinda a dick. Can you just be more polite? Just approach people slowly and kindly ask if they would like to be racist with you. You don’t have to make such a scene — with all the guns and the camo.”

Anyways, I bring this up because I don’t think we’re going to solve America’s militant hate group problem until we get the help of Fruit by the Foot and Gushers. …You heard me.

We all know that this country will not heal without further efforts from the gummy candy community. I mean, you remember when they solved racist policing in this country, don’t you? In the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, Gushers literally tweeted, “Gushers wouldn’t be Gushers without the Black community and your voices. We’re working with Fruit by the Foot on creating space to amplify that. We see you. We stand with you.”

t just brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it? Gushers was there for Black lives. (Although this tweet does raise the question, “If Gushers wouldn’t be Gushers without the Black Community” then what would it be? Do gummy candies taste different if there aren’t Black people around? What would be the point of that? Why invent a racist candy like that?)

Point being, after Gushers’ unprecedented alliance with Fruit by the Foot (both of which are owned by General Mills), racist police brutality in America ceased to exist (one assumes). And so, building on that success, I think we clearly need another gummy-based Manhattan Project to tackle the unnerving prevalence of extremist hate groups and racist ideology. Perhaps if they made a statement that only good little Proud Boys get Fruit by the Foot? That might do it.

Or perhaps (he writes knowingly) this could be just one of the countless examples of corporate America trying to act like they aren’t an actual negative force on community, sustainability, fairness, and equality.

Chevron and ExxonMobil and banks and credit card companies and franchise restaurants all often tell us they care about Black Lives or care about the LGBTQ+ community or are working to create a safe space for folks with disabilities or they tell us we’re all in this together.

No. We. Aren’t.

Corporations only care about you as far as they can extract profit from you. That is their only goal. The moment Black lives or white lives or Asian lives don’t make them a profit, they no longer give a shit. The moment people try to demand something from them that will benefit the community and world but not improve their bottom line, those companies are not there to listen — just look at  the current fight for unionization at Amazon. Or try going up to Wells Fargo and saying, “Hey, I saw your ad that we’re all in this together. I was so glad to hear that. Really made me feel blisstastic. Seeing as we’re all in this together, I would like to ask you to stop funding oil pipelines that are killing, um, everything. Oh, and also can you stop working with weapons contractors, too? They like to kill children and stuff. So what do ya say? ….Hello? Hello? I thought we were in this together? …Does this mean you also won’t babysit my cockatoo next week?”

Corporate America does not care about you or me or any of us outside of what they can extract from us, and that’s as true for Betty Crocker as it is for ExxonMobil. For example, it has become a problem in America that workers (the ones lucky enough to still have a job or three) are working themselves to the bone. People literally fall asleep or collapse on the job. They’re trying to work non-stop in order to afford meaningless consumer goods like, well, health care. And it’s kind of common sense that if we raised the minimum wage or gave workers free child care and more paid time off then they wouldn’t be suffering so much. So Ford Motor Company saw this problem and said, “Hold my beer.”

The good people at Ford have come out with a new answer to this tragic issue. It’s a hat that keeps you awake while you’re collapsing on the job. No, really. The commercial writes itself — “Just strap this thing to your fucking head while your subconscious brain is telling you that if you don’t sleep soon you’ll DIE, and the hat will tell your conscious brain, “NO! Fight the urge to give in to your urgent biological needs!”

’m hopeful Ford will soon come out with a version of this dystopian headgear that connects to a long tube which you just place up your backdoor so it can vacuum out any waste your body needs to expel. Once you have that device bolted into your skull and secured up your rear, you’ll actually be able to drive for upwards of 56 hours without hitting the brake pedal once. There is a small chance brain matter will ooze out your ears and your heart will explode. But if that happens — guess who’s getting Employee of the Month?!

Corporate America consists of totalitarian entities laser-focused on short-term greed. These corporations have become largely decoupled from reality, from humanity, from sustainability, and from the environment. Any time they take a breather from their rapacious, glutinous greed to belch out some tired exclamation of care for social justice or care for environmental rejuvenation or care for ending inequality and hate — those moments are beyond meaningless. In fact, those moments are actually harmful due to the number of people who honestly believe they mean something, who think the corporate world can ever be a force for good rather than the center of our own waltz off the cliff.

If we want to end oppression, we must end inequality. If we want to end inequality, we must evolve beyond our rancid exploitative socioeconomic system and the corporations that thrive in it.

What to Expect in 2021: Madness, Mayhem, Manipulation and More Tyranny

John Whitehead
ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD. Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

Global Research,

January 06, 2021

By John W. Whitehead

“Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”―George Orwell, Animal Farm

What should we expect in 2021?

So far, it looks like this year is going to be plagued by more of the same brand of madness, mayhem, manipulation and tyranny that dominated 2020.

Frankly, I’m sick of it: the hypocrisy, the double standards, the delusional belief by Americans at every point along the political spectrum that politics and politicians are the answer to what ails the country, when for most of our nation’s history, politics and politicians have been the cause of our woes.

Consider: for years now, Americans, with sheeplike placidity, have tolerated all manner of injustices and abuses meted out upon them by the government (police shootings of unarmed individuals, brutality, corruption, graft, outright theft, occupations and invasions of their homes by militarized police, roadside strip searches, profit-driven incarcerations, profit-driven wars, egregious surveillance, taxation without any real representation, a nanny state that dictates every aspect of their lives, lockdowns, overcriminalization, etc.) without ever saying “enough is enough.”

Only now do Americans seem righteously indignant enough to mobilize and get active, and for what purpose? Politics. They’re ready to go to the mat over which corporate puppet will get the honor to serve as the smiling face on the pig for the next four years.

Talk about delusion.

It’s so ludicrous as to be Kafkaesque.

A perfect example of how farcical, topsy-turvy, and downright perverse life has become in the America: while President Trump doles out medals of commendation and presidential pardons to political cronies who have done little to nothing to advance the cause of freedom, Julian Assange rots in prison for daring to blow the whistle on the U.S. government’s war crimes

You’d think that Americans would be outraged over such abject pandering to the very swamp that Trump pledged to drain, but that’s not what has the Right and the Left so worked up. No, they’re still arguing over whether dead men voted in the last presidential election.

Either way, no matter which candidate lost to the other, it was always going to be the Deep State that won.

And so you have it: reduced to technicalities, distracted by magician’s con games, and caught up in the manufactured, highly scripted contest over which beauty contestant wears the crown, we have failed to do anything about the world falling apart around us.

Literally.

Our economy—at least as it impacts the vast majority of Americans as opposed to the economic elite—is in a shambles. Our infrastructure is falling apart. Our government has been overtaken by power-hungry predators and parasites. And our ability—and fundamental right—to govern our own lives is being usurped by greedy government operatives who care nothing for our lives or our freedoms.

Our ship of state is being transformed into a ship of fools.

We stand utterly defenseless in the face of a technological revolution brought about by artificial intelligence and wall-to-wall surveillance that is re-orienting the world as we know it. Despite the mounting high-tech encroachments on our rights, we have been afforded a paltry amount of legislative and judicial protections. Indeed, Corporate America has more rights than we do.

We stand utterly powerless in the face of government bureaucrats and elected officials who dance to the tune of corporate overlords and do what they want, when they want, with whomever they want at taxpayer expense, with no thought or concern for the plight of those they are supposed to represent. To this power elite, “we the people” are good for only two things: our tax dollars and our votes. In other words, they just want our money.

We stand utterly helpless in the face of government violence that is meted out, both at home and abroad. Indeed, the systemic violence being perpetrated by agents of the government—inflicted on unarmed individuals by battlefield-trained SWAT teams, militarized police, and bureaucratic government agents trained to shoot first and ask questions later—has done more collective harm to the American people and their liberties than any single act of terror or mass shooting.

We stand utterly silenced in the face of government and corporate censors and a cancel culture that, in their quest to not offend certain viewpoints, are all too willing to eradicate views that do not conform. In this way, political correctness has given way to a more insidious form of group think and mob rule.

We stand utterly locked down in the face of COVID-19 mandates, restrictions, travel bans and penalties that are acclimating the populace to unquestioningly accede to the government’s dictates, whatever they might be (as long as they are issued in the name of national security), no matter how extreme or unreasonable.

We stand utterly intimidated in the face of red flag laws, terrorism watch lists, contact tracing programs, zero tolerance policies, and all other manner of police state tactics that aim to keep us fearful and compliant.

We stand utterly indoctrinated in the collective belief that the government—despite its longstanding pattern and practice of corruption, collusion, dysfunction, immorality and incompetence—somehow represents “we the people.”

Despite all of this, despite how evident it is that we are mere tools to be used and abused and manipulated for the power elite’s own diabolical purposes, we somehow fail to see their machinations for what they truly are: thinly veiled attempts to overthrow our republic and enslave the citizenry in order to expand their power and wealth.

It is a grim outlook for a new year, but it is not completely hopeless.

If hope is to be found, it will be found with those of us who do not rely on politicians that promise to fix what is wrong but instead do their part, at their local levels, to right the wrongs and fix what is broken. I am referring to the builders, the thinkers, the helpers, the healers, the educators, the creators, the artists, the activists, the technicians, the food gatherers and distributors, and every other person who does their part to build up rather than destroy.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, “we the people” are the hope for a better year. Not Trump. Not Biden. And not the architects and enablers of the American Police State.

Until we can own that truth, until we can forge our own path back to a world in which freedom means something again, we’re going to be stuck in this wormhole of populist anger, petty politics and destruction that is pitting us one against the other.

In that scenario, no one wins.

There’s a meme circulating on social media that goes like this:

If you catch 100 red fire ants as well as 100 large black ants, and put them in a jar, at first, nothing will happen. However, if you violently shake the jar and dump them back on the ground the ants will fight until they eventually kill each other. The thing is, the red ants think the black ants are the enemy and vice versa, when in reality, the real enemy is the person who shook the jar. This is exactly what’s happening in society today. Liberal vs. Conservative. Black vs. White. Pro Mask vs. Anti Mask. The real question we need to be asking ourselves is who’s shaking the jar … and why?

Whether red ants will really fight black ants to the death is a question for the biologists, but it’s an apt analogy of what’s playing out before us on the political scene and a chilling lesson in social engineering. So before you get too caught up in the circus politics and conveniently timed spectacles that keep us distracted from focusing too closely on the government’s power grabs, first ask yourself: who’s really shaking the jar?

WC: 1347

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John W. Whitehead’s weekly commentaries are available for publication to newspapers and web publications at no charge. Please contact staff@rutherford.org to obtain reprint permission.

Systemic racism or systemic rubbish

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Systemic racism or systemic rubbish

August 09, 2020

By Ilana Mercer, posted with permission of the author

The “systemic racism” refrain is a meaningless abstraction.

Operationalize the nebulous abstraction that is “systemic racism,” or get out of my face!

To concretize a variable, it must be cast in empirical, measurable terms, the opaque “racism” abstraction being one variable (to use statistical nomenclature).

Until you have meticulously applied research methodology to statistically operationalize this inchoate thing called “racism”—systemic or other—it remains nothing but a thought “crime”:

Impolite and impolitic thoughts, spoken, written or preached.

Thought crimes are nobody’s business in a free society. (By logical extension, America is not a free society.)

The law already mandates that people of all races be treated equally under its protection. The law, then, is not the problem, logic is. In particular, the logical error of reasoning backward.

“Backward reasoning, expounded by mystery author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through his famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes,” writes Dr. Thomas Young, “applies with reasonable certainty when only one plausible explanation for the … evidence exists.”

Systemic racism is most certainly not “the only plausible explanation” for the lag in the fortunes of African-Americans, although, as it stands, systemic racism is inferred solely from one single fact: In aggregate, African-Americans trail behind whites in assorted academic and socio-economic indices and achievements.

This logical error is the central tenet of preferential treatment—affirmative action, and assorted quotas and set-aside edicts and policies.

According to diversity doxology, justice is achieved only when racial and ethnic groups are reflected in academia and in the professions in proportion to their presence in the larger population. On indices of economic well-being, the same egalitarian outcomes are expected.

Equalizing individual and inter-group outcomes, however, is an impossibility, considering that it is axiomatically and self-evidently true to say that such differences have existed since the dawn of time.

Nevertheless, absent such wealth egalitarianism and proportional representation in the professions, the walking wounded who control America’s cultural discourse have concluded that racism, systemic or other, reigns.

The systemic racism non sequitur is even harder to sustain when considering the Asian minority, a minority that has had its own historical hardships. In professions and academic pursuits where mathematical precocity is a factor, Asians are overrepresented, consistently outperforming whites. If proportional underrepresentation signals oppression, then overrepresentation, likewise, must reflect an unfair advantage.

And if social justice requires that the State and corporate America act as social and economic levelers—then surely fairness demands that all minority groups that are overrepresented in assorted endeavors be similarly kneecapped in the name of equality? Should not such leveling policies be deployed to make the NBA or the 100-meter dash more “representative” of America?

High among Corporate America’s priorities is acting as a race leveler—voluntarily sniffing out deviationists and generally proceeding against and “reeducating” pay-dependent prey. Corporate America’s human resource departments are in the habit of deluging employees with the piss-poor racial agitprop of illiterate, if degreed, pamphleteers. The woman who wrote White Fragility comes to mind.

In a workplace so shot through with hatred of whites, quite foreseeable is a form of intellectual reparations, where the designated white “oppressors” labor behind the scenes, while the officially “oppressed” manage them and take credit for their intellectual output.

As recounted in Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for American From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011, p. 103), the African National Congress has pioneered “the creation of a unique cognitive caste system.”

Throughout the South African work force, white subordinates with graduate and postgraduate degrees are doing the hard-core intellectual and technical work for their black bosses. The latter often have no more than a 10th-grade diploma but are paid a great deal more than their intellectual skivvies. A black matriculant (possessor of a high-school diploma) is perfectly poised to climb the South African corporate structure; yet, in order to have a ghost of a chance at remaining employed, a white had better possess the Masters or the Ph.D. degree. Given their pallor, promotion for whites is less and less likely.

Unlike systemic racism, intellectual indentureship could quickly become a reality in America.

**

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s currently on Gab, YouTube, Twitter & LinkedIn, but has been banned by Facebook.

What kind of “popular revolution” is this?!

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THE SAKER • JUNE 16, 2020



Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase


I have to say that I am amazed that so many folks on the Left seem to think that the current riots in the US are a spontaneous rebellion against police violence, systemic racism, and history of persecution and exploitation of Blacks and Indians, etc. As for the violence, looting and riots – they are either excused as a result of some kind of righteous wrath or blamed on “infiltrators”. In my previous article I tried to show how the Democrats and the US media tried to instrumentalize these riots and to use them against Trump’s bid for reelection. I accompanied the article with a carefully staged photo-op of US Democrats “taking a knee” in solidarity (as if the leaders of the Democratic Party gave a hoot about Blacks or poor US Americans!).
What I did not mention was how the US (and even trans-national) corporate world backed these riots to the hilt. Here are just a few examples of this:
YouTube:

Amazon, Bank of America & Sephora:

And it is not only in the USA. Check out what Adidas in Germany has been up to:

and finally, my personal super-favorite:
Jamie Dimon and the JP Morgan Chase Bank:

All those of us who thought that the corporate world was all about money, that the corporate “culture” had all the signs of severe psychopathy and that billionaires did not give a damn about the poor and the oppressed, but now we know better: we thought of them as evil 1%ers, and it turns out that there are kind, highly principled people, who care about injustice and freedom and who truly feel bad, very very bad, for all the injustices done to Blacks!
Do you really buy this?
I sure don’t!
These are not small mom-and-pop stores where ethics and kindness still exist. These are the very corporations who benefited most from all the inequalities, injustice, violence and imperial wars of aggression and it would be truly pollyannish to think that these corporations and their CEOs suddenly grew a conscience (the exact same applies to the leadership of the Democratic Party, of course!).
So let’s go back to the basics: corporations are about money, that is a truism. Yes, sometimes corporations try to present a “human face”, but this is nothing more than a marketing trick destined to create consumer loyalty. Now I don’t believe for one second that the mega-corporations listed above expect to make much money from supporting the riots, at least not in a direct way. Nor do I believe that these corporations are trying to impersonate a conscience because they fear a Black consumer boycott (what was true in Tuskegee in the late 1950s is not true today, if only because of the completely different scale of the protests).
So if not money – what is at stake here?
Power.
Specifically, the US deep state – at a major faction within that deep state – is clearly desperate to get rid of Trump (and not for the right reasons, of which there are plenty).

Another victory of the “coalition of minorities” and another defeat for Trump
Another victory of the “coalition of minorities” and another defeat for Trump
There are plenty of signs that illustrate that Trump is even losing control of the Executive, including Secretary Esper contradicting Trump on what is a key issue – restoring law and order – or the US Ambassador to South Korea voicing support for BLM (I consider that these actions by top officials against their own Commander in Chief border on treason). Needless to say, the pro-Dems neo-libs at Slate immediately began dreaming about, and calling for, a military revolt against Trump.
Last but not least, we now have a “free zone” in Seattle, the notorious Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, “CHAZ” aka “CHOP” where, among other “curiosities”, Whites are told to give 10 bucks to a Black person. This means that until law and order are restored to what is now the CHAZ, the United States has lost its sovereignty over a part of one of its cities. That is a “black eye” for any US President who, after all, is the leader of the Executive branch of government and the Commander in Chief of a military supposed (in theory only, of course) to defend the United States against all enemies.
What do all of these developments have in common?
They are designed to show that Trump has lost control of the country and that all good and decent people now stand united against him.
There are several major problems with this plan.
For one thing, this is all completely illegal. What began as a typical race riot is now openly turning into sedition.
The second major problem of this plan is that it relies on what I call a “coalition of minorities” to achieve its goal, it is therefore ignoring the will of the majority of the people. This can backfire, especially if the chaos and violence continue to spread.

Will he take orders from Pelosi?
Will he take orders from Pelosi?
Next, there is the “Golem/Frankenstein” issue: it is much easier to launch a wildfire than to contain or suppress it. Nancy Pelosi might be dumb enough to think that she and her gang can control the likes of Raz Simone, but history shows that when the state abdicates its monopoly on violence, anarchy ensues.
By the way, it is important to note here that Trump, at least so far, has not taken the bait and has not used federal forces to reimpose law and order in Seattle, Atlanta or elsewhere.
He must realize that liberating the so-called CHAZ might result in a bloodbath (there appear to be plenty of weapons inside the CHAZ) and that the Democrats are dreaming about blaming him for a bloodbath. Trump’s strategy, at least so far, appears to let the lawlessness continue and blame the Democrats for it.
While Trump’s strategy makes sense, it also is inherently very dangerous because if the state cannot reimpose law and order, then all sorts of “volunteers” might decide to give it a shot (literally). Check out this headline “Bikers For Trump Organizing to Retake Seattle On July 4th“. Whether these bikers will actually try to take over the CHAZ or not, even the fact that they are preparing to do so shows, yet again, that the state has lost its monopoly on violence.
Finally, this strategy to oust Trump by means of lawlessness and anarchy could greatly contribute to the breakup of the United States, if not de jure, then at least de facto. How?
For one thing, the United States is a big country, not only in terms of geographical size, but also in socio-economic and even cultural terms. Some US states have a large Black population, others much less. But they all mostly watch the same news media. Which means that when there are race riots in, say, Los Angeles or Baltimore, the people who live in states like Montana or the Dakotas feel that it is their country which is threatened. Coincidentally (or not?), these mostly White states happen to have a large part of their population as, Hillary’s famous “deplorables”. Some liberals call these states “flyover states”. It also happens that civilians in these states own a large number of firearms and know how to use them.
The same applies to different locations within any one state. Take California for example, which many view as being very liberal, progressive. Well, that might be true for many cities in California, but as soon as you enter rural California, the prevailing culture changes rather dramatically. The same urban vs rural dichotomy also exists in many other states, including Florida.
The risk here is the following one: some parts of the United States can collapse and become zones of total lawlessness while others will “circle the wagons” and take whatever measures are needed to protect themselves and their way of life.
This does not mean that the US, as a country, will break-up into several successor states. That could only happen much further down the road, but it does mean that different areas of the country could start facing the crisis autonomously and even possibly in direct violation of US laws. When that happens, poverty and violence typically sharply rise. There are already reports of vigilantism in New Mexico(interestingly, in this case the authorities did send in the cops).
In his seminal article “Race and Crime in America” (an absolute MUST READfor any person wanting to understand what is taking place today!) Ron Unz makes a very interesting observation:
“The empirical fact is that presence or absence of large numbers of Hispanics or Asians in a given state seems to have virtually no impact upon white voting patterns. Meanwhile, there exists a strong relationship between the size of a state’s black population and the likelihood that local whites will favor the Republicans”.
In other words, the larger the Black minority, the more likely Whites will vote Republican. Of course, one can dismiss this by saying that these Whites are all racists, but that does not help either because it begs the question of why Whites do not become racists when living next to Hispanics and Asians, but do so when they live near Blacks. The explanation is in Ron’s article: “local urban crime rates in America seem to be almost entirely explained by the local racial distribution” (please see the charts in Ron’s article for the data supporting this conclusion).

This makes for a potentially very explosive mix, especially in a time when police officers now risk a reprimand, a demotion. being fired or even criminal charges for using “excessive force” against any Black suspect (yes, US cops often do use excessive force, but the solution here is not to paralyze the police forces, lest the civilians feel like they need to defend themselves.
As I have said it many times, I don’t believe that the term “race” has a scientific basis, nor do concepts such as “Black” or “White”. This does not mean that they don’t have a political meaning, especially in a country which is obsessed by race issues (yes, one can obsess about non-existing things). In the US most people self-identify with a color, thus to them this is something very real. For example, the figures used in Ron Unz’ article are based upon these concepts understood sociologically, not biologically, and this is the only reason why I use them too, though somewhat reluctantly, I will admit.
Conclusion: this is no popular revolution at all
It is undeniable that a major chuck of the US ruling classes have decided to support the BLM movement and the riots it instigates. Furthermore, these US ruling classes have instrumentalized these riots in a transparent attempt to prevent a Trump reelection in November. And just like the Republicans have been destroying the AngloZionist empire on the international scene, the Democrats have been destroying the United States from within. Far from being a real popular protest movement, the BLM movement is a tool in the hands of one faction of the US deep state against another faction. A lot of Trump nominees/appointees are now seeing the writing on the wall and are betraying their boss in order to switch sides and abandon what they see as a sinking ship.
My personal feeling is that Trump is too weak and too much of a coward to fight his political enemies (if he had any spine, it would have shown at the time when Trump betrayed Flynn only a month into his presidency). History, however, shows that a political vacuum cannot last very long. In Russia the chaos lasted from February to November 1917, at which point the Bolsheviks (who were a relatively small party) easily seized power and, following a bloody civil war, restored their version of law and order. I still don’t see a civil war taking place in the USA, but some kind of coup is, I think, a very real possibility. This is especially true considering that most Democrats will never accept a Trump reelection while most Republicans will never accept a Biden presidency. This is a case of “not my president” powerfully backfiring on its creators.
Those of us who live in the US better prepare for a very dangerous and difficult year!

Criminal Big-Pharma Put in Charge of Covid-19 “Vaccine”

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Big-Pharma – guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, bribery, and a history of exposing the public to dangerous and even deadly drugs – is being given billions to develop a Covid-19 “vaccine.” Would you trust your health to these criminals? 

May 1, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Coronavirus Disease 2019 or “Covid-19” hysteria is sweeping the globe – with mass media-induced public panic paralyzing entire nations, gutting economies of billions as workplaces are shutdown and the public shuttered indoors all while exposed to 24 hour news cycles deliberately fanning the flames of fear. 

The West’s healthcare industry is already profiting both monetarily and in terms of artificial credibility as a panicked public turn to it for answers and safety.

Waiting to cash in on offering “cures” and “vaccines” for a virus that is essentially a bad cold – is the immensely corrupt Western pharmaceutical industry in particular – notorious corporations like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Novartis, Bayer, Merck, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Lilly, and Gilead.
All corporations – without exception – pursuing government-funded vaccines and therapies for Covid-19 are corporations guilty and repeatedly convicted in courts of law around the globe of crimes including falsifying research, safety, and efficacy studies, bribing researchers, doctors, regulators, and even law enforcement officials, and marketing drugs that were either entirely ineffective or even dangerous. 
Government funding from taxpayers across the Western World are being funneled into supposedly non-profit organizations like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) which are in actuality fronts created and chaired by big-pharma to avoid investing their own money into costly research and development and simply profit from whatever emerges from state-funded research.

CEPI – for example – is receiving billions in government funds from various nations that will be used for R&D that results in products sold by and profited from big-pharma. 
Novartis – Plumbing the Depths of the Despicable 
A particularly shocking and appalling example comes from Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis – who is currently attempting to ram through approval of its drug Jakafi as a therapy for severe Covid-19 patients.
A University of Pennsylvania team headed by Dr. Carl June and funded entirely by charity had developed a gene therapy that fully and permanently cured leukemia patients who had otherwise failed to respond to more traditional treatments like bone marrow transplants. During early trials in 2010-2012, one patient – a 6 year old named Emily Whitehead – was literally on her death bed before receiving the revolutionary gene therapy.

Today she is alive and well, in permanent remission. 
What is more astounding about the therapy is that it is administered only one time. That is because after administration the patient’s cells are rewired permanently to fight off cancer. Old cells pass the cancer-fighting information off to new cells as they divide and multiply. 
The therapy developed by Dr. June’s team is not only a one-time therapy, it is also incredibly cost effective. Under experimental conditions the procedure cost under 20,000 USD. Dr. June at a 2013 talk at The Society for Translational Oncology would state

So the cost of goods, it’s interesting. The major cost here is gamma globulin. So the t-cells themselves, with us, for our in-house costs of an apheresis and so on is 15,000 dollars to manufacture the t-cells. 

The charity that funded Dr. June’s team – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) – would see its work sold off to Novartis, approved by the FDA in 2017 and marketed as Kymriah. What was noted by Dr. June himself as costing 15,000 USD to produce under experimental conditions was marked up by Novartis to an astronomical half-million dollars. The New York Times article that reported the drug’s cost never mentions the actual cost of the drug and instead defers to Novartis’ own explanation as to why the drug was so expensive. 
The NYT had previously reported on the therapy’s progress before its acquisition by Novartis, yet NYT writers failed to hold Novartis accountable or inform readers of the actual cost of the therapy and expose price gouging by Novartis. This helps illustrate the mass media’s role in enabling and covering up for big-pharma’s corruption.  

Upon closer examination – and no thanks to publications like NYT – it turns out LLS was and still is in partnership with Novartis and while it denied Novartis had anything to do with the gene therapy funded by LLS and ultimately sold to Novartis – the glaring conflict of interest remains and fits in perfectly with the wider pharmaceutical industry’s track record of corruption, abuse, and placing profits before human life.
The Novartis example is a microcosm of how the entire industry operates and indeed – precisely how it already is exploiting and profiting from Covid-19 hysteria where hard-working researchers have their work funded by shady “charities” only to be bought up by big-pharma and dangled over the heads of the desperate for movie-villain ransoms – all in cooperation with a complicit government and mass media.        
GSK: A Bribery Racket that Rings the Globe
Another pharmaceutical corporation seeking to profit from Covid-19 is GlaxoSmithKline. What those who may be exposed to whatever products GSK markets in response to the virus should know is that GSK has been convicted on every inhabited continent of the planet for operating a global bribery racket aimed at doctors, researchers, regulators, politicians, and even law enforcement officials. 
GSK has been convicted in Asia. The New York Times in its article, “Drug Giant Faced a Reckoning as China Took Aim at Bribery,” would claim:

The Glaxo case, which resulted in record penalties of nearly $500 million and a string of guilty pleas by executives, upended the power dynamic in China, unveiling an increasingly assertive government determined to tighten its grip over multinationals. In the three years since the arrests, the Chinese government, under President Xi Jinping, has unleashed the full force of the country’s authoritarian system, as part of a broader agenda of economic nationalism.

GSK has also been convicted in North America. The London Guardian would report in its article GlaxoSmithKline fined $3bn after bribing doctors to increase drugs sales that:

The pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $3bn (£1.9bn) after admitting bribing doctors and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants to children. Glaxo is also expected to admit failing to report safety problems with the diabetes drug Avandia in a district court in Boston on Thursday. The company encouraged sales reps in the US to mis-sell three drugs to doctors and lavished hospitality and kickbacks on those who agreed to write extra prescriptions, including trips to resorts in Bermuda, Jamaica and California.

GSK corruption also takes place in Europe. In early 2014, the London Telegraph would report in its article, “GlaxoSmithKline ‘bribed’ doctors to promote drugs in Europe, former worker claims,” that:

GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s largest drug company, has been accused of bribing doctors to prescribe their medicines in Europe. Doctors in Poland were allegedly paid to promote its asthma drug, Seretide, under the guise of funding for education programme, a former sales rep has claimed. Medics were also said to have been paid for lectures in the country which did not take place.

And this is only scratching the surface of GSK’s bribery racket and associated impropriety – saying nothing of the wider industry’s abuse and corruption. 
GSK is currently poised to develop and deploy a Covid-19 vaccine with Innovax. Will GSK’s history of bribery and corruption influence the development of a Covid-19 vaccine and its approval for public use?

There is already a convincing answer to that question. 
Big-Pharma Already Caught Faking Pandemics to Fill Their Coffers 
The last wave of hysteria regarding a pandemic came in the form of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak or the “swine flu.” 
If one vaguely remembers H1N1 and needs to look it up to refresh their memory – it’s probably because it was not the pandemic it was promoted as at the time by corrupt public health officials and a complicit mass media.

Among these corrupt public health officials were World Health Organization (WHO) “experts” who were in the pay of big-pharma and used their positions to declare the appearance of H1N1 as a “pandemic” justifying likewise paid-off governments to stockpile big-pharma medication for patients that never ended up needing them.  
The BBC in their article, “WHO swine flu experts ‘linked’ with drug companies,” would admit: 

Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found.

The British Medical Journal says the scientists had openly declared these interests in other publications yet WHO made no mention of the links.

The BBC mentions GSK by name, noting (emphasis added):

…three scientists involved in putting together the 2004 guidance had previously been paid by Roche or GSK for lecturing and consultancy work as well as being involved in research for the companies. 

Roche – also mentioned – currently produces Covid-19 test kits and is obviously making massive profits by selling them amid sustained hysteria over the “pandemic.” It also profited when WHO officials it was paying off declared H1N1 a “pandemic” in 2009. It sold testing kits and anti-viral medication that made their way into entirely unnecessary government stockpiles. 
Reuters in a 2014 article titled, “Stockpiles of Roche Tamiflu drug are waste of money, review finds,” would note: 

Researchers who have fought for years to get full data on Roche’s flu medicine Tamiflu said on Thursday that governments who stockpile it are wasting billions of dollars on a drug whose effectiveness is in doubt. 

The article also noted:

Tamiflu sales hit almost $3 billion in 2009 – mostly due to its use in the H1N1 flu pandemic – but they have since declined. 

Are we really going to allow these same corporations and the corrupt officials they are in league with among national and international bodies take the reins again amid Covid-19?

Serial Offenders Drive Covid-19 Hysteria 
The same WHO – in partnership with the same serial offenders among the pharmaceutical industry – are now leading the response to Covid-19 – and the same complicit mass media that enabled the corruption and abuse of both in the past is helping fuel Covid-19 hysteria today to hand over unprecedented profits and power to these same interests that have repeatedly proven themselves in the past to not only be untrustworthy but also obstacles to – rather than the underwriters of – human health. 
Soon, syringes will be filled with “vaccines” produced by this conglomerate of corruption and abuse, and the public told to roll up their sleeves and have themselves injected by substances created by literal criminals or else. 
Under the illusion of legitimacy, science, and medicine, people will be pressured to submit to big-pharma and their co-conspirators within regulatory bodies, advisory organizations, the government, and the media, and whatever it is they actually fill these syringes with – whether it protects the public from Covid-19 or not – and whether such a vaccine is truly necessary or not. 
While Covid-19 might be an actual pathogen, evidence suggests it does not warrant the overreaction we have seen worldwide. “Covid-19 hysteria” is – by far – having a much more devastating impact on humanity than the actual virus itself.  Amid this hysteria, the biggest genuine threat to human health – a corrupt pharmaceutical industry and their partners in the government – are poised to expand both their profits at the expense of the public, and their power over the public. 
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance

April 30, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

It was very pleasant and informative to read Mr. Gary Littlejohn’s April 19 article, Strengthening the US Dollar: Comments on Ramin Mazaheri. I am very happy that he agreed with my article No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all, which sought to temper the eager glee of those whom I call the “dollar demisers” with some historical facts and socialist-based analysis.

What it seems Mr. Littlejohn essentially did was combine my analysis with a very popular article from “high finance dissident” site ZeroHedge, “Down The Rabbit Hole” – The Eurodollar Market Is The Matrix Behind It All, penned by Michael Every of the Netherlands’ Rabobank, and then add his own considerable insights and commentary.

Mr. Littlejohn wrote such a fine article that I am happy to respond to both his and ZeroHedge’s articles.

He began, ”This supportive response aims to provide recent relevant evidence that many of the likely changes Mazaheri describes are already happening very quickly.”

Things are indeed happening very quickly, but they could also be arrested quicker than people think. My article was a counterweight to the idea that the US (and their Western allies, and their client/puppets) is somehow entirely out of control of this process – it is not. I hope that I have overestimated a prediction of 20-30 years more of dollar dominance, but my article demonstrated how from 2008-20 they have more than just weathered a Great Recession they primarily caused. There will be a true anti-dollar revolution, but nobody can accurately predict any revolution – who could have even predicted this Great Lockdown hysteria?

I’m very glad Mr. Littlejohn agrees with the class-based analysis that the 1% is indeed international – it is not some tinfoil-hat conspiracy claim. This fundamental tenet of socialist analysis seems odd in the West only because it is so rarely said – after all, hedge funds, billionaires and wannabe-billionaires decide the editorial policy of Western media.

But, above all, this remains a competition between two ideologies: capitalist-imperialist cultures (and their repressed client states) and socialist-inspired cultures. The latter culture acknowledges this openly – the former hide and denies it, famously declaring an ideological “end of history“. Both of these cultures remain supranational in scope and reach, even if capitalist-imperialists continue to falsely assume their global political dominance and persist with their “clash of civilisations” (which first came for the Muslims) with a book of self-flattering “universal values” at the tip of their spear.

What Westerners have started to realise – 2008 began this process and the looming 2020 crisis will accentuate it – is that the neoliberal empires they cheered on always intended to come for their 99% as well. For proof just look at Greece, the Yellow Vests and the decade-long austerity self-cannibalisation of the Eurozone. There are those who believe the upcoming explosion of this critical mass will cause the revolution implied by the fall of the dollar – this article will pose an alternative view; it’s a view which Westerners cannot even conceive of much less discuss because – of course – they have no enemies, There Is No Alternative, their ideology conquered even before their armies arrived, they are so willing to die for their own rightly-guided governments… right?

Mr. Littlejohn was right to marvel at the primacy of Western/international high finance in his discussion of the enormous consequences of the recent decisions by the Fed & ECB to purchase corporate bonds.

If we care about our nation, then we must ensure corporations and individuals (and in the US corporations are now legally treated as individuals, in a major 1%er victory) are legally and fiscally subservient to not only our nation’s laws but our nation’s moral values (i.e. the spirit of the law). Capitalist-imperialist ideologies do not have this type of patriotism: their patriotism, due to a system predicated on competition and not cooperation, cannot be displayed via this positive defense but only via a very negative attacking – be it Putin, Russia, Muslims, those on the other side of the political aisle, socialists, the Iraqis, the Vietnamese, the Algerians, etc.

Mr. Littlejohn writes of the corporate debt purchases: ”This seems to allow the development of a possible strategy that discriminates against foreign-owned companies (such as Chinese-owned Huawei) to be starved of Fed funds.

Indeed it does. But nations have a right to defend themselves (like with protectionism), after all; contrarily, national aggression (like with blockades) is the cardinal sin of international law. The new Fed-Treasury open alliance, with BlackRock as their bureaucratic arm, is a problem for the American citizen in that the priority is not the elevation of American corporations/individuals, but of Western/international high finance.

This lack of patriotism is rightly offensive to the many Tyler Durdens of ZeroHedge, but because they reject socialist analysis they don’t fully understand it nor can they proffer actual solutions instead of a useless, destructive Fight Club-esque rage.

ZeroHedge: the West does not rule the whole world, try as they might

It’s important to note the very fair criticism often made of “dissidents-but-not-really” like ZeroHedge: they have been wrong for years. They keep saying that capitalism is about to collapse because just look at this excellent data we culled and this fine analysis… and yet it has not collapsed. This doesn’t make ZeroHedge permanently wrong, necessarily – it could make them ahead of the curve. Mr. Littlejohn was quite right in relying on them as he did.

I also wonder if ZeroHedge would do any better if they were put in charge of the Western economy? ZeroHedge’s editorial line is resolutely Austrian/Chicago economics. They do not publish any articles advocating socialist reforms, but they do publish many anti-socialist diatribes which may or may not be reprinted from the 1930s. Indeed, I am always flattered when they do occasionally reprint some of my geopolitical articles, and I definitely find it very amusing because many of the comments are – and this is a direct quote: “This is the worst thing I have ever read on ZeroHedge!” LOL!!! Well, they are based around socialism, not Austrian/Chicago economic brutality, selfishness and egotism. But when it comes to economics ZeroHedge is not about providing balance and objectivity – they are trying to protect their investments.

But in most newspapers the best, objective hard news about foreign countries is actually found in the business section – they need some truth because they are trying to protect their investments. ZeroHedge is indeed indispensable during this economic crisis because of their excellent taste in culling key hard business news from around the world – we can never find such contrarian-yet-factual, everything-is-not-100%-rosy, up-to-the-minute hard news at any of the Mainstream Media business sections or websites. ZeroHedge knows what to look for regarding Western economic problems and it wants them fixed – they are trying to protect their investments.

One of the favourite sources of analysis for ZeroHedge is Rabobank. Perhaps it is because they are Dutch, and their “junior partner” status in the North European strangulation of Latin Europe gives them some pause regarding the ruthlessness of the Germanic-Austrian-Chicagoan mindset? Perhaps because it is a bank based not only around cooperatives but agriculture as well that they have a very un-New York City view on the desirability of empire? Or maybe not… anyway.

As Mr. Littlejohn wrote of their “Rabbit Hole” article: “It treats the global market for Dollars under a single label, namely Eurodollars, but if one adopts that approach then it tends to downplay the historical significance of the rise of the petrodollar….” Indeed to both assertions – calling the eurodollar the “matrix behind it all” is rather magical thinking – it would be nice if the flaws of capitalism-imperialism could be entirely sourced to this one issue but, alas…. I think Mr. Littlejohn may agree with me that Every overrates the exceptionalism and risk of eurodollars. It’s very name is misleading – “globodollars” would be more accurate than “westdollars”, as socialist countries have participated. Eurodollars are a key part of offshore banking money laundering – they are not some new development – and I will discuss later how they are still, in application and spirit, dollars.

Yet the Rabobank analysis of the future of dollar dominance by Every is useful and has great merit. Here is how Every sees the possible outcomes of this QE Infinity post-corona hysteria world:

“Indeed, look at the Eurodollar logically over the long term and there are only three ways such a system can ultimately resolve itself:

  1. The US walks away from the USD reserve currency burden, as Triffin said, or others lose faith in it to stand behind the deficits it needs to run to keep USD flowing appropriately;
  2. The US Federal Reserve takes over the global financial system little by little and/or in bursts; or
  3. The global financial system fragments as the US asserts primacy over parts of it, leaving the rest to make their own arrangements.”

Thus, the first possibility is for the US to abandon dollar dominance via essentially declaring bankruptcy/refusing to pay debts.

The third possibility is for the global financial system to collapse and for the US to assert primacy over parts of it. But this idea is inherently flawed: socialist-inspired systems would NOT fragment, due to the independent, anti-capitalist, anti-Western nature of their systems.

Argue all you want about how China, Iran, Cuba, Vietnam and others would be negatively impacted by the Great Depression II, but I will argue just as long about how all their laws, governmental economic control, and a culture of interventionism will allow socialist-inspired nations to weather this storm EXACTLY as they have weathered Hot War, Cold War and Western blockades. This report for PressTV I did from Havana on “How the Cuban blockade works” opens with a rare sight in Cuba: a billboard. It reads “The blockade: the longest-running genocide in human history.” What is Great Depression 2 compared to that, at least for Cubans?

So I would not be arguing small points, indeed: Cuba exists, Iran exists, China exists – all resist. Every fatally assumes that the West and the entire globe are synonymous – they absolutely are not!

Thus, option three’s critical mistake is seemingly caused by common Western arrogance: It is not “The global financial system fragments” but the “WESTERN financial system fragments”. Again, this is not a small difference between our analyses: the West does not run the entire globe, try as they might and as self-flattering as that has been for them to insist. Here is the new, corrected option #3:

The WESTERN financial system fragments as the US asserts primacy over parts of it, leaving the rest to make their own arrangements.

The West’s incestuous 1% will maintain their primacy over the West and their most-favoured puppets, i.e. no change, except for the obvious, looming degradation of THEIR financial system.

Yet Every seems to believe some clients will perhaps slip away from the US/West – really? When he writes “leaving the rest to make their own arrangements” he is completely vague, probably because he is used to equating “the West” with “the world”: how can a nation leave the world, after all? No wonder he is vague. What Every fails to see is that any nation making “arrangements” outside of the West’s orbit can only go over to a necessarily China-focused – which is to say, a socialist-inspired bloc-focused – arrangement which is indeed already in place.

How can it not be binary in this fashion?

Is Every saying that some nations will soon adopt the 1979 slogan of the Iranian Islamic Revolution – “Neither East nor West but the Islamic Republic of Iran”? That would be quite interesting and I would cheer very loudly… but I do not expect that many nations will reclaim their sovereignty in such an emphatic fashion in 2020. Every is predicting revolutions (and many of them), which is even riskier than predicting a date for a Covid-19 vaccine.

And why should we be optimistic, when all it takes is some bribes and just a couple thousand soldiers to hold a nation’s capital, transportation hubs and sources of natural wealth (as in all over West Africa with France) – why would the Western 1% just “leave the rest” alone? That would be terrible for the capitalist bottom line: if France stops getting African uranium for peanuts then the consumer costs of their nuclear-dependent energy system will skyrocket, to give a single example among many. Thus, any nation which says to the West that they want to “make their own arrangements” will either need strong patrons (i.e., the anti-Western socialist-inspired bloc), or 1979-Iran style determination for true independence.

Anyway, no nation is a (geopolitical) island – Iran’s turn away form the West necessarily implied a turn to the East, and today they are China’s most trusted non-Oriental ally. Every, in a historical nihilist fashion, negates the existence and reality that There Is An Alternative… sorry Westerners, this IS real and is not some mere fad.

While the US (which leads the Western 1%) may say, “You want your money? Come get it,” (option 1) they will definitely not abandon neo-colonialism (option 3), which is so very, very profitable.

Thus, we appear to be stuck with option 2 – “The US Federal Reserve takes over the global financial system little by little and/or in bursts;”.

But we are not: Every is entirely mistaken to present that as some sort of new development!

The Western central banker collusion which was the “solution” to the 2008 crisis was based around following the diktat of top US bankers regarding when to issue QE and when to enact ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policies). Discussing this evidence that the Fed has colluded with the central banks of their allies was the basis of my 10-part series on the Western “bankocracy” from last winter, but the idea that bankers collude is not at all a new development in socialist thought.

Therefore what will happen is his third option, but accurately modified: The global Western financial system fragments, as the West asserts primacy over as many puppets/clients as possible, but the persistent economic success of the socialist-inspired camp attracts fresh allies.”

Such a development is entirely in keeping with my original article’s thesis of continued, but not endless, dollar dominance. The competition between two ideologies has never ended: the fallout from the corona hysteria may indeed bust out capitalism-imperialism but it cannot & will not cause the socialist-inspired camp to suddenly quit just as their popularity and relative strength is about to peak; just as after 2008 China peaked so high that they were able to end the (allegedly) “unipolar” world.

So where do we go from here? Answer: a slow decline for the West, which – again – is NOT the entire globe

I will keep saying it because it is true: Even if we judge via their own capitalist metrics, China, Vietnam, Iran – these countries have soared over the past four decades while the real economy of the West has been trashed. Iran only began to have postwar hardship when the inhuman Western blockade ramped up with the EU, US, UN triple sanctions of 2011. Even Cuba has had more economic growth and stability since the end of the Special Period (the fall of the USSR) than the West! ZeroHedgers will protest, “But we said not THIS capitalism (the neoliberal form)”, but it’s not like they have remained anywhere but the powerless fringe and, anyway, that is not my problem.

So a “slow decline” is imprecise journalism – it is a continued decline. Maybe a drastic plummeting in dollar dominance is indeed around the corner, but anyone in April 2020 who says they can predict the future is lying.

So what was Every’s take on the most certain scenario? We should learn it because despite its flaws, caused by its unbalanced and blinkered pro-“capitalism with Western characteristics”, it’s a very fine article.

“In other words, the BIS (Bank for International Settlements) is making clear that somebody (i.e., the Fed) must ensure that Eurodollars are made available on [a] massive scale, not just to foreign central banks, but right down global USD supply chains. As they note, there are many practical issues associated with doing that – and huge downsides if we do not do so. Yet they overlook that there are huge geopolitical problems linked to this step too.

Notably, if the Fed does so then we move rapidly towards logical end-game #2 of the three possible Eurodollar outcomes we have listed previously, where the Fed de facto takes over the global financial system. Yet if the Fed does not do so then we move towards end-game #3, a partial Eurodollar collapse.”

Again it’s a fine analysis but hobbled by the same two flaws: Every does not realise that #2 (“where the Fed de facto takes over the global financial system Western financial system”) has already happened, although it certainly must increase in order to forestall #3; and he does not realise that the Fed will NOT take over the financial systems of the “socialist-inspired bloc” with any amount of QE due to the laws, culture and modern history of said bloc. I hope it’s clear where Every goes astray and why.

This is also not my problem, but: To preserve the Western system we should assume that the long, LONG-awaited downloaning of Western QE “right down global USD supply chains” has finally come. However, it has come too late, and it has only finally arrived on top of the economic disaster which is the suicidal (for the West’s lower classes) Great Lockdown, and it will be expressly designed to be just enough downloaning to forestall mass domestic revolt yet not enough to prohibit the endless increasing of the 1%’s market concentration.

QE Infinity (barring an absurd amount of downloaning, which is politically impossible and would amount to a debt jubilee) cannot forever forestall a dollar collapse, but the “dollar demisers” falsely believe that fiscal policy/money issuance is the only tool the Western elite has. The end-of-the-dollar-revolution will not occur after, as I wrote in my first article, rounds of QE are rotated among different allies, and – as needed – massive Western propaganda campaigns, very watered-down but socialist-inspired concessions to the 99%, debt moratoriums, military distractions and maybe even World War III. Maybe even World War IV, too, and this is why I don’t exaggerate against a culture which believes deeply in their “clash of civilisations”:

The Western 1% simply cannot get “in” the socialist-inspired bloc or the yuan – after all, the aristocratic class in Iran, Cuba, China and elsewhere was totally expelled (to the West) – think they won’t make the dollar their “last stand” and use all their tools? As always, the West underrates the totalitarian nature of their most successful sons and daughters, but Iranians, Cubans and others do not. Yes, the economic scale of the crisis in 2020 is (potentially) revolutionary, but anyone who says it has already gone beyond the capacity of the Western 1% to rein it in and keep profiting… all this accuracy-driven journalist can say is, “Maybe, it’s still early.”

At the heart of Every’s argument, ZeroHedge’s complaints, Austrian/Chicagoan indignation that a national economy is indeed the same as a household, and also the West’s many “dissidents but not really” is a common theme that capitalism will implode because they cannot keep “rolling the debt over”. This is essentially echoed by Trotskyism, which holds that capitalism will eventually crumble under the weight of its own contradictions. (It is also notable that all these Westerners also think that the West – which has no enemies, which has no competition, to which no credible alternative exists – can never be defeated, only implode. More arrogance, but I have digressed.)

But they can keep rolling it over.

Again, they can keep rolling it over.

Every believes that the “eurodollar” is so very risky and exceptional because, “They (are dollars which) are not under the US’ legal jurisdiction, nor are they subject to US rules and regulations.” What he has ignored is that the high-finance holders of these dollars and markers are still very, very much informal upholders of the US-led Western system: Every has ignored culture, psychology and history in favor of a purely legal view of these eurodollars, instead of how the owners of these eurodollars operate in practice.

The Caymans, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore (all in the top 13 for eurodollar-dependant nations) – we should be worried that these tax havens will disobey the US and jeopardise the system? We should believe that they are even being honest about their claimed dollar reserves? We should be worried that the 1% is going to start sending their dollars to the average person instead of into these tax havens, creating a liquidity crisis? Anyone who has their money in the Caymans is certainly a parasite on society – we should worry for them, or fear them creating a “moral hazard” reckoning-implosion of the Western financial system? If all these eurodollars in the Caymans disappeared the real global economy would be fine – some rich people would be forced to get by on what’s in their Swiss bank accounts. Eurodollars are a problem – they are often the imaginary credit used by the elite who manipulate the West’s imaginary FIRE/QE economy – but there are bigger fish to fry in April 2020.

However, at root the Eurodollar system is based on using the national currency of just one country, the US, as the global reserve currency. This means the world is beholden to a currency that it cannot create as needed,” – exactly: a large percentage of these tax-haven eurodollars are hoarded, immorally stolen dollars, but they are still dollars. Again, they are not being held by the types of people who can be called “revolutionaries” or “patriots” or “moralists”, LOL – they will not be used in international warfare against the West because they are part of a truly supranational 1% Western financial system. They are held by people who are very over-leveraged, true, but these are not people whom repo men visit, eh? Again – it’s still the dollar which is in charge, and the dollar is on the 1%’s side, not America’s side.

Every’s “nationalist” view – that the Caymans are about to make a geopolitical power play – lacks the wider, better perspective provided by the socialist lens: the Western 1% can indeed collude to create more dollars as they need, and they have since 2008. This group can, “keep USD flowing out or else a global Eurodollar liquidity crisis will inevitably occur”, which Every mistakenly fears. They can indeed keep “rolling it over” via QE Infinity – the fact that QE Infinity is a term which journalists finally devised came up after years of foolish waiting for QE to end shows that the Western 1% has a very sound, but immoral, grasp on reality.

Fundamental question: Why would the West stop rolling it over?

If you ask ZeroHedge they might say – with an oxymoronic “capitalist idealism”: because we can’t reward excessive greed nor failure. LOL….

But who among the West’s high-finance 0.01% will be the class traitor who calls in the marker which implodes the system? He or she would implode his or herself, as well. The West is so big it is not just one person who can implode it, anyway: there is no single marker with a “quadrillion” after the number.

And forget mass domestic protests (which will be banned for months and months in the few Western countries which actually have a protesting culture) because whoever heard of mass protests for “reformism” (which is all Western semi-dissidents propose)? That is nonsensical – mass protests either lead to revolution or they fizzle quickly in the “can’t we all just get along”, middle-class, political status quo-ism which defines the West’s eternally anti-socialist culture.

Thus there is no saviour – individual or national – to be had – there is only long, hard opposition via socialism, which is an entirely new system that has fixed the errors of the old capitalism-imperialism system. Therefore the only entity which could cause the system to explode – if we are being pragmatic – is a bloc led by China. Only they have they weight, combined with their allies, to ever break the dollar’s dominance. But they are not going to do that next Tuesday:

They are not economically strong enough, nor are their few allies, nor do they have enough allies, nor could they be aided within a Western society which has nearly no “5th columnists” but merely “semi-dissidents” whose greatest minor achievement is to not want more war/blockades with the socialist-inspired bloc (because it could blow up the planet, negatively affect the rainforest, trigger negative emotions, disrupt the avocado-toast supply chain, etc.). Look at where we are in April 2020: it is a radical, unheard of idea to be reading of any “socialist-inspired bloc” – how can we say that China today is anywhere as omnipresent and dominant as the USSR-led bloc was in, say, 1945, ’55, ’65, ’75 or ‘85? Many of you right now are denying this idea that in 2020 there is any possible “socialist-inspired bloc” – remember that your (likely) reactionary grandfathers and grandmothers had no such illusions of their total victory.

This relative weakness, this inability to provide an alternative to dollar dominance, is why Iranians will tell you: China is not going to “save” anyone except for China, because they are not strong enough. Iran was the first non-Oriental country to learn this fact, even if some in Iran haven’t learned it yet.

However, what China will do is work with you – they will create long-term plans with you (as China and Iran have done on the Belt and Road Initiative) if you prove your socialist and anti-imperialist bonafides. They will work with you even if you are imperialist-capitalists – it is the only way to gain strength and ultimately beat them.

Every, ZeroHedge, the countless Western Rabobanks – they believed the socialist-inspired bloc had been crushed; they are incredibly upset that the 2008 Great Recession and the phony QE “solution” has permitted China to rise and have the temerity to question their neoliberal, neo-imperial, greedy “universal values”. China is indeed now a threat to the West but it is not yet what the USSR was for decades – a concrete alternative which was willing to foot your bills (the USSR was the only empire where the centre bled for the periphery) while your national culture reforms itself away from imperialist ideals in order to (don’t you get this yet?) break the grip of international high finance on your people.

Thus, the dollar will not be beaten next Tuesday.

This is why corona hysteria will ultimately be manipulated by the Western 1% to strengthen the dollar, i.e. – their dollar and not America’s dollar. Barring reforms – and I have seen none which hyper-financialisation did not take advantage of since 2008 – 2008 will only largely repeat itself.

Indeed, it would take a revolution for a Western crisis to be unsuccessfully manipulated… but “semi-dissidents”, i.e. liberal reformists, hold out that mere false hope. They don’t see – like China, Iran, Cuba and others – that the Western 1% will do, like Mario Draghi of the ECB, whatever it takes to maintain their neoliberal empire.

The proof that this analysis is correct could not be more clearly illustrated than by World War I: a war started by international high finance to forestall the victory of socialism and to defend capitalism-imperialism despite its failure for their 99%.

Mr. Littlejohn grasps these historical concepts, and their political-moral implications, far more than the rabidly capitalist ZeroHedge and their preferred analysts.

Mr. Littlejohn and the dream of Eurasia, a concept which strikes down European exceptionalism

I disagree with Mr. Littlejohn where he gives his extension of Every’s three-outcome analysis:

Even a partial Eurodollar collapse would do serious damage to those countries (more than half) which have sought emergency IMF support, and so this new power gives the Fed enormous political leverage over most major economies and over multilateral agencies such as the IMF, the World Bank or even the European Union [EU]. Given that Trump sees the EU as a potential competitor to the USA, and given the low proportion of US Dollars that its major economies have in relation to their trading needs, the EU is very vulnerable to US economic pressure in the present circumstances.”

Indeed, the developing world who are Western clients and not socialist-inspired clients will have huge problems very shortly. The impact of the Great Lockdown hysteria on the developing world is another article I have been meaning to write, but it will be an extension of Part 3 from the “bankocracy” series: QE paid for a foreign buying spree: developing countries hurt the most.

However, while Trump (who looks even riskier post-corona to the 1% free-trade globalists than he did in November 2016, when they did all the could to prevent his election and his protectionist ideas) may personally see the EU as a competitor, the many people richer than him know that this is not the case – the US and EU will continue to collude. Ergo, not only does the Fed want that “enormous political leverage” but the European 1% wants the Fed to have it, too. The dollar needs to remain in charge for the Western financial system to profitably continue for Europe’s 1% – the structure of the Eurozone was penned by the US for precisely this reason, as was the Plaza Accord for the yen. (As I wrote in the final part of a 7-part series in 2017, which socialistically examined the QE crisis in the Eurozone, “With the Plaza Accord of 1985, Japan adopted the US-orchestrated neoliberal changes that were designed to suck the surpluses from Japan back into the United States.”)

Thus the Fed’s sidelining (outspending) of the IMF and World Bank (but not the ECB, as they can print money) should be viewed as what it is – increased market concentration which will profit the Western 1%, as predicted by Marx. Every’s analysis is so unblinkered-capitalist that he likely cannot see this Eurogroup-Fed alliance, but the fine analyst Alastair Crooke alludes to it; however, Crooke still fails to use the socialist class analysis lens and instead fundamentally looks at such global political changes via a slightly-wider but still outdated nationalist lens.

Europe’s 1% may publicly gripe against the Fed’s decisions but they cannot go against them without effectively declaring war on the dollar. The US, Eurozone, Japan, and Saudi economies, plus their clients, are all intertwined – happily, for their 1%. If they did declare war on the dollar they would only have two options:

  1. Join the socialist-inspired bloc – this means renouncing capitalist-imperialist culture, and that will never happen.
  2. Europe carves out a “Third Way”, in a drastic revolution to the binary ideological system which has raged for over a century. This revolution has been so very often discussed in Europe but it has never, ever happened precisely because Europeans are so very devoted to their capitalist-imperialist culture. They have proven that they don’t want a Third Way, should one even exist. Talk of a “Third Way” has proven to be merely a way for Europeans to arrogantly assert their alleged exceptionalism/chauvinism. At some point they will give up and embrace “Eurasia”, but that is a ways away.

I think Mr. Littlejohn need not worry about “if the Euro collapses as a currency in the coming depression” – the euro, the yen and the dollar will all strengthen in a crisis because that is when investors seek safe havens and these are three of the four biggest global economies in what is soon to be an increasingly economically-depressed global market. All three also collude to fix their currencies relative to each other, due to the interconnected nature of the Western 1%, so while they will jockey for position for export power it is only within agreed-upon limits as it is as a fundamentally-united trio, and also fundamentally (as of 2008) united against the yuan, the champion currency of the socialist-inspired bloc.

So, overall, I think perhaps Mr. Littlejohn underestimates the way the euro/EU can burst free of these bonds to become a sovereign counterweight to the dollar/US, and also that Europe will embrace a culturally-unwanted idea of Eurasia anytime soon. Crooke does a good job in his article of linking the actions of the Fed with what I wrote about in Part 3 of the 2017 series, The hopelessly corrupt structure of the Eurozone & the Eurogroup. I think we simply have to look at how then-Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron organised the takeover of national giant Alstom Energy for GE in 2015 to show that Europe’s leaders will prioritise the US 1% (who are richer and thus have more influence ) than the EU’s 1%. It’s not a “new” or “slow” decline for Europe, but a “continued” decline as well.

Europe does not want sovereignty, which is a modern concept; sovereignty has become “modern” because it has been wiped out by Western-led globalisation. The neoliberal (and thus also neo-imperial) empire which is the EU does not respect sovereignty but suppresses it, as Europe is obviously NOT modern.

It’s difficult to change the matrix which modern Western commentators place the world upon – nationalism, imperialism-as-inevitable, chauvinism against non-Western cultures, existentialism (the feeling of being trapped due to not perceiving any alternative) and the historical & political nihilism which is the legacy of WWII.

It’s thus a radical, unheard of concept which still easily upends Every’s analysis – the West is NOT the entire world. New York, London, Paris and Tokyo will grow even more powerful post-corona due to even-greater wealth/market concentration, but their Greeces, “Flyover Country” and their developing world clients will continue to be bled. And as Western inequality, dominance, militarism and market concentration re-doubles amid their supranational financial system chaos, a whole other bloc is poised to not just weather the storm but thrive amid the post-corona chaos precisely because they rejected the Western legal and cultural system.

It’s not that as if these entities didn’t all collude to try and stop China’s rise – WWII was only more murderous to the Soviets, after all – it’s that they could not. It’s not as if they didn’t beg the CCP to change their laws to allow foreign control of Chinese industries – it’s that China would not. The West finally gave up because the CCP made the Western 1% too much money while still retaining control and serving the Chinese people. It’s not as if the West hasn’t tried to get Iran to go “neoliberal” (LOL) and sell off the 90% of the non-Black Market, non-carpet economy which the Iranian government controls – it’s that they could not. It’s not as if the West hasn’t tried to break Cuba, North Korea and others – it’s that they could not.

You cannot stop an idea, especially a superior idea.

My original article was aimed at the hasty, gleeful “dollar demises” and sought to, as the French say, “put some water in your wine”. The West’s “double bubble economy + Great Lockdown hysteria” crisis now is indeed enormous, but it cannot possibly ruin the socialist-inspired bloc – only themselves because that is THEIR economy, not ours.

That is a very sober – and not immoderately gleeful – analysis from the socialist-inspired bloc.

Mr. Littlejohn is on the right track and hopeful that Europe will come around – who would argue with hope in right action? I would remind Mr. Every that there IS an alternative and that it is not new. I would remind ZeroHedge that socialism does not ban competition and that socialism WILL win the binary ideological struggle, as they have been doing since 1980 (as ZeroHedge keeps pointing out via their fine documenting of the West’s continued economic failures).

I thank Mr. Littlejohn for his time, consideration and efforts.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Who Are You to Call Me a Virus?

By Jeremy Salt

Source

Trump Delivers Remarks During a Coronavirus Update Briefing 01d3b

So the actor Alec Baldwin thinks Trump is a virus. An interesting idea, the virus as a metaphor. Some would say the US itself is a virus, taking millions of lives in its endless wars. Yet others would say we, homo sapiens, are the virus. Imagine how we must look from a million miles away. Squiggling organisms hanging on to a clod of earth as it whirls through space.

Corona is only doing what viruses do. They latch on to living bodies, and die or mutate into different forms when the host can no longer sustain them, which is the state the host of the organism known as homo sapiens, Planet Earth, seems to be rapidly approaching. We adapt to changing circumstances, as all viruses do, but are we are reaching the point when it will be too late to adapt?

Like any virus, we are consuming our host, and never more greedily than in the past 100 years.We are being warned all the time that when the planet is ecologically dead, we will die too. We know this but, riddled with another virus, consumerism, we cannot stop ourselves. We take what we can while we can, just like the viral microdots colonizing our bodies as we once colonized Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Those affected died in their millions. We in the ‘developed world’ lived off their poverty and plundered resources. Now it is our bodies being plundered by an enemy we cannot even see.

We are already being told there will be no return to the normal. Of course, there is no static normal any more than there is a static ‘human nature.’ ‘Normal’ and ‘human nature’ depend on geography, education, cultural conditioning, socio-economic structures and natural or man-made disasters such as war and earthquakes. Both change as circumstances change. Additionally, what is normal in one society is not necessarily regarded as normal somewhere else. ‘Normal’ is what we perceive as being normal, what we are taught to believe is normal but that changes, too. Who in the 19th century could have believed that governments around the world would pass legislation allowing men to marry each other?

Our greedy leaching of the planet’s resources may be hastening the frequency and increasing the scale of natural disasters. After all, how much battering can any fixed object take? Hit a rock often enough and hard enough and it will break. So will iron. While earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis have been recorded throughout history, sinkholes appear to be relatively new. They certainly weren’t in the news three or four decades ago. Could they be a sign that the tormented earth’s crust just can’t take it anymore?

Accelerating consumption requires accelerating industrialization to meet demand. We in the so-called ‘developed world’ know that even if we can drink clean water and breathe relatively fresh air, countless millions elsewhere don’t have either. They live in Africa or they work in the factories of China and Southeast Asia that produce the goods enabling us to lead the good life. Their cheap labor subsidizes the way we live. Their air, rivers, and seas are heavily polluted because of the absence of effective environmental safeguards in their world. This is not accidental or coincidental but the inevitable consequence of economic ‘globalization.’

When the normal gives way to the new normal, what will we learn, something or nothing? The fallout is bound to be substantial. The virus has again exposed the corrupt underpinnings of capitalism. This has happened many times before but we still don’t learn the lesson. Capitalism commodifies everything. Much of what used to have a moral value now has only a market value. Education is still regarded as a right and a necessity, as it certainly is for a corporate sector needing workers and consumers, but the quality frequently depends on money. As for health care, in most ‘liberal democracies’ the citizen only gets as much as he or she can afford. Public health in the US is frequently provided in hospitals starved of staff and resources. This is the same population the capitalist order wants to work and consume endlessly but is not prepared to pay for health services to make sure it can do both.

Globalization appeared as the latest evidence of the adaptability of the capitalist order. It was based on the ‘deregulation’ of economies, which added up to the clearing away of all global obstacles in the way of corporate profits. National borders were turned into lines on the map and governments into the regional satraps of corporations, which would make their offers and go somewhere else if their terms were not accepted. As they had the money, they had the power.

Societies were turned against each in the interests of profit. With tariff barriers dropped, the corporations closed their factories and headed for countries where labor was cheap and the workforce controlled by anti-strike legislation and the competition for jobs. In these countries, they could produce goods at a fraction of the production costs in their home countries. They could then export their goods back to the home country and sell them as if they had been made there.

This is not just what governments allowed but encouraged. They opened the door to the flight of manufacturing industry. In cities across the US, Britain, Australia, wherever one looked, once-thriving factories were abandoned and the people who worked in them left without jobs and possessed of skills employable only in other factories that had been closed down. The privatization of essential government services swung into effect at the same time. Given that no risk was involved in the supply of water, gas and electricity, this was no more than the transfer of vast amounts of public money into private pockets. Social services built up with public money over more than a century disappeared almost overnight. The fine old buildings from which these services were provided were sold off for corporate use.

These shifts were harnessed to the destruction of labor unions and the notion of ‘enterprise bargaining’ which left the individual worker in search or a higher salary or better working conditions to face the corporation on his or her own. This was like putting a bantamweight into the ring to fight a heavyweight. Herbert Spencer’s rugged 19th-century individualism and the jungle rules of social Darwinism underpinned the new order, summed up by Margaret Thatcher in her remark that “there is no such thing as society.” Economically, of course, for the corporations to take maximum advantage of the new/old circumstances, society – a word denoting a small or large human community working together for the common good and forming associations to protect common interests – there could be no such thing as what society used to be.

Alighting on new hosts, the virus of globalization left the old host in ruins. The rust belt in the US is the evidence. Factories were closed down en masse and cities fell into ruin. Livelihoods had already been swept from under the feet of blue and white-collar workers when the financial institutions collapsed in 2008/9. The endless privatization of profit was succeeded by the socialization of loss. It was the people who had to pay for the corruption and malpractice endemic in financial institutions, through the loss of their jobs and homes and the siphoning-off of their taxes. The res publica – the ‘public thing’ – had shown the people where their government’s first loyalties lay.

According to Mike Collins, writing in Forbes business magazine, “The operating principles of the big banks is a cesspool of greed, [lack of] ethics and criminal intent.” Insider trading was a large part of the picture, so was money-laundering with the US branch of HSBC bank, which was found to have laundered $881 billion for Mexican drug cartels. The rating agencies (Moody’s and Standard and Poor) giving a AAA rating to the banks granting a flood of unrepayable sub-prime mortgages were paid by the same banks. By 2015, Mike Collins estimated, the bailout had cost not the $700 billions the people were originally told but $16.8 trillion (Mike Collins, ‘The Big Bank Bailout,’ Forbes, July 14, 2015.)

There had to be some sacrificial lambs (Lehman Brothers) but with the help of ‘government’ money – the people’s money – the rest were soon back on their feet, making mega profits without having to pay back one cent of the torrents of cash that had pulled them out of the ditch. What better metaphor can there be for such rapacious capitalism than that of the virus? Having eaten its way through society – the host body – it was then given a new lease of life by a government elected to protect society.

The virus is a metaphor that has no limits. All living things consume to live. Something has to die so they can live. Some people eat to live. Others seem to live to eat. They are encouraged to over-consume by the addictive ingredients deliberately fed into the food and drink chain by producers. An obese population is an unhealthy population but one that keeps returning healthy profits even as medical costs soar that the corporations don’t have to pay. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 42.7 percent of the US population was obese in 2017/18, with the prevalence of obesity increasing 1999-2000 from 30.5 to 42.4 percent. The annual cost of treating obesity was $147 billion. Thus, while Africans and many others starve, many Americans are eating until they practically burst.

Extreme violence is another aspect of the American demographic. The viral nature of capitalism requires a police and a miitary to suppress discontent at home and open up new territories abroad. Profit-seeking can know no territorial limits. Like any virus, it will spread as fast and as far as it can. Eduardo Galeano’s ‘open veins’ of Latin America were veins opened up in every part of the non-European world. The prize was natural resources, the means were the cycles of invasion and occupation that have continued for centuries down to our time. When Donald Trump says of Syria’s oil that it is ours “and we will do with it what we want” he was only expressing the logic that has underlain imperialism all along, if rarely so crudely expressed.

Most wars have an economic motive, usually dressed up as what we are doing for you, not what we are doing to you. The wars on Iraq were not only about oil, as they were designed to pulverize a country regarded as threatening to ‘order’ and ‘stability’ as defined by the US and more generally ‘the West.’ The language was the same in the 19th century and between then and now, so were the consequences for the native population: mass destruction and death. By such means were ‘civilization’ and progress preserved. Only the principal actors (Britain and France in the 19th century, the US now) and the technology have changed, the latter allowing the invader to kill and crush more comprehensively.

American violence has a viral quality, intrinsic to the organism from the beginning of European settlement. Once the native Indian population had been suppressed, other threatening elements had to be contained and destroyed as they arose. As blackness threatened whiteness, Afro-American were enslaved, segregated, lynched and burnt alive until finally granted the rights and opportunities that came as the birth right of white Americans. Random killings by police, the massively disproportionate black prison population and the activism of white supremacists stand as the evidence even now that the virus of racism has not been suppressed.

Viruses always move on. Suppressed by a vaccine, they will mutate into a slightly different form and take root again in the host body. This is what the world is experiencing with the coronavirus, which surfaced just after the financial institutions began to plunge into a deeper abyss than 2007/8. According to the New York Times, the US administration is now contemplating “a vast financial bailout that would dwarf the federal government’s response to the 2008 crisis … the scale of the problem is unlike anything Washington has ever faced before.” This bailout “could” top $2 trillion and not the initial $18.3 billion approved by Congress. (‘Washington Weighs Big Bailout to Help US Economy Survive Coronavirus,’ New York Times, March 18, 2020. Note that the bailout is designed to rescue the ‘economy’ from the virus, not from the failures of a socio-economic system which has sent to the country to the wall time after time).

No questions as to where the money is going will be allowed despite the Freedom of Information Act: as the virus is allowing state governments to confine people to their homes, there can be no public protests. The police and national guard will be on hand to suppress those who defy the ban. Memories of outrage at the bilking of the public in 2008 will account for these precautions.

As one commentator has observed, in 2008 Wall Street was bailed out and Main Street landed with the bill. A repetition could ignite a public backlash with “potentially catastrophic consequences” (‘Washington Weighs Big Bailout,’ New York Times) so the bailout this time has to be handled with greater finesse, with more of the cash allocated to the hard-pressed citizenry. Even as the financial crisis broke, however, the familiar chicanery, insider trading and the timely selling-off of shares by corporations, was resurfacing.

Can this be mere coincidence, the appearance of one virus to hide the latest ravages of another? The corporate media dismisses the very notion as a “conspiracy theory,” as if governments do not scheme, plot and conspire all the time, against each other, against their mutual enemies and frequently against their own people. Within the realm of possibilities, the possibilities of an accidental release of the virus or of foul play by a government or rogue elements inside a government at least have to be allowed. We still don’t know who was behind the assassination of John Kennedy or the attacks of 9/11. How long will it be before we know the truth or, like these two other world historical events, will we ever know it?

The war on terror having run its course, the war on the virus has followed without a break, allowing governments to build on the ‘homeland security’ edifice constructed after 9/11. Outside fiction, police and the military everywhere are being handed unprecedented powers of arrest, surveillance, and control. In the US and elsewhere millions of people have been subjected to ‘lockdown,’ generally a term applied to a prison after a riot. Whatever a government decides to do, whatever measures it takes to bail out the financial institutions once again, the people will not be allowed into the street to protest.Panicked, fearful of the enemy they cannot see, terrorized by the media, confused by contradictory evidence, and baffled by statistics open to more than one reading, they are doing what they are being told. They have been too effectively frightened to go into the streets. Only the virus is in the headlines, allowing the bailout to proceed quietly behind the scenes.

We live in a world of viruses. Emptying the planet’s natural resources and preying on other species to feed ourselves, we behave no differently ourselves. Eventually, someone will come up with a cure for the coronavirus but who is going to cure us? We have to do it ourselves, but will we?

Trump Regime Escalates War on China by Other Means

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, April 10, 2020

China is aggressively targeted by Washington because of its growing political, economic and military power on the world stage.

Pompeo falsely accused its ruling authorities of “repression…unfair competition…predatory economic practices, (and) a more aggressive military posture (sic).”

All of the above explain how the US operates, its agenda defined by its war on humanity at home and abroad — COVID-19 used as a pretext to pursue it.

Enactment of the US Secure and Trusted Communications Act last month was the latest anti-China shoe to drop.

It requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a $1 billion fund to help small telecom firms remove existing Chinese equipment the Trump regime and Congress consider a threat to US security — despite none posed, no evidence suggesting it.

The measure prohibits using US subsidies to buy network communications equipment from Huawei and other Chinese tech companies.

A Justice Department statement said various “Executive Branch agencies unanimously recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoke and terminate China Telecom’s authorizations to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States,” falsely adding:

The company’s operations in the US potentially lets the firm “engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of US communications.”

A joint disinformation statement by House Energy and Commerce Committee co-sponsors said the following:

“Securing our networks from malicious foreign interference is critical to America’s wireless future, especially as some communications providers rely on equipment from companies like Huawei that pose an immense threat to America’s national and economic security (sic).”

The measure has nothing to do with “ensuring the integrity of America’s telecommunications systems.”

It’s all about China bashing, the latest step to weaken the country economically and technologically.

It aims to ban use of products by Chinese tech giants Huawei, ZTE, and other high-tech firms from the US on the phony pretext of national security concerns.US-China Economic Warfare: Chinese Enterprises Blacklisted by the US

Last year, the US Commerce Department’s so-called “entity list” effectively banned Huawei and scores of other Chinese tech companies from the US market and supply chain.

They include enterprises  involved in producing aviation related products, semiconductors, engineering, as well as other high-tech products and components.

Falsely claiming these enterprises act “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States” is cover for wanting corporate America to have a leg up on Chinese competition — especially related to the rollout of 5G technology, Huawei leading the race globally.

At stake are trillions of dollars of economic value, why Huawei and other Chinese tech firms are targeted by Washington.

Blacklisted companies are prohibited from purchasing US technology without Washington’s permission, Huawei and its 70 affiliate companies notably targeted.

According to Competitive Carriers Association director Steven Barry, the new law “essentially attempt(s) to rebuild the airplane in mid-flight” by requiring US users of Chinese telecom equipment to remove and replace it while attempting to maintain uninterrupted operations.

On Monday, the US  Semiconductor Industry Association, National Foreign Trade Council, and seven other US industry groups wrote Trump regime Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, saying:

Proposed US changes “result in significant impacts to the semiconductor industry, its global supply chain, and the broader technology sector,” adding:

“Semiconductors drive the functionality in advanced medical equipment used by health professionals to treat the public” and enable telework.

SEMI president Ajit Manocha wrote Trump, saying proposed anti-China changes will disrupt over $20 billion in US industry business annually, adding:

New rules will “serve as a disincentive for further investments and innovation in the US and lead to the design-out of US technology and components.”

They’ll also disrupt supply chains that are “critical to fighting” COVID-19.

New rules aren’t finalized. Industry pushback may not be enough to halt the Trump regime from fully enforcing them along with more of the same to come.

A Final Comment

COVID-19 is a global issue, falsely called the “Wuhan virus” by Trump and other regime officials. Most likely it originated in the US, not China.

On April 7, UK-based Nature magazine apologized for associating COVID-19 with China, saying:

“That we did so was an error on our part, for which we take responsibility and apologize,” adding:

“(W)hen (a viral) outbreak happens, everyone is at risk, regardless of who they are or where they are from.”

“(A)ssociat(ing) a virus and the disease it causes with a specific place is irresponsible and needs to stop.”

Since early COVID-19 outbreaks, “people of Asian descent around the world have been subjected to racist attacks, with untold human costs” — Chinese nationals mostly affected.

“(W)e must all do everything we can to avoid and reduce stigma; not associate COVID-19 with particular groups of people or places; and emphasize that viruses do not discriminate — we are all at risk.”

“Coronavirus stigma must stop — now.”

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

The Bigger Picture Is Hiding Behind a Virus

By Jonathan Cook

Source

Things often look the way they do because someone claiming authority tells us they look that way. If that sounds too cynical, pause for a moment and reflect on what seemed most important to you just a year ago, or even a few weeks ago. 

Then, you may have been thinking that Russian interference in western politics was a vitally important issue, and something that we needed to invest much of our emotional and political energy in countering. Or maybe a few weeks ago you felt that everything would be fine if we could just get Donald Trump out of the White House. Or maybe you imagined that Brexit was the panacea to Britain’s problems – or, conversely, that it would bring about the UK’s downfall.

Still feel that way?

After all, much as we might want to (and doubtless some will try), we can’t really blame Vladimir Putin, or Russian troll farms spending a few thousand dollars on Facebook advertising, for the coronavirus pandemic. Much as we might want to, we can’t really blame Trump for the catastrophic condition of the privatised American health care system, totally ill-equipped and unprepared for a nationwide health emergency. And as tempting as it is for some of us, we can’t really blame Europe’s soft borders and immigrants for the rising death toll in the UK. It was the global economy and cheap travel that brought the virus into Britain, and it was the Brexit-loving prime minister Boris Johnson who dithered as the epidemic took hold.

The bigger picture

Is it possible that only a few weeks ago our priorities were just a little divorced from a bigger reality? That what appeared to be the big picture was not actually big enough? That maybe we should have been thinking about even more important, pressing matters – systemic ones like the threat of a pandemic of the very kind we are currently enduring.

Because while we were all thinking about Russiagate or Trump or Brexit, there were lots of experts – even the Pentagon, it seems – warning of just such a terrible calamity and urging that preparations be made to avoid it. We are in the current mess precisely because those warnings were ignored or given no attention – not because the science was doubted, but because there was no will to do something to avert the threat.

If we reflect, it is possible to get a sense of two things. First, that our attention rarely belongs to us; it is the plaything of others. And second, that the “real world”, as it is presented to us, rarely reflects anything we might usefully be able to label as objective reality. It is a set of political, economic and social priorities that have been manufactured for us.

Agents outside our control with their own vested interests – politicians, the media, business – construct reality, much as a film-maker designs a movie. They guide our gaze in certain directions and not others.

A critical perspective 

At a moment like this of real crisis, one that overshadows all else, we have a chance – though only a chance – to recognise this truth and develop our own critical perspective. A perspective that truly belongs to us, and not to others.

Think back to the old you, the pre-coronavirus you. Were your priorities the same as your current ones?

This is not to say that the things you prioritise now – in this crisis – are necessarily any more “yours” than the old set of priorities.

If you’re watching the TV or reading newspapers – and who isn’t – you’re probably feeling scared, either for yourself or for your loved ones. All you can think about is the coronavirus. Nothing else really seems that important by comparison. And all you can hope for is the moment when the lockdowns are over and life returns to normal.

But that’s not objectively the “real world” either. Terrible as the coronavirus is, and as right as anyone is to be afraid of the threat it poses, those “agents of authority” are again directing and controlling our gaze, though at least this time those in authority include doctors and scientists. And they are guiding our attention in ways that serve their interests – for good or bad.

Endless tallies of infections and deaths, rocketing graphs, stories of young people, along with the elderly, battling for survival serve a purpose: to make sure we stick to the lockdown, that we maintain social distancing, that we don’t get complacent and spread the disease.

Here our interests – survival, preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed – coincide with those of the establishment, the “agents of authority”. We want to live and prosper, and they need to maintain order, to demonstrate their competence, to prevent dissatisfaction bubbling up into anger or open revolt.

Crowded out by detail 

But again the object of our attention is not as much ours as we may believe. While we focus on graphs, while we twitch the curtains to see if neighbours are going for a second run or whether families are out in the garden celebrating a birthday distant from an elderly parent, we are much less likely to be thinking about how well the crisis is being handled. The detail, the mundane is again crowding out the important, the big picture.

Our current fear is an enemy to our developing and maintaining a critical perspective. The more we are frightened by graphs, by deaths, the more we are likely to submit to whatever we are told will keep us safe.

Under cover of the public’s fear, and of justified concerns about the state of the economy and future employment, countries like the US are transferring huge sums of public money to the biggest corporations. Politicians controlled by big business and media owned by big business are pushing through this corporate robbery without scrutiny – and for reasons that should be self-explanatory. They know our attention is too overwhelmed by the virus for us to assess intentionally mystifying arguments about the supposed economic benefits, about yet more illusory trickle-down.

There are many other dramatic changes being introduced, almost too many and too rapidly for us to follow them properly. Bans on movementIntensified surveillanceCensorship. The transfer of draconian powers to the police, and preparations for the deployment of soldiers on streets. Detention without trialMartial law. Measures that might have terrified us when Trump was our main worry, or Brexit, or Russia, may now seem a price worth paying for a “return to normality”.

Paradoxically, a craving for the old-normal may mean we are prepared to submit to a new-normal that could permanently deny us any chance of returning to the old-normal.

The point is not just that things are far more provisional than most of us are ready to contemplate; it’s that our window on what we think of as “the real world”, as “normal”, is almost entirely manufactured for us.

Distracted by the virus 

Strange as this may sound right now, in the midst of our fear and suffering, the pandemic is not really the big picture either. Our attention is consumed by the virus, but it is, in a truly awful sense, a distraction too.

In a few more years, maybe sooner than we imagine, we will look back on the virus – with the benefit of distance and hindsight – and feel the same way about it we do now about Putin, or Trump, or Brexit.

It will feel part of our old selves, our old priorities, a small part of a much bigger picture, a clue to where we were heading, a portent we did not pay attention to when it mattered most.

The virus is one small warning – one among many – that we have been living out of sync with the natural world we share with other life. Our need to control and dominate, our need to acquire, our need for security, our need to conquer death – they have crowded out all else. We have followed those who promised quick, easy solutions, those who refused to compromise, those who conveyed authority, those who spread fear, those who hated.

If only we could redirect our gaze, if we could seize back control of our attention for a moment, we might understand that we are being plagued not just by a virus but by our fear, our hate, our hunger, our selfishness. The evidence is there in the fires, the floods and the disease, in the insects that have disappeared, in the polluted seas, in the stripping of the planet’s ancient lungs, its forests, in the melting ice-caps.

The big picture is hiding in plain sight, no longer obscured by issues like Russia and Brexit but now only by the most microscopic germ, marking the thin boundary between life and death.

Harvesting the Blood of America’s Poor: The Latest Stage of Capitalism

By Allan MacLeod

Source

 

Blood Plasma Bags c4cc4

For much of the world, donating blood is purely an act of solidarity; a civic duty that the healthy perform to aid others in need. The idea of being paid for such an action would be considered bizarre. But in the United States, it is big business. Indeed, in today’s wretched economy, where around 130 million Americans admit an inability to pay for basic needs like food, housing or healthcare, buying and selling blood is of the few booming industries America has left.

The number of collection centers in the United States has more than doubled since 2005 and blood now makes up well over 2 percent of total U.S. exports by value. To put that in perspective, Americans’ blood is now worth more than all exported corn or soy products that cover vast areas of the country’s heartland. The U.S. supplies fully 70 percent of the world’s plasma, mainly because most other countries have banned the practice on ethical and medical grounds. Exports increased by over 13 percent, to $28.6 billion, between 2016 and 2017, and the plasma market is projected to “grow radiantly,” according to one industry report. The majority goes to wealthy European countries; Germany, for example, buys 15 percent of all U.S. blood exports. China and Japan are also key customers.

It is primarily the plasma– a golden liquid that transports proteins and red and white blood cells around the body– that makes it so sought after. Donated blood is crucial in treating medical conditions such as anemia and cancer and is commonly required to perform surgeries. Pregnant women also frequently need transfusions to treat blood loss during childbirth. Like all maturing industries, a few enormous bloodthirsty companies, such as Grifols and CSL, have come to dominate the American market.

But in order to generate such enormous profits, these vampiric corporations consciously target the poorest and most desperate Americans. One study found that the majority of donors in Cleveland generate more than a third of their income from “donating” blood. The money they receive, notes Professor Kathryn Edin of Princeton University, is literally “the lifeblood of the $2 a day poor.” Professor H. Luke Schaefer of the University of Michigan, Edin’s co-author of $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, told MintPress News:

The massive increase in blood plasma sales is a result of an inadequate and in many places non-existent cash safety net, combined with an unstable labor market. Our experience is people need the money, that’s the primary reason people show up at plasma centers.”

Almost half of America is broke, and 58 percent of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, with savings of less than $1000. 37 million Americans go to bed hungry, including one-sixth of New Yorkers and almost half of South Bronx residents. And over half a million sleep on the streets on any given night, with many millions more in vehicles or relying on friends or family. It is in this context that millions in the red have turned to selling blood to make ends meet. In a very real sense then, these corporations are harvesting the blood of the poor, literally sucking the life out of them.

Adam H. Johnson

@adamjohnsonNYC

i see we’ve moved on to the “harvesting the blood of the poor” stage of late capitalism

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View image on Twitter
MintPress News spoke to a number of Americans who consistently donated plasma. Some of them did not want to be fully identified. But none were under any illusions about the system and how they were being exploited.

“The centers are never in a good part of town, always somewhere they can get a never ending supply of poor people desperate for that hundred bucks a week,” noted Andrew Watkins, who sold his blood in Pittsburgh, PA for around 18 months.

The people who show up are a mix of disabled, working poor, homeless, single parents, and college students. With the exception of the college students who are looking for booze money, this is probably the easiest and most reliable income they have. Your job may fire you at any time when you’re on this level of society, but you always have blood. And selling your blood doesn’t count as a job or income when it comes to determining disability benefits, food stamps, or unemployment eligibility so it’s a source of money for the people who have absolutely nothing else.”

Rachel from Wisconsin, who donated hundreds of times over a seven-year period, also commented on the obvious socio-economic makeup of donors.

We were poor, all of us in there you could easily tell that we were on the lower ends of the income bracket. They incentivize you with bonuses and the more you donate in a month the more you’ll get paid, recruiting friends bonuses, holiday bonuses, etc.”

Keita Currier from Washington, D.C., noted how she and her husband had little choice but to continue visiting clinics in Maryland for years but resented their payment methods.

They’re predatory, the price set for your plasma is based on a whim. For example, one place I donated the first five times you get $75, then you get 20, 20, 30, 50, 25. It’s random, it doesn’t matter, but they know you are desperate and if you don’t do your $30 donation you won’t get your 50 next time. Apparently, the plasma is worth something in the hundreds, so it is not surprising that you’re screwed over.”

Zombifying America’s poor

Respondents all agreed that they were indeed being exploited, but in more ways than one. Desperate Americans are allowed to donate twice per week (104 times per year). But losing that much plasma could have serious health consequences, most of which have not been studied Professor Schaefer warns, stressing that more research is necessary. Around 70 percent of donors experience health complications. Donors have a lower protein count in their blood, putting them at greater risk of infections and liver and kidney disorders. Many regulars suffer from near-permanent fatigue and are borderline anemic. All this for an average of $30 per visit. Rachel described the terrible Catch-22 many of the working poor find themselves in:

I got turned away twice – once for being too dehydrated and once for being anemic. Being poor created a shitty paradox where I couldn’t eat, and because I couldn’t eat my iron levels weren’t high enough to allow me to donate. That was a week of a pay cut, money I desperately needed for rent and bills and meds.”

A common method of cheating in endurance sports is to inject extra blood into your system before a race, giving you a huge performance boost. But extracting it has the opposite effect, making you sluggish and tired for days. Thus, this debilitating practice is zombifying America’s poor.

The process of giving blood is not a pleasurable one. Currier noted that after constantly donating, “the bruising gets terrible…Sometimes they can’t find the vain ‘n’ shit or they insert it wrong and they have to adjust the needle underneath your skin” she said, claiming that just thinking about it freaks her out, and revealed that her husband had to temporarily stop donating as his bosses thought he was on heroin due to the track marks on his arms.

Watkins agreed. “You could always tell how long someone had been doing the job by that needle,” he recalls. “Once they’d been there a year or so, they’d have stabbed literally thousands of people and could just tap your elbow once and slide the needle into the vein with no problems. New guys would miss the vein, punch through the vein, or try to hunt for it with the needle tip, which would leave terrible bruises.”

There is also little thought for the comfort of the patients. As Watkins explained, the thermostats are always turned down to around 50-60ºF for the plasma’s sake. Once the amber-colored plasma has been extracted, your cooled blood is re-injected in a painful process that feels as if ice is being inserted into the body. “Combined with the already cold air temperatures, this was maddening,” he notes.

Thus, America’s zombie poor are left almost permanently mentally drained like heroin addicts, and with similarly bruised and punctured arms, except they are being paid for the inconvenience. But perhaps the worst thing about the experience, according to those interviewed, is the dehumanization of the process.

Donors are publicly weighed to make sure they are heavy enough. Obese people are worth more to the bloodthirsty companies as they can safely extract more plasma from them each session (while paying out the same compensation). “They definitely turn you into a product in a very literal sense,” Watkins says; “It’s deeply exploitative and a symptom of just how far gone capitalism is.”

Many centers are enormous, with multiple rows of dozens of machines working in an attempt to appease the insatiable appetite of the vampiric corporation. And there is, according to Watkins, no lack of human “victims” willing to be treated like animals in battery farms, in exchange for a few dollars: “It was an assembly line to extract liquid gold from human mines,” he notes.

Currier also highlighted the treatment of the staff and the cost-cutting measures of clinics in Maryland she visited would enact:

Usually the places are hugely understaffed which means they frequently don’t change gloves, the people are overworked, and at the minimum you’re staying there for 2-3 hours which means you have to plan a whole day around this shit only to get 20 bucks in your pocket to make it through the next few days. It’s depressing, disheartening and frankly embarrassing to have to hustle like this. I feel like shit after I donate.”

Exploitation reaches new levels

But the exploitation of humans has reached new levels in clinics on the U.S.-Mexico border. Every week, thousands of Mexicans enter the U.S. on temporary visas to sell their blood to for-profit pharmaceutical corporations. The practice is banned on health grounds in Mexico but is completely legal north of the border. According to ProPublica, there are at least 43 blood donation centers along the border that prey primarily on Mexican nationals in a legally ambiguous practice.

According to a Swiss documentary on the subject, there are precious few checks on the cleanliness of the blood these companies accept, with some donors interviewed admitting they were drug addicts. But all is sacrificed in the pursuit of dazzling profits, something donors were well aware of. Rachel from Wisconsin admitted,

 I did it for the money, I think we all do it for the money, but it’s not really something you out and out say because there’s a veneer of “helping the sick” slathered over it. But I caught glimpses of what kind of industry it was on occasion through innocuous questioning. The amount of plasma drawn from one person per donation was worth upwards of $600, I never really got a clear answer on that.

Andrew from Pennsylvania agreed, noting wryly,

 I know my plasma was worth thousands of dollars per donation [to others], because I’ve seen what a hospital in my city charged a hemophiliac for platelets, so the pittance that they pay is ridiculous, but there is only one buyer making offers at the human level. If you’re poor and out of other options, you’ll take $40 however you can get it. Any port in a storm.”

Michael, a social worker from Georgia who sold his blood for extra cash, was deeply scornful of the entire situation. “I’ve known quite a number of people who rely on money made by selling plasma. A lot of times it’s to cover childcare or prescriptions or something along those lines,” he said. “It’s absolutely deplorable to leverage literal blood money from people who have so few options.”

students to sell blood d2c56

*(A sign encouraging students to sell blood to fund their education. Credit: tjulrich/ Twitter)

Big pharma is particularly interested in the blood of the young. One billboard campaign from Grifols intentionally targeted working-class students. “Need books? No worries. Donate Plasma” reads the headline. Teenager blood is in high demand in, of all places, Silicon Valley, where anti-aging technologies are the latest trend. One company, Ambrosia, charges $8,000 per treatment to aging tech executives, infusing them with the blood of the young, turning these individuals into bloodsuckers in more ways than one. Despite the fact that there is no clinical evidence that the practice has any beneficial effects, business is booming. One committed customer is PayPal co-founder turned Trump surrogate Peter Thiel, who is reportedly spending vast sums of money on funding anti-aging startups. Thiel claims that we have been conned by “the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual” and believes that his own immortality may be just around the corner, a notion that has deeply concerned academics and commentators alike.

The new and booming blood market is the perfect embodiment of the late capitalist dystopia modern America has become. The dehumanizing process of harvesting the blood of the poor to fund the quixotic immortality dreams of the super-wealthy turns the former into walking, living zombies and the latter into vampires, feasting on the blood of the young; a true American horror story worthy of Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft. As Rachel from Wisconsin said:

It really is an industry where ‘squeezing blood from stones’ is about as literal as you can get.”

An Unfaithful Servant of Imperialism: The Real Reason Trump Is Facing Impeachment

By Roger D. Harris

Source

The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE.”

— Tweet, Donald J. Trump, October 9, 2019.

Granted Trump may arguably be more corrupt than Biden. But that’s splitting hairs over which crook is more crooked. Bullying vassal states and “doing well by doing good” are indicators of finesse in Washington. Inside the beltway, corruption is not a liability for holding high political office, but a requirement. The key to membership in the power elite club is carrying water for the imperial state, and most club members must go through an elaborate vetting process to prove that they are reliable. Some such as Trump slip through.

The sine qua non for membership in this exclusive club is to prove you’ll take a hit for the empire. When the results of the 2000 US presidential election were inconclusive, Al Gore took a fall rather than risk instability at the top: “(for) the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.” There are higher callings than merely winning the presidency for good servants of the empire.

But would Trump have been so compliant? Maybe not. So, impeachment is in order to either chasten him to faithful obedience or get rid of him.

The Not Thoroughly Vetted President

The presidential primaries are an audition process to see who can best serve the ruling class while conning the public. If the presidential “debates” demonstrate anything, it is that all the contestants are aspiring reality TV stars. Trump was different only in that he had previous experience.

Whenever one of the contestants shows vacillation on empire, they get slapped on the side of the head. Gabbard got summarily dismissed from the debates for her failure of faith in wars of imperial aggression as the highest expression of humanitarianism. Sanders had to grovel, calling the democratically elected president of Venezuela a “vicious tyrant.”

And to qualify for the debates, a contestant must first prove that they are a “serious candidate.” In a “democracy” where bribing politicians is considered “free speech” and where corporations are afforded the constitutional rights of “persons,” the single overriding measure of seriousness is raising bundles of money from the rich. Of course, the rich did not become rich without expecting a return on their investments. Warren’s surge, as it was dutifully reported in the press, came when some of the big money began to shift from Biden to her.

Trump, on the other hand, had his own billionaire’s booty to back him, plus a little help from his wealthy cohorts. As billionaire Ross Perot proved in 1992, if you are filthy rich, you can independently run for president. And, in his case, throw the election from Bush the Elder to Bill Clinton.

To win a presidential election, however, you need more than deep pockets…you need a little help from your friends in getting a major party backing. Why a major party ballot line is so useful has constitutional antecedents.

The revolution of 1776, the last revolution that the US elites liked that was not rigged by the CIA, gave us the Articles of Confederation as the ruling document for the new sovereign. By 1787 the US elites of the time, Hamilton and supporting cast, were chafing under what they characterized as the “excesses of democracy.” A new constitution was drafted and approved with “checks and balances.” What needed to be checked and balanced? Democracy, the direct rule of the people, was what was checked in the new document, while slavery was reaffirmed under the highest law of the land.

The new constitution gave us the Electoral College, whereby presidents are selected by “electors” rather than trusting the direct vote of the people and states can vote as a block. This allowed Trump to triumph even when his opponent received some 3 million more votes. Oddly, his Democratic Party opponents have since focused on alleged Russian interference through Facebook ads rather than the need to make the US Constitution an instrument for the expression of the popular will.

But we are getting ahead of the story because Trump still had to become the frontrunner in a crowded Republican field before he could even take on the other party of capital. Here he had help from friends in unexpected quarters. The Republican establishment hated him, but Clinton and the so-called liberal media became Trump boosters. The corporate media gave the flamboyant Trump a bully platform because it was good for ratings.

Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, as revealed in their leaked emails published by Wikileaks, pulled for Trump because they thought him an easier opponent than, say, the mainstream Republican heir-apparent Jeb Bush. There was precious little difference between the positions of Jeb and Hillary, though the popular images projected by the two major parties superficially diverged. The core of both parties greatly overlaps, while the right fringe of the Republicans and the left fringe of the Democrats provide the contrasting colors but not the contending policy directions.

The 2016 electoral contest was a spectacle of insurgencies. Initially, there was Sanders. That he was somehow considered an “outsider” is a symptom of just how terminally ingrown the US polity has become. How could someone who served years in the US Senate and caucused with the Democrats be an outsider? Sanders ran on two premises: supporting the Democratic Party and raising suppressed issues such as income inequality. He succeeded in the first and failed in the second.

Meanwhile, after 40 years of neoliberalism, CEO compensation has grown 940%  as compared to 12% for typical employees in the US.

Trump in his way also pandered to the genuinely deteriorating condition of US workers. Both the Trump and the Sanders anti-establishment insurgencies, however, were contained within the two-party system and thus were structurally destined not to come to fruition. The establishment won’t come down by joining them.

Unfaithful Servant of Imperialism

Defying even the Las Vegas bookies’ predictions, Trump became the 45th President of the US. He had kvetched about the plight of US workers and made some noise about ending unending wars, but was he for real? After all, Obama had promised to get out of Gitmo and NAFTA, but ended up doing neither. Obama, the former critic of Bush’s Iraq war, continued Bush’s wars and started a handful of his own.

Upon occupying the Oval Office, Trump not unexpectedly threw the working class under the bus with his tax cut for the rich and similar actions, which must have won him some brownie points from the owning class. But to date he has failed to start a new war. The last US president with a similar failing was the one-term Jimmy Carter. And now Trump is showing insufficient enthusiasm for continuing the war in Syria and possibly even a closet aversion to starting World War III with nuclear-armed Russia. These may be impeachable offenses in the estimation of parts of the ruling class.

David R. Sanger, writing in the October 7 New York Times, represents “liberal” establishment views in support of US imperialism: “Mr. Trump’s sudden abandonment of the Kurds was another example of the independent, parallel foreign policy he has run from the White House, which has largely abandoned the elaborate systems created since President Harry Truman’s day to think ahead about the potential costs and benefits of presidential decisions.”

There you have it. Trump is accused of having an “independent” foreign policy, emanating out of his office of all places, even though he is the elected President of the US and the one charged with executing foreign policy.

Who is Trump “independent” from? It’s not the US citizenry according to the Times. As the article points out: “Mr. Trump sensed that many Americans share his view – and polls show he is right… Mr. Trump has correctly read the American people who, after Iraq and Afghanistan, also have a deep distaste for forever wars.”

So, who might Trump have betrayed? According to the article, it’s “circumventing the American generals and diplomats who sing the praises of maintaining the traditional American forward presence around the world.” This is who his alleged crime of independence is against. They fear Trump could “abandon” the post-war imperial consensus.

Donald Trump military spending

Note that the Times, as reflective of current ruling class ideology, no longer bothers to justify the dictates of the world’s sole hegemon as a crusade against the current evil, be it communism or terrorism. Simply, the imperial state must be supported. Hence, Trump’s view that “acting as the world’s policeman was too expensive” or his tweet, “time for us to get out,” have become grounds for impeachment.

The article favorably cites Republican majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell, who called on Trump “to exercise American leadership” by capitulating to the dictates of the imperial state, while contrasting it to that glory day “not even three months after his inauguration, [when] he ordered the first military strike of his presidency.”

The Times article continues: “That system is badly broken today. Mr. Trump is so suspicious of the professional staff – many drawn from the State Department and the C.I.A. – and so dismissive of the ‘deep state’ foreign policy establishment, that he usually announces decisions first, and forces the staff to deal with them later.”

“That system,” cited above, is the post-WWII permanent state. Trump is chastised in the Times for being “so dismissive of the ‘deep state’ foreign policy establishment.” Trump instead, according to the article, has the temerity to make his own decisions and then he expects the agencies of government to follow his instructions. For some, having the elected representative formulate policy and the unelected state apparatus follow it would be democratic. But not so for the cheerleaders of US imperialism.

The Dark Knight Rises

Trump’s habitual corruption and bullying have now been outed by a whistleblower. Unlike Ellsberg, Manning, and Snowden, who sought to correct US imperial policy, this whistleblower comes from the very gatekeeper of imperialism, the CIA. According to his lawyers, there is not a lone whistleblower but a whole cabal of well-placed spooks in the secret US security apparatus. The deep state (I would prefer the term “permanent” state) is more than a conspiracy theory.

The impeachment imbroglio is bigger than Trump. That the outing of Trump was done by a current employee of a US agency shrouded in secrecy, who is unaccountable and unknown, should be a subject of enormous concern for all small-d democrats and not just anti-imperialists. The CIA has the means and mission to overthrow regimes, and now ours may be one of them, however undesirable the current president may be.

We, the people, should take no solace that Trump, in his careening about, may stumble in the direction of anti-imperialism. Trump is just as much an imperialist as the rest. Only he is not as reliably consistent and that is what has gotten leading segments of the ruling class into a hissy fit. The ruling class is not always unified on policy. Here we are, witness, to an intra-class struggle. But we needn’t take sides, because the ruling class is always unified in serving their class interests, which are not ours.

A policy conflict, some have speculated, is raging within the ruling class between Trump’s “isolationist” and a more “globalist” imperialism. Rest assured the ruling class has institutions to adjudicate these disputes such as the Council on Foreign Relations. For the neocons and the “liberal” right-to-protect “humanitarian imperialists,” Trump’s lurches in the direction of non-intervention and rapprochement are only venial sins. The mortal sin would be if the erratic Trump fails to listen to what the Times delicately calls the “professionals.”

A corollary fear is if the “populist” (note how the ruling class thinks of this is a pejorative) Trump listens to the people’s desire for peace. Unlike the first fear, the latter is unwarranted. That is, unwarranted unless and until the people rebuild an independent peace movement to check the rising tide of US militarism.

Houthi Attack on Saudi Oil Fields – A False Flag?

The Bilderbergers in Switzerland — Astute News

The 67th Bilderberg Meeting is taking place in Montreux, Switzerland from 30 May – 2 June 2019, where the about 130 invitees – so far confirmed – from 23 countries, are staying at one of Switzerland’s most luxurious venues, the Montreux Palace hotel. About a quarter of the attendees are women. The Bilderberg meetings started at the […]

via The Bilderbergers in Switzerland — Astute News

US Foreign Policy is Nothing Short of Low-Intensity Warfare Against the Whole Planet by Finian Cunningham — Dandelion Salad

by Finian Cunningham Writer, Dandelion Salad East Africa Crossposted from Sputnik, May 16, 2019 May 20, 2019 To say the US conducts “foreign policy” is patently a misnomer. US policy is nothing short of low-intensity warfare against the whole planet. Its “foreign policy” is nothing more than a continuous program of psychological operations.

via US Foreign Policy is Nothing Short of Low-Intensity Warfare Against the Whole Planet by Finian Cunningham — Dandelion Salad

Hardball the Only Effective Strategy Against the US

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Both extremist right wings of the US war party don’t negotiate. They demand, why diplomatic outreach to Washington doesn’t work.

The only effective strategy is giving its ruling authorities a taste of their own medicine. Iran, Venezuela, and China understand, not Russia.

The US considers Moscow its existential enemy. In response, Kremlin officials call Washington its “partner,” its top officials “colleagues,” ignoring reality. 

The US has been hostile toward Russia for over 100 years, with interregnum periods during WW II to defeat Nazi Germany and at the end of the Reagan era alone. 

Bilateral relations today are more dismal and dangerous than any other time in modern memory, risking confrontation and possible nuclear war, polar opposite what partnerships are made of.

Despite everything the US has thrown at Iran and Venezuela, their governments refuse to bend to its will, to their credit.

The same goes for China. Since Trump’s March 2017 executive order calling for tariffs on Chinese imports, his meeting with Xi Jinping a week later at his Mar-a-Lago, FL estate, his August 2017 probe into alleged Beijing intellectual property theft, initial tariffs imposed in January 2018, others to follow, and 11 rounds of trade talks with no agreement, China refuses to bend to unacceptable Trump regime demands.

They’re all about wanting Beijing’s aim to become an economic, industrial, and high-tech powerhouse undermined, about wanting its sovereign rights subordinated to US interests, about wanting the country marginalized, weakened, contained and isolated.

It’s how Washington treats all other countries, wanting them colonized and controlled, its allies and adversaries alike.

That’s what the scourge of imperialism is all about, why global war with nuclear weapons is possible, maybe inevitable. 

Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance because of Washington’s rage to dominate other countries by whatever it takes to achieve its objectives, preemptive wars its favored strategy, along with other hostile actions, flagrant international and constitutional law violations.

On Monday, China’s People’s Daily, its official broadsheet, said Beijing “will never bow to any extreme pressure,” adding:

After the Trump regime increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 – 25%, threatening 25% duties on all its exports to the US, Beijing “declared its decision to take necessary countermeasures,” adding:

“China…will never yield to the extreme pressure from the US, or compromise on matters of principle.”

“The US wielded the tariff stick once again because of its misjudgments on China’s strength, capability and willpower,” — calling its actions a “reckless leap in the dark,” a futile effort to bully its leadership.

China’s Global Times made similar comments, on Sunday saying “maximum (US) pressure policy is useless,” adding:

“We have prepared ourselves for various scenarios. Arrogant of its strength, Washington provoked the trade war, believing tariffs are enough to crush China…and force (its authorities) to accept an unequal deal…”

The Trump regime’s gamble is wrongheaded. China won’t yield to unacceptable demands. Has self-styled master deal maker in his own mind DJT met his match?

The jury remains out, but failure after 11 rounds of trade talks, pushing Beijing to accept what some of the country’s analysts call unconditional surrender to US demands hasn’t worked.

Nor is it likely to ahead, no matter how many more rounds of talks are held and if Trump orders further toughness on Beijing.

Its ruling authorities have lots of cards to play, including an unlikely but possible dumping of a substantial portion of its $1.1 trillion in US Treasuries, roiling credit markets if it chooses this option in retaliation for Trump regime actions it won’t tolerate.

Greatly depreciating the yuan against the US dollar to offset increased tariffs is another possible option, keeping its products competitive in the US market.

Beijing can also impose 25% duties on all US imports, an option it may choose, especially if and when 25% tariffs on all Chinese exports to the US take effect.

Clearly a tough response is coming. It should be clear to Trump regime hardliners that Beijing won’t roll over to their demands.

Its authorities haven’t so far and won’t likely ahead. A statement by China’s Commerce Ministry urged the US to “meet us halfway and work with us to resolve existing issues through cooperation and consultation.”

Its Foreign Ministry stressed that Beijing won’t “surrender to foreign pressure.” Former Commerce Ministry vice minister Wei Jianguo said China has the “willingness to…fight a prolonged war,” adding it’s able to “deliver a deadly punch at the end.”

Capitulation to unacceptable US demands isn’t an option — not so far, not ahead. 

The Real Reason the Knives are Out for MBS

By Whitney Webb
Source

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — Amid a chorus of condemnation directed against his leadership following the slaying of controversial journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – popularly known by the moniker MBS – condemned Khashoggi’s murder in no uncertain terms on Wednesday, calling the deed a “heinous crime that cannot be justified” and promising “justice” for those who killed him. MBS’ statement came after dozens of media reports, the majority of which had cited anonymous sources from within the Turkish and U.S. governments, revealed the grisly details of the journalist’s final moments and the subsequent attempt by his killers to cover their tracks.

Yet, while MBS may expect the international calls for his ouster to lessen following his recent admission and apparent behind the scenes deal-making, he is likely mistaken. Indeed, much of the outrage directed at MBS for his alleged role in Khashoggi’s death has little to do with the murder itself, which is being used as a pretext to justify replacing MBS with a more “reliable” tyrant to serve as Saudi crown prince.

This is because the real reason the knives have come out for MBS is not a single extrajudicial killing – a practice the Saudis have long used with impunity – but instead the fact that, in the six weeks prior to Khashoggi’s sordid fate, MBS not only managed to anger the entire U.S. military-industrial complex, he also enraged the world’s most powerful financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and CitiGroup.

In a recent report on the Khashoggi affair, MintPress detailed how MBS had endangered the $110 billion weapons deal with the United States that Trump has often touted as proof that he is creating jobs and is a proven “deal maker.” However, far from a signed contract, the “deal” was instead a collection of letters of interest and letters of intent. Over a year since the deal was first announced, it has since become clear that MBS no longer intends to purchase all $110 billion, as shown by his decision to let the deadline pass on the purchase of the $15 billion Lockheed Martin THAAD missile system. The Saudis let that deadline come and go on September 30, just two days before Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and never came out.

However, it turns out that — a few weeks before the Lockheed deadline had come and gone — MBS had endangered another lucrative deal, one that was valued in the trillions and seems to have been a major factor in his rapid ascent to the powerful position of crown prince.

Who really crowned the prince?

Back in 2015, there were already concerns in international intelligence that an imminent power struggle in the Saudi royal family was brewing. Notably, concern within some intelligence communities regarding the likely rise of MBS was so high that Germany’s intelligence agency BND publicly released a memo slamming MBS as a destabilizing influence who was responsible for the new Saudi “impulsive policy of intervention.” It went on to warn that MBS, then head of the Saudi Defense Ministry and an economic council aimed at overhauling the country’s oil-dependent economy, was seeking to dramatically concentrate power in his hands. Doing so, the memo warned, “harbours a latent risk that in seeking to establish himself in the line of succession in his father’s lifetime, he may overreach.” The memo was right of course, but it largely fell on deaf ears.

Then, last June, MBS made his move and deposed his predecessor Mohammed bin Nayef after hours of interrogation, threats and alleged torture, becoming the new crown prince in the process. Bin Nayef – who has remained under house arrest for over two years — had been a close partner of the U.S. — particularly the CIA, which bestowed upon bin Nayef one of its most prestigious medals. As Federico Pieraccini recently noted at Strategic Culture, bin Nayef had long been the CIA’s “go-to man” in Saudi Arabia and had helped the CIA use the guise of “counterterrorism” to fund al Qaeda and other radical Wahhabi groups to wreak havoc on countries in the region, particularly Syria, that had become the targets of American empire.

Normally, the ouster of a Washington-allied Crown Prince close to the CIA would have dramatically shaken the Washington establishment. However, there was little public complaint from the American political elite over MBS’ dramatic rise to power. Instead, the U.S. clearly supported MBS’ new power, as demonstrated by the fact that President Donald Trump called MBS to “congratulate him on his recent elevation” the day he became Crown Prince, and the two subsequently pledged “close cooperation” in security and economics. Some analysts have since speculated that the U.S. government had actually helped facilitate MBS’ palace coup given that, just a few months prior, MBS – not bin Nayef — had met with Trump in Washington.

Others have suggested that powerful Western financial interests were behind MBS’ rise, given that the king’s son had announced his willingness to sell Saudi state assets to the highest bidder in a January 2016 interview with the Rothschild-owned Economista little more than six months before he became crown prince. The interview certainly made it clear to the international elite that MBS was willing to support neoliberal reforms that had been rejected by Saudi royals in the past. Indeed, wrapped within his economic reform program known as “Vision 2030,” MBS offered the Western elite something they had long coveted but had never been able to obtain. He agreed to privatize Saudi-state-held assets, including the biggest cash-cow of them all – Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, Aramco.

MBS – the “reformer” who wasn’t

Though the media has long spun Vision 2030 as MBS’ “ambitious” plan to wean the Saudi economy off its dependency on oil, the plan itself is actually a free-for-all for private interests and involves the neoliberalization of Saudi state-owned assets. Among its pillars are the opening of Saudi financial markets to Wall Street and the privatization of essentially everything in the Gulf Kingdom, including healthcare and, of course, Aramco.

The fact that Vision 2030 was essentially a neoliberal wish-list should not come as a big surprise, however, given that it was based off a 2015 report authored by the McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of the U.S.-based consulting firm McKinsey & Company — the “most prestigious” consulting firm in the world, known for its “neoliberal solutions to real-world problems”.

According to a report published last year in Foreign Policy, “McKinsey has cultivated a generation of young Arab princelings enamored with Western-style economic reforms, and with thoroughly mixed results.” However, this was especially true of Saudi Arabia, where MBS cultivated even closer ties with the firm and has relied on it, not just for the blueprint of Vision 2030 but also for choosing his new cabinet following his rise to the position of Crown Prince as well as a list of prominent Saudi dissidents who were later repressed.

In addition, McKinsey’s influence goes far beyond the firm itself, as its past employees or “alumni” go on to serve powerful positions in the corporate world or in government. Though the extent of McKinsey’s influence in helping MBS rise to become crown prince is unknown, it is certainly a possibility that the firm had used its influence to “grease the wheels” in order to give near-ultimate authority to one of these “young Arab princelings,” who would embrace neoliberal reforms that older generations would not.

SAUDI_2030_edited-1145x682.jpg
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives for a press conference in Riyadh, on April 25, 2016. Photo | SPA

Vision 2030 certainly seemed to win MBS the affection of the international elite across the board — and it seemed that the new Crown Prince enjoyed the limelight, at least for a while. However, it seems reality began to set in for MBS, and he has consequently spent the past several months looking for a way to indefinitely delay the plan’s implementation.

This first became clear earlier this year following speculation in July that the Saudi Aramco Initial Public Offering (IPO) — i.e., the beginning of the partial privatization of the Saudi state oil company through the selling of shares — may not materialize after all. Then, it was announced in late August that the entire IPO would be shelved. Bloomberg called this “the most significant reversal in Prince Mohammed’s plans” and added:

Rather than marking a watershed in one of the most ambitious economic projects in history, it [the shelving of the Aramco IPO] now highlights the unpredictability of the country under a young leader who has centralized political power in his own hands since becoming de facto ruler a little over a year ago.”

As a result, what would have been the biggest IPO in history was called off overnight. The move was surely a disappointment to Trump, who had personally lobbied MBS to list Aramco on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), as doing so would have awarded the NYSE with the largest stock market listing ever. However, it was a much, much bigger disappointment for the behemoth financial institutions that had worked frantically to secure their roles in the deal — Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and CitiGroup, among others — as the shelving of the IPO meant that all their work on the deal would now go without compensation, as banks are typically only paid when such deals are finalized. In other words, MBS’ decision to put the IPO indefinitely on hold meant that the most powerful, politically-connected banks had essentially been forced to work for free.

It seems that MBS sensed the animosity he had caused in some of the world’s most powerful financial institutions, given that, just a few weeks later, he offered Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and CitiGroup a prominent role in Aramco’s new plans to buy a majority stake in the Saudi petrochemical company Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic). As part of that deal, Aramco has considered selling bonds in what could become the largest sale of corporate debt ever. However that Aramco-Sabic deal, valued at $70 billion, is still significantly less than the $100 billion that the Aramco IPO was set to generate.

More importantly, the deal shows that MBS got cold feet in his privatization plans, as having a state-owned company (Aramco) buy a majority stake in a private Saudi company (Sabic) is the complete opposite of what MBS had promised in the months prior to his rise to become Saudi crown prince. Indeed, as Bloomberg noted at the time:

The [Aramco] bond sale would give Saudi Arabia some of the financial payoff of an IPO, though without having to share ownership with international investors — or revealing information the kingdom would rather keep private.”

Thus, it seems that it was the privatization of Aramco that had MBS spooked.

Far beyond the cancellation of the IPO itself — MBS has endangered other parts of the plan that these powerful financial interests had been counting on for well over a year. That includes Vision 2030’s plan to increase the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) — which is managed by a group of HSBC and Bank of America directors and a CitiGroup investment banking alumnus — from its current $230 billion in assets to a massive $2 trillion. The dramatic increase in the fund’s size would make the PIF the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. Without that injection of cash into the PIF from the Aramco IPO, media reports have warned of a “ripple effect” on the U.S. economy, including massive U.S. tech companies like Uber, given that the PIF has invested heavily in such companies.

Evidence has since emerged that MBS knows that these powerful banks are still angry despite his efforts to placate them. On October 5, just a few days after Khashoggi’s murder, MBS promised a new Aramco IPO within a few years, this time valued at $2 trillion. However, media reports on that announcement made it clear that Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup and the like weren’t convinced.

Indeed, with the entire privatization effort now in doubt, so too is the estimated $6 trillion in direct investments from powerful interests that had been planned to fund the privatization schemes that comprise the entirety of Vision 2030. That figure could certainly explain why so much pressure has been levied against MBS as of late over Khashoggi. Indeed, given that the Saudis had butchered another dissident writer in 1979 in their Lebanese consulate without the same outrage that has resulted from Khashoggi’s murder, it is safe to say that the establishment’s outrage over this latest extrajudicial killing is motivated less by “human rights” than by trillions of dollars of capital.

Trouble in neoliberal paradise

While it is impossible to know MBS’ exact reason for getting cold feet in his once-ambitious plans to privatize the kingdom, we can guess. Indeed, there is a reason that MBS’ elders in the Saudi Royal family have long rejected neoliberal reforms and the mass privatization of their economy.

A 2016 report from Foreign Policy succinctly states why past Saudi Royals have avoided “free-market reforms” as the older generations of the House of Saud “understand the fragility of a monarchy whose brittle pillars rest on the quiescence of conservative clerics and a merchant class hostile to the free-market reforms that will undercut their privileges.” However, far more Saudis than just the “merchant class” have grown accustomed to the largesse of the Saudi state, as the majority of Saudi citizens benefit from Saudi state spending in the form of fuel subsidies, loans, free land, and public-sector jobs, among other boons. Indeed, half of the entire Saudi population is currently on welfare — welfare that depends on the wealth of the Saudi state and its oil revenue — while two-thirds of Saudis work in the public sector.

Of course, sharing oil profits with robber barons — as would have been the case in the partial privatization of Saudi Aramco — would reduce the amount of money the Saudi government dedicates annually to welfare programs and public-sector jobs to a significant degree. Notably, Vision 2030 also included “austerity programs” as part of its implementation, including tax increases and a significant reduction in the fuel subsidies given to ordinary Saudis.

However, less than a week after a handful of those austerity measures were implemented earlier this year, the Saudi government quickly eased them by increasing state-job salaries and launching a new economic stimulus program, after a “very negative” public response. Despite the government’s efforts to assuage the anger that austerity had caused, it was not enough and the outcry continued, forcing the Saudi government to fire the country’s water minister to absorb some of the outrage. The fierce public response seems to have given MBS his first real inkling that his “ambitious reforms” to privatize Saudi Arabia would not be so easy to implement, no matter how hard he had worked to crush dissent.

Another indication of why MBS backed out of privatization plans can be seen in what happened to other countries when their young princes, championed as “ambitious reformers,” had drunk the “McKinsey Kool-Aid.” As Salem Saif wrote at Jacobin, many of the Arab countries that had previously followed McKinsey-drafted plans for neoliberalization subsequently “became epicenters of the Arab Spring. Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Yemen — each was convulsed by demonstrations, often animated by economic grievances.”

In contrast, Saudi Arabia, with its state-owned and state-managed assets, had remained largely immune to these economically-spurred uprisings throughout the Middle East.

However, earlier this year, MBS learned the hard way from the hostile reception to his privatization rollout that being the West’s neoliberal darling comes at a high price, one that could imperil not just his position as Crown Prince but the entire Saudi government.

The search begins for a new prince who will play along

As a consequence of the Khashoggi incident, there have been several reports from prominent publications claiming that efforts are now underway to replace MBS as crown prince. One such report in France’s Le Figaro has stated that MBS is set to be “gradually” replaced by his even younger brother Khalid bin Salman, who has most recently served as the Saudi Ambassador to Washington. This choice is significant, as it shows that the powers-that-be are seeking to replace MBS with another McKinsey-bent “young Arab princeling” instead of the former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef or another elder of the House of Saud who would oppose the privatization that MBS had promised but failed to deliver.

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Prince Khalid bin Salman attends a White House dinner, June 6, 2018, in Washington. Andrew Harnik | AP

In Washington Post op-ed, Khalid bin Salman’s support for the neoliberal Vision 2030 plan is clear, as he called it “a comprehensive plan for economic diversification as well as social and cultural reform” and echoed his older brother in stating that “our old course was not sustainable.” Beyond his stated views in support of current Saudi policy, including the genocidal war the Saudis are waging in Yemen, not much else is known about Khalid, who has little political experience given his young age and his time spent as a fighter pilot in the Royal Saudi Air Force. Yet, in his capacity as Saudi ambassador, Khalid bin Salman has met with powerful Congressmen from both parties, as well as Lockheed Martin executives, cultivating personal ties in the process.

However, the Khashoggi incident has brought new scrutiny to Khalid bin Salman, given that he had personally met Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Washington in early 2018, around the same time that Khashoggi was creating Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), his new “democracy promotion” group targeting the kingdom. According to friends of Khashoggi who spoke to NBC News, the meeting was casual and friendly and lasted about 30 minutes. The topics of the discussion of the meeting are still unknown.

Will MBS be replaced? It certainly remains to be seen, as strong public pressure and political threats may yet guide the crown prince back to the neoliberal fold. Yet, what is clear is that MBS’ rise to power was backed by the international elite and the Trump administration based on the promise of these neoliberal reforms and the mass sale of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia. However, in the months before Khashoggi’s disappearance, MBS gravely endangered both of these deals, angering those that had backed his consolidation of power. Such a cadre of powerful interests will not prove easy to placate.

While it may certainly seem ironic and perhaps amusing to some that a tyrant like MBS has come under such strong pressure from the international elite, there is reason for concern. Indeed, if Vision 2030 is fully implemented — whether by MBS or his successor — forcing neoliberalism on the Saudi population is likely to make the country very unstable, as nearly occurred when MBS tried to implement it early this year.

The intense pressure from global power players may cause MBS to value his staying in power above all else, potentially prompting him to enact domestically unpopular economic “reforms” despite the outcry that will inevitably result. If MBS’ past decisions are any indication, he would use force to crush any outcry. If this takes place, we can expect many more to suffer a fate similar to Khashoggi’s, as Saudi Arabia would become an even more inhospitable place for dissidents.

 

Meet Ten Corporate Giants Helping Israel Massacre Gaza Protesters

“The Israeli military relies on a network of international companies, supplying everything from sniper rifles to tear gas, to carry out its massacres of protesters in Gaza. These companies are knowingly supporting war crimes, and are complicit in state-orchestrated murder.” — Tom Anderson, researcher for Corporate Occupation

By Joe Carton
Source

NEW YORK — As Israeli soldiers gun down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the Great March of Return, their lethal operations depend on an array of contractors and suppliers, many of them companies based outside Israel.

“The Israeli military relies on a network of international companies, supplying everything from sniper rifles to tear gas, to carry out its massacres of protesters in Gaza,” Tom Anderson, a researcher for Corporate Occupation, told MintPress News. “These companies are knowingly supporting war crimes, and are complicit in state-orchestrated murder.”

Since the mobilization began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 205 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory reported on October 4.

There have been 21,288 injured, including 5,345 from live ammunition, resulting in 11,180 hospitalizations. Thirty-eight of the dead and 4,250 of the wounded were children.

A press release accompanying a September 25 report by the World Bank warned, “The economy in Gaza is collapsing,” adding that “the decade-long blockade is the core issue.”

Corporate Occupation and the American Friends Service Committee, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, and Who Profits maintain comprehensive lists of corporations enabling Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

Here are a few of them:

Caterpillar, Inc.

Caterpillar is known internationally for Israel’s use of its bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel itself, as well as for its role in the killing of Rachel Corrie, an International Solidarity Movement activist from the United States, who was crushed to death by one of the company’s Israel-operated machines in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2003. In Gaza, Caterpillar is notorious for Israel’s deployment of its equipment to reinforce a military barrier around the Strip, as well as to level Palestinian farmland inside it. These leveling operations both destroy Palestinian agriculture, keeping Gaza a captive market for Israeli producers, and maintain a clear line of fire for Israeli soldiers to shoot Palestinians.

AP_04112409088_edited-1145x643.jpgChildren run for cover as Israeli army D-9 Caterpillar bulldozers as they demolish homes in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza, May 23, 2004. Lefteris Pitarakis | AP

Combined Systems, Inc.

Combined Systems — a Jamestown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer owned by Point Lookout Capital and the Carlyle Group — supplies light weaponry and security equipment, such as tear gas and flash grenades, to repressive governments worldwide. In May, Corporate Occupation researchers spotted an Israeli vehicle, with police markings but obviously intended for military use, equipped with the company’s ‘Venom’ tear gas launcher next to the Gaza barrier.

Ford Motor Company

While other manufacturers, like General Motors, also provide vehicles used by the Israeli army to deploy its soldiers along the Gaza barrier, Ford’s are distinctive for their creative use. In 2003, Israeli vehicle manufacturer Hatehof began retrofitting Ford F550 trucks as armored personnel carriers. By 2016, Israel had moved on to F350s, modified by Israeli military electronics company Elbit Systems as autonomous unmanned vehicles capable of remotely controlled fire.

ford_-_mizpe_yair_september_2012_-_guy_edited-1145x594.jpgA modified Ford vehicle belonging to Israeli police blocks Palestinian shepherds from accessing their land near a Jewish settlement in Hebron. Photo | Ta’ayush

Monsanto

Along with herbicides from the Dow Chemical Company and ADAMA Agricultural Solutions, an Israeli unit of China’s state-owned National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), Israel sprays Bayer subsidiary Monsanto’s notorious Glyphosate (marketed as Roundup), a known human carcinogen, on Palestinian fields across its military barrier with Gaza several times annually. As does its deployment of Caterpillar bulldozers to level the same fields, the aerial application, conducted by two civilian Israeli companies under contract to the army, serves both Israeli economic and military interests — preventing Palestinian self-sufficiency in agriculture, while allowing its forces to easily detect and fire upon Palestinian farmers and other civilians using their own land.

G4S plc

Formerly one of Israel’s biggest occupation contractors, G4S sold its major Israeli subsidiary, G4S Israel, in 2016, but kept a stake in the construction and operation of Policity, Israel’s privatized national police academy. Israel claims that its police enjoy civilian status, but routinely deploys them in military operations against Palestinians in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including their use of both Combined System’s ‘Venon’ tear-gas launcher and weaponized drones to repress the Great March of Return.

G4S-1_edited-1145x753.jpgA protest against G4S’ support of Israeli human rights abuses. Photo | Hilary Aked

Hewlett Packard

Now three companies with interlocking operations — HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and DXC Technology — HP equips the Israeli military with computers and has undertaken contracts to “virtualize” IDF operations, starting in 2007 with a pilot program for the Israeli navy, which enforces the blockade of Gaza.

HSBC Bank plc

HSBC provides extensive financing to some of the most notorious military manufacturers in the world, several of them Israeli.

“HSBC holds over £800m worth of shares in, and is involved in syndicated loans worth over £19b to, companies that sell weapons and military equipment to the Israeli government,” Huda Ammori, campaigns officer for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told MintPress. “These investments include Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private security firm, which markets its weapons as ‘field-tested,’ due to them being tested on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

A leading drone manufacturer, Elbit has played a key role in aerial attacks on the Great March of Return.

Motorola Solutions Inc.

Motorola provides the encrypted smartphones the Israeli military uses to deploy soldiers, as well as radio and communications services for the Israeli police.

Remington

Among casualties of the Great March of Return, Amnesty International reports, some “wounds bear the hallmarks of U.S.-manufactured M24 Remington sniper rifles shooting 7.62mm hunting ammunition, which expand and mushroom inside the body,” along with others indicative of Israel Weapon Industries’ Tavor rifles. “In the United States this is sold as a hunting rifle to kill deer,” Brian Castner, a weapons specialist for the human-rights organization, said in April.

AP_18094634140289.jpgProtesters wave Palestinians flags in front of Israeli snipers on Gaza’s border with Israel, April 4, 2018. Adel Hana | AP

Sabra Dipping Company, LLC

The White Plains, New York-based food manufacturer, co-owned by PepsiCo and Israeli foodmaker Strauss, has donated food packages to the Israeli Army’s Golani Brigade, notorious for its human-rights abuses in both Gaza and the West Bank.

“We must channel our rage”

As the Great March of Return, now in its 29th week, continues, participants and supporters say targeting firms complicit in its repression is one of the most effective means of solidarity.

“We must channel our rage at Israel’s atrocities into effective actions to hold Israel accountable,” the BDS National Committee said in a statement on April 12. “Together, we can escalate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.”

“Israel is meeting the Palestinian protesters with live fire, massacring over 190 Palestinians to date,” Ammori told MintPress. “Israel’s racist discrimination and brutal violence is evident, and the campaign to end complicity is vital.”

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