Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory?

May 09, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory?

By Ramin Mazaheri – for the Saker Blog

A party built around climate change is a luxury only the West can afford, and like most luxuries it is a corrupting influence.

While covering a protest in France several years ago a union member told me how she hoped Iran would stop selling its oil in order to protect the environment.

“Sure,” I told her, “how many billions of euros can we expect France to send us so we can buy food?” I assume she is still ignoring this inconvenient truth and enormous flaw in climate change demands on non-Western countries.

Nobody knows how things will shake out in May 2020 – just how bad the West’s Double Bubble + Great Lockdown economy will soon be – but prior to coronavirus green parties were poised to become a top two party across the West for the first time. In 2019 European Parliament elections they shockingly won 10% of seats and 13% of France’s.

That’s not a majority, but the up-to-the-minute reality is that everybody else has been discredited across the Eurozone: the conservatives, the fake-leftists/pseudo-socialists, the nouveau centrists like Emmanuel Macron, the real-but-disliked leftists. Voters who don’t go far-right have only one choice, and that’s a Green party.

The corona overreaction is throwing a spanner into the works, but are we really predicting a revolution in the Western political trajectory?

It’s certain that the neoliberal response cannot possibly satisfy the lower classes, thus incumbents aren’t going to survive their next election: the next five years should be the same as pre-corona – green parties will play the role of ineffectual opposition/status quo-enforcers to far-right corporate fascists who are more jingoistic than patriotic. That’s what politics will be in much of the West, though not in the two-party Anglophone world.

And yet greens will do what fake-leftists always do: screw up, sell out and falsely claim total ownership of the moral high ground.

Given that greens are the political force most poised to profit in the post-corona profit we should ask: Why are the greens such fake-leftists and so unable to provide adequate solutions for the Western lower classes?

Thomas Piketty and why we have to remind hippies that humans have feelings too, just like crystals do

On a moral level greens are human-hating Malthusians at heart – who could deny that? They put rocks and squirrels ahead of people.

On a political level the problem with handing the greens power amid an economic crisis is how very neoliberal their economics are: capitalism-imperialism fringed with a green garland is still rapacious capitalism-imperialism, after all. Perhaps because they are such animal and nature worshippers greens have totally swallowed the idea that “animal spirits” are the only thing which can possibly guide the economy. Which totem animal corresponds to the spirt of compound debt, I wonder?

We can now understand how very easy it will be for the Western 1% to pivot and embrace green parties as a “solution” to pacify the masses post-corona, much like Barry Obama rebranded the US in 2008.

To prove my point: take this extended interview from April 27 with economist-of-the-decade Thomas Piketty by The Intelligencer, which is part of the fake-leftist New York Media digital empire: here we can witness fake-leftist Westerners have it dawn on them that… oh yeah, it seems politics actually can shape economic outcomes?

Piketty is known as the “scholar of inequality”, and while such issues are the focus of leftists it does not mean he automatically is a socialist and not a capitalist. In the interview he discusses his new book and its solution to the Great Recession-cum-Great Depression 2: “participatory socialism”.

Much like Bernie Sanders (the Democratic Party chiefs he repeatedly bows to surely think: “Thank God we have a donkey like him!”) and his “democratic socialism”, Piketty also misunderstands socialism so very much that he thinks he needs a modifying adjective. At best, we can say that these fake-leftists only grasp the primary aspect of socialism (economic redistribution), but not its second, twin pillar (political power redistribution).

The idea that socialism is not “participatory” is easily and overwhelmingly disproven:

Last year Cuba approved a new constitution: “Some 133,680 meetings were held in neighborhoods and places of work and study. There were 8,945,521 participants, with an estimated two million attending more than one, so that the participation rate was approximately three-quarters of the population. There were 1,706,872 commentaries by the people, with 783,174 proposed modifications, additions, or eliminations.  On the basis of the opinions and proposals of the people, the Constitutional Commission revised the draft.  More than 50% of the proposals of the people were included in the modifications; nearly 60% of the articles were modified in some form.

Is that not “participatory” enough?

Piketty seems to have swallowed the lie that socialism has no second pillar which upholds political empowerment of the humble citizen? We see how millions of Cuban hands wrote their constitution in a bottom-up manner, as opposed to the top-down technocracy/aristocracy of Western liberalism.

Fake-leftists fear socialism because they made no personal effort to understand it, thus their conception of socialism is based on ignorance, propaganda and self-interest, and not logic or history. We see all of these things on display from the otherwise estimable Piketty in this interview.

The West gives Piketty a chance: if he doesn’t seize the moment now then he is an idol in an ivory tower

What can we expect New York Media to say when confronted with the rapacity of neoliberalism anything but, “We had no idea?!”

We should expect more from Piketty – we can judge here if he is more than just a detached theoretician who poses no threat to status quo capitalism-imperialism.

The Intelligencer: One of the main responses to the last book, at least among the American audience, was to treat r > g (Piketty’s shorthand for the fact that the returns to capital have been greater than the growth of the economy as a whole) as though it were a law of nature that could be modified only very occasionally through exceptional political change. But actually, the fact that a rich person’s bank account grows faster than the national GDP, that’s just a phenomenon created by a particular political structure too. It’s a creation of politics.

This illustrates my point: Western fake-leftists – from those approved by investor banker scions to write for New York Media group to the greens – have no idea about how politics shapes economics even though this is the very stuff which socialism’s first pillar is made of. Yes, of course economics are created by a political structure! We see that the neoliberally-indoctrinated never question their core beliefs and “animal spirits” until it is too late.

Piketty’s mildest-of-responses – apologetic and inexplicably guilty – shows why he is so appealing to fake-leftist Westerners: the West’s favourite “leftist economist” shows how his values are not based around socialist critiques but the values of diversity drawn from cosmopolitanism, and culminating in a relativistic moral nihilism which is absolutely unacceptable in the black and white field of economics, with its measurable outcomes.

Piketty: It is.

Probably I was not sufficiently clear about that.

I must say in general I have learned a lot from all the discussion from my previous book. I have learned a lot by traveling to many countries to which I had not traveled sufficiently before. I think by broadening the scope of countries and historical trajectories I look at, it also made me realize this incredible diversity of human ideologies and human imagination to restructure all the time the societies. And that’s probably the main lesson of history, that the idea that there is only one way and there is no alternative is just wrong. 

The Intelligencer: You heard that a lot starting in the 1990s and all through 2008: There’s only one way. (The standard formation of this is ‘TINA: There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism and neo-imperialism)’.)

PikettyIt’s wrong.

We “heard that a lot” from Westerners – everywhere else people who were not aspiring to being Western clients/puppets were disagreeing… and getting bombed/blockaded for it.

Being “wrong” on this issue merits a lot of public admission of shame and guilt, but Piketty is content to allow decades of deadly mismanagement to be summarised with two words! I wish my teachers had been so leniently brief when I was wrong.

He doesn’t have to be a political firebrand or a raging poet, but we need more than just two words here: Piketty’s reticence is both culturally self-serving (Piketty is French) and also dangerous because the West’s refusal to let anyone go their own way has had such deadly and impoverishing results. Their conversation continues:

The Intelligencer: Since the crash, there has been a sort of acknowledgment from places like the IMF, World Bank, Financial Times, The Economist, all these voices of elite globalized neoliberalism saying, “Okay, there are some real problems here.” But they still aren’t thinking much about alternative models.

PikettyIf you look at how things happen, you’ll see a potential for political mobilization and historical change through social and economic and political processes, which always happen much faster than what the dominant discourse tends to imagine.

The journalist is essentially saying to Piketty: give us an alternative model, please! But Piketty backs away and exonerates those entities by saying, “Well, life moves fast.”

That’s his whole answer – it isn’t much. It’s as if Piketty wants to stay on the good side of these institutions and media – to keep getting book reviews, praise and invites to speak.

Today is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – do you know the socialist version of what happened?

It only takes a few paragraphs…

What Piketty does not say is that we need to learn from the history of socialism, which is an alternative model that has been in practice for over a century but which neoliberalism violently opposes.

Western fake-leftists know what waits for them if they say that history openly: blacklisting, de facto censorship, no more invites to speak, no more fawning reviews – it’s the same glass ceiling/first-to-be-fired which vocal union members face in their jobs. This is partially why Piketty wants to invent a “new” socialist model and thus erase a century of global history – he doesn’t want to risk his position.

Another component is that for Westerners socialism in any form is not an “alternative model” but a dead model, even though – gasp! – it clearly is a victorious model. This historical revisionism/ignorance goes back to the millions-murdering formative years of industrial capitalism (the last third of the 19th century), as I wrote about last week in The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy?

Crucially, Piketty’s generation – and the one before it and the one after it – was taught that US-led “freedom” defeated fascism. Please note neither has an economic component – it is good versus evil, liberty versus repression – whereas socialism always has a loaded economic component; the pity is that its political component (democracy both direct and indirect, like in Western democracies) was caricatured into a totalitarian dictatorship by a capitalist-imperialist 1% waging perpetual war.

Thus, 75 years later the West still does not realise that WWII saw corporate fascism defeat other corporate fascists – the US, full of Jim Crow and a military-industry complex, was indeed a corporate fascist state which defeated the German and Japanese corporate fascists.

However, even that view is false propaganda! It is the Soviet and Chinese socialists who bore the brunt of the effort to topple corporate fascism in Europe and East Asia. Western ideology rejects the obviously exponentially-larger WWII sacrifices of socialist- inspired nations, and thus for them socialism is a tragic experiment instead of a victorious concept. US corporate fascism continued unabated – it began regrowing corporate fascism (now rebranded as “neoliberalism”) in Japan, Germany and the Eurozone.

This socialist analyst crucially shows how “Corporate fascism with American characteristics” was thus never discredited, until 2008.

This illogical historical analysis is why the West is so at a loss to deal with their problems caused by modern corporate fascism (neoliberalism), and why they scratch their head say “Gee, maybe politics can influence economic outcomes?” “Of course!” is what I would have said if I only was given two words, but Piketty says, almost lamenting, “It’s true.”

We can pick up directly with the interview, continuing with the journalist’s intellectual ignorance/faux-shock with Piketty’s academic detachment/indifference. They were discussing the failure of neoliberalism’s leading lights and the possibility of “thinking” about – not discussing nor implementing – alternative models.

Piketty is not about to stand up for human, suffering Yellow Vests, but he will for Mother Nature

The Intelligencer: But of course it’s also true that those people can help design the system and how it evolves, especially in the case of something like the Great Recession. How much did that recovery worsen inequality, in your view? A layman might look at the history and say, “It’s those who have access to capital who can buy distressed assets, and, as a result, unless there is really dramatic intervention, it will always be the forces of capital that benefit from the crisis.” Is that a fair read of how we emerged from the recession?

The journalist suggested the truth – capitalism is always collusion – but Piketty does not rise to the occasion.

PikettyYou’re right that the people at the top have done better once again than average. How do you explain this? I think it’s because if you take the whole compact of fiscal, social, legal, competition policy, there has been insufficient change. In the end, probably the only lesson from the 1929 crisis both from the right and the left, if you look at economist Milton Friedman, monetary economists, everybody agreed that the Federal Reserve and the central banks in Europe made a huge mistake in the 1930s by letting banks fall one after the other. The only lesson from history in a way was “We are going to do whatever it takes, we are going to print whatever money needs to be printed, in order to save the financial sector.” Indeed, it allowed us to avoid the worst, which is a complete fall in economic activity of the kind we had in the 1930s. It’s good news in a way. We have learned something from history.

The problem, of course, is that we are not going to solve everything with central banks. There was nothing else, really, in store. What I’m a bit concerned with today is that even though there’s a lot of motivation to address structural problems, in particular the climate crisis or today’s pandemic crisis, I think there’s insufficient thinking about how to change the economic rules, the organization of property relations in particular, how much private property we want. We need to take seriously the fact that the distribution of the burden has to be discussed from a democratic viewpoint, has to be distributed across income groups. Sometimes, the climate activists, environmental activists, are so convinced that the No. 1 problem is the climate that they don’t want to hear about anything that sounds like income or wages.

Piketty does, however, agree with the thesis of my 10-part series last winter: that Western bankers are the West’s vanguard, enlightened party which is tasked to “solve everything”. But Infinity QE proves that the Western “bankocracy” model cannot promote anything new – there is “nothing else, really, in store”. We should not expect any vanguard party to admit otherwise either, including the Chinese Communist Party or the Iranian Basij, because all three groups view themselves as their system’s champions and saviors. The latter two, of course, have the advantages of being grassroots in composition, thus embodying political power redistribution, who are then tasked with enforcing economic redistribution, which goes a very long way in explaining their enduring popular support. Bankocrats… not so much.

Right after “central banks” was when Piketty could have proposed a “Western, secular Basij” or a “Party for Socialism with European Characteristics”, but not only does he totally ignore these examples – he thinks he has to reinvent the wheel, which is far worse: Piketty dismissed as insufficient the century of theory and practice socialists have already given “about how to change the economic rules, the organization of property relations in particular, how much private property we want.”

If this is what this academic is teaching his 18-year old students he is letting them believe that something called “socialism” never even existed. But, for Piketty, socialism is both a dead idea and one that may make his own career dead. The interview continues:

The Intelligencer: Some climate activists think the solution is to shrink our economies. They call it “degrowth.”

And now we see clearly the reason for this article – the danger of letting greens run the corona recovery. Piketty just hinted at this when he discussed the “climate crisis or today’s pandemic crisis” (clearly, in terms of urgency the latter is the bigger crisis, yet it is secondary for Piketty) – the open Malthusianism of the Greens, which can never satisfy the 99%.

What is posited by The Intelligencer is that humans are the problems – not the tools they use nor choice of systems. It’s a fake-leftist tack which says the problem is not unfair distribution of economic and political power, but the mere act of production. Rather then perfecting socialism – let’s choose de-progress? Piketty knows he is treading on revolutionary ground with such a (dumb) idea:

PikettyWhich has to be discussed very precisely because then you need to be very careful about what exactly you are proposing to the bottom 50 percent in societies. I think it’s possible to design a plan, but we have to be very careful. In France, we had the yellow-vest movement. The government said that it was going to raise the energy tax and carbon tax for the good of the climate….

Piketty then reaches back to a Sarkozy-era initiative of carbon pricing – he has only brought up the Yellow Vests as a cautionary tale, not to relate their socioeconomic views. That is even though – despite the constant propaganda campaigns which glorified the weekly repression of them – (the rarely commissioned) polls showed the Yellow Vests have always been supported by at least 50% of the country. Piketty believes the Yellow Vests exist not as equals, peers and co-leaders but as a wild force who exist to menace the status quo as a sort of way to keep the Western elite honest.

Piketty knows, though would never say it, that if he regularly marched among the Yellow Vests he’d no longer be invited for interviews by New York Media, The Economist, the World Bank, etc. Piketty gets these calls because even as he calls for change he supports the status quo – he is as much an “EU patriot” as Emmanuel Macron and so many of their elite peers. Piketty admits later that EU patriotism is a fundamentally-elitist waste of time:

PikettyWhat this shows is that we should all be concerned about how we rewrite the system. Many people find this very boring, and I can tell you when you try to talk about the transformation and the democratization of European institutions, most people stop listening after five minutes. 

We can now elucidate the main problem of the Western left: they cannot galvanise anybody. They have no ideas and no language to excite people to support this status quo that arrived via unbloody “velvet revolutions” and which have continued via an apathy and anti-democratic disconnect built into the US-written pan-European project.

In Iran, for example, they created a new language: people like Ali Shariati combined the revolutionary language of socialism with the revolutionary language, symbols and heroes of Islam (with an emphasis on Shia heroes) to inspire the masses. Forty years later the staunchest Zionist must concede that the ability of “Revolutionary Shi’ism” to galvanise is succeeding in a broad enough manner so as to thwart any neoliberal “velvet (counter) revolution” in Iran. Contrarily, if they’d actually honor democratic votes the EU might be dissolved this very day.

Semi-pantheistic, human-hating Western greens are not about to die for change, nor are they about to inspire anyone in the lower classes (or the Yellow Vests, who expertly dissect French and EU politics).

Therefore what is interesting is not the upcoming multiyear battle between green parties and far-right parties as the new “two mainstream parties” in the West, but what comes after this: What does Europe do when their fake-leftists prove to be the same old neoliberals who sell out the masses, but this time give you more flowers?

Do they finally turn to socialism, or return to corporate fascism & neo-imperialism? Even with corona, we may need another five years to find that out.

The times make the man – who is left and who is not will be crystal clear post-corona

Piketty is not a fake-leftist on the level of the New York Media group, but he is certainly not a socialist: he supports MMT (modern monetary theory) and its notion that QE can actually be given without banker middlemen directly to the people, but not nationalising banks; he supports a basic universal income which hardly sounds like the massive redistributions enacted in the USSR, China, Iran, etc.; he laments that to pay for that “you have to have progressive taxation” instead calling for taxing only capital and the rich (in Iran, because of this fundamental socialist principle, half the country pays no taxes and no farmer does).

Piketty should be lauded for documenting inequality and some of his ideas go left of the mainstream, but he doesn’t go much further than that. The upcoming months of chaos will tell if he is an “objective” intellectual, just as journalists are supposed to be in the West – stuck in an ivory tower, where they have no social responsibility; despite their greater awareness of a problem, they are told not to feel any personal responsibility as well. The same goes for Western pop culture stars – any political involvement contrary to the 1%’s stances means no fawning airtime.

Yes, Piketty cares about inequality and changing economic structures – “Over the past ten years, we’ve been saving banks, but have we solved our problem with rising inequality, with global warming?” – but he also cares about saving the planet a tremendous, tremendous amount. He cares about it so much that he has apparently not had time to actually examine socialism and become persuaded that class warfare is continuously waged by the capitalist-imperialist 1% against the 99%.

Bottom line: In the 21st century there is no major issue which is so class-neutered as ecology.

Thus, I refuse to play along: a global ecological solution obviously requires global cooperation, which is something only socialism can offer and which is impossible under a capitalist system, as it is based instead on competition.

Talk about the environment is thus just empty talk until capitalism-imperialism is eradicated – this is why a Green party takeover will be welcomed by the Western 1% as a brand change as effective as Barack Obama was in 2008.

It’s not hard for a neo-pantheist to grasp: The West could profit from Iranian oil for decades, but once we get it – oh, the time for oil is over? Either fork over many, MANY scores of billions or: Pump away, Iran!

The reality is that if Piketty ever consistently marched with the Yellow Vests he’d realise they also care deeply about the environment. But Earth will not be destroyed before “la fin du mois” (“the end of the month” – the primary slogan of the Vesters, which illustrates how they struggle to pay their most basic bills at the end of each month) whereas the lives of millions of Frenchmen will be destroyed amid this corona hysteria. Mother Nature is not the problem – Western politics are.

It should be clear: green parties are a useless distraction – they should not be accepted as a substitute for true leftism. Maybe the Double Bubble + Great Lockdown will set off a revolution, but for now neoliberal, Malthusian, pantheistic, fake-leftist green parties remain the West’s political trajectory.

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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

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 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’.

الحريري: الرقم الصعب أو الخاصرة الرخوة؟

ناصر قنديل

خلال خمس عشرة سنة منذ اغتيال والده الرئيس رفيق الحريري، والرئيس سعد الحريري كوريث سياسي ومالي لمملكة والده يصارع معادلة التنقل بين السعي للتحوّل إلى الرقم الصعب في المعادلات ومخاطر التحوّل إلى الخاصرة الرخوة فيها، وهو يتعلم من «كيسه» كما يُقال، يخاطر ويغامر ويعقد التسويات ويخرج منها، ويخوض المواجهات وينسحب في نصفها، ولا يكاد يراكم الأرباح حتى يخسرها بضربة واحدة ومعها بعض رأس المال. وهو يدرك اليوم أنّه ليس حصان تسوية كالتي ظنّ أنها ستعيد إنتاج زعامته من بوابة السلطة، ولا هو زعيم المواجهة التي اعتقد أنها ستعيد بناء شعبيته المتآكلة بفعل وجوده في السلطة، فقفز من قارب التسوية من دون إنذار مسبق للشركاء الذين خسر ثقتهم، من دون أن يربح مكانة في انتفاضة 17 تشرين ظن أن الاستقالة ستكون بوابتها، ولم ينفعه في رسم خريطة طريق للعودة إلى المعادلة السياسية على حصان أبيض، كما توقع ومعه الكثيرون، تقيّده بوصفة جيفري فيلتمان حول الانتفاضة وإدارة العلاقة معها، بتجنب تحويلها إلى معركة بوجه حزب الله، والدعوة لحصرها بوجه الحليف المشترك للحريري والحزب، أي التيار الوطني الحر ورئيسه الوزير جبران باسيل. وهو اليوم يعيد الوقوف في النقطة الأصليّة ذاتها، السعي للتحول إلى رقم صعب والقلق من التحوّل إلى خاصرة رخوة، لكن برأسمال أقلّ وظروف أصعب ومخاطر أعلى.

البعد الدولي والإقليمي الذي يشكل دائماً الإطار الأوسع لحسابات الحريري، ليس مساعداً، فهو لم يعد يملك مفاتيح قراءة المواقف الأميركية مع لاعب متهوّر وبراغماتي في آن واحد، وواقعي ومغامر في آن مقابل، اسمه دونالد ترامب، كما لم يعُد يجد في الرياض الحضانة الدافئة والرعاية المفتوحة على بياض الشيكات والسرائر، والجاهزة للحماية على قاعدة الشراكة التي لا تهتزّ في السراء والضراء، مع وجود القرار السعودي بيد ولي العهد الأمير محمد بن سلمان، وتجربة الاحتجاز في الريتز ليست مجرد حادث سيئ، بل هي تلخيص لحجم الشكوك والظنون التي يصعب تخطيها والبدء من الصفر. كيف وأن واشنطن والرياض لديهما ما يكفيهما من الهموم والاهتمامات والأولويات قبل كورونا وبعد كورونا، كي لا يكون لبنان كله أولوية، فكيف يكون بعضه، وبعض من هذا البعض، واليوم المنطقة كلها تفقد مكانة الأولوية الأميركية، ولبنان يفقد زاوية الاهتمام السعودي، بينما يحضر لاعبون دوليون وإقليميون، كفرنسا التي لا يحكم قصر الإليزية فيها جاك شيراك، بل براغماتي خاسر يسعى لعدم خسارة لبنان كآخر مقعد لفرنسا في المنطقة اسمه امانويل ماكرون، وروسيا الآتية من بوابة التحالف مع سورية وإيران وحزب الله، ومقابلهما إقليمياً إيران اللاعب الذي يحسب له الحساب من جهة، ومن جهة مقابلة تركيا التي قطعت المتوسط بحثاً عن دور في ليبيا ولن تمنتع عن مخاطرة مشابهة في لبنان، وهي الآتية على قاعدة السعي لوراثة الدور السعودي في شمال لبنان بصورة خاصة، ولا تجد أمامها إلا الحضور الإماراتيّ الذي أفسد الودّ في علاقة الحريري بولي عهدها الكثير والكثير جداً.

في البعد الداخليّ يتلاقى وضع اقتصادي ضاغط ومتفجّر على اللبنانيين، ولا يملك الحريري وصفة سحرية لمواجهته وقد زال زمان السحر التمويلي لباريس مكرّر وسيدر لم يعد على الطاولة غب الطلب وإن وجد فليس ضمن حصر إرث يعود للحريري وحده الإفادة منه، والأزمة التي أحرقت أيادي الجميع لا مكان للحريري في قطار الإنقاذ منها بنظر اللبنانيين، بقدر ما يحمل أعباء الوصول إليها، بنظر أغلبية لبنانية ترى أنه المسؤول عن سياسات ماليّة قلد خلالها سياسات والده في زمن غير مناسب، وواصل اتباع وصفات حاكم مصرف لبنان رياض سلامة عندما كان الوقت قد حان لاستبدالها بعكسها، أي منذ العام 2010 عندما بدأ ميزان المدفوعات يميل للخسارة وتراجعت تحويلات اللبنانيين في ظل نظام العقوبات، وكان ينبغي عندها وقف سياسات الاستدانة والفوائد المرتفعة، والسعي لخطط اقتصادية ومالية جديدة تبني الإنتاج وتتكامل مع المحيط الطبيعي، أي سورية والعراق، فيما كان هو منشغلاً بالتحضير للمعركة مع سورية، ويقدّم أوراق اعتماده في حرب الرهان على سقوطها، وفي قلب طائفته لم تعد زعامة الحريري كما كانت، فعلى يمينه وشماله فؤاد السنيورة ونجيب ميقاتي ونهاد المشنوق وأشرف ريفي، وجماعات التطرّف، وجاءه من حيث لا يحتسب منافس لا يُستهان بمقدراته وفرص تقدّمه، هو الرئيس حسان دياب. وقد استهان الحريري بالأمرين معاً.

لا يبدو أمام الحريري من خيار سوى حذف الاحتمالين بالتوازي كي ينجو، أي التخلي عن وهم الرقم الصعب كي يتفادى كابوس الخاصرة الرخوة، فيحذف احتمالاً ليسقط الثاني تلقائياً، في طريق بحثه عن جواب جائزة المليون، ولن يفيده الاستقواء بالجمهور، الذي لا يحتمل اللعب بالمخاطرات. فلا مكان ليركب موجة التطرف لأنها ستلغيه وتسرّع بتحويله خاصرة رخوة، ولا موجة المواجهة مع العهد لأنها ستقصيه ومشهد وليد جنبلاط في بعبدا يجب أن يضيء عنده الضوء الأحمر، بأنه قد يخسر كل الرصيد المتراكم بسبب إجابة خاطئة، بينما يمكنه الامتناع عن الإجابة والاكتفاء بالربح المحقق، ليصل إلى خيار حتمي هو الاستعانة بصديق، هو حكماً رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري، الذي خذله الحريري باستقالته المفخّخة، ليستفيد مما فعله جنبلاط، ويتعلم من أخطاء الماضي، عله يستطيع الوصول إلى صيغة تنظيم العلاقة مع رئيس الحكومة الصعب حسان دياب، على قاعدة الفصل بين الرئاسة والزعامة، وهي المعادلة التي أوصلت الرئيس السابق ميشال سليمان للرئاسة مقابل تعهّده احترام زعامة العماد ميشال عون، وتنكّر لها سليمان بعد وصوله إلى قصر بعبدا، بينما يستطيع دياب احترامها إذا ارتضى الحريري سداد كلفتها، بالتساؤل عن مبرر تمسكه بأغلب الذين يرسم حولهم خطوطاً حمراء، ويرفض تعرّضهم للمساءلة، من رؤساء حكومات سابقين ووزراء سابقين وصولاً لحاكم المصرف، وأغلبهم إما يعتاش على رصيده، أو يحفر له حفرة السقوط المدوّي وأحسنهم باعه في التوقيت السيئ بثلاثين من الفضة، وهو بين كل هؤلاء أقلهم مسؤولية في حساب الفساد، كما في حساب رسم السياسات.

فيديوات متعلقة

The AngloZionists are launching a strategic PSYOP against China

THE SAKER • APRIL 22, 2020 

Maybe the “the Russians did it” narrative is getting stale. Or maybe the leaders of the Empire have finally figured out that China is even more dangerous to the Empire than Russia. But my personal gut feeling is simply that the AngloZionists are freaking out about the “full-spectrum” loss of face they suffered with their massive mishandling (medically and, even more so, politically!) of this pandemic-induced socio-economic crisis and that they now are pointing fingers pretty much at everybody (including each other).

Russia did play a crucial role here, since it was in its informational war against Russia that the leaders of the Empire came up with what I now call the “Skripal rules of evidence” aka “highly likely”. This latest principle being subserviently accepted by all Europeans in the name of “solidarity” (solidarity with what exactly is rarely specified), it was, shall we say, “naively reasonable” that it would work this time around again. Again, I am personally not so sure about that at all. Much has changed over the past two years: not only did the Europeans eventually find out how utterly stupid and incredible the entire Skripal fairy tale was, but the level of disgust and even hatred with Trump and the US has sharply gone up. Furthermore, China has a lot more to offer to Europe, than the disintegrating (dis-)United States – so why side with the losing party? Last, but most certainly not least, the Europeans will find out (and some already have), that the US literally does not give a damn about not only regular Europeans, but even about the European ruling classes.

A quick study of history shows that when exploiting elites are doing great, they all faithfully support each other, but when things start to go south, they immediately turn on each other. The best recent example of this phenomenon is the schism in the US ruling elites who, since the election of Trump, have immediately turned on each other and are now viciously fighting like “spiders in a can” (to use a Russian expression). In fact, this is so true that it can even be used as a very reliable diagnostic tool: when your enemies are all united, then they are probably confident in their victory, but as soon as they turn on each other, you *know* that things are looking very bad for your opponents. Likewise, we now see how southern Europeans are getting really angry with their northern “EU allies” (Macron seems to be falling in line behind Trump even if he uses a more careful and diplomatic language). Finally, the way the US CIA has one foreign policy, the Pentagon another and Foggy Bottom one of its own (even if limited to sanctions and finger-pointing) tells you pretty much all you need to know to see how deep the systemic crisis of the Empire has become.

While there are very few truly intelligent people left in the US government, there are still plenty of “horizontally clever” ones and it did not take them long to find out that this pandemic gave then a golden opportunity to pin all their own failures and mistakes on China. The elements? Simple really:

  1. Anti-Chinese propaganda has a long history in the US and it was really easy to re-kindle it.
  2. Most Americans have a completely irrational reaction to the word “Communist” so it is really easy for any US propaganda outlet to mention the CCP and “lies” in the same sentence and sound credible, irrespective of what else the sentence claims (like, say, factual evidence).
  3. The US plutocracy is terrified of the Chinese economic and industrial power, hence the vilification of companies like Huawei or DJI which are declared a national security threat to the US. Blame everything on the Chinese and the US oligarchs will love it!
  4. China and Russia are in a relationship which is even far deeper than an alliance. I call it a “symbiosis” while the Chinese speak of a “Strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era” while the Russians speak of a “crucial alliance”. The terms don’t really matter here, what matters is that Russia and China are standing together ( that is what they mean by “coordinating”) against the Empire and that the (admittedly few and clumsy) US attempts are breaking this alliance have totally failed.
  5. As with any new pandemic, it did take China time to figure out the nature of what was happening and it was extremely easy to accuse China of deliberate obfuscation (while keeping the fact that China did inform the world as early as December 31st is, obviously omitted, as is the presence of a multi-national WHO delegation to investigate this issue. In reality, one might as well accuse China of being TOO open, and allowing various estimates and hypotheses to circulate even before the Chinese government had all the facts established. It is a perfect case of dammed if you do and damned if you don’t.
  6. The US political culture is that 99.99% of Americans will believe literally ANY lie, no matter how self-evidently stupid, about the rest of the world rather than accepting any unpleasant truth about the US. So scapegoating another power, especially a Communist one, gets a knee-jerk reaction of approval from the overwhelming majority of Americans.
  7. When the WHO clearly did not buy into the US propaganda, it was a great move for Trump to defund it. Not only did the US already owe the WHO millions of dollars (50-200, depending on who you ask), so the easy pretext not to pay was to accuse it of being pro-Chinese. It is obvious that Trump has no use for the UN other than as a whipping boy, and this was a prefect way to target it again.
  8. As with any scary event, a true tsunami of completely unsubstantiated and outright silly rumors began as soon as it was clear that this was a major event and all the US propaganda machine had to do was to speak in serious tones about some of these rumors and to make it appear that the media was “just reporting” rather than planting stories.
  9. China is also a major threat to US interests in Asia, and this pandemic provided a perfect opportunity for the US to present reports from Taiwan as reports from China (that is an old trick). As for the Taiwanese government, they were more than happy to find yet another pretext to hate on China, nothing new here either.
  10. Finally, US economists did not take long to figure out that this pandemic would have devastating effect on the “best economy in the history of the galaxy” so preemptively blaming it all on China is the perfect way for Trump and his Neocon masters to deflect the blame from them.

The stories which were then planted were truly magnificent. Here are a few of my personal favorites

There are many more, I am sure that you have seen them too.

Eventually, and inevitably, this strategic PSYOP upped the ante and FOXnews (logically) aired this true masterpiece: “Sen. Hawley: Let coronavirus victims sue Chinese Communist Party“. Truly, this is brilliant. “I lost my job, let the evil Chinese commies pay me back” is music to the ears of most Americans.

Right now, most of the US statements are simply lies, but as China will, with time, eventually release more corrected and accurate information, these corrected/updated statistics will immediately be interpreted as the proof that initially the Chinese were deliberately lying and not as the effect of the Chinese themselves gradually getting a better picture of what actually happened. Again, this is the typical case of dammed if you don’t and dammed if you do.

I should mention that there is another reason which might contribute to the decision of the US to blame it all on China: it is still not clear where this virus came from, but one possibility is that it originated in the US and was brought to China by Americans (whether deliberately or not is not the issue here). As for the reports which claim that the US is deliberately covering up the real magnitude of the disaster in the US, they are ignored.

Furthermore, it is now painfully obvious that the US politicians totally misread the situation and began by saying either that it was a Chinese problem or that it was “no worse than the seasonal flu”, or both. This is just the latest case of what I call the “US narcissistic messianism” leading US leaders to believe in their own propaganda only to find out that reality still exists out there and that it is dramatically different from the delusions held by most Americans.

Now all these US politicians (the Republicrats as much as the Demoblicans) all have to run and cover their collective butts. What better way to achieve that than to blame it all on China?

As I said above, this his clever, but definitely not very intelligent.

The US is already locked in an unwinnable war against Russia (as I always remind everybody, this war is 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic). To open a full-scale “second front” makes sense in terms of short term political expediency, especially in an election year, but in the long term it is self-defeating and disastrous. In fact, if there is anything history teaches us, is that opening a second front when you can’t even handle the first one is suicidal. But who cares about history, especially in the “United States of Amnesia”? And, besides, when you are both totally exceptional and totally superior, why would you care about the history of the common “deplorable” people and nations out there? Just call them “shit holes” and wave your (Chinese made) flag. That is what passes for “looking Presidential” these days…

Regardless of anything said above, the momentum of this sinophobic campaign is too big to be reversed or stopped. And since most of the US political class supports it, this will probably continue even after the US Presidential election (assuming it takes place).

Still, all this begs the question: what did really happen? What is the truth?

The truth is that nobody really knows. It will probably take years to get the full picture and, even more so, the correct numbers. What correct numbers? Well, ALL of them: carriers, resistance, age groups, comorbidity, the exact characteristics of this virus (and of its various mutations), how effective the various tests are, which antiviral medication might help, its side effects, whether the BCG vaccine somehow helps the body to fight off the virus, etc.

Right now, I don’t believe that anybody really knows, even the percentage of asymptomatic carriers changes by an order of magnitude depending on whom you ask. Sure, some guesses are closer to the truth than others, by definition, but which ones are closer is still very hard to ascertain.

They key thing to keep in mind now is that most of what we see now has very little in common with any scientific investigation. What we see is an attempt to use this pandemic for political, financial and geostrategic purposes.

And please don’t think that it is only Trump! Just remember what Pelosi was saying as late as February!

https://youtu.be/eFCzoXhNM6c (video to be embedded)

That was almost two months after China had warned the WHO that there was a major crisis developing!

But Pelosi, just like Trump, only thinks about power, money and influence, not the safety of the “deplorables” which the Dems hate so much (as do the Republicans, of course, they just don’t say so openly like Hillary did; but just Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” says all you need to know about his true respect for his fellow human beings!).

Then there is another very real risk: as the situation gets worse and worse for the US and, specifically, for Trump’s reelection, he might well decide to do what many politicians do in such a situation: start a big war. Before the pandemic, the US clearly had no stomach to start a war with Iran, but now that the pandemic is crippling the world economy and that all the ugly sides of the transnational capitalist system are becoming obvious, I would not put it past Trump to start a war with Iran just to deflect the many accusations against him. The Idiot-in-Chief has now ordered USN forces off the coast of Iran to, I kid you not, “shoot down & destroy” any Iranian gunboat which would “harass” the USN. Apparently, he still cannot understand that should any USN ship execute any such order it would soon find itself dealing with a swarm of Iranian anti-shipping missiles. Clearly, messianic narcissism and a rabid megalomania simply don’t allow Trump to understand that the Iranians are for real, that they absolutely mean business and that they, unlike the US, have carefully modeled the consequences of any war between Iran and the US and while they won’t deliberately provoke such a war, they will fight it if needed, with infinitely more staying power than the US.

Like a typical US flag-waving politician, Trump probably thinks that if all goes to hell, the US can nuke Iran and prevail. He is right about the former, but oh SO wrong about the latter. If nukes are used against Iran, then there will be a total and long war to kick both the US and the Zionist entity out of the Middle-East. But that is a topic for another day.

A new mascot for both US parties?

A new mascot for both US parties?

US politicians remind me of a person living in a arctic cabin who decide to burn down the cabin to get much needed heat: sure, this strategy will work, for a while, but only at the cost of a much bigger disaster down the road. This is what pretty much ALL US politicians did with this pandemic, and this is why they will never ever accept any responsibility for anything.

Check out this cute little donkey on the right.

Would he not make the perfect mascot and symbol for both US political parties and for the many US politicians who can think of nothing else than covering him?

There is one more thing I would like to mention here: there are a lot of folks out there who like to carefully note all the instances when somebody predicted that this pandemic would happen. They take these warning statements as evidence of a conspiracy. The truth is that the scientific community and even the general public (at least those few who still read books) fully knew that it was just a matter of time before such a pandemic would happen, because our society made such an event inevitable. Just one example:

In distant 1995 the US journalist Lorrie Garrett published an excellent book called “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” in which she explained why and even how a global pandemic would naturally emerge due to the very nature of our modern society. I highly recommend this book in spite of the fact that it is now a quarter of a century old: it is very well written, easy to read, and it makes a very strong case that such pandemics were inevitable (and with no need to appeal to unsubstantiated biowarfare theories).

History will show that we all, our entire planet, did not take this and many other warnings seriously. Ask yourself, what is easier for a politician: to accept that our entire socio-political order is unsustainable and outright dangerous (or “out of balance” to use Garrett’s expression), or to blame it all on the Chinese commies and their “secret biowarfare program”?

I think that the answer is self-evident.

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

Source

April 22, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Paris has been a terrible place to live for over five years now – even tourists can tell.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015 (because they just had to draw pornographic pictures of Prophet Mohammad) kicked off a fear-based culture which has culminated in the world’s most over-policed coronavirus lockdown, with over 800,000 citations issued.

But it’s been an endless climb of “culminations” for Parisians:

Installing bulletproof glass around the Eiffel Tower (I used to walk under it going to work each day – impossible now). Did the Bataclan massacre have to result in a state of emergency two years long? Certainly President Emmanuel Macron did not have to legalise it into common police practice. From November 2018 through May 2019 huge swathes of Paris were already on lockdown as every Saturday was an undeclared National Poseur Day: pretending as if lower class protesters weren’t being provoked, gassed, beaten, water cannoned, fined, jailed, crippled and even killed. The marches continued through the failed, record-long General Strike, which collapsed in January.

Trust me when I say that the non-stop police sirens during the two-day manhunt of the Kouachi brothers after the Charlie Hebdo shootings never really ended. In the poor northern area of Paris where I live the sirens became constant – for years everyone complains of “cowboy” police who have been over-empowered, but we have no idea how they could be or if they will ever be rolled back.

And during the Great Lockdown, by everyone’s account, this has gotten even worse… but at least now the rich areas are finally getting a taste of la justice à le cow-boy – that’s the only they’ll ever be rolled back, after all.

It’s not poor-Los Angeles helicopters, but the sirens can be exhausting. As for the “it’s not there” indifference towards all those other culminations – I simply don’t have the acting/posing abilities the aesthetic-minded French have, I guess? But I also don’t have the personal stake in France which – try as they might – the French cannot possibly disguise from themselves? They simply must find it very tiring to live in a country where the government – indeed, the national trajectory – has essentially zero open backers outside the bubble occupied by Parisian elites.

It’s not just the Macron era: Francois Hollande was so unpopular he couldn’t even stand for re-election; when Nicolas Sarkozy left he bitterly said “nobody will hear of me again” because the French so deservedly enjoyed kicking him.

The reality is that – Islamophobia aside – nearly everything I’ve described has been caused by France’s historical insistence on a united Europe.

How long will it take Brussels – and its string of puppets/clients – to kill the ‘French model’?

Anti-Muslim attitude is a problem, sure, but only a class analysis provides a satisfying explanation to the undeniable 21st-century decay of French life: Muslims did not force France to stop being French – collusion among the French 1% did.

(Of course, to avoid regular class analysis discussion the French elite keep insisting: “No, it’s Muslims who are ruining France.” Typical Western fake politics.…)

Ever since Mitterrand made his infamous austerity-embracing U-turn in 1981- on what would have been Western Europe’s most-leftist policy platform ever – France has allowed itself to be fiscally leeched blood-dry over the pan-European principle to try and win over Germany to “more Europe”.

It’s an amazing martyrdom – we shouldn’t denigrate such things completely. And a large part of France’s motivation is also to end the constant German aggression that dates back to 1870.

Recent history is really quite simple: in order to woo Germany away from a neo-imperialist partnership with their Anglo-Saxon American first cousins (which has run from 1945 until today), France keeps fiscally flagellating itself and others in Europe to woo Germany into joining a pan-European project; crucially, this project initially was based on a Gaullist “mixed economy”, but that was jettisoned in favor of Anglosphere neoliberalism, globalisation and hyper-financialisation.

Maybe other Europeans want in on such a project, but Germany does not and should leave: Germany’s role has been entirely negative, their economics entirely Austrian (pro-1%, rabidly anti-socialist), and the groundwork which they have ordered is totally incapable of providing post-corona stability. Few seem to grasp this Washington-Berlin neo-fascist alliance, even though it satisfyingly explains Germany’s essentially 5th-columnist role in the EU.

However, only a blinkered nationalist analysis would stop here. France’s elite is just as 5th-columnist – they have joined Washington and Berlin because that is what neoliberal, globalist capitalism is: an international waging of class warfare.

Macron openly calls to end the French model – he is the new ‘EU patriot’

Because its basis is resolutely neoliberal and thus anti-patriotic (even within its new creation of a misguided “EU patriotism” – the accurate term is “patriotism for the EU’s 1%”), this version of the pan-European project is simply not worth it – all it has done is disregard democratic votes, empower bankers, produce Lost Decades and gut social safety nets. I personally don’t think a united, non-socialist Europe is good for the world, but I know this version of a united Europe is a catastrophe. And I know it is ruining France – I’ve not just lived it but documented it via daily hard news reporting for PressTV.

But Macron is of a new generation whose elite passionately believes that this pan-European project works – it has… but only for Europe’s elite. This unprecedented “neoliberal empire” is thus successfully perpetuating itself.

But it took a lot to get here: Hollande, Sarkozy, privatisation-puppet Chirac, Mitterrand – all of France’s elite kept sacrificing France’s 99% for an ideology of “more Europe”, which was first Gaullist-capitalist then neoliberal. Truly, the same can be said for the elite of all of Europe, but especially Latin Europe – just look at how Germany could afford a corona bailout 10 times the size of France’s bailout.

But since 2015 have no doubt: France’s Lockdown-pre-Great-Lockdown was entirely the result of widespread dissension for Brussels’ fiscal policies – this had to be repressed.

The modern French conviction that discussion-and-even-dissension is more than just tolerable but should be encouraged – this also had to be repressed.

The idea of French workers – foreign to the Anglosphere— that they should have economic stability and political-cultural influence also had to be repressed, thus the endless far-right economic reforms.

As I keep insisting, the global 1% insists that the bad example of the “French model” has to be destroyed and replaced with the US/UK/German model, with all its greater inequality, poverty and dull individual conformities and fears.

The “French model” cannot survive if the 1% is to preserve unaltered this version pan-European project which is resolutely neoliberal. This is proven by the recent diplomatic uproar caused by China’s ambassador to France, who criticised the inequality laid bare by France’s corona response:

You have a new brand of Chinese diplomats who seem to compete with each other to be more radical and eventually insulting to the country where they happen to be posted,” opined a French analyst, but I get it: a person (in this case a diplomat) comes to France and they hear so very much proud talk about liberty, equality and fraternity… but they see that the first has been so distorted by the privileged class so as to totally eradicate the second and third. The Chinese ambassador is both disappointed and fed-up with France. He has become something Westerners cannot be – politically honest and critical of Western policy – without being condemned as a “radical”.

The French 99% tries to incarnate their post-French Revolution values (within the factual context that their revolution did not stand very long), but their elite do not. Foreigners simply cannot see true French values in action because what they are seeing are 1%er, neoliberal, “EU empire” values in action. The French elites’ values are not French but “European empire”; one cannot ever become elite anymore without displaying total allegiance to this empire.

It’s dismaying, and that is exhausting as well.

But while the future now only looks worse for the 99% across France, I imagine Macron couldn’t be happier.

Corona preserves Macron’s re(de)formist gains & wipes his promise-slate clean

Maybe the coronavirus break was just what everybody needed, not only Macron?

Think about it: a historic two-month General Strike had just failed in late January. Now that the pension reform was passed unemployment reform was planned for this fall, because there is simply no constitutional way to stop Macron. The Yellow Vests certainly weren’t going to stop. How can Macron afford to keep generating such public ill will? Was there going to be another General Strike? How can workers afford to do that?

You simply can’t compute all those facts.

Thus, pre-corona France was truly at a breaking point and exhausted. France was like two wrestlers who had each other in a stranglehold, but instead of letting go both decided to suicidally and murderously maintain their grip.

The Great Lockdown preserves in amber Macron’s pension reforms – it’s over. When France goes back to work they will be rushed through Parliament, and likely amid a ban on groups (protests) of more than a few score. The Great Lockdown gives the public a chance to forget about that fight and the elite a “just move on” filibuster to questioning journalists.

But it also ends the possibility of Macron’s autumn plans for similar deforms to the unemployment system. There’s no way that can go on with the state socialistically-shouldering 60% of the Great Lockdown’s lost revenue. However, France’s 1% has been waiting decades for the pension reform – think they aren’t pleased? Think they can’t wait until autumn 2021, when Macron can make unemployment reform his farewell political legacy amid General Strike 2? You must think the 1% doesn’t play tactical class warfare, which is chess, and instead thinks in nationalisms, which is checkers.

The Great Lockdown is also the single-best thing to happen to Macron’s re-election chances.

How can he now be faulted for failing on his signature promise – to reduce unemployment to 7%? How can he be faulted by the right for any economic failure – France simply has to spend their way out of the corona overreaction? How can he be faulted on the left for any economic failure – France spent a lot on the corona overreaction (again, a pittance compared to Germany and also a bailout weighted to the 1%)? Any fiscal policy promise and failure is thus absolved with this corona overreaction-distraction.

Any social policy failure is also old hat – we must focus on a post-corona world. French PM says coronavirus outbreak ‘under control’ but warns ‘life won’t go back to normal after May 11th’ – of course Macron doesn’t want to go back to normal – his popularity was in the toilet for years; his policy, his style, his bizarre and salacious scandals (highlighted by the Benalla affair, which only French people understand) and his constant elitist gaffes ensured it could only worsen.

But election sniping is such a narrow view, even if it is the dominant Western mindset:

Macron’s entire presidency has been an open assault on the French idea of what is “normal”. Destroying the French model – to satisfy and propel the neoliberal & neo-imperial pan-European project he sincerely believes in – has always been his political raison d’être. Macron undoubtedly will view himself as leaving as a hero for all his “deforms”, whenever he departs in ignominy.

I’ve had offers to work in the US: “Why would I want to be a political journalist covering such an atrocious, atrocious political culture?” But France has become nearly identical – instead of righteous, easily-triggered emotionality the French political talk shows rely on an endless reserve of indifference and sang froid (cold blood) to reach the same neoliberal aims; instead of Trump-Putin hysteria they use Muslim-hysteria.

So what is France’s future? It is Macron versus Marine Le Pen in 2022 – they are just as intellectually and culturally exhausted, bitter and hostile as the US. They would rather repeat corporate fascism than be creative.

Must I work on behalf of Le Pen, claiming that she is a “victory via defeat”? I did that, marginally, for Trump, but I didn’t have to cover the guy everyday! More Macron would be an even bigger defeat than Biden – the Ferguson, Missouri, protests weren’t anything like the Yellow Vest repression.

The West may have all the money but they have no good answers anymore. How could corona have uncovered anything but the truth of their underlying morbidity?

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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


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 Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Can “Coronavirus Diplomacy” Bring the European Union (EU) Closer to Eurasia?

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, April 03, 2020

The European Union (EU) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), an association of post-Soviet states, effectively serve a similar function to each other as an economic bloc. Unlike the 27-member EU, the EEU has only 5-members as many post-Soviet states allege it is nothing but an attempt to revive the Soviet Union, which the countries of the West do not want to promote. The West’s resistance has brought no economic benefit to it and this geopolitical duel was reflected in the limited success of sanctions against Russia. However, the credibility of the EU and the liberal orders continues to diminish as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the coronavirus pandemic actually creates a unique opportunity for the EU and EEU to integrate into a single system, or at least move closer together.

Russia’s dominance of the EEU is both a positive and a negative for Eurasian integration. Russia’s large market forms the basis of the integration potential of the EEU, however, limited economic growth, sanctions and its participation in global geopolitics create risks for the Eurasian integration process. However, Eurasian integration would be in the interest of EU as it will connect European states to new markets in Central and East Asia far more efficiently and quickly then by other means. The EU claims that it works towards common markets and efficiency but does not seriously consider connecting Lisbon on the Atlantic Ocean to Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean.

The EU is losing its position as a top trading partner of the EEU, and it’s not just because of China’s growing importance. As a trading partner of the EEU, China has already surpassed most of Europe. The role of the EU as a trading partner of the whole EEU is due to the important role of the EU for Russia. However, Russia has been slowly turning eastward from the EU for years now as the future leading economies of the world will shift from the West to Asia.

Coronavirus is certainly accelerating this reality as the entirety of the Anglosphere and Western Europe head towards a severe recession unable to handle the economic pressures of the pandemic. This pandemic and economic downturn effectively means that only China and Russia will compete for investments in the extremely resource rich Central Asia. As EU economies begin to recover in the aftermath of the coronavirus and their energy demands are not being met access to Central Asia may become a priority. Ironically, Russia is the only means for the EU to enter the markets of the post-Soviet countries outside of Eastern Europe. Therefore, with the liberal order severely damaged in the face of coronavirus, it will have to be acknowledged in the West that the EEU project as a whole is a force for good and the EU will have to admit it made a mistake by not initially recognizing the EEU.

With this in mind, the EU must show independent foreign policy and resolve its disputes with Russia, even if Washington insists on enacting hostiles relations with Moscow. As the EU originally began as an economic union without much of a political nature, by returning to their roots will mean naturally a change in foreign policy. If the economy is the concentrated expression of politics, then mutual economic interests should be the foundation of reconciliation between Brussels and Moscow.

French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the leading voices in normalizing relations with Russia, despite his harsh rhetoric against Moscow time to time. Let’s consider Macron’s Facebook post from last year where he said

“progress on many political and economic issues is evident, for we’re trying to develop Franco-Russian relations. I’m convinced that, in this multilateral restructuring, we must develop a security and trust architecture between the European Union and Russia.”

With Macron stressing that Russia is part of Europe, he expanded on General de Gaulle’s famous phrase that Europe stretches “from Lisbon to the Urals,” to say that Europe extended to Vladivostok, close to the North Korean border. Macron is one of the most powerful voices in Europe and strongly endorses a weakening of U.S. influence in Europe through various means, including criticism of NATO and suggestion to have it replaced with a European military.

The EEU’s vision of Lisbon to Vladivostok as a common space is the best way to avoid a crisis on the Eurasian landmass. For countries like Ukraine who are stuck between both East and West, the integration of the EU and EEU would actually serve as a stabilizing factor. Therefore, as the coronavirus has exposed weaknesses in the liberal globalized order, an opportunity has actually emerged where the EU and EEU can more closely align and integrate.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

Featured image is from InfoBricsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Paul Antonopoulos, Global Research, 2020

THE INVISIBLE BUG THAT KILLED AN EMPIRE

THE INVISIBLE BUG THAT KILLED AN EMPIRE

AOpinionLeave a comment

The liberal world order is a shambles. The coronavirus pandemic will spell the end of full-spectrum dominance by Britain, the United States, and those in the European Union tethered so inextricably to the NATO alliance. A quote below from a Reuters report citing French President Emmanual Macron, it sums up the fall of the mediocre empire created after World War 2.

“What’s at stake is the survival of the European project.”

It’s too bad my country has no statesmen to herald the coming of the end. I wonder when the first American governor will tell my countrymen what is at stake for them?

Macron was cited after the Reuters report framed the catastrophe in Italy, and how the European Union left the Italians to fend for themselves like castaways. To be honest, I never thought Macron had it in him, but he’s surprised even me. And when Russia and China came to the rescue, it was NATO and Poland that closed airspace to the Russian aid transports. Italy will never forget or forgive this. The story in Spain is a similar one, as is the one here in Greece. If not for the Greek authorities quick action to close businesses and borders, Europe’s summer vacationland would already be overwhelmed.

At a time when Germany and the Netherlands have split the EU into two parts by blocked a call from Italy, Spain, and France to issue joint debt to help finance a recovery, President Donald Trump and his opposition have splintered America into similar desperate parts. In the United States, hard-hit places like New York City cannot even get the needed equipment to treat the spiraling number of COVID-19 cases. ICU units are full, almost everyone has been exposed, and Governor Cuomo is begging for respirators that will never come. And this is just New York.

In the state of Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp just held a “town hall” meeting with constituents before extending school closings. However, although Georgia’s COVID-19 spread is one of the fastest-growing and deadliest in the nation, Kemp has not expanded the state effort. This is a mistake on the level of criminal negligence if you factor in mathematical projections of how the disease is gripping the United States. While Donald Trump panders a “beautiful Easter” as his motivation to open back up sections of the U.S., it seems like the Republican party is willing to follow the unpredictable president over a cliff.

A report entitled “Hell is Coming: Here is the Mathematical Proof”, from a Wall Street expert, Inan Dogan, Ph.D., shows us the incontrovertible magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic, both in terms of human suffering, and where the mid-term economy of the world is concerned. Dogan puts forward the facts of the geometric spread of the disease along with the death spiral that only levels off after countries take drastic measures. The most telling figures, the fact the infection and death rates double every three days, is a metric that cannot be hidden. Simple math can be applied to any of the COVID-19 pandemic charts online. Dogan says 2 million Americans are already infected with the virus, and that testing and delay factors obscure the real gravity of the situation. The United States passed China and Italy with the most number of COVID-19 cases, and the disease spread curve confirms the totals doubling every three days. Dr. Dogan predicted the U.S. death toll on March 26th would be 900, the actual number was 1,201. I followed the trend and did the math too. Unless President Trump takes more drastic measures, America’s government will have fallen behind the rest of the world in the worst possible way, by letting her people down totally. As for the economic impacts, the situation is already far beyond estimating.

Anyone can follow the Bloomberg predictions or Wall Street ticker to determine the world is in a mess. Trump and the Congress printing out an extra $2 trillion is monumental enough to show this. But the macro-level view does not show the depth or scope of this pandemic. For instance, at the micro-economic level, farms and other producers around the world will be smashed by the pandemic. Here on Crete island, small farmers cannot ship their produce to places like Italy or the rest of the Balkans, since tight border restrictions prevent the trucks from rolling in. Many are already selling their products below the cost to produce them, just to keep their businesses alive. And this situation will only worsen in the months to come. What about American exports and imports?

The only good news Americans can cling to is the fact the United States is not nearly so dependent on exports as most other countries. Farms in America, for instance, are mostly owned by huge corporations that are far more capable of handling market fluctuations and individual farmers who once fed the country. Oil and gas are a huge problem, as are the travel, tourism, food, and entertainment sectors. The biggest problem for Trump and the other politicians is the joblessness that is about to shatter the incumbent president’s hopes of reelection. This is why Trump is so keen to reboot the country before Easter. He says he thinks it’s a “beautiful time” and that he thinks it would be a super timeline to try and reopen the U.S. by then, but what he means is that millions of Americans being jobless when the Easter Bunny shows up… Well, this is the level of “Trump” disasters the American leadership considers dire. This Moody’s outlook for China may be a premonition for America in the coming weeks:

“In recently released data from China (A1 stable) offers a glimpse into the impact of the unfolding consumption shock. The official data suggests a sharp contraction relative to last year in retail sales (-20.5%), industrial production (-13.5%), fixed-asset investment (-24.5%), and job losses (5 million) in January and February.”

Here’s the gist. President Trump and most of the leadership in the U.S. are dealing with this crisis from a “fantasy” perspective, or as if the country was somehow prepared for catastrophes like COVID-19. The United States spends untolled trillions on national defense, homeland security, cybersecurity, and an unspeakable list of programs. Pharmaceutical companies in the country rake in trillions as well, and when the American people call on the industry in a crisis?

“Easter would be a beautiful timeline. It’s a beautiful time of year.”

The connective tissue of America is about to be put under coronavirus stress, whether or not every citizen comes down with the bug, every man, woman, and child will be affected. A $1200 loan from Uncle Sam is not going to help. And yes, the stimulus checks are a loan from the world central banks. The stock market rallied on the announcement of the stimulus package by the government, but the U.S. passing China in the number of cases is already pushing the Dow Jones back down as of Friday, March 27. And once the “lag” numbers start coming in, when Easter rolls over families because of the employment situation, and as more families are touched by the death toll, the situation is NOT going to get better anytime soon.

There is no happy ending to the story of the American hegemony that failed. Being a ruler can be a great thing when the sun is shining, but when catastrophe dashes hope kings usually head for asylum. It will be interesting to see where Donald Trump and the EU’s mediocre heads of state end up.


By Phil Butler
Source: New Eastern Outlook

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

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

by Ramin Mazaheri exclusive for The Saker log

So when did you become an epidemiologist? You seem quite willing to shame anyone not sterilising every square inch of every square inch.

And when did you become an economist? “The economy is not important now” must have been a pretty unusual PhD thesis.

We have likely all heard of “internet tough guys” – people who make bold claims or threats online, yet would flee at the sight of conflict – but who knew social media had so many people qualified to tell entire nations what to do regarding Corona?

How much of the Corona crisis has been caused by social media virtue-signallers, hypochondriacs, communications degree-holding intellectuals, helicopter Dads, bossy cows, and sheep who generally follow whatever the herd, management or pop stars tell them to do? That’s an interesting question: would we all be in lockdown prior to the internet and Facebook?

A practical follow-up question is: which nations have leadership which are perhaps even steered by social media, and which nations have leaders who can steer the national boat through choppy waters?

As socialists know and accept, a vanguard party is essential precisely because there are so many choppy waters in life. Choppy waters are doubled for socialist-inspired countries due to imposed wars, sanctions, blockades and endless cold war.

Capitalists and libertarians once again use Orwell against us – the same old, facile “some pigs are more equal than others” of Animal Farm – conflating totalitarianism with socialism, even though the two have entirely different ends and means.

Despite their absurd claims, the vanguard party concept is not anti-democratic. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel had truly universal support from every Cuban (in Cuba) I asked because he rose level by level by repeatedly showing his competence as a civil servant. The same goes for Xi of China (as I will soon remind). Nobody expected a low-ranking cleric like Khamenei to take over for Khomeini, but he has repeatedly showed his competence and abilities; go tell the tens of millions shouting “Khamenei rahbar” (Khamenei the leader) that socialist-inspired democracy, with both direct and indirect, hasn’t worked out well. In post-1917 countries one rises to the 1% via actual competence, and not just by buying elections, as in the West.

Conversely, Hillary Clinton married the governor of Arkansas, who became president, and then America was stuck with her. Emmanuel Macron did… I don’t even know how he got so far so fast, and I really don’t want to know what went on behind closed doors with him.

Regardless, are some pigs more equal than others, to pose their question?

Certainly, what you won’t hear from such socialist detractors is that China’s President Xi spent years doing hard rural work during the days of the Cultural Revolution, and then teaching illiterate farmers how to read during his Cultural Revolution nights. Now, I suppose it is technically a possibility: none of that was earnestly heartfelt on Xi’s part, and he is secretly amassing a personal fortune because the recesses of his heart are nothing but pure bitterness and hate for the socialist ideal of equality which he was forced to display and teach; he has also spent decades duping everyone in China that he is a competent public servant; Xi has zero warm sentiment for those rural citizens he worked with, and wants only revenge; any moment now Xi will launch a surprise attack of totalitarianism designed solely for his personal benefit and revenge.

These are the very real – yet ALWAYS unsaid – logical extensions of Western arguments made against vanguard parties in general, as well as against Xi. Westerners insist that socialist vanguard parties are corrupt not just at the core but all the way to the periphery.

Another unsaid logical extension is that no vanguard parties informally exist in the West. If, however, there are, it is because such people have risen to the 1% solely on merit. Xi’s supposed “merit”, is not merit at all… unlike theirs. Don’t push Westerners to explain these points – they have no answers.

Much of this applies to Iran as well – their system is based on the idea of the “guardianship of the Islamic jurist”. “Down with those opposed to the guardianship of the Islamic jurist” is always included in the “down withs”, and even before “down with the MKO, England, the US and Israel”. The vanguard party in Iran is obviously the clergy; I have written extensively and objectively about how I believe this is being bureaucratically formalised into the “Basij”, and I have discussed how the structure of the Basij has been clearly modelled on the Chinese Communist Party.

How can that be, Ramin, when Communists are atheists? Firstly, they are not. Maybe Marx was, but to hell with him on this point. Cuba is full of Catholics, but even more prevalent are those who practice Santeria; Vietnam has always constitutionally protected religion; Confucianism and Taoism, it is rarely recognised, are two sides of the same East Asian cosmological coin, and China’s intolerance on this point is being remedied. The USSR never reconciled religion and socialism, and this is a huge reason explaining why they are no more; a reason as big as Krushchevian corruption and capitalist-roading.

However, the structural and political similarities between the Basij and the CCP arise not from cosmological agreement but from the natural similarities of two countries who have had post-1917, socialist-inspired revolutions. The similarities are not “coincidental” at all, though those who misunderstand and reject socialism would surely explain away my comparisons with such sweeping, facile, pseudo-explanations. I’m not sure that you can have a vanguard party without the structures, policies and protections – as well as many of the aims and demands – which are greatly dissimilar from the CCP and the Basij? Few examples exist, sadly, for me to study and compare. Never say never, I suppose.

The idea of a formalised vanguard party – as in Iranian Islamic Socialism and other forms of socialism – does not mean totalitarianism. I suppose it could, but why can it not also mean elite governance performance? Why must we look only at the negative aspects, and not the positive? What are we – capitalist-imperialists?

The Corona crisis is not going to validate the support of formal, socialist-inspired vanguard parties in China, Iran, Cuba and elsewhere – they need no validation among their people; their bones are made.

What it will certainly do is discredit the Western model of “non-vanguardism”, “hidden-vanguardism”, “technocratic vanguardism”, “1%er-vanguardism” or whatever else you want to term their bankocratic, aristocratic, bourgeois oligarchies which govern.

The incredible spanner Western politicians have suicidally thrown into their economies will prove this: they have none of the unity, foresight, determination and especially the political modernity of countries like China and Iran, yet they are adopting similar Corona responses. It simply can’t be done without causing Great Depressions in the Lost Decade II-embarking Eurozone for certain, and also for the US economy, which disastrously combines a finance & service & consumer-based economy with non-Trumpian evangelism for self-harming globalisation.

It will take great pain, but this is what humans often require to make serious change, sadly. It will split apart families, but that is what civil war does.

I don’t know which nation will be the first to see their lower class starting to attack their neoliberal/neoliberal-client systems – and attacking as well the reactionary selfishness of the “first responders” whom they are repeatedly told to adulate – but they will all reach the same place as China and Iran: who is in charge? Who is the vanguard party to lead and staff the bureaucracy, which organises and decides on the logistics, and who needs to spread the night soil so we all can eat?

All workers are valid and equal, of course, but a vanguard party is needed to run a government. The alleged path goes capitalism, socialism, communism, anarchism – the idea that no vanguard parties are needed is anarchism, and Cubans will also correct you when you call them communist: they know they are not that far. The amount of self-empowerment espoused in anarchism may not even be possible on a billions-level? These are questions for a later date….

Allow me to disqualify myself from the vanguard party: I have been passed up for management over and over (of course everyone claims this), so maybe they are right? I am used to being a powerless cog in a machine, and I quite like it now!

The people who deserve to be in vanguard parties are those who evince both the capability for selflessness as well as the capability for superior political thought. After all, some have capabilities for great artistic thought, or great engineering thought, or have great social skills – political policy certainly requires input from all sectors and classes but their bureaucrats do need to have a masterful grasp of modern political ideology, as well as a grasp of what not to do: i.e., the ideologies held by the enemies of modern political ideologies. These qualifications are evinced by people like Xi, Khamenei, Diaz-Canel and France’s Yellow Vests.

The roar that the Yellow Vests will make when France’s lockdown in over… that’s another article.

I don’t think you can find a journalist writing in any Western language who has stood shoulder to shoulder with them more often, and I can promise France: put the Yellow Vests in charge and you’ll have exceptional national governance immediately. Unlike the Iranian clergy, Chinese commies and Cuban socialist-Santeriaists, the Yellow Vests’ actual support is hard to gauge: polls constantly showed over 50% support, yet the Animal Rights Party won 2.2% in the 2019 European Parliament elections, double the Yellow Vests parties combined.

Who is the vanguard party in the US? That I cannot say – I do not think one is apparent. I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and their few public comrades are interesting given the limitations of the US political context, but they are still far from what’s necessary now, and especially far from what will be necessary given the trajectory of Great Depression 2.

The times make the man, as they say.

The West’s vanguard parties seem intent on making times as difficult for the lower classes as they possibly can. Time well spent would be turning of Western MSM, as well as social media, and reflecting on who you think should really be in charge.

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’.

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