Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship

Politicisation of Great Lockdown result of ‘TINA’ economic ignorance & censorship

June 14, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

In the United States questioning liberal economic ideology is not tolerated, so when the latest inevitable economic bust in capitalism occurs it is little wonder that their society talks about everything except economic ideology. They spend their time inventing and discussing non-economic solutions to economic catastrophes, which is precisely how their fundamental weaknesses and inequalities only get worse and worse.

Now we are talking about the murder of George Floyd, police brutality and White supremacy – these are old but still important issues, but they are also certainly issues which will not lead to systematically redistributing one cent towards governmentally-abandoned African-American areas.

The fall of the USSR and the triumphant parades led by banners bearing TINA – There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism and neo-imperialism) – encouraged Americans to throw away their textbooks on the “dismal science” of economics. “Yeah,” they said, “Marx might have been interesting in his day, but it’s all over now – get with the times: it’s the economy, stupid! (whisper) But seriously – don’t openly question liberal economic ideology.”

For those of us following the data it has become quite clear: “Everything Bubble 2” is a great pica-saving handle to describe the 2020 Western economy, but it gives the wrong impression that what’s going on is just a repeat of 2008 (when Everything Bubble 1 popped) – it’s actually much worse. Nobody expected Everything Bubble 2 to be popped by something as economically-suicidal as a Great Lockdown, but we now have no choice but to add the effects of the two together, so… wow… we just cannot say that this is like 2008, or 2001, or 1929, or any other era.

But in the US you can’t say anything about ideological economic direction, of course. This leads us to two realisations about their society which are now obvious to all:

1) By abandoning economic ideological debate for three decades Americans can only politically snipe each other to death in 2020 because they simply cannot intelligently discuss economics, much to the glee of the 1%. 2) By censoring ideological debate the US is unable to devise new solutions to the latest capitalist bust, so in order to end this very atypical capitalist bust they are vainly reapplying previous solutions: hyper-partisanship, militarism and economic ideological totalitarianism.

Combine these two realisations and it’s clear that the American solution to their 2020 economic crisis is militarist in nature: Militarism against those who disagree with the Mainstream, militarism to guide the economic way out, and militarism towards the Covid-19 germ as well. As a result of the George Floyd murder we may even add a fourth militarism – though one which will surely end after the November presidential election – militarism against anti-Black racism.

Why would this “solution” of militarism be a surprise to anyone?

Removing economics from politics creates stupid politics, but also hyper-partisanship

Americans today have only one solution for domestic or international failure – declare war on the other guy, even if he is a fellow citizen.

This economic crisis is so bad for the already-weakened West that one would think the economic debate for its solutions would have never become partisan. (Considering that both mainstream parties agree on TINA – what was there to argue about economically, anyway?) Georgia, Florida and Texas have cities just as dense as Illinois, Michigan, California, New York and New Jersey, but it can’t be a coincidence that this latter camp of blue-states remain economically closed with a severity and duration seemingly unparalleled in the world.

It is as if working with the other side – even for the good of the nation – implies risking a deadly (moral) contagion? It’s as if doing a single thing Trump did, suggested or supported makes one an irredeemable “deplorable”? It’s as if losing an election this November is a bigger catastrophe in the minds of politically-involved Republican and Democrat citizens than the unprecedented capitalist catastrophe of having over 40 million unemployed people?

All I can say is: LOL you can’t possibly run a nation that way. I am as political as anybody, but if unemployment was 25% my primary motivation would not be getting credit at the polling booth!

So it’s an amazing proof of how undesirable the American cultural-political-economic model truly is when we observe how the re-opening of their economy has become such a politically-polarised issue.

That may or may not be old news to many, but here is something which is never discussed: This seeming “militarisation of political partisanship” is predicted on confining mainstream political discussion solely to exactly that – the alleged importance of political partisanship. Western culture’s proclamation of TINA, the chucking out of economic textbooks and censoring “time-wasting” economic debate has thus given two-party political affiliations an entirely outsized place in US culture.

And TINA was always going to be especially fatal for heterogenous Western societies: In a country like Iran, which is 90% Shia, or homogenous & self-segregated Japan it’s perhaps not necessarily economics which can hold the title of “champion of societal unification”, but in the very heterogeneous West economic class clearly provides the broadest basis for life-saving and nation-saving unity. (The West’s White supremacists will sputter that, “It didn’t used to be this way here!” Who cares? It is this way now for your children, and it was only ever not “this way” because of massive segregation.) National unification may be rejected by Trotskyists, but not everyone wants to see the nation founder in response to every serious crisis.

But by rejecting discussion of economic unity (a.k.a. class warfare against the 1%) the West could only logically choose to emphasise other factors in its place, i.e. political, cultural, ethnic, sexual, gender and religious factors, all of which (for their heterogeneous societies) are inherently less unifying and even quite controversial. In a crisis this disunity is not just readily apparent but leads to tangible disaster – certainly the West is currently burning in crisis.

The problem goes deeper than their facile blaming of only the political and media classes: there are many everyday American citizens who clearly want to increase the stranglehold of this economic crisis in order to oust Trump or just their local incumbent. In 2020, because they are not in power, it’s logical to agree that Democrats are acting the most desperately and power-hungrily. However, it’s not as if Republicans are promoting consensus, unity and high ideals – of course they are using the economic crisis to achieve the neoliberal tenet of slashing government ranks down to just cops and fire departments.

It is not an exaggeration to say that by removing economics from the discussion US political culture has become not “militant” – which has positive connotations of ideological purity – but “militarist”: Democrats and Republicans are going on the war path to stoke problems instead of focusing on societal unity amid this unprecedented crisis.

You couldn’t honestly talk about imperialism with an American in 2019, and it’s not like they want to hear about it now; nor can you honestly talk about capitalism with an American despite its current epic fail; in June 2020 they want to talk only about how their political party is superior, and how corona is the new Black Plague, and now they’ve added a new problem they’ve recently discovered: police brutality against Blacks.

The problem of this faux-militancy, which has such a gaping intellectual void (the lack of an economic component), is similarly and glaring obvious in the centuries-old militarisation of imperialist US culture: War on Indians, war for/against slavery, war on socialism, war on Soviet-led communism, war on poverty, war on drugs, war on Muslims – the US solution of “war on corona” is thus not at all unique for them.

The new – and probably temporary – “war on police brutality” is certainly necessary but cannot possibly reach the halls of power nor the ears of the US vanguard party of bankers.

The solution in US corporate fascism is always war, but conquering corona yields no booty

The real economic ideology of the US is – of course – corporate fascism, which is why their military-industrial complex had a ready solution to the 2001 Y2K/dot.com bust via declaring war on the Muslim world. Very profitable indeed, and it allowed their Pentagon-planned economy (the Pentagon is the world’s largest employer) to continue organising the very unequal US economic redistribution.

There was no new war to be had in 2008 – Obama could only double down on the existing wars (after accepting his Nobel Peace Prize) and double down on the status quo economic ideology as well: QE dropped helicopter money at the problem and hoped the problem was resolved. It was resolved very satisfactorily indeed, but only for the 1% and their asset classes.

In 2020 Everything Bubble 2 was popped by the Great Lockdown and a new war was declared: against corona. As if Red men with tomahawks had amassed just outside the picket-topped fort, Americans threw themselves wholeheartedly into this battle for self-survival. Now, as the stock market has been boosted with taxpayer QE money back to pre-crisis levels, Americans are (kind of) throwing themselves into a battle against police brutality as well.

Declaring war is what American culture does, period.

What does war do? It rallies around the flag – for countries who were not inspired by 1917 it is truly the “champion of societal unification” – but there is no booty to be had this time: no new frontiers to provide cheap land; no new resources to allow Western manufactures to be made more cheaply; no oil; not even any way to use US taxpayer money to pay mercenaries in order to boost the stock prices of Pentagon-linked corporations.

Americans need to realise that “keep-capitalism-alive-through-jingoism” is a primary pillar of imperialism, and that true patriotism is never allowed in neoliberal capitalism – thus their hyper-partisanship today. War also provides a useful distraction from endemic economic inequality, which is why this “endless war” ruse has been going on across the anti-socialist West ever since WWI.

The West has thrown themselves into the war on the corona germ, but their lower classes are screaming that this war is economic suicide. Once the war on corona is over – even if the West extends past the “surge” this fall or even into 2021 – economic ideology will finally have to be discussed.

But the West doesn’t ever have to do that intelligently – they were the economic ideological winners, right?

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

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

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Corona proving the loser of the Cold War was both the USSR & the USA – May 30, 2021

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do – June 2, 2021

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos – June 3, 2021

Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020

The US as Sal’s Pizzeria: When to ‘Do The Right Thing’ is looting – June 6, 2020

The problem with the various ‘Fiat is all the problem!’ (FIATP) crowds – June 9, 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 NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Our Grim Future: Restored Neoliberalism or Hybrid Neofascism?

June 01, 2020

Our Grim Future: Restored Neoliberalism or Hybrid Neofascism?

by Pepe Escobar – crossposted with Strategic Culture Foundation

With the specter of a New Great Depression hovering over most of the planet, realpolitik perspectives for a radical change of the political economy framework we live in are not exactly encouraging.

Western ruling elites will be deploying myriad tactics to perpetuate the passivity of populations barely emerging from de facto house arrest, including a massive disciplinary – in a Foucault sense – drive by states and business/finance circles.

In his latest book, La Desaparicion de los Rituales, Byung-Chul Han shows how total communication, especially in a time of pandemic, now coincides with total vigilance: “Domination impersonates freedom. Big Data generates a domineering knowledge that allows the possibility of intervening in the human psyche, and manipulating it. Considering it this way, the data-ist imperative of transparency is not a continuation of the Enlightenment, but its ending.”

This revamping of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish coincides with reports about the demise of the neoliberal era being vastly overstated. Instead of a simplistic plunge into populist nationalism, what is on the horizon points mostly to a Neoliberalism Restoration – massively spun as a novelty, and incorporating some Keynesian elements: after all, in the post-Lockdown era, to “save” the markets and private initiative the state must not only intervene but also facilitate a possible ecological transition.

The bottom line: we may be facing a mere cosmetic approach, in which the deep structural crisis of zombie capitalism – barely moving under unpopular “reforms” and infinite debt – still is not addressed.

Meanwhile, what is going to happen to assorted fascisms? Eric Hobsbawm showed us in Age of Extremes how the key to the fascist right was always mass mobilization: “Fascists were the revolutionaries of the counter-revolution”.

We may be heading further than mere, crude neofascism. Call it Hybrid Neofascism. Their political stars bow to global market imperatives while switching political competition to the cultural arena.

That’s what true “illiberalism” is all about: the mix between neoliberalism – unrestricted capital mobility, Central Bank diktats – and political authoritarianism. Here’s where we find Trump, Modi and Bolsonaro.

From Anthropocene to Capitalocene

To counterpunch zombie neoliberalism, those believing another world is possible dream of a social-democratic revival; wealth redistribution; or at least neoliberalism with a human face.

That’s where eco-socialism jumps in: a radical rupture with the diktats of the Goddess of the Market, the product of a healthy rebellion against ultra-authoritarian neoliberalism and illiberalism.

In sum, that could be seen as a soft adaptation of Thomas Piketty’s analyses: to break the domination of capital by economic democracy, in the spirit of mid-19th century social democracy.

It’s quite interesting, in this aspect, to consider Fully Automated Luxury Communism, by Aaron Bastani, a refreshing utopian manifesto where we see that once society is stripped off everything superfluous linked to alienation, it’s still possible for everyone to find all the necessary technical means to live “in luxury” without recourse to infinity growth imposed by Capital.

And that brings us to the direct link between the Anthropocene and what has been conceptualized by French economist Benjamin Coriat as the Capitalocene.

Capitalocene means that our current state of appalling planetary degradation should not be linked to an undefined “humanity” but “to a very defined humanity organized by a predatory economic system.”

The state of the planet under the Anthropocene must be imperatively linked to the hegemonic economic system of the past two centuries: the way we developed our system of production and legitimized indiscriminate predatory practices.

The bottom line: to go beyond it, the economy must be reoriented and rebuilt, part of a “big bang in public and economic policies.”

In the Anthropocene, Promethean humanity must be contained so the rape of Mother Earth can be properly tackled.

Capitalocene for its part describes Capital as the crucial root and conditioner of the current world-system. The result of the struggle against the ravaging effects of Capital will determine the possible future of eco-socialism.

And that refocuses the importance of the commons – way beyond the opposition between private property and public property.

Coriat has shown how Covid-19 laid bare the necessity of the commons and the incapacity of neoliberalism to address it.

But how to build eco-socialism? Should it start as eco-socialism in one country (somewhere in Scandinavia)? How to coordinate it across Europe? How to fight ossified EU structures from the inside?

After all both Restored Neoliberalism and illiberalism already count on powerful states and networks. A good example is Hungary and Poland continuing to function as cogs of the German industrial supply chain.

How to prevent someone like Bill Gates to take control of a UN organization, the WHO, thus forcing it to invest in programs that fit his own personal agenda?

How to change the WTO’s free market rules, according to which buying palm oil and transgenic soya contributes to the de facto deforestation of large tracts of Africa, Asia and South America? This is a state of affairs that allows wealthy nations to actually buy the destruction of ecosystems.

Revolution, not reform

Even if neoliberalism was dead, and it’s not, the world is still encumbered with its corpse – to paraphrase Nietzsche a propos of God.

And even as a triple catastrophe – sanitary, social and climatic – is now unequivocal, the ruling matrix – starring the Masters of the Universe managing the financial casino – won’t stop resisting any drive towards change.

Diversionist tactics supporting an “ecological transition” fool no one.

Financial capitalism is an expert in adapting to – and profiting from – the serial crises it provokes or unleashes.

To update May 1968, what’s needed is L’Imagination au Pouvoir. Yet it’s idle to expect imagination from mere puppets such as Trump, Merkel, Macron or BoJo.

Realpolitik once again points to a post-Lockdown turbo-capitalist framework, where the illiberalism of the 1% – with fascistic elements – and naked turbo-financialization are boosted by reinforced exploitation of an exhausted and now largely unemployed workforce.

Post-Lockdown turbo-capitalism is once again reasserting itself after four decades of Thatcherization, or – to be polite – hardcore neoliberalism. Progressive forces still don’t have the ammunition to revert the logic of extremely high profits for the ruling classes – EU governance included – and for large global corporations as well.

Economist and philosopher Frederic Lordon, a researcher at the French CNRS, cuts to the inevitable chase: the only solution would be a revolutionary insurrection. And he knows exactly how the financial markets-corporate media combo would never allow it. Big Capital is capable of co-opting and sabotaging anything.

So this is our choice: it’s either Neoliberal Restoration or a revolutionary rupture. And nothing in between. It takes someone of Marx’s caliber to build a full-fledged, 21st century eco-socialist ideology, and capable of long-term, sustained mobilization. Aux armes, citoyens.

RUSSIA’S COVID GAME OF ELITES

South Front

Russia's Covid Game Of Elites
ILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE

An indepth look at the recent coronavirus-related political and social developments in Russia by a regular SouthFront reader from Moscow.

Implementing President Putin’s directives, Russian federal authorities intensified their efforts to contain both the economic and social impact of the nation-wide coronavirus lockdown, and also some local authorities’ overzealous efforts. This move was impatiently awaited by the Russian society for a month.

It became clear in May that something went wrong in Russia. While in March one could still speak of insufficient medical statistics, of contradictory scientific findings, by now the SARS-COV-v2 situation has become clear.

Due to a variety of reasons, in March and April the world had to cope not so much with the spread of the virus, but rather a pandemic of fear and other processes which might collectively be called “coronacrisis”. One can thus identify three main challenges for humanity today:

  1. The coronavirus epidemic as such;
  2. The global socio-economic crisis;
  3. The pandemic of fear and mass psychosis which complicated professional assessments of the first two problems and, therefore, the development of effective anti-crisis measures.

Separately, one should note that many political forces and financial circles have used the situation for profit. This includes deal-makers of all kinds, from petty speculators and local officials to global elites and corporations. No, they did not “create coronavirus”, at least there is no credible data to this effect, but they nevertheless used it to their advantage.

Russia was not bypassed by these processes. What is more, Russia experienced them to a greater extent than others. It turned out that Russian bureaucracy is unable to deal with new threats and challenges. It uncovered the clannish character of a sizable portion of Russian elites. It revealed problems with executive competence of many regional and federal officials. Especially when it comes to the economy, health care, and social security.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin apparently found himself in informational vacuum, which was particularly evident in the first half of April. It seems that the negative socio-economic developments were triggered by Vladimir Putin’s seemingly correct decision, made in late March, to give regions extraordinary powers. It meant decentralizing authority in order to give regional officials authority to act according to the situation in their region. That’s how many other countries have done, including Germany where the outcome was a positive one.

However, Russian bureaucracy and “liberal” clans that have fused with official institutions and which view themselves as a “new aristocracy” are not the same thing as German regional officials. The gap between Russian elite clans and the population is huge. This is the reason for the clumsy and in some cases even criminal, profit-motivated actions by elite clans after they were granted extraordinary powers.

Modern liberalism, sometimes referred to as “neo-liberalism”, is an ideology promoting serving global monopolies and market speculators. These “liberals” top priority is increasing personal consumption with minimal intellectual or physical effort, using the margin simplification of modern technologies in order to satisfy selfish desires under the guise of post-modern sophistry. Thus they consume public resources while giving nothing in return. Rather, they stand in the way of humanity’s progress.

President Putin and his closest administration members realized by mid-April that unless action is taken at federal level, the situation could quickly transform from critical to catastrophic. It was necessary to reassert control.

On April 23, President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to mitigate the socio-economic crisis being provoked by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The coronavirus epidemic, challenging the whole world, threatens the lives and health of people first and foremost, but it also impacts the economy, and the condition of entire industries, which is no less dangerous,” Putin said. “Our common crucial task is to mitigate such adverse effects and reduce inevitable socioeconomic losses.”

The president noted that this is exactly why the government made a number of decisions to support families, employment and households’ revenues, individual entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, and industry-forming companies, along with measures for disease prevention and bolstering healthcare capabilities.

“Nobody needs abstract promises that don’t affect people’s lives, and the effect of such decisions and allocated resources will be low,” Putin said, adding that the government and the Central Bank should promptly make the necessary changes to the regulatory framework.

“It’s not enough to announce that decisions have been made, dear colleagues. We need to work through all the stages of their implementation so that the help arrives on time so that those who really need it can take advantage of it.”

Earlier, on April 15, the Russian president announced a first package of measures to support the country’ economy hit by consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the following lockdown. The measures included:

  • Monthly state payments to small and medium-sized businesses for every employee in April and May, provided firms maintain 90% of their workforce. The payment is 12,130 rubles ($160) for an employee per month;
  • The federal government allocates a package of 200 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) of support for regional budgets;
  • At least 23 billion rubles ($307 million) of government support for airlines.
  • The federal government will reform the government-backed system of interest-free salary loans for firms. The reform is aimed at providing an easier access to loans by businesses.

As of April 24, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) estimated economic losses at 4-6% of annual GDP. This was the first recorded outcome of actions undertaken by regional authorities and the economic bloc of the federal government, thanks to whom the economy had ground to a halt even in regions where the number of cases was in single or double digits. Even the RCB team of economic liberals was forced to acknowledge that fact, even as they opposed direct economic support of enterprises and the population.

“The Bank of Russia has substantially reviewed its baseline scenario parameters. GDP is forecast to decrease by 4-6% in 2020. The Russian economy is thereafter expected to follow a recovery path with growth predicted to total 2.8-4.8% in 2021 and 1.5-3.5% in 2022,” the press release says.

“The spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Russia and the restrictive measures in place to address it have combined with a drop in external demand and a further decline in the prices of oil and other export goods to make a substantial negative impact on economic activity. In this environment, Q2 GDP is set to decline.”

According to the press release, the deficit of the payment balance in 2020 will be $35 billion in 2020 and $20 billion in 2021, and a return to surplus is expected in 2022. The negative payment balance is forecasted for the first time since 1997.

The complicated socio-economic situation caused by the coronavirus crisis and its economic consequences of the national-wide lockdown revealed a conflict between the representatives of the formally “patriotic” part of the elites and the so-called “liberals” affiliated with the West and the global financial capital.

For example, the head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina publicly opposes initiatives to introduce additional measures to stabilize the Russian currency market and prevent currency speculations amid the developing economic and social crisis.

On April 23, it became publicly known that the office of Elvira Nabiullina has sent the Ministry of Economic Development a letter in which it asked to silence ex-presidential adviser and the current Integration and Macroeconomics Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission Sergei Glazyev. The letter claimed that Glazyev’s statements “carry reputational risks for joint government and Bank of Russia”.

A few days earlier, Glaziev proposed to levy a tax (0.01%) on purchase of foreign currency, as well as to fix the currency position of commercial banks and introduce a time lag between the application for purchase and delivery of currency. These measures (employed in multiple countries around the world) should help to stabilize the financial market and limit the impact of currency speculations (the tax of 0.01% will affect only actors that make hundreds of thousands speculative purchases).

Glazyev alongside other prominent economists that can afford the luxury of having own independent opinion describe the current economic crisis “a consequence of profound structural changes in the global economy due to a change in technological and world economic structures”. He emphasizes the need to implement stabilization measures and consistently accuses the Central Bank of giving control of the ruble exchange rate to financial speculators.

It was during this time that the public rift between so-called “globalists” and national-oriented forces was growing not only in the economic sphere. The Federal Government and the Parliament started to demonstrate that they do not support actions of the team led by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and forces which it represents. The bone of contention are the draconian lockdown measures, mass surveillance, and illegal fees for violations of the ‘self-isolation regime’ pushed by the Moscow city managers.

While many European countries started to ease coronavirus restrictions in the second half of April, the Sobyanin team was seeking to increase pressure and limitations under the pretext of the crisis. These attempts were being conducted under the cover of unprecedented propaganda campaign that included even threats to deploy troops on the streets of the city, tighten the ‘self-isolation’ regime (in fact the home arrest regime) and further, and statements blaming Moscow residents for failures of the regional authorities.

The threat to deploy troops on the streets of Moscow was made by Sobyanin in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel on April 23.

“In many other large cities, the situation is somewhat different, first they introduce very soft, very democratic measures, and then they are forced to send troops into the streets. We don’t want this scenario, so we have the optimal mode of self-isolation installed in Moscow ,” Sobyanin said hinting that if Moscow residents continue demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the city managers’ actions, troops will be deployed.

As later events have shown, these actions had no impact on Moscow’s actual epidemiological situation, though the fines did enrich the city budget and organizations close to the mayor. Moscow government also tried to shift blame onto the inhabitants. For example, on April 24 , Deputy Mayor of Moscow Anastasia Rakova blamed Moscow residents for the regional authorities’ move to harden the imposed regime of ‘self-isolation’.

“Of course, what can I say, Moscow residents are tired. And they really became less responsible towards the compliance with the regime of self-isolation. More and more people go out on the street, use their personal or public transport. We were forced to take measures aimed at tightening the regime of self-isolation,” Rakova said.

Rakova added that there are more and more hospitalized and severely ill patients with COVID-19 in the capital.

“If last week the average daily level of hospitalization was 1,300-1,400 people, today it is 1,900,” Rakova said.

The numbers provided by Rakova originated from the Moscow COVID-19 HQ that on April 23 noted the increase of COVID-19 cases in the city and said that the situation was worsening.

Let’s take a look what happen in Moscow a week earlier that caused the increase of COVID-19 cases. For everyone, excluding Russian mainstream media and the Moscow COVID-19 HQ, the answer is clear.

On April 15, the Sobyanin team introduced a mandatory digital pass system triggering mass traffic jams and throngs of people waiting at metro stations while their digital passes (QR codes) to be checked by authorities. Hundreds of thousands of people (some sources say that over 1 million) struck in crowds.

Znak.com @znak_com На входе в московское метро — тотальная проверка пропусков. Скапливаются большие очереди, в которых явно не удается соблюдать социальную дистанцию.

Фото: Sergey Elkin, Jazzverok, The Insider, Fredegonda1

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Fredegonda@Fredegonda1 Первый день с пропусками в метро. Кто еще не заболел, точно заболеет.

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Note: The pass for movement is a set of letters and numbers. The first four characters indicate the expiration date of the document, and the remaining 12 will identify its owner and the purpose of the trip.

Electronic passes are divided into three categories:

  • for trips to work or business trips – issued once valid through to the end of the month;
  • for trips to medical institutions – issued for trips to a specific hospital, the number of such passes per week is not limited;
  • one-time for trips for personal purposes that do not violate the rules of the self-isolation regime – issued for one day no more than twice a week.

Contrary to the public declarations of the city managers, the very first day of the usage of the digital pass system in fact contributed to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Russia and derailed the previous weeks of the ‘self-isolation regime’ and sacrifices of the country’s  economy.

The reason of the traffic collapse and the new wave of the COVID-19 outbreak spread was the demand of Sobyanin to conduct mass checks of digital passes. The Moscow authorities through its channels immediately laid blame for the consequences of their own actions on Police, in particular on the Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs branch in the Moscow Metro Colonel Shamil Sibanov.

It is hard to imagine that Sobyanin that has a wide and long experience of management of the social systems and his team of ‘effective managers’ did not foresee how the digital pass system introduction would end.

As a result of the April 15 incident and similar developments of smaller scale in the next days, tens of thousands people (the estimated number is 30,000-50,000) were likely infected.

The average incubation period of the COVID-19 disease is 5.1 days. In the case of a severe progress of the disease, the exacerbation occurs after 2nd-3rd day from the onset of symptoms of the disease. If the course is moderate, then exacerbation could occur on the 7-8th day. Accordingly, the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Moscow was expected to begin on April 21-22 and, according to an official data by the Moscow COVID-19 HQ, this happened.

In spite of the tragedy, the Moscow authorities continued to push their ‘digital pass system’ idea and even further expanded the digital surveillance and control measures over Moscow residents.

On April 22, they imposed an automated control of digital passes for personal, government and commercial transport moving around the city. Cameras for photo and video recording of traffic violations monitor whether license plate numbers are included in the lists of such passes. If the number is not entered in the digital pass, the car owner is being recognized as a violator of the ‘self-isolation regime’ and gets a fine of 5,000 rubles (~66 USD).

This applies to everyone, including military service members, special service officers and federal officials. Therefore, Moscow authorities insist that officers (including intelligence officers) and officials should provide their personal data to the united database managed by the regional authorities to avoid fines. This poses a direct threat to the interest of the state and creates conditions for leaks of sensitive data to Western special and intelligence services. There is no secret that a major part of the Sobyanin team, including Sobyanin himself, are directly or indirectly affiliated with the West. For example, the main consultants of Moscow mayor’s office, including the health departments, social welfare, and IT is Boston Consulting Group and people from openly pro-Western Higher School of Economics.

The positions of the federal government, security services and the federal legislative system were ignored. This measure also went contrary to the recommendations of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

All of these measures were adopted additionally to the already existing fees for ‘self-isolation’ regime violations.

Note: On April 2, Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced administrative fines for violations of the regime of ‘self-isolation’ in the city. The  document (a Moscow city law) was published on the mayor’s official website. The law provides for a fine for violators of up to 5,000 rubles (~ 65 USD), and for organizations – up to 500,000 rubles (6,410 USD).

This situation created an additional administrative pressure on city residents, especially socially disadvantaged groups of the population that had little resources to pay new fines, but still had an essential need to go to work, travel to the hospital, help relatives with the purchase of products and had other urgent matters to leave home.

The financial explanation of the current situation is that the Moscow city managers are just creating an additional instrument to solidify their own power and compensate economic losses from traffic rules violations fine and paid parking.

On April 22, Moscow authorities reported that the created digital pass tracking system already detected 230,000 cars without digital passes. This is 230,000*5,000=1,150,000,000 rubles (~15,333,333 USD) of revenue in fines for a single day.

The Sobyanin team tried to expand these flawed policies to other regions. The Moscow mayor was a mastermind behind idea to expand the Moscow style system into the entire country. For sure under his control and based on a smartphone app developed for the Moscow region.

Russia needs digital passes “so that we could see the traffic, its volume and the travelers,” he claimed.

“I believe [the system] can be extended… to control the movement of air, rail and intercity and inter-regional bus transport.”

It’s worth reminding these events unfolded between April 6 and 24. In other words, when Moscow’s mayor practically usurped power in the socio-economic realm in the whole country. The Coronavirus HQ headed by Sobyanin duplicated the functions of Prime Minister Mishustin’s government agencies. His influence on regional elites greatly exceeded that of Mishustin who took up his post only 3 months earlier. Moreover, Mishustin was not perceived as a political player but merely as an effective technocrat. Many governors copied Moscow mayor’s actions, viewing him as, at a minimum, the future Prime Minister.

President V.V. Putin only began to overcome the cloud of disinformation at that time. It apparently became possible after Putin was forced to adopt self-isolation and remote work after visiting the Kommunarka infection ward.

Путин в Коммунарке: Костюм и респиратор для президента


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On March 24, President Putin visited a hospital for coronavirus patients on Kommunarka. It was the first repurposed Moscow clinic. During his visit, Putin was accompanied by the chief physician Denis Protsenko.

On March 28, Putin’s visible activity dropped off. It did not return to normal on March 30. At the same time, it was announced that Protsenko contracted COVID-19 (he recovered by April 15). Putin self-isolates. After that, in late March and early April, changes were made in federal laws which further allowed Moscow mayor Sobyanin revamp municipal legislation and de-facto take it out of the federal power structure.

It’s not clear whether the decline in Putin’s political activity in the first two weeks of April was connected to his health or whether it was a political maneuver. It’s hard not to notice that after April 15, and especially after April 23, Putin began to operate more actively. There were clear signals given that Putin was not pleased with Putin’s activity. In spite of draconian measures, the number of COVID-19 cases in Moscow grew. There was information about the catastrophic situation in a number of Moscow clinics, and that Moscow health care officials want as many fatalities attributed to COVID-19 as possible.

The situation reached the point of absurdity. Sobyanin and his team claim that tests supposedly don’t work, and therefore COVID-19 diagnosis ought to be given in accordance with symptoms. Deputy Mayor Rakova stated that all Moscow inhabitants with signs of respiratory illness would be considered as potentially coronavirus-infected.

The motivation to categorize all individuals with respiratory symptoms as COVID-19 cases became more clear after it became known that several large sites in Moscow and Moscow region would be reconstructed as hangar-style hospitals.

Such hospitals are being built, for example, in Pavilion No. 75 of VDNKh. With a  surface area of 53 thousand square meters, it can accommodate 1,779 beds. This is an hangar with a single ventilation system where the beds are not separated by hard partitions. In addition to VDNKh, similar temporary hospitals for patients supposedly suffering from COVID-19 will be deployed in the Krasnaya Presnya Expo-Center, the Sokolniki Convention and Exhibition Center, Krylatskoye Ice Palace, and Moskva Mall on the Kashirka Road. They would have a total of 10 thousand beds, not counting 5 thousand additional beds being added to existing city hospitals. These hangar hospitals would collect all patients with signs of respiratory illness, including flu, pneumonia, bacterial bronchitis, allergies, etc., in other words everyone who was suspected of COVID-19.

It’s obvious that there is high danger of intra-hospital mutual infections. Considering the high contagiousness of SARS-COV-v2, one can assume that soon every patient in such hangar hospital would be COVID-19-positive. Billions of rubles were disbursed without proper evaluation of competing offers. The average cost of a single bed, according to open sources, would be about 650 thousand rubles (8,666 USD). In turn, a single COVID-19 course of treatment costs about 205 thousand rubles (2,733 USD), according to mandatory health insurance price tables. It’s more expensive than, for example, a chemotherapy round of treatments in Russia.

In accordance with the decision by Moscow government, these funds ought to be allocated for every patient admitted to a COVID-19 hangar hospital. This in a situation where tests supposedly “don’t work”, diagnoses are issued according to symptoms. As a result, there are massive opportunities for personal enrichment for a small circle of people.

One might object on the basis that lives are more important than money. Nevertheless, Moscow has dozens of empty hospitals. Many of them were closed only recently. Mayor Sobyanin closed 460 municipal medical facilities and reduced the number of ambulances and physicians by 37% during the last five years.

What is more, many existing hospitals repurposed as COVID-19 infection centers are using only 30% of their capacity. For example, the Voronovskoye Moscow Infectious Disease Clinical Center is operating at only 25% capacity. The Center, which has 800 beds, admitted only 233 patients as of May 12. A similar situation can be observed in the Kommunarka hospital where, as of May 13, there were only 317 patients as compared to its capacity of 1300 beds, not counting the 1000 beds that were additionally set up. The 15th Filatovo Hospital which was one of the first to take in COVID-19 patients, had 1340 patients as of May 12, while the capacity was 1740 beds.

Ordinary hospitals in the meantime greatly reduced or stopped planned operations and patient visits. It particularly concerns the cancer patients, heart surgeries, transplants, planned surgeries on children, etc. One can find a video on the Internet with a multi-kilometer chain of ambulances, caused not by a huge number of respiratory patients but criminally incompetent logistical organization.

Death rate is increasing not so much from COVID-19 complications but rather from poorly organized Moscow health care system, and also a decrease in Moscow inhabitants’ immunity who were forbidden to leave homes, participate in any form of physical activity in open air, and were subjected to massive informational stress.

Economic problems are becoming critical, with a sharp increase in unemployment.

None of these facts went unnoticed in the Kremlin. On April 30, 2020, there was unexpected information on how Prime Minister Mishustin allegedly became infected and is leaving for hospital treatment. His place was temporarily occupied by the First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, a Soviet-school economist. Moreover, he was appointed as the acting Prime Minister by Vladimir Putin’s decree. In earlier such cases of illness or absence, no such decrees followed. Belousov is not only a widely acknowledged professional but also a political heavyweight. He may be compared, with qualifications, to such major figures as Maslyukov and Gerashchenko who led Russia out of the 1998 crisis.

Events continued to unfold. On May 6, there was another meeting that included President Putin and Acting Prime Minister Belousov. Following the meeting, the coronavirus control authority was de-facto returned to the government of the Russian Federation from Sobyanin’s working group. Moreover, the Moscow mayor was not able to force the government to extent quarantine until the end of May for the whole country. Deliberately promoted media hysteria concerning coronavirus dangers did not help either, nor did playing around with statistics. For example, during the meeting Sobyanin claimed that Moscow supposedly had 300,000 infections. Furthermore, he claimed that the number of hospitalizations in Moscow has not changed. Sobyanin’s motives are unclear. They may be based in political ambitions, but also on economic calculations.

Not having achieved his goal, Sobyanin de-facto ignored the president’s position and announced that Moscow’s self-isolation would be extended to May 31 with the regime being further strengthened through the addition of the requirement to wear masks and gloves under the penalty of fines.

Several regions immediately followed suit, apparently by inertia. They included the Moscow region, St. Petersburg, and Crimea. Which makes it all the more surprising to hear that the admissions of patients into hospitals was reduced by, for example in Kommunarka, a factor of three.

Masks and gloves are not provided for free, but rather are being sold by businesses affiliated with the Moscow mayor’s office. For example, the Moscow metro 50 rubles, or 70 cents, will buy you ONE very simple mask and gloves. The Rospotrebnadzor recommended term of wearing such mask does not exceed 2 hours.

On May 14, it was revealed that Moscow authorities bought the largest producer of masks in Russia. According to the available data, before the start of the crisis the cost of a single mask was 1 ruble (0.013 USD). After the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the cost grew up to 7 rubles (0.093 USD). At the same time, the cost of a single mask, which is being sold in the Moscow Metro (controlled by the local authorities), is 30 rubles (0.4 USD). The revenue from this business goes to persons and organizations affiliated with the city’s mayor.

On top of this, the Sobyanin team undertook additional steps to increase an administrative pressure on Moscow residents. In April, local authorities obliged people that receive administrative protocols imposing on them a forceful regime of quarantine (ironically described as the self-isolation) imposed on them because they may be suspected of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 to install a special application on their phones and tablets. The application monitors the activity and location (via GPS) of the user and demands him to make selfies (sent to the dedicated server) to confirm his location several times per day (in fact almost every hour). This move put Moscow a one step closer to becoming a real-life digital concentration camp.

On April 16, Moscow authorities officially announced a decision to label all people with respiratory symptoms will be diagnosed with “suspected coronavirus infection”. All of these people, whom the mayor team was able to locate and detect, became a target of forceful monitoring and administrative limitations. In fact, administrative decisions of these kind are imposed widely towards a variety of people, including children with sinusitis, rhinitis, otits, people with allergy or some chronic illness. The Sobyanin team did not stop on this and on May 10 introduced an update to the monitoring application. This update allowed it to impose fines on residents that fail to make a selfie within an hour after the request. Other reasons for fines are changes of the location, the shut off of application or the phone with the installed application (due to any reasons). The fine of 4,000 rubles (53 USD) is imposed for every such incident.

It’s hard to justify this measures by the need to contain the coronavirus outbreak or care about people. The two main possible reasons are vested interest of the local authorities that pump money into the budget and affiliated structures by this way or political games, in which the Sobyanin team is playing to damage actions and policies of President Putin and the federal government.

Reports appeared in Russian social media that Google proposed the Moscow authorities at least 0.5 million USD to promote information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak; in fact, to fuel the hysteria over the situation.

The next big event took place on May 11. President Vladimir Putin announced the work holiday would come to an end. As of May 12, the regime of limitations would gradually be shut down. Vladimir Putin announced this in his address to the Russian citizens at the beginning of meeting with governors. Then he announced a new and unprecedented, for contemporary Russia, packet of measures of support for ordinary citizens and businesses. These decisions were diametrically opposed to the ideas supported by the liberal clan that includes Nabiulina, Sobyanin, Siluanov, and others.

The new support measures include:

  • All families with children aged 3-15 may receive one-time payments of 10 thousand rubles (133 USD) per child, starting on June 1.
  • Individual entrepreneurs, small and mid-sized businesses in hard-hit industries as well as socially-oriented non-commercial organizations will have all tax and insurance payments canceled for the second quarter, with the exception of value-added tax.
  • Self-employed will have their income taxes paid in 2019 refunded. They will also receive “tax capital” at the rate of one minimum-wage annual salary to fulfill tax payments.

At the same time, Putin’s address left the impression of half-measures. It included announcements that governors’ additional coronavirus-related powers were being extended, giving them the ability to raise and reduce restrictions depending on the situation.

However, even that format had the effect of an exploding bomb.

Since May 11, when Putin announced the decision to ease coronavirus restrictions, Russia has become a target of a large-scale international media campaign designed to fuel the coronavirus panic in the country. Western mainstream media and Russian-language media organizations funded by the West or affiliated with it structures and persons released a coordinated series of articles arguing and speculating (with no evidence) that Russia is hiding the real COVID-19 death toll. An overwhelming majority of these articles refers to ‘anonymous sources’ or representatives of the ‘non-system’ Russian opposition (like Alexei Navalny) that seek to gain some hype without any real evidence.

An example:

The Russian Foreign Ministry descried these reports as fake news. Nonetheless, the interesting fact is that no article released in the framework of this new anti-Russian campaign criticizes actions of Sobyanin or members of the liberal part of the Russian elites. All of them are aimed against President Putin and the federal government. This campaign goes fully in the framework of the efforts of the Russia-based liberal clans to keep the coronavirus-related restrictions and further. In fact, Russian social media and news media are full of reports revealing that in many cases local authorities insist to add any person with a positive (and in some cases even supposedly positive) SARS-CoV-2 test to the coronavirus death toll.

Right after the president’s meeting with the governors, Tatarstan announced removing the pass regime and destroying all personal data collected.

The government of one of Russia’s key regions also signaled immediate removal of all the main limitations starting on May 12. One should note that the Moscow pass regime was based on Kazan’s experience, with Sobyanin himself closely collaborating with Kazan financial and economic elites. Tatarstan was followed by Bashkiriya and many other regions. The Federal Ministry of Health signaled that 33 regions were ready to remove the restrictions.

Moscow Region Governor Vorobyov, who closely followed the example of Moscow mayor also announced and earlier also announced the quarantine would be НКО extended until May 31, delayed his announcement by four hours. But by 21:20 Moscow time he announced that “due to new demands of the epidemiological legislation the planned construction and production starts are delayed until May 18.” He did not mention the end of May.

It seems that Sobyanin and the liberal team needed a whole day to decide how to proceed. It seems they decided not to change the course of action and instead decided on a collision course with the president, possibly also with the intent of increasing social instability in Moscow. It is difficult to interpret these facts differently.

Interestingly, several unofficial media sources which are nevertheless seen as linked to the presidential administration began to openly accuse Sobyanin of an attempted coup d’etat. Thus the popular Kremlyovskiy Bezbashennik Telegram channel (reportedly linked with former adviser to President Putin -Vladislav Surkov) writes:

“it is entirely correct to write about the consequences of scandalous decisions made by Sobyanin which raise social tensions and which may lead to unrest in Moscow. But these are not mistakes by the mayor and no, he has not lost his mind. It’s all part of the plan being implemented step by step by the Party of Troubles which “Stag” described already at the start of this whole coronavirus bacchanalia. The HQ of the Covid-19 party and its frontman Sobyanin should be happy with the results of the investigation. The battle for Moscow has seen the use of the stratagem of seizure of power through destabilizing the situation an using the “street factor” in order to nullify the Constitution (in other words, the State) and obtain extraordinary powers during social unrest. Therefore as far as Sobyanin is concerned, the worse, the better. They’ll never get another chance to get power”.

If events continue to develop in this way, the last doubts that coronavirus is being deliberately used by certain elite factions in order to achieve certain political and economic objectives will scatter. It looks like that the initial plan of Sobyanin and his colleagues from the liberal clan was to de-facto conduct a creeping seizure of power in the country through the system of digital totalitarianism created under a pretext of the combating coronavirus outbreak. They achieved some successes, but the recent developments demonstrate that apparently this plan has not been 100% effective. The federal government and the Kremlin have realized the threat of the uncontrolled ‘lockdowns’ imposed by the regional authorities and working to compensate the social, administrative and economic damage of these actions.

Furthermore, actions of the Moscow authorities already significantly undermined the trust the Sobyanin team had among Moscow residents and caused a major negative reaction in the social media all across the country. The negative economic, social and medical impact of their actions are an open secret.

Moscow government and allied liberal clans are not about to give up or change their plans. Even modest attempts of the Sobyanin team to turn off the already set course met with a wave of criticism in the media controlled by the so-called liberal bloc. This week, a new media campaign was launched. It claims that Moscow authorities allegedly underestimate mortality from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Moscow risks becoming a center of socio-economic tension and political instability due to Mayor’s Office actions in delaying the gradual removal or weakening of administrative, social, and economic restrictions. Even when they are forced to remove them, Sobyanin’s team will do everything possible to preserve as many powers as possible during the pandemic. This may include the ability to limit the movement of citizens in the capital. In any event, one may confidently predict that the political tension between Moscow and federal authorities will grow. It may enable external forces which are interested in social instability in Russia to further destabilize the situation.

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Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona

May 13, 2020

Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Among capitalist economists stagflation is the worst possible outcome, excepting a Great Depression.

They even admit they cannot explain it (especially Keynesians), or rather they choose not to – this is why the word has barely been broached during this very depressing coronavirus era. In exactly the same vein, the West’s intellectuals claim they cannot explain the causes of World War I (as I discussed last week here).

There is clearly something in stagflation which, like the banker collusion which orchestrated World War I, strikes at the moral heart of the Western liberal project.

They don’t know what caused the 1970s stagflation, but what’s certain is that the solution – the highest prime interest rates (20% in 1981) in US history, which provoked two recessions and a disaster for the housing market – is not available today in this age of Western ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policies) and Quantitative Easing. A total reversal to that type of a contractionary monetary policy would lead to bankers starting World War III; negative interest rates could reach the US as soon as this winter.

The West wants to ignore stagflation because fixing it is so very, very hard. If Weimar Germany represents the most dynamic pole of Western capitalist-imperialist socio-economic breakdown, then stagflation is its equally destructive passive pole. Stagflation was indeed put to music via the punk movement, with its trumpeting of what everyone knows: the Western capitalist dream does not work without imperialist wars, the liberal democratic neo-aristocrats are phony hypocrites, and anarchy in the UK (and the rest of the West) is needed in order to overthrow the status-quo loving “keep calm and carry on-ers”.

Cover your ears – the West is about to get punk again.

“Stagflation” is a portmanteau of “stagnation” and “inflation”: it is the combination of slow economic growth, high unemployment and price inflation. Stagnant wages is a fourth component but it is often left out because the capitalist West doesn’t want to talk about lifting wages at home, in their factories in Haiti, or even on Mars.

Astute readers should be re-reading that sentence and thinking: “Well, since the Great Lockdown started the West certainly now has all four.”

Indeed, but let’s quickly recap:

Slow economic growth – YES: This existed pre-corona in the West’s “Great Recession”: a Lost Decade for the Eurozone, while US economic growth was only in the asset classes of the 1%. As a result of their hysterical overreaction to corona Western GDP growth is going to drop probably around 5%, which is a total catastrophe for a Western system that relies on constant growth and wage-earning instead of central planning and government intervention to prevent economic catastrophe for their lower classes.

We know there will be a corona-related demand shock: the expectation of continued economic chaos will increase the desire to save and not spend. There is also the demand shock caused by their generalised consumer terror – i.e., people who remain too scared of corona to even shop or travel, which will affect businesses from luxury goods to tourism to restaurants to the mall.

High unemployment – YESThis is just as obviously another catastrophic but entirely foreseeable consequence of the Great Lockdown. Estimates range from 25-42% of all lost jobs in the US are never, ever coming back. The Eurozone already had persistently high unemployment since 2008, whereas Germany and the US falsified/degraded their unemployment rate with part-time work/minijobs/gig economy jobs.

Price inflation: YES – Just talk to any small businessman: their first goal upon reopening will be to recoup months of zero revenue – they are desperate to do so because they still had to pay costs like rent, debt servicing, utilities, wages and more during the Great Lockdown. Thus, they will raise prices and cut costs (i.e. fire workers) to not be a part of the mass bankruptcies which will arrive once the West actually gets back to work and sees how bad things are now.

Consider the effects on prices of these new Great Lockdown-inspired obstacles for business such as social distancing: If restaurants, for example, are only allowed to run at half-capacity, they have to either sell twice as much food or raise prices. Talk of supply chains moving back to the US are far-fetched, given that US corporate law requires that stockholders not lose a penny just to aid the nation, but supply chain disruptions will raise prices.

How can the price of the few remaining Western government social services go down when government tax revenue has plummeted?

This is all why nobody is expecting prices to go down in 2020, but many are predicting crashes in asset classes like homes, stocks, bonds, luxury goods, etc.

Low wages: YES – This is never discussed in the West because the outlook is so perpetually depressing in a neoliberal-capitalist system which both refuses wage controls and guts stable civil service jobs in order to hand them to the unstable, profit-oriented private sector in the name of so-called “efficiency”: When the Great Lockdown ends there will be an enormous oversupply in the labor market, thus driving down wages – the Western MSM dares not discuss this inevitability. For those who kept their job: if you thought you didn’t ask for a raise from 2008-2020 because you were too shy, fear of joining the jobless ranks will keep you even quieter in 2020.

So we see that all the components are there – were already there – for Western stagflation.

A solution to stagflation would be either increased wages or increased “People’s QE”. Given that wages represent a long-term drain on the bosses’ profits, we should thus expect the Western 1% to prefer another round of direct, but one-time, government payments to individuals and households – but this would be only a temporary staving off of stagflation. However, the preference of this band-aid solution will be resolutely opposed by anti-socialist neoliberals who view government intervention as the work of Satan, as well as the existence of Austrian/Chicago/“immoral competition is normal”-capitalists who are licking their chops at the prospect of buying up the bankrupted at low prices.

From the outset I warned that the West was fooling themselves into thinking they had the same strengths and capabilities as socialist-inspired nations like China, Iran, Vietnam and others – they employed quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments, and amid their economic Great Recession on top of it all.

But you hear that analysis about as often as you have heard about stagflation.

The West will continue to avoid stagflation discussions by continuing to distort the data

The West won’t discuss what it can’t explain or what threatens their cultural chauvinism, whether that is World War I, or stagflation, or how Trump doing the exact same thing Obama did is somehow only evil when Trump does it.

Slow economic growth – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalism: “2021 economic growth rates can only go up from 2020, thus the definition of stagflation is not met.” This is a purely technical and pedantic reply – there will be both stagnation and inflation, but by taking as narrow and as uncritical a view as possible of what stagflation truly is, then Western journalists can say “claiming stagflation is wrong”. But this response can’t endlessly hold up any more than the “confidence fairy” justification for Eurozone austerity did.

High unemployment – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalism: This will be the toughest to hide, so they will likely do something similar to what Emmanuel Macron did: stop reporting the embarrassing unemployment data every month and only give it quarterly. Perhaps they will do what the US and Germany do – pretend as if “underemployment” does not exist (even though it is the defining feature of their young adult class for over a decade) and act as if working one hour per week makes one “employed”.

Price inflation – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalismTheir inflation gauges already exclude the biggest expenses for the average person: food & energy (too volatile to include, they say), housing, health care and education costs. Ask a German politician and they will tell you that they are watching inflation like a hawk and that it is certainly staying in their “acceptable 2% range”. But ask a normal worker – who keeps paying more for the metro, beef, fruit, housing and all those other crucial things which inflation gauges exclude – and you’ll understand why “decreased purchasing power” has been the number one French voter concern for the 11 years I’ve lived here.

Low wages – the excuse of Western liberal exceptionalismHistory is clear: It took a pandemic for Americans to finally get a barely liveable wage of $15/hour… but only via government welfare and only until July 31. What many Republicans have already ruled out is extending these benefits – which are better than the low wages their lower classes get – because that would increase unemployment and thus only worsen stagflation. Permanently increasing wages should not be expected, as that would represent a sea-change in Western economics in favor of the bottom 90%, and that hasn’t been seen in 40 years.

Increased wages would, however, increase demand for goods and thus raise revenue and demand, and thus increase employment. It would also theoretically causes prices to rise, but the more worrying near-term reason for the price rises are the hysterical restrictions imposed by new social distancing rules and corona fears which have been overblown to bits across the West.

The West can write off 2020 as a recession or a depression, but stagflation will occur after that

Among the West’s Mainstream Media the general editorial line is denialism: “How can there ever be a catastrophe in the West when There Is No Alternative?” Among the West’s fringe/alternative websites the general editorial line is, “Armageddon/a Brave New World starts tomorrow due to the Mainstream Media’s cover-ups of catastrophe!”

However, the post-Great Lockdown truth is likely a very un-Confucian middle path: 1970s-style stagnation, which is Chinese water torture for the bottom 90%, certainly, but not revolution. They say that revolutions can never be predicted and certainly nothing at all can truly be predicted until their Great Lockdown ends – but if the West’s 1% and their toadies successfully resist the call for change from capitalism-imperialism, then stagflation is the West’s future.

The Western 1% profited from the stagflation era, of course: it proved to be a perfect antidote to their political involvement of the 1960s – creating mass precariousness is a very easy way to shut workers and citizens up. The 1970s were a “long national nightmare” for the US and their Western allies – how could their 1%-controlled Mainstream Media demand a Great Lockdown so very strenuously if they honestly warned that a return of that degraded era would be the result?

The causes of the West’s stagflation era (the “Nixon shock”, going off the gold standard, colluding with the House of Saud to create the Petrodollar system, the lack of imperialist war to keep factories from Detroit to Gary, Indiana, humming, the desire to break the record-level power of organised labor, the increased capitalist fanaticism resulting from the continued refusal of peaceful coexistence with socialist-inspired nations which oppose capitalism-imperialism) and its solutions (the breaking of the housing market in order to gut the primary asset of the bottom 90%, a vast anti-union campaign, purposeful governmental ineptitude in order to provoke the rabid anti-government component of neoliberalism, the hyper-financialisation of the economy, the demand for neoliberal “free markets” in order to send good manufacturing jobs out and weaken labor further, the promotion in the US of Reaganesque jingoism in order to give lower class Whites a feeling of pride to replace their socioeconomic degradation) will require much more analysis in the coming months and years because that lousy past is the capitalist-imperialist West’s post-corona future.

See why they don’t want to talk about stagflation?

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

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

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 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.

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work

May 11, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work

Ramin Mazaheri and Jeff J Brown – for The Saker Blog

We can’t always find it but there is always a tipping point. Last week I crunched the data and suggested it’s May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops.

Maybe I’m a few days off, but not many more: This bubble-popping is precisely why Trump is not wearing a mask, planned to end the corona task force and keeps talking about reopening; this is why 300 US CEOs and the Department of Defense sent Mexico’s president a letter threatening that they better reopen now and not screw up corporate supply chains.

But what is absolutely certain is that getting the West back to work requires some sort of propaganda campaign to do so – what will that media effort look like?

When I recently asked What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? readers pointed that many politicians are dug in way too deep to climb out. Yet, whether they claim to be “wrong” or “right” – climb out they must:

There has never been a vaccine for a coronavirus; neoliberalism is predicated on constant growth and wage-earning; The New York Times’ irresponsible rebroadcasting of 1.1 million US deaths in “a best-case scenario wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on – the West has to end the Great Lockdown.

But Americans aren’t going to go back to work until their media stops scaremongering, as their scaremongering line is slavishly followed by European and Western media: polls show more Americans fear getting sick from the virus than economic hardship, and despite all the data showing only the elderly and medically-vulnerable are at risk (thus they are the healthy ones who should be quarantined).

The New York Times now despises Sweden for their corona-sovereignty, but even they can’t help but admit Sweden shows the only way out of the Great Lockdown: “But what about the economy? The choice is not between indefinite shutdown and Russian roulette. A transition needs to occur that balances the risks at play. From that perspective, Sweden is the future.”

The first step is talking about it – how will the West do that?

I have said from the beginning that the West’s arrogance is that whatever China can do, they can surely do: The West is employing quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments, and amid their economic Great Recession on top of it all.

But can the West use the same media persuasion techniques as China?

To find out what worked for China I posed the question to Jeff J. Brown, author of the most important book on China in decades, China is Communist, Dammit! Brown lived in China for many years and realised he had to refute with data and analysis the Western absurdity that China’s rise has come via capitalist methods.

“There is always lots of debate in China, especially facilitated today with all the electronic social media platforms. There was a lot of discussion in China about citizens having more say in the mainstream media, to increase the flow of useful information during the lockdown. There were forums of every stripe, airing grievances about rules being too strict to measures being too lax, to forums on using TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and old fashioned remedies to prevent/treat Covid.”

This is quite a contrast from what I dubbed The West’s middling, middle-class corona response, which inherently assumed that everyone has a comfortable home, job and savings, even though since 1980 the West’s middle-class has been blown apart. This response was designed by well-paid doctors, professors and epidemiologists, and trumpeted by well-paid Mainstream Media mouthpieces.

In Brown’s book he relates how the Chinese Communist Party is essentially the world’s largest polling agency, constantly querying public opinion on matters big and small. Frankly, if I was forced to select a single trait which separates China’s government from the West’s it would be this one, as it explains their government’s success & efficiency, the obvious & justified basis for the CCP’s popular support, and the bottom-up nature of socialist democracy as opposed to the top-down, technocratic & aristocratic model of Western liberalism.

“There were lots of differing opinions aired in neighborhood, village and town meetings. The red line to not cross is suggesting the overthrow of China’s communist-socialist system of governance, which is no different than the West, where it is verboten to demand an end to capitalism.

(FYI, when I asked Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? I related how right up there with Iran’s “Down with England, America and Israel” chants is, “Down with those who oppose (the political principle of) the guardianship of the Islamic jurist.” Socialist-inspired revolutionary nations make it crystal clear that a return to capitalism-imperialism or a tolerance of Western-style fascist speech will never be permitted.)

Mao’s mass line continues to this day in the form of millions of surveys conducted among the people, to air concerns and catch the popular zeitgeist. It is all about learning from the bottom up. Then and now, you grab a banner and protest publicly, when all these other avenues of communication have failed. There are an estimated 300-500 public protests a day in this country of 1.4 billion citizens. China haters take this as a sign of weakness. Baba (Father) Beijing sees it as a source of strength.”

The 21st century Western reality is that taking to the streets usually makes one a far-right neo-fascist or an irresponsible anarchist: we see that in the treatment of the Yellow Vests or the recent anti-Lockdown protests in Michigan, which I immediately supported – of course, as I support democracy – in, We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? Brown relates how China’s state is far superior in perhaps the most important thing in politics: incorporating public opinion into public policy.

If anything will be an argument for centralisation over federalism – and central planning over neoliberalism’s “invisible hand… guiding us all towards corporate fascism & neo-imperialism” – it will be the corona-return: it’s clear that the US is wasting a tremendous amount of time, energy and efficiency by having a central government whose suggestions can be and are being totally ignored at the state level.

“Public campaigns like this are done at the neighborhood and private/public employer level. These entities would get their instructions from city/town/village government units, which in turn, working up the hierarchy, got theirs from county, provincial and national level bodies. As is true in socialist countries, the national government may set the tone, but democracy devolves down to the local level, allowing for reasonable adaptation, according to needs on the ground.”

Imagine the amount of discussion – which could have gone to relating the needs of the lower classes and the Mom and Pop shopkeeper/proletariat – which the US wastes daily in political sniping and Trump Derangement Syndrome? The Eurozone common currency will be similarly hindered by disunity, which is the last thing needed in a crisis.

China was stunningly running at 75% economic capacity around February 10 because they are coordinated and united. Some US governors may even, unthinkably, play politics and delay their reopening with November election goals in mind. Americans haven’t had a war on their soil for 150 years – they just don’t know what a crisis is, and that helps explain their lack of unity in this crisis. They think that their preferred politician not taking office in November constitutes a crisis – the building historic economic catastrophe should recalibrate their realities.

Socialist-inspired nations already made the necessary changes, but the Western liberal & economic model cannot

So Brown has surprisingly shown how – as a result of their model of socialist democracy, and not liberal democracy – China really didn’t need a multi-week media campaign like I envision the West needing because there is so much communication between the people and their pubic officials, as well as such an awareness of what is going on, what is needed and what is to be done.

That makes perfect sense when we realise that socialist democracy is based around discussion-based consensus and not the unilateral decree of Western “liberal strongmen” like Emmanuel Macron nor the individualist “great man-ism” personified by Ayn Rand’s blowhard protagonists. In places like Iran and China everything is done by committee (and the CCP and Basij are essentially two huge committees, after all) because these are not only two new systems, but also systems which have inspired massive Western sabotage campaigns: these bureaucrats know that they cannot be high-handed and aloof, but instead must be receptive, responsive and always trying to keep as large a proportion of the population on the side of their socialist-inspired revolution as possible. In short: they cannot risk wasteful mistakes, but why would they even want the system the West has, especially in a few more months?

Of course, there will still be huge health concerns on May 17, especially in the US, but Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus. Of course, the “Western economy” is not at all synonymous with “global economy”, a rather vital point to Iranians, Chinese, Cubans, etc.

Western politicians, none more than state of emergency-loving France, keep reminding us that this is a war: a war necessarily needs heroes, and the West now needs ones other than nurses and rich doctors. A media campaign of, “Go back to work to save grandma’s social security (and our consumer, unplanned economy)”, is thus logical but would obviously be a complete 180 from the editorial policies and public stances of countless Western media and politicians. Such a campaign is probably only feasible for socialist-inspired nations, where collective and not individual action is lauded.

Trump says he views Americans as ‘warriors’ amid coronavirus and he got roundly mocked for it… but I don’t know what the top US public servant can do otherwise, really? America’s bureaucrats thus know the obvious truth of this article – Westerners will need some sort of inspirational campaign to get them back to work. Westerners are culturally prone to fearing others and wanting to stay at home alone even in good times: Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’?

Westerners will thus likely stay hunkered down, as for months their private media has been ravenously gobbling up the higher ratings they have gotten via pounding fear into their viewers.

You can say I am underestimating the virulence of corona, but about this I am sure: in the Western Mainstream Media there has been basically zero space given to objectively giving so-called “contrarian” views which could possibly calm people’s fears. It as if I am a bad journalist because I am not scaring people?!

I am a bad journalist for immediately waving the red flag that a Great Lockdown is actually a forced suicide march for the West’s abandoned lower classes? It is not my fault that the neoliberal & neo-imperial system of the West refuses to take care of their elder class, and Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism actually contains an immediate answer to the economic chaos caused by the Great Lockdown.

Only time will tell if the Great Segregation/Lockdown was necessary, but we definitely know much more about how to handle coronavirus than on January 1 or even March 1: protect the vulnerable, isolate the sick, take personal responsibility actions in public, population-dense regions need extra precautions, and… get back to normal before the Western double-bubble economy pops.

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

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

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 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’.

عــوايــنــيــــــــة

بثينة شعبان

المصدر

بثينة شعبان

مسلسل “أم هارون” اضطهاد للفلسطينيين

حين تتكرر كلمة “عواينية” في مسلسل “حارس القدس” نستجمع ونستعيد في الذاكرة كل المآسي التي تعرضت لها هذه الأمة من محيطها إلى خليجها.. اليوم على كلّ الأحزاب والفعاليات العربية أن تعلن أنها حرس للقدس، وأنها ضد مسيرة الذلّ والهوان والارتهان لأعداء الأمة والحق والمستقبل.

هل فوجئتم بمسلسل أمّ هارون وغيره من مسلسلات الخنوع التطبيعية في الموسم الرمضاني، وهل صعقتم أن تسمعوا من خائن يتكلم العربية يشتم فلسطين ويتهمها بأنها السبب بما حلّ بهم من ضعف وهوان؟ وكأنه لم يسمع تصريحات الأعداء يؤكدون أن الهدف ليس فلسطين فقط وإنما البلدان العربية كلها؟ أوَ لم يدرك هو وأمثاله أن فلسطين أعطتهم الفرصة لاستعادة مكانتهم، ولكنهم أداروا ظهورهم لفلسطين، فوصل العدوّ إلى عقر دارهم. وبتصريحاتهم وأعمالهم التطبيعية قد حكموا على أنفسهم بالارتهان لإرادة عدو يعرف ما يريد ويدرك السبل لتحقيقه، وقد تسلل إلى قرارهم السياسي وأصبح في قبضته، وما زعيقهم المعادي لحقوق أمتهم إلاّ حشرجات هزيمتهم.

هل عجزت المناهج التربوية في الوطن العربي بكل أقطاره أن تعالج نقطة الارتهان للخصوم  والأعداء وأن تربيّ جيلاً مخلصاً لوطنه لا يمكن  شراؤه بأي ثمن ضد مصلحة الأوطان ؟ أم أننا لم نتوصل إلى مرحلة الأوطان بعد ومازال البعض يعيش ويتصرف كقبائل وعشائر حتى وإن استوردوا نماذج من أساليب الحياة الغربية أم أن هذا التمظهر بمظهر من نعتقد أنهم أكثر حضارة منا كان على حساب تجذير وتثبيت الأسس والعادات والتقاليد العربية الأصيلة التي نفخر بها في بلداننا وحضارتنا؛ فلم نحدّث على أساس تطوير ما ثبتت إيجابيته في حياتنا بل تملكتنا عقدة المستعمر وعقدة تفوق الأجنبي وعقدة الشعور بالنقص تجاههم فتركنا ما هو إيجابي ومنطقي من حضارتنا ومناسب لطريقة عيشنا وبيئتنا وتركيبة عائلتنا ومجتمعنا وقيمنا وأخذنا بالقشور من مجتمعات وحضارة عدوانية قائمة على حروب النهب والاستعمار وتدعي الإنسانية والحضارة.

حين تتكرر كلمة “عواينية” في مسلسل “حارس القدس” نستجمع ونستعيد في الذاكرة كل المآسي التي تعرضت لها هذه الأمة من محيطها إلى خليجها، وفي البحث والتدقيق والتمحيص نكتشف أن عقدة النقص تجاه الآخر والارتهان له أو لأسلوب عيشه أو لماله أو لمغرياته كانت سبباً أساسياً في عدم تمكن هذه الأمة من أن تخلق على الأقل علاقات إيجابية بين بلدانها تخدم مصلحة الجميع؛ ففي كل مفصل انكسار أو هزيمة نكتشف أن الخيانة كانت سبباً أساسياً في وقوعه.

هل فشلنا حتى اليوم بتحديد من نحن وما هو جوهر هويتنا التي نعتز بها وما هي آليات العمل التي تخدمنا جميعا وتضعنا في الموقع الرابح؟

إحدى أهم المشكلات التي صادفتنا في كتابة تاريخنا هي عدم الصدق وعدم الشفافية والمبالغة في مراعاة المشاعر الشخصية على حساب القضايا الوطنية؛ إذ إن عدداً من الذين عرفتهم شخصياً رفضوا أن أسجّل مذكراتهم لأنهم قالوا إن رواية التاريخ الحقيقي الذي عاشوه سوف تُري أن التاريخ الذي ندرّسه لأجيالنا غير حقيقيّ، وكان سؤالي هل نستمر بدراسة وتدريس تاريخ مزيّف أم نواجهه من خلال كتابة التاريخ الحقيقي؟ وكان جواب كل واحد منهم : وهم أسماء كبيرة وقامات يُعتدَّ بها، “دعي غيري يواجه هذه المعضلة ولست مضطراً لأن أواجهها الآن”. وهنا تكمن مشكلة أكبر، من هم أصحاب القضية الذين يعتقدون أن مهمتهم ومسؤوليتهم هي أن يواجهوا الزيف وأن يضعوا الأسس السليمة لتاريخ حقيقي تقرأه الأجيال وتتعلم منه وتأخذ منه العبر وتتربع على أرضية صلبة لا تسمح لأحد أن يجنّد “عواينية” من بينهم.

في القرن الحادي والعشرين نراقب حال أمتنا فنجد أنها في العمق مازالت قبائل وعشائر وأن مفهوم الدولة ومفهوم الوطن لم يأخذ أبعاده المستحقة في وجدان وضمائر الجميع. اليوم حيث برهنت أحداث هذا القرن وخاصة أحداث العام 2020 أن أهم حق إنساني للشعوب هو الحق بوجود دولة قوية قادرة على مواجهة الأزمات والصعاب. العالم برمته اليوم يدرك أن أهم ما يحتاجه المجتمع البشري في كل مكان هو الدولة الحصينة القادرة على حماية أبنائها وأن كل طروحات العولمة والادعاءات الديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان التي روجوا لها على مدى عقود كغطاء من أجل استعمار الدول ونهب ثرواتها لم تصمد أمام فايروس لا يرى بالعين المجردة ، لذلك نحن نشهد اليوم انحسار عصر العولمة والليبرالية الجديدة  اللتين تبنّاهما مفكرون عربٌ كثرٌ بدلاً من أن يعودوا إلى ابن رشد وابن خلدون وإلى كنوزنا التاريخية ذات العراقة الأصيلة مع الوجود العربي والحياة العربية؛ ففي الوقت الذي يُدرّس فيه ابن رشد ومحي الدين بن عربي في جامعات العالم الغربية قلما نرى كتاباتهما وكتابات مفكرين آخرين في المناهج التربوية في البلدان العربية.

لقد اعترف أدونيس وزملاؤه الذين عملوا على الحداثة في النصف الثاني من القرن العشرين أنهم أخذوا بالحداثة الغربية بدلاً من أن يعيدوا تسليط الأضواء على المحدّثين العرب ويبنوا على محاولاتهم.

هل تأخرنا كثيراً في إعادة الاعتبار لما تضمنه تاريخنا من فكر ومعارف منسجمة مع بيئتنا وتكويننا ومجتمعنا ؟ أي هل فات الأوان كي نقوم بهذا الأمر؟ لا بد أن أقول “أن تصل متأخراً خير من ألا تصل على الإطلاق”. وقد برهنت الأحداث بما لا يقبل الشك أن الولاء للأوطان هو ضرورة جوهرية لعزّة هذه الأوطان وأن التعاون والتنسيق بين الدول العربية على أسس التاريخ والجغرافيا والثقافة الواحدة هو المخرج الوحيد لجميع هذه الدول من حالة الضعف والانحسار الذي تشهده وأن أي دولة عربية لن تستطيع أن تبني مجداً أو تحتل مكانة إقليمية أو تحقق مشروعها الإصلاحي أو الازدهار دون التعاون مع الدول العربية الأخرى بصيغة أو بأخرى. أما هؤلاء الذين ما زالوا يراهنون على الأعداء فليتمعّنوا في تجارب الدول العربية التي عقدت سلاماً مع العدوّ، واتفاقيات على أمل أنّ هذه العلاقة سوف تحقق لها النموّ والمكانة الإقليمية والعالمية، فهل حقّقت ذلك بالفعل، أم أنها ازدادت وهناً وقيداً وعجزاً عن اتخاذ القرار داخل البلاد وعلى المستويات الإقليمية والدولية؟ لن تحقق لهم الأفكار المطروحة في أم هارون سوى المزيد من الذل والهوان. أما عين الحقيقة فقد قالها حارس القدس لأم عطا “حين تدافعين عن بيتك في القدس فأنت تدافعين عن بيتي في حلب”.

لا شك أن العروبة هي الحل وأن الذين شوّهوا مفهوم القومية العربية هم الذين وضعوا مشروعهم كبديل لهذه القومية يعملون اليوم على نشره وتأسيسه على أرض ليست أرضهم وفي بلاد ليست بلادهم وبدأوا في هذا العام بإنتاج المسلسلات الدرامية التي تحاول أن تظهر أحقيتهم في هذه الأرض على حساب أصحاب الأرض الأصليين وهم العرب.

إن الأحداث من اليمن إلى الخليج برمته إلى العراق إلى ليبيا إلى سورية إلى السودان تستدعي مراجعة صادقة جريئة وشاملة لأساليب العمل التي اتبعتها هذه البلدان في القرن الماضي، وتستدعي اجتراح أساليب جديدة وأدوات جديدة كي نتمكن من بناء ما فات، وكي نستدرك مكانتنا بين الأمم في عالم ما بعد كورونا، حيث نشهد اليوم صراع الإرادات، والأعين شاخصة إلى شكل المستقبل وهويته وقادته الأساسيين. من أجل إنجاح أيّ خطة أو رؤية أو خارطة طريق مستقبلية لا بدّ أولاً من تحديد أماكن الخلل، والتي قادت بلداننا من وهن إلى وهن في وجه عدوّ لا يقاربنا عدداً أو عديداً أو أحقية في أيّ مشروع إقليمي، بل انتعش على نقاط ضعفنا وثغراتنا، وكرّس جهوده لتفكيك صفوفنا دون أن نضع استراتيجية بديلة تجعل من المستحيل عليه بلوغ أهدافه. لقد عمل العدوّ على تعزيز نقاط قوته من خلال تفكيك صفوفنا وضمان عدم وحدتنا واختراق أجيالنا كي نصل إلى مكان العزة والكرامة يجب أن نكون جميعاً حراساً للقدس قولاً وفعلاً وفداء وتضحية.

أهي مصادفة فعلاً ان تُستهدف المدارس في العراق وفي سورية وليبيا واليمن وفي أي مكان وفي أي بلد يُستهدف من قوى غازية أو قوى الاحتلال؟ تستهدف المدارس والتعليم، ذلك لأن العلم والمعرفة هما الضمانة الحقيقية للسير على الطريق السليم وهما الضمانة الحقيقية لتحقيق الهدف وهما الضمانة الحقيقية لتقدّم البلدان وازدهارها ولا شك أن التعليم والمعرفة قد تراجعا بشكل غير مقبول في العالم العربي ولأسباب مختلفة من أهمها انتشار ثقافة البترودولار الكارثية على هذه الأمة، ولن نتمكن من أن نسد الثغرات التي أدت إلى وجود “العواينية” والمخترقين والعملاء والجهل والتقصير إلا من خلال إعادة النظر بالمناهج التربوية ووضعها بطريقة تخدم الأهداف المرجو تحقيقها في المستقبل.

ما نحتاجه اليوم هو مراجعة عميقة جريئة شاملة وأن نبني على أساس نتائج هذه المراجعة. نحن لا نمتلك الوقت وليس لدينا ترف الانتظار كان يجب أن نبدأ في القرن الماضي وليس فقط البارحة ولعلّ التهديد الوجودي لحضارتنا وأمّتنا يشكل حافزاً لنا كي نرى النور ونعمل بما يتوجب عمله كي نستعيد مكانتنا كعرب في الإقليم والعالم. ولا شك أن الخطوة الأولى تتمثّل في التعبير عن كل أشكال الرفض الحقيقي “لأم هارون” و”مخرج 7″ وكلّ الذلّ والارتهان الذي أدى لهما والذي حاول من قبل تغيير ثقافتنا الأصيلة من خلال إغراءات البترودولار واليوم يحاول تشويه هذه الثقافة مستعيناً بألدّ الأعداء والخصوم. اليوم على كلّ الأحزاب والفعاليات العربية أن تعلن أنها حرس للقدس وأنها ضد مسيرة الذلّ والهوان والارتهان لأعداء الأمة والحق والمستقبل.

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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’.

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

April 28, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’?

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

There must be SOME criteria where the proponents of the Great Lockdown could say, “In hindsight, this was wrong.”

It is obviously hysterical to insist that admitting a policy mistake is totally, completely impossible. German fascists are not wiping out Poland, after all.

I mean, what if a secret global doomsday machine in Poland gets triggered if global GNP falls below a certain threshold, wiping out humanity? Certainly then all would agree, “The Great Lockdown turned out to be a mistake,” right?

Absurd extremes aside, the coronavirus overreaction has turned into a major test case for today’s Western worship of both technocracy and scientific secularism. Since 1980 they have insisted that national cultures should not play any shaping role in public policy because Westerners have discovered a system of “universal values” which should guide all national governments.

(The Western system is – of course – actually based on aristocratic/bourgeois neoliberalism & neo-imperialism.)

A corollary is that a technocratic 10% should be implementing these values with zero lower-class input into public policy formation. A second corollary is that science is the one, true, rightly-guided, infallible way. In April 2020 the doctors and professors are always right, and US President Donald Trump is always wrong.

But… then how do we explain this written – not spoken – declaration from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as reported by AP? This was published on April 24, during the truly fake-news controversy regarding Trump and injecting disinfectants.

“Given that countries currently in ‘summer’ climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed,” the researchers wrote earlier in April in response to questions from the White House Office of Science and Technology.”

But Iran is not in summer – they are in the northern hemisphere, so Iran is in spring.

Australia is in the southern hemisphere – it is in autumn.

In fact, due to the tilting of the earth, if the northern hemisphere is in spring then the southern hemisphere can only be in autumn, never in summer. Spring in the north and summer anywhere else is an impossibility.

Not only am I not a rightly-guided epidemiologist, I am not even a scientist and yet I know this. Heck, maybe even Trump knows this.

Associated Press, the largest news-gathering organisation in the world, obviously made the same elementary mistake as these scientists. It is very possible that in their rabid desire to discredit Trump the journalists cared more about over-exaggerating his clearly off-the-cuff science than fact-checking.

My point here is not to say “gotcha, you are dumb” – my point is to say that this is precisely why socialist democracy (which relies on consensus) is so much more valuable than Western technocratic individualism. You see: God, in His wisdom, made humans imperfect – and that includes epidemiologists and we journalists.

That is why the West’s choice to rely solely on epidemiologists, and also a mainstream media which is supposed to be always ever-skeptically vetting everyone’s declarations, is a fundamentally flawed approach to handling the corona response. Combine this with a Western system where politicians are forced to be always either in electioneering mode or fund-raising mode, and you get a system which uncritically bows to very mistake-prone earthly authorities.

I find it stunning that US polls have consistently pegged general support for the lockdowns to be at 80%, and that an unthinkable 95% of Democrats say the measures don’t go too far. Considering all the poverty, the refusals to loan to Main Street, the delays in government aid, the exponentially-increasing certainty of prolonged economic chaos – Americans are still not fed up? I can only theorise that the US people have been so propagandised by a lack of “contrarian voices” – contrarian because they dare to say that the needs of the lower classes must be voiced and implemented – that they have been terrified into submission by their media. Democrats are obviously the least open to different ideas – we see how fantastically total their groupthink is.

But back to my main point: what are the realistic criteria where people would say – as people must often do if we are to have a civilised society which progresses – “I was wrong”?

I can’t think of any which would be acceptable… and that shows the massive hysteria of the Western response

Please note that “I was misled” is certainly acceptable.

After all, just turn on your television and you are almost guaranteed to see a journalist nodding along to whatever an epidemiologist is saying – these two classes have been given the key to socioeconomic policy. In the corona hysteria these two have worked in tandem, and both must be judged according to the huge power they have been given.

As late as March 20th The New York Times fake-leftist bien-pensant Nicolas Kristof quoted “one of the best disease modellers in the world” declaring that the best-case scenario in the US was “about 1.1 million deaths”, with the worst-case being “2.2 million deaths”. They even put the latter in the sub-headline. Because he is such an awful, unreadable journalist Kristof does not make it clear if these two scenarios are the result of everyone doing absolutely nothing to combat coronavirus (an absurdity, which only an ivory tower academic would waste time studying) – I assume that is the case. However, many others may not make that assumption because Kristof leads the reader to believe (and maybe he believes this – he is not clear) that despite all the personal protective gear, ventilators, new hospital beds and everything else that US society could throw at corona, then we should still expect over 1 million deaths. Thus, both scientists and Kristof conclude: “If anything, we’re still underreacting.”

It turns out the epidemiologist’s numbers were indeed based on the idea that everyone did absolutely nothing. Well, thanks for getting dumb journalists all worked up over nothing! And I guess epidemiologists can’t write Kristof’s article for him but it’s certain that this power tandem failed at the top.

I’m not surprised, because I always doubted 2.2 million and here’s one reason why: MSM journalists seem to forget that recent history is not kind to US epidemiologists: In 2014 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted 1.4 million Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone alone. There were only 28,616 total cases. If this was Iran or China we could just accuse them of a cover-up, but alas…. And those are two countries with far, far less resources to throw at a virus. On April 3 satirical website The Onion re-ran Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions – they are indeed more credible than The New York Times.

So what are the criteria for a fact-based backtracking?

Frankly, I don’t think the Great Lockdown supporters have thought about this at all, and that should cause them some worry.

This question has clearly been repeatedly shot down to the point where everyone self-censors, which is the most effective form of censorship. The question itself has been deemed to be proof of being a far-right neo-fascist: A Google search reveals What If the Pandemic Policymakers Are Wrong? Will health experts become the latest elite deemed “too big to fail”? That’s a great sub-headline – I’d nick it, but this article is almost completely written already. What’s too bad is that this article is from the website American Greatness, LOL.

So just asking “what if” puts me on the far-right? Well, I did just sign off on the cover to my latest book on socialism so, LOL, I could debate that rather at length. However, asking “but what if”, providing a modicum of contrarian views, being skeptical – this is what objective journalism is in any nation.

I am willing to question my faith: One article idea in my “to do” basket is, “What do socialists do if the bailouts actually work?” I am not so self-righteous, smug and smothering that I refuse to honestly ask and answer that question – it’s at least possible they will… because the question is not mathematical and because that history is not yet written.

Can Great Lockdown supporters question themselves? I doubt they can or even want to respond.

What I fear is this: that many Great Lockdown supporters are so self-righteous, out of touch and indoctrinated that they will genuinely believe that “even preventing one death made it worth it”. This is the view of a child, not an adult citizen who should know that any “War on Dying” is nothing but a joke. That is the exact view of a lowest-common denominator American politician – are REALLY trying to be like them? “Whatever you say” politicians are the third wheel on the tricycle which is steering Western, pro-upper-class corona policy.

To answer my own question: Because the virus was supposed to be so extraordinary, extraordinary measures have been taken. So it’s gone far beyond only total deaths – the accurate counting of which appears to be already hopelessly muddled.

If corona pricks the Western bubble economy (Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus) and “Great Depression 2” becomes a real thing – was it worth it?

If major aspects of the current drastic reduction in political rights get normalised – just as France prolonged a “temporary” state of emergency for two full years, and then Emmanuel Macron legalised it into common police practice – was it worth it?

If the US bows to Dr. Anthony Fauci, their nation’s leading technocrat on infectious diseases, and permanently “breaks that custom” of shaking hands to show warmth and friendship to strangers or if France ends the la bise hello kisses – was it worth it?

There are economic, political and cultural shockwaves stemming from the Great Lockdown – maybe their proponents didn’t foresee them, or maybe they were misled, but these things cannot be ignored because they, too, will cause death and pain.

You don’t want to talk about those things? No problem.

You don’t even have to answer the simple question the headline poses – too many people getting bossed around these days already.

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

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


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’.

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

Monday, 27 April 2020 5:46 AM  

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2)

By Ramin Mazaheri


Part 1 
discussed how the West’s coronavirus response totally ignored the needs of their lower classes, and also how Iran’s “Resistance Economy” rejects Western economic liberalism (and neoliberalism) which has always sought to relegate non-Westerners to second-class economic partners.

As I have written previously, the West’s corona response is not just murderously mediocre but middle-class – it assumes everyone has a comfortable home, savings and a stable job. The West is employing quarantining, control methods and collective-over-individualist concepts used by Asian nations, but without having similar cultures of government economic intervention nor widespread trust in their governments. It is not hysteria to suggest that this could prove fatal to their bubble-filled, high-finance dominated economies.

There is a lot of foolish talk from Westerners, who are effectively forbidden to learn about and discuss how capitalism-imperialism truly operates, regarding how corona will cause supply chains to move back home. This has produced a lot of soon-to-be-forgotten agreement from their politicians, who are desperate to show that – all of a sudden – they care about their lower classes. Recall that the “end of irony” was proclaimed after 9/11 – will we see the “end of globalisation” because of coronavirus?

That’s funny.

The state of Delaware is where most US corporations are located and buy their charters – if it is not the world’s biggest corporate tax haven, according to The New York Times and The Japan Times, the state is certainly among the world’s top five. (Indeed, it should now be no surprise why Delaware senator Joe Biden was chosen to be Barack Obama’s running mate amid the 2008 economic crisis.) It could not be more crystal clear, even though neoliberals in the US often try to sow confusion about this fact: “Delaware corporate law requires corporate directors to manage firms for the benefit of shareholders, and not for any other constituency.” So anyone thinking corporations will sacrifice a mere fraction of their stock price in order to move supply chains back home are absolutely deluded about the possibility of patriotism, much less humanity, in “Capitalism with American characteristics”: their laws explicitly forbid it.

The post-corona persistence of neoliberalism – an ideology predicated on reducing government programs and expenditures for the 99% with ruthless efficiency – means that Western governments both national and local will be so strapped for cash in a post-Lockdown climate that they will be forced to try and save every nickel they can to maximise ever-more inadequate tax revenues and income. They will forced to buy from China, Haiti or whoever can save them pennies, because this is exactly what neoliberalism demands – it fundamentally neuters economic patriotism.

Urban hipsters who perhaps previously would pay premiums to “eat local” (because it is tastier) will soon find that unemployment (or a worsening of the seemingly never-ending underemployment for the West’s youth class) drastically alters one’s menu options. They would like to “eat local”, but many will be forced to forego the local farmers’ market to buy their food as cheaply as possible, and regardless of provenance.

So such talk from Esquire magazine bout how corona will usher in a new economy based around “resilience preparedness” is totally absurd: the very basis of globalisation is hyper-specialisation (Adam Smith) and turning every nation into a single cash crop/cow (David Ricardo’s comparative advantage) writ large, and these two concepts are the very opposite pole of resilience. Hyper-specialisation is hyper-resistant… but in one single area; if classic liberalism or modern neoliberalism or the “free market” selected your country to produce hygienic masks, congratulations! According to them you should jack up the price and the rest of us should not try to domestically produce our own.

Contrarily, we can say that Iran has tried to create “specialisation” in the normal way – within a single national economy’s different regions instead of all over the world, messianically and arrogantly. This is why they have employed a “resistance economy” (with many egalitarian principles held over from the “command/war economy” era), which is based around self-sufficiency, protectionism, government intervention to stimulate innovation in vital sectors, and government ownership in essentially every sector with medium or large importance. This, even more than the insistence that Islam is compatible with democracy, is why the West wages war on Iran.

The good news for Iranians: these economic principles are what promote resilience and preparedness, they curtail the indebtedness/poverty of the lower classes, and they will make Iran far more capable of weathering the economic turmoil of the coming months.

It is amusing that some in the West are now clamouring for sensible, humane, patriotic, efficient measures which Iran has employed for decades. Is Iran’s economic idea more exportable to Esquire if we call it a “resilience economy”, perhaps?

The Iranian economy in opposition to the West’s seemingly certain post-Great Lockdown economic chaos

At the root of this economic program is not anti-capitalism but anti-the-type-of-capitalism which today’s Iranians are violently confronted by: neoliberalism and globalisation. This form of capitalism is the most-geared towards maximising the profits and market concentration of the 1%, whereas a “resistance economy” is fundamentally-geared towards satisfying the needs of the Iranian 99%. The Koran sanctions capitalism, after all, but it bans usury and has clear exhortations to equality and the economic redistribution of massively-ordered charity. (If the West would simply follow the ban on usury – exorbitant interest and debilitating compound interest – they would be so much better off….)

If the Iranian Revolution did not satisfy the needs of their 99%… how can we possibly explain its endurance amid all the growth-sabotaging Cold War from the West? The question never was growth, after all, but re-distribution. The same logical argument stands for anti-imperialist Cuba and North Korea – caricaturing these nations as totalitarian oligarchies will continue to lose its false power for as long as these countries continue to not just endure but thrive (considering Western blockades), and for as long as the West’s post-1980 inequality entrenchment continues. Despite the looming economic crisis, does anyone really believe the West is culturally capable of reversing these inequality trends?

Undoubtedly, the West’s corona overreaction will make their economies – which were already in a Great Recession – even weaker.

Yes, this will force more Western domestic criticism of neoliberalism and globalisation, but will it really? How can it when France’s Muslims, US so-called “White Trash” and their lower-class counterparts across the “West + client” world cannot even be seen on their televisions? We are logical to believe that open criticism of the ideology of globalisation will be muted very shortly, because all these nations have airwaves which are dominated by a handful of corporations; contrarily, the Iranian government owns all the radio and TV waves – to get the outlook of not-always-selfless private media one can turn to Iran’s extremely critical, thriving print press.

Yes, the West’s reduced economies will necessarily reduce the influence and local reach of governments, but this reduced reach can easily be counter-balanced by the drastic quasi-martial laws which have already been employed. France almost certainly has the most over-policed corona lockdown (800,000 citations already), mais bien sûr: they just had an Islamophobia-based two-year state of emergency, which President Emmanuel Macron legalised into normal police practice.

Yes, the gut-wrenching reduction in wealth for the West’s lower classes may provoke “Western-style populism”, but this ideology is intrinsically reformist and not revolutionary. Look at the Five-Star Movement in Italy – it took them eight years to win significant power, but they have not been able to make significant changes. In their last national election the superb Yellow Vests gained merely half the votes of the (ugh) Animal Rights Party.

Yes, Westerners can see that all the evidence points to the necessity that they must change, but we must recall how very culturally chauvinistic they are: The West is hysterically convinced that their system is supreme – even among their “dissidents”, who are usually just “semi-dissidents” at best – despite all the evidence of failure and their perennial disregard of their own lower classes.

So combine this inherent conservativeness (liberal reformism), with neoliberal cultural saturation, with laws that forbid leavening neoliberalism, with “it’s not totalitarian when the West does it”, and it’s hard to compute a conclusion where the Great Lockdown produces a drastic reform of the Western economy, no? They have to overcome all of these trends, laws and false beliefs simultaneously and in great measure.

That would be a revolution. The West, the great thwarter of progressive revolutions, is supposedly now on the cusp of having one?

The only thing more idiotic than such talk are the commentators who accuse Iranian Reformists of being “neoliberals”, which is as stupid as calling Biden-backing Bernie Sanders or the French “socialists”. The Iranians most associated with the “resistance economy” are indeed Ayatollah Khamenei, ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Principlist Party, but the idea that Reformists aren’t hugely, hugely on board with countless resistance economy principles is just eye-rollingly wrong.

The reality – well-known in Iran – is that there is absolutely no room in Iranian politics for any political group which pushes ending the pro-99%, government-interventionist, fundamentally anti-neoliberal direction of the economy for this simple fact: they would never get re-elected by the 99%, and thus such a movement is necessarily finished before it could ever even could get started in Iranian democracy. Capitalism is sanctioned by the Qur’an, so it will always have a place, but neoliberal capitalism (again, all capitalism is not “neoliberalism” just as all socialism is not “violently atheistic Russian Soviet socialism”)? Not hardly.

Smith and Ricardo’s liberal ideas that each region should produce only that which it was perfectly suited to producing had one fatal flaw: such perfect harmony cannot possibly ever exist in a capitalist-imperialist system, because such a system is predicated upon competition. This is not a small flaw in their ivory-tower thinking, nor am I resorting to a mere humbug attack on “human nature” – competition, instead of cooperation, is a poor foundation for human stability and peace.

Such harmony and mutually-beneficial arrangements (and on a global scale, no less!) could only possibly ever be achieved in a world that has a basis which is definitely not neoliberal, which is very wary of capitalism’s excesses and constant exhortations to battles both big and small, and which tacitly accepts resolutely anti-imperialist and thus essentially socialist economics as the foundation.

You may not want Iran’s culture – that’s natural, they don’t want yours.

But across the West their lower classes are clamouring for an economy with many of Iran’s motivations and practices – they will be ignored, sadly.

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’.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Global Economic Collapse Reveals the Complete Failure of Neo-Liberal Capitalism

Global Economic Collapse Reveals the Complete Failure of Neo-Liberal Capitalism

Written by Dr. Leon Tressell exclusively for SouthFront

  • Fitch Ratings, ‘Unparalleled Global Recession Underway’
  • Economist Sven Heinrich, ‘Central banks are weapons of economic mass destruction.’

As each day passes by data pours in revealing the immense economic damage caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Most politicians and economic pundits will put the blame for up the economic hurricane, blasting tens of millions into unemployment, on Coronavirus lock downs. Fitch Ratings has given a brief snapshot of the unfolding economic catastrophe which it predicts will last well into the 2020s:

“World GDP is now expected to fall by 3.9% in 2020, a recession of unprecedented depth in the post-war period. This is twice as large as the decline anticipated in our early April GEO update and would be twice as severe as the 2009 recession.”

“The decline in GDP equates to a USD2.8 trillion fall in global income levels relative to 2019 and a loss of USD4.5 trillion relative to our pre-virus expectations of 2020 global GDP. Fitch expects Eurozone GDP to decline by 7%, US GDP by 5.6%, and UK GDP by 6.3% in 2020.”javascript:window[“$iceContent”]

Yet at the beginning of this year the financial media and political classes around the world were making rosy forecasts how we were going to experience moderate economic growth this year built upon solid economic foundations. There was no cause for worry or alarm just let global capital work its magic and trickle-down economics would ensure living standards would rise for all.

Fast forward 4 months and a global health pandemic has revealed how shallow, brittle and unstable were the economic foundations of the neo-liberal economic order that has been heralded as such a success since the Reagan-Thatcher era of the 1980s. These foundations were built upon infinitely low interest rates, an exponential rise in debt both public and private (sending global debt over the $250 trillion mark) and a massive increase in social and economic inequality. Alongside this, has been the intense exploitation of nations in the developing world and the use of regime change wars as naked resource grabs which cement the neo-liberal economic model in position.The world economy was slowing down during 2019 and heading towards a global recession. Japan’s economy had already entered recession territory in the last quarter of 2019, meanwhile PMI data from China and Germany indicated that they were hovering just outside recession territory.The global economy at the end of 2019 was teetering on the brink and just needed a catalyst or pin to pop the everything bubble which has seen massive inflation in the prices of paper assets across the globe ranging from stocks and bonds to derivatives such as collateralized loan obligations.

The anaemic economic growth experienced by global capitalism since the last financial crisis, which was a mere 12 years ago, has been based upon a gigantic expansion of the global money supply as central banks and governments mistakenly believe that the only way to sustain our debt fuelled economic system was to create ever more debt.

The last 12 years since the 2008 global financial crisis have witnessed an unparalleled wealth transfer from the working classes to the billionaire class which wields immense political influence over governments across the world. Central bank stimulus programs i.e. quantitative easing together with historically low interest rates fuelled a speculative bonanza which has pushed financial markets to all-time highs across the globe.

Meanwhile, governments across the world have sought to give the hard pressed billionaire class a helping hand by cutting capital gains, income and corporation taxes across the board. President Trump’s $1 trillion tax give away to the economic elites in 2017 is the most egregious example of this phenomena.

At the same time, wages for billions of ordinary people have stagnated or fallen whilst welfare benefits and health care have declined. We now have the utterly surreal situation whereby 26 billionaires control as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity amounting to over 3.8 billion people.

The working and middle classes together with the underemployed poor of the developing world were made to pay for the costs of the 2008 global economic crisis. Once the Coronavirus pandemic has finally burned itself out the working people of this world will be confronted with an economic depression which will rival and indeed may exceed in severity that of the 1930s. Governments across the board will once again seek to make ordinary people pay for the cost of the gigantic debts incurred by government and central bank bailouts.

In a desperate effort to prop up their system and protect the interests of their own class central bankers and corporate politicians across the globe are presiding over yet another wealth transfer that benefits the richest 1% in society. Bloomberg has noted how over $8 trillion has been printed out of thin air by global central banks and governments to prop up their debt fuelled system. The bulk of this horde of fiat money has gone to service the needs of Wall Street and its counterparts in London, Paris Frankfurt, Shanghai et cetera.The Wall Street Journal has openly acknowledged this truth in an editorial:

“The Fed may feel all of this is essential to protect the financial system’s plumbing and reduce systemic risk until the virus crisis passes, but make no mistake the Fed is protecting Wall Street first. The goal seems to be to lift asset prices, as the Fed did after the financial panic, and hope that the wealth effect trickles down to the rest of the economy.”

As the 2020s progress massive wealth and health inequalities, hunger and poverty will lead large numbers of people to question the hyper financialised economic system whose sole motive is to protect the interests of the 1%.

The American dominated monetary system which gives preferential treatment to the empire and its allies is in decline. Its decline will be exacerbated by the twin hammer blows of the Coronavirus pandemic and the global economic depression now unfolding.

During the coming decade the make the world will become an even more unstable place as the hegemonic power of our era seeks to maintain its dominant position in the global economy at the expense of other nations. The contradictions and tensions between the United States and its rival China will be greatly exacerbated during the next period. As we saw in the 1930s once these economic contradictions and tensions reach breaking point then the superpowers of the day have few course of action open to them beyond war or appeasement of their rival.Yet during the 1930s there were instances where the onward march to war could have been averted. If Republican Spain had defeated Franco’s fascist insurgency then the momentum towards war would have been slowed. It would have greatly strengthened the Popular Front government in France and halted the appeasement policies that allowed Nazi Germany to grow in strength like a cancerous tumour.
During the next decade there will no doubt be other such instances where the onward march to war can be averted.

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?

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

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.

Towards A New World Order? The Global Debt Crisis and the Privatization of the State

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, April 17, 2020

There is a serious health crisis which must be duly resolved. And this is a number one priority.

But there is another important dimension which has to be addressed. 

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their lifelong savings. In developing countries, poverty and despair prevail. 

While the lockdown is presented to public opinion as  the sole means to resolving a global public health crisis,  its devastating economic and social impacts are casually ignored.  

The unspoken truth is that the novel coronavirus provides a pretext to powerful financial interests and corrupt politicians to precipitate the entire World into a spiral of  mass unemployment, bankruptcy and extreme poverty. 

This is the true picture of what is happening.  Poverty is Worldwide. While famines are erupting in Third World countries, closer to home,  in the richest country on earth,

millions of desperate Americans wait in long crowded lines for handouts”

“Miles-long lines formed at food banks and unemployment offices across the US over the past week”   

In India:

food is disappearing, ….  in shanty towns, too scared to go out, walking home or trapped in the street crackdowns,

In India there have been 106 coronavirus deaths as of today, to put things in perspective 3,000 Indian children starve to death each day” 

From Mumbai to New York City. It’s the “Globalization of Poverty”.

Production is at a standstill. 

Starvation in Asia and Africa. Famine in the U.S. 

All countries are now Third World countries. It’s the “Thirdworldisation” of the so-called high income “developed countries”.  

And what is happening in Italy?

People are running out of food. Reports confirm that the Mafia rather than the government “is gaining local support by distributing free food to poor families in quarantine who have run out of cash”. (The Guardian)

This crisis combines fear and panic concerning the COVID-19 together with a sophisticated process of economic manipulation.

Let us first examine the impacts pertaining to the developing countries.

Developing Countries. The IMF’s “Economic Medicine” and the Globalization of Poverty

Is the coronavirus crisis part of a broader macro-economic agenda?

First some historical background.

I spent more than ten years undertaking field research on the impacts of IMF-World Bank economic reforms in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Since the early 1980s, “strong economic medicine” was imposed on indebted developing countries under what was called the “structural adjustment program” (SAP).

From 1992 to 1995, I undertook field research in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam and returned to Latin America to complete my study on Brazil. In all the countries I visited, including Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and The Philippines, I observed the same pattern of economic manipulation and political interference by the Washington-based institutions. In India, directly resulting from the IMF reforms, millions of people had been driven into starvation. In Vietnam – which constitutes among the world’s most prosperous rice producing economies – local-level famines had erupted resulting directly from the lifting of price controls and the deregulation of the grain market. (Preface to the Second Edition of the Globalization of Poverty, 2003)

 The hegemony of the dollar was imposed. With mounting dollar denominated debt, eventually in most developing countries the entire national monetary system was “dollarized”.

Massive austerity measures were conducive to the collapse in real wages. Sweeping privatization programs were imposed. These deadly economic reforms -applied on behalf the creditors- invariably triggered economic collapse, poverty and mass unemployment.

In Nigeria starting in the 1980s, the entire public health system had been dismantled. Public hospitals were driven into bankruptcy. The medical doctors with whom I spoke described the infamous structural adjustment program (SAP) with a touch of humor:

“we’ve been sapped by the SAP”, they said, our hospitals have literally been destroyed courtesy of the IMF-World Bank.

From Structural Adjustment to Global Adjustment

Today, the mechanism for triggering poverty and economic collapse is fundamentally different and increasingly sophisticated.

The ongoing 2020 Economic Crisis is tied into the logic of the COVID-19 pandemic: No need for the IMF-World Bank to negotiate a structural adjustment loan with national governments.

What has occurred under the COVID-19 crisis is a “Global Adjustment” in the structure of the World economy. In one fell swoop this Global Adjustment (GA) triggers a Worldwide process of bankruptcy, unemployment, poverty and total despair.

How is it implemented? The lockdown is presented to national governments as the sole solution to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic. It becomes a political consensus, irrespective of the devastating economic and social consequences.A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Financial Crash

No need to reflect or analyze the likely impacts. Corrupt national governments are pressured to comply.

The partial or complete closing down of a national economy is triggered through the enforcement of  so-called “WHO guidelines” pertaining to the lockdown, as well as to trade, immigration and transportation restrictions, etc.

Powerful financial institutions and lobby groups including Wall Street, Big Pharma, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were involved in shaping the actions of the WHO pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lockdown together with the curtailment of trade and air travel had set the stage. This closing down of national economies was undertaken Worldwide starting in the month of  March,  affecting simultaneously a large of number of countries in all major regions of the World.  It is unprecedented in World history.

Why did leaders in high office let it happen? The consequences were obvious.

This closing down operation affects production and supply lines of goods and services, investment activities, exports and imports, wholesale and retail trade, consumer spending, the closing down of schools, colleges and universities, research institutions, etc.

In turn it leads almost immediately to mass unemployment, bankruptcies of small and medium sized enterprises, a collapse in purchasing power, widespread poverty and famine.

What is the underlying objective of this restructuring of the global economy?  What are the consequences? Cui Bono? 

  • A massive concentration of wealth,
  • the destabilization of small and middle sized enterprises in all major areas of economic activity including the services economy, agriculture and manufacturing.
  • It derogates the rights of workers. It destabilizes labor markets.
  • It compresses wages (and labor costs) in the so-called high income “developed countries” as well as in the impoverished developing countries.

Needless to say this Global Adjustment (GA) operation is far more detrimental than the country-level IMF-WB structural adjustment program (SAP).

It is neoliberalism to the nth degree.

In one fell swoop (in the course of the last months) the COVID-19 crisis has contributed to impoverishing a large sector of the World population.

And Guess who comes to the rescue? The IMF and the World Bank:

The IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has casually acknowledged that the World economy has come to a standstill, without addressing the causes of economic collapse.

“The WHO is there to protect the Health of the People, The IMF is there to protect the health of the World economy” says Georgieva.

 How does she intend to “protect the World economy”?

At the expense of the national economy?

What’s her “magic solution”?

 “We rely on $1 trillion in overall lending capacity.” (IMF M-D Georgieva, Press Conference in early March)

At first sight this appears to be “generous”, a lot money. But ultimately it’s what we might call “fictitious money”, what it means is:

“We will lend you the money and with the money we lend you, you will pay us back”.(paraphrase).

The ultimate objective is to make the external (dollar denominated) debt go fly high.

The IMF is explicit. In one of its lending windows, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, which applies to pandemics, generously,

“provides grants for debt relief to our poorest and most vulnerable members.”

Nonsensical statement: it is there to replenish the coffers of the creditors, the money is allocated to debt servicing.

“For low-income countries and for emerging middle-income countries we have … up to $50 billion that does not require a full-fledged IMF program.”

No conditions on how you spend the money. But this money increases the debt stock and requires reimbursement.

The countries are already in a straight-jacket. And the objective is that they comply with the demands of the creditors.

That’s the neoliberal solution applied at a global level: No real economic recovery, more poverty and unemployment Worldwide. The “solution” becomes the “cause”. It initiates a new process of indebtedness. It contributes to an escalation of the debt.

The more you lend, the more you squeeze the developing countries into political compliance. And ultimately that is the objective of the failing American Empire.

The unspoken truth is that this one trillion dollars ++ of the Bretton Woods institutions is intended to drive up the external debt.

In recent developments, the G20 Finance ministers decided to “put on hold”,  the repayment of debt servicing obligations of the World’s poorest countries.

The cancellation of debt has not been envisaged. Quite the opposite. The strategy consists in building up the debt.

It is important that the governments of developing countries take a firm stance against the IMF-World Bank “rescue operation”. 

The Global Debt Crisis in the Developed Countries

An unprecedented fiscal crisis is unfolding at all levels of government. With high levels of unemployment, incoming tax revenues in developed countries are almost at a standstill.  In the course of the last 2 months, national governments have become increasingly indebted.

In turn, Western governments as well as political parties are increasingly under the control of  the creditors, who ultimately call the shots.

All levels of governments have been precipitated into a debt stranglehold. The debt cannot be repaid. In the US, the federal deficit “has increased by 26% to $984 billion for fiscal 2019, highest in 7 years”.  And that is just the beginning.

In Western countries, a colossal expansion of the public debt has occurred. It is being used to finance the “bailouts”, the “handouts” to corporations as well as “the social safety nets” to the unemployed.

The logic of the bailouts is in some regards similar to that of the 2008 economic crisis, but on a much larger scale. Ironically, in 2008, US banks were both the creditors of the US federal government as well as the lucky recipients: the rescue operation was funded by the banks with a view to  “bailing out the banks”. Sounds contradictory?

The Privatization of the State

This crisis will  eventually precipitate the privatization of the state. Increasingly, national governments will be under the stranglehold of Big Money.

Crippled by mounting debts, what is at stake is the eventual de facto privatization of the entire state structure, in different countries, at all levels of government, under the surveillance of powerful financial interests. The fiction of  “sovereign governments” serving the interests of the electors will nonetheless be maintained.

The first level of government up for privatization will be the municipalities (many of which are already partially or fully privatized, e.g. Detroit in 2013). America’s billionaires will be enticed to buy up an entire city.

Several major cities are already on the verge of bankruptcy. (This is nothing new).

Is the city of Vancouver up for privatization?: “the mayor of Vancouver has already indicated that he feared the bankruptcy of his city.” (Le Devoir, April 15, 2020)

In America’s largest cities, people are simply unable to pay their taxes: The debt of New York City for fiscal 2019 is a staggering $91.56 billion (FY 2019) an increase of 132% since FY 2000. In turn personal debts across America have skyrocketed.

“U.S. households collectively carry about $1 trillion in credit card debt”. No measures are being taken in the US to reduce the interest rates on credit card debt.

The New World Order?

The lockdown impoverishes both the developed and developing countries and literally destroys national economies.

It destabilizes the entire economic landscape. It undermines social institutions including schools and universities. It spearheads small and medium sized enterprises into bankruptcy.

What kind of World awaits us?

A diabolical “New World Order” in the making as suggested by Henry Kissinger? (WSJ Opinion, April 3, 2020):

“The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order”

Recall Kissinger’s historic 1974 statement: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of US foreign policy towards the Third World.” (1974 National Security Council Memorandum)

The political implications are far-reaching.

 What kind of government will we have in the wake of the crisis?

Concluding Remarks

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the nature of this crisis.

Several progressive intellectuals are now saying that this crisis constitutues a defeat of neoliberalism. “It opens up a new beginning”.

Some people see it as a “potential turning point”, which opens up an opportunity to “build socialism” or “restore social democracy” in the wake of the lockdown.

The evidence amply confirms that neoliberalism has not been defeated. Quite the opposite.

Global capitalism has consolidated its clutch. Fear and panic prevail. The State is being privatized. The tendency is towards authoritarian forms of government.

These are the issues which we must address.

That historical opportunity to confront the power structures of global capitalism, –including the US-NATO military apparatus– remains to be firmly established in wake of the lockdown.


The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

In this expanded edition of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

This book is a skillful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.

In this updated and enlarged edition – which includes ten additional chapters and a new introduction – the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalization.

“This concise, provocative book reveals the negative effects of imposed economic structural reform, privatization, deregulation and competition. It deserves to be read carefully and widely.”
– Choice, American Library Association (ALA)

“The current system, Chossudovsky argues, is one of capital creation through destruction. The author confronts head on the links between civil violence, social and environmental stress, with the modalities of market expansion.”
– Michele Stoddard, Covert Action Quarterly

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The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020


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

April 16, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

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

There is a lot of chatter about how the coronavirus economic overreaction and subsequent US bailouts will end the dollar’s reign as the global reserve currency – such wishful thinking is shortsighted and ignores even recent Western capitalist history.

Last November, in a then-boring but now-prescient 10-part series (I socialistically re-interpreted ex-Wall Streeter Nomi Prins’ book Collusion, which chronologically detailed the QE-spreading collusion between G20 central banks since 2008), I wrote the following in Part 3: QE paid for a foreign buying spree: developing countries hurt the most:

“Yet by flooding the world with trillions of dollars via QE the US was able to, paradoxically, maintain dollar dependence despite their crimes. The US dollar share of global reserves today is 62%, almost exactly what it was in 2008. Combined with the other source of the crisis – the euro – the two combine for 82% of global reserves. By comparison, the yuan – which so many predict is about to dethrone the dollar – is at below 2%; I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

But corona is different, right? Two percent and 62% will suddenly change places, right?

No, more QE is more of the same thing, and this is a “thing” which has worked exactly as designed; it is also a “thing” which is never broached in the Mainstream Media: “A way to create debt traps which increase Western control over their neo-imperial subjects. … Neoliberal-capitalism financial policies must be viewed as a neo-imperial tool, of course.”

People are acting as if Western neoliberalism hasn’t worked, LOL? It has worked spectacularly well… but only for their 1% and not for “the nation”, exactly as designed.

Many fine semi-dissident commentators apparently do not follow high finance, nor can they interpret their actions, even though high finance is the West’s vanguard party (thus the theme of my recent series – “bankocracy”); they often incorrectly focus on an easier-to-grasp storyline of nationalist competition, which (like racism, sexism or tribalism) simply cannot ultimately take precedence over class warfare.

I’m not being dogmatic – this simply provides the fullest explanation of economic events. Reject what socialists could call the “conspiracy” of the 1% via class warfare? Then you likely move on to absurd, unprovable “conspiracy theories” involving secret cults, elaborate handshakes, ritual sacrifice, etc.

This is the bottom line which (whom I will call) “dollar-demisers” simply do not understand: For better or for worse (certainly worse), the US and their greenback are still the gold standard when it comes to 1%er perceptions of a safe harbour in a crisis.

This will hold true in 2020 just as it did in 2008.

Many semi-dissident analysts unwittingly take a rather Trotskyist view that capitalism will eventually implode under the weight of its own contradictions. It won’t – some rats always find a way to survive a sinking ship, eh? Thus, open socialist combat is the only way to defeat modern Western capitalism, and also to satisfyingly explain what is going on in the Western Great Recession/Depression 2.

So maybe the yuan will become the dominant currency… but not in two months, nor two years – maybe two decades? That’s a big “maybe”. In my lifetime, I think.…

Until then, please believe me: Western globalisation/neoliberalism has a LOT of ammo, clout, clients, banks, real money, real gold, fake money and paper gold to keep their mighty dollar on top. Socialism teaches us: it is NOT just Americans who will deploy these weapons.

Just look at what high finance did when the corona crisis hit – journalism is just recent history

As soon as the lockdowns hit Western Europe you couldn’t buy a dollar from high finance. Why? Because people were panicking and wanted a safe haven (and had huge bills to pay) – they did not run to the yuan, but the greenback. The yuans ran to the greenback!

(Some Western commentators often act as if China doesn’t know what they are doing by being the second-biggest holder of US Treasuries – as if Beijing is somehow being suckered or something? Similarly, but from the other side of misunderstanding, Trotskyism faults China for playing along with capitalist-imperialists in order to strengthen Chinese socialism. Both views are absurd.)

As the corona overreaction progressed, and even as it became clear that a country with third-world inequality and gaping structural flaws was about to go on lockdown and impoverish half its populace within a season, this country’s currency did not drop in value as it should have – I am speaking of the US.

Fair? No. Reality? Proven. Predictable? Entirely.

Equally unprecedented during these March days was a historic run on physical gold, history’s nostalgic (not current) safe haven, which I would have bought if I could have found any (I actually did not even look, as I have no money). This was a major step in a vital historical trend – let’s call it “fiat regoldification” – but please note: here we are, still using fiat (paper) money. Please note #2: individual 1%ers are still buying (parking their assets) way more in dollars than they are in bars of gold, even if central banks have edged more towards gold than dollars only recently.

What also happened in March? Just like in 2008, the US immediately opened more “currency swaps” – loaning scores of billions of dollars to their main client states to satisfy dollar demand… and make them even more beholden to maintaining dollar supremacy.

And by the end of March the US announced (effectively) $6 trillion in new bailout money. Yet no dollar devaluation, still? Return back to that 62% figure: yes, dollar dominance didn’t increase significantly since 2008, but there was no stagnation because the total reserves held by all central banks has expanded by more than half since 2008.

The “dollar-demisers” just don’t get it – they must live in nationalist vacuums? Germany just announced $1 trillion, after all, right? (France finally announced theirs – just $120 billion… because the global 1%’s plan continues to be “strangle the French model”.) Many nations have announced a similar “devaluation” as well, and they didn’t benefit from the dollar’s perception of unrivalled stability to begin with. The US $6 trillion comes within this critical context. But now extend out your timeframe to 2008 – how much new money has been printed across the G20? In this global context of recent history $6 trillion isn’t much, certainly not enough to ruin the dollar.

But beyond the unshakable perception of stability, the dependance entrapment, and the global money printing bonanza, what’s the biggest reason why everyone is rushing to the dollar? Simple – everyone else’s debt and collateral sucks even harder than it did in 2008: Eurozone bonds, corporate bonds, mortgage/credit card/auto loan-backed securities, overinflated stocks, overinflated real estate, overinflated Da Vincis, Third World investments about to go bust, any-World investments about to go bust post-global corona lockdown – US bonds are still the best, safest place for the 1% to park their savings.

So – don’t get it twisted – the dollar is now stronger than ever in 2020.

Just check the dollar index – it’s up over 20% since 2008, even though they were the cause of the crisis, and for the reasons I listed. The dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all.

You’re underestimating people, and you underestimate how much room the US has

Here’s the thing about people not understanding high finance – they also are too dismissive of them (like with China’s treasury-holding bankers): People mistakenly assume that US bankers are a bunch of rich-kid idiots, and that they do not realise that being viewed so positively by the rabid capitalists of the global 1% undoubtedly gives them unparalleled leverage. No – the US is well-aware that its money machine can go brrrrrr, to use the top meme on this subject, and the dollar will not crater.

So when Neel Kashkari goes on TV and says the Fed has an “infinite amount of cash” it is wrong to make fun of him – the focus should be on the fact that he is taken SOMEWHAT seriously despite making such an economically-illogical claim. He is taken seriously because that is HOW VERY much money the US can print before they imperil the dollar’s reserve currency dominance.

The dollar is used in 40% of the world’s debt, 80% of global payments and nearly 100% of its oil sales – again: the world’s rich want to use dollars. Again, China doesn’t even want to use their own currency – in the past two decades dollar-denominated debt has exploded, and this trend was led by China. And yet we should assume the yuan is on the cusp of replacing the dollar? This unwind will not, I’m sorry to say, happen at corona-speed.

How much room does the Fed have to inject? A lot, depressingly.

(So we’re clear: What is this injecting doing? It is assuming the bad debts/failed investments of multinational high finance dominated by NYC. That total is not some infinite, abstract, undefined mathematical variable. This is what the phrase “picking the winners” means. Nobody is holding a marker with “quadrillion” after the number. )

From $2 trillion in 2008, in late March it was suggested it could hit $10 trillion to stem the corona craziness. That won’t be enough – and the hidden “10-to-1” lever in the $450 billion section of the $2.2 trillion bailout implies that already – but the US probably has $20-30 trillion worth of room before difficulty sets in.

People will fly off the handle at that (mainly Austrians and Chicagoans), but they don’t seem to comprehend reality: the unparalleled demand, the importance of competitive context in currency wars, as well as the political reality that the US as well as their allies (capitalism is collusion) will use all their political and probably military tools to postpone the monetary/political/historical revolution which is fundamentally implied by the end of dollar dominance.

And there’s even more advantages, because bankers are not as dumb as you think.

First of all: duh, they aren’t going to inject it overnight. Did they inject their $4 (or $8) trillion since 2008 overnight? Of course not – the US colluded with other G20 nations for over a decade so that the QE machine could keep going “brrrrrrr” – just at different nodes, as Prins’ books an my series related. The Fed works with other G20 central banks, it must be recognised – nationalism does not supersede a class analysis.

Secondly, it’s crucial to recall that the global 1% forced first Japan then the Eurozone (the biggest competitors of the US, at least until the 2008 crisis & response allowed China to rise so high) to take on austerity, bailouts and multiple Lost Decades which made their debt-to-GDP ratios explode. So this bringing down of the competition is only giving US Treasuries more leeway and power. Modern capitalism IS always international collusion – this didn’t start in 2008.

Of all the major Western economies only Germany and South Korea have good debt-to-GDP ratios, but Washington the global 1% have simple solutions to force them to increase their debt in order to protect THEIR dollar: Korean reunification, and an end to German strangulation of the Eurozone. If you don’t think they would force to protect THEIR dollar, then you fatally overrate the power of nationalism.

This 1%er collusion is what so many good commentators just can’t see because they reject the class struggle. This is why they are rather absurdly expecting to use only yuan – or maybe euro or yen or loonies – by next Tuesday. The reality is that a socialist victory against predatory capitalists is long, hard and unyielding – this provides great inspiration and creativity when accepted. It does hurt your job opportunities in journalism, though. But many journalists and analysts are happy with just complaining.

So the corona bailouts are NOT going to end global dollar dominance, for all the reasons I’ve listed.

QE provokes inflation, but do you understand inflation? I mean, REALLY?

Corona’s “Great Lockdown” is sure to provoke falls in subservient currencies, but it won’t cause the dollar to double in value, either. That won’t be permitted:

A weak dollar hurts the average American but it certainly helps the sectors of society supported by the 1%: export-driven corporations, debtors (banks) and landlords (rentier exploiters). I explained this in my “bankocracy” series – Part 5: Understanding the West’s obsession with inflation. The 1% only cares about inflation which hurts their investments – they could not care less about rises in the price of bread, metro tokens, rent, etc. This is precisely why the MSM keeps saying how inflation is low… when 99% of their readers think, “No it isn’t.”

Due to this widespread misunderstanding/misinformation regarding inflation, many commentators confuse a rise in domestic prices for key goods with the international strength of the dollar. The former is a domestic concern – domestic inflation will be a result of money-printing. Domestically the dollar has lost an estimated 80% of purchasing power since Nixon went off the gold standard. However, the latter is an international concern and – while no one stays at the top of the hill forever – the US dollar is (of course!) protecting and re-protecting itself via international 1%er collusion to stay there as long as possible regardless of the effect on the average US consumer. What “1%er patriotism” are you talking about, and in the age of globalisation, too?!

Yes, rents and food will go up: No, the dollar will not stop being the international reserve currency. Yes, because you won’t openly support socialism you suffer under a bundle of unjust contradictions and cognitive dissonances.

Again, a class analysis provides a fuller explanation of corona-related high finance machinations than does an analysis based around mere nationalism.

But many of you older readers can, sadly, take this to your graves: the dollar’s dominance is unquestioned and will be defended by the international 1%, just as it has been since 2008, and just as it has been since it ascended the bloody capitalist heap. The 1% has never known eras, epochs, patriotisms, etc., and certainly not since the rise of industrial capitalism.

The problem is not QE, nor is it the “dollar system” – it is the entire system of values encapsulated by “capitalism-imperialism” and undoubtedly in “capitalism with Western characteristics”.

You can find the odd article like Pandemic proves there is only one world reserve currency, but this article gave the real reasons why; only a socialist microscope can reveal the core economic truth.

I could be wrong – and so could that article – about 20-30 more years of dollar dominance. Maybe the corona overreaction will set off a Great Depression so unmanageable that a socialist revolution occurs quite soon? That’s the only possible way the dollar is dethroned earlier.

(Of course, according to logic, any uprising which is not openly pro-socialist – and is thus pro-capitalist – cannot be a “revolution” at all. The development of post-corona “coups” would produce regimes which would – at best – still certainly collaborate with the dollar for national benefit.)

The West has no solution – wants no solution – wants only more of all this capitalist-imperialist chaos for the 99%… and thus corona immediately kicked off the “solution” of QE Infinity. No Western nation’s 1% is going to stop colluding to make that continue.

So keep your yuan under your mattress – infinity won’t end next Tuesday. I hope you find this article useful in your leftist struggle!

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

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 the lives of post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 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’.

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage?

April 12, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

In just 24 hours the UK saw nearly a half-million people volunteer to deliver food and medicine to the nation’s 1.5 million elderly and vulnerable people. Nearly 750,000 signed up, so many that they had to turn people away.

In the US the situation is the opposite: there are no shortage of stories such as NPR’s, Coronavirus Drives Away Volunteers Just As They’re Needed Most. But it’s not just the local holy-rolling church and the local food bank – the professional charity services have seemingly turned tail and ran away even though soldiering through a crisis is their job. In an “only in America” type of headline – The Peace Corps isn’t just bringing home 7,300 volunteers because of the coronavirus. It’s firing them.

With 17 million made jobless in 15 days, but with no government aid system to help them permitted to exist under US neoliberalism, food banks are not only increasingly short on food but short on people to hand out what little food they have left. Their malnutrition situation is so very dangerous that The New York Times reported that, “Uniformed (national) guardsmen help ‘take the edge off’ at increasingly tense distributions of (food) boxes,” and without even commenting on what an abnormal “edge” that is to have.

Doesn’t that all seem very American?

But in the UK national solidarity is now off the charts, and it’s not of the fundamentally conservative, nonsensical “Keep calm and carry on” variety from 2008: commentators say that the volunteer wave is healing the divide caused by Brexit, as well as erasing generation gaps because WWII-era Brits are seeing what their youth can and will do in a crisis.

How can we explain this disparity?

I think I should relate that to an Iranian this disparity is especially perplexing.

After all, “Marg bar (down with) England” is always right up there with, “Marg bar the United States”. Those two comprise 40% of the reliably unholy pentagon of your standard “Marg bar …!” chant, along with Israel, the MKO/MEK hypocrites, and those who oppose the guardianship of the Islamic jurist principle.

But look at all those volunteers – has England changed drastically and grown a conscience? Has Iran got it wrong? Are we supposed to stop marg bar-ing them now?

What?! Have you lost your head during this corona crisis?! If anything, we should be adding marg bars, not reducing marg bars! For example: why not “Marg bar Wales”? Don’t you think they feel left out often enough? And why are we leaving Scotland off the hook?

So the very notion of not marg bar-ing England practically makes me want to add a, “Marg bar you!”

But I get carried away easily, so I think it’s time for a marg bar on jokes in this article.

The reason for the difference is quite simple, but very sad

Are all of America’s healthy men and women aged 20-40, who have a statistically infinitesimal chance of dying from coronavirus, too busy to volunteer? Of course not – they’re mostly on lockdown now.

Are they too self-centred to volunteer? Is this more out-of-control Western individualism? Are they too lazy? Have they been scared into submission by an atrocious and irresponsible national media?

I honestly don’t think it’s anything like that: I think it’s that Americans are scared of the health care costs they might incur if they got sick while volunteering. Contrarily, able-bodied, young, patriotic Britishers have the National Health Service.

It’s really that simple: young Americans want to help their elder class, but they can’t go (even deeper) into debt to do so.

And that is really a sad, sad commentary on “Capitalism with American characteristics”, isn’t it?

I’m sure we can all immediately perceive how so very many negative, anti-social, self-defeating, wasteful and truly lamentable cycles of all sorts are kept in constant motion by the atrocious neoliberal principles which have been foisted on the US populace since 1980.

(Similarly, the US food bank charity is a recent development that exploded beginning in the Reagan era.)

Think of all the helplessness, hopelessness, anomie, anger, bitterness and (that old American standby) rage which could have been alleviated in America by both the act of volunteering and the benefits volunteering would bring, but which cannot even be attempted due to the incredibly difficulty of mere self-preservation in the US?

In their article To Fight Coronavirus, U.K. Asked for Some Volunteers. It Got an Army The New York Times does not mention this obvious explanation for the difference between these two across-the-Atlantic brothers. They either cannot put two and two together, or they refuse to broach the simple fact that the UK can marshal such a force because their youth class has no reason to fear indebtedness due to volunteering.

This disparity – and the explanation is hardly complex, although the ramifications are embarrassing for the US to honestly discuss – is precisely the kind of issue which fake-leftist media similar to The New York Times are steadfastly not discussing in favor of obsessive Trump-bashing and corona “deathboard-watching”.

Because fake-leftists in the US are so prone to turning their rage into false righteousness – this is not a problem caused by Trump: Obama made huge cuts to food stamps for a million households in 2014, which increased the number of people forced to rely on food bank charity, and his health care reform was a pathetic capitulation to the health care corporations and their medical lobbyists. The problem is not Republicans – Democrats are just as rabidly anti-socialist and pro-neoliberalism.

But in a pandemic any nation is necessarily going to live and die on the strength of its existing health care system. The US has to go on lockdown (they say) because their terrible health care system cannot bear even a moderate strain; the same rationale also silently explains why the average American cannot dare to attempt to humanely alleviate the ramifications of such a drastic, anti-lower-class measure.

I’m sure that many American readers are no doubt feeling quite mixed feelings about how such a simple thing – a promise of merely decent health care – could have made such a huge cultural difference during this time of huge cultural upheaval. America has just as many cultural divides to heal as Britain… but they are forced to remain alone, helpless, scared, hungry, untreated and debt-fearful.

One often has to laugh to keep from crying, so permit me one last marg bar – for those who are obsessively making every waking moment and every tiny thing about one subject and one subject only: marg bar religious corona fundamentalism.

The corona fundamentalists in the US could instead spare some time to wonder why it’s too expensive to volunteer for charity work.

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

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


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’.

PEPE ESCOBAR: Who Profits from the Pandemic?

April 08, 2020

Pepe Escobar looks at a frightening future that might follow the already terrifying Covid-19 global outbreak. 

By Pepe Escobar
in Bangkok
Special to Consortium News

You don’t need to read Michel Foucault’s work on biopolitics to understand that neoliberalism – in deep crisis since at least 2008 – is a control/governing technique in which surveillance capitalism is deeply embedded.

But now, with the world-system collapsing at breathtaking speed, neoliberalism is at a loss to deal with the next stage of dystopia, ever present in our hyper-connected angst: global mass unemployment.

Henry Kissinger, anointed oracle/gatekeeper of the ruling class, is predictably scared. He claims that, “sustaining the public trust is crucial to social solidarity.” He’s convinced the Hegemon should “safeguard the principles of the liberal world order.” Otherwise, “failure could set the world on fire.”

That’s so quaint. Public trust is dead across the spectrum. The liberal world “order” is now social Darwinist chaos. Just wait for the fire to rage.

The numbers are staggering. The Japan-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), in its annual economic report, may not have been exactly original. But it did note that the impact of the “worst pandemic in a century” will be as high as $4.1 trillion, or 4.8 percent of global GDP.

This an underestimation, as “supply disruptions, interrupted remittances, possible social and financial crises, and long-term effects on health care and education are excluded from the analysis.”

We cannot even start to imagine the cataclysmic social consequences of the crash. Entire sub-sectors of the global economy may not be recomposed at all.  

The International Labor Organization (ILO) forecasts global unemployment at a conservative, additonal 24.7 million people – especially in aviation, tourism and hospitality.

The global aviation industry is a humongous $2.7 trillion business. That’s 3.6 percent of global GDP. It employs 2.7 million people. When you add air transport and tourism —everything from hotels and restaurants to theme parks and museums — it accounts for a minimum of 65.5 million jobs around the world.

According to the ILO, income losses for workers may range from $860 billion to an astonishing $3.4 trillion. “Working poverty” will be the new normal – especially across the Global South.

“Working poor,” in ILO terminology, means employed people living in households with a per capita income below the poverty line of $2 a day. As many as an additional 35 million people worldwide will become working poor in 2020. 

Switching to feasible perspectives for global trade, it’s enlightening to examine that this report about how the economy may rebound is centered on the notorious hyperactive merchants and traders of Yiwu in eastern China – the world’s busiest small-commodity, business hub.

Their experience spells out a long and difficult recovery. As the rest of the world is in a coma, Lu Ting, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong stresses that China faces a 30 percent decline in external demand at least until next Fall.

Neoliberalism in Reverse?

San Miguel, Bulacan, Philippines, 2016. (Judgefloro, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

In the next stage, the strategic competition between the U.S. and China will be no-holds-barred, as emerging narratives of China’s new, multifaceted global role – on trade, technology, cyberspace, climate change – will set in, even more far-reaching than the New Silk Roads. That will also be the case in global public health policies. Get ready for an accelerated Hybrid War between the “Chinese virus” narrative and the Health Silk Road.

The latest report by the China Institute of International Studies would be quite helpful for the West — hubris permitting — to understand how Beijing adopted key measures putting the health and safety of the general population first. 

Now, as the Chinese economy slowly picks up, hordes of fund managers from across Asia are tracking everything from trips on the metro to noodle consumption to preview what kind of economy may emerge post-lockdown.

In contrast, across the West, the prevailing doom and gloom elicited a priceless editorial from The Financial Times. Like James Brown in the 1980s Blues Brothers pop epic, the City of London seems to have seen the light, or at least giving the impression it really means it. Neoliberalism in reverse. New social contract. “Secure” labor markets. Redistribution.

Cynics won’t be fooled. The cryogenic state of the global economy spells out a vicious Great Depression 2.0 and an unemployment tsunami. The plebs eventually reaching for the pitchforks and the AR-15s en masse is now a distinct possibility. Might as well start throwing a few breadcrumbs to the beggars’ banquet. 

That may apply to European latitudes. But the American story is in a class by itself.

Mural, Seattle, February 2017. (Mitchell Haindfield, Flickr)

For decades, we were led to believe that the world-system put in place after WWII provided the U.S. with unrivalled structural power. Now, all that’s left is structural fragility, grotesque inequalities, unpayable Himalayas of debt, and a rolling crisis.

No one is fooled anymore by the Fed’s magic quantitative easing powers, or the acronym salad – TALF, ESF, SPV – built into the Fed/U.S. Treasury exclusive obsession with big banks, corporations and the Goddess of the Market, to the detriment of the average American.   

It was only a few months ago that a serious discussion evolved around the $2.5 quadrillion derivatives market imploding and collapsing the global economy, based on the price of oil skyrocketing, in case the Strait of Hormuz – for whatever reason – was shut down. 

Now it’s about Great Depression 2.0: the whole system crashing as a result of the shutdown of the global economy. The questions are absolutely legitimate: is the political and social cataclysm of the global economic crisis arguably a larger catastrophe than Covid-19 itself?  And will it provide an opportunity to end neoliberalism and usher in a more equitable system, or something even worse?

 ‘Transparent’ BlackRock

Wall Street, of course, lives in an alternative universe. In a nutshell, Wall Street turned the Fed into a hedge fund. The Fed is going to own at least two thirds of all U.S. Treasury bills in the market before the end of 2020.

The U.S. Treasury will be buying every security and loan in sight while the Fed will be the banker – financing the whole scheme.

So essentially this is a Fed/Treasury merger. A behemoth dispensing loads of helicopter money.

And the winner is BlackRock—the biggest money manager on the planet, with tentacles everywhere, managing the assets of over 170 pension funds, banks, foundations, insurance companies, in fact a great deal of the money in private equity and hedge funds. BlackRock — promising to be fully  “transparent” — will buy these securities and manage those dodgy SPVs on behalf of the Treasury.

BlackRock, founded in 1988 by Larry Fink, may not be as big as Vanguard, but it’s the top investor in Goldman Sachs, along with Vanguard and State Street, and with $6.5 trillion in assets, bigger than Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank combined. 

Now, BlackRock is the new operating system (OS) of the Fed and the Treasury. The world’s biggest shadow bank – and no, it’s not Chinese.

Compared to this high-stakes game, mini-scandals such as the one around Georgia Senator Kelly Loffler are peanuts. Loffler allegedly profited from inside information on Covid-19 by the CDC to make a stock market killing. Loffler is married to Jeffrey Sprecher – who happens to be the chairman of the NYSE, installed by Goldman Sachs. 

While corporate media followed this story like headless chickens, post-Covid-19 plans, in Pentagon parlance, “move forward” by stealth. 

The price? A meager $1,200 check per person for a month. Anyone knows that, based on median salary income, a typical American family would need $12,000 to survive for two months. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an act of supreme effrontry, allows them a mere 10 percent of that. So American taxpayers will be left with a tsunami of debt while selected Wall Street players grab the whole loot, part of an unparalleled transfer of wealth upwards, complete with bankruptcies en masse of small and medium businesses.

Fink’s letter to his shareholders almost gives the game away: “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”

And right on cue, he forecasted that, “in the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant reallocation of capital.”

He was referring, then, to climate change. Now that refers to Covid-19.

Implant Our Nanochip, Or Else?

West Virginia National Guard members reporting to a Charleston nursing home to assist with Covid-19 testing. April 6, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard, Edwin L. Wriston)

The game ahead for the elites, taking advantage of the crisis, might well contain these four elements: a social credit system, mandatory vaccination, a digital currency and a Universal Basic Income (UBI). This is what used to be called, according to the decades-old, time-tested CIA playbook, a “conspiracy theory.” Well, it might actually happen.

A social credit system is something that China set up already in 2014. Before the end of 2020, every Chinese citizen will be assigned his/her own credit score – a de facto “dynamic profile”, elaborated with extensive use of AI and the internet of things (IoT), including ubiquitous facial recognition technology. This implies, of course, 24/7 surveillance, complete with Blade Runner-style roving robotic birds.

The U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Russia and India may not be far behind. Germany, for instance, is tweaking its universal credit rating system, SCHUFA. France has an ID app very similar to the Chinese model, verified by facial recognition.

Mandatory vaccination is Bill Gates’s dream, working in conjunction with the WHO, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Big Pharma. He wants “billions of doses” to be enforced over the Global South. And it could be a cover to everyone getting a digital implant.

Here it is, in his own words. At 34:15: “Eventually what we’ll have to have is certificates of who’s a recovered person, who’s a vaccinated person…Because you don’t want people moving around the world where you’ll have some countries that won’t have it under control, sadly. You don’t want to completely block off the ability for people to go there and come back and move around.”

Then comes the last sentence which was erased from the official TED video. This was noted by Rosemary Frei, who has a master on molecular biology and is an independent investigative journalist in Canada. Gates says: “So eventually there will be this digital immunity proof that will help facilitate the global reopening up.”

This “digital immunity proof” is crucial to keep in mind, something that could be misused by the state for nefarious purposes.

The three top candidates to produce a coronavirus vaccine are American biotech firm Moderna, as well as Germans CureVac and BioNTech.

Digital cash might then become an offspring of blockchain. Not only the U.S., but China and Russia are also interested in a national crypto-currency. A global currency – of course controlled by central bankers – may soon be adopted in the form of a basket of currencies, and would circulate virtually. Endless permutations of the toxic cocktail of IoT, blockchain technology and the social credit system could loom ahead.

Already Spain has announced that it is introducing UBI, and wants it to be permanent. It’s a form insurance for the elite against social uprisings, especially if millions of jobs never come back.

So the key working hypothesis is that Covid-19 could be used as cover for the usual suspects to bring in a new digital financial system and a mandatory vaccine with a “digital identity” nanochip with dissent not tolerated: what Slavoj Zizek calls the “erotic dream” of every totalitarian government.

Yet underneath it all, amid so much anxiety, a pent-up rage seems to be gathering strength, to eventually explode in unforeseeable ways. As much as the system may be changing at breakneck speed, there’s no guarantee even the 0.1 percent will be safe. 

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is “2030.” Follow him on Facebook.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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

April 03, 2020

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

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

It’s an unusual prediction, but the coronavirus may kill the “neoliberal Trotskyist” projects of the Eurozone and the European Union because the pan-European project has, sadly, always cared more for itself than for the well-being of its constituents.

Briefly: the major theoretical contribution of “Daddy Stalin” (to quote Che) to socialism was to insist that nations can indeed go their own way and implement “socialism in one country”; Trotskyism insists that socialism must sweep universally in a perfectly-coordinated movement. It’s clear who has prevailed – the Trotskyists remain winless. While Stalinists just roll their eyes at the bitter Trotskyist refusal to cooperate with them, the latter attempt to denigrate everyone else’s socialist victories as a victory of “Stalinism”… which is no denigration at all, but it does give fodder to socialism-ignorant capitalist-imperialists. Anyway….

The EU and Eurozone run on both the secular, earthly fervor of Trotskyism as well as the religious fanaticism that neoliberalism actually does work (despite all the lack of factual proof).

Both projects also run on capitalism of course, but the corona shutdown has destroyed modern capitalist ideology: there is no demand-side economics possible (how can there be normal demand in a shutdown?), and there is no supply-side economic solution (deregulation and tax cuts are going to work, LOL?). There is now – as socialists already knew – only the government.

This reality is what the corona crisis is laying bare (and does not logically automatically translate into totalitarianism), and this is also why “capitalism with Western characteristics” is recklessly charging towards Great Depression 2 – their ideology is fundamentally incapable of addressing such a situation.

Europe’s safety net means that they won’t be charging into astronomical unemployment, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t already a hot mess: The Eurozone is into an underreported second Lost Decade; the Yellow Vests were proving weekly that anti-European sentiment is not proof of a far-right ideology; the European Union’s handling of Brexit was showing – as they openly intended – that it was more vengeful and punitive than a wronged woman.

The mega-bailouts which will be required due to the corona economic shutdown: once these are finished the only logical fiscal remedy, per neoliberalism, will be “mega-austerity”, right? But that’s another column….

When a crisis hits and nobody can help, a nation-state can only reap what it has sown; nobody is coming to your lockdowned house to help… except if you are in a socialist-inspired nation. Thus, the corona crisis is going to not just end messianic neoliberal projects but also reveal the dignity, and superior performance of the existing socialist-inspired projects.

However, the West will continue to do all they can to obfuscate this via their propaganda. The New York Times just published Australia Says Goodbye to the World’s Longest Boom, but that is inaccurate: socialist Vietnam has had the world’s best economic growth rate since 1981. Not only has their growth rate been double that of Australia’s, but Vietnam has never had a year of negative growth whereas Australia has had three. Knowing this about Vietnam is about as basic a global, objective economic fact as it gets, but since when did capitalists and their shills ever report honestly about economics?

If the Great Recession does become the Great Depression 2 then government isn’t going to disappear nor became hyper-localised – it will become even more prevalent: it will force the return of the nation-state.

Why on earth should we suppose that Europeans will accept “more Europe” when their big, (neoliberal empire) pan-European government has been so inequality-inducing? Socialists, however, are all on board with this, but with a key twist – big government, not big neoliberal capital.

My upcoming book is called Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism and I explained why it is first Iranian, second Islamic, third socialist and in that precise order. After much public debate, and signed off on by then-Supreme Leader Khomeini, Iran decided that the needs of the nation must come before the dictates of Islam. Don’t like it? Move to Saudi Arabia. Iran’s government controls, according to many estimates, about 90% of the non-Black Market economy – more than Cuba’s government. Don’t like it? Move to the US. I am not being aggressive nor xenophobic – I am pointing out that none of this is going to change without a huge fight from the majority of Iranians.

Maybe the West won’t veer from neoliberalism and capitalism-imperialism without a huge fight either?

If so, that will only ensure ever-deepening inequality: the West’s post-corona economic future looks too bleak to put into words yet, but history shows Westerners should expect years of economic hardship for those nations who continue to sacrifice their well-being at the altar of the free market.

How many busts will it take before capitalists are as market-disillusioned as socialists?

Marx proved that capitalism is an endless cycle of boom to bust; central planning, central ownership of key industries, a vanguard party and repression of fascist speech is what socialist-inspired nations use to provide stability during the tough times and to increase mass prosperity during good times.

The corona economic hysteria – which I recently paralleled with the Y2K and 9/11 panics – is only giving us even more data about “capitalism with Western characteristics”. In short: because inflating Everything Bubble 2 was the West’s solution to Everything Bubble 1 (which popped during the 2008 crisis), we can bookend a new Western economic era without accusations of being overly premature.

Boom 1: 1865-1914 – The formative years of modern capitalism, which included covered-up, denied, and unknown holocausts of famine, epidemics and poverty in non-Western countries/colonial subjects. These were all wilfully created: historians know that “we must allow the rules of the free-market to reign no matter how many die in a famine or epidemic” was the open official justification time after time by ruling colonialists. Socialism had difficulties during its formative years, as well; however, the Late Victorian Holocausts and the Making of the Third World were not provoked by Cold War, and its highest ideal was “the White rich should have the freedoms required to rule unopposed”. Booms for the West during this era, but busts for everyone else that were so terrible that many nations have still not recovered.

Bust 1: 1914-1921 – WWI and aftermath: A war started by Western bankers & imperialists to forestall anti-banker socialism.

Boom 2: 1921-1929 – the “Roaring Twenties”

Bust 2: 1929-1945 – the Great Depression and WWII

Boom 3: 1945 – 1975 -The “30 glorious years” for the West, but not for their imperial-turned-neo-imperial (ending direct rule to replace with local puppets) subjects.

Bust 3: 1976-1991 – Widespread recession: blame the Arabs for finally exerting some control over their natural resources; blame the Japanese for increasing expectations of better quality.

Boom 4: 1991-2001 – Dot.com boom; banker entrapment of Eastern Bloc boom; stupid actions/investments caused by alleged “death of socialism”/TINA; Iranian Islamic Socialists defeat Western puppet Iraq and say, “Hey, where did everyone go?”

Bust 4 – 2001-2008 – War on Terror good for Pentagon’s contractors, not for anyone else. For the 99% this Bust era has continued until 2020.

Boom 5 – 2009-2019 – This boom was limited to the Western 1%. They got “socialising the losses” bailouts, QE Infinity and ZIRP; the 99% got minijobs, austerity and stagnant wages.

Bust 5 – 2020-? – Corona crisis and incredible overreaction by countries which believe in “Capitalism with Western characteristics” launches Great Depression 2. 1% and 99% now on same cycle together. News flash: there will be no quick ‘V’ recovery (see “Boom 5”).

Pretty, pretty bad record for the 99%, eh?

Now compare this with socialist-inspired countries:

China: “Century of Humiliation” ends in 1949: Seventy years later they are the undisputed #2 superpower.

Vietnam: Since the end of the French & American Wars and the victory of socialism: Says Hello to the World’s Longest Boom.

Iran: Since end of Western-forced war with Iraq: second-highest increase in UN Human Development Index from 1990-2014. Inhuman triple sanctions in 2012 (UN, US, EU) go unopposed by fake Western leftists; Washington’s attempt at “$0 in oil sales” force Iran to rely on 25 years of gains as Great Depression 2 starts (although that war-era command economy experience will surely come in handy now).

Cuba: Since 1994 (the “Special Period” – caused by the Soviet elite’s wilful, undemocratic implosion of global socialism) Cuba’s annual growth rate has never been negative and almost always superior to that of US ally Mexico. Cuba is perhaps the most solidly-united socialist nation despite a decades-long, genocidal Western blockade.

North Korea: No nation was more decimated by the West, so they had nowhere to go but up. And they did – up until the late 1960s the West was embarrassed by how much smaller North Korea outshined their southern brothers and sisters. Solid growth continued until the Special Period disaster, which lasted a full decade. Despite the endless and enormous war games, (semi-)genocidal blockade, efforts at provoking starvation (North Korea isn’t Cuba, with its well-organised, lush agricultural fields outside of Havana — it’s 80% mountains and only 17% arable land) North Korea has almost always posted solid economic growth prior to ruthless Trump.

The data couldn’t be clearer: the faith-based system of neoliberalism has obviously been led by false messiahs, whereas despite disasters both natural (corona) and unnatural (sanctions, blockades, Cold War, Hot War) socialism has provided more stable economic growth.

Want stability and progress? It’s the socialist-inspired nation-state, stupid.

Trotskyists, of course, are not a huge problem like neoliberal-neoimperial capitalists but a minor part of the obvious solutions.

China was blockaded for decades, but they are a continent – just imagine what the smaller nations could do if the West called off their Cold Wars and didn’t need so spend so much preparing/cleaning up Hot Wars? The answer is obvious: widespread emulation would ensue, spelling the end of Western capitalism-imperialism.

Many smart (semi-)dissidents in the West just can’t break free to get to that point above, sadly – they insist that reformism of capitalism-imperialism is all that is necessary. Nonsense, and unproven.

Similarly: In my lifetime I will wait for the revealing of the Mahdi before I wait for the arrival of Trotskyism’s universal victory – the needs of the nation-state simply cannot wait.

What socialist-inspired politics has always concluded is that a drastic change to the perpetually-busted system I briefly outlined is needed, not yet another bailout for that system’s rich profiteers.

The West’s corona panic led to an immediate rush to bail out their parasitic class with the money of the victims of economic parasitism, yet again. Will the corona bailouts permanently bust the Western system?

Or will the West actually sufficiently bail out their debt-slave citizenry this time? To use a lazy journalistic phrase which I detest: it remains to be seen.

Socialists (of all the different varieties) however, have seen enough.

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

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?

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for?

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

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

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

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions

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


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’.

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

April 02, 2020

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

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

It’s the film which captures what 2020’s zeitgeist should become, given that the rabidly anti-socialist West has chosen to economically self-implode Everything Bubble 2 into a possible Great Depression 2 over the coronavirus. It’s based on a great idea: what if Superman’s spaceship had not crashed in rural Kansas but in the rural USSR? His catchphrase would have surely changed to, “Truth, justice and the American socialist way!”

Ten million new unemployed in the span of 8 days… in the coming months Americans won’t be considered aliens to have similarly changed their motto.

Superman: Red Son (2020) is not about an evil Superman, just a socialist one. What movie viewer is going to root against Superman and for the kryptonite?

But rooting for a socialist? That’s not only radical art but a desperately-needed message during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Pepe Escobar, a must-read of the few must-reads, has reviewed the song of the corona zeitgeist – Midnight on Planet Lockdown: Dylan strikes again – because not only is he journalistically impeccable but his musical taste is incredibly hip. Lucky for us, Superman has just been reimagined to show not only that he, too, is still culturally relevant, but also that those about to clamor that we must save neoliberalism are Positively 4th Street.

It’s a fascinating new movie, and for the same reason I raved about following the ending of the often-proclaimed “best TV show of its era”, The AmericansIn my 2018 review, Religion saves ‘The Americans’ – the superb (semi) pro-socialist TV show, I got right to the point regarding the portrayal of two Soviet spies embedded in the US:

“What has gone unappreciated, and of course rarely commented-upon among the fake-leftist cultural gurus of the US, is that ‘The Americans’ was the first show to ever sympathetically portray committed socialists in US history. For leftists, it was truly ground-breaking and long-awaited television.

Watching the show I was happily astounded to see – time and time again – that the spies were portrayed as truly devoted, impassioned, intelligent socialists. Throughout the show’s 6 seasons there were socialist critiques of American culture; of capitalism, imperialism, militarism, racism, individualism, etc., and all delivered without a hint of irony or doubt. Never before have Americans been so capably presented with a socialist critique of their society on the TV in their own home.”

It took 25 years after the fall of the USSR for such a show to be permitted into the US mainstream. Nothing could be worth such a long wait – we need socialist solutions right now, and especially in 2020 – but with The Americans for the first time Americans could at least visualise what true socialists looked like. Prior to that it was mainly stereotypes like Ivan Drago(n) from Rocky IV, a cold and inhuman Frankenstein, cheating with steroids yet still losing, rejecting socialism in the end, and losing to scrappy boy-next-door and Reagan-era icon Sylvester Stallone.

I wonder if in 25 years there will finally be a sympathetic portrayal of Iranian Islamic Socialism on US televisions? LOL… I’d be happy if it arrives in 50 years.

Don’t worry – no spoilers

I thought about doing a part two which would contain an in-depth analysis and spoilers – something like ‘The Death of Stalin’ & ‘sweet’ Hitler? Comparing postwar European cinema – but these crazy times push my natural proclivity towards producing hard news.

The basic plot is: Superman crashes in a land of anti-fascism, anti-racism, anti-tribalism, anti-sexism and which actually fought daily for genuine equality. Of course, for acknowledging this publicly Superman earns the enmity of the corporate fascist United States, which is headed by President Lex Luthor, Superman’s longtime evil-genius rival. Pity poor Americans who will be flummoxed: Are they supposed to root for President Luthor or this unAmerican Superman who is talking about the necessity of socialism with Stalin?

Wonder Woman plays a role that obviously is designed to promote homosexual tolerance (I never knew she was a lesbian?) as well as enraged #MeToo feminism because – after all – this is an American movie, and these are their dominant (fake-leftist, tribalist) political obsessions. I find the former quite boring – I atypically re-interpreted her character as being representative of polytheism. Socialism, after all, did deliver a fatal, banishing blow to polytheism/folk religion in places like China (Confucianism is not folk religion), and the writers of this movie appear to perceive that; socialism did not deliver any such fatal blow to monotheism in Russia, much less in the Muslim World. Wonder Woman’s official title is “Princess Diana of Themyscira”. Of course, Diana/Artemis, the huntress and the god of the moon, is one of the 12 major gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon, and is even more prominent in the neopagan (“the old ways are the best ways, but I’m not a reactionary!”) pantheon. Interpreting this character – and her destiny in the film – as a symbol of polytheistic thought and its socio-historical destiny makes for a much more global, historical, political (to Islamic socialists, at least) and philosophical film analysis.

(This would be the most interesting part of an expanded review, at least to me, because the West is totally oblivious on this score. The modern West is full of closet neopagans (and I’m not including those who believe in a non-monotheistic Holy Trinity) – people who have rejected Christianity and whose “spirituality” is full of pagan-origin, illogical notions and self-entered sensations. Anybody notice that the uber-evil Jeffrey Epstein constructed an elaborate Greek polytheistic temple on his island hideaway? I would have commented on it – why are no MSM columnists talking about “polytheistic fascists” yet we can still read them talk about “Islamo-fascists?” – but I was on vacation back then. And also: Muslims are instructed in the Koran not to insult polytheists as that could push them away from the one God, and isn’t that compassionate and logical?

But polytheism is still actually a real thing – not to fight against physically but to debate intellectually. To quote Ali Shariati, the Iranian Islamic Revolution’s top thinker, “… throughout history, religion has always fought against religion and never in the sense that we understand today, religion against non-religion.” Indeed – historically atheists have been tiny in number, almost always politically powerless and rarely willing to be martyred for their faith in no God. This is why Socialist Superman versus Polytheistic Diana represents an intellectual confrontation as vital as the one between Socialist Superman and corporate fascist Luthor. Watch the movie and you can see for yourself if Wonder Woman/Diana fights with or against Socialist Superman.)

Batman also makes an appearance: he serves as another enemy to Socialist Superman precisely because he is an obvious symbol of always anti-socialist, Make America Great Again-style jingoism. He is the “Dark Knight”, after all. Many may incorrectly interpret Luthor as a Trump-style character, but they should ask themselves: since when did Hollywood become pro-Trump? Also, Luthor (and this is no spoiler) is dating the MSM reporter Lois Lane!

It should be clear that there’s a lot going on in intellectually in this exceptional movie. Socialism, corporate fascism, Trumpian neo-fascism, #MeToo feminism, never-say-die polytheism – this movie takes on many issues which will burn in 2020 and beyond. No spoilers, but which will prevail: A classic “Hollywood ending” or an anti-American Socialist Superman?

Red Son is widely available yet CNN is the only major media to have reviewed it, per Rotten Tomatoes. Obviously, the Western MSM would like this to die a quiet death because they hate any leftist movie. I discuss this phenomenon, and rank the greatest leftist movies, in this article: ‘The Death of Yazdgerd’: The greatest political movie ever explains Iran’s revolution. I would definitely put Superman: Red Son in that conversation, but better than the Shakespeare-in-real-time ‘Death of Yazdgerd’?! You can watch it here on YouTube for free and with subtitles – see for yourself.

CNN wrote a pretty weak review, raising only one intellectual observation to discuss: “What ‘Red Son’ does, in an effective and perhaps unexpectedly timely way, is consider the extent the flag to which one pledges allegiance defines and shapes the man.”

This is the typical “cultural relativism”/Politically Correct lens, the only tool in a Western fake-leftist’s toolkit: Superman is a committed socialist only because he has crashed in the USSR; because everybody is a rabid jingoist/nationalist, and this excuses centuries of Western chauvinism. Clearly, the critic did not accept Superman’s constant, lucid attacks on American capitalism-imperialism, nor his numerous sincere pleas that the West accept socialism (on their own timeframe) to avoid more war and suffering. It is as if the critic does not realise this fundamental truth: many Soviets were committed anti-socialists – merely growing up under a certain flag does not automatically mean one thinks and feels a certain way.

But not in the West: all values are equal (relative), which nihilistically makes them all nonsense. This also permits the secret upholding of every lazy, divisive stereotype: all Soviets were surely fanatical socialists, all Muslims are radical theocrats and all Americans believe in truth and justice. The idea of “us versus them” is an American creed which did not begin during the recent “War on Terror”, nor even with their “War on communism”, but truly begins – though this is never admitted – upon their first footfall in American and their “War on Indians”.

Of course, CNN cannot broach the idea that Superman genuinely believed in the ideals of socialism any more than they can admit that Fidel, Khamenei, much of the Red Army, Xi, and probably half of Xi’s relatives genuinely believe in the ideals of socialism. Such belief is impossible in the moral-relativity West and its many nihilistic corollaries: all open leftists are liars, deluded, childish and/or phonies just waiting to be unmasked. All the billions of leftists in human history can do is roll their eyes… but also to openly reject Western political and moral nihilism.

The movie is “must-see TV” because 2020 seems certain to witness the latest inevitable bust (see my next article) in Western capitalism-imperialism. The wilful explosion of Everything Bubble 2 – which was re-inflated by a QE and ZIRP which did not benefit the “real economy” but the elite asset classes of the 1% – as an allegedly-necessary solution to the coronavirus will put socialist ideas back in the rightful place: in the daily conversation. 2008 saw the Occupy Movement and the idea of the “99%” – why would a 2020 (inevitable) capitalist bust not see an even greater interest and demand for anti-capitalist ideas?

Certainly Superman’s constant espousing of socialist ideals will raise many “deviant” political ideas in the heads of young children, LOL, but cartoons are for all age types now.

Watch Superman: Red Son with your kids and then try to explain that Superman was actually a fraud and a liar and that his pro-socialist speeches, defenses and motivations are as nonsensical in 2020 as they were in 1917, 1941 and 1979. What is certain is that ardent defenders of capitalism-imperialism will watch this movie and scream exactly that at the TV: something like, “Listen to the nonsense they have Superman spouting. It’s unAmerican I tells ya!” Socialists, however, will take Socialist Superman as a man of his honourable words.

Silly socialists, not coming up with this idea back in 1938, when Superman first debuted! Of course, nearly 30 million Soviets were about to be martyred to stop an idea which had swept the Western zeitgeist for decades – the idea of an “Aryan superman”. So we can understand why Soviets were laser-focused on art which emphasised equality and not exceptionalism.

These are crazy times, but are they so crazy that you can’t root for Superman if he’s a socialist and not a defender of “capitalism-imperialism with American characteristics”? Are you even following the times?

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

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?

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

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

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

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions


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’.

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

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions

April 01, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions

By Ramin Mazaheri – for The Saker Blog

Looking back, why was there such a huge, swift economic collapse after 9/11? Doesn’t it seem to have been totally unjustified?

After all, there was no drastic global reordering, no Armageddon, no World War III. The biggest consequence was the legalisation of the 21st century Western security state, which dwarfs anything the KGB could have waged, but from an economic point of view there was absolutely nothing which justified the enormous economic downturn and its accompanying pessimism.

So what were we worried about? The economic threat caused by Islamic radicalism?

There is not (and has never been) any major threat to the global order/economy from Islamic radicals – there is no such widespread movement, period. Iranian Islamic Socialism is indeed a threat to Western capitalism-imperialism, but only an idiot, racist, Islamophobe and/or general nutcase would equate the two; Iranian Islamic Socialism only asks to be allowed to democratically experiment inside Iran in peace.

So what were we worried about? Quite justifiably, was it the economic fallout to be caused by how terribly neo-imperial Rome (the US) would react?

The US did not launch thermonuclear war in revenge. The response was – by the Pentagon’s satanic standards – only earth-shattering in two spots of the globe: The US occupied a totally poor country with very little tapped oil (but a lot of opium-production potential) – Afghanistan – and they occupied an oil-rich former client which had been decimated by two decades of Western-ordered war and inhuman Western sanctions – Iraq. Bad for Muslims? Of course. Bad for “Capitalism with Western characteristics”? Not hardly. (After all, capitalist-imperialist war is always profitable for the aggressors’ elite.) The subsequent phony “War on Terror” was ultimately bad for the US taxpayer, sure, but who in the US 1% cares about them?

So what were we worried about? The economic threat posed by the entrenchment of an existential fear which would cause people to refuse to get out of bed in the morning? Clearly, I am reaching… because I just can’t think of anything else.

The horrible thing that was supposed to happen simply never happened.

Yet the economy did crater, and everyone is now reading stuff like, “(this latest economic statistic) is the worst since 9/11.” But while the economic downturn was sharp it wasn’t prolonged.

High finance is always ahead of everyone else in understanding macro-economic trends and truths: the rich unlocked their gates in the Hamptons and it took only two months for the Dow Jones to regain its pre-9/11 levels. However, it took crude oil prices a year to regain pre-9/11 levels ($40/barrel) because people were slow to realise that the huge economic depression (sparked by the reduced economic activity which many said 9/11 was certain to provoke) did not materialise.

The only industry which was correctly hurt by 9/11 was insurance (but to hell with them). The downturns in the two other most affected industries – airlines and tourism – were provoked by the false, hysterical idea that the (nonexistent) Islamic radical movement were going to kamikaze more planes/bloody flag-waving Americans would be dropping bombs on beaches and hotels.

Yes, economic sentiment was justifiably a bit pessimistic back then because 9/11 exacerbated the already-in-progress 2001 recession, which had been caused by the totally unjustified Y2K hysteria.

Is anybody identifying a Western trend here yet?

(I mean, besides the West’s comedians? From “America’s Finest News Source”, The Onion: Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions)

But the coronavirus… this time it’s different Ramin

Indeed, in the sense that the entire world has gone hysterical and not just the evangelist, paranoid Americans.

I feel totally justified to call it “corona hysteria” because nobody can convince me that corona is as very terrible as it seems. The data is simply not there. It might be, but as of the writing of this article nobody can claim for certain that it is there.

In this very good article from The Spectator – How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear: There is room for different interpretations of the data – which was penned by a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS (UK) consultant pathologist. He notes some very basic logic concepts are being ignored even though the ultimate policy question is, “How truly lethal is this virus?”

  • Health care and science are fields fundamentally characterised by doubt rather than certainty, contrary to what doctors on TV are insisting.
  • Testing regimes based in hospitals will always overestimate virulence: they are dealing only with the worst cases, not with the masses of asymptomatic cases of infection.
  • Most crucially, many are inflating the death tolls because the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK were not historically recorded as being caused by the flu, but recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation… but now the deaths are being being listed as due to Covid-19.
  • The obvious proof that we lack solid data, on which we must base policy decisions, is evidenced by the wide range of reported national mortality rates: 7% for Spain, 4% for France, 1% for the US. The author says the best example nation we could look at is Iceland: mortality is 0.3%, which is slightly above the normal 0.1% for flu but definitely not a repeat of the Spanish Flu of 1918.
  • Rushed science is bad science. However, the MSM is demanding “science now”.
  • The average age of death in Italy is 79, compared with an average Italian life expectancy of 83. Am I heartless to report this? No, because I am not advocating ending self-responsibility measures for the vulnerable and the possibly infected.

The most interesting country to watch is Sweden (and Mexico and Brazil), who alone in Europe have not locked down. They haven’t done absolutely nothing, but their corona policy is relying on self-responsibility. Compare the treatment of Sweden from the non-MSM financial website ZeroHedge with the panic-inducing, hysterical treatment by fake-leftist UK media The Guardian. Sadly, the latter gets exponentially more eyeballs than an indispensable site like ZeroHedge.

So I just won’t be browbeaten into agreeing that corona is so exceptionally deadly – that might be proven one day, but anybody who says it has already been proven is pushing bad, unproven science. Corona sceptics are falsely attacked by those rushing to judgement, but the ex-doc/prof defends our scepticism quite capably:

‘The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives.’

Yes, because bad economics kills. Austerity kills. Neoliberalism kills. So I’ll stick with my analysis: there is an economic overreaction going on with corona similar to what happened after Y2K and the attacks on 9/11. However, the corona overreaction is way, way, WAY more shocking:

“The immediate impact of the 9/11 attack was to reduce (in the US) real GDP growth in 2001 by 0.5%, and to increase the unemployment rate by 0.11% (reduce employment by 598,000 jobs.)” (found here)

Goldman Sachs, which is more concerned about a high finance recovery than a real economy recovery, just optimistically estimated (but pessimistically when compared with their previous estimate) a jobless rate topping out at 15% and GDP sagging by a record 34% in the second quarter, followed by only a 19% rebound in the third quarter.

Such projections are… incomprehensibly bad. But especially so because we don’t even know how deadly corona truly is. The idea that such a self-induced downturn isn’t going to cause huge amounts of death, poverty and even more sickness is not just wilfully naive but dangerously wrong.

Have you never heard the expression: We’re all just 9 meals from murder? Surely, LOL, this cynical saying is especially true for people who don’t do Ramadan (which begins April 23!).

Again, socialist-inspired countries like China, Iran and Cuba control the levers of their economies for the benefit of their masses and will pull those levers – but India? The perma-stagnant Eurozone? The dog-eat-dog US? Think Iran isn’t used to war, a command economy, and unnatural impositions imposed by ruthless stifling (sanctioning) forces? I raise my scepticism because because bad economics kills, and the West especially is full of terrible economics which attack their lower classes.

“But Ramin, you are the only open Islamic Socialist I have ever heard of and, what’s worse, you work for the Iranian government. Nobody was listening to you before – because you espouse these undoubtedly nutty ideologies – and certainly nobody is listening to you now. ”

Tell me something I don’t know!

Doesn’t make me wrong, though. Doesn’t mean I should be writing human interest reports about how to cope with corona-boredom instead of writing this article.

I am drawing attention to the fact that the West – despite all their wealth, and despite their constant proclamations of being the self-appointed defenders of human rights – does not have the socialist-inspired, lower class-protecting economic safeguards to take these drastic shutdown measures. Furthermore, while The Washington Post is now running horse-is-out-of-the-barn articles such as The coronavirus crisis is exposing how the economy is not as strong as it seemed, for years I have repeatedly been among the relatively few journalists reporting about how the Western economy is even more over-leveraged in 2020 than during the 2008 crisis, which was caused by over-leveraging, so… there’s that to deal with, too.

I don’t mean to stoke economic hysteria – all the West and their client state admirers have to do is implement socialist-style measure after socialist-style measure over the next few months, and then my worries here will have proven to be unfounded.

A radical 180 from TINA – There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism)? It’s not an impossibility… technically.

The next few months will certainly demand it.

If we could add the West’s false Y2K hysteria to their false 9/11 hysteria and then multiply it by the 2008 economic crisis, then we can get start to imagine what the West is stampeding themselves towards economically.

Socialist-inspired countries like Iran, China and Cuba should do what they have always done – hold on tight. The West’s corona hysteria will only push them more in favor of the big-government, socialist-inspired policies they have already (thankfully) adopted, anyway. That process may take years, when it needs to take mere months.

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

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?

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for?

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

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

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

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution


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’.

What Happens In the Wake of the COVID-19 Lockdown? Economic Destruction, Global Poverty, Bankruptcies, Mass Unemployment. Neoliberalism to the Rescue

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, March 28, 2020

In the wake of the lockdown: Bankruptcies and mass unemployment, the economic destabilization of entire countries. 

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their lifelong savings. They are unable to pay their home mortgages.

In developing countries, poverty and despair prevail.

The political implications are far-reaching. The lockdown undermines real democracy. 

It would be naive to believe that the financial crisis was solely the result of spontaneous market forces. It was carefully engineered.

The coronavirus continues to provide a camouflage. Fear and panic (generated profusely by the corporate media) create “favorable conditions” for “institutional speculators”, many of whom had detailed foreknowledge of the WHO decision to launch a Global Public Health Emergency on January 30th, at a time when there were only 150 “confirmed cases” outside China.

The collapse of stock markets has resulted in one of the most important transfers in money wealth in modern history, yet to be firmly established.

The Coronavirus is not the cause of financial collapse. What prevails is an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty which enables powerful financial interests to manipulate the stock market and consolidate their financial positions. This crisis has led to an unprecedented concentration of money wealth.

In early February, roughly $6 trillion were wiped off the value of stock markets Worldwide. Massive losses of personal savings (e.g. of average Americans) are ongoing not to mention corporate failures and bankruptcies.

Each time Trump opens his mouth, or blames the Chinese on twitter, the stock markets respond. Those who have inside information or foreknowledge of US policy decisions will make a bundle of money.

Behind the global public health emergency, there are powerful economic interests: Wall Street, Big Pharma, the Washington Consensus, Corporate Charities and Foundations, the IMF, World Bank, et al. They met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 21-24, one week prior to the launching of the WHO global public health emergency.

The “international community” is calling for economic recovery. How will it be instrumented? So-called “corporate bailouts” i.e. “handouts” for banks, major corporations including airlines are contemplated.

One trillion promised by the US Federal Reserve, another trillion by the European Central Bank (ECB) now headed by Christine Lagarde.

“We have a responsibility to recover better” than after the financial crisis in 2008, said UN secretary general António Guterres:

“We have a framework for action – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We must keep our promises for people and planet.”

That so-called “promise” is meant to promote “Green Bonds”, a multibillion investment project sponsored by the Rockefellers among others, the objective of which is to “redirect pension plans and mutual funds towards green projects.”

For Big Money in America and Western Europe it’s “hand-outs”. For Big Pharma, the multibillion dollar global vaccination program will be funded by debt.

Impoverishment “Developing countries”

And what happens to the so-called “developing countries” most of which are indebted up to their ears.

The process of impoverishment in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa is beyond description. In large cities, informal urban sector workers are self-employed, paid on a daily basis, Others are paid on a weekly basis. What this means is that for large sectors of the urban population, household income has literally been wiped out.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a 21 days lockdown which has resulted in an immediate spiral of unemployment coupled with famine, despair and disease:

“The only way to save ourselves from coronavirus is if we don’t leave our homes, whatever happens, we stay at home…” said Modi.

This statement was accompanied with outright threats: “If we are not able to manage the next 21 days, then many families will be destroyed forever.” Diabolical statement by a “democratically elected” head of government.

At the time of Modi’s announcement (March 20), India had 482 cases of the coronavirus and 10 deaths (India’s total population: 1.37 billion). Forget COVID-19? In India, an estimated 37, 500 children under five die on a daily basis. And that figure will increase under the 21 days lockdown (2015 estimate, The Lancet)

My message to PM Modi, “You are killing India’s children”.

Third World Debt Overhang 

The debt overhang in developing countries is in the trillions.

It’s a debt driven agenda directed against developing countries which are already heavily indebted: new loans to pay back “bad debts”. It is a “safety net” for both the Western creditors and the Big Pharma conglomerates involved in the multibillion global vaccination project.

Real debt cancellation is not contemplated.

A rescue package for the heavily indebted developing countries has been announced. In early March, the IMF Managing Director together with the World Bank Group President held a joint press conference. A lot of humanitarian rhetoric.

The magic number: “We rely on $1 trillion in overall lending capacity.” (IMF M-D Georgieva)

At first sight this appears to be “generous”, a lot money. It encourages corruption at the highest levels of government. But ultimately it’s what we might call “fictitious money”, what it means is

“We will lend you the money and with the money we lend you, you will pay us back”.(paraphrase).

It is equivalent to usury.

The unspoken truth is that this one trillion dollars ++ is intended to drive up the external debt. And then the Western creditors will impose massive economic reforms including privatization of health and education, freeze on wages, etc. That’s the neoliberal solution applied at a global level: No real economic recovery, more poverty and unemployment Worldwide.

The IMF is explicit. In one of its lending windows, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, which applies to pandemics, generously “provides grants for debt relief to our poorest and most vulnerable members.” Nonsensical statement, it is there to replenish the coffers of the creditors, the money is allocated to debt servicing.

“For low-income countries and for emerging middle-income countries we have … up to $50 billion that does not require a full-fledged IMF program.”

No conditions on how you spend the money. But this money increases the debt stock and requires  reimbursement. The countries are already in a straight-jacket. The more you lend, the more you squeeze the developing countries into political compliance. And ultimately that is the objective of the failing American Empire.

“the World Bank Group Board announced a $12-billion package … to provide a fast, flexible response, … to reduce the transmission of the pathogens. (supplies, equipment, medication, etc. vaccination?)”

The financing of the vaccination program is not explicitly mentioned. Most probably loans for the vaccination program will be announced at a later date.Global Economy Teeters on the Brink of a Recession That Will Transform Geo-Politics

Economically Advanced “Developed Countries”

For EU member countries, a debt driven recovery of bankrupt national economies is in the pipeline.

Without significant debt relief or cancellation, what can we expect in the wake of the lockdown?

A process of outright “Thirdworldisation” of the “advanced” European countries?

If this program is accepted by the EU member states: Real wages will plummet, the Welfare State which developed in the post war era will be scrapped. Social services will be privatized. Assets will be sold off to pay back the debt.

Millions of small and medium sized enterprises including family farms and urban services, tourism, etc are affected. The 2015 “Greek model” of brutal debt restructuring (or worse) could be applied to Italy and Spain…

We have provided a brief summary of a complex process. Negotiations with the creditors are ongoing in the course of the lockdown.

While panic and fear prevail with regard to COVID-19, these are the potential impacts of  what we might describe as “Dirty Economic Medicine”.

People across the land, nationally and internationally in solidarity must understand what is happening.

In the wake of the lockdown: what is the economic and social aftermath of this crisis?

It is crucial that this “Neoliberal Solution” to the crisis which consists in building up the debt be forcefully rejected.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

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