Archive | October 25th, 2019

Modi’s Independence Day Speech: Communal, Anti-Poor and Pro-Corporate Policies Disguised As ‘Patriotism’

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Narendra Modi’s speech on Independence Day indicated the Sangh’s communal fascist agenda for the BJP Government’s second tenure. The most significant of these is a ‘population control’ campaign projecting small families as ‘patriotic’. The PM also tried to project privatisation of public sector assets as a move to “free” people from Government interference, and to project labour and environmental protection laws as “redundant”. And he coined a new term for big corporations – “wealth creators” – to justify his Government’s pro-corporate policies.     

Modi waxed eloquent about the “festival of independence” being celebrated across India. But the grim irony was that his Government is holding the whole of Kashmir caged and captive. Modi’s reference to ‘One Nation One Constitution’, and ‘One Nation One Law’ not only went against the Constitutional promise of federalism, but also echoed the RSS ideology of ‘One Nation One Religion’ and ‘One Nation One Ideology’.   

On the lines of the “Swacch Bharat” campaign, Modi called for a campaign against what he called “uncontrolled population growth.” The campaign, he said, would focus on projecting parents with small families as responsible and patriotic. He said, “Before a child arrives into our family we should think  – have I prepared myself to fulfil the  needs of the child ? Or will I leave it dependent on the society?” This statement of the PM’s raises a series of concerns.

First, the very claim that poor families/nations should have reproduce less smacks of bias towards the poor and oppressed. Imperialist policy makers have always implied that it is poor nations that are irresponsible for failing to “control population”. But poor nations are impoverished by colonialism – and it is the erstwhile colonising nations that are wealthy today. So poverty is not caused by “overpopulation” but by colonial and imperialist plunder and exploitation. Likewise, in India, poverty is not caused by “overpopulation” but by unequal distribution of resources. India’s problem is not “population explosion” – it is the unequal distribution of resources, where India’s top 10% holds 77.4% of the total national wealth, while the top 1% holds 51.53% of the wealth.

It is indeed the responsibility of the government and society to ensure that every child in India has food, shelter, and education. If the children of the poor suffer  hunger; if they are labour rather than go to school; if they die in epidemics for lack of medical attention – it is not the fault of their parents but of the Government. Mr Modi himself is one of six children. Were his parents “irresponsible”? If not, why should a poor Indian family today be told that it is unpatriotic or irresponsible for failing to restrict its family size?

For long, the “population control” policy of Governments of India, backed by international funding agencies, has resulted in extreme violence towards poor women in India. 15 women from poor and oppressed communities died in a “sterilisation camp” in Chhattisgarh in 2014. Between 2009 and 2012, 15 women died every month due to botched sterilisation operations in similar sterilisation camps. Modi’s “Swacch Bharat” (Clean India) campaign resulted in public shaming and violence against poor and oppressed caste/community women for open defecation. Now, the “population control” campaign will boost the violent of women’s bodies, and shaming of poor women for bearing “too many children.”   

Finally, for Modi’s party BJP, and for the RSS, “overpopulation” is code for “too many Muslims.” In Gujarat 2002, Modi himself infamously had called the relief camps for the pogrom-affected Muslims, as “baby-producing factories”. Last month, on 11 July 2019, Modi’s Cabinet Minister Giriraj Singh addressed a rally in Delhi on World Population Day, demanding a Population Control Law. At that rally, a song played from the dais, “Jansankshya visphot se apni azaadi ko khatra hai/hamko gaddaron ki badhti aabaadi se khatra hai” (Our independence is in danger from population explosion/we are in danger from the rising population of “traitors”.” Modi’s Minister openly called for a law to prevent the decline in the population of Hindus and curb the growth of Muslim population. Participants in the rally branded Muslims as unpatriotic and irresponsible for bearing too many children even if they were poor and worked as cobblers or at repairing cycle punctures. They called for curbing the “human rights” of Muslims and even for genocide of Muslims. Modi’s “population control” campaign will be another way to encourage Sanghi mobs to brand Muslims as unpatriotic.

The fact is that higher population growth rates are linked to factors like illiteracy, deprivation, and poverty. The fertility rate of Muslims in a state like Kerala (where literacy, especially female literacy, is high), is lower than that of Hindus in a state like UP (where literacy and female literacy is low). With improving literacy of Muslim women, Muslim population growth rates are actually falling at a far faster rate than that of Hindus. The Muslim fertility rate is 2.6; that of Scheduled Tribes (STs) is 2.5; that of Scheduled Castes (SCs) is 2.3; that of OBCs is 2.2; and that of the states of UP, Bihar, and MP is 3. These communities and states cannot be branded by the Government as irresponsible, unpatriotic, or morally inferior! Instead, The Government must be held responsible for poor access to health and education facilities. By profiling the poor and deprived as immoral and unpatriotic, the Government is washing its hands off its responsibility to ensure that the poor have access to health and education facilities.

Modi also spoke of his aim to “reduce the involvement of government in the lives of its peoples”.  He boasted that in the last five years, he had, without the knowledge of the common man, “abolished one redundant law every day” – all to improve “Ease Of Doing Business”. In the first ten weeks of his second tenure, he said, 60 laws have been repealed towards “Ease of Living.”

What are these laws that the Modi Government is quietly abolishing daily? These are, actually, labour laws and environmental protection laws! When Modi says he will “reduce the involvement of government” in people’s lives, he means privatisation of basic services. His Government and party is interfering in people’s lives at every level – controlling their choice of diet and of who they love and marry; surveilling every aspect of people’s lives using Aadhaar! He has no intention of curbing that interference and encroachment on privacy and civil liberties.

Moreover, Modi in his speech made a passionate attempt to correct what he called the “wrong beliefs” that the super-rich corporations are unpatriotic. He said “We should not doubt our wealth creators”, rather they should be honoured and encouraged. These so-called “wealth creators” plunder India’s forests and land. They plunder public-sector banks and then flee the country with the Modi Government’s active encouragement. The Modi Government waives their taxes and loans to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees. Modi gives his corporate cronies defence contracts at the cost of public sector companies. Modi is trying to justify these shameless anti-poor and pro-corporate and pro-corruption policies of his Government. No wonder, since these corporates are indeed “wealth creators” for the BJP, funding it massively and secretly through Electoral Bonds.  India’s people face the challenge of defending democracy, of defending the rights of Kashmiri people; of resisting communalism and anti-poor policies disguised as “population control”; and of resisting privatisation and the attacks on labour and environmental laws as well as the Constitution of India.

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Chronic Hunger and Collapsing Banks: India Reels under Modi-Made Disaster

LB Oct 2019 cover

THE deepening crisis of the Indian economy and the absolute collapse of governance are now an undeniable everyday reality. Examples abound on every front, evidences mount in every sphere. Economic crisis is no longer a subject of academic debates that the government can deny with the help of statistical jugglery. From IMF to RBI, every international or Indian institution is daily pointing to India’s declining overall growth rate. But the most damning blow has been India’s continuing fall in the Global Hunger Index ranking. In 2000, at the turn of the millennium, India was ranked 83 out of 113 countries. Two decades later, GHI 2019 has put India at 102 among 117 countries. All our neighbouring countries, China (25), Sri Lanka (66), Myanmar (69), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (88) and Pakistan (94) are now way ahead of India.

What is most worrying is the alarmingly high level of wasting among children under five. At 20.8% India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height) is the highest in the Global Hunger report of 2019. India’s child stunting rate (height for age), 37.9 percent, is also very high. The report says that in India, only 9.6 percent (hardly one out of ten) of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet. It is now very clear that hunger in India is massive and well-entrenched and yet the government not only does not do anything about it, it desperately seeks to stop any public attempt to raise the problem. Activists exposing and documenting starvation deaths in Jharkhand face police repression. Journalists exposing the midday meal scam in UP – videos showing children getting just salt and roti, or rice and turmeric water, for their midday meal in schools – are booked in false cases by a wrathful government.

It must be understood that chronic hunger is not confined to just a few backward pockets in remote interiors of rural India. It is just an alarming expression of a much wider and deeper malady of declining mass consumption. The severe economic slowdown now being reported from most industries and sectors talks about dropping sales, the other side of the coin is shrinking consumption. And when that happens in the sphere of daily necessities including food, we enter the realm of chronic hunger and near-famine conditions. And when a government refuses to address this basic problem of declining purchasing power and shrinking mass consumption and instead diverts all resources to the corporate biggies and the super rich, it actually pursues not just a failed economic strategy but inflicts a disaster on the country. It wages an economic war on the people.

The banking sector is fast emerging as another crucial theatre of this war on the people. After coming to power in 2014, one of Narendra Modi’s key talking points was Jan Dhan Yojana or the promotion of mass banking. We were told that the nationalisation of banks had failed to take banks to the people, the banks in India had remained a largely middle class preserve and the poor had hardly any access to banking. Over the next few months and years we were treated to stories of a spectacular proliferation of bank accounts in India. This of course did not mean provision of cheap credit for India’s crisis-ridden farmers, small traders or artisans and small producers. We realised the actual meaning of this ‘banking revolution’ when Narendra Modi announced a sudden ban on big notes and forced the people to deposit all their big notes in banks. In other words, almost the entire amount of money held as cash by the people was overnight sucked into the banking network.

The banks thus overcame their liquidity crisis, but the real crisis emanating from the massive amounts of unpaid corporate loans continued to haunt the banks. And now we are experiencing the next episode of the banking crisis – so-called weak banks are being merged with apparently stronger banks even as withdrawal of money by depositors is being restricted by diverse means. In the case of the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank, the RBI has put a severe restriction on withdrawals – only a maximum amount of 40,000 can be withdrawn over a period of six months and only Rs 10,000 in a single withdrawal. Founded in 1984, the PMC is among the country’s top 5 urban cooperative banks with a network of 137 branches spread over 7 states. By freezing the hard-earned money of depositors, the RBI has put them in enormous distress. The statutory rule of only 100,000 rupees of a depositor’s money being insured in the event of a bank collapse has suddenly begun to look like an ominous impending threat to all ordinary depositors.

The winter session of Parliament begins in the middle of November against this backdrop of an alarming economic crisis with the common people reeling under mounting job loss, declining income, shrinking consumption and now frozen deposits in vulnerable dubious banks. The Modi government did not at all address the burning economic agenda in the monsoon session of Parliament. Buoyed by its return to power at the 2019 elections, it used its majority only to bulldoze Parliament with one undemocratic step after another without any debate or scrutiny. In the Haryana and Maharashtra elections the ruling party only talked about Kashmir and Pakistan and its notorious proposal to award India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna to Savarkar who betrayed the freedom movement by pleading for mercy from the British rulers and injected the communal venom with his thesis of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism. Now with Jharkhand and Delhi elections in the offing, the Modi-Shah government is bent upon using the winter session to rush the communal Citizenship Amendment Bill and inflict the devious NRC design on the country. The people of India must foil this ploy, reject the divisive NRC-CAB agenda and force the government to answer the pressing everyday economic worries of common Indians.

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Facebook’s New Policy Endangers Democracy, Zuckerberg Pushes Ahead Anyway

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Contact: 

Shin Inouye, inouye@civilrights.org,

Tell 001.202.869.0398

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks at Georgetown University today. The remarks follow recent policy changes announced by Facebook to exempt politicians’ speech from its Community Standards and its fact-checking program:

“For more than a year, we have worked in good faith with Facebook to develop robust policies to combat voter suppression. But Facebook’s policy exempting politicians’ content from the company’s Community Standards and its fact-checking program undermines all of that progress and will do irreparable damage to our democracy. While we can all agree that free expression is core to our democracy, fair elections must be as well.

“The fact that Zuckerberg would even invoke civil rights icons in remarks that justify his decision to exempt politicians’ speech from Facebook’s Community Standards underscores his willful refusal to accept how voter suppression has played out, from Jim Crow to now. He is in denial and so is his company. Indeed, Zuckerberg remains silent on how Facebook will fight intentional misinformation by politicians. This reckless behavior presents a growing threat to our democracy. We urge Facebook to correct course and close this exemption, or at least subject the speech to third party fact checking, put up warnings, and require disclosures.”

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Don’t Forget: Nuclear Weapons Are an Existential Threat

A new study shows just how bad a nuclear war could get. We need a plan to eliminate this risk permanently.

by: Olivia Alperstein

No nation on earth can afford the catastrophic regional and global consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. (Photo: A B53 nuclear bomb at the Pantex facility in Texas/NNSA/flickr/cc)

No nation on earth can afford the catastrophic regional and global consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. (Photo: A B53 nuclear bomb at the Pantex facility in Texas/NNSA/flickr/cc)

There’s a growing awareness now that climate change is an existential threat to humanity. Inspiring movements are demanding solutions, and politicians are scrambling to offer them.

That’s good. But there’s another existential threat that gets a lot less attention: nuclear war. And a new study suggests it’s time to pay attention—and eliminate nuclear weapons before they eliminate us.

The study, published this October in Science Advances, warns that “rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals” could rapidly cause a “global catastrophe.” It examines the possible repercussions of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, but it’s relevant to anyone who lives on this planet—and especially in a heavily nuclear-armed country like ours.

The study paints a grim picture. In a conflict between Indian and Pakistan, it says, up to 50 million people would die if 15-kiloton weapons are used. Almost 100 million would die if 50-kiloton weapons are used. And about 125 million if 100-kiloton weapons are used.

American decision-makers at every level of government need to heed this study’s findings and work to advance commonsense policies to reduce and eliminate the nuclear weapons threat—before it eliminates us.

Casualties would occur not only in the nuclear explosions themselves, but also due to smoke emissions and other environmental damage resulting from the aftermath of a nuclear exchange.

Because of the dense populations of cities in Pakistan and India, even a war with the lowest-yield weapons could kill as many people as died in all of World War II. But unlike World War II, these casualties would occur within a single week.

“Perhaps for the first time in human history,” the authors conclude, “the fatalities in a regional war could double the yearly natural global death rate.”

The study’s release is particularly timely, given that India and Pakistan are currently locked in another tense standoff over Kashmir. But the authors also point out that their analysis could be used to model potential impacts of a nuclear war between any two nations.

Indeed, India and Pakistan aren’t the only countries increasing tensions and heightening the risk of a nuclear exchange.

A new nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia is giving young people like me a firsthand, time travel-free look at the Cold War era we were too young to experience. This year, President Donald Trump asked Congress to fund a new so-called “low-yield” nuclear weapon, which is touted as being “more usable.”

But if this study shows anything, it’s that no nuclear weapon should be considered “usable.” Any nuclear exchange anywhere is likely to have catastrophic consequences for the earth’s climate and human health everywhere.

The world can’t afford to ignore these disturbing findings, which emphasize the urgent need to prevent nuclear conflict and to reduce—and eliminate—nuclear arsenals.

Pakistan and India have only a fraction of the nuclear weapons possessed by the United States and Russia—and only a fraction of their potential destructive power. Right now, the United States and Russia are currently engaged in a super-high-stakes game of chicken of their own.

We’ve come very close to nuclear war in the past. Human health and survival are at stake in preventing what we cannot cure. No nation on earth can afford the catastrophic regional and global consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. 

There is no such thing as a small nuclear war. American decision-makers at every level of government need to heed this study’s findings and work to advance commonsense policies to reduce and eliminate the nuclear weapons threat—before it eliminates us.

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Trump’s Endless Wars

Trump’s not bringing the troops home. He’s been haphazardly deploying more troops, drones, and dollars abroad, while waging a shadow foreign policy for his own benefit.

by: John Feffer

Trump talks a whole lot about endless wars but doesn’t do anything about them. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Trump talks a whole lot about endless wars but doesn’t do anything about them. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Donald Trump loves to talk about ending the endless U.S. wars that he inherited as president. He tweets about it. He endlessly criticizes his predecessors for their martial mistakes.

But like the old saw about the weather, Trump talks a whole lot about endless wars but doesn’t do anything about them.

Just this month, he went against the advice of pretty much everyone to pull 1,000 U.S. troops out of northern Syria where they were protecting a largely autonomous Kurdish region. The result has been an immediate flare-up in the Syrian conflict as Turkey sent troops over the border to take advantage of the U.S. withdrawal. 

Then Trump turned around and sent an additional 2,000 troops to Saudi Arabia to help them defend against Iran or the Houthis or perhaps just internal critics of the regime. 

In fact, the Trump administration has deployed 14,000 additional U.S. troops to the Middle East since the spring. Compare that with the 1,000 troops that Trump is withdrawing from northern Syria. The president seems more focused on starting fires than putting them out.

Last month, Trump promised a grand deal with the Taliban that would allow the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan. But that didn’t happen.

And what about the Kushner plan that was supposed to end the endless conflict between Israel and Palestine? Dead on arrival

America’s drone wars? By March 2019, Trump has launched more drone strikes (2,243) than Obama did in his two terms in office (1,878). 

Counter-insurgency campaigns in Africa? Trump has ordered a 10 percent cut in forces on the continent by 2022, but the total forces under the Africa Command actually went up by more than double that amount from 2017 to 2018 (6,000 to 7,500). 

Containment of China? The Pentagon, under Trump, has made China its “number one priority,” and much of the increase in military spending in the Trump administration has gone to preparing for war with Beijing.

Meanwhile, on the home front, Trump has declared war on Congress, on the mainstream media, on anyone who disagrees with him. A recent video shows Trump mowing down all of his critics in an altered outtake from the movie, Kingsman. As a meme, it’s disgusting. As a metaphor, it’s chillingly accurate.

Let’s face it: Trump is not against endless war. He is the embodiment of endless war. It’s the essence of his operating system. He went into politics because he understood that it’s endless war by other means (and he’s always been too squeamish to fight in endless wars by ordinary means). 

Once and for all, let’s bury the myth of Trump the dealmaker. He’s about as transactional as a heavyweight boxer. Remember: he was the host not of Let’s Make a Deal but of The Apprentice, in which he presided over a war of all against all with a single winner and lots of losers. He has simply brought that spirit of ungenerosity into the White House. 

The consequences have been devastating all around.

The Mess in Syria

Somehow Trump figured out the one geopolitical move he could make that could pave the way for a Turkish invasion of Syria, force a desperate alliance between beleaguered Kurds and the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad, improve Russia’s standing in the region, and revive the fortunes of the Islamic State. 

He seized on this strategy of withdrawing 1,000 troops from northern Syria probably because everyone warned him not to do it. Trump loves to defy expert advice. He’s convinced that he knows better. It’s unclear whence he derives this confidence since he has made disastrous decisions his entire life that have produced bankruptcies, unbuilt buildings all over the world, and a near total refusal of banks to provide him with loans.

The latest fiasco started with a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 6 in which Trump effectively endorsed the Turkish cross-border operation in Syria. 

David Sanger, in The New York Timesexplains that Trump’s “error, some aides concede in off-the-record conversations, was entering the Oct. 6 call underprepared, and then failing to spell out for Mr. Erdogan the potential consequences — from economic sanctions to a contraction of Turkey’s alliance with the United States and its standing in NATO.” 

This was enough of a green light for the Turkish leader. Erdogan has been dreaming of invasion for some time in order to neutralize what he believes are a bunch of terrorists aiding Kurdish separatists in southeastern Turkey. He’d also like to relocate many of the Syrian refugees in Turkey to a new Turkish-controlled area in northern Syria. 

Until this month, however, Erdogan had been satisfied with a buffer zone. In a sense, U.S. troops were serving as peacekeepers in the region. There were not enough to launch significant military operations but just enough to stand between Turkey and the Kurds on one side and the Syrian government and the Kurds on the other. But no more.

The immediate victims of Trump’s latest decision are the Kurds, the ally that Trump relied on so heavily in his campaign against the Islamic State. The hope of Syrian Kurds for maintaining a peaceful and semi-autonomous state is now gone. The Kurds immediately signed a deal with Damascus that has brought Syrian government forces into the one significant part of the country that remained in opposition hands. When Trump’s callous move forced them to choose, Kurds opted for the devil they knew over the devil across the border. 

Turkey’s intervention has displaced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Kurdish refugees are flowing into Iraqi Kurdistan, and humanitarian organizations like Mercy Corps are pulling out their staff from northern Syria. Atrocities against civilians have taken place, including the execution of Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf. Turkey is also moving against domestic critics of the military operation, which also happen to be mostly Kurds. Erdogan’s move is motivated in good part by domestic considerations — his desire to silence his critics and generate a spike in nationalist sentiment.

Russia, meanwhile, has moved swiftly to take the place of the United States. Russian troops have flowed into northern Syria to serve as a buffer between Turkey and the government in Damascus. Perhaps it’s better for the Russians to play this role, particularly in the Trump era. But given Moscow’s support for the ruthless Assad, its willingness to sell anybody pretty much any weapon, and its general indifference to human rights, I’m not enthusiastic about an expanded Russian role in Middle East affairs. The United States was no great shakes, but Russia is worse.

Then there’s the Islamic State, which has not disappeared, contrary to Trump’s fanciful assertions. According to The New York Times

The White House statement on Sunday came as the Islamic State is gathering new strength, conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and targeting new recruits at an allied-run tent camp, American military, counterterrorism and intelligence officers say.

Over the past several months, ISIS has made inroads into the sprawling Al Hol tent camp in northeast Syria, and there is no ready plan to deal with the 70,000 people there, including thousands of family members of ISIS fighters.

American intelligence officials say the Al Hol camp, managed by Syrian Kurdish allies with little aid or security, is evolving into a hotbed of ISIS ideology. The American-backed Syrian Kurdish force also holds more than 10,000 ISIS fighters, including 2,000 foreigners, in separate makeshift prisons.

In the chaos of the Turkish intervention, at least 750 Islamic State adherents escaped from a displacement camp in the Kurdish-held region. Trump has speculated without any proof that the Kurds deliberately released the prisoners in order to draw the United States back into military engagement. Nice try, Donald: the Kurds are no longer counting on the United States for anything. 

But the worst part is: it turns out that Trump didn’t end the war with the Islamic State after all. 

The War at Home

The president has been conducting a two-front foreign policy war ever since he took office. 

Overseas, he’s been involved in numerous conflicts with both allies and adversaries. But at home, he’s also been at war: with his own policymaking apparatus. He has chewed through foreign policy advisors of all types: Jim Mattis, John Bolton, Rex Tillerson, HR McMaster. As he retreats further into the mancave of his twitterverse, Trump has fallen back on the advice of someone with an even more paranoid and incoherent worldview than his own. 

It turns out that there’s an advisor even worse than Trump’s own gut: Rudy Giuliani. 

The impeachment hearings are every day revealing the real deep state—the shadow foreign policy orchestrated by Trump and Giuliani. Fiona Hill, who was responsible for Russia and Europe policy at the National Security Council, testified that Giuliani worked to get Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, removed from her post. He was also trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. He was even trying to prove that Ukraine helped the Democratic Party in the 2016 elections.

According to The Washington Post, Giuliani “said he believed Hill was out of the loop compared to Sondland and others involved with Ukraine. ‘She just didn’t know,’ he said. He added that he had never talked to her about Ukraine policy.”

Wake up and smell the facts, Rudy: that’s the definition of a shadow foreign policy. The person who knew the most about Russia and Ukraine was out of the loop? And you, Rudy Giuliani, whose knowledge of Ukraine can be boiled down to a handful of ludicrous conspiracy theories, presume to displace Marie Yovanovitch, who speaks the languages of the region, was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Kiev from 2001 to 2004, and was determined to help root out corruption in Ukraine? 

And your chief ally in this endeavor, other than a president who has even less understanding of geopolitics than you do, is Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union? Sondland has only one qualification for his job: absolute fealty to Donald Trump. The guy’s nothing more than a glorified hotelier who has spent most of his time in Brussels overseeing an expensive renovation of the ambassador’s residence. 

Giuliani has emerged as this generation’s Oliver North, the architect of the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan years. Like North, Giuliani has been running a covert operation under the noses of the foreign policy professionals. Rudy’s goal was much narrower and grubbier than North’s: the reelection of the president. Giuliani, in other words, was basically a CREEP (Committee to Reelect the President) unto himself. 

All of this is bad news for Trump on the impeachment front. But it’s also bad news for Giuliani, particularly if it turns out that he didn’t disclose his lobbying ties, which would expose him to criminal charges. After all, he actively lobbied on Turkey’s behalf to persuade the Trump administration to extradite the cleric Fethullah Gulen from Pennsylvania back to Turkey. Mike Flynn, Trump’s erstwhile former national security advisor, went down for almost the identical offense. 

Meanwhile, Rudy was pulling down half a million dollars for his consulting work with the aptly named Fraud Guarantee (or is that Guaranteed Fraud?), which just happened to be owned by one of the Ukrainians recently arrested for campaign finance violations.

It’s not looking good for the president and all the president’s men. Trump continues to try to fight his way out of his predicament. So far, he still has the Republican Party in his corner. But that might not last long. 

The impeachment will not be an endless war. It will be nasty and brutish, but it will be relatively short. Trump the putative dealmaker might make one last appearance in an effort to stay out of jail. But the more fitting scenario would be if the president goes down in flames as the most prominent casualty of his own endless war against the U.S. people.

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The Collusion Of Church and State

Where are the values—religious or otherwise—that can save this recklessly careening, war-addicted, carbon-spewing state from participating both in its own and the whole planet’s destruction?

by: Robert C. Koehler

Considering that Pompeo is widely known as both a war hawk—a proponent of war with Iran—and an ally of blatant Islamophobes, his declaration of service to a perfect God is definitely troubling. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Considering that Pompeo is widely known as both a war hawk—a proponent of war with Iran—and an ally of blatant Islamophobes, his declaration of service to a perfect God is definitely troubling. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Intrigued by the controversy that erupted over Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech before the American Association of Christian Counselors last week in Nashville—it was titled “Being a Christian Leader” and was eventually removed from the State Department website—I wound up reading the whole speech. And I actually found one paragraph that I liked.

I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, ta tum, the controversy:

Yes, yes, we need separation of church and state, and Pompeo’s headline-declaration of faith no doubt violated political propriety, but the real issue here is a little too gooey to be contained by political correctness. You know: Religion must stay over there in that corner while government goes about its business—wages war, maintains a nuclear arsenal, entertains the American public with air and water shows—free of all unelected interference . . . except, uh, financial interference, which is always appropriate and always welcome.

In other words, separation of church and state is small potatoes and hardly comes close to addressing the real issues of the day. Church and state, not to mention corporate wealth, are far too full of themselves and they all need to be contained by values that are immune to the corruption of power.

Considering that Pompeo is widely known as both a war hawk—a proponent of war with Iran—and an ally of blatant Islamophobes, his declaration of service to a perfect God is definitely troubling. It’s one step away from claiming divine justification for persecution of a given enemy.

Do such values even exist? And if they do, what if they’re over there in the religious corner of America? Are they banned from the political realm? How can we make sure that “separation of church and state”doesn’t mean separation of values and state?

Or maybe I should put it a little more desperately: Where are the values—religious or otherwise—that can save this recklessly careening, war-addicted, carbon-spewing state from participating both in its own and the whole planet’s destruction?

“We should all remember,”Pompeo told his audience, to a fusillade of applause, “. . . that we are imperfect servants serving a perfect God who constantly forgives us each and every day. He keeps using us—he keeps using us to do a higher work. And my work at the State Department, as it is for those who work alongside of me, is to serve America each and every day.”

Here’s where I felt the speech turn dangerous and start oozing collusion of church and state—the very thing the nation’s founders were allegedly worried about. To be an “imperfect servant of a perfect God”implies that one has a relationship with perfection: indeed, that one takes orders from a perfect being. Considering that Pompeo is widely known as both a war hawk—a proponent of war with Iran—and an ally of blatant Islamophobes, his declaration of service to a perfect God is definitely troubling. It’s one step away from claiming divine justification for persecution of a given enemy.

Just ask Constantine, the Roman emperor who began the modern-day collusion process some eighteen hundred years ago, when he linked Rome with the theretofore persecuted Christians.

While this stopped the persecution, it also had a cost: “. . . the Church became very powerful very quickly,”Richard Leonard wrote at America: the Jesuit Review. He called it the rise of Imperial Christianity. “Up to this time the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd was the most represented. After 313, however, Jesus is dressed in royal robes, with a crown, scepter, and orb.”

And: “Tragically, for the next few hundred years, conversions were demanded at the end of a sword. No religious dissent or pluralism was tolerated.”

Fast-forward a few centuries—through the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, ongoing genocide of “the primitives,”the War to End All Wars, the war that followed it (with 70 or 80 million fatalities), the development of nuclear weapons, etc., etc., most of which were examples of church-state collusion—and here’s Gen. William Boykin, undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush, famously reminding the world that collusion of church and state is alive and well, when he credited his success against a Somali warlord thus: “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”

And then there was Bush himself, justifying the wars he bequeathed the 21st century: “I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did. And then God would tell me, ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq. And I did.”

And then there are the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flying recruitment ad that spends $35 million a year and consumes multi-thousands of gallons of gasoline putting on dozens of garish airshows throughout the country every year, thrilling audiences and, as Christopher Cook points out, garnering endless plaudits from the uncritical media.

How much gasoline do angels consume? How many bombs do they carry? How do they feel about helping the military maintain a public relations façade of glory in front of the brutal reality of war?

“These media celebrations of military displays are widespread,” Cook writes, “and portray tools of war as benign, ‘cool’ machines—although they are designed to kill people.”

Note the name: the Blue Angels. Aren’t angels immortal, heavenly beings that bless the good, right-believing people of the world? How much gasoline do angels consume? How many bombs do they carry? How do they feel about helping the military maintain a public relations façade of glory in front of the brutal reality of war?

But back to Secretary Pompeo for just a moment. As much as I felt that the anger over the official posting of his “Being a Christian Leader”speech was justified, there was a paragraph in the speech that held me in momentary awe. Speaking of the difficulty of the job, he quoted Abraham Lincoln:

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

I believe most of the planet is on its knees right now, as the climate shifts, the fires rage, people’s homes become unlivable and Constantine’s jets and drones buzz overhead, loosing their bombs on the non-believers.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Collusion Of Church and State

Report Exposes Right-Wing Effort to Ban Criticism of the Nazi regime in US Schools

Report Exposes Right-Wing Effort to Ban Criticism of Israel in US Schools

“Fanatical Zionists are pushing U.S. state legislatures to pass sweeping new restrictions on free speech.”

by: Jessica Corbett,

Concerns about state-level legislation outlawing anti-Semitism in U.S. public schools relate to a wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech.  (Image: Shutterstock)

Human rights and free speech advocates responded with alarm Thursday to a Guardian report revealing that pro-Israel and right-wing lobbyists are encouraging Republican state lawmakers to pass legislation that could outlaw discussions about the Israeli government’s human rights abuses and occupation of Palestinian territory at all levels of the U.S. public education system under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism.

Concerns about the legislation relate to its wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. According to The Guardian:

Among the activities that would be prohibited by the new laws are human rights investigations focusing specifically on Israel. Also banned would be any speech “demonizing Israel by … blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions” or “delegitimizing Israel by … questioning Israel’s right to exist.”

The push began at a conference in August held by the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, a conservative network which has a long history of propagating right-wing policies at state level through model bills.

The report stems from a pair of emails (pdf) that David Armiak, research director for the watchdog Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), obtained under a Freedom of Information request and shared with The Guardian.

David Armiak@duboo

ALEC states that it “does not work on social issues,” while providing a venue for extremists to share model bills or participate in meetings on what most would agree are social issues.

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu in 2017. First amendment advocates see the potential spread of such laws as a major threat to free speech on campuses.

See for example:https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/16/conservative-activists-want-to-outlaw-antisemitism-in-public-education-why-is-that-a-bad-thing …#ALECExposed #protectdissent #ALECideasRevealed: rightwing push to ban criticism of Israel on US campusesDocuments seen by Guardian show fresh attack on university debate under the guise of prohibiting antisemitism

ALEC, which did not reply to the newspaper’s request for comment, has a record of churning out right-wing model legislation on a variety of issues, from criminalizing environmental and animal rights activism to promoting the privatization of schools, gerrymandering, and union-busting.

Alluding to the organization’s history, writer Regina Schrambling shared The Guardian‘s report on Twitter with the introduction, “Today in ‘all evil leads to ALEC.'”

The emails reveal that Republican state lawmakers from Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina met with representatives from pro-Israel lobbyist groups at ALEC’s August conference in Austin, Texas.

Florida Republican Randy Fine reportedly led a private meeting at the conference after pushing through the first anti-Semitism state law earlier this year.

Critics say Fine’s law “goes too far,” the Sun-Sentinel explained in an editorial in May. “Some of its provisions confuse anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel. That has profound constitutional problems, as the bill is plainly meant to be enforced throughout Florida’s public schools, colleges, and universities.”

Liz Jackson, a staff attorney with the group Palestine Legal, is Jewish and a critic of certain components of Florida’s law, which was passed amid rising rates of anti-Semitism attacks in the United States and around the world.

“It’s riding off the universally agreed idea that anti-Semitism is bad and must be stopped at a time of a frightening resurgence in white supremacist violence,” Jackson told The Guardian about the state law. “It’s extremely cynical to masquerade as fighting anti-Semitism when you are, in fact, shutting down criticism of Israel.”

The week after the ALEC meeting, Fine sent an email to state lawmakers; A.D. Motzen, national director of state Relations at Agudath Israel of America; and Joseph Sabag Israeli-American Coalition (IAC) for Action. Fine briefly outlined the Florida measure and encouraged the lawmakers to reach out to him and Sabag with questions about pursuing similar legislation in their states.

Sabag wrote in a response to the group that “my legal team has now taken Randy’s bill and refined it into a model that can be brought everywhere.” Sabag urged the lawmakers to contact him or Republican South Carolina state Rep. Alan Cemmons, who is ALEC’s national chairman and sponsored anti-Semitism legislation in his state, “and take advantage of our policy support if you are considering filing a bill.”

Contacted by The Guardian, Sabag said the emails “emerged out of an after-hours private gathering of friends and colleagues, not an ALEC function and ALEC held no such forum or discussion at its conference.” He also pushed back against the suggestion that IAC for Action was encouraging lawmakers to adopt the definition of anti-Semitism that’s provoked criticism, saying that his organization “provides legal analysis and policy resources in response to requests from legislators who wish to draw upon our subject matter expertise.”

Summarizing The Guardian‘s report, Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah wrote in a series of tweets that “fanatical Zionists are pushing U.S. state legislatures to pass sweeping new restrictions on free speech, including a ban on ‘demonizing Israel’ and investigating Israeli human rights abuses.”

“There is no doubt whatsoever,” Abunimah added, “that the Israel lobby is the greatest direct threat to free speech in the United States.”

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Report Exposes Right-Wing Effort to Ban Criticism of the Nazi regime in US Schools

Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americans Want

“Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?”

by: Julia Conley

A New York Times op-ed and a report released by progressive think tank Data for Progress on Thursday both put forward proposals to slash U.S. military spending in order to pay for Medicare for All and other programs for the common good. (Photo: David B. Gleason/Flickr/cc)

The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All—calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.

Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), took aim in a New York Times op-ed at a “chorus of scolds” from both sides of the aisle who say that raising middle class taxes is the only way to pay for Medicare for All. The pervasive claim was a primary focus of Tuesday night’s debate, while Medicare for All proponents Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) attempted to focus on the dire need for a universal healthcare program.

Institute for Policy Studies@IPS_DC

For months, we’ve been saying that we could fund plans like #MedicareForAll by cutting over $300 billion from the military budget.

Now, here it is: The breakdown of exactly what could be cut (with colorful graphics).

(1/9)https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/17/opinion/medicare-for-all-funding-military.html …@lindsaykosh via @nytimesOpinion | We Don’t Need to Raise Taxes to Have ‘Medicare for All’We can find billions of dollars to pay for universal health care if we look in the right places.nytimes.com1285:21 PM – Oct 17, 2019

At the Democratic presidential primary debate on CNN Tuesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was criticized by some opponents for saying that “costs will go down for hardworking, middle-class families” under Medicare for All, without using the word “taxes.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on the other hand, clearly stated that taxes may go up for some middle class families but pointed out that the increase would be more than offset by the fact that they’ll no longer have to pay monthly premiums, deductibles, and other medical costs.

“Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war.”
—Data for Progress

“All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag,” wrote Koshgarian. “Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?”

“Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it,” she added. “That’s nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary).”

“While we can’t un-spend that $4.9 trillion,” Koshgarian continued, “imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years.”

Koshgarian outlined a multitude of areas in which the U.S. government could shift more than $300 billion per year, currently used for military spending, to pay for a government-run healthcare program. Closing just half of U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion.

“What are we doing with that base in Aruba, anyway?” Koshgarian asked.

Other areas where IPS identified savings include:

  • cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion
  • a total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion
  • ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion
  • production cuts for the F-35—a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the Government Accountability Office—saving $17.7 billion
  • a shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, to Medicare for All’s annual budget.

“This item takes us well past our goal of saving $300 billion,” Koshgarian wrote of the last item.

As Koshgarian published her op-ed in the Times, progressive think tank Data for Progress released its own report showing that a majority of Americans support a “progressive foreign policy” far less focused on decades-long on-the-ground wars, establishing military bases around the world, drone strikes, and arms sales.

“The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding,” wrote Data for Progress.

“Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war,” according to the report.

Polling more than 1,000 ppl with YouGov, Data for Progress found that 73 percent of Democratic primary voters ranked numerous issues—including economic challenges and the climate—as more important to them than national security and military funding.

Progressive national security proposals proved popular with respondents, including closing Guantanamo Bay, ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and leveraging military aid to Israel to force it to adopt better human rights policies toward Palestinians.

“There is a clear appetite for progressive reforms to U.S. foreign policy,” wrote Data for Progress.

In her op-ed, Koshgarian acknowledged that remaking the U.S. military as a truly “defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes.”

But, she wrote, “that’s no excuse for continuing to spend hundreds of billions in ways that make our world more dangerous and deny us the ability to seriously invest in things like jobs, healthcare, education, and all that makes our lives better.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americans Want

Our Mad Dog President—and His Bible-Thumping Kennel Pals

The White House theocrats may be the biggest danger of all.

by: Michael Winship

Like Trump, a would-be dictator madly claiming the overwhelming support of the populace, the real-life Capone insisted that his criminal acts satisfied “a public demand.” (Photo-Illustration: Daily Intelligencer; Photos: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images (Trump); Paramount Pictures)

“I have done nothing to harm these people but they are angered with me, so what do they do, doctor up some income tax, for which they have no case… to harass a peaceful man.”

You could be excused for thinking that Donald Trump spoke these words of self-pity. In fact, they’re from Robert de Niro, playing that other gangster, Al Capone, in the 1987 movie The Untouchables, written by David Mamet.

Like Trump, a would-be dictator madly claiming the overwhelming support of the populace, the real-life Capone insisted that his criminal acts satisfied “a public demand.” He declared, “I am just a businessman, giving the people what they want.” And a certain percentage of the civilian population—Capone’s “base,” if you will—thought he was just swell.

Scarface even rigged elections. In 1924, in Cicero, Illinois, Capone was fearful that the Republican mayor who fit snugly in his pocket might be defeated for another term. So those who opposed the incumbent were kidnapped, beaten and murdered. Ballot boxes were stuffed and voters threatened. Problem solved.

Trump hasn’t reached the point of kidnapping and killing voters—yet—but it’s clear that he views elections with equal distemper and has no scruples about cheating to win or even eliminating elections altogether. He welcomed what has been thoroughly documented Russian interference in the 2016 election, yet continues to deny it ever happened, and now is doing his best to obstruct efforts for fair elections in 2020.  The nationwide GOP effort to suppress voter turnout continues.

Not only is Trump trying to shake down other countries for real or imagined dirt on political opponents—and using Rudy Giuliani and other lowlifes to assist in the thuggery—he continues to market his office, seemingly eager to line his pockets and those of his family and friends with the lucre of bribery and extortion, much of it to be provided, evidence suggests, by the very countries in which, surprise, he has business interests.

It is, in the words of US Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), an extralegal “shadow foreign policy operation.” Yet to some minds, such as they are, and Republican leadership in particular, this all seems somehow okay because he’s doing it so blatantly. But on top of the graft and venality, Trump doesn’t think through the implications of his impulsive and inconsistent policy choices, both here and overseas, whether it’s Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, China and the list goes on.

There’s no longer anyone at the White House to stop him from crashing down the slope from one boulder to the next, caroming like a tangerine billiard ball, inflicting further death and despair on families at home and abroad and increasing the odds of complete disaster, including a resurgence of terrorist violence. See Syria, the Kurds, Turkey and a mindboggling series of boneheaded, deadly decisions.

Meanwhile, his appeals to racial prejudice, lies and seedy conspiracy theories are backed by cynical opportunists who know they’re all false yet don’t care as long as their own goals are achieved. They’re joined by people so angry, clueless and out of touch with the way government actually works—or doesn’t—that they think our bureaucracy is capable of pulling off plots like some wannabe James Bond villain.

But I digress: I’ve been out of the country the last couple of weeks and so much has been happening.  What has become increasingly distressing over the last few days is that many of the aforementioned cynical opportunists have a theocratic agenda which, if they could make it happen, would see a Margaret Atwood-style, “Handmaid’s Tale” Gilead descend like a shroud over the nation.

These aren’t your garden-variety, come-to-Jesus evangelists, members of the religious right bemoaning gays and abortion, praying for your soul and eagerly awaiting the Second Coming.  Rather, in contrast to the founders who favored the separation of church and state and rejected the encroachment into government of organized religion, these self-sanctified pomposities, pit bulls of dogma, would impose on the rest of us an illiberal hierocracy of Christian rules and regs that they alone would determine. All in the name of God, of course, with whom they apparently text on a regular basis.

In the last week, speeches from the second and third most powerful men in the Trump administration powerfully illustrate that the old-time religion they have in mind is more along the lines of the Inquisition than the Enlightenment.

On Friday, Attorney General William Barr, took it upon himself to speak to an audience at Notre Dame Law School not about jurisprudence but a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.”

In that social order, Barr insisted, “moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being.”

He decried what he saw as the “force, fervor, and comprehensiveness of the assault on religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay; it is organized destruction. Secularists, and their allies among the ‘progressives,’ have marshaled all the force of mass communications, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

The same day as Barr’s closed-door address, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—Savonarola to Barr’s would-be American Torquemada—went before the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville. “I know some people in the media will break out the pitchforks when they hear that I ask God for direction in my work,” he said. He asked that those in attendance “pray for my work in defending religious freedom,” and added, “You will all be in my prayers as you do God’s work, and I covet yours as I lead American diplomacy.”

Trump hit the religion hot buttons, too, when he spoke on Saturday at the Value Voters Summit in DC, sponsored by the Family Research Council. But it’s hard to take seriously anything he says about faith. Barr and Pompeo, on the other hand, really mean it.

Pompeo, who has said, “I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and his word, and the truth,” has expressed his firm belief in the Rapture. Barr, as my friend Joan Walsh writes in The Nation, “is actually neck-deep in a web of extremist conservative Catholic institutions, and he has been for the last three decades.” These include the Catholic Information Center, run by the far-right Opus Dei, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Bill Donohue’s Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

This is all of a piece with the increasing right-wing embrace of a philosophy known as integralism, which, as colleague Mike Lofgren recently explained, “stresses a comprehensively integrated social and political order complete with religious and cultural conformity. Of course, somebody would have to do all that integrating, and that means a powerful state apparatus keeping everyone in line and inevitably deciding which religious views should be fostered and which are heretical.”

Integralism’s adherents—whether they know the word for it or not—are part of anti-democratic movements all over the world.  We’re right, you’re wrong, they say, and like Al Capone, to hell with any egalitarian process or legality that gets in our way. In June, Adam Serwer at The Atlantic wrote, “The leaders of both the populist and establishment wings of the Republican Party have concluded that they cannot be allowed to lose power simply because a majority of American voters do not wish them to wield it.”

The ends—their desire for a Christian dominated, dictatorial theocracy—justify the means. In their use of religious belief to bolster this current autocratic government, Pompeo and Barr are hitting all the buzzwords and sounding the dog whistles. In many ways they are worse then Trump because they possess a clear and doctrinaire vision, know exactly what they want and how to make it happen. In the words of author and journalist Michael Tomasky, “Doubt nothing about what these people are capable of.”

This is scary stuff, everyone. Be very afraid. Pay attention. Resist.

Posted in USAComments Off on Our Mad Dog President—and His Bible-Thumping Kennel Pals

IMF Warns of Unstable Financial System

Jubilee USA

Organization Profile: Jubilee USA NetworkContact: 

Phone: 202.783.3566
Email: coord(at)jubileeusa.org

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund warns of growing financial instability as a result of high debts and risky investing in the release of the IMF 2019 Global Financial Stability Report. The report raised fears that developing countries are borrowing too much.

“The Fund is recommending more transparency and greater surveillance of corporate and country debt,” shared United Nations debt expert and Jubilee USA Director, Eric LeCompte. “While these recommendations are good, they fall short of the policies we need to prevent the next financial crisis. We need a global bankruptcy process. We need global laws on responsible lending and borrowing.”

Yesterday, the IMF downgraded global economic forecasts, calling the future of the economy, “precarious” and “uncertain,” with the release of the 2019 World Economic Outlook Report. 
“We all wish the latest reports from the IMF were about sunshine and rainbows. Unfortunately, this is the most bleak economic outlook report that I’ve seen from the Fund,” noted LeCompte who monitored IMF reports since 2010.

Read about the World Economic Outlook Report

Read the IMF Global Financial Stability Report

Read about Jubilee USA’s Friday High-Level IMF/World Bank event with His Excellency Dr. Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance for Somalia, on resolving Somalia’s debt and economic crisis here

Posted in USA, Politics, WorldComments Off on IMF Warns of Unstable Financial System

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