Archive | April 18th, 2020

The 2020 Global Economic Crisis

By Global Research News

Global Research,

1

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

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, 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.

How Complex Is this Pneumonia Crisis? Millions of People Lost Their Jobs, Food is Disappearing…

By Cal Crilly, April 17, 2020

How complex is this? If 8 Million people die from air pollution a year, is the virus THE crisis?

Today is 8th of April 2020 and as I type this millions and millions of people have lost their jobs for some weeks nowfood is disappearing, they are in lock down conditions in shanty townstoo scared to go outwalking home or trapped in the street crackdownsIndiaSouth AfricaPhilippines, all collapsed.

The Coronavirus and the Economic Crisis this Time

By Prof. Sam Gindin, April 16, 2020

The crisis this time is unique in an especially topsy-turvy way. The world, as Alice would express it, is getting “curiouser and curiouser.” In past capitalist crises, the state intervened to try and get the economy going again. This time, the immediate focus of states is not on how to revive the economy, but how to further restrict it. This is obviously so because the economy hasn’t been brought to its knees by economic factors or struggles from below, but rather, by a mysterious virus. Ending its hold over us is the first priority. In introducing the language of ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-quarantine’ to cope with the emergency, governments have suspended the social interactions that constitute a good part of the world of work and consumption, the world of the economy.

“Something Has Gone Wrong”: UK Government, Banks Screw Up Coronavirus Loans, Small Firms Near Collapse. Better Results in Other Countries

BNick Corbishley, April 16, 2020

On March 19, the day the economy went into lockdown, the government unveiled £330 billion of emergency measures to help shuttered businesses weather the storm. Those measures included the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which the Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak said would be made available to “any good business in financial difficulty who needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock”. Yet almost four weeks later, just 4,000 of the 300,000 companies that have applied for the funds have actually received them.

The Russia-Saudi Oil-Price War Is a Fraud and a Farce

By Mike Whitney, April 16, 2020

The Russia-Saudi oil-price war is a fabrication concocted by the media. There’s not a word of truth to any of it. Yes, there was a dust up at an OPEC meeting in early March that led to production increases and plunging prices. That part is true. But Saudi Arabia’s oil-dumping strategy wasn’t aimed at Russia, it was aimed at US shale oil producers. But not for the reasons you’ve read about in the media.

IMF Projects Global Economy in 2020 to Contract by a Mere 3%. Is this a Joke?

By Peter Koenig, April 15, 2020

Yes, the IMF’s call for debt relief is certainly a good thing. But it’s precisely the IMF and the World Bank, who have to start forgiving debt in poor countries, instead of waiting for others to go first. Well, we are seeing that not even in Greece the IMF is capable of writing off the -literally – deadly debt.

Simply back to normal is this time not the case. And its maybe a good thing. All the misery that this – and let me emphasize – this planned destruction of the global economy – will bring to particularly the poorer nations and their people, is barely the tip of the iceberg. – This literal collapse of the global economy is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to break loose from the predatory and fraudulent dollar-economy  – deglobalize and get out from the fangs of the IMF, World Bank and alike.

Understanding Great Recessions. The Dynamics of Epic Recession

By Dr. Jack Rasmus, April 13, 2020

Much can be learned about the trajectory and nature of the current 2020 Great Recessions 2.0 underway by understanding what went on in similar deep economic contractions that are combined with financial-banking instability and crashes.

The so-called ‘Great Recession of 2008-09’ was one such ‘dual’ crisis. Another occurred in early years of the Great Depression of the 1930s, from 1929 to 1931. Another is the financial crash of 1907-08 and its aftermath of four years of stagnant growth and re-recessions.

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Posted in Politics, WorldComments Off on The 2020 Global Economic Crisis

Brazil’s Squabble with China Brings Unexpected Results Which Annoy US

By Lucas Leiroz de Almeida

Global Research,

The verbal attacks by members of the Brazilian government on China have been costly, not only to Brazil, but also to Jair Bolsonaro‘s biggest international ally, the United States. The offensive words to China recently spoken by Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, education minister Abraham Weintraub and foreign affairs minister Ernesto Araújo created a situation of gigantic diplomatic tension between Brazil and China. Beijing is well aware of how to manipulate this tension in its favor. As China is Brazil’s biggest trade partner, the Asian country is demanding certain benefits in its negotiations, which are quickly being granted.

Cornered and pressured in the face of the irresponsibility of his son and other members of his government, Jair Bolsonaro recently contacted Chinese President Xi Jinping apologizing for what had happened and trying to return to closer ties between the both countries. Xi, in all his political expertise, was not proud and welcomed Bolsonaro’s lamentations, but apparently demanded certain concessions. Just three days after telephone contact between the heads of State, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão announced that Huawei, a Chinese multinational in the technology and telecommunications industry, will be able to participate in the 5G technology infrastructure in Brazil.

The announcement of Huawei’s participation is the result of a true lesson of international relations expertise by the Chinese president. During the controversy involving the Brazilian government and its offenses against Beijing, several media agencies gave enormous coverage to the case, overestimating an alleged threat to the supply of masks and sanitary equipment to combat the pandemic of the new coronavirus in Brazil. The attention of Brazilians was focused on monitoring whether China would retaliate against Brazil by abandoning it to its own fate in the fight against the infection. In fact, this shows how far political analysts, the media and Brazilian public opinion in general are lagging behind in knowing how to do business on the international arena.Brazilian President’s Son Creates Diplomatic Crisis Between Brazil and China

China has absolutely nothing to gain by blocking the supply of medical and sanitary equipment to Brazil or any other country. This international cooperation campaign is one of the great tools of Chinese foreign policy today. These acts of humanitarian diplomacy allow Beijing to strengthen relations with several countries, undermining influences from other powers and raising its international image. Still, the Chinese government is fully aware that in bilateral relations between Brazil and China, Brazilians are the most fragile part, with various sectors of the Brazilian economy dependent on the Chinese market, such as agribusiness. It is obvious that China would use this whole scenario as a backdrop to try to improve some specific points in the relations with Brazil instead of simply making silly decisions such as imposing international sanctions, cutting mask supplies or banning the purchase of Brazilian soy.

Unlike Bolsonaro, Xi Jinping demonstrates great skill and decorum in his relations with other statesmen. The Brazilian president’s apology was a beautiful opportunity to gently “suggest” the Chinese company’s insertion on the big 5G technology auction in Brazil. Interestingly, the biggest loser in this agreement was precisely the nation that Brazil currently supports and swears loyalty – the US. As it is well known, the great international dispute over control of 5G technology is between Washington and Beijing. Until then, the Brazilian government kept China out of the infrastructure projects in 5G platforms in the country, precisely because of its total alignment with the US, which is a central feature of Bolsonaro’s foreign policy. Now, this small “exchange of favors” between Brazil and China calls into question all the cooperation between Brasília and Washington in recent years. Attacking China, Brazil has hit the United States, its biggest international “ally”, and will now be even more vulnerable to the overwhelming advance of Chinese interests.

Gradually, over the past few decades, China has undeniably made its technological production a strong soft power mechanism. However, some geopolitical opponents of China have gone far beyond the concrete data in their speculations about China’s technological strategy. It was Donald Trump’s unfounded conspiracies about an alleged use of Huawei’s 5G technology for espionage purposes that served as the basis for international pressure to abolish Chinese participation on the 5G structure in all Washington allied countries – like Bolsonaro’s Brazil considers itself.

It was precisely this conspiracy speech that the Brazilian government maintained to keep China away from the 5G network in Brazil, but that all changed with Bolsonaro’s call to apologize for his son’s words. Now, what will become of the speech on Chinese espionage through Huawei? And what Bolsonaro will answer to Donald Trump? More importantly, what will be the Trump’s reaction to Bolsonaro’s betrayal? Considering the great strategic value of 5G technology, it is still possible that Brazil will lose its total alignment with the USA forever and be forced to further strengthen ties with China.

Posted in USA, Brazil, ChinaComments Off on Brazil’s Squabble with China Brings Unexpected Results Which Annoy US

Surrendered US-backed Rebels Admit to Receiving Training to Destroy Syrian Oil Sites

By Almasdar News

Global Research,

The head of the Russian Reconciliation Center affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Defense, Oleg Goralev, announced on Wednesday that the 27 militants who surrendered to the Syrian authorities, reported that they had received training by the American military to carry out attacks on oil and gas sites as well as the infrastructure of sites under the control of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

“According to the testimonies of members of the armed groups who joined the government forces, the Americans provided them with weapons and vehicles, and they were trained by the United States to sabotage the oil and gas infrastructure, transport and organize terrorist acts in the territories under the control of the Syrian government forces,” Goralev said in a briefing.

Goralev noted that

“on the night of April 13-14, a group of gunmen who were trained at the U.S. Army base near the Rukban Camp tried to leave the Al-Tanf area.”

He said that

“the gunmen decided to surrender to the government forces and return to a peaceful life, but on the borders of the 55-km security zone, a group of extremist gangs attacked by the so-called ‘Commandos of the Revolution’, supported by the United States.”

He continued:

“As a result of the clash, the fighters lost 3 trucks, and 27 people managed to escape, and they are currently in Palmyra under the protection of the Syrian Arab Army.”

He added that they

“handed over dozens of small arms, including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, including weapons manufactured in Western countries.”

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, C.I.A, SyriaComments Off on Surrendered US-backed Rebels Admit to Receiving Training to Destroy Syrian Oil Sites

Exactly 18 Years After US Coup Against Venezuela, Pompeo and Abrams Warn Another Is Coming

US regime change cheerleaders Mike Pompeo and Elliot Abrams warned Venezuala’s government not to resist the upcoming implementation of a “transitional government.”

By Alan MacLeod

Global Research,

On the eighteenth anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup against the government of Venezuela, senior American officials announced that the people should prepare for another imminent push. “The goal is to replace [President Nicolas] Maduro’s illegitimate dictatorship with a legitimate transitional government that can hold free and fair elections to represent all Venezuelans. It is time for Maduro to go,”announced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

On Saturday the eleventh, exactly 18 years after the U.S. supported a briefly successful coup against Hugo Chavez, American envoy for Venezuela and coup specialist Elliott Abramswarned that if Maduro resisted the implementation of said “transitional government” his departure would be far more “dangerous and abrupt,” effectively threatening him with another assassination attempt, like the one the U.S.tacitly supported in 2018.

The U.S. has recentlyupped its sanctions against Venezuela and sent warships to the region to enforce a blockade.

The phrase “transitional government” has been used a great deal of late; the White House describing Bolivia’s Añez administration as such. Añez came to power in November thanks to aU.S.-supported coup against President Evo Morales. That “transitional government” has sincemassacred protestors, pulled Bolivia out of multiple international treaties and indefinitelysuspended elections. Thus, it came as no surprise when Maduro rejected the same fate as his ally, Morales. “We will take care of Venezuela,” hereplied, “Mr. Abrams, cool your jets.”

Camila@camilateleSUR

13 April 2002: Nicolás Maduro Moros stands among the Venezuelan people in the streets, demanding freedom for Comandante Hugo Chávez.1,1616:35 AM – Apr 12, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy403 people are talking about this

Maduro is well aware of the history of U.S. coups in his country, having been part of a counter-demonstration that successfully overturned the April 2002 putsch. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Actshow that coup leaders at the time traveled back and forth to Washington D.C. several times in the months leading up to the event, where they received counsel and training from American officials. NED and USAID funding for the groups who carried it out quadrupled in 2002 and then quadrupled again in 2003. The U.S. government incontrovertibly knew by at least April 6 that a coup carried out by those they were funding and training was about to occur. But instead of alerting the government, they immediately endorsed events, falsely claiming that President Chavez had massacred his own people and then resigned.

Since then, Washington has never stopped attempting to remove the United Socialist Party from power, refusing to accept the validity of widely-lauded presidential elections in2013 and2018, funding virtually the entire spectrum of the domestic opposition for two decades. A number of other, less successful coups attempts have all been met with at least tacit American approval as well, including2014 and2017 waves of terrorist violence, a failed 2018assassination of Maduro, and four separate coup attempts last year by self-declared president Juan Guaidó.

The Trump administration has also ramped up Obama’s sanctions on the country, leading to over 100,000 deaths, according to an American U.N. Special Rapporteur who visited the country,describing them as akin to a medieval siege anddeclaring Trump guilty of crimes against humanity.

Abrams’ life’s work has been to use the power of the U.S. government – overtly and covertly – to overthrow sovereign states through coups, sanctions and genocides. On his first day as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs under Ronald Reagan in 1981, he jumped into action,covering up the now-infamous El Mozote massacre in El Salvador, conducted by a death squad created, armed and trained by Washington. Since then he has been an architect of “dirty wars,” genocides and regime change in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and Panama, among others. As Jon Swartz of The Intercept wrote:

The choice of Abrams sends a clear message to Venezuela and the world: The Trump administration intends to brutalize Venezuela, while producing a stream of unctuous rhetoric about America’s love for democracy and human rights.”

When Rep. Ilhan Omar brought up some of this history during a 2019 House Committee on Foreign Relations last year, he appeared outraged, almost beyond words.

Despite the sanctions, the Venezuelan government has actually proven to be far more capable of handling the coronavirus pandemic than the Trump administration. Even before any confirmed cases, Maduro declared a health emergency, canceling foreign flights and prohibiting crowds. On the day of the first case, schools, theaters, and restaurants were closed, and wearing a mask in public became mandatory. The government created a national online database and website where unwell citizens could inform authorities of their condition. Over 20,000 people who registered were immediately visited in their homes by medics. The country has reported only 181 infections and 9 deaths.

While Pompeo and Abrams’ latest remarks are a grave threat to the sovereignty of Venezuela, they are not novel, Venezuelans have been hearing similar proclamations for nearly two decades. Whether they will succeed where previous administrations before them have failed remains to be seen.

Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on Exactly 18 Years After US Coup Against Venezuela, Pompeo and Abrams Warn Another Is Coming

5 Million Nigerians Oppose Monsanto’s Plans to Introduce GMO Cotton and Corn

By Lorraine Chow

Global Research,

This article was originally published in 2016.

Millions of Nigerians are urging the Nigerian government to reject Monsanto’s attempts to introduce genetically modified (GMO) cotton and maize into the country’s food and farming systems.

One-hundred organizations representing more than 5 million Nigerians, including farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and local community groups, have submitted a joint objection to the country’s National Biosafety Management Agency (NABMA) expressing serious concerns about human health and environmental risks of genetically altered crops.

The groups’ petition follows Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited’s own application to NAMBA that seeks to release GMO cotton (Bt cotton, event MON 15985) into the city of Zaria as well as surrounding towns. Another application seeks confined field trials of two GMO corn varieties (NK603 and stacked event MON 89034 x NK603) in multiple locations in Nigeria.

In a press release, the groups said they are particularly alarmed about the commercial release of Bt cotton into Nigeria, which is being phased out in Burkina Faso due to the “inferior lint quality” of the GMO cultivars.

“We are totally shocked that it should come so soon after peer-reviewed studies have showed that the technology has failed dismally in Burkina Faso,” Nnimmo Bassey, the director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, one of the leading opposition groups, said in a statement. “It has brought nothing but economic misery to the cotton sector there and is being phased out in that country where compensation is being sought from Monsanto.”

He asked in the statement:

“Since our Biosafety Act has only recently entered into force, what biosafety legislation was used to authorize and regulate the field trials in the past in accordance with international law and best biosafety practice?”

Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan signed the National Biosafety Management Bill into law last year, basically opening the doors to GMOs cultivation in the country.

RashidaDavis@ReallyNourish

NO GMO AFRICA! @GMOEvidence: Groups in #Nigeria Slam Monsanto Plan 2 Intro GM Crops #SustainablePulsehttp://sustainablepulse.com/2016/03/28/expert-groups-across-nigeria-slam-monsanto-over-plans-to-introduce-gm-crops/#.VvkLofl97IU …#MonsantoExpert Groups across Nigeria Slam Monsanto over Plans to Introduce GM Crops – Sustainable PulseOne hundred groups representing over five million Nigerians, comprising of farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and localsustainablepulse.com312:02 PM – Mar 28, 2016Twitter Ads info and privacySee RashidaDavis’s other Tweets

The groups noted Monsanto’s crops are genetically enhanced to tolerate the use of the herbicide glyphosate which was declared as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) last March.

“Should commercialization of Monsanto’s GM maize be allowed pursuant to field trials, this will result in increased use of glyphosate in Nigeria, a chemical that is linked to causing cancer in humans,” Mariann Orovwuje, Friends of the Earth International’s food sovereignty co-coordinator, said in a statement.

“Recent studies have linked glyphosate to health effects such as degeneration of the liver and kidney, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That NABMA is even considering this application is indeed unfortunate and deeply regrettable, knowing full well about the uncontrolled exposure that our rural farmers and communities living close to farms will be exposed to.”

Besides the potential contamination of local maize varieties, the groups argued that the health risks of introducing GMO maize into Nigeria could be “enormous” considering that maize is a staple food in their diet.

Coupled with a lack of resources to adequately control and monitor the human and environmental risks of GMO crops and glyphosate, the groups argued that Nigeria doesn’t have a platform to test for glyphosate or other pesticide residues in food and food products, nor do they have an agency that can monitor the herbicide’s impact on the environment, including water resources.

On the flip side, GMO-advocates tout that biotechnology is not only safe for human consumption and the environment, it’s also a solution to malnutrition and global food security, as these crops have been genetically tinkered with to provide certain nutritional benefits and/or spliced-and-diced to resist certain pathogens and other roadblocks.

For instance, Monsanto’s Water Efficient Maize for Africa, a five-year development project led by the Kenyan-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation, aims to develop a variety of drought-tolerant maize seeds. The project receives funding from the Gates Foundation, United States Agency for International Development and Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

In an interview with Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Blumenstein, Bill Gates explained his views about GMOs:

“What are called GMOs are done by changing the genes of the plant, and it’s done in a way where there’s a very thorough safety procedure, and it’s pretty incredible because it reduces the amount of pesticide you need, raises productivity (and) can help with malnutrition by getting vitamin fortification

“And so I think, for Africa, this is going to make a huge difference, particularly as they face climate change … The U.S., China, Brazil, are using these things and if you want farmers in Africa to improve nutrition and be competitive on the world market, you know, as long as the right safety things are done, that’s really beneficial. It’s kind of a second round of the green revolution. And so the Africans I think will choose to let their people have enough to eat.”

But in the video below, Bassey objects to the argument that GMOs are necessary to ensure food security and nutrition in Africa and that the continent can feed itself without the aid of multinational biotech companies.

“Genetically engineered crops are not engineered to help anybody,” he says about six minutes into the video. “They are engineered to help the industry that produces the crops.”

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Posted in USA, Africa, HealthComments Off on 5 Million Nigerians Oppose Monsanto’s Plans to Introduce GMO Cotton and Corn

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

Has the Pandemic Been Used to Precipitate the World into a Spiral of Mass Unemployment, Bankruptcy and Despair?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

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 (which 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.

Posted in Health, WorldComments Off on Towards A New World Order? The Global Debt Crisis and the Privatization of the State

Pentagon Escalates Tensions with Iran in Persian Gulf

By Bill Van Auken

Global Research,

The US Navy charged Wednesday that 11 Iranian vessels had “repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches against multiple US naval ships operating in international waters.”

The protest, issued by the command of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, represented a further ratcheting up of tensions that have steadily escalated since 2018, when the Trump administration unilaterally and unlawfully abrogated the 2015 nuclear agreement between Teheran and the major powers. Since then, Washington has imposed a “maximum pressure” sanctions regime, tantamount to a state of war, and steadily built up its air, land and sea forces confronting Iran.

The “dangerous” actions consisted of small speedboats belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) allegedly coming too close to a squadron of US warships sailing close to Iranian waters. These warships included the expeditionary mobile base vessel Lewis B. Puller—a ship designed to serve as a platform for a US invasion—the Paul Hamilton, a guided missile destroyer, the coastal patrol boats Firebolt and Sirocco, and two Coast Guard ships, the Wrangell and Maui.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels cross the path of US warships in Persian Gulf.

NAVCENT, the naval arm of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees US military operations throughout the Middle East and in Afghanistan, stated, “The IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision, were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) ‘rules of the road’ or internationally recognized maritime customs, and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area.”

The claim that the monitoring of a US naval force within striking distance of Iranian shores constitutes a “provocative action” is absurd on its face. One can only imagine the US reaction if an Iranian naval force were to conduct similar operations off the coast of Florida. The provocation that gives rise to any alleged incident is US imperialism’s own aggressive deployment in the Persian Gulf.

As for the invocation of Iran’s “obligation under international law,” Washington is hardly in a position to lecture Teheran on such matters. In January, it carried out the drone assassination of one of Iran’s most senior officials, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, at Baghdad’s international airport, one of the most egregious violations of international law imaginable. It has defied the rulings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which has found US sanctions illegal.US Preparing “Assault” Against Iran

Moreover, the Trump administration has maintained and intensified the sanctions regime under conditions in which Iran faces one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus pandemic on the planet. As of Thursday, the official figures were 76,389 cases and 4,777 deaths. As everywhere, these numbers are a severe underestimation of the true ravages of the disease.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other American officials have cynically claimed that the “maximum pressure” sanctions regime does not affect humanitarian supplies, which are exempt under the language of the punitive US measures. However, this exemption is pure fiction. By labeling Iran’s central bank a terrorist entity and threatening all companies and financial institutions doing business with the country with secondary sanctions, Washington has effectively cut off Iran’s access to critically needed medicines and medical supplies. This murderous sanctions regime has cost the lives of Iranians suffering from cancer and other diseases even before the advent of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced Washington for its decision to withdraw funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the midst of the raging pandemic, saying that it had exposed the world to the same criminal policy that had been carried out against Iran.

“The world is learning what Iran has known and experienced all along: US regime’s bullying, threatening & vainglorious blathering isn’t just an addiction: it kills people,” Zarif tweeted. “Like ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran, the shameful defunding of WHO amid a pandemic will live in infamy.”

The Iranian government’s request for a $5 billion emergency credit from the International Monetary Fund to support its fight against the coronavirus—the first such request from the country in half a century—has been blocked by Washington, which exercises a de facto veto over the decisions of the IMF’s governing board.

Washington’s provocative operations in the Persian Gulf are unfolding as the US Navy confronts a deepening crisis over the ever-widening spread of the coronavirus among American sailors. The scope of the problem was first laid bare after the commander of the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, Capt. Brett Crozier, addressed a letter to over 20 senior officers in the Pacific Command demanding that his ship be evacuated and its crew quarantined after dozens of them became sick from the virus.

Crozier’s plea, “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” earned him the wrath of the White House and the Pentagon for cutting across the militarist objectives of US imperialism and exposing the lie that the government had the pandemic under control. His summary firing and subsequent denunciation by the acting US Navy secretary before his crew unleashed a political firestorm that forced the secretary, Thomas Modly, to resign.

The Navy has since been forced to accede to Crozier’s demand, evacuating and quarantining the ship’s crew in Guam. Some 600 of the ship’s sailors have tested positive and the first of them, a 41-year-old chief petty officer, died from COVID-19 on Monday.

Three other aircraft carriers, the Nimitz, the Ronald Reagan and the Carl Vinson are also being held in port because of sailors testing positive, while a fourth, the Truman, is being kept at sea for fear that its crew will become infected if it comes into port.

Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who held the post from 2009 to 2017, said Wednesday that the only way to confront the spread of coronavirus was to bring every US Navy ship into port and quarantine the majority of their crews while the vessels are given a deep clean.

“What I think what they need to do is bring every ship in,” said Mabus. “Offload most of the crew … leave a very skeletal force on board, sanitize the ship, quarantine people for two weeks, make sure nobody’s got COVID.” After that, he added, crews would have to be kept on the ships indefinitely until the pandemic is mitigated.

Unless such drastic measures were taken, he warned, “You’re going to see the situation that played out on the Roosevelt play out over and over again, not just on those big ships, but virtually every ship that we have in the Navy.”

That the Pentagon has no intention of taking such steps to protect rank-and-file sailors, disrupting US imperialism’s aggressive operations worldwide in the process, was made clear by the Trump administration’s Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Referring to 90 other US warships at sea, Esper stated in an interview Thursday, “They’ve had no problems, completely ready, conducting their wartime mission today. This was a special case. We’re going to get it behind us. And I’m sure that T.R. will be back to sea soon, performing its important wartime mission.”

Esper offered no explanation as to what war any of these ships are fighting. His use of the phrase “wartime mission,” however, is an indication that no matter how disastrous the impact of the coronavirus upon the US population, Washington has no intention of curtailing its military aggression abroad or halting its preparation for a third world war.

Posted in USA, C.I.A, IranComments Off on Pentagon Escalates Tensions with Iran in Persian Gulf

How Complex Is this Pneumonia Crisis? Millions of People Lost Their Jobs, Food is Disappearing…

By Cal Crilly

Global Research,

How complex is this? If 8 Million people die from air pollution a year, is the virus THE crisis?

Today is 8th of April 2020 and as I type this millions and millions of people have lost their jobs for some weeks nowfood is disappearing, they are in lock down conditions in shanty townstoo scared to go outwalking home or trapped in the street crackdownsIndiaSouth AfricaPhilippines, all collapsed.

“My family has been struggling to get a meal every day. We cannot go back to our villages as there is a curfew. It will be a miracle if we survive this period,” Pratap Kumar, a construction worker.

“If the virus does not kill us, hunger certainly will. What the government has promised us in terms of remuneration has not reached us,” said Sanjay Deep, an agricultural worker.

India’s government discusses end of lockdown as millions struggle to find food

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 so that’s roughly 42,000 children since the lockdown began and 300,000 so far this year.

A lockdown seems like an ineffective cure.

Modi is going to keep it going despite the obvious disaster.

There are staggering multi-factors involved and a lot of exaggerating.

The 2017 flu is a good example, in Australia I remember everyone coughed from late 2016 and when I visited the UK in late 2016 everyone was coughing badly there and then everyone in Australia coughed all through 2017, around 1,100 Australians died. I work checkouts so back then I came up with the term ‘Stereo coughing’ as in listening to multiple people coughing in a supermarket.

The American figures for the ‘2017-2018 season was an estimated 45 million influenza illnesses, 21 million influenza-associated medical visits, 810,000 influenza-related hospitalizations, and 61,000 influenza-associated deaths’

38,000 deaths occurred in the USA over the 2016 winter.

12, 857 coronavirus deaths in the USA as of today is the perspective.

This was France back in 2017 with an ‘austerity’ health system in action.

‘flu sufferers, the vast majority of whom are elderly, were sometimes waiting “24 hours on stretchers” for treatment, resulting in a large number of “preventable deaths”.

French hospitals cancel operations amid brutal flu epidemic

Pollution has been an enormous factor

People’s lungs have been fragile enough in Wuhan for people to protest in 2019 so pneumonialung cancer, asthma and Tuberculosis are all common problems in Wuhan and other Chinese cities and shouldn’t be dismissed as factors.

‘On June 28, residents of the Yangluo residential district in the central Chinese city of Wuhan took to the streets to protest the construction of a waste-to-energy plant in the district. The protests, which occurred outside the city government’s offices, were met with a large contingent of regular and riot police, according to pictures and comments circulated on Weibo, and the violent response of the police was widely condemned by netizens.

Wuhan, like many cities in China, faces a waste disposal problem, as growing urbanization leads to dense population centers with little room for refuse. Wuhan’s city message board contains several complaints about smells emanating from the landfill currently located in Yangluo, as well as concerns about the construction of the new landfills.’

Environmental Protest Breaks out in China’s Wuhan City

Everyone’s lungs were already damaged in Iran, this was the end of 2019.

“Air pollution forced schools to close on Sunday in parts of Iran including Tehran, as the capital lay under a thick cloud of smog considered hazardous to health.

The pollution level in the capital was “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and officials warned the young, elderly and people with respiratory illnesses to stay indoors, with sporting activities suspended.

Intense smog forces schools to close in Iran, trucks to steer clear of Tehran

Everyone’s lungs were already damaged in Italy

‘It is only the end of February, but air pollution in Milan has already exceeded the legal limit for 2019, and the Po Valley swims in a soupy smog.

“I can really feel when there’s smog, I suffer all winter long,” 45-year old Milan local Fabio Cigognini told AFP, describing the asthma-like symptoms which plague him during the cold months.

“We breathe in poison, but no one tells us anything,” he said.’

‘We breathe in poison’: Why the Po Valley is one of the most polluted places in Italy

Does anyone remember the Killer London Smog in 1952 which killed 12,000 people in 4 days? Milan had the same smog all this winter.

“More than a dozen cities and towns across Italy introduced traffic curbs on Wednesday (Jan 8) in a bid to cut harmful emissions following a spike in pollution.

A prolonged period of sunny weather with little rain or wind has pushed up air pollution across the country, triggering smog alerts in more than 60 municipalities.”

Italy slaps curbs on cars as pollution chokes cities

‘Turin, Milan and Naples are the worst cities in the EU for dangerous particulate pollution, while Italy has the bloc’s highest number of premature deaths from nitrogen dioxide fumes spewed out by diesel vehicles, according to the European Environment Agency.’

These are the 55 most polluted towns in Italy

And France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

‘The Commission warned that citizens in these five countries were being forced to breathe ‘illegal air’ due to the high amounts of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that were being emitted into the air.

NO2 is primarily emitted through transport and causes serious health issues— including heart disease, wheezing, coughing and bronchitis. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. ‘

Italy ranks second on the list of countries with the highest number of premature deaths from particulate matter (the sum of all hazardous solid and liquid particles in the air) pollution in Europe.

The pollution in Italy derives mostly from diesel vehicles and the burning of solid fuels, the report said.

“Air pollution in Lombardy is alarmingly high. It has similar levels of pollution to the most heavily industrialised regions on the continent despite the fact it is one of the richest. It has the means to resolve this crisis but continues to dither,” ClientEarth’s CEO, James Thornton, said.

Italy slapped with air pollution lawsuit

‘The European Commission has threatened legal action against France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK after they failed to protect their citizens’ health against dangerous levels of air pollution.

Limits on NO2 are being broken, which can cause lung infections and heart disease.

In 2013, NO2 killed almost 70,000 people, which was almost three times more people than were killed in road traffic accidents that same year.

Children with asthma and elderly people with heart disease are particularly vulnerable to problems that coincide with breathing air polluted by NO2— such as wheezing, coughing, and bronchitis.’

Five countries face fines after breaking EU pollution laws

In between the smog a sandstorm went over the Canary Islands in late February and then veered North to Ireland with Spain and France on the way.

‘SAHARAN sands were found in many parts of Limerick this weekend, leaving many people dumbfounded – and many cars in need of a wash.

This Sunday, car windshields in Mungret, Dooradoyle and in multiple parts of the county were covered in a fine dusting of a sand-like substance after rainfall the previous night.

“Sometimes you get the dust blowing off the Sahara desert and the particles of that dust are so small that they easily stay up in the atmosphere,” he told the Limerick Leader. “They just get brought up by winds up the Atlantic and then blown on shore here in Ireland.’

Sands From Sahara Make Their Way To Limerick.

Last year there were volcanoes filling the stratosphere and making skies purple. Interesting times.A Swiss Doctor on Covid-19

Cosmic rays are also high enough in my opinion to blow the Ozone hole with Nitric Oxide, if that is possible then add more Nitric Oxide to the smog formula while a prolonged proton/cosmic ray storm is happening during solar minimum.

There is a testing factor, test more people and you will get more deaths attached to a positive test.

‘Some officials also believe Italy, which has already tested over 42, 000 people, may have a higher number of cases as a result of performing more rigorous tests than their European counterparts.

Italy, however, is also reporting an above average mortality rate at 4%. The average age of coronavirus patients who have died because of the virus in Italy is 81, according to the National Health Institute. Italy, which has one the world’s oldest populations, could be facing a higher mortality rate as a result of its above-average elderly population. “Italy is the oldest country in the oldest continent in the world.’

Why Is Italy’s Coronavirus Outbreak So Bad?

There may hardly be a health system in place, after years of austerity and Neo-Liberal cuts to services and outsourcing to the cheapest bidder, a private health system couldn’t cope and it seems there were no supplies in the store rooms

‘The Madrid region, which arguably saw the heaviest wave of privatizations, is now under enormous strain given that it is also the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak.’

Spain Austerity Legacy Cripples Coronavirus Fight

The stats say we are freaking out and 2017 may still have been worse.

Covid19 yet to impact Europe’s overall mortality

Year-to-date statistics show excess mortality lower than previous years

The coronavirus test may be quite random on what it picks up, in Iceland half of the Corona Poz people had no symptoms.
A Chinese study questioned how accurate it was but that will be getting removed.

The test looks like a scam and a waste of money when we need all the things to treat all causes of pneumonia at the hospital first, that’s the problem.

There is now an end of the supply chain worldwide as well.

“Conclusions: In the close contacts of COVID-19 patients, nearly half or even more of the ‘asymptomatic infected individuals’ reported in the active nucleic acid test screening might be false positives.

[WITHDRAWN: Potential False-Positive Rate Among the ‘Asymptomatic Infected Individuals’ in Close Contacts of COVID-19 Patients]

Coronaviruses are normally found in lung transplant donor lungs so everyone may have themDogs get coronaviruses and so do cats.

“Thirty-four studies describing the clinical impact of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza, human metapneumovirus, rhinovirus, enterovirus, coronavirus, bocavirus or adenovirus were identified.”

Respiratory Viruses in Lung Transplant Recipients: A Critical Review and Pooled Analysis of Clinical Studies

People who got the flu vaccine may be susceptible to coronaviruses.

“Examining non-influenza viruses specifically, the odds of both coronavirus and human metapneumovirus in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher when compared to unvaccinated individuals”

Influenza vaccination and respiratory virus interference among Department of Defense personnel during the 2017–2018 influenza season

Old people with heart disease are susceptible and drugs may worsen that.

Another Catch 22 here is half of the normal heart care services are being cancelled to deal with viruses.

“We therefore hypothesise that diabetes and hypertension treatment with ACE2-stimulating drugs increases the risk of developing severe and fatal COVID-19.”

Are patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus at increased risk for COVID-19 infection?

Corticosteroid treatment to ‘soothe inflamed lungs’ allows pathogens including bacteria to have a party.

A month after this warning ‘Yet steroids also can impair the immune system’s ability to fight viruses and other infections’ apparently steroid use was still being thrown around like lollies. The antiviral results of steroids are quite plain.

“Our findings suggested “early” corticosteroid treatment was associated with a higher subsequent plasma viral load.’

Effects of Early Corticosteroid Treatment on Plasma SARS-associated Coronavirus RNA Concentrations in Adult Patients

Lack of sunlight also causes immune failure, a lockdown prevents sun exposure.

We are being told to avoid parks, beaches and stay in as much as possible.

“The virus was inactivated by ultraviolet light (UV) at 254 nm, heat treatment of 65 degrees C or greater…”

Inactivation of the coronavirus that induces severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS-CoV

Lots of old people were left in their beds.

‘Soldiers drafted in to help Spain tackle the coronavirus pandemic by disinfecting and running residential homes have found a number of elderly people abandoned and dead in their beds, according to the country’s defence minister.’

Spanish minister says older people found ‘dead and abandoned’

It is guaranteed lots of old people are freaking out at home alone.

A care worker from overseas told me this so multiply the story by thousands.

“I’ve been doing senior caregiving for the last 15 years, not in a retirement home, private home care. One of my clients, an 80-year-old, living alone, is terrified via MSM and wasn’t letting anyone in to her house. She’s on oxygen and a revolving door of meds. She has lost her appetite and is only drinking Ensure. Today I brought some distilled water for her oxygen tank. I had to bring it in, cuz she’s too weak to pick up a gallon container. I suited up and she opened the garage door to the kitchen. Her house all closed-up and dark. The place is a mess and so is she. It’s so frustrating and sad and so wrong!! I’m sure there are millions who don’t have anyone checking or caring.”

Fear raises cortisol which never helps with viral shedding, scaring people is not a cure.

“Basal cortisol production (operationalized as the calculated area-under-the-curve averaged across the 3 days) showed a graded association with infection risk, with those producing higher levels of cortisol being at greater risk. Cortisol also showed a continuous association with duration of viral shedding, an indicator of viral replication and continuing infection, such that higher cortisol concentrations predicted more days of shedding. Cortisol was not, however, related to severity of objective illness. “

Basal Salivary Cortisol Secretion and Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection

Fauci in his own words said this is like flu so should we stop work and be afraid to breathe?

‘On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%.4 In another article in the Journal, Guan et al.5 report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.’

Covid-19 — Navigating the Uncharted

Does it compare with flu?

Yes.

‘The new coronavirus causing COVID-19 has led to more than 454,000 illnesses and more than 20,550 deaths worldwide. For comparison, in the U.S. alone, the flu (also called influenza) has caused an estimated 38 million illnesses, 390,000 hospitalizations and 23,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That said, scientists have studied seasonal flu for decades. So, despite the danger of it, we know a lot about flu viruses and what to expect each season. In contrast, very little is known about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, dubbed COVID-19, because it’s so new. This means COVID-19 is something of a wild card in terms of how far it will spread and how many deaths it will cause.

“Despite the morbidity and mortality with influenza, there’s a certainty … of seasonal flu,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a White House press conference on Jan. 31. “I can tell you all, guaranteed, that as we get into March and April, the flu cases are going to go down. You could predict pretty accurately what the range of the mortality is and the hospitalizations [will be],” Fauci said. “The issue now with [COVID-19] is that there’s a lot of unknowns.”’

How does the new coronavirus compare with the flu?

The effect of ‘a lot of unknowns’ is actually catastrophic for people though.

‘Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading voice on the White House coronavirus task force, called the stunning loss of 10 million American jobs in two weeks “inconvenient,” maintaining that the economic hit is a mere side effect of necessary COVID-19 precautions.

“This is inconvenient from an economic and a personal standpoint, but we just have to do it,” Fauci told host Savannah Guthrie, backing what is effectively a national 30-day stay-at-home order.

Dr. Fauci then suggested an upcoming extension of the federal stay-at-home order until there is a vaccine, which could take well over a year or potentially years.

The shutdown “is our major weapon against this virus right now,” he said. “We don’t have a vaccine that’s deployable. This is the only thing we have.”

“We can get through it if everybody really leans forward and pushes on that,” Dr. Fauci added.

The Department of Labor announced Thursday “the highest level” of jobless claims in the history of the United States.

“After 3.3 million people claimed unemployment two weeks ago, which was by far the largest number ever for the country, another 6.6 million filed for new unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to nearly 10 million in just two weeks. The previous high was 695,000 in a week back in 1982.”

Dr. Fauci: 10 Million Job Losses ‘Inconvenient’ But ‘We Just Have To Do It’

But nurses are losing jobs, don’t we need nurses?

‘An anxious ER nurse in Los Angeles took to Facebook recently to ask whether any of her colleagues nationwide were experiencing layoffs because hospital emergency rooms are virtually empty — one of the most surprising unintended consequences of the coronavirus crisis.

“This doesn’t seem to be talked about at all… People are losing their shifts and paychecks and jobs,” the L.A. nurse wrote. “We only had 5 people in the whole ER when they sent me home. My agency sent out an email blast basically saying that there are a lot of people struggling to find shifts.

“So, I’m curious if any other nurses are experiencing this?”

The response to her post was overwhelming.

More than 140 responses from across the country were posted on the Facebook private group page “All-ER nurses.” Most were concerned about diminished hours — or having no work at all — and the economic distress that would follow.

“Yes, we are dealing with some COVID-19 patients,” he said. “It’s just not nearly the war zone the media is making it out to be.

Unexpected Consequence of COVID-19 Crisis: Empty Emergency Rooms

One of the good signs has been the use of vitamin C in patients, finally.

My suggestion also would be to use vitamin B3 as well with food in low doses of 100mg to 200mg as I use it for asthma, it works and makes you breathe.

I take the full 500mg of B3 to breathe at night but always with dinner, it is bit like Sudafed so people know. B3 also lessens cytokine storm damage.

“The patients who received vitamin C did significantly better than those who did not get vitamin C,” he said.

“It helps a tremendous amount, but it is not highlighted because it’s not a sexy drug.”

New York Hospitals Treating Coronavirus Patients With Vitamin C

Not sexy alright.

There is a bizarre war going on in health care where any study on the use of vitamin C is contradicted. So our TGA in Australia issued a warning ‘about vitamin C use’ and to ‘not believe in any studies’ the day after this vitamin C suggestion from China.

‘The COVID-19 (SARS-2-Cov) pandemic, first reported in Wuhan, China, is now spreading to many continents and countries, causing a severe public health burden. Currently, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral drug for this deadly disease. A quick, deployable and accessible, effective and safe treatment is urgently needed to save lives and curtail the spreading. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a key factor of fatality. Significantly increased oxidative stress due to rapid release of free radicals and cytokines is the hallmark of ARDS which leads to cellular injury, organ failure and death. Early use of large dose antioxidants, such as vitamin C (VC) may become an effective treatment for these patients. Clinical studies also show that high-dose oral VC provides certain protection against viral infection. Neither intravenous nor oral administration of high-dose VC is associated with significant side effects. Therefore, this regimen should be included in the treatment of COVID-19 and used as a preventative measure for susceptible populations such as healthcare workers with higher exposure risks.’

Can early and high intravenous dose of vitamin C prevent and treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

This is not just insane it is quite irresponsible and endangers lives by telling flu sufferers to just use aspirin and ibuprofen with extra fluids.

This is the Australian government in charge of your health. Here.

I am not sure what they are thinking, do they ever want people to get well?

No evidence to support intravenous high-dose vitamin C in the management of COVID-19

I can also say the lemons and orange stands at my supermarket have been largely full for most of the panic shopping because of TGA advice to avoid them.

If you have just read scathing reports on how vitamin C never works, read this.

“Humans have lost their vitamin C-synthesizing capacities during evolution. Therefore, the uptake of this essential compound from external sources is mandatory in order to prevent vitamin C-deficient conditions resulting in severe morbidities such as scurvy. The potent antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and antiinfectious effects of vitamin C are known since the 1930s. We here (i) review the impact of vitamin C on innate and adaptive immune functions, (ii) provide an overview of its antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties, and finally, (iii) discuss vitamin C as an adjunct treatment option for the combat of human infections by bacteria, particularly by emerging multidrug-resistant species.” 2019

Immunomodulatory and antimicrobial effects of vitamin C

If 42,000 Indian kids have died from starvation in the last 2 weeks, 300,000 this year?

Where is the main crisis?

Fauci won’t help, Bill Gates won’t help.

9 million people die each year from lack of food.

2.5 billion have no water, taps or toilets for their soap.

Tedros Adhanom the Coronavirus expert from WHO scaring us to death about pneumonia is also a tobacconist hustler, so he has a mansion and can stay in by the pool and self-isolate.

He also has a chauffeur and can drive around too.

Hustling tobacco, running the health agency for pneumonia and TB, cushy jobs.

‘In 2013, The Lancet reported that the Ethiopian Government authorised British American Tobacco (BAT) to post hundreds of posters advertising Rothmans cigarettes in Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, an action that seems to have been in breach of Ethiopia’s own laws on tobacco advertising. At that time, Tedros, as Foreign Minister, did not appear to speak out publicly against this advertising.

Indeed, not long after he became Foreign Minister, Tedros attended a meeting in London with William Hague, encouraging BAT, among other UK businesses, to invest in Ethiopia.’

Questions around the candidacy of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for WHO DG

Meanwhile….

“Ashu, 12 | ragpicker

Ashu and his two brothers spend their days in one of Delhi’s largest garbage dumps. They are rag pickers, scavengers looking for scrap metal using a giant, rusty sieve to help them sort the stinky debris.

If Ashu works very hard, he can earn 53 cents a day. He and his brothers have been unable to go to the landfill regularly since the closure was announced because if the police catch them, they will be beaten.

“I miss my friends,” he said, adding that he and four friends would meet in the garbage can every morning, work for a few hours, and then play with the treasures they found: broken toy cars, tattered dolls, and torn clothes.

“I heard that there is a China virus,” Ashu said. “But I am more afraid of the police and not being able to eat.”

For Indian Workers Blocking The Coronavirus Is An Order To Starve

A fiction writer couldn’t make this leadership story up

‘During a radio address on Sunday, Modi encouraged Indians cooped up at home to reach out to childhood friends on social media, dust off old musical instruments and introspect. “Don’t go out but go inside,” said Modi. “Try to know yourself.”

He has also shared some cartoon videos called “Yoga with Modi” for keeping fit, and encouraged people to watch them on a special Modi app.

He has also created a relief fund – PM-CARES – sidelining a decades-old traditional prime ministerial aid fund.

“Why the self-aggrandizing name, PM-CARES? Must a colossal national tragedy also be (mis)used to enhance the cult of personality?” historian Ramachandra Guha, a Modi critic, said on Twitter.’…. The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to requests for comment.

India’s coronavirus lockdown hits poor, tests Modi’s support

Yesterday the Delhi govt handed over the phone numbers of 1,950 Tablighi Jamaat members to the police so the search and crackdown to collect them and ‘isolate’ is going on today and tonight in Delhi with a full moon, ghastly.

This is a recipe for the unspeakable and going on in many countries.

There are critics of this lockdownthe exaggerationsthe panicthe laws to stop, block and detain people but the media and government seems to have gone a bit medieval in the 21st Century.

Heads up to all.

Stay safe.

Posted in Health, Human Rights, WorldComments Off on How Complex Is this Pneumonia Crisis? Millions of People Lost Their Jobs, Food is Disappearing…

Who are the Narco-Terrorists: George H. Walker Bush: The Bush Family and the Mexican Drug Cartel

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research,

In December 2019, Donald Trump offered to intervene in Mexico, i.e. “to go after the Drug Cartels”. The Mexican president turned down Trump’s generous offer.

And then President Trump confirmed that his administration was considering categorizing “drug cartels” as “terrorists”,  akin to Al Qaeda (with the exception that they are “Catholic terrorists”).

They would henceforth be designated by Washington as “foreign terrorist organizations”.

What is the intent? 

Create a justification for US-led “counterterrorism” (military) operations directed against Latin America countries?

Extend the “War on Terrorism” to Latin America?  “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P). Go after the “Narco-terrorists”. 

And now, US federal prosecutors are accusing Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro of  participating (according to the NYT) “in a narco-terrorism conspiracy, in a major escalation of the Trump administration’s efforts to pressure him to leave office”. 

The unspoken truth is (which the NYT fails to mention):

1. Al Qaeda and its related terrorist organizations (including ISIS) in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia are creations of the CIA.

2. The CIA protects the multibillion dollar global drug trade as well as the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels. Moreover, it is estimated that 300 billion dollars (annually) worth of drug money is routinely laundered in casinos across America including Las Vegas and Atlantic City… as well as in Macau and Singapore. Guess who are the World’s richest casino owners.

4. Both American and Latin American politicians are known to have ties to the drug trade.

Flash back to the 1990s: George H. W. Bush, the dad of  Bush Junior had developed close personal ties with Carlos Salinas de Gortari (former president of Mexico) and his dad Raul Salinas Lozano who, according to the Dallas Morning News (February 27, 1997)was “a leading figure in narcotics dealings that also involved his son, Raul Salinas de Gortari…  And Raul was an intimo amigo of  Jeb Bush, (former Governor of Florida) and the brother of  George W, Bush.  

The Bush family has ties to the Bin Laden Family as well as ties to the Salinas de Gortiari family. Is it relevant?

The following text was published in May 2015 under the title  Jeb Bush, the Mexican Drug Cartel and “Free Trade”. The Bush Family and Organized Crime. It also documents the signing of the North american Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by a Mexican head state with links to the Drug Cartels.  

Michel Chossudovsky, April 2, 2020

***

Jeb Bush is a presidential candidate.  [was in 2015]

But Jeb is not only the brother of George W. and the son of George H. W. Bush.

Jeb Bush also had close personal ties to Raul Salinas de Gortari, brother of Mexico’s former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. In the 1990s, Raul the “drug kingpin”, according to Switzerland’s  federal prosecutor Carla del Ponte, was one of the main figures of the Mexican Drug Cartel.  

Jeb Bush  –before becoming Governor of the Sunshine State– was a close friend of Raul Salinas de Gortiari (image right):

“There has also been a great deal of speculation in Mexico about the exact nature of Raul Salinas’ close friendship with former President George Bush’s son, Jeb. It is well known here that for many years the two families spent vacations together — the Salinases at Jeb Bush’s home in Miami, the Bushes at Raul’s ranch, Las Mendocinas, under the volcano in Puebla.

There are many in Mexico who believe that the relationship became a back channel for delicate and crucial negotiations between the two governments, leading up to President Bush’s sponsorship of NAFTA.” (Prominent intellectual and former foreign Minister of Mexico Jorge G. Castañeda, The Los Angeles Times. and Houston Chronicle, 9 March 1995, emphasis added)

The personal relationship between the Bush and Salinas families was a matter of public record. Former President George H. W. Bush  had developed close personal ties with Carlos Salinas and his father, Raul Salinas Lozano. (left)

Raul Salinas Lozano was the family patriarch, father of Carlos and Raul Junior. According to the former private secretary to Raul Salinas Lozano (in as statement to US authorities):

“… Mr. Salinas Lozano was a leading figure in narcotics dealings that also involved his son, Raul Salinas de Gortari, his son-in-law, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the No. 2 official in the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and other leading politicians, according to the documents. Mr. Ruiz Massieu was assassinated in 1994.” (Dallas Morning News, 26 February 1997, emphasis added).

Former president George H. W. Bush and Raul Salinas Lozano were “intimo amigos”.

According to former DEA official Michael Levine, the Mexican drug Cartel was a “family affair”. Both Carlos and Raul were prominent members of the Cartel. And this was known to then US Attorney General Edward Meese in 1987 one year prior to Carlos Salinas’ inauguration as the country’s president.

When Carlos Salinas was inaugurated as President, the entire Mexican State apparatus became criminalised with key government positions occupied by members of the Cartel. The Minister of Commerce in charge of trade negotiations leading up to the signing of NAFTA was Raul Salinas Lozano, father of Raul Junior the Drug kingpin and of Carlos the president.

And it is precisely during this period that the Salinas government launched a sweeping privatisation program under advice from the IMF.

The privatisation program subsequently evolved into a multibillion dollar money laundering operation. Narco-dollars were channelled towards the acquisition of State property and public utilities.

Richard Barnet of the Institute for Policy Studies, testified to the US Congress (April 14, 1994) that

“billions of dollars in state assets have gone to supporters and cronies” (Dallas Morning News, 11 August 1994).

These included the sale of Telefonos de Mexico, valued at $ 3.9 billion and purchased by a Salinas crony for $ 400 million.(Ibid).

Raul Salinas was behind the privatisation programme. He was known as ”El Señor 10 por Ciento” [Mr. 10 Percent] “for the slice of bid money he allegedly demanded in exchange for helping acquaintances acquire companies, concessions and contracts [under the IMF sponsored privatisation program]”(The News, InfoLatina, .Mexico, October 10, 1997).

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Raul Salinas de Gortari is the brother of  former president Carlos Salinas de Gortiari, who signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in December 1992 alongside US President George H. W. Bush and Canada’s Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.(image left)

In a bitter irony, it was only after this historical event, that Carlos Salinas’ family links to the drug trade through his brother Raul were revealed.

The George H. W. Bush Senior administration was fully aware of the links of the Salinas presidency to organized crime. Public opinion in the US and Canada was never informed so as not to jeopardize the signing of NAFTA:

“Other former officials say they were pressured to keep mum because Washington was obsessed with approving NAFTA”.

“The intelligence on corruption, especially by drug traffickers, has always been there,” said Phil Jordan, who headed DEA’s Dallas office from 1984 to 1994. But “we were under instructions not to say anything negative about Mexico. It was a no-no since NAFTA was a hot political football.” (Dallas Morning News, 26 February 1997)

In other words, at the time the NAFTA Agreement was signed, both Bush Senior and Mulroney were aware that one of the signatories of NAFTA, namely president Salinas de Gortiari  had links to the Mexican Drug Cartel.

In 1995 in the wake of the scandal and the arrest of his brother Raul for murder, Carlos Salinas left Mexico to take up residence in Dublin. His alleged links to the Drug Cartel did not prevent him from being appointed to the Board of the Dow Jones Company on Wall Street, a position which he held until 1997:

Salinas, who left Mexico in March 1995 after his brother, Raul, was charged with masterminding the murder of a political opponent, has served on the company’s board for two years. He was questioned last year in Dublin by a Mexican prosecutor investigating the murder in March 1994 of Luis Donaldo Colosio, who wanted to succeed Salinas as president. A Dow Jones spokesman last week denied that Salinas had been forced out of an election for the new board, which will take place at the company’s annual meeting on April 16… Salinas, who negotiated Mexico’s entry into the free trade agreement with the United States and Canada, was appointed to the board because of his international experience. He was unavailable for comment at his Dublin home last week.” (Sunday Times, London, 30 March 1997).

Washington has consistently denied Carlos Salinas’ involvement. “it was his brother Raul”, Carlos Salinas “did not know”, the American media continued to uphold Salinas as a model statesman, architect of free trade in the Americas and a friend of the Bush family.

In October 1998, The Swiss government confirmed that the brother of the former Mexican president had deposited some 100 million dollars in drug money in Swiss banks:

“They [Swiss authorities] are confiscating the money, which they believe was part of a much larger amount paid to Raul Salinas for helping Mexican and Colombian drugs cartels during his brother’s six-year term ending in 1994. Mr Salinas’ lawyers have maintained he was legally heading an investment fund for Mexican businessmen but the Swiss federal prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, described Salinas’ business dealings as unsound, incomprehensible and contrary to customary business usage. (BBC Report)

 A few months later in January 1999, after a four-year trial, Raúl Salinas de Gortari (left) was convicted of ordering the murder of his brother-in-law, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu:

“After [Carlos] Salinas left office in 1994, the Salinas family fell from grace in a swirl of drug-related corruption and crime scandals. Raúl was jailed and convicted on charges of money laundering and of masterminding the assassination of his brother-in-law; after spending 10 years in jail, Raúl was acquitted of both crimes.  …

With the scandal unraveling, Jeb’s friendship with Raúl did not go unnoticed. Jeb has never denied his friendship with Raúl, who [now] keeps a low profile in Mexico.

Kristy Campbell, spokesperson for Bush, did not respond a request for comment. The Salinas family’s demise caught the Bushes by surprise. “I have been very disappointed by the allegations about him and his family. I never had the slightest hint of information that President Salinas was anything but totally honest,” Bush senior  told me in the 1997 interview. (Dolia Estevez, Jeb Bush’s Mexican Connections, Forbes, April 7, 2015, emphasis added)

“The Salinas family’s demise caught the Bushes by surprise”? (Forbes, April 2015) The Bushes knew who they were all along.

Former DEA official Michael Levine confirmed that Carlos Salinas’ role in the Mexican drug cartel was known to US officials.

US President George H. W. Bush was  regularly briefed by officials from the Department of Justice, the CIA and the DEA.

Did Jeb Bush –who is now [2015] a candidate for the White House under a Republican ticket– know about Raul’s links to the Drug Cartel?.

Was the Bush family in any way complicit?

These are issues which must be addressed and debated by the American public across the land prior to the 2016 presidential primary elections.

According to Andres Openheimer writing in the Miami Herald (February 17 1997):

witnesses say former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, his imprisoned brother Raul and other members of country’s ruling elite met with drug lord Juan Garcia Abrego at a Salinas family ranch; Jeb Bush admits he met with Raul Salinas several times but has never done any business with him.”

US authorities waited until after Carlos Salinas finished his presidential term to arrest Mexican drug lord Juan Garcia Abrego, who was a close collaborator of the president’s brother Raul. In turn, Raul Salinas was an “intimo amigo” of Jeb Bush :

Juan Garcia Abrego, a fugitive on the FBI’s most-wanted list, was flown to Houston late Monday, following his arrest by Mexican police …  Garcia Abrego, the reputed head of Mexico’s second most powerful drug cartel, had eluded authorities on both sides of the border for years. His arrest is an enormous victory for the U.S. and Mexican governments. CNN, January 16, 2015

But there is more than meets the eye: while the Bushes and the Salinas have longstanding ties, Wall Street was also involved in the laundering of drug money:A U.S. official said the Justice Department has made significant advances in its money-laundering investigation against Raul Salinas de Gortari and has identified several people who can testify that the former first brother received protection money from a major narcotics cartel.

If the U.S. were to indict Mr. Salinas, it could have implications for a Justice Department investigation into possible money laundering by Citibank, where Mr. Salinas had some of his accounts. Citibank, a unit of Citicorp , has denied wrongdoing. (WSW, April 23, 2015)

The involvement of Citbank in the money laundering operation is documented by a Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs Report (US General Accounting Office  “Private Banking: Raul Salinas, Citibank, and Alleged Money Laundering” Washington, 1998)..

The End Game

Raul Salinas de Gortiari was set free  in 2005. All charges were dropped.

The matter involving the Bushes and the Salinas has largely been forgotten.

Meanwhile, American political history has been rewritten…

Not to mention the 1992 “Free Trade” Agreement (NAFTA),  which was signed by a head of State with links to organized crime. Does that make it an illegal agreement? The legitimacy of NAFTA has so far not been the object of a legal procedure of judicial inquiry.

An “illegal NAFTA” sets the stage for the TPP and TTIP “agreements” negotiated behind closed doors.

All is well in the American Republic.

At least until the forthcoming 2016 presidential elections.This article is in part based on research conducted in 2002. An earlier GR 2002 article on this topic is entitled: Bush Family Financial ScamsNAFTA 1.0: Was It a “Legal Agreement”? One of Its Signatories Linked to Organized Crime. And What About NAFTA 2.0?

Posted in USA, MexicoComments Off on Who are the Narco-Terrorists: George H. Walker Bush: The Bush Family and the Mexican Drug Cartel

When the Invisible Hand Gives You the Finger

Corporate media shrug as elite declare loss of profits worse than loss of lives.

By: Dorothee Benz

Americans can rightly demand an explanation for the vast gulf between the ideas espoused by free-market advocates and the failure of the market to provide essential social goods, most pressingly right now, healthcare.(Photo: Dave Center/flickr/cc)

Americans can rightly demand an explanation for the vast gulf between the ideas espoused by free-market advocates and the failure of the market to provide essential social goods, most pressingly right now, healthcare. (Photo: Dave Center/flickr/cc)

Since the days of Adam Smith, capitalists have been arguing that unfettered markets are the best way to organize the economy. Smith famously said that the rich are “led by an invisible hand” to, “without knowing it, advance the interest of the society.” The rise of the welfare state in the wake of the Great Depression tempered such magical thinking for a few decades, but the ascent of neoliberalism in the last half century has brought a resurgence in market fundamentalism, in both theory (very much including the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post) as well as practice.

NYT: A N.Y. Nurse Dies. Angry Co-Workers Blame a Lack of Protective Gear.

Why the market fails to provide life-saving goods is not a question the New York Times (3/26/20) will be asking.

Yet none of the steady stream of articles from these outlets attesting to heartbreaking shortages of medical equipment in coronavirus-ravaged areas in the US—“A NY Nurse Dies. Angry Co-Workers Blame a Lack of Protective Gear” (New York Times, 3/26/20), “Unprotected and Unprepared: Home Health Aides Who Care for Sick, Elderly Brace for Covid-19” (Washington Post, 3/24/20), “NY May Need 18,000 Ventilators Very Soon. It Is Far Short of That” (New York Times, 3/17/20), or “The Hardest Questions Doctors May Face: Who Will Be Saved? Who Won’t? “ (New York Times, 3/21/20), for instance—have stopped to ask why the laws of supply and demand have so catastrophically failed in this crisis.

I could feign surprise at this elision, but truthfully, it does not surprise me in the least. It angers me, yes; but surprises, no.

Americans can rightly demand an explanation for the vast gulf between the ideas espoused by free-market advocates and the failure of the market to provide essential social goods, most pressingly right now, healthcare. But instead, shortages of masks, ventilators and hospital beds are presented ahistorically, as though there is no cause; problems to be solved, but problems somehow without origins. A good bit of coverage addresses some of the political failures responsible for the shortages (that coverage has its own problems, though it is beyond the scope of my mental health to be able to address them here), but economic failures go completely without analysis, even when they are, on rare occasions, explicitly mentioned.

A Washington Post piece (3/28/20) noted that personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers cannot be bought from private vendors “because companies manufacturing masks and other emergency gear are demanding cash payments on delivery.” The same piece quotes Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: “Allowing the free market to determine availability and pricing is not the way we should be dealing with this national crisis at this time.” But if you’re looking for criticism of the market-driven inability to provide life-saving equipment to front-line workers, you won’t find any in this article. Nor is there any analysis; Northam’s quote is close as it gets.

Similarly, the New York Times (3/29/20) ran a piece titled “The US Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed”:

The stalled efforts to create a new class of cheap, easy-to-use ventilators highlight the perils of outsourcing projects with critical public-health implications to private companies; their focus on maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis…. Covidien executives told officials at the biomedical research agency that they wanted to get out of the contract, according to three former federal officials. The executives complained that it was not sufficiently profitable for the company.

This is a blow-by-blow account of the failed ventilator project, but it is as shallow in analysis as it is rich in detail. The subhead reads, “The collapse of the project helps explain America’s acute shortage,” but, really, all it does is describe it. The lines above are the only ones that even come close to analysis in the 1,800-word story. Also, “maximizing profits is not always consistent with the government’s goal of preparing for a future crisis” is a hell of a way to say capitalism is incompatible with public health.

As superficial and cursory as these two mentions of market failures are, they are the exception; hundreds of articles about the pandemic run every day without even this much. Even coverage of Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act—a Korean War–era law that gives the federal government significant additional power to compel private production and services—managed to sidestep mention of the fundamental truth underscored by the DPA’s very existence: that sometimes a visible hand is needed to “advance the interest of society.”

‘Moral trade-off’ of lives vs. profits

Given the blasé response to the market’s inability to deliver life-saving equipment to those who need it, because it’s not “sufficiently profitable,” it is perhaps not surprising that the view that profits are more important than lives has been treated as a reasonable opinion by corporate media.

As if on cue, in mid-March political and economic elites started talking about the need to “get the economy going again,” making sure “the cure isn’t worse than the problem,” and public-health restrictions having “gone too far.” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested senior citizens should be willing to get ill and die so we “don’t sacrifice the country.” Twitter responded with scathing dark humor and a trending hashtag, #NotDying4WallStreet.

Marie Connor@thistallawkgirl

Jesus died for our sins, grandma died for the Dow.92.4K4:16 PM – Mar 24, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy18.6K people are talking about this

Megan Amram@meganamram

We should call dying “being taxed at 100%” so republicans will care about it74.8K12:45 AM – Mar 25, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy9,753 people are talking about this

Dan Fishback@dangerfishback

We’ve been saying that the Republican Party is a death cult, or that capitalism itself is a death cult, for so many years, but I never thought we’d get this close to them actually getting on TV and telling us it’s our patriotic duty to die for their money.2055:35 PM – Mar 24, 2020

But corporate media treated the idea as legitimate. The Washington Post’s story (3/24/20) on Patrick’s comment went so far as to frame it as a “he said, she said,” Republicans vs. Democrats issue: 

Patrick (R) faced a sharp backlash Tuesday for suggesting that older Americans should sacrifice their lives for the sake of the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, with Democrats arguing that public health should remain the country’s top priority.

WaPo: Trump hoping to see US economy reopened by Easter amid virus

The Washington Post (3/24/20) refers to Trump’s urging a step that “health experts have made clear” would cause “many more deaths” as “optimism.”

The Post (3/24/20) covered Trump’s “raring to go by Easter” pronouncement in a similar manner: “Trump’s optimism contradicted the warnings of some public health officials who called for stricter — not looser — restrictions on public interactions.” “Some” public health officials here means all public health officials, and what the Washington Post calls Trump’s “optimism” would more accurately be described as his utter disinterest in anything or anyone that does not profit him personally. Further down the article acknowledged:

Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction—staying home from work and isolating themselves—the number of infections will overwhelm the healthcare system, as it has in parts of Italy, leading to many more deaths.

The Times (3/23/20) did no better: 

President Trump, Wall Street executives and many conservative economists began questioning whether the government had gone too far and should instead lift restrictions that are already inflicting deep pain on workers and businesses.

So on the one hand we have those concerned that “many more deaths” will occur if we loosen social distancing practices, and on the other hand we have the investor class that thinks public health has “gone too far.” That these two perspectives are both presented as reasonable opinions is yet another example of the false equivalencies that so often plague the Times and the Post. But the equanimity with which these corporate outlets discuss the trade-offs of lives and profits is truly appalling.

Stock market über Alles

WaPo: Wall Street stages massive rally as coronavirus stimulus hopes grow

For the Washington Post (3/24/20), this is good news: “Global markets held their highs even as entire countries announced lockdowns and deaths tolls continued to grow.”

The false equivalence between profits and lives is aided in part by an additional layer of obfuscation: Corporate media are presenting 1% concerns about the stock market as a general interest in “the economy.”

As always in a capitalist economy, gains are privatized while losses are socialized. What this means is that when a company does well, shareholders and executives divide the spoils; workers rarely benefit (and almost never without a union that collectivizes their fight and strength). When, on the other hand, business is bad, it is workers whose hours, benefits or wages are cut, or who lose their jobs entirely. When stocks rise, the investor class benefits; when they fall, everyone suffers.

The economic impacts of the coronavirus are massive and devastating: Brick-and-mortar businesses cannot sell goods and services, and millions of workers have been thrown out of work. Income loss means people go hungry, aren’t able to afford medical care, lose their homes. It also further depresses sales across the entire economy, not just in brick-and-mortar points of sale.

The obvious solution is to keep workers on payroll, and for the government to subsidize businesses that have lost revenue as a result of public-health restrictions in order to meet their payrolls. But this solution has never even been on the table in Washington. Instead, the policy discussion has been dominated by calls to “re-open the economy,” i.e., ease social-distancing restrictions in order to increase commerce, and calls for corporate bailouts. But neither the kill-grandma approach nor the slush-fund approach does anything for the 99%.

Against this background, a piece like the New York Times’s “Restarting the Economy Is About Lives Versus Livelihoods” (3/24/20) highlights corporate media complicity in promoting Wall Street’s agenda. “It’s a moral trade-off between saving lives and sustaining economic livelihoods,” it says, without even mentioning aid to those who have lost their jobs. The actual trade-off is between saving lives and boosting corporate profits and stock prices, and it’s anything but moral.

Coverage of the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill likewise conflated the stock market and the economy, describing the bill as “a lifeline to Americans and their employers” (Washington Post, 3/24/20). The final bill, signed by Trump on Friday, March 27, provides for a $600 increase in monthly unemployment benefits for four months; a one-time means-tested payment of $1,200 per adult (and $500 per child); some state aid that very partially addresses the massive cost increases states are facing; and $500 billion in corporate aid that has no meaningful strings attached to it.

The stock market reacted positively to the bailout bill. As for the rest of us, it’s talk to the invisible hand.

Posted in USAComments Off on When the Invisible Hand Gives You the Finger

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