Archive | May 12th, 2020

Germany Wants to Replace Poland’s “Patriotic Government” with “Europhile Puppets”?

By Andrew Korybko

The former Polish Minister of Defense accused Germany of conspiring with a few other foreign actors to replace the patriotic Polish government with Europhile puppets, arguing that the country’s latest political controversy over the date of its presidential elections is proof of an attempt being made to carry out regime change in this geostrategically positioned country.

Foreign Coup Or Fake Conspiracy?

Poles are often criticized for being “paranoid”, but given their history, it’s understandable why they’re perpetually concerned about foreign conspiracies to undermine their hard-fought independence. Such is the case with former Minister of Defense Jan Parys, who recently accused Germany of covertly working with a few other actors to replace the patriotic Polish government with Europhile puppets. He made his startling claims in an op-ed published earlier this month at a Polish media outlet and reported on in English by the Budapest-based Remix under the title “Coup in Poland: Moscow, Berlin and other foreign powers attempting to overthrow Polish government“. According to the former official, “PiS’s opposition to Brussels, support for the presence of U.S. troops in Poland, and its goal of energy independence from Russia – these are all motivation enough for a foreign-supported political coup in Warsaw.” He believes that the country’s latest political controversy over the date of its presidential elections is proof of an attempt being made to carry out regime change in this geostrategically positioned country.

Rubbishing Anti-Russian Accusations

He’s correct in pointing out how some European countries and members of the transnational elite have openly supported the opposition, but he’s being entirely speculative when he talks about Russia’s alleged involvement in this plot. No credible evidence has thus far emerged of Moscow playing any role whatsoever in recent events there, though he’s correct in opining about Russia’s dislike of the incumbent government. After all, PiS has torn down Soviet-era World War II monuments, vehemently opposed Nord Stream II, invited thousands of American troops onto its soil (even offering to pay approximately $2 billion to construct a so-called “Fort Trump”), and is trying to “poach” Belarus from Russia’s “sphere of influence” as part of its American-backed efforts to expand its own “sphere of influence” through the “Three Seas Initiative“. That, however, doesn’t mean that Russia is actively participating in this obviously German-led regime change operation even if it’s extremely close to Berlin and would predictably welcome such a development. It’s therefore much more relevant to discuss the interests of Poland’s Western neighbor instead.

Germany’s Hegemonic Agenda

As the de-facto leader of the EU, Germany is dedicated to keeping the rest of the bloc weak so as to maintain its economic dominance of the continent. PiS is a problem for Berlin precisely because it’s so patriotic and cares first and foremost about Polish interests as opposed to others’, unlike its PO predecessors. Former Polish Prime Minister and most recently former President of the European Council Donald Tusk is the sworn enemy of the country’s “grey cardinal” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and Parys specifically notes how foreign actors have an interest in returning his people to power so as to rule the country by proxy. Poland used to be Germany’s “junior partner” up until the rise of PiS, and the ruling party has since struggled to complete the country’s full-spectrum liberation from foreign influence ever since assuming power. Germany spent the past two and a half decades investing in Polish media outlets and NGOs (which makes the latter more akin to GONGOs, government-organized NGOs than truly “non-governmental” organizations), which resulted in it obtaining unparalleled political influence over the country without ever having to fire a single shot, unlike during the two World Wars.

PiS’ Struggle For Polish Independence

PiS is doing its utmost to reverse that hegemonic process, but it’s been extremely difficult to pull off. Nevertheless, PiS won’t stop struggling for Poland’s independence, to which end its doubled down on the country’s post-Old Cold War alliance with the US. This was a brilliant strategic move from the perspective of Polish national interests since the Trump Administration is equally suspicious of Russia and Germany, Poland’s two traditional rivals. Accordingly, the US has a natural interest in facilitating the rise of Poland’s “Three Seas Initiative” so as to drive a pro-American wedge between these two Great Powers and thus limit the continental impact of their strategic partnership. Washington also wants to weaken Brussels’ stranglehold over its members and accordingly empower them to exercise more national sovereignty, which is fully in line with PiS’ grand strategic vision as well. With the most on-the-ground influence and behind-the-scenes levers of power, Germany is positioned as the vanguard of the anti-PiS forces, which is why it’s much more relevant to discuss its proven subversion of Polish national interests than to speculate about Russia’s role in this particular respect.

An Historic Crossroads

Considering the insight revealed in this analysis, it’s not hyperbole to state that the upcoming Polish presidential elections — which were recently delayed until August at the latest — will probably be the most important in the country’s post-communist history. Not only is the fate of PiS’ patriotic struggle for ensuring Poland’s independence from Germany up for grabs, but so too is the future of it and its American ally’s “Three Seas Initiative”. The incumbent party’s loss would probably spell the end of this trans-regional integration initiative, which was also noted by Parys himself when he wrote that “Poland will stop conducting its policy of maintaining a bilateral alliance with the United States and will base its security on the European Union. The Three Seas Initiative will be nothing more than a façade. Without Poland and a strong Three Seas, the US’s position in Europe will weaken.” He also believes that “Poland will take the position of a province ran by commissars from Brussels and overseers from Berlin”, which aligns with what I wrote back in November 2017 in my piece about “The Nation-State: Post-Mortem” which discussed the EU’s plot for a “federation of regions”.

Independent Poland vs. German Puppet

As I predicted in my February 2016 piece for the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, “Polarized Poland: The Identity Crisis Goes International“, Poland’s long-brewing domestic political crisis — which is arguably also an identity crisis — has finally grown to take on important international dimensions. Everything is approaching its climax, and the upcoming presidential election will greatly determine whether PiS is capable of continuing its pro-sovereignty mission or if the EU-controlled PO opposition will reverse its impressive gains in recent years by returning Poland under the German yoke. The latter scenario would certainly transform Poland from an influential actor in the Central European space to a politically insignificant one whose national interests would become German ones and would thus be much more likely to be bartered by Berlin with Moscow or whoever else that Merkel chooses. The choice facing Poland at this historic crossroads is a stark but very simple one, and it’s whether Poles aspire for their nation to remain independent (irrespective of whether they agree with the ruling party’s socio-conservative policies) or if they’d prefer instead to cozy up with a variety of foreign patrons (first and foremost Germany) in pursuit of their own personal interests at the expense of national ones.

Posted in Germany, Poland0 Comments

The Important “Plandemic” Documentary that Has Justifiably Gone “Viral”

By Dr. Gary G. Kohls

The powers-that-be behind the banning of “Plandemic” and the disparaging and slandering of Dr Judy Mikovitz are obviously afraid of something that will expose them for planning something evil. Tyrannical corporate forces, starting with Google and YouTube and the CDC and Big Pharma and the MSM have kicked into high gear before any more of us ‘Sheeple” are allowed a chance to view some unwelcome truths that are considered dangerous to the powers-that-be.

There have been any number of pro-over-vaccination trolls that are being well-compensated by Big Pharma/Big Vaccine corporations (that have ruled the world for awhile now) by recommending the banning of the documentary. Examples include any number of similarly-ignorant, shameful lobbyist/troll “journalists” that write for newspapers like the Times, the Post, the Herald, the Tribune, the Daily News, the Journal, the Chronicle, the Register, the Observer, the Sentinel and virtually every other Big Pharma/Big Vaccine-controlled major media outlet all over America and the world.

I urge readers to watch the Pandemic clip before it has been banned

Click here to watch the documentary.

Posted in Health, Politics0 Comments

“Operation Volute”: Covert UK Propaganda Efforts in Syria May Have Broken UK Law

Internal assessment concluded UK government’s covert support of ‘moderate opposition’ was shallow, lacked coherence and cost lives

By Ian Cobain and Alice Ross

The UK’s covert propaganda programmes in war-torn Syria were poorly planned, probably illegal and cost lives, according to a scathing internal review of the initiative that has been seen by Middle East Eye.

Using news agencies, social media, poster campaigns and even children’s comics, communications companies working under contract to the British government attempted to undermine both the Assad government and the Islamic State group and bolster elements within the Syrian opposition.

The UK embarked on its propaganda efforts in the country in 2012 and stepped them up dramatically the following year as the government sought to maintain a strategic foothold after parliament had voted against any British military intervention in the conflict.

The series of programmes was given the codename Operation Volute, and those involved in the work talked not of propaganda, but of “strategic communications”, or “SC”.

However, a review that was conducted during the summer of 2016 concluded that the “fundamental shortcomings” of the initiative included “no conflict analysis [and] no target audience analysis”.

CSSF document

The review also reveals concerns within government about the need for the programmes, which were pushed most enthusiastically by the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) from 2013 onwards because of “policy restraints” imposed by the vote against military action.

Too many projects appeared to be completed because “we had to be seen to do things” or were designed to impress the US government, the review concluded.

“Projects have pushed quick wins and shallow, numbers-driven outputs,” it said.

It concluded that there was a “major risk” that some of the government contractors’ activities were “in contravention of UK law”, although the authors do not spell out how they believe the law may have been broken.

Moreover, so much material was being produced by the propagandists that they had created “a constellation of media outlets”, in which “Syrian audiences and activists got lost and were distracted” and people no longer knew who or what to believe.

‘Lack of understanding’

The review examined two programmes that were managed by a unit within the MoD called Military Strategic Effects, and two managed by a group within the UK foreign office called the Counter-Daesh Communications Cell.

A fifth was managed by a cross-government programme called the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), which aims to tackle conflicts that threaten UK interests.

Four of the programmes were outsourced to British communications companies, some of them run by former army officers or intelligence officers. These companies set up offices in Istanbul and Amman, where they recruited Syrians to carry out much of the day-to-day work. A fifth was outsourced to a polling company based in the United States.

The five programmes were intended to amplify the work of Syrian citizen journalists; bolster groups that the British considered to be part of what it termed “the moderate armed opposition”; counter violent extremism; and encourage dissent among members of Syria’s Alawite communities, from which the ruling Assad family comes.Revealed: The British Government’s Covert Media Propaganda Campaign in Syria

Syrian staff recruited further Syrian workers, who were employed as “stringers” inside the country. Many were unaware that the projects that they were working on were being funded and managed by the British government.

Initial blueprints for at least three of the five the programmes were drawn up by an anthropologist working in counter-terrorism for the foreign office in London.

Their combined budgets from the UK government came to £9.6m ($11.9) during 2015-16, with more money earmarked for later years. The review noted that the programmes were intended to be guided by a strategy drawn up by the government’s National Security Council (NSC), but concluded that that strategy was both “weak” and “opaque”.

Many in the British government appeared to be unclear about what strategic communications could and could not achieve, the review found, and among government officials there was said to be “a lack of understanding about what the Syrian audience really wants and thinks”.

There was also said to be “a tension between the behavioural changes the SC programmes envisage (which are long term) and the short-term opportunistic aims of the CSSF programme”.

‘Reputational damage’

The review criticises a “lack of coherence” between the different strands of the programme and a “duplication” of efforts. It also highlights the complexity of working with Syria’s ever-shifting opposition forces, warning of “potential credibility damage and/or reputational damage to HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] if links between certain MAO [moderate armed opposition] and UK HMG funding leaks.”

The review addresses the deaths of some of the Syrian staff, but is not critical of this aspect of the work.

It says that that “some IPs [implementing partners] have lost several staff members”. One of the contractors is described as having “suffered losses of core staff that damaged the organisation quite fundamentally”.

Document

One of the communications companies delivering UK government propaganda programmes was said to appear to be “an aggressive commercial organisation” which took both personal and political risks.

“There is a danger that they go too far and therefore take risks that may have an indirect negative impact for those through whom they work,” the review found, adding that there was a need to “rein in” the contractor.

The programme’s stringers and the “moderate armed opposition” on which they were reporting were also acknowledged to have caused unspecified harm: “Stringers or MAO are operating in an environment dominated by armed groups undertaking work which could cause (and has caused) harm following their activities.”

Enthusiastic military 

The review acknowledges that concerns were being expressed both inside and outside the programme.

In 2013, it says, the only UK government ministers who had been fully committed to launching new strategic communications programmes in Syria – in the absence of any British military activity on the ground – were those at the Ministry of Defence.

Some in the British government continued to “ask themselves whether taxpayers’ money should be spent on some of the activities of the programme”, while there was also said to be “substantial doubts about the programme among some HMG partners”.

Document

But the UK’s MoD remained enthusiastic, the review said, not least because “the annual cost of the programme (i.e. non-kinetic targeting) represents extraordinary value for money given current policy restraints”.

Nevertheless, the review questioned the costs of the programme, and advised that all of the communications companies were “long overdue an intrusive external financial audit”.

Some of the programmes were intended not only to achieve behavioural change among Syrian audiences, the review noted, but also to gather “very useful” intelligence, particularly on the alliances, tactics and activities of opposition forces.

One of the communications companies was providing intelligence to international military forces based on information provided by a network of 240 stringers working on one online forum.

A key benefit of the propaganda programmes was assessed to be the British government’s “connectivity to different (armed or non-armed) networks”.

However, the review concluded that more thought needed to be given to the balance to be struck between the requirements of the British government and the needs of the Syrian people.

The best way to do this would be “to make sure that the structures that emphasise intelligence gathering are separated from the communications structures aimed at targeting the Syrian audience”.

The review does not question the UK government’s decision to run propaganda programmes in Syria, and says that “focus group discussions, anecdotal feedback and surveys indicate that target audiences bonded with products and took up intended messages, demonstrating that project delivery has been effective”.

Opposition fighters had been given training in international humanitarian law as part of one programme, and one campaign was said to have “brought about behavioural change in pro-regimists”, as it had successfully encouraged them to speak out about the number of people who were being detained by the Assad government.

The UK’s foreign office declined to answer a series of questions about the internal review of its propaganda operations in Syria.

The department declined to say whether the effects hoped for were weighed against the risk to life; how many people died; and whether the UK was supporting their dependents.

It also declined to answer questions about the risk that UK propaganda operations contravened UK law, and would not say whether government ministers had read the review.

Overall, the reviewers regarded the UK’s propaganda programmes as a failure. Asked to give them a mark of A*, A, B or C, the reviewers gave them a B, meaning that they concluded that “outputs moderately did not meet expectation”.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Campaigns, Syria0 Comments

Will the Current Serious Economic Recession Evolve into a Full-fledged Global Economic Depression?

By Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

“I was 21 and looking for work in 1932, one of the worst years of the Great Depression, and I can remember one bleak night in the Thirties when my father learned on Christmas Eve that he’d lost his job. To be young in my generation was to feel that your future had been mortgaged out from under you – and that’s a tragic mistake we must never allow our leaders to make again. Today’s young people must never be held hostage to the mistakes of the past.”  —Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), American actor and politician, former Governor of California and 40th U.S. President, 1981-1989, (in an address to the Nation, on Oct. 13, 1982.)

In the Great Depression in which I grew up and remember vividly, unemployment was over 25 percent, and over 35 percent where I lived. A grown man would work all day, 16 hours, for a dollar. I remember hundreds of people walking by, people who had come down from the North just to get warm. They would come to our house as beggars even though they might have a college education. People didn’t have money. They bartered; they’d trade eggs or pigs. It was just completely different.“  —Jimmy Carter (1924- ), 39th U.S. president (1977-1981), (in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on Feb. 4, 2009, talking about his book ‘An Hour Before Daylight: Memories Of A Rural Boyhood‘, published in 2001.)

“The 1929 [Great] Depression was so wide, so deep, and so long because the international economic system was rendered unstable by British inability and U.S. unwillingness to assume responsibility for stabilizing it by discharging five functions: (1) Maintaining a relatively open market for distress goods; (2) providing countercyclical, or at least stable, long term lending; (3) policing a relatively stable system of exchange rates; (4) ensuring the coordination of macroeconomic policies; (5) acting as a lender of last resort by discounting or otherwise providing liquidity in financial crisis.”  —Charles Kindleberger (1910-2003), American economic historian, and author of The Great Depression 1929-1939, 1973, revised and enlarged in 1986. (Quote in, The World in Depression, 1929-1939 (2nd ed., 1986), Ch. 14: ‘An Explanation of the 1929 Depression’.)

So far, it can be said that central banks and governments in most advanced economies have acted correctly to prevent the economic lockdown of large segments of the economy from turning into a total economic disaster. They have, at least, saved the day.

At the microeconomic level, nevertheless, there has been costly inefficiency when wage replacement programs had the unintended consequences of creating labor shortages in the very essential sector of health care centers and nursing homes.

Indeed, many deaths caused by the virulent coronavirus occurred in under-staffed institutions, where the contagion remained unchecked for months as some workers quit their job to qualify for a government wage stipend. In the haste to inject money into the economy, funds were dished out to unqualified corporations, which should not have received them. —On the whole, however, the main macroeconomic objectives seem to have been attained and the worse case scenario seems to have been avoided.

It has been estimated, according to a compilation made by Bloomberg, that governments around the world have committed themselves to spending some $ 8 trillion in fiscal measures, excluding central banks’ intervention, to prevent their economies from collapsing. The question now is to know if such a large injection of purchasing power has been enough to prevent a severe recession from turning into a long lasting economic depression.

5 to 10 percent decline in GDP, and possibly more, is not out of the question for 2020 in total

In the United States, preliminary figures for the decline in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first quarter of 2020 are not giving a complete assessment of the total economic damage caused by social distancing measures and the closure of many businesses. Indeed, it is estimated that the economic decline during the first quarter of 2020 was 4.8% of GDP, at an annual rate. It is reasonable to expect that the second quarter, which runs to the end of June, will likely show a more important decline.

That is why an economic decline of 5 to 10 percent for all of 2020 can be expected in the United States, and possibly even more, if there is a second and a third wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and next winter, as some experts have been predicting.

What to expect in Canada? The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Canada’s real GDP could decline 6.2 per cent in 2020. This assumes that most of the decline would have occurred during the first half of the year, with a rebound during the second half, as the economic lockdown is progressively lifted. —That figure could be too optimistic. As a matter of fact, the Canadian economy is expected to suffer somewhat more from the economic lockdown than the U.S. economy because of the collapse of the relatively important oil sector.

The relative importance of the service sector

It is important to realize that today’s advanced economies have a larger share of production of services than of goods or products (primary sector: agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining; secondary sector: construction, manufacturing, energy, etc.). For example, the tertiary service sector (consumer personal services, health care, education, retail and wholesale commerce, financial services, tourism, transportation, media, culture, etc.) accounts for 80 percent of GDP in the United States, and it is also where 80 percent of the jobs are.Is Donald Trump a New Herbert Hoover, With His Policy of Isolationism and Protectionism?

In Canada, because of the importance of the resource sector, the service sector accounts for only 70 percent of GDP, but it employs about three quarters of Canadians.

All this to say is that the decline in production during the current economic lockdown is really a loss. This will not be fully recovered when the economy rebounds. There cannot be an inventory of services.

As a preliminary conclusion, we can say that even with an important economic bounce back in the second half of 2020 and in 2021, as many economists expect, this would far from erasing the economic damage already done by the lockdown, during the first half of this year.

In the U.S., a 5 percent decline in real GDP for 2020 as a whole would mean a loss of output of some $1.1 trillion US. However, in the event of a more pessimistic scenario of a 10 percent decline in GDP, this could translate into a loss of output of some $2.1 trillion US.

In Canada, similar percentages would entail a loss of $117 billion CAN, in the first scenario, but a loss of $234 billion CAN, in the second scenario.

A paramount objective: To stop the advent of a persistent structural deflation

The need for central banks and governments to intervene massively in such a time of viral and economic crisis is to prevent the economic downturn from turning into a structural deflation.

A structural or malignant deflation is the result of insufficient demand in an environment of excess capacity, and that may be the consequence of an aging population. The result is a persistent downward pressure on prices and wages. Such an economic condition happens when numerous sectors (ex. financial markets, agriculture, energy, mining, etc.) experience falling prices when firms are forced to reduce prices to move their inventories in an environment of stagnant demand. This results in a drop in profits and in the demand for labor. With a high level of unemployment, wages fall with prices, and a dangerous downward wage-price spiral can be set in motion.

Indeed, when an economy faces declining asset prices, business closings and massive unemployment, banks, companies and consumers with the most debt suffer great financial losses under a crushing debt burden. This could lead to bank closures, loan delinquencies, business defaults and bankruptcies and house mortgage foreclosures… and also to lower prices and wages, and less demand. This could transform an ordinary economic recession into a full-ledged economic depression, with unemployment rates above 20 percent and lasting many years.

Deflation can bring on a destructive debt deflation

In an economy loaded with debts, as is the case presently in many economies, the advent of a structural deflation can signify a death knell for any sustainable future economic growth. Indeed, the Achilles heel of the current economic environment is the historically high level of debt as compared to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Here is a quick look at the level of the U.S. total debt picture in mid-2019:

  1. Total U.S. corporate debt (nonfinancial corporate debt of large companies, debt of small medium sized enterprises, family businesses, and other business debt) was $15.5 trillion or 72% of American GDP.
  2. Total U.S. consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans, student loans, home mortgages and other household debt) was $13.95 trillion or 65.2% of GDP.
  3. Total U.S. government debt (outstanding debt owed by the federal government) was $22.7 trillion or 106.1% of GDP.

All together, the total nonfinancial U.S. debt level in 2019 was about $52 trillion or 243% of GDP, for an economy that produces around $22 trillion annually of goods and services. It’s like having a 500-pound man riding a pony.

With soaring budget deficits of some $3.7 trillion in 2020-21 and of about $2.0 trillion in 2021-22, the total U.S. government debt alone could reach $27.7 trillion next year.

When there is no expected inflation, governments may rely on the central bank to purchase newly issued treasury bonds and let the money supply increase. This is not an option, however, that is open to heavily indebted private companies and consumers. The latter may have no other choice but to default on their debt, or severely curtail their expenses.

For the immediate future, the economic consequences of such a debt deflation could put an important brake on the strong recovery that many observers expect, once the pandemic crisis has run its course and the economy returns to normal.

The leveraged loan market

To add to all public and private debts, policy makers and regulators should keep an eye on the largely unregulated $1.2 trillion leveraged loans market, which is a market for speculative or low-grade high-yield corporate loans.

These relatively new debt instruments are somewhat reminiscent of the 2007-2008 subprime mortgage fiasco, which led to the 2007-2009 Great recession. They could be the first category of debts to collapse if the current recession were to deepen.

Conclusion

It is very unusual that a major public health issue is intertwined with a major economic decline. In the current double-crisis world, nobody can predict with certainty what will happen in the coming years.

That is why I submit three possible scenarios of things to come: A short-term optimistic scenario in which everything goes as wished; a mid-term stagflation scenario when both inflationary pressure and slow economic growth go side by side; and, a more pessimistic scenario, in which widespread deflation and wrong responses and bad policies combine to push the economy into a prolonged economic depression.

  1. An optimistic scenario: Everything turns out just right, public bailouts are enough to prevent the onset of a structural deflation, and the unfolding of a dangerous debt deflation spiral is avoided. Unemployment returns to its historical levers. —It is based on the assumption that the threat of a virus contagion fades away permanently, and does not linger on for months, if not for years. Moreover, it is expected that disturbed commercial supply chains are easily reestablished without destructive trade wars.
  2. mid-term stagflation scenario: The current state of affairs gives rise to important shortages in certain lines of production; prices jump and there are calls for some form of rationing; and stagflation sets in. Unemployment remains high.
  3. A more pessimistic scenario: After years of fiscal irresponsibility and the piling on more and more debt, the current economic recession turns into a full-fledged global economic depression and the economy struggles under a process of debt deflation. Policy mistakes are made and are a repeat of the 1930’s errors, i.e. rising interest rates, a contracting money supply, beggar-thy-neighbor trade policies, which combine to precipitate a worldwide economic depression where every country loses. Unemployment remains stubbornly above 20 percent for many years.

Geopolitically speaking, as judging by some repetitive aggressive rhetoric, again and again, the Trump administration (Trump himself, Pompeo, Kushner, Miller, etc.) seems to be tempted to start a war, commercial or otherwise, with China and/or with Iran. Such an occurrence could throw gasoline onto the fire and turn a bad situation into an economic disaster, with a galloping inflation, even possibly hyperinflation on the horizon. This does not happen often, but such events did occur in the past.

Therefore, there are many reasons why it would seem to be too early to declare victory on the economic front and think that everything will go back to normal, once the viral crisis subsides and the economic lockdown is completely lifted.

—Only time will tell.

Posted in Health, Politics, World0 Comments

Does ‘Israel’ expect roses from the Palestinians?

Amnesty report claims Israel 'kills,' 'tortures' Palestinian ...

Dear Editor,

An Israeli soldier was killed on Tuesday morning during a pre-dawn raid near the Palestinian West Bank city of Jenin. The soldier was hit with a rock thrown off a rooftop that struck him in the head, according to (May 12, AP story). 

In Israel, these incursions are called raids but in the rest of the world it is known as “looting and robbery.”What does Israel expect from the Palestinians after it declared it will “annex” their land/homes? Roses? The brave people of Palestine are defending their lands with rocks against a ruthless military occupation funded by the USA that has jet fighters, tanks, helicopters, M-16’s, and other high-tech weapons. 

Why would ANYONE tolerate the theft of their land? Americans do not support the Russian seizure and annexation of Crimea which was taken by force from Ukraine. Why treat Israel differently? Annexing the West Bank does not make the occupation legit.

his is reminiscent of David and Goliath. Stones vs guns. We all know the story of Goliath who bragged that he could defeat any soldier in the Israelite army. Goliath laughed at David when he saw him small and young. Even though Goliath was armed with a sword and spear, David stood up to him. He put a rock in his sling and swung the rock at Goliath’s forehead. Goliath was gone once and for all.

I wonder if this rock in Palestine is available on E-bay.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

Crushing the States, Saving the Banks: the Fed’s Generous New Rules

by ELLEN BROWN

Photograph Source: Eli Christman – CC BY 2.0

Congress seems to be at war with the states. Only $150 billion of its nearly $3 trillion coronavirus relief package – a mere 5% – has been allocated to the 50 states; and they are not allowed to use it where they need it most, to plug the holes in their budgets caused by the mandatory shutdown. On April 22, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was opposed to additional federal aid to the states, and that his preference was to allow states to go bankrupt.

No such threat looms over the banks, which have made out extremely well in this crisis. The Federal Reserve has dropped interest rates to 0.25%, eliminated reserve requirements, and relaxed capital requirements. Banks can now borrow effectively for free, without restrictions on the money’s use. Following the playbook of the 2008-09 bailout, they can make the funds available to their Wall Street cronies to buy up distressed Main Street assets at fire sale prices, while continuing to lend to credit cardholders at 21%.

If there is a silver lining to all this, it is that the Fed’s relaxed liquidity rules have made it easier for state and local governments to set up their own publicly-owned banks, something they should do post haste to take advantage of the Fed’s very generous new accommodations for banks. These public banks can then lend to local businesses, municipal agencies, and local citizens at substantially reduced rates while replenishing the local government’s coffers, recharging the Main Street economy and the government’s revenue base.

The Covert War on the States

Payments going to state and local governments from the Coronavirus Relief Fund under the CARES Act may be used only for coronavirus-related expenses. They may not be used to cover expenses that were accounted for in their most recently approved budgets as of March 2020. The problem is that nearly everything local governments do is funded through their most recently approved budgets, and that funding will come up painfully short for all of the states due to increased costs and lost revenues forced by the coronavirus shutdown. Unlike the federal government, which can add a trillion dollars to the federal debt every year without fear of retribution, states and cities are required to balance their budgets. The Fed has opened a Municipal Liquidity Facility that may buy their municipal bonds, but this is still short-term debt, which must be repaid when due. Selling bonds will not fend off bankruptcy for states and cities that must balance their books.

States are not legally allowed to declare bankruptcy, but Sen. McConnell contended that “there’s no good reason for it not to be available.” He said, “we’ll certainly insist that anything we borrow to send down to the states is not spent on solving problems that they created for themselves over the years with their pension programs.” And that is evidently the real motive behind the bankruptcy push. McConnell wants states put through a bankruptcy reorganization to get rid of all those pesky pension agreements and the unions that negotiated them. But these are the safety nets against old age for which teachers, nurses, police and firefighters have worked for 30 or 40 years. It’s their money.

It has long been a goal of conservatives to privatize public pensions, forcing seniors into the riskier stock market. Lured in by market booms, their savings can then be raided by the periodic busts of the “business cycle,” while the more savvy insiders collect the spoils. Today political opportunists are using a crushing emergency that is devastating local economies to downsize the public sector and privatize everything.

Free Money for Banks: The Fed’s Very Liberal New Rules

Unlike the states, the banks were not facing bankruptcy from the economic shutdown; but their stocks were sinking fast. The Fed’s accommodations were said to be to encourage banks to “help meet demand for credit from households and businesses.” But while the banks’ own borrowing rates were dropped on March 15 from an already-low 1.5% to 0.25%, average credit card rates dropped in the following month only by 0.5% to 20.71%, still unconscionably high for out-of-work wage earners.

Although the Fed’s accommodations were allegedly to serve Main Street during the shutdown, Wall Street had a serious liquidity problem long before the pandemic hit. Troubles surfaced in September 2019, when repo market rates suddenly shot up to 10%. Before 2008, banks borrowed from each other in the fed funds market; but after 2008 they were afraid to lend to each other for fear the borrowing banks might be insolvent and might not pay the loans back. Instead the lenders turned to the repo market, where loans were supposedly secured with collateral. The problem was that the collateral could be “rehypothecated” or used for several loans at once; and by September 2019, the borrower side of the repo market had been taken over by hedge funds, which were notorious for risky rehypothecation. The lenders therefore again pulled out, forcing the Fed to step in to save the banks that are its true constituents. But that meant the Fed was backstopping the whole repo market, including the hedge funds, an untenable situation. So it flung the doors wide open to its discount window, where only banks could borrow.

The discount window is the Fed’s direct lending facility meant to help commercial banks manage short-term liquidity needs. In the past, banks have been reluctant to borrow there because its higher interest rate implied that the bank was on shaky ground and that no one else would lend to it. But the Fed has now eliminated that barrier. It said in a press release on March 15:

The Federal Reserve encourages depository institutions to turn to the discount window to help meet demands for credit from households and businesses at this time. In support of this goal, the Board today announced that it will lower the primary credit rate by 150 basis points to 0.25% …. To further enhance the role of the discount window as a tool for banks in addressing potential funding pressures, the Board also today announced that depository institutions may borrow from the discount window for periods as long as 90 days, prepayable and renewable by the borrower on a daily basis.

Banks can get virtually free loans from the discount window that can be rolled over from day to day as necessary. The press release said that the Fed had also eliminated the reserve requirement – the requirement that banks retain reserves equal to 10% of their deposits – and that it is “encouraging banks to use their capital and liquidity buffers as they lend to households and businesses who are affected by the coronavirus.” It seems that banks no longer need to worry about having deposits sufficient to back their loans. They can just borrow the needed liquidity at 0.25%, “renewable on a daily basis.” They don’t need to worry about “liquidity mismatches,” where they have borrowed short to lend long and the depositors have suddenly come for their money, leaving them without the funds to cover their loans. The Fed now has their backs, providing “primary credit” at its discount window to all banks in good standing on very easy terms. The Fed’s website states:

Generally, there are no restrictions on borrowers’ use of primary credit….Notably, eligible depository institutions may obtain primary credit without exhausting or even seeking funds from alternative sources. Minimal administration of and restrictions on the use of primary credit makes it a reliable funding source.

What State and Local Governments Can Do: Form Their Own Banks

On the positive side, these new easy terms make it much easier for local governments to own and operate their own banks, on the stellar model of the century-old Bank of North Dakota. To fast-track the process, a state could buy a bank that was for sale locally, which would already have FDIC insurance and a master account with the central bank (something needed to conduct business with other banks and the Fed). The state could then move its existing revenues and those it gets from the CARES Act Relief Fund into the bank as deposits. Since there is no longer a deposit requirement, it need not worry if these revenues get withdrawn and spent. Any shortfall can be covered by borrowing at 0.25% from the Fed’s discount window. The bank would need to make prudent loans to keep its books in balance, but if its capital base gets depleted from a few non-performing loans, that too apparently need not be a problem, since the Fed is “encouraging banks to use their capital and liquidity buffers.” The buffers were there for an emergency, said the Fed, and this is that emergency.

To cover startup costs and capitalization, the state might be able to use a portion of its CARES Relief Fund allotment. Its budget before March would not have included a public bank, which could serve as a critical source of funding for local businesses crushed by the shutdown and passed over by the bailout. Among the examples given of allowable uses for the relief funds are such things as “expenditures related to the provision of grants to small businesses to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures.” Providing below-market loans to small businesses would fall in that general category.

By using some of its CARES Act funds to capitalize a bank, the local government can leverage the money by 10 to 1. One hundred million dollars in equity can capitalize $1 billion in loans. With the state bank’s own borrowing costs effectively at 0%, its operating costs will be very low. It can make below-market loans to creditworthy local borrowers while still turning a profit, which can be used either to build up the bank’s capital base for more loans or to supplement the state’s revenues. The bank can also lend to its own government agencies short of funds due to the mandatory shutdown. The salubrious effect will be to jumpstart the local economy by putting new money into it. People can be put back to work, local infrastructure can be restored and expanded, and the local tax base can be replenished.

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated not only that the US needs to free itself from dependence on foreign markets by rebuilding its manufacturing base but that state and local governments need to free themselves from dependence on the federal government. Some state economies are larger than those of entire countries. Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose state ranks as the world’s fifth largest economy, has called California a “nation-state.” A sovereign nation-state needs its own bank.

Posted in USA, Politics0 Comments

The Anatomy of a Failing University

by DAVID SCHULTZ

Photograph Source: John Loo – CC BY 2.0

American universities are failing. They are private or public schools. They could be religiously-affiliated or not. They could be in the east, west, north, or south of the United States.  They traditionally emphasized liberal arts. They are facing an enrollment and budget crunch for several years, seeing that the declining number of eighteen-year-olds in the coming years poses an existential threat. It has a modest endowment. It is not an elite school. It is a school like the one that many professors teach at.  It was failing before Covid-19. It may not be around in five years. With COVID-19, it may be around even less than that.

Years ago, I argued that higher education had a failed business plan, one that planted the seeds of its own destruction. It was a plan following the failures of K-12.  Now the reality of the failed business plan is imminent .

The reasons for failing are many.

For years it relied on the same demographic of white students to recruit, except that demographic is disappearing.

For years it raised tuition at percentages that far outstripped the cost of living and increases in median household incomes, and now many students cannot afford to go to college.

For years it raised tuition to convince people that the more expensive it was the better a school it was.  Except the school did not invest the money in academic programs.

For years it played the U.S. News & World Report college rankings game.  Except all the other schools played too and all it accomplished was elegant dorms and rising tuition.

For years it spent increasing amounts of money on lavish meals and events to recruit students.  Except all the other schools did the same.

For years it encouraged students to borrow, except now with student loan debt at nearly $2 trillion they are tapped out.

For years  it chased adult Baby Boomer learners who wanted additional credentials or thought they had a novel in them.  But this demographic is gone.

For years  it jumped on the bandwagon to create pricey graduate programs such as MBAs to subsidize the liberal arts school.  Except this balloon busted.

It adopted a corporate, private-sector orientated model for governance, creating high-salaried vice-presidents for every task or problem it encountered.  Except when the financial crunch hit it opted to lay off or reduce faculty and cut back on programs that generated revenue instead of trimming back middle and senior management.  It also then hired a new vice-president or a consultant to manage the finances.

When enrollment and retention dipped it hired a new vice-president instead of new recruiters or admissions staff.

It reduced the percentage of tenured or tenure-track faculty and replaced them with part time contingents. Except it found that the latter, no matter how well meaning, do not have the same time  to provide all the advising and other services full time faculty do.

It expanded sports programs as a way to attract attention and recruit students.  Except few sports programs provide a positive return on investment.

It experimented with on-line degree completion programs.  Except it did so at the same time everyone else did across the country and therefore it faced a new group of schools competing for the same students.

It lowered admissions standards to maintain enrollment but could not then figure out why the retention rates went down.

It cut requirements such as foreign languages, music, or the arts to make it easier for students to get in and graduate into jobs.  Except in doing so it undermined its mission as a liberal arts institution and the reason why students should go to it and not a community college.

It made it easier for high school students to enter with advanced placement credits.  Except it then realized that these students could graduate early and therefore did not pay as much in tuition.

As its competitors added certain programs it duplicated them as opposed to defining what it was good at and focusing on it.

As the job market changed it developed new programs to chase the trends.  Except the new trend was always one step ahead of the school.

It jumped on buzz words and slogans such as high impact learning or stackable to sell itself, yet it did little to really change course offerings or programs.

It invested heavily in learning technology letting it drive pedagogy, instead of vice versa.

It talked about the reality of a coming new student demographics, but it did little to change its marketing strategy or services to support them.

Its administrators and university presidents froze faculty salaries or cut their benefits to make money, trustees gave them bonuses for doing that and then wondered why professors were dispirited  and disillusioned.

It hired presidents who promised big change but kicked the real tough choices down the road to avoid taking responsibility for what might happen.

It said that we have to be more career-focused like community colleges, except it forgot that  an expensive four-year school cannot price compete with a two-year school.

With Covid-19, it is facing an existential threat that has accelerated the problems it has faced for years.

Now the trustees, administrators, and faculty sit around in meetings and wonder why the university is failing.  Perhaps they need to hire an expensive consultant to figure it out.

Posted in USA, Education0 Comments

Amnesty board member asks why Germany hasn’t banned ‘Israel’ for ‘eliminating’ Palestine

Physicist Syksy Räsänen, 4 May 2020 [Twitter]

Physicist Syksy Räsänen, 4 May 2020 [Twitter]May 6, 2020 at 3:10 pm

A Finnish board member of Amnesty International has hit out at Germany’s decision to ban the political wing of Hezbollah by suggesting that the ideology of the Shia movement is no different to the racist views of political parties in Israel, including those in the current government.

Physicist Syksy Räsänen took to twitter following the news of Berlin’s ban of the Lebanese group to say that, “Germany’s ban on Hezbollah is a perfect illustration of how terrorist lists are tools of power politics.”

Syksy Räsänen@SyksyRasanen

Germany’s ban on Hezbollah is a perfect illustration of how terrorist lists are tools of power politics.https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/30/europe/germany-bans-hezbollah-grm-intl/index.html …Germany bans Lebanese militant group HezbollahGermany announced Thursday it has designated the Lebanese militant and political group Hezbollah a terror organization, banning all of its activities in the country and ordering raids on sites police…edition.cnn.com5510:48 – 3 May 2020Twitter Ads information and privacy100 people are talking about this

Explaining why he believes that the decision was politically motivated, Räsänen appeared to suggest that Israel is in fact guilty of having successfully implemented the very policy which Hezbollah is banned for merely promoting. “Hezbollah is banned because it “calls for the violent elimination of the State of Israel and questions the right of the State of Israel to exist.” Substitute Palestine for Israel, he said, and this describes most Israeli parties.

“Admittedly, there is the difference that most Israeli parties have been implementing the elimination of Palestine, not just calling for it,” he continued. Despite the very clear “elimination of Palestine”, he pointed out, Germany has remained a close partner of the Likud, Shas, Labour and every one of Israel’s major parties.

His comments triggered a predictable backlash, including accusations of anti-Semitism. “The comments (many of them vulgar) on this post are an example of targeted insult campaigns from supporters of Israeli apartheid,” concluded the Amnesty official.

READ: UK Supreme Court rules against government attempt to curb BDS

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights0 Comments

Face Masks Pose Serious Risks to the Healthy

By Dr. Russell Blaylock

“By wearing a mask, the exhaled viruses will not be able to escape and will concentrate in the nasal passages, enter the olfactory nerves and travel into the brain.” — Russell Blaylock, MD

Researchers found that about a third of the workers developed headaches with use of the mask, most had preexisting headaches that were worsened by the mask wearing, and 60% required pain medications for relief. As to the cause of the headaches, while straps and pressure from the mask could be causative, the bulk of the evidence points toward hypoxia and/or hypercapnia as the cause. That is, a reduction in blood oxygenation (hypoxia) or an elevation in blood C02 (hypercapnia).

It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness, as happened to the hapless fellow driving around alone in his car wearing an N95 mask, causing him to pass out, and to crash his car and sustain injuries. I am sure that we have several cases of elderly individuals or any person with poor lung function passing out, hitting their head. This, of course, can lead to death.

A more recent study involving 159 healthcare workers aged 21 to 35 years of age found that 81% developed headaches from wearing a face mask.Some had pre-existing headaches that were precipitated by the masks. All felt like the headaches affected their work performance.

Unfortunately, no one is telling the frail elderly and those with lung diseases, such as COPD, emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis, of these dangers when wearing a facial mask of any kind—which can cause a severe worsening of lung function. This also includes lung cancer patients and people having had lung surgery, especially with partial resection or even the removal of a whole lung.Fashion Fetishism, Surgical Masks and Coronavirus

The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia) is associated with an impairment in immunity. Studies have shown that hypoxia can inhibit the type of main immune cells used to fight viral infections called the CD4+ T-lymphocyte. This occurs because the hypoxia increases the level of a compound called hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which inhibits T-lymphocytes and stimulates a powerful immune inhibitor cell called the Tregs. This sets the stage for contracting any infection, including COVID-19 and making the consequences of that infection much graver. In essence, your mask may very well put you at an increased risk of infections and if so, having a much worse outcome.

People with cancer, especially if the cancer has spread, will be at a further risk from prolonged hypoxia as the cancer grows best in a microenvironment that is low in oxygen. Low oxygen also promotes inflammation which can promote the growth, invasion and spread of cancers.  Repeated episodes of hypoxia have been proposed as a significant factor in atherosclerosis and hence increases all cardiovascular (heart attacks) and cerebrovascular (strokes) diseases.

There is another danger to wearing these masks on a daily basis, especially if worn for several hours. When a person is infected with a respiratory virus, they will expel some of the virus with each breath. If they are wearing a mask, especially an N95 mask or other tightly fitting mask, they will be constantly rebreathing the viruses, raising the concentration of the virus in the lungs and the nasal passages. We know that people who have the worst reactions to the coronavirus have the highest concentrations of the virus early on. And this leads to the deadly cytokine storm in a selected number.

It gets even more frightening. Newer evidence suggests that in some cases the virus can enter the brain. In most instances it enters the brain by way of the olfactory nerves (smell nerves), which connect directly with the area of the brain dealing with recent memory and memory consolidation. By wearing a mask, the exhaled viruses will not be able to escape and will concentrate in the nasal passages, enter the olfactory nerves and travel into the brain.”

Posted in Health0 Comments

South Africa: COVID-19 Crisis Unmasks Dangers of Profit Oriented Healthcare

By Salimah Valiani

The pandemic has shown the need for medical care and interventions that have nothing to do with profit. But not even SA’s proposed National Health Insurance would fit the bill.

***

Covid-19 has been linked to a number of truth claims long made by activists in South Africa and around the world. Perhaps most glaring is the need for universal healthcare and fortified public healthcare.

Following the mid-March announcements of measures to deal with the pandemic and the global financial crisis, researcher Sameer Dossani argued that while universal basic income and other income supports would help boost flagging economies, Covid-19 reveals universal healthcare as the most important need.

More recently, researcher and writer David Hemson draws attention to the 4 960 critical care beds in South Africa’s private sector versus the 2 240 ones in the public sector. Hemson underlines that one of the most pressing questions is how the private beds will be used equitably as Covid-19 spreads to the uninsured majority in the face of conflicting claims from the minority with medical insurance.

Brought to the surface by the current pandemic, these issues beg for unity through a common analysis and popular mobilisation in terms of solutions. For advocates and activists from a wide spectrum of political views – Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Shehnaz Munshi and Oupa Lehulere, to mention a few – National Health Insurance (NHI) is the solution for South Africa.

Deeper analysis that draws on medicines being used to treat the pandemic and decades of public healthcare experience in other countries, however, brings out the fundamentally flawed model of the NHI. The analysis is also relevant for other African countries in which public health insurance similar to the NHI is being designed and discussed.

Cuba and medicines 

Interferon Alfa 2B is one of 22 medicines that Cuba is producing to treat Covid-19 internationally and a major antiviral used in China from the onset of the pandemic. The story of how the antiviral came into being helps paint a picture of people-oriented, decommodified public healthcare that stands in contrast to the proposed NHI.

Interferons are proteins produced and released by cells in response to infections. The release, in turn, prompts other cells to heighten their antiviral defences. Cuba began investing in interferons in the 1970s. Interferon Alfa 2B is a product of one of Cuba’s 31 state-owned pharmaceutical firms, which fall under the umbrella agency BioCubaFarma. These firms research and produce drugs and vaccines as per the healthcare needs of the majority in Cuba.

Developed to crush the Dengue virus outbreak in Cuba in 1981, Interferon Alfa 2B was successful and has since been used to fight hepatitis B and C, shingles, HIV and Aids in Cuba and elsewhere.Universal Healthcare in Africa Is a Necessity for Genuine Development

Like its use, the origins of Interferon Alfa 2B is also multinational. As economic and social history lecturer Helen Yaffe explains in a London School of Economics blog, interferons were first identified by London-based researchers in 1957. By the 1970s, United States oncologist Randolph Clark Lee shared successive work with Cubans during then-president Jimmy Carter’s easing of the US embargo on Cuba. Fidel Castro saw the promise of interferons for curbing infectious diseases typical in countries like Cuba.

By September 1981, having learned from Finnish doctors how to isolate human interferon and produce it en masse, Cubans created Interferon Alfa 2B to treat Dengue fever, which affected 344 203 people in 1981. Due to the success of the antiviral, only 158 deaths resulted from the outbreak.

Multinational as it is, Interferon Alfa 2B could not have been a project for the multinational pharmaceutical industry. This is because such a drug cannot realise the level of profit required by pharmaceutical corporations. Johnson & Johnson’s profit, for example, rose 1,077% between 2018 and 2019, despite more than 13 000 lawsuits concerning ovarian and lung cancers linked to the company’s famous baby powder. Looking further back and calculating from Fortune 500 annual figures, Johnson & Johnson has had average annual profit increases of 201% since 2015.

Beyond antivirals, Interferon Alfa 2B is one of 569 medicines produced in Cuba. This is two thirds of the 857 medicines approved for use in the Cuban health system. Comprising about 21 000 workers, including 6 158 university graduates — 270 with PhDs and more than 1 000 with master’s degrees — BioCubaFarma also contributes to foreign exchange generation. As of 2015, Cuban pharmaceutical and biotechnology products were exported to 49 countries. This includes China, which has a joint venture with Cuba to produce Interferon Alfa 2B and was the first country to add it to the list of medicines to treat Covid-19.

Implications for Africa

The lesson here for South Africa and other African countries is simple. For a continent that is struggling to strengthen public healthcare and suffering from poor population health as well as high unemployment, a people-oriented, decommodified model like Cuba’s can turn healthcare into a means of transformation.

The production of health goods that prioritises the needs of the majority – and trains and employs local people in the process – helps strengthen population health while keeping costs down. It also avoids the draining of resources and lives as in the Johnson & Johnson case of soaring profits and destructive products. In addition, healthcare production driven by the needs of the majority creates the potential for exports that spread yet greater good.

In South Africa, this could take shape by socialising the private healthcare industry, which the government’s own health market inquiry has found is controlled by just four mega-corporations: Remgro, AfroCentric Investment Corporation, the Life Healthcare Group and Netcare. They own and control a number of sub-sectors that range from pharmaceutical production, pharmacies, hospitals and homes for the ill and elderly to medical scheme administration and managed care.

The monopoly of these four corporations has evolved largely after 1994 and, like many other aspects of the post-apartheid economy, is a problem that can be rectified now for the benefit of the majority. If activists mobilise around socialising the private health industry, it would be a people-centred solution for the long term, far beyond temporary solutions such as the nationalisation of healthcare industries in Spain and Italy to tackle Covid-19.

This contrasts sharply with the private health industry-dependent model of the NHI, which amplifies the current organisation of public healthcare in which the state subcontracts to private firms. As is well known in South Africa and has been documented for several European countries which have divided public healthcare between the state as funder and private firms as care providers since the 1980s, the major results are under-delivery of goods and services and wastage of public funds through overpricing, corruption and patronage.

Socialised, decommodified universal healthcare also contrasts with models of public healthcare like Canada’s, where delivery of hospital care is fully public but dependent on privately produced pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Over the past 50 years, this dependence has meant that an increasing proportion of public funds has gone to pharmaceutical and medical equipment firms like Johnson & Johnson, while hospital funding has fallen to a bare minimum. Clearly this is not the model of universal healthcare that can take on epidemics and pandemics the way Cuba’s system has and continues to do.

As Covid-19 relief packages in many countries suggest, the risk of neoliberal solutions is high, with the largest share of benefits going to big employers, banks and other corporations rather than workers, the underemployed and the unemployed. Health systems are also at risk of being shaped and reshaped along neoliberal capitalist lines – unless activists seize the moment. The fast spread and multiple impacts of Covid-19 make the demand for decommodified, fully non-profit, people-driven universal public healthcare the basis from which to begin rebuilding society in South Africa and beyond.

Posted in Africa, Health, South Africa0 Comments

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