- Global Community 10th Anniversary (1985-1995) and achievements.
- Global Community 15th Anniversary (1985-2000) and achievements.
- Global Community 22nd Anniversary (1985-2007) and achievements.
- Global Community 25th Anniversary (1985-2010) and achievements.
- Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015) and achievements.
- Global Community 35th Anniversary (1985-2020) and achievements.
- Global Dialogue
- Global Parliament
- Global Community days of celebration and remembering throughout the year
- History of Global Parliament
- Global Constitution
- Global Rights
- Global Law
- Global Justice Network
- The Judiciary
- Global Ministries
- Global Community ethics
- Corporate citizen global ethics
- Peace Movement worldwide
- What Global Community stands for
- Global Community essential services
- Moratorium on world population
- Worldwide disarmament and security
- Global Community is the new Faith, and the Religion of the 3rd millennium
- Global Protection Agency (GPA)
- Protection of the global life-support systems
- Earth biodiversity zone
- Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2018.
- Vision of a new economic system to replace America economic, population, military and environmental wars against our world, Earth.
- Animations for the October 2018 Paper: Vision of a new economic system to replace America economic, population, military and environmental wars against our world, Earth.
- Canada, the overseer and custodian of the Earth's north polar region. (A proposal of Global Community.)
- Letter to Donald Trump, President of the United States, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, concerning "Canada, the overseer, steward and custodian of the Earth's north polar region. (A proposal of Global Community)" from Germain Dufour, President of Global Government of North America (GGNA)
- Causes of the global crisis which triggered the planetary state of emergency.
- Causes of the global environmental crisis.
- Democratic socialism plus vs capitalism. How and why has capitalism been a failure of our democratic system of governance?
- Cosmology, cosmogony, and the Elohim, our extra-terrestrial beings who created the human species on Earth. Thousands of years ago, the human species was first created, engineered, on Earth, by extra-terrestrial Elohim beings.
- A successful Global Civilization for all Life. In this paper it is shown that saving humanity, all life on Earth, requires that Global Civilization be a civilizational state.
- A successful Global Civilization for all Life. The complete animation for the speech in the theme.
- Global Community will celebrate its 35th year in 2020. Prepare now! More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life.
- Global Dialogue 2018. (September 1st 2017 to August 31st 2018). Global Civilization vision of Earth in 2024.
- Proceedings of Global Dialogue 2017
- Share your vision of the Earth in year 2024.
- Global Civilization symbiosis with SoulLife. Love the world, save the world! Rise up global citizens! You are needed! Life needs you, now.
- Global Trade and Resources Ministry.
- Global warming and international trade agreements.
- Business, trade and global resources.
- Business, trade and global resources: Part II (Animation).
- Short and long term solutions to saving the world.
- Global Government of North America (GGNA).
- Global Trade and Resources Ministry (GTandRM) proposal over time since 1985.
- Global Dialogue 2019: (September 1st 2018 to August 31st 2019). Canada, the overseer and custodian of the Earth's north polar region. (A proposal of Global Community.)
- The most important principle governing Global Civilization for Peace in the world is the Scale of Global Rights.
- The dream of a new Eden: Global Civilization.
- Global Civilization values, solutions, vision, for the survival of our species.
- Global Parliament, the 21st century vision of Global Community.
- Global Parliament values and vision.
- Global Civilization Politics and Justice Without Borders.
- Global Civilization issues, values, solutions, and vision of the world for survival as a species.
- Formation and evolution of Life in the Universe, a spiritual pathway to SoulLife. (26 MBs video).
- Global Civilization vision to saving the world.
- Global Civilization has found that people from Wall Street live a dream life.
- Global Dialogue 2018 (September 1st 2017 to August 31st 2018): Global Civilization vision of Earth in 2024.
- Global Exhibition 2016 is about Global Community establishing a global action plan for the survival of life on our planet.
- On the issues of land ownership and sovereignty within Global Community, and their applications in the Artic.
- Global Community needs a Commons Trust Fund to manage the Commons with the highest priorities.
- Global Community establishing a global action plan for the survival of life on our planet.
- Peace, love and forever happiness on Earth.
- Timeless Global Community values.
- My Global Community. My Global Community is about the protection of all life and establishing women rights being equal to men rights in society here and abroad.
- Global Community days of celebration or remembering in May of every year.
- Global Community Ministry of World Population.
- Animations for the theme World Overpopulation as introduced in May Newsletter
- Glass Bubble concept of a Global Community.
- Global Civilization, the 21st century Vision of Global Community
- Global Community Faith in God's Spirit, Soullife, helping the formation of Life in the Universe.
- Global Community Ethics.
- Today, Global Community is Noah's Ark.
- Peace in the world with Global Community.
- Corporate citizen global ethic.
- Global Community 30th Anniversary (1985-2015) and achievements.
- From Prophet Mohammad (GR)(GR), Je suis Charlie Hebdo, global security to the Scale of Global Rights.
- Global Protection Agency (GPA).
- Global citizens moving forward to SoulLife God Promised Land.
- Global Community choices to save the world.
Global Community celebrates its 35th year in 2020. More significant and meaningful actions needed to save the Earth, all life.
Paper and animations concerned about the Global Community 35th year achievements and celebration from its beginning in 1985 to 2020 .
"The Global Community is defined as being all that exits or occurs at any location at any time between the Ozone layer above and the core of the planet below. It is defined around a given territory, that territory being the planet as a whole, as well as a specific population, which is all life forms on Earth." By extension, the expression Global Community also includes the entire Universe, space and time, all matter, galaxies, dark matter, all particles and all unknown parts of the Universe yet to be discovered. Global Community also includes all Souls, SoulLife God, and that makes it different than just saying Global Community is the Universe .
Dr Elias Akleh, David Anderson, Andrew J Bacevich, David Bromwich, Jan Wesner Childs, Dan Corjescu, Countercurrents Collective (6), Guy Crequie , Finian Cunningham, Tom Engelhardt, Pepe Escobar (3), Edward Fullbrook, Philip Giraldi, Dr Andrew Glikson, Yuz Gonsalves, Eoin Higgins, Robert Hunziker (3), Dahr Jamail, Lee Jeong-ho, Irwin Jerome (2), Shirley Leung, Kim Petersen, Dr Gideon Polya, Paul Craig Roberts, James Rothenberg, Andre Vltchek , S G Vombatkere, Eric Zuesse.
Dr Elias Akleh, The War of Oil Tankers
David Anderson, Homo Sapiens Extinction?
Andrew J Bacevich, The Fake News of D-Day.
David Bromwich, Fire and Flood – Politics as Usual and Planetary Destruction.
Jan Wesner Childs, Arctic Permafrost Melting 70 Years Sooner Than Expected.
Dan Corjescu, If These Be Men…
Countercurrents Collective, Dumping Dollar? Russia and China agree to bilateral trade in national currencies.
Countercurrents Collective, Global population to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 and India’s to surpass China’s in 6yrs, says UN.
Countercurrents Collective, Warming may reduce sea life by 17%, finds study.
Countercurrents Collective, U.S. military, world’s single largest producer of GHG, says study.
Countercurrents Collective, A billion people facing high exposure to climate change effects, finds Global Peace Index.
Countercurrents Collective, Heat spike to cost global economy $2.4 trillion a year, says ILO.
Guy Crequie, Poèmes: hommage à la nature! Spellbinding nature!
Finian Cunningham, More Evidence US Armed Syria Terrorists as Trump Pleads Ceasefire
Tom Engelhardt, Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?
Pepe Escobar, Russia-India-China will be the big G20 hit.
Pepe Escobar, Russia-India-Chinashare a room with a view.
Pepe Escobar, The un-submersible US-Iran stalemate.
Edward Fullbrook, Economics 101 and Ecological Collapse
Philip Giraldi, Goodbye Dollar, It Was Nice Knowing You!
Dr Andrew Glikson, Beyond climate tipping points: Greenhouse gas levels exceed the stability threshold of the ice sheets.
Yuz Gonsalves, Solarisation of Agriculture is the need of the hour.
Eoin Higgins, Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt.
Robert Hunziker, The Permafrost Nightmare Turns (More) Real.
Robert Hunziker, The Dangerous Methane Mystery.
Robert Hunziker, Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early.
Dahr Jamail, Arctic Is Thawing So Fast Scientists Are Losing Their Measuring Tools.
Lee Jeong-ho, China seeks Indian andRussian backing for ‘new’ multilateraltrading system tocounter Trump’sprotectionism.
Irwin Jerome, Lithium: The Next Suicidal Solution To The Fossil Fuel Climate Crisis.
Irwin Jerome, Canada’s Fossil Fuel Conspiracy Against The Blue Planet.
Shirley Leung, We must stop our nation’s push for relentless war.
Kim Petersen, Video: “Plutocracy V: Subterranean Fire”.
Dr Gideon Polya, Climate Criminal Australia Ignores Its Hugely Increasing Carbon Debt & Massive Subsidies For GHG Pollution.
Paul Craig Roberts, The Diminishing American Economy.
James Rothenberg, Capitalism vs. The World.
Andre Vltchek, Look at them now – those who ate your lies.
S G Vombatkere, The Economic Growth – Climate Change Conundrum: Is it the end of the road? Is there a way ahead?
Eric Zuesse, U.S. Government Tops All For Creating Refugees.
|Day data received||Theme or issue||Read article or paper|
|June 21, 2019||
Poèmes: hommage à la nature! Spellbinding nature!
by Guy Crequie
Guy Crequie Email: email@example.com
Guy CREQUIE Global file
Ecrivain français à finalité philosophique. Blog http://guycrequie.blogspot.com
Nature envoûtante :
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Printemps de lumière
Les gerbes de blé
Derrière la trace infinie
Le gazon reverdit
Nuée matinale, beauté de l’éveil
Printemps de fête au cœur des vies
Tel un halo recouvrant
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Hymne au rythme de la nature
Consommer les ténèbres
Voir la rose s’entrouvrir
Le gazon sous la rosée
Empreinte de la beauté
Respirons à plein poumon
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
HOMMAGE A LA TERRE
Elle porte nos pieds
La terre est un trésor d’harmonie
Voyager par l’image, le son,
La terre est faite pour nous aimer
Tant de grains ont levés
Il y eut et il est régulièrement des prix Nobel
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
HYMNE A L’AMOUR HUMAIN
Peuples des cités lointaines
Reliés comme des anneaux de vie
Entre Vénus et mars
Nos yeux devraient s’imprégner
En symbiose avec la nature
L’harmonie de nos vies
L’hymne à l’amour
De même que les frontières au ciel, en voyez-vous quelque trace ?
Alors, cette société de l’information
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Dear poet Guy Crequie.
Subject: TR: TR: Poems = homage to nature!
The dishevelled rhythm
Be delirious oneiric
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Spring of light
Sheaves of wheat
Behind the infinite trace
The grass reverdit
Morning cloud, beauty of the awakening
Spring of festival in the middle of the lives
A such recovering halation
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
Anthem to the rhythm of nature
To consume darkness
See the pink to half-open
Present the meadow reverdie
The incandescence of the sun
Let us breathe with full lung
It carries our feet
Thoughts of our spirits
The ground is a treasure of harmony
The plane or another method
The ground is made to love us
So many grains raised
Or quite simply to claim peace, justice and the human rights
There was and it is regularly Nobel Prize
ANTHEM WITH THE HUMAN LOVE(For the harmony of our lives)
People of the remote cities
Connected like rings of life
With a high spirituality
Between Venus and March
Our eyes should be impregnated
The anthem of harmony
The harmony of our lives
The anthem with the love
In the same way what the borders with the sky, do you see some trace of it?
Then, this information society
Copyright Guy CREQUIE
|June 05, 2019||
Video: “Plutocracy V: Subterranean Fire”.
by Kim , InformationClearing House,
Said Spies to the court:
Subterranean Fire documents historically how the capitalist class have nefariously accumulated wealth and power for selfish purposes by depriving working people of dignity and rights.
Subterranean Fire details at the outset how strike actions and popular revolts were put down by corporations through their cronies, including police, private detectives, vigilantes, and even the National Guard. In the Homestead strike of 1892, after workers had defeated the Pinkerton agency’s private army, the National Guard was brought out.
According to data cited in the film, in 1929, 60 percent of the population lived well below the poverty line. Despite large increases in productivity, there was no trickle down of profits. Neither was there a social safety net.
Labor historian Peter Rachleff tells how organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army were enmeshed in the capitalist pattern, categorizing the poor into deserving and undeserving of assistance based on what their “interrogations” uncovered about one’s life style. The unemployed were often blamed for being without employment.
Violence against workers was rampant, and the government was complicit in the violence. The über-rich industrialist Henry Ford hired armed guards to crush disenchanted workers. These armed guards shot and killed hunger marchers from the River Rouge plant.
Finally in 1935, unions were legalized. There was hope. A crafts union, the AFL was formed; also formed was an industrial workers union, the CIO. These two were to merge years later into the AFL-CIO.
Subterranean Fire informs how unions sought to end prejudice — an obvious sine qua non in the battle between the moneyed power of the capitalist class and working class.
A message that is compelling and clearly conveyed is that government (and hence “democracy”) is not a force for the masses of workers. Especially prominent in pushing for the dignity of labor were communist leaders.
Communism and Social Justice
Rachleff identified the communists’ goal as developing workers as human beings.
Of particular importance to communists was the inclusion of the Black masses. The KKK, who were supported by state power, warned against Blacks attending communist meetings.
Communists played a prominent role in the scathingly egregious example of racism meted out to the Scottsboro boys. African-American Studies professor Carol Anderson lays out how nine Black teenagers were falsely accused of rape by two White prostitutes. This raised temperatures to boiling among racist Whites. In a one-day trial, eight youths were sentenced to the electric chair and the other youth to life imprisonment. Eventually one woman recanted her false testimony, but it was 17 years before the last prisoner was released for a crime never committed.
Immigrants were also targeted for exploitation.
Stoop labor, such as farm labor where the worker was often stooped over while working in the fields, was considered undesirable. This provided work opportunities for those more desperate; Mexican workers were attracted by the opportunity for work. As immigrant labor, they were without rights and often mistreated. To avoid a labor shortage during WWII, the US-Mexico had reached agreement on the Bracero program, a massive guest worker program that allowed over four million Mexican workers to migrate and work temporarily in the United States from 1942 to 1964. Scandalously, many Braceros still seek to collect unpaid wages from that time. As Justin Chacon, author of No One Is Illegalpoints out, this form of captive labor has continued into the present. The current backlash against immigrants supported by the Donald Trump government augurs back to the Bracero program.
Resistance in the Arts
Artists, writers, and actors were centers of unionization and resistance against exploitation of people. Such artistic expression was opposed by the capitalist class.
Subterranean Fire features an excerpt from director Tim Robbins’ movie Cradle Will Rock, where the capitalist Nelson Rockefeller is questioning the artist Diego Rivera who was commissioned by Rockefeller to produce a fresco for the Rockefeller Center in New York city. However, the pro-communist display was too much for Rockefeller to stomach; he subsequently had the fresco destroyed.
The Importance of Solidarity
In Flint, Michigan, autoworkers occupied factories and conducted sit-down strikes. Historian Sharon Smith points out the ingenuity of such a tactic: while factory owners were readily willing to use violence against workers, they were loathe to damage their own factories.
Women of the epoch played an important role in supporting the labor rights actions of the men. Women auxiliaries sneaked food into the men; they broke windows to prevent men from being overcome by gas attacks; and they served as a distraction to police.
The strikers reached out to fellow autoworkers across the country and fostered much unity. These tactics helped workers win demands from Big Auto.
Sit-down strikes spread across the country. The film tells that in 1937 almost 5 million workers took part in sit-down strikes. It was a heady time for workers.
However, in the end, the grassroots organizing power of workers was undermined by the union leadership which sought an alliance between labor and capital. The Communist Party of America also failed the working class.
In another blow to workers, the Supreme Court ruled sit-down strikes illegal in 1939.
The demonized state of workers was epitomized in the summer of 1937 when Chicago police shot at a parade of striking steelworkers and their families. Fifty were shot and 10 died. President Franklin Roosevelt sat on the fence and blamed both sides for the violence.
Later, however, FDR appeared to have a change of heart, and in 1944 he backed a second Bill of Rights for all, among the rights were such basics as “a right to a useful and remunerative job,” “the right of every family to a decent home,” and “the right to adequate medical care.” According the the documentary, FDR was no true friend of labor, and his expressed views were in anticipation of the United States entering WWII. Nonetheless, FDR died a year later.
Demonizing Workers and the Left
Capitalists, with media in tow, demonized communists and anarchists. The Alien Registration Act of 1940 aimed to preserve the status quo. Japanese-Americans were interred. Communists were targeted.
The FBI was involved. Edgar Hoover had leftists monitored and surveilled by tactics including wiretaps and break-ins. The anti-leftism was so extreme that a section of corporate America supported fascism. The fascists supported Nazi Germany in WWII. 
Post-WWII the top income tax rate was 91% until 1964. One-third of workers belonged to a union. From 1940 to 1967 real wages doubled. Living standards doubled.
However, the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 would attack workers, banning many types of strikes, closed union shops, union political contributions, communists and radicals in union leadership, and the compelled payment of union dues. The Supreme Court upheld Taft-Hartley, and it remains in force today.
The film also examines McCarthyism, a witch hunt against communists or communist-leaning types, as a psychological attack against Americans. No one was safe. Blacklisting was in vogue and among the first blacklisted were the so-called Hollywood 10 for either communist sympathies or refusal to aid Congress’ House Un-American Activities Committee investigations into the Communist party or having fought for the rights of Blacks and workers. The list expanded much past 10. One celebrity given in-depth prominence in Subterranean Fire was singer Paul Robeson who refused to back down before Congress, stated he was for Negro and worker rights, and accused Congress of neo-fascism.
McCarthyism hit hysterical heights as exemplified by Texas proposing the death penalty for communist membership and Indiana calling for the banning of Robin Hood.
McCarthyism was foiled when it bit off more than it could chew. When McCarthyism took on the establishment, in particular the military, its impetus ground to an inglorious halt. The Alien Registration Act was ruled unconstitutional, and the First Amendment right to political beliefs was upheld.
Subterranean Fire notes that the damage to the labor movement was already done. A permanent war economy was established: overtly through the military and covertly through the CIA. Come 2001, union membership had dropped to 13.5%. Radicals were disconnected from their communities; union democracy was subverted by a top-down leadership which avoided the tactic of striking for collective bargaining; the court system was heavily backlogged with labor-management issues, which usually were ruled in favor of management.
Some outcomes noted in the film,
Grotesque income and wealth disparity signifies the current state of neoliberalism. Yet Subterranean Fire finds glimmers of change for working men and women.
Despite relating the historical trampling of the working class, the film concludes on a sanguine note. Union strength appears to be on the rebound with solidarity being a linchpin. Labor strikes were on the upswing in the US, with teachers leading the way. Fast-food workers are fighting for a decent wage. Labor which has seen real wages stagnate in the age of neoliberalism is fighting back worldwide. Autoworkers in Matamoros, Mexico are striking and colleagues in Detroit, Michigan have expressed support for their sisters and brothers. The Gilet Jaunes in France have been joined by labor. A huge general strike took place in India. The uptick of resistance was not just pro-labor but anti-global warming in Manchester, UK; Tokyo, Japan; Cape Town, South Africa; Helsinki, Finland; Genoa, Italy; and, Nelson, Aotearoa (New Zealand).
All this, however, must be considered through the lens of the current political context. A virulent anti-socialist president and his hawkish administration occupy the White House in Washington. Despite the nationwide strike actions, the right-wing BJP and prime minister Narendra Modi won a recent huge re-election in India. The purportedly centrist Liberal Party in Canada, rhetoric aside, has been, in large part, in virtual lockstep with the US administration. 
The Importance of Metanoia Films
Today, people with access to the internet have little excuse for continuing to depend on state-corporate media sources. Why would anyone willing subject himself to disinformation and propaganda? Not too mention paying for access to such unreliable information and the soul-sapping advertisements that accompany it.
It is important that we be cognizant of the search engine manipulations of Google, the biased opinions parlayed by moneyed corporate media, and the censorship of social media data-mining sites. The corporate-state media nexus wants to limit and shape what we know. The current war on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is proof positive of this. Assange and WikiLeaks exposed horrific war crimes. It is a no-brainer that a person should be congratulated for bringing such evil perpetrated by the state to the public awareness. Instead the establishment seeks to destroy WikiLeaks, the publisher Assange, and Chelsea Manning who is accused of providing the information to WikiLeaks.
Given the corporate-state power structure’s ideological opposition to WikiLeaks and freedom on information as well as the preponderance of disinformation that emanates from monopoly media, it seems eminently responsible that people seek out credible independent sources of information. Metanoia Films stands out as a credible source.
There are plenty of independent news and information sites that provide analysis that treat the reader/viewer with respect by substantiating information provided in reports and articles with evidence, logic, and even morality. The reader/viewer who seeks veracity has an obligation to consider the facts, sources, and reasoning offered and arrive at her own conclusions.
Metanoia documentaries lay out a historical context that helps us understand how we arrived at the state of affairs we find ourselves in today. It is an understanding that is crucial to come up with solutions for a world in which far too many languish in poverty, suffer in war zones, and are degraded by the cruelties of inequality. It is an understanding that is crucial for communicating, planning, and organizing the establishment of new societies in which all may flourish and of which all may be proud.
Independent media is meant for independent thinkers and those who aspire to a better world. Watch Plutocracy V: Subterranean Fire and the first four parts in the Plutocracy series and become informed.
Kim Petersenis a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @kimpetersen.
|June 10, 2019||
More Evidence US Armed Syria Terroristsas Trump Pleads Ceasefire.
by Finian Cunningham, InformationClearing House,
Remember when Donald Trump was running for president back in 2016, and he bragged he would “bomb the hell out of” terrorists in Syria. Now, in a reversal, Trump is calling on Syrian and allied Russian forces to stop bombing Idlib, the last redoubt of terror groups in Syria.
Trump urged Syria, Russia and Iran to “stop bombing the hell out of Idlib” claiming that civilians were being indiscriminately killed in the offensive to retake the renegade northwest province.
It seems like a strange plea from the American president. Idlib is unquestionably a stronghold for internationally proscribed terror groups, mainly Jabhat al Nusra (rebranded as Hayat Tahrir al Sham). Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power say it is their sovereign right to rout the militants, who have reportedly broken ceasefire agreements to launch attacks on civilian areas in government-controlled areas, as well as on the Russian air base at Hmeimim.
Moscow rejected Trump’s characterization of indiscriminate killing of civilians, saying that its operations along with Syrian forces are being directed at defeating illegally armed militants.
Moreover, the offensive to retake Idlib comes as new evidence emerges of the massive – albeit covert – international military support given to the various terror groups during Syria’s nearly eight-year war. Syrian state media this week reported arsenals of weaponry recently recovered in Damascus countryside and further south in the Daraa area.
The arsenals included rows and rows of heavy machine-guns, sniper rifles and US-made TOW missiles. Much of the weaponry was also of Israeli-origin, according to reports.
A separate find showed tonnes of C-4 plastic explosive, which Syrian military intelligence said was “US-made”. Up to four tonnes (4,000 kgs) were recovered this time around. Half a kilo of this lethal material is enough to kill several people.
This is not, of course, the first time that such huge caches of US, Israeli and NATO-origin weaponry have been recovered from territory formerly held by terrorists in Syria. There have been numerous such finds, which also included industrial chemicals made in Germany and Saudi Arabia, capable of producing sarin and other highly toxic munitions. That implies military-grade logistics and technical knowhow.
Taken together, the unavoidable conclusion is that internationally proscribed terrorist groups have been systematically weaponized by the US, its NATO allies, Israel and the Arab regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The array of weaponry indicates international and state-level organization, not haphazard procurement from disparate private arms dealers.
A plausible configuration for how the weapons into Syria were delivered and paid for is the following: most likely through smuggling routes from Turkey, Jordan and Israel. The oil-rich Arab monarchs would have footed the bill. The American CIA and Britain’s MI6 managed the logistics and weapons handling. The circuitous supply chain was sufficiently obscure to avoid oversight by the US Congress and European parliaments. But the bottomline is that terrorist organizations were evidently weaponized by Washington and its allies for the objective of regime change in Damascus.
That is why President Trump and other Western leaders do not have any moral authority whatsoever when they make belated calls for a ceasefire in Idlib province.
Syria has faced an international criminal conspiracy to destroy its nation. Washington and other NATO states have been fully complicit in directing that conspiracy by arming terror groups to the teeth. Western corporate news media have served as propaganda cover for the entire criminal enterprise, lionizing the terrorists as “rebels”, and continually demonizing the Syrian army and its allies in their efforts to liberate the country from the foreign-sponsored scourge. Recall the disgraceful Western media distortion over the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian army and Russia in 2016-2017, endeavoring to portray that defeat of besieging terror groups as a “massacre”. The Western media never followed up their hysterical charade with subsequent reports of how Aleppo citizens actually rejoiced in their liberation from Western-backed “rebels”.
The infernal problem of conflict and violence in Syria is the direct consequence of Western states embarking on a criminal scheme years before the war started in 2011 in order to overthrow the government of President Bashar al Assad.
A proud and rich ancient civilization of pluralist tolerance among religions and ethnicities was almost destroyed by the nefarious regime-change war. It was largely due to Russia’s military intervention at the end of 2015 in support of its Syrian ally, as well as support from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, that turned the tide of war and saved Syria from being plunged into a failed state over-run by jihadist warlords.
Syrian state forces have every legal and moral right to finish this war by conquering the last bastion of foreign-backed terror groups holding out in Idlib. Those groups have forfeited any respite by their repeated violation of ceasefire agreements with the Syrian government, violations which targeted civilian areas.
Trump’s apparent concern over civilian deaths is no doubt misinformed by his intelligence agencies who have been covertly sponsoring the terror groups and their media agents, the so-called White Helmets.
In any case, as more evidence emerges of the systematic weaponization of terrorists by the US and its allies, the calls for “restraint” out of Washington and other Western capitals should be treated with contempt. If they had any genuine concern for civilian safety, they would be providing information on the whereabouts of other weapons caches hidden in Syria and supplied to their terrorist mercenaries.
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.
This article was originally published by "Strategic Culture Foundation " -
|June 12, 2019||
China seeks Indian andRussian backing for ‘new’ multilateraltrading system tocounter Trump’sprotectionism.
by Lee Jeong-ho, InformationClearing House,
Narendra Modi expected to join Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to express support for initiative.
China seeks Indian and Russian backing for ‘new’ multilateral trading system to counter Trump’s protectionism
Narendra Modi expected to join Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to express support for initiative
China hopes to win Indian and Russian support in establishing a “new type” of “rules-based” and “multilateral” trade initiative.
Multiple Indian media reports suggest the country’s recently re-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join forces with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kyrgyzstan this week to express their concerns about US President Donald Trump’s protectionist approach. The summit comes ahead of an expected meeting between Xi and Trump at the G20 summit in Japan, where they are expected to hold talks aimed at resolving their trade dispute.
However, the confrontation between the United States and China has expanded into a number of other areas, such as technology and geopolitics. Trump has threatened to impose further trade tariffs if Xi refuses to meet him in Osaka and the US president has asked its allies to help contain China.
India is one of the many countries that has expressed concern about the impact of the White House’s protectionist policies, leading to the expectation that it will use the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation platform to express its stance.
The Beijing-led organisation, known as the “alliance of the East”, is intended to provide an alternative platform for political, economic and security cooperation to those led by the US or other Western nations, and India became a member two years ago.
“The SCO summit will be an opportunity for China to solidify ties with [New Delhi] and a new proposal for a multilateral trading system could be a way to strengthen relations with India, which is also targeted by Trump’s trade policies,” Zhang Baohui, director of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, said.
“Due to the trade war with the US and the broadening strategic rivalry between them, China would like to improve relations with other countries, including both Russia and India.”
Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, a visiting fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said India’s concerns about Trump’s protectionist policies “are related to problems encountered by its IT services [sector], the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium, agriculture products and intellectual property rights”.
“Trump’s recent move in withdrawing the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) trade status given to India three decades ago is an immediate concern for India,” Chaturvedy said.
“India would like to get trade in services, [the] knowledge economy and greater market access included as part of such agreements
. “Technology transfer, data localisation are some other important areas where India needs to protect its interests.”
Other analysts noted that India’s main goal was to maintain a balance – both economic and strategic.
Sampa Kundu, an assistant professor at Symbiosis School of International Studies in India, said that despite the differences between the two countries, “both China and India understand the importance of each other, both at the regional level and at the international level … Both are significant stakeholders in Asian politics, as well as in global geopolitical affairs.”
“The upcoming SCO summit may play an important role in strengthening India’s relations with the regional and global powers,” Kundu added, but said it was likely that the country would continue to support the US policy of containing China as part of its free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.
It is also unclear how practical it would be to replace the current US-led trade system with the new platform to be announced at the summit.
“Neither Russia nor India are significant trading powers in the global economic system,” Zhang said.
“Many [economically advanced] countries, major European economies and Japan, have voiced their concerns about the Trump administration’s unilateral approach too, but they want to shore up the WTO multilateral system, not start something totally new.”
The Diminishing American Economy.
by Paul Craig Roberts, InformationClearing House,
Since June 2009 Americans have lived in the false reality of a recovered economy. Various fake news and manipulated statistics have been used to create this false impression. However, indicators that really count have not supported the false picture and were ignored.
For example, it is normal in a recovering or expanding economy for the labor force participation rate to rise as people enter the work force to take advantage of the job opportunities. During the decade of the long recovery, from June 2009 through May 2019, the labor force participation rate consistently fell from 65.7 to 62.8 percent. https://www.bls.gov/charts/employment-situation/civilian-labor-force-participation-rate.htm
Another characteristic of a long expansion is high and rising business investment. However, American corporations have used their profits not for expansion, but to reduce their market capitalization by buying back their stock. Moreover, many have gone further and borrowed money in order to repurchase their shares, thus indebting their companies as they reduced their capitalization! That boards, executives, and shareholders chose to loot their own companies indicates that the executives and owners do not perceive an economy that warrants new investment.
How is the alleged 10-year boom reconcilled with an economy in which corporations see no investment opportunities?
Over the course of the alleged recovery, real retail sales growth has declined, standing today at 1.3%. https://www.multpl.com/us-real-retail-sales-growth This figure is an overstatement, because the measurement of inflation has been revised in ways that understate inflation. As an example, the consumer price index, which formerly measured the cost of a constant standard of living, now measures the cost of a variable standard of living. If the cost of an item in the index rises, the item is replaced by a lower cost alternative, thus reducing the measured rate of inflation. Other price increases are redefined as quality improvements, and their impact on inflation is neutralized.
Real retail sales cannot grow when “for most U.S. workers, real wages have barely budged in decades.” https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/
For full-time employed men real wages have fallen 4.4% since 1973. https://www.businessinsider.com/record-median-household-income-is-hiding-a-chilling-fact-2017-9
Economic shills explain away the facts. For example, they argue that people are working more hours, so their real earnings are up although their real wages are not.
Others argue that the declining labor force participation rate reflects baby boomer retirements. Of course, if you look around in Home Depot and Walmart, you will see many retirees working to supplement their Social Security pensions that have been denied cost of living adjustments by the undermeasurement of inflation.
Other economic shills say that the low unemployment rate means there is a labor shortage and that everyone who wants a job has one. They don’t tell you that unemployment has been defined so as to exclude millions of discouraged workers who could not find jobs and gave up looking. If you have not looked for a job in the past 4 weeks, you are no longer considered to be in the work force. Thus, your unemployment does not count.
It is expensive to look for employment. Scarce money has to be spent on appearance and transportation, and after awhile the money runs out. It is emotionally expensive as well. Constant rejections hardly build confidence or hope. People turn to cash odd jobs in order to survive. It turns out that many of the homeless have jobs, but do not earn enough to cover rent. Therefore, they live on the streets.
The propagandistic 3.5% unemployment rate (U3) does not include any of the millions of discouraged workers who cannot find jobs. The government does have a seldom reported U6 measure of unemployment that includes short-term discouraged workers. As of last month this rate stood at 7.1%, more than double the 3.5% rate. John Williams of shadowstats.com continues to estimate the long-term discouraged workers, as the government formerly did. He finds the actual US rate of unemployment to be 21%.
The 21% rate makes sense in light of Census Bureau reports that one-third of Americans age 18-34 live at home with parents because they can’t earn enough to supprt an independent existence. https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/census-more-americans-18-34-now-live-parents-spouse
According to Federal Reserve reports, 40 % of American households cannot raise $400 cash. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/22/fed-survey-40-percent-of-adults-cant-cover-400-emergency-expense.html
The US economy was put into decline by short-sighted capitalist greed. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the last decade of the 20th century, India and China opened their economies to the Western countries. Corporations saw in the low cost of Chinese and Indian labor opportunities to increase their profits and share prices by producing offshore the goods and services for their domestic markets. Those hesitant to desert their home towns and work forces were pushed offshore by Wall Street’s threats to finance takeovers unless they increased their profits.
The shift of millions of high productivity, high value-added American jobs to Asia wrecked the careers and prospects of millions of Americans and severely impacted state and local budgets and pension funds. The external costs of jobs offshoring were extremely high. The cost to the economy far exceeded the profits gained by jobs offshoring. Almost overnight prosperous American cities, once a source of manufacturing and industrial strength, became economic ruins. https://www.claritypress.com/product/the-failure-of-laissez-faire-capitalism/ The “trade war” with China is an orchestration to cover up the fact that America’s economic problems are the result of its own corporations and Wall Street moving American jobs offshore and because the US government did nothing to stop the deconstruction of the economy.
The Reagan administration’s supply-side economic policy, always misrepresented and wrongly described, cured stagflation, the malaise of rising inflation and unemployment described at the time as worsening “Phillips curve” trade-offs between inflation and unemployment. No one has seen a Phillips curve since the Reagan administration got rid of it. The Federal Reserve hasn’t even been able to resurrect it with years of money printing. The Reagan administration had the economy poised for long-run non-inflationary growth, a prospect that was foiled by the rise of jobs offshoring.
Normally a government would be protective of jobs as the government wants to take in tax revenues rather than to pay out unemployment and social welfare benefits. Politicians want economic success, not economic failure. But greed overcame judgment, and the economy’s prospects were sacrificed to short-term corporate and Wall Street greed.
The profits from jobs offshoring are short-term, because jobs offshoring is based on the fallacy of composition—the assumption that what is true for a part is true for the whole. An individual corporation, indeed a number of corporations, can benefit by abandoning its domestic work force and producing abroad for its domestic market. But when many firms do the same, the impact on domestic consumer income is severe. As Walmart jobs don’t pay manufacturing wages, aggregate consumer demand takes a hit from declining incomes, and there is less demand for the offshoring firms’ products. Economic growth falters. When this happened, the solution of Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Chairman at the time, was to substitute an expansion of consumer debt for the missing growth in consumer income. The problem with his solution is that the growth of consumer debt is limited by consumer income. When the debt can’t be serviced, it can’t grow. Moreover, debt service drains income into interest and fee charges, further reducing consumer purchasing power. Thus, the offshoring of jobs has limited the expansion of aggregate consumer demand. As corporations are buying back their stock instead of investing, there is nothing to drive the economy. The economic growth figures we have been seeing are illusions produced by the understatement of inflation.
Much of America’s post-World War II prosperity and most of its power are due to the US dollar’s role as world reserve currency. This role guarantees a worldwide demand for dollars, and this demand for dollars means that the world finances US budget and trade deficits by purchasing US debt. The world gives us goods and services in exchange for our paper money. In other words, being the reserve currency allows a country to pay its bills by printing money.
A person would think that a government would be protective of such an advantage and not encourage foreigners to abandon dollars. But the US government, reckless in its arrogance, hubris, and utter ignorance, has done all in its power to cause flight from the dollar. The US government uses the dollar-based financial system to coerce other countries to accommodate American interests at their expense. Sanctions on other countries, threats of sanctions, asset freezes and confiscations, and so forth have driven large chunks of the world—Russia, China, India, Iran—into non-dollar transactions that reduce the demand for dollars. Threats against Europeans for purchasing Russian energy and Chinese technology products are alienating elements of Washington’s European empire. A country with the massive indebtedness of the US government would quickly be reduced to Third World status if the value of the dollar collapsed from lack of demand.
There are many countries in the world that have bad leadership, but US leadership is the worst of all. Never very good, US leadership went into precipitous and continuous decline with the advent of the Clintons, continuing through Bush, Obama, and Trump. American credibility is at a low point. Fools like John Bolton and Pompeo think they can restore credibility by blowing up countries. Unless the dangerous fools are fired, we will all have to experience how wrong they are.
Formerly the Federal Reserve conducted monetary policy with the purpose of minimizing inflation and unemployment, but today and for the past decade the Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy for the purpose of protecting the balance sheets of the banks that are “too big to fail” and other favored financial institutions. Therefore, it is problematic to expect the same results.
Today it is possible to have a recession and to maintain high prices of financial instruments due to Fed support of the instruments. Today it is possible for the Fed to prevent a stock market decline by purchasing S&P futures, and to prevent a gold price rise by having its agents dump naked gold shorts in the gold futures market. Such things as these were not done when I was in the Treasury. This type of intervention originated in the plunge protection team created by the Bush people in the last year of the Reagan administration. Once the Fed learned how to use these instruments, it has done so more aggressively.
Market watchers who go by past trends overlook that today market manipulation by central authorities plays a larger role than in the past. They mistakenly expect trends established by market forces to hold in a manipulated economic environment.
|June 28, 2019||
Russia-India-China will be the big G20 hit.
by Pepe Escobar, InformationClearing House,
India under Modi, an essential cog in US strategy, gets cozy with China and Russia.
It all started with the Vladimir Putin–Xi Jinping summit in Moscow on June 5. Far from a mere bilateral, this meeting upgraded the Eurasian integration process to another level. The Russian and Chinese presidents discussed everything from the progressive interconnection of the New Silk Roads with the Eurasia Economic Union, especially in and around Central Asia, to their concerted strategy for the Korean Peninsula.
A particular theme stood out: They discussed how the connecting role of Persia in the Ancient Silk Road is about to be replicated by Iran in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And that is non-negotiable. Especially after the Russia-China strategic partnership, less than a month before the Moscow summit, offered explicit support for Tehran signaling that regime change simply won’t be accepted, diplomatic sources say.
Putin and Xi solidified the roadmap at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. And the Greater Eurasia interconnection continued to be woven immediately after at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek, with two essential interlocutors: India, a fellow BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and SCO member, and SCO observer Iran.
At the SCO summit we had Putin, Xi, Narendra Modi, Imran Khan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sitting at the same table. Hanging over the proceedings, like concentric Damocles swords, were the US-China trade war, sanctions on Russia, and the explosive situation in the Persian Gulf.
Rouhani was forceful – and played his cards masterfully – as he described the mechanism and effects of the US economic blockade on Iran, which led Modi and leaders of the Central Asian “stans” to pay closer attention to Russia-China’s Eurasia roadmap. This occurred as Xi made clear that Chinese investments across Central Asia on myriad BRI projects will be significantly increased.
Russia-China diplomatically interpreted what happened in Bishkek as “vital for the reshaping of the world order.” Crucially, RIC – Russia-India-China – not only held a trilateral but also scheduled a replay at the upcoming Group of Twenty summit in Osaka. Diplomats swear the personal chemistry of Putin, Xi and Modi worked wonders.
The RIC format goes back to old strategic Orientalist fox Yevgeny Primakov in the late 1990s. It should be interpreted as the foundation stone of 21st-century multipolarity, and there’s no question how it will be interpreted in Washington.
India, an essential cog in the Indo-Pacific strategy, has been getting cozy with “existential threats” Russia-China, that “peer competitor” – dreaded since geopolitics/geo-strategy founding father Halford Mackinder published his “Geographical Pivot of History” in 1904 – finally emerging in Eurasia.
RIC was also the basis on which the BRICS grouping was set up. Moscow and Beijing are diplomatically refraining from pronouncing that. But with Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro seen as a mere Trump administration tool, it’s no wonder that Brazil has been excluded from the RIC summit in Osaka. There will be a perfunctory BRICS meeting right before the start of the G20 on Friday, but the real deal is RIC.
Pay attention to the go-between
The internal triangulation of RIC is extremely complex. For instance, at the SCO summit Modi said that India could only support connectivity projects based on “respect of sovereignty” and “regional integrity.” That was code for snubbing the Belt and Roads Initiative – especially because of the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which New Delhi insists illegally crosses Kashmir. Yet India did not block the final Bishkek declaration.
What matters is that the Xi-Modi bilateral at the SCO was so auspicious that Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale was led to describe it as “the beginning of a process, after the formation of government in India, to now deal with India-China relations from both sides in a larger context of the 21st century and of our role in the Asia-Pacific region.” There will be an informal Xi-Modi summit in India in October. And they meet again at the BRICS summit in Brazil in November.
Putin has excelled as a go-between. He invited Modi to be the guest of honor at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in early September. The thrust of the relationship is to show to Modi the benefits for India to actively join the larger Eurasia integration process instead of playing a supporting role in a Made in USA production.
That may even include a trilateral partnership to develop the Polar Silk Road in the Arctic, which represents, in a nutshell, the meeting of the Belt and Road Initiative with Russia’s Northern Sea Route. China Ocean Shipping (Cosco) is already a partner of the Russian company PAO Sovcomflot, shipping natural gas both east and west from Siberia.
Xi is also beginning to get Modi’s attention on the restarting possibilities for the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCMI) corridor, another major Belt and Road project, as well as improving connectivity from Tibet to Nepal and India.
Impediments, of course, remain plentiful, from disputed Himalayan borders to, for instance, the slow-moving Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the 16-nation theoretical successor of the defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership. Beijing is adamant the RCEP must go into overdrive, and is even prepared to leave New Delhi behind.
One of Modi’s key decisions ahead is on whether to keep importing Iranian oil – considering there are no more US sanctions waivers. Russia is ready to help Iran and weary Asian customers such as India if the EU-3 continue to drag the implementation of their special payment vehicle.
India is a top Iran energy customer. Iran’s port of Chabahar is absolutely essential if India’s mini-Silk Road is to reach Central Asia via Afghanistan. With US President Donald Trump’s administration sanctioning New Delhi over its drive to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system and the loss of preferred trade status with the US, getting closer to Bridge and Road – featuring energy supplier Iran as a key vector – becomes a not-to-be-missed economic opportunity.
With the roadmap ahead for the Russia-China strategic partnership fully solidified after the summits in Moscow, St Petersburg and Bishkek, the emphasis now for RC is to bring India on board a full-fledged RIC. Russia-India is already blossoming as a strategic partnership. And Xi-Modi seemed to be in sync. Osaka may be the geopolitical turning point consolidating RIC for good.
|June 30, 2019||
Look at them now – those who ate your lies.
by Andre Vltchek , InformationClearing House,
No one is talking about it openly, but, let us face it: those U.S.-made planes are crashing; the performance of Apple phones and computers is falling far behind those made by Huawei and other Chinese companies. Lenovo took over IBM and is doing extremely well. NASA is absolutely incapable of building decent rockets that would be able to deliver people or even satellites to space, cheaply and safely.
In the field of electric automobiles, China is far, far ahead. In fact, anyone who visits a major or secondary Chinese city, would be shocked to see that the implementation of ‘zero emission’ vehicles there is not something that is in the planning stage, it has for several years been a dream come true, reality: dozens of Chinese cities already have an excellent network of metro trains, of ecological electric buses, and of enormous public sidewalks that encourage people to stroll and remain healthy. Even police cars in China are electric.
Russia is doing extremely well, in several fields. In fact, it is at the vanguard, when it comes to such grounds as science and culture. Those days of ‘humiliation’ of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin era are far back, when Moscow naively believed Thatcherites and Reaganites! Russia is rolling: now producing and exporting excellent, often organic food. Its icebreakers are opening new paths for both people and goods. Russian space rockets are second to none, and its passenger airplanes are back in the skies. Nuclear and other power plants are helping to supply energy to many countries, all over the world.
You name it; China and Russia are producing it, developing it, helping to create it! Both nations are cooperating, scientifically, working for people, not just for business.
Citizens in both countries are enthusiastic, optimistic, full of hope. Their lives are improving, and there is so much to look forward to! They are building their nations, and helping the world to survive, to move forward. It can be called Communism or socialism with Chinese characteristics. Or it can be called nothing in particular in Russia (according to surveys, most of the citizens there want both the Soviet Union and Communism back, and the government is attentively listening, steering the country into the right direction). Perhaps, soon, the definition will be ‘socialism Russian-style’, without huge posters, but with plenty to show, and to celebrate.
But whatever it really is, it is working; working very well. Standards of living are growing. Health is improving. The environment is improving. Culture is everywhere. People are ecstatic.
And the West? The United States of A?
No, really! Honestly. Recently I spoke at several universities in Canada and Europe; I worked on two books in California. What a depressing experience!
Everyone bitching about everything; no optimism, and no spirit of building the motherland or improving the world. Cynicism, nihilism, bad moods on every corner. Nothing is ‘sacred’.
People shackled by debts and loans, scared of leaving the insane rat race.
In the US of A, there is horror of getting sick and ending up on the street. And those bizarre, truly repulsive student loans: the regime forces you to study in order to get brainwashed, becoming a reliable lackey, and then slams you with tens of thousands of dollars in basically unserviceable debts. And where does it all lead to? To some tremendous scientific breakthroughs? To groundbreaking works of art? To pushing the boundaries with new, magnificent works of philosophy? No way! It only leads to the printing of new and newer diplomas, of PhD. certificates, each costing tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars. And those desperate research labs in the USA (most of them private, anyway) are importing scientists from India and China, trying to brain-drain the nations who are educating their people for free or cheaply. While concert halls in New York and London are begging the Chinese, Korean, Argentinian, Russian and Japanese pianists to come and play, even Western classical music.
What is it, President Trump? ‘Making America great again’ is somehow not working, is it?
Your country tried to ruin Soviet and Chinese communism for decades, telling the East Europeans through propaganda media outlets how great, how glorious the Western market system was, and how pathetic the command economy was, central planning and internationalism.
Look at them now – those who ate your lies: in Bulgaria and Romania, both EU countries, people are living in misery, industry ruined or eaten by German and French multi-nationals. Look at Ukraine: a country with a standard of living approaching that of the poorest Southeast Asian countries. Even in the rich Czechia, I recently saw people eating from garbage bins, while once mighty factories like Skoda have been totally cannibalized by West European businesses. That’s what you used to tell them – East Europeans: “Come back to Europe. Come to the West!” So, they did. Talk to them now: nobody seems to be happy.
Western nihilism ate all basic, healthy human instincts, alive. Look at the West European citizens. Most of them shout at their television sets from bar stools or sofas; no internationalist principles left. Human beings reduced to only desiring more money, more food, more booze, more privileges – “benefits”. At the expense of others. A finished ‘culture’. Nothing great is being produced – literature, films, music. A total collapse of basic values. Putting people who are trying to help refugees on the high seas into prison; refugees who are escaping from countries ruined and destabilized by Western terror, aggression and greed. Disgusting. “New Europe”.
At least Europe is still producing some decent watches, shoes, cars and fragrances. Nothing that could justify the outrageously high standard of living of its citizens. Not much, really; no major breakthroughs from which humanity could benefit, but at least something, still.
But what is it that could “Make America “Great Again?” in the US of A?
If it is not loot and naked imperialism, what makes the country so rich? And rich it is. Not necessarily its people, but the country, definitely.
Once again, others are producing better planes, better cars, better computers, communication systems, phones, audio devices. Others are building better cities with a much higher quality of life. Others have created incomparably greater high-speed rail networks, public transportation, better pharmaceutical research institutions. Others are making much better films (not that horror and violent crap of Hollywood), write much better books, think and dream about much better societies.
So, what is it, President Trump, that America (let’s actually call it the United States, as your country does not own America, which, despite its idiotic name derived from that greedy ‘discoverer’ Amerigo Vespucci, spreads all the way down to Fire Land and was ‘the greatest’ before it got invaded and plundered by that Western imperialist scum) could still offer to this scarred but increasingly alert planet?
Should we celebrate subjugation? Should we climax from being coerced into slavery?
Your weapons, which are murdering millions, annually, in all corners of the globe? Should your weapons which are produced from an unbridled military budget, which not even your own government could calculate properly, make America great again?
Because if not your weapons, then what?
Your food, your mass-produced food full of cancerogenic chemicals? Your junk food? Hardly! Your music, which has never evolved from “I love you, don’t leave me” repetitiveness? Or your idiotic movies in which some giant insects are eating entire cities; thoroughly bizarre, infantile and sadistic fantasies of brains that have been fried by cocaine inside the pseudo-Roman villas of Southern California; idiotic movies that are spreading nihilism, mediocrity and intellectual degeneracy worldwide?
Or that ‘me-me-me’ obsession, appalling cry-baby selfishness, a constant ‘fight’ for ‘sexual rights’ (of all imaginable and unimaginable denominations), which steals the true political narrative and keeps people away from real issues and the horrors that are occurring in both your country and abroad, where your murderous armies and propagandists have already destroyed all hope and even the future.
You know, Trump, one sure way to make “America Great Again”, is to make your people ‘think again’. To detox them from pathologies that your regime has created, from the horrible neurosis which have reduced them to what they are now.
Get rid of the turbo-capitalist, mega consumerist nightmare. Fire most of the staff from the universities, and hire those who can teach students how to think and how to dream, instead of forcing them into serving your corporate cosmos. Send your media slaves whom you call ‘journalists’ to some potato farms, to get a bit of fresh air, so they stop polluting the airwaves and pages of the newspapers, with unimaginable lies and fabrications (you hate them anyway, so it should be quite easy).
Teach them – your own citizens – about real patriotism: hard work, deep thinking, altruism. Teach them how to build a kind, compassionate society, with a great quality of life, healthy environment, and great culture.
And fire those degenerates, mass murderers, like Bolton and Pompeo.
You would not do it, would you? You cannot really lead, or even understand the horror into which your nation has submerged!
And your citizens will keep voting you, or others like you, into office.
So, the only way you can continue to rule over the world, is by force. Hoping that others will not defend themselves, out of fear.
That is precisely what you are doing! This is all you know how to do!
We determined that the United States of A is not excelling in almost anything, anymore. The same could be said about the entire West.
Let us summarize again: Washington excels only in the production of its deadly weapons, and in scaring other nations into submission. It is also doing great when it comes to propaganda, of which ‘education’ and ‘media’ are an indispensable part.
This is, of course, not good enough. This is not what the people on all the continents want: to be controlled like this forever.
Trump knows it, somehow, intuitively. Not intellectually but subconsciously. And so do his lieutenants like Bolton and Pompeo.
But they are not ready to give up and to let others, those who are more talented and kinder, lead the planet. Because controlling the world is the old, unpronounced but ‘understood’ dogma, on which both Europe and the United States were constructed. A religious, fundamentalist dogma.
A country built on greed, plunder and selfishness, has suddenly nothing tangible or optimistic to offer to the world. Therefore, it will intimidate, even murder, but never let go. It does not know how to lose. It does not know how to compromise. It only knows how to control. Losing is not in its vocabulary. If it cannot be loved, it will rape!
|June 30, 2019||
Russia-India-Chinashare a room with a view.
by Pepe Escobar, InformationClearing House,
The most important trilateral at the G20 in Osaka was confined to a shoddy environment unworthy of Japan’s unrivaled aesthetic minimalism.
Japan excels in perfect planning and execution. So it’s hard to take this setup as an unfortunate “accident.” At least the – unofficial – Russia-India-China summit at the sidelines of the G20 transcended the fate of an interior decorator deserving to commit seppuku.
Leaders of these three countries met in virtual secrecy. The very few media representatives present in the shabby room were soon invited to leave. Presidents Putin, Xi and Modi were flanked by streamlined teams who barely found enough space to sit down. There were no leaks. Cynics would rather joke that the room may have been bugged anyway. After all, Xi is able to call Putin and Modi to Beijing anytime he wants to discuss serious business.
New Delhi is spinning that Modi took the initiative to meet in Osaka. That’s not exactly the case. Osaka is a culmination of a long process led by Xi and Putin to seduce Modi into a serious Eurasia integration triangular road map, consolidated at their previous meeting last month at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek.
Now Russia-India-China (RIC) is fully back in business; the next meeting is set for the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September.
In their introductory remarks, Putin, Xi and Modi made it clear that RIC is all about configuring, in Putin’s words, an “indivisible security architecture” for Eurasia.
Modi – very much in a Macron vein – stressed the multilateral effort to fight climate change, and complained that the global economy is being ruled by a “one-sided” dictate, emphasizing the necessity of a reform of the World Trade Organization.
Putin went a step ahead, insisting, “our countries are in favor of preserving the system of international relations, whose core is the UN Charter and the rule of law. We uphold such important principles of interstate relations as respect for sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs.”
Putin clearly underlined the geopolitical interconnection of the UN, BRICS, SCO and G20, plus “strengthening the authority of the WTO” and the International Monetary Fund as the “paragon of a modern and just multipolar world that denies sanctions as legitimate actions.”
The Russia-India-China contrast with the Trump administration could not be starker.
Those ‘tremendous assets’
BRICS, as it stands, is dead. There was an “official,” pro-forma BRICS meeting before the RIC. But it’s no secret both Putin and Xi completely distrust Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, regarded as a Trump neocolonial asset.
Ahead of his bilateral with Trump, Bolsonaro peddled Brazil’s mineral wealth, claiming the country may now export “niobium trinkets.”
Well, that’s certainly less controversial than the Brazilian military sherpa arrested in Spain for carrying industrial quantities of cocaine (36kg) in the presidential plane, definitely ruining the after-hours party time in Osaka.
Later on, Trump eagerly praised Brazil’s “tremendous assets,” now being fully privatized to the benefit of US companies.
Xi, as he addressed the BRICS meeting, denounced protectionism and called for a stronger WTO. BRICS nations, he said, should “increase our resilience and capability to cope with external risks.”
Putin went one up. Apart from denouncing “protectionist” tendencies in global trade, he called for bilateral trade in national currencies bypassing the US dollar – mirroring a commitment by the Russia-China strategic partnership.
Russia-China, via Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and head of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang, have signed an agreement to switch to rubles and yuan in bilateral trade, starting with energy and agriculture, and increase cross-currency settlements by 50% in the next few years.
There will be a concerted effort to increasingly bypass SWIFT, using the Russian System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) and the Chinese Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System (CIPS).
Sooner or later Russia-China will entice India to join. Moscow has excellent bilateral relations with both Beijing and New Delhi, and is decisively playing the role of privileged messenger.
The mini-trade war against New Delhi launched by the Trump administration – including the loss of India’s special trade status and punishment for buying Russian S-400 missile systems – is quickening the pace of the process. India, by the way, will pay for the S-400s in euros.
There were no leaks whatsoever from Russia-India-China about Iran. But diplomats say that was a key theme of the discussion. Russia is already – covertly – helping Iran on myriad levels. India has an existential choice to make: keep buying Iranian oil or say goodbye to Iran’s strategic help, via the Chabahar port, to facilitate India’s mini-Silk Road to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
China sees Iran as a key node of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative. Russia sees Iran as essential for strategic stability in Southwest Asia – a key theme of the Putin-Trump bilateral, which also discussed Syria and Ukraine.
RIC or Belt and Road?
Whatever the psyops tactics employed by Trump, Russia-India-China is also directly implicated in the massive short and long-term ramifications of the Trump-Xi bilateral in Osaka. The Big Picture is not going to change; the Trump administration is betting on re-routing global supply chains out of China, while Beijing advances full speed ahead with its Belt and Road Initiative.
Trump is heavily distrusted across Europe – as Brussels knows the EU is the target of another imminent trade war. Meanwhile, with over 60 nations committed to myriad Belt and Road projects, and with the Eurasia Economic Union also interlinked with Belt and Road, Beijing knows it’s just a matter of time before the whole of the EU hits the BRI highway.
There’s no evidence that India may suddenly join Belt and Road projects. The geopolitical lure of “Indo-Pacific” – essentially just another strategy for containment of China – looms large. That’s good old imperial Divide and Rule – and all the major players know it.
Yet India, now on the record, is starting to spin that Indo-Pacific is not “against somebody.” India getting deeper into RIC does not imply getting closer to Belt and Road.
It’s time for Modi to rise to the occasion; ultimately, he will decide which way the geoeconomic pendulum swings.
|July 04, 2019||
The un-submersible US-Iran stalemate.
by Pepe Escobar, InformationClearing House,
Lost in the submarine uproar, the deadline set by Tehran for the EU-3 to support Iranian crude sales expires Sunday
A thick veil of mystery surrounds the fire that broke out in a state of the art Russian submersible in the Barents Sea, leading to the death of 14 crew members poisoned by toxic fumes.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the submersible was conducting bathymetric measurements, as in examining and mapping deep sea conditions. The crew on board was composed of “unique naval specialists, high-class professionals, who conducted important research of the Earth’s hydrosphere.” Now the – so far unnamed – nuclear-powered vessel is at the Arctic port of Severomorsk, the main base of Russia’s Northern Fleet.
A serious, comprehensive military investigation is in progress. According to the Kremlin, “the Supreme Commander-in-Chief has all the information, but this data cannot be made public, because this refers to the category of absolutely classified data.”
The submersible is a Losharik. Its Russian code is AS-12 (for “Atomnaya Stantsiya” or “Nuclear Station“). NATO calls it Norsub-5. It’s been in service since 2003. Giant Delta III nuclear submarines, also able to launch ICBMs, have been modified to transport the submersible across the seas.
NATO’s spin is that the AS-12/Norsub-5 is a “spy” sub, and a major “threat” to undersea telecommunication cables, mostly installed by the West. The submersible’s operating depth is one thousand meters and it may have operated as deep as 2,500 meters in the Arctic Ocean. It may be comparable to, or be something of an advanced version of, the US deep submergence vessel NR-1 (operating depth 910m) famous for being used to search for and recover critical parts of the space shuttle Challenger, lost in 1986.
It’s quite enlightening to place the Losharik within the scope of the latest Pentagon report about Russian strategic intentions. Amid the proverbial demonization terminology – “Russia’s gray zone tactics,” “Russian aggression.” Russian “deep-seated sense of geopolitical insecurity” – the report claims that “Russia is adopting coercive strategies that involve the orchestrated employment of military and nonmilitary means to deter and compel the US, its allies and partners prior to and after the outbreak of hostilities. These strategies must be proactively confronted, or the threat of significant armed conflict may increase.”
It’s no wonder that, considering the incandescence of US-Russia relations on the geopolitical chessboard, what happened to the Losharik fueled frenetic speculation including totally unsubstantiated rumors it had been torpedoed by a US submarine in a firefight – on top of it, in Russian territorial waters.
Connections were made between US Vice-President Mike Pence’s suddenly being ordered to return to the White House while the Europeans were also huddled in Brussels, as President Putin had an emergency meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
In the end, it was nothing but mere speculation.
The submersible incident – complete with the speculative plot line of a US-Russia firefight in the Arctic – did drown, at least for a while, the prime, current geopolitical incandescence: the US economic war on Iran.
Expanding on serious discussions at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek – which included Iran’s President Rouhani – and the Putin-Xi meetings in Moscow and St. Petersburg and at the G20 in Osaka, both Russia and China are fully invested in keeping Iran stable and protected from the Trump administration’s strategy of chaos.
Both Moscow and Beijing are fully aware Washington’s divide-and-rule tactics are geared towards stopping the momentum of Eurasia integration – which includes everything from bilateral trade in local currencies and bypassing the US dollar to further interconnection of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).
Beijing plays a shadow game, keeping very quiet on the de facto US economic blockade against one of its key Belt and Road allies. Yet the fact is China continues to buy Iranian crude, and bilateral trade is being settled in yuan and rial.
The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), the mechanism set up by the EU-3 (France, UK and Germany) to bypass the US dollar for trade between Iran and the EU after the US unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal, or JCPOA, may finally be in place. But there’s no evidence INSTEX will be adopted by myriad European companies, as it essentially covers Iranian purchases of food and medicine.
Plan B would be for the Russian Central Bank to extend access to Iran as one the nations possibly adopting SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages), the Russian mechanism for trade sanctioned by the US that bypasses SWIFT. Moscow has been working on the SPFS since 2104, when the threat to expel Russia from SWIFT became a distinct possibility.
As for Iran being accused – by the US – of “breaching” the JCPOA, that’s absolute nonsense. To start with, Tehran cannot possibly “breach” a multinational deal that was declared null and void by one of the signatories, the US.
In fact the alleged “breach” is due to the fact the EU-3 were not buying Iran’s low-enriched uranium, as promised, because of the US embargo. Washington has de facto forced the EU-3 not to buy it. Tehran duly notified all JCPOA parties that, as they are not buying it, Iran will have to store more low enriched uranium than the JCPOA allows for. If the EU-3 resumes buying it that automatically means Iran is not “breaching” anything.
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif is correct; INSTEX, already too little too late, is not even enough, as the mechanism does not allow Tehran to continue to export oil, which is the nation’s right. As for the “breach,” Zarif says it’s easily “reversible” – as long as the EU-3 abide by their commitments.
Russian energy minister Alexander Novak concurs: “As regards restrictions on Iranian exports, we support Iran and we believe that the sanctions are unlawful; they have not been approved by the UN.”
Still, Iran continues to export crude, by all means available, especially to Asia, with the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC) predictably shutting off satellite tracking on its fleet. But, ominously, the deadline set by Tehran for the EU-3 to actively support the sale of Iranian crude expires this coming Sunday. That’s a major cliffhanger. After that, the stalemate won’t be submersible anymore.
|July 05, 2019||
Goodbye Dollar, It Was Nice Knowing You!
by Philip Giraldi, InformationClearing House,
Over the past two years, the White House has initiated trade disputes, insulted allies and enemies alike, and withdrawn from or refused to ratify multinational treaties and agreements. It has also expanded the reach of its unilaterally imposed rules, forcing other nations to abide by its demands or face economic sanctions. While the stated Trump Administration intention has been to enter into new arrangements more favorable to the United States, the end result has been quite different, creating a broad consensus within the international community that Washington is unstable, not a reliable partner and cannot be trusted. This sentiment has, in turn, resulted in conversations among foreign governments regarding how to circumvent the American banking system, which is the primary offensive weapon apart from dropping bombs that Washington has to force compliance with its dictates.
Consequently, there has been considerable blowback from the Make America Great Again campaign, particularly as the flip side of the coin appears to be that the “greatness” will be obtained by making everyone else less great. The only country in the world that currently regards the United States favorably is Israel, which certainly has good reason to do so given the largesse that has come from the Trump Administration. Everyone else is keen to get out from under the American heel.
Well the worm has finally turned, maybe. Even the feckless Angela Merkel’s Germany now understands that national interests must prevail when the United States is demanding that it do the unspeakable. At the recently concluded G20 meeting in Tokyo Britain, France and Germany announced that the special trade mechanism that they have been working on this year is now up and running. It is called the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) and it will permit companies in Europe to do business with countries like Iran, avoiding American sanctions by trading outside the SWIFT system, which is dollar denominated and de facto controlled by the US Treasury.
The significance of the European move cannot be understated. It is the first major step in moving away from the dominance of the dollar as the world’s trading and reserve currency. As is often the case, the damage to US perceived interests is self-inflicted. There has been talk for years regarding setting up trade mechanisms that would not be dollar based, but they did not gain any momentum until the Trump Administration abruptly withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran over a year ago.
There were other signatories to the JCPOA, all of whom were angered by the White House move, because they believed correctly that it was a good agreement, preventing Iranian development of a nuclear weapon while also easing tensions in the Middle East. Major European powers Germany, France and Great Britain, as well as Russia and China, were all signatories and the agreement was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council. The US withdrawal in an attempt to destroy the “plan of action” was therefore viewed extremely negatively by all the other signatories and their anger increased when Washington declared that it would reinstate sanctions on Iran and also use secondary sanctions to punish any third party that did not comply with the restrictions on trade.
Instex is an upgrade of a previous “Special Purpose Vehicle” set up by the Europeans a year ago to permit trading with Iran without any actual money transfers, something like a barter system based on balancing payments by value. The announcement regarding Instex came as a result of last week’s meeting in Vienna in which the JCPOA signatories minus the US got together with Iranian ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, who called the gathering “the last chance for the remaining parties…to gather and see how they can meet their commitments towards Iran.”
Iran is quietly pleased by the development, even though there are critics of the arrangement and the government is officially declaring that Instex is not enough and it will proceed with plans to increase its uranium production. This produced an immediate response from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week speaking in New Delhi “If there is conflict, if there is war, if there is a kinetic activity, it will be because the Iranians made that choice.” Nevertheless, Instex could possibly be a model for mechanisms that will allow Iran to sell its oil without hindrance from Washington. But a sharp reaction from the White House is expected. While Instex was in the development phase, US observers noted that the Iranian Special Trade and Finance Instrument, that will do the actual trading, includes government agencies that are already under US sanctions. That likely means that Washington will resort to secondary sanctions on the Europeans, a move that will definitely make the bilateral relationship even more poisonous than it already is. A global trade war is a distinct possibility and, as observed above, the abandonment of the dollar as the international reserve currency is a possible consequence.
Trump has already been “threatening penalties against the financial body created by Germany, the U.K. and France to shield trade with the Islamic Republic from US sanctions.” The Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Israeli Sigal Mandelker, warned in a May 7th letter that “I urge you to carefully consider the potential sanctions exposure of Instex. Engaging in activities that run afoul of US sanctions can result in severe consequences, including a loss of access to the US financial system.”
Indeed, the White House appears to be willing to engage in economic warfare with Europe over the issue of punishing Iran. The Treasury Department issued a statement regarding the Mandelker letter, saying “entities that transact in trade with the Iranian regime through any means may expose themselves to considerable sanctions risk, and Treasury intends to aggressively enforce our authorities.” Mike Pompeo also was explicit during a visit to London on May 8th when he stated that “…it doesn’t matter what vehicle’s out there, if the transaction is sanctionable, we will evaluate it, review it, and if appropriate, levy sanctions against those that were involved in that transaction. It’s very straightforward.”
It is perhaps not unreasonable to wish the Europeans success, as they are supporting free trade while also registering their opposition to the White House’s bullying tactics using the world financial system. And if the dollar ceases to be the world’s trade and reserve currency, what of it? It would mean that the Treasury might have to cease printing surplus dollars and the US ability to establish global hegemony on a credit card might well be impeded. Those would be good results and one might also hope that some day soon the United States might once again become a normal country that Americans would be proud to call home.
Philip Giraldi is Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. A former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London.
This article was originally published by "Strategic Culture Foundation " -
|July 05, 2019||
We must stop our nation’s push for relentless war.
by Shirley Leung, InformationClearing House,
Former president Jimmy Carter recently made a profound and damning statement — the United States is the “most warlike nation in the history of the world.” Carter contrasted the United States with China, saying that China is building high-speed trains for its people while the United States is putting all of its resources into mass destruction. Where are high-speed trains in the United States, Carter appropriately wondered.
As if to prove Carter’s assertion, Vice President Mike Pence told the most recent graduating class at West Point that it “is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. . . . You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen.” Clearly referring to Venezuela, Pence continued, “Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.” In other words, Pence declared, war is inevitable, a certainty for this country.
Moreover, it was recently reported that the Pentagon is preparing for war against both Russia and China, even as Trump and his henchmen are openly threatening war against Iran and Venezuela, doubling down on the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan, and aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia in its genocidal war in Yemen. One might think, and certainly hope, that there would be a massive outcry against what appears to be the imminent threat of another world war.
And yet, this threat has been met with near total silence. Indeed, to the extent that the mainstream media have reacted at all to Trump’s war plans, the reaction has been disappointment that Trump is not moving quickly enough toward military aggression. One example was a May 11 New York Times piece, “Trump Said He Would Tame Rogue Nations. Now They Are Challenging Him” — a piece which essentially goaded Trump into using military force against North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela.
What the Times and other press sources fail to recognize is that it is the United States that is the rogue state by any true measure. And this truth is not lost on the citizens of the world who, in two global polls, ranked the United States as the greatest threat to world peace.
In the meantime, the promised and desperately needed infrastructure overhaul in this country is barely mentioned anymore; tent cities sheltering the homeless are rising up in nearly every major US city; nearly half of Americans cannot afford basic necessities; and basic health care is still out of reach of millions of Americans.
The mammoth elephant in the room is the insatiable military-industrial complex, which is diverting precious resources away from these causes and toward the cause of destroying other nations. Meanwhile, the US war machine is arguably the greatest contributor in the world to the global warming crisis. And, as a symbol of its environmental threat, the US military just opened an airstrip in the Galapagos Islands.
As the 2020 presidential campaigns begin, it is baffling to witness that none of this is a matter of debate. The one candidate who is willing to broach this subject — military veteran Tulsi Gabbard — is vilified and ridiculed as a result. And yet, don’t people realize that there will be no “Green New Deal,” or “Medicare for All,” or other such laudable social programs as long as we continue down our unending path of war? Indeed, the United States just made history this year by experiencing a historically high increase in the deficit during good economic times, and this is because we are now engaged in deficit spending on war instead of meeting human want.
In the end, the greatest single thing we can do, both for ourselves and for the world, is to stop the United States from starting its next war, while demanding that it end the wars it has already started. We must demand that our government stop putting resources into war and destruction and instead put those resources toward building, meeting human needs, and saving our environment. This will require the rebuilding of the US peace movement, which once helped stop the war in Vietnam and the US war on Central America, and which mobilized record numbers of people in opposing the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Such a peace movement is needed now more than ever, and it is literally a matter of life and death.
Oliver Stone is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and author. Dan Kovalik teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. They both contributed to the new book “The Plot to Overthrow Venezuela: How The US is Orchestrating a Coup for Oil.”
|June 6, 2019||
Dumping Dollar? Russia and China agree to bilateral trade in national currencies.
by Countercurrents Collective, in World, Countercurrents.org,
The all-powerful U.S. Dollar is not that lovely thing now-a-days. Significant moves are on to dump the U.S. Dollar.
Media reports said:
Russia and China took another step away from the U.S. Dollar after the two countries agreed to develop bilateral trade using the Ruble and the Yuan.
It was one of the major deals reached after Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the presidents of the two countries, held talks in Moscow on Wednesday.
“Russia and China intend to develop the practice of settlements in national currencies,” Putin told journalists at the news conference following the talks.
Putin added that the states have signed intergovernmental agreements on expanding the use of the Yuan and the ruble in bilateral financial operations.
A draft government decree on the national currencies trade was released earlier during the day.
The document stipulates that the two countries will cooperate on development of national payment systems, and facilitate cross-border payments in national and other currencies.
In another major deal, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), China’s Alibaba, and Russia’s Mail.Ru Group agreed to invest $382 million into an e-commerce joint venture. Alibaba Group is to provide some $100 million while the Russian side will fund the rest.
China and Russia vowed to strengthen contemporary global strategic stability in a joint statement signed by Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.
China and Russia intend to deepen strategic mutual trust and strengthen strategic coordination to firmly safeguard global and regional strategic stability, according to the joint statement.
China and Russia note with alarm the extremely dangerous actions of certain states that, out of their own geopolitical and even commercial benefits, destroy or adapt the existing system of arms control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to their needs, the statement said.
Both sides urged actively promoting the three pillars – nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and peaceful use of nuclear energy, it said.
The two sides reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to the unconditional implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iran nuclear issue and declared their rejection of unilateral sanctions by the United States against Iran, according to the statement.
China and Russia also pledged to promote multilateralism and expressed commitment to working together to preserve the system of international mechanisms on non-proliferation and arms control.
Changes unseen in a century
Bottom of Form
Acknowledging the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, Xi said China and Russia shoulder an even greater expectation from the peoples of the two countries and the international community.
Noting that the world today is becoming increasingly uncertain and unstable, Xi said enhancing the China-Russia relationship is the call of history, and a firm strategic choice by both sides.
BRI and EEU
The two sides, according to Xi, should actively push forward their cooperation to dock the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to promote regional economic integration.
He said China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, are going to continue working with the international community to safeguard the international order that is based on the international law with the UN at the core, maintain multilateral trading system and make new contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for humankind.
Putin called on the two countries not to be complacent about what they have achieved, but be dedicated to bettering their bilateral relations.
Putin said Russia is ready to provide China with sufficient oil and gas, and export more soybeans and other farm produce to China, and expects a faster alignment between the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI.
Xi and Putin exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula situation, the Iran nuclear issue and the Venezuela issue, among others.
The two heads of state agreed to step up communication and coordination in the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS, the APEC, and the G20 to jointly safeguard multilateralism and the norms of international relations.
Chinese businesses consider moving production to Russia as trade war with US escalates
Small and medium-sized enterprises in China, under pressure from Washington’s trade war, are studying the possibility of moving production to Russia.
That’s according to the secretary general of the China Overseas Development Association (CODA), He Zhenwei, who talked to RIA Novosti ahead of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
Trade between China and the US mainly relies on small and medium-sized enterprises, while China’s bilateral trade with Russia accounts for large state-owned enterprises, He said.
“However, many Chinese export-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises are now facing difficulties. The US has already raised its duties on Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, which is tantamount to closing its doors. In case American consumers agree to pay more out of their pockets, these companies will be able to raise prices on products by 25 percent, which is hardly probable,” He said.
In such harsh conditions, Chinese companies are now struggling to maintain their existence. “They should think about moving production to Russia,” he said.
He added, “Chinese goods produced in Russia could be further sold in the United States and even in Europe.”
Trade between Russia and China saw historic growth last year of around 25 percent to US$108 billion, beating all forecasts.
According to Putin, China is and will continue to be Russia’s number one foreign trade partner.
Putin recently said that the two countries are enjoying their best trade and economic ties ever.
Russia buys quarter of World Yuan reserves in shift from Dollar
A January 9, 2019 Bloomberg report said:
Russia’s central bank dumped $101 billion in U.S. holdings from its huge reserves, shifting into Euros and Yuan last spring amid a new round of U.S. sanctions.
The central bank moved the equivalent of $44 billion each into the European and Chinese currencies in the second quarter, according to a report published on late Wednesday by the Bank of Russia, which discloses the data with a six-month lag. Another $21 billion was invested in the Japanese yen.
“Russia is making a strategic shift in its reserves towards holding fewer dollars and more assets in other currencies,” said Benn Steil, director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
The data reveal a dramatic acceleration in a policy Russia has been pursuing for several years of reducing exposure to assets that could be affected by U.S. restrictions.
Russian holdings of U.S. Treasuries dropped by about $81 billion in May and June of 2018, according to U.S. data.
Russia is not alone
Russia isn’t alone in its bid to reduce reliance on the world’s reserve currency amid increasing attempts by Washington to use economic leverage for geopolitical ends.
In a deepening trade war with America, China sold a large portion of its U.S. Treasury holdings last year and officials in Europe put forward proposals to increase the use of the euro in regional transactions.
“We aren’t ditching the dollar, the dollar is ditching us,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in November. “The instability of dollar payments is creating a desire for many global economies to find alternative reserve currencies and create settlement systems independent of the dollar. We’re not the only ones doing it, believe me.”
Russia’s reserves are among the 10 largest in the world, totaling $458 billion at the end of June 2018. The data suggest Russia accounted for 90 percent of the inflows into the Chinese bond market in the first half of 2018, analysts at Morgan Stanley wrote in a research note published Thursday.
India and UAE agree to trade in local currencies
Citing the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, an earlier report said:
India and UAE have inked a currency swap agreement to boost trade and investment without involvement of a third currency like the US dollar.
The swap is for an amount of two billion UAE dirham or 35 billion Indian rupees (US$495 million)
“The bilateral currency swap agreement between India and UAE is expected to reduce the dependency on hard currencies like the US dollar,” the embassy said.
“It is also expected to give a push for the local currencies of the two nations and may reduce the impact of volatility in exchange rate arising from the dependency on a third currency. It is also expected to reduce the transmission costs arising from exchange rate risk,” the embassy added.
With more than $50 billion in bilateral trade, the two countries are each other’s largest trade partners.
India’s foreign direct investment into the UAE was $6.6 billion in 2017 while the UAE’s investment in India stood at $5.8 billion
UAE is the sixth-largest oil exporter for India, with non-oil trade between them accounting for $34 billion.
Dollar-free monetary union: Russia-led free trade zone may adopt single currency
Another media report said:
The members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) may abandon border procedures and adopt a common currency in the future by analogy with the European Union (EU), according to the President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov.
Jeenbekov noted, “Like in the European Union we have no borders, no border guards. All our nationals are freely traveling across the Union and are entitled to same services, no matter which – medical, educational.”
According to him, the EAEU member countries should work towards boosting competition with third countries.
Jeenbekov said, “I believe that in 2040, the economy of our countries will be the same as in the European Union, the US, Japan and in other leading nations.”
The EEU, which is based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, was established in 2015. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan later joined it. In 2016, Vietnam officially became the first non-regional country to join the bloc. The union is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and workers between member countries.
More than 40 countries and international organizations including China, Indonesia, and Israel, as well as some South American countries, have expressed interest in a free-trade deal with the EEU. The trade bloc is also negotiating with South Korea, Egypt, and India.
In 2017, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) proposed to create a joint digital currency for BRICS countries and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). It could replace the US dollar and other currencies used in settlements among the member states, CBR said.
|June 8, 2019||
Climate Criminal Australia Ignores Its Hugely Increasing Carbon Debt & Massive Subsidies For GHG Pollution.
by Dr Gideon Polya,in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
The damage-related cost of carbon pollution has been variously estimated at $US200 per tonne CO2, this enabling calculation of the inescapable Carbon Debt we are leaving to be paid by future generations. A climate criminal Australia is among world leaders in 14 key areas relating to greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, and with a population (25 million) that is only 0.3% of the world’s, Australia has an annual increase in Carbon Debt that is 6% of that of the world.
With huge coal and natural gas resources, a greedy and ecocidal Australia is committed to massive fossil fuel exploitation, correspondingly massive GHG pollution, and consequent massive global environmental devastation. There is bipartisan agreement between the recently re-elected Liberal Party-National Party Coalition Federal Government under PM Scott “Scomo” Morrison and the Labor Party Opposition under Anthony “Albo” Albanese for essentially unlimited coal and natural gas exports until the world demands cessation. Indeed the scientific world is demanding cessation as exampled by outstanding scientist, Stephen Hawking ( formerly of 118 Nobel Laureate University of Cambridge, UK) who declared (2007, 2018): “We see great peril if governments and societies do not take action now to render nuclear weapons obsolete and to prevent further climate change” [1, 2].
As confirmed by the results of the recent Australian Federal election, rich, greedy and anti-science Australia is mindlessly committed to coal and gas exploitation. Thanks to the homicidal greed of climate criminal countries such as Australia, the present plus 1C temperature rise is already devastating Island Nations, and a catastrophic plus 2C warming is now effectively unavoidable [3-8]. Australia is among world leaders for the following 14 climate criminal activities or parameters: (1) annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution [9- 11], (2) live methanogenic livestock exports [12- 20], (3) natural gas exports [21-23], (4) recoverable shale gas reserves that can be accessed by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) , (5) coal exports [25-29], (6) land clearing, deforestation and ecocide [30, 31], (7) speciescide or species extinction , (8) coral reef destruction [33-39], (9) whale killing and extinction threat through global warming impacting on krill stocks , (10) terminal carbon pollution budget exceedance [41-50], (11) per capita Carbon Debt [41-50], (12) ultimately GHG generating iron ore exports [51, 52], (13) climate change inaction , and (14) climate genocide and approach towards omnicide and terracide [54-57].
While Australia’s GHG pollution decreased under Labor Governments in the period 2007-2013, return to power of the climate criminal Coalition was associated with a relentlessly increasing rate of GHG pollution in the period 2013-2018 [58, 59]. This increasing rate of GHG pollution is necessarily associated with a correspondingly increasing rate of acquisition of Carbon Debt that flies in the face of a worsening climate emergency, climate crisis and climate genocide. This obdurate, neoliberal Australian ignoring is reflected in malreportage by the taxpayer-funded ABC, Australia’s equivalent of the UK BBC. Thus a Search of the ABC for the key term “Carbon Debt” yields zero (0) results. One notes that lying by omission is far, far worse than lying by commission because at least the latter permits refutation and public debate [60-62].
Below is an analysis of Australia’s huge and increasing Carbon Debt in comparison with that of the world.
The global price of Australian thermal coal (2017) is US$88 per tonne [63, 64]. Assuming an 80% carbon content of exported thermal coal, and a price of US$88 per tonne coal, the price of 1 tonne thermal coal-derived CO2 = (US$88 / tonne coal) x (1 tonne coal/0.8 tonne carbon) x (1 tonne carbon/3.67 tonne CO2) = US$30.0 per tonne CO2 released on combustion.
However the damage-related cost of CO2 pollution is about US$200 per tonne CO2 as independently estimated by Professor James Hansen (of 96 Nobel Laureate Columbia University, US) and from Dr Chris Hope (of 118 Nobel Laureate University of Cambridge, UK) [43, 65- 68].
Thus for every US$30 per tonne CO2 released that is received by the Australian coal industry – by tax-minimizing Australian and foreign corporations and an ever-decreasing, automation-impacted and variously tax-minimizing workforce – there is a huge carbon pollution subsidy in the form of an inescapable Carbon Debt of US200 per tonne CO2-equivalent released that will have to be paid by future generations.
Indeed, one can determine an inescapable Carbon Debt for the world that is US$200 trillion and increasing by $8.4 trillion each year, assuming an annual global GHG pollution of 41.8 Gt CO2-e .
At an annual Domestic GHG pollution (621 Mt CO2-e) and Exported GHG pollution (1,950 Mt CO2-e) totalling 2,571 Mt CO2-e (CO2-equivalent) Australia has a Carbon Debt of US$5 trillion that is increasing at US$0.51 trillion per year and at US$40,000 per head per year for under-30 year old Australians. Australia has 0.3% of the world’s population but contributes 6.0% of the world’s annual increase in Carbon Debt .
Alternatively, taking land use into account and considering the Global Warming Potential of methane (CH4) on a 20 year time frame gives an annual global GHG pollution of 63.8 Gt CO2-e  and an inescapable Carbon Debt for the world that is increasing by $12.8 trillion each year. On the same revised basis, Australia’s revised annual Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution is 2,900 Mt CO2-e annually  corresponding to a Carbon Debt increase of US$0.58 trillion pa and 4.5% of the world’s annual increase in Carbon Debt on this basis.
Polya’s 3 Laws of Economics (modelled on the 3 Laws of Thermodynamics that underlie chemistry and physics) are (1) Price (P) minus Cost of Production (COP) equals profit (p), (2) Deception about COP strives to a maximum, and (3) No work, price or profit on a dead planet . Australia’s total ignoring of the damage-related cost of CO2 pollution – the damage-related Carbon Price, the Carbon Debt, the COP (Cost of Production), the huge greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution subsidy – illustrates the Second Law of Economics and helps push the world towards terracide illustrating the Third Law – no work, price or profit on a dead planet.
Carbon Debt is inescapable – thus unless sea walls are built, cities and agricultural land will be inundated. Our remorselessly increasing Carbon Debt will eventually have to be paid by the young and future generations. The young know that they are being ripped off and that their world is being destroyed by neoliberal greed. At some point the young will have to revolt (non-violently, one hopes) , and most importantly in climate criminal countries like Australia that are disproportionately huge contributors to the world’s huge and increasing Carbon Debt. Please inform everyone you can – the world is running out of time.
|June 8, 2019||
Arctic Is Thawing So Fast Scientists Are Losing Their Measuring Tools.
by Dahr Jamail, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
We’ve never experienced anything like this: We are living with the full knowledge of our collapsing biosphere and watching huge portions of it vanishing before our very eyes. Meanwhile, the industrial growth society (as eco-philosopher, author and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy calls it) continues to grind on, and this veneer of normalcy persists one more day.
Yet simultaneously, a great awakening is occurring. Millions of people around the world are rising to protect what remains, working to mitigate the damage and to adapt to the drastically changing world. They are working to hold space for that which, despite seemingly overwhelming odds, may continue in the wake of this great collapse.
I have been giving a lot of lectures lately about the climate catastrophe that is upon us, and have increasingly been led to discuss grief. My own experience has shown me that only by facing what is happening head on, and allowing my heart to break, can I begin to respond accordingly.
“Refusing to feel pain, and becoming incapable of feeling the pain, which is actually the root meaning of apathy, refusal to suffer, that makes us stupid, and half alive,” Macy told me in an interview. She described how that refusal to feel pain doesn’t mute the sense that there is something wrong — so people simply take that sense and project anxieties elsewhere, usually onto marginalized communities.
Look out into the world, right now, the proof of what she said is surrounding us — starting in the White House, and filtering down throughout the dominant colonialist society.
Macy created a framework for personal and social change called the Work That Reconnects, and gives workshops on how to apply the framework. In these workshops and in our conversations, Macy has repeated this to me: “The most radical thing any of us can do at this time is to be fully present to what is happening in the world.”
And so, over the years, I’ve aimed to be fully present, and I’ve had my heart broken, and I’ve now had enough practice at this that I have seen, repeatedly, the transformational qualities of despair and grief. In the face of our overwhelming climate and political crises, that grief is transformed into a new clarity of vision, and a depth of passion for action that was previously inaccessible.
So, dear reader, I urge you to find your own work that reconnects — or to find another way to ground yourself, as you read on, and as we each travel through another crises-ridden day into an increasingly bleak future.
That future is perhaps most visible at the poles. Greenland is melting much faster than previously understood, as melting has increased six-fold in recent decades, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We wanted to get a long precise record of mass balance in Greenland that included the transition when the climate of the planet started to drift off natural variability, which occurred in the 1980s,” study co-author Eric Rignot told CNN. “The study places the recent (20 years) evolution in a broader context to illustrate how dramatically the mass loss has been increasing in Greenland in response to climate warming.” Rignot added, “As glaciers will continue to speed up and ice/snow melt from the top, we can foresee a continuous increase in the rate of mass loss, and a contribution to sea level rise that will continue to increase more rapidly every year.”
The study also shows how sea level rise is accelerating, and will continue to do so with each passing year, as the effects compound upon themselves.
On that note, Indonesia recently announced it will be moving its capital city of Jakarta, partly due to the sinking of the land and sea level rise. This is a city of 10 million people.
Permafrost in the Arctic is now thawing so fast that scientists are literally losing their measuring equipment. This is due to the fact that instead of there being just a few centimeters of thawing each year, now several meters of soil can become destabilized in a matter of days.
Adding insult to injury, another study revealed that this permafrost collapse is further accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere, possibly even doubling the amount of warming coming from greenhouse gases released from the tundra.
Already in Greenland, the ice sheet’s melt season began about a month early while in Alaska, several rivers saw winter ice break up on their earliest dates on record.
The recent U.N. report showing that one million species are now in danger of going extinct has grave implications for the future of humanity. Human society is under urgent threat because the global ecosystem upon which we depend is, quite literally, under threat of unraveling.
Disconcertingly, since 2001 forests in Canada have released more carbon than they have sequestered. This is due largely to climate disruption-fueled drought, higher temperatures and wildfires. To give you an idea of what this means: In 2015 Canada’s forests emitted the equivalent of 231 million metric tons of CO2. By comparison, the total population of the city of Calgary emitted 18.3 million metric tons of CO2, merely a fraction of the amount released by the forests, largely via drought and wildfires.
Following ongoing protests and pressure from the activist organization Extinction Rebellion, the Welsh Government recently declared a “climate emergency,” noting that Wales’s health, economy, infrastructure and natural environment are all under threat from the impacts of human-caused climate disruption.
Around the same time, the Republic of Ireland also declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan told the BBC that “declaring an emergency means absolutely nothing unless there is action to back it up. That means the Government having to do things they don’t want to do.”
In Canada, the Ottawa city council has declared a climate emergency, joining several other Canadian municipalities in announcing the declaration. The vote freed up a quarter of a million dollars to be used to accelerate studies around moving the city onto renewable energy and meeting greenhouse gas emission targets.
The town of Old Crow, Yukon, also declared a climate state of emergency as well. “It’s going to be the blink of an eye before my great grandchild is living in a completely different territory, and if that’s not an emergency, I don’t know what is,” Dana Tizya-Tramm, chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, told the CBC following a ceremony marking Old Crow’s declaration of the state of emergency. “Everything is changing right in front of our eyes.”
In the U.S., Mike Rosmann, a clinical psychologist working with farmers, wrote a heartbreaking article for The New Republic about depression among farmers in the wake of historic flooding that ravaged the Midwest. Rosmann detailed the psychological and personal pain he is experiencing while working with suicidal farmers, as the direct human toll of climate disruption becomes more apparent in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the refugee crisis from rising seas and extreme weather events continues apace in Bangladesh. Already one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to sea level rise, it is now estimated that more than 10 million people there are estimated to lose their livelihoods in the next decade. The larger cities are already overwhelmed with the number of people streaming into them from the submerging coastal areas.
Climate disruption-amplified, flood-inducing extreme weather events continue to make their mark around the planet.
In Canada, experts warned that climate disruption will continue to exacerbate extreme flooding across parts of the country. Thousands of people across Eastern Canada were forced to evacuate their homes due to flooding as the second of two “100-year-floods” struck Quebec in the last three years.
In the U.S., things are no better. After a $14 billion dollar upgrade in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’s levees are sinking, due to sea level rise and ground subsidence, and will be rendered “inadequate” within four years.
The devastating flooding that has wracked farmers in the Midwest and wiped out crops, ruined stored crops, and drowned livestock is due to abnormally warmer Eastern Pacific waters, according to scientists.
Just after the U.S. wrapped up its wettest 12 months on record, storms dumped enormous rainfalls across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Scientists warned that the extreme weather Houston is currently experiencing is no anomaly — it is what the area can expect regularly from now on.
Record-breaking spring high temperatures across the Pacific Northwest has people in the Seattle region worried about drought as intense heat in May has caused the snowpack (at only 58 percent of normal anyway) across Washington state to melt away far more rapidly than normal. “When you look at some of the snow packs in some of the basins, it looks like they are doing a swan dive off a cliff,” Jeff Marti, a state Ecology Department official, told The Seattle Times. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has already issued drought-emergency declarations in the Okanogan, Methow and upper Yakima watersheds, due to the low snow pack in the mountains.
Experts recently warned that the Hawaiian Islands are under severe threat from rising sea levels. The iconic Waikiki Beach and other well-known areas of the islands will experience chronic flooding and could disappear underwater forever within the next 15-20 years.
Scientists also recently announced that global sea levels could reach a two-meter rise by 2100 — the warning effectively doubles the previous worst-case scenario provided by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in 2013. This new warning means that large portions of numerous major coastal cities will be completely submerged, according to Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol. “If we see something like that in the next 80 years we are looking at social breakdown on scales that are pretty unimaginable,” Bamber told The New Scientist.
In the icy realms of Earth, things continue to deteriorate rapidly.
Scientists recently announced that a major breeding ground for emperor penguins has gone barren since 2016. This means that virtually nothing has hatched in the area, which is the second largest breeding ground for the penguins in the Antarctic, and things are looking just as bleak for this year.
Scientists have also found what they call “extraordinary thinning” of ice sheets deep within Antarctica. The affected areas are losing ice five times faster than they did during the 1990s, with some areas having lost 100 meters of thickness. A quarter of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is now considered unstable. The Northwest section of the Ross Ice Shelf, which bounds the WAIS and is the size of France, is melting 10 times faster than the global average. According to one 2016 study, if all of the WAIS melts, 17 feet of global sea level rise is projected to be the result.
Up in the Arctic, things are just as bad. April saw a new record low in Arctic sea ice extent.
Another report revealed how thawing permafrost across the Arctic will amount to a $70 trillion impact. Methane and CO2 released from the thawing will accelerate global warming by amplifying it nearly 5 percent.
Additionally, yet another recent permafrost study has revealed widespread degradation of it across the high Arctic terrain, to an extent worse than previously understood.
On the other side of the water spectrum, drought has impaired shipping through the Panama Canal, whose waters have precipitously lowered. The canal level is not connected to sea levels, hence drought conditions are impacting the functionality of the critical shipping lane. Panama’s canal authority recently had to impose draft limits on ships using the canal. This means that heavily laden cargo ships, namely from the U.S. and China, had to pass through with less of their cargo.
Just four months into 2019, the U.K. had already had more large wildfires than it had during the entirety of 2018. Rescue personnel stated that the scale and duration of the fires had already been a huge draw on fire and rescue service resources.
In Germany, the risk of wildfires has spiked amidst ongoing drought and high temperatures across most of the country.
Back in the U.S., the wildfires that ravaged California last year were the most expensive in the state’s history, totaling $12 billion in damages. More than 80 people were killed in the fires, in addition to them leaving large areas of toxic waste that needs to now be remediated.
A recent report shows how much warmer cities across the U.S. will be within one generation (by 2050).
Earth experienced its second warmest April on record, ranking only behind April 2016. It also marked the 412th consecutive month and 43rd straight April that global temperatures have been above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the Northwestern Russian city of Arkhangelsk, near the entrance to the Arctic Ocean, a temperature of 84°F was recently registered — 30°F higher than normal for this time of year.
Meanwhile, Earth’s CO2 levels, for the first time in human history, reached 415 parts per million. The last time there was this much CO2 in the atmosphere, global average temperatures averaged between 4°C to 10°C warmer than they are today, depending on the location around the planet.
Denial and Reality
The U.S. is now one of the world’s leaders when it comes to climate change denial. A recent polling of the 23 largest countries in the world found that 13 percent of Americans believe the climate is being disrupted but that humans are not the cause, in addition to another 5 percent of Americans who believe the climate is not changing at all. The only other countries that are more anti-science than the U.S. are Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, according to the survey.
This information shouldn’t be a total shock, given the ongoing denialist machinations of the Trump administration, which recently objected to having “climate change” even referenced in a U.S. statement for the Arctic Council. Additionally, Trump’s EPA head was recently asked to back up his absurdly anti-science claim that climate disruption is still “50 to 75 years out.”
Adding fuel to the denial fire, Trump’s interior secretary recently told lawmakers that he hasn’t “lost sleep” over the record CO2 levels in the atmosphere. It’s worth remembering that the U.S. is responsible for emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere than any other country on Earth.
On the other hand, nearly half of younger Americans (between the ages of 18 to 29 years) believe human-caused climate disruption is a “crisis” and demand “urgent action,” according to a recent poll.
Another poll found that more than 80 percent of parents in the U.S. want climate disruption taught in the schools of their children. Among all parents, two-thirds of Republicans and nine out of every 10 Democrats agreed the subject should be taught in school.
With the ongoing acceleration of the climate crisis, it is clear that even if we believe the best-case scenarios, governments are not reacting according to the gravity of the situation at hand. Each one of us, knowing what we now know, must take full responsibility for preparing ourselves for the adaptation required to live on this increasingly warming, melting world as civilizations and societies continue to disintegrate.
Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption (The New Press, 2019), The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Izzy Award and the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards. His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.
Originally published by TruthOut
|June 10, 2019||
The Permafrost Nightmare Turns (More) Real.
by Robert Hunziker, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
Permafrost covers 25% of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the world’s largest icebox, and its landmass is 4.5xs larger than Antarctica, 6.5xs larger than the United States. It is stuffed full of carbon locked in frozen ground accumulated overeons, which, by way of contrast, makescoal power plant emissions lookbush-league.
Most notably, permafrost has an image of permanence and slow/gradual change, “the sloth of the north.”But, that slothful image is nowout-of-date. Global warming has changed the equation. Nowadays, permafrost disintegration is officially hot news.
Scientists that have long studied the gradual thawing of permafrost are now experiencing a dramatic switch from their former“eyes wide shut” viewpoint, i.e.,refusing to see something that’s in plain view because of preconceived notions. Thatslothful image of yesteryear has been shattered via numerous studies, as for example:Merritt Turetsky,Canadian Research Chair in Integrative Ecology, University of Guelph, “Rapid Permafrost Thaw Unrecognized Threat to Landscape, Global Warming Researcher Warns,” Nature d/d May 1, 2019.
Gradual permafrost thaw is now passé: “Turetsky and an international team of researchers are looking at something very different: Rapid collapse of permafrost that can transform the landscape in mere months through subsidence, flooding and landslides,” Ibid.
Based upon observations as recorded by the Turetsky research team, a climate crisis has already set in. It is here now:”We work in areas where permafrost contains a lot of ice, and our field sites are being destroyed by abrupt collapse of this ice, not gradually over decades, but very quickly over months to years,” said Turetsky.
According to team member Miriam Jones, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist: “This abrupt thaw is changing forested ecosystems… resulting in a wholesale transformation of the landscape that not only impacts carbon feedbacks to climate but is also altering wildlife habitat and damaging infrastructure.”
“It’s happening faster than anyone predicted,” Turetsky.
Still, the scientists behind the study remain optimistic that something constructive can be done to limit the dangers implied in the details of theirstudy, to wit: “If we can limit human emissions, we can still curb the most dangerous consequences of climate warming,” blah, blah, blah.
Most scientists and media sources claim it’s still not too late to do something to mitigate climate change. But, lingering questions remain, like what, when, how andwho? Where’s the leadership? When it comes to fixing the blistering pace of climate change, talk is cheap, whereas, only action counts.
In that regard, there is a well-defined approach to the climate crisis as well as answersto the aforementioned Turetsky study, which clearly delineates big time trouble right around the bend. Indeed, when theworld’s largest landmass literally crumbles apart, as stated in Turetsky’s study, “right in front of our eyes,” then alarm bells should be going off all across the land, especially in the office of the president responsible for one of the world’s largest permafrost regions, Alaska.
Under current climate conditions, the danger of runaway global warmingand subsequentburn off of mid-latitude agriculture cannotbe overstated.The implications are dreadful. Still, the provocative question remains “is it too late” as publicly stated by some climate scientists, without doubt the world’s most disturbing Debbie Downers, and unfortunately, verily truly, they have scientific evidence that backs up their predictions. Hopefully, fingers crossed, they’re wrong.
Still, the movement to fixit has “legs,” and it’s important to remember that nobody knows what the future holds. The big fixit could work!
For answers aboutwhat to do in the face of the climate emergency, hands down, the best essay extant is Margaret Klein Salamon’s “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: Introducing the Emergency Climate Movement” at:
Here’s a snippet: “At the end of 2018, the dam finally burst and the Climate Emergency Movement has emerged, finally, as a powerful force. This movement tells the truth about the scale of the crisis, and demands a “Green New Deal” or a WWII-scale climate mobilization — a 10-year transition to zero emissions plus drawdown. Led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and the Justice Democrats in Congress, the Sunrise Movement, Zero Hour, School Strikers, and Extinction Rebellion in the streets, this movement has burst forth with tremendous force and momentum. As of the time of this writing, more than 500 cities in 4 countries have declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ and most of the major Democratic Presidential candidates have stated that they support the Green New Deal.”
Here’s another snippet: “Working in coalition with international allies and on-the-ground leaders, The Climate Mobilization has helped to spread this campaign to 500 local governments around the world, representing over 50 million people; it is now growing at a compounding rate. Because of Extinction Rebellion’s impact, as well as the work of the British Green Party, more than 50 UK cities have declared climate emergency and commit to emergency speed decarbonization. London declared a climate emergency in mid-December, committing to transform its economy to carbon-neutral by 2030. Non-governmental organizations have also declared Climate Emergency. University of Bristol became the first university to declare a Climate Emergency. The XR-affiliated campaign Culture Declares a Climate Emergency has supported hundreds of British cultural institutions and artists in declaring a climate emergency. The Climate Mobilization plans to help spread this into the US as well.”
Throughout the world, and at astounding rates of growth,nearly as rapidly as climate change itself, people are organizing to fight the climate crisis. Already, remarkable success is happening around the world, which is highlighted in Salamon’s essay.
Even more fascinating yet:Out of the blue,the leadership question has been answered. It’s the people, en masse!
All of which points to a distinct probability that “The Climate Crisis” will be a determining (maybe “the major”) factor in the upcoming 2020 election. Just look at recent headlines: “Will 2020 Finally Be The Climate Change Election?” (Buzzfeed), “Climate Change Suddenly Matters in the 2020 Race” (Politico), “Climate Change Could Become a Top Issue in 2020 Election” (Time).
Postscript: “Margaret Klein Salamon is an invaluable guide to this new moment,” (Bill McKibben). “Salamon’s work continues to lead the conversation,” (Michael Mann). “No one has been more inspiringly clear-eyed about the climate emergency or what it demands than Margaret Klein Salamon,” (David Wallace Wells).
Robert Hunziker, MA, economic history DePaul University, awarded membership in Pi Gamma Mu International Academic Honor Society in Social Sciences is a freelance writer and environmental journalist who has over 200 articles published, including several translated into foreign languages, appearing in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He has been interviewed on numerous FM radio programs, as well as television.
|June 12, 2019||
Warming may reduce sea life by 17%, finds study.
by Countercurrents Collective, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
A new study says the world’s oceans will likely lose about one-sixth of its fish and other marine life by the end of the century if climate change continues on its current path.
Much of the world relies on the oceans for food or livelihood, scientists say.
The comprehensive computer-based study by an international team of marine biologists found that for every degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) that the world’s oceans warm, the total mass of sea animals is projected to drop by 5%.
If the world’s greenhouse gas emissions stay at the present rate, that means a 17% loss of biomass — the total weight of all the marine animal life — by the year 2100, according to Tuesday’s study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
But if the world reduces carbon pollution, losses can be limited to only about 5%, the study said.
“We will see a large decrease in the biomass of the oceans,” if the world doesn’t slow climate change, said study co-author William Cheung, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia. “There are already changes that have been observed.”
While warmer water is the biggest factor, climate change also produces oceans that are more acidic and have less oxygen, which also harms sea life, Cheung said.
“The potential ramifications of these predicted losses are huge, not just for ocean biodiversity, but because people around the world rely on ocean resources,” said University of Victoria biology professor Julia Baum, who wasn’t part of the study but says it makes sense. “Climate change has the potential to cause serious new conflicts over ocean resource use and global food security, particularly as human population continues to grow this century.”
The biggest animals in the oceans are going to be hit hardest, said study co-author Derek Tittensor, a marine ecologist at the United Nations World Conservation Monitoring Center in England.
“The good news here is that the main building blocks of marine life, plankton and bacteria may decline less heavily, the bad news is that those marine animals that we use directly, and care about most deeply, are predicted to suffer the most as climate change is working its way up the food chain,” co-author Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Canada, said in an email.
Tropical areas, already warm, will also see the biggest losses, Cheung said.
Scientists had already thought that climate change will likely reduce future ocean life, but past computer simulations looked at only part of the picture or used only one model. This study uses six different state-of-the-art computer models that give the best big picture look yet, Cheung said.
It is hard to separate past climate change impacts from those of fishing, but past studies have shown places where observed fish loss can be attributed to human-caused climate change, Chung added.
Tittensor pointed to lobsters off Maine and North Atlantic right whales as examples of creatures already being hurt by global warming hitting the ocean.
University of Georgia marine biologist Samantha Joye, who wasn’t part of the research, praised the study as meticulous and said it is also “an urgent call for action.”
“Healthy oceans are required for planetary stability,” Joye said in an email. “Aggressive global action to slow climate change is a moral imperative.”
Sea creatures getting wiped out twice as fast by global warming
An earlier study found:
Global warming has caused twice as many ocean-dwelling species as land-dwelling species to disappear from their habitats, highlighting the exceptional vulnerability of sea species that have no refuge from the rising heat.
The study, published in April 2019 in the journal Nature, is the first of its kind to compare sensitivity to warmer temperatures in cold-blooded animals that live in the world’s oceans versus those that live on land.
The results surprised the study’s lead author, Malin Pinsky, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.
“Ten years ago there actually wasn’t much attention to the impact of climate change on marine animals and today we are finding that they might be the most vulnerable of all species on earth,” Pinsky told weather.com.
Pinsky and his fellow researchers combed through available data on 88 cold-blooded marine species and 294 cold-blooded land species, ranging from lizards to fish to spiders. They developed a method to calculate the animals’ body temperatures and looked at climate and weather data surrounding the animals’ habitats to reach their conclusions.
“There were two key pieces,” Pinsky said. “One was understanding the highest temperatures that the animals could tolerate and the other was figuring out how much they heat up.”
He noted that the study looked at climate data over the past 20 years, meaning it provides a real-time picture of how sea creatures are affected by global warming.
“Not only are they more vulnerable but we are actually seeing this vulnerability play out around us right now,” Pinsky said.
The study also noted that many land animals can hide from heat in forests, shaded areas or underground. Most animals living in the ocean don’t have those same protections.
Pinsky said understanding global warming’s impact on the oceans and the animals that live in them is crucial to future conservation efforts and pinpointing where best to focus those resources.
“There’s actually a lot we can do to reduce these impacts,” he said. “Reducing greenhouse gas emission is really the most important thing we can do.”
He added that, even at the local level, efforts to stop overfishing, limit destruction of habitat and setting up marine conservation areas are also important steps to preserving marine life.
Pinsky also pointed out that not only are sea creatures an important part of nature, they are also a primary food source for many people and provide jobs for people who fish and harvest them.
“We’re all tied to the ocean whether we realize it or not,” he said. “These changes touch all of us.”
|June 11, 2019||
Fire and Flood – Politics as Usual and Planetary Destruction.
by David Bromwich, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
More and more, we look into our screens and gizmos. And this helps us — almost as if they were made for that purpose — not to think about the weather outside. Kept busy “curating” our own lives, we are regularly spared evidence of the coming catastrophe.
Long ago, in a memorable poem, Robert Frost guessed that there was a human need to bring the moods of the world into conformity with our moods:
“Tree at my window, window tree,
He says he has seen the “head” of the tree “taken and tossed” in rough weather, as his own head was “taken and swept” by a dream. This resemblance between the world and himself somehow added to his interest in life:
“That day she put our heads together,
This sense of the human place in the fabric of nature — that there may be a deep connection between inner and outer weather — is starting to seem a thing of the past.
Can we still have inner weather when the outer weather changes so regularly and drastically? When 500 tornadoes rip through the country from Kansas to Pennsylvania in a matter of weeks? Or when 875,000 California acres burn down in the course of a summer? Rather than hear the message, we look into our smartphones or at our computer screens whose backgrounds may include breathtakingly lovely pictures of the planet — photos that show how beautiful a place it has been. As if we could have this Earth forever in reach, as if we could preserve it with a password or, by logging off, exchange it for another as lovely.
What Benjamin Franklin is rumored to have said about the American Republic is now true of the planet as well: we have a world, if we can keep it. But so much of our interest is directed elsewhere — to the work of “renaming,” for example. There are scholars who think that by christening our age the Anthropocene, they are putting the fires and floods under a microscope. But does this human-centered word do much more than carve a new channel for pride? (“Just look around! It’s all us!”) The world, it seems, has become but one more link in the cyber-human chain by which we exit our natural bodies and turn into something rich and strange.
Greenhouse effect, global warming, climate change, climate disruption. Think of the succession of words we’ve used to describe the gradual onset of catastrophe and you see at once how inadequate words can be. In our time, corporate lingo has even rendered “disruptive” an admiring adjective for tech innovations on a par with “transformative.” Think back to the way “creative destruction” was used in an age of trickle-down economics — the message was that the economic damage to so many people signaled a corporate creativity that would make the crooked places straight. Never mind the “destruction” part — the victims would find their recompense at a higher level.
The destruction always seems to be happening elsewhere. Of course we know better. The issue that should dwarf everything in sight today is planetary climate destruction. It’s happening in plain sight and all around us, and most of us clearly can’t bear to think about it. Why not? Because we are creatures of habit and immediacy, because the imagination can’t fix for long on a distant and unbearable future. Habit disposes us to normalize the abnormal. It’s a human propensity as natural as the protective mechanism that helps us not get stopped in our tracks by the painful things we did or suffered.
Lurking under the exhaustion, the unraveling, even the obliteration of nature is our awareness of another danger we have long grown used to denying. For there is a second way that organized society could be brought to an end: nuclear weapons, which require a kind of international control we haven’t begun to imagine. To make much headway there, the world’s sole remaining superpower would have to change its focus and drop all those other warswe’re in. Few people can remember how we got into them, and even fewer (National Security Advisor John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, various Washington warriors and think-tank adepts) want them to continue, but these wars too have become a habit, a kind of addiction. Evidently we’ll keep on fighting them unless something very big stops us.
War Parties and Other Distractions
In another remarkable poem, Robert Frost wondered whether the world would end in fire or ice. Destruction by fire, the poem suggests, may be the offspring of desire — the desire, above all, for power of a sort that keeps nations on the uneasy brink of war. However, as the poem goes on to say, cold indifference or hate could also bring an end to life on this planet:
”But if it had to perish twice
There could hardly be a surer allegory of our moment. The fire of the poem can stand in for our multiple wars and the shadow of nuclear cataclysm. And ice? Arctic sea ice is melting more rapidly than expected, as are the Antarctic ice sheets and glaciers everywhere. As they do, the sea level rises. Think of the ice as a premonition of the flood. And yet (naturally enough) these matters are off limits in polite conversation. We are kept on a steady course of avoidance by a wish for things to be normal. Perverse as it sounds, nothing is more normal than the next round of daily news about a bad man who is also big and crazy and (confess it) bizarrely fun to watch. The race to fetch and carry news about you-know-who helps us cling to a present that resembles the cartoons and comic books of the past.
Everyday politics is filled with distractions. On March 26th, for example, The Hill reported that Mitch McConnell had affirmed climate change is a human-caused phenomenon. Did he really believe that? “I do,” he insisted, but the problem ought to be attacked in a reasonable state of mind: “The way to do this consistent with American values and American capitalism is through technology and innovation.” So the Republican senate majority leader offered a Republican “solution” to global warming. Let the vested interests — Big Banks, Big Energy, Silicon Valley — join forces and solve it together. These things always get done eventually, don’t they? As if on cue, from the minority leader of the Senate, there emerged a classic Democratic solution. Chuck Schumer said that the Senate ought to form a committee and investigate.
Another day, another distraction: the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, reported last month that Iran was engaged in an unprecedented “campaign” against the United States, a campaign revealed by his scrutiny of “multiple threat streams that were all perhaps coming together in time.” The evidence on which his estimates were based appeared to be of Israeli provenance — a source that (on this subject particularly) many Americans have learned to distrust. About the same time, former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan, who for the last half-year has served as acting secretary of defense, suggested that the president “doesn’t want a war with Iran.” Yet statements by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor Bolton can hardly be said to bear out that claim. In a 2017 speech to MEK, the Iranian insurgent-terrorist group, John Bolton confidently predicted that “regime change” in Iran was imminent. Last month, he promised a similar insurrection in Cuba. Bolton’s past behavior shows a consistent preference for war over other possible methods of undermining and destroying a foreign government.
Occasionally, a more hopeful distraction appears on the horizon. Just the other day, the Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted: “Our future is female. Intersectional. Powered by our belief in one another. And we’re just getting started.” In America, however, that prophesy is open to various interpretations. When it comes to the future and female leaders, consider the curriculum vitae of Condoleezza Rice, who served as national security advisor and later secretary of state for President George W. Bush and has since emerged as the leading name in the strategic consultancy firm RiceHadleyGates. It’s an upmarket outfit, all of whose partners had a role in creating, widening, or protracting the never-ending war on terror and none of whom has been chastened by her or his experience of disaster. RiceHadleyGates’s online bumpf assures you that the firm
“works with senior executives of major companies to develop and implement their strategic plans and help companies expand in major emerging markets, including Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas. In addition, we assist companies dealing with the national security and foreign policy challenges associated with offering sophisticated technologies, products, and services in these overseas markets.”
So the apostles of destruction by fire, female or otherwise, continue to reap their reward in status as well as hard cash.
And they have plenty of company. In the age of Trump, the war party of 2003-2006 has been resurrected behind the scenes. It can claim both a neoconservative and a neoliberal wing. Though in different tones of voice, both promote a return to American world leadership by force of — the polite word is “democracy” but the reality is, of course, ever-advancing strategic and tactical weapons systems in a Washington where the Pentagon budget grows more swollen every year. The neoconservative wing of that party, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, has on its board former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, former Republican congressman and chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Rogers, and the neoconservative editor and columnist Bill Kristol. The neoliberal think tank, National Security Action, includes Barack Obama’s speechwriter Ben Rhodes, along with Obama’s national security advisors Tom Donilon and Susan Rice and the intervention strategist Anne-Marie Slaughter. Jake Sullivan, who was in line to be Hillary Clinton’s national security advisor, sits on the advisory council of the first group and serves as co-chair of the second.
All of these people are pushing for a full-scale global renewal of liberal hegemony, supervised by the United States. The neoconservatives may look for regimes to topple, the neoliberals may prefer trade deals, but count on one thing: former officials and retired generals have already created a fresh environment in which they can safely mingle, brainstorm, and divvy up the world.
These people are the spiritual descendants of Alden Pyle, the “innocent” protagonist and title character of Graham Greene’s 1955 Vietnam War novel, The Quiet American. “I hope to God you know what you are doing there,” the English narrator Thomas Fowler says to Pyle. “Oh, I know your motives are good; they always are. I wish sometimes you had a few bad motives; you might understand a little more about human beings. And that applies to your country too, Pyle.” After a plastic explosive goes off in a public place and kills the wrong people, Pyle says of the dead civilians: “They were only war casualties. It was a pity, but you can’t always hit your target. Anyway, they died in the right cause.” A little later he adds, “In a way you could say they died for democracy.” Fowler replies: “I wouldn’t know how to translate that into Vietnamese.”
From our continuing failures, we can always be distracted by the memory of past glory — even when we know that the memory is largely counterfeit. George Packer’s recent biography of the American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, Our Man, offers a proof of the method. Holbrooke was the finest flower of the U.S. foreign policy elite in the late twentieth century. He worked on the pacification program in Vietnam for the Agency for International Development, served as assistant secretary of state under Jimmy Carter — where, among his other duties, he facilitated the Indonesian occupation of East Timor — broadened his credentials for a decade on Wall Street, returned to public service as the Clinton administration’s Balkan envoy and U.N. ambassador, and became at last a venerated but powerless authority on “global reach” as President Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan: Holbrooke supported all three of those disastrous wars in public, while reserving any guilty doubts for his private conversations and his diary. In non-diplomatic language, he was a careerist and a serial dissimulator, but Our Man contrives to elevate and almost pardon him because he did it in an idealistic cause, while seeking to preserve the façade of benevolent motives on which the reputation of his country depended. And he had to his credit one celebrated achievement: the Dayton Accords of 1995, which temporarily settled the conflict between Serbia and Croatia. This led to the 11-week-long bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, which was said to have reasserted the “international norms” that NATO and the West stood for. The success of that mission would later be held up as a model for the anticipated success of the bombing, invasion, and occupation of Iraq.
Holbrooke politicked hard to get a Nobel Prize that never came his way for the Dayton Accords. As it turned out, the most lasting consequences of his actions in 1995 and his advice in 1999 have been the dismantling of Yugoslavia and the creation of Kosovo as a drug-warlord state. His biographer tells us that he was a charmer to some, an obnoxious self-promoter in the eyes of others. Even so, “our man” is praised in this account (with a touch of elegiac pathos) as one of the “almost great” American figures we ought to remember with respect and affection — the hero of a lost world of big ambitions and good intentions.
As Packer sees it (and many foreign-service and combat journalists would agree), America’s faults have only been Holbrooke’s faults, writ large. “After all,” he writes,
“we Americans have never been good at managing the internal business of other countries. We’re lousy imperialists. We’re too chaotic and distracted — too democratic. We don’t have the knowledge, the staying power, the public support, the class of elites with the desire and ability to run an empire. And we rarely have the moral standing we imagine.”
The last sentence is careful to guard the author against any imputation of nostalgia for American hegemony, but in a sense the caution is unnecessary: in this account, the evil that we wrought came from incompetence, not malignity.
Still, look at the words again: “we rarely have the moral standing we imagine.” It is the mildest of rebukes. Go to the back of the class, it says; get things right the next time. To see what is missing from such a judgment, compare the uninflected plainness of a sentence in John Mearsheimer’s book The Great Delusion on the consequences of U.S. actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Syria. “Not only has the United States failed to protect human rights and promote liberal democracy in those countries,” Mearsheimer writes, “it has played a major role in spreading death and disorder across the greater Middle East.” Count Vietnam and Iraq alone and the death toll inflicted by U.S. militarism is upward of two million abroad in the years since the Second World War. No other country comes close. And none of those engagements in Southeast Asia and later across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa can be claimed as a war of self-defense. All were wars of choice. How much should it matter that we only wanted to help?
There is a thought that never enters the mind of well-meaning liberals like Holbrooke and his biographer. The reason we can’t teach others how to live is not that there is a good way of being an imperialist and Americans haven’t learned it. No, we can’t teach them because we don’t understand ourselves well enough to know what we would teach. Yet Packer is drawn to admire Holbrooke by the nagging thought that “he believed that power brought responsibilities, and if we failed to face them the world’s suffering would worsen, and eventually other people’s problems would be ours, and if we didn’t act no one else would… He was that rare American in the treetops who actually gave a shit about the dark places of the earth.”
Notice the familiar and hackneyed warning that if we didn’t venture out onto those distant battlefields of the planet, “other people’s problems would be ours.” In short, we must go to meet the enemy or he will come here. This has been the essential justification for every American war from Vietnam to the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq. That we could cause far worse problems by going to meet “the enemy” is the possibility invariably omitted under a haze of self-love and handsome regrets.
An Anything But Great World
When, in his essay “Perpetual Peace,” Immanuel Kant spoke for an enlightened understanding of justice and called the apologists for war and empire “sorry comforters,” he meant that they took the patterns of individual pride and fear as a collective rule for nations, and by doing so propagated a false idea of what action and suffering on a global scale could mean. Inseparably mixed with the cult of national self-love is the yearning to join the big boys who have made history. But where the fate of the world is at stake, the idea of “making history” through a struggle of great powers has been exposed as a cheat and a swindle.
Greatness in modern politics, in fact, has usually meant decisions that bring death to a great many unsuspecting people, most of whom have no connection to any problem the decisions were meant to solve. And yet this idea of greatness — or indispensability or exceptionalism — has so rooted itself in American electoral politics that a refusal to speak the comforting words may cause astonishment.
Senator Bernie Sanders was recently asked, “Do you feel you would be capable of using nuclear weapons in defense of the country?” He answered with bitter sarcasm, “Oh, yeah, anytime!” — and to make the meaning of “greatness” clear, he added: “Am I capable of blowing up the world?” The interviewer responded that he believed whether or not a politician would order a nuclear strike was “a great moral question.” To this Sanders responded, “It’s a great immoral question.”
There are questions that should never be answered, because they degrade anyone involved in answering or even listening to them. The overriding legitimate question for governments today is this: Will the world end in fire or in flood — in nuclear catastrophe or climate catastrophe? With the exception of scientists, a few politicians, and increasing numbers of school-age children, most citizens and most of our leaders are looking away from the flood while greeting the fire with clichés as familiar as lullabies.
And now for the name you haven’t heard but must somehow have expected, the subject of our favorite angry lullabies: Donald Trump. To mainstream journalists, he has become an object of unlimited enchantment and fascination. They treat him as if he were still the gonzo real-estate mogul and reality TV host it was impossible not to put on the front page because, in this age of social media, we’re all writing for tabloids, aren’t we? The symptomatic traits of a tabloid are no longer confined to journals like the National Enquirer. They encompass the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and the major networks, not to mention the rest of us when the internet surf is up.
The reporters who build up Donald Trump as president — something they do with every smirk and gasp meant to show how much they want to take him down — surely believe in the reality of climate change (even if they seldom mention it) and they surely accept the dangers of a possible nuclear conflagration (though they mention it not at all). But the 24/7 journalism of the age of Trump has unfitted them to respond to the real dangers of this planet whose names are not Trump. To bring their reporting into line with the reality of climate change and the possibility that all our small wars could someday erupt into a world war, mainstream journalism would simply have to take him off the front page for weeks at a time.
Let us be optimists and suppose our luck holds out for another generation. Suppose we are spared destruction by fire. Climate change remains and its effects will be devastating, even though those effects are regularly dealt with as if they belonged to separate categories: immigration, inequality, environmental destruction, and war. There will be wars as a result of climate change; there will be mass migrations; there will be environmental destruction almost beyond imagining; and there will be increased inequality from all of those causes. Meeting the disruption that is already upon us will require kinds of planning and international arrangements that are foreign to our habits as the last superpower. Individuals, however powerful, however capricious, however destructive, in this context are never more than paltry symptoms. Paltry — that is to say, meager, sorry, anything but great.
|June 11, 2019||
The Economic Growth – Climate Change Conundrum: Is it the end of the road? Is there a way ahead?
by S G Vombatkere, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
In the years immediately preceding World War II, Winston Churchill is quoted as having said: “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing expedients, of delays, is coming to its close … … in its place we are entering a period of consequences”.
World War II, purported to be a war to end all wars, ended in 1945 after USA dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. It did not end wars, but it did have huge consequences, evidence of which is unfolding even today. Perhaps the greatest single consequence is the combination of growth of money and banking systems, rampant exploitation of natural resources, and the parallel growth of production-consumption-pollution of all sorts. This is turn has spawned environmental and ecological consequences at planetary scale, with accompanying existential threats.
Finance, debt, economic growth, inequality
A major fallout of World War II was the formation in July 1944 of the Bretton Woods institutions – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the General Agreement on Tariff & Trade (GATT). They created the financial order of the post-War world and defined the rules, boundaries and goal-posts of financial and economic cooperation. After reconstruction of war-devastated Europe, IBRD morphed into the World Bank Group [IBRD, IFC (1956), IDA (1960), ICSID (1966), MIGA (1988) & WB Training Institutes], which turned its attention to Third World countries. In 1995, WTO replaced GATT. The IMF-WB-WTO triad became the world’s largest generator and provider of knowledge, the fountain-head of economic reform policies and programs.
They prescribed economic reforms founded on the centrality of economic growth as measured principally by the rate of growth of GDP. This ideology for economic progress was taught in all major US and European (and later in Third World) universities, and created a multitude of indoctrinated economists of all nationalities, who educated, trained and advised the leaders and the elite of Third World countries. This ideology of economic growth on a corporate-market-consumer basis is neo-liberalism, promoted annually at the Davos jamboree.
The Bretton Woods international financial institutions (IFIs) were joined by banks like Asian Development Bank and African Development Bank, and IFIs from Japan and European countries. Even lower-tier IFI executives had access to the top-most echelons of governments. Hence, IFIs became the source of finance for development projects in the Third World, and also enablers for preparing project proposals and appointing consultants, to educate and advise corruptible Third World leaders to apply for and receive loans, and solicit foreign investments. Thus, banker-driven debt-economies expanded.
Economic growth as the measure of national progress, became the focus of economic thinking and was institutionalized in countries across the globe, with impetus imparted and momentum maintained using the political-economic clout of IMF-WB and other IFIs. It was accepted worldwide because it suited the elite politician-bureaucrat-corporate nexus (or PBC, sometimes referred to as the “deep state”) which has behind-the-screen control of governments of all countries.
Admittedly, much of the knowledge and the finance provided for projects resulted in creation of infrastructural and other assets in Third World countries. But most of the accruing benefits went to economically better-off sections of society, with neglect of the poorer sections. With grandiose plans for development calling for huge capital investments, and loans from IFIs available on pre-condition of undertaking prescribed economic reforms, many Third World countries sank into debt. Some entered a “debt-trap”, when the outgo of interest on loans exceeded the revenue from projects plus export earnings. Overall, this resulted in growing economic inequality within and between societies.
In admission of this, an internal study group of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in July 2016 [Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani & Davide Furceri; “Neoliberalism Oversold?”, Report of IMF Finance & Development, June 2016, Volume 53, Number 2, pp.38-41.] that their decades-long advocacy and practice of economic reforms had serious failings. The Report is titled “Neoliberalism Oversold?”, with the boldfaced sentence: “Instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, thereby jeopardizing durable expansion”. Thomas Piketty’s 2013 incisive best-seller “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” may possibly have triggered the IMF admission.
Need for a different economic model
At a recent meeting of IMF and WB, efforts were made to play down fears of a slowing global economy due a deteriorating trade climate. [Garimella Subramaniam – “Clouds on the horizon: The deteriorating trade climate and the U.S-China conflict are holding back global growth”; Single File column; The Hindu; April 17, 2019; OpEd page].
The key phrases are “fears of a slowing global economy” and “deteriorating trade climate”. Questions which arise are, why should there be fear and who feels fear. Also questions are about what effect a deteriorating global trade climate – stated to be principally about the economic conflict between USA and China – may have on the majority of the 7.2-billion global human inhabitants. Since the talk is “global” let’s view other global matters.
The global economy being the sum of the economies of the countries on the globe, and the economy of a country being the sum of the economies of its constituent states or regions, it follows that at the very root of the global economy lies the economy of every human household. Taking the argument down to the household is justified by the etymology of the word “economy”, which is from the Greek word “oikonomia” referring to household management and thrift.
With eight of the world’s wealthiest persons owning as much wealth as the bottom 50% of humanity, there appears huge justification for an alternative economic paradigm to replace the current one of unending year-on-year economic growth, which has caused unjust and growing inequality within and between nations, leading to political/ military/ economic confrontation between nations and social unrest within nations.
Current economic model
Put simply, even simplistically, the current economic model is founded upon the need for growth of the national economy as a means to generate wealth.
Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of total economic production, representing the market value of all goods and services, including personal consumption, institutional purchases and sales, and adding exports and subtracting imports. GDP is generally accepted as a comprehensive yardstick to assess a nation’s economic growth, and its year-on-year growth indicates economic health.
The generation of wealth (money, precisely) by economic growth accrues to the upper economic echelons, and this is expected to “trickle down” to people who live (if that’s the right word) in the lowest economic layers of society. This has not happened in any country. Rather, economic disparity has widened.
Politics is slave to economics
Every government attempts to gain political advantage by claiming a higher GDP growth-rate as demonstrative of better performance. Opposition political parties always attempt to play down government’s performance by contesting these figures. Even Left-oriented economists question the validity of (7%) GDP growth rate claimed by the BJP-led NDA-2 government [“The problem with cherry-picking data” – Arun Kumar; The Hindu; April 24, 2019; Edit page], but do not question the economic model.
Thus, economists across the political spectrum have been and are on the GDP-growth-rate-bandwagon, and routinely quarrel about figures of GDP growth-rate, questioning the computation methods or the validity of the statistical data used for computation. There appears to be no understanding that the economic model has failed to reach economic benefit to people at the bottom of the socio-economic heap of humanity, political promises notwithstanding. Apart from the economic model generating economic disparity and social unrest, it is unsustainable from other perspectives.
Politics is driven by an economic model that cannot address the here-and-now economic needs of food-shelter-health-education-jobs of vast numbers. Hence, elections and voting are a cruel charade, a drama scripted by parties and persons across the political spectrum, to distract attention from the real-life economic miseries of the invisible millions, with promises of good days in the future.
“The key agenda must be to accelerate growth” is an article by none less than former Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to India’s Prime Minister, the title and content of which indicates the mindset. [C.Rangarajan; “The key agenda must be to accelerate growth”; <https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/the-key-agenda-must-be-to-accelerate-growth/article27280720.ece>; The Hindu; May 29, 2019]. Elections change governments but the economic growth ideology remains, and its implementation maintains momentum, even accelerates. Politics remains slave to economics, and the PBC nexus remains in control regardless of which political party or tall leader is in power.
Economic growth – existential threat
Continuous economic growth year-upon-year is growth compounded, and the size of an economy growing at say 7%, would double in ten years. The energy demanded, acquired and consumed to enable such economic growth would also approximately double.
Former RBI Governor C. Rangarajan said (2016) “The potential to grow at 8 to 9 per cent at least for a decade exists. We have to make it happen” [emphasis supplied]. Thus by 2026, with government’s concerted effort, the size of the economy, the energy consumed and global warming (GW) gases emitted for such growth would have more than doubled for India alone.
At global level, this worldwide energy (mostly fossil fuel) consumption year-upon-year which is integral to economic growth, has resulted in atmospheric CO2 rising to 415 ppm, a level not exceeded for the last 3-million years. This is accelerating GW and climate change (CC), which are existential threats to all life-forms. The direct cause-and-effect relationship between economic growth and GW-CC is undeniable.
Maintaining corporate control
India’s New Economic Policy formulated in 1991 by (then) union finance minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, was specifically about IMF-WB-orchestrated economic reform including structural adjustment, all based firmly upon unending economic growth. NEP-1991 was effectively furthered by the thousands of opinion-, policy- and decision-makers in governments and Indian institutions of higher education, who were trained in foreign universities and WB Institutes. These persons have had and continue to have easy access to, and disproportionate influence in, the corridors of power in central and state governments, regardless of the political party in power.
Such trained persons were and are in positions of power at various levels in various ministries, and they promote the mind-set of ideas, policies, proposals, plans and projects to yield targetted rates of GDP growth so that India may “progress”. This mind-set has proposed and promoted capital- and machine-intensive mega-projects, which need to acquire land, water and mineral resources. For this, state and/or central governments, with help from the deep state, circumvent, bypass or amend laws enacted to protect people or the environment from such projects. But governments justify such projects by touting economic growth, a sales pitch which has always satisfied all political persuasions.
On-the-ground challenges by affected populations to such projects, are met with police action in favour of the corporations and against protestors. Litigation is difficult and expensive and out of reach of poor project-affected people, and in any case, usually fail. Sometimes, the affected populations merely demand that extant laws (e.g., Forest Rights Act, Panchayat (Extension to Schedule Areas) Act & Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency in Land Acquisition, resettlement and Rehabilitation Act, 2013) be implemented faithfully, but governments usually win against the people, and corporations have their way. People’s resistance to amendments to weaken such laws has even been labelled as “naxal” or “maoist” to criminalize legitimate protest, and individuals who help (generally illiterate) people affected by the project, are subjected to SLAPP or charged under draconian laws like UAPA. The message as to who-is-boss is unequivocal.
The same economic policy has gained momentum with successive governments, and under the BJP-led NDA government starting 2014, its implementation has been intensified across sectors. Over the years, successive governments have sent top ministers travelling along with corporate honchos, to the annual World Economic Forum at Davos, to decide how to spur economic growth, and how to defeat economic competitors, even as they propose SDGs and negotiate carbon credits. Notwithstanding, the “wisdom” brought home from Davos is that worldwide economic growth is uncertain, and growing economic inequality and climate change are worrying issues. However, questioning the economic growth paradigm is economic blasphemy.
Economist Dr.Rathin Roy “… believes that India’s rapid growth has been essentially powered by its top 100 million citizens. The leading indicators of economic prosperity, he says, are things that these Indians consume – cars, 2-wheelers, air conditioners and so on. Having had their fill of home-made goods, they have now moved to imported luxuries – foreign holidays and Italian kitchens, for example”. [“India’s next government faces economic slowdown”; BBC News; <https://www.msn.com/en-in/money/news/indias-next-government-faces-economic-slowdown/ar-AABumf7?li=AAggbRN&ocid=mailsignout>].
Money generated by GDP growth is used for industrialized production of goods and services which depends upon extraction and consumption of “free” natural capital of resources like minerals, fuel, fresh water & land. This year-on-year (unending) GDP growth demands year-on-year increased consumption of natural capital, while the production processes produce more and more pollution of land, water and air.
Unending consumption of goods and services is highly energy-intensive and directly connected with energy use (burning of fossil fuels, principally oil). It generates GHGs and increases GW. However, the only thing that economists appear to fear is a slowing global economy because the rate at which goods and services are purchased (consumed) is flagging.
Corporate influence on economic policy has resulted in capital-intensive mega projects designed to boost GDP growth, which have countrywide and worldwide effects. The reality of sustained public protests against these projects is a part of the worry brought home from Davos. Still, rather than addressing the causes of protests, state and central governments, influenced by the PBC nexus, ignore, rubbish or suppress them, by police beatings or firings, charging protestors with “war against the state” and sedition, and jailing them under draconian laws or trumped-up charges.
Another method of the PBC nexus maintaining control is the creation of the “revolving door”, by which key executives or scientists in industrial/commercial corporations are manoevred into government administrative posts where they influence policy, and seamlessly revert to the parent corporate sector after a tenure.
On the one hand, the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has been re-named with Climate Change (CC) added to its designation (so now, MoEF&CC), and on the other, this same ministry is part of the PBC nexus to slacken environmental laws, rules and regulations so as to enable extractive and manufacturing industries and the hospitality industry to expand into new regions and generate profits. This increases GDP and boosts economic growth, but it is oblivious to the resulting intensification of GW and CC.
It is learned that scientists retiring or leaving the MoEFF&CC are not replaced by scientists, but by bureaucrats, who cannot apply scientific rigour to environmental problems, but uncritically obey bureaucratic and political dictats, making a joke of environmental protection.
In 2008, Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, Government of India, issued a 56-page National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It states: “Emphasizing the overriding priority of maintaining high economic growth rates to raise living standards, the plan identifies measures that promote our development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively”, and outlines eight missions and three programs for implementation.
NAPCC suffers from a fundamental conflict between the priority of maintaining high economic growth rates – which do not raise living standards but increase economic disparity – even while enhancing the ecological sustainability of India’s development path, as demonstrated below:
(#) “Maintaining high economic growth rates” (raising GDP growth rates) involves not merely higher consumption but growing rates of consumption of all sorts of goods and services. This will raise demand and consumption of oil, and inevitably result in increased GHG emissions and consequent increased GW.
(#) Promoting the present development objectives which are based upon economic growth, actually defeat measures to reduce GHG emissions and reduce the intensity of the inevitable effects of climate change. This is incompatible with “yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively”.
The present economic policy and CC are incompatible bed-mates – the former cannot sleep with the window open and the latter cannot sleep with the window closed. Trying to tackle CC while actually working to sustain rapid economic growth is as illogical as trying to mop a floor dry without turning off the tap. The economic growth ideology is clearly unsustainable, and inconsistencies in the “Overview, Principles and Approach of NAPCC” display a regrettable myopia in policy.
The current economic model of endless year-on-year consumption-driven production of goods and services taken at national or global level, has serious downstream effects. Drawing endlessly on the “natural capital” of primary mineral and other finite resources for projects to boost economic growth inevitably depletes it. In turn, it adversely affects the forests, rivers and lakes, land and oceans (the “ecological capital”), which depletes. As natural capital and ecological capital are depleted by projects designed for the production-consumption treadmill, there is inevitable effect on people through displacement and loss of livelihood, which destroys or adversely modifies the social structure of communities and families, creating social tensions and unrest. Peace in society is “social capital”, since development of any sort can only be successful in a peaceful society. But the “sacrosanct” economic growth paradigm results in loss of social capital and this is evidenced by the glaring, growing economic suffering and social unrest in urban, rural and forest areas.
The divergence between money growing exponentially due to year-on-year economic growth, and energy availability remaining stagnant or reducing, can result in collapse of the financial system, ominous signs of which are manifesting in different ways.
Yet economists of all political persuasions, willing prisoners within their ivory tower of economic growth, urge the government-of-the-day to adopt urgent measures to increase consumption of goods and services, and strive for ever higher growth.
World leaders are uncomprehending or ignorant of the cause-and-effect relationship between economic policies and GW-and-CC. They are unable to relate obvious negative inter-societal and intra-societal consequences with economic growth policies, being helpless in the stranglehold of the neo-liberal PBC deep state.
GW-and-CC is a major consequence of the economic growth paradigm. Homo sapiens has brought itself along with a host of other species to the brink of a great extinction.
The way forward
It is not difficult to understand that tackling CC threats is Priority-One among a list of worldwide socio-political imperatives. Survival is not possible without protection, preservation and conservation of natural resources and bio-diversity, for egalitarian provision of the basic needs of water, food & energy, clothing & shelter, and health, education, welfare and employment, for all – emphasizing the word “all”.
This is notwithstanding that tackling CC faces strong opposition from the ruling US administration and ignorance/ indifference/ opposition among most other governments worldwide, since they all represent the interests of their respective PBC nexus more than that of the people whom they represent.
Defeating the entrenched ideology of economic growth involves organizing socio-political initiatives to give primacy to sectors such as energy, food, water, shelter, jobs & employment, health and education. Perhaps the most prominent is a political initiative in USA, called the “Green New Deal”, which bring economics to heel in the larger interest of human societies. The GND “… will convert the old, gray economy into a new, sustainable economy that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible. It seeks to solve the climate crisis by combining quick action to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2030 along with an ‘Economic Bill of Rights’” [<https://www.gp.org/green_new_deal>].
The GND sets a target year and proposes the way forward to meet that target. Unlike the SDGs (which actually encourage economic growth) proposed at Davos, the GND is practical, clear-headed and socially responsible, and deserves the most urgent study in all societies, for implementation.
Leaders and opinion-makers in societies need to acquire the practical wisdom to understand that climate change due to global warming is an existential threat to most living species and certainly to human societes. The threat is growing, not receding. Measures based on that understanding need implementation to mitigate the effects of climate change, and find an easier transition to so-called “deep adaptation” necessary for species survival. Solutions for mitigation and adaptation as a survival route for human societies, clearly lies in rejecting the evil of unending economic growth and adopting non-fossil-fuel-based technologies. Our lives and the lives of future generations depend on it.
S.G.Vombatkere was commissioned as an officer into the Corps of Engineers (Madras Sappers) in 1962. In 1994, President of India awarded him the Visishta Seva Medal (VSM) for distinguished services rendered during military service in the cold, high altitude region of Ladakh. He retired from active service in 1996 in the rank of Major General. E-mail: email@example.com
|June 13, 2019||
U.S. military, world’s single largest producer of GHG, says study.
by Countercurrents Collective, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
The U.S. military is the single largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world, says a new study report.
The report – “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War” – by Neta C. Crawford, Professor of Political Science at Boston University and Co-Director of the Costs of War project, has been prepared under Brown University’s Costs of War project, focuses specifically on “post-9/11 wars” and impact of these wars on emissions.
The report said: the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is the world’s largest institutional user of petroleum and correspondingly, the single largest producer of GHG in the world.
According to the report, the best estimate of U.S. military GHG emissions from 2001, when the wars began with the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, through 2017, is that the US military has emitted 1,212 million metric tons of GHG (measured in CO2equivalent, or CO2e). And of these military operations, it is estimated that total war-related emissions including for the “overseas contingency operations” in the major war zones of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, are more than 400 Million Metric Tons of CO2e.
In 2017 alone, the report says, the Pentagon’s emissions were greater than all emissions from entire industrialized countries as Sweden and Denmark.
The reports said: In its quest for security, the U.S. spends more on the military than any other country in the world, certainly much more than the combined military spending of its major rivals, Russia and China. Authorized at over $700 billion in Fiscal Year 2019, and again over $700 billion requested for FY 2020, the DOD budget comprises more than half of all federal discretionary spending each year. With an armed force of more than two million people, 11 nuclear aircraft carriers, and the most advanced military aircraft, the US is more than capable of projecting power anywhere in the globe, and with “Space Command,” into outer-space. Further, the US has been continuously at war since late 2001, with the US military and State Department currently engaged in more than 80 countries in counterterror operations. All this capacity for and use of military force requires a great deal of energy, most of it in the form of fossil fuel.
It quoted General David Petraeus: “Energy is the lifeblood of our war fighting capabilities.” (General David Petraeus, quoted in Department of Energy, “Energy for the War fighter: The Department of Defense Operational Energy Strategy,” June 14, 2011, https://www.energy.gov/articles/energy-war-fighter-department-defense-operational-energy-strategy.)
The report said: Although the Pentagon has, in recent years, increasingly emphasized what it calls energy security — energy resilience and conservation — it is still a significant consumer of fossil fuel energy.
The report noted that the DOD does not report fuel consumption information to Congress in its annual budget requests. Indeed, although the Pentagon calculates fuel consumption for internal planning purposes, this information is explicitly withheld by the DOD in its reporting to Congress.
The new study report said: Global warming is the most certain and immediate of any of the threats that the U.S. faces in the next several decades. In fact, global warming has begun: drought, fire, flooding, and temperature extremes that will lead to displacement and death. The effects of climate change, including extremely powerful storms, famine and diminished access to fresh water, will likely make regions of the world unstable — feeding political tensions and fueling mass migrations and refugee crises. In response, the military has added the national security implications of climate change to its long list of national security concerns. Unlike some elements of the present US administration, which is in various modes of climate denial, the US military and intelligence community act as if the negative security consequences of a warming planet are inevitable. The DOD has studied the problem for decades and begun to adapt its plans, operations and installations to deal with climate change.
The effects of climate change will soon be “feeding political tensions and fueling mass migrations and refugee crises,” said the report.
Crawford has previously estimated that the budgetary costs of the post-9/11 wars, including Homeland Security and U.S. government’s future obligations to care for the veterans of these wars, are nearly $6 trillion dollars.
The report said: There are many sources of GHG related to war and preparation for it. Specifically, there are seven major sources of GHG emissions: overall military emissions for installations and non-war operations; war-related emissions by the U.S. military in overseas contingency operations; emissions caused by the U.S. military industry — for instance, for production of weapons and ammunition; emissions caused by the direct targeting of petroleum, namely the deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries by all parties; sources of emissions by other belligerents; energy consumed by reconstruction of damaged and destroyed infrastructure; emissions from other sources, such as fire suppression and extinguishing chemicals, including Halon, a GHG, and from explosions and fires due to the destruction of non-petroleum targets in war zones.
The study focused on the first two sources of military GHG emissions — overall military and war-related emissions — and briefly discuss military industrial emissions.
The report said: Domestic and overseas military installations account for about 40 percent of DOD greenhouse gas emissions. Jet fuel is a major component of U.S. military fuel use and therefore of GHG emissions. During each air mission, aircraft puts hundreds of tons of CO2 in the air, not to mention the support activities of naval and ground based assets for these air missions. The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began with days of massive airstrikes. Moreover, in each case, material was flown to the war zones and bases were set up to prosecute the wars and occupations. Similarly, the U.S. war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq has entailed tens of thousands of aircraft sorties for various missions — from reconnaissance, to airlift, refueling, and weapons strikes. A B-2 Bomber on a mission from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri might be refueled many times. For example, on 18 January 2017, two B-2 B bombers, accompanied by 15 KC-135 and KC-10 aerial refueling tankers made a 30-hour round trip mission from Whiteman Air Force Base to Libya to drop bombs on ISIS targets in Libya.
While the military received praise for making some effort to decrease its energy consumption, including by gradually replacing some non-tactical fleet vehicles with hybrid, plug-in or alternative fuel vehicles, reducing idling, and developing solar installations at some bases, the report says there is “room for more reductions.”
The study questions whether the huge U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf is necessary, since the U.S. itself is less dependent on the region’s oil than in the past and does not necessarily need to “protect the global flow” of oil.
The study recommended that each military installation should draw up plans to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent by 2022, and advised increased use of alternative fuels, hybrid vehicles and renewable energy. The Pentagon should also identify which military and National Guard bases could be closed, whether due to climate change impacts or diminished threats.
The U.S. military must urgently “reduce their role” in creating GHG emissions as a matter of national security, the report urged.
|June 14, 2019||
A billion people facing high exposure to climate change effects, finds Global Peace Index.
by Countercurrents Collective, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
Nearly a billion people are facing climate change hazards globally, with the Asia-Pacific region housing twice as many people living in areas with high exposure than all other regions combined, says the new annual Global Peace Index (GPI) released on Wednesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Another new study finds: Intensifying climate change is estimated to increase future risks of conflict.
The key points of the GPI report include:
The GPI said an estimated 971 million people — including more than 2.4 million Australians — live in areas with high or very high exposure to climate hazards including cyclones, floods, bushfires, desertification and rising sea levels. Of this number – 971 million – 400 million (41 per cent) reside in countries which already have low levels of peacefulness.
The top 9
The top nine countries facing the highest risk of climate hazards were all Asian nations with the Philippines topping the list, followed by Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.
Many of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region also have weaker coping capacities for natural disasters.
The Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands are going to be massively impacted by rising sea levels. These countries would be the first affected because of their proximity to the equator.
In Australia, the main risks come from hurricanes and cyclones in the north, rising sea levels in the south and east, as well as drought and desertification, which is already affecting thousands of farmers.
Exacerbated conflict and migration
The report ranks 163 countries by measuring internal safety and security, militarization and ongoing conflict, which included climate change risks for the first time this year to evaluate links between climate hazards and violence.
It found climate pressures could adversely impact resource availability and affect population dynamics, which can impact socioeconomic and political stability.
The large flows of refugees due to climate crisis can increase instability and the impact of terrorism on host nations.
Nigeria, Haiti, South Sudan
There are several countries where climate change has caused or exacerbated violence. These include Nigeria, Haiti and South Sudan.
In Nigeria, desertification has led to conflict over scarce resources.
In Haiti in the aftermath of multiple hurricanes and earthquakes, conflict spread.
In South Sudan, the drying of Lake Chad has exasperated tensions.
Displacement due to climate crisis
In 2017, over 60 per cent of total displacements around the world were due to climate-related disasters, while nearly 40 per cent were caused by armed conflict.
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, more than 265 million people have been internally displaced by natural disasters since 2008, with the Asia-Pacific region the most heavily affected.
Farmers in Australia
Climate-induced migration is expected to continue to escalate, and in a region facing the highest risk, Australia could be heavily impacted.
Farmers in Australia have begun migrating south to greener pastures, as droughts and desertification devastate northern regions.
The reports said:
In order to address these challenges, there will need to be much greater cooperation both within and between countries. Countries with high levels of Positive Peace are better able to manage climate-induced shocks and tend to have higher environmental performance than those with lower levels of Positive Peace.
Climate as a risk factor for armed conflict
A new study report published on June 12, 2019 in the journal Nature said:
Intensifying climate change will increase the future risk of violent armed conflict within countries.
The new study – “How much does climate change affects the risk of armed conflict: As global temperatures climb, the risk of armed conflict is expected to increase substantially” – assesses the current understanding of the relationship between climate and conflict, based on the structured judgments of experts from diverse disciplines. The experts agree that climate has affected organized armed conflict within countries. However, other drivers, such as low socioeconomic development and low capabilities of the state, are judged to be substantially more influential, and the mechanisms of climate–conflict linkages remain a key uncertainty.
Climate influenced 3%-20% armed conflict
Synthesizing views across experts, the study estimates climate has influenced between 3% and 20% of armed conflict risk over the last century and that the influence will likely increase dramatically.
In a scenario with 4 degrees Celsius of warming (approximately the path we’re on if societies do not substantially reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases), the influence of climate on conflicts would increase more than five times, leaping to a 26% chance of a substantial increase in conflict risk, according to the study. Even in a scenario of 2 degrees Celsius of warming beyond preindustrial levels – the stated goal of the Paris Climate Agreement – the influence of climate on conflicts would more than double, increasing the risk to a 13% chance.
Climate change-driven extreme weather and related disasters can damage economies, lower farming and livestock production and intensify inequality among social groups. These factors, when combined with other drivers of conflict, may increase risks of violence.
Researchers disagree intensely as to whether climate plays a role in triggering civil wars and other armed conflicts.
To better understand the impact of climate, the study involved interviews with and debates among experts in political science, environmental science, economics and other fields who have come to different conclusions on climate’s influence on conflict in the past.
The experts, who also served as co-authors on the study, agree that climate has affected organized armed conflict in recent decades.
However, they make clear that other factors, such as low socioeconomic development, the strength of government, inequalities in societies, and a recent history of violent conflict have a much heavier impact on conflict within countries.
The researchers do not fully understand how climate affects conflict and under what conditions. The consequences of future climate change will likely be different from historical climate disruptions because societies will be forced to grapple with unprecedented conditions that go beyond known experience and what they may be capable of adapting to.
The study explains that adaptation strategies, such as crop insurance, post-harvest storage, training services and other measures, can increase food security and diversify economic opportunities, thereby reducing potential climate-conflict linkages. Peacekeeping, conflict mediation and post-conflict aid operations could incorporate climate into their risk reduction strategies by looking at ways climatic hazards may exacerbate violent conflict in the future.
However, the researchers make clear there is a need to increase understanding of these strategies’ effectiveness and potential for adverse side effects. For example, food export bans following crop failures can increase instability elsewhere.
|June 15, 2019||
Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt.
by Eoin Higgins, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
Alaska and Greenland specifically. (Photo: Ian Keating, Flickr)
The climate crisis is rapidly warming the Arctic, and the effects are being felt from Alaska to Greenland.
The northernmost point on the planet is heating up more quickly than any other region in the world. The reason for this warming is ice–albedo feedback: as ice melts it opens up land and sea to the sun, which then absorb more heat that would have been bounced off by the ice, leading to more warming. It’s a vicious circle of warmth that’s changing the environment at the north pole.
In Alaska, the crisis led this year to the warmest spring on record for the state; one city, Akiak, may turn into an island due to swelling riverbanks and erosion exacerbated by thawing permafrost and ice melt. Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Center scientist Susan Natali told The Guardian that what’s happening in Akiak is just an indicator of the danger posed to Alaska by the climate crisis.
“The changes are really accelerating in Alaska,” said Natali.
Thawing will result in people losing their homes—in cities like Akiak, it already has—and, Natali warned, eventually the scope of the problem will be beyond the capabilities of the U.S. government to handle.
“It’s a real challenge because in the U.S. there isn’t the precedence to deal with this and there isn’t the political framework to deal with it either,” Natali told The Guardian. “The numbers needing relocation will grow, the costs are going up, and people’s lives and cultural practices will be impacted.”
Meanwhile, in Greenland, 45 percent of the island’s massive ice sheet is melting—much higher than the 10 percent that is normally melting at this point in the year. While much of the melt is expected to refreeze once temperatures stabilize, the integrity of the ice after the early melt makes it more likely to accelerate later in the year.
That means the unprecedented June melt will likely combine with the ice–albedo feedback for record melting, Xavier Fettweis, a Greenland researcher at Belgium’s University of Liege, told science hub Earther.
“Due to a lower winter accumulation than normal, the bare ice area has been exposed very early in this area enhancing the melt due to the melt-albedo feedback,” said Fettweis. “Therefore, at the beginning of the melt season, the snowpack along the west coast is now preconditioned to break records of melt.”
As Earther put it, the ice melt could lead to a repeat of a frightening situation in the Arctic not seen in almost a decade:
The problem just isn’t going away, Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy climate specialist Rich Thoman told news-channel KTUU.
“It’s surely going to be the case that by the time we get to late September, there’s going to be no sea ice within hundreds of miles of Alaska,” said Thoman.
Originally published by CommonDreams.org
|June 16, 2019||
Lithium: The Next Suicidal Solution To The Fossil Fuel Climate Crisis.
by Irwin Jerome, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
At some point in the distant future, when alien lifeforms visit Planet Earth and find proof of its original race of humanoid inhabitants, who by then will have long since disappeared, the discovery will go some thing like this:
Whether the cosmic event of all the “OMG’s” and “WTF” will be a colossal meteor strike, some sudden thermonuclear holocaust or slow, gradual extinction it’s clear modern human civilization now is poised at a critical crossroad juncture between two roads leading towards either the ultimate survival or destruction of both the human civilization and natural world as they’ve existed and flourished for eons.
This is a “DUH!” no-brainer moment in time and space that is demanding of the human race some kind of radical reversal to everything that has thus far been or will continue to be the projected direction of life on earth. The question and challenge that this moment raises is how cabable, how willing or even how possible is modern human civilization’s ability to fully comprehend the massive changes that must be made in a relatively very short period of time and then marshall the capacity to actually make the sweeping changes that are required.
The existential threat posed can be likened to the analogy of an eminent devastating collision with a huge asteroid or some unexpected disastrous thermonuclear conflagration. In either case, the Human Race will have virtually little or no time to procrastinate what to do or how to react to this threat to all of life as we know it.
For at least the past hundred thousand years indigenous human beings everywhere on the planet have lived out their lives in small numbers, utilizing whatever simple, natural, sustainable resources at hand to build their homes, communities and nations. Yet once both the Western and Eastern brains of humans began to evolve in much different ways, and seized hold of the direction and course that human civilization would take, everything since has been thrown out of balance.
How human populations have continued this new exponential expansion has since led to all manner of technological inventions and manipulations of the natural world – such as the proliferatiion of concrete homes, buildings and skyscrapers that continue to strip the earth of even its last remaining finite supplies of sand. What to do today to stop, retard or rechannel this explosion that continues to destroy or dominate in so many different ways every land, sea or air space on earth is one of the imponderables that no modern government or political body has yet shown the capacity to address.
Many would, at this point, simply say that there is no going back to some simpler state of being. The Human Race has simply already set its fateful course and where it will all end will be what it will be. If mankind blows itself up and Mother Earth to Kingdom Come, in the end it is just one tiny speck in the greater universal realm of the cosmos where the idea of life unfortunately didn’t ultimately work out. Maybe this is why so many of the more evolved beings from other places in the universe, who have been observing this earth scene for eons, have refrained from makng themselves known to the human race because they already know the fatal conclusion humans have created for themselves.
These higher-evolved alien beings passively watch as the modern Human Race continues to argue and quibble among itself as to whether or not it should continue to practice this or that mining and extraction of every last know mineral or substance while eliminating every last bit of its precious finite resources, like water, to feed all the constant expansion.
As one fossil fuel source after another runs out, the scramble to find yet the next precious mined substance, like Lithium, continues to intensity, unabated, this suicidal technological journey through time and space. In the end, it won’t make any appreciable difference to the negative consequences of it all whether it ends up being, a huge Tar Sand oil field in Alberta Canada, or a series of huge solar-evaporated brine pools in salt flats still to be found in ever-greater quantities on earth in already water-starved places like Australia, Chile or Argentina. The disastrous effects of Lithium mining on global warming, environmental pollution or human health still will continue to deprive local humans and other species of animals and plants from being able to sustain themselves, while the toxic chemicals required to leach the Lithium from the brine flats will require still more extensive waste treatment, as will the huge amounts of nickel and cobalt required to produce Lithium-ion batteries that represent, in themselves, huge environmental risks requiring even their own extensive waste treatment.
The absurd concept of modern human civilization’s attempt to shift from large, fossil-fuelled,SUV’s to smaller, so-called ‘Smart’ vehicles run by Lithium (Lion) propulsion is, in itself, another example that is incompatible with any notion of the so-called Green Car of the future, even though the resources already exist to cope with at least one billion such vehicles until the year 2100. Yet even given that fact, with unchecked population explosion, the demand already is growing at a rate 25% greater than even the current projected available supply, coupled with the reality that such Lithium-ion batteries and other lithium devices are essentially not recyclable and will only end up as unwanted landfill everywhere on earth. When that time comes then the race will be on to find yet the next and then the next and still the next mineable precious finite resource to replace whatever the last exhausted supply.
The world’s environmental scientists now contend that to try to clean up mankind’s already massive fossil-fueled ecological disasters that have thus far been created everywhere on earth, present a nigh-impossible challenge. In places like the Middle East or Tar Sands of Alberta, Canada, experts say the monies required to clean up the mess far exceeds the billions already allocated to start to undertake the clean-up. Not to mention how long such a clean up will take where, at the current slow rate of clean up in places like the Tar Sands and Middle East, some estimate may take several thousands of years; assuming, of course, that human civilization will even still be around and cabably of continuing the clean-up.
Yet everyone – the corporations, the politicians, the citizenry – all have a million things to bitch about. Some bitch we don’t need a Carbon Tax. Some bitch they can’t afford a Carbon Tax, while others bitch any proposed Carbon Tax isn’t near enough to pay for it all. As Canada attempts to ban all plastic straws and other plastic products over the hue and cry of many, the United States won’t even discuss a New Green Deal. While the youth of the world, sensing their future is in absolute dire jeopardy, continue to everywhere mount an Extinction Rebellion in the face of it, with the hope that their parents and elders will finally listen and respond to the sheer magnitude of the emergency that is at hand.
Each rebellion, in its own way, seeks to do something meaningful to prevent the earth from sliding ever-deeper into what some scientists refer to as the Anthropocene epoch on earth that is causing the sixth great extinction of all species of life.
Bio Note: Jerome Irwin is a freelance writer who, for decades, in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, has sought to call attention to problems of sustainability caused by excessive mega-developments, the resulting horrors of traffic gridlock, loss of single family neighbourhoods and a host of related environmental-ecological-spiritual issues and concerns that exist between the conflicting philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
|June 18, 2019||
Global population to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 and India’s to surpass China’s in 6yrs, says UN.
by Countercurrents Collective, in World, Countercurrents.org,
The global population will add 2 billion in the next three decades, closing in on the 10-billion milestone by 2050, said the United Nations.
And, India, projected to overtake China, will lead the charge.
A newly released report – The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights – by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) estimates: a mind-boggling 9.7 billion people will inhabit the Earth by 2050, which is an increase of two billion from now.
India among the leading 9 countries
Nine countries are projected to be responsible for over the half of that surge.
Leading the way is India, which is projected to add 273 million to its already massive 1.37 billion population and overtake China. India is expected to have 1.4 billion inhabitants between 2019 and 2050.
China’s population is expected to shrink by 31.4 million between 2019 and 2050, and is set to reach 1.1 billion by 2100.
Runner-up Nigeria is not lagging far behind. Nigeria is expected to add 200 million people by 2050. Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, and the US are the other seven countries that will be driving the world population growth in the next 30 years, said the report.
Biggest jump in sub-Sahara
The biggest jump in population size will be made in the sub-Saharan Africa, where it will grow two-fold by 2050, a development that might further strain the fragile social systems of the countries.
The growth is slowing
There is good news: Population growth is slowing, and it is expected to come to almost a standstill.
Now, the average number of births per woman is 2.5, but by 2050, it is projected to drop to 2.2, putting the world on the brink of population decline. A rate of 2.1 births per woman is considered to be barely enough to sustain the population, which is expected to reach its maximum by the end of the century at 11 billion.
55 will find decline
The lower number of births per woman will hit hardest 55 countries that are set to see their populations decline by at least one percent.
China, the leader
The declining-team is led by China and followed by other countries; many of these are located in Eastern Europe or the Caribbean.
Lithuania and Bulgaria will suffer the biggest decline, seeing their populations shrink by 23 percent by 2050.
Latvia, with an estimated 22 percent decline, is followed by the Wallis and Futuna Islands (20 percent), and Ukraine (20 percent).
65+, an economic burden
While researchers sound the alarm over the rapid population growth in the developing world, they also point to the growing number of people 65 and older that constitute an economic burden.
While only one in 11 people is currently in this age group, by 2050, one in six will be 65 or older.
In some regions including the Asia, Latin America, and Northern Africa, the proportion of the elderly population is expected to double by 2050, the study notes.
According to a press release, Liu Zhenmin, the DESA Under-Secretary-General, said: “Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges.”
Key findings from the report
For many countries or areas, including some Small Island Developing States, the challenges to achieving sustainable development are compounded by their vulnerability to climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise.
Trends in population size and age structure are shaped mostly by levels of fertility and mortality, which have declined almost universally around the globe. In some countries, international migration also has become an important determinant of population change.
|June 18, 2019||
Economics 101 and Ecological Collapse
by Edward Fullbrook, in Counter Solutions, Countercurrents.org,
“The collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” – David Attenborough
Today’s economics, especially Economics 101, is a major source of humankind’s denial of the possibility of the calamity of all calamities, which our economy is engineering. Annually, millions of students around the world are forced to study textbooks that indoctrinate them into thinking that there is no significant causal connection between our economy and the ecosphere. Once upon a time there wasn’t. Although from the first forest-clearing onwards, the economy has caused environmental damage and at an increasing rate, it was only in the 19th century – when the economy began the big switch away from muscle energy – that it began to acquire the means to cause lethal damage to the ecosphere.
It has now been over half a century since the natural sciences began to discover that the economy was causing fundamental and irreversible changes to the ecosphere by which we and the economy exist. Given that economics is the study of the economy, a more radical change in a science’s empirical realm is unimaginable.
In 50 years, what has economics done about it? Virtually nothing. Brilliant and intellectually brave economists have created “ecological economics”. But that work remains ignored by over 90 per cent of the profession and in nearly 100 per cent of its classrooms. In today’s teaching of economics, 19th Century theory continues to hold sway. Students are given a picture of the economy that blocks from view the fundamental facts about it that natural science has discovered. Let’s take a look at how this censorship is achieved.
N. Gregory Mankiw’s Principles of Economics is said to be the world’s most used economics textbook and is the prototype of nearly all the others. It is a huge book. The index to its fourth edition is 18 pages long with over 2,500 entries. This index illustrates how comprehensive the censorship is. Here are 11 key and now common terms pertaining to the economy’s effect and dependency on our life-support system:
How many of these terms appear in Mankiw’s 2,500 entries? None. Nor do any of them appear among the book’s 13 section titles, 36 chapter titles and over 700 sub-chapter titles. Why? Because the basic theoretical structure of the economics that is taught to millions of university students every year will not accommodate the bi-directional causal link between the economy and the ecosphere.
When today’s mainstream economics was invented in the 19th century, the global economy was too small to have observable effects on the ecosphere, and none were anticipated. Of course even then economies had negative effects on their immediate environment, but they were small enough to make it seem reasonable to ignore them when considering how an economy works. So economists conceptually dumped an economy’s negative effects into a broad category they called “externalities” – and today in Economics 101 that is where they remain, under the name “negative externalities”
Chapter 10 of Mankiw’s textbook is titled “Externalities”. It defines “negative externalities” as all those not so nice things that happen when market “equilibrium fails to maximize the total benefit to society as a whole”. Mankiw gives two examples:
Further on, Mankiw explains to students that today’s “environmental degradation” is analogous to the problem of overgrazing in the Middle Ages.
Climatologists see the problem of “externalities” as more serious than barking dogs and overgrazing. Here, for example, are quotes from a 2015 paper in the journal Science:
“There is an urgent need for a new paradigm that integrates the continued development of human societies and the maintenance of the Earth system (ES) in a resilient and accommodating state. … The relatively stable, 11,700-year-long Holocene epoch is the only state of the ES that we know for certain can support contemporary human societies. There is increasing evidence that human activities are affecting ES functioning to a degree that threatens the resilience of the ES – its ability to persist in a Holocene-like state in the face of increasing human pressures and shocks” [emphasis added].
In an interview, the eminent climatologist Will Steffen sums up the economy versus the ecosphere problem informally:
“It’s clear the economic system is driving us towards an unsustainable future and people of my daughter’s generation will find it increasingly hard to survive… History has shown that civilizations have risen, stuck to their core values and then collapsed because they didn’t change. That’s where we are today.”
It is because humanity has engaged with today’s Economics 101 fantasy – that the connection between the ecosphere and the economy is unidirectional – that we are now in this dire threshold situation. As John Maynard Keynes noted, “The ideas of economists… both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood.” And the ideas of economists have never been more wrong nor nearly so powerful at doing wrong as those force-fed to the students of today’s Economics 101. We now know, thanks to natural scientists, that the longer this mass indoctrination into this fantasy world continues, the more likely that the ultimate disaster will happen.
It is not only with bombs and gas that crimes against humanity can be committed. Everyone connected with economics, perhaps most of all its students, need to ask themselves what they can do.
 Mankiw, G. Principles of Economics (Cengage, 2006), page 204
 ibid. pp. 231-234
This piece originally appeared under the title, “Economics 101: Dog barking, overgrazing and ecological collapse”, in Real-World Economics Review, issue no. 87, 19 March 2019.
Via the Economics of Happiness Blog.
|June 18, 2019||
Arctic Permafrost Melting 70 Years Sooner Than Expected.
by Jan Wesner Childs, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
A new study published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters revealed that unusually warm summers in the Canadian High Arctic between 2003 and 2016 resulted in permafrost melt up to 240% higher than previous years.
Louise Farquharson, a researcher at the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the study’s lead author, told weather.com the three areas of melting permafrost studied in remote northern Canada are believed to have been frozen for thousands of years.
“This change is unprecedented on this kind of time scale,” Farquharson said.
She noted that while scientists had predicted the permafrost wouldn’t melt for another 70 years, those forecasts didn’t take into account the unusually warm summers that have happened in recent years. While researchers believe all indicators point to warmer temperatures continuing, there’s no way to know for sure just how quickly the permafrost will continue to melt.
As permafrost disappears, it creates what’s known as thermokarst, a sinking landscape often pockmarked with lakes, holes and mounds. In one area the researchers studied, the ground sank about three feet.
“I was very surprising to just see how rapidly the landscape changed,” Farquharson said. “We started monitoring these sites back in the early 2000s and this landscape surrounding each of our stations was fairly flat. It was fairly easy to walk across the area.”
The transformation was startling.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Farquharson said. “There are these troughs of up to 90 centimeters (about 35 inches). It’s kind of like the elevation of a kitchen countertop. There are small ponds in many of these troughs. It’s quite a profound change.”
Vegetation never before seen in the area is also creeping in.
Not only is rapidly melting permafrost a harbinger of climate change, it exacerbates the problem by exposing thawing biological material to the atmosphere where it decomposes and releases CO2, a key element in global warming.
Research has also shown that loss of permafrost can wreak havoc on everything from animal habitat, migration and diet in the wild to agriculture and infrastructure in populated areas.
Houses are sinking into the earth in parts of Alaska, Canada and Russia, for example, and the 92-mile road in Alaska’s Denali National Park is slowly being moved by sliding land caused by melting permafrost.
“Locally, these changes, they affect the vegetation, the ecology, the hydrology,” Farquharson explained. “It’s kind of a canary in the coal mine situation I would say.”
|June 19, 2019||
The War of Oil Tankers
by Dr Elias Akleh, in World, Countercurrents.org,
Fire and smoke billowing from Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker said to have been attacked in the waters of the Sea of Oman on June 13, 2019 [Credit: ISNA]The economic war waged by Trump’s administration against Iran seems to have been escalated to involve false flag attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz. Within a one-month period two terrorist attacks; Emirati Al Fujairah attack in May 12th and the Gulf of Oman attack in June 13th, were perpetrated against large oil tankers.
After an hour of each attack Trump’s administration and its Gulf stooge countries; Saudi Arabia and UAE, hastened to point their accusing fingers towards Iran without any evidence and even before any independent investigation of the attacks. Britain joined the US accusation of Iran through its Foreign Secretary; Jeremy Hunt, who accused Iran calling on it to stop all forms of destabilizing activities that pose serious danger to the region. Jeremy Corbyn; the British Labour leader, warned Hunt not to fuel a military escalation that began with the US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal without any credible evidence. Russia, China, Germany and the EU called for self-restrained and not to rush into conclusions and accusations of any party until the end of investigation.
Although the Gulf of Oman is the most guarded and monitored area by the most sophisticated surveillance equipment yet no strong evidence was produced to substantiate the American accusations. The footage that CENTCOM had produced to incriminate Iranian IRGC of removing an unexploded limpet mine; an alleged evidence of Iran’s involvement, is so blurry that one cannot distinguish whether it was really an Iranian boat or what its crew was doing. It is hard to believe that the sophisticated surveillance system could not produce a clear picture of the boat. Ambiguity is intentional here.
When Yutaka Katada; the president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner of damaged Kokuka Courageous ship, explained that a mine does not damage a ship above the see level, and that his crew saw “flying objects” hitting the ship, CENTCOM produced other stories to divert attention away from the footage. Originally officials claimed that the USS Bainbridge; a guided missile destroyer, picked up the crew members of the oil tankers. When Iranian TV broadcasted all 44 crew members in its hospitality after rescuing them, American officials changed their story claiming that tanker crew was detained by Iran after first being rescued by “un-named” another vessel.
To gain more credibility to its accusations US officials told CNN that hours before the tankers attack on Thursday the Iranians spotted an American drone flying overhead and launched a surface-to-air missile but missed the drone, which reportedly observed Iranian vessels closing in on the tankers. Yet no video of this allegation was introduced to confirm that these boats had conducted any attack.
These unsubstantiated accusations reminded me of the lies of 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident, the lies of the 2003 Iraq war and the lies of Syrian Assad’s chemical attack against his own people among many other lies. In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson’s administration lied to the Congress that North Vietnamese forces attacked the USS Maddox boat in order to get the Congress authorization to wage war against innocent Vietnam. In 2003 the lies of “weapons of mass destruction” and “the mushroom cloud” lead to the destruction of a whole country; Iraq. In 2017 Assad was accused of using chemical weapons against civilians of his own people when he was winning the war against American/Israeli/Saudi ISIS terrorist groups. The US bombed Syrian bases in response.
The credibility of successive American administrations had long been lost, and their flagrant lies throughout their history had been clearly exposed. Mike Pompeo; the present US Secretary of State, has recently proudly confessed to this fact: “I was the CIA director. We lied … we cheated … we stole. We had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.” In this video.
Yet this lying cheating thief had the audacity to face the whole world and to deceptively accuse Iran of attacking the oil tankers:
“It is the assessment by the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”
The resources proficiency to act with high degree of sophistication Pompeo has mentioned are characteristics of the American and Zionist Israeli underground Special Forces.
The question of “who benefits” will lead us to the real perpetrators. It is highly unlikely and illogical for Iran to attack Japanese owned ships while the Japanese Prime Minister; Shinzo Abe, was visiting Iran in a mediating mission between the US and Iran.
Unlike the western powers it is not a character of the Iranian government to attack the ship; Front Altair, belonging to one of Iran’s closed allies and friend; John Frederiksen, the owner of the Frontline Tanker Company, who helped Iran deliver its oil to its destinations during the “tanker war” with Iraq in the 1980’s.
Iran seeks peace and security in the region, which explains it’s signing the 2015 nuclear agreement accepting the international monitoring of its nuclear facilities unlike nuclear Israel who has not signed the NPT agreement. Also Iran had given European countries ample time to comply with the nuclear deal after the American withdrawal. Peace and security in the Persian Gulf area; the heaviest oil traffic, is very important for Iran. Iran had approached all the Gulf States with a call to sign a non-aggression pact and a partnership to form a local unified security system in the Gulf.
To prove its innocence Iran had called for independent international investigation in the 12th May Al-Fujairah attack against four oil tankers that must include all surveillance records of the area in order to expose the ‘state actor’ behind the attack. Fear of the results of such an investigation led UAE, Saudi Arabia, Britain and US to reject such call demanding the world to accept their accusations of Iran without any substantial evidence.
On the other hand we see Trump unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement and imposing sanctions threatening the whole world not to buy Iranian oil in order to impose a new agreement; a mafia style technique. Iranian refusal to re-negotiate the deal and it’s brushing off all Trump’s direct and indirect invitation for negotiation gradually dropping off all pre-conditions, led Trump eventually to deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf to increase the pressure on Iran.
Trump’s administration does not want war with Iran. Such a war would devastate the region as well as the whole world. In the case of a military war every country without exception in the Middle East would be severely affected. All the American military bases in the region would be an easy target for the Iranian missiles. All the American naval ships would also be easy targets to the many Iranian speed torpedo boats. The casualties and the destruction would be astronomical.
The real goal of the Trump’s administration is to increase tension and enmity between Iran and the Gulf States. This policy started in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution in Iran with the expulsion of the Shah regime, the American hostage crises, the closure of the Israeli embassy and turning its building over to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This enmity developed when the US encouraged Iraqi Saddam Hussein to wage the eight years’ war against Iran with the financial support of the Gulf Arab States.
The spread of Iranophobia within the Gulf Arab oil producing states has become a priority in the American foreign policy since Iran had extended its financial aid and military expertise to Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance groups against Israeli occupation, supported Syrian Assad regime against Israeli/American/Saudi created terrorist group ISIS, and supported Yemen against Saudi/Emirati military aggression.
This Iranophobia led the Gulf Sunni Arab States to open their countries to American military bases ostensibly to protect them from Shi’ites Persian threats, such as the alleged nuclear threat. These bases have also served to replenish Israeli weapons stockpiles used in its wars of aggression against Egypt, Lebanon and Palestinians. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the biggest buyers of American weapons. It is estimated that between 35% – 40% of American weapons sale go to these two Gulf States; many of which had rusted in the desert in the past, others were diverted to terrorist groups in Syria, while others are being used to destroy Yemen. The American military industrial complex rakes hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons sales to these countries.
The oil tankers attack had also relieved Trump from Congressional pressure opposing the $400 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia. The sales deal would go through now under the justification of “exceptional security circumstances” in the Gulf.
Those Gulf Arab states are America’s milking cows as Trump had described Saudi Arabia many times. The proposed Iran’s Gulf non-Aggression Pact and Gulf Unified Security System would free these milking cows from the American grip. Thus no war against Iran but false flag attacks in and around the Persian Gulf would serve to increase Iranophobia and keep those milking cows in the American barn.
The US is recently extracting enough shale oil for local consumption. Yet the cost of this shale oil is more expensive than the Gulf oil and it is still not marketable. The attack incidents on the oil tankers have raised the price of oil. The price will go even higher in order to cover the expenses of American naval vessels escorting oil tankers for security reasons. The price of Gulf oil barrel would match and at times may exceed the price of American shale oil barrel. Thus, American shale oil will become marketable.
There is another aggressive player in the region, who could be the perpetrator of false flag attacks besides the US; and that is Zionist Israel. Israeli military hegemony in the region extended from 1948 to 2000; a period were the Israeli terrorist army had accomplished one victory after the other against its poorly armed Arab neighbors. This had changed in 2000 when Hezbollah was able to expel Israeli forces from occupied Lebanese territories.
Prior to 2000 Israel was able to wage wars, whose victims were Arabs, and whose destructions were Arab cities and neighborhoods. The year 2000 ushered a rebirth of strong Arab resistance axis. After 2000 Israel was never able to achieve planned goals of its aggressive wars against Lebanon or even against besieged Gaza, let alone achieve complete victory. Israeli army faced defeats and more casualties than it can afford. Israeli major cities and colonies have become easy targets to accurate and more powerful Gaza’s and Hezbollah’s missiles.
Israel resorted to AIPAC and to 911 false flag attack to push the US to fight its wars against Arabs and to have American young troops die for Israel. After 911 attacks Islamophobia spread in the US, who waged war against Iraq, and created and armed ISIS groups to destroy Syria. Iraq and Syria were strong supporters to the Palestinian cause.
Iranian strong support to Arab resistance axis made it a big obstacle to the Zionist Greater Israel Project. Despite the fact that president Trump and many military officers in the Pentagon are opposed to war on Iran, some Zionist stooges in the White House such as Evangelical Vice President Pence, warmongering John Bolton, and secretary of state Mike Pompeo are pushing for war against Iran. Zionist Israelis as well as American Zionist Christians want a devastating war in the Middle East that would destroy or at least weaken all Arab countries allowing Zionists to accomplish their Greater Israel Project no matter who or what the casualties are.
Zionist Israelis are high suspects in the attacks on the oil tankers. They have “the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication” to quote Pompeo.
The first Al Fujairah false flag attack hardly provoked any mentionable international reactions. The second Gulf of Oman false flag attack provoked some international reaction as well as calls for self-restrain and real investigation. A third false flag attack would be more intense and may take place within the Persian Gulf itself, and could provoke impulsive military reaction that could spark a larger military confrontation, especially now after the US is sending initially 3,000 additional troops as part of 13,000 to the Persian Gulf, while Britain is sending 100 more special forces marines to join their 500 soldier comrades in the new British naval base in Mina Salman in Bahrain.
Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab American from a Palestinian descent. His family was evicted from Haifa, Palestine, after the 1948 Nakba when the Zionists stole his family’s property. Then the family was evicted again from the West Bank during the 1967 Naksah, after the Zionist, again, occupied the rest of Palestine.
|June 19, 2019||
Homo Sapiens Extinction?
by David Anderson, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
Only an Economic Social Political Philosophical Religious Mind-Change of Shattering Proportion Can Save Us
There is a material/non-material cosmic inner/outer dimensionality to this planet and within an enfolding/unfolding order. Our Homo sapiens civilization in its present form socially, politically, philosophically, religiously and economically is not meeting the test of being a part of that order. How can we become a part of it? Only a mind-change of shattering proportion can save us.
A 1972 World Bank report referred to our dependence on fossil fuels leading to a repeat of an extinction event like that of the Permian Triassic. Then in 1992 1,700 scientists warned us about the catastrophic impact of human actions on the environment and predicted the same high Permian Triassic temperatures. That report was updated in 2017 by 15,000 scientists when they expressed even greater concern. The late renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in that same year predicted that the planet will turn into, as he described it; “a sizzling fireball.”
Today, the general public remains quiescent; expressing only limited concern. This has been particularly noticeable among the America population. So a question is arising among the “those” who do have concern: What is the reason for this insouciance? Why is it so many of us are only able to focus on the immediacy of our existence? Is it that as a species we are inherently neurotically ethologically incapable of understanding our future “reality”? If so, are our limitations about to destroy us?
As we attempt to answer this question we need to explore why these last several thousand years we have responded to the world around us the way we have and why we continue to do so. This essay will examine the power of religious belief as a driver of that response with emphasis on Abrahamic religious belief. From its Hebraic/Christian/Roman origins to its transformation during the Enlightenment to its spread of Western Colonialism to its post War I and II global influence, this belief system has had and continues to have a strong hold on the formation of the world’s political, legal, social and economic institutions. Other forms of religious belief have too and Eastern in particular, but Abrahamic to date far more so than those others.
To a large extent it reflects and reinforces the way many in the world think and act.Some thinking/acting is positive, some self-destructive. That self-destructiveness ranges from overall societal self-destruction (War) to planetary (Nature). So here are the questions: What are the underlying faults within this belief system? Can they be identified and eliminated? Can other belief systems that more successfully counter these faults be brought into the equation?
Keeping this in mind we will focus here specifically on the interaction between Abrahamic belief and planetary sustainability. We could bring into the discussion other belief systems and present them with the same questions in this same context but the fact is the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim belief systems have been prime movers behind very large segments of modern civilizational behavior. As such, in their original form they have been and continue to be a molder of large areas of world thought and culture.
What are the inherent strengths of Abrahamic religious belief as it has molded world culture? What are the inherent weaknesses and dangers?
A weakness/danger in the Abrahamic mix is an underlying acceptance of “the end of time.” Many today of the Abrahamic faiths believe in the coming of an Apocalypse.The implication is an “ending” of human civilization. (1.5 billion Muslims have their concept of aher al-zaman; the Arabic expression for apocalypse, translated literally as the end of time)
Humanity today is demanding that religions leaders from these traditions move away from their apocalyptic belief and toward belief in human “Renewal;” so defined as our civilization in its entirety moving toward a symbiotic relationship with all Nature that allows both our species and all other organic and inorganic matter to recycle and renew.
Many throughout the world from all forms of belief including many from the Abrahamic are coming to this realization. They have concluded that from the “Big Bang” onward there is a transcendental intelligence that has been underlying the passage of all life and nonlife on our planet toward higher and higher complexity. This understanding has come about largely as a result of knowledge gained from scientific discoveries as well as advances in theological and philosophical thought.
Our discussion would not be complete without reference to the rational thought that came about during the Enlightenment Period. Among many Jews and Christians there was a reconsideration of past religious belief. However, parts of Judaism and Christianity remained Orthodox. Islam did not partake in the European Enlightenment. In 1299 its past considerable intellectualism was encapsulated under the Ottoman Empire.
Two new forms of thought emerged. One gave up on any form of “GOD” direction at all. Those with this form of thought are now called Atheistic Reductionists. They eliminate GOD altogether from the human evolutionary process. They view the cosmos as devoid of subjectivity and meaning. What is just is; no more than matter and energy. Another form of thought stayed with the idea of a GOD direction and transcendental GOD complexity, but not as originally scripturally understood.It held to the belief that our species is under the influence of a synchronous power and that the purpose of our lives is to be integral to its implicit planetary/cosmic purpose. Today those with this form of thought see themselves as the responsible party to pursue that higher purpose. Also they see our species as failing in this regard.
It has allowed them to continue to believe that this power has an awareness of their own actions and inactions. They do not agree with Albert Einstein as quoted below.
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”
As interesting as this Spinoza/Einstein argument is, it avoids the pressing question of whether there is cosmic “purpose” to human presence on Planet Earth and in the Universe. Are you and I “nothing;” just born one day and sometime later dead?
All of human civilization is now being forced to face the reality of an ecologically disintegrating planet with humans on it searching not for solutions restricted to their religious or philosophical past, but built on new ideas within a thought process reaching beyond; measuring its value against a new form of thought that encompasses the mystery of all matter and non-matter in the context of human/planetary evolution, consonance – and Homo sapiens survival.
Why is it that so many are not able to recognize this? Why are these last eight thousand years failing us? Why is enlightenment rational thought with all is logical rational innuendo failing? The answer can be found in our “Culture.” Past belief determines culture.We are each of us in a sense ensnared by our culture. It is a powerful impedimentworking against acceptance of new forms of thought. And here we are talking about the commonality of world-wide culture. The Canadian futurologist Ruben Nelson writes:
“All cultures, including our own in the 21st Century, take for granted that their construction of the world is the real world. The culture that forms us is not only comfortable, it appears as being natural. It is the real way the real world is. Life as we know it is comfortable because our concave fits the convex of our culture.”
Most citizens of the world today accede to the existing foundational concave/convex mold that encases them. This encasement begins some months after birth and then is reinforced with maturity by what is called social polarization. For most there is no escape. It includes those living in the mold who think of themselves as not being in the mold. It also includes those who think they have moved away from the mold. For example; “Liberal” Pope Francis in his 2015 Laudio Si’ stayed in the mold when he spoke about environmental degradation. He left out reference to one of the most deadly planetary present and future dangers; namely exponential population growth. This can be said about the conclusions of the members at the 2015 COP21 meetings in Paris. There was heightened awareness of ecological problems, but no urgent call for radical change in thepolitical/social/economicsystems in their home countries. (The same can be said for subsequent meetings)
Nevertheless, and on a note of optimism, there have been past examples of a “breaking out” from the mold. Abrahamic belief of GOD residing in some other dimension above and beyond Planet Earth is one of them.
Where did the remote Abrahamic GOD understanding come from? In Egypt and in the Levant four five six thousand years before the Common Era there appeared what can be called a “Rorschach test god,” that is an anthropomorphic god-personification of the human mind; a metaphorical reflection of the best and the worst in each of us. And that God was not here on Planet Earth. HE was up in the Heavens.
As the Nation of Israel moved forward in time, the definition did not change. Their GOD remained anthropomorphic. He expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Then, in anger He brought on a great flood showing humanity that He would punish those who disappointed Him. Years later with the advent of Christianity, He would sacrifice His own son as expiation for the sin of man. Some years after that, He would in the Book of Revelation outline in gruesome detail how He will destroy all of humanity, allowing only a select few to join Him in eternity. Then in the seventh century with the advent of Islam, He continued to be the same fearful, loving, controlling, punishing, judgmental god hidden far off in the heavens.
This Abrahamic understanding of God has led to a sinister planetary outcome. Many Christians and Muslims believe that we are all sinful depraved human beings in search of salvation and that it will come only to a select few at the end of times (Apocalypse) when GOD will bring a fiery end to this planet. Today, those who so believe further reason; if my God will destroy our planet, why should I be concerned about nature and the environment, why should I even listen to the dire predictions of the scientists? Who cares? It is all in God’s hands anyway.
And as for the Planet itself; those ancient biblical texts had said a plentiful Earth was given by God for man’s use and stewardship. And the word “stewardship,” as translated from those Hebraic texts had left a lot of wiggle room!
In order for human life to continue on this planet, these orthodox believers need to rid ourselves of how their YHWH is defined. If they do not, the dark side of their Freudian psychotic intentionality will become our planet’s future reality. Freud’s “id” will be proven to be their controller.
Finding a way out of this dilemma will call for a breakthrough in 21st century religious thought at all levels West and East. It is especially relevant for those above mentioned Abrahamic believers. This is in fact occurring with some of them. But not fast enough.
Breakthroughs in thought have occurred in the past. Events force abandonment of existing belief. This occurred with the presence of Jesus of Nazareth and his opposition to Temple orthodoxy and Roman hegemony. But, as is often the case with religion; the message then becomes ensnared in creeds and sacraments and rituals and political legal structures on the social side, leaving only vestiges of the original thought. This is typical of all such breakthroughs, Eastern religions included. The purity of the original thought becomes conscripted by adherents who then use that thought for their own political and secular advantage.
The first sign of a world-wide inter religious cognitive breakthrough is now appearing on the horizon. It is being defined by many individuals as an emerging cosmic consciousness revealing an underlying “Implicate Order” to the Cosmos. With recent advancements in the physical sciences, and particularly in the areas of quantum physics and cosmology, many scientists and nonscientists alike are beginning to recognize that there is such a thing as planetary/cosmic order. They are making strides in attempting to further define it. David Bohm, the great theoretical physicist and colleague of Albert Einstein, spoke of it in terms of everything animate and inanimate having as he described it; “an inseparable quantum interconnectedness” in a continuing process of cosmic “enfoldment” and “unfoldment.” Breakthroughs in thought such as these are marking the beginning of a transition from our present state of planetary ecological ignorance and dysfunction to an understanding of how we humans can live in a state of planetary ecological accommodation.
This can even be described in Abrahamic terms as the beginning of a “Revelation,” one where Homo sapiens is about to step out of its earthly secular shoes and into its cosmic non secular ones. Such a transition implies the need for detachment by way of a restructuring of our world political, social, economic and religious thought. It calls for a change in the human behavior that has been inculcated in world society by our institutions so that our species can move toward Bohm’s “enfoldment” and “unfoldment.”
Can it be achieved? Humanity will have to view the planet and the continuance of all forms of life on it in an entirely different way from the way it has in the past. At the same time, it will have to abandon much of its past doctrinaire Abrahamic religious belief, as to a large extent that has been the glue pressing our species onto its past concave/convex asymmetric perception of reality, an asymmetric perception now become contradictory to our sustainability on Planet Earth.
Such a movement toward this “Implicate Order” was evident in the thought process of Jesus of Nazareth. It can be observed in some of the writings of Post Enlightenment philosophers who openly challenged the doctrinaire Christian religious orthodoxy of the time. A breakthrough came with the American “in-depth-psychologists” such as F.W.H. Meyers and William James.Their challenge to the European school of reductionist behavioristic psychology soon gained momentum and led to the work of Carl Jung in Switzerland and others around the world in the form of a post-empirical behaviorist movement opening the field of transpersonal depth psychology.
Can we find the answer for a better world on a habitable planet where everyone is offered a good life? The idea of a non materialistic yet materially sufficient life built on inner communion and other dimensionality goes far back in time. It has played an important role in many forms of religious thought. We see it today in monastic Christianity. Many Eastern religious beliefs emphasize it. The lesson here is that humans can find happiness without materialism. We don’t need jet planes, cruise ships, gas guzzling cars, million dollar condos to be happy.
The discovery in 1945 of the “lost” Gospel of Thomas at Nag Hammadi, Egypt presents a Jesus strongly influenced by such esoteric thought. There is speculation among many scholars today that in his formative years he may have had contact with highly sophisticated intellectual Roman as well as Hebraic Rabbinical thought in Sepphoris; a model Roman city/town about five miles from where his family lived in Nazareth. (Rabbinical ceremonial ritual baths just discovered).Jesus may even have experienced Greek theater there. Father and son may have spent time plying his father’s trade. (conjecture that his father was not a cabinet maker but a scaffold builder) So it is possible that Jesus as a youth could have spent his early years exposed to a wide range of thought.
Another possible influence on Jesus should be mentioned here. We do have some solid evidence of this. During the short period of his ministry, Qumran Essene thought in one form or other existed throughout a wide geographic area beyond the isolated colony at Qumran. It may have been an influence on Jesus during his formative years. In fact his cousin, John the Baptist, may have at some point been influenced by Essene thought. It was anti-Temple and in some respects what we would call esoteric. To quote from Stephan A. Hoeller in his book Jung and the Lost Gospels Insights into the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library:
“There was only one organization in existence that could have served as the foundation for this rapidly developing structure, and it was the order of the Essenes. Centered in its monastic headquarters by the Dead Sea, but extending all over Judea and in all likelihood into Egypt, Rome and Asia Minor, the Essene organization served as a ready-made matrix on which the new Christian association of communities could be built.”
However one frames the mindset of those in and around Jerusalem at that time ‑ and later on as Paul found when he finally reached Rome and came upon an already established Jesus community, there was an undercurrent of esoteric Essene as well as neo Platonic Greek and Alexandrian thought existing beyond the doctrinal interior Temple Judaic Hebraic and it had taken hold. It was laying the groundwork for the words of Jesus and their subsequent rapid spread.
The important observation is this: Now in our present age as it was at the time of Jesus in the Roman period, and before him in the West and East, and then during the Enlightenment; a new foundation is beginning to form. In some ways it incorporates traditional thought and in others moves away from it. Another important observation; it is a thought movement that is world-wide and not just confined to one part of the globe. (Eastern thought is becoming all-important as is seen with Confucianism in China)
Many all over the globe are joining in with the understanding that there is an all-inclusive material/non-material cosmic inner/outer dimensionality to this planet and within an enfolding/unfolding order. Many are also concluding that our civilization in its present form globally; socially, politically, philosophically, religiously and economically is not meeting the test of being a part of that order.
How do we become at one with it? How do we become a part of cosmic inner/outer consciousness?
A word of warning; Jesus spoke in conditional terms of our achieving it. In the Gospel of Thomas he defined its conditionality. He said: When you come to know yourselves. This implies self-realization. Jesus was calling for no less than a metamorphosis of human thought on an inner-individual level in order for The Kingdom of God (his metaphorical here and now expression of it) to be revealed.
Observations on the work of the modern intellectual Richard Tarnas show this same conditionality. Tarnas uses the word “participation” in the context of the “need” to partake in a unity waiting to be realized. He calls for this through contact with the creative process within “Nature.” He writes in his book ThePassion of the Western Mind:
“From within its own depths the imagination directly contacts the creative process within nature, realizes that process within itself, and brings nature’s reality to conscious expression.”
We see the same train of thought and how to bring nature’s reality to conscious expression from Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas:
(77) I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there
(41) Whoever has something in his hand will receive more, and whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little that he has
An acceptance of this planetary understanding can make the difference between an ecologically disintegrating planet and one that can continue to sustain human life. Unfortunately most of the world is living and thinking well out of the Jesus/Tarnas mind frame.
Only a mind-change of shattering magnitude can save our species from extinction. Friedrich Nietzsche warned us about the dangers of our present insouciance. He wrote in The Gay Science:
“The madman when he went into the marketplace to tell everyone the news of God’s death; those going about their business missed the significance. Nor did they recognize the extent to which they themselves were implicated.”
We need to understand that we are those there in that marketplace. We are the implicated.
Matthew Fox, Roman Catholic scholar, speaks to this same theme in his book A Way To God Thomas Merton’s Spiritual Journey when he quotes Thomas Berry discussing the ideas of Thomas Merton.
“There is a certain futility in the efforts being made, truly sincere, dedicated, and intelligent efforts to remedy our environmental devastation simply by achieving renewable sources of energy and by reducing the deleterious impact of the industrial world. The difficulty is that the natural world is seen primarily for human use, not as a mode of sacred presence primarily to be communed with in wonder and beauty and intimacy. In our present attitude, the natural world remains a commodity to be bought and sold, not a sacred reality to be venerated….”
Can humanity change? Can it understand that this planet is a sacred reality to be venerated? There are signs that it can. In recent years implosion of the biosphere adverse to human survival has become more visible. World thought is becoming more and more aware of this. The internet is accelerating this realization. Larger and larger numbers are demanding that something be done. Many are coming to the realization that the natural world is not a commodity to be bought and sold; it is a sacred reality to be venerated. And among these many is the growing realization that our economic, social, political, philosophical and religious institutions do not recognize this sacredness.
Yet, there is a dark side to the human mind with no interest in this sacred reality. It has no interest in our future planetary survival. It is a concave/convexmind-set that ensnares many; rich and poor; privileged and non privileged. It dominates our economic, social, political, philosophical and religious institutions today.
This brings us to the most urgent question now facing our species. Can we escape from our dark side?
David Anderson brings together a wide range of interests in his writings, namely; evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, geopolitics, economics, theology and history. He has written four books. The fourth has just been published. It is about the necessary geo political, social, religious, economic paradigm shift for human survival.
Other Suggested Readings:
LIVES IN THE PEACE MOVEMENT John Scales Avery June 15, 2019
Lithium: The Next Suicidal Solution To The Fossil Fuel Climate Crisis
in Climate Change Irwin Jerome June 16, 2019
|June 20, 2019||
The Fake News of D-Day.
by Andrew J Bacevich,in World, Countercurrents.org,
p>How best to describe the recently completed allied commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of France? Two words come immediately to mind: heartfelt and poignant. The aged D-Day veterans gathering for what was probably the last time richly deserved every bit of praise bestowed on them. Yet one particular refrain that has become commonplace in this age of Donald Trump was absent from the proceedings. I’m referring to “fake news.” In a curious collaboration, Trump and the media, their normal relationship one of mutual loathing, combined forces to falsify the history of World War II. Allow me to explain.
In a stirring presentation, Donald Trump — amazingly — rose to the occasion and captured the spirit of the moment, one of gratitude, respect, even awe. Ever so briefly, the president sounded presidential. In place of his usual taunts and insults, he managed a fair imitation of Ronald Reagan’s legendary “Boys of Pointe Du Hoc” speech of 1984. “We are gathered here on Freedom’s Altar,” Trump began — not exactly his standard introductory gambit.
Then, in a rare display of generosity toward people who were neither Republicans nor members of his immediate family, Trump acknowledged the contributions of those who had fought alongside the G.I.s at Normandy, singling out Brits, Canadians, Poles, Norwegians, Australians, and members of the French resistance for favorable mention. He related moving stories of great heroism and paid tribute to the dwindling number of D-Day veterans present. And as previous presidents had done on similar occasions marking D-Day anniversaries, he placed the events of that day in a reassuringly familiar historical context:
“The blood that they spilled, the tears that they shed, the lives that they gave, the sacrifice that they made, did not just win a battle. It did not just win a war. Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization. And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come.”
Nor was that all. “Today, as we stand together upon this sacred Earth,” Trump concluded,
“We pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. We will forever be together. Our people will forever be bold. Our hearts will forever be loyal. And our children, and their children, will forever and always be free.”
Strong and united, together, bold, loyal, and free… forever.
It was, in its way, an astonishing performance, all the more so because it was entirely out of character. It was as if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had published a book of sonnets or National Security Advisor John Bolton had performed a serviceable rendition of “Nessun dorma” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — wonderful in its way, but given the source startling as well.
Selective Remembering and Convenient Forgetting
If the purpose of Trump’s speech was to make his listeners feel good, he delivered. Yet in doing so, he also relieved them of any responsibility for thinking too deeply about the event being commemorated.
Now, let me just say that I hold no brief for Josef Stalin or the Soviet Union, or Marxism-Leninism. Yet you don’t need to be an apologist for Communism to acknowledge that the Normandy invasion would never have succeeded had it not been for the efforts of Marshal Stalin’s Red Army. For three full years before the first wave of G.I.s splashed ashore at Omaha Beach, Russian troops had been waging a titanic struggle along a vast front in their own devastated land against the cream of the German military machine.
One data point alone summarizes the critical nature of the Soviet contribution: in May 1944, there were some 160 German divisions tied up on the Eastern Front. That represented more than two-thirds of the armed might of the Third Reich, 160 combat divisions that were therefore unavailable for commitment against the Anglo-American forces desperately trying to establish a foothold in Normandy.
As has been the custom for quite some time now the German chancellor, representing the defeated enemy, attended the D-Day anniversary festivities as an honored guest. Angela Merkel’s inclusion testifies to an admirable capacity to forgive without forgetting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not, however, make the guest list. In liberal circles, Putin has, of course, made himself persona non grata. Yet excluding him obviated any need for Trump and other dignitaries in attendance to acknowledge, even indirectly, the Soviet role in winning World War II. Although the Red Army was never known for finesse or artfulness, it did kill an estimated four million of Merkel’s countrymen, who were thereby not on hand to have a go at killing Donald Trump’s countrymen.
If war is ultimately about mayhem and murder, then the Soviet Union did more than any other belligerent to bring about the final victory against Nazi Germany. Without for a second slighting the courage and contributions of our Canadian, Polish, Norwegian, and Australian comrades — bless them all — it was the Red Army that kept General Dwight Eisenhower’s expeditionary command from being pushed back into the Channel. In other words, thank God for the godless communists.
So, however heartfelt and poignant, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings was an exercise in selective remembering and convenient forgetting. It was, in other words, propaganda or, in contemporary parlance, fake news. The deception — for that’s what it was — did not escape the notice of Russian commentators. Yet members of the American media, otherwise ever alert to Trump’s sundry half-truths and outright deceptions, chose to ignore or more accurately endorse this whopper.
Time to Get Over the Hangover?
How much does such selective remembering and convenient forgetting matter? A lot, in my estimation. Distorting the past distorts the present and sows confusion about the problems we actually face.
For a small illustration of the implications of this particular elision of history we need look no further than the D-Day anniversary-inspired ruminations of New York Times columnist Bret Stephens. The purpose of his column, which appeared on June 7th, was to spin the spin. Stephens was intent on reinforcing Trump’s carefully edited interpretation of World War II in order to further his own version of a crusading and militarized American foreign policy agenda.
Now, the war against Adolf Hitler occurred a considerable time ago. The war against Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein is a far more recent memory. Which should have greater relevance for U.S. policy today? On that score, Stephens is quite clear: it’s the “lessons” of World War II, not of the reckless invasion of Iraq, that must pertain, not only today but in perpetuity. Sure, the Iraq War turned out to be a bit of a headache. “But how long,” Stephens asks, “should the hangover last?” Time to take an Alka-Seltzer and get back to smiting evildoers, thereby keeping alive the ostensible tradition of the Greatest Generation.
“If we really wanted to honor the sacrifices of D-Day,” Stephens writes, “we would do well to learn again what it is the Allies really fought for.” According to him, they fought “not to save the United States or even Britain,” but to liberate all of Europe; not to defeat Nazi Germany, “but to eradicate a despicable ideology”; and “not to subsume our values under our interests but to define our interests according to our values.”
Now, only someone oblivious to the actual experience of war could subscribe to such a noble list of “what the Allies really fought for.” Perhaps more to the point, in expounding on what inspired the Allied war effort, Stephens chose to overlook the fact that the ranks of those Allies included the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and their generals would not have considered this a casual omission. They thanked their lucky stars for the Soviet Union’s participation.
Furthermore, Soviet leaders from Josef Stalin on down entertained their own distinct ideas about the war’s purposes. They adhered to and were intent on exporting an ideology hardly less despicable than that of the Nazis. Their purpose was not to liberate Europe, but to absorb large chunks of it into an expanded Soviet sphere of influence. And while correlating interests with values might have appealed to the Soviet dictator, the values to which he subscribed excluded just about every item in the American Bill of Rights. So if we are serious about identifying common war aims, “what the Allies really fought for” focused on one thing only: destroying the Third Reich.
Just like Trump, however, Stephens airbrushes the Soviet Union out of the picture. In doing so, he sanitizes the past. His motive is anything but innocent. Having concocted his own spurious version of “what the Allies really fought for,” Stephens pivots to the present moment and discovers — wouldn’t you know it — that we are right back in those terrible days of the 1930s when the Western democracies hesitated to confront the rising threat posed by Adolf Hitler.
Seventy years after D-Day, the world is in disarray. And the West, Stephens charges, is sitting on its hands. Syria is a mess. So is Venezuela. Kim Jong-Un, “the world’s most sinister dictator,” still rules North Korea. In Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, dissidents languish behind bars. Nobody “other than a few journalists and activists” seems to care. Everywhere indifference prevails.
And we’ve seen this movie before, he insists:
“This is the West almost as it looked in the 1930s: internally divided and inward looking, hesitant in the face of aggression, incanting political pieties in which it no longer believed — and so determined not to repeat the mistakes of the last war that it sleepwalked its way into the next.”
Now, in those circles where neoconservatives congregate and call for the United States to embark upon some new crusade, this analysis undoubtedly finds favor. But as a description of actually existing reality, it’s about as accurate as Trump’s own periodic blathering about the state of the world.
Is the West today “inward looking”? Then how do we explain the presence of Western forces in Afghanistan, of all places, for nigh onto 20 years? Is the West “hesitant in the face of aggression”? How does that charge square with actions taken by the United States and its allies in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere? When it comes to war, some might suggest that our problem of late has not been hesitancy, but unending hubris and the absence of even minimal due diligence. More often than not, when it comes to aggressive behavior, we’re the ones spoiling for a fight. Take General Kenneth McKenzie, the latest bellicose head of U.S. Central Command, for example, who is now plugging for “a return to a larger U.S. military presence in the Middle East” with Iran in mind. Don’t accuse him of hesitance.
The prescription that Stephens offers reduces to this: just as in June 1944, brave men with guns, preferably speaking English, will put things right and enable freedom and democracy to prevail. We need only gird our loins and make the effort.
It’s all very inspiring really. Yet Stephens leaves out something important: this time we won’t be able to count on some other nation with a large and willing army to do most of the fighting and dying on our behalf.
Andrew Bacevich is a TomDispatch regular. His new book The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory (Metropolitan Books) is due out in January.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel (the second in the Splinterlands series) Frostlands, Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.
|June 20, 2019||
Solarisation of Agriculture is the need of the hour
by Yuz Gonsalves,in Counter Solutions, Countercurrents.org,
Undoubtedly, agriculture is a power intensive sector. Farmers predominantly rely on diesel and electric pumps for irrigation. However, the scale of use of diesel and electric pumps in the sector contribute to severe environmental problems.
Diesel pumps depend on exploitation of fossil fuel resources, increase fuel cost for farmers and emit toxic fumes that pollute the environment and affect human health. Whereas, electric pumps which are operated on subsidised or free electricity supplied by state governments also largely depend on fossil fuel. While the need for irrigation in today’s increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions is indisputable, diesel and electric pumps are not sustainable long term solutions.
In regard to this, solar irrigation is a crucial part of India’s efforts to transform towards renewable energy. Of India’s target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, 100 GW is solar-based.
I here, want to present a brief analysis of couple of successful solar irrigation models, I had chance to visit.
Vaishali in Bihar
A German development agency, has been experimenting with different service delivery models in the eastern parts of India. GIZ piloted a service delivery model of pay-as-you-go in Vaishali district (Lalpur, Baniya and Harharo) of Bihar. Envisioned as a community based model, it is based on sharing a solar pump within an irrigation water-sharing group of farmers. The GIZ pilot collaborated with a local organisation, VASFA, to implement its pilot solar irrigation project in Vaishali district. So far, this collaboration has resulted in the implementation of 3 fixed solar irrigation pumps and 5 portable solar irrigation pumps.
These solar irrigation pumps are managed and operated by farmers groups. The farmers sharing the solar pump either need to have their land adjacent to the water pump or within the catchment area of the pump. Each group has a group leader elected from the group for oversight and collection of service charges and an operator for daily operation of pump. Water is sold to group members on priority and then to surrounding farmers for a service charge based on the quantum of water delivered. The sequence in which members and non-members receive water in a particular day is decided by the group leader. Data analysis by externals also shows that the solar irrigation pump in Lalpura village is predominantly used by members of the group. The service charge to be collected is decided by the group and the charge for non-members is slightly higher than that for members. Both group members receive water at Rs 30 per hour, and non-members hire the services of the pump at Rs 50 per hour. The collected money is used for salary of the operator and the rest is deposited with VASFA for maintenance of the asset. The catchment area of the pump is about 40 acres. The areas nearer to the pump are serviced through canals and the remaining areas are serviced through delivery pipes. The experience of farmer’s organizations with the solar irrigation has so far been positive.
Dhundi in Gujarat
A grid-connected solar irrigation pump was installed in Thamna village of Anand district in Gujarat in 2015, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in collaboration with the Tata Trust initiated conversation with farmers in Dhundi village. The Cooperative was to implement six grid-connected solar irrigation pumps with a total capacity of 56.4 kWp that can ensure irrigation and evacuation of solar power to utility grid. The cooperative was formally registered in February 2016; it was deemed to be the first solar cooperative in the world.
The benefits from this project have been multifold. Use of diesel has almost come to an end in our village. The income that the cooperative members earn from sale of water and electricity has substantially improved farmers lives.
For all nine solar pumps that are in Dhundi, the cooperative reports that the company has provided support whenever required, both over telephone and through trips to Dhundi. In 2017, when three of Keiloskar’s pumps malfunctioned, cleantech company transported them to their workshop, repaired them and installed them back. This grid-connected solar irrigation model implemented by IWMI-TATA not only ensures assured access to irrigation and electricity, it also provides the farmer with the dual economic benefit of selling surplus electricity to the DISCOM and selling water to farmers. This has resulted in substantial economic benefit to the nine cooperative members in Dhundi. However, a large portion of the equipment cost was borne by the project, without which the project may not have been viable.
It must be noted that both these irrigation models were initiated by private companies but the farmer groups assisted them and ownership remains with the farmer groups. Therefore, in countries such as India which are suffering from high temperatures, heat waves and scarce water resources, the solar irrigation systems could also contribute to an efficient water management. This is all the more important as farmers have to face three challenges: save water, money and energy. Solar irrigation systems shall turn out to be the perfect answer to face these challenges. Although these systems are still quite expensive and complicated to settle, government subsidies and policy intervention by state and central governments can help in democratization of the use of solar power in agriculture, which, in the future (and even now), could play a vital part in the management of the food and energy crisis.
Yuz Gonsalves works on energy transition and climate change.
|June 20, 2019||
The Dangerous Methane Mystery
by Robert Hunziker, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
The East Siberian Arctic Shelf (“ESAS”) is the epicenter of a methane-rich zone that could turn the world upside down.
Still, the ESAS is not on the radar of mainstream science,and not included in calculations by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and generally not well understood. It is one of the biggest mysteries of the world’s climate puzzle, and it is highly controversial, which creates an enhanced level of uncertainty and casts shadows of doubt.
The ESAS is the most extensive continental shelf in the world, inclusive of the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea, and the Russian portion of the Chukchi Sea, all-in equivalent to the combined landmasses of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan.
The region hosts massive quantities of methane (“CH4”) in frozen sub sea permafrost in extremely shallow waters, enough CH4 to transform the “global warming” cycle into a “life-ending” cycle. As absurd as it sounds, it is not inconceivable.
Ongoing research to unravel the ESAS mystery is found in very few studies, almost none, except by Natalia Shakhova (International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska/Fairbanks) a leading authority, for example:“It has been suggested that destabilization of shelf Arctic hydrates could lead to large-scale enhancement of aqueous CH4, but this process was hypothesized to be negligible on a decadal–century time scale. Consequently, the continental shelf of the Arctic Ocean (AO) has not been considered as a possible source of CH4 to the atmosphere until very recently.” (Source: Natalia Shakhova, et al, Understanding the Permafrost–Hydrate System and Associated Methane Releases in the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, Geosciences, 2019: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3263/9/6/251/htm)
Shakhova’s “until very recently” comment explains, in part, why the IPCC does not include ESAS methane destabilization in its calculations. Meanwhile, Shakhova’s research has unearthed a monster in hiding, butthankfully, mostly in repose… for the moment.Still, early-stage warning signals are clearly noticeable; ESAS is rumbling, increasingly emitting more and more CH4, possibly in anticipation of a “Big Burp,” which could put the world’s lights out, hopefully in another century, or beyond, but based upon a reading of her latest report in Geosciences, don’t count on it taking so long.
Shakhova’s research is highlighted in a recent article in Arctic News: “When Will We Die?” d/d June 10, 2019, which states: “Imagine a burst of methane erupting from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean that would add an amount of methane to the atmosphere equal to twice the methane that is already there.”
Horror of horrors, the resulting equation is disturbing, to say the least, to wit: Twice the amount of CH4 that is already in the atmosphere equals a CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) of560 ppm, assuming CH4 is 150xs the potency of CO2 in its initial years. And, adding that new number to current CH4/CO2e of 280 ppm to current CO2 levels of 415.7 ppm, according to readings at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, equals total atmospheric CO2 of 1256 ppm.
In other words, if ESAS springs a big fat leak,the Big Burp, which would only be<5% of the existing frozen methane deposit; it is possible that atmospheric CO2e would zoom up go as high as 1256 ppm.
What happens next?
A recent third-party study, also referenced in the aforementioned Arctic News article d/d June 10th, concluded that at 1200 ppm atmospheric CO2 global heating cranks up by 8°C, or 14.4°F, within a decade. (Source: Arctic News d/d June 10, 2019). Truth be known, that scenario is not problematic, it’s catastrophic and too far along to be classified as a problem. After all, problems can be fixed; catastrophes are fatal.
According to Shakhova’sresearch, as referenced in Geosciences/ 2019: “Releases could potentially increase by 3–5 orders of magnitude, considering the sheer amount of CH4 preserved within the shallow ESAS seabed deposits and the documented thawing rates of subsea permafrost reported recently. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the ESAS permafrost–hydrates system, which is largely unfamiliar to scientists,” Ibid.(Side note: 3 orders of magnitude is equivalent to 1,000, i.e.,a large methane release.)
More from Shakhova: “Here we present results of the first comprehensive scientific re-drilling to show that sub sea permafrost in the near-shore zone of the ESAS has a downward movement of the ice-bonded permafrost table of ~14 cm (6 inches) year over the past 31–32 years… However, recent studies show that in some areas very recently submerged permafrost is close to or has already reached the thaw point,” Ibid.
Shakhova’s studies are based upon marine expeditions, including drill campaigns that investigate the thermal regime, geomorphology, lithology, and geocryology of sediment cores extracted from boreholes drilled from marine vessels and not based solely upon climate models calculated on desktop computers.
In conclusion, as the world community continues to accept the reality of climate change as an existential threat,which fact is emphatically spotlighted by the likes of the Children’s Crusade, originating out of Sweden, and the Extinction Rebellion, originating out of the UK, it is important to emphasize the timing factor. Nobody knows 100% for certain how the climate crisis will turn out, but there is pretty solid evidence that the issue, meaning several ecosystems which are starting to collapse in unison, is accelerating, by a lot. So, there is not much time left to do something constructive, assuming it’s not already too late. Speaking of which, a small faction of climate scientists has already“tossed in the towel.”
After all, it’s not that hard to understand their point of view as many ecosystems have already hit tipping points, which means no turning back, no fixes possible, but still, (and, here’s the great hope) nobody really knows 100% for sure how all of this will play out.
Nevertheless, in a perfect world that really/truly“follows the science” a Worldwide All-In Coordinated Marshall Plan to do “whatever it takes” would already be in afull-blastoff mode.
But… It’s not!
Robert Hunziker, MA, economic history DePaul University, awarded membership in Pi Gamma Mu International Academic Honor Society in Social Sciences is a freelance writer and environmental journalist who has over 200 articles published, including several translated into foreign languages, appearing in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He has been interviewed on numerous FM radio programs, as well as television.
|June 22, 2019||
Canada’s Fossil Fuel Conspiracy Against The Blue Planet
by Irwin Jerome, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
“Water is Sacred. It’s the Essence of life. It’s The Only Thing That Sustains Us All As We Briefly Travel Together Through Time & Space Together on Our Tiny, Resilent Blue Orb Through a Hostile Universe!”
This should be the mantra the people of Canada and everywhere else in the world repeat to themselves as they awaken each morning to greet the new day. It’s a mantra to be repeated on the full moon of each month when we can especially feel the waters in our bodies being mystically pulled this way and that or watch as the currents and tides mystically cause the planet’s own waters to ebb and flow. It’s a mantra to be repeated everytime we turn on a tap to fill up a glass of water to quench our thirst and then stop for a moment to give thanks and ponder the whole story of the earth’s ability to quench the thirst of so many other lifeforms; the same water that always was since the beginning of time and always will be to the end of time, and then pause for just a moment longer to consider how wondrous this precious, finite substance is that already has been in the bodies of so many famous or infamous humans or taken such a long circuitous journey through other living creatures – bears, eagles, salmon – going all the way back to the ancient dinosaurs and beyond and how it will continue to enrich our own lives as it did their’s. It’s a mantra to be repeated, too, before Canadians and the peoples of the world decide to give any further support whatsoever to those who continue to pursue a destructive fossil-fuelled way of life that, daily, through the primitive, brutal mining and extraction of countless ores and minerals is poisoning and destroying forever this precious, finite substance that without it the Earth no longer would be blue but be just another shrivelled-up, lifeless hulk hurtling through empty space.
In a National Observer opinion article (“The Juggernaut of corporate oil must be stopped” June 18th 2019), Guujaaw, an Hereditary Chief Gidansta of the Haida Nation, who also is an advisor to British Columbia’s Coastal First Nations, spoke out in response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to approve the extension of the controversial TransMountain Pipeline from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the coastal waters of British Columbia and beyond.
Guujaaw’s words, now should be dubbed “The Battle Cry of the Blue Planet”, that, in truth, is, a very old battle cry that has been sounded in every corner of the earth over the centuries many times over in as many ways as there are a multitude of fine orators who have all come and gone upon our earth. It should be taken as a renewed living retort to all those Canadian politicans-indian leaders-energy CEO’s and voters alike who consider themselves, consciously or unconsciously, to be part of the corporate world order as they willingly and knowingly continue to sacrifice enormous amounts of its precious finite waters to continue the pumping of highly toxic dirty bitumen from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the rest of the world.
Guujaaw/Chief Gidansta simply seeks to remind us of what the basic responsibilities are that we of this living time in the evolution of the earth now must do, when he says:
Through the years of legal battles and a very measured examination of Aboriginal issues, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has given well-considered definition to Rights and Aboriginal Title in the context of Canada in the modern world.
Aboriginal Rights are a far-reaching right of the collective, held not only for the present generation but for all succeeding generations. The rights also include an economic component coupled with a very deliberate and appropriate “inherent limit,” which requires that the land “not be used in a way that is irreconcilable with the attachment an Aboriginal group has with the land” nor shall it be encumbered in ways “that would substantially deprive future generations of the benefit of the land.” This is, in fact, a limit that, if applied to all, could go a long way in looking after the earth.
In difficult times, our people stood to look after our land and restore our rights leaving us a solid legal base from which we can uphold our responsibilities. This changed the legal and political dynamic requiring governments and industries not only to consult, but to make accommodations, while the Supreme Court also called out for “reconciliation.”
And so it began: out of the sacrifice and efforts of our champions to look after the lands came the attention of Corporate Oil, with the tried solution of simply buying its way.
Regardless of owner or name, a pipeline and all that comes with it crosses the “inherent limit” and certainly does not carry any Aboriginal Rights. There is none amongst us of any colour or creed that can claim a right to disregard the neighbour downstream, or who can claim a right to neglect life. There is none amongst us with the right to harm the great killer whale or the little barnacle.
An Indian pipeline would be a business venture as any other and is not “reconciliation”; rather, an infringement and a threat.
Be certain that the apparatus killing this planet is a nasty one and it seems intent on finishing the dirty deed. It gains strength through violence with the jack-booted obedient servants at its beck and call. It is commanding enough to recruit our cousins if not you and me. Though it is tough as hell, it’s not that smart.
Left to its own devices this Juggernaut will continue killing our planet, and without intervention our fate is sealed and we may as well prepare a dignified exit, but that would be irresponsible.
While it must be stopped, don’t wait for the Indigenous people to lead. The Indians are few in number, battle-weary, and, along with the multitudes, distracted by the ballgames and trying to pay the bills. We are too easy to imprison, too easy to kill, and as you see, as fallible as any.
Be assured, however, that on the front lines the Indigenous people are already standing up for the health of the planet, already standing for basic clean air and water. Most of us love this planet and respect life before money.
Children all over the world are calling out for us to stop this careless behaviour and fix this disorder. The grown-ups still ignore the symptoms and avoid the cure.
Reach out across the chasms to your fellow earthlings, devote some time to figuring this thing out. In each of us is some measure of good and understanding of truth, and somewhere in there is the solution. There is no need to put anyone in harm’s way.
We, the multitudes, allowed it to come to this. We, the creators of the Juggernaut, have got to fix it together.
Guujaaw has laid it out quite well, there’s nothing more left to be said other than for each human being in Canada and everywhere else to now do what their individual conscience and morality directs them to do to stop all the dirty deeds of the nasty apparatus and its jack-boots in the world that daily are steadily killing all our lives and that of our crystalline Blue Planet.
We, the people, must now open up and speak truth to power in the face of the next wave of all the propaganda that the politicians, corporate CEO’s and media talking heads continue to unleash to try to convince us that what is being done to reduce the climate crisis by pumping yet more bitumen throughout the world is right for British Columbia, Canada and everone else.
All My Relations
Bio Note: Jerome Irwin is a freelance writer who, for decades, in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, has sought to call attention to problems of sustainability caused by excessive mega-developments, the resulting horrors of traffic gridlock, loss of single family neighbourhoods and a host of related environmental-ecological-spiritual issues and concerns that exist between the conflicting philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
|June 22, 2019||
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early.
by Robert Hunziker, in World, Countercurrents.org,
Fasten your seat belt! Global warming is on a rampage.
As a consequence, many ecosystems may be on the verge of total collapse. In fact, recent activity in the hinterlands surely looks that way.Over time, the backlash for civilized society, where people live in comfort, could be severe, meaning extreme discomfort.
But still, nobody knows when or how bad it’ll get. As it happens, an ongoing climate catastrophe, like the show-stopping catastrophic collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic (more on this later)is hard evidence that climate scientists have been way too conservative for far too long. Evidently, they never expected climate change to hit with the force of a lightening bolt.
Still in all,and in fairness, climate scientists have been warning about the dangers of global warming for decades. Now, it’s happening, in spades. It should be noted that America’s politicians are guilty of ignoring warnings by their own scientists. Those warnings officially started 31 years ago when Dr. James Hansen, then head of NASA Institute for Space Studies, testified before the Senate, “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate,” NY Times d/d June 24, 1988.
The NYT article of 31 years ago went on to say: “If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes.” Hmm, that’s where the permafrost is located.
Global warming is prominent throughout the North. Ergo,climate news doesn’t get much worse (well, actually, it could, and will) than the collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic’s extreme coldest region:
“Observed maximum thaw depths at our sites are already exceeding those projected to occur by 2090.” (Source: Louise M. Farquharson et al, Climate Change Drives Widespread and Rapid Thermokarst Development in Very Cold Permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic, Geophysical Research Letters, June 10, 2019).
The aforementioned study, from 2003-2016, found permafrost melt up to 240% more than previous years. In geological terms, that’s like winning the Indy 500, hands down. That permafrost had been frozen solid for “thousands of years.” Accordingly, scientists predicted the permafrost “wouldn’t melt for another 70 years.” Yet,the landscape has already collapsed by up to three feet.
Not only is permafrost collapsing, it’s reported that houses are “sinking into the earth” in parts of Alaska, Canada, and Russia. Alaska’s 92-mile road for Alaska’s Denali National Park is moving off center by the forces ofslip-sliding land.
Not only that, of course bad news often times begets more bad news; here’s the bold-faced truth about the global warming dilemma: The world is not braced for a turbo-charged climate and collapsing ecosystems and burn off of agriculture in mid latitudes.Remarkably, even though “global warming” is one of the most recognized terms in the world today, nobody is prepared for the onset.
Scandalously,America’s role in the crisis is akin to(actually a carbon copy of) the extreme arrogant smugness of General George Custer’s leadership directly, headfirst into one of the world’s most celebrated mass slaughters.
For additional evidence of out of control crazy, zany global warming, a photo of sled dogs traipsing thru water up to their stomachs on Greenland’s icy surface recently went viral, as Steffen Olsen, a climate scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, led his team to retrieve equipment at a weather station but the normal icy freeze-up wasn’t normal any longer.
William Colgan, a senior researcher at the institute, commented: “It’s very unusual to have this much melt so early in the season… it takes very rare conditions but they’re becoming increasingly common.” (Source: BBC News). Rare climate conditions that “increasingly become common” define dangerous, disruptive climate change.
Bottom line, the top 25% of the Northern Hemisphere, where permafrost is ubiquitous, is coming apart at the seams, and climate scientists are behind the eight ball while America’s politicians deny the legitimacy of science and openly spit on the underlying thesis of anthropogenic global warming. What can be done about that? After all, America’s political system is on trial before a world community that fully embraced Paris ’15 to restrain global warming as it watches ecosystems in America’s Alaska collapse and emit more carbon into the atmosphere (based upon two-years of airborne measurements) than all U.S. commercial CO2 emissions biannually, which of course merely serves as supporting evidence for the absolutely shocking “drop-to-your-knees news” about the “70-yr too early permafrost collapse.”
These instances of collapsing permafrost are deafening bell-ringers and exactly the type of awful news that presages Runaway Global Warming (RGW).
In point of fact, Farquharson’s “70-yr too early permafrost collapse” makes the onset of RGW look like a dead-ringer, but when?Still, nobody really knows for sure how horrible it will be for society at large, but it’s 100% guaranteed to upend capitalism’s rampant growth machine. Functioning ecosystems and roughshod capitalism that willy-nilly consumes ecosystems, punctuated by the advent of plutocracy, don’t jive very well. Maybe a change is in order.
There’s no getting around the fact that ecosystems are collapsing. The evidence is too palpable to ignore. It’s serious; it’s deadly, and it could be too late to do much to stop it, other than a last-ditch WWII Marshall Plan Worldwide Consortium dedicated to converting the world to renewable energy, and forcing removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, yet, those solutions take years and years of planning, setup, construction, and billions upon billions of funding.It’s not happening.
Meanwhile, carbon that has been trapped in and under permafrost over eons readies to escape to turbo-charge an already oversaturated turbo-charged climate. It’s literally happening right now. The waiting room is already full. Farquharson’s study proves it, and Alaska’s permafrost carbon emissions that compete with U.S. commercial CO2 emissions prove it, as sled dogs wade through it.
It’s postulated that Runaway Global Warming, which could wipe out huge swaths of civilized society, starts in the North, where few people live. Egad! They’re already seeing it.
Robert Hunziker, MA, economic history DePaul University, awarded membership in Pi Gamma Mu International Academic Honor Society in Social Sciences is a freelance writer and environmental journalist who has over 200 articles published, including several translated into foreign languages, appearing in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He has been interviewed on numerous FM radio programs, as well as television.
|June 21, 2019||
Beyond climate tipping points: Greenhouse gas levels exceed the stability threshold of the ice sheets.
by Dr Andrew Glikson, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
As the world keeps increasing its carbon emissions and exports,rising in 2018 to a record 33.1 billion ton per year, the atmospheric greenhouse gas level has now exceeded 560 ppm CO2–equivalent when methane and nitrous oxide are included, intersecting the stability threshold of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The term “climate change“ is no longer appropriate since, what is happening in the atmosphere-ocean system, accelerating over the last 70 years or so, is an abrupt calamity on a geological dimension, threatening nature and human civilization. Ignoring what the science says, the powers to be are presiding over the sixth mass extinction of species, including humans.
As conveyed by leading scientists: “Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences”Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.“We’ve reached a point where we have a crisis, an emergency, but people don’t know that … There’s a big gap between what’s understood about global warming by the scientific community and what is known by the public and policymakers” Prof. James Hansen;
By May 2019 CO2 levels measured at Mouna Loa, Hawaii, reached 414.66 ppm, growing at a rate of 3.42 ppm/year, the highest rate recorded for the last 65 million years when the dinosaurs went extinct. The total CO2, methane (CH4) and Nitric oxide (N2O) expressed as CO2-equivalents has reached 56o.3 ppm(Table 1), the highest concentration since the Oligocene (33.9 to 23 Million years ago) when atmospheric CO2ranged between 400-500 ppm.
Table 1. Total atmospheric CO2e from CO2, CH4 and N2O
Total CO2e: 414.7+46.6+99 = 560.3 ppm CO2e
Plus: SF6,CHF3, CH2F2, CF4, C2F6, C3F8, C4F10, C4F8, C5F12, C6F1
Figure 1. Projected CO2 levels for IPCC emission scenarios
The current rise of total GHG to about 560 ppm CO2-equivalent implies that, for a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees Celsius per doubling of atmospheric CO2, global warming has potentially reached 3oC. This level is almost 3 times the 2018 global land-ocean temperature of 0.8oC above pre-industrial levels as reported by NASAA rise of about 1.5oC in land temperatures is reported by the Berkeley Earth institute.Considering the albedo effects of aerosols, including sulphur dioxide, dust, nitrate and organic carbon, the mean rise of land temperature exceeds 1.5oC.
The threshold for collapse of the Greenland ice sheet is estimated in the range of 400-560 ppmCO2 and approximately 2.0 – 2.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. The threshold for the breakdown of the West Antarctic ice sheet is similar. The temperature conditions under which the East Antarctic ice sheet formed in the late Eocene – early Oligoceneabrupt cooling period (34.1 to 33.6 Ma) are in the range of ~800–2000 ppm and 4 to 6 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. Based mainly on satellite gravity data there are signs the East Antarctic ice sheet is beginning to melt in places (Jones, 2019), with ice loss rates of 40 ± 9 Gt/y (Gigaton ice/year) in 1979–1990 and up to to 252 ± 26 Gt/y in 2009–2017 (Rignot et al., 2019).
The cumulative contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctic ice melt was 14.0 ± 2.0 mm since 1979, including 6.9 ± 0.6 mm from West Antarctica, 4.4 ± 0.9 mm from East Antarctica, and 2.5 ± 0.4 mm from the Antarctic Peninsula (Rignot et al., 2019).Based on the above the current CO2-equivalent level of 560 ppm is higher than the mid-Miocene(~23 to 5.3 million years ago) atmospheric range of about 400-500 ppm and 3-4oC(Figure 2) when the Greenland ice sheet did not exist and large variations affected the Antarctic ice sheet (Gasson et al., 2016).
Figure 2.Updated Cenozoic pCO2 and stacked deep-sea benthic foraminifer oxygen isotope curve for 0 to 65 Ma (Zachos et al., 2008)converted to the Gradstein timescale (Gradstein et al., 2004). ETM2 = Eocene Thermal Maximum 2, PETM = Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum.
As the glacial sheets disintegrate cold ice melt water flowing into the ocean lead to the formation of large cold water pools, as indicated by interglacial records of the last 450 kyr, including a growth of cold pools in the northern Atlantic Oceansouth of Greenlandand in the southern Ocean fringingAntarctica (Figures 3, 4). Warming of the Arctic driven by the ice-water albedo flipand the weakening of the North Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation lead toweakening of the jet stream and the Arctic boundary.Penetration of Arctic-derived cold air masses southward through the weakened boundary ensues in extreme weather events in North America, Europe and northern Asia.
Warming of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels leading to enhanced ice-sheet melt would raise sea level by 2 to 5 meterstoward the end of the century,and likely by 25 meters in the longer term, a level consistent with Pliocene global temperatures of +2 to 3oC.Golledge et al. (2019) show meltwater from Greenland will lead to substantial slowing of the Atlantic overturning circulation, whilemeltwater from Antarctica will trap warm water below the sea surface, creating a positive feedback that increases Antarctic ice loss. Howeverthe effects of ice-melt waterson the oceans were hardlyincluded in IPCC models.Depending on the amplifying feedbacks, prolonged Greenland and Antarctic melting(Figures 3 and 4) and a long term stadial freeze event may ensue, lasting perhaps as long as two to three centuries as in the8200 years-oldLaurentian melt event, and even as long as the Younger dryas12.9-11.7 Kyr.
Figure 3.(A) Global warming map (NASA 2018). Note the cool ocean regions south of Greenland and along the Antarctic. Credits: Scientific VisualizationStudio/Goddard Space Flight Center; (B) 2012 Ocean temperatures around Antarctica, (NASA 2012).
Modelling of climate trends for the 21st to 23rd centuries by the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report, 2014portrayspredominantly linear models for greenhouse gas rise, global temperatures and sea levels.These models however appear to take little account of amplifying feedbacks from land and ocean and of the effects of cold ice-melt water on the oceans. According to Steffen et al. (2018) “self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold” and “would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene”.
Amplifying feedbacks of global warming include:
A. The albedo-flip in melting sea ice and ice sheets, increasing the water surface area and thereby the sequestration of CO2. Hudson (2011) estimates a rise in radiative forcing due to removal of Arctic summer sea ice as 0.7Watt/m2, which is a value close to the total of methane release since 1750 (~0.5Watt/m2).
B. Reduced ocean’s CO2intake due to lesser solubility of the gas at higher temperatures.
C. Vegetation desiccation and loss in some regions, and thereby reduced evaporation with its cooling effect. This factor and the increase of precipitations in other regions lead to a differential feedbacks from vegetation as the globe warms (Notaro et al. 2007).
D. An increase in wildfires, releasing greenhouse gases.
E. Release of methane from permafrost, bogs and sediments and other factors.
Linear temperature models do not appear to take into account the effects on the oceansof ice melt water derived from the large ice sheets, including the possibility of a major stadial event such as already started in oceanic tracts fringing Greenland and Antarctica (Figure 3). In the shorter term sea level rises include the Greenland ice sheet (6-7 meter sea level rise) and West Antarctic ice sheet melt (4.8 meter sea level rise). Referring to major past stadial events, including the 8200 years-old Laurentian melt event and the 12.7-11.9 younger dryas event, a prolonged breakdown of parts of the Antarctic ice sheet could result in major sea level rise and extensive cooling of northern and southern latitudes, parallel with warming of tropical and mid-latitudes(Figure 4) (Hansen et al.. 2016).The clashes between polar-derived cold weather fronts and tropical air masses are bound to lead to extreme weather events, echoed in Storms my grandchildren (Hansen, 2010).
Figure 4. Model Surface-air temperature (oC) for 2096 relative to 1880–1920.
Hansen et al 2016.The projection betrays major cooling of the North Atlantic Ocean, cooling of the circum-Antarctic Oceanand further warming in the tropics, subtropics and the interior of continents, including Siberia and Canada.
Andrew Glikson, Earth and climate scientist, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Territory, Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|June 29, 2019||
Capitalism vs. The World.
by James Rothenberg, in Life/Philosophy, Countercurrents.org,
The love of money is a sin…the root of all evil.
O believers Do not devour one another’s wealth by evil means except through trading by mutual consent.
Sharing wealth is a divine duty, but wealth gained and spent for one’s behalf is evil.
Is our toleration of the dominating global capitalist system the greatest work-around in recorded history?
work-around (noun): a plan or method to circumvent a problem without eliminating it.
– Merriam-Webster –
Test cases for our survival:
The global climate has recently been getting warmer, forewarning more frequent and severe storms, threatening many life forms, coastal habitations, resources, and food production.
The warming we see is but a tiny picture of an ever changing big whole, with a history of reversals.
Global wealth inequality has created an underclass of billions, forewarning social and political unrest, threatening rebellions and wars.
Inequality is a feature of the human condition due to people’s innate differences in adaptation, aptitude, and desire.
State secrecy and surveillance of citizens has reached a fascistic level, forewarning loss of personal freedom and liberty.
States have a responsibility to monitor citizen activity to maintain order for the general good.
Nuclear weapons show no signs of going away, forewarning devastating consequences of their usage.
Nuclear weapons have proved to be an effective tool for maintaining world hierarchal order.
In each of these cases, U.S. capitalism comes down on the italicized side of the equation. It is not in the nature of capitalism to tolerate any loss of private profit, whether it be diverting capital from proven profitable production, allowing the world’s poorest countries to prosper from their own above and underground wealth resources, de-coupling its interests from a state founded in support of it, or allowing competing nations and ideologies a chance to rival our economy.
As the name implies, socialism places people ahead of capital, working people as distinct from people that prosper off of other’s work. Relatively few people prosper off of other’s work, yet these few people have, in their hands, an inordinate amount of the world’s wealth. And these few people have, in their hands, the means to set the conditions under which the workers of the world must sustain themselves. You don’t have to be a fan of socialism to see that capitalism favors the billionaire (with trillionaires not far off) and that it is incapable of dealing with existing survival threats.
It will take a new way of thinking to address existential threats, and it must involve the many over the few. People do not wish to fight in wars, thirst for water, starve for food, breathe dirty air, or withstand the elements for lack of shelter. People of any one country have to see in other countries their brothers and sisters. Less a utopian desire, it is a remedy for one nation’s leadership lying and misleading its citizens into thinking that they have enemies intent on harming them.
People don’t fight people in wars. They put on uniforms and fight for big shots. States fight states. The citizen must be led into it. This is a propaganda role states give to themselves and it has proven effective through centuries of use. Tell the people what they’re afraid of, tell them they’re fighting for the “good”, and refer to them as “heroes” of the state. Then all they have to do is obey.
It’s a big thing to imagine, but if international socialism replaced capitalism, with workers in all the world’s countries having control over their economy, war would become less inevitable. Certainly there could be no capitalist, imperialist war. One can react dryly to capitalism’s cynical program of mustering young men and women off to war, and then giving veterans 10% off.
Speaking glowingly of an “American way of life” when large numbers of these Americans are under the control of the whims of others (those that have a job) for their very existence is a hypocrisy that can only be maintained through sheer repetition. The modern corporation is the antithesis of democracy. It’s purposely structured that way — by law, the kind we’re taught to have reverence for — to protect it from unhappy workers and outsiders. And, yes, polls confirm most workers are unhappy. Worldwide.
That some people don’t want to be boss, and are happy to work for others with less responsibility, is not an argument for the beneficence of capitalism. It’s an indication of the accommodation workers have made to an exploitive economic system that does not invite worker participation. Perhaps the only thing you’re free to do is quit.
U.S. capitalism has taken all three branches of government and swallowed them whole. There’s much talk about election interference lately. Their’s, not our’s. Their’s is relatively puny compared to our’s but leaving aside the international kind, for a look at real interference we need go no further than money as a predictor in all our own elections. You almost can’t go wrong by betting on the party’s candidate that spends the most money in the campaign.
Are we presently living in a pre-fascist stage? It’s safer to say we’ve entered a post-democratic age because capitalism is inherently anti-democratic, and little in our national life has been spared from its abuse. It’s not for a lack of evidence that there is reluctance to move away from it. That’s due to long term demonization and the failed examples of socialist experiments.
The irony in the “failed example” argument is that it presents the United States as a neutral outside observer, merely keeping track of history’s winners and losers for the record. This is the record that can be portrayed to the American public as an example of the superiority of our system. It has been wildly successful because the failures are real and the results of this one-sided record are plain to see. Today’s aspiring presidential hopefuls can be openly-almost anything, but they still can’t be openly atheist, or socialist. Not and get tens of millions of votes.
There is a fuller record, one that takes into account the United States’ role in actively undermining independent people’s movements, socialist or otherwise, at home and abroad. We have stopped at nothing (bribery, arming right-wing militias, economic strangulation, torture, sabotage, and outright murder) to put down this sort of uprising against the existent economic and political arrangement that the United States refers to as responsible world order.
We can make ironical use out of the “exceptional nation” theme that has served to justify pretty much all of our behavior. That is, justify it to the home population at which it is aimed. Foreign populations might find it perplexing.
If we are so exceptional, why concern ourselves with what lessers have been able to achieve? Surely we can do better with the ‘hardest working and most talented people on earth’. For one thing, a U.S. socialist experiment would have the advantage of not having the reigning world superpower working overtime to snuff it out.
James Rothenberg, living in New York State, writes on U.S. social and foreign policy. He can be reached at: email@example.com
|July 2, 2019||
U.S. Government Tops All For Creating Refugees.
by Eric Zuesse, in Human Rights, Countercurrents.org,
On June 19th, Statistica headlined “Number of forcibly displaced people reaches new high”, and when one looks at the data, one finds an even bigger story which stands behind those numbers:
This new report from the United Nations documents Statistica’s headline, and it proves that America’s regime-change operations have actually created around half of the world’s refugees. It proves that America’s penchant for invading and trying to overthrow the governments that its billionaires want to replace (“regime-change”) has been by far the biggest of all single causes of refugees worldwide, vastly higher than any other government. Regardless of how bad those other governments might possibly be, the U.S. regime is vastly worse — at least as being the cause, the creator, of the world’s refugee problems.
Consider the countries that the U.S. regime has recently regime-changed or attempted to:
The U.S. regime invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, Syria in 2012-2019, and has been applying, in order to overthrow the Government of Venezuela, strangulating economic sanctions. All of those four target-countries (Syria, Venezuela, Iraq, and Afghanistan) lead the list of nations that are bleeding the most refugees. The U.S. regime’s “regime-change” operations abroad are therefore certainly the leading cause of the world’s refugee-crisis. And none of those countries that the U.S. destroyed had ever invaded, nor even threatened to invade, the United States. In zero of these four instances was this actually being done for ‘national security’ reasons. All of it was done only in order to serve the interests of Lockheed Martin and of ExxonMobil and of other such international corporations, in order to serve the billionaires who own and control these U.S.-based international corporations. Even Afghanistan had never invaded the U.S. And if the problem behind 9/11 was Al Qaeda, then why has the U.S. Government been protecting Al Quaeda in Syria? All of this has been done in order to overthrow Syria’s Government, which both America’s billionaires, and Al Qaeda (and the Sauds, and Israel, and other U.S. regime allies), wanted to overthrow. None of this was done in order to serve — much less to protect — the American public.
That’s the big news in the new U.N. report, though all of it is news that the report itself simply ignores.
The biggest of these refugee crises in 2018 were Syria and Venezuela, which were the U.S. regime’s most recent regime-change operations. But Afghanistan and Iraq are also among the top bleeders of refugees — even now, over 15 years after the U.S. regime had invaded them.
On 26 January 2019, Britain’s Independent headlined “Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens: ‘Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns’” and reported:
Mr De Zayas, a former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and an expert in international law, spoke to The Independent following the presentation of his Venezuela report to the HRC in September. He said that since its presentation the report has been ignored by the UN and has not sparked the public debate he believes it deserves. “Sanctions kill,” he told The Independent, adding that they fall most heavily on the poorest people in society, demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change.
In order for the U.S. regime to blame Venezuela’s Government 100% for Venezuela’s problems including the economic shortages that result from the U.S. regime’s sanctions, the U.S. regime stages attempts to send aid to the Venezuelan people, and this aid is, of course, blocked by Venezuela’s Government, because it is just the aggressor’s PR stunt — the U.S. regime’s effort to take over the country in a ‘kind’ way. (After all, Hitler claimed to love the “Volk,” even as he served the interests of Germany’s armaments-firms and the billionaires who controlled them.) However, if the aggressor had honestly wanted to help Venezuelans, it wouldn’t be applying such strangulating economic sanctions, which include penalties against countries that trade with Venezuela — an economic blockade against Venezuela.
Here are highlights in the new report from the U.N.:
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, “GLOBAL TRENDS: Forced Displacement in 2018″
The report says that in 2018, there were “13.6 million newly displaced” persons.
“Altogether, more than two thirds (67 per cent) of all refugees worldwide came from just five countries:”
“The main countries of asylum for refugees were:”
However, this chaotic U.N. report also states that:
At the end of 2018, Syrians continued to be the largest forcibly displaced population, with 13.0 million people living in displacement. … Colombians were the second largest group, with 8.0 million forcibly displaced, most of them (98 per cent) inside their country at the end of 2018.
Presumably, the reason why Colombia does’t show on the list of “newly displaced” is that most of its “8.0 million forcibly displaced” occurred during the civil war there, which peaked in 2009.
“Figure 17 | Major recipient countries of new asylum applications | 2017-2018” shows that pending asylum-applications are the highest in U.S., second-highest is in Peru (mainly from Venezuela resulting from America’s economic sanctions against Venezuela), third-highest is in Germany (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded), fourth-highest is in France (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded), and fifth-highest is in Turkey (mainly from Arabic lands that America invaded).
In other words: four of those five countries are lands where America’s strangulating economic sanctions, and invasions, by America’s own troops and by its proxy-forces such as Al Qaeda and other ‘rebels’, drove millions of people out. Though the confusing report doesn’t note it, most of that “highest in U.S.” asylum-applications come from the U.S. regime’s banana republics — Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — where the U.S. trained death squads etc. created (or at least encouraged) the problems, at least a decade or more ago. Consequently, even in some nations where the U.S. regime didn’t create refugees by means of invasions, it created many by coups and other means.
“Figure 18 | Major source countries of new asylum-seekers | 2017-2018” shows that in 2018, the highest number of new asylum-applicants were from Venezuela, second-highest were from Afghanistan, third-highest were from Syria, and fourth-highest were from Iraq. All of those are lands that suffer from the U.S. regime’s past and current aggressions. (Of course, everybody expects Iran to be the next.)
Venezuelan refugees and asylum-seekers grew in number during 2018. The broader movement of Venezuelans through the region and beyond, increasingly took on the characteristics of a refugee situation, with some 3.4 million living outside Venezuela by the end of 2018, as more than 3 million Venezuelans left their homes, travelling mainly elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. “This is the biggest exodus in the region’s recent history, and one of the biggest displacement crises in the world.” It could turn out to be even worse than Colombia’s was. The report notes:
“When my nine-month-old daughter died because of the lack of medicines, doctors or treatment, I decided to take my family out of Venezuela before another one of my children died. Diseases were getting stronger than us. I told myself, either we leave or we die.” – Eulirio Baes, a 33-year-old indigenous Warao from Delta Amacuro in Venezuela. He abandoned the Warao’s ancestral lands and took his entire family to Brazil after three relatives died.
Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population. 1 in 6 people there was a refugee. Jordan (1 in 14) and Turkey (1 in 22) ranked second and third, respectively. Of course, those lands receive mainly Syrian refugees.
At the end of 2018, Syrians continued to be the largest forcibly displaced population, with 13.0 million people living in displacement, including 6,654,000 refugees, 6,184,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 140,000 asylum-seekers. Colombians were the second largest group, with 8.0 million forcibly displaced, most of them (98 per cent) still living inside their country at the end of 2018. The top two foreign recipients of refugees from Colombia were Spain and Ecuador. As previously noted, Colombia’s refugees were generated by the lengthy civil war there, which peaked in 2009. The following visual, which is the most comprehensible part of this chaotic (and in places uninterpretable) U.N. report, doesn’t show Colombia, because these were the refugee-flows only for the year of 2018:
That visual is around half of the interpretable content in the entire 28-page U.N. report. It’s a visual way of showing that the U.S. regime’s regime-change operations produce around half of the entire world’s refugee-problem. The only U.S. Presidential candidate who even so much as just mentions America’s “regime-change wars” (and she is strongly against them) is Tulsi Gabbard, and she currently scores the support of fewer than 1% of America’s Democrats in that Party’s Presidential primary polls. So, at least America’s Democrats are overwhelmingly unconcerned about their country’s causing around half of the entire world’s refugee crisis. And there is no indication that America’s Republican voters are more concerned about it than the Democratic voters are. Americans, evidently, don’t care about this matter. At least, not yet.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Originally posted at strategic-culture.org
|July 2, 2019||
Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?
by Tom Engelhardt,in Imperialism, Countercurrents.org,
Headlined “U.S. Seeks Other Ways to Stop Iran Shy of War,” the article was tucked away on page A9 of a recent New York Times. Still, it caught my attention. Here’s the first paragraph:
“American intelligence and military officers are working on additional clandestine plans to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, pushed by the White House to develop new options that could help deter Tehran without escalating tensions into a full-out conventional war, according to current and former officials.”
Note that “Iranian aggression.” The rest of the piece, fairly typical of the tone of American media coverage of the ongoing Iran crisis, included sentences like this: “The C.I.A. has longstanding secret plans for responding to Iranian provocations.” I’m sure I’ve read such things hundreds of times without ever really stopping to think much about them, but this time I did. And what struck me was this: rare is the moment in such mainstream news reports when Americans are the “provocative” ones (though the Iranians immediately accused the U.S. military of just that, a provocation, when it came to the U.S. drone its Revolutionary Guard recently shot down either over Iranian air space or the Strait of Hormuz). When it comes to Washington’s never-ending war on terror, I think I can say with reasonable confidence that, in the past, the present, and the future, the one phrase you’re not likely to find in such media coverage will be “American aggression.”
I mean, forget the history of the second half of the last century and all of this one so far. Forget that back in the Neolithic age of the 1980s, before Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein turned out to be the new Adolf Hitler and needed to be taken down by us (no aggression there), the administration of President Ronald Reagan actively backed his unprovoked invasion of, and war against, Iran. (That included his use of chemical weapons against Iranian troop concentrations that American military intelligence helped him target.) Forget that, in 2003, the administration of George W. Bush launched an unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq, based on false intelligence about Saddam’s supposed weapons of mass destruction and his supposed links to al-Qaeda. Forget that the Trump administration tore up a nuclear agreement with Iran to which that country was adhering and which would indeed have effectively prevented it from producing nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future. Forget that its supreme leader (in fatwas he issued) prohibited the creation or stockpiling of such weaponry in any case.
Forget that the Trump administration, in a completely unprovoked manner, imposed crippling sanctions on that country and its oil trade, causing genuine suffering, in hopes of toppling that regime economically as Saddam Hussein’s had been toppled militarily in neighboring Iraq in 2003, all in the name of preventing the atomic weapons that the Obama-negotiated pact had taken care of. Forget the fact that an American president, who, at the last moment, halted air strikes against Iranian missile bases (after one of their missiles shot down that American drone) is now promising that an attack on “anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force… In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”
Provocations? Aggression? Perish the thought!
And yet, just ask yourself what Washington and the Pentagon might do if an Iranian drone were spotted off the East Coast of the United States (no less in actual U.S. air space). No more need be said, right?
So here’s the strange thing, on a planet on which, in 2017, U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to 149 countries, or approximately 75% of all nations; on which the U.S. has perhaps 800 military garrisons outside its own territory; on which the U.S. Navy patrols most of its oceans and seas; on which U.S. unmanned aerial drones conduct assassination strikes across a surprising range of countries; and on which the U.S. has been fighting wars, as well as more minor conflicts, for years on end from Afghanistan to Libya, Syria to Yemen, Iraq to Niger in a century in which it chose to launch full-scale invasions of two countries (Afghanistan and Iraq), is it truly reasonable never to identify the U.S. as an “aggressor” anywhere?
What you might say about the United States is that, as the self-proclaimed leading proponent of democracy and human rights (even if its president is now having a set of love affairs with autocrats and dictators), Americans consider ourselves at home just about anywhere we care to be on planet Earth. It matters little how we may be armed and what we might do. Consequently, wherever Americans are bothered, harassed, threatened, attacked, we are always the ones being provoked and aggressed upon, never provoking and aggressing. I mean, how can you be the aggressor in your own house, even if that house happens to be temporarily located in Afghanistan, Iraq, or perhaps soon enough in Iran?
A Planet of Aggressors and Provocateurs
To mine the same New York Times piece a little more, here’s another paragraph:
“Some officials believe the United States needs [to] be willing to master the kind of deniable, shadowy techniques Tehran has perfected in order to halt Iran’s aggressions. Others think that, while helpful, such clandestine attacks will not be enough to reassure American allies or deter Iran.”
Of course, such clandestine American attacks would, by definition, not be “aggression,” not given that they were directed against Iran. Forget the grim historical humor lurking in the above passage, since the present Iranian religious hard-liners probably wouldn’t be there if, back in 1953, the CIA hadn’t used just such techniques to overthrow a democratically elected Iranian government and install its own autocrat, the young Shah, in power.
As that Times piece also emphasizes, Iran now uses “proxy forces” throughout the region (indeed it does!) against U.S. (and Israeli) power, a tactic Americans evidently just hadn’t thought about employing themselves in this century — until now. Americans naturally have no proxy forces in the Greater Middle East. That’s a well-known fact. Just out of curiosity, however, what would you call the local forces our special ops guys are training and advising in so many of those 149 countries around the planet, since obviously they could never be proxy forces? And how about the Afghan and Iraqi militaries that the U.S. trained, supplied with weaponry, and advised in these years? (You know, the Iraqi army that collapsed in the face of ISIS in 2014 or the Afghan security forces that have been unable to staunch either the growth of the Taliban or of the Afghan branch of ISIS.)
Now, don’t get me wrong. Yes, the Iranians can (and sometimes do) provoke and aggress. It’s an ugly planet filled with aggression and provocation. (Take Vladimir Putin’s Russia in Crimea and Ukraine, for instance.) The Chinese are now aggressing in the South China Sea where the U.S. Navy regularly conducts “freedom of navigation” operations — though no provocation there, as the Pacific’s an American lake, isn’t it?
In short, when it comes to provocation and aggression, the world is our oyster. There are so many bad guys out there and then, of course, there’s us. We can make mistakes and missteps, we can kill staggering numbers of civilians, destroy cities, uproot populations, create hordes of refugees with our never-ending wars across the Greater Middle East and Africa, but aggression? What are you thinking?
One thing is obvious if you follow the mainstream media: in our world, no matter what we do, we’re still the good guys on a planet filled with provocateurs and aggressors of every sort.
War to the Horizon
Now let’s think for a moment about that remarkable American comfort level, that unprecedented sense of being at home practically anywhere on Earth we choose to send armed Americans — and while we’re at it, let’s consider a related subject: America’s wars.
If, in the early 1970s, you had told me or any other American that, in the nearly half-century to come, the U.S. would fight wars and other lesser conflicts of almost every imaginable sort in startling numbers of places thousands of miles from home, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, countries most Americans couldn’t then (or now) find on a map, I guarantee you one thing: we would have thought you were nuts. (Of course, if you had described Donald Trump’s White House to me then as our future reality, I would have considered you beyond delusional.)
And yet here we are. Think about Afghanistan for a moment. In those distant days of the last century, that country would undoubtedly have been known here only to small numbers of young adventurers eager to hike what was then called “the hippy trail.” There, in a still remarkably peaceful place, a young American might have been greeted with remarkable friendliness and then spaced out on drugs.
That, of course, was before Washington’s first (covert) Afghan War, the one the CIA oversaw, with the help of Saudi money (yes, even then!) and a major hand from the Pakistani intelligence services. Do you remember that conflict, which began in 1979 and ended a decade later with the Red Army limping out of Kabul in defeat, heading for a land, the Soviet Union, which would implode within two years? What a “victory” that proved to be for America, not to speak of the groups of extremist Islamic militants we helped to fund and support, including a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden.
And keep in mind as well that that was our “short” war in Afghanistan, a mere decade long. In October 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks, instead of launching a police action against Osama bin Laden and crew, the administration of George W. Bush decided to invade that country. Almost 18 years later, the U.S. military is still fighting there (remarkably unsuccessfully) against a thoroughly rejuvenated Taliban and a new branch of ISIS. It now qualifies as the longest war in our history (without even adding in that first Afghan War of ours).
And then, of course, there’s Iraq. By my count, the U.S. has been involved in four conflicts involving that country, starting with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in 1980 and the ensuing war, which the administration of President Ronald Reagan supported militarily (as the present one does the Saudi war in Yemen). Then there was President George H.W. Bush’s war against Saddam Hussein after his military invaded Kuwait in 1990, which resulted in a resounding (but by no means conclusive) victory and the kind of victory parade in Washington that Donald Trump can only dream of. Next, of course, was President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq (mission accomplished!), a grim and unsatisfying eight-year conflict from which President Barack Obama withdrew U.S. troops in 2011. The fourth war followed in 2014 when the U.S.-trained Iraqi military collapsed in the face of relatively small numbers of ISIS militants, a group that was an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which didn’t exist until the U.S. invaded that country. That September, President Obama loosed the U.S. air force on Iraq and Syria (so you can add a fifth war in a neighboring country to the mix) and sent U.S. troops back into Iraq and into Syria where they still remain.
Oh, yes, and don’t forget Somalia. U.S. troubles there began with the famed Black Hawk Down incident amid the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993 and never, in a sense, really ended. Today, U.S. Special Operations forces are still on the ground there and U.S. air strikes against a Somali militant Islamic group, al-Shabaab, have actually been on the rise in the Trump era.
As for Yemen, from the first U.S. drone strike there in 2002, the U.S. had been in an on-again, off-again low-level conflict there that included commando raids, cruise missile attacks, air strikes, and drone strikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, another offshoot of the original al-Qaeda. Since, in 2015, the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates launched their war against Houthi rebels (backed by Iran) who had come to control significant parts of the country, the U.S. has been supporting them with weaponry, intelligence, and targeting, as well as (until late last year) mid-air refueling and other aid. Meanwhile, that brutal war of destruction has led to staggering numbers of Yemeni civilian casualties (and widespread starvation), but as with so many of the other campaigns the U.S. has involved itself in across the Greater Middle East and Africa it shows no sign of ending.
And don’t forget Libya, where the U.S. and NATO intervened in 2011 to help rebels take down Muammar Gaddafi, the local autocrat, and in the process managed to foster a failed state in a land now experiencing its own civil war. In the years since 2011, the U.S. has sometimes had commandos on the ground there, has launched hundreds of drone strikes (and air strikes), often against a branch of ISIS that grew up in that land. Once again, little is settled there, so we can all continue to sing the Marine Hymn (“…to the shores of Tripoli”) with a sense of appropriateness.
And I haven’t even mentioned Pakistan, Niger, and god knows where else. You should also note that the American forever war on terror has proven a remarkably effective war for terror, clearly helping to foster and spread such groups, aggressors and provocateurs all, around significant parts of the planet, from the Philippines to the Congo.
Addicted to war? Not us. Still, all in all, it’s quite a record and let’s not forget that looming on the horizon is another possible war, this time with Iran, a country that the men overseeing the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (including present National Security Advisor John Bolton) were eager to go after even then. “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad,” so the saying reputedly went in Washington at the time. “Real men want to go to Tehran.” And it’s just possible that, in 2019, Bolton and crew will be able to act on that much delayed urge. Considering the history of American wars in these years, what could possibly go wrong?
To sum up, no one should ever claim that we Americans aren’t “at home” in the world. We’re everywhere, remarkably well funded and well armed and ready to face off against the aggressors and provocateurs of this planet. Just one small suggestion: thank the troops for their service if you want, and then, as most Americans do, go about your business as if nothing were happening in those distant lands. As we head into election season 2020, however, just don’t imagine that we’re the good guys on Planet Earth. As far as I can tell, there aren’t many good guys left.
Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He runs TomDispatch.com and is a fellow of the Type Media Center. His sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books).
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel (the second in the Splinterlands series) Frostlands,Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.
|July 3, 2019||
If These Be Men…
by Dan Corjescu, in World, Countercurrents.org,
Globalization is about many things. It‘s about flows. It‘s about identities. And, perhaps most importantly, it‘s about dreams.
The chief proponents of Globalization are mainly positive when it comes to global financial markets and the liberalization of trade. Even the more cautious (or prudent?) among them, such as the Harvard/Princeton economist Dani Rodrik, do not advocate the reversal of these trends but rather their regulatory synchronization with domestic institutions and practices.
In a world where goods circulate ever more freely can the desires of the world’s less fortunate be far behind?
Indeed, I think the less fortunate of the world have understood the process of Globalization most correctly. They recognize the growing convergence of world capital in the hands of a global elite as an ineluctable fact. While another world might be eventually possible they are, for the moment at least, resigned to accept, the new technologies and even the new institutions of global capital. They seek to “exploit” the exploiters as best they can; through attempting to wrangle better jobs, training, and education whether this means accepting employment at a Transnational Corporation, learning English (or German or French), or cooperating with NGOs.
While there are some, especially in the Muslim world, who are radically affronted by “The Great Convergence” that Globalization represents; the majority of the world’s population are becoming secularized through a growing willingness to participate in the culture and practices of consumerism that are increasingly available all over the world. Coca-cola has indeed become King.
And many want to enter the Kingdom.
Logically, those who are materially worse off in the world want to drink more deeply from the well of global capitalism. They want to be “there” where it is all being “made”. Their motivations however are not solely economic, but often political and social as well. They want to live in a society that provides the goods: food, freeways, and freedom. And through the global propaganda machine of the great capitalist powers, they are quite sure of these things and their current exact address and the value of the comparative risks that they must take to get there.
In the Nineteenth century, capital also moved freely, in some superficial ways almost as much as today, but labor moved across borders at an astounding rate. Some 50 million Europeans, by some accounts, left their home continent for other shores between 1815 and 1930. Considering that there were far less people living in total during these years, that is a not an inconsiderable amount of migration.
Of course, after the First World War, restrictions on immigration were put in place and states became both more “jealous” of their home populations and more “suspicious” of those who they were willing to let in. The problem was made more acute since many of the new sources of immigration stemmed from former colonies; often people of different colors and beliefs.
Yet fundamental questions remain: if present globalization, perhaps best understood within terms of particular domestic institutions and practices mediated by a maximum amount of participatory democracy, seems to be a long term good then how can we honestly maintain brutally closed borders towards the global aspirations of millions?
Are these not, after all, men, women, and children, who toil and struggle in the mud (as Primo Levi so poignantly once phrased it) and very often know not a moment’s peace?
Are their global, human hopes not legitimate enough in the face of lingering nationalisms?
Are they to be dehumanized because they do not share the same language and culture as the people who inhabit the destination of their dreams?
Is it really true that the leading nations of global capitalism do not have the resources to successfully absorb those who eagerly want to join them? Or is the fear of the “other” so important to maintain so as to ease the control and manipulation of those who already “securely enjoy a warm meal in a snug house and the conviviality of friends” (Voi che vivete sicuri, Nelle vostre tiepide case,Voi che trovate tornando a sera,Il cibo caldo e visi amici-Levi).
Does Nationalism ultimately have to die a long overdue death in order to realize the inherent humanist potential in a full fledged Global world; where labor moves as freely as capital?
Is this the true key to social justice and equality on a global scale? A rallying cry for a New Left?
Where every person on the planet no matter how downtrodden and covered in degrading mud and the sweat of desperation from the crossing of treacherous rivers, and the perilous crossing of seas; where every persecuted conscience would be allowed the opportunity to reside in that place where they consider the air fresher, the water cleaner, and the liberation and attainment of their human potential would be more secure and happy; a world of free men and women where the tyranny of place has been finally abolished.
Bio: PhD in Continental Philosophy from Sofia University. Regular contributor to Counterpunch. Teaches at Ravensburg-Weinburg and Neu Ulm University of Applied Sciences.
|July 3, 2019||
Heat spike to cost global economy $2.4 trillion a year, says ILO.
by Countercurrents Collective,in Climate Change, Countercurrents.org,
The total cost of losses due to temperature rise will be $2.4 trillion a year, said the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work report.
This prediction has been made based on a global temperature rise of only 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.
Highlighting that the world’s poorest countries will be worst affected, particularly in West Africa and South-East Asia, the ILO warned that the lost output will be equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs – or 2.2 per cent of total working hours worldwide – during 2030.
“The impact of heat stress on labour productivity is a serious consequence of climate change,” said Catherine Saget, Chief of Unit in the ILO’s Research department and one of the main authors of the report.
Ms. Saget said: “We can expect to see more inequality between low and high-income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable.”
Agriculture and construction will be worst affected
In the ILO report, heat stress is defined as generally occurring at above 35 degrees Celsius, in places where there is high humidity.
Excess heat at work is an occupational health risk and in extreme cases can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal, the UN agency explains.
With some 940 million people active in agriculture around the world, farmers are set to be worst hit by rising temperatures, according to the ILO data, which indicates that the sector will be responsible for 60 per cent of global working hours lost from heat stress, by 2030.
Construction will also be “severely impacted”, with an estimated 19 per cent of global working hours lost at the end of the next decade, said ILO.
Other at-risk sectors include refuse collection, emergency services, transport, tourism and sports, with southern Asian and western African States suffering the biggest productivity losses, equivalent to approximately five per cent of working hours by 2030.
“The impact of heat stress on labour productivity is a serious consequence of climate change, which adds to other adverse impacts such as changing rain patterns, raising sea levels and loss of biodiversity,” Ms. Saget explained.
Underlining how communities in the world’s poorest regions will suffer the most significant economic losses because they often lack the resources to adapt to increased heat, the ILO official insisted that this would lead to “more inequality between low and high-income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable, as well as displacement of people”.
The economic losses of heat stress will therefore reinforce already existing economic disadvantage, in particular the higher rates of working poverty, informal and vulnerable employment, subsistence agriculture, and a lack of social protection, Ms. Saget added.
To adapt to this new reality, ILO has called for urgent measures by governments, employers and workers, focusing on protecting the most vulnerable.
These include adequate infrastructure and improved early warning systems for extreme weather events, and improved implementation of international labour standards in occupational safety and health to help tackle heat-related hazards.