Politics and Justice Without Borders
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Global Community Newsletter main website

Volume 17 Issue 5 February 2019

Business, trade and global resources.
( see enlargement Business, trade and global resources. )

We are the first species on Earth that will have to limit itself for its own survival and that of all life.

This picture was designed in 1985 by Germain Dufour, and represented at the time the vision of the world in 2024. The picture was all made of symbols. At the back is "the wall" where a group of people are making sure those coming in have been properly check out before being let in. Many of the requirements for being let in have already been defined and described over time in many of the monthly Newsletters published by Global Civilization. In the middle is a couple with a child actually going through the screening process. At the front people from all over the world are waiting to be checked in as global citizens. The 2 star like objects that seem to be flying above the people are actually drone-like objects keeping peace and security.

Letter to Donald John Trump, President of the United States, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, concerning "Canada, the overseer, stewardship and custodianship of the Earth's north polar region. (A proposal of Global Community)" Canada, the overseer, stewardship  and custodianship of the Earth's north polar region. (A proposal of Global Community), from Germain Dufour, President of Global Government of North America (GGNA) Global Government of North America (GGNA).

Theme of February 2019 Newsletter

Causes of the global crisis which triggered the planetary state of emergency

Germain Dufour

Table of contents

A)     Financial crisis Financial crisis

1.     Over the past decade, the White House has been building up a 10 trillion dollars national debt and a half trillion dollars annual deficit
2.     Bad financial fundamentals and out-of-control stock market

B)     Social-economic crisis Social crisis

1. Responsiblity and accountability
2. Global Rights and Global Justice
3. Who owns the Earth ?
4. Cirteria for sovereignty
5. Overpopulation
6. Conflicts and wars, no tolerance and compassion for one another
7. Poverty, large wealth gap between rich and poor, between the industrialized nations and the developing nations
8. Food production crisis
9. Energy shortage, Peak Oil and Gas

C)     Environmental crisis Environmental crisis


1. Overconsumption
2. Climate change and global warming
3. Pollution
4. Life species extinction
5. Deforestation
6. Human activities we must no longer do
7. Military testings and pollution

D)     Disconnected, unfair and corrupted governance focusing only on competition and consumption Disconnected, unfair  and corrupted governance focusing only on competition and consumption


1. G20 nations, G8 nations all disconnected and selfish leaders, unwilling to change
2. European Union
4. IMF, World Bank, financial institutions worldwide
5. The military, NATO and the United Nations

Proposal to adapt to the new world order Proposal to adapt to the new world order

21st Century democracy
Embrace new values, principles, global concepts, and a new, more healthy, way of life
Polluter pays principle
You own a property, use it, share it or lose it
New way of doing business and trade
Nationalization of natural resources
Federation of Global Governments and the Global Protection Agency (GPA)
Global Law
Societal checks and balance
No taxes on labour but taxes on the use and consumption of natural resources
Global Economic Model
Planetary biodiversity zone
Essential services
Earth management and governance
Global Community Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
Strong commitment to Peace in the world by means of diplomacy, not by bullying and war
What we must do

Conclusion and recommendations Conclusion

    Financial crisis Financial crisis
    Social-economic crisis Social-economic crisis
    Global rights Global rights
    Who owns the Earth ?  Who owns the Earth ?
    Agriculture, overpopulation, energy and industry for a better future Agriculture, overpopulation, energy and industry for a better future
    Conflicts and wars are not sustainable Conflicts and wars are not sustainable
    Resources have become the new political boundaries Resources have become the new political boundaries
    World poverty and food crisis World poverty and food crisis
    World Summit of the G20 nations and the new World Order World Summit of the G20 nations and the new World Order
    Peak Oil and Gas Movement  Peak Oil and Gas Movement
    Protection of the global life-support systems and the environment Protection of the global life-support systems and the environment
    Crisis of freshwater, food, deforestation, and ocean health Crisis of freshwater, food, deforestation, and ocean health
    Global governance and the 21st Century democracy Global governance and the 21st Century democracy
    Global Protection Agency (GPA) and global leadershipGlobal Protection Agency (GPA) and global leadership
    Global tax Global tax
    New way of doing business and trade  New way of doing business and trade
    Nationalization of natural resources Nationalization of natural resources
    Global Economic Model  Global Economic Model
    Planetary state of emergency Planetary state of emergency
    Planetary biodiversity zone Planetary biodiversity zone
    Federation of Global Governments Essential Services  Federation of Global Governments Essential Services

Reporting News
( see enlargement Reporting News)

Reporting News.
( see enlargement Reporting News)

Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month

David Anderson, Valentin ANGLO Benin, Robert J Burrowes, Gerald Coles, Margaret Flowers, Sarah Freeman-Woolpert, Dr Andrew Glikson, Richard Heinberg,Jay Janson, Dr Mahboob A Khawaja, Peter Koenig, Chris Marsden, Mary Metzger, Raphael Mimoun, Andrew Nikiforuk, The Saker, Robert Stevens, Nick Turse, Gail Tverberg, Andre Vltchek, Kevin Zeese.

David Anderson, Negative Zero Sum Game Negative Zero Sum Game
Valentin ANGLO Benin, Jour des hommes de coeur de par le monde, Dia de los hombres de corazon en todo el mundo, Dia dos homens de coracao ao redor do mundo Jour des hommes de coeur de par le monde, Dia de los hombres de corazon en todo el mundo, Dia dos homens de coracao ao redor do mundo
Robert J Burrowes, Human Beings are Destroying Life on Earth but Deluding Ourselves that We are Not Human Beings are Destroying Life on Earth but Deluding Ourselves that We are Not
Gerald Coles, Education, jobs and capitalism Education, jobs and capitalism
Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Uniting For A Green New Deal Uniting For A Green New Deal
Raphael Mimoun and Sarah Freeman-Woolpert, How the Yellow Vests are Reinventing French Politics How the Yellow Vests are Reinventing French Politics
Dr Andrew Glikson, Origins of the climate catastrophe Origins of the climate catastrophe
Richard Heinberg, Sooner or Later, We Have to Stop Economic Growth — and We’ll Be Better for it Sooner or Later, We Have to Stop Economic Growth — and We’ll Be Better for it
Jay Janson, An American Senator Writes of ISIS “Hellish Filth We’ve Recruited, Armed and Trained for 8 Years!” An American Senator Writes of ISIS Hellish Filth We’ve Recruited, Armed and Trained for 8 Years!
Dr Mahboob A Khawaja, Global Wars and Peace: Insanity against Humanity: What is Next? Global Wars and Peace: Insanity against Humanity: What is Next?
Peter Koenig, Europe on the Brink of Collapse? Europe on the Brink of Collapse?
Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, UK parliament votes down Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal UK parliament votes down Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal
Mary Metzger, Furtherance: A Response to Gail Tverberg’s “World Economy is Reaching Growth Limits: Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence” Furtherance: A Response to Gail Tverberg’s World Economy is Reaching Growth Limits: Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence
Raphael Mimoun and Sarah Freeman-Woolpert, How the Yellow Vests are Reinventing French Politics How the Yellow Vests are Reinventing French Politics
Andrew Nikiforuk, Oil’s Wild Price Swings Set to Create Global Chaos Oil’s Wild Price Swings Set to Create Global Chaos
The Saker, Placing the USA on a collapse continuum withDmitry Orlov Placing the USA on a collapse continuum withDmitry Orlov
Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, UK parliament votes down Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal UK parliament votes down Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal
Nick Turse, Bases, Bases, Everywhere… Except in the Pentagon’s Report Bases, Bases, Everywhere… Except in the Pentagon’s Report
Gail Tverberg, 2019: World Economy Is Reaching Growth Limits; Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence 2019: World Economy Is Reaching Growth Limits; Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence
Andre Vltchek, Why Is Japan So Bitter About Unstoppable Rise Of China? Why Is Japan So Bitter About Unstoppable Rise Of China?
Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, Uniting For A Green New Deal Uniting For A Green New Deal

Articles and papers from authors


Day data received Theme or issue Read article or paper
  January 14, 2019
Placing the USA on a collapse continuum withDmitry Orlov
by The Saker, Information Clearing House.

The word ‘catastrophe‘ has several meanings, but in its original meaning in Greek the word means a “sudden downturn” (in Greek katastrophē ‘overturning, sudden turn,’ from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’). As for the word “superpower” it also has several possible definitions, but my preferred one is this oneSuperpower is a term used to describe a state with a dominant position, which is characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers” this one, “an extremely powerful nation, especially one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations” or this onean international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states“.

I have mentioned the very visible decline of the US and its associated Empire in many of my articles already, so I won’t repeat it here other than to say that the “ability to exert influence and impose its will” is probably the best criteria to measure the magnitude of the fall of the US since Trump came to power (the process was already started by Dubya and Obama, but it sure accelerated with The Donald). But I do want to use a metaphor to revisit the concept of catastrophe.

If you place an object in the middle of a table and then push it right to the edge, you will exert some amount of energy we can call “E1”. Then, if the edge of the table is smooth and you just push the object over the edge, you exercise a much smaller amount of energy we can call “E2”. And, in most cases (if the table is big enough), you will also find that E1 is much bigger than E2 yet E2, coming after E1 took place, triggered a much more dramatic event: instead of smoothly gliding over the table top, the object suddenly falls down and shatters. That sudden fall can also be called a “catastrophe”. This is also something which happens in history, take the example of the Soviet Union.

The fate of all empires…

Some readers might recall how Alexander Solzhenitsyn repeatedly declared in the 1980s that he was sure that the Soviet regime would collapse and that he would return to Russia. He was, of course, vitriolically ridiculed by all the “specialists” and “experts”. After all, why would anybody want to listen to some weird Russian exile with politically suspicious ideas (there were rumors of “monarchism” and “anti-Semitism”) when the Soviet Union was an immense superpower, armed to the teeth with weapons, with an immense security service, with political allies and supporters worldwide? Not only that, but all the “respectable” specialists and experts were unanimous that, while the Soviet regime had various problems, it was very far from collapse. The notion that NATO would soon replace the Soviet military not only in eastern Europe, but even in part of the Soviet Union was absolutely unthinkable. And yet it all happened, very, very fast. I would argue that the Soviet union completely collapsed in the span of less than 4 short years: 1990-1993. How and why this happened is beyond the scope of this article, but what is undeniable is that in 1989 the Soviet Union was still an apparently powerful entity, while by the end of 1993, it was gone (smashed into pieces by the very which used to rule over it). How did almost everybody miss that?

Because ideologically-poisoned analysis leads to intellectual complacence, a failure of imagination and, generally, an almost total inability to even hypothetically look at possible outcomes. This is how almost all the “Soviet specialists” got it wrong (the KGB, by the way, had predicted this outcome and warned the Politburo, but the Soviet gerontocrats were ideologically paralyzed and were both unable, and often unwilling, to take any preventative action). The Kerensky masonic regime in 1917 Russia, the monarchy in Iran or the Apartheid regime in South Africa also collapsed very fast once the self-destruction mechanism was in place and launched.

You can think of that “regime self-destruction mechanism” as our E1 phase in our metaphor above. As for E2, you can think of it as whatever small-push like event which precipitates the quick and final collapse, apparently with great ease and minimum energy spent.

At this point it is important to explain what exactly a “final collapse” looks like. Some people are under the very mistaken assumption that a collapsed society or country looks like a Mad Max world. This is not so. The Ukraine has been a failed state for several years already, but it still exists on the map. People live there, work, most people still have electricity (albeit not 24/7), a government exists, and, at least officially, law and order is maintained. This kind of collapsed society can go on for years, maybe decades, but it is in a state of collapse nonetheless, as it has reached all the 5 Stages of Collapse as defined by Dmitry Orlov in his seminal book “The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit” where he mentions the following 5 stages of collapse:

  • Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.
  • Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.
  • Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.
  • Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.
  • Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

Having personally visited Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s, and seen the Russia of the early 1990s, I can attest that a society can completely collapse while maintaining a lot of the external appearances of a normal still functioning society. Unlike the Titanic, most collapsed regimes don’t fully sink. They remain about half under water, and half above, possibly with an orchestra still playing joyful music. And in the most expensive top deck cabins, a pretty luxurious lifestyle can be maintained by the elites. But for most of the passengers such a collapse results in poverty, insecurity, political instability and a huge loss in welfare. Furthermore, in terms of motion, a half-sunk ship is no ship at all.

Here is the crucial thing: as long as the ship’s PA systems keep announcing great weather and buffet brunches, and as long as most of the passengers remain in their cabins and watch TV instead of looking out of the window, the illusion of normalcy can be maintained for a fairly long while, even after a collapse. During the E1 phase outlined above, most passengers will be kept in total ignorance (lest they riot or protest) and only when E2 strikes (totally unexpectedly for most passengers) does reality eventually destroy the ignorance and illusions of the brainwashed passengers.

Obama was truly the beginning of the end

I have lived in the US from 1986-1991 and from 2002 to today and there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the country has undergone a huge decline over the past decades. In fact, I would argue that the US has been living under E1 condition since at least Dubya and that this process dramatically accelerated under Obama and Trump. I believe that we reached the E2 “edge of the table” moment in 2018 and that from now on even a relatively minor incident can result in a sudden downturn (i.e. a “catastrophe”). Still, I decided to check with the undisputed specialist of this issue and so I emailed Dmitry Orlov and asked him the following question:


In your recent article “The Year the Planet Flipped Over” you paint a devastating picture of the state of the Empire:

It is already safe to declare Trump’s plan to Make America Great Again (MAGA) a failure. Beneath the rosy statistics of US economic growth hides the hideous fact that it is the result of a tax holiday granted to transnational corporations to entice them to repatriate their profits. While this hasn’t helped them (their stocks are currently cratering) it has been a disaster for the US government as well as for the economic system as whole.  Tax receipts have shrunk. The budget deficit for 2018 exceeds $779 billion. Meanwhile, the trade wars which Trump initiated have caused the trade deficit to increase by 17% from the year before. Plans to repatriate industrial production from low-cost countries remain vaporous because the three key elements which China had as it industrialized (cheap energy, cheap labor and low cost of doing business) are altogether missing.  Government debt is already beyond reasonable and its expansion is still accelerating, with just the interest payments set to exceed half a trillion a year within a decade. This trajectory does not bode well for the continued existence of the United States as a going concern. Nobody, either in the United States or beyond, has the power to significantly alter this trajectory. Trump’s thrashing about may have moved things along faster than they otherwise would have, at least in the sense of helping convince the entire world that the US is selfish, feckless, ultimately self-destructive and generally unreliable as a partner. In the end it won’t matter who was president of the US—it never has.  Among those the US president has succeeded in hurting most are his European allies. His attacks on Russian energy exports to Europe, on European car manufacturers and on Europe’s trade with Iran have caused a fair amount of damage, both political and economic, without compensating for it with any perceived or actual benefits. Meanwhile, as the globalist world order, which much of Europe’s population appears ready to declare a failure, begins to unravel, the European Union is rapidly becoming ungovernable, with established political parties unable to form coalitions with ever-more-numerous populist upstarts.  It is too early to say that the EU has already failed altogether, but it already seems safe to predict that within a decade it will no longer remain as a serious international factor. Although the disastrous quality and the ruinous mistakes of Europe’s own leadership deserve a lot of the blame, some of it should rest with the erratic, destructive behavior of their transoceanic Big Brother. The EU has already morphed into a strictly regional affair, unable to project power or entertain any global geopolitical ambitions.  Same goes for Washington, which is going to either depart voluntarily (due to lack of funds) or get chased out from much of the world. The departure from Syria is inevitable whether Trump, under relentless pressure from his bipartisan warmongers, backtracks on this commitment or not. Now that Syria has been armed with Russia’s up-to-date air defense weapons the US no longer maintains air superiority there, and without air superiority the US military is unable to do anything.  Afghanistan is next; there, it seems outlandish to think that the Washingtonians will be able to achieve any sort of reasonable accommodation with the Taliban. Their departure will spell the end of Kabul as a center of corruption where foreigners steal humanitarian aid and other resources. Somewhere along the way the remaining US troops will also be pulled out of Iraq, where the parliament, angered by Trump’s impromptu visit to a US base, recently voted to expel them. And that will put paid to the entire US adventure in the Middle East since 9/11: $4,704,439,588,308 has been squandered, to be precise, or $14,444 for every man, woman and child in the US.  The biggest winners in all of this are, obviously, the people of the entire region, because they will no longer be subjected to indiscriminate US harassment and bombardment, followed by Russia, China and Iran, with Russia solidifying its position as the ultimate arbiter of international security arrangements thanks to its unmatched military capabilities and demonstrated knowhow for coercion to peace. Syria’s fate will be decided by Russia, Iran and Turkey, with the US not even invited to the talks. Afghanistan will fall into the sphere of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.  And the biggest losers will be former US regional allies, first and foremost Israel, followed by Saudi Arabia.

My question for you is this: where would you place the USA (or the Empire) on your 5 stages of decline and do you believe that the USA (or the Empire) can reverse that trend?

Here is Dmitry’s reply:

Collapse, at each stage, is a historical process that takes time to run its course as the system adapts to changing circumstances, compensates for its weaknesses and finds ways to continue functioning at some level. But what changes rather suddenly is faith or, to put it in more businesslike terms, sentiment. A large segment of the population or an entire political class within a country or the entire world can function based on a certain set of assumptions for much longer than the situation warrants but then over a very short period of time switch to a different set of assumptions. All that sustains the status quo beyond that point is institutional inertia. It imposes limits on how fast systems can change without collapsing entirely. Beyond that point, people will tolerate the older practices only until replacements for them can be found.

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.

Internationally, the major change in sentiment in the world has to do with the role of the US dollar (and, to a lesser extent, the Euro and the Yen—the other two reserve currencies of the three-legged globalist central banker stool). The world is transitioning to the use of local currencies, currency swaps and commodities markets backed by gold. The catalyst for this change of sentiment was provided by the US administration itself which sawed through its own perch by its use of unilateral sanctions. By using its control over dollar-based transactions to block international transactions it doesn’t happen to like it forced other countries to start looking for alternatives. Now a growing list of countries sees throwing off the shackles of the US dollar as a strategic goal. Russia and China use the ruble and the yuan for their expanding trade; Iran sells oil to India for rupees. Saudi Arabia has started to accept the yuan for its oil.

This change has many knock-on effects. If the dollar is no longer needed to conduct international trade, other nations no longer have hold large quantities of it in reserve. Consequently, there is no longer a need to buy up large quantities of US Treasury notes. Therefore, it becomes unnecessary to run large trade surpluses with the US, essentially conducting trade at a loss. Further, the attractiveness of the US as an export market drops and the cost of imports to the US rises, thereby driving up cost inflation. A vicious spiral ensues in which the ability of the US government to borrow internationally to finance the gaping chasm of its various deficits becomes impaired. Sovereign default of the US government and national bankruptcy then follow.

The US may still look mighty, but its dire fiscal predicament coupled with its denial of the inevitability of bankruptcy, makes it into something of a Blanche DuBois from the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She was “always dependent on the kindness of strangers” but was tragically unable to tell the difference between kindness and desire. In this case, the desire is for national advantage and security, and to minimize risk by getting rid of an unreliable trading partner.

How quickly or slowly this comes to pass is difficult to guess at and impossible to calculate. It is possible to think of the financial system in terms of a physical analogue, with masses of funds traveling at some velocity having a certain inertia (p = mv) and with forces acting on that mass to accelerate it along a different trajectory (F = ma). It is also possible to think of it in terms of hordes of stampeding animals who can change course abruptly when panicked. The recent abrupt moves in the financial markets, where trillions of dollars of notional, purely speculative value have been wiped out within weeks, are more in line with the latter model.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.

Within the US there is really no other alternative than the market. There are a few rustic enclaves, mostly religious communities, that can feed themselves, but that’s a rarity. For everyone else there is no choice but to be a consumer. Consumers who are broke are called “bums,” but they are still consumers. To the extent that the US has a culture, it is a commercial culture in which the goodness of a person is based on the goodly sums of money in their possession. Such a culture can die by becoming irrelevant (when everyone is dead broke) but by then most of the carriers of this culture are likely to be dead too. Alternatively, it can be replaced by a more humane culture that isn’t entirely based on the cult of Mammon—perhaps, dare I think, through a return to a pre-Protestant, pre-Catholic Christian ethic that values people’s souls above objects of value?

Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.

All is very murky at the moment, but I would venture to guess that most people in the US are too distracted, too stressed and too preoccupied with their own vices and obsessions to pay much attention to the political realm. Of the ones they do pay attention, a fair number of them seem clued in to the fact that the US is not a democracy at all but an elites-only sandbox in which transnational corporate and oligarchic interests build and knock down each others’ sandcastles.

The extreme political polarization, where two virtually identical pro-capitalist, pro-war parties pretend to wage battle by virtue-signaling may be a symptom of the extremely decrepit state of the entire political arrangement: people are made to watch the billowing smoke and to listen to the deafening noise in the hopes that they won’t notice that the wheels are no longer turning.

The fact that what amounts to palace intrigue—the fracas between the White House, the two houses of Congress and a ghoulish grand inquisitor named Mueller—has taken center stage is uncannily reminiscent of various earlier political collapses, such as the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire or of the fall and the consequent beheading of Louis XVI. The fact that Trump, like the Ottoman worthies, stocks his harem with East European women, lends an eerie touch. That said, most people in the US seem blind to the nature of their overlords in a way that the French, with their Jillettes Jaunes movement (just as an example) are definitely not.

Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.

I have been saying for some years now that within the US social collapse has largely run its course, although whether people actually believe that is an entire matter entirely. Defining “your people” is rather difficult. The symbols are still there—the flag, the Statue of Liberty and a predilection for iced drinks and heaping plates of greasy fried foods—but the melting pot seems to have suffered a meltdown and melted all the way to China. At present half the households within the US speak a language other than English at home, and a fair share of the rest speak dialects of English that are not mutually intelligible with the standard North American English dialect of broadcast television and university lecturers.

Throughout its history as a British colony and as a nation the US has been dominated by the Anglo ethnos. The designation “ethnos” is not an ethnic label. It is not strictly based on genealogy, language, culture, habitat, form of government or any other single factor or group of factors. These may all be important to one extent or another, but the viability of an ethnos is based solely on its cohesion and the mutual inclusivity and common purpose of its members. The Anglo ethnos reached its zenith in the wake of World War II, during which many social groups were intermixed in the military and their more intelligent members.

Fantastic potential was unleashed when privilege—the curse of the Anglo ethnos since its inception—was temporarily replaced with merit and the more talented demobilized men, of whatever extraction, were given a chance at education and social advancement by the GI Bill. Speaking a new sort of American English based on the Ohio dialect as a Lingua Franca, these Yanks—male, racist, sexist and chauvinistic and, at least in their own minds, victorious—were ready to remake the entire world in their own image.

They proceeded to flood the entire world with oil (US oil production was in full flush then) and with machines that burned it. Such passionate acts of ethnogenesis are rare but not unusual: the Romans who conquered the entire Mediterranean basin, the barbarians who then sacked Rome, the Mongols who later conquered most of Eurasia and the Germans who for a very brief moment possessed an outsized Lebensraum are other examples.

And now it is time to ask: what remains of this proud conquering Anglo ethnos today? We hear shrill feminist cries about “toxic masculinity” and minorities of every stripe railing against “whitesplaining” and in response we hear a few whimpers but mostly silence. Those proud, conquering, virile Yanks who met and fraternized with the Red Army at the River Elbe on April 25, 1945—where are they? Haven’t they devolved into a sad little subethnos of effeminate, porn-addicted overgrown boys who shave their pubic hair and need written permission to have sex without fear of being charged with rape?

Will the Anglo ethnos persist as a relict, similar to how the English have managed to hold onto their royals (who are technically no longer even aristocrats since they now practice exogamy with commoners)? Or will it get wiped out in a wave of depression, mental illness and opiate abuse, its glorious history of rapine, plunder and genocide erased and the statues of its war heros/criminals knocked down? Only time will tell.

Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

The term “culture” means many things to many people, but it is more productive to observe cultures than to argue about them. Cultures are expressed through people’s stereotypical behaviors that are readily observable in public. These are not the negative stereotypes often used to identify and reject outsiders but the positive stereotypes—cultural standards of behavior, really—that serve as requirements for social adequacy and inclusion. We can readily assess the viability of a culture by observing the stereotypical behaviors of its members.

  • Do people exist as a single continuous, inclusive sovereign realm or as a set of exclusive, potentially warring enclaves segregated by income, ethnicity, education level, political affiliation and so on? Do you see a lot of walls, gates, checkpoints, security cameras and “no trespassing” signs? Is the law of the land enforced uniformly or are there good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods and no-go zones where even the police fear to tread?

  • Do random people thrown together in public spontaneously enter into conversation with each other and are comfortable with being crowded together, or are they aloof and fearful, and prefer to hide their face in the little glowing rectangle of their smartphone, jealously guarding their personal space and ready to regard any encroachment on it as an assault?

  • Do people remain good-natured and tolerant toward each other even when hard-pressed or do they hide behind a façade of tense, superficial politeness and fly into a rage at the slightest provocation? Is conversation soft in tone, gracious and respectful or is it loud, shrill, rude and polluted with foul language? Do people dress well out of respect for each other, or to show off, or are they all just déclassé slobs—even the ones with money?

  • Observe how their children behave: are they fearful of strangers and trapped in a tiny world of their own or are they open to the world and ready to treat any stranger as a surrogate brother or sister, aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather without requiring any special introduction? Do the adults studiously ignore each others’ children or do they spontaneously act as a single family?

  • If there is a wreck on the road, do they spontaneously rush to each others’ rescue and pull people out before the wreck explodes, or do they, in the immortal words of Frank Zappa, “get on the phone and call up some flakes” who “rush on over and wreck it some more”?

  • If there is a flood or a fire, do the neighbors take in the people who are rendered homeless, or do they allow them to wait for the authorities to show up and bus them to some makeshift government shelter?

It is possible to quote statistics or to provide anecdotal evidence to assess the state and the viability of a culture, but your own eyes and other senses can provide all the evidence you need to make that determination for yourself and to decide how much faith to put in “the goodness of humanity” that is evident in the people around you.

Dmity concluded his reply by summarizing his view like this:

Cultural and social collapse are very far along. Financial collapse is waiting for a trigger. Commercial collapse will happen in stages some of which—food deserts, for instance—have already happened in many places. Political collapse will only become visible once the political class gives up. It’s not as simple as saying which stage we are at. They are all happening in parallel, to one extent or another.

My own (totally subjective) opinion is that the USA has already reached stages 1 through 4, and that there are signs that stage 5 has begun; mainly in big cities as US small towns and rural areas (Trump’s power base, by the way) are still struggling to maintain the norms and behaviors one could observe in the USA of the 1980s.  When I have visitors from Europe they always comment how friendly and welcoming US Americans are (true, I live in small-town in East-Central Florida, not in Miami…).  These are the communities which voted for Trump because they said “we want our country back”.  Alas, instead of giving them their country back, Trump gifted it to the Neocons…

Conclusion: connecting the dots; or not

Frankly, the dots are all over the place; it is really hard to miss them.  However, for the doubleplusgoodthinkingideological drone” they remain largely invisible, and this is not due to any eyesight problem, but due to that drone’s total inability to connect the dots.  These are the kind of folks who danced on the deck of the Titanic while it was sinking.  For them, when the inevitable catastrophe comes, it will be a total, mind-blowing, surprise.  But, until that moment, they will keep on denying the obvious, no matter how obvious that obvious has become.

In the meantime, the US ruling elites are locked into an ugly internal struggle which only further weakens the USA.  What is so telling is that the Democrats are still stuck with their same clueless, incompetent and infinitely arrogant leadership, in spite of the fact that everybody knows that the Democratic Party is in deep crisis and that new faces are desperately needed.  But no, they are still completely stuck in their old ways and the same gang of gerontocrats continues to rule the party apparatus.

That is another surefire sign of degeneracy: when a regime can only produce incompetent, often old, leaders who are completely out of touch with reality and who blame their own failures on internal (“deplorables”) and external (“the Russians”) factors.  Again, think of the Soviet Union under Brezhnev, the Apartheid regime in South Africa under F. W. de Klerk, or the Kerensky regime in 1917 Russia.  It is quite telling that the political leader whom the AngloZionists try to scare the most simply thinks of them as “first-rate idiots“, it is not?

As for the Republicans, they are basically a subsidiary of the Israeli Likud Party. Just take a look at the long list of losers the Likud produced at home, and you will get a sense of what they can do in its US colony.

Eventually the USA will rebound; I have no doubts about that at all.  This is a big country with millions of immensely talented people, immense natural resources and no credible threat to it’s territory.  But that can only happen after a real *regime* change (as opposed to a change in Presidential Administration) which, itself, is only going to happen after an “E2 catastrophe” collapse.

Until then, we will all be waiting for Godot.

This article was originally published by "Saker " -

  Read Placing the USA on a collapse continuum withDmitry Orlov
  January 8, 2019
Bases, Bases, Everywhere… Except in the Pentagon’s Report
by Nick Turse, in Imperialism, Countercurrents.

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books — except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S. troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, there could be hundreds of similar off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War II,” says Vine, who is also a founding member of the recently established Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a group of military analysts from across the ideological spectrum who advocate shrinking the U.S. military’s global “footprint.”

Such off-the-books bases are off the books for a reason. The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about them. “I spoke to the press officer who is responsible for the Base Structure Report and she has nothing to add and no one available to discuss further at this time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza told TomDispatch when asked about the Defense Department’s many mystery bases.

“Undocumented bases are immune to oversight by the public and often even Congress,” Vine explains. “Bases are a physical manifestation of U.S. foreign and military policy, so off-the-books bases mean the military and executive branch are deciding such policy without public debate, frequently spending hundreds of millions or billions of dollars and potentially getting the U.S. involved in wars and conflicts about which most of the country knows nothing.”

Where Are They?

The Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition notes that the United States possesses up to 95% of the world’s foreign military bases, while countries like France, Russia, and the United Kingdom have perhaps 10-20 foreign outposts each. China has just one.

The Department of Defense even boasts that its “locations” include 164 countries. Put another way, it has a military presence of some sort in approximately 84% of the nations on this planet — or at least the DoD briefly claimed this. After TomDispatch inquired about the number on a new webpage designed to tell the Pentagon’s “story” to the general public, it was quickly changed. “We appreciate your diligence in getting to the bottom of this,” said Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Thanks to your observations, we have updated defense.gov to say ‘more than 160.’”

The progressive changes made to the Defense Department’s “Our Story” webpage as a result of questions from TomDispatch.

What the Pentagon still doesn’t say is how it defines a “location.” The number 164 does roughly track with the Department of Defense’s current manpower statistics, which show personnel deployments of varying sizes in 166 “overseas” locales — including some nations with token numbers of U.S. military personnel and others, like Iraq and Syria, where the size of the force was obviously far larger, even if unlisted at the time of the assessment. (The Pentagon recently claimed that there were 5,200 troops in Iraq and at least 2,000 troops in Syria although that number should now markedly shrink.) The Defense Department’s “overseas” tally, however, also lists troops in U.S. territories like American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island. Dozens of soldiers, according to the Pentagon, are also deployed to the country of “Akrotiri” (which is actually a village on the island of Santorini in Greece) and thousands more are based in “unknown” locations.

In the latest report, the number of those “unknown” troops exceeds 44,000.

Official Defense Department manpower statistics show U.S. forces deployed to the nation of “Akrotiri.”

The annual cost of deploying U.S. military personnel overseas, as well as maintaining and running those foreign bases, tops out at an estimated $150 billion annually, according to the Overseas Bases Realignment and Closure Coalition. The price tag for the outposts alone adds up to about one-third of that total. “U.S. bases abroad cost upwards of $50 billion per year to build and maintain, which is money that could be used to address pressing needs at home in education, health care, housing, and infrastructure,” Vine points out.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that the Pentagon is also somewhat fuzzy about just where its troops are stationed. The new Defense Department website, for instance, offered a count of “4,800+ defense sites” around the world. After TomDispatch inquired about this total and how it related to the official count of 4,775 sites listed in the BSR, the website was changed to read “approximately 4,800 Defense Sites.”

“Thank you for pointing out the discrepancy. As we transition to the new site, we are working on updating information,” wrote Lieutenant Colonel Baldanza. “Please refer to the Base Structure Report which has the latest numbers.”

In the most literal sense, the Base Structure Report does indeed have the latest numbers — but their accuracy is another matter. “The number of bases listed in the BSR has long born little relation to the actual number of U.S. bases outside the United States,” says Vine. “Many, many well-known and secretive bases have long been left off the list.”

One prime example is the constellation of outposts that the U.S. has built across Africa. The official BSR inventory lists only a handful of sites there — on Ascension Island as well as in Djibouti, Egypt, and Kenya. In reality, though, there are many more outposts in many more African countries.

recent investigation by the Intercept, based on documents obtained from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) via the Freedom of Information Act, revealed a network of 34 bases heavily clustered in the north and west of that continent as well as in the Horn of Africa. AFRICOM’s “strategic posture” consists of larger “enduring” outposts, including two forward operating sites (FOSes), 12 cooperative security locations (CSLs), and 20 more austere sites known as contingency locations (CLs).

The Pentagon’s official inventory does include the two FOSes: Ascension Island and the crown jewel of Washington’s African bases, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, which expanded from 88 acres in the early 2000s to nearly 600 acres today. The Base Structure Report is, however, missing a CSL in that same country, Chabelley Airfield, a lower-profile outpost located about 10 kilometers away that has served as a drone hub for operations in Africa and the Middle East.

The official Pentagon tally also mentions a site that goes by the confusing moniker of “NSA Bahrain-Kenya.” AFRICOM had previously described it as a collection of warehouses built in the 1980s at the airport and seaport of Mombasa, Kenya, but it now appears on that command’s 2018 list as a CSL. Missing, however, is another Kenyan base, Camp Simba, mentioned in a 2013 internal Pentagon study of secret drone operations in Somalia and Yemen. At least two manned surveillance aircraft were based there at the time. Simba, a longtime Navy-run facility, is currently operated by the Air Force’s 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, part of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Personnel from that same air wing can be found at yet another outpost that doesn’t appear in the Base Structure Report, this one on the opposite side of the continent. The BSR states that it doesn’t list specific information on “non-U.S. locations” not at least 10 acres in size or worth at least $10 million. However, the base in question — Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger — already has a $100 million construction price tag, a sum soon to be eclipsed by the cost of operating the facility: about $30 million a year. By 2024, when the present 10-year agreement for use of the base ends, its construction and operating costs will have reached about $280 million.

Also missing from the BSR are outposts in nearby Cameroon, including a longtime base in Douala, a drone airfield in the remote town of Garoua, and a facility known as Salak. That site, according to a 2017 investigation by theIntercept, the research firm Forensic Architecture, and Amnesty International, has been used by U.S. personnel and private contractors for drone surveillance and training missions and by allied Cameroonian forces for illegal imprisonment and torture.

According to Vine, keeping America’s African bases secret is advantageous to Washington. It protects allies on that continent from possible domestic opposition to the presence of American troops, he points out, while helping to ensure that there will be no domestic debate in the U.S. over such spending and the military commitments involved. “It’s important for U.S. citizens to know where their troops are based in Africa and elsewhere around the world,” he told TomDispatch, “because that troop presence costs the U.S. billions of dollars every year and because the U.S. is involved, or potentially involved, in wars and conflicts that could spiral out of control.”

Those Missing Bases

Africa is hardly the only place where the Pentagon’s official list doesn’t match up well with reality. For close to two decades, the Base Structure Report has ignored bases of all sorts in America’s active war zones. At the height of the American occupation of Iraq, for instance, the United States had 505 bases there, ranging from small outposts to mega-sized facilities. None appeared on the Pentagon’s official rolls.

In Afghanistan, the numbers were even higher. As TomDispatch reported in 2012, the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had about 550 bases in that country. If you had added ISAF checkpoints — small baselets used to secure roads and villages — to the count of mega-bases, forward operating bases, combat outposts, and patrol bases, the number reached an astounding 750. And counting all foreign military installations of every type — including logistical, administrative, and support facilities — hiked ISAF Joint Command’s official count to 1,500 sites. America’s significant share of them was, however, also mysteriously absent from the Defense Department’s official tally.

There are now far fewer such facilities in Afghanistan — and the numbers may drop further in the months ahead as troop levels decrease. But the existence of Camp Morehead, Forward Operating Base Fenty, Tarin Kowt AirfieldCamp Dahlke West, and Bost Airfield, as well as Camp Shorab, a small installation occupying what was once the site of much larger twin bases known as Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, is indisputable. Yet none of them has ever appeared in the Base Structure Report.

Similarly, while there are no longer 500-plus U.S. bases in Iraq, in recent years, as American troops returned to that country, some garrisons have either been reconstituted or built from scratch. These include the Besmaya Range ComplexFirebase SakheemFirebase Um Jorais, and Al Asad Air Base, as well as Qayyarah Airfield West — a base 40 miles south of Mosul that’s better known as “Q-West.” Again, you won’t find any of them listed in the Pentagon’s official count.

These days, it’s even difficult to obtain accurate manpower numbers for the military personnel in America’s war zones, let alone the number of bases in each of them. As Vine explains, “The military keeps the figures secret to some extent to hide the base presence from its adversaries. Because it is probably not hard to spot these bases in places like Syria and Iraq, however, the secrecy is mostly to prevent domestic debate about the money, danger, and death involved, as well as to avoid diplomatic tensions and international inquiries.”

If stifling domestic debate through information control is the Pentagon’s aim, it’s been doing a fine job for years of deflecting questions about its global posture, or what the late TomDispatch regular Chalmers Johnson called America’s “empire of bases.”

In mid-October, TomDispatch asked Heather Babb, another Pentagon spokesperson, for details about the outposts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria that were absent from the Base Structure Report, as well as about those missing African bases. Among the other questions put to Babb: Could the Pentagon offer a simple count — if not a list — of all its outposts? Did it have a true count of overseas facilities, even if it hadn’t been released to the public — a list, that is, which actually did what the Base Structure Report only purports to do? October and November passed without answers.

In December, in response to follow-up requests for information, Babb responded in a fashion firmly in line with the Pentagon’s well-worn policy of keeping American taxpayers in the dark about the bases they pay for — no matter the theoretical difficulty of denying the existence of outposts that stretch from Agadez in Niger to Mosul in Iraq. “I have nothing to add,” she explained, “to the information and criteria that is included in the report.”

President Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria means that the 2019 Base Structure Report will likely be the most accurate in years. For the first time since 2015, the Pentagon’s inventory of outposts will no longer be missing the al-Tanf garrison (or then again, maybe it will). But that still potentially leaves hundreds of off-the-books bases absent from the official rolls. Consider it one outpost down and who knows how many to go.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His latest book is Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. His website is NickTurse.com.

Copyright 2019 Nick Turse

  Read Bases, Bases, Everywhere…  Except in the Pentagon’s Report
  January 9, 2019
An American Senator Writes of ISIS “Hellish Filth We’ve Recruited, Armed and Trained for 8 Years!”
by Jay Janson, in Imperialism, Countercurrents.

“The Syrian War had … much to do with clandestine actions of CIA, MI-6, Mossad, Turkish MIT, French DGSE, Saudi GID and others. “would never have occurred without American planning and execution.” (and CBS NBC ABC CNN FOX PBS fake news)

“The Syrian War had … much to do with clandestine actions of CIA, MI-6, Mossad, Turkish MIT, French DGSE, Saudi GID and others.”

“This disastrous war would never have occurred without American planning and execution. And it would have ended years and hundreds of thousands of casualties ago had we closed our training and logistics bases in Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

“Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Seymour Hersh, wrote that a Defense Intelligence Agency review of Syrian policy in 2013 revealed that clandestine CIA Program Timber Sycamore, had … armed all terrorists indiscriminately, specifically including ISIS and al Qaeda.”

“There is strong evidence that the U.S. planned to overthrow Syria in 2001; the U.S. Embassy in Damascus issued a detailed strategy to destabilize Syria in 2006–long before the so-called “Arab Spring;” and that our focus has consistently been on toppling the duly elected, constitutional and UN-recognized government of Syria.”

“It’s sickening to hear these clowns repeatedly claim that “Assad murdered 500,000 of his people,” as though the U.S.-backed terrorists have played no role in the killings.”

I’ve viewed hundreds of beheadings and crucifixions online …all were proudly posted by the hellish filth that we’ve recruited, armed and trained for the past eight years. Major war crimes, like beheading 250 Syrian soldiers… During a five-hour drive across liberated Syria this September, I spoke with many people, from desert shepherds, to nuns and Muslim religious. There were palpable expressions of joy that the Syrian armed forces had liberated them from the terrorists. That was coupled with broad-based, unequivocal support for President Bashar al Assad and the Syrian Armed Forces.”

The above sentences are excerpted from the writing of Senator Dick Black, Virginia State Senate, 13th District originally published by consortiumnews.com, 1/3/2019 and republished

by Information Clearing House 1/4/2-19

Has Trump Been Outmaneuvered on Syria Troop Withdrawal?

CBS NBC ABC CNN FOX PBS as accomplices have not reported the truth of this American produced genocide in Syria

Post Script:

“sick and twisted violent people that we’ve been for hundreds of years, it’s something that’s just in our craw, just in our DNA. Americans kill people, because that’s what we do. We invade countries. We send drones in to kill civilians.” Michael Moore.

Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and in the US by Dissident Voice, Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Minority Perspective, UK and others; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign, and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign, which Dissident Voice supports with link at the end of each issue of its newsletter.

  Read  An American Senator Writes of ISIS “Hellish Filth We’ve Recruited, Armed and Trained for 8 Years!”
  January 10, 2019
2019: World Economy Is Reaching Growth Limits; Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence
by Gail Tverberg, in Resource Crisis, Countercurrents.

When I say that the world economy is reaching “peak industrial output per capita” and “peak food per capita,” this represents the opposite of a rapidly growing economy. In fact, if the world is reaching Limits to Growth, the situation is even worse than all of the labeled valleys on Figure 6. In such a case, energy consumption growth is likely to shrink so low that even the blue area (population growth) turns negative.

In such a situation, the big problem is “not enough to go around.” While cost increases due to diminishing returns could easily be passed along when growth in industrial and food output per capita were rapidly rising (the Figure 5 situation), this ability seems to disappear when the economy is near limits. Part of the problem is that the lower growth in per capita energy affects the kinds of job that are available. With low energy consumption growth, many of the jobs that are available are service jobs that do not pay well. Wage disparity becomes an increasing problem.

When wage disparity grows, the share of low wage workers rises. If businesses try to pass along their higher costs of production, they encounter market resistance because lower wage workers cannot afford the finished goods made with high cost energy products. For example, auto and iPhone sales in China decline. The lack of Chinese demand tends to lead to a drop in demand for the many commodities used in manufacturing these goods, including both energy products and metals. Because there is very little storage capacity for commodities, a small decline in demand tends to lead to quite a large decline in prices. Even a small decline in China’s demand for energy products can lead to a big decline in oil prices.

Strange as it may seem, the economy ends up with low oil prices, rather than high oil prices, being the problem. Other commodity prices tend to be low as well.

What Is Ahead, If We Are Reaching Economic Growth Limits?

  1. Figure 1 at the top of this post seems to give an indication of what is ahead after 2019, but this forecast cannot be relied on. A major issue is that the limited model used at that time did not include the financial system or debt. Even if the model seems to provide a reasonably accurate estimate of when limits will hit, it won’t necessarily give a correct view of what the impact of limits will be on the rest of the economy, after limits hit. The authors, in fact, have said that the model should not be expected to provide reliable indications regarding how the economy will behave after limits have started to have an impact on economic output.

  2. As indicated in the title of this post, considerable financial volatility can be expected in 2019 if the economy is trying to slow itself. Stock prices will be erratic; interest rates will be erratic; currency relativities will tend to bounce around. The likelihood that derivatives will cause major problems for banks will rise because derivatives tend to assume more stability in values than now seems to be the case. Increasing problems with derivatives raises the risk of bank failure.

3. The world economy doesn’t necessarily fail all at once. Instead, pieces that are, in some sense, “less efficient” users of energy may shrink back. During the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the countries that seemed to be most affected were countries such as Greece, Spain, and Italy that depend on oil for a disproportionately large share of their total energy consumption. China and India, with energy mixes dominated by coal, were much less affected.

Figure 7. Oil consumption as a percentage of total energy consumption, based on 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy data.

Figure 8. Energy consumption per capita for selected areas, based on energy consumption data from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy and United Nations 2017 Population Estimates by Country.

In the 2002-2008 period, oil prices were rising faster than prices of other fossil fuels. This tended to make countries using a high share of oil in their energy mix less competitive in the world market. The low labor costs of China and India gave these countries another advantage. By the end of 2007, China’s energy consumption per capita had risen to a point where it almost matched the (now lower) energy consumption of the European countries shown. China, with its low energy costs, seems to have “eaten the lunch” of some of its European competitors.

In 2019 and the years that follow, some countries may fare at least somewhat better than others. The United States, for now, seems to be faring better than many other parts of the world.

  1. While we have been depending upon China to be a leader in economic growth, China’s growth is already faltering and may turn to contraction in the near future. One reason is an energy problem: China’s coal production has fallen because many of its coal mines have been closed due to lack of profitability. As a result, China’s need for imported energy (difference between black line and top of energy production stack) has been growing rapidly. China is now the largest importer of oil, coal, and natural gas in the world. It is very vulnerable to tariffs and to lack of available supplies for import.

Figure 9. China energy production by fuel plus its total energy consumption, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 data.

A second issue is that demographics are working against China; its working-age population already seems to be shrinking. A third reason why China is vulnerable to economic difficulties is because of its growing debt level. Debt becomes difficult to repay with interest if the economy slows.

  1. Oil exporters such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria have become vulnerable to government overthrow or collapse because of low world oil prices since 2014. If the central government of one or more of these exporters disappears, it is possible that the pieces of the country will struggle along, producing a lower amount of oil, as Libya has done in recent years. It is also possible that another larger country will attempt to take over the failing production of the country and secure the output for itself.

  2. Epidemics become increasingly likely, especially in countries with serious financial problems, such as Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela. Historically, much of the decrease in population in countries with collapsing economies has come from epidemics. Of course, epidemics can spread across national boundaries, exporting the problems elsewhere.

  3. Resource wars become increasingly likely. These can be local wars, perhaps over the availability of water. They can also be large, international wars. The timing of World War I and World War II make it seem likely that these wars were both resource wars.

Figure 10.

  1. Collapsing intergovernmental agencies, such as the European Union, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund, seem likely. The United Kingdom’s planned exit from the European Union in 2019 is a step toward dissolving the European Union.

  2. Privately funded pension funds will increasingly be subject to default because of continued low interest rates. Some governments may choose to cut back the amounts they provide to pensioners because governments cannot collect adequate tax revenue for this purpose. Some countries may purposely shut down parts of their governments, in an attempt to hold down government spending.

  3. A far worse and more permanent recession than that of the Great Recession seems likely because of the difficulty in repaying debt with interest in a shrinking economy. It is not clear when such a recession will start. It could start later in 2019, or perhaps it may wait until 2020. As with the Great Recession, some countries will be affected more than others. Eventually, because of the interconnected nature of financial systems, all countries are likely to be drawn in.


It is not entirely clear exactly what is ahead if we are reaching Limits to Growth. Perhaps that is for the best. If we cannot do anything about it, worrying about the many details of what is ahead is not the best for anyone’s mental health. While it is possible that this is an end point for the human race, this is not certain, by any means. There have been many amazing coincidences over the past 4 billion years that have allowed life to continue to evolve on this planet. More of these coincidences may be ahead. We also know that humans lived through past ice ages. They likely can live through other kinds of adversity, including worldwide economic collapse.

Gail E. Tverberg graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1968 with a B.S. in Mathematics. She received a M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, Chicago in 1970. Ms. Tverberg is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Ms. Tverberg began writing articles on finite world issues in early 2006. Since March 1, 2007, Ms. Tverberg has been working for Tverberg Actuarial Services on finite world issues. Her blog is http://ourfiniteworld.com

  Read 2019: World Economy Is Reaching Growth Limits; Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence
  January 11, 2019
Furtherance: A Response to Gail Tverberg’s “World Economy is Reaching Growth Limits: Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence”
by Mary Metzger, in Resource Crisis, Countercurrents.

I am always delighted to read another piece by Gail Tverberg.  Her articles  are consistently highly informative, and the information she presents to us is without exception well documented,  clear, and concise.

Her work flows from and is the extension of that of Donella and Dennis Meadows as expounded in their book The Limits of Growth, which can be downloaded from the internet:(https://www.clubofrome.org/report/the-limits-to-growth/).  The position of the Meadows is that the earth, its resources and its inhabitants, cannot sustain current rates of economic and population growth much beyond 2019-2020 and certainly not beyond 2100.   At that point in time population growth, industrial output, agricultural production, and the depletion of nonrenewable resources, as well as pollution in general, would push the world to a breaking point at which it would of necessity undergo a phase transition.  The solution to these problems would be to impose limits on human production and reproduction.  And so, it is that Tverberg in her latest piece, is arguing that we have indeed reached this point, and that both as a reflection and consequence of having done so, we can expect low oil prices and financial turbulence.  Another way of putting it is that humanity is undergoing a “phase transition.”

My response to Tverberg’s article has nothing at all to do with the subject of the theory of the limits to growth.   Rather, there is one particular sentence in her piece that is my absolute point of focus: “The economy is a self-organizing structure that operates under the laws of physics.”  Because I feel that this quite brilliant insight is not adequately explored or developed by her, I would like to spend some time doing so.  Of course, in daring to do so there is always the possibility that her understanding of the correspondence between the laws of economics and the laws of physics and mine are vastly different.  If this is in fact the case, my defense is that I did in the past try to contact her to discuss this issue and she did not respond.  I also invited her to respond to my article “The Creation Code” (https://countercurrents.org/…/the-creationcode-towards-an-understanding-of -dialectic/).   She has not yet responded.  I say this because if I am indeed wrong in my interpretation of her statement, then I must be forgiven.

The thesis of “The Creation Code” is that there is so to speak, a “creation code” underlying all reality that is revealed to us at one level, by simple observation, and at another more rational and scientific level, by research and inquiry.  Philosophy, particularly the philosophy of dialectical analysis, no less than non-mechanistic physics, and I might add, economics no less than  history or any other academic subject, eventually arrives at the same realization of the same laws that underlie reality.

While at the deeper and more detailed level these laws are quite complex, at the larger and more universal level they are seen to be quite simple.  It is difficult to point to a “first” law, because each law is connected to another, but basically the two primary “laws” of creation are that everything is “internally related.”  Not just interrelated, which would mean that separate things react and respond to one another, but rather internally related so that each apparently “separate” thing is defined and determined by its others and differences.  Thus, there is an inherent unity of existence that is the manifestation of the  singularity from which the universe or universes emerged. From this context, things are not “separate things” but are better conceived as bundles of relations.

Yet each “bundle” is a different “bundle” and it is this very fact that produces change.  A change in any one thing produces, at different speeds, a change in other things to which it is related, and, insofar as everything is internally related in time and space, a change in the totality.  There are various laws governing the nature of this change, however, the one I want to focus on at this point and in relation to the theory of the “limits of growth” explored by Tverberg in her piece, is known as the “law of the transformation of quantity into quality.”   The reverse is also true.  A change in quality, as of the air we breathe, has repercussions on the quantity of life for example.

This law is at the core of the “limits to growth theorists”.   They argue that sometimes gradual and sometimes more rapid increases in things such as population food supply, pollution, and production will result in a change in the quality of life to the degree to which human life, and the existence of other living things may no longer be tenable.  At that point in time, and in keeping with the dialectical laws of change, as well as the laws of physics, a phase transition will occur.  This phase transition is best understood as what occurs when we take ice and put it in pot over a high flame.  As Michio Kaku explains it “If we heat the cube on the stove, first it melts and turns into water; that is, it undergoes a phase transition…”  If we heat the water until it boils, it undergoes another phase transition into steam.  If we continue to heat the steam “to enormous temperatures” the water molecules break up.  The “energy of the molecules exceeds the water molecules break up.  The energy of the molecules exceeds the binding energy of the molecules, which are ripped apart into elemental hydrogen and oxygen gas.”  It eventually continues to undergo phase transitions becoming plasma,  then a gas of individual neutrons and protons, then quarks and leptons.  At the most extreme temperature  imaginable “a rip may occur in the dimension of time space.” http://home.igc.org/~venceremos/water.htm.  In this process it seems that inducing phase transitions by raising the temperature of water results in a breakdown/separation of water into its most basic components as well as a simultaneous movement backward in time in which the basic structures of the universe, such as time space, cease to exist and the laws of physics no longer apply.

Thus, Tverberg’s observation that the laws of physics apply in the economic realm are perfectly valid and this because they are not the laws of physics or of economics, but the laws of creation that encompasses all dimensions and elements of creation.  The laws of the universe are universal.

Mary Metzger is a 72 year old retired teacher who has lived in Moscow for the past ten years. She studied Women’s Studies under Barbara Eherenreich and Deidre English at S.U.N.Y. Old Westerbury. She did her graduate work at New York University under Bertell Ollman where she studied Marx, Hegel and the Dialectic. She went on to teach at Kean University, Rutgers University, N.Y.U., and most recenly, at The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology where she taught the Philosophy of Science. Her particular area of interest is the dialectic of nature, and she is currently working on a history of the dialectic. She is the mother of three, the gradmother of five, and the great grandmother of 2.

  Read Furtherance: A Response to Gail Tverberg’s  “World Economy is Reaching Growth Limits: Expect Low Oil Prices, Financial Turbulence”
  January 17, 2019
Education, jobs and capitalism
by Gerald Coles, in World, Countercurrents.

American capitalism has a hate-love relationship with the nation’s schools. On the “hate” side is a stream of complaints from business leaders and organizations about the many students, particularly in city schools, who fail achievement tests, are high school dropouts or, if they complete high school, do not have the academic qualifications for college and advanced-skills education. Given these educational failings, they ask, how will the nation’s economic system obtain the workforce needed for the 21st century economy?

On the surface, this corporate complaining seems to have merit. However, if we pose the question “how well are the nation’s schools serving US capitalism?” there is every reason to conclude that business leaders and organizations, despite their complaints, actually very much love the schools. That’s because, overall, the nation’s schools do a first-rate job educating and providing the array of workers capitalism needs. As importantly, the varied academic achievement outcomes provide capitalism’s leaders a major explanation for why vast numbers of Americans either work for wages insufficient to meet individual and family basic needs, have job insecurity, cannot obtain secure work, can only patch together several part-time jobs, have jobs for which they are educationally overqualified, and why so many workers lead financially precarious lives. Who’s to blame? Why, the schools, of course!

Fundamental to the corporate criticism of the schools for failing both businesses and vast numbers of Americans is the view that in the 21st century global economy, the nature of work is dramatically changing. That is, an increasing number of high-skilled jobs now demand more education, which schools have the task of providing. An example of corporate blame-casting is a report, sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Defense Industry Association, and the US Chamber of Commerce, expressing worry that the US would not “sustain [its] economic leadership of the world because the nation’s schools were not providing the highly skilled workers” businesses need to win in the global economic combat.

For businesses’ political surrogates, this perspective has been bipartisan. President Barack Obama maintained: “The source of America’s prosperity has never been merely how ably we accumulate wealth, but how well we educate our people. This has never been more true than it is today . . . education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity and success, it’s a prerequisite for success.” This prerequisite was the aim of his Common Core State Standards, legislation devised “to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be globally competitive.”

Despite Donald Trump’s antipathy for all-things-Obama, he echoed his predecessor by expressing support for an educational “agenda . . . that better prepares students to compete in a global economy.” Equipping “America’s young people with the relevant knowledge and skills that will enable them . . . to compete and excel in lucrative and important [high tech] fields.”  Echoing her father’s vision, Ivanka Trump, “senior advisor” to the President, proposed closing the “growing gap between workforce and business needs and workers’ skills” by beginning to teach tech in Kindergarten, thereby putting “our citizens on a pathway to a job.”

Strong support for this vision of “education for the 21st century economy” has come from national teacher organizations. For example, arguing that new business imperatives underscore the need to fully fund schools, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, asserted that “today’s public school teachers are on the front lines of our collective efforts to compete in the global economy.” Providing scholarly evidence for this view has been the work of many leading educational scholars, such as Linda Darling-Hammond, who advocated for schools in which all students, especially those living in poverty, have “access to an equitable, empowering education” that will enable them to “thrive in a technological, knowledge-based economy.”

High-Tech Jobs and the US Economy

To appraise these purported business and employment imperatives, let’s look first at the US economy’s current proportion of high-tech jobs (commonly called STEM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics – jobs). The Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that “depending on the definition, the size of the STEM workforce can range from 5 percent to 20 percent of all US workers.” Looking at the issue historically, we find that in 1850, around the start of the Industrial Revolution, top-skilled jobs made up about 10 percent of all work. Consequently, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ generous calculation, we can conclude that the proportion of STEM jobs has doubled, but it has taken over 160 years to do so, and that these jobs still represent only a significant minority of overall jobs – particularly if the 20 percent estimate is high.

With respect to the workforce the schools educate for these high-level jobs, a study by the Economic Policy Institute concluded that the “United States has more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM occupations,” thanks to increased student enrollment following forecasts of employment opportunities in these jobs: “For every two students that US colleges graduate with STEM degrees, only one is hired into a STEM job.” In computer and information science and in engineering, “US colleges graduate 50 percent more students than are hired into those fields each year.” The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a “global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy,” concluded that the “skill gap crisis” was “overblown”. Putting the “crisis” in broad employment terms, BCG added, “Trying to hire high-skilled workers at rock-bottom rates is not a skills gap.”

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately two-thirds of today’s occupations do not require post-secondary education; although those jobs will decline in the years ahead, by 2022 they will still comprise more than half of all new jobs that are expected to be created. Furthermore, of the thirty occupations with the largest projected employment increase by 2022, two-thirds will typically not require post-secondary education. These include such jobs as personal health care aides, home health care aides, retail salespersons, food preparation and service workers (including fast-food workers), janitors and cleaners, medical secretaries, insulation workers, and construction assistants.

Another illuminating perspective is to compare STEM jobs in the 1950s with the present. In the 1950s, STEM jobs were about 15 percent of the total, a proportion that continued into the 1960s. Yet despite this relatively modest percentage, those years were a time when good-paying jobs expanded across the economy, and when the long-hailed US “middle class” – defined as those having a good wage, a house, vacation time, some savings, a retirement pension – was built. It was also a period when profits accumulated as well. When Trump demands we “make America great again,” that is the time to which he looks back.

However, given the relatively modest percentages of STEM jobs that persisted over decades and up to the present, why is it that now there is the corporate insistence that if American workers are to survive in the new economy, they must acquire advanced skills (STEM) education? In other words, between the height of the American Dream years – the 1950s and 1960s – and today, the percentage difference in STEM jobs has been about 5 percent, and perhaps less. Is it really possible that with 5 percent fewer STEM jobs, the age of the American Dream was built?  Or, looking at the other side of the equation, how can we explain that the middle class was built with 85 percent non-STEM jobs, yet presently the middle-class is collapsing with about 80 percent non-STEM jobs?

One major answer lies in the difference in organized labor then and now, and in the forbidden phrase: labor’s “class struggle.” Consider manufacturing jobs. Although there are not as many manufacturing jobs now as then – currently, there are slightly more than 12 million such jobs in the United States, compared with about 15-16 million in the 1950s – manufacturing today should demonstrate an area of employment through which, as before, the American Dream could be reached. In other words, shouldn’t the mantra be, “If you get a STEM education or a manufacturing job, life can be good (or, at least somewhat economically secure)?” The answer, unfortunately, is no, because, as a study by the National Employment Law Project illustrates, today’s manufacturers can pay workers deficient wages, so why should they pay them more?

In the 1950s, economist Robert Reich calculates, manufacturing job wages were significantly higher than the average wage: “Fifty years ago, when General Motors was the largest employer in America, the typical GM worker got paid $35 an hour in today’s dollars.” Wages for manufacturing jobs have continued to drop over the decades, however, with many manufacturing jobs now paying less than a living wage. Currently, the median wage in manufacturing is $15.66 an hour, with approximately one-quarter of manufacturing workers earning less than $12/hour, and many earning just $10–$11/hour. For example, General Electric workers in Louisville, Kentucky, earn $13/hour making electric water heaters. Remington, the gun company, pays workers $11/hour in its Alabama manufacturing facilities.

Serving Capitalism Well

Why does corporate America actually love the nation’s schools? Given US capitalism’s control of the American economy, the economic system’s educational needs are best served by ensuring that the nation’s school achievement does not get out of hand; that is, schools cannot become too successful in producing well-educated graduates for the purportedly vast (but actually small) number of STEM jobs. The corporate strategy in this regard is simple:

  • provide just enough funds to maintain the educational system that, overall, currently serves the economy well;
  • ensure that taxpayers fund most of the schooling serving businesses;
  • do not fully fund schooling for those poor or marginally poor American youth whose futures will fit well with the present and future jobs that will be predominant in the economy – fast food, simple service, basic health care, low-skilled factory work;
  • maximize profit by not contributing more to the public good than is absolutely necessary for business needs;
  • pay workers as little as possible, maintaining that the work and wages are commensurate with their educational levels and skills.

Were the schools as a whole not serving the economy well, we can be certain that the nation’s major corporations – Walmart, Dow Chemical, Goldman Sachs, Chevron, Microsoft, IBM, Apple and others – would be focused on achieving the best educational outcomes in STEM education by providing schools with additional tax funds from the more than $1 trillion these corporations have stashed in offshore tax havens. Similarly, were these corporations concerned that not enough poor children were being properly educated to meet employment needs, we should not doubt that some of these unpaid taxes would have made their way into these children’s lives.

Blaming the victim

Blaming schooling, teachers and students turns the nation’s focus away from the reality of the array of jobs actually available, and away from US capitalism’s numerous ways for extracting ever-greater profits – such as paying the lowest wages here and abroad, reducing or eliminating job benefits, outsourcing work, and creating an ever-growing temporary workforce. While all the blame is foisted on teachers, students, and Americans generally, the “failure of education” ideology is meant to keep the eyes of Americans on one message: YOU are responsible for yourself; getting a decent job and having a decent income depends solely on YOU; and if YOU don’t have a good job and income it’s because YOU haven’t had the right kind of education (for which educators are to blame). Your problem is not a consequence of corporate policy, corporate greed, and corporate attacks on the public good, not a problem of how wealth is acquired and used. YOU and your teachers are the problem, and most of all, YOU are a problem for American business and America because YOU have failed to become part of the skilled workforce these businesses and the nation need.

Teacher organizations, parents and older students must face the fact that they will never obtain the reforms they demand because the schools are actually serving capitalism well. Consequently, it is imperative for teacher organizations and other social justice groups concerned with education to begin creating an opposition that explains how educational achievement is primarily contingent on what the economic system needs, which is far different from what American workers and families need. That is, schools serving capitalism well is not the same as serving all children and young people well.

With respect to the curriculum, these organizations need to take up the very difficult but necessary task – surely a task that will meet strong corporate resistance – of insisting that “education for the 21st century economy” is a legitimate goal, but that “education” must include comprehensive study of the actual working of that economy.

In recent years there has been an increased, critical spotlight on capitalism. “Capitalism” is no longer the word that cannot be uttered. For example, inquiring about American views on capitalism and socialism, Gallup Poll found that a substantial percentage of Democrats/Leaners (57%) had a more positive view of socialism than of capitalism, with the most positive view of socialism expressed by Americans 18 to 29. While Americans overall have a positive view of capitalism, the positive rating has declined over the last eight years, and is now at its lowest level since 2010. Again, most significantly, public conversations about capitalism’s benefits and harms are increasingly in public and political discourse. In August 2018, for example, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the “Accountable Capitalism Act,” which raises questions about the interests corporations serve. Education activist organizations might do well to push for similar legislation.

The time is overripe for teacher organizations to frame schooling and school reforms within the context of that-which-must-be-named. Only by explaining how schools as a whole serve capitalism will teachers’ organizations begin to acquire a more successful leadership role in improving young people’s education, lives and futures.

This article is drawn from Gerald Coles’ Miseducating for the Global Economy: How Corporate Power Damages Education and Subverts Students’ Futures (Monthly Review Press, 2018). References for this article can be found in the book.

Originally published by Local Futures

  Read Education, jobs and capitalism
  January 17, 2019
How the Yellow Vests are Reinventing French Politics
by Raphael Mimoun and Sarah Freeman-Woolpert, in World, Countercurrents.

Last weekend, 50,000 people flooded the streets of France for the first protest of 2019 organized by the yellow vests, or gilets jaunes. This protest is a continuation of a national movement for economic justice that has shaken the country since November. While mainstream French and international media have largely characterized the yellow vests as violent troublemakers, many people throughout France see the movement as a long-needed popular uprising against a deeply unjust political and economic system.

Videos on social media depict these protesters in a different light: giving hugs and handshakes to police officers on New Year’s Eve, turning demonstrations into parties, and dancing cheek-to-cheek as the police forcibly evict a protest camp. These scenes paint a different picture of the yellow vests as a largely nonviolent grassroots movement.

As with many decentralized and less structured movements, the yellow vest movement has attracted a diverse cross-section of French society, from the far-left to the far-right and from high school students to pensioners. While the movement has unleashed a tidal wave of discontent and anger throughout France, it also has the potential to re-invent French politics as a participatory process, putting ordinary citizens back in control.

Before growing into a wider movement with multiple demands, the yellow vest protests were first sparked into action in November when the government of President Emmanuel Macron announced a tax hike on fuel. Although Macron justified the tax as an environmental necessity, his environmental credentials have long been debunked. Critics were quick to point out that Macron’s move would disproportionately hurt the rural poor, while his other reforms slash taxes for the rich. People in small towns and villages have seen significant curtailing of public transport over the past few decades, and the car has become a central part of life. Coupled with stagnant wages, welfare cuts and higher taxes, a fuel tax increase just felt like one too many burdens to carry.

“The yellow vests are people who are demonstrating for the first time, people who don’t vote anymore,” said Paris-based organizer Tina de Sansonetti. “They struggle, feel excluded both politically and economically, invisible to the governing elite. They fight for equality, social justice and dignity.”

While the tax increase may have been the trigger, the movement is building on the mobilizations that labor unions and opposition parties have led since the beginning of the Macron presidency in 2017. Many of Macron’s reforms were met with mass protests, alienating large parts of French society that are now either actively joining the movement or supporting from the sidelines.

Pensioners, hit particularly hard by a tax increase in October 2017, are one such group. High-schoolers are another. They fought against an obscure law that may reduce access to public universities. Meanwhile, labor unions have struggled with the privatization of the state-owned rail operator, and large swaths of the workforce have objected to a reform making it easier to hire and fire employees without the increased welfare benefits Macron had previously promised.

To make matters worse, almost all French citizens have been affected by a sweeping tax reform that has much in common with Donald Trump’s tax cut for corporations and the very wealthy. These reforms, when taken alongside Macron’s verbal attacks on the working class, have earned the president — a former investment banker — the nickname of “president of the rich.”

This is why the yellow vest movement cannot be viewed as a spontaneous phenomenon. Instead, it is the result of years of protest, frustration and mobilization. When the first call went out on Facebook to block roads on Nov. 17, it brought out over 280,000 protesters from all walks of life. Over time, these protests have morphed into a genuine movement, while still remaining decentralized — something that’s rather unprecedented for France, where protests and direct actions are almost exclusively led by labor unions and political parties.

“This is what is unique about our movement,” de Sansonetti said. “[We’re seeing] a horizontality we haven’t experienced before in France.”

While many online groups are coordinating local actions — principally on Facebook — no central decision-making structure has emerged, nor are there any formal spokespeople. The movement has rejected any affiliation to political parties or labor unions, and activists react forcefully to any group that tries to speak on their behalf or use the movement for political gains.

This undoubtedly presents challenges. Anyone who is wearing a yellow vest is seen as representing the movement, and their actions — from looting, violence, to sexist or bigoted slogans — can distort the movement’s core message and demands. When such events surface, many activists are quick to condemn them on social media, but this has typically failed to reach the mainstream media and broader public.

Despite these issues, a clear political line has emerged — one with a set of demandsprimarily focusing on economic justice. This includes establishing a more progressive income tax and making large corporations like Google, Amazon and Carrefour pay their fair share of taxes, while supporting small businesses. But many demands also call for an end to the continuous gutting of public services: ending the closure of bus and train lines, schools, maternity wards, post offices, and re-nationalizing recently privatized public services like gas and electricity.

Other demands center on wider social issues, like smaller classrooms from pre-K to high school, support for mental healthcare and ecological measures. And while some demands fall on the right side of the political spectrum — such as “immigrants must learn French and French history” and “rejected asylum-seekers must be sent home” — a major survey by Le Monde found that the movement’s demands are generally in line with what the far left proposed during the 2017 presidential elections. It is remarkable, then, that the movement managed to remain so independent from political parties, both in practice and in the public eye.

“I’m in awe of the yellow vests,” said Etienne Lascaux, a movement supporter from Bordeaux who has not joined any actions but agrees with the movement’s demands. “The movement brought together a part of the population that was silent. They are not particularly active citizens, many don’t vote. But they came together at the roundabouts — across religions, across generations — with incredible popular support.” Despite getting stuck at one of the blockaded roundabouts, Lascaux described the outpouring of public support and horn-honking as “like the World Cup.”

At the tactical level, the yellow vests are facing challenges specific to any decentralized movement. Like others before them, the yellow vests have been over-reliant on high-stakes tactics of occupation, road blockades and street demonstrations. These are inherently difficult to sustain — not to mention that they are both time and energy intensive. They also require participants to put their bodies on the line, which — much like the occasional violence — turns away many potential participants.

That being said, the yellow vests are starting to focus more on symbolic targets in line with the movement’s grievances. Whereas before they might have simply disrupted traffic to make their presence known, they are now doing things like occupying highway toll stations to let motorists through without paying. Such an action is a direct hit on the widely-decried privatization of French public infrastructure and highways in particular. In other cases, the yellow vests have blocked access to shops from large chains like Auchan and Carrefour, which have decimated the country’s family-owned businesses. While this type of targeted and symbolic action exposes those corporations’ role in increasing inequality, it often fails to gain national attention and can alienate potential supporters.

In order to sustain pressure on the government and activate its still large numbers of supporters, the yellow vests will have to further diversify their tactics. Low-commitment actions would provide avenues for supporters to get involved in meaningful ways without having to sacrifice much. There are many such options — from boycotts of tax-dodging corporations to the beating pots and pans as a sign of support for the movement. But the best options are typically the result of an intentional search for what will appeal most to the wider public.

The need for more diverse tactics is particularly important given the fact that the movement’s political gains have been fairly minor, although these signal the potential for further victories. On Dec. 4, after just three weeks of protests, the government announced that it would suspend the fuel tax increase. Then, in the face of more public outrage, it cancelled the tax altogether the following day. When the protests continued, Macron announced an increased minimum wage, reduced taxes on pensioners and other measures to support the working class. Many criticized these announcements as disingenuous, claiming that Macron was only trying to appease the movement rather than address the root causes of popular dissatisfaction.

In some ways, these measures backfired, bringing new groups like school teachers into the movement. According to de Sansonetti, “That’s when the movement realized the government wasn’t going to address our core grievances, and that we needed to find ways to engage directly with political institutions.”

This realization led to the emergence of what has since become the single most vocal and consistent demand of the movement: a Citizens’ Initiative Referendum. The RIC, as it is known, is a direct democracy mechanism that would make a referendum mandatory in France if a petition reaches a certain number of signatures. It is seen as a way for average citizens to regain some control over the political process and take back French democracy from a political elite widely seen as corrupt, unresponsive and unaccountable. Citizens would be able to bring forward issues ignored by their representatives and force the parliament to address them, or even require the government to repeal unpopular reforms.

The RIC is more than a simple political demand; it shows the yellow vest movement’s ability to evolve in pragmatic and creative ways. What is perhaps most unique about the French movement is its participatory nature, placing it well in line with the Occupy movement in the United States and the Indignados in Spain. For the yellow vests, each action — whether a street demonstration, road blockade or occupation — becomes an opportunity for citizens to mingle, exchange, discuss ideas and re-imagine the kind of society and politics they wish to create. Actions are planned collaboratively and decisions are made in local assemblies. The yellow vests are not just advocating for direct democracy, they are living it.

In December, the yellow vests of Commercy, a town of 6,000 people in northeastern France, called on the yellow vests to build local assemblies everywhere and to join forces in a “national union of all local popular committees.” On Sunday, the Toulouse assembly, like others around the country, voted to take part in the national union. The assembly also voted to join a day of action, on Jan. 13, to paralyze the entire French economy by blocking trucks.

Whatever happens on Jan. 13 and in the following weeks, the movement has already had a major impact on French society and politics. Similar to how the Occupy movement triggered a national conversation on inequality and financial excesses in the United States, the French gilets jaunes are forcing the country to reckon with the impact that government austerity has had on the working class. They are forcing France’s political elite to acknowledge huge swaths of the population that they have long ignored. And they are re-imagining what French democracy could look like: more egalitarian and participatory.

  Read  How the Yellow Vests are Reinventing French Politics
  January 17, 2019
Human Beings are Destroying Life on Earth but Deluding Ourselves that We are Not
by Robert J Burrowes, in Environmental Protection, Countercurrents.

Rocky Flats rally with her two children, Michael and Erika. Rocky Flats, Colorado, nuclear trigger factory.

It is easy to identify the ongoing and endless violence being inflicted on life on Earth. This ranges from the vast multiplicity of assaults inflicted on our children and the biosphere to the endless wars and other military violence as well as the grotesque exploitation of many peoples living in Africa, Asia and Central/South America. But for a (very incomplete) list of 40 points see ‘Reflections on 2018, Forecasting 2019’.

However, despite the obvious fact that it is human beings who are inflicting all of this violence, it is virtually impossible to get people to pay attention to this simple and incontrovertible fact and to ask why, precisely, are human beings behaving in such violent and destructive ways? And can we effectively address this cause?

Of course, one part of this problem is the existence of many competing ideas about what causes violence. For example, some ideologies attribute the cause to a particular structural manifestation of violence, such as patriarchy (which generates a gendered system of violence and exploitation) or capitalism (which generates a class system of violence and exploitation). However, none of these ideologies explains why humans participate in structures of violence and exploitation in the first place. Surely a person who was not violent and exploitative to begin with would reject such violent and exploitative structures out of hand and work to create nonviolent and egalitarian structures instead.

But most people really just accept the elite-promulgated delusion that humans are innately dysfunctional and violent and this must be contained and controlled by socialization processes, laws, legal systems, police forces and prisons or, in the international arena, by such measures as economic sanctions and military violence. It is a rare individual who perceives the blatant dysfunctionality and violence of socialization, laws, legal systems, police forces, prisons, economic sanctions and military violence, and how these institutions and their violence serve elite interests.

Hence, humans are trapped in a cycle of attempting to address the vast range of manifestations of violent human behaviour – the wars, the climate catastrophe, destruction of the environment, the economic exploitation of vast sectors of the human population (women, indigenous peoples, working peoples…), the military dictatorships and occupations – without knowing what, fundamentally, causes dysfunctional and violent human behavioursand draws many people to participate in (and benefit from) violence in whatever form it takes.

Well I, for one, find it boring to see the same manifestations of violence repeated endlessly because we do not understand or address the fundamental cause (and so even well-meaning efforts to address it in a variety of contexts are doomed to fail). How about you?

Moreover, I find it boring to listen to (or read about) people endlessly deluding themselves about the violence; that is, deluding themselves that it isn’t happening, ‘it was always like that’, ‘it isn’t as bad as it seems’, ‘nothing can be done’, ‘there is another explanation’, that I am ‘doing enough already’, and so on.

To illustrate the above let me write some more frequent examples of people deluding themselves about the cause. You may have heard delusions like these expressed yourself; you may know some of the many others.

  1. ‘The child deserved the punishment.’
  2. ‘She asked for it.’
  3. Violence is innate: it is ‘in our nature’.
  4. ‘War is inevitable.’
  5. The people in Africa/Asia/Central/South America ‘have always been poor’.
  6. ‘The weather hasn’t changed; it was like that when I was a child.’
  7. ‘We can’t control Mother Nature.’
  8. ‘Nature is abundant.’

Of course, the most common delusional state is the one in which most people are trapped: they are just not paying significant attention to critical issues and have no knowledge (and informed opinion) about them but allow themselves to be distracted from reality by the various elite channels used for doing so, such as the corporate media.

So why do most people delude themselves rather than carefully observe reality, seek out and analyze the evidence in relation to it, and then behave appropriately and powerfully in response?

Because they are (unconsciously) terrified.

‘Is that all?’ you might say. ‘Surely the explanation for dysfunctional (and violent) human behaviour is more complex than that! Besides, when people I observe doing the sorts of dysfunctional and violent behaviours you mention above, they don’t look frightened, let alone terrified.’

So let me explain why the explanation above – that most human beingslive in delusion, behave dysfunctionally and violently, fail to observe and analyze reality and then behave powerfully in response to it, because they are terrified – is the complete explanation and why people who are utterly terrified don’t ‘look frightened’.

At the moment of birth, the human individual has a genetically-embedded potential to seek out and powerfully pursue their own unique destiny by progressively developing a complex set of capacities to observe and listen, to think and feel, to analyze and evaluate, to plan and strategize, and to behave with awareness and power in response to their own astute insight into reality and the guidance provided by their conscience.

However, rather than nurture this potential so that the child grows up deeply in touch with their conscience, sensing capacities, thoughts, feelings and other faculties necessary to seek out and powerfully travel their own unique path, the significant adults in the child’s life immediately start to ‘socialize’ (that is, terrorize) the child into conforming with culturally and socially-acceptable norms of thought and behaviour on the basis that one human is more-or-less identical with another (give or take some minor variations among races, languages….).

The idea that each human mind might be unique in the way that each body is unique (while conforming to a general pattern in relation to shape, height and other physical characteristics) never even occurs to anyone. The idea that their child could have the potential to be as creative, powerful and unique as Leonardo Da Vinci, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Albert Einstein, Mohandas K. Gandhi or Rosalind Franklin never enters the mind of the typical parent.

Instead, we parent and teach children to conform to an endless sequence of beliefs and behavioural norms on the basis that ‘one size fits all’ because we are literally (but unconsciously) terrified that our child might be ‘different’ or, horror of horrors, unique! And we reward most highly those individuals who do conform and can demonstrate their conformity by passing, often literally, the endless series of socially-approved tests, formal and otherwise, that we set. See, for example, ‘Do We Want School or Education?’

The last thing we want is an individual who fearlessly thinks, feels and behaves as they personally decide is best for themself, perhaps even because their conscience dictates. But when they do act out of their own volition, we punish them to ensure that behaviour that is generated by their unique ‘Self’ is, if possible, terrorized out of them.

Of course, there are ‘good reasons’ for doing this. If we want obedient students, soldiers, employees and citizens, it is the perfect formula. Terrorize the child when they are young and obedience to a set of parentally/socially-approved beliefs and behaviours is virtually guaranteed.

Equally importantly, by starting this onslaught against the child from the moment of birth,they will grow up utterly unaware of the fact that they were terrorized out of becoming their ‘True Self’ and seeking their own unique destiny so that they could be the slave of their society, performing some function, menial or even ‘professional’, after they have submitted to sufficient training. The slave who never questions their role is truly a slave. And that is what we want!

Equally importantly, the person who has fearfully surrendered their Self at the alter of physical survival cannot observe or listen to the fear expressed by anyone else, including their own children. So they simply ‘fail to notice’ it.

So what, exactly, do we do so that each human being’s individual Self is crushed and they are rendered too terrified, self-hating and powerless to pursue their own life path, to honestly observe and listen to their own children and to mindfully consider the state of our world and act powerfully in response?

We inflict enormous, ongoing violence on the child, starting immediately after their birth.

‘How?’ you might ask. ‘I don’t scream at or hit my child. And I never punish them.’

Well, if that is true, it is a good start.

But, unfortunately, it is far more complex than these obvious types of violence and, strange though it may seem, it is not just the ‘visible’ violence (such as hitting, screaming at and sexually abusing) that we normally label ‘violence’ that causes the main damage, although this is extremely damaging. The largest component of damage arises from the ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that we adults unconsciously inflict on children during the ordinary course of the day. Tragically, the bulk of this violence occurs in the family home and at school. See ‘Why Violence?’ and Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.

So what is ‘invisible’ violence? It is the ‘little things’ we do every day, partly because we are just ‘too busy’. For example, when we do not allow time to listen to, and value, a child’s thoughts and feelings, the child learns to not listen to themSelf thus destroying their internal communication system. When we do not let a child say what they want (or ignore them when they do), the child develops communication and behavioral dysfunctionalities as they keep trying to meet their own needs (which, as a basic survival strategy, they are genetically programmed to do).

When we blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie to, bribe, blackmail, moralize with and/or judge a child, we both undermine their sense of Self-worth and teach them to blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie, bribe, blackmail, moralize and/or judge.

The fundamental outcome of being bombarded throughout their childhood by this ‘invisible’ violence is that the child is utterly overwhelmed by feelings of fear, pain, anger and sadness (among many others). However, mothers, fathers, teachers and other adults also actively interfere with the expression of these feelings and the behavioral responses that are naturally generated by them and it is this ‘utterly invisible’ violence that explains why the dysfunctional behavioral outcomes actually occur.

For example, by ignoring a child when they express their feelings, by comforting, reassuring or distracting a child when they express their feelings, by laughing at or ridiculing their feelings, by terrorizing a child into not expressing their feelings (e.g. by screaming at them when they cry or get angry), and/or by violently controlling a behavior that is generated by their feelings (e.g. by hitting them, restraining them or locking them into a room), the child has no choice but to unconsciously suppress their awareness of these feelings.

However, once a child has been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of their feelings (rather than being allowed to have their feelings and to act on them) the child has also unconsciously suppressed their awareness of the reality that caused these feelings. This has many outcomes that are disastrous for the individual, for society and for nature because the individual will now easily suppress their awareness of the feelings that would tell them how to act most functionally in any given circumstance and they will progressively acquire a phenomenal variety of dysfunctional behaviors, including some that are violent towards themself, others and/or the Earth.

From the above, it should also now be apparent that punishment should never be used. ‘Punishment’, of course, is one of the words we use to obscure our awareness of the fact that we are using violence. Violence, even when we label it ‘punishment’, scares children and adults alike and cannot elicit a functional behavioural response. See ‘Punishment is Violent and Counterproductive’.

If someone behaves dysfunctionally, they need to be listened to, deeply, so that they can start to become consciously aware of the feelings (which will always include fear and, often, terror) that drove the dysfunctional behaviour in the first place. They then need to feel and express these feelings (including any anger) in a safe way. Only then will behavioural change in the direction of functionality be possible. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.

‘But these adult behaviors you have described don’t seem that bad. Can the outcome be as disastrous as you claim?’ you might ask. The problem is that there are hundreds of these ‘ordinary’, everyday behaviors that destroy the Selfhood of the child. It is ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and most children simply do not survive as Self-aware individuals. And why do we do this? As noted above, we do it so that each child will fit into our model of ‘the perfect citizen’: that is, obedient and hardworking student, reliable and pliant employee/soldier, and submissive law-abiding citizen.

Moreover, once we destroy the Selfhood of a child, it has many flow-on effects. For example, once you terrorize a child into accepting certain information about themself, other people or the state of the world, the child becomes unconsciously fearful of dealing with new information, especially if this information is contradictory to what they have been terrorized into believing. As a result, the child will unconsciously dismiss new information out of hand.

In short, the child has been terrorized in such a way that they are no longer capable of learning (or their learning capacity is seriously diminished by excluding any information that is not a simple extension of what they already ‘know’).

Fundamentally, the child isnow incapable of carefully observing reality, analyzing the evidence in relation to that reality and responding strategically so that conflicts and problems are moved closer to resolution. That is, the child is now unconsciously trapped, believing and behaving precisely within the spectrum of socially-approved beliefs and behaviours that society terrorized them into accepting, no matter how dysfunctional and violent these beliefs and behaviours might be.

In industrialized countries, for example, this will invariably include overconsuming, which is standard (but highly dysfunctional and violent) behaviour, particularly given the current state of the biosphere. See ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’.

Responding Powerfully to Reality

So how do we nurture children to become the unique and powerful individual that is their birthright? Someone who is able to clearly identify what they need and what outcomes work for them, and who does not learn to progressively compromise themselves until there is nothing left of their unique identity. Someone, in short, who is so powerless, that they are incapable of considering themself, others and the state of the biosphere. Someone who lives in delusion.

Well, if you want a powerful child, you can read what is required in ‘My Promise to Children’.

If, after reading this ‘Promise’, you feel unable to nurture children properly, you might consider doing the healing necessary so that you can do so. See Putting Feelings First’.

If you already feel free of the delusions that afflict most people and able to respond powerfully to the state  of our world, then consider joining those participating in the fifteen-year strategy outlined in The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earthand signing the online pledge of The Peoples Charter to Create a Nonviolent World.

If you are powerful enough to campaign for change against one or more of the ongoing manifestations of violence in the world, consider doing so strategically so that you have maximum impact. See Nonviolent Campaign Strategy.

And if none of the options I have offered immediately above appeals, ask yourself if you are serious about helping to end the violence or just deluding yourself like all of those people I described above.

 Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of Why Violence? His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is here.

  Read Human Beings are Destroying Life on Earth but Deluding Ourselves that We are Not
  January 17, 2019
Europe on the Brink of Collapse?
by Peter Koenig, in World, Countercurrents.

The Empire’s European castle of vassals is crumbling. Right in front of our eyes. But Nobody seems to see it. The European Union (EU), the conglomerate of vassals – Trump calls them irrelevant, and he doesn’t care what they think about him, they deserve to be collapsing. They, the ‘vassalic’ EU, a group of 28 countries, some 500 million people, with a combined economy of a projected 19 trillion US-dollar equivalent, about the same as the US, have submitted themselves to the dictate of Washington in just about every important aspect of life.

The EU has accepted on orders by Washington to sanction Russia, Venezuela, Iran – and a myriad of countries that have never done any harm to any of the 28 EU member states. The EU has accepted the humiliation of military impositions by NATO – threating Russia and China with ever more and ever more advancing military basis towards Moscow and Beijing, to the point that Brussels’ foreign policy is basically led by NATO.

It was clear from the very get-go that the US sanctions regime imposed on Russia and all the countries refusing to submit to the whims and rules of Washington, directly and via the EU, was hurting the EU economically far more than Russia. This is specifically true for some of the southern European countries, whose economy depended more on trading with Russia and Eurasia than it did for other EU countries.

The ‘sanctions’ disaster really hit the fan, when Trump unilaterally decided to abrogate the “Nuclear Deal” with Iran and reimpose heavy sanctions on Iran and on “everybody who would do business with Iran”. European hydrocarbon giants started losing business. That’s when Brussels, led by Germany started mumbling that they would not follow the US and – even – that they would back European corporations, mainly hydrocarbon giants, sticking to their contractual arrangements they had with Iran.

Too late. European business had lost all confidence in Brussels EU Administration’s feeble and generally untrustworthy words. Many breached their longstanding and, after the Nuclear Deal, renewed contracts with Iran, out of fear of punishment by Washington and lack of trust in Brussel’s protection. Case in point is the French-British petrol giant, Total, which shifted its supply source from Iran to Russia – no, not to the US, as was of course, Washington’s intent. The damage is done. The vassals are committing slow suicide.

The people have had it. More than half of the European population wants to get out of the fangs from Brussels. But nobody asks them, nor listens to them – and that in the so-called heartland of ‘democracy’ (sic). That’s why people are now up in arms and protesting everywhere – in one way or another in Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Poland – the list is almost endless. And it can be called generically the ‘Yellow Vests”, after the new French revolution.

The latest in a series of the US attacking Germany and German business – and German integrity, for that matter – are the US Ambassador’s, Richard Grenell, recent threats to German corporations with sanctions if they work on Nord Stream 2, the 1,200 km pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe, to be completed by the end of 2019. It will virtually double the capacity of Russian gas supply to Europe. Instead, Washington wants Europe to buy US shale gas and oil, and especially keeping Europe economically and financially in the US orbit, avoiding in any way a detachment from Washington and preventing the obvious and logical – an alliance with Russia. This attempt will fail bitterly, as various German Ministers, including Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, have loudly and with determination protested against such US hegemonic advances. Well, friends, you have bent over backwards to please your Washington Masters for too long. It’s high time to step out of this lock-step of obedience.

In France, this past weekend of 12 / 13 January, the Yellow Vests went into round 9 of protests against dictator Macron, his austerity program and – not least – his abject arrogance vis-à- vis the working class. A recent public statement of Macron’s is testimony of this below-the-belt arrogance: «Trop de français n’ont pas le sens de l’effort, ce qui explique en partie les ’troubles’ que connait le pays» – Translated: “Too many French don’t know the meaning of ‘effort’ which explains at least partially the trouble this country is in.”

The Yellow Vests and a majority of the French population want nothing less than Macron’s resignation. Protesters are consistently and largely under-reported by Christophe Castaner, the French Interior Minister. This past weekend the official figure was 50,000 demonstrators, countrywide, when in reality the figure was at least three times higher. The official French version would like the public at large, inside and outside of France, to believe that the Yellow Vest’s movement is diminishing. It is not. To the contrary, they are demonstrating all over France, and that despite the Macron regime’s increasing violent repression.

RT reports, on Macron’s orders the police are becoming more violent, using military suppression to control protesting French civilians. Thousands have been arrested, and hundreds injured by police brutality. Nevertheless, the movement is gaining massive public support and the ‘Yellow Vests” idea is spreading throughout Europe. This spread is, of course, hardly reported by the mainstream media.

In fact, 80% of the French back the Yellow Vests and their idea of a Citizen Initiated Referendum (RIC for “Référendum d’initiative citoyenne”), under which citizens could propose their own laws that would then be voted on by the general public. The RIC could effectively bypass the French Parliament, and would be enshrined in the French Constitution. A similar law exists since 1848 in Switzerland and is regularly applied by Swiss citizens. It is a way of Direct Democracy that any country calling itself a “democracy” should incorporate in its Constitution.

The UK is in shambles. Thousands are taking to the streets of London, organized by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity”, calling for general elections to replace the failing Tory Government. They are joined by the French Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests), out of solidarity. Many of the UK protesters are also wearing high-visibility yellow vests.

This is in direct correlation with the ever-growing louder debacle over BREXIT – yes, or no and how. At this point nobody knows what Britain’s future is going to be. Propaganda and counter-propaganda is destined to further confuse the people and confused people usually want to stick to the ‘status quo’. There is even a movement of pro “remain” propaganda, organized by some members of the European Parliament. Imagine! – Talking about sovereignty, if Brussels cannot even leave the Brits alone decide whether they want to continue under their dictate or not.

Hélas, the Brits are largely divided, but also past the stage of being swayed by foreign propaganda, especially in this delicate question of leaving the EU – which a majority of Brits clearly decided in June 2016. Prime Minister, Theresa May, has screwed-up the BREXIT process royally, to the point where many Brits feel that what she negotiated is worse than “no deal”. This has likely happened in close connivance with the unelected EU ‘leadership’ which does not want the UK to leave and under strict orders from Washington which needs the UK in its crucial role as a US mole in the European Union.

On 15 January 2019, the UK Parliament will vote on whether they accept the negotiated BREXIT conditions, or whether they prefer a ‘no deal’ BREXIT, or will request an extension for further negotiations under Article 50 of the “Treaty of Lisbon” (which was imposed by the heads of state of the 28 members, without any public vote, and is a false stand-in for a EU Constitution). Other options include a general election – and let the new leadership decide; or a second referendum which after two years is legally possible. The latter would likely cause severe public unrest, followed by atrocious police oppression – as already often witnessed in the UK – in which case, let’s just hope civil war can be avoided.

For weeks, the Yellow Vest movement has spread to Belgium and The Netherlands. For similar reasons – public discontent over austerity, EU dictatorship over Belgian and Dutch sovereignty. Last Friday, one of the Belgian Yellow Vests was overrun by a truck and killed. Authorities reported it as an accident.

Greece – The MS-media report all is ‘donkey-dory’, Greece is recovering, has for the first time in many years a positive growth rate and is able to refinance herself on the open capital market. Greece is no longer dependent on the irate and infamous troika (European Central Bank – ECB, European Commission and IMF). Reality is completely different, as about two thirds of the Greek population are still hovering around or below the survival level – no access to public health care, affordable medication, public schools – umpteen times reduced pensions, most public assets and services privatized for a pittance. Nothing has fundamentally changed in the last years, at least not for the better and for the majority of the people. The troika has allowed the Greek to go to the private capital markets – to boost falsely their, the Greek’s, image among the international public at large, basically telling the brainwashed populace, “It worked, we, the troika, did a good job”.

Nothing worked. People are unhappy; more than unhappy, they are indignant. They demonstrated against Angela Merkel’s recent visit to Athens, and their protests were violently oppressed by police forces. What do you expect – this is what has become of Europe, a highly repressive state of spineless vassals.

On Wednesday, 16 January, the Greek Parliament may hold a Vote of Confidence against or for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The official and make-believe reason is supposedly the controversy over the name of Macedonia, which in fact has long been settled. The real reason is the public’s discontent about the continuous and increasing blood-letting by never-ending austerity, sucking the last pennies from the poor. According to Lancet, the renowned British health journal, the Greek suicide rate is soaring. Nobody talks about it. – Will Tsipras survive a possible Vote of Confidence? -If not – early elections? – Who will follow Tsipras? – Don’t be fooled by the term ‘democracy’. – The elite from within and without Greece will not allow any policy changes. That’s when people à la Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) may come in. Civil unrest. Enough is enough.

In Italy the coalition of the 5-Star Movement and the small right-wing brother, Lega Norte, is pulled to the far right by Lega’s Matteo Salvini, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister. Mr. Salvini is clearly calling the shots – and his alliance is firing strongly against Brussels and with good reason, as Brussels is attempting to impose rules on Italy’s budget, while the same rules do not apply equally to all EU member states. For example, Macron, France’s Rothschild implant, has special privileges, as far as budget overrun margins are concerned. Mr. Salvini’s anti-Brussels, anti-EU stance is no secret, and he has a lot of Italians behind him. An Italian Yellow Vest movement cannot be excluded.

The empire’s vassal castle is crumbling – and not even silently.

Then there are the former Soviet satellites, Hungary and Poland, turned right wing – don’t appreciate Brussels meddling with Hungary’s anti-immigration policy and in Poland over a controversial overhaul of the Judiciary system. Never mind whether you agree or not with individual country actions, both cases are clear interferences in these nations’ sovereignty. Though upon the European Court of Justice’s strong warning, Poland indeed blinked and reinstated the judges fired in the judiciary reform process. Poland’s love for NATO, and Brussels use of the NATO leverage, may have played a role in Poland’s reversal of decision. Nevertheless, discontent in Poland as in Hungary among the public at large remains strong. Migration and the Judiciary are just the visible pretexts. The legendary tip of the iceberg. Reality is on a deeper level, much deeper. These countries are both reminded of what they considered the Soviet Union’s handcuffs. “Freedom” is not being dictated by Brussels.

The triad of systematic and willful destabilization and destruction of what we know as the Greater Middle East and western world is what we have to be aware of. The east, mostly Russia and China, is a challenge being tackled simultaneously, impressively for the brainwashed westerner, but rather meekly for those who are informed about Russia’s and China’s military might and intelligence capacity.

This drive of destabilization cum destruction comes in three phases. It started with the Middle East which for the most part has become a hopeless hell-hole, a source of indiscriminate killing by the western allies, say, the emperor’s puppets and mercenaries, resulting in millions killed and in an endless flood of refugees destabilizing Europe – which is the second phase of the triad. It’s in full swing. It happens right in front of our eyes – but we don’t see it.

It’s the Yellow Vests, austerity, increasing inequality, unemployment, social sector’s being milked to zilch by the financial system, popular uprisings’ oppression by police and military forces; it’s reflected by the dismal powerlessness of the people – that leads to “enough is enough” in the streets. That’s the way it’s all wanted. The more chaos the better. People in chaos are easily controlled.

Now comes phase three of the triad – Latin America. It has already started three or four years back. Countries that have struggled for decades to eventually break loose with some form of ‘democracy’ from the fangs of empire, are gradually being subdued with fake elections and ‘internal’ parliamentary coups, back into the emperor’s backyard. The Southern Cone – Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay – is ‘gone’, except for Bolivia. Peru, Colombia, Ecuador all the way to Guyana are governed by neoliberal, even neonazi-shaded Lords of Washington. But there is still Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and now also Mexico that have not caved in and will not cave in.

In an extraordinary analysis, Thierry Meyssan describes in “The Terrible Forthcoming Destruction of the Caribbean Basin” – http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50911.htm, how the Pentagon is still pursuing the implementation of the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski plan. This time, aiming at the destruction of the “Caribbean Basin” States. There is no consideration for friends or political enemies, Thierry Meyssan observes. He goes on predicting that after the period of economic destabilization and that of military preparation, the actual operation should begin in the years to come by an attack on Venezuela by Brazil (supported by Israel), Colombia (an ally of the United States) and Guyana (in other words, the United Kingdom). It will be followed by others, beginning with Cuba and Nicaragua, the ‘troika of tyranny’, as per John Bolton.

Only the future will say to what extent this plan will be implemented. At the outset, its ambitions exceed the crumbling empire’s actual capacity.

When it comes all down to one single denominator, it’s the current western financial system that must go. It is private banking gone berserk. We are living in a financial system that has gone wild and running havoc, uncontrolled – a train of endless greed that is loosely speeding ahead and doesn’t know when it will hit an unyielding steel-enforced brick wall – but hit it will. It is a mere question of time. People are sick and tired of being milked no end by a fraudulent pyramid system – constructed by the US and her dollar hegemony and maintained by globalized private banking.

We are living in a private banking system that has nothing to do with economic development, but everything with a greed-driven domination of us, consumers, sold on debt and on money that we don’t control, despite the fact that we earned it with our hard labor; despite the fact that it is our added value to what we call the economy. No – this system is totally disrespectful of the individual, it is even ready to steal our money, if it needs to survive – our banking system. It takes the liberty of “administering” it and basically appropriating it. Once our money is in a private bank, we have lost control over it. And mind you and get it into your brains, private banks do not work for you and me, but for their shareholders. But through hundreds of years of indoctrination, we have become so used to it, that being charged interest for borrowing our own money, through an intermediary who does nothing, absolutely nothing but wait for profit to fall into its lap – has become the ‘normality’.

It isn’t. This system has to be abolished, the faster the better. Private banking needs to be eradicated and replaced by local public banking that works with local currencies, based on local economic output, way removed from globalized concepts that help steel resources, empty local social safety nets – all under the guise of austerity for progress. We should know better by now. There is no austerity for progress – has never been. This fraudulent IMF-World Bank concept has never worked, anywhere.

We have to de-dollarize our money, de-digitize our money and pool it through a public banking system for the purpose of people’s growth, hence a society’s or nation’s growth. There is currently one good example, the Bank of North Dakota. The BND has helped the US State of North Dakota through the 2008 and following years crisis, with economic growth instead of economic decline, with almost full employment, versus skyrocketing unemployment in the rest of the US and the western world. We need to build our common wealth with sovereign money, backed by our sovereign economies.

As the empire and its vassals are crumbling badly, they are shaking in their foundations, it is time to rethink what we have been taking for granted and for ‘normal’ – a fraudulent and deceptive monetary system, backed by nothing, no economy, not even gold – we are living on sheer fiat money, made by private banking by a mouse-click – and by letting us be enslaved by debt.

Enough is enough. The Yellow Vests have understood. They want to get rid of their “Macron” who keeps propagating the fraud. It is time to rethink and restart, as the crumbling is getting louder and louder. Empire’s European vassal state is falling apart and will pull Washington and its hegemonic war and money machine along into the abyss.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

First published by the New Eastern Outlook – NEO

  Read   Europe on the Brink of Collapse?
  January 11, 2019
Oil’s Wild Price Swings Set to Create Global Chaos
by Andrew Nikiforuk, in Resource Crisis, Countercurrents.

As the current global oil glut shakes up petro states around the world, oil prices are becoming more volatile than Donald Trump tweets.

Neither Canada, now the dumb owner of a marginal 65-year-old pipeline, nor Alberta, a key exporter of bitumen, a cheap refinery feedstock, has paid much attention to this revolution.

As a consequence Canada has no strategy to deal with the new normal of highly volatile oil prices.

Government incompetence explains the hew and cry in Alberta about its overproduction crisis and the various proposals to solve it, ranging from the purchase of rail cars (a bad idea) to the decision to order companies to cut production of heavy oil by about 325,000 barrels a day (a sensible idea).

Alberta’s panic attack is based on the idea that bitumen from the province’s oilsands producers is selling at a discount because of a lack of pipeline capacity.

The reality is that the dramatic 30-per-cent drop in oil prices since the beginning of October, from more than US$70 to US$50, is upsetting oil exporters, producers and markets around the world.

Different kinds of oil fetch different prices, based on their quality and transportation costs. And all are experiencing dramatic price drops. Alberta’s bitumen, a cheap refinery feedstock, is not the only crude languishing during a global market glut.

Refineries in Japan and Korea, for example, scooped up cheap U.S. oil earlier this year.

Texas is replaying the Alberta experience. Overproduction of light shale oil and gas in the Permian Basin in Texas has choked up pipelines and refineries and thereby lowered prices for West Texas Intermediate, much to the dismay of shale oil drillers.

Meanwhile China’s three biggest oil companies, including PetroChina, have lost $79 billion in market value since the beginning of October as oil prices plummeted this fall.

No one expects this growing oil price volatility to end soon, and many analysts suspect the unpredictability is signalling five important structural shifts in the global economy that political leaders have largely ignored.

1. Low oil prices can be a big problem

The physics of energy flows, not money, makes the world go around. The evidence strongly suggests that the last 300 years of economic growth were based on a constant supply of cheap energy.

For the last 150 years the quest for cheap energy has changed the planet. Humans, with the help of fossil-fuelled enterprises, now consume one-quarter of the world’s primary biological production. We have changed the atmosphere and made human beings the world’s number one predator.

As the master resource, oil and its affordability controlled the pace of the global economy and influenced the price of most other commodities. Economic recessions followed high oil prices just as booms generally accompanied low prices.

Societies that can increase energy consumption, such as China and India right now, generate more jobs, support higher salaries and service debt more easily. But societies experiencing declining levels of energy consumption, such as embattled Europe, are having trouble keeping people employed at decent wages. By any measure oil remains a keystone species in the complex ecology of a technological society.

Too much price volatility can cripple the entire global machine, and low prices for oil can trigger even greater disruption, argues Gail Tverberg, an actuary who writes about “Our Finite World.”

Tverberg says the problem is not demand for oil, but increasing problems with the affordability of oil.

“The maximum affordable oil price seems to decline over time,” she writes, as workers struggle with stagnant wages, income inequality and higher interest rates. While high oil prices slow consumption and lead to parked cars, low oil prices can disrupt the ability of oil producers to invest in new production capacity and lead to shutdowns.

Tverberg believes the global economy has entered a period where gyrating oil prices will clobber consumers and producers alike. Prior to the 1970s, oil prices worked for both consumers and producers, she writes. But now “the price that consumers can afford has tended to fall increasingly far below the price that producers require.” Price volatility guarantees that producers will find it harder and harder to assemble the capital they need to grow oil production, let alone service their debt levels.

Higher oil prices won’t solve the problem because they will only depress the global economy further. “The physics tie between energy and the economy makes major energy consumption cutbacks virtually impossible, without risking economic collapse,” concludes Tverberg.

2. Wild volatility emerges as the new normal

Tom Therramus, the pen name of a U.S. academic, argues that oil price volatility is a new cyclical trend that has been increasing rapidly over the last 15 to 20 years.

Writing in the blog Oil-Price.Net, he documents this new development. “Wave-like surges,” or spikes in price volatility, tend to erupt every three or four years like clockwork. In addition stock market volatility tends to follow oil price leaps and falls by six to 12 months.

This new volatility in oil prices is analogous to other trends like the increasing frequency of wildfires in forests destabilized by drought and climate change.

And oil price volatility is as dangerous as a wildfire. “Unpredictability in oil price, resulting from rapid changes (up or down) over short time spans, is bad news because oil, and more broadly fossil fuel, is the commodity that is most essential to the operation of a modern economy,” Therramus writes.

Therramus adds “that the world has not seen a phenomenon of this type previously and that its emergence marks the rise of a new dynamic with potential to shape our economic and political fate. The uncertainty that many of us feel thus may be far from nebulous, but a shared hunch that history’s engines are shifting gears.”

Therramus predicted the current bout of oil price volatility.

The Harvard Business Review now suggests that everyone should get used to “faster, shallower price rotations based on changes in production.”

For more than a decade the Alberta government has known that bitumen pricing is 60 per cent more volatile than prices for higher quality West Texas Intermediate. But it did little to buffer its economy or its industry.

3. The global economy is languishing

Economist Robert Gordon has written lucidly about the decline of economic growth in the U.S. In the world’s first petro state, economic growth has shrunk from 3.2 per cent a year in 1970 to 1.4 per cent in 2016. The author of The Rise and Fall of American Growth argues that the slowdown has been marked by rising inequality, stagnant wages and underemployment among college graduates. Taxi drivers with PhDs are one symptom. So, too, are the declining productivity of agricultural research and medical workers. Similar patterns have enveloped the economies of Japan, Korea and Europe.

Gordon suspects that society has exhausted the possibilities and benefits created by what he calls “the Great Inventions of the Second Industrial Revolution,” such as refrigeration, electricity and jet engines. It is becoming “ever more resource intensive” to find technologies or ideas that may have a major impact on the economy, he writes.

This analysis partly explains why populist leaders from Brazil to the United States now emphasize a return to greatness in their tweets and rallies.

4. The U.S. shale gale is disruptive

The U.S. fracking revolution has played a significant role in creating a temporary oil glut and destabilizing prices. Last summer the U.S. pumped 11.6 million barrels a day as its oil production surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia. The U.S., still a net importer of oil, hasn’t been the world’s largest crude oil producer since 1973.

This novel increase has largely been achieved by shattering dense shale rocks with the brute force technology of hydraulic fracking.

Fracking requires mountains of sand and lakes of water: both sand and water demands have tripled since 2012. The technology also comes with enormous environmental liabilities including earthquakes, methane migration, flaring, land fragmentation and groundwater contamination.

The fracking of shale deposits costs more than mining conventional oil, and it can’t be done without cheap credit. Early this year the Wall Street Journal estimated that “the companies behind the U.S. oil boom together have spent $265 billion more than they generated from operations since 2010.” Only low interest rates and lax regulations have kept the fracking revolution alive.

Some U.S. analysts predict the shale boom will last until 2040. But other forecasters such as David Hughes and Art Berman predict the shale gale will peak much sooner — within 10 years — due to high depletion rates, increasingly hard to extract resources and high costs.

In the meantime, a global surge in oil production, largely driven by fracking in North America, has disrupted oil markets repeatedly and added to oil price volatility. Overproduction in shale formations contributed to the oil price rout of 2014 and the collapse of oil prices this fall.

If Canada had paid any attention to the shale gale over the last decade, it would have limited bitumen production rather than let regulators rubber stamp one oilsands project after another. Competent politicians would have encouraged limited refining near the oilsands instead of advocating for unlimited pipeline expansion.

5. Costly, hard-to-produce oil means diminishing returns

The quantity and quality of oil produced has changed dramatically, meaning diminished returns for all players. Mining bitumen in the boreal forest or fracking tight oil from the Permian require complex and expensive engineering.

Most of Canada’s bitumen production comes from high-cost steaming operations that use enormous amounts of natural gas (almost one-third of Canada’s annual supply) to boil water to produce steam that is pumped underground to increase bitumen production. In the U.S., about half of all oil production comes from dense shale formations requiring high-cost fracking and horizontal drilling.

Bitumen and light oil from dense shale formations share a common trait — poor quality that adds to the cost of refining them. Bitumen requires upgrading while light oil poses a different set of refinery challenges, including contamination with paraffin waxes and hydrogen sulfide.

French geologist Jean Laherrère notes that shale oil is of substantially lower quality than conventional oil. So an increase in the number of barrels being produced does not mean an equivalent increase in energy value.

The more energy and capital that technological society throws at oil extraction, the more fragile it becomes. A hundred years ago companies drilled a hole and oil gushed from the ground. Now they are smashing concrete-like formations with extreme force or melting oilsands with steam to coax out lesser-quality oil.

In the process, the world’s oil and gas industry has gone further and further into debt to cover the cost of mining these extreme resources.

Low prices and more volatile pricing are not only big problems for the industry, but even bigger problems for oil-exporting states dependent on oil revenues.

Art Berman, the Houston analyst, calculates that the global industry needs a world oil price between $60 and $70 to recover costs. The price today is $50.

What does it all mean?

The lessons from these new realities are complex, but important.

The global economy is failing, with diminishing returns for the 99 per cent. Elites around the world are fighting among themselves over the remaining spoils.

Economic stagnation has plunged oil prices into chaotic volatility. (Or has the irrational pursuit of extreme resources such as bitumen and tight oil helped to unhinge the global economy?)

Canada promoted oilsands production based on forecasts of $100-a-barrel oil. The price reached that level in 2008, and then plunged. Volatility has ruled since. Canada and Alberta have also pretended bitumen, a cheap refinery feedstock, would command the same prices as higher quality oil.

Global markets have delivered the truth. Garbage crude is always garbage crude until you add value by upgrading and refining it. And when prices swing, low-quality oil takes the biggest hit.

Companies can compensate for oil price volatility in the short term by hedging, storing the product or by operating refineries and adding value. Governments can curtail production, as Alberta Premier Rachel Notley reluctantly did. (And yes, the price of heavy oil rallied.)

But the increasing waves of oil price volatility ultimately create political and financial instability. Petro states then practice extreme politics to contain the resulting unrest. And the U.S. is one of the world’s most conflicted and dysfunctional petro states.

Technology does not create energy. It merely accelerates the depletion of resources by providing more complex, costly ways of extracting what poorer hydrocarbons remain.

And no, it’s not just fossil fuel resources that are depleted. Cheap oil lets companies build bigger boats with bigger engines to use bigger nets to catch smaller fish, even as stocks are destroyed.

These energy dynamics also explain the repeated global political failure to face the disruptive anarchy of climate change. Minds conditioned by Titanic economic thinking have lost all connections to traditional instincts for survival, and don’t believe in icebergs.

Just as they ignore the reality that, in the absence of courageous political leadership, complex energy systems, like cod stocks, can collapse without much warning.  [Tyee]

Andrew Nikiforuk has been writing about the oil and gas industry for nearly 20 years and cares deeply about accuracy, government accountability, and cumulative impacts. He has won seven National Magazine Awards for his journalism since 1989 and top honours for investigative writing from the Association of Canadian Journalists. Andrew has also published several books. The dramatic, Alberta-based Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil, won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction in 2002. Pandemonium, which examines the impact of global trade on disease exchanges, received widespread national acclaim. The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent, which considers the world’s largest energy project, was a national bestseller and won the 2009 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award and was listed as a finalist for the Grantham Prize for Excellence In Reporting on the Environment. Andrew’s latest book, Empire of the Beetle, a startling look at pine beetles and the world’s most powerful landscape changer, was nominated for the Governor General’s award for Non-Fiction in 2011.

Originally published by The Tyee

  Read  Oil’s Wild Price Swings Set to Create Global Chaos
  January 12, 2019
Negative Zero Sum Game
by David Anderson, in Climate Change / Counter Solutions, Countercurrents.

Many citizens throughout the world have concluded that our Capital Market system is an ecological Negative Zero Sum game driving human civilization toward an “end of time” apocalypse of horrific proportions.


With the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution that followed, the economic theory of Adam Smith relating to efficiency of an open and free capital market distribution of goods and services was universally accepted. Today, for most people in the world this understanding continues to be accepted. In America it was promoted by the economist Milton Friedman and is known as “The Chicago School.”

Some even refer to it as “the hand of god” allocating goods and services in the most cost effective and socially advantageous way.

That theory has now been exposed for its underlying planetary and human destructiveness. Many have even concluded there is a high probability of it bringing on an apocalypse of “end of time” ecological proportions. Adam Smith’s capital markets theory is seen as playing planetary and social “Russian Roulette” with horrific outcome.

It should be noted that these individuals critical of free and open markets are fully aware of the fact that Marxist theory as a solution to the problem was a failure. What then is the solution?

A reevaluation of Smith’s theory has activated an entirely new theory, one with a revised concept of market pricing wherein social and/or ecological externalities with negative value are financially recognized. All externalities so defined as dangerous to the continuation of life on the planet are priced in so as to eliminate the trade.

This essay calls for the rapid implementation of this new economic theory.

First a discussion of what has now become the most immediately dangerous negative planetary externality; the release of CO2 into the Biosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Here is the reality:

In 2012 the World Bank warned that resultant high temperatures from CO2 could trigger what is called a Methane Hydrate Feedback Loop in the Arctic. It could raise planetary temperatures to the point where most life on the planet will die out. Scientists are now telling us that this temperature rise has already begun. Recent temperatures there have been the highest in recorded history.

This has now become the most immediately serious of our many ecological problems. And it brings to the fore the urgent need to convert to other forms of energy in a short period of time. That in itself raises very critical questions relating to the amount of fossil fuel that will be needed for the conversion. Will industries such as air, automobiles, trucking, ocean shipping and metals now so reliant on fossil fuels be able to make the transition; and if so, what can be the alternative energy form they employ? How will highly carbon consumptive basic industries such as concrete and steel make the transition? How will the citizens country by country, region by region, respond politically to such a state of economic disruption and reorganization?

These are questions not being broadly discussed in academia today or in the business community or in government. They should be. The future of human civilization is at stake.

There is a way that a relatively non-violent transition can take place. It will, however, require strong leadership throughout the planet at the international level. Fortunately we are beginning to see some positive signs of this. COP21 was a starter. It showed that there was a unity of common purpose among many world leaders. But it also showed a reluctance to make firm commitments. Meetings since then have been a disappointment.

The crisis is calling for far greater resolve. Heads of State must come together under the articles of a newly formed multinational body well beyond the stature of the United Nations. That organization was formed for the purpose of providing a forum for the nations of the world to achieve a unity of purpose. As humanity now faces the possibility of extinction, the need for such new purpose is far greater than it was when that international body was formed.

Within the next 36 months such an organization must come together and economically orchestrate an increase in the cost of carbon world-wide; from first moment of entry into the system and extending through to its becoming a part of derivative goods and services.

This would be a market approach. National and international carbon markets would serve as disciplinarian. They would force alternative forms of energy to be brought into the system up and down the production/consumption line. They would achieve this by pricing in gradual increases in the price of carbon, beginning at its source. Increasing carbon cost at its source would force higher prices to be passed through to the final price of all derivative goods and services. Non-carbon derivative forms of energy would then be given the incentive to become increasingly competitive. They eventually would replace carbon. Some end products that are solely reliant on the burning of large amounts of carbon would be eliminated entirely from the system by way of price appreciation.

There are far reaching social implications. Present consumers of carbon energy dependent goods and services will have to switch over to non carbon goods and services. Carbon producers will be forced out of the market. Carbon reliant socio/economic activities too will be forced out of the market. Price will force change.

This approach is congruent within the currently established framework of existing capital market systems both in nations and internationally.

But first a word on the profession of economics:

A move in the direction outlined here cannot occur without the voices of the prominent economists of our age. They can make the difference. Their profession is in control of economic thought. They can bring the public to an awareness of the seriousness of the problem and its solution by way of pricing in negative external costs.

The time has come for them to recognize this and to speak up.

Throughout the world and most notably in the Economic Departments of Western Universities, negative external costs are not being emphasized as a part of the decision making process. Maximizing total financial return is. There is little or no interest in saving the planet; becoming more efficient in exploiting it yes; but not in saving it.

Now to the details:

For producers of oil, gas and coal a national tax (Negative Externality Tax – let’s call it NET) will be levied at the point of extraction; defined as that point where the product enters the national and/or international market. That national tax will be increased year by year over a fifteen year period. It will therefore become integral to the pricing of all domestic goods and services in the country and the export pricing of goods and services.

The tax rate established for each compliant country will serve to bring domestic and/or international price up to an internationally agreed carbon equivalent figure. That figure would be increased year by year based on an internationally agreed world-wide 15 year carbon reduction formula. Here is an example for diesel: The NET would bring the cost up to say $70 per barrel domestically and internationally immediately and then over 15 years to say $ 200/300 per barrel or whatever price brings global carbon emissions down to an ecologically acceptable level.

In the case above revenue from the domestic tax will first be the difference between the internal production cost and $70, then year by year the increasing formulaic amount. That revenue will be retained by the producing nation where it can be used for needed internal investment and social adjustments. It can also be used to encourage non carbon activities and to develop non carbon sources of energy.

For those countries that refuse to comply, their exports of goods to compliant countries will be penalized (import duty taxed‑let’s call it IDT) by the import compliant country. Each and every import will be evaluated as to its local non taxed NET content.

Can this be accomplished? Some of the finest mathematical minds on our planet now spend their time devising algorithms for computerized trading of securities in order to exploit the weaknesses of other algorithms. The time has come for the economics profession to give these minds a new challenge, one that will benefit human civilization – and save it from the possibility of extinction.

Import duty revenues (let’s call them IDR’s) collected by compliant countries from non-compliant country imports can be turned over to a body such as the World Bank to be used to assist compliant nations with their difficulty in making necessary economic/social adjustments. These adjustments will fall into two categories; one the decline nationally in fossil fuel export revenues and the other the national destruction and dislocation being caused by ongoing climatic events.

Immediate examples of potential beneficiaries in the second category are a number of Island nations in the Pacific and elsewhere already being inundated by rising waters and Arctic settlements being affected by global warming. Most will be without internal resources to resettle population. Many other nations with low land areas being inundated by rising oceans will also need this kind of assistance.

Populations in many areas of the planet will be severely affected as fossil fuels are eliminated. Russia, Australia and the Middle Eastern countries are examples. Many Middle Eastern countries are almost totally reliant on oil revenues to pay for food imports. Such revenues will decline to the point where they will be insufficient for feeding the population. This also will have an impact on Middle Eastern oil and gas non-producers and minimal producers, those countries that have relied on grants from their wealthy neighbor producers. Egypt, reliant on neighbor contributions for food imports is a prime example. The future for Egypt will look bleak. Although extrapolating from present trends to make predictions is always problematic, the current projection is a population that will have increased from 90 million to 138 million by 2050. The Nigerian situation is even more bleak. Its petroleum industry is the largest in Africa. Its population of 186 million is expected to grow to 390 million by 2050.

Time will be needed to allow many of these countries to restructure and rebalance their economies. Also to reduce population levels. Others in need of assistance will be countries like India with pockets of poverty and minimal originating carbon revenue. Countries such as these will need massive injections of capital in order to restructure their industries and feed their populations. As a general rule, all nations that are unable to fund societal adjustments will need assistance.

The pricing/costing methodology here outlined will allow the world within the critical 10/15 year period to turn to carbon free sources of energy. Nation states at all levels of technological development will be given time to adjust. As they do, high carbon input products and services will leave the market and be replaced by energy input products with low or no carbon input. This will force nations at all ends of the planet to adopt a different social political economic energy structural logic from that which exists today.

It must be understood: This is just the first step toward human planetary resource control and human survival. Pricing in of other negative externalities harmful to humanity and all other life on the planet can then come next.

Homo sapiens continuation rests on this premise: The biosphere is finite. We must find a way to live in a congruent state within that finitude.

The time has come for all industrialized nations to acknowledge that the problem is planetary and it can only be solved multi-nationally.

The future of our human civilization hangs in the balance.

David Anderson brings together a wide range of interests in his writings, namely; theology, history, evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, geopolitics, and economics.

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.

See: http://www.inquiryabraham.com/new-book.html

  Read  Negative Zero Sum Game
  January 13, 2019
Why Is Japan So Bitter About Unstoppable Rise Of China?
by Andre Vltchek, in World, Countercurrents.

Abandoned swings Mie Prefecture

There used to be a pair of beautiful swings for children, not far from an old rural temple in Mie Prefecture, where I used to frequently power walk, when searching for inspiration for my novels. Two years ago, I noticed that the swings had gotten rusty, abandoned, and unkempt. Yesterday, I spotted a yellow ribbon, encircling and therefore closing the structure down. It appears that the decision had already been made to get rid of the playground, irreversibly.

Homeless man at Nagoya station

One day earlier, I observed an old homeless man sleeping right under a big sign which was advertising a cluster of luxury eateries at the lavish Nagoya train station.

And in the city of Yokkaichi, which counts some 350,000 inhabitants, almost all but very few bus lines had disappeared. What had also disappeared was an elegant and unique, shining zodiac, which used to be engraved into the marble promenade right in front of the Kintetsu Line train station, the very center of the city. The fast ferry across the bay, connecting Yokkaichi with Centrair International Airport that serves Nagoya and in fact almost the entire area of Central Japan, stopped operating, as the municipal subsidies dried up. Now people have to drive some seventy kilometers, all around the bay, burning fuel and paying exuberant highway tolls and airport parking fees, to make it to their flight. What used to constitute public spaces, or even just rice fields, is rapidly being converted into depressing parking lots. It is happening in Central Japan, but also as far southwest as the city of Nagasaki, and as north as Nemuro.

Homeless people are everywhere.Cars (Japan now has more cars per capita than the United States) are rotting in the middle of rice fields and at the edges of once pristine forests, as they lose value rapidly, and it costs a lot of money to get rid of them properly. Entire rural villages are being depopulated, in fact turning into ghost towns. There is rust, bad planning and an acute lack of anything public, all over the country.

No more public spaces, just parking lots

Japan is in decay. For many years, it was possible,with half-closed eyes,to ignore it, as the country was due to inertia hanging on to the top spot of the richest nations on Earth. But not anymore: the deterioration is now just too visible.

The decay is not as drastic as one can observe in some parts of France, the United States, or the UK. But decay it is. The optimistic, heady days of nation-building are over. The Automobile industry and other corporations are literally cannibalizing the country, dictating its lifestyle. In smaller cities, motorists do not yield on pedestrian crossings anymore. Cars are prioritized by urban planners, and some urban planners are paid, bribery by the car industry. Many areas can now only be reached by cars. There are hardly any public exercise machines, and almost no new parks. Japan, which prides itself on producing some of the most refined food, is now fully overwhelmed by several chains of convenience stores, which are full of unhealthy foodstuff.

Abandoned houses – south Mie

For generations, people were sacrificing their lives in order to build a prosperous, powerful and socially balanced Japan. Now, there is no doubt that the citizens are there mainly to support powerful corporations or in short: big business. Japanese used to have its own and distinct model, but now the lifestyle is not too different from one that could be observed in North America or Europe. For the second time in its history, Japan has been forced to ‘open to the world’ (read: to Western interests and to the global capitalist economy), and to accept the concepts that used to be thoroughly alien to the Asian culture. The consequences were quick to arrive, and in summary, they have been thoroughly disastrous.


After WWII, Japan had to accept occupation. The Constitution was written by the US. Defeated but determined to rebuild and join the ranks of the richest countries on earth, Japan began collaborating with the West, first supporting the brutal invasion to Korea (the so-called “Korean War”). It totally gave up on its independence, fully surrendering its foreign policy, which gradually became indistinct from that of the United States in particular, and the West in general. The mass media has been, since the end of the war to now, controlled and censored by the regime in Tokyo. Major Japanese newspapers, as well as the Japanese national broadcaster NHK, would never dare to broadcast or publish any important international news, unless at least one major US or British mainstream media outlet had set the tone and example of how the story should be covered by the mass media in the ‘client’ states. In this respect, the Japanese media is not different from its counterparts in countries such as Indonesia or Kenya. Japan is also definitely not a ‘democracy’, if ‘democracy’ simply means the rule of the people. Traditionally, Japanese people used to live mainly in order to serve the nation, which was perhaps not such a bad concept. It used to work, at least for the majority. However, now, they are expected to sacrifice their lives solely for the profits of corporations.

People in Japan do not rebel, even when they are robbed by their rulers. They are shockingly submissive.

Japan is not only in decay. It tries to spread its failure like an epidemy. It is actually spreading, and glorifying its submissive, subservient foreign and domestic policies. Through scholarships, it is continuously indoctrinating, and effectively intellectually castrating tens of thousands of willing students from the poor Southeast Asian nations, and other parts of the world.


In the meantime, China, which is literally ‘next door’, is leading in scientific research, in urban planning, and in social policies. With ‘Ecological Civilization’ now part of its Constitution, it is way ahead of Japan in developing alternative sources of energy, public transportation, as well as organic food production. By 2020, there will be no more pockets of extreme poverty on the entire huge territory of China.

And in China, it is all done under the red Communist banners, which the Japanese public has been taught to despise and reject.

Tremendous Chinese determination, zeal, genius and socialist spirit are evidently superior, compared to the sclerotic, conservative and revanchist spirit of modern Japan and of its handlers in the West.The contrast is truly shocking and very clearly detectable even with unarmed eyes.

And on the international stage: while Japanese corporations are plundering entire countries, and corrupting governments, China is helping to put entire continents back on their feet, using good old Communist internationalist ideals. The West does its best to smear China and its great efforts, and Japan is doing the same, even inventing new insults, but the truth is more and more difficult to hide. One speaks to Africans, and he or she finds out quickly what goes on. One travels to China, and everything becomes even clearer. Unless one is paid very well not to see.


Instead of learning and deciding to totally change its economic and social system, Japan is turning into a sore loser. It hates China for succeeding under its independent policies, and under its Communist placards. It hates China for building new and beautiful cities designed for the people. It hates China even for doing its best to save the environment, as well as the countryside. And it hates China for being fully independent, politically and socially, even academically.

China tried‘playing’footsies with the Western academia, but the game almost turned deadly, leading to ideological infiltration and the near collapse of China’s intellectual independence. But at least the danger was identified, and the Western subversion was quickly stopped, just 5 minutes to Midnight so to speak; before it was too late.

In Japan, submission and collaboration with the Western global imperialist regime is worn as some code of honor. Japanese graduates of various US and UK universities frame their university diplomas and hang them on the wall, as if they’d symbolize great proof of their success, instead of collaboration with the system which is ruining almost entire planet.


I remember, some fifteen years ago, Chinese tourists would stand on the bullet train platforms all over Japan, with their cameras ready, dreaming. When train would pass, they’d sigh.

Now, China has the most extensive and the fastest bullet train network in the world. Their trains are also more comfortable and incomparably cheaper than the Japanese or French ones; priced so everyone can afford to travel.

Chinese women used to eye, sadly, the offerings of Japanese department stores. iPhones were what the middle class was dreaming of possessing. Now Chinese visitors to Japan are dressed as elegantly as the locals, iPhones are not considered a luxury, and actually, Huawei and other Chinese manufacturers are now producing better phones than Apple.

I also remember how impressed Chinese tourists to Japan were with the modern architecture, international concert halls, and elegant cafes and boutiques.

Now, the cultural life of Beijing and Shanghai is incomparably richer than that of Tokyo or Osaka. Modern architecture in China is much more impressive, and there are innovations in both the urban and rural life of China, that are still far from being implemented in Japan.

While public playgrounds in Japan are being abandoned or converted into parking lots, China is building new parks, huge and small, recovering river and lake areas, turning them into public spaces.

Instead of omnipresent Japanese advertisements, China is placing witty and educative cartoons speaking about socialist virtues, solidarity, compassion and equality, at many arteries, even at the metro trains. Ecological civilization is ‘advertised’ basically everywhere.

Japanese people are increasingly gloomy, but in China, confident smiles are seen at each and every step.

China is rising. It is unstoppable. Not because its economic growth (government is actually not interested in it, too much, anymore), but because the quality of life of the Chinese citizens is going steadily up.

And that is all that really matters, isn’t it? We can clearly improve the life of people under a tolerant, modern Communist system. As long as people smile, as long they are educated, healthy and happy, we are clearly winning!


Suburban decay all over Japan

Some individuals are still chasing those magic images of pristine Japanese forests and lakes. Yes, they are still there, if you search very hard. Tea rooms and trees, lovely creeks. But you have to work very hard, you have to edit and search for the perfect shots, as Japanese cities and countryside are dotted with rotten cars and weird metal beams, with unkempt public spaces, with ugly electric wires hanging everywhere. As long as money can be saved, as long as there is profit, anything goes.

Japanese people find it hard to formulate their feelings on the subject. But in summary: they feel frustrated that the country they used to occupy and torture, is doing much better than their own. To Japanese imperialists, the Chinese were simply‘sub-humans’. It is never pronounced, but Japan has only been respecting Western culture and Western power. And now, the Chinese ‘sub-humans’ are exploring the bottoms of the oceans, building airplanes, running the fastest trains on earth, and making wonderful art films. And they are set on liberating the oppressed world, through its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, and through other incredible ideas.

And what is Japan doing? Selfies and video games, idiotic meaningless nihilist cartoons, brainless social media, an enormous avalanche of uninventive pornography, of decorative ‘arts’, pop music and mass-produced cars. Its people are depressed. I have three decades of history with Japan, I know it intimately, still love it; love many things about it, but I also clearly see that it is changing, in fact collapsing. And it is refusing to admit it, and to change.

Oma , Aomori Prefecture

I work with China, because I love where it is going. I like its modern Communist model (I was never a great supporter of the “Gang of Four”and their cult and glorification of poverty)– let all Chinese people be rich soon, and let the entire oppressed world be wealthy as well!

But that is not what Japan wants. For some time, it felt ‘unique’. It was the only rich Asian country. The only Asian country allowed to be rich, by the West. During apartheid, in South Africa, the Japanese people were defined as “honorary whites”. It is because they had embraced Western culture. Because they opted to plunder the world, together with the Europeans and North Americans, instead of helping the subjugated nations. In many ways, it was a form of political and moral prostitution, but it paid well; extremely well, so its morality was simply not discussed.

Now China is getting ahead simply because of its courage, hard work, the genius of its people, and all this, under the wise leadership of the Communist Party and its central planning. Precisely under things that the Japanese people were brainwashed into hating.

This is frustrating. It is scary. So, all that submission, humiliation and bowing to the empire was for nothing?In the end, it is China, it is Communism which will win, and which will be doing the greatest service to humanity.

Yes, Japan is frustrated. These days, polls speak of some 80% of the Japanese disliking the Chinese.

As I interact with people from all corners of Japan, I am getting convinced that the Japanese public subconsciously feels that, for decades, it has been betting on the ‘wrong horse’. It is too proud to verbalize it. It is too scared to fully reflect on it. But life in Japan, at least for many, is clearly becoming meaningless, gloomy and depressing. And there is no revolution on the horizon, as the country was successfully de-politicized.

China is building, inventing, struggling and marching forward, confidently, surrounded by friends, but independently.

Japan is tied up and restrained. It cannot move. It doesn’t even know how to move, how to resist, anymore.

And that is why Japan hates China!


[Originally published by NEO – New Eastern Outlook]

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

  Read Why Is Japan So Bitter About Unstoppable Rise Of China?
  January 14, 2019
Global Wars and Peace: Insanity against Humanity: What is Next?
by Dr Mahboob A Khawaja, in World, Countercurrents.

 “The road to hell is paved with good conventions.”  (Bert Rolling, The Law of War and National Jurisdiction since 1945).

The Global Conventions Betrayed the Humanity

The UNO, The Geneva Conventions, The Hague Conventions, The Declaration of Human Rights, The Human Rights Commission and so many other paper-based laws and conventions often are a distraction from the prevalent reality of raging global conflicts needing urgent and forceful action for peace and human security. Workings of the countless international institutions appear to have diminished the hope for systematic global law and order. While the global mankind bleeds, the institutional leadership formulated by a class of people relies on false statements to console the humanity as if all is well.  The institutional culture of governance is no different than the previous century of mediocre politicians. In a 21st century knowledge-based rational society, politics is nothing else except conflict management, protection of human rights, peace, human security and human progress. But cynicism about politicians and their role in societal peace and progress is becoming endemic. Most politicians are like actors, pretension on screen for the good of people. Thomas Paine ( The Rights of Man, 1792), rightly pointed out that “ man is not the enemy of man but through the medium of false system of government – the wisdom of a  nation should apply itself to reform the system – revolution by reason and accommodation rather than convulsion.”  The 21st century politicians are detached from the thoughts and concerns of the real world lacking understanding and imperatives of the sanctity of human life. The global order needs a navigational change. Politicians do not view themselves as citizens but a class of people to rule the society. Once elected, their agenda contradicts the principles of human life and priorities.

The Two World Wars devastated the humanity and planet because of the failure of global institutions and leadership. It is estimated that 65 million people were killed during the 2ndWW.  The account of the First WW is not recorded correctly except being several millions lost in the planned savagery – man against man. War negates human nature and societal peace and harmony. H.G. Wells manifested the declaration of human rights in 1939 and wondered “What are we Fighting for?”

1928 Paris General Treaty (Kellog-Brand Pact) signatories renounced the use of force – war as an instrument of national policy and agreed to settle the conflict by “pacific means..” In 1925 Geneva Protocols prohibiting the use of poisonous gases as crime against peace and waging a war of aggression. The commencement of the 2nd WW witnessed betrayal of all the peaceful principles. The 1949 Geneva Convention called for respect of human rights and integrated human rights with the law of war.  Many conventions described the rules but nothing sensible was practiced to support the good conventions. The living history tells how the world was engulfed with the insanity of planned wars and how the European-American advanced killing machines deliberately massacred millions and millions across the global landscape. Have we, the THINKING PEOPLE of the globe learned anything useful from the record of history? Have we taken heed to ensure the practice of the rules and laws of peace and war? In an endless and self-repeating political treachery, the tragic tensions of history are intensifying the global affairs. Unless the global humanity is actively organized for peace, the coming of the Third World War is reasonably predictable.

The Bogus War on Terrorism

For almost two decades, America in alliance with NATO is fighting the war on terror. Why did America invade Iraq and Afghanistan?  Iraq and Afghanistan never invaded America nor posed any threat to its security. There is a critical crisis in THINKING and IDENTITY across the United States.  Frank Scott (“Who Are we?” Media Monitors Networks) offers a rational context to Who Are We?

“Under assault by a consciousness control system that insists we are doing quite well even when evidence shows we’re on the critical list, we have reason to be confused…..If we, the people of these United States, are ever to be a united nation we have to penetrate the lead curtain of misinformation in which we are imprisoned and begin thinking as a population with a collective destiny which demands collective action. We have a serious social identity crisis and cannot save ourselves by making war against ourselves. But if we want a peaceful world and safe environment, we need to break out of the mental prison in which we’ll remain as long as we are kept separate, and unequal, by the controllers of what goes into our minds under the false label of information.”

Americans and most European masses are indoctrinated that Islam and Muslims are their enemies and somehow, the 9/11 attacks have come to revisit the superstitious and unthinkable episode.  In reality, “terrorism” myth was manufactured by the lobbyist-run Western political leaders and groups whereas; it has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. The myth is self-engineered by the former neo-conservatives of the Bush administration.

History exposes the Europeans transgressors who invaded the morally and intellectually advanced Islamic Civilization and crushed it by military campaigns all their material and scientific progress and public institutions. The colonization scheme of things was not outcome of the Western democratic values to spread freedom, liberty and justice but ferocity of violence and killings of millions and millions of human lives for the European Empires to be built on colored bloodbaths. The European crusaders crossed the channels and unknown time zones to subjugate the much divided Muslim people as part of their superior nationalism perception and values that Muslims were inferior to the European race and could be used as subjects without human identity and raw material to build the new Empires. Centuries later if there was a UNO at the time, it would not have dared to call the European invaders as terrorists because it defied the democratic reasoning as the colonized masses lived in slavery and denial of basic human rights and identity. They were classified as “subjects of conquered race.” In an information age, knowledge–driven global culture of reason, ignorance is no longer a requisite to learn from the living history.

Age of Perpetuated Insanity against the Global Citizens

Too many text books describe historical conventions, laws and rules of engagements but nothing is practiced when it comes to the reality of war.  We are living in an information age, a world of knowledge but ignorance and arrogance rule where sanctity of human life is not a virtue, often incomprehensible to common citizens. All the legal stipulations appear devoid of reason to protect the life and dignity of human life. The protection of human rights is fast becoming a fashionable business exhibited by “goodwill ambassadors”, the movie stars and sportsmen on the screen and nothing beyond that endless deception to human affairs. The vitality of human rights cannot be imagined by media portrayal of few selected movie stars. Wars are continuously raging and millions and millions are displaced, massacred, charcoaled by chemical weapons and  drones but the UNO, NATO, global leaders and other emissaries issue statements of concerns when cold blooded murders are unstoppable in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Libya and Kashmir challenging the human conscience – if there is such a thing still in existence. These are unforgivable atrocities and crimes against the innocent mankind. Is there a tangible and reliable global system of accountability to prosecute the perpetrators of wars and crimes against humanity? The ICC is just another name for the few to try relatively less important violators and small nations, certainly not the criminals like George W. Bush, Tony Blair and so many others. All conclusions have consequences and wars are a direct threat and violation of human rights.

Bertrand Russell and Alfred Einstein Manifest (1955) called “a war with H bomb might possibly put an end to the human race.”  In 2017, America tested the Mother of Bombs in Afghanistan. The Human Rights Commission, Geneva is a class of its own, meeting for nine weeks in a year and reading the papers and complaints and doing nothing else. On the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, over 12 million people from across the globe asked the UN Secretary General to fulfill the promises envisioned in the 1948 Declaration. The UNO or global leadership lack visionary and intelligent commitment and power to implement anything useful for the protection of humanity.  In a world of reason, we NEED reasoned dialogue and open public discussion on the issues of human rights, protection of civilians in conflict zones and sustainable movement for peacemaking and conflict resolution. It is explicitly connected to the global citizens. There cannot be any secret game of politics to get elected and be accountable to the demands of citizens. The global political leadership desperately needs an inner eye and soul to comprehend the prevalent reality of concerned citizens to ensure freedom from fear and annihilation by the unknown forces of human ignorance and cruelty which held the humanity captive during the Two WW. Political wretchedness requires rational cure. Time is living; its importance must not be ignored. Being rational human being, rationality requires objective reasoning in all of human endeavors complemented by a defined and working system of accountability. Otherwise, history will not remember us as people of knowledge, wisdom and age of enlightenment but people belonging to an age of unending darkness whose viciousness destroyed their own existence.

A century earlier C.E, M. Joad (Guide to Modern Wickedness), captioned the human tragedy in these words:

“….Human nature is at least in part wicked and in part foolish, how can human beings be prevented from suffering from the results of their wickedness and folly? ….Men simply do not see that war is foolish and useless and wicked. They think on occasion that it is necessary and wise and honourable, for war is not the work of bad men knowing themselves to be wrong, but of good men passionately convinced that they are right.”

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution and international affairs with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, October 2017.

  Read Global Wars and Peace:  Insanity against Humanity:  What is Next?
  January 14, 2019
Sooner or Later, We Have to Stop Economic Growth — and We’ll Be Better for it
by Richard Heinberg, in Counter, Countercurrents.

Both the U.S. economy and the global economy have expanded dramatically in the past century, as have life expectancies and material progress. Economists raised in this period of plenty assume that growth is good, necessary even, and should continue forever and ever without end, amen. Growth delivers jobs, returns on investment and higher tax revenues. What’s not to like? We’ve gotten so accustomed to growth that governments, corporations and banks now depend on it. It’s no exaggeration to say that we’re collectively addicted to growth.

The trouble is, a bigger economy uses more stuff than a smaller one, and we happen to live on a finite planet. So, an end to growth is inevitable. Ending growth is also desirable if we want to leave some stuff (minerals, forests, biodiversity and stable climate) for our kids and their kids. Further, if growth is meant to have anything to do with increasing quality of life, there is plenty of evidence to suggest it has passed the point of diminishing returns: Even though the U.S. economy is 5.5 times bigger now than it was in 1960 (in terms of real GDP), America is losing ground on its happiness index.

So how do we stop growth without making life miserable — and maybe even making it better?

To start with, there are two strategies that many people already agree on. We should substitute good consumption for bad, for example using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. And we should use stuff more efficiently — making products that last longer and then repairing and recycling them instead of tossing them in a landfill. The reason these strategies are uncontroversial is that they reduce growth’s environmental damage without impinging on growth itself.

But renewable energy technology still requires materials (aluminum, glass, silicon and copper for solar panels; concrete, steel, copper and neodymium for wind turbines). And efficiency has limits. For example, we can reduce the time required to send a message to nearly zero, but from then on improvements are infinitesimal. In other words, substitution and efficiency are good, but they’re not sufficient. Even if we somehow arrive at a near-virtual economy, if it is growing we’ll still use more stuff, and the result will be pollution and resource depletion. Sooner or later, we have to do away with growth directly.

Getting Off Growth

If we’ve built our institutions to depend on growth, doesn’t that imply social pain and chaos if we go cold turkey? Perhaps. Getting off growth without a lot of needless disruption will require coordinated systemic changes, and those in turn will need nearly everyone’s buy-in. Policymakers will have to be transparent with regard to their actions, and citizens will want reliable information and incentives. Success will depend on minimizing pain and maximizing benefit.

The main key will be to focus on increasing equality. During the century of expansion, growth produced winners and losers, but many people tolerated economic inequality because they believed (usually mistakenly) that they’d one day get their share of the growth economy. During economic contraction, the best way to make the situation tolerable to a majority of people will be to increase equality. From a social standpoint, equality will serve as a substitute for growth. Policies to achieve equity are already widely discussed, and include full, guaranteed employment; a guaranteed minimum income; progressive taxation; and a maximum income.

Meanwhile we could begin to boost quality of life simply by tracking it more explicitly: instead of focusing government policy on boosting GDP (the total dollar value of all goods and services produced domestically), why not aim to increase Gross National Happiness — as measured by a selected group of social indicators?

These are ways to make economic shrinkage palatable; but how would policymakers actually go about putting the brakes on growth?

One tactic would be to implement a shorter workweek. If people are working less, the economy will slow down — and meanwhile, everyone will have more time for family, rest and cultural activities.

We could also de-financialize the economy, discouraging wasteful speculation with a financial transaction tax and a 100 percent reserve requirement for banks.

Stabilizing population levels (by incentivizing small families and offering free reproductive health care) would make it easier to achieve equity and would also cap the numbers of both producers and consumers.

Caps should also be placed on resource extraction and pollution. Start with fossil fuels: annually declining caps on coal, oil and gas extraction would reduce energy use while protecting the climate.

Cooperative Conservatism

Altogether, reining in growth would come with a raft of environmental benefits. Carbon emissions would decline; resources ranging from forests to fish to topsoil would be preserved for future generations; and space would be left for other creatures, protecting the diversity of life on our precious planet. And these environmental benefits would quickly accrue to people, making life more beautiful, easy and happy for everyone.

Granted, we’re talking about an unprecedented, coordinated economic shift that would require political will and courage. The result might be hard to pigeonhole in the capitalist-socialist terms of reference with which most of us are familiar. Perhaps we could think of it as cooperative conservatism (since its goal would be to conserve nature while maximizing mutual aid). It would require a lot of creative thinking on everyone’s part.

Sound difficult? Here’s the thing: ultimately, it’s not optional. The end of growth will come one day, perhaps very soon, whether we’re ready or not. If we plan for and manage it, we could well wind up with greater well-being. If we don’t, we could find ourselves like Wile E. Coyote plunging off a cliff. Engineering a happy conclusion to the growth binge of the past century might be challenging. But it’s not impossible; whereas what we’re currently trying to do — maintain perpetual growth of the economy on a finite planet — most assuredly is.

Richard Heinberg is the author of thirteen books including:
– Our Renewable Future: Laying  the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy, co-authored with David Fridley (2016)
– Afterburn (2015)
– Snake Oil (July 2013)
– The End of Growth (August 2011)
– The Post Carbon Reader (2010) (editor)
– Blackout: Coal, Climate, and the Last Energy Crisis(2009) – Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (2007) – The Oil Depletion Protocol: A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism & Economic Collapse (2006) – Powerdown: Options & Actions for a Post-Carbon World (2004) – The Party’s Over: Oil, War & the Fate of Industrial Societies (2003)
He is Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels. He has authored scores of essays and articles that have appeared in such journals as NatureReutersWall Street JournalThe American ProspectPublic Policy ResearchQuarterly ReviewYes!, and The Sun; and on web sites such as Resilience.org, TheOilDrum.com, Alternet.org, ProjectCensored.com, and Counterpunch.com.
Richard has delivered hundreds of lectures on energy and climate issues to audiences in 14 countries, addressing policy makers at many levels, from local City Councils to members of the European Parliament. He has been quoted and interviewed countless times for print (including for Reuters, the Associated Press, and Time Magazine), television (including Good Morning America, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Al-Jazeera, and C-SPAN), and radio (including NPR, WABC, and Air America).
Richard has appeared in many film and television documentaries, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s 11th Hour. He is a recipient of the M. King Hubbert Award for Excellence in Energy Education, and in 2012 was appointed to His Majesty the King of Bhutan’s International Expert Working Group for the New Development Paradigm initiative.
Richard’s animations Don’t Worry, Drive OnWho Killed Economic Growth?and 300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds (winner of a YouTubes’s/DoGooder Video of the Year Award) have been viewed by nearly two million people.

  Read  Sooner or Later, We Have to Stop Economic Growth — and We’ll Be Better for it
  January 15, 2019
Uniting For A Green New Deal
by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, in World, Countercurrents.

Co-Written by Kevin Zeese

Support is growing in the United States for a Green New Deal. Though there are competing visions for what that looks like, essentially, a Green New Deal includes a rapid transition to a clean energy economy, a jobs program and a stronger social safety net.

We need a Green New Deal for many reasons, most obviously the climate crisis and growing economic insecurity. Each new climate report describes the severe consequences of climate change with increasing alarm and the window of opportunity for action is closing. At the same time, wealth inequality is also growing. Paul Bucheit writes that more than half of the population in the United States is suffering from poverty.

The Green New Deal provides an opportunity for transformational changes, not just reform, but changes that fundamentally solve the crises we face. This is the time to be pushing for a Green New Deal at all levels, in our towns and cities, states and nationally.

Hundreds gathered in San Francisco with the youth-led Sunrise Movement on Dec. 11. Peg Hunter / Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Growing support for the Green New Deal

The idea of a Green New Deal seems to have arisen in early 2007 when the Green New Deal Group started meeting to discuss it, specifically as a plan for the United Kingdom. They published their report in July 2008. In April 2009, the United Nations Environmental Program also issued a plan for a global Green New Deal.

In the United States, Barack Obama included a Green New Deal in his 2008 presidential campaign and conservative Thomas Friedman started talking about it in 2007. Howie Hawkins, a Green Party gubernatorial candidate in New York, campaigned on a Green New Deal starting in 2010. Listen to our interview with Hawkins about how we win the Green New Deal on Clearing the FOG. Jill Stein campaigned on it during her presidential runs in 2012 and 2016, as have many Green Party candidates.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), who ran for Congress as a Democrat and won in 2018, has made the Green New Deal a major priority. With the backing of the Sunrise Movement, AOC pushed for a congressional committee tasked with developing a Green New Deal and convinced dozens of members of Congress to support it. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sidelined that idea by creating a climate committee headed by Kathy Castor, which has no mandate to do anything and lacks  the power to write legislation and issue subpoenas. Now the Sunrise Movement is planning a tour to build support for the Green New Deal. At each stop they will provide organizing tools to make the Green New Deal a major issue in the 2020 election season.

This week, more than 600 organizations, mostly environmental groups, sent a letter to Congress calling on it to take climate change seriously and design a plan to end dependence on fossil fuels, a transition to 100% clean energy by 2035, create jobs and more. Indigenous leaders are also organizing to urge Congress to pass a Green New Deal that is “Indigenized,” meaning it prioritizes input from and the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples.

Survey data shows the strongest support for a Green New Deal among liberal Democrats.

Defining a transformative Green New Deal

The Green New Deal, as a tool to address climate change and economic insecurity, could be transformative in many ways or it could reinforce current systems. Our political system is inclined towards programs that do the latter, so it is critical that the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice and peace is clear about what we mean by a Green New Deal.

At the heart of the issue is capitalism, a root cause of many of the crises we face today. Capitalism drives growth at all costs including exploitation of people and the planet. It drives competition and individualism instead cooperation and community. It requires militarism as the strong arm for corporations to pillage other countries for their resources and militarized police to suppress dissent at home.

Capitalism was in crisis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when, like today, there was great inequality and a political system that catered to the wealthy. Progressive, populist, labor and socialist movements were pressing for significant changes. This came to a head in the depression when tens of thousands of Bonus Marchers occupied Washington DC during the summer of the 1932 presidential election demanding their bonus pay from World War I. The newly-elected President Roosevelt was forced to act, so he put reforms in place called the New Deal.

While the New Deal brought relief to many people through banking reform, Social Security, jobs programs and greater rights for workers, it was not transformative. Some argue that the New Deal was essential to save capitalism. It relieved suffering enough that dissent quieted but left the capitalist economic system intact. In the decades since the New Deal, monopolization, inequality, and exploitation have again increased with the added crises of climate change and environmental destruction.

This time around, we need a broad Green New Deal that changes the system so there is greater public ownership and democratization of the economy. It can also be used to address theft of wealth from Indigenous, black and brown communities. And it can set us on a path to end US imperialism in the least harmful manner.

Wayne Price discusses this in “A Green New Deal vs Revolutionary Eco-socialism.” He writes,

“…the capitalists’ wealth and power should be taken away from them (expropriated) by the self-organization of the working class and its allies. Capitalism should be replaced by a society which is decentralized and cooperative, producing for use rather than profit, democratically self-managed in the workplace and the community, and federated together from the local level to national and international levels.”

It is interesting that the Yellow Vest movement in France is also seeking transformative change from a representative government to one that uses greater participation through direct democracy. System change is needed to confront these economic and environmental crises. One alternative system gaining traction is ecosocialism which combines the insights of ecology with the necessity for worker’s rights and public control over the economy. We discussed ecosocialism with Victor Wallis, author of “Red Green Revolution: The politics and technology of ecosocialism,” on Clearing the FOG.

The Green Party divides the Green New Deal into four pillars: An economic bill of rights, a green transition, financial reform, and a functioning democracy. The economic bill of rights includes not only a job at a living wage for all who want it but also single payer healthcare, free college education, and affordable housing and utilities. The green transition to renewable energy sources includes building mass transit, “complete streets” that promote walking and biking, local food systems and clean manufacturing. Financial reform includes debt relief, public banks and breaking up the big banks. And the democracy section includes getting money out of politics, guaranteeing the right to vote, strengthening local democracy, democratizing the media and significant changes to the military. We would add to this prioritizing the involvement of Indigenous, black and brown communities. As Jon Olsen writes, ecosocialism is now part of the platform of the Green Party of the United States and has entered the political dialogue.

Join the Green Power Project national call on Thursday, January 17 at 8:00 pm Eastern to learn more about the Green New Deal. Click here for details.

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES – 2018/12/10: Protesters seen holding placards during the Sunrise Movement protest inside the office of US Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to advocate that Democrats support the Green New Deal, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Uniting to win the Green New Deal

Conditions are ripe for a Green New Deal. Wealth inequality continues to accelerate. As Lawrence Wittner describes, we have a new era of Robber Barons like the Waltons and Jeff Bezos who pay low wages and rake in millions in public subsidies for their new facilities. They use their economic power to influence lawmakers so laws are passed that increase rather than threaten their riches.

new report shows that 40% of people in the United States have negative wealth; they are in debt. And another 20% have minimal wealth, meaning 60% of people in the US have virtually no assets. The report was focused on millennials finding they are less well off than previous generations.

Anthony DiMaggio, who wrote about the report, also found that the affluent are oblivious to the high degree of inequality in the United States and that without this understanding, they are unlikely to support policies that reduce inequality.

The Democratic Party is starting to get the message. With student loan debt at a record $1.465 trillion, twice the amount in 2009, candidates are starting to talk about this issue. Members of Congress in the House are planning to hold hearings on National Improved Medicare for All and increasing Social Security. Democratic voters strongly support these changes, so the Democrats are feeling compelled to appear to be taking action on them, though this could mostly be for show to keep people from leaving the party in the lead up to the 2020 elections.

To win a Green New Deal, which could include a stronger social safety net, we will need to unite as a movement of movements and make the demand impossible to ignore. Uniting across issues makes sense because the Green New Deal is broad, addressing multiple crises at once. And we will need to push issues that Democrats will not want to discuss, such as nationalization of industries, more democracy, and cuts to the military. Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report urges us to organize not just nationally but at the state level too by introducing plans for state Green New Deals.

We can work at many levels to build the demand for a Green New Deal. Talk to people in your community about it. Start local initiatives for clean energy, local food networks, protecting public schools and water systems, promoting cooperatives and more. Push your state and federal legislators too. This is an opportunity to unite in support of a bold new vision for our society.

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese are directors of Popular Resistance.

  Read  Uniting For A Green New Deal
  January 15, 2019
Origins of the climate catastrophe
by Dr Andrew Glikson, in Climate Change, Countercurrents.

It is not a mere coincidence that extreme right wing movements reject the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change, which reflects their connections with the fossil fuel corporations from whom they receive funding, as well as a lack of concern for the living world.In the wake of Benito Mussolini’s adoption of “fasces” (a Roman symbol consisting of a bundle of birch rods enveloping an axe) as a symbol of his movement, the term fascism, for which there is no precise synonym in the English language, acquired universal consequence (https://www.star2.com/culture/2018/12/11/madeleine-albright-book-review). Although the Nazis were beaten in WWII, a plethora of parties―including neo-Nazis, characterized by violence, defense of the rich and hate of colored-skin people, immigrants, minorities, Jews, socialists, intellectuals and scientists―is rising around the world.

With few exceptions extreme right movements encourage the recourse to wars―orgies of death driven by irrational and mercenary factors. Factors leading to war include:

  1. Pent-up anger amongst populations creating an atmosphere conducive to violence and revenge against perceived internal and external enemies, commonly incited by the rulers, vested interests or the media.
  2. The “need” to maintain and develop an ever-growing industrial-military complex (https://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/132942244/ikes-warning-of-military-expansion-50-years-later) and profits from fossil fuel industries.
  3. With exceptions, a global electronic media propaganda system exposing endless obscenity, violence and murder on TV and other electronic screens, as well as propagating half-truths and untruths, manipulating minds and negating any positive education the young receive at school.

In the deep-time roots of modern civilization are subconscious atavistic child sacrifice traditions aimed at appeasing the gods, as exercised by the Canaanites, Olmec, Aztecs, Maya, Inca and the more recent sacrifice of young generations, such as WWI, which claimed some 37 million lives. The natural kindness of individuals is swamped by such murderous rituals, culminating in a perpetual state of war (https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/05/how-perpetual-war-became-us-ideology/238600/).

The origins of ecocide can be traced as far back as the application of fire, enhancing the human effects on the environment by orders of magnitude.Gathered around campfires during the long nights over hundreds of thousands of years, captivated by the flickering life-like dance of the flames, humans developed insights, imagination, cravings, hopes, premonitions of death, aspirations towards immortality, omniscience, omnipotence, beliefs in spirits and gods, and fear.Once climate conditions stabilized, humans were able to pursue these dreams, constructing monuments for their gods and rulers. Fear, an instinctive sense arising in animals when endangered, is created in the human mind allowing it to foresee or imagine risks in advance. Since at least 500,000 years-ago,and likely earlier, the yearning for immortality has been expressed in ritual burial.

It is the fear of death, humans experience all around them, they try to conquer through belief in an afterlife, through acts of great courage like dangerous adventures, and through wars, defying death through death, as in the Aztec war song (http://indians.org/indigenous-peoples-literature/aztec-warrior-poems.html):

There is nothing like death in war,

Nothing like flowering death, so precious to him who gives life,

Far off I see it, my heart yearns for it.

Once Pantheism, with its reverence of nature, gave way to monotheism, the focus of human worship has shifted to sky gods, and nowadays to a space cult promoted by vested interests, including some scientists, diverting attention away from the climate catastrophe.

With the rise of empires the forests,decimated around the Mediterranean,became victim to logging. Initially oblivious to the effects of carbon emissions, since about 1970 it became clear they are changing the composition of the atmosphere, but despite dire warnings civilization is choosing a Faustian bargain at a terminal cost for humanity and nature. There is a growing probability climate tipping points of no return are being crossed and that the consequences of global temperature rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius may be fatal for civilization and much of nature, rendering large parts of the continents uninhabitable (http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html).

The primeval cult of death expressed by the male egoinwars is contrasted with the life-giving nurturing nature of females. With exceptions, matrilineal societies such as exist in parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and India (https://www.britannica.com/topic/matrilineal-society) are more peaceful and nature-friendly than patriarchal societies.Among matrilineal societies,the Minangkabau of Sumatra, Indonesia, is the world’s largest.  Here land and houses are inherited through female lineage. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/out-the-darkness/201410/if-women-ruled-the-world-0;https://www.bbc.com/news/world-21661744; https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/aug/11/women-conflict-peace-society).

In a metaphoric sense the phenomenon of life mimics the polarized duality of positive and negative physical forces in nature, symbolized by the Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva cycle and the Yin and Yang.  Once a species acquires the power to ignite fire, split the atom and control the electromagnetic spectrum, the species needs to be infinitely wise and responsible if it is to avoid self-destruction and mass extinction in nature,from which it sprang.

Dr Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleo climate scientist, Australian National University

  Read Origins of the climate catastrophe
  January 16, 2019
UK parliament votes down Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal
by Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, in World, Countercurrents.

MPs voted by a massive majority Tuesday evening against Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed deal with the European Union (EU) on the terms of Britain’s exit from the bloc.

May was defeated by a majority of 230, with 432 MPs against the deal and just 202 for in the biggest vote against a sitting prime minister in history.

The vote was held after a five-day debate. Opposing May were 118 rebels from her own Conservative Party (nearly 40 percent of Tory MPs). They joined 248 MPs from the main opposition Labour Party and 35 from the Scottish National Party (SNP). May’s defeat would have been even greater had not three Brexit supporting Labour MPs, Ian Austin, Sir Kevin Barron and John Mann, not voted with her. Also voting with May were three Independents—former Labour MP Frank Field, Lady Hermon, and Stephen Lloyd.

Following the historic defeat, May announced that if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn exercised his right to call a no-confidence vote it would be heard today. Making capital over his previous refusal to do so, she added that consideration would be given to a debate if one of the smaller opposition parties demanded one. If she won a no confidence vote, she would meet with the Tories’ “confidence and supply partner” the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), “and senior parliamentarians from across the House to identify what would be required to secure the backing of the House . ”

Corbyn immediately tabled a vote of no confidence that was backed by the SNP and the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

May is expected to win the no confidence vote, to be held this evening at 7 p.m., with the DUP stating that it would continue to prop up the Tories and support her government. The pro-Brexit Conservatives in the European Research Group said they would also back her. Both said they would do nothing that would bring Corbyn and Labour to power. Leading Brexiteer and May’s former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said that he would back May, but insisted that the scale of her Brexit deal defeat meant that she had to return to talks with the EU and demand a deal more amenable to the Brexiteers—including abandoning the “backstop” arrangements keeping Northern Ireland in a customs union.

May had cancelled a vote on her deal in December, on the basis that it was expected to be heavily defeated. She spent the next weeks seeking to gain concessions from the EU, in the hope that she could persuade her hard Brexit opponents to change their minds. But all May was able to present before the vote was a perfunctory exchange of letters with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk. The EU leaders offered nothing that could satisfy hard Brexiteers, insisting that a backstop was the only way to prevent a hard-border with the Republic of Ireland until a future free trade agreement is signed between the UK and Brussels.

A letter from Juncker to May promised only to make “this period [when the backstop is in place] as short as possible.” This had no impact, with DUP leader Arlene Foster saying the party’s 10 MPs would vote against the deal and that “What we want the prime minister to do after today is to go back to the European Union and say that the backstop has to go.”

The vote was confirmation of parliament’s overall support for a soft-Brexit, with a core of Blairite Labour MPs, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and some Tories all favouring remaining in the EU and wanting a second “People’s Vote” referendum to reverse the 2016 result.

In expectation of the proposed deal with the UK being rejected by MPs, Juncker cancelled a planned engagement in Strasbourg Wednesday to return to Brussels for emergency talks on Brexit with May. MPs voted last week to ensure that May has only limited time to come up with a “Plan B” that parliament can vote on, meaning May must return to parliament with new proposals by next Monday. May promised to do so and that her deal would be subject to amendments.

The Confederation of British Industry called on May to quickly put forward a new deal. CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said, “Every business will feel no deal is hurtling closer … All MPs need to reflect on the need for compromise and to act at speed to protect the UK’s economy.”

While the strategy of the EU leaders over the past two years has been to maintain a hard line against the UK in negotiations—in order to ward off any other countries contemplating an exit from the bloc—there are concerns that a no-deal Brexit will provoke serious economic and social turmoil. The EU’s official line prior to the vote was that the deal had taken two years to finalise and was the only one on the table. However, on Tuesday afternoon, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared, “If it goes wrong tonight, there could be further talks.”

Europe’s fears were articulated in the starkest terms by Deutsche Bank chief executive, Christian Sewing, who warned that a “disorderly Brexit” would have “dramatic consequences” for the British economy. He predicted, “The UK would fall into a recession for at least two years,” with economic output cut by half a percentage point in the remaining EU countries. This was dire, as “the distortions would be too great for trade, financing conditions and investor confidence.”

The most striking aspect of yesterday’s debate is how the interests of working people have been entirely excluded from official politics—with Corbyn playing the central role in his insistence that parliamentary arithmetic must be respected and restoring “national unity” must be prioritised.

A few hundred pro-EU and pro-Leave protesters demonstrated outside Westminster, but inside the Commons all discussion was on how best to secure a deal with the EU, combining an ability for UK business to sign independent trade deals with tariff-free access to the Single European Market.

The pro-Brexit Tories plans to fashion the UK as Europe’s Singapore are overtly based on ramping up the exploitation of the working class. But the Remain faction, including Corbyn, all know that EU membership or even some form of “customs union” is just as firmly rooted in ongoing effort to make the UK competitive against its rivals at the expense of the working class. They offer nothing to the 5,000 Jaguar Land Rover workers, 1,000 Ford workers and thousands of retail staff told they face redundancy this past week.

Austerity is hard-wired into the EU. The Social Europe think-tank issued a report on the day of the vote noting that, after a decade of attacks on workers’ living standards and based on the at-risk-of-poverty threshold for the EU as a whole (60 percent of median EU income or €9,760), the “EU-wide poverty rate is 28.2 per cent (equivalent to around 142 million out of a total EU population of around 500 million).”

Last week, a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Athens provoked clashes between riot police and protesters, including striking teachers—giving expression to how millions of Greeks feel about EU-dictated austerity. The Syriza government of Alexis Tsipras, which Corbyn cites as a model and ally, is now so hated for imposing austerity that it is 10.5 percent behind the conservative New Democracy in opinion polls. The same sentiment animates France’s Yellow Vests, the strike wave gripping Poland and labour disputes throughout the continent.

Originally published by WSWS.org

  Read UK parliament votes down Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal
 January 11, 2019
Jour des hommes de coeur de par le monde, Dia de los hombres de corazon en todo el mundo, Dia dos homens de coracao ao redor do mundo
Valentin ANGLO Benin, Cercle Univ. Ambassadeurs de la Paix.

Jour des hommes de coeur de par le monde,
Ou tu vis, ou tu aimes,
Une vie de prospérité axée sur la dignité et la vérité,
Rien n’est plus beau que ça,
Nonobstant les dérives humaines ;
Et commence le respect de la différence, de la diversité
En parfaite harmonie avec la communication.
Inspirateur d’une famille, d’une communauté et d’un monde pacifique où
Nul n’a le droit de troubler aux travers des conflits et de guerres dévastateurs inutiles,
Toi, Ambassadeur de Paix, cette journée est la tienne,
Et celle de tous ceux qui sont épris de paix et de justice,
Restaure en toi, Ambassadeur de Paix, la valeur d’un homme digne, de porte flambeau de paix
Notion riche de sourire et de ferveur : PAIX.
Avec la paix pas de haine, avec la paix le développement d’une nation est assuré,
Tant que les peuples du monde vivent dans la joie avec la garantie du respect de leur droit International,
On ne saurait nier de l’importance du mot : PAIX
Naitre heureux, vivre heureux
A l’horizon de l’humilité, de la patience, de la modération, du discernement, de l’amour
Les clefs qui ouvrent la porte de la paix partout dans le monde,
Est enfin arrivée l’heure de la gloire : LA PAIX POUR TOUTES LES NATIONS –GUERRE : ZERO.
Du loin du firmament retentit une cloche : c’est le rassemblement pour fêter l’unité dans la diversité
Et dans la neutralité : oui, c’est cela LA PAIX.
La paix des africains, des asiatiques, des américains, des européens…etc.
A l’orée du jour des coups de pilon se font entendre dans les contrées – fini les coups de canon.
Paix pour tous,
Allégresse pour tous les peuples du monde,
Inspirés de l’éveil de conscience : fini la faim –fini la guerre- fini la Xénophobie.

Dia de los hombres de corazon en todo el mundo,
Dónde vives o te gusta?
Una vida de prosperidad centrada en la dignidad y la verdad,
Nada es más hermoso que eso,
A pesar de las derivas humanas;
Y comienza el respeto por la diferencia, la diversidad
En perfecta armonía con la comunicación.
Inspirador de una familia, una comunidad y un mundo pacífico donde
Nadie tiene el derecho de molestar a través de conflictos innecesarios y guerras devastadoras,
Usted, Embajador de la Paz, este día es suyo,
Y el de todos aquellos que aman la paz y la justicia,
Restaura en ti, Embajador de la Paz, el valor de un hombre digno, un portador de la antorcha de la paz
Rico concepto de sonrisa y fervor: PAZ.
Con la paz sin odio, con la paz, el desarrollo de una nación está asegurado,
Mientras los pueblos del mundo vivan felices con la garantía del respeto a su derecho internacional,
No se puede negar la importancia de la palabra : PAZ

Nacido feliz, vive feliz
En el horizonte de la humildad, la paciencia, la moderación, el discernimiento, el amor
Las llaves que abren la puerta de la paz en todo el mundo,
Finalmente es la hora de la gloria: PAZ PARA TODAS LAS NACIONES - GAUERRE: CERO.
Lejos del firmamento suena una campana: es la reunión para celebrar la unidad en la diversidad Y en neutralidad: sí, eso es PAZ.

La paz de africanos, asiáticos, estadounidenses, europeos ... etc.
Al amanecer del día se escuchan golpes de pummel en el país, no más tiroteos.
Paz para todos, lealtad para todos los pueblos del mundo,
Inspirado por el despertar de la conciencia: no más hambre, no más guerra, ya no más Xenofobia.

Dia dos homens de coração ao redor do mundo,
Onde você mora ou gosta?
Uma vida de prosperidade focada na dignidade e verdade
Nada é mais bonito que isso,
Não obstante os desvios humanos;
E começa o respeito pela diferença, diversidade
Em perfeita harmonia com a comunicação.
Inspirador de uma família, uma comunidade e um mundo pacífico onde
Ninguém tem o direito de perturbar através de conflitos desnecessários e guerras devastadoras,
Você, Embaixador da Paz, esse dia é seu,
E de todos aqueles que amam a paz e a justiça
Restaurar em você, embaixador da paz, o valor de um homem digno, um portador da paz
Rico conceito de sorriso e fervor: PAZ.
Com paz sem ódio, com paz o desenvolvimento de uma nação é assegurado,
Enquanto os povos do mundo viverem felizes com a garantia do respeito pelo seu direito internacional,
Não se pode negar a importância da palavra : PEACE

Nascido feliz, viva feliz
No horizonte da humildade, paciência, moderação, discernimento, amor
As chaves que abrem a porta da paz em todo o mundo,

Finalmente é a hora da glória: PAZ PARA TODAS AS NAÇÕES - GAUERRE: ZERO.
Longe do firmamento toca um sino: é o encontro para celebrar a unidade na diversidade
E na neutralidade: sim, é isso PAZ.
A paz dos africanos, asiáticos, americanos, europeus ... etc.

Na madrugada do dia, surgem ataques de espancamento no país - não há mais tiroteios.
Paz para todos, Fidelidade para todos os povos do mundo,
Inspirado pelo despertar da consciência: não mais fome - não mais guerra - não mais Xenofobia.

Day of the men of heart around the world,
Where do you live, or do you like,
A life of prosperity focused on dignity and truth,
Nothing is more beautiful than that,
Notwithstanding the human drifts;
And begins respect for difference, diversity
In perfect harmony with communication.
Inspirer of a family, a community and a peaceful world where
No one has the right to disturb through unnecessary conflicts and devastating wars,
You, Ambassador of Peace, this day is yours,
And that of all those who love peace and justice,
Restore in you, Ambassador of Peace, the worth of a worthy man, a torchbearer of peace
Rich concept of smile and fervor: PEACE.
With peace no hate, with peace the development of a nation is assured,
As long as the peoples of the world live in joy with the guarantee of respect for their international law,
One can not deny the importance of the word : PEACE
Born happy, live happily
On the horizon of humility, patience, moderation, discernment, love
The keys that open the door of peace everywhere in the world,
Finally is the hour of glory: PEACE FOR ALL THE NATIONS - GAUERRE: ZERO.
Far from the firmament a bell rings: it is the gathering to celebrate unity in diversity
And in neutrality: yes, that's it PEACE.
The peace of Africans, Asians, Americans, Europeans ... etc.
At the dawn of the day pummel strikes are heard in the country - no more gunfire.
Peace for all, Allegiance for all the peoples of the world,
Inspired by the awakening of consciousness: no more hunger - no more war - no longer Xenophobia.

Giorno degli uomini di cuore in tutto il mondo,
Dove vivi o ti piace
Una vita di prosperità incentrata sulla dignità e la verità,
Niente è più bello di quello,
Nonostante le derive umane;
E inizia il rispetto per la differenza, la diversità
In perfetta armonia con la comunicazione.
Ispiratrice di una famiglia, una comunità e un mondo pacifico dove
Nessuno ha il diritto di disturbare attraverso conflitti inutili e guerre devastanti,
Tu, Ambasciatore di Pace, questo giorno è tuo,
E quello di tutti quelli che amano la pace e la giustizia,
Ripristina in te, ambasciatore di pace, il valore di un uomo meritevole, portabandiera di pace
Ricco concetto di sorriso e fervore: PACE.
Con la pace non odio, con la pace è assicurato lo sviluppo di una nazione,
Finché i popoli del mondo vivono nella gioia con la garanzia del rispetto della loro legge internazionale,
Non si può negare l'importanza della parola : PACE
Nato felice, vivo felicemente
All'orizzonte dell'umiltà, della pazienza, della moderazione, del discernimento, dell'amore
Le chiavi che aprono la porta della pace in ogni parte del mondo,
Finalmente è l'ora della gloria: PACE PER TUTTE LE NAZIONI - GAUERRE: ZERO.
Lontano dal firmamento suona una campana: è il raduno per celebrare l'unità nella diversità
E nella neutralità: sì, è tutto PEACE.
La pace di africani, asiatici, americani, europei ... ecc.
All'alba del giorno si sentono gli scioperi dei pummel nel paese - niente più spari.
Pace per tutti, fedeltà per tutti i popoli del mondo,
Ispirato al risveglio della coscienza: niente più fame - niente più guerra - non più xenofobia.

  Read  Jour des hommes de coeur de par le monde, Dia de los hombres de corazon en todo el mundo, Dia dos homens de coracao ao redor do mundo

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