Aletho News


Amid COVID-19, India Buys $116M Worth Of Weapons to Israel

teleSUR | March 25, 2020

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed Thursday an arms deal with Israel worth hundreds of millions of dollars, as cases of the coronavirus infections are surging and concerns are rising over the country’s ability to face a health emergency of such magnitude.

Israel will deliver to the Indian military 16,479 Negev light machine guns, the Indian government said in a statement.

The US$116 million contract was signed as doctors and health professionals in India continue to sound alarms about the shortage of masks and protective gear, pointing out the country’s ill preparation to deal with the crisis.

The weapons contract is part of a series of arms agreements between India and Israel under Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The provisioning of this operationally urgent and very critically needed weapon will boost the confidence of the frontline troops and provide much-needed combat power to the Armed Forces,” India’s defense ministry said.

There have been around 536 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India with 10 deaths reported. But like several other countries, it has barely done any tests and is now going through a spike in infections.

India’s “total lockdown” began at midnight Tuesday and will continue for 21 days.

At a time of crisis with a fatal pandemic spreading like wildfire and concerns rising over the consequences it is likely to have on economies around the world, the decision to give priority to military spending has sparked indignation among critics.

A retired professor of International Relations and Global Politics at the University of Delhi, Achin Vanaik, described the move as “extraordinary and highly condemnable, especially as it becomes clear that authorities are well aware that official stats are a gross underestimation at this point.”

“India needs every rupee to deal with the very real danger of the coronavirus pandemic spreading in a country of 1.3 billion people – living in densely populated cities and towns. As it is, compared to Europe, North America or even China and other countries in Asia, the medical system here is woefully under-equipped to deal with this emergency. This diversion of funds is deeply distressing,” Vanaik told the MEE.

Likewise, many critics are denouncing the fact that the far-right government led by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chose to spend hundreds of millions on military purchases while it has so far not announced any measure to assist those who are losing their income sources as a result of the epidemic.

“People rendered suddenly jobless are forced to rush back to villages to survive, risking the spread of the virus as they go,” leader of the Communist Party of India Kavita Krishnan told MEE.

“Why is the government of India choosing to spend massive amounts on military purchases instead of prioritizing a corona relief package, medical infrastructure, free healthcare and testing for all right now?” Krishnan asked.

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , | 2 Comments

Its coronavirus response provides more evidence of Israel’s racism

By Motasem A Dalloul | MEMO | March 25, 2020

The coronavirus Covid-19 has spread around the world, with 372,757 confirmed cases and 16,231 deaths according to an updating dashboard run by the World Health Organisation. The Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that it is “deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the virus.

This severity has pushed many countries to put hostilities aside and work together against the virus. Strict measures have been imposed to curb its spread and protect humanity: large gatherings have been banned; schools and universities have been closed; congregational prayers in places of worship have been suspended; and some countries have even released prisoners.

In Israel, however, the response to the virus has simply emphasised its officially-sanctioned racism. For example, on 20 March, the Times of Israel reported that Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan had decided to release 500 Israeli prisoners into house arrest in an effort to reduce the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in the country’s prisons. Erdan apparently accepted the recommendation of acting Israel Prison Service chief Asher Vaknin. Not a single one of the 5,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel — including 180 children, 43 women and 430 detained with neither charge nor trial —is being released, though, not even those with critical health conditions.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC), at least four Palestinian prisoners held by Israel has tested positive for coronavirus. However, the Israeli occupation authorities deny this. The PPC pointed to the restrictions imposed by Israel on reporting news from its prisons, so it is in any case unlikely to make such an admission.

Rights group Addameer noted that the Israel Prison Service has banned visits to Palestinian prisoners by family members and lawyers since the outbreak of the virus instead of providing them with hygiene and cleaning materials essential to curb its spread. No other measures appear to have been implemented to protect the prisoners.

“Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centres constantly suffer from clear medical negligence,” explained Addameer. The situation has not changed since the outbreak of the virus. “Despite the fact that prisons are overcrowded and rooms, cells and sections are small, and lack proper ventilation, the IPS is yet to make clear preventive procedures… The prisons lack sterilisers, cleaning materials, and medications such as antibiotics and necessary nutrition.”

Last Thursday, the Palestinian prisoners threatened to launch a hunger strike if measures to protect them against the virus are not implemented. The occupation authorities did nothing for them, prompting them to begin gradual protest action.

The second evidence of Israel’s inherent racism is the inhumane treatment of a Palestinian worker who was thought by Israelis to have contracted coronavirus when he came down with flu-like symptoms. A video on social media showed him being dumped at Israel’s Sira/Maccabim military checkpoint near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

The man spoke to Palestinian and Israeli journalists about the incident. He explained that he had suffered from fever and his condition developed to into a normal flu. His employer took him to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, where he was tested for the coronavirus, but before the result was known, police officers arrived, handcuffed him and took him to the checkpoint where he was dumped; he then collapsed.

While the occupation authorities ordered Israeli employees to stay at home, they decided to block thousands of Palestinian workers in their work places regardless of the measures being taken against the spread of the coronavirus. When a Palestinian worker was thought to have contracted the virus, the Israelis dealt with him with neither compassion nor mercy. Such words are not in the Israeli vocabulary when it comes to dealing with Palestinians.

Other incidents have occurred over the past few weeks, but these two suffice to illustrate Israeli racism.

To conclude, take note of the words of UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in Palestine, Michael Lynk, who voiced his concerns about Israel’s racism when he observed that the official Israeli publications to increase awareness about the disease were issued “exclusively in Hebrew”.

“This serious imbalance is apparently being addressed after protests, but it highlights the importance of ensuring equality of treatment,” stressed Lynk. “The legal duty, anchored in Article 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, requires that Israel, the occupying power, must ensure that all the necessary preventive means available to it are utilised to ‘combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics’.”

Yet again, and to the surprise of nobody, least of all the Palestinians, the Israelis are simply ignoring international laws and conventions. And, as usual, the effects could be deadly for the people of occupied Palestine.

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

As the world turns its attention to the pandemic, Israel is moving forward with military raids

By Lucas Leiroz | March 25, 2020

The West Bank situation is becoming increasingly complicated amid the coronavirus pandemic and territorial disputes between Palestinians and Israelis. At first, the Palestinian Authority and Israel showed signs of cooperation in combating the pandemic. A few weeks ago, joint measures were announced between both sides to contain the epidemic of the new coronavirus in the region. The measures include distribution of cleaning and personal hygiene materials, in addition to virus testing kits and medical equipment.

On the part of Tel Aviv, the total closure of the West Bank was promoted, allowing, however, access for Palestinian workers involved in the construction and agriculture sectors to the Jewish state, which is why the proposal was well accepted by Ramallah. On the part of the Palestinians, the West Bank has also been blocked, but only partially and for two weeks, since last Sunday (March 22), in addition to the implementation of a series of control and quarantine measures.

However, efforts to contain the pandemic have not prevented Israeli incursions into the region, which have increased recently. Ibrahim Melhim, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, acknowledged Israeli efforts to contain the coronavirus in the country and in Palestine, but criticized the unstoppable incursions against the Palestinians. “We have very strong round-the-clock coordination with the Israeli side to prevent the coronavirus from spreading (…) At the same time, Israel continues to operate in the Palestinian Territories as if there is no coronavirus crisis (…) They [Israeli forces] continue their raids across the West Bank, arresting people and confiscating lands, and that harms the existing coordination between the PA and Israel putting an additional burden on the Palestinian Authority,” said the spokesman.

Apparently, Israel pretends to collaborate with Palestine to stop the pandemic, when, in fact, it freely promotes its military maneuvers in the region, which go unnoticed by the mainstream media, strongly focused on covering the viral tragedy. In addition, Tel Aviv’s own collaboration to control COVID-19 in the region seems extremely limited. The blocking measures made it impossible, for example, for doctors from the “Physicians for Human Rights” (an Israeli NGO that serves Palestinians free of charge) to move alongside the West Bank, clearly hampering medical care in the region.

Mention should also be made of the fact that Israel, not Palestine, is the major focus of infections by the new coronavirus in the region. Israel has already more than 1,000 officially reported cases of the disease, in addition to one death, and several suspicions. In contrast, Palestine has around 60 infected people. It is clear from these data that the most stringent containment measures should come exclusively from Ramallah, since the Israeli military presence in the region itself poses a serious risk to Palestinian public health.

According to a survey by the Truman Institute for Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 63% of Israelis say Israel must help Palestinians during the coronavirus crisis. Vered Vinitsky-Serousse, president of the Institute, said that “the majority of Israelis believe that, when necessary, the government should devise preventive measures to help Palestinians during the Covid-19 epidemic.” The big problem, however, is how these joint maneuvers are conducted. Perhaps the first step to be taken in establishing joint measures is the definitive and immediate end to military incursions in the region, which constantly bring insecurity and terror to the Palestinian people.

The situation of tensions in the region must still be read in the context of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, the “peace” proposal for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians announced by American President Donald Trump. The “agreement” was celebrated unilaterally by the Washigton-Tel Aviv axis, with no participation of Palestinians, which is why it was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League. The document foresaw the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, leaving around 70% of the region under Palestinian rule – a figure much lower than that proposed by all previous attempts to resolve the conflict. Everything indicates that Israel will not stop its attempts to occupy that territory as much as possible.

It is in this context that the “joint” actions between Israelis and Palestinians must be analyzed with skepticism and suspicion. Are these pandemic containment measures really good, even when behind them the Israeli army expands its occupation in the region with increasingly aggressive incursions? Also, to what extent does Palestine benefit from the help of these joint actions when Israel has an absurdly greater number of infected people? Would Israel be able to help the Palestinians? Or would that aid be a mask for such military incursions? All of these are valid questions.

It is also worth remembering that a few weeks ago, at the end of February, Israel announced the construction of more than 2,000 new settlements in Palestinian territories – and on the same occasion, Netanyahu authorized the construction of other 7,000 units in the East Jerusalem region. These data mean that Israel’s aggressiveness against the Palestinians was increasing recently. Did this aggression really disappear from Tel Aviv’s plans in the face of a “commotion” with public health in Palestine (which is much better than the situation in Israel)? Perhaps, the mainstream media and Human Rights observers should divide their attention between the coronavirus and the conflict in Palestine, before more serious clashes erupt.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 4 Comments

Correctly Estimating Coronavirus Infections

By Ron Unz • Unz Review • March 25, 2020

The Coronavirus epidemic may soon produce the greatest American disaster since our Civil War over 150 years ago, and numbers reveal the possible magnitude.

For example, New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof on Sunday reported the disheartening analysis of Dr. Neil Ferguson of Britain, one of the world’s leading epidemiologists. According to Dr. Ferguson the “best case” scenario is that the Coronavirus will kill over a million Americans.

Other possible projections are far worse. Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued orders completely locking down his entire state in order to halt the spread of the disease. He justified this decision by explaining that experts had warned him that without drastic changes in behavior, over 25 million Californians would become infected over the following couple of months. Such a calamity would obviously have produced to a total collapse of the state’s health care system, probably resulting in more than a million deaths. A million dead Californians by early summer…

The key to understanding the terrible danger of the Coronavirus is that there is no existing immunity and the disease is highly contagious. Therefore, under ordinary circumstances, the number of infected individuals tends to double every 3-6 days. A doubling-time of 3 days would multiply the ranks of the infected a thousand-fold during the course of a single month.

Thus, in late February Italian political leaders hardly regarded the virus as a serious national threat, but within just a few weeks much of the Italian health care system had collapsed and many thousands of Italians were dead. Despite a full national lockdown, the number of deaths in Italy has continued to rise exponentially.

Similarly, New York reported its first death on March 14th. Yet just ten days later, deaths in that state were running at 50 per day, and rapidly accelerating.

Unfortunately, although numbers are absolutely crucial for our efforts to combat this dread disease, we lack accurate American data, especially with regard to the rate of infection.

The problem is that any program of massive, widespread testing is completely impossible given our lack of sufficient testing resources. Meanwhile, the Coronavirus has a substantial latency period during which victims experience no symptoms, and even afterward many cases are quite mild or even completely asymptomatic, leaving the infected unaware of their condition. So at present, testing has been confined to just a tiny sliver of the population, ensuring that the reported numbers of those infected represents a severe undercount. But we are left to guess just how severe.

However, the Coronavirus death statistics are certainly far more solid and reliable, and I soon noticed a simple and easy means of reasonably estimating Coronavirus infections from Coronavirus deaths. But although the methodology seemed obvious to me, after I described it on a comment-thread yesterday, I encountered quite a bit of initial confusion and disagreement, suggesting that the idea was not nearly as obvious as I had assumed. So on the off-chance that some people might be unfamiliar with the method, I’ve decided to outline it below.

Let us note three crucial Coronavirus parameters, which have already been estimated by medical experts although they are obviously dependent upon particular conditions.

  1. The infection doubling period – probably 3-6 days
  2. The mortality rate – perhaps 1% prior to the collapse of a the local health system.
  3. The typical mortality period (time between infection and death) – according to some estimates, around 3 weeks.

Now consider a Coronavirus death. If we assume a mortality rate of 1% and a three week interval between infection and death, we can therefore estimate that there had been 100 new infections three weeks earlier. Next, if we assume a doubling-period of 6 days, those 100 infections would have increased to 100 * 2^(21/6) = over 1000 infections by the time the death occurred.

Therefore, under these particular assumptions (along with a few simplifications), the true number of total infections can be estimated at over 1000x the number of deaths.

Let’s apply this methodology to a real-life situation. On 3/23/20, New York reported 53 new Coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 210. This suggests that the true number of new infections that day may have been over 50,000, raising the total infected to more than 200,000. These estimates are eight to ten times larger than the officially-reported Coronavirus totals for New York, namely 4,750 and 25,665.

This estimate of New York infections relied upon a doubling period of six days, and it is quite possible that greater “social distancing” together with the recent lockdown imposed in that state may have considerably increased that parameter this figure, thereby reducing the correct number of infections. But I strongly suspect that the figures provided above are still far closer to the truth than those officially reported by the New York authorities. And there is obviously a huge practical difference between assuming 25,000 infected New Yorkers and believing the true figure is already closer to 200,000.

Here’s another example. The official estimate of Coronavirus infections in Louisiana is currently less than 1,400, but this estimation method suggests that the true total is nearly 50,000, a figure that has vastly different policy implications. While I would put little weight in the precise accuracy of that estimate, I strongly believe it’s much closer to reality than the tiny official total.

Summarizing things, the formula for estimating infections is:

  • Number of infected = Number of Deaths / Mortality_Rate *2^(Mortality_Period/Doubling_Period).

It’s important to recognize that the parameters used may need to be sharply readjusted based upon particular circumstances.

For example, once a health care system collapses, the death rate probably spikes to around 5%, greatly changing the calculation. Similarly, once government lockdowns or other similar measures are taken, the doubling-period of the infection becomes much longer.

Under other circumstances, if a substantial fraction of the deaths are the elderly residents of nursing homes (as was the case in Washington State), the assumed death-rate would be much higher and the doubling-period of the infections generated by the immobile residents lower, significantly altering the appropriate equation.

Finally, this analysis may carry an important policy implication. Suppose that our best and most accurate means of estimating infections is indeed based upon this methodology. We would therefore be using the current death rate to back into the infection rate that that occurred three weeks earlier, so that any analysis of the impact of government policies would necessarily be lagged by three weeks.

Under these circumstances, it would be extremely inadvisable for President Trump or other government officials to rescind any of their lockdown or quarantine decisions until at least three weeks had gone by and the impact of these policies upon the rate of infection became fully apparent.

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Trump Defies All Odds & Outflanks the Left

By Joaquin Flores | Strategic Culture Foundation | March 25, 2020

Did you know that 25% of Americans want their state to secede from the United States? In part one of our series, we laid out our opening – that the betrayals of the Democrat Party against its own working class base would lead towards an uprising, finally coalescing around a National Labor Movement, christened through blood and sacrifice.  This would ultimately team-up with Trump’s small business and working class base, making every conservative-libertarian’s worst horse-shoe theory nightmare a living reality.

This is the era of the new populism, beyond left and right.

We said in the previous article in this series that because of Trump’s commitments and Reaganomic view of wealth creation, that he would not be able to rise to the ‘FDR level’ needed to radically transform America’s social contract and forge a genuine New Deal. As it stands, the American economy is set to shrink by a depression-era 14% in Q2 alone.

But Amazingly – Trump Once Again Defied All Odds

Between publishing our dire warning, written days before it had run on SCF, and when we had set to produce our next installment here, it appears that we were right to gauge the seriousness of the moment, but underestimated Trump’s ability to begin the very thing we had been urgently writing about for the past year: take up the necessary transformations proposed by Bernie, by Yang, and by Gabbard.

Reading comments sections on ‘progressive’ YouTube channels, the call for Trump to dump dumb Pence and take on Gabbard or Yang as VP. In a policy sense, that’s just what he’s starting now to do. Democrats would shatter upon the rocks of discoherence if they tried to pick up Pence’s pro-life Christian dominionist evangelical fundamentalist base.

And so Trump moved left, and no – not leftwards to the center – rather he made an unprecedented end-run around the anti-labor centrist Democrats over to the pro-labor economic left of the Democrat Party. That’s the very same economic left of the party that the Clinton-Pelosi-Biden corporate Democrats have suppressed and tried to relegate to invisibility. Clinton and Pelosi failed.

Where Clinton’s DNC succeeded in destroying the campaigns of Gabbard, Sanders, and Yang – despite their nauseating willingness to play DNC ball – the DNC fell victim to their own success. They handed this opening to Trump on a platter.

This happened because the DNC believed its own lies, and succumbed to the cognitive impairment disorder known as ‘Orange Man Bad’ Trump derangement Syndrome. For too long the DNC arrogantly believed that they could simply pander to the billionaire oligarchs and that working people would vote for them by default. Those days are over.

Now we are looking at the beginning of a Trump UBI, at the time of writing this stands at a proposed $500 billion which we have calculated works out as such: if there are about 160 million working age adults, which does not include about 45 million retirees receiving social security etc., then this comes out to $3000 per person. Is this just the beginning?

Once this sort of line is crossed, it’s difficult to go back. Trying to take it back will necessarily lead to the sort of backlash and threatened social violence and chaos which brought about its necessity in the first place.

We’ve already seen with Hurricane Katrina what upright citizens will do to survive, when literal starvation is the alternative.  But Trump went further. He ordered a moratorium on evictions, protecting working Americans who might be late on rent. He ordered a ban on bank foreclosures for Americans paying mortgages, for those whose loans were done through HUD and FM & FM.

Then Federal Reserve hack Larry Kudlow, now working as Director of the National Economic Council under President Donald Trump since 2018, announced even more – Trump is seriously looking to propose partial nationalization of businesses needing government assistance.

Universal Basic Income? Moratorium on evictions and foreclosures? Partial nationalization of business and industry? The possibilities presented now with “Comrade Trump’s” opening salvo, knows no bounds.

The most stupid criticism of Trump’s move is that he’s doing this merely in response to what the public wants, that he’s only doing this because people are demanding it, and if he didn’t do it, he couldn’t win re-election. We find this kind of anti-logic to be a form of violence against the understanding of politics in a republic with democratic traditions such as the U.S.

Isn’t this what elected representatives are supposed to do, to represent? Aren’t concessions and proposals in the face of losing one’s mandate what a responsible head of government is supposed to enact? Isn’t it strange that despite these very needs bubbling beneath the surface for decades, Democrats have not moved on these things, and haven’t been afraid of their own base? Isn’t this inability to carry out one’s responsibility to the constituents the very reason for the total implosion of the Democrat Party now underway?

When Democrats failed to do these things, the blue-no-matter-who crowd only made battered-wife syndrome level excuses – they blamed Republican obstruction even when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of congress for two years starting in 2008.

And Still it May Not be Enough – Towards a National Labor Movement

Despite Trump’s bold pronouncements which have outflanked the Democrat Party, the reality is that the present situation is so stark that even if these proposals all go through as planned, these will not likely be enough. That’s why we introduced this installment with the shocking figure on Americans wanting their states to secede. How this becomes part of the platform of the National Labor Movement will be critical.

There is a good possibility that Trump will extend and even reinforce these social-patriotic provisions at least through the election cycle. But then what, after that?

The reason this 25% secession figure is as small as it is, is because there has been no concerted effort to promote the idea. Compare this naturally popular idea to ‘politically correct’ social views which appear popular in polls, like gun control, but enjoy this largely as the result of tremendous social engineering. This came as public service announcements, subtle references in film and television, the expressed opinions of celebrities and social media ‘influencers’.

Eliminating the 2nd Amendment is an unconstitutional and anti-popular move that only a police-state would want. Despite a non-stop campaign since the 1980’s to vilify the very pillar which guarantees all the other amendments, only 20% of Americans are said to support its elimination.

But this is an idea that has been extremely unnatural, and expensive to promote. It required what many Americans even think were false flags and hoaxes to build to that 20%. It’s a figure that also happens to be shrinking despite thirty years of non-stop preaching.

What would happen to this 25% pro-secession figure if there were organized efforts to build around that idea? There was, bear in mind, the ‘Yes’ movement in 2016, for California to secede from the Union. Also, when the poll was conducted a few years ago, the situation was bad but not the catastrophe we are upon today. This catastrophe, whether engineered or not, has been a fascinating subject. It is unlikely that the Coronavirus is the cause of it, but rather the convenient timing of such appears to be a good reason to telegraph an emergency situation to the elites that now is the time to institute a series of socialist/corporatist/fascist (read: planned economy or distributist) changes to save the system by transforming it.

But absent a real show of extra-parliamentary force from the rank and file of a freshly organized National Labor Movement, any presently proposed patches to the failing system are unlikely to indefinitely stave-off a real uprising.

The 2016 through 2020 election cycles will go down in history as the final and most conclusive end to the America as we knew it. The global pandemic, Covid-19 is one thing, the phenomenon is another. That’s to say – the virus is one thing but the hype hysteria, and pretext for new forms of social control is entirely another.

The Democrat Party’s betrayal of its populist base doesn’t simply mean that millions of potential voters who favored Sanders and Gabbard are going to stay this election out – though they will. It means that some significant segment is going to throw in their lot with the anti-politics or the post-politics of a people with nothing left to lose. Direct action, veterans leading militia groups, organized crime, secessionist movements, revenge killings against corrupt cops,  ‘revolutionary conspiracies’, fed-up rogue labor organizers running decertification campaigns and wild-cat strikes – all now known to the state as ‘terrorism’.

“When the people have nothing left to lose, they lose it”, as the popular business consultant Gerald Celente has repeatedly explained for years.

Any analysis of what the DNC should have done, as this author’s ongoing series of essays for SCF on the subject has attempted to do, has wrongly been understood by some readers as a friendly exercise in hopeful proscription to ‘fix’ the DNC – it is not and was not.

My aim has been to show that when a society’s elites reach such a pinnacle of corruption and detachment from its moral and constitutional obligations and authority, then the whole society is on the precipice of collapse. It has been to show that numerous elements of the kinds of policies and attitudes that could have saved this country are in fact known to the Democrats, as Yang for example helps to prove, and they had cast these to the side nonetheless, as if these were all just optional ventures on what was otherwise a fair-weather day.

The sheer hubris of the chattering political class of beltway pundits has served to separate the have-less from the have-nots, to make those just getting by more blind to the situation of those who aren’t. Worse, it has been to set these two great classes against each other – the false notion that giving a hand-up to the latter will come with some greater tax burden to the former. The policies that could have fixed things were out there and were known to the political elite and their financial backers. Still, they turned the other way and told us to turn the other cheek.

Trump’s Still-Born Revolution?

Some of these needed fixes in the area of foreign policy, were seen in still-born form in Trump’s attempts as we discussed. And those opposing Trump’s attempts at steering foreign policy in a sustainable direction were met with obstruction and contempt from the Democrats and neoconservative Republicans as well. After years of impeachment chatter, threats of impeachment, Trump was pushed into striking Syria. And finally with an impeachment proceeding, pushed into murdering Qasem Soleimani. This happened to have the effect of turning off Trump’s anti-war supporters.

This author consistently explained and showed back in 2015 that the nature of Madame Secretary Clinton’s financial and ideological commitments would have irreconcilably led to a massive and bloody military intervention against the Russian Federation, which in turn could have signaled the kind of final, nuclear Armageddon which Ronald Reagan saw as akin to the Christian teleology found in Revelations.

To be clear: the party of Clinton is and has been the enemy of the American people, second only to the financial oligarchs who finance these Democrats. Trump’s left pivot is likely not to go far enough, and the necessary feedback loops are hard to read. That’s why in the next installment we will detail the coming national labor movement and the kinds of social violence we may expect as it emerges from the womb of chaos and bloodshed.

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Covid-19 has exposed just how broken American economy & society are – a $2 trillion package alone won’t fix it

By Scott Ritter | RT | March 24, 2020

As Congress and the president bicker over a huge financial stimulus package designed to keep the US economy afloat, they must confront the real existential questions facing the country.

Despite all the wrangling, there will be a national economic stimulus package passed by the Congress and signed by the president. Domestic political imperative guarantees as much. The American economy has largely shut down because of the social lockdown mandated by the coronavirus pandemic, and without a stimulus package the entire system would collapse with little hope of ever fully recovering.

The cost of the package will approximate $2 trillion, give or take a few hundred billion. No matter what the final amount is, it will exceed by far the nearly $1.5 trillion combined bailout/stimulus packages approved by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to recover from the 2008 economic crisis. The 2008 package, however, was a one-time deal; the coronavirus stimulus covers a period of approximately one month, after which the economy either gets restarted, or Congress and the president will be looking at the need for a follow-on stimulus package of similar size and scope.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed some uncomfortable truths about the state of America today. First and foremost is the fragility of the American economy. After years of outsourcing manufacturing, the United States has constructed an economy where services industries comprise some 55 percent of overall economic activity. In the age of globalization, with interconnectivity functioning seamlessly, this model has been able to generate the appearance of prosperity, with a booming stock market and increased GDP.

The reality, however, is that the American economy lacks resilience in time of crisis. The ongoing trade war with China, combined with a depressed global oil market, were in the process of exposing this reality before the coronavirus pandemic. The national lockdown, and resulting economic stoppage, only accelerated what was a gradual economic recession in progress. Even if the US economy could be taken off stimulus-driven life support, the conditions that preceded the shutdown still exist and, if anything, have only been exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic on global economic health.

American corporations have been shown to have little capacity to plan for “rainy day” contingencies, instead focusing all their economic resources on the generation of short-term profit. And the American working class has been likewise exposed as living on the edge of catastrophe, with few Americans able to fall back on savings that would enable them to ride out a period of sustained economic inactivity or, worse, to pay for emergency health care.

The other uncomfortable truth about America that has been exposed by the crisis is the overall fragility of American society. The medical emergency brought about by the need to treat this virus has shown that what passes for a national healthcare system is, in fact, a fragile construct of for-profit institutions susceptible to being rapidly overburdened and unable to function once the cash-stream of overpriced healthcare has been cut off. The coronavirus crisis has revealed the reality of the US healthcare system today – most Americans don’t have the wherewithal to get quality healthcare when needed – the cost of such care is prohibitive, as are the insurance premiums one must pay to cover it.

President Trump, while supporting the emergency economic stimulus package, has questioned whether this approach is sustainable. The short answer is that it is not. In addition to the approximately $2 trillion that the stimulus is adding to the US debt, the Federal Reserve has been pumping additional trillions into the American equity market, making virtually interest free money available to US banks and financiers.

The purpose of this injection of free money is to stimulate economic growth in a system which purports to be built on the principles of private capital. But when an ostensibly private equity market must be pumped up with government infusions of capital, it is neither private nor liquid.

Trump is wrestling with the horrible reality that in order to take the American economy off government life support, he must lift the restrictions on socializing that were imposed to slow down and reduce the human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus disease. Whether this move is economically sound, medically advisable or politically viable has yet to be seen. But one thing is for certain – the US is at a crossroads in its history.

Trump’s best-case scenario is that he can jump start the US economy, bringing it back up on all cylinders to resume where it had left off prior to the coronavirus-inspired shut down. Even if this plan worked, however, it would not resolve the underlying deficiencies in the US economic and social model that have been exposed as a result of the crisis.

The other alternative is to recognize the reality of the situation confronting the US today – that the crisis has fundamentally broken the American economy along with the American model of society which drove and sustained it. To fix the innumerable flaws and issues that have been identified by Covid-19 will require a level of government economic intervention over time that will forever tip America away from the vision of capitalism-inspired prosperity it aspired to, toward a more egalitarian form of socialism founded on the European model so many Americans claim to disdain.

Trump, the quintessential capitalist, recognizes this reality. He knows that the decision on whether to restart the American economy is much more than a question of simple economics. It is one which touches on the existential survival of America as we have come to know it.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 2 Comments

Sanctions on Iran, Others Facing Coronavirus Must Be Urgently Re-evaluated: UN

Al-Manar | March 25, 2020

The United Nations rights chief says any sanctions imposed on Iran, among other countries grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, should be “urgently re-evaluated” to support lives of millions of people worldwide.

“At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement on Tuesday.

She warned, “In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.”

She stressed the importance of giving broad and practical effect to humanitarian exemptions from sanctions measures “with prompt, flexible authorization for essential medical equipment and supplies.”

Bachelet pointed in particular to the case of Iran, one of the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, and said the COVID-19 outbreak was also spreading to neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan.

She said even before the pandemic, human rights reports had repeatedly emphasized the impact of sectorial sanctions on Iran’s access to essential medicines and medical equipment, including respirators and protective gear for healthcare workers.

Nearly 500,000 people worldwide have been infected and over 17,000 have died of the viral disease, according to the latest tallies.

Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Tuesday that the number of coronavirus deaths had risen to 1,934 and the total infections to 24,811 during the past 24 hours.

“There have been 122 new deaths and 1,762 new infections since Sunday,” he said. Jahanpour further put the number of patients who have recovered from the viral disease at 8,913.

US President Donald Trump reinstated Washington’s sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after he unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) — known as the World Court — has ordered the White House to lift the sanctions it has illegally re-imposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran.

The US claims the bans do not get in the way of food and medicine exports to Iran, but the Islamic Republic says Washington has been working to make problems for a Swiss humanitarian channel launched to enable the transfer of commodities to Iran.

In a phone conversation with Tunisian President Kais Saied on Monday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the United States’ move to prevent the dispatch of medical and humanitarian aid and the facilitation of banking interactions to meet the Iranian people’s needs suffering from the deadly new coronavirus contravenes human and the United Nations regulations.

Rouhani said the US administration has intensified its cruel measures and sanctions against the Iranian people even under the current difficult conditions caused by the virus outbreak.

March 25, 2020 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment