Archive for the ‘WarWeaponsViolence’ Category

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Various considerations on a hot day in July 2022

July 25, 2022

Where are the saints who can save us from ourselves?

2 trillion US$ are spent for war versus 100 billion US$ spent to save the planet.

The prophets of doom are widely read and acclaimed.

Jacob Dreizin writes:

It will be similar to what Russia experienced after 1991. There will be a social semi-collapse and a retreat of the state. A lot of indigent old people, sick people, and (in the American version) motorized wheelchair “landwhale” types, will die…..as the state won’t be there for them anymore, and/or their benefits checks won’t be worth anything.

Caitlin Johnstone writes:

Our world is being steered toward a dark and dangerous path full of impoverishment, starvation and proxy warfare, and fraught with the possibility of nuclear exchanges.

Hey, why you are doing this? The people who are awake, sensitive, realistic, they know already that dark and dangerous times are ahead. 

Even people who hate weapons think about getting some pepper sprays or putting a long kitchen knife in a drawer near their bed. Others train at a nearby shooting range to get accustomed to their new Glock pistol.

Dear Caitlin, you write ingenious prose and beautiful lyrical poetry. Please use your ingenuity to instill a global movement of humility, respect, and love, please introduce a new and true peace corps which brings love and peace to all troubled and confused minds, please organize worldwide resistance against both our idiotic leaders and our own undeserved complacency and smugness.

Ok, just telling it like it is may be an inevitable first step.

In the epic battle between reality and illusion, going on in Western consumerism culture, illusion until now has always won, and life as we know it has morphed into a science-fiction soap-opera, with even the most sober, disciplined, and skeptical people requiring the equivalent of a cerebral chainsaw to hollow out the slew of implausible narratives into something remotely resembling reality.

In other words (just for good measure):

Propaganda is king, it has permeated our lives and there’s no piece of fiction the populace will not swallow. People no longer make their own ideological pilgrimages to the truth – the truth is served oven-ready by their political betters.

The ruling elites are deliberately spreading confusion and ignorance. They are giving notice of their supremacy and are telling us, in no uncertain terms, that we are without recourse, that all significant events are beyond our control, as is our own destiny for that matter. They hope that eventually a sense of apathy and abulia will engulf humanity, demoralizing us to the point of conceding defeat to a system we are powerless to change.

The new Great Reset aims for depopulation, culling of the herd, getting rid of the precariat, eliminating the marginalized, useless, undesirables.

Rebuilding better after the crash. Achieving more (profit) with less (people).

The super rich will be fine in their retreats on super-yachts, private islands, and doomsday bunkers in New Zealand. They have their private security contractors to defend them. 

Through the security guys eventually may get the idea to confiscate all the riches and distribute them among themselves.

Environmental news:

The decline in IQ scores of children is well documented across Europe, the USA, and Australia. Babies born in USA (and in the developed world in general) are contaminated with industrial chemicals and many of these chemicals affect brain development, especially the endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with our hormones. Newborn babies are pre-exposed to mixtures of more than 200 endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These include phthalates, perchlorate, fluoride, BPA (bisphenol-A) and its substitutes, parabens, legacy chemicals such as PCBs or DDT, and heavy metals, including lead and mercury.

These chemicals are even in the amniotic fluid and surround the baby during the first nine months of its life when the brain is forming at an incredible rate with thousands of nerve cells born per second. Contamination continues through the mother’s milk or formula, through the air the baby breathes, in the creams, lotions, and baby wipes used on its small body.

As technological progress makes the world more complicated and opaque, humans become even less equipped to handle the complexities and intricacies of modern life. Maybe this is exactly what the ruling elites hope for. 

The DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) announced, that 27 permits for oil exploration and 3 for gas will be auctioned off. The permits include the Cuvette Centrale tropical peatlands, the world’s largest tropical peatlands. Oil exploration permits include two sites that overlap with Virunga national park, a Unesco world heritage site home to the Earth’s last remaining mountain gorillas.

The Congo basin is the only major rainforest that sucks in more carbon than it emits and experts have described it as the worst place in the world to explore for fossil fuels.

Economic news:

The IMF (International Monetary fund) slashed its outlook for global growth this year to 3.6 percent, citing rising inflationary risks and aggressive central bank tightening. EU inflation in May was 8.8 percent. The EU rolled out a plan for its member states to begin rationing energy supplies, in preparation for a full shutoff of gas supplies over the winter. The IMF warned that a total shutdown of Russian gas supplies could shrink the economies of EU member states by 6 percent and send them into recession.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says Saudi Arabia is ready to increase oil production, but to no more than 13 million barrels per day. This modest increase will make no difference and not fend off the looming recession.

Given the environmental impacts and the vulnerability to price shocks and largely unregulated speculation, it is increasingly clear that the world must move away from its reliance on fossil-fuel agriculture. This also involves delinking from a globalized food system based on long-line supply chains.

As oil and gas prices rise so does the price of artificial chemical fertilizers – the lynch-pin of industrial agriculture’s claims to be “efficient”. In the UK, the price of nitrogen fertilizer has doubled over the past year to around £330 per ton. With oil at over 130 US$ a barrel and with OPEC warning it could reach 200 US$ by the end of the year, it has been suggested that fertilizers could hit GBP 500 a ton. At these prices, the claimed efficiency of fossil-fuel and fertilizer dependent industrial farming begins to collapse.

Vandana Shiva says in a recent article that it is time governments made the fertilizer industry pay for nitrogen pollution and redirect subsidies from industrial agriculture to ecological farming. Rather than attacking farmers (as is currently happening in the Netherlands), she says new agroecology schools need to be opened for farmers to make a transition to ecological agriculture over a three- to five-year period.

Vijay Prashad writes in his 28th Newsletter (https://thetricontinental.org): The world is adrift in the tides of hunger and desolation. It is difficult to think about education, or anything else, when your children are not able to eat.

Pandemic news:

The Washington Post published an article with the headline: “They still haven’t gotten covid.” And they still haven’t got long COVID. And they still are not suffering from immune deficiencies, micro blood cloths, and various other health conditions who may never be associated with COVID-19.

And yet, they are breathing the same contaminated air and are drinking the same contaminated water and they eat the same food laced with all the industrial poisons which are emitted from factories around the world around the clock.

They will be a bit less sick but they will suffer nonetheless. Even the most isolated tribes in the most remote corners of the few remaining rainforests, who never emitted even one ounce of industrial toxins, will suffer.

That is the price of technological progress.

First generation vaccines, like Novavax, are not the silver bullet needed to end the pandemic. Funding and systematic research for second generation vaccines, like pan-coronavirus (variant proof) vaccines or nasal vaccines is desperately needed to finally get ahead of this virus.

Living with COVID is not as straightforward as health authorities want it to appear. The next wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are rolling in. Public health systems are overburdened and may collapse, nurses and doctors are exhausted and depressed.

Zero-COVID is still ruled out, ridiculed, and dismissed as impractical. Industrial production (and toxic emissions) must go on, profits must be secured.

The World Health Organization labeled the outbreak of monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the highest level of alert the global health agency can issue. More than 16,500 cases of monkeypox have been reported globally.

Imperial conquest news:

The production of B61-12 nuclear bombs has begun. The B61-12, classified as “non-strategic nuclear weapon,” replaces the previous B61 at European bases (in Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain). It has a nuclear warhead with four power options, selectable depending on the target to be destroyed. It is not dropped vertically, but at a distance from the target on which it is directed guided by a satellite system. It can penetrate underground, exploding deep to destroy command center bunkers in a nuclear first strike.

New York City’s OEM (Office of Emergency Management) released a 90-second public service announcement, giving instructions to city residents on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack on America’s largest city. The video begins with the narration, “So there has been a nuclear attack. Don’t ask me how or why, just know that the big one has hit.”

Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List:

(By William Blum – published February 2013)

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

• China 1949 to early 1960s

• Albania 1949-53

• East Germany 1950s

• Iran 1953 *

• Guatemala 1954 *

• Costa Rica mid-1950s

• Syria 1956-7

• Egypt 1957

• Indonesia 1957-8

• British Guiana 1953-64 *

• Iraq 1963 *

• North Vietnam 1945-73

• Cambodia 1955-70 *

• Laos 1958 *, 1959 *, 1960 *

• Ecuador 1960-63 *

• Congo 1960 *

• France 1965

• Brazil 1962-64 *

• Dominican Republic 1963 *

• Cuba 1959 to present

• Bolivia 1964 *

• Indonesia 1965 *

• Ghana 1966 *

• Chile 1964-73 *

• Greece 1967 *

• Costa Rica 1970-71

• Bolivia 1971 *

• Australia 1973-75 *

• Angola 1975, 1980s

• Zaire 1975

• Portugal 1974-76 *

• Jamaica 1976-80 *

• Seychelles 1979-81

• Chad 1981-82 *

• Grenada 1983 *

• South Yemen 1982-84

• Suriname 1982-84

• Fiji 1987 *

• Libya 1980s

• Nicaragua 1981-90 *

• Panama 1989 *

• Bulgaria 1990 *

• Albania 1991 *

• Iraq 1991

• Afghanistan 1980s *

• Somalia 1993

• Yugoslavia 1999-2000 *

• Ecuador 2000 *

• Afghanistan 2001 *

• Venezuela 2002 *

• Iraq 2003 *

• Haiti 2004 *

• Somalia 2007 to present

• Honduras 2009

• Libya 2011 *

• Syria 2012 to present

• Ukraine 2014 *

Emboldened by their total control over Boris Yeltsin and the Russian liberals, the US Neocons in 1998 celebrated victory over Russia. Then something went wrong and suddenly they were faced with a radically different kind of leader, one with the massive support of the Russian people. Yeltsin had suggested and promoted Vladimir Putin as his successor, making this the only wise decision in an otherwise catastrophic legacy of failure.

Putin was an intelligence officer specializing in the West, thus a man who had a very good understanding of his enemies. Furthermore, Putin was knowledgeable and realistic enough to understand that in the early years of his reign Russia was in no condition to openly defy the West, let alone fight it militarily. This is why he stopped the LDNR (Luhansk Peoples Republic) forces from moving any further westwards in 2014 and 2015 even though the Ukrainian military was in disarray.

While he knew that during the time the Ukrainians were in a panic and disorganized, he also knew that Russia could not take on the collective West. So between 2014 and 2018 Russia made a gigantic effort to develop the kind of capabilities needed to be able to take on all of NATO and win. By the time of the Russian ultimatum to the West last autumn, Russia was finally ready.

The Russian proposals for new security arrangements in Europe were either ignored, bluntly rejected, or even ridiculed. Russian leaders, and more important the Russian people, finally understood that the West sees them as inferior, as subhumans (Untermenschen), that there was no chance of cooperation, that malice and spite were the guiding principles of Western policy against Russia.

Russia is now systematically reorienting and reorganizing its economy and foreign policy towards Asia (China, India) and the Global South (Africa, Latin America). The doors to the West are shut and bolted. Russians are finished with the West and the remaining ties will end one by one. Western Europe will have to look for other sources of crucial supplies.

Ukraine news:

No matter what Western media write about Russian low morale, desertions, poorly trained troops with not enough to eat, incompetent officers, logistical failures, and inaccurate outdated artillery, this war from the start has proceeded inexorably in one direction: In reality, in the real war, the Ukrainians have been on a slow march to defeat. They are too corrupt, too deluded and confused by their fanatical Russophobia to organize an effective defense.

This is not a grinding war of attrition, as we are supposed to think. It has proceeded slowly because Russian forces appear to be taking care to limit casualties — their own and among Ukrainian civilians.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky suspended the head of Ukraine’s secret service (SBU), Ivan Bakanov, and the state prosecutor general, Irina Venediktova, accusing both of allowing mass “collaboration” with Russia by officials of their agencies.

A new Ukrainian strategy that is unfolding now seems to involve attacking chemical plants and facilities (for instance factories in the so-called “chemical industry triangle” around Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, and Rubezhnoye, which is home to over 30 chemical firms. US-provided missile systems might be used for that very purpose. The environmental hazards of this are quite obvious, not to mention the humanitarian disaster and the potential long-term health effects on the population even after the end of the conflict for many years to come, due to soil and water contamination.

Since the start of the war, the USA has provided 8.2 billion US$ in military aid to Ukraine. The flow of US weapons to Ukraine has been so enormous that military officials fear this will deplete the United States’ own military stockpiles.

The military supplies include 580 Phoenix Ghost kamikaze drones, as well as 12 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems).

According to Western reports the US HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) has taken out at least one Russian command center, killing many senior Russian officers, and knocked out at least two important ammunition dumps as well as damaged Russian air defense and artillery rocket systems.

Donetsk-based journalist Alina Lipp of Germany has been prosecuted by the German state for violating new speech codes through her reporting in the breakaway Donetsk Republic. As the only German reporter on the ground in Donetsk, Lipp has exposed Ukrainian forces shelling civilians, attacking a maternity ward, mining harbors, and bombing a granary filled with corn for export. She faces three years in prison if she returns to her home country.

Once Russia secures Donbass, there are no major lines of defense to the west until the Dnieper River. Zelensky allegedly told the troops in Donbass, that if they lose the so-called Zaluzny defense line (Kramatorsk and Sloviansk are on this line) that it would be considered to be the total collapse of Ukraine forces and no more Western support would be forthcoming. It is doubtful that the USA can totally abandon Ukraine, but they can certainly send only eyewash, and more importantly, stop funding the Ukraine government, which has become a money pit.

Poland could serve as a springboard for launching a NATO incursion into Ukraine, not necessarily to confront Russian forces directly, but to establish a “buffer zone” in western Ukraine just as the US and NATO-ally Turkey did in Syria.

Poland has hosted a build-up of US troops since February 2022 and US President Joe Biden pledged more troops, warplanes, and warships for Europe. The United States will create a new permanent army headquarters in Poland.

Ukrainian and US officials are openly discussing the details of a plan to amass an enormous stockpile of high-end US weapons systems, including fighter jets, allowing Kiev to stage a major counteroffensive in the fall with the aim of sinking the Russian fleet and retaking the Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea, which Russia annexed in the wake of the 2014 coup against President Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said, that the country needs at least 1,000 heavy howitzers, 300 multiple rocket launchers, 500 tanks, and 2,000 armored vehicles – multiple times the numbers which the West has provided until now.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov pledged to use US-supplied heavy weapons to mount an offensive against Crimea. “We are receiving anti-ship capabilities, and sooner or later we will target the fleet … Russia will have to leave Crimea if they wish to exist as a country,” Havrylov insisted.

Ukrainian military intelligence official Vadym Skibitsky said, that Ukraine would use HIMARS missile systems to attack targets in Crimea, which he said “had to be destroyed for the safety of our citizens, our facilities, and our Ukraine.”

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told civilians on July 10 to evacuate the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhia “by all means possible so that the armed forces can liberate these territories without endangering the civilian population.” It was her third such warning since June 20.

While NATO is preparing an escalation of the war, because it is not going well for Ukraine, the economic war against Russia is evenly unsuccessful.

After being hit with sanctions over the 2014 seizure of Crimea, Russia built a fortress economy by keeping debt low and pushing companies to source parts and commodities within Russia.

The rouble is today far stronger, recently rising to a seven-year high of 52.3 rouble against the dollar – higher even than pre-invasion levels. The Russian government has pointed to the rouble’s recovery as proof that sanctions are not working. JPMorgan announced new predictions in July that the Russian economy is beating expectations, with gross domestic product now estimated to fall by only 3.5 per cent.

Energy prices are sky high right now. According to the independent research organization Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, Russia earned more than 100 billion US$ from oil and gas exports since the start of the Ukraine war, despite exports coming down and despite selling Russian crude at discounted prices .

One wonders, what escalation of the economic war the USA may now contemplate and what the burden for Western Europe may be.

China news:

China’s economy rose by only 0.4 per cent in the second quarter, missing market expectations and sounding alarm for the government’s target of “around 5.5 per cent” growth for this year.

China’s manufacturing economy, by contrast, continues to exceed expectations. China’s exports in June rose 17 percent US$ from the year-earlier month, vs. a consensus forecast of 12 percent. Exports to the USA and Europe held steady at high levels but the big increases came from exports to the developing world.

Liu Yuanchun, president of the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said the heightened risks of global stagflation are a double-edged sword for China but also offer opportunities for strategic leverage to move up the global value chain.

Since the 1980s the integration into the global economy of low wage labor from the highly populous China vastly expanded the available global labor force, undercutting labor bargaining power in the developed world, and with it the wages, benefits, working conditions, and the economic security of Western labor.

The effective labor supply for Western neocolonialist exploitation more than doubled from 1991 to 2018, the years during which China opened its doors and invited foreign investors to exploit the country’s vast, disciplined, and cheap work force. Along with the reincorporation of Eastern Europe into the Western neoliberal economy, the baby boomer demographic wave, and rising participation of women in the labor force, these developments provided what the two economists call an enormous supply shock to the available labor force in the world’s neoliberal trading system.

In June the unemployment rate of urban youth aged 16 to 24 was 19.3 percent. Urban youth unemployment is mainly affecting high school, vocational high school, college, and undergraduate graduates.

According to a report published by the Chinese recruitment website Qiancheng Wuyou, more than half of undergraduate graduates intend to pursue a master’s degree, and of those who are pursuing a master’s degree, about 30 percent are considering a doctorate. Such a choice is on the one hand a desire to temporarily escape the pressure of entering the labour market, and on the other hand a response to increasingly fierce competition.

In addition to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, higher unemployment is reducing overall spending power. Wang Jingwen, a macro researcher at China Minsheng Bank, warned: “If the youth unemployment rate rises further, it may lead to an increase in household precautionary savings, which will put pressure on the entire social consumption and the real estate market.”

As China leapfrogs Western computer technology, a Bloomberg article says it all: “US sanctions help China supercharge its chipmaking industry. It is growing faster than anywhere else in the world. 19 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing chip industry firms come from China.”