Category Archives: Financial absurdity

Venezuela Madness

President Trump has  recognised as President of Venezuela, a man  who  has never stood for the Presidential  role  but who presides over  the Venezuelan  national  assembly: Juan Guaidó— a man  who  the New York Times (1/22/19) describes as “virtually unheard-of”—and who has now – at  the behest of the Trump administration- proclaimed himself the country’s new leader. Guaido  was elected President of the National Assembly of Venezuela in December 2018, and was sworn in on 5 January 2019.  He appears to  have strong links into  the American  neocon  ‘thinktank’  and policy   systems and strongly supports  the United States  re- taking more ownership  of Venezuela’s extensive oil  reserves, (the largest in  the world)  and the privatisation of many state-run  services which  currently fund health  and welfare  in Venezuela.  In  addition,  according to  ConsortiumNews,  he hads a long history  of involvement in  the violence associated with Popular Will party  which   formed the shock troops of the guarimbas that caused the deaths of police officers and common citizens alike. He had even boasted of his own participation in street riots. And now, to win the hearts and minds of the military and police, Guaido had to erase this blood-soaked history.   According to  Consortium News, Within 48 hours, Guaidó quickly tried to seize control of Venezuela’s major US-based oil refiner and use its revenue to help bankroll his US-backed coup regime.  Guaidó is attempting to fire the directors of Citgo Petroleum, which is owned by Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA, and seeks to appoint his own new board……This plan would involve the creation of a “new hydrocarbons agency” that would “offer bidding rounds for projects in natural gas and conventional, heavy and extra-heavy crude.” In other words, these are rapid moves to privatize Venezuela’s oil and open the door for multinational corporations. As David Pear notes- this is essentially a racist  white supremacist  counter-revolution 

The current President of Venezuela is Nicolas Maduro,  who  was  re-elected in  a disputed election ( ie some of  the opposition parties  chose not to  run  a candidate and then disputed the election)  in January  2019 . Maduro has used increasingly repressive measures to  maintain  his powerbase and repress  opposition, whilst  confronting increasingly violent  opposition groups.  Telesur (a news agency funded by the Government of Venezuela and  other governments such as CubaNicaraguaUruguay, and Bolivia ), notes that the ‘National Assembly has been in a situation of contempt of court for almost two years. After the election of deputies in December 2015, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) candidates in Amazon State filed a complaint because their opponents had purchased votes to win the election. The court subsequently condemned the fraud and the Electoral Power Tribunal demanded that the election for these three seats be redone. Since the Speaker of the National Assembly refused to comply with the judicial and electoral authorities, the National Assembly was declared in “contempt of court.” Decisions and votes emanating from the legislative power are therefore null and void as long as the speaker of the National Assembly fails to authorize the return to the polls.”

The United States has implemented wide-ranging sanctions against the  Maduro  administration since 2014 ,  claiming that it is a dictatorial regime. The sanctions ,  along with  declining oil  prices and to  a lesser extent, structural  failures by  the socialist  Bolivarian presidents, Chavez and Maduro  administrations ,  has resulted in  an  economic disaster for Venezuela,  with  rampant inflation  and high  unemployment . The working classes and peasants who  formerly supported the Maduro  government because of its extensive redistribution of state owned oil  wealth  and its  health and social  policies, appear now to be  increasingly angry  with  the Maduro  administration for the economic failures they have recently endured.  Mainstream  media in  the West  and many Western  politicians are now able to  insist that  it is solely the  socialist  agenda of the Chavez/Maduro  administrations  that  has caused this economic crisis, while  ignoring the very  deliberate attempts by  the United States to de-stabilise the country  over an extended period of years via sanctions and supporting an  attempted coup  in 2002,  and using its pressure with other Latin American  states to  isolate the Venezulean  administration.

The United States and its Western  and Latin American ‘allies’  have a desperate need to  invalidate the socialist  wealth  distribution policies of Venezuela;  both  to  ensure its corporate elites, the “comprador”,  continue to  receive their ‘rightful’  incomes, and bank  accounts in  Miami , but also  to  ensure that their home populations do  not begin  to understand that  state ownership  and wealth  distribution is a very  valid and effective method to ensure a  sustainable and fair world. (where would we be -God forgive!!-if we had an equitable, efficient, sustainable   and accountable economic process that  ensured a country’s assets actually returned to  all  of its population?)

 The appointment of Elliot Abrams by  the Trump  administration to  coordinate ‘diplomatic’  efforts to  replace Mafuro is a clear indication of the regime change efforts of the United States. The contemptible Abrams was heavily involved in  the  coordination of terrorist activities by  the  Reagan  era contras in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and would clearly be  a key contender for  long-term incarceration if there was in  fact a neutral   international  War Crimes Tribunal. As the Guardian  article on  the 2002 notes:  the crucial figure around the coup was Abrams, who operates in the White House as senior director of the National Security Council for ‘democracy, human rights and international opera tions’. He was a leading theoretician of the school known as ‘Hemispherism’, which put a priority on combating Marxism in the Americas.

What  Guaido and his American  neocon  advisors seem  to fail to  understand,  is that his possible ascension to  the Venezuelan presidency  ( a re-run of the coup  of  the U.S.  2002 attempted coup ), while  allowing the US regime to  remove sanctions and its stranglehold over the Venezuelan  economy,  will  inevitably lead to  a nationalist  backlash  in Venezuela as it becomes clear that  the majority of the country’s resources are being sold off  to  US corporates and the IMF,  with  possible negative implications  for the  recently installed intellectually impaired Bolsonaro  extreme right wing administration  in neighbouring   Brasil-as it becomes clear who  is pulling the strings in  that  country.

In addition,  as the centre of global  power inexorably moves from  the United States to  China , Latin American  states aligned to  increasingly erratic  and violent U.S. corporate and  state imperialist  ambitions, will  find themselves isolated.

What  is also  equally disturbing is the alacrity which  which  EU nations have fallen in line behind the United States’ sponsored coup  in Venezuela. Their insistence on  interference in  another country’s domestic issues and their pronouncements on who is the ‘legitimate’  ruler of Venezuela do  not bode well  for human  rights and the international  rule of law.

Postscript: Stansfield Smith  at  Covert Action lists  a damning history of U.S.  intervention  in Venezuela and beyond

See another unpleasant history of U.S.  intervention  in  Venezuela here at  Telesur https://www.telesurenglish.net//opinion/The-History—and-Hypocrisy—of-US-Meddling-in-Venezuela–20190128-0016.html?

https://www.telesurenglish.net/opinion/Understanding-Venezuelas-Crisis-An-Interview-With-Guillaume-Long-20190129-0005.html

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/venezuela-why-capitalism-not-socialism-blame-corruption?

History of US Interventions in Latin America (courtesy of @asadabukhalil on Twitter.)

Or read David Pear’s analysis that  this is essentially   a racist  counter-revolution http://www.unz.com/article/us-and-canada-are-backing-an-elite-white-supremacist-minority-in-venezuela/ 


Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Guaid%C3%B3

The Making of Juan Guaidó: US Regime-Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader

https://venezuelanalysis.com/video/14253

https://www.telesurenglish.net/opinion/Ongoing-Coup-in-Venezuela-What-If-Same-Scenario-Happens-in-France-20190126-0007.html

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Bank-of-England-Refuse-to-Return-US1.2BN-Venezuelan-Gold—20190127-0003.html

Yet Another U.S. Coup Attempt to Eradicate the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela’s US-Backed Coup Leader Immediately Targets State Oil Company and Requests IMF Money

US Backs Coup in Oil-Rich Venezuela, Right-Wing Opposition Plans Mass Privatization and Hyper-Capitalism

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Bank-of-England-Refuse-to-Return-US1.2BN-Venezuelan-Gold—20190127-0003.html

‘Resistance’ Media Side With Trump to Promote Coup in Venezuela

 

The Madness of Military Intervention in Venezuela

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/01/venezuela-trumps-coup-attempt-is-based-on-a-seriously-flawed-plan.html

The Vultures of Caracas

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/venezuela-us-sanctions-united-nations-oil-pdvsa-a8748201.html

Your Complete Guide to the N.Y. Times’ Support of U.S.-Backed Coups in Latin America

Demonic Russia

Over the last few years we have seen an increasing crescendo  of Western  media implicating Russia in wars of aggression,  threats to  its neighbours  and more recently involvement in  gas attacks in  both  Syria and now the U.K.

Russia as one of the major  international  suppliers of natural  gas and  oil , is like Iran ( and previously Iraq and Libya) , one of the few states not aligned to  Western corporate  interests. And  like China, (a major oil  importer)  operates a defence arsenal -both  conventional  and nuclear,  which is  largely independent of Western  suppliers.

After the breakup  of the Soviet bloc in the 1990s, and the resultant Yeltsin  years of asset stripping by  newly emergent  Russian “oligarchs” and Western companies, Russia under Putin  has slowly regained some of  the strengths it had acquired as a communist nation. But this time with  a much  stronger ethnic Russian  flavour, as the Baltic states and many of the Eastern  ‘Stans’  of Soviet times, devolved from  the newly formed  Russian  Federation .

Western  interests had intended that  any Russian  resurgence would be minimal  and closely aligned to  Western  corporates. However President Putin’s presidency has had a strong focus on  Russian  nationalism, independence and self-reliance-all anathema to  Western  ‘think-tank” and government foreign  policy planners..

With  NATO pushing hard against Russian  borders in  the West, and the Polish  and Baltic states electing ever more nationalist  governments, Russia  has responded with  increasing its defence arsenal –  both  nuclear and conventional. The capabilities of many of these new weapons , like the Kalibr cruise missile and the newly announced Russian hyperspeed missiles have come as a surprise to  Western  defence analysts. Russia’s military  successes in  supporting the government of Syria against  the Western  and Gulf State supported jihadists attempting to overthrow the Syrian regime have also  confounded Western military  analysts.  Russia’s  brief war on its borders in Ossetia and in Georgia  and its seizure of the Crimea  and its centuries old Russian naval  base there, after Western intervention in the Ukraine , also  came as a surprise to  those in  the West  who  expected easy  victories there.

However what  is much more of a threat  to  Western interests than  all  of the above, is Russia’s capacity to be an overland ( and thus secure) conduit for China’s vast consumer production  to  Europe and beyond . Bizarrely though, it is the military  and economic  pressure by  the West  which  has cemented  the alliance between  China and Russia and further enabled the “One Belt One Road” project . In addition, this reinvigorated Russo/Chinese alliance will  ensure China’s access in  the long-term  to  essential  oil  for its factories which is not  at  risk from  maritime attack or blockade by  the U.S.  or its allies.

While Russian capacity to  understand or even work as an  equal  partner  with its ever-more-powerful  eastern  neighbour is  currently limited- this China/Russia  alliance has enormous future consequences for global  trade and dominance ( should global  warming and environmental  destruction not impede or destroy world capacity for  human ‘progress” in the meantime!)

While the U.S. remains the largest  economic, and by  far the largest  military  power in  the world;  that power is indisputably waning. Endless fruitless wars have drained its coffers, as well  as inflicting enormous suffering on  so  many of the world’s populations. Rampant corruption at  all  levels of American  society,  but particularly in  Washington, has left government and strategic vision entirely in  the hands of greedy  corporates,  whose only ‘vision’  is more power and money for themselves. It’s strongest  ally,  the U.K.  has long suffered from  the loss of income from the colonial  states it is now largely unable  to ravage, but its moneyed classes hold still  to  a vision of a truly “Great” Britain. The “City of London” , the mercantile capital  of the world in  many respects,  has reaped,  and continues to  reap, enormous profits from  the largely illegal  siphoning of capital  from  what  were once the state enterprises of the Soviet Union into London’s coffers,  via Russian  ‘oligarchs‘ .  The British press  and politicians like to portray  these  “oligarchs’  as “Putin’s men” ,  whereas in  most instances they  are extremely anti-Putin because of Putin’s  nationalist  views and his desire for Russian money to  stay inside Russia .

The recent Kemerovo mall  fire tragedy in Siberia, with  its obvious implications of corruption and negligence at  the Siberian   governorship level, will  both require and assist  Putin  to  further crack  down on corruption in Russia.

Now, entrance the ‘Novichok’  affair…Moon of Alabama and  Craig Murray,  among many others,  have effectively destroyed any  argument by London’s   ‘ruling classes’ ,  that this was indisputably a Russian  government initiated nerve agent attempted murder of a   Russian  ex double agent and his Russian daughter.  However what  seems often missed in  these accounts of the counter-arguments to  the British  Government’s spin  on  the attempted murders is the extraordinarily implausible likelihood that  such  nerve agent deaths would not only occur within  a few kilometers of Britain’s only Chemical Weapons facility at  Porton  Down near  Salisbury, (where disgusting and inhumane  activities are carried out in  the name of the Western  world, and in direct  contravention of the U.K.s obligations as a signatory  to  the UN Conventions on the prohibition of chemical and biological weapons),  but that  a few weeks before, the BCC had aired a  British  /American  spy drama called “Strike Back” in  which Novichok   was used  by  a disgruntled ex-Russian  spy.  The laws of probability say  that  those two  events, and the actual  attempted murders,  cannot be coincidence.  Now add in  into  the mix the current controversy  over Facebook personal details being leaked to  benefit Trump’s presidential  campaign  by  SCL subsidiary , Cambridge Analytica.    As Bella Caledonia notes: SCL is a very  British  company dedicated (and funded by  the British  Ministry of Defence) to  manipulate public opinion  in  a multitude of foreign  and domestic environments.  There in Bella Caledonia’s post you will  note that  in  2005 SCL ” went public with a glitzy exhibit at the DSEI conference, the UK’s largest showcase for military technology.  It’s ‘hard sell’ was a demonstration of how the UK government could use a sophisticated media campaign of mass deception to fool the British people into the thinking an accident at a chemical plant had occurred and threatened central London.” And the Novichok affair gets rather messier for  Western  ‘intelligence’   here..

As SCL notes on its website: ‘SCL is experienced in using data driven communication to achieve behavioral change in civilian groups. National programs across the spectrum from social programs, health campaigns, and educational initiatives can all be designed using advanced data analytics informed by our behavioral tools. SCL combines the micro-segmentation data from the target audience and combines it with behavioural profiles to increase the effectiveness of information campaigns.’

Hmmm- might a display of ‘novichok” in  some quiet little British  city be helpful in  pushing the case that Russia ( and instrumentally  Vladimir Putin)  is indeed the demon  we have always thought her to  be? And here is the ‘proof’  in 5 slides  that  Her Majesty’s Government was able to  persuade its NATO allies that  Russia  did indeed  do  the deed. Demonstrably we are indeed talking about totally incompetent UK politicians , defence planners and easily bought NATO allies  here…

And finally,  with  the appointment of  the psychopath John Bolton as the new  U.S.  National  Security Advisor,  whose only known diplomatic strategy  is to  kill  people he doesn’t like in  vast  quantities,  we have the capacity for those with  very  limited intellectual  capacity to  destroy  the earth (in a nuclear armageddon)  much earlier than planned….

And Country Joe’s song is just  as relevant now as it was then in 1969…

 

Postscript

Gareth  Porter provides a possible alternative explanation as to  why  the purported Novichok nerve agent did not immediately kill the Skripal’s, as it should have done.


Links

Strategic Communications Laboratory (SCL Group)        https://sclgroup.cc/home

SCL – a Very British Coup

Shadow Democracy

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dispatches/2005/09/you_cant_handle_the_truth.html

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/422502-west-russia-diplomats-skripal/

Will America accept its defeat or will it challenge the Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon? (1/3)

Will America accept its defeat or challenge the Russian bear and the Chinese dragon 3/3?

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/03/the-geo-political-poker-game-wheres-the-off-ramp-by-.html#more%22%22

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/with-expulsions-of-russians-the-westen-masseconfronts-putin

Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack Reveals $70 Million Pentagon Program At Porton Down

http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/865-no-spirit-of-liberty-the-salisbury-case-corbyn-and-the-need-for-dissent.html

Doubts about “Novichoks”

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/clinton-state-department-discouraged-novichok-discussion.html#more

https://www.rt.com/news/422871-russia-questions-uk-skripal-case/

An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery

Christmas 2017 & The Dishonest Broker

In the last few months we have seen the Trump administration reeling from one extraordinarily stupid move in foreign policy, to another.

Firstly  we have the tragedy and farce of the declaration that the US will ‘accept’ Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; somewhere that all Western nations have been loathe to go (officially) whilst fully accepting and unconditionally supporting the reality of the triumphalism of the apartheid racist Israeli entity.  A two state solution has, since 1948, been known to  all  parties  as a totally non-viable option, and will never happen.

It is of course possible that the Israelis finally realise that the nation of Israel has no future in the long term , unless it grants full right of return to all Palestinian and full compensation for lands stolen since 1948 and lives destroyed… The alternative for Israel does not bear thinking about.

It is not that Trump’s declaration changes anything;  what is upsetting for the West and for China and Russia, is that it makes plain that there never was a two state option- and that the United States has always been the Dishonest Broker in the ‘peace process’ .

Now we can start to face reality in Palestine- and it is not a pretty picture for the Israelis.

The ludicrous aspect of this, is that for those modern day Israelis whose ancestors came from the Levant; they are of exactly the same ethnic Semitic lineage as the ‘dirty Arabs’ they despise . We have seen more than 60 years of completely farcical “peace’ negotiations; the Israelis have never had any intention of returning any of the lands stolen by war or genocide, and both the ‘disinterested” broker and the Palestinian negotiators have always known that.

Then  we have the  ongoing playground bully tactics to North Korea by  the United States president and his policy  advisors and chiefs of staff.  A country that knows full well the epic scale of barbarity the American nation is capable of;  having endured American genocide in the Korean War and the continuous threats from various U.S. presidents and US generals since that time to blast them back into the stone-age. With its back against the wall, North Korea has only one option- to continue to develop enough nuclear ICBMs to substantially debilitate the American economy ( Given that of course from the American side, there will be no negotiations with North Korea until they ‘behave’ )

And then we have dear Nikki Haley the United States ambassador to the United Nations displaying bits of what are supposedly Iranian made missiles launched by the Yemenese Houthis against their Saudi aggressors ,who are currently killing thousands of Yemen citizens with cholera and millions through starvation…

But hey Nikki!- what ‘s more important? -the lives of a few million Yemenese? Or the need to destroy Iran to serve the interests of the Israeli supporters and Saudis who pay Congress and the Washington ‘think-tanks’ ? One hopes that karma is not for real:- Nikki’s future lives are not going to be exactly pretty…nor will it be in this life should true international justice be finally served.

It is not that Trump has really changed anything;- the brutality, cynicism, duplicitiousness and lack of humanity of United States foreign policy has remained largely unchanged since the Second World War. Trump has simply made it very clear what it  has always been about for the United States:- money!

The facade has been removed…We have  seen  a dramatic transition from  a President able to so  plausibly lie through his teeth  (and win  a Nobel peace prize for it), to  one who  seems  to  say  (or tweet) whatever  fleeting thought is on  his mind at  the time ,  but whose sole  immediate directive for decision-making is money  and power, rather than  a longer term strategy of deceit  to reach  the desired same end.

It is disturbing to think that these great leaders of the ‘Free World’ are supposedly the best of humankind- a sad indictment on us all


Links

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/world-will-not-mourn-decline-u-s-hegemony/ 

Selling your Mother…

The title of this  post comes from  a quote in a mini-thesis by  Rafael M Santos (2011) “Ethical  Responsibilities and the Environment’  in  which he notes the Australian Aboriginal  response to  the commodification of land and animals as  “much like putting a price on  your own mother” .

In late February/March of 2017  the Vatican pulled together a Working Group  to  look  at  the current state of the world in  relation to  species extinction and global  warming.

As the Vatican notes; The subject of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ (biodiversity especially its Chapter 2), climate change, is estimated in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be on a course to destroy 20-40% of all biodiversity on Earth by the end of this century regardless of any other factors, but of course interacting with them. The living fabric of the world, which we are enjoyed in Genesis, Chapter II to protect, is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring.

Predictably the Vatican discourse continues along a familiar theme ,  how man  should be the “protector’  of all living things  for the purpose of  their usage by  man. As always,  it is our ‘god given  right’  to  subjugate and destroy the other species on  this planet as we see fit. But even the working group  has to  admit;  such  a  philosophy is rapidly leading humans,  as well as the other species on  this planet,  to  extinction.

To  its credit however, the working group has however , finally made the connection between global  warming and  biodiversity and the horrendous impacts  both  outcomes will  have for both humanity and the planet.

Our desire for enhanced consumption grows more rapidly than our population, and Earth cannot sustain it. Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed in maintaining the world in such a way as to resemble the conditions we have enjoyed here.

Somehow we are supposed to believe that  we are  ‘superior  beings’  to all  other species on  this planet;  our ‘intelligence’  and  problem  solving skills are apparently gifts from one or other  god,  and thus proclaim  our right to  sovereignty over ‘nature”. The reality is that  as a species we have demonstrated, over and over,  that  we are extremely limited in  our  selective ‘intelligence’  and an understanding of what  matters, and our capacity to  behave ‘rationally’. Our capacity for self-delusion is enormous.

Our species’   intellectual reasoning is  a hardwired  self-fulfilling congratulatory process that  determines its successes  using its own definition of what  ‘success’ is.   Such  a process is clearly designed to  allow us to  continue to  pat  ourselves on  the back  with  our species’  ‘progress’ and continue to collectively do  what  we have been doing to  this planet  for the past few thousand years ,  while the planet heads ever closer to  massive extinction.

There is however a kind of blind logic to  why  we are progressively destroying the planet  on  which  we stand: an internal circuitous set of arguments that permit all of us to legitimise the insanity of our actions.

As Jackson (2017) notes ‘The tendency to economic growth according to Schnaiberg (1980) is due in part to the competitive character of capitalism, such that corporations and entrepreneurs must continually expand their operations and their profits lest they be swamped by other competitors. On the other hand there is also growth logic within the sphere of the state, as state agencies and officials prefer growth over stagnation in order to ensure tax revenues-the essential fiscal basis of the state  (Redclift and Woodgate 2010). Neither of these two  drivers (corporate competitiveness, and the state’s need for growth, are in  any way  related to  necessity or human  survivability;  they  are essentially “nice to haves’  from a human perspective. We are in  fact  driving the planet  rapidly to  extinction for shiny little baubles of no  value.

What is desperately and urgently needed then,  is the incorporation of what  Jackson  (2017) refers to  as the Biocentrism ethic into  everything we as humans do..
Biocentrism is a life centered attitude towards biological diversity of the environment. The life centered theory posits that all forms of life have an inherent right to exist. It considers nature and all forms of life special in itself. Nature has intrinsic value or inherent worth apart from human appropriation. Biocentrism hence advocates for the preservation of the environment and all life forms free from human intervention. 

Do  we have the collective wisdom as a  species to  stop  destroying this planet, to  understand how our commodification of the world we live in is destroying all  of us, to  begin  to  undo  the  incredible destruction we have wrought on  our fellow species in  such  a short space of time ,  and most fundamentally, to begin  to  respect  all  other creatures as our equals?


Links

What Is Animal Liberation? Philosopher Peter Singer’s Groundbreaking Work Turns 40

http://www.pas.va/content/accademia/en/events/2017/extinction.html

http://www.pas.va/content/accademia/en/publications/scriptavaria/extinction.html

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jackson_Jack2/publication/319422926_ENVIRONMENT_AND_SOCIETY/links/59a96843a6fdcc2398416572/ENVIRONMENT-AND-SOCIETY.pdf

https://archive.org/details/EthicalResponsibilitiesToAnimalsAndTheEnvironment

http://www.robertlanzabiocentrism.com/biocentrism-wikipedia/

https://www.bioversityinternational.org/fileadmin/user_upload/online_library/Mainstreaming_Agrobiodiversity/Mainstreaming_Agrobiodiversity_Sustainable_Food_Systems_WEB.pdf

Biocentrism / Robert Lanza’s Theory of Everything

Global Footprint Network

http://fewd.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/inst_ethik_wiss_dialog/Llorente__R._2009_P._Singers_AL_in_Ethical_Perspectives.pdf

 

The Great Acceleration….

Our current epoch has now come to be known as the ‘Anthropocene’  for the impacts man has had on our planetary environment. It is also called “The Great Acceleration..”;  being the sixth  event in the life of this  planet  where species loss has become so pervasive and devastating.

A May 2017 study for the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America was entitled “Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines”.  The paper notes in conclusion that: “The massive loss of populations is already damaging the services ecosystems provide to (human) civilization…Thus, we emphasize that the sixth mass extinction is already here and the window for effective action is very short, probably two or three decades at most.. All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life. .” In other words, without the survival of significant complex bio-systems of multiple species, each with sustainable population numbers, humans too are rapidly headed towards extinction.

While  we talk  (and talk) about global  warming, what we also ignore is the combined impacts of  man-made emissions into the atmosphere  with the steady  destruction of the biosphere  through human “progress’  –   the literal cancer of inert dead non-organic edifices being  built  over the top and at the expense  of  the natural  world that make up  humans’  cities and towns  and transportation systems,  agribusiness destroying countless wilderness  areas into  single species ‘dead’  environments, the ongoing deforestation of native habitats, increasing  wildfires, needless human consumption,  acidification and over-fishing of the oceans, human over-population,  meat-production, war,   pollution, global  warming, water-loss ..  the list goes on  and on…  Incrementally, humans are destroying the liveability for all species on the planet at an ever increasing rate, with carbon monoxide production being just one aspect of our ongoing destruction of this planet.

Wikileaks notesAt present, the rate of extinction of species is estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than the “base” or historically typical rate of extinction (in terms of the natural evolution of the planet)[14][15][16] and also the current rate of extinction is, therefore, 10 to 100 times higher than any of the previous mass extinctions in the history of Earth.

What is urgently needed is a recognition of this fact by humans, and an understanding that the model of human’ progress’ we have espoused for the past few thousand years is killing our planet. An understanding that all life- regardless of species, is inherently sacred and our  mutual survival is intertwined, and that  consequently  human ‘needs’  must be balanced against  the rights of other species. One small step to delay or even possibly reverse this destruction,  is the urgent massive scale planting of native vegetation in every possible locality and an end to our model of human  “progress”.


Links

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114.full

Supporting appendix to  Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

Scientists Say Sixth Mass Extinction Is Under Way

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction

Reclaiming the Earth- The Mapuche Dilemma

As the Earth  rapidly approaches the point where  the  trajectory  towards  intense global  warming and  near total species  loss becomes inevitable, we now, more than ever, need the wisdom  of the indigenous peoples’  connection with  nature and acknowledgement of the reality that  the earth is   a living entity;  to  save our planet. It may  already  be too  late- but we need to  try!

Nothing;  despite all  the research  and  incremental  indelible evidence  of  ever-increasing species extinction , has changed our current trajectory  of devastating the planet for a few cheap  baubles. We appear to be locked into  an  insane path of self-destruction which  takes the rest of the planet  with us. Have we reached the ‘tipping-point’? – we will  not know until it is too  late.

That is not to  say  the indigenous peoples like the Mapuche of southern  Chile or Maori  in New Zealand or the other still surviving remnants of indigenous cultures , have  all the answers, or are even  innocent of harming the planet themselves. But they  do have a philosophy  and  wisdom  from  the past which  acknowledges the reality that,  as just  one more species on this planet ,  humans are inextricably linked to  what  we   strangely call “nature’  -ie our fellow living things.  And  that we are also solidly linked to  all the non-sentient elements of this world.

 

Mapuche Shaman’s Drum; Courtesy of the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian http://nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/patagonia/177322.html

If we are to  survive as a species;  if the planet  is to  survive,  we must  restore this fundamental  core understanding to all humans – without  which we will  most certainly perish- if not within  decades,  then  certainly within  this  new  two centuries.

Our first and immediate step  is to restore power and authority to those cultures who  do in  fact  respect  the earth  and all  its living inhabitants  above  “progress’  and the production of  commodities. The next is to  produce a world wide covenant that  values other species  as equal  to our own and our obligation as a species to  truly become protective guardians of this living planet, given our  unique capacity to  manipulate our environment.

We must let the voice of all  those cultures who  call  us back  to  our roots -to be heard,  respected and  urgently responded to.

The shaman’s drum calls  us back  to  our re-connection with our  world.

 

 

 

 


Links

https://www.rt.com/in-motion/374127-mapuche-demand-release-prisoners/

https://www.google.com/url?hl=en-GB&q=http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Indigenous-Groups-Demand-Freedom-of-Mapuche-Leader-in-Chile-20161212-0024.html&source=gmail&ust=1484889158716000&usg=AFQjCNFxrOXHP7sSOc1tFMtFjA-Ne4bFnQ

http://www.mapuche-nation.org/english/html/news/n-66.htm

Our People Are Unstoppable’: Chile’s Jailed Indigenous Mapuche

 

Triumphant

There have been  way  too  many commentaries on  the  ‘unexpected’  succession  of Donald Trump  to the White House.

Trump coat of arms Source By Ernstvongriffe - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53057525
Trump coat of arms: Source By Ernstvongriffe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53057525

However  notwithstanding all  those commentaries ,  I will  endeavour to add my own  little spin  on  those events.

Donald Trump’s win  was  ‘unexpected’  for two reasons: 1) the media said it was not going to happen  and 2) the polls said it was not going to happen.  And indeed, Hillary  Clinton  did win more votes in  the  total national  count of the 54% who  decide to  vote, but lost out at  the electoral  college state level.  Both  Trump  and Clinton were voted for by  approximately 27% of the total possible electorate.  But the poll  margins expected, at  the very least,  a 4% margin  for Clinton. Was it because  those responding to the pollsters hid their true intent ; maybe too  ashamed to  say  they  were intending to  vote for someone the media portrayed as a bigot, sexist and buffoon, but who   responded to their anxieties about the future? Or was it that the low voter turnout  dramatically skewed the potential for any accurate recording  of those who  in the end decided to  vote?-  I would suspect  more the latter.

The role  of the media in this campaign has been  astonishing to an outsider.  Not one US mainstream  news agency  supported Trump through his campaign. Even in little old New Zealand the bias  in  reporting pro  Clinton and against  Trump was extraordinarily obvious. One of the more obvious signs of this bias was the  mass media taking up the Clinton   campaign’s farcical claims  that Trump  was in  bed with Putin, the Russians were trying to   fix the election and Wikileaks was an  arm of the Russian secret  police.  Where was the analysis of these absurd allegations ? Did this obvious bias  result in  a backlash  from voters as has been claimed in  some media reports? -I would very much  doubt it-  American citizenry  have been taught to  believe whatever the media says is the truth-why  doubt them now?- however absurd the claim  is.

However I do  think  one outcome of the media Trump-bashing frenzy  has been to instill a high level of fear and anxiety in those parts of the American  population who  see themselves as marginalized: the gay communities, Hispanics to some degree, many  blacks,  as well  as all those who  are fighting for more rights and freedoms  within  the American state system. Are those fears justified?-we shall  have to wait  and see whether Donald puts his  money  where his mouth is! As one reporter noted recently-  ‘all  American presidential  elections are like this; say anything you like  in  the run-up  to the vote, but once elected become a sober and careful  politician’. With  Donald Trump,  that may not necessarily be the case. All indications are that Donald Trump  has an ego  of unbelievable proportions, is not used to taking advice from singular or  multiple sources , is  in fact  both  sexist and racist and likes to make executive decisions at the minutist level.  Will  that make his decisions worse?-  probably not, given the calibre of recent presidential policy  decision -making.  Will  it make those decisions more unpredictable?- most certainly yes. We are in  for uncertain times in  the world.

We are also  in  for a world driven  entirely by  greed:  well, more obviously so at  least. In the past, that greed has been  hidden by  more subtle statements; ‘bringing democracy’,   ‘removing human rights abuses’, ‘responsibility to  protect’,  regime change’,  ‘efficiency’, ‘progress’  etc etc . The removal of environmental  controls for instance, will  simply make evident  what  was already  in  place; a total  unwillingness by  the American  state to  countenance a reduction  in  the consumption of fossil  fuels and the degradation of the environment if it meant profits for the big companies were going to  be reduced.  “Growth’  is what  drives money into  the pockets of the politicians. The environmental   Paris Accord is a political  farce, and every politician knows it.

The other  factor driving unpredictability in  Trump’s decision-making  is that he doesn’t need to be bought by  the highest  bidder;-unlike Hillary and the Clinton Foundation.   As a billionaire, Trump has sufficient  money  that  no-one can influence him   through bribery  and corruption, should he choose not to  go there.  The traditional  methodology for policy   decision-making in  Washington  has now been  removed for four years-  a very  scary  thought to  those who  have been buying privilege and influence in Washington for so many many years!   And particularly scary for those in  the military  and arms industries and certain  foreign states, who  have relied on  extensive lobbying and financial  ‘incentives’  to  ensure ongoing wars wherever they  meet  their interests.

Finally , the role of media and  politicians  in fostering the  post-election anxiety   and street  demonstrations needs to be explored. The casual  statements by  both  Hillary  Clinton and Obama that  Trump needs to ‘be given  a chance”  has the hidden  and not so  subtle or veiled implication  that, once Trump  makes his first  wrong move as President,  then  we can  go  after him  with whatever it takes to  remove him.

The  violent demonstrations on  the streets in   the U. S. as a result of the  presidential  election are unprecedented, and may be a sign of  further clashes between the so-called ‘liberals’  in  the pro-Clinton  camp,  and the bigots and racists  and ‘fearful  white folks’  who  made up  a significant proportion of the pro-Trump vote.

We live in  ‘interesting times’, as the Chinese curse has it….

 

The Beginning of the End of ‘Progress’ ?

The Baltic Dry  Index,  which  measures the price of shipping  dry  goods globally, has dropped to  its lowest  known point in  the past few days at 402. Other indicators too are pointing to  a rapid downturn in export shipping volumes.

ClipboarBDI12-1-16

On its own,  the BDI low  index may  reflect  nothing more than  an oversupply of shipping ,  but taken  with other data  measures, indications are that international   trade is slowing at a rapid rate globally.

If this is the case, then  we are likely to see a further deterioration in commodity prices, particularly oil prices, as demand slumps, an increase in  unemployment in  the industrial  sectors globally and an increasing shrinkage in  consumer spending.

And naturally, that  decrease i   trade globally is simply because people are buying less! Here’s a neat  little Bloomberg graph  which  shows  the trend for retail  sales in the United States.. People simply seem to be buying less ‘stuff’

Because the human world’s current survival  culture is predicated on  continuous growth  in  production of things, such  a reversal  will have significant implications for poverty, hopelessness and hunger in  the short to medium term.  It will  require no  less than  a massive restructuring of what  it means to be human  on this planet, for us all  to  get  to  a state of sustainable equilibrium, and to  finally recognise our equality with  the other species we co-habit the world with.

On the bright side, the  elimination of ‘growth’ or even a reversal  in growth, will  be a significant bonus to the world’s environment.  marsThe diminishing need to  use more coal  and gas, to  mine more  minerals, to  build more cities, dwellings  and transport networks and  consume more generally, will  mean less of what  is left of our natural  environment will  become despoiled.

As the ‘Geography of Transport Systems ‘ notes succinctly, there are many factors which influence the BDI price; lowering  oil prices for ships ( bunker oil), too  many ships in the market and lastly and likely most significantly, lowering demand for  bulk  goods. OIl process are approximately 40% of the price and there certainly has been  a glut in   bulk tankers, but we also  know bulk  commodity prices  ( iron ore, copper etc etc) have dropped precipitously due to   much  reduced demand from  primarily China. But a drop of this magnitude foretells something much  bigger in  the wind…


 

Postscript

And here’s the BDI at 29th January …

BalticDry29-1-16

And even  Bloomberg might be coming to  a similar consensus as of 29th  January…

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-01-28/shipping-news-says-world-economy-is-toast

 

 

Links

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/07/can-economic-growth-last/

http://www.global-briefing.org/2012/07/the-steady-state-economy-life-after-growth/

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue57/Trainer57.pdf

http://robertdfeinman.com/society/no_growth.html

http://www.americanshipper.com/Main/News/Drewry_Container_shipping_companies_to_lose_5b_in_62624.aspx?source=MostPopul

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/more-bad-news-for-ocean-trade-116011300352_1.htmlar

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-11/nothing-moving-baltic-dry-crashes-insiders-warn-commerce-has-come-halt

http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/baltic-sea-index-hits-all-time-low-as-shipping-crisis-deepens/

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article53707.html

The Tautology of Species Superiority

Over and over again, for the past 100  years or more, we have been taught that  homo  sapiens are superior to  all  other species on this planet based on ‘scientific’ analysis. A recent  piece of research  by Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, Ph.D.,Associate professor and a researcher at Bio-Clim-Land Centre of Excellence in Tomsk, Russia, once again  scientifically refutes this self-fulfilling assumption;  by  refusing to  accept  the completely scientifically invalid, but highly respected method of using ones own definitions  to  prove what  we believe to be the truth.

In Dr Gatti’s research, he substituted  visual  self- recognition of a dog  in  a mirror, with  various dog scents . Humans’  visual  senses are one of our prime methods of relating to  the world; and in very specific  ways and using particular light frequencies and environments.  Dogs’ prime sense mode however,  is scent,  and (surprise, surprise) in Dr Gatti’s research, they appear exceedingly good at self-recognition when  that sense mode is used. Homo sapiens deem  self-recognition to  be one of the key signs of ‘intelligence’.

By both  defining what  we as humans mean  as ‘intelligent’  and by  using self-fulfilling processes, (tautological  arguments and methods), we conveniently maintain the fiction that  we are superior beings. Our strength  as a species is also  our (and this planet’s)  potential  downfall. Our capacity to  communicate  and learn  new skills from  other members of our primate species has allowed us to  effectively manipulate our environment (with no  recognition of the long-term  damage to other species or the planet’s wellbeing). That  capacity to learn from fellow species members effectively means; as Himmler well  knew, that  sufficient repetition is enough for each of us to believe any  situation is in fact the ‘right’ situation.  Hence exploitation of the planet, killing of our own  and other species, paving over our world with large blocks of concrete and tar  are all ‘normal’ things to  do. How could they be not? – we do  them and everyone acquiesces, so  they must  be right.

The reality of our self-willed blindness  is ironically plain  to  see.  Just yesterday  in Paris, we were confronted with the supposed  leaders of humanity coming up  with  yet  one more real  solution to climate change: a commitment to  not allow our planet to  raise its temperature by more than  2 degrees.  Every  leader spoke with a straight face and apparently believed what  they  were saying.

In reality, such  a commitment is impossible;- we are inexorably heading towards  climate change temperatures far in  excess of 2 degrees, even if we stop  using any more  carbon right now – today. In addition, every  speaker talked about  reducing climate change through ‘sustainable progress’ – in reality,  humankind’s definition of ‘progress’ is  the production of more things for more humans to  consume using lots of  energy  to  do  so; -‘sustainable progress’ is an  oxymoron- it’s ‘logic’  makes no  sense – we cannot keep  ‘progressing’ and live in  a sustainable world. The only solution to  climate change  is a steady  state  civilization- and that means no  more consuming,  except that which  can be used over and over again.

But no politician  in their right mind would ever mention  such  a proposition. They would never be voted in again  or receive any more donations from the ‘progressive’ corporations that fund their political campaigns. We are therefore as humans,  locked into  a process that inevitably leads to ecological  disaster.  Just maybe we will have a sufficiently large warning shock  before the final  collapse, to start turning this oil tanker around- just maybe…

But,  I am not relying on homo sapiens’  ‘intelligence’  to save this planet. Our ‘intelligence’ continues to  blind us that  we are in fact equal  partners on  this planet  with all  the other species that inhabit it. Without them, we die.


Links

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/325722-dogs-research-science-self-consciousness/

Jeremy Corbyn and ‘The Red Flag’

The recent election by  the British Labour Party  members of a new  person to head the party, may  foreshadow a new groundswell  of public opinion  to  negate the years of right-wing propaganda  that has  enveloped many Western  party structures in the past few decades. The Labour Parties and Social Democrats of Europe had become bought enterprises- vehicles for corporate business to make shady deals, rather  than political parties representing those who have been disadvantaged, and the factory  working class.

While the gap  between  rich  and poor across the Western  world has widened significantly  (none more so in my own  country  of New Zealand), as a result of these neo-con or “New Labour”  business policies, we have also  seen  a marked decline in  the industrial  bases  of all of those countries ( save Germany), with   industrial  output outsourced, or simply acquired by  businesses predominantly in China. That decline in western industrial production has resulted in a marked decline in the numbers of the “working class” (ie factory workers). Instead, the service industries (primarily tourism, the hospitality industry, and the provision of support to the disadvantaged) have blossomed, but the collective power of their respective trade unions, has not.  Thus the collective capacity to negotiate or confront the widening economic gap, has dwindled as the need has become greater.

Along with increasing disparity; perhaps even because of it, we have seen the power of media manipulators who represent the rich, consolidated. The media empires  controlled by  people like  Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg ,Ted Turner, and more recently the Qatari ruling dictatorship  via Al Jazeera,  now have the capacity to bombard the public day and night using multiple media. That barrage of media is unremittingly designed to favour the perspectives of the rich. While western democracies still retain some capacity to deliver independent and non-partisan news; that capacity is a minute proportion compared to the deluge of “news” delivered by the media moguls.   Thus the mogul’s news is seen by  the general  public  as “mainstream”, “orthodox” and not “radical”, and somehow because of that, the real legitimate news.

So, returning to Jeremy Corbyn: will he be able to withstand the certain onslaught of “mainstream” media condemning him as a ‘radical’, ‘communist’, ‘anti-semitic’, ‘terrorist’, ’crazy’, ‘neolithic’, ‘out-of-touch –with –reality’, ‘has-been’ politician. That  war has already  begun  in the U.K. media. See the Daily Mail’s most recent   diatribe  here . Or the U.K. Conservative Party’s  somewhat  bizarre atempt  at  scaremongering  below.

And will Mr Corbyn stick to his promises should be come to power in Britain? Or will he, like the Syriza Party in Greece, fold under the intense pressures of other more “business-friendly” governments?  If he can indeed keep to  his political  promises, and be elected  as Prime Minster of England in the UKs general election of Thursday 7 May 2020, and not be pulled to  pieces by  the mainstream media  dogs in the interim, he will  have done our international  democratic landscape a great  service; and potentially as service to  our environment and an end to senseless wars (senseless other than to line the pockets of politicians, war manufacturers and international  re-development agencies) . May he be one of the first  markers of a return  to true democratic pluralism rather than  oligarchy, along with  the  demoralised  Syrizas of Greece, the Podemos of Spain  and the other radical  truly left-wing groups re-forming all  over Europe.

I note with pleasure Mr Corbyn’s first political gesture on his election:- the singing of “The International” (completely tunelessly),  in a London pub before his foray out to greet his fellow celebrants of his victory outside Parliament.

The International (The Red Flag) (first chorus)
The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its every fold.

So raise the scarlet standard high,
Beneath its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Flag#cite_note-5“>[5]

However, this return to representation of the disadvantaged, the marginalised and the impoverished must be matched by  a new understanding of the urgent  need of our species to  co-exist  with all  the others on this planet. The old   fight over the means of production (capitalism versus socialism/communism) must be replaced by one which  questions at  every  turn, our need to  produce and “grow” countries’  economies. A sustainable world for all the remaining species on  this planet , along with an end to  all  wars, is an incredibly urgent goal  for humanity at  this late, late hour.


Links

http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2015/09/14/gordon-campbell-on-corbyn-trump-and-outsider-politics/

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/epic-challenges-facing-jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/15/leftwing-evangelical-christianity-corbyn