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China: The Belt and Road Initiative

The Bridge that Spans the World

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road, is based on a 2,100-year-old trade route between the Middle East and Eastern Asia, called the Silk Road. It wound its way across the huge landmass Eurasia to the most eastern parts of China. It favored trading, based on the Taoist philosophy of harmony and peaceful coexistence – trading in the original sense of the term, an exchange with “win-win” outcomes, both partners benefitting equally.

Today, in the western world we have lost this concept. The terms of …

Armenian Genocide Resolution Reaffirms G-word is a Tool for US Realpolitik

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in an overwhelming bipartisan majority to officially recognize the Armenian genocide more than a century after the atrocities were committed. The motion was a departure from decades of U.S. government refusal because of its realpolitik considerations of regional ally and fellow NATO member, the Republic of Turkey. The Ottoman Empire’s successor state and the Turkic state of Azerbaijan remain the sole nations in the world that explicitly deny the mass extermination and expulsion of 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians constitutes “genocide.” While the U.S. had previously acknowledged that war crimes were committed beginning …

Autumn 2019 Tour Reflections

The last of a series of gigs I’ve been doing over the past six weeks on the road was last night.  I don’t always manage to collect my thoughts on the experience into a blog post, but I will this time.

For a very long time now I have usually been doing two tours of this length or longer, every spring and every autumn.  Sometimes my lack of a blog post at the end is because I have no particularly new or trenchant observations to make about the places I’ve just been — at least not ones that are so distinct …

China, Bolivia:  A Lithium Deal No More?

China has by far the largest lithium market. China produces already today the most electric cars, about 1 million in 2018, and will at least triplicate their production by 2025, and in the following decade or two, demand is expected to increase exponentially.

Bolivia has the world’s largest by far known lithium reserves. A long-term win-win contract between China and Bolivia was under preparation since early 2019 and being negotiated as a 51% Bolivia – 49% China share-arrangement, with manufacturing of batteries and other lithium-related products foreseen in Bolivia – added value, job creation in Bolivia with an initial investment of …

Ukrainegate 13,000 Times Worse Than You Think

Did you know that Donald Trump had the State Department, USAID, NED, and the CIA fund and train Neo-Nazi, fascist militias to overthrow the government of Ukraine? These riot mobs, primarily Svoboda and Right Sector, stormed the capital, firebombed and shot the police, and destroyed democracy inside Ukraine. When the legitimately elected president was forced out by the rioters, the population which had supported him in the east seceded from the country, tearing the entire nation into pieces and sparking a civil war. The Ukraine civil war has cost the lives of over 13,000 Ukrainians. There is …

Imperialism is Like a Multilevel Marketing Company, with its Own Military

You can call it the way the world works, capitalism abroad, or simply the system. But whatever you call it, it is interesting how much the international economic structure operates like multilevel marketing.

In a typical MLM company — Amway remains the best known example, but there are many others — products are sold, but so is an ideology. This ideology is the key to generating profit for the capitalists who started the corporation and a few lucky early insiders. While Amway does sell health, homecare and beauty merchandise, …

“They’re killing us like dogs”: A Massacre in Bolivia and a Plea for Help

Photo by Medea Benjamin
I am writing from Bolivia just days after witnessing the November 19 military massacre at the Senkata gas plant in the indigenous city of El Alto, and the tear-gassing of a peaceful funeral procession on November 21 to commemorate the dead. These are examples, unfortunately, of the modus operandi of the de facto government that seized control in a coup that forced Evo Morales out of power.

The coup has spawned massive protests, with blockades set up around the country as part of a …

New Report On FBI Spying Shows Need For Congressional Investigation

Church Committee hearing. The Frank Church Papers, Special Collections and Archives, Boise State University.
Clearing the FOG (forces of greed) hosts Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers interviewed Chip Gibbons, an expert on Constitutional Law and the legal and policy counsel for Defending Rights and Dissent about a recent right to protest victory in Washington, DC plus his new report, “Still Spying on Dissent: The enduring problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse.” You can read and download the report here. This report, which finds that people are …

Is Bernie Sanders Electable?

In his 2007 classic Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War—a book that, in the age of Donald Trump, is more relevant than ever—Joe Bageant makes an observation that cuts to the nub of the matter. America, he says, isn’t composed of some great middle class; it is an overwhelmingly working-class country. “If we define ‘working class’ simply as not having a college degree, then fully three-quarters [or at least two-thirds] of all Americans are working-class.” He continues:

“Class,” however, is defined not in terms of …

Unspeakable Memories: The Day John Kennedy Died

There is a vast literature on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who died on a November 22nd Friday like this in 1963.  I have contributed my small share to such writing in an effort to tell the truth, honor him, and emphasize its profound importance in understanding the history of the last fifty-six years, but more importantly, what is happening in the U.S.A. today. In other words, to understand it in its most gut-wrenching reality: that the American national security state will obliterate any president that dares …

Consultant Pete

I sit on a man’s back choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that i am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible … except by getting off his back.

— Leo Tolstoy, Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence, 1886

The progressive criticism of ‘Mayor Pete’ is superfluous, irrelevant even.

We’ve all heard it by now – something along the lines of, ‘Pete Buttigieg’s policy positions are as outdated as they are corporate.’ Sure, where many Democratic presidential candidates have sworn off big donors, Pete Buttigieg is running a campaign …

Beware of the Medicare Disadvantage Corporate Trap

Wake up AARP

While the Democratic presidential candidates are debating full Medicare for All, giant insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare are advertising to the elderly in an attempt to lure them from Traditional Medicare (TM) to the so-called Medicare Advantage (MA) – a corporate plan that UnitedHealthcare promotes to turn a profit at the expense of enrollees.

Almost one third of all elderly over 65 are enrolled in these numerous, complex MA policies the government pays so much for monthly. The health insurance industry wants more enrollees as they continue to press Congress for more advantages.

Medical Disadvantage would be a more accurate name for the programs, …

Craig Murray on Assange: “Swedes should be ashamed of the way they’ve been played by the CIA”

“The Swedish people should be ashamed of the way they’ve been played by the CIA.”

Craig Murray reacts to the prosecutor dropping the rape case against Julian Assange which he believes was a “political fit up from the start.”

Reclaiming Your Inner Fascist

OK, we need to talk about fascism. Not just any kind of fascism. A particularly insidious kind of fascism. No, not the fascism of the early 20th Century. Not Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. Not Hitler’s NSDAP. Not Francoist fascism or any other kind of organized fascist movement or party. Not even the dreaded Tiki-torch Nazis.

It’s the other kind of fascism we need to talk about. The kind that doesn’t come goose-stepping up the street waving big neo-Nazi flags. The kind we don’t recognize when we’re looking right at it.

It’s like that joke about the fish and the water … we …

Dear Young Progressives: The White-Supremacist Anti-Immigration Anti-Political-Correctness Free-Speech Fascists Are Your Friends

Tectonic Shifts Unnerve Both Factions of the USA Ruling Elite

Yup. The ruling elite are doing everything they can to divide you. They are doing everything they can to promote hate between you.

In this article, I argue that the real enemy is the ruling elite, which manipulates us all. I explain that the Western USA-based ruling elite is desperate these days, and exceptionally adversarial, which is driven by the successful rise of Eurasia (economically led by China, and supported by Russia), and by increased global abundance of extractable energy reserves. We allow ourselves to be collateral idiots and pawns in this saga.

The ruling elite and the captured media want you …

Capitalism’s Suicidal Trajectory can’t be ignored

If we make it out of the climate emergency, we may come to view the few decades usually described simply as the Cold War that followed the Second World War as halcyon days – at least relative to what we are facing now.

The Cold War was a power struggle between two economic empires for global domination – between the United States and its vassal states, including Europe, on one side, and Russia and its vassal states lumped together into the Soviet Union, on the other. The fight was between a US-led capitalism and what was styled as a Soviet-led “communism”.

That …

Charter School Advocates Repulsed by Empowered Teachers

Workers produce all the wealth of society. Unions have been around for generations and exist to protect the rights of workers.

Currently, 90%—93% of privately operated non-profit and for-profit charter schools across the country have no teacher unions, whereas about 90% of public school teachers are unionized.

One of the claims to fame of deregulated charter schools is that they are union-free, which means that all teachers and other employees are treated much like voiceless workers in the corporate world—as “at-will” employees, which means that they can be fired at any time for nearly any reason; there is no due process. Charter …

Neoliberalism’s Dirty Little Secrets Backfire

Nick Hanauer, a self-professed capitalist billionaire, spoke at a TED conference only recently. He exposed neoliberalism’s brand of capitalism getting away with murder in plain sight.

Mr. Hanauer described himself:

After a 30-year career in capitalism spanning three dozen companies, generating tens of billions of dollars in market value, I’m not in the top one percent (1.0%), I’m in the top zero-point-one percent (0.1%) of all earners… rich capitalists like me have never been richer… how do we manage to grab an ever-increasing share of the economic pie every year?

According to Hanauer:

It all comes down to just one thing: Economics.

There was a …

Organization of American States Election Observers subvert Bolivian Democracy

Organization of American States election observers have played an important role in subverting Bolivian democracy.

While some may find it hard to believe that a regional electoral monitoring body would consciously subvert democracy, their actions in the South American country are not dissimilar to previous US/Canada backed OAS missions in Haiti.

The OAS Election Audit That Triggered Morales’ Fall in Bolivia”, explained a New York Times headline. For his part, Bolivian President Evo Morales said the OAS “is in the service of the North American empire.”

After the October 20 presidential election, the OAS immediately cried foul. The next day the …

Chemical Watchdog Manipulated Douma Attack Report – Whistleblower

The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has signed an open letter urging his own watchdog to give two whistleblowers a platform at its next conference. They claim the #OPCW suppressed evidence when conducting a probe into an alleged #chemicalattack on the Syrian city of #Douma in April 2018.

Bolivia:  A Color Revolution or a New Surge for Latin American Independence?

Like Túpac Katari, indigenous Aymara leader more than 200 years ago, confronting the Spaniards, Evo Morales was betrayed and ‘dismembered’ by his own people, recruited and paid by the agents of the most destructive, nefarious and murderous dark elite that governs and has governed for over two hundred years our planet, the United States of America. With their worthless fiat-Ponzi-pyramid money, the made-out-of-thin-air US dollar, they create poverty throughout the globe, then buy off the weak and poor to plot against the very leaders that have worked for years to improve their social conditions.

It’s become a classic. It’s being called …

Occupied Palestine: From BDS To ODS

We spent the last week in Occupied Palestinian Territory, commonly referred to as Israel, where we traveled around the country to visit communities in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Bethlehem, the West Bank, the Nagab, and more.

We call Israel Occupied Palestine because it is not just the West Bank and Gaza that are occupied, but all of historic Palestine, the entire Palestinian nation. Palestinian people do not have equal rights and their communities are constantly encroached upon by settlers pushing them into small, crowded areas. The mistreatment of Palestinians happens right before …

Saving Julian Assange is Saving Ourselves

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner issued a statement based on special-rapporteur-on-torture Nils Melzer’s fact-finding mission into the incarceration of WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange. The facts were a scathing indictment of those nations behind the targeting of Assange.

‘The evidence is overwhelming and clear,’ the expert said. ‘Mr. Assange has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described

Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter 

Newly released pesticide usage statistics for 2018 confirm that the British people are being used as lab rats. That’s the message environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has sent to Dave Bench, senior scientist at the UK Chemicals, Health and Safety Executive and director of the agency’s EU exit plan. In her open letter to Bench, Mason warns that things could get much worse.

In 2016, the UK farming minister said that the nation could develop a more flexible approach to environmental protection free of “spirit-crushing” Brussels directives if it votes to leave the EU. George Eustice, the minister in question, said that …

Baby Shark Coup

I also write from time to time, and if any sweet breath fills my soul, it’s the light of memory … Oh the memory in prison! How it gets here and falls upon the heart, which it oils with melancholy already so decomposed …
In short, I don’t know what these people will do. We soon shall see.

— Cesar Vallejo, Letter to his brother from prison, 1921

Somehow in the shadow of the US-backed coup in Bolivia, several cultural threads seem worth examining in western society right now. One is infantilism, and all that comes with that, and another is a …

Arrow-wielding Rioters Barricade in Hong Kong Polytechnic University

All eyes are on Hong Kong as police and rioters remain locked in a standoff. Anti-government protesters have barricaded a university campus, attacking police forces who have closed in on them, with various weapons including bow and arrow.

The Killing Fields of American Health Care

Hell is empty.
And all the devils are here.
The Tempest (I.ii.)

American health care is being crushed under the iron heel of a cabal of ruthless and merciless robber barons. Indeed, this primitive and backward system continues to be a source of horrendous suffering, as the health insurance companies, hospital executives, and pharmaceutical companies repeatedly place their insatiable lust for profit over the lives of their fellow Americans. And the health care oligarchs should be proud of what they have achieved: For they have created a health care system that …

Which Would You Prefer: Nuclear War or Climate Catastrophe?

To: The people of the world
From: The Joint Public Relations Department of the Great Powers

The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, and other heroic rulers of our glorious nations. Not only are they hard at work making their respective countries great again, but they are providing you, the people of the world, with a choice between two opportunities for mass death and destruction.

Throughout the broad sweep of history, leaders of competing territories and eventually nations labored at fostering human annihilation, but, given the rudimentary …

Israeli Zionist Racism Unmasked

Imagine if following the recent federal election in Canada, where the Liberal Party was left with a minority government, that prime minister Justin Trudeau had stated, “We are facing an emergency that is unprecedented in the history of Canada.”

Why?

Imagine that Trudeau explained that “setting up a government that depends on the First Nation parties is an even bigger disaster. It’s a historic danger to Canada’s security. It will gravely hurt the security of Canada.”

Would that be acceptable for most Canadians?

Granted there is no official First Nations party in Canada, but such a situation could exist. This is a hypothetical situation …

Why aren’t Americans Rising up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?

The waves of protests breaking out in country after country around the world beg the question: Why aren’t Americans rising up in peaceful protest like our neighbors? We live at the very heart of this neoliberal system that is force-feeding the systemic injustice and inequality of 19th century laissez-faire capitalism to the people of the 21st century. So we are subject to many of the same abuses that have fueled mass protest movements in other countries, including high rents, stagnant wages, cradle-to-grave debt, ever-rising economic inequality, privatized healthcare, a shredded social safety net, abysmal …