News Articles | April 3, 2022

Afghanistan, Amazon Rain Forest, arctic, big pharma, China, Climate Change, economy, EPA, Germany, Global Warming, great reset, imperialism, Israel, labor, Marijuana, methane, New World Order, Oil, Palestine, Politics, Russia, the Amazon, The Environment, The U.S., The World, trees, tyranny, Ukraine, unions, United States, war crimes, Yemen

The Pentagon has produced its latest National Defense Strategy (NDS), a report made every four years to provide the public and the government with a broad overview of the US war machine’s planning, posturing, developments and areas of focus.

You might assume with all the aggressive brinkmanship between Moscow and the US power alliance this year that Russia would feature as Enemy Number One in the 2022 NDS, but you would be assuming incorrectly. The US “Defense” Department reserves that slot for the same nation that’s occupied it for many years now: China. READ MORE or LISTEN

American working people have slogged through three crushing recessions, a worsening inequality that resulted in lower standard of living, and a grotesque pandemic that has exposed glaring inadequacies of our economic model.

Fabrications Normalized

To be sure there is an impressive list of “Big Lie” contagions with few apparent cures to slow them down.

“Big Lies" are particularly dispersed by social media platforms where fiction masquerades as fact and thoughtful analysis is absent.

Working people of all races and creeds are the recipients of “Big Lies” that work against their economic interests and benefit those of the dominant economic group. In the United States there is a faction of oligarchs funding a not-so-hidden political agenda favoring autocracy over democracy. This strategy is their best option to cement their economic power over working people. Despite the cacophony from the clash of cultural issues, it is really not about anything else to the oligarchs. READ MORE

"Though it will not erase the pain millions of people have experienced," said one activist, "passage of the MORE Act does provide hope that a better future lies ahead."

Drug policy reform advocates and progressive lawmakers on Friday celebrated the U.S. House of Representatives' approval of a bill to decriminalize marijuana nationwide, expunge federal cannabis convictions and arrests, and provide resources for communities targeted by the war on drugs.

"We did it," said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) after announcing the 220-204 vote, which was mostly along party lines, with just three Republicans joining all but two Democrats in supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (H.R. 3617).

Lee had joined with Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)—chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the MORE Act's lead sponsor—to introduce the measure. All six lawmakers are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). READ MORE

When almost all of Gaza's water is not fit for human consumption because of a deliberate Israeli strategy, one can understand why Palestinians continue to fight back as if their lives are dependent on it; because they are.

"The water is back," one family member would announce in a mix of excitement and panic, often very late at night. The moment such an announcement was made, my whole family would start running in all directions to fill every tank, container or bottle that could possibly be filled. Quite often, the water would last for a few minutes, leaving us with a collective sense of defeat, worrying about the very possibility of surviving.

This was our life under Israeli military occupation in Gaza. The tactic of holding Palestinians hostage to Israel's water charity was so widespread during the First Palestinian Intifada, or upirising, to the extent that denying water supplies to targeted refugee camps, villages, towns or whole regions was the first measure taken to subdue the rebellious population. This was often followed by military raids, mass arrests and deadly violence; but it almost always began with cutting Palestinians off from their water supplies. READ MORE

As working-class Americans struggled with high inflation, corporate profits soared to a record high in 2021, reaching nearly $3 trillion.

Data from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that pre-tax profits over the whole year increased by a whopping 25 percent, reaching $2.8 trillion. The annualized rate of profit from the fourth quarter was even higher, at $2.94 trillion.

The boost in profits exceeds the 7 percent inflation for consumer prices, bolstering arguments that companies are raising prices beyond inflation rates in order to pad their profits. Meanwhile, hourly wages for U.S. workers increased by about 4.7 percent last year, which is equivalent to a pay cut of about 2.4 percent. READ MORE

Anew analysis released Tuesday estimates that U.S. oil and gas corporations are poised to rake in windfall profits of up to $126 billion this year as they exploit Russia’s deadly assault on Ukraine to raise prices at the pump.

Conducted by Oil Change International, Greenpeace USA, and Global Witness, the analysis uses a database that tracks the fossil fuel industry’s production economics to assess how much money the industry is set to make as a result of high global oil prices.

“Under conservative estimates, we find the U.S. upstream oil and gas industry will collect a windfall of $37 to $126 billion in 2022 alone,” the groups’ report states. READ MORE

"The American people," said the Senate Budget Committee chair, "are sick and tired of being forced to pay outrageously high prices for gas, rent, and food while large corporations make out like bandits."

U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders announced Friday that next week he will hold a hearing to expose how corporate profiteering in the midst of multiple global crises is driving inflation.

The event—entitled "Corporate Profits Are Soaring as Prices Rise: Are Corporate Greed and Profiteering Fueling Inflation?"—is scheduled for April 5 at 11:00 am ET and will follow his introduction last week of the Ending Corporate Greed Act.

"Let me be clear," Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement. "The American people are sick and tired of corporate greed. They are sick and tired of being ripped off by corporations making record-breaking profits. They are sick and tired of being forced to pay outrageously high prices for gas, rent, and food while large corporations make out like bandits. READ MORE

In a stunning win, Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, New York, have voted to form the company’s first union in the U.S., overcoming a years-long, multimillion-dollar union-busting campaign.

Workers at the JFK8 warehouse voted 55 percent in favor of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) with a vote of 2,654 to 2,131, according to Thursday and Friday’s ballot counts from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Roughly 8,300 workers are eligible to be a part of the union, likely making it one of the largest bargaining units in recent history.

The vote is a major victory for the union, and is especially remarkable coming from a fully independent union that was only formed last year. It will send shockwaves across the country as the labor movement experiences a resurgence, demonstrating that workers can overcome huge odds in labor organizing. READ MORE

Western countries have opened their doors to millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war in their homeland, presenting a model of how refugees should be welcomed. But their experience stands in stark contrast to how African refugees are treated when attempting to reach Europe to escape war, hunger and despair. In her new book, My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route, author Sally Hayden details how a single message from an Eritrean refugee held in a Libyan detention center led her on a years-long journey to document the human rights disaster on Europe’s doorstep. She says that since a 2017 European Union agreement with Libya to stop migrants before they cross the Mediterranean, many refugees have been imprisoned in hellish detention centers run by armed groups with little care for the safety or well-being of the people inside. “Tens of thousands of people have been locked up in detention centers that Pope Francis, among many others, have compared to concentration camps,” says Hayden. “The situation is absolutely horrific.” READ MORE

An international aid group warned Wednesday that Afghanistan is on the brink of complete collapse as the Biden administration and European governments refuse to release the war-torn nation’s central bank reserves, depriving the economy of critical funds as millions face poverty and starvation.

In a statement ahead of an international donor conference for Afghanistan, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said the country “is now the world’s largest-ever humanitarian appeal, requiring a staggering US$4.47 billion in humanitarian aid — quadruple the needs at the start of 2021 and more than is required for either Syria or Yemen.”

Since the Taliban retook power last August following two decades of U.S.-led warfare, IRC noted, “the speed of Afghanistan’s economic collapse has been unprecedented.” Following the withdrawal of American troops, the Biden administration froze billions of dollars in Afghan central bank assets held in the U.S. despite warnings that the move would push the country closer to full-scale economic ruin. READ MORE

The horrors, little-reported, persist for Palestinians trapped by Israel's brutal apartheid regime. One of its latest, smallest victims is Fatima al-Masri, who died in besieged Gaza on the morning of March 25 after waiting five months for Israel to issue a permit allowing her to travel for treatment for a ventricular septal defect, a hole in her heart, diagnosed last year. Fatima was 19 months old. Her father Jalal al-Masri said Fatima missed two medical appointments at Jerusalem’s al-Makassed Hospital in December and February while the family awaited a “review” by Israel's Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA), which handles Palestinian travel permits. Meanwhile, she kept getting sicker. Given a years-long Israeli blockade that rights advocates say has "suffocated" Gaza's health system and left it “flat on its back" with serious shortages, very ill Palestinians must seek, and often long wait for, permits to get treatment elsewhere - a common form of what they call "bureaucratic violence" at the core of apartheid practices that have only grown worse with the pandemic. Even then, rights groups say Israel denies care in about 30% of even the most urgent cases. According to Palestinian NGO Al- Mezan Center for Human Rights, which took on Fatima’s case, at least 71 Palestinians, including 25 women and nine children, have died since 2011 following Israeli delays or denials of exit permits. READ MORE

"The Trump EPA gave perchlorate a pass; it was a bad decision then, and it's a bad decision now," said one environmental advocate.

Public health advocates said Thursday that they plan to resume litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency after the Biden administration announced it would uphold former President Donald Trump's decision to not regulate drinking water levels of a chemical used to make rocket fuel and explosives.

Former President Barack Obama's administration proposed limits for perchlorate after finding in 2011 that drinking water for 16 million people may have unsafe levels of the contaminant, which poses a risk to the development of children and fetuses.

Groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) were outraged when Trump refused to impose the limits, claiming regulation was "not in the public interest." The EPA's announcement this week sparked renewed criticism, with the NRDC calling the decision "unscientific and unlawful." READ MORE

Democracy is under threat worldwide—not just as a result of Putin's murderous war against Ukraine, but brewing since the 1980s and Reagan’s neoliberal revolution.

Putin's attack on Ukraine is producing a series of crises which are going to, in all probability, bring a period of great pain and instability to the world and to America in the near future.

Republicans are already working to exploit it.

By the election this fall much of the unity that exists because of today's Ukraine passion will be exhausted, but the crisis it's produced will just be beginning. And, just as Putin probably now hopes, it'll stretch some democracies to the breaking point.

Americans think we've stood down Putin, but the forces he represents—strongman authoritarian neofascism combined with hard-right "Christian" nationalism—will grow a lot stronger over the next few years as fallout from his war in Ukraine.

If we're not ready for it, those forces of bigotry and nationalism could overwhelm the US and other democracies around the world, particularly across Europe. Even if we are ready, oligarchs and wannabee strongmen are going to do their best to exploit the situation. READ MORE

One of the many lousy effects of the Russia/Ukraine war has been on the climate. Because Biden made the idiotic choice of sanctions over negotiation, the price of oil skyrocketed. This could have been avoided. But Washington scoffed at Moscow’s oft repeated, over decades, and finally written, security concerns. And here we are. A horrible war and climbing inflation.

The price of gas soared due to Biden’s sanctions. That’s because Russia is one of the world’s biggest energy exporters. Sanction Russia and you have to find new sources of oil and gas or pay through the nose. And most rational politicos do not want to tell their people they have to choose between buying an iPhone and filling their car’s tank with gasoline. READ MORE

The wood-pellet industry has full-scale operations smack dab in the heart of British Columbia’s Inland Temperate Rainforest, the last rainforest of its kind in the North.

The fabled rainforest contains cedars of up to 12-15 feet in diameter and up to 2,000 years old. Its extraordinarily rich ecosystem is home to 2,400 plant species and numerous wildlife species. It is one of only three inland temperate-boreal rainforests in the world. The others are in southern Siberia and Russia’s Far East.

Of significant concern, according to criteria by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) BC’s inland rainforest is endangered, susceptible to ecological collapse within only one decade, assuming current logging rates continue. Remarkably, a study found that 95% of the rainforest’s “core habitat” has been lost since 1970. (Source: Brian J. Barth, Burning Up: The Controversial Biofuel Threatening BC’s Last Inland Rainforests, The Whale, 2022) READ MORE

Article | Interview

The End of Dollar Hegemony

Margaret Flowers: Michael Hudson is the president of the Institute for the Study of Long-term, Economic Trends, ISLET. He’s a Wall Street financial analyst and a distinguished research professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, in Kansas City. He’s also the author of numerous books and recently updated his book, “Super Imperialism: The economic strategy of American Empire.” Thank you for taking time to speak with me today, Michael.

Michael Hudson: Well, thanks for having me on Margaret.

MF: You’ve talked a lot and written a lot about dollar hegemony and what’s happening now with de-dollarization. Can you start out by explaining to my listeners what dollar hegemony is and how it has benefited the wealthy class in the United States?

MH: Dollar hegemony seems to be the position that has just ended as of this week very abruptly. Dollar hegemony was when America’s war in Vietnam and the military spending of the 1960s and 70s drove the United States off gold. The entire US balance of payments deficit was military spending, and it began to run down the gold supply. So, in 1971, President Nixon took the dollar off gold. Well, everybody thought America has been controlling the world economy since World War I by having most of the gold and by being the creditor to the world. And they thought what is going to happen now that the United States is running a deficit, instead of being a creditor. READ MORE

A widespread culture of isolation and disconnection from our bodies, each other and the planet is negatively impacting the mental and physical health of people in America and beyond—and this was true long before the pandemic. Our relatively new human social structure that is work-obsessed and separated from nature and each other leaves us scant time to connect and relate to each other, and is not aligned with our natural rhythms. This way of living has grave impacts on people’s overall health, as well as the health of the planet.

Research professor and author Brené Brown wrote about a “crisis of disconnection” in the U.S., in a 2017 article in Fast Company. That same year, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who also held this position under the Obama administration, referred to the problem of loneliness as an “epidemic.” In a 2021 article, psychotherapist Colette Shade detailed the isolating effects of the life structures of capitalism, and researchers have been tracking the health impacts of isolation for decades. Recent studies have found that the health effects of loneliness rival obesity and smoking. READ MORE

This week in the year of the British Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which celebrates 70 years of her reign, has seen the monarchy’s colonialist past come back to haunt it. Tuesday was the memorial to Prince Philip, what was not remembered at this event was his long history of racist slurs and remarks. Whilst he was alive these were brushed aside by the right-wing mainstream media as cheeky gaffes, and with his death they were conveniently forgotten. Since his burial in April last year the British Royal Family may have hoped that it laid to rest an outdated and controversial aspect of itself. However, a few days before this memorial took place Prince William and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) returned from a disastrous royal tour which brought with it calls for an apology and reparations for the monarchy’s historic links to slavery and colonialism. READ MORE

Shape without form, shade without colour, 

Paralysed force, gesture without motion

Apocalypse is ongoing.

Species are dying at an unprecedented rate. Entire ways of life are dying: cultures, languages, peoples. For those lost, apocalypse has already come; for those on the brink, it looms ahead.

Humanity is not to blame. Particular patterns of human activity are. Specific logics and behaviors drive the eradication of life on earth: domination, destruction, development.

Anthropocene. The term is used to refer to a new historical epoch characterized by the fundamental alteration of the earth’s ecological systems as a direct result of human activity. While the recognition of fundamentally destructive patterns of behaviour is valuable, Anthropocenic thinking is dangerous. READ MORE

Donald Trump, with his characteristic panache, has called those Republican legislators who don’t totally agree with him “RINOS” an acronym that stands for Republicans in name only. I propose a different acronym, one that practically includes not only all Republicans but also some Democrats. I propose to call them “REPAM.” Let me explain.

An amoeba, also called ameba, is a type of cell or unicellular organism which has the ability to alter its shape. It does so by extending and retracting its pseudopods, a temporary arm-like projection that flows in the direction of movement. A REPAM is a Republican legislator infected with a particular kind of amoeba.

Several people infected with this amoeba suffer profound consequences. This is the case of those infected with the species Naegleria fowleri, the so-called “brain-eating amoeba,” that particularly (although not only) affects Republican legislators, causing them to suffer the loss of common sense. In the more serious cases, it leads to an alteration of the patient’s moral values and plain old-fashioned decency. READ MORE

Drug prohibitions villainize both those who use the drugs and the drugs themselves.

We’ve made remarkable progress on the first half of that equation; humanizing those with problematic or recreational drug use. This is a golden age of drug policy reform, and the dignity and respect given to victims has strengthened familiar tools—education; Medically Assisted Treatment, social services, and the gold standard, Overdose Prevention Sites, also known as Safe Consumption Sites.

But the life-saving potential of these proven approaches is thwarted, because while our reaction to drug users has evolved, our reaction to the drugs themselves remains clouded in hysteria. The chemicals are fetishized as irresistible, radioactive temptations.

At its best, drug hysteria plus time equals comedy (Reefer Madness). Until just five years ago, for another example, adult restaurant patrons in Utah were physically barred from seeing their drinks prepared. (To protect the children, of course). So while legalization provided a safe place to use a safe supply of that dangerous drug, hysteria yielded this silly artifact. READ MORE

If there was every any confusion as to where West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s loyalties lie, the last budget season put paid to that with interest. His seemingly bottomless vigor in dismantling President Biden’s signature infrastructure/climate bills showed the world that he cares not for his party, his beleaguered president, his own people back home who he screwed right through their Carhartt jeans, or the planet whose resources have gifted him wealth, yachts and influence.

Manchin is almost exclusively about one thing: coal. Given the extreme damage he has done defending his nuggets of filthy gold, there is a grim symmetry to the fact that he founded his fortune on the sale of garbage. “Gob,” it is called, a form of trash coal “that is typically cast aside as junk by mining companies but can be burned to produce electricity,” according to a damning New York Times report on the roots of the senator’s financial success. READ MORE

“Without any doubt, we stand before turbulent and also dangerous times, but we hold an historic trump card in our hands. It consists in the fact that the other side does not act according to the rules of reason but strives out of motives of greed and power and therefore, cannot do anything other than bring itself into ever greater difficulties. We should use exactly that (weakness) and always keep in view, that the other side likes more money, more property and additionally, to have available all the weapons in the world. But their power is not based on their money, nor on their possessions or their weapons but relies solely upon one factor: And that is the ignorance of the majority of people. i.e., the majority doesn’t understand the evil game that this minority are playing with them.”  — Ernst Wolff, August, 2021 READ MORE

Margaret Flowers: You’re listening to Clearing the FOG, speaking truth to expose the forces of greed, with Margaret Flowers. And now I turn to my guest, Michael Hudson. Michael is the president of the Institute for the Study of Long-term, Economic Trends, ISLET. He’s a Wall Street financial analyst and a distinguished research professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, in Kansas City. He’s also the author of numerous books and recently updated his book, “Super Imperialism: The economic strategy of American Empire.” Thank you for taking time to speak with me today, Michael.

Michael Hudson: Well, thanks for having me on Margaret. READ MORE or LISTEN

A new reality is being formed: the unipolar world is irrevocably becoming a thing of the past, a multipolar one is taking shape

It was something to behold. Dmitri Medvedev, former Russian President, unrepentant Atlanticist, current deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, decided to go totally unplugged in an outburst matching the combat star turn of Mr. Khinzal that delivered palpable shock and awe all across NATOstan.

Medvedev said “hellish” Western sanctions not only have failed to cripple Russia, but are instead “returning to the West like a boomerang.” Confidence in reserve currencies is “fading like the morning mist”, and ditching the US dollar and the euro is not unrealistic anymore: “The era of regional currencies is coming.”

After all, he added, “no matter if they want it or not, they’ll have to negotiate a new financial order (…) And the decisive voice will then be with those countries that have a strong and advanced economy, healthy public finances and a reliable monetary system.” READ MORE

It seems that whenever the topic of China arises, we are flooded with the most amazing observations, statements, conclusions, almost all of which appear to come from outer space. There surely cannot be another subject on this planet on which so many people are so amazingly misinformed and arrive at the most unrealistic conclusions.

We have a saying that after spending one month in China you could write a book; after a year in China, you could write a chapter; in five years you could write a paragraph, and after five years you could write a note on a postcard – about the food. That saying has become almost an urban legend but it is essentially true. I can still recall the day when, walking down a street in downtown Shanghai after being in the country for about a month, I experienced an illusion of such extreme clarity that I said to myself, “I could write a book on this place”. I cannot explain the mental or sociological processes that combine to cause that initial illusion of understanding and clarity, nor the forces that so effectively and progressively dismantle it to a condition where the more time we spend in China the less we understand it. READ MORE

My old boss Herman Kahn, with whom I worked at the Hudson Institute in the 1970s, had a set speech that he would give at public meetings. He said that back in high school in Los Angeles, his teachers would say what most liberals were saying in the 1940s and 50s: “Wars never solved anything.” It was as if they never changed anything – and therefore shouldn’t be fought.

Herman disagreed, and made lists of all sorts of things that wars had solved in world history, or at least changed. He was right, and of course that is the aim of both sides in today’s New Cold War confrontation in Ukraine.

The question to ask is what today’s New Cold War is trying to change or “solve.” To answer this question, it helps to ask who initiates the war. There always are two sides – the attacker and the attacked. The attacker intends certain consequences, and the attacked looks for unintended consequences of which they can take advantage. In this case, both sides have their dueling sets of intended consequences and special interests. READ MORE

Part 1 – The Landscape

It may surprise you to learn that the world’s pharmaceutical industry has arguably the dirtiest underbelly of all economic sectors in the world today, so totally riddled with crime and corruption that it probably cannot be fixed. As one measure, in the past few decades Big Pharma has created a toll of deaths and injuries exceeding that of all the world’s arms manufacturers combined. Astonishing claims, but heavily documented and easily proven, as you will see. The pharma companies are only one part of what we might term an enormous international crime ring that includes UN agencies.

This news hasn’t reached wide public awareness because the world’s mainstream media are owned by very close friends of these drug lords and, while much of the information on the litany of crimes is not exactly heavily censored, the exposures are treated dispassionately and gently in the media as unrelated one-off events, instead of as parts of a pattern of astonishing psycho-pathology that has existed for decades. Worse, the heart-breaking litany of resulting human misery is almost completely suppressed and thus unknown. READ MORE

If Secretary of State Antony Blinken wanted to highlight the hypocrisy that so many non-Western nations perceive in President Biden’s efforts to depict the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a global “battle between democracy and autocracy,” he couldn’t have chosen better than to attend the Middle East foreign ministers’ meeting in Israel today.

All five of his interlocutors from Israel, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco represent governments that are either monarchical, outright tyrannical, or have invaded and occupy their neighbors’ territory by the force of arms.

Blinken’s enthusiastic endorsement of this burgeoning axis of Mideast states regardless of their human rights records marks a return to the familiar Cold War politics where generous U.S. support for all kinds of repressive states, especially in the Global South, was justified by the overriding necessity of containing and defeating the Soviet Union.

Blinken of course is trying to get these same governments to back sweeping U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia in order to demonstrate their opposition to Moscow’s aggression — even as a growing number of Putin-enabled oligarchs seek safe haven in Israel and the UAE, in particular. READ MORE

A bipartisan group of 68 US senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling on the Biden administration to lead an effort to end a United Nations commission that is probing alleged Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

The lawmakers, led by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Rob Portman, said that the investigation, which was announced following Israel’s bombing of Gaza last May, is a part of “continuing bias against Israel” and is taking up a “disproportionate use of resources in an ongoing campaign to disparage, discredit and denounce Israel”.

It follows a similar effort made by House lawmakers in January.

“An important step in this regard would be to redirect the wasteful use of funds and personnel on excessive devotion to disparaging Israel to allow the UN Human Rights Council to fairly promote human rights around the world,” said the letter sent on Monday. READ MORE

Joe Biden wants to tax unrealized capital gains, and some neoliberal economists think it is a good idea.

Let’s take a look and see what we think.

A capital gain is an increase in the price of something since you purchased it.  It could be a stock, a bond, a house, artwork, gold, silver, anything for which there is a market.  An unrealized capital gain is a paper gain based on the day’s price. It is not income and it is not wealth until it is realized.  You realize it by selling the item, thereby having the money in your possession.  An unrealized capital gain is a potential possession.

So what does it mean to tax income you have not received? 

Suppose you purchase stock at the beginning of the year and it rises in value by year end. That rise is an unrealized capital gain.  You pay the tax on the unrealized gain, and then in the new year the stock market falls, wiping out the taxed gain.  READ MORE

The word “security” conjures a couple of distinctly different and conflicting images. One is of human beings living in safe, viable, and sustainable communities, where individuals can freely develop their full potential, not hindered by threat and assault and exclusion from the daily necessities of life.

This notion of security prioritizes such socially beneficial institutions as housing, health care and education. It encourages the arts, maintains infrastructure and sustains ecosystems.

This kind of security also provides for the people’s defense. That defense is not, however, prioritized over social needs, and it is not formed for committing acts of aggression against others.  Such a society may take a variety of forms but, in the broadest sense, all of them could be called socialist in that they put people before profits.

More often than not, however, when we talk about security, we are talking about something completely different. This notion of security is rooted in the kind of fear bred in the heart of the thief and the murderer, ever on guard that those to whom they have caused pain might rise against them and take back what has been stolen. READ MORE

I first heard the phrase “Great Reset” way back in 2014. Christine Lagarde, who was head of the IMF at the time, was suddenly becoming very vocal about global centralization. It was an agenda that was generally only whispered about in the dark corners of institutional white papers and the secretive meetings of banking elites, but now these people were becoming rather loud about it.

Lagarde was doing a Q&A at the World Economic Forum and the notion of the “Reset” was very deliberately brought up; what the project entailed was vague, but the basic root of it was a dramatic shift away from the current economic, social and political models of the world into a globally centralized and integrated system – A “New World Order,” if you will… READ MORE

Frequent readers of the Free Thought Project know that filming the cops is not a crime. Despite this being a widely known provision — held up with multiple court precedents — cops continue to violate the First Amendment protected right of citizens to film the police. Last month, the Arizona House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would criminalize filming cops on the job, dealing a massive blow to First Amendment rights. And this month, the Senate passed it.

It now moves to Governor Doug Ducey’s desk for signature, where it will become law.

Republican Representative John Kavanaugh, who is a former police officer, is the lead sponsor of the legislation. According to the bill, it is illegal “for a person to knowingly make a video recording of law enforcement activity, including the handling of an emotionally disturbed person, if the person does not have the permission of the law enforcement officer” and is within 8 feet of the cop. READ MORE

Interview with journalist and author Janet Phelan exposing Biden’s lies about the U.S. government’s clandestine biological and chemical weapons program. Her new book, AT THE BREAKING POINT OF HISTORY: HOW DECADES OF U.S. DUPLICITY ENABLED THE PANDEMIC delves into the facts that the U.S. has been involved in biological and chemical weapons since it signed on to The Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1975.

The BWC is a disarmament treaty that effectively bans biological and toxin weapons by prohibiting their development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use. The treaty’s full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction. These clandestine U.S.-funded biolabs developed COVID-19. The gene sequence of COVID-19 was patented by Moderna in 2017 proving the virus is a man-made bioweapon. READ MORE - WATCH

Few people today ask the most important question about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Many people want America to stay out of the fight, but even they don’t ask the vital question. Why does the world face a crisis today? Why has a border dispute between Russia and Ukraine escalated to the point where people fear nuclear war?

The answer is simple. America, under the “leadership” of brain-dead Biden and the forces controlling him, has done this and, by doing so, brought the world to the brink of disaster. As always, the great Dr. Ron Paul gets it right:

“Three weeks into this terrible war, the US is not pursuing talks with Russia. As recently reported, instead of supporting negotiations between Ukraine and Russia that could lead to a ceasefire and an end to the bloodshed, the US government is actually escalating the situation which can only increase the bloodshed. READ MORE

It’s a huge, hidden climate variable that scientists are racing to understand. They know full well that the destruction of terrestrial permafrost is a significant source of carbon entering the atmosphere. As it thaws, microbes munch on the organic matter it contains, releasing carbon dioxide (if the material is fairly dry) and methane (if the melted ice forms a pond). This can form a feedback loop, in which more permafrost thaw produces more emissions, which heat the planet to thaw even more permafrost. That’s an extra-big problem because the Arctic is now warming four times as fast as the rest of the planet.

Yet submarine permafrost is largely unstudied, owing to its inaccessibility — renting out time on a research vessel is not cheap anywhere, much less in the Arctic, and it’s much harder to reach for drilling samples. Now, in an alarming paper published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of scientists give us a rare look at what’s going on down there. The team used oceanic robots, which look like torpedoes, off the coast of northern Canada and mapped the seafloor with sonar. The scientists repeated this several times over the course of nine years to get a sense of how the topology of the seafloor might be changing and found that it’s undergoing massive upheaval. READ MORE

Russia’s rouble has recovered nearly all of its value after crippling sanctions in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine last month sent the currency plummeting to less than one cent against the US dollar.

The rouble was trading at around 84 per dollar most of Wednesday after gaining around 20 per cent in the previous two sessions, and touched the 82.55 level for the first time since February 25 – the day after Moscow launched its “special operation” sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion sparked an unprecedented financial response from the US and Europe – including the freezing of the Russia’s foreign currency reserves and its expulsion from the SWIFT interbank messaging network – aimed at crippling the country’s economy and crashing its currency. READ MORE

When on 7 March, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) suspended 6 Russian precious metals refiners from the London Good Delivery Lists for Gold and Silver, and in the process blocked from the London market any new gold and silver bars produced by these refiners, one unanswered question was whether the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM) was going to follow suit and also suspend Russian precious metals refiners from its Good Delivery Lists for Palladium and Platinum.

This was more than a theoretical question because two of the refiners excluded from the gold and silver Good Delivery Lists by the LBMA were JSC Krastsvetmet (located in Krasnoyarsk) and Prioksky Plant of Non-Ferrous Metals, and both Krastsvetmet and Prioksky were also accredited refiners on the LPPM’s Good Delivery List for both Platinum and Palladium. READ MORE

While it is not clear what U.S. President Joe Biden meant when he referenced America leading a "new world order," his record over the last 15 months suggests it consists of a weakened U.S. economy hamstrung by inflation, war in Europe, unraveling alliances in the Middle East and growing uncertainty in Asia 

U.S. President Joe Biden recently closed his remarks to the Business Roundtable with a confusing reference to a "new world order." He stated, according to the White House transcript of his speech:

"It occurs every three or four generations. ... a time when things are shifting. We’re going to — there’s going to be a new world order out there, and we’ve got to lead it. And we’ve got to unite the rest of the free world in doing it."

What was the president talking about? It came at the end of his speech; he did not elaborate on what he meant. Presumably he was referring to the ongoing shifts in the post-World War II global power structures, but does Biden have a plan for America’s role in what this new world order would look like, as Europe finds itself potentially engulfed in a major war?

The American people are left to find the clues and try to figure out what Biden might have meant. The best we can do is turn to the policies he has implemented during his first 15 months in office to see if any elements of his plan for America in this "new world order" can be discerned. READ MORE

Prof. Richard Wolff on Revolution, Imagination,
and the Written Word

33 Minutes | Premiered Mar 31, 2022
Subscribe to The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow for more:
  • Can the current climate trend be arrested, or even reversed?

    The current global greenhouse gas trend is leading to one of the largest mass extinctions of species in the geological record, one of the victims being human civilization. The current focus on emission reduction overlooks a major factor, namely the amplifying feedbacks from land and oceans (Steffen et al., 2018). There is a desperate need, in addition to emission reduction, for urgent large-scale sequestration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, and for further action to combat the temperature rise.

    The role of amplifying GHG feedbacks from land and oceans, leading to enhanced heating, appears to be neglected in climate negotiationsAmplifying feedbacks include:

    • an increase in evaporation, raising atmospheric water vapor levels, which enhances the greenhouse gas effect;
    • a decline in the polar albedo (reflection) due to large-scale lateral and vertical melting of ice;
    • release of methane from degrading permafrost and from polar sediments;
    • reduced CO₂ intake by warming oceans. Currently the oceans absorb between 35-42% of all CO₂ and around 90% of the excess heat;
    • warming, desiccation, deforestation and fires over land areas.

    Numerous species have been unable to survive the accelerated global heating following the K-T impact event, nor are many species likely to survive the even higher rate of the of the Anthropocene catastrophe. READ MORE


2°C Crossed

It's time to stop denying how precarious the situation is.

Remember the Paris Agreement? In 2015, politicians pledged to hold the global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pledged they would try and limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Well, an analysis by Sam Carana shows that it was already more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial when the Paris Agreement was reached.

View details of Sam Carana's analysis
In Sam Carana's analysis, the year 1750 is used as the baseline for pre-industrial. The analysis shows that we meanwhile have also crossed the 2°C threshold (in February 2020) and that the temperature rise looks set to rapidly drive humans and eventually most if not all species on Earth into extinction. READ MORE

Large swathes of northern Europe and western Siberia may become “climatically unsuitable” for carbon-rich permafrost peatlands within a few decades, even under moderate warming scenarios, a new study warns.

These carbon-rich landscapes span more than 1.4m square kilometres (km2) and contain around 40bn tonnes of carbon – about twice what is stored in Europe’s forests.

The study finds that under a moderate warming scenario, around 75% of this area could be too warm or too wet to maintain permafrost by the 2060s. However, the researchers stress, how much carbon is released – and over what timescales – is very much an open question.

They also warn that parts of northern Europe may be near a “tipping point”, past which its thawing peatlands cannot recover. But, they say, if strong climate change mitigation measures are taken, parts of western Siberia would maintain their suitable climate into the 2090s – and could even allow for new peatlands to form after warming peaks. READ MORE

Welcome to Carbon Brief’s Cropped. 
We handpick and explain the most important stories at the intersection of climate, land, food and nature over the past fortnight.

This is an online version of Carbon Brief’s fortnightly Cropped email newsletter. Subscribe for free here.


Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has shone the spotlight on two countries that are collectively responsible for nearly one-third of the world’s wheat exports. Experts are warning that the ongoing crisis could have negative impacts on food security around the world, especially in Africa and the Middle East.

Palm oil-driven deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea hit a four-year low in 2021, said a new report by Chain Reaction Research. The drop is potentially attributable to a range of factors, including Covid-19 restrictions and “no deforestation, no peat” policies adopted by leading private players in the palm oil sector.

A new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warned that global warming will affect the yields of major crops “sooner than previously anticipated”, highlighting a risk of “multi-breadbasket failures”. It found that crop loss because of drought has already affected about 75% of the “global harvested area” and that extreme weather events will push some areas “beyond the safe climatic space” for food production. READ MORE

Three-quarters of the Amazon rainforest has lost “resilience” since 2003 – making it more vulnerable to extreme events such as droughts – according to new research.

Scientists have long warned that climate change and human-driven deforestation could push the Amazon rainforest past a “tipping point”, which would see the dieback of large sections of lush rainforest and a shift to dry savannah. However, modelling studies have been unable to agree on if and when this threshold might be crossed.

The new study uses observational data to explore how the forest’s “resilience” – a measure of how quickly the forest can recover from a drought or extreme weather event – has changed in recent decades.

The findings, published in Nature Climate Change, suggest that more than three-quarters of the Amazon rainforest has already lost resilience over the past two decades. The drier parts of the Amazon – and regions closer to human land use, such as roads and agricultural lands – are the least resilient, the study says. READ MORE


As Climate Fears Mount, Some in U.S.
Are Deciding to Relocate

As wildfires worsen and sea levels rise, a small but growing number of Americans are choosing to move to places such as New England or the Appalachian Mountains that are seen as safe havens from climate change. Researchers say this phenomenon will intensify in the coming decades.

At first, the Ashland area of southern Oregon seemed like a great place for Mich and Forest Brazil to raise their kids: It had natural beauty, plenty of open space, and a family-friendly atmosphere.

But after they moved there from the San Francisco Bay area in 2015, high summer temperatures, water shortages, and wildfire smoke became regular features of their lives, forcing them to wear face masks well before the Covid-19 pandemic, and leading them to question whether the area was the right place for them.

Then came September 8, 2020, when Forest Brazil stepped out of their rented house and had to cover his face because of smoke, dust, and debris from a fire — about three miles away — that was being water-bombed by fire-fighting planes and had provoked a panicky, high-speed evacuation on a nearby interstate. READ MORE

The impact of the Covid pandemic on the global supply chain has been widely reported. But extreme weather, from floods to wildfires, is increasingly hammering ports, highways, and factories worldwide, and experts warn these climate-induced disruptions will only get worse.

The Covid pandemic has rightly received most of the blame for global supply chain upheavals in the last two years. But the less publicized threat to supply chains from climate change poses a far more serious threat and is already being felt, scholars and experts say.

The pandemic is “a temporary problem,” while climate change is “long-term dire,” said Austin Becker, a maritime infrastructure resilience scholar at the University of Rhode Island. “Climate change is a slow-moving crisis that is going to last a very, very long time, and it’s going to require some fundamental changes,” said Becker. “Every coastal community, every coastal transportation network is going to face some risks from this, and we’re not going to have nearly enough resources to make all the investments that are required.” READ MORE

From birdsong in the rainforest to whale calls in the oceans, the world is losing the variety of sounds that enriches life. Habitat loss, species extinctions, and industrial noise all contribute to this sonic loss, which cuts off a vital human connection to the Earth.

Sound is made of the most ephemeral stuff on Earth, insubstantial tremors of air. Yet sound is also the great connector and revealer. Because sound waves pass through and around obstacles, they link living beings into sonic information networks. Some of these networks are communicative — songs, music, and speech — and some amount to eavesdropping — predators and competitors listening to one another as they breathe, move, and eat. Listening, then, can reveal the unseen dynamics of the living world. In a time of crisis and rapid change, listening offers us a powerful way to connect and understand.

But what we hear is often sonic loss. Some of this loss is erasure through species extinction. The song of the Kauaʻi ʻōʻō, a honeyeater bird from Hawaii, or the Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog from central Panama will never again ring through forests. Another form of loss is the diminished sonic diversity of habitats: a reduction in the variety of melodies, the richness of layers of different sound frequencies, the range of different tempos, and the temporal variability of sonic expression through daily and seasonal cycles. READ MORE

The atmospheric level of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) methane (CH4) is increasing, and is now nearly triple the pre-industrial level. There is a positive feedback loop in the Arctic with increased methane leading to warming and thence to further increase in atmospheric methane. In the warming Arctic methane release is occurring from  huge methane-water clathrate deposits, and increasingly from permafrost melting and increased methanogenesis from anaerobic bacteria.

The increase in atmospheric methane (CH4), the increasing contribution from anaerobic bacteria in the warming Arctic [1], the positive feedback loop involved, and the worsening threat to Humanity and the Biosphere are outlined below. READ MORE

Noam Chomsky: The USA is a mafia | 22 Minutes
with Fatima Bhutto

84,672 views as of 04/03/22 | Nov 30, 2021

The war in Afghanistan and the mafia-like global order; Modhi and the collapse of Indian democracy; the “China Threat” and the “pivot to Asia; Joe Manchin and climate change. The world seems like a dark place, and in Part 2 of his exclusive How To Academy conversation with Fatima Bhutto, Noam Chomsky attempts to make sense of the chaos. Noam Chomsky is the bestselling author of over 100 influential political books. He is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. His videos with MSNBC (on Biden and the GOP), World Science Festival (Mind Your Language), Jacobin (Where the left goes after Trump), Gulf News (on Afghanistan), David Pakman (on the Modern Day Trump-Republican Party), Harvard Law School, The Stoa (with Natalie Wynn on the future of the left), The Origins Podcast (on Afghanistan) and Owen Jones (on Palestine and capitalism). Fatima Bhutto is a Pakistani writer. She is the author of the novels The Runaways, and The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, longlisted for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her most recent nonfiction book is New Kings of the World: Dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi, and K-Pop (which argues that the West’s cultural influence is diminishing across the globe. Her first book is Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir which deals with her father, Mir Murtaza Bhutto’s assassination at the hands of the Pakistani state.

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