Scourging Yemen

On May 10, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia informed the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Saudi Air Defenses intercepted two Houthi ballistic missiles launched from inside Yemeni territory targeting densely populated civilian areas in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. No one was killed, but an earlier attack, on March 26, 2018, killed one Egyptian worker in Riyadh and an April 28 attack killed a Saudi man.

Unlike the unnumbered victims of the Saudis’ own ongoing bombardment of Yemen, these two precious, irreplaceable lives are easy to document and count. Death tolls have become notoriously difficult to count accurately in Yemen. Three years of U.S.-supported blockades and bombardments have plunged the country into immiseration and chaos.

In their May 10th request, the Saudis asked the UN to implement “all relevant Security Council resolutions in order to prevent the smuggling of additional weapons to the Houthis, and to hold violators of the arms embargo accountable.” The letter accuses Iran of furnishing the Houthi militias with stockpiles of ballistic missiles, UAVs and sea mines. The Saudis’ letter omits mention of massive U.S. weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Security Council resolutions invoked by the Saudis name the Houthis as a warring party in Yemen and call for an embargo, so the Houthis can’t acquire more weapons. But these Resolutions don’t name the Saudis as a warring party in Yemen, even though Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has, since March 2015, orchestrated Saudi involvement in the war, using billions of dollars of weapons sold to the Saudis and the UAE by the U.S. and the UK.

The Saudis have an undeniable right to call on the UN to work toward preventing the Houthis from acquiring ballistic weapons that could be fired into Saudi Arabia, but the air, sea and water blockade now imposed on Yemen brutally and lethally punishes children who have no capacity whatsoever to affect Houthi policies. What’s more, the U.S. military, through midair refueling of Saudi and Emirati warplanes, is directly involved in devastating barrages of airstrikes while the UN Security Council essentially pays no heed.

As Yemeni civilians’ lives become increasingly desperate, they become increasingly isolated, their suffering made invisible by a near-total lack of Western media interest or attention. No commercial flights are allowed into the Sana’a airport, so media teams and human rights documentarians can’t enter the areas of Yemen most afflicted by airstrikes. The World Food Program (WFP) organizes a weekly flight into Sana’a, but the WFP must vet passengers with the Saudi government. Nevertheless, groups working in Yemen, including Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Save the Children, Oxfam, and various UN agencies do their best to report about consequences of the Saudi-Emirati led coalition’s blockade and airstrikes.

On May 18th, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) issued a report about airstrikes against the Saada governorate which notes that “in the past three years, the coalition has carried out 16,749 air raids in Yemen; i.e., an average of 15 a day. Almost a third of the raids have hit non-military sites.”

Earlier in May, MSF responded to a series of Saudi-Emirati coalition led airstrikes on May 7th which struck a busy street in the heart of Sana’a, killing six people and injuring at least 72.

“Civilians, including children, were killed and maimed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said João Martins, MSF head of mission in Yemen. “No-one should live in fear of being bombed while going about their daily life; yet again we are seeing civilian victims of airstrikes fighting for their lives in hospitals.”

Lacking access to food, clean water, medicine and fuel, over 400,000 Yemeni children are, according to Save the Children, at imminent risk of starvation. “Most of them will never see a health clinic or receive treatment,” says Kevin Watkins, the organization’s UK Director. “Many of those who survive will be affected by stunting and poor health for the rest of their lives.” Watkins says the Saudi-UAE led coalition is using economic strangulation as a weapon of war, “targeting jobs, infrastructure, food markets and the provision of basic services.”

On March 22, 2018, Amnesty International called for an end to the flow of arms to the Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen. “There is extensive evidence that irresponsible arms flows to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have resulted in enormous harm to Yemeni civilians,” their statement says. “But this has not deterred the USA, the UK and other states, including France, Spain and Italy, from continuing transfers of billions of dollars’ worth of such arms.”

The UN Charter begins with a commitment to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. The UN Security Council has miserably failed the Yemeni people by allowing the scourge of war to worsen, year by year. By approving biased resolutions that neglect to even name the most well-funded and sophisticated warring parties in Yemen — Saudi Arabia; the United Arab Emirates; the United States — the Security Council promotes the intensification of brutal, apocalyptic war and enables western war profiteers to benefit from billions of dollars in weapon sales. Weapon manufacturers such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Boeing then pressure governments to continue selling weapons to two of their top customers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Earnest, honest and practical steps to stop the war are urgently needed. The U.N. must abandon its biased role in the Yemen conflict, so it can broker a peace in which the Houthi minority can retain some dignity and representation in majority-Sunni Yemen, which even before the Houthi uprising lacked any legitimate elected leader. The Houthis must be given an option to lay down arms without landing in any of the clandestine prisons operated by the UAE in Yemen, reported to be little more than torture camps. Even more urgent, the violence and economic strangulation by foreign invaders must cease.

At the very least, citizens in countries supplying weapons to the Saudi-Emirati coalition must demand their legislators forbid all future sales. The time for determined action is running out in the U.S. as the State Department is already taking preliminary steps toward a massive, multibillion-dollar sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The package is said to include tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions from Raytheon.

Yemeni civilians, especially children, pose no threat whatsoever to the U.S. Yet, U.S. support for airstrikes, blockades and the chaos inevitably caused by prolonged war threatens Yemeni civilians, especially vulnerable children. They have committed no crime but are being punished with death.

Cartoon: S. Reynolds CC BY-SA 4.0

Europe’s Response to Secondary Sanctions Threats

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire, in response to U.S. threats to apply secondary sanctions to European companies trading with Iran, asks: Est-ce que nous acceptons que les USA soient le gendarme économique de la planète ? La réponse européenne doit être clairement non.

“Do we need to accept the USA as the economic policeman of the planet? The European response clearly must be no.”

Mais bien sur. The U.S. stands in violation of an agreement not just confirmed by Iran, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany but by the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. is now the international outlaw, demanding that others abandon their legitimate trade arrangements with Iran in order to indicate their continued submission to U.S. imperial fiat.

The abrasiveness and inconsistency of Trump himself. The contradictions within his staff and their multiple announcements on foreign policy. The manifest deference of the U.S. president to a very backward support base and the Israel Lobby.  These have little appeal in European capitals where leaders generally want peace in the Middle East, no more refugee floods, and adherence to a modicum of consultation within the Atlantic Alliance before Washington does something crazy.

Trump responds: Screw you free-loaders, avoiding your 2% NATO expenditures! We like the Saudis and Israelis more than you, and they both want confrontation with Iran. Who cares about your auto manufacturing deals or airline deliveries? You’re supposed to be on our side for god’s sake. We liberated you from the Nazis or somebody, once. Now we want you on board as we restart the pointless conflict with Iran. Why can’t you just cooperate, Angela and Emmanuel and Bruno?

The tone of dissent intensifies. Europeans are saying: Who are you, at this point, at your level of relative decline, when our EU GDP exceeds yours, when we have healthier more peaceful societies should we take your lead on Iran relations? Or back off from our lucrative deals because you object, and stupidly want war with Iran?

Maybe this will be the tipping-point. May inter-imperialist contradictions intensify, not to produce war as usual but to discourage it. A common European front against U.S. bullying on Iran, along with the rise of populist and nationalist parties in Europe and mounting discontent with the Russia sanctions demanded by the U.S. after the Ukraine coup in 2014, and growing anxiety about the madness of U.S. policy (as in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital) could weaken NATO.

Think of it this way. The U.S. effort from 1999 to expand NATO culminated in a failed effort to draw in Ukraine and the (arguably defensive and premptive) Russian reassertion of sovereignty over Crimea and support to Russian-speaking separatists in the Donbas region. U.S. leaders treated this as a crime comparable to Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938 and demanded that Europe join it in applying sanctions on Russia. (The irony here is that Victoria Nuland, the odious State Department official who helped engineer the coup, told the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine just before the coup, “Fuck the EU!” because of differences over Ukraine’s political future. Europe has been expected to bear the pain of sanctions and counter-sanctions on their continent, demanded by the power across the ocean experiencing minimal pain from them. This is despite the fact that many Europeans sympathize with the Russian position; former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder has, for example, expressed understanding and objected to the sanctions.)

That 2014 moment, following the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia (arguably, provoked by Georgia’s crazy president Saakashvili dreaming of NATO back-up), resulted in the depiction of Russia as an “adversary.” Not because it threatens the U.S. in any way other than by sometimes trying to thwart U.S. imperial expansion.

The bullying of Europe in connection with Russia relations is joined with the bullying of Europe to accept the millions of refugees generated by USA wars.  And the bullying of Europe to spit up 2% of GDP annually on military expenditures, regardless of legislators’ views about budget priorities, in order to satisfy Washington. Even though the last thing on their minds or even imaginable to intelligent people is a Russian invasion or Iranian missile attack. The bullying of Europe to cut Iran ties under threat of secondary sanctions could be the last straw. Not so much because of the money involved. It’s the arrogance, ignorance, and strong-arming by people who don’t realize the U.S. has declined a lot from the 1950s and can no longer control its allies, much less the whole world. Europe’s a very old place with lots of proud people. So is Iran. The two are bound by an international agreement signed by the European Union itself as well as by the UK, France and Germany. The U.S. is in violation. Why should it be able to sabotage the deal?

It’s all about freedom, surely. U.S. freedom to use its market access as an intimidating tool to prevent other nations’ free trade with one another.

Secretary of State Pompeo is going today to announce the administration’s plans for “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran (to “crush” it). He seems to assume European cooperation. May they say Fick dich! to Pompeo. May they say a loud NO! and enjoy the advantages of national independence and independent multilateral ties in what should be a multilateral world.

The Housing Crisis Is a Feminist Crisis That Democrats Need To Hear

Image via Boston Globe by John Tlumacki

Every election year, Democratic candidates download the latest changes to the Democratic Party platform. They usually make sure to hit refresh on the Wikipedia page for feminism and check for new developments.

It’s a miracle, with an unapologetic sexual assaulter in the White House, that reproductive health and the gender pay gap are getting any airtime at all. For statisticians and pundits, support for these issues is the best way to make a back of the envelope calculation of odds.

If you follow political punditry, you’d think Americans were split on Roe v. Wade. The fact is, only a quarter of Americans support rolling it back. For perspective, the anti-vaxxer movement has about as much support. The truth is that most Americans are in favor of social equity and access to basic social services.

As it stands, women still make 70% of what men do. Women are more often bound with being the sole breadwinner of single-parent households. Women often have more debt and lower credit scores than men. Women are also the fastest growing section of the homeless population.

Every potential obstacle for having a roof over your head is in the way for women.

Given that Democratic political candidates want to show their support for social justice, feminist, and lower-income issues, you’d think they would commit to ending the housing crisis. With a ratio of six-to-one between the number of vacant homes (18 million) and homeless Americans (3 million), you’d think they’d want to close the gap.

Housing, displacement, and gentrification should be stronger feminist issues injected into the Democratic party platform, as they affect the most dependable Democratic voters, women of color, first. This could bring new life and new energy to the platform.

The Wealth Gap Isn’t Closing

So long as women make 70% of what men make, while paying 100% of housing costs, the wealth gap between men and women will persist.

Women are also saddled with two-thirds of the student debt in the U.S. While women make up a few percentage points more of the college population than men, they are far less likely to get a high-paying job without a college degree or to inherit a family business.

Women also pay more in healthcare costs, paying an average of 30% more than men do. Just staying alive is more expensive for women.

Even high earners and entrepreneurs face a obstacles to affordability. With just 16% of business loans being given to women, companies owned by women face a glass ceiling when it comes to growth.

The Parenting Gap Is Real

In New York and California, where the minimum wage is headed toward $15 an hour, women are required to work two jobs to afford adequate housing. The cost of a two-bedroom apartment for a parent and their children in these states is around $26 an hour. The simple dignity of privacy after being a dedicated and productive contributor to the economy is denied to many women.

There are social expectations for women to take responsibility in the event that the family is a single-parent household. When men are tasked with single parenthood, they’re deeply lauded and appreciated in ways that single mothers aren’t.

Single mothers are often perceived as defective and plagued by problems they’ve somehow caused on their own. Single fathers are perceived as strong, emotionally complex, and courageous more often than single mothers are. Meanwhile, single mothers account for over 70% of all single-parent households.

Homelessness Is Increasing For Women

Unemployment numbers don’t tell a complete story. Unemployment is down as people need to take 2-3 part-time jobs just to get by. Single women and families with children form 50% of the homeless population and their numbers are growing, even though many of them have employment.

While elected officials propose small concessions and programs to act as a band-aid, they simply don’t solve the issue.  Homeless advocates are constantly struggling with elected officials who tell citizens to help the homeless by calling police, public safety, 311, 911, or an endless list of 800 numbers.

This reveals how abstract our understanding of housing insecurity is. People will sometimes endure homelessness as a way to escape an abusive parent or partner. If their abusers are in the local shelter system, elected officials are offering a thoughtless solution that fails to address both chronic homelessness and chronic abuse.

Another problem in the relationship elected officials have to housing insecurity is in the scapegoating of the mental health crisis. Plenty of people with mental health issues have homes. However, living with housing insecurity can cause all kinds of untold damage to the psyche.

And Yet Women Are Still Voting

Elected Democrats continue to stand on banal feminist platforms and telegraph their support for the right to choose and closing the gender pay gap. After decades of denying these rights or the visibility for these causes, this feels like progress.

Cynics could say that these changes could be attested to by the fact that more women vote than men. Others could say that Democrats are waking up to the fact that their most dependable demographic is women. However, given that in 2016 an infamous misogynist got the majority of votes from white women, Democrats can’t rely on women as an unspecific monolith.

Democrats are losing voters as you go up the income bracket, with people making more than $50,000 a year dropping off precipitously. This has been hard for Democrats to face, as they’ve enjoyed funding from the real estate and financial services industries. Angling for the people who are voting for them most dependably would win elections but require a disruption to the fundraising that pundits tie to a candidate’s ability to win.

So Where Do The Democrats Turn?

The people who you’d think would be too busy to vote, working single mothers who might have to work two jobs on a Tuesday, are showing up for Democrats. Why aren’t they showing up for women, especially their most loyal voting block, black women?

Just as the DNC ignored the “flyover” states in the 2016 presidential election, just as the assumed conservativism of the south is being turned on its head, the future of the Democratic party can’t survive on the steam built up by the current Democratic establishment. Democratic voters want new issues, an inspiring platform, and something more than just a team to root for.

We should push that our Democratic platform includes intersectional feminist principles that feature housing prominently. We must then demand that Democrats start putting those principles in practices.

As the 2016 presidential election proved, Democrats can’t and shouldn’t count on anyone to turn out. That’s all the more reason to work to earn our trust. So long as they withhold progress on this front, we should withhold our endorsement of their platforms.

Pompeo’s Bombastic Iran Threats: A Sign Of Weakness?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech to the neoconservative Heritage Foundation in which he made 12 US demands of the Iranian government. The demands were in places laughably inaccurate -- demanding Iran close a heavy water reactor that has been dismantled for years -- that one wonders whether it was just incompetence or whether they simply don't care. The US is backing itself into a corner over Iran, risking losing its European allies and further emboldening Russia and China. What's next? Tune in to today's Liberty Report:

Vassals and Victims

Nothing better illustrates the disaster of Britain leaving the EU than Donald Trump. Once we’re no longer able to enjoy the huge benefits of the European single market we will be compelled to try to arrange favourable independent trade deals with other countries, the largest of which will almost certainly be the USA. Having to rely on the US for our primary trading partner is the truly nightmare scenario of Brexit, and one example of why this is so was provided last week.

It was reported that the US will “use trade talks to force the NHS to pay more for drugs“. No matter that many medicines are already vastly overpriced, it’s still not enough for the giant drug companies who net billions of dollars profiteering from desperately sick people. They want to make even more because their greed knows no limit, and Mr Trump will “not be cheated by foreign countries” (1).

The US has a long and inglorious history of reneging on its promises and treaties. Ask Native Americans. More recently we’ve seen the US turn its back on its own Transpacific Partnership agreement, pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and effectively scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal, ignoring the fury of European counter-signatories. The US government has, of course, always totally ignored international law, as well as its own laws and federal constitution, whenever it felt like it. Henry Kissinger once infamously quipped, “The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.”  It imposes vicious trade sanctions whenever it wants (more often than any other country), and last year this champion of free trade slapped a 200% trade tariff on Bombardier. This is the country we’ll be relying on after Brexit.

Of course, it’s easy, and true, to say that Donald Trump will not last forever, but Trump isn’t the main problem. The main problem is the whole US system of government, which appears to see the US as the only country in the world of any importance. The president is a distraction, designed to suggest that better days will come once the current one moves on. But the better days never come. Presidents come and go but the empire gets ever stronger, and more catastrophically dystopian.

Most of the people who voted for Brexit don’t understand this global reality. Most Brexit supporters have a worldview shaped almost entirely by deceitful tabloids and Hollywood propaganda movies. They think America is our friend. It isn’t. It has no friends, it only has vassals and victims, and neither of those is a very pleasant prospect for post-Brexit Britain.

Six Economies

By the time we come to the end of this series we will have been swimming in the primordial soup of the seeds for alternative forms of traditional capitalism! As I have long said, there is bad capitalism, the kind we have, and good capitalism, the kind we need

Part 5 is an adaptation of my review of a book about six economies written by Riane Eisler.1 She titled the book “The Real Wealth of Nations,” which to me was a repartee to Adam Smith’s magnum opus. Because she is absolutely one of my favorite authors I must begin by telling you about her.

Escaping with her parents from the Nazis in Germany led her eventually to ponder how there could be a world so cruel, insensitive, and destructive when humans, she believed, have a great capacity for caring, consciousness, and creativity (we should highlight “capacity” for she could not say “habit”). She ultimately concluded that “we have to change present economic systems” for the sake of ourselves, our children, and future generations. Being trained not in economics but in sociology, anthropology, and law was, I’m convinced, an asset for her, not a liability, in doing the research and writing for this book. And I certainly agree with her when she quotes Einstein as having said that solving problems can’t be done with the same thinking that created them, even though I hardly think it takes a genius to know that. In any case, Eisler has done some very creative and constructive thinking.

She was selected as the only woman among twenty great thinkers including Hegel, Adam Smith, Marx, and Toynbee in recognition of the lasting importance of her work.2 Her book, The Chalice and the Blade. recounting the transition from earliest egalitarian to later patriarchal societies, was an international best seller and acclaimed by Princeton anthropologist Ashley Montagu as “the most important book since Darwin’s Origin of the Species.”3,4

Karl Marx once said about capitalists, “give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves” If only that would happen! Eisler isn’t sympathetic to either Marx or Adam Smith. She contends that their theories and their application call for the control of natural resources and the means of production by a male dominated culture and as a consequence neither communism nor capitalism as we know it is capable of solving the chronic problems confronting society. Well, if you remember what I wrote about Marx in the previous part of this series, I would give him some slack here.5

Her focus in her book is on explaining dysfunctional economic structures, rules, and practices, offering an alternative perspective for a new economics along with providing convincing evidence of its superiority, and proposing necessary reforms to change the present system. Whereas Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations focused on the market, she goes beyond it to reexamine economics from a larger perspective that includes the life-supporting activities of households, communities, and nature. “Ultimately,” she says, “the real wealth of a nation lies in the quality of its human and natural capital” and the basic purpose of an economic system should thus be to “promote human welfare and human happiness,” characteristics that are missing from our present economic system. She is obviously more in tune with Aristotle’s thinking about economics than with Smith or Marx.6

A central theme of her book is that since any economic system emerges out of a larger social, cultural, and technological context, a viable system can’t be constructed without taking that broader context into account, and especially not without giving visibility and value to the socially and economically essential work of caring for people and nature. She defines care giving as “actions based on empathy, responsibility, and concern for human welfare and optimal human development.”

Our economic system is dysfunctional she contends because it, like its larger context depends on what she calls the domination model. It has four core components; a rigid top-down social structure, much abuse and violence, a male superiority premise, and beliefs that perpetuate domination and violence. This system, where people are either dominating or being dominated rests on several erroneous assumptions such as people being inherently untrustworthy, that fear of pain (as a psychologist, I disagree with this as a source of motivation) and scarcity are the main motivators for work, and that caring and care giving are impediments to productivity or at best irrelevant to economics. For example, with regard to the last misassumption, she points out that care giving isn’t, but should be, included as a positive value in economic indicators such as the GNP, which, manifesting a domination system as it does, misleadingly includes war-related expenditures as positive values. She cites a Swiss survey and a UN report, the first, showing that the value of unpaid, care giving work accounts for 70 percent of the reported Swiss GDP, and the second, estimating in 1985 that the value of women’s unpaid work amount worldwide and annually to 11 trillion dollars. Those are amazing findings!

A functional economic system along with its larger context would be one she posits that depends on what she calls the partnership model of mutually respectful and caring relations. She leaves no stone unturned, no relevant field of inquiry unexplored in showing in various ways how this model is far superior to the other one. For example, she documents studies demonstrating that in business “it pays to care-in dollars and cents.” Organizational psychologists like me would be familiar with the evidence presented that caring and empowering corporations do indeed give a positive return on investment in their human capital. She shows how the Nordic countries, the only ones coming close to her partnership model, are faring well economically and socially.

Having a national capacity and resources for providing optimal human development is clearly necessary for having a healthy economy, and she persuasively links the domination form of child rearing (and thus suboptimal human development) to adverse consequences later in life that show up in the kinds of leaders and followers our society has, in our belligerent relationships with other countries, and in our diminished capacity for a functional and healthy economy. She presents neuroscientific evidence of how care giving rather than selfishness produces the most powerful reactions in the brain circuitry associated with pleasurable sensations. Finally, she shows how disastrous it could be if the domination model is played out with new and risky technological developments on the horizon.

Her perspective and understanding are so broad that she conceptualizes not one but six economic sectors. The first sector, the core one, is the household economy from which the rest of the sectors spring because productivity depends so much on human activity, which starts at birth and is markedly shaped by what kinds of experiences there are throughout human upbringing. Her core economy is clearly reminiscent of Aristotle’s thinking.7 The second is the unpaid economy made up mostly of volunteers. The third is the conventional market economy. The fourth is the illegal economy like illegal arms trade (and I suppose she would include Karger’s fringe economy summarized earlier in this series).8 The fifth is the government economy that includes not just the large population of government workers but also the laws, rules, and policies that (should) govern the market economy. The sixth, the natural economy, is as basic as the first in that our environment produces natural resources used and misused by the market economy.

The sectors are inextricably intertwined, and all must be taken into account in order to transform our economic system, our institutions, and our culture from the domination into the partnership model. The greatest challenge, she contends, is to develop economic models, measures, and rules where the first, second, and sixth sectors are recognized and highly valued. Our beliefs about what we value are largely unconscious, she continues, having been inherited from earlier times when anything associated with the female half of humanity, such as caring and care giving was devalued. If you scoff at this, you should read her book because I can’t do it real justice here other than to say I know of no other living scholar that has evolved a new theory of economics after having spent 30 years of research combing the data from over 20 thousand or more years of history collected by herself and others from myriad fields of inquiry.

Her book is much more than just theoretically significant, as would be expected from a social activist. She proceeds smoothly and logically from her theorizing to advocacy and conclusion. She makes a number of practical suggestions about what needs to be done on Wall Street (e.g. stiff tax on short-term speculations), in government (e.g., massive investment in child care and human development), by business leaders (e.g., changing from top-down to empowering corporations), and among social activist citizens (e.g., mounting a global movement to change laws and customs-she describes how she wrote an amicus brief that helped women legally gain equal rights). She summarizes the progress being made that she believes represents a “caring revolution.”

The only quibble I have with her summary is her assessment that “hundreds of thousands of nongovernmental organizations” are all working she says toward the “common goal of shifting to a more caring economic and social system.” I seriously doubt that claim. I’ve studied about 150 prominent NGOs in the U.S. My conclusion is that they are first and foremost compromised by the corpocracy and secondly represent a very fragmented activity, where even NGOs with similar missions and initiatives don’t communicate with each other let alone coordinate or collaborate in their work. Moreover, I once contacted the leadership of 176 NGOs proposing a super coalition of NGOs under the auspices of, let’s say, a U.S. Chamber of Democracy that is a counterpoint to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the advocate and lobbyist for big business that typifies the domination model. That proposal fell flat. Only five endorsed it; 32 said no; and 139 didn’t even respond.9

Conclusion

Eisler’s conclusion is my conclusion, “we have to change present economic systems” for the sake of ourselves, our children, and future generations.

I had originally intended to pair this Part 5 with Part 6 to shorten an otherwise lengthy chain of articles. But her book is so seminal, so profound, so unique that it absolutely deserves to stand alone! Furthermore, I am revising my “pantheon of brilliant, radical and humane thinkers.”10 I am telling Aristotle he must share the top spot with Eisler!

Notes

Brumback, GB. Review in the Book Review Section of Personnel Psychology (2009, Vol 62, #1, 179-183) of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, 2007, by Riane Eisler.

Galtung, J.& Inayatullah S. Macrohistory and Macrohistorians: Perspectives on Individual, Social, and Civilizational Change, 1997.

Eisler, R. The Chalice & the Blade: Our history, our Future, 1987.

Eisler, R. Wikipedia. wikipedia.org/wiki/Riane Eisler.

Brumback, GB.  “Notes on Some Classical Thinking” (Part 3 of 10 Part Series) “Economic Sanity and Alternative Economic Systems”, Dissident Voice, May 20; “Classical Thinking”, (Part 3 of a Series on Economic Ideas), OpEdNews, May 21, 2018.

Ibid. Part 3.

Ibid. Part 4

Brumback, GB. “Tyranny’s Hush Money,” OpEdNews  9/28/2013, The Greanville Post, September 29, 2013.

Op. Cit. Footnote 5.

• Read Part 1 here; Part 2 here; Part 3 here; Part 4 here;

Which relations between Switzerland and the EU?

Straighten up EU-Switzerland relations. “Switzerland does not need a framework agreement with the European Union”; by Felix W. Zulauf / “Federal Council hampers small hydro power plants development”, by Marianne Wüthrich / Swiss agricultural policy – what next? / How Switzerland saved itself. Fundamental book on the history of Switzerland in the Second World War / A framework agreement with the EU, which is almost unknown to the public... The previous history; by Werner Wüthrich / “To facilitate the emergence of a community of common destiny”. Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) take position to sensitive issues of world politics / The NATO states need to change their business model, by Karl Müller / Military strike against Syria must be brought to the International Criminal Court, by Eva Maria Barki / “Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You (...)

The Skripal Case Is Being Pushed Down The Memory Hole With Libya And Aleppo

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On the fourth of March, in the sleepy British cathedral town of Salisbury, an ex-spy named Sergei Skripal was poisoned by an assassin with the most deadly nerve agent known to man.

The Russian government was immediately blamed by a shocked and outraged world. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson assured the people of Great Britainthat “There’s no doubt” that Moscow was responsible. In a large and sudden leap forward in cold war escalations, Russian diplomats were thrown out of countries all around the globe, including my own Australia, in a show of solidarity with the United Kingdom. It was the largest collective ejection of Russian diplomats in history.

Two months after his earth-shattering assassination, as the world stared spellbound at the weekend’s immensely popular PR spectacle of a royal wedding, Sergei Skripal was quietly discharged from the hospital he’d been staying at. The BBC reports that he is walking and approaching complete recovery.

Wait a second. Haven’t I seen this Python skit before?

So to recap, an ex-spy who had been retired and strategically irrelevant for years was reportedly poisoned by the Kremlin with Novichok, a scary Russian-sounding word which refers to a group of extremely deadly and fast-acting nerve agents that start shutting down the body’s muscles and respiratory system within 30 seconds to two minutes. Except in the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia it was several hours with a leisurely stroll, a meal, and beers in between.

The poison was placed in Yulia Skripal’s suitcase. Actually no, they got that wrong, it was the air vents in their car. Wait, no, that doesn’t work either. Maybe it was administered via weaponized miniature drone! Wait, no, it was the family’s car door handle. Actually, scratch that, it was the front door of the house. Definitely the front door of the house. We’re absolutely sure. Either that or Sergei Skripal’s favorite Russian cereal. They were given 100 grams of Novichok. Wait, no, that’s ridiculous, we retract that. Okay, maybe we have no idea what happened. Oh hey, their pets were completely unaffected by the poison. Let’s incinerate them.

Oh, and Johnson’s claim that the Porton Down laboratory had assured him “There’s no doubt” that Russia was behind the poisoning? Turns out that was just a bald-faced lie; Porton Down said no such thing and it was never its job to make such an assessment. Johnson lied, and both the Foreign Office and British mainstream media attempted to cover it up; tweets were deleted, transcripts were re-written, and narratives were given a good spin of historic revisionism by asserting that the UK government’s unequivocal insistence that the Kremlin poisoned the Skripals had been merely a “suggestion.”

And now both Sergei and Yulia Skripal, alleged victims of a poisoning by highly trained assassins using the deadliest nerve agent ever created, are doing fine. But you’re still supposed to fear and hate Russia. Just don’t think too hard about it or remember too much.

Remember Aleppo? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t; corporate media outlets hardly ever talk about it anymore. It’s almost like they want us to forget the horror stories they told us about how the city that had been occupied by good, noble freedom fighters was about to be taken by an army of depraved psychopaths who wanted to rape women, burn children alive, and shoot civilians in their homes. Back at the tail end of 2016, though, it was all you ever heard about. The “fall of Aleppo,” they called it. If the west didn’t intervene to stop Damascus and Moscow from retaking East Aleppo from the good-hearted rebels, everyone there would be raped, tortured, and butchered by the soulless army of the Syrian government.

Well, Moscow and Damascus did recapture East Aleppo, and it turns out that everything we were told about it was a lie. The atrocities the Syrian Arab Army were accused of intending to commit proved to be completely unfounded, those “freedom fighters” were predominantly cruel Al Qaeda affiliates, and the city is now thriving and bustling with busy marketplaces. But after all the constant apocalyptic alarmism, the mass media outlets who’d been warning of all the horrific crimes against humanity which would surely be committed after the “fall of Aleppo” forgot all about the city once they were proven completely wrong about everything.

Aleppo was pushed down the memory hole. It’s a non-thing now. Turns out Gary Johnson was ahead of the curve.

How about Libya? Remember Libya? Libya’s that country that got pushed down the memory hole the second the western empire got the regime change it was after. Before Muammar Gaddafi was mutilated in the streets to the sadistic cackles of Hillary Clinton, we were all told with increasing urgency that humanitarian interventionism was needed because Gaddafi’s troops are doing evil things like taking Viagra to help them commit mass rapes against Libyan civilians. Now Gaddafi is dead, we know that both the case for humanitarian interventionism and the Viagra-for-rape stories were lies, and Libya is a humanitarian disaster with an open slave trade after western interventionism created a failed state.

Where are all those cries for humanitarian interventionism in Libya now? Now that the nation is infinitely worse off than it was under Gaddafi?

Doesn’t matter. Memory hole.

Time and time again, we’re fed these deceitful narratives to manufacture support for the agendas of the western war machine, and when the truth begins to surface that we were lied to once again, the news churn moves on and we’re distracted with something else as the old narrative is shuffled back beyond the reach of memory. Maybe a year or two later we wonder to ourselves “I wonder what ever happened with that major news story? I should google it,” but nothing comes up and most of us shrug and move on.

And now a very suspicious and possibly Christopher Steele-related silence has descended on the matter of the Skripals, to the point where Sergei himself can walk out of the hospital and barely cause a blip in the news, and nobody can talk to either of them but everyone pretends that’s perfectly normal. This case which points very clearly to a mountain of lies and cover-ups by the British government and its affiliates is now being shuffled out of the news cycle and replaced with vapid nonsense about Meghan’s dress and Trump’s latest obnoxious tweet.

But we won’t let them forget. We won’t let the world forget that these steadily increasing imperialist escalations against Russia and its allies were given a hefty bump by lies about what happened in Salisbury. There are plenty of people on alternative media like me who will keep pointing at that big dark hole of unanswered questions and yelling “Hey! What about all those lies you guys told us about the Skripals?”

This one isn’t going down the memory hole, guys. There are some turds that just won’t flush. This one’s staying around forever. We’ll keep reminding everyone. We won’t let anyone forget.

Reprinted with permission from Medium.com. Support the author's work on Patreon or Paypal.

Among the Persians

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I have just spent a week in Mashad and Tehran Iran, speaking at an international conference on the future of Jerusalem as well as other related issues while also meeting with a broad range of Iranians, including journalists, students and government officials. The conference was organized by a non-government organization called New Horizon. It was the sixth such conference, intended to bring together speakers from a number of countries to discuss issues involving Middle Eastern security and identity issues.

To be sure, Iran, threatened as it is from all sides, has certain aspects of a security state. And as what is essentially a partial democracy run along religious lines, it has very clear limits on what constitutes acceptable behavior. But I think the representatives of the thirty or so countries who attended the congress would agree that there was no attempt made to limit free speech or guide discussions. The only attempt to censor the conference and its content has been, I would note, the blocking of sponsor New Horizon’s website on Google and presumably elsewhere in the Zionist/US dominated social media and information-searching world. Indeed, the only coordinated activity that might have been noted at the conference itself was the loud hissing noise that accompanied any mention of the name John Bolton.

Indeed, there was clear criticism of the nature of the Iranian government openly expressed at the conference as well as very heated exchanges on a number of issues surrounding Jewish identity, Israel, the Palestinians, the status of Jerusalem and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Agreement (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. Privately, many Iranians we encountered were quite free in expressing their dislike of the religious leadership and their desire for dramatic change. It should be noted that such comments were not provoked by anything that any of us said. We were indeed being careful not to offend the host country or to get the organizers in trouble, perhaps more cautious than we had to be.

One might also mention that the timing of the conference and associated activities was particularly appropriate as it came on the heels of the President Donald Trump’s abandonment of the JCPOA and the slaughter of Palestinian protesters by the Israeli Army in Gaza. We watched in amazement on live television coverage as the snipers shot dead 58 unarmed Arabs and wounded two thousand more. A baby that was in an area far outside of the area where the shooting was taking place died after being suffocated by the clouds of teargas being used by the Israelis. It was ghastly and it was disgusting. Predictably the Israeli shills in both the US and from Israel itself made the victim the guilty party, arguing that the child should never have been so close to the “fighting” there in Gaza in the first place.

And for those who are concerned that the Israeli Army might even run out of bullets, rest assured that all appropriate steps are being taken. Knesset member Avi Dichterreassured the audience on live television the army “has enough bullets for everyone. If every man, woman and child in Gaza gathers at the gate, in other words, there is a bullet for every one of them. They can all be killed, no problem.”

I have been invited to Iran before, but as an ex-CIA it was complicated for me to get a visa to make the journey. In this case, however, the hard work and networking of the conference sponsors prevailed, making it possible for me and some friends formerly working for the Pentagon to speak and also participate in the numerous panels. We were an instant hit among the attendees and also for the Iranian public, being featured in the local and national media and interviewed over and over again.

To be sure, some will say that we were little more than useful idiots, invited to disparage the United States and provide aid and comfort to its enemies, but that would assume there was any effort to enforce uniformity in the speeches and comments, which, as I have already noted, was not the case. There was, indeed, a theme of the conference, which was essentially that the US recognition of Jerusalem was a new catastrophe delivered by Washington on the backs of the long suffering Palestinian people, virtually guaranteeing that a Palestinian state will never be allowed to develop. And US uncritical support of Israel and its fascistic leader Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, of course, the root cause of the problem, something that was discussed in some depth.

I will not make any attempt to describe the speeches and speakers at the conference as I am sure that such material will be surfacing independently through the alternative media over the next few days, but I would like to share some impressions as well as some particularly well-made points that emerged about the current and, unfortunately, burgeoning conflict in the Middle East.

Many at the conference came away convinced that the White House’s rejection of JCPOA was a watershed moment. The anger in Europe clearly being expressed in their national media last week reflects an understanding that the United States is no longer interested in cooperating with anyone to reduce the risk of war. If European nations act in support of their rhetoric there will be an increase in efforts to distance themselves from Washington. This will include mechanisms to work around American sanctions, to include buying Iranian oil with Euros instead of dollars and selling to Iran in ways that avoid US banks as conduits. The eventual result, which will undoubtedly be supported by China and Russia, would mean a flight from dollars as the world reserve currency. The reduced acceptability of the dollar in turn would mean that the Federal Reserve will be unable to continue to print fiat money to support US interventions, with severe repercussions for the American economy.

And the participants at the conference would likely agree that the United States government has no credibility, by which I mean NONE. It is not particularly a Trump issue but rather a Trump-Obama-Bush problem that has been festering ever since 9/11 if not before. We conference participants watched the slaying of the Palestinians and, by split screen, also witnessed how someone named Raj Shah at the White House told reporters at a press briefing that “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response” as “a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt.” Sure didn’t look like that, Raj.

And meanwhile over at the United Nations, the irrepressible so-called American Ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed a Russian proposal seeking an investigation into the carnage, explaining that that Hamas, aided of course by Iran, was to blame for the violence. “I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council: who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.” She then walked out when Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Permanent Representative to the United Nations began to speak.

Combining the words “Israel” and “restraint” in one sentence just might be a breakthrough moment for the hard charging Nikki, but one hopes for another breakthrough on her part in the ability to see dead Palestinian children as real human beings rather than just as targets for Israeli sharpshooters. Indeed, Haley might must consider that there are a lot of human beings floating around who are perfectly decent individuals finding themselves just a bit tired of being stamped on by the United States and its mad dog Israel.

The biggest lesson I learned in Iran was that in spite of all the years of abuse, Iranians still like and respect Americans. I heard over and over again expressions of that fact from ordinary people and sophisticates alike. They would love to have a good relationship and an American Embassy run by proper diplomats who are willing to talk and listen. The only problem is that the United States doesn’t do that anymore. For that reason, the Iranians expressing their liking for the US did have one problem. They can’t stand what the US government is doing all over the world. Well, neither can I and I told them so, as did the twenty or so other Americans present at the conference. I also told them that, unfortunately, the door to Washington is controlled by Israel, which has been doing an expert job at defaming Iran for the past thirty years. The door won’t open anytime soon.

And as sometimes what is expected does not take place, I have to report that I was not harassed by the US authorities when I returned home. Other American conference participants who had long involvement in the peace movement had told harrowing stories of being hounded by the federal government every time they left the country and returned. In my case, I had been headlined in the Iranian and Middle Eastern media during the whole time of the conference and surely was picked up through the intensive USGOV monitoring of all things going on in Iran. I had fully expected to be approached by two thugs with badges on arrival, but they didn’t show up. Maybe next time.

Reprinted with permission from Unz.com.

Joint Statement of the United States and China Regarding Trade Consultations

At the direction of President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping, on May 17 and 18, 2018, the United States and China engaged in constructive consultations regarding trade in Washington, D.C. The United States delegation included Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, and United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer. The Chinese delegation was led by State Council Vice Premier Liu He, Special Envoy of President Xi. There was a (...)