Saturday, December 16, 2017
The Americas

Photo From news.xinhuanet.com  The UK, France & Germany Want to Help? Really?

After World War 2 the US created a global financial infrastructure that was based on its currency, the US dollar and set up the major banks and markets of Wall Street and London to dominate international finance and the economies of nations.

At the time The US also created, along with its World War 2 allies the United Nations, whose purpose was to internationalize their Geo Political and economic agenda. Out of this came “The World Bank”. No that wasn’t a bank in which one could get a savings account or take out a home loan. The monies that went into the World Bank were confiscated from the citizens of member countries as taxes. Few of any of these citizens had any idea that their taxes were being paid to fund a “World Bank”. They didn’t even know what it was.

What it was and still is, was that after the 2nd world war most of the world, (much of it coming out of a devastating history of colonization) was under developed economically and most people were impoverished. The World Bank would “loan” money to such countries to develop. It claimed it would do this so that these countires might be able to better help themselves. Oh how kind you say?

Well sorry. The Americans, their mega banks and corporations really don’t do kind. The real nature of the World Bank was as a cats paw for Neo Colonialism. That would mean in the post war environment, re- colonizing the newly freed countries of the world as debt slaves to the mega banks and for exploitation of their resources by US- European mega corporations.

This was written in the usual tricky language as the World Bank’s goals. First of course was to reduce global poverty, (well who could oppose that?). But then it threw in its real business model. “all its decisions must be guided by a commitment to the promotion of foreign investment and international trade and to the facilitation of capital investment”.

Why foreign investment? Why can’t a nation develop internally as the US did in the 19th century? Hmmm. After World War 2 who had the money to make these “foreign investments”? And were these investments going to be made in the interests of the impoverished nation state, or the interests of rich foreign corporations?

As for the “facilitation of capital investments”, which banks were going to have the money to make capital investments, those of the poor countries begging for development loans, or the Mega Banks of Wall Street and London?

These are really tough questions that room fulls of Harvard trained economists, strained their politically limited capacities to think about. 65 years later they still haven’t come up with any answers.

While the world grumbled about the imperial nature of the World Bank and the IMF, (both controlled by guess what country?) for more than half a century after these institutions were created, no one could do anything about them. If you were a poor country and needed money, then you went down on your knees and only got it on the terms imposed by your past Imperial masters. If a government balked, well the US State Department working with the CIA and other shady institutions, had the capacity of funding, arming and training your internal enemies, (or importing mercenaries) to create a regime change favorable to itself.

This is the veritable machine in which Africa gets its resources stripped to the benefit of Transnational Mega Corporations and Banks.

Besides Washington using its global financial infrastructure to loot poor countries, Wall Street and London also use it to fix international prices for both commodities and capital. And because of its monopoly power over global finance and macro global economics, Washington would use all of this as weapons of war against countries whom they did not favor.

Washington’s favorite weapon was and is economic sanctions. If these sanctions only represented the policies of one nation, the United States this would not be so bad. But sanctions were used by the global institutions Washington created that functioned together as a virtual monopoly. The financial houses of Wall Street and London were used to speculate in ways so as to harm the economies of Washington’s enemies.

Finally last year the world found a hero. His name was the new president, (as of 2012) of China, Xi Jinping. Xi and the Chinese Communist Party reacted to Washington’s political and economic abuse of the global financial infrastructure that it created, by starting parallel institutions that hopefully would act honestly and not for economic and political imperial advantage.

Here is a graphic of the new global economic infrastructure that China is creating with the help of many other nations who have either been harmed by the American imperial system or simply want access to what will be the new competition. Pink rectangles represent the old US designed economic, political and military infrastructure. The Brown are the new Chinese led alternatives.

China

 

The new World Bank analogue is formally called the “Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank”, (AIIB). If you are a small poor country and this bank is successful, who are you going to to ask for credit, the World Bank which wants to control your political and economic institutions, hand you over to Empire’s corporations to loot your resources and enslave your people as permanent debtors to the banks of Wall Street or London, or the new AIIB which ostensibly just wants to help you develop with minimal strings attached and at a minimal profit, only so that it can protect itself from losses and continue to function?

Washington hates all of this. Soon the World Bank will either have no clients or the institution will actually have to transform itself into being honest.

But now the worst for Washington seems to have happened. The UK joined the AIIB, Washington’s arch rival. Washington appeared to be pissed off and called Prime Minister Cameron all sorts of pejoratives, like saying that he was making a “constant accommodation” to China. That is bureaucratic speak for “x&?%@*#” and other very bad words. London held its ground and now other lap dogs of Washington have joined in. France and Germany, (they go together) are going to join the AIIB as well.  And Australia and even South Korea are thinking about joining.

The supposed reason why the UK joined is that London has a lot of business on the line with Beijing and wants to encourage and grow that relationship.

But since Cameron is wholly owned by London’s banking and financial sector, he ostensibly wouldn’t have made that move if the banks hadn’t analyzed the situation and decided that the old World Bank was now effectively dead anyway. So since London financiers could no longer use it to suck the bones of the world’s poor people dry, they might as well cozy up to China as there are great profits to made in China trade as well.

But what will the role of these flunkies of Empire be in the AIIB? Will they act constructively to help poor countries break out of their cycle of poverty without trying to addict them to debts to the Wall Street- London banks? Can a tiger change its stripes?

Or perhaps all of Washington’s public theater is just that. And the Americans are more than happy to have London, Paris, Canberra, Seoul and others of its captive nations inside the AIIB, where they might function as a Trojan Horse to subvert and co- opt the new organization from the inside?

Xi is not stupid however, unlike the leaderships of most Western “leftest” parties like the Greens. He knows the ways of these Imperialists well. After all China was partitioned by them only about 125 years ago, and the Chinese have very long memories. So I expect that Beijing will structure the AIIB so that it will be very difficult for the Anglo 5 + EU Empire to play its usual games.

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Photo From news.newsdirectory1.com 

When governments of the right work, they grow their economies over and above the debts that are taken out for economic expansion. But the bane of the right is typically creating an equitable distribution of the wealth that results from the growth.

When governments of the left work they create better distribution of national wealth and the differences (Gini Coefficient) between the wealthiest and poorest citizens lessen. The bane of the left however is creating real economic growth over debt and inflation. When governments redistribute wealth in a country to the benefit of the poor, but fail to grow the economy then these monies are coming out of someones hide.

Usually when there is a popular consensus for wealth redistribution it is based on the idea that the rich will pay. In the real world however that rarely happens. The reason for this is the globalization of capital markets. That makes it easy for rich people to store their wealth offshore, where difficult to impossible for national governments to even track much less get their hands on.

So all too often the people who pay for national income redistribution, (when the left is unsuccessful at creating growth) is the middle class. That is because their incomes and assets are easy to see and tax by governments. Many if not most people in the global middle class work hard and hang on to their middle class status by the skin of their teeth, frequently living from pay check to pay check.

Although only a sociopath would begrudge helping poor people who try, and are only looking for a chance to make a better life, the middle class does not want to mass subsidize the poor, especially those happy to live  at their expense and who are really not looking to work.

Life is simply too hard as people have to constantly compete to stay in the middle class. That usually means that you have to pay for maintaining an image of success in the qualities of your home, your car, your clothes, your gadgets and the education of your kids. Even when your earnings look good, there is not usually much left over above your costs and frequently people who appear to be middle class are net- net debtors.

So when leftest governments over tax the middle class to help the poor, they lose them politically as they will side with the oligarchs against the government. This is what has happened in Venezuela where roughly a half a million people have expatriated, mostly the best and the brightest, the country’s professional class. When you destroy the professional class of a country you consign the nation to impoverishment no matter how well you distribute the country’s wealth.

Mature leftest governments like Cuba, (after having had their professional class hemorrhage to Miami ) compensated for this, by focusing on creating professionals. And because the entire process of education in Cuba is free, if one can prevent these professionals from emigrating, (where they can sell the skills they acquired at public expense for high prices) then they will work for wages that are pretty much the same as those of other citizens.

In Latin America however, there is the apolitical factor of corruption, which throughout its history has plagued both left wing and right wing governments pretty much equally. Corruption is endemic to Latin cultures.

All of these factors now seem to be coming together as a perfect storm, hitting Brazil’s newly reelected President Dilma Rousseff’s leftest government in Brazil. And Washington and Wall Street are at the sidelines drooling at what they smell will be their opportunities should regime change become a reality. At best for Washington the “B” would effectively be ripped out of the BRICS. For Wall Street perhaps there will be a long since dreamed of capture of Brazil’s central bank, for the lords of finance, those who own/ control Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan among others.

The situation in Brazil however will not be defined by Washington’s lust for conquest or Wall Streets lust to loot this huge and wealthy country, but by the internal problems and policies that we have just outlined. And certainly the key to it all are the stresses on Brazil’s middle class.

During the great commodity driven boom through 2007, the leftest government of President Lula provided that rarity of both growth and massive wealth redistribution. He and Dilma have cut poverty for 50 million Brazilians. Brazil’s Gini Coefficient, once one of the world’s worst was normalizing, at least by the standards of developing nations.

But President Lula administered his country during an economic mega boom, when even Wall Street had to admit that Brazil the long sleeping giant of the world had finally awoken. With the nation basking in new found wealth, people could afford to be generous. But now with an economy entering recession and with a 7.7% inflation rate everything has changed. Most people are being squeezed economically and many in the middle class do not want to continue to subsidize every poor person whether they care to work or not.

To compound the problem is the Petrobas, (the huge government owned energy conglomerate) scandal, which may be the biggest in Brazil’s long history of corruption. Now with more than one million people protesting all over the country Dilma is cracking down. She seems to have green lighted prosecutors to go after anyone and everyone who who was a part of the scandal even though most are going to be high ranking people in her own Worker’s Party, (PT).

Will it be too little, too late for Dilma? The PT at least since the Mensalão scandal in 2005 has been corruption ridden. But during the heady days of Lula, when people felt that they were better off than they were before his administration, they could look the other way. Thus little was done to stop systemic corruption in the PT.

But now with most Brazilians feeling the economic pinch in their wallets, and with the breadth and depth of the Petrobas scandal slowly being revealed, people are furious. It is indicative of the anger of the Brazilian people that a counter rally supporting Dilma was also held, but drew only around 1%, (12 thousand people) of the Anti Dilma protests. And many if not most of the anti Dilma protestors were calling for her impeachment or resignation.

As almost on one believes that Dilma herself is corrupt there will be no grounds for her impeachment. But while presiding over a period of collapsing commodity prices and an economy heading downwards Dilma failed to get the well known corruption in her party under control.  And that has set the stage for this mass outpouring of public anger.

While it is great that Dilma finally seems to be willing to clean house, the ongoing scandals are going to weaken her government, which only won elections in January by the narrowest of margins.

Dilma’s challenge is not only to clean up her own party, but to convince the Brazilian middle class that the PT includes their interests as well, and not just those of the poor.

Brazil is important enough globally that this is not just an internal matter. With Washington having declared Cold War 2 against China and Russia and fermenting counter revolution in Venezuela, Dilma and her party are crucially important in giving the solidarity of the Brazilian people to those who are opposing US imperialism world wide.

Even among her critics there are few who do not believe that Dilma is a very good woman. People both at home and around around the world are looking to her not only for her human decency and compassion but for her leadership as well. Now is the time that this will be counted.

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Photo From www.forbes.com

The misery index coined during the 1970s in the US is a simple addition of the percentage of the unemployed with consumer inflation. It is projected that Venezuela will be in a class by itself the winner, (index over 90) of this dubious distinction in 2015. Not only will it be the winner, but by a margin of nearly 3 times over its nearest competitor and also troubled Argentina,(index about 34).

The Venezuelan revolution has been successful in lowering poverty rates in the country from 50% down to about 30%.  But most of that was done by Hugo Chavez when oil prices were sky high. Today with oil prices near rock bottom, the only thing that is sky high is the country’s debts, which seem to be even more unpayable than those of Greece.

That means that Venezuela, with the world’s largest known oil reserves will probably go into default this year, or at the latest in 2016 unless their is a “V” shaped recovery in oil prices. And that does not seem likely.

While Nicolas Maduro won he presidential elections three year ago, (with the economy already fading) he only won it by the slimmest of margins 50,66% to his opponents 49.07%, not exactly an overwhelming public mandate.

What do the Venezuelan people think of Maduro today? From the outside it seems that the country is in the midst of a quiet civil war. So opinion polls might well  be skewered depending on the interests of those who take them. The Venezuelan polling company Datanalisis however, only placed Maduro’s popularity at 22% as of December of last year. While these poll results may have been purchased by the US Embassy, Datanalisis also had Maduro’s popularity at over 50% after the 2013 elections when the opposition and the US Embassy were screaming that those elections were rigged.

So the likelihood is that Maduro is not wildly popular in his country. This would be due to the misery index as well as very long lines to buy simple consumer goods and the unavailability of many of them.

Still if people feel threatened by outside forces, they will tend to rally around the flag, (and their leader) even if under better circumstances they would not support him or her.

So for Maduro this is a great time to make Venezuelans afraid of a Washington led coup and rally public support. It is also true however, that Washington does have a huge vested interest in destroying the popular Venezuelan revolution and grabbing the country’s oil for its Trans Nationals. And given the severe problems Caracas is facing and the supposed low popularity ratings of Maduro, what better time to act than now?

So the coup attempt that Maduro claims he has just thwarted is very likely to have been real. The reason for this is Washington’t lack of patience and penchant to use more force than is needed in any given situation. This could well cost them popular push- back.

Venezuela, which is rich in volcanic soil is the only Latin American nation that is a net food importer. Most outside economists will say that this is because Caracas has done a horrible job of giving incentives to Venezuelan farmers to produce. Maduro claims that the real reason for this has been sabotage by the wealthy oligarchs who own most of the big farms and want the revolutionary government to fail.

In any case when Chinese president Xi came last year, Maduro asked him for help as his country has to pay $28 billion to the international banks over the next two years. While Xi did agree to invest $20 Billion, (primarily in Venezuela’s energy infrastructure) he essentially gave the government a no confidence vote by refusing to offer debt assistance.

“Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a press conference that China would support ‘efforts by the Venezuelan side to adjust its economic structure and build a production-oriented economic model,”’. That is shorthand for saying that the Venezuelan revolution has been great at income distribution, but terrible at building anything more than debt for its people.

And the $20 billion that Beijing will dole out to Caracas will be given over a 10 year period, hardly enough to pull the country out of the fire. Wall Street is betting on a 90% chance that Venezuela will default. And that is not a rigged bet. People on the wrong side of that trade will lose money.

What can Maduro do to prevent what was once a truly popular Venezuelan revolution from failing, so that the Americans will not come in, take over the country’s assets and set up a government made up of their flunky’s? At this point not much. Venezuela is like a cat that has fallen off a high rise, trying to get its claws into a building surface of sheer glass. If the Americans were not successful with this latest coup attempt, trust me they will be back.

One option is given by a Marxist web site, and that is to go on the offensive and finish the revolution that Chavez only began. People everywhere however, have to be very much on guard against foreigners who hand them a radical prescription for their problems, where said foreigners have passports to comfortable foreign countries should things go wrong.

And that seems to be very much the case with Venezuelanalysis.com. Pretty much all of the people there call themselves “experts” on the region in general and Venezuela in particular, but it seems that almost all of them are citizens of Anglo 5 or EU countries.

What the writers want Maduro to do is devolve military power from top ranking officers down to the people, through “consolidating the militias in every neighborhood, workplace, union, school and university, as an independent armed force and not under the tutelage of the army”. Then they want the armies leadership to be elected by rank and file soldiers.

Then they want “Nationalization, without compensation, of all the properties of those who have been involved in acts of economic and/or political sabotage.” and to “Nationalize the main levers of the economy: the large landed estates, the national and transnational monopolies and all the private banks.” and they want “Workers control at all levels in the state-owned enterprises, institutions and other entities of the state to fight bureaucratism and corruption”.

These Marxists argue, that only by taking such extreme measures can one avoid a counterrevolution of the Oligarchs and bourgeois, aided by Washington and treasonous elements within the military. That is why Cuba’s revolution succeeded, while the one in Chile failed.

The authors blithely write however “With state property under the democratic control of the working class and the peasantry, a planned economy can be established which put an end to shortages of goods”

Sure, as if there were no shortage of goods in the old Soviet Union and satellites, or Cuba and as if Mao’s 5 year plan provided all the food that the Chinese people needed?

There is a long history of well fed arm chair Socialists and Communists from bourgeois back grounds in rich countries. giving bad advice to working people in poor countries because they live in a text book fantasy world.

The authors of this piece also miss the fact that Castro completed his revolution very soon after his troops entered La Havana, when he had maximum grass roots support. Maduro by any count, has no where near the level of support Fidel had. The more radical Maduro’s actions today, the more likelihood there will be of popular push-back.

And if Maduro puts the military of the country in the hands of untrained peasants, workers and students and weakens the armed forces by effectively letting privates tell their superiors how to defend their country, they will be very vulnerable to Colombia sending in well armed agitators as payback for Hugo Chavez having worked constructively at least at times with FARC, (the Colombian revolutionary group).

So for Maduro to go forward with such truly revolutionary plans at this late date, in what they call the “Bolivarian Revolution”, it would be very questionable as to whether he will be able to get the popular support he will need in confronting such powerful enemies. But if he sits and waits for his country to go into default on its debts, while the people get poorer and poorer, his chances and the chances of Venezuela’s people’s revolution to survive are likely to be even less.

Photo From www.occupy.com  

During the Spanish Civil War the Republicans, representing the elected government were for the most part workers, peasants and intellectuals. They were fighting against Franco’s regular army, which was designed to fight with artillery on open fields, in a way that was not all that much different from how the Napoleonic wars were fought.

The rag tag poorly armed Republicans were fighting a trained and well equipped army. And because they chose to fight them on the army’s terms they were pretty easily defeated.

What was strange, is that for all of the educated intellectuals among them, none of the Republicans, (at least with power) ever thought to fight a guerrilla war, for which they would have been far better suited. They kept fighting on Franco’s terms, effectively allowing him to write the rules of engagement, and of course they lost.

As was pointed out in Part 1 of this series; “Euro Debtors Vs Bankers Left- Right Divide“,  (relative to Greek or French debt) “No matter If one returns to living in Drachmas or French Francs, the country still owes so many hundreds of billions of Euros to the banksters. What then can be done about the debt?”

When the Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis went to meet with the other 18 finance minister of the Euro Group (the finance ministers of the Euro Zone or countries that use the Euro), he was surprised. That was because he was expecting to be meeting with 18 economists who would together be searching for a best practices solution to Greece’s debt problems.

What Varoufakis found instead was that all of the discussions were about legalities and regulations, very little was about economics. The reason for that is that none of the economists at the meeting were there to be critical, much less imaginative thinkers. They were in fact only there to fulfill the agendas of their governments, which want these economists to essentially act as bill collectors for the banks and Troika, (ECB, IMF, European Commission).  And when we talk about bill collection we are talking the language of laws and regulations, not finance or economics.

The key, just as with the Spanish Republicans and Franco was the underlying narrative. The narrative of the bankers, the politicians who serve them and the media that they control, is that they made a good faith agreement with the debtor, (in this case Greece) to give them money in exchange for a package of concessions including a time table for the return of the cash with interest and for the sale to the creditors of state owned institutions.

This narrative continues, that if the debtor, (Greece) after receiving the cash refuses to honor its contract, then it is acting unethically and its creditors have every right to seek restitution using the systems of international and national laws any way that they can. This narrative views a debtor refusing to honor its agreements, as being tantamount to a criminal act. If the debtor is a country then it should be punished.

In a conflict situation however, (as in the Spanish Civil War) sometimes you just have to change the narrative to one that is in your favor.

A far better and truer narrative is this, and it is one that is supported by the realities of markets. That is that any debt contract is strictly a civil affair, (with no moral imperatives implied) between a creditor and a lender. Creditors are not giving money away as an act of charity. It is a business for them. And if they run their business well, then it will be very profitable.

But capitalism including banking is spelled R*I*S*K. And risk is indeed quantifiable. In lending, risk is built into the interest rate that the borrower pays. If a bank is lending money to a high risk person, business or nation then they are being compensated for the risk that they are taking by the high interest rates embedded in the contracts they make. The interest rate is ALWAYS supposed to compensate a lender for the real possibility of a default.

When there is a failure because a debtor cannot pay or in fact will not pay, (which from a risk standpoint is the same thing) the fault lies with both the borrower AND the lender. That is because the lender has badly judged the will and capacity of the borrower to repay the loan. From the standpoint of real capitalism, this is every bit as much the fault of the lender as the borrower. If a lender were to make such bad loans too often, they would rightly find themselves out of business.

So when there is a contractual crisis between debtors and lenders, (as is happening now in Greece) the proper narrative, (at least for the debtors) is to reject any negotiations based on the barely enforceable laws and regulations that are part of the old agreements and/ or stem from the old narrative.

New negotiations would need to be with true economists, who working on a clean new page are seeking a best practice solution that will maximize the positions of both the people of a debtor country and the banks and Institutions whom the economists are de facto representing.

If a country like Greece is to stay in the Euro, then the finance ministers need to figure a path back to economic growth so that the people can afford to pay their debts. A good position for Yaroufakis would be that the Eurozone should simply give Greece the money it needs to get its economy functioning again, without adding any new debts. That is hardly revolutionary. if you are a good frequent customer of a bar or a restaurant, hotel chain or airlines they will typically give you their product for free as a reward for your faithful patronage. They do this not out of kindness, but because it is good business to do so.

The Euro banks and the Troika have made a lot of interest money on the Greek people, who have been very good customers for their credit businesses. If they want them to be able to avoid a hard default, (in which the country renounces, or stops paying all of its debts) then it is in their interest to help them to get the capacity to meet their obligations.

So a good start would be to repackage Greece’s $316 Billion in debts, into say a very long term, no interest bond with repayments beginning when the Greek economy recovers to say 3% per year growth rates. “80 percent of Greece’s sovereign debt now rests in the portfolio’s and budgets of the eurozone’s member states, the ECB’s and the IMF’s vaults as well as on the balance sheet of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).” 

So while the tax payers of these countries may complain loud and long about their hard earned money going to Greece, when they vote for politicians who put their countries into the banking business, then banking rules apply. When you make a bad investment, you sometimes have take a loss. And I imagine that the most important thing for all of Greece’s creditors, would be to get their capital back. Helping to create a strong and healthy Greek economy is the best way to do that.

Then if you are say a German voter, the take away is to NEVER vote for people who will put you into the international banking business. And do vote for people who will prevent “too big to fail” banks from taking big risks and expecting you to be the insurers of last resort. If tax payers do vote for such people, when the sh*t hits the fan, (as it invariably will) if they want to know whom to blame, they need not look any further than the nearest mirror.

While obviously none of the Eurocrats, politicians and bankers are going to like the “offer” proposed here, well that is what negotiations are for.

But if we start with the narrative that when there are failed debtor- creditor issues, both are at fault, then we have the opportunity to come to a best practices solution and compromise.

If on the other hand the debtor countries fight within what amounts to their creditors narrative, in which all that matters is the quickest and most efficient form of debt collection, then like the Spanish Republicans facing Franco’s army they will be lost.

Photo From www.lavoz.com.ar    Washington's Worries

The Corporate State Media is trying to politicize Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba.

But this is a deep state issue that has nothing to do with Obama and which Jeb Bush would have singed on to just as quickly.

The problem is that US, Cuba policy had essentially been abandoned since Cold War 1, and was as creaky as the old American cars on the streets of Havana.

Washington’s Deep State Cuba policy had devolved to politicians like Senators Robert Menendez and Ted Cruz blathering to crowds.

No one apparently had told Bloomberg that the first Cold war ended more than 20 years ago, as it writes; “Obama Pulls Cuba Out of Cold War”.

If Bloomberg hasn’t figured out that Cold War 1 is over, how can American media be expected to know that we are now in the midst of Cold War 2?

Well, thanks to a dumbed down media, Americans may not know that their president started a second Cold War against Russia and China, but pretty much everyone else in the rest of the world does.

And in Cold War 2, Washington’s long neglected Cuba policy is a big liability, (given its proximity to the US) one that could be almost as harmful, as Washington’s engineered Kiev coup has been harmful to Russia.

If Washington didn’t want anything to do with Cuba, the BRIC nations made it clear that they would love to have Cuba, as at least an associate member.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made that clear when she “financed the construction of the container terminal and the remodeling of the port of Mariel” 45 kilometers from Havana.

“Construction of the terminal, (is) in the heart of the 465 sq km special economic development zone……..included highways connecting the Mariel port with the rest of the country, a railway network, and communication infrastructure”.

The port will be able to handle large container ships.

Washington has little love for ex- Communist political prisoner Dilma Rousseff. The US did its level best to knock her off in the Brazilian elections last month. But the Brazilian people were too smart to fall for the fake leftest, who Washington propped up to be the Rousseff alternative.

Rousseff however is only seen as an annoyance in Washington. The real deal, one of Washington’s two primary targets for regime change in Cold War 2 is China.

And Prime Minister Xi has moved into the power vacuum that Washington left in Cuba with both hands.

The China Daily made it clear how important relations with Havana are, and how much President Xi wants to strengthen and expand them. And with an opening to China will come all things Chinese.

That will include another new port terminal, this time in Cuba’s second largest city Santiago, as well as new Chinese cars that are just entering the Cuban market, that will over time replace the ancient, (constantly in need of repair with jerry rigged locally made parts) American ones, as per the photo in this article.

But Washington’s greatest Cuba fear is not of Brazil, or even China, but of Russia.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia cut off aid to Havana. Because of that a period began during the decade of the ’90s where Cubans suffered terribly. Their average caloric intake fell sharply and hunger was widespread on the island.

While many Cubans feel that Russia betrayed them, others still look back with fondness to the relationships they had with Russians during the days of the Soviet Union.

But now because, (under Washington’s direction) NATO is making military maneuvers in Estonia just 140 kilometers, (87 miles) from St. Petersberg, while also looking to expand bases there, Putin is looking for counter- play if only to keep some sort of a military balance.

Russia has has already proposed to build a naval base in Nicaragua to a very receptive President Daniel Ortega.

And Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said his country is looking to build a military base in Cuba as well. Negotiations have been ongoing.

There is no way that Washington could sit on the side lines, as Cuba becomes a new ally of Moscow and Beijing, (potentially making it the greatest real security threat to the US) just because political Neanderthals like Melendez and Cruz want to play to the unwashed for campaign money and votes.

So the game is on, and if you are Raul Castro this has to be a great moment. From being the wallflower at the global fiesta after the fall of the Soviet Union, today his dance card is all filled up. Even the stinky gringos want a turn.

With opportunities of course comes risk. And while Cuba desperately needs investment and development money, it obviously does not want all of the nasty side effects that can come with it, especially when that money comes from Washington and New York.

There are many in the US who would dearly love to incorporate the island as a 51st state, for both financial and military- security purposes.

Going forward, how wisely or foolishly the Cubans will handle these opportunities, along with their dangers remains to be seen. All we outsiders can do is wish them well.

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Photo from www.newrepublic.com   Lines for basic goods

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has kicked most of Empire’s propaganda media out of the country, as they were, as usual using their credentials as “journalists” more to destabilize the country than to report events.

But since Venezuela has not been covered well by anyone else, it has left a black hole of information as to what is truly happening in the country.

We know however that Maduro does not have the popular support that Hugo Chavez enjoyed.

While he won last April’s election, it was close and hotly contested by the opposition, which with the financial support of the US Embassy tried to start a “Color Revolution” to create regime change, as it had successfully done in the Ukraine.

The centerpiece of the accomplishments of the Chavez and later Maduro administrations has been a massive reduction in poverty from 50% of society down to 30%.

This mostly came about through making private institutions public and through income transfers.

Public spending in Venezuela as a percentage of GDP is at more than 51% (2012 figures) the highest in Latin America.

More importantly however, the policies of Chavez and Maduro created huge social divisions in the country, as the wealth that went to the poor, seemed to have come directly out of the pockets of its small middle class, many of whom fled the country.

Oil has always been a two edged sword for a country.

There is and always has been a tendency for oil rich countries to sit on their oil wealth and not develop any other sectors of their economy.

When oil is high, it is party time, or in more socially concerned countries like Venezuela there is money to help the poor with.

But when the oil price tanks then……. there is trouble.

And that is what is happening now. While Russia too, for example is highly energy dependent, that sector only represents 58% of its exports. 

For Venezuela that number is 96%.

So while the collapse of oil prices has harmed Russia and will likely drive it into recession next year, it is not unlikely that the EU with whom it does most of its business and whose economy is also reeling, will meet with the same fate.

In any case Venezuela’s complete dependency on its oil sector, its alienated and angry middle class, (a nation divided) had created serious problems before the meltdown in the oil price last month.

While the Central Bank has stopped publishing statistics, the inflation rate is considered right now to be around 60% and there are various estimates that the economy has already been contracting by anywhere for 1%- 5%.

Venezuela’s foreign currency reserves are at 10 year lows and it owes $28 Billion over then next two years.

Relatively apolitical Harvard economists Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have said the obvious, that because Chavez and Maduro have only concentrated on redistribution of national income and have failed to invest outside of the oil sector, per capital GDP is 2% below what it was 44 years ago in 1970.

Venezuela today with its low population density and high quality volcanic soil is the only Latin American country that is a net- net food importer.

High oil prices during the decade of the 2000s had covered these sins.

Now with Venezuela’s economy already melting down before the last huge collapse in oil prices, the future for the country looks bleak.

Meanwhile both Wall Street and the US State Department wait at the wings like hungry wolves, expecting that the next Color Revolution that they will orchestrate in Caracas, will meet with more success than the one last spring.

Everything depends of course on how much public support Maduro will be able to maintain throughout the crisis. And much of that will depend on how deep the crisis will be and how long it will last.

Many believe that the US and the Gulf States have been driving oil prices down intentionally to put Cold War pressure on Russia.

In reality it is hard to drive a global market like oil wherever you want it to go. What you can do however, is take a market that is already either rising or falling and pile on to it, and by doing so exaggerate its upside or downside price.

From a fundamental standpoint oil prices are falling in line with commodity prices in general and that is happening because the global economy is tanking. But it does seem as if Washington and the Gulf States are driving the price down further than it would otherwise be.

And that is bad news for oil producers everywhere, but it is extremely bad news for those like Venezuela who are almost completely dependent on oil.

If Washington is expecting the Russian people to rise up against Putin they will need a long hard rethink. 80% of the Russian people already know that because their country is heavily dependent on the oil price, their economic situation is worsening.

They are ready for what comes. But the Russian people also knew, (after Washington couped Kiev) that they are undergoing a typical attack from the West, that for them is a sad replay of the lead up to the past invasions of Napoleon and Hitler.

Russians will continue to rally around their leader who has an 88% approval rating. There will be no color revolutions here.

Part of that reason is because since Putin has taken control of Russia in 2,000, (unlike Venezuela) there has been across the board growth in the country.

Although oligarchs own a huge part of Russia, what the American press doesn’t say is that oligarchs in the US own about the same amount of their country.

More importantly however, since Putin took over Russia, poverty has gone down AND a huge middle class has been created. So there is much, much less class strife in Russia than there has been in Venezuela.

While information has been hard to attain in Venezuela since the State Department’s attempt at a Color Revolution last spring,  a polling company Datanalisis, (who knows who it works for?) has said that in their September poll Maduro’s popularity fell to 30%.

To the degree that this is true, the situation in Venezuela is likely to get much, much worse.

While some people in Venezuela see their Gringo neighbor to the North as an existential threat, they are nowhere near as great a percentage of their society as those in Russia who feel that way.

That means that far fewer Venezuelans are likely to rally round Maduro in times of hardship, than Russians who will rally round Putin.

So it would seem that unless oil prices improve dramatically and that seems to be unlikely, Venezuela now is a pressure cooker ready to blow.

The Americans are not so patiently waiting and licking their lips.

Photo From www.shtfplan.com

Conspiracy is a problematic term. It conjures up in the minds of most folks, a few people in a dark back room plotting the assassination of Caesar.

Those who do not believe in “conspiracy theories”, or believe that conspiracies are a pretty rare event, hold to this narrow definition.

The deeper problem is that public events and mass psychological patterns happen that reflect the same results, (well maybe not killing Caesar, but other similar results) as the narrow definition of a conspiracy will do.

But there is no word for how or why these things happen, at least in the English language. And it is well known that our thought processes are very much limited and shaped by our language.

If we have a budding thought and there is no word or words for it, it becomes hard for us to even focus that thought, much less express it.

The Nobel Prize winning novelist Doris Lessing when ruminating on the fashions and fads of literary criticism, called them “unconscious conspiracies”.

So in the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Emperors New Clothes”, where the entire town thought, (or acted as if they thought) that their nude Emperor was actually wearing the most beautiful clothing in the world, was that a “conspiracy” or the results of a conspiracy?

Or was it manufactured mass agreement? Is there a difference?

Since some group of people came up with the idea of strutting around the Emperor with nothing on and then calling it clothing too beautiful to be seen or understood, were they conspirators?

How about the critical reaction to Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Can” painting?

Those who have no words for this type of mass behavior call it “conspiracies” assuming that there were people behind the scenes who orchestrated it.

The people who orchestrate mass collective behavior however, may not have been in the same room or agreed at the same time with the original people whose idea it was. Sometimes others don’t come on board until much later and then for their own reasons.

Is this then still a conspiracy? And if not, what exactly is it?

In the US there are highly controversial events that are frequently called “conspiracies” like the JFK assassination and 9/11.

And then we have Black Friday. At least this is not controversial. And that allows even the Wall Street Journal to tell it like it is.

Black Friday “sales” are essentially a gimmick by retailers trying to create panic buying, or a frenzied and hysterical mass psychology intended to create the best sales day of the year for them, as is very clearly delineated in the Journal article, (above link).

Oh if the Journal would be so clear and honest about the Ukraine.

In any case every element of Black Friday is planned long in advance by retailers and their profit margin for the day is a pretty standard 27.8%.

No, retailers don’t really lose money on anything. That is a fiction sold to consumers who run like the bulls at Pamplona because they have been sold the illusion that on this day and this day only, retailers are ready to lose money in favor of their customers; the Emperors New, (but in reality very old) Clothes.

Here is how the Black Friday “conspiracy” or manufactured mass psychology works.

The retailers put out a few “door busters”. With these few items they really do lose money, at least on its face. But underlying this is that there are very few of these items, so retailers loses are limited and well known in advance.

You will always note a “door buster” because under the ad for it, it will state that there is limited availability and that there will be no “rain checks”.

A “rain check” is American speak for a slip of paper saying that you the customer can come in at a later date and pick up the same item at the same price.

So the losses retailers take on “Door Busters” is known in advanced and factored in on the days profitability.

“Door Busters” however are not really a loss from a retailer’s standpoint. They are in fact a part of their advertising budget. Door Busters are intended to bring people through the door and initiate a stampede of panic buying.

Those people who sleep out the night before to get these “Door Busters”, are in fact working for their money, when you consider how much they will save versus the hours they put in and inconveniences they put up with, to get these savings.

And people who camp out, act as the best possible advertising for the retailers, as to just how great their “sales” really are.

Those who camp out are the initiators of the buying frenzy the retailers are trying to create, the sparks who start the fire.

For the vast majority of people who come to a Black Friday sale the Door Busters are all gone and they are left lost in retail land, just where the retailers want them to be.

What they will find are “deeply” discounted items that are still very profitable for the retailers, many if not most of which have been sold at the same price earlier in the year. 

And then for those who really want cheap, (retailers know that Black Friday shoppers are especially price sensitive) they will carry “off brands”, (typically unknowns) of lesser quality, or special stripped down versions of known brands, (neither of which they normally stock). They do this because they can put an extremely cheap price on these items, while still making their normal profit margins.

My wife likes to think of all of this as “mass manipulation” and not as a “conspiracy”.

But that begs the question, who indeed has created this mass manipulation? How did it happen? What was its genesis?

While CNN Money and The Wall Street Journal will “tell all” when it comes to retailing, no one anywhere “tells all” in matters that are deemed to be of “national security”.

But if retailers can manufacture what amounts to mass hysteria, why can’t much more powerful interests like The Military Industrial Complex and the Mega Banks, (Wall Street), as well as the government itself?

Mass hysteria is created in the wars against “terrorism”, “drugs”, or “money laundering”, or for the public to give free insurance cover to badly run or risky businesses like American automobile manufacture or the highly leveraged casino of Wall Street, (done in the name of banking) or live in the manufactured fear that the world will somehow fall apart.

Retailing elites create an illusion that people will become frantic about, so they can get the things they want and save a lot of money on Black Friday. When in reality all these people will be doing is creating a great sales day for these same Elites, who will keep their normal profit margins intact.

National elites create an illusion for people to become frantic about on Election Day, that they will control the direction of their own country. When in reality they are merely voting to affirm a system created by these same elites that will not beyond the superficial change a thing.

Is there a difference between mass hypnosis and mass hysteria? Do these things just happen spontaneously or are they manufactured? And if so by whom?

If such behavior is not the result of conspiracies, is there a term in your language that would describe it?

Please do send Red Pill Views your ideas on conspiracies and mass manipulations. What would you call them?

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Photo From kurtzjack.photoshelter.com

Mexico is an old oligarchy where a very few families have always controlled much of the country.

The level of ownership of a country that Mexican oligarchs have long since enjoyed, is just recently coming to first world countries of the West, mostly notably its Northern neighbor the United States.

But while other Latin countries, (like Venezuela and Brazil) with similar historical problems, have made inroads to vastly decrease poverty and inequality, Mexico has done essentially nothing.

And this with a growing economy. Mexico has long been a major petroleum exporter. Today it is the second biggest exporter of automobiles to the US after Japan. And based on historical data it looks to overtake Japan in the near future.

Mexico is also the biggest exporter of flat screen TVs in the world. The country has indeed increased its exports by more than 7% per year for the past 13 years.

While profits are through the moon for the many Mexicans whose net worths can be counted in the hundreds of millions of dollars, working class Mexicans are kept in deep poverty.

The story in the link above is about a 37 year old woman who is a machine operator in an auto suspension plant. She makes $295 per month. That is not enough to afford to buy a telephone or twin beds for her two children. And forget a computer.

Poverty in Mexico is defined as making less than $180 per month. And Mexico is not all that cheap of a country to live in, well at least not Mexico City, Acapulco or any of the other cities where people can find work and escape the even worse poverty of the countryside.

To understand the meaning of this, one needs to know that on the cheap end a one bedroom apartment outside the city center of Mexico City rents for an average of $255 per month, more than people earn who are not even considered poor, (more than $180 per month) by the Mexican government.

And in 2012 there were more than 53 MILLION Mexicans who earn below $180 per month, or 45% of the population. And 20 Million children live in poverty as Mexico defines it. 

Can you imagine that these poor people are not considered to be really poor? The 11 million Mexicans considered really poor live on less than $83 per month.

In Venezuela on the other hand the much maligned Hugo Chavez in his 14 years in office, (2011 statistics) cut poverty from 23.4% of the population of his country to 8.5%.

And to those people who might claim Chavez was redefining poverty in his favor, he also brought per capita income from just over $4,000 per year to almost $11,000, infant mortality was cut from 20 per thousand births to 13 and unemployment dropped from more than 14% of the labor force down to 7.6%.

For Chavez’s many detractors who said he did it during a period of high oil prices, (which is a big export item for Venezuela) oil is also a big export item for Mexico and it has done essentially nothing for its working people and poor.

In Brazil it is a similar story to that of Venezuela. President Luiz Inácio Lula and President Dilma Rousseff have cut poverty from 25% of the people in the country or 50 MILLION people,

And with these 50 million poor Brazilians we are talking about, the Brazilian government defines them as coming from a household with an income of $828 per month, or more than double what a Mexican family with two working people making $180 each per month would receive.

So Mexico’s poor as defined by its government, are much, much poorer than those of Brazil, even before the help that poor Brazilians get from their government.

And the 10% poorest Brazilians have seen their incomes go up, (in after inflation terms) by an average of 7% per year. While most Brazilians have only seen their incomes go up by 2 1/2 %.

Why then are other Latin American countries with historic problems of Oligarchical rule and terrible poverty making strides to alleviate the misery of the poor while in Mexico nothing has happened?

The long and short answer is Mexico’s proximity to the United States.

Because Americans love to take drugs but simultaneously want to make laws against them, they effectively outsource the cultivation and international distribution of these drugs.

And as with automobiles and flat screen TVs, Americans outsource much of their drugs imports to a producer- distributor nearby, namely Mexico.

While how much Mexico makes in drug exports is obviously not known, the Rand Corporation in 2012 estimated it as being between $18 – $39 Billion dollars.  When compared to $30 Billion in oil exports we can see that there is more money in Mexico than is accounted for by its government.

And while narco trafficking money is notoriously badly distributed, it does trickle down, especially to the poor who are desperate enough to risk long jail sentences or even death to participate in its earnings.

So there is frequently a shadow income to poor Mexican families that goes uncounted for.

Thank you Uncle Sam, do snort another line.

But when even narco money is not enough and desperation is too great, Mexican elites, (unlike those in Venezuela or Brazil) can just tell their impoverished masses go north young man and woman go north.

No one wants you here.

No one wants them because if there was no “north” to go to, these impoverished masses would be the ones to demand change as they did and do in other Latin Countries.

Once they dump these people off to the United States, life for Mexico’s oligarchs, raking in the dough from all of their sales to the United States and paying their workers chump change, is sweet indeed.

It is important then for kind hearted Americans, who wish to take these people in and give them a chance in the American labor market, to understand that they are also helping mightily to keep the status quo of inequality and oppression alive in Mexico.

And not only Mexico’s oligarchs, Americans are also helping the three worst offenders of Oligarchical rule in Central American as well; in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

That is why after Obama issued his reprieve for 5 million illegal Latin Americans in the US, he was thanked publicly by the political representatives of the oligarchs in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

These are the oligarchs who are the worst offenders of their own people in the region, and I am certain they were very grateful to Obama and the Americans for taking these problem people off of their hands.

Otherwise they might actually have to change.

Photo From wordpress.tokyotimes.org   The Basis of Our Future Society?

We humans have long made it clear that we are not at all happy with the natural world we were given and that we feel through our own ingenuity that we can improve on it. The coming of android technology again raises the question of how far we intend to go with this.

In foods, medicines and the breeding of animals we have long since gone into areas where nature never intended us to go.

When we create genetically modified organisms for food, even if they show that they have great nutritional value and even if it could be proven with our best testing capabilities that these foods are not harmful, in ten, twenty, one hundred years from now will our progeny discover that their genetic pool has been fatally contaminated because we didn’t have sufficiently high grade testing equipment in our time to know?

But no matter how many natural things we can make laboratory replacements for, (ostensibly safe ones), can we replace each other?

Is the ultimately flawed work of nature US?

This is the question that the creation of androids seeks to answer. The known greatest demand for androids is sexual and coming from males, although it is highly likely that if this market is satisfied by these lab creations, females will be likely to rush in as well.

Westerners are known for their love of what is to them sinful, which they are filled with guilt about and then make illegal. That in turn only increases the price of their sins and its excitement. Their war on the drugs they so crave is a perfect example.

Western technology has not been geared towards creating androids. That is partly true because everyone and his mother knows that the biggest demand for the functions of androids will be for males who want a maximized sexual experience. And most don’t care how they get it, as long as it is legal and it won’t kill them.

From a commercial standpoint however the potential of androids is that they will replace many in the service industry. And right now societies are having a hard enough time with the fact that robotized work forces with embedded 3D printing are replacing humans in industrial production. Those humans have been moved into service industries for quite some time. If androids take their jobs from them, well what work will humans do?

Plato answered that two thousand five hundred years ago. It is called Philo Sophia. But that is another story and humans do not seem to be evolved enough to find fulfillment in such pursuits.

Still the potential of developed androids is massive. They for example could be a great help in giving companionship to the very old, or very disabled as in the blind or deaf or quadriplegics, or the mentally ill. In other words people who need a great amount of what today is human attention and care.

But lets go back to what would be the killer application of androids, which is relationships.

How many people do you really like around here anyway? And of those, how much do you really like them?

Even of those whom you like, if you could wave a magic wand and improve on them, (as you determine improvement should be) would you?

Westerners are very afraid of these questions but the Japanese are not. That is because more than any other society in the world, the Japanese see each other less personally and more based on a social contract in which we as individuals fulfill functions for each other. So the question for the Japanese is, can androids fulfill functions needed by humans better than other humans can? And if the answer is yes, it is build, build build.

Androids however are not quite ready for prime time. While artificial intelligence is at a very high level and can realistically mimic human thoughts and reactions, that is at least for now only available in processors that need too much energy and produce too much heat to be able to be placed in a battery powered android. And if such a processor could be used, it would need to be recharged every few minutes.

I am certain that there are also mechanical problems involved, so that the android can show the subtle changes of facial expressions and body movements that humans are likely to make in any particular situation.

But android technology is still moving ahead at breakneck speeds. And as Michael Snyder has headlined on his blog ” The Future Of Relationships? Soon Millions Of Men Will Be Having Sex With Life-Like Female Robots“.

Here you can meet Asuna today’s state of the art android. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZJ6ml2yGHA

Given the amount of bandwidth of the internet devoted to pornography, I can well imagine that the first released popularly prices sex android will have lines at retailers that will make Apple products look like no one came.

While a fully functioning android mate is thought to be about 40 years into the future, in reality it could be developed much more quickly. That is because the Japanese companies working on it are very small and have very little capital.

If for example the Americans at the National laboratories wanted to create full functioning androids to meet pretty much any market need they could probably produce a prototype within ten years at the most.

But of course the Americans are much more interested in using their assets to develop science fiction levels of weapons of mass destruction and to create smart nuclear weapons and missile systems. 

As societies become wealthy, we find that people do not like to live together. For some time now in Northern Europe and in North America more than 25% of households had just one person in them. And this number is rising every year.

The demands of our female ancestors for a husband might well have been that he could support his family and that he refrained from physical violence. For men it might have been that she cooked, gave him sex when he wanted it and didn’t nag. Simple people. Simple times.

Now peoples’ demand lists are considerably longer. And if at any time those demands are not met, that is frequently considered grounds for divorce. If we continue to place demands on each other that are historically unrealistic, (based on real not fictionalized human behavior) and not on how “experts” say is how we should behave, the number of people living alone will continue to explode and android companions and partners will be in great demand.

Intolerance of each other is a function of our individual and collective egotism. If it continues unabated then we may well find that androids, designed especially for our programmed individual needs may become the social basis for the future. What of course we will lose is our humanity. But that will be because we do not like, or value it all that much.

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Photo From abcnews.go.com Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper calls Parliament shooting a "Terrorist Act"

While by most people’s measures Canada is the success story of the Western Hemisphere, its people are deeply divided both as to whether this is true and as to their role relative to their big neighbor to the South.

While many Canadians happily differentiate themselves from Americans as the peace loving humanistic alternative, others envy the US and want Canada to emulate it.

While Canadians are number 8 in the world in human development according to the United Nations, their southern competitors are number 5. That is mostly because Americans, (at $52,000 per year) have per capita incomes about 25% greater than Canadians ($41,000 per year) according to the UN’s 2014 report.

Canadians also have higher taxation and use their money for national health care. On the positive side that translates into giving Canadians a 2 1/2 year greater life expectancy than their Southern neighbors.

Canadians also use their money to make higher education more affordable than the Americans do. 

The middle class everywhere is based on access to health care and, (in the so called developed countries) higher education. Because the Canadians have such access and Americans more and more don’t, the middle class in Canada is generally in much better shape and there is a greater opportunity for poor Canadians both to have a better life and to have access to getting into the Middle Class.

That is reflected in the UN’s new index of Inequality Adjusted Human Development. In that the Canadians, placing 9th in the world are far ahead of their southern neighbors who at 28th are actually behind Greece. To those who find that surprising, you can learn here about the Permanent Underclass in America.

Here is the latest report from Social Security in the US that shows that 50% of Americans earn only about $28,000 per year, or in inflation adjusted terms what the US minimum wage was in 1968. There are also 92 million people out of the labor force in the US.

The results of this is that in a recent first of its kind study of a peoples sense of well being country to country, Canadians placed 10th in the world on three lists of five, created to ask people about their well being. The Americans did not crack even one.

Here are what the three lists were about.

1) Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals

2) Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life

3) Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security

4) Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community

5) Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

Still when a country does well for the majority of its citizens, it sometimes does so at the expense of taxation and opportunities for its best and brightest. And there is no getting around it, Canadians collectively get 25% less income than Americans do and pay more taxes on the less they do get.

And many Canadians don’t like that at all. They feel that if they lived in the US they would make more money and pay less taxes. They feel Canadian life represses them and they want their country to be more like their Southern neighbor.

And those people vote for Stephen Harper who has been Canada’s Prime Minister for the past 8 years.

While how Canadians earn their keep and how well they distribute what they have is very much their concern, Harper has gone way beyond these internal issues to wanting to emulate the Americans in his foreign policy.

Before Harper Canadians always had a foreign policy of peace and keeping to themselves. During the Vietnam war years Americans used to travel around the world with a Canadian flag on their luggage, because people pretty much everywhere viewed Canadians to look like Americans, but understood that they were different. And Canadians wisely staid out of Bush’s war in Iraq.

Harper has changed all that. From day one in office he joined the trouble makers of the US, Turkey, the Gulf States, Israel, Britain and France in funding the Jihadhis in Syria. While comparatively, Canada didn’t put much into the till, it still meant that the country had crossed an invisible line that made it a combatant in the Levant.

This month Canadian lawmakers voted to join the U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq. and in doing that Canada doubled down on their role as combatants in the Middle East. To many Sunni Muslims filled with rage for more than 100 years of colonial and post colonial repression Canadians are now the “terrorists”, very much a part of the problem. And better yet in terms of revenge they are relatively soft targets.

So as with Americans when Canadians are attacked, before they utter the words “terrorist” it would be best to look in the mirror and evaluate what you did to bring the violent disruptive events to your doorstep.

Don’t blame it on “extreme Islam”. Before the Canadian people voted for Harper and he got them knee deep in the problems of other people, “extreme Islam” was not a Canadian problem. Now it is.

Fortunately for Canadians they will have a general elections on Oct. 19, 2015. That gives them the time to consider seriously whether they really want to be like their Southern neighbors and involve themselves gratuitously in other people’s wars. And then when they get hit yell loudly about how other people are “terrorists”, while they are of course peaceful.

And worse still involvement in war always leads to a loss of liberty, which will give those in Canada who also want a surveillance and police state, (like the Americans) their opportunity to build one, in the name of fighting “terrorism” of course.

Wouldn’t it be nicer just to live in peace and prosperity?

Authors

Arman Matthews
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Robert
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