Category Archives: Economic Collapse

US Senate Quietly Approves $38 Billion for Israel Amid Historic Economic Downturn

US Senate Quietly Approves $38 Billion for Israel Amid Historic Economic Downturn

mintpressnews.com

S.3176 was passed without being named, debated, or even discussed, even though it would set into law the largest such aid package in US history.

America is Drowning in Problems: Washington is Picking Another Fight With China

The blame China game is really an effort to cover-up the failure of Western governments to deal with a crisis.

The United States and its vassals knew about the virus outbreak in China two months prior to its outbreak in the West and did nothing. Through either inaction or intent, the US, Canada, and Europe imported the virus.

Throughout America, state, local, and federal government  epitomize  failure. Trillions of dollars have been poured into weapons systems that cannot be used without destroying the United States along with the rest of the world, while dams fail, bridges collapse, communities deteriorate, and homelessness grows. The government in Washington spends time, effort, and money manufacturing enemies to justify the budget of the military/security complex, while  jobs and the US economy are offshored, the environment is degraded, and health care needs go unaddressed.   The US rivals third world countries in terms of the percentage of its population that has no savings, no access to health care, and no prospects for advancement in life. 

Source

Washington is picking yet another fight with China. On top of the trade war we now have the coronavirus war.  China is accused of being responsible for the virus by withholding information about it.  Some in Washington want to make China pay for the cost of the virus by reneging on US debt held by China in the form of US Treasuries.

What information about coronavirus is China supposed to have withheld? 

That China was doing coronavirus research?  How could this information have been withheld when the US State Department knew about it, the N.I.H. was funding it, and US scientists were complaining about the danger?

That coronavirus was ravaging Wuhan?  How was this information withheld when it was in the media every day?

The United States and its vassals knew about the virus outbreak in China two months prior to its outbreak in the West and did nothing. Through either inaction or intent, the US, Canada, and Europe imported the virus. 

The governments refused to stop flights in and out of China and to prevent cruise ships from welcoming passengers from infected areas. Governments did not want to interfere with profits, which came before public health.  Absolutely nothing was done.  No efforts were made to stockpile protective masks and gear, or to protect nursing homes, or to segregate hospital facilities, or to think outside the box about treatments.  The Swedish government was so unprepared that it did not even try to do anything and just let the virus run its course with devastating effects on the elderly.  [Note: There is much disinformation about Sweden from those who believe the virus is a plot to impose police state controls, such as claims that Sweden has kept the economy open without paying for it in a higher death rate and is gaining “herd immunity” against Covid-19.  These claims are contradicted by news reports.  For example: see this and this.]

In an attempt, more or less successful, to reduce the infection rate so that health facilities were not over-burdened, every other country imposed social distancing rules, bans against crowd events, and workplace closures.  As little was known about the disease and the Chinese mortality rate was believed to be vastly understated, there was no responsible alternative to the so-called “lockdowns.”  It remains to be seen whether the concern for profits has produced a premature reopening that will result in a second wave of rapid infection rates. Many suspect that Big Pharma and Bill Gates want to keep the infection spreading in order to panic us into being vaccinated with an inadequately tested vaccine.

The blame China game is really an effort to cover-up the failure of Western governments to deal with a crisis.

The failure of governments to deal with crisis is ubiquitous.  Just think Katrina, the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  If you don’t remember or are too young to have experienced the 2005 hurricane via TV, read Douglas Brinkley’s The Great Deluge (see this).

Everyone knew that the levies protecting New Orleans and surrounding areas were unable to withstand a storm of Katrina’s intensity.  The city was a bowl waiting to fill up with the water that wiped out 80% of New Orleans and 150 miles of Gulf Coast communities.   Evacuation orders came too late.  There were no steps taken to evacuate those without cars and resources. The sick and elderly were left in place.  The few steps that were taken to assemble buses, boats, and first responders located the scanty resources in areas that flooded.  The New Orleans Police Department went AWOL. Some joined in the looting. FEMA was a total failure.  President George W. Bush and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff were not focused on the unfolding tragedy but on their creation of a terrortist hoax that was used to justify 20 years of US bombing and invasions of Middle Eastern and North African countries. As Bush had deployed Louisiana’s National Guard to Iraq, the Louisiana governor had to borrow guardsmen from other states.

The US Coast Guard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries personnel, and private individuals formed the force of first responders. People from Louisiana and from other states showed up on their own time, their own money, and with their own boats and began organizing rescues.  There were many heroic and generous people involved in the rescue. As most of the rescuers were white southerners and most of the rescued were black, it put the lie to the propagandistic picture of the white southern racist. For example, Sara Roberts and her husband Buisson, a descendant of Confederate General P.G.T.Beauregard, organized the Cajun Navy.  Sara enlisted clients of her accounting firm who came up with 35 boats and crews to man them.  One of her clients, Ronny Lovett, paid his construction crews triple wages for their rescue time and spent $200,000 of his money equipping the boats with food, water, medical supplies, chain saws, life jackets, spotlights, ropes and whatever else could contribute to successful rescues. It was individual citizens, not the governments in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Washington that rescued many thousands of people who otherwise would have perished. 

From its founding day, New Orleans was a man-made disaster waiting to happen.  Dredging, canals, watercourse alterations, pipelines and a variety of other environmental damaging mistakes had over the years destroyed the wetlands that protected the city and Gulf Coast. In order to serve private profit, failure was built into the system. The Great Deluge is an external cost of a political and economic system that puts private profits first.

We are undergoing it again at this moment as areas of Michigan are inundated from floods caused by dam failures. One of the dams, the Edenville Dam was a long known public safety hazard . Boyce Hydro, the owner of the dam, repeatedly failed despite the intervention of regulators to address the known risk.  Not only was Boyce Hydro negligent, but also were the government authorities that permitted the known risk to persist unaddressed.  The lost of life and property from the flooding is an external cost imposed on third parties by Boyce Hydro whose agenda was limited to its profits.

It is as difficult to understand the liberal and progressive belief in government as it is to understand the libertarian belief in the efficacy of the invisible hand that allegedly causes private greed to serve the public’s interest.  Humans are a built-in failure machine.  Their time perspective is short term.  They are always surprised by the unintended consequences of their own thoughtless actions and inactions.

Throughout America, state, local, and federal government  epitomize  failure. Trillions of dollars have been poured into weapons systems that cannot be used without destroying the United States along with the rest of the world, while dams fail, bridges collapse, communities deteriorate, and homelessness grows. The government in Washington spends time, effort, and money manufacturing enemies to justify the budget of the military/security complex, while  jobs and the US economy are offshored, the environment is degraded, and health care needs go unaddressed.   The US rivals third world countries in terms of the percentage of its population that has no savings, no access to health care, and no prospects for advancement in life.   

But we can blow up the world several times over and make mindless interventions in the natural environment that multiply the destructive power of storms, heavy rains, and other natural phenomena.

Another election approaches and yet again there is no acknowledgement of the real problems our country faces or any interest in discussing what to do about them. America and the Western World in general are simply going to drown in their unaddressed problems just as New Orleans drowned in Hurricane Katrina.

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog site, PCR Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

The ‘Conman Elites’ That Want To “Save Us” From COVID-19

Last week the Federal Reserve released a report predicting that the next print on GDP numbers will likely show a loss of 34.9% in the second quarter. This is the biggest GDP plunge since the Great Depression; even the crash of 2008 doesn’t compare.  And when we take into account the fact that the Fed artificially boosts GDP calculations by adding in many non-productive government programs, we have to ask, what are the REAL losses above and beyond what the Fed admits to?

With the supply chain in disarray, many companies (like Apple) are trying to shift their manufacturing base to dodge the pandemic. Of course, none of them want to bring factories back to the US; there’s simply no incentive to do so. And, the small business sector has been crushed by the shutdowns, with the vast majority of those seeking bailout loans still waiting for aid and over 20.5 million employees laid off in April alone.

Needless to say, the economy has been severely affected. The problem is that many people are being led to believe that this event has been triggered by the virus outbreak alone. This is a lie. As I noted back in February in my article ‘Global Centralization Is The Cause Of The Crisis – Not The Cure’, the collapse of the Everything Bubble was well underway long before the pandemic. The crash was started by the Federal Reserve hiking rates into economic weakness at the end of 2018, puncturing the bubble and setting the liquidity crisis in motion.

The pandemic is just the icing on the cake of a collapse that was going to happen anyway. It is also a convenient scapegoat, because now the banking elites are going to escape all the blame for the crash and the public is going to hyperfocus on the coronavirus as the culprit.

As I also warned would happen over the past few months, the Chinese government has been caught in numerous lies surrounding their response to the outbreak, including hiding the true numbers of dead and infected and suppressing information to the rest of the world on the danger of human-to-human transmission. The problem that the public is still not being told about, however, is that the Chinese did not act alone, they had help.

It takes two sides to do the pandemic tango – If air travel had been cut off from China immediately upon the confirmation of the virus spread until the danger could be assessed, the outbreak may have never carried beyond China’s borders. Yet this did not happen. Air travel remained open for weeks from China after the outbreak confirmation. Then, when the virus hit Italy hard, air travel continued from Europe to the US unabated. It was almost as if the establishment WANTED the virus to spread quickly…

I remember some of the idiotic sentiments being passed around in web forums back in January and February. Some people argued that the virus “only infects Asians”. Some people said sarcastically “Oh no, whatever will we do without our new iPhones…!”. And, yet others, including the Trump Administration, argued that the US economy would escape any real harm.

Well, we are a few months into the outbreak and now the US has the largest number of infections in the world. US deaths are already almost triple that of the CDC’s yearly reported 30,000 deaths for the flu. The virus is no Black Plague, but it’s not something to be shrugged off either. If this virus behaves anything like the pandemics of the past, expect it to linger for a couple of years, not just a few months.  The lockdowns actually guarantee that this situation will drag on for quite some time.

Apple iPhone sales have crashed 77% in April, right along with almost every other sector of the economy. Clearly, the Trump Administration and Larry Kudlow were either lying to us in February, or they had no idea what they were talking about.

Despite the current reopening hype, the situation is only going to get worse from here on out. Certainly in terms of the economy, but also in terms of the outbreak. The globalists have openly discussed their plans for this pandemic, including a minimum 18 month period of lockdowns and “reopenings”. The public seems to be oblivious to the fact that the plan is for a “1 month open, 2 months closed” cycle going into next year. That’s right, the lockdowns will return.

Certain globalists have slithered out of the swamp to the forefront of media attention recently, and it is interesting to see how transparent the narrative has become. As I have predicted time and time again, during the collapse the very people that helped create the crisis are now suddenly being put on a pedestal by the media as our saviors and some are being presented as “rebels” on the side of conservatives. Here are just a few global elites that have been specifically prominent during this disaster.

Bill Gates

Wow, I’m getting incredibly sick of seeing Bill Gates presented in the media lately as some kind of virology guru. Why should we take the advice of a computer programmer on issues of biology and sociopolitical response? Why should we take the advice of an open globalist with an admitted agenda of population control?

Bill Gates is notorious for letting his agendas slip in public forums such as his Ted Talks. In 2010 Gates called for carbon emissions to be reduced to zero (an impossibility without complete de-industrialization and the economic murder of billions of people). In the same talk, he hinted that methods to reduce the population could include “new vaccines and reproductive health services…” He did not elaborate at the time, except to claim that vaccines would lead to “social changes” that would reduce population.  Aren’t vaccines supposed to extend people’s lives, thus increasing the population?

We do know that Bill Gates has funded numerous experimental vaccine trials through the World Health Organization, including Polio vaccination programs. It was these same programs that led to viral outbreaks of polio in various countries and hundreds of paralyzed children. In fact, the vaccines caused more cases of polio than the wild-type virus. This if VERIFIED FACT, admitted by the WHO, though numerous leftist media sources have tried to deny it.

At most, the WHO and Gates can claim that the infections were “accidental”. But if this is the case, it would still suggest that vaccines developed by Gates Foundation programs and the WHO should not be trusted. Given Gates’ obsession with depopulation, I think it safer to not allow him to inject viruses (living or dead) into people.

The Gates Foundation was also central in Event 201, a pandemic exercise which “simulated” a coronavirus outbreak and the government and UN response. This exercise took place only a couple of months before the real thing happened. What an incredible coincidence. It is also an incredible coincidence that almost every solution presented in the simulation is now being implemented or suggested around the world during the real pandemic, including the use of tracking apps and immunity passports that violate every level of personal freedom we know.

Gates is not a hero, far from it. In fact, Gates and his ideology benefit greatly from the pandemic.

Mohamed El-Erian

A dedicated globalist, El-Erian has been everywhere in the economic media lately. As I examined in my Globalist Disinformation Spotlight article, El-Erian is an active promoter of a global currency under the control of the IMF through its Special Drawing Rights basket. He also argued last year that economic swings were “out of the control of central banks” and that they should not be blamed for any financial disruptions. At the same time, El-Erian claimed that the US economy was “strong” and that there was no chance of a recession in 2020.

El-Erian was consistently wrong about almost everything last year, but this year, suddenly, he has been the go-to guy for the economic media. Mohamed has shifted gears entirely in 2020, flip-flopping on his outlook and presenting, finally, a realistic analysis of the situation.  He is now being presented as the wise man on the mountain warning us of impending disaster.

This is a classic case of the globalist “savior” narrative in play. They lie about the danger of collapse right up until the collapse becomes obvious to the public, and then they suddenly start warning of the collapse when it is too late for the public to do anything about it. That is to say, they keep the public unprepared and complacent for as long as possible, then act like they predicted the whole mess at the last minute.

Elon Musk

The great fake liberty billionaire.  A long time globalist, Musk seems like an enigma, but he is really rather simple. As a classic narcissist, Musk switches his persona to ride what he sees as the waves of public sentiment. He wants to be all things to all people and has bought into his own hype. A couple of years ago Musk was a globalist gatekeeper, a top guest of the Global Government Summit, a proponent of universal basic income, and argued in favor of transhumanism.

Musk’s companies are lavished with praise in the media despite their minimal global market share.  Being one of the only carmakers in the US does mean Tesla is one of the “biggest” in the US, I suppose (but how often do you actually see a Tesla on the road outside of California?).  The problem is Musk survives predominantly by siphoning up billions in government funding and taxpayer dollars. Without such funding, Musk would have been out of business a long time ago.  This fact runs contrary to Musk’s new persona as a kind of libertarian, small government businessman.

Also keep in mind that Musk’s business model relies on global warming propaganda flowing out of the same elitist circles he enjoys when he’s not “speaking out” about government tyranny.  If carbon controls are not enforced by governments (and if gas prices stay low), Musk’s high-priced electric cars have no market.

While Musk’s companies live primarily on government welfare, the guy acts like he’s some kind of savant, and he has a lot of people fooled on this account on both sides of the political spectrum. It is truly astounding.  If he is a “genius” at anything, it is that he is an effective con man.

For now, Musk is attempting to hook into the alternative media and the rise of the liberty movement with his anti-lockdown tweets and sudden opposition to globalism. Has Musk been “red-pilled”?  I suspect he will flip-flop again in due course. If Musk wants to cut off all ties to his many friends in the globalist community then perhaps he has turned a new leaf, but I seriously doubt it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

One of the people that helped create the coronavirus outbreak is the leading Trump Administration talking head on the coronavirus response. An avid defender of the WHO and, along with Trump, a defender of China’s rigged data back in January, Fauci is the guy who, in 2015, greenlit the millions of dollars in funding on coronavirus research at the Level 4 lab in Wuhan, China.  This is the same lab that is now under investigation for releasing the virus on the world, and Fauci’s funding went directly into research on coronavirus transmission from bats to other mammals.

All I have to ask is, why has this man been at the forefront of the pandemic response for the US? Now in self-isolation for possible infection, perhaps Fauci will fade into the background as he is further exposed as a participant in the creation of this pandemic.

Greta Thunberg

Thunberg is not so much a global elite as she is a useful idiot.  A puppet of her activist parents, Thunburg only parrots the same global warming arguments that have already been debunked year after year, yet she continues to be elevated in the mainstream media as a spokes girl for environmentalism.  Why?  Because the “children are our future”, and leftists love the idea of brainwashed kid activists.  If Thunburg is any indication of the next generation, the future is bleak.

While there is still zero concrete evidence that human carbon emissions lead directly to changes in the Earth’s climate, it is true that the climate does “change” over time.  Of course, shifts in activity on the gigantic nuclear fusion reactor in space known as THE SUN are probably more responsible for temperature changes on the Earth than the tiny 0.04% of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere.  Don’t tell the political left this, though, or you might be labeled a “climate denier”…

Thunberg and other climate activists have suddenly been pushed to the forefront recently to comment on the pandemic situation.  This might seem rather bizarre, but it makes sense when you realize how the pandemic is being exploited by the globalists to achieve certain goals.  Every agenda of the globalists from carbon emissions reductions to the suppression of industrial manufacturing to the destruction of large scale farming and even to the reduction of meat in people’s diets is being accomplished right now by the coronavirus and the government shutdowns.  Where climate activists failed, the virus is making headway.

Beyond that, climate activists are now arguing that the restrictions put in place because of the pandemic should be KEPT IN PLACE because of global warming.  You see how that works?  One has nothing to do with the other, but the technocrats will force the public to see them as related if they can.  Just “listen to the scientists”, people!  Listen and obey the high priests of the Technotronic era.  Stop demanding evidence, you aren’t “smart enough” to understand it anyway.  Only UN-funded labs have the power to decipher the magical math behind global warming studies.

The pandemic will open the door to many lies and the flood of disinformation the alternative media has been working so hard to counter is going to explode beyond anything we’ve seen in the past.  The elites are at a crossroads.  They have to turn the public towards supporting collectivism and tyranny now, or they may find themselves facing the business end of a large number of torches and pitchforks.  At the bottom, these elites should be in prison, not on TV dictating to the people about how they should behave and what freedoms they should give up during the crisis.

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COVID-19: China Updates its ‘Art of Hybrid War’

President Xi Jinping made it clear earlier this week that a “Covid-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available,” won’t be subjected to Big Pharma logic, but “will be made a global public good. This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.” The Global South is paying attention.

An inevitable corollary is that the all-out offensive to cripple Huawei will be counterpunched in kind, targeting Apple, Qualcom, Cisco and Boeing, even including  “investigations or suspensions of their right to do business in China.” 

A toxic racism-meets-anti-communism matrix is responsible for the predominant anti-Chinese sentiment across the U.S., encompassing at least 66 percent of the whole population. Trump instinctively seized it – and repackaged it as his re-election campaign theme, fully approved by Steve Bannon.

Source

consortiumnews.com

Chinese General Qiao Liang argues, “If we have to dance with the wolves, we should not dance to the rhythm of the United States,” reports Pepe Escobar.      

A Chinese anti-U.S. propaganda poster from the Korean War era. (Facebook)

  

In 1999, Qiao Liang, then a senior air force colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, and Wang Xiangsui, another senior colonel, caused a tremendous uproar with the publication of “Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America.”

“Unrestricted Warfare” was essentially the PLA’s manual for asymmetric warfare: an updating of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.” At the time of original publication, with China still a long way from having its current geopolitical and geo-economic clout, the book was conceived as laying out a defensive approach, far from the sensationalist “destroy America” added to the title for U.S. publication in 2004.

Now the book is available in a new edition and Qiao Liang, as a retired general and director of the Council for Research on National Security, has resurfaced in a quite revealing interview originally published in the current edition of the Hong Kong-based magazine Zijing (Bauhinia).

General Qiao is not a Politburo member entitled to dictate official policy. But some analysts I talked with agree that the key points he makes in a personal capacity are quite revealing of PLA thinking. Let’s review some of the highlights.

Dancing with Wolves

The bulk of his argument concentrates on the shortcomings of U.S. manufacturing: “How can the US today want to wage war against the biggest manufacturing power in the world while its own industry is hollowed out?”

An example, referring to Covid-19, is the capacity to produce ventilators: “Out of over 1,400 pieces necessary for a ventilator, over 1,100 must be produced in China, including final assembly. That’s the US problem today. They have state of the art technology, but not the methods and production capacity. So they have to rely on Chinese production.”

General Qiao dismisses the possibility that Vietnam, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India and other Asian nations may replace China’s cheap workforce: “Think about which of these countries has more skilled workers than China. What quantity of medium and high-level human resources was produced in China in these past 30 years? Which country is educating over 100 million students at secondary and university levels? The energy of all these people is still far from being liberated for China’s economic development.”

He acknowledges U.S. military power even in times of epidemic and economic difficulties is always capable of “interfering directly or indirectly in the Taiwan straits question” and finding an excuse to “block and sanction China and exclude it from the West.” He adds that, “as a producing country, we still cannot satisfy our manufacturing industry with our own resources and rely on our own markets to consume our products.”

In consequence, he argues, it’s a “good thing” for China to engage in the cause of reunification, “but it’s always a bad thing if it’s done at the wrong time. We can only act at the right time. We cannot allow our generation to commit the sin of interrupting the process of the Chinese nation’s renaissance.”

General Qiao counsels, “Don’t think that only territorial sovereignty is linked to the fundamental interests of a nation. Other kinds of sovereignty – economic, financial, defense, food, resources, biological and cultural sovereignty – are all linked to the interests and survival of nations and are components of national sovereignty.”

To arrest movement toward Taiwan’s independence, “apart from war, other options must be taken into consideration. We can think about the means to act in the immense gray zone between war and peace, and we can even think about more particular means, like launching military operations that will not lead to war, but may involve a moderate use of force.”

In a graphic formulation, General Qiao thinks that, “if we have to dance with the wolves, we should not dance to the rhythm of the U.S. We should have our own rhythm, and even try to break their rhythm, to minimize its influence. If American power is brandishing its stick, it’s because it has fallen into a trap.”

In a nutshell, for General Qiao, “China first of all must show proof of strategic determination to solve the Taiwan question, and then strategic patience. Of course, the premise is that we should develop and maintain our strategic force to solve the Taiwan question by force at any moment.”

Gloves Are Off

Now compare General Qiao’s analysis with the by-now-obvious geopolitical and geo-economic fact that Beijing will respond tit for tat to any hybrid war tactics deployed by the United States government. The gloves are definitely off.

The gold standard expression has come in a no-holds barred Global Times editorial: “We must be clear that coping with US suppression will be the key focus of China’s national strategy. We should enhance cooperation with most countries. The US is expected to contain China’s international front lines, and we must knock out this US plot and make China-US rivalry a process of US self-isolation.”

An inevitable corollary is that the all-out offensive to cripple Huawei will be counterpunched in kind, targeting Apple, Qualcom, Cisco and Boeing, even including  “investigations or suspensions of their right to do business in China.” 

So, for all practical purposes, Beijing has now publicly unveiled its strategy to counteract U.S. President Donald Trump’s “We could cut off the whole relationship” kind of assertions.

A toxic racism-meets-anti-communism matrix is responsible for the predominant anti-Chinese sentiment across the U.S., encompassing at least 66 percent of the whole population. Trump instinctively seized it – and repackaged it as his re-election campaign theme, fully approved by Steve Bannon.

The strategic objective is to go after China across the full spectrum. The tactical objective is to forge an anti-China front across the West: another instance of encirclement, hybrid war-style, focused on economic war.

This will imply a concerted offensive, trying to enforce embargoes and trying to block regional markets to Chinese companies. Lawfare will be the norm. Even freezing Chinese assets in the U.S. is not a far-fetched proposition anymore.

Every possible Silk Road branch-out – on the energy front, ports, the Health Silk Road, digital interconnection – will be strategically targeted. Those who were dreaming that Covid-19 could be the ideal pretext for a new Yalta – uniting Trump, Xi and Putin – may rest in peace.

“Containment” will go into overdrive. A neat example is Admiral Philip Davidson – head of the Indo-Pacific Command – asking for $20 billion for a “robust military cordon” from California to Japan and down the Pacific Rim, complete with “highly survivable, precision-strike networks” along the Pacific Rim and “forward-based, rotational joint forces” to counteract the “renewed threat we face from great power competition.”

Davidson argues that, “without a valid and convincing conventional deterrent, China and Russia will be emboldened to take action in the region to supplant U.S. interests.”

Watch People’s Congress

Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where full sessions of the National People’s Congress are held. (AcidBomber, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

From the point of view of large swathes of the Global South, the current, extremely dangerous incandescence, or New Cold War, is mostly interpreted as the progressive ending of the Western coalition’s hegemony over the whole planet.

Still, scores of nations are being asked, bluntly, by the hegemon to position themselves once again in a “you’re with us or against us” global war on terror imperative.

At the annual session of the National People’s Congress, starting this Friday, we will see how China will be dealing with its top priority: to reorganize domestically after the pandemic.

For the first time in 35 years, Beijing will be forced to relinquish its economic growth targets. This also means that the objective of doubling GDP and per capita income by 2020 compared with 2010 will also be postponed.

What we should expect is absolute emphasis on domestic spending – and social stability – over a struggle to become a global leader, even if that’s not totally overlooked.

After all, President Xi Jinping made it clear earlier this week that a “Covid-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available,” won’t be subjected to Big Pharma logic, but “will be made a global public good. This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.” The Global South is paying attention.

Internally, Beijing will boost support for state-owned enterprises that are strong in innovation and risk-taking. China always defies predictions by Western “experts.” For instance, exports rose 3.5 percent in April, when the experts were forecasting a decline of 15.7 percent. The trade surplus was $45.3 billion, when experts were forecasting only $6.3 billion.

Beijing seems to identify clearly the extending gap between a West, especially the U.S., that’s plunging into de facto New Great Depression territory with a China that’s about to rekindle economic growth. The center of gravity of global economic power keeps moving, inexorably, toward Asia.

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030.” Follow him on Facebook.

This article is from The Asia Times.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Are We on the Verge of a Global Financial Collapse?

Coronavirus financial collapse Feature photo
COVID-19

 

As jobs disappear and our everyday lives are disrupted in the name of flattening the coronavirus curve, a picture of what tomorrow will look like is still too uncertain to make out, but all indications show that we are close to a breaking point.

It Is Much Worse Than You Are Being Told

theeconomiccollapseblog.com
May 10, 2020

For a long time I warned that our economic bubble would burst and that we would plunge into a nightmarish economic collapse.  Now it has happened, and it turns out that fear of COVID-19 was the “black swan event” that triggered the collapse.  The ironic thing is that COVID-19 is not even close to the worst thing that is going to happen to us.  But it was more than enough to topple our incredibly fragile economic system, and now tens of millions of Americans are deeply suffering.  On Friday, the April jobs report was released, and it was the worst jobs report in U.S. history by a very, very wide margin.  According to the official numbers, 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs during the month, and the unemployment rate shot up to 14.7 percent.  During the last recession, the unemployment rate peaked at about 10 percent, and we have already left that number in the dust.  The figures that we are seeing now are truly, truly horrifying, and what is even more frightening is that they aren’t even that accurate.

But don’t take my word for it.

On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department publicly admitted that the true unemployment rate in April was closer to 20 percent

Millions of U.S. residents were counted as employed in April despite having no job, suggesting April’s true unemployment rate was closer to 20%, much higher than the official 14.7% reported, the Labor Department said Friday.

The jobless rate should have included people on temporary unpaid leave, furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the government said.

I applaud the Labor Department for trying to be honest.  In the report, they openly admitted that an “additional 7.5 million workers” should have been classified as unemployed

But responses to the survey by which the data was collected show 11.5 million people were categorized as employed but absent from work because of vacation, parental leave or other reasons, but including 8.1 million absent for “unspecified” reasons, a group that usually numbers about 620,000.

“One assumption might be that these additional 7.5 million workers …should have been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff,” a note attached to the government’s jobs report Friday said.

If those workers had been correctly classified, the official unemployment rate would have been about 19.5 percent, and that would have put us solidly in Great Depression territory.

But others have looked at the numbers and calculated that the true rate of unemployment should be even higher than that.

For example, Standard Chartered has calculated that the true rate of unemployment could be as high as 27.5 percent

While it is true that what the BLS reported that the April unemployment rate (UR) was less than expected (14.7% versus consensus of 16.0%) and the drop in payroll employment of 20.5 million was also less than the 22.0 million expected, Standard Chartered bank has calculated that adjustments to the headline unemployment rate push the effective number of unemployed to 42 million and the effective UR rate to 25.5%, higher even than the U-6 underemployment rate of 22.8%. Worse, if one treats underemployed in line with the U-6 methodology, the true April unemployment number would rise to an mindblowing 27.5%.

So how did Standard Chartered arrive at those numbers?  The following is how Zero Hedge explained it…

How does one get these numbers? As the bank’s chief FX strategist Steve Englander explains, start with the 23.1 million unemployed as published by BLS. To this add 8.1mn people who have dropped out of the labor force since February (previously the labor force had been growing steadily, so these are likely unemployed).

Add back 7.5MM workers classified as ‘employed but not at work for other reasons’ – BLS states that these workers are likely misclassified as employed, when they are in fact unemployed. Involuntary part-time work for economic reasons has gone up by 6.6MM and we treat these as half-unemployed (i.e., a contribution of 3.3MM).

This totals almost 42 Million effectively unemployed.

And Standard Chartered is not the only one that has come up with such a high figure.

In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com says that if honest numbers were being used that the U.S. unemployment rate would now be an eye-popping 35.4 percent.

Wow.

Of course everyone admits that things are really, really bad and that the numbers for next month are likely to be even worse.

If you can believe it, even White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett is admitting that the official unemployment rate is likely to surge above 20 percent in “May or June”

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett believes the unemployment rate could rise above 20% and the worst job losses would come in “May or June” because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

When asked Sunday what the “bottom” of the country’s unemployment pain would be, Hassett, who advises the Trump administration on economic policy and is the former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “to get unemployment rates like the ones that we’re about to see … which I think will climb up toward 20% by next month, you have to really go back to the Great Depression to see that.”

And even once this pandemic fades, many of those jobs won’t be coming back.

Initially, many employers had anticipated that they would be bringing all of their employees back following a short, severe crisis.  But at this point reality is beginning to set in for many of them.

For example, a restaurant owner in Kentucky named Britney Ruby Miller has had to lower her expectations as this pandemic has dragged on…

In late March, Britney Ruby Miller, co-owner of a small chain of steakhouse restaurants, confidently proclaimed that once the viral outbreak had subsided, her company planned to recall all its laid-off workers.

Now? Miller would be thrilled to restore, by year’s end, three-quarters of the roughly 600 workers her company had to let go.

Yes, the state of Kentucky is starting to “reopen for business”, but for now her restaurants will “be limited to 33% of capacity” and there will be all sorts of other new expenses that Miller will be forced to deal with…

Yet business won’t be returning to what it was before. In Kentucky, the restaurants will be limited to 33% of capacity. They are putting six feet between tables in all their restaurants, thereby limiting seating. Miller estimates that the company’s revenue will plunge by half to three-quarters this year.

And expenses are rising because the company must buy face masks and other equipment for the workers it does recall and restock its food, drink, and equipment supplies.

There are very, very few restaurants that can be profitable under such circumstances.

Unless the state of Kentucky lifts those ridiculous restrictions, Miller may soon lose all of her restaurants and all of her employees may soon be permanently out of jobs.

Of course more layoff announcements just keep rolling in from all over America with each passing day.  The following examples come from the Wall Street Journal

This past week, General Electric Co., Uber Technologies Inc. UBER 6.01% and Airbnb Inc. said they would lay off thousands of workers. MGM Resorts International MGM 4.42% warned that some of the 63,000 employees it has furloughed may be let go permanently starting in August. Aerospace supplier Raytheon Technologies Corp., RTX 2.91%  job-listings site Glassdoor and United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL 11.74% also said in the past week that they had reduced jobs or planned to do so.

This is what an economic depression looks like, and it is going to be so incredibly painful.

And it is critical to understand that what we have experienced so far is just a warm-up act for the next chapters.

If you remember how bitter the last recession was, that should motivate you to take action to prepare for what is ahead, because this economic downturn is already even worse.

Yes, the months in front of us will be exceptionally challenging, but you can get through this.  Things may look really bleak, but for now you just need to keep hanging in there.

There will be life on the other side, but your future may end up looking far different than you originally anticipated.