Category Archives: Economics

RCEP: Asia-Pacific nations sign world’s biggest trade pact

While the USA is embroiled in a meaningless fight between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Asia has had enough and is deciding to go on its own way. This is the future people and it does not include North America or Europe. 

Source

http://www.aljazeera.com

15 Nov 2020

The China-backed RCEP deal excludes the US and will account for 30 percent of the world’s economy and population.

ASEAN and other Asia-Pacific leaders pose for a group photo during the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit in Bangkok on November 4, 2019 [Manan Vatsyayana/ AFP]
ASEAN and other Asia-Pacific leaders pose for a group photo during the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit in Bangkok on November 4, 2019 [Manan Vatsyayana/ AFP]

China and 14 other countries have agreed to form the world’s largest free-trade bloc, encompassing nearly a third of all economic activity, in a deal many in Asia are hoping will help hasten a recovery from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, was signed virtually on Sunday on the sidelines of the annual summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In the online ceremony, leaders of RCEP countries took turns standing behind their trade ministers who, one by one, signed copies of the agreement, which they then showed triumphantly to the cameras.

“RCEP will soon be ratified by signatory countries and take effect, contributing to the post-COVID pandemic economic recovery,” said Nguyen Xuan Phuc, prime minister of Vietnam, which hosted the ceremony as ASEAN chair.

RECP will take already low tariffs on trade between member countries still lower, over time. It will account for 30 percent of the global economy, 30 percent of the global population and reach 2.2 billion consumers, according to Vietnam.

RCEP  “will help reduce or remove tariffs on industrial and agricultural products and set out rules for data transmission,” said Luong Hoang Thai, head of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department at Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In addition to the 10 ASEAN nations, the accord includes China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, but not the United States. Officials said the accord leaves the door open for India, which dropped out due to fierce domestic opposition to its market-opening requirements, to rejoin the bloc.

“After eight years of negotiating with blood, sweat and tears, we have finally come to the moment where we will seal the RCEP Agreement,” Malaysia’s Trade Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, said in a statement ahead of the ceremony.

The deal sends a signal that RCEP countries have chosen “to open our markets instead of resorting to protectionist measures during this difficult time,” he said.

The accord is a coup for China, by far the biggest market in the region with more than 1.3 billion people, allowing Beijing to cast itself as a “champion of globalisation and multilateral cooperation” and giving it greater influence over rules governing regional trade, Gareth Leather, senior Asian economist for Capital Economics, said in a report.

The US is absent from RCEP and the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal that US President Donald Trump pulled out of shortly after taking office. This leaves the world’s biggest economy out of two trade groups that span the fastest-growing region on earth.

Now that Trump’s opponent Joe Biden has been declared president-elect, the region is watching to see how US policy on trade and other issues will evolve.

Analysts are skeptical Biden will push hard to rejoin the trans-Pacific trade pact or to roll back many of the US trade sanctions imposed on China by the Trump administration given the widespread frustration with Beijing’s trade and human rights records and accusations of spying and technology theft.

Ahead of Sunday’s RCEP “special summit” meeting, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he would firmly convey his government’s support for “broadening a free and fair economic zone, including a possibility of India’s future return to the deal and hope to gain support from the other countries”.

The RCEP agreement is loose enough to stretch to fit the disparate needs of member countries as diverse as Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia. Unlike the European Union, it does not establish unified standards on labour and the environment or commit countries to open services and other vulnerable areas of their economies.

But it does set rules for trade that will facilitate investment and other business within the region, Jeffrey Wilson, research director at the Perth USAsia Centre, said in a report for the Asia Society, an organisation that promotes US-Asia understanding.

“RCEP, therefore, is a much-needed platform for the Indo-Pacific’s post-COVID recovery,” he wrote.

The pact will take effect once enough participating countries ratify the agreement domestically within the next two years.

ASEAN members include Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

SOURCE : NEWS AGENCIES

‘The Great Reset’ For Dummies

Authored by Tessa Lena via ‘Tessa Fights Robots’ substack,

What is “the Great Reset”?

The Great Reset is a massively funded, desperately ambitious, internationally coordinated project led by some of the biggest multinational corporations and financial players on the planet and carried out by cooperating state bodies and NGOs. Its soul is a combination of early 20th-century science fiction, idyllic Soviet posters, the obsessiveness of a deranged accountant with a gambling addiction—and an upgraded, digital version of “Manifest Destiny.”

The peasants are getting fat, and they are breeding! Oh no.

The mathematical reason for the Great Reset is that thanks to technology, the planet has gotten small, and the infinite expansion economic model is bust—but obviously, the super-wealthy want to continue staying super-wealthy, and so they need a miracle, another bubble, plus a surgically precise system for managing what they perceive as “their limited resources.” Thus, they desperately want a bubble providing new growth out of thin air—literally—while simultaneously they seek to tighten the peasants’ belts, an effort that starts with “behavioral modification,” a.k.a. resetting the western peasants’ sense of entitlement to high life standards and liberties (see awful “privilege”).

The psychological reason for the Great Reset is the fear of losing control of property, the planet. I suppose, if you own billions and move trillions, your perception of reality gets funky, and everything down below looks like an anthill that exists for you. Just ants and numbers, your assets.

Thus, the practical aim of the Great Reset is to fundamentally restructure the world’s economy and geopolitical relations based on two assumptions:

  • one, that every element of nature and every life form is a part of the global inventory (managed by the allegedly benevolent state, which, in turn, is owned by several suddenly benevolent wealthy people, via technology), and
  • two, that all inventory needs to be strictly accounted for: be registered in a central database, be readable by a scanner and easily ID’ed, and be managed by AI, using the latest “science.”

The goal is to count and then efficiently manage and control all resources, including people, on an unprecedented scale, with unprecedented digital anxiety and precision—all while the masters keep indulging, enjoying vast patches of conserved nature, free of unnecessary sovereign peasants and their unpredictability. The king’s world feels far more predictable and relaxed when the chaos of human subjectivity is contained for good.

Plus, as a potentially lucrative aside, a bunch of these tightly managed “assets” can be also turned into new financial instruments and traded. Game on!

In other words, it’s an “efficient” global feudalism that goes much farther than its medieval brother since the scanner is all-seeing: every person, every mineral, and every berry is digitally tagged and tracked. Under that framework, every peasant has a function that is derived not from the mystery of life, and not from their inner calling—but from AI, the master of efficiency and the servant of the king. Ideally, the peasants can be convinced that it’s good for them (or necessary to be safe, see “contact tracing”) and that this is what progress and happiness are like—but if not, there are other ways, from classic violence to virtual prisons to “morality pills.”

The reform in question is meant to disrupt all areas of life, on a planetary scale: government, international relations, finance, energy, food, medicine, jobs, urban planning, real estate, law enforcement, and human interactions—and it starts with changing the way we think of ourselves and our relationship with the world. Notably, privacy is a huge thorn in the collective eye of our “great resetters”—and—as I am typing this, they are pushing their sweet-talking points about how privacy is really an outdated concept—especially when it comes to people’s medical data, sheesh—and that we simply cannot move forward with the bright future if silly people keep clinging to their privacy.

I will briefly go over different elements of this slippery reform in a sec—but to sum it up, the desired end result is a giant, joyless, highly controlled global conveyor of everything and everybody where privacy is tremendously expensive, dissent is unthinkable, and spiritual submission is mandatory. It’s like a 24/7 medicated reality, except the medications are both chemical and digital, and they are reporting you back to the mothership, which can then punish you for bad behavior by, say, blocking your access to certain places or by putting a hold on your digital bank account—perhaps without any human intervention at all.

Thus, on a sensory level—as it relates to money and power—this conveyor is an attempt of the super-wealthy to organize and monetize their “assets,” including people—more efficiently than ever before. On a theological level, the initiative is shaped by transhumanism, a formal belief system rooted in a pathological feeling of being repelled by all things natural—and a resulting view of biological forms as defective robots, which are made perfect, serial killer perfect, by merging with machines in a way that redefines the meaning of being alive and defies death itself.

I would like to stress that we should never underestimate the importance of subjective feelings and theology in the shaping of historical events. Our entire history is a sum of subjective choices—where the choices of the more powerful and the more driven weigh more. And religious reform, which typically stems from various powerful individuals’ subjective preference for what the big picture should be like, has been a driver of large-scale social, economic, and cultural changes on this planet for centuries. What we are looking at here is a new religion—and as much as I want to believe in the general cleanliness and rationality of the system—on the higher level, we are not dealing with a rational, scientific, honest, benevolent—or even misguided—attempt to make things better. When it comes to the masterminds of the Great Reset, we are dealing with a combination of standard greed—and the emotional pathology of restless, rotting madmen who are freaking out over the maintenance of their property in this new era, and who resent their biological nature as such and want to be gods. Sadly, the crazies are rich and well-connected, and they can hire a million underlings to put on a convincing, feel-good, rational external-facing presentation about their new religion. And to bribe the media. And politicians. And academics. And campaign organizers. And non-profits. And let’s not forget my brethren, the artists, who, out of starvation and indignity, will then create beautiful, artful, moving ads for anything that pays. And by the time the circle is complete, we have a brand new public opinion and technically, still a “democracy”! If only those conspiracy theorists went away…

So, who are the people leading this, and how coordinated is this effort?

From the looks of it, it seems to be the usual suspects: top capitalists of the world, historically wealthy dynasties from different parts of Earth, members of secular and religious royalty, billionaires, etc.—in other words, it’s the people who have enough money to feel like this world is theirs, the 0.0001%—and maybe also the people immediately under them who are seeking upward mobility. Some familiar faces, some faces we’ve never seen.

Obviously, they are not a monolithic mass, and I am sure that they don’t agree with each other on everything and probably compete over who gets to eat more peasants. There is certainly a rivalry between the American and the Chinese elites, for example, or between the American and the Russian elites—as well as between different individual super sharks. But all in all, even as they compete, they have shared interests and shared messaging, and there is more strategic camaraderie and common ground between them than between any of them and any of the peasants. For example, none of them is likely to turn down the idea of creating a new class of financial assets to make money off! In addition, they also have advisers—who, in turn, are competing with each other for the highest pay, trying to push their ideas through. All subjective, yet also extensively—and expensively—coordinated in areas of their shared interests.

And currently, the “winning” concept of the day seems to be a world filled with abbreviations: AI, 5G, IoT, and so on. A world where the money is digital, the food is lab-grown, where everything is counted and controlled by giant monopolies, and the people are largely deprived of free will. A world where each element of nature and each living being is either a data host, or a source of energy—or both. A world where the flow of the peasants’ everyday is micromanaged by ever-monitoring, ever-nudging AI that registers thoughts and feelings before the people even get a chance to make those thoughts and feeling their own. A world where living itself is outsourced to the machine, and a human being is essentially a meat suit.

Now, I don’t think that this exact vision will ever come true in full. It is likely to implode before it gets half-way there—and some of what I just described is no more than daydreaming of a very broken mind. But the powerful crazies are trying their best to make this nightmare reality. Thus, the danger is not in being overtaken by suddenly self-conscious AI but in the disruption of normal life and in the utter misery that the crazies may cause to our minds and bodies as they rush to slice and dice the world, using various convenient catchphrases such as “global health crisis” or “climate change.”

And yes, there is definitely coordination and continuity, as there is continuity in dynasties and philosophical trends. Some of it is more ephemeral, and some of it is more concrete. On the ephemeral side, the vision of the “resetters” is related to the futuristic ideas that were popular in the early 20th century, to the dream of a global corporate monopoly that propped up the bolshevik revolution of 1917, and to the overall crave of controlling the world with technology, something that was attempted and failed in the Soviet Union in the 60s—using the language very similar to today’s. On the concrete side, the Great Reset (which by the way is very well coordinated, to the extent that both Biden and Johnson are using the same coded words put forward by the WEF) grows out of the post-WWII efforts to maintain a “correct” power balance in the world, with “correct” financial interests reaping the benefits.

The “sustainability” language, which is an important pillar of the Great Reset marketing kit, was initially created as a part of various United Nation’s programs—such as “Agenda 21” and “Agenda 2030,” and I am sure that during the production of those programs, both elements—conspiracy and benevolence—were present. Both are sets of extremely dry and boring documents about resource management and justice, which read like something written by a tired, square Soviet teacher with a good grasp of bureaucratic terms, written mostly to justify the paycheck of the bureaucrats and the existence of the United Nations. What’s interesting about the latter is that typically, the UN is pretty useless, meaning that people get together, talk, come up with long bureaucratic documents and non-binding resolutions—and then nothing of essence happens. But not this time. Not now. The program’s on! So it must be important to somebody who’s paying. And yes, I am cynical. In everything that happens, there is always a combination of good intentions, greed, ambition, personal relationships, financial interests, delusions, and so on. Politicians talk to financiers, generals talk to politicians, somebody is somebody else’s uncle, and this is how things get done. Unfortunately, the less straightforward the top-down messaging, and the more abundant the propaganda, the less the value of good intentions, and the easier it is for villains to pull off utter absurdities.

And of course, initiatives of such great magnitude may go through very long and quiet “planning phases,” during which the desired ideas are being planted in the heads of the desired people through private conversations, small meetings, funded research, industry conventions, and the like. So by the time the “action” button is pressed, it feels like a trend is already there. And let me repeat again, absolutely everything in history is a result of subjective choices made by subjective people. The way everything in history happens is that people get together, decide what they want to do, and do it. When important people act, the impact is more visible. So, in a way, everything is a “conspiracy,” because everything comes through human agency. And often, the important people cover up their deeds, that shouldn’t be a radical idea.

And yes, by now, the top power holders in the West have figured out that it’s more cost-effective and less labor-consuming for them to just bribe the media “of record,” the scientists, the academics, the politicians, and even the “controlled opposition”—and have them convince the peasants—than to police everything and everyone by force. And by the way, while the pinnacle of this tower is a conspiracy in earnest, in a sense of it being a coordinated effort where the masterminds are acting in general alignment with each other, without disclosing their true long-term goals to the peasants—the rest of the tower is probably the usual human stuff, multiplied by the lack of the old-fashioned, moral sense of responsibility. The usual human stuff is a medley of ambition, hustling, greed, carelessness, arrogance, and even good intentions. The closer to the bottom, the more ignorance and the better the intentions—because most people do believe that they are doing good—but it doesn’t change the tragic trajectory of the “resetting” cavalcade.

Okay but maybe hold on, there is a real crisis, and the rich have woken up because they want to live? What if there is no conspiracy per se, and they have simply realized that the planet is a mess, and now they want to address the issues of overpopulation and pollution because there really are too many people on the planet who are all over-consuming and polluting? What do you say to that?

I am glad you asked, so let’s talk about that.

It is absolutely true that the soulless, utilitarian approach to nature, to life, and to other living beings has been extremely destructive—with the most immediate, most visible destruction outsourced to “third world countries” and to the less financially fortunate people in the West. (See landfills, Cancer Alley, and unhealthy, poison-filled non-organic foods). It is true that massive consumerism and the use of disposables (brought to us by more or less the same parties who are now scolding people for consumerism) have created a lot of messes. It is true that our oceans and lungs are full of plastic, that the amount of chronic disease is skyrocketing, and that many species are dying off. It is true that our soil, our food, and our bodies are tainted with highly toxic glyphosate. It is true that usually, decades pass between the time manufacturers realize the toxicity of their product and the time when saying so in a conversation stops being a conspiracy theory. All true. However, it is also true that the people who are pointing fingers at social ills and telling us that we need a Great Reset are from the same camps and lineages that have caused it in the first place. It is true that underneath the language of their marketing brochures, there is toxicity and havoc that greatly exceed what we have today. Thus, they are either idiots or liars—and I am afraid it is the latter. However rich, they are not even remotely morally qualified to fix anything in this world. And whatever we choose to do to heal our relationship with nature and with each other—it definitely isn’t the technofascist, neo-feudal Great Reset.

A metaphor: If the leader of the Rapists Party came up with a Platform Against Rape that didn’t stop the raping but that rebranded the very act by saying that if one uses a pink dildo made of recycled plastic to penetrate, then it’s not rape… would you think it’s a platform against rape in earnest?

So no, they are not the people to lead the way (just check out this garbage in space idea). If we go along, we will end up with a world that looks like this:

Speaking of solutions, there are plenty of activists and local leaders, such as Vandana Shiva, for example, coming up with ways to heal our relationship with nature. There are whistleblowers. There are lawyers fighting corporate giants and sometimes winning. There are doctors risking their careers to protect their patients. There are local farmers. There are artists baring their souls. There are truth-tellers. There is dignity, and there is respect if we insist on them. I believe that good long-term solutions come from inner honesty and peace and that each of us possesses the unique genius that helps us locate our piece of the puzzle, which ultimately heals the world.

As far as there being too many people on the planet, I think even that is spin. Actually, Vandana Shiva has produced an analysis of industrial vs. traditional local agriculture in terms of numbers, and it looks like we’ve been lied to by Big Ag about their importance, too. Also, the biggest “demographic problem” in the West right now is the growing number of the old vs. the young. And even in the “developing world,” the trends seem to be different from what we are are taught to think. And furthermore, the planet has enough for all, and the reason we are facing scarcity is because that 0.0001% of people control a lot. Ironically, they are the same people who are worried that there is not enough, pushing the idea of overpopulation—often while breeding enthusiastically—and infecting young brains with the idea of overpopulation to the extent that now, some middle-class young people don’t want to have kids, “to save the planet.” How messed up is that?

And yes, the idea of overpopulation has been worrying the leaders for some decades. I would argue that at times, their thoughts have carried eugenics overtones (see, for example, this 1974 Kissinger Report that brags about “incentivizing” Indian men to get vasectomies). And no, it wouldn’t be completely crazy to posit that eugenics didn’t quite go away since Hitler has ruined the brand and that whoever believes themselves to own the world, probably wouldn’t mind a little more surgical management of the demographic trends. Can I read their minds? No. I can’t say who exactly thinks what exactly, and luckily for me, I am not invited to their meetings—but every now and then, personas like Gates or Prince Charles say things that sound quite Hitleresque, and it make me wonder. On the other hand, I don’t find it particularly shocking because human nature hasn’t changed since the time when eugenics was socially acceptable in the “respectable society.” Thus, my theory is that some powerful people of the world are truly evil and probably fiddling with eugenics—and some are probably just indifferent to the desires of the peasants—but on my end, I don’t really care which one it is. Evil or indifferent, I don’t want them to destroy my world. Is that too much to ask?

My job is Poison Distributor.
My condition is
Hatred of Biological Forms.
They call me deranged
But I am the sanest of all.
They call me a merciless killer,
A sadist, a robot, a king.
But I am just a perfectionist.

My job is Poison Distributor.
My religion is
Hatred of Unpredictable Shapes.
My poison will find you
In words,
In the water you drink,
In food,
In the air your breathe,
This way or another,
It’ll find you.

My job is Poison Distributor.
A very practical job.
You are welcome.

Now, let’s quickly look at the areas that, according to the blueprint of the Great Reset, need to be disrupted and completely redesigned. That is a giant topic in itself, and I will only touch upon it lightly, with a special focus on the language used and how it overlaps with the “pandemic response.” I strongly encourage you to go to the World Economic Forum website and look around.

Statehood and Governance.

In the new world, countries still exist but they all abide by a central order. It’s “cooperative” (wink, wink). A lot of government functions are automated and delegated to AI. Decisions are based on data and algorithms, there is no privacy, and there is a lot more fluidity as far as migrations (so, unfortunately, the very humane sentiment of being kind to immigrants that is being promoted in the media might not about kindness, which is a bummer to me personally). There is also a possibility of replacing human governments with AI altogether, but not immediately. The reasoning is simple: In order for the super-wealthy to manage global inventory, individual governments have to act more like mid-level managers accountable to international authorities than like independent federal governments.

(Remember how “mom and pop shops” were pushed off the market and replaced by chain stores? Same thing here except, in this case, the mom and pop stores are countries.)

Traditional America, now, is very much in the way of this. Its habit of generous consumption and free expression, its self-centered foreign policies, its sense of entitlement, and its big suburban houses are a no-go. A traditional, independent, strong America is an obstacle. In that light—and with a disclaimer that I don’t think that there is such a thing as a just empire, I feel like there is an active effort to “even America out,” to co-opt its government, to destroy farms and small businesses—especially the ones that are not consistent with this all-digital future—and to bring down the entitled middle class, especially in “outdated” career paths. It feels like we are currently in the middle of a “color revolution,” a soft coup. Usually, American elites do it to other nations—but now it’s happening on domestic soil. It feels like the Great Reset agenda, through its messengers and through its money, is shaping both the schizophrenic “COVID response” and the suddenly mainstream and well-funded, super corporate “social justice/climate” movement, which are all at this point intertwined in terms of messaging. Both pretend to promote pubic good, and both skillfully weaponize real issues and get a rise out of people who have a real love of fairness in their hearts—all to clear the way for the financial goals of the “great resetters”—such as a complete erosion of privacy (see contact tracing), moving all human activities online (see, well, everything), AI-based law enforcement and precrime (see “defund the police”), and so on. And yes, America has many honest problems. But it’s not like the current structures are being replaced with a council of spiritually grounded, wise indigenous elders who are deeply connected to Earth and who will not hurt any innocent life. What’s being attempted—however fuzzy the marketing coverup—is far worse, far less humane, and far more destructive than what we have today. I don’t like it.

Finance.

It’s digital currency, crypto, and mobile payments all the way. The citizens must be totally transparent and leave a trace of everything they do, remember?

Food.

All I can say is I hope you like cockroach meat, because it’s coming.

Cynical remarks aside, the “future of food” is a disaster. The liars in high chairs have the nerve to use good words like “sustainable development” but there is nothing sustainable about this thing. It’s BigAg on steroids, very toxic. And, incidentally, it’s also energy-consuming as all these robots, sensors, and data centers ain’t free, but who’s counting that.

Also, today’s farms have to go. Not only are the pesky traditional local farmers competing with patented lab-grown food and—also patented—GMOs, and—also patented—soils—they are also taking up the space needed for royal recreational areas, as well as wind turbine and solar panel parks (which all take up a lot of space, by the way). And what do you know, maybe the kings really want to “conserve” some patches of nature by keeping it free of people. It’s their inventory, after all, it makes sense to maintain it well.

No wonder the “COVID response” is hitting the farms so hard, forcing them to go out of business…

Agriculture

Education.

Online.

Medicine.

Tele-

So far, in both medicine and education, we are very much on track, thanks to the global pandemic…

Energy.

Now, this one is interesting. Because fossil fuels, the devil of today’s marketing, are genuinely bad. It’s true that oil extraction is abusive to the planet. The spills create a lot of havoc, and they happen all the time. Oil barons are bandits. People who live close to refineries get sick. Plastic, which comes from oil, is polluting everything, from the oceans to our stomachs and lungs. However, fossil fuels are also the only energy source—besides nuclear—that is currently capable of supporting the world’s population’s consumption levels. Furthermore, if you look under the hood of “green,” it’s not that green, really, unless we are talking the color of money. Solar panels take up a ton on space (see below), they degrade quickly, and turn into toxic heaps.

Wind turbines also take up a ton of space and have their own problems. Both are highly dependent on weather and don’t provide sufficient energy. It is also noteworthy that the recent film by Michael Moore, Planet of the Humans, which was exploring some of the not so green aspects of “green energy” and shedding light on some of the corruption in the environmental movement, was attacked by the leading environmentalists to viciously and so uniformly that the film was removed from major platforms and kind of disappeared from the public eye.

Anyway, what’s going to happen if fossil fuels go away? By the way—and this is an important point—I am not actually convinced that the “resetters’” intend for fossil fuels to truly go away. I think we could be looking at an act of rebranding. I did think until recently that they really wanted to “disappear” fossil fuels—but then I looked into “climate tech”—and now I am thinking that things are more complex, that it could be a strategic geopolitical maneuver. I don’t know. There are some peculiar technological overlaps between fossil fuels and “green” energy—but time will tell. In any case, if they either go away or pretend to go away, we’ll quickly discover that wind and solar are not cutting it—and then, we’ll meet our new king of “green” energy, nuclear fusion, yay.

When that happens, our friend, the famous philantrocapitalist, will come to rescue. He is heavily invested in nuclear fusion reactors—in fact, his favorite project, according to himself. (Actually, he happens to be very deeply involved in about every bullet point on the Great Reset list, what a business genius he is.) But wait, to make the intrigue even more interesting, the WHO, which of course enjoys his generous funding, has in the past gone to great lengths to underplay the health toll of nuclear incidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Speaking of energy and finance, let’s talk about “human capital.” In the new world, “human capital” is not just a metaphor for HR or labor. Microsoft, for example, has a patent for a method of transforming human behavior into cryptocurency, which is done through an unspecified device coupled with a server that registers body activity and “mines” crypto. Since under the New Normal, digital and crypto are supposed to become mainstream, this looks suspiciously like a tool that can be used both to tightly control the behavior of the poor who may depend on this for income—and to literally mine the bodies of otherwise “useless” welfare dependents / UBI recipients for energy (which, by the way, is an actual thing, believe it or not).

Furthermore, this patent could potentially be used to create a new financial instrument because, if mined for energy, these people become “assets” that could possibly be bunched together into virtual portfolios and virtually traded. See how neat? Now, we are talking proper serfdom! And yes, this sounds very sci-fi but let’s not forget how some billionaire “visionaries” think—not like normal people, or else the workers at Amazon warehouses wouldn’t be wearing diapers to skip bathroom breaks. Also let’s not forget that today, there is trading of very theoretical items as well as betting on weather. A lot of money in this world is made on strange, arbitrary things!

Also, a word on carbon. I am not going to get into the entire thing because the article is already long, however, it seems that whatever the story of carbon was at birth, by now the story has transformed into a tool of creating a market out of thin air, and a bunch of financial instruments to make money off, also out of thin air. For example, look at this plant, backed by Gates and some oil giants. My favorite part is that after carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere using a cocktail of chemicals, one of the ways to store the loot is to burn a bunch of trees (sorry, “biomass”). Yes, that makes perfect sense, because who can make money off simply leaving trees alone and letting them do the job, for free? What kind of idiot would allow that?

I would also like to point out the fact that when it’s stored, it’s stored deep underground in ways never done before. (What does is do the inner processes of the planet? Did anybody think this through?) It also requires building pipelines to transport carbon dioxide from one place to another, much like transporting oil. And finally, carbon capture and storage is incredibly energy intensive, and the energy comes from… fossil fuels? Nuclear? Wind turbines that then have to take up half of the planet’s surface? Oh, I don’t know… And speaking of language, the goal is not “zero carbon emissions,” it’s “Net Zero Carbon Emissions,” which means that we can keep polluting, and then build a new lucrative industry on top of it while creating a new kind of pollution. In other words, business as usual…

Also, while we are on the topic of “green sustainable development,” isn’t building a lot more surveillance tech and infrastructure—which are all extremely energy-consuming not to mention unclean—at odds with the idea of green? I thought about it a while ago when I read, with great initial excitement, the text of the Green New Deal proposed legislation. I was, like, yay justice and indigenous rights, yay…. wait… “smart” power grids? Isn’t it exactly what Big Tech wants, and doesn’t it imply a need for smart sensors that come with more infrastructure and satellites, more towers, a loss of privacy, and a new kind of wireless pollution producing untested health effects? It stopped me in my tracks and compelled me to look into various “green” initiatives—and as a result, discover various skeletons in the closet. And then I stumbled into the work of Cory Morningstar, and I was like, wow. My instincts were right, it’s not exactly what it seems!!

Now, this provides a nice segue into how the “global health crisis” narrative plays into the Great Reset.

First, some housekeeping notes.

As I said before, the Great Reset is an extremely ambitious plan of restructuring both the world’s economy—and the very notion of what it means to be alive. (Is an AI-nudged zombie whose decision-making is externalized really alive?) Without a cooperating population, this ambitious economic and religious reform cannot succeed.

What is the best way of making the population cooperate with this very strange reform? It’s fear—because promises of pleasure are not enough to pull off such a massive and bizarro shift. Thus, it has to be fear and stress, whether it’s because of an external enemy, a prospect of a natural disaster, or a disease.

Let’s not forget that prior to 2020, there has already been a very expensively organized fear narrative, supported by more or less the same players who are now pushing for the Great Reset. I am of course talking about the weaponized “climate change” narrative. And while there are plenty of environmental problems that need to be addressed asap, the corporate “climate change” movement has been strangely focused on messaging that roughly coincides with the messaging of the Great Reset campaign, serving their financial goals—and the funding trajectories also overlap. So it looks like the financial interests behind the Great Reset tried out to use the “climate movement” first but it didn’t generate the desired fear levels quickly enough. Not enough people cared. I have personally sat through a training session, and am familiar with “organizing” and the neurolinguistic programming tricks that are supposed to make the audiences very worried about the climate. The messaging is very well thought-through and gives away a generous financial backing, it’s not a hippie grassroots movement—even if a lot of individual people sincerely pour their souls into that. Just like rank-and-file Jehovah witnesses knocking on your door might be extremely sincere.

As a human being, I don’t trust any entity that coldly, calculatedly, tries to make me scared and trigger a stress response. The people I listened to didn’t seem very afraid themselves. They were well-fed, middle-class, and not underemployed. They were not afraid to be arrested at a protest—and actually, they sought to be arrested, without any fear for their future employment. After seeing that, I started asking questions as to why they wanted me to be afraid, and what they wanted me to do. When I started asking questions and researching, it turned out that the trajectory of “solutions” included things like smart grids, electric cars (that are not remotely green), and geoengineering. That, to me, was not acceptable. It also meant that they didn’t really respect the planet because if they did, they wouldn’t want to stick towers everywhere or spray crap in the atmosphere to block the sun. Now, it is very possible that the environmental movement was good and honest when it just started—but a lot of it has been since hijacked, in a very stealthy way where the people on the ground don’t even realize whom they are serving. And again, let me repeat: There is a tremendous need for true sustainability, it’s just that the practical measures implied by the coded marketing language are not sustainable at all!

In any case, scaring the people with the official narrative of the climate emergency definitely created a ripple in people’s consciousness and a degree of environmental anxiety, especially in Gen Z—but it didn’t do enough to either paralyze or mobilize. But when the virus came along, as if by magic, things started falling into places quickly—things that had been unthinkable before. No, I am not saying that the virus isn’t real. And I am not making any definitive statements about where it came from or how it came about. I have my theories but some things, I just won’t know, and can’t change. But what I know is that the reaction has been absurd, unprecedented, and strangely consistent with the action items that had already been on the agenda. Speaking of emergencies, Woodstock happened during a big pandemic…

So let’s see.

Did we forcefully move most activities—such as education, medicine, shopping, sex, and recreation—online for now, as we are working on “digitizing” the physical world, for easy tracking and surveillance?

Check.

Did we, despite the lockdowns for white collar peasants, continue with construction—including very robust construction of new telecom structures and cellular antennas, necessary to support the IoT?

Check.

Did we succeed at near destroying the livelihoods of many independent farmers who were competing with our new “edible” products, and also at disrupting the traditional food supply chains?

Check.

Did we also succeed at destroying a good number of small face-to-face businesses?

Well, of course!

Live music venues and theaters?

For sure.

Are we working on replacing law enforcement with AI?

You bet! Defund! Defund! Defund!

Are we trying to legitimize complete erosion of privacy and easy access to private health data?

Yes! Because health emergency.

Are we on target when it comes to tracking every movement of every person?

Contact tracing, yes! But some countries are still behind.

Is a digital health ID now required for international travel?

Yes, Common Pass is live!

Have we been able to disrupt political and legal procedures and create chaos?

Yes, Sir!

Importantly, have we succeeded at messing up human thinking and relationships to the extent that we, the robot, the abuser, are now everybody’s only friend?

Still working on it but close.

Are we well on target with prepping the people for a broad rollout of smart wearables?

Yep. Wear your mask.

Are we legally controlling people’s sex lives?

Yes!

Speaking of, state control of people’s bodies and sexuality is a classic sign of a religious reform. Whenever that happens, watch out.

Or let’s take lockdowns, for example. Lockdowns and restrictions of movement and physical contact are great tools of behavioral modification—and behavioral modification, also known as social engineering, is for sure a very respected art form among the powerful ones. A self-respecting social engineer plans ten steps ahead and creates situations in which targets beg for desired changes! I posit that currently, we are subjected to an involuntary S&M dance. We are in the middle of a ritual of designed to create a sense of confusion, insecurity, and dependence—eventually to be resolved by our Masters, for which we will be very grateful because we will just want the unbearable tension to be resolved. Already, many have developed Stockholm Syndrome, siding with the abuser. The measures are entirely arbitrary—but it doesn’t matter, we are expected to comply and to accept that our suffering and deprivation are for our own good. It makes us a “better person.”

In the eyes of a psychopath, there is no joy.

In the eyes of a slave, there is an acceptance of a strange feeling of numbness where the soul used to be.

Where do we go from there?

I, for one, don’t think that we should accept the darkness. I think that our best option is to insist on dignity and to find our hearts. Our hearts will tell us what to do next.

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.

New Zealand Uses Pandemic To Explore Four-Day Workweek

Source

http://www.zerohedge.com

As New Zealand’s economy adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pitched a four-day workweek and other flexible working options, saying it will stimulate the economy, boost domestic tourism and encourage better work-life balance while the country’s borders remain closed to foreign nationals, according to The Guardian.

The pitch comes as the NZ economy is expected to contract up to 8% this year according to the IMF, while unemployment could hit 15% – 30%.

Ardern was sharing suggestions during a Facebook live session while she was in the tourist city of Rotorua – adding that New Zealanders would travel more within the island nation if they had more flexibility, helping the country’s collapsed tourism sector.

I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day workweek. Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees. But as I’ve said there’s just so much we’ve learned about COVID and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that,” said Ardern.

I’d really encourage people to think about that if you’re an employer and in a position to do so. To think about if that’s something that would work for your workplace because it certainly would help tourism all around the country.”

Andrew Barnes is the founder of Perpetual Guardian, a business of more than 200 people that transitioned to a four-day workweek in 2018.

Barnes found the shift made his employees happier and more productive and said the regime also had benefits for mental and physical health, the environment, family and social lives, and climate change.

New Zealand could definitely go to a four-day week in the aftermath of Covid, and in fact it would be a strategy to rebuild the economy and particularly the hard-hit tourism market as it pivots to a domestic focus,” Barnes said.

We need to retain all the productivity benefits working from home has brought, including cleaner air and a lack of gridlock lost productivity from commuting while helping businesses stay afloat. We have to be bold with our model. This is an opportunity for a massive reset.” –The Guardian

According to Barnes, a four-day workweek could be modeled after the German system of kurzarbeit, or “short work,” which would theoretically allow people to remain in their jobs.

“Finally, we have to factor in the need to address widespread mental health problems,” said Barnes. “The Kindness Institute reported a 25% uptick in use of its services during the lockdown, so we must understand that there has to be a focus on mental health in order to resurge economically. The 4 Day Week is a tool to protect the health of workers in every respect, making this model all the more relevant to the new world we find ourselves in.

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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Washington’s New Anti-China Strategy

Regardless of the anti-Chinese hysteria of the group that imposed Western health policy responses to the Covid-19 epidemic, it demonstrated Western dependence on Chinese manufactured products. This led the Trump administration to move from a desire to rebalance trade to a military confrontation, without however resorting to war. The sabotage of the Silk Roads has officially begun.

One of the consequences of the Coronavirus epidemic is that Westerners have realised their dependence on Chinese manufacturing capacity. Neither the Europeans nor the Americans were able to manufacture the millions of surgical masks they urgently wanted to distribute to their population. They had to buy them in China and often fought among themselves on the tarmacs to take them home at the expense of their allies.

In this context of general save-and-go, US leadership over the West no longer made sense. This is why Washington decided not to rebalance trade relations with China, but to oppose the construction of the silk roads and to help the Europeans relocate part of their industry. This could be a decisive turning point: a partial halt to the process of globalization that had begun, with the disappearance of the Soviet Union. Beware: this is not an economic decision to call into question the principles of free trade, but a geopolitical strategy to sabotage Chinese ambitions.

This change of strategy had been announced by the campaign not only economic, but also political and military against Huawei. The United States and NATO feared that if Huawei won the Western government contracts to install the G5, the Chinese army would be able to intercept its signals. More importantly, they knew that if the Chinese took these contracts, they would technically be the only ones who could take the next step [1].

This is not a rallying of the Trump administration to the Red Dawn fantasies [2], whose anti-Chinese obsession is based on primary anti-communism, but an awareness of Beijing’s gigantic military progress. Admittedly, the budget of the People’s Liberation Army is derisory compared to that of the US Armed Forces, but precisely its very thrifty strategy and its technical progress allow it today to challenge the US monster.

At the end of the First World War, the Chinese of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party together set out to reunify their country and avenge a long century of colonial humiliation. A Kuomintang personality, Chiang Kai-shek, tried to eliminate the Communist Party but was defeated by it and went into exile in Taiwan. Mao Zedong pursued this nationalist dream while guiding the Communist Party in the social transformation of the country. However, his aim was always nationalist, as the Sino-Russian war on Zhenbao Island in 1969 showed. In the 1980s, Admiral Liu Huaqing (the man who put down the coup attempt by Zhao Ziyang in Tiananmen Square) devised a strategy to push the US armies out of the Chinese cultural zone. This strategy has been patiently implemented for forty years. Without ever provoking a war, Beijing is extending its territorial sovereignty in the China Sea and harassing the US Navy. The time is not far off when the US Navy will have to withdraw, leaving China to take Taiwan by force.

After the dissolution of the USSR, President George Bush Sr. considered that the US had no rivals left and that it was time to make money. He demobilized a million soldiers and opened the way for financial globalization. US multinationals relocated their companies to China where their products were manufactured by countless untrained workers, paid twenty times less than US workers. Gradually, almost all the goods consumed in the US were imported from China. The U.S. middle class became poorer, while China trained its workers and became richer. From the principle of free trade, the movement spread throughout the West and then to the whole world. The Communist Party decided to re-establish a modern equivalent to the ancient Silk Road and, in 2013, elected Xi Jinping to carry out this project. When it is realized, if it is realized, China could have a virtual monopoly of manufacturing goods in the world.

By deciding to sabotage the Silk Roads, President Donald Trump is trying to push China out of its own cultural zone just as it is pushing the United States out of its own. To do so, he will be able to count on his “allies” whose companies are already devastated by excellent Chinese products at low prices. Some of them have experienced revolts because of this, such as the Yellow Vests revolt in France. In the past, the ancient Silk Road brought unknown products to Europe, while today’s roads carry the same products as those made in Europe, but much cheaper.

Contrary to popular belief, China could give up the Silk Roads for geostrategic reasons, regardless of the amount of its investment. It has done so in the past. It had thought of opening a maritime silk route in the 15th century, sent Admiral Zheng He, “the eunuch with the three jewels”, at the head of a formidable armada, as far as Africa and the Middle East, before withdrawing and scuttling its gigantic fleet never to return.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Israel under lockdown. He tried to convince the two future prime ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu (Jewish colonialist) and his deputy, who were nevertheless opposed to General Benny Gantz (Israeli nationalist), to stop Chinese investments in their country [3] Chinese companies already control half of Israel’s agricultural sector and are expected to account for 90% of its trade in the coming months. Mike Pompeo should similarly try to convince the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Indeed, the Suez Canal and the Israeli ports of Haifa and Ashdod were to be the terminals of the modern silk route in the Mediterranean.

After various attempts, China assessed the instability of Iraq, Syria and Turkey and gave up crossing them. A tacit agreement was reached between Washington and Moscow to leave a jihadist pocket anywhere on the Syrian-Turkish border to discourage Chinese investment in the area. Moscow intends to base its alliance with Beijing on silk routes crossing its own territory and not Western countries. This is the project of President Vladimir Putin’s ’Great Eurasian Partnership’ [4].

We come back tirelessly to the same dilemma (“Thucydides’ trap”): faced with the rise of a new power (China), the dominant power (the United States) must either wage war on it (like Sparta against Athens), or give space to the newcomer, that is, accept the division of the world.

[1] «Huawei», Voltaire Network.

[2] “Covid-19 and The Red Dawn Emails”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Roger Lagassé, Voltaire Network, 28 April 2020.

[3] “The Silk Route will pass through Jordan, Egypt and Israel”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 19 October 2018. “The Silk Road and Israël”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Information Clearing House (USA) , Voltaire Network, 30 October 2018.

[4] “Speech by Sergey Lavrov at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly”, by Sergey Lavrov, Voltaire Network, 27 September 2019.

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.

A Record Fleet Of 117 Tankers Is Bringing Super Cheap Crude To China

 

While the rest of the world is tentatively coming out of lockdowns, China is taking advantage of the cheapest crude oil in years to stock up as demand is starting to return in the world’s largest oil importer, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing tanker-tracking data it has compiled.

At present, a total of 117 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) – each capable of shipping 2 million barrels of oil – are traveling to China for unloading at its ports between the middle of May and the middle of August. If those supertankers transport standard-size crude oil cargoes, it could mean that China expects at least 230 million barrels of oil over the next three months, according to Bloomberg. The fleet en route to China could be the largest number of supertankers traveling to the world’s top oil importer at one time, ever, Bloomberg News’ Firat Kayakiran says.

Many of the crude oil cargoes are likely to have been bought in April, when prices were lower than the current price and when WTI Crude futures even dipped into negative territory for a day.

Last month, emerging from the coronavirus lockdown, China’s oil refiners were already buying ultra-cheap spot cargoes from Alaska, Canada, and Brazil, taking advantage of the deep discounts at which many crude grades were being offered to China with non-existent demand elsewhere.

China was also estimated to have doubled the fill rate at its strategic and commercial inventories in Q1 2020, taking advantage of the low oil prices and somewhat supporting the oil market amid crashing demand by diverting more imports to storage, rather than outright slashing crude imports.

China’s crude oil imports jumped in April to about 9.84 million bpd as demand for fuels began to rebound and local refiners started to ramp up crude processing, according to Chinese customs data cited by Reuters.

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.