Wednesday 20th of February 2019

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-02-15 17:02

 

In Focus: International Day of Women and Girls in Science


Science 

In Focus: International Day of Women and Girls in Science 

 

 

On 11 February, the United Nations, partners worldwide, women and girls marked the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Why does it matter? 

 

 

Recent studies suggest that 65 per cent of children entering primary school today will have jobs that do not yet exist. While more girls are attending school than before, girls are significantly under-represented in STEM subjects in many settings and they appear to lose interest in STEM subjects as they reach adolescence. Debunking the myths that girls do not like the sciences and other and gender stereotypes, along with investment in teacher trainings, gender-responsive technology and innovation can reverse these trends. 

With Sustainable Development Goal 9, part of the Global Goals that world leaders agreed to in 2015 with a deadline of 2030, countries around the world have pledged to “build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”. Yet, a look at where funding is allocated a different picture. At present, only 1.7 per cent of the global GDP is dedicated for research and experimental development 

 

As the fourth industrial revolution starts, women still have less than two-third of the economic opportunity that men have. The jobs of the future will be driven by technology and innovation, and if the gender divide in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is not bridged soon, the overall gender gap is likely to widen. 

 

Less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. With too few women in decision making roles and higher-paying STEM jobs, the gender gap in STEM has deep implications for the future of global economy. For instance, women stand to gain only one new STEM job for every 20 lost, in stark contrast to men, who gain one new STEM job for every four lost. Improved recruitment, retention and promotion policies, as well as continuous learning and up-skilling for women can go a long way towards closing this gap. 

 

On International Day of Women and Girls in Science, lets change this narrative. Join us in celebrating women and girls who are leading innovation and call for actions to remove all barriers that hold them back. 

 

 

See more at http://www.pravdareport.com/news/science/142245-woman_girls_science/?utm_referrer=last_news_list

 

 

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-02-15 15:44


Regular ABC consumers aren’t surprised to hear the free-market views of the Centre for Independent Studies aired regularly, and it’s not just because the Radio National presenter Tom Switzer is the executive director of the conservative thinktank, as well as the host of Between the Lines. Like the Institute of Public Affairs, the CIS has a significant footprint at Aunty.

On one recent weekend three representatives of the centre were on air, in three separate Radio National programs.

The Right Rev Robert Forsyth, a senior fellow at the CIS, appeared on God Forbid, a religion program hosted by James Carleton; Carlos d’Abrera, a psychiatrist and research associate at the CIS, was on Amanda Vanstone’s Counterpoint to discuss the libertarian view on homelessness; and the John Bonython lecture hosted by Switzer at the centre last year was featured on Big Ideas. The lecture by the Brexit supporter Daniel Hannan was titled How Identity Politics Are Undoing the Enlightenment.

Nick Cater, a former editor of the Weekend Australian and now executive director of the Menzies Research Centre, also made an appearance on the show.

This week Eugenie Joseph, a senior policy analyst at the CIS, was a panellist on Big Ideas.

A few months ago Wayne Swan saidthe right had invested “huge sums of money” on getting a seat at the table of ideas. Labor’s federal president said the Institute of Public Affairs had revenue of $6.1m in 2016-17 and had raised $29.9m since 2009, and the CIS had revenue of $3.9m in 2016-17 and had raised $25.9m.

“Which means that since the global financial crisis, those two organisations alone have raised over $55m to argue for less government, less financial regulation, less power for working people, less equality and less action to combat climate change,” he said.

An RN spokesman said the network’s program teams “ensure they follow the ABC’s editorial policies”.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/15/daily-telegraphs-attempt-at-humour-tanks-with-nauru-v-auschwitz-graphic

 

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Bugger these praying monkeys...

 

 

See also:

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/12749

http://www.yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/31482

http://yourdemocracy.net.au/drupal/node/35033

 

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-02-15 15:12

 

Ukraine : NATO in the Constitution

by Manlio Dinucci

 

Moving always further away from democratic principles, the Ukrainian parliament has outlawed political parties and personalities who contest the project of membership of NATO and the European Union.


The day after the signature of NATO’s membership protocol with North Macedonia as its 30th member, Ukraine did something without precedent : it included in its Constitution the engagement to enter officially into NATO and the European Union at the same time.


On 7 February, on a proposition by President Petro Poroshenko – the oligarch who made himself rich by plundering public properties, and who is once again a candidate for the presidency – the Kiev parliament, by 334 votes to 35 with 16 abstentions, approved these amendments to the Constitution.


The Introduction pronounces « the irreversible movement of Ukraine towards Euro-Atlantic integration » ; articles 85 and 116 state that it is a fundamental duty of the parliament and the government to « obtain Ukraine’s full membership of NATO and the EU » ; article 102 stipulates that « the President of Ukraine is the guarantor of the strategic decisions of the State aimed at obtaining full membership of NATO and the EU ».


The inclusion in the Ukrainian Constitution of the engagement to enter officially into NATO bears with it some very serious consequences.


On the interior, it alienates the future of Ukraine from this choice, by excluding any alternative, and outlaws de facto any party or person who might oppose the « strategic decisions of the state ». Already, the Central Electoral Commission has forbidden Petro Simonenko, director of the Ukrainian Communist Party, to participate in the Presidential elections to be held in March.


The merit for having introduced into the Ukrainian Constitution the engagement to enter officially into NATO goes in particular to Parliamentary President Andriy Parubiy [1]. Co-founder in 1991 of the Ukrainian National-Socialist Party, on the model of Adolf Hitler’s National-Socialist Party ; head of the neo-Nazi paramilitary formations which were used in 2014 during the putsch of Place Maïdan under US/NATO command, and in the massacre of Odessa [2] ; head of the Ukraine National Security and Defense Council, which, with the Azov Battalion [3] and other neo-Nazi units, attacked Ukrainian civilians of Russian nationality in the Eastern part of the country and used his squadrons for acts of ferocious abuse, the plunder of political headquarters and other auto-da-fés in a truly Nazi style.


On the international level, we should keep in mind that Ukraine is already linked to NATO, of which it is a partner : for example, the Azov Battalion, whose Nazi character is represented by the emblem copied from that of the SS unit Das Reich, has been transformed into a special operations regiment, equipped with armoured vehicles and trained by US instructors from the 173rd Airborne Division, transferred to Ukraine from Vicence, and seconded by other NATO members.


Since Russia has been accused by NATO of having illegally annexed Crimea, and of launching military operations against Kiev, should Ukraine officially join NATO, the 30 other members of the Alliance, on the basis of article 5, would be obliged to « assist the party or parties under attack by adopting immediately, individually and in agreement with the other parties, any action that it should deem necessary, including the use of armed force ».


In other words, they would have to go to war with Russia.


These dangerous implications of the modification of the Ukrainian Constitution – behind which are most certainly strategies by the USA and NATO – have been met with political and media silence. Including that of the Italian parliament, which, in 2017 established an agreement with the Ukrainian parliament, supported by Laura Boldrini and Andriy Parubiy. Thus cooperation has been reinforced between the Italian Republic, born of resistance against fascism and Nazism, and a régime which has created in Ukraine a situation similar to that which brought about the arrival of fascism in the 1920’s and Nazism in the 1930’s.


Manlio Dinucci

Translation 

Pete Kimberley


Source 

Il Manifesto (Italy)

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article205172.html

 

 

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Soon the Ukrainian lingo will be outlawed for looking a bit too Roosky and will be replaced with Yankee English...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-02-15 14:59


The dilemmas in Canberra go beyond the respective roles of the American alliance and the China trade. They point to a failure to grasp historical reality and an equal failure to perceive the future.

In a recent article in the influential Australian website Pearls and the Irritations (www.johnmenadue.com 8 January 2019) Richard Broinowski set out several reasons why the Canberra establishment (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Defence and Prime Minister and Cabinet) in what he described as cognitive dissonance, have adhered to a pro-American set of foreign policies.

This has been the case ever since then Prime Minister John Curtin’s announcement in 1941 that Australia was essentially switching its reliance on the United Kingdom to an equally dependent relationship with the United States.

Mr Broinowski then set out a series of factors why this has been the case at least up until the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, although he now detects some faint glimmerings of a possible policy shift. Such optimism in my view lacks a solid evidential foundation.

Rather than possessing a “clear-eyed vision of China” that Cairin Morris (Australian Outlook 25 November 2018) sees as part of the DFAT culture of antagonism, what is really needed is a clear-eyed analysis of the post-World War II period, of which adherence to the United States world view has been the dominant feature.

The actual benefits that have accrued to Australia from this stance are vanishingly small. It could equally be argued that the detriments outweigh the few benefits there might have been, of which “blowback terrorism” and reputational damage are only two elements.

As has been argued elsewhere, the purported reliance on the ANZUS Treaty by the Canberra political and public service establishment is misplaced. It is also wrong, as Mr Broinowski suggests, that the ANZUS Treaty obliges Australia “to join whatever wars the United States wants to fight.”

The operative clause of the ANZUS Treaty, Article IV, obliges the parties to meet the common danger an attack upon any of the parties would create “in accordance with its constitutional processes.” The location of the precipitating attack is limited to specified objects in the Pacific (emphasis added). It is a commitment only to consult.

What is always overlooked is that Article 1 requires the parties to settle any international dispute “by peaceful means” and in accordance with their obligations under the United Nations Charter.

The post-World War II locations cited by Clinton Fernandes in his book, (Island off the Coast of Asia, 2018) both reviewed by and repeated in Mr Broinowski’s article (Korea, Malaya, Viet Nam and the engineered overthrow of Indonesian President Sukarno) are not Pacific nations. Neither was there any attack upon the territory or assets of the United States, Australia or New Zealand (the latter then being a member of ANZUS).

The New Zealand decision to ban United States ships from its territorial waters by the Lange Labour government led to New Zealand’s departure from the ANZUS alliance, and its downgrading (as expressed on DFAT’s own website) from the status of “ally” to that of “friend.”

The New Zealand Prime Minister of the day, David Lange, had legitimate concerns about the United States response to New Zealand’s decision. He was not thinking that New Zealand would be invaded, subject to a colour revolution, or sanctioned in the manner there has been a standard United States response to any country that did not submit to its wishes.

Rather, he was very mindful of the Australian experience of November 1975 when MI6 and the CIA engineered a constitutional coup against the Whitlam government. That government had committed the cardinal sins (in US eyes) of recognizing the People’s Republic of China, withdrawing Australian troops from Viet Nam, and was on the verge of expelling the United States from the spy centre at Pine Gap. The dismissal occurred the day before Whitlam was to make that announcement in parliament.

New Zealand survived the departure from ANZUS and to this day has pursued a more independent foreign policy then could possibly be attributed to Australia. That includes being the first ‘Western’ country to sign a MOU with China over the Belt and Road Initiative. The failure of Australia to similarly align itself with the opportunities presented by the BRI is something that Ms Morris cites as evidence of Canberra’s hostility to China.

Mr Broinowski, with respect correctly, identifies Russia as the object of similar constant suspicion as to its motives and conduct by the Canberra mandarins. He is too polite. The United States and the United Kingdom have engaged in what American scholar Stephen Cohen (War with Russia? 2018) calls an unprecedented and singularly dangerous campaign of disinformation and vilification against Russia.

In this they are willingly aided and abetted by a supine mainstream media, a criticism applied with equal validity to the Australian media. They have distorted, misrepresented or outright lied about events such as the reabsorption of Crimea into the Russian Federation, the shooting down of MH17, and the alleged poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

In addition to the foreign misadventures identified by Fernandes, one should add Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. None of these countries are in the Pacific. None of them attacked the United States (and that includes 9/11), and none of them posed the least threat to Australia, directly or indirectly. In each and every case United States and Australian intervention in the affairs of those countries was not only contrary to international law; they made their situation measurably worse.

As a lawyer it is particularly vexing to read and hear the constant reiteration of Australia’s alleged commitment to a “rules based international order”, ‘liberal’ or otherwise (although that distinction lacks any legal meaning.)

There is a body of international law, found for example, in the UN Charter, in treaties, Conventions, and rulings of international tribunals. It may not be perfect, but it is all we have. Adherence to its principles and obligations would be infinitely preferable to the alternative, which is all too frequently the case.

When one looks at the geopolitical and legal history of the past several decades, it is not Russia or China that is the serial violator of international norms of acceptable conduct. One country, the United States, has waged almost continuous wars and is responsible for the violent deaths of tens of millions of people. In this regard the United States is in a class of its own, the only real way it meets its self-description of being the “exceptional nation.”

One of the cornerstones of any legal system, international or otherwise, is that violations of its requirements are punished. Again, not only does the United States lack any meaningful sanctions for its misconduct, it refuses to recognise the jurisdiction of, for example, the International Criminal Court. It threatens violence and sanctions on any individual or country that seeks to bring United States violators of international law to justice.

The final point relates to Mr Broinowski pointing out that Canberra views the growing power of Russia and China as a threat to United States global hegemony. Those mandarins need to read Alexander Lukin’s book: China and Russia: the new rapprochement (2018). Dr Lukin has a sophisticated analysis of the relationship between the two superpowers. He acknowledges that there have been periods of difficulty, but points to a joint declaration signed in Beijing between Yeltsin (a western favourite) and then PRC chairman Yang Shangkun.

That declaration reiterated that the two states would develop relations on the basis, inter alia, “of mutually beneficial cooperation in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, based on the principles of mutual respect and territorial integrity, non-aggression………. peaceful coexistence, and other universally recognised norms of international rights.”

Several subsequent agreements between the two nations have reinforced these points, the importance of which, as Lukin states, cannot be overstated. Not the least of the factors driving those two superpowers to greater collaboration and strategic partnership is the unrelenting hostility of the United States and its allies. Re-reading that declaration more than two decades later, it is not difficult to determine who has respected those principles and who has not.

In the past two decades there have been a number of very important developments in Eurasia, most of which barely rate a mention in the western media in general, and the Australian media in particular. These developments include, but are far from limited to, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Belt and Road Initiative. The latter multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and investment program now extends throughout the Pacific, Africa and Latin America, in addition to its primary focus in Eurasia.

The “global hegemony of the United States” that Mr Broinowski refers to is not threatened. It is passé. Its former military dominance has now been surpassed by the vastly superior Russian and Chinese technology, as Andrei Martyanov details in his recent book (Losing Military Supremacy 2018) and President Putin reinforced in his 1st March 2018 speech to the Russian Parliament.

That superiority has been recognised at the highest levels of the United States, (although not in Australia which continues to buy their inferior military equipment at vast cost). That recognition has not as yet led the Americans to modify their hegemonic conduct in any meaningful way.

The world that Canberra seeks to maintain is an illusion. The choice therefore is whether or not Australia acknowledges the reality of the new multipolar world. The gravitational centre of that world, technologically, militarily, and in terms of setting a new agenda based on mutual respect, nonaggression and peaceful coexistence in accordance with international law is firmly in Eurasia.

Clinging to the coattails of what former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser called Australia’s Dangerous Allies (2014) would not only lead Australia to miss the boat on this rapidly changing new world; it is likely on the basis of past misjudgments to lead to US-led military entanglements that will be decidedly to Australia’s detriment.

JAMES O’NEILL is a barrister at law and geopolitical analyst. He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/13/more-than-cognitive-dissonance/

 

 

Nothing new... Read from top... 

 

 

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-02-15 10:26

In 2017, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax stepped outside the shrinking perimeter of permissible thought when she wrote a short essay in defense of “bourgeois culture.” Wax drew campus-wide censure for “assertions of white cultural superiority” and remains a controversial figure at the Ivy League school.

What did Wax say that was so heinous? She praised traditional marriage with children in wedlock, hard work, patriotism, and good conduct as antidotes to social pathology. “If the bourgeois cultural script—which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach—cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all,” she warned.

While this might seem obvious, the social assumptions that have driven historical America are on the defensive in centers of power and authority. Even modest efforts to safeguard time-honored practices and values meet violent antagonism. The entertainment-media-tech complex pitches the post-bourgeois replacement script nonstop. After decades of aggravation, many purists have surrendered. They say live and let live. They don’t believe this for one second but are exhausted by assaults on their judgment and character.

Declaring that “all cultures are not equal,” Wax violated the first principle of the replacement script. Condemning babies born out of wedlock, trans-activism on aircraft carriers, or menacing crazies panhandling at the local 7-Eleven is very uncool—possibly actionable. Insisting on standards of speech, dress, or behavior in public spaces might lead to charges of harassment or employment trouble. All-purpose smears like racist or hater can ruin lives.

 

Read more of GILBERT T. SEWALL:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-diminishing-authority-of-the-bourgeois-culture/

 

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The only authority of the bourgeois culture is to applaud the Empire construction by whatever means as long as the wars are declared "moral"... The rest of being "bourgeois" is to be boringly suitably predictable while praying to a god that does not exist — while tourmenting minorities or giving them the charitable nudge that keeps them in their quiet and unseen stations...

We, in the West, are on the cusp of inventing a new social norm for ourselves, but we are unable to grasp the importance of the rebirth away from the old crap. 

see also:

 

The Ape That Understood the Universe, Steve Stewart-Williams, Cambridge University Press, 387 pages

Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, Robert Plomin, The MIT Press, 280 pages

It’s possible for humans to change. In recent centuries we’ve lived as hunter-gatherers, as farmers, as factory workers, and as screen-absorbed technology drones—among much else. Different cultures do things in radically different ways even with the same technology. Specific individuals, too, change over the course of their lives and act differently in different environments.

And yet there are limits. Radical efforts at social engineering have resulted in starvation and mass killings. While we don’t like to think about it, some people seem naturally capable of things that others simply are not. As a result, one of the biggest questions in politics is how greatly we can reorganize and equalize society without bashing our heads into the limits of nature.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/social-engineering-doesnt-work-blame-the-genes/

A bit glib but getting some point across...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2019-02-15 05:41

David William Pear is a progressive columnist writing on U.S. foreign policy, economic and political issues, human rights and social issues. David is a Senior Contributing Editor of The Greanville Post and a prior Senior Editor for OpEdNews for four years 2014 to 2018, and he is still a "Trusted Writer" for OpEdNews. David has been writing for The Real News Network for over 10 years, and has been a long-term financial supporter.

 

by David William Pear

 

What is happening to Venezuela is a coup d’état and it has nothing to do with democracy, human rights, free and fair elections or international law. The US and Canada represent the antithesis of those values; defying the United Nations Charter and international law by interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Their hands are not clean, and their motives are not pure, because their foreign policy objectives everywhere are to promote the interests of their domestic corporations, oligarchs and war profiteers.

In 2017 the US and Canada formed a posse of vigilantes that they named the Lima Group. The gang members of the Lima Group are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia. Mexico’s newly elected liberal government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has withdrawn from the Lima Group, saying that Mexico follows the principles of sovereignty, non-intervention, and self-determination in foreign policy. Viva AMLO!

The US, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, handpicked the gang members of the Lima Group. Most are rightwing governments, and politically dominated by business-centric oligarchs, and wealthy families just like those that are trying to take control in Venezuela. Fascism, supported by corporations, elites and imperialists are on the march. There is a new wave of anti-immigrant, xenophobic, evangelical, homophobic, and social conservatives gaining power in Latin America, as elsewhere.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Idriss Jazairy specifically condemned the US and Canada for imposing economic sanctions on Venezuela. Jazairy stressed that the economic sanctions are immoral on humanitarian grounds, and they are an illegal attempt to overthrow the internationally recognized sovereign government of Venezuela. On January 31, 2019 the UN released a report that quoted him as saying:

 

I am especially concerned to hear reports that these sanctions are aimed at changing the government of Venezuela…Coercion, whether military or economic, must never be used to seek a change in government in a sovereign state. The use of sanctions by outside powers to overthrow an elected government is in violation of all norms of international law…Economic sanctions are effectively compounding the grave crisis affecting the Venezuelan economy, adding to the damage caused by hyperinflation and the fall in oil prices.”

 

Former UN Special Rapporteur Alfred de Zayas, who is also an international expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, said on his website on February 7th the following about the current situation in Venezuela:

 

Members of the United Nations are bound by the Charter, articles one and two of which affirm the right of all peoples to determine themselves, the sovereign equality of states, the prohibition of the use of force and of economic or political interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states…… the enormous suffering inflicted on the Venezuelan people by the United States is nothing less than appalling. The economic war against Venezuela, carried out not only by the United States, but also by the Grupo de Lima in clear violation of Chapter 4, Article 19 of the OAS Charter, the financial blockade and the sanctions have demonstrably caused hundreds of deaths directly related to the scarcity of food and medicines resulting from the blockade.”

 

Zayas also said that what the US, Canada and the mainstream media are doing to Venezuela reminds him of the deliberate disinformation campaign that led to the US, and the “coalitions of the willing” that included Canada anonymously, illegally invading Iraq in 2003, and their destruction of Libya in 2011.

In the case of Libya in 2011, the so-called “no-fly zone” authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 was for the intended purpose of bringing about a ceasefire. It specifically forbade any “boots on the ground”, which the US is known to have violated.

The US, Canada and other NATO forces illegally exceeded their UN mandate, and used it as a cover to completely destroy Libya and regime change. It later was learned that the supposed Gadaffi genocide, which the no-fly zone was intended to stop, was a hoax. The point is that the US and its junior partners can never be trusted to tell the truth when a lie serves their purposes much better.

Whenever the US and its junior imperial partners resort to pleas of democracy and human rights, an ulterior motive should be assumed. For instance, the little the US and Canada care about democracy, human rights and free elections is shown by their long history of supporting non-democratic governments.

Canada has supported every US regime change project, and the overthrow of democratic governments, which did not conform to their mutual foreign policy objectives. Both countries’ foreign policies prefer corrupt business-centric rightwing repressive governments. Democracy and human rights conflict with the interests and profits of their exploitative and extractive corporations.

Both the US and Canada supported the apartheid government of South Africa right up until the very end; they support the apartheid government of Israel, which is the number one violator of human rights in the world today; and they both sell arms and support the most repressive government in the world, Saudi Arabia. Human rights have not been an issue.

The US overthrew the democratically elected Salvador Allende of Chile, with Canada’s support. Both countries supported the junta regime of Augusto Pinochet, whom was later arrested for crimes against humanity. Both the US and Canada supported the illegitimate coup governments of Haiti in 2004, and in Honduras in 2009. By some estimates, the US (and Canada) support 73% of the dictators in the world. Human rights have not been a concern.

The US and Canada have been trying to overthrow the democratically elected reformist government of Venezuela, known as the Bolivarian Revolution, since 1999. Hugo Chavez’s elections were all certified by the Carter Foundation, the OAS and other legitimate observers. Chavez was elected in free, fair and democratic elections, but that did not matter to the US and Canada. They wanted to overthrow him anyway. Human rights were not a concern.

Democracy, human rights, the right-to-protect, humanitarian interventions and all the other righteous soundbites are just talking points for the US and Canada. They are only used against governments that get in their way, and never used against corrupt business-friendly governments, no matter how criminal. Paul Jay, a Canadian, who is the editor-in-chief of The Real News Network says that he personally became aware in 2005 of Canada’s involvement in the conspiracy of regime change in Venezuela.

The hypocrisy of US concerns over human rights is on full display in a leaked US State Department memo from Brian Hook to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The memo is titled “Balancing Interests and Values”. The memo does not mince words about human rights concerns being only a tactic to use against adversaries:

 

America’s allies should be supported rather than badgered…. allies should be treated differently — and better — than adversaries….. We do not look to bolster America’s adversaries overseas; we look to pressure, compete with, and outmaneuver them….. pressing those regimes [adversaries] on human rights is one way to impose costs, apply counter-pressure, and regain the initiative from them strategically.” 

 

Hook continues his memo by giving Tillerson a history lesson on the art of US hypocrisy from 1940 to 2017.

In other words, rightwing dictators, military juntas, ethnic cleansing, fraudulent elections, human rights violations, political prisoners, torture and murder should be treated differently — and better — with compliant allies. Even when adversaries are democratically elected, they should be roasted in order to “extract costs”, according to Hook….. but not because the US cares about people.

There is no serious doubt about the legitimacy of the more than a dozen elections in Venezuela between 1998 to 2013. That did not prevent the US and Canada from “extracting costs”, and trying to overthrow Hugo Chavez anyway. Given the examples of the US and Canada overthrowing the democratically elected governments in Chile, Haiti, Honduras, and Egypt, and their support for murderous rightwing coup-governments; the objections to Maduro are unbelievable.

In the past few years, there have been a half-dozen certified democratic elections in Venezuela. The real motives for opposing Maduro must be something else. It is obvious what that something else is. The real motives behind the US and Canada are Venezuela’s massive wealth in oil, gas, and other natural resources, such as gold, copper and coltan.

There are also tremendous profits to be had by bringing Venezuela into the Washington Consensus. US and Canadian banks profit from IMF and World Bank loans. The corrupt politicians and oligarchs steal the loans, and then it is the poor that have to repay them, through higher prices for life’s necessities, reduced wages and government-imposed austerity. The privatization of state-owned enterprises at corrupt fire-sale prices enrich oligarchs and corporations through rent-seeking, instead of adding any value.

The Washington Consensus also forces unequal trade agreements and currency devaluation on poor countries. The resulting lower prices are used to extract natural resources, monocrops and sweatshop produced products for export. Small farmers are driven off the land because they cannot compete with dumped US and Canadian tax-payer highly-subsidized agricultural products, such as corn and wheat. Those that suffer are the local farmers, the poor, landless and indigenous people, who go from subsistence, to poverty, to wage slavery.

The chaotic political situation in Venezuela has been purposely made worse by the US and Canada. Since Venezuela is “cursed” with natural resources, especially oil, its economy has historically gone from boom to bust depending on international commodity prices.

It was low oil prices, endemic poverty, gross inequality, and neoliberal economic policies that favored the rich in the 1990’s, which swept Chavez into power in the 1998 election. A majority of the Venezuelan people elected Hugo Chavez and his “Bolivarian Revolution” of rewriting the constitution, increasing participatory democracy, frequent elections, and implementing social programs for the poor. The Carter Center (as well as the OAS) certified the election, and praised Venezuela’s modern voting systems as one of the best in the world:

 

Venezuelans voted peacefully, but definitively for change. With more than 96 percent voting for the two candidates who promised to overhaul the system, Venezuelans carried out a peaceful revolution through the ballot box”, said Jimmy Carter’s Foundation upon Chavez’s victory.

The US opposed Chavez regardless of fair and democratic elections. A surprisingly honest 2005 article in the Professional Journal of the US Army explained why the US opposed Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution for economic and geopolitical reasons [Emphasis added]:

 

Since he was elected president in 1998, Chávez has transformed Venezuelan Government and society in what he has termed a Bolivarian revolution. Based on Chávez’s interpretation of the thinking of Venezuelan founding fathers Simón Bolívar and Simón Rodríguez, this revolution brings together a set of ideas that justifies a populist and sometimes authoritarian approach to government, the integration of the military into domestic politics, and a focus on using the state’s resources to serve the poor — the president’s main constituency.”

“Although the Bolivarian revolution is mostly oriented toward domestic politics, it also has an important foreign policy component. Bolivarian foreign policy seeks to defend the revolution in Venezuela; promote a sovereign, autonomous leadership role for Venezuela in Latin America; oppose globalization and neoliberal economic policies; and work toward the emergence of a multipolar world in which U.S. hegemony is checked. The revolution also opposes the war in Iraq and is skeptical of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The United States has worked fruitfully in the past with Venezuela when the country pursued an independent foreign policy, but the last three policies run directly contrary to U.S. foreign policy preferences and inevitably have generated friction between the two countries.”

 

Whether it is Chavez or Maduro, the US, Canada and the oligarchs in Venezuela have been trying to kill the Bolivarian Revolution from when it was an infant in the cradle.

The opposition with the support of imperialists have been trying to get rid of the Bolivarian Revolution with every means imaginable.

They have tried a US supported military coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002. It failed.
They tried strikes by the management of the Venezuelan oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela. It failed.
They tried a recall election in 2004. It failed.
Obama tried economic sanctions in 2015. It failed.
The US and Canada tried an economic blockade in 2017. It has failed, as of this article.
They tried to assassinate Maduro with a drone. It failed.

In 2018 the opposition boycotted the election. Maduro won by a landslide. He had invited the United Nations to be election observers, but the opposition kept the UN away. Other international observers certified the election. Now the opposition complains about the integrity of the election observers. The opposition is making a circus out of elections. The objections by the oligarchs, the US and Canada that the 2018 elections in Venezuela where fraudulent is itself a fraud. Their objectives are to knowingly “extract costs” that Venezuela can ill afford.

The US chose Canada to be the mouthpiece for the Lima Group, but the coup is being directed by imperial powers in Washington. Canadian politeness is not working, and its imperialism is out of the closet where it has been hiding. As Canadian historian Yves Engler puts it, the US carries the big stick in Latin America, and Canada comes along afterwards with the billy club. Engler is referring to Canadian peacekeeping missions, which he exposes as actually policing and counter insurgency missions. Yves Engler has written dozens of books and articles on Canadian imperialism.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be fooling some of the people, some of the time. But he is now under attack at home for corruption . His accusers say that he has obstructed justice in the world-wide corruption scandal involving the powerful international Canadian conglomerate SNC-Lavalin. SNC-Lavalin is a mining, energy and engineering company that is typical of the corrupt face of Canadian imperialism 

Trudeau’s conspiracy with Trump to overthrow the internationally recognized government of Venezuela has unmasked Canada as a second-rate imperial power. Upon closer look, Canada has been protecting its oil and mining companies that have been raping Latin American countries, destroying their environment and poisoning their people for decades. Canadian imperialism has to obey its “deep state” too, as Canadian journalist Bruce Livesey puts it:

 

Those who believe the oil industry has become a deep state point to how the political elites, whether Liberal, Conservative or NDP — from Justin Trudeau to Stephen Harper to Rachel Notley — go to bat for the industry…”

 

Mining companies as well as oil and gas are a big part of Canada’s “deep state”. They control approximately 50 to 70% of the mines in Latin America, and they are not held accountable in Canadian courts for their destruction to the environment and harm to human beings in foreign countries. They dispossess the indigenous people and poor of their land. They hire goons to threaten, attack and murder those that try to form labor unions, journalists, and demonstrators against land confiscation and human rights abuses. Honduras is just one example of what happens when a democratically elected leader is overthrow by a US and Canadian-backed coup; Canadian mining companies move in. It is all exposed in the book “Ottawa and Empire: Canada and the Military Coup in Honduras”, by Tyler Shipley.

Dispossessing native people of their land and natural resources comes natural to Canada. After all, like the US it was a settler colonial outpost for the British Empire. Both the US and Canada committed genocide and ethnic cleansing of their mutual Indigenous People. They were even allies and coordinated the genocide.  According to historian Andrew Graybill:

 

…the NorthWest Mounted Police were created and the Texas Rangers renewed and reorganized in the early 1870s specifically to address the pressing ‘native question’ confronting Texas and western Canada, among the few places where bison still roamed after 1870….. both Austin and Ottawa called on their rural police to manage indigenous populations facing societal collapse.…. by controlling or denying the Natives access to the bison.”

 

In other words, both the US and Canada collaborated in killing the buffalo to extinction. It was the coup de grâce for the starving “native question”.

Mining is one of Canada’s biggest and most powerful and politically influential industries. Canada has approximately 60% of all mining companies in the world. Canadian companies such as Ascendant Copper, Barrick Gold, Kinder Morgan, and TriMetals Mining have operations in Canada, Latin America and elsewhere. They are continuing the ethnic cleansing of the “native question” in Latin America, and at home. (See map and statistics of Canadian Mining in Latin America.)

Canadian mining and natural resource companies are heavy handed when it comes to First Nations at home. TransCanada Corporation recently was in the news because of its pipeline route, which they are trying to put through First Nation’s land in the Wet’suwet’en territory, in northern British Columbia. On a court order, a militarized unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police broke up a road blockade, which the tribal leaders had put up to keep the pipeline company out of their nation. The Mounties who lacked jurisdiction arrested 14 tribal leaders on their sovereign land.

During the reign of the British Empire, Canada helped the British put down slave rebellions in the Caribbean. Canada was involved in the slave trade, and slavery was legal in Canada until 1834. The products of slavery, such as cotton and sugar were used for trade and to industrialize Canada. When the British conquered New France, the 1760 declaration of surrender signed in Montreal specifically said:

 

The Negroes and panis [aborigines] of both sexes shall remain, in their quality of slaves, in the possession of the French and Canadians to whom they belong; they shall be at liberty to keep them in their service in the colony, or to sell them; and they may also continue to bring them up in the Roman Religion.”

 

In the 19th century Canadian banking and insurance companies, along with those of the British, monopolized finance in British controlled parts of Latin America. Canada is still financially powerful in the English-speaking Caribbean.  For example, the Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and the Royal Bank of Canada, as well as Sun Life Financial are dominate in the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, and Trinidad. After the decline of the British Empire, Canada assumed its natural role as a second-rate imperial power and junior partner for US imperialism.

In the Lima Group, Canada is the US’s junior partner. The US has the leading role from behind the curtain. To prove it, right on cue at the January 4th meeting of the Lima Group, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pulled the curtain back in a video presentation to the group. Pompeo showed the members who they would have to answer to if they did not vote according to Washington’s wishes. The Lima group obeyed, and voted to politically isolate and economically blockade Venezuela, contrary to international law. Leaving nothing to chance, Pompeo again addressed the group from behind the video curtain at their February 4th meeting in Ottawa.

As Christopher Black wrote in New Eastern Outlook:

 

The United States is the principal actor in all this but it has beside it among other flunkey nations, perhaps the worst of them all, Canada, which has been an enthusiastic partner in crime of the United States since the end of the Second World War. We cannot forget its role in the aggression against North Korea, the Soviet Union, China, its secret role in the American aggression against Vietnam, against Iraq, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Haiti, Iran, and the past several years Venezuela.” 

 

Black left out many other imperial crimes of the partners in Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Somalia, Sudan, the Congo, Palestine, Libya, Yemen, etc. The US and Canada are “always there for each other” and stand “shoulder to shoulder” in war and imperialism, to use Justin Trudeau’s own words. Even against Cuba!

The current Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland recently referred to Venezuela as being in “Canada’s backyard”. As the SNC-Lavalin case illustrates, the Canadian “backyard” of imperialism also extends to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and former Soviet Union republics, such as Ukraine.

This is not the 19th century. Central America, South America and the Caribbean Islands are not anybody’s back yard. It is insulting, degrading and shows a colonial mentality for the US and Canada to even think about having a backyard.

Hands Off Venezuela, Canada and US Go Home!

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/14/hands-off-venezuela-canada-and-us-go-home/

 

First published by Greanville Post

 

 

 

Read from top.

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-02-14 20:22

Picture at top by Gus Leonisky:

"Forgotten Purpose"... (Stonehenge)

 

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-02-14 05:45


A leading economist and former senior Federal Reserve official has given Sputnik his take on this week's announcement by the Treasury Department that US national debt had surpassed the $22 trillion mark.

The US's record-breaking debt is not a threat to US or global economic stability, at least not for the moment, Joseph Gagnon, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former visiting associate director of the division of monetary affairs at the US Federal Reserve Board has said.

"The national debt is far from a dangerous level," Gagnon said in a written commentary for Sputnik.

"We seem to be in a world with low interest rates for a long time, which keeps the debt burden low. That does not mean it's good, just less bad than it would have been 40 years ago," Gagnon explained.

According to the economist, the spiraling US debt has been the result of many factors, including former President George W. Bush's tax cuts, the Great Recession of 2007-2009, which prompted the Obama administration to dump hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy in the form of stimulus, "and now Trump's further tax cuts."

 

The Trump tax cuts are expected to run the budget close to $2 trillion over a ten year period, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Trump's "spending plans are harder to estimate because Congress will modify them and they may change over time, but it is fair to say they contribute less to the debt than the tax changes," Gagnon said.

"My main criticism of the president's tax cuts is that they went almost entirely to the rich and the rich already got most of the benefits of economic growth for more than 20 years now," the economist added.

The US National debt has grown by over $2 trillion under President Trump during his first two years in office. On the campaign trail in 2016, the billionaire real estate magnate promised to eliminate the debt over eight years by creating jobs and renegotiating US trade deals with countries like China.

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/201902131072394430-us-22-trillion-debt-expert/

 

 

Read from top.

 

 

Meanwhile:

A record 7 million American drivers are experiencing serious difficulties with car payments, even though the national unemployment rate has sunk and the economy is supposedly blazing its way to new heights.

The number of Americans who are more than three months behind on their car payments reached 7 million this year, a new record that surpasses the 6 million consumers who were "seriously delinquent" on payments in 2010, according to statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (The Fed considers consumers 90 days past their payment deadline seriously delinquent for accounting purposes.)

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/business/201902131072395070-cant-afford-basics-americans-car-loans/

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2019-02-14 05:35

Earlier, Venezuela's ambassador to Russia warned that US humanitarian aid destined for the Latin American country may be "just a trap to be followed by a military invasion."

Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton has taken to Twitter to speak about US aid assistance for Venezuelans in the form of "High-Energy Biscuits packed with vitamins  and minerals," which he said were being airlifted to Colombia from Indonesia. 

The tweet, coming on the heels of promises by self-proclaimed Venezuelan interim president Juan Guaido that Western humanitarian aid would enter Venezuela next week, also comes amid opposition plans to hold an "international conference" in Washington on Thursday to attract humanitarian assistance.

The tweet was spread widely on social media, with users questioning why Bolton needed to be so specific about "biscuits" and warning that the US "aid" should be checked for weapons. Some feared the promised aid may be a prelude to invasion and blasted the national security adviser for "pretending to care" about Venezuela's children.

 

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/latam/201902131072390442-bolton-biscuits-for-venezuela/

 

 

 

Read from top...

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2019-02-13 19:13

 

The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy, Stephen M. Walt, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 400 pages

At the end of the Cold War, the United States appeared to be standing on the precipice of a new era of peace and prosperity as the world’s sole superpower. Intoxicated by the sense that American primacy would allow them to remake the world as they wished, U.S. leaders embraced liberal hegemony. They aimed to discourage others from challenging American power and sought to spread democracy and liberal economics within an American sphere of influence that encompassed most of the world.

We can’t know what the world would have looked like if they had chosen a different course. But we do know that, today, relations with Russia and China are bad, and getting worse. There is now open talk of a new Cold War—with both nations, a feat that we mostly managed to avoid in the last Cold War. Meanwhile, nationalist movements are on the rise, and the European Union and other multilateral bodies seem unsteady, at best. And, last but not least, the Middle East remains in turmoil—more than 16 years after George W. Bush sent U.S. troops into Iraq. There is violence and suffering everywhere, it seems—and there is no end in sight.

Indeed, according to a panel of 12 experts commissioned by Congress to review U.S. foreign policy, “the security and wellbeing of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades.” The nation, they continue, “confronts a grave crisis”; “the strategic landscape is growing steadily more threatening.” 

In The Hell of Good Intentions, Stephen Walt traces many of these problems to the very policies that these men and women advocate. U.S. power has allowed American officials to pursue ambitious foreign policy goals, even when those goals are unnecessary or doomed to fail. And “liberal hegemony…failed because it rested on mistaken views of how international politics actually works.” In particular, he explains, “it exaggerated America’s ability to reshape other societies and underestimated the ability of weaker actors to thwart U.S. aims.” It also rested on the willingness of the American people to support the strategy indefinitely, even as the costs rose and the benefits became less apparent. 

Although Walt allows that “most foreign policy professionals are genuine patriots who seek to make the world a better place,” as a group they operate as “a dysfunctional caste of privileged insiders who are frequently disdainful of alternative perspectives and insulated both professionally and personally from the consequences of the policies they promote.”

Donald J. Trump seemed to agree. Since the Cold War, he said in late April 2016, as he closed in on the GOP presidential nomination, “foolishness and arrogance…led to one foreign policy disaster after another.” He pledged, if elected, to “look for talented experts with new approaches, and practical ideas,” not “those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.”

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/correcting-the-failures-of-liberal-hegemony/