Avoiding Nuclear War Is Our First Priority

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Michel Chossudovsky, a distinguished professor in Canada, directs the Centre for Research on Globalization and the website Global Research, a font of important information unavailable from the presstitute Western media. In this article he tells us that if we do not focus on peace instead of war, we are all going to die: Professor Chossudovsky makes an important point, made to me some years ago by my colleague Zbigniew Brzezinski and recently by former Secretary of Defense William Perry (see:). Professor Chossudovsky reminds us to ‘bear in mind that mistakes are often what determine the course of world history.’ A US attack on North Korea would be a mistake that could precipitate a nuclear war.
There is no doubt that Chossudovsky is correct.
Additionally, the continued demonization of Russia, China, and Iran could precipitate a nuclear war. In other words, we are surrounded by very real threats created by Washington that receive no attention from Western governments and the presstitute media. As I wrote on December 5, we are ‘walking into Armageddon.’ Professor Chossudovsky has amassed a huge amount of information that makes clear the vast difference between the level-headed era of JFK/Khrushchev and the insanity of the post-Reagan era of the re-start of hostilities for the sake of the power and profit of the US military/security complex and the neoconservatives’ ideology of US world hegemony.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on December 8, 2017.

Poor Cities and Poorer Economics

The newest cover story in The Economist deplores the situation of cities in developed countries that are left behind in terms of economic development by the digitized, globalized economy. One such is Scranton, Pennsylvania, where, since 2007, the local government has spent over $6bn on corporate subsidies in an effort to encourage redevelopment and boost local infrastructure. Such places and their disengaged, disgruntled workers are also fueling the rise in anti-globalization rhetoric which has propelled several new faces into the political arena in the US, France, and Britain, and produced unexpected election results.
The Economist suggests three new avenues for reviving these economically laggard cities, all of which involve heavy-handed government policies: (1) spreading know-how to better help local firms, (2) help colleges train local firms in mastering new technologies, and (3) using tax incentives and subsidies to encourage local investment.
But the premise on which these suggestions are based is entirely flawed: it is not sweeping globalization that has kept these cities behind, but government policies.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Oct 23, 2017.

An Outraged George W. Bush Lashes Out At Trump: “Bigotry Seems Emboldened”

Former President George W. Bush came out swinging against the current administration on Thursday, and while he did not name President Castro, Dubya blasted that “bigotry seems emboldened” in the U. S., while urging the country to accept “globalization” – the same globalization which both the IMF, the BIS and even the Federal Reserve now agree and warn has led to record wealth inequality in the US – while rejecting “white supremacy.”
“Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed,” Bush said.
Former Pres. George W Bush: "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication." pic.twitter.com/KyQK5vul3j
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 19, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 19, 2017.

Why Wages Have Lost Ground in the 21st Century

The problem with stagnant wages is our socio-economic system requires ever-higher incomes to function. One of the enduring mysteries for conventional economists is why wages aren’t rising for the bottom 95% even as unemployment is low and hiring remains robust. According to classical economics, the limited supply of available workers combined with strong demand for workers should push wages higher. Why have wages for the bottom 95% lost ground in an expanding economy?We can start our search for answers by looking at a chart of wages going back 44 years to the early 1970s. Note that the top 5% began pulling away in the 1980s, when financialization and globalization took off, and accelerated in the 1990s tech boom and the early 2000s housing bubble. The bottom 95% benefited from these booms, but at a much more modest level: wages for the bottom 95% almost returned to 0% gain as opposed to actual declines. But after the wheels fell off the bubble in 2008/09, the “recovery” since then has seen wages for the top 5% soar and the wages for the bottom 95% crater. (This chart is for males; the next chart reflects family income.)

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2017.

Frontrunning: June 20

Central bank caution beefs up stock gains (Reuters) Pound Drops as BOE’s Carney Says Not Yet Time to Raise Rates (BBG) Oil Just Hit Its Lowest Level of the Year (BBG) Britain charges Barclays, ex-bosses over ‘unlawful’ Qatari deal (Reuters) Senate GOP Sets Ambitious Deadline on Health-Care Vote (WSJ) Both Parties Have a Lot to Lose in Georgia and S. C. Special Elections (WSJ) House speaker vows to complete tax reform in 2017 (Reuters) The New Face of Trump’s Legal Team Is the Christian Right’s Pitbull (BBG) Russia probe focuses on role of Flynn partner (Reuters) Among the iPhone’s Biggest Transformations: Apple Itself (WSJ) Democrats protest Senate Republican healthcare secrecy (Reuters) Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Profit (BBG) Whole Foods CEO hints at another brand under Amazon (Reuters) Robots Are Eating Money Managers’ Lunch (BBG) Trump seen hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review (Reuters) Peak Banking Globalization Hasn’t Come and Gone, BIS Says (BBG) Soros Says U. K. Is Approaching ‘Tipping Point’ as Brexit Bites (BBG) Supreme Court to hear major case on political boundaries (Reuters) Ex-BlackRock Exec’s Gas Bet Pays Off With $6.7 Billion Takeover Deal (BBG) Millennials Are Helping America Save More Money (BBG) Tesla driver in fatal ‘Autopilot’ crash got numerous warnings: U. S. government (Reuters) Boeing lifts 20-year industry demand forecast to $6 trillion (Reuters) Virginia police probe Muslim girl’s killing as ‘road rage’ incident (Reuters

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.

The Death Of American Manufacturing In 1 Simple Chart

Manufacturing’s share of all U. S. employment fell to an all-time record low of 8.48% in May. While blame has been laid at the foot of globalization and technology, in fact it has been an almost non-stop decline since the end of World War 2.
So how do we ‘make America great again’?
The answer seems simple to some in Washington – World War 3?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 4, 2017.

THE COLLAPSE OF FRANCE – Paul Craig Roberts

The brainwashed and insouciant French electorate has voted to abolish the French nation. In five years France will exist only as a geographical location, a province in ‘Europe,’ itself a province in global capitalism.
The French had a last chance to save their nation, but they could not do it because the French have been convinced that to be French is to be fascist and racist. Therefore, the French electorate defeated Marine Le Pen, the leader of the only political party that stands for France.
After five years under Macron, nothing will be left of France. Macron, the choice of Washington and the international bankers, represents, in the words of Diana Johnstone, ‘the trans-Atlantic elite totally committed to ‘globalization,’ using whatever is left of the power of national governments to weaken them still further, turning over decision-making to ‘the markets’ – that is, to international capital managed by the major banks and financial institutions, notably those located in the United States, such as Goldman-Sachs.’ Read Johnstone’s assessment here: Macron defines himself as a ‘diversityite,’ declaring that ‘there is no such thing as French culture.’

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on May 29, 2017.

How We Can Stop the Globalization That’s Bleeding Us Dry

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
Earlier this week, I showed you how, after a generation of running amok, financialization of the U. S. economy is close to killing – forever – the once-mighty American middle class.
Well, these forces have ‘help.’
Globalization, the long-armed henchman of financialization, is an insidious contributor to the widening income gap and wealth inequality in the United States.
It’s essentially another nail in the coffin of the middle class.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Shah Gilani ‘ May 27, 2017.

Europe’s Blinkered Leaders: Shielding Themselves From Reality Again

Shielding heads of state from seeing the consequences of the policies that they themselves have forced on the entire European continent represents a staggering new level of hypocrisy. Why do the citizens of Europe need to ‘broaden their horizons,’ while the people in power protect themselves from the reality they themselves imposed on everyone else? This attitude, far from democratic, borders on the atmosphere prevalent in Europe during the bygone days of Europe’s absolute monarchs. While it is true that “everyone knows about our prosperity and lifestyle,” the answer to that problem is not fatalistically to sit back and wait for the migrant influx. The answer is, based on a new starting-date, to change Europe’s outdated and unsustainable welfare policies, which stem from a pre-globalization era, and in this way actively work to make it less attractive for millions of migrants to venture to the European continent in the first place. When the G7 heads of state arrive in Taormina, Sicily, for the G7 meeting on May 26, they will find themselves in an embellished, picture-postcard version of European reality. Italy, the host of the G7 meeting, has announced that it will close all harbors on the island to ships that arrive with migrants ( mainly from Libya) for the duration of the two-day meeting. The reason for the closure of the Italian island to migrants is to protect the G7 meeting from potential terrorist attacks. According to Italian reports, “the Department of Public Safety believes that the boats with illegal immigrants could be hiding an Islamist threat”.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 23, 2017.

“Trump Isn’t A Trainwreck” Nassim Taleb Destroys Media Narrative, Urges “Rational” Investors To Hedge

When Nassim Nicholas Taleb looks at President Donald Trump, he doesn’t see ‘a trainwreck.’ The real trainwreck, according to the trader turned author, is ‘unfettered globalization.” That’s the real danger that members of “the resistance” should be worried about, Taleb says during an interview with Bloomberg.
While he may not be a staunch “anti-globalist”, at least Trump has promised to fix some things in system that, left unchecked, will sooner or later lead to wealth accumulating disproportionately at the top end of income earners as wave after wave of corporate consolidation lines the pockets of the transnational corporate class. When he wrote about the dangers of globalization in his book ‘The Black Swan, ‘everybody cheered,” Taleb reminds his host. But now, people are defining their views on globalization based on their blanket opposition to Trump, causing them to overlook an even more sinister threat to their economic well being.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 19, 2017.

Why We’re Fragmenting: The Status Quo Is Disintegrating

The system is disintegrating, and slapping a “reformist” coat of paint over the dryrot cannot renew the structural timbers that have rotted to their very core. I confess to being amused by the mainstream media’s implicit view that everything would be peachy if only Trump wasn’t president. Memo to MSM: the nation is fragmenting for reasons that have nothing to do with who’s president, or indeed, which party is the majority in Congress, who sits on the Supreme Court, or any other facet of governance. he nation is fracturing and fragmenting because the Status Quo is failing the majority of the citizenry. The protected few are reaping all the benefits of the Status Quo, at the expense of the unprotected many. As I have outlined many times, this unsustainable asymmetry is the only possible outcome of our socio-economic system, which is dominated by these forces: 1. Globalization–free flow of capital, labor arbitrage 2. Nearly free money from central banks for financiers and corporations 3. Pay-to-play “democracy” 4. State protected cartels that privatize gains and socialize losses 5. A system stripped of self-correcting feedback and accountability

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on TUESDAY, MAY 16, 2017.

Globalization and the Rural-Urban Divide

The Neoliberal Corporate-State Order had all the power, and rigged the game to its own advantage. Many pundits have commented on the remarkable asymmetry of counties won by the Democratic Party (blue counties) and in 2016 and those won by Republican Party (red counties): the Democrats won big in heavily urban counties and the Republicans won most rural counties. This visible division prompted numerous article such as this: Cities vs. Trump: Red state, blue state? The urban-rural divide is more significant. “Like most red-state cities, Idaho’s capital is remarkably short on conservatives. Last November, while Hillary Clinton mustered only 27.5 percent of the statewide vote, she hit north of 75 percent in some of Boise’s urban precincts. Politically, the city might as well be on a different planet from towns that lie a couple of exits away.” The article follows a simple and superficially appealing narrative: the reason for the divide is cultural: cities are liberal, the countryside is conservative. But there must be more to the divide than values and political culture; difficult social issues like addiction that once were defined as urban problems are now rural problems:American Epidemic: The Nation’s Struggle With Opioid Addiction (34:26 min) Correspondent Bart D. (Australia) recently submitted an insightful description of the decimation of rural economies. Though he is describing rural Australia, anecdotally I see evidence for the same trends in the U. S., Japan and Europe.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, MAY 14, 2017.

China Warns Trump That Leaving the Paris Climate Accord Will Threaten Future Trade Deals

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
As China warns President Donald Trump not to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, the new POTUS must prepare to face headwinds at his first-ever G7 in Sicily later this month…
You see, seven major world leaders (from the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Italy) will meet on May 26 to talk global economics, international security – and energy policy.
The conference is critical to Trump’s anti-globalization agenda.
But the director of China’s National Center for Climate Change, Chai Qimin, suspects that U. S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord – originally signed on April 22, 2016 – will provoke world leaders to distrust the new U. S. president; the U. S.’ withdrawal would insinuate a lack of international concern.
And so Chai issued this warning to the United States on May 5…

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on May 9, 2017.

Roubini: “Why Are Markets Ignoring Geopolitical Risks?”

With Emmanuel Macron’s defeat of the right-wing populist Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, the European Union and the euro have dodged a bullet. But geopolitical risks are continuing to proliferate.
The populist backlash against globalization in the West will not be stilled by Macron’s victory, and could still lead to protectionism, trade wars, and sharp restrictions to migration. If the forces of disintegration take hold, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU could eventually lead to a breakup of the EU – Macron or no Macron.
At the same time, Russia has maintained its aggressive behavior in the Baltics, the Balkans, Ukraine, and Syria. The Middle East still contains multiple near-failed states, such as Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Lebanon. And the Sunni-Shia proxy wars between Saudi Arabia and Iran show no sign of ending.
In Asia, U. S. or North Korean brinkmanship could precipitate a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula. And China is continuing to engage in – and in some cases escalating – its territorial disputes with regional neighbors.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 9, 2017.

What’s Killing the Middle Class? (Part 1)

The rising asymmetry of rewards within our economy has many drivers. We all know the middle class that actually owns capital and wields political influence is shrinking. As I noted last week in Redefining the Middle Class: It Isn’t What You Earn and Owe, It’s What You Own That Generates Income, defining the middle class by household income alone is a misleading metric, as it leaves out the critical factors of debt and ownership of productive assets. A household may have an income of $150,000 and appear well-off by that metric, but if they are mired in debt and own virtually no productive assets or wealth that can be passed on to future generations, they aren’t middle class–they’re well-paid proletariats. So what’s killing the middle class? If you read the dozens of articles on the decline of the middle class in the mainstream (corporate) media, you soon discover there’s a short list of the usual suspects: 1. Globalization / outsourcing 2. Technological changes / automation 3. “Winner take all” asymmetry in rewards for specialized skills Clearly, each of these has squeezed the incomes of all those between the jobless poor and the wealthy reaping the lion’s share of the rewards from globalization and technological change.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on SUNDAY, MAY 07, 2017.

Redefining the Middle Class: It Isn’t What You Earn and Owe, It’s What You Own That Generates Income

No wonder the “middle class” has lost political power–it has lost the economic power of the ownership of productive assets.
Longtime correspondent Mark G. observed that the key phrase in yesterday’s excellent commentary by correspondent Ron G. is property-owning middle class. Mark wrote: “It appears to me that the income bracket method used today isn’t very informative.”
Here is Ron’s commentary again:
“The American economy and people are not being served by a government that was designed to be a Democratic Republic, whose architecture and balance of power depended on a property-owning middle class to be the countervailing force against Oligarchy; given the irreversible nature of the market and technology that contributed to the decline of the US middle class, (globalization, automation and AI), it is apparent that we will stay on this downward track of the middle class for the immediate future, and therefore more disparity, dispossession, and coercion will be needed to maintain control, and to me this means a future of intimidation, censorship and continued involuntary servitude.”
What does property-owning actually mean? to answer that, we have to tease apart earnings, debt and what assets are owned.

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on WEDNESDAY, MAY 03, 2017.

Frontrunning: April 26

Futures flat as Trump tax plan awaited (Reuters) Trump’s 15% Tax Plan May Just Be His Opening Gambit (BBG) Budget Director, After Health-Law Missteps, Preps for Spending Battle (WSJ) 100 Days: Trump’s victories dimmed by misfires (Reuters) White House Intervened to Toughen Letter on Iran Nuclear Deal (WSJ) Trump Changing Tactics on Tax After Health-Care Failure (BBG) Is Justin Trudeau the Anti-Trump? (BBG) Oil prices slip on bulging U. S. crude stockpiles, ample supplies (Reuters) Congress moves closer to avert shutdown (Reuters) Hungarian opposition struggles to build on anti-Orban sentiment (Reuters) FCC Chief Poised to Roil Capital With Net Neutrality Rollback (BBG) Currency Moves Suggest U. K. Data Seen Before Release (WSJ) America’s Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Replaced by Robots (BBG) China’s biggest property markets still hot, prices may rebound if curbs lifted (People’s Daily) French intelligence says Assad forces carried out sarin attack (Reuters) America’s $1.2 Billion Mexico Milk Trade Is Now at Risk (BBG) Express Scripts Faces a Future Without Its Biggest Customer (WSJ) Europe’s Car Makers See Light at the End of the Tunnel (WSJ) South Korea court says Uber violated transport law, latest setback for U. S. firm (Reuters) Tesla Restores Auto-Brakes Amid Consumer Reports Downgrade (BBG) Turkey says detains 1,000 ‘secret imams’ in police purge (Reuters) China seeks to cement globalization credentials at Silk Road summit (Reuters) Climate Evangelists Are Taking Over Your Local Weather Forecast (BBG) Syrian refugees must buy travel papers – from Assad (Reuters) EU Ankara negotiator calls for suspension of Turkey accession talks (Reuters) Overnight Media Digest
WSJ
– An African-American on-air host for Fox News has joined a group of current and former employees suing the cable channel and some of its senior executives for alleged racial discrimination.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 26, 2017.