How International Financial Elites Change Governments to Implement Austerity



Many countries around the world are plagued by all kinds of armed rebellions, economic sanctions, civil wars, “democratic” coup d’états and/or wars of “regime change.” These include Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia and Lebanon. Even in the core capitalist countries the overwhelming majority of citizens are subjected to brutal wars of economic austerity.

While not new, social convulsions seem to have become more numerous in recent years. They have become especially more frequent since the mysterious 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and the 2008 financial collapse in the United States, which soon led to similar financial implosions and economic crises in Europe and beyond.

Despite their many differences, these social turbulences share two common features. The first is that they are largely induced, nurtured and orchestrated from outside, that is, by the Unites States and its allies—of course, in collaboration with their class allies from inside. And the second is that, contrary to the long-established historical pattern of social revolutions, where the desperate and disenfranchised masses rebelled against the ruing elites, in most of the recent struggles it is the elites that have insigated insurgencies and civil wars against the masses. The two features are, of course, integrally intertwined: essentially reflecting the shared interests and collaborative schemes of the international plutocracies against the global 99%.

Fighting to Make Austerity Economics Universal

The official rationale (offered by the U.S. and its allies) that the goal of supporting anti-government opposition forces in places such as Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela is to spread democracy no longer holds any validity; it can easily be dismissed as a harebrained pretext to export neoliberalism and spread austerity economics. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that in places where the majority of citizens voted for and elected governments that were not to the liking of Western powers, these powers mobilized their local allies and hired all kinds of mercenary forces in order to overthrow the duly elected governments, thereby quashing the majority vote.

Such blatant interventions to overturn the elections that resulted from the majority vote include the promotion of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004 and 2014), Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005) and the Green Revolution in Iran (2009). They also include the relentless agitation against the duly elected governments of the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, as well as the rejection (and effective annulment) of the duly elected Hamas government in Palestine.

So, the real driving forces behind wars of regime change need to be sought elsewhere; specifically, in the imperatives of expansion and accumulation of capital on a global level. Socialist, social-democratic, populist or nationalist leaders who do not embrace neoliberal economic policies, and who may be wary of having their markets wide open to unbridled foreign capital, would be targeted for replacement with pliant leaders, or client states. This is, of course, not a new explanation of economic imperialism; it is as old as the internationalization of trade and investment…




#horror: The moment Muslim Syrian extremists cut off a man’s hand as punishment for stealing – and posted pics LIVE on Twitter

Brutal: Militants held the alleged thief back as one advanced with a sword to chop his hand off

.WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Islamist group live-tweeted punishment of a thief in northern Syria
.Photos were posted online showing a man having his hand chopped off
.Group claimed the man requested the punishment to ‘cleanse him of sin’

BySara Malmand Mia De Graaf

A group of Syrian Islamist militants posted a series of photographs of a man having his hand cut off in a live-update on Twitter.

The live-feed of the amputation, which was carried out in the northern town of Maskanah, near Aleppo, was re-tweeted by several Jihadi social media channels.

The group responsible, militant organisation ISIS – Islamist State in Iraq and Syria – claimed the man, an alleged thief, had requested to be punished in this way.

Several Jihadi accounts said the ‘thief’ had admitted his crimes ‘and also asked that his hand be cut off to cleanse his sins’.

It was not immediately possible to verify the accounts, and the photographs and tweets have now been removed from Twitter.

One photo showed a blindfolded man with his  hand being held down on a table while surrounded by a large group of militant  rebels.

A man dressed in a traditional white robe  stands in front of the table, and on the right side is a man in a black  balaclava holding a large sword.

A later photo showed the man with his hand  severed, the limb resting on the bloodied table…

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Documentary Asks – Would You Still Eat Chicken If You Knew the Truth

By Sally Painter | 02/28/14

chicken legs

It may have been created as part of a protest and drive for a petition campaign against the proposed USDA’s “Filthy Chicken Rule”, but the spoof documentary “Is It Factory Fresh Chicken?” carries a disturbing truth message.

In fact, once viewed, if you ever eat another factory farmed chicken, you’ll be sure to think about the video. The skit was created in the same parody as Portlandia’s “Is it Local?” and reveals harsh facts about factory farmed chicken in a comedic spoof.

The viewer is quickly educated about how the chicken they just ordered in a restaurant or fast food takeout line came to be part of their meal. There’s also a deeper and disturbing undertone of indifference about knowing how the food we eat was grown and processed.

The Unappetizing and Harsh Facts about Factory Farmed Poultry

The average chickens sold by the food service industry are provided by factory farms. In the tongue-in-check skit, the couple asks their server if the chicken they’re ordering is factory farmed as though it is a highly prized choice.

The server is very eager to share the details with the couple in the vein that this is a positive process. She first tells the couple that the chicken was raised on a factory farm where “the waste polluted the entire community”.

The couple is enthusiastic about this and the server becomes very animated as she continues to discuss how the chickens received a steady diet of antibiotics to ensure they grew plump very quickly. This delights the couple.

She quickly adds in a highly positive tone that the CDC has stated that this practice “leads to antibiotic resistance, which makes people sick”.

The couple is ecstatic about this news and encourages the server to continue. And so the short skit continues with other disturbing facts that the average person may be completely unaware of, such as:

–> 4 companies control 50% of the chicken produced in the US.

–> Factory farmed chickens never graze in open pastures.

–> Once slaughtered, the chickens are soaked in a vat of bleach to clean the chickens of their own excrement. 

And the final selling point to the couple in the video is that the USDA has proposed to allow these companies to monitor themselves by giving them the power to conduct their own inspections. These self-inspections would be for the production lines that process 175 chickens per minute.

chicken farm

Self-Policing of Farmed Factory Chickens

The idea that the USDA, tasked with the protection of the country’s food source, would turn over their obligation and duty to the very companies they are monitoring and inspecting sounds like a page out of the insanity manual for the destruction of a society’s food system and subsequent health.

But, that’s exactly what has been proposed in the “Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection” regulation, dubbed the “Filthy Chicken Rule”. This rule would turn over the majority of poultry inspection to these corporations…





Humans Appear Programmed to Obey Robots, Studies Suggest

By Jason Dorrier

Two 8-foot robots recently began directing traffic in the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa. The automatons are little more than traffic lights dressed up as campy 1960s robots—and yet, drivers obey them more readily than the humans previously directing traffic there.

Maybe it’s because the robots are bigger than the average traffic cop. Maybe it’s their fearsome metallic glint. Or maybe it’s because, in addition to their LED signals and stilted hand waving, they have multiple cameras recording ne’er-do-wells.

“If a driver says that it is not going to respect the robot because it’s just a machine the robot is going to take that, and there will be a ticket for him,” Isaie Therese, the engineer behind the bots, told CCTV Africa.

The Congolese bots provide a fascinating glimpse into human-robot interaction. It’s a rather surprising observation that humans so readily obey robots, even very simple ones, in certain situations. But the observation isn’t merely anecdotal—there’s research on the subject. (Hat tip to Motherboard for pointing out a fascinating study for us robot geeks.)

Last year, scientists at the University of Manitoba observed a group of 27 volunteers pressured to work on a docket of mundane tasks by either a 27-year-old human actor in a lab coat or an Aldeberan Nao robot—both called “Jim.”

Ever since the controversial 1971 Stanford prison experiment—wherein participants assigned roles of guards and prisoners demonstrated just how situational human morality can be—similar behavioral work has been rare and fraught.

Even so, if carefully conducted with the participants’ well-being in mind, such studies can provide valuable behavioral insights. The results of the Stanford study are still taught over 40 years later.

In this case, the researchers gave participants a moderately uncomfortable situation, told them they were free to quit at any time, and briefed them immediately following the test.

Each participant was paid C$10 to change file extensions from .jpg to .png as part of a “machine learning” experiment. To heighten their discomfort and the sense the task was endless, the workload began with a small batch of 10 files but grew each time the participant completed the assigned files (ultimately reaching a batch of 5,000).

Each time a participant protested, he was urged on by either the human or robot. The human proved the more convincing authority figure, but the robot was far from feckless.

10 of 13 participants said they viewed the robot as a legitimate authority, though they couldn’t explain why. Several people tried to strike up a conversation, and one showed remorse when the robot said it was ending the experiment and notifying the lead researcher, exclaiming, “No! Don’t tell him that! Jim, I didn’t mean that….I’m sorry.”




Look Who the US Is Siding With in Ukraine, Egypt, and Syria

US quietly partners with neo-Nazis in Ukraine, fascists in Egypt, and al-Qaeda in Syria

by Chris Ernesto

Imagine if protesters – supported by Russia – established an encampment in front of the US Capitol, threw Molotov cocktails into government buildings, fired guns at the police, and demanded that the US government relinquish power.

Obviously, the response from the US government would not be peaceful and there would be a loud call for war on Russia.

What if there were demonstrators in front of the White House who announced their events on Facebook by saying that members of congress should be incapacitated by having their knees smashed? Or if those same protesters posted YouTube videos saying that buses going into Washington should be set ablaze by dousing the roads with gas and diesel in the hopes of burning all the passengers inside?

Certainly, every US government official would demand the protesters be immediately arrested and charged with terrorism.

And what would happen if Islamic fundamentalists who had pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda began to bomb police stations and schools across the US?

Clearly, the US government would punish the responsible parties, and probably the countries in which they received training.

These things aren’t happening in the US, but they are occurring in Ukraine, Egypt and Syria by people who are funded, supported, encouraged or tacitly approved by the United States government.

US “guy” now running Ukraine

On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament accepted Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the country’s new prime minister. Yatsenyuk is the lawmaker from the Fatherland Party who has been Washington’s choice to lead the country, as revealed by the State Department’s Victoria Nuland when she told US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Pyatt, “Yats [Yatsenyuk] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.”

The now infamous ‘f*ck the EU’ leaked phone conversation between Nuland and Pyatt revealed the role played by the United States in supporting Ukraine’s far-right opposition in its (ultimately successful) attempt to overthrow the left-leaning Yanukovych. “The utter criminality of Washington’s drive to install a pliant regime in Kiev sharply emerges in Nuland and Pyatt’s discussion of Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the neo-fascist Svoboda party (who recently met with John McCain in Kiev). Nuland describes Tyahnybok as one of the “big three” within the opposition leadership. These remarks confirm that there is no confusion whatsoever within the Obama administration that it is working in partnership with fascist movements in Ukraine,” wrote Patrick O’Connor…





While the US is busy making enemies China becomes the biggest goods trading nation in 2013

Official figures show that China has surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest goods trading country in 2013.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce cited data from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and said China was the world’s biggest goods trading nation last year, Xinhua reported. The title previously belonged to Washington.
According to the statement, China’s goods trade topped USD 4.16 trillion in 2013 overtaking that of the US. The country’s exports totaled USD 2.21 trillion, while its imports stood at USD 1.95 trillion.
The figures have been confirmed by the World Trade Organization.

Yao Jian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, praised the new figures as a “great achievement” and a “milestone” in China’s foreign trade, saying his country is currently the largest trade partner for over 120 countries and regions.

Also in 2012, China managed to eclipse the US as the largest trading state in the world, according to official figures from both countries.
The East Asian country has already surpassed the US as a trading partner for much of the world, including US allies such as South Korea and Australia, according to a 2012 Associated Press analysis of trade data.





Permission to Abuse Animals: Idaho’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Bill Signed Into Law

New law will allow “animal abuse, environmental violations, and food contamination to flourish undetected, unchallenged, and unaddressed.”

  – Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed into law on Friday legislation that criminalizes those who secretly document abuse of animals at agricultural facilities.

Still from Mercy for Animals video The widely opposed bill, SB 1337, came about following an undercover video released by animal welfare group Mercy for Animals that showed workers torturing cows.

The bill had the backing of the state’s $2.5 billion dairy industry.

Otter issued a statement that “Senate Bill 1337 is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood.”

But as journalist and Green Is the New Red author Will Potter explained, the bill means “the whistleblowers who exposed the cruelty face criminal penalties worse than those who committed the abuse.”

Mercy For Animals founder and executive director Nathan Runkle denounced Otter’s signing of the bill, stating that the “new law will now throw shut the doors to industrial factory farms and allow animal abuse, environmental violations, and food contamination to flourish undetected, unchallenged, and unaddressed.”

The so-called ag-gag law will “perpetuate animal abuse, it endangers workers’ rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees, and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply,” Runkle stated. “This law is bad for consumers, who want more, not less, transparency in food production.”