Category Archives: Governments

If You Want to Understand the Next 10 Years, Study Spain, by Michael Krieger

Michael Krieger “gets” it: Catalonia is the shape of things to come. From Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Some of you may be confused as to why a U.S. citizen living in Colorado has become so completely obsessed with what’s going on in Spain. Bear with me, there’s a method to my madness.

I believe what’s currently happening in Spain represents a crucial microcosm for what we’ll see sweep across the entire planet over the next ten years. Some of you will want to have a discussion about who’s right and who’s wrong in this particular affair, but that’s besides the point. It doesn’t matter which side you favor, what matters is that Madrid/Catalonia is an example of the forces of centralization duking it out with forces of decentralization.

Madrid represents the nation-state as we know it, with its leaders claiming Spain is forever indivisible according to the constitution. Madrid has essentially proclaimed there’s no possible avenue to independence from a centralized Spain even if various regions decide in large number they wish to be independent. This sort of attitude will be seen as unacceptable and primitive by increasingly large numbers of humans in the years ahead. Catalonia should be seen as a canary in the coal mine. The forces of decentralization are rising, but entrenched centralized institutions and the bureaucrats running them will become increasingly terrified, panicked and oppressive.

As I’ve discussed, this isn’t coming out of nowhere. Humanity’s current established centralized institutions and nation-states have become clownishly corrupt, merely existing to protect and enrich the powerful/connected as opposed to benefiting the population at large. As such, legitimacy has been shattered and people have begun to demand a new way. Whether we see this with the rising popularity of Bitcoin, or the UK decision to leave the EU, evidence is everywhere and we’ve already passed the point of no return. This is precisely why EU leaders are rallying around Madrid. They’re scared to death and fear they might be next. They’re probably right.

To continue reading: If You Want to Understand the Next 10 Years, Study Spain

Advertisements

Mike Pompeo’s Latest Rant Demonstrates That the CIA is Far More Unreasonable Than North Korea, by Adam Garrie

It’s hard to see how negotiations will ever be on the table for the US with any of its adversaries—Russia, North Korea, Iran—as long as Mike Pompeo has a place in the Trump administration. From Adam Garrie at lewrockwell.com:

The question as to whether the DPRK is willing to engage in broad dialogue with potential international partners, has been answered. Last week, the DPRK sent an open letter to multiple governments, including the US ally, Australia, in which Pyongyang asked to form a united front against Donald Trump’s aggressive stance towards Pyongyang. Australia, in taking an overly literal reading of North Korea’s letter, threw away a chance to reply to Pyongyang. Had Australia engaged with Pyongyang, this would have literally been the beginning of dialogue between North Korea and a stanch US ally in the Pacific. The short-sighted attitude of the Canberra, demonstrates that when North Korea does reach out to countries in an unexpected way, this attempt to establish lines of dialogue is essentially met with a cynical and obstinate attitude that doesn’t get anyone anywhere. Dialogue is never easy in such situations, but all countries owe it to the wider cause of world peace to try. Australia foolishly read North Korea’s letter as a kind of ‘geo-political prank’, where in fact it was a thorny olive branch.

While North Korea has recently stated that they will not negotiate its nuclear programme until Pyongyang possesses the ability to strike all of the US mainland with nuclear missiles, the reality behind such dramatic remarks is far more mundane.

All negotiations in difficult situations have a cat and mouse element to them, with the roles of feline and rodent, often swapping by the day, if not by the hour. North Korea’s actions are often far more reasonable than their words. The fact that the DPRK did reach out to a US ally, demonstrates that they are ready for dialogue now. The fault here, therefore lies with those who refused to respond.

Furthermore, with North Korea months away from reaching the final stage of its nuclear development, by Pyongyang’s own admission, the treat to refrain from dialogue until such a state is reached, is becoming increasingly moot in any case.

To continue reading: Mike Pompeo’s Latest Rant Demonstrates That the CIA is Far More Unreasonable Than North Korea

 

“It’s A Coup”: Catalan President Slams “Worst Attack” By Spain “Since Franco Dictatorship”, by Tyler Durden

The Catalonia-Spain cat and mouse game continues. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Update: The defiant Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, addressed Catalans, Spaniards, and the rest of Europe on TV saying that the Spanish states’ imposition of Article 155 means “liquidation of our self-government and cancellation of the democratic will of Catalans”.  In other words, he made it quite clear that the region’s leaders would not accept direct rule imposed on the region by the Spanish government, as a political crisis that has rattled the economy and raised fears of prolonged unrest showed no signs of easing.

Puigdemont said Rajoy had set out to “humiliate” Catalonia in an “attack on democracy” and said removing powers from Catalonia was the “worst attack against the institutions and the people of Catalonia since the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco”.

After taking party in peaceful demonstration, Puigdemont expressed his rejection of Madrid’s move, but stopped short of saying he would make good his threat to push ahead with the independence bid before direct rule takes effect.

“I ask the (Catalan) parliament to meet in a plenary session during which we, the representatives of the citizens’ sovereignty, will be able to decide over this attempt to liquidate our government and our democracy, and act in consequence,” Puigdemont said in a televised address.

Puigdemont also said Spain “closed the doors ot a request for talks, and should set a date to discuss the attack” and “Catalan institutions cannot accept attack by Spain.”

In a striking accusation, the Catalan president said that “Catalan institutions dealt a coup by Spanish state.” Puigdemont then switched to English to appeal to Europeans, says democracy also at risk in Europe: “Catalonia is an ancient European nation”. He also announced a session in Catalan parliament to debate “the attempt to liquidate our self-government”.

Puigdemont concluded by saying “Long live Catalonia” to which a silently listening crowd suddenly burst back into cheers and chanting.

However, as noted, Puigdemont did not specifically declare independence, but said Catalonia will not accept Madrid’s plan to curb region’s powers, leaving one tiny, final loophole.

To continue reading: “It’s A Coup”: Catalan President Slams “Worst Attack” By Spain “Since Franco Dictatorship”

Xi’s road map to the Chinese Dream, by Pepe Escobar

China has a different way of asserting its claim to world leadership than the US. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

It all starts with Hong Kong as a major BRI financing hub. Photo: iStock

It all starts with Hong Kong as a major BRI financing hub. Photo: iStock
China’s Belt and Road Initiative – the New Silk Road – will spark the country’s development and turn the dream into reality
Now that President Xi Jinping has been duly elevated to the Chinese Communist Party pantheon in the rarified company of Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the world will have plenty of time to digest the meaning of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.”

Xi himself, in his 3½-hour speech at the start of the 19th Party Congress, pointed to a rather simplified “socialist democracy” – extolling its virtues as the only counter-model to Western liberal democracy. Economically, the debate remains open on whether this walks and talks more like “neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics”.

  • “Moderately prosperous society” by 2020.
  • Basically modernized nation by 2035.
  • Rich and powerful socialist nation by 2050.

Xi himself, since 2013, has encapsulated the process in one mantra; the “Chinese dream”. The dream must become reality in a little over three decades. The inexorable modernization drive unleashed by Deng’s reforms has lasted a little less than four decades. Recent history tell us there’s no reason to believe phase 2 of this seismic Sino-Renaissance won’t be fulfilled.

Xi emphasized, “the dreams of the Chinese people and those of other peoples around the world are closely linked. The realization of the Chinese dream will not be possible without a peaceful international environment and a stable international order.”

He mentioned only briefly the New Silk Roads, a.k.a. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as having “created a favorable environment for the country’s overall development”. He didn’t dwell on BRI’s ambition and extraordinary scope, as he does in every major international summit as well as in Davos earlier this year.

To continue reading: Xi’s road map to the Chinese Dream

Dying for the Empire Is Not Heroic, by Sheldon Richman

The usual tributes were paid to the four Green Berets who were killed in Niger, but nobody was asking what the US was doing in Niger. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

Predictably, the news media spent most of the week examining words Donald Trump may or may not have spoken to the widow of an American Green Beret killed in Niger, in northwest Africa, in early October. Not only was this coverage tedious, it was largely pointless. We know Trump is a clumsy boor, and we also know that lots of people are ready to pounce on him for any sort of gaffe, real or imagined. Who cares? It’s not news. But it was useful to those who wish to distract Americans from what really needs attention: the U.S. government’s perpetual war.

The media’s efforts should have been devoted to exploring – really exploring – why Green Berets (and drones) are in Niger at all. (This is typical of the establishment media’s explanation.)

That subject is apparently of little interest to media companies that see themselves merely as cheerleaders for the American Empire. For them, it’s all so simple: a US president (even one they despise) has put or left military forces in a foreign country – no justification required; therefore, those forces are serving their country; and that in turn means that if they die, they die as heroes who were protecting our way of life. End of story.

Thus the establishment media see no need to present a dissenting view, say, from an analyst who would question the dogma that inserting American warriors into faraway conflicts whenever a warlord proclaims his allegiance to ISIS is in the “national interest.” Patriotic media companies have no wish to expose their audiences to the idea that jihadists would be no threat to Americans who were left to mind their own business.

To continue reading: Dying for the Empire Is Not Heroic

The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered, by Eric Margolis

For years the US used ISIS as a regime-change agent in Syria, all the while claiming they were tough, tenacious, and hard to beat. Then Russia came along, and with allies Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, started pushing ISIS around. All of sudden, the US started having some success against ISIS, too. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

The so-called Islamic State organization was primarily a bogeyman encouraged by the western powers.  I’ve been saying this for the last four years.

I asserted, as a former soldier and war correspondent, that IS would collapse like a wet paper bag if proper western ground forces attacked their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.  This week, the western powers and their local satraps finally took action and stormed the last IS stronghold at Raqqa.  To no surprise, IS put up almost no resistance and ran for its miserable life.

The much-dreaded IS was never more than a bunch of young hooligans and religious fanatics who were as militarily effective as the medieval Children’s Crusade.

In the west, IS was blown up by media and governments into a giant monster that was coming to cut the throats of honest folk in the suburbs.

IS did stage some very bloody and grisly attacks – that’s what put it on the map.   But none of them posed any mortal threat or really endangered our national security.   In fact, the primary target of IS attacks has been Shia Muslims in the Mideast.

Many of the IS attacks in North America and Europe were done by mentally deranged individuals or were initiated by under-cover government provocateurs, such as the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center.  IS was notorious for falsely taking credit for attacks it did not commit.

Other ‘lone wolf’ attacks were made by Mideasterners driven to revenge after watching the destruction by the US and its allies of substantial parts of their region.  Think Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, and the murderous brutality of Egypt’s-US backed regime.

IS appears to have been shaped by western intelligence in an effort to duplicate its success with the Afghan mujahidin in the mid 1980’s that helped defeat the Soviet Union.  CIA, Pakistani and Saudi intelligence, and Britain’s MI-6 recruited some 100,000 volunteers from across the Muslim world to wage jihad in Afghanistan.  I observed this brilliant success first hand from the ranks of the mujahidin.

To continue reading: The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered

The First Amendment is Under Serious Assault in Order to Stifle Anti-Israel Boycotts, by Michael Krieger

Yet another area governments are sticking their noses into when they have no business doing so. In this instance their abridging First Amendment rights. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Assaults on freedom speech can be found in many aspects of American life these days, but one specific area that isn’t getting the attention it deserves relates to boycotts against Israel. Increasingly, we’re seeing various regional governments requiring citizens to agree to what essentially amounts to a loyalty pledge to a foreign government in order to participate in or receive government services.

I’m going to highlight two troubling examples of this, both covered by Israeli paper Haaretz. The first relates to Kansas.

From the article, In America, the Right to Boycott Israel Is Under Threat:

The First Amendment squarely protects the right to boycott. Lately, though, a legislative assault on that right has been spreading through the United States –  designed to stamp out constitutionally protected boycotts of Israel…

Over the past several years, state and federal legislatures have considered dozens of bills, and in some cases passed laws, in direct violation of this important ruling. These bills and laws vary in numerous respects, but they share a common goal of scaring people away people from participating in boycotts meant to protest Israeli government policies, including what are known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Today, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging one of those laws — a Kansas statute requiring state contractors to sign a statement certifying that they do not boycott Israel, including boycotts of companies profiting off settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

We are representing a veteran math teacher and trainer from Kansas who was told she would need to sign the certification statement in order to participate in a state program training other math teachers. Our client is a member of the Mennonite Church USA. In response to calls for boycott by the church and members of her congregation, she has decided not to buy consumer goods and services offered by Israeli companies and international companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Our client is boycotting to protest the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and to pressure the government to change its policies.

To continue reading: The First Amendment is Under Serious Assault in Order to Stifle Anti-Israel Boycotts