IMF Seizes on Pandemic to Pave Way for Privatization in 81 Countries
by Alan Macleod
Posted November 2, 2020
The enormous economic dislocation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique opportunity to fundamentally alter the structure of society, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is using the crisis to implement near-permanent austerity measures across the world.
76 of the 91 loans it has negotiated with 81 nations since the beginning of the worldwide pandemic in March have come attached with demands that countries adopt measures such as deep cuts to public services and pensions — measures that will undoubtedly entail privatization, wage freezes or cuts, or the firing of public sector workers like doctors, nurses, teachers and firefighters.
The principal cheerleader for neoliberal austerity measures across the globe for decades, the IMF has recently (quietly) begun admitting that these policies have not worked and generally make problems like poverty, uneven development, and inequality even worse. Furthermore, they have also failed even to bring the promised economic growth that was meant to counteract these negative effects. In 2016, it described its own policies as “oversold” and earlier summed up its experiments in Latin America as “all pain, no gain.” Thus, its own reports explicitly state its policies do not work. More…
The LEAST Important Election Of Our Lifetimes
by John Rubino
Posted November 1, 2020
A consensus seems to have formed on both left and right that the upcoming presidential election involves some literally existential questions, making it THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIMES.
In fact, the opposite is true. This election is the least important of the past 30 years and very possibly the least important ever. Because, to put it bluntly, we’re kind of screwed either way.
The coming financial crisis of course. The pandemic turbocharged a process of hyper-financialization that was already underway, and now whoever is in charge next will have no choice but to keep bailing out everything in sight with tens of trillions of newly created dollars.
This will shift the pressure from bankrupt states and insolvent companies to the currency. Prices will start to rise as the dollar falls. And the fears of today’s voters will seem in retrospect like quaint fantasies from a simpler and embarrassingly naïve time. Let’s consider some of those supposedly existential threats: More…
The Spiritual Significance of Halloween
Posted October 31, 2020
Halloween, which gets its roots from the pagan festival of Samhain falls on October 31st and is when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is believed to be the thinnest.
Samhain is all about celebrating the cycle of death and rebirth. In the northern hemisphere, the leaves are dying and nature is preparing for the still of winter. Just the same, in the southern hemisphere, the dormant buds are preparing to rebirth themselves and open to the start of summer.
Death and rebirth is an important cycle that is seen in nature constantly, and it’s also something that is mirrored within us. More…
My Resignation From The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald
Posted October 30, 2020
The same trends of repression, censorship and ideological homogeneity plaguing the national press generally have engulfed the media outlet I co-founded, culminating in censorship of my own articles.
Today I sent my intention to resign from The Intercept, the news outlet I co-founded in 2013 with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, as well as from its parent company First Look Media.
The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.
The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication. More…
How The Hundredth Monkey Effect Really Works
by Helen Elizabeth Williams
Posted October 30, 2020
In 1981, author Ken Keyes popularized a concept which had been introduced a little earlier by biologist Lyall Watson. The “Hundredth Monkey” effect postulated that, when enough monkeys – or people – catch on to a better way of doing things, then the idea suddenly spreads into the awareness of many others.
The most remarkable aspect of this concept is that no physical contact or proximity is required for a new idea to travel from one group of people to another.
The story began when Japanese primatologists, who were studying Macaque monkeys in the wild in the 1950s, stumbled upon a surprising phenomenon.
On the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant. More…
Feds Are Tapping Protesters’ Phones. Here’s How To Stop Them.
by Micah Lee
Posted October 29, 2020
Federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department used “a sophisticated cell phone cloning attack—the details of which remain classified—to intercept protesters’ phone communications” in Portland this summer, Ken Klippenstein reported this week in The Nation.
Put aside for the moment that, if the report is true, federal agents conducted sophisticated electronic surveillance against American protesters, an alarming breach of constitutional rights. Do ordinary people have any hope of defending their privacy and freedom of assembly against threats like this?
Yes, they do. Here are two simple things you can do to help mitigate this type of threat: More…
Federal Agents Used Toxic Chemical Smoke Grenades in Portland
by Sharon Lerner
Posted October 28, 2020
Protesters who were exposed to chemical gas and smoke during the standoffs with federal agents in Portland report a constellation of immediate and enduring effects not usually associated with tear gas, including vomiting, hair loss, inability to eat, and inability to focus or “brain fog.” Some of the symptoms are consistent with those the military and the chemical manufacturers have linked to both hexachloroethane and zinc chloride.
Many people were instantly sickened by the chemical cloud. “I vomited and the people around me were vomiting as well,” said a medic who goes by Opal Hexen. “A whole block of people was throwing up into their respirators,” said Hexen, who was also wearing a respirator that covered much of her face. “At that point, I felt like I had to take it off to vomit,” she said. “And when I did, I had a blinding, choking feeling. My whole body started shaking. I couldn’t see, and I couldn’t process anything.”
Laura Jedeed, who went to the majority of protests in July, didn’t vomit but wanted to. “There’s a gag reflex,” she said of her immediate reaction to the substance that federal agents sprayed into the air. While she had been exposed to tear gas from the Portland Police Bureau on several occasions, “whatever the feds were putting out there felt a lot worse,” said Jedeed. “It burns like you’re on fire for 24 hours.” The night after being exposed, Jedeed slept clutching frozen cans to cool her hands. “And for about a day after, I’d get a gag reflex when I was swallowing.” Long after that, she struggled to eat and by August had lost 10 pounds. More…
Billionaires’ Media: The Smearing of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
By Joyce Nelson
Posted October 27, 2020
At the end of what can only be called a smear piece, the print edition of The Globe and Mail stated, “This article was originally published by Tortoise, a different kind of newsroom committed to a slower, wiser news. To try Tortoise, Globe readers can get a 30-day free trial and a special half price offer…”
Strangely, the article made no mention of Children’s Health Defense, or of Kennedy’s Jr.’s August 29 speech in Berlin, where he addressed a huge rally. He told them that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “crisis of convenience for the elites” who are “destroying the middle class,” “using the quarantine to bring 5G into our communities” for “surveillance and data-mining”, and shifting us all “to digital currencies” and a cashless society that will benefit “the billionaires.”
Similarly, the Tortoise article didn’t mention that on August 17, Children’s Health Defense filed a lawsuit against Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and three fact-checking companies, charging them with censoring truthful public health information. 
So what (or who) is Tortoise Media? More…
The Little Cards That Tell Police ‘Let’s Forget This Ever Happened’
by Katie Way
Posted October 26, 2020
Some cops give their friends and family union-issued “courtesy cards” to help get them out of minor infractions. The cards embody everything wrong with modern policing.
With a few exceptions, PBA cards aren’t a normal part of life for most people in the U.S. Though they do confer some privilege and exclusivity, the cards aren’t exactly a secret. The Police Benevolent Association, New York City’s largest police union, issues these courtesy cards—nicknamed “get out of jail free cards”—to its members on a yearly basis. Members can pass the cards out to whomever they choose to provide them with a little extra protection.
The existence of these cards is a concrete example of a larger, often more insidious problem in American policing: Discretionary decision-making allows police to pick and choose who the law really applies to—and who gets a pass. More…
Thirteen People Who Had Foreknowledge of JFK’s Assassination
by J.L. Pattison
Posted October 25, 2020
One of the many fascinating discoveries uncovered by independent researchers in the nearly 60 years of investigation into the murder of President John F. Kennedy, is the revelation that numerous people had foreknowledge of the assassination.
Why this is so remarkable is because we’ve been programmed since grade school to believe that President Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and no one else was involved.
The official government narrative (regurgitated ad nauseam by the mainstream media) is that Oswald was the sole “lone nut” assassin who just happened to be aided by a combination of prodigiously fortuitous luck as well as a long chain of innumerable coincidences. But there’s more to this story. Much, much more. More…