Category Archives: Poverty

COVID-19: The Emergence of the Pandemic Industrial Complex

By Brian Berletic



If official numbers are to be believed, the United States is one of the worst hit countries in terms of COVID-19 infections and deaths. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of writing, there are supposedly 19 million COVID-19 caseswith an alleged 300,000+ deaths suggesting between a 1-2% chance of dying from COVID-19 if infected by it. 

However, these numbers are problematic – even before questioning the validity of the statistics themselves leading to them.

For example – asymptomatic cases will likely go both untested and unreported, meaning many more people are actually being infected by COVID-19, exhibiting no symptoms, receiving no treatment, and most certainly not making it into the CDC’s “cases” statistics.

This means that your chances of being infected by COVID-19 and dying are actually much, much less than the often touted claim of 1-2%. Only those who exhibit severe enough symptoms to be tested and/or treated will make it into the statistics of “cases.”

In terms of framing any pandemic, an exaggeration of the lethality of the virus becomes a fundamental issue. If this information by itself is carelessly or dishonestly presented to the public without mention of the many more people likely being infected and exhibiting no symptoms at all, panic can, and clearly has been spread across society and the world, enabling extreme policies to glide through approval, beginning the process of disfigurement society now suffers today.

This was a fact highlighted by the work of Dr. John Ioannidis who, even at the onset of COVID-19, attempted to raise the alarm about needlessly stoking public hysteria, the folly of driving public health policy without proper data, and the catastrophic impact it would have – and is now clearly having – on society if this trend isn’t reversed.

video interview conducted by Journeyman Pictures from April 2020 noted Dr. Ioannidis’ breakdown of data and the results of his own studies conducted to illustrate exactly this. His study included widespread serological (antibody) testing in Santa Clara County, California to see how many individuals may have been infected by COVID-19 but simply never exhibited symptoms, or symptoms serious enough to seek medical attention and be tested for COVID-19.

Dr. Ioannidis would note:

“If you compare the numbers that we estimate to have been infected, which vary from 48,000-81,000, versus the number of documented cases that would correspond to the same time horizon around April 1st, when we had 956 cases documented in Santa Clara County, we realize that the number of infected people is somewhere between 50 and 85 times more compared to what we thought, compared to what had been documented. Immediately, that means that the infection fatality rate, the chance of dying, the probability of dying, if you are infected, diminishes by 50-85 fold, because the denominator in the calculation becomes 50-85 fold bigger. If you take these numbers into account, they suggest that the infection fatality rate for this new coronavirus is likely to be in the same ballpark as seasonal influenza.”

Dr. Ioannidis also noted that there was a large gradient regarding death rates based on age and underlying medical conditions, with the risk of death for people under 65 with no underlying medical conditions being virtually negligible.

The need for wider testing to fully establish mature datasets – as Dr. Ioannidis and his team at Stanford illustrated – and efforts to communicate to the public the difference between the infection fatality ratio (IFR) and the case fatality ratio (CFR), have been neglected by Western governments and even more so by the Western corporate media. In some cases, efforts appear to be being made to deliberately obfuscate or confuse this crucial information in order to continue stoking panic and hysteria.

But in addition to this, there is the fact that governments – particularly in the West – have been caught using dubious or disorganized methods to tally COVID-19 deaths – meaning that both IFR and CFR numbers could be easily skewed.

For example, British state-funded media outlet, the BBC in an August 2020 article titled, “Coronavirus: England death count review reduces UK toll by 5,000,” would admit:

A review of how deaths from coronavirus are counted in England has reduced the UK death toll by more than 5,000, to 41,329, the government has announced.

The article also noted that:

The new methodology for counting deaths means the total number of people in the UK who have died from Covid-19 comes down from 46,706 to 41,329 – a reduction of 12%.

The article revealed that Public Health England had “included everyone who had tested positive [for COVID-19], even if they died months afterwards and their death may have had another cause.”

Similar statistical gymnastics are being performed in the US. Even the New York Times raised the issue fairly early on in article, “Is the Coronavirus Death Tally Inflated? Here’s Why Experts Say No,” clearly inferring that there may be a problem with the official methodology, and went on to explain throughout the article how it is impossible to ever know since accurate counts – or even accurate systems to use in counting – may not presently exist in the US.

In other words: the current systems are less than perfect and vulnerable to systemic distortions in the presentation of data. Again, this is a fundamental issue when public health policy is based on the perceived severity of the epidemic.

The Real Impact of COVID-19

Based on what were clearly misused and incomplete statistics, the US, the UK, and much of Western Europe have led the world in stoking unprecedented hysteria, enforcing travel restrictions and lockdowns, including the closing of businesses and schools, and grinding the economies of the world to a halt either directly or indirectly – in a manner similar to but with an impact much greater than the US-led global “War on Terror” starting in 2001.

Pressure from “international organizations” like the World Health Organization (WHO) using its UN-affiliated platform to declare a “global pandemic,” along with Western governments and the corporations that dominate foreign and domestic policy, has created a global crisis – not in terms of human health, but in terms of socioeconomics.

Businesses are closed – not because those who regularly run or patronize them are in hospital beds or dead – but by order of governments, and with official policy backing from organizations like the WHO.

The mainstream media has played a key role in this – not only repeating narratives provided by governments and healthcare institutions uncritically, but refusing to fulfill their role as watchdogs and investigators searching out impropriety.

It is a state of hysteria that is crippling small and medium-sized businesses (SME), but a boon to big-business.

Headlines from papers like the Wall Street Journal admit, “Big Tech Companies Reap Gains as Covid-19 Fuels Shift in Demand,” or as the Guardian reported, “Amazon third-quarter earnings soar as pandemic sales triple profits,” make it clear that some big-businesses are profiting from the hysteria.

Moreover, the Guardian report, “The mystery of which US businesses are profiting from the coronavirus bailout,” reveals how struggling big-businesses are being bailed out by government money – while the SME sector, the real pulse of any vibrant economy and society – is being left behind.

But there is one industry who stands out above all others to benefit, an industry notorious for its deeply rooted corruption, and an industry that has already been caught using its ties with international organizations like the WHO to declare pandemics, stoke hysteria, and profit handsomely from the resulting chaos.

It’s the West’s pharmaceutical industry.

At no time in human history has it been more powerful and influential than it is now. And at no other time in human history has it been so dangerous.

Big-Pharma: The Least Trustworthy Pandemic Partner

Western Big-Pharma’s profiteering and corruption under ordinary circumstances is already shocking. The current climate of public confusion, panic, and growing socioeconomic desperation only invites the industry’s impropriety to new levels.

Pharmaceutical corporations like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Moderna – having received billions of dollars directly or indirectly from taxpayers to develop COVID-19 vaccines – have long, documented histories of corruption, including bribing regulators, doctors, and governments.

They have also been caught falsifying safety and efficacy data. They have promoted the use of their products for patients in cases not approved of by regulators, including on children.

They have even been caught knowingly selling products they knew were dangerous or even deadly – withholding critical information from both regulators and the public.

Pfizer alone – as its COVID-19 vaccine began rolling out publicly – was under investigation this year, according to its own Security Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, for its Greenstone generics business over antitrust concerns, for manufacturing issues regarding Quillivant XR, regarding quality issues over the manufacturing of auto-injectors, over corruption inquiries regarding its Russian and Chinese operations, and in regards to lawsuits in Mexico over the manufacturing of Zantac and a cancer-causing chemical called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) found in the product.

The investigation regarding Zantac finally prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – who had originally approved the drug – to request it be pulled from the market after finding it is indeed linked to an increased likelihood of causing cancer.

The Wall Street Journal in a 2020 article titled, “Pfizer Receives Inquiry From SEC Bribery Unit,” would note of Pfizer’s past scandals that:

Pfizer has had past run-ins with U.S. authorities over allegations of bribery among its operations abroad. The company in 2012 agreed to pay $60.2 million to settle investigations by the SEC and the Justice Department into alleged violations of the FCPA in several countries in Europe and Asia, including China and Russia.

The US Department of Justice in its own statement regarding part of the 2012 payout by Pfizer would note:

According to court documents, Pfizer H.C.P. made a broad range of improper payments to numerous government officials in Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan and Russia – including hospital administrators, members of regulatory and purchasing committees and other health care professionals – and sought to improperly influence government decisions in these countries regarding the approval and registration of Pfizer Inc. products, the award of pharmaceutical tenders and the level of sales of Pfizer Inc. products.  According to court documents, Pfizer H.C.P. used numerous mechanisms to improperly influence government officials, including sham consulting contracts, an exclusive distributorship and improper travel and cash payments. 

Such bribery might help explain why Pfizer and other pharmaceutical corporations are able to sell dangerous products like cancer-causing Zantac or – in the case of fellow COVID-19 vaccine producer Johnson and Johnson – cancer-causing baby powder –  for years before mounting lawsuits and public outrage spur regulators to finally do their job properly.

In Johnson & Johnson’s case, a Reuters investigation would note (emphasis added):

Facing thousands of lawsuits alleging that its talc caused cancer, J&J insists on the safety and purity of its iconic product. But internal documents examined by Reuters show that the company’s powder was sometimes tainted with carcinogenic asbestos and that J&J kept that information from regulators and the public.

What this illustrates is a consistent pattern of corruption stretching across Pfizer’s (and Johnson & Johnson’s) manufacturing process to their  business practices and spanning years. It is an entire industry that repeatedly engages in dangerous impropriety, is repeatedly investigated and fined, but allowed to not only continue conducting business – but is still entrusted with matters critical to public healthcare.

The implications it has for the process of developing, approving, producing, and distributing vaccines for COVID-19 should be obvious.

The 2009 H1N1 “Heist” 

Despite the immense amount of publicly-known corruption engaged in by the Western pharmaceutical industry and the obviously troubling implications it has for the current COVID-19 vaccine rollout – it is only one dimension of a much wider problem.

There is also the Western pharmaceutical industry’s known history of creating public scares to attract massive government contracts and wield power and influence over public discourse regarding human healthcare issues.

The same large corporate media outlets today helping fuel public hysteria regarding COVID-19 and promoting big-pharma’s vaccine rollout had previously reported on past instances of big-pharma crying “pandemic,” using its influence over international organizations like the WHO, and securing massive government contracts worth billions of dollars for unnecessary and ineffective medication and vaccines.

Think back to 2009 and the H1N1 “Swine Flu” scare. Following the WHO’s dramatic declaration of a “global pandemic,” the headlines and articles from the mainstream Western media read almost identical to those being circulated today regarding COVID-19.

NPR in a 2009 article would claim:

Seven months into the flu pandemic of 2009, North America leads the world in cases, the WHO says.

Unlike elsewhere, the new H1N1 never exited stage left after its debut appearance in late April. In fact, it’s making more noise than ever. Mexico has experienced more cases of pandemic flu since September than it did over the first four months of the pandemic this spring.

The ratcheting up of hysteria continued both from the WHO and across the Western media, accompanied by drives to fund vaccine development and stockpile medication like Roche’s Tamiflu.

The UK Daily Mail in a 2009 article titled, “Tamiflu: What you MUST know as swine flu threatens to strike,” would claim:

The Government has announced that stocks of drugs – known as antivirals – to fight the imminent threat of a swine flu pandemic are being built up to cover more than 50million people – or 80 per cent of the country’s population.

But as hysteria faded, the truth emerged. Articles began to appear like this one from Reuters in 2014 titled, “Stockpiles of Roche Tamiflu drug are waste of money, review finds,” which noted:

Researchers who have fought for years to get full data on Roche’s flu medicine Tamiflu said on Thursday that governments who stockpile it are wasting billions of dollars on a drug whose effectiveness is in doubt.

The article also pointed out:

Tamiflu sales hit almost $3 billion in 2009 – mostly due to its use in the H1N1 flu pandemic – but they have since declined. 

There were also Roche’s financial ties to WHO experts who designated the appearance of H1N1 as a “pandemic,” helping pave the way for the public hysteria required to fuel Roche’s profits from selling what was essentially a useless drug to government stockpiles.

The BBC in their 2010 article, “WHO swine flu experts ‘linked’ with drug companies,” would report:

Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found. 

Roche was mentioned by name by the BBC (emphasis added):

The advice prompted many countries around the world into buying up large stocks of Tamiflu, made by Roche, and Relenza manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.

Despite these revelations post-H1N1 after 2009, the very same actors have taken the stage for a repeat performance in 2020 – with little to no alarm from the same media organizations who ignored the H1N1 “heist” in 2009 and reluctantly reported on it only long after the damage was done.

Big-Pharma’s Pandemic Industrial Complex

Over the past ten years – big pharma’s control over the WHO and its influence over both the media and Western governments has only grown.

Powerful organizations like the Wellcome Trust – which claims to be an “independent foundation” funded through an investment portfolio – counts several large pharmaceutical corporations – Novartis, Roche, Johnson & Johnson, and Abbott Labs – on their list of “significant directly held public equity holdings.”

Its governance includes representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, various Western governments, academia, the media, and of course the WHO itself.

It is an institutionalization of the conflicting interests that have tolerated, accommodated, even helped expand the unwarranted power, wealth, influence, and corruption of big pharma.

And while Wellcome Trust claims to be “independent” of corporate and government ties, alongside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – it has helped create another front organization called The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – through which it accepts and disperses huge amounts of Western taxpayers’ money.

The work of CEPI directly impacts the business prospects of many of the corporations Wellcome Trust owns stocks in – with its investments paying off above average amid this most recent round of public hysteria and government spending on this latest declared pandemic.

International Publishers Limited in an article titled, “Wellcome Trust ‘prospers’ under COVID-19 fallout with 12.3% return,” would report:

Wellcome Trust’s portfolio has not just survived, but prospered, in the highly volatile environment following the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Eliza Manningham-Buller, the charity’s chair, introducing its annual report which unveiled a 12.3% return for the year to 30 September 2020, up on the 6.9% of the previous year.

The trust, which supports medical research worldwide, is the UK’s largest charity, with a £29.1bn (€31.9bn) portfolio at end-September 2020. Wellcome’s investments have returned an average 12.1% a year over the past decade.

It’s worth noting that back in March, both Wellcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided$125 million in “seed funding” to accelerate certain pharmaceutical products claiming to treat COVID-19, including Gilead Science’s antiviral Remdesivir. Despite failing repeatedly in clinical trials, and after the National Institute of Health (NIH) was exposed attempting to rewrite the rules in their attempt to salvage the drug’s reputation as a viable therapeutic for COVID-19 – Remdedivir was continually hyped in the media by Bill Gates and NIH Director Anthony Fauci, and is still defended by the WHO to this day.

It’s also important to note that as of 2020, the number one funder of the World Health Organization is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who supplied the WHO with approximately $531 millionin its 2018-19 biennial budget, roughly 12% of WHO’s total budget.

Unlike the H1N1 scare and multiple scandals that emerged out from behind the smokescreen of public hysteria deliberately created around it, the COVID-19 crisis has been sustained for now nearly a year with enduring regiments being put in place to condition and control the public – and to control the flow of information through traditional channels as well as online and particularly across US-based social media platforms, and direct public funding into the coffers of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry.

At the same time, other major industries are either being spared the same regulations and restrictions strangling smaller businesses out of existence, or being bailed out by public funding.

It has gone from the “H1N1 Heist” of 2009 to what appears to be a “Pandemic Industrial Complex” taking shape today.

How far this goes in shaping – or more accurately – disfiguring society, is up to those people who can clearly see public and private sectors conspiring together and consisting of the least reliable partners for actually taking on a real pandemic and protecting the public from it – if that is truly what we are facing.

On one hand, even if we believe the statistics and claims being made on a daily basis by the mainstream media and government representatives, we can see for ourselves the corporations elected by the government to create the solutions claimed are needed to end the crisis, are guilty of serial abuses including the production and distribution of entirely unsafe products – products developed and “approved” of by government regulators under normal conditions that would go on to making people ill or even killing them.

But the COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out now aren’t even going through that process. They have instead been rushed through approval and unpredictable results and adverse effects are already emerging.

It harkens back to another chapter involving a novel virus – 1976’s Swine Flu – where vaccines were rushed into production and resulted in mounting adverse effects, particularly paralyzing Guillain-Barré syndrome in over 400 individuals. And these were only the cases that were reported, as the true total of those who suffered varying degrees of complications will never be fully known.

In 1976, the vaccination program was abandoned and the government’s response deemed a failure of historic proportions. But apparently the lessons learned then, or in 2009, have been lost entirely today – and in some cases – deliberately buried by a complicit media.

If COVID-19 is the crisis we are told it is – why isn’t there a greater demand for more trustworthy and transparent partners to work with to face it? These would be partners capable of acknowledging past mistakes and explaining how their plan today differs from those in the past.

But unfortunately, history has already taught us that pandemics can be declared – not because they actually exist and/or pose as grave a threat as government, media and corporate stakeholders claim – but because profits are to be made by big pharma, in connection with those in organizations like the WHO who have the unique power to declare pandemics, and perpetuate them regardless of the truth.

We watched for two decades as the West orchestrated an entirely false “War on Terror” around the globe, justifying actions as extreme as invasions, wars, and illegal occupations of other countries and the expenditure of trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

Is it really that hard to imagine as possible, this formula being reworked atop the 2009 H1N1 scandals and pushed forward aggressively?

***
Author Brian Berletic, formerly known under his pen name Tony Cartalucci, is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher, writer and special contributor to 21st Century Wire. See more of his work at Tony’s archive. Over the last decade, his work has been published on a number of popular news and analysis websites, and also on the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. Also, you can follow him on VK here.

Article References:

CDC – United States COVID-19 Cases and Deaths by State:
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days

Journeyman Pictures – Perspectives on the Pandemic | Dr. John Ioannidis:
https://youtu.be/cwPqmLoZA4s

MedRxiv – COVID-19 Antibody Seroprevalence in Santa Clara County, California:
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v2

WHO – Infection fatality rate of COVID-19 inferred from seroprevalence data:
https://www.who.int/bulletin/online_first/BLT.20.265892.pdf

BBC – Coronavirus: England death count review reduces UK toll by 5,000:
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-53722711

NYT – Is the Coronavirus Death Tally Inflated? Here’s Why Experts Say No:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/19/us/us-coronavirus-covid-death-toll.html

Coronavirus outbreak declared a pandemic: what does it mean, and does it change anything?
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/pandemic-coronavirus-who-what-impact-uk/

WSJ – Big Tech Companies Reap Gains as Covid-19 Fuels Shift in Demand:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-sales-surge-amid-pandemic-driven-online-shopping-11604003107

Guardian – Amazon third-quarter earnings soar as pandemic sales triple profits:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/oct/29/amazon-profits-latest-earnings-report-third-quarter-pandemic

Guardian – The mystery of which US businesses are profiting from the coronavirus bailout:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/09/us-congress-billions-coronavirus-aid-relief-package

Pfizer SEC Filing For the quarterly period ended September 27, 2020:
https://d18rn0p25nwr6d.cloudfront.net/CIK-0000078003/5164adeb-657b-446f-820d-6934e6484165.pdf

FDA – FDA Requests Removal of All Ranitidine Products (Zantac) from the Market:
https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-requests-removal-all-ranitidine-products-zantac-market

WSJ – Pfizer Receives Inquiry From SEC Bribery Unit:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/pfizer-receives-inquiry-from-sec-bribery-unit-11604674900

Reuters – Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder:
https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/johnsonandjohnson-cancer/

NPR – North America Leads Swine Flu Pack:
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2009/11/north_america_leads_the_pack_o.html

Daily Mail – Tamiflu: What you MUST know as swine flu threatens to strike:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1176661/Tamiflu-What-MUST-know-swine-flu-threatens-strike.html

Reuters – Stockpiles of Roche Tamiflu drug are waste of money, review finds:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-roche-hldg-novartis-search/stockpiles-of-roche-tamiflu-drug-are-waste-of-money-review-finds-idUSBREA390EJ20140410

BBC – WHO swine flu experts ‘linked’ with drug companies:
https://www.bbc.com/news/10235558

Wellcome Trust – Directly held public equity holdings:
https://wellcome.org/about-us/investments/direct-public-equity-holdings

Wellcome Trust – Board of Governors:
https://wellcome.org/about-us/governance/board-governors

CEPI – Who We Are:
https://cepi.net/about/whoweare/

IPE – Wellcome Trust ‘prospers’ under COVID-19 fallout with 12.3% return:
https://www.ipe.com/news/wellcome-trust-prospers-under-covid-19-fallout-with-123-return/10049623.article

Gates Foundation and Wellcome set up $125m coronavirus drug fund:
https://www.ft.com/content/566acfb0-6216-11ea-b3f3-fe4680ea68b5

New data on Gilead’s remdesivir, released by accident, show no benefit for coronavirus patients. Company still sees reason for hope:
https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/23/data-on-gileads-remdesivir-released-by-accident-show-no-benefit-for-coronavirus-patients/

Inside the NIH’s controversial decision to stop its big remdesivir study:
https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/11/inside-the-nihs-controversial-decision-to-stop-its-big-remdesivir-study/

‘Big concerns’ over Gates foundation’s potential to become largest WHO donor:
https://www.devex.com/news/big-concerns-over-gates-foundation-s-potential-to-become-largest-who-donor-97377

Discover – The Public Health Legacy of the 1976 Swine Flu Outbreak:
https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/the-public-health-legacy-of-the-1976-swine-flu-outbreak

Generation Betrayed. The Corona Regime in Schools. The Future of Our Children

Can it be that we are merely witnessing a gigantic and historically unprecedented medical-political abuse of power? That a virus is being used as a scapegoat for something else?

By Michael Hüter




“Protecting children from all dangers is my damned father’s duty,” sang Reinhard Mey. Our offspring currently need protection from the rigid corona regime in schools. 

Serious damage is done to our sons and daughters through masking and social distance rules, through constant ventilation in freezing cold and the suppression of their vital needs for contact and impartiality – both physically and mentally. 

In addition, their self-confidence is broken by the constant suggestion that they are a changing risk of infection. In addition, they are trained into conformism and submission to constraints. 

Which generation is growing up there? Do we think our children are not systemically relevant and are we therefore only too willing to sacrifice them on the altar of the prevailing corona narrative? We must finally defend ourselves against the organized lovelessness to which our children are exposed. 

As a historian, I have been deeply appalled for months at how a whole society, whole nations, can be led collectively into division and, above all, irrationality solely on the basis of mass PCR tests.

For weeks I have been wondering: Where is the so-called academic elite of Europe in the areas of history, political science, sociology and psychology which stands up and says: Enough! With a total “war against the virus”, according to Emmanuel Macron, – as in any war – thousands or millions of “civilians” – in this case healthy people – lose their livelihoods, make sick, and ultimately killed (1).

Where are the many celebrities in Europe from science, the arts, literature, music and film who come together in public and shout: Enough! We demand an end to Covid-19 totalitarianism, not just in the media! 

Three years ago the renowned German historian Philipp Blom, who lives in Vienna, wrote the admonishing book: “What is at stake!” Meanwhile everything is at stake: human rights, social peace, freedom, democracy, prosperity, work, tolerance, public health – not because of the virus, but the highly disproportionate nature of measures such as “lockdown” – and simply human dignity.

For all these humane achievements people fought for centuries and many lost their lives. These achievements are not a law of nature, not divisible, not negotiable, not interpretable and also not measurable.

It was not without reason that the greatest peacemaker of all time, Mahatma Gandhi, gave us a warning: Whoever accepts injustice in silence is complicit!

As a reminder: the legacy of totalitarianism and fascism: Between 1914 and 1970, around 100 million people lost their lives in all world wars and civil wars, in all totalitarian societies in Europe, both right-wing and left-wing ideologies. 

All of Europe’s totalitarian systems – National Socialism, Stalinism, Italian fascism, Franco’s dictatorship in Spain, etc. – they were all made possible not by those in power, not by the leaders and commanders, but without exception and again and again by the tolerant or silent majority. By the informers, but also by those who were discouraged and fearful. By those concerned about their belongings. In the end, almost everyone lost everything: their belongings, honor and human dignity.

I am writing here not only as a historian and researcher on the rights of children, but primarily as a father of three.

Most of the public play facilities for children were closed on World Playday for Children on May 29th and World Children’s Day on June 1st, while beer gardens and hardware stores had been open for weeks. 

A society that implicitly says that children and young people are not “systemically relevant” does not want a future!

Since the end of March at the latest and until today, all international studies on SARS-CoV-2 have shown the following:

Children and adolescents play no role in the infection process, they rarely become infected and, if at all, they usually do not get sick at all (2).

A positive PCR test result does not automatically mean: infected! By now every journalist – also in Germany and Austria – should be familiar, understandable and comprehensible. And infected with SARS-CoV-2 does not automatically mean that you get Covid-19.

It is not without reason that every PCR test manufacturer points out: The test is not suitable for diagnostic purposes.

Therefore, mask compulsory and quarantine for children and adolescents, based solely on a positive PCR test, are child abuse and simply a crime of humanity.

Because to this day there is not a single evidence-based medical and therefore no legal justification for this!

The “Parents Stand Up” initiative carried out a nationwide survey among schoolchildren about the requirement to mask in schools. A first interim report of 2,300 questionnaires shows the following devastating picture:

For example, 44.1 percent of the students surveyed suffer from breathing difficulties. 73 percent of headaches, 86.4 percent of fatigue, 65.7 percent of concentration disorders, 38 percent of dizziness and around 36 percent of anxiety states.

As a reminder, for centuries the schools of Europe were primarily a place of religious, political or ideological indoctrination and also a place of violence. For months I have been oppressed by the feeling that, since March, Europe has literally released all the negative spirits of the last centuries from the bottle in one fell swoop.

Now a small excerpt from the interim evaluation of 2,300 questionnaires at mainly German kindergartens and schools in 2020:

In some crèches and kindergartens, parents have to leave their children at the door, even during the so-called acclimatization phase, because adults are not allowed to accompany them!

School classes with masks and wet jackets sit all day in classrooms with the windows open!

Again and again, students collapse because of wearing masks and are also punished with denunciation and exclusion!

Again and again it is suggested to young people that if you don’t wear a mask you are a murderer! In the meantime, however, dozens of studies have shown that wearing everyday masks to curb the spread of the virus does absolutely nothing.

Schoolchildren are only allowed to drink and go to the toilet according to the schedule, not when needed!

In some schools it is no longer allowed to shower and blow-dry your hair after swimming lessons!

Again and again children are terrified, with the argument: If you don’t wear a mask, it’s your fault when grandpa and grandma die!

This list is madness, it is pathology. Here healthy people are made sick.

A human rights disaster.

With what right – in the double sense of the word – do we simply steal everything from an entire generation of children and young people? Relationship and friendship, education and training, sport and health, freedom and self-efficacy, the acquisition of vital skills, simply and completely the future!

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, recently spoke of a “human rights disaster” at the 41st session of the Human Rights Council. “But if the rule of law is not respected, the health emergency threatens to turn into a human rights catastrophe, the negative effects of which will long surpass those of the pandemic itself,” warned the UN High Commissioner.

To all the highest and constitutional judges in Germany and Austria: Immediately end all Covid-19 measures for young people, for children and adolescents, end the mask requirement and school closings, end the exaggerated hygiene and distance rules, come to your senses and look to Sweden!

The young Astrid Lindgren, author of Pipi Longstocking, wrote in her diary in the 1940s: “Mankind has lost its mind.”

Sweden in 2020. To date, this country has not carried out a lockdown, nor has it introduced a general mask requirement. No school closings and, above all, no masking requirements for children and young people. In Sweden, the hundred thousand people prophesied by Angela Merkel, Sebastian Kurz, Christian Drosten and Co have not died to this day. Sweden does not make the healthy sick and does not abuse its children and adolescents with mask force.

Could it be that Covid-19 has mutated into a political virus in many parts of Europe? A small but possibly clarifying detail: Sweden is still neither in the euro zone nor a member of NATO. While Germany and Austria, for example, are in the second “lockdown”, schools, restaurants, fitness studios, cinemas, etc. are open in neighboring Switzerland.

First judgment on the general obligation to quarantine

A Portuguese court of appeal (Tribunal da Relação de Lisboa) is the first court in Europe to lift the general quarantine requirement for those who have tested positive with a judgment of November 11, 2020. His reasoning: The principle “in dubio pro reo” applies to courts. The PCR tests are unreliable and tested positive means neither necessarily contagious nor infected. According to the court, a medical diagnosis can only be made by a doctor (3).

Can it be that we are merely witnessing a gigantic and historically unprecedented medical-political abuse of power? 

That a virus is being used as a scapegoat for something else?

Children and adolescents are not a virus risk for society, not even for the old, the sick and the elderly. Children are and will remain our only future!

Anyone who cannot stand a child’s laughter, who cannot bear the mental health of a child, who forces children to use masks and distance rules, is sick themselves. Not suffering from Covid-19, but from lovelessness, ignorance, hatred and dehumanization.

The history of mankind shows one thing impressively: no epidemic, no single virus can cause as much hardship, suffering, illness, misery and even death as a mentally ill society, human presumption and, above all, overconfidence.

We should protect our children from that!

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Notes

(1) On March 16, 2020, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of war seven times in his State of the Union address (1st lockdown) regarding the corona crisis: “We are at war, a health war, for sure. We are not fighting against an army or any other nation, but the enemy is there, insecure, fleeting and on the advance. (…) We are at war. “

(2) There are now numerous international online platforms that publish uncommented international research reports, studies, evaluations, court rulings, etc. on Covid-19. For example the Swiss platform Swiss Policy Research. 

(3) The original court ruling is available at: infosperber.ch 

A selection of international research results on SARS-CoV-2 and children and adolescents:

The Icelandic tracing pioneer Kari Stephanson, CEO of deCODEgenetics, did not find a single case in which a child under ten had infected their parents. 

The director of the US CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), Robert Redfield, said that the number of additional suicides and drug deaths among adolescents in recent months has been far greater than the number of Covid-19 deaths. 

According to the US state health authority CDC, three times more children up to 14 years of age have died of influenza than of Covid-19 (101 versus 31) since the beginning of 2020. To put that in perspective: The USA has around 328 million inhabitants and the general mental and physical health of children and adolescents in the USA has been consistently poor for over 20 years than in any other western country. Even before Covid-19 and for years, around 2.5 million children in the United States have been homeless. 

A joint report from Sweden (without closing primary schools) and Finland (with closing primary schools) found that there was no difference in infection rates among children in the two countries. This joint state report was published by Sweden and Finland via the international press agency Reuters, which reported on it on July 15, 2020. So weeks before the state corona terror was introduced in schools in some German federal states such as North Rhine-Westphalia or Bavaria.

A British study found that up to 60 percent of children and adolescents and around 6 percent of adults already have cross-reactive antibodies against the new coronavirus that have arisen through contact with previous coronaviruses. 

After the first lockdown, Saxony was the first federal state to start regular school operations, which were scientifically supported by Dresden University. Study leader Reinhard Berner explained to the Frankfurter Allgemeine on July 13th that in terms of Covid-19, in summary, children act more as a brake on the infection than as a carrier. See also “Corona consequences for children” 

As well as at michael-hueter.org

2020: Annus Horribilis, The Worst Is Yet to Come? Poverty, Unemployment, Despair

By Stephen Lendman



For most Americans, 2020 was disastrous for their safety, well-being and future.

Unprecedented numbers of people lost jobs — a greater percent of working-age Americans than in the 1930s Great Depression. 

Millions more became way underemployed earning poverty wages with few or no benefits — struggling daily to survive.

Well over 100,000 small businesses went bankrupt or otherwise shut down permanently because of draconian lockdowns, quarantines and related policies.

According to Gallup survey data, “Americans’ mental health ratings s(ank) to a new low” in 2020— with no end to mass-misery in prospect.

Chicago’s Water Tower Place is the city’s preeminent downtown shopping mall along its Magnificent Mile.

Its survival is threatened by lack of enough retail traffic.

A city news report said there’s “real anxiety that Chicago’s main shopping districts — the Magnificent Mile and Gold Coast — are (at risk) of falling apart” for lack of enough revenue to keep operating.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association said “economic fallout” from what’s going on “made it difficult for businesses to keep up with high downtown rents.”

What’s true about Chicago’s retail environment applies to the US nationwide — with no end of it in prospect looking ahead.

According to the National Restaurant Association, up to half of the nation’s restaurants may close permanently if the current environment continues or worsens — millions of jobs to be lost with them.

Looking ahead in the new year, is unprecedented food insecurity, hunger, malnutrition, untreated illnesses, and homelessness coming in the weeks and months ahead?

While Congress and the Wall Street owned and controlled Fed throw trillions of dollars of free money at the nation’s privileged class, most US households never endured harder than ever hard times than now.

They’re worsening, not improving, because of indifference in high places toward the nation’s most disadvantaged that are exploding in numbers of affected millions of people — the US middle class disappearing in plain sight.

Everything going on — the Greatest Main Street Depression in US history — was planned by US dark forces in cahoots with monied interests.

It’s all about benefitting them exclusively by exploiting most others.

It includes creating an unprecedented in size permanent underclass.

Longer-term, the diabolical scheme aims to create a ruler-serf society, harming the vast majority of Americans.

Seasonal flu/influenza — disguised as covid — has been and continues to be the phony pretext for getting Americans to go along with what no one should tolerate.

Their fundamental freedoms may be permanently lost so privileged interests can more greatly benefit from their misery.

Providing $600 stimulus checks to qualified households pales in comparison to open-checkbook handouts to Wall Street, other corporate favorites, and the already super-rich.

The paltry amount mocks growing poverty and deprivation that’s highly likely to worsen in the new year.

The US is not only unsafe and unfit to live in, it’s permanently thirdworldized.

It’s a totalitarian/plutocratic banana republic in the Northern Hemisphere — the world’s largest and most threatening to everyone everywhere.

On New Year’s Day, establishment media maintained their mass deception drumbeat.

According to NYT fake news, “in 2021 things will start getting better (sic).”

“And there’s good reason to believe that once the good news starts, the improvement in our condition will be much faster and continue much longer than many people expect (sic).”

The Washington Post pretended that “the big story of 2021 could be a very hopeful one (sic).”

Like other establishment media, it’s pushing the myth of mass-vaxxing to the rescue — ignoring how experimental covid vaccines may cause irreparable harm to human health overall, along with risking the illness they’re supposed to protect against but won’t.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “(t)he great comeback of 2021 is surely coming (sic).”

“(I)t will begin to explode in late spring, with vaccines more available and a spreading sense that things are easing off, and be fully anarchic by summer (sic).”

The above disinformation ignores the reality of unprecedented/made-in-the USA misery that’s highly likely to worsen ahead and become permanent for most Americans.

I see nothing to be optimistic about in the new year and what follows.

The only solution is popular revolution. Nothing else can prevent state-sponsored dystopia that’s well underway.

It’ll worsen without mass outrage and rebellion against the diabolical system.

It’s our lives, our well-being, our future, and our choice to accept the unacceptable or rise up against it.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Imperial Recovery and “Disappearing Workers”: Imperialism Expands, Living Standards Decline

By Prof. James Petras



Nero played his fiddle, Obama shot baskets and Trump twittered while their empires burned.

What makes empire decay and what makes empires expand has everything to do with their relations between rulers and the ruled. Several factors are decisive. These include: (1) rent, land and housing, (2) the direction of living standards, (3) the rise or fall of mortality rate, (4) decline or rise of families.

Throughout history rising empires incorporate their population to the task of empire by distributing a portion of their plunder to their masses, by providing them with land, low rents and housing. Large scale landlords facing returning young war veterans reduced excessive land concentration to avoid domestic unrest.

Rising empires raised living standards, as salaried employees, workers and artisans, merchants and scribes found employment as the oligarchies expanding conspicuous consumption and expanded the state bureaucracy running the empire.

A prosperous empire is cause and consequence of increases in families, and the growth of healthy and educated plebeians who serviced and served the rulers.

In contrast, declining empires plunder the domestic economy; concentrated wealth as the expense of the labor force, heedless of the diminution of its health and life expectancy. As a result deteriorating empires experience an increasing rate of mortality; homeownership and land is concentrated in an elite of renters living off of unearned wealth via inheritance, speculation, rents which degrades productive work based on skill and knowledge.

Declining empires are cause and consequence of deteriorating families composed of opioid addicted workers suffering from rising inequalities between rulers and ruled.

The US imperial experience over the past century embodies the trajectory of the rise and fall of empires. The past quarter century describes the relations between rulers and ruled at a time of declining empire.

Living standards of Americans have decline precipitously. Employers have ceased paying for pensions; reduced or eliminated health coverage; reduced corporate taxes thus lowering the quality for public education.

Over the past two decades, wages and salaries for the majority of households have stagnated or declined; education and health expenses bankrupting many and reducing university graduates to long-term debt peonage.

Accessibility to home ownership for Americans under 45 years has fallen dramatically from 24% in 2006 to 14% in 2017. At the same time, rents have skyrocketed especially in large cities across the country, in most cases absorbing between a third and half of monthly income.

Business elites and their housing experts divert attention to “intergenerational” inequalities between pensioners and younger wage and salaried employees instead of recognizing rising inequalities between CEO and both workers and pensioners which have risen from 100 to 400 to one over the past three decades.

Mortality rates between the business elite and workers have widened as the wealthy live longer and healthier lives while workers have experienced declining life expectancy, the first time in American history! As the business elites income from profits, dividends, interest increase they can afford high cost private medical care, prolonging life, while millions of workers are prescribed death inducing opioids, to ‘reduce pain’ and precipitate premature death.Australia’s Naval Base in Papua New Guinea: Power Play in the South Pacific against China

Births are declining as a result of the high cost of medical care, the absence of day care and paid maternal or paternal leave. The most recent studies revealed that 2017 experienced the fewest babies in 30 years. The so-called “economic recovery” following the financial collapse of 2008/9 was class based: the real estate and financial elites received over two trillion dollars in bailouts while over 3 million working class households were evicted by financial mortgage holders. The result was a rapid rise in homeless people especially in cities with the highest rate of recovery from the crises.

Homelessness and crowded overpriced rentals and minimum wages are likely causes of declining birthrates and increasing mortality rates.

Imperialism Expands, Living Standards Decline

Unlike the earlier, post WWII decades in which overseas expansion was accompanied by low cost higher education, accessible low cost mortgages and increasing home ownership, and employer paid pensions and health coverage, over the past two decades imperial expansion is based on forced reductions of living standards.

The empire grew and living standards declined because the capitalist class evaded trillions of taxable income via overseas tax havens, transfer pricing and tax exemptions. Moreover, capitalists received massive state subsidies for infrastructure, and cost-free transfers of public funded technological innovations.

Imperial expansion now is based on the relocation of multi-national manufacturing corporations overseas to lower labor costs, increasing the percentage of low wage service workers in the US .

The decline of living standards for the majority is a result of the restructuring of the empire, the advent of the regressive tax system, the redistribution of State welfare transfers from public social spending to private finance and real estate subsidies and bailouts.

Conclusion

In the beginning imperialism involved an explicit social contract with labor: overseas expansion shared profits, taxes and income with labor in exchange for workers political support for imperial overseas economic exploitation, resource plundering as well as serving in the imperial armed forces .

The social contract was conditioned by a relative balance of power: unionized workers represented the majority of manufacturing, public sector and skilled workers. But this balance of power in class relations was based on the capacity of labor to engage in class struggle and influence the state. In other words the entire imperialism and welfare configuration was based on a particular set of conditional relations intrinsic to the social pact.

Over time imperial expansion faced overseas constraints from rising national and socialist opposition which forced or encouraged corporations it to relocate capital abroad. Imperial rivals in Europe and Asia competed for overseas markets forcing the US to increase productivity, lower labor costs, relocate abroad or reduce profits. The US chose to reduce domestic living standards and relocating abroad.

Labor unions divorced from the broader community movements and lacking an independent political movement, corrupted from within and committed to a disappearing social compact, declined in number and capacity to formulate a new combatative post social pact strategy. The capital class gained total control over class relations and, therefore, unilaterally set the terms of taxation, employment, living standards and, most important, state expenditure.

Imperial military and economic expenditures grew in direct proportions to the decline of social welfare payments. Rival power groups fought over the share of capitalist budgets and political-military priorities. Economic imperialists competed with or converged with military imperialists; free market neo-liberals competed for overseas markets with national militarists pursuing territorial occupations, conquests, closed markets and submissive clients. Rival political power configuration competed over imperial priorities – powerful Zionists configurations sought regional wars for Israel while multi-nationals looked to advance their political-economic expansion in Asia – China, India and Southeast Asian markets.

Competing elite factions monopolized budgets, taxes and expenditures driving labor living standards downward. Imperialist classes formed pacts – but only among themselves – but the quality and quantity of workers decreased – through impoverished health care and, educational systems. In contrast Elite offspring attended the best schools and secured the highest posts in government and economy.

Privilege and power did not produce imperial triumphs. China harnessed educational programs and skilled workers to productive work.In contrast privileged US university graduates sought employment in parasitical lucrative financial positions not in science, engineering and social welfare. Military academy graduates joined networks of ‘commanders’ who condoned sexual abusers, trained and promoted officers who sent missiles which targeted military bases and bombed population centers and trained naval captains specializing in own- ship collisions.

Ivy League graduates secured high government positions leading the US into endless Middle East wars, multiplying adversaries, antagonizing allies and spending trillions on wars for Israel, not social welfare and higher wages for American workers . Oh yes the ‘economy’ is recovering…. only the people are doing worse.

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Global Poverty: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World

The Big Lies

By Prof. John McMurtry



First published by GR on January 24, 2016

The 2016 Oxfam Davos Report which the mass media have ignored arrestingly shows that 62 individuals – 388 in 2010 – now own more wealth than 50% of the world’s population. More shockingly, it reports from its uncontested public sources that this share of wealth by half of the world’s people has collapsed by over 40% in just the last five years.

Yet the big lies persist even here that “the progress has been made in tackling world poverty” and “extreme poverty has been halved since 1990”.

Reversing Undeniable Fact as Ultimate Justification

Unbelievably, the endlessly repeated assertion of the form that ‘the poor are being lifted out of poverty in ever greater numbers’ continues on untouched despite the hard evidence that, in fact, the poorer half of humanity has lost almost half of their wealth in just the last five years.

This big lie is significant in its implications. For not only is a pervasive claim about the success of globalization undeniably falsified while no-one notices it. Basic market theory and dogma collapses as a result. What is daily claimed as an infallible benefit of the global market is shown to be the opposite of reality. What does it mean for “trickle-down theory” when, in truth, the trickle down goes up in hundreds of billions of dollars to the rich from the already poor and destitute?

What can we say now of the tirelessly proclaimed doctrine that the global market brings “more wealth for all” when, in fact, unimpeachable business evidence shows the opposite reality on the ground and across the world. For the poor have undeniably lost almost half their share of global wealth while the richest have multiplied theirs at the same time.

The evidence proves, in short, that the main moral and economic claims justifying the global market are very big lies becoming bigger all the time.

Worse than delusional, the lived reality of impoverishment of billions of people is reversed, the victims are continually proclaimed to be doing better under the system that increasingly deprives them of what little they have, and a trillion dollars worth of loss to the poorer half of humanity ends up in the pockets of the rich within only five years.

While the ever bigger lies go on justifying the global system that eats the poor alive as “poverty amelioration”, ever more of the same policies of accumulation by dispossession justify still more  stripping of  the majority as more “austerity”, more “welfare cuts”,  and more “labor flexibility” – in a word, more starvation and depredation of people’s lives and life conditions as “more freedom and prosperity for all”.

The Statistical Shell Game that Masks the Life-Devouring Reality

As World Bank, IMF and like figures claim to show the uplifting of the poor out of poverty across the world, media of record like The Guardian and the New York Times report the claims with headlines to show all is well and getter for the poor and the majority as they are in fact grindingly reduced in their actual lives, work and life security. Thus the very big lies are instituted as given facts which economists and social scientists propagate without a blink.

In fact, these alleged great gains for the poor out of poverty and absolute poverty alike are based on income gains of less than a cup of coffee a day, an observation that is so well blocked from view that readers may now be seeing it for the first time. Thus the hypnotic thrall of the big lies are sustained, while no other life support system is. I have had economists and interviewers of high note respond angrily when this delusion is pointed out, as if I was letting down the poor rather than exposing the big lies. In this way, we find that the masking falsehoods  have gone so deep into expert and public assumption that the real-life world can no longer be engaged. These big lies then work in the background to the non-stop big lies that precede endless  foreign conflicts and wars to “defend the free world”

No-one appears to observe that the income gains ’lifting the poor out of poverty’ typically refer to emigrants from the countryside into polluted cities, insecure and dehumanized life conditions for those who formerly had at least a family dwelling, clean air and water and living horizons.  In short, the standard $1.50 +/- measure of uplift out of poverty and extreme poverty is inhumanly absurd, but triumphally used as proof that the system is serving the least too.

The Counter-Revolution against Social Evolution that Engineers Deepening Recession

Throughout the unseen redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich (now buried in much talk of “inequality”), ever more “market reforms” are enforced as “enhanced competition”, “liberalized de-regulation”,  “reduced welfare costs” and “austerity programs to correct excesses”. The “excessive entitlements” of the system are all projected on the victims so that  the truly insane entitlements of the richest to multiply their fortunes with no committed life function, value or coordinate but still more money-demand for them is somehow not noticed. This is yet another level of normalized big lies forming the ruling thought system.

In fact beneath the pervasive propaganda conditioning citizens to believe in the private money shell game devouring the world, the poorer half of humanity has been deprived of one trillion dollars of wealth while the 62 richest people have gained almost twice as much for themselves by the operations of this global disorder. Yet the Davos Report further emphasizes that still another US $760 billion goes annually to non-producing investors by immense transnational tax evasion with impunity across the world. Again the borderless money-capital freedom of ‘globalization’ vastly enriches the richest, while simultaneously doubling down on deprivation of the poor as ‘poverty reduction’.

Here the system is programmed in effect to strip the funding of all public sectors and institutions which have evolved to serve the common life interest. Public services and infrastructures too are perpetually driven towards bankruptcy not only by never-ending defunding, cutbacks, privatizations, and corporate lobby control of public policies and subsidies, but by ever-soaring public tax evasion near one trillion dollars annually about which governments and trade treaties have done nothing to correct yet.

Thus governments which could invest in sustaining humanity’s social and ecological life support systems from growing deterioration and collapse are now systematically bankrupted or debt enslaved along with most citizens. In consequence without governments knowing why, the world economy slips into ever deeper recession from the collapse of economic demand at the public and majority levels.

Eating the World Alive as Global Competition

The new law of human evolution is that are required to compete for more money and commodities for themselves as “necessary to survive”, with the borderless system de-regulated and structured to increasingly impoverish the great majority while multiplying the wealth of the rich. The facts are now long in. Corporate globalization is not only out of control. It is eating the world alive at all levels towards cumulative collapse of organic, social and ecological life organization. Global competition means, in fact, the majority’s life means and security keep falling as the environment is looted and polluted on ever larger scales of depredation. Yet only “more growth” of this system is imagined as a solution. The system is clinically insane

While the common life-ground is blinkered out a-priori by the ruling value system, those deprived and left behind disappear into multi-level big lies proclaiming the opposite. This is why the facts are not reported. This is why claimed actions to stop the world bleeding blinker out the system disorder causing them. This is why even progressives assume economic falsehoods as if they were true. Like a cancer system at the macro level, this exponentially multiplying private money-sequence system has only one set-point – to blindly grow itself while masking the life-devouring disorder as “enhancing people’s well-being”.

John McMurtry is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His work has been translated from Latin America through Europe to Japan, and he is the author/editor of UNESCO’s three-volume Philosophy and World Problems, as well as more recently, The Cancer Stage of Capitalism; From Crisis to Cure.

How Billionaires Become Billionaires

By Prof. James Petras



First published by Global Research on October 5, 2017

America has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country.

In this essay we will discuss the socio-economic roots of inequalities and the relation between the concentration of wealth and the downward mobility of the working and salaried classes.

How the Billionaires become Billionaires

Contrary to the propaganda pushed by the business press, between 67% and 72% percent of corporations had zero tax liabilities after credits and exemptions … while their workers and employees paid between 25 – 30% in taxes. The rate for the minority of corporations, which paid any tax, was 14%.

According to the US Internal Revenue Service, billionaire tax evasion amounts to $458 billion dollars in lost public revenues every year – almost a trillion dollars every two years by this conservative estimate.

The largest US corporations sheltered over $2.5 trillion dollars in overseas tax havens where they paid no taxes or single digit tax rates.

Meanwhile US corporations in crisis received over $14.4 trillion dollars (Bloomberg claimed 12.8 trillion) in public bailout money, split between the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve, mostly from US tax payers, who are overwhelmingly workers, employees and pensioners.

The recipient bankers invested their interest-free or low interest US bailout funds and earned billions in profits, most resulting from mortgage foreclosures of working class households.

Through favorable legal rulings and illegal foreclosures, the bankers evicted 9.3 million families. Over 20 million individuals lost their properties, often due to illegal or fraudulent debts.

A small number of the financial swindlers, including executives from Wall Street’s leading banks (Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan etc), paid fines – but no one went to prison for the gargantuan fraud that drove millions of Americans into misery.

There are other swindler bankers, like the current Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who enriched themselves by illegally foreclosing on thousands of homeowners in California. Some were tried; all were exonerated, thanks to the influence of Democratic political leaders during the Obama years.

Silicon Valley and its innovative billionaires have found novel way to avoid taxes using overseas tax havens and domestic tax write-offs. They increase their wealth and corporate profits by paying their local manual and service workers poverty level wages. Silicon Valley executives ‘earn’ a thousand times more than their production workers..

Class inequalities are further reinforced by ethnic divisions. White, Chinese and Indian multi-millionaires exploit Afro-American, Latin American, Vietnamese and Filipino workers.

Billionaires in the commercial conglomerates, like Walmart, exploit workers by paying poverty wages and providing few, if any, benefits. Walmart earns $16 billion dollar a year in profits by paying its workers between $10 and $13 an hour and relying on state and federal assistance to provide services to the families of its impoverished workers through Medicaid and food stamps. Amazon plutocrat Jeff Bezos exploits workers by paying $12.50 an hour while he has accumulated over $80 billion dollars in profits. UPS CEO David Albany takes $11 million a year by exploiting workers at $11 an hour. Federal Express CEO, Fred Smith gets $16 million and pays workers $11 an hour.

Inequality is not a result of ‘technology’ and ‘education’- contemporary euphemisms for the ruling class cult of superiority – as liberals and conservative economists and journalists like to claim. Inequalities are a result of low wages, based on big profits, financial swindles, multi-trillion dollar public handouts and multi-billion-dollar tax evasion. The ruling class has mastered the ‘technology’ of exploiting the state, through its pillage of the treasury, and the working class. Capitalist exploitation of low paid production workers provides additional billions for the ‘philanthropic’ billionaire family foundations to polish their public image – using another tax avoidance gimmick – self-glorifying ‘donations’.

Workers pay disproportional taxes for education, health, social and public services and subsidies for billionaires.

Billionaires in the arms industry and security/mercenary conglomerates receive over $700 billion dollars from the federal budget, while over 100 million US workers lack adequate health care and their children are warehoused in deteriorating schools.

Workers and Bosses: Mortality Rates

Billionaires and multi-millionaires and their families enjoy longer and healthier lives than their workers. They have no need for health insurance policies or public hospitals. CEO’s live on average ten years longer than a worker and enjoy twenty years more of healthy and pain-free lives.

Private, exclusive clinics and top medical care include the most advanced treatment and safe and proven medication which allow billionaires and their family members to live longer and healthier lives. The quality of their medical care and the qualifications of their medical providers present a stark contrast to the health care apartheid that characterizes the rest of the United States.

Workers are treated and mistreated by the health system: They have inadequate and often incompetent medical treatment, cursory examinations by inexperienced medical assistants and end up victims of the widespread over-prescription of highly addictive narcotics and other medications. Over-prescription of narcotics by incompetent ‘providers’ has significantly contributed to the rise in premature deaths among workers, spiraling cases of opiate overdose, disability due to addiction and descent into poverty and homelessness. These irresponsible practices have made additional billions of dollars in profits for the insurance corporate elite, who can cut their pensions and health care liabilities as injured, disabled and addicted workers drop out of the system or die.

The shortened life expectancy for workers and their family members is celebrated on Wall Street and in the financial press. Over 560,000 workers were killed by opioids between 1999-2015 contributing to the decline in life expectancy for working age wage and salary earners and reduced pension liabilities for Wall Street and the Social Security Administration.

Inequalities are cumulative, inter-generational and multi-sectorial.

Billionaire families, their children and grandchildren, inherit and invest billions. They have privileged access to the most prestigious schools and medical facilities, and conveniently fall in love to equally privileged, well-connected mates to join their fortunes and form even greater financial empires. Their wealth buys favorable, even fawning, mass media coverage and the services of the most influential lawyers and accountants to cover their swindles and tax evasion.

Billionaires hire innovators and sweat shop MBA managers to devise more ways to slash wages, increase productivity and ensure that inequalities widen even further. Billionaires do not have to be the brightest or most innovative people: Such individuals can simply be bought or imported on the ‘free market’ and discarded at will.

Billionaires have bought out or formed joint ventures with each other, creating interlocking directorates. Banks, IT, factories, warehouses, food and appliance, pharmaceuticals and hospitals are linked directly to political elites who slither through doors of rotating appointments within the IMF, the World Bank, Treasury, Wall Street banks and prestigious law firms.

Consequences of Inequalities

First and foremost, billionaires and their political, legal and corporate associates dominate the political parties. They designate the leaders and key appointees, thus ensuring that budgets and policies will increase their profits, erode social benefits for the masses and weaken the political power of popular organizations.

Secondly, the burden of the economic crisis is shifted on to the workers who are fired and later re-hired as part-time, contingent labor. Public bailouts, provided by the taxpayer, are channeled to the billionaires under the doctrine that Wall Street banks are too big to fail and workers are too weak to defend their wages, jobs and living standards.

Billionaires buy political elites, who appoint the World Bank and IMF officials tasked with instituting policies to freeze or reduce wages, slash corporate and public health care obligations and increase profits by privatizing public enterprises and facilitating corporate relocation to low wage, low tax countries.

As a result, wage and salary workers are less organized and less influential; they work longer and for less pay, suffer greater workplace insecurity and injuries – physical and mental – fall into decline and disability, drop out of the system, die earlier and poorer, and, in the process, provide unimaginable profits for the billionaire class. Even their addiction and deaths provide opportunities for huge profit – as the Sackler Family, manufacturers of Oxycontin, can attest.

The billionaires and their political acolytes argue that deeper regressive taxation would increase investments and jobs. The data speaks otherwise. The bulk of repatriated profits are directed to buy back stock to increase dividends for investors; they are not invested in the productive economy. Lower taxes and greater profits for conglomerates means more buy-outs and greater outflows to low wage countries. In real terms taxes are already less than half the headline rate and are a major factor heightening the concentration of income and power – both cause and effect.

Corporate elites, the billionaires in the Silicon Valley-Wall Street global complex are relatively satisfied that their cherished inequalities are guaranteed and expanding under the Demo-Republican Presidents- as the ‘good times’ roll on.

Away from the ‘billionaire elite’, the ‘outsiders’ – domestic capitalists – clamor for greater public investment in infrastructure to expand the domestic economy, lower taxes to increase profits, and state subsidies to increase the training of the labor force while reducing funds for health care and public education. They are oblivious to the contradiction.

In other words, the capitalist class as a whole, globalist and domestic alike, pursues the same regressive policies, promoting inequalities while struggling over shares of the profits.

One hundred and fifty million wage and salaried taxpayers are excluded from the political and social decisions that directly affect their income, employment, rates of taxation, and political representation.

They understand, or at least experience, how the class system works. Most workers know about the injustice of the fake ‘free trade’ agreements and regressive tax regime, which weighs heavy on the majority of wage and salary earners.

However, worker hostility and despair is directed against ‘immigrants’ and against the ‘liberals’ who have backed the import of cheap skilled and semi-skilled labor under the guise of ‘freedom’. This ‘politically correct’ image of imported labor covers up a policy, which has served to lower wages, benefits and living standards for American workers, whether they are in technology, construction or production. Rich conservatives, on the other hand, oppose immigration under the guise of ‘law and order’ and to lower social expenditures – despite that fact that they all use imported nannies, tutors, nurses, doctors and gardeners to service their families. Their servants can always be deported when convenient.

The pro and anti-immigrant issue avoids the root cause for the economic exploitation and social degradation of the working class – the billionaire owners operating in alliance with the political elite.

In order to reverse the regressive tax practices and tax evasion, the low wage cycle and the spiraling death rates resulting from narcotics and other preventable causes, which profit insurance companies and pharmaceutical billionaires, class alliances need to be forged linking workers, consumers, pensioners, students, the disabled, the foreclosed homeowners, evicted tenants, debtors, the under-employed and immigrants as a unified political force.

Sooner said than done, but never tried! Everything and everyone is at stake: life, health and happiness.