Tag Archives: Capitalism

Pew report: 84 percent of world population subsists on under $20 per day

By Andre Damon
July 11, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Despite significant advances in communications, agriculture and bio-technology over the past 15 years, the overwhelming majority of the world population continues to live in economic privation, according to a report on global incomes published this week by the Pew Research Center.

The report, entitled “A Global Middle Class is More Promise than Reality,” classifies 71 percent of the world population as either poor or low-income, subsisting on less than $10 per day. The report concludes that 84 percent lives on less than $20 per day, or $7,300 per year, an income level associated with “deep poverty” in developed countries.

Only seven percent of the world population lives on what the report calls a “high” income level of more than $50 per day, or $18,000 per year. The great majority of these people live in Europe or America.

In the years following the turn of the millennium, and especially before the 2008 financial crash, the supposed emergence of a new “global middle class,” particularly in developing countries, was touted by the political establishment as proof that the capitalist system was capable of bringing economic prosperity to people living in poverty in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The Pew report pours cold water on such claims. “The global middle class is smaller than we think, it is less well off than we think, and it is more regionally concentrated than we think,” Rakesh Kochhar, the study’s lead author, told the Financial Times .

The report finds that even countries that “sharply” reduced the worst forms of poverty “experienced little change in the share of middle-income populations.” While the report notes that there has been a reduction in the number of people living on less than $2 per day, it points out that those who have ascended from the lowest depths have for the most part landed in the “low-income” category of $2-10 per day—a level that would classify them as living in extreme poverty by US standards.

The report uses the latest purchasing power parity data to analyze and compare the distribution of incomes throughout the world. It covers 111 countries, which account for 88 percent of the world’s population, and spans the years 2001 through 2011.

Over that period, the share of the world’s population classified as “upper-middle income,” making between $20 and $50 per day, grew from 7 percent to 9 percent. This was significantly less than the growth of the share of the population making between $10 and $20 per day, which increased from 7 percent to 13 percent between 2001 and 2011.

The great majority of the increase in “middle income” people occurred in China and other high-growth countries in the Pacific whose economies have rapidly expanded over this period.

The report notes, “Home to more than 1.3 billion people, or nearly 20 percent of the world’s population, China alone accounted for more than one in two additions to the global middle-income population from 2001 to 2011.”

The story was much different for other “developing” countries, with next to no increase in the number of “middle income” earners in Africa, India, Central America and Southeast Asia.

The report states, “In contrast to China, most other Asian countries had relatively little growth in their middle classes. India is a case in point. Although the poverty rate in India fell from 35 percent in 2001 to 20 percent in 2011, the share of the Indian population that could be considered middle income increased from 1 percent to just 3 percent. Instead of a burgeoning middle class, India’s ranks of low-income earners swelled.”

Africa fared little better. The report notes that on that continent “most of the movement was from poverty to low-income status.” It says: “Ethiopia, for example, experienced a decline of 27 percentage points in the share of people who could be considered poor. This translated into an increase of 26 percentage points in the country’s share of low-income earners and only a 1-point increase in middle-income earners.”

Similarly, “In Nigeria, one of the region’s most dynamic economies, the share of the poor fell 18 percentage points from 2001 to 2011, resulting in a 17 percentage point increase in low-income earners and just a 1-point boost in the share of the population that could be considered middle income.”

Despite the significant social and economic changes that have taken place since 2001, the great majority of high-income people continued to reside in the developed countries in North America and Europe. In 2011, 87 percent of “high-income” people—those subsisting on at least $50 per day, or $18,250 per year—lived in these countries.

Despite modest improvements in living standards in some parts of the world, incomes dropped in the United States. As the report states, “The US economy stumbled through the decade from 2001 to 2011, growing at less than 1 percent annually on average. Even these slight gains did not make their way to American families, whose median income actually decreased from 2001 to 2011.”

Amid falling incomes in the United States and continued mass poverty in the rest of the world, the wealth of the global financial oligarchy has continued to soar. Last year, the wealth of the world’s billionaires hit $7 trillion, having more than doubled in the time covered in the Pew report. The astronomical enrichment of this social layer is inseparable from the impoverishment of the world’s workers.

The statistics presented in the Pew report underscore the basic fact that the capitalist system has proven incapable of providing a decent standard of living for the vast majority of the world’s people.

How Monsanto Silences Scientific Critics

By Christina Sarich
July 10, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

monsPicture courtesy of deesillustration.com

A new survey from Pew Research Center states that  two-thirds of Americans don’t believe biotech scientists. Why is this exactly?

Recommended reading:Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public.” 

“Altered Genes, Twisted Truth will stand as a landmark. It should be required reading in every university biology course.” – Joseph Cummins, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Genetics, Western University, London, OntarioBiotech Infiltration of Academia

Many already suspect that Monsanto and other biotech companies have bought out universities who conduct studies on GM crops with healthy endowments and even donations, which go towards building entire departments within the campuses of higher learning. When Iowa State University faculty and students called GM banana trials into question for being heavily invested in biotechnology, for example, the mainstream media simply brushed it aside.

Biotech Infiltration of Industry Journals

When a controversial study from a research group led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, was published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, it was later retracted due to industry pressure, even though it showed “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data.” Séralini’s study showed that rats developed “colossal” cancerous tumors after eating GM corn. Only after fellow researchers went to bat for Séralini was his paper republished. (source) (source)

An Entire Department Dedicated to Debunking Critics

More recently, when Dr. William Moar was speaking at a public event for Monsanto, perhaps forgetting that he was indeed speaking to the community at large (and not a bunch of biotech industry tycoons), he revealed that Monsanto has “an entire department” dedicated to debunking science which disagrees with that of the company’s.

As Stephanie Hampton writes for the Daily Kos, “…this is the first time that a Monsanto functionary has publicly admitted that they have such an entity which brings their immense political and financial weight to bear on scientists who dare to publish against them. The Discredit Bureau will not be found on their official website.” (source)

Get the Whole Story

Now, James Corbett makes things even more crystal clear in a video showing just how Monsanto discredits any professional who tries to “out” the faulty claims backing up genetically modified organisms. Have a listen. It’s more than enlightening.


 

Greek government approves brutal austerity measures in proposal to EU

By Alex Lantier
July 10, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Greece’s Syriza-led government agreed to a massive new €13 billion (US$14.34 billion) package of austerity measures yesterday evening, less than a week after Sunday’s landslide “no” vote in a referendum on European Union (EU) austerity.

The proposal would be the deepest package of cuts since the EU austerity drive began in Greece in late 2009. It goes well beyond the proposed €8 to 9 billion in cuts initially demanded by the EU in talks with Syriza.

The 13-page proposal was submitted to the EU, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) before the midnight deadline previously set by the institutions. In exchange for cuts, the Greek government is reportedly asking for a €53.5 billion ($59.2 billion) loan to the Greek state and some form of debt restructuring, allowing it to avoid state bankruptcy and remain in the euro currency area.

The austerity measures reportedly include sharp increases in the regressive VAT sales tax and an increase in the retirement age to 67 by 2022. The elimination of additional payments to the poorest pensioners will take place by the end of 2019, a year earlier than previously scheduled.

Plans for the privatization of state assets, including ports and airports, will go forward. The proposal also includes a reported increase of the corporate tax to 28 percent, rather than 29 percent, a reduction requested by the IMF.

In proposing the new austerity package, Syriza has with extraordinary rapidity repudiated the vote in Sunday’s referendum, which Syriza itself had called and presented as a model of democratic accountability. More than 61 percent of the population rejected precisely the measures that the government has now adopted.

Even as Syriza officially called for a “no” vote, Tsipras had no intention of fighting EU austerity. The prime minister expected to lose the vote and, in response, abandon office and leave it to another government to impose the cuts. (See also: Tsipras petitions EU for new austerity deal)

Following the vote, the Syriza-led government has moved as quickly as possible to reach an accommodation with the pro-austerity parties within Greece and approve a deal that would be acceptable to the European banks.

The measures were finalized in discussions between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy Minister Giorgios Stathakis—all from the ruling Syriza (“Coalition of the Radical Left”) party—and adopted by the Greek cabinet on Thursday.

The government is planning to seek a vote in the Greek parliament today, relying on support from the openly pro-austerity New Democracy and PASOK parties. On Saturday, eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to meet to review the proposal, followed by a meeting Sunday of the EU leaders.

The new austerity proposal was rushed through amidst threats from European officials to entirely cut off funding for Greece and force the country out of the eurozone. In response to these threats, Syriza continually refused to take any measures that would threaten capitalist property relations and rejected any appeal to workers throughout Europe for a common struggle against austerity.

It is uncertain whether an agreement will be approved by the EU, even on the surrender terms being offered by Syriza. Sections of the European ruling class are discussing forcing Greece to default on its debts, expelling it from the euro zone, and pushing it through a drastic economic crisis by forcing it to restore a devalued national currency.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday that any significant restructuring of Greece’s debt was unlikely, as this would violate EU rules.

Other European officials have indicated a desire to reach agreement with the Greek government. Syriza members told the Guardian that French finance ministry officials had worked with Greek Finance Minister Tsakalotos to rewrite the austerity package Athens was proposing, in order to make it acceptable to the EU.

Donald Tusk, the chair of the EU summit, urged European officials to take certain measures to allow Greece to pay back its debt. “The realistic proposal from Greece will have to be matched by an equally realistic proposal on debt sustainability from the creditors,” Tusk said.

Germany has also come under pressure from the Obama administration to ensure that Greece is not pushed out of the eurozone. On Wednesday, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew publicly intervened to push for an agreement on austerity between Greece and the EU and call for some form of “debt restructuring.”

Criticizing those who “create more of these kind of life-and-death deadlines,” Lew said they were creating far greater economic and political risks, including a broader financial panic across southern Europe and the possible splitting of Europe. The US wants to ensure that Greece remains within NATO and continues to support the campaign of military and economic aggression against Russia.

With Greece’s banks still closed and depositors limited to €60 in daily cash withdrawals amid the crisis, the Greek economy is rapidly grinding to a halt.

The National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce released a report Wednesday that found that consumption had fallen 70 percent since the closure of Greece’s banks, costing €1.2 billion to the economy. Greeks are reportedly stocking up on key medicines as well as non-perishable foods, such as rice and pasta, fearing a possible collapse of supplies of imported food and medicine.

Pfizer Vice President Blows The Whistle & Tells The Truth About The Pharmaceutical Industry

By Arjun Walia
July 7, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 11.28.13 AMBelow is a clip taken from the “One More Girl” documentary, a film regarding the Gardasil vaccine, which was designed to prevent Human Papillomavirus. In it, Dr. Peter Rost, MD, a former vice president of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world (Pfizer), shares the truth about the ties between the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

Rost is a former vice president of Pfizer, and a whistleblower of the entire pharmaceutical industry in general. He is the author of “The Whistleblower, Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman.” Considering his work experience, it would be an understatement to say that he is an insider expert on big pharma marketing.

Below are a couple of quotes from both a former and a current editor-in-chief of the two largest, and what are considered to be the most credible, medical journals in the world. It’s only fitting to include them into the article as they are directly related to what Dr. Rost hints at in the video.

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.”  – Dr. Marcia Angell, a physician and longtime editor-in-chief of the New England Medical Journal (NEMJ) (source)

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”  – Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world. (source)

It’s Time To Re-Think Current Medical Research & See The Bigger Picture

In 2005 Dr. John P.A. Ioannidis, currently a professor in disease prevention at Stanford University, published the most widely accessed article in the history of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) entitled Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. In the report he states:

“There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false.”

We now have a large amount of evidence, and statements from experts that come directly from the field, which paint a very concerning picture. The science used to educate doctors and develop medicine is flawed. We are only ever exposed to studies that have been sponsored by big pharmaceutical companies, but these studies are not designed to take the long view. They are not designed to detect problems that can occur years or even decades after a treatment, or examine the risks of taking a drug for long periods of time. Nobody ever seems to mention or acknowledge the many studies which clearly show significant risk associated with many of the products that pharmaceutical companies are manufacturing to help fight disease.

What is even more concerning is the general population’s lack of awareness when it comes to these facts. This issue is definitely not going to be addressed in the mainstream news, and despite plenty of evidence to support it, some people will refuse to even look at or acknowledge that it exists. This is a big problem, our world is changing and we must keep an open mind and be open to new possibilities regarding the nature of our world. It’s 2015, and as we keep moving forward there will be more information coming out that challenges the deeply held, engrained belief systems of many. It’s okay to look at information that goes against what you believe, in fact, it’s needed if we are going to move forward and create a better world for ourselves.

You would think the statements above the video, from longtime editors of such major, peer-reviewed scientific journals (apparently, the best in the world) would at least get some mainstream attention.

When Dr. Rost was still working for Pfizer he had a couple of appearances in the mainstream media. Here is an example of him speaking with the Wall Street Journal almost 10 years ago, before he blew the whistle.

This is why alternative media is important, especially in a time where more and more people are waking up to what is really happening on our planet.

It’s time to examine the research that’s being conducted all over the world, from experts (scientists) at various institutions, that is not sponsored by these giant, multinational “health” corporations – the independent literature. Brilliant work is being published regarding various drugs, cures, treatments, vaccines, and more.

Thanks for reading, and I hope the video above gives you something to think about.

“The 21st Century Cures Act” Is On Its Way – Here’s Why You Haven’t Heard About It

By Lisa Bloomquist
July 7, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

moneyThe 21st Century Cures Act is going through the U.S. Congress right now, and it will likely pass into law unless some opposition materializes (it passed through the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee with a vote of 51 to 0).  The Act is a give-away to the pharmaceutical industry, removing many of the safety mechanisms in place that are supposed to keep the public protected from unsafe drugs and medical devices.

The 21st Century Cures Act allows drugs to be rushed to the market, removes phase 3 testing as a requirement for drug approval, bases drug approval on biomarkers rather than actual health outcomes, and encourages the production of new antibiotics at a time when microbiome destruction is increasingly being linked to chronic diseases.

Rushing Drugs to Market

With the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, drugs will be rushed to market with little testing required. A New York Times piece, “Don’t Weaken the F.D.A.’s Drug Approval Process” notes that the 21st Century Cures Act “could substantially lower the standards for approval of many medical products, potentially placing patients at unnecessary risk of injury or death.” The Act weakens an already weak regulatory process that is currently doing a poor job of protecting the public from adverse reactions to drugs and medical devices. (In the currently weak system, preventable medical errors in hospitals are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and, “between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.” source)

The End of Evidence Based Medicine

Modern medicine is supposed to be “evidence based medicine” backed up by replicable, placebo controlled scientific experiments that show that a drug or medical device effectively treats the disease or symptom that it is purported to treat. This standard of evidence will no longer exist if the 21st Century Cures Act passes into law. The Act will allow drug approval to be based on biomarkers and surrogate measures rather than health outcomes. This has been disastrous in the past and it will be even more disastrous in the future. For example, we’re now seeing that statins do well at reducing cholesterol, but despite improving that biomarker, they don’t improve health outcomes for large portions of the population (notably, the female portion of the population).

A New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) article, “The 21st Century Cures Act — Will It Take Us Back in Time?” notes that:

But though a drug’s effect on a biomarker can make approval quicker and less costly, especially if the comparator is placebo, it may not always predict the drug’s capacity to improve patient outcomes. Bevacizumab (Avastin) delayed tumor progression in advanced breast cancer but was shown not to benefit patients. Similarly, rosiglitazone (Avandia) lowered glycated hemoglobin levels in patients with diabetes even as it increased their risk of myocardial infarction. In 2013, patients began to receive a new drug for tuberculosis approved on the basis of a randomized trial relying on a surrogate measure of bacterial counts in the sputum — even though patients given the drug in that trial had a death rate four times that in the comparison group, mostly from tuberculosis.

Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), one of the co-sponsors of the 21st Century Cures Act, bragged on Twitter that, “In 120yrs we have gone from #snakeoil to mapping the #humangenome. W/your help #Cures2015 is ready to take us further.”  But if pharmaceuticals are no longer required to have evidence that they improve health outcomes, how are they any better than snake oils? One only needs to look as far as the recent history of psychiatry to see that the line between snake oils and “evidence based medicine” is already woefully thin.  Removing regulatory and procedural requirements from the drug approval process, via the 21st Century Cures Act, will just encourage the production of more dangerous pharmaceuticals that are no better or safer than snake oil.

Diminishing requirements for evidence of efficacy is bad for the medical system too. Basing medicine on scientific inquiry and actual evidence of efficacy is a bedrock of medicine, and without it the medical system will lose credibility.

The Loss of Informed Consent

The 21st Century Cures Act will diminish another bedrock of modern medicine – informed consent. The NEJM article notes that:

“Informed consent by patients in drug trials has traditionally been sacrosanct, with exceptions made only when consent is impossible to obtain or contrary to a patient’s best interests. But another clause in the proposed law adds a new kind of exception: studies in which ‘the proposed clinical testing poses no more than minimal risk’ — a major departure from current human subject protections. It is not clear who gets to determine whether a given trial of a new drug poses ‘minimal risk.’”

Informed consent is crucial not only for the credibility of modern medicine, it is crucial for liberty.

Dangerous New Antibiotics

One of the least controversial, but in reality most dangerous, parts of the 21st Century Cures Act is its encouragement of new antibiotics. Before I go into why this part of the Act is dangerous, let me acknowledge that bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a huge problem, and antibiotic resistant infections are causing many deaths. Without being able to keep pathogenic bacteria in check, many medical procedures will be impossible, and many lives will be lost.  But we got into the predicament of bacteria being resistant to antibiotics by over-using antibiotics in both agriculture and medicine, and to encourage increased use of antibiotics will only perpetuate the problem. The solution to antibiotic resistance is prudent use of available antibiotics and finding sustainable ways to reduce harm caused by pathogenic bacteria (perhaps by using healthy bacteria to keep the unhealthy bacteria in check), not doubling down on the “kill all bacteria” tactic that led us to the problem of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in the first place. Bacteria will continue to adapt in us and around us, and increasing the intensity of the war between us and bacteria is beyond foolish.  We will lose any war that we wage against bacteria because we need bacteria – they are not separate from us – and they play a larger role in human health than we can currently imagine.

A healthy and balanced microbiome (“the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space”) is crucial for all areas of health, and a disturbed microbiome has been linked to all of the diseases of modernity, including mental health disorders, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease, mysterious diseases like fibromyalgia, autism, etc. And while there is acknowledgement of the role that a healthy microbiome plays in these diseases, researchers and journalists alike have been loath to acknowledge the role antibiotics have played in contributing to these diseases of modernity. No one wants to be anti-antibiotic. Everyone knows that antibiotics have saved millions of lives, but that doesn’t mean they are without consequences. And the good that penicillin has done doesn’t mean that all antibiotics are equally safe or effective. I can make a pretty thorough argument that fluoroquinolone antibiotics, like Cipro/ciprofloxacin and Levaquin/levofloxacin, drugs that work by “inhibition of the enzymes topoisomerase II (DNA gyrase) and topoisomerase IV (both Type II topoisomerases), which are required for bacterial DNA replication, transcription, repair, and recombination,” are at least partially responsible for many of the diseases of modernity (more information can be found HERE, HERE and HERE). Fluoroquinolone antibiotics do not have the same safety profile as amoxicillin, and to assume that they do because both are categorized as antibiotics, is foolish on multiple levels.

The 21st Century Cures Act will encourage the production of new antibiotics, regardless of their safety profile or mechanism of action. Doctors Avorn and Kesselhem note in the NEJM that:

The proposed legislation would make immediate changes with respect to new antibiotics and antifungals by enabling their approval without conventional clinical trials, if needed to treat a “serious or life-threatening infection” in patients with an “unmet medical need.” In place of proof that the antimicrobial actually decreases morbidity or mortality, the FDA would be empowered to accept nontraditional efficacy measures drawn from small studies as well as “preclinical, pharmacologic, or pathophysiologic evidence; nonclinical susceptibility and pharmacokinetic data, data from phase 2 clinical trials; and such other confirmatory evidence as the secretary [of health and human services] determines appropriate to approve the drug.” Antimicrobials approved in this manner would carry disclaimers on their labeling, but there is no evidence that such a precaution would restrict prescribing to only the most appropriate patients. If passed in its current form, the bill would also provide hospitals with a financial bonus for administering costly new but unproven antibiotics, which could encourage their more widespread use. The bill gives the secretary of health and human services the authority to expand this nontraditional approval pathway to other drug categories as well, if “the public health would benefit from expansion.”

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin, some of the most popular antibiotics on the market, cause a chronic illness known as fluoroquinolone toxicity syndrome or, colloquially, “floxing,” that includes damage to connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, cartilage, fascia, etc.) throughout the body, damage to the nervous systems (central, peripheral, and autonomic), and more. Rather than putting mechanisms in place that help victims of iatrogenic antibiotic poisoning, or to prevent their pain and suffering in the first place, the 21st Century Cures Act opens the door for more damaging antibiotics to flood the market.

The Ever-Increasing Power of the Pharmaceutical Industry

The current medical system lacks the mechanisms required to protect consumers from the dangers of pharmaceuticals. The FDA is failing to protect people from dangerous drugs, the justice system is failing to compensate people for harm done by dangerous drugs, doctors, pharmacists and even research scientists are so indoctrinated in the “there’s a pill for that” culture that they fail to question it, and the drug-consuming public ends up poisoned and sick because no one is keeping the pharmaceutical companies in check. All powerful entities need checks and balances, the pharmaceutical industry is no exception.  The 21st Century Cures Act gives the too-powerful pharmaceutical industry even more power, power that will undoubtedly be abused.

Pros and Cons

There are a couple good elements to the 21st Century Cures Act. It increases the NIH budget, which some can argue is an improvement. It also focuses on finding pharmaceutical solutions to rare diseases, which many people with rare diseases will find to be cause for hope.

I fear though, that people with rare diseases will be turned into guinea pigs because the pharmaceutical companies seeking cures for their rare diseases will have no limits put on what they can do to the people suffering from them.  I also find it objectionable that there is no mention in the Act of investigating the causes of “rare” diseases or “rare” adverse drug reactions.

The potential harm that can be brought on by the 21st Century Cures Act far outweighs its potential benefits, and I encourage all Americans reading this to contact your Congressional Representatives to voice your concerns about this bill.

Human Health is Too Important to Leave to Congress 

The human body is amazingly, beautifully, mind-bogglingly complex and intricate. New discoveries about our biology are being made every day. For example, it was recently discovered that the brain has a lymphatic system, a discovery that may have huge implications for human health. Additionally, the burgeoning fields of epigenetics and microbiome research have far more questions than answers within them, and exciting discoveries are being made within those fields every day. Though there are undoubtedly brilliant scientists working in the biological sciences, even they are far from knowing “enough” about unforeseen consequences of messing with a biological system (through use of a drug) that connects to all other biological systems.  Any doctor or scientist who is worth his/her title realizes how little anyone knows about the complex workings of the human body, is aware that medicine is constantly changing as new discoveries are made, and has humility about the consequences of what he/she doesn’t yet know.

If scientists can’t possibly know “enough” about human biology to produce pharmaceuticals that are exact and without side-effects (aka collateral damage), the shills and corporate-whores in Congress certainly don’t know “enough” about human health to legislate major changes that affect how medicine is implemented. They have that power though, and the 21st Century Cures Act is a consequential piece of legislation that is going to have major effects on the entire medical system if it is signed into law. Most of those effects are negative.

The 21st Century Cures Act diminishes the rocks on which modern medicine are based – informed consent, individual body autonomy, the Hippocratic Oath, and basing medicine on scientific evidence. The people of America, and the world, need to fight to keep those bedrocks in place. If all medical decisions, and all medical legislation, were made with informed consent, individual body autonomy, the Hippocratic Oath, and scientific evidence in mind, the world would be a much better place. Don’t assume for a second that current medical and legislative decisions are being made with those basic principles in mind. They are constantly being eroded.  Diligently protect them to the best of your ability – and call your Representatives.

Resources:

  1. New York Times, “Don’t Weaken the F.D.A.’s Drug Approval Process
  2. The New England Journal of Medicine, “The 21st Century Cures Act — Will It Take Us Back in Time?
  3. Medscape Medical News, “Bill Aims to Expand Drug Indications Minus Randomized Trials
  4. Modern Healthcare, “Beware a 21st Century Quackery Act
  5. Public Citizen, “Cures for the 21st Century: Five Simple Ideas Congress Has Ignored

The Warped World of the GMO Lobbyist

By Colin Todhunter
July 7, 2015
Counter Punch

 

ee110-evil-monsantoThere’s a massive spike in cancer cases in Argentina that is strongly associated with glyphosate-based herbicides. These herbicides are a huge earner for agribusiness. But don’t worry, Patrick Moore says you can drink a whole quart and it won’t harm you. Who needs independent testing? He says people regularly try to commit suicide with it but fail. They survived – just. So what’s the problem? Perfectly safe. Patrick Moore says he is ‘not an idiot’. So he must be right. Right?

Anyway, all that scare mongering about GMOs and glyphosate is a conspiracy by a bunch of whinging lavishly funded green-blob types. Former UK environment minister Owen Paterson said as much. He says those self-serving anti-GMO people are damaging the interests of the poor and are profiting handsomely. They are condemning “billions” to lives of poverty.

He voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which has led to the death of almost 1.5 million Iraqis. His government has plunged millions into poverty and food insecurity in the UK. He now wants to help the poor by giving them GM courtesy of self-interested, corporations and their lavishly paid executives. What was that about self-serving, lavishly funded groups? As a staunch believer in doublespeak, hypocrisy and baseless claims by self-appointed humanitarians with awful track records, Paterson’s sound-bite smears and speeches are good enough for me.

So with that cleared up, hopefully we can move on.

Then there’s all that ‘anti-capitalist twaddle’ (another pearl of wisdom from Patrick Moore) about smallholders being driven from their lands and into poverty due to a corporate takeover aimed at expanding (GM) chemical-intensive agriculture. I showed Mr Moore a paper by an economics professor who had studied the devastation caused by the above in Ethiopia. That’s where the ‘anti-capitalist twaddle’ retort came in. As I’m also a staunch believer in the power of baseless, ill-informed abuse, I was once again convinced.

What about all that rubbish about GM not having enhanced the world’s ability to feed itself? You know, all that stuff about the way it has been used has merely led to greater food insecurity. Nonsense. I watched a prime-time BBC programme recently. Some scientist in a white coat in a lab said that GM can feed the world. He’d proved it in his lab. In reality (not in a lab), the fact it hasn’t done anything of the sort over the past 20-odd years doesn’t matter. He wore a white coat and held GM patents, so he definitely knows best!

I once read that industrialised agriculture is less productively efficient than smallholder agriculture that feeds most of the world. And then I read that the world can feed itself without GMOs. According to all of this, it is current policies and the global system of food production that militate against achieving global food security.

That’s just a big old load of rubbish put together by a bunch of conspiracy mongers. Who are these people? Food and trade policy analysts, political scientists, economics professors and the like. A bunch of whining anti-capitalist promoters of twaddle. None of them have studied molecular biology so how can they possibly be qualified to talk on this? I’d rather listen to a man in a lab who says GM can feed the world. He’s much more qualified to speak on politics, trade, the environment or anthropology than a bunch of lefties who don’t know one side of a petri dish from the other.

I happen to believe a profitable techno-fix is the way to go. A techno-fix that comes courtesy of the same companies whose global influence and power are helping to destroy indigenous agriculture across the world. But this is for the good of the traditional smallholder because these companies really, really care about the poor. Okay, okay, I know the top execs over at Monsanto are bringing in a massive annual cheque – but $12.4 million per year helps motivate a CEO to get out of bed in the morning and to develop empathy with the poor – unlike that elitist, self-serving green blob lot who rake in big money – according to hero-of-the-poor, the handsomely rewarded millionaire Owen Paterson… err, let’s swiftly move on.

To divert your attention away from all that scare mongering, conspiracy theory twaddle, I want you to concentrate solely on the science of GM and nothing else. But only on the version of ‘science’ as handed down from the great lawgiver in St Louis which creates it in its own image, not least by dodging any problematic questions that may have prevented GM from going on the market in the first place. Some troublemaker recently wrote a book about that, but someone said it wasn’t worth reading – so I didn’t bother (‘Altered Genes, Twisted…’ something or other – the word escapes me; it doesn’t appear in my lexicon).

So how about joining like-minded humanitarians and the handsomely-paid people over at big bioworld? We believe in mouthing platitudes about freedom and choice while serving interests that eradicate both. And let me add that scientists know that anyone who disagrees with them is just plain dim. C S Prakash recently posted a claim that implied such on Twitter. He’s a molecular biologist, so it must be true. Of course, there are scientists who disagree with us but they are quite clearly wrong – wrong methodology, wrong findings, wrong career turn – we’ll make sure of that!

In finishing, let me make the case for GM clear, based on logic and clear-headed rationality. There are those who are just too dim to understand any of the issues to do with GM so they should put up, shut up or go away and read or write about conspiracy theories on their blogs or in their peer-reviewed non-science journals that aren’t worth the paper they are written on given that the ‘peers’ in question are probably also a bunch of left-leaning wing nuts.

By comparison, unlike those self-serving ideologues, we are totally non-political. Okay, we might be firmly supporting a neoliberalism that is dominated by unaccountable big corporations which have captured policy-making space nationally and internationally, but any discussion of that is to be avoided by labelling those who raise such matters as politically motivated. We get you to focus on ‘the science’ – that is ‘our science’ – and nothing else. The fact that some of us tend to label anyone who disagrees with us as anti-science, anti-capitalist, socialists or enemies of the poor (or even ‘murdering bastards‘) says nothing at all about our political agenda.

And the lavish funds and powerful strategic position of big agribusiness means the pro-GMO lobby can smear, exert huge political influence and also restrict choice by preventing the labelling of GM food. You see, too much choice confuses people. We take the public for fools who will swallow anything – hopefully GMOs and our sound-bite deceptions.

So rests the case for GMOs. Eloquently put? I certainly think so. But I would say that, wouldn’t I? I’m paid to.

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India.

Parents Receive Millions After The Flu Vaccine Did This To Their Child

By Arjun Walia
July 6, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

sabaIn 2010, a young girl by the name of Saba Rose had a very severe and life changing reaction to the flu vaccine given out that year. As a result of what happened to her (and the subsequent awareness raised about the dangers of this vaccine), the product is now no longer available to children. She is one of many children who have been severely injured by vaccination. Despite the belief that such tragedy is rare, it is actually a fairly common occurrence, and this is why billions of dollars have been paid out to families with children who have proven to be injured by vaccines through what is called the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act, or the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act – a program that actually shields pharmaceutical companies and vaccine manufacturers for injury and death caused by vaccines which, again, seems to happen more regularly than is reported.

Saba’s parents recently  launched legal action against the vaccine’s manufacturer, CSL, which then launched a cross-claim against the State of WA and the Minister for Health. They’ve now been awarded millions of dollars in compensation.

So what exactly happened to Saba?  In 2010 the WA Health Department sent out a letter to all families urging them to vaccinate any children aged 6 months to 5 years. As a result, Saba’s parents went to their GP to have her vaccinated with what was called “Flu-vax.” This happened at 12:30 pm, and when she got home she slept for two hours before waking again. That night after she was put to bed her parents noticed she was looking very limp and pale, and discovered she had a temperature of 40.2 degrees. After a call was placed to the Emergency department, Saba began having seizures and was then put on life support. She was not expected to live, and since the original incident she has been admitted into PMH 40 times for breathing problems. Since then she has had a host of problems. (source)(source)

She suffered a hypoxic brain injury along with kidney, liver, and bone marrow failure. She can now no longer walk or talk and needs round-the-clock care. Saba was diagnosed with having cerebral palsy from an Acquired Brain Injury cause by the flu vaccination (“Flu-Vax” by CSL). She is also a spastic quadriplegia and has epilepsy and respiratory weakness.

Three days after what happened to Saba, the vaccine was recalled.

Around the same time this was happening, Australia banned the flu vaccine for all children under the age of 5 due to the fact that dozens of children in Western Australia were admitted to hospitals with convulsions after receiving flu injections.  It’s odd how we never hear about these things, isn’t it? (source)

Forcing a parent to vaccinate their child does not reflect sound scientific or medical procedure. All drugs are associated with some risks and adverse reactions. The “greater good” argument is alarming, because cases of permanent neurodevelopment disabilities and even deaths following vaccination in children (with genetic and other susceptibilities) have been established (firmly) in scientific literature. Clinical trials that could address vaccine safety concerns have not been conducted. No studies have been published in these peer reviewed medical journals examining the health outcomes of vaccinated populations versus unvaccinated populations. The lack of these controlled trials appears to be a result of the fact that vaccines have been assumed to be safe since their inception, which clearly contradicts a lot of scientific data. (source) (source) (Tomljenovic, L. and Shaw, C.A. (2011) One-size fits all? Vaccine. 2012; 30(12):2040.9) (source)

Multiple studies have found that flu vaccinations can be harmful to your heart, as well as infants and foetuses. The CDC recommends that all infants six months or older should receive flu vaccinations, on top of a highly questionable vaccination schedule. You can check out the entire vaccination schedule here. You can access the studies I am talking about here.

There are a number of concerns when it comes to vaccinations. And you can read a heavily sourced article with the science and more as to why more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children HERE.


10 Ways the Global Cabal is Controlling You: Part One

By Christina Sarich
July 6, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.deesillustration.com/(Picture courtesy of deesillustration.com)

(This article is part of a three-part series, watch for part two coming soon!)

The world is under the control of a nefarious order, whether you call them the cabal, the Illuminati, the Order of 33, the geopolitical plutocratic elite, the Bilderberg Group, or some other name, but just how far reaching are their tentacles? It may surprise you how much you don’t know, but then again, their plan was designed so that you would never realize just how far their power truly extends.

Each ‘leg’ of the cabal is dependent upon the others to remain viable. If we were to remove one leg from the cabal table, it would no longer stand. Fortunately, there are individuals who aim to do just that, but first, it is important to know how these groups think, and it isn’t pretty.

Financial

You don’t achieve absolute world dominance without controlling the purse strings. Zerohedge has pointed out that there are really only ten companies which control almost everything you purchase. You are given the illusion of choice, but each of these companies is connected to just a few criminal families in a nepotistic manner.

As an example of how the corporate square-dance, or should I say, circle-jerk, really works, there is ample evidence in these few companies: Yum Brands owns KFC and Taco Bell, and they only sell Pepsi products. Proctor & Gamble owns so many brands it would be impractical to list them all – but they make everything from toothpaste to high-end fashion. You might know Nestle for making chocolate, but they also believe that water should be privatized, and they own 8,000 brands, at least some of which you have likely purchased.

Think that Monsanto is a really big, nasty company? It is a nasty corporation, but it isn’t that big. They’re just one of the puppet fronts for Vanguard Mutual Funds. The biggest shareholder in Monsanto, the biggest in Halliburton, the second biggest in Facebook, the third biggest in Whole Foods, the second biggest in Hain Celestial Foods, and the biggest shareholder in the largest defence corporation in America, Lockheed Martin, is also the Vanguard Group.

Then we get to some even better intel. Dick Cheney, the same man who practically shoved us over a cliff into a war with Iraq, was the head of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000. Cheney also had between 18 and 87 million shares in the Vanguard Fund. His is only one example of government fraud to the 1,000th degree. Who owned an incredible number of shares of Halliburton? Deutsche Bank – which brings us to financial control part deux.

You remember the bank bailouts. That money went to just a few folks who were already über-rich. The banks tried to blame it on mortgage defaults, but they planned the whole thing from beginning to end. It was just another pump and dump scheme like the IT bubble, and all other bubbles that came before it, and the one they are trying to float even now by messing with interest rates.

Next up, at the top of this convoluted hierarchy is the Federal Reserve and Fractional Banking System. This includes the World Bank and IMF. A Swiss study published in PLOS ONE details how just a handful of banks and financial institutions exert massive control on the entire world. According to the study, there is a “super-entity” of just 147 very tightly knit mega-corporations that control 40 percent of the entire global economy.”

Finally, there are just four companies that control 147 other companies that own – well, just about everything:

McGraw-Hill, owns Standard & Poor’s, as well as Northwestern Mutual, which owns Russell Investments, the index arm of which runs the benchmark Russell 1,000 and Russell 3,000, CME Group which owns 90% of Dow Jones Indexes, and Barclay’s, which took over Lehman Brothers and its Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, the dominant world bond fund index. Together, these four firms dominate the world of indexing. And in turn, that means they hold real sway over the world’s money.

Should you think your money is safe if it is in tangible assets, there’s the gold-rigging. JP Morgan, Goldman Sach’s, Barclay’s, Deutsch Bank, SoGen and UBS are all in hot water for rigging the gold and silver markets.

Essentially, name a market, and it is controlled by the cabal. It doesn’t matter if you are trading securities, or pigskins – they’re controlling who has money and who doesn’t.

That is until, hopefully, the Asia Pacific Bank starts calling the shots, and bleeds the cabal of all their funny money created with fractional banking, or quantitative easing, and fiat currencies, which is essentially the act of printing money out of thin air.

Political

You also cannot dominate the world without political clout and power. In the US an expertly crafted two-party system dominates the political arena. Here, we fight on Astroturf, where the arguments over political issues are prescripted and very much like a reality show. Each side thinks that the grass is greener on their own side, but they are meant to oppose each other only to the degree that Americans stay emotionally engaged in the same wedge issues each and every ‘election’ period, while true issues and any viable third party is left out in the cold. Grand Illusion Two Party SystemThis is carried out with exacting precision, and more financial control. Elections are rigged, as evinced by the Florida recount, which allowed George Bush to take office and lobbyists control the Congress and House of Representatives. The illusion of choice is perpetuated so that you believe you have a ‘say’ when, in reality, you have none. The same ‘divide and conquer’ tactics that are used to stir upheaval in other countries are used at home. If you still think that voting Democrat or Republican makes a difference, then the Cabal is still controlling you.

Furthermore, the US has been infiltrated by some nasty individuals who have plans to take over the entire world. As Preston James, PhD from Veteran’s Today puts it:

The curtain is now being pulled back to fully expose the Khazarian Mafia and its evil plan to tyrannize the whole world, to eradicate all Abrahamic religions, and allow only their Babylonian Talmudism, also known as Luciferianism, Satanism, or ancient Ball worship.

Emotional

What better way to create a world of slaves than by controlling their emotions? The cabal uses money and political power to polarize the masses, but they get to us through our emotional state. They use the differences in our beliefs systems to create anger and hostility. They use our own egoic tendencies to focus on ‘an other’ to create strife and war. Instead of live, and peacefully, let live, we micro-manage others’ lives without taking care of our own faults. Images are continuously churned out by a cabal-owned media (see part two) that would make us feel anxiety, and doubt our spiritual connectedness to one another, let alone to the Universe at large. Think of how you felt when the World Trade buildings went down. They seized all that negative emotion to take your most basic rights from you. They benefited your fear. Our emotions are played like a violin string by the cabal.

A large part of the Campbellian journey, described in Joseph Campbell’s seminal work, A Hero’s Journey, is to overcome the ‘story’ we have about ourselves – that is all the ego really is. The false ideas that we are what we HAVE or that we are what we DO are kept in place by the cabal, but only as we allow this to happen. The ego will keep us looking for who we truly are on the outside (or who we are not – “I’m nothing like THOSE people!”) instead of looking within.

If you aren’t familiar with Campbell’s work, I highly recommend it as a means to understanding yourself, so that the cabal, and any other opportunistic energies, don’t have the ability to control you and your emotions. Do any of these monomyths or roles sound familiar, as Campbell described the journey we all take to rise above ego?

The Call to Adventure

Refusal to Answer the Call

Acceptance of the Call

Supernatural Aid

Crossing of the First Threshold

Entering the Belly of the Whale

The Initiation

The Road of Trials

Meeting with the Goddess (Feminine Energy)

Woman as Temptress

Atonement with the Father

Apotheosis

The Ultimate Boon

Return (with New Knowledge of the Self)

Refusal of the Return

Magic Flight

Rescue from the Without

Crossing the Return Threshold

Master of the Two Worlds (Material and Immaterial or Spiritual)

Freedom to Live

We only arrive at the ‘freedom to live’ when we eradicate the influence of the cabal, or the inflated, nasty, dark, egoic nature which thinks of nothing but preserving itself, with no care for the rest of the world or its inhabitants. If you look around, this is exactly the phase of the hero’s journey we are in now – quite literally the belly of the whale. Corporations have absolutely pillaged the earth, and war has killed far too many to call it paradise.

Stay tuned for part two. . .

The Trans Pacific Partnership & Why It’s Nothing But A Corporate Takeover

By Andrew Martin
July 3, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

tppA Great Example of Free Trade

On the 9th of May 2000, Bill Clinton in his presidential speech was selling the merits of allowing China to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the American people.

“If you believe in a future of greater openness and freedom for the people of China, you ought to be for this agreement. If you believe in a future of greater prosperity for the American people you certainly should be for this agreement, if you believe in security and peace for Asia and the world you should be for this agreement. This is the right thing to do, it is a historic opportunity and a profound American responsibility.” Clinton went on to suggest the entry of China into the WTO would offer “a brighter future for American workers and American manufacturers. Economically this agreement is the equivalent of a one way street, it requires China to open its markets with a fifth of the world’s population, potentially the biggest markets in the world. For the first time China will agree to play by the open trading rules we do. It has never happened before, for the first time our companies will be able to sell and distribute products in China made by workers here in America.” (1)

If we look back at Clinton’s speech it becomes obvious who really benefited. The failure of governments to foresee any negative impacts of offshoring manufacturing and industry has resulted in a decimation of the middle and working class in many nations. While China has benefited significantly (economically) at least in the short term, other nations have seen their economies stripped of any meaningful industry. While most governments race to promote ‘free trade’ and the opening of foreign trade and investment, few understand the consequence this has on local economies.. or do they?

Hiding What is Really Going On

The “official unemployment rate” in the United States, as outlined by “Unemployment USA,” is promoted to the public between 5 and 6%. John Williams, an economic consultant who publishes “Shadow Statistics,” examines the data many mainstream media outlets fail to update or question. In a 2013 interview, Williams outlined that “the numbers are a matter of definition. If you interviewed those who are unemployed you would get a much higher rate than what the government puts out as its definition.” The headline unemployment figure is calculated by examining the civilian labor force and includes only people who are working or have looked for a job in the previous four weeks. “So if you have given up looking for a job because there is no longer any point then you are not included in the headline unemployment figures. Given the way the government’s headline unemployment rate is calculated, it can never reach 14%. This is because when the economy gets really bad (like now), unemployed workers get discouraged and give up looking for jobs. This causes the civilian labor force to decline, faster than total employment.” Williams points out that back in 1994 discouraged workers were counted. If you hadn’t looked for work in the last two years but you were still ready and able to take a job the government counted you, but it doesn’t now. Williams estimates that if the calculation was the same or similar to what it was back in 1994, the unemployment rate would be more in line with 23%. (2)

The Trans Pacific Partnership – A Corporate Takeover

There is currently plenty of talk about the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement secretly being negotiated. Firstly, if this is such as good deal for everyone, why isn’t there transparency and open debate, and why is this deal being done in private? Doesn’t seem that democratic, does it? Yet it seems the words liberty, democracy, and freedom are overused as catch cries from our political masters, who simply mouth these words to appease the masses. Secondly, I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “fast track” it conjures up thoughts of missing a few steps or doing things a bit half arsed…

The current “Trans Pacific Partnership” deal, which is being negotiated secretively between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, may well be another effort to decimate the workforce in favour of multinational profits. The “Public Citizen” organization certainly thinks so. It believes the latest TPP is an effort to offshore American jobs and increase income inequality, increase the cost of medicines, sneak in SOPA-like threats to internet freedom, empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards, expose the U.S. to unsafe food and products, and roll back Wall Street reforms. Sounds like one massive corporate bail out doesn’t it!

To take it one step further, the TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations. This would empower them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the “expected future profits” they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies. (3)

Stacking The Deck

Generally free trade agreements such as this have little to do with trade, they are about changing and stacking the deck in favour of those who will benefit. From the information available it appears that the TPP will give more power to corporations to attack and litigate against foreign nations. The late Albert Allen Bartlett, the well-respected Professor of physics at the University of Colorado (Boulder) who spoke extensively about the energy sector, suggested that “one of the principle motivations behind the U.S support for these trade agreements is to allow the U.S get their hands on resources before these resources get developed and countries want to use them for themselves.” (4) He may well be right!

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) section of the TPP would effectively give special rights to foreign investors included in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). This would open up the flood gates from which foreign investors (large multinationals) could potentially sue governments if their investments were deemed to be affected by a change in a law or policy. National regulations in areas such as food labelling, workers rights, safety and environmental protection would be at risk of violation. To illustrate, I will use an example of a large multinational mining company who wants to explore and drill for oil and gas in a certain environmentally sensitive area in your country. Under the TPP agreement any restrictions which may be placed upon the company in regard to exploration and drilling may be cause for potential litigation if the “interests of the conglomerate” could be affected. The national government of the particular country would have to either fight the litigation (tax payer funded of course) or simply give in to the company and let them do whatever they like! In effect, any TPP deal would jeopardize national sovereignty and potentially wreak havoc on the environment.

Bring in Your Own Lawyers

These disputes would be heard by an international investment tribunal (more deck stacking) with no independent judges. There would be no precedents or appeals, so decisions could be inconsistent, yet could have the ability to undermine national laws. Some argue that The TPP is being driven by the U.S in an effort to further the interests of American corporations and American workers after seeing its industry and economy decimated by Chinese dominance over the last decades. It might be a way of embedding trade between these countries to ensure China does not become more economically dominant throughout the Pacific and Asia. However, I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the prominent economist and professor at the School of Public Policy, Herman Daly, who argues that “globalisation has been a policy choice of the elites, not of the average citizen.” The mantra of “we live in a globalised economy and have no choice but to compete in the global growth race” has misled countries into supporting free capital mobility and global integration. “Globalisation” (national disintegration) was an actively pursued policy, not an inertial force of nature. It was done to increase the power and growth of transnational corporations by moving them out from under the authority of nation states and into a non-existent “global community.” (5)

Regardless of the agendas being pushed, there are three important factors at play when it comes to this deal, all of which further undermine society. These are holding us back from true progress, not the kind multinationals seek in the exploitation of resources, people and the environment, these are the erosion of democracy, integrity, and national sovereignty. These are up for grabs… not just some dodgy agreement…

Article compiled by Andrew Martin, editor of onenesspublishing  and author of One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…  and Rethink…Your world, Your future.

RethinkcoverCE2Source: excerpts from Rethink…Your world, Your future.

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg_Jr_DCyq8

(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk8saiBYXIc

(3) http://www.citizen.org/TPP

(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHx4N1ujfH4

(5) http://steadystate.org/eight-fallacies-about-growth/

US income inequality continued to soar in 2014

By Andre Damon
July 2, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Capitalism1Income inequality in the United States continued to grow in 2014, according to updated figures released last week by University of California, Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez.

According to Saez’s report, the top one percent of income earners increased their share of total income from 20.1 percent in 2013 to 21.2 in 2014 percent.

The income shares of the highest-earning 10 percent, 1 percent, and 0.1 percent of income earners all grew in 2014. The top ten percent of earners received 49.9 percent of income in 2014, more than any other year besides 2012.

Saez noted that the top 1 percent of earners received 58 percent of income gains during the so-called economic “recovery” between 2009 and 2014. The incomes of the bottom 99 percent grew by just 4.3 percent during that period.

The figures for 2014 mark the first year that real incomes for the bottom 99 percent of earners increased by any significant amount since the 2008 financial crisis. Incomes for the bottom 99 percent grew at a rate of 3.8 percent last year.

Saez wrote that “the incomes of most American families are still far from having recovered from the losses of the Great Recession.” He added that by 2014, the bottom 99 percent of income earners had recovered less than 40 percent of the annual income they had lost during the 2007-2009 recession.

The modest growth in incomes for the bottom 99 percent was dwarfed by the increase in the incomes of the super-rich. The incomes for the top 1 percent of earners grew at a rate of 10.8 percent last year, more than three times faster than the average for the bottom 99 percent.

While the growth of social inequality has dramatically accelerated following the 2008 crash, this is a continuation of a decades-long process. The report notes, “Top 1 percent incomes grew by 80.0% from 1993 to 2014. This implies that top 1 percent incomes captured almost 60% of the overall economic growth of real incomes per family over the period 1993-2014.”

Saez warns that the growth of inequality is not likely to slow down, noting, “Based on the US historical record, falls in income concentration due to economic downturns are temporary unless drastic regulation and tax policy changes are implemented and prevent income concentration from bouncing back. Such policy changes took place after the Great Depression during the New Deal and permanently reduced income concentration until the 1970s.”

He notes, “The policy changes that took place coming out of the Great Recession… are modest relative to the policy changes that took place coming out of the Great Depression. Therefore, it seems unlikely that US income concentration will fall much in the coming years, absent more drastic policy changes.”

In fact, the US government’s response to the 2008 crash has been dedicated to inflating the wealth of the super-rich while driving down incomes for the vast majority of the population. The White House has protected Wall Street executives from legal prosecution, while the Federal Reserve has handed out trillions of dollars in cheap money through “quantitative easing” programs, leading share values to triple on major US exchanges.

Saez notes that a significant contributor to the growth of income inequality has been the growth of the salaries for top earners, particularly top executives. He observes, “The income composition pattern at the very top has changed considerably over the century. The share of wage and salary income has increased sharply from the 1920s to the present, and especially since the 1970s. Therefore, a significant fraction of the surge in top incomes since 1970 is due to an explosion of top wages and salaries.” He adds that, by some estimates, “the share of total wages and salaries earned by the top 1 percent wage income earners has jumped from 5.1 percent in 1970 to 12.4 percent in 2007.”

There are signs that this process is accelerating. The same day that Saez published his report, the Wall Street Journal published a separate survey of executive pay, which found that CEOs at major corporations it surveyed had their pay increase by 13.5 percent in 2014, hitting $13.6 million.

The soaring wealth of the financial elite, driven by surging stock prices and executive pay, is driving demand for luxury goods and housing in major financial centers. Manhattan real estate prices have reached an all time high, with the average home price hitting $1.87 million, according to reports cited by the New York Times Wednesday. The Times noted that real estate developers are scrambling to create enormous multi-million-dollar high-rise apartments, which are being snapped up by members of the financial elite.

Meanwhile, the housing situation for the great majority of the population has only worsened since 2008. Last week a study by Harvard University’s Joint Center For Housing Studies found that the share of the US population that owned a home hit the lowest level in two decades, with the homeownership rate for those aged 35-44 plunging to the lowest level since the 1960s. The report attributed the fall in home ownership to falling incomes for typical US households, noting that median household income in the US remained 8 percent below its level in 2007.

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama plans to unveil what he has called a major new policy initiative in a speech in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The proposal entails new federal rules that would make an additional 3 percent of the US population eligible for overtime pay. If adopted, the change would add a mere $1.3 billion to worker’s wages annually. This is a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars that have been transferred to the financial elite since the 2008 financial crisis.

To put things in perspective; Obama’s program would transfer less income to working people each year than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made in a single day last year.