Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Government Shrunk and Drowned in Bathtub of Ebola: Drip, Drip, Drip Edition

Democracy is in the balance, and the fruits of austerity are bitter like bile.  Democracy has been replaced with fascism and the effects of privatization of government services for profit have wrought the Ebola crisis.  The “capitalist” world is like a bulging dam ready to burst and all you can hear is the steady drip, drip, drip. 

According to the Washington Post, austerity killed Ebola research:


NIH director: Ebola vaccine could be ready by now if not for budget austerity

Federal budget austerity slowed the development of vaccines and therapies for the deadly Ebola virus that has ravaged West Africa, killed one man in Dallas and infected a health-care worker in Texas, according to the top National Institutes of Health official.

NIH Director Francis Collins told the Huffington Post on Friday that the agency has been working on Ebola vaccines for more than a decade. But the NIH budget has shrunk by about $5 billion over the same period, after adjusting for inflation.

“Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready,” Collins said.

Yes, the government has been shrunk to the size it can be drowned in a bathtub of Ebola.  Our politicians have sold a bill of goods to the American people.  The bill of goods that government can’t do anything right, the private sector is “god” and all social services should be done through charities like the Gates Foundation.  So, how is this privatized national healthcare/research system working?  From Margaret Kimberly at BAR:


Freedom Rider: Privatized Ebola by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

“The world of private dollars played a role in consigning thousands of people to death.”

Sierra Leone has waved the white flag in the face of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Its meager infrastructure has buckled under the onslaught of a disease which could have been curtailed. The announcement that infected patients will be treated at home because there is no longer the capacity to treat them in hospitals is a surrender which did not have to happen. Not only did Europe and the United States turn a blind eye to sick and dying Africans but they did so with the help of an unlikely perpetrator.

The World Health Organization is “the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.” Its very name implies that it takes direction from and serves the needs of people all over the world but the truth is quite different. The largest contributor to the WHO budget is not a government. It is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which provides more funding than either the United States or the United Kingdom. WHO actions and priorities are no longer the result of the consensus of the world’s people but top down decision making from wealthy philanthropists.

Bill and Melina Gates have more money than USA and the UK?  So, while scientists in the United States have lost their highly technical research jobs due to funding cuts, research is left to the benevolence of billionaires.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may appear to be a savior when it provides $300 million to the WHO budget, but those dollars come with strings attached. WHO director general Dr. Margaret Chan admitted as much when she said, “My budget [is] highly earmarked, so it is driven by what I call donor interests.” Instead of being on the front line when a communicable disease crisis appears, it spends its time administering what Gates and his team have determined is best.

“Health care should be a human right, not a charity.”

Privatization of public resources is a worldwide scourge. Education, pensions, water, and transportation are being taken out of the hands of the public and given to rich people and corporations. The Ebola crisis is symptomatic of so many others which go unaddressed or improperly addressed because no one wants to bite the hands that do the feeding.

“The Gates foundation is the WHO boss, not governments.”

Ebola Lab

Wow, the world’s largest nations have sold their country’s riches and resources to billionaires for magic beans.  So our government must stand down and allow the WHO/Gates Foundation to address the Ebola crisis?  How do poor, socialist countries manage, after all their governments are so inferior to our capitalist government?  From Glen Ford at BAR: 

Cuban medical workers treating a cholera patient in Haiti


Obama’s Cynical, Stilted Response to Ebola vs. Cuba’s Magnificent Mobilization by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“After centuries of fattening the colonial bat, the Ebola-afflicted countries have almost no structural defenses against even the tiniest invaders.”

The World Health Organization is warning that the Ebola virus is now killing 70 percent of those infected in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, with new cases projected to reach 10,000 per week by December…

Millions of Africans are among the pre-dead – marked for extermination through disease, hunger, war and the myriad other components of imperialism – the beast that, like some species of bats, can only survive by gorging on the blood of others, leaving its victims weak and pathogen-ridden.

Drip, drip, drip.

NOT the three nations’ health care systems, which do not exist in any meaningful sense, but a global capitalist system that forces developing nations to eliminate public services or face economic strangulation and regime change…

Meanwhile, Cuba, a country of 11 million people with a GDP of only $72.3 billion (compared with a U.S. GDP of $17.3 trillion) fielded “the single biggest medical force on the Ebola frontline...totally showing up the United States,” according to Business Insider. 165 Cuban health workers arrived in Sierra Leone, a contingent that will soon grow to 461 – part of the 50,000 health professionals the island nation deploys in 66 countries. 

The Cubans outnumber the African Union’s 100-person health care contribution to Sierra Leone, the second largest, and will exceed the regional total of the international aid charity Doctors Without Frontiers (Médecins sans Frontières).

Yes, the evil, anti-capitalism Satan that is Cuba to the rescue.  You know that reminds me, it wasn’t too long ago that Putin visited Cuba, from NBC News:

Putin Meets Fidel Castro, Pledges Oil Exploration Aid

Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to help revive Cuba's struggling offshore oil exploration on Friday at the start of a six-day tour of Latin America as Russia aims to reassert its influence on the communist-ruled island. Putin was joined in Havana by close ally and so-called Russian oil czar Igor Sechin, the chairman of state oil company Rosneft, to finalize a deal to explore for oil off Cuba's northern coast. 

The Russian president also promised to reinvest $3.5 billion of Cuban debt with Russia into development projects on the island, part of a deal in which Russia forgave 90 percent of Cuba's debt, or almost $32 billion.

Yes, while U.S. banks are squeezing Argentina into bankruptcy to save the insane profits of the hedge fund vultures, Putin is offering real friendship and support to the Cuban people.

Both measures inject much-needed foreign investment into Cuba and demonstrate an act of defiance against the United States, which maintains a 52-year-old economic embargo with Cuba. "We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba," Putin said.

Putin also met with former President Fidel Castro before receiving the Medal of Jose Marti, Cuba's highest decoration. Fidel Castro, 87, stepped down for health reasons in 2008 after 49 years in power. For an hour he and Putin discussed international affairs, the global economy and Russian-Cuban relations, the Kremlin said.

And don’t forget, Cuba and Russia just KO’d the U.N. like some kind of wrestling tag team.

UNITED NATIONS -- The foreign ministers of Russia and Cuba Saturday delivered scathing critiques of U.S. support for the Ukrainian government and U.S. military action against radical Islamist terrorists in Syria.

"The U.S.-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries, acts from directly the opposite positions in the international arena," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The West rejects "the sovereign equality of states" and is "trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil."…

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez depicted Western accounts of what's happening in Ukraine and elsewhere as a result of corporate-controlled international media that "manipulate facts."

Drip, drip, drip. 

But, while we’re in the area let’s visit Haiti.  Remember how the U.S. State Department under Colin Powell overthrew the government in Haiti?  Counterpunch:  


MARCH 31, 2004

The Illegal Coup in Haiti the Kidnapping of Aristide Violated US and International Law

On February 26, the rebel army threatened to enter Port-au-Prince, and threatened President Aristide’s government and his life. The civil opposition that had been calling for President Aristide’s resignation rejected the international proposals. At this point, Colin Powell stated that the U.S. would not send troops to protect the democratically elected government until a political solution had been reached…

Later that night, the U.S. Depute Charge de Mission (DCM) in Haiti, Luis Moreno, accompanied by a contingent of U.S. Marines, met with the President. Moreno told him that only if he left at that moment, the U.S. would provide aircraft for him to leave, but that assistance was contingent on the President providing the United States with a letter of resignation

Although both George W. Bush and Colin Powell had said they would not send U.S. troops to Haiti until there was a political solution, U.S. troops were ordered to Haiti within one hour of President Aristide’s departure. Dick Cheney denied that the United States arrested or forcibly ousted President Aristide, saying that President Aristide, who had "worn out his welcome with the Haitian people," had "left of his own free will."…

Forcible regime change violates international law.

Yes, so what’s happening in Haiti now?  Has the Obama Administration undone to wrongs of the Bush Administration?  Is the UN protecting Haiti and restoring the elected president to power?  Danny Glover doesn’t think so.


Haiti's parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2011, are now three years overdue and the UN and other foreign entities have repeatedly called for them to take place before the end of the year. With Aristide back in Haiti it would appear to be more difficult this time around for the government to prevent FL from participating. This is perhaps why the deposed president is once again under attack.

Last month, a Haitian judge reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Aristide. The case being mounted against him reeks of political persecution directly tied to efforts to suppress a popular alternative to the current administration of Michel Martelly, who is supported by conservative Haitian elites and the U.S.

The charges against Aristide stem from an investigation conducted by the illegal government established by the 2004 U.S.-backed coup. Under that government, human rights researchers found that some 4,000 people were killed for political reasons, while many others were imprisoned on bogus charges. Despite his powerful enemies' best efforts, and a grand jury investigation in the U.S., no evidence has been produced that could support criminal charges against Aristide.

Sounds just like Ukraine.  Drip, drip, drip.

Well, Haiti’s democracy is being stifled by the United States and the E.U.  But, let’s head over to Bolivia.  Another “enemy” of capitalism, Evo Morales.  Remember when the U.S. had the president of Bolivia’s plane hijacked to check if Edward Snowden was on board?  From CNN:  


CNN) -- Bolivian officials say their country's presidential plane had to land in Austria on Tuesday after false rumors circulated that former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was aboard the aircraft.

Portuguese authorities wouldn't let President Evo Morales' plane land for refueling in Lisbon, Bolivian Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra told CNN en Español. French authorities also wouldn't let the plane enter their airspace, he said.

"We are told that there were some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane," Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said. "We do not know who has invented this lie. Someone who wants to harm our country. This information that has been circulated is malicious information to harm this country."

Yes, those assholes in the Kerry State Department have absolutely no respect for any world leader that they don’t like.  Well, guess what, Evo Morales has a list of accomplishments.  Here’sa few:  


1.    Since 2005 has Morales managed to help facilitate the passing of a new constitution and implement a variety of state funded social programs, which have reduced extreme poverty from 38.2 percent in 2005, to 21.6 percent in 2012.

2.    Morales’ government has adopted several macro-economic policies, to increase state revenue from the country’s natural resources in order to invest in social programs. Morales’ strategy helped increase Investment in public spending by over 750 percent over the last nine years.  

3.    Under the Bolivia Changes, Evo Comes Through initiative, Morales’ government provided small-scale infrastructure projects to many underprivileged communities, allocating over US$1 billion for over 5,000 projects throughout the country including the construction of medical clinics, schools and gymnasiums.

4.    Since Morales came to power in 2005, the Bolivian government has increased its hydrocarbon gas production from 33 million cubic meters to 56 million cubic meters in 2013. As a result, the Bolivian government estimates that it will become completely self-reliant on natural gas production by 2015.

Man, those are all things that capitalists hate, but there’s more.

5.    Another factor that has contributed to the reduction in poverty is the increase to the real minimum wage. According to International Labor Organization (ILO), the last two years Bolivia has achieved the highest increase (104% from 2005-2013) in real minimum wage than any other Latin American country.

6.    A central component of the Morales poverty reduction strategy was the creation and promotion of strong food security policies. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization he report states that as a result of inclusive and pro-poor food security policies, Bolivia saw a rapid decline of hunger by 7.4 percent during 2009-2011 and 2012-2014. The study also noted that Bolivia experienced a sharp decrease in chronic undernourishment in children less than three years of age, which fell from 41.7 percent in 1989 to 18.5 percent in 2012.

You know, here in Wisconsin and America Republicans are fighting a raise in minimum wage and slashed food for poor programs.

7.    Another main political achievement under Morales was the approval of a new constitution which incorporated many important changes including, granting Bolivian investment priority over foreign investment, and increased autonomy and political participation for the country’s indigenous population. 

8.    In 2009, the Morales administration pushed forward a new constitution, which recognized the traditional uses of the coca leaf for the first time in Bolivian history. Bolivia then successfully petitioned the United Nations for a reservation that legally permits coca growing and its licit uses within its borders. In July 2014, the United Nations issued a report, which found that that coca cultivation in Bolivia fell nine percent last year, and a massive 26 percent in the past three years.

9.    Since 2005, industrialization has become a key aspect of Morales’ economic policy, particularly in the area of transportation and energy production. The industrialization initiatives also form part of a broad strategy to transform the South American nation into a regional energy hub.

10.    From a macroeconomic perspective, Morales’ government has made significant progress. From 2005-2013, its total GDP growth tripled. Bolivia has also managed to increase its international reserves to 48 percent of its GDP.

Guess what, Morales has won a third term.  From Truthdig:

Bolivian President Evo Morales declared his re-election victory Sunday a triumph for socialist reforms that have reduced poverty. He will begin a third term that will last through 2018 with roughly 60 percent of the votes cast.

Reuters reports:

Morales, who became Bolivia’s first indigenous leader in 2006, will now be able to extend his “indigenous socialism”, under which he has nationalized key industries such as oil and gas to finance welfare programs and build new roads and schools.

“This was a debate on two models: nationalisation or privatisation. Nationalisation won with more than 60 percent (support),” Morales told thousands of cheering supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace.

A prominent member of the bloc of socialist and anti-U.S. leaders in Latin America, Morales dedicated his victory to Cuba’s former communist leader Fidel Castro.

“This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists,” Morales said.

Congratulations to Evo Morales and best wishes to the people of Bolivia.

Drip, drip, drip.  Looks like Serbia is preparing for a visit from Putin.  From ABC News:


Serbia Prepares Hero's Welcome for Putin
BELGRADE, Serbia — Oct 14, 2014, 11:11 AM ET By DUSAN STOJANOVIC Associated Press

Soldiers are marching, battle tanks are rumbling on the streets and fighter jets are flying overhead. No, it's not another war in the Balkans. It's Serbia preparing to stage a hero's welcome for Russian President Vladimir Putin with the country's first military parade in 30 years.

The red carpet reception for Putin, as he arrives in Belgrade on Thursday, comes as Serbia finds itself caught in the middle of Moscow's row with the West over Ukraine. The Balkan nation is increasingly confronted with a difficult choice: to continue down its officially declared path toward European Union membership, or give up that goal and forge even closer ties with its traditional Slavic ally Russia.

I wonder when Ukraine is going to have a “hero’s welcome" for Kerry, Biden and Nuland, or Iraq have a “hero's welcome” for Bush, Cheney and the neocons.

Putin will stop by Belgrade for only six hours to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Serbian capital, Belgrade, from Nazi German occupation by the Red Army and Yugoslav Communist Partisans. Here's a look at what's at stake:

Some Western officials have said that staging a military parade for the leader accused of fomenting the war in eastern Ukraine by sending Russian troops to help pro-Russian rebels doesn't help Serbia in its proclaimed goal to be part of Western alliances.

Yeah, well fuck them.  Want to see what the E.U. and U.S. have to offer?  From NPR:


Just 1 percent of the world's population controls nearly half of the planet's wealth, according to a new study published by Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

The study says this tiny slice of humanity controls $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people.

Other key findings in the report:

— The world's 85 richest people own as much as the poorest 50 percent of humanity.

— 70 percent of the world's people live in a country where income inequality has increased in the past three decades.

— In the U.S., where the gap between rich and poor has grown at a faster rate than any other developed country, the top 1 percent captured 95 percent of post-recession growth (since 2009), while 90 percent of Americans became poorer…

Last month, the Pew Research Center published a study that found income inequality in the U.S. was at its highest since 1928, the year before the start of the Great Depression.

Yes, unbelievable wealth for the few and nothing but crippling, deadly austerity for the rest.   From CNN:


Europe's public health disaster: How austerity kills

(CNN) -- If austerity had been a clinical trial, it would have been stopped. As public health experts, we have watched aghast as a slow motion disaster arose from austerity policies in Europe, while politicians continue to ignore the evidence of their disastrous effects.

Austerity was designed to shrink debts. Now, three years after Europe's budget-cutting began, the evidence is in: severe, indiscriminate austerity is not part of the solution, but part of the problem -- and its human costs are devastating.

In the U.S., Greece, Italy, Spain, the UK and elsewhere in Europe there were more than 10,000 additional suicides from 2007-2010, a figure that is over and above historical trends, with the largest rises concentrated in the worst performing economies.

Greece, for example, is in the middle of a public health disaster. To meet budget-deficit reduction targets set by the European Central Bank, European Commission, and International Monetary Fund (the so-called troika), Greece's public health budget has been cut by more than 40%....

Greece's HIV, TB, and malaria epidemics will now cost more to control than they would have been to prevent, our research indicates.

What we have learned is that severe, indiscriminate cuts to vital social protection programs are not only economically self-defeating, but fatal.

Drip, drip, drip.

Democracy is in the balance, from Hong Kong to Wisconsin.  The bulging dam of capitalist greed is ready to burst.  Drip, drip, drip.

By Patricia Baeten

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