SILENCING THE LAMBS. HOW PROPAGANDA WORKS

John Pilger

In the 1970s, I met one of Hitler’s leading propagandists, Leni Riefenstahl, whose epic films glorified the Nazis. We happened to be staying at the same lodge in Kenya, where she was on a photography assignment, having escaped the fate of other friends of the Fuhrer.

She told me that the ‘patriotic messages’ of her films were dependent not on ‘orders from above’ but on what she called the ‘submissive void’ of the German public.

Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I asked.  ‘Yes, especially them,’ she said.

I think of this as I look around at the propaganda now consuming Western societies.

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The World Is Sliding Into Recession, Warns WTO Chief

Countercurrents | September 30, 2022

The world is sliding into a recession due to multiple overlapping crises, the head of the WTO said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening of the WTO’s annual public forum in Geneva, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both downgraded their global growth forecasts, and that trade indicators are “not looking too good.”

Colliding crises such as surging food prices, the soaring cost of living, and the energy crunch, first triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and then aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have created the conditions for a global recession.

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Changing food systems and infectious disease risks in low-income and middle-income countries

Prof Jeff Waage, PhD; Prof Delia Grace, PhD; Prof Eric M Fèvre, PhD; John McDermott, PhD; Prof Jo Lines, PhD; Barbara Wieland, PhD; Nichola R Naylor, PhD; James M Hassell, PhD and Kallista Chan, MSc

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: September, 2022 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00116-4

Summary

The emergence of COVID-19 has drawn the attention of health researchers sharply back to the role that food systems can play in generating human disease burden. But emerging pandemic threats are just one dimension of the complex relationship between agriculture and infectious disease, which is evolving rapidly, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) that are undergoing rapid food system transformation. We examine this changing relationship through four current disease issues. The first is that greater investment in irrigation to improve national food security raises risks of vector-borne disease, which we illustrate with the case of malaria and rice in Africa. The second is that the intensification of livestock production in LMICs brings risks of zoonotic diseases like cysticercosis, which need to be managed as consumer demand grows. The third is that the nutritional benefits of increasing supply of fresh vegetables, fruit, and animal-sourced foods in markets in LMICs pose new food-borne disease risks, which might undermine supply. The fourth issue is that the potential human health risks of antimicrobial resistance from agriculture are intensified by changing livestock production. For each disease issue, we explore how food system transition is creating unintentional infectious disease risks, and what solutions might exist for these problems. We show that successfully addressing all of these challenges requires a coordinated approach between public health and agricultural sectors, recognising the costs and benefits of disease-reducing interventions to both, and seeking win–win solutions that are most likely to attract broad policy support and uptake by food systems.

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Confronting the plasticine: promise in a world wrapped in plastic

Margaret A Handley

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: September, 2022 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00194-2

As we poured water into a jug to be added to the ashes in the bucket, Maria (not her real name) asked in Spanish, “Why does making soap have anything to do with plastic?” Maria and another 50 or so Indigenous women from her village, in the highlands of southeastern Guatemala, had gathered ashes from their home fires and filled water jugs to bring to their community centre for a workshop with a local craftswoman on soap making; the first step of which is mixing ash with water and letting it sit. “That’s a long answer” I thought, struggling to think of how to express myself in Spanish. “Too much plastic everywhere, in the ground, air, water—chemicals in the plastic—bad for our health and for animals” I said in Spanish.iO, los químicos de plástico! iSi, son malos!” she agreed, as we finished our task. Outside, women were talking together, and you could feel their excitement—they wanted to learn something useful that might also garner additional income. This highland village had selected making soap, among many options, that might rebuff the environmental pollution that surrounds them. This first workshop seemed a success.

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Life expectancy and human development in the 21st century

Michael Roberts Blog | September 11, 2022

Life expectancy is one of the best measures of human development.  In hunter-gather societies, on average, about 57-67% of children made it to 15 years. Then 79% of those 15 year-olds made it to 45 years.  Finally, those remaining at 45 years could expect to reach around 65-70 years. So we can see that life expectancy at birth in these societies was very low, given high child mortality. But some 40% did make it to about 65 years on average.  It seems to have been worse in the class-based feudal and slave societies.  The average medieval life expectancy for a peasant was only a mere 35 years of age at birth, but it was closer to 50 years on average for those who made it beyond 15 years. 

You can see that measuring life expectancy at birth is not a perfect guide to how long humans did live in pre-capitalist societies.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that life expectancy on average rose sharply once science came to bear on hygiene, sewage, knowledge of the human body, better nutrition etc.  Of course, there were sharp inequalities in life expectancy in class societies between rich and poor.

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Many reasons why price cap on Russian oil exports cannot work

The United States and its allies are trying to impose new restrictions on the Russian economy, but like attempts so far, this one too looks fated to fail

Shirin Akhter and C Saratchand

Peoples Dispatch | September 16, 2022

(Photo: Wikipedia)

In their ongoing economic war on Russia, the United States and its allies propose a price cap on Russian oil exports. The oil price cap idea promoted by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggests that oil-consuming nations organize into a buyer’s cartel to limit Russia’s revenues from oil exports. This proposal follows previous measures against Russia, which have not dented its economy to the extent that it would be induced to change its posture (as the US and its allies desire) concerning the conflict in Ukraine.

Instead, the direct restrictions placed on Russian exports, principally of primary commodities such as oil and natural gas, have increased their world prices. They are so high that Russia’s export earnings have increased even if the volumes of some export have declined.

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U.S. IMPERIALISM IS A PAPER TIGER

Mao Tse-tung

[JoP Editorial Note: In commemoration of the great revolutionary Mao Tse-tung’s 46th death anniversary on 9 September, we reproduce this valuable piece on imperialism.]

The United States is flaunting the anti-communist banner everywhere in order to perpetrate aggression against other countries

The United States owes debts everywhere. It owes debts not only to the countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa, but also to the countries of Europe and Oceania. The whole world, Britain included dislikes the United States. The masses of the people dislike it. Japan dislikes the United States because it oppresses her. None of the countries in the East is free from U.S. aggression. The United States has invaded our Taiwan Province. Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan all suffer from U.S. aggression, although some of them are allies of the United States. The people are dissatisfied and in some countries so are the authorities.

All oppressed nations want independence.

Everything is subject to change. The big decadent forces will give way to the small new-born forces. The small forces will change into big forces because the majority of the people demand this change. The U.S. imperialist forces will change from big to small because the American people, too, are dissatisfied with their government.

In my own lifetime I myself have witnessed such changes. Some of us present were born in the Ching Dynasty and others after the 1911 Revolution.

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Having a Queen Was Stupid; Having A King Is TOO Stupid  —  Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Caitlin Johnstone

I can’t stop laughing at the fact that we have a King now. “Hello I am the actual, literal King. Please bow to me and put a crown on my head.”

It gets funnier and funnier the more you think about it. Having a queen was really stupid; having a king is too stupid. People aren’t going to buy it, I don’t care how good your PR is.

Just stop having a royal family; it’s so dorky. This isn’t Lord of the Rings. They’re like fantasy LARPers running around with swords and scepters and crowns and junk, except fantasy LARP props aren’t normally encrusted with priceless jewels stolen from colonized territories.

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Energy, cost of living and recession

Michael Roberts Blog | September 04, 2022

The G7 governments have a problem.  The war in Ukraine against Russia is not won.  It looks set to be a long grinding conflict, possibly with no end.  And yet the world and particularly Europe depends on Russian energy supplies.  The G7 has agreed to stop buying Russian oil, as part of its programme of using economics sanctions as a war weapon.  But up to now, energy imports from Russia have not been stopped because it would mean a catastrophe for the EU countries, particularly Germany.  And Russia is still selling huge volumes—globally – albeit at a discount from the world price—to India, China and other energy-thirsty economies.

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