Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 1-1-2022

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Pablo Picasso

Happy New Year
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The tension of conflict keeps building and jumps to same hot spots around the edges of China, Russia and Iran. I find the frustration of the warmongers on the lack of progress towards conflict encouraging.

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Part One
Erik Prince calls for upgrade of US hybrid conflict capabilities Dec 30, 2021

Prince insists that conflict can be more effectively conducted using a hybrid model that deploys smaller, nimbler and more localized units. This style of warfare, he reckons, is best managed and fought by unconventional players – be they intelligence agencies, special operations units or private military contractors (PMCs).

Such grey-area forces offer plausible deniability and operate under the threshold of the enemy. That potentially contains conflict and obviates a big-war, state-to-state response.

The obviating of even a conventional big conflict is likely good news for the US military. A study this month from the Belfer Center of Harvard’s Kennedy School revealed that in 18 realistic Taiwan war scenarios gamed by the US military, the US lost to Chinese forces, 0-18.
...
Off the books, under the radar

In sum, Prince would have preferred that the CIA had taken the lead in the Afghan conflict, rather than the US Armed Forces – largely due to their ability to hire and deploy private-sector and local assets.

“The better approach would have been for the Pentagon to leave, and let the [CIA] clean it up, just like they cleaned it up in the first place after 9/11, using their unique contracting authorities and their ability to operate and leave some kind of stay-behind presence,” Prince concluded.

Prince’s analysis may be simplifying the role of the gamekeeper – always a trickier job than that of the poacher. But when it comes to proxy wars – a CIA specialty – contractors can feasibly evade the kind of visibility that the high-profile US military cannot.

“A government may want more plausible deniability,” he said. “They may want to operate under the threshold of response of their opponents.”

Washington has used this approach successfully in the past, he noted.

“In the 1970s, and especially the 1980s, there was a lot of covert action activity done by the United States to counter, to push back on Soviet influence – economically, politically, culturally, socially, and somewhat even militarily,” Prince said – a likely reference to campaigns against Soviet forces in Afghanistan and against leftists in Central America.

Part Two
Russia, China beating US in ‘gray-zone’ warfare Dec 30, 2021

Prince, who likes to reach back into history, seizes on to a parallel.

“Effectively, Russia is behaving as the old mythical pirate port of Tortuga, where the pirates would come back for re-provisioning,” he said. “You have ransomware gangs operating from there, that are garnering tens of millions of dollars of earnings by plaguing the West.”

Arguing that “the West has been slow on the uptake in terms of defending itself and in preventing those kinds of very real, very expensive attacks,” he cited successful breaches of cyber security on energy pipelines and beef processors: “The litany is long and continual.”

But are these hybrid war operations? Or simply cyber criminals at work? Prince concedes that much is opaque.

“These kinds of cyber ransomware attacks in some cases are maybe sponsored or encouraged by a state, but in many cases, it’s just criminals operating in a truly ungoverned gray area,” he admitted.
...
Prince, in 2014, founded and listed Frontier Services Group, a security, aviation, and logistics company partially owned by CITIC Group, a Beijing-owned fund. That offered him the opportunity to travel in, and meet senior executives, in various sectors across China.

One of those was the CEO of a state-owned enterprise in the harbor and dredging sector that had been engaged in Beijing’s build-up on disputed reefs and islands in the South China Sea.

“He said it had never been part of [Beijing’s] strategic plan or even wish-list to build those islands,” Prince recalled. “But they found the Barack Obama administration to be so easy, so vapid on the matter, that they just went for it.”Once the assets were in hand, any pretense of non-state intervention was ditched.

“They promised, ‘Well, they’re just commercial and we’re not going to militarize them,’” Prince said. “Of course, now they’re militarized with radars, and missiles and aircraft and all the rest.”

The fait accompli represents a major – and bloodless – strategic win for China.
...
While he discussed Chinese, Russian and US capabilities, Prince declined to discuss the broader competitive landscape of the PMC sector.

“Basically, so what you’re asking me is to give market intelligence to all my competitors, right?” he asked, laughing.” Pretty much for free?”

It is a field in flux, but unquestionably, there was a time when the sector was swimming in cash.

The full transcription of the interview was also available at the site.
Erik Prince: Q&A

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Taiwan contingency plan: Expect Tokyo foot-dragging by Grant Newsham December 30, 2021

Kyodo News has reported that the US and Japanese militaries have written a draft plan for a “Taiwan contingency” – and may soon draw up an “official” plan. The uninitiated might think the Americans and Japanese are finally going to buckle down and develop a real joint operational plan to handle a Taiwan contingency.

However, after spending a few decades observing the trajectory of Japan’s defensive capabilities, it’s easy to become a glass-half-empty kind of guy. And a closer look at the plan – something that should have been in place years ago – doesn’t exactly inspire excitement.
...
Whereas the Americans are interested in stopping a Chinese invasion of Taiwan – and that means killing PLA troops – the Japanese may be more concerned with the defense of the Nansei Shoto and Japanese territory – and avoiding as much harm to anyone as possible.

And other reasons not to hold one’s breath about the plan having real-world effects anytime soon is the Japanese still need to study revising laws to permit the Marines to deploy. And then they will have to actually pass the laws.

________

What is on your mind today? (Responses to Covid questions and dialog to be conducted at The Dose diary)

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Comments

Lookout's picture

Happy 2022.

Sure would be nice if the US just stopped the global aggression and tried to help people...especially their own citizenry. I can still imagine peace...if only I could make it happen.

Well, all the best to us all over the next year and into whatever future remains. Wild weather due today. We started the AM at 65...tomorrow night is supposed to go down to 25 F... a 40 degree drop.

Thanks for the OT!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

studentofearth's picture

@Lookout and temperature reached 0 before it was time to do outside chores.

Inside a warm fire and a stack of new seed catalogues to browse. Expecting company for dinner. A good way to start the new year.

Peace - I am encouraged by the number of world citizens investigating, learning and sharing history and current events beyond the official narratives. At this moment in time teaching and learning critical observation and thinking skills may be more effective than mass protests.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Lookout's picture

@studentofearth

Hitting the streets seems futile. Now is the time for grassroots, neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend teaching and learning. I'm hopeful the turning we're all feeling could be a positive. Sure is lots of interest in gardening and homesteading these days.

Speaking of which, we sure harvested some beautiful lettuce today. Not going to fight the 20's all week with row covers over lettuce. But keeping on with a great looking broccoli, cabbage, and greens.

Here's one of four batches...
lettuce on new years.jpg

destined to be salads this week and a lettuce soup.

Let's make the most of this next year!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lookout's picture

@Lookout

and I wish y'all could have been here. Sweet taters, black eyed peas, and greens from the garden. A rack of ribs from our friend's pasture raised pigs (and we ate 'em all so I guess I'm glad you all aren't here). Washed down with a nice glass of wine. Couldn't have been a nicer start to the year. Pork to keep moving forward, greens for money, peas for good luck, and sweet taters for gold. 1st 5 min or so to get the idea.

Let's all make this next year a good one!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout this evening, in favor of chicken fajitas. The good luck meal will come tomorrow. We had some errands to run, so with luck, our fajitas will give us some 24 hour luck until then.
Last night, by 12:15 a.m., the noise ended. It usually goes on until 2 a.m. Fireworks and ammo must be expensive.
We had the utensils to prepare fajitas on the vacation to Amarillo and then to the Oklahoma side of Lake Tejas. The oddest thing was we could not find a grocery store in Amarillo. Despite being 2 blocks from a huge residential area of the city. I mean, I did not see a single grocery store in Amarillo, or in Canyon, where Palo Duro Canyon State Park is situated. We have done without as long as we can stand it! The store we did find in Kingston, OK, had the oddest selection of food. Virtually no Mexican food condiments. And Coca-Cola must have pissed them off.
Now, here it is, Jan. 1, 2022, and Dear One got bitten by a mosquito, and I just had one buzzing around my head! Good grief!

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Lookout's picture

@on the cusp

with rain and storms abrewin' I bet we'll "weather" it! But sure is odd on NY day.

Headed to the 20's tomorrow....pretty weird.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout We packed clothes on our trip last week in anticipation of 30's weather. The temps didn't drop down much below the 50s, then for only 2 nights. Both the National Weather Service and Accuweather were really wrong. I am still out on the porch, wearing jeans and tee shirt, so the 50 degrees drop will happen very quickly, if at all. It is almost 8 pm.

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snoopydawg's picture

@on the cusp

But it was nice to see the sun and bright blue sky again. Just absolutely beautiful today. And the mountains are finally covered in snow. Trees at the top are coated with it. Might run up to the ski resort tomorrow. Poor people in SLC couldn’t get up to theirs and cars were sitting on the freeway. A lot did get up there but they left early. Before the Olympics no one knew about our fabulous resort. Used to take 45 minutes to get there but with the new road put in for the Olympics it takes less than 20. But doubt I’d be able to afford it now. Used to be $8 a day when I was just a wee puppy. $70 or more now. Season pass for $250 is over $800 now. Or more. I Twas spoiled.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

@Lookout We are reaching 82 degs. this afternoon, and a drop overnight to 28. I don't remember anything like this in my life.
It will last 2 days, then we will warm right back up to 80 degs. again.
Wish I could spare my beautiful flowers and flowering bushes, but they will have to wait until spring to color my world again.
As for Erik Prince...exactly who appointed him as our murder-for-hire guy? How low can the US go?

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Lookout's picture

@on the cusp

Wind is whipping, sunny one minute gray and cloudy the next...ominous. We have the mountain protecting our northwest where most storms originate for us.

Cut yourself a nice vase full of blooms for your two days of freezing, and I bet they would keep you in good cheer. That's kinda what we did with the lettuce. They are pain in really cold weather. About time to start the spring crop anyway. Round and round we go.

Sounds like y'all had a great trip. Let's hope next year we all are in good cheer.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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NYCVG

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QMS's picture

about 17 minutes

good luck with the 22's

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS the reflection on the water is a wonderful addition.

Happy 2022

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

mimi's picture

always the good, honorable rescuers of the weak females. Despite your long explanations in your excerpt, I can' figure out if Prince is a good prince or a bad one.

Please help.

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mimi

QMS's picture

@mimi

His fairy tale (nightmare) is making money killing people.
Clandestine operations in foreign lands.
Runs a mercenary outfit which keeps changing names.

https://special-ops.org/eric-prince-the-founder-of-blackwater/

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mimi's picture

@QMS
I remembered it correctly. My brain falling apart and stuff... The worst thing of getting old and alzheimerish or sowmthing like it, is that you yourself can feel it, but are not sure about it and if it is really true.

So, searching for truth, gets a little useless ...

Thanks, QMS, you are at least an angel, that's I know for sure. Smile

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mimi

studentofearth's picture

@mimi can bring unexpected consequences.

The two examples Erik Price mentioned as positive role models of mercenary activities.

East India Company

A little of its influence in the history of the United States (1.34 min)

East India Company |How British came and occupied India(2.44 min)

Claire Lee Chennault
Exclusive interview with granddaughter of “Flying Tigers” commander General Claire Chennault (2.49 min)

After World War II Chennault continued to work with Chiang Kai-shek, after his retreat to Taiwan, and Kuomintang (KMT) army.


Operation Paper: The United States and Drugs in Thailand and Burma

The key public lobbyist for backing the KMT in Burma and Yunnan was General Claire Chennault, original owner of the airline the OPC took over. Chennault deserves to be remembered as an early postwar proponent of using off-the-books assets: his “Chennault Plan” envisaged essentially self-financing KMT armies, backed by a covert U.S. logistical airline, in support of U.S. foreign policy.49 Because by this time Chennault was serving in Washington as Chiang Kai-shek’s military representative, he was viewed by U.S. officials with increasing suspicion if not distaste.50 Yet his longtime associate, friend, and business ally Thomas (“Tommy the Cork”) Corcoran, who after 1950 was a registered foreign agent for Taiwan, managed to put Chennault in contact with senior OPC officers, including Richard Stilwell, chief of the Far East Division of the OPC.51

There were other private interests with a stake in Operation Paper. In 1972 I noted that the two principal figures inside the United States who backed Chennault, Paul Helliwell and Thomas Corcoran, were both attorneys for the OSS-related insurance companies of C. V. Starr in the Far East.52 (Starr, who had operated out of Shanghai before the war, helped OSS China establish a network both there and globally.53) The C. V. Starr companies (later the massive AIG group) allegedly had “close financial ties” with Chinese Nationalists in Taiwan,54 and in any case they would of course have had a financial interest both in restoring the KMT to power in China and in consolidating a Western presence in Southeast Asia.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

@mimi Very bad.

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enhydra lutris's picture

Happy New Year to all!! 2022 rolled in a bit frosty (very mild) overnight and with a beautiful pastel blue sky streaked with pink & orange out west.

It appears to have rained fish in Texarkana

Everything's better with a bag o' weed department:

Pa. Supreme Court says warrantless searches not justified by cannabis smell alone

https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pa-supreme-court-says-warrantles...

On Dec. 29, Pennsylvania's highest court confirmed a decision by a trial court that said the smell of cannabis cannot be the sole basis of a warrantless search by police officers. The State Supreme Court said law enforcement can use the smell of marijuana as part of the justification for a search, but it can’t be the only reason.

My new pocket calendar insert has been installed, containing, so far, birthdays, pre-printed holiays & one dentist appt. Not gearing up for a busy year by any means, but that is a tad sparse, not even any wine pick-ups or tastings. Of course, the other side of that is WOW - look at all those free days.

whatever, everybody be well and have a good day and great year

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

QMS's picture

@enhydra lutris

Ii't a regular mental exercise .. get a crate from the loft of outdated files (2010 in this instance), sort thru that crate for keepers, empty the working file drawer into the now empty crate, set up new folders for 2022, stash 2021 files in the back office for reference on taxes, etc. New calendars on the walls, new appointment book, close out year end statements, etc. ad nauseam. Rigorous. Of course the laptop screen breaks, so hook up a spare monitor to access quick books for year end statements, at least the truck hasn't broken down yet Wink It don't come easy ..

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enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS
be the all-electronic year, for decades now.

Theory: Use RocketBook and other software gimmickry to scan everything to both .pdf and .txt (using ocr functions for latter), sort and toss into subdirectories under year-named directory, make necessary spreadsheets plus keep a running diary/journal/agenda in something free-formish like Penzu or Evernote (I always wind up using both). Come year end copy all that shit to a thumb-drive and stash same in a shoe box somewhere.

practice: you've no doubt heard what they say about good intentions ....

be well and have a good one

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6 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

QMS's picture

@enhydra lutris

the burden of scanning 5 or 6 hundred documents (in a slow year) is a bit troublesome. To me, the lazy way out is just to lift and separate, as in the old brassier commercial. If I did your method thru-out the year, it would make a lot of sense come calendar change time. Perhaps the IRS would consider leaving the likes of us small business owners alone? Yeah, go after Goldman-sachs and the other big robbers. My accountant is a good sport about all this. How to play the game without losing.

Dazzling the brain, not unlike like the Sidney fireworks ..

the dance of life

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enhydra lutris's picture

@QMS

every damn day. I have an app on my phone that will scan, convert and send to my e-mail or to evernote or several other targets. Any single page doc is a piece of cake, and it will allegedly now merge multiple page stuff. For big stuff there are these things I can place around it designed for use with blackboards, but I'm not sure if they'll do the ocr too or just the pdf. I've never gone through with it, but today is 01-01, so it's worth a shot for today. Wink

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

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snoopydawg's picture

@humphrey

Biden gave Bush the lesser the medal of something that is now bogus after the killing of millions of Iraqis just like the queen is doing for Blair. Betcha Obama has one lined up for him too.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

snoopydawg's picture

7 when I crawled out of bed. Last night my neighbors blew off very loud fireworks and Sam did not like them. I wish people would think about how badly pets react to them as well as vets and others with ptsd.

Another year wishing for peace, but knowing that we aren’t anywhere closer to it then when I made my first wish for it. Putin is screaming into the void trying to get our attention to back the fck off our threatening them and after the phone meeting yesterday the warmongering think tanks funded by defense companies told Biden to keep arming Ukraine with weapons that Russia has declared a red line. Russia removed 10 k troops from the border and yet Blinken’s still flapping his lips saying that they are still there and ready to attack Ukraine at any minute. I posted a link to an article on some Russian people discussing the situation. One said that if the USA could get away with bombing whomever it wanted then Russia could do the same and call it self defense like we do. As does Israel. In the EBs and gjohnsit essay. Worth a read.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

mimi's picture

@snoopydawg
I have or had both, a vet and a dog. Damn fireworks. Fake bombs I call them.

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mimi

plans include taking prisoners? No? Not equipped for anything but "give no quarter"?
And he gets tv time?

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zed2's picture

Lets nopt forget the Army Navy, etc, are jobs. Are we going to give away another service sector to be performed at a huge cost by multinational corporations, at the same time that millions of good US jobs are being outsourced on top of that? If we do we better think of how to educate people for the 21st century jobs that will exist. They are not going to be able to use tax money (subsidies) to fund it in fact we wont be allowed to do anything after that that cuts down in the mercenary trade, because it will be locked in by a trade ratchet. According to Princeton economist Alan Blinder as many as 50% or more of our jobs in services could easily find themselves outsourced within a few years because the wage differential is so huge. We're loking atperhaps the biggest theft from Americans in all time..

Many companies are being intentionally driven into the ground in order to stel the value from all of us by various con games. This country is being looted just like the Mafia loots businesses. If you look a bit deeply you'll see that this is done every couple of years, leaving small investors and homeowners out huge sums of money. And nobody is ever convicted or imprisoned for these crimes. Trillions of dollars vanishes into thin air.

Read this paper on Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit
George A. Akerlof and Paul M. Romer

1993, No. 2

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/nber_R1869.pdf

The book Privatizing War is also worth reading, There is no accountability in the world of corporations. That is why they created them. To protect rich criminals from ever having to be held accountable for what they do. In the 2008 theft of more than 20 trillion dollars how many people were ever brought to trial? Guess. One. Basically, our country is ruled by crooks who are all patting one another on the back while stealing the ntion blind. And locking in their ill gotten welth in a way that will make it impossible for the nation to ever get justice.

I remember from several years ago. Keep in mind that soon, the military will be almost completely automated and that option for poor young people wont exist. Also for many, in the past it gave people access to jobs where the poor might learn technology they otherwise never would even see. I am not talkking about military hardware, I am talking about IT, for example. Well those are also the jobs we are not supposed to outsource to developing countries rich peoples children.

You can bet that the foreign tech firms who pride themselves on never hiring locals if they can avoid it wont want them, except for the crappiest jobs they have. Many of those forms now are on paper US firms, although their business model is exporting as many jobs as they can to other countries. But they do have quotas for example, they have to behave differently unless 50% of their emploployees are US nationals. For example, they must document their search for and failure to find US workers. (in other words, they funny intend to fail at their search. They dont want us citizens, indian amricans, even though they speak the lanbguage.. ALl they want is slaves whoi are tied to them hoping for a green card, this is sio they canht change jobs. They make them work for almost nothing.

Thhy only want telegu speakers, with work visas who are literally slaves, totally tied to them. IN other words, they are going into these fake job searches with a candidate already picked out, somebody in and from another country. They will waste the time of US job seekers in order so that they can get work visas for these foreign guest workers who they pay a legal US wage, and no more. They have it worked ouyt into a whole system. The way they do it they do not have to pay any retraining benefits anbd it keeps all the foreign workers out of the statistics. They are real pros at cheating the system. The oligarch class is a big global thing. I know because I spent a lot of time with people like this and I was amazed so many times at hoiwdishonest they were. Ask the poor guest workers about this. They will tell you how they are treated by these firms and hiw incredibly sordid there body shop firms are. It will blow your mind. But keep in mind, nomatter what they are hired to do the system is rigged and US workers absolutely canot win. They come in and they fire entire departments. Poof, everybody is laid off. All their joibs sent overseas. Its all a lie., A big lie. Often there are high end, professional jobs. There are great diverse workplaces and work people., Its just merciless,..Privatizing mercenaries, soldiers.. Thatsgoing to be ugly. There will nbe huge fiascoes if they porivatize war. Thats why they hated Julian Assange for exposing how much oif a blood bath uitt was. When things like this appear to be happening, e shoul promote Juian assange and give him a metal, not try to prosecute him. This coumntry is shamefiul fog foing that. Thats a very bad sign the attemp;t to punish whistleblowers who expose there very bad cries and the crooks who are forund engaging in them. Shame on them. wont want people with less than a high school diploma. There are going to be an awful lot of unemployed millenials with all the white collar jobs going to multinational services firms, many in India. Its going to really suck when struggling young people hoping to someday have adult lives realize they are unemployable even in their own country. What happens when Mom and Dad die and their home is taken to pay their Medicaid debts? They willbe tossed out on their ass and will have to camp out under the freeway. This has already happened to a lot of Black and Hispanic youth as well as white young people in California. The jobs they can find without real skills, are low paying, and they have responsibilities like children or caretaking family members and the system is just merciless to the poor. Frankly, this is no longer a country for poor people, if people are poor we are trying to hound them to move elsewhere. A "legal US wage" (what the body shop firms are supposed to pay, but often dont, people are working in no small part simply to be able to claim the US work experience on their CV. ) dont pay enough to rent even the tiniest and cheapest closet in cities. If it has a hot plate, they might call it a "studio". A studio apartment barely larger than a closet might rent for $1500 a month in many parts of California where employers are hiring. Many people live in cars and bathe when and where they can. Some live in their offices, sleeping under their desks on the carpet, and eating protein bars. Employers like that because people are always "at work". Incredibly stressful work People - simply to have a place to live are taking really demeaning jobs. (many young people cannot afford to buy food, even if employed, rent is astronomical in many places, and they simply dont have it. Imagine ho they will react when they realize that they were sold out as they have been. That the whole trump diversion, Green Fake Deal was a complete con. and the price of food is rising rapidly because of the falling currency?, etc.) We have an economy that is abandoning real wealth creation in favor of speculation of various kinds, a very bad thing. The debt each of us owes is huge due to the rising national debt. This is money that is fully intended to pad the pockets of the ultrarich. Everywhere.Wealth is concentrating faster and faster at an exponentially increasing rate. That means that a very few will own everything and the rest of humanity, nothing fairly soon. The multilateral trading system was built to nullify democracy so when thie all happens governments wont be able to do anything people want. Because of trade rules. Thats what they have done. This country is being looted and the money is being taken from our people as part of a scheme to con the entire country out of everything people have. Its been planned for quite some time. This is quite similar to the colonialism of the past with our people being treated like the indigenous inhabitants of colonized and occupied countries. We owe our young people those better jbs that our leaders generously promised away . Services jobs, we should not funnel them to Third World Countries' rich kids.

Similarly,. privatizing and globalizing police jobs (the current plan?) is a bad idea. Again they will be the only jobs in many communities that pay a regular salary due to GATS sending so many desk jobs overseas. Keep in mind that countries like East Timor (where a million people were murdered just a few years ago by the right wing dictatorship in indonesia. This slaughter, which lasted more than a decade, I think I read was condoned and i suspect also funded at least in part by the US) are among the countries that plan to go heavily into security, one of their main goals is to employ former military, often with histories which should make us not want these former soldiers policing our cities while our people struggle to remain in the US, deprived of jobs.

We will do better retraining our police, and employing US young people. Not throwing them out on the street. Face the facts, Green New deal is one exists, will be for the low paid employees of foreign staffing firms. Because of Most Favored Nation policies that funnel jobs preferentially to "locals" are now illegal. Even police, etc. jobs. Unless they are made jobs that involve the surveillance stte which would require the creation of false crimes in order to jutify the level of spending. Jobs are becoming very hard to get all around the world, we're being deceived in order to justify mass outsourcing, which was planned for this year long before the Coronavirus. Its timing was miraculous, given our trade commitments. The critiria that will win these jobs is a low bid. In the Least Developed Nations the average wage is very low. Manyhave been recently ravaged by wars, making them concentration of misery. However their oligarchs tend to be doing quite well. Many have sent their children to college and grad school and now they need jobs, preferably jobs in the US, and they are sometimes willing to literally pay off multinational staffing companies (where visa fraud is also very common) to employ them. Unlike here in the US, where its still frowned upon to buy college diplomas without actually attending classes, rich bribe the corrupt and powerful owners of the body shopping firms to employ somebody in the developed countries, so the position looks better on a privileged adult child's CV. its fairly normal. In free markets in large parts of the world jobs are scarce and opportunity is elusive unless you pay off the right people. This is what we get for electing oligarchs to represent us. However, all of this has been done to lower wages for skilled labor. Globally. In fact often wages are so low they (the low wages) will win the competition for those contracts. And the LDCs want to be able to push them even lower, as he dirt low wages are their main competitive advantage which because its a trade deal they claim entitlement to take full advantage of.. (Currently we request that they pay a legal US wage to get a work visa, but its almost imposible to verify that they do, in fact we know they dont, they say it. This is because to them its a mayyer of principle and an entitlement given them by a treaty to pay as little as they mutuslly agree on. Other demands are made to, like for sex. Or workers are charged exorbitant add on charges for meals, housing,m use of a car, everything. Ask USCIS what they do, it will blow your mind. We cant prevent it. As they are paid elsewhere and the money does not ever go into US banks)

As far as security, prison workers, police, and so on. Would you really prefer to have real life torturers, have ex murderers from ravaged countries, for arguments sake lets say East Timor replacing the cops you have now? (This is the whole point, so that US tax money can prop up so called friendly dictatorships. Many of the LDCs are authoritarian or repressive US-aligned countries. We want to keep their governments in place because of the low wages, which make then high yield destinations for investors. investment targets. ) We are constantly hearing that the future is Africas, what that means is that it wont be for Americans who have been led to beleive for decades that things would get better for them. That long standing inequalities would be addresed. Well, now that wont happen because it would violate trade rules to help them in any way that prevents the great outsourcing of the jobs, and lowering of wages. Sorry, they lied. There will be no decent gren jobs for young people, its not going to happen, the developing countries would blow the whistle on the whole scam, and they cant have that. They conned you in the worst way.

___cut here____this was not written by me, this is from UNCTAD_____ Should we break our leaders promise from the trade in services treaties that promises to trade away the services jobs, 80% of the economy? to the Third World, the kind of pay back for the US trade agenda, or should we keep it, even if that means wages will plummet to global averages for many jobs, millions will be sent elsewhere, and millions of Americans who lack high end skills that are not beyond what the temp workers body shop consulting firms can supply will never be able to have decent jobs that pay well enough to not be in a constant state of stress and near crisis.

This is from UNCTAD.

The COVID-19 crisis in LDCs

Economic aspects

The GDP per capita of least developed countries (LDCs) is projected to contract by 2.6% in 2020 from already low levels, as these countries are forecast to experience their worst economic performance in 30 years. At least 43 out of the 47 LDCs will likely experience a fall in their average income.
Extreme poverty in LDCs is projected to expand by 32 million in 2020, to reach 377 million people. The poverty rate will rise from 32.5% to 35.7% in 2020, due to the COVID-19-induced economic crisis.
Although LDCs account for just 14% of the world’s population, they comprise more than 50% of the world’s extremely poor (i.e. those living on less than $1.9 a day). But the economy of these countries accounts for just 1.3% of the world total.
The current account deficit of LDCs is forecast to widen from $41 billion (or 3.8% of their collective GDP) in 2019 to $61 billion (or 5.6% of their GDP) in 2020, the highest value ever.
LDCs are the world’s most vulnerable group of countries, as they are 27% more vulnerable than other (non-LDC) developing countries.
Health aspects

Despite their weak medical systems, LDCs were much less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic compared with other countries. In late November 2020, LDCs had suffered 17 COVID-19 deaths per million inhabitants, well below the 138 deaths per million inhabitants reported in other developing countries, and corresponding to just 3% of the 536 deaths per million people recorded in developed countries.
LDCs have three medical doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, while other (non-LDC) developing countries have 14, and developed countries have 31.
Development of productive capacities and structural transformation in LDCs

LDCs as a group have been diverging over the long term from other (non-LDC) developing countries. In 1990, the gross national income (GNI) per capita of other developing countries was three times higher than that of LDCs. Nowadays, it’s almost six times higher.
While in the early 1990s the labour productivity of LDCs corresponded to 25% of that of other developing countries, at present it amounts to just 18%.
Transformation to more modern and better performing economic structures has mostly been restricted to a handful of LDCs, especially Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal and Rwanda.
The importance of manufacturing has been increasing in Asian LDCs. The sector accounted for 19% of GDP and 12% of employment in 2017, up from 12% and 8% in 2001, respectively.
In African LDCs and Haiti, manufacturing is less important. It accounts for 9% of GDP and just 5% of employment. These shares have remained stagnant since the beginning of the century.
Between 2001 and 2017 LDC labour productivity grew by 3.2% annually, but in other developing countries it improved faster, by 4.3% annually.
Being the country group with the strongest demographic growth, LDCs need to create 13.2 million new jobs every year.
UNCTAD’s Productive Capacities Index (PCI) shows that the majority of LDCs have low productive capacities: their average PCI level was 40% below that of other developing countries between 2011 and 2018.
The number of LDCs with a higher Productive Capacities Index (PCI) rating fell from 11 countries in 2001 to six countries in 2018. By contrast, the number of LDCs with lower PCI scores rose from 18 in 2001 to 26 in 2018.
Out of the eight sub-components of the PCI, the only one where LDCs score higher than other developing countries is natural resources. LDCs scored an average of 46 between 2011 and 2018, 15% higher than the 40 scored by other developing countries.
The digital economy in LDCs

LDCs have been closing the gap between them and other (non-LDC) developing countries in terms of mobile phone diffusion. LDCs have 73 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, while other developing countries have 105.
The spread of mobile phones in LDCs doesn’t mean that the digital divide is closing. Less than 20 out of 100 people in LDCs use the internet, compared with 55 in other developing countries and 85 in developed countries.
Apart from the international digital divide, LDCs face a domestic digital divide among genders, and it’s widening. The proportion of LDC men using the internet is more than double that of women.
The main challenge for LDCs to enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the digital economy is that most of them have not yet fully integrated the previous three industrial revolutions into their productive base.
Most farmers in LDCs lack access to energy and internet broadband, which are necessary for them to take advantage of digital technologies.
The adoption of digital technologies by LDC firms would bring great benefits, but most firms lack the required technological capabilities and skills, and are reluctant to take the risks of innovating.
For African LDCs, the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area might offer some impetus to counter technological inertia, and generate opportunities for the uptake of digital technologies, digital transformation, new business models and attract investors.
The COVID-19 crisis and graduation from LDC status

The world economic crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the previously planned graduation of LDCs, i.e. the exit of some countries from the group of LDCs.
For the LDCs whose cases will be examined in the triennial review of 2021 for possible graduation (Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal and Timor-Leste), the Committee for Development Policy will take into account not only the LDC criteria (which will be based on data until 2019), but also other indicators, analyses and views of the country concerned (which reflect the impacts of the crisis).
The committee will adopt the same approach in its consideration of other countries that may pre-qualify for graduation in 2021 and may be recommended for graduation in 2024.
For more information, please contact:

UNCTAD Communications and Information Unit
T: +41 22 917 5828/5549/8033
T: +41 79 502 43 11
E: unctadpress@un.org
Web: unctad.org/press

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zed2's picture

We are still waiting to see the actual text of the drug pricing agreement.
It appears to be pretty limited in terms of the number of products that
will be subject to negotiation, which has always seemed like an odd thing
to negotiate.

A cynical view would be that Congress had to pass something that looked
like they cared about drug prices, without actually doing much damage to
the industry business model. It would be hard to reject this take.

>From early chatter emerging about the drug pricing deal, it seems like the
sky will be the limit for pricing drugs that don't have a big impact on
Medicare. This creates a safe harbor for aggressive pricing of any disease
with a younger population.

If the deal takes drug pricing off the congressional agenda for another
several years, it has to be seen as a win for drug companies, even though
it is a small and limited defeat as a precedent.

It is embarrassing that this is all the Congress can do on drug pricing at
this point.

Jamie

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James Love. Knowledge Ecology International
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