The West is dying, literally

Teodors_Ūders_-_Death_-_Google_Art_Project

Death by Teodors Ūders (1868 – 1915)


USA

Something startling is happening to middle-aged white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in this group have been rising, not falling…An epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/03/health/death-rates-rising-for-middle-aged-white-americans-study-finds.html?_r=0

“A marked increase in the all-cause mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States between 1999 and 2013. This change reversed decades of progress in mortality
http://www.pnas.org/content/112/49/15078

FRANCE

French winter mortality has exceeded by 19% the expected figure, calculated from the previous eight years…This figure, which includes the excess mortality from all causes and not only the flu, has set a new record since the mid-2000s. It is notably higher than the level seen during winters 2008-2009 and 2012-2013, with about 10,000 additional deaths.

sante.lefigaro.fr/actualite/2015/03/18/23525-grippe-cause-nombre-record-deces

ITALY

This is an increase of no less than 68,000 units which appear to be largely concentrated in the female component (+ 41 thousand)…This figure is astonishing. But what makes it quite unusual is the fact that to find a similar surge in mortality, with comparable orders of magnitude, you have to go back to 1943 and, prior to that, to the years between 1915 and 1918: two periods marked by wars that largely explain the dynamics of this type. Conversely, in our peaceful and relatively affluent present…how do we account for such a sizable increase in mortality?

http://www.neodemos.info/68-mila-morti-in-piu-nel-2015/

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Twilight of Empire: Inside the Crumbling Atlantic Bloc

NatoExpansion

NATO expansion

The time has come to review the agreements concerning the U.S. bases [on Italian soil]. I do not think that Italy should continue to host on its territory, without much needed revisions, American military enclaves, as policy tools that are not always in our best interest.

Sergio Romano, A che cosa servono le basi americane in Italia, Corriere della Sera, 10 October 2015

Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan and head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov told a Russian newspaper that Afghanistan’s first Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum has requested Moscow’s support to fight against ISIS insurgents.

Russia to Sell Modern Attack Helicopters to Afghanistan, the Diplomat, 9 October 2015

Baghdad intends to lean on Russia in the war on Islamic State after U.S.-led coalition airstrikes produced limited results. Russian military action in Iraq would deepen U.S. fears that it is losing more strategic ground to rivals in one of the world’s most critical regions.

Iraq leans toward Russia in war on Islamic State, Reuters, 7 October 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that President Bashar al-Assad should be involved in any Syrian peace talks

Merkel: Assad must be included in Syria peace talks, Al Jazeera, 24 September 2015

I know from my conversations with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin that he (does not accept) phrases like when Barack Obama said Russia was a regional power. What does that mean? You can’t talk about Russia like that. We must, I say frankly, treat Russia properly. Russia should be treated as an equal.

The West must ‘treat Russia properly’: Juncker, Yahoo News, 8 October 2015

French President Francois Hollande has said that following recent ceasefire progress in Ukraine he hopes to see the end of sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine conflict: France hopes to end Russia sanctions, BBC, 7 September 2015

ttip-395x264

France and Germany have both expressed reservations about the way in which the negotiations have been conducted on several occasions. Faced with increasing concern over the direction of the negotiations, Matthias Fekl announced that France would be prepared to abandon the whole process if it does not receive the concessions it wants. “If nothing changes, that will show that there is no willingness to ensure a mutually beneficial negotiation process,” he explained.

“France is examining all its options, including abandoning the negotiations all together,” Matthias Fekl said. This option may strike a chord with some other member states, as the European Commission has taken responsibility for the negotiations upon itself, leaving the 28 countries on the side-lines.

France threatens to pull out of TTIP negotiations, EurActiv, 29 September 2015

TPP-map-nn

The TPP does not include:

South Korea, nominal gross domestic product $1.4-trillion.

Indonesia, nominal GDP $900-billion.

Taiwan, nominal GDP $500-billion.

Thailand, nominal GDP $400-billion.

Colombia, nominal GDP $380-billion.

The Philippines, nominal GDP $330-billion.

 

China, nominal GDP $10.5-trillion.

Russia, nominal GDP $ 1.860-trillion.

 

Another French revolution? When all hell breaks loose

Protesters carry a banner reading 'no to austerity'

Nearly 4/10 of the control over the economic value of Transnational Corporations in the world is held, via a complicated web of ownership relations, by a group of 147 TNCs in the core, which has almost full control over itself. The top holders within the core can thus be thought of as an economic “super-entity” in the global network of corporations. A relevant additional fact at this point is that 3/4 of the core are financial intermediaries

http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.5728v2.pdf

Austerity policies implemented by the European Commission and some States, including Germany, have failed. There is no democracy in Europe, but an Euro-oligarchy. It is incumbent on us to create a Euro-democracy.

Arnaud Montebourg

http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/2015/08/23/a-frangy-montebourg-et-varoufakis-accueillis-comme-des-rock-stars_1368044

France’s 3,600-page labor code is still very much a sacred cow, fiercely defended by unions and the socialist party’s left-fringe in parliament. A case in point: In August, the French Constitutional Council knocked back a part of Macron’s economic reform program that aimed to cap the amount of money workers could claim before labor tribunals in cases of wrongful dismissal.

That raises the prospect of further battles over Macron’s next reform bill — the same one he advertised before the German notables.

http://www.politico.eu/article/france-pushes-convergence-transfers-germany-economy-overhaul-crisis/

Varoufakis: The French government feels that it has a weak hand. Its deficit is persistently within the territory of the so-called excessive deficit procedure of the European Commission, which puts Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, and France’s previous finance minister, in the difficult position of having to act tough on Paris under the watchful eye of Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister.

It is also true, as you say, that the Eurogroup is completely “stitched up” by Schäuble. Nevertheless, France had an opportunity to use the Greek crisis in order to change the rules of a game that France will never win. The French government has, thus, missed a major opportunity to render itself sustainable within the single currency. The result, I fear, is that Paris will soon be facing a harsher regime, possibly a situation where the president of the Eurogroup is vested with draconian veto powers over the French government’s national budget. How long, once this happens, can the European Union survive the resurgence of nasty nationalism in places like France?

http://theconversation.com/varoufakis-in-conversation-with-leading-academics-as-syriza-splinters-and-election-beckons-in-greece-35861

Varoufakis: Dr Schäuble’s plan: A Eurozonal budget overlord (possibly a glorified version of the Eurogroup’s President) equipped only with negative, or veto, powers over national budgets. Over France’s budget to be precise. A Eurogroup that gets more and more powerful as the European Commission fades into the background, limited to looking after matters of minor importance.

To those who speak of ‘more Europe’ and in favour of a ‘political union’, I say: Beware! The Soviet Union was also a political union. The question is: What kind of political union? A democratic realm of shared prosperity? Or an iron cage for Europe’s peoples?

A federal democracy, let me remind you, like Germany, the United States or Australia, is founded on the sovereignty of its citizens as reflected in the positive power of their federal representatives to legislate what must be done on the sovereign people’s behalf.

In sharp contrast, the Schäuble Plan envisages only negative powers: A budget overlord that can only say ‘No’ but has very limited capacity to recycle surpluses from the surplus to the deficit regions of Europe – which is what a federal system would do.

The problem with this plan is twofold. First, it would not help to safeguard and to manage the Eurozone’s macro-economy. Secondly, it would violate basic principles of Western liberal democracy.

So, why is Greece relevant in all this? Because it is part of the plan to use Greece as a morality tale, as a demonstration to you folks of what awaits you if you resist this disciplinarian version of political union. Grexit is meant as a threat that forces the people of France to accept as lesser evils permanent austerity, permanent crisis and direct control over your destiny by unaccountable, faceless, economically illiterate pseudo-technocrats.

Make no mistake in this: Our government was crushed because we dared say no to the Troika at a time when there were plans afoot for the Troika to come to Paris. Don’t say you have not be warned. “We are all Greeks now” not because there is something superior about the Greeks but because the Athens Spring lit up a small candle emitting hope to all Europeans. A candle that the Troika had to extinguish at all cost, lest its authority be challenged by the spectre of democracy.

http://blogs.mediapart.fr/edition/les-invites-de-mediapart/article/250815/our-athens-spring

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