New ‘highly infectious’ Omicron strains scare China

On October 4, 2022, new Omicron sub-variants BF.7 and BA.5.1.7 were detected in Yantai and Shaoguan cities in South China. The detection was amid the latest Covid outbreak in the country. According to reports by Global Times, It’s the first time the BA.5.1.7 subvariant has been detected on the Chinese mainland. BF.7 variant was first detected in the northwestern region of China and has spread fast to the southern side. Both the sub-variants are said to be highly infectious with greater transmissibility. China reported 1,878 cases on October 9, the highest since August 20. Not just China, the BF.7 subvariant is spreading fast in Belgium, Germany, France and the UK. Meanwhile, BA.5.1.7 has been discovered in more than 100 countries. The World Health Organization has also warned against the BF.7 COVID subvariant as they expect it to become a new dominant variant.

— source | 12 Oct 2022

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China the Change Agent

Karl Fitzgerald: Alright, let’s get into it. We’ve got lots of good questions. Welcome, everyone. My name is Karl Fitzgerald. I’ve been Michael’s webmaster for over a decade now and yes, we’re so lucky to have Michael Hudson with us today. We’ve all read his books. We’ve all seen his whirlwind approach to unveiling the reality of economics so yes, Michael, great to have you here. I wanted to start off with just a nice easy one. I’m sure you could answer this in your sleep but for you, what are some of the guiding principles that listeners should really grasp in terms of just how rigged our economic system is today? What’s the handful of principles that you think are a useful barometer for people to grasp just how off-kilter our economic system is?

Michael Hudson: I’ve been working on a vocabulary to describe these principles. There are a number of seemingly opposing forces at work. I think we should call the inflation, The Biden Inflation, because the inflation that we’re seeing is almost entirely the result of Biden’s inaugurating a new 20- to 30-year cold war with Russia. He’s announced that it’s going to take 20 or 30 years. He said Ukraine is only the opening. His sanctioning of Russian oil, gas and food is pushed up by inflation by about at least 10% from Europe all the way to the United States. So, on the one hand, this inflation that people are saying is the problem has led the Federal Reserve to say, “Well, there’s a cure to that Biden inflation. Let’s have a depression and lower wage rates. If only we have more unemployment, we can cure the inflation.”

So, you have the Biden inflation and exports that are forbidden from Russia going together with a deliberately central bank inspired debt deflation. And I think we should call this the Obama debt deflation because it all stems from 2008 when Obama had promised to write down the junk mortgage debt but as soon as he got in to office, he said, “No, we’re not going to write down the junk mortgage debt. We’re going to write down the debtors. We’re going to evict 10 million American families from their houses because my campaign contributors are my constituency.” And so, he kept the debt on the book.

This is one of the few times in modern history – normally, when there is a business cycle, it peaks and then, there is a financial crash. And the one good thing about the

— source | Dec 12, 2022

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Dangerous U.S. Policy & West’s False Narrative Stoking Tensions with Russia, China

Politico is reporting the Biden administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve a new $1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan. The package reportedly includes 60 anti-ship missiles, 100 air-to-air missiles. This comes after two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait Sunday for the first time since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this month. China condemned the visit and launched major military drills near Taiwan.

Meanwhile, President Biden announced $3 billion in more military aid for Ukraine last week, including money for missiles, artillery rounds and drones to help Ukrainian forces fight Russia.

This goes back a long way. I think it’s useful to start 30 years ago. The Soviet Union ended, and some American leaders got it into their head that there was now what they called the unipolar world, that the U.S. was the sole superpower, and we could run the show. The results have been disastrous. We have had now three decades of militarization of American foreign policy. A new database that Tufts is maintaining has just shown that there have been more than 100 military interventions by the United States since 1991. It’s really unbelievable.

And I have seen, in my own experience over the last 30 years working extensively in Russia, in Central Europe, in China and in other parts of the world, how the U.S. approach is a military-first, and often a military-only, approach. We arm who we want. We call for NATO enlargement, no matter what other countries say may be harmful to their security

— source | Aug 30, 2022

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As drought dries up the Yangtze river, China loses hydropower

The Yangtze River, the third largest in the world, has dropped to half its average water levels, affecting shipping routes, limiting drinking water supplies, causing rolling blackouts, and even exposing long-submerged Buddhist statues. Some 66 rivers across 34 counties in Chongqing were dried up as of last week, Reuters reported. Also last week, the province of Sichuan, which gets more than 80 percent of its energy from hydropower, cut or limited electricity to thousands of factories in an effort to “leave power for the people.” Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, is just a quarter of its normal size for this time of year.

— source | Aug 23, 2022

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US-China Cooperation Is Essential to Avert a New Cold War

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, the U.S.-China relationship has gone through ups and downs over the course of the last 30 or so years. Clearly, the sort of relationship that exists today between the two countries is far more antagonistic than it was even 10 years ago. In your own view, what forces or processes are responsible for the increasing tensions we are witnessing today in U.S.-China relations?

Noam Chomsky: After the fall of the USSR, there was much euphoria about the end of history with “liberal democracy” (a code word for the U.S.) having achieved total victory. A corollary was that China could now be brought within the “rule-based international order.”

The latter is a now-conventional phrase, one worth pondering. It refers to an international order in which the U.S. sets the rules, displacing the international order established by the United Nations, which the U.S. deems antiquated and irrelevant. The UN Charter is the Supreme Law of the Land under the U.S. Constitution, constantly violated, a matter of no concern to those who pledge reverence for the Holy Text. Its provisions have been considered inappropriate for the modern world ever since the U.S. lost control of the UN with decolonization, and occasional backsliding among the privileged as well. UN members no longer know “how to play,” to borrow Thomas Friedman’s ridicule of France when it failed to support the benign U.S. invasion of Iraq, accompanied by his call for the miscreant to be deprived of its permanent membership in the Security Council. The self-described “world’s greatest deliberative body” contented itself with renaming French fries as “Freedom fries” in the Senate cafeteria.

— source | Dec 22, 2021

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CIA Warns China “Most Important” Threat to U.S.

So, when I say that President Biden doesn’t understand the new Cold War, what I mean is that the new Cold War itself is baked into the structure of the international system that has existed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and you cannot simply speak away the new Cold War in a speech. You know, since the Soviet Union collapsed, China has looked out at a world dominated by American power, not only economically, politically, but also militarily in China’s backyard. The United States, many of its closest allies and partners and much of its military power is located in a ring along China’s periphery — Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Australia, buttressed by Guam.

And so, what we’ve seen over the last 30 years is that China has had a deliberate strategy to balance against American power, particularly in its backyard. And now what we’ve seen since the Trump administration, and continued by the Biden administration, is that the United States is responding to these changes in Chinese policy by trying to balance back against China.

And it’s important to note that these are, one, the two most powerful states history has ever known, and, two, that this game between the United States and China that we’re just starting to see play has no logical endpoint. And so, my primary concern is that as both sides set out to wire up Asia and the Asia-Pacific with the most powerful military

— source | Oct 12, 2021

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The Affront of Chinese Sovereignty

George Soros’ dream is that China would do what Yeltsin did to Russia – that it would privatise the economy, that it would basically carve it up and let US investors buy control of the most profitable heights. And in that way, the foreign investors would be able to sort of get all of the profits of Chinese industry, Chinese labour, and it would become the darling stock market of the world, just like Russia’s stock market was the leading booming stock market of 1994-96 and that China, essentially, would be run to benefit US investment bankers. And Soros is furious that China is not following the neoliberal policy that the United States is following. It’s following a socialist policy wanting to keep its economic surplus at home to benefit its own citizens, not American financial investors. And so this, for Soros, is a clash of civilisations. And he said somehow we’ve got to stifle the Chinese economy. We’ve got to put sanctions against it. We’ve got to stop investing in it to force it to do to its country what Yeltsin did to Russia.

he’s a comedian. What’s wrong with that statement? He thinks that China actually needs American dollars to build its factories and invest. He thinks that somehow China’s balance of payments is going to fall apart without the US market, without US investors telling President Xi what to do. The Chinese government won’t have a clue as to what to invest i

— source | michael hudson | Oct 5, 2021

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To turn China into a neoliberal grabitization opportunity

George Soros writes that Xi’s “crackdown on private enterprise shows he does not understand the market economy. … Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has collided with economic reality. His crackdown on private enterprise has been a significant drag on the economy.”

Translated out of Orwellian Doublethink, the “crackdown on private enterprise” means cutting back on what the classical economists called rent-seeking and unearned income. As for its supposed “drag on the economy,” Mr. Soros means the economy’s polarization concentrating wealth and income in the hands of the richest One Percent.

Soros lays out his plan for how U.S. retaliation may punish China by withholding U.S. funding of its companies (as if China cannot create its own credit) until China capitulates and imposes the kind of deregulation and de-taxation that Russia did after 1991. He warns that China will suffer depression by saving its economy along socialist lines and resisting U.S.-style privatization and its associated debt deflation.

Mr. Soros does recognize that China’s “most vulnerable sector is real estate, particularly housing. China has enjoyed an extended property boom over the past two decades, but

— source | michael hudson | Sep 2, 2021

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