Today we are continuing our discussion of de-dollarization. As many of you know we have structured our discussion around some ten questions, and last time we dealt with the first five. What is money? What is the relation between money and debt? Is money a commodity? What is the theory of how the dollar serves as world money? And then because this theory so much relies on the sterling system we discussed the sterling system. What is it? What was this real basis not gold but actually empire etcetera. And then we decided that in this show we will discuss the next five questions which are, how did the sterling system end? What really happened between the world wars?
Since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives earlier this year, the so-called “Freedom Caucus” — the badly misnamed right-fringe of the congressional GOP — has been flexing its influence. Caucus members are deeply invested in an agenda that would increase inequality and enrich corporations and billionaires, strip hard-won rights from people of color, immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ community, destroy the environment to enrich fossil fuel companies and slash social investment for the poor. And yet surprisingly, some of these extremists are also—sort of—calling for cutting the military budget. Does that provide an opening for anti-war progressives looking to cross the aisle? Unfortunately, no.
There is no mistake about it. With the February 27 release of the State Department Country Report on Terrorism 2021, President Biden accepted ownership of the illegal U.S. economic war on Cuba, following suit with Donald Trump, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan’s hawkishness with the false designation of Cuba as a so-called “State Sponsor of Terror.” Unbelievably Biden’s Secretary of State asserts that “Cuba had repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism since its State Sponsor of Terrorism designation had been rescinded in 2015.” Despite this untrue report, Pres. Biden need only review the past six months and accept Cuba’s unequivocal rejection of terrorism to take Cuba off the list.
Athens, Greece –– This February 21, several thousand Greeks filled Athens’ streets to denounce NATO and the United States in the wake of Antony Blinken’s Greece visit, where the US Secretary of State applauded the Mediterranean country for being amongst the first European countries to support Ukraine, thus leading to way for “the support of democracy.” It was just one action among many protest actions across the continent as the NATO proxy conflict in Ukraine approached its first anniversary. European citizens are growing agitated as their leaders appear set on extending the war at least another year: they’ve approved several rounds of sanctions on Russia, provided billions of euros in assistance to Ukraine, and have agreed to train thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
Workers in the logistics industry often make headlines when their handling of goods is disrupted by pandemic conditions or labor conflicts. Thanks to global supply chains, many consumer products are now manufactured in one country, shipped by sea, rail, or air to another country, unloaded and trucked to huge distribution centers (aka “warehouses”), and then delivered to retail store chains or directly to customers at home by on-line retailers like Amazon. When workers in any one link in this supply chain have a fight with their boss—on the docks, at a trucking company or railroad, or even in a single newly organized warehouse—their chances of winning are greater if they occupy a strategic “choke point” or can enlist labor allies, at home or abroad, who do.
One thing you can be sure of when bargaining your first contract: management will demand a contract clause barring strikes while the agreement is in effect. No-strike clauses took hold in the 1940s. During World War II, the American Federation of Labor, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and defense industry executives issued no-strike/no-lockout pledges to guarantee production. When the war ended, many union leaders, apparently seduced by the experience of “labor peace,” agreed to similar pledges in their collective bargaining agreements. Today, an overwhelming percentage of U.S. labor contracts, 94 percent according to a survey by the Bureau of National Affairs, contain no-strike clauses.
After decades of targeted underfunding, the UK’s National Health Service is on the verge of collapse. Spiking inflation as a result of corporate profiteering in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine War have only worsened the situation, as the UK’s 300,000 nurses face staffing shortages on top of a cost of living crisis. All these conditions have driven the Royal College of Nurses to strike. This video is part of an ongoing Workers of the World series about the cost of living crisis in Europe. This story, with the support of the Bertha Foundation, is part of The Real News Network’s Workers of the World series, telling the stories of workers around the globe building collective power and redefining the future of work on their own terms.
In 2006, a transit agency serving the communities adjacent the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta claimed to be the first in the U.S. to provide a dedicated space for people to park strollers as they rode a bus. Tri Delta Transit, which serves northeastern Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area, created the zone because it noticed more families riding with strollers. “We recognized the difficulty they encounter when required to fold their strollers and felt there was more we could do to make their experience easier and more enjoyable,” said the agency’s outgoing CEO Jeanne Krieg, herself a parent, in a press release issued that year.
A new analysis released Monday shows that insurance giants are benefiting hugely from the accelerating privatization of Medicare and Medicaid, which for-profit companies have infiltrated via government programs such as Medicare Advantage. According to the report from Wendell Potter, a former insurance executive who now advocates for systemic healthcare reform, government programs are now the source of roughly 90% of the health plan revenues of Humana, Centene, and Molina. Over the past decade, Potter found, the seven top for-profit insurance companies in the U.S.—the three mentioned above plus UnitedHealth, Cigna, CVS/Aetna, and Elevance—have seen their combined revenues from taxpayer-backed programs soar by 500%, reaching $577 billion in 2022 compared to $116.3 billion in 2012.
On March 18, the twentieth anniversary of the US/NATO invasion of Iraq, major antiwar organizations and social movements from across the United States will rally in Washington, DC to demand an end to wars and austerity. Clearing the FOG speaks with Jacqueline Luqman of the Black Alliance for Peace about the current state of the antiwar movement in the US and the long history of opposition to war within the black radical tradition. Luqman explains why it is critical to understand that struggles against racism and capitalism and for people's-centered human rights are inseparable from the work to end wars and the risks of granting legitimacy to organizations that are obstacles to that work.
Reporters make mistakes. It is the nature of the trade. There are always a few stories we wish were reported more carefully. Writing on deadline with often only a few hours before publication is an imperfect art. But when mistakes occur, they must be acknowledged and publicized. To cover them up, to pretend they did not happen, destroys our credibility. Once this credibility is gone, the press becomes nothing more than an echo chamber for a selected demographic. This, unfortunately, is the model that now defines the commerical media. The failure to report accurately on the Trump-Russia saga for the four years of the Trump presidency is bad enough.
A study by an elite European government-funded think tank found that, while the United States and Europe are growing closer together, the West is increasingly out of touch politically with the rest of the world. The report, from the EU member state-financed European Council on Foreign Relations, conceded that the system of “American global supremacy” is in rapid decline, and many people in the Global South want a new “multipolar world”. The series of polls concluded that NATO’s proxy war in “Ukraine confirmed the renewed centrality of American power to Europe”, uniting the West under Washington’s leadership.