Weekend Edition

August 5th, 2022

Pelosi’s impotent thuggish gesture

August 5th, 2022

by B. R. GOWANI

A pro-China supporter steps on a defaced photo of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a protest against her visit to Taiwan outside the Consulate General of the United States on August 03, 2022 in Hong Kong, China. PHOTO/Anthony Kwan/Getty Images/Mail & Guardian

China was embroiled in a decades long civil war, fought intermittently

the nationalists and the communists were the actors

the Chinese were also fighting the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)

Japan was the aggressor and committed the most heinous war crimes

(the First Sino-Japanese War was fought in 1894-1895)

nationalist Chiang Kai-Shek escaped to Taiwan by the end of 1949

(back in January, he had resigned his post as China’s president)

he stole and took $200 million of gold and US dollars with him

in Taiwan (formerly Formosa), a tiny island, Kai-Shek became the president

Kai-Shek also claimed sovereignty over the mainland China

his VP Li Zongren became president of mainland China

Zongren was not happy about Chiang’s stealing

his and Kai-Shek’s supporters were at odd for some time

soon, Zongren and the nationalist forces lost the civil war

the Chinese Communist Party, under Mao, emerged as the victor

Mao Zedong was the new leader of PRC (People’s Republic of China)

Kai-Shek was hoping that one day he’ll ruler over Taiwan and China

i..e., Taiwan (ROC, an island) and China (PRC, the mainland)

US supported Kai-Shek also held on to the United Nations China seat

which also had a veto power, along with USSR, US, UK, & France

the US recognized tiny Taiwan as the legitimate government of China

MAP/Geology

so the mainland China was without the United Nations seat

till October 1971, when the US allowed mainland China to enter the UN

in July 1971, Nixon’s secretary of state Kissinger secretly visited China

next year anti-communist President Nixon visited China & met Mao

the US had geostrategic and trade reasons behind relations with China

(US businesses viewed China as a huge market)

in 1979, Carter government established diplomatic relations with PRC

the Shanghai Communique, issued at the conclusion of Nixon visit:

the Chinese side:

The Taiwan question is the crucial question obstructing the normalization of relations between China and the United States; the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; Taiwan is a province of China which has long been returned to the motherland; the liberation of Taiwan is China’s internal affair in which no other country has the right to interfere; and all US forces and military installations must be withdrawn from Taiwan. The Chinese Government firmly opposes any activities which aim at the creation of “one China, one Taiwan”, “one China, two governments”, “two Chinas”, an “independent Taiwan” or advocate that “the status of Taiwan remains to be determined.”

the United States side:

The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.

the above position has been maintained by subsequent US governments

of course, all of them carried on with varying interpretations

the important issue: the relative peace between China and the US survived

China has allowed Taiwan to carry on its system

Taiwan’s 2021 exports to China & Hong Kong amounted to $188.91 billion

that is, 22% share of the total Taiwan exports

whereas Taiwan exported only 10% to the US, $65.7 billion

Nancy Pelosi, a satanic character, decided to visit Taiwan

Pelosi’s reasoning in her Washington Post opinion piece:

“Indeed, we take this trip at a time when the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy. As Russia wages its premeditated, illegal war against Ukraine, killing thousands of innocents — even children — it is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats.”

at least, the US is not a real democracy but a capitalists’ run facade

about Russia’s war, the US could have been prevented & could still stop

but the US goal is to “bleed” Russia at the expense of Ukrainian lives

the same thing could happen if China attacks Taiwan

the US would not directly fight China; it could result in nuclear war

so it would supply arms & ammunition to Taiwan, like it does to Ukraine

who will suffer the consequences in death and destruction?

Taiwanese people

China absolutely opposed Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

China’s President XI Jinping had warned US President Joe Biden

“China firmly opposes separatist moves toward “Taiwan independence” and interference by external forces, and never allows any room for “Taiwan independence” forces in whatever form. The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question is consistent, and resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. The public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this.”

Biden’s response when asked about Pelosi visit:

“Well, I think that the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now.”

Biden doesn’t say what he thinks, which means it’s alright for Pelosi to visit

in May, Biden said the US would defend Taiwan by using force

last year in October he had expressed the same view

the long US hegemony has blurred the logical power of its leaders

Pelosi forgets that this in not 1990s that she would unfurl a banner in China

“To those who died for democracy in China.”

people in the US don’t have to die for democracy

they’re just killed by the police for being not white

once Pelosi left Taiwan, China started live-fire drill surrounding the island

Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) drills much closer around Taiwan than it did in 1996 ILLISTRATION/Soham Sen/The Print

the United States DNA lacks the peace ingredient

China announced that it will “suspend the China-US climate change talks

it has also cancelled many defense meetings with the US

one little mistake on part of US, China, or Russia could blow up our globe

82-year-old Pelosi has lived her life lavishly and so doesn’t give a damn

Pelosi’s ego is more important than the survival of human life on earth

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

A brief guide to Egyptian Surrealism – Tate

August 5th, 2022

In 1938, a group of 37 artists, writers and thinkers in Cairo signed a manifesto titled ‘Long Live Degenerate Art’. This marked the start of the group known as ‘Art and Liberty’, and the birth of a distinctly Egyptian style of Surrealism. Get to know some of the key Egyptian Surrealists in this short animated film, including Mayo, Amy Nimr, Ramses Younan, and their connection to an international network of Surrealists in the first half of the twentieth century.

VIDEO/Tate/Youtube

U.S. diminished: Saudis leave Biden at airport while Russia, Turkey & Iran make a deal

August 5th, 2022

VIDEO/Break Through News/Youtube

Talk to Russia to save the world’s poor

August 4th, 2022

by KISHORE MAHBOOBANI

The Third World’s poor are suffering the spillover effects of the Ukraine war. IMAGE/Twitter

Unyielding Western leaders should repeat one stat each night before going to sleep — the West comprises only 12% of the world’s population

Populations in Western countries are angry. Western elites, who are supposed to lead their societies in the right direction, are instead leading them in the wrong direction on Ukraine. There is a wiser course of action.

This wiser course of action is based on a simple principle — that the perfect is the enemy of the good. G7 countries should accept imperfect solutions that will make their people happier. That will also help the billions of poor people in the Third World who are suffering from higher food and energy prices.

Moral priority has to be given to the sufferings of the poor — the bottom 10-20% of the world’s population.

The greatest American political philosopher of recent times, John Rawls, emphasized that the justest society was the one that took care of the bottom 10%.

As he outlined in his seminal work, A Theory of Justice, any social or economic inequalities, if they are to satisfy the principles of justice, “are to be to the greatest benefit of the least-advantaged members of society.”

The global poor are suffering today for three main reasons. The massive post-Covid-19 stimulus packages, especially in the United States, have unleashed global inflation. 

Financial Times economist Martin Wolf recently wrote that “the combination of fiscal and monetary policies implemented in 2020 and 2021 ignited an inflationary fire.”

The illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine, followed by massive sanctions on Russia, has led to a huge spike in energy and food prices. Despite these sanctions, the EU has paid more money for Russian gas.

Since the war began on February 24, 2022, Europe has paid more than US$60 billion for Russian oil and gas, while complaining that India and China were buying too much Russian oil.

This led to the now famous quip from the Indian Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who said “our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.”

Asia Times for more

Different: What Apes Can Teach Us About Gender (book review)

August 4th, 2022

by LEON VLIEGER

Different: What Apes Can Teach Us About Gender, written by Frans de Waal, published in Europe by Granta in May 2022 (hardback, 396 pages)

Before delving in, it is worth highlighting a few disclaimers. In his comparisons between primates and humans, De Waal omits human behaviour without proper animal parallels. These comparisons are always made in the understanding that today’s primates are not our ancestors, but models of our shared ancestor, and that “they offer a comparison, not a model for us to emulate” (p. 8). He also does not discuss the role of hormones or neurobiology for the simple reason these are outside his wheelhouse. De Waal reminds readers that studying the biological roots of behaviour does not endorse it—research should not be used to excuse bad behaviour and he opposes the misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia characterising discussions. And then there is the linguistic confusion over sex and gender. Yes, the former is biological and the latter cultural, but “despite their different meanings, these two terms remain joined at the hip” (p. 13), you cannot discuss one without the other. Echoing the skillful distinction he made between feelings and emotions in his previous book Mama’s Last Hug, De Waal here offers a similarly thoughtful description: “gender is like a cultural coat that the sexes walk around in. It relates to our expectations of women and men, which vary from society to society and change through the ages” (p. 42). Finally, he makes the useful distinction between gender identity (i.e. what you identify as) and cultural gender roles.

What makes Different such a breath of fresh air is that science trumps ideology for De Waal. The problem he sees is that many gender debates ignore or flat-out deny biology because it clashes with their message. Except when it does not. So, feminists love bonobos as they can be presented as “proof that male dominance is not hardwired in us” (p. 104) but they dislike chimpanzee research that suggests the opposite, while gay communities welcome biological observations of animal homosexuality in their fight against homophobia. This is ideological cherry-picking, “why not let biology shine its light on all gender-related issues?” (p. 286). Another disclaimer seems in order here: De Waal is explicit about the pointlessness of past nature/nurture debates, “every human trait reflects an interplay between genes and environment” (p. 43). But, like it or not, men and women differ and this book will not sugarcoat reality with political correctness. However, if you came here looking for ammunition for your next tweet-rage, this is not the book for you. De Waal cuts across numerous heated debates at right angles, offering observations, insights, and results that will simultaneously upset and delight people in all ideological camps.

Thus, some observations here will not be welcomed by feminists because they reinforce traditional gender roles. Yes, women are naturally more nurturing towards infants—this is simply a universal mammalian trait. Though, adds De Waal, calling this a maternal instinct obscures the fact that such skills have to be acquired in life, as exemplified by ape orphans in zoos who as adults have no idea what to do with a newborn. And, yes, play behaviour in primates and humans follows traditional gender patterns. He is particularly critical of parents who insist on a gender-neutral upbringing “in reaction to society’s gender stereotyping and the associated inequality. Note, however, that only one of the two words in gender inequality refers to a problem, and it’s not gender. No one would propose to fight racism by urging people of different races to try to look more alike” (p. 49). But other observations might strike you as progressive. Do men have a bigger sex drive than women? This seems to be true of male chimpanzees but is exaggerated in humans. De Waal repeatedly criticizes psychological research in this book for relying on questionnaires and self-reporting. This rarely yields reliable data. There is similarly no reason to think that men are natural-born leaders; research on primates shows the influence wielded by female leaders. And homosexual behaviour has now been widely documented in the animal kingdom and is neither anomalous nor an evolutionary puzzle; De Waal proposes a logical explanation here.

The fact that De Waal is not beholden to ideology shows in another way. Different is not a book to exclusively wade into human gender debates while flying the primate flag. For a primatologist, there are so many other interesting and important topics that come up once you start talking about sex and sexuality. De Waal recounts a fair bit of the history of primatological and anthropological research here. This matters because it explains where our ingrained ideas about our primate cousins and ourselves come from. Furthermore, he discusses plenty of research on chimpanzees and bonobos for its own sake as it is just incredibly interesting.

Inquisitive Biologist for more

Henry Kissinger: A warmonger’s lying continues

August 4th, 2022

by MELVIN GOODMAN

IMAGE/Amazon

In his 99th year and with his 19th book, Henry A. Kissinger repeats the same deceitful accounts regarding his dangerous use of military power, including nuclear threats. In the 1970s as the national security adviser and secretary of state for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Kissinger occupied an unusually powerful position in the national security arena.  His  newest book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy,” is valuable because of his experiences in the political and academic communities, but it must be read carefully in view of the self-aggrandizing nature of his self-promotion.

Kissinger, who believed in the possibility of limited nuclear war in the 1950s, favored the use of a nuclear card in the war between India and Pakistan in 1971, and the October War in the Middle East in 1973.  On an earlier occasion, in 1970, when the Nixon administration was faced with a threat about the Soviet construction of a submarine repair facility in Cuba, Kissinger wanted to send a strong military signal to the Soviets.  Nixon wisely said, “I think we can resolve this with diplomacy.”  Nixon was right.

The following year, during the Indian-Pakistan War, Kissinger feared that the Soviet Union would use the war to “move against” the Chinese and that if “we don’t do anything, we’ll be finished.”  Nixon wanted to know if Kissinger meant that we should “start lobbing nuclear weapons in, is that what you mean?”  Kissinger made it clear that he meant must just that, referring to it as the “final showdown.”  (I was an intelligence analyst at the Department of State in the early 1970s, a period when Kissinger and his director of the Bureau of Intelligence, William Hyland, were convinced that the Soviets were prepared to go to war against China.  There was no intelligence to support their obsession.)

The White House tapes reveal both Nixon and Kissinger at their worst during the crisis in South Asia.  In addition to Nixon’s typical vulgarity and his contempt for Indian President Indira Gandhi, the president told Kissinger that the Indians needed a “mass famine.”  Kissinger sneered at people who “bleed” for the Bengalis of East Pakistan.  Nixon and Kissinger moved to gratuitously deploy an aircraft carrier into the Bay of Bengal, which angered the Pentagon because of the danger of escalation and caused a great deal of nervousness throughout the military chain of command. They also approved a covert supply of sophisticated U.S. fighter aircraft via Jordan and Iran, despite explicit warnings from the Department of State and the Department of Defense that such arms transfers to Pakistan were illegal under U.S. law.

Like his earlier memoirs, Kissinger says almost nothing about the slaughter of Bengalis in East Pakistan, insisting that Pakistan’s atrocities were “clearly under its domestic jurisdiction.”  He also sanitizes Nixon’s racial animus toward Indians, and makes no mention of the unusual “dissent cable” that was signed by 20 foreign service officers who condemned Kissinger’s willingness to ignore the “selective genocide” that was taking place in East Pakistan.   Kissinger mocked the cable’s author, Archer Blood, the U.S. Consul General in Dacca, as a “coward.”

It is noteworthy that in a conversation with Nixon regarding Soviet Jews, Kissinger displayed a similar lack of concern about the plight of Soviet Jews and remarked that “if the Soviets put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.  Maybe a humanitarian concern.”  Nixon agreed: “I know.  We can’t blow up the world because of it.”  Nixon and Kissinger catered to the world’s dictators in Brazil, Greece, Portugal, Indonesia, Iran, Spain, and South Korea, and in the case of Pakistan, they catered to that country’s murderous generals.

The October War found Kissinger essentially in charge of national security policy.  These were the worst days of the Watergate crisis for Richard Nixon, and his use of anti-depressants and alcohol often placed him hors de combatin the fall of 1973.  This was certainly true on the evening of October 24, when Kissinger illegally called a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) and elevated the nuclear alert system to DefCon III, signifying a serious crisis short of preparing for nuclear war.  The National Security Act of 1947 explicitly states that only the president or the vice president could run an NSC meeting, although the president could provide written authorization for another individual to chair the meeting.  Nixon was not at the meeting just before midnight, and General Al Haig refused Kissinger’s request to awaken the president.  Gerald Ford had not been confirmed as vice president; he was not at the meeting.  There is no record of any written authorization.

In his book, Kissinger claimed that the nuclear alert was needed because “intelligence informed us that Soviet airborne divisions were being readied and that Soviet high-tech weapons were entering the Mediterranean by ship.”  I was serving on the CIA’s task force for the October War; we knew from intelligence sources that the Soviets had alerted eight AN-22s, which was very typical behavior for the Soviets in any crisis.  More importantly, the airborne troops were not palletized, and there were no supplies on the runway.  Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s note to Nixon to emphasize the importance of maintaining the cease-fire, was no different from his note to President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 during the Six-Day War.  Kissinger wrongly argues that the Soviet leader “threatened intervention” at the end of the war.  There were no high-tech weapons entering the Mediterranean.

The other key members at the NSC meeting the night of October 24 were Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger; CIA Director William Colby; and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Thomas Moorer.  I interviewed all three; all three believed that Moscow was bluffing, and that there was no need for a heightened nuclear alert.  In his book, Kissinger claimed that “Nixon’s strategic purposes were carried out.”  No, only Kissinger’s strategic purposes were carried out.  He takes credit in the book for “Brezhnev’s retreat.”  There was no retreat from Moscow.  It was Kissinger who realized he overreached, and ended the nuclear alert the following morning.

Just as Kissinger designed DefCon III in 1973 in part to convince the Israelis that he was serious about dominating the diplomatic process in the Middle East, the unnecessary Christmas bombing of North Vietnam was designed to convince the South Vietnamese they they could trust the Nixon administration.  Kissinger resorted to the bombing, although the Nixon administration had every intention of pursuing a diplomatic solution to end the war.

In 1975, not long after the confirmation of President Gerald Ford, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge hijacked a U.S. merchant marine ship, the Mayaguez, and held its crew hostage.  Kissinger convinced Ford to conduct a rescue operation of the crew, although the crew had already been released.  Forty-one Marines died in the operation, more marines than there were crew members on the Mayaguez.  Previously, Kissinger justified the secret and illegal bombing of Cambodia as a means to force the Vietnamese to negotiate.  This tactic was no more successful than the bombing of the Khmer Rouge.

Counterpunch for more

Bank of America memo, revealed: “We hope” conditions for American workers will get worse

August 3rd, 2022

by KEN KLIPPENSTEIN & JON SCHWARZ

A customer uses an ATM inside a Bank of America financial center in New York on Jan. 12, 2016. Photo/John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The financial behemoth privately fears that regular people have too much leverage.

A Bank of America executive stated that “we hope” working Americans will lose leverage in the labor market in a recent private memo obtained by The Intercept. Making predictions for clients about the U.S. economy over the next several years, the memo also noted that changes in the percentage of Americans seeking jobs “should help push up the unemployment rate.”

The memo, a “Mid-year review” from June 17, was written by Ethan Harris, the head of global economics research for the corporation’s investment banking arm, Bank of America Securities. Its specific aspiration: “By the end of next year, we hope the ratio of job openings to unemployed is down to the more normal highs of the last business cycle.”

The memo comes amid a push by the Federal Reserve to “cool down” the economy, informed by much of the same rationale — that high wages are driving inflation. This year, the Fed has increased interest rates for the first time since 2018. Historically, this has often caused recessions, and that is exactly what appears to be happening now: The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the gross domestic product has fallen for the second quarter in a row, indicating that a recession may have already begun.

Parts of the mid-year review, in particular its emphasis on a looming recession, received press coverage at the time of the memo’s release to clients. This is the first publication of the document in full.

What the memo calls “the ratio of job openings to unemployed” is generally calculated the other way around — i.e., the ratio of unemployed people to job openings. The more widely used ratio offers one measurement of the balance of power between workers and employers. The lower this number, the more options unemployed people have when searching for work and the greater opportunities employed people have to switch to jobs with better pay and conditions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this ratio stood at 0.5 as of May, meaning that there were then two job openings per unemployed person.

Bank of America memo4 pages

In 2009 — at the worst moments of the economic calamity that followed the collapse of the housing bubble during the end of the George W. Bush administration — the ratio climbed as high as 6.5, so there were more than six unemployed workers for each open job. It then slowly declined over the next decade, reaching 0.8 in February 2020 before Covid-19 lockdowns began.

This recent, unusual moment of worker leverage made Bank of America quite anxious. The memo expresses distress about “a record tight labor market,” stating that “wage pressures are … going to be hard to reverse. While there may have been some one-off increases in some pockets of the labor market, the upward pressure extends to virtually every industry, income and skill level.”

The memo recalls a previous Bank of America memo in 2021, which it says warned of “very strong momentum in the labor market, suggesting the economy would not just hit but blow through full employment. Fast forward to today, and these trends have been worse than expected.”

The memo is an uncanny demonstration that the economist Adam Smith was right when he described the politics of inflation in his famed 1776 work, “The Wealth of Nations.”

“High profits tend much more to raise the price of work than high wages,” Smith argued. “Our merchants and master-manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price. … They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”

Thus, exactly as Smith would have predicted, Bank of America complains loudly about the bad effects of high wages in raising prices, but appears to be silent about the pernicious effects of high profits.

This is especially remarkable given the role that corporate profits have played in the recent increase in inflation. After-tax corporate profits stood at 8.1 percent of the economy at the beginning of 2020 but have since shot up to as high as 11.8 percent of the GDP. In an economy the size of the U.S., that equals an increase of more than $700 billion in profits per year. These higher corporate profits have been the cause of over 50 percent of recent price increases.

Instead, the memo is focused on the enticing prospect of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, slowing the economy, and bludgeoning workers back into line.

The perspective of working Americans would, generally, be exactly the opposite. For most of us, it’s fantastic to have lots of jobs available, with employers competing for you. A tight labor market is wonderful. Wage pressures are great. From this viewpoint, the key issue right now would be how to lower inflation while keeping employment and worker power high. Such a tack would include full-bore attempts to lessen supply chain issues and reduce the pricing power of big corporations.

Most interesting of all is that in Bank of America’s enthusiasm for the Fed going on the attack against working people, it gets the basic facts wrong: Wage pressures have turned out not to be, as its memo claims, “hard to reverse.”

“If you did see continually accelerating wage-growth, it would be a problem,” Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal Washington, D.C., think tank, told The Intercept in an email. “That would almost certainly mean a wage-price spiral with ever higher inflation. However, [nominal] wage growth has slowed sharply from around a 6.0 percent annual rate to just over 4.0 percent in recent months. … So, [Bank of America wants] the Fed to raise rates (and unemployment) to attack a problem (accelerating wage growth) that doesn’t exist in the world.”

The memo therefore tells us what we suspected all along: The most powerful economic actors in the U.S. — entities like Bank of America and its clients — do not like working people to have power. But it’s nice to have it in their own words. Harris, the author, was not available for comment.

The Intercept for more

Pharma companies sue for the right to buy blood From Mexicans along border

August 3rd, 2022

by STEFANIE DODT & ARD GERMAN TV

IMAGE/Duck Duck Go

In the year since the United States blocked Mexicans from entering the country to sell their blood, the two global pharmaceutical companies that operate the largest number of plasma clinics along the border say they have seen a sharp drop in supply.

In a suit challenging the ban, the companies acknowledged for the first time the extent to which Mexicans visiting the U.S. on short-term visas contribute to the world’s supply of blood plasma. In court filings, the companies revealed that up to 10% of the blood plasma collected in the U.S. — millions of liters a year — came from Mexicans who crossed the border with visas that allow brief visits for business and tourism.

The legal challenge by Spain-based Grifols and CSL of Australia relates to an announcement last June that U.S. Customs and Border Protection doesn’t permit Mexican citizens to cross into the U.S. on temporary visas to sell their blood plasma. The suit was initially dismissed by a federal judge but reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The drug companies’ lawyers have said in court filings that the sharp reduction in Mexicans selling blood to the border clinics is contributing to a worldwide shortage of plasma and is “precipitating a worldwide public-health crisis that is costing patients dearly.”

ProPublica, ARD German TV and Searchlight New Mexico reported in 2019 that thousands of Mexicans were crossing the border to donate blood as often as twice a week, earning as much as $400 per month. Selling blood has been illegal in Mexico since 1987.

Many countries place strict limits on blood donations — Germany, for example, allows a maximum of 60 donations per year with intensive checkups before every fifth donation. But the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require comparable donor checkups and allows people visiting American clinics to sell their blood twice a week, or up to 104 times a year.

The limits that other countries set on blood donations have made the U.S. one of the world’s leading exporters of blood. In 2020, U.S. facilities collected 38.2 million liters of plasma for the production of medicine, accounting for approximately 60% of such blood plasma collected worldwide.

Until now, it has been unclear how much of the U.S. blood plasma supply came from Mexican citizens, and pharmaceutical companies had downplayed border clinics’ role in meeting demand for plasma. Grifols noted in 2019 that “more than 93% of the centers [are] at a far distance from the border between the U.S. and Mexico.”

But in its recent court filings, Grifols stressed the importance of the border clinics. A statement from a company executive disclosed that at the company’s Texas centers alone, there were “approximately 30,000 Mexican nationals donating and supplying over 600,000 liters of plasma [a year].” He describes Mexican donors as “loyal and selfless in their commitment to donating plasma.”

According to a filing by Grifols and CSL, the 24 border centers run by Grifols alone account for an “annual economic impact of well over $150 million” and represent approximately 1,000 jobs.

The trade organization for the pharmaceutical companies, the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, has similarly reframed its arguments on the issue. In a 2019 statement, the association urged reporters not to attach any significance to “donation centers that happen to fall within areas states define as border zones.” It said then that it had no estimate of how much blood was being bought at the border or whether the amount was disproportionate when compared to the rest of the country.

But a recent court filing by the association said there are 52 plasma centers in the border zone, and “the average center along the border collects higher than average (31% more) plasma than the average center nationwide.”

ProPublica for more

Curator’s tour of Tantra: Enlightenment to revolution exhibition at the British Museum

August 3rd, 2022

Exhibition curator Imma Ramos takes you on a guided tour of the British Museum’s latest exhibition Tantra: enlightenment to revolution.

00:00 Introduction to Tantra: enlightenment to revolution 00:50 Sacred Texts of Tantra 01:36 The rise of Tantra in Medieval India 03:20 Yoginis and their Temples 05:04 Women as Tantric Practitioners 05:54 Tantric Yoga 06:32 Yoginis as Gurus 08:21 The rise and spread of Tantra 10:11 The use of Human Remains in Tantric Practice 12:11 Tantra during Colonial British Rule in India 13:33 Kali as a symbol of Independent India 14:45 Tantra from the 20th century to today 15:44 Tantra in Britain and the USA 16:22 Kali and The Rolling Stones tongue logo 16:49 Tantra today 17:55 ‘And all the while the benevolent slept’ by Bharti Kher 18:18 ‘Housewives with Steak-knives’ by Sutapa Biswas 18:46 Conclusion

VIDEO/British Museum/Youtube