United Nations

Labour MP Richard Burgon Warns that War with Iran Could be Worse than Iraq

Yesterday’s I, for Monday, 22nd July 2019, also carried a very important piece by Chris Green, ‘Iran conflict could become ‘worse than Iraq war”, reporting the views of Labour’s shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, on the consequences of war with Iran. The article, on page 6, ran

A full-blown conflict between the US and Iran with Donald Trump in charge as President could prove to be worse than the war in Iraq, a senior Labour MP has warned.

Richard Burgon, the shadow Justice Secretary, said the UK risked being drawn into a conflict between Iran and the US as Mr Trump’s “sidekick”.

Comparing the deteriorating political situation to the build-up to the Iraq war, he said Boris Johnson and Mr Trump could act in concert in the same way as Tony Blair and George W. Bush did.

He called for the next prime minister to focus on “de-escalation” and “conflict resolution” rather than allowing the UK to become “messengers” for the US administration.

“If we end up in a conflict backed by Donald Trump then I think it would not only be comparable with Iraq, in fact it could be even worse than Iraq, and that should really scare everybody,” Mr Burgon told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.

He added: “We need sensible negotiations. We’ve got a really important part of play diplomatically in this. We can use our negotiating weight.

“I think that our government has international respect and this country has international respect in a way that Donald Trump doesn’t.

“I think we need to use that for the purposes of conflict resolution and for the purposes of making sure this doesn’t escalate out of control.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also spoke out about the crisis over the weekend, accusing the US President of fuelling the confrontation by “tearing up” the Iran nuclear deal.

Burgon and Corbyn are exactly right, as I’ve said many times before in posts about the possibility of war with Iran. Iran is like Iraq in that it’s a mosaic of different peoples. Just over 51 per cent of the population are speakers of Farsi, the ancient language of the poet Saadi and the Iranian national epic, the Shah-Nama. But the country is also home to Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, Reshtis, Luris, Bakhtiaris and various Turkic-speaking tribes. Some of these peoples have very strong nationalist aspirations for an independent homeland. The Kurds have been fighting for theirs since before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, while there was also a series of jihads by some of the Turkic nomad peoples, after the Iranian government confiscated part of their tribal lands for settlement by Farsi speakers. The Arabic-speaking province of Khuzestan is also under very strict military control, and conditions in the camps for the oil workers there are similar to those concentration camps. In addition to a very strong military presence, the inmates are kept docile by drugs supplied by the Pasdaran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. While the majority of the population are Twelver Shi’a, there are other religions. Three per cent of the population are Armenian Christians, and there are also communities of Jews and Zoroastrians, the followers of the ancient Persian monotheist religion founded by the prophet Zoroaster/Zarathustra. Tehran also has a church and community of Anglican Christians.

If, God forbid, the US and Britain do invade Iran, the country will descend into a chaos of ethnic violence and carnage exactly like Iraq. But perhaps, due to the country’s diverse ethnic mix, it could even be worse. The Anglican Church in Iran has, naturally, been under great pressure. If we do invade, I’ve no doubt that they will be targeted for persecution, as will the Armenian Christians, simply because their religion, Christianity, will be taken to be that of our forces. They’ll be killed, tortured or imprisoned as suspected sympathisers.

And any war we might fight won’t be for any good reason. It won’t be to liberate the Iranian people from a theocratic dictatorship or promote democracy. It will be for precisely the same reasons the US and Europe invaded Iraq: to seize that country’s oil industry and reserves, privatise and sell to multinationals its state enterprises, and create some free trade, low tax economy in accordance with Neocon ideology. And as with Iraq, it will also be done partly for the benefit of Israel. The Israelis hated Saddam Hussein because he sided with the Palestinians. And they hate Iran precisely for the same reason.

If I recall correctly, Burgon was one of those accused of anti-Semitism, because he said that Israel was the enemy of peace, or some such. It’s a controversial statement, but it’s reasonable and definitely not anti-Semitic. Israel is the enemy of peace. The expatriate Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, very clearly and persuasively argues in his book, Ten Myths about Israel, that throughout its 70 year history Israel has manufactured causes to go to war with its Arab neighbours. It has never been serious about peace. And that’s particularly true about Iran. Netanyahu was chewing the scenery in front of the UN a little while ago, arguing that the Iranians were only a short time away from developing nuclear weapons. It was rubbish, as Netanyahu’s own armed forces and the head of the Shin Bet, their security ministry, told him. In fact, the evidence is that Iran kept to the nuclear treaty Trump accuses them of violating. They weren’t developing nuclear weapons, and commenters on Iran have said that when the Iranians said they wanted nuclear energy to generate power, they meant it. Iran’s main product is oil, and developing nuclear power for domestic use would mean that they have more to sell abroad, thus bringing in foreign cash and keeping what’s left of their economy afloat. And if we are going to discuss countries illegally possessing nuclear weapons, there’s Israel, which has had them since the 1980s. But as they’re the West’s proxies in the Gulf, nobody talks about it or censures them for it. Presumably it’s anti-Semitic to do so, just like it’s anti-Semitic to criticise or mention their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

I think Burgon, or someone else like him also said that conquering Iran would not be as easy as defeating the Iraqis. The Iranian economy is stronger and more developed – it was under the Shah the most westernised and industrialised national in the Middle East. And its armed forces are better equipped.

I am not impressed by their seizure of our tanker, but I think it’s simply a case of tit-for-tat after we seized theirs off Gibraltar. And despite the noise from the Tories about calming the situation down, there are strong forces in the Trump’s government and the general Republican party agitating for war. Just as I’ve no doubt there is also in the Iranian government.

Such a war would be disastrous, and the looting of the nation’s industries, resources and archaeological heritage would be simply massive theft. And the destruction of the country’s people and their monuments, as happened in Iraq, would be a monstrous war crime.

The warmongers in the Republicans and Tories must be strongly resisted, and thrown out of office. Before the world is thrown into further chaos and horror.

Douglas Murphy on the Corporate Elite, Environmental Collapse

In my last post, I reviewed Douglas Murphy’s Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture (London: Verso 2016). This is about the rise and fall of Modernist architecture. This style, whose antecedents can be traced back to the Great Exhibition and the Crystal Palace, and which was strongly influenced by architects and thinkers as widely different as Le Corbusier and Buckminster Fuller, was an attempt to create cheap, available buildings to cater for the needs of the future, as it was predicted in the 1950s and ’60s. This was an optimistic period that looked forward to economic growth, increasing standards of living, beneficial technological innovation, and, crucially, the ability of the state to plan effectively for people’s needs. This was a future that looked forward to a future, which automation would mean that people only worked for three days each week. The rest of the time, people would voluntarily go back into education to develop themselves. As Buckminster Fuller enthusiastically proclaimed that ‘within a century the word “worker” will have no current meaning’.

As automation eliminates physical drudgery, we will spend more time in the future in intellectual activity. The great industry of tomorrow will be the university, and everyone will be going to school’. (p. 27).

Fuller was one of the pioneers of the nascent environmentalist movement, and coined the term ‘spaceship Earth’ to describe the loneliness and fragility of our planet and its ecosystem.

Other influences on Modernist architecture were Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, about the devastating effect pollution, and particularly the insecticide DDT was having on wildlife. and the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth. Silent Spring’s title referred to the massive decline in America’s bird population caused by crop spraying with the insecticide. Limits to Growth was based on an attempt to use computers to model the performance of the world economy and the effect this would have on the environment. It assumed that resources were only finite and a growing global population. The intention was to test various changes in policy and see what effects this would have in the near to mid-future. The results were extremely ominous. The first run found that

If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on the planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probably result will be a rather suddent and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity. (p. 176).

This prediction of collapse was constant in subsequent runs, despite the changes in factors. Sometimes the collapse was sharper. One variation meant that it would be put off for fifty years. Another left some resources still in existence after the collapse for some kind of civilisation to continue. But all the models predicted disaster.

Moreover, technological innovation was unable to prevent the collapse. The authors of the experiment stated that technological optimism was the most common and most dangerous reaction to their findings, because it tended to solve some of the symptoms of the problems while leaving the actually causes untouched. The only real solution was to halt population growth, reduce the consumption of resources, switch capital investment from industry to education, combat pollution, improve agriculture and extend the productive life of capital.

While this is extremely restrictive, nevertheless the authors of the report believed that there was still room for optimism, because it allowed what many would consider the most desirable and satisfying human pursuits – education, art, music, religion, basic scientific research, athletics and social interaction, to continue.The book was highly influential, and discussed by powerful figures like Kurt Waldheim, the UN Secretary General in 1973, and President Giscard d’Estaing of France.  It was also widely criticised. Its critics complained that the model was too simplistic, and the authors themselves acknowledged that the model was rudimentary. It was also asserted that capitalism would find solutions to these problems, and industry would switch to a different, more productive direction. And also humanity would in time find solutions, both social and technological, to the problems.

However, Murphy goes on to comment that despite criticisms and attempts to move industrial society away from its current disastrous direction, the book’s predictions appear to hold true. He writes

Despite the massive emotional and political investment in moving the world away from its destructive course and onto more sustainable paths, none of the great many harbingers of doom from the period managed to shift capitalism off its growth-led and industrially intensive direction. There may be no need to defend the primitive systems of Limits to Growth and its ‘world model’ of 1972, but in recent years it has become a common sight to see the graph of the ‘standard model’ catastrophe with actual data from the subsequent forty years superimposed upon it. When this is done the graphs match almost perfectly, right up to around the present day, which is the point where the collapse is due to begin. (p. 180, my emphasis).

One of the responses to the predictions of environmental collapse was the proposal that special biospheres – enclosed buildings enclosing parts of the natural environment – should be built to protect some areas from destruction. One example of such a project is the Biosphere 2 experiment of the 1990s, in which a group of eight volunteers attempted to live inside such an enclosed artificial ecosystem for three years.

In his conclusion, Murphy points out the difference between the ’60s prediction of the benefits of automation and those of today, writing

Back then, automation was seen almost universally as a rising tide that would set people free from drudgery, but now, the mass automation of intellectual work promised by the algorithms of the technology industry seems much more likely to raise the drawbridge between the wealthy and the masses even further. Instead of people working a few days a week and fulfilling themselves with creative leisure at other times, it appears more likely that people will become more tightly squeezed into the last remaining jobs whose empathy and emotional labour the robots cannot synthesise.

And instead of enclosed cities, in which all citizens can live in harmony with nature, he predicts these will instead become the sole preserve of the rich.

Finally, instead of living in giant structures balancing the energy needs of cities with the natural world around them, it seems more likely that the lack of action on carbon dioxide emissions, combined with rising inequality across human society, will lead instead to the creation of climate enclaves, fortified cities for the super rich, self-sufficient in energy and food yet totally barricaded off from those outside who will be left to fend for themselves – the ultimate in Slotendijk’s bubbles. (p. 221).

When I read the above passage remarking on the apparent accuracy of the predictions in Limits to Growth, I thought of all the figures in big business and right-wing politics telling us that there’s no need to worry and we can carry on polluting and destroying the planet – the Koch brothers, the Republicans in America and Conservatives and Lib Dems over here, the oil and fracking companies, the newspapers pushing climate denial, like the Daily Heil and the Spectator, Nigel Farage and the Brexit party, Mick Hume and the wretched Spiked magazine and all the rest. And my reaction was the same as Charlton Heston’s in the 1968 Planet of the Apes, when he finally finds out that he is not on an alien world, but on an Earth after humanity has virtually destroyed itself in a nuclear war.

I really hope that the predictions are wrong, and that this isn’t the high point of our civilisation and that there won’t be any collapse. I’m sure that there are plenty of good objections to Limits to Growth.

But we still need to combat the environmental crisis, and kick out the corrupt politicians, who are taking the money from polluting industries and allowing the destruction of the Earth’s precious environment and the squandering of its resources. We need an end to Republican, Conservative governments and the political parties that aid, like the two-faced Lib Dems, and the election of genuinely Green, socialist governments under leaders like Jeremy Corbyn.

 

Corbyn Is Quite Right to Demand Evidence against Trump’s and Tories’ Warmongering Accusations against Iran

A further two oil tankers have been destroyed by mysterious explosions in the Persian Gulf in addition to those that were blown up a week or so ago. As I write  nobody has come forward to claim responsibility. But Trump and the Tories already know who’s responsible: Iran. According to Mike’s account of this, the evidence for this is that the Iranians removed a mine that had attached itself to a tanker. Oh yes, and the United Arab Emirates claimed that the explosions were the work of a ‘sophisticated state actor’. And that’s it. Now it seems contrary to commonsense to me that the Iranians would be responsible for the bombings, if they had helped get rid of an explosive device. But as the saying goes, ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. Against this monumental lack of evidence, Corbyn has been one of the few voices of sanity against Trump and the Tories screaming that the Iranians must be responsible. He’s asked for more evidence and for Britain to ease tensions, rather than join the military escalation after Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran. So the usual right-wing loudmouths, hypocrites and warmongers, like former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, have immediately denounced him as siding with the Iranians. According to them, he’s some kind of traitor working for them against us, because he appeared several times on Iran’s Press TV.

Well, as Mike pointed out in his article about this, Corbyn did appear on Press TV. But as various people on Twitter have pointed out, he stopped going on it and taking their money in opposition to its ‘anti-West bias’. And far from turning a blind eye or worse to Iran’s atrocious record on human rights, he called 51 early day motions against the Iranian government on this issue. He is the seventh in the number of MPs, who have made the most condemnations of Iranian human rights abuses, ahead of 648 other members of the House. See the tweets reproduced in Mike’s piece by Tory Fibs. And the peeps on Twitter have also supported Corbyn’s call for more evidence by pointing out how their previous accusations of responsibility for attacks by various countries have also been false. Jewish Voice for Labour reminded people about the Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which the Americans claimed that the Viet Cong had attacked an American warship as a pretext for entering the Vietnam War. The truth was that they hadn’t. It was an outright lie. Chuka Umunna’s Flip-Flops pertinently tweeted

The people slagging off Jeremy Corbyn for this tweet are the same people who cheered for the Iraq War when Tony Blair, George W Bush and John Bolton insisted Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Don’t be fooled again.

A war with Iran will make the war with Iraq look like a pillow fight.

And Nadeem Ahmad tweeted

Jeremy Corbyn was right about Iraq, Libya, Syria, Palestine and he is right about Iran.

Britain needs Corbyn to be our Prime Minister. #Iran

They’re absolutely right. As Greg Palast pointed out in his book, Armed Madhouse, the Gulf War and the invasions of Iraq have had precious little to do with protecting democracy or advancing human rights. Saddam Hussein had zero weapons of mass destruction. It was purely about advancing western multinational corporate interests. The Neocons wanted to seize Iraq’s state industries and remove its tariff barriers, in order to create the kind of low tax, free trade economy based on absolute private industry they want for America. And the Americans and Saudis both wanted to seize Iraq’s oil reserves. The Neocons also wanted him gone because he supported the Palestinians against the Israelis.

The result of this has been absolute chaos and carnage. Before Hussein’s overthrow, Iraq was one of the most prosperous and secular states with the highest standard of living in the Middle East. Christians and other religious minorities were tolerated and had a higher degree of equality than in other Arab states. Healthcare and education were free, and women were also free to pursue careers outside the home. After the invasion, Iranian industry was comprehensively devastated as the state enterprises were privatised and sold to the multinationals and the Americans and Saudis seized the oil industry. They had it written into the country’s constitution that the oil industry could not be renationalised. The removal of the tariff barriers meant that the country’s domestic industry was deluged by cheap foreign products dumped on their markets. Their businesses could not compete, and there was a wave of bankruptcies. Unemployment shot up to over 60 per cent.

The secular state collapsed, so that women once again found it difficult and dangerous to pursue a career. Healthcare has been privatised. And there was civil war between Sunni and Shi’a to the point where Peace Walls of the type used to separate Loyalist and Republican communities in Northern Ireland had to be put up for the first time in Baghdad. The American army and mercenary companies ran amok. The mercenaries ran prostitution rings and shot Iraqi civilians for sport. The American army collaborated with Shi’a death squads in killing Sunnis. The invasion created the conditions for the rise of Daesh and their creation of an extreme theocracy. They destroyed precious archaeological and cultural monuments and treasures, including historic mosques and churches. This is apart from the destruction caused by the American forces, including Babylon when they occupied it. In Mosul Daesh filmed themselves destroying the pre-Islamic artifacts in the museum. They also went on a reign of terror killing Sufis, Shi’a and oppressing Christians and Yezidis, as well as executing gays and ordinary Muslims, who wanted to live in peace with those of different faiths. The Yezidi women were seized and sold as sex slaves. At least a quarter of a million people were killed as a result of the allied invasion, and seven million displaced.

And this is all set to repeat again in Iran. Only it may very well be worse, as Chuka Umunna’s Flip-Flips has pointed out.

Iran is a mosaic of different peoples. The majority religion is Twelver Shi’a, and 51 per cent of the population speak Farsi, the country’s official language. But there are also Kurds, Baluchis and Arabs, as well as other ethnic groups speaking languages relating to Turkish. Three per cent of the population are Christian Armenians, and there are also Zoroastrians, who practise the ancient monotheist religion of the Persian Empire, and Jews. There are also Baha’is, a religion founded in the 19th century, but which is regarded as a heresy by many Muslims and viciously persecuted by the regime. There is also an Anglican church in Tehran, whose clergy and congregation are indigenous Iranians.

Now I have absolutely no illusions about the Iranian regime. It is a theocracy, which limits women’s roles and rights. There is massive corruption, and trade unions, strikes and political opposition are all banned. The oil workers in the Arab-speaking part of the country are kept in conditions described as those of concentration camps, and kept docile by drugs supplied and distributed by the Pasdaran, the Revolutionary Guards.

But the country does have a democratic component. Four seats in the country’s parliament, the majlis, are reserved for the non-Muslim minorities, and women possess some rights. Below the Supreme Leader, the religious head of state, is an elected president. Before the Islamic Revolution, Iran was the most industrialised and advanced economy in the region, and I have no doubt that it is still one of the leading nations in the region today. And there is growing popular discontent against the theocrats and their corruption.

And the American Neocons would dearly loved to invade the country. Some of this doubtless comes from the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the overthrow of the Shah, who was the West’s ally in the Middle East. The Shah had gradually become an absolute monarch after the overthrow of the country’s democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq, in the 1950 in a CIA and British backed coup. He was overthrown because he dared to nationalise Anglo-Persian Oil, which later became BP. I don’t doubt that the Americans,  Saudis and general western oil interests want to seize the Iranian oil industry, just like they wanted Iraq’s. I also don’t doubt that they’d like to get their mitts on the 51 per cent of the Persian economy controlled by the state and the bonyads, the Islamic charitable foundations. They and the Israelis also wanted to topple the Iranian state because they are vehemently hostile to Israel and support the Palestinians.

And you can’t trust anything the Israelis says about Iran either.

A few years ago, Netanyahu was jumping up and down in front of the UN and anybody else, telling them that the Iranians were close to creating nuclear weapons to be used against them. It was all a lie, as even the head of one of Israel’s spy agencies, the Shin Bet, and several of their generals said. And despite the propaganda, Iran actually treats its Jewish citizens quite well.

And the American Neocons very definitely want to invade Iran. 

In the 1990s the Neocons drew up a list of seven nations they wanted to overthrow, including Libya, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, and Iran. It’s a plan that’s been carried out by successive American leaders, including Barack Obama and the ‘Queen of Chaos’ herself, Hillary ‘Killary’ Clinton.

If the West invades, the result will be exactly the same as the invasion of Iraq. There will be massive economic dislocation, the state and bonyad sector will be privatised and seized by multinationals. The oil industry, once again, will be looted and seized by the Americans and Saudis. The economy will collapse and there will be massive unemployment. And the country will also descend into a massive civil war between the various ethnic groups. The Kurds in the north have been fighting a war of independence in the north since before the Islamic Revolution. And some of the nomadic, Turkic-speaking peoples have also fought similar wars after their ancestral lands were seized for Farsi colonization. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will die or be forced out of their homes. Jews, Christians and other religious minorities will also be persecuted in the religious backlash.

And the country’s immense archaeological and cultural heritage will be placed in danger.

Iran is an ancient country with a history going back almost to the origins of civilisation itself. This was shown in the 1950s with the excavation of Hasanlu, a settlement that dated back to the 9th century BC.

The ancient settlement of Hasanlu.

For centuries the Persian Empire was one of the superpowers of the ancient Near East, conquering the Babylonian and Assyrian Empires and challenging Egypt. The conquests of the Persian emperor, Cyrus, including Babylonia and Jerusalem, are recorded in the Cyrus Cylinder. This is in the British Museum, but was loaned to the Iranians a few years ago.

The Cyrus Cylinder

Among other monuments are a series of reliefs celebrating the exploits of the ancient Persian emperors at Behistun. These include a depiction of Darius receiving foreign dignitaries.

Iranian Relief showing the Emperor Darius

Other reliefs show the symbols of Zoroastrianism, the country’s ancient, indigenous religion, and its god, Ahura Mazda.

Persia continued to be a major centre of culture, art, science and literature after the Islamic conquests. Great literary works include the Shah-Nama of Firdawsi, his epic of the country’s mythic history, the poetry of Sa’adi and the Rubaiyyat of Omar Khaiyam. But Khaiyam was also a leading mathematicians and scientist. Persian artists also excelled in the miniature and book illustration, as the illustration below shows. It’s of the Prophet Mohammed attended by angels. Islamic law forbids the depiction of the Prophet, so Persian artists showed him with his face veiled.

Iran also has some of the most spectacular and holiest mosques in Shi’a Islam, which include similar depictions of Mohammed and Ali, the First Imam. Iranian art was also major influence on the Moghul art of India, and for centuries Farsi was also the language of diplomacy in parts of India.

It’s possible to go on and on about Iran’s rich culture and heritage, which is threatened by Trump’s and the Tories accusations, accusations which seem to be leading up to a pretext for war.

The Iranian state is perfectly capable of terrorism. In the 1990s they bombed a cafe used by Kurdish nationalists in Berlin. And more recently they attacked a British warship, and captured its crew before releasing them.

But there is no evidence they’re behind these attacks. It looks like the Americans and the British Neocon right in the Tories are trying to foment a war fever against Iran. But every opportunity should be taken to prevent a war, which will lead to further, massive carnage and bloodshed in the Middle East, the destruction of the Iranian economy and industry, and what democratic freedoms the Iranian people do possess. As well as the destruction of priceless archaeological monuments and treasures of art, literature and architecture, which will not only impoverish Iran, but also human culture globally.

Against these horrors, Corbyn is quite right to demand further evidence.

For further information, see:

Voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/06/15/hypocrites-challenge-corbyns-call-for-evidence-in-tanker-controversy/

All the illustrations with the exception of the Cyrus cylinder come from Royal Persia: Tales and Art of Iran, Carella Alden (New York: Parents Magazine Press 1972).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World Fertility Transition: Moving Toward a Steady-State Population

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/05/2019 - 8:14am in

“There’s just too many of us and no one is talking about it.”
—Biologist Patrick Benson in Meera Subramanian’s, A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis

 

 Image by James Cridland, CC BY 2.0)

An illustration of the “negative externalities of overpopulation”. (Left: public domain. Right: Image by James Cridland, CC BY 2.0)

By Max Kummerow

It is hard to imagine a growing population supporting a steady state economy. “Jobs” and higher incomes for growing numbers of people anchor the platforms of political candidates and economists worldwide.

But what about a different approach? Why not reduce population to a size that fits the planet, allowing sustainable economies and decent standards of living?

It is possible, because we have seen that educated, liberated women usually choose small families, and population decline has already begun in a few countries. Could the world reduce population to make fewer demands on the planet and allow an economy of abundance? The following summarizes the current status of efforts to reverse an unhealthy rate of population growth and points to a need for establishing a sustainable population size.

Global average fertility rates fell from 5 to 2.4 children per woman from 1970 to 2010. Population growth rates halved too, from 2% to 1.1% per year.* Contraceptive technology keeps improving. But fertility rates were not reduced enough to offset the rate of population growth. Today, growth continues as fast as ever, increasing by 80 million people per year—a billion more of us every 12 years. Here’s the math:

2% population growth rate times 3.5 billion people in 1970  =  1% population growth rate times 7 billion people in 2010

Long-term stabilized population will require active fertility transitions in more than 100 countries. Fertility transitions are achievable, but they are contingent on deliberate choices and actions by governments and individuals. Fertility transitions around the world won’t happen fast enough without improved access to contraceptives, education for both men and women, and efforts to change cultural fertility norms to accept smaller families and deliberate choices to lower fertility rate.

Like the Titanic headed toward an iceberg, it takes a long time to reverse population growth or even slow it down. In countries with the highest fertility rates, half the population is less than 15 years old, and it takes approximately 50 years for “population momentum” to slow, as those children grow up and are then able to make choices about the number of children they will have. For example, even though Japan’s fertility rate fell below replacement (2.1) in 1957, its population kept growing until 2008. China had 900 million people when the One-Child policy began in 1979, but it will peak near 1.3 billion around the year 2030.

 Three U.N. future scenarios.

A graph of possible future scenarios using data from the United Nations shows world population quadrupling from 2.5 to 10 billion in a the century from 1950 to 2050. The three UN scenarios—low fertility, medium fertility, and continuation of current fertility—give outcomes that range from 7 to 26 billion by the year 2100. The difference is due to a wide range of possible outcomes, future policies, and individual choices.

UN global 2050 projections were revised upward by 900 million between 2002 and 2017 (from 8.9 to 9.8 billion) as fertility decline stalled. Sub-Saharan Africa still averages approximately 5 births per woman, as high as 1970 rates. Worldwide, about 200 million women who do not want to get pregnant have “unmet need” for modern contraceptives. Nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended, whether due to lack of contraception or lack of education for men and women.

Much is known about how to achieve lower fertility rates from demographic research and the experience of diverse countries—Iran, Brazil, Thailand and many others. Low fertility helped families and countries find prosperity through a “demographic dividend” in which the working-age population is larger than non-working-age groups. Government family-planning campaigns and policies aided successful transitions, especially in the East Asian “Tiger” economies that went from poverty to prosperity in a single generation as birth rates fell and stabilized at more sustainable numbers.

Graph showing an unsustainable “hockey stick” explosion of human population in the past few centuries.

Graph showing an unsustainable “hockey stick” explosion of human population in the past few centuries.

A population too large for the planet has a heavy carbon footprint too. Americans emit far more carbon per person than underdeveloped countries. In China, reducing fertility rates increased environmental impacts by spurring economic growth, highlighting the interplay among population, consumption, technology, and social justice.  Every person born becomes a consumer in need of resources like food and water, and many are born into cultures that fuel advertising-stoked desires to consume more.

Population stability is therefore a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for a steady state economy. A world in which rising population leads the world toward poverty, war, and shortages of all kinds of resources is Malthusian and certainly not ideal. But, with declining population, a steady state economy with a sustainable level of prosperity becomes realistic and feasible, given a green, recovering planet.

People around the world should be talking a lot more about the world fertility transition and working on ways to create change—and a desire for sustainable global, national, and local populations.

 

Key points from the current state of play of the population situation.

 

* All statistics in this piece are from the United Nations and World Bank.

 

Max Kummerow, Ph.D., is a retired business school professor and population activist who researches demography, ecology, and economic development. He has presented papers at ESA, PJSA, NCSE, PAA and EAERE meetings showing the benefits of accelerating the world’s stalled demographic transition toward lower fertility rates.

 

 

The post The World Fertility Transition: Moving Toward a Steady-State Population appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.


May Resigns, But Her Replacement Will Be as Bad or Worse

On Friday, after months of obstinate refusal May finally gave in to pressure and metaphorically fell on her sword. She resigned as Tory leader, but has said that she will stay on as Prime Minister until June 7th, when her party will select her successor. According to one of the videos of her resignation speech put up by one of the newspapers, she was quite lachrymose about it. The video’s title was about how she cried at her resignation.

Well, call me hardhearted, but I’ve no sympathy at all. May has been a disastrous Prime Minister, and before that was a disastrous home secretary. And her party has had no sympathy for Britain’s working people, and particularly the poor, the unemployed and the disabled. She was part of Cameron’s cabinet when he was pushing through the piecemeal privatisation of the NHS, the massive rise in tuition fees for students, the establishment of workfare, and the expansion of the benefit sanctions regime and the infamous work capability tests. She was there when they cut public spending, froze wages and allowed the establishment of highly exploitative part-time and zero hours contracts. It was Cameron’s Tory government that instituted the bedroom tax, and created the mess we have today where most people now cannot afford to buy their own home, and an increasing number of people are priced out of even rented property. All this was done in order to reduce the tax burden on the super rich elite. This would all somehow reduce public debt and create more jobs and prosperity. With prudent Tory financial management, the economy would soon be back on its feet and we could call an end to austerity.

It hasn’t worked. As Mike’s shown on his blog, the debt’s higher than ever. And the time when it will finally be cleared keeps getting put back and back. The I today ran one article on her, listing the arguments for and against. One of the arguments for her was that she had ended austerity. This is, in my opinion, a flat out lie. She said that austerity was over, but has not reversed her policies. The poor are still seeing their services cut. Actions, it is said, speak louder than words. And the actions say that austerity is still very much Tory policy. They also listed under the ‘for’ column her announcing that £260 million or so extra cash would be pumped into the NHS. But an examination of that announcement reveals that it’s much less impressive than it sounds, as it’s still far short of the money needed to restore the NHS. And I got the distinct impression when the announcement was made that there were no promises on how this would be financed, or when and how the money would be put it into the health service. It seemed another one of Tweezer’s promises, promises that are always broken.

And to add insult to injury there’s the continuing lies and denials about the number of people, who have been killed by the Tories’ welfare cuts. It’s now tens of thousands, and the poverty that the Tories have inflicted is so horrific that they stand condemned – again! – by the UN.

Now I realise that Tweezer wasn’t directly responsible for these policies under Cameron’s administration, and that the Ian Duncan Smith, Esther McVey and the other heads of the DWP are responsible for the horrors of the benefit cuts. But May never raised her hand against them, as far as I know, and she certainly continued them once she got her rear into No. 10.

But as the Home Secretary she was responsible for the government’s racist immigration policy. This included posters encouraging people to inform on illegal immigrants, vans going round to pick up any illegals, who wanted to hand themselves in. She was responsible for the hostile environment policy. A policy that found its lowest expression in the forced, illegal deportation of the Windrush peeps and their children. These were immigrants who, under the terms of the immigration treaties at the time, were perfectly entitled to remain here. Many of the people deported had never seen the country to which they were to be returned, or had last seen it when they were very young. But Tweezer wanted to show she was hard on immigration, as the racists in her party wanted, and so broke the law to have these people removed from their real homes hjere in Blighty.

Far from lamenting her departure, my initial reaction was to quote the Wizard of Oz: ‘Ding Dong, the Witch is dead!’

Unfortunately, her successor is likely to be as bad or worse. We now have a selection of contenders which includes Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom. Even Esther McVey threw her hat into the ring a few days ago, when she gave a speech to the Blue Collar Conservatives group. She was obviously trying to pose as the one thing she is not and has never been, the working man’s and woman’s friend to get the populist vote. As for the Blue Collar Conservatives, I could write a whole rant about them. The whole organisation strikes me as being made up of the type of people Johnny Speight drew on for his monstrous creation, Alf Garnet. I got the impression that BoJo is probably the bookies’ favourite. He has received Murdoch’s blessing, as his papers have been praising him and presenting him, despite all the evidence to the contrary, as some kind of future statesman. Instead he’s a vain, treacherous incompetent with the same savage hatred of the poor and a long streak of racism.

Just flicking through the I today I also caught headlines predicting that if a hard Brexiteer is chosen, confidence in the Tory party could collapse and a general election called. And the Labour party, or at least one of its leaders, has indeed called for one. Quite right. I’m sick of Prime Minister’s handing on the reigns of government to their successors safely in their allotted term, so that the next general election somehow acts as a public acclamation of the new Premier, rather than a proper democratic selection. It’s just a way in which democracy effectively becomes a rubber stamp for a transition of power really done by the party elite. As far as I can remember, it came in with Thatcher. She was ousted part-way through her term, and Major installed by the party faithful. He then went on to win the next election. It doesn’t always work – Blair tried it with Gordon Brown, who lost spectacularly, but the process carried on with Cameron’s departure and the installation of May. And now the Tories are set to do it again with May’s successor, whoever he or she is.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the Tories. I’m sick of the misery, the starvation, the deaths and deportations. I want them all gone, not just May.

It’s time we had proper general election to decide her successor. One that will hopefully get rid of them and her, and put Labour and Jeremy Corbyn in instead.

What makes a healthy economy and society and how can it best be delivered?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 25/05/2019 - 10:42pm in

Man asleep on stone bench in a pedestrian precinctPhoto by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

The public purpose is inherently a progressive agenda that strives to continually improve the material, social, physical, cultural and psychological well-being of all members of society.  It is inherently ‘aspirational’ in the sense that there is no end because its frontiers will continually expand.

Macroeconomics

Professors William Mitchell, L Randall Wray and Martin Watts.

 

This week the GIMMS team invites its readers to think about what makes a healthy economy and society and how it can best be delivered? The answer to the first question is not a simple one, it is multi-layered and largely dependent on which side of the political divide you might be. The answer to the second tends to focus these days on its affordability in monetary terms whichever side of the political divide you are even though as we shall see later this is an incorrect assumption.

To bring some clarity to the first, in 1948 the United Nations set out its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a comprehensive document which deserves to be read in full but for the purpose of this blog two of its articles stand out.

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and of their family including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control.

Everyone has a right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment”

If you picked a group of people representing world nationalities, gave them pen and paper and asked them to write down what they value in terms of their well-being, although many other worthy things are likely to figure in their list there might well be a combination of those basic human needs mentioned above.  We all value having a roof over our heads, feeling safe and our health and economic security. Early ‘man’ sought shelter, warmth, a full belly and safety from wild animals. Present day, those same instincts stand whether we live in Africa, India or the UK but the manner and degree to which they are catered for by elected governments will vary depending on many things such geography, political and religious conditions and resource availability. It’s not all plain sailing.

In present day UK terms such aspirations provide a useful measure for evaluating how well government is delivering what can be called public purpose even though these days financial concerns trump that of well-being. Whether it’s raising living standards, safeguarding the overall security of citizens however that is defined or investment in environmental sustainability government has an important role to play in ensuring adequate levels of deficit spending to guarantee efficient use of all resources in a fair and equitable manner. These, as we see daily, are not always delivered evenly or fairly but there is no reason why they shouldn’t be. The creation of well-being is a collective activity, linked to the democratic will that an elected government delivers what we believe to be public purpose however we define that moving target. These days, however, it is less about democratic will and more about corporate power.

Although not confined to the UK the foundations for the better society demanded by citizens were laid by post war governments which built social housing, set up the NHS and social security system, provided education for its young people, ensured public service provision through national and local government and made a policy choice to deliver full employment. Having fought a war for their country, citizens demanded that government deliver through its policy choices both economic and social well-being.  People didn’t ask where the money was coming from to pay for it any more than they had when fighting the war, and as became evident when they saw their living standards rise and they could take advantage of free healthcare and education it became clear that such improvements were dependent on the government’s policy choices rather than monetary affordability. Over time not only did that generation gain from the government spending but future generations also became the beneficiaries of that long-term public investment.

While the public and politicians of all parties have been ensnared by faulty economic thinking for decades seventy years on those same policy choices haven’t gone away. They still exist. A progressive government could choose to promote a more balanced society allowing the economy to develop around public purpose goals to once again include real full employment as a policy target linked to a Job Guarantee, the provision of quality public services, healthcare, education and a social security system designed to support citizens. These things do not exist in isolation of a healthy economy they are intrinsic to it. Fundamental to this understanding is that a sovereign currency issuing government like the UK’s does not resemble our own household budgets in the slightest; that government actually has to spend before anyone can pay tax, thus exploding the myth that governments needs it to spend; and that fiscal deficits, which so often are represented as financially disabling and damaging to the economy, are the mechanism by which public purpose can be delivered to serve the economic and social interests of citizens. In this case, it becomes clear that when, for example, the banks were bailed out it was done without imposing any hardship on the population in terms of extra taxes to pay for it. And yet vulnerable citizens paid the price for the austerity deception.

So, what has gone so terribly wrong? The news this week is yet again dismal and distressing. Why has the UN had to investigate the rising poverty and inequality in a country which is rich in real resources? Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur whose final report was published this week, has said that ministers are ‘in denial of about the impact of austerity’. He described it as a ‘social calamity’ and an ‘economic disaster’. Worse, he likened Tory welfare policies to the creation of 19th century workhouses.

Also this week, Human Rights Watch published a damning report reflecting the UN’s initial findings in November in which it accused the government of pursuing ‘cruel and harmful policies’ with scant regard for the impact on the growing numbers of children living in poverty. While the government trumpets its ideologically driven programmes to get people back into work as the best means of getting out of poverty, we see children going hungry across the country and not just in areas where poverty is endemic. Teachers at the sharp end see, daily, the consequences of government policies in their own schools and are opening food and clothing banks to fill the gaps.  Notably even one in Oxford. This does not reflect a government which can be in any be said to fulfilling public purpose. The exact opposite is happening. Austerity has not delivered the promised growth. It has stunted it.

As covered previously by GIMMS, at local government level England is facing a mounting crisis in social care as funding cuts go deeper, the effects of which are becoming ever clearer to families up and down the country who are having to fill the gaps which social provision cannot fill. A report published this week has predicted that more English councils will face bankruptcy unless the government fills the funding black hole in local authority budgets which has arisen as a result of government public spending cuts. When a Conservative dominated County Councils network organisation says that council finances will be ‘plunged into disarray’ and services will have to be cut to legal minimum levels we should sit up and listen. Councils of all political stripes across England are now facing difficult decisions about which services to cut and which services they can continue to provide. This has come and will continue to come at huge cost to local people who depend on them.   Paul Carter, the Conservative leader of Kent Council said vital council services are likely to disappear if the government fails to respond and emphasised that even the proposed “draconian” cuts won’t be enough even for many well-run councils to balance their books.

Quite starkly, government’s obsession with book balancing and delivering its political agenda is the cause of a stumbling economy and the decaying social fabric however much their ministers want to claim the opposite. To add insult to injury the IPPR’s suggestion this week that personal care for our elders should be funded by a 2p tax rise is symptomatic of the public misunderstandings of monetary realities, as described earlier, which is continuously reinforced at institutional and governmental levels. As pointed out where the government is the currency issuer tax is not needed to fund personal care costs or improvements to the social care system. As GIMMS has observed many times cuts to vital public services are purely a government choice. Also, at a time of economic decline taking money out of the economy through increased taxation would further damage it.

Such ill-advised demands also ignore the glaring fact that if government has failed to invest in the provision of trained staff and facilities, in the short term any extra money will be to no avail and may even create an inflationary spiral.  There are no short cuts to service provision. It requires the government to invest sufficiently in the long-term prosperity of the country through adequate and effective public spending on public goods from physical resources to people.  The government provision of public services is not constrained by monetary affordability it is limited only by available resources.  Government’s job is to balance the economy and create social and economic value through its policy decisions.

It is infinitely regrettable that Philip Alston and others shining a light on the effects of austerity on the UK and elsewhere still peddle the myth that public debt was too high and needed to be lowered. The belief that government had used its spare money to bail out the banks and thus was obliged to make savings elsewhere is still the accepted line by many speaking out for those most affected by government cuts to spending. The image that we were all in it together paying down our debts served its purpose and allowed the government to pursue its neoliberal agenda at a terrible cost to our public services and our most vulnerable citizens. If the austerity line continues to be peddled in the event of another huge financial crash what will remain of our public service sector and social security system not to mention the economy?

But it doesn’t have to be like this.  There is an alternative. Our earlier short walk into history has shown what was possible in the post war years. With a debt to GDP ratio of 248%, we didn’t go bankrupt then any more than we can now. The current economic paradigm stands between us and a real progressive agenda informed by an understanding of monetary reality. Even with such there are no magic bullets as the challenges we face are complex and the solutions difficult.  But we owe it to ourselves and to our children’s children to exploit every opportunity to make a better world where people are valued for their real contributions to the collective good of our nations and where value is determined less in monetary terms and more in the social benefits created by government spending.

One can perhaps ‘forgive’ those on the right for picking quarrels as any challenge to a paradigm which has served a few privileged, wealthy people is likely to come in for criticism but not those on the progressive left who are seeking to discredit those promoting modern monetary realities. We should be questioning their motives for doing so. As should they. Increasing poverty, inequality and environmental degradation will be the price we pay for adhering to a false and failed economic paradigm and failing to at least engage with monetary realities will leave us all losers.

 

Events

Our event on 11th May 2019 was well attended and very enjoyable. If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch the talks by Warren Mosler, Bill Mitchell and Martin J Watts on the video below.

 

A pdf of the slides from the event is available here

MMT Talk and Social in Abergavenny – 13th July 2019

Free – details and tickets available from Eventbrite

Share

Tweet

Whatsapp

Messenger

Google Plus

Share

Email

reddit

Viber icon
Viber

The post What makes a healthy economy and society and how can it best be delivered? appeared first on The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.

UN Calls for Inquiry into Torture by British Troops in Iraq

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/05/2019 - 11:26pm in

Saturday’s issue of the I had this article, ‘UN calls for inquiry into torture by Army’ on page 2, which runs

A United Nations body has called for an inquiry into allegations of unlawful killings, torture and ill-treatment by British troops in Iraq. The Committee against Torture, which monitors the implementation of the convention against torture, said the UK should “refrain from enacting legislation that would grant amnesty or pardon where torture is concerned”.

This reminds me very strongly of Abu Ghraib, the US interrogation and detention centre where it was revealed US squaddies were abusing Iraqi prisoners. As much as I’d like to believe that British troops are different and morally superior to the rest of the world, it strikes me as all too possible that some of our troops were also doing the same. Britain was involved in the secret renditions of terrorists or terrorist suspects to countries, where they could be tortured. Furthermore, it has also been revealed that the American troops and mercenaries in Iraq ran amok in a reign of terror, according to shocked American diplomats. The mercenaries ran prostitution rings and shot innocent Iraqi civilians for sport as they drove past them. It was also revealed that American troops also collaborated with Shi’a gangs in running death squads.

I don’t know, but unfortunately it wouldn’t surprise me if British troops were involved in similar atrocities. But I wonder if we will ever find out about it, considering how unwilling the mainstream media were in promoting the War in Iraq, at least in America, and the way the British state still has very strong powers to block Freedom of Information requests and any inquiries into its dodgy activities.

Programme Tonight on Israel’s Attack on Gaza Last Year

Tonight, 13th May 2019, BBC 2 are screening a documentary at 9.00 pm, ‘One Day in Gaza’, about the terrible events there last year when Israel fired on Palestinian demonstrators. The article for it on page 74 of the Radio Times runs

On 14 May 2018, mass disturbances on the border between Israel and Gaza led to one of the deadliest days in a generation. For weeks Palestinians had been protesting along the border fence, but tensions were running particularly high due to the inauguration of the new US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, a controversial step ordered by Donald Trump. By the end of the day, as many as 60 Palestinians were dead or dying, and over 2,000 were injured, mostly by live ammunition. One year on, Olly Lambert’s film relates the events of that day using footage filmed on the ground and interviews with those on both sides of the fence.

A further piece about it on page 72 runs

Palestinians in Gaza had already been protesting Israel’s land, sea and air blockade of the territory for a fortnight when, on 14 May 2018, the situation turned from tense to bloody. While Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and other officials of the Trump administration were in Jerusalem to inaugurate a controversial new US embassy, violence exploded at the Gaza border. The Israeli army claimed to have acted in self-defence; more than 60 Palestinians died in a day, with more than 2,000 hurt.

A year on, film-maker Olly Lambert pieces together an account of what happened, by interviewing political leaders on both sides and drawing on video footage at the time.

This follows the mass demonstration through central London on Saturday, commemorating 71 years of the Nakba, an Arabic word meaning ‘catastrophe’, which the Palestinians use to describe their own genocide and dispossession by the Zionist settlers. The protest was organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Stop the War Coalition. The protest was also against the continuing failure of the Israeli state to honour the peace treaty it had signed with the Palestinians over Gaza, and its continuing campaign to strangle the area’s economy, fishing and obstruction of medicine and humanitarian aid. The star speaker was Ahed Tamimi, the 15 year old girl who got 18 months in prison for slapping an Israeli storm trooper after her brother was shot in the head with a rubber bullet.

Labour has committed itself to recognising Palestine as a sovereign state, which has contributed to the hysterical accusations of anti-Semitism by the Zionists against Jeremy Corbyn, despite the Labour leader’s many sincere actions on behalf of Britain’s Jews.For further information, see the articles on the demonstration by Mike at https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/05/12/pro-palestine-demonstration-in-london-to-show-support-after-latest-violence/

and Tony Greenstein at http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2019/05/15000-march-in-memory-of-nakba_12.html

This could be a really interesting documentary. But I have no doubt it will also be highly controversial. Whenever anyone, no matter how respected, reports atrocities committed by Israel or its allies, there are instantly accusations of anti-Semitism by the Jewish press and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. This happens even though the reports are accurate. Those, who have been smeared for their reportage include the very well respected Beeb foreign correspondents Jeremy Bowen and Orla Guerin, and the former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.

The anger of the siting of the American embassy in Jerusalem was inevitable, as Israel would like to claim Jerusalem as its capital rather than Tel Aviv, despite UN recommendations that it should be shared between Israel and the Palestinians. It also raises very deep fears about what Israel intends to do with the Dome of the Rock mosque. This is the third holiest site in Islam. But it’s built on the remains of Solomon’s Temple, and Jewish fanatics like Gush Emunim would like to see it destroyed and the Temple rebuilt instead.

Israel also has a policy of deliberately bombing and closing Palestinian places of worship. While the world mourned the destruction of Notre Dame cathedral by fire, the Palestinians were also feeling the destruction of one of their holiest mosques in Gaza. This precious monument, dating from the 7th century, was deliberately targeted by the Israeli military. Else where in eretz Israel, mosques and other places of worship are vandalised and desecrated by Jewish fanatics. And this includes Christian churches and monasteries. Benzi Gopstein, an extreme right-wing rabbi in one of the Israeli settlements, a few weeks ago issued the statement that Jews had a divine commandment to destroy churches in Israel, as they were places of idolatry. It’s a statement that I know shocks genuinely liberal Jews worldwide. I am also aware that Christian churches and other monuments in Israel have also been attacked by intolerant, fundamentalist Muslims. But the respected historian of the Middle East, Albert Hourani, has pointed out in one of his articles on the history of Palestine, that traditionally Christian churches were regarded as mawsin – sacred, sacrosanct – by Palestinian Muslims, who respected them. I have also heard that quite often the doorkeeper at Christian churches is a Muslim, and that they are often instrumental in preventing attacks by fanatical Jewish mobs. But you will not hear this from the mainstream press and news, and especially not from Christian organisations like Ted Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, who want to see an Israel stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates.

This is why people do need to hear and see the truth about Israel and its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians against the attempts to silence it by the Zionist Jewish establishment, and establishment that’s also strongly opposed by an increasing number of Jews, disgusted at what is being done in their name. As one genuinely liberal Jews has said, ‘to be a Jew means that you are always on the side of the oppressed, never the oppressor.

For Israeli attacks on churches and mosques, see also this article by Tony Greenstein, http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2019/04/should-we-set-fire-to-churches-mosques.html

 

David Attenborough Announces Doco Series About Rats and Ibises After Biodiversity Loss

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 8:16am in

attenborough

The BBC Natural History Unit has announced that it will be producing an eight part documentary series on the life of rats and ibises in the wake of the United Nations report on biodiversity that predicts the earth is in danger of losing up to a million species in the upcoming decades.

“We might as well get ahead of the game and focus on the only animal species likely to be around in a few years time,” said BBC producer Jennifer Tapir. “Due to biodiversity loss we’re changing our name from the Natural History Unit to simply The History Unit.”

Several crews of film makers have already been dispatched to stake out rows of wheelie bins in remote Sydney suburbs hoping to shoot exclusive footage of ibis behaviour.

“We just shot some amazing scenes an ibis totally demolishing an entire Hungry Jacks Hungry Meal straight through the paper bag,” said gushing camera operator Beth Ocelot. “I’m really excited about our next series, which will be called “The Secret Life Of Labradoodles”.”

The United Nations report has been secretly welcomed by the guys who paint the labels on the cages at the zoo.

“A million species gone and good riddance to them,” said zoological calligrapher Herbert Capybara. “Now I’m free to just write “seagulls” instead of all that fiddly Latin crap when I’m doing the bird enclosure.”

Peter Green
http://www.twitter.com/Greeny_Peter

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter or like us on facebook

UN Mission Criticizes Ukraine over Odessa

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/05/2019 - 5:10am in

Pages