MoA—Since December 1997 the rate of the Lebanese pound has been fixed at 1507.5 pounds per U.S. dollar. The country needed dollars to import food, fuel for its electricity plants and pretty much everything else. As Lebanon exported little but some hashish and ran a large budget deficit it needed other ways to continuously acquire dollar. Tourism from the Gulf states brought some foreign currency and a large number of expatriates sent parts of their incomes home. But neither was enough to pay for everything Lebanon imported.
Patrice de Bergeracpas
AMERICAN BRAINWASHAMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMMEDIA SCOUNDRELSRUSSIA DESK
Overwhelming support for Putin’s constitution changes a wake-up call for Westerners who claim Russian system is bound to collapse
BRYAN MACDONALD—Western media coverage of the process has been typically one-track, focusing on the Putin term-limits issue while ignoring or glossing over the fact that the vast majority of Russians still clearly support his system. Once upon a time, this was attributed to the power of ‘state TV,’ but today, when the internet is beginning to overtake the zombie box as the primary source of news, that unsophisticated trope is clearly redundant. Russia is not a dictatorship, and Putin is not a dictator. The setup is ‘soft’ authoritarian and it relies on the consent of the majority to keep going. Russian people are not stupid, and they know what sort of alternatives would be on offer if they lost faith in the current arrangement.
We speak to Prof. Richard Sakwa, author of ‘The Putin Paradox’. He discusses Vladimir Putin’s constitutional referendum, in which his reforms were approved by a majority of Russians. He discusses the results of the referendum being impressive for Putin, dangerous elements of the reforms, McCarthyite coverage of Russia and Putin over the allegations of Russia putting bounties on American soldiers for The Taliban in Afghanistan and Trump’s victory in 2016, the journalistic bubble among Western commentators regarding Russia, the threat of nuclear conflict with Russia growing, Joe Biden threatening economic warfare if he wins and more!
AMERICAN BRAINWASHAMERICAN DUPLICITYAMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN STUDIESAMERICAN WAY OF LIFE
GARY OLSON—Our culture of rugged individualism has privatized the idea of caring and minimized the emotional needs of others. It allows for individual expressions of concern but brackets off any notion of social empathy. This exemplifies what sociologists term “feeling rules” that are shaped by ideology and class and include the idea that thinking only about oneself is just “common sense.”
ABOMINATIONSAMERICAN DUPLICITYAMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN PARTY DUOPOLYAMERICAN STUDIESHEALTH & MEDICINE
MARC NORTON—But we don’t really know. We don’t know because there hasn’t been anywhere enough testing to know. And we don’t know how many non-symptomatic people are wandering around infecting those who haven’t met the virus yet.
We are all aware that this problem starts in the Very White House, where Trump and his cohorts are trying to wish away the pandemic. But wouldn’t you expect our state and local government leaders to be shouting to the rafters that we need more testing? You would think the Democrats especially would be eager to point the finger at the murderer-in-chief in Washington.