lunes, 17 de febrero de 2020

Pues sí había otros datos…
Actualización 17/02/2020
Enrique Quintana
Pues sí, en el caso del crecimiento de los ingresos de los sectores de menores ingresos… sí había otros datos, y estos son ofrecidos por el Inegi y el Coneval.
En diversas ocasiones he escrito en este espacio que los datos ofrecidos por el IMSS muestran un crecimiento de los ingresos reales.
Las cifras al mes de enero indican un alza de 3.1 por ciento de los salarios reales y de 1.6 por ciento en el empleo total. Es decir, la masa salarial real tuvo un crecimiento anual real de 4.7 por ciento en el primer mes de este año.
Sin embargo, hay quienes cuestionan, con justa razón, que estas cifras corresponden solo al sector formal de la economía. Se trata de 20.5 millones de trabajadores, que representan solo 37 por ciento de la población ocupada.
A partir de la semana pasada, que el Inegi publicó la Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE) correspondiente al cuarto trimestre de 2019, ya podemos obtener una aproximación del ingreso promedio de la población ocupada total, independientemente de que sean asalariados o no asalariados y de que estén en la formalidad o sean informales.
De acuerdo con los datos de la ENOE, se puede estimar en el cuarto trimestre del año pasado un ingreso promedio de 7 mil 337 pesos mensuales para los 55.7 millones de ocupados en México, mientras que 12 meses antes era de 6 mil 963 pesos. Esto significa un crecimiento real de 2.5 por ciento el año pasado.
Si consideramos el aumento de 2.7 por ciento en la población ocupada total, se puede estimar que hubo un incremento real del ingreso de los hogares en México de 5.2 por ciento.
Estas cifras son consistentes con los datos que la semana pasada dio a conocer el Coneval, que reportó un incremento de 5.9 por ciento en el ingreso laboral real per cápita en el último año.
Muchos no perciben este incremento porque se concentró en los sectores de menores ingresos. Los mismos datos del Coneval reportan que en el último trimestre del año pasado, 20 por ciento de la población más pobre tuvo un incremento real de sus ingresos de 18.3 por ciento.
En contraste, si vemos lo que ocurrió con otros segmentos, en el llamado tercer quintil, que corresponde a una parte de la clase media, hubo una baja de 0.1 por ciento; en el cuarto, un alza de solo 0.4 por ciento y en el 20 por ciento de más ingresos, un incremento de 1.2 por ciento.
Dudo mucho que estos sean los “otros datos” a los que se refiere el presidente López Obrador cuando señala que sabe que la economía va mejor de lo que dicen las cifras macroeconómicas… entre otras cosas, porque las cifras acaban de publicarse la semana pasada.
Sin embargo, el cuadro que le describo es una parte de la realidad económica y social del país que no hemos visto con suficiente atención y que probablemente tenga que ver con la, para algunos, inexplicable popularidad del presidente López Obrador.
Será el próximo año cuando se den a conocer los resultados de la Encuesta Nacional de Ingreso y Gasto de los Hogares, cuando tendremos suficientes elementos para valorar el impacto que las políticas públicas tuvieron en la distribución del ingreso.
Sin embargo, algunos resultados parciales, como los que se dieron a conocer la semana pasada, indican que, por lo pronto en 2019, hubo una mejoría.

sábado, 15 de febrero de 2020

How AIPAC is losing bipartisan support in Washington
It was once described as the 'most effective' lobbying group in Washington, but AIPAC is beginning to lose support as it turns against its critics - most of whom are Democrats
Published date: 14 February 2020

"A true friend of Israel." These were the words Barack Obama used when describing himself to AIPAC, a day after he secured the Democratic party nomination in 2008.
Standing in front of thousands of attendees in Washington, Obama, who was only 47 at the time, went on to thank the pro-Israel lobby for helping advance "bipartisan consensus to support and defend our ally - Israel".
Those comments were a far cry from the latter stages of his presidency when the interest group rebuked America's first black president and spearheaded efforts to derail his signature foreign policy accomplishment - the Iran nuclear deal. 
AIPAC, short for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has always presented itself as a bipartisan organization aiming to maintain support for Israel from across the US political spectrum.
Republican and Democratic presidents have praised the group and some of the measures it has pushed have gained unanimous bipartisan support in Congress.
But times are changing. Once dubbed "the most effective general-interest group" by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, AIPAC was called a "hate group" by a senior Democratic congresswoman on Wednesday.
"Hate is used as a weapon to incite and silence dissent. Unfortunately, this is my recent experience with AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee," Congresswoman Betty McCollum said in a blistering statement. 
Her photo had been featured - along with fellow House members Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar - in AIPAC ads accusing "radicals in the Democratic Party" of pushing antisemitic and anti-Israel policies "down the throats of the American people".
The posts, which have since been deleted, went as far as likening Congress members critical of Israel to the Islamic State (IS) group, also known as ISIS.
McCollum, who had introduced a bill aiming to prevent US assistance to Israel from contributing to the imprisonment and abuse of Palestinian children, was having none of it.
"AIPAC wants its followers to believe that my bill, H.R. 2407, to protect Palestinian children from being interrogated, abused, and even tortured in Israeli military prisons is a threat more sinister than ISIS," she said. 
"This is not empty political rhetoric. It is hate speech."
The response came days after AIPAC took down the ads and half-heartedly apologized for them. But the episode highlighted the erosion of that bipartisan consensus over Israel that Obama cited in 2008.
AIPAC's conundrum
Three months after Democrats assumed the majority in the US House of Representatives last year, their top leaders appeared at the annual conference of AIPAC, assuring the group that Congress will maintain its steadfast support for Israel.
There had been warning signs that the bipartisan consensus in favor of Israel may be eroding. Left-wing progressives had been increasing their clout in Democratic politics, shifting the conversation about Israel and Palestine amongst Democrats in the process.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have kept their word to AIPAC in pushing pro-Israel measures in the congressional chambers that they control - including a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
But with President Donald Trump giving the Israeli government everything that it wants and then some, top Democrats have found it difficult to fully back the White House's policies. 
In fact, many of them forcefully rejected the president's AIPAC-backed plan to end the conflict, which would allow Israel to annex all of its illegal settlements in the West Bank. Meanwhile, progressives' criticism of Israel grew more vocal.
That has created a conundrum for AIPAC: how to favor the policies of one political party without alienating the other?
"AIPAC is dealing with a fundamental contradiction. They are promoting a policy of no accountability for Israel - a carte blanche for whatever Israel does; and they want to be bipartisan," said Omar Baddar, deputy director of the Arab American Institute, a Washington-based advocacy group.
"There's a problem here. The reality of our political discourse is that no accountability for Israel is not a bipartisan issue."
The ads against Democrats and McCollum's forceful condemnation of the group exposes that contradiction, he added.
"I really suspect it's really a matter of time before we see the next outburst," Baddar told MEE.
Beth Miller, government affairs manager at JVP Action, a political advocacy group linked to Jewish Voice for Peace, echoed Baddar's comments, saying that American progressives are adopting the Palestinian cause as a core issue in their agenda. 
"It used to be true that AIPAC had bipartisan support, but that is strongly waning… As the left progressive flank of the Democratic Party grows, which it clearly is, that means that there's also going to be less support for groups like AIPAC," Miller said.
She added that advocacy for Palestinian human rights is becoming a "natural part" of the push against Trump's agenda.
"The more we as Americans learn about what is happening in Israel, the more people are supporting Palestinian human rights," Miller told MEE.
"And so, we are in a moment where groups like AIPAC that are strongly trying to push anti-Palestinian policies and anti-Palestinian rhetoric are finding themselves in an increasingly partisan space."
The presidential race
With Democrats moving to pick their nominee who will try to unseat Trump, that schism between the pro-Israel lobby and the party is likely to become wider. 
AIPAC will not merely be torn between unconditionally supportive Republicans and Democrats more critical of Israel. Trump himself will be on the ballot, facing an opponent who will likely draw distinctions with him on foreign policy.
Moreover, Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner in the Democratic race, has called for an even-handed approach to the Middle East conflict, where US policy would not only be pro-Israel but also "pro-Palestinian". The Vermont senator is also proposing conditioning US aid to Israel if it does not work to end the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 
"I imagine that relationship is going to become more and more antagonistic," Baddar said. 
"As time goes on, that contrast will be sharpened. I do envision a scenario in which AIPAC is going all out in attack against candidate Bernie Sanders if his lead continues."
In fact, an AIPAC-linked group has been running negative ads against Sanders, centering on his health and electability - not foreign policy. 
Columnist Jonathan Tobin argued earlier this week that it was no longer feasible for AIPAC in 2020 to deliver on its mission of defending Israel in a bipartisan way.
"At a time of unprecedented hyper-partisanship, and with the possibility that support for Israel will be a point of partisan contention in the fall presidential campaign - especially if the Democrats nominate Bernie Sanders, it’s hard to see how AIPAC can continue to navigate between the parties," he wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz
"It just isn’t possible to attack Democrats who are anti-Israel without sounding pro-Trump."
Vile attacks'
The rise of Sanders in the polls and the AIPAC ads attacking Democratic Congress members point to an indisputable shift in support of Palestinians within the party.
Yet, many - if not most - Democrats in Congress have maintained their strong commitment to the US relationship with Israel and ties with AIPAC.
In fact on Thursday, the pro-Israel lobby posted several tweets thanking top Democratic legislators for denouncing the UN Human Rights Council over publishing a list of businesses with ties to West Bank settlements considered illegal by most of the international community.
Still, the attacks on Democratic Congress members put some of AIPAC's allies in the party in an uncomfortable position - between defending their colleagues and maintaining the bipartisan support that the pro-Israel lobby enjoys.
Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House and a staunch supporter of Israel said he was not pleased with AIPAC's recent ads.
"I strongly disagreed with the ads and it was appropriate that AIPAC apologized," Hoyer told MEE in a statement.
"The Democratic Party continues to be a party that is strongly supportive of Israel. Support for Israel should never be made into a partisan issue."
McCollum had called on the Democratic Party to "take a stand" in support of human rights.
"AIPAC's language is intended to demonize, not elevate a policy debate. Vile attacks such as this may be commonplace in the Trump era, but they should never be normalized."
In her statement, McCollum challenged AIPAC's claims of being a bipartisan group.
"AIPAC claims to be a bipartisan organization, but its use of the hate speech actually makes it a hate group," the congresswoman said.
"By weaponizing antisemitism and hate to silence debate, AIPAC is taunting Democrats and mocking our core values. 
"I hope Democrats understand what is at stake and take a stand because working to advance peace, human rights, and justice is not sinister - it is righteous."
For her part, Congresswoman Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, praised McCollum for calling out AIPAC.
"I commend the courage and leadership of my colleague, Congresswoman Betty McCollum. She's right- hate speech incites violence and seeks to silence dissent," Tlaib told MEE in an email.
"In the fight for peace, equality, dignity and human rights, we must push back and call out any attempt to stop us on the path toward justice for Palestinians, Israelis, and people across the world."
AIPAC did not return MEE's request for comment. 

viernes, 14 de febrero de 2020

Beijing-Moscow historical bonds deepen during coronavirus crisis
By Li Yonghui Source: Global Times Published: 2020/2/13 
In response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP), many countries around the world have expressed their goodwill to help China fight the epidemic.

Russia, as China's largest neighboring country, has also provided assistance, showing that China-Russia cooperation has further deepened. In particular, people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have been further enhanced, which has enriched the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. 

China and Russia have stepped up cooperation in the prevention and control of infectious diseases. In June 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to elevate bilaterally ties to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, further enriching China-Russia relations.

The statements propose a broader scope of cooperation in the field of health, including continuing to strengthen cooperation in response to natural, man-made and epidemic and health emergencies. China and Russia will also continue to expand cooperation in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases.

As a result, Russia sent five epidemic prevention experts to Wuhan, the epicenter of the NCP in Central China's Hubei Province, to carry out joint development of vaccines. Chinese and Russian scientists will jointly develop vaccines to help China in fighting the epidemic.

In the face of the outbreak of the NCP, Russian media have shown noble professional ethics. This has created a good social environment for fighting the epidemic, reflecting the deep social foundation of the China-Russia ties.

The official Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta published an editorial on Monday, expressing the idea of sharing hardships together with China. These expressions of the Russian government and people's support for China in fighting the epidemic reflects the two countries' profound friendship.

Putin sent a message to Xi on January 31 expressing his deep sympathy and support following the outbreak and his confidence that China's measures would help stop the spread of the epidemic and minimize damage from it.

Russia has also provided medical aid supplies to China. On Sunday, Russia sent more than 23 tons of humanitarian aid to Wuhan, which included more than 2 million face masks.

Besides that, the mainstream media in China and Russia also jointly released reports and comments on China's epidemic prevention and control, providing the latest information on the effective measures to the Russian people.

Relevant Russian departments will also interact closely with China to defend against the common threat of the virus as quickly as possible. At the crucial moment, China-Russia relations have demonstrated the basic nature of mutual support, mutual assistance, and friendly neighborliness.

Instead of affecting the continuous and stable development of China-Russia relations, the epidemic further shows the world that the two countries help one another during difficulties.

Jointly fighting the epidemic helps China and Russia consolidate their relations and reflects the friendship between the two leaders and the two peoples.

The author is a research fellow in the Institute of Russia, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

jueves, 13 de febrero de 2020

T-MEC: Claudicaciones neoliberales
John Saxe-Fernández / I
Plagada de claudicaciones tipo Estado vasallo, la negociación del T-MEC acarrea grave riesgo para la independencia y soberanía de la nación mexicana, en especial para la población más vulnerable. El combate a la pobreza y a la violencia es tarea central de la cuarta transformación (4T) en curso, tanto como el rescate histórico del sector energético, colocándolo de nuevo en función del interés público nacional por su carácter estratégico. Tal y como fue negociado por Peña Nieto el T-MEC contiene 90 por ciento del TLCAN más un conjunto de claudicaciones inadmisibles que colocan en riesgo a la nación.
El tratado contiene ausencias que ameritan atención, tanto en materia climática como de precaución ante otra crisis financiera. Es necesario recuperar las evaluaciones y críticas disponibles ante lo que es un instrumento de alta protección a los intereses de las grandes corporaciones estadunidenses, en detrimento de la población más vulnerable y pobre, en especial en zonas de riqueza mineral y de combustibles fósiles no convencionales, por el fracking de alta toxicidad y en el acceso y gestión general de los abastecimientos y servicios del agua potable, un derecho humano y no una mercancía más.
La doctora Josefina Morales del Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas de la UNAM, en varios trabajos advierte que el capítulo 13 del T-MEC, sobre el gobierno y la administración pública, abre plenamente toda la actividad pública, cuyo presupuesto representa más de la quinta parte del PIB: compras gubernamentales, adquisiciones de bienes y servicios y la construcción de obra pública, en particular, los proyectos de infraestructura. La investigadora hace referencia a las asociaciones público-privadas, que, como lo he indicado en varios estudios, son mecanismos financieros de extracción de riqueza de lo público a lo privado, diseñados por el Banco Mundial. (Según Stiglitz el Departamento del Tesoro de EU es dueño de 51 por ciento de ese banco).
Así, el T-MEC abre la participación del capital extranjero de EU en las compras gubernamentales. Además, advierte Josefina, en el capítulo 33 se pierde autonomía en materia de control de la política monetaria. Y como lo indiqué en Agresión unilateral y guerra ( La Jornada, 25/10/18, https://bit.ly/31VgwXF) queda consignada la intención de transformar a México en provincia de la América del Norte (como dijo el fino personaje al mando de EU) como se puede inferir de la cláusula 10 del artículo 32 del T-MEC rematando con lo que la doctora Morales percibe con sustento documental como el control de EU de la política monetaria. Ahí se pierde autonomía, (capítulo 33). Entre otras ausencias, la investigadora comenta que en el capítulo de comercio digital no se garantiza la protección de datos; se crean dificultades para la elaboración de genéricos y tampoco se protegen los productos culturales.
Noam Chomsky advirtió que el T-MEC es un tipo de instrumento, de alto proteccionismo, da un abrigo sin precedente, con apoyo del poder estatal, a favor de grandes conglomerados. Para los socios de EU es un tratado de reglas y protecciones anheladas por sus altos cabildos (T-MEC ¿más agresión unilateral? La Jornada, 6/6/2019, https://bit.ly/31QgBMi). Desde este proteccionismo, en sólida reflexión de Manuel Pérez Rocha Loyo es que el T-MEC lejos de priorizar los derechos humanos y los derechos de la naturaleza sobre los derechos corporativos, perpetúa los poderes excesivos de las corporaciones contaminantes que seguirán impactando a comunidades mexicana amenazadas por proyectos de industrias extractivas incluyendo el petróleo, la minería y el gas.(Brújula Ciudadana, Año 12, núm. 114, enero 2020).
En el trabajo de Pérez Rocha queda claro que el T-MEC vulnera de manera tajante un principio esencial del derecho internacional: la igualdad jurídica de los Estados. En el capítulo 14 de inversiones se pasa de un régimen único de protección de inversiones bajo el capítulo 11 del TLCAN a tres regímenes distintos para el arbitraje en inversiones en América del Norte. A continuación Pérez Rocha los describe: “1) un régimen para EU y Canadá en el que el arbitraje de inversionista-Estado desaparece y la solución de disputas se limita a los tribunales nacionales o locales, o mecanismos de Estado a Estado…(muchas reglas de protección de inversiones quedan igual);
2) otro régimen para México y EU donde persisten las disputas de inversores contra Estados, específicamente para contratos gubernamentales cubiertos relacionados con los amplios sectores de petróleo y gas, generación de energía, telcomunicaciones, transporte e infraetructura, los cuales siguen estando sujetos a todas las protecciones originales del capítulo 11 del TLCAN;
3) y otro entre Canadá y México, no bajo el T-MEC, sino del llamado Tratado Amplio y Progresista de Asociación Transpacífico, basado por completo en el antiguo capítulo 11 del TLCAN que incluye todos los sectores incluyendo a la destructiva minería”.
Facebook: JohnSaxeF

martes, 11 de febrero de 2020

Counterproductive Insanity: Israeli Foreign Policy Then and Now
Israel is America’s veritable little brother. For decades, now, Tel Aviv has set the gold standard for nutty foreign policy decisions. Almost nothing they’ve done since the Six-day War of 1967 has made a bit of sense. Founded, as they were, in the midst of a multinational Arab invasion, Israel has remained attached – obsessed even – with the long-outdated fear that conventional national armies will be their undoing. Of course, since their near-run victory in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, that hasn’t been their problem at all. By then, Israel’s technological, professional advantage was obvious to anyone paying cursory attention. Still, well into the 1980s, maybe even up until today, the Jewish Apartheid State seemed to believe their own myth: and behave accordingly.
At the very outset of my budding, aspirational writing career, I was firmly warned that Israel/Palestine issue – particularly sympathy for Palestinian social justice – constituted a bona fide "third rail" issue many centrist-liberal, "respectable" publications choose not to touch. It seems my well-intentioned, caution-counseling confidant was right. Even my status as a then-active, and now retired, veteran combat soldier wouldn’t save me from the pejorative vitriol and character assassination from the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd in the social media Wild West. No matter. Ever the masochist – I still root for West Point football – and a lifelong glutton for punishment, I decided immediately upon receipt of the friendly warning, that I would tackle Palestine even more. It hasn’t been an easy road. The potential pitfalls were on full display last Spring in New York’s Greenwich Village, when, despite handily defeating the avidly pro-Israel scholar, Elan Journo, in an Oxford-style debate, members (mostly women, interestingly) of the crowd repeatedly, and viciously, heckled me like some third-rate comic at a local open mic.
I got to thinking about this recently, when President Donald Trump, and his nepotist-in-chief Jared Kushner, unveiled their Israel-Palestine "peace plan" the supposed "Deal of the Century." Sure, the proposal amounted to little more than an ultimatum for Palestinian acquiescence to surrender. Nevertheless, the plan makes perfect sense for an Israeli-American alliance that for half a century has defied world opinion and international law and norms as a matter of course. In their reflexive flouting of widely accepted legal criterion, Israel and their belligerent, bellicose, big brothers, must count as genuine international sociopaths.
Personal experience, mostly within the U.S. Army bureaucratic mega-establishment, has driven my own, (admittedly) non-clinical, an analysis that both sociopaths and psychopaths – who are legion within the military leadership – possess a remarkable ability to convince themselves that immense opposition to their plans and ideals only reinforces their "rightness." So, if according to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, corporations are fully persons, then, most certainly countries have long taken on human characteristics, frailties, and mental maladies. Thus, in a world where, especially since Israel launched its full-throated occupation of Palestinian land, the Washington and Tel Aviv elites have stood – almost literally – alone in their positions regarding possession of the Holy Land, these governments must count as somewhat sociopathic. Consider it the old, bumptious sin of American exceptionalism gone wild.
US blind support for Israel is understandable since, America, alone among settler-colonial states hasn’t apologized for its original sin of native genocide. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, heck even South Africa, have officially apologized for and even sought to financially account for their past crimes. Not so the United States. White America is intransigent about guilt admission. And so is Israel: America’s little brother. For now, the Washington-Tel Aviv nexus is strong; but not forever. The growing generational schism in the evangelical – Christian Zionist – community bodes badly for the Jewish state, and, particularly for the let’s help catalyze a war in the Holy Land to speed-up The Rapture, crowd.
Here’s where it gets crazy: back in the 1980s, Israeli national security elites wrote a memo, arguing that the best way to ensure their security was to encourage inter-Arab warfare and intra-Arab state chaos and insecurity. The idea was that, if the neighboring Arab Muslim states were torn apart, Israel would be safe. This, of course, represented an outdated fear. The least of Israel’s worries, by then, was a conventional military invasion. Truth is, by then, and still today, the only real threat to the Jewish state was Islamist terrorism (which Israeli policy fuels, by the way). This is why, even today, Israeli policymakers have a strange, symbiotic relationship with ISIS. See, these counterproductive lunatics would rather Syria be torn apart, indefinitely, by civil war than see ISIS permanently defeated. Israeli generals and national security officials have even claimed that if the choice is between Iran having influence in Syria, or ISIS having the same, they "choose ISIS."
The Trump "deal," as such, is irrelevant. Partly, of course, because it’s going nowhere: not in the international community (not that the chummy sociopath-states give a damn about that), with the much-maligned, Palestinian leadership (though they’re increasingly invisible to the "deal-makers"), or the less despotic nations of the Arab-Muslim World. The Trump-Kushner plan is showmanship, mainly; but, it shouldn’t be dismissed – the deal may be the "launch point" from the intransigent (but, for now, most formidable) now officially-unified Amero-Israeli side.
The United States, whatever else it is, is no longer (even on the surface), an honest broker in the Holy Land. America is naught but an Israeli proxy…and, for that, we should all be ashamed…I know I am.
Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and a regular contributor to Antiwar.com. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVetCheck out his professional website for contact info, scheduling speeches, and/or access to the full corpus of his writing and media appearances.