Sunday, January 31, 2010

THE STRAW THAT BREAKS THE PLUTOCRACY'S BACK


the straw that breaks the plutocracy’s back

Pro-democracy groups, business leaders, and elected representatives are proposing mechanism. The outrage ignited by the Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission extends to President Obama, who has promised that repairing the damage will be a priority for his administration
  • Amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings.
The push for the 28th Amendment is coming from the grassroots, where a prairie fire is catching on from groups such as Public Citizen, Voter Action, and the Campaign to Legalize Democracy.
  • Require shareholders to approve political spending by their corporations.
Public Citizen and the Brennan Center for Justice
Britain has required such shareholder approval since 2000
  • Pass the Fair Elections Now Act, which provides federal financing for Congressional elections.
Moveon.org, the NAACP, the Service Employees International Union, and the League of Young Voters, Ben & Jerry’s, Hasbro, Crate & Barrel, and the former head of Delta Airlines
  • Give qualified candidates equal amounts of free broadcast air time for political messages.
Ban political advertising by corporations that receive government money, hire lobbyists, or collect most of their revenue abroad.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)
  • Impose a 500 percent excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees and on corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns.
Representative Alan Grayson (D-Florida)
  • Prohibit companies from trading their stock on national exchanges if they make political contributions and expenditures.
Another one from Grayson
  • Require publicly traded companies to disclose in SEC filings money used for the purpose of influencing public opinion, rather than for promoting their products.
Grayson
  • Require the corporate CEO to appear as sponsor of commercials that his or her company pays for,
another possibility from the Schumer-Van Hollen team
  • Publicize the reform options, inform the public of who is making contributions to whom, and activate the citizenry.
media must inform

Saturday, January 30, 2010

GLENN BECK CRIES

HUMANISM

  • outspoken atheist Kurt Vonnegut to give the prestigious annual Ware Lecture at the General Assembly of 1984
  • Unitarians were largely responsible for the first Humanist Manifesto
  • William Schulz claimed, in 2000, that there were more Humanists in UU churches than in the AHA.
  • About a hundred UU ministers—a significant fraction of the entire UU clergy—marched with Martin Luther King in Selma in 1965, and the murder of one of them (James Reeb)
  • UU (James Barrett) was murdered in 2003 while trying to protect an abortionist from religious-right violence
  • Linus Pauling co-founded the International League of Humanists) was a UU.
  • People for the American Way founder Norman Lear was another Ware lecturer in 1994
  • Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), a Unitarian Universalist, was the first member of the U.S. Congress to announce in public that he did not believe in God.
1920 Unitarian minister Curtis Reese could announce to his colleagues that God was "philosophically possible, scientifically unproved, and religiously unnecessary."

Reese-style Unitarian Humanism, by the time of the merger with the Universalists in 1961, it was the majority point of view in most UU churches.

Since then things have drifted in a different direction. Particularly among the ministry, there is a trend to view traditional religion not as an encrustation to be shaken off, but as a resource to be mined

Finally, UU congregations are tolerant to a fault. Literally anyone can show up at a UU church, believing any kind of craziness, and will not be told to go away.

  • But if you want to be accepted for the Humanist you are
  • If you want allies in the struggle to make the world a better place
  • If you are stimulated by diverse points of view and enjoy engaging people who frame the world differently

POLITICAL BELIEFS

Whatever rewards hard work and condemns exploitation.

ZINN, KONOPACKI, MORTENSEN



Empire or Humanity?
What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me about the American Empire
by Howard Zinn
Narrated by Viggo Mortensen
Art by Mike Konopacki
Video editing by Eric Wold

To read more from Howard Zinn visit www.TomDispatch.com.

Friday, January 29, 2010

VIDEO

ROOSEVELT AND TRICKLE DOWN


Here is Franklin Roosevelt’s, Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and in it I found this quote:

There are two ways of viewing the Government's duty in matters affecting economic and social life. The first sees to it that a favored few are helped and hopes that some of their prosperity will leak through, sift through, to labor, to the farmer, to the small business man. That theory belongs to the party of Toryism, and I had hoped that most of the Tories left this country in 1776

I did not know that Roosevelt had made such a direct criticism of what we now are used to hearing as trickle down economics

What Roosevelt did was to overthrow an economic system.

That same system of Neoliberalism, lasses faire, Reaganism, predator capitalism, RICO capitalism that began to be re implemented during the Carter Administration with that administrations various deregulation schemes and the appointment of Paul Volcker and continues, unabated, to this very day.

It is not a new idea. In the US, in the 1890's, according to John Kenneth Galbraith, it was called the Horse and Sparrow theory: "if you feed enough oats to a horse some will pass through to feed the sparrows". Comedian Will Rogers quipped that if you put gold at the top of the economy it will float there.

We are now at a very similar time in history. We will either get a Roosevelt or a Hoover. As long as Obama is reappointing the likes of Berneke, Gaithner and Summers, he is not Roosevelt.

Monday, January 25, 2010

HERE'S WHAT FDR WOULD DO


1. Pass the House's $154 billion job creation bill.
2. Pass Obama's proposed bank tax.
3. Order the Department of Justice to investigate the financial manipulations and inept regulation
4. Publicize the hearings and findings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and develop legislative proposals to rein in Wall Street
5. Make the federal foreclosure agency work to reform mortgages
6. Pass the Consumer Protection Agency and blame every politician
7. Fire Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. Replace them with Joe Stiglitz and Elizabeth Warren.
8. Pass healthcare reform with a public option and the surtax on the wealthy and no excise tax through reconciliation.
9. Announce that the Democratic Party will stop accepting donations from the banking and insurance industries and demand that the Republican Party do the same.

LAKOFF


Freedom vs. The Public Option
Why has it worked to rally conservative populists against their interests?
conservatives really believe that the issue is freedom
All politics is moral
Conservatives know a morality tale when they see it: Greedy Wall Street bankers,
Obama administration made a 180-degree turn, trading Obama's 2008 moral principles for the deal-making of Rahm Emanuel and Tim Geithner, assuming it would be 'pragmatic' to court corporations
that made ordinary folks feel they were being bamboozled. And in many cases, they were
Say "public option" and the conservative hears "government bureaucracy."
The results of deal-making in the name of pragmatism have been considerably immoral, as documented thoroughly by progressives like Drew Westen, Matt Taibbi, Robert Kuttner,
Advice is all over the blogs. Guy Saperstein is an excellent example
But we have been dealt a triple blow. A year of failed deal-making by our side, the Tea Party win in Massachusetts, and worst of all,

the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to turn our democracy into a corporate plutocracy.
"Where's the movement?"

the movement must already have:

* a popular base;
* organizing tools;
* a generally accepted morally-based conceptual framing;
* an overall narrative, with heroes, victims, and villains;
* a readily recognizable, well-understood language;
* funding sources;
* and a national communication system set up for both leaders and ordinary citizens to use.

The base is there, waiting for something worth getting behind. The organizing tools are there. The rest is not there.
What is needed is an organized activist public with a positive understanding of what our values are and how to links them to every issue.
An effective movement must be positive, organized, and long-term, where an overall positive understanding defines the isolated negatives. And it must have all of the above.
The California Democracy Movement
Conservatives
believe
government should be privatized and shrunk to fit in a bathtub

as if governing would disappear with government
governing doesn't disappear
instead corporations come to govern your life - like HMO's, oil companies, drug companies, agribusiness, and so on, with accountability only to maximizing profit, not to public needs
Californians
believe that government should serve public needs
Democracy is The Issue
Democracy
is based on empathy
on citizens caring about one another
freedom and fairness, for everybody, not just for the rich and powerful
responsibility, not just for oneself, but also for others
empathy demands an ethic of excellence
Government has two sacred moral missions: protection and empowerment

Protection goes well beyond police and the military and the fire department to consumer protection, environmental protection, worker protection, health care, investor protection, social security, and other safety nets.
Empowerment is what the stimulus package was about: building and maintaining roads, bridges, public transportation, and public buildings;

systems for communication, electricity, water; education, from pre-school through graduate and professional schools; scientific research and technological development; a banking system that works; a stock market that works; and a judicial system that works
the more you make from what the government gives you, the more you should contribute to keeping it going
tax cuts for corporations last year led to cuts in the support for public universities
led to 32% higher tuition
That 32% constituted a tax on those students
the tax of a lost education lasts all one's life
cost in human potential
cost to employers
to society
The Movement
the richest one percent owns more assets than the bottom 95 per cent
The principles are simple
Democracy is about empathy - caring about your fellow citizens, which leads to the principles of freedom and fairness for all. Empathy requires both personal and social responsibility. The ethic of excellence means making the world better by making yourself better

your family better, your community better, and your nation better. Government has two moral missions: protection and empowerment for all. To carry them out, government must be by, for, and of the people.
The principles apply to all issues
Movements are based on principles
The framing of moral principles comes first and the policies elaborate on the principles
The time is now
We have a triple disaster on our hands: the administration's failure at deal-making in the name of pragmatism and bipartisanship; the Tea Party victory in Massachusetts fueling and propelling ultra-conservatism; and the anti-democratic 5-4 ruling of the Roberts Court
We can no longer sit on our hands

Sunday, January 24, 2010

VIVA PALESTINA



The recent actions of people from around the world in support of the Palestinian people in Gaza have arguably represented the closest manifestation of international solidarity since the International Brigades against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. A bold assertion?

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), when various European powers were turning blind eye to the atrocities committed in Spain, almost 40,000 men and women, representing 52 countries, made the decision to fight fascism. The global consciousness culminating in such a direct, unprecedented action was absolutely baffling considering the lack of powerful communication technology available at the time.
rom Cairo, El Arish and Gaza "The 2,800 American volunteers included a black man — Canute Frankson — who was a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. He wrote to a friend from Madrid in 1937:
Because we are no longer an isolated minority group fighting hopelessly against an immense giant. Because ... we have joined with,



and become an active part of, a great progressive force, on whose shoulders rest the responsibility of saving human civilization from the planned destruction of a small group of degenerates ... Because if we crush fascism here we’ll save our people in America, and in other parts
The Gaza Freedom March, a coalition of several groups, consisted of 1,362 activists from more than 40 countries who were on a mission to cross to Gaza and, along with Israeli, Palestinian and international peace activists,
These are not Palestinians, but internationals. From Malaysia to South Africa, from the UK to the U.S., men, women, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, people of different cultural and political backgrounds showed themselves as unified in their belief in justice and human rights.
The Gaza Freedom March, Viva Palestina, the Free Gaza Movement, and others are redefining the conventional discourse
Civil society is not a group of NGOs to be strategically funded and manipulated by Western governments

The activists’ ability to overcome the shameful silence of the mainstream media also highlights the importance of alternative media

Saturday, January 23, 2010

TERRORISM DEFINED


For instance, who could fail to be dazzled by this Clintonian insight: "Tom Friedman is our most gifted journalist at actually looking at what is happening in the world and figuring out its relevance to tomorrow and figuring out a clever way to say it that sticks in your mind -- like "real men raise the gas tax." You know what I mean?"

Mr. Clinton also lauded "big thinkers on the question of identity" like "Samuel Huntingdon, who wrote the famous book, The Clash of Civilizations."
But others like Nobelist Amartya Sen (author of Identity and Violence), who claim that Huntingdon's magisterial wisdom is in reality somewhat lacking in intellectual heft and moral substance; some go so far as to claim his work is actually shallow, reductive, highly toxic racist tripe

Clinton nails the truth about terrorism:

Terror mean[s] killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority and go beyond national borders.

Killing and robbery and coercion by people who do have state authority is,
  • humanitarian intervention
  • liberation
  • preservation of national security
  • maintaining great-power credibility
  • restoring hope
  • pre-dawn vertical insertion

If it comes from a state, then it is legitimate, it is good, it is necessary, it is noble. And even if mistakes are made these mistakes are the result of good intentions gone awry

what terrorism is depends on who does it. the legitimacy by people who have state authority is dependent on the state from which that authority derives: America.

All others are
  • "rogue states,"
  • purveyors of "state terror,"

MILITARY OCCUPATION OF HAITI



Watch the U.S. media and its coverage of the crisis in Haiti, and you get the impression that Washington is a benevolent power doing its utmost to help with emergency relief in the Caribbean island nation. But tune into al-Jazeera English or South American news network Telesur and you come away with a very different view. I was particularly struck by one hard hitting al-Jazeera report posted on You Tube which serves as a fitting antidote to the usual mainstream fare. The report is highly critical of the U.S., which according to the reporter has focused most of its energy on fostering stability and putting boots on the ground as opposed to rebuilding Haitian society.

The crucial test for Telesur was Honduras in 2009. Adriana Sivori, Telesur's correspondent in Tegucigalpa, was in her hotel room speaking on the telephone to her network when 10 soldiers arrived with rifles drawn. Sivori, along with producer María José Díaz and cameraman Larry Sánchez were taken to an immigration office, the authorities beat them...

Telesur went into Haiti and took a no-holds-barred approach. According to station manager Aram Aharonian. Telesur's Haiti coverage proved controversial with the Chilean, Argentine, and Uruguayan governments.

One of the first stories that Telesur broadcast, MINUSTAH, the United Nations' Stabilization Mission in Haiti. Latin American peace keeping soldiers were repressing the people. Now, in the wake of the earthquake Telesur has joined al-Jazeera

Telesur has focused on United States' misplaced priorities. Telesur focused on U.S. policy towards Haitian migrants, US to house the migrants at
Guantánamo. USS Carl Vinson to intercept Haitian boats

Telesur reported on European Union unhappiness. U.S. relief effort in Haiti,
more relief coordination and less of a foreign military presence

Reed Lindsay, Telesur's correspondent in Haiti, it is the U.S. military which decides who goes in and out of the Port-au-Prince airport and what kinds of humanitarian aid gets through

many who fear that the U.S. is using the crisis in Haiti to launch a military occupation. A report by Cuba's Prensa Latina, U.S. marines recently barred Venezolana de Televisión journalists from entering Haitian hospitals
Haitians seeking to help their loved ones inside were reportedly mistreated
marines stopped them from entering the facilities

REPEAL CORPORATE PERSONHOOD



when you take that supreme court decision they made yesterday, now they are in a position where they get free money from the government, they put it into bonuses, they can contribute unlimited money to campaigns, so they can keep getting free money from the government, that is their government.

USGS claims Venezuela sits on Earth’s largest oil reserves


Chavez recently approved construction of a massive oil REFINERY as a joint venture with China's CNPC. The project cost $6 billion USD, creates 10 percent of China's oil imports. Confucius say: I see a war in near future, with Haiti as base of operations.

Friday, January 22, 2010

CLINTON'S CHINA INTERNET SPEECH



Hillary Clinton's January 21 speech signals a major escalation of Sino-American tensions. Internet-driven regime-change. January 12, Google
charged attacks targeted Northrop Grumman, Adobe Systems and Juniper Systems, and email accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Google threatened to undo internet censorship programs. It might "well mean having to shut down Google.cn

Financial Times questions motives. US had not shut Pakistan for same and worse.

The event laid bare “the degree to which China and the United States are engaged in daily cyberbattles, a covert war of offense and defense on which America is already spending billions of dollars a year."

China is a rising strategic competitor. Afghanistan is bordering Tibet. US attacks into Pakistan, China's main ally. weapons sales to the Taiwanese. US alliances with India, Australia and Japan

The US demanded that Beijing increase the value of its currency, undermining
export competitiveness and costing jobs, US officials have pushed for punitive tariffs

Clinton speech goes to the broader agenda. "representatives of our International Visitor Leadership Program on internet freedom from China, Colombia, Iran, Lebanon and Moldova"—all countries hosting or targeted by US intelligence efforts—were also present

Clinton attacked Chinese Internet censorship which is only a cover for a global mandate to destabilize governments. Clinton praised the Twitter and Internet organizing behind US-backed "color revolutions,"

June 2009 Green Revolution which tried to overturn Ahmadinejad.

"In Iran and Moldovam online organizing is a critical tool. The result is to protest suspicious election results

Clinton reserved the right for “revolutions” anywhere in the world: create mobile phone applications to "allow people to rate government ministries," and "also to ferret out and report corruption." US would raise its differing views with China "candidly and consistently" in the coming period. She issued
warning: asymmetrica information is the causes of interstate conflict

The risk of war unless the CCP allows pro-US tendencies in Tibetan or Xinjiang, and religious and pro-democracy activists. This is a threat to use "color revolution" methods against Beijing

Chinese officials had played down. Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei told Xinhua, the issue is not be linked to US-China relations. In the lead-up After Chinese People's Daily. US Internet plans a "shot in the arm for US hegemony."

Washington with a stranglehold on Internet infrastructure using Twitter and other to destabilize regimes in Iran and Libya. The bulk of the information flowing from the US, loaded with aggressive rhetoric against those
that do not follow their lead, "Countries disadvantaged by the unequal and undemocratic information flow have to protect their national interest
political stability, conduct of economic and social life." censors news of popular protest

There is massive discontent in China, could come under the control of political forces hostile to the CCP, “mass incidents” —that is, protests, strikes or riots, typically repressed by mass police or paramilitary actions—reached 120,000 in 2008, up from 90,000 in 2006 and 74,000 in 2004
2009 could be 230,000. 77 major “mass incidents” in 2009, 30 percent spread by the Internet and mobile phones.

Clinton's speech amounts to a threat that the State Department might try to seize upon and direct protests to undermine the Chinese government—as it already has done in Eastern Europe, the ex-USSR and the Middle East.

One does not have to be a supporter of the Beijing Stalinist regime to realize the reactionary character of such plans. The "color revolution" regimes have all proven to be unpopular and anti-democratic pawns of Washington, with Yushchenko being voted out in the recent Ukrainian election. In China—an enormous state, riven by internal ethnic, regional and class divisions—such a policy by the US would pose the risk of unleashing large-scale violence and civil war.

COLOURED REVOLUTION


It was successfully applied by the U.S. neo-conservatives to set the stage for "regime change" in a number of former Soviet republics. However, the technique backfired when it was tried in a different cultural environment (Venezuela, Lebanon, Iran).

Georgia
November 2003
Edward Shevardnadze was overthrown
elections had been rigged.
Ukraine
November 2004
"Orange Revolution"
same allegations
elections had been rigged
Georgia
November 2003
dward Shevardnadze was overthrown
allegations
elections had been rigged.
Ukraine
November 2004
"Orange Revolution"
same allegations
elections had been rigged
Kievan Rus is the first Russian state
Ukraine has now been turned
historic achievement
Lebanon
ollowing the assassination of Rafik Hariri
"the Cedar Revolution."
enormous counter-demonstration by Hezbollah
ignored while
TV replayed
anti-Syrian crowd
Orwellian double-think
BBC
"Hezbollah
is so far the only dissenting voice
How can the majority be "a dissenting voice"
Kyrgyzstan
many predicted
same wave
would extend
Central Asia
Bishkek
was it a "lemon" revolution or a "tulip"
Kyrgyz president, Askar Akayev, was overthrown on 24th March 2005
Uzbekistan
armed rebels seized government buildings, sprung prisoners
ight of 12th–13th May in
Andijan
long standoff
government forces started to move

Western media immediately misrepresented
government forces had opened fire on unarmed protesters – "the people."
constantly repeated myth
popular rebellion against a dictatorial government
violent putsch occurred in Kygyrzstan, The Times
scenes in Bishkek reminded him of Eisenstein films about the Bolshevik revolution, The Daily Telegraph
"power to the people,"
Financial Times used a well-known Maoist metaphor
"long march to freedom."
key elements
"the people" are behind the events
and
spontaneous
In fact
highly organised
deliberately staged
usually funded and controlled by transnational networks of so-called non-governmental organisations which are in turn instruments of Western power
The literature on coups d’état
Lenin
developed the organisational structure for overthrowing a regime which we now know as a political party
differed from Marx
not
the result of ineluctable anonymous forces, but that it had to be worked for
Curzio Malaparte’s Technique of a Coup d’état
1931
regime change
a technique

summer of 1920: Poland had been invaded by Trostky’s Red Army (Poland having itself invaded the Soviet Union, capturing Kiev in April 1920
British minister
Sir Horace Rumbold, and the Papal nuncio, Monsignor Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti – the man who was elected Pope as Pius XI two years later
diplomatic corps
should flee
Papal Nuncio disagreed
no revolution did break out in Poland
revolutionary forces were simply not well organised enough
Malaparte
discuss
ifferences between Lenin and Trotsky,
For Malaparte, as for Trotsky, regime change could be promoted in any country
providing that there was a sufficiently determined body of men determined to achieve it.
Manufacturing consent
second body of literature
control of the media during regime change
creation of a virtual reality. Control of this reality is itself an instrument of power
revolutionaries seize is the radio station
strong psychological reluctance to accept that political events today are deliberately manipulated.
News reports

come from a single source, usually a wire agency
BBC simply recycle
second factor
to rubbish news reports as manipulated is to tell people that they are gullible, and this is not a pleasant message
many elements to
manipulation
One
is political iconography
iconic events
storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789
storming of the Winter Palace during the October revolution in 1917
Mussolini’s March on Rome in 1922
events can be elevated
political imagery goes
beyond
a simple emblem for each revolution
exercised over a long period
official party line to be repeated ad nauseam
dissenting views may be expressed and published
being mere drops in the ocean
never a threat to the tide of propaganda

Thursday, January 21, 2010

GOOGLE VERSUS CHINA



Rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries on a broad front. Google is part of a cartel of Internet companies which notoriously works closely with the US intelligence community for political purposes, including the subversion and overthrow of foreign governments. Twitter in Iran last summer

Internet is an indispensable part of the CIA’s recipe for
color revolutions,
velvet revolutions,
people power coups, and
postmodern coups

In Georgia, Sakaashvili. Yushenko, Orange Revolution of 2004. Obama took power in something of the same way

The Chinese government prevents Western intelligence from pumping black propaganda

January 4 reported the Great Firewall had momentarily come down. 10 days later, Google, Adobe, and Northrop Grumman accused Chinese hackers of entering their sites to gather information.

Chinese government has informed Google if they keep violating the law then they cannot continue to operate. Google has announced their imminent departure

That Google is opposed to censorship in principle is pure baloney. Researchers delving into questions about the September 11 attacks or the London 7/7 are familiar with Google attempted to hinder public access to facts and analysis that were not part of the official narrative.

Pakistan is targeted because it could function as an energy corridor between Iran and China. What is done by the United States in Yemen [5], Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma is fundamentally dictated by a desire to checkmate China.

In the Copenhagen climate change, US and the British was to use the big lie of global warming to institute a world carbon dictatorship which could then be used to strangle the economic development of China, India and others

The British Guardian reported chinese Prime Minister Wen directed a successful blocking operation with the help of Sudan, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia
personally snubbing Obama. Regarding sanctions against Iran, the Chinese are signaling that they will block them

China is the world’s largest exporter with 2.5 trillion dollars of foreign exchange. A coming trade war over such issues as tires and steel is now a distinct possibility.

The US is whining about the alleged dirty float of the Chinese currency unit, the renminbi. Is on the verge of a major arms sale to Taiwan. A visit of the Dalai Lama to Obama’s White House is immenent.

The Dalai Lama is a notorious Western intelligence asset who was the figurehead of a brutal regime of feudal oppression. The United States government continues to transfer money to Rebiya Kadeer and her “World Uighur Congress,”

Wen’s successful operations in Copenhagen are a clear indication that major changes are afoot in this department. The Chinese evidently see Google as a symbol of arrogance and hegemonism which they are no longer disposed to tolerate

Slavoj Zizek: todays economical crisis



"I think Berlusconi is one of the options for our future."

"I mean, Berlusconi we know is a living obscenity, but I don’t think this is just a joke. There is something very strange going on where it’s as if the state, or political powers, are discovering it can function in a totally cynical way..."

“Look at Italy if you want to see how our future authoritarianism will look.”

"It’s not the old style authoritarianism. It is…to call it by its name, Groucho Marx Authoritarianism. This is our future, I claim."

“My message to liberals is, are you aware that…your own dynamic of your own system is generating this nationalist, populist, potentially racist reaction?!”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

STRATEGIC DEFAULT


Homeowners have found themselves in foreclosure for a number of reasons. Some purchased properties they could never really afford. Others lost their jobs--the national unemployment rate remains in the double digits--and had no way to make mortgage payments. But as the crisis rumbles forward, an additional driver of home foreclosures has become clear: Many borrowers have the means to keep paying the mortgage but are simply walking away because they believe it's best for their finances.

JUST WALK AWAY


Such voluntary defaults are a new phenomenon. Time was, Americans would do anything to pay their mortgage — forgo a new car or a vacation, even put a younger family member to work. But the housing collapse left 10.7 million families owing more than their homes are worth. So some of them are making a calculated decision to hang onto their money and let their homes go. Is this irresponsible?

AND THAT'S THE WORD


"The banks thought your honor was worth something, and they gave you a mortgage in exchange for your honor. It was so precious to those banks that they bundled your honor with other people's honor and cut that honor bundle into securitized honor derivatives which they then sold to Wall Street honor speculators. And in an attempt to get more honor to sell, they mixed your honor with the honor of people who did not honor their honor -- and eventually, the honor bubble burst."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/18/stephen-colber-takes-on-t_n_427258.html

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TO SHOOT AN ELEPHANT

"To shoot an elephant" is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians. [Read more +]

Remember Where You Heard It First



.

Monday, January 18, 2010

KAZIN DISSES ZINN DISSENT

Zinn reduces the past to a Manichean fable and makes no serious attempt to address the biggest question a leftist can ask about U.S. history: why have most Americans accepted the legitimacy of the capitalist republic in which they live?

"99 percent" of Americans share a "commonality" that is profoundly at odds with the interests of their rulers. And knowledge of that awesome fact is "exactly what the governments of the United States, and the wealthy elite allied to them-from the Founding Fathers to now-have tried their best to prevent."

Nothing of consequence, in his view, changed during the industrial era, one wonders why anyone but the wealthy came to the United States at all and, after working for a spell, why anyone wished to stay.

a few moments of democratic glory-occasions when "the people," temporarily broke through ...
  • Agrarian rebels formed cooperatives, allied with radical unionists, and charted their own financial system, the subtreasury, which they hoped would break the grip of heartless bankers. But, alas, the Populists were seduced in 1896 by William Jennings Bryan, who sold out their movement to the retrograde Democratic Party.
  • During the Great Depression, wage earners across the industrial Midwest staged heroic sit-down strikes that demonstrated their ability to shut down the economy. But, for unexplained reasons, these working-class heroes allowed CIO unions and the New Deal state to smother their discontent within long-term contracts and bureaucratic procedures.
  • Similarly, the civil rights movement toppled the Southern citadel of Jim Crow without taking on the capitalist system that kept the black masses mired in poverty.
most Populists cheered Bryan ...he shared their enemies and their vision of a producers' republic. ..they grasped the dilemma of third parties in the American electoral system, Short of revolution, a strategic alliance with one element of "the Establishment" is the only way social movements ever make lasting changes in law and public policy.

Zinn's conception of American elites is akin to the medieval church's image of the Devil. For him, a governing class is motivated solely by its appetite for riches and power-and by its fear of losing them.

Ronald Reagan in 1980. It simply "meant that another part of the Establishment," albeit "more crass" than its immediate antecedents, was now in charge.

For Zinn, ordinary Americans seem to live only to fight the rich and haughty and, inevitably, to be fooled by them.
  • takes no notice of immigrants who built businesses
  • women who backed both suffrage and temperance
  • black Americans who merged the community-building gospel of Booker T. Washington and the militancy of W.E.B. Du Bois
  • wage-earners who took pleasure in the new cars and new houses

Like most propagandists, he measures individuals according to his own rigid standard of how they should have thought and acted.

Zinn falls back on the old saw, beloved by economic determinists, that the Civil War was "not a clash of peoples…but of elites," Southern planters vs. Northern industrialists. Pity the slaves and their abolitionist allies; in their ignorance, they viewed it as a war of liberation and wept when Lincoln was murdered.

THE FACT THAT his text barely mentions either conservatism or Christianity is telling.

Of course, President William McKinley decided to go to war with Spain at "the urging of the business community." Zinn ignores the scholarly verdict that most Americans from all classes and races backed the cause of "Cuba Libre"

the meaning of the biggest war
  • profits for military industries,
  • racism toward the Japanese, and the
  • senseless destruction of enemy cities-from Dresden to Hiroshima.
  • the idea that Franklin Roosevelt and his aides were motivated both by realpolitik and by an abhorrence of fascism seems not to occur to him.
September 11, assault against enormous symbols of American wealth and power," Zinn then quickly moves on to condemn the United States for killing innocent people in Afghanistan

Zinn's flat, dualistic view of how U.S. power has been used throughout history omits what is obvious to the most casual observer: al-Qaeda's religious fanaticism and the potential danger it poses to anyone that Osama bin Laden and his disciples deem an enemy of Islam. Surely one can hate imperialism without ignoring the odiousness of killers who mouth the same sentiment.

Zinn punctuates his narrative with hundreds of quotes from slaves and Populists, anonymous wage-earners and such articulate radicals as Eugene V. Debs, DuBois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Stokely Carmichael, and Helen Keller.

Zinn also fills several pages with excerpts from poems by Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen and from the autobiography of Richard Wright. But the richness of these lines doesn't mitigate the poverty of his interpretations. Rage at injustice does not explain why that injustice occurs

Zinn brings dynamite to the job. "To understand," wrote Frederick Douglass, "one must stand under."

The years since 1980 have not been good ones for the American left, the phantom hope of state socialism vanished almost overnight; and progressive movements spent most of their time struggling to preserve earlier gains

"The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history," "the people" can never really win, unless and until they make a revolution. But they can comprehend

an apology for political failure, He never mentions the Communist Party's lockstep praise of Stalin or the New Left's fantasy of guerilla warfare.

The gloom of defeat tends to obscure the landscape of real politics, he makes no serious attempt to examine why these rulers kept getting elected, or how economic and social reform improved the lives of millions even if they sapped whatever mass appetite existed for radical change.

intelligent, sober studies can make sense of how changing structures of power and ideas provide openings for challenges from below, while also shifting the basis on which a reigning order claims legitimacy for itself. These qualities mark the work of such influential (and widely read) historians on the left as Eric Hobsbawm, E.P. Thompson, Gerda Lerner, C.L.R. James, and the erstwhile populist C. Vann Woodward. Reading their work makes one wiser about the obstacles to change

His fatalistic vision can only keep the left just where it is: on the margins of American political life

http://www.webcitation.org/5gKM9ODBN

HADJI GIRL



Wiki

A People's History of the United States


A People's History of the United States
Howard Zinn
1980


Table of Contents

1. Columbus the Indians, and Human Progress
2. Drawing the Color Line
3. Persons of Mean and Vile Condition
4. Tyranny Is Tyranny
5. A Kind of Revolution

09 1109 Dahr Jamail Part 1 of 2

PLANET OF SLUMS


Planet of Slums ends with a provocative meditation on the “war on terrorism” as an incipient world war between the American empire and the slum poor.

“In this trenchantly argued book, Mike Davis quantifies the nightmarish mass production of slums that marks the contemporary city. With cool indignation, Davis argues that the exponential growth of slums is no accident but the result of a perfect storm of corrupt leadership, institutional failure, and IMF-imposed Structural Adjustment Programs leading to a massive transfer of wealth from poor to rich. Scourge of neo-liberal nostrums, Davis debunks the irresponsible myth of self-help salvation, showing exactly who gets the boot from ‘bootstrap capitalism.’ Like the work of Jacob Riis, Ida Tarbell, and Lincoln Steffans over a century ago, this searing indictment makes the shame of our cities urgently clear.” — Michael Sorkin

From Planet of Slums
“What is clear is that the contemporary mega-slum poses unique problems of imperial order and social control that conventional geopolitics has barely begun to register. If the aim of the “war on terrorism” is to pursue the erstwhile enemy into his sociological and cultural labyrinth, then the poor peripheries of developing cities will be the permanent battlefields of the twenty-first century.

“Night after night, hornet-like helicopter gun-ships stalk enigmatic enemies in the narrow streets of the slum districts, pouring their hellfire into shanties or fleeing cars. Every morning the slums reply with suicide bombers and eloquent explosions. If the empire can deploy Orwellian technologies of repression, its outcasts surely have the gods of chaos on their side.

Yeh na thee Hamari qismat - Ghalib by Habib Wali Muhammad



W.H. AUDEN

AND THE REASON...ONCE AGAIN..



"What is the motivation?" she asked. "We never hear what you find out on why."

Mr. Brennan's reply: "Al-Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents. ... They attract individuals like Mr. [Umar Farouk] Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he's [sic] able to attract these individuals. But al-Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death."



"The time has come for you," said the purported voice of Mr. bin Laden,
  • "to liberate yourself from fear and the ideological terrorism of neoconservatives and the Israeli lobby;
  • the reason for our dispute with you is your support for your ally, Israel, occupying our land in Palestine."

  • They included America's support of Israel in its subordination of the Palestinians and
  • its attacks on Lebanon;
  • the propping up of pro-American kleptocracies in Muslim lands; and
  • the presence of U.S. forces on the "sacred soil" of Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War.



The American people should be given enough credit by its leaders to be told the truth about why we are in this "long war" with Islamic extremists, a war that is hastening our bankruptcy, just as Osama bin Laden dreamed it would.

We proclaim our innate goodness, our pure motives, while decrying "terrorism" and never conceding that to the bulk of the world's Muslims, the greatest terrorism is the destruction of Iraq, a war we started that has seen the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the displacement of more than 4.5 million from their homes. To them, understandably, the bombings from American drones, now killing Afghans and Pakistanis by remote control, are acts of terror. To them, the plight of the Palestinians under siege in Gaza is the result of American-supported Israeli terrorism. This is widely understood around the world, except for the purposefully misled American public.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

HAITI BRAZIL AND FRANCE


The US military's takeover of emergency operations in Haiti has triggered a diplomatic row with countries and aid agencies furious at having flights redirected.

Brazil and France lodged an official ­protest with Washington after US military aircraft were given priority at Port-au-Prince's congested airport, forcing many non-US flights to divert to the Dominican Republic.

Brasilia warned it would not ­relinquish command of UN forces in Haiti, and Paris complained the airport had become a US "annexe", exposing a brewing power struggle amid the global relief effort.

OCCUPYING HAITI


Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says that the United States has taken advantage of the massive quake in Haiti and deployed troops in the country.

"What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me as US troops have already taken control of the airport," Ortega said on Saturday.

The Pentagon says it has deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in Haiti to help victims of Tuesday's earthquake.

This is while US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince on Friday three days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought death and misery to the impoverished nation.

The leftist Nicaraguan president denounced Washington's move in deploying military forces in Haiti, saying "It seems that the bases (on Latin America) are not sufficient."

"There is no logic that US troops landed in Haiti. Haiti seeks humanitarian aid, not troops. It would be madness we all began to send troops to Haiti," said Ortega.

"I hope they will withdraw troops occupying Haiti," he added.

Earlier on Thursday, Nicaragua sent 31 military doctors of the Humanitarian Rescue Unit (URH) and humanitarian aid for the victims of the calamity.

MILITARIZING HAITI


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused the United States of taking advantage of the deadly earthquake in Haiti to occupy the Caribbean country.

Chavez on Sunday scoffed Washington's move to send thousands of American soldiers to Haiti, describing them as "Marines armed as if they were going to war."

CHAVEZ WANTS TO IMPROVE TIES


Chavez didn't explain what prompted his decision to try to improve relations just weeks after he accused the U.S. of planning to invade his country.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas could not be reached for comment Sunday. There was no immediate reaction from the U.S. State Department or the White House.

Chavez has accused the United States and Colombia of spying on Venezuela and conspiring to topple his "revolutionary" government. Tensions have been exacerbated by a recent agreement between Washington and Bogota granting U.S. troops expanded access to Colombian military bases.

THE OBAMA MILITARY BASE TO RETAKE THE SOUTH



http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10620595&pnum=0

Patrick Cockburn says:

The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Five years ago President Bush was famously mute and detached when the levees broke in Louisiana. By way of contrast, President Obama was promising Haitians that everything would be done for survivors within hours of the calamity.

MADDOW FINALLY PAYS OFF THE USG AND PROMOTES USAID

And then there's Obama asking ex-Presidents Clinton and Bush to help Haiti, when Bush destroyed Haiti's democracy in 2004 and Clinton's been trying to turn the country into a sweatshop.


When President Obama gave USAID the lead role in coordinating this response to the disaster in Haiti he handed that agency its biggest humanitarian mission in years. Six days before the earthquake in Haiti Sec. of State Hillary Clinton had just given a major speech about how the Obama administration was going to elevate USAID to a primary position in the government.

[…]

Six days later the earthquake in Haiti and USAID gets put in charge of America’s response to it. They report that as of today USAID is fifty five million dollars into that response. They’re the ones coordinating America’s search and rescue efforts, water and emergency food aid, the way that supplies get into the country, shelter and sanitation and hygiene. At this point the road to being the world’s premier development agency runs through Haiti and we’ll keep reporting it.

Yves will discuss the roles the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) had in the 2004 coup of President Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti.

You can view some of Engler's articles at ZNet.

Engler coauthored a book called Canada in Haiti, which you should be able to order from People's Books Cooperative in Milwaukee.

Cosponsored by Third World Action and UWM SDS

See
http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=206

http://www.world-crisis.com/analysis_comments/442_0_15_0_C35/

http://usanewsthatmatters.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!9118791428895678!920.entry

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17000

YVES SMITH AT NAKED CAPITALISM


UPDATE: Along with people like Brad DeLong and Krugman himself, Yves Smith is one of the economics experts whose analysis I trust most on those issues. Today, at her Naked Capitalism blog, Smith notes this exchange with Krugman and observes:

I was completely gobsmacked by Krugman’s evident lack of a moral compass (this is "ends justify the means" in fancy dress), and was glad to see Greenwald do the heavy lifting of taking his argument apart.

I tried very hard to avoid speculating on Krugman's motives in defending Gruber -- I have a lot of respect for Krugman's conduct as a commentator and analyst over the last decade -- but an "ends justify the means" mentality does seem to pervade his arguments in this particular case.

NET NEUTRALITY

AMERICA MEDIA

JOHN PILGER



John Pilger is not part of the corporate owned media apparatus. He is liberal, and the mainstream media isn't liberal. Corporations aren't liberal,corporations OWN the media, the mainstream media isn't liberal but you're supposed to think it is, so you don't know who the real liberals are

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Daniel Bensaïd


French philosopher Daniel Bensaïd
In 1968, together with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, he helped to form the Mouvement du 22 Mars
penetrating analysis
never
patronizing
derived from classical Marxism – Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg
Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR)
leader of the LCR and the Fourth International
travelled
Brazil
helping to organize the Workers party (PT) currently in power there under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
his Jewishness
never
to follow the path of a blind and unthinking Zionism. He disliked identity politics and his last two books – Fragments Mécréants (An Unbeliever's Discourse, 2005) and Eloge de la Politique Profane (In Praise of Secular Politics, 2008) – explained how this had become a substitute for serious critical thought
a large section of the French intelligentsia
embraced neoliberalism, Bensaïd remained steadfast
memoir, Une Lente Impatience (2004)
"Perhaps not in our lifetimes, but we carry on fighting. What else is there to do?"

Kurt Sonnenfeld: an inconvenient 9/11 witness


There are many who say that the wildest conspiracy theory of all is the theory offered by the United States Government. Do you know that on the weekend prior to the attacks on the WTC, all electricity was cut off for approximately 36 hours, including the security cameras and control systems in a highly irregular “maintenance operation”? Do you know that in the weeks leading up to the attacks there were several unusual evacuations of both towers? Do you know that the company in charge of security at the World Trade Center was directed by Marvin Bush, George Bush’s younger brother, and Wirt Walker III, George Bush’s cousin? Do you know that the same security company also lists as government clients "the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S Air force, and the Department of Justice," and provides security for classified and high-risk government sites? Do you know that hundreds of government personnel were pre-positioned in New York City on September 10, preparing to do a large scale simulation of a terrorist attack to be carried out on September 12? FEMA officials had already set up their command post at Pier 92 near the World Trade Center one day before the attacks.

Do you know that the 47-story Salomon Smith Barney Building, officially known as Seven World Trade Center, imploded at 5:20 in the afternoon of September 11, 2001, some nine hours after American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower? It took only about 6.5 seconds for the entire structure to fall straight down into itself, a half second more than the amount of time it would have taken a stone to hit the ground if you had dropped it from the roof in a vacuum.

The Secret Service, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of Emergency Management’s “Crisis Center” occupied huge amounts of space there, spanning several floors of the building. Other federal agencies had offices there as well. After September 11, it was discovered that concealed within Building Seven was the largest clandestine domestic station of the Central Intelligence Agency outside of Washington DC, a base of operations from which to spy on diplomats of the United Nations and to conduct counterterrorism and counterintelligence missions.

But the 9/11 Commission Report, supposed to investigate thoroughly all aspects and consequences of the attacks for devising public safety and national security recommandations, does not even mention Building Seven

Do you know that one of George Bush’s top Cabinet Secretaries later said that the conquest of Iraq had been planned since he first took the Office of President and that an invasion had been discussed at the first meeting of the National Security Council? But there had not yet been justification strong enough to invade. Not until September 11, 2001. The attacks on the World Trade Center gave them the justification they had been seeking.

But the first casualty of all war is the truth. The reasons given for attacking Iraq were knowingly fraudulent. Intelligence documents that had been submitted as evidence were deliberately fabricated. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction and there were no links to al Qaeda. We all know that the U.S. authorities tried to deceive us about the existence of clandestine prisons around the world and the systemic torture of prisoners. The U.S. government lied. International law was violated.

Again the media was manipulated, and some willingly played the role of accomplice. US news crews signed contracts with the military that limited what they were allowed to report, and a few reporters were even paid by the government to write stories favorable to the administration

REAL LIBERALS

Chris Floyd and Glenn Greenwald are not part of the corporate owned mainstream media, what shills like Rush Limbaugh call the "liberal media". They're not in the mainstream media because they're liberals, and the mainstream media isn't liberal. I know I keep repeating this: corporations aren't liberal, corporations OWN the mainstream media (the liberal media, it's called), the mainstream media isn't liberal but you're supposed to think it is, so you don't know who the real liberals are. The real liberals aren't in what is called the "liberal media". You see, if you believe that "liberal" is what Rush Limbaugh says it is, then you don't really know what "liberal" is. That's why they do this. Remember this: real liberals are ignored by the mainstream media. Real liberals don't call themselves "liberal". The mainstream and rightwing media then define a bunch of non-liberals as "liberals", like the Democrats for instance. Real conservatives are ignored by the mainstream media, too, and the mainstream and rightwing media (both controlled and owned by corporations) define a bunch of non-conservatives as "conservative". Real patriots don't call themselves "patriots", they don't dress in red, white, and blue, and wave flags, and they don't publish books with red, white and blue backgrounds.

CONSPIRACY? OR CONSPIRACY THEORIES?





He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging
The Bush Pentagon employed teams of former Generals to pose as "independent analysts" in the media while secretly coordinating their talking points and messaging about wars and detention policies with the Pentagon.
By covert propaganda, GAO means information which originates from the government but is unattributed and made to appear as though it came from a third party.
necessary to combat "false conspiracy theories" in Iraq -- the same goal Sunstein has for the U.S.
He acknowledges that some "conspiracy theories" previously dismissed as insane and fringe have turned out to be entirely true
Advocating them on the ground that "we will use them well" is every authoritarian's claim
Who is it who relentlessly spread "false conspiracy theories" of Saddam-engineered anthrax attacks and Iraq-created mushroom clouds and a Ba'athist/Al-Qaeda alliance

And who is it who demonized as "conspiracy-mongers" people who warned that the U.S. Government was illegally spying on its citizens, systematically torturing people, attempting to establish permanent bases in the Middle East, or engineering massive bailout plans to transfer extreme wealth to the industries which own the Government?
The reason conspiracy theories resonate so much is precisely that people have learned -- rationally -- to distrust government actions and statements.
That would require, at a bare minumum, a repeal of the First Amendment. Anyone who believes this should, for that reason alone, be barred from any meaningful government position.

JOE SACCO FOOTNOTES IN GAZA



November 1956, The Israeli army conducted two massacres. In Rafah
the 1956 massacres at Rafah and Khan Yunis from oblivion

In 2001, he travelled in Gaza with Chris Hedges, the American journalist, to research an article about the 1956 massacres for an article for Harper’s magazine.

When the article finally appeared, the history of the massacres had been editorially expunged; not all histories are treated equally

http://mondoweiss.net/2009/12/exclusive-excerpt-from-joe-saccos-groundbreaking-new-book-footnotes-in-gaza.html

DAVID HARVEY AND THE CITY





Tues 1.05.10| Harvey on the City and Neoliberalism
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David Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development Verso, 2006
Listen to this Program:

Download program audio (mp3, 49.01 Mbytes)

What role does urbanization play within the surplus-generating dynamics of capitalism? And what part do cities play in fueling or abating economic crises? Pioneering Marxist geographer David Harvey talks about 19th century Paris and New York City in the 1970s and how neoliberalism has shaped the city.

at seven minutes

at eight thirty

What role does urbanization play within the surplus-generating dynamics of capitalism? And what part do cities play in fueling or abating economic crises? Pioneering Marxist geographer David Harvey talks about 19th century Paris and New York City in the 1970s and how neoliberalism has shaped the city.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010





But none of these explanations seems fully satisfying, perhaps because in an age of totalitarianism the mind, clinging to some last margin of rationality, cannot bring itself to accept what the eye sees. - Irving Howe

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

HELEN THOMAS


"Why is al-Qaeda at war with us? What is its motivation?"

Helen Thomas at a recent White House press briefing asked this simple question, and it is a simple question, and our national corporate media apparatus goes to a great deal of trouble to bury this question with a non-answer. The question strikes a nerve. Quickly flipping, last night, I heard Bill O'Reilly mention her name. I didn't linger, being a long time "moral equivocator", I've heard the response a thousand times. The mere fact that Bill takes time from his busy schedule to bother with little old Helen Thomas indicates that it is a central question, and a potential problem.

"Why is al-Qaeda at war with us? What is its motivation?"

Now, at some point, the question will be answered. At some point it seems that the American public will stand up and demand an answer to this question, but, apparently, not until, as Glenn Greenwald says, "the Republic is bankrupted and in ruins and its unemployed have to live in tent cities."

And so, the question is answered on the right, and on the left, it is even answered by retired CIA, but the great, unwashed middle remains clueless.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

LATIN AMERICA

mid-2008, the FARC drew criticism from Brazil's Lula and Venezuela's Chavez, an armed guerrilla movement is out of place."

brother Adan, in MIR a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla, later, Party of the, Venezuelan Revolution, an urban underground with Douglas Bravo.

Adan put it to Alan Woods, did not have contact with the masses, to allow the taking of power, needed influence within popular masses and Armed Forces

self-criticism of the Venezuelan Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN)
"infantile subjectivism...

Hugo Chavez attempted a coup in 1992, por ahora, Chavez converted his popularity into a mass movement. between 1992 and 1998 their gloom was evident.

Guerrilla warfare had ended by the mid-1990s, for the Maoists it was the Shining Path, Guzman, was captured, in 1991, in Ayacucho

The Venezuelan left was unable to see the barrios, the slums that ring the city

Against US pressure and machinations of the oligarchy, Chavez's movement held firm. It began the "long march through the institutions," and culminated in the revision of the Constitution. The new Bolivarian Constitution (1999) draws from the liberator Simon Bolivar, the Marxist Jose Carlos Mariategui, and from Marxist theory (notably the remarkable Soviet jurist Evgeny Pashukanis). Provisions for deeper democracy at one level, and for the widest recognition of human rights.

Barrio Adentro, to provide healthcare. Now, the Constitution directs the government to provide healthcare funded by the oil revenues. It threatened the oligarchy with extinction and the US with the loss of its own power in its backyard

Distracted by the middle east, the US was unable to extend itself against the Bolivarians. US pushed for coup in 2002. The Bolivarians, they had been organized for just this eventuality. Chavez would not fall like Pinochet with support of the military and he had not allowed the population to remain demobilized, neighborhood committees, self-defense leagues, the time to unholster the gun, was not yet at hand

Lula was nineteen, the military deposed Joåo Goulart. The military rule that ran from 1964 to 1985. During this long era the urban middle class that leaned left went either into clandestine trade union organizational work or into gclandestine urban guerrilla units.

The most spectacular was Carlos Marighella's National Liberation Alliance
Marighella was the author of the influential Small Manual of the Urban Guerrilla (June 1969), a touchstone for the urban guerrilla from Montevideo to Mexico City. The police killed Marighella the same year as his manual came out (he was 57 years old, a veteran of the Brazilian CP who had broken with it over the strategy of violence)

The urban guerrilla did not influence Lula. The lessons went with him and the other labor activists into the Workers' Party (PT). In 1980 Brazilian campesinos formed National Confederation of Agricultural Workers and Movimiento Los Sin Tierra (MST), eleven million members. The fundamental constituents of the PT

Lula remained with mass organizing. this long campaign resulted in the Diretas Ja! (Direct Elections Now) movement of 1984 which toppled the dictatorship. Not once did Lula move to the gun. This despite the Roosevelt Corollary (1904), the right to intervene. From the 1846 invasion of Mexico
to the soft coup of 2009 Honduras it came equally with its Dollars and Free Trade Agreements clear Uruguayan Communist Party leader Rodney Arismendi by 1947 "Anglo-Yankee financial oligarchies," same tonic from the local oligarchs and their North American allies

deliverance came in 1959 with the Cuban Revolution. luck and pluck enabled them to enlarge their base (their foco), create alliances with urban mass movements which had been awoken by Castro. Che Guevara's call to revolt (his Guerrilla Warfare, 1961)

Regis Debray wrote a manifesto for Castroism 1965. Che Guevara ultimately went to Bolivia, to try out his method for the last time. Not only were the guerrillas isolated geographically, but also they were isolated from the people. this image provoked Teododo Petkoff of Venezuelan CP then of the MAS
In 1976 'stony eyes' of the Bolivian peasants.

guerrilla movements had dissolved into driblets took root in the Andes, Shining Path. FARC in 1964 rump group Colombian Communist Party (and led Manuel Marulanda, Tiro Fijo went deep Colombia profunda rural leadership Massive assault could not destroy it, 1980s Colombian Left signed a peace agreement with the oligarchy. FARC did not leave the mountains. The accord failed, politicians of the Left were killed. FARC restarted. It was FARC that pushed the Plan Colombia. The situation went to a stalemate. FARC pays little attention to the building up of mass struggles. Colombian activist and economist Hector Mondragon put it recently. Chavez and Lula's plea to FARC. They want the muscle of this organization to come above ground. The Bolivarian project to build electoral-parliamentary movements in concert with social movements power of the majority to seize state power

ALBAm the mechanism to bring the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution to the hemisphere. Chavez's callm a Fifth International, as "an instrument for the unification and the articulation of the struggle of the peoples to save this planet,"

This is Marxism without the Blanquist move to the gun, using what institutions exist to move a progressive agenda

YEMEN BIT PICTURE


Jan 9, 2010
A year ago, Saleh foung a group of Islamists linked to the Israeli intelligence forces. General David Petraeus, dropped in on Saturday. Obama
assuring step up intelligence-sharing and training and joint attacks against militants. The intervention in Yemen is America's answer to China's surge.
Uncle Sam is "marking territory". The US is also moving into Somalia and Kenya
in an entire unbroken stretch of real estate all along the Indian Ocean's western rim. US has now foreclosed China's options. The coastline that is available for China to set up a naval base in the region will be Iran
Obama's main core objective will be to establish an enduring military presence
This serves many purposes.

A new great game begins

First, the US move has to be viewed against the historic backdrop of the Shi'ite awakening in the region (mostly of the Zaidi group). They could be anywhere up to 45%, in the northern part of the country, they constitute the majority. The Believing Youth Organization led by Hussein Badr al-Houthi
is modeled after Hezbollah in Lebanon in all respects - politically, economically, socially and culturally. Next-door Oman, which is a key American base, is predominantly Shi'ite. The idea of Shi'ite empowerment spreading to Saudi Arabia's highly restive Shi'ite regions adjoining Yemen is a problem. There is a new generation is set to take over the leadership in Riyadh. There is a vast scale of institutionalized Shi'ite persecution in Saudi Arabia by the Wahhabi establishment. Riyadh is petrified as the recent
resort to military power against the north Yemeni Shi'ite testifies

US faces a classic dilemma. Obama highlight the need of reform
in his Cairo speech but democratization in the Yemeni context would involve Shi'ite empowerment. The US would rather be with the repressive, autocratic government of Saleh than let the genie of reform out of the bottle.

The paradox: Iran happens to be the only "democratic" system operating in that entire region. Iran's shadow over the Yemeni Shi'ite worries the US

Obama, Conceivably, isn't finding it easy. If his own memoirs are to be believed vague recollections of his childhood in Indonesia and his precious memories of his own mother, a free-wheeling intellectual and humanist, must be stalking him

Israel moves in

With Yemen, the US has tightened the cordon around Iran. Yemen could be put to use as a springboard by the Israelis. It is a cakewalk for the formidable Israeli intelligence to carve out a niche in Yemen. Islamism doesn't deter Israel at all. Yemeni Islamists are a fragmented lot. Israeli intelligence operates in such twilight zones. Israel has always been handicapped by its lack of access to the Persian Gulf region. The overarching US military presence helps Israel politically to consolidate its Yemeni chapter. Petraeus is moving on Yemen in tandem with Israel, "pro-West" Arab states remain as mute spectators. Israeli is a safer bet than the spread of Shi'ite empowerment
out of Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah. Israeli will infiltrate extremist Sunni outfits known as affiliates of al-Qaeda. Infinite possibilities exist

It's all about China

Most important the port of Aden the gateway to Asia. Control of Aden and the Malacca Strait. the US in the "great game" of the Indian Ocean. The sea lanes
the jugular veins of China's economy. India is a natural ally of the US Both disfavor Chinese naval presence. India to roll back Chinese influence in Sri Lanka. US has taken a u-turn in its Myanmar policy. US is unhappy with China's efforts to reach the warm waters of the Persian Gulf through the Central Asian region and Pakistan. Washington is tightening the noose. Pakistani elites will make a strategic choice between the US and China. The existential questions, will Obama, building up India as the pre-eminent power

US-India-Israel axis

Delhi is concluding that he is a clone of his predecessor, containment of China is a core template. Delhi takes the surge of the Israeli lobby as the litmus test. the Jewish lobby was always a helpful ally. India-Israel security relationship is gaining greater momentum. a massive avenue of military cooperation is about to open and will make India a serious challenger to China's growing military prowess. a cozy three-way US-Israel-India alliance provides the underpinning for all the maneuvering that is going on.

terrorism experts are missing when they analyze Yemen in terms of hunting down al-Qaeda. Obama's presidency is like driving a train rather than a car
it must run on its tracks. There is no instances of a declining world power meekly accepting its destiny and walking into the sunset. The US cannot give up on its global dominance without putting up a real fight. And the reality of all such momentous struggles is that they cannot be fought piece-meal. You cannot fight China without occupying Yemen.