Nov 302013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

This is a film based on the book “Death of the Liberal Class” by journalist and Pulitzer prize winner, Chris Hedges.

It charts the rise of the Corporate State, and examines the future of obedience in a world of unfettered capitalism, globalisation, staggering inequality and environmental change.

The film predominantly focuses on US corporate capitalism, but it is my hope that the viewer can recognise the relevance of what is being expressed with regards to domestic political and corporate activity.

It was made completely of clips found on the web.

Music by Clark (

Warning – this film contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing.


Nov 282013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


By ilargi, TheAutomaticEarth


Well, if you thought you’d seen all the madness and absurdity that could possibly come out of the financial system by now, you are definitely being caught on the wrong flat foot as we speak. And there can be no doubt that much more of this will be revealed as we go along. Jamie Dimon renting Buckingham Palace to celebrate his $13 billion settlement with US regulators is just the beginning, though it’s a pretty clear statement of just how untouchable too big to fail policies have made Wall Street and the City feel. And they don’t feel that way for nothing, in every sense of the word, count on it.

A Labour spokesman said this about the party at the Palace, which included appearances by the Royal Philharmonic and the English National Ballet: ““There is also the fact that this should be a special place. This is the home of the Queen. Where is it all going to end?“ Well, sir, maybe it’s time to wake up, because the new kings and queens of the world have taken over. And they intend to be loud and proud about it, like any group of conquerors throughout history ever did.

Fine dining for Dimon at the Palace raises concerns of commercialisation

It must have been a welcome spot of light relief for Jamie Dimon. Only days after he finally agreed to a $13 billion settlement with US mortgage regulators, the boss of JPMorgan – and dozens of his corporate clients – were sitting back amid the splendour of Buckingham Palace, enjoying a fine dinner and performances by the Royal Philharmonic and the English National Ballet.

The event, hosted by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, reflects growing enthusiasm by the Royal Family to use its premises to promote business interests. But it also risks stoking criticism over its apparent commercialisation and its intimacy with business.

The JPMorgan event on October 30, had a guestlist that included up to 100 corporate and political heavyweights, ranging from Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, to Indian industrialist Ratan Tata. Also present was Tony Blair, the former prime minister who chairs JPMorgan’s “international council” of senior advisers.

That’s one sign that there’s been a takeover and a change of guards. The story coming out over the weekend about Royal Bank of Scotland – RBS – is another. And the “Royal” label in its name starts to sound mighty cynical. RBS is now being accused of pushing healthy client businesses into bankruptcy, so it could take over their assets for pennies on the pound. There’s one little detail that should make this even more preposterous: RBS is 81% government owned. […]




By John Olen, Economy In Crisis


President Obama believes the old ways of negotiating trade agreements are no longer good enough. Despite the United States operating for years with normal trade negotiations, the president is now asking for Fast-Track Trade Authority to push new agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) through Congress. This is the same process used to push through disastrous trade agreements with South Korea (KORUS), Colombia and Panama, which have been very damaging for the United States.

The agreements President Obama wants to push are likely to take the worst aspects of our old agreements and apply them to even more competitor countries. This administration has set a goal of doubling exports, but completely ignores our trade balance. Increasing exports alone is not good enough. Past agreements have proven that even if exports increase, scores of jobs are lost due to a flood of cheap imports that put American companies out of business or force them to outsource their manufacturing to compete.

Why should we believe new trade agreements will be any different? They will have all the damaging aspects of past agreements, and access to our economy will be extended to even more low-wage, low-regulation countries that can ship their cheap goods into our country, tariff- and duty-free. They may be even more damaging than past agreements, but we can’t know for certain because the negotiations have been taking place in secret and the details of the proposed agreements have been nearly impossible for members of congress to discover, let alone the general public. It is shameful that Wikileaks has provided more information about these proposed agreements than our own government has. […]




By Ellen Brown, Web of Debt


“Control oil and you control nations,” said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s.  ”Control food and you control the people.”

Global food control has nearly been achieved, by reducing seed diversity with GMO (genetically modified) seeds that are distributed by only a few transnational corporations. But this agenda has been implemented at grave cost to our health; and if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes, control over not just our food but our health, our environment and our financial system will be in the hands of transnational corporations.

Profits Before Populations

According to an Acres USA interview of plant pathologist Don Huber, Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, two modified traits account for practically all of the genetically modified crops grown in the world today. One involves insect resistance. The other, more disturbing modification involves insensitivity to glyphosate-based herbicides (plant-killing chemicals). Often known as Roundup after the best-selling Monsanto product of that name, glyphosate poisons everything in its path except plants genetically modified to resist it.

Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is an essential partner to the GMOs that are the principal business of the burgeoning biotech industry. Glyphosate is a “broad-spectrum” herbicide that destroys indiscriminately, not by killing unwanted plants directly but by tying up access to critical nutrients.

Because of the insidious way in which it works, it has been sold as a relatively benign replacement for the devastating earlier dioxin-based herbicides. But a barrage of experimental data has now shown glyphosate and the GMO foods incorporating it to pose serious dangers to health. Compounding the risk is the toxicity of “inert” ingredients used to make glyphosate more potent. Researchers have found, for example, that the surfactant POEA can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells. But these risks have been conveniently ignored.

The widespread use of GMO foods and glyphosate herbicides helps explain the anomaly that the US spends over twice as much per capita on healthcare as the average developed country, yet it is rated far down the scale of the world’s healthiest populations. The World Health Organization has ranked the US LAST out of 17 developed nations for overall health.

Sixty to seventy percent of the foods in US supermarkets are now genetically modified. By contrast, in at least 26 other countries—including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia—GMOs are totally or partially banned; and significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries.

A ban on GMO and glyphosate use might go far toward improving the health of Americans. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade agreement for which the Obama Administration has sought Fast Track status, would block that sort of cause-focused approach to the healthcare crisis. […]




Will seeing just how far we’ve fallen behind other countries, across almost all measures of health, finally motivate change?

By Grace Rubenstein, The Atlantic

The U.S. is the heaviest nation in the world.

The U.S. is the heaviest nation in the world.

We’ve known for years that Americans tend to be overweight and sedentary, and that our health care system, despite being the priciest in the world, produces some less-than-plum results. Health nerds who closely follow the news may even have known that we live shorter lives than people in other rich nations, and that infants in the U.S. die from various causes at far higher rates.

allcauseBut a fresh report, out Wednesday, tapped vast stores of data to compare the health of affluent nations and delivered a worrisome new message: Americans’ health is even worse than we thought, ranking below 16 other developed nations.

“The news is that this is across the lifespan, and regardless of income,” said Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, who was not an author of the study. “A lot of people thought it was underserved populations that were driving the statistics — the poor, the uninsured. They still are a big part of our challenge, but the fact that even if you’re fairly well-to-do you still have these problems shatters that myth.”

The question is: Will it make a difference? […]




By Arjun Walia, Activist Post

We are doing our part to try and spread the word about GMOs, (genetically modified organisms) but we’re not the only ones. Multiple public figures, scientists and researchers have been speaking out about GMOs for a number of years. For example, not long ago a former Canadian Government Scientist at Agriculture Canada, Dr. Thierry Vrain (one of many) spoke out against GMOs.

Another prominent public figure, geneticist David Suzuki, has been a long-time advocate against GMOs, and has been speaking out about how they can be hazardous to human health as well as the environment. Below, I’ve provided a video example of Suzuki explaining why he feels the way he does about GMOs. Public figures with a wide audience can have a great impact on the consciousness of the masses, they are great ‘tools’ for waking up more people to the reality that GMOs can be harmful to human health as well as the environment. It’s time to pay attention, do your own research and to question what you’ve been told. We can no longer trust branches of the government that deal with food and health, we must not take their word for it; it’s better if you actually look into it yourself rather than blindly believing what your are told.

It doesn’t seem to be much of a debate anymore; it’s clear that GMOs can indeed be harmful to human health. There is a reason why a majority of countries around the world have permanently banned GMOs, so what’s taking North America so long? One reason might be the fact that biotech corporations like Monsanto seem to be above the government and influence policy, but thankfully these things are changing. Big Island, Hawaii has recently banned all GMO products and bio-tech company products. Various bills calling for moratorium on GE food include Vermont, North Dakota, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco and more.

This large movement against GMOs is not based on belief — multiple researchers and scientists all around the world have shown that GMOs can be harmful. Here is a study that shows how Bt toxins found in Monsanto crops can be damaging to red blood cells, and potentially cause leukemia. Here is another one that shows how GMO animal feed caused severe stomach inflammation and enlarged uteri in pigs. There have been multiple studies linking GMOs to cancer, and a range of other diseases. Scientists all over the world have come together to show their support for the ban of GMOs. […]


Nov 272013

El análisis de James Petras, 99GetSmart


“Ahora estoy trabajando en la complejidad del mundo, mostrando que es cierto que los Estados Unidos, el imperio norteamericano, está en declive como muchos izquierdistas han dicho; pero  también, todos están en declive. Es decir, las fuerzas antiimperialistas han perdido terreno; los anticapitalistas han perdido el camino; como vemos en Europa las fuerzas de la derecha siguen mandando. Y Europa está en declive, peor que Estados Unidos. China deja de crecer dos dígitos, está ahora creciendo a un 7% pero con muchas divisiones internas. Y frente a esto la derecha busca nuevos líderes, nuevas caras, nuevas expresiones”, dijo en su análisis del lunes 25 de noviembre por Radio Centenario (*), el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras. En ese contexto, indicó, “el panorama es contradictorio” y para los pueblos “la única garantía es la organización y la lucha”, afirmó.  En la oportunidad, también analizó los acuerdos de occidente con Irán; las elecciones en Honduras y la situación de Libia. A continuación transcribimos en forma íntegra la  columna de James Petras que Usted puede escuchar/descargar aquí:

Efraín Chury Iribarne: Buenos días Petras, bienvenido a los micrófonos de la 36, ¿cómo estás?

James Petras: Estamos congelados, hay -10º aquí. Terriblemente frío.

Listo para comenzar este contacto.

EChI: Bien. Si te parece comenzamos con lo que pasó en la reunión del 5+1, sobre Irán.

JP: Es una situación bastante complicada, pero en general es un paso adelante frente a la amenaza de una guerra orientada hacia un ataque contra Irán. El hecho de firmar un acuerdo donde se reconoce que  Irán tiene derecho a enriquecer uranio, es un paso adelante. Ahora, Irán hizo muchas concesiones también, permitiendo inspecciones intensivas, acepta bajar el enriquecimiento de uranio al 5% en vez de 20%y se impone limitaciones para la construcción de nuevos reactores.

Pero al final de cuentas, la Unión Europea anunció que va a bajar o eliminar algunas sanciones, desde el próximo mes. Esa es una gran derrota para los sionistas y los israelitas que querían enfrentar el occidente con Irán, es una derrota para todos los halcones que siempre buscan otra forma de lanzar guerras.

Es una apertura, una oportunidad para los países occidentales incluso Estados Unidos, de concentrarse en los temas económicos y no simplemente a marchar con tropas y aviones para destruir adversarios. Hay una nueva realidad, porque las guerras que han hecho la década pasada han destruido las economías occidentales y tienen que buscar otro camino para construir sus mercados.

En otras palabras el balance es positivo, pese a que tenemos que decir eso, uno tiene que ser muy cauto para ver si Estados Unidos y Europa cumplen con sus responsabilidades, dejan las sanciones y amenazas, y no buscan ningún pretexto para dar un paso atrás. Tenemos que poner delante la necesidad de no sólo poner inspectores en Irán, sino también inspectores sobre el cumplimiento de Occidente para que no empiecen los engaños y las excusas para no cumplir con su parte en este acuerdo. Sabemos que en otras instancias, los países occidentales firman documentos que luego no cumplen.

EChI: El Senado estadounidense cambió el proceso de votación para “evitar el obstruccionismo”. ¿Qué significa esto?

JP: Es anacronismo. En el pasado, el Senado era un club oligárquico donde el Senador podía hablar sin parar y bloquear cualquier nombramiento de un juez u oficial, y eso era posible considerarlo cuando los dos partidos siempre buscan de una forma u otra consensuar política. Pero ahora, con la polarización que existe entre la ultraderecha y el centro derecha, es imposible funcionar como gobierno porque la oposición no permite ningún nombramiento.Hay docenas de nombramientos pendientes que no pueden terminar el proceso de consideración, investigación votos. Por tanto, esto trata de desbloquear un proceso de gobierno.

En otras palabras ahora es más funcional al gobierno, independientemente de que los nombramientos de (Barack) Obama no son nada buenos,  es una forma de evitar la parálisis del gobierno. Y como consecuencia de este procedimiento es más funcional al sistema. Pero el sistema mismo sigue siendo bastante reaccionario.

EChI: Nos vamos a Libia, que parece que va de mal en peor.

JP: Libia no existe como país después de que los países de la OTAN la atacaran, destruyeran el gobierno y asesinaran a su Presidente. Luego, ellos abandonaron el país, pensando que la imposición de un gobierno en el exilio podía gobernar  el país.Pero en realidad, la oposición a Muammar Gadafi son una colección de las peores fuerzas imaginables: hay islámicos terroristas, hay monarquistas, hay bandas de bandidos y dirigentes de tribus. No hay gobierno, no hay funcionamiento económico, la producción ha bajado de más de un millón de barriles de petróleo a menos de cien mil, incluso no hay gasolina para los automóviles en Libia, mucho menos para exportar. Lo mismo en cuanto a seguridad, en cualquier ciudad de Libia cualquiera que tenga un fusil entra a cualquier tienda y toma lo que quiera. La economía productiva, la economía comercial ya no existe, los restaurantes no existen, hay cientos de miles de personas tratando de salir del país, las cárceles están llenas, se multiplican los muertos.-

Todo esto es producto de la invasión occidental que destruyó un gobierno estable y una sociedad muy rica, con todos los beneficios del bienestar social, incluso los matrimonios el día de la boda recibían un departamento de 50.000 dólares como regalo; pero ahora no hay ni bodas ni casas ni ninguna organización.

Hoy Libia es una situación como la  selva: todos contra todos.

Y esto es producto de la intervención occidental o como lo que llaman algunos seudo izquierdistas “una revolución”. Es un chiste de mal gusto. Es terrible.

Las fuerzas muy evidentes en Bengasi u otros lugares donde apoyaban la restauración del monarca hace 40 años atrás. Es un ejemplo de los grandes problemas que genera el imperialismo.

Cuando decimos socialismo o barbarie, tiene todo el sentido imaginable en el caso de Libia. Hay una barbarie hoy allá, se ha destruido una civilización por la intervención de las mal llamadas democracias occidentales.

EChI: Ayer hubo elecciones en Honduras. ¿Puedes hacer algún análisis de eso?

JP: Tenemos claro que el golpe de Estado contra el ex presidente Manuel Zelaya, no podría consolidar un régimen viable. Fue un golpe militar apoyado por Obama y los países occidentales, que derrocó un gobierno electo, que era además moderado, con un proyecto liberal y progresista, que permitía la sindicalización, impulsaba una reforma agraria y pensaba reformar la Constitución para crear una verdadera democracia participativa. Pero el golpe de Estado fue un gran reverso, empezó la represión y la marginalización de la gran mayoría de los jornaleros en las grandes plantaciones y de los pequeños productores. Como consecuencia de la presión internacional, desde América Latina en particular, el gobierno golpista derechista de Honduras, debió reconocer que no tenía ninguna legitimidad y permitió una elección.

En este caso, tanto las fuerzas populares como los sectores del ex presidente Zelaya, presentaron un frente unido y la esposa de Zelaya,  Xiomara Castro, se presentó como candidata. Hay decenas de observadores allá, pero con muchas limitaciones, porque por ejemplo unos días antes de las elecciones de este domingo los militares intervinieron en los centros de la oposición destruyendo la infraestructura y tratando de intimidar a los electores. Pero, a pesar de todo eso, la oposición movilizada consiguió una estrecha mayoría que podría permitir si es posible, un éxito para las fuerzas progresistas y podrían empezar a rectificar todo el mal que hicieron los golpistas.

Pero hay varios problemas. Primero, no tenemos el resultado final y hay indicios de que la derecha está tratando de descalificar votantes y cometer fraude. Al final de cuentas el problema es si se va a dar un conteo honesto, y es muy estrecho el margen entre uno  y otro.

En segundo lugar, el problema es en caso de que gane Xiomara Castro, si le van a permitir gobernar; porque los Congresistas, son en su mayoría de la derecha.

En tercer problema, es el de la implementación del programa de gobierno, que podría encontrar resistencia en la Administración y en las fuerzas militares.

En todo caso debemos reconocer la capacidad del pueblo hondureño -pese a todos los problemas asesinatos, golpe etc.- para elegir un candidato que represente sus intereses. Ahora, el contexto de Honduras es difícil porque los gobernantes por años de la derecha, están involucrados en el narcotráfico y las bandas de asesinos que están funcionando. Honduras tiene la tasa de homicidios más alto de América Latina, y quizás del mundo. Es un país en el que es muy difícil caminar por sus calles, por esa razón tengo el temor de que haya algún acto violento para evitar la ascendencia de las fuerzas progresistas.

EChI: Como siempre, los minutos finales quedan para que nos comentes otros temas de tu interés.

JP: Ahora estoy trabajando en la complejidad del mundo, mostrando que es cierto que los Estados Unidos, el imperio norteamericano, está en declive como muchos izquierdistas han dicho; pero  también, todos están en declive. Es decir, las fuerzas antiimperialistas han perdido terreno; los anticapitalistas han perdido el camino; como vemos en Europa las fuerzas de la derecha siguen mandando. Y Europa está en declive, peor que Estados Unidos. China deja de crecer dos dígitos, está ahora creciendo a un 7% pero con muchas divisiones internas. Y frente a esto la derecha busca nuevos líderes, nuevas caras, nuevas expresiones.

Además, el hecho de que Estados Unidos no domine América Latina como antes, no significa que haya perdido fuerza; por ejemplo en Argentina tiene importantes fuerzas internas ..Han recuperado suficiente fuerza como para hacer grandes movilizaciones en Venezuela. Entonces, la situación donde el antiimperialismo parecía dominante y la exclusión de Estados Unidos fuera un factor en la nueva dinámica, no es definitivo. No es irreversible. Estados Unidos todavía tiene importantes palancas, como el que tiene con los militares con quienes hacen ejercicios conjuntos; y los bancos siguen funcionando con muchos lazos.

Por tanto, la lucha es entre el declive de Estados Unidos y el repliegue de las fuerzas de izquierda. Y el futuro en este marco es muy incierto.

Lo que tenemos que entender es como la derecha busca nuevos líderes y nuevas expresiones ideológicas, la izquierda también necesita nuevos líderes y renovar las ideologías  para insertarse en el nuevo contexto. No es simplemente pensar que Estados Unidos se está cayendo y que será remplazado inevitablemente por grupos de izquierda. No es así. Creo que las cosas pueden ser más graves, como podemos visto en otras partes del mundo. El panorama es muy contradictorio, donde Estados Unidos perdió terreno como en Africa del Norte, hoy tiene una dictadura como la de Egipto; en tanto, es cierto que entran en Siria y destruyen, pero el gobierno sirio tuvo capacidad de recuperar y contraatacar. Entonces, el panorama es contradictorio porque la historia no funciona en forma lineal, es momento de avances y retrocesos, la única garantía es la organización y la lucha, en base a lo cual también podríamos pensar en un horizonte más optimista parta el futuro; no debemos sentarnos a esperar que todo va a cambiar por su propias contradicciones.

EChI: Bien Petras, gracias por todos estos análisis.

JP: Muchas gracias por todo a la Radio, y tengo mucho envidia de sus 28º, hay 38º más que aquí.

EChI: Ojalá aumente la temperatura por ahí. Un abrazo.

JP: Un abrazo, saludos, hasta el lunes.

(*) Escuche en vivo los lunes a las 11:30 horas (hora local) la audición de James Petras por CX36, Radio Centenario desde Montevideo (Uruguay) para todo el mundo a través de

Nov 252013

By James Petras, 99GetSmart


The world political economy is a mosaic of cross currents:  Domestic decay and elite enrichment, new sources for greater profits and deepening political disenchantment, declining living standards for many and extravagant luxury for a few, military losses in some regions with imperial recovery in others. There are claims of a unipolar, a multi-polar and even a non-polar configuration of world power.  Where, when, to what extent and under what contingencies do these claims have validity?

Bubbles and busts come and go – but let us talk of ‘beneficiaries’:  Those who cause crashes, reap the greatest rewards while their victims have no say.  The swindle economy and the criminal state prosper by promoting the perversion of culture and literacy.  ‘Investigatory journalism’, or peephole reportage, is all the rage.  The world of power spins out of control:  As they decline, the leading powers declare “it’s our rule or everyone’s ruin!”

Global Configurations of Power

Power is a relationship between classes, states and military and ideological institutions.  Any configuration of power is contingent on past and present struggles reflecting shifting correlations of forces.  Structures and physical resources, concentrations of wealth, arms and the media matter greatly; they set the framework in which the principle power wielders are embedded.  But strategies for retaining or gaining power depend on securing alliances, engaging in wars and negotiating peace.  Above all, world power depends on the strength of domestic foundations.  This requires a dynamic productive economy, an independent state free from prejudicial foreign entanglements and a leading class capable of harnessing global resources to ‘buy off’ domestic consent of the majority.

To examine the position of the United States in the global configuration of power it is necessary to analyze its changing economic and political relations on two levels:  by region and by sphere of power.  History does not move in a linear pattern or according to recurring cycles: military and political defeats in some regions may be accompanied by significant victories in others.  Economic decline in some spheres and regions may be compensated by sharp advances in other economic sectors and regions.

In the final analysis, the question is not ‘keeping a scorecard’ or adding wins and subtracting losses, but translating regional and sectorial outcomes into an understanding of the direction and emerging structures of the global power configuration.  We start by examining the legacy of recent wars on the global economic, military and political power of the United States.

Sustaining the US Empire:  Defeats, Retreat, Advances and Victories

The dominant view of most critical analysts is that over the past decade US empire-building has suffered a series of military defeats, experienced economic decline, and now faces severe competition and the prospect of further military losses. The evidence cited is impressive:  The US was forced to withdraw troops from Iraq, after an extremely costly decade-long military occupation, leaving in place a regime more closely allied to Iran, the US’ regional adversary. The Iraq war depleted the economy, deprived American corporations of oil wealth, greatly enlarged Washington’s budget and trade deficits and reduced the living standards of US citizens.  The Afghanistan war had a similar outcome, with high external costs, military retreat, fragile clients, domestic disaffection and no short or medium term transfers of wealth (imperial pillage) to the US Treasury or private corporations.  The Libyan war led to the total destruction of a modern, oil-rich economy in North Africa, the total dissolution of state and civil society and the emergence of armed tribal, fundamentalist militias opposed to US and EU client regimes in North and sub-Sahara Africa and beyond.  Instead of continuing to profit from lucrative oil and gas agreements with the conciliatory Gadhafi regime, Washington decided on ‘regime change’, engaging in a war which ruined Libya and destroyed any viable central state. The current Syrian “proxy war” has strengthened radical Islamist warlords, destroyed Damascus’ economy and added massive refugee pressure to the already uprooted millions from wars in Iraq and Libya. US imperial wars have resulted in economic losses, regional political instability and military gains for Islamist adversaries.

Latin America has overwhelmingly rejected US efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government.  The entire world– minus Israel and Washington- – rejects the blockade of Cuba.  Regional integration organizations, which exclude the US, have proliferated.  US trade shares have declined, as Asia is replacing the US in the Latin American market.

In Asia, China deepens and extends its economic links with all the key countries, while the US ‘pivot’ is mostly an effort at military base encirclement involving Japan, Australia and the Philippines.  In other words, China is more important than the US for Asian economic expansion, while Chinese financing of US trade imbalances props up the US economy.

In Africa, US military command operations mainly promote armed conflicts and lead to greater instability.  Meanwhile Asian capitalists, deeply invested in strategic African countries, are reaping the benefits of its commodity boom, expanding markets and the outflow of profits.

The exposure of the US National Security Agency’s global spy network has seriously undermined global intelligence and clandestine operations.  While it may have helped privileged private corporations, the massive US investment in cyber-imperialism appears to have generated negative diplomatic and operational returns for the imperial state.

In sum, the current global overview paints a picture of severe military and diplomatic setbacks in imperial policies, substantial losses to the US Treasury and the erosion of public support.  Nevertheless this perspective has serious flaws, especially with regard to other regions, relations and spheres of economic activity.  The fundamental structures of empire remain intact.

NATO, the major military alliance headed by the US Pentagon, is expanding its membership and escalating its field of operations.  The Baltic States, especially Estonia, are the site of huge military exercises held just minutes from the principle Russian cities.  Central and Eastern Europe provide missile sites all aimed at Russia. Until very recently, the Ukraine had been moving toward membership in the European Union and a step toward NATO membership.

The US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership has expanded membership among the Andean countries, Chile, Peru and Colombia.  It serves as a springboard to weaken regional trading blocs like MERCOSUR and ALBA, which exclude Washington. Meanwhile, the CIA, the State Department and their NGO conduits are engaged in an all-out economic sabotage and political destabilization campaign to weaken Venezuela’s nationalist government.  US-backed bankers and capitalists have worked to sabotage the economy, provoking inflation (50%), shortages of essential items of consumption and rolling power blackouts. Their control over most of Venezuela’s mass media has allowed them to exploit popular discontent by blaming the economic dislocation on ‘government inefficiency’.

Overall, the US offensive in Latin America has focused on a military coup in Honduras, ongoing economic sabotage in Venezuela, electoral and media campaigns in Argentina, and cyber warfare in Brazil, while developing closer ties with recently elected compliant neo-liberal  regimes in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Panama, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.  While Washington lost influence in Latin America during the first decade of the 21st century, it has since partially recovered its clients and partners.  The relative recovery of US influence illustrates the fact that ‘regime changes’ and a decline in market shares, have not lessened the financial and corporate ties linking even the progressive countries to powerful US interests.  The continued presence of powerful political allies –even those ‘out of government’ – provides a trampoline for regaining US influence.  Nationalist policies and emerging regional integration projects remain vulnerable to US counter-attacks.

While the US has lost influence among some oil producing countries, it lessened its dependence on oil and gas imports as a result of a vast increase in domestic energy production via ‘fracking’ and other intense extractive technologies.  Greater local self-sufficiency means lower energy costs for domestic producers and increases their competitiveness in world markets, raising the possibility that the US could regain market shares for its exports.

The seeming decline of US imperial influence in the Arab world following the popular ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings has halted and even been reversed. The military coup in Egypt and the installation and consolidation of the military dictatorship in Cairo suppressed the mass national-popular mobilizations.  Egypt is back in the US-Israel orbit.  In Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia the old and new rulers are clamping down on any anti-imperial protests.   In Libya, the US-NATO air force destroyed the nationalist-populist Gadhafi regime, eliminating an alternative welfare model to neo-colonial pillage – but has so far failed to consolidate a neo-liberal client regime in Tripoli.  Instead rival armed Islamist gangs, monarchists and ethnic thugs pillage and ravage the country.  Destroying an anti-imperialist regime has not produced a pro-imperialist client.

In the Middle East, Israel continues to dispossess the Palestinians of their land and water.  The US continues to escalate military maneuvers and impose more economic sanctions against Iran – weakening Teheran but also decreasing US wealth and influence due to the loss of the lucrative Iranian market.  Likewise in Syria, the US and its NATO allies have destroyed Syria’s economy and shredded its complex society, but they will not be the main beneficiaries.  Islamist mercenaries have gained bases of operations while Hezbollah has consolidated its position as a significant regional actor.  Current negotiations with Iran open possibilities for the US to cut its losses and reduce the regional threat of a costly new war but these talks are being blocked by an ‘alliance’ of Zionist-militarist Israel, monarchist Saudi Arabia and ‘Socialist’ France.

Washington has lost economic influence in Asia to China but it is mounting a regional counter-offensive, based on its network of military bases in Japan, the Philippines and Australia.  It is promoting a new Pan Pacific economic agreement that excludes China.  This demonstrates the US capacity to intervene and project imperial interests.  However announcing new policies and organizations is not the same as implementing and providing them with dynamic content.  Washington’s military encirclement of China is off-set by the US Treasury’s multi-trillion dollar debt to Beijing.  An aggressive US military encirclement of China could result in a massive Chinese sell-off of US Treasury notes and five hundred leading US multi-nationals finding their investments in jeopardy!

Power-sharing between an emerging and established global power, such as China and the US, cannot be ‘negotiated’ via US military superiority.  Threats, bluster and diplomatic chicanery score mere propaganda victories but only long-term economic advances can create the domestic Trojan Horses need to erode China’s dynamic growth.  Even today, the Chinese elite spend hefty sums to educate their children in “prestigious” US and British universities where free market economic doctrines and imperial-centered narratives are taught.  For the past decade, leading Chinese politicians and the corporate rich have sent tens of billions of dollars in licit and illicit funds to overseas bank accounts, investing in high end real estate in North America and Europe and dispatching billions to money laundering havens.  Today, there is a powerful faction of economists and elite financial advisers in China pushing for greater ‘financial liberalization’, i.e. penetration by the leading Wall Street and City of London speculative houses.  While Chinese industries may be winning the competition for overseas markets, the US has gained and is gaining powerful levers over China’s financial structure.

The US share of Latin American trade may be declining, but the absolute dollar worth of trade has increased several-fold over the past decade.

The US may have lost right-wing regime clients in Latin America, but the new center-left regimes are actively collaborating with most of the major US and Canadian mining and agro-business corporations and commodity trading houses.  The Pentagon has not been able to engineer military coups, with the pathetic exception of Honduras, but it still retains its close working relations with the Latin American military in the form of (1) its regional policing of ‘terrorism’, ‘narcotics’ and ‘migration’, (2) providing technical training and political indoctrination via overseas military ‘educational’ programs and (3) engaging in joint military exercises.

In sum, the structures of the US empire, corporate, financial, military and political-cultural, all remain in place and ready to regain dominance if and when political opportunities arise.  For example, a sharp decline in commodity prices would likely provoke a deep crisis and intensify class conflicts among center-left regimes, which are dependent on agro-mining exports to fund their social programs.  In any ensuing confrontation, the US would work with and through its agents among the economic and military elite to oust the incumbent regime and re-impose pliant neo-liberal clients.    The current phase of post-neo-liberal policies and power configurations are vulnerable.  The relative ‘decline of US influence and power’ can be reversed even if it is not returned to its former configuration. The theoretical point is that while imperialist structures remain in place and while their collaborator counterparts abroad retain strategic positions, the US can re-establish its primacy in the global configuration of power.

Imperial ‘roll-back’ does not require the ‘same old faces’.  New political figures, especially with progressive credentials and faint overtones of a ‘social inclusionary’ ideology are already playing a major role in the new imperial-centered trade networks.  In Chile, newly elected “Socialist” President Michelle Bachelet and the Peruvian ex-nationalist, President Ollanta Humala, are major proponents of Washington’s Tran-Pacific Partnership, a trading bloc which competes with the nationalist MERCOSUR and ALBA, and excludes China.  In Mexico, US client President Enrique Peña Nieto is privatizing the ‘jewel’ of the Mexican economy, PEMEX, the giant public oil company – strengthening the Washington’s hold over regional energy resources and increasing US independence from Mid-East oil.  Colombian President Santos, the ‘peace president’, is actively negotiating an end to guerrilla warfare in order to expand multinational exploitation of mineral and energy resources located in guerrilla-contested regions, a prospect which will primarily benefit US oil companies.  In Argentina, the state oil company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales (YPF) has signed a joint venture agreement with the oil giant, Chevron, to exploit an enormous gas and oil field, known as Vaca Muerte (Dead Cow). This will expand the US presence in Argentina in energy production alongside the major inroads made by Monsanto in the powerful agro-business sector.

No doubt Latin America has diversified its trade and the US share has relatively declined.  Latin American rulers no longer eagerly seek ‘certification’ from the US Ambassador before announcing their political candidacy.  The US is totally alone in its boycott of Cuba.  The Organization of American States is no longer a US haven.  But there are counter-tendencies, reflected in new pacts like the TPP.  New sites of economic exploitation, which are not exclusively US controlled, now serve as springboards to greater imperial power.


The US economy is stagnant and has failed to re-gain momentum because of its pursuit of ‘serial’ imperial wars.  But in the Middle East, the US decline, relative to its past, has not been accompanied by the ascent of its old rivals.  Europe is in deeper crisis, with a vast army of unemployed, chronic negative growth and few signs of recovery for the visible future.  Even China, the new emerging global power, is slowing down with its growth falling from over 11% to 7% in the current decade.  Beijing faces growing domestic discontent.  India, as well as China, are liberalizing their financial systems, opening them up to penetration and influence by US finance capital.

The main anti-imperialist forces in Asia and Africa are not composed of progressive, secular, democratic and socialist movements.  Instead, the empire is confronted by religious, ethnic, misogynist and authoritarian movements with irredentist tendencies. The old secular, socialist voices have lost their bearings, and provide perverse ‘justifications’ for the imperialist wars of aggression in Libya, Mali and Syria.  The French Socialists, who had opposed the Iraq war in 2003, now find their President Francoise Hollande parroting the brutal militarism of the Israeli warlord, Netanyahu.

The point is that the thesis of the ‘decline of the US empire’ and its corollary, the ‘crises of the US’ are overstated, time bound and lack specificity.  In reality, there is no alternative imperial or modern anti-imperial tendency on the immediate horizon.  While it is true that Western capitalism is in crisis, the recently ascending Asian capitalism of China and India face a different crisis resulting from their savage class exploitation and murderous caste relations.  If objective conditions are ‘ripe for socialism’, the socialists – at least those retaining any political presence- are comfortably embedded with their respective imperial regimes.  The Marxists and Socialists in Egypt joined with the military to overthrow an elected conservative Islamist regime, leading to the restoration of imperialist clientelism in Cairo.  The French and English ‘Marxists’ have supported NATO’s destruction of Libya and Syria.  Numerous progressives and socialists, in Europe and North America, support Israel’s warlords and/or remain silent in the face of domestic Zionist power in the executive branches and legislatures.

If imperialism is declining, so is anti-imperialism.  If capitalism is in crisis, the existing anti-capitalists are in retreat.  If capitalists look for new faces and ideologues to revive their fortunes, isn’t it time the anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists did likewise?

Nov 242013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


By Tyler Durden, zerohedge


Before it became a conspiracy fact, the traditional response to all suggestions of a massive Libor/FX/commodity/mortgage rigging cartel was a simple if stupid one: too many people are involved and so it can never be contained. As it turns out not only can it be contained, but when the interests of the “conspiracy” participants are alligned, it can continue for decades. Naturally, the same applies for the pinnacle of the global wealth pyramid: the world’s billionaires and their plan of wealth preservation and accumulation.

Not only have the world’s richest been the biggest beneficiaries of the monetary and fiscal policies since 2009, with the current 2170 global billionaires representing a 60% increase since 2009 according to UBS, but their consolidated net worth has more than doubled from $3.1 trillion in 2009 to $6.5 trillion now. At the same time, the net worth of the “bottom 90%” of the world’s not so lucky population, has declined. Yet, somehow, the Fed is still revered.

Naturally, as in global financial conspiracies, the question arises: is it possible that instead of representing the interests of the general population, what the central banks simply do is follow the instructions of a far smaller cabal, that of the world’s uber wealthy?

In case there is any confusion, the above is a rhetorical question. It goes without saying that what the world’s largest wealth accumulators want above all else, is to preserve a status quo that allows their capital-based wealth to increase as fast and as much as possible in a regime of reflating asset prices, while keeping the bulk of the world’s population distracted, entertained, and collecting their daily welfare check. […]




The philosopher on the violence we wage abroad, the income inequality we face at home and where we go from here

By Catherine Komp, Truthout

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky

This is an excerpt from the just released 2nd edition of Noam Chomsky’s “Occupy: Class War, Rebellion and Solidarity,” published by Zuccotti Park Press. Reprinted from with permission.

Free Speech Radio News producer Catherine Komp interviews Noam Chomsky.

Noam Chomsky is amongst the world’s most cited living scholars. Voted the “world’s top public intellectual” in 2005, he is perhaps best known as a critic of all forms of social control and a relentless advocate for community-centered approaches to democracy and freedom. Over the last several decades, Chomsky has championed a wide range of dissident actions, organizations and social movements. In this excerpt from the just-released expanded edition of the Zuccotti Park Press book, “Occupy: Class War, Rebellion and Solidarity,” Chomsky speaks with Free Speech Radio News about media control, fear, indoctrination and the importance of solidarity.

Catherine Komp: It’s been twenty-five years since the publication of your and Edward Herman’s acclaimed book “Manufacturing Consent.” How much do you think has changed with the propaganda model, and where do you see it playing out most prominently today?

Noam Chomsky: Well, ten years ago we had a re-edition and we talked about some of the changes. One change is that we were too narrow. There are a number of filters that determine the framework of reporting, and one of the filters was too narrow. Instead of “anti-communism,” which was too narrow, it should have been “fear of the concocted enemy.” So yes, it could be anti-communism—most of that is concocted. So take Cuba again. It’s hard to believe, but for the Pentagon, Cuba was listed as one of the military threats to the United States until a couple of years ago. This is so ludicrous; you don’t even know whether to laugh or cry. It’s as if the Soviet Union had listed Luxembourg as a threat to its security. But here it kind of passes.

The United States is a very frightened country. And there are all kinds of things concocted for you to be frightened about. So that should have been the filter, and [there were] a few other things, but I think it’s basically the same.

There is change. Free Speech Radio didn’t exist when we wrote the book, and there are somethings on the Internet which break the bonds, as do independent work and things like the book I was just talking about when we came in, Jeremy Scahill’s “Dirty Wars,” which is a fantastic piece of investigative reporting on the ground of what actually happens in the countries where we’re carrying out these terror campaigns. And there’s a lot of talk about drones, but not much about the fact that they are terror weapons. […]




By Margaret Elkis, Economy In Crisis

Many may not be aware that the United States has become subservient to a biased, undemocratic organization bent on usurping our sovereignty and trampling on our freedoms. It’s known as the World Trade Organization (WTO).


The WTO is an organization of 153 nations that limits America’s ability to act in its own best interest. The corporate agenda of the organization has destroyed the American economy, allowing multi-nationalists to exploit the world’s cheap resources and put America out of work and out of business.

But what exactly does it mean to be a member of the WTO?

For starters it means the United States has no larger vote than a smaller country, such as Grenada (Article IX, p. 5). Even more alarming is that the WTO has come to represent the most efficient form of colonization the world has ever seen – reaping all the benefits with no downsides of occupation.

Furthermore, the WTO routinely trumps U.S. laws and conventions with its rulings. According to former trade representative Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. is one of the most sued nations in the WTO, and loses 9 out of every 10 cases brought against it! […]




By driftglass

The New York Times tells a sadly familiar story:

It has been a painful slide. A five-year spell of unemployment has slowly scrubbed away nearly every vestige of Ms. Barrington-Ward’s middle-class life. She is a 53-year-old college graduate who worked steadily for three decades. She is now broke and homeless.

 Ms. Barrington-Ward describes it as “my journey through hell.” She was laid off from an administrative position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008; she had earned about $50,000 that year. With the recession spurring employers to dump hundreds of thousands of workers a month and the unemployment rate climbing to the double digits, she found that no matter the number of résumés she sent out — she stopped counting in the thousands — she could not find work.

“I’ve been turned down from McDonald’s because I was told I was too articulate,” she says. “I got denied a job scrubbing toilets because I didn’t speak Spanish and turned away from a laundromat because I was ‘too pretty.’ I’ve also been told point-blank to my face, ‘We don’t hire the unemployed.’ And the two times I got real interest from a prospective employer, the credit check ended it immediately.”

For Ms. Barrington-Ward, joblessness itself has become a trap, an impediment to finding a job. Economists see it the same way, concerned that joblessness lasting more than six months is a major factor preventing people from getting rehired, with potentially grave consequences for tens of millions of Americans.

The long-term jobless, after all, tend to be in poorer health, and to have higher rates of suicide and strained family relations. Even the children of the long-term unemployed see lower earnings down the road.

The consequences are grave for the country, too: lost production, increased social spending, decreased tax revenue and slower growth. Policy makers and academics are now asking whether an improving economy might absorb those workers in time to prevent long-term economic damage.

“I don’t think we know the answer,” said Jesse Rothstein, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “But right now, I think everybody’s worst fears are coming true, as far as we can tell.”

Soon after we first talked in October, Ms. Barrington-Ward left her sister’s house in Ohio, where she had crashed for six weeks, and went back to Boston and filed her bankruptcy paperwork. She contacted a headhunter. “I’ve got to get a job,” she said. “I just have to.” She had two job interviews lined up and her fingers crossed.

Long-term joblessness — the kind that Ms. Barrington-Ward and about four million others are experiencing — is now one of the defining realities of the American work force. […]




Source: youtube


Nov 212013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


In today’s society, plutocracy and political corruption go hand in hand, especially in Washington.

By Margaret Elkis, EconomyInCrisis


Simply put, plutocracy is a government ruled controlled by wealthy individuals. It is no secret that wealth buys power, and that is exactly what we are seeing today. Unfortunately, with wealth and power often comes corruption. Author J.R. Martin stated in chapter nine of his book, Selling U.S. Out, that political scandal and corruption are not new. They have always existed. Indeed, all one has to do is read the news to learn of the corruption and greed taking place between the big players of our government:

  • political parties: Republicans and Democrats
  • lobbyists and overpaid consultants
  • the mainstream media

Over the past forty years, power, money and greed have corrupted our elected government officials at every level. What’s most alarming is that the blatant corruption has been tolerated and accepted by the American people. Unfortunately, members of both parties act as if their jobs are nothing more than a big political game. They’re so focused on insulting the other side and getting their own agendas passed that they forget they’re supposed to be working for the U.S. public.

As J.R. Martin writes:

“Neither party represents the interests of the American people since both are controlled by foreign and domestic corporations and special interest groups that provide the majority of their funding…both parties practice dishonest, divisive politics aimed at dividing and manipulating public opinion instead of seeking to build an honest national consensus on important issues confronting our nation.” […]




By Michael Snyder, TheEconomicCollapse


According to a whistleblower that has recently come forward, Census employees have been faking and manipulating U.S. employment numbers for years.  In fact, it is being alleged that this manipulation was a significant reason for why the official unemployment rate dipped sharply just before the last presidential election.  What you are about to read is incredibly disturbing.  The numbers that the American people depend upon to make important decisions are being faked.  But should we be surprised by this?  After all, Barack Obama has been caught telling dozens of major lies over the past five years.  At this point it is incredible that there are any Americans that still trust anything that comes out of his mouth.  And of course it is not just Obama that has been lying to us.  Corruption and deception are rampant throughout the entire federal government, and this has been the case for years.  Now that some light is being shed on this, hopefully the American people will respond with overwhelming outrage and disgust.

The whistleblower that I mentioned above has been speaking to John Crudele of the New York Post.  In his new article entitled “Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report“, he says that the huge decline in the unemployment rate in September 2012 was “manipulated”…

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated. […]




By Eric Toussaint, CADTM


The crisis that started in the United States in 2007-2008, hit the European Union head on in 2008, and has been causing major problems in the eurozone since 2010. |2| Banks from the strongest European countries are responsible for spreading this plague from the United States to Europe, because they had invested massively in structured financial products. It is important to explain why this crisis has struck the European Union and the eurozone harder than the United States.

18 of the 28 countries in the European Union share a common currency, the euro. |3| The population of the EU is about 500 million people, |4| about half the population of China, Africa, or India, 2/3 of Latin America, and 50% more than the USA.

There are major differences between countries in the European Union. Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, and Austria are the most highly industrialised and powerful countries in the EU. 11 countries are from the ex-Eastern European bloc (3 Baltic Republics — Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia; Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania, which were part of the Soviet bloc, and Slovenia and Croatia, which were part of Yugoslavia). Finally, come Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Cyprus, which have been brutalised by the eurozone crisis.

Large private corporations are taking advantage of wage discrepancies

Wage discrepancies are very significant: the minimum wage in Bulgaria (in 2013, the gross monthly salary is 156 euros) is less than one tenth of what it is in countries like France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. |5| Wage discrepancies within European Union countries can also be very significant. In Germany, 7.5 million employees earn a paltry monthly salary of 400 euros, whereas the normal monthly salary in Germany is more than 1200 euros (there is no national legal minimum wage in Germany).

This discrepancy enables major European corporations, particularly German industrial corporations to be very competitive, because they outsource part of their production to countries like Bulgaria, Romania or to other Central and Eastern European countries, and then transport the parts back to Germany where they are assembled into final products. Finally, they export within the EU or to the global market after having cut the cost of wages to the bone. To top it all off, they pay no import/export taxes within the EU. […]




The recent decision by the Irish government to cut jobseekers’ allowance for under-25s is just the latest in a series of discriminatory policies against young people that have been introduced in Europe in the last few years.

By James Higgins, CafeBabel


It’s not easy to be young in Europe these days, particularly if you are among the 5.5 million young people in the EU that are unemployed. With the scourge of youth unemployment constantly in the headlines, and increasing demands for concerted action, governments are hitting back. But instead of focusing all their energy on the labour market inequalities, financial corruption, greed and cronyism that created and exacerbated the crisis, some are hitting back at the young people themselves.

Like it or lump it

On 16 October the Irish government announced that it would reduce jobseekers’ allowance for new entrants aged under-25 to €100 per week as part of its budget for 2014. People aged 25 will also get a reduced rate of €144, and only those aged 26 and upwards will get the full jobseekers’ rate of €188. In the Dáil (Irish parliament) some of the opposition parties and independents expressed concern at these measures, which smack of discrimination. Thankfully parliamentarians on the government benches explained that they wanted to ‘incentivise’ youth employment, and save young people from lying around watching flat-screen TVs all day. To make such a comment about any another age group would be unthinkable, but it seems that young people are fair game.

The National Youth Council of Ireland have labelled the cuts “disproportionate and unfair” and have warned that they will create further hardship for young jobseekers and accelerate the number of young people emigrating from the country. Shortly after the budget was announced, youth campaigners formed a mock airport queue outside the Irish parliament to compel the government to reverse the decision, but the protests fell on deaf ears. Young people would have to like it or lump it. […]




Source: ScriptoniteDaily


Every  year, tax avoidance costs the continent of Africa lost revenues of $63bn a year.  This is more than Africa receives in overseas development aid – and enough to deliver the UN Millennium Goals of universal primary education, universal healthcare, and upgrade Africa’s entire road network.  Instead, banks are helping to spirit this money into offshore tax havens.  Barclays Bank is the largest retail bank in Africa, and today ActionAid is launching a campaign to tell Barclays to clean up its act on tax havens.

Why is Africa so Poor?

Africa suffers extreme poverty, and by some measures things are getting worse.  Between 1990 and 2011, the number of new born babies dying rose from 1 million to 1.1million a year, and the number of hungry people rose from 175 million to 239 million.

Much of this poverty and destitution is as a result of the myth of development.  Western creditor nations (mostly ex-colonial) extended credit to African nations in the name of ‘development’, after the Second World War.  In reality, it was merely to keep a surplus of petro-dollars making more money from the interest on loan payments, than in savings accounts during a time of high inflations (which would wipe the value).  Later, when the interest rates became unpayable – the creditor nations offered ‘bridging loans’ often to despots, with extraordinary interest rates and conditions attached. These loans were called ‘Structural Adjustment Programmes’ and administered through the IMF.  This became know as the Debt Trap – and once you understand the Debt Trap, you immediately see the concept of ‘development’ as a myth.  The West is not helping to develop Africa, Africa is helping to develop the West.

This comment from Martin Griffiths in International Relations: The Key Concepts summerises the issue perfectly:

“Between 1982 and 1990 $927bn was advanced to debtor states, but $1,345bn were remitted in debt service alone. The debtor states began the 1990’s 60% more in debt than they were in 1982. Sub-Saharan Africa’s debt more than doubled in this period.  When the issue of debt forgiveness is raised, Western banks have argued that it would create what economists call ‘moral hazard’ – failing to honour debts would simply encourage poor states to keep borrowing in the expectation that they would never have to repay their debts.  On the other hand, some commentators argue that moral hazard should cut both ways.  Over borrowing is over lending, and creditors should pay their fair share of the costs of mistakes made in the 70’s.

By 1997 Third World Debt totalled over $2.2trn.  The same year $250bn was repaid in interest and loan principal. The debt trap represents a continuing humanitarian disaster for some 700 million of the world poorest people.  During the last decade, the world’s most heavily indebted continent, Africa, has experienced falling life expectancies, falling incomes, falling investment levels and rising infant and maternal mortality rates” (Griffiths, 2008) […]


Nov 202013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart



If you still are confused why the U.S. economy is completely stuck in the mud, look no further than the parasites of Washington D.C

Ever since I started writing about what is happening in the world around me, my primary theme has been that the root cancer at the core of the U.S., and indeed global economy, is cronyism and an absence of the rule of law when it comes to oligarchs. In the U.S., this cronyism is best described as an insidious relationship between large multi-national corporations and big government to funnel all of the wealth and resources of the nation to themselves at the expense of everyone else. In a genuine free market defined by heightened competition and governed by an equal application of the rule of law to all, the 0.1% does not aggregate all of a nation’s wealth. This sort of thing only happens in crony capitalism, which is basically nothing more than complete and total insider deals to aggregate newly created money into the hands of the few.

The following profile of Washington D.C.’s so-called “boom” from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch pretty much tells you all you need to know. While I think the tone of the article is absurd considering this is no “economic boom,” but merely parasitic wealth extraction on a unprecedented scale, it is still quite telling. It is no coincidence that as D.C. has grown wealthier, the nation has become much, much poorer. Key excerpts below:

The avalanche of cash that made Washington rich in the last decade has transformed the culture of a once staid capital and created a new wave of well-heeled insiders.

The winners in the new Washington are not just the former senators, party consiglieri and four-star generals who have always profited from their connections. Now they are also the former bureaucrats, accountants and staff officers for whom unimagined riches are suddenly possible. They are the entrepreneurs attracted to the capital by its aura of prosperity and its super-educated workforce. They are the lawyers, lobbyists and executives who work for companies that barely had a presence in Washington before the boom.

At the same time, big companies realized that a few million spent shaping legislation could produce windfall profits. They nearly doubled the cash they poured into the capital. […]




By Michael Snyder, Activist Postz


How many lies can one president tell and still retain any credibility?

What you are about to see is absolutely astounding. It is a long list of important promises that Barack Obama has broken since he has been president. If he had only told a few lies, perhaps the American people would be willing to overlook that.

After all, pretty much all of our politicians our liars. Unfortunately, many of the lies that Obama has told appear to have been quite cold-hearted in nature. For example, Barack Obama repeatedly made the promise that “you will be able to keep your health care plan” under Obamacare. But now we are learning that he knew that this was a lie all along. Not only that, the Democrats in Congress knew that this was a lie all along too. In fact, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, said the following when she was asked about Obama’s promise to the American people recently: “He should’ve just been specific. No, we all knew.” You can see video of her making this statement right here. The truth is that they all knew that millions upon millions of Americans would lose their current health care policies under Obamacare. They deliberately lied just so that they could get the law passed.

And of course this is far from the only major lie that Obama has told in recent years. The following is a list of 23 famous Obama quotes that turned out to be broken promises or cold-hearted lies…

#1 “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”

#2 “My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.” […]




By Pamela Duncan, Irish Times

Bernadette McAliskey speaking at the Marzism 2013 at the Teachers Club, Parenell Square, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Bernadette McAliskey speaking at the Marzism 2013 at the Teachers Club, Parenell Square, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

[…] Migration myths

“This is our narrative: that we leave our country and in leaving it we have enriched every society to which we have gone. So is the logic, therefore, not that the people coming to our society will bring that diversity, that skill, that new dynamic and perspective that would enrich our society?” she said.

“The best thing we could do on this very small island, North and South, is commit ourselves to end racism in this generation and if we did you would never hear immigration controls mentioned again.”

Ms McAliskey said racism needed to be challenged.

“It was the same when we had to take on anti-feminist, anti-women language, you have to challenge it wherever it is. You have to ask people to explain themselves.”

She said racism needed to be addressed through education in the same way as we educated children on bullying.




By Andrew Kreig, News From Underground

Roger Shuler, blogger @ Legal Schnauzer, indefinitely detained in Alabama.

Roger Shuler, blogger @ Legal Schnauzer, indefinitely detained in Alabama on bogus charges.

Alabama authorities paraded a shackled liberal pundit into court to denounce him Nov. 14 for recent news coverage about his jailing. Then defendant Roger Shuler was forced to defend his writing while bound and without a lawyer.

Shuler is a 56-year-old commentator jailed on contempt of court charges Oct. 23 arising out of a libel suit. He published columns alleging a sex scandal involving Robert Riley, Jr., a wealthy, politically powerful GOP attorney whose father served two terms as Alabama’s governor.

Nov. 19 Update:  Shuler, who writes under the name Legal Schnauzer, remained jailed indefinitely without bond. His wife provided two mind-boggling accounts of his hearing, most notably in Nov. 14 Court Hearing in Legal Schnauzer First Amendment Case Results in “Final Order.” In it, she relates that the judge has decided the libel case with essentially no input from the defendant and has vowed to keep him in jail forever unless he arranges destruction of what the judge determined were false news reports. More details are below.

Shuler reports on Deep South legal affairs via his Legal Schnauzer blog, whose columns are sometimes widely republished on other progressive sites.

He often breaks stories about ordinary litigants unfairly treated in the courts. Also, he writes about financial corruption involving taxpayer dollars, illicit sex among conspirators and their minions, and cover-ups that are intended to uphold the family values image regarded as especially necessary for election success in his region.

Shuler’s most frequent targets are Republicans in the legal and political system. But he has repeatedly pilloried at least two of his state’s major Democrats. One was former Congressman and gubernatorial nominee Artur Davis. Another was former U.S. Attorney Douglas Jones, who was co-counsel with Riley in leading a class action that won a $700 million fraud judgment. […]




By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon / Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon / Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last week, I ran a quick post in this space (“Chase’s Twitter Gambit Devolves into All-Time PR Fiasco“) on the epic Twitter fail that was JP Morgan Chase’s planned #AskJPM online Q&A. For those who missed it, this was that outstanding Too-Big-To-Fail marketing idea where Chase expected readers to tweet in in search of career advice – only to take a massive faceplant as Twitter exploded with profane, abusive and in many cases inspiringly funny “questions.” (“Would you rather negotiate with 1 horse-sized Eric Holder, or 100 duck-sized Eric Holders?” was my favorite.)

As an afterthought, I asked readers to send in haikus on the theme of Chase’s PR gambit. To the author of the best poem I promised a Jamie Dimon “Greedy Bastard” t-shirt. I honestly didn’t expect so many outstanding submissions. There were so many good ones, in fact, that in the end I couldn’t settle on just one winner – there will be two, in the end. But before I get to those, I should give props to some very honorable mentions.

First, all praise is due to those who actually honored the literary spirit of the haiku. Many of us less-civilized Americans, myself included, just went straight for a crude 17-syllable dick joke and didn’t bother with the form too much. The one I put on Twitter read as follows:

Ask Chase anything!
Public replies: blow us, you
Cheap gangster fuckwads.




Source: youtube


Nov 192013

El análisis de James Petras, 99GetSmart


“Siento un gran aprecio por todos los oyentes, tanto a los uruguayos en Uruguay como a los que están en otro país. Es un gran honor, tener audiencia interesada en los temas del día, temas políticos que afectan al mundo, la paz y la guerra, la prosperidad y la explotación, debemos seguir acompañando los intereses de nuestros oyentes”, dijo James Petras

“Michelle Bachelet ganó solo con el 23% del electorado, es decir el 46% de los que votaron. Creo que esto significa la falta de confianza que -particularmente los jóvenes y los trabajadores- tienen por lo que hizo la señora Bachelet en su primer gobierno, que no fue otra cosa que gobernar más o menos conforme con todo el proyecto neoliberal que su coalición, la Concertación, apoyó por 20 años”, sostuvo este lunes 18 de noviembre el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras, en su columna de análisis de la coyuntura internacional por CX36 (*).  Al respecto agregó que “Chile es el país de la región en que las grandes empresas consiguen más lucro que en cualquier otro país” y que el resultado de las elecciones del domingo son “una expresión de la concentración de la riqueza y de las desigualdades en Chile, pese a que pasaron gobiernos democristianos, socialistas y ahora se juntaron con el Partido Comunista que consiguió uno o dos Diputados”. Además actualizó la situación en Venezuela y cuestionó el papel de François Hollande intentando sabotear las conversaciones de occidente con Irán. A continuación transcribimos este análisis, que Usted puede escuchar/descargar en el siguiente link:

Efrain Chury Iribarne: Buenos días Petras, bienvenido a los micrófonos de la 36. ¿Cómo está?

James Petras: Estamos muy bien, con un día de primavera pese a estar el otoño.

EChI: Bien.

Nos gustaría comenzar con un análisis de las elecciones en Chile, que se realizaron ayer.

JP: Si y es un resultado que debemos analizar muy de cerca, porque la tasa de abstención fue de prácticamente un 50%, con la particularidad de haber sido especialmente alto entre el electorado joven.

Por esta razón, Michelle Bachelet ganó solo con el 23% del electorado, es decir el 46% de los que votaron.

Esto significa la falta de confianza que -particularmente los jóvenes y los trabajadores- tienen por lo que hizo la señora Bachelet en su primer gobierno, que no fue otra cosa que gobernar más o menos conforme con todo el proyecto neoliberal que su coalición, la Concertación, apoyó por 20 años.

Es decir, Chile tiene el peor sistema de pensiones, es el peor sistema de Educación particularmente en Educación Superior; tiene el más costoso sistema de Salud; entonces las estimaciones de muchos expertos chilenos y su modelo, no están de acuerdo con las experiencias de la gran mayoría del pueblo chileno.

Chile es el país de la región en que las grandes empresas consiguen más lucro que en cualquier otro país. Fíjate que en Chile el año pasado cobraron 25.000 millones de lucro, que es más de lo que recibieron en Brasil, que es 10 veces más grande. Es una expresión de la concentración de la riqueza y de las desigualdades en Chile, pese a que pasaron gobiernos democristianos, socialistas y ahora se juntaron con el Partido Comunista que consiguió uno o dos Diputados.

No debemos tomar en cuenta lo que dicen los candidatos, las consignas que utilizan, y la figura de Bachelet no representa para muchos chilenos una alternativa. Y por eso tienen que ir a segunda vuelta, donde probablemente gane por amplia mayoría entre los que voten. El voto de protesta, el voto de rechazo es la inmensa mayoría en el país y eso hay que anotarlo, porque no encuentran en  las alternativas pequeñas o grandes, una voz que refleje sus intereses.

Hay que enfatizar entonces que Chile es el país con las peores desigualdades; el país con la Educación Superior más costosa y de menor calidad, porque es una empresa.Allá cualquiera puede montar con alguna inversión, un edificio, algunas salas, una Universidad y cobrar miles de dólares.Por eso muchos jóvenes no pueden terminar sus estudios, porque no pueden cumplir con el pago del cupón. Y este es el sector más perjudicado  por los socialistas y democristianos, ni hablar de la derecha.

Después de la elección de Bachelet, a pesar de tener algún comunista en el Congreso, van a encontrar excusas para no hacer cosas.Dirán que no tienen super mayoría en el Senado, que la reforma constitucional es prioridad a pesar de no tener suficiente apoyo para aprobar cambios. Es decir, inventarán mil excusas para seguir haciendo lo mismo del pasado.

Soy muy pesimista de lo que pueda surgir de esta elección, porque los que más necesitan encuentran en esta alternativa pocos reflejos de sus intereses.

EChI: Hay una noticia que dice: “Israel recibe con los brazos abiertos al presidente francés François Hollande, por su desempeño de papel perjudicial en la última ronda de diálogos entre Irán y el Grupo 5+1, sobre el programa nuclear que tuvo lugar en Ginebra, Suiza”.

JP: Es como un patrón que recibe a su sirviente, porque cuando abrió la boca Hollande repitió como un papagayo las cuatro condiciones de (Benjamín) Netanyahu y la ultra racista derechista israelí.

Es imposible separar a Hollande de Netanyahu, están vinculados ideológica y políticamente, es un sionista recién convertido a la política de ultranza. Dice que Irán no debe tener uranio enriquecido, en ninguna parte del país; pero el señor Hollande no dijo ni una palabra de las armas nucleares que tiene Israel, que por cierto tiene más de 400 bombas y misiles nucleares. Pero quiere eliminar  las grandes empresas que elaboran energía nuclear, quiere eliminar el derecho que tiene todo el mundo de enriquecer uranio; quiere desmantelar las reservas iraníes; y quiere una inspección 24 horas siete días a la semana de todas las instalaciones. Entonces, él sabe concientemente que estas demandas son para sabotear las negociaciones y provocar la guerra.

Pero Hollande es un irresponsable, más allá de ser un vendido, corrupto, que no ha hecho nada para la sociedad francesa, sin embargo tiene la presunción de poder dictar la política a un país soberano.

Visita es una expresión de la gran vergüenza que representa Hollande y Francia. No veo ninguna protesta de los izquierdistas franceses ante esta visita, que representa la entrega de la independencia francesa al poder sionista. Por eso, creo que no tendrá ningún efecto lo que él dice porque los iraníes no van a aceptar estas condiciones y lo sabe Hollande, pero quiere ser el mal muchacho en estas negociaciones.

No creo que tenga éxito, porque las condiciones son tan extremas que nadie puede aceptarlas, incluso los otros países europeos, pero sí puede sabotear las reuniones, que salen por consenso y sólo necesitas un boludo como Hollande para perjudicar todo el proceso.

EChI: Los Hermanos Musulmanes de Egipto, han llamado en las últimas horas al diálogo a todos los grupos involucrados, para salir de la crisis creada en el país tras el derrocamiento de Mohamed Mursi.

JP: Lo que está pasando es que la dictadura militar está consolidando su poder. Han controlado los medios, el poder Legislativo, el poder Judicial, han aplastado a los grupos opositores, la mayoría de la Hermandad, han encarcelado a todos los líderes, han censurado a la prensa; entonces, en ese contexto va a dejar que algunos grupos críticos funcionen dentro de los límites muy estrechos, porque busca ahora consolidar las relaciones con el Fondo Monetario y los países occidentales.

Sigue toda la maquinaria represiva, van aseguir con el proceso judicial contra los líderes electos, y van a permitir una pequeña apertura como una fachada para seguir la dictadura y consolidar un poder que podría mantenerse en el poder por muchos años.

Y Rusia está allá buscando aprovechar alguna discrepancia que  existe entre Egipto y Washington, pero que son menores.Por lo que simplemente está allá no para mejorar las condiciones democráticas sino para mejorar las relaciones diplomáticas y comerciales, con el nuevo liderazgo consolidado.

Rusia en este contexto no busca apoyar las fuerzas democráticas, ellos  descuentan un posible nuevo levantamiento, el resurgimiento del poder electoral islámico.Entonces es un tipo de política que se llama ‘real politic’.Simplemente diciendo que la dictadura busca ampliar relaciones, Rusia busca entrar otra vez en Egipto y hay una combinación entre la dictadura con Rusia, como han buscado y conseguido un acomodo con los Estados Unidos y Europa.

Es la falta de fuerzas activas ahora frente a la represión, que deciden los gobernantes aceptar el status quo.

ECHI: Bien, como siempre los minutos finales quedan para hablar de los temas que han ocupado tu interés.

JP: Bueno, hay varios.

Uno es muy preocupante lo que está pasando en Venezuela con las elecciones, más o menos dentro de tres semanas. La oposición sigue su campaña tratando de perjudicar la economía par fomentar el descontento. Y lo que tienen a su favor no es ninguna propuesta positiva, ninguna alternativa que pueda mejorar las condiciones en Venezuela, pero buscan de todas formas arruinar el proyecto gubernamental. Y las medidas de (Nicolás) Maduro, intervienen en las empresas para vender la mercancía a precio justo, han tenido algún efecto: encarcelaron a un centenar de hombres de negocios que aprovechan las circunstancias para cosechar ganancias de más de 1000%. Productos que compran a 20 pesos los venden a dos mil pesos, cosas exorbitantes, para provocar la escasez y la  inflación.

Ahora, el gran peligro para la elección de los socialistas es que la inflación siga alta. Es un peligro, porque en mi experiencia  yo anoto que cuando hay altas tasas de inflación, más del 30% siempre perjudican al que está gobernando. Porque la inflación es la forma de deteriorar el poder de consumo de las grandes mayorías que no tienen mecanismos de compensación es la base principal del gobierno, los que serán más perjudicados.

Al final de cuentas, el problema estratégico es que el proyecto de combinar la regulación estatal con el capitalismo; el capitalismo con el bienestar social; muestra todas sus debilidades, porque en determinado momento los capitalistas controlan la producción y distribución, utilizando eso políticamente perjudican la posibilidad de que el gobierno consiga la estabilidad.

Y el gobierno ha lanzado campañas de limpieza contra la corrupción, otro factor influyente en las elecciones, porque hay alcaldes y gobernadores que no han cumplido una buena tarea. Y la derecha está aprovechando esta brecha entre el discurso oficial y la práctica de algunos sectores para condenar al gobierno y eso puede beneficiar a algunos candidatos.

El resultado será muy estrecho y tal vez la derecha gane algunas ciudades importantes, aunque no creo que consiga la mayoría de las alcaldías. Las elecciones municipales terminarán como un empate, entre las fuerzas gubernamentales y la oposición. Pero de todos modos muestra un camino abierto, con la intervención estatal contra la corrupción y la especulación; creo que es un buen camino si pueden profundizarlo y ampliarlo.

En este marco, los sindicatos venezolanos deben  ampliar su visión, sólo buscan mejor salario sin organizar las grandes masas, sin tomar en cuenta una política que pueda ampliar el papel social del Estado en la gestión. Hasta ahora el sindicalismo tiene mucha retórica radical, pero es poco efectivo para aglutinar mayorías para relanzar el proyecto de Chávez. Es algo que debemos tomar en cuenta.

Otro tema que quiero comentar es sobre una noticia que tenemos sobre como los Servicios Secretos británicos vigilan los viajes de diplomáticos extranjeros. Hace poco encontré un libro que se llama “Dial M for Murdoch” (de Tom Watson y Martin Hickman) sobre el gran capitalista, Rupert Murdoch, dueño de más de trescientas empresas noticiosas, algo escandaloso. Bien, este Murdoch tenía en su planilla de pagos a toda la policía de Scotland Yard.

Ese imaginario que tenemos en el exterior sobre Scotland Yard como una policía eficiente, honesta, etc., es totalmente falsa. Toda la administración de Justicia en Inglaterra era corrupta, estaba pagada por este grupo editorial, el grupo Murdoch, que  utilizaba estos contactos para que los policías les entreguen noticias, escándalos, de cualquier persona, vidas íntimas, entrando en los teléfonos, los faxes, las computadoras, etc.; con la colaboración activa de la policía al más alto nivel, por más de 35 años, supervisores de policás de Scotland Yard recibiendo 50.000 dólares por algún ítem de noticias, como escándalos de un parlamentario involucrado en cocaína o por acostarse con su secretaria; grandes titulares y una diversión que impactaba a siete millones de lectores, la gran mayoría de las clases populares. Fíjate, este Murdoch llenando la cabeza de las grandes masas inglesas con esta basura, y esta basura en la cabeza no permite que la clase obrera pueda funcionar como clase, porque están metidos en escándalos de actores, futbolistas, etc.

Eso explica, en parte, porqué hay injusticia en Inglaterra, por la corrupción de la policía por un lado. Por otro lado, la corrupción de la mentalidad popular con esta basura de noticias, que también tiene un gran impacto en desviar la atención y  limitar cualquier acción  contra las medidas de austeridad. Esto explica en parte, porque en el mundo anglosajón –tanto Inglaterra como Estados Unidos- la clase obrera perjudicada no actúa.

EChI: Muy bien Petras. Te leo un mensaje que llega desde Estados Unidos, es de Raúl, es pintor, y dice que siempre está atento para escuchar a James Petras en la 36 por  Internet y que además, vive en la misma región que Petras a quien le manda un saludo.

JP: Bueno, muchas gracias. Siento un gran aprecio por todos los oyentes, tanto a los uruguayos en Uruguay como a los que están en otro país. Es un gran honor, tener audiencia interesada en los temas del día, temas políticos que afectan al mundo, la paz y la guerra, la prosperidad y la explotación, debemos seguir acompañando los intereses de nuestros oyentes.

EChI: Muy bien, gracias por todo. Te mandamos un abrazo, hasta el lunes.

JP: Un abrazo. Chau.

Nov 182013

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart


By Tom Burghardt, Global Research


Back in the 1990s, security researchers and privacy watchdogs were alarmed by government demands that hardware and software firms build “backdoors” into their products, the millions of personal computers and cell phones propelling communication flows along the now-quaint “information superhighway.”

Never mind that the same factory-installed kit that allowed secret state agencies to troll through private communications also served as a discrete portal for criminal gangs to loot your bank account or steal your identity.

To make matters worse, instead of the accountability promised the American people by Congress in the wake of the Watergate scandal, successive US administrations have worked assiduously to erect an impenetrable secrecy regime backstopped by secret laws overseen by secret courts which operate on the basis of secret administrative subpoenas, latter day lettres de cachet.

But now that all their dirty secrets are popping out of Edward Snowden’s “bottomless briefcase,” we also know the “Crypto Wars” of the 1990s never ended.

Documents published by The Guardian and The New York Times revealed that the National Security Agency “actively engages the US and IT industries” and has “broadly compromised the guarantees that internet companies have given consumers to reassure them that their communications, online banking and medical records would be indecipherable to criminals or governments.”

“Those methods include covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards,” The Guardian disclosed, along with “the use of supercomputers to break encryption with ‘brute force’, and–the most closely guarded secret of all–collaboration with technology companies and internet service providers themselves.” […]




Source: youtube




Source: youtube

Someone at JP Morgan said, “Let’s ask the American public what they’d like to say to one of our top bankers on Twitter.” Turns out that wasn’t such a great idea. The tweets generated from #AskJPM range from funny to down-right nasty. So someone at CNBC said, “Let’s have award-winning actor, Stacy Keach…the voice from American Greed read them verbatim.” Almost a brilliant idea. Then they had the good sense to add me… the blue puppet. And BOOM now it’s brilliant.




Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is currently in a prison hospital in Siberia; here she and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek meet in an extraordinary exchange of letters

By Slavoj Žižek, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, The Guardian

We are the children of Dionysus, sailing in a barrel and not ­recognising any authority' … Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot writing to Slavoj Žižek. Photograph: David Levene/AFP/Getty/Guardian

We are the children of Dionysus, sailing in a barrel and not ­recognising any authority’ … Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot writing to Slavoj Žižek. Photograph: David Levene/AFP/Getty/Guardian

2 January 2013

Dear Nadezhda,

I hope you have been able to organise your life in prison around small rituals that make it tolerable, and that you have time to read. Here are my thoughts on your predicament.

John Jay Chapman, an American political essayist, wrote this about radicals in 1900: “They are really always saying the same thing. They don’t change; everybody else changes. They are accused of the most incompatible crimes, of egoism and a mania for power, indifference to the fate of their cause, fanaticism, triviality, lack of humour, buffoonery and irreverence. But they sound a certain note. Hence the great practical power of persistent radicals. To all appearance, nobody follows them, yet everyone believes them. They hold a tuning-fork and sound A, and everybody knows it really is A, though the time-honoured pitch is G flat.” Isn’t this a good description of the effect of Pussy Riot performances? In spite of all accusations, you sound a certain note. It may appear that people do not follow you, but secretly, they believe you, they know you are telling the truth, or, even more, you are standing for truth.

But what is this truth? Why are the reactions to Pussy Riot performances so violent, not only in Russia? All hearts were beating for you as long as you were perceived as just another version of the liberal-democratic protest against the authoritarian state. The moment it became clear that you rejected global capitalism, reporting on Pussy Riot became much more ambiguous. What is so disturbing about Pussy Riot to the liberal gaze is that you make visible the hidden continuity between Stalinism and contemporary global capitalism. […]




Source: youtube




By Jerome Roos, RoarMag

On Thursday, tens of thousands of Greeks took to the streets to commemorate the 1973 student uprising that eventually toppled the US-backed military junta.


Photos kindly provided by Sam Cossar-Gilbert of Take the Square


Nov 172013

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

Artists A.Signl, left, and B. Shanti of the artist group Captain Borderline paint their mural 'Surveillance of the fittest' at a wall in Cologne, Germany, Thursday. The painting, showing an American bald eagle with surveillance cameras watching a herd of sheep, is aimed at drawing attention to the spying program of the American National Security Agency.

Artists A.Signl, left, and B. Shanti of the artist group Captain Borderline paint their mural ‘Surveillance of the fittest’ at a wall in Cologne, Germany, Thursday. The painting, showing an American bald eagle with surveillance cameras watching a herd of sheep, is aimed at drawing attention to the spying program of the American National Security Agency.


Revelations about the long-term global, intrusive spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other allied intelligence apparatuses have provoked widespread protests and indignation and threatened ties between erstwhile imperial allies.

Allied regimes have uniformly condemned NSA espionage as a violation of trust and sovereignty, a threat to their national and economic security and to their citizens’ privacy.

In contrast, the Washington has responded in a contradictory manner: on the one hand, US officials and intelligence chiefs have acknowledged ‘some excesses and mistakes’, on the other hand, they defend the entire surveillance program as necessary for US national security.

Interpretations vary about the US global spy apparatus – how it was built and why it was launched against  hundreds of millions of people. ‘Subjective’ and ‘objective’ explanations abound, evoking psychological, social, economic, strategic and political considerations.

A multi-factorial explanation is required.

The Integrated Hypothesis of the Global Police State

One of the essential components of a police state is an all-pervasive spy apparatus operating independently of any legal or constitutional constraints.  Spy operations include: 1) massive surveillance over text, video and audio communications and 2) the capacity to secretly record, store and use information secretly collected.  This information strengthens political and economic leaders who, in turn, appoint and direct the spy chiefs.  The political and economic rulers control the spy-lords by setting the goals, means and targets of the surveillance state.  The US global spy apparatus is neither ‘self-starting nor self-perpetuating’.  It did not arise in a vacuum and it has virtually no strategic autonomy.  While there may be intra-bureaucratic conflicts and rivalries, the institutions and groups function within the overall ‘paradigm’ established and directed by the political and economic elite.

The Global Spy Structure

The growth and expansion of the US spy apparatus has deep roots in its history and is related to the colonial need to control subjugated native and enslaved peoples. However, the global operations emerged after the Second World War when the US replaced Europe as the center of world imperialism.  The US assumed the principal role in preventing the spread of revolutionary and anti-colonial movements from the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to war and crisis-burdened countries of Europe, North and Southeast Asia and Latin America.  When the collectivist states fell apart in the 1990’s the US became the sole superpower and a unipolar world emerged.

For the United States, ‘unipolarity’ meant (1) an impetus toward total global domination; (2) a world-wide network of military bases; (3) the subordination of capitalist competitors in other industrial countries, (4) the destruction of nationalist adversaries and (6) the unfettered pillage of resources from the former collectivist regimes as they became vassal states.  The last condition meant the complete dismantling of the collectivist state and its public institutions – education, health care and worker rights.

The opportunities for immense profits and supreme control over this vast new empire were boundless while the risks seemed puny, at least during the ‘golden period’, defined by the years immediately after (1) the capitalist takeover of the ex-Soviet bloc, (2) the Chinese transition to capitalism and (3) the conversion of many former African and Asian nationalist regimes, parties and movements to ‘free-market’ capitalism.

Dazzled by their vision of a ‘new world to conquer’ the United States set up an international state apparatus in order to exploit this world-historical opportunity.  Most top political leaders, intelligence strategists, military officials and business elites quickly realized that these easy initial conquests and the complicity of pliable and kleptocratic post-Communist vassal rulers would not last.  The societies would eventually react and the lucrative plunder of resources was not sustainable.  Nationalist adversaries were bound to arise and demand their own spheres of influence.  The White House feared their own capitalist allies would take on the role of imperialist competitors seeking to grab ‘their share’ of the booty, taking over and exploiting resources, public enterprises and cheap labor.

The new ‘unipolar world’ meant the shredding of the fabric of social and political life.  In the ‘transition’ to free market capitalism, stable employment, access to health care, security, education and civilized living standards disappeared.  In the place of once complex, advanced social systems, local tribal and ethnic wars erupted.  It would be ‘divide and conquer’ in an orgy of pillage for the empire.  But the vast majority of the people of the world suffered from chaos and regression when the multi-polar world of collectivist, nationalist, and imperialist regimes gave way to the unipolar empire.

For US imperialist strategists and their academic apologists the transition to a unipolar imperial world was exhilarating and they dubbed their unchallenged domination the ‘New World Order’ (NWO).  The US imperial state then had the right and duty to maintain and police its ‘New World Order’ – by any means. Francis Fukiyama, among other academic apologists celebrated the ‘end of history’ in a paroxysm of imperial fever. Liberal-imperial academics, like Immanuel Wallerstein, sensed the emerging challenges to the US Empire and advanced the view of a Manichean world of ‘unipolarity’ (meaning ‘order’) versus ‘multipolar chaos’– as if the hundreds of millions of lives in scores of countries devastated by the rise of the post-collectivist US empire did not have a stake in liberating themselves from the yoke of a unipolar world.

By the end of its first decade, the unipolar empire exhibited cracks and fissures.  It had to confront adversarial nationalist regimes in resource-rich countries, including Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Bashar Assad in Syria, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Khamenei in Iran.  They challenged US supremacy in North Africa and the Middle East.  The Taliban in Afghanistan and nationalist Islamist movements questioned US influence over the vassal rulers of Muslim countries – especially the puppet monarchs in the Persian Gulf.

On the other side of the imperial coin, the domestic economic foundations of the ‘New World Order’ were weakened by a series of speculative crises undermining the support of the US public as well as sectors of the elite.  Meanwhile European and Japanese allies, as well as emerging Chinese capitalists, were beginning to compete for markets.

Within the US an ultra-militarist group of political ideologues, public officials and policy advisers, embracing a doctrine combining a domestic police state with foreign military intervention, took power in Washington.  ‘Conservatives’ in the Bush, Sr. regime, ‘liberals’ in the Clinton administration and ‘neo-conservatives’ in the Bush, Jr. administration all sought and secured the power to launch wars in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans, to expand and consolidate the unipolar empire.

Maintaining and expanding the unipolar empire became the trigger for the White House’s global police state apparatus.  As new regimes were added to Washington’s orbit, more and more surveillance was needed to make sure they did not drift into a competitor’s sphere of influence.

The year 2000 was critical for the global police state.  First there was the dot-com crash in the financial sector.  The speculative collapse caused massive but unorganized disaffection among the domestic population.  Arab resistance re-emerged in the Middle East.  The cosmically corrupt Boris Yeltsin vassal state fell and a nationalist, Russian President Vladimir Putin took power.  The willing accomplices to the disintegration of the former USSR had taken their billions and fled to New York, London and Israel. Russia was on the road to recovery as a unified nuclear-armed nation state with regional ambitions.  The period of unchallenged unipolar imperial expansion had ended.

The election of President Bush Jr., opened the executive branch to police state ideologues and civilian warlords, many linked to the state of Israel, who were determined to destroy secular Arab nationalist and Muslim adversaries in the Middle East.  The steady growth of the global police state had been ‘too slow’ for them.  The newly ascendant warlords and the proponents of the global police state wanted to take advantage of their golden opportunity to make US/Israeli supremacy in the Middle East irreversible and unquestioned via the application of overwhelming force (‘shock and awe’).

Their primary political problem in expanding global military power was the lack of a fully dominant domestic police state capable of demobilizing American public opinion largely opposed to any new wars.  ‘Disaster ideologues’ like Phillip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice understood the need for a new ‘Pearl Harbor’ to occur and threaten domestic security and thereby terrify the public into war. They lamented the fact that no credible regimes were left in the Middle East to cast as the ‘armed aggressor’ and as a threat to US national security. Such an enemy was vital to the launching of new wars. And new wars were necessary to justify the scale and scope of the new global spy apparatus and emergency police state edicts the warlords and neoconservatives had in mind.  Absent a credible ‘state-based adversary’, the militarists settled for an act of terror (or the appearance of one) to ‘shock and awe’ the US public into accepting its project for imperial wars, the imposition of a domestic police state and the establishment of a vast global spy apparatus.

The September 11, 2001 explosions at the World Trade Center in New York City and the plane crash into a wing (mostly vacant for repairs) of the Pentagon in Washington, DC were the triggers for a vast political and bureaucratic transformation of the US imperial state.  The entire state apparatus became a police state operation.  All constitutional guarantees were suspended.  The neo-conservatives seized power, the civilian warlords ruled.  A huge body of police state legislation suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere, the ‘Patriot Act’.  The Zionists in office set the objectives and influenced military policies to focus on Israel’s regional interests and the destruction of Israel’s Arab adversaries who had opposed its annexation of Palestine.  War was declared against Afghanistan without any evidence that the ruling Taliban was involved or aware of the September 11 attack of the US.  Despite massive civilian and even some military dissent, the civilian warlords and Zionist officials blatantly fabricated a series of pretexts to justify an unprovoked war against the secular nationalist regime in Iraq, the most advanced of all Arab countries. Europe was divided over the war. Countries in Asia and Latin America joined Germany and France in refusing to support the invasion.  The United Kingdom, under a ‘Labor’ government, eagerly joined forces with the US hoping to regain some of its former colonial holdings in the Gulf.

At home, hundreds of billions of tax dollars were diverted from social programs to fund a vast army of police state operatives.  The ideologues of war and the legal eagles for torture and the police state shifted into high gear.  Those who opposed the wars were identified, monitored and the details of their lives were ‘filed away’ in a vast database.  Soon millions came to be labeled as ‘persons of interest’ if they were connected in any way to anyone who was ‘suspect’, i.e. opposed to the ‘Global War on Terror’.  Eventually even more tenuous links were made to everyone…family members, classmates and employers.

Over 1.5 million ‘security cleared’ monitors were contracted by the government to spy on hundreds of millions of citizens. The spy state spread domestically and internationally.  For a global empire, based on a unipolar state, the best defense was judged to be a massive global surveillance apparatus operating independently of any other government – including the closest allies.

The slogan, ‘Global War on Terror’ (GWOT) became an open-ended formula for the civilian warlords, militarists and Zionists to expand the scope and duration of overt and covert warfare and espionage.  ‘Homeland Security’ departments, operating at both the Federal and State levels, were consolidated and expanded with massive budgets for incarceration and repression.  Constitutional protections and the Writ of Habeas Corpus were ‘rendered quaint vestiges of history’.  The National Security Agency doubled its personnel and budget with a mandate to distrust and monitor allies and vassal states. The targets piled upon targets, far beyond traditional adversaries, sweeping up the public and private communications of all political, military and economic leaders , institutions, and  citizenry.

The ‘Global War on Terror’ provided the ideological framework for a police state based on the totalitarian conception that ‘everybody and everything is connected to each other’ in a ‘global system’ threatening the state.  This ‘totalistic view’ informs the logic of the expanded NSA, linking enemies, adversaries, competitors and allies.  ‘Enemies’ were defined as anti-imperialist states or regimes with consistently critical independent foreign and domestic policies. ‘Adversaries’ occasionally sided with ‘enemies’, or tolerated policymakers who would not always conform to imperial policies.  ‘Competitors’ supported the empire but had the capacity and opportunity to make lucrative trade deals with adversaries or enemies – Allies were states and leaders who generally supported imperial wars but might provide a forum condemning imperial war crimes (torture and drone attacks).  In addition allies could undermine US imperial market shares and accumulate favorable trade balances.

The logic of the NSA required spying on the allies to root out any links, trade, cultural or scientific relations with adversaries and enemies, which might have spillover consequences. The NSA feared that associations in one sphere might ‘overlap’ with adversaries operating in strategic policy areas and undermine ally loyalty to the empire.

The spy logic had a multiplier effect – who gets to ‘spy on the spies?’  The NSA might collaborate with overseas allied intelligence agencies and officials – but American spymasters would always question their reliability, their inclination to withhold vital information, the potential for shifting loyalties. ‘Do our allies spy on us?  How do we know our own spies are not colluding with allied spies who might then be colluding with adversarial spies?’  This justified the establishment of a huge national vacuum cleaner to suck up all transactions and communications – justified by the notion that a wide net scooping up everything might catch that big fish!

The NSA regards all ‘threats to the unipolar empire’ as national security threats.  No country or agency within or without the reach of the empire was excluded as a ‘potential threat’.

The ‘lead imperial state’ requires the most efficient and overarching spy technology with the furthest and deepest reach.  Overseas allies appear relatively inefficient, vulnerable to infiltration, infected with the residua of a long-standing suspect ‘leftist culture’ and unable to confront the threat of new dangerous adversaries.  The imperial logic regards surveillance of ‘allies’ as ‘protecting allied interests’ because the allies lack the will and capacity to deal with enemy infiltration.

There is a circular logic to the surveillance state.  When an allied leader starts to question how imperial espionage protects allied interest, it is time to intensify spying on the ally. Any foreign ally who questions NSA surveillance over its citizens raises deep suspicions.  Washington believes that questioning imperial surveillance undermines political loyalties.

Secret Police Spying as a “Process of Accumulation”

Like capitalism, which needs to constantly expand and accumulate capital, secret police bureaucracies require more spies to discover new areas, institutions and people to monitor.  Leaders, followers, citizens, immigrants, members of ethnic, religious, civic and political groups and individuals – all are subject to surveillance.  This requires vast armies of data managers and analysts, operatives, programmers, software developers and supervisors – an empire of ‘IT’.  The ever-advancing technology needs an ever-expanding base of operation.

The spy- masters move from local to regional to global operations.  Facing exposure and condemnation of its global chain of spying, the NSA calls for a new ‘defensive ideology’.  To formulate the ideology, a small army of academic hacks is trotted out to announce the phony alternatives of a ‘unipolar police state or terror and chaos’.  The public is presented with a fabricated choice of its perpetual, ‘well-managed and hi-tech’, imperial wars versus the fragmentation and collapse of the entire world into a global war of ‘all against all’.  Academic ideologues studiously avoid mentioning that small wars by small powers end more quickly and have fewer casualties.

The ever-expanding technology of spying strengthens the police state.  The list of targets is endless and bizarre.  Nothing and no one will be missed!

As under capitalism, the growth of the spy state triggers crisis.  With the inevitable rise of opposition, whistleblowers come forward to denounce the surveillance state.  At its peak, spy-state over-reach leads to exposure, public scandals and threats from allies, competitors and adversaries.  The rise of cyber-imperialism raises the specter of cyber-anti-imperialism.  New conceptions of inter-state relations and global configurations are debated and considered.  World public opinion increasingly rejects the ‘necessity’ of police states.  Popular disgust and reason exposes the evil logic of the spy-state based on empire and promotes a plural world of peaceful rival countries, functioning under co-operative policies – systems without empire, without spymasters and spies.