Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Demetri Kofinas Telling Like It Is From Athens

Agent Provocateurs In Greece Caught Conspiring with Police

This video is being passed around all over the net here in Greece. The people are outraged at the footage. It shows police agents dressed up as protestors being escorted by the MAT into safe cover and giving them intelligence.

Rape Of Greece Update, June 30: Bombshell!

There's a lot of moneyspeak here and it might be difficult to follow if you haven't familiarized yourself with Wall Street gibberish. Basically, the opposition leader in Greek parliament made a speech in which he accused the Prime Minister of acting as a foreign agent. He claims that the PM engaged in a profitable sale of Greek financial assets, namely an insurance policy (CDS) against Greek default. It is not clear for how much this/these CDS (if it/they exist, this is coming from the opposition after all) can be redeemed. Nevertheless, it is beyond odd that officials of the Greek government would (to use Kofinas' analogy) sell its only umbrella before a storm. It's analogous to a football game in which the home team is down by one point and has the ball on the other teams ten yard line with ten seconds to go, and then having the head coach sell the team's one remaining time out to the visiting team while the clock expires before he has a chance to kick a field goal, and the seller pocket at least part of the proceeds for himself. This is essentially what the opposition leader is alleging.

This accusation is lent considerable credibility by the shocking revelation that the Greek central bank extended the period for shorting Greek bonds (placing a bet that they would go into default) from three to ten days. For a nation facing imminent collapse, it is extraordinary beyond explanation that its central bank would facilitate adverse financial speculation. This is akin to a mother bear offering her cubs to a wolf pack.

And we must remember that the Greek central bank is a private bank, and part of a chain whose parent is the European Central Bank (ECB), which is part of the troika pushing Greece over the cliff.

Here's a video. Below it is a link to Kofinas' original article on the subject.

The use of chemicals by the police complains the National Medical Association of Greece

Translated (more or less) by Google

The immediate cessation of bombing against civilians chemicals required by the National Medical Association to protect the environment and the Nuclear and Industrial threat, noting that "it is absurd that a substance is banned by his enemies be widely used by citizens of our country."

It is known that used tear gas containing the substance CS (ορθοχλωροβενζινομαλονονιτρίλη) which causes severe vision problems, respiratory, miscarriages and cancer. Γιαυτούς τους λόγους κατατάσσεται στα χημικά όπλα και η χρήση της απαγορεύεται σε καιρό πολέμου. The reasons for them classified as chemical weapons and the use of prohibited in wartime.

The Rape Of Greece

To fully comprehend the enormity of the crime now being committed against Greece, one must understand that when banks lend money, including the international banks like the IMF, ECB etc., there is no actual transfer of assets from lender to borrower. The banks just credit their own accounts, and give the sum to the borrower. Thus "new" money comes into being. The borrower must then earn that amount plus interest from the real economy and hand it over to the bank. Consequently there is always a systemic shortage of money as more is pulled out (the interest) than was injected by the loan, and businesses go broke, mortgages go into default etc.; and it creates horrific poverty for most of the people on the planet It goes without saying that the human misery they create is of no concern to the banks, success for them is measured in profits.

Greece, like many nations, issue bonds in order to fund government spending. These were purchased by sovereign wealth funds (i.e. by other governments), big banks etc. Some of these bonds are soon to come due, and Greece doesn't have enough money to cover them. So they are seeking new loans.

It is not Greece that stands to lose from default, but their creditors. Greece will receive a bad credit rating, but such things are easily reversed when there's an upswing in the economy. Capital has shown time and time again that it can be forgiving, if there's a buck to be made in magnanimity.

So the banks are agreeing to create more "new" money to enable Greece to pay them for bonds which were originally purchased with "new" money. In reality, these loans are a windfall for the banks.

In order to secure these new loans, Greece is being forced to accept grotesquely punitive terms, including the sell-off of valuable Greek real estate, which the banks will then buy with more "new" money. According to Demetri Kofinis, interviewed in the video below, most Greeks do not support the plan and prefer to go into default, but their "socialist" government and it allies are betraying them.

Here are some of the details of the Faustian bargain being foisted on the Greek people by their government and the gang-bankers:


* The public sector wage bill will be cut by 770m euros in 2011, 600m euros in 2012, 448m euros in 2013, 300m euros in 2014 and 71m euros in 2015.
* Nominal public sector wages will be cut by 15%.
* Wages of employees of state-owned enterprises will be cut by 30% and there will be a cap on wages and bonuses.
* All temporary contracts for public sector workers will be terminated.
* Only one in 10 civil servants retiring this year will be replaced and only one in 5 in coming years.

* Defence spending will be cut by 200m euros in 2012, and by 333m euros each year from 2013 to 2015.
* Health spending will be cut by 310m euros this year and a further 1.81bn euros in 2012-2015, mainly by lowering regulated prices for drugs.
* Public investment will be cut by 850m euros this year.
* Subsidies for local government will be reduced.
* Education spending will be cut by closing or merging 1,976 schools.

* Social security will be cut by 1.09bn euros this year, 1.28bn euros in 2012, 1.03bn euros in 2013, 1.01bn euros in 2014 and 700m euros in 2015.
* There will be more means-testing and some benefits will be cut.
* The government hopes to collect more social security contributions by cracking down on evasion and undeclared work.
* The statutory retirement age will be raised to 65, 40 years of work will be needed for a full pension and benefits will be linked more closely to lifetime contributions.


* The government aims to raise 50bn euros from privatisations by 2015, including:
* Selling stakes this year in the betting monopoly OPAP, the lender Hellenic Postbank, port operators Piraeus Port and Thessaloniki Port as well as Thessaloniki Water.
* It has agreed to sell 10% of Hellenic Telecom to Deutsche Telekom for about 400m euros.
* Next year, the government plans to sell stakes in Athens Water, refiner Hellenic Petroleum, electricity utility PPC, lender ATEbank as well as ports, airports, motorway concessions, state land and mining rights.
* It plans further sales to raise 7bn euros in 2013, 13bn euros in 2014 and 15bn euros in 2015.

There are also sharp increases in VAT tax which will hurt Greece's tourism business, its largest.

Here's a short list of what's being expropriated from the people of Greece by the international banking vampires as reported by their most faithful of media loyalists:

ATHENS—Debt-strapped Greece is about to hold an epic yard sale.

For the taking: four wide-body Airbus jets, a state lottery, a state horse-racing concession and sports book, stakes in a casino, several ports, a national post office, two water companies, a nickel miner and smelter, a munitions maker, electricity and gas monopolies, a telecommunications operator, shares in a half dozen banks, hundreds of miles of roads, a defunct airport, old Olympic venues and thousands of acres of land, including magnificent stretches of Greece's famed coast.

That wasn't what Greece had in mind when it began wrangling with other euro-zone countries and the International Monetary Fund for a second dose of bailout money. But the nation's rescuers are leaning hard on Greece to come up with fresh cash. Selling off government goodies, the rescuers hope, will raise...[2]

Rescuers? Exsanguinaters is more like it.

And of course the imperialist press is doing its part to hasten Greece's demise:

Making the Argument for Greece’s Austerity Plan

The Greek Parliament is prepared to vote on austerity measures on Wednesday, and its people have been gathering in demonstrations and strikes to protest the cuts. Here is an open letter explaining why members of Parliament would be crazy to vote no:

Dear Greeks,

The anger you feel about your plight is understandable. You are staring at several unpalatable options, all of which will involve big cuts in living standards for years to come. But the choices are not equally bad. You must avoid an emotional reaction that leaves you in an even worse state. And you should ostracize those who resort to violence.

One option is to persuade your politicians to say no to the austerity plan set forth by the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund. That proposal is not perfect. But rejecting it outright would be childish.[3]

Childish. It's insults like these that start revolutions.

When he refers to those who resort to violence he doesn't mean the police presumably.

Some straight talk: Here is a video in which the interviewee rightly identifies the actions of international capital as a "financial occupation" of his country.

Here's a link to many short videos. They are in Greek but have English captions underneath. Interesting viewing.

So what we have here is the big banks agreeing to lend conjured money to Greece to pay its debts to the same banks who conjured the money to buy the bonds in the first place. But they are only willing to do so if Greece sells off its best assets, and agrees to let the international banking cartel run the Greek economy, including such essential and important tasks as tax collection. In other words, the gang-banker predators are demanding that Greece hand over the keys.

Let us call this what it is--conquest.




Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The American Historical Review discredits Robert Service’s biography of Leon Trotsky

Just for the record: I am no fan of Trotsky. If I wrote a bio' of him it would be critical. He has his place in the history of socialism, and in the history of Liberation Theory (as I like to call it), and I respect him as someone who acted on behalf of the great mass of people, but his tenure as head of the Red Army, Kronstadt, his defense of the Red Terror, and his ideas about the "militarization" of labor are anathema to me. Where Trotsky is concerned, there's plenty of room for criticism.

But that is not what professional distorian Robert Service did. I am 51, and have been an avid reader since a teen. Most of what I've read has been history, and in the last decade or so I've read almost nothing but. What I've learned from this is that from womb to tomb we are awash in dreck. It is that simple. There are legions of palace historians out there who enrich themselves by producing politically acceptable, fictional narratives of historical figures and events. Yes! It really is that simple, they lie. They write bourgeois drivel, their fellow distorians roar laudatory blurbs for the book jacket, and then they go on tour where they will be introduced by sympathetic media as a "distinguished" scholar who's written a "seminal" work, a "masterpiece" blah, blah, blah, and people who don't know any better will believe what they hear. And if the book is a particularly effective piece of propaganda, it will receive a Pulitzer etc., etc., etc.

A fine example is Service's execrable bio' of Trotsky. It is utterly corrupt, utterly shameless. In fact, it is so dishonest, even a reviewer from the Hoover Institute, a bourgeois think tank at Stanford, has savaged it.

I read North's rebuttal as a result of an occasionally heated correspondence in which he defended Trotsky. Ordinarily, I must confess, I do not read books on Trotsky written by Trotskyists anymore. Where the Bolshevik is concerned, the only thing David and I can agree upon is Service's ghastly book.

From the article linked below:

But a careful examination of North’s book shows his criticism of Service to be exactly what Trotsky scholar Baruch Knei-Paz, in a blurb on the back cover, says it is: ‘detailed, meticulous, well-argued and devastating.’”...

Patenaude offers a damning assessment of Service’s basic competence as a historian. “The number of factual mistakes in Service’s book is, as North says, ‘astonishing.’ I have counted more than four dozen.” He asserts that “Service’s book is completely unreliable as a reference.” It is difficult to imagine a more damning appraisal by one historian of another’s work. Attempting to give readers a sense of his own disgust at the shoddiness of Service’s work, Patenaude adds: “At times the errors are jaw-dropping.”
Service’s crude mishandling of facts reflects a deeper problem: his ignorance of and disinterest in Trotsky’s ideas. Patenaude writes: “Service fails to examine in a serious way Trotsky’s political ideas in his writings and speeches – nor does it appear that he has always bothered to familiarize himself with them.” Patenaude points out that Service, who frequently misrepresents Trotsky’s ideas, even to the point of attributing to him conceptions relating to art that he actually argued against, “is not about to let the facts get in the way of his exposing the ‘crudity of Trotsky’s judgements’ about culture.”

Yes, it really is that bad. Service's book is an attempt to destroy the legacy of Leon Trotsky who, for many revolutionaries, is (unfortunately) something of an icon. One simply must wonder what possessed a historian to risk his reputation by writing a work which is demonstrably false in many, many instances. He must have felt safe to do so, and he was. Service is still being feted everywhere he goes, and Patenaude's damning critique will never be available in mainstream media. He is being protected. By whom? And why?

Unfortunately, while Service's book may be an extreme example, such historical deception is quite common. Most of the historians who appear on the History Channel and the like have written dis-histories like Service's.

As somebody once said: History is a battlefield.

Meet The New IMF Swine, Same As The Old IMF Swine.

Lagarde wins IMF top job, presses Greece on crisis

Minutes after her appointment, Lagarde pressed Greece to move quickly to push through unpopular austerity measures that the IMF and EU say are a prerequisite for further aid.

No sooner had the scepter nestled into her hand than did the new Plutocrat-in-Chief issue her first decree. It was entirely unnecessary, nobody opposing austerity would be placed in her position, she was just flexing her chrematist muscles. She doesn't care about the people of Greece, about the infirm who cannot afford the life-sustaining medical treatment which will no longer be provided by state health services, for whom these latest austerity measures are a death sentence. If they die at her feet she will just step over them no worse for the wear.

Plutocracy Alert: BofA Settles With Rich Bondholders

(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp settled nearly all of the claims related to the legacy Countrywide-issued first-lien residential mortgage-backed securitization (RMBS) repurchase exposure for $8.5 billion in cash [1]

Translation: They've settled with the people they fleeced, the rich people that is.

On Tuesday Reuters reported that Bank of America was close to a settlement agreement with a group of powerful group[sic] of investors that lost money on mortgage-backed securities.

This may seem like a tidy sum but not when compared to how much they made for their part in the bailout scam. They have received in excess of $45bn in TARP money, and, of greater relevance here, they got a $118bn in guarantees from the US government against "bad assets."[2] Yes, the same junk mortgage bonds for which the BofA is shelling out the $8bn. So if they haven't used up the $118bn of extorted funds from the government, then it is not they but the US taxpayers who will be forking over their hard earned dough to the unidentified "group of powerful investors."

The bailout money is not the only benefit BofA has derived from the calamity of '08. In that year I wrote an article on the topic and, if you will permit me, I'll quote myself (If you follow the link please remember that not all the bail had by then been doled out, hence the difference in the total aid quoted there):

At number five is Bank of America. They are in such distress that they have only been able to buy Countrywide Mortgage, MBNA (Maryland Bank, National Association), and investment banking giant Merrill Lynch since midyear. Countrywide, as you may recall, was called ground zero for predatory lending by angry Congressional regulators. So laden, we were told time and again, was Countrywide with bad paper that nothing could save it. Was it corporate altruism that led BoA to purchase the depressed company? Not according to their CEO who told CNBC that he thought the company could be turned around in a year or two. He added that he thought this bad paper was not as worthless as the public had been led to believe.[3]

Another point of interest is that this group of investors is getting special treatment. Time and time again bondholders have suffered loses from these bonds and have been told that "everyone has to take a hair cut." While we don't know the par value of the underlying bonds being settled, the price tag is pretty steep suggesting that not too much hair hit the floor, if any. The absence of this critical bit of information in Reuters account leaves much open to inference. We don't know who these "powerful" people are, and how much there bonds are nominally worth, just how much they got for them. In this case, what is omitted is more instructive than the information provided.

So who benefited from the collapse? Certainly not the homeowners who are having their homes foreclosed, in many cases illegally; nor average bondholders, be they private or institutional like mutual funds or pension funds. They have been thrown under the big red, white, and blue bus every time. Only the biggest banks, and now the biggest bondholders have been handsomely provided for with the backing of the US and other governments.

This is plutocracy.

Reuters described these bondholders as "powerful," indeed they are.

Once again, I yield the floor to George Carlin:

They own you!




Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Warren Buffet's Odisha (aka Orissa) Land Grab Update, June 28

In the case of Odisha, the farmers of POSCO project area rely on betel, fish and paddy for their food security and social security. However, the state government deployed the police and paramilitary forces for destroying the betel vines. According to the Odisha government, there were about 1800 betel vines and about 650 betel vines were already destroyed by the forces and villages are about to be vacated. “We plan to remove the rest in the coming weeks,” claims Paradeep’s additional district magistrate Sarojkanta Chaoudhury.

One would think that with all his billions Buffet would take pity on these people and leave them to their Betel groves and rice paddies. But then he wouldn't be a billionaire if he had any compassion or scruples.

Dispersing Power in Bolivia: Tending the ‘Sacred Fire’ of Social Movements

Here's a review of a Zibechi's Dispersing Power, a book i recommend. His works, like James C. Scott's, remind us that historical materialism, dialectics, social theory etc, or at least the perception of them, are based on an orientation, or cultural presuppositions, which are Western and not universally shared. Liberation Theory (as I like to call the historical development of the world's thought on the topic of social justice) is much broader than Hobbes, Locke, Stirner, Voltaire, Marx, Kropotkin, Lenin, Nietsche, Lukacs, Foucault, Adorno etc. For me Zibechi and Scott (and perhaps to a lesser but more entertaining extent Andrej Grubacic) represent the best writing on social movement phenomenology from an anarchist perspective.

Egyptian Revolution: ‘None of us in our wildest dreams could have imagined what happened that day’

Leading Egyptian revolutionary socialist Sameh Naguib has written a brilliant pamphlet about the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak—and where the struggle could go next. Here, Socialist Worker publishes some edited extracts

Bulldozing Democracy One FTA at a Time

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a top story on this exploitation as it unfolds in El Salvador. As local and nation-wide opposition to precious-metals mining began to gain momentum in 2009, Canadian mining company Pacific Rim Mining Corp. launched a case against El Salvador under the Central American Free Trade Agreement through a U.S. subsidiary.

The company is using CAFTA to challenge El Salvador's environmental policies and is seeking over $100 million in damages for allegedly not being given the green light to begin operating its "El Dorado" mine in the Cabanas region (the Salvadoran government argues the company did not complete the permitting process). The case is currently being heard before a World Bank tribunal in Washington, DC.!+Mail

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shock Doctrine: 'Emergency Finance Managers' and the Right-Wing's Power Grab

Ed Brayton at the Michigan Messenger wrote:

“While opponents of the law were organizing their efforts, the Emergency Managers already in place wasted no time in putting their newly gained powers to use. Robert Bobb, who was at the time the Emergency Manager for the Detroit Public Schools, announced on April 15 that he would use his authority to void union contracts and his office immediately sent layoff notices to all 5,466 members of the teachers union. The very same day Joseph Harris, the emergency manager in charge of the city of Benton Harbor, issued an order stripping all authority from elected boards in that city, including the city council. That order would provoke massive opposition and bring the attention of the national media to the realities of the new law.”

Ailing Hugo Chavez's Brother: Don't Rule Out Armed Struggle in Venezuela

Official Statements From Justices Prosser and Bradley on Prosser's Alleged Felonious Assault

Apple Store Workers Share Why They Want to ‘Work Different’

A Bay Area employee described what happened last year when he and about a dozen co-workers realized employees with years of service were being paid less than new hires doing the same work. Agitated about the situation but concerned about retaliation, the workers committed to a plan: during the approaching round of annual one-on-one meetings between workers and managers, they would each ask about pay disparities.

Those workers who did ask received a consistent response: “Money shouldn’t be an issue when you’re employed at Apple.” Instead, managers said, the chance to work at Apple “should be looked at as an experience.” “You can’t live off of experience,” said the worker interviewed. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Apple has outpaced Tiffany & Co. jewelers in retail sales per square foot.

Warren Buffet's Odisha (aka Orissa) Land Grab Update, June 27

Police Resume Drive To Take Over Land For Posco

Our thousands of villagers have formed a human barricade and made
continuous slogan against these illegal and irresponsible behavior of
the administration. Our people were determined to democratically
prevent any forceful entry of officials into our areas. Our
resistance to land acquisition gained further strength when Mr. Jual
Oram, the state leader of BJP visited the protest site to lend his

Meanwhile a medical team of three doctors from Delhi Jan Hastakhep are
camping in our villages Dhinkia, Govindpur which is deprived of State
health care system.

The anti-POSCO activists have been joined by the United Action Committee, which had supported the steel plant to be built by a company owned in part by Nebraska billionaire Warren Buffet, but outraged by the stealthy behavior of the government has switched sides and is now protesting.

On the other hand, the district administration went ahead with
building the project’s boundary wall besides doing ground-levelling
and tree-felling exercises in Polang, Noliasahi, Bayanalakanda and
Nuagaon villages. Today, for the second consecutive day, hundreds of
people of Pro-Posco United Action Committee (UAC), rushed to the site
and prevented officials from continuing work. The UAC people say that
the govt. is yet to fulfill the promises it made to them but starting
the work without taking them into confidence.

What did they expect?

The Indian bourgeois press is demonizing the protesters in any way they can:

Unethical human shield...Children have no place in anti-Posco agitation

Save, of course, that it is their fields, homes, and futures that are being stolen.

Irrespective of the merits of their agitation, the appalling use of young children by anti-Posco activists as they battle the Odisha Government deserves to be condemned unequivocally. No cause, no matter how grave or vital, justifies the use of children (and women) as a human shield. It is shameful that children are being exploited by members of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, the group that is spearheading the agitation against the proposed integrated steel plant by the South Korean giant Posco.

Meanwhile, the vultures circle overhead:

Larsen and Toubro plans steel and power plant in Orissa

Construction and engineering major Larsen and Toubro Ltd plans to set up another power plant and a 3 million tonne steel plant in Orissa at a combined investment of INR 30,000 crore.

The company had earlier, also planned INR 44,000 crore alumina and aluminium plant and INR 11,000 crore power project in Orissa. The new proposals have thus increased the company's total investment corpus in the state to INR 84,000 crore.

L&T's new 2,000 MW power project, the company's second in the state, would also involve the association of the state government and an expenditure of about INR 10,000 crore. L&T had earlier sought the approval to set up a 2,000 MW power plant near Dhamra port. The project would require about 1,200 acres of land.

And they will be in good company:

See ARSS Infra as $1-bn co in few years, says Sunil Agarwal

We are about to submit two bids for ultra mega road projects. We will submit bids for ultra mega road projects one each for the state of Odisha and West Bengal. We are looking for 2-3 international players, as like all other companies in India which are individually not qualifying for such projects, our company also is not qualified to bid for ultra mega road projects.

We are talking to few companies in Spain, Indonesia, and China. Government is not forthcoming for Chinese companies but we are talking to companies that are already working in India.

[Catchy website name, no?]

The sun never sets on international capital, only on the people whose misfortune it is to be in its path. In a few years the villages will be an industrial park. Odisha will be renamed New Omaha in honor of its patron, and the people who lived in that place and called it home will be a footnote in future economic textbooks, their lives, loves, and songs forgotten, lost to the whirl of relentless profit.

SEC Loosening of Rule Let Natural Gas Firms Recalculate Reserves, Potential Profits

Capitalism is like a shark in that it has to keep moving forward or it dies. First we had the bubble, then the housing bubble, now, because it needs a never-ending flow of capital flushing over its gills, they are creating a green-washed natural gas bubble.

Previously, companies were allowed to count gas only from areas close to their active wells as part of their “proved” reserves, the amount of gas that a company estimates to investors it will tap. This was meant to prevent companies from claiming reserves of gas based largely on guesswork.

After the rule change, companies were allowed to include gas located farther from producing wells in their reserves estimates, using modeling methods to predict how much gas could be produced from these yet-untapped areas. But the S.E.C. said that the companies, for reasons of trade secrecy, did not have to disclose precise details about the technology they used to estimate reserve sizes. Though the commission considered requiring third-party audits to verify the reserve estimates, the idea was dropped in the end.

Here we go again.

More Good News For The Banksters--From The Banksters

The Lords of Capital in Switzerland have spoken and it's good news for the banks.

Financials, which have been pressured by the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis, were among the biggest gainers, with the S&P financial index .GSPF up 1.2 percent.

Shares of Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) rose 2.6 percent to $10.79, while JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) was up 1.1 percent at $39.94.

On Saturday, global banking regulators in Basel agreed that the biggest banks globally will need to boost their ratios of common equity to risk-weighted assets by up to 2.5 percentage points, less than the 3 percentage points some investors had feared.

Gee it must be nice to regulate yourself, free from the obtrusive meddling of elected officials. Now that international capital has issued its edict, all the banks in the system, which are just about all the banks in the world, now must comply whether they, their governments, or their customers, like it or not. They rule, and we obey. These folks we vote for and put in office, they are of no consequence. They are mere spectacle, the important decisions are made by the international gang-banker plutocracy from their lair in Europe. This decision means that banks must keep slightly more real assets in reserve in proportion to "risk-weighted" holdings (like the CDOs and CDSs which brought about the collapse of 2008). In other words, because of the Lords' ruling, banks will not be required to make the kind of changes that would prevent a recurrence of '08. To put it bluntly, they have just said that they are unwilling to curtail trade in these derivatives because they are lucrative for them, and they don't give a damn what consequences they might occasion for us. So structural adjustments and austerity measures for us, and none for them.

As I often do, I will once again yield the floor to the late, great comic, George Carlin:

They own you!

US Working And Middle Class: Solidarity Or Competition In The Face Of Crisis?

Good piece.

Syria: CIA, M16, French, Mossad, Saudi Involvement Unreported In Imperialist Media

The imperialist media cartel that controls what news is selected and how and with what intention it shall be broadcasted has done its best to demonize Assad. How? Simple! They just keep repeating day in day out that Syrian government forces are shooting and massacring protesters, period. They don’t say anything else. That’s it. There is nothing else happening. When it is necessary to admit that police and soldiers are being ambushed and killed, a cover story comes with it, like, ‘it is suspected that they were killed by defecting police and military.’

International court issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi

The ICC is a rubber stamp for the international plutocracy. The ICJ, for all its high-minded talk, is not much better.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley Says Colleague Justice David Prosser Put Her In A Choke-hold

Prosser, Bradley clashed on eve of union ruling

"The facts are that I was demanding that he get out of my office and he put his hands around my neck in anger in a chokehold," Bradley told the Journal Sentinel.

The Death of American Democracy

While I admire Lawson immensely, our points of dispute are of such importance that I think they deserve some attention.

The narrator's basic claim is that there was a time when American democracy existed, but by the nefarious intrigues of the Zionist lobby, that idyllic time has come to an end and we are now dominated by Israel. Zion rules America.

Firstly, America is not a democracy and has never been. It was never intended to be. It is, nominally at least, a republic, which is a representative form of government which is by definition in opposition to democracy. The Founders didn't want a democracy, in fact, they feared it. For them to effect their liberation from British capital, they needed to enlist the support of the lower class, to whom they promised much. As soon as they'd won, the ruling class, the New England traders and the Southern planter class, began to renege, even openly discussing the possibility of an American monarchy. It was only due to the pressure exerted by the lower class, often violent, that a republic emerged. The Founders, in their correspondence with each other, discussed the "threat" the lower class posed to their power and wealth, and debated what to do about it. Hence our Congress was born. One House to represent (and appease) the lower class, and a higher, (then) unelected chamber, the Senate, to overrule legislation inimical to the interests of the ruling class. The fact that we have been told our bicameralism is a result of a compromise between the large and small states doesn't make it true. It isn't, as much that we have been taught isn't. Democracy means power directly in the hands of the people, that has never occurred here due to the efforts of the Founders to prevent it. Happy Fourth of July!

But this is a common mistake, and forgivable I suppose.

While I have nothing but contempt for the Fascist, apartheid, Jewish race-state, they are not calling the shots any more than are the elected officials who putatively govern the U.S. For the handful of families who own the planet, some of them Jewish, the desire of Zionists to re-create a Jewish state, and more importantly a West-sponsored, West-dependent state, in the oil-rich Mideast, is of strategic benefit. Many of the ruling international families, including the Jewish ones, showed the Zionists the door when the first emissaries of Jewish irredentism came calling. It was only after oil was discovered in the Mideast that the plutocracy warmed to Zionism. I believe the subsequent history demonstrates that the Zionists are inescapably dependent on international capital and have always acted in concert with the latter's interests knowing they cannot survive without them. While I by no means wish to whitewash Israeli atrocities, of which there have been many, and I mean no disrespect to our beleaguered Palestinian brothers and sisters, Israel is a puppet state whose policies are not their own, and they know it.

On the other end of the Mideast oil belt lies Pakistan, which came into existence at about the same time, and I would argue, for the same reason. As with Israel, this bookend earned the support of the international elite not for concern for the well-being of Indian Muslims, but for its strategic location (more so then than now). Imperial design brought both nations into existence, and has been an albatross around both its necks. I think a review of the activity of their respective intelligence apparatus throughout their brief histories leads decisively to the conclusion that they are controlled from abroad, and have at times been compelled to act against their national interests. But this is not the place for this argument.

More specifically with respect to the USS Victory, I think this is a fine example of Israel taking the blame for something it was ordered to do. This is not to exculpate the Israelis, who were participants in this outrage, but I am persuaded that the idea of the attack did not originate with them.

In order to understand my disagreement with Lawson, it is necessary to debunk another myth, namely, that the Arabs were the aggressor in the 1967 war and Israel's militarism on that occasion was retaliatory. We have been told this lie for decades, but now the Israelis have admitted the obvious truth--that it was they who initiated the war by invading their neighbors. In fact, there was recently an account of this on the History Channel (or maybe it was the Discovery Channel or another of the type) in which high-ranking Israeli warriors appeared on screen and discussed how they had begun preparations in 1964. One knows that all pretense has been abandoned when loyalist media are reporting your subterfuges, however sympathetically.

The Israelis claim that they mistook the Victory for an Egyptian vessel, this after hours of repeated recons. The specific craft for which they say they misidentified the American ship was half the size of the Victory. I think it's fair to say that this is a lie. So why did they attack?

Even if you believe, as I do not, that the Israelis would do anything that might destabilize that critically important region without the consent of Washington, one has to ask how the attack on an American recon vessel would advantage them. This episode occurred simultaneously with Israel's invasions of multiple neighbors, why on Earth would they want to add another to their expansive list of enemies, particularly when it is the world's greatest military? Is this not insane?

The answer usually advanced is that Israel was trying to send the ship down quickly without anyone being the wiser, and that it did so because the Victory was a recon ship and it feared that the U.S. would detect their military operations and intervene in defense of the invaded Arabs.

This could only be true if Israel was acting on its own, and if one assumes that the U.S. would have intervened against the Israelis and put American soldiers, sailors, and airmen into battle against their longtime ally, an ally to whom they had given, and continue to give, billions of dollars in aid.

Given the advocates of this theory are the same contingent who believe the Zionist lobby rules America, why don't they see the political turmoil President Johnson would be creating for himself if he ordered American armed forces into combat against the nation upon whose behalf that omnipotent lobby labors? Isn't this a flaw in the argument? But for me this is a moot point, I believe that the Victory was there to aid the Israeli offensive up to the moment when the information the Victor supplied was no longer needed, and that the subsequent assault on the ship was also preplanned with the U.S. as part of a false flag operation.

In The Ol' Boys, Burton Hersh argues that the Israeli war on its neighbors was organized by American intelligence apparatchik Richard Helms in an operation called Room 303 (or perhaps a similar number, it's been a long time since I read this book). the idea was for the Victory to monitor the armed forces of Israel's Arab neighbors in case they had caught a whiff of Israel's aggressive intentions and began to deploy. Once the war had begun, the Israelis were to sink the Victory and blame Egypt for the crime in order to generate popular support for an armed invasion of the Mideast by American troops. The public was to be told (and were told) that it was Israel who was attacked, as was the Victory, on the orders of Egyptian President and pan-Arabist, Gamal Abdel Nasser, a man very much out of favor in the West. It was believed that the (alleged) attack on Israel might not be sufficient provocation for Americans to support military action in the Mideast, but the attack upon an American ship with the resultant loss of life would, like Pearl Harbor, arouse the country's fighting spirit. Unfortunately (for the plotters that is), the Israelis were unable to down the Victory because a Russian ship happened by and was in a position to observe or even provide assistance for the defenseless American recon ship, so the attack was called off. The absurd we-thought-it-was-an-Egyptian-ship dodge was offered as explanation for the attack, and Israel on its own was able to conquer the Sinai but not depose Nasser.

So there are two theories: The Israelis and Americans were acting in concert with an eye to ridding themselves of perceived adversaries and exerting greater control over the region and its resources; or the Israelis were acting alone, and even had the chutzpah to attack the world's greatest superpower and try to blame an enemy for the deed. I find the former infinitely more plausible. Certainly the two nations have been close allies, with Israel getting the tenderest of care from Washington. Why would they want to jeopardize the "special relationship" they have with their principal benefactor, and one without whose patronage Israel wouldn't last another month? Even if you ascribe no impulse to Israel other than self-interest, why would they bite the hand which has fed it so handsomely? Certainly the Israelis would understand that if they undertook to sink an American ship and assign responsibility to an enemy without the consent of Washington and were discovered, that that would mean the end for Israel. They could not survive long without the support of the U.S., they couldn't survive a week of war against America.

I'm sure there is still much we don't know about the affair. My conclusion is not set in stone. If new information emerges I may revise my opinion. But as it stands, I disagree with Lawson on the Victory incident and who controls whom, but otherwise I support him in his criticism of Israel, and admire his courage.

8 Signs Your Governor Has a Koch Problem

Video courtesy of

Now That Banks Can't Use Overdraft Charges As License To Steal, They Plan To Screw Debit Card Users Instead

Like this article, but if Madrak thinks E.Warren is going to make any difference then she's kidding herself. The managers of public opinion know their craft. They always provide their victims with the illusion of choice. There will always be an entity which expresses the ruling class' wishes directly, and a false flag critic who will feign outrage and rally to the people's defense. Resistance is thus compressed and channeled through the populist charlatan and the public will think they have triumphed when in fact their champion works for the same oligarchs as her opponents. A look at Warren's resume reveals she's Wall Street through and through. Nobody seen as inimical to the interests of the ruling class will ever be allowed anywhere near the levers of power. Period. And when somebody slips through the cracks and defies the plutocracy, the are terminated from office, and if need be, with extreme prejudice.

Striking back at Egyptian workers

Maybe the best piece I've read on Egypt since the uprising began.

And if it isn't, then this is.

Egypt: The old repression resurfaces

Living on the Coke side of life in Swaziland


A story as familiar as it is revolting.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Special report: Japan's "throwaway" nuclear workers

I hope you are not surprised. Profits or human beings? Capitalism has only ever had one answer.

Hastily hired workers were sent into the plant without radiation meters. Two splashed into radioactive water wearing street shoes because rubber boots were not available. Even now, few have been given training on radiation risks that meets international standards, according to their accounts and the evaluation of experts.

The workers who stayed on to try to stabilize the plant in the darkest hours after March 11 were lauded as the "Fukushima 50" for their selflessness. But behind the heroism is a legacy of Japanese nuclear workers facing hazards with little oversight, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former nuclear workers, doctors and others.

Since the start of the nuclear boom in the 1970s, Japan's utilities have relied on temporary workers for maintenance and plant repair jobs, the experts said. They were often paid in cash with little training and no follow-up health screening.

Land Of The No Free Time, And The Home Of The Never At Home

Economic Collapse Scam Update: Quelle Surprise! World’s Richest Profited From the Crisis!

According to the annual world wealth report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the wealth of HNWIs around the world reached $42.7tn (£26.5tn) in 2010, rising nearly 10% in a year and surpassing the peak of $40.7tn reached in 2007, even as austerity budgets were implemented by many governments in the developed world.

Financial Smoke Worsens, Shake-up At The Top At Citi'

I don't know what this portends, if anything, but like the "doctor," the terse press statement and when it was released does arouse my suspicion. Citi' is a Rockefeller bank, and has been one of the big winners in the economic collapse of '08. Grundhofer has an interesting history in his own right.

Anyway, something's abrewing!+Mail

Why is there a Media Blackout on Nuclear Incident at Fort Calhoun in Nebraska?

Since flooding began on June 6th, there has been a disturbingly low level of media attention given to the crisis at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Facility near Omaha, Nebraska. But evidence strongly suggests that something very serious has in fact happened there.

G20 And The State Crackdown On Dissent

Hugo Chavez "Very Ill" In Cuba

Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox

June 26, 2011
Dear Friend,

Welcome back to Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox!

This past week, I went to San Francisco to see one of my personal heroes, Cynthia McKinney, speak about her recent trips to Libya--from Cynthia, we always hear the truth. No media, corporate, or US government propaganda spin! Click here for a great article Cynthia's son, Coy, wrote about the entire Libya scam. Click here to read the transcript of an interview I did with Cynthia about U.S. election fraud. Cynthia will be our guest on the Soapbox on Sunday, July 3.

Please send healing thoughts to President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, I am not really sure what's going on and my contacts in Vz have not answered me, but he is very ill in Cuba. You can listen to my interview of him at the archives at: to understand why he is such a friend of the people (us people). I was just in Marin County on Thursday speaking about my recent trip to Venezuela and the urgency of a grassroots revolution here in the U.S.

This week on the Soapbox, we recommend you listen to a rerun of an interview I did with our dear friend, Ann Wright, about her experiences on a prior flotilla to try and break the blockade of Gaza, as another one is preparing to leave soon. Click here to listen.

Love & Peace
Cindy Sheehan

Has the Revolution Left Egypt's Workers Behind?

And this from Time no less.

No one in Zagazig wants to talk about what happened last week. The hundreds of railway workers who maintain the old, trash-ridden tracks and trains in this Nile Delta town whisper hurriedly about a strike that briefly disrupted rail traffic across the country of 80 million. But the workers won't give their names or discuss it at length for fear of retribution from the soldiers and security forces that so swiftly put an end to it. And the man they point to as their labor leader says nervously that he knows nothing about a strike.

But maybe it's better that way, say some Egyptians — particularly political leaders and the railway's managers. "We're against stopping business like this, because we're trying to get stability back," says Mansour al-Shitry, an accountant for the state-run railways. "Of course the government can't meet the demands of all the people at once, and we don't want to give the military council more of a burden than they already have."

Read more:,8599,2079605,00.html#ixzz1QOQP5TLk

British RMT union chief Bob Crow warns of threat to workers

Speaking on the eve of the RMT's annual conference in Fort William, Mr Crow said: "We saw during the miners' strike what happens when the state and bosses' organisations mobilise against working people - checkpoints on motorways, banning orders, security service infiltration, collaboration with the right-wing press and repressive legislation designed to harass and undermine those prepared to stand up and fight for their livelihoods and their communities.

Read more:

London Tube Strike Update: Victory! RMT calls off Tube strikes after driver Arywn Thomas reinstated

In separate inquiries, an official employment tribunal found both workers were unfairly discharged.In a face-saving move for the city, the tribunal concluded that although Thomas was unjustly fired, it wasn't because of his union activism. Both operators have been reinstated and the strikes called off.

Mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘I am delighted that the RMT has called off the strike. There was never any justification or need to wield industrial muscle to pre-empt a proper disciplinary procedure.

‘Arwyn Thomas was not victimised for being a member of the union and the employment tribunal agreed with that. The tribunal also agreed that his behaviour had been abusive, which is unacceptable.’

oink oink, squeal squeal.

Protesting vs. Local Revolution by Cindy Sheehan

Great essay.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Florida Governor Floats Huge Gimmie for Banks: Taking Foreclosures Out of the Court System

Astonishing. Just astonishing.

The governor called on judges and lawyers to look for ways to cut court costs, improve efficiency and clear up the foreclosure backlog “as quickly as possible.” The clogging of the courts by foreclosure cases is discouraging businesses interested in moving to Florida, Scott’s main priority, he said.

“It scares people … and is clearly having an impact on the economy,” he said. “I’m looking for The Bar to come forward with suggestions on how to clear this up. Maybe we should consider nonjudicial foreclosures.”

The Too-Big-To-Fail Scam Exposed

Europeans Agree to a New Bailout for Greece With Conditions

It's just unbelievable! Will it ever end? This is worse than the previous plan. Greece is about to explode and these bankers don't care. They rule, and power takes what it wants.

Changes to the plan, negotiated with European and I.M.F. officials Thursday, are certain to make it even less popular among Greek citizens.

The new austerity program will now include a one-time levy on personal income ranging from 1 to 5 percent, depending on income.

Meanwhile, the tax-free threshold on income will be lowered to 8,000 euros a year from 12,000 euros, with the lowest rate set at 10 percent — but with exemptions for people up to 30 years old, pensioners older than 65 and the disabled. There will also be an annual levy of 300 euros on the self-employed.

Emma's Mug Shot

Why? Why not.

Final hours of Spanish poet Federico García Lorca revealed

Ask Bibi: Israeli Prime Minister Invites Questions From Arabs On His Facebook Page

You know this must be killing him.!+Mail

Israeli undercover agents boast of killing Palestinians on TV

"This is a photo of a Palestinian young man called Basim Subeih who I killed. This is another young man. I shredded his body, and the photo shows the remnants of his body," he said.!+Mail

US Postal Service halts payments to retirement fund

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced Wednesday that it will stop employer contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). This is part of an ongoing campaign of dismantling the federal agency, allowing USPS management the prerogative to take “aggressive action” in cutting costs associated with its service and labor.

In a statement, the USPS made clear that postal workers will continue to pay into the fund, but the agency will halt its bi-weekly contributions of $115 million beginning on June 24. Management claims it will use the money—which will amount to $800 million by the end of the fiscal year—“to conserve cash and preserve liquidity.”

Greece: The Syntagma Square movement—no real democracy

The Democrats and Union Leadership’s Strategy Fails – Wisconsin Supreme Court Reinstates Collective Bargaining Law

Socialism Chavista Style

VENEZUELA: Ambitious Promises of Affordable Housing

"Independent Philanthropy Professional"?: Exclusive: Deutsche's firing of top trader sparks probe

DB and JPMC, both owned in large part by the Rothschilds, were the original credit default swaps enthusiasts. Without their endorsement and willingness to trade in these risky derivatives, the economic collapse od 2008 would not have been possible.

I don't know but suspect Bernard, the philanthropy professional/derivatives trader, is being sacrificed.

Private Contractors Making a Killing off the Drug War

Washington doled out $3.1 billion dollars between 2005 and 2009, with spending having increased 32 percent over the five year period. DynCorp International was the big winner, racking in $1.1 billion, or 36 percent of total counternarcotics contract spending in the region by the Defense and State Departments. Other contractors benefiting from the spending include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT, and ARINC.

The war on drugs is a charade.

NJ Dem Legislators Smash Public Workers: Unions Say, “We will definitely, definitely, go vote.” by Rich Gibson

The Assembly passed the bill 46 to 32, as Republicans and a few Democrats defied raucous protests by thousands of people whose chants, vowing electoral revenge, shook the State House. Leaders in the State Senate said their chamber, which had already passed a slightly different version of the bill, would approve the Assembly version on Monday. Mr. Christie, a Republican, was expected to sign the measure into law quickly.
In a statement released after the vote, Mr. Christie said, “We are putting the people first and daring to touch the third rail of politics in order to bring reform to an unsustainable system.”

The legislation will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions, suspend cost-of-living increases to retirees’ pension checks, raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights. ..While states around the country have moved to pare labor costs and limit the power of unions, the move is all the more striking here, in a Democratic-leaning state where Democrats control both houses of the Legislature and union membership is among the highest in the country.


Kelber: US Unions Ban Talk of Obamagogue’s Imperial Wars, by Rich Gibson

AFL-CIO leaders have decided that the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not an issue that the labor movement should be concerned with.
To implement that unofficial decision, they have banned any news and information about the two wars from appearing on the AFL-CIO web site, including all printed matter and public statements under their direct control.


America’s pay gap shame: Inequality between rich and poor is worse than Cameroon, Ivory Coast and revolutionary Egypt , by Rich Gibson

The gap between America’s rich and poor is so extreme levels of inequality are worse in the land of the free than they are in many developing countries.

The U.S. ranks way behind the European Union and the United Kingdom in terms of inequality of pay, figures show.
In fact, the situation is so extreme the land of the free falls behind countries such as Cameroon, the Ivory Coast and revolutionary Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen – and only just in front of Uganda and Jamaica.


Shocker From WaPo: The Rich Got Richer, Poor Poorer! by Rich Gibson

For years, statistics have depicted growing income disparity in the United States, and it has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. In 2008, the last year for which data are available, for example, the top 0.1 percent of earners took in more than 10 percent of the personal income in the United States, including capital gains, and the top 1 percent took in more than 20 percent. But economists had little idea who these people were. How many were Wall street financiers? Sports stars? Entrepreneurs? Economists could only speculate, and debates over what is fair stalled.
Now a mounting body of economic research indicates that the rise in pay for company executives is a critical feature in the widening income gap.
The largest single chunk of the highest-income earners, it turns out, are executives and other managers in firms,


David Cameron’s Gift of War and Racism, to Them and Us by John Pilger

The Euro-American attack on Libya has nothing to do with protecting anyone; only the terminally naive believe such nonsense. It is the West’s response to popular uprisings in strategic, resource-rich regions of the world and the beginning of a war of attrition against the new imperial rival, China.

President Barack Obama’s historical distinction is now guaranteed. He is America’s first black president to invade Africa. His assault on Libya is run by the US Africa Command, which was set up in 2007 to secure the continent’s lucrative natural resources from Africa’s impoverished people and the rapidly spreading commercial influence of China. Libya, along with Angola and Nigeria, is China’s principal source of oil. As American, British and French planes currently incinerate both “bad” and “good” Libyans, the evacuation of 30,000 Chinese workers is under way, perhaps permanently. Statements by western officials and media that a “deranged and criminal Colonel Gaddafi” is planning “genocide” against his own people still await evidence. This is reminiscent of fraudulent claims that required “humanitarian intervention” in Kosovo, the final dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the establishment of the biggest US military base in Europe.

Iraq and Afghanistan: From invasion to occupation

Hey Troops! Your Bosses are Cutting Deals with Those People who are Shooting at You! by Rich Gibson

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said publicly for the first time on Saturday that the United States and the NATO-led coalition have been actively negotiating with the Taliban, an assertion he made in a speech that he also used to fire a broadside against his coalition allies….“You remember a few years ago I was saying thank you to the foreigners for their help; every minute we were thanking them,” he said. “Now I have stopped saying that, except when Spanta forced me to say thank you,” referring to his national security adviser, Rangin Spanta, who was present.
“They’re here for their own purposes, for their own goals, and they’re using our soil for that,” Mr. Karzai said.

[Found at]

Detroit: Blowing Up Ground Zero Again: Rich Gibson On Public Education In Detroit

In 2010, Arne Duncan, sneering bad-boy school boss to grinning demagogue Obama’s good-fellow-full-of-hope, declared Detroit to be “Ground Zero,” in schooling because, true enough, Detroit schools scored last in reading, science, and mathematics in national exams in 2010.
In mid-June, 2011, Duncan joined Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and “Emergency Financial Manager,” Roy Roberts in bombing Ground Zero, perhaps into oblivion this time.
The trio announced in a press conference on June 20 at Detroit’s relatively elite Renaissance High School that 34 of Detroit’s worst performing schools, judged by test scores, would be placed in a “System of Schools,” which, eventually, would include the worst schools in the state.
EFM Roberts is a 72 year old former boss at the failed General Motors Corporation, known now in Michigan as Government Motors. Accustomed to having people do what they’re ordered to do, fast, Roberts declared that the Detroit Public Schools are in much worse shape than he initially imagined–and he hasn’t even taken a full tour. Roberts signed a one year deal in May, replacing Eli Broad appointed Robert Bobb.
The System (note, it’s not a school system but the inverse), would move full academic responsibility to individual principals and teachers, devote “95%” of the budget directly to the classroom. This is all to take effect in 2012. We shall learn why below.

LA CASITA! La Casita sit-in resumes after Chicago Board of Education moves in against Whittier school

But after the occupation was called off and the building was not demolished, several new struggles went on. During the course of the original occupation, the nation was told that Chicago's public schools — 15 years after the beginning of mayoral control and after nearly eight years of leadership under Arne Duncan — had 160 public schools without libraries. Most of those, like Whittier, were in Chicago's hyper-segregated African American ghettos and Latino barrios. The scandal of a hundreds thousand poor children without access to library books was the real result of mayor control and the "accountability" movement. Years of relentless propaganda on behalf of charter schools and corporate "school reform" (usually reported as "news" in Chicago's tightly controlled newspapers and other media) brought Chicago school officials (led by Duncan) into the cabinet of President Barack Obama. The Chicago Plan, contrived by the 21st Century version of the "Chicago Boys," is now national education policy, "Race To The Top."§ion=Article

Greek default: End of the world or small patatas?

While at the end of the day the "Beeb" is an organ of the British ruling class, it is the best news source in the Anglophone world. Mason's pieces are a fine example.

Paul Le Blanc's Lecture On Socialism And Democracy

You will hear the truth about some of the Founders of the US (more on this coming soon), from Alan Parsons, Einstein and more. Interesting presentation, worth a listen.

Blair Mountain March

Culled from

Troops Obama is Withdrawing Have Been Replaced by Allies!+Mail

NLRB Proposed Union Election Rule: What it breaks down to…

Interesting in an academic sense, but anyone thinking the NLRB is going to deliver the working person from the avaricious clutches of capital is deluding themselves. The Board is a government agency, meaning it's controlled by Wall Street.

The NLRB seeming to go to bat for working people...just in time for the unions to endorse President Obummer's re-election. What a coincidence!

Wealth Of World’s Richest Rose Nearly 10 Percent In 2010

Austerity measures, wage cuts and rising unemployment have characterised the years since the crash of 2008 for working people. For the rich and super-rich, however, they have been the occasion for clawing back every penny of the initial losses made and adding a great deal more.

Today, the world’s wealthy are richer than before the crash and the number of individuals belonging to this highly exclusive club has grown.

The big banks, the ones which own the Federal Reserve Bank, have always profited handsomely from economic depressions. That's why the engineer them.

The Diamond Industry’s Double-Standard On Israel

Israeli Diamond Industry Chairman Moti Ganz said recently: “Americans still buy diamonds to symbolize love and commitment” (“IDI plans its largest participation at JCK Las Vegas,” Diamond World, 17 May 2011). For the people in Gaza, on the receiving end of Israel’s diamond-funded white phosphorous and flechette nail bombs, diamonds are more likely to symbolize murder, mayhem and blood-soaked terror than love and commitment.

EPA Fracking Study to Focus on Five States – But Not Wyoming

We're going to look, except where there's a danger we might find something.

Class War Alert: Bank Errors Continue to Cause Wrongful Foreclosures

Four years into the foreclosure crisis, banks say they've made major improvements in how they handle struggling homeowners. They've promised, for example, not to foreclose on homeowners who are being considered for mortgage modifications. But that's still happening.

Gee whiz, they are trying real hard, dad gum it, but they just can't seem to overcome their theft problem. Will wonders never cease.

Friday, June 24, 2011

International press release by the Assembly of Syntagma Square in Athens

We are indignant because others decide for us without us and mortgage our future; they impose loans that do not benefit the people but the banks and governments’ interests. We are indignant because they terrify us using the deterrent of bankruptcy. Not only do they try to scare us but they also try to set people against each other.

Supreme Court Sides with Wal-Mart, Raises Hurdles for Workers’ Lawsuits

While our dear sisters have my undiluted respect and unwavering support, Walmart doesn't abuse its female employees because it is misogynist, it does so because it is profitable.

The Rockefeller Foundation did an analysis about a century ago and concluded that if the suffragettes got the right to vote and a greater place in the workforce, it would be beneficial for capital as there would be that much more labor to exploit. Consequently, they supported the feminists and made hefty "charitable" contributions. Walmart's malevolence and the Rockefeller's benevolence are an economic calculation, and does not represent a predilection toward women one way or the other. As is often the case, sectarianism is just camouflage for class war.

Decades after King’s Assassination, Memphis Reignites Labor Struggle

Memphis councilman conflates MLK and Obama. Get used to that, Obummer will be deified after his presidency as a civil rights and African-American icon, despite his contemptuous disregard for both communities.

Canadian Government Pulls a Wisconsin on Postal Workers

Canadian postal strike fast becoming a showdown. Great account.

Union Democracy in Iran: Is It Possible? Interview With Activist

Illuminating interview.

Pickets Challenge Labor to Find Solidarity with Palestinians

The picket, called by the Labor for Palestine network, followed a call from a new Palestinian union coalition that asked labor bodies around the world to divest from Israeli bonds and end “collusion with decades of violations of international law and human rights by Israel.”

The picketers, members of several unions and other groups, are part of a growing movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

The campaign has been endorsed by labor bodies around the world, including the trade union congresses of South Africa, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland and the UK, and labor bodies in Australia, France, Canada, Norway, Italy, Spain and Turkey.

But for decades, U.S. labor officials have invested unknown billions from union retirement funds in the bonds.

Pedagogy And The Middle East

I must confess I'm a latecomer to these barricades. My interest in the politics of education was only ignited by the recent WASL controversy here in Washington state, and I'm not too familiar with the topic in any comprehensive, historical way. Consequently, I found these articles informative as well as stimulating.

The issues delineated have relevance beyond our time or the events unfolding in the Mideast. Save for all the useless, tiresome photos, these pieces are quite good, the discourse of a more provocative sort than the usual moribund panel discussion fare.

[Jaddaliya means dialectic in Arabic.]

Pakistan, "a leading ally in the war on terror."*

Mir Ghaffar Langho is among the 14,000 Baloch men who have gone missing over the past decade. "If you see the way our 160 martyred brothers have been tortured, you’d be ashamed to call yourself a Pakistani too," she says.

Langho was referring to the mutilated corpses of students, teachers, political workers, rights activists, singers, poets, labourers, and shopkeepers that have been turning up in threes and fours every few days for the last ten months. Their skulls have been drilled, eyes pulled out from sockets, limbs snapped or sliced; some have been singed and seared beyond recognition.

*Barack Obama

Pander Alert: Obama announces Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Election season underway.

In a nationally televised address, Obama said U.S. troops will continue coming home at a "steady pace" so that "by 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security."

And he strongly suggested that his plan marked a decisive turning point in the conflicts in which Washington has been embroiled in the nearly ten years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

"Tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding," he said. "Fewer or our sons and daughters are serving in harm’s way. We have ended our combat mission in Iraq, with 100,000 American troops already out of that country," he said.

Tide of war receding? Not as long as he's president.

US State Dept. Threatens Activists With 'Fines Or Incarceration' If They Proceed To Gaza

If you are surprised by this then you haven't been paying attention.

An Open Letter From Detroit To US Secretary Of Education Arne Duncan


Corporations push for WTO attack on green jobs

The Obama adminsitration is deliberating whether to get involved in a WTO attack on Canada's green jobs program, according to today's Inside U.S. Trade.

Bangladesh Labor Leaders Win One Case; Ten More Cases Still to Go

Walmart and class terrorism, the face of 21st century capitalism.

After meeting a worker in California who had sustained an injury to his eye while on the job and another worker who had injured his leg at the warehouse, Ms. Akter reflected that these workplace injuries are no different from what happens in Walmart's supplier factories in Bangladesh. In Seattle, Walmart associates were visibly moved by Ms. Akter’s story of persecution, imprisonment, and beatings of labor rights leaders. Her courage in the face of such challenges was deeply inspiring to them. The Walmart associates shared their own fears of losing their job in economic downturn or being fired for standing up for their rights. A member of the Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans termed the meeting "history-making"—the beginning of a movement that goes beyond Walmart, beyond big box stores, and connects workers at different ends in global supply chains for dignity and rights on the job.!+Mail

Michael Hudson On The Arab Spring

Great piece.

Three Myths About The Arab Spring

Great essay.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Greek trade unions call for historic first ever 48-hour General Strike in face of parliamentary vote on new IMF/EU/ECB agreement

Some interesting statements in the comments section too.

A Critique Of Reporting On The Middle East

Terrific Piece.

Tahrir Speaks: May 27

Follow the link to some great video and photos. Worth a look.

We can win: 750,000 to strike in Britain

Israeli deputy FM secretly visits Egypt

The source for this is Iranian state media, Press TV. They are no worse than Western press, but no better. I do not doubt that the meeting occurred, and it probably explains Egypt's rapidly shifting Rafa Crossing policy, and the fact that Israel denies it is meaningless, but a little caution is appropriate. Time will probably tell.

The role of the ex-left in Spain’s los indignados protests

Provocative article, still digesting it. A little unnerved that the Trotskyist WSWS, a SEP organ, lashes out at its main rivals: The SWP with which it split, and the Pabloites who split from the Trotskyists. Nevertheless, they've raised some good questions.

Irish government, employers and unions prepare new attacks on working class

The new Irish coalition government is preparing a swathe of austerity measures to meet the terms of the 2010 International Monetary Fund/European Union bailout of the banking system.

The Fine Gael/Labour coalition came to power on a wave of revulsion against the outgoing Fianna Fail/Green Party government, but its policies of mass social misery are indistinguishable from its predecessor.

Didacticide Update: Bi-partisan assault on public education in Detroit

A proposal by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to drastically reorganize the Detroit school district, the latest stage in the dismantling of public education in the city, has received the complete support of the Obama administration.

Snyder, a Republican, has announced a plan to establish a separate state agency to run “failing” schools in the city. These schools, operating under an emergency financial manager, will be free to wipe out teacher pay, job security and benefits. If implemented, the initiative would remove nearly a third of the remaining DPS schools from the system, following year after year in which dozens of schools have been closed or turned over to private charters.

Bahrain: Show trial sentences critics of regime

Eight people were given life sentences and others sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years. All those convicted by the specially convened military tribunal are from the Shiite Muslim faith, the religious majority in the small Persian Gulf nation. The Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa royal family rules Bahrain, while Shiites face discrimination in employment, the provision of housing and other services.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Lets Gang-Bankers off the Hook

It must be nice to be a bankster. That cylindrical object currently throbbing its way past your sphincter muscle belongs to them. The SEC has just agreed (yes, agreed)[1] with JPMC on a penalty for the latter's "alleged" fraud. And what was this penalty, you moan? A whopping 154 million USD. An enormous sum, no? Let's do a little math: It's important to consider the "alleged" fraud in the context of the entire economic collapse and not just the profits from the derivatives scam for which they "agreed" to pay this fine.

A brief review: JPMC and other banksters cobbled sub-prime mortgages together and sold them as bonds. These were christened collateralized debt obligations (CDO). Selling the loans downmarket was an advantage for the mortgage originators as getting them off their books allowed them to make new loans. This led to banks and other mortgage lenders to write riskier and riskier loans as they knew they would not be holding them for very long. A housing bubble resulted, and CDOs became Wall Street's best selling investments. Soon originators couldn't write loans fast enough to slake Wall Street's demand for new product. This in turn led to even riskier lending practices, which in its turn led to CDOs full of loans which almost certainly were headed for default. Nevertheless, banks like JPMC continued to concoct new CDOs and pass them off to the insipid rich who continued to trust the investment banks which hawked them.

This was despicable enough, but it got even worse. JPMC was one of the banks which pioneered the credit default swap (CDS). Essentially, it was an insurance policy one could buy against one's investments going bad. A naked credit default swap is where the person buying the insurance doesn't actually own the underlying investment. It is simply a wager that a given investment will not pay off.

JPMC and other gang-bankers not only passed off junk bonds as sound investments, they secretly bought naked CDS against them. In other words, they sold John Doe a CDO of their own construction telling him it was a good, safe, low-risk investment knowing that that was untrue, then placed a bet with their bookie, in this case an insurance company, that the underlying mortgages would not be collectible. So they made money from the sale of the CDO to Doe, then they get paid off when the the CDO they created went bust. Needless to say, the sell-garbage-and-bet-against-it scam quickly became the business model, and a lucrative one.

I am not even going to bother to research how much JPMC made selling bad CDOs, but I know it was a considerable sum much in excess of the fine they have now been assessed. They did land office business during one of the greatest housing bubbles in history, and got paid again when it burst.

Perhaps of even greater value than the proceeds garnered from the CDO/CDS ruse, was the damage the CDOs did systemically. Bear Stearns was left holding the bag when the mortgages underlying the CDOs they held began to default. Bear's stock price dropped about 90 percent and they were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. At that moment, with the blessing of the U.S. government, JPMC stepped in to "rescue" Bear with an offer to buy. The faltering investment bank was sold to JPMC for about 250 million USD, about seven billion less than it would have cost just weeks before and less money than it took for the New York Yankees to sign star infielder Alex Rodriguez. It was a steal in every sense of the word.

So for illegal activity in which they made tens of billions, they were fined 150 million.

Bear cost JPMC 250 million, I wonder how much the SEC cost them...


AARP Drops Opposition To Cutting Social Security Benefits

You know, I must be the dumbest SOB on Earth, cuz I keep getting surprised by things like this. What AARP (American Association of Retiree Persecutors) is doing is utterly indefensible. The SS fund is solvent and will be until 2048, there is no justification for making anybody suffer before then (or after, for that matter). There isn't a SS "crisis". It's a fraud! What's going on is class war, it's that simple. The SS account is an enormous amount of money and the ruling class is taking it away because they want it, and because they don't want us to have it. Getting us to work longer (i.e. be more productive) and claim less from the national economy means more for them, and a diminished capacity for working people to resist. It is as simple as that. And that the AARP has acquiesced (if in fact that is what they've done and it isn't something even more nefarious) is absolutely shameless. It is a betrayal. It's treachery.

Some time ago it was proposed by an economist whose name I cannot remember that if a Federal SS tax of one cent on every purchase in excess of one hundred dollars was enacted, the coming shortfall in 2048 would be averted and the problem solved. This is a tax not of one percent, but of just one cent. If it went to a national plebiscite and Americans were able to choose between paying an extra penny for every time they spent a hundred or more and saving retirees from painful cuts, or forgoing the tax in favor of the draconian reductions the Wall Street and their footmen, the Republican Party, are calling for, which do you think we'd choose? The penny tax would pass by a wide margin. The problem with this plan is that their would be no benefit in it for the big banks, consequently we will never get the chance to make the decision. They rule, and we obey or get sent to their prisons.

Why am I an anarchist? This is why. Anarchism means direct democracy (if you will pardon the redundant phrase), It means power in the hands of the people, and not this bourgeois charade known as representative government. It means government is the collective enterprise of the whole of the community at every level: local, regional, national, and international. It means having meaningful control over our economies and everything else which directly affects our lives. This is impossible when society is divided into an ownership class and a servant class. It's impossible when we elect representatives from an extremely limited menu who then go to office and make decisions with which we have to live whether we like it or not. It is time for a complete socio-economic reorganization where power is transmitted from the bottom up, where workers run the offices and factories, where teachers and students run the schools, where miners run the mines etc., where commerce isn't conducted for the enrichment of a few but for the benefit of everyone.

It's our choice, because once we decide to stop complying, once we join hands across ethnic, racial, religious, and national borders as one human family, the ruling class will rule no more. We will be free.

In the mean time, I hope you like cat food, cuz that's what you are going to be eating in your "golden" years.

Pander Alert: The New Egypt, A Chip Off The Old Block

An old ruse, culling a trick from the criminal statecraft playbook, one of Mubarak's favorite ploys, the ruling military cabal is striking a anti-West, anti-neoliberal pose. It has just announced that it will not accept loans from the World Bank because they are, they insist, contrary to national interests:

The government has declined a loan from the World Bank because it found the terms of the loan incompatible with the national interest, Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga said on Monday.

The minister added that the government would not accept conditions dictated by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, especially since the 18-day uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.[1]

In much the same way King Abdullah of Jordan angrily denounced the Iraq War publicly while enthusiastically supporting it privately, the Mubarak-regime-sans-Mubarak in Egypt is now feigning hostility to international capital when in fact they are an agent of it.

More lies:

Last week, The Wall Street Journal said Egypt was wary of the United States’ recent offer of financial support, doubting possible ulterior motives behind it.

It also said Abul Naga had lodged a complaint with the US Embassy in Egypt, and warned of violating Egypt’s sovereignty by dictating conditions for loans. The complaint came in response to an announcement by the United States Agency for International Development that it would grant Egypt US$165 million to finance projects for education, civic activities and human rights.[1]

The regime's hold on power is for the moment secure but precarious nonetheless. They are doing everything within their means to suppress the revolution, and an essential part of that effort is effective PR. The principal deception is that the military cabal is the revolution, that they represent a break with the past. The maintenance of this delusion is necessary for its survival, and more generally for the defeat of the revolutionary movement and the hegemony of the ruling class in Egypt.

The idea that the ruling junta is at cross-swords with international capital and is unwilling to take their money is a grotesque lie. One made all the more odious by the fact that they have already taken pyramid-sized loans from various branches of the global money network, including the IMF.[2] I guess they meant they refused to take anymore.

For a more detailed account of the largess the cabal has received from its corporate patrons, follow this link: