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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blogger's Note

Blogger has launched a new interface and it is just awful. The formatting problems have been going on for weeks now and it has become quite tiresome. Consequently, we moved to Future posts can be found there.

Libya: Connect the Dots-You Get a Giant Dollar Sign

Terrific piece by Russ Baker.

Photo O' The Day, April 29, 2012

From Cindy's newsletter: FYI: We had scheduled and confirmed an interview with Glenn Greenwald a couple of months back and he just never "showed up" for it and after that would never respond to my producer about what happened. I still think he is a brilliant analyst of the Empire and his slight of the Soapbox won't change that fact, but if anyone knows how to reach him, maybe we can find out what happened?) Cindy likes Castro and Greenwald more than I do, jftr.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Egypt Counterrevolution Update: The elBaradei Charade Deepens.

[Blogger's note: Blogspot has gone to a new interface and it's full of glitches. One problem is that the formatting doesn't work (everything compressed into one paragraph) unless there is a italicized quote. This is inserted for that purpose.]
I have been faithfully reading Zeinobia's Egyptian Chronicles blog since the revolution began, and I have a lot of respect for her reports and her indefatigability, but where elBaradei is concerned she has swallowed the goldfish whole. He is Wall Street's man in Cairo, and this is becoming more apparent every day. He's changed the name of his party from the Revolution Party to the Constitution Party, a diaphanous attempt to de-radicalize Egyptian political discourse. As Zeinobia points out he's bringing in SCAF supporters, and he's talking about merging with other non-revolutionary parties. He's passing himself off as a "liberal", which is bad enough, but his political career reveals him to be neither left nor right but a servant of international capital. A year or so ago I predicted that the Egyptian Revolution would be etiolated [Counterrevolution 101] and that elBaradei would likely be the first president of the bourgeois republic. It is hardly a sure thing as the imperialists have several horses in this race, but at this point it looks like he is their annointed one.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Quebec Students Endure Despite Police State Repression

A farewell to U.S. factories

Although the absolute number of jobs in American manufacturing was rather constant at about 17 million from 1969 to 2002, manufacturing’s share of jobs continued to decline from about 28% in 1962 to only 9% in 2011.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

India contributes half of world’s measles deaths

GDP soaring but India's children still dying from easily prevented diseases. This is called capitalism.|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Children of Fallujah - Sayef's Story

April 25, 2012 "The Independent" - - For little Sayef, there will be no Arab Spring. He lies, just 14 months old, on a small red blanket cushioned by a cheap mattress on the floor, occasionally crying, his head twice the size it should be, blind and paralysed. Sayeffedin Abdulaziz Mohamed – his full name – has a kind face in his outsized head and they say he smiles when other children visit and when Iraqi families and neighbours come into the room. But he will never know the history of the world around him, never enjoy the freedoms of a new Middle East. He can move only his hands and take only bottled milk because he cannot swallow. He is already almost too heavy for his father to carry. He lives in a prison whose doors will remain forever closed.

Private Prison Corporations Are Modern Day Slave Traders

"The terrible, cold, cruel part is Wall Street. Rivers of gold flow there from all over the earth, and death comes with it. There, as nowhere else, you feel a total absence of the spirit: herds of men who cannot count past three, herds more who cannot get past six, scorn for pure science and demoniacal respect for the present. And the terrible thing is that the crowd that fills the street believes that the world will always be the same and that it is their duty to keep that huge machine running, day and night, forever."
Federico Garcia Lorca - Spanish Poet and Playwright, killed by fascists early on in the Spanish Revolution.

Happy Sinai Liberation Day 2012

Why Isn’t Closing 40 Philadelphia Public Schools National News? Where Is the Black Political Class?

Great piece.

USA: Occupy’s “precarious” general strike

Protest Time in Tunisia Again

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

May Day General Strike Posters

Can be found here, some good, some not. The comments are worth reading. I responded but judging by the tenor of the other comments I'm not sure mine will see the light of day, so I reproduce it here.
My, my, $12 or 13/hr, such largesse Michael. You might be better by measure than most capitalists, but you still live off the labor of others, and that’s exploitation pure and simple. They have a job because you say so. When all the workers own your business and have equal power and rights therein, then and only then will OS’ work be done. That our livelihoods depend on the relative philanthropy of those who expropriate our labor is entirely unacceptable, and I find your self-pitying comments Michael to be condescension of the worst sort.

Paris Commune Addresses The Soldiers Of Versailles' Army

In short it appeals to them to defect. It says that "like us you are proletarians" and the monarchists and shouldn't be allowed "the right to drink our blood as they drink our sweat." It finishes by exhorting "come to us, brothers, we welcome you with open arms."

Bangladesh labor leader murdered two weeks after international rights victory

Weeks after winning a major commitment from American clothing giant Phillips-Van Heusen to improve labor conditions in the garment factories of Bangladesh, one of the leaders of the workers’ movement has been found murdered, his body showing evidence of brutal torture. Aminul Islam, a head of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) and the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, disappeared from the country’s main textile center of Ashulia on Wednesday after receiving a call from a worker requesting assistance. « His legs had severe torture marks including a hole made by a sharp object. All his toes were broken, » the local police chief told AFP.

Monday, April 23, 2012

India tests long-range missile capable of striking China’s cities

WW3 on the way.

Photo O' The Day, Egypt revolution graffiti

Quebec student strike contines

Photo, text and quick video.

Jailed for $280: The return of debtors’ prisons

Although the U.S. abolished debtors’ prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don’t pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff’s deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP. Under the law, debtors aren’t arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing “contempt of court” in connection with a creditor lawsuit. That loophole has lawmakers in the Illinois House of Representatives concerned enough to pass a bill in March that would make it illegal to send residents of the state to jail if they can’t pay a debt. The measure awaits action in the senate. “Creditors have been manipulating the court system to extract money from the unemployed, veterans, even seniors who rely solely on their benefits to get by each month,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last month in a statement voicing support for the legislation. “Too many people have been thrown in jail simply because they’re too poor to pay their debts. We cannot allow these illegal abuses to continue.”
In the old days debtor prison inmates were given the option of indentured servitude--slavery--for a term shorter than their sentence. We are not likely to see the return of this outrage as nowadays inmates do forced labor so there is no incentive for capital to offer a reduced period of incarceration.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Egypt ElBaradei wants 5 million members in his new party

ElBaradei isn't the only Trojan Horse in the race, he's just one of them.

His new party is called "The Revolution". It could better be called The Counterrevolution.

The idea that EB is a revolutionary is just a joke. He was international capital's top nuclear cop. His organization, the IAEA, was an extension of the intelligence apparati of Western imperialism. His party takes a "get tough" line with Israel, but one of the IAEA's task was to protect Israel's nuclear monopoly in the Mideast.

Unfortunately, all the major parties are under the control of the military junta, even the one's whose candidates were recently decertified.

Yes, including the Brotherhood, who have been the loyal opposition posing as disloyal for decades. The ruling class always seeks to dominate both ends of the political spectrum, thus compressing nascent resistance within an organization under their secret control. In the US, capital destroyed both the anarchist and Marxist movements but kept the Communist Party alive as a snare. Freedom of Information requests revealed that a majority of the CPUSA leadership and a goodly percentage of its membership were working for the FBI. The old joke back in the day was that you could always tell who worked for the Bureau because they always paid their dues on time.|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Mitt Romney, American Parasite

This is called capitalism.

Election 2012, Who's Your Daddy?

Financial ‘Reform’ Failure: Chase, Bank Of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs Now 30% Bigger; Control Assests Equal To 56% Of U.S. Economy

The collapse of '08 was a scam. It was a controlled demolition designed to move wealth up the food chain to four or so richest families--and it succeeded.

What you will read here is no accident.

Discovered here

Didacticide Update, The Tennessee Front

Tennessee has now passed a law permitting teachers to present students with alternatives to well-known scientific principles.

In case there is any doubt as to what the real function of the schools are--to create a docile, unreflective, apathetic populace who will not interfere in the machinations of capital--this case should clear it up. Normally one might be pleased the schools are encouraging students to tackle controversial subjects, to think critically about accepted norms and conventional wisdom, but look at what they list as topics for consideration:

...the only examples the legislation gives of “controversial” theories are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

Whose agenda is this?

Quote O' The Day, April 22, 2012

There were two “Reigns of Terror,” if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the “horrors” of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror — that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.

Mark Twain on the French Revolution, from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New York City Democrats propose phony “living wage” bill

I yield the floor to Lilly Tomlin for one of my favorite quotes:
No matter how cynical I get I can never keep up.

Egypt Tantawi meets with US CENTCOM delegation in Cairo|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Audio: Michigan Unions Challenge Payroll Dues Deduction Ban In Federal Court,

Friday, April 20, 2012

Caveat Emptor: Mass rally in Paris for radical left presidential candidate

Here we go again. If you think you can vote your way to justice then think again. The largest and strongest partner in the Front is the France's communist party. Their history is nothing short of squalid. In the 30s, 60s, and 90s they were responsible for saving bourgeois governments from worker rebellions. It, like so many communist parties around the world, has been clandestinely taken over by capital and serves its interests.

Anger is running higher than usual these days and the ruling class has brought forth this Trojan Horse to run the electoral ruse yet again. Melenchon may very well be legitimate (well it's possible), but if his Front actually threatens to win he will be co-opted or marginalized one way or another.

I yield the floor to Emma Goldman:

If voting changed anything they would make it illegal.

For real progress to be made, government must be dismantled and democracy take its place.

Rhode Island Pension Cuts Set Chilling Precedents

Government Misinformation Campaign Targets Reporter

Egyptian Electoral commission upholds ban on 10 presidential candidates

Military dictators appoint the electoral commission, and the electoral commission decides who can run.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

World Bank Supports Harmful Water Corporations, Report Finds

Wikiganda Alert: The Psy-op Moves To The Small Screen.

As for me, I'm waiting for the musical.

For those of you who are still deluded to think the US wouldn't shoot this guy if he was what he claims to be, Agent Assange's new TV show should do the trick. Here we see the empire's factotum doing his duty.

We should recall that our fair-haired boy made a deal with Zion not to release any "documents" which would be detrimental for Israel. This alone should suffice to reveal who he is and what he's doing. Agent Assange has not been at all averse to publishing documents that were compromising to the governments of Israel's neighbors (Egypt, Tunisia, Syria et al), yet he refrains from anything which would hinder the racist, fascist, genocidal regime in Tel Aviv in its conquest of Palestine. One can only wonder as to motive but one thing is clear: It is not justice that concerns him.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roots Of Occupy: The Battle In Seattle, 1999

Quote O' The Day, 18 April, 2012

Let each man say what he deems truth, and let truth itself be commended unto God!

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Single Mother Falsely Accused of Endangering Her Children at Occupy Oakland

Gulf of Mexico seafood deformities alarm scientists

Video: Marx on the Paris Commune: That is Socialism

Class Warfare On Two Fronts: From Afghanistan To Middle America, The Untold Story Of Sgt. Bales

Good piece.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why the FCC Fined Google Just 68 Seconds in Profits

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Child Laborer Finally Freed From Captivity After Losing Arm in Cotton Ginning Accident

Wells Fargo Now A Major Shareholder In For-Profit Prisons

Let me see now they are going to make money from the prison itself, and the inmate's forced labor--a solid business model. Slavery, the new growth industry.

Soon we are going to have incarceration-backed securities(IBS)--buy a share in the slave''s productivity. And of course we'll need CDO's against the risk of premature parole or a downturn in street crime. But the market will provide solutions...

Capitalism is obscene.

Sudan army advancing on oil fields; SPLA will fight to the death

Africa has largely been spared the last two World Wars, it won't be so lucky in the next. China backs the government in Khartoum and the West the new capital of Juba in the south. The secession agreement didn't resolve the territorial disputes because Western interests didn't want it to.|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Joke O' The Day, April 14, 2012

Somewhere in the US, a demonstration takes place. The police arrive and beat the protesters mercilessly.

“Don’t hit me,” someone shouts, “I am an anti-communist!”

“I couldn’t give a damn what kind of a communist you are!” a policeman answers as he raises his baton.

Uri Avnery, discovered here

Newsflash: Dick Cheney Says Bush Administration Never Claimed Osama Bin Laden Was Involved In 9/11

I've only watched the first few minutes of this film so I'm not endorsing it, but please enjoy the Dickster saying that there's no evidence OBL was behind the attack.

Some may argue that Cheney says OBL was not directly involved. The official theory was that he was the leader of the organization which planned, funded, and executed the massacre. More importantly, it was claimed that it went ahead on his say so. Certainly the man who ordered the outrage can be said to be directly involved.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Article O' The Day, 14 April, 2012: You Can't “Grow The Movement” By Dissing The Kids: On Chris Hedges And Occupy

Terrific piece! Acosta's elucidation is the best I've read on the topic of the troubled, rapidly deteriorating Mr Hedges.

You can link through to another of her pieces which is equally good. Here's the video she links to:

And Here's a response by a questioner at the event:

I wrote about Hedges' screed at the time in this space, as did other anarchists elsewhere on the web.

A few observations about Hedges and his views: My main objections are discussed in the entry linked above, beyond those he is remarkably intolerant of those whom he condemns for intolerance. He's also not above employing the "linguistic violence"--calling BBers "stupid"--he finds so distasteful in others.

Of greater importance, the real issue is whether violence, using the term in the capacious, Hedgesian sense, is acceptable/beneficial/tolerable etc.

UK BBC And Australian ABC Censor Dr Niels Harrit And Key Evidence That US Did 9-11

Professor Niels Harrit is a distinguished Danish chemist from the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, who with his international colleagues found compelling chemical physics-based evidence for unexploded nano-thermite high explosive in all samples of the World Trade Center (WTC) dust examined, this in turn providing compelling evidence for explosive demolition of the 3 WTC buildings...However a BBC Search for “niels harrit” yields zero (0) results and an ABC Search for the phrase “neils harrit” only yields 1 relevant result as compared to a Google Search result of 244,000 URLs. This solitary ABC article does not itself refer to Niels Harrit but this distinguished Danish scientist is mentioned in its comment thread by one of numerous listeners...

Good, well-researched article.

Zioganda Alert: Ben Stein Lying For Israel Update

A Rare Admission From Israel

It's when I challenged him on the biggest talking point of all, Iran's supposed determination to "wipe Israel off the face of the map," that Meridor seemed to stumble outside the lines of the agreed narrative.

Meridor: [Iran's leaders] all come basically ideologically, religiously with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They didn't say 'we'll wipe it out', you are right, but [that] it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor, it should be removed;

Nabili: Well, I am glad you acknowledged they didn't say they will wipe it out, because certainly Israeli politicians…

Meridor: … they say it will be removed, needs to be removed …

Certainly there can be no doubt that Zionism (i.e. Israel) has been a cancer in Mideast and world politics, but that's precisely why it has the backing of international capital. It is, as promised by Herzl and other early Zionists, a pro-Western regional superpower in the midst of all that oil.

Good article, worth a read.

Quote O' The Day, 14 April, 2012

"Truth has to be repeated constantly, because Error also is being preached all the time, and not just by a few, but by the multitude. In the Press and Encyclopaedias, in Schools and Universities, everywhere Error holds sway, feeling happy and comfortable in the knowledge of having Majority on its side."


Friday, April 13, 2012

Audio: More Than 100,000 Postal Workers Rally To Save America’s Postal Service


In Brazil, GM Cost-Cutting Kills

The union’s secretary general, Luiz Carlos Prates, spoke during the work stoppage meeting: “This is an assembly of grief and struggle. Our brother Teodoro would not be dead if GM invested more in safety, listened to the workers’ safety committees, and stopped laying off and pressuring us so much. What happened here is the result of GM’s restructuring. The time has come to end this.”

Didacticide Update, The British Colombia Front

Banks look to cherry-pick Fed portfolio

The New York Fed is considering selling the Maiden Lane III portfolio after it auctioned the remaining assets in Maiden Lane II, another portfolio related to AIG’s bailout, this year, logging a $2.8bn profit. Maiden Lane II housed bonds backed by subprime US home loans, securities that have been in demand in recent months for their relatively high yields.

What's that pray tell? Come again please. AIG bailed out because it was holding this bad paper and now said paper is in demand due to high yields?

How they must laugh at us working class folk! And we deserve it.

Matt Stoller: Some Observations on the Second Lien Problem

Housing market hostages! A good explication of one aspect of the housing bubble scam. Once again the big banks end up somehow profiting from holding "bad" mortgages.

The author expresses puzzlement over the regulators unwillingness to do the right and obvious thing. I am puzzled that anyone could be puzzled at this point--the bubble scam is as diaphanous as it could be. Capital crashes the economy periodically when working people have amassed enough wealth as to be worth stealing.

Anarchist scholar denied entry to Canada

If you are surprised by this then you still don't get it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

RIP Ahmed Ben Bella

[Blogger's note April 13: I've been challenged on my charge that Bella was never really a leftist. Some good points were raised. The issue is whether in his youth his views differed from those expressed in the last 30 or so years of his life. If not then certainly he is no leftist. If so then we will need parameters for classifying somebody thus. Simply resisting colonialism does not make one a leftist (think ANC and a million others), worthy though that effort is. An Islamic republic may constitute a kind of primitive communism and might thus qualify as leftist, but by anarchist standards, my standard, this is a bit of a stretch, and then we would have to consider if any theocratic state could be truly leftist.

Zeinobia justifies calling Bella a leftist due to his support for Nasser, but he too is no leftist. The Egyptian leader while admirable in his foreign policy, was in bed with the domestic bourgeoisie right from the start.

By my reckoning, Bella is surely no leftist, however I haven't researched him well enough to be confidant in my assessment, so, for the moment, consider this an apology and a retraction.]

Not sure Bella was ever a real "leftist" as Zeinobia asserts, but he led a successful campaign against imperialism. Unfortunately the Algerian Revolution was betrayed before it started.

In any case, he is to be celebrated for his bravery and perseverance.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zioganda Alert: Ben Stein Lying For Israel

Big Ben knows that the official policy of Iran vis-a-vis Israel/Palestine is that they will accept any solution which is acceptable to the Palestinians.

The people who mistranslated the speech by Ahmedinajad (and many others) have acknowledged their "mistake". Ben Stein knows that Iran has never said they want to "wipe Israel off the map". Moreover, he knows they have no such wish. But the mistranslation received much attention while the retraction went underpublicized. Consequently the old lie is being recycled.

International capital has stolen Iraq and Libya, Iran is next on their to-do list.

And just for the record: His Holocaust numbers are wrong too.

[Discovered here.]

Propaganda Alert: NY pushes objection to BofA $8.5 billion mortgage pact

This is a charade folks, just political posturing. Schneiderman doesn't want to stop this deal. As I've written in this space, the settlement was an enormous give-away to the banks. The top bondholders--the big banks-- got the lion's share and individual investors got screwed, precisely what the banks wanted. Wall Street owns the prosecutors' offices and courts, and nobody but nobody gets to be AG in New York unless he's a team player.

WTO Orders U.S. to Dump Landmark Obama Youth Anti-Smoking Law

A landmark U.S. health policy already was being struck down even as protestors surrounded the Supreme Court over the attack on President Obama's healthcare law. Behind closed doors in Geneva, a World Trade Organization (WTO) tribunal issued a final ruling ordering the U.S. to dump a landmark 2009 youth anti-smoking law.

German unions agree to more layoffs at Heidelberg

California prepares thousands of government layoffs

The YCMTSU Story O' The Day, April 11: Escape TO Colditz: Brits flock to notorious Nazi PoW camp after £20-a-night hotel opens up inside it

The Real Polarization and the Manipulation of Populism

Good piece.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bourgeois Broadcasting Company Censorship Alert: BBC Censors “ Palestine ”, “Palestinian Holocaust”, “Palestinian Genocide” And “Anti-racist Jews”

What’s America’s Biggest National Security Threat?

This article is instructive in two ways: It reveals that "national security" concerns are but a thin disguise for the economic interests of the ruling class. And that the said class understand how destabilizing free markets are when the president of the CFR --the bankster's think tank-- discloses publicly that "...the challenge for the United States in the national security realm is to do things that reduce our vulnerability to the decisions and behaviors be it foreign governments or markets.”

Whether you take him to mean foreign or domestic markets or both is of no consequence, he states here that they create vulnerability. That is an unusually candid admission, particularly coming from whom it does.

U.S. Abandons Final Pretense of Transparency or Inclusion of Consumer, Health, Environmental, Labor Perspective in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Talks

Monday, April 9, 2012

Getting Rich from the TSA Naked-Body Scanners

Capitalism is legalized larceny. Here, as always, we see the eternal unity of state and capital.

Both Soros and Chertoff are profiting from the naked-body scanners by way of the company Rapiscan, whose contract is worth $173 million. Lobbyists for this company include Susan Carr, a former senior legislative aide to Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) who is coincidentally chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee.

Former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff was “flacking for Rapiscan,” writes Tim Carney of The Examiner:

After the undie-bomber attempt on Christmas 2009, Chertoff went on a media tour promoting the use of these scanners, without disclosing that he was getting paid by Rapiscan, one of the two companies currently contracted by TSA to take a nude picture of you at the airport.

Just days after the attempted Christmas attack, the New York Times explained:

Screening technologies with names like millimeter-wave and backscatter X-ray can show the contours of the body and reveal foreign objects. Such machines, properly used, are a leap ahead of the metal detectors used in most airports, and supporters say they are necessary to keep up with the plans of potential terrorists. "If they’d been deployed, this would pick up this kind of device," Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary, said in an interview….

The YCMTSU Story Of The Day, April 9, 2012: China Cracks Down on Maoists

Newser) – The Chinese Communist Party is cracking down on people who are a little too enthusiastic about the man who led it to power in 1949. The firing of Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, who led a Maoist revival, has been followed by a purge of websites promoting Mao Zedong-era songs and stories, along with ultra-leftist ideals. In Chongqing, music has been banned from a park where retirees used to wave red flags and sing patriotic anthems, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Transit Troubles Provoke National Day of Protests

Unions Struggle to Regroup As Verizon’s Hits Keep Coming

The workers had everything going for them: As a body they were well organized and determined, and they enjoyed massive public support, but their union decided to shut down the strike and the rest as they say is history.

Public interest in the strike was impressive. I wrote some updates about it and one took so many hits that I was receiving messages from Blogspot telling me to monetize. It was taking hundreds of hits an hour (quite a bit for this humble blog) until my counter stopped counting and the piece disappeared from Google's search engine.

All of that momentum was wasted when the union called off the strike, and the cuts are the inevitable result.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Obama Administration Pushes to Privatize Poultry Inspection

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Last Monday, members of American Federation of Government Employees union and food safety advocates rallied outside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protest a plan that they argue would essentially privatize poultry inspection. The USDA wants to expand a pilot program that currently allows 20 chicken slaughterhouses and five turkey slaughter houses to employ their own meat inspectors instead of using independently funded federal government inspectors.

The producers support this idea. Now why would they want to pay for something which is currently being provided for free? To ask such a question is to answer it.


The Battle Of Algiers

One of the greatest films ever made about war and politics.

USA : Assessing the Battle of Longview

Good piece.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On Occupy movements in the United States – What Does Democracy Look Like?

Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg and Che Guevara, by Adrienne Rich

Very nice.

List of Shame: Goods Made with Forced, Child Labor

Bourgeois Propaganda Alert: Lack of Competition Stifles Refinance Program for Underwater Homeowners

That's right folks, according to ProPublica the solution for capitalism's housing crash is more capitalism.

A couple of points to consider:

1, The bourgeois press has contained this discussion between two poles of economic thought either of which is favorable for capital. We had housing bubble whose bursting was not prevented (oddly enough) by the free market, we then had the state lurch into the breach with a "rescue" plan from which the capitalists who crashed the market prospered, and now we have the beneficiaries--the big banks--of this governmental largesse crowing for a freer hand. Apparently we are not handing our wealth over to them fast enough.

2, As should be obvious to anybody with two IQ points to rub together, HARP and the countless other aspects of the bailout/stimulus program were not undertaken for our benefit. It was claimed that these banks were too big to fail and their demise would cause universal misery. The HARP program shows clearly that this is not the case.

Analysts say that the big banks are set to make major profits off of the Home Affordable Refinancing Program, also known as HARP, which allows homeowners with loans backed by government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance if they owe more than their home is worth.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Public Education "Failure by Design,"

Indian rape victim immolates herself protesting delay in probe|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Greek pensioner’s public suicide sparks outrage across the country

His final words were reported to be “I won’t leave debts for my children” before killing himself in Syntagma Square near to the Greek parliament.

He left a letter saying, “I have no other way to react but to find a dignified end before I start sifting through garbage for food.” He also called for young people to rise up.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Update on fall bus service changes for MetroKC: fair and balanced?

Update on fall bus service changes
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In recent months, we’ve heard from nearly 10,000 transit customers about our proposals to restructure bus service to be more productive and meet the needs of more people. That public input has helped shape the final September 2012 plan being submitted to the Metropolitan King County Council next week. This plan is aimed at being equitable, fair, and balanced regionally using the limited resources available.

Most of the final recommendations support the launch of the RapidRide C and D lines that will connect downtown Seattle to Ballard and West Seattle starting on Sept. 29. For that reason, the changes primarily affect service in Seattle and adjacent communities. Some of the revisions, such as the recommended changes to the routes 10, 11, 12, 123, and 125 will also improve the flow of buses through downtown Seattle, which will produce significant efficiencies for Metro’s overall system.

Not all of the changes originally proposed for this September will be part of the final plan. Some are being postponed for now, but could happen in the future. Several ideas needed further review and analysis. The following list highlights changes that have been made to the original proposals:

1. Postponing all routing changes to the 2 (north and south parts), 4 (north and south parts), 13, 14 (south part), 16, 24, 27, and 33;

2. Considering small changes to frequency and spans of service for routes 14 (north and south parts), 24, 27, and 124 to better align service with ridership during the evening hours;

3. Providing service to 32nd Ave NW and North Beach via a new Route 61;

4. Retaining weekday and Saturday service on Route 125;

5. Providing service to Nickerson Street on Queen Anne by revising Route 2 Express to provide peak service from Nickerson Street to downtown Seattle, and retaining Route 17 during weekday peak periods to provide service from downtown Seattle to the Ballard business district (northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon, with trips timed to meet Sounder Commuter Rail trips to/from Tacoma);

6. Retaining service to the VA hospital on Beacon Hill with the new Route 50 and proposed Route 60;

7. Revising new Route 50 to serve Alaska Junction and the North Delridge neighborhood; and

8. Revising Route 156 to maintain service on S 216th Street and 8th Avenue S between 200th and Des Moines Memorial Drive S.

To learn more about the final plan, visit:

People will have an opportunity to comment on the final September transit service plan at a scheduled public hearing of the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee on Monday, April 16, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Sound Transit’s Board Room at Union Station (401 S. Jackson Street, Seattle). Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and to testify concerning the recommended service changes. There will be an open house at 6:00 pm, presentation at 6:30 pm, and opportunity to provide public testimony at 7:00 pm. To request a language interpreter or accommodations for persons with disabilities, please contact Paul Carlson, Council staff, at (206) 296-1673 by April 9. You may also submit comments to the King County Council email address for this topic at .

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Quote O' The Day, April 2

"If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one of them would remain in the army."

Frederick the Great

Vermont Postal Unions and Occupy Unite to Save the Mail

Supply Chain Workers Test Strength of Links

The Artist Taxi Driver On George Galloway's Surprise Election Victory

Good criticism and a good solution.

Warning Video Contains Adult Language

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Barcelona’s workers and youth speak during Spain’s general strike

Unions complicit in GM attack on European auto workers

The Empire In Africa

Great documentary about Sierra Leone, but it could be anywhere in the world. This storyline is pretty much the same everywhere in the Third World, with the horrors becoming particularly acute in Africa now with Chinese and Indian imperialists joining the hunt.

And it all comes down to one word: capitalism.

Warning: This film, much to its detriment I believe, contains unbelievably graphic scenes, worse than anything I've ever seen. There are decapitations, heads on pikes, and vultures feeding on cadavers. It shouldn't be attempted on a full stomach.

It really is a shame as this documentary would be more useful without the gore.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Successful Fare Strike on New York Subways

Millions mobilize as general strike brings Spain to standstill

Thursday, March 29, 2012

California school board blocks parent takeover bid

A group of activist parents in this impoverished community were thwarted again in their bid to become the first in the nation to seize control of a public school under a controversial "parent trigger" law designed to shake up chronically failing schools. Capping an emotional four-hour meeting, the board of the Adelanto School District in California's Mojave Desert voted 5-0 on Wednesday night to reject a petition invoking a 2010 state law that permits parents to effectively seize control of low-performing schools.

Uganda: the hidden agenda behind "Kony 2012" video

Reports indicate Toulouse gunman was French intelligence asset

Press reports and comments by top intelligence officials suggest that Mohamed Merah, the alleged gunman who killed seven people including three Jewish schoolchildren in a nine-day shooting spree in Toulouse, was a French intelligence asset.

These revelations raise questions about French intelligence’s failure to stop Merah, and whether this failure was dictated by political considerations. The investigation of Merah was led by the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI), run by Bernard Squarcini—a close associate of incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy, previously running far behind Socialist Party (PS) candidate François Hollande in next month’s presidential elections, has benefited from massive media coverage after the attacks and now is catching up to Hollande in polls.

If you think this is far-fetched then get a clue. Israeli/Western intelligence (and others) agencies have killed their own nationals countless times.

Egypt's Workers Movement Strikes Back

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Transit Union Endorses Occupy’s National Day of Action for Public Transportation

Not much in the way of specifics here.

The Rise of the Working Class and the Future of the Chinese Revolution

Terrific piece. I haven't read Li's book, but will now. [On the topic of China Rise of the Red Engineers is superb.]

Egypt: Children on Trial|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

An antisocial move by the Social Security Administration

The agency has created an information vacuum by suspending the mailing of annual statements to about 150 million Americans.

Grab your cheeks and moan like you like it.,0,770123.column

Pension Obligation Bond?

Here we go again.

The bets are being made using an exotic but increasingly popular financial instrument known as a pension obligation bond. Cities, counties and states use the bonds to take out high-interest loans from private investors to plug shortfalls in their employee pension funds.

If the pension funds make smart investments with the borrowed money, the returns can help pay the interest due to borrowers and sometimes even spin off some extra cash to pay pension costs. If they don't, the bonds can create additional costs for taxpayers, put the retirement funds of teachers and firefighters in jeopardy, and, in the worst case scenario, force municipalities into bankruptcy.

Why the fuck shouldn't they do it again? They pissed all over us in '08 and we bent down to lick up the run-off. Why is this happening? Because we let it.

This, by the way, isn't a new scam but part of the old. Everything that's occurred since the Collapse has been utterly predictable.

Solution? Socialism. Capitalism must end; and equality, democracy, and public ownership of industry take its place.,0,5884419.story

Freedom is not class-neutral

Good piece.

It's Mine Baby Mine - The ANC's Debate on the 'Second Transition'

Monday, March 26, 2012

Brief Documentary On The Paris Commune (In French)

Pakistan minister claims 100 women forced to convert to Islam|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Malaysia professor wants “Gay cure” group established|+Independent+news+for+the+world%29

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blogger's Note, March 18, 2012

I will be very busy in the upcoming days and very little if anything will appear here until next week.

Anatomy of the Oil States

Interesting piece.

Socialists and the United Front

Good piece.

A Bit From Ezequiel Adamovsky's Anti-Capitalism

Good introduction for the novice.

Débats et réflexions sur la révolution chinoise – 6 – Retour sur la conception du front uni dans la stratégie maoïste

I've never quite understood the affinity between the French intellect tradition of the middle twentieth century and Maoism, as they seem to be entirely incompatible.

Nevertheless, this was pretty interesting.

Mao note en 1948 que « l’histoire de notre parti montre que des déviations de droite risquaient de se produire lorsque notre parti formait un front uni avec le Guomindang, et que des déviations “de gauche“ risquaient d’apparaître lorsqu’il y avait rupture entre notre parti et le Guomindang » [7]. Durant la guerre sino-japonaise, ce danger de droite ne se manifeste pas seulement quant au degré et à la forme du front uni avec le Guomindang, mais aussi sur le terrain social, dans la base même du PC.

Happy Paris Commune Day!

The best 72 days in history began on this day in 1871. Here's a brief reflection on the topic with some background:

Eternal gratitude to OccupyOakland for christening itself the Oakland Commune, that's the spirit.

AARP Back in Bed With Effort to Cut Social Security and Medicare

Wow, the AARP must be taking lessons from the Democratic Party, that you can afford sell out your putative base if you do the bidding of really big moneyed interests.

In case you missed this saga (it wasn’t one we posted on till now) in June last year, AARP’s board approved supporting Social Security cuts. That followed a multi million dollar ad campaign against the very same stance. They planned to sell the future of old people living off dog food to the membership via a series of town hall meetings.

This is called capitalism.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Army Suicides Up 80 Percent Since Iraq War Start

The Reproduction of Privilege

Instead of serving as a springboard to social mobility as it did for the first decades after World War II, college education today is reinforcing class stratification, with a huge majority of the 24 percent of Americans aged 25 to 29 currently holding a bachelor’s degree coming from families with earnings above the median income.


Beyond Tucson’s Banished Books and Metal Detectors: If Tony Diaz Were Superintendent of Schools

Rahm New Trier Toast crash 2012

Poster O' The Day, March 17, 2012

Quote O' The Day, March 17, 2012

“The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom is courage.”


Indian GSE* Not Paying Its Own Workers.

Public Sector Undertaking Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) is 51 per cent owned, as the company puts it, by the President of India. According to India's state Press Information Bureau, BHEL has failed to pay the wages of Indian nationals working at the Kosti thermal power project in Sudan and at another worksite in the Central African Republic.

A reference from the State Government of Odisha was received regarding the non payment of assured wages and non-providence of proper food and shelter to workmen from Odisha who had been deployed to work in Power Plant construction in Sudan.

One more reference was received from the State Government of Odisha regarding the harassment of Oriya workers working in the Kosti Thermal Project, Kosti (Sudan). Another reference was received from the Odisha Government with respect to the grievances of workers at a Central Plant under construction in the Central African Republic. References regarding the exploitation of Migrant Labour of Odisha in South Africa and Lebanon have not been received.

The matter was taken up by the Ministry with the Indian Mission in Khartoum. They have reported on 18-04-2011 that out of 216 workers working with a construction company, Sudan, 198 were sent back by 31-12-2010 and 18 workers agreed to continue and were allowed to work at the site. Similarly, the Indian Mission at Khartoum intimated on 26-09-2011 that 68 workers from Odisha had been repatriated from Kosti Thermal Project, Sudan. Further, with the intervention of Indian Mission, Kinshasa, all the 23 workers from Odisha were repatriated from the Central African Republic.

Information as to who is responsible for this abuse is hard to come by, but the PSU's failure to fulfill its responsibilities to its employees is due in no part to insolvency. From the company's website:

Press Release


BHEL pays all-time high 136 per cent Interim Dividend for fiscal 2011-12

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has declared an interim dividend of 136%on the enhanced equity capital post-bonus, for fiscal 2011-12 as against 132.5% paid in the year before. At Rs.6657.5 Million, this is the highest-ever interim dividend in perentage as well as value terms declared by the company so far.

With this, the company has maintained its impeccable track record of earning profits and rewarding investors by paying dividends uninterruptedly for over three decades without a break.

A cheque of Rs.4508.5 Million towards the interim dividend for the year 2011-12 on the equity (67.72%) held by the Government of India, was presented here today to Mr. Praful Patel, Hon’ble Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises by Mr. B.P. Rao, Chairman and Managing Director, BHEL, in the presence of Mr. S. Sundareshan, Secretary, Department of Heavy Industries.

Directors on the board of BHEL as well as other senior officials of the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises and BHEL were also present on this occasion.

The growth momentum achieved by BHEL in 2010-11 is likely to be accelerated in the current fiscal. The company has recorded significant growth in its turnover and achieved a quantum jump of 14% in profitability in the first nine months of 2011-12, with its Net Profit (PAT) at Rs.36,602 Million, compared to Rs.32,132 Million in the corresponding period in the year before. With this, BHEL has maintained its track record of earning profits uninterruptedly for four decades without a break.

With an order book position of over Rs.1,465,000 Million, at the end of the third quarter, the company expects to achieve robust growth in 2011-12 and beyond.

BHEL has been committed to the nation’s power development programme and has reaffirmed its commitment to the Indian Power Sector by equipping itself by way of contemporary technology, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and skilled technical manpower. The company has established the capability to deliver 15,000 MW per annum and further augmentation to 20,000 MW per annum is underway.

Migrant workers travel thousands of miles across the Indian Ocean to work for a company owned in large part by their own government and what do they find? Harassment and non-payment of wages. Even if we stipulate that BHEL did not intend the outrage and responsibility lies with the Africans, the company is swimming in profit and state-owned, clearly it could redress these grievances and make good its promises to its lowest-payed laborers.

Here we see the all-too-familiar, incestuous embrace of state and capital. According to the Marxist view, the state arises to enforce the will of the ruling minority; it is the barricade behind which capital encamps and issues its directives. But today it is more accurate to see the various national governments as firms themselves, not merely sword and shield but fellow travelers, and in the case of BHEL, literal partners.

Far worse things occur every day on our planet, but in this case the crass nature of modern capital is laid bare for all to see. Even in the best-case scenario, there is no excuse for what happened to these migrant workers: They were betrayed by their own government.

The root of the problem is capitalism. It doesn't matter whom we put in office, even the well-intentioned will be overcome by enveloping forces. Until capital is put to flight, we are all just migrant workers tacking back and forth across the globe in search of freedom and a dignified life, only to come to misery in the end.

*Government Sponsored Enterprise, which is a company wherein a government, usually national, has a majority stake. These are called Public Sector Undertakings in India.

Sex-Deprived Fruit Flies Turn to Alcohol, Perhaps to Fulfill a Physiological Demand for a Reward

You're thinking maybe this is humor, perhaps from The Onion website or something like that?


Nearly 20,000 Teacher Pink Slips Statewide Show Drastic Need for More Education Funding

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some Thoughts On Education, Capitalism, OWS, Unions, And Fascism

[Blogger's note: Save for the title, this was written by Rich Gibson, professor emeritus of San Diego State University, with whom I correspond. As I believe you will agree, his perspective is unique, and his give-no-quarter style is as entertaining as it is confrontational. Much worthwhile stuff can be found at his website, and he can be reached at I heartily commend his education blog to you as well, even if you are not especially interested in pedagogy.

As regular visitors to this blog will note, I don't blow a lot of smoke. There are not many "must read" exhortations and I don't abuse the word "important". But in this case I think what's written below is significant for three reasons: the perspicacity of the exposition, its exigent importance, and the general scarcity of this type of analysis in the popular culture.]

CFT and CTA assets, and NEA's newly-born poster boys on this list, might want to enter this fake fight between the two corrupt school worker unions (see the ad below from CFT).

CFT and CTA/NEA are carrying on a shadow boxing match over whose proposal is a better method to fool school workers into ballot boxes and the interim electoral frenzy that leads up to the vote. NEA will likely put 60 million dollars into the campaign, and hundreds of thousand of volunteer hours--people filtered away from real unionism, school workers and other unionites becoming tools of their own oppression.

Last year, the California Teachers Association spent more than $6 million in their electoral shams, with nearly nothing going on.

The two unions' main problems are (1) locking down support for the demagogue, Obama, and his wars, and bailouts--as well as the NDAA and Arne Duncan's expansion of schools as human munition factories.

(2) The state affiliates have problems, like the shifts to "right to work" laws in states that would radically reduce union tops' dues income (when unionites say "save collective bargaining, they really mean, "save our chance to force people to pay dues---a la Wisconsin, they have always been prepared to give up everything else). The unions were never created by majority state wide citizen votes, but by direct action on the job. But the last thing the union bosses want is a mass of class conscious workers so the last thing they are planning to do is shut down states that pass those laws.

California has a real budget problem that both CTA and CFT address in counterfeit fashion, below.

Third, the union bosses need to create an illusion of local action where there is really no action, like the Moveon scheme to train 100,000 people in "Non-violent" action---as distinct from the direct action that is necessary, mass strikes and general strikes, student strikes, and mutinies in the military. Moveon, a Democratic Party front, like Truthout, also serves as a bodyguard of illusions, preserving capitalism and its shaky empire.

This move is designed to let off steam from those, like in the San Diego EA, who might figure out that the only thing that will save jobs is direct action and civil strife--perhaps matched by some freedom schooling where students learn something other than loyalty and obedience.. SDEA is doing all it can to create a rank and file that believes its leadership is militant, when in fact the leadership works hard to demolish militancy.

The empire's bribe is very powerful. It will likely play out in another vote at the NEA RA, rejecting any discussion of the wars, as the RA has voted in the past, about 99 to 1. That bribe will poison each section, one to three, above. Keep your job. Shut up about the wars. Get paid; bribes that always boomerang over time. Evidence: the patriotic UAW, its members' lives demolished.

School workers are upset, now, about high-stakes testing. Yesterday, NEA boss Dennis Van Roekel said he was shocked by the level of despair on the job--an indicator of how distant his nearly $500,000 a year plus an expense account he can live on, makes him. That anger about testing, however, rose up when the more than obvious next step, merit pay, arrived. Before, the test fury went on for more than a decade with hardly a peep, not a good harbinger for the necessary student/worker solidarity that makes job actions possible.

The ghost dance that is the OWS, feigning leaderless when all kinds of shamans of illusions (Hedges, Moore, Giroux, the vile CPUSA and other sects) consistently leap forward claiming leadership, and faking no ideology when the OWS ideology is pluralism, capital's fave maneuver, largely forgot the wars and is about to be safely stuffed back into the quasi religious world of the election by union staffers, Democrats, and related liberals who, all, pave the way for the broader emergence of fascism as a popular mass movement.

All the structures of fascism are in place:
*the very real promise of perpetual war and war means work--jobs,
*deepening segregation and racism popularized,
*mass color coded incarceration leading to the deprivation of all civil rights when "freed."
*the continued use of black ops prisons that are unknown, and Guantanamo, the torture center we know,
*official mysticism elevated by the election (and Satan, of course, plus Magic Underwear, when are their speeches not glossolalia?),
*the eradication of whatever civil liberties may have existed (NDAA followed the Patriot Act),
*the extension of the spy and surveillance services into every aspect of life,
*the corporate state financial and auto bailouts which socialized loss and continued the capitalization of profits (an irreversible move, like the Afgan invasion, that cut the legs off of the working class youth of the US and underlined the reality of a corporate state),
*the relentless calls for all class unity (Mitt and Obamagogue),
*a military become a praetorian guard, isolated from the citizenry, filling up with Nazis, religious fanatics, and corruption (drug dealing rampant),
*spectacles heaped on spectacles and transparent diversions (Konyi vs the farcical Invisible Children),
*multiple alliances with openly fascist regimes (Kazakhstan, et al) and false praise for other fascists (Putin via Hlllbillary)
*the CIA no longer an intelligence agency but the President's private army with a secret budget,
*a society writhing in the glorification of violence, and its normalcy---and seething with anti-communism from all angles, Gates to the saps running OWS.
*a multi-pronged assault on the working class, hitting those with the least inherited wealth first and worst,
*a powerful propaganda machine matched by opportunistic liberals, fake radicals, and sects who play the organs on their own.

Every effort to reform the system of capital, to buttress its state, its government that serves as an executive committee and armed weapon of the rich, only empowers that government and speeds the emergence of fascism as a popular movement. Every movement that disconnects capitalism, imperialism, and the corporate state from their many social appearances, like high stakes tests, only deepens the oppression of both the people forced into ignorance by those exams, and the opportunistic (if annoyed) people who proctor them. To ignore the role of the corporate, capitalist state is, flatly, to feed it, while its losing wars boom around us. Why participate in the mass hysterical conversion crises that cannot say: capitalism, imperialism, fascism, and revolution?

It isn't pretty. There is no easy way out , but the small time infighting, below, can be funny enough.

A tidbit for doubters

Why do CTA’s leaders oppose taxing millionaires to fund education and essential services?

CFT’s response to falsehoods about the Millionaires Tax
We regret that the California Teachers Association (CTA) leadership has issued a flier filled with misinformation about the Millionaires Tax to its members and the public. This effort to confuse and mislead is a grave disservice to everyone seeking new revenues for schools and services. The flier is factually inaccurate, both about the Millionaires Tax and the governor’s proposal. Here’s the truth about just two falsehoods.
CTA flyer: Unintended Consequences FALSEHOOD #1: In boldface, the CTA flier claims “This is direct text from the Millionaires Tax: "none of the funds can be used to support programs primarily funded by the state.""

THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. This quote appears nowhere in the initiative, and it runs completely counter to the purpose of the Millionaires Tax, which is to restore funding that has been cut from programs primarily funded by the state. Ask CTA’s leaders where this “quote” came from.

FALSEHOOD #2: The CTA flier claims that the governor’s tax will increase “Prop 98 funding by nearly $5 billion for the 2012-13 budget year.”

THIS IS ALSO UNTRUE. The governor’s own budget projects that his tax will bring in just half of that, $2.5 billion, to Prop. 98 [Governor’s Budget Summary, 2012-1013, p. 136, “the funding levels above reflect a $2.5 billion increase in the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee in 2012-13 assuming passage of the governor’s tax proposal.”].
CTA Leadership Stands with Business Roundtable
The same day that the CTA leadership issued its flier, the California Business Roundtable, representing PG&E, Chevron and other large corporations, came out in opposition to the Millionaires Tax. It stopped short of endorsing Governor Brown’s proposal, however. The reason? According to the Sacramento Bee (March 9), “Roundtable spokesman Kirk Clark said the business group was waiting to see whether Brown would come through with pension reductions as well as changing environmental laws and business regulations to make it easier for firms to operate in California.” The CTA leadership has now aligned itself with the most reactionary forces in California in opposition to the Millionaires Tax. CTA leaders are standing together with the 1%’s business lobby, which is actively working to undermine the hard-earned pension benefits of CTA’s own members, and seeking the destruction of public employee pensions as a quid pro quo for their endorsement of the governor’s tax.

Millionaires Tax: The Solution
The Millionaires Tax will bring in $6 billion to fund schools and services. It will tax only millionaires. It has just come out on top of the seventh straight poll assessing voter preferences for the three competing revenue measures. The newest poll also clearly demonstrates that in a multiple measure ballot scenario, the Millionaires Tax would win. A Public Policy Institute Poll released on March 8 shows the governor’s sales tax and personal income tax increase at just 52% support. Do you want to put all your hopes for new funding on that one measure’s uncertain chances?

At a moment when the students and families of California desperately need new revenues, it is astonishing the CTA leadership would attempt to create a political atmosphere charged with lies and confusion. All organizations that understand the need for revenues should be uniting around the ballot measure most likely to win. Poll after poll shows likely voters want to tax millionaires. President Obama has stated his support for taxing millionaires. CTA leaders, in their zeal for backdoor dealing and politics-as-usual in the service of the 1%, seem determined to poison the well and destroy the best opportunity for their members and the people of California to restore and refund our state.

For more answers to questions about the Millionaires Tax, click here for the “Rhetoric vs Reality” one pager.
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Jesse Hagopian vs. Washington State: Seattle Equality Educators Happy Hour/Live Music Fundraiser

This afternoon and evening, March 16th from 4-7:30 PM, at the Grotto (under the Rendezvous in Belltown) where for ONLY $5, friends of public education and democratic unions will be able to dance, swing, and “shake that thing” for a righteous reason, to help Jesse Hagopian pay the legal bills he incurred by getting arrested for attempting a ‘Citizen’s Arrest’ of the Washington State Legislature for the crime of not fully funding public education.

New York cuts pension benefits for public workers

(Reuters) - New York state lawmakers approved pension reform that will save an estimated $80 billion over 30 years, largely by reducing benefits for newly hired state and local public workers, which union officials Thursday blasted as an attack on the middle class.

This is called capitalism.

Special - U.S. Grand Strategy and Maritime Power

Most of the world’s people, resources, and economic activity are not in the Western Hemisphere, but in the other hemisphere, particularly Eurasia. Consequently, a key element of U.S. national strategy, going back many decades, has been to prevent the emergence of a regional hegemon in one part of Eurasia or another, because such a hegemon could deny the United States access to some of the Eastern Hemisphere’s resources and economic activity.

I guess they don't know they are not supposed to admit this.

Humorous Video O' The Day, March 15, 2012

Is news often just…(pardon us) bullshit? Watch this video and find out.

Egyptian strikers face torture

Arizona Birth Control Bill Allows Employers To Fire Women On The Pill Based On Religious Beliefs

Smithy On Monetary Policy

Don't miss this. Listen to the first and you will be hooked.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jeffrey Sachs vs. the Facts on Bolivia

He's either incompetent or indifferent to reality, and he's going to head the world bank.

Michael Parenti - No War But the Class War

I adore this man.

2012 The Mayan Word

Interesting documentary.

#RIP Amina , you are not the first nor the last

The Royal prosecutor ruled out that Amina should marry her rapist to hide this scandal !! Ironically the rapist and the family refused first but they agreed in the end in return of not paying a dowry. There was no wedding or anything for the little girl who just celebrated her 16th birthday.
For about 5 months Amina lived in hell at her husband/rapist house , she suffered from ill treatment and constant beating. Amina tried to leave her rapist hubby’s house but her mom used to tell her that she should not leave her hubby’s house !! Amina went to the police beaten asking for help but they told her to ask for the help of the Royal Prosecutor “Who forced her in to that marriage in the first place” and to bring a medical report for her condition. The police did not help thus Amina began to think about plan to grab the people’s attention.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Occupy Education v. the Gates Foundation

The role of anarchists in the Quebec student movement

Nice brief interview.

Oakland police keep track of "anarchists"

Ya don't say!

100 Million+ Indian Workers took United Strike action

Nice round-up.

Quote O' The Day, March 14, 2012

A simple truth is told by the news: A civilized face on a barbaric heart, and that heart is owned by capital. The question of morality or immorality doesn’t arise as capital manufactures its morality or immorality, and it doesn’t matter whether those are acceptable to humanity or not. Appropriation is the standard of its morality.

Farooque Chowdhury

Capital Doesn’t Spare The Disabled

In the UK, Guardian reports: “Some long-term sick and disabled people face being forced to work unpaid for an unlimited amount of time or have their benefits cut under plans being drawn up by the Department for Work and Pensions.” (Feb. 16, 2012) Experts fear this could further harm the sick and disabled persons. The policy could mean that those diagnosed with terminal cancer but have more than six months to live; accident and stroke victims; and those with mental health issues could be compelled to undertake work experience for charities, public bodies and retailers. There will be provision for sanction in case of failure by the disabled “beneficiaries” as “Ministers feel sanctions are an incentive for people to comply with their responsibility.” Already 8,440 disabled persons have faced sanctions during the period Sept. 2010-Aug. 2011 “for offences like missing interview with advisers ‘without good cause’”.

Had enough of capitalism yet?

Malawi "fed up" with Madonna, slams school plans

Aren't we all. I was from the start.

Malawi's government on Tuesday accused Madonna of not consulting over her plans to build 10 new schools in the poor southern African state and said the singer seemed more interested in promoting her global image than helping with education there.

Who did they think she was, Florence Nightingale? Maybe they should have listened to her insipid music.

Pacifica hires union-busting law firm of Jackson Lewis

KPFA’s parent organization, the Pacifica Foundation, has hired Jackson Lewis, a notorious anti-union law firm which the AFL-CIO calls “America’s number one union-buster.” The multimillion-dollar corporate firm specializes in what it calls “preventative practices” — that is, advising managers how to obstruct workers from successfully forming unions and undermining existing unions. “Under its polished veneer lies a for-profit union-buster,” writes the nonprofit American Rights at Work, “one of the oldest and largest” such firms in the nation.

If you are surprised by this then you still don't get it.

The Minnesota Sustainable Energy Scam

I learned from them that a program being sold to the residents of Minnesota as an "environmentally friendly" enterprise actually appears to conceal a major rip-off of the public, where the purchase of land for wind mills is being use as a front to conceal taking control of mineral and water rights. The scam is so bad that the utility monitoring the production of energy has been derelict.

Quote O' The Day, March 14

"Government, in its last analysis, is organized force.

Woodrow Wilson. And he should know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Struggles intersect at uni occupation in Amsterdam

Nice article.

Monday, March 12, 2012

SA miners have worst TB epidemic in the world

The revenue that SA gold and platinum mines produce has been the ventilator of capitalism for decades now. The money works its way quickly to London where its turns over quickly and is largely responsible in the last few years for keeping the ailing patient known as capitalism alive.

Yet at the same time the workers who produce this wealth die from easily prevented diseases.

This is called capitalism.

The WTF O' The Day, March 12, 2012

A hundred million people on strike in India and we get this guest post at the Financial Times.

Guest post: India needs fewer labour restrictions, not more

The workers’ willingness to speak out to in public should be applauded, but the striking workers are missing the bigger picture by demanding job security rather than job market security.

As critical as I have been of the bourgeoisie, one just has to acknowledge their sense of humor. 100 million missing the bigger picture, I mean that is just hysterical. They have to counter the workers' grievances somehow, but this...

Warren Buffet Odisha Land Grab Update, March 12

Lost track of the situation in the Indian forest of late. What interested me from the start was that the entire enterprise--the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between POSCO and the government, the attempted clearing of the people from the coveted land, the tactics employed--was incontestably illegal. The MoU violated national and regional law, but it went ahead without even so much as a prevaricating lie to justify the project.

Heroically, the people resisted, and persevere.



Dear Shareholders,

We, the villagers of Dhenkia, Nuagaon, and Gobindpur share our concerns and grief with you. Your company POSCO is behaving like a medieval marauder in our villages.

POSCO has influenced the Indian Government, the Odisha Government, and the local police and civilian administration to acquire our lands forcibly and destroy our homes and livelihoods. They have terrorizing our villagers over the last four years.

The local police has slapped false criminal charges against peaceful protestors-men, women and even minor children as young as 12.

Many have been beaten, tortured and jailed.

People can’t live a normal life in our villages; children can’t go to school; patients requiring serious medical attention can’t go to a hospital.

The entire area where POSCO wants to establish a port and steel plant illegally has been garrisoned. Please note that unless the landowners want, under Indian law, lands can’t be forcibly acquired from us. POSCO management knows these Constitutional Rights.

Effectively, your company has declared a war on us. An illegal war in which they are using paid mercenaries to kidnap and torture protesters.

Our struggle will go on. We want to ensure peaceful life and secured livelihoods that our forefathers gave us for our children, and their children.

We are as proud people as you are. We care for our women and children just as you do.

Please don’t support POSCO whose management is behaving like a bunch of criminals. Please withdraw your investments in POSCO.

Thank you.

The people of the villages of Dhenkia, Nuagaon, Gobindpur

Abhay Sahu [From jail]
Narayan Reddy [From Jail]
Prashant Paikray
Shirish Mahapatra

Meanwhile POSCO signs more MoU.

Korean steel producer, POSCO (NYSE:PKX - News) of late has been involved in signing memorandums of understanding with a Chinese carmaker and an African miner with a clear goal of expanding its operations.

The first understanding was reached with Great Wall motor company, which is considered to be China’s third largest automaker in the year 2011, producing upto 0.48 million cars. The company, progressing rapidly with a growth rate of 28% in 2011, aims to produce a million units by the year 2015.

Look out Africa, China.

So far the native resistance hasn't hurt Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway too much.

Warren Buffett bought into POSCO, the largest steel marker in Korea, in 2006. Berkshire paid $768 million for about 4 million shares. The share reduction of POSCO has increased the position Berkshire owns to 5.1% of the company. Regarding POSCO, Buffett said, "It's a great company. And great companies get worth more and more all the time." Indeed, Buffett is sitting on 122% of profit with this investment.

In October of 2007, right at the recent peak of the stock market, Buffett visited Korea and said that the Korean market was modestly cheaper than most markets around the world. He said, “…but I am just looking at price earnings ratios, and you have a flourishing economy here with 50 plus million people that seem to be working very hard. So, ah, I would think that the Korean market would do as well over the next 10 years ... not 10 weeks, 10 months ... but 10 years, as most markets, and perhaps a little better.”

More than three years have passed since he spoke, and the Korean stock market experienced an even worse crash than its U.S. counterpart, losing 70% at its bottom. It has since recovered more dramatically and had similar performance to the U.S. market for the three and half years.

Berkshire is sitting on a 69% profit as of Dec. 31, 2011.

Still it's not enough I guess, Buff' just has to have these people's land because there is never enough profit to suit billionaires like Warren.

Labour Brokers Bad for South African Workers, but Trade Unions Not Much Better

Obviously precarious work, as it is internationally called, is what capital has in mind for us.

April 6th Group: Egypt State Security operating with impunity

Egypt unrest: Court clears 'virginity test' doctor

Arundati Roy On Colonized Imaginations

She has a way of reducing things to their essence without robbing them of their complexity. Or rather she has a way of relating complexity as nuance, I'm not sure which. She's brilliant--save for her wardrobe.

Capitalism - A Ghost Story (4th Anuradha Ghandy Memorial Trust Lecture)

Democracy and Dissent in China and India

India: Dynasty, Corruption And Plunder

Nice piece.

"Mowing The Lawn": On Israel’s Latest Massacre In Gaza And The Lies Behind It

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Massive anti-government protest in Bahrain

The Greek agony

What is publicly presented as the financial markets’ “sacrifice,” a “waiver” by private creditors, giving up over half of the value of their Greek bonds, is in fact a financial gift to the banks.

The debt swap agreed Thursday night by nearly 86 percent of the creditors will not prevent the bankruptcy of the Greek state. It merely postpones it by shifting the cost of such a bankruptcy from the private to the public sector, on which about three-quarters of the Greek debt will fall.

Anecdotes of Mortgage Fraud

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been pushing foreclosure fraud. Well, not pushing the fraud but rather arguing that foreclosure is fraud. It has to be. If a mortgage was registered at MERS, then the chain of title was broken. Broken chains mean the bank cannot foreclose. But that was MERS’s business model, and so most mortgages are “infected”. Still, there’s a lot more to it than that.

“Why we occupied our hospital” – an open letter by a hospital doctor at the workers-run hospital of Kilkis

The occupation of our hospital in Kilkis by its workers began on Monday, February 20. This occupation does not merely concern us, the doctors and the workers at the Hospital of Kilkis. Nor does it only take place in response to the greek National Health System (ESY), which is indeed collapsing.

We are undertaking this struggle because what is under threat today is human rights. And this threat is not even made against one nation, or a bunch of countries, or social groups: it is a threat made against the lower and middle classes in Europe, America, Asia, Africa; across the entire world. Greece’s today is the tomorrow of Portugal, Spain, Italy and the rest of the countries around the world.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Propaganda, Lies and Suppression of Constitutional Rights by the Oakland Mayor’s Office, DA and OPD: Update, Update 2

Hitler's tea tray makes a reich old price

It is good to know that Hitler, capital's greatest creation, is still viable, still generating revenue for his patrons. Well it's as they always say: Fascists sell silverware.

To Break their Haughty Power: 100 Million Strike in India[%20continued%20]&utm_campaign=Against%20the%20Current%2C%20March%202012%3A%20Who%20Are%20the%20Control%20Rods%3Fcontent

Sent to jail for "stealing" school

Hedge funds speculate on Greek default

Ithaca bus drivers speak out against salary cuts

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Didacticide Update, March 4, Canadian Front

A "mediator" appointed and instructed to strip the teachers' contract

Sarah Kay, "B"

Way off topic but I really enjoyed this.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marx And The Free Market Fraud, Part Two

I usually don't respond to email in this space, but the feedback I got on the original post [linked below] was so diverse and pointed I thought I'd answer it in public fashion.

If you didn't see the original post, follow the link and watch the brief video and read my response.

I am always impressed by the vehemence with which Anarcho-Capitalists defend their gods. My assertion that Mises was not only incorrect in what he was saying, but was in fact lying drew some rather discourteous responses. I am surprised that A-Caps visit my blog, even more surprised when they say they find things here which are objectionable to them. In case it isn't clear: I detest capitalism. I do not believe capitalism can be reformed, it must be abolished. Libertarianism meant anti-capitalism long before the term was usurped by A-Caps, and I use the term in the original and more accurate sense.

Now, to answer the questions and complaints.

In my home I have two books which deal with the history of socialism and Marxism. One is Socialist Thought [volume two being the relevant section], by G. D. H. Cole, and the other is Main Currents of Marxism, by Leszek Kolakowski. The former author is a socialist but not a Marxist, the latter is neither. I consulted both after receiving critical e-mails about the earlier post and they are in agreement, and generally support what I wrote vis-a-vis the Iron Law of Wages.

According to the aforementioned, David Ricardo was the first to suggest that wages tended toward the subsistence level. He did so after reading Malthus, who was also to influence Lasalle. However, Ricardo didn't use the term "Iron Law", nor did elaborate as to the economic mechanism by which this occurs.

According to Cole, a utopian socialist named Karl Johann Rodbertus also expressed the idea of wages always trending downwards towards subsistence levels.

Lasalle postulated that if wages grew beyond the subsistence level then working families would produce more children. Thus would they flood the market with extra labor which would put downward pressure on wages. If wages dropped below subsistence levels, family size would decrease thus creating a shortage of labor which would drive wages up. This is Lasalle's theory, and he coined the term "Iron Law".

Marx disagreed!


Marx held that wages tended...down...because of the inherent contradictions of capitalism---by which he meant...the tendency of capitalism to enlarge production faster than the means of consumption...of the people.

Thus Lasalle argued wages tended down on Malthusian grounds--which is what the Iron Law states, as Mises describes in the video--and Marx believed the origins of this miserable tendency lie in production.


It was clear [to Marx]...that supply and demand could not be measuredd absolutely but only in relation to the whole economic picture, including such matters as boom and slump, the state of world markets, technological progress...and finally the effect of working-class pressure on wages. According to circumstances these factors might...push wages up or down, but in any case it was a gross oversimplfication to reduce the...problem to the birth rate.

Cole also mentioned the "boom and slump" factor which Marx advanced in his opposition to Lasalle's theory.

Marx also enumerated his objections to the Iron Law in his Critique of the Gotha Programme, which I'm quite sure can be found online.

The disagreement between Marx and Lasalle on this point of theory had important practical consequences. With his belief in the Iron Law, Lasalle argued that political action and worker organization was of no use because the lot of the worker could never be improved under capitalism. This led him to denounce trade unions and political action (at least in the conventional sense). He supported instead the idea of inducing the state to fund co-ops with the intent of eventually eliminating capitalism altogether. In pursuit of this end, he contacted Bismarck, and generally supported an alliance with the then still formidable aristocracy against the capitalists saying that the bourgeoisie was the real enemy of the working class. [Please note that I did say Lasalle was something of a schmuck in the original. This is why.]

Marx voiced strong opposition to these ideas. He supported political action and trade unions, in accordance with his different view on wages, and thought that in a conflict between the middle and upper classes, the proletariat should side with the bourgeoisie.

So there you have it. Ludwig von Measles critiques Lasalle's theory after attributing it to Marx, and then derides it on the very same bases as Marx had. One might think this just a garish, oafish mistake, but I don't think so. I don't believe von Measles is that stupid. He's no fool, he's a vulgar propagandist.

Moving along, I was criticized for resisting von Measles insistence that Marx's views on wages were the "at the bottom of his entire criticism of the capitalist system". Well unlike the above discussion, I admit that this is more a matter of opinion than fact. But it is just too much nonsense.

It would seem to me that at the bottom of Marxist thought is dialectical materialism and the labor theory of value. In my humble opinion, his ideas on wages are tangential. But admittedly I am inexpert in matters of economic theory.

I believe I've answered all the issues raised in the angry emails. Please, insults just will not do. If you wish to refute what's written here, you will need to cite something which Marx wrote. Why do I believe Cole and Kolakowski and not Ol' Ludwig? Because it comports with my recollection of Marx' letters to Engels on the topic, and my understanding of his Critique of the Gotha Programme (which I have never read in its entirety). And they quote Marx, unlike Mises who just generalizes about Marx' views but offers no specifics. In any case, you need to produce something which Marx wrote which contradicts C and K, otherwise don't bother.

One last point: It is all well and good to say that Marxism and socialism is inhumane, everyone is entitled to an opinion, even a vapid one like this. But Mises knows that Marx' writings are moralistic, even if the latter would protest such a characterization. Marx' economic theories may be "scientific", but one cannot read him without marveling at the gaudy breadth of his humanity. The first chapter or two of hiis magnus opus, Das Kapital, is economic theory, the rest is his dialectical materialist synopsis of history. Here we see Marx at his best. It is historiography at its best. The text pulses with humanity and decency and moral outrage. I defy anybody to read it and say that Marx is inhumane. Mises knows what he is saying is untrue. It is inhumane to say Marx was inhumane.