Monday READ – 6 May 2013
Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* THERE’S A REVOLUTION AND IT’S NOT BEING TELEVISED
By David Swanson, NewClearVision
Hundreds gathered in Dallas to reject the Bush Lie Bury, and three went to jail. I flew from Dallas to Syracuse, where hundreds protested Obama’s drone-murder program, and 32 went to jail and are still there (and will stay until trial unless bail can be raised)
some of them risk major jail time because they violated a protective order that the commander of a U.S. military base gained to protect himself from nonviolent peace activists. Another drone protester in Missouri, Brian Terrell, is just finishing a six-month sentence. Climate activist Tim DeChristopher just got out. The people locked in Guantanamo are refusing to eat, and groups around the world are making plans to fast with them. The people of Vieques, Puerto Rico, rallied on May 1st to demand that the U.S. military truly depart their island. Big plans are being made to rally for Bradley Manning on June 1st. This week I’m heading to the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee’s meeting in North Carolina, after which — just over in Tennessee — three courageous activists go on trial, facing major time in prison, for having entered and protested a nuclear weapons facility.
The revolution will not be televised.
Oak Ridge, Tenn., was created during World War II as a secret city (actually two, it was segregated by race) for producing nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have a history that marches hand-in-hand with U.S. human experimentation programs. I just had a chance to read Susan Griffin’s A Chorus of Stones, and she recounts a nuclear test in 1957, when the U.S. government was still marching Marines to various distances from nuclear explosions in Nevada to find out what would become of them. Marines with their eyes closed saw the bones in their hands. They died of leukemia years later, but not before speaking about what else they saw: 10 or 12 people in a stockade formed by chain link fence and barbed wire, their faces and hands deformed, their hair falling out, their skin peeling off. Or this: men on the ground in agony, the smell of burning flesh, blood running from mouth, ears, and nose, a man trying to tear away wires that had been attached to his head. […]
* WHAT TO DO ABOUT DEBT AND THE EURO
By Michel Husson, Daniel Albarracín, Nacho Álvarez Peralta, Bibiana Medialdea, Francisco Louça, Mariana Mortagua, Stavros Tombazos, Giorgos Galanis, Ozlem Onaran, Manolo Garí,, Antonio Sanabria, Jorge Fonseca, Teresa Pérez del Río, Lidia Rekagorri Villar, CADTM
Daniel Albarracín, Nacho Álvarez, Bibiana Medialdea, Manolo Garí, Antonio Sanabria, Jorge Fonseca, Teresa Pérez del Río, Lidia Rekagorri Villar (Spain)
Francisco Louçã, Mariana Mortagua (Portugal)
Stavros Tombazos (Cyprus)
Giorgos Galanis, Özlem Onaran (Great Britain)
Michel Husson (France)
Europe is sinking into crisis and social regression under the pressure of austerity, recession and the strategy of “structural reforms”. This pressure is tightly coordinated at the European level, under the leadership of the German Government, the ECB and the European Commission. There is a broad consensus that these policies are absurd and even “illiterate”: fiscal austerity does not reduce the burden of the debt but generates a spiral of depression, more unemployment and despair among the European peoples.
Yet, these policies are rational from the point of view of the bourgeoisie. They are a brutal way – a shock therapy – for restoring the profits, for guaranteeing the financial rents and for implementing the neoliberal counter-reforms. What is going on is fundamentally the validation by the states of the financial claims on future production and GDP. That is why the crisis takes the form of a sovereign debt crisis.
A false dilemma
This crisis reveals that the previous neoliberal project for Europe was not viable. It presupposed that the European economies were more homogeneous than they actually are. Differences between countries increased due to their place in the global market, to their sensitivity to the euro exchange rate. Inflation rates didn’t converge and low real interest rates favored intense capital flows among countries and financial and housing bubbles. All these contradictions – exacerbated with the implementation of the monetary union – existed before the crisis but they have exploded with the speculative attacks against the sovereign debts of the most exposed countries.
The social and popular alternatives to this crisis require a daring refoundation of Europe, because European and international cooperation are required for the reconstruction of the industrial pattern, the ecological sustainability and the employment structure. But as such a global refoundation seems out of reach in the immediate relationship of forces, the exit from euro is proposed as an immediate solution in different countries. The dilemma seems to be between a risky ‘exit’ from the eurozone and a utopian European harmonization emerging out of the workers’ struggles. In our view, this is a false dichotomy and it is important to work for a viable political strategy for the immediate confrontation. Any social transformation implies the questioning of dominant social interests, their privileges and their power and it is true that this confrontation takes place primarily within a national framework. But the resistance of the dominant classes and their possible retaliatory measures exceed the national framework. The strategy of leaving the euro does not necessarily concentrate on this effort for a European alternative and in this sense, a strategy of rupture with “euroliberalism” is required in order to generate the means for an alternative policy. This text is not about the program for this rupture but rather concentrates on means to implement such a program.
What should a left government do?
We are in the midst of what can be technically called a “balance-sheet crisis”. This is a crisis triggered by private sector deleveraging and debt minimization, caused by the accumulation of an enormous amount of fictitious assets, not backed with real fundamentals. In practical words, it means that citizens have to pay for the debt or in other terms validate the claims of the finance on current and future production and taxes. The European states, in an action strictly coordinated at European and even at the global level, have decided to nationalize the private debts by converting them into sovereign debt and to impose austerity and transfer policies in order to pay for such debts. It is the justification, the motivation and the opportunity for the implementation of “structural reforms” whose objectives are classically neoliberal, shrinking the public services of the welfare state, cutting social spending and flexibilizing the labour markets, in order to lower the direct and indirect wage.
In our view, the political strategy of the left must concentrate on the fight for a majority for a left government, able to get rid of this straightjacket. […]
* CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS – MANY OF WHOM ARE ATHEISTS – USE THE MOST EXTREME FORMS OF RELIGION TO DIVIDE AND CONQUER US
Source: Washington’s Blog
Preface: Fundamentalist Christians, Jews and Muslims all think they are in a “holy war” against the other guy. As shown below, fundamentalists are being manipulated by the powers-that-be – many of whom are actually atheists – as part of a divide-and-conquer strategy to disempower people.
The 2,000 Year Old Strategy
The strategy of dividing and conquering one’s foes is ancient.
Ancient Roman emperor Julius Cesar successfully used it thousands of years ago.
The application of the strategy in controlling one’s own people – divide and rule – has been used for just as long. As Wikipedia notes:
Elements of this technique involve:
- creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign
- aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign
- fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers [or groups]
- encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for political [organization or opposition] …..
In discussing the use of “divide and rule” in the U.S., Wikipedia discusses the “Use of left-right politics“.
Indeed – even though the Founding Fathers warned us against the danger of a two-party system to divide the nation – left-right partisan divisions have successfully been deployed to distract and weaken the American people for centuries.
Religion has been used for the same purpose:
England invaded Ireland in 1170, but for the first 439 years it was a conquest in name only. In 1609, however, James I founded the Plantation of Ulster, imported 20,000 Protestant settlers, and introduced religious strife as a political tactic. By favoring Protestants over the native Catholics in politics and economics-the so-called “Ulster Privilege-the English pitted both groups against one another.
The tactic was enormously successful, and England used it throughout its colonial empire. Nowhere were the British so successful in transplanting the Irish model than in India. […]
* 3 TROUBLING THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT BILLIONAIRE PENNY PRITZKER
By David Moberg, InTheseTimes
On May 2, 2013, in the White House Rose Garden, U.S. President Barack Obama announces his nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Hyatt hotel heir Penny Pritzker. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Despite her business-friendly history, billionaire heir Penny Pritzker, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, will likely face standard Republican flak in her Senate confirmation hearings.
But progressive Democrats are the ones with real reasons to be upset with her record and that of her family, which is among the wealthiest in America. Here are just a few:
1) Union-busting. Pritzker’s family businesses have often engaged in anti-union practices. She is a director of the Hyatt Hotels, which fired and then replaced long-time room cleaners in its Boston hotels with non-union subcontracted workers. Hyatt has refused to settle several contract disputes with UNITE HERE, some lasting nearly four years, on terms similar to those accepted by other big hoteliers.
2) Conflicts of interest. The family’s $20 billion empire was built on a diverse base of businesses, including Hyatt, Marmon (an industrial conglomerate), the TransUnion credit rating agency, and many others in industries such as container leasing, insurance and travel.
The family has long had a reputation for not only accumulating its wealth through elaborate schemes of tax evasion, including offshore accounts, but also for using its political clout to win favored treatment.
For example, community and teacher union critics berated Pritzker, who recently resigned from the Chicago Board of Education, for supporting the closing of dozens of public schools because of financial pressures. At the same time, the highly profitable Hyatt was receiving financial assistance from a Tax Increment Finance fund (a pool of money intended to support blighted neighborhoods in the city) whose assets effectively had been diverted from support of the schools. Pritzker also has drawn fire for her leading role in promoting privately operated charter schools, including networks of non-profits to which she has contributed.
While some Pritzkers support Republicans, others, like Penny, are active patrons of corporate-oriented Democrats. Penny Pritzker, who knew Obama before he ran for president, served as financial chair of his first campaign and is credited with bringing in millions of dollars in donations. Many observers see her appointment to the relatively weak—if symbolically still important—commerce post as typical campaign spoils for big contributors.
But if she is approved, it will burnish her reputation and increase her potential influence. The Pritzkers, who have contributed large sums to education, medicine, architecture and the arts in their hometown of Chicago and elsewhere, gain protection from the fallout of their questionable business practices through their public image as philanthropists.
3) Shady business dealings. The Pritzkers have a long history of business malfeasance at the expense of people of modest means. In one notable case, Congress passed legislation in 2003 to address issues raised by widespread charges that the Pritzker’s credit rating agency, TransUnion, had made serious flaws in its credit reports on individuals—and then failed to correct them upon discovery. […]
* HERO OF THE AMERICAN LEFT, PROFESSOR NOAM CHOMSKY, DENOUNCES THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
By Sam Rolley Personal Liberty Digest
Notable left-wing polemicist Professor Noam Chomsky has made a career of writing and speaking out against government abuses of civil liberties in the United States and abroad. In the 2008 Presidential election, the professor endorsed Barack Obama but contended that the youthful Presidential candidate would have little positive or negative impact on civil liberty.
Chomsky now says he is surprised and disgusted by the current President’s inexplicable “attack” on civil liberties, which he said goes beyond anything he could have ever imagined.
In an interview, Chomsky told the liberal blog Alternet:
I personally never expected anything of Obama, and wrote about it before the 2008 primaries. I thought it was smoke and mirrors. The one thing that did surprise me is his attack on civil liberties. They go well beyond anything I would have anticipated, and they don’t seem easy to explain. In many ways the worst is what you mention, Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project. That’s an Obama initiative and it’s a very serious attack on civil liberties. He doesn’t gain anything from it — he doesn’t get any political mileage out of it. In fact, most people don’t even know about it, but what it does is extend the concept of “material assistance to terror” to speech. […]