Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Situation Is Under Control!!!!!!!!!

Japan Says Battle to Save Nuclear Reactors Has Failed

"We have advised Japanese officials to carefully assess the situation, and they have indicated that it is already under assessment," Denis Flory, a deputy director of the IAEA, said.


WOW

aren't you relieved ?

Such a comfort to know sensible people are seeing to this...

don't worry, just go on consuming...

everything is going to be okay...

why aren't you shopping ???

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Obama, JFK, and Che Guevara: The Real Meaning of Capitalist Development

U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced in Santiago, Chile that he is interested in "working together to promote development in the Americas." This is a recycling of JFK's "Alliance For Progress," which sought to bribe Latin American nations into isolating the Cuban revolution, at the price of their national independence. In return for its client states' continued subservience, Washington offered a torrent of loans, donations, and investments, on the pretext that they would usher in prosperity for all. A half century later we know that the vast majority of Latin America has had as much chance to reach First World standards of development as a dwarf has to star in the N.B.A.

And this was clearly foreseen. Arriving to the Pan American Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in the summer of 1961, Che Guevara quickly exposed the insincerity behind Washington's dangled financial aid. "Cuba is the hen that laid your golden eggs," he announced, pointing out that U.S. "generosity" was only forthcoming because of Washington's recent humiliation at the Bay of Pigs.

Propaganda worked overtime to achieve what force had failed to gain. So that nothing would change, the Kennedy administration constantly invoked the rhetoric of change. The conference's official reports ran to 500,000 pages, all of which gave prominent place to the need for "revolution," "agrarian reform," or "development." Little of it ever came to pass outside of Cuba. And when popular movements attempted to make change happen without the approval of Washington, the U.S. bloodily intervened, overthrowing the democratically elected government of Brazil in 1964, crushing a democratic revival in the Dominican Republic in 1965, and replacing the democratic government of Chile with General Pinochet in 1973.

Incidentally, on his recent trip to Chile, Obama was directly asked whether he would cooperate with legal efforts to bring to justice those who committed crimes under the Pinochet regime. Obama promised nothing, answering only that "we would like to cooperate,"and that he would "consider" releasing requested information. He avoided answering whether the U.S. would consider asking "forgiveness" for what it did in Chile in the Allende years. Apparently, the Chilean press has yet to realize that imperialism means never having to say you're sorry.

Like JFK before him, Obama is offering a "partnership for prosperity" (i.e., development) to Latin America. Perhaps a look back at the Alliance For Progress from Che Guevara's point of view can help us understand the nature of "prosperity" and "development" U.S. leaders like to deliver to Third World peoples.

In "Punta del Este: An Alternative Development Program for Latin America," Guevara offered the following analysis of the Alliance For Progress:

"It was a typical plan to domesticate all Latin American public opinion, in direct service to the United States."

"Our countries were not represented at Punta del Este, except in the case of Cuba and a few others; in general, there were governments that represented oligarchies from each one of the countries, but each one with profound problems facing it."

On why the Alliance For Progress should be seen as an effort to rescue imperialism, not the Third World, Guevara said this:

"The United States, naturally, has changed its system, formally, because the imperialist system can't change; what has changed is its system of relations with Latin American countries. They have realized something fundamental, and that is that the colonial system, even when it may just be an economic colonialism that the peoples of the Americas suffer, is in a process of such disintegration that it can't last. The remains of feudalism have to disintegrate rapidly. So the United States has foreseen the need to liquidate feudal relations of production, above all in the countryside, where the majority of Latin American countries have fundamental problems, and carry out a kind of Agrarian Reform. As they say, a kind that liquidates the large estates, the small estates, which is to say that there will be medium size estates, mechanized, with agricultural workers instead of peasants, with a high rate of productivity that permits a large volume of products to be thrown into the market; they will liquidate that parasitic feudal class, and create a new class, probably, . . . not a new class, but rather a variation of the bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie attached to importing in each country in Latin America, that comes in contact in each country with the North American monopolies, which creates mixed corporations."

"These mixed corporations function inside the political system of each country with the sole exception that their profits in the system of free exchange can be exported to the United States. In such a way everything that might otherwise be violent, like the direct interference of foreign capital in the economy of a country, isn't seen. As used to happen here in Cuba, they are called "Cuban Electric Company," "Colombian Telephone Company," "Peruvian Iron Company," etc. etc. They will have an administrator from each host country, let's say, from the country where the raw materials are, and the capital and financial direction will be North American."

"In this way they intended to develop the production of the country, as I already said, liquidate feudalism, create that new class, and then initiate a stage of capitalist development in all of those countries. Development that is, however, crippled, because of the fact that the capital they are going to use isn't independent capital, national bourgeosies that enter into conflict with the monopolies, but rather capital imprinted on monopoly capital and that works by mutual consent, in such a way that it still contributes to the colonization of the country, but momentarily relieves pressure, and naturally produces a certain boom, along with short term investment in the economies of the most undeveloped countries, where the danger of a social explosion is more obvious."

"The final result of the (Punta del Este) conference was a voluminous report, where the aspirations of the countries of Latin America over the succeeding ten years are spelled out, in the decade of 'rich, accelerated, democratic progress'. . . " From a political point of view, as far as aspirations to have Cuba condemned, the conference can be categorized as a resounding failure for the United States. Now, from the point of view of its unique political economy we doubt that it has been such a complete failure, because of the fact that they have made people believe - their governments - and through the governments of America, the peoples, that they are disposed to give aid, when in fact they aren't disposed to give. And even if they were disposed to give, they can't give. And even if they could give, they would have to give to governing circles of Latin American countries, and not exactly to governing circles, but to the alliance that governing circles form with the monopoly interests in each country, in such a way as to make investments that translate into new business for monopolies or for the same oligarchies that have an interest in depositing their money in the United States."

The Alliance promised to "develop programs of health and hygiene, with a view towards preventing diseases, fighting epidemics, and protecting, in short, human potential." Guevara, complaining of the complete lack of concrete figures in the report, responded harshly: "That is to say, nothing. In any case, what 'human potential' means is that it's necessary to preserve a sufficient labor force so that monopolists have people to work for them."

Speaking of the Alliance's projected growth rate of 2.5% for Latin America, Guevara said: "The per capita growth rate of 2.5% is extremely low for us .. . We made a little calculation . . and it was that if we had a growth rate of 2.5% for all the countries of Latin America, and with that we tried to reach the prevailing standard of living of the United States, it would take us 100 years. And if we attempted to reach the standard of living the United States was going to have, because they also were growing at a slow rate, we would need 500 years . . . what our peoples want is a growth rate that will liberate them from misery now . . .

Guevara complained of the public health provisions of the plan as well . . . "They talk of having 70% of the houses have water within ten years. That is to say they explicitly condemn 30% of the houses of Latin America to having no running water, no sewer service, etc. - in urban areas, in the countryside it's 50%."

While the U.S. used its vast power to force down the price of Latin American raw materials and cash crops, it promised the poor not equipment or machinery, but latrines! Said Guevara at Punta del Este: "For the technical gentlemen, planning amounts to the planning of latrines. If we took them seriously, Cuba could be . . . . a paradise of the latrine!"

In terms that could just as easily be applied to Obama's rhetoric today, Guevara aptly summed up the Alliance for Progress as follows: "That is to say, a very broad plan, with many pretty words, but which obligates no one and explains nothing. This is what the peoples of America will come to know as the result of 15 days of deliberations in Punta del Este."

Anyone care to wager that Obama's plans for co-prosperity by sending aid to Latin American security forces will deliver better results for today's suffering Latin American populations?

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com

Sources:

Eduardo Galeano, "Memory of Fire - Century of the Wind," (Pantheon, 1988)

Che Guevara, "Punta del Este - Alternative Development Project for Latin America," (Ocean Sur, 2006)

CNN News, "U.S. President Barack Obama and Chilean President Sebastian PiƱera Address From Santiago, Chile," March 21, 2011

Fernando Alvarez, "Obama's Trip to Latin America: The Recycling of the Alliance Without Progress?" Latin Daily Financial News," March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

M.E.D.I.A. = Male Executives Distorting Information Anonymously

by Michael K. Smith
www.legalienate.blogspot.com

This week's news proves yet again that we are being more than informed by the corporate media and its affiliated journals of opinion. In fact, we are being propagandized.

Item:

Writing in Foreign Policy magazine Robert Madsen said that humankind is often blind-sided by "black swans," events so remote from the rationally predictable that we fail to prepare for them. He proclaimed the Japanese nuclear disaster not a failure of human engineering, but "of human imagination."

One can only wonder what planet Mr. Madsen has been living on. Since the dawn of "peaceful" nuclear energy during the Eisenhower administration there have been nuclear accidents, and anti-nuclear protests, by those who didn't lack the imagination to predict them. The failure of emergency core cooling systems due to natural disasters, as just happened in Japan, was routinely identified as a fatal flaw of the new energy. Those who stood to profit from nuclear power chose to ignore the criticism, and continue to. That is quite a different matter from being caught unawares, and Mr. Madsen has an obligation to say so.

Item:

Arguing against U.S. intervention in Libya, John Kass in the Chicago Tribune asserted that the civil war in Libya was "not worth the life of a single American soldier." The weekly newsmagazine, "The Week," added that, "The U.S. has just spent a decade at war, trying to save Iraqis and Afghans from themselves. Enough."

Back to reality. The U.S. invaded Iraq and Afghanistan in pursuance of imperial objectives like deposing of an enemy of Israel (Saddam Hussein), and making the world safe for opium poppies (Afghanistan). The idea that these ongoing slaughters were a form of selfless service to others is simply laughable. But apologists for empire know no shame.

Item:

Aiming to calm public alarm at the Japanese nuclear disaster, a Wall Street Journal editorial pointed out that "every energy source has risks."

True, but misleading. Nuclear energy is the only power source that is not just carcinogenic, but mutagenic. This poses a threat to the genetic integrity of the species itself, and all unborn generations. Japanese who were exposed to atomic radiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and their descendants) have been shunned by potential marriage partners on the quite rational grounds that any children born of such unions would face a high likelihood of being deformed. How many mutants per kilowatt hour is not a calculation we should relish having to make. Thus, nuclear proponents dedicate themselves to making sure the public doesn't find out this trade-off exists.

Item:

The Chicago Tribune editorialized that the prospect of a nuclear accident will always be scary, "but not as scary as a world starved for electricity."

But the world lived without electricity for millenia, and that fact did not make it a frightening place. Given that war is the father of technology, our current war-dominated, technology-saturated civilization is far more frightening than less complex societies, which, whatever their flaws, do not pose a threat to the human race itself. In any case, it is not clear that a world without nuclear reactors has to be a world devoid of electricity. After all, electricity preceded nuclear power by seven decades.

Item:

Much commentary was made about GOP Representative Peter King's (Long Island) hearings investigating the threat of "radicalization in the American Muslim Community." Don't blame King because "there's an association between terrorism and Islam," counseled Rich Lowry in National Review Online. Blame Army Major Nidal Hasan, who allegedly shouted "Allahu Akbar!" while gunning down 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, "and all the other homegrown extremists who have perpetrated or attempted mayhem in the name of Allah." It's not bigoted to point out that Islam is infected with extremists who support "uncompromising violence as a political tool," added David Harsanyi in The Denver Post. And Christine Flowers in the Philadelphia Daily News said, "far too many either support or refuse to condemn the actions committed in the name of their religion."

Don't hold your breath waiting for Rich Lowry to mention that "there an association between terrorism and Israel," or that, "radical Islam" is avenging itself against the U.S. and Israel for killing Arabs and Muslims with impunity for decades. And don't hang by your lip waiting for Congressional hearings to investigate Jewish support for "uncompromising violence as a political tool" against the Palestinian people, known in Israel as "drunken roaches in a bottle" and "two-legged animals," among other terms of endearment. A rational observer might be prompted to ask, "Where are the columnists prepared to lecture Jews in a similar way, i.e., that 'far too many of you either support or refuse to condemn the actions committed in the name of your religion?'" These actions obviously include systematic torture and mass murder, so why not say so?

Ask Helen Thomas.


Sources:

For quoted material, see "The Week," March 25, 2011

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "The Madness of King George" and "Portraits of Empire," with Common Courage Press.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The No Brain Zone



When Israel slaughtered innocent Ghazans our corporate controllers maintained relative silence, but cries of horror are regularly expressed at the violence in Libya. A disastrous No Fly Zone would only increase the bloodshed, but even if it is avoided one thing seems clear. Much of American leadership, its political opposition and sectors of the population are living in a No Brain Zone, sinking from normally appalling ignorance to an even more threatening near imbecility.

Failing empires, nations and institutions are often run by people whose intellectual capacity reflects deteriorating material conditions. The greater the crisis, the more likely that the morally crippled, psychologically damaged or mentally challenged may assert command. But when the crisis is systemic and transcends borders, the weapons handled by the incompetents are so lethal, and the area blanketed with ignorance extends from nation to state to municipality, more than a local population is under assault.

Our problems and their potential solutions are global in nature but the No Brain Zone originates in the USA. Here, an economic clergy tell us America is on the rebound, but that is only true for its richest elements and their upper class servants. The working middle is suffering strains unlike anything in a generation, while the poor and most defenseless are being reduced to the material standards of an under developed nation. This in a society that spends tens of trillions on war, allows tens of billions to be amassed by private wealth, and squanders billions more on psychological necessities like cosmetics, Israel, pet food, drugs and alcohol. And all this financed by a Ponzi scheme multi-trillion dollar debt carried on the backs of taxpayers dubbed a middle class. Weapons of mass delusion keep citizens in a peasant state of confusion so that they unquestioningly support a tiny feudal minority at the top. That fraction of one percent is living in opulent luxury beyond the decadence once enjoyed by emperors, pharaohs and other tyrants produced by royal incest of the ancient past.

The economic tyranny of more recent years has seen America’s rulers destroying our primitive social democratic structure and any pretense at regulating a market it treats as a Supreme Being. It has cut private manufacturing employment drastically in order to create more profits while artificially financing a massive speculation binge that caused a housing market breakdown. Demands for change that might have resulted from high unemployment were avoided by having the pubic sector hire many of the workers dumped or deserted by private corporadoes. This further moved the burden of financing the economy from the minority investor class to the majority working class. Central Consciousness Control and its Low I.Q. staff say that mentioning this incites class war against the poor huddled masses of our billionaires. Oh dear!

Now public budgets are being further savaged to finance the enormous expense of an imperial military with bases all over the world, and to keep the rich happily sheltered from being overtaxed. The biggest single employer in the USA, the public sector, is being treated as a socialist monster by people who drink soup with a fork and wonder why it takes so long to finish eating. In order to finance a system that commodifies earth, air, water, humanity and sanity, the mentally malnourished demand cuts to the only sector offering a temporary solution to the problem of potential economic breakdown.

These irrational self-defeating policies can only seem logical to those trying to maintain a political economy with no future. Those of us paying the price need to see the illogic before it’s too late.

Corporate government officials, their corporate opposition and their professional mind managers don’t wear propeller beanies to be easily identified as dimwits, but instead are treated as expert authority by media servants to power. This leads innocent people to lash out at fellow citizens, immigrants, and logic itself, following the vicious lead of the corporate assault on reason. But whether we are among the great majority of the misinformed or the small minority doing the misinforming, the end result for all of us could spell disaster without the democratic action of crisis intervention. Control needs to be taken from the masters of hatred, war, and waste before the problem leaves no way out for humanity. An aroused global population seems to be moving closer to that ultimate solution.

The Arab world is hardly alone in experiencing demands from a newly radicalized public, though it has taken the global lead. European union movements are finally being emulated by American workers who are rising up against the social inequities which grow more apparent with each new public loss to assure more private profit. As never before, humanity seems to be moving toward political democracy in simultaneously occurring national struggles, spurred on by common experience of inequality, disrespect and exploitation.
Landlords and their tenants in the No Brain Zone are terrified by these movements exploding all over the world, from places like Tunisia to Wisconsin to Yemen to Ohio. The actions they take to suppress or compromise change will ultimately provoke more radical demands, but the costs may be large since so many remain under the control of organized confusion. Still, the example of people coming together across lines of religion, class and ethnicity is unmistakable. Once those masses begin to act with organization that enables their spontaneity to focus more directly on majority rule of the political economy, they will not only speak louder than words, but with a collective intelligence that transforms a collapsing system without a brain, a heart, or a soul, into an intelligent, loving and materially spiritual humanity.




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cut Our Throats - Please!

by Michael K. Smith

This ought to be the rallying cry of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and his band of fiscal "patriots." Their solution for budget problems caused by exempting the wealthy from all civic obligations is to destroy public sector unions, which are just about all that remains of social democratic America. And before the advent of social democracy, there was virtually no middle class in this country.

It should be an obvious point, but you don't balance the budget by destroying the right to collectively bargain. Anyone who wants to know what a Tea Party utopia would look like should read up on 19th century U.S. history, when utter destitution was the lot of most U.S. workers. No medical insurance, no retirement pensions, skinflint wages, company housing, company stores to shop in, company scrip instead of money, children railroaded to an early death in mines and mills throughout the country. This is the nightmare unions delivered us from.

Walker and his supporters ignore the fact that his austerity measures were accepted by the public sector unions he seeks to destroy. They only object to his attack on their rights. How unAmerican. Here Israel has a right to exist, but unions don't.

For reasons not too hard to discern, Walker and his ilk also ignore the fact that Wall Street bankers made it impossible for the federal government to bail out state governments by robbing the public of trillions of dollars in advance. State governments are somehow not "too big to fail," though plundering Wall Street firms are. Naturally, the Tea Partiers don't mention that continually extending tax cuts and bailouts to big business is an odd way to avoid the fiscal deficits they say they hate.

Equally curious is a form of "populism" that consistently rewards Wall Street at the direct expense of Main Street. The financial czars have been running the "we're broke" scam for quite some time now. As Arundhati Roy pointed out in her 2003 speech at Riverside Memorial Church in New York City, the total of state government budget cuts the year before the U.S. invaded Iraq was about equal to the initial disbursements for that war. In short, they were really not "cuts" at all, but rather, transfers of money from social services to war. Since the general public prefers social programs to military spending, war funding has to be disguised as fiscal responsibility in a "dangerous world." This process is by now so advanced that the trillions of dollars thrown down the rat hole of endless wars occasions little stir. The corporate media steadfastly refuse to mention the obvious fiscal impact, and ranting "patriots" remain completely unaware that chronic deficits are a deliberate outcome of war profiteering.

In a similar way, relentless anti-union propaganda has made it impossible for many Americans to realize that forming unions and petitioning employers for redress of grievances is a basic democratic right, not a form of treason. Firing us for exercising this right is not only contemptible, but illegal. The fact that employers sometimes get away with such conduct does not in any way make it legitimate. Murderers sometimes aren't brought to justice either.

People worrying about the government "going out of business" due to fiscal policy should stop lending support to tax cuts for the rich. If the rich want to continue doing business in the U.S., they can pay their fair share of taxes. If they offshore jobs, slap a fat tariff on any goods they try to ship into the country. The U.S. is still the world's most coveted consumer market, but it will not retain this status for long if our remaining unions are gutted and the middle class is destroyed.

The specter of having to pay more for every product we currently consume because of "union thugs" extorting ever higher salaries from a public rendered helpless by Obamanian socialism is too ludicrous to caricature. We are constantly paying more for every essential product now in a non-union economy. In a fully unionized economy we would all have full-time permanent jobs and medical benefits, which tens of millions of Americans currently don't have.

Wisconsin is prelude to uprisings in many other states. To maintain their record profits, the major corporations now need to eliminate the middle class. They can't do that without a fight.

Thank God.

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George," both from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Imagine This:



 Armed Tea Party militias attack government facilities in several American cities, threaten to deport the president and abolish congress, and claim a new day for democracy. What would be the reaction from our corporate government and media? Great praise for the second amendment and the right of the people to bear arms and overthrow the government? Organized passive and non-violent resistance by the military involving prayer, meditation and chanting to disarm the rebels? Yes, if we believe in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and a free market. Yet, the reaction of mind management here has been that the Libyan government response to armed assaults on its power is somehow unthinkable to civilized people, subject to revulsion by all citizens of nuclear weapons armed nations, and an excuse to add to the death tolls by having America and its servant NATO powers get involved. In the cause of humanitarian justice achieved by murdering, of course.

Unconfirmed reports mostly from the rebellious Libyan groups claim air attacks and threats of genocide – the “g” word comes up almost every time anyone dies violently, anywhere – are repeated and embellished with charges of war crimes and threats to civilization. These near hysterical charges approach those hurled at Iran, regularly said to be planning to wipe out Israel, Jews, America, McDonalds, Christianity, puppies, kittens and all our shopping malls.

And this while our states and municipalities continue cutting public budgets on behalf of private wealth and corporate finance, and military expenditures and warfare increase even as surreality TV news reports tell us of alleged budget cuts, to take place at some future date.

And we are supposed to believe the leadership of Libya is insane?

Khadaffi may well have lost contact with reality in the often-quoted way that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But his alleged mental illness, commonly addressed by government officials here whose own sanity should be seriously questioned and whose ravings a public under continuous mental assault accepts, contrasts with the material status of the Libyan people. That not only compares favorably with most of the developed world but also is actually better than that of a majority of the world’s nations. There clearly are people, groups and elements in Libya tired of his rule and desirous of significant change, but exactly who are they and what is their economic and political base? Are there any foreigners involved, as in many of the color-coded “revolutions” assisted if not organized by outside infiltration to bring about governments more acceptable to “the international community”, a collection of national lap dogs and corporate financed NGOs controlled by the USA and Israel?

Such questions need to be asked before we rush into even more stupid, if not totally insane actions that support a global system which may be in process of breaking down naturally, if unnatural acts by perverse rulers can be controlled by democratic action of the people. While steps in that direction have begun speeding up in the Arab world, Europe and even in the USA, this present threat of backsliding could become a menacing blowback to what began as a very positive program for humanity, and not just the Arab world.

The urge for democratic rule of the people, even if still at a primitive level of organization, is an unmistakable emotional, spiritual and physical force in the world. Given the rapid changes taking place, many of them possibly beyond the understanding of the groups undertaking them, the rule that has brought us to this point is desperate and approaching a madness that makes Khadaffi look benign, progressive and harmless by comparison. Those nuclear-powered world “leaders” are near desperation and cannot be counted on to act rationally, as evidence clearly indicates. What are people to do when the information they rely on comes from the very sources striving to maintain the crippled, failing system?

Be very careful, wary and suspicious of all authority and what it tells us, remembering that its main duty is to maintain the status quo in substance even while changing the style in which it operates – see Obama and company - and be very critical of what alleged opposition to that authority tells us, too.