Subject : ON BANKERS' REPUBLICS AND THE PROMISCUOUS MISANTHROPES WHO DEFEND THEM.
13 September 2010
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Reading Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival (2004) and Failed States (2007) is like a visit to the medieval museums of Toledo, Spain. The facts, the instruments of torture are beyond imagination and simply boggle the mind. What kind of species is the human race? is the first question that crosses the mind. Then, you simply see everything and everyone around you differently. We are now perhaps prepared to understand more easily the information provided by http://wikileaks.org/, and can better anticipate the snippers who would destroy our access to this information and/or our mental capacity to comprehend it, for the moment at least.
The "politics of fear" is alive and well, and nationalism and xenophobia is on the rise in capitalist centers around the world, while the technology of censorship is being refined everyday. Some of us hope that one day we will all be equipped to understand and admire the transcendent courage of men like Girolamo Savonarola (1552-1598) and Howard Zinn (1922-2010). Until that day, we are truly inhabiting an undeveloped society, where the Neanderthals control opinion and careerists and opportunists proceed along their carefully plotted line of immanent self-interest leading ever closer to the abyss.
Do you remember Reverend Sun Myung Moon & the Moonies, the CIA-financed cult operating across the United States and in European cities in the 1970s, who befriended lonely waifs at bus stops and on street corners? Members of this cult took them in and seemed to befriend them, and after depriving them of rest by constant chatter and sleepless nights, succeeded in brainwashing many of them to follow their guru . . . . It was an interesting phenomenon in the post-Vietnam War era, a cult that kidnapped the bodies and minds of "irrelevant" children for no apparent reason other than to control them. An experiment, I suppose, for future institutional techniques of depriving people of any access to freedom of thought.
The 6 items below might offer CEIMSA readers new insights into the words of the British romantic poet, William Wordsworth (1770–1850), who began his famous Ode, The Intimations of Immortality (1803-06), with a powerful attack on the "new social order" created by the rising bourgeoise, where he described the extent of the alienation they were creating.
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
True, the early 19th-century Romantic Movement was mostly addressing the sentiments of the waning aristocracy of Europe, but today differentiating background from foreground is still an honest start to break away from the ideological hegemony of corporate sound bites which govern the thinking of most of us: forming our perceptions with signals and guiding our actions with commands. [N. Katherine Hayles' book, How We Became Post-Human (1999), is a more prosaic end-of-the-century account of the same bourgeois social order and its discontents. Her ideological concern today is how to empower ordinary people to defend themselves against the abuses of power. Has the ideology of post-modernism, under the pressures of modern capitalist contradictions, morphed into democratic socialism?]
Item A., from Zmag, is an article by sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein, commenting on the future of Xenophobia in global politics.
Item B. is an article from New School New York University professor Richard Wolff on "Why Millions March in France, But Not in the US."
Item C. is a Real News Network interview with Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, on 9/11, the Bush Administration, and corporate control of the United States government.
Item D., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Justin Raimondo on "The 'Meaning' of 9/11".
Item E., from The Real News Network, is an interview with Peter Dale Scott : "I do know for a certainty that there has been a cover-up of 9/11"
Item F., is a talk on "The Revealed Secret" by Peter Dale Scott, interviewed on Alex Jones TV, Hosted by Jason Bermas.
Item G. is an article sent to us by Byron Morton, "Brief Thoughts on Economics and Other Things" by Trenz Pruca.
And finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to view GritTV's inverview with Greg Mitchell.
The Nation's Media FIX Blogger Greg Mitchell joined us in the studio to discuss this phenomenon, along with the recent PBS documentary "Turmoil and Triumph"--an uncomfortably flattering three-part documentary on George Shultz's three years as Secretary of State. Normally, PBS would not air an apparently biased piece, but, as Mitchell implies, both the media and the government work together to keep their people sorely in the dark.
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Immanuel Wallerstein :
Date: 9 September 2010
Subject: What future for nationalism & xenophobia?
by Immanuel Wallerstein
The dictionary defines xenophobia as "fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign." It seems to be an endemic plague everywhere in the world. But it infects larger numbers of people only sometimes. This is one of those times.
The basic issue is the same there and here. Capitalism generates another of its regular, periodic crises, only this one is really bad. It begins, as often happens, in the financial sector where credit invites the competition-driven speculation, the excess risk-taking, and the corruption that explodes first. But precisely because the non-financial rest of the economy is already on shaky feet -- resulting from the growing economic divides between the mass of workers and the corporate profiteers -- the financial breakdown is spread by the market to the entire economy.
But who is a stranger? In the modern world, it seems that the strongest single loyalty is that to the state of which we are a citizen. It is called nationalism or patriotism. Yes, some people put other loyalties ahead of patriotism, but it seems they are in a minority.
Of course, there are many different situations in which people express their nationalist feelings. In a colonial situation, nationalism expresses itself as a demand for liberation from the colonial power. It seems to take similar forms in what some call a semicolonial situation, which is one in which the country is technically sovereign but lives under the shadow of a stronger state, and feels itself oppressed.
Then there is the nationalism of the strong state, which expresses itself in an assertion of technical and cultural superiority, and which its proponents feel give them the right to impose their views and values on weaker states.
We may applaud the nationalism of the oppressed as something that is worthy and progressive. We may condemn oppressive nationalism by the strong as unworthy and retrogressive. There is however a third situation in which xenophobic nationalism rears its head. It is that of a state in which the population feels or fears that it is losing strength, is somehow in "decline."
The sentiment of national decline is inevitably particularly exacerbated in times of great economic difficulty, such as the world finds itself in today. So it is no surprise that such xenophobia has begun to play an increasingly important role in the political life of states around the world.
We see it in the United States, where the so-called Tea Party wants to "take back the country" and "restore America and...her honor." At the rally in Washington on Aug. 28, the organizer, Glenn Beck, said: "As I look at the problems in our country, quite honestly, I think the hot breath of destruction is breathing on our necks and to fix it politically is a figure that I don't see anywhere."
In Japan, a new organization, the Zaitokukai, last December surrounded a Korean elementary school in Kyoto, demanding to "expel the barbarians." Its leader says he has modeled his organization after the Tea Party, sharing the sense that Japan now suffers from a loss of respect on the world scene and has gone in the wrong direction.
Europe, as we know, has seen in almost every country the rise of parties which seek to evict foreigners from the country and return the country to the exclusive hands of the so-called true citizens, although how many generations of continuous lineage it takes to define a true citizen seems to be an elusive question.
Nor is this phenomenon absent from the countries of the South - from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. There is no point in spelling out the multiple and repeated instances of when and where xenophobia has reared its ugly head.
The real question is what, if anything, can be done to counter its pernicious consequences. There is one school of thought which essentially argues that one has to coopt the slogans, repeat them in a watered-down form, and simply await the cyclical moment when xenophobia will have died down because economic times are better. This is the line of most of what may be called the Establishment right and center-right parties.
But what about the parties of the left and center-left? Most, although not all, of them seem to be cowed. They seem to be fearful that once again they will be tarred as "unpatriotic," as "cosmopolitan," and worry they may be swept away by the tide, even if the tide may recede in the future. So they speak, feebly, of universal values and of practical "compromises." Does this save them? Sometimes, but often not. They are often swept away by the tide. Sometimes, they even join the tide. The past history of fascist parties is replete with the numbers of "left" leaders who became fascists. This was after all the story of the man who virtually invented the word, fascist - Benito Mussolini.
The willingness fully to embrace egalitarian values, including the right of all kinds of communities to observe their autonomy, in a national political structure that accommodates the mutual tolerance of multiple autonomies, is a politically difficult position both to define and to sustain. But it is probably the only one that offers any long-term hope for humanity's survival.
These commentaries, published twice monthly, are intended to be reflections on the contemporary world scene, as seen from the perspective not of the immediate headlines but of the long term. To contact author, write: firstname.lastname@example.org.
from Richard Wolff :
Date: 12 September 2010
Subject: The workers' mass response to crisis.
The basic response is the same there and here. Governments serve their masters. This means borrowing trillions (from those masters with the money to lend) in order to bail out their other masters: the failed banks and other corporations who threaten to take whole national economies down with them. The government bailouts "work." That is, they temporarily help banks, insurance companies, desperate corporations, and investors to avoid total collapse. But the bailouts also cost governments massive new budget deficits paid for by massive additional debt obligations to their lenders.
The basic dilemma today is the same there and here. Lenders to governments threaten to stop lending or even to pull their loans unless governments guarantee that they will pay interest on all their new debts as well as repay them. The guarantee that lenders everywhere demand is the same: governments must set aside funds -- by either raising new taxes or cutting government payrolls and spending -- that will go to the lenders.
The next step is different there than here. In France and across Europe, the governments' response to their masters' demands is called "austerity": painful added costs and lost public jobs and services impacting chiefly the mass of working people. In contrast, in the US, Obama "opposes" austerity, especially in Europe, because he has hopes that an export boom might lead the US out of its economic crisis. Europe is the chief buyer of US exports, and austerity there would inevitably reduce their purchase of US output.
However, while Obama opposes austerity, the 50 states and virtually every city and town are busy actually imposing austerity on the US. This is because cities and states are losing tax revenue (because of unemployment and home foreclosures) and yet are forbidden by law to borrow for their operating budgets. Hence every state and local government is either raising taxes and fees or cutting payrolls and public services or taking all three steps. There it's "austerity"; here it's called "prudent fiscal management."
But the biggest difference between there and here is the people's reactions. On Tuesday, September 7, somewhere between 2 and 3 million French citizens stopped work for a general strike. Their target was one part of the French government's "austerity program" -- a proposal to raise the minimum age to receive a partial retirement pension from 60 to 62 years of age and for receiving a full pension from 65 to 67 years. General strikes have also occurred in Greece and are planned in Spain. All of Europe has agreed on a day of strikes and demonstrations against austerity continent-wide on September 29. These will be led by trade unions and actively supported by left political parties, community organizations, church groups, students, and still others.
The general idea motivating and inspiring Europeans to undertake these massive actions is quite simple. The economic crisis, they argue, was caused by capitalist corporations' investment decisions -- and especially those of financial corporations. It has already caused huge job losses, reduced outputs of goods and services, and immense new government debts. Now governments propose to offset those debts by imposing additional costs on the mass of people. This amounts to shifting the costly burden of the capitalists' crisis -- and their government-financed rescues -- onto the working people. This has gone too far; the people will not permit it.
In Europe, this idea is extremely popular. In France, the leading national polling institute recorded a 70 per cent public opinion support for the September 7 general strike against the Sarkozy government. This public opinion and the general strike are chiefly the results of decades of ongoing anti-capitalist agitation (in the daily newspapers, inside trade unions, by explicitly anti-capitalist political parties, from intellectuals articulating critiques of capitalism and proposals for post-capitalist social change, etc.). The capitalist crisis by itself need not produce organized mass mobilization against austerity, let alone mobilization that includes significant anti-capitalist dimensions. The proof of that lies in the US to date. The crisis response there is very different from what it is here.
There is a basic lesson in all this for the US left. It concerns why millions march there but not (yet?) here. The failure to develop, support, and widely disseminate anti-capitalist criticism and proposals for non-capitalist alternatives undermines the capacity for mass mobilizations to protect and advance working people's interests, especially in times of crisis. Even to make a political difference on so limited an issue as changing the age of retirement, effective mobilization of workers requires that they understand that issue in a much broader framework. Workers who see themselves in a broad social struggle for justice and for basic social change toward a better society can also then grasp and act on a particular issue with a sense of its historic meaning and implications.
Rick Wolff is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and also a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New York. He is the author of New Departures in Marxian Theory (Routledge, 2006) among many other publications. Check out Rick Wolff’s documentary film on the current economic crisis, Capitalism Hits the Fan, at www.capitalismhitsthefan.com. Visit Wolff's Web site at www.rdwolff.com, and order a copy of his new book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do about It
from The Real News :
Date: 11 June 2010
Subject: Wilkerson on 9/11: Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff, on Bush Admin 9/11 responsibility.
Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."
Wilkerson on 9/11
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 11 September 2010
Subject: The "Meaning" of 9/11.
Today, nine years after the event, the Israel lobby is using the anniversary of the attacks to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria to a fever pitch, and they have plenty of bucks to do it.
from The Real News Network :
Date: 12 September 2010
Subject: 9/11 Questions Remain Unanswered.
Peter Dale Scott a former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His most recent books are Drugs, Oil, and War (2005), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008) and Mosaic Orpheus (poetry, 2009).
from The Real News Network :
Date: 10 September 2010
Subject: The Revealed Secret.
Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. He was born in Montreal in 1929, the only son of the poet F.R. Scott and the painter Marian Scott.
from Byron Morton :
Date: 12September 2010
Subject: "Daily Kos," Brief Thoughts on Economics and Other Things.
i thought you might enjoy these sayings.
While writing a number of these Diaries and my blog (Trenz Pruca's Journal), I kept a list of epigrams and the like that I enjoyed creating. I thought that the readers of Daily Kos might appreciate reading some of them.
* Trenz Pruca's diary :: ::
Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims.
On the Meaning of Words:
Whitehead and Russell taught us that words have no meaning unless backed by mathematics. In other words, it is all blah, blah, blah unless it has numbers. Godel then taught us that mathematics is based on unprovable assumptions. In other words, blah is still blah.
On Economics as a Science:
In Science a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered truth only until falsified. In Economics a sociological theory that is logically inconsistent is often considered true even when falsified.
On Supply and Demand:
There is no such things and supply and demand because they are both infinitely manipulatable.
Wherever you have supply meeting a demand you will have someone trying to make a profit by making it not so.
The last thing anyone enters a competition for is competition.
Competition in a 100 yard dash lasts about 10 seconds. Competition in the market lasts about the same length of time before someone tries to game it.
Only a fool enters a race to compete, everyone else enters to win.
There is no such thing as a free market. There is always a transaction cost.
Those who manage the transactions ultimately make all the money.
A market is something that one goes to to buy groceries and usually has a prefix affixed to it like "super". Everything else is a casino.
On Ponzi and other Schemes:
All fortunes are based on Ponzi schemes.
Global Finance is a Ponzi Scheme.
All Ponzi schemes are based on gullibility and government is usually the most gullible of all.
On Outsourcing Governmental Services:
The outsourcing of governmental services is the road to tyranny.
The last refuge of scoundrels is not patriotism but the claim that no one could see it coming.
Most wealthy individuals are scoundrels, only very few admit it and they usually are already in jail.
The only country that a corporation has allegiance to is its own management.
A corporation cannot be considered a citizen, it cannot serve in the military for less than minimum wage.
Corporations were created to carry out specific goals of the state. Now the state appears to exist to carry out the specific goals of the corporations.
Corporations would not exist if their investors had to assume the same economic risks as any other individual in a free society.
On Free Enterprise:
The goal of every business enterprise is not to maximize profit but to separate risk from reward.
The most important goal for any democratic government should be to avoid removing risk from enterprise. Yet it currently appears that the only function of government is to shield enterprise from risk.
On the meaning of it all:
It is not he who dies with the most toys wins, it is he who dies with the most stories.