Subject: ON FRIENDSHIP, SOLIDARITY AND . . . ' THE IDES OF MARCH '.
15 March 2011
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Two thousand and fifty-five years ago, on March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was murdered by a group of Roman Senators, one of whom was his best friend, Marcus Junius Brutus. This betrayal of friendship was immortalized by William Shakespeare with the famous words from his play Julius Caesar
, "Et tu, Brute
." The assasination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. marked the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic, which did not give way to a full-blown empire until 23 B.C. But only one year after Caesar's murder, the Gaelic village of Grenoble (roughly translated as "fertile valley") attracted the attention Roman imperialist interests in 43 B.C., and very soon a Roman colony was planted on the banks of the Isère River eventually expanding Roman farmlands and villas to the nearby Drac River, soon to be connected to the famous Roman highway.
I remember visiting the Roman necropolis
when I first joined the faculty here at the University of Grenoble more than a decade ago. Entering the excavation through a side gate, my family and I walked along the wooden planks which had been carefully placed between the graves in an area that was protected by large sheets of plastic over head. I eyed the remains of human skeletons set into the ancient wall that surrounded the necropolis, and an attendant explained to us that these were the remains of slaves that had died and whose bodies the Romans had recycled as building material.
I thought how much more useful these slaves had been and continue to be than those who had worked them to a premature death, and then had disappeared completely from history.
Betrayal, death, and imperial exploitation did not end with Roman history. The civil war in Libya risks turning into a monstrous betrayal, as the Libyan people attempt to gain their independence from the tyranny of Muammar Qaddafi, who for many years now has been a most reliable business partner of US oil corporations. It is simply unclear at present who really are his mercenary protectors, and to what extreme they are willing to go in order to secure control of these oil-rich areas of Libya.
If violence continues and a political power vacuum is successfully created --and if the recent history of Yugoslavia offers any indication--, it would not be hard to imagine who will fill this space in Libya and at the cost of destroying the democratic movement along with Qaddafi, perhaps . . . .
The 12 items
below offer CEIMSA readers the opportunity to employ their knowledge of past patterns from history in an attempt to make sense of current events in the context of a war-torn world created by transnational corporations and the international military allies who are presently at their command.
is an article by Ralph Lopez
on the "systematic torture of Bradley Manning by US government officials" and another by Scott Shane on President Obama's relationship with the state torturers.
, sent to us by UCSD Professor Fred Lonidier
, is an article by Stephen D. Foster
, attempting to answer the question: "Is The Republican Party Becoming Fascist?"
, sent to us by NYU Professor Bertell Ollman
, author of How to Take An Exam...and Remake the World,
is a critical essay discussing class struggle in the American public school system.
, from Democracy Now!
, in an interview with Naomi Klein
, author of the influential book, The Shock Doctrine,
here discussing social class warfare in the US.
, from The Real News Network
, is an interview with Libyan writer Hisham Matar
, on "revolution and counter-revolution in Libya".
is an article by Norwegian author Johan Galtung
on "the rapid decline of regional and global imperial influence in the Middle East."
, from Dean Hubbard
, NLG Labor and Employment Committee
, and Jeanne Mirer
, member of the International Commission for Labor Rights
, is a report of today's attack against organized labor and social services in the United States of America.
is an up-date on Japan's Nuclear Power Plants in the wake of this week's Tsunami in the Pacific Basin, written by Citizens For Legitimate Government
and sent to us by NYU Professor Mark Crispin
is an article by Lee Fang
describing the rapidly expanding Strategies Against Labor in the United States.
, sent to us by Mark Crispin
, is and an article by Sam Hananel
, "Promises, promises: Obama shies away from protests."
, from Information Clearing House
, is an article by Ken Maguire
on "the Chernobyl-like crisis for Japan."
, from Greg Palast
, is an article on the Tokyo Electric Corporation's
plan to Build Nuclear Plants in the USA.
And finally, we urge CEIMSA readers to view the new documentary film on "planned obsolescence" :
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Université de Grenoble 3
Director of Research
Université de Paris 10 - Nanterre
P.S. For readers living in Grenoble, I would like to invite you to our local conference on "War, Resistance, and Counter-Resistance," that has been organized on campus next Friday, March 25. Please see the bottom of the CEIMSA page, "Colloques" for more information about this confernece : http://dimension.ucsd.edu/CEIMSA-IN-EXILE/colloques.html.
from Ralph Lopez :
Date: 11 March 2011
Subject: The systematic torture of Private First Class Bradley Manning.
Bradley Manning Now "Catatonic"
by Ralph Lopez
WASHINGTON - President Obama has defended conditions in a Marine Corps jail for Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks. The president said Friday that he had been assured that such measures as forcing Private Manning to sleep without clothing were justified and for his own safety.
As Obama's crime of the destruction of Bradley Manning continues to unfold before our very eyes, Manning friend David House now tells us that over 8 months in isolation with movement and sleep restrictions placed on him have been having their intended effect. House has told MSNBC that by the end of January Manning appeared "catatonic" and that he had "severe problems communicating," with it having taken House nearly 45 minutes on a recent visit to engage in any meaningful way (video below.) House said Manning's demeanor was as "if he had just woken up and didn't know what was going on around him." Manning was "utterly exhausted physically and mentally...it was difficult to have any kind of social engagement."
Mannning has been held in a bare, windowless 6x12 cell for 23 out of 24 hours a day, with no sound or personal effects, no radio or clock with which to distinguish night from day. He is not allowed to exercise in his cell. His only exercise is walking figure eights in another room, in shackles. Since last week he has been forced to strip naked while he sleeps and to stand at attention in the morning in this state.
"With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards," Mr. Obama said at a news conference. "They assure me that they are."
"I can't go into details about some of their concerns," he added, "but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well." He appeared to be referring to fears that Private Manning might harm himself, though the private, his friends and his lawyer have all denied that he is suicidal.
The question to Mr. Obama was prompted by critical comments from Philip J. Crowley, the top State Department spokesman, about Private Manning's treatment. In a talk at M.I.T., Mr. Crowley called the treatment "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid," and he said he did not understand Defense Department officials' reasons for imposing it, according to people present. Mr. Crowley later said he was expressing his personal views.
Starting on March 2, Private Manning was forced by guards at the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Va., to sleep without clothing at night, though he has a blanket and in recent days has been given a "tear-proof smock" to wear at night, according to a Defense Department spokesman, Col. David Lapan.
"Pfc. Manning is being treated fairly, with dignity and respect," Colonel Lapan said. "All measures in place are to ensure his safety and security."
A document made public on Thursday by Private Manning's lawyer, David E. Coombs, said the nighttime stripping began as a result of a sarcastic quip from the imprisoned soldier about concerns that he might kill himself.
On March 2, a brig officer had told him his treatment would not change because "the brig simply considered me a risk of self-harm," Private Manning wrote in the document, which was filed as part of a formal complaint to military officials. "Out of frustration, I responded that the POI restrictions were absurd and sarcastically told him if I really wanted to harm myself, I could conceivably do so with the elastic waistband of my underwear or with my flip-flops." The initials refer to "prevention of injury," a status that restricts items in Private Manning's cell and requires guards to check him constantly.
Private Manning's lawyer and supporters have complained for months about his conditions, which they describe as effectively solitary confinement, since he is kept in his
cell 23 hours a day and has almost no contact with other detainees.
Brig officials have said he is not in solitary confinement but is being treated as required for prisoners classified as "maximum custody" and placed on prevention-of-injury watch. Private Manning's lawyer has challenged both designations as unjustified.
According to Private Manning's written account, a brig psychiatrist recommended continuing the prevention-of-injury status for Private Manning in December, but in January decided it should be ended, a recommendation ignored by brig commanders. After the March 2 incident, the psychiatrist assessed Private Manning as "low risk," the document says.
Private Manning was arrested last May and accused of downloading several hundred thousand diplomatic cables and classified reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and providing them to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group. If he is convicted of the charges at a court-martial, he could face life in prison.
from Fred Lonidier :
Date: 13 March 2011
Subject: Is The Republican Party Becoming Fascist?
PLEASE READ EVERY WORD OF THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!!
"We must close union offices, confiscate
Thanks for this article, Dr. Keister. I am reminded of when we were doing our county history book for our county (Terry County, Texas), I, as book chairman, researched the KKK in our county. I recall that my mother said that when the KKK organized, my grandfather, her father, attemded the organizational meeting. It, too, emphasized family values, Christianity, and national pride as their reason for existence. Of course, they also swore secrecy and to do business only with other Klan members, so it also had financial increases in mind. My Papa Cook (A Freewill Baptist minister) came home and said he wouldn't join because "it scared him."
their money and put their leaders in prison.
We must reduce workers salaries and take
away their right to strike."
- Adolph Hitler, May 2, 1933
A great little book about the Klan in Texas is _You Can't Do That, Dan Moody_ by Ken Anderson. It's written for jr. high level, but the history is accurate. It's quick reading. Dan Moody was the man who ran for governor against the Klan machine in Texas and won! Thinking back over what I read, I am struck by similarities -- use of FEAR of particular groups, etc.
Betty Dawn Hamilton (Using retired years to keep up with current events!)
LMS (Middle & High School)
Former Chair of Texas Association of School Librarians
Former Contributing Editor of "Profession" section, Texas Library Journal
- Is The Republican Party Becoming Fascist?
- by Stephen D. Foster, Jr.
- Republicans have been busy since they took power in January. Busy alienating every single group of people they can think of, except themselves. The United States is being transformed into a fascist state before our eyes and now is the time we must fight back and turn this evil tide.
- Instead of focusing on jobs and the economy like they were elected to do, Republicans have used the excuse of budget crises whether real or not, to take rights away from us. In the 1920¢s and 1930¢s, fascists in Europe used economic crises to gain power and that is exactly what Republicans are doing now. Using the recession as an excuse to create a police state. Let's examine how Republicans are frighteningly similar to fascists.
- Fascism is the ultimate manifestation of social change and moral revolution, and glorifies nationalism. Sound familiar? It should. Republicans are all about culture wars and preach morality and how great America is. Fascists, like Republicans today, reject democracy and liberalism. Many Republicans called for violently overthrowing the government if the 2010 midterm elections didn't go their way and have viciously attacked liberalism. Fascists also reject internationalism and pacifism and support militarism and war. Republicans have been calling for the United States to pull out of the United Nations since the 1950¢s and have since 2001, been the party of war as evidenced by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the calls to attack Iran, North Korea, and most recently Libya. Fascists also promote heroism, vitalism and violence. Ever notice how Republicans promote themselves by chopping wood or firing guns or some other "manly" activity? They are trying to prove how tough they are. And the examples of violence are aplenty. Just look at the shooting in Arizona and the calls to shoot liberals in the forehead and the threats of "second amendment remedies" among many others. Republicans have ALL of these traits. Now let's examine how fascists and Republicans agree on the issues.
- As we all know, Republicans claim to be the party of family values. This is the exact stance of fascists as well. Fascists, like Republicans, believe that a woman's role is confined to the home as a mother. In Italy, the fascists banned literature on birth control and increased penalties for abortion in 1926, declaring both crimes against the state. Fascists even pushed policies designed to reduce the number of women in the workforce. Republicans are attempting to do all of these things. They have relentlessly railed against birth control, and have pushed their idea of abstinence as if they have always practiced it themselves. Hypocrites. They are attempting to ban abortion, considering laws to legalize the killing of abortion providers and laws that destroy Planned Parenthood and allow hospitals to let women die rather than give her a life saving abortion. Republicans are also assaulting unions that represent professions held by mostly women such as nurses and education and have been highly critical of single mothers who work.
Speaking of education, Republicans and fascists have that in common too.
- Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and seek to regulate the production of educational and media materials. We see Republicans doing this every day. They have their own news network that uses blatant lies and misinformation to paint liberalism as evil. Fox News is directly responsible for spreading hate and fear on behalf of the Republican Party and even promotes Republican candidates with total disregard to acceptable journalism ethics. Republicans have criticized journalists for asking tough questions and have called for laws to change the mainstream media. Many Republicans are against Freedom of the Press and have even detained journalists against their will for asking questions. Then there is the GOP stance on education. Their attempts to destroy public education is nothing more than an effort to create private schools designed to do their ideological bidding. Private schools can deny an education to anyone and can discriminately hire any teacher they wish which means an army of conservative teachers that will only teach the Republican ideology and their view of history. Fascists created their systems of education to glorify their movement and sought to inform students of its historical and political importance to the nation. It attempted to purge ideas that were not consistent with the beliefs of the fascist movement. Republicans are also doing this. Take Texas and the South for instance. In those Republican controlled areas, the Confederacy is being glorified and Joe McCarthy is being portrayed as heroic. The Civil Rights movement is being largely ignored and the Founding Fathers are being transformed into Republicans that agree with everything the Republicans are doing today. They are trying to portray the founders as Christians that wanted Christianity to rule the state. Republicans are also trying to abolish the Department of Education and are trying to slash education spending to a bare minimum. Republicans and fascists hate the well educated because they want the people to be stupid in order to manipulate them. Fascism tends to be anti-intellectual and so does the Republican Party.
- Another major aspect of fascism is its relationship with corporations. In 1925 the Fascist regime in Italy created a corporatist economic system. In theory, Fascist Corporatism is supposed to give unions a voice but in practice, that's not what it did in Italy and Germany in the 1930¢s. The Fascist regime first created a Ministry of Corporations that organized the Italian economy into 22 sectoral corporations, banned workers' strikes and lock-outs. Even Hitler banned unions. This is similar to how corporations were before America declared its independence. At that time, corporations such as the Massachusetts Bay Company, controlled entire colonies. The Founding Fathers hated this practice so much they rebelled against it and set many restrictions against the corporate world they abhorred so much. Republicans are attempting to reintroduce this idea that corporations should run states and the government. They've already called for privatizing policemen and the military and they already allow the Koch brothers to call the shots. It won't be long before they introduce corporatism. Marxists accuse fascism of being a capitalist tyranny that attempts to make conservative reaction popular to the working class but in practice represses the working class. Even Lenin claimed that "Fascism is capitalism in decay." Fascists dismantled working-class organizations, significantly reduced wages in certain areas, abolished taxes on inheritance and war profits. Republicans seek to do ALL of these things. They have called for an end to the minimum wage, are ending union rights state by state, most recently in Wisconsin where Republicans slammed through an anti-union bill illegally, and seek to destroy any and all corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthy.
- Another aspect shared by fascists and Republicans is their hatred of homosexuals and people who are different. Just as fascists banned homosexuality in 1931 and hated certain groups like gypsies and Jews, Republicans seek to make homosexuality illegal and have made it clear that they intend to persecute those they feel are inferior such as Muslims, African-Americans, hispanics, and other ethnic groups. The current hearings in Congress specifically targeting Muslims is sufficient proof of that, not to mention their constant racial attacks on President Obama and the laws being passed against hispanics in Arizona.
- Another major aspect of fascism that Republicans share is the fixing of elections. If the 2000 Election isn't enough to convince you of fraudulent elections then also consider these current attempts to subvert democracy. Republicans in New Hampshire are pushing bills that would keep college students from voting. One bill would require a students parents live in the state and another would ban same day registration. Why? Because the youth come out to vote for liberals. This is the reason Republicans are out to destroy unions too, since unions support Democrats in elections most of the time. One Tea Party leader has already suggested a bill that would only allow people with property to vote. Even the voting rights of women are being threatened. These are blatant attempts to subvert Democracy and destroy political opponents. These are things that fascists do.
- Here is something else that Republicans and fascists have in common: death panels. In Arizona, Republicans have already decided the fates of 98 people by taking their names off the transplant lists in an effort to save money. Never mind the fact that the federal government has sent funds to cover these people. The Republican fascists in Arizona are too busy spending that cash on private prisons so they can send suspected illegal immigrants to them. Death panels are expected to spread to other Republican controlled states such as Texas and Mississippi among others. Fascists like death panels and private prisons too. Millions of Jews died because of death panels and the deaths only stopped after American soldiers liberated the prison camps.
- The last aspect that fascists and Republicans have in common is their obsession with Christianity. The Republican party is one with the Christian Right today. Their goal is to make Christianity the national religion in order to create a Christian state. Republicans would then tear up the Constitution and replace it with the Bible. Republicans hate separation of church and state and have vowed to destroy it. Republicans have even gone so far as to make up quotes and falsely attribute them to the Founding Fathers to make it seem like they wholeheartedly agree with them. They actually do not agree. This obsession with religion is very familiar, in fact its Hitleresque. Take a gander at these quotes.
- "The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life."
- "It is the purpose of the Government to fill our whole culture once more with a Christian spirit, and that not only in politics. We want to burn out the harmful features in our theater and our literature."
- "The Government, being resolved to undertake the political and moral purification of our public life, is creating and securing the conditions necessary for a really profound revival of religious life."
- "The struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in [the interest] of the welfare of our Christian faith. The Government of the Reich regards Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation. The rights of the churches will not be diminished."
- All of these quotes were spoken by Adolf Hitler, one of fascisms biggest stars. And Republicans agree with his words. In fact, Christianity is one reason why Republicans are doing all of the above things stated throughout this article. If you are a white Christian male that votes Republican, you are safe. But if you aren't, you are targeted.
The time for compromise with Republicans is over. The time for tolerance of them is also over. We could sit here and allow them to control things and turn the country into a fascist state or we can take action and bring down fascism before it takes hold and strangles us. I'm not suggesting general strikes or pacifism. Republicans would only be too happy to abuse the law and use military force against us. I'm calling on freedom loving Americans everywhere to storm Republican controlled capitals across the country and drag these Republican fascists out of power kicking and screaming and then elect new people to replace them. There may be little other recourse by the time Republicans are finished serving their terms and waiting to recall them will take too much time. Voting rights are being attacked from every angle. Our personal lives are under constant assault. Our right to negotiate our wages are being terminated and war and corporate power are increasing. We can no longer risk allowing this dangerous political party to have any power whatsoever. There was once a time in this country when a party rose up and forcefully put the other one on the sidelines for a long period of time because it was a danger to the nation and its ideals. During the Civil War era, Republicans, also the liberals of the era, came to power and brought down the once conservative Democratic Party for being a threat to freedom and Democracy. Once again, we liberals must rise to the occasion and be willing to fight for ourselves, for others, and for our nations ideals no matter the cost. Only this time, it must be Republicans that pay the price. They must be restricted from holding public office for a couple decades so that Democrats have ample time to clean up their mess and reverse all of the damage done by Republicans. In these dark times, it is our duty to do whatever is necessary to keep America free and its people equal. We must stand up and march together in the millions and topple every Republican controlled capital in the nation and then press forward to Washington DC and chase Republicans out of Congress. Its the only way to save America, ourselves, and those we love. Perhaps after a couple decades in political exile, Republicans will have denounced the fascist elements of their party and come to their senses. If forcing Republicans out of office is our only option to save America and ensure the freedom, equality, survival, and prosperity of the middle class, then in the words of John Boehner, "So be it."
from Democracy Now! :
Date: 11 March 2011
Subject: The Shocks Continue ...
As a wave of anti-union bills are introduced across the country following the wake of Wall Street financial crisis, many analysts are picking up on the theory that award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein first argued in her 2007 bestselling book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
. In the book, she reveals how those in power use times of crisis to push through undemocratic and extreme free market economic policies. “The Wisconsin protests are an incredible example of how to resist the shock doctrine."
from The Real News Network :
Date: 9 March 2011
Subject: Revolutionary and Counter-Revolutionary Strategies in Libya.
Author Hisham Matar says father secretly jailed by Gaddafi in 1990; was part of organization likely supported by CIA.
Repression, Resistance And The CIA in Libya
by Johan Galtung
As the Arab revolt broadens and deepens, the roles of a global and a regional empire, USA and Israel, will surface increasingly. There will be more about that next week; here the focus is on the third one of the kind, the United Kingdom, or simply England, Albion, known for its perfidity, Lord Palmerston's famous "no permanent friends, no permanent enemies; permanent interests". John Bull = John Bully?
That empire had model character, and Tony Blair did his best to revive Albion by serving an Eagle across the Atlantic:
* misled the Parliament to believe the war was legal;
* lied about WMD, weapons of mass destruction;
* pretended that secret intelligence could be trusted;
* exaggerated the threat from Iraq and Saddam Hussein:
* concealed his agreements with Bush to go to war;
* obstructed the work of the UN WMD inspectors;
* inconsiderate warfare against Iraq's civilian population;
* misled the people to believe the war increased the security.
(extracted from the Chilcot hearings, Klassekampen 22-01-11).
A person like that-with a US co-defendant or two-belongs in the International Criminal Court, beyond its use for Yugoslavs and Africans. Instead, he operates from the top floor of the American Colony in Jerusalem, to bribe West Bank Palestinians into lucrative private sector deals.
In the Security Council both USA and UK are protected by direct veto, and Israel for its brutal warfare against the Gaza population indirectly. The three together managed to kill the Gaza report by Justice Julius Goldstone (Naomi Klein, "Goldstone's Legacy for Israel", The Nation 14-02-2011); a report that may serve as a model for US-UK atrocities.
The arch-imperialist Sir Winston S Churchill-what is good for the Empire is also good for me-looms high. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel statutes states that literature should not only cover belles-lettres, "but also other writings that in form and content show literary value". The 1902 prize was given to Theodor Mommsen for The History of Rome, and in 1953 to Churchill for The Island Race-an inspired macro-history of the island whose history he shaped, and wrote. As, indeed, World War II.
The two presentation addresses, by C. D. Af Wirsen and S. Siwerts are themselves small highly professional masterpieces. Of course there are controversies-like an omitted Henrik Ibsen-but happily Alfred Nobel did not entrust the task of appraising literature to five amateurs from the Swedish parliament like he did for peace from the parliament of Norway, even a client of the only surviving global empire.
Churchill concludes his The Island Race at the end of the 19th century, "Nearly a hundred years of peace and progress had carried Britain to the leadership of the world. She had striven repeatedly for the maintenance of peace-The future is unknowable, but the past should give us hope".
In 1911 a parliamentary commission compared the economies of India and Britain, found them quite similar in early 19th century and vastly different a century later. Britain was far ahead, India behind with deepening gaps. What had benefitted one had not benefitted the other. But that mattered little to Churchill; his concern was to be #1, the rallying cry in the USA right now, competing with other countries disregarding exploitation within and between. Like Harvard professors Ferguson and Nye on the CNN GPS program 6 March 2011.
In a recent book by Madhusree Mukherjee, Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II (Basic Books, 2010) the author holds Churchill responsible for not authorizing food shipped from Australia to save the three million who perished in the 1943 Bengali famine. Churchill hated Gandhi, a "naked fakir", a "thoroughly evil force, hostile to us in every regard" and hoped he would starve himself to death by fasting. About Hindus he had this to say: "the beastliest people in the world next to the Germans".
The Germans. The "splendid decision" by the newly appointed Prime Minister to bomb, killing civilians, in Westphalia in Germany, using the retribution against Coventry and London to stimulate the British will to fight. And the massive bombing of Germany, after his gas attack by air in Iraq, 1921, against rebels who threatened civilization. 600,000 killed in Germany; women, children, old. Were British and German warfare different? Democracy differs from dictatorship and Churchill from Hitler, but warfare? Is democracy a license to kill for victory at any price (Churchill); total war?
To Churchill Hitler was a monster, filled with envy, shameful, a carrier of hatred; to Hitler Churchill was insane, putting the world afire (Klaus Wiegrepe, "Sieg um jeden Preis", Der Spiegel, 3/3/2010). A world war. And a personal duel.
The Royal Air Force was superior, so was the Wehrmacht. But Japan fell into the trap of attacking the USA, and Germany stupidly attacked the Soviet Union. The stronger won after untold suffering-Russians, Jews, Roma, Germans, others. And Churchill lost what he coveted most, the Empire. World War II was only a battle in the war for world power. He was a genius like Napoleon, in the sense of winning battles and losing the war.
The real war is fought by real people for livelihood, freedom, dignity. The heroe(ine)s are millions and unknown, not individuals with inflated egos. Their future is knowable.
Prof. Johan Galtung is acting rector of the TRANSCEND PEACE UNIVERSITY: An All-Online educational facility for academic Peace Studies. Born in 1930 in Oslo Norway, Prof. Johan Galtung holds a PhD in mathematics from 1956 and a PhD in sociology from 1957. He is widely known as the pioneering founder of the academic discipline of peace studies. He has served as a professor for peace studies and peace research at the universities of Olso, Berlin, Cairo, Belgrad, Paris and Hawaii, just to name a few, and has mediated in about 50 conflicts between states and nations since 1957.
from Mark Crispin :
Date: 6 March 2011
Subject: Les nouveaux rebellions américaines s'inspirent du monde arabe.
Contact: Jeanne Mirer, International Commission for Labor Rights
Dean Hubbard, NLG Labor and Employment Committee
TAKING AWAY PUBLIC WORKERS' RIGHT TO BARGAIN ISN'T JUST
For the last month the nation has been watching the drama in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and over a dozen other states as anti-worker legislators try to strip public workers of the rights they have won over the past fifty years. But one question is almost never asked: do these states actually have the legal right to deprive their employees of the right to bargain collectively?
The answer is clearly NO. Workers' rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining arise from the 1919 Constitution of the International Labor Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency of which the United States is a founding member. The ILO elaborated these rights in 1949 in ILO Conventions 87 and 98, and declared that they were "fundamental" human rights in 1998. In 1948, when the countries of the world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they recognized the rights of people to form and join trade unions as a fundamental human right. As the ILO held in 2007, in a case involving North Carolina's laws against collective bargaining, these conventions apply to all workers, both public and private sector, without distinction. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the United States in 1992, likewise provides that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests." This right applies to all workers except in very limited situations, e.g. the armed forces.
Courts and agencies around the world have held the right of collective bargaining in the public sector is an essential element of the freedom of association, which is a fundamental right under both international law and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
• In 2007, thee ILO held that North Carolina's prohibition against public sector collective bargaining violated international law.
• That same yeear the Canadian Supreme Court held that the right to collective bargaining is not only an essential element of the freedom of association, but serves the values of "human dignity, liberty and autonomy of workers" by extending the principles of democracy and the rule of law to the workplace.
• The Europeann Court of Human Rights reached the same result in overturning a Turkish court's ruling that had nullified a public sector collective bargaining agreement.
As the recent maneuvers of the Wisconsin Governor and state legislature demonstrate, this fight has nothing to do with budgets, or even wages, and everything to do with power. The politicians who are trying to deprive public workers of their job rights also want to limit their power outside the workplace. As Dean Hubbard, National Co-Chair of the National Lawyers Guild's Labor and Employment Committee has said: "These attempts to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees are "ground zero" for democracy in America. Getting rid of collective bargaining and permanently weakening unions would leave all working people, not just union workers, completely defenseless and at the mercy of the rich. . . . We are at a defining moment in our history where we are being shown that America as a nation cannot be free if any of her people are not free."
This is not the first time that politicians have used this sort of attack to divide and weaken workers. As the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina state chapter of the NAACP, has reminded us, that was what brought about North Carolina's anti-union law in 1959: "In Wisconsin and other states, they are fighting to hold on to their collective bargaining rights. It is shameful that ever since 1959, because [of] racist ideology and Jim Crow mentality, which feared that whites, blacks and brown people would come together in the framework of a strong union movement and work for civil rights and justice, that North Carolina banned collective bargaining in the public sector." Fn1
This battle is about the fundamental right to choose who will speak for you: a decision that workers, not their employer, should be the ones to make. That is a right that the law bars their employer from taking from them.
from Mark Crispin :
Date: 12 March 2011
Subject: Japan's Nuclear Power Plants in the wake of this weeks Tsusamie.
Breaking: Radiation leaking from Japan's quake-hit nuclear plant --Report that nuclear building's outer structure blown off --Core could become 'molten mass' - risk consultancy --Quake shifted earth's axis and main island of Japan 12 Mar 2011 Radiation leaked from an unstable Japanese nuclear reactor north of Tokyo on Saturday, the government said, after an explosion blew the roof off the facility in the wake of a massive earthquake. The developments raised fears of a disastrous meltdown at the plant, which was damaged by Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in Japan.
Explosion Destroys Walls of Japanese Nuclear Reactor Building, NHK Reports 12 Mar 2011 An explosion occurred at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station north of Tokyo, destroying the walls of the No. 1 reactor building, NHK Television said. The report came after the government said a reactor may be melting. Smoke was rising around the nuclear reactor after an aftershock from yesterday's quake struck, Ryohei Shiomi, a spokesman at the country's nuclear safety agency said by phone.
Japan's Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant explodes --30 million people 'may be experiencing nuclear meltdown' 12 Mar 2011 A Japanese nuclear power plant exploded today, television footage showed, a day after a massive earthquake damaged the facility's cooling system, as nearby residents were warned to stay indoors. Nuclear authorities had earlier warned that the Fukushima No 1 plant, located about 250km northeast of Tokyo, an urban area of 30 million people, "may be experiencing a nuclear meltdown". The plant's cooling system was damaged in the quake that hit yesterday, leaving the government scrambling to fix the problem and evacuate more than 45,000 residents within a 10km radius. Public broadcaster NHK today said that a blast had been heard at about 3.30pm local time and showed delayed footage of smoke billowing from the site, also reporting that the reactor building had been destroyed.
Huge blast at Japan nuclear power plant 12 Mar 2011 A massive explosion has struck a Japanese nuclear power plant after Friday's devastating earthquake. A huge pall of smoke was seen coming from the plant at Fukushima and several workers were injured. Japanese officials fear a meltdown at one of the plant's reactors after radioactive material was detected outside it... Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared a state of emergency at the Fukushima 1 and 2 power plants as engineers try to confirm whether a reactor at one of the stations has gone into meltdown.
Japan Reactor Fuel Rods May Have Begun to Melt, Atomic Safety Agency Says 12 Mar 2011 A nuclear reactor in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power station about 220 kilometers (140 miles) north of Tokyo may be starting to melt down after Japan's biggest earthquake on record hit the area yesterday. Fuel rods at the No. 1 reactor at the plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. may be melting after radioactive Cesium material left by atomic fission was detected near the site, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, spokesman Yuji Kakizaki said by phone today. "If the fuel rods are melting and this continues, a reactor meltdown is possible," Kakizaki said. A meltdown refers to a heat buildup in the core of such an intensity it melts the floor of the reactor containment housing.
Evacuation radius at Fukushima nuclear plant has been increased to 20 km: TV 12 Mar 2011
MSNBC: Wall-to-wall coverage of Charlie Sheen's meltdown, silent on nuclear meltdown --GE: 'We Bring Good Censorship To Life.' By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 12 Mar 2011 Earlier this week, MSNBC spent *hours* covering Lindsay Lohan's court appearance -- including, of course, her courtroom attire -- for an allegedly stolen necklace. But MSNBC has, to this point, censored entirely the nuclear catastrophe in Japan. Hours upon hours of air time were devoted to Charlie Sheen's 'meltdown,' but MSNBC chose to air its 'Lockup' series on Friday evening/Saturday morning, sans interruption. MSNBC failed to even cut in with a news alert of the explosion -- and possible meltdown -- of Japan's quake-hit Fukushima No.1 nuclear Plant.
CLG Editor-in-Chief: Lori Price. Copyright © 2011, Citizens For Legitimate Government ® All rights reserved.
from Mark Crispin :
Date: 13 March 2011
Subject: National Strategies Against Labor.
Reporting for the progressive Maine blog Dirigo Blue, Gerald Weinand has discovered that a proposed "right to work" law in Maine mirrors similar proposals in several other states, like New Hampshire and Missouri. The legislation in Maine, LD788, sponsored by State Rep. Tom Winsor (R), would make Maine like other low-wage anti-labor states by weakening unions. Right to work laws typically allow workers to opt-out of union dues while benefiting from union contracts, a cycle that usually kills a labor union over time. But the assault on worker rights in Maine appears to be part of a larger attack coordinated by conservative front groups. Winsor's bill contains phrases and language strikingly similar to other right to work proposals from Republicans across the country:
Maine's anti-union bill LD788:
New Hampshire anti-union bill HB 474:
- § 653. Right to refrain
- A person may not be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, to:
- 1. Become a member. Become or remain a member of a labor organization;
- 2. Pay dues. Pay any dues, fees, assessments or other similar charges, however denominated, of any kind or amount to a labor organization; or
- 3. Pro rata portions. Pay to any charity or other 3rd party, in lieu of payments under subsection 2, any amount equivalent to or a pro rata portion of dues, fees, assessments or other charges required of members of a labor organization.
Missouri's anti-union bill SB109:
- 273-D:4 Freedom of Choice Guaranteed, Discrimination Prohibited. No person shall be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment:
- I. To resign or refrain from voluntary membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of a labor organization;
- II. To become or remain a member of a labor organization;
- III. To pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount to a labor organization;
- IV. To pay any charity or other third party, in lieu of such payments, any amount equivalent to or a pro-rata portion of dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of a labor organization.
- Section A.290.590.2. No person shall be required as a condition or continuation of employment to:
- (1) Become or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization;
- (2) Pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other similar charges however denominated of any kind or amount to a labor organization; or
- (3) In lieu of the payments listed under subdivision (2) of this subsection, pay to any charity or other third party any amount equivalent to, or on a pro rata basis, any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization.
- In fact, the bills, excepting legaleese required to make the bill fit with each state's laws, are nearly identical, down to unusual vocabulary and phrasing.
David Koch's Americans for Prosperity group has beefed up its presence in Maine since the election of Gov. Paul LePage (R), a far-right tea party favorite. Meanwhile, Maine's Republican Speaker of the House hired Trevor Bragdon, the former director of the Americans for Prosperity state chapter in Maine. And Trevor's brother Tarren is the executive director of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative state-based think tank with ties to several corporate donors, including Koch Industries. Both Americans for Prosperity and the Maine Heritage Policy Center appear to be laying the groundwork for the same type of anti-labor effort as Wisconsin's led by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI).
The conservative strategy for decimating the labor movement is being replicated with great speed - and little creativity. Each state, from Wisconsin, to Ohio, to Maine, and others across the country face a similar threat of phony Tea Party groups, business front organizations, and even nearly identical legislative proposals.
from Marrk Crispin:
Date: 13 March 2011
Subject: Promises, promises....
Obama shies away from protests
By SAM HANANEL
WASHINGTON - Union leaders urged Vice President Joe Biden during a White House meeting last month to go to Wisconsin and rally the faithful in their fight against Gov. Scott Walker's move to curtail collective bargaining rights for most public employees.
Request rebuffed, they asked for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
So far, however, the White House has stayed away from any trips to Madison, the state capital, or other states in the throes of union battles. The Obama administration is treading carefully on the contentious political issue that has led to a national debate over the power that public sector unions wield in negotiating wages and benefits.
A few labor leaders have complained openly that President Barack Obama is ignoring a campaign pledge he made to stand with unions; most others say his public comments have been powerful enough.
The stakes are high as Obama looks toward a grueling re-election campaign. Republicans have begun airing television ads linking Obama to "union bosses" standing in the way of budget cuts in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states.
As a candidate, Obama seemed to promise more to organized labor, among the Democratic Party's most loyal constituencies.
"If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself," Obama said at a speech in 2007. "I'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner."
Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the nation's largest nurses union, called Obama "largely a bystander" in the debate over collective bargaining. "I think we're feeling a sense of betrayal from him and not liking it much," she said.
Doug Schoen, a Democratic political strategist, said Obama's strategy seems to be "keep your distance, avoid direct engagement, say most of the right things most of the time, and hope for resolution through sources other than your own."
Walker on Friday signed a bill that strips most collective bargaining rights from the state's public workers, except police and firefighters. The measure passed the Legislature following more than three weeks of protests that drew tens of thousands of people to the state Capitol in opposition. The governor had announced his plan on Feb. 11, saying his state was broke and there was no point negotiating with the unions when there was nothing to offer.
The request for Biden to travel to Wisconsin came from Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, according to two union officials familiar with the Feb. 24 meeting. The officials requested anonymity because the meeting was private.
Five days later, during the AFL-CIO winter meeting, McEntee told Obama senior adviser David Plouffe that unions wanted more than words, the officials said. McEntee told Plouffe they wanted a high-profile emissary to stand with protesters to show that the president was by their side.
A spokesman for McEntee, Gregory King, declined comment on the substance of the private meetings, but said the union is "pleased with the support we've received from the Obama administration."
Biden's press secretary, Elizabeth Alexander, declined to elaborate on Biden's discussions with union leaders or say why he had not gone to Madison. She said Biden was "obviously very supportive" of labor, had a long history of fighting for collective bargaining rights and, along with Obama, has been "very involved in what has been going on in Wisconsin both privately and publicly from day one."
Obama has called Walker's proposal an "assault on unions" and urged governors not to vilify public workers. After the state Senate relied on a procedural move Thursday to pass the anti-bargaining rights measure without any Democrats in the chamber, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama believes it is
wrong for Wisconsin to use its budget troubles "to denigrate or vilify public sector employees."
Solis also pledged her support for public employees on a phone call with thousands of members of the Communications Workers of America.
"Budget sacrifices are one thing but, demanding that workers give up their voice is another," Solis told the union members.
But asked whether Solis would go to Wisconsin or any other state where protesters are rallying, spokesman Carl Fillichio said she's "keeping an eye on the situation."
DeMoro, from the nurses' union, has been reminding Obama about his 2007 campaign promise to walk with union members. She has even sent out press releases offering to buy the president a pair of shoes to march with demonstrators.
"Standing with the embattled workers would be an important symbol," DeMoro said.
There's no question that Obama will keep getting strong re-election support from organized labor. But he stands the risk that unions won't be as enthusiastic if he is too aloof about the attack on bargaining rights.
On the other hand, it's possible that unions will be so consumed with their own efforts to save bargaining rights, recall governors or other issues of self-preservation that they won't have the time to work on Obama's behalf with full vigor.
Schoen, the Democratic consultant, said Obama is "trying to have it both ways."
If the budget-cutting tactics of Walker and GOP Gov. John Kasich of Ohio are successful, Obama doesn't want to be seen as aggressively taking sides, Schoen said. If they fail, the president can say he was always on the side of the unions.
Most union leaders have praised Obama in public for offering support with his words. Some believe it may
be better for him to stay out so Republicans can't claim the protests are being organized in a grand political move.
"Obama needed to hang back and let people fully understand this is being run by the people of Wisconsin,
not by the Democratic Party leadership," said Greg Junemann, president of the International Federal of Professional and Technical Engineers.
Both parties already are using Wisconsin to try to boost their political fortunes.
Crossroads GPS, a group organized by former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, announced this
past week that it would spend $750,000 on national cable television ads supporting Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday set a goal of raising $100,000 in 24 hours from angry voters opposing the Wisconsin legislation.
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 11 March 2011
Subject: A second Chernobyl, this time in Japan.
from Greg Palast :
Date: 14 March 2011
Subject: Tokyo Electric to Build US Nuclear Plants
TOKYO ELECTRIC TO BUILD US NUCLEAR PLANTS
The no-BS info on Japan's disastrous nuclear operators
by Greg Palast
I need to speak to you, not as a reporter, but in my former capacity as lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations.
Texas plants planned by Tokyo Electric. Image:NINA
I don't know the law in Japan, so I can't tell you if Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) can plead insanity to the homicides about to happen.
But what will Obama plead? The Administration, just months ago, asked Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas by Tokyo Electric Power and local partners. As if the Gulf hasn't suffered enough.
Here are the facts about Tokyo Electric and the industry you haven't heard on CNN:
The failure of emergency systems at Japan's nuclear plants comes as no surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.
Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called "SQ" or "Seismic Qualification." That is, the owners swear that all components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from Al Qaeda.
The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie. The industry does it all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988, at the Shoreham plant in New York. Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests from 'failed' to 'passed.'
The company that put in the false safety report? Stone & Webster, now the nuclear unit of Shaw Construction which will work with Tokyo Electric to build the Texas plant, Lord help us.
Last night I heard CNN reporters repeat the official line that the tsunami disabled the pumps needed to cool the reactors, implying that water unexpectedly got into the diesel generators that run the pumps.
These safety back-up systems are the 'EDGs' in nuke-speak: Emergency Diesel Generators. That they didn't work in an emergency is like a fire department telling us they couldn't save a building because "it was on fire."
What dim bulbs designed this system? One of the reactors dancing with death at Fukushima Station 1 was built by Toshiba. Toshiba was also an architect of the emergency diesel system.
Now be afraid. Obama's $4 billion bail-out-in-the-making is called the South Texas Project. It's been sold as a red-white-and-blue way to make power domestically with a reactor from Westinghouse, a great American brand. However, the reactor will be made substantially in Japan by the company that bought the US brand name, Westinghouse Toshiba.
I once had a Toshiba computer. I only had to send it in once for warranty work. However, it's kind of hard to mail back a reactor with the warranty slip inside the box if the fuel rods are melted and sinking halfway to the earth's core.
TEPCO and Toshiba don't know what my son learned in 8th grade science class: tsunamis follow Pacific Rim earthquakes. So these companies are real stupid, eh? Maybe. More likely is that the diesels and related systems wouldn't have worked on a fine, dry afternoon.
Back in the day, when we checked the emergency back-up diesels in America, a mind-blowing number flunked. At the New York nuke, for example, the builders swore under oath that their three diesel engines were ready for an emergency. They'd been tested. The tests were faked, the diesels run for just a short time at low speed. When the diesels were put through a real test under emergency-like conditions, the crankshaft on the first one snapped in about an hour, then the second and third. We nicknamed the diesels, "Snap, Crackle and Pop."
(Note: Moments after I wrote that sentence, word came that two of three diesels failed at the Tokai Station as well.)
In the US, we supposedly fixed our diesels after much complaining by the industry. But in Japan, no one tells Tokyo Electric to do anything the Emperor of Electricity doesn't want to do.
I get lots of confidential notes from nuclear industry insiders. One engineer, a big name in the field, is especially concerned that Obama waved the come-hither check to Toshiba and Tokyo Electric to lure them to America. The US has a long history of whistleblowers willing to put themselves on the line to save the public. In our racketeering case in New York, the government only found out about the seismic test fraud because two courageous engineers, Gordon Dick and John Daly, gave our team the documentary evidence.
In Japan, it's simply not done. The culture does not allow the salary-men, who work all their their lives for one company, to drop the dime.
Not that US law is a wondrous shield: both engineers in the New York case were fired and blacklisted by the industry. Nevertheless, the government (local, state, federal) brought civil racketeering charges against the builders. The jury didn't buy the corporation's excuses and, in the end, the plant was, thankfully, dismantled.
Am I on some kind of xenophobic anti-Nippon crusade? No. In fact, I'm far more frightened by the American operators in the South Texas nuclear project, especially Shaw. Stone & Webster, now the Shaw nuclear division, was also the firm that conspired to fake the EDG tests in New York. (The company's other exploits have been exposed by their former consultant, John Perkins, in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.)
If the planet wants to shiver, consider this: Toshiba and Shaw have recently signed a deal to become world-wide partners in the construction of nuclear stations.
The other characters involved at the South Texas Plant that Obama is backing should also give you the willies. But as I'm in the middle of investigating the American partners, I'll save that for another day.
So, if we turned to America's own nuclear contractors, would we be safe? Well, two of the melting Japanese reactors, including the one whose building blew sky high, were built by General Electric of the Good Old US of A.
After Texas, you're next. The Obama Administration is planning a total of $56 billion in loans for nuclear reactors all over America.
And now, the homicides:
CNN is only interested in body counts, how many workers burnt by radiation, swept away or lost in the explosion. These plants are now releasing radioactive steam into the atmosphere. Be skeptical about the statements that the "levels are not dangerous." These are the same people who said these meltdowns could never happen. Over years, not days, there may be a thousand people, two thousand, ten thousand who will suffer from cancers induced by this radiation.
In my New York investigation, I had the unhappy job of totaling up post-meltdown "morbidity" rates for the county government. It would be irresponsible for me to estimate the number of cancer deaths that will occur from these releases without further information; but it is just plain criminal for the Tokyo Electric shoguns to say that these releases are not dangerous. Indeed, the fact that residents near the Japanese nuclear plants were not issued iodine pills to keep at the ready shows TEPCO doesn't care who lives and who dies whether in Japan or the USA. The carcinogenic isotopes that are released at Fukushima are already floating to Seattle with effects we simply cannot measure.
Heaven help us. Because Obama won't.
Greg Palast is the co-author of Democracy and Regulation, the United Nations ILO guide for public service regulators, with Jerrold Oppenheim and Theo MacGregor. Palast has advised regulators in 26 states and in 12 nations on the regulation of the utility industry.
Palast, whose reports can be seen on BBC Television Newsnight, is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for investigative reporting.