Bulletin N°512


12 December 2011
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
With canine simplicity the once universal blood sport of bear baiting still exists in Pakistan and places in the United States. But, of course, as usual "the issue is not the issue." This activity is not about which is the more likely to prevail, the dogs or bear? It is about venal financial interests for the owners. And the bets are on . . . . The lit de justice, once the space reserved for absolute monarchs in Europe where laws were decreed and not debated, has degenerated into a brothels. Today there is still no public debate, but decrees have long since been displaced by philistine negotiations for prices.

The 6 items below represent a long over-due public discussion of important issues that affect the lives of all of us, whether we are conscious of them or not.

Item A., from San Diego Community Organizer Montgomery Kroopkin, is information on today's (December 12) West Cost Longshoremen's General Strike in California.

Item B., from NYU Professor Bertell Ollman, is an article by Binghamton University sociology professor James Petras, warning of the military adventurism of president Obama on the borders of China and Russia.

Item C., sent to us by NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, is an article by Hollywood screenwriter Patrick Meighan describing his arrest at Occupy LA last week. 

Item D., from Information Clearing House, is an article by Glenn Greenwald on terrorism and "Terrorism."

Item E. is Keith Thomas' article, "Universities under attack," first published this week in the London Review of Books.

Item F. is an article from The Nation magazine by Naomi Klein explaining why the Right is right : "Capitalism vs. Climate."

And finally, we offer CEIMSA readers a broadcast from The Real News on Finance Capital and Society, our "leaders'" choice.


Eurocrisis: "Democracy is Not a Given"
Dr. Heiner Flassbeck (Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD): German policy of low wages and beggar thy neighbor is root of euro crisis

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3

from Montgomery Kroopkin :
Date: 11 December 2011
Subject: Support the West Coast Port Shutdown!

Support is expanding, and currently including people in New York, Chicago, Houston, Honolulu, and Tokyo.

More information on the port shutdown movement

Trouble viewing this email, click HERE.
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Dec 12 West Coast Port Shutdown

Watch this video


Longshoremen Struggles 1985-2010, the Stuggle Continues

Coordinated Port Blockade Actions & Schedules

December 12 Press Release: Occupy Oakland & Organized Labor Plan to Shut Down Port – Blockades Planned at Every Major West Coast Port on Monday

Latest Updates and Info on the West Coast Port Shutdown are available at westcoastportshutdown.org

Support the West Coast Port Blockade

Battle lines have formed
as the West Coast Occupy movements, from San Diego to Alaska, flex their collective muscle against the federally coordinated, brutal attacks targeting the Occupy movements across the country. They are organizing for blockades of West Coast ports on Dec. 12 in San Diego; Los Angeles/Long Beach; Port Hueneme, CA (central coast); Oakland; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Tacoma, Wash.; and possibly more. Solidarity actions have been called by OWS in New York and by Occupy movements inland locations, as well.

The Occupy movement is aligning itself with labor and the working class, as the West Coast Occupy movements organize to support the struggle of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, ILWU, in Longview, WA. Longshore workers there are waging a ferocious battle against transnational EGT, controlled by Bunge Ltd., of the grain cartel that controls most of the world's trade in food products. EGT is trying to break the ILWU in an attempt to drive down wages and destroy the union.

The West Coast Occupy movements are also aligning with the struggle of port truckers, who are fighting for the right to organize for union representation. Twenty-six of them were fired in Los Angeles for wearing Teamster jackets to work. Occupy LA and Long Beach are targeting SSA, an anti-union port terminal operator, majority owned by Goldman Sachs, the notorious Wall Street investment bank. Teamster president, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., has publicly expressed support for the Occupy movement.

The West Coast Occupy movements are targeting the ports as major commercial centers, showing that they can strike at the institutions which help to aggregate the wealth of the 1 percent by disrupting Wall Street on the waterfront. It's the history of the militant ILWU which enables this attack to have teeth. The ILWU rank and file have historically supported political struggles such as the anti-apartheid movement, the anti-war movement, in defense of Palestine in the face of attacks on Gaza, in support of the Wisconsin struggle against union busting, etc.

At a December 9th Press Conference regarding the West Coast Port Blockade, rank-and-file workers from the ILWU and Teamsters, local union leaders, veterans, and occupy organizers explained plans for the upcoming West Coast Port Shut Down on December 12 called for by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly:

"Occupy Oakland called for this massive coordinated blockade as a way to strike back at the 1% after their attacks on the Occupy movement and their continued assault on working and poor people said Boots Riley an organizer with Occupy Oakland. Our action is aimed directly at Wall Street on the Waterfront and is in solidarity with the struggles of port workers in LA and Longview, WA.

ILWU veterans say: "We don't cross community picket lines!"

As pressure builds for the Dec. 12 West Coast port shutdown, the port owners and their media began a battle of ideas to blunt this powerful threat to their profits and control even for a day. The Port of Oakland launched the first volley of their assault on Dec. 4, with full-page ads in the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune against the planned Occupy port blockade. They know all too well how powerful this movement has become, evidenced by the historic general strike call and blockade of the Port of Oakland on Nov. 2, when the Occupy movement, with the support of the ILWU rank and file and port truckers, shut down the entire port.

On Nov. 21, the leadership of the ILWU International issued a memorandum in an attempt to dissuade ILWU members from showing solidarity with the December 12th action. The memo stated that Any public demonstration is not a picketline under the PCL&CA [Pacific Coast Longshore & Clerks Agreement]. Remember, public demonstrations are public demonstrations, not picketlines. Only labor unions picket as referenced in the contract.

Two ILWU members Clarence Thomas, who is a third-generation longshoreman in Oakland, and Leo Robinson, who is now retired responded to this memorandum. Both men have held elected office in ILWU Local 10 and have been key labor activists during their years of work in the ports. Their remarks, which clarify the relationship between longshore workers and public demonstrations, is excerpted here. (You can read theinterview in its entirety at workers.org.)

Clarence Thomas: A picket line is a public demonstration whether called by organized labor or not. It is legitimate. There are established protocols in these situations. To suggest to longshoremen that they shouldnt follow them demands clarification. It is one thing to state for the record that the union is not involved, but another thing to erase the historical memory of ILWUs traditions and practices included in the Ten Guiding Principles of the ILWU adopted at the 1953 biennial convention in San Francisco.

Leo Robinson: The international has taken the position somehow that the contract is more important than not only defending our interest in terms of this EGT [grain terminal jurisdictional dispute] but having a connection to the Occupy [Wall Street] movement in that when you go through the Ten Guiding Principles of the ILWU, were talking about labor unity. Does that include the teachers? Does that include state, county and municipal workers? Those questions need to be analyzed as to who supports whom. The Occupy movement is not separate and apart from the labor movement.

Clarence Thomas: Labor is now officially part of the Occupy movement. That has happened. The recent [New York Times] article done by Steven Greenhouse on Nov. 9 is called Standing arm in arm.

The Teamsters have been supported by the OWS against Sothebys auction house. OWS has been supportive of Communication Workers in its struggle with Verizon. Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees, has called for expanding the Occupy movement by taking workers to Washington, D.C., to occupy Washington particularly Congress and congressional hearings demanding 15 million jobs by Jan. 1.

Leo Robinson: There was the occupation in Madison, Wis. That was labor-led. People are trying to confuse the issue by saying we are somehow separated from the Occupy movement. More than anything else the Occupy movement is a direct challenge or raises the question of the rights of capital as opposed to the rights of the worker. I dont understand that the contract supersedes the just demands of the labor movement. It says so right here in the 10 guiding principles of the ILWU.

Article 4 is very clear. Very clear. To help any worker in distress must be a daily guide in the life of every trade union and its individual members. Labor solidarity means just that. Unions have to accept the fact that solidarity of labor stands above all else, including even the so-called sanctity of the contract. We cannot adopt for ourselves the policies of union leaders who insist that because they have a contract, their members are compelled to perform work, even behind a picket line." It says picket line. It doesnt say union picket line. It says picket line.

Clarence Thomas: Only 7.2 percent of private sector workers have union representation today, the lowest since 1900. Facing a critical moment, the labor movement has been re-energized by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Leo Robinson: Any number of times this union [Local 10] has observed picket lines, including Easter Sunday 1977 when the community put up a picket line at Pier 27 to picket South African cargo. Longshoremen observed that picket line for two days. So I dont understand how all of a sudden the sanctity of the contract outweighs the need to demonstrate solidarity. It just does not compute. It doesnt make sense.

Clarence Thomas: The first action against South African apartheid was a community picket line. It was not authorized by the union. It was a community picket line from start to finish.

Leo Robinson: It was about 5,000 people out there on the Embarcadero [eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco] for two days running a community picket line opposing South African apartheid. Local 10 officers took the position that it was an unsafe situation and our members were not going to cross that picket line, period. It was ruled as such by the arbitrator.

We have never waited for the employer to declare what is safe or unsafe. It is always the union that moves first. We dont ask the employers what is safe or unsafe. They wouldnt give a damn one way or the other as long as they got their ship worked. If the police have to escort you in or out, that is patently saying it is unsafe. What if someone decides to throw a rock while youre being escorted in by the police? Does it make it hurt any less? A longshoreman determines what is safe for him or her on the job and off.

Clarence Thomas: Our members have been hurt by the police and so has the OWS movement. In 2003 when we were standing by at a picket, police shot our members with wooden bullets. In Longview, Wash., at the EGT Grain Terminal, ILWU members and their families have been hurt by the police. We dont want the police to do anything for us.

Solidarity Of Labor Above All Else

Clarence Thomas: Our union is at an historical juncture. Our jurisdiction is being challenged up and down the coast the issue of logs and Local 10 and use of robotics. There has been nothing like this since 1934. If ILWU members dont honor the community picket lines, it will cause an irreparable breach with the community. If the ILWU cant support the community, why should the community support the ILWU in 2014 contract negotiations or when the new grain agreement is up next year? Who knows what the employer has up their sleeve when they demanded only a one-year contract.

Clarence Thomas: These ports are the people's ports. Ports belong to the people of the Pacific Coast. The money came from the taxpayers in California, Oregon and Washington. EGT was subsidized by the Port of Longview. So the people have the right to go down there and protest how their tax dollars have been ripped off.

Fifty-one percent of Stevedoring Services of America is owned by Goldman Sachs. EGT is a multinational conglomerate trying to control the distribution of food products around the world. The face of Wall Street is in the ports.

The ILWU is not some special interest group. We are a rank-and-file militant, democratic union that has a long history of being in the vanguard of the social justice and labor movement.

We don't cross community picket lines. When people begin to do so they have completely turned their backs on the ILWUs 10 guiding principles. Is it coincidental that Harry Bridges' name has not been asserted in relation to the OWS movement and the history of militancy? Is it an accident? How can we not talk about Harry Bridges? That is how we got what we have today.

Bail Out the People Movement

Solidarity Center
55 West 17th St 5C
New York, NY 10010
email: bailoutpeople.org/cmnt.shtml
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Join the Occupy 4 Jobs Network

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from Bertell Ollman :
Date: 10 December 2011
Subject: New essay by Petras.

Francis -
     Here is the latest essay on the new disastrous turn in U.S. foreign policy by James Petras. It deserves a place in your next batch of articles. Petras does terrific work and should be a regular on your list.
         Best -

Obama Raises the Military Stakes: Confrontation on the Frontiers of China and Russia
by James Petras

After suffering major military and political defeats in bloody ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and failing to buttress long-standing clients in Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia and witnessing the disintegration of puppet regimes in Somalia and South Sudan, the Obama regime has learned nothing: instead he has turned toward greater military confrontation with global powers, namely Russia and China. Obama has adopted a provocative offensive military strategy on the very frontiers of both China and Russia.

After going from defeat to defeat on the periphery of world power and not satisfied with running treasury-busting deficits in pursuit of empire building against economically weak countries, Obama has embraced a policy of encirclement and provocations against China, the worlds second largest economy and the USs most important creditor, and Russia the European Unions principle oil and gas provider and the worlds second most powerful nuclear weapons power.

This paper addresses the Obama regimes highly irrational and world threatening escalation of imperial militarism. We examine the global military, economic and domestic political context that gives rise to these policies. We then examine the multiple points of conflict and intervention in which Washington is engaged, from Pakistan, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba and beyond. We will then analyze the rationale for military escalation against Russia and China as part of a new offensive moving beyond the Arab world (Syria, Libya) and in the face of the declining economic position of the EU and the US in the global economy. We will then outline the strategies of a declining empire nurtured on perpetual wars, facing global economic decline, domestic discredit and a working population facing long-term large scale rollback of basic social programs.

Turn from Militarism in the Periphery to Global Military Confrontation

November 2011 is a moment of great historical import. Obama declared two major policy positions, both having tremendous strategic consequences affecting competing world powers.

Obama pronounced a policy of military encirclement of China based on stationing a maritime, aerial armada facing the Chinese coast. A policy designed to weaken and disrupt Chinas access to raw materials and commercial and financial ties in Asia. Obamas declaration that Asia is the priority region for US military expansion, base building and economic alliances was directed against China, challenging Beijing in its own backyard. Obamas iron fist policy statement, addressed to the Australian Parliament, was crystal clear in defining US imperial goals.

Our enduring interests in the region [Asia Pacific] demands our enduring presence in this region The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay As we end todays wars [the defeats and retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan] I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority As a result reduction in US defense spending will not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific (CNN.com, Nov. 16, 2011).

The precise nature of what Obama called our presence and mission was underlined by the military agreement with Australia to dispatch warships, warplanes and 2500 marines to the northern most city of Australia (Darwin) facing China. Secretary of State Clinton has spent the better part of 2011 making highly provocative overtures, to Asian countries that have maritime border conflicts with China. Clinton has forcibly injected the US into these disputes, encouraging and exacerbating the demands of Vietnam, Philippines, and Brunei in the South China Sea. Even more seriously Washington is bolstering its military ties and sales with Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea as well as increasing the presence of battleships, nuclear submarines and over flights of war planes along Chinas coastal waters. In line with the policy of military encirclement and provocation, the Obama-Clinton regime is promoting Asian multi-lateral trade agreements that exclude China and privilege US multi-national corporations, bankers and exporters, dubbed the Trans-Pacific partnership.It currently includes mostly smaller countries, but Obama has hopes of enticing Japan and Canada to join Obamas presence at the APEC meeting of East Asian leader and his visit to Indonesia in November 2011 all revolve around efforts to secure US hegemony. Obama-Clinton hope to counter the relative decline of US economic links in the face of the geometrical growth of trade and investment ties between East Asia and China.

A most recent example of Obama-Clintons delusional but destructive efforts to deliberately disrupt Chinas economic ties in Asia, is taking place in Burma. Clintons December 2011 visit to Burma was preceded by a decision by the Thein Sein regime to suspend a China Power Investment funded dam in the North of the country. According to official confidential documents released by WilkiLeaks the Burmese ngos which organized and led the campaign against the dam were heavily funded by the US government(Financial Times, Dec. 2, 2011, p. 2). This and other provocative activity and Clintons speeches condemning Chinese tied aid pale in comparison with the long-term large scale interests which link Burma with China. China is Burmas biggest trading partner and investor, including six other dam projects. Its companies are carving new highways and rail lines across the country opening southwestern China up for Burmese products and China is building oil pipelines and ports. There is a powerful dynamic of mutual economic interests that will not be disturbed by one dispute (FT, December 2, 2011, p.2). Clintons critique of Chinas billion dollar investments in Burmas infrastructure is one of the most bizarre in world history, coming in the aftermath of Washingtons eight year military presence in Iraq which destroyed $500 billion dollars of infrastructures, according to Baghdad official estimates. Only a delusional administration could imagine that rhetorical flourishes, a three day visit and the bankrolling of an NGO is an adequate counter-weight to deep economic ties linking Burma to China. The same delusional posture underlies the entire repertoire of policies informing the Obama regimes efforts to displace Chinas predominant role in Asia.

While each policy adopted by the Obama regime in themselves do no present an immediate threat to peace, the cumulative impact of all the policy pronouncements and the projections of military power add up to an all out comprehensive effort to isolate, intimidate and degrade Chinas rise as a regional and global power. Military encirclement and alliances, exclusion of China in proposed regional economic associations, partisan intervention in regional maritime disputes, positioning technologically advanced warplanes, are all aimed to undermine Chinas competitiveness and to compensate for US economic inferiority via closed political and economic networks.

Clearly White House military and economic moves and Congressional anti-China demagogy are aimed at weakening Chinas trading position and forcing its business minded leaders into privileging US banking and business interests over and above their own enterprises. Pushed to its limits, Obamas prioritizing a big military push could lead to a catastrophic rupture in US Chinese economic relations. This would result in dire consequences, especially but not exclusively, on the US economy and particularly its financial system. China holds over $1.5 trillion dollars in US debt, mainly Treasury Notes and each year purchases from $200 to $300 billion in new issues, a vital source in financing the US deficit. If Obama provokes a serious threat to Chinas security interests and Beijing is forced to respond, it will not be military but economic retaliation: the sell-off of a few hundred billion dollars in T-notes and the curtailment of new purchases of US debt. The US deficit will skyrocket, its credit ratings will descend to junk, and the financial system will tremble onto collapse. Interest rates to attract new buyers of US debt will approach double digits. Chinese exports to the US will suffer and losses will incur due to the devaluation of the T-notes in Chinese hands. But China has been diversifying its markets around the world and its huge domestic market could probably absorb most of what China loses abroad.

While Obama strays across the Pacific to mount its military threat to China and strives to economically isolate it in Asia, the US economic presence is fading in what used to be its backyard. According to one journalist, China is the only show for Latin America (Financial Times, Nov. 23, 2011, p.6). China has displaced the US and the EU as Latin Americas principle trading partner; Beijing has poured billions in new investments and provides low interest loans. Chinas trade with India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan and Vietnam is increasing far faster than that of the US. The US effort to build an imperial centered security alliance in Asia is based on fragile economic foundations. Even Australia, the anchor and linchpin of the US military thrust in Asia, is heavily dependent on mineral exports to China. Any military interruption would send the Australian economy into a tailspin.

The US economy is in no condition to replace China as a market for Asian or Australian commodity and manufacturing exports. The Asian countries must be acutely aware that there is no future growth tying themselves to a declining highly militarized empire. Obama and Clinton deceive themselves if they think they can entice Asia into a long-term alliance. The Asians are simply using the Obama regimes friendly overtures as a tactical device ,a negotiating ploy to leverage better terms in securing maritime and territorial boundaries. Washington is delusional if it believes that it can convince Asia to break long-term large scale lucrative economic ties to China in order to join an exclusive economic association with dubious prospects. Any such reorientation of Asia, from China to the US, would require more than the presence of a naval and airborne armada pointed at China. It would require the total restructuring of the Asian countries economies,class structure and political and military elite. The most powerful economic entrepreneurial groups in Asia have deep and growing ties with China/Hong Kong especially among the dynamic transnational Chinese business elites in the region. A turn toward Washington entails a massive counter-revolution which substitutes traders for entrepreneurs. A turn to the US would require a dictatorial elite willing to disrupt strategic trading and investment linkages,displacing millions of workers and professionals. As much as some US trained Asian military officers , economists and former Wall Street financiers and billionaires might seek to balance a US military presence, with Chinese economic power, they must realize that ultimately, advantage resides in working out an Asian solution.

The age of Asian comprador capitalists, willing to sell out national industry and sovereignty in exchange for privileged access to US markets, is ancient history. Whatever the boundless enthusiasm for conspicuous consumerism and Western lifestyles, which Asia and Chinas new rich mindlessly celebrate, whatever the embrace of inequalities and savage capitalist exploitation of labor, there is recognition that the past history of US and European dominance precluded the growth and enrichment of an indigenous bourgeoisie and middle class. The speeches and pronouncements of Obama and Clinton are a mixture of nostalgia for a past of neo-colonial overseers and comprador collaborators and a no-brainer. Their strain for political realism I in finally recognizing Asia as the economic pivot of the present world order. But they turn delusional in imagining that military prepotency and projections of armed force will reduce China to a marginal player in the region.

Obamas Escalation of Confrontation with Russia

The Obama regime has launched a major frontal military thrust on Russias borders. The US has moved forward missile sites and Air Force bases in Poland, Rumania, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic and Bulgaria: Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missile complexes in Poland; advanced radar AN/TPY-2 in Turkey; several missile (SM-3 IA) loaded warships in Spain are among the prominent weapons encircling Russia, most only minutes away from it strategic heartland. Secondly, the Obama regime has mounted an all-out effort to secure and expand US military bases in Central Asia among former Soviet republics. Thirdly, Washington via NATO has launched major economic and military operations against Russias major trading partners in North Africa and the Middle East. The NATO war against Libya which ousted the Gadhafi regime has paralyzed or nullified multi-billion dollar Russian oil and gas investments, arms sales and substituted a NATO puppet for a friendly regime.

The UN-NATO economic sanctions and US-Israeli clandestine terrorist activity aimed at Iran has undermined Russias lucrative billion dollar nuclear trade and joint oil ventures. NATO, including Turkey and backed by the Gulf monarchical dictatorships, have implemented harsh sanctions and funded terrorist assaults on Syria, Russias last remaining ally in the region and sole port (Tartus) facing the Mediterranean Sea. Russias collaboration with NATO in weakening its economic and security position is a product of the monumental misreading of NATO and especially Obamas imperial policies. President Medvedev and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mistakenly assumed (like Gorbachev and Yeltsin before them) that backing US-NATO policies against Russias trading partners would result in some sort of reciprocity: US dismantling its offensive missile shield on its frontiers and support for Russias admission into the World Trade Organization. Medvedev following his liberal pro-western illusions fell into line and backed US-Israeli sanctions against Iran, believing the tales of a nuclear weapons programs. Then Lavrov fell for the NATO line of no fly zones to protect Libyan lives and voted in favor, only to feebly protest, much too late, that NATO was exceeding its mandate by bombing Libya into the Stone Age and installing a pro-NATO puppet regime of rogues and fundamentalists. Finally when the US drove a cleaver in Russias heartland by pushing ahead with an all-out effort to install missile sites 5 minutes from Moscow and organized mass and armed assaults on Syria, did Medvedev-Lavrov awake from their stupor and opposed UN sanctions. Medvedev threatened to abandon the nuclear missle reduction treaty (START) and to place medium range missiles 5 minutes from Berlin, Paris and London.

Medvedev-Lavrovs policy of consolidation and co-operation based on Obamas rhetoric of resetting relations invited aggressive empire building: each capitulation led to a further aggression. As a result Russia is surrounded by missiles on its western frontier; it has suffered losses among its major trading partners in the Middle East and faces US bases in southwest Asia.

Belatedly Russian officials have moved to replace the delusional Medvedev for the realist Putin, as next President. This shift to a political realist has predictably evoked a wave of hostility toward Putin in all the Western media. Obamas aggressive policies to isolate Russia by undermining independent regimes has, however, not affected Russias status as a nuclear weapons power. It has only heightened tensions in Europe and perhaps ended any future chance of peaceful nuclear weapons reduction or efforts to secure a UN Security Council consensus on issues of peaceful conflict resolution. Washington has turned Russia from a pliant client to a major adversary.

Putin looks to deepening and expanding ties with the East, namely China, in the face of threats from the West. The combination of Russian advanced weapons technology and energy resources and Chinese dynamic manufacturing and industrial growth are more than a match for crises ridden EU-USA economies wallowing in stagnation.

Obamas military confrontation toward Russia will greatly prejudice access to Russian raw materials and definitively foreclose any long-term strategic security agreement which would be useful in lowering the deficit and reviving the US economy.

Between Realism and Delusion: Obamas Strategic Realignment

Obamas recognition that the present and future center of political and economic power is moving inexorably to Asia, is a flash of political realism. After a lost decade of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in military adventures on the margins and periphery of world politics, Washington has finally discovered that is not where the fate of nations, especially Great Powers, will be decided, except in a negative sense of bleeding resources over lost causes. Obamas new realism and priorities apparently are now focused on Southeast and Northeast Asia, where dynamic economies flourish, markets are growing at a double digit rate, investors are ploughing tens of billions in productive activity and trade is expanding at three times the rate of the US and the EU.

But Obamas New Realism is blighted by entirely delusional assumptions, which totally undermine any real effort to realign US policy.

In the first place Obamas effort to enter into Asia is via a military build-up not through a sharpening and upgrading of US economic competitiveness. What does the US produce for the Asian countries that will enhance its market share? Apart from arms, airplanes and agriculture, the US has few industries which are competitive. The US would have to totally re-orient its economy, upgrade skilled labor, and transfer billions from security and militarism to applied innovations. But Obama works within the current military-Zionist-financial complex: he knows no other and is incapable of breaking with it.

Secondly, Obama-Clinton operate under the delusion that the US can exclude China or minimize its role in Asia, a policy that is undercut by the huge and growing investment and presence of all the major US multi-national corporations in China , who use it as an export platform to Asia and the rest of the world.

The US military build-up and policy of intimidation will only force China to downgrade its role as creditor, financing the US debt; a policy China can pursue because the US market, while still important, is becoming less so, as China expands its presence in its domestic, Asian, Latin American and European markets.

What appeared to be New Realism is now the recycling of Old Delusions: the idea that the US can return to being the Pacific Power it was after World War Two. The US returns to the Pacific in our times with a crippled economy, with the overhang of an over-militarized economy, with strategic handicaps: over the past decade it has been at the beck and call of Israels fifth column (the Israel lobby). The entire US political class is devoid of common, practical sense and national purpose. They are immersed in troglodyte debates over indefinite detentions and mass immigrant expulsion. Worse, all are on the payrolls of private corporations who sell in the US and invest in China.

Why would Obama abjure costly wars in the unprofitable periphery and then practice the same military metaphysics at the dynamic center of the world economy? Does he and his advisers believe he is the Second Coming of Admiral Commodore whose 19th century warships opened Asia to Western trade? Does he believe that military alliances will be the first stage to a subsequent period of privileged economic entry?

Does Obama believe that his regime can blockade China, as Washington did to Japan in the lead up to World War Two? Its too late. China is much more central to the world economy, too vital even to the financing of the US debt, too bonded up with the Forbes Five Hundred multi-national corporations. To provoke China, to even fantasize about economic exclusion to bring down China, is to pursue policies which will totally disrupt the world economy and that means first and foremost the US economy!


Obamas crackpot realism, his shift from wars in the Islamic world to military confrontation in Asia, has no intrinsic worth and extraordinary extrinsic costs. The military methods and economic goals are totally incompatible and beyond the capacity of the US, as it is currently constituted. Washingtons policies will not weaken Russia or China, even less intimidate them. Instead it will encourage both to adopt more adversarial positions, making it less likely that they lend a hand to Obamas sequential wars. Already Russia has sent warships to its Syrian port, refused to support an arms embargo against Syria and Iran and (in retrospect) criticized the NATO war against Libya. China and Russia have far too many strategic ties with the world economy to suffer any great losses from a series of US military outposts and exclusive alliances. Russia can aim just as many deadly nuclear missiles at the West as the US can mount from its bases in Eastern Europe. In other words, Obamas military escalation will not change the nuclear balance of power, but will bring Russia and China into a closer and deeper alliance. Gone are the days of Kissinger-Nixons divide and conquer strategy pitting US-Chinese trade agreements against Russian arms. Washington has a totally exaggerated significance of the current maritime spats between China and its neighbors. What unites them in economic terms is far more important in the medium and long-run. Chinas Asian economic ties will erode any tenuous military links to the US.

Obamas crackpot realism, views the world market through military lenses. Military arrogance toward Asia has led to a rupture with Pakistan its most compliant client regime in South Asia. NATO deliberately killed 24 soldiers and thumbed their nose at the Pakistan generals while China and Russia condemned the attack and gained influence.

In the end, the military and exclusionary posture to China will fail. Washington will overplay its hand and frighten its business oriented erstwhile Asian partners, who only want to play-off a US military presence to gain tactical economic advantage. They certainly do not want a new US instigated Cold War which divides and weakens dynamic intra-Asian trade and investment. Obama and his minions will quickly learn that Asias current leaders do not have permanent allies only permanent interests. In the final analysis, China figures prominently in configuring a new Asia-centric world economy. Washington may claim to have a permanent Pacific presence but until it demonstrates it can take care of basic business at home, like arranging its own finances and balancing its current account deficits, the US Naval command may end up renting its navy to Asian exporters and shippers, transporting goods between them, and protecting them by pursuing pirates, contra-bandits and narco-traffickers. Come to think about it, Obama might eventually even lessen the US trade deficit with Asia by renting out the Seventh Fleet to patrol the Straits, instead of wasting US taxpayer money bullying successful Asian economic powers.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras most recent book is The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: jpetras@binghamton.edu.

from Mark Crispin Miller :
Date: 9 December 2011
Subject: Somewhere, Gen. Pinochet is smiling: How 1,400 LA robo-cops "cleared" 291 peaceful protesters.

My Occupy LA Arrest,

by Patrick Meighan

My name is Patrick Meighan, and Im a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom Family Guy, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.

I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanhs Being Peace when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted We Are Peaceful and We Are Nonviolent and Join Us.

As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched as the LAPD destroyed a pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been serving as Occupy LAs First Aid and Wellness tent, in which volunteer health professionals gave free medical care to absolutely anyone who requested it. As it happens, my family had personally contributed that exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my familys dollars. As I watched, the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered the detritus across the park. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as 30 tons of garbage that was abandoned by Occupy LA: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.

When the LAPD finally began arresting those of us interlocked around the symbolic tent, we were all ordered by the LAPD to unlink from each other (in order to facilitate the arrests). Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an LAPD officer would forcibly extend the protestors legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestors left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the LAPD officer would grab the protestors right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbor.

It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized. I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the LAPD officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the LAPD officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.

My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm.

I was put on a paddywagon with other nonviolent protestors and taken to a parking garage in Parker Center. They forced us to kneel on the hard pavement of that parking garage for seven straight hours with our hands still tightly zipcuffed behind our backs. Some began to pass out. One man rolled to the ground and vomited for a long, long time before falling unconscious. The LAPD officers watched and did nothing.

At 9 a.m. we were finally taken from the pavement into the station to be processed. The charge was sitting in the park after the police said not to. Its a misdemeanor. Almost always, for a misdemeanor, the police just give you a ticket and let you go. It costs you a couple hundred dollars. Apparently, thats what happened with most every other misdemeanor arrest in LA that day.

With us Occupy LA protestors, however, they set bail at $5,000 and booked us into jail. Almost none of the protesters could afford to bail themselves out. Im lucky and I could afford it, except the LAPD spent all day refusing to actually *accept* the bail they set. If you were an accused murderer or a rapist in LAPD custody that day, you could bail yourself right out and be back on the street, no problem. But if you were a nonviolent Occupy LA protestor with bail money in hand, you were held long into the following morning, with absolutely no access to a lawyer.

I spent most of my day and night crammed into an eight-man jail cell, along with sixteen other Occupy LA protesters. My sleeping spot was on the floor next to the toilet.

Finally, at 2:30 the next morning, after twenty-five hours in custody, I was released on bail. But there were at least 200 Occupy LA protestors who couldnt afford the bail. The LAPD chose to keep those peaceful, non-violent protesters in prison for two full days the absolute legal maximum that the LAPD is allowed to detain someone on misdemeanor charges.

As a reminder, Antonio Villaraigosa has referred to all of this as the LAPDs finest hour.

So thats what happened to the 292 women and men were arrested last Wednesday. Now lets talk about a man who was not arrested last Wednesday. He is former Citigroup CEO Charles Prince. Under Charles Prince, Citigroup was guilty of massive, coordinated securities fraud.

Citigroup spent years intentionally buying up every bad mortgage loan it could find, creating bad securities out of those bad loans and then selling shares in those bad securities to duped investors. And then they sometimes secretly bet *against* their *own* bad securities to make even more money. For one such bad Citigroup security, Citigroup executives were internally calling it, quote, a collection of dogshit. To investors, however, they called it, quote, an attractive investment rigorously selected by an independent investment adviser.

This is fraud, and its a felony, and the Charles Princes of the world spent several years doing it again and again: knowingly writing bad mortgages, and then packaging them into fraudulent securities which they then sold to suckers and then repeating the process. This is a big part of why your property values went up so fast. But then the bubble burst, and thats why our economy is now shattered for a generation, and its also why your home is now underwater. Or at least mine is.

Anyway, if your retirement fund lost a decades-worth of gains overnight, this is why.

If your sons middle school has added furlough days because the school district cant afford to keep its doors open for a full school year, this is why.

If your daughter has come out of college with a degree only to discover that there are no jobs for her, this is why.

But back to Charles Prince. For his four years of in charge of massive, repeated fraud at Citigroup, he received fifty-three million dollars in salary and also received another ninety-four million dollars in stock holdings. What Charles Prince has *not* received is a pair of zipcuffs. The nerves in his thumb are fine. No cop has thrown Charles Prince into the pavement, face-first. Each and every peaceful, nonviolent Occupy LA protester arrested last week has has spent more time sleeping on a jail floor than every single Charles Prince on Wall Street, combined.

The more I think about that, the madder I get. What does it say about our country that nonviolent protesters are given the bottom of a police boot while those who steal hundreds of billions, do trillions worth of damage to our economy and shatter our social fabric for a generation are not only spared the zipcuffs but showered with rewards?

In any event, believe it or not, Im really not angry that I got arrested. I chose to get arrested. And Im not even angry that the mayor and the LAPD decided to give non-violent protestors like me a little extra shiv in jail (although Im not especially grateful for it either).

Im just really angry that every single Charles Prince wasnt in jail with me.

Thank you for letting me share that anger with you today.

Patrick Meighan

from Information Clearing House :
Date: 11 December 2011
Subject: Terrorism and "Terrorism."

If the U.S. invades and occupies your country, and you respond by fighting back against the invading army then you are a . . . Terrorist.

from London Review of Books :
Date: 3 December 2011.
Subject: Universities under attack.

from Nation Magazine :
Date: 28 November 2011
Subject: Naomi Klein on "the Right is right!"

Capitalism vs. the Climate
by Naomi Klein