Bulletin N° 686


Subject: Representative Democracy and Direct Democracy, a tale of ‘means’ and ‘ends’ in a life “short, nasty and brutish.”



Women’s Day 2016
Grenoble, France



Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,


The US primary elections bring into focus as never before the difference between, on the one hand, electoral politics and “representative democracy” and on the other, community organizing and “direct democracy”. The media manipulations of public opinion are never long-term, but they are continual and at specific moments can have long-term effects, in the absence of direct democracy. Here the first two paragraphs of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (1776) can be instructive.


Super Tuesday for the Primary Elections in the US has come and gone, and the Democratic and Republican Parties have better defined their agendas for the coming years (if not decades). The fact is that there exists a declining interest in party politics, as decreased voter turnouts indicate. That our “representatives” are not representative of our true interests seems to be the conclusion of many Americans today. The alternative is community organizing, direct democracy at the local level, with open and collective discussions of “Priorities”. Less sexy than Glamour Magazine, perhaps, but terribly effective in achieving real reforms and collective physical and psychological well-being.  “Think globally, act locally” was a popular slogan at the start of the millennium. We are well advised to act on this wise advice in our efforts of improve our lives and the quality of our environment, a concern shared by John Locke in 1689 (as an alternative to the moral and political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, 1588 – 1679).


Below are 13 items which suggest advances in the development of class consciousness in America –on the part of the ruling class, as well as among “la classe dominée”, ending with the announcement of John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney’s new book, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.




Francis Feeley

Professor of American Studies

University of Grenoble-3

Director of Research

University of Paris-Nanterre

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements

The University of California-San Diego





From: Mark Crispin Miller
To: "newsfromunderground"
Subject: [MCM] WashPost ran 16 negative stories about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours



Washington Post Ran 16 Negative Stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 Hours


By Adam Johnson [1] / FAIR

March 8, 2016

In what has to be some kind of record, the Washington Post ran 16 negative stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 hours, between roughly 10:20 PM EST Sunday, March 6, to 3:54 PM EST Monday, March 7—a window that includes the crucial Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, and the next morning’s spin.





From: "Historical Materialism News news@historicalmaterialism.org [historicalmaterialism]" <historicalmaterialism-noreply@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, 3 March, 2016
Subject: [historicalmaterialism] Centre for Palestine Studies Annual Lecture: Rashid Khalidi - The Hundred Year War in Palestine - 6.30pm, Friday 11 March 2016, SOAS



Centre for Palestine Studies Annual Lecture


The Hundred Year War in Palestine


Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University (*)


6.30pm, Friday 11 March 2016


Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London
Russell Square WC1H 0XG


Admission Free - All Welcome


The Balfour Declaration of 1917 launched what amounts to a hundred years of war against the Palestinians. This war had a unique nature – it was formally sanctioned and authorized by the great powers of the day at different times during this century, and via different fora, such as the League of Nations and the United Nations, but it was mainly waged by other actors. A much distorted and maligned feature of this long war has been the Palestinians' continuing resistance, against heavy odds, to what amounts to one of the last ongoing attempts at colonial subjugation in the modern world.

(*) Rashid Khalidi is Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies and Chairman of the Department of History at Columbia University.

Chair: Gilbert Achcar, SOAS

Organised by: Centre for Palestine Studies, SOAS.


Information: E vp6@soas.ac.uk

Published in http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/centre-for-palestine-studies-annual-lecture-rashid-khalidi-the-hundred-year-war-in-palestine-6.30pm-friday-11-march-2016-soas




Hillary Clinton's Six Foreign-Policy Catastrophes

by Eric Zuesse

Many commentators have mentioned (such as here and here and here and here) that Hillary Clinton left behind no major achievement as U.S. Secretary of State; but, actually, she did. Unfortunately, all of her major achievements were bad, and some were catastrophic. Six countries were especially involved: Honduras, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. The harm she did to each country was not in the interest of the American people, and it was disastrous for the residents there.




Donald Trump Is Winning Because White America Is Dying


by Matt Ferner

Noam Chomsky says Trump's rise is partly due to deeply rooted -- and potentially fatal -- feelings of fear and anger.





From: "Edward S, Herman" <hermane@wharton.upenn.edu>
Subject: FW: Progressive Pundits Panic: Sanders Really Means it!



Superb article by economist Jeff Faux.

ed herman



from The Huffington Post



Progressive Pundits' Panic: Sanders Actually Means It!

by Jeff Faux,

author of The Servant Economy and the Global Class War



For the past several weeks, big guns from Hillary Clinton's policy-wonk hit squad have been firing away at Bernie Sanders' proposals for faster, fairer growth. Promoting themselves as defenders of "responsible arithmetic," four former chief economic advisers to Clinton and Obama published an open letter slamming University of Massachusetts professor Gerald Friedman (himself a Clinton supporter), whose detailed analysis concluded that Sander's numbers were quite credible.


Ordinarily, this would not be much of a news story. But the prospect of their Presidential nomination going to Sanders has so unnerved the Democratic Establishment that its media minions have up kept the attack. A flock of "liberal" pundits piled on -- including Paul Krugman at the New York Times and just about everyone who writes for the Washington Post.


The Clinton/Obama economists denounced Sanders' proposals for single payer health care, universal education and a $15 minimum wage as so "unrealistic... insupportable...and fantastical" that they "undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda."


But what is the progressive economic agenda if it is not to provide everyone with high quality affordable health care at a cost of 30 to 50 percent less of GDP? Or to make public higher education as accessible to everyone as is public primary and secondary education? Or to pay the people who clean the floors, flip the hamburgers and work the checkout counters enough to cover the rent and feed their kids?


Sanders' projection that his economic package could accelerate growth is a prime target for Hillary's sharpshooters. "Voodoo... embarrassing...fairy dust," sputtered Krugman. Yet, as Matthew Klein of the Financial Times pointed out, Sanders is simply saying that by the end of his Administration (2024) the trend of US growth could return to where it was before the 2008-9 crash. Sanders may not be able to pull it off, but as Klein concludes, it is certainly plausible. And if that is not a realistic economic goal for Democrats, what claim does the Party have for the votes of the tens of millions of young people stuck in a jobs market of eroding wages and disappearing opportunity?


Sanders' numbers may be a stretch. But he is trying to stretch the Democratic Party's political imagination that has been too long constricted by leaders anxious to accommodate themselves to the Wall Street noose tightening around the neck of working Americans.

His program is not being attacked because of fear that he is endangering the "progressive economic agenda." Rather it is being attacked out of fear that he actually believes in it, thus exposing the cynicism behind the Democratic elites' showy concern for the poor and middle class that hides the shallowness of their commitment.


How else can you account for their intellectual defenders' venom against Sanders? And the childish mockery? Austen Goolsbee, Obama's economist and one of the gang of four, giggles to the press that Sander's ideas are like "magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets tied to their collars." How's that for gown-up responsible arithmetic?


Krugman assures us that, of course, he is "for" a large expansion in the social safety net. "But the problem with such a move" he writes, " is that it would probably [sic] create many losers as well as winners - a substantial number of Americans, mainly in the upper middle class, who would end up paying more in additional taxes than they would gain in enhanced benefits." In other words, Krugman, as it was once said of liberal Republicans, is "for" social justice, just so long as it doesn't actually cost someone money.


The Democratic Party has occupied the White House for 16 of the last 24 years. Over that time its policies have not only not halted the concentration of income and wealth at the top, they have made it worse.


Bill Clinton campaigned in 1992 on a theme that Americans were working harder for less. But once in office, he promoted, and his economists rationalized, trade deals that empowered US corporations to export millions of jobs and suppress wages. The Clintons stood aside indifferently as Big Business launched its war against labor, refusing to fight for legislation - even when the Democrats had a majority in Congress - to stop the erosion of collective bargaining. They deregulated Wall Street, unleashing the speculative binge that crashed the economy in 2008-09. Their "tough love" welfare reform made life even tougher for the very poor. And they happily adopted the Reaganite railings against Big Government to facilitate the privatization and subsequent demoralization of the civilian public sector.


When Liberals occasionally pushed back, Clinton protested that he really felt their pain, but lacked the "crisis" that would have allowed him to overcome conservatives' resistance to progressive change.


Barack Obama had the crisis - the worst since 1929. Like Clinton, he had campaigned as the people's champion against the financial elites, who by the time he assumed office were thoroughly discredited and desperate for Big Government to save them. Obama had all the high cards. Yet, advised by the same fierce defenders of "responsible arithmetic" who had advised Clinton, he caved in to Wall Street, the Republicans base, while getting little or nothing for the rank-and-file Democrats on Main Street.


Yes, things probably would have been even worse had the Republicans won those elections. But, for the enablers and rationalizers of this sorry record to be attacking Bernie Sanders as endangering "the progressive economic agenda" takes the chutzpah of the well-fed professional classes to a new level.


So here we are again: Hillary Clinton is next up in the line of Democrats who campaign "populist" in the primary, slide in just to the left of the Republicans in the general election, and once elected, bring in Wall Street to run the country. As always, there are plenty of ambitious economists with prestigious PhD's eager to use the tools of their trade to justify this charade. Why not? The rewards are substantial: among the economists parading their passion for the progressive agenda we find Clinton's chief adviser Laura Tyson - Board member of Morgan-Stanley, AT&T, Eastman-Kodak, and more. Goolsbee - who held the same job under Obama - is now partner in a prominent firm of advisers to multinational corporations.


Meanwhile, the working people whose votes provided these "liberals" with their ladder of upward mobility are expected to get along as best they can. So the 20-Somethings are waiting on tables, walking dogs and driving for Uber as they watch themselves turn to debt-ridden 30- and 40- Somethings with no future. Faced with the sticker-shock of skyrocketing insurance company deductibles under Obamacare, the message they take away from the Democrats is: "Be grateful for what you have. Shut up and lower your expectations."


Sanders' campaign is about raising expectations to the point where people won't put up with this debasement of democracy any more. Such a concept is, of course, well over the head of cynical bean counters whose arithmetic -- sadly, of course, even at times tearfully -- always sums to the same political conclusion: there is really not much you can do about who gets the beans.


They are therefore likely to remain clueless as to why an uncharismatic rumbled Vermont socialist from Brooklyn could be causing their Hillary such fits on the way to her coronation.


As the character in one of Oscar Wilde's plays famously put it, a cynic is one "who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."





The Graveyard of the Elites
by Chris Hedges





From: Tony Black
Date: Tue, Feb 23, 2016
Subject: France extends its 'state of emergency'

The French "Patriot Act": Why is France Extending Its State of Emergency?

From Pseudo-Democracy to Dictatorship, Clamping Down on Freedom of Expression
by Guillaume Kress



President Francois Hollande, whose legitimacy stems from nothing but a fraudulent multiparty electoral system, has repeatedly abused his authority since taking office in 2012 by waging illegal wars in foreign countries (i.e., Mali, Syria) without consulting his electors. [1]

He recently failed to confer with them when his Socialist government responded to last year's terrorist attacks in Paris by adopting Orwellian domestic policies - policies that have allowed the Hollande administration to spy on citizens, block websites containing "terrorist related content", strip convicted "terrorists" of French citizenship, and criminalize activism against Israeli occupation.[2]

These policies prevent the spread of information which may expose the government's criminal activities. We should note, here, that the state of emergency greatly facilitates political corruption. [3]

To put it briefly, the state of emergency law turns France into a totalitarian police state which can act for a maximum period of 12 days without requiring judicial oversight or search warrants. Given France'scompliance with Zionist interests, it is not surprising that Human Rights Watch recently exposed the French government's "abusive and discriminatory raids and house arrests against Muslims under its sweeping new state of emergency law." This discrimination is not coming to an end any time soon, for Hollande's administration just voted in favor of extending its state of emergency for three months.

Since the government can use its extraordinary powers to force journalists (via fear tactics like lawsuits and heavy fines) to comply with policies which emphasize security over freedom (i.e., censorship, spying), the state of emergency ironically prevents any independent investigation into the criminal activities that triggered the emergency in the first place.

The United States faced a similar scenario after the 9-11 attacks, during which the federal government not only failed to consult the American people on the Patriot Act, but also never formally investigated what happened on 9-11. Instead, a confluence of American-Israeli intelligence networks prevented the discovery of the facts by tightly controlling "investigation and access to evidence, media interpretation of the event, and related litigation." [4]

More than a decade later, something similar is taking place in France because, as Thierry Meyssan points out, the state of emergency is part of a global campaign to prevent conspiracies from surfacing on the internet:

"In 2008. the US government had decided to fund individuals, both at home and abroad, to disrupt the forum websites of conspiracy theorists and to create groups to contradict them.

This not having sufficed, France is called upon to take authoritarian measures. As in the past, the French elites, of which the Socialist Party forms the pseudo-left wing, have placed themselves under the orders of the main military power of the time, in this case, the US."

Sam Scheichner's recent blog post for The Wall Street Journal confirms France's intention of cooperating with America to clamp down on "terrorist content" on the internet:

"During his forthcoming visit [to the Silicon Valley in February 2016], Mr. Cazeneuve says he will meet with U.S. firms to 'update our level of cooperation,' and also get together with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to discuss their recent push to curb terrorist content on social media.

'The U.S. now also wants to work with operators to counteract terrorist content on the Internet,' Mr. Cazeneuve said. 'Our audacity has paid off, and now we're schooling others, and I'm very happy about that.'"

Cazeneuve's optimism conveniently hides the fact that the U.S has used the NSA to spy on France's last three presidents; that terrorism itself is an American-Israeli enterprise; that "terrorist content" can mean anything and therefore "to counteract terrorist content" might in the future imply a clampdown both on public information (i.e., conspiracy theories) and on encryption communications - a clampdown oninternet privacy as a whole, of which the state of emergency can facilitate.

So France is doing everything in (and now outside of) its powers today to prevent the spread of information which may expose its criminal activities alongside America and its Zionist allies.

More people realize that the internet is the only place where they can freely debate such issues because it is the only tool capable of horizontalizing the distribution of subversive information and creating a platform for community-building which cuts across class antagonisms during a banking crisis.

Since the people's access to public information on the internet is itself their best tool for independent thinking, their best defense against misjudgment and misinformation because they gain a more objective understanding of things (insofar as they are less liable to the influences of the government), Hollande's administration is now pressed to respond to this threat by extending the French state of emergency.

Francois Hollande is continuing his Republican predecessor's (Nicolas Sarkozy's) Zionist crusade against Libyaall the while extending the conflict to other regions like Syria. In this regard, the left and right wings of the political spectrum are identical.
The Latin American Herald Tribune reported on January 26 that "last year 283 websites were blocked to remove their content, considered illegal, thanks to the anti-terrorist legislation." At this pace, we should probably expect a transition from extrajudicial censorship to automatic censorship by 2017.

It amazes me how quickly France went from being against the War on Terror to one of its main exponents. France was opposed to the invasion of Iraq under the Chiraq government. But after Sarkozy's election in 2007, it engaged itself in the Zionist War on Terror . Thierry Meyssan adds that France became a terrorist state in 2011, when it invaded Libya.

Bollyn, Christopher. Solving 9-11: The Deception that Changed the World. 2012. p. 25
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Guillaume Kress, Global Research, 2016







From: newsfromunderground@googlegroups.com
Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2016
Subject: [MCM]
Apple (quietly) acknowledges that iPhones DO cause cancer (and the US press does not report it)



Apple Applies EMI Cover for Major Chips of iPhone 7



Apple is applying a technology that blocks off electromagnetic waves to iPhone 7. It is a measure to increase device’s performance while decreasing electromagnetic interference to major chips and to solve people’s fear of electromagnetic waves from Smartphones.

According to industry on the 15th, Apple is applying EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference) Shield technology to variety of digital chips, radio frequency (RF), connectivity (wireless LAN, Bluetooth) chips and others that also include AP (application processor) and modems.

Although it has been applying this technology to PCB (Printing Circuit Board) and connector, this is the first time when it is applying this technology to most of major chips. It has decided to use this technology due to interference in wireless communication and others as clock signals of digital chips have recently increased.

When EMI Shield technology is applied, unexpected signals that happen due to electromagnetic interference can be prevented. Also circuit boards can also be assembled more elaborate. When mounting space between chips is decreased, areas that are left over can be used for batteries and eventually increase times that batteries can last. Major chips’ production costs will increase due to addition of new process.

Apple has StatsChipPac and Amkor responsible for EMI Shield process on major chips of iPhone 7. EMI Shield process will take place in both businesses’ factories that are in South Korea.

Amkor Technology Korea’s production line<Amkor Technology Korea’s production line>

EMI Shield technology on semiconductor chips takes place by adding a process that covers surface of packaging with ultra-thin metal. Packaging businesses perform such process by using sputter that covers chips ultra-thin metal shield. Packaged chips will be loaded onto EMI Shield sputters, and handler equipment (unloaded) that takes out chip packages that are done with shielding process is also necessary. Competitive edges in sputters and handlers are stability, precision, and speed. They will be able to evenly sprinkle metals on top of chips for shielding. Handlers are also have to be able to load and unload chip packages on sputters fast and precisely.

Apple first applied EMI Shield technology to major chip package ‘S1’ of Apple Watch that was released last year. To apply such technology onto major chips of iPhone 7, it has been doing development project with packaging businesses since last year. It is heard that Apple personally chose equipment partners during this process and had induced packaging businesses to give them contracts.

StatsChipPac and Amkor have made many contracts with South Korean sputter and handler businesses for EMI Shield since end of last year. Contracts are worth more than tens of millions of dollars, and additional contracts will take place during first half of this year also.

There are higher possibilities that other Smartphone businesses will also introduce this technology as Apple has introduced it.

“As clock signals of digital chips have increased and as diverse functions such as 3D-touch and others have recently added, reduction of electromagnetic waves have emerged as major topic of this industry.” said a representative of this industry. “As other Smartphone businesses might be looking to apply EMI Shield technology to major chips just as Apple did, packaging and other related equipment industries will benefit a lot from this.”

Staff Reporter Han, Juyeop | powerusr@etnews.com 

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From: "Edward S, Herman" <hermane@wharton.upenn.edu>
Sent: Saturday, 27 February, 2016 9:41:37 PM
Subject: ed herman, "King of Chaos," Z Mag., Feb, 2016.

King of Chaos

by Edward S. Herman


Diana Johnstone recently published a very good book on Hillary Clinton entitled Queen of Chaos (Counterpunch Books, 2015). Johnstone justifies the title through her convincing critical examination of Clinton’s performance as Secretary of State as well as her broader record of opinions and actions. But Clinton served under President Barack Obama,  and the policies which she pushed while in office were of necessity approved by her superior, who worked with her in “a credible partnership” (Mark Landler and Helene Cooper, “From Bitter Campaign to Strong Alliance,” New York Times, March 19, 2010). And after Mrs. Clinton’s exit from office Mr.  Obama  carried on with replacement John Kerry in a largely similar and not very peaceable mode. Most important was their 2014 escalation of hostilities toward Russia with the coup d’etat in Kiev, anger at the responsive Russian absorption of Crimea, warfare in Eastern Ukraine, and U.S.-sponsored sanctions against Russia for its alleged “aggression.” There was also simmering tension over Syria, with U.S. and client state support of rebels and jihadists attempting to overthrow the Assad government, and with Russia (and Iran and Hezbollah) backing Assad.  There was also Obama’s widening use of drone warfare and declared right and intention to bomb any perceived threat to U.S. “national security” anyplace on earth. 


In any case, if  Hillary Clinton was Queen of Chaos, Obama is surely King. If Iraq, Libya and Syria have been  reduced to  a chaotic state, Obama has a heavy responsibility for these developments, although Iraq’s downward spiral is in large measure allocable to the Bush-Cheney regime. The Syrian crisis  has intensified, with Russia providing substantial air support that has turned the tide in favor of  Assad and threatened collapse of the U.S.-Saudi-Turkish campaign of regime change. This remains a dangerous situation with Turkey threatening more aggressive action and the Obama-Kerry team still unwilling to accept defeat (see Patrick Cockburn, “Syrian Civil War: Could  Turkey be Gambling on an Invasion?,” Independent, Jan. 30, 2016 ). Yemen has also descended into chaos in the Obama years, and although Saudi Arabia is  the main direct villain in this case, the Obama administration provides much of the weaponry and diplomatic protection for this aggression and for several years has done some drone bombing of  Yemen on its own. A fair amount of chaos also characterizes Israel-Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, along with many sub-Saharan regimes (Mali, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, etc.),.  The leadership of the superpower with long-standing  predominant influence over this region must be given substantial  (dis)credit for this widening chaotic state, which has produced the main body of refugees flooding into Europe and elsewhere and the surge of retail terrorism.


It is often alleged that this chaos reflects a terrible failure of  U.S. policy. This is debatable. Three states that were independent and considered enemy states by Israel and many U.S. policy-makers and influentials--Iraq, Libya and Syria--have been made into failed states and may be in the process of dismemberment. Libya had been ruled by a man, Moammar Gaddafi, who was the most important leader seeking an Africa free of Western domination; he was chairman of the African Union in 2009, two years before his overthrow and murder. His exit led quickly to the advance of the United States African Command (Africom) and U.S.-African state “partnerships” to combat “terrorism”—that is, to a major setback to African independence and progress. (See Maximilian Forte,  Slouching Toward Sirte, Baraka Books, 2012.) The chaos in Ukraine and Syria has been a great windfall for the  U.S.beneficiaries of the permanent war system, for whom contracts are flowing and job advancement and security are on the upswing.  For them the King of Chaos has done well and his policies have been successful.


There has been little publicity and debate  addressing President Obama’s new and major contribution to  the nuclear arms race and the threat of nuclear war. In April 2009 Mr. Obama claimed a “commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” (“Remarks in Prague,” April 5, 2009). And on the release of a Nuclear Posture Review on April 6, 2010  he stated that the United States would “not develop new nuclear warheads or pursue new military missions or new capabilities for nuclear weapons.” But he wasted no time in violating these promises, embarking soon on a nuclear “modernization” program that involved the development of an array of nuclear weapons that made  their use more thinkable (smaller, more accurate, less lethal). The New York Times  reported that “The  B61 Model 12, the bomb flight-tested in Nevada last year, is the first of five new warhead types planned as part of an atomic revitalization estimated to cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. As a family, the weapons and their delivery systems move toward the small, the stealthy and the precise. Already there are hints of a new arms race. Russia called the B61 tests ‘irresponsible’ and ‘openly provocative.’ China is said to be especially worried about plans for a nuclear-tipped cruise missile.” (William Broad and David Sanger, “As U.S. Modernizes Nuclear Weapons, ‘Smaller’ Leaves Some Uneasy,” NYT, Jan. 11, 2016). The Times does cite a number of  U.S. analysts who  consider this enterprise dangerous as well as “unaffordable and unneeded” (Andrew C. Weber, former director of the Nuclear Weapons Council).  But the modernization plan has not aroused much comment or widespread concern. And it would very likely be considered  too modest by all the leading Republican presidential candidates. (For a broader discussion of  this new nuclear threat, see Lawrence Wittner, “The Frightening Prospect of a Nuclear War Is About to Become a Lot More Likely,” History News Network,  January 2016; Jonathan Marshall, “Learning to Love—and Use—the Bomb,” Consortiumnews, January 23, 2016.)


What is driving Obama to move in such  an anti-social direction, perversely generating threats to national security and wasting vast resources that are urgently needed by the civil society? (Jonathan Marshall notes ironically that “America’s public sector  is apparently too strapped financially  even to provide safe drinking water to some of its residents.”)  Obama is a weak  president, operating  in a political economy and political environment that even a strong president could not easily manage. The military-industrial complex is much stronger now than it was in January 1961 when Eisenhower, in his Farewell Speech, warned of its “acquisition of  unwarranted influence” and consequent threat to the national well-being. The steady stream of wars has entrenched it further, and the pro-Israel lobby and subservience of the mass media have  further consolidated a permanent war system. It also fits the needs of the corporate oligarchy (See Jeffrey  A. Winters. Oligarchy, Cambridge University Press, 2011).


It is interesting to see that even Bernie Sanders doesn’t challenge the permanent war system, whose spiritual effects and  ravenous demands would seem to make internal reform much more difficult. We may recall Thorstein Veblen’s  more than a century-old description of  war-making as having an “unequivocal” regressive cultural value: “it makes for a conservative animus on the part of the population” and during wartime “civil rights are in abeyance; and the more warfare and armament the more abeyance.”  “At the same time war-making directs the popular interest to other, nobler, institutionally less hazardous matters than the unequal distribution of wealth or of creature comforts.” (The Theory of Business Enterprise [Charles Scribner’s, 1904], 391).


With a permanent war system in place, the vetting of political candidates and  the budgetary and policy demands of  the important institutions dominating the political economy, war-making and nourishing the Pentagon and other security state institutions become the highest priorities of  top officials of the state. They all  prepare for war  on a steady basis and go to war readily, often in violation of  international law and even domestic law. Subversion has long been global in scope. (See Philip Agee’s Inside the Company and William Blum’s Killing Hope.for massive and compelling details.) Reagan’s war on Nicaragua, Clinton’s attacks on Yugoslavia and Iraq, Bush-1’s wars on Panama and Iraq,  Bush-2’s wars on Afghanistan,  Iraq and a propagandistic “War  on Terror,” and Obama’s wars on Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other places, show an impressive continuum and growth..


Mr. Obama’s Cuba and Iran policies deviate to some extent from his record of  power projection by rule of force. In the case of Cuba, the opposition to recognition of  the Cuban reality had diminished and a growing body of businessmen, officials  and pundits, and the international community, considered the non-recognition and sanctions an obsolete and  somewhat discreditable holdover from the past. It is likely that the new policy recognized the possibility of  democracy promotion” as a superior route to inducing changes in Cuba.  It should also be noted that the policy change thus far has not included a lifting of economic sanctions, even though for many years UN Assembly votes against those sanctions have been in the order of 191-2 (in 2015). A more immediate  factor in the changed policy course may have been the fact that several Latin American countries threatened to boycott the 2015 OAS Summit  if Cuba was not admitted. As Jane Franklin notes, “Obama had to make a choice. He could refuse to attend and therefore be totally isolated or he could join in welcoming Cuba and be a statesman.”  (Jane Franklin, Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History, Monthly Review Press, April 2016,)  Obama chose to be a statesman.


In the case of Iran, the new agreement  (The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action signed in Vienna on July 14, 2015) was hammered out in an environment in which Iran had long been made the villain that needed to be constrained. This followed years of demonizing and pressure on Iran  to scale back its nuclear program, regularly claimed, without evidence, to be aiming at developing nuclear weapons. U.S. hegemony is nowhere better displayed than in the fact that Iran was encouraged to  develop a nuclear program when ruled by the Shah of Iran, a U.S.-sponsored dictator, but has been under steady attack  for any nuclear effort whatsoever since his replacement by a regime opposed by the United States, with the steady cooperation of the UN and “international community.”


Israel is a major regional rival of Iran, and having succeeded in getting the United States to turn lesser rivals, Iraq and Libya, into failed states, it has been  extremely anxious to get the United States  to do the same to Iran. And Israel’s leaders have pulled out all the stops in getting its vast array of U.S. politicians, pundits, intellectuals and lobbying groups to press for  a U.S. military assault on Iran. (See James Petras, “The Centerpiece of US Foreign Policy Struggle,  Dissident Voice, August 12, 2015.) The tensions between the United States and Iran have been high for years, with a sanctions war already  in place. But with  many military engagements in progress, tensions with Russia over Ukraine and Syria at a dangerous level, and  perhaps  resentment at the attempted political bullying by Israeli leaders, the Obama administration chose to negotiate with Iran rather than fight. The agreement finally arrived at with Iran calls for more intrusive inspections and some scaling down of Iran’s nuclear program, while it frees Iran from some onerous sanctions and threats. This was a rare moment of peace-making, and probably the finest moment in the years of the King’s rule. Iran is still treated as a menace and in need of close surveillance. But there was a slowing-down in the drift toward a new and larger war, allowing the Obama administration to focus more on warring in Iraq and Syria and taking on any other threat to U.S. national security..





Noam Chomsky on Clinton vs. Sanders


by Al Jazeera English





From: "Edward S, Herman" <hermane@wharton.upenn.edu>
Sent: Sunday, 28 February, 2016 11:52:30 PM
Subject: FW: The Post-Hope Democrats



A very good Henwood analysis.

ed herman

From: Portside moderator [moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG]
Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2016 8:10 PM
Subject: The Post-Hope Democrats




The Post-Hope Democrats 


Doug Henwood
February 25, 2016


There's a perverse form of American exceptionalism circulating around the Clinton camp: just because things work in other countries doesn't mean they can work here. As Hillary herself put it, "We are not Denmark. I love Denmark, but we are the United States of America." True enough, but that has no bearing on why single-payer couldn't work here. The only obstacles are political -- elites, which include Hillary and Starr, don't want it.




Hillary Clinton in 2008., Jeremy Soper / Flickr,



The Sanders campaign has certainly sharpened the contradictions, hasn’t it? It’s been very clarifying to see Hillary Clinton and her surrogates running against single-payer health care and free college, with intellectual cover coming from Paul Krugman and Vox



Expectations, having been systematically beaten down for thirty-five years, must be beaten down further, whether it’s Clinton saying that to go to college one needs some “skin in the game,” or Representative John Lewis reminding us that nothing is free in America. A challenge from the left has forced centrist Democrats to reveal themselves as proud capitalist tools.

Latest to step up is Paul Starr, co-founder of the American Prospect. Normally the dull embodiment of tepid liberalism, Starr has unleashed a redbaiting philippic — a frothing one, even, by his standards — aimed at Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is no liberal, Starr reveals — he’s a socialist. He may call himself a democratic socialist to assure us that he’s no Bolshevik — Starr actually says this — but that doesn’t stop Starr from stoking fears of state ownership and central planning. Thankfully the word “gulag” doesn’t appear, but that was probably an oversight.

Starr does have one substantial point — Sanders’s tax proposals wouldn’t be up to financing a Scandinavian-style welfare state. Taxing the rich more could raise substantial revenue, but nowhere near enough.

And part of the point of steepening the progressivity of the tax system is hindering great fortunes from developing and being passed on. A good part of the reason that CEO incomes have gone up so much since the early 1980s is that taxes on them have gone down; stiffen the tax on them, and there’s far less incentive to pay überbosses so much in the first place. It’s like taxing tobacco or carbon — you can raise revenue by doing it, but you’re also trying to make the toxic things go away.

But, really, you don’t need a Swedish or Danish tax structure to pay for free college tuition and single-payer health care, which are highly achievable first steps of a Sanderista political revolution. As I wrote back in 2010:

It would not be hard at all to make higher education completely free in the USA. It accounts for not quite 2 percent of GDP. The personal share, about 1 percent of GDP, is a third of the income of the richest ten thousand households in the US, or three months of Pentagon spending. It’s less than four months of what we waste on administrative costs by not having a single-payer health care finance system. But introduce such a proposal into an election campaign and you would be regarded as suicidally insane.

That last sentence turned out to be not a bad prophecy.

Starr really loses contact with earth when he writes about single-payer. In one sense, this is surprising, since he wrote a fat book on the history of medicine in America, and, although it was thirty-four years ago, is presumably still familiar with the territory. But the pressures of a political campaign often dislodge an apologist’s higher cerebral functions. That’s the only plausible explanation for why he wrote this:

Sanders’ single-payer health plan shows the same indifference to real-world consequences. The plan calls for eliminating all patient cost sharing and promises to cover the full range of services, including long-term care. With health care running at 17.5 percent of gross domestic product, Sanders’ plan would sweep a huge share of economic activity into the federal government and invite that share to grow. Another way of looking at single payer is that it would make Washington the sole checkpoint, removing the incentive for anyone else—patients, providers, employers or state governments—even to monitor, much less hold back, excessive costs. It would leave no alternative except federal management of the health sector.

Where to start with this? Why, as a matter of principle, should patients “share costs”? They’re already paying for the services with their tax dollars. According to Hillary’s “skin-in-the-game” theory, forcing patients to pay up will reduce demand, thereby keeping spending down, but this is a brutal form of cost control. Co-pays often force people to forego needed care, resulting in higher costs down the road, and more importantly, needless suffering.

A far more effective form of cost control is having the government use its buying power to demand lower prices from hospitals and drug companies. That’s the way it works in civilized countries, though that fact looks to have passed Starr by, probably because he was too busy trying to make precisely the opposite argument: single-payer would “invite that share to grow” by “removing the incentive for anyone else . . . even to monitor, much less hold back, excessive costs.” Just what is wrong with “federal management of the health sector”? Medicare does it for the over-sixty-five portion of the population; it works very well and is enormously popular.

Starr cites the 17.5 percent of GDP we devote to health care without putting that figure into any reasonable context — the sort of move that is supposed to provoke a “gee-whiz” moment of surrender. Here’s an interesting graph based on data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based quasi-official think tank for the world’s rich countries. It shows the share of GDP devoted to health care for a subset of the OECD’s thirty-four members, divided into public and private. (Put them together and you get the total.)


There are several striking features in this graph:

So just about everything in Starr’s quoted mini-lecture about the real world is at odds with the real world.

There’s a perverse form of American exceptionalism circulating around the Clinton camp: just because things work in other countries doesn’t mean they can work here. As Hillary herself put it, “We are not Denmark. I love Denmark, but we are the United States of America.” True enough, but that has no bearing on why single-payer couldn’t work here. The only obstacles are political — elites, which include Hillary and Starr, don’t want it.

The rest of Starr’s piece is a highly unsubtle rant about socialism and how bad it is, even though Sanders isn’t really a socialist. That sort of thing may resonate with people who grew up during the Cold War — though not with all of us! — but it seems not to move the younger portion of the population, many of whom seem charmed by the concept. It’s not like capitalism has been doing all that well for them, really. But Starr doesn’t want to hear about that.

Starr also finds the style of Sanders’s politics in bad taste:

Sanders is also doing what populists on both sides of the political spectrum do so well: the mobilization of resentment. The attacks on billionaires and Wall Street are a way of eliciting a roar of approval from angry audiences without necessarily having good solutions for the problems that caused that anger in the first place.

But people have a lot to resent — why shouldn’t it be mobilized politically? And free tuition and single-payer are pretty good solutions for some of those problems. Starr just doesn’t like them. Best leave the tuition issue to some vague, incomprehensible scheme (that apparently involves lots of work study and online learning) and health care to a lightly regulated and generously subsidized insurance industry.

Establishment Democrats haven’t merely gone post-hope — they’ve declared war on it.

The new issue of Jacobin is out now. Buy a copy, or a special discounted subscription today.





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From: "Robert W. McChesney" <rwmcchesney@gmail.com>
To: "francis feeley" <francis.feeley@u-grenoble3.fr>
Sent: Tuesday, 1 March, 2016 2:14:58 PM
Subject: People Get Ready

People Get Ready explains why the political upheaval of 2016 is just a glimpse at what is coming in the next two decades. The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The decline of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, mindless austerity, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, and a brain-dead corporate news media, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.

The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. We argue in People Get Ready that the United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied effectively to address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, we propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny—before it’s too late—and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.

This is the most important work either of us has done in our careers.
Here’s what some readers have said about People Get Ready:

“As this lucid and informed study explains, digital technology is a reality that will lead to grim dystopia in the hands of concentrated economic and political power, but can also move us toward 'utopian dreams' in the hands of an informed and engaged public. The authors provide guidelines for understanding the evolving world, and for shaping it to deter the worst outcomes and to attain promising goals that are within reach, if the opportunities are grasped.”

—Noam Chomsky


“John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney make a compelling, and terrifying, case [for] a radical reform agenda to take power back from the corporations and give it to the people.”

—Naomi Klein


“When everyone else seems to be talking about the issues of the past, John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney get us engaged with the issues of the future. This is the essential book about the technological revolution that every candidate for president, every activist, and every American should read. We can no longer afford to be mere consumers and spectators; we need to be citizens and we need to be at the table where the decisions are made.”

—Thom Hartmann, host of the Thom Hartmann Project and author of Rebooting the American Dream

If People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy looks like something that might interest you, you can learn more about it and purchase it here.
I would love to get your feedback if you do have a chance to read it. I think you will find it a rewarding experience.
Bob McChesney

P.S.—Nichols and I are doing a quick book tour in March and April. Events are scheduled at Vancouver, BC (3-6, 6:30PM); Portland, OR (3-7, 3PM); Portland, OR (3-7, 7:30PM); Seattle (3-9, 7:30PM); New York City (3-15, 6:30PM); Washington, DC (3-16, 6:30); Baltimore (3-17, 7:30);  Milwaukee (4-9, 7PM). More events in the pipeline. Hope to see you at one of them. Please help spread the word if you can.