Category Archives: revolution

Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman?

Below is the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of two words. Please keep in mind their meaning when reading the article. There is a relationship between the two words:

Boogeyman: a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children

Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. This word also rhymes with absurdism.

The boogeyman is the fictitious monster that haunts kids particularly when they are going to bed. In my case, he hid underneath my bed ready to grab my ankles and pull me under. To avoid him, I leapt into bed to avoid his reach. To avoid seeing him in case he came out, I covered my eyes with the blanket. I think my feelings and childhood fears of this imaginary creature are common.

Use of a boogeyman in the case of children could be to persuade them to go to bed early or eat their vegetables. “If you don’t do this, the boogeyman might get you”! None of as children wanted that, so we did as we were told. A boogeyman is also useful in the case of adults. In the past 75 years adults in the United States have been under the influence of three or more scary boogeymen. The media outlets and the US government kindly supply us with ever-scarier boogeymen. Whether intended or not, the use of a boogeyman works well in persuading and obtaining compliance (getting adults to do something).

The boogeyman 75 years ago was scary. However, he lived less than ten years, and we eliminated him. The boogeyman I refer to was one for my parents and grandparents: he was called the Nazis and he lived in Germany. He was a threat to the freedom and constitutional rights of Americans. He invaded countries and killed our friends (read allies). For some years my parents actually feared being bombed or invaded by that boogeyman. Note they lived in the Midwest and not the East coast. Had they thought it through, they too would have realized that was not possible due to logistical limitations then present in military aircraft (today they can refuel midair). Today it seems rather absurd that people could believe such a thing back then, but it was real to them.

Nonetheless, the government fanned the flames of fear (maybe use of terrorism) ,and almost all people believed what they were told by media and government back then. The citizenry, young and old alike, complied with government requests and did what they could do to help eliminate the threat. That boogeyman disappeared through a war that ended in 1945.

Only a few years passed before a new, more global, boogeyman emerged. He was the communists and the threat of communism. If we did not stop this boogeyman, he too, might take our liberty and freedom like the one before. We stared to fear this boogeyman shortly after World War II and into the 1980s. The communists were good boogeyman for decades, and represented the opposite of what we stand for. We were told they have no liberty or freedom, and this boogeyman does not want people of the world to have such inalienable rights like that.

Who would doubt this and not want to comply with government support in the elimination of this boogeyman? We largely complied, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of people were killed. We fought wars to ward off this boogeyman (Korea Vietnam, and other armed conflicts of smaller duration). We even helped some friends (read allies) fend off this boogeyman-Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, to name some examples.

The government softened its stand (ended the terrorism) on this boogeyman, and people don’t perceive it a threat any more. This might be due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the despair we are told of in Cuba, and widespread trading with China and Vietnam In fact, it does not seem to matter that China is a communist country, we can travel there, trade with them, but for some reason, Cuba is off limits.

The boogeyman of the modern era is terrorism. He came out in the late 1990’s and made his real debut on September 11, 2001. He is more nebulous than the former boogeymen, as he does not have a permanent address or place where we can easily find him like the Nazis or the communists. However, being so nimble and fast moving, he can be under your bed, like the boogeyman of childhood. He can be down the street and could be your neighbor. This new monster serves better than those of the past to incite fear and compliance. Lacking an address, we are inspired to chase him down in many places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and down the street from your house. He might even be in your home or office now. We even look for him at the airport every day.

The modern boogeyman has more places to hide, and a better strategy than his predecessors. This new boogeyman might even be friends of our friends (allies, or friends), as President George Bush warned us in his address on September 20, 2001 to a Joint Session of Congress

We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. – Bush, George W. (September 20, 2001). “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People”. The White House. Retrieved 2008-09-19.

Our government finds the current boogeyman scarier than his predecessors, as we have parked our constitution to pursue him. We have spent much money to catch him, and many are currently willing to be spied on to avoid him. As former President Bush said to congress, if you keep company with the boogeyman, we consider you an enemy. Obviously we are very serious about this newer boogeyman, and even willing to give up some things we fought boogeymen in the past for. That being our freedom and parts of the constitution (read Patriot Act).

Let us return to the definition of terrorism: It is systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Where did the latest boogeyman come from? Who is creating the fear and the real terrorist? Who wants to bring about a political objective?

Our prior two boogeymen were created by non-United States entities: German and Russian political movements. Maybe the current boogeyman was created because of our past and current follies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. Is it really a boogeyman, or are the good folks that promote him (read terrorists) making him larger than he need be.

Maybe stopping our forays into other parts of the world will eliminate the current boogeyman. However, those wanting to make terror will not have an excuse to bring about a political objective and need this boogeyman. You decide- who are the real terrorists, and who wants political change? Who is who in this game? Is this not all absurdism?

via Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman? – OpenGov.US.

Irish News

Support for new party is growing, claims Ganley

A new political party which will contest local and European elections next year is now a real full article

Taxpayers lose millions in Enterprise Ireland failures

A state-of-the-art hub of innovation to hothouse start-ups and create tech clusters was the intention: a big white elephant was the reality. read full article

Guerrilla warfare between consumers and retailers triggers feel-bad factor

MAKING ends meet remains the key task facing many Irish households but it seems like a very long time since the main threat to their spending power was coming from spiralling prices. read full article

CIE, Ibec and the wall of silence

LAST week, I rang CIE in search of its chairman, Vivienne Jupp. I was told that the troubled transport company’s chief was not “due until next week”. read full article

TDs plot to force abortion poll vote

In a dramatic twist in the abortion debate, Fine Gael, Labour and independent TDs and senators are proposing to invoke a little-known constitutional provision to force a referendum on t read full article

Quinn Insurance sets €6.5m aside for litigation costs Irish Times The disastrous business, formerly owned by the now-bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, has already received more than € 1 billion from the Insurance Compensation Fund to help it meet its losses, and expects to have to receive up to € 600 million more to 

Permanent revolution by facebook is replacing ideology

Why are demos and riots breaking out all over? It’s the economy stupid. But Newsnight’s Paul Mason has a contemporary twist, writing in the Independent to give a taster for his book Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions’ Velocity of information matters as much as action itself. It is striking how badly…

read full article


Too funny for the Church? Comedy show gets “excommunicated”

Licking a crucifix and pressing some very hot buttons: German satirist Carolin Kebekus 

THIS SORT OF THING really shouldn’t happen. Article 5 of the German constitution clearly states that “Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shall be guaranteed. There shall be no censorship.” This freedom is absolute – except in cases involving a publicly sanctioned religious group, above all the Catholic Church.

The latest case: This week the German TV broadcaster WDR abruptly cancelled a completed and broadcast-ready satire show starring comedienne Carolin Kebekus. Set to premiere tonight at 8:15, it was to be the popular performer’s first solo show. But now her series has been trashed and she won’t be hired back anytime soon. Why? It turns out that the centerpiece of Kebekus! was going to be an elaborate rapper sequence lampooning the Catholic Church.

The offending musical number starts out with Kebekus dying of boredom at Sunday mass, when suddenly the church door opens and she appears in person, now dressed in a white nun’s habit and wearing golden chains around her neck and waist. During the ensuing rap number, this naughty nun twirls her chains, repeatedly licks a crucifix, flashes an altar, joins other nuns in dancing around a burning bush, and otherwise desecrates revered religious symbols. In other sections, an altar boy raps about how superior he is for being Catholic, and a pudgy gangsta-style rapper (German-Moroccan rap artist MC Rene) dressed in priestly robes expounds on virgins, celibacy, and pedophilia. (“In the church I’m the king,/Everyone kneels when I sing./Skip the bitches, I look away,/Celibacy means I do it my way” etc.).

The guiding theme of the video is the popular hym “Danke dem Herrn” (“Thank -you Lord”), a favorite of Sunday school classes and bible camps, sort of a Central European equivalent of Kumbaya. But Kebekus gives this normally ho-hum tune a different twist:

Thank-you for my golden chains,

Thank-you for my virginity,

Thank-you for letting me wear the same dress everyday.

She and the other nuns deliver a break dance before singing:

Thank-you for my fear of gays,

Thank-you for the condom ban,

Thank-you for threatening hell for every sin I commit.

You can read the entire German song text here.

Hence the rap-song’s title: “Dunk den Herrn.” Yes, that’s really “dunk,” i.e. what you might think of doing to a donut.

WDR explained its decision as follows:

Particularly the scenes with the crucifix could injure viewers’ religious convictions. This was and is not the intention of the “Young TV” editorial group. Nor could it be reconciled with the WDR {code of conduct}, which states clearly in Article 5 that the religious convictions of the population are to be respected.

In other words, there shall be no censorship – until there is.

This sort of censorship is nothing new here – I’ve already written about similar cases in this space before. But those who deplore such satires would do well to reflect on where they come from in the first place, namely from the ban on religious free expression at the expense of basic civil rights.

Let me cut WDR some slack here and admit that the segment is about as blasphemous as you could ever get. Call it Piss Christ on crack. But that’s the whole point of the exercise: Provoking a response. If they’d just let these caricatures go through without comment, the public would no doubt tire of them quickly, and people like me, who don’t even watch TV, would never even have known about this one. As it is, “Dunk den Herrn” is now attracting millions of visitors to Youtube.

You’d think people would learn.

via Too funny for the Church? Comedy show gets “excommunicated” – Alan Nothnagle – Open Salon.

Erotic Republic –

When someone mentions Iran, what images leap into your mind? Ayatollahs, religious fanaticism, veiled women? How about sexual revolution? That’s right. Over the last 30 years, as the mainstream Western media has been preoccupied with the radical policies of the Islamic Republic, the country has undergone a fundamental social and cultural transformation.

While not necessarily positive or negative, Iran’s sexual revolution is certainly unprecedented. Social attitudes have changed so much in the last few decades that many members of the Iranian diaspora are shellshocked when they visit the country: “These days Tehran makes London look like a conservative city,” a British-Iranian acquaintance recently told me upon returning from Tehran. When it comes to sexual mores, Iran is indeed moving in the direction of Britain and the United States — and fast.

Good data on Iranian sexual habits are, not surprisingly, tough to come by. But a considerable amount can be gleaned from the official statistics compiled by the Islamic Republic. Declining birth rates, for example, signal a wider acceptance of contraceptives and other forms of family planning — as well as a deterioration of the traditional role of the family. Over the last two decades, the country has experienced the fastest drop in fertility ever recorded in human history. Iran’s annual population growth rate, meanwhile, has plunged to 1.2 percent in 2012 from 3.9 percent in 1986 — this despite the fact that more than half of Iranians are under age 35.

At the same time, the average marriage age for men has gone up from 20 to 28 years old in the last three decades, and Iranian women are now marrying at between 24 and 30 — five years later than a decade ago. Some 40 percent of adults who are of marriageable age are currently single, according to official statistics. The rate of divorce, meanwhile, has also skyrocketed, tripling from 50,000 registered divorces in the year 2000 to 150,000 in 2010. Currently, there is one divorce for every seven marriages nationwide, but in larger cities the rate gets significantly higher. In Tehran, for example, the ratio is one divorce to every 3.76 marriages — almost comparable to Britain, where 42 percent of marriages end in divorce. And there is no indication that the trend is slowing down. Over the last six months the divorce rate has increased, while the marriage rate has significantly dropped.

Changing attitudes toward marriage and divorce have coincided with a dramatic shift in the way Iranians approach relationships and sex. According to one study cited by a high-ranking Ministry of Youth official in December 2008, a majority of male respondents admitted having had at least one relationship with someone of the opposite sex before marriage. About 13 percent of those “illicit” relationships, moreover, resulted in unwanted pregnancy and abortion — numbers that, while modest, would have been unthinkable a generation ago. It is little wonder, then, that the Ministry of Youth’s research center has warned that “unhealthy relationships and moral degeneration are the leading causes of divorces among the young Iranian couples.”

Meanwhile, the underground sex industry has taken off in the last two decades. In the early 1990s, prostitution existed in most cities and towns — particularly in Tehran — but sex workers were virtually invisible, forced to operate deep underground. Now prostitution is only a wink and a nod away in many towns and cities across the country. Often, sex workers loiter on certain streets, waiting for random clients to pick them up. Ten years ago, Entekhab newspaper claimed that there were close to 85,000 sex workers in Tehran alone.

Again, there are no good countrywide statics on the number of prostitutes — the head of Iran’s state-run Social Welfare Organization recently told the BBC: “Certain statistics have no positive function in society; instead, they have a negative psychological impact. It is better not to talk about them” — but available figures suggest that 10 to 12 percent of Iranian prostitutes are married. This is especially surprising given the severe Islamic punishments meted out for sex outside marriage, particularly for women. More surprisingly still, not all sex workers in Iran are female. A new report confirms that middle-aged wealthy women, as well as young and educated women in search of short-term sexual relationships, are seeking the personal services of male sex workers.

Of course, it would be a mistake to assume that traditional values have completely vanished. Iran’s patriarchal culture is still strong, and orthodox values are still maintained by traditional social classes, particularly in provincial towns and villages. But at the same time, it would also be a mistake to assume that sexual liberalization has only gained momentum among the urban middle classes.

So what is driving Iran’s sexual revolution? There are a number of potential explanations, including economic factors, urbanization, new communication tools, and the emergence of a highly educated female population — all of which are probably partly responsible for changing attitudes toward sex. At the same time, however, most of these factors are at play in other countries in the region that are not experiencing analogous transitions. (Indeed, a wave of social conservatism is sweeping much of the Middle East, while Iran moves in the opposite direction.) So what is different in Iran? Paradoxically, it is the puritanical state — rigid, out of touch, and dedicated to combating “vice” and promoting “virtue” — that seems to be powering Iran’s emergent liberal streak.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that swept Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini into power, the Iranian regime has promoted the idea of collective morality, imposing strict codes of conduct and all but erasing the boundary between private and public spheres. Maintaining the Islamic character of the country has been one of the regime’s main sources of legitimacy, and as such, there is virtually no facet of private life that is not regulated by its interpretation of Islamic law. (Indeed, clerics regularly issue fatwas on the acceptability of intimate — and sometimes extraordinarily unlikely — sexual scenarios.) But 34 years on, Khomeini’s successor has failed to create a utopian society — a fact that lays bare the moral and ideological bankruptcy of a regime that is already struggling with economic and political crises.

This inconvenient truth is not lost on young people in Iran, where changing sexual habits have become a form of passive resistance. In defying the strictures of the state, Iranians are (consciously or subconsciously) calling its legitimacy into question. Meanwhile, the regime’s feeble attempts to counter the seismic shifts currently under way — such as its repeated warnings about the danger posed by “illicit relationships” — only further alienate those it wishes to control. Slowly but surely, Iran’s sexual revolution is exhausting the ideological zeal of a state that is wedded to the farcical notion of a utopian society and based on brittle, fundamentalist principles.

In New York, Sex and the City may be empty and banal, but in Iran, its social and political implications run deep.

via Erotic Republic – By Afshin Shahi | Foreign Policy.

Mandela in ‘serious but stable condition’ – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela is in a “serious but stable” conditon in hospital with a lung infection, a statement from the presidency has said.

Friday’s statement said Mandela, 94, who was discharged from hospital in April after receiving treatment for a lung infection, had suffered the same illness in the past few days.

“This morning at about 1.30am his condition deteriorated and he was transferred to a Pretoria hospital. He remains in a serious but stable condition,” the statement said.

It added that the Nobel laureate was receiving expert medical care and doctors were doing “everything possible to make him better and comfortable”.

President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of government and the nation, wished Madiba, Mandela’s clan name, a speedy recovery and requested the media and the public respect the privacy of the former president and his family.

Mandela, revered at home and abroad for leading the struggle against white minority rule, has been in and out of hospital for lung infection and other health problems.

Last year, he was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital for what officials initially described as tests but what turned out to be an acute respiratory infection.

In March and April, global figures such as US President Barack Obama sent him get-well messages and South Africans included Mandela in their Easter prayers.

Mandela, who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and served only one term in office, was jailed on Roben Island for 27 years for resisiting white minority rule.

via Mandela in ‘serious but stable condition’ – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Rise Up or Die

Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones” — the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace — to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones — in post-industrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery — is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

Corporations write our legislation. They control our systems of information. They manage the political theater of electoral politics and impose our educational curriculum. They have turned the judiciary into one of their wholly owned subsidiaries. They have decimated labor unions and other independent mass organizations, as well as having bought off the Democratic Party, which once defended the rights of workers. With the evisceration of piecemeal and incremental reform–the primary role of liberal, democratic institutions–we are left defenseless against corporate power.

The Department of Justice seizure of two months of records of phone calls to and from editors and reporters at The Associated Press is the latest in a series of dramatic assaults against our civil liberties. The DOJ move is part of an effort to hunt down the government official or officials who leaked information to the AP about the foiling of a plot to blow up a passenger jet. Information concerning phones of Associated Press bureaus in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Conn., as well as the home and mobile phones of editors and reporters, was secretly confiscated. This, along with measures such as the use of the Espionage Act against whistle-blowers, will put a deep freeze on all independent investigations into abuses of government and corporate power.

Seizing the AP phone logs is part of the corporate state’s broader efforts to silence all voices that defy the official narrative, the state’s Newspeak, and hide from public view the inner workings, lies and crimes of empire. The person or persons who provided the classified information to the AP will, if arrested, most likely be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. That law was never intended when it was instituted in 1917 to silence whistle-blowers. And from 1917 until Barack Obama took office in 2009 it was employed against whistle-blowers only three times, the first time against Daniel Ellsberg for leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The Espionage Act has been used six times by the Obama administration against government whistle-blowers, including Thomas Drake.

The government’s fierce persecution of the press — an attack pressed by many of the governmental agencies that are arrayed against WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and activists such as Jeremy Hammond — dovetails with the government’s use of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force to carry out the assassination of U.S. citizens; of the FISA Amendments Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution was once illegal — the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of tens of millions of U.S. citizens; and of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which permits the government to have the military seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them in indefinite detention. These measures, taken together, mean there are almost no civil liberties left.

A handful of corporate oligarchs around the globe have everything — wealth, power and privilege — and the rest of us struggle as part of a vast underclass, increasingly impoverished and ruthlessly repressed. There is one set of laws and regulations for us; there is another set of laws and regulations for a power elite that functions as a global mafia.

We stand helpless before the corporate onslaught. There is no way to vote against corporate power. Citizens have no way to bring about the prosecution of Wall Street bankers and financiers for fraud, military and intelligence officials for torture and war crimes, or security and surveillance officers for human rights abuses. The Federal Reserve is reduced to printing money for banks and financiers and lending it to them at almost zero percent interest; corporate officers then lend it to us at usurious rates as high as 30 percent. I do not know what to call this system. It is certainly not capitalism. Extortion might be a better word. The fossil fuel industry, meanwhile, relentlessly trashes the ecosystem for profit. The melting of 40 percent of the summer Arctic sea ice is, to corporations, a business opportunity. Companies rush to the Arctic and extract the last vestiges of oil, natural gas, minerals and fish stocks, indifferent to the death pangs of the planet. The same corporate forces that give us endless soap operas that pass for news, from the latest court proceedings surrounding O.J. Simpson to the tawdry details of the Jodi Arias murder trial, also give us atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide that surpass 400 parts per million. They entrance us with their electronic hallucinations as we waiver, as paralyzed with fear as Odysseus’ sailors, between Scylla and Charybdis.

There is nothing in 5,000 years of economic history to justify the belief that human societies should structure their behavior around the demands of the marketplace. This is an absurd, utopian ideology. The airy promises of the market economy have, by now, all been exposed as lies. The ability of corporations to migrate overseas has decimated our manufacturing base. It has driven down wages, impoverishing our working class and ravaging our middle class. It has forced huge segments of the population — including those burdened by student loans — into decades of debt peonage. It has also opened the way to massive tax shelters that allow companies such as General Electric to pay no income tax. Corporations employ virtual slave labor in Bangladesh and China, making obscene profits. As corporations suck the last resources from communities and the natural world, they leave behind, as Joe Sacco and I saw in the sacrifice zones we wrote about, horrific human suffering and dead landscapes. The greater the destruction, the greater the apparatus crushes dissent.

More than 100 million Americans — one-third of the population — live in poverty or a category called “near poverty.” Yet the stories of the poor and the near poor, the hardships they endure, are rarely told by a media that is owned by a handful of corporations — Viacom, General Electric, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Clear Channel and Disney. The suffering of the underclass, like the crimes of the power elite, has been rendered invisible.

In the Lakota Indian reservation at Pine Ridge, S.D., in the United States’ second poorest county, the average life expectancy for a male is 48. This is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere outside of Haiti. About 60 percent of the Pine Ridge dwellings, many of which are sod huts, lack electricity, running water, adequate insulation or sewage systems. In the old coal camps of southern West Virginia, amid poisoned air, soil and water, cancer is an epidemic. There are few jobs. And the Appalachian Mountains, which provide the headwaters for much of the Eastern Seaboard, are dotted with enormous impoundment ponds filled with heavy metals and toxic sludge. In order to breathe, children go to school in southern West Virginia clutching inhalers. Residents trapped in the internal colonies of our blighted cities endure levels of poverty and violence, as well as mass incarceration, that leave them psychologically and emotionally shattered. And the nation’s agricultural workers, denied legal protection, are often forced to labor in conditions of unpaid bondage. This is the terrible algebra of corporate domination. This is where we are all headed. And in this accelerated race to the bottom we will end up as serfs or slaves.

Rebel. Even if you fail, even if we all fail, we will have asserted against the corporate forces of exploitation and death our ultimate dignity as human beings. We will have defended what is sacred. Rebellion means steadfast defiance. It means resisting just as have Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, just as has Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical journalist whom Cornel West, James Cone                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and I visited in prison last week in Frackville, Pa. It means refusing to succumb to fear. It means refusing to surrender, even if you find yourself, like Manning and Abu-Jamal, caged like an animal. It means saying no. To remain safe, to remain “innocent” in the eyes of the law in this moment in history is to be complicit in a monstrous evil. In his poem of resistance, “If We Must Die,” Claude McKay knew that the odds were stacked against African-Americans who resisted white supremacy. But he also knew that resistance to tyranny saves our souls. McKay wrote:

If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursèd lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!

Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one death blow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. It is time to employ the harsh language of open rebellion and class warfare. It is time to march to the beat of our own drum. The law historically has been a very imperfect tool for justice, as African-Americans know, but now it is exclusively the handmaiden of our corporate oppressors; now it is a mechanism of injustice. It was our corporate overlords who launched this war. Not us. Revolt will see us branded as criminals. Revolt will push us into the shadows. And yet, if we do not revolt we can no longer use the word “hope.”

Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” grasps the dark soul of global capitalism. We are all aboard the doomed ship Pequod, a name connected to an Indian tribe eradicated by genocide, and Ahab is in charge. “All my means are sane,” Ahab says, “my motive and my object mad.” We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.

Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio

via OpEdNews – Article: Rise Up or Die.

via OpEdNews – Article: Rise Up or Die.

A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse

A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse


What is a revolution? We used to think we knew. Revolutions were seizures of power by popular forces aiming to transform the very nature of the political, social, and economic system in the country in which the revolution took place, usually according to some visionary dream of a just society. Nowadays, we live in an age when, if rebel armies do come sweeping into a city, or mass uprisings overthrow a dictator, it’s unlikely to have any such implications; when profound social transformation does occur—as with, say, the rise of feminism—it’s likely to take an entirely different form. It’s not that revolutionary dreams aren’t out there. But contemporary revolutionaries rarely think they can bring them into being by some modern-day equivalent of storming the Bastille.

At moments like this, it generally pays to go back to the history one already knows and ask: Were revolutions ever really what we thought them to be? For me, the person who has asked this most effectively is the great world historian Immanuel Wallerstein. He argues that for the last quarter millennium or so, revolutions have consisted above all of planetwide transformations of political common sense.

Already by the time of the French Revolution, Wallerstein notes, there was a single world market, and increasingly a single world political system as well, dominated by the huge colonial empires. As a result, the storming of the Bastille in Paris could well end up having effects on Denmark, or even Egypt, just as profound as on France itself—in some cases, even more so. Hence he speaks of the “world revolution of 1789,” followed by the “world revolution of 1848,” which saw revolutions break out almost simultaneously in fifty countries, from Wallachia to Brazil. In no case did the revolutionaries succeed in taking power, but afterward, institutions inspired by the French Revolution—notably, universal systems of primary education—were put in place pretty much everywhere. Similarly, the Russian Revolution of 1917 was a world revolution ultimately responsible for the New Deal and European welfare states as much as for Soviet communism. The last in the series was the world revolution of 1968—which, much like 1848, broke out almost everywhere, from China to Mexico, seized power nowhere, but nonetheless changed everything. This was a revolution against state bureaucracies, and for the inseparability of personal and political liberation, whose most lasting legacy will likely be the birth of modern feminism.

A quarter of the American population is now engaged in “guard labor”—defending property, supervising work, or otherwise keeping their fellow Americans in line.

Revolutions are thus planetary phenomena. But there is more. What they really do is transform basic assumptions about what politics is ultimately about. In the wake of a revolution, ideas that had been considered veritably lunatic fringe quickly become the accepted currency of debate. Before the French Revolution, the ideas that change is good, that government policy is the proper way to manage it, and that governments derive their authority from an entity called “the people” were considered the sorts of things one might hear from crackpots and demagogues, or at best a handful of freethinking intellectuals who spend their time debating in cafés. A generation later, even the stuffiest magistrates, priests, and headmasters had to at least pay lip service to these ideas. Before long, we had reached the situation we are in today: that it’s necessary to lay out the terms for anyone to even notice they are there. They’ve become common sense, the very grounds of political discussion.

Until 1968, most world revolutions really just introduced practical refinements: an expanded franchise, universal primary education, the welfare state. The world revolution of 1968, in contrast—whether it took the form it did in China, of a revolt by students and young cadres supporting Mao’s call for a Cultural Revolution; or in Berkeley and New York, where it marked an alliance of students, dropouts, and cultural rebels; or even in Paris, where it was an alliance of students and workers—was a rebellion against bureaucracy, conformity, or anything that fettered the human imagination, a project for the revolutionizing of not just political or economic life, but every aspect of human existence. As a result, in most cases, the rebels didn’t even try to take over the apparatus of state; they saw that apparatus as itself the problem.

It’s fashionable nowadays to view the social movements of the late sixties as an embarrassing failure. A case can be made for that view. It’s certainly true that in the political sphere, the immediate beneficiary of any widespread change in political common sense—a prioritizing of ideals of individual liberty, imagination, and desire; a hatred of bureaucracy; and suspicions about the role of government—was the political Right. Above all, the movements of the sixties allowed for the mass revival of free market doctrines that had largely been abandoned since the nineteenth century. It’s no coincidence that the same generation who, as teenagers, made the Cultural Revolution in China was the one who, as forty-year-olds, presided over the introduction of capitalism. Since the eighties, “freedom” has come to mean “the market,” and “the market” has come to be seen as identical with capitalism—even, ironically, in places like China, which had known sophisticated markets for thousands of years, but rarely anything that could be described as capitalism.

The ironies are endless. While the new free market ideology has framed itself above all as a rejection of bureaucracy, it has, in fact, been responsible for the first administrative system that has operated on a planetary scale, with its endless layering of public and private bureaucracies: the IMF, World Bank, WTO, trade organizations, financial institutions, transnational corporations, NGOs. This is precisely the system that has imposed free market orthodoxy, and opened the world to financial pillage, under the watchful aegis of American arms. It only made sense that the first attempt to recreate a global revolutionary movement, the Global Justice Movement that peaked between 1998 and 2003, was effectively a rebellion against the rule of that very planetary bureaucracy.

Future Stop

In retrospect, though, I think that later historians will conclude that the legacy of the sixties revolution was deeper than we now imagine, and that the triumph of capitalist markets and their various planetary administrators and enforcers—which seemed so epochal and permanent in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991—was, in fact, far shallower.

I’ll take an obvious example. One often hears that antiwar protests in the late sixties and early seventies were ultimately failures, since they did not appreciably speed up the U.S. withdrawal from Indochina. But afterward, those controlling U.S. foreign policy were so anxious about being met with similar popular unrest—and even more, with unrest within the military itself, which was genuinely falling apart by the early seventies—that they refused to commit U.S. forces to any major ground conflict for almost thirty years. It took 9/11, an attack that led to thousands of civilian deaths on U.S. soil, to fully overcome the notorious “Vietnam syndrome”—and even then, the war planners made an almost obsessive effort to ensure the wars were effectively protest-proof. Propaganda was incessant, the media was brought on board, experts provided exact calculations on body bag counts (how many U.S. casualties it would take to stir mass opposition), and the rules of engagement were carefully written to keep the count below that.

The problem was that since those rules of engagement ensured that thousands of women, children, and old people would end up “collateral damage” in order to minimize deaths and injuries to U.S. soldiers, this meant that in Iraq and Afghanistan, intense hatred for the occupying forces would pretty much guarantee that the United States couldn’t obtain its military objectives. And remarkably, the war planners seemed to be aware of this. It didn’t matter. They considered it far more important to prevent effective opposition at home than to actually win the war. It’s as if American forces in Iraq were ultimately defeated by the ghost of Abbie Hoffman.

Clearly, an antiwar movement in the sixties that is still tying the hands of U.S. military planners in 2012 can hardly be considered a failure. But it raises an intriguing question: What happens when the creation of that sense of failure, of the complete ineffectiveness of political action against the system, becomes the chief objective of those in power?

The thought first occurred to me when participating in the IMF actions in Washington, D.C., in 2002. Coming on the heels of 9/11, we were relatively few and ineffective, the number of police overwhelming. There was no sense that we could succeed in shutting down the meetings. Most of us left feeling vaguely depressed. It was only a few days later, when I talked to someone who had friends attending the meetings, that I learned we had in fact shut them down: the police had introduced such stringent security measures, canceling half the events, that most of the actual meetings had been carried out online. In other words, the government had decided it was more important for protesters to walk away feeling like failures than for the IMF meetings to take place. If you think about it, they afforded protesters extraordinary importance.

Is it possible that this preemptive attitude toward social movements, the designing of wars and trade summits in such a way that preventing effective opposition is considered more of a priority than the success of the war or summit itself, really reflects a more general principle? What if those currently running the system, most of whom witnessed the unrest of the sixties firsthand as impressionable youngsters, are—consciously or unconsciously (and I suspect it’s more conscious than not)—obsessed by the prospect of revolutionary social movements once again challenging prevailing common sense?

It would explain a lot. In most of the world, the last thirty years has come to be known as the age of neoliberalism—one dominated by a revival of the long-since-abandoned nineteenth-century creed that held that free markets and human freedom in general were ultimately the same thing. Neoliberalism has always been wracked by a central paradox. It declares that economic imperatives are to take priority over all others. Politics itself is just a matter of creating the conditions for growing the economy by allowing the magic of the marketplace to do its work. All other hopes and dreams—of equality, of security—are to be sacrificed for the primary goal of economic productivity. But global economic performance over the last thirty years has been decidedly mediocre. With one or two spectacular exceptions (notably China, which significantly ignored most neoliberal prescriptions), growth rates have been far below what they were in the days of the old-fashioned, state-directed, welfare-state-oriented capitalism of the fifties, sixties, and even seventies. By its own standards, then, the project was already a colossal failure even before the 2008 collapse.

If, on the other hand, we stop taking world leaders at their word and instead think of neoliberalism as a political project, it suddenly looks spectacularly effective. The politicians, CEOs, trade bureaucrats, and so forth who regularly meet at summits like Davos or the G20 may have done a miserable job in creating a world capitalist economy that meets the needs of a majority of the world’s inhabitants (let alone produces hope, happiness, security, or meaning), but they have succeeded magnificently in convincing the world that capitalism—and not just capitalism, but exactly the financialized, semifeudal capitalism we happen to have right now—is the only viable economic system. If you think about it, this is a remarkable accomplishment.

Debt cancellation would make the perfect revolutionary demand.

How did they pull it off? The preemptive attitude toward social movements is clearly a part of it; under no conditions can alternatives, or anyone proposing alternatives, be seen to experience success. This helps explain the almost unimaginable investment in “security systems” of one sort or another: the fact that the United States, which lacks any major rival, spends more on its military and intelligence than it did during the Cold War, along with the almost dazzling accumulation of private security agencies, intelligence agencies, militarized police, guards, and mercenaries. Then there are the propaganda organs, including a massive media industry that did not even exist before the sixties, celebrating police. Mostly these systems do not so much attack dissidents directly as contribute to a pervasive climate of fear, jingoistic conformity, life insecurity, and simple despair that makes any thought of changing the world seem an idle fantasy. Yet these security systems are also extremely expensive. Some economists estimate that a quarter of the American population is now engaged in “guard labor” of one sort or another—defending property, supervising work, or otherwise keeping their fellow Americans in line. Economically, most of this disciplinary apparatus is pure deadweight.

In fact, most of the economic innovations of the last thirty years make more sense politically than economically. Eliminating guaranteed life employment for precarious contracts doesn’t really create a more effective workforce, but it is extraordinarily effective in destroying unions and otherwise depoliticizing labor. The same can be said of endlessly increasing working hours. No one has much time for political activity if they’re working sixty-hour weeks.

It does often seem that, whenever there is a choice between one option that makes capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and another that would actually make capitalism a more viable economic system, neoliberalism means always choosing the former. The combined result is a relentless campaign against the human imagination. Or, to be more precise: imagination, desire, individual creativity, all those things that were to be liberated in the last great world revolution, were to be contained strictly in the domain of consumerism, or perhaps in the virtual realities of the Internet. In all other realms they were to be strictly banished. We are talking about the murdering of dreams, the imposition of an apparatus of hopelessness, designed to squelch any sense of an alternative future. Yet as a result of putting virtually all their efforts in one political basket, we are left in the bizarre situation of watching the capitalist system crumbling before our very eyes, at just the moment everyone had finally concluded no other system would be possible.

Work It Out, Slow It Down

Normally, when you challenge the conventional wisdom—that the current economic and political system is the only possible one—the first reaction you are likely to get is a demand for a detailed architectural blueprint of how an alternative system would work, down to the nature of its financial instruments, energy supplies, and policies of sewer maintenance. Next, you are likely to be asked for a detailed program of how this system will be brought into existence. Historically, this is ridiculous. When has social change ever happened according to someone’s blueprint? It’s not as if a small circle of visionaries in Renaissance Florence conceived of something they called “capitalism,” figured out the details of how the stock exchange and factories would someday work, and then put in place a program to bring their visions into reality. In fact, the idea is so absurd we might well ask ourselves how it ever occurred to us to imagine this is how change happens to begin.

This is not to say there’s anything wrong with utopian visions. Or even blueprints. They just need to be kept in their place. The theorist Michael Albert has worked out a detailed plan for how a modern economy could run without money on a democratic, participatory basis. I think this is an important achievement—not because I think that exact model could ever be instituted, in exactly the form in which he describes it, but because it makes it impossible to say that such a thing is inconceivable. Still, such models can be only thought experiments. We cannot really conceive of the problems that will arise when we start trying to build a free society. What now seem likely to be the thorniest problems might not be problems at all; others that never even occurred to us might prove devilishly difficult. There are innumerable X-factors.

The most obvious is technology. This is the reason it’s so absurd to imagine activists in Renaissance Italy coming up with a model for a stock exchange and factories—what happened was based on all sorts of technologies that they couldn’t have anticipated, but which in part only emerged because society began to move in the direction that it did. This might explain, for instance, why so many of the more compelling visions of an anarchist society have been produced by science fiction writers (Ursula K. Le Guin, Starhawk, Kim Stanley Robinson). In fiction, you are at least admitting the technological aspect is guesswork.

Myself, I am less interested in deciding what sort of economic system we should have in a free society than in creating the means by which people can make such decisions for themselves. What might a revolution in common sense actually look like? I don’t know, but I can think of any number of pieces of conventional wisdom that surely need challenging if we are to create any sort of viable free society. I’ve already explored one—the nature of money and debt—in some detail in a recent book. I even suggested a debt jubilee, a general cancellation, in part just to bring home that money is really just a human product, a set of promises, that by its nature can always be renegotiated.

Labor, similarly, should be renegotiated. Submitting oneself to labor discipline—supervision, control, even the self-control of the ambitious self-employed—does not make one a better person. In most really important ways, it probably makes one worse. To undergo it is a misfortune that at best is sometimes necessary. Yet it’s only when we reject the idea that such labor is virtuous in itself that we can start to ask what is virtuous about labor. To which the answer is obvious. Labor is virtuous if it helps others. A renegotiated definition of productivity should make it easier to reimagine the very nature of what work is, since, among other things, it will mean that technological development will be redirected less toward creating ever more consumer products and ever more disciplined labor, and more toward eliminating those forms of labor entirely.

What would remain is the kind of work only human beings will ever be able to do: those forms of caring and helping labor that are at the very center of the crisis that brought about Occupy Wall Street to begin with. What would happen if we stopped acting as if the primordial form of work is laboring at a production line, or wheat field, or iron foundry, or even in an office cubicle, and instead started from a mother, a teacher, or a caregiver? We might be forced to conclude that the real business of human life is not contributing toward something called “the economy” (a concept that didn’t even exist three hundred years ago), but the fact that we are all, and have always been, projects of mutual creation.

It’s as if American forces in Iraq were ultimately defeated by the ghost of Abbie Hoffman.

At the moment, probably the most pressing need is simply to slow down the engines of productivity. This might seem a strange thing to say—our knee-jerk reaction to every crisis is to assume the solution is for everyone to work even more, though of course, this kind of reaction is really precisely the problem—but if you consider the overall state of the world, the conclusion becomes obvious. We seem to be facing two insoluble problems. On the one hand, we have witnessed an endless series of global debt crises, which have grown only more and more severe since the seventies, to the point where the overall burden of debt—sovereign, municipal, corporate, personal—is obviously unsustainable. On the other, we have an ecological crisis, a galloping process of climate change that is threatening to throw the entire planet into drought, floods, chaos, starvation, and war. The two might seem unrelated. But ultimately they are the same. What is debt, after all, but the promise of future productivity? Saying that global debt levels keep rising is simply another way of saying that, as a collectivity, human beings are promising each other to produce an even greater volume of goods and services in the future than they are creating now. But even current levels are clearly unsustainable. They are precisely what’s destroying the planet, at an ever-increasing pace.

Even those running the system are reluctantly beginning to conclude that some kind of mass debt cancellation—some kind of jubilee—is inevitable. The real political struggle is going to be over the form that it takes. Well, isn’t the obvious thing to address both problems simultaneously? Why not a planetary debt cancellation, as broad as practically possible, followed by a mass reduction in working hours: a four-hour day, perhaps, or a guaranteed five-month vacation? This might not only save the planet but also (since it’s not like everyone would just be sitting around in their newfound hours of freedom) begin to change our basic conceptions of what value-creating labor might actually be.

Occupy was surely right not to make demands, but if I were to have to formulate one, that would be it. After all, this would be an attack on the dominant ideology at its very strongest points. The morality of debt and the morality of work are the most powerful ideological weapons in the hands of those running the current system. That’s why they cling to them even as they are effectively destroying everything else. It’s also why debt cancellation would make the perfect revolutionary demand.

All this might still seem very distant. At the moment, the planet might seem poised more for a series of unprecedented catastrophes than for the kind of broad moral and political transformation that would open the way to such a world. But if we are going to have any chance of heading off those catastrophes, we’re going to have to change our accustomed ways of thinking. And as the events of 2011 reveal, the age of revolutions is by no means over. The human imagination stubbornly refuses to die. And the moment any significant number of people simultaneously shake off the shackles that have been placed on that collective imagination, even our most deeply inculcated assumptions about what is and is not politically possible have been known to crumble overnight.

This article is an excerpt from The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement, by David Graeber. Copyright © 2013 by David Graeber. Published by arrangement with Random House, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

David Graeber is a contributing editor of the magazine and the author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years. His new book is The Democracy Project.


The Last seven days in Baghdad

The last seven days in Baghdad – The cycle of bombs, deaths and burials appears to be never ending. It begins to look like the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein has become little more than a grand farce. The price of liberation has led to nothing more than an increased risk of death. How ironic the war that was meant to have ended continues. To convey the feeling of what is happening no written word is necessary. Just examine the pictures and you will quickly understand the misery
Mideast Iraq

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Frederick Engels’ Speech at the Grave of Karl Marx

Frederick Engels’ Speech at the Grave of Karl Marx

London, March 17, 1883

On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep — but for ever.

An immeasurable loss has been sustained both by the militant proletariat of Europe and America, and by historical science, in the death of this man. The gap that has been left by the departure of this mighty spirit will soon enough make itself felt.

Just as Darwin discovered the law of development or organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means, and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.

But that is not all. Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production, and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.

Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated — and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially — in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.

Such was the man of science. But this was not even half the man. Science was for Marx a historically dynamic, revolutionary force. However great the joy with which he welcomed a new discovery in some theoretical science whose practical application perhaps it was as yet quite impossible to envisage, he experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry, and in historical development in general. For example, he followed closely the development of the discoveries made in the field of electricity and recently those of Marcel Deprez.

For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival. His work on the first Rheinische Zeitung (1842), the Paris Vorwarts (1844), the Deutsche Brusseler Zeitung (1847), the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848-49), the New York Tribune (1852-61), and, in addition to these, a host of militant pamphlets, work in organisations in Paris, Brussels and London, and finally, crowning all, the formation of the great International Working Men’s Association – this was indeed an achievement of which its founder might well have been proud even if he had done nothing else.

And, consequently, Marx was the best hated and most calumniated man of his time. Governments, both absolutist and republican, deported him from their territories. Bourgeois, whether conservative or ultra-democratic, vied with one another in heaping slanders upon him. All this he brushed aside as though it were a cobweb, ignoring it, answering only when extreme necessity compelled him. And he died beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow workers — from the mines of Siberia to California, in all parts of Europe and America — and I make bold to say that, though he may have had many opponents, he had hardly one personal enemy.

His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work.

Posted in Blast from the Past, Real Heroes | Tagged Communism, Communist Manifesto, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx

via Proletarian Center for Research, Education and Culture | …in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we see what communists and their allies held at bay. – Richard Levins.

via Proletarian Center for Research, Education and Culture | …in the new exuberant aggressiveness of world capitalism we see what communists and their allies held at bay. – Richard Levins.

Washington’s Presumption…Nicolas Maduro


The new president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is cast in Chavez’s mold. On May 4, he called US president Obama the “grand chief of devils.”

Obama, who has betrayed democracy in America, unleashing execution on American citizens without due process of law and war without the consent of Congress, provoked Maduro’s response by suggesting that Maduro’s newly elected government might be fraudulent. Obviously, Obama is piqued that the millions of dollars his administration spent trying to elect an American puppet instead of Maduro failed to do the job.

If anyone has accurately summed up Washington, it is the Venezuelans.

Who can forget Chevez standing at the podium of the UN General Assembly in New York City speaking of George W. Bush? Quoting from memory: “Right here, yesterday, at this very podium stood Satan himself, speaking as if he owned the world. You can still smell the sulphur.”

Hegemonic Washington threw countless amounts of money into the last Venezuelan election, doing its best to deliver the governance of that country to a Washington puppet called Henrique Capriles, in my opinion a traitor to Venezuela. Why isn’t this American puppet arrested for treason? Why are not the Washington operatives against an independent country — the US ambassador, the counsels, the USAID/CIA personnel, the Washington funded NGOs — ordered to leave Venezuela immediately or arrested and tried for spying and high treason? Why allow any presence of Washington in Venezuela when it is clear that Washington’s intention is to make Venezuela a puppet state like the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Japan, and on and on.

There was a time, such as in the Allende-Pinochet era, when the American left-wing and a no longer extant liberal media would have been all over Washington for its illegal interference in the internal affairs of an independent country. But no more. As CounterPunch‘s Jeffrey St. Clair has recently made clear, the American left-wing remains “insensate to the moral and constitutional transgressions being committed by their champion” — the first black, or half-black, US president — leaving “Rand Paul to offer official denunciations concerning [Washington’s] malignant operations” against independent countries.

Against the Obama regime‘s acts of international and domestic violence, “the professional Left — from the progressive caucus to the robotic minions of — lodge no objections and launch no protests.” St. Clair has written a powerful article. Read it for yourself here.

I think the American left-wing lost its confidence when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Chinese communists and Indian socialists turned capitalist. Everyone misread the situation, especially the “end of history” idiots. The consequence is a world without strong protests of Washington’s and its puppet states’ war criminal military aggressions, murder, destruction of civil liberty and human rights, and transparent propaganda: “Last night Polish forces crossed the frontier and attacked Germany,” or so declared Adolf Hitler. Washington’s charges of “weapons of mass destruction” are even more transparent lies.

But hardly any care. The Western governments and Japan are all paid off and bought, and those that are not bought are begging to be bought because they want the money too. Truth, integrity, these are dead-letter words. No one any longer knows what they mean.

The moronic George W. Bush said, in Orwellian double-speak, they hate us for our freedom and democracy. They don’t hate us because we bomb them, invade them, kill them, destroy their way of life, culture, and infrastructure. They hate us because we are so good. How stupid does a person have to be to believe this BS?

Washington and Israel present the world with unmistakable evil. I don’t need to stand at the UN podium after Bush or Obama. I can smell Washington’s evil as far away as Florida. Jeffrey St. Clair can smell it in Oregon. Nicolas Maduro can smell it in Venezuela. Evo Morales can smell it in Bolivia from where he cast out CIA-infiltrated USAID. Putin can smell it in Russia, although he still permits the treasonous “Russian opposition” funded by US money to operate against Russia’s government. The Iranians can smell it in the Persian Gulf. The Chinese can smell it as far away as Beijing.

Homeland Security, a gestapo institution, has “crisis actors” to help it deceive the public in its false flag operations.

The Obama regime has drones with which to silence American citizens without due process of law.

Homeland Security has more than a billion rounds of ammunition, tanks, a para-military force. Detention camps have been built.

Are Americans so completely stupid that they believe this is all for “terrorists” whose sparse numbers require the FBI to manufacture “terrorists” in so-called “sting operations” in order to justify the FBI’s $3 billion special fund from Congress to combat domestic terrorism?

Congress has taxpayers paying the FBI to frame up innocents and send them to prison.

This is the kind of country American has become. This is the kind of “security” agencies it has, filling their pockets by destroying the lives of the innocent and downtrodden.

“In God we trust,” reads the coinage. It should read: “In Satan we follow

via OpEdNews – Article: Washington’s Presumption.

via OpEdNews – Article: Washington’s Presumption.

Foreign Policy the 500 most powerful individuals on the planet

Interesting list of the world’s top 500 most influential people

Is it possible to identify the 500 most powerful individuals on the planet — one in 14 million? That’s what we tried to do with the inaugural FP Power Map, our inventory of the people who control the commanding heights of the industries that run the world, from politics to high finance, media to energy, warfare to religion. Think of it as a list of all the most important other lists. Here’s how they stack up — and why (sorry, declinists!) Americans are still No. 1 in pretty much everything that matters. For now.

Mahmoud Abbas President, Palestinian Authority West Bank Politics
Tony Abbott Liberal Party leader Australia Politics
Shinzo Abe Prime minister Japan PoliticsBully Pulpit
Jill Abramson New York Times executive editor USA Bully Pulpit
Sheldon Adelson Las Vegas Sands CEO and chair USA PoliticsMoney
Aga Khan IV Ismaili Muslim imam Britain Bully PulpitMoney
Daniel Akerson General Motors CEO and chair USA Money
Rinat Akhmetov System Capital Management owner Ukraine Money
Karl Albrecht Aldi Süd owner Germany Money
Vagit Alekperov Lukoil president Russia Money
Keith Alexander National Security Agency director USA Force
Paul Allen Microsoft co-founder and Vulcan Inc. chair USA BrainsMoney
Yukiya Amano International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Japan Good
Shlomo Amar Sephardic chief rabbi Israel Bully Pulpit
Mukesh Ambani Reliance Industries chair and managing director India Money
Yaakov Amidror National security advisor Israel Force
Celso Amorim Defense minister Brazil Force
Marc Andreessen Andreessen Horowitz co-founder USA BrainsMoney
A.K. Antony Defense minister India Force
Catherine Ashton European Union foreign minister Britain Politics
Taro Aso Finance minister Japan Money
Bashar al-Assad President Syria Evil
Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz al-Assaf Finance minister Saudi Arabia Money
Aung San Suu Kyi Opposition leader Burma PoliticsBully Pulpit
Jean-Marc Ayrault Prime minister France Politics
Alberto Baillères Grupo Bal chair Mexico Money
John Baird Foreign minister Canada Politics
Bernard Bajolet Directorate-General for External Security head* France Force
Steve Ballmer Microsoft CEO USA BrainsMoney
Ban Ki-moon United Nations secretary-general South Korea GoodBully Pulpit
Mario Barletta Radical Civic Union president Argentina Politics
José Manuel Barroso European Commission president Portugal Politics
Bartholomew I Ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople Turkey Bully Pulpit
Omar Hassan al-Bashir President Sudan Evil
Fatou Bensouda International Criminal Court prosecutor Gambia Good
Ben Bernanke Federal Reserve chair USA MoneyBully Pulpit
Pier Luigi Bersani Democratic Party secretary Italy Politics
Jeff Bewkes Time Warner Inc. CEO and chair USA Bully PulpitMoney
Jeff Bezos Amazon CEO USA BrainsMoney
Ted Bianco Wellcome Trust acting director Britain Good
Joseph Biden Vice president USA PoliticsBully Pulpit
Carl Bildt Foreign minister Sweden Politics
Robert Birgeneau U.C. Berkeley chancellor USA Brains
Tony Blair Former prime minister Britain PoliticsBully Pulpit
Lloyd Blankfein Goldman Sachs CEO and chair USA Money
Len Blavatnik Access Industries chair USA Money
Michael Bloomberg New York mayor USA PoliticsBully PulpitMoney
John Boehner Speaker of the House of Representatives USA Politics
Jean-Laurent Bonnafé BNP Paribas CEO and director France Money
Alexander Bortnikov FSB director Russia Force
Leszek Borysiewicz Cambridge University chief executive Britain Brains
John Brennan CIA director USA Force
Sergey Brin Google co-founder USA BrainsMoney
Andrew Brown Church Commissioners CEO and secretary Britain Good
Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway CEO USA Bully PulpitMoney
Ursula Burns Xerox CEO USA Money
David Cameron Prime minister Britain PoliticsBully Pulpit
Bob Carr Foreign minister Australia Politics
Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Juárez cartel leader Mexico Evil
John Chambers Cisco CEO and chair USA Money
Margaret Chan World Health Organization director-general China Good
Norman Chan Hong Kong Monetary Authority CEO Hong Kong Money
Stephen Chazen Occidental CEO and president USA Money
Dhanin Chearavanont Charoen Pokphand Group chair Thailand Money
Chen Yuan China Development Bank chair China Money
Cheng Yu-tung Investor Hong Kong Money
Palaniappan Chidambaram Finance minister India Money
Jean-Paul Chifflet Crédit Agricole CEO France Money
James Clapper Director of national intelligence USA Force
Helen Clark U.N. Development Program administrator New Zealand Good
Joseph Clayton Dish Network CEO and president USA Bully Pulpit
Bill Clinton Former president USA PoliticsBully Pulpit
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Tim Cook Apple CEO USA BrainsMoney
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Kim Jong Un Supreme leader North Korea ForceEvil
Kim Kwan-jin Defense minister South Korea Force
Ian King BAE Systems CEO Britain MoneyForce
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Philip Knight Nike chair USA Money
Charles Koch Koch Industries CEO and chair USA PoliticsMoney
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William Kumuyi Deeper Christian Life Ministry general superintendent Nigeria Bully Pulpit
Haruhiko Kuroda Bank of Japan governor Japan Money
Raymond Kwok Sun Hung Kai Properties co-chair Hong Kong Money
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Oh-Hyun Kwon Samsung CEO South Korea BrainsMoney
Christine Lagarde IMF managing director France MoneyGood
Arnaud Lagardère Lagardère CEO and chair France Bully Pulpit
Pascal Lamy World Trade Organization director-general France Good
Ryan Lance ConocoPhillips CEO and chair USA Money
Germán Larrea Mota-Velasco Grupo México president Mexico Money
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Sergei Lavrov Foreign minister Russia Politics
Jean-Yves Le Drian Defense minister France Force
Lee Shau-kee Henderson Land Development chair Hong Kong Money
Thierry Lepaon General Confederation of Labor secretary-general France Politics
Richard Levin Yale University president USA Brains
Jacob Lew Treasury secretary USA Money
Li Hongzhi Falun Gong founder China Bully Pulpit
Li Jianguo All-China Federation of Trade Unions chair China Politics
Li Ka-shing Hutchison Whampoa chair Hong Kong Money
Li Keqiang Premier China Politics
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Robin Li Baidu CEO China Bully PulpitBrainsMoney
Alfredo Lim Manila mayor Philippines Politics
Lim Siong Guan Government of Singapore Investment Corp. president Singapore Money
Vladimir Lisin NLMK chair Russia Money
Liu Zhenya State Grid Corp. president China Money
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Hernán Lorenzino Economic minister Argentina Money
Peter Löscher Siemens CEO and president Austria Money
Lou Jiwei Finance minister China Money
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Helge Lund Statoil CEO and president Norway Money
Michael Lynton Sony Entertainment CEO and chair USA Bully Pulpit
Peter MacKay Defense minister Canada Force
Andrew Mackenzie BHP Billiton CEO South Africa Money
Gregory Maffei Liberty Media CEO and president USA Bully Pulpit
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Defense minister UAE PoliticsForce
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Guido Mantega Finance minister Brazil Money
Lutz Marmor ARD chair Germany Bully Pulpit
John Mars Mars Inc. chair USA Money
Agus Martowardojo Finance minister Indonesia Money
Masayuki Matsumoto NHK president Japan Bully Pulpit
Isao Matsushita JX Holdings CEO and president Japan Money
Shigeo Matsutomi Intelligence chief Japan Force
Peter Maurer International Committee of the Red Cross president Switzerland Good
Marissa Mayer Yahoo! CEO USA Bully Pulpit
Timothy Mayopoulos Fannie Mae CEO USA Money
Lowell McAdam Verizon CEO and chair USA Money
Margot McCarthy National security advisor Australia Force
Mitch McConnell Senate minority leader USA Politics
William McNabb Vanguard CEO and chair USA Money
James McNerney Boeing CEO and chair USA MoneyForce
José Antonio Meade Foreign minister Mexico Politics
Mourad Medelci Foreign minister Algeria Politics
Dmitry Medvedev Prime minister Russia Politics
Hakimullah Mehsud Pakistani Taliban leader Pakistan Evil
Andrey Melnichenko Siberian Coal Energy Co. chair Russia Money
Shivshankar Menon National security advisor India Force
Angela Merkel Chancellor Germany PoliticsBully PulpitMoney
Khaled Meshaal Hamas leader West Bank ForceEvil
Gérard Mestrallet GDF Suez CEO and chair France Money
Yona Metzger Ashkenazi chief rabbi Israel Bully Pulpit
Leonid Mikhelson Novatek executive director Russia Money
Carolyn Miles Save the Children CEO and president USA Good
Ed Miliband Labour Party leader Britain Politics
Alexey Miller Gazprom CEO and chair Russia Money
Yuri Milner Digital Sky Technologies founder Russia BrainsMoney
Le Luong Minh Association of Southeast Asian Nations secretary-general Vietnam Politics
Lakshmi Mittal ArcelorMittal CEO and chair India Money
Semion Mogilevich Mafia boss Russia Evil
Nadir Mohamed Rogers Communications CEO and president Canada Bully Pulpit
Moon Hee-sang Democratic United Party leader South Korea Politics
Pedro Morenés Defense minister Spain Force
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Elon Musk PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors founder USA MoneyBrains
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Navi Pillay U.N. high commissioner for human rights South Africa Good
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Juan Carlos Pinzón Defense minister Colombia Force
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Scott Powers State Street Global Advisors CEO and president USA Money
Sunil Prabhu Mumbai mayor India Politics
Vladimir Putin President Russia PoliticsBully PulpitForceMoney
Yusuf al-Qaradawi Sunni cleric Egypt Bully Pulpit
Thomas Rabe Bertelsmann CEO and chair Germany Bully Pulpit
Bertrand Ract-Madoux Army chief of staff France Force
Baba Ramdev Hindu spiritual leader India Bully Pulpit
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Harry Reid Senate majority leader USA Politics
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Brian Roberts Comcast CEO and chair and NBCUniversal chair USA Bully Pulpit
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Yasuhiro Sato Mizuho Financial Group CEO and president Japan Money
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud King Saudi Arabia PoliticsMoney
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Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foreign minister Saudi Arabia Politics
John Sawers Secret Intelligence Service chief Britain Force
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Mehmet Simsek Finance minister Turkey Money
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Michael Sommer Confederation of German Trade Unions president Germany Politics
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Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. New York Times Co. chair USA Bully Pulpit
William Swanson Raytheon CEO and chair USA MoneyForce
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Alwaleed bin Talal Kingdom Holding Co. chair Saudi Arabia Money
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Johannes Teyssen E.ON CEO and chair Germany Money
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani Foreign minister Qatar Bully Pulpit
Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Emir Qatar PoliticsMoneyBully Pulpit
Thein Sein President Burma Politics
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David Thomson Thomson Reuters chair Canada Bully PulpitMoney
Shirley Tilghman Princeton University president USA Brains
Rex Tillerson Exxon Mobil CEO and chair USA Money
Héctor Timerman Foreign minister Argentina Politics
Robert Tjian Howard Hughes Medical Institute president USA Good
Alexandre Tombini Central Bank of Brazil governor Brazil Money
Akio Toyoda Toyota CEO Japan Money
Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales Zetas drug cartel leader Mexico Evil
Richard Trumka AFL-CIO president USA Politics
Kazuhiro Tsuga Panasonic president Japan BrainsMoney
Kevin Tsujihara Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO USA Bully Pulpit
Yoshinobu Tsutsui Nippon Life Insurance president Japan Money
Donald Tusk Prime minister Poland Politics
Luis Ubiñas Ford Foundation president USA Good
Hiroo Unoura Nippon Telegraph and Telephone CEO Japan Money
Alisher Usmanov Investor Russia Money
Herman Van Rompuy European Council president Belgium Politics
Viktor Vekselberg Renova Group chair Russia Money
Luis Videgaray Finance minister Mexico Money
Antonio Villaraigosa Los Angeles mayor USA Politics
Ignazio Visco Bank of Italy governor Italy Money
Peter Voser Royal Dutch Shell CEO Switzerland Money
Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb emir Algeria Evil
Jimmy Wales Wikipedia founder USA Bully Pulpit
Peter Wall Chief of general staff Britain Force
S. Robson Walton Walmart chair USA Money
Wan Qingliang Guangzhou Communist Party secretary China Politics
Wang Yi Foreign minister China Politics
Wang Yilin CNOOC chair China Money
Nick Warner Australian Secret Intelligence Service director-general Australia Force
Rick Warren Evangelical pastor USA Bully Pulpit
John Watson Chevron CEO and chair USA Money
Jens Weidmann German Federal Bank president Germany Money
Bob Weinstein Weinstein Company co-chair USA Bully Pulpit
Harvey Weinstein Weinstein Company co-chair USA Bully Pulpit
Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury Britain Bully Pulpit
Guido Westerwelle Foreign minister Germany Politics
Guy Weston Garfield Weston Foundation chair Britain Good
Meg Whitman Hewlett-Packard CEO and president USA Money
Joko Widodo Jakarta governor Indonesia Politics
Steve Williams Suncor CEO and president Canada Money
Oprah Winfrey Harpo Productions and Oprah Winfrey Network CEO and chair USA Bully PulpitMoney
Martin Winterkorn Volkswagen CEO Germany Money
Penny Wong Finance minister Australia Money
Carolyn Woo Catholic Relief Services CEO and president USA Good
George Wood Assemblies of God general superintendent USA Bully Pulpit
Nasir al-Wuhayshi al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula emir Yemen Evil
Xi Jinping President China PoliticsBully PulpitMoneyForce
Xu Qiliang Central Military Commission vice chairman China Force
Moshe Yaalon Defense minister Israel Force
Yang Jiechi State councilor China Politics
Yi Gang Foreign exchange reserves administrator China Money
Ismet Yilmaz Defense minister Turkey Force
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono President Indonesia Politics
Yun Byung-se Foreign minister South Korea Politics
Syed Hashim Raza Zaidi Karachi administrator Pakistan Politics
Lamberto Zannier Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe secretary-general Italy Politics
Ayman al-Zawahiri al Qaeda leader Egypt Evil
Dieter Zetsche Daimler CEO Germany Money
Zhang Jianguo China Construction Bank president and executive director China Money
Zhang Yuzhuo Shenhua Group CEO and president China Money
Zhou Jiping China National Petroleum Corp. and PetroChina chair* China Money
Zhou Xiaochuan People’s Bank of China governor China Money
Helen Zille Democratic Alliance leader South Africa Politics
Robert Zimmer University of Chicago president USA Brains
Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO and founder USA BrainsMoney
Jacob Zuma President South Africa Politics

via The FP Power Map | Foreign Policy.

via The FP Power Map | Foreign Policy.

Do we Need the IRA to Fight the War Damage of Austerity?

We don’t have a leader to fight the war against austerity and given that we have no alternative should we ask the IRA to take up the cause on behalf of the citizens

I have no doubt that Kenny and Noonan have good intentions but can you see these men throwing down the gauntlet to force radical change to IMF/ECB policy… no these guys will not rock the boat for the are bonded to their masters

We are a country blitzed by the imposition of austerity…no credit, mounting household debt, high unemployment, plummeting standards right across the broad spectrum of education/social services  and finally the Government selling off the what remains of the family silver. Light at the end of the tunnel I don’t think so all I see is devastation and more ruin. Given the level of mounting Government debt at some stage we are going to reach the point of no return and what then. Do we have to wait until the bitter end to face face reality.

Public Sector

Cutting public sector jobs means higher unemployment and fewer people in work paying taxes

Freezing public sector pay and higher unemployment means less disposable income to be spent in the private sector, with a knock-on effect on private sector jobs
Cutting business taxes means less revenue to close the deficit and pay off our debt.

The government is presenting its plans as simply ‘dealing with the deficit’, but that is a smokescreen for another agenda. The government wants to cut and privatise public services because it believes in a market for even essential goods and services; that business should be free to extract profit from any public service, even schools, hospitals, welfare ETC.

The government’s policies are failing because the public sector is not the real problem.

Instead of solving the crisis, these policies are making it worse.

Austerity is not working
It’s not just in the Ireland that austerity isn’t t working. Just look at Greece,Italy, Portugal, UK and Spain

In Spain the unemployment rate is now 25%, while youth unemployment is over 50%.

Why inequality has to be addressed

We are the 99% – and as an end game harassing the 99%  cannot not work.

Wages have disportionately . Inflation has been higher than the annual increase in pay. This fall in real wages means we are able to buy less with our money than before, as we have less disposable income.
. . . .
Redistribution: to the 1%
Why is this happening and where is the money going? At the same time that wages and other income has been squeezed for the majority of people, a few people at the top are doing better than ever A few at the top are getting very rich by cutting pay and pensions for the rest.

Freedom of information

The very fundamentals of democracy are build on freedom of information and yet on a worldwide basis it appears to be politicians want to squeeze the information been fed to its citizens. Why will the Irish/EU not release the full details of the bailout agreement to its people.


Cutbacks In in education will mean will mean we revert to being a nation of unskilled factory workers.

What next immigration to Bangladesh?

Education is one of the few remaining life lines open to the country

No sell off of public utilities

Everywhere this has happened it has been an unmitigated disaster

A banking system that works for people not profit

Some of the banks that were bailed out by the government are still using loopholes to advise their corporate and wealthy clients how to avoid paying tax.

They have also laid-off thousands of their own staff to maintain the greed at the top. It feels like we have nationalised the debts while the profits are privatised.

The banking collapse, which caused such economic damage , means the finance sector has lost the right to carry on as before. It must now act in the public interest; publicly owned and controlled.

The money, real money, that is held by the finance sector is ours anyway: our pension funds, our savings, and the cash in our current accounts. The rest of it is credit – electronic money (as over 90% now is) created out of thin air by the banks to lend. The banks are given the right to create credit by governments.

We therefore need the government to ensure that when banks create credit, or lend or invest with our savings or pension funds, they are doing so in our collective interest.

That means investing in infrastructure like new council housing  not lending recklessly and creating a housing bubble (and inevitable crash). It means investing to create new jobs in renewable energy rather than speculating on food prices to profit from starvation. And it means investing in new businesses and ideas, not getting windfall dividends and bonuses for merging existing businesses and laying-off staff.

Essential public services are being cut back and privatised, and people’s living standards have been falling , both for those in work and even more so for those unemployed.

There are social consequences too, which have clear financial costs.

Research from previous recessions shows that the increased financial pressures push more people into depression and substance abuse, means couples are more likely to separate, and suicide rates increase.

Politics is about choices – and there is always a choice and always an alternative. Because there always is an alternative but yet we are continually fed the mantra there is no alternative to austerity.

There is an economic crisis – one of rising unemployment, inequality and economic stagnation. Austerity isn’t working, and is not producing the economic growth that the government promised it would. But it is not just growth that matters. If we value people’s lives as more important than simply making more transactions, then the relevant tests for judging an economic recovery are:

Is unemployment falling?

Are people’s living standards rising

Is inequality reducing

Is the tax gap closing?

These are the tests against which we should measure the government’s economic strategy and proposals.

Also the government we have appear to be incapable of showing any leadership whatsoever. They sheep like continue to follow the dictate of their masters…Ollie Rehn.  “the eurozone has shown a degree of resilience and problem-solving capacity that many observers and policymakers would not have predicted even a year ago”…Commission chief Jose Barroso  insisted that the policy(austerity) is “fundamentally right” and working in Ireland, a risible statement if ever.

We need a leadership that knows how to play rough and this was familiar territory for the IRA. The lesson learnt was once the financial heart of London was bombed peace was in the making.

If the politicians do not heed the wishes of the electorate what then, protest marches …if they still do not listen…civil disobedience… if they still remain deaf well the options narrow. Revolution,guns , violence bombes I hope not.

May common sense prevail


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Lurking among the corpses are the body snatchers....plotting their next venture into the graveyard....the blood in your veins will run cold, your spine tingle, as you look into the terror of death in tonight's feature....come along with me into the chamber of horrors, for an excursion through.... Horror Incorporated!

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