White Supremacists Plotted to Assasinate Obama, Behead Black Children

BoingBoing repost:
White supremacist terrorism persists in America: Two neo-nazi skinheads planned to assassinate Barack Obama and shoot or behead dozens of black people, but their plot was thwarted by a federal investigation. Photo below: Daniel Cowart, 20, of Tennessee vamps for a MySpace vanity snapshot with one of the guns seized by ATF agents. His plot partner, also arrested: Paul Schlesselman 18, an Arkansas native. Snip from Eric Lichtblau's piece in the NYT:
The assassination was to be the culmination of a “killing spree” that would also single out children at an unnamed, predominately black school, federal officials said. The men talked of “killing 88 people and beheading 14 African-Americans,” according to the affidavit.

The two men each had “very strong views” about Aryan white power and “skinhead” ideology, the federal officials said, and the numbers 88 and 14 have special significance in the white power movement. The number 88 is shorthand for “Heil Hitler” — H is the eighth letter in the alphabet —and 14 signifies a 14-word mantra among white supremacists: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Officials said the two men met via the Internet through a mutual friend.

Arrests in Plan to Kill Obama and Black Schoolchildren (New York Times).

Smoking Gun has a copy of the ATF affidavit, which reveals that the fashion-conscious FAIL duo planned to wear white tuxedoes and top hats to the massacre. Here's a video of Obama's response to the news. Here are the original PDFs of the ATF affidavit , complaint, and news release.

Sarah Palin's Assasination talking tips

Boingboing reposted: Anil Dash has a thoughtful essay up today. Snip:


Tv Sheriff on the 2008 election

Our old pal Davy Force aka TV Sheriff made this great mindblowing video with UK super freaks Cold Cut. Enjoy.. thanks to thaNUKEYAlerpresident for finding it.


The broker's with hands on their faces

very amusing.

perhaps related:

'It's payback time,' banks warned in threat letters

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Letters containing white powder that were sent to more than 50 financial institutions warned that "it's payback time," the FBI said Thursday. Go to CNN


Global Justice Movement

Here is Evo Morales' Speach at the Social Forum of the Americas, which happened in Guatemala last week.

Evo Morales: Ten commandments to save the planet

By Evo Morales Ayma, president of the Republic of Bolivia
Message to the Continental Gathering of Solidarity with Bolivia in Guatemala City

October 9, 2008 -- Sisters and brothers, on behalf of the Bolivian people, I greet the social movements of this continent present in this act of continental solidarity with Bolivia.

We have just suffered the violence of the oligarchy, whose most brutal expression was the massacre in Panda, a deed that teaches us that an attempt at power based on money and weapons in order to oppress the people is not sustainable. It is easily knocked down, if it is not based on a program and the consciousness of the people.

We see that the re-founding of Bolivia affects the underhanded interests of a few families of large landholders, who reject as an aggression the measures enacted to favour the people such as a more balanced distribution of the resources of natural gas for our grandfathers and grandmothers, as well as the distribution of lands, the campaigns for health and literacy, and others.

To protect their power and privileges and to evade the process of change, the ruling elite of large landholders of the so-called Half Moon (Media Luna) clothe themselves in the movements for departmental autonomies and the rupture of national unity, lending themselves to the yankee interests of ending the re-founding of Bolivia.

However, in the revocation referendum of August 10, we just received the mandate of two-thirds of the Bolivian people to consolidate this process of change, in order to continue advancing in the recovery of our natural resources, and to insure the well being of all Bolivians, to unite the distinct sectors of society of the countryside and the city, of the east and the west.

Sisters and brothers, what happened with this revocation referendum in Bolivia is something that is not only important for Bolivians but for all Latin Americans. We dedicate it to the Latin American revolutionaries and those throughout the world, reaffirming the struggle for all processes of change.

I was going to express the way to recover the life ways of our peoples, called Live Well (el Buen Vivir), to recover our vision of the Mother Earth, that for us is life, because it is not possible for the capitalist model to convert Mother Earth into a commodity. Once again we see the profound correlations between the indigenous movement and the organisations of the social movements, which also throw in their lot in order to Live Well. We greet them so that together we can seek a certain balance in the world.

10 commandments to save the planet

Along these lines, I want to share and propose for debate some 10 commandments to save the planet, for humanity and for life, not only at this level but also to debate among our communities, and our organisations.

First, if we want to save the planet earth to save life and humanity, we are obliged to end the capitalist system. The grave effects of climate change, of the energy, food and financial crises, are not a product of human beings in general, but rather of the capitalist system at it is, inhuman, with its idea of unlimited industrial development.

Second, to renounce war, because the people do not win in war, but only the imperial powers; the nations do not win, but rather the transnational corporations. Wars benefit a small group of families and not the people. The trillions of millions of dollars used for war should be directed to repair and cure Mother Earth wounded by climate change.

Third proposal for debate: a world without imperialism nor colonialism. Our relationships should be oriented to the principle of complementarity, and to take into account the profound asymmetries that exist family to family, country to country, and continent to continent.

And the fourth point is oriented to the issue of water, which ought to be guaranteed as a human right to avoid its privatisation into few hands, given that water is life.

As the fifth point, I would like to say that we need to end the energy debacle. In 100 years we are using up fossil energies created during millions of years. As some presidents are setting aside lands for luxury automobiles and not for human beings, we need to implement policies to impede the use of agro-fuels and in this way to avoid the hunger and misery for our peoples.

As a sixth point: in relationship to the Mother Earth, the capitalist system treats the Mother Earth as a raw material, but the Earth cannot be understood as a commodity; who could privatise, rent or lease their own mother? I propose that we organise an international movement in defence of Mother Nature, in order to recover the health of Mother Earth and re-establish a harmonious and responsible life with her.

A central theme as the seventh point for debate is that basic services, whether they be water, electricity, education or health, need to be taken into account as human rights.

As the eighth point, to consume what is needed, prioritise what we produce and consume locally, end consumerism, decadence and luxury. We need to prioritise local production for local consumption, stimulating self-reliance and the sovereignty of the communities within the limits that the health and remaining resources the planet permits.

As the next to last point, to promote the diversity of cultures and economies. To live in unity respecting our differences, no only physical, but also economic, through economies managed by the communities and their associations.

Sisters and brothers, as the tenth point, we propose to Live Well, not live better at the expense of another, a Live Well based on the lifestyle of our peoples, the riches of our communities, fertile lands, water and clean air. Socialism is talked about a lot, but we need to improve this socialism, improve the proposals for socialism in the XXI century, building a communitarian socialism, or simply Live Well, in harmony with Mother Earth, respecting the shared life ways of the community.

Finally, sisters and brothers, certainly you are following up on the problems that exist. I have reached the conclusion that there will always be problems, but I want to tell you that I am very content, not disappointed or worried because these groups who permanently enslaved our families during the colonial time, the time of the republic and this period of neoliberalism, they continue as family groups, resisting us.

It is our struggle to confront these groups who live in luxury and who do not wish to lose their luxury, or lose their lands. This is a historic struggle and this struggle lives on.

Sisters and brothers, in the hope that the Continental Gathering of the Social Forum of the Americas culminates with strong bonds of unity among you and a strong action plan in favour of the people of Bolivia and of our peoples, I repeat my fraternal greeting.

[Translated by S. Bartlett. From Bolivia Rising.]


Global Justice Movement

From the hell freezing over department, there have been scores of mainstream media references to Karl Marx in the last two weeks. Here is an article in todays London Times Business Section:

The Times
October 20, 2008

Banking crisis gives added capital to Karl Marx’s writings

Roger Boyes in Berlin

Bankers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your bonuses, houses in Esher, holidays in the Caribbean and your Jermyn Street shirts. The upside is that you have the time, at last, to read the complete works of Karl Marx.

The prophet of revolutionaries everywhere, the scourge of capitalism, is enjoying a comeback.

In Germany Das Kapital, which for the past decade has been used mainly as a doorstop, is flying off the shelves as the newly disenfranchised business class tries to work out the root of the present crisis.

“Marx is fashionable again,” declares Jörn Schütrumpf, head of the Berlin publishing house Dietz, which brings out the works of Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels. Sales have trebled – albeit from a pretty low level – since 2005 and have soared since the summer.

“We have a new generation of readers who are rattled by the financial crisis and have to recognise that neo-liberalism has turned out to be a false dream,” said Mr Schütrumpf.

Visitors to Karl Marx’s birthplace in Trier have soared – 40,000 so far this year – with many coming from China, eastern Germany, Cuba and Bolivia.

“I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say: ‘The man was right!’,” says Beatrix Bouvier, chief curator of the museum. Alexander Kluge, the film director, is preparing to make a blockbuster film out of Das Kapital. Little wonder, since Marx comes highly recommended. President Sarkozy of France has been seen flicking through the book, while the Peer Steinbrück, the German Finance Minister, recently admitted: “Certain parts of Marx’s thinking are really not so bad.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave him a decent review last month: “Marx long ago observed the way in which unbridled capitalism became a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that had no life in themselves.” Even the Pope has put in a good word for the old atheist – praising his “great analytical skill”.

Marx’s new relevance relates mainly to his warning about the creation of an exploitative capitalism that ends up destroying itself: “An over-expansion of credit can enable the capitalist system to sell temporarily more goods than the sum of real incomes created in current production, plus past savings, could buy,” said Ernest Mandel, the Marxist scholar, quoting his guru, “but in the long run, debts must be paid”. Since these debts cannot be automatically paid through expanded output and income, capitalism is destined for a “Krach” - Marx’s word for a crash.

Marx set out his thoughts not only in Das Kapital but in articles such as “The Financial Crisis in Europe” which was written for the New York Daily Tribune in 1857, and in the Communist Manifesto, which was written with Engels.

In the manifesto, published in 1848, he lists the ten essential steps to communism. Step five was: “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state. . .”


Blow Ups and Bombers

CounterPunch Diary


Talk about falling to the occasion! You would not have an inkling from the candidates’ third and final debate at Hofstra University on Long Island that Wednesday had been a day of fearful carnage on Wall Street, throwing into question the desperate efforts of the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve to stabilize the situation.

You would not have known that across the last month the Dow Jones industrial index has lost 25 per cent of its value. You would not have known that in the considered estimation of many economists the United States could well be entering a prolonged recession.

You would not have known that every assertion about the merits of deregulation and about the primacy of market forces is now dead, skinned and nailed to the wall like a moose hide in the Palins’ garage.

Listening to both candidates in that last debate made me think of one of those reverses of the earth’s electro-magnetic field that occurs every 100,000 years or so. The last month has seen the sweeping away of all the shopworn economic coordinates by which conventional politicians set their course. Gone are the hallowed landmarks. Yet here were McCain and Obama trudging on, sighting their compasses on bearings that no longer exist.

There were, to be sure, dutiful references by both Obama and McCain to the economic crisis, but mostly it was as though they were talking about a minor traffic accident a couple of blocks away. McCain flourished a proposal to bail out homeowners. Obama claimed that the bankers’ bailout bill for which they had both voted contained exactly such provisions. Then the two retreated to mechanical reiteration of their tax plans, their health plans, their plans for Energy Independence, all of them topics interminably raked over in the earlier debates.

There’s a reason why McCain graduated from Annapolis sixth from the bottom of his class. After that promising opening about bailing out homeowners he got lost, like an elderly, half-blind dog getting off the path in the woods. He stopped and started barking at Obama’s tax plan.

I thought he looked really terrible. Here in the CounterPunch newsletter and on this site we’ve raised the possibility that his melanoma problems may be a lot worse than he lets on. Lori Klaidman, a medical researcher, sends us this bleak assessment:

Thank you for your recent article raising questions re: McCain's health prognosis. I am a medical researcher and have a great deal of experience with melanoma having recently just lost a brother to it. What people don't seem to get about this cancer that at stage IIa, his chances of surviving to 10 years at stage IIa WERE 64 per cent. But nearly 10 years have past since the year 2000 since that diagnosis. It is MUCH lower now. Might it be more like 50 per cent survival to the end of his first potential term? This is an optimistic view, and a strong possibility because no one believes those cells have gone away or that he is in permanent remission. Further, the minute those melanoma cells migrate to a lymph node, his chances for survival are anywhere from 15-63 per cent. Note that his doctors were surprised that they had not already metastisized to the nearest lymph node in 2000, when it was investigated.

Despite the rosy picture that McCain's doctor's paint, they fully admit that melanoma cells are freely migrating throughout his blood stream and body. Because cancer cells lose their ability to slow down in a G1 phase during cell division, they are unable to rest and repair faithfully DNA strands during replication without error. Therefore it is only a matter of time before you get one cell that that has lost all control and becomes extremely aggressive with tumors doubling in size about every 45 days. In fact, the purpose of melanocytes, from which melanomas were derived from, means that they are already super hardy, whose main purpose is to protect oneself from the sun, and only a few minor mutations will create a deadly aggressive unstoppable cancer.

Furthermore, what little treatment there is for melanoma, such as interferon, relies on pumping up the immune system, which might give an extra 5 per cent to the statistics at best (melanoma is known for being chemo and radio insensitive). However, it is well known that anger and stress can dampen the immune system response. Can there be any doubt even among his supporters that McCain has a few "anger management" issues? Therefore what all of this could do is put his survival statistics at, perhaps 45 per cent to survive his first term as president? Fortunately, unlike most of us, he does have the best health care that money can buy. However, this time, even that is not likely to save him when it comes to melanoma, the deadliest, most untreatable cancer that exists.

Lori Klaidman

When he quit barking about taxes and Joe the Plumber McCain finally remembered his briefing script and brought up Obama’s ties to Bill Ayers, the former Weatherman.

I strongly advise the Obama campaign, not to mention all those readers of this site who do not yet read our newsletter, to subscribe without delay. Our latest issue, just released, discloses that when it comes to complicity with the Weathermen and specifically Ayers, one of the present chairmen of the McCain campaign played a far more supportive role to Ayers, at a time when Ayers was combating the war by all means necessary and when his ears were still ringing from the detonations of Weathermunitions. Get the full story here.

And when it comes to the new economic coordinates, the new edition of our newsletter writes a powerful obituary for the neoliberal Washington Consensus that has dominated the economic affairs of the planet since the early 1970s.

“Wall Street’s financial meltdown ,” write Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers, “marks the end of an era. What has ended is the credibility of the Washington Consensus – open markets to foreign investors and tight money austerity programs (high interest rates and credit cutbacks) to “cure” balance-of-payments deficits, domestic budget deficits and price inflation.

“Washington’s idealized picture of how “free markets” operate (as if such a thing ever existed) promised that countries outside the United States would get rich faster, approaching U.S.-style living standards if they let global investors buy their key industries and basic infrastructure. For half a century, this neoliberal model has been a hypocritical exercise in poor policy at best, and deception at worst, to convince other economies to impose self-destructive financial and tax policies, enabling U.S. investors to swoop in and buy their key assets at distress prices.”

This era is now over. Around the world, and here at home, this is as ripe an opportunity for the left as we will ever encounter in our lifetimes. As Robert Pollin told Mike Whitney on this site last week (whitney10162008.html) "We are in the midst of a major historic turning point, equivalent to the emergence of neoliberalism under Thatcher and Reagan", only this time the signposts point the other way. As Pollin said, “The big money flowing into Obama, and to Democrats more generally, certainly will make it more difficult for our elected officials to do the work of the people. But here again, Wall Street has now been discredited to a degree unprecedented since the 1930s. That should give the left serious political leverage…he real issue — whether it be through public or private ownership or some mix — is to move financial institutions and markets in the direction of egalitarianism.”


Dr. Paulson's Magic Potion Is Pure Poison for Us

By William Greider, The Nation

Posted on October 17, 2008, Printed on October 18, 2008

American capitalism is having a nervous breakdown, losing confidence and acting out in self-destructive ways. Let's try talk therapy. No, wait, it's more serious -- a case for high-powered drugs. No response? Maybe high finance has a brain tumor. Time for surgery! Cut out the bad parts and things will stabilize. Hold on. The patient is swooning now, gasping for air and trembling with seizures. Oxygen! Blood! We need a massive transfusion to rid the body of toxins. Doctor, the patient is flat-lining. What's next? Shock therapy?

My mordant medical metaphor sounds a trifle cruel, given the massive losses people are suffering, but it roughly describes the stages of diagnosis and cures with which the government has hesitantly attempted to heal the collapsing financial system. Each new cure revives hope that the worst is over -- at least until the symptoms start darkening again. The doctors in Washington changed their diagnosis once more when Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced his latest magical medicinal potion -- a $250 billion relief package to be invested directly in stock shares of the nine largest banks and spread more thinly among hundreds of smaller banks. The stock market cheered wildly with a 900-point rally in the Dow, as well it might have. Wall Street had just secured a fabulously well-heeled investor. Oops. Two days later, the magic wore off and share prices plunged again disastrously.

This time Paulson is much closer to a genuine solution, but hold the celebration and keep your eye on the patient. The government's new outline is deliberately vague about how exactly the Treasury and Federal Reserve intend to execute the details. The proposal implies but does not say that the government is taking charge of the banking system and will use its emergency powers to compel bankers to restart lending to restore the real economy of producers and consumers. Maybe that's what Paulson has in mind, but he made no promises. The public money gives a comforting tonic to the bad boys of Wall Street, but it's still packaged as a voluntary approach -- not to be confused with the genuine nationalization that Britain and other governments have undertaken.

Nationalization is the "shock therapy." We may yet see it before this turmoil is ended. Naturally, it is ideologically offensive to the Bush administration, and especially to Paulson's old colleagues and rivals on Wall Street. Taking control would impose on the government the daunting challenge of reshaping these large and overbearing institutions, winnowing out banks that deserve to die and instilling in the survivors formal obligations to serve the national interest they have willfully betrayed for a generation. That task will probably be left to Paulson's successors.

Without taking explicit control, the government is simply betting the bankers will cooperate in exchange for rescue. Maybe they will start lending again, but maybe not: banks are in a deep hole of their own making, having lost more than a trillion. Typically, they apply tightfisted lending tactics to heal balance sheets -- the opposite of what the country needs from them now. The $125 billion or so targeted for the nine biggest banks will not be enough to heal them all. Institutional Risk Analytics, a bank monitoring firm, says $250 billion in capital injections "will be just the down payment to get through the wave of loan losses headed for some of the larger players in the US banking sector."

Meanwhile, the money provides a feel-good tonic for the club -- the relatively small congregation of financial institutions that exert such oppressive influence over business and society, not to mention politics. Paulson is handing them cheap money (ours) that will initially earn only 5 percent, even as Warren Buffett gets 10 percent dividends on the capital he provided Goldman Sachs. Nor does the public get a controlling interest, or even seats on the board, for its generosity. The choices Paulson makes as he hands out the public money will effectively design the future -- making the big boys even bigger and more arrogant, since they know the government will not let them fail. Informed financiers already see the nine largest banks consolidating into four behemoths. The next president and treasury secretary (if they have the nerve) will have to confront this question of scale and cut the big banks down to size -- small enough to fail without damaging society.

Dr. Paulson's latest cure has once again left out something important -- American society at large. There's a lot of cheap talk about Main Street, but nothing in this plan helps the folks who are taking it in the neck through bankruptcy or unemployment. When Paulson met privately with the CEOs from the nine leading banks, he presumably asked them to be kind to the debtors. He ought to have commanded the bankers, one by one, to stop foreclosures, roll over debts and give people time to work their way out of their predicament, or else government would shut its lending window and dump the banks' stock.

Fortunately, Bush and Paulson are lame ducks. They will be replaced soon (we fervently hope) by Barack Obama, who is addressing the side of the crisis that Republicans always ignore -- what's happening to the people. Obama has revised and expanded his agenda, and he does not intend to wait until January. Many of his proposals can be undertaken right now by Treasury and the Fed. Others can be swiftly enacted by Congress in a lame-duck session right after the election. If bitter Republicans wish to filibuster or Bush wants to veto, that will simply deepen their party's shame.

John McCain responds to the crisis with grandly irrelevant ideas like cutting the capital gains tax in half, but also useful ones like reducing the tax rate on withdrawals from IRAs and a mortgage plan similar to the New Deal-era Home Owners' Loan Corporation that Hillary Clinton has led many Dems in proposing. Obama proposes smaller but concrete measures like a ninety-day moratorium on home foreclosures. Banks that receive government aid would be told not to act against families trying to make payments, even if they are behind. Bankruptcy judges would be authorized to modify mortgage terms. Families could withdraw money from retirement accounts to pay bills without being penalized. Obama would extend unemployment benefits and suspend taxes on that income. He would give small businesses a $3,000 tax credit for each new job they create, and distribute $50 billion to states and localities to finance roads and bridges and to make schools energy efficient. He would double the capital loan to the auto industry, to $50 billion.

These and other proposals are of course excellent fodder for the closing days of the campaign. But they also suggest the Democratic candidate is moving rapidly to adapt to the crisis that awaits the next president. Economic turmoil has instilled a dynamic process in politics, driving everyone, including voters, to new ground. We are likely to see even larger changes in the coming months. The treasury secretary seems out of breath. Obama appears to be getting his second wind.

William Greider is the author of, most recently, "The Soul of Capitalism" (Simon & Schuster).


Global Justice Movement

Immanuel Wallerstein

Commentary No. 243, Oct. 15, 2008

The Depression: A Long-Term View

The depression has started. Journalists are still coyly enquiring of economists whether or not we may be entering a mere recession. Don't believe it for a minute. We are already at the beginning of a full-blown worldwide depression with extensive unemployment almost everywhere. It may take the form of a classic nominal deflation, with all its negative consequences for ordinary people. Or it might take the form, a bit less likely, of a runaway inflation, which is simply another way in which values deflate, and which is even worse for ordinary people.

Of course everyone is asking what has triggered this depression. Is it the derivatives, which Warren Buffett called "financial weapons of mass destruction"? Or is it the subprime mortgages? Or is it oil speculators? This is a blame game, and of no real importance. This is to concentrate on the dust, as Fernand Braudel called it, of short-term events. If we want to understand what is going on, we need to look at two other temporalities, which are far more revealing. One is that of medium-term cyclical swings. And one is that of the long-term structural trends.

The capitalist world-economy has had, for several hundred years at least, two major forms of cyclical swings. One is the so-called Kondratieff cycles that historically were 50-60 years in length. And the other is the hegemonic cycles which are much longer.

In terms of the hegemonic cycles, the United States was a rising contender for hegemony as of 1873, achieved full hegemonic dominance in 1945, and has been slowly declining since the 1970s. George W. Bush's follies have transformed a slow decline into a precipitate one. And as of now, we are past any semblance of U.S. hegemony. We have entered, as normally happens, a multipolar world. The United States remains a strong
power, perhaps still the strongest, but it will continue to decline relative to other powers in the decades to come. There is not much that anyone can do to change this.

The Kondratieff cycles have a different timing. The world came out of the last Kondratieff B-phase in 1945, and then had the strongest A-phase upturn in the history of the modern world-system. It reached its height circa 1967-73, and started on its downturn. This B-phase has gone on much longer than previous B-phases and we are still in it.

The characteristics of a Kondratieff B-phase are well-known and match what the world-economy has been experiencing since the 1970s. Profit rates from productive activities go down, especially in those types of production that have been most profitable. Consequently, capitalists who wish to make really high levels of profit turn to the financial arena, engaging in what is basically speculation. Productive activities, in
order not to become too unprofitable, tend to move from core zones to other parts of the world-system, trading lower transactions costs for lower personnel costs. This is why jobs have been disappearing from Detroit, Essen, and Nagoya and factories have been expanding in China,India, and Brazil.

As for the speculative bubbles, some people always make a lot of money in them. But speculative bubbles always burst, sooner or later. If one asks why this Kondratieff B-phase has lasted so long, it is because the powers that be - the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and their collaborators in western Europe and Japan - have intervened in the market regularly and importantly - 1987 (stock market plunge), 1989 (savings-and-loan collapse), 1997 (East Asian financial fall), 1998 (Long Term Capital Management mismanagement), 2001-2002 (Enron) - to shore up the world-economy. They learned the lessons of previous Kondratieff B-phases, and the powers that be thought they could beat the system. But there are intrinsic limits to doing this. And we have now reached them, as Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke are learning to their chagrin and probably amazement. This time, it will not be so easy, probably impossible, to avert the worst.

In the past, once a depression wreaked its havoc, the world-economy picked up again, on the basis of innovations that could be quasi-monopolized for a while. So, when people say that the stock market will rise again, this is what they are thinking will happen, this time as in the past, after all the damage has been done to the world's
populations. And maybe it will, in a few years or so.

There is however something new that may interfere with this nice cyclical pattern that has sustained the capitalist system for some 500 years. The structural trends may interfere with the cyclical patterns. The basic structural features of capitalism as a world-system operate by certain rules that can be drawn on a chart as a moving upward equilibrium. The problem, as with all structural equilibria of all systems, is that over time the curves tend to move far from equilibrium and it becomes impossible to bring them back to equilibrium.

What has made the system move so far from equilibrium? In very brief, it is because over 500 years the three basic costs of capitalist production - personnel, inputs, and taxation - have steadily risen as a percentage of possible sales price, such that today they make it impossible to obtain the large profits from quasi-monopolized production that have
always been the basis of significant capital accumulation. It is not because capitalism is failing at what it does best. It is precisely because it has been doing it so well that it has finally undermined the basis of future accumulation.

What happens when we reach such a point is that the system bifurcates (in the language of complexity studies). The immediate consequence is high chaotic turbulence, which our world-system is experiencing at the moment and will continue to experience for perhaps another 20-50 years. As everyone pushes in whatever direction they think immediately best for each of them, a new order will emerge out of the chaos along one of two
alternate and very different paths.

We can assert with confidence that the present system cannot survive. What we cannot predict is which new order will be chosen to replace it, because it will be the result of an infinity of individual pressures. But sooner or later, a new system will be installed. This will not be a capitalist system but it may be far worse (even more polarizing and
hierarchical) or much better (relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian) than such a system. The choice of a new system is the major worldwide political struggle of our times.

As for our immediate short-run ad interim prospects, it is clear what is happening everywhere. We have been moving into a protectionist world (forget about so-called globalization). We have been moving into a much larger direct role of government in production. Even the United States and Great Britain are partially nationalizing the banks and the dying big industries. We are moving into populist government-led redistribution, which can take left-of-center social-democratic forms or far right authoritarian forms. And we are moving into acute social conflict within states, as everyone competes over the smaller pie. In the short-run, it is not, by and large, a pretty picture.


Global Justice Movement

McClatchy Newspapers
October 8, 2008

Latin Leftists Gloating Over 'Comrade' Bush's Bailout

by Tyler Bridges

Caracas, Venezuela - They don't call him President Bush in Venezuela anymore.

Now he's known as "Comrade."

With the Bush administration's Treasury Department resorting to government bailout after government bailout to keep the U.S. economy afloat, leftist governments and their political allies in Latin America are having a field day, gloating one day and taunting Bush the next for adopting the types of interventionist government policies that he's long condemned.

"We were just talking about that this morning on the floor," said Congressman Edwin Castro, who heads the leftist Sandinista congressional bloc in Nicaragua. "We think the Bush administration should follow the same policies that they and the International Monetary Fund have always told us to follow when we have economic problems - a structural adjustment that requires cutting government spending and reducing the role of government.

"One of our economists was telling us that Bush has just implemented communism for the rich," Castro said.

No one in Latin America has been making more hay of Bush's turnabout than Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, a self-proclaimed socialist who is the U.S.'s biggest headache in the region.

"If the Venezuelan government, for example, approves a law to protect consumers, they say, 'Take notice, Chavez is a tyrant!'" Chavez said in one of his recent weekly television shows.

"Or they say, 'Chavez is regulating prices. He is violating the laws of the marketplace.' How many times have they criticized me for nationalizing the phone company? They say, 'The state shouldn't get involved in that.' But now they don't criticize Bush for having nationalize . . . the biggest banks in the world. Comrade Bush, how are you?"

The audience laughed and Chavez continued.

"Comrade Bush is heading toward socialism."

That certainly isn't the view of the Bush administration, which sees the government plan to buy toxic mortgages and the takeover of a major insurance company as well as two huge mortgage lenders as distasteful but necessary temporary measures to right the listing U.S. economy and prevent a worldwide depression.

Mark Weisbrodt, director of the leftist Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, advises numerous Latin American governments.

He called the recent Bush administration policies ironic.

"The biggest nationalization in the world was of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The biggest nationalization of an insurer was AIG. People are saying that Bush is privatizing risk and socializing losses," Weisbrodt said.

John Ross, who has begun providing advice to the Chavez government, along with his boss, former London Mayor "Red" Ken Livingstone, criticized the U.S. president and his conservative political allies.

"They have abandoned every policy that they've advocated that other governments should follow over the past 20 years," Ross said by telephone from London. "And they've adopted the measures that they've condemned other governments for taking.

"This is not the end of capitalism. But it is the end of Reaganism and Thatcherism," he added.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a conservative, was a close ally of President Reagan in the 1980s.

In Peru, Congresswoman Nancy Obregon said she thought Bush's actions were sounding the death knell for capitalism.

"He's driving it into the ground," said Obregon, a socialist. "He's imitating Evo Morales."

Morales is the socialist president of Bolivia who has nationalized a half dozen foreign companies.

But Bolivia's ambassador in Venezuela, Jorge Alvarado, took issue with Obregon's comparison.

"Bush is guilty of a double-standard, but it would be an exaggeration to say he's imitating Evo," said Alvarado. "He'd have to be re-born to imitate Evo!"

Manuel Sutherland, a senior official in the Caracas-based Latin American Association of Marxist Economists, said that Bush has become a fellow traveler.

But Sutherland said he wasn't about to let Bush join his group.

"He carries out nationalizations to save capitalism," Sutherland said.
"We want to sink it."



just found the inbox by Brian Holmes..


There are only a few serious things to say about what's happened in the economy for over the last four weeks, or the last four years for that matter. The first is that despite the admiration being showered on Paulson, Bernank and Gordon Brown, what we are witnessing are financial
crimes, leading to disastrous consequences for nations, institutions and probably hundreds of millions of people. Second, the criminals have their main offices on Wall Street, in the City of London and in Washington, plus on every derivatives trading floor in banks all over the earth -- and there they should be prosecuted, not in a witch hunt but in order to find out exactly how they did it, to strip them of their most egregious spoils (plenty of that out there) and above all, to make the whole thing impossible in the future. Third, if the national bailouts are not transformed into social works projects producing valuable goods and services employing people who need it, and if serious financial-market regulation is not installed at the same time, then what will come of this whole mess is just a reinforcement of the present condition: government by greed, carried out in the coded language of mathematics.

The bankruptcy of this transnational financial government is now literal, but in terms of human development it has been that way all along. The only good news about the recession is that it will be a tangible reason to press for far-reaching changes in the system! The worst news will hit the most unprotected people, and often the furthest away from any of the easy money, which is why we are really talking about crimes, deep failures of responsibility on the Part of governments
as well as businessmen. I am thinking about the impacts on Latin America, on Eastern Europe, on Africa, on any small country without some juicy resource to put on the market.

It's too early to say anything specific about the geopolitical consequences of the meltdown, but what I find most remarkable about this recent turbulence is first that it has basically been a familiar case of "hot money" following into countries from a powerful outside source of
liquidity. This time, however, the target countries have been the US and Britain, plus the other Anglo-Saxon lands and to a lesser degree, European countries like Spain. It's true that Greenspan pumped up this excess liquidity with ridiculously cheap interest rates, especially
after the dotcom bust and September 11, but since the turn of the millennium that excess money supply has been massively augmented by influxes of capital from east Asia, mostly China. This hot money was looking for investments over and above the usual Treasury bonds, and
what it found was not only the government-backed Fannie and Freddy mortgages, but also all kinds of other packaged debt rated triple-A and further insured with credit-default swaps. So more and more loans were packed into CDOs and the money poured in to buy them, ironically just as it had poured into into the Asian dragons or Russia and the newly independent Eastern countries in the mid-1990s. This time, however, what you got was not capital flight but the systemic collapse of the shadow banking system that was trading all that junk, a collapse which is still going on via the unfinished process of deleveraging. That means that all the borrowed money used to pump up the paper values, often at 30 times the value of the actual stake put up by the speculators, now has to be either paid back or written off, with collapses and bailouts all along the daisy-chain. If the first massive bailouts were reserved for the US government-backed mortgage companies and for AIG's big credit-default insurance operation (located in the City), that's because the Chinese financial pipeline could not just be callously ruptured without
disastrous consequences on the international capital circuit. Still, the potentially positive result of all this is that foreign investors have been seriously burned by the Anglo-American derivatives machine, and now the London-New York tandem may now effectively lose its directive
position in the world economy.

A detail you may not have noticed is that directly in the middle of the turbulence, Chinese authorities made a decision to give peasants the rights to transfer the title of the land they occupy in exchange for money. It's not exactly a sale, because the government still formally
owns the land, but it does mean that the peasants' rights become liquid, they can be turned into cash. The significance of this is that China now sees the futility of continuing to produce for the West and then invest its profits there, in order to keep its currency value low and keep the
lid on inflation. That circuit, known as Bretton Woods II because it kept the American dollar at the center of the world monetary system, may now be finished. China is now likely to partially turn its back on the capital circuit linking it to America and open the floodgates of internal migration from the countryside to the coastal cities, while at the same time attempting to develop its internal market far beyond the existing levels. The idea will be to make China's productive capacity circulate internally in the form of goods and service, rather than
having exploited Chinese labor produce exports for credit-gorged consumers in the West. This could be a huge turnabout, setting the pace for the emergence of a truly sovereign Asian region, with respect to which the West could just become second-class, period. However, at the
same time you are looking at another vast expansion of the money economy, full of the usual dangers. Unless it is deeply transformed, the internal Chinese market will be subject to the same kind of predatory lending, real-time turbulence and uncertain future as we have just seen,
again and again and again. The existing stock markets there have fallen by 50% this year (and that was before last week). Even economic history isn't over yet!

What does it mean that yesterday (13 October), investors and traders made huge sums on the technical rebound of the stock markets? Is that a victory? Do we really need this light-speed financial market as a way to make capital available for productive activities? I read somewhere that in the US in recent years, for every dollar turned over in the real economy, you had up to five mathematical dollars biting each other's tails in the financial sphere. That circulation has given rise to an elite culture of glitz and also of power, the power to twist the state governments far from their original mandates (as in Greenspan pumping up the bubble) and then again, the power to practically control those states directly in real time, as we have seen in the past weeks where financial priorities simply took over government, always with the insistence that something must be done, now, before thinking, in time for the next stock-market bell. In this respect, finance has become the mirror of the overriding logic of war, which is the other major enemy of any kind of democracy. This is the reality: a vast and powerful culture
of finance, a transnational state unto itself, with its own language and with something like extraterritoriality or diplomatic immunity for its representatives. Think about the concept of financial crimes. If not, the crooks will be glad to do all the thinking for you.

best, Brian Holmes

Oct 17 :: Lumpen magazine release party

A lot is going on this weekend... We are sorry but we just had to release the magazine so we could get Paul Nudd's Sarah Palin portraits out into the universe as widely as possible.

Lumpen Release Party.
Friday October 17, 2008 9pm
Co-Prosperity Sphere 3219 S Morgan St
$5 please

We are releasing our next issue (#110) and having a special guest from Holland perform. You do not want to miss Harry Merry.

The issue features the Subjective Atlas of Chicago a contribution to the upcoming Select Media Festival.

And it also contains some wonderful portraits of Sarah Palin. like the one above... and the one below:

A limited supply of posters will be available at the opening. Come by check out the mayhem.
All proceeds go to making the shit happen.

Performances by:
Dave the Lightbulb Man
Harry Merry
J + j + J (Dj set and light show extravaganza)
DJ Rand Sevilla
with Thunderhorse on the visual aids

See a harry merry video here...

Global Justice Movement

Here is an interview with Noam Chomksy posted on ZNet today, which talks about positive developments in Latin America. 

The Financial Crisis of 2008
Interviewed by Simone Bruno

October 13, 2008 
By Noam Chomsky 

I would like to talk about the current crisis. How is it that so many people could see it coming, but the people in charge of governments and economies didn't, or didn't prepare?

The basis for the crisis is predictable and it was in fact predicted. It is built into financial liberalization that there will be frequent and deep crises. In fact, since financial liberalization was instituted about thirty five years ago, there has been a trend of increasing regularity of crises and deeper crises, and the reasons are intrinsic and understood. They have to do fundamentally with well understood inefficiencies of markets. So, for example, if you and I make a transaction, say you sell me a car, we may make a good bargain for ourselves, but we don't take into account the effect on others. If I buy a car from you it increases the use of gas, it increases pollution, it increases congestion, and so on. But we don't count those effects. These are what are called by economists externalities, and are not counted into market calculations. 

These externalities can be quite huge. In the case of financial institutions, they are particularly large. The task of a financial institution is to take risks. Now if it is a well managed financial institution, say Goldman Sachs, it will take into account risks to itself, but the crucial phrase here is to itself. It does not take into account systemic risks, risks to the whole system if Goldman Sachs takes a substantial loss. And what that means is that risks are underpriced. There are more risks taken than should be taken in an efficiently working system that was accounting for all the implications. More, this mispricing is simply built into the market system and the liberalization of finance. 

The consequences of underpricing risks are that risks become more frequent, and, when there are failures the costs are higher than taken into account. Crises become more frequent and also rise in scale as the scope and range of financial transactions increases. Of course, all this is increased still further by the fanaticism of the market fundamentalists who dismantled the regulatory apparatus and permitted the creation of exotic and opaque financial instruments. It is a kind of irrational fundamentalism because it is clear that weakening regulatory mechanisms in a market system has a built-in risk of disastrous crisis. These are senseless acts except in that they are in the short-term interest of the masters of the economy and of the society. The financial corporations can and did make tremendous short term profits from pursuing extremely risky actions, including especially deregulation, which harm the general economy, but don't harm them, at least in the short term that guides planning.

You couldn't predict the exact moment at which there would be a severe crisis, and you couldn't predict the exact scale of the crisis, but that one would come was obvious. In fact, there have been serious and repeated crises during this period of increasing deregulation. It is just that they hadn't yet hit so hard at the center of wealth and power before, but have instead hit mostly the third world. So, again, the crises are predictable and predicted. There was a book, for example, ten years ago, by two very well respected international economists, John Eatwell and Lance Taylor - Global Finance at Risk - in which they ran through the pretty elementary logic of how financial liberalization underprices risk and therefore leads to regular systemic risks and failures, sometimes serious. They also outline ways of dealing with the problem, but those were ignored because decision makers in the corporate and political systems, which are about the same, were making short term gains for themselves. 

Take the United States. It is a rich country, but for the majority of the population, a substantial majority, the last thirty years have probably been among the worst in American economic history. There have been no massive crises, large wars, depressions, etc. But, nevertheless, real wages have pretty much stagnated for the majority for thirty years. In the international economy the effect of financial liberalization has been quite harmful. You read in the press that the last thirty years, the thirty years of neoliberalsm, have shown the greatest escape from poverty in world history and tremendous growth and so on, and there is some truth to that, but what is missing is that the escape from poverty and the growth have taken place in countries which ignored the neoliberal rules. Countries that observed the neoliberal rules have suffered severely. So, there was great growth in East Asia, but they ignored the rules. In Latin America where they observed the rules rigorously, it was a disaster.

Joseph Stiglitz recently wrote in an article that the most recent crisis marks the end of neoliberalism and Chavez in a press conference said the crisis could be the end of capitalism. Which one is closer to the truth, do you think?

First, we should be clear about the fact that capitalism can't end because it never started. The system we live in should be called state capitalism, not just capitalism. So, take the United States. The economy relies very heavily on the state sector. There is a lot of agony now about socialization of the economy, but that is a bad joke. The advanced economy, high technology and so forth, has always relied extensively on the dynamic state sector of the economy. That's true of computers, the internet, aircraft, biotechnology, just about everywhere you look. MIT, where I am speaking to you, is a kind of funnel into which the public pours money and out of it comes the technology of the future which will be handed over to private power for profit. So what you have is a system of socialization of cost and risk and privatization of profit. And that's not just in the financial system. It is the whole advanced economy. 

So, for the financial system it will probably turn out pretty much as Stiglitz describes. It is the end of a certain era of financial liberalization driven by market fundamentalism. The Wall Street Journal laments that Wall Street as we have known it is gone with the collapse of the investment banks. And there will be some steps toward regulation. So that's true. But the proposals that are being made, which are major and severe, nonetheless do not change the structure of the underlying basic institutions. There is no threat to state capitalism. Its core institutions will remain basically unchanged and even unshaken. They may rearrange themselves in various ways with some conglomerates taking over others and some even being semi-nationalized in a weak sense, without infringing much on private monopolization of decision making. Still, as things stand now, property relations and the distribution of power and wealth won't alter much though the era of neoliberalism operative for roughly thirty five years will surely be modified in a significant fashion.

Incidentally, no one knows how serious this crisis will become. Every day brings new surprises. Some economists are predicting real catastrophe. Others think that it can be patched together with modest disruption and a recession, likely worse in Europe than in the U.S. But no one knows.

Do you think we will see anything like the depression, with people out of working and cuing up in long lines for food. Do you think it is possible we could have that kind of situation in the U.S. and Europe? Would a big war then get economies back on track, or shock therapy or what? 

Well, I don't think the situation is anything like the period of the great depression. There are some similarities to that era, yes. The 1920s were also a period of wild speculation and vast expansion of credit and borrowing, creating of tremendous concentration of wealth in a very small sector of the population, destruction of the labor movement. These are all similarities to today. But there are also many differences. There is a much more stable apparatus of control and regulation growing out of the New Deal and though it has been eroded, much of it is still there. And also by now there is an understanding that the kinds of policies that seemed extremely radical in the New Deal period are more or less normal. So, for example, yesterday in the presidential debate, John McCain, the right-wing candidate, proposed New Deal style measures to deal with the housing crisis, borrowed straight from the New Deal Homeowners Refinancing Act, though actually McCain borrowed it from Hilary Clinton who took it from the New Deal. That's the far right. So there is an understanding that the government must take a major role in running the economy and they have experience with doing it for the advanced sectors of the economy for fifty years. 

A lot of what you read about this is just mythology. So, for example, you read that that Reagan's passionate belief in the miracle of markets is now under attack, Reagan being assigned the role of High Priest of faith in markets. In fact, Reagan was the most protectionist president in postwar American economic history. He increased protectionist barriers more than his predecessors combined. He called on the Pentagon to develop projects to train backward American managers in advanced Japanese methods of production. He carried out one of the biggest bank bailouts in American history, and formed a government-based conglomerate to try to revitalize the semiconductor industry. In fact, he was a believer in big government, intervening radically in the economy. By "Reagan" I mean his administration; what he believed about all of this, if anything, we don't really know, and it's not very important.

There is a tremendous amount of mythology to be dismantled here, including the talk about the great growth and escape from poverty which, as I said earlier, isn't false, but is missing the fact that it took place overwhelmingly in areas that ignored the neoliberal rules, while the areas that kept to the rules are the ones that suffered. The same holds in the U.S. To the extent that the neoliberal rules were applied, it was quite harmful to the majority of the population. So to talk about these matters, we first have to sweep away a lot of mythology and then, when we look, we see that a state capitalist economy that has, particularly since the Second World War, relied very heavily on the state sector, is now returning to reliance on the state sector to manage the collapsing financial system, its collapse being the predictable result of financial liberalization. The underlying institutional structure itself is being modified, but not in fundamental ways.

There is no indication right now that there will be anything like the crash of 1929.

So you don't think we are going toward a change of the world order? 

Oh there are changes in world order, very significant ones and maybe this crisis will contribute to them. But they have been underway for some time. One of the greatest changes in world order you can see right now in Latin America. It is called the backyard of the United States and it's been supposed to be run by the U.S. for a long time. But that is changing. Just a few weeks ago, mid September, there was a very dramatic illustration of this. There was a meeting on September 15 of UNASUR, The Union of South American Republics, so that's all the South American governments meeting, including Colombia, the U.S.'s favorite. It took place in Santiago, Chile, another U.S. favorite. The meeting came out with a very strong declaration supporting Evo Morales in Bolivia and opposing the quasi-secessionist elements in Bolivia that are being supported by the United States.

There is a major struggle going on in Bolivia. The indigenous majority of the population for the first time in 500 years entered the political arena, carried through a very impressive democratic election, and took power. That of course horrified the United States government, which is strongly opposed to popular democracy unless it comes out the right way. And it particularly antagonized the traditional ruling groups, the minority elite which is mostly white and Europeanized, who had always run the country and of course don't want a democratic society in which control of resources and policy generally will be directed by the majority and towards its needs. So the elites are moving toward autonomy and maybe secession, and it is becoming quite violent, with the U.S. of course backing them. But the South American Republics took a strong stand in support of the indigenous-dominated democratic government. The statement was read by President Bachelet of Chile, who is a favorite of the West. Evo Morales responded by thanking the presidents for their support, while correctly pointing out that this was the first time in 500 years that Latin America had taken its fate into its own hands without the interference of Europe and particularly the United States. Well, that is a symbol of a very significant change that is underway, sometimes called the pink tide. It was so important that the U.S. press wouldn't report it. There is a sentence here and there in the press noting that something happened, but they are completely suppressing the content and significance of what happened. 

Now that is part of a long term development in which South America is indeed beginning to overcome its tremendous internal problems and also its subordination to the West, for the most part, the United States. South America is also diversifying its relations with the world. Brazil has growing relations with South Africa and India, and particularly China, which is increasingly involved in investments and exchange with Latin American countries. These are extremely important developments and now it is beginning to spread to Central America. Honduras, for example, is the classic banana republic. It was the base camp for Reagan's terror wars perpetrated in the region and has been totally subordinated to the U.S. But Honduras recently joined ALBA, the Venezuelan-based "Bolivarian alternative." It is a small step, but nonetheless very significant. 

Do you think these trends in South America like ALBA, UNASUR and the major events in Venezuela and Bolivia and the rest might be affected by an economic crisis of the dimension we are facing now?

Well, they will be affected by the crisis, but for the moment they are not as much affected as Europe and the United States. So, if you look at the stock market in Brazil, it collapsed very quickly, but Brazilian banks aren't failing. Similarly, in Asia the stock markets are declining sharply, but the banks are not being taken over by the government as is happening in England and the U.S. and much of Europe. These regions, South America and Asia, have been somewhat insulated from the ravages of the financial markets. What set off the current crisis was the subprime lending for assets built on sand, and these are held, of course in the United States, but apparently about half by European banks. Holding mortgage-based toxic assets has embroiled them in these events very quickly -- and they have housing crises of their own, particularly Britain and Spain. Asia and Latin America were much less exposed, having kept to much more cautious lending strategies, particularly since the neoliberal meltdown of 1997-8. In fact, a main Japanese bank, Mitsubishi UFG, has just bought a substantial part of Morgan Stanley, in the U.S. So it doesn't look, so far, as though Asia or Latin America will be affected nearly as severely as the U.S. and Europe. 

Do you think there will be a big difference between Obama or McCain as President for things like the Free Trade Agreement and Plan Colombia, because here in Colombia, where I live, you can feel that the President and the establishment are kind of scared about an election of Obama. I know you feel Obama is like a blank slate, but still, do you feel there is a difference?

That's pretty much the case. Obama has presented himself as pretty much a blank slate. But there is no reason for the Colombian establishment to be scared of his election. Plan Colombia is Clinton's policy and there is every reason to expect that Obama will be another Clinton. He is pretty vague. He keeps appearances mostly empty, on purpose, but insofar as there are policies they look very much like centrist policies, like Clinton's, who fashioned Plan Colombia and militarized the conflict, and so on. 

Sometimes I have the feeling that the two terms of Bush were in a context of the changing of the global order, trying to maintain power using force and in contrast Obama could be a way to have a kind and polite face to renegotiate the world order. Do you think this could be true?

Remember that the political spectrum in the United States is quite narrow. The U.S. is a business-run society, somewhat more than Europe. Basically, it is a one-party state, with a business party that has two factions, Democrats and Republicans. The factions are somewhat different, and sometimes the differences are significant. But the spectrum is quite narrow. The Bush administration, however, was way off the end of the spectrum, extreme radical nationalists, extreme believers in state power, in violence overseas, in big government spending, so far off the spectrum that they were harshly criticized right within the mainstream from early on. 

Whoever comes into office is likely to move things back more towards the center of the spectrum, Obama probably more so. So I would expect in Obama's case something like a revival of the Clinton years, of course adapted to changing circumstances. In the case of McCain, however, it is quite hard to predict. He is a loose cannon. Nobody knows what he would do...

Yes he seems quite dangerous.

Very dangerous, especially in a country like the U.S. with so much power. This isn't Luxemburg, after all. McCain himself is extremely unpredictable. The vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, comes from a radical extremist background (by world standards), for example creationism - you know, the world was created 10,000 years ago, etc. etc. If someone like that was running for high office in Luxemburg it would be comical. But when it happens in the richest and most powerful country in the world, it is dangerous. 

Now that we are at the end of neoliberal globalization, is there a possibility of something really new, a good globalization?

I think the prospects are much better than they have been. Power is still incredibly concentrated, but there are changes with the international economy becoming more diverse and complex. The South is becoming more independent. But if you look at the U.S., even with all the damage Bush has done, it is still the biggest homogeneous economy, with the largest internal market, the strongest and technologically most advanced military force, with annual expenses comparable to the rest of the world combined, and an archipelago of military bases throughout the world. These are sources of continuity even though the neoliberal order is eroding both within the U.S. and Europe and internationally, as there is more and more opposition to it. So there are opportunities for real change, but how far they will go depends on people, what we are willing to undertake.

Global Justice Movement

Hello all.  I've decided to migrate my running Anti-Capitalism Thread (http://www.lumpen.com/conversation/viewthread.php?tid=5612)  on the Conversation over to the blog.  I started the thread a few months ago as an antidote to all of the libertarian crap that was beeing spammed all over the interned in the days leading up to the total collapse of free-market capitalism. A lot of what I posted was thanks to the people at the Kwazulu Natal University Civil Society Institute and has a strong focus on Southern Africa. I am calling this the Global Justice Movement blog though, because I think it is a more positive term. So, if you like Susan George, Naomi Klein, Chomsky, the Liberation Theologists, the Landless Peasents Movement, Evo Morales and Dennis Brutus and Ashwin Desai.. Stay tuned. If you are a Libertarian who believes that the Invisible Hand Job of the Free Market will Natuarlly Regulate Humanity into a new, utopian era, I suggest staying tuned to Fox..


making its way around the interweb

How Racism Works..

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said "I do" to?

What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5?
What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the
election numbers would be as close as they are?
This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes
positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

You are The Boss... which team would you hire?

With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, a
weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc.

Educational Background:

Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in
International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)


United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire?
PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter....


RNC Check in Follow up

A few weeks ago we hosted RNC/DNC Debriefing & Check In organized by Salem Collo-Julin at the C-PS.

Video screenings, a talk from those who were in Denver & the Twin Cities was followed by some discussion. Many people
shares their experiences to strategize a better future.

Salem sent us this email to follow up on the shared information by the participants. Of particular note is the RNC08.org fund.

From Salem:
For those of you who were interested in the topics but unable to make it, a few of us will be trying to spread the word about our discussion and the range of information/ideas it sparked. Please keep in touch with the list.

Also, CAN-TV, Chicago's public cable access television, taped the event and will be editing it for broadcast in the future. I will let y'all know when that comes together.

For now, a few highlights (low lights?):

Here's an intense video from the press conference that the RNC UnWelcoming Committee put together. This guy is one of the organizers of the Poor People's Parade:

We raised $65 for the Coldsnap Legal Collective -- you can find out more about their work at

We also heard from the webmasters of this site: