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mother earth

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Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 06:08 PM
Number of posts: 6,002

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Re-engineering Society in the interests of corporations...Naomi Klein & why she wrote Shock Doctrine



Published on Apr 23, 2012

Naomi Klein on the end of "El Modelo."

Question: Why did you write Shock Doctrine?
Naomi Klein:It came out of reporting that I was doing in Iraq after the invasion the first year of occupation. But I guess it dates back earlier than that. I happen to have been in Argentina making a documentary film when the war in Iraq began. And it was a really amazing time to be in Latin America. This was 2002, 2003. And this was, I guess, the beginning of what we now think of as this pink tide that has swept Latin America. But it was a moment in Latin American history -- certainly a moment in Argentinean history -- where the economic model that Latin Americans call neo-Liberalism, Americans call the free market. But these policies of privatization; free trade . . . the so-called free trade deregulation in the interest of corporations; deep cuts to social spending; healthcare and education cuts; things like that, in Argentina they actually just call this "el modelo" -- the model. Everybody knows what the model is. It's the so-called Washington Consensus. It's the policies that have been imposed on Latin America first through military dictatorships, then as conditions attached to loans that were needed during economic crises . . . the so-called "debt crisis" of the 1980s. When I was in Argentina the model was collapsing, and Argentineans overthrew five presidents in three weeks. So it was this moment of incredible tumult and political excitement because people were trying to figure out what would come next. But it went beyond Argentina. In Bolivia they hadn't yet elected Evo Morales, but they had these huge protests against water privatization. And Bechtel had just been thrown out of Bolivia. And in Brazil they had just elected Lula. And of course Chavez was already in power in Venezuela, but he had successfully overcome a coup attempt. He had been brought back to power. So there were all of these things going on in Latin America that were all connected in this rejection of this economic model. So to be in Latin America when the invasion of Iraq began was a really unique vantage point from which to watch the war. I'm very grateful to have had that experience to have been able to watch that through the eyes of my Latin American friends who saw the war so differently from . . . from the way it was seen, I think, by so many of us in North America. They saw a real connection between their rejection of these economic policies and the fact that the same economic program was being imposed in Iraq through tremendous violence. And you really saw and felt those connections in Latin America. You know Bechtel just thrown out of Bolivia suddenly shows up in Baghdad with the exclusive contract to rebuild their water system. And what it felt like was that . . . was that there was a change going on; that this model that had been imposed coercively though peacefully through the International Monetary Fund, through the World Bank, through the World Trade Organization -- that that wasn't working anymore. People were rejecting it that the legacy of these policies . . . the legacy of inequality was so dramatic that the sales pitch of "Just wait for the trickledown" wasn't working anymore. And so now there was this new phase. And it wasn't even asking, and it wasn't negotiating. It was just imposing through raw violence. And that's where I came up with the thesis for the book, which is we have entered this new phase that I'm calling "disaster capitalism"; or the Shock Doctrine using a shock -- in this case the shock and awe invasion of Iraq -- to impose what economists call "economic shock therapy". So I think it was . . . It was definitely that experience of seeing it from Latin America -- a continent in revolt against these policies -- that made it easier to identify this as a new phase. And once I identified that I started to see these patterns recurring. After the Asian tsunami there was a very similar push to use the shock of that natural disaster to push through, once again, these same policies. Water privatization, electricity privatization, labor market ..., displacing poor people on the coasts with hotel developers. So a sort of social re-engineering of societies in the interest of corporations, which I think is what we've been doing under the banner of free trade. But now it's under the banner of post-disaster reconstruction. More in vid.

TYT Cenk Uygar Interviews Economist Prof. Richard Wolff

Marxian Economics vs Capitalism with Economist Prof. Richard D. Wolff



Great discussion, as always with Cenk, with very practical questions/answers.
Wolff provides points and considerations we may not have realized, always thought provoking.

For more info:
http://rdwolff.com/

http://www.democracyatwork.info/

Latest radio show:
http://www.democracyatwork.info/radio/2015/03/its-the-system-2/

Posted by mother earth | Thu Mar 5, 2015, 04:26 PM (2 replies)

Austerity & Sharp Rise in Suicide Rates (US & Europe)

Austerity Seen as Culprit in Sharp Rise in Suicide Rate Among Middle-Aged People

Monday, 02 March 2015 09:17 By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism | News Analysis

I’m surprised, but perhaps I shouldn’t be, that a recent study hasn’t gotten the attention it warrants. It points to a direct connection between the impact of the crisis and a marked increase in suicide rates among the middle aged. This link seems entirely logical, given how many citizens found themselves whacked by a one-two punch of job loss or hours cutbacks combined with the sudden plunge in home prices. Normally, a last ditch course of action for most middle and upper middle class income members in the pre-crisis days, when things got desperate, was to sell you house and cut costs radically by moving into a much more modest rental. But that option vanished in all but the most stable markets (as in some flyover states that the subprime merchants ignored) due to home price declines trashing equity for all but those with small or no mortgages.

And you have the further psychological toll of the difficulty of re-inventing yourself if you are over 35. I can point to people who had enough in the way of resources and took steps that seemed entirely logical, taking courses to prepare them for a new career in fields with good underlying demand (see this post for one example; I can cite others) and got either poor returns on their expenditure of time and effort or had no success at all.

And the ones with enough options (bigger savings buffers or relatives who were willing and able to help) are the lucky ones. For all too many middle to upper middle income workers in America, when you fall off the corporate/big firm meal ticket, the fall is far indeed. As readers know all too well, the prejudice against older candidates as well as the unemployed is substantial, even if the reason for the job loss in no way reflected on employee performance (as in business failure or working for an acquired company when, in typical practice, the buyer went through the ranks of the purchased business with a howitzer). People who thought that having a college degree and a steady history of good performance at white collar jobs gave them a measure of security had that illusion ripped from them.

MORE:

http://truth-out.org/news/item/29378-austerity-kills-economic-distress-seen-as-culprit-in-sharp-rise-in-suicide-rate-among-middle-aged

USA: The Worst Economic Condition in 75 Years & Implications of the so called “Recovery”



Published on Oct 18, 2014
The Otterbein University Department of History and Political Science Speaker Series presents Richard D. Wolff on "Our Economic Futures: Can Democracy Cure Capitalism?"

http://www.rdwolff.com

http://www.democracyatwork.info/

In this talk, once again, Prof. Wolff explains how we got to where we are in no nonsense terms.

He offers solutions, please check the above links. He has a youtube channel and Pacifica podcast.
Social issues require a social movement, he advocates for changes in the workplace.

Posted by mother earth | Wed Mar 4, 2015, 09:13 PM (6 replies)

"They are fearful that if the Greeks pull it off, the disease will spread." Chris Hedges/Tariq Ali

I highly recommend reading Hedges' full article, this is just an excerpt. There's a whole lot more than meets the eye with Greece, which makes this article (3 pages) a must read.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/category/hedges/P0

Tariq Ali: The Time Is Right for a Palace Revolution

Posted on Mar 1, 2015


By Chris Hedges


The cost of open defiance, which, Ali pointed out, is our only escape route from corporate tyranny, will at least at first be painful. Our corporate masters do not intend to release their death grip without a brutal fight.

Ali recalled that even his late friend Hugo Chavez, the firebrand socialist president of Venezuela, was not untouched by intimidation from Establishment forces. “I remember talking to Chavez many times and saying, ‘Comandante, why do you stop there?’ ” Ali said. “He said it is not realistic to do it at the present time. We can regulate them, make life difficult for capitalism, use oil money for the poor, but we can’t topple the system.”

Ali added, “The Greeks and the Spanish are saying the same.”

“I don’t know what Syriza thought,” he said. “If it thought we can divide the European elite, we can make a big propaganda campaign in Europe and they will be forced to make concessions, that was foolish. This European elite, led by the Germans, doesn’t crack easily. They have walked all over the Greeks. The Greek leaders should have said to their own people, ‘We are going to try and get the best possible conditions—if not we will report to you what has happened and what we need to do.’ Instead, they fell into the European trap. The Europeans made virtually no concessions that mattered.”

The clash between the Greeks and the corporate elites that dominate Europe, Ali said, is “not economic.”

The European Union is “prepared to pour billions into fighting Russians in the Ukraine,” he said. “It’s not a question of the money. They can throw away the bloody money, as they are preparing to do and are doing in the Ukraine. With the Greeks they pretend it is economic, but it’s political. They are fearful that if the Greeks pull it off, the disease will spread. There are elections in December in Spain. If Podemos [Spain’s left-wing party] wins with Greece already having won and proceeding, however modestly, on a different path, the Spanish will say the Greeks have done it. And then there is the Irish waiting patiently with their progressive parties, saying, ‘Why can’t we do what Syriza has done? Why can’t we unite and take on our extreme center?’ ”

Ali said he was “shocked and angry about all the hopes that were invested in Obama by the left.” He lambasted what he called the American “obsession with identity.” Barack Obama, he said, “is an imperial president and behaves like one, regardless of the color of his skin.” Ali despaired of the gender politics that are fueling a possible run for the White House by Hillary Clinton, who would be the first woman president.

“My reply is, ‘So bloody what?’ ” he said. “If she is going to bomb countries and put drones over whole continents, what difference does her gender make if her politics are the same? That is the key. The political has been devalued and debased under neoliberalism. People retreat into religion or identity. It’s disastrous. I wonder if it is even possible to create something on a national scale in the United States. I wonder if it would be better to concentrate on big cities and states to develop some movements where they can have an influence in Los Angeles, New York or in states such as Vermont. It may be wiser to concentrate on three or four things to show that it can be done. I can’t see the old way of reproducing a political party of the left, modeled on the Republican and Democratic structures, as working. These people only work with money. They do not even speak with very many ordinary people. It is credit-card democracy. The left cannot and should not emulate this. America is the hardest nut to crack, but unless it is cracked we are doomed.”

Ali said he fears that should Americans become politically conscious and resist, the corporate state will impose naked forms of militarized repression. Government’s reaction to the 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon stunned him. Authorities “closed down an entire city with the support of the population.” He said that the virtual declaration of martial law in Boston was “a dress rehearsal.”

“If they can do it in Boston they can do it in other cities,” he said. “They needed to try it on in Boston to see if it would work. That frightened me.”

“The manufacturing of threats manufactures fear,” he said. “It creates sleepwalking citizens. They [officials] never tried to do this on this scale when they were fighting the Soviet Union and the communist enemy, which was supposed to be the worst, most dangerous threat ever. Now they do it over a handful of bloody terrorists.”

Groups such as Black Lives Matter, he said, offer some hope.

“Just as the traditional left parties have been wiped out all over the world, so has the radical segment of the African-American population and their organizations,” he said. “They were physically wiped out. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, some of the most gifted leaders, were assassinated. The Black Panthers were destroyed. Areas where blacks lived on the West Coast were flooded with drugs. It was a well-planned assault. But the young people who came out in Black Lives Matter have this older spirit. When Jesse Jackson went to Ferguson and engaged in demagogy he was heckled. They did the same on the East Coast with [Al] Sharpton. These black leaders, bought off, are being seen for what they are.”

Chris Hedges "Fascist Corporatocracy: False Left-Right Paradigm"



mother earth’s DISCLAIMER:
WARNING, this topic may not be safe for all viewers, the opinions and views presented are just that, opinions & views which do not necessarily represent those of the poster, DU or any DU'ers who offer opinion on the subject. Please proceed at your own risk.
If you are unable to discuss, venture into thought, or in any way confront the problems of capitalism this video may cause severe medical reactions which may include convulsions, or may require protective gear for safeguarding head injury. Please seek medical attention and inform your doctor if you suffer any ill effects.

CONTENT: I am including an M rating for mature since Hedges is candidly discussing issues that reveal the false paradigm.
There is no RT warning, so it is safe for those over age 18 to view.



Posted by mother earth | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 08:08 PM (7 replies)

Prof. Richard Wolff on Real Time



mother earth’s DISCLAIMER:
WARNING, this topic may not be safe for all viewers, the opinions and views presented are just that, opinions & views which do not necessarily represent those of the poster, DU or any DU'ers who offer opinion on the subject. Please proceed at your own risk.
If you are unable to discuss, venture into thought, or in any way confront the problems of capitalism this video may cause severe medical reactions which may include convulsions, or may require protective gear for safeguarding head injury. Please seek medical attention and inform your doctor if you suffer any ill effects.

CONTENT: I am including an M rating for mature since Marxism is candidly discussed. There is no RT warning, so it is safe for those over age 18 to view.


For further thought provoking info: http://www.rdwolff.com/

Academic positions

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City. He also teaches classes regularly at the Brecht Forum in Manhattan.
Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne).

Education
BA in History from Harvard College (1963);
MA in Economics from Stanford University (1964);
MA in History from Yale University (1967); and a
PhD in Economics from Yale University (1969)

For more info on published works & public presentations:
http://www.rdwolff.com/content/about

Be sure to also check:
http://www.democracyatwork.info/

-----------------

Seems the video may need to be viewed on youtube.




Posted by mother earth | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 03:53 PM (8 replies)

Wars for the Oligarchs, Has the IMF Annexed Ukraine?



Uploaded on Feb 13, 2015

Michael Hudson Report: Finance is a new kind of war and forced sell offs that the IMF is imposing is a new kind of battle ground

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13211


HUDSON: Well, the terms on which the IMF make loans, first of all, are based on austerity. The terms require more austerity and a withdrawal of all the public subsidies. Now you have Ukrainian population absolutely devastated. The only result of the IMF's austerity a program that--the conditions that it's laying down for making loans to Ukraine is you have to repay the debts. But you don't have the ability to repay their debts. So there's only one way to do it, and that's the way that we've told Greece and other countries to do: you have to begin selling off whatever you have left of your public domain, or you have to have your meeting oligarchs take on partnerships with American or European investors, so that they can buy out into the monopolies in the Ukraine. So, essentially, the IMF has a two-stage one-two punch. The punch number one is: here's the money; now you have to repay us after cutting back public spending and causing a depression. The two punch is: oh, you can't pay us? I'm sorry that all of our projections are wrong. And the IMF has been wrong on Ukraine year after year, almost as much as it's been wrong on Ireland and on Greece.

So now the real problem is: what is Ukraine going to have to sell off to pay the foreign debts that it gets for having waged the war that's devastated the economy? Well, the main things that the foreign investors want are Ukrainian farmland. Monsanto has been buying into Ukraine. But Ukraine has a law against alienating its farmland and agricultural land to foreigners. And a matter of fact, its law is very much the same as what the Financial Times reports that Australia is wanting to do today, to block Chinese and American purchase of farmlands. The IMF's position is you have to dismantle public regulations against foreign investment and you have to dismantle consumer production and environmental protection regulations. So, in other words, what is in store for Ukraine is a neoliberal policy that's guaranteed to actually make it even worse. And in that sense, finance is war, finance is the new kind of warfare using finance and forced selloffs in the IMF is a new kind of battlefield. So I'm not sure how all of this is going to really help Ukraine, and it promises to lead to yet another crisis down the road very, very quickly.

PERIES: Michael, let's unpack the debt of this crisis. Now, the war has led Ukraine into a deeper crisis. Talk about the devastation that has caused and what they have to manage in addition to what the IMF is trying to impose on it.

HUDSON: Well, when Kiev went to war against Eastern Ukraine, it fought primarily the coal mining region and the export region. Thirty-eight percent of Ukraine's exports are to Russia. And yet this was the--the export capacity has been bombed out of existence. And, in fact, the electric companies that fuel the electricity to the coal mines been bombed out. So Ukraine can't even supply itself with coal.

Now, that's very--what is so striking about all this is that just a few weeks ago, on January 28, Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, said the IMF does not make loans to countries that are engaged in war. That would be funding one side or another. And yet Ukraine is involved in a civil war.

And also the IMF articles of agreement say that it cannot make loans to an insolvent country. So how on earth can the IMF be part of a loan bailout for the Ukraine if, number one, it's at war, the war has to stop totally; number two, it's insolvent? The only solution is that Ukraine will somehow scale back its debts to private investors. And that means a lot of contrary hedge funds investors.

So, again, the Financial Times today has an article showing that an American investor has $7 billion of Ukraine debts and wants to speculate in it. How is Ukraine going to treat the speculators? And then, finally, how is the IMF going to treat the fact that Russia's sovereign fund lent 3 billion euros to the Ukraine on harsh terms through the London agreement terms that can't be written down? Is the IMF going to insist that Russia take the same haircut that it's imposing on the hedge funds? All of this is going to be the kind of conflict that's going to take much more effort than even the solutions that we've seen over the last few days have taken on the military battlefront.

PERIES: And so how could Ukraine imagine getting out of this crisis?

HUDSON: It imagines it'll get out of the crisis by the West giving it $50 billion and saying, here's all the money you need, spend it as you want. That's the extent of its imagination. This is fantasy. It's living in a dream world, except that a few weeks ago, George Soros came out in The New York Review of Books and said, give Ukraine $50 billion and look at it as a down payment on military or with Russia. Well, immediately Kiev said, yes, we will only spend them on defensive arms. We will defend Ukraine all the way up to Siberia as we wipe out the Russians.

Today, yet another Financial Times article said, yes, give Ukraine the 50 billion that George Soros asked for. We've got to enable it to have enough money that it can fight America's war against Russia. And the Europeans are saying, wait a minute, not only at the end of this, but there'll be no more Ukrainians to fight, but the war is going to spread into Poland and into elsewhere, because if the money that's given to Ukraine is really for what the Obama administration and Hillary and Soros are all pressing for to go to war with Russia, then Russia's going to say, okay, if we're being attacked by foreign troops, we're going to have to not only bomb the troops, but the airports are coming in, the railway stations are coming in. We're going to extended towards Europe. And apparently there are reports that Putin told Europe, look, you have two choices before you. The one choice: Europe, Germany, and Russia can be a very prosperous area. With Russia's raw materials and European technology, we can be the most prosperous area in the world. Or you can go to war with us and you can be wiped out. Take your choice.


----------------

All roads lead to the same villains.

Edited to add: I am no Putin lover or apologist, he certainly has shown us who and what he is, but beyond that, I am no lover of these financial wars aimed at bringing nations to their knees.

Having said that, I am really tired of the RT slams on this board too. Is there no room for opposing opinions, are we to only post and view what is presented by our own mainstream media? If that is the case, we are in more serious trouble than I believed possible. If a democratic board cannot allow for opinions which mostly come from our own US presenters simply because they are on RT...then we are beyond lost and no different than the GOP who get their lockstep talking points. Aren't we the party that self-examines & sees the bigger picture.

This is my humble opinion, but I honestly think if we call everything conspiracy if it does not fit with what TV tells us to think, we've lost our capacity for rational and free thinking, and we may as well all join the military, because it is our main focus, not life, not people, just war and more war.

In the above snipped interview...it states
there'll be no more Ukrainians to fight, but the war is going to spread into Poland and into elsewhere


When is enough, enough? Ok, stepping off the soapbox, but I do feel it needs to be said. We are democrats, we once believed and were told by FDR that dissent is our duty.

Unconditional Basic Income explained by Barbara Jacobson, European Citizens' Initiative


Published on Mar 24, 2014
World Finance interviews Barbara Jacobson, one of the organizers of the European Citizens' Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income, about whether such a system is feasible for Europe.


Universal Basic Income, Rethinking How Society Works




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