Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shanghai Over Three Decades

It's hard to believe sitting in the moribund U.S. , but much of the world has seen phenomenal growth over the last decade +, mostly by explicitly not following the Washington Consensus.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Attacking Iran, Why ?

Putin struck a starker note on Iran, which Western nations fear may be seeking nuclear weapons. Israel has threatened Iran with pre-emptive strikes on its nuclear sites and the United States has not ruled out force if sanctions and diplomacy fail.

"The growing threat of a military strike on this country alarms Russia, no doubt," Putin said of Iran. "If this occurs, the consequences will be truly catastrophic. It is impossible to imagine their real scale."

This is true, yet the United States is pushing Iran against the wall as a way to debilitate the growing might of the developing world. Both China and India rely on Iran for a significant percentage of their oil, and as important, Iran and Venezuela are the key sources outside the U.S. vassal states. This is why China and India are in no hurry to have Saudi Arabia fill any void left by an Iran embargo. It means permanently subordinating themselves to the U.S.

1'Iran nuclear threat: Vladimir Putin warns West not to meddle' - Times of India

The Fantasy of Putin's Demise

Reading American newspapers one would get the impression that Putin is a besieged dictator with thin popular support. In fact his popularity ratings have fallen from the 80's to the 60's and he will easily win the upcoming elections. There won't be a runoff. There hasn't been a national politician in the U.S. with Putin's level of consistent popular support since FDR.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Begging for Alms

We will never get anything but the proverbial table scraps by begging from the rich or appealing to their better nature.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bored With Controversies Over Racism

Not because racism is somehow respectable, but I know the people howling the loudest are generally only concerned about their own group. You can go to the meetings, or get-togethers, of these identity-based civil rights folks and hear equivalent racism against other 'teams'. In general , they are superficial commentaries and not the institutional racism that existed in the U.S. historically. If an American wants to understand what real racism is, they should live in Asia or India for a while.

More and more it appears there has to be some grounding in the definitions of wage exploitation and the extraction of surplus value for any left movement to flourish. Otherwise the left is basically reduced to the equal opportunity, 'let me have it too' schtick of liberals. The former which of course can be remedied with charity.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chris Hedges on Violence

I don't have a problem with anarchism. The problem is they're not tactics I would engage in. I wouldn't classify them as "violent." I would classify violence as the destruction of property and vandalism, the shouting of insulting messages to the police, physical confrontations with the police. Those are very clear cut acts of violence.(1)

What isn't violence in Hedges world ? Physical assault is violence. Spray painting a newspaper stand is not. I understand why the capitalist media conflates the two -- in their paradigm, private property holds an equal or greater weight to a human's physical body. But since Hedges advocates an utopian form of small-business, Main Street capitalism, perhaps his view on violence is in keeping with his general political philosophy.

1'Interview With Chris Hedges About Black Bloc- Truthout
Note: Repost

Sunday, February 19, 2012


ESPN on a 'chink in the armor' :

We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.

This reminds me of Prokofieff's response to "constructive criticism" from Stalin. We're talking about a colloquial expression that has never to my knowledge been used as racial slur historically.

Update. The headline writer is quoted:

"This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny," Anthony Federico told the Daily News.

"I'm so sorry that I offended people. I'm so sorry if I offended Jeremy."
Federico, 28, said he understands why he was axed. "ESPN did what they had to do," he said.

He said he has used the phrase "at least 100 times" in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story.(3)

I don't see the mistake, except a country that has lost all rationality. This guy lost his job for absolutely no reason, and will have problems working again. This is sick, a witch hunt, and should be condemned. He is shouldering the burden of popular anger that comes from living in a plutocratic society, an anger that is not focused rationally, but through hysteria and emotion. Again, we are talking about a colloquial expression will absolutely no racist history. It's alluding to the middle ages.

Something similar in the news in Texas:

... critics of veteran Arlington educator, Shirley Bunn are calling for her to be fired after she made a racially insensitive remark to an 8th grade boy in September at Barnett Junior High School. 63-year old, Bunn was suspended and has been on paid leave since the incident.

In a recent ruling, an independent examiner found the boy, identified in the report as R-F was in class when he repeatedly told the teacher that he is Mexican. She says that she reminded him that he is an American and he again stated that he is Mexican. Bunn admits that she told the boy, "then go back to Mexico." The examiner ruled the comment didn't warrant termination.(2)

I'm sorry, but your sweet little kids are by and large narcissistic monsters. And the general public expects teachers to be nuns, monks or possibly saints. Not only are they supposed to reverse hundreds of years history and daily assault from both political parties, it all should be done with a smile.

America is a plutocratic society that through its daily actions pretends it isn't. These incidents are examples of "they protest too much" moments. Our society tremors over minor incidents while it steps around the dead homeless. It bores me, but I suppose a few ethnic studies departments will grant some tenures over it. Meanwhile the various working class identity groups can be happy fighting over who gets the premium cat food. They, you, will never get anywhere -- that mentality has never worked.

1'Statement on offensive comments' - ESPN
2'North Texas teacher tells student, "Go back to Mexico"- KDAF TV, Dallas
3'Jeremy Lin headline slur was ‘honest mistake,’ fired ESPN editor Anthony Federico claims' - NY Daily News

Thursday, February 16, 2012

'Rise of the Greek Left'

Wall Street Journal:

The rise of the left in Greece may well be why Mr. Samaras has been incessantly pressing for elections are soon as possible. A person familiar with his thinking was saying that the longer it takes to hold elections, the higher the left-wing parties will poll. This would further threaten Mr. Samaras’s chances of forming a majority government unaided.

As the Greek political deck is being reshuffled by the hand of austerity and foreign aid, the rise of the Left is not to be ignored. This is a long game and, even if Mr Samaras is elected to government in April, his troubles will by no means be over. He will likely find a strengthened opposition in the left and hostile sentiment on the streets.

1'The Greek Left Strikes Back' WSJ

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cutting Off Iran from SWIFT

The Obama administration wants Iran evicted from SWIFT, an independent financial clearinghouse that is crucial to the country's overseas oil sales. That would leapfrog the current slow-pressure campaign of sanctions aimed at persuading Iran to drop what the U.S. and its allies contend is a drive toward developing and building nuclear weapons.
More than 40 Iranian banks and institutions use SWIFT to process financial transactions, and losing access to that flow of international funds could badly damage the Islamic republic's economy. It would also probably hurt average Iranians more than the welter of existing banking sanctions already in place since prices for household goods would rise while the value of Iranian currency would drop.
SWIFT handles cross-border payments for more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 210 countries. It lets users exchange financial information securely and reliably, thereby lowering costs and reducing risk. It operates on trust and neutrality - SWIFT accepts nearly all comers and does not judge the merits of the transactions passing through its secure message system.

Established in 1973, the essential but little-known hub is overseen by major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.(1)

The root problem in implementing these punitive measures is that Iran has an actual product to sell. It's economy is not based on residual financial power and the swapping and leveraging of pieces of electronic paper and credit. If a country has a valuable commodity to sell, it will find takers one way or another. Direct barter or exchange between nations through their respective central banks, for instance. Or utilizing a third party (Russia) with large dollar reserves.

1'US, Europe look at fast but risky penalty on Iran ' - AP

All the end result of the sanction on Iran is too expose the limitations of European and American imperial power. They can no longer completely control the game.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why the U.S Crime Rate Keeps Falling

Because almost authoritarian states have low crime rates.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Is the recovery close to peaking ?

Earning growth rates are certainly telling us so. Unemployment is the ultimate lagging indicator, and its rapid decrease over the last six months may just be a case of catch-up with the sharp 'v' upturn we saw in , for instance, industrial production.

Source: 1'Business Insider Graph'

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What Will the Greek Elections Bring ?

The new poll, carried out by Public Issue for Skai, showed ND to have inched forward to 31 percent, consolidating its growing popularity, while PASOK continues to languish in fifth place with 8 percent.

The poll, carried out on a sample of 1,002 people last week, showed the Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) to be holding firm at 12.5 and 12 percent respectively. But the Democratic Left has surged in popularity, garnering 18 percent of the public vote (up 4.5 percent since last month).

All together, the leftist parties garner an impressive 42.5 percent, but as KKE has ruled out cooperating with other parties, the figure is misleading.

Support for the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), the third party in the tripartite coalition, slipped to 5 percent -- from 8 percent during its heyday in 2010 -- while the extreme-right Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) has surged to 3 percent, hitting the threshold for entering Parliament.(1)

I think the Democratic Left would quickly sell out to gain a seat at the table, Liberal Party style. The KKE is Stalinist, so forget it. SYRIZA offers the best possibilities.

One can imagine a coalition of the Democratic Left, Pasok and New Democracy attempting to force the demands of the troika down the throat of the Greek people. Street battles between the hard Left and Right loom.


1'Poll points to a shift in voting intentions' - Ekathimirini

Friday, February 10, 2012

Who is the World's Leading Economic Power ? (Survey by Age)

From Gallup:

65 Year and Older, +9 for the United States

18-29 Years, +39 for China

There is a sea change coming which our clueless politicians can't bring themselves to acknowledge. American college students know that their universities, particularly on the West Coast, are subsidized by wealthy overseas Asian students who pay full international tuition rates.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two Flags

(Scout Sniper)

(Nazi SS)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

U.S. Pushing For Confrontation

Events are now building to where a large scale regional conflict in the Middle East, spiraling into a global confrontation, grows from impossible to unlikely. At the current pace, in a month's time what is now unlikely becomes more and more probable.

That the issue only rumbles beneath the surface makes the danger that much greater. The U.S. is pushing Russia and China to a point geopolitically where they will be compelled to respond much as Japan was before Pearl Harbor. Russia's interests in Syria are inviolate as are China's in Iran. The former because it hosts an all-seasons naval port and the latter because China cannot be dependent on oil from U.S. vassals in the Gulf. With China, you also have the U.S. surrounding shipping chokepoints -- with agreements to station U.S marines in Darwin, Australia and littorals in Singapore.

From my vantage point, the Washington is doing this to shore up their imperial position using an overwhelming residual military power that no longer exists economically. The message to all other nations is clear; fall in line.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Noble Warriors of Misrata

The aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said last Thursday it had stopped its work in detention centers in the city of Misrata because its medical staff were being asked to patch up detainees mid-way through torture sessions so they could go back for more abuse.

And Misrata is supposed to be one of the more forward-thinking political centers of the Libyan revolution.

1'Libya rejects MSF torture allegations: minister' - Reuters