by Mike Whitney
The U.S. Dollar is kaput. Confidence in the currency is eroding by the day.
A report in The Sydney Morning Herald stated, â€œAustraliaâ€™s Treasurer Peter Costello has called on East Asiaâ€™s central bankers to â€˜telegraphâ€™ their intentions to diversify out of American investments and ensure an â€˜orderly adjustmentâ€™â€¦.Central banks in China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong have channeled immense foreign reserves into American government bonds, helping to prop up the US dollar and hold down interest rates,â€™ said Costello, but â€˜the strategy has changed.â€™â€
Indeed, the strategy has changed. The world has come to its senses and is moving away from the green slip of paper that is currently mired in $8.3 trillion of debt.
The central banks now want to reduce their USD reserves while trying to do as little damage to their own economies as possible. Thatâ€™ll be difficult. If a sell-off ensues, it will start a stampede for the exits.
by William Bowles
Perhaps the most difficult thing to do when dealing with current events is to establish the link between economics and politics. Thus the corporate press never, ever present an event, the invasion of Iraq for example as having any connection with economics, indeed any attempt to do so is ridiculed (eg itâ€™s not all about oil). The modus operandi is, keep it simple stupid, itâ€™s good versus evil, donâ€™t confuse the publicâ€™s mind with the complexities of real life for once you do so, an awful lot of explaining has to be done as to why countries act the way they do, none of which is in accord with the way events are portrayed in the MSM.
In my last piece, â€˜Leaving the scene of the crimeâ€™, I quoted from a piece in the Independent on the â€˜Suez Crisisâ€™ by Mary Dejevsky which is a perfect example of this process in action whereby Empire whether past, present or intended is reduced to the level of psychology and personalities. Defeat is a â€œnational humiliationâ€. Yes, there is a passing reference to economics but it is never presented as the root cause of the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Eygpt. Instead itâ€™s couched in the context of the Cold War and Nasserâ€™s desire to â€˜take control of the Suez Canalâ€™. Why he would want to do this is not explained except in the context of one personâ€™s desire for power or a desire to humiliate â€˜Great Britain.â€™ Thus Dejevesky tells us
â€œThe Suez crisis began when the young and forceful President of Eygpt, Gamal Abdul Nasser, seized control of the Suez Canal after the US and Britain refused to help fund the Aswan Dam.â€Add a comment
by Paul William Roberts
Editor's Note: Our Senior Writer, Paul William Roberts, gives us a rollicking tour of the Bush-induced Gotterdamerung in Iraq. Roberts, whose book, A War Against Truth, is one of the very best accounts of the mad march to aggression, was in Iraq during the earliest days of the invasion, as "Shock and Awe" gave way to shakedown and atrocity. If you want to grasp the realities about the Middle East, about the Iraq war, ask someone who knows. Paul William Roberts knows.
A friend of mine in Baghdad wrote to me a few days ago about a conversation heâ€™d had with an elderly lady from West Virginia who was seated next to him on an airplane between Los Angeles and Washington earlier this year. The subject under discussion was how Iraqis generally view the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, and my friend was trying to find an analogy that would work for a sweet eighty-five-year-old grandmother who had never traveled anywhere beyond the USA in her life. He came up with this:
Imagine you are visiting with one of your daughters who is married to a man who is a bit of a brute. He beats the kids occasionally and has knocked her about from time to time as well. You donâ€™t like it, she doesnâ€™t like it, the kids donâ€™t like it, but at the end of the day heâ€™s Dad, he works hard, he provides, and no oneâ€™s going to break up the family after all this time â€“ besides, the monsterâ€™s mellowing with age and hasnâ€™t hit anyone very hard in a long while.
So there you all are, watching TV one night, the kids doing their homework or playing downstairs, your daughter preparing dinner in the kitchen, the son-in-law having his beer and reading the sports pageâ€¦.When all of a sudden, the front door is smashed open, there are loud explosions all around the house, and five men come crashing in through the windows on ropes, as another five pour through the broken door firing guns.
One of the kids is killed, another staggers around covered in blood screaming, a third lies groaning somewhere nearby, then flames erupt from the kitchen as your daughter runs out, her body on fire, and you feel something smash into your knee breaking the leg. Before anyone can work out whatâ€™s happening, thereâ€™s another terrifying explosion above and the house rocks from side to side as the roof caves in and the whole structure collapses around you in rubble and dust. As you wipe the gravel and concrete from your face, you see that some of the intruders have handcuffed the son-in-law and are dragging him away at gunpoint. One of these gunmen then comes over and identifies himself as a representative of the Chinese Childrenâ€™s Aid Society of Beijing, saying they would have come sooner but they had trouble getting visas.
They were here now, though, and your family was at last free of the brute and you could finally relax. Another gunman sweeps a bit of rubble to one side with a broom and apologizes for the mess, giving you the business card of a local contractor who also happens to be a friend of his brother and specializes in fixing houses reduced to rubble for a reasonable price. The men then say in a chorus, Have a nice day! They throw the brute into a van and are off leaving you sitting there alone in the dark with raindrops starting to pitter-patter on your head. How do you think you would you feel about all this?
â€œWell, I wouldnâ€™t be happy,â€ the old lady apparently replied.
â€œAnd thatâ€™s pretty much how we feel,â€ said my friend.
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If you need more proof that President George Bush is as clueless as a goldfish on a leash in a space shuttle, you obviously didnâ€™t see him in all his counter- intuitive glory this week adamantly refuting the slogan of â€œstaying the courseâ€ while keeping its policy EXACTLY THE SAME. Thatâ€™s right, George Bush is cutting and running from â€œstay the course.â€ This doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s a Defeatlican, though. Because â€œwe are winning in Iraq and will continue to win.â€ And youâ€™d better hope we do, because if this is winning, you really REALLY donâ€™t want to see what losing looks like.
He went on to speak of the differences between â€œa timetableâ€ and â€œbenchmarks,â€ declaring one to be the way of the winner and the other the path to Loserville City. Now, as to which is which, your guess is as good as anybodyâ€™s. And that probably includes his own staff. It definitely includes Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki who either has or hasnâ€™t agreed to benchmarks or timetables or touchstones or yardsticks, although a Donald Rumsfeld yard sign looks to be entirely out of the question.
Straight lines. Stark choices. Bold differences. Say what you will about Mister Bush, thatâ€™s what heâ€™s always stood for. â€œUs versus them.â€ â€œGood versus evil.â€ â€œBlack versus white.â€ Now, that may be a great world viewâ€¦ for an eighth grader, but hey, in the last six years of fighting for the hearts and minds of American voters, its worked. Nuance is for sissies.
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By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Hitlerâ€™s National Socialist German Workers Party used the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred of Jews, gypsies, the physically and mentally impaired and, of course, homosexuals. The Klu Klux Klan still uses the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred of Blacks, Jews and, of course, homosexuals.
The American Family Association constantly uses the Bible and their perversion of Christianity to promote bigotry, discrimination and hatred, but they have a more focused target: homosexuals and any group or company that supports the social recognition or legal equality of gay and lesbian Americans, such as the dastardly â€œpro-homosexualâ€ Wal-Mart chain.
called on Christian consumers to spend their dollars elsewhere as a sign of their displeasure with Wal-Martâ€™s pro-homosexual leanings, says the nationâ€™s largest retailer is not just working with the homosexual agenda of the NGLCC [National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce], it is promoting it. As proof, AFA offers up examples of books available for purchase through Wal-Martâ€™s online bookstore â€“ books the pro-family group contends support or defend homosexuality.Add a comment
When you're bored, get on board. For some that might mean a surfboard, a snowboard, or maybe a skateboard. For Vice President Dick Cheney, when he's not busy shooting lawyers, hiding out in undisclosed locations, or tampering with the U.S. Constitution, it's waterboarding for him. Plus, if we're to believe the rumors, Deadeye Dick may have an unlikely new playmate... a certain blonde with the initials HRC.
While being interviewed on Fargo radio, the VP was asked: "Would you agree that a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Dick replied, "It's a no-brainer for me." To him, holding someone's head under water until they talk (a.k.a. "waterboarding") is just part of "a fairly robust interrogation program."
Which brings us to the mysterious HRC and I don't think I have to tell you her full name. Just a few months ago Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that the Military Commissions Act "undermines the Geneva Conventions by allowing the president to issue executive orders to redefine what are permissible interrogation techniques." She wondered: "Have we fallen so low as to debate how much torture we are willing to stomach?"
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by Dr. Paul J. Balles
â€œI am an invisible man," said Ralph Ellison in the prologue to his novel The Invisible Man, "When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination--indeed, everything and anything except me."
The main character is anonymous and unseen. The whites in society refuse to see him except as a black. Much has changed in America since the 50's appearance of The Invisible Man, at least for those who have been able to distinguish themselves, primarily in the media.
At the same time, others lack any recognizable individual identity. Blacks seen as African refugees merge back into masses without identities. To most Americans, Orientals from China or Japan or Korea are indistinguishable as members of their countries much less as individuals.
Americans generally lack both the ability and desire to distinguish Arabs from Persians, and even less capable of seeing distinct and recognizable features. Thus, Arabs and Persians number among Ellison's invisible men.
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By Ramzy Baroud
How critical is the situation in Iraq? It depends on who you ask and when. Common sense tells us that the situation there has always been critical. In fact, one could dare claim that the country has been stricken with political and social upheaval since the early 1990s, when the US led its â€˜coalition of the willingâ€™ to liberate Kuwait.
Unfortunately, since American intent was hardly freedom for Kuwait for its own sake, the violent episode didnâ€™t end right there and then. The war established a completely different mood in the region where a permanent American military presence and subsequent built ups threatened a second, and much larger war.
Unlike the dominant narrative, however, the 1990-91 war never brought peace or tranquility to the region; rather, it agitated internal strife within Iraq, positioning the entire region through the barrel of a gun. Over the next decade, US-led UN economic sanctions wrought untold destruction to the very fabric of Iraqi society, as hundreds of thousands perished because of lack of medicine and food. The US government calculated that a weary Iraq could not withstand a future military action, and that ravished Iraqis would welcome the toppling of the Iraqi dictator.
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James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He's a noted academic figure on the US Left and a well-respected Latin American expert and longtime chronicler of the region's popular struggles. He's also an advisor to the landless workers in Brazil and the unemployed workers movement in Argentina. Along the way, he managed to find time to write many hundreds of articles and 62 books published in 29 languages including his latest one in which he discusses another vital world region he has extensive knowledge of and has written frequently about - the Middle East and specifically the state of Israel and its relations with its neighbors, the Palestinians and, most importantly and the subject of this book, the US.
Petras' powerful new book is titled The Power of Israel in the United States. It's a work of epic writing and essential reading documenting the enormous influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the Middle East. It focuses like a laser to assure that policy conforms with Israel's long-term goal for regional hegemony. The Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media. Petras shows how together they're able to assure the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel's agenda going back decades even when that agenda harms our interests such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if it's undertaken, and the appalling and brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people that serves no US interest whatever. In spite of it, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to it tolerated.Add a comment
by Mickey Z.
When activists made global headlines by essentially shutting down the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle in late 1999, the term "anti-globalization" was bandied about without much serious explanation. The majority of those in the streets were not against the literal concept of global interaction; it was the current form of remote control imperialism euphemistically known as trade or globalization that inspired the demonstrations.
Created in 1995, the WTO is a bonanza for corporate profit that slipped in
under the public radar. "Most of America slept right through the birth of
this 134-nation organization, including many in Congress who voted to ratify
U.S. membership," says Mark Weisbrot, Research Director of the Preamble
Center, in Washington, D.C. "In the fall of 1994 Ralph Nader's Public
Citizen offered $10,000 to any member of Congress that would read the
500-page treaty and answer ten simple questions to prove it. Senator Hank
Brown of Colorado, a Republican who had voted for NAFTA and planned to vote
for the WTO, took the bet. He passed the quiz with a perfect score,
collected the winnings (for a charity of his choice), and then proceeded to
announce that having read the agreement, he felt compelled to vote against
by Chris Floyd
The ever persipacious Angry Arab, As'ad AbuKhalil, plucks out the hidden (or not-so-hidden) propaganda in a passing phrase in an otherwise unremarkable Washington Post story about Syria. Let the good doctor tell it in his own words:
[From the WP]: "Horror at the bloodshed accompanying the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Iraq has accomplished what human rights activists, analysts and others say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been unable to do by himself: silence public demands for democratic reforms here." (Notice the casual language of the Washington Post. Notice how they insert propaganda lines into articles. "US effort to bring democracy in Iraq"? Are you kidding me? Does the writer of the article really believe that this was what it was about?)
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by William Bowles
â€œ The Armed Forces Press Service recently quoted Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker as saying that the current level of soldiers in Iraq could remain constant through 2010.â€ â€” â€˜Iraq and Afghanistan: Staying Until the Fight is Overâ€™ October 25, 2006
front page head for Wednesday 25 October proclaimed loudly â€œWeâ€™re out
of hereâ€ purportedly the words of General George Casey, the USâ€™s head
military honcho in Iraq. Of course the devil lives in the small print
as any reading â€˜between the linesâ€™ reveals. And in any case, Caseyâ€™s
comments are designed precisely to give the impression that a pullout is imminent when in reality, there is no way the US can leave voluntarily, there is simply too much at stake.
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