Conservatives Are Murderous and Hate Democracy All over the World and at All Times

The Murderous, Democracy-Hating Latin American Right

The murderousness of the Chilean, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Argentine Right is in the past, but you never know when they will spring up again.

  • There was talk on the Argentine Right of calling for a coup when the last president talked about regulating the agricultural sector. They run that country like a mafia and no one dares to touch them. The Argentine Right worked with Wall Street to bankrupt the country and ruin the economy so they could win an election.
  • The Paraguayan Right overthrew the government with a judicial coup.
  • The Ecuadorian Right attempted an armed police coup several years ago.
  • The Peruvian Right staged a coup 25 years ago.
  • The Chilean Right only allowed a weak democracy 18 years ago.
  • The Honduran Right staged a military coup to get rid of a democratically elected president. Since then, death squads have murdered 1,000 people.
  • Aristide was overthrown by US sponsored coup 23 years ago, and they haven’t had any democracy since because Aristide’s party is banned from running. The last time they ran, they won 92% of the vote. After the coup, death squads rampaged through the population, murdering 3,000 members of Aristide’s party.
  • The rightwing Brazilian legislature overthrew the Left government based on a complete lie and they jailed the former president on a completely fake charge based on a bribe that he didn’t even accept! I mean they simply overthrew a democratically elected government with a parliamentary coup. They do this stuff all the time down there with either judicial, parliamentary or military coups.

The Latin American Right hates democracy.
If you wonder why the Left goes authoritarian down there, well, this is what happens if you try to do it democratically. They try to do it democratically, they wage coups and economic wars against you, start terrorist riots destroying you cities, murder the members of your government and political parties, start contra wars, or if they are in power, run death squads and slaughter the members of your parties.
I mean if they block all efforts at peaceful change, why not just put in a Left dictatorship? By the way, this is why Lenin said peaceful efforts towards socialism were doomed to fail because power never surrenders without a fight. He called such efforts parliamentary cretinism. I don’t agree with that, but I see the point.
The main point is that everywhere on Earth, the Right hates democracy and they are determined never to allow any Left governments to take power. Things are a bit different in Europe, North Africa, the Arab World, and Central Asia, but once you start getting over to South Asia, once again, they won’t give it up without a fight.

The Murderous, Democracy-Hating Right in Southeast and East Asia

  • Thailand overthrew a Left government with a judicial coup and the middle class rioters called yellow shirts destroying the country.
  • Indonesia staged a fake coup so they could murder 1 million Communist Party members.
  • The Philippines runs death squads that slaughter the Left.
  • The Taiwanese state consolidated its power after 1949 when they fled to they island by murdering hundreds of thousands of Leftists.
  • South Korea also killed hundreds of thousands of Leftists from 1945-1950 before the Korean War even started.
  • Between 1954-1960, Communists tried to take power peacefully in South Vietnam, but the government murdered 80,000 of them. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms but it was never granted. Finally, in 1960, Ho gave them permission to take up arms.

A Look at the Chinese Model of Communism – Market Socialism

You are starting to see a lot of articles in the capitalist press bashing China now, saying their economy is not as good as they say, that it cannot be sustained, and that it is headed for crash. They base this on a comparison to other Communist countries, but those economies fell behind far before China’s did.
China has sustained Communism under various forms, including presently under market socialism, for 70 years now. That’s as long as the Soviet Union, and the Soviets started stagnating a long time before that. China is an example of a smashing success for a Communist country, and the capitalist press is freaking out because that shows that their anti-Communist propaganda has been crap for all of these years.
Incidentally, Deng Xiaoping emphatically stated that he was a Communist. Deng’s idea was to create “a rich Communist country.”. In an interview in 2005, a top party official was asked if China was still committed to spreading Communism all over the world.
“Of course,” the minister beamed. “That is the purpose of the Communist party (CCP).”
Incidentally, China still has 5-year plans and the whole economy is planned. The business sector has to go along with the plan, and if you do not go along with it, they can confiscate your business. A party committee sits on the board of all large corporations. The government owns every inch of land in China. The state invests an incredible amount in the economy and also overseas where it makes vast investments. This is because some Chinese government companies are very profitable. A number of Chinese government companies are on the list of largest companies in the world.
Capitalists in the US openly complain that they cannot compete with Communist Chinese government  corporations, crying that they get subsidies so it’s not fair. So here we have US corporations openly admitting that they can’t compete with Chinese government Communist state-owned companies.
45% of the economy is state owned and it is very profitable. 87% of all investment in the economy is made by the state. This figure includes all Chinese private investment and all foreign investment.
Much of the state sector is owned by small municipalities, and this works very well. Further, cities compete against each other. For instance, City A’s steel mill will compete against City B’s steel mill, and both will compete against a private sector steel mill, if there is one. Successful enterprises bring in a lot of money to the city, which it uses to upgrade the city, which results in more workers moving there, which grows the economy more with more workers and more demand.
There are also still a number of pure Maoist villages in China that are run completely on a Maoist line. Everything is done as it was right out of the Mao era. I understand that they do very well, and there is a huge waiting list to move to those villages.
I did a lot of research on China recently, and the party is literally everywhere you look every time you turn around. The party itself still runs many enterprises all over the country, especially in the rural areas. There are party officials in every village and city, and they take a very active role in developing the municipality in every way, including culturally. They have an ear to the ground and are typically very popular in the villages and cities.
Party officials lobby the state to try to solve any urgent problem in the area. The government is always spending a lot of money all over China on public works, on fixing various environmental problems, or on really any societal problem or issue you can think of. This of course includes economic development, which tends to be state-led. I read synopses of many dissertations coming out of Chinese universities, and most were on how to deal with some particular societal problem or issue. Many others dealt with technology and industry. So a lot of the research on technology and industry that is driving economic development is coming straight out of state universities.
Instead of leaving it up to the private sector to deal with the problems in society, create public works, and even plan the economy, the government does all of that. Incidentally, the way the US leaves the planning of the economy, such as it is, up to the private sector is insane. All sensible economic planning in any nation will always be done by the state with a view towards allowing the country to prosper. Capitalists have no interest in whether the country profits or not, so they engage in no economic planning at all. Leaving economic planning up to the whims of the capitalists is economic malpractice.
There are 1,000 protests every day in China. Yes, there is corruption and there are government abuses, but if protests last long enough, the party usually gets alarmed and tries to do something about the problem because they don’t want serious unrest. This is party that does everything it can to serve the people and try to remain popular with citizens by giving them as much as they can and doing as much for them as possible. The party spends every single day of its rule literally trying to buy off unrest and keep its citizens satisfied.
It’s illegal to be homeless in China. If you end up homeless in China, they will try to put you in a homeless shelter, or if they cannot do that, they will send you back to your village because most homeless are rural migrants who moved to the city. The state is now investing a vast amount of money in the rural areas because these places have been neglected for a long time. The state still wants to own all the land because they want to keep the rural areas as a secure base where rural migrants to the city can always return if they fail in the city.
How can a government in which 45% of the economy is publicly owned, 87% of investment is done by the state, and every inch of land is owned by the state possibly be called as capitalist country? No serious political economist anywhere on Earth considers China to be a capitalist country. The only people who say that are ideologues and liars, which includes almost all political conservatives and most businessmen.
The state spends an unbelievable amount of money on public works all over the country all the time. Many projects that in the US have “conclusively proven” to be too costly to be implemented have been done in China quickly and easily. And China’s per capita income in less than 10% of ours.
Most ethnic minorities are still allowed to support their culture, and in most cases they are allowed to have education in their native language. In these areas, the native language is co-official with Mandarin.
In recent years, the Chinese government has begun to support a lot of the Chinese dialects, of which there are over 2,000 main ones, many of which are actually separate languages. Cantonese is still an official language in Hong Kong, and it is widely used in Guangdong. The other major Chinese languages or macrolanguages still have millions of tens of millions of speakers. Lately the Chinese government is telling people they can preserve their dialect as long as they also speak Mandarin. Many schools now have classes in the local dialect.
Cheap medical insurance is available and it covers 85% of costs. State medical centers are still very good. However, if you have a serious medical condition in China, you will quickly run out of money with no recourse.
This is a serious problem but it is much better than earlier in the Deng Era when millions were dying from lack of health care. However, the state still need to cover everyone. They got away from universal coverage  when they moved away from Maoism early in the Deng era. In addition, tens of thousands of schools, many of which were built during the Cultural Revolution, were closed early in the Deng era.
The introduction of a market had a lot of problems in the early days. The capitalist press was cheering wildly as thousands of schools were closed all over China, medical care was cut off from or reduced for hundreds of millions of people, while millions of Chinese died from lack of medical care. This was all cause for celebration! Isn’t capitalism wonderful? What’s millions of humans dying from lack of health care as long as a few rich people can buy ridiculously expensive, useless items that they don’t even need?
A recent good survey done by a Western polling firm found that 87% of the population supported the Communist Party.  The excesses of the Mao era, especially the Great Leap and the Cultural Revolution, have been widely discussed and the party has admitted that many errors were made and resolved not to do this again. These excesses are being blamed by the party on what they call “ultra-Leftism.”
The economic model of China is called Market Socialism and a lot of modern day Leftists and even Communists support it and agree that this is the way forward for the left and Communist movement. Like all words, the word Communism has no inherent meaning. It means whatever people who use it say it means. So the definition of Communism can clearly change with the times as Communists update their definitions of what the word means.
China cannot be called capitalist in any way. Their model is far more socialist than anything in any European social democracy. It also goes far beyond the US in the New Deal and of course beyond beyond the social liberalism and its more left analogue in Canada, not to mention beyond social democracy in Australia or New Zealand.
Interestingly, Japan is not a capitalist country. They don’t have neoliberalism. That country does not operate on the capitalist mode of development. Instead the resemblance is, I hate to say, to Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany also did not have a capitalist mode of development. I’m not sure what you call it, but it’s not capitalism. For instance, in Japan, the commanding heights of the economy, including almost all of the banks, is owned by the state.
The state still plans the economy. They plan the economy together with the business community and the state allocates a lot of funds and loans to areas of the economy it wishes to develop. There is probably a similar model in South Korea, which also is not capitalist and instead operates on a series of monopolies that are owned currently by large corporations and the government. The South Korean economy is also planned, and the plan is worked out by the government and the business sector working together.

The Rich Only Support Democracy when the Elected State Serves their Class Interests, Otherwise They Try to Overthrow It

Zamfir: Thanks Robert. I appreciate the site, and it’s nice to feel welcome.
Obviously one problem in discussing this is that terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ or ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ have been given all kinds of different meanings. If economic conservatism is identified with free market ideology then I’m pretty ambivalent about that, at best. And if it’s identified with support for whatever this internationalist economic system is that we have now, I’m against it.
I find it very weird that people who are conservative about social and cultural issues often support “economic conservatism” of that kind. It’s so clear that these things are incompatible! Anyway I certainly have no problem with socialism per se. I would only disagree with certain versions, or cases where I believe socialism ends up being destructive of healthy families and cultures (in much the same way that capitalism can be).
As for democracy I’m not sure what I think about it. I think I’m a reactionary to the extent that I don’t believe that democracy, or any other specific system or procedure, is always good or always essential to a good society. My sense is that some democracies or kinds of democracy are fine, while others are really bad. It all depends on some many factors aside from the system or procedure itself.
I do want a society where the interests of most people, including the poor, are taken into account fairly. But I don’t see any reason why that could never happen in a non-democratic state. Or, more precisely, for anything that’s good about some democracies, I don’t see why certain non-democratic regimes couldn’t also have those good things; it would all depend on other factors such as the culture and history of the people, their typical behavior and beliefs, etc.
So I guess I’d support coups against democratic regimes in some cases–though things would have to be pretty bad–and also against non-democratic regimes in some cases. I don’t think coups are always bad. (In fact, that’s one thing that seems silly about a lot of rigid ‘conservative’ ideology–the wish to preserve order and the status quo no matter how terrible it’s become…)
You say the rich don’t support democracy. I wonder if that’s true. Maybe they don’t support the ideal of democracy, for the reasons you mentioned. But, again, bearing in mind the looseness of terminology here, they sure do seem to support systems that we normally call “democratic”. Is the US a democracy in your view?
Are England or Ireland or Canada democracies? If so, then I don’t agree that the rich never want democracy. My sense is that they long ago figured out how to manipulate these kinds of systems to get the results they want. They manage the perceptions and values of the masses so that they always end up “freely choosing” the same garbage that the elites wanted all along.
A good question is whether this is an inevitable feature of democracy. (I don’t know the answer.) It could be that in any feasible form of democracy, no matter how close it gets to the ideal, you end up with powerful interests rigging the process to maximize their own wealth and power. And I don’t like that, because I want the interests of ordinary people to be taken into account. Ironically, then, I’m skeptical about many forms of democracy because I think the masses deserve to have a say.
So I’d be against democracy in cases where ‘democratic’ systems are hijacked by elites and used against the people. That’s what’s happening in most of the western world, I’d say. Not to say I’d support a coup in this situation–and certainly not if the point of the coup was to install an even more extreme form of exploitation. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about democracy. I think the reactionary critique has merit. (But then, don’t communists also criticize democracy for roughly similar reasons?)

The Communist view is that seeking power peacefully would be a great idea except the ruling classes will never allow it to happen. They say that power never gives up without a fight, and I believe that they are correct. Nevertheless, most Communists support Venezuela, Nicaragua and only leftwing democratic countries. But the Communists would say, “Look what happens why you try to take power peacefully. You get Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, and even Argentina.”
The ruling class will just overthrow the democratic Left state any way they can, always using anti-democratic means to do so. That’s why Lenin called people who supported the peaceful road to socialism “parliamentary cretins.” He thought it was a great idea but it would never work because the rich would never allow the Left to take power peacefully.
The Communist view is also that you never have democracy under capitalism anyway, as the capitalists and the rich always ending ruling the state one way or another through all sorts of means. And yes, the rich and the capitalists always take over all the media in any capitalist country as you said, they use it to shape the view of the people to support the class politics of the rich. Such support being called false consciousness.
Gramsci said that the ruling class took over the entire culture in capitalist countries and brainwashed the masses into supporting the project of the rich. They did this via cultural hegemony. Marx said that the culture of the rich is always the popular culture in any capitalist country. So the ruling class turns all of us into “little rich people” or “little capitalists” to support their project. They brainwash us into thinking we are the same class as the rich and that we are all capitalists ourselves, so we should support Capital. These are lies, but most Americans are easily fooled.
Ralph Nader called this “going corporate” or “thinking corporate.” He says that in the US, most people adopt the mindset of the corporations and think of themselves are part of the corporate structure whether they are or not. If everyone is part of the corporate structure, then what’s good for corporations is good for all of us, which is the project of the Republican Party, neoliberalism everywhere, the Latin American rich, etc. It’s a big fat lie, but people want to be rich and a lot of workers want to think of themselves are busy little capitalist money-making, go-getter, can-do, Bossterist entrepreneurs because it seems to cool to own your own business.
And the Communists would call this false consciousness and their argument would be that under capitalism, most people adopt false consciousness.
I think in the US, the rich see the tide coming and the rule of the rich is going to end so they want to lock in as much of the state as possible by stacking the courts, gutting the safety net, massive tax cuts that will be impossible to get rid of, and that Constitutional Convention they are two states away from getting where they want to rewrite the whole US Constitution to lock in rule by the rich for as long as possible. The rich see the writing on the wall. That’s why they came up with the computerized elections scam, so they could steal elections as long as people kept voting against the rich.
The gerrymandering of districts now makes it almost impossible to get rid of Republican majorities on state representatives in the House and in Senators and Assemblymen in the states. It’s all locked in.
So as the rich saw the tide turning and demographics moving against them, they instituted a full court press to do all sorts of extremely anti-democratic stuff to stay in power. If the people would just vote for them anyway, they would not have to do that, but apparently most Americans have now turned away from the politics of the rich, so the rich will have to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power from now on.
Also they elected Donald Trump, by far the most corrupt, authoritarian and even outright fascist leader this country has ever had. And this follows too. Whenever there is a popular movement against the rich and the capitalists, the rich and the capitalists always, always, always resort of fascism to stay in power. This has been proven endlessly over time, even in Europe. Trotsky had some great things to say about this. Check out “Thermidor.” Trotsky truly understood what fascism was all about. It is a desperate last ditch move by the ruling class to seize power in the face of an uprising from the Left.
The rich and the capitalists are determined to stay in power, by hook or by crook, by any means necessary, and they will lie, cheat, steal and kill as many people as they have to just to keep the Left out of power. They simply will not allow the Left to rule. They must rule and if they are out of  power, they will use any antidemocratic means to get power back.
Which is the story of the CIA, the Pentagon and 100% of US foreign policy since 1945 and even before then. Read Samuel Butler.
I mean, we on the Left generally allow the Right to take power if they do so democratically. Sure they destroy everything like they always do, but most of us are committed to the democratic means of seeking power. Even most Communist parties will not take up arms against any rightwing government, saying they prefer to seek power by peaceful means. Typically, the CP will issue a statement that the nation is not in a revolutionary situation right now. There are objective conditions under which a nation is said to be in a revolutionary situation. I’m sure you can recall a few. It is then and only then that most CP’s will go underground and issue a call to take up arms.
Frankly, almost all Left insurgencies postwar were defensive. The Left allowed the Right to take power and then the Right started running around killing people. Usually the Left sat there for a while and let themselves get killed before taking up power. I know the Viet Cong just sat there from 1954-1960 while the rightwing Vietnamese government ran amok in the countryside, murdering 80,000 Communists in six years. They kept asking the North Vietnamese for permission to take up arms, but the North kept denying it.
The Colombian, Salvadoran and Guatemalan guerrillas only took up guns after the state had been running about murdering them unarmed for years. The Salvadoran guerrillas said they got tired of sitting in their homes waiting for the rightwing state to come kill them, and they decided that if the state was going to come kill them anyway, they might as well pick up a gun and defend themselves. They also took up arms because the Right kept stealing elections by fraud.
The Right had cut off all methods of seeking power peacefully, so the Left picked up guns. The message is if you elect a leftwing government, sooner or later the Right will overthrow it and then there will be a reign of terror where many Leftists will be murdered. Knowing that, if you were a Leftist in some country, would you not be afraid to put the Left in power knowing you stood a good chance of being murdered once the inevitable rightwing coup took place?
The Colombian and Honduran governments only stay in power by killing people. Lots of people. The Greek Communists only took up arms after the government had been killing them for some time.
Also once a Left government is overthrown by the rich and the capitalists, the new Rightist government institutes a reign of terror where they slaughter the defeated Left for many years. This went on for decades after 1954 in Guatemala, and it goes on still today. After Aristide was overthrown, the rightwing government murdered 3,000 of his supporters.
After Allende was overthrown, Pinochet murdered 15,000 people over a decade and a half. A threat from the Left prompted the Indonesian government to fake a Left coup and murder 1 million Communists in a couple of months. Even before the Korean War broke out, from 1948-1950, the South Korean government killed hundreds of thousands of Communists in the South.
As they withdrew when the North attacked, the South Koreans killed South Korean Communists everywhere they went. After the fascist coup in Argentina, the government decimated the Left, murdering 30,000 mostly unarmed supporters of the Left. The same thing happened in Bolivia with the Banzer Plan when Hugo Banzer took power after the tin miners briefly sought power. The new rightwing government in Brazil is already starting to murder members of the former Left ruling party. They’re not going to stop.
After the fascist coup in Ukraine, the Communist Party was outlawed and many of its members were murdered. War was declared on labor unions. Workers in one union were chained to a heater inside the building and the building was set on fire.
The party supported by half the population (the Russian speakers and their supporters) the Party of Regions, was outlawed, a number of its deputies were murdered and there were attempts to murder the leader of the party, lastly by setting his house on fire which set his neighbor’s house on fire instead. He fled to Russia. Now half the population and all of the Russian speakers had not party to represent them, which is why they took up arms. They were locked out of power.

Why Do Some Countries Lack a Class Conscious Working Class?

John Engelman: Contrary to what Karl Marx said, for most people most of the time loyalties of nation, race and ethnicity are stronger than loyalties of class. The working class in the United States has always been more diverse than the working class in European countries. It is becoming more diverse with the influx of non whites.

To get class consciousness you really need a homogeneous working class. It helps if the working class is ethnically distinct from the upper class. In Scotland the upper class is English, or Anglicized Scottish. That is to say Scottish, but educated in England, and often speaking with English accents.
The clear majority of Scots vote for the British Labour Party. English workers are more likely to vote for the British Conservative Party.
The argument is circular in a sense because as you look around the world, generally what you see in most cases is an ethnically homogenous working class.
Would you describe the working classes of Latin America as homogeneous or diverse? They seem to be a mixture of White, Indian and Black and the mestizo, mulatto and Zambo mixtures, correct? Yet the diverse working classes down there have high working class consciousness despite their diverse nature.
Aren’t North African and Gulf countries fairly mixed between Blacks and Arabs?
Certainly in Arabia, lands with diverse working classes of Kurds, Arabs and Iranian working classes are all very left.
I believe Sri Lanka even with the vicious Tamil versus Sinhalese war, the diverse working class is leftwing. In Burma the working class is very left although there have been wild ethnic wars sputtering on for decades.
In Russia and other nations of the former USSR, there are many ethnic minorities, but the workers are still working class.
A recent exception is Ukraine where workers have gone radical Right. The former Yugoslavia is still very leftwing even after all of the ethnic conflict and even slaughter of past years. Spain’s working class is very radical despite an armed conflict in the Basque region and separatists in Catalonia. The different religions hate each other in North Ireland, but the Scottish Protestant workers are as class conscious as the Irish Catholic ones. Switzerland is divided between three ethnic groups – French, Germans, and Italians – yet it is a very leftwing country.
The extreme tribalism in Africa has not prevented the working classes from being class conscious.
Is the working class of England voting Tory yet? Or do you just mean that they are more likely to vote Tory than the Scots are?
Most workers in Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Africa, the former USSR, China, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Japan, South Korea, Nepal are the same ethnicity as the ruling classes of those places, yet workers have a high degree of class consciousness in all of those places.
The places where working class consciousness has been harder to develop were those that had a Chinese ruling class as in Philippines and Indonesia.
I think we need to come up with some better theories about the poor class consciousness of the US working class. If you are looking for examples elsewhere, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, the Baltics and Colombia are places with quite poor working class consciousness.
In Australia it is recent as US style conservatism is imported.
A similar trend is underway in Canada and has been since Thatcher in the UK. But the UK is in nearly a revolutionary situation. A lot of the working classes are militant and radicalized, while a lot of the country has at the same time gone Tory. When Thatcher died, there were anti-rich riots in housing estates across the land. Thatcher was burned in effigy in the streets. Can you imagine that happening in the US?
The recent riots in the UK also had a class undercurrent. I was dating a British woman at the time, and she told me that local storeowners who treated the community well were spared by rioters. Rioters focused on stores selling upscale goods to the rich. Many corporate outlets were also smashed.
She told me that a number of those outlets had a reputation for not paying taxes to the UK by hiding money offshore. She said the rioters knew who those companies were, and they were brutally singled out. Many outlets were burned to the ground. Can you imagine heavily Black rioters in the US having class consciousness like that?
The Baltics are a case of entire nations full of complete idiots who hate Communism so much that they went into an extreme overreaction against Communism and turned against anything socialist, left, liberal or mildly progressive. Fascist heroes including many Nazis with a lot of Jewish blood on their hands were celebrated. Communist parties were outlawed, and Russian minorities were viciously maltreated.
Radical rightwingers were elected in all of these lands, and Chicago Boys Friedmanite experiments were undertaken. The results were predictable. In the recent economic crash, the most neoliberal European countries were the most devastated of all. Estonia was eviscerated, and Latvia was almost wiped off the map. 1/3 of the Latvian population left the country, including almost all of the educated people.
The Philippines and Indonesian cases are up for discussion, but these are Latin American situations of a ruling class of a different ethnicity than the working classes holding forth brutally and anti-democratically over the people. In addition, the workers have little consciousness.
Taiwan has a similar legacy where extreme hatred of Communism resulted in being ruled by reactionary fascist anti-Communists for decades. There is a nascent Left now, but it has little power yet. The wealth of the country seems to have gotten in the way of working class consciousness. Probably the extreme anti-Communism helped too, as any working class movement could be quickly portrayed as Communist.

No Conservatives Allowed on This Website!

We have had a few conservatives posting here in the past few days. These are US-style conservatives, which are the worst kind of all. US-style conservatives are absolutely banned from posting here in any way, shape or form.
Conservatism means different things in different countries, so conservatives from much of the rest of the world (except Latin America and the UK) can continue to post. Even Canadian conservatives can continue to post, as I do not mind them. It’s not conservatism itself that is so awful. Almost every country on Earth has people who call themselves conservatives, and there are conservative parties in almost every country on Earth. But being a conservative just about anywhere outside of the Americas is more or less an acceptable position for me. I probably won’t like their politics much, but I could at least look at them and say that this is an opposition I could live with.
US conservatives and their brethren in the UK, Latin America, the Philippines, Nepal and and Indonesia are quite a different beast.
I have to think hard about conservatives in Eastern Europe, especially Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic. These fools had such a bad experience with Communism that they went 180 degrees in the other direction. I would have to see the positions of these conservative parties in those countries to see whether they would be OK or not.
Just to give you an example, Vladimir Putin is considered to be a right-winger, and his party United Russia advocates a politics called Russian Conservatism. Looking at the party’s platform, this is not only a conservatism that I could live with but one I might even vote for!
Conservatives in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and most other places in Asia are acceptable. The conservatives in the Stans, Georgia, Ukraine, and Armenia can be rather awful, particularly in the nationalist sense, but I will not ban them.
I dislike Indian conservatives, but I will not ban them.
Conservatives from the Muslim World are all acceptable. In the Muslim World, conservatism just means religious and sometimes nationalist. I can live with that. Even the ones in Iran are orders of magnitude better than the US type.
Conservatives in the Arab World are acceptable. They are mostly just religious people.
Turkish conservatives are awful, but I will not ban them. They are just religious and a particularly awful type of nationalist.
African conservatives are OK.
Conservatives in Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany,  the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Italy, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania are sometimes good, sometimes pretty bad, but they are all acceptable here. Conservatism in Europe mostly means nationalism. I am actually rather fond of the conservative running Hungary, Orban. LePen conservatives leave something to be desired, but they are acceptable. They’re mostly just nationalists. Hell, I might even vote for Marine LePen! If it was down to LePen versus Macron, I would absolutely support LePen!
Conservatives from Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines are not OK. These are an “everything for the rich elite, nothing for anybody else” type of conservative. Some of them even hide under the labels of Socialist or even Communist.
The word conservative has no real inherent meaning. It means whatever people say it means.
Anyway, the conservatives in the US are pure garbage and recently they have become out and out fascists after moving in that direction for a long time. And a particularly horrible type of fascist at that, a Latin American/Filipino/Indonesian style fascist. I will not allow any US conservatives to post on this board. You all are lucky I even let you lurk here. That’s an idle threat as I can’t ban lurkers, but if they all stopped lurking, I would not mind frankly.
You all really ought to go back to the gutters you crawled out of.
PS This especially applies to Libertarians, the very worst of all the US conservative vermin. We shoot Libertarians on sight here, so you better watch out.
*This applies only to economic conservatives. If you are not an economic conservative, and your conservatism is only of the social variety or you are only conservative on race, religion, guns, law and order, respect for tradition, American nationalism, the military, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity issues, you can stay. I’m not crazy about some social conservatives, but I can live with them. I will probably even let patriotards post as long as they are not economic conservatives.
I am an American nationalist myself. I just don’t like patriotards. Of course, I very much dislike and even hate the country as it is right now, but I sure don’t want to make it worse! I have to live here too you now, and it might as well be as pleasant as possible as long I stay here.
I want what’s best for my country. I don’t want to harm this country or screw it over. That will be bad for me! And believe it or not, most US patriotards do not want what is best for the country! I have dreams of a greater and better America. It’s not impossible, but we will have to undergo some serious cultural changes. One of the reasons I am so against illegal immigration is because it is ruining my country and making this place even worse. Also illegal immigration is terrible for US workers and I am for the workers. I am against H-1B visas for the same reason – they are wrecking my country. IT workers are workers too, so they are my comrades. I want what is best for America and American workers.
I cannot live with economic conservatives. I like cancer way more than I like US conservatives. Cancer is much more decent and respectable.

North Korean Update

EPGAH: What was that bit about North Korea? They invaded South Korea, they massacred and kidnapped South Koreans, and in general, they deserved to be reduced to rubble and cowering.
If it hadn’t been for China’s interference–who didn’t want a thriving democracy at their border, rather than a country who would rather be illegal immigrant slaves than starve in their own country–there wouldn’t be a North Korea anymore, just a unified thriving Korea.
Why does North Korea get a pass, and why is there deafening silence over all the bad guys Russia and China became butt buddies with (And still are, like Kim Jong) and/or gave guns&bombs to?

Your average North Korean really hates the US and regards us as a deadly enemy and that first paragraph would be exhibit #1 for that attitude. I would not get your hopes up about a US invasion of North Korea being an easy win.
I do not know if it is fair to say that North Korea attacked South Korea. They had been attacking each other back and forth across the line for some time. Who started that back and forth is the subject of a good debate. The best evidence shows that the “North Korean invasion” that started the war was actually a case of two large armies attacking each other at about the same time. It is true that the North overran much of the South though.
Nobody is actually starving in North Korea anymore is how I see it. If you go there, you won’t see any starving people. Most people will look pretty well fed. But you might see a few middle aged men who seem far too thin for their age. That may be due to what they went through in the past. If you go to the rural areas, there are trucks full of smiling field workers everywhere, people pushing carts or with horses on all the roads and the fields full of happy workers. The rural villages look very respectable by 3rd World standards. If you go at harvest season, you will see fields full of harvested crops, in particular corn.
There are day care centers in many places that are open 24 hours a day so workers working any shift can drop their kids off.
North Korean industry is better than you might think. They have made a knockoff of a Mercedes Benz that looks and reportedly drives almost exactly like the real thing. I doubt if many could afford one though. Workers in factories are treated very well, much better than their counterparts in most capitalist countries.
The cities are full of workers too. Everywhere you go in Pyongyang, you see men working on the streets or on construction. You also see truckloads of working men going to wherever. They’re definitely pretty busy in North Korea.
The nights are a bit weird as they are short on electricity due to the oil problem. You will see tall buildings everywhere in Pyongyang at night with most of the lights out. The streets are not well lit up either. Nevertheless, there are some people out and about often, especially teenagers and young people, including girls and young women. They don’t seem to be worried about the lack of lighting. You even see people with their stands out selling things at night in the poorly-lighted streets. There are lone women out there manning their street stands on very dark streets after dark. They don’t seem to be worried about crime. I would gather based on the behavior of people out in these poorly lit streets that the crime rate must be awfully low.
And you will see people chatting and texting away on cellphones everywhere you go in Pyongyang. There’s an Internet, but it is mostly a North Korean intranet. Smuggled in South Korean soap opera tapes are very popular and many people watch them. Not much is done about this. Things are loosening up so much that they are having a mini-STD epidemic because so many married women are now having affairs. No one much cares about that either.
The price of oil went up 10X overnight with the fall of the USSR. I ask you how would the US fare if the price of gasoline suddenly went from 2.50 to 25.00? You think everything would be just fine. As a result of that, the heavily mechanized agriculture in the rural areas nearly came to a halt and many factories simply shut down and were not able to function anymore. That’s one reason that they wanted those nuclear power plants.
In the far north, there is a lot of gold mining going on, mostly illegally due to new finds of gold. I think a lot of it is hydraulic mining. The situation is pretty out of control and the state can’t get a handle on the mining. So instead they are just letting any North Korean who wants to go up there and mine gold, however, the state very much wants a hefty portion of your proceeds in tax. Still, gold miners are quite happy to keep at it as even with the tax, you make a lot more mining gold than being an ordinary worker.
They are allowing some business, and they even have a few rich people now. A few people have a net worth of over $100,000 in North Korea now, which qualifies as very rich. This was unheard of before.
The border in the north is actually somewhat open. They catch people going across all the time but not much is done to them as so many people are doing it. Guards on both sides of the border are easily bribed and it is not extremely difficult to get across other than some large rivers that are in the way. There is even a fair amount of cross-border traffic going on, as many North Koreans who cross the border to China do not stay in China but instead travel back and forth periodically.
Considering that North Korea is probably the most sanctioned country on Earth (quote from George Bush) with new sanctions being put on all the time, it is amazing that they economy even runs at all. They are locked out of the vast majority of the world’s banking system via SWIFT bans and although they are very rich in minerals, they are unable to export nearly all of their minerals. Their only real trade is with China. They do a lot of illegal arms trading though as it is one of the only ways they can make money.
Of course the treatment of dissidents is utterly appalling.

What Would Happen in a US Invasion of North Korea?

Otherwise known as the We Can Kick North Korea’s Ass in a Day or Two bullshit.
I would not get your hopes up about invading North Korea. I hear their equipment is better than you think and furthermore they have four million many under arms, with many of the rest in citizen militias. The army is well fed and well trained. North Korea has been preparing for an invasion for decades and it seems like half the military infrastructure is underground.
There is a huge arsenal of artillery pointed at South Korea and if we ever attack them for any reason, they will turn those guns on and the first fifty miles south of the DMZ will be pretty much leveled faster than you can blink your eyes. The artillery is not that easy to take out and as most it is actually underground in tunnels in mountains. the artillery actually pops out of the tunnels in the sides of the mountains, fires away and then retreats back into the tunnel while the tunnel closes behind it.
If we do invade with a ground army, I would worry about that too. North Koreans are some of the most brainwashed people on Earth and most of them have a fanatical hatred of the US. I am convinced that much of the army and even a lot of the militia would fight to the death. It would be very, very ugly and we might lose a lot of men. I have seen estimates of up to US 30,000 dead from an invasion of North Korea.
The war might go nuclear pretty fast not because the North Koreans would shoot nukes but more because we might. Contrary to popular MSM lie, North Korea does not have a usable nuclear weapon.

Chavismo Must Stop the Economic Bleeding

This is one of the most sensible articles I have read on the Venezuela economic crisis yet. The first three proposals will be bitter pills to swallow, but they need to be done. Apparently those subsidies, put in as popular redistribution methods by the government in which the government enacted subsidies enabling many things to be sold below cost with the state making up the difference, can no longer be afforded. They were great at a fantastic growth in the standard of living (before the economic crisis) of the lower classes, but they have to go.
The problem will be getting it through the Opposition controlled Legislature. The Opposition’s screams about the terrible state of the economy ring hollow because every time Maduro goes to the Legislature to offer plans to deal with the economic crisis, the Opposition refuses to enact any of them. That is correct. The Opposition refuses to do even one tiny thing to try to deal with the economic crisis. This is highly suggestive that they are part of the crisis themselves and that in part it is manufactured.
Obviously the Opposition wants the economy to tank as much as possible and for the crisis to go on as long as possible because they see the crisis as good propaganda that “Chavismo doesn’t work.” Also the crisis offers them a perfect chance to throw out the government. In this way, they are similar to US Republicans who blocked everything Obama tried to do apparently in an effort to make his Presidency fail.
You guys wonder why I hate capitalists and rightwingers. Well, the Venezuelan Opposition are capitalists and rightwingers. The US Republican Party are capitalists and rightwingers. If you ask me, capitalists and rightwingers are literally the worst people on Earth. I do not care how well capitalism works. That is not my concern. My problem is not so much with capitalism as with capitalists, the people who engage in the activity. The system can work reasonably well with a lot of socialism to make it go down easier, but the people who run the system are simply pond scum. They’re horrific and despicable human beings. I’m starting to see why Stalin shot them.

Chavismo Must Stop the Economic Bleeding

By Joe Emersberger – Telesur English
July 20th 2016

A special economic team convened by UNASUR, part of its effort to promote dialog between the Venezuelan opposition and Maduro’s government, has put together a detailed plan to lead Venezuela out of its worsening economic crisis. The key features of the plan are listed below:

  • A unification and clean float of the currency that should be implemented immediately.
  • Gradual lifting of price controls over an 18 month period.
  • Gradual lifting of all energy subsidies (not just gasoline) over an 18 month period.
  • Implement direct government subsidies to consumers, preferably universal subsidies, through an electronic discount card.
  • The indexing of all salaries to the monthly inflation rate for 18 months or until single digit inflation is achieved if that happens first.
  • A thorough and transparent audit of government assets so that non-strategic assets can be sold to finance the plan but also so that options for external financing become available.
  • The introduction of financial transaction and wealth taxes.

Implementation of an employment program to help people whose informal work (for example standing in lines to buy then resell price-controlled products) is eliminated through this plan. It would cost about 1 percent of GDP and would be financed with the taxes proposed above.
The first three proposals eliminate indirect subsidies which make certain products (and U.S. dollars) cheap for those lucky enough to get them. UNASUR’s team advises that the government support people’s incomes directly instead.
The first three proposals would be the most controversial to the Chavista base and to the Venezuelan left. The plan would be denounced by many as an IMF-style “paquetazo” as the IMF’s destructive policy recommendations have come to be known in Latin America. The left gained power throughout the region in the twenty-first century primarily because of the devastation caused by governments that followed IMF orders during the 1980-2000 period. It is not hard to see the huge political risk of doing things that look like backsliding or betrayal, but this plan is not in any way a return to IMF imposed neoliberalism.
Over the past three years, the costs of Venezuela’s indirect subsidies have not only skyrocketed, they have also largely failed to protect the poor, especially after oil prices collapsed near the end of 2014 but even for about a year before oil prices plummeted. UNASUR’s economic team estimates that Venezuela’s indirect subsidies cost the government anywhere from 11 to 17 percent of GDP.
To get a sense of how huge that is, consider that the United States presently spends about 3 percent of GDP on the Pentagon budget. The Venezuelan economy is being bled dry by massive indirect subsidies that do not work. UNASUR’s plan would stop the bleeding. It would replace outrageously costly and inefficient indirect subsidies with vastly more effective direct subsidies.
The UNASUR team does not address long term problems with Venezuela’s economy that have tended to confuse people about the immediate crisis it faces. Venezuela, like all developing countries, needs to diversify away from oil, and increase productivity generally in order to achieve the living standards of developed countries – at least key features of those living standards that should be strived for, like very low infant mortality.
In the Chavista era, the government has only had control over its state oil company, its main source of export revenue and hard currency, since about 2003, four years after the late Hugo Chavez was first took office. It took South Korea, a country not regarded as an ideological threat to the imperial powers, about 40 years to achieve the living standards of a rich country. It took Cuba about forty years to achieve a lower child mortality rate than the United States – a rich country that is a notorious laggard by that measure.
No “solidarity economy” that seeks to develop local production is going to begin to offset the hemorrhaging of 11 to 17 percent of GDP. There are many factors that go into successful long term planning and development, but no country striving to develop in the long term can afford incredibly wasteful and destabilizing polices in the present – especially in the context of a balance of payments crisis and low oil prices. Admonishing the Venezuelan government about long term planning and diversification is like talking to person with a serious stab wound about diet and exercise. The priority must be to stop the bleeding.
Venezuela’s Vice President has recently made remarks indicating that he understands and supports the nature of the UNASUR plan. It has never been totally clear if the government has allowed things to get so far out of hand as a result of political fears or from lack of understanding. People who have years of experience among grassroots Chavistas do not report that pressure from the government’s base will make them implement UNASUR’s plan. The base, it appears, do not know about the plan and would be probably misled about it by many grassroots leaders who would see it as a betrayal of Chavismo.
The government relies heavily on grassroots leaders during elections but that is no excuse for inaction. Moreover, as the UNASUR team points out, Venezuela has already made painful adjustments over the past few years through a huge reductions in imports. It could therefore very quickly deliver the benefits of implementing this plan, which is the best way to convince people that is necessary.
All around the world, people must really struggle to get any semblance of economic literacy. This is not a problem unique to Venezuela or to the left in Venezuela. The global economy was tanked in 2009 by massive housing bubbles in rich countries that “experts” failed to warn people about. Governments and big financial interests then took advantage of public ignorance again to make working people pay for the disaster.
People who care about the success of progressive change in Venezuela – and in Latin America – must do all they can to ensure that huge self-inflicted problems are avoided. Progressive governments will face extreme hostility abroad and at home during the best of times. They can least afford to make such serious mistakes.

TPP Ignores Global Warming and Allows Murder of Labor Union Organizers

I plan on posting a number of articles abut this catastrophic TPP agreement that sadly looks like it is going to become law. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrific this trade agreement is. In a nutshell, it does away with all governments and makes it so corporations rule the world. Any government that passes any law that limits current or future profits of a corporation could be sued on the grounds that that law was a “trade barrier.” The corporation can sue in a kangaroo court made up of corporate types for damages,and the corporation will always win and the governments will always lose.

Government have had to pay out many millions of dollars to corporations for passing laws that limited their profits under NAFTA. And yes, all laws dealing global warming can also be challenged by this Frankenstein of a bill.

As you can see, it encourages the murder of labor leaders, union members and organizers because killing union members would not be a violation of the Labor Section of the agreement. The parts of the TPP dealing with labor and the environment are written in boilerplate and are entirely voluntary, while the sections that allow corporations to rule our lives in written in very strict legalese.

It’s worse than a catastrophe. It’s an out and out nightmare, and it’s the end of representative government as we know it. All governments will become irrelevant, and in their places, we will all be ruled by corporations. In other words, multinational corporations will become our de facto governments. It is stunning how crazy that is.

All the Republicans are for it.

Of course the Democratic Party is down with this agreement all the way. Obama is pushing it like crazy. There was a brief uprising a few months ago when it looked like the bill might not get through the Congress because so many Democrats were against it. This was followed by maniacal lobbying on the part of corporate lobbyists and an all-out propaganda blitz by the US media, 100% of which (note that we have a “free” press) supported the bill.

The “liberal” New York Times came out very strongly in favor of it and said that Obama’s legacy would ride on whether he could get this bill through or not. In other words, according to the “liberal” New York Times, if Obama could not get the bill through, then that would mean that his Presidency was a failure. So the Times threatened Obama with complete humiliation and damage to his mark in history if he could not get the TPP through.

Note that the entire “liberal” media came out in favor of this monstrosity. Note that “liberal” Obama came out in favor of it. I know some Democratic Party stalwarts who seem to support this nightmare bill. They think that people who oppose it are “extremist nuts.”

These people support anything that Obama does. If Obama is for it, then they support it. He can push the most reactionary stuff you could imagine, and these stalwarts will never oppose Obama or any other Democrat for one second. We really need to get away from this insane partisanship, as it is irrational.

To these folks, everything Republicans do its bad and everything Democrats do is good. Unfortunately, once you take that POV, Democrats are free to act as rightwing as they want to, and their moronic stalwarts will support everything they do because it’s treason to oppose a Democrat.

I will be posting more abuo9t this awful and insane trade agreement in the coming days, but this will be good for a starter.

TPP Ignores Global Warming and Allows Murder of Labor Union Organizers

by Eric Zeusse, from Global Research

U.S. President Barack Obama’s capstone to his Presidency, his proposed megalithic international ‘trade’ treaties, are finally coming into their home-stretch, with the Pacific deal finally being made public on Thursday November 5th.

The final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) proposed treaty would leave each signatory nation liable to be sued by any international corporation that objects to any new regulation, or increase in regulation, regarding climate change, otherwise known as global warming. In no terminology is that phenomenon even so much as just mentioned in the “Environment” chapter.

Regarding labor issues, including slavery, the “Labour” chapter of the TPP contains merely platitudes. (Obama allowed Malaysia into the compact despite its notoriously poor record of non-enforcement of its ban on slavery, because he wants the U.S. to control the Strait of Malacca in order to impede China’s economic and military expansion; it’s part of Obama’s anti-China policy. Almost everything that he does has different motives than the ones his rhetoric claims.)

Throughout, the treaty would place international corporations in ever-increasing control over all regulations regarding workers’ rights, the environment, product safety, and consumer protection. But the environmental and labor sections are particularly blatant insults to the public — a craven homage to the top stockholders in international corporations. The World’s Richest 80 people own the same amount of wealth as the world’s bottom 50%; and Obama represents those and other super-rich and their friends and servants in the lobbying and other associated industries. But he also represents the even richer people who aren’t even on that list, such as King Salman of Saudi Arabia, the world’s richest person. It’s people such as that who will be the real beneficiaries of Obama’s ‘trade’ treaties. The public will be harmed, enormously, wherever these treaties become law.

The full meaning of the terms that are set forth in the TPP agreement won’t be publicly known for at least four years, but the explicit terms that were made public on November 5th, and that will be presented to the 12 participating nations for signing, are entirely consistent with what had been expected on the basis of Wikileaks and other earlier published information.

The 12 participating nations are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. Three countries were excluded by U.S. President Obama, because the U.S. doesn’t yet control them and they are instead viewed as being not allied with the main axis of U.S. international power: U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel. Those three outright-excluded countries are Russia, China, and India. (India, of course, has hostile relations with Pakistan, which is Sunni and therefore part of the Saudi-Qatar-Turkey portion of the U.S. international core, basically the Sunni portion of the core. By contrast, Russia and China have been determinedly independent of the U.S., and are therefore treated by President Obama as being hostile nations: he wants instead to isolate them, to choke off their access to markets, as much as possible. This same motivation also factored largely in his coup to take control of Ukraine, through which Russia’s gas passes on its way into the EU, the world’s largest gas-market.)

6 nations that Obama had invited into the TPP were ultimately unwilling to accept Obama’s terms and so were excluded when the final text was published: Colombia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia.

The phrases “global warming” and “climate change” don’t appear anywhere in the entire TPP document, nor does “climate” nor “warming” — it’s an area that’s entirely left to international corporations in each one of the separate participating nations to assault as much as they wish in order to gain competitive advantage against all of the other corporations that operate in the given nation: i.e., something for each corporation to sacrifice in order to be able to lower the given company’s costs. That raises its profit-margin. This also means that if any international corporation claims to be subjected in any participating nation, to global-warming regulation or enforcement which poses a barrier or impediment to that corporation’s profits, then that corporation may sue that given nation, and fines might be assessed against that nation (i.e., against its taxpayers) for such regulation or enforcement. National publics are no longer sovereign.

The “Labour” chapter is a string of platitudes, such as, “Article 19.7: Corporate Social Responsibility: Each Party shall endeavor to encourage enterprises to voluntarily adopt corporate social responsibility initiatives on labor issues that have been endorsed or supported by that Party.”

President Obama’s Trade Representative, his longtime personal friend Michael Froman, organized and largely wrote Obama’s proposed trade treaties: TPP for the Pacific, and TTIP and TISA for the Atlantic. Froman told the AFL-CIO and U.S. Senators that when countries such as Colombia systematically murder labor-union organizers, it’s no violation of workers’ rights — nothing that’s of any concern to the U.S. regarding this country’s international trade policies or the enforcement of them. On 22 April 2015, Huffington Post, one of the few U.S. news media to report honestly on these treaties, bannered AFL-CIO’s Trumka: USTR Told Us Murder Isn’t a Violation, and Michael McAuliff reported that, “Defenders of the White House push for sweeping trade deals argue they include tough enforcement of labor standards. But a top union leader scoffed at such claims Tuesday, revealing that [Obama] administration officials have said privately that they don’t consider even the killings of labor organizers to be violations of those pacts.”

In other words: This is, and will be, the low level of the playing-field that U.S. workers will be competing against in TPP etc., just as it is already, in the far-smaller existing NAFTA (which Hillary Clinton had helped to pass in Congress during the early 1990s). (Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, all campaigned for the Presidency by attacking Republicans for pushing such ‘trade’ deals. Their actions when they gain power, contradict their words. America and virtually the entire world has become rule of a suckered public, by perhaps as many as a thousand psychopathic aristocrats who own the international corporations and ‘news’ media, and who regularly do business with each other though they wall themselves off from the public.

Typically, at their level, it makes no real difference which country their passport is from.) “Trumka said that even after the Obama administration crafted an agreement to tighten labor protections four years ago, some 105 labor organizers have been killed, and more than 1,300 have been threatened with death.” The Obama Administration is ignoring the tightened regulations that it itself had managed to get nominally implemented on paper. “Pressed for details about Trumka’s assertion that murder doesn’t count as a violation of labor rules, Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff, told HuffPost that USTR officials said in at least two meetings where she was present that killing and brutalizing organizers would not be considered interfering with labor rights under the terms of the trade measures.”

Furthermore: “’We documented five or six murders of Guatemalan trade unionists that the government had failed to effectively investigate or prosecute,’ Lee said. ‘The USTR told us that the murders of trade unionists or violence against trade unionists was not a violation of the labor chapter.’”

That U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, is the same person Obama has negotiating with foreign governments, and with international corporations, both Obama’s TPP, and his TTIP & TISA.

The most important chapter in the TPP treaty is “Dispute Settlement,” which sets forth the means by which corporations will sue countries for alleged violations of their stockholders ‘rights’ to extract profits from operations of those corporations in the signatory countries. The underlying assumption here is that the rights of international stockholders take precedence over the rights (even over the sovereignty rights) of the citizens of any participating country.

Instead of these suits being judged according to any nation’s laws, they are allowed to be addressed only by means of private arbitration “Panels.” The Dispute Settlement chapter contains “Article 28.9: Composition of Panels.” Section #1 there is simply: “The panel shall comprise three members.” Each of the two Parties will appoint a member; one for the suing corporation, and the other for the sued nation; and both of those members will then jointly select a third member “from the roster established pursuant to Article 28.10.3”; and this third member will automatically “serve as chair.”

Article 28.10.3 says that anyone who possesses “expertise or experience in law, international trade, other matters covered by this Agreement, or the resolution of disputes arising under international trade agreements” may be selected for the roster, so long as the individual meets vague criteria such as that they “be independent of, and not be affiliated with or take instructions from, any Party.” No penalty is laid out for anyone on the roster who lies about any of that. Basically, anyone may become a person on the roster, even non-lawyers may, and even corrupt individuals may, especially because there are no penalties for anyone on the roster, none at all is stated.

Then, “Article 28.19,” section 8: “If a monetary assessment is to be paid to the complaining Party, then it shall be paid in U.S. currency, or in an equivalent amount of the currency of the responding Party or in another currency agreed to by the disputing Parties.”

There is no appeals-process. If a nation gets fined and yet believes that something was wrong with the panel’s decision, there is no recourse. No matter how much a particular decision might happen to have been arrived at in contradiction of that nation’s laws and courts and legal precedents, the panels’ decisions aren’t appealable in any national legal system. Whatever precedents might become established from these panels’ subsequent record of decisions will constitute no part of any nation’s legal system, but instead create an entirely new forming body of case-law in an evolving international government which consists of international corporations and their panelists, and of whatever other panelists are acceptable to those corporate panelists. Voters have no representation, they’re merely sued. Stockholders have representation, they do the suing, of the various nations’ taxpayers, for ‘violating’ the ‘rights’ of stockholders.

The roster of authorized panelists available to be chosen by any corporation’s panelists in conjunction with by any nation’s panelists, is customarily composed of individuals who move back and forth between government and private-sector roles, through a “revolving door,” so that on both ends of that, the ultimate control is with the owners of the controlling blocs of stock in various international corporations. This is the newly evolving world government. It will not block any nation from legislating protections of workers, or of consumers, or of the environment; it will simply hold a power to extract from any participating nation’s taxpayers fines for ‘violating’ the ‘rights’ of stockholders in international corporations. Citizens will increasingly be held under the axe, and the top stockholders in international corporations will be holding it. This isn’t the type of world government that was anticipated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, the founders of the U.N., and by the other early (pre-1954) proponents of world government. But, since 1954, the plans for this anti-democratic form of emerging world government were laid; and, now, those plans are the ones that are being placed into effect.

Thus, on 26 October 2015, the United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, the international legal expert Alfred de Zayas, headlined, UN Expert Calls for Abolition of Investor-State Dispute Settlement Arbitrations. That’s the system, otherwise called “ISDS,” which already exists in a few much smaller international-trade treaties, and which is now being introduced on the largest scale ever in TPP and in Obama’s other proposed treaties. The U.N. press release, calling for its “abolition” or explicit outlawing, said:

In his fourth report to the UN General Assembly, Mr. de Zayas focuses on the adverse human rights impacts of free trade and investment agreements and calls for the abolition of Investor-State dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) that accompanies most of these agreements.

“Over the past twenty-five years bilateral international treaties and free trade agreements with investor-state-dispute-settlement have adversely impacted the international order and undermined fundamental principles of the UN, State sovereignty, democracy and the rule of law. It prompts moral vertigo in the unbiased observer,” he noted.

Far from contributing to human rights and development, ISDS has compromised the State’s regulatory functions and resulted in growing inequality among States and within them,” the expert stated.

Earlier, on 5 May 2015, I headlined, “UN Lawyer Calls TTP & TTIP ‘A Dystopian future in Which Corporations and not Democratically Elected Governments Call the Shots’.” I close now by repeating the opening of that report:

The Obama-proposed international-trade deals, if passed into law, will lead to “a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots,” says Alfred De Zayas, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order.

These two mammoth trade-pacts, one (TTIP) for Atlantic nations, and the other (TTP) for Pacific nations excluding China (since Obama is against China), would transfer regulations of corporations to corporations themselves, and away from democratically elected governments. Regulation of working conditions and of the environment, as well as of product-safety including toxic foods and poisonous air and other consumer issues, would be placed into the hands of panels whose members will be appointed by large international corporations. Their decisions will remove the power of democratically elected governments to control these things. “Red tape” that’s imposed by elected national governments would be eliminated — replaced by the international mega-corporate version.

De Zayas was quoted in Britain’s Guardian on May 4th as saying also that, “The bottom line is that these agreements must be revised, modified or terminated,”because they would vastly harm publics everywhere, even though they would enormously benefit the top executives of corporations by giving them control as a sort of corporate-imposed world government, answerable to the people who control those corporations.

"Thinking the Unthinkable"

This is an old article from the Saker that really needs to be read. In it, the Saker suggests the various responses the US/NATO might make to intervene in the war. I agree with him that the Pentagon is generally full of sane people who do not want to risk all-out war with Russia. However, the US civilian leadership has gone insane, and I believe that they have been insane and drunk on power and stupid for some time now, maybe even a couple of decades. This are the people who really worry me, not the generals. And sadly, I believe that Saker’s most apocalyptic scenarios are probably very much possible.
The Ukraine mess has the potential to be utterly terrifying; in fact, I would argue that it already is.
Why do most Americans, and most in the West even, not care about this Ukraine mess? Because Americans no longer care about anything we do overseas and they are lulled into a false sense of security by the corporate takeover of the media which turned the US media into a state propaganda organ. Americans are fat, lazy, stupid, apathetic and ignorant. They don’t care what we do overseas. In fact, they love it whenever we attack and kill people. The more the merrier.
We can kill as many people as we want to overseas as long as parades of soldiers are not coming back in body bags. This was the only reason for the opposition to the Vietnam War – too many Americans were being killed. Really the only thing Americans seem to understand and the only way to get through to them is to kill lots of US soldiers in a war with an easy out. In any case like that, the US public will simply bail and for good reason.
There is nothing too evil or sinister that the US can do overseas because the vast majority of Americans continue to believe in the Indispensable Nation, the City on the Hill, and Great and Good America that fights for freedom and democracy, confronting Evil everywhere on Earth. The idea that America itself might be the Evil, and that folks we are fighting are the Good Guys is simply too much for most Americans to deal with. They simply flat out refuse to believe it.
The Americans are always the Good Guys and our enemies are always the Bad Guys. Even Democratic Party liberals hold this attitude as one of their core beliefs. If you tell these liberals otherwise, they start jumping up and down, screaming and yelling and ordering you to get out of their homes. US patriotardism runs extremely deep in society. I estimate 80% of Americans are hardcore patriotards.
In fact, for much of my life, I believed the bolded lie myself until I finally wised up and learned the very painful truth.
 

Thinking the Unthinkable

By Saker

Introduction

I have been putting off writing about this topic for a very long while. In fact, I wrote several articles trying to explain the self-evident truism that the US/NATO/EU does not have a military option in the Ukrainian war. First, in an article entitled Remembering the Important Lessons of the Cold War, I tried to explain that the reason the Cold War did not turn into a hot shooting war is that both sides understood that they simply could never win and that any escalation in strikes and counter-strikes could very rapidly lead to a intercontinental nuclear war, something which neither side was willing to risk.
In a piece entitled Making Sense of Obama’s Billion Dollar Hammer, I tried to show that all the money the US will be pouring into “European security” is just a grandiose bribe for some European elites and that it had no real effect on the ground. A few days later I posted an article entitled Why the US-Russian Nuclear Balance is as Solid as Ever in which I tried to dispel the myth prevalent in the West about the putative state of disrepair of the Russian military in general and of the Russian nuclear forces in particular. Lastly, in a piece entitled Short Reminder about US and Russian Nuclear Weapons, I tried to show that in reality it was the US nuclear forces who were in a state of disrepair.
And over and over, in many comments, I tried to lay out the reasons why I simply did not believe that the US/NATO/EU would dare to attack Russia.
In summary, I will say this: the US is not nearly as powerful as US propaganda claims. Without going into long debates about what “victory” and “defeat” mean, I will just say that in my personal opinion is that the last time the US military fought well was in Korea, and even there it had to accept a draw. After that, it was all downhill. This is not the fault of the US solider, by the way, but instead is caused by the fact that big money and politics got so heavily involved in the US military that they corrupted everything.
This is most evident in the USAF which still has superb pilots but who are given a terrible choice: either fly on good but old aircraft or fly on new but terrible ones (I believe that given the choice, most would chose the former). As for the European NATO allies, they are such a joke that they hardly deserve mention. They even look bad on a parade.
As for a military option in the Ukraine, it appears unthinkable to me not only because, frankly, I don’t see a single military in the West capable of taking on the Russian military in full-scale battle but also because geography powerfully argues against such a crazy idea (the very same geography which would make it impossible for Russia to try to invade western or even central Europe).
And yet, something in all this very logical reasoning felt wrong to me. A few days ago it finally hit me. What bothered me was this:

The American Duck

Among the many beautiful and witty expressions and neologisms Americans use, I always loved this one: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. This so-called “Duck test” is funny, but it is also a powerful logical method which ended up chewing at me day after day after day. Here I was, all sure and certain that the US/NATO/EU would never consider such a ludicrous notion as a military attack on Russia or Russian forces.
But kept hearing the voice of the American Duck telling me: look at what they are doing, what does that look like to you? Suspend your conclusions and just tell me what are you observing? Tell me, if they had decided to escalate to the point of a military confrontation with Russia, would they be doing things differently?
And a few days ago, I threw in the towel (at the duck, of course) and had to accept that while I did not know what they were thinking or what their intentions really were, it sure looked to me like the western plutocrats had decided to escalate the crisis has much as possible.
In truth, I have to admit that when I studied the theory of deterrence in the 1980’s, my teachers always insisted that this theory of deterrence was predicated on what they called a “rational player”.
To put it simply – how do you deter a lunatic? Or a desperate man with nothing to lose? Or a person hell-bent on mutual destruction? The truth is, you cannot. Deterrence assumes a rational actor making a logical decision about unacceptable costs. As far as I know, nobody has ever developed a theory of deterrence applicable to a madman.
When I initially wrote my pieces explaining why I believed that a US/NATO/EU attack was impossible, a lot readers posted comments saying that while maybe the top US military command was still mainly composed of rational men, the US imperial elites had clearly gone crazy a long time ago and that they were so stuck in their arrogance, imperial hubris, delusions of invincibility and knee-jerk and systematic use of violence that they could no more be considered as rational. At the time I replied that, yeah, sure, maybe, but what is the point of analyzing something crazy? How do you try to make sense of the suicidally insane?
And yet, this is what I propose to do today. I will try as best I can to try to place myself in the mind of these lunatics and see what they could try doing and what the consequences of that would be. I will go through several possible plans that these crazies might have starting from the most limited one and then going up the insanity slope.

Plan One: a Symbolic and Limited Intervention

This plan is already underway. We know that there are US military advisers in the Ukraine, including at least one general, we know that the Dutch and Australians will be sending in a lightly armed force to “protect” the investigators at the crash site of MH17 (although how a few men armed with assault rifles can protect anybody from Ukie artillery, tank or mortar fire is anybody’s guess).
Then there are all the reports of foreign mercenaries, mostly US and Polish, fighting with the Ukie death squads. There is also some good evidence that Poland is sending military equipment, including aircraft and possibly crews. Well, all of that is dumb and serves very little useful purpose, but that is what the West is so good at: pretending. If this plan stays at this level, I would say that it is not very important. But, alas, there is a nastier possibility here:

Plan Two: A Tripwire Force

This is just an extension of plan one: bring in a few men and then have them killed. This would trigger the needed “popular outrage” (carefully fanned and reported by the corporate media) to force the Europeans to accept more US sanctions in Europe or even some kind of “EU-mandated peacekeeping force”.
Of course, if the Russians or Novorussians do not take the bait and fail to kill the “observers”, US/NATO false flag teams could easily do that. Just imagine what a heavy mortar strike on a building with these OSCE observers would look like. The junta in Kiev would be more than happy to “invite” such a “peacekeeping” force into Novorussia and since this would be an “invited” force, no UNSC Resolution would be needed.
Finally, such a “peacekeeping” force would be regularly reinforced and augmented until it could basically cover the flanks of the Ukies in their attacks against Novorussia. This force would also assume the command and control of Ukie forces, something which the Ukies could greatly benefit from (their current command and control is a mess).
Plans One and Two assume that Russian forces stay on the other side of the border and that the only opposition to such a deployment could come from the Novorussians. But what if the Russians decided to move into Novorussia either to protect the locals or to stop this limited US/NATO/EU “peacekeeping force”? Then the US/NATO/EU would have to take a dramatic escalatory step and send in a much bigger force, more capable of defending itself.

Plan Three: UPROFOR on the Dniepr?

This is the Yugoslav scenario. The West would send in something on the order of 10 battalions which would each be given an area of responsibility for “peacekeeping”. Then police forces would be also sent to “maintain law and order,” and EU commissars would be sent in to “help” the local population “express their will” and “organize” a local government. Soon there would be some kind of EU-run election, and all the Novorussian forces would be declared “bandits” from which the local population need to be “protected”.
Since Strelkov himself fought in Yugoslavia as did many other Russians, I don’t believe that the Russians or Novorussians would fall for this one. I think that Russia would express its opposition to such a plan and that if she was ignored, she would move in her own forces along the line of contact.
This might be the US/NATO/EU end goal: to create a Korea-like “line of demarcation” which would isolate the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics from the rest of Novorussia and the rest of the Ukraine. This would mean getting plenty of Kosovo-like “Camp Bonsteels” all along the Russian border, and it would make it look like the “Wartime President of the One Indispensable Nation stopped the Russian Bear”. Finally, it would create a perfect Cold War-like environment in which the western 1%ers could continue to exploit the 99% while constantly scaring them with the “Russian threat”.

Plan Four: Operation Storm in Novorussia and Crimea?

I would not put it past the folks in the Pentagon and Mons to try to pull off an “Operation Storm” in Novorussia and even possibly Crimea. That is the scenario Glazev fears: the US/NATO/EU would put enough forces inside the Ukraine to allow it to survive long enough to mobilize a sufficient number of men and equipment for a lightning-fast attack on Novorossia and even possibly Crimea.
And in theory, if we assume that Banderstan does not collapse under its own weight and economic disaster, the Ukraine has the resources to mobilize far more men and equipment that the tiny People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk or even Crimea. But that again assumes that Russia will let that happen, which she won’t, so now we have to look at the really crazy plans:

Plan Five: First “Desert Steppe Shield,” Then “Desert Steppe Storm”

That is a crazy notion: to do with Russia what the US did with Iraq. First, to place down a “protection force” in the Ukraine, isolate Russia, and then attack in a full-depth and full-scale determined attack. We are definitely talking about a continental war with a fantastic potential to turn into a world war. This plan would have be based on two crucial assumptions:

  1.  The US/NATO/EU conventional forces would be capable of defeating the Russian military.
  2. If facing conventional defeat, Russia would not use nuclear weapons.

I think that both of these assumptions are deeply mistaken. The first one is based on a mix of propaganda, bean counting and ignorance. The propaganda is something which western military are very good at. They are not. Most western armies are a pathetic joke, and those who can fight well (the Brits, the Turks) are too little to matter.
That leaves the US military which have capabilities far in excess of what its NATO allies can muster. Just as in WWII all the serious fighting had to be done by German units, in case of a WWIII (or IV?), all the serious fighting would have to be done by Americans. The problem is that the Americans would have an extremely hard time bringing in enough forces to really make the difference. In any case, I have the biggest doubt about the current fighting capabilities of the US Army and Marine Corps. Faced with a Russian battalion defending its own soil, I think that an equivalent US Army/Marine force would get slaughtered.
The “bean counting” is when you compare all the NATO APC’s or tanks to the number available to the Russian military. The corporate media loves these sorts of charts in which soldiers, APC’s, tanks, aircraft and other gear are compared. Professional analysts never use them simply because they are meaningless.
What matters is how much of that gear is actually available for battle, the kind of tactics used, the training and morale of the soldiers, the skills of their commanding officers, and stuff which is never mentioned: supplies, logistics, petroleum, lubricants, ammunition, lines of supply, medical standards, and even food and weather. Bean counters simply never see that. But one could argue that the number of trucks is more important to a military than the number of tanks. Yet trucks are never counted. But yes, on paper NATO looks huge. Even though most NATO gear could not even survive your average Ukrainian road, never mind the winter.
But let us assume that the Hollywood image of the US military is true: invincible, best trained, best armed, with a fantastic morale, led by the very best of the best officers, it would easily defeat the primitive Russian military, armed with antiquated weapons and commanded by fat drunken generals.
Okay, and then what? If the official Russian nuclear deterrence doctrine is examined, in this case Russia would use nuclear weapons.
Since even in Hollywood movies nobody makes the claim that the US anti-missile systems could stop Iskanders, cruise missiles or even gravity bombs, we would have to accept that the invincible US force would be turned into radioactive particulates and that in turn would leave the US President two terrible choices: a) take the loss and stop b) retaliate, and the second option would have to include the location from where the strike came from: Russia proper. That, of course, would place the following choices for the Russian President: a) take the loss or b) strike at the continental United States. At this points nuclear mushrooms would start appearing all over the map.
Now please make no mistake: Russia can not only destroy Mons, the Pentagon and Cheyenne Mountain (just a matter of placing enough warheads on the right spot) but also every single major city in the United States. Sure, the USA can retaliate in kind, but what kind of consolation would that be for anybody left?
I cannot believe that the US Deep State would truly, deliberately, want to start a planetary nuclear war. For one thing, US leaders are cowards, and they will not want to take such a monumental decision. A far more likely version is that being stupid, arrogant cowards, they will stumble upon just that outcome. Here is how:

Plan Six: American Football’s “Hail Mary”

In American football there is a specific pass which is used only when seconds are left on the clock, and your team is badly losing anyway. Basically it works like this: every single person who is not defending the quarterback rushes to the end zone, as do all the defenders, and the quarterback then just throws the ball straight into that zone with the very slim hope that one of his own players will catch it and score a touchdown. This is called a “Hail Mary” for very good reason as only a miracle makes such a desperate plan work. Most of the time the ball is either fumbled or caught by the other team. But, very rarely, it works.
I can very much imagine a desperate Obama trying to show the American people that he “has hair on his chest” and that he is not going to let “regional power” challenge the “indispensable nation”. So what he and, really, his administration risks doing is the following: to play a game of chicken hoping against all odds that the Russian will yield. This is my worst nightmare and the worst possible assumption to make because Russia cannot yield.
In March of this year I issued a warning which I entitled Obama just made things much, much worse in the Ukraine – now Russia is ready for war. What prompted me to issue that warning was the fact that the Council of the Russian Federation has just unanimously passed a resolution allowing Putin to use Russian armed forces in the Ukraine. Since then, this resolution has been repealed at Putin’s request and for obvious political motives, but the mood and determination are still there. In fact, I think that it has grown much stronger.
There has been much useless speculation about Putin, his motives and strategy. This is way bigger than just Putin. If the US/NATO/EU really push too far, and that includes a genocide in Novorussia, an attack on Crimea or an attack on Russian forces, Russia will go to war, Putin or no Putin. And Putin knows that. His real base of support is not the Russian elites (who mostly fear him), but the Russian people (with whom his current rating are higher than ever before). And Putin himself openly spoke about the “threats to Russian sovereignty” though he did add that because of the Russian nuclear forces, there was, in his opinion, no immediate threat to Russian territory.
If the US decides to play a game of chicken with Russia, then it will do the same thing as a car driver playing a game of chicken against an incoming train: regardless of the train’s driver, the train is on tracks and its momentum is too great: it cannot stop or veer away.
The problem is that the USA has a long record of making absolutely irresponsible statements which end up putting them into a corner from which they cannot bulge without losing face. Just look at the MH17 disaster: the Obama administration immediately rushed to blame the Russians for it, but what will it do when the evidence to the contrary comes out? What if Obama also draws a red line somewhere (it does not really matter where) and then forces Russia to cross it?
Sadly, I can imagine the USA declaring that the US/NATO will defend the Ukie airspace. I think that they are dumb enough to try to seize a Russian ship entering or leaving the Black Sea.
Remember – these are the folks who hijacked the aircraft of Bolivian President Evo Morales to try to find Snowden on board. These are the folks who regularly kidnap Russian citizens worldwide (the last time the son of a well-know Russian member of Parliament who was kidnapped in the Maldive Islands). And, of course, these are the folks who did 9/11.
Their arrogance knows no limits because they are profoundly evil sociopaths. For them, the organization of false flag operations is a normal standard procedure. They almost triggered a war between the DPRK and South Korea by sinking a South Korean military vessel. They used chemical weapons in Syria not once, but several times. And the last time we had a Democrat in the White House, he was crazy enough to send two US Aircraft Carrier Groups into the Strait of Taiwan to threaten China.

My Biggest Fears

This is my biggest fear: some kind of desperate “Hail Mary” maneuver in which the US will try to convince Russia that “look, we are crazy enough to start this thing, so you better back off” not realizing that Russia cannot back off. The other thing which really scares me is that during the Cuban Missile Crisis everybody was aware of the stakes, and most people were truly terrified. Now, thanks to the propaganda of the corporate media, almost nobody is afraid and hardly anybody is paying attention. Russia and the USA are on a clear collision course and nobody cares! How come?
Because if 9/11 proved anything, it is that there are things which most people are simply unwilling to contemplate, no matter how close and real they are. It would only make sense that the Empire of Illusion would be populated by a people in total denial. After all, illusion and denial usually go hand in hand.
Most of you, dear readers and friends, seem to be sharing with me a sense of total distrust in the sanity of our leaders. When I asked you whether you believed that the US/NATO were crazy enough to use military forces against Russia, an overwhelming number of you answered “yes,” and a good part of you were even emphatically sure of that. Why? Because we all know how crazy and deluded our Imperial Overlords are. Crazy and deluded enough not to quality as “rational actor”? Crazy and deluded enough to play a game a chicken with a train? Crazy and deluded enough to risk the planet on “Hail Mary? Alas, I think that this is a very real possibility.

But What Does Uncle Sam Really Want?

There is a gradual realization in Russia that for Uncle Sam this is not about the Ukraine. It is about Russia and specifically about regime change in Russia. A vast majority of Russian experts seem to believe that the US wants to overthrow Putin and that this entire war in the Ukraine is a means to achieve that. As a very cynical joke going around now says “Obama is willing to fight Putin down to the very last Ukrainian”. I think that this is correct. The US hopes that one of the following will happen:

  1. A Russian military intervention in Novorussia which will allow the US to restart a Cold War v2 on steroids and which will also fully re-enslave Europe to the USA. Putin would then be blamed for falling in the US trap.
  2. The creation of a US-run “Banderastan” in the Ukraine. That would ‘contain’ and destabilize Russia. Again, Putin would be blamed for letting that happen.
  3. A “nationalist Maidan” in Russia: this is what is behind the current Putin-bashing campaign in the blogosphere: to paint Putin as a weak and/or corrupt man, who traded Crimea for the Donbass (you know the tune – these folks even comment on this blog). These efforts are supported and sometimes even financed by Russian oligarchs who have a great deal of money involved in the EU and don’t need the current tensions. Here Putin would be blamed for not doing enough.

In all three cases, Putin would risk a (patriotically) color coded revolution which would, inevitably, bring either crazy rogue or a clueless fossil to power (a la Zhirinovsky or Zuganov) or, much better, a pro-American “liberal” (a la Medvedev). I think that all of these plans will fail.
Putin will not give Uncle Sam the intervention he wants. Instead, Russia continue to support the Resistance in Novorussia until Banderastan goes “belly up”, i.e. for another 30-60 days or so. As for the “nationalist Maidan”, the Russian people see straight through this “black PR campaign” and their support for Putin is higher than it ever was. It’s not Putin who does not want to intervene overtly in the Donbass, it is the Russian people. The attempts at stirring up anti-Putin by first stirring up anti-Strelkov feelings have completely failed and, in fact, they have backfired. A lot of these “hurray-patriots” are now overly called “useful idiots” for the CIA or even provocateurs.
Finally, while they are at this point in time only rumors, there seem to be more and more specialists of the opinion that MH17 was a deliberate false flag by the US. If the news that the Ukies did it ever becomes public, then the entire destabilization plan will go down the tubes. At this point, I would not put anything, no matter how crazy, past the US Deep State.
And that is a very scary thought.
The Saker

Democratic Party Liberals Are Militarists

And they always have been.
Their current incarnation in the US is in the form of “The Cruise Missile Left” and “The Humanitarian Bomber Left”.
They are the ones who ramped up the Vietnam War and expanded it to its greatest extent. Let us look at the record of the two first post-WW2 Democratic Presidents and their incredible militarism and very rightwing foreign policy.
Democratic Party liberals did the following things:
Under Democratic Party liberal Harry Truman:

  • Engaged in a massive campaign to hide and secrete away Nazis after World War 2 so the CIA could use them to fight Communism.
  • Installed military rule in Japan. The first act of the military government was outlaw all labor unions.
  • Overthrew the democratic government of Greece with a rightwing monarchist coup and then helped the new Greek fascist government as they murdered 12,000 Greek Communists and threw another 40,000 in prison, thus starting the Greek Civil War.
  • Supported the Neo-Nazi Ukrainian nationalist UNO as it waged its anti-Soviet guerrilla campaign in the Ukraine.
  • Supported and assisted the South Korean government while they murdered 200,000 South Koreans in the face of a Communist insurgency from 1945-1950.
  • Destroyed every city in North Korea, often with firebombs, bombed dams causing rivers to flood. North Korea was so devastated after this that most of the population was living underground in tunnels, shelters or caves. All in all, 3 million North Koreans were killed in the war, mostly by US bombs.
  • Assisted the French colonialists in the fight against the anti-colonialist Viet Minh.
  • Assisted the British colonialists in the fight against the anti-colonialist Malay guerrillas.
  • Assisted Chiang Kai Shek when he consolidated his rule in Taiwan by installing military rule, outlawing all languages but Chinese and murdering 100,000 people, mostly Leftists.
  • Set up the fascist Gladio stay-behind network all across Europe. This was a group of fascists who would “stay behind” after a Soviet invasion to fight an insurgency against the Soviets. The Gladio network subsequently caused all sorts of problems, including a wave of fascist terror bombings in the Years of Lead in the 1970’s.
  • Illegally interfered with the Italian elections after the war to keep the Italian Communist Party from winning.
  • Threatened to drop nuclear bombs on both North Korea and China if they didn’t say uncle.

Under Democratic Party liberal John F. Kennedy:

  • Stepped up the Vietnam War by vastly increasing the number of advisers into the tens of thousands.
  • Invaded Cuba in the Bay of Pigs invasion.
  • Supported a savage government and state death squads in Guatemala that slaughtered 5-10,000 people while fighting an insurgency.
  • Supported the French colonists versus the FLN anti-colonialists during the Algerian Civil War.
  • Initiated a violent coup that overthrew President Diem of South Vietnam, killing him because he was getting in the way of US plans.
  • Imposed an embargo on Cuba which idiotically continues to this very day.
  • Waged a guerrilla war called Operation Mongoose in Cuba where 10,000 people were killed, often civilians. They would get in boats and cruise along the beaches on Cuba, killing beachgoers with machine guns. They set off bombs in factories full of workers, killing up to 100 people at a time. The US began its endless efforts to murder Fidel Castro.
  • Started a lying campaign that the Castro government was going to take parents’ children away from so they could be raised by the state. 10,000 Cuban children fled the island with their parents.

The Ugliest Woman in the World

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIr3mlNINmg&feature=plcp]
Interesting story about about Lizzie Velasquez, a woman who has a terrible and rare genetic disorder that effects her adipose tissue. Only two people in the US have this condition, which she was born with. At one point, the illness caused her to go blind in one eye. It was also disfigured her to a large degree and it makes her look pretty homely.
A short 9 second video of her called The Ugliest Woman on Earth was made a while back and became a hit on Youtube. The comments were filled with all sorts of nasty remarks, many advising her to kill herself. She read through all the comments, though it was quite a painful exercise.
Then she decided to fight fire with fire, made her own video channel and decided to go public. She also authored a book and wants to become a motivational speaker.
In this video, she talks about bullying, which she has had to experience a lot of. Now it is mostly stares when she goes out, but when she was growing up, she was treated very cruelly by other kids in school. Even now there are whole websites devoted to bashing her and ridiculing her. There are a lot of folks involved in hating on her. They are mostly kids, but there are a number of adults in on it too.
I hope that if I knew her, I could be her friend and be a good friend to her. She seems like a pretty cool person, and I bet she would be a good friend.
It really all boils down to what kind of a society you have. This is one reason I am a socialist.
I remember a Bruce Cummings article about North Korea. He spoke about a man who was badly burned over much of his body by US bombs in the Korean War. The wounds gave him an ugly, monstrous and horrific appearance. There are many North Koreans with war wounds derived from the Americans like this man.
Cummings once accompanied this man around town. He said once they were in an elevator and a South Korean man completely freaked out upon being stuck in the elevator with the wounded man, treating like he was some kind of a circus freak who might contaminate him. He could hardly wait to get away from the burned man.
But Cummings said that everywhere they went, all North Koreans were very kind to him and treated him like he was a normal person, even doting on him. The burned man told Cummings that South Koreans always freaked out when they saw him, and his fellow North Koreans were always very good to him.
Cummings chalked this up to the different set of values fostered in Communist North Korea as opposed to the super capitalist South.

Japanese and Blacks

Tulio comments:

Virulent racism of Japanese towards blacks is something I always doubted. It seemed to contradict what black friends that have visited and worked there have told me. They said it’s absolutely fine and they have experienced little racism and what racism they do experience is stuff that tends to be directed toward foreigners in general such as being denied entry into Japanese only places.
Now one place I thought would be extremely racist to black people is Korea. But according to this black guy living there, he said he’s experienced nothing but hospitality and warmth. That even shocked me.

First of all, I am very happy that well behaved Black Americans can have a great experience in Korea and Japan. Black people really ought to be free to travel to and have fun in as many countries as I could. That a Black American is afraid to travel to some country because they will treat him badly simply because he is Black is very painful for me to contemplate. Maybe we Whites don’t realize how lucky we are.
However, a lot of Japanese Americans, both male and female, have very racist attitudes towards Blacks. I knew a Japanese American, and he was quite racist against Blacks.
You see where these Black guys run around and have like 8 different kids by 8 different women and don’t support any of them. That’s profoundly offensive to Japanese people, especially Japanese men. In East Asian society, a man may father children with more than one woman, but he absolutely must support all of his kids. If he does not, he is just a lowdown dirtball.
When these Black guys have 8 kids by 6 different women and don’t support any of them, to a Japanese man, you are little more than an animal. You’re basically a dog. Because that’s what a dog does. A dog just knocks up any bitch he can or as many bitches as possible, then runs away and leaves her and doesn’t help her raise any of the young.

Is It Fair to Compare the US Education System With Those of East Asian and European Countries?

Car Guy asks:

Would it be fair to compare the US education system with that of countries such as Japan, South Korea and Germany?

No!
People are always comparing US test scores with those of all Asian countries in East Asia and nearly all White countries in Europe. When the US falls behind say Finland, Taiwan or Singapore, rightwingers screech that the US public school system is failing and therefore we need to dismantle it in various ways such as charter schools, vouchers, defunding, etc.
These comparisons are all false due to differential IQ’s between ethnic groups in the US and those of other nations.
Japan and South Korea = pure East Asian. Higher IQ (105) than white majority US (98).
Germany = all White. German IQ is ~103; US IQ is 98. The US is only 66% White, and the rest is largely Black and Hispanic with much lower IQ’s than Whites. Totally unfair comparisons with all of them.

                 IQ
US Ethnic group
Whites           103
Hispanics         90
Blacks            87.2*

*Black estimate is my estimate. Others would put it lower at around 85. The White and Hispanic estimates seem to be pretty much valid. There may be some upward movement on the order of 1-2 points in both Black and Hispanic IQ’s in the last few decades for unknown reasons.
As you can see, Blacks and Browns score much lower on IQ’s than Whites, pulling the whole US average down, which will be reflected on test scores. Due to differential IQ’s US students will tend to score poorer than those of all White European nations and all-Asian Asian nations.

Which Countries are Socialist? Which Are Not?

I don’t know if I can agree that Germany is a socialist country. Its got a government and a public sector and a welfare system but its got a large private sector. I don’t know what percentage of the workforce work in the private sector for capitalist employers but its a lot. I might look it up. The means of production aren’t socially owned, right?
(Is America a socialist country by your definition?)

My position is that social democracy is a form of socialism. The social democrats call themselves socialists and their parties are typically called socialist parties.
America surely has socialist elements, but we don’t have any big socialist parties in this country. We don’t have a social democratic party or a party calling itself socialist in power in the US. We don’t have a ruling or large party that is a member of the Socialist International, as is the case with possibly most of the countries on Earth.
America has always been a Hard Right country as far as any kind of socialism goes. It’s basically a place for neoliberal experiments. Of all of the world’s richest countries, it is generally agreed that the US is by far the least socialist.
I realize that any social spending or social welfare projects are part of the social democratic project, but I doubt if many social democrats would describe the US as a social democratic country in spite of our meager and tattered safety net.
Now most of Europe is socialist. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are socialist. Japan is socialist. Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, China, Mongolia and North Korea are socialist. 40% of the Nepalese government is held by Maoists. Most of the Arab World and Iran are more or less socialist. Most of the CIS is socialist.
Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Paraguay, Bolivia and some Caribbean countries are at the very least run by socialists. Quite a bit of Africa is run by socialist parties. You can look at the list of the Socialist International and you will see that many countries have ruling or major parties that are part of the SI.
Which places are not socialist? Latvia, Estonia, Turkey, Afghanistan, India, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Gabon, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia and Hong Kong at the very least.
Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea are uncertain. Singapore has a lot of social democratic elements. Much of the housing is public housing for instance. That’s a socialist project. Taiwan and South Korea both underwent huge land reforms, and Taiwan now has national health care. Further, South Korea has huge state involvement in the economy, and I believe that Taiwan traditionally did too.
Neither Taiwan nor South Korea is run by neoliberal rightwing hardline free marketeers. Both of them seem to be following the Japanese model. The Japanese model is considered to be noncapitalist mode of production. No one really knows what it is. Some call it state capitalism. Others call it national socialism along WW2 German lines.
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American English Teacher in Korea Goes Nuts on Bus, Attacks Korean Couple

Video on the video site here.

Interesting video. This Black English teacher in Korea got into it with an older couple on a bus. The Korean man said something in Korean that sounds like “nigga” but really it just means something totally different. The older man had no idea that “nigga” in Korean means something bad in English because he doesn’t speak English. The English teacher goes totally nuts, starting screaming and yelling at the Koreans, and then starts manhandling both the man and the woman. The Korean man wants to fight back but is afraid to.

This American guy totally blew it on the bus. He totally lost it. What a moron. I hope the Koreans send him home for this. That’s all I can say.

This video is getting a lot of play on the Net and making the rounds.

The Paradox of Capitalist Regulation

Repost from the old site.

James Schipper writes in the comments section:

The historical record shows that wage increases eventually follow productivity growth. For instance, in 1960 South Korea was dirt-poor, and naturally wages were extremely low. By 1990, SK had become a prosperous country, due to massive productivity growth, and wages were also much higher.

As workers become much more productive on average, they become more valuable to employers, who are therefore willing to pay them higher wages, for the same reason that a dairy farmer is willing to pay a higher price for a cow which gives 10,000 liters of milk per year than for a cow which gives 5,000 liters per year.

It seems to be true that wage increases in the US have not kept pace with productivity growth in the last 3 decades. I have no explanation for it.

It can’t be doubted that the transition to a market economy in Russia was handled very badly. Such major changes should be introduced gradually. Just compare China’s performance with Russia’s in the 1990’s.

The problem with Chile between 1973 and 1983 was that the country was completely opened to foreign economic influences almost overnight while the exchange rate was kept fixed. They liberalized the entire foreign sector, except the exchange rate. If they had also brought in flexible exchange rates, the results would have been less catastrophic.

I hate neoliberalism as much as you, but I’m a moderate economic liberal. I believe that durable prosperity is not possible without considerable private ownership of the means of production and free markets. The motto should be: the market when possible and the state when necessary.

The Chicago boys are like a doctor who always prescribes the same medicine and then argues that the medicine wasn’t taken properly when some patients get worse.

Inflation is not bad for all capitalists. As a rule, inflation, or at least unexpected inflation, is bad for lenders and good for borrowers. Most companies are borrowers. Inflation tends to reduce the real wealth of lenders and increase the real wealth of borrowers.

Suppose that I lend you 10,000 for a year at 5% interest and on the assumption that inflation for the coming year will be 0%. Instead, inflation is 20%. After a year, I get my 10,000 back, but their real value is only 8,000. I lost 2,000 and you gained 2,000.

It is a libertarian myth that big government equals oppressive government. In what way do I become less free because in Canada the state provides most health care for free? I can’t just demand any treatment that I like, but I wouldn’t be able to that either if I were privately insured.

There is something fraudulent about neoliberalism. They constantly talk about freedom, but what they really mean is that they are opposed to economic egalitarianism. The freedom that they are most interested in is the freedom to make lots of money. Still, hostility to neoliberalism should not blind us toward the virtues of free enterprise, which are considerable.

I respond:

I really dislike capitalism, but I am the first to admit that pure socialism has some very serious problems. Socialism has done great at building economies for a while, but after a few decades, it starts bogging down into bureaucracy. Furthermore, while alleviating poverty, we have only been able to provide a low standard of living for the people. Social capital only goes so far – people want stuff too.

My attitude is that some capitalism may be necessary, like death and disease, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing by any means. Lots of nasty stuff is necessary.

Class war is continuous under capitalism.

Owners are continuously waging war against workers to take more of the profits generated by their enterprises. If there is X amount of profits from an enterprise, owners must decide how much to take out for themselves and how much to give to workers. Clearly they wish to give as little as possible to workers. So there is a battle between workers and owners to divvy up the profits from the enterprise.

Owners oppose increased % of profits going to workers since that means less for them, so they are always trying to cut down on the workers’ % to get more for themselves. The tendency among capitalists would be to take 100% of productivity increases if they could get away with it. The only reason that workers get any % of productivity increases at all is when they organize to fight for it.

During the period you mention, the South Korean labor movement emerged and became extremely combative. This is probably the reason for the wage increases you mention. Capitalists will never give a wage increase just to be nice. Their whole project, in part, is to screw the worker to the greatest extent possible and even kill him if they can get away with it.

Indeed, capitalists kill millions of workers every year in the world, which is exactly what their project is designed to do. Workers and management are de facto enemies in capitalism, and if workers do not organize, they don’t get much of anything.

I’m sure there were productivity increases in housing construction from 1975 to today and the prices of houses have certainly gone through the roof. At the same time, wages for construction workers have probably collapsed by anywhere from 50-80%. 100% of that vast surplus and probable productivity increase went into the hands of owners. Workers got less than zero. In a time of booming profits and probable productivity raises, instead of getting even a meager slice, they got a massive pay cut.

Builders reaped massive benefits from declining wages and from increased prices for their homes. Many industries have seen declining wages in the US since 1980 due in part to the busting of unions and their replacement typically with illegal immigrant or H-1B guest worker labor.

During a 15-year period in Guatemala from 1948-1963, the economy grew by 5% per year. During that same period, the % of the population living in poverty actually increased from 87% to 93%. 5% economic growth over 15 years equals a 75% increase in the size of the economy. 0% of the benefits of this economic growth went to the vast majority of the population.

This is how capitalism is supposed to work.

Every capitalist on Earth wants to live in a country like that – where owners, the rich and the upper middle class reap all or almost all of the benefits from economic growth and the workers get little, nothing, or even lose money. To avoid this, workers must organize into unions, since workers usually never get anything from capitalists without a fight. In the the 3rd World where murders of trade unionists are par for the course, it’s often a deadly fight.

I repeat, capitalism is evil, but pure socialism doesn’t seem to work very well.

I don’t have much issues with small businesses, who often seem to really care about their employees and consumers (customers) and even in some cases, the environment and the society they live in. But Organized Small Business is always profoundly reactionary.

But big business is just bad. Whatever benefits it gives us in terms of jobs and decent products, good service or reduced prices is typically vastly outweighed by the havoc it wreaks on society, the environment, the workers and consumers.

It’s true that regulation and organized workers and consumers can ameliorate a lot of this downside, but in capitalist nations, the capitalist classes buy all the media and institute a Gramscian cultural hegemony over society with their media and cultural control. At the same time, they use their money and media and cultural power to buy the state itself which ideally ought to be regulating them in the interests of workers, consumers, the environment and society itself.

So you have a state that will do nothing in the face of the bulldozer of capital. The result is a flattened social society, a wrecked public sector, slums, homelessness, disease, early death, environmental devastation, harmed consumers and crippled workers and nothing in government to stop any of this.

The housing crisis is a case in point. Contra your assertion that the New Deal failed (which is actually rightwing revisionism against the New Deal), in fact, the New Deal, in particular the financial reforms – the FDIC which restored confidence in the banks, the SEC that regulated the stock market and Fannie Mae to bring back the mortgage market – is what finally got the economy going again.

This was one of the greatest accomplishments the US government ever did, it was wholly socialist in nature, and it was opposed ferociously by the Republican Party and the entire US business sector at the time. After Roosevelt rammed it through anyway, the business class vowed to wage struggle, for decades if they had to, to overturn these things.

Finally, by the 1990’s, much of this regulatory structure had been whittled away.

Whittling away this structure had been a project of Capital since this regulatory apparatus had been put in place. Now that the regulation is a shadow of its former self, we have another Depression-like phenomena with the housing crisis, all the way to failed banks, bank runs, loss of deposits, etc. As one might expect.

This is the problem. The only way to keep capitalism from being completely nightmarish is to regulate it, and the capitalist sector reflexively fights to the death any attempts to regulate it.

Furthermore, they grab the media and culture itself to brainwash gullible workers and consumers to support their elitist agenda and to get the workers, consumers and society itself to oppose their own interests and support the contrary interests of Capital. Then they grab the state itself and prevent it from enacting those very regulations necessary for a civilized capitalism.

This is one of my primary problems with capitalism. Regulation is mandatory to keep capitalism halfway civilized, but the nature of the capitalist system, as described above, works in such a way as to make such regulation often extremely difficult or impossible.

The US Army is the Army of the Rich

The truth is that the US military has always been the army of the rich, the army of the imperialist thieves and mass murderers. Look at how many billions America stole from Iraq – estimates are that the US imperialists stole uncounted billions from the Iraqis in the course of running their government for them after the war. The US is now planning to steal Libya’s money to help bomb Libya – that money belongs to the Libyan people, but the Western imperialists have simply stolen the Libyan people’s money to drop bombs on their heads.

The cruel truth is that the US military is the army of the rich and the corporations. The US homeland needs very little defending, and no one ever tries to invade anyway. Instead, the purpose of the Pentagon is to go around the world killing workers and poor people in order to uphold the rule of the rich and the right of US corporations to exploit the Third World.

It is interesting to look at US wars and military engagements to see how many of them really benefited working class people of the US and other countries. The imperialist wars in Cuba and the Philippines? Are you kidding?

The endless list of interventions in Latin America? They were all to benefit the rich and to kill workers and the poor. Even the invasion of Panama was because Noriega would not play ball with the US on the Sandinistas anymore. The drug dealing thing was a joke. The US, the CIA and our buddies in the rightwing governments and militaries down there have been running dope forever. We look the other way or even help them run the drugs.

Grenada? Pull the other one. The various interventions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic? Give it up. The 7 new US bases in Colombia? They are there to help the Colombian state kill the poor and Left of Colombia.

The intervention in Lebanon? To help Israel. The war against Iraq? A Nazi-like war or aggression that resulted in the US colonization of Iraq. The bases scattered all over the Arab World? To control the oil supply, imperialist style, so no one else can get their mitts on it. This benefits US workers how?

The bases in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus? An imperialist project to surround and threaten Russia. How does surrounding and threatening Russia benefit US workers? Someone?

Bases in South Korea? To threaten North Korea. How does threatening North Korea benefit US workers? Anyone?

I have a question for you. If you are a working class person, why would you join the army of the rich and go around the world killing poor people and workers so that the rich and the corporations can continue to rip them off and exploit them? Why join an anti-worker, anti-poor army? Why go fight for the rich? Why fight for the corporations? Because that’s what you are doing when you join the US military. Why would a working class person do that?  For the money? For the adventure?

List of Obama Sellouts Since the Election

Right after his “shellacking” he went to India, of all places, and negotiated some crazy trade deal with the diabolical Indian elite. He claimed he got some American jobs in the deal. None of these crazy neoliberal trade pacts ever pay for themselves in the way of US jobs. They always only lose US jobs. That’s all they do. That’s what they are designed to do. India is taking 10 jobs from Americans for every 1 job Obama got from the deal. The disconnect was almost unfathomable. These Beltway elites just don’t get it.
List:
Afghanistan: Obama junked a 2011 pullout date, and General Petraeus said we would be there for decades. Afghanistan is going to be like the “temporary” tax cuts. Occupation will become permanent.
Iraq: From promising to pull out of Iraq, Obama has left 50,000 troops in the country! The 50,000 are left after the “complete pullout. LOL. Iraq looks to be another permanent occupation.
Chamber of Commerce Monsters: After the fanatically pro-Republican CoC ran one of the most dishonest campaigns in memory, helping to destroy the Democratic Party’s candidates, Obama met with them!
Congressional Republicans: Totally obstructionist Republicans who have admitted that they have one goal only, to destroy Obama’s Presidency, should have been shunned. Instead, outrageously, Obama met with them and apologized for not “reaching out to them more.” LOL!
That’s like the victim apologizing to the bully for making him mad after getting beat up for the 300th time. The bully laughs in his face and beats him again for good measure. That’s exactly what happened here. The Republicans punched him out again in the meeting, and Obama walked away smiling, presumably with a sore anus.
Roger Altman: Total disaster Roger Altman helped run the criminal enterprise called Lehman Brothers that was shut down by the state under the RICO Act. This is one of the singlehandedly helped to destroy the US economy. Obama is rewarding him for this destruction by putting Altman on his economic team! Outrageous. Obama’s economic team is mostly made of Goldman Sachs gangsters who ought to be indicted under the RICO Act for their role in the organized crime group called the Goldman Sachs Cartel.
Froze federal workers pay: Thereby going along with rightwing lies – federal workers make too much money, spending is the problem, we need austerity.
South Korea NAFTA: Went to South Korea and triumphantly negotiated a NAFTA like catastrophe with that country. It’s going to cost US workers an untold number of jobs.

Barack OHoover Says, "I'm a Blue Dog Democrat"

Two weeks ago, this traitor said that. Blue Dog Democrats are rightwing Democrats who vote with the Republicans at least half the time. They’re no good. In the last election, people were so sick and tired of them that half of their sickening Caucus got voted out of office. Republicans think they are socialists and Democrats think they are DINO’s. They have no friends. This is the friendless loser Caucus that Barack is lining up with. Way to go, chump!
On the campaign trail, Barack repeatedly said that Ronald Reagan was his hero. That means he’s a Reaganite? In the Senate, he quickly ran right up to Jew Lieberman and made Lieberman his mentor.
This may explain his puzzling behavior. Barack’s been a rightwing Democrat, a blue dog Democrat, all along. He’s a DINO. Otherwise his behavior doesn’t seem to make much sense. Of course he’s not a socialist or a Communist. He’s not even a liberal. Hell, he’s not even a moderate. He’s a rightwing DINO like Jew Lieberman.
It is only in light of this analysis that his strange Republican like behavior makes sense. Barack’s been a secret Republican all along!
That explains why he quickly packed his office with bankster and Wall Street holdovers from Bush. That’s why he made reactionary neoclassical economist Larry Summers his economic advisor. That’s why neoliberal Bernanke is on his economic team. That’s why he goes to India, shakes hand with the Indian Enemy, and says he’s saving the US economy. That’s why he negotiates another horrible free trade deal with South Korea and says he’s saying the economy.
This is standard neoclassical economics. Barack’s apparently a disciple of Milton Friedman.
This is why Barack was such a disaster on the Gulf oil spill. He’s a corporatist who loves BP and all oil corporations. This is why his record on the environment and endangered species has been so horrid. He’s a neoliberal who’s out to destroy the environment like all neoliberals. Either that, or he’s Black and hates or could care less about the wild and wild things like most Blacks.
When you look at Barack as a rightwing Reagan Democrat, everything starts falling into place.

Reactionary Nut Republican On Various Non-Existent Threats

From In Mala Fide, where many a flipped out reactionary hangs out, a super-rightist named Whiskey holds forth:

You’re completely off base on this. The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Nor are you correct about Iran not being able to get nukes. North Korea has them, and just today it was revealed their centrifuge program, thought impossible was far along and done in less than a year, right before our eyes. Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming.
This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Its not that hard to do, the Russians did it in the 1950′s.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times. We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China. Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests. China has no such problem and is our major competitor. Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities. Setting back its nuke program and promoting useful fear. [I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran? But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.]
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.

One insane remark at a time here.
The objections to the START treaty is that it hamstrings the US, particularly with weapons modernization (so they actually work) and forbids a ABM shield. Which is needed.
This guy must go to the Richard Perle School in International Relations. First he trots out the old, “We need to still keep building nukes ‘to make sure they still work'” line. Can you believe that this crazy line has captured the famished imaginations of many a US President? Sad but true.
Next up we have the ABM shield. It’s a bad idea, and it’s based on the premise of a winnable nuclear war. Nuclear wars are not winnable. Everyone loses. In the we can win scenario, the ABM shoots down all the enemy nukes, and then we blast them with our nukes. It goes back to the USSR and the Cold War, which is supposedly over, but neocons like this guy are always finding new wars to fight.
Obama’s objective is to punish White America for having and using Nukes by eliminating them first. As he’s pushed for repeatedly in speeches and actions. No one trusts him because he’s against the US having nukes or a military in the first place.
Wow, some Tea Party White racism thrown in for good measure. Obama hates US Whites because we have nukes and niggers don’t. LOL. No one cares that Obama opposes even the US having nukes, supposedly, but even Obama isn’t nuts enough to unilaterally disarm.
Of course they have help, as does Pakistan and Iran: CHINA.
China, a nuclear power, is helping potential enemy neighbors and near neighbors also become military powers, so that maybe they can threaten China in the figure. Right dude. Rule #1 about nuclear powers is that they don’t tend to spread it around. Look at all the big nuclear powers. Any of them proliferated? Of course not. If you had the deadliest poison on Earth, would you even give it to your best friends or family? Of course not.
China wishes to use proxies to threaten or even nuke the US, deniably, so they can scoop up much of Asia, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Their economy is a sham and they know it. They have a massive gender imbalance. They have looming demographic shortages coming. This is the mark of a “use it or lose it” aggressive power: see Japan and Germany, 1930′s. For the Chinese to take Taiwan, and the rest of Asia, as colonies and mercantile advantages (think 1600-1700′s France) they must move the US out, and indirect ways are less risky than overt war (which is disturbingly contemplated in Chinese media and thus with official approval).
LOL, whoa dude. Too much, dude, too much. Even the Perle – Wolfowitz – Gaffney – Rumsfeld – Cheney – Feith Project for a New American Century sociopaths don’t say things this crazy. There’s crazy and there’s batshit crazy. This is batshit crazy. So nuts I won’t even bother to refute it. Suffice to say there is no evidence for it.
China’s economy in some ways is in better shape than the West’s. It is growing at a remarkable pace. It avoided the financial ponzi scheme World Depression through the use of state banks. China invests in real capital investment, real productivity growth and real commodity production and increasing wages and living standards, whereas the US engages in asset stripping, bald and naked class war out of the 1890’s, financial ponzi schemes, the destruction of the real economy, a financialized casino economy that in reality is a house of cards, declining wages and living standards and an economy that both parties run only so the top 2% can attack the bottom 98%.
China’s economy is run for the nation, the people and workers. The US’ economy is run by and for a parasitical FIRE sector with banksters at the helm determined to suck every last bit of surplus out of consumers in form of payments to banks.
Iran is a threat because it too faces a looming crisis domestically with their economy, looming demographic implosion, and like China and Turkey aspirations for empire rebuilding. Iran’s leaders have stated they wish to reconstitute in Islamic form the Persian Empire, stretching into the Balkans, down to Egypt, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Iran’s demographics are no big deal anymore than any other 3rd World Country. The birth rate is below replacement. The economy is doing ok, barring the sanctions. Iran certainly has no desire to be an imperialist state, and neither does Turkey (LOL) and even China does not aspire to such.
Iran’s leaders certainly have never said that they want to recolonize the Arab World under a recreated Persian Empire. This sounds like the fevered blatherings of fanatical Sunnis more than rational analysis.
As a practical matter, Iran’s nukes would allow it to keep oil prices sky high (by threatening the Gulf states) and turf out the US Navy. If you like paying less than $20 a gallon for gas and keeping your job, you’ll find Iran’s nukes a threat. Given the need to start paying off their gunmen and what amounts to a cadre of military gangsters they are likely racing to this goal of nukes + ballistic missiles. Both technology more than sixty years old.
Won’t happen. Even if they ever get them, Iran won’t use nukes to blackmail the world. This is just ridiculous. They will use them like all other sane countries use them, in order to keep idiots like us from attacking them. Duh.
As far as Iran plus Pakistan, each could point to the other if they are both nuclear, if a major US city goes boom!
A US city won’t go boom unless someone shoots a nuke at it. If that ever happened, I’m sure the Pentagon has the high tech to figure out which country launched it. Snark. There’s no way to nuke a US city without shooting a ballistic missile at it. I deal with the suitcase nukes bullshit in an earlier post.
Which is why Lindsay Grahmanesty is right. We need to dismember Iran before they go nuclear. So we can have gas that is not so expensive it destroys the economy and puts us in horse and buggy times.
The homosexual Lindsay Graham is not right. We don’t need to invade Iran, much less dismember it. If you thought Iraq and Afghanistan were fun, try doing Iran!
Iran does not have any friends and a major power like the US needs to provide useful lessons and reminders of the danger of attacking us.
Yeah but no one’s “attacking us” you neocon dumbshit. Oh, that’s right, in the 107 degree minds of the neocons, the US is always “under attack.” Usually the attacks are the “invisible” kind, but they are attacks nonetheless. Snark.
We also need a robust nuclear deterrent, and ABM against nations like North Korea which are thinly disguised proxy attackers helped by China.
We don’t need the ABM, and it doesn’t even work anyway. Ever try shooting down a bullet with another bullet. That’s what an ABM is. It doesn’t work. North Korea is not a Chinese proxy. China has it’s own nukes, and it’s almost an ally anyway. There is huge trade between the US and China. No reason to screw that up with messy things like wars.
Our main problem is that no one really believes we have the will and ability to punish nations severely if they threaten our core interests.
Neocons are always saying this. “Our enemies think we are weak. We need to attack someone to show them we are serious!” By the way, this was one of the main rationales for the Iraq War, and look where that got us. Sure the world is scared of the US.
In the above, “threaten” means just about anything. It means looking at Uncle Sam wrong. It means not following orders when the US issues them. “US interests” means the interests of US imperialism. Not a good thing.
Thus we need to dump the START treaty and do something about Iran, like bomb all its major facilities.
Yeah, brilliant idea, dumbass. Want to see that $20/gallon oil? Then try this.
I mean really, who’d care if we bombed the crap out of Iran?
Just about the whole world, in particular the Muslim World, Russia, China, everyone really? This is another of the neocon delusions. First of all, the world is full of enemies who “hate us for our freedom” or whatever bullshit reason they thought up last night. We have no friends. Second of all, the world really does love America and will secretly be overjoyed when we start the next war. This is the thinking behind the assholes who started the Iraq War, exactly.
But its a good way to put fear of the US into Pakistan’s military, so they control their jihadis.
Yeah dude. Um, Pakistan is afraid we are going to bomb their nuclear facilities? WTF.
Never underestimate the power of a useful example in international relations.
This is the “make an example out of them” neocon school. This argument was also very important in the Iraq War. Boy, this guy is drumming them out one by one here, no?
The scary thing is that this raving lunatic represents the way the Republican Party thinks, and the way that 10’s of millions or possibly even a majority of Americans think, or could easily be led to think. Commenter AJ is right. US imperialism is a menace to humanity. The sooner it crashes and burns, the better.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan

AJ asks:

Neoliberalism works in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. They are rated as the freest economies by the Heritage Foundation. No starvation or shantytowns there. 

First of all, I would never read anything that the Heritage Foundation says about anything, nor would I trust any of their scales, which are probably rigged so that rich countries mysteriously end up with the “freest economies” and poor countries somehow end up with the “least free” economies.
Anyway, capitalism can definitely create wealth. Anyone knows that.
The post asked why it can’t do stuff like feed people, educate them, give them medical care, give them decent clothes and housing, transportation and full unemployment. Obviously, neoclassical economics is a complete disaster as far as all that goes.
Hong Kong is full of the most horrible shantytowns that lack even the most basic services. It’s truly awful.
Singapore is a social democracy. Plus it has very heavy state involvement in the economy (corporatist), unless I am mistaken.
Taiwan is another state in which the state is heavily involved in working with industry to plan the development of the capitalist economy. This is the corporatist model that is typical in that region. South Korea and Japan area also corporatist states. Taiwan appears to be a social democracy. They also did a huge land reform in the early days. In addition, their economic growth was predicated on decades of protectionism as they used trade barriers to protect their nascent industry from foreign competition.
Neoliberalism is opposed to land reform, social democracy in any and all forms, protectionism and trade barriers, and in particular to corporatism.
Even if those countries were running according to the neoliberal model (and it’s not clear if they are), one must ask why it is succeeding there and failing everywhere else.

Is Conservatism Always Bad?

Yes.
In my opinion, conservatism is always bad. Conservatism is always and everywhere at all times elite rule and only elite rule. Some support elite rule. I don’t. I support popular rule. I say elite rule is bad. Since elite rule is always bad, conservatism is always bad. Real simple.
In addition, conservatism is almost always dishonest. As an elite philosophy, you can either be honest about your goals and say you are working to better the elite and harm everyone else – say, the top 20% will benefit and the bottom 80% will be harmed, or you can lie and say you are out for everyone when you are not. It usually doesn’t work for conservatives to tell the truth, but now and then they do. Most people are not so stupid as to vote for an elite party when they are members of the non-elite group who will be harmed by the elite party. So conservatives, always and everywhere at all times, lie. They lie about their project. They have to, because often that’s the only way to get in.
But this continuous lying results in a destruction of Politics. There’s not much of a democracy left when almost the entire media is lying their fool heads off day and night. The population is bewildered at best or brainwashed at worst. This is the sort of “democracy” we have here in America. It’s hardly a democracy at all!
Erranter asks if we should not be bashing conservatives.

Doesn’t a conservative just mean someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo? There are places where the status quo is democracy and none of those above things. I don’t think it’s fair to attach “bad” to the very definition of conservative and “good” to progressive. That’s changing the definitions which people use to communicate and permanently attaching a moral judgment. It’s also unequivocal that conservatives are bad, because a part of this new definition is that they are bad.

Someone who is fine with the way things are going, the status quo – No, that is not what conservatism means.
Conservatism is elite rule. It always has been, it is now, and it always will be. Some things never change. Elites hate democracy. The Republican Party hates democracy. Notice how they are always trying to repress voter turnout. Heavy turnout is always bad for the elite Republicans. Given half a chance, sane electorates generally vote for popular rule (the Left) and against elite rule (the Right). Why would any electorate voluntarily vote against popular rule and for elite rule? They would have to be out of their minds (like the US electorate).
It’s hard to vote in elite rule. People don’t like it too much. So conservatives usually need to rule by dictatorship in one form or another. Once Latin America got rid of the dictatorships, the first thing the people did was vote in the Left.
There are only a few places on Earth where US style hard rightwing conservatives are actually voted into power, and those elections are problematic because the popular, anti-elite candidates of the Left are typically murdered.
The US
Guatemala
El Salvador (though the Left is starting to win now)
Colombia
Chile
Turkey
The Philippines
That’s about it.
The conservatives in El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Turkey and the Philippines all rule by terror. They all run death squads and slaughter the Left.
In the Philippines, conservatives run as populists who will fight and get rid of poverty, so that’s not really US conservatism.
In Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador, conservatives usually run on a platform of “kill the Communists (the Left).”
Everywhere else on Earth, people generally vote in some sort of a liberal to socialist type government.
All of Africa has generally been run by popular Leftwing parties, with a few exceptions in Zaire and Kenya. They haven’t done a very good job of popular rule, but US style conservatism simply does not exist there.
In North Africa, most of the governments are socialist. Morocco was always the outlier, as it was ruled by a rightwing king, but he’s a dictator.
All of the Arab World is generally run by some type of socialist party or other. US style conservatism never takes power there.
All of the former Soviet Republics are now run by some type of socialist government or other.
All of Europe is being run by some type of socialist government or other, with the possible exception of Great Britain. The UK was always the outlier. US style conservatism ruled under Thatcher, but she was probably the most hated ruler in the 20th Century UK, and she couldn’t get much done.
Russia is run by a socialist regime under Putin.
The Iranian religious government has always been socialist in nature.
It’s hard to characterize the Karzai regime, but it is not US conservatism.
The Pakistani government is very hard to characterize, but it is not US style conservatism. The recently assassinated leader, Benazir Bhutto, was a socialist. The President, her widower, is also a socialist.
Since Independence, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka have generally been run by socialist regimes of one type or another.
Myanmar is run by a regime that calls itself socialist.
Singapore has a social democracy.
SE Asia has been run by socialists since 1975. Thailand typically had rightwing military government. Recently, a progressive, Thaksin, was elected. He was extremely popular, but the conservative elite threw him out in a coup like they often do. At any rate, US style conservatism does not exist in Thailand.
China is run by a socialist party.
Mongolia is run by socialists.
Japan has been a social democracy since 1945.
True, South Korea was always a rightwing regime, but recently they elected a leftwinger.
Taiwan was always ruled by a rightwing dictatorship, but I am not sure who is in power since independence. They have had a social democracy for a while now.
Indonesia was always run by a rightwing dictatorship, but they recently went to democracy. The present leader has begun a number of socialist programs.

Great Article on North Korea

This is a great new article on North Korea, an interview with a fine North Korea scholar, Colin Marshall, an American who teaches at a university in South Korea. He has been intensively studying North Korea for 20 years now, mostly by reading their official publications.

A few points:

First of all, he disagrees that this is a classic Marxist-Leninist state anymore. North Korea recently removed the word “Communism” from its Constitution. Indeed, many Leftists and even Communists have washed our hands of these guys a long time ago. Instead, he argues that this is a state that results when the Far Left and Far Right meet in a sort of a circle. So, it is kind of a Marxist-Leninist-Fascist state, if such a thing is even possible.

The state is based on a racist rhetoric (Marshall sees North Korea as possibly the most racist state on Earth right now) that sees the Koreans as the pure people, untainted by evil, who are being menaced by these evil forces, specifically the Americans. The South Koreans are included in this racist view of the world. Kim Jong Il and his father are romanticized as some kind of blood and soil fathers of the people.

Even with access to outside media in recent years (Yes, many North Koreans can now access outside media) the overwhelming majority of North Koreans still buy into this philosophy. Even if they realize that many of the stories about Kim and his father are not true, they believe in them the same way that some believe in religious stories – that the story may not be factually true, but it represents the essence of what Kim is all about.

The article also plays up the paranoid, belligerent and irrational nature of the state, whose view revolves around the Korean War and specifically the US bases and military in South Korea. South Korea is seen as a good land of the great pure Koreans that has been colonized by the evil Americans. I’m not sure if Kim even wants to negotiate a peace treaty with the US, because then he would have little to rally his people around.

In recent years, North Koreans have begun to realize that most South Koreans live pretty well, and regime propaganda about the horrible lives of South Koreans was not true. Now the regime has to justify to the people why it is that their lives are in general so much worse than South Koreans’. This cognitive dissonance may well set off a new war.

The author says it’s true that the North has a command economy, but fascist Germany and Japan had command economies too. He draws some analogies to the fascist and extremely militaristic states and the North Korean state.

North Korea is not nuts enough to attack the US or Japan. This is what the crazy anti-Communist North Korea haters in the US continuously harp on. However, they may well be nuts enough to attack South Korea, and that’s a disturbing thought right there.

The North Korean military is a vast military machine, the 4th largest on Earth. They are well-fed and supplied with a tremendous amount of innovative vehicles and weaponry, some of which would boggle your mind. They also have excellent skills at information warfare. They are not to be dismissed or messed with at all.

The article, ultimately, was depressing. I’m not sure how the world can appease or accommodate North Korea. This is important because if we don’t, we may see more risky type provocations on their part, with potentially ominous consequences.

The regime is definitely desperate for money. I’m not sure what can be done about that either.

Nepal’s Former Ambassador to U.S.: What About a Military Takeover?

This is a very interesting article written by Nepal’s Ambassador to the US. What he’s doing here is throwing out a trial balloon of a rightwing military coup in Nepal to overthrow the civilian government, followed by the inevitable death squad terror that always follows in such cases. Note that towards the end he mentions Pinochet, Suharto and Chung Park Hee. All ran far rightwing anti-Communist military dictatorships, all three came to power via military coups at a time of a threat or reality of a Communist or Leftist takeover of the article.

This is what capitalism always does, and in a way, the Leninists have a point, which is that the capitalists never allow any substantial challenge to their power to come about legally. If it does or even threatens to, there’s usually a military overthrow of the state followed by years of death squad terror aimed at decimating the Left for decades to come. It happened in Haiti, Chile, El Salvador, Uruguay, Guatemala, Argentina, Peru and Indonesia. They tried it in Venezuela recently.

You can forget about the parts towards the end where he talks about how a fascist coup followed by a death squad regime is the only way to eradicate poverty and bring about prosperity and opportunities. Those are the last things this guy wants, and these rightwing coups never bring about any of that. Fact is, they’re designed to prevent just those sorts of things.

The coup would need the support of both the US and India. I’m sure it would be forthcoming from both places.

What happened in Nepal is that there was a negotiated settlement to the Civil War there. As part of the settlement, there were elections which the Maoists won with 40% of the vote, forming the biggest voting blog in Parliament. They then proceeded to carry out Constitutional reforms to move from a monarchy to a civilian state. Part of the settlement was to be the integration of the Maoist army with the Nepalese military, but the top general refused to do that. The Maoist President then fired him on grounds of insubordination, but then he refused to step down.

It would be as if the Head of the US Joint Chiefs refused to obey the Commander in Chief, then refused to step down when the President fired him. It was for all intents and purposes a military coup. It seems that India was involved up to their mitts in this. Then the Maoist President simply resigned, as the rule of civilian control of the state was being violated.

As you can see below, the Ambassador chides the whole notion of “civilian rule.” Apparently he thinks it’s a bad idea. Since then, I’m not sure what’s been going on on the ground in Nepal, except the Maoists have been involved in a lot of protests up and down the country, and yes, they have recently declared a few new states.

All in all, this is a pretty ominous proposal the Ambassador is tossing out there.

The original appeared here. La Republica is apparently the voice of the rightwing and business community in Nepal, best as I can tell.

Getting Out Of The Quagmire

by Sukhdev Shah

(Shah is Nepal’s ambassador to the U.S. He worked for the International Monetary Fund for two decades and is a U.S. citizen.)

As things have evolved over the past three years, Nepal has become a fertile ground for a military takeover of the government, independently or under the shadow of a constitutional authority.

Such a possibility has been talked about in a limited circle but been forced open by a delegation of some Nepali Congress (NC) leaders who recently urged President Ram Baran Yadav to consider imposing President’s Rule to help restore peace and enable the Constituent Assembly (CA) to complete writing the constitution before the expiry of deadline in five months. This is not an incredible or inappropriate suggestion, considering the marathon obstructions staged by Maoists to prevent the CA to open for business and carry out its mandate.

Even after losing the control of government in May this year over the enigmatic issue of civilian supremacy, Maoists have not softened their stance on the president’s action that re-instated the ex-army chief after his firing by the then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. In order to further press on this issue, Maoists have announced formation of autonomous states in several parts of the country in defiance of the wishes of government, which also seems to challenge the constitution- making authority of CA.

By doing so – unilaterally deciding to divide up the country into ethnic enclaves – Maoists have started the process of a slow dissolution of the State which they eventually would turn into an all-powerful proletarian dictatorship, making the country a one-party State. This particular perception of Maoists’ ultimate objective and long-term planning is not based on fancy or conjecture but comes straight out of their public declarations that claim the virtues of `fusion’ of ideologies and role of peoples’ war – jana yudhha – as means to capturing the State power.

The Maoist strategy of declaring autonomous states is probably the shrewdest means adopted until now to undercut the legitimacy of Maoist-version of a bourgeoisie State and assert people’s power under its own leadership. And this strategy would be highly appealing for the grassroots, who have had no great admiration for all-powerful Kathmandu-based governments doing the dictates of generations of family dynasties and self-serving corrupt politicians.

With the promises of self-rule allowed to ethnic majorities under the autonomous state system, ordinary people can see the benefits of localization of government authority, with a chance of liberating themselves from the tyrannies of centrist authoritarian rule.

Facing the challenge

Needless to say, government is at a loss on how to face up to the Maoist new challenge. The easiest course of action will be to ignore it – let them disrupt house-sitting, demonstrate on the street, put-up road blocks, spread anarchy, and declare more autonomous states, which can be viewed as no more than a symbolic defiance. However, by ignoring such threats to its authority, the government in power is unlikely to generate confidence and win sympathies, or hope that current impasse is going to end quietly and uneventfully.

If Maoists continue with its present strategy of making the central government look irrelevant, indifferent, and detached from the basic functions of the State, there will be no need for them to make a forceful entry into the capital to capture power. This will come to them naturally and effortlessly – from the growing irrelevance of government at the center, aided by gradual shift of state functions to regional, autonomous states.

There should be nothing wrong with the slow dissolution and eventual disappearance of the traditional State and its replacement by a grassroots entity that is built-up from grounds up. Indeed, by forcing the dissolution of the State, Maoists would be making a bloodless coup, which would be entirely legitimate in an environment of deepening conflict, lack of direction, heightened uncertainty, and loss of control over critical government functions.

There is not much that the Maoist-less current coalition government can do to stop or even slowdown the country moving in this direction except if it chooses to force-stop the process by making a last-ditch effort and take one extreme measure, similar to the one advocated by NC leaders noted above – presidential rule backed by the army.

Given the limited options the current government has in outsmarting the Maoists, it may be attracted to do just that and the army would, most likely, choose to go along. The army’s willingness to comply with such an option can be argued in two ways, the first being that it never got to use its full force to suppress Maoist rebels during their decade-old insurgency.

Reportedly, the army was held back by palace orders, which had to come to think of Maoist challenge more as a counter to political parties than a threat to itself. Second, by making civilian supremacy a battle-cry, Maoists, once in power, will seek a quick dissolution of the army, which they view as the last hurdle on the road to complete victory.

Maoists have been in sort of an undeclared war with the army for sometime now but it is becoming increasingly certain that the army will not just sit back and surrender. Rather, it may be getting ready for a showdown and final war with the Maoists – an opportunity it was looking for during king’s regime but was repeatedly denied. Army’s willingness to face up to the Maoists will be strengthened if its actions are given the legitimacy of enforcing presidential rule, which is allowed under the constitution.

A discouraging outlook

There are many ways in which the current conflict can get resolved and the much-lauded peace effort moved towards its logical conclusion – which is to get an agreement on the constitution, hold broad-based election, and usher in an era of constitutional rule that upholds people’s sovereignty. However, the outlook for consensus building and restoration of normal conditions appear increasingly dim, even non-existent.

The main reason for pessimism is that communism generally, and Maoism in particular, is now a ground reality in the country, reflecting not as much the smartness of ideology Maoists have brought to bear upon the population but the utter incompetence, lack of vision, and unabashed dishonesty of the regimes that have governed Nepal for decades and centuries.

In particular, all of them have failed to create glue that binds people together, encourage them to pursue a common goal, and motivate them to work for a better future, for themselves and their children.

The Maoists have taken advantage of this vacuum by creating grassroots organizations to bring the people together, partly by the force of their ideology but mostly by aligning people against the hereditary and traditional interests.

Of course, the record of nine-month rule by Maoists has caused much disappointment and helped cool down enthusiasm for its long-term sustainability but they continue to remain in public consciousness as the last hope for people who consider themselves dispossessed and have not much to lose from serious anarchy and breakdown of the law and order. At least one half of the country’s population would fit this category who seem united backing up Maoists’ intention of winning over and destroying the bourgeoisie democracy.

Presidential rule or army takeover can eliminate some Maoists and subdue their backers but it will be incapable of winning the ideological war. At the same time, if the ideologically- hardened comrades in hundreds of thousands face up to the army onslaught and engage them in running battles, the situation can easily get out of hand and millions will flee to take shelter across the border in India.

It is difficult to predict how India will respond to the emergence of calamitous situation across its 800-kilometer open border with Nepal, but it is hard to think that it will do nothing. Most likely, it will commit itself actively to prevent the spread of violence, including the stationing of its own peace-keeping force to keep order. Of course, such a move will have unknown consequences for Nepal’s separate and independent existence.

There is little or nothing to take a bet on how the events are going to unfold over the coming months and years, but the present cat-and-mouse maneuverings by political parties and Maoists are likely to move the conflict to center-stage for a showdown. If this comes to pass, army will have a greater chance of claiming victory, provided that the conflict involves mostly the leadership on the top.

Another big uncertainty is if Nepal has the good fortune of some strongmen rising to the occasion – the likes of Korea’s Park Chung-Hee, Chile’s Pinochet, Indonesia’s Suharto – to take up the challenge of suppressing dissent and mobilizing the machinery of the State to focus on only one mission: Building a strong and prosperous nation.

With so many options tried over so many years to eradicate poverty and catch-up on the bandwagon of growth, opportunities and prosperity, this last option may just have a chance to succeed.

South Korea Bans My Website

Not this one but the Blogger one. Too bad, I was up to 68,000 visitors a day, and then the damned Korean government blocked the site!

Now traffic is down to about 2,000 day.

This article is interesting. Many countries are blocking the Internet. The Korean section is here. Looks like my site would be blocked by lots of countries. And I’m starting to think again about Communism. I’m not a Maoist. Every Communist government on Earth would block that website, and probably this one too.

It’s true that some places are so bad off that Maoism is probably better than the status quo, but that’s only because the status quo sucks so bad. Every Maoist on Earth would try to block that site. If Maoists took over everywhere on Earth, freedom of the Net would be doomed.

So I really should not support any philosophy that would shut down my own website. This is but one of the many contradictions of my worldview.

Health Care Reform in Taiwan and South Korea

A couple of nice articles about health care reform, and frankly national health care, in Taiwan and South Korea. The article about South Korea is rather complicated, and I did not understand all of it. It’s from the American Journal of Public Health.
The article about Taiwan is much easier to understand. Taiwan has more of a single payer system. One of the main beefs that US conservatives have about single payer is that you don’t get to choose your doctor, and the government wastes too much money and won’t spend efficiently.
Actually, it’s the private sector that is inefficient. Taiwanese health care has the lowest administrative costs on Earth, and it’s a single payer system. Medicare also has very low administrative costs, around 2%. So much for “the government wastes money” crap. And in Taiwan, sure you get to choose your doctor. Both systems are quite popular, especially the system in Taiwan.
Both are beginning to run into problems, but that’s inevitable. For an example of the sort of problems Taiwan experienced before national health care, in 1999, 50% of the population had no health care insurance whatsoever. Neoliberals are amazing people – they call that a system that is working perfectly well! They have a curious definition of “working.”
South Korean health care reform actually started in 1977, when the government began requiring companies to cover employees with health insurance. It’s pretty amazing that even this reform is apparently completely off the table in the crazy US.
This is actually closer to the Japanese model. All Japanese are covered, mostly through their work. I believe that the corporations are mandated to cover employees, but they typically covered them anyway, since Japanese corporations have a much more paternalistic attitude than the “Fuck off and die!” attitude that US corporations take towards their employees.
South Korea’s model is called “decentralized” and hence similar to that of France or Germany, but I don’t understand what that means. South Koreans have had problems with cost containment on the supply side as private hospitals, private physicians run up costs unnecessarily. There are also problems with increased outlaw for pharmaceuticals.
I am told that the physicians’ groups, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies reportedly promised Obama that they would not kill health care reform if he pushed it. He made this deal with them when he was running for President.
All the ranting and raving you hear about health care is coming from independent rightwingers and the Republican Party – the corporations have stayed out of it. That’s possibly why the arguments sound so shrill and insane. If the corporations were running this campaign, they would be a lot slicker about it.
Obviously, this was a quid pro quo. What we need to know is what Obama promised in return. I bet he promised nothing more than a public option and to declare single payer DOA.
63% of Americans still say that if we can’t have a public option, we should not pass any health care bill. That’s down from 73%, so the Republican Lie Machine is working, but not working well enough. On the other hand, an amazing 35% of Americans believe the “death panels” lie. How much you want to bet they are all White.
The US seems to be the only country on Earth where people actually protest against health care. Americans are nuts.

The Failure of the Neoliberal Model For Developing Countries

On the 60th Anniversary of Chinese Liberation post, James Schipper says that I should compare China to Taiwan and South Korea instead and see who did better.
I pointed out that a book on China by the reactionary Time-Life Corporation in 1962 at the height of the Cold War noted that Taiwanese miracle was not reproducible in China. They wished it was, but there was no way to do it.
For one thing, one thing that helped create the Taiwanese miracle was a flood of US aid. In order to China to receive a concomitant amount of aid, China would have to have received an unheard-of figure that was simply not possible to achieve at that time, or even now.
Further, there was the problem of feeding the people and rural poverty. Taiwan solved this, mostly by doing a land reform, but Taiwan is a little island, and feeding the island was not an insurmountable task.
The book pointed out that the main problem facing China was feeding the population. Only 26% of the land is even arable and the population is huge. The Taiwanese miracle was not doable in China due to differing conditions.
Everywhere on Earth, US imperialism has always fought the imposition of any kind of national health care, state involvement in the economy and especially land reform. Many nations have been overthrown by the CIA and other agents of US imperialism for attempting even those most meager reforms. Indeed, all Hugo Chavez seems to be doing is trying to create some sort of social democracy in Venezuela.
Yet in Taiwan and South Korea, the US agreed to national health care, massive land reform, trade barriers, heavy state involvement in the economy, the whole works.
This is because I believe that the US knew that all of these were necessary to develop an economy. Taiwan and South Korea were intended by imperialism to be “showcases against Communism”, to be sparkling examples of what “capitalism” could do better than say North Korea or China.
It’s really amazing how cynical imperialism is, but if imperialism has to do a bit of a socialist dance to fight Communism, then that’s what it will do.
The sad thing is that if the North Korean, Soviet and Chinese “threats of a good example” did not exist, there would be no reason for imperialism to create these “anti-Commie showcases” and the model for those countries may well have been the Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia instead.
I would like to point out a few other things, mainly that we are comparing one socialist country to another, since I consider Taiwan at least to be a socialist country and South Korea to be a partly socialist country. As I’ve said on this site, I support all kinds of socialism. The main thing is that we are not comparing a socialist China to a neoliberal capitalist South Korea or Taiwan.
Taiwan at least is a very socialist country. They did a land reform, and they have universal health care that even includes dental care! I don’t know much about South Korea, but I know that they did a land reform. It’s important to note how essential that land reform was developing those two nations. Neoliberal dumbasses never seem to figure that out.
You have to deal with the problem of feeding your people and take care of the problem of rural poverty by doing a land reform, and then you can think about becoming a developed country. Until then, the best you can hope for is some backwards clusterfuck wreck like Brazil or Equatorial Guinea.
Also, neither Taiwan nor South Korea are examples of neoliberal capitalism. Both were very heavily state-directed, state-guided and even state-involved economies. The state was pretty much setting economic policy and telling the corporations what to do. The state and the business sector were very much tied together. It was almost a “national socialism.”
Also both countries protected their budding industries with huge trade barriers until they got big enough to compete with the big guys. All developing countries need to protect their budding industries from competition with huge economies – otherwise you are never going to develop.
Of course all of this – land reform, national health care (including dental!), heavy state involvement in the economy, trade barriers to protect budding industries until they are big enough to compete – are anathema to the neoliberal agenda that holds sway over the entire world, mostly due to US imperialism.
Neoliberalism never developed one undeveloped country ever, and probably never will.