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09 February 2008

The Battle for America Has Begun

Or, rather, it never ended, and will never end.

Ha-Joon Chang on Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

The blurb follows; dig this speech. This man is not only brilliant, but also has courage, which is more important.
According to the conventional wisdom popularized by Thomas Friedman, countries can grow rich only by means of unfettered capitalism and pure free trade. In his controversial book, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, Ha-Joon Chang takes aim at this orthodoxy. Combining irreverent wit with scholarly rigor, Chang shows that nations like the U.S. that achieved their present wealth by means of economic nationalism now preach an entirely different set of policies to the developing world, via the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization. Chang calls on us not only to re-evaluate the policies we promote to countries seeking to grow rich, but also to become reacquainted with our own forgotten economic history.

Ha-Joon Chang has been described by one economist as "the most exciting thinker our profession has turned out in the past fifteen years." He teaches at Cambridge University, where he received his Master's degree and doctorate. A consultant for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the UN and other international organizations, he was awarded the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought in 2005. His book Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective (2002), which received the Myrdal Prize, was acclaimed by the eminent MIT economist Charles Kindleberger as "a provocative critique of mainstream economists' sermons directed to developing countries."

American Psycho: An Elite Exposed in an Exit Speech, Chris Floyd

Spot on analysis of Romney's hideous speech. Here's the whole load of racist, fascist (yes, I mean that) garbage. What's even more disgusting is that it's not even clear Romney actually believes this shit, but he knows it's catnip to the so-called "conservatives" at CPAC.

08 February 2008

Shine a Light, Scorsese Documentary on the Stones

How bad could it be?

Biofuels Worse Than Fossil Fuels, Studies Find

Exclusive! The FBI Deputizes Business, The Progressive


Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law. InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.
The ACLU on this in 2004: The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.

07 February 2008

Ha-Joon Chang: An Economist Worth Reading

Link to his home page above. This guy is the real deal. He'll be on CSPAN Book TV soon:

Ha-Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

Oxford University [wrong; he's at Cambridge] economist Ha-Joon Chang argues against unregulated international trade. Mr. Chang contends that the GDP of many developing countries was higher prior to deregulation, and that the pressure of countries such as the United States and Britain to follow this model is false, as these countries built their economies with the assistance of government intervention.
(Sunday [Feb. 9] 2:15 PM ET)
I'll post the vid once it's out.

Some more reading (all PDFs):

The Predatory Lending Association

Hilarious; very Yes-Men-like.

Humane Society Slaughterhouse Videos

Enjoy your meat!

HSUS Investigates Slaughterhouse
Cruel and Unhealthy Practices Uncovered

Graphic video: An HSUS investigation reveals one of the leading suppliers of the national school lunch program is permitting sick and injured dairy cows to enter the food supply.

Cheap Meat
Working in a Slaughterhouse

Warning: This video contains graphic and disturbing footage. In it, an HSUS investigator describes his experience working undercover in a slaughterhouse.

The lights have been turned off, Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz

Key quote:

The [Israeli] Supreme Court is authorizing collective punishment, which is specifically forbidden under international law (Article 33 of the Geneva Convention). Henceforth, Israel will no longer be able to complain about attacks against innocents in Israel: If all the residents of the Gaza Strip deserve to be punished because of the Qassam rockets, then maybe all Israelis deserve to be punished because of the occupation?

EXCLUSIVE: Former 9/11 Commission Chief Philip Zelikow on Allegations He Secretly Allowed Karl Rove & White House to Influence 9/11 Probe

FWIW, Zelikow showed up on Democracy Now! to respond to the recent book....

"Water Lillies" -- Stunning Fractal Art

Original link (via Google Images) in title above; here's the gorgeous image, which you can click to see full size:


With a link to part one as well...good stuff...

06 February 2008

Mark Steel: Change. Hope. America. Vote for Bob the Builder...

Hilarious, and better commentary than reams of crap you can get from elite media....

Nader at San Francisco Green Presidential Debate / January 13th, 2008

Nader definitely points the way toward a workable left-populist movement. Good stuff.

Opening Statement and response to questions - Ralph Nader (Note: Nader is not a declared candidate for the Green Party Presidential nomination at the time of this event) (32:39)

More on corporate fascism (possibly a redundant term):

Here is the website for last year's conference: Taming the Giant Corporation, and here are two videos worth watching:

1. Amy Goodman interviews Ralph Nader:

2. Carl Mayer on corporations and the constitution:

A Strike in the Dark: What did Israel bomb in Syria? by Seymour M. Hersh

Chomsky: The (Bill) Clinton Vision

05 February 2008

New Book Alleges 9/11 Commissioner Philip Zelikow Minimized Scrutiny of Bush Admin Failure to Prevent al-Qaeda Attack

Excellent report on Democracy Now! -- starts off with Sandy Berger's tawdry and craven stealing of documents from the National Archives (at Bill Clinton's behest) and then moves into Zelikow's mole-like status on the commission. Which more than one person wondered about at the time, just based on Zelikow's CV and networks; for example, Judith Miller in October 2002 was already accurately portraying Zelikow as follows:

The study, sponsored by the Markle Foundation, was conducted with two influential research groups -- the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies -- and with the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. The center's president, Philip Zelikow, a former White House official who is close to Bush administration officials, is the task force's executive director.

''Our study shows that the information and technology that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks already exists,'' Mr. Zelikow said in an interview. ''Had such systems been in place,'' he said, ''Sept. 11 might have been the nation's most important intelligence coup, instead of a day of national tragedy.''

Or, look here, from the Asia Times in 2004:
The commission's executive director, Philip D Zelikow, is a crucial player. This is the man who directs all the investigative research of the commission. On October 5, 2001 - two days before the beginning of the bombing of Afghanistan - he was appointed as one of the three members of Bush's foreign intelligence advisory board. Zelikow is the ultimate Bush insider.

Andrew Rice says that Zelikow "worked with these people and now he is defending them". Zelikow also worked for Jim Baker, former secretary of state of Bush senior. He spent three years on Bush senior's National Security Council. He is close to Bush junior, and even closer to Condi Rice: they worked together, and he even co-wrote two books with her.
But Shenon did the due diligence, which is necessary for rational conclusions, and apparently has wrapped this nasty piece of 9/11 up in a bow.

Parenthetically, Karl Rove is going to be a commentator on FoxNews. Isn't that really a demotion?

A couple of Gore Vidal interviews from the CSPAN archives...

Here's one from 2006 and one from 1998. Yeah, I might have posted these already, but I ain't checking.

Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class

Click above to launch a Flash video of this CSPAN-filmed event. CSPAN has revamped their website, including adding this cool page: CSPAN Video Library. Dig it.

It's a bit sketchy in its whirlwind tour through history, world and American, but settles down on more American political history and political theory. Yes, it's annoying that Hartmann thinks that Rousseau wrote in the 1600s (born in 1712, that'd be a neat trick) or that Darwin wrote The Descent of Man in "the early 1800s" (born the same day as Lincoln -- February 12, 1809 -- that, too would be a neat trick -- Descent was published in 1871). His statements on Darwin, Darwinism, and so forth, are more than a bit philosophically naive:

But the general point is well-taken, and I can think of many personal friends who really need to hear this, but will never listen -- even though it's smack-dab in the center of their interests. Not as much fun as hating dusky Others, though, so...

Recent Chomsky Comments on 9/11 "Truth"

Here (.doc) is the WSJ article on 9/11 and corporate stock options. Nice, huh?


This is well worth reading. The link above will work for now; as MA writes to me:

This media alert will shortly be archived here: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/08/080205_creative_destruction_the.php
A Part Two on India and China as examples of "neoliberal success" will follow shortly....

Questions They Weren't Asked: The Great Clinton-Obama Debate, By RALPH NADER

Yes, indeed. Note that Obama didn't call Hillary on her bold-faced lie about bombing Iraq in 1998. Oh, yes, two stalwart progressive peaceniks! I tingle all over waiting for the Super-Tuesday results.

US Rules of Engagement in Iraq

Click the title for the original publication of the leak, which has been written about in many journals, such as the New York Times.

I love the administration response: what everyone else in the world, especially the Iranians and Syrians, knew to be the case is somehow going to "harm the troops" -- since now the American public is (potentially) aware of it, too. Ah, yes, I see.

Who is the real enemy, I ask you? We, the people, are. The government -- any government -- is deathly afraid of us.

The (Discretionary) Budget and Oreo Cookies

04 February 2008

Norman Finkelstein Interview

03 February 2008

Oedipus Plays, BBC

Oedipus Rex:

Oedipus at Colonnus:

Charles Darwin: Evolution's Voice

Philoctetes Center Roundtables on Psychoanalysis

"Discussions about Freud, psychotherapy, and the psychoanalytic perspective on the exploration of creativity."

Click the title to open the several hour-plus-long roundtables...

Sigmund Freud On The BBC in 1938