Friday, September 23, 2011

Troy Davis' final words

Troy Davis was executed last night after the Supreme Court held up the execution for 3 hours in a phony show of justice. The Supreme Court denied the stay of execution with this statement:



Troy Davis's final words were:
I'd like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I'm not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent.

The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth.

I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight.

For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The 'Occupy Wall Street' Movement


Collapse Roundup #6: The European Bank Run Has Begun – This Is What a Collapsing Global (Ponzi) Banking System Looks Like

___________________

from:  http://ampedstatus.org/network/, someone writes:

This is censorship. Youtube keeping videos from gaining views, Twitter blocking the tags from trending, facebook preventing all messages/status updates/groups concerning the protests, and now mainstream email providers are blocking any emails containing any of the hashtags/messages/web URLs/etc of the protests.

If I’m not mistaken… Anonymous takes censors VERY seriously :)
System, you have made your point very clear.
Now hear our response.
Expect us.

___________________


from alternet.org:


11 Things You Can Do to Help the 'Occupy Wall Street' Movement

The people protesting on Wall Street are fighting for the unemployed, the uninsured, and those totally insecure in the face of ever increasing financial inequities.
September 20, 2011  |  



These patriot occupiers are fighting for 99 percent of us. Those who are unemployed, uninsured, underemployed and totally insecure in the face of ever increasing social and financial inequities. They are standing up for those who cannot be there right now.

Editor's note: Today is the fifth day demonstrators have staged an "occupation" of Wall St. and other parts of lower Manhattan in protest of America's staggering economic inequality and the influence of big finance on our politics. As of Tuesday night, 16 people had been arrested. There are also reports that law enforcement has confiscated camera equipment. Below, writer Chaz Valenza describes 11 things you can do to help out the protesters. 
Here's the good news -- you can help, right now today -- no matter where you are.
1) Spread the word -- there's something going on. People have started a movement -- they're occupying Wall Street. Hundreds of people have been camped out in lower Manhattan for four days!
2) If you're in New York and can only spare a little time or money: bring American flags, cardboard, markers, water, etc. down to Liberty Park.
3) If you're in the New York area and have a day, a morning, an afternoon, go down there. The weather appears to be holding. Take the day off and just go. I know it sounds hard to believe but you will be heard. This is an open general assembly effort and you will get your say and be a real participant.
4) If you are a little ways from NYC, organize foursomes to go to NYC for the day. It will cost you the train/bus/car fare. Take nothing but some food and water and your body.  
5) Too far to get to NYC? Sign this petition and I will read your name and comments in Liberty Park this week, I promise. Break Up Goldman Sachs Now!
6) Be subversive against the big money interests wherever you are and encourage others to do the same. Don't give the banksters 4 percent of every purchase you make with a credit or debit card -- use cash. See: UseCashMovement
7) Be subversive: max out your credit card on large ticket items and return them the next day. (This one is right out of the Saul Alinsky playbook.)
8) Move your money from a big bank to a credit union.
9) Picket a local branch of a bank. When the press asks you what the heck you think you're doing, tell them it's in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
10) Send food to the protesters in Liberty Park through a New York friend or go to the live stream chat for information on local eats that will take your order. (Yes, you'll have to use your credit card, big spender!)
11) Do you know anybody who knows anybody who knows a writer, a celebrity, etc. who will show their face at the protest? Get to them now.
Bonus Support Idea 12) Spread the word again, and repeat!
Chaz Valenza is a writer and small business owner in New Jersey.

Friday, September 16, 2011

America is the greatest country in the world - part III

If America now ranks as the 5th best country in which to run a business, 23rd in infrastructure, 49th in life expectancy and so on, can we still call it #1?  (Restoring the American Dream: Getting Back to #1)
Links to: part Ipart II

More ways to measure, 'America is the greatest country in the world':
 
Labor

- steady around 9% unemployment
- minimum wage is below a "living wage"  (Poverty in America Living Wage Calculator)

Transparency
- or lack thereof.  16 million documents each year are classified top secret each year.  (Digging Deeper: Jesse Ventura's Alternative Take on American History).  77 million documents each year are classified. (Why Is That a Secret?).

Infrastructure
- 23rd.  Quality of overall infrastructure ranking.  Down from 6th 10 years ago by the World Economic Forum.  (Investment in U.S. infrastructure would spur economy, boost safety)

Economic Mobility (or achieving the American Dream)
- 10th of 12 countries.  (A Family Affair: Intergenerational Social Mobility across OECD Countries)
- hint:  education is key
Standard of Living
- 4th by the HDI (Human Development Index)  (Human Development Index, from Wikipedia)
- 12th by the Income-adjusted HDI (taking into account income disparity where the US has the highest income disparity of developed nations).

Human Poverty Index
- 17th.  (Macro national income living standards, from Tudor2U)

See also:
We're #1 -- Ten Depressing Ways America Is Exceptional

We’re #1: Charting American Exceptionalism

to be concluded...

America is the greatest country in the world - part II

I could write ad nauseam about what's wrong with the United States but it all boils down to the corruption of democracy by:

1) Infiltrating the government
2) Breaking the middle class
3) Controlling the people
    A) Fear
    B) Debt
    C) Media propaganda
    D) The police state
4) Dismantling the government

1.  Infiltrating the government

The government of the United States is grossly out of sync with the desires of the general population. Compare you political views here. Right now, we have a very pro-Wall Street administration.  Anyway, it doesn't really matter who wins the presidency because all the main presidential candidates are backed by private contributions from the primaries onward.  Different candidates have different contributors but when it comes down to moneyed interest versus the general population, the moneyed interests take precedent.  The Republican-Democrat duopoly from the people's point of view is for all intents and purposes a single-party system.

The other way moneyed interests control the government is the benign sounding 'revolving door' between industry and government.  But it's anything but benign. Rampant corruption describes it better.  It applies to industry and politicians and industry and government regulators.  It's the old, 'fox guarding the hen house' argument.  It's the most direct example of the breakdown of the US democracy.

The Shocking Pattern of Obama Repeating Some of the Worst of George W. Bush
From the Pentagon to the private sector
FCC Commissioner Approves Merger, Then Goes to Work for NBC-Comcast
An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan
Polifact Obameter - Promise Broken: Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials
Bush officials: Where are they now?
Inside Job: 2011 Academy Award Winner Best Documentary

2.  Breaking the middle-class

Weakening the middle class financially to create a poor cheap labor force. Wealth disparity has never been greater in the United States than now.  We are on par with so called banana republics. It hasn't been about making the pie bigger, it's been about increasing the percentage of the pie for the rich versus the middle class and the poor.  We've created a huge poverty class.  Ultimately, if we continue to destroy the middle class, the US economy collapses because it's the middle class who buy the consumer items that fuels the US economy.  It's truly short-term, self-destructive, sociopathic behavior and the elite need to be saved from themselves.

Nickel and Dimed
Our Banana Republic
Stock Tip: Be Worried. Workers are Consumers.
4 Desperate Ways the Hardest Hit Are Coping with Economic Crisis

3. Controlling the people
A. Fear
Fear of God, fear of retribution, fear of the police, fear of class warfare, fear of a terrorist attack, fear of nuclear war, fear of job loss, fear of losing one's home, fear of incarceration, fear of torture, etc, etc.  A scared populace is a docile populace.
B. Debt
Debt is slavery.  Whether it's a mortgage, student loan, credit card debt or government debt, debt is slavery.  The debtor is the master and the debtee is the slave.  Debt is the prime method of US conquest of foreign countries through the IMF, World Band and World Trade Organization.  People are similarly enslaved by debt.  Click on the excerpt below from Gary Brumback's, 'The Devil's Marriage' to enlarge:

C. Media propaganda
We have the Repubican's talking points Fox News and the Democrat's counter MSNBC.  The difference is that MSNBC counters with more truth and facts whereas Fox News' 'news' is often fabricated.  And the rest of the main stream media is only one step down from conservative propaganda.  After all, they are corporations, usually owned by larger corporations and fighting for advertising dollars from even bigger corporations.  Crucial strories of interest to the general population are often ignored by the main stream media.  We may take our religion on blind faith but we sure shouldn't take our news on blind faith.
D. The police state
It might as well be, 'the surveillance/security/police state'. It serves two purposes: create fear in the population and put down civil unrest, disobedience and uprisings. We are teaching the next generation of kids a higher level of authoritarianism.  For them, the police state will be the norm.
A prime aim of the growing Surveillance State
The US Media
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
Video: F*** the Corporate Media
New Orleans: Systemic Police Brutality Exposed

4.  Dismantling the government

The only thing better than controlling the government is no government at all - for them.

The US has pursued this agenda is other countries under the moniker, 'neo-liberalism'.  It consisted of low taxes, privatizing government agencies, deregulating industry, opening up the country to US companies, removing tariffs and a Gestapo-type police force.  Good for big multi-national corporations. Not so good for the people.  Now this policy has come home to roost.

The Tea and the Pea

If the government cannot raise funds then the government cannot function properly.  From the US Constitution:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States
The government can generate funds with tax revenue or by borrowing.  We have seen the Tea Party fight any increase in tax revenue and we have seen the Tea Party fight the increase of the debt ceiling which serves to restrict the government from borrowing. We are currently experiencing a world wide trend of 'austerity measures' like cutting social programs and gutting regulatory agencies. President Obama has told us to, 'Eat our peas'.  Of course, with the difference in wealth of countries like the United States and Greece the only way the western world is all suffering 'austerity' all at the same time would be from collusion from secret meetings like the G20 summit and the annual Bilderberg summit.

Meet the "Pea Party"
Is Democracy as We Know It on Its Way Out?
5 Reasons Capitalism Has Failed
Here's Why Capitalism Has NOT Failed
Awareness of Bilderberg Cabal Explodes in 2011

to be continued...

America is the Greatest Country in the World - Part I

America is the greatest country in the world!  God bless America!

And usually that's the end of the conversation.
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Blind and unbridled patriotism is unproductive, dangerous and doesn't leave any room for improvement.  What we really need to be focusing on right now is what's wrong with America and how to make this country great *again*.

Instead of, 'My country, right or wrong', what Gary Brumback called fascist and jingoistic (Devil's Marriage), we should look at what we can do to make this country better for everyone.  Don't get me wrong, Americans are inquisitive, ambitious, tenacious, persistent and generous.  Now, more that ever, we need to take back our country from those who will bring it down due to their selfish pursuit of their own, 'American Dream'. Time is running out to change the system.  Time has run out for millions of Americans that are living in poverty or below poverty.  Please read:  On Americans (Not) Getting By (Again).

Gini Coefficient

The Gini Coefficient which measures the income disparity (inequality) of a country.  The maps below uses 2009 data.  The United States now has banana republic numbers.  See: Our Banana Republic.  Michael Moore said that, "Today, just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined."  Polifact agrees:  proof.  American's are hurting.  Unemployment is steady at 9%  And no one is doing anything about it.


Democracy Index

The Democracy Index is a measure of the state of a country's democracy.  The Unites States is 17th on the list. That's generous but hardly adequate for the so called "greatest democracy of the world".




Press Freedom Index

This is a measure of how free the press is to report on any story it wants.  You can't have a democracy without a free press.  The United States ranks 20th.  Fair but not stellar.  Our media companies are large corporations, usually owned by largeer corporations and have to cater to even larger corporations for their advertising revenue.  We see sensationalism over news, local news over international news and often pro-corporate propaganda.  The formula is simple:  make it entertaining and then slip in the propaganda.  Just google, 'American propaganda' and you'll see what I mean.


Corruption Perceptions Index
"the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians"  Reference.
It is only be a 'perceived' index but nevertheless indicates a serious problem worldwide.  The United States was 22nd.  The greatest country in the world shouldn't be perceived to be corrupt at all let alone 22nd.  'Where there's smoke, there's fire.', they say.  What's worse, many (most?) of the most corrupt countries have been corrupted by the American Empire.  See William Blum's Website for a list of countries that the United States has interfered with politically, militarily or covertly.



Health Care

The WHO (World Health Organization) ranks the United States 37th.  It's also the most expensive and inefficient and it continues to spiral out of control.  Obesity, health disease, cancer and diabetes are all diseases of affluence and shouldn't exist let alone in the proportions that they are in the United States.  Read, 'The China Study'. Over 50 million Americans don't have health insurance.  When times get tough, health insurance is the first to go.  Health care is now well beyond the means of millions of working class American families.  For a graphical interpretation of these statistics as well as the entire ranking see: WHO.

Education


Out of 34 countries tested, 15 year old American students were 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in mathematics.  As in health care the United States outspends most other counties in education (We're second after Luxembourg).

In post secondary education we've fallen from first to ninth in the proportion of young people with college degrees.  Worse, post secondary tuition is skyrocketing out of control either putting college out of reach or saddling students with thousands of dollars of debt.

Source:  See Ed.gov.

The US education system continues to decline from being one of the best education systems in the world.

America is the Greatest Country in the World - Part II

More to come.  Sadly, much more.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11

Wascally Wabbit writes:

9/11 ignored and forgotten

Sadly, the economic destruction, havoc and death reeked by the US upon the world in the years
both before and after 9/11 have never been acknowledged by other than a few left wing authors.
Virtually ignored is documented evidence that the number of ruined lives, refugees and deaths directly attributable to US policy and action is thousands of times greater than the 3000 lives tragically lost on 9/11/01.

"9/11: 10 years later, the nation pauses to grieve and remember" is no different then had West (and East) Germany gotten together in 1955 to grieve for and remember their Fuehrer and those who horrifically died during the Allied firebombings of Germany. The difference is that the German people and nation had some honesty, shame and decency while we have none.

More shameful than the 9/11 attack itself is a nation that sees widespread evil, terror and atrocity
without but remains ignorant that those very behaviors first originated from within.
Forgotten are the words of Exodus 21:24 "Eye for Eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot".
That is and will always be the real tragedy of 9/11, for it condemns this nation to repeating the
evil, terror and atrocity until some force powerful enough makes us desist.

Also forgotten along the way are the words from John 8:7, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". It's not taking license to know that 'first stone' surely includes 'first drone, first depleted uranium bullet, first
napalm, first bomb...'

And while 9/11 remains ignored and forgotten, its phantom memory lingers on. As this once great nation turns the economic destruction, havoc and death inward, Osama Bin Laden must be dancing for joy in Hell.

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

The Conscience of a Liberal
September 11, 2011, 8:41 AM

Paul Krugman writes:

The Years of Shame

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

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

My cousin, Ashley John Carter writes on Facebook:

on this day of September 11th 2011, I give pause for all of the lives lost, and families destroyed.
America: stop your illusory war on terror; stop oppressing the world with your lies and deceit- embrace the paradigm shift.

Obama's Job Speech In 35 Seconds

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Anti-Empire Report, September 1, 2011

The Anti-Empire Report

Libya and the world we live in

"Why are you attacking us? Why are you killing our children? Why are you destroying our infrastructure?"
– Television address by Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi, April 30, 2011
A few hours later NATO hit a target in Tripoli, killing Gaddafi's 29-year-old son Saif al-Arab, three of Gaddafi's grandchildren, all under twelve years of age, and several friends and neighbors.
In his TV address, Gaddafi had appealed to the NATO nations for a cease-fire and negotiations after six weeks of bombings and cruise missile attacks against his country.
Well, let's see if we can derive some understanding of the complex Libyan turmoil.
The Holy Triumvirate — The United States, NATO and the European Union — recognizes no higher power and believes, literally, that it can do whatever it wants in the world, to whomever it wants, for as long as it wants, and call it whatever it wants, like "humanitarian".
If The Holy Triumvirate decides that it doesn't want to overthrow the government in Syria or in Egypt or Tunisia or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia or Yemen or Jordan, no matter how cruel, oppressive, or religiously intolerant those governments are with their people, no matter how much they impoverish and torture their people, no matter how many protesters they shoot dead in their Freedom Square, the Triumvirate will simply not overthrow them.
If the Triumvirate decides that it wants to overthrow the government of Libya, though that government is secular and has used its oil wealth for the benefit of the people of Libya and Africa perhaps more than any government in all of Africa and the Middle East, but keeps insisting over the years on challenging the Triumvirate's imperial ambitions in Africa and raising its demands on the Triumvirate's oil companies, then the Triumvirate will simply overthrow the government of Libya.
If the Triumvirate wants to punish Gaddafi and his sons it will arrange with the Triumvirate's friends at the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for them.
If the Triumvirate doesn't want to punish the leaders of Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Jordan it will simply not ask the ICC to issue arrest warrants for them. Ever since the Court first formed in 1998, the United States has refused to ratify it and has done its best to denigrate it and throw barriers in its way because Washington is concerned that American officials might one day be indicted for their many war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bill Richardson, as US ambassador to the UN, said to the world in 1998 that the United States should be exempt from the court's prosecution because it has "special global responsibilities". But this doesn't stop the United States from using the Court when it suits the purposes of American foreign policy.
If the Triumvirate wants to support a rebel military force to overthrow the government of Libya then it does not matter how fanatically religious, al-Qaeda-related,1 executing-beheading-torturing, monarchist, or factionally split various groups of that rebel force are at times, the Triumvirate will support it, as it did certain forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and hope that after victory the Libyan force will not turn out as jihadist as it did in Afghanistan, or as fratricidal as in Iraq. One potential source of conflict within the rebels, and within the country if ruled by them, is that a constitutional declaration made by the rebel council states that, while guaranteeing democracy and the rights of non-Muslims, "Islam is the religion of the state and the principle source of legislation in Islamic Jurisprudence."2
Adding to the list of the rebels' charming qualities we have the Amnesty International report that the rebels have been conducting mass arrests of black people across the nation, terming all of them "foreign mercenaries" but with growing evidence that a large number were simply migrant workers. Reported Reuters (August 29): "On Saturday, reporters saw the putrefying bodies of 22 men of African origin on a Tripoli beach. Volunteers who had come to bury them said they were mercenaries whom rebels had shot dead." To complete this portrait of the West's newest darlings we have this report from The Independent of London (August 27): "The killings were pitiless. They had taken place at a makeshift hospital, in a tent marked clearly with the symbols of the Islamic crescent. Some of the dead were on stretchers, attached to intravenous drips. Some were on the back of an ambulance that had been shot at. A few were on the ground, seemingly attempting to crawl to safety when the bullets came."
If the Triumvirate's propaganda is clever enough and deceptive enough and paints a graphic picture of Gaddafi-initiated high tragedy in Libya, many American and European progressives will insist that though they never, ever support imperialism they're making an exception this time because ...
  • The Libyan people are being saved from a "massacre", both actual and potential. This massacre, however, seems to have been grossly exaggerated by the Triumvirate, al Jazeera TV, and that station's owner, the government of Qatar; and nothing approaching reputable evidence of a massacre has been offered, neither a mass grave or anything else; the massacre stories appear to be on a par with the Viagra-rape stories spread by al Jazeera (the Fox News of the Libyan uprising). Qatar, it should be noted, has played an active military role in the civil war on the side of NATO. It should be further noted that the main massacre in Libya has been six months of daily Triumvirate bombing, killing an unknown number of people and ruining much of the infrastructure. Michigan U. Prof. Juan Cole, the quintessential true-believer in the good intentions of American foreign policy who nevertheless manages to have a regular voice in progressive media, recently wrote that "Qaddafi was not a man to compromise ... his military machine would mow down the revolutionaries if it were allowed to." Is that clear, class? We all know of course that Sarkozy, Obama, and Cameron made compromises without end in their devastation of Libya; they didn't, for example, use any nuclear weapons.
  • The United Nations gave its approval for military intervention; i.e., the leading members of the Triumvirate gave their approval, after Russia and China cowardly abstained instead of exercising their veto power; (perhaps hoping to receive the same courtesy from the US, UK and France when Russia or China is the aggressor nation).
  • The people of Libya are being "liberated", whatever in the world that means, now or in the future. Gaddafi is a "dictator" they insist. That may indeed be the proper term to use for the man, but it must still be asked: Is he a relatively benevolent dictator or is he the other kind so favored by Washington? It must also be asked: Since the United States has habitually supported dictators for the entire past century, why not this one?
The Triumvirate, and its fawning media, would have the world believe that what's happened in Libya is just another example of the Arab Spring, a popular uprising by non-violent protestors against a dictator for the proverbial freedom and democracy, spreading spontaneously from Tunisia and Egypt, which sandwich Libya. But there are several reasons to question this analysis in favor of seeing the Libyan rebels' uprising as a planned and violent attempt to take power in behalf of their own political movement, however heterogeneous that movement might appear to be in its early stage. For example:
  1. They soon began flying the flag of the monarchy that Gaddafi had overthrown
  2. They were an armed and violent rebellion almost from the beginning; within a few days, we could read of "citizens armed with weapons seized from army bases"3 and of "the policemen who had participated in the clash were caught and hanged by protesters"4
  3. Their revolt took place not in the capital but in the heart of the country's oil region; they then began oil production and declared that foreign countries would be rewarded oil-wise in relation to how much each country aided their cause
  4. They soon set up a Central Bank, a rather bizarre thing for a protest movement
  5. International support came quickly, even beforehand, from Qatar and al Jazeera to the CIA and French intelligence
The notion that a leader does not have the right to put down an armed rebellion against the state is too absurd to discuss.
Not very long ago, Iraq and Libya were the two most modern and secular states in the Mideast/North Africa world with perhaps the highest standards of living in the region. Then the United States of America came along and saw fit to make a basket case of each one. The desire to get rid of Gaddafi had been building for years; the Libyan leader had never been a reliable pawn; then the Arab Spring provided the excellent opportunity and cover. As to Why? Take your pick of the following:
  • Gaddafi's plans to conduct Libya's trading in Africa in raw materials and oil in a new currency — the gold African dinar, a change that could have delivered a serious blow to the US's dominant position in the world economy. (In 2000, Saddam Hussein announced Iraqi oil would be traded in euros, not dollars; sanctions and an invasion followed.) For further discussion see here.
  • A host-country site for Africom, the US Africa Command, one of six regional commands the Pentagon has divided the world into. Many African countries approached to be the host have declined, at times in relatively strong terms. Africom at present is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. According to a State Department official: "We've got a big image problem down there. ... Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don't trust the US."5
  • An American military base to replace the one closed down by Gaddafi after he took power in 1969. There's only one such base in Africa, in Djibouti. Watch for one in Libya sometime after the dust has settled. It'll perhaps be situated close to the American oil wells. Or perhaps the people of Libya will be given a choice — an American base or a NATO base.
  • Another example of NATO desperate to find a raison d'√™tre for its existence since the end of the Cold War and the Warsaw Pact.
  • Gaddafi's role in creating the African Union. The corporate bosses never like it when their wage slaves set up a union. The Libyan leader has also supported a United States of Africa for he knows that an Africa of 54 independent states will continue to be picked off one by one and abused and exploited by the members of the Triumvirate. Gaddafi has moreover demanded greater power for smaller countries in the United Nations.
  • The claim by Gaddafi's son, Saif el Islam, that Libya had helped to fund Nicolas Sarkozy's election campaign6 could have humiliated the French president and explain his obsessiveness and haste in wanting to be seen as playing the major role in implementing the "no fly zone" and other measures against Gaddafi. A contributing factor may have been the fact that France has been weakened in its former colonies and neo-colonies in Africa and the Middle East, due in part to Gaddafi's influence.
  • Gaddafi has been an outstanding supporter of the Palestinian cause and critic of Israeli policies; and on occasion has taken other African and Arab countries, as well as the West, to task for their not matching his policies or rhetoric; one more reason for his lack of popularity amongst world leaders of all stripes.
  • In January, 2009, Gaddafi made known that he was considering nationalizing the foreign oil companies in Libya.7 He also has another bargaining chip: the prospect of utilizing Russian, Chinese and Indian oil companies. During the current period of hostilities, he invited these countries to make up for lost production. But such scenarios will now not take place. The Triumvirate will instead seek to privatize the National Oil Corporation, transferring Libya's oil wealth into foreign hands.
  • The American Empire is troubled by any threat to its hegemony. In the present historical period the empire is concerned mainly with Russia and China. China has extensive energy investments and construction investments in Libya and elsewhere in Africa. The average American neither knows nor cares about this. The average American imperialist cares greatly, if for no other reason than in this time of rising demands for cuts to the military budget it's vital that powerful "enemies" be named and maintained.
  • For yet more reasons, see the article "Why Regime Change in Libya?" by Ismael Hossein-zadeh, and the US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks — Wikileaks reference 07TRIPOLI967 11-15-07 (includes a complaint about Libyan "resource nationalism")

A word from the man the world's mightiest military powers have been trying to kill

"Recollections of My Life", written by Col. Muammar Gaddafi, April 8, 2011, excerpts:
Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer, so, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following his path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us ... I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it. ... In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy". They know the truth but continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip.

The state of our beloved capitalist system, early 21st century

I pay attention to the fat content of my food, so I was pleased to find a can of Pam canola oil cooking spray that had 0 grams fat per serving. Great, can't do better than zero fat, can you? I used it often for a few months ... until one day I took a closer look at the "Nutrition Facts" ... Yes, it said 0 grams fat per serving. A serving. How big was that? Let's see ... "Serving Size about 1/4 second spray" ... Hmmm, how does one press down on a button for 1/4 second? Is it humanly possible? Even the manufacturer had to say "about". I had been taken. My hat is off to you Capitalist Robber Barons — You're good!

The Dow Jones industrial average of blue-chip stocks fell 635 points on Monday August 8.
On Tuesday it rose by 430 points.
Wednesday, the market, in its infinite wisdom, decided to fall again; this time by 520 points.
And on Thursday ... yes, it rose once again, by 423 points.
The Dow changed directions for eight consecutive trading sessions.
Upon such marvels of mankind countless people build careers, others wager their life savings, philanthropic foundations and universities risk much of their endowments, and conservative sages deliver sermons to the world on the wisdom and sacredness of the free market.
Main Street is the climax of civilization.
That this Ford car might stand in front of
the Bon Ton store, Hannibal invaded Rome
and Erasmus wrote in Oxford cloisters.

– Sinclair Lewis, "Main Street", 1920
Do the economic fundamentals really change dramatically overnight? Or is our economic system as psycho as our foreign policy? The Washington Post's senior economic columnist, Steven Pearlstein, wrote on August 14th of the four days described above: "I suppose there are some schnooks who actually believe that those wild swings in stock prices last week represented sober and serious concerns by thoughtful, sophisticated investors about the Treasury debt downgrade or European sovereign debt or a slowdown in global growth. But surely such perceptions don't radically change each afternoon between 2 and 4:30, when the market averages last week were gyrating out of control."

Last month "Pope Benedict XVI denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality that he says is behind Europe's economic crisis" as he arrived in hard-hit Spain. "The economy doesn't function with market self-regulation but needs an ethical reason to work for mankind," he declared. "Man must be at the center of the economy, and the economy cannot be measured only by maximization of profit but rather according to the common good."8
"I am a Marxist," said the Dalai Lama last year. Marxism has "moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits."9
"I don't believe in anything," said Barack Obama. "At least not really strongly." (No, I made that one up.)

Perhaps the worst outcome of the United States "winning the Cold War" is that countless progressive people think there's no alternative to the capitalist system. Seventy years of anti-communist education and media stamped in people's minds a lasting association between socialism and what the Soviet Union called communism. Socialism meant a dictatorship, it meant Stalinist repression, a suffocating "command economy", no freedom of enterprise, no freedom to change jobs, few avenues for personal expression, and other similar truths and untruths. This is a set of beliefs clung to even amongst many Americans opposed to US foreign policy. No matter how bad the economy is, Americans think, the only alternative available is something called "communism", and they know how awful that is.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party USA has endorsed Barack Obama for re-election.10

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
– Frederic Bastiat, (1801-1850) French economist, statesman, and author

Notes

  1. For example, see: The Telegraph (London), August 30, 2011: "Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime." There is a plethora of other reports detailing the ties between the rebels and radical Islamist groups.
  2. Washington Post, August 31, 2011
  3. McClatchy Newspapers, February 20, 2011
  4. Wikipedia, Timeline of the 2011 Libyan civil war, February 19, 2011
  5. The Guardian (London), June 25, 2007
  6. The Guardian (London), March 16, 2011
  7. Reuters, January 21, 2009
  8. Associated Press, August 11, 2011
  9. Agence France Presse, May 21, 2010
  10. "Yikes! Look who just endorsed Obama for 4 more years", WorldNetDaily, August 3 2011

William Blum is the author of:
  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org
Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.
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