Paris attacks, TTIP, ISIS and death of democracy

TTIP is a free trade agreement that is being pushed by the United States and onto the EU. It would allow US corporations complete and unrestricted access to European markets, while denying European corporations access to US market. TTIP, and CETA, will allow all public services to be privatized. TTIP was written by the corporations, and as such it is optimized for them – giving them rights, removing obligations and destroying economic democracy and democracy in general. It is also said to liberalize one-third of global trade, which is the reason why large corporations are supporting it.

European Parliament has outright rejected a proposal by the corporate-controlled European Comission, proposal which would have allowed GMO food to enter Europe. Two-thirds of the EU member states have banned GMO food. However, TTIP will allow corporations to sue national governments if government makes a decision that might harm corporate profits. It is helped by the fact that almost all research on GMO is being done by the institutions under solid control of the same biotech companies that are trying to push forward GM food. GM food is dangerous in three primary ways. First, it causes health problems, including cancer. Second, it is patented. This means that small farmers will be unable to produce food, or will have to pay huge interests to the GMO companies – which in turn will push them completely out of the business. Third, genetic engineering causes unforeseen consequences due to lack of understanding of the genetic code; these include reduced resistance to diseases. TTIP would also remove any regulations on product safety, environmental safety and worker safety in general. It will allow government officials to get high-paid corporate directorship while still holding public positions, without any accoutability except to the corporate stock holders. Consequences? Right now, 70% of all processed foods sold in the US contain GM ingredients, and that situation will repeat itself in Europe if TTIP passes. US also allows usage of cancerogenous growth hormones in beef. REACH regulations will be repealed, with disastrous consequences – EU’s REACH bans 1.200 toxic or potentially toxic substances from being used in cosmetic products. In US, only twelve are banned. GMO food is also behind the troubles in Ukraine – eastern Ukrainian farmers having rebelled when the government tried to take their land in order to give it to corporations for producing GMO food. Neither is this the first such case – before being overthrown by the radical islamists, Gaddaffi was in negotiations with European companies to develop Libya’s food production and make it independent of the US companies. Monsanto in particular has major interests in Ukraine, wanting to use its fertile land to grow poisonous crops – Ukraine is world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat.

TTIP will cause economic disintegration of Europe, losses in net exports, GDP, labor income, jobs, labor share and government revenue, as well as reduction of financial stability. Whereas economic growth requires a strong policy effort in support of labor incomes, TTIP focuses on increasing benefits of stockholders at the expense of everyone else. But reducing labor incomes means reduced sales, which destroys the economic loop, bringing down the entire system into a recession (or depression). Billionaires, however, do not care about that – in fact, they would likely find a way to profit even from an economic meltdown. And that is a problem, since Western “democracies” are actually oligarchies. TTIPs Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) will allow corporations to take entire countries to corporate-controlled tribunals, which will then – of course – decide in the favor of corporations, and countries will have to pay massive reparations if they in any way impede corporate profits. In fact, it is already happening. Exactly one year before the Paris attacks, France had spoken out against ISDS.

If TTIP passes, there will be many consequences. Banks will be completely out of control, food safety standards and regulations will be jettisoned. In fact, corporations will be completely free to “regulate” themselves, with no outside interference – including courts. Working conditions and product safety will be completely in hands of the corporations. Any public law impending projected profit will be dismantled via Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), in front of corporate-controlled courts; this alone will reduce national governments to useless, powerless theaters, whose decisions will be consistently overruled by the new privatized justice system. Even if governments win in front of these tribunals, they will still be liable for multi-million dollar legal bills accrued by defending from frivulous corporate lawsuits. Lawsuits in fact are nothing more than just another neoliberal mechanism for transferring money from the public to private coffins. Public services will be completely privatized, especially national health services. Nationalisation and regulation of any sector, including very troublesome financial one, will be seen as being against TTIP and ISDS. TTIP will also put an end to any protectionist policies, destroying many national economies as well as any local and small business. While corporations and their CEOs will reap huge profits, costs will be transferred from corporations to consumers, workers and the environment. All ACTA’s anti-privacy elements will be brought back. Speculative money will be completely unregulated. Corporations demanding payments from states – such as was the case with Argentina, which had to pay a billion USD in compensation to corporations after it froze insane, and quickly rising, water and energy bills – will become a rule, rather than an exception. Market competition and “economic democracy” will cease to exist, as without state intervention ad regulation, few megacorporations will create monopolies and destroy or absorb any medium and small business.

TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is similar to TTIP, allowing corporations to completely bypass all branches of legitimate government and enforce their own sanctions. Only difference is that it goes across Pacific, as opposed to the Atlantic-crossing TTIP, but both are essentially one and the same. It removes the legislative authority from the US Congress and the White House on the range of issues. Judicial power will be surrendered to three-person tribunals where only the corporations will be allowed to sue. And targets for that will range from individual persons to the government(s), and corporations will be able to use it to counter any decision which might harm their profits (such as health and safety regulations), made by any government which signs the deal. There will be no appeals. Any worker, environmental and advocacy groups and labor unions will be blocked from suing or seeking redress. Judges in these tribunals will, as already is the case with NAFTA tribunals, also be representatives of the corporations participating in the processes. It will also increase wages disparity – top 10% will see their income increase, while everyone else’s income will be drastically reduced (note that already the richest 80 people in the world own the same amount of wealth as the world’s bottom 50%). Deal promotes outsourcing and offshoring of jobs and “flexibility” (read: deterioration) of working conditions. Offshoring will allow US and other Western corporations to use slave labor in countries such as Malaysia, to an even greater extent than they are doing right now. Environmental safety and preservation is completely ignored in the deal, allowing corporations to run amock on the environment. Deal goes beyond economics. Provisions in the deal will result in a crackdown on whistleblowers and investigative journalism, as well as allow monitoring of communications, thus harming the very basis of democracy. Russia, China and India are excluded from the deal as US (actually, US corporations) do not have a control over them yet.

This deal is dangerous to United States themselves. Foreign corporations will be able to sue the US government over policies designed to protect the local communities, just as Canada got sued over its environment protection policies.

TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) is perhaps the most important of the triad, calling for the privatization of all the public services. Currently, 80% of the US economy is made up by the government-run services. In Europe, situation is similar. More importantly, privatization would hit the services which are absolutely crucial for functioning of the society and thus should never be outside the public control: education, health and law enforcement.

 

If these three agreements pass, citizens will find themselves without any form of protection from corporate predation (including murder: Michael Froman, person who wrote TTIP, TPP and TISA claimed that systematic murder of labor union organizers is not, in fact, murder, or a violation of workers’ rights. Julian Assange, whose organisation made it possible for public to even know about TTIP and what it contains, is under threat of imprisonment or murder by the US). What little of nation-state survives will be nothing more than an extension of corporations; it will be corporations themselves who will call the shots. Wages will drop down (except those of high corporate executives, whose wages will soar), working conditions deteriorate, unemployment will rise. Democracy will be completely dismantled. Prices will skyrocket, while any social security programs will be drastically scaled back or terminated. Product safety will no longer matter. Corporations will be allowed to turn the natural world into marketable products, with no regard for environmental impact. Hydraulic fracturing, using water to extract oil, will be used without regulation – in spite of its side effects, which include water and air contamination, adverse health effects and earthquakes. One company in Canada already filed NAFTA lawsuit to overturn the decision against fracking. Corporations will become more powerful than countries, capable of dictating laws and policies of any country, with no accountability at all. Small investors will disappear, and “buy-local” or “buy-[Insert country name here]” will be forbidden. World Trade Organization will have the final say in the policy creation. Jobs will be transferred to slaves in the Third World countries, such as Malaysia. Corporations will have to be paid to stop polluting. Speculative money will be free from corporate regulation. National interests will be ignored in favor of corporate ones. Nothing of which is surprising – after all, the agreements in question have been written by the corporations. They will benefit the rich class, and be a disaster for everyone else.

It is easy to predict what will happen in the end. All checks and balances against corporate irresponsibility will disappear, and corporations will only seek profit at any cost – just like in 1920s. State will not be able to intervene and stop the crisis, as Hoover and Roosevelt administrations did in the US. End result will be the economic crisis, even worse than one from 1920s – and who knows which Hitlers will rise next? And after World War III, maybe corporations will establish global corporate superstate, with riches for the few and misery for most. In such post-democratic, unregulated world, life will be a day-to-day survival challenge for most. Corporate fascism is already forming – in January 2015, three members of the WikiLeaks organisation had received notice that “Google had handed over all their emails and metadata to the United States government”. If TTIP and TPP pass, they will bring about global dictatorship, a night with no dawn.

These agreements are typically locked for twenty years or more. During that time governments and taxpayers will have to pay for corporate screwups, covering business losses for decades to come with no possibility to get out of the deals.

 

Unlike other European countries (especially UK), France was always relatively independent from US’ imperialistic policies. It was not very pleased about dangerous GMO food entering Europe. In 2014, it refused to join TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), a project designed to push the West into an era of open corporate fascism. TTIP would open Europe to American corporate giants, remove any form of regulations, while US markets would remain closed for European corporations. That way failling American economy could be rescued at the expense of Europe while not having to undergo any reforms which would harm plutocrats’ profits. French government recently began to threaten withdrawal from the TTIP talks, and European – including French – energy companies are continuing to actively cooperate with Russia. Major problem was ISDS, which as noted before, would directly dismantle countries’ sovereignity and allow business to challenge any legislation it does not agree with. It didn’t want to join TTIP in 2015 either, even after a visit by the EU trade comissioner, a visit which was designed to create a sense of urgency and push through the TTIP. French Parliament, unlike its plutocratic government, had refused TTIP more than once.

But threatening to pull from TTIP talks has made France an open enemy of Washington and its Wall Street overlords, as well as their puppets in the EU Commission. United States have a long history of using false flag operations to push their way, especially when it comes to destroying democracy (e.g. Iran). CIAs psychological warfare manual notes the value of killing somebody on your own side so as to have a martyr for the cause. First thing when analyzing any attack, especially terrorist one, is to ask: “Who profited from it?”. And it is precisely US and European corporations that profited most from the attacks in Paris (especially US ones). It is telling that both refugee crisis and terrorist attacks have been happening at approximate time when US are trying to force Europe to allow poisonous food to enter its markets. Coincidence? Not likely. Both the refugee crisis and attacks have placed major economic and social pressure on Europe, while at the same time pulling away the focus from what is happening “behind the scenes”. Refugee influx has been used to place proxy ISIS terrorists all across the Europe, allowing US to mount terrorist attacks in order to disrupt the public and cause it to focus on irrelevancies while TTIP and other agreements are being pushed through. If TTIP passes, corporations will take over Europe, just as they have taken over United States, and usher an era of post-democratic, totalitarian corporate world. This has all the signs of a “bread and games” circus – create games (terrorist attacks) to take away the bread (freedom and democracy). And a former US intelligence officer has admitted that most terrorists are false flag terrorists created by US security services. Charlie Hebdo attacks have also been false flag attacks. Paris attacks are simply too clean, yet also too confused and convenient to be standard terrorist attacks. Aside from coinciding with TTIP negotiations, they also coincided with climate talks. After the attacks, France turned into a police state, preventing any massive protests against the talks. And people, brainwashed by fear, have silently accepted this onset of totalitarian control.

France has fallen for the bait. It has found itself under the first curfew since the 1944. Hollande has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East to assist Putin against US-sponsored ISIS, which US have used to break down Syria and remove Assad. French Rafale and Mirage fighters are now slaughtering civilians from altitude, a typical US approach but a departure from French favored close combat approaches. This will help ISIS by providing it with a flood of new recruits, thus creating a neverending war. Gadaffi was removed because he tried to make Libya independent from the West, especially in regards to food production. Libya, before being destroyed, had some of the best and most widespread educational and social support systems. Eastern Ukraine rebelled because people did not want to see their land taken by a corporate-sponsored land grab (especially Monsanto had interest in it, to grow posionous GM food). This land grab was pushed forward by corporate-controlled IMF. Ukraine is the world’s third largest exporter of corn and fifth largest exporter of wheat. No wonder corporations want to conquer it, so as to use it to produce GM food.

There were other reasons for the attack as well. France was about to recognize Palestine as an independent state. A member of a Rotschild family, one of corporatist banking dynasties ruling the United States, was facing fraud charges in France for breaching tax law.

 

Attacks themselves have all the telltale signs of a false flag operation, and official story raises numerous questions. Mainstream media suggests that only two shooters participated in the Paris attacks, while reports mention two, three or four shooters. One witness, Pierre Marie Bertin, clearly stated that there were four shooters; any other numbers are thus later revisions by the media and/or authorities. Neither it is clear what weapons the terrorists used – were they AK-47s, or shotguns? This is despite the fact that assailants were killed by the police, and thus weapons should have been known. Some reports say that gunmen were killed, others that they were arrested. One shooter had shouted “This is for Syria!”, an allegedly arrested suspect immediately confirmed that the operation was carried out by ISIS, and not long after the attack a Russian airliner was also bombed – allegedly by ISIS. Another sign of false flag attacks is running of the drills shortly before the attacks happened – such drills happened before 9/11 attacks in US and 7/7 bombings in London, and they also did right before the Paris attacks. All the drills incidentally used the scenarios very similar to the attacks themselves. An emergency medical drill was ongoing on morning of the day when the attacks happened; moreover, it was a multi-site attack exercise involving police forces, firemen and EMTs. Drills before false flags are normal sign, as running them allows superiors to pass off any leaks of plans for an actual attack as plans for a drill – such operations are on a strict need-to-know basis, as even in the military many people, mostly soldiers of lower rank, would blow a whistle if they stumbled upon planning of a false flag operations. After the drill is over, a Coincidence Theory will be used to explain the tragic results. 9/11 attacks, Charlie Hebdo attack and the latest Paris attacks all have one thing in common – an ID document found which undoubtebly connects the perpetrators with the terrorist group being accused of carrying out the act. In the case of Paris attacks, passport found points to Syria, one place where the West has long wanted an open military intervention. Soon after finding it, passport was downgraded as having been found on a body of a Syrian refugee, in order to salvage some credibility for a made-up story. Attacks were also known well in advance, but the information was not acted upon.

Attack also took place shortly before a major climate summit that was set to take place in France. French government itself was expecting massive, potentially violent protests. New security measures passed allow the government to easily prevent or dissolute any such protests. And even before the attacks, France was a totalitarian police state almost as much as US were – albeit far more competent about it. So how did the attacks happen in the first place? And within twelve hours after the attacks, President Hollande gave three speeches. He knew names of the attackers and where there were from while the police was still putting the facts together, and accused Daesh/ISIL as a perpetrator well before any official claim came from the group. Just like the 9/11, civil rights suspensions, control of the media, increased surveillance and supression of protests quickly followed. And people, cattle that they are, are grateful for the loss of their rights and liberties in the name of “security”. Attackers were traced back to Belgium, headqarters of the secretive, dictatorial European Comission and a place where anti-TTIP protests were active. Measures put in place after the attacks will allow Belgian police to clamp down on anti-TTIP protests.

During the attacks, weapons ejected no shell casings and bullets hit the concrete with no effect whatsoever (AK-47 rounds have a steel core for penetrating body armor, meaning that they blow up large chunks of concrete and typically overpenetrate the walls). Shots produced no supersonic signature – atypical of assault rifle bullets, but typical of blanks. “Bystander” who shot the video showed no fear.

CIA director John Brennan has stated after the Paris attacks that “it is not the only option ISIS has in the pipeline.” He should know – ISIS was created by CIA in Jordan, and is very likely continuing to operate under CIA’s control. At the very least, US are continuing to train ISIS. When one takes a look at operations by ISIS, it is clear that their training is far superior than that given to the Iraqi Army. ISIS operates completely according to John Boyd’s principles, the first Arab military ever to do so (Iran is not an Arabic country). CIA-trained Chechen terrorists are now leading the ISIS, which is being funded by US allies in the Middle East – Kuwait, Quatar and Saudi Arabia. This funding is what in fact facilitated rise of the ISIS, and countries in question are still refusing to withdraw their support for ISIL. Al-Baghdadi, an alleged ISIS leader, is a lie. All the Al-Quaeda affiliates are offshots of a CIA terror operation. ISIS leaders are mostly residing in Tel Aviv, New York, Paris and London. Egyptian president, before being overthrown by the army, was also dealing with Al-Quaeda.

 

While Coincidence Theorists like to disparage conspiracy theories, both coincidences and conspiracies are a fact of life. They happen all the time, and only issue is deciding which event fits which theory/narrative. But more complex some chain of events is, less likely it is to be a coincidence. US Army’s 1944 publication Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces recommends employing terrorists and using false flag operations to destabilize leftist regimes in Latin America. CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause.

France, acting on US intelligence, is now attacking ISIS – and striking empty or false targets. Bombardment campaign is actually helping ISIS, as any misses killing civilians – which are a certainty when bombing from 10.000+ ft – will create more terrorists. But in Syria, there is no moderate opposition, and there likely never was, at the very least not in numbers large enough to have any, let alone significant, impact on the outcome of fighting between the government and radicals. Only remaining forces are those under control, or allied to, the Syrian president Al-Assad, and extremist groups associated with ISIS. ISIS is being supported by Turkey (including, at times, artillery support), and in fact likely originated there. Support includes training camps and transition as well as medical care in Israel, both of which point to the ISIS having close ties with Western intelligence services, and hundreds of millions of USD in cash. Turkey also provides shelter from from which ISIS sometimes still strikes, as well as heavy equipment, including tanks and ammunition for heavy weapons. Saudi Arabia is also providing ISIS with weapons, just as it did with Jihadists in Bosnia during 1990s, and members of Saudi royal family are acting as commanders in ISIS. It is also the most significant financial support that ISIS has. Not a surprise, seeing how radical Islam (Wahhabism) is a state religion of both Saudi Arabia and ISIS, and for a long time West had used it to control Arab states; Saudi Arabia helped organizers of 9/11 attacks. West has also used radical islamic terrorists to eject USSR from Afghanistan, which gave radical Islam legitimacy and a major boost, and at least since 2011, United States have been funding the terrorist groups aimed against governments in Syria and Iraq as well as against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and now US private military contractors are training Syrian rebels in Jordan – a program on which CIA spends one billion USD per year. This training includes ISIL forces. Bombardment campaign, as noted earlier, is actually helping ISIS; A-10, the only Western CAS-capable platform other than helicopters or light attack aircraft, has only minor presence compared to homicidal fast jets. These attacks are also not coordinated with either Syrian or Iraqi/Iranian forces fighting against ISIS, making them utterly counterproductive to the stated goal of defeating ISIS. NATO never bombed ISIS’ trucks transpording crude oil to be sold in/to Turkey, except once as a coverup ops when Putin confronted them with the fact. None of the 60 ISIS’ training camps were ever bombed – despite them producing 1.000 radical islamists per month. Western coalition stood by doing nothing while ISIS took Palmira – impending attack on which was known about for a week before it actually happened.

Saudis also executed Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was being used by regional powers as a balance against US influence in Saudi Arabia. After Saudis mass executions, there was no massive foreign indignation. United States also supported the Saudi invasion of Yemen. Human rights, freedom and democracy are nonexistent in Saudi Arabia – its ruling dynasty, suppored by “democratic” United States, had made sure of that. If these three things mattered to anyone, West would have invaded – or at least confronted – Saudi Arabia long before invading Iraq or Syria – but it did not.

It is also interesting to note that Al-Maliki Iraqi government was left relatively unchallenged by ISIL until it decided to close down the Saudi routes that Saudi Arabia used to supply weapons to ISIL in Syria. This decision however meant that US and its allies – Turkey, Quatar and Saudi Arabia, turned hostile, and went forward with their plot to overthrow the Iraqi government by deploying terrorists – just as they had tried in Syria, and did it in Libya.

The story about the “moderate opposition” is being used to justify arming the radical islamists. These are then used against Syria and Iran, two major Russian allies in the Middle East. US administration is cooperating with Saudi Arabia to undermine Iran and its ally, Syria. Croatia alone had sent 3.000 tons of weapons to Syrian rebels, though not all weapons came from Croatian stocks. These weapons were sent via Saudi Arabia, leaving Saudis free to distribute it to extremist groups of their own choosing, and indeed many were soon seen in the extremists’ hands. Yet Washington has known that the Al-Quaeda was the most prominent fighting group in Syria. In essence, weapons are going to the Al-Quaeda and ISIS (which can be seen from convoys of matching Toyota trucks used by ISIS), as in the entire Syria there is no moderate opposition at all; ISIS, al Nusrah, al Sham, FSA and Al Quaeda are one and the same. These groups also control all of the oil fields that the Europe is now buying Syrian oil from. And while Europe is providing cash, United States are providing flour for bakeries controlled by the rebels. That way, Syrians do not even notice that the aid is coming from the West, but rather think that ISIL and Al-Quaeda are providing the aid. After ISIL allegedly beheaded James Mark Foley, United States immediately started using the beheading to drum up support for its bombing campaign against Syrian government. But when Foley was first abducted, it was reported that its captors were the Syrian government itself. Of course, since people have attention span of a goldfish (and that is being generous), the lie was not noticed by the general public. ISIL is being used to supplant Teheran-friendly governments now controlling most of the Middle East, and with its holdings being across Syria and Iraq, any campaign to eradicate ISIL from Iraq can easily spill into Syria. Turkey itself has already considered staging a false flag attack to justify invading Syria. In 2014 Turkey expanded the airlift of weapons to radical islamist groups, and United States started directly providing weapons. And now, Israel and Turkey are coordinating air strikes with islamic jihadists in Syria. Many of these jihadists have already been involved in overthrow of the Libyan government. And if Iran reacts to US’ provocative actions, then the US Empire (NATO) will be free to attack Iran.

It is already hard to call the war in Syria a “civil” war. The entire war is driven from abroad, as Syria has major ties to Russia that the West wants to sever. The Muslim Brotherhood, created by the British Empire after it left Syria, tried – with the Western backing – to overthrow Syrian President Hafez al Assad in 1970s and 80s. After they were scattered, their remnants formed a new US-Saudi initiative – the Al-Quaeda. The entire reason ISIL was so successful in Syria and Iraq is because of a massive support from abroad. Saudi Arabia and NATO have openly armed and supported the islamic radicals in Syria from the beginning. This support included chemical weapons (sarin) which Al-Nusra used to murder at least 500 civilians in Ghoutta in 2013. Russians have, since the start of their involvement, been bombing convoys going from and to Turkey, supplying the Islamic State (sarin was also provided via Turkey). As early as 2005, Western death squads have been operating in Syria. Robert Ford has, relatively recently, been travelling through Syria and meeting with terrorists – dubbed “protestors” by the Western media. French agents acting as mercenaries / death squad participants had been captured by the Assad government early on in the “rebellion”, back when the Western media were still spinning a story about “peaceful protesters” (who were already extremely well armed and prone to shooting people). Pentagon was not too pleased about Russia bombing the terrorists and attempting to establish an air base in Western Syria, and even less so about Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran sharing intelligence in their efforts against ISIL – despite (or more likely, because) the fact that it would allow more effective attacks on ISIL. It also didn’t like the S-300 launchers protecting the Syrian army from NATO air attacks.

If Western terrorists manage to take power in Syria and Iraq, it will be a repetition of the Libyan scenario. In Libya, after taking power, terrorists immediately restricted freedoms, introduced Sharia law and started ethnic cleansing. Many of them have immediately afterwards travelled from Libya to Syria, often through Turkey.

 

Immediately after the Paris attacks, US have quietly passed the worst anti-privacy bill after the Patriot act. CISA gives corporations legal immunity when sharing consumers’ private data with the government. It also means that corporations will hand information directly to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, thus bypassing the Department of Homeland Security. Law was passed in good part thanks to lobbying by the corporations themselves, as they recognized major profit opporitunities. Since the bill was included directly into the spending package, only option other than passing the bill was shutting down the government. Corporate-controlled media are keeping silent on it, and terror attacks that occupied public attention provided an ideal opportunity.

West has used islamic terrorism for very long time. It had been used to destabilize states along the Soviet, now Russian, periphery. It has been used to create instability and fear in US and Europe, thus allowing oligarchs to push for fascist police states ruled by the corporations. West used islamists to both eject USSR from the Afghanistan, to overthrow Muamer Gadaffi and now to attack Al Asssad. In all cases, a large evil had been replaced with even larger one. This fits the agenda of pushing through globalization, denationalization and culturocide policies now so popular in the West. Terrorism in the Middle East will also allow an invasion of Syria and reinvasion of Iraq, two countries where Iran and Russia have gained influence, and remove said influence from the picture. Overall goal is a creation of a chain of subject states around the Russia and China.

Naturally, corporate media are not reporting on any of this. TTIP is not being reported on by any of the major media in the West, and those same media are also ignoring all anti-TTIP efforts and protests. ABC, NBC and CBS have not mentioned TPP (TTIPs sister agreement) at all between August 2013 and February 2015, a period of seventeen months. Fox News and CNN each mentioned it only once. Network Evening news completely ignored it. Reason is simple: media’s corporate owners, backers and advertisers do not want these agreements to be mentioned. Only PBS News Hour mentioned the TPP during eight broadcasts, most of them substantive discussions of the agreement. Only MSNBCs Ed Show mentioned TPP multiple times. CISA, the worst anti-privacy bill since the Patriot act, passed without media saying a word, despite its outright endorsement of a fascist police state. Same goes for the events in Syria (which are part of the same grand plan), where the media are pushing the patently ridiculous official version of events, without even mentioning – let alone adressing – all the illogicalities and contradictions it contains, or any proof that goes against the official version. In-depth analysis of events is all but absent.

Is capitalism with human face possible? It definetly is, but some major changes have to be made. It won’t be easy, and capitalists first have to be removed from their seats of power. But people have been so indoctrinated that they do not realize what is happening. Many in the US may see this article as an attack on United States themselves, not realizing that they have had their democracy stolen from under their nose, and that US Government, for very long time now, no longer represents people but instead represents corporate stockholders. Situation is not very different in other major countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy), and even in small countries, only difference is that politicians are representing foreign, as opposed to domestic, capitalists. Democracy is a lie, and so it will stay, unless people wake up. But most people apriori reject anything which does not fit their preconcieved notions, and this article is likely to leave sour taste in many. It did to me, as research I did on it confirmed my worst fears about false flags and dissolution of democracy, fears I sincerely hoped were unfounded. Coincidence Theorists will reject all the evidence shown as “bad luck”, “coincidence” and “nonexisting connections”. It might have convinced me after 9/11 attacks (and it actually did – for a long time I rejected 9/11 conspiracy theories as unlikely, albeit never as impossible). But 9/11 New York, 7/7 London and recent Paris attacks have too much in common, with too many elements unexplainable by conventional explanations, to be simply dismissed as doings of raving lunatics.

Further reading

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/11/15/is-the-ttip-behind-the-paris-massacre-updated-17th-november-thegmo-issue/

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/11/the-first-question-to-ask-after-any-terror-attack-was-it-a-false-flag.html

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/American-Newspaper-Publishers-Association_19610427.aspx

http://www.globalresearch.ca/tpp-wto-nafta-the-most-brazen-corporate-power-grab-in-american-history/

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/12/01/neo-americas-real-ties-to-isis/

http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/obamas-ttip-trade-deal-w-europe-disastrous-europe-says-first-independent-study/

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/11/21/one-year-befortip-trade-deal/

http://whatreallyhappened.com/content/one-year-paris-attacks-france-denounced-monstrous-ttip-trade-deal

http://fortruss.blogspot.hr/2015/11/beyond-cynical-us-exploits-paris.html

http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2015/10/public-services-under-attack-through-ttip-and-ceta

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/11/9-reasons-to-question-the-paris-terror-attacks.html

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/01/15-signs-charlie-hebdo-attack-was-false.html

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/09/the-roots-of-isis.html

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/11/frances-president-rejects-u-s-presidents-demand-global-oligarchy.html

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/11/9-reasons-to-question-the-paris-terror-attacks.html

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/01/15-signs-charlie-hebdo-attack-was-false.html

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43428.htm

http://journal-neo.org/2015/01/13/paris-terror-the-smell-of-false-flag/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9918785/US-and-Europe-in-major-airlift-of-arms-to-Syrian-rebels-through-Zagreb.html

http://www.landdestroyer.blogspot.hr/2014/08/implausible-deniability-wests-isis.html

http://nsnbc.me/2016/01/04/saudi-arabias-growing-body-count/

http://www.brandonturbeville.com/2014/07/former-al-qaeda-operative-claims.html

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/05/syria-under-attack-by-globalist-death.html

http://www.globalresearch.ca/a-humanitarian-war-on-syria-military-escalation-towards-a-broader-middle-east-central-asian-war/25955

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/09/the-roots-of-isis.html

Important web sites

http://corporateeurope.org/

http://www.veteranstoday.com/

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/

http://www.darkpolitricks.com/

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57 replies

  1. Seriously Picard? did you write this or did Patrice?

    Although anything is possible, you are really reaching for anything here. Was ISIS created by US in Jordan, By Turkey, by SA?

    Maybe the more plausible answer is that it was a reaction to Sunni being oppressed in region by Syria & Iraqi Shia, along with age demographics, poor economics, etc. US support for moderates was clearly a decision that backfired but thats a different thing.

    You are pasting together all sorts of circumstantial and highly dubious pieces of “evidence” to make a case for something you want to believe.

    You have always been good at focusing on the strong points of your argument and mostly ignoring the weaknesses (although thats common behavior for most people including myself) but, this time the strong points of your argument are very weak, lacking in real evidence, and full of cherry picked hearsay and circumstantial stuff. Its almost laughable. I just cant believe this is the same Picard578 that I had come to have some faith in.

    According to You, the US created ISIS, and has been behind most terror attacks worldwide to include attacks in France.

    This makes no logical sense. You are saying that French government, security, military apparatus has allowed the US to do these things? Or is completely incompetent and unaware? Both highly unlikely!

    You mention the Rothschild’s. Are they not a Europe based group with stronger roots in France and UK then anywhere alse? Except maybe Switzerland.

    What is the cost benefit to US of such actions? The benefit is debatable and can be attained through less risky behavior.

    The risks if this behavior became public would be disastrous, an existential threat. If not to US as a nation then certainly to established power structure.

    Nothing this big and devious stays secret for long. Especially when one side is unhappy with getting short end of stick. If this scenario were even possible, leaks would be rampant and spreading like fire.

    If your proposed CIA/Illuminati/New world order organization had the capacity to carry out such a complicated set of operations (likely not humanly possible) they would not make such dumb mistakes like some of the ones you claim as evidence?

    You make some good arguments about TTIP and TPP but then you go of the deep end.

    In my book, you have gone from a reasonable voice of dissent to a full out Looney Toon.

    I am having trouble in believing you would write something like this? Have you been hacked? Are you indulging in hallucinogens?

    Im done here Picard.

    • “Although anything is possible, you are really reaching for anything here. Was ISIS created by US in Jordan, By Turkey, by SA?”

      Created by United States, funded and armed by United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

      “Maybe the more plausible answer is that it was a reaction to Sunni being oppressed in region by Syria & Iraqi Shia, along with age demographics, poor economics, etc. US support for moderates was clearly a decision that backfired but thats a different thing.”

      United States never suppored moderates because there were no moderates. And ISIS definetly benefited from what you described, but fact is that it is using Western equipment, and its tactical, strategic and doctrinal approach is completely different from typical Arab warfare. In fact, in many aspects it fits very closely with Western Boydian approach to war – OODA loop, maneuver warfare etc..

      “This makes no logical sense. You are saying that French government, security, military apparatus has allowed the US to do these things?”

      They would have if they were complicit in it. Notice the behavior of French security services just before the attack. They knew something was going to happen.

      “You mention the Rothschild’s. Are they not a Europe based group with stronger roots in France and UK then anywhere alse? Except maybe Switzerland.”

      Rothschilds are all over the West.

      “What is the cost benefit to US of such actions? The benefit is debatable and can be attained through less risky behavior. ”

      Not really. US military-industrial complex is highly dependant on continuous warfare in order to survive, and for TTIP to pass, public’s attention has to be shifted away from it. Best way to do so is to create a disturbance.

      “Nothing this big and devious stays secret for long.”

      No, but for it to have any impact, people first have to accept it as possible, and then as true. Unless that happens, you can have as many leaks as you want, with no consequences. Humans are easy to fool.

      “If your proposed CIA/Illuminati/New world order organization had the capacity to carry out such a complicated set of operations (likely not humanly possible) they would not make such dumb mistakes like some of the ones you claim as evidence? ”

      US, French and most Western governments are controlled by the corporations. No need for Illuminati/NWO bullshit. And Western intelligence agencies, especially CIA, have made dumb mistakes in the past. It has nothing to do with wether they are capable of carrying out such operations. It is frankly not that difficult to smuggle a few terrorists among a large number of immigrants, arm them and send them to shoot a few hundred civilians. In cases like this, you have to look for who stands to profit the most from such an action.

      “I am having trouble in believing you would write something like this? Have you been hacked? Are you indulging in hallucinogens?”

      No, and no.

      • I am sorry for being a bit snarky in my response. I fully expected you to cuss me out. Although Picard, I must say my answer was deserving.

        I dont deny that your theory is worth looking into but it is very far-fetched and lacking substance. I expect better from you because I am used to seeing better. If you had proposed a hypothetical I would have proposed another that is equally possible yet equally unlikely. But to claim this as truth, just too much.

        I think you have been watching too many episodes of Blacklist.

        Yes there were no moderates actually fighting. Thats why strategy backfired.

        Don’t you think that after years of fighting Western armies these guys might learn a few things and adopt some of their enemies best tactics. Many of the older leaders are ex-republican guard and with the experiences from 2003 you would expect they have grown in tactical knowledge.

        Most of the weapons I have seen used are of Soviet origin. Most likely captured from Syrian stockpiles and supplied through Iran. There are western Weapons but these most likely captured from northern Iraqi army forces that abandoned their weapons. Some were supplied to so called moderates. There is also a big black-market.

        Yes war is profitable to some but to go as far as to start catastrophic wars and kill hundreds of your own citizens.

        The cost of such actions backfiring would be prohibitive. It would be a Nuclear option. Likelihood of loss of operational control is too high thinking of all the pieces that need to be moved to make all these things happen. and all the parties that need to be complicit.

        Not only is that hard to believe but goal can be achieved through talking up of threats without actual war.

        there is also profits in creating stable functioning markets that can consume more than just weapons. There would be competing corporate interests.

        • “Don’t you think that after years of fighting Western armies these guys might learn a few things and adopt some of their enemies best tactics. Many of the older leaders are ex-republican guard and with the experiences from 2003 you would expect they have grown in tactical knowledge.”

          It is possible, but until now Arabs have never really shown the ability to learn that your theory requires. Iraqi military’s performance in 2003 was even worse than in 1991, despite having over a decade to prepare for the next US attack (and they were preparing). Saudi Arabia’s military is mostly for display, too, and before you ask, Iran is not an Arabic country.

          “Most of the weapons I have seen used are of Soviet origin. Most likely captured from Syrian stockpiles and supplied through Iran. There are western Weapons but these most likely captured from northern Iraqi army forces that abandoned their weapons. Some were supplied to so called moderates. There is also a big black-market.”

          Yes, most weapons come from Iraqi and Syrian stocks, brought by defections and so on. However, ISIL is also using a large number of Western-supplied trucks and civilian vehicles:
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11917994/US-government-asks-Toyota-Why-does-Isil-have-so-many-of-the-companys-vehicles.html
          http://journal-neo.org/2015/10/09/the-mystery-of-isis-toyota-army-solved/
          http://www.activistpost.com/2015/10/the-mystery-of-isis-toyota-army-solved.html

          Note from the first link:
          “The US military has also supplied brand new Toyota vehicles as part of the country’s assistance to the Syrian rebel opposition as it fights to oust Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.”

          So yeah, US have been supplying Toyotas to terrorists. Not just Toyotas; ISIL is also using US anti-tank missiles (these have not been supplied to Iraqi army, BTW, they were directly supplied to ISIL):
          http://www.globalresearch.ca/western-aid-to-terrorists-iraqi-forces-seize-us-supplied-anti-armor-missiles-from-isis-in-fallujah/5481753

          Iran, to my knowledge, never supplied weapons to terrorists. It does supply weapons and send military advisors to the Syrian government, as well as Iraqi government, but that is about it.

          “Yes war is profitable to some but to go as far as to start catastrophic wars and kill hundreds of your own citizens.”

          It would be nothing new. Capitalists are the ones actually in power, and they don’t care about human lives. US intervention in Vietnam, which led to 58 thousand US military deaths, was justified by a made-up incident (so-called “Gulf of Tonkin incident, which never really happened). US-Spanish war, with 3.300 losses, was justified by sinking of USS Maine – possibly an accident, possibly a false flag op. 9/11 attacks may or may not have been organized by the US intelligence services, but they were aware of the attacks well in advance and did nothing to stop them. Either way, thousands of people died in wars started on very dubious premises. Compared to that, killing a few dozen to few hundred people to justify a war is not really weird.

          http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Terrorism/10_False_Flag_Operations.html
          http://www.infowars.com/10-false-flags-operations-that-shaped-our-world/
          http://www.mintpressnews.com/americas-raises-false-flags-to-start-wars/209305/

          “Not only is that hard to believe but goal can be achieved through talking up of threats without actual war. ”

          Only partly, though. But while what you have described brings some profit to military industry, actual war brings far greater profits to a range of different sectors (military industry, oil industry, banking etc.) as well as serving as a distraction from issues at home (TTIP, for example, or the increasing income disparity). It can also serve to secure position of those in power (for example, Margaret Tatcher would have been unceremoniously thrown out of the office if it weren’t for the Falklands war – the Iron Lady epithet was originally an insult, due to her slaughter of coal(?) miners when they went to a strike). That is something which merely talking up threats simply cannot achieve.

          “there is also profits in creating stable functioning markets that can consume more than just weapons. There would be competing corporate interests.”

          That was the logic that markets operated under until relatively recently. But it does not apply any longer. It’s a bit too complex to fully explain here, so just read Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”. Long story short, in times of disturbance – wars, terrorist attacks etc. – people will accept even things, such as extreme market liberalization, police state, human rights destruction, that they would have never accepted otherwise; all in the name of security. That is why timing of the Paris attacks – during talks about TTIP, and during the climate talks held, “coincidentally”, in Paris – made me immediately suspect a false flag operation. And continuous instability, while indeed being counterproductive for a range of business enterprises, is very conductive to the disaster capitalism, as well as for shifting attention from certain issues connected to unregulated capitalism. Due to mass mergers in the West during 1980s and 1990s, in most cases the same conglomerate that sells bombs to the military is also responsible for repairing damage caused by those same bombs. So more bombs dropped = more damage = more profit. Win-win for everyone except ordinary people.

        • The Arabs have never had opportunity to train and learn. The governments have always been incompetent puppet types who treated military as internal security apparatus at best and as a nuisance at worst.

          Arabs are not brainless. Not only did US/UK train large numbers of Iraqi that went on to join ISIS but these folks had an opportunity to do best type of learning. From years of hard earned experience from 2003-present. Toyota’s were supplied to Iraqi Army and were abandoned (like much other equipment) by DoD after withdrawal.

          Iran and Soviets/Russians supplied Al-Asad. these weapons fell into ISIS hands.

          There are many signs out there that US has been air-dropping supplies that have ended up in ISIS hands. There is no actual “Smoking Gun” but there is enough smoke to think there might be a fire. If so the question becomes is this intentional, or poor attempt to supply our operatives?

          I think its important to know that Saudi’s Were the ones who did most of arming of so-called moderates not US. US gave okay or looked other way. Saudis do have TOW II and most any other type of US equipment in their arsenal. It is also believed that other intel agencies have in past been operating under US flag pretending to be CIA.

          I am in no way going to say that Mossad planned terror attacks in west. That is very, very unlikely. But, no one benefits from Sunni Vs Shia war in the region more than Israel. Assad is weaker, Hezbollah is fighting ISIS, and Iran is at war (cold till now) with Sunni Arab world. If I were to think that someone wants the fight in Syria/Iraq/Yemen to drag on until all sides are devastated it would be Israel. The benefits to US are far outweighed by the costs of this prolonged ME war. The benefits to Israel are huge! Only costs would be possible increase in terror attacks but Israel deals with that already, and ISIS & Hezbollah too busy elsewhere. The worst thing that can happen to Israel is if any side wins a clear and triumphant victory.

          Also Israel unlike US, finds itself existentially threatened. Israel was facing an Iran growing in strength. An Iraq that in near future could be powerful Arab state controlled by Shia and probably allied to Iran. A Shia controlled Iran ally in Syria. A Hezbollah growing in strength in Lebanon. And a US that is less willing to provide the safety net its traditionally provided Israel.

          I would not blame Israel for being desperate and trying their best to create a situation that will weaken their enemies.

          Again, most likely scenario involves some level of intervention not anything close to your original claims.

          I do want to mention a personal story from my father who tells me how in Cuba in the 1960’s & 70’s there was so much fear and paranoia that everything was blamed on CIA. If the chickens laid less eggs it was because the CIA was poisoning the chickens, etc. and there was some believable evidence always presented. The CIA did involve itself in some counter-Castro activity but 75% of it was paranoia. I believe that some of that is certainly going on in ME and with many others.

          It takes a lot less people and planning to ignore an attack, than to plan and develop a terrorist organization and carry out attacks worldwide including in your homeland and your biggest allies.

          There is good evidence that Pearl Harbor was known about (not in detail but enough was known) days before attack and Intel mostly ignored or mishandled. Gulf of Tonkin was mostly made up incident as well.

          Difference is that Pearl Harbor was easy to control because only a handful of generals and white-house staff received the info, Data coming from code breakers was not yet trusted and, moving slow for a couple of days is much easier to justify then planning terrorists attacks over many years.

          Gulf of Tonkin was likely a big exaggeration of a small incident. Its different to say we lost 50 men when you only lost 5 then to actually go out and kill 50 men.

          Your claims would be comparable to DoD Training and equipping a force and planning an operation to fire missiles at its own fleet in various locations and times, sinking a few major ships and killing a few thousand sailors, all to justify increased involvement in Vietnam. The blow-back on something like that would be prohibitive.

          I am not saying your hypothesis is impossible. I am just saying it is unlikely and mostly lacking in evidence. The much more likely scenario is that these are actually terror attacks by an actual terrorists org. that developed out of horrid situations in the region. You can put blame on US invasion in 2003, mishandling of pull-out, and poor Intel and choices regarding arming of moderates after uprising. That is a logical argument with more than just hearsay evidence.

          Is it likely that CIA, MI-6, Mossad, are involved is some shady operations in the region? Yeah probably. They usually are. Are there sections of the CIA that operate outside of direct control of even CIA leadership. Yeah that has been known issue for decades.

          But again the reward risk of what you propose is just not adding up. Its a nuclear option. something you would do only in final desperate moments when there is no other option on the table.

          I don’t think US government, CIA, military industry, Rothschilds, or any group you blame is in such a desperate position as to attempt such a dangerous set of actions.

        • “The Arabs have never had opportunity to train and learn. The governments have always been incompetent puppet types who treated military as internal security apparatus at best and as a nuisance at worst.”

          True. Which is why ISIS’ sudden competence is so interesting – it could not have originated from officers that defected, because they never had such competence themselves. This suggests Western training.

          “I think its important to know that Saudi’s Were the ones who did most of arming of so-called moderates not US. US gave okay or looked other way. Saudis do have TOW II and most any other type of US equipment in their arsenal. It is also believed that other intel agencies have in past been operating under US flag pretending to be CIA. ”

          Yeah, and Saudis are still arming ISIL. But US and Europe also armed the “moderates” (read: ISIL). Croatia itself – on US orders – sent massive amounts of weapons and ammunition to ISIL. Mostly old AK-47 assault rifles and other old Soviet weapons, but the fact is, it was done and is still being done.

          “The benefits to US are far outweighed by the costs of this prolonged ME war. The benefits to Israel are huge!”

          Thing is, there is a major Israel lobby in United States. In fact, a few times US did actions that harmed them in order to help Israel (e.g. whole Palestine business). Everything else you said I pretty much agree with, though US have been funding and arming terrorists in the past (and are doing so in Syria, under justification of arming a moderate opposition), not to mention turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia doing so.

          “But again the reward risk of what you propose is just not adding up. Its a nuclear option. something you would do only in final desperate moments when there is no other option on the table.”

          But all they need is a plausible deniability. ISIS is pretty much funded by US allies and US themselves. Terrorists who carried attacks were members of ISIS, and if ISIS itself is an e.g. CIA proxy, all they need to be safe is to keep direct connections between CIA and ISIS to minimum. Yes, ISIS did develop from situation in the region, but it also received huge funding and training from the West (note that in most cases, “moderates” = ISIS).

          “I don’t think US government, CIA, military industry, Rothschilds, or any group you blame is in such a desperate position as to attempt such a dangerous set of actions.”

          They do need to divert attention from TTIP talks if they are to realize transatlantic neoliberal/corporatist empire, though.

  2. Although I don’t agree with everything here, I agree with the basic message.

    Corporations run the government at the public expense and in the ruthless pursuit of profits above all else. I would argue that communism “failed” in no small part due to its blind ideological adherence. Capitalism seems to be doing the same, only in the opposite direction – too much market power versus too total state control of the economy.

    I have noted that in Eastern Europe, high Right Wing Authoritarian (RWA) scores are correlated heavily with communism support. I suppose in a way, “Right Wing Authoritarian” is not the most accurate term as Communism is an extreme left wing ideology. By contrast, conservatives in the US tend to have high RWA scores.

    That being said, I think that the ideals of socialism are certainly worth exploring. The thing about democracy you could argue is that it has never really been tried before. We’ve always had “inverted totalitarianism” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism. There is a book on it if you want to read more about this.

    The other book you should consider is the Spirit Level by by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson.

    • Thanks, I’ll check it out. And yes, we are living in a totalitarian society; I typically call it “corporate dictatorship”, “corporatocracy” albeit it is actually an oligarchy masking as a democracy.

  3. “None of the 60 ISIS’ training camps were ever bombed – despite them producing 1.000 radical islamists per month. ”

    Not true. Before the Paris attack, when French aircraft where still operating ” in the respect of our autonomy of action” (i.e. on their own not in cooperation with US), they where mainly targeting training camps. First strike the French carried out in Syria back in September was against the training camp of Deir al Zour. It was a low level strike carried out in the small hours of the morning by 6 fighters 5 Rafale and 1 Mirage 2000 that where operating based on intelligence gathered over 2 weeks of surveillance flights. After that there was at least one other attack against the training camp in Raqqa in October. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/isis-syria-french-jihadists-killed-france-airstrikes-near-syrian-capital-raqqa-1523593 In this attack apparently 6 French citizens that were training there were killed. In other words before they traded their liberty of action for dubious US intelligence and coordination, the French were carrying out a well thought out campaign against ISIS training infrastructure. And I believe, that conspiracy or not, the main motivation behind the Paris attacks was to stop the French from striking the camps. If there was no conspiracy and ISIS was acting on it’s own the fact the France was the only country striking their training camps will have moved them up on their shit list. If ISIS was being manipulated then the desired result was obtained. In the guise of stepping up efforts against ISIS France abandoned it’s well thought off strategy and has fallen in line behind US and their questionable target sets.

    ” Any public law impending projected profit will be dismantled via Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), in front of corporate-controlled courts; this alone will reduce national governments to useless, powerless theaters, whose decisions will be consistently overruled by the new privatized justice system. Even if governments win in front of these tribunals, they will still be liable for multi-million dollar legal bills accrued by defending from frivulous corporate lawsuits.”

    So what. Tell me what tools can be used to enforce an ISDS against a state? What happens if a state looses and refuses to pay? How can that state be forced to give the money? In a civil case when one party looses and has to pay, the entire law enforcement and judicial apparatus of the state forces that party to pay it’s debt. A person or company refusing to do so faces frozen back accounts, incarceration, and I don’t know how it’s called in English but in my language is something like “forced execution” when an official of the court takes goods from the offending party and sells them to pay off its debt. Tell me how can a private court do that to a state? The only way I see is WAR. But with who’s army?
    There are at least two cases I know when states refused to pay. One is my own country Romania, which at the begins of the 80s had a huge IMF debt and to settle that debt was supposed to give up it’s natural resources. Ceausescu refused and by 1989 had payed off the entire debt and had and surplus of 9 billion dollars with which he was contemplating setting up an alternative to the IMF together with Libya, Iran and China, plan that Gaddaffi never actually gave up and might be a reason for his ejection.The internal difficulties this created with rationing and so fort are another discussion entirely. Although most of the internal difficulties were exacerbated by Radio Free Europe which started a concentrated effort to smear Ceasuscu right after he started the campaign to pay off the debt. So it begs the question if his plan did not upset somebody?
    The other case is Iceland which after the crash of 2008 refused to pay it’s foreign debt and instead helped it’s own citizen. The result was a miraculous recovery. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/financial-recovery-of-iceland-a-case-worth-studying-a-942387.html
    So if state officials are patriotic there is no way an ISDS could be enforced against a state. An here is the crux of the problem state officials are not patriotic and most don’t have the best interest of the citizen in mind but of their patrons in the many foundation in which most high state officials are employed. So they will bemoan the fact that the state has to pay and they will hide the fact that there is no way the state can be forced to pay.

    • “Not true. Before the Paris attack, when French aircraft where still operating ” in the respect of our autonomy of action” (i.e. on their own not in cooperation with US), they where mainly targeting training camps.”

      I know that US never bombed any training camps, and that is what I was referring to. Didn’t know about French bombing them, though. Thanks.

      “Tell me what tools can be used to enforce an ISDS against a state? What happens if a state looses and refuses to pay? (…) Tell me how can a private court do that to a state? The only way I see is WAR. But with who’s army?”

      You are forgetting that corporations already control United States. So if a state refuses to pay it will have United States and associated institutions (NATO, UN, WTO) come down on its head. United States have already invaded countries for less than that.

      “So it begs the question if his plan did not upset somebody?”

      Oh, it certainly did.

      “So if state officials are patriotic there is no way an ISDS could be enforced against a state.”

      Maybe, but they have to be both patriotic and willing to indure any possible consequences (smear campaign, economic sanctions, and in the case of non-Western countries, possible invasion or CIA-sponsored coup; latter is possible even with Western countries). And considering that many Western countries are plutocracies, officials’ patriotism is always questionable.

    • And regarding Iceland, IIRC it is considering joining TTIP, if it already didn’t. So it avoided the whipping and went straight to guillotine instead.

  4. Basically the idea in an inverted society is that dissent is accepted, but never by the mainstream media.

    Such dissent is usually mocked and character assassination used without any consideration of the facts that the person is arguing.

    Anyways the concept is worth exploring in detail.

    • “Such dissent is usually mocked and character assassination used without any consideration of the facts that the person is arguing. ”

      That is just normal behavior when someone is arguing against a majority position. Quite shitty approach, yes, but nothing unusual.

  5. The US seeks now to basically do to Europe what Europe has done to Africa for decades through the mechanisms of neocolonialism. The EU is itself an imperialist bloc (in turn largely dominated by the sub-imperialisms of German, French, Italian and Spanish capital), and its domination by American capital would signify the creation of a type of “super imperialism” (not to be confused with a book by the same name which talks about how the US effectively gets other countries to pay for its military invasions). I highly recommend Yash Tandon’s book “Trade is War: The West’s War Against the World”, which details the mechanisms through which Europe has continued to exploit and impoverish Africa decades after the formal end of colonialism. In my view, however, he is far too welcoming of the BRICS formation, which he doesn’t seem to view as imperialistic. Yet this bloc is also embracing the very institutions and practices that the US, European and Japan have (check out “The Poverty of Capitalism” by John Hilary for details about that and the growing crisis of capitalism).

    Duviel says:

    “I would not blame Israel for being desperate and trying their best to create a situation that will weaken their enemies.”

    Israel is programmatically dedicated to a policy of mass murder again Arabs, and regularly pursues actions that have nothing to do with its “security” but that ensure that antagonisms against Israel will be persist into the indefinite future. Its slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians has been underwritten by decades of America complicity, aid and largesse, and it has acted as a mercenary state for the US during this time. Israel is far more “desperate” to maintain its regular inflows of aid from the US government than it is to keep itself “safe” from its neighbors, who have long accommodated themselves to its presence. The Syrian regime is far too concerned with its own preservation to be a serious threat to Israel. The bitterest rivalry in the region is that between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Saudi Arabia has become a de facto ally of Israel. Iran spends less on its military than its neighbors, and all serious observers understand that its weapons build up is a response to Israel goading the US to attack it. Indeed, even within Israel, the narrative that Iran is a “threat” to Israel is seen as something of a joke, and they’re at least honest enough to acknowledge that the problem posed by Iran acquiring nuclear weapons isn’t in the form of an existential threat, but that such weapons would limit Israel’s freedom of action in the region. The weakening of imperial hegemony for Washington and its client states is the real reason for all this crying and sulking about poor little Israel’s “security” that we see in the US media. Of course, this Is quite apart from the fact that there is no evidence that Iran even has a nuclear weapons program, but they would certainly want the technological option of being able to build them if they felt, to paraphrase you, desperate.

    • “The US seeks now to basically do to Europe what Europe has done to Africa for decades through the mechanisms of neocolonialism. ”

      They have learned from the best… thanks for the excellent comment, will definetly read the books as soon as I catch some time.

      “Israel is far more “desperate” to maintain its regular inflows of aid from the US government than it is to keep itself “safe” from its neighbors, who have long accommodated themselves to its presence.”

      It’s far more than that, I’m afraid. You see, Israel has – through decades of war and living under threat of the attack – built up a significant national security industry complex, somewhat analogous to US military-industrial complex. As a result, Israel has no interest at all in improving the security situation in the Middle East, and a lot of reason to help keep the entire area chaotic.

      • In theory, one would think that for their own security, Israel would be well advised to try to improve the living standards of their Arabic neighbours, including those of Palestinians, even if it does come at expense of short-term gains (ex: less land for settlement).

        There are 3 problems:
        1. Demographics are against this strategy – the Arabic birthrate is extremely high and will eventually win through sheer numbers. This is a source of panic right now in Israeli politics.

        2. Their military is heavily dependent on the US, as is much of their economic prosperity, and the US, through entirely self-inflicted reasons, is in decline.

        3. Increasingly international opinion is turning against them and there are a great many comparisons to the South African Apartheid situation.

        There may be other challenges, such as in the long run, whether water will become even more scarce in the area. Although Israel is a global leader in desalinating water, I am not sure that it would be possible to get an entire nation’s water supply from that, barring major technological advances. It’s very energy intensive, for one.

        Although the Israeli military is, man for man, one of the most competent militaries, the challenges that they face cannot be solved through war. They are social and economic problems.

        • Aye, and as I have pointed out, Israel is not interested in solving them because of the profits to defense and national security industries that current status quo brings.

      • “To be fair, there are more valid reasons to question Holocaust than to question consequences of Western imperialism, and all boil down to “history is written by the winners”. I am no expert on German concetration camps however, so I won’t enter that, but I will note that the “official” history – written by Communists – has long massively overstated number of casualties from Jasenovac concentration camp. It is that worse because there are books which list every last person who ever entered the camp – 18.600 names in total. Meanwhile, US genocide against natives, or Turkish genocide against Armenians, are mostly ignored – again, history written by the winners.”

        I’m not familiar with the Jasenovac camp and will, for the sake of argument, concede your point about casualty counts, but I know something about specifically Nazi atrocities. The Nazi genocide that many people know as the “Holocaust” should more properly be called the “Judeocide” which took place within the context of a larger genocide directed at large groups of people who the Nazis found troublesome or expendable, in particular Slavs. The main means by which the Holocaust (in the broad sense) was conducted was through war, of pursuing policies calculated to lead to consistently high civilian casualties, and of continually approving of the actions of German soldiers (in such a situation, where it’s known by everyone who the “enemy” is, it isn’t even necessary to issue orders specifically directing the murder of civilians. Silence can do just as effectively). The Broad Sense Holocaust had victims numbering in the many millions for sure.

        “In other words, it is precisely the kind of situation capitalists want… hence their support for mass immigration from North Africa and Middle East to Europe.”

        I’m skeptical of narratives that would, even inadvertently, place Fascists and white nativists among the “good guys” resisting capitalist encroachments. In effect, such a narrative would place the Syrian kid who washed up on the shore of Greece as an “agent of capitalism”. This I can’t abide. My sympathies lay far more with the refugees than with anyone else, for the refugees must not only contend with being victims of capitalist-imperialism in the first place, but then treated with hatred as puppets of said imperialism. This reduces to them, truly, to the status of sub-humans in the eyes of not only Fascists, but also, and far more perversely, in the eyes of those who consider themselves against Fascism. The refugee “crisis” is more symptomatic, in my view, of a policy to destroy the Middle East than it is of one to destroy Europe. If there’s a solution to this terrible situation, let it be at the expense of imperialism in solidarity with the refugees, not against them.

        • “The Broad Sense Holocaust had victims numbering in the many millions for sure.”

          It would be interesting to compare number of victims who died because of Nazism/Fascism to those who died because of liberal capitalism / imperialism and because of Communism (and since Western capitalists brought Hitler to power, Nazi victims should probably be included among victims of Western imperialism; but then, Communism itself is also a direct consequence of liberal capitalism.).

          “In effect, such a narrative would place the Syrian kid who washed up on the shore of Greece as an “agent of capitalism”. This I can’t abide. My sympathies lay far more with the refugees than with anyone else, for the refugees must not only contend with being victims of capitalist-imperialism in the first place, but then treated with hatred as puppets of said imperialism. ”

          Everybody is a puppet of imperialism. Including refugees, indirectly (and I don’t get why you suppose I hate them for it? Ignorance and despair are not a crime – unless one has tools to get out of it, tools which to them have been and are being denied.). Africa is being kept in poverty so that it can provide cheap workforce and raw materials. Middle East was divided up without regard for ethinic borders and given to plutocrats so as to secure West the access to oil. Wars and refugee crisis were artificially created to a) keep Middle East and Africa in slavery to the West, b) create conflicts and pressure which would allow capitalists to freely destroy democracy in the West and c) introduce cheap workforce (slaves, basically) for capitalists’ use (why do you think Merkel wants refugees? German economy largerly depends on exploiting immigrants, that’s why). Fact is, the only way to solve the refugee crisis is not to admit God knows how many refugees, but to remove the issues which are forcing them into refuge in the first place. But for that, major changes have to be made in the West itself, first. Plutocracy/neoliberalism/free trade is the main problem, and everybody is its victim.

          Truth is only one, lies can be without count, and playing on emotions (either positive or negative) is possibly the oldest manipulation tactic.

          In the end, if you give person a fish, you gave them a lunch. If you teach person how to catch fish, you fed them for a life. We should give them tools to catch their own fish, but unfortunately, that is not in capitalists’ interest.

    • In Micro & Macro both the same, anytime anyone is successful it usually involves some sort of advantage taking over others. Those who have failed to progress will complain about the abuses of the successful and they are probably right to feel taken advantage of but if they were in the position to do so would take advantage as well. The cycle keeps repeating.

      West my not be a bunch of mother Theresa’s but, what is true is that any country that has joined with the west in their system of operating has prospered. Examples: Japan, S. Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Turkey, Israel, Etc. Does that have failed to prosper is due mostly to own internal failings. I do not study Africa but, if you look at Western Hemisphere the nations that are poorest are so not because of US trade wars or interventions. Its because of internal corruptions, poor social habits, and poor governance. I suspect Africa is the same situation.

      I was in the Dominican Republic not so long ago. All most want to do there is sit around on buckets under shady trees and drink rum. Then they complain about the economy. In the US the majority of people work hard (most work 50+ hours weekly) thats why our economy is resilient. We have a good share of lazy bums too and my fear is that this trend is being reinforced by growing welfare system.

      I appreciate that we must discuss and work to correct abuses of power. But, I dont like being demonized by the other side for behavior that if they could they would do even worse. And don’t forget to mention all the good things the west does. That rarely gets mentioned by any of these anti-west anti-America folks.

      • “In Micro & Macro both the same, anytime anyone is successful it usually involves some sort of advantage taking over others. Those who have failed to progress will complain about the abuses of the successful and they are probably right to feel taken advantage of but if they were in the position to do so would take advantage as well. The cycle keeps repeating.”

        This is little more than a cynical excuse to absolve Western imperialism of its criminality, and one that reproduces many of the chauvinist tropes about “backward” Third World peoples and “enlightened” First Word ones. You completely ignore WHY those who have failed to progress have failed to progress, chalking it up to some innate deficiency rather than resulting from a particular relationship of power that has persisted for long stretches of time.

        “West my not be a bunch of mother Theresa’s but, what is true is that any country that has joined with the west in their system of operating has prospered.”

        Sorry, this is pure garbage. Most of the world “has joined with the west in their system of operating”, and most of the world remains poor.

        “Examples: Japan, S. Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Turkey, Israel, Etc.”

        Japan was already an imperialist power, and it suited the post-war US-imposed arrangement to hand it back its economic empire as a bulwark against communism. South Korea was allowed to develop in order to act as a showcase against a then more prosperous North Korea, but the policies that the US favored up until that point produced widespread poverty and under-development. Singapore (and South Korea and Japan) developed by radically violating “free-market” principles, seeing strong state intervention and state-directed guidance of the economy, price controls, support for export-oriented industries by state bureaus, and investments in a strong manufacturing base. In Japan, it was the US itself that insisted upon measures that would have earned countries of Latin America or Africa a coup had they attempted them (and often did). And what of the countries that have most dutifully followed the prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank? They’ve done, almost without exception, worst, often experiencing disastrous results and the complete subjugation of their countries by foreign capital.

        China has continued to develop in its capitalist form – at the cost of hundreds of thousands of people dying every year from pollution and unsafe working conditions; massive corruption has become a bedrock of its political system; inequality has grown to the stage where it’s probably even worse than in the US; and it’s in the process of becoming a full-fledged imperialist power itself. Turkey has always had problems of poverty and human rights violations, and the current neoliberal fundamentalist Islamist regime will only exacerbate these tendencies. Israel is a virtual state of the US, and has been showered with largesse and aid for decades and has benefitted from the exploitation of Palestinian labor. Hong Kong was a British colony in which fully 60 percent of the population actually preferred to be part of China.

        Note that you said “any country” that has joined the world capitalist-imperialist system has “prospered”. Then why is slumification increasing and food crises becoming worse? Why is the gap between the rich nations and the poor (with the exception of some countries on the “semi-periphery”, such as Brazil, China and India, which are semi-imperialist themselves and are wriggling out of the US-European-Japanese orbit) continuing to widen?

        “Does that have failed to prosper is due mostly to own internal failings.”

        This is an ideological statement, nothing more. It suits people in the West to believe it, because it absolves them of any responsibility to look at structural and systemic factors linked to capitalist accumulation and economic domination. And because it’s a feel-good platitude that soothes the conscience of Western people, it must, therefore, be “true”. It’s used by apparatchiks in the IMF, World Bank, WTO and other international bodies to push forward with more trade liberalization, the freeing up of capital controls, the rights of investors over those of their host countries and peoples, and so forth. Yet even former operatives of these institutions have admitted that these policies have often “failed” disastrously (in reality, they’ve succeeded; but from the point of view of the host countries, they failed to bring the promised benefits). This, however, doesn’t stop the neoliberal assumptions from being reset and resold after every crisis by the politicians, the presstitutes and the capitalists. There follows a period when the politicians and some economists give nods towards reflection and re-evaluation; they heed the grumbles of their own populations and see the need to at least acknowledge that something needs to change; and then, it’s simply back to business as usual. It doesn’t matter how many examples, paid in the blood and misery of millions of people, are produced; it doesn’t matter how many millions more are thrown into poverty and insecurity – the ideological axiom of “We’re doing this because it’s good, and it’s good because we’re doing it” will always require that the Western capitalist ideologue find some other reason why a capitalist policy failed.

        “I do not study Africa but, if you look at Western Hemisphere the nations that are poorest are so not because of US trade wars or interventions. Its because of internal corruptions, poor social habits, and poor governance.”

        This statement is even worse than the one you made earlier. If you ACTUALLY look at the Western Hemisphere, the poorest countries are Haiti and certain countries in Central America. Haiti has been brutalized by the US and France for centuries, suffering multiple invasions, coups, economic devastation and now the pervasive presence of NGOs and other foreign entities. Central America was smashed to pieces by Reagan and his terrorist buddies, and may never recover. The countries in Latin America that have been able to develop at all have done so by charting an independent course from the US orbit (under conditions of relentless harassment, bullying and threats), and it has taken a long, bitter struggle by the masses of people to reach even this point. In the Cold War, the US would simply have engineered a coup against such governments. Now, it has to be more subtle in its approach due to the greater unity and consciousness that has developed on the continent. The poorest countries in Latin America remain those that are closest to the US.

        “I suspect Africa is the same situation.”

        No, the opposite. You’re simply unaware of the pervasiveness of European domination, and the many mechanisms and means available to Europe to impose such domination. The comforting trope of Africa being the way it is because of internal deficiencies is, as alluded to earlier, comforting to the Western capitalist ideologue, but it’s nevertheless false. But I do agree with you in one sense: Africans are the ones ultimately responsible for the continent’s future. It is imperative for them to unite with each other to counter the much better organized EU in order to have some prospect of true independent development. But Africa will never advance until it stops licking the boot of the transnational capitalist elite and its predatory institutions; it will never develop if it continues to trust that its European “partners” have their best hopes at heart.

        “I was in the Dominican Republic not so long ago. All most want to do there is sit around on buckets under shady trees and drink rum.”

        You personally met with “most” Dominicans? I think not. Indeed, I think you’re just interpreting things through a chauvinist lens, and then projecting that interpretation back out onto reality. It’s impossible to assess this anecdote in any substantive way, however. “I was in” doesn’t convey anything beyond “I happened to be there for a bit and saw some things”. Did you ask them about what they wanted to do? What time of the year was it? How hot was it? What prospects did they have for work in any case? All these questions remain unanswered by trying to pretend that what you saw on a brief visit to some part oft he country is a substitute for the lived experience of millions of people. Apparently, by your lights, Dominicans don’t care about their children, their livelihoods, their country or their personal sense of self-worth. They just want to “drink rum”., because they lack the human perspective. Ah-ha. Sure they do. Sorry, but this anecdote is as worthless as it is racist.

        “Then they complain about the economy.”

        Another indication of national-imperial chauvinism is the placement of one’s own personal anecdotes ahead of the lived experiences of other people. You’re expressing this chauvinism here, in crystal form. I’m going to make a guess and say that you know nothing whatsoever about the Dominican Republic’s economy and its people.

        “In the US the majority of people work hard (most work 50+ hours weekly) thats why our economy is resilient.”

        Yes, they work hard and then watch as the capitalists enjoy most of the benefits, either spending them on luxuries or hoarding the cash, or engaging in stock market shenanigans that just exacerbate the country’s economic difficulties. US working class wages have stagnated since the 1970s, with a massive accompanying increase in household debt. Americans work insane hours precisely because the economy DOESN’T work for them; they have to work these hours just to make ends meet, repay debt, keep up with health costs, or any of a number of other demands that have become more and more characteristic of life for the working class in the US. You have the narrative completely backwards, in other words.

        “We have a good share of lazy bums too and my fear is that this trend is being reinforced by growing welfare system.”

        This is one of the most miserable excuses to keep up the program of austerity demanded by the capitalists currently on offer, and again gets things completely backwards. Americans increasingly NEED a functional welfare system because the economy isn’t nearly as “resilient” as you would have us believe. The irony is that the biggest beneficiaries of welfare are the capitalists themselves, even though they’re the ones most directly responsible for throwing millions of people out of work and wreaking havoc on the economy with their reckless stupidity.

        “I appreciate that we must discuss and work to correct abuses of power.”

        “Abuses of power” pathetically understates the true situation, and the structural and systemic forces at play. It’s like saying that the Nazis “should discuss and work to correct their abuses of Jews, Roma, homosexuals and socialists”. The problem isn’t “abuses of power”, as you cluelessly intone. The problem is Nazism. And in the current context, the problem is capitalist-imperialism and its relations of domination and exploitation.

        “But, I dont like being demonized by the other side for behavior that if they could they would do even worse.”

        You turn this into a self-fulfilling prophecy by not bothering even to inform yourself (“I dont’ study Africa”; “I suspect the same is true of Africa”). While Africans get the shit end of the stick, you fearfully whine about what “they would do” to you. The most you’ll concede is that some “abuses” take place, and then, perversely, use this to abdicate yourself from further reflection. If Africans want to “do worse” to you, it can only be because they’re uniquely savage and monstrous. Even your concessions are laden with imperial arrogance and racism! I don’t say this to insult or denigrate you; I say it because you display all the classic symptoms, and you need to be made aware of it. Finally, what you wrote is stupid in any because Africa has no prospect of “doing the same” to us, so even if they want to “do worse”, they can’t.

        “And don’t forget to mention all the good things the west does.”

        Nope, I won’t, because the bad things it does aren’t even acknowledged by you, so an affirmation and focus of the good things it does will only, in this context, serve as a further facilitator for you to keep ignoring the bad. What’s needed is to deal with the bad, and for that to happen, you first have to acknowledge it. Yet you can’t even bring yourself to that minimal level of moral responsibility, and instead start issuing platitudes and gushing about “prosperity” when it comes to the West.

        “That rarely gets mentioned by any of these anti-west anti-America folks.”

        “Anti-America” is a stupid phrase designed to shut down critical thought processes (I should therefore say that it’s designed to produce stupidity, in the service of the power structure that controls the United States which wants you to equivocate it with the country as a whole; in this sense, it’s actually a genius phrase). This is because “anti-America” is meaningless. America is a complex, heterogeneous and constantly changing entity with a multitude of different forces, each with different interests. When dealing with imperialism, we deal with certain sections of American society and the interests they have.

        Sorry Duviel, but I’m afraid you will have to read Tandon’s work.

        • “This is little more than a cynical excuse to absolve Western imperialism of its criminality, and one that reproduces many of the chauvinist tropes about “backward” Third World peoples and “enlightened” First Word ones. You completely ignore WHY those who have failed to progress have failed to progress, chalking it up to some innate deficiency rather than resulting from a particular relationship of power that has persisted for long stretches of time”

          It’s the plain truth Luis. Study human history. Also study current affairs at the various micro & mezzo levels. It’s a competitive world and to succeed it is almost always necessary to use the tools at your disposal to manipulate the situation so as to make your success more likely. The West (and currently most particularly the US) has put itself in position (due to many factors including some luck) to dictate world affairs and they have used this attained advantage to increase its wealth and power. Taking advantage of others for own gain is not a nice thing to do. I would prefer a world in which we can all work together to improve the common lot. That is a nice goal but it’s never been the case and maybe will never be the case. If the shoe where turned and Africa was in position of power I have no doubt that Africa would have done even worse. Why do I think this? History teaches me this lesson as does current affairs.
          Africa is a perfect (albeit extreme) example, anytime one group or tribe has had ability to take advantage of another it has done so in extreme fashion. You look at nations like Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, the governments and wealthy in these nations corruptly dominate the wealth and leave the masses to starve. These are not poor nations without resources, in fact many European nations would love to have the resources Nigeria has. Is the west complicit in helping these people abuse their populations? yeah you are probably correct.
          The west buys much of Africa’s natural resources from these corrupt rich Africans sometimes at good terms for the buyer. As part of the deal, the west either ignores their corruption or supports said corruption. Nigeria’s rich sell all of the nation’s oil and other minerals to the west (usually at established world market rates) and do not share the wealth with the population. The West is than accused of extracting Africa’s resources and impoverishing the people. I don’t see anyone accusing the world of extracting the Wests manufactured resources when they buy our cars, airplanes, etc. No one blames Africa for helping enrich Ford or Honda at the expense of the underpaid laborers. I think you are being a bit closed minded.

          “You completely ignore WHY those who have failed to progress have failed to progress”

          Please enlighten me Luis. Its hard for me to respond until you explain to me the tools and techniques you so complain about.

          “Sorry, this is pure garbage. Most of the world “has joined with the west in their system of operating”, and most of the world remains poor”

          Poor is a relative term but, look at the poorer nations. These have mostly failed to or have only recently begun to participate in the western system. These are usually the nations with the most corrupt and/or dictatorial systems of government. The facts are clear Luis it’s hard to ignore this. Although I am sure you will anyways. It is much easier to blame the west for everything.

          “Singapore (and South Korea and Japan) developed by radically violating “free-market” principles, seeing strong state intervention and state-directed guidance of the economy, price controls, support for export-oriented industries by state bureaus, and investments in a strong manufacturing base. In Japan, it was the US itself that insisted upon measures that would have earned countries of Latin America or Africa a coup had they attempted them (and often did). And what of the countries that have most dutifully followed the prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank? They’ve done, almost without exception, worst, often experiencing disastrous results and the complete subjugation of their countries by foreign capital”

          Many of the Asian economies have developed through use of proprietary tactics along with established western economic practices and at times, it worked very well at others not so well. Most importantly, these nations have avoided disastrous levels of corruption (as is case in Africa and Western hemisphere south of Rio Grande) and have maintained stability and order of law that allows for economic growth.

          Please tell me the coups you speak about that were a result of attempts to establish economic practices that would have benefitted the population. Please avoid vague conspiracy theories without real evidence. Anybody can come up with a ton of those and it would make our argument go nowhere. It’s like arguing against religion. I can’t reason with anyone who believes something even though they have no real evidence.

          “What of the countries that have most dutifully followed the prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank? They’ve done, almost without exception, worst, often experiencing disastrous results and the complete subjugation of their countries by foreign capital”

          You make a valid point here. It’s a rough world. I am all for shining upon and fighting against such practices. But, I would not get on my high horse and accuse the west without first acknowledging that this is a human problem that must be fought against by all populations and has occurred throughout history and throughout the globe.
          As an example a point out the people in America who attempt to demonize the white men for the enslavement of Africans for over 200 years. Although we cannot absolve the white slave owners of their criminality, they fail to point out that it was other Africans that captured and sold them into slavery, and that slavery has existed since the times of The Akkaddian empire and early Egyptian empires more than 5,000 years ago. They fail to point out that slavery existed in Africa by Africans for much longer than 300 years. They fail to point out that although European demand contributed to increased taking of slaves many of these slaves that ended up in America would have ended up as slaves in Africa the ME or elsewhere. Therefore, instead of demonizing one side we should acknowledge the evils of slavery and work to abolish it anywhere it exists.

          “Hong Kong was a British colony in which fully 60 percent of the population actually preferred to be part of China”

          Hong Kong was better of as a British colony in almost every way. The people of Hong Kong are mostly ethnic Chinese and no one likes to be a colony. Regardless, if you retake that Luis imaginary poll of yours I bet most in Hong Kong would probably prefer Hong Kong would have remained part of British Empire.

          “It’s used by apparatchiks in the IMF, World Bank, WTO and other international bodies to push forward with more trade liberalization, the freeing up of capital controls, the rights of investors over those of their host countries and peoples, and so forth”

          Trade liberalization is mostly beneficial to the corporations and stockholders. And it mostly hurts the working classes in industrialized nations. Not, the third world or developing nations that participate in these tariff free zones. In fact the second biggest winner in trade liberalization (after corporations that sell to the west) is the developing world. Freeing up of capital controls does in some cases give access to resources (in third world nations) to western entities. It goes both ways usually but the western entities often have more cash to allow for purchase of assets. Other forms of lax capital controls often lead to monetary base inflation and due to corruption that exists in nearly every third world nation; this increased fluency ends up in the hands of rich further increasing inequality. Before you mention that the last situation occurs in US as well I will tell you that you are correct. The third world does not have exclusive domain over corruption; it’s just a lot more inclusive and without control in the third world.

          “If you ACTUALLY look at the Western Hemisphere, the poorest countries are Haiti and certain countries in Central America. Haiti has been brutalized by the US and France for centuries, suffering multiple invasions, coups, economic devastation and now the pervasive presence of NGOs and other foreign entities. Central America was smashed to pieces by Reagan and his terrorist buddies, and may never recover. The countries in Latin America that have been able to develop at all have done so by charting an independent course from the US orbit”

          How many times have been to Haiti? How many Haitians do you know? Haiti was at some point (before Papa Doc Duvalier took power in 1950’s) ruled by French Mulato elites and the population was very poor. Papa Doc removed much of power of Mulatos and gave himself the power. The nation made some progress under Duvalier (partly due to US Aid which made up a large portion of GDP) but not much, the Duvalier elite had money the people were still very poor. Duvalier was overthrown in 1986 and Aristide took power, again corruption reigned and the few rich controlled the economy. The living conditions of the people remained horrid. After Earth Quake in 2010 Haiti received aid from all over the world. France initially provided all types of aid, doctors, transportation, engineering, construction, and cash. The US did the same including 379 Million in cash from Washington. That does not include all the private aid that came from American citizens. Initially all of the physical presence of aid did a lot to control disaster but soon the corruption took over and again most of this aid has ended up in the hands of nations few. The people remain dirt poor. It seems you like to read books but books don’t tell the whole story. It also depends which books you choose to read.
          Again, internal corruption and poor social habits make these nations poor. Not so called invasions that occurred 100 years ago. Central America is the same story. Reagan became involved in internal affairs there. But, the civil wars and fighting over power preceded Reagan. Reagan was just trying to ensure the wrong folks (pro Castro leftist that might allow USSR in) did not gain power.

          “The poorest countries in Latin America remain those that are closest to the US”

          That is complete bullshit! Most Latin American nations are close to the US in many ways. Colombia is the closest ally politically. Brazil & Mexico closest economically. These are not the poorest nations by far. You named the poorest and these are mostly irrelevant to the US. Only nations that are not allied to US are Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia. These nations are in no way the richest. Venezuela was somewhat rich at one point due to its huge oil reserves but is now falling apart due to drop in Oil prices. Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia are opposed to the US at every turn. siding with Russia, China, N. Korea, Iran, and anyone who opposes US in everything. These nations have gone forward in opposite direction to the US. According to your theory these would be most prosperous nations in the hemisphere. But, that is far from truth.

          “You personally met with “most” Dominicans? I think not. Indeed, I think you’re just interpreting things through a chauvinist lens, and then projecting that interpretation back out onto reality. It’s impossible to assess this anecdote in any substantive way, however. “I was in” doesn’t convey anything beyond “I happened to be there for a bit and saw some things”. Did you ask them about what they wanted to do? What time of the year was it? How hot was it? What prospects did they have for work in any case? All these questions remain unanswered by trying to pretend that what you saw on a brief visit to some part oft he country is a substitute for the lived experience of millions of people. Apparently, by your lights, Dominicans don’t care about their children, their livelihoods, their country or their personal sense of self-worth. They just want to “drink rum”., because they lack the human perspective. Ah-ha. Sure they do. Sorry, but this anecdote is as worthless as it is racist”

          You are a total idiot for making some of these statements. Of course I did not meet with all Dominicans! I did travel the Island pretty well. I also have many, many Dominican friends and acquaintances that tell me about their experiences living in the country. The problem is a social problem not a problem with the Dominican people. It is a problem that has developed due to years of poor governance and economic abuse by the nations elite.

          In fact the same social problem is now becoming prevalent in Cuban culture. This does that means that Cubans have all of a sudden become racially inferior, no it means that years of living in communist system that reinforces laziness, fails to promote entrepreneurship, does not reward hard work, removes established moral standards (and yes removing religion from society has been a big part of the breakdown in moral fiber of Cuban society. Even though I am not religious), and removes the concept of private property, has succeeded in destroying the culture of the nation.
          The biggest obstacle in making Cuba prosperous is not removal of regime or the embargo (never a full embargo since basically US has been only to comply with it to win Cuban-American lobby) but, un-doing the social damage that has been done to the society.

          I am a second Generation Cuban immigrant and I count more than a few Dominicans as friends. It’s not racist to speak the truth.

          I’m going to make a guess and say that you know nothing whatsoever about the Dominican Republic’s economy and its people”

          You guessed wrong again.

          I am not going to even bother to respond to your attempt to speak about the US economy. This is the topic I have most knowledge on and it is also the most erroneous part of your poorly informed, close minded opinion. I will not respond because I know it will lead to me writing a book and I have a great life to enjoy here in the evil empire. I have already wasted too much of my precious time.

          “anti-America” is meaningless. America is a complex, heterogeneous and constantly changing entity with a multitude of different forces, each with different interests. When dealing with imperialism, we deal with certain sections of American society and the interests they have.

          I do have to agree with you on this one.

          But, there are plenty that hate America and anything that is associated with it. Some may have cause due to personal experience but, I suspect most are just insanely jealous. I wonder which of the two defines you?

        • Sorry for butting in but:

          “Please tell me the coups you speak about that were a result of attempts to establish economic practices that would have benefitted the population. Please avoid vague conspiracy theories without real evidence. Anybody can come up with a ton of those and it would make our argument go nowhere. It’s like arguing against religion. I can’t reason with anyone who believes something even though they have no real evidence. ”

          Coups he speaks about are CIA-sponsored coups against governments across Latin America, for which there is a lot of evidence. Just one example:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_intervention_in_Chile#1970_election
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_intervention_in_Chile#1973_coup
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_intervention_in_Chile#Pinochet_regime
          http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/chile-coup-salvador-allende-cia/380082/
          http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/NSA/CIA_Allende_LS.html

          “In fact the second biggest winner in trade liberalization (after corporations that sell to the west) is the developing world.”

          Only the ruling class, though. In most cases, average citizen was even worse off, as always happens with neoliberal economies.

          “Reagan was just trying to ensure the wrong folks (pro Castro leftist that might allow USSR in) did not gain power.”

          Which incidentally caused him to remove democratically elected governments and install dictatorships… which then proceeded to dismantle economies of Latin American countries and open up those same countries to US corporations. Latin American economies only started to recover once even those dictatorships went back on some protectionist and even outright Keynesian policies… trade protectionism is required for economic development, free market is suicidal for everyone except already established imperialistic (super)powers.

      • “but, what is true is that any country that has joined with the west in their system of operating has prospered.”

        Yes, back when the West had a Keynesian system. In any country which introduced raw neoliberalism, only the ruling class has prospered (Latin American countries, 1990s Russia…)

        “Its because of internal corruptions, poor social habits, and poor governance.”

        And both corruption and poor governance are promoted by the US-favored neoliberalism. US themselves are a victim of that as well, but being as rich and powerful as they are, it took a bit longer to show.

      • By this logic, the nations with the most generous welfare systems should be a total failure, but the opposite is true.

        Most living standards charts show that the Scandinavian Social Democracies are near the top. The only reason why they’ve fallen is that they’re becoming more neoliberal and more unequal.

        Actually, inequality is arguably bad for the very rich too, as argued in the Spirit Level, although they don’t know it. As inequality grows, rich people become more status oriented and obsessed with preserving what they have (hence the paranoia and body guards you see in many developing nation’s oligarchs).

      • “This is little more than a cynical excuse to absolve Western imperialism of its criminality, and one that reproduces many of the chauvinist tropes about “backward” Third World peoples and “enlightened” First Word ones. You completely ignore WHY those who have failed to progress have failed to progress, chalking it up to some innate deficiency rather than resulting from a particular relationship of power that has persisted for long stretches of time”

        “It’s the plain truth Luis.”

        No, it’s a monstrous and ridiculous truncation of the truth, designed to avoid the greater part of it in order to avoid serious analysis.

        “Study human history.”

        This is clearly something you singularly refuse to do (see the many examples below), unless, of course, you want to tell me that you don’t consider Africans to be human.

        “Also study current affairs at the various micro & mezzo levels.”

        Again, I gave numerous examples, and for you to simply brush them aside is rather arrogant and conceited, and doesn’t qualify as a contribution to actual understanding.

        “It’s a competitive world and to succeed it is almost always necessary to use the tools at your disposal to manipulate the situation so as to make your success more likely.”

        Yes, so please stop with the idiotic notion that the elites who rule the US and Europe haven’t crafted an entire system of domination and exploitation of the Third World to suit their own needs, which is what I’ve been talking about all along.

        “The West (and currently most particularly the US) has put itself in position (due to many factors including some luck) to dictate world affairs and they have used this attained advantage to increase its wealth and power.
        Taking advantage of others for own gain is not a nice thing to do. I would prefer a world in which we can all work together to improve the common lot. That is a nice goal but it’s never been the case and maybe will never be the case.”

        See? Now you’re getting the hang of it. Granted, you still interject the same self-justifying, miserable rationale for exploitation and imperialism, but at least you’re now acknowledging that it’s there rather than falling back on the standard tropes of the Third World being the way it is simply because of its “internal” limitations.

        “If the shoe where turned and Africa was in position of power I have no doubt that Africa would have done even worse. Why do I think this? History teaches me this lesson as does current affairs.
        Africa is a perfect (albeit extreme) example, anytime one group or tribe has had ability to take advantage of another it has done so in extreme fashion.”

        Again, a stupid irrelevance, given that Africa has NO PROESPECT of dominating the First World in the way that the First World currently dominates Africa. Your atrocity apologetics are getting tiresome and make me somewhat dubious of your sincerity.

        “You look at nations like Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, the governments and wealthy in these nations corruptly dominate the wealth and leave the masses to starve.”

        As Picard pointed out, neoliberalism encourages and favors such corruption and kleptocracy. For one thing, it’s far easier to deal with a corrupt elite than it is to work towards empowering the masses and giving them a decent share of the nation’s wealth. Let me put the question to you: do you think that if the elites of the West were in the position of the elites of Africa, that they wouldn’t leave YOU to starve? If not, what’s with the racist trope that Africans are nothing more than savages? You already know that extremities of wealth invariably facilitate corruption; in conditions of absolute poverty combined with policies imposed from outside that can ONLY produce extremes of inequality, why would you expect any OTHER outcome than corruption? What matters in such a context is what leads to these conditions, rather than pointing your finger at corruption as though it just exists in a vacuum.

        “These are not poor nations without resources, in fact many European nations would love to have the resources Nigeria has.”

        They do. They effectively own and control these resources, and share in the spoils with the African elites, just as the European elites share in the spoils with the Chinese elites, as when the EU pressured the Chinese government not to improve working conditions in Chinese factories.

        “Please enlighten me Luis. Its hard for me to respond until you explain to me the tools and techniques you so complain about.”

        1) The threat of economic sanctions and/or withdrawal of aid to cajole African governments to open their markets and deregulate the manner in which foreign companies can operate in their own countries; 2) the use of aid as a “sweetener” to induce African governments to sign off on neoliberal policies; 3) the attachment of conditionalities to IMF and World Bank loans that end up making the host country sink into a spiral of debt and economic dependency, while allowing Western capital to further penetrate their markets and take over their enterprises; 4) the patent regime that makes it extremely difficult and expensive for Africa to acquire the technological knowledge that it needs to industrialize, as well as to fully service the health needs of its people; 5) clauses in bilateral agreements that extend the rights of foreign investors at the expense of the host country and its peoples; 6) the threat of legal action when African governments do things that a corporation feels cut into its “projected profits”, even when there is no contractual obligation between the two and even when the action by the government is imperative from a humanitarian point of view (eg. allowing generic drugs to be sold on the market at much lower prices alongside the exorbitantly expensive drugs sold by a Western corporation).
        These are exploitative, imperialistic, even genocidal tools. These are not things that I “so complain about”; these are things that AFRICANS have been complaining about for decades because they’ve had to live through the actual consequences.

        “Poor is a relative term but, look at the poorer nations. These have mostly failed to or have only recently begun to participate in the western system.”

        False.

        “These are usually the nations with the most corrupt and/or dictatorial systems of government.”

        Yes.

        “Many of the Asian economies have developed through use of proprietary tactics along with established western economic practices and at times, it worked very well at others not so well.”

        I’ll make it simple: those that succeeded used protectionist policies and strong state intervention that allowed their local industries to develop, those that followed the advice of the IMF got screwed over. In other words, the ones that developed were those that used the policies of the Western countries who are now trying to impose market fundamentalist policies on poor countries and pretending that this will lead to “development”.

        “Most importantly, these nations have avoided disastrous levels of corruption (as is case in Africa and Western hemisphere south of Rio Grande) and have maintained stability and order of law that allows for economic growth.”

        True. Different countries have different functions within the imperial system. Some are allowed to develop for strategic reasons, some aren’t and occupy a different position in the imperial value chain. The latter come to be ruled by corrupt elites who are in cahoots with the West, as is perfectly predictable for the reasons given earlier: extremes of inequality, which flow inexorably from neoliberal policies, lead inevitably to corruption by elites who see themselves as the rightful custodians of this wealth.

        “Please tell me the coups you speak about that were a result of attempts to establish economic practices that would have benefitted the population.”

        None. I said that the coups were done to benefit the imperialists, not the population.

        “Please avoid vague conspiracy theories without real evidence.”

        There’s nothing vague about a military coup, nor about the support that the coup plotters and benefactors are consistently given by the US and other Western states. This is a record well known to all Latin Americans, even if you prefer haughty denials and to shrug your shoulders in ignorance. Many examples also abound in Africa and Asia.

        “Anybody can come up with a ton of those and it would make our argument go nowhere. It’s like arguing against religion. I can’t reason with anyone who believes something even though they have no real evidence.”
        You give the perfect impression that it’s indeed you who needs to “study human history”, particularly the history that’s taken place over the past 100 or so years. Good starting points would be the following: “IMF and World Bank loan conditionalities”; “Bechtel Corporation in Bolivia”; “Pinochet and the CIA”; “School of the Americas”; “Guatemalan genocide”; “South Korean development state”; “Haitian farmers”; “Intellectual property rights and patents regime”; “Generic drugs sold on the South African market”; “Grain dumping by the EU”. The list goes on and on about things you seem not to include under the rubric of “important”, with the unifying theme seemingly being “this makes us look bad, therefore it’s secondary”.

        “Therefore, instead of demonizing one side we should acknowledge the evils of slavery and work to abolish it anywhere it exists.”

        “Demonizing” one side is precisely what you do when you chalk the Third World’s problems up to their own “corruption” without looking at how it got there, while needing to be informed about a multitude of things that you never bothered informing yourself about.

        “Hong Kong was better of as a British colony in almost every way. The people of Hong Kong are mostly ethnic Chinese and no one likes to be a colony. Regardless, if you retake that Luis imaginary poll of yours I bet most in Hong Kong would probably prefer Hong Kong would have remained part of British Empire.”

        The irony here is that it’s your hypothetical poll which is imaginary, unlike the one that was actually conducted before the reunification of China and Honk Kong.

        “Trade liberalization is mostly beneficial to the corporations and stockholders. And it mostly hurts the working classes in industrialized nations. Not, the third world or developing nations that participate in these tariff free zones.”

        Yes and no. It really depends on whether increases in pay are met with increases in purchasing power. This might or might not be the case in particular cases, but unfortunately when an economy is opened up to foreign investment and control in the way it is under neoliberal regimes, many concomitant changes also take place that aren’t for the benefit of the people. Privatization of key services, for example, can see increases in service costs, depressing whatever benefits might have accrued to workers being paid better wages by foreign companies than they are by local ones. Neoliberal policies also destabilize economies by pushing many local businesses out of operation; the often slave-like conditions in sweat shops push many workers to depression (with its own attendant costs) and even suicide, and ultimately these economies become appendages of Western capital perpetually vulnerable to the carrot of “aid”. And even if it can be said that workers in these countries gain some benefits from liberalization, these benefits are far, far less than they would be if the country was adopting genuinely developmental policies (such as protectionist measures to foster the growth of local industries, social programs to help the unemployed and poor, state-directed investment of key industries to increase the consuming power of the masses, etc).It’s why South Korea is far more developed than Thailand or Indonesia.

        “In fact the second biggest winner in trade liberalization (after corporations that sell to the west) is the developing world. Freeing up of capital controls does in some cases give access to resources (in third world nations) to western entities. It goes both ways usually but the western entities often have more cash to allow for purchase of assets. Other forms of lax capital controls often lead to monetary base inflation and due to corruption that exists in nearly every third world nation; this increased fluency ends up in the hands of rich further increasing inequality. Before you mention that the last situation occurs in US as well I will tell you that you are correct. The third world does not have exclusive domain over corruption; it’s just a lot more inclusive and without control in the third world.”

        Yes, because neoliberal policies strip the state of the means to tackle corruption. They allow for capital flight, deregulated banking, privatization of public assets, cuts to social spending, and the penetration of local markets by foreign capital, who can easily bribe their way around. This leads to a scramble by local elites to take as much as possible and bleed the country dry. In the West, there are at least some protections against these things.

        “How many times have been to Haiti?”

        Never. I’ve been to India but I don’t fancy myself an expert on India just because I spent two weeks there.

        “Duvalier was overthrown in 1986 and Aristide took power, again corruption reigned and the few rich controlled the economy.”
        Aristide took power in an election process engineered by the United States that ensured that he had no real power. Of course corruption continued.

        “The living conditions of the people remained horrid.”

        Yes, due to US meddling. And they remain just as horrid now, with continued US meddling. Are you starting to see the common denominator?

        “After Earth Quake in 2010 Haiti received aid from all over the world. France initially provided all types of aid, doctors, transportation, engineering, construction, and cash. The US did the same including 379 Million in cash from Washington.”

        379 million is a miserable pittance compared to what the US and France owe Haiti, which would run into the tens of billions at the very least. And the earthquake was the disaster it was because the building standards in Haiti were so pitiful. This followed on the tail of, yes, neoliberalism. How much of the aid money even reached the people who needed it? Obama placed G.W. Bush in charge of the aid program. You can bet that a good chunk of the cash went to administrative overhead, paying contractors, and that some of it was simply siphoned away.

        “That does not include all the private aid that came from American citizens. Initially all of the physical presence of aid did a lot to control disaster but soon the corruption took over and again most of this aid has ended up in the hands of nations few.”

        Yes, the US favored elite who rule the country – a few families who control most of the wealth and who have turned helped turn the Haitian state into a husk of an institution.
        “Again, internal corruption and poor social habits make these nations poor. Not so called invasions that occurred 100 years ago.”

        Now even the invasions are only “so called”? You’re stooping to the level of Holocaust denial. And yes, invasions that happened 100 years ago can still have a strong effect, if the aftermath of those invasions was never rectified.

        “Central America is the same story. Reagan became involved in internal affairs there. But, the civil wars and fighting over power preceded Reagan.”

        And Reagan ensured that it reached genocidal levels, complete with death squads, massacres, and nations shattered by years of state terrorism. You also ignore that these nations were ruled by US-back elites in the decades preceding Reagan.

        “Reagan was just trying to ensure the wrong folks (pro Castro leftist that might allow USSR in) did not gain power.”

        This ignores that the uprisings in Central America were an expression of social pressures directed against brutal elites who dominated these countries at the behest of the United States. “Pro-Castro” is just a slur designed to take attention away from the fact that these groups had little other recourse than to seek help from Cuba.

        “That is complete bullshit! Most Latin American nations are close to the US in many ways.”

        Note how I said CLOSEST, not “close”. But I should really have said “most under the control of” the US.

        “Colombia is the closest ally politically.”

        Yes, and is marred by poverty, human rights violations and extreme inequality, as well as acting as a military base for US espionage and subversion in the region. Colombia has by far the worst human rights record in the Western hemisphere, and millions of its people are internally displaced from a vicious civil war financed by Washington.

        “Brazil & Mexico closest economically. These are not the poorest nations by far. You named the poorest and these are mostly irrelevant to the US. Only nations that are not allied to US are Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia. These nations are in no way the richest.”

        True, Bolivia isn’t the richest, because it had been ruled by a pro-US elite for decades who marginalized the bulk of the population. Now the country faces US-harassment and economic warfare against a populist leftist leader who has at least taken some measures to improve their lot. Brazil is economically close to the US, but is part of the BRICS bloc (the “B” in that name), and wants to chart a more independent course from the US. Mexico is an advanced state with many problems of poverty, inequality, and human rights violations. It has suffered from the refusal of the US to amend its narcotics policies, which have empowered the cartels and driven a cycle of violence that has seen some 100,000 Mexicans dying over a period of about a decade. Guns flow into Mexico from the US border on a regular basis, ending up in cartel hands due to lax US gun laws. And US economic policies have victimized Mexican farmers through the familiar theme of grain dumping, pushing many farmers into the drug business out of sheer survival.

        “Venezuela was somewhat rich at one point due to its huge oil reserves but is now falling apart due to drop in Oil prices.”

        The masses of people were poorer before Chavez came to power when the benefits of oil were mostly going to the elite, to foreign capital and to an urban middle class.

        “Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia are opposed to the US at every turn.”

        False. Venezuela is a major source of petroleum for the United States, and has made repeated overtures of dialogue. Bolivia is a small country in which an indigenous movement has ushered into power a president from among their ranks, in place of a traditionally white elite. It is the US that has undermined Bolivia by sponsoring break-away tendencies in predominantly right-wing regions of the country, and has insisted on bringing Bolivia’s growth of coca (a traditional plant used for millennia by indigenous peoples) under the rubric of the “war on drugs”.

        “siding with Russia, China, N. Korea, Iran, and anyone who opposes US in everything. These nations have gone forward in opposite direction to the US. According to your theory these would be most prosperous nations in the hemisphere. But, that is far from truth.”

        No, I didn’t say they should be the most prosperous. Indeed, I would predict that they CAN’T be, due to unrelenting US pressure, harassment, economic warfare, destabilization, coup attempts, blockades, and sanctions.

        “You are a total idiot for making some of these statements. Of course I did not meet with all Dominicans! I did travel the Island pretty well. I also have many, many Dominican friends and acquaintances that tell me about their experiences living in the country. The problem is a social problem not a problem with the Dominican people. It is a problem that has developed due to years of poor governance and economic abuse by the nations elite.”
        That’s definitely not what you said earlier. You said that “Dominicans” are lazy and just like to sit around drinking. Make up your mind about what you want to say.

        “In fact the same social problem is now becoming prevalent in Cuban culture. This does that means that Cubans have all of a sudden become racially inferior, no it means that years of living in communist system that reinforces laziness, fails to promote entrepreneurship, does not reward hard work, removes established moral standards (and yes removing religion from society has been a big part of the breakdown in moral fiber of Cuban society. Even though I am not religious), and removes the concept of private property, has succeeded in destroying the culture of the nation.
        The biggest obstacle in making Cuba prosperous is not removal of regime or the embargo (never a full embargo since basically US has been only to comply with it to win Cuban-American lobby) but, un-doing the social damage that has been done to the society.”

        Right, because Cuba was a beacon of prosperity and “morality” under Batista. Your quip about “established moral standards” is a joke. Cuba rotated a total of 300,000 military personnel in Angola to defend that nation against apartheid South Africa’s cross-border terrorism. No nation in modern history has shown such selfless devotion, done at enormous risk to itself (Cuba had to seriously beef up its civil defenses against a possible US attack, which was being touted by the Reagan administration as a possibility unless Cuba withdraw its forces from Africa).

        “I am not going to even bother to respond to your attempt to speak about the US economy. This is the topic I have most knowledge on and it is also the most erroneous part of your poorly informed, close minded opinion.”

        Translation: you can’t refute anything I actually said, because everything I stated was perfectly accurate.

        “I will not respond because I know it will lead to me writing a book and I have a great life to enjoy here in the evil empire. I have already wasted too much of my precious time.”

        Poor darling. I suppose you also think that the real problem in the world is that you have to “keep hearing about” the problems of Third World peoples, rather than that those problems can’t seem to go away under your wonderful capitalist system. If only you could enjoy your great life unmolested by the frequency of these stories! Then everything would be perfect.

        “But, there are plenty that hate America and anything that is associated with it.”

        Irrelevant to the discussion.

        “Some may have cause due to personal experience but, I suspect most are just insanely jealous. I wonder which of the two defines you?”

        It’s impossible for me to answer that question because the premise is faulty.

        • “Let me put the question to you: do you think that if the elites of the West were in the position of the elites of Africa, that they wouldn’t leave YOU to starve?”

          I might add, they already did it. Take a look at 19th century capitalism (capitalism without a mask, as I like to call it). It was only half a step short of outright slavery, wages were so low that the entire familiy had to work in order not to starve (and in extremely dangerous conditions too), and most factories had “workers are hired and fired daily” policy. Early 20th century capitalism was not much better. And that is why capitalists are promoting conflicts in north Africa and Middle East, why they want mass immigration into Europe… to push down price of the working class, destroy the social security net and return Europe to conditions I have just described. But people don’t see this because they are not familiar with history and so don’t recognize the patterns, the intent and the danger of what the elites are doing.

          “I’ll make it simple: those that succeeded used protectionist policies and strong state intervention that allowed their local industries to develop, those that followed the advice of the IMF got screwed over. In other words, the ones that developed were those that used the policies of the Western countries who are now trying to impose market fundamentalist policies on poor countries and pretending that this will lead to “development”.”

          To expand on this, open market policies were always, *always*, promoted by imperialistic powers. With economic influence comes political influence, and open market essentially opens countries to economic occupation and exploitation. But all economic powerhouses that are now promoting open market became powerhouses thanks to protectionist policies. Even United States.

          “You’re stooping to the level of Holocaust denial.”

          To be fair, there are more valid reasons to question Holocaust than to question consequences of Western imperialism, and all boil down to “history is written by the winners”. I am no expert on German concetration camps however, so I won’t enter that, but I will note that the “official” history – written by Communists – has long massively overstated number of casualties from Jasenovac concentration camp. It is that worse because there are books which list every last person who ever entered the camp – 18.600 names in total. Meanwhile, US genocide against natives, or Turkish genocide against Armenians, are mostly ignored – again, history written by the winners.

      • “I agree that many of the inequalities in Africa were leftovers of European colonization.”

        Again, you’re operating from the assumption that this is stuff that came and went. Most of my posts have been about NEO-colonialism, which means economic domination through means short of outright colonialism in the classic sense. In case you didn’t know, the imperialist powers didn’t simply relinquish their influence and interference once their colonies packed up and left. Through the various examples I gave, I’ve been saying that Europe has continued to exert influence and to interfere, through different and more sophisticated mechanisms. What can’t be denied is that neolocolonialism took root as an historical continuity of classical colonialism.

        I was reminded of this discussion we’re while reading a book called “Endless War? Hidden Functions of the ‘War on Terror’” by David Keen. He writes:

        “To understand a process of becoming we need a sense of individual and national history, as well as a sense of the West’s impact on the problem. But these have generally been lacking, particularly in the United States. Bush put it with characteristic aplomb when he said, ‘I think we all agree, the past is over.’ When it comes to history, the very word is frequently used in the United States to mean something that is dead or irrelevant (as in ‘you’re history’). At the same time, history is frequently an arena of narcissism: notably, for Bush and Blair themselves, who have often invoked ‘history’ to allude to know how key actors (notably, themselves) will be judged in the future. For example, Bush said in the introduction to the National Security Strategy on 17 September 2002, ‘History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act.’ Blair told the US Congress that if Saddam’s WMD capabilities were being wrongly assessed, ‘That is something I am confident history will forgive.’

        Applying this template to your words, you simultaneously invoke the irrelevance of colonial (and even current neocolonial) policies to Africa’s development, while intoning that immigration to Europe will be judged harshly by history if it’s not done with more care. But would not an Africa statesman in the 1960s and 70s have been justified in warning about the “coming danger” of signing onto the trade agreements and arrangements that were evolving at the time?

        At some point, are you going to finally connect the threads and realize that there’s a pattern and a structure to all this? At some point, we have to connect the threads and realize that what the West has been doing isn’t merely “looking out for its own interests in a competitive world”. Such narratives are apologetics for imperialism, whether purposely or not. So far, your take can be summed up as “deflect, deny and minimize”.

        “The European pull-out after WWII created a power vacuum that led to in-fighting among Africans.”

        Yes, and that vacuum has been filled by Africans still living under set of conditions that are largely the product of an ongoing program of neocolonialism. While Africa gained nominal political independence, its economic development has been constrained, hampered, and misdirected by outside powers. Shifting the attention to the “power vacuum” that often accompanies decolonization is to miss the point.

        “There was also the poor education and lack of social institutions that made it difficult for the African masses to participate in government and the result of this was as you said extremes of inequality. But, at some point we have to stop blaming colonialism and having the Africans take responsibility for their own countries.”
        This callously and ignores everything I’ve been talking about, and begs several questions, which I’ve also been talking about.

        “Just as Europe was a even bigger mess after fall of Roman Empire, eventually you have to stop blaming the Romans.”

        A poor analogy. What’s the connection? Roman hegemons no longer controlled Europe when their empire collapsed. The same cannot be said of much of Africa’s economic infrastructure with respect to Europe. Now the Chinese and Americans are getting in on the action (according to Nick Turse, the US currently has a military presence in some 40 countries on the continent, if I’m not mistaken). There is imperial leverage almost everywhere you look, from the economic, the political and the military, and even the cultural spheres. One major problem is that the African states are not anywhere near as united and well-coordinated as their European and American counterparts. When the EU/EC put up a united front to penetrate and exploit Africa, they are not usually met by a reciprocal united front.

        This is a major failing that Africa will have to rectify.

        “If they slaughter their neighbors for power would they not slaughter Europeans or Asians if they were in position to do so?”

        You’ve repeated this for the third time, and it still doesn’t add anything to the discussion. Again, please explain how it is that Africa will “slaughter” Europeans? And why do you assume that Africans are somehow innately given to slaughter and violence? If this isn’t what you’re implying, then why bring it up “slaughter”? First you condescendingly lament Africans for not “taking responsibility” and that the solution to Africa’s problems is for them to do so, then you intone that slaughter and violence are their natural state and imply that they can’t move past this. Indeed, the latter sets is itself imperialist apologetics, because in the chauvinist mindset it JUSTIFIES exploitation and underdevelopment; by these lights, Europe SHOULD keep Africa weak, because to do otherwise would be to empower an alien and brutal polity that knows only the language of violence and conflict. This apologetics is deeply imbued with irony, because it was who Europeans slaughtered each other for many centuries and then exported their craft to continents both near and far. Now that they’ve lost their means of direct colonial subjugation, they adopt a schizophrenic approach towards their former colonial subjects, wavering between viewing these peoples as savages who are beyond redemption, on the one hand, and making verbal overtures to get these subjects to “develop” (while largely overlooking their own role in precluding such development) on the other. Such are the ways of the imperial mindset, carried down many generations and infusing themselves into the assumptions and institutions that guide “Western” policies towards the global South.

        “Examples are clear in conflicts in Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, Angola, Liberia, etc.”

        Yes, there are wars and genocides in Africa, just as there were when Europe was poor.

        “I am sure you will find some details of US involvement and blame the entire conflict including all of the local atrocities on Americans. The US is the world’s dominant military, economic, and political power and some US based group is usually involved in some way in almost everything that happens worldwide, good and bad. During Cold War US and USSR were equally dominant”

        The Soviets languished behind the US in terms of influence and violence projected around the globe. The US deployed violence in the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific before the advent of the Soviet Union, it deployed violence around the world during the Cold War (to a far greater extent than did the Soviets, who largely confined their international violence to states on their border), and they are deploying violence around the world. The common thread is imperialism. The pretexts change, the justifications shift, and the psychological narratives evolve, but the underlying material basis for all this violence is still the same.

        “You just can’t win when you are the world’s biggest and strongest. If you get involved in 5% you get blamed for 100% of what goes wrong. If you stay away from involvement you get blamed for not doing more.”

        This is the modern version of the White Man’s Burden, and it’s led to millions of deaths in separate wars in Korea, Indochina, and the Middle East, not to mention “counter-insurgency” actions and coups in Latin America and Africa.

        “You can’t blame the US for Africans killing each other over power and old tribal issues. You can put some blame on Europeans who drew up these false borders, never allowed local institutions to flourish, and then withdrew, leaving a power vacuum that Africans have been slaughtering each other to fill for generations.”

        The US and Europe don’t directly tell anyone in Africa to slaughter anyone else (well, let’s assume that they don’t, for the sake of argument), but they certainly and knowingly help produce the economic and geopolitical context that empowers vicious and sectarian forces. This, in turn, provides “justification” for further intervention. The beauty of US imperialism is that it is perpetually creating the conditions that are then used as a reason to let it get involved again. This is precisely what the function of the war on terror is: since this war cannot possibly be “won” using the methods that entail it, it will always fail to succeed in its stated goal, with the qualification that “next time”, if it just ramps up its effort, it might just win – into perpetuity.

        “I cant find any evidence of EU pressuring Chinese to not improve working conditions. But, I can find plenty of times US did the opposite.”

        I can’t remember where I read that the EU had done this; I’ll endeavor to dig it up. I believe it was an article about the Chinese workers movement and European rhetoric about human rights. As for the US “pressuring” China to improve the working conditions of its workers, I’d like to know when this has ever entailed concrete actions rather than pretty words.

        “Western corporations often do still control some industries in Africa.”

        This misses the point. I’ve been saying that Europe exploits Africa by virtue of market penetration and unfair trading agreements, not simply “control” of industries (though that’s certainly yet another factor).

        “Although most of the control has now been taken by locals (either government or war lords usually). Especially, in the countries or provinces with most instability and fighting.”

        This fighting is often fueled by the market need for cheap resources. The capitalist market doesn’t allow for a true resolution of these conflicts, because that would mean increasing costs of labor. Much cheaper to just benefit from slaves. Different material interests converge that sustain the wanton slaughter of human beings in Africa.

        “In these places it’s hard to maintain a business if you are not a warlord. In African nations that are now under stable government control, western corporations maintain strong business relations with African governments and/or corporations. But what happens is West buys natural resources from Africans (usually at established market rates) and then are blamed because these African leaders fail to properly utilize these funds for betterment of their own society.”

        That’s only half right. These governments are also expected to privatize public utilizes, privatize state assets, defund education and other services, relax environmental regulations, lift controls on capital flight, and provide the conditions for a “buoyant investment climate” (i.e. submit to corporate demands, under threat of de-investment). In other words, the African leaders get blamed for the negative effects of what the West demanded that they do in the first place. Of course, these leaders are themselves often very corrupt, but this mostly EXCERCERBATES the basic problem.

        “The world buys lots of Oil and other natural resources from Nigeria and folks like you complain that the world is stealing your resources. No we are buying them from your governments who fail to properly utilize windfall to develop the economy.”

        These governments are put into power and maintained precisely to service the needs of the West. If the West doesn’t agree with what these governments are doing, they should stop selling them weapons to repress their people. This repression and inequality is what fuels wars in much of Africa.

        “Multi-national Corporations like most any human institution utilize the tools available, and do attempt to improve their chances for greater profits.”

        Most human situations aren’t after “profit”. Corporations have a structural imperative to maximize profits, underscoring their basic anti-social nature.

        “Neoliberal policies are not to blame for most of Africa’s problems. Its more to do with poor governance, corruption, in-fighting and tribal/religious warfare, and general lack of order, stability, and rule of law.”

        And boom, we’re back to square one. You’ve learned precisely nothing. Your chauvinist assumptions seem always to arch back to the beginning in a nice, neat circle that allows for nothing to violate its basic assumptions.

        “Combine that with governments and elites who get rich selling Africas resources and do nothing to develop infrastructure, and Its hard to get an economy going. These problems do not come from neo-liberal policies. These exist based on much more local institutions. The world could completely pull out of Africa right now and leave Africa to its own devices and Africa would not be better off.”

        This is a straw-man and a false equivocation. No one’s saying that everyone should “pull out” of Africa. They’re saying that the terms of trade need to be FAIR in order for Africa to develop in the global capitalist context. By falsely equivocating neoliberal policies with trade as such, you make it seem as though there is no moral responsibility on the part of the imperialists. This is, once again, to make excuses for imperialism, and fits within the standard chauvinist trope of never looking in the mirror but rather blaming the less developed country for being perpetual shitty human beings.

        “If capitalism and Milton Friedman type liberal policies were so bad you would expect that the US and western Europe would be total economic messes and comparatively that’s far from truth.”

        No, you wouldn’t, because these policies were tried in European, were seen to be a disaster, and were quickly aborted. Thereafter, a more restrained form of capitalism was allowed to develop in the West, while the Third World was exposed to the shock therapy, austerity, and market “discipline” that entails Friedmanite fundamentalism.

        “Friedman economics is not good for populations in my view but a far bigger problems is warlords.”

        True, but you don’t get to skip straight to warlords after failing to even acknowledge that the application of capitalism will differ between the imperial homeland and the countries under its thumb. To think otherwise is simplistic in the extreme. Indeed, if you actually listen to what African states are saying, they’ll say that they want to use the same tools and institutions that the West used to develop – and consistently, the West refuses to allow this, choosing to obstruct African development by insisting on austerity, privatization of public utilities, and so on, which have proved disastrous almost across the board. Notably, the pitiful level of development that Friedmanite economics will allow is itself a facilitator of warlords, as the state breaks down and is unable to service the ends of its people, resulting in a cycle of cynicism where people take as much for themselves on the pretext that someone else will do it first. Pretty soon, you get warlords who want to take everything. Warlords are a logical outcome of applying neoliberal destruction on a continent that has already been ravaged by colonialism. The context is the thing to focus on: what is it that allows such things as warlords to even arise?

        “Sounds like you think that western firms should just give Africa the patents they worked hard and invested much to develop.”

        This is another straw-man. What I want, at minimum, if that these drugs be made available to Africans at prices they can readily afford, even if it cuts into corporate profits. The current patent regime is tyrannical and unjust, because it denies urgently needed resources to those in desperate need on the basis that they can’t act as consumers in a market.

        “If Africa, Brazil and others wants these free they should develop it themselves.”

        It’s just so easy, isn’t it! Why don’t poverty-stricken countries just pour billions of dollars into AIDS research? “Western” science has barely been able to keep up with HIV’s evolution, but you think that African can simply “develop it themselves”?
        “I can tell you that for many drugs, (HIV drugs in particular) African nations get these at a subsidized rate compared to what western citizens and governments get these at (even though they were developed in west and often had development costs subsidized by western citizens).”

        These drugs are stupidly expensive across the board, simply because they can be. The ONLY consideration that gets corporations to lower the cost of drugs on the market is public outrage and pressure.

        “I think the drug companies are making a killing (Meds for one HIV+ person in US cost roughly $2000-$3000 monthly and almost always these are paid by public tax payer funded institutions). But Africa is getting a good deal compared to western citizens.”

        Sure, in absolute monetary terms. But that doesn’t mean that they’re getting a good deal when weighted for average incomes and purchasing power (maybe they are, but you can’t judge this simply from the fact that these drugs are now subsidized).

        “I work with a lady that goes yearly to Africa (forgot what country) with a church organization (Florida based church) to not only provide free HIV meds and condoms but to educate. What she tells me is that many folks refuse to take the medication. In fact most refuse to get tested and if tested refuse to tell anyone including their sex partners because of the stigma associated with HIV. Worst of all these same folks mostly refuse to use condoms. That is why HIV is destroying parts of Africa. But, of course you blame the west. To add, these same issues exist in many of the poorer communities here in the US. Which is why even with the huge public health efforts, HIV remains a problem in US too. Instead of blaming the west for all of Africa’s problems maybe you should look to fix the issues internally. Would Ebola have been brought under control without western efforts?”

        Perhaps not – which just underlines the absurdity of expecting countries which lack that sort of basic infrastructure to develop drugs to combat HIV/AIDS. Granted, there are many problems with attitudes in Africa towards AIDS (as there are in in the West, where the stigma exists not only among “poor communities” but also among the relatively affluent). And Western institutions are themselves not blameless for this either (in particular, the pernicious stance of the Roman Catholic Church has had dire consequences). Speaking of “Western efforts”, you might also have mentioned Cuban efforts: “Speaking in Geneva, Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, praised Cuba’s contribution in fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa on Friday, calling it the “largest offer of doctors, nurses and other specialists” so far provided by a nation state.”

        • I am still in process of finalizing my response to your previous post. I am limited in time. I will get to this current post but not now.

          I would like others here to also contribute both for and against. I believe that in most debates the truth lies somewhere in the middle and debate is a good form of finding that middle. If not for the debaters (who often are emotionally bought into their own argument) then at least for the readers.

          My family lost as result of Castro revolution in Cuba. Loss of wealth and property of course but also imprisonment, torture, and death have been brought to my family as a result of that revolution. It is difficult for me to speak well of that government but not as difficult as it is for my father and uncles who paid above price directly.

          I do want to admit as hard as it is for me that yes Castro regime did the right thing and came out on right side of history in Southern Africa. And yes, provision of high number of one of the islands strongest resources (doctors) to fight Ebola was also a very good thing.

          Don’t also fail to acknowledge that Castro has been a repressive dictator internally (especially in first few decades in power), and sending a high number of young Cubans to Africa (300,000 in an island of 10-11 million is a big number) was a smart way to relieve pressure internally as well as a tool to create nationalistic fervor and keep the peoples minds busy thinking about Africa instead of poverty and oppression internally. I believe this is something Putin is currently doing as well. I cant say that Castro is the devil anymore than Reagan or any number of world leaders but he is definitely not the noble leader some want to portray him to be.

          I believe like most people your views are definitely being partly led by hate and emotion. Although you may have cause for this emotion, you are going too far I believe due to this cognitive state.

          My views are also a result of my position and emotional ties. I admit I am fearful of having to pay for the crimes of my descendants and/or national leaders. I am also defensive because no other nation or empire has paid for crimes related to acquisition of wealth and power and everyone has done it. But now that my nation is in top position those that have also done same in larger or smaller scale want to point their finger at us without looking at themselves too. I am an American citizen, and my views are influenced by this fact.

          I also want to point out that moving forward, the best way to correct issues is not to seek blame, or retribution but to seek change. If you want to go the blame route the party being blamed will become defensive and things wont go well. I know this may not be justice but its real.

        • Yes, what you said is exactly correct. Being blunt (as I typically am) is rarely a good way to change someone’s opinion or influence him to change, as people automatically become defensive, which precludes formation of the middle ground. But conflict is actually a good thing – as long as governed by some rules – as it helps people form the middle ground, and successfully solved conflict often leads to until then unappreciated solutions.

      • “Don’t also fail to acknowledge that Castro has been a repressive dictator internally (especially in first few decades in power), and sending a high number of young Cubans to Africa (300,000 in an island of 10-11 million is a big number) was a smart way to relieve pressure internally as well as a tool to create nationalistic fervor and keep the peoples minds busy thinking about Africa instead of poverty and oppression internally.”

        Is this actually true? Sending a high number of Cubans to Africa to fight in a war placed enormous pressure on the Cuban economy and threatened the alliance with the Soviet Union, its prime benefactor. If anything, such a move would have contributed to internal poverty. As for “nationalistic fervor”: that’s even more difficult to credit, given that Cuba was regularly and loudly espousing the INTERnationalist nature of its intervention, and this was impressed upon its soldiers from the start. At some point (maybe from the beginning, but I don’t know) Castro referred to the mission (fighting against apartheid and helping the Southern African states threatened by the SADF) as “the most beautiful mission”. In its dealings with the Angolan government, Cuba never showed any chauvinist inclinations, and its soldiers were exceptionally well disciplined and humane to the local population. Cuba actually encouraged Angola to normalize relations with the United States, and always made it clear that the decision to stay in Angola was solely in the hands of the Angolans. It’s easy to come up with just-so stories about what “would have been smart” for Castro, but is there any evidence that Castro was motivated by them?

  6. @ Altandmain

    Its not Social Welfare that is the problem. It is the way it is given. In US Welfare motivates the poor to remain below a certain level as going above would lead to loss of benfits. It also allows lifetime benefits without enough focus on job training, education, and fixing the root causes that cuased this person to need aid.

    I would be in favor of Universal Health Care, Universal post-secondary Education, and expansion of Social Security benfits to those at full retirement age. When benefits are gained from falling below a certain economic level, people will be motivated to fall below and stay below that level.

    I am all for expansion of overtime pay provisions, higher (but time limited) un-employment benefits, increased and mandatory work holidays, etc, etc.

    Of course the devil is in the details and it must be done correctly to work. Problem is I lack faith in the federal government in doing things correctly for the good of the population and not special interests that always manipulate everything.

    • The problem with time limited benefits is if the economy is truly awful, then no matter how hard people search, it is going to be really hard to find a job.

      The only way is if you had some way of showing that people were looking (ex: thank you for applying emails and the like), then it would not be time limited.

      Yes I agree though that the US government has been subservient to private interests for far too long.

      • The fix for lack of jobs and a poor economy needs to be an economic one. Government cant step in and provide economic benefits long term if the economy is not fixed. In a weak economy government inlays also decline.

        If you have to re-train for new jobs government should foster this. And for job seeker, lower your expectations if you cant find job you seek. At least have a job and then keep seeking.

        Extended welfare payments are not sustainable and makes people less likely to put best foot forward in job search. Unless you are in process of being re-trained and/or educated for new jobs, one year has to be maximum for un-employment benefits. I have been un-employed twice in last twenty years (2002 & 2009) both times I had to settle for lesser job until I eventually worked my way back into the type of employment I wanted. No economy can prosper if a large part of population is not being productive and collecting public funds.

        There might be a future type of economy where productivity is so very high and profit margins so big that normal work hours can be greatly reduced and wages per hour greatly increased to allow for continued middle class and consumer demand and allow for most members of society to maintain employment. I see it coming but probably not before I am retired.

        • “There might be a future type of economy where productivity is so very high and profit margins so big that normal work hours can be greatly reduced and wages per hour greatly increased to allow for continued middle class and consumer demand and allow for most members of society to maintain employment. I see it coming but probably not before I am retired.”

          Actually, that is possible even today; you could easily reduce the working day to four hours and increase both employment rate and wages per hour (and reducing working day might even significantly increase worker productivity – even total one, and is certain to increase it on a per-hour basis). Only thing necessary for such an economy – in the West at least – would be for capitalists, CEOs and so on to stop giving themselves wages that are about two hundred to two thousand times greater than average workers’ wage. But since they control the system, they are not going to cut their income for the sake of “abstract” concepts such as “economic development”, “social justice” and so on.

          https://www.glassdoor.com/research/ceo-pay-ratio/
          http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/18/why-corporate-ceo-pay-is-so-high-and-going-higher.html

        • You cant stop technology and productivity will increase to point where you either have humongous amounts of unemployment or you greatly reduce hours.

          It does not benefit the dominant class to have such a situation where too many folks have nothing to do and have no prospects and the others (the new semi-rich employed class or small business entrepreneur) are also very upset because they will have to pay huge amounts of taxes to maintain the other half that cant find jobs. This is a lose lose for the dominant class.

          Corporations dont want to over produce either and flood markets. There will be new types of service type jobs created to close gap some but, with technology even service jobs will be much more efficient and less time/work intensive.

          Thats of course if we avoid the wars and violent revolutions that have for much of human history done nothing but hold humanity back.

        • “You cant stop technology and productivity will increase to point where you either have humongous amounts of unemployment or you greatly reduce hours.”

          I don’t think even eight hour working day is strictly necessary any more. Four hours might be well enough, definetly no more than six. But that would mean cutting into capitalists’ profits, and that is the only thing they cannot accept… poverty, economic crisis, world wars… everything is fine with them as long as they keep their profits, yachts, villas and billion-USD accounts in Switzerland.

          “It does not benefit the dominant class to have such a situation where too many folks have nothing to do and have no prospects and the others (the new semi-rich employed class or small business entrepreneur) are also very upset because they will have to pay huge amounts of taxes to maintain the other half that cant find jobs. This is a lose lose for the dominant class. ”

          I’m afraid that most of the ruling class is not so far-sighted. You see what happened with economic crises, and is still happening. Increasing inequality, rising CEO wages, reducing working class wages, ever smaller number of employed with ever higher number of working hours per person… everything that shouldn’t be done, yet it is being done. Why? Because it brings (short-term) profits for the ruling class (capitalists, CEOs, politicians). And humans are never satisfied, especially in modern Western, extremely materialistic, societies; more they have, more they want.

          And having “a situation where too many folks have nothing to do and have no prospects” also means having very easy access to a very cheap work force, as there will always be five replacements for any one working person. Which helps keep wages down, and thus keeps capitalists’ profits up. In other words, it is precisely the kind of situation capitalists want… hence their support for mass immigration from North Africa and Middle East to Europe. It is a war against the middle class. High unemployment = cheap workforce. It will fuck up economy, of course, but capitalists don’t care about the economy as long as their personal wealth remains intact.

          “Corporations dont want to over produce either and flood markets. There will be new types of service type jobs created to close gap some but, with technology even service jobs will be much more efficient and less time/work intensive. ”

          No, they don’t. In fact, they don’t care about producing anything unless it can be sold. Why do you think there is such an uproar against “alternative” medicine and such?

          “Thats of course if we avoid the wars and violent revolutions that have for much of human history done nothing but hold humanity back.”

          Agreed.

  7. Occasionally you do get articles capturing what has happened in the mainstream media, but for the most part, the mainstream media serves the interests of the very rich.

    Here is any example:
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/18/iran-return-barbarity-end-nuclear-sanctions-repression-rich-american-democracy-human-rights

    • My work computer did not block your article what a miracle!

      I do agree that we need more coherent foreign policy. We (the US) need to support human rights and o move toward democracy, etc. But, we kind of tried that at beginning of Arab spring and what we got was Islamic hardliners (at least in western view) either taking power or coming near to it.

      I think you know that my view is we should pull out of region and let local forces figure this out. Maybe with some underground support for the moderates we prefer. Also quiet but consistent provision of military equipment to Israel to ensure they maintain military advantage.

      But, there are downsides to that policy and realistically, our government is unlikely to do that due to three powerful Washington lobbies (Oil, MIC, and Israel) that prefer full involvement.

      If we are going to be involved then we need to support stability (and maybe push for gradual change from inside) ahead of anything. especially in allied countries. In Iran, work to open up diplomacy and foster an open economy where not only materials but people and information can flow back and forth. I believe the Iranian youth is ready for change and openness can foster that movement.

      I have spoken previously here of my ideas about what to do in Iraq & Syria so I will spare you of these.

    • I’d agree with that assessment – just pull out.

      That isn’t going to happen though for the reasons you specify.

  8. @ Luis

    I dont have time to continue to play this game with you. I wont answer until I have the time to properly debunk most of your ideas. I say most because I do agree with you on some basic ideas. I believe the problem is that you are projecting your anger at these situations and its clouding your judgement. Although some truth exists, you blow it up out of proportion and refuse to accept any local responsibility, it feels better to just blame the rich and successful. I know, I do it too sometimes and have to catch myself.

    Keep thinking what you like.

    Maybe one of these days I’ll take some time to respond. Like I said, I am to busy enjoying my life and taking responsibility for it too.

    • Duviel, you’ve repeated many of the standard tropes that defend and perpetuate inequality and neoliberalism, whether or not this is your intention. Now you’ve added another one to the mix: that I’m resentful of those who are “successful”. By this you mean to imply those who work hard and contribute something of value to society. But look at the means by which the people I’ve denounced have gained their success: manipulation, lying, cheating, bullying, backdoor dealing, destroying small producers, stock market shenanigans, and so on and on. The trope of “success” as used by you doesn’t admit of any of this, making it of dubious value for analysis.

      Please feel free to try to debunk most of my ideas. And good luck – because you won’t be able to. As for local responsibility, I readily accept it, but to think that all these countries done over by neoliberal policies just happen to always have “bad habits” and other inherent problems that just happen to be the “real” reasons they don’t develop is to stretch credulity to its limits. If South Korea had never been allowed to embark on a program of protectionism and state-directed intervention into its economy, the Duviels of the world would be sanctimoniously churning out platitudes about South Korea’s “bad habits” and “corruption” being the reason for its lack of development, while refusing to accept any outside responsibility.

  9. @ Luis

    I am responding to first half of your last entry. I need more time to research some of your claims in the second half of your last entry. There are a lot of specific cases and terms you cite that will give me the opportunity to respond specifically and in detail.

    I want to make sure I am not just automatically going against a claim you make just because I have in the past.

    Here is my initial reply. In good time I will be able to respond to your other more specific claims.

    Again, a stupid irrelevance, given that Africa has NO PROESPECT of dominating the First World in the way that the First World currently dominates Africa. Your atrocity apologetics are getting tiresome and make me somewhat dubious of your sincerity.

    “As Picard pointed out, neoliberalism encourages and favors such corruption and kleptocracy. For one thing, it’s far easier to deal with a corrupt elite than it is to work towards empowering the masses and giving them a decent share of the nation’s wealth. Let me put the question to you: do you think that if the elites of the West were in the position of the elites of Africa, that they wouldn’t leave YOU to starve? If not, what’s with the racist trope that Africans are nothing more than savages? You already know that extremities of wealth invariably facilitate corruption; in conditions of absolute poverty combined with policies imposed from outside that can ONLY produce extremes of inequality, why would you expect any OTHER outcome than corruption? What matters in such a context is what leads to these conditions, rather than pointing your finger at corruption as though it just exists in a vacuum”

    I agree that many of the inequalities in Africa were leftovers of European colonization. The European pull-out after WWII created a power vacuum that led to in-fighting among Africans. There was also the poor education and lack of social institutions that made it difficult for the African masses to participate in government and the result of this was as you said extremes of inequality. But, at some point we have to stop blaming colonialism and having the Africans take responsibility for their own countries. Just as Europe was a even bigger mess after fall of Roman Empire, eventually you have to stop blaming the Romans.

    Africa has no current prospect of international dominance but you can extrapolate from the mezzo to the macro. Nearly anytime that one group or tribe has had advantage over another this group has not only dominated and enslaved but often taken the additional step of slaughtering the opposition. If they slaughter their neighbors for power would they not slaughter Europeans or Asians if they were in position to do so? Examples are clear in conflicts in Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, Angola, Liberia, etc.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord%27s_Resistance_Army_insurgency

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_violence_in_South_Sudan_(2011%E2%80%93present)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sudanese_Civil_War

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somali_Rebellion

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_committed_during_the_Eritrean_War_of_Independence

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_Civil_War

    I am sure you will find some details of US involvement and blame the entire conflict including all of the local atrocities on Americans. The US is the worlds dominant military, economic, and political power and some US based group is usually involved in some way in almost everything that happens worldwide, good and bad. During Cold War US and USSR were equally dominant and fought to gain influence over every inch this led to supporting one group or the other but support did not usually mean control of local actions. In some of the worst tribal atrocities (some which continue) the US had nearly zero involvement. In fact many in world blame the US for not becoming more involved and allowing the atrocities.

    You just can’t win when you are the world’s biggest and strongest. If you get involved in 5% you get blamed for 100% of what goes wrong. If you stay away from involvement you get blamed for not doing more.

    During the Somali civil war the US did originally support Siad Barre’s government and eventually withdrew any support after atrocities grew. But, just because the US gave support to the government does not mean the US told them to massacre the opposition and slaughter civilians. It was after US publicly withdrew any support that Barre became more desperate and committed the worst atrocities.

    The UN (led by US troops) tried to step in to stop the tribal massacres but as soon as UN forces would pull out of a region the massacres continued. Nearly every government or hopeful government in the world comes to the US to seek support, and part of being involved in geo-politics means you often have to pick sides. Blaming the US for most of these locally/tribally based civil wars is like blaming the citizen who voted for the politician who eventually goes on to commit a crime. As a citizen you have limited choices and it probably behooves you to try to choose one you feel is less harmful rather than let others choose.

    You can’t blame the US for Africans killing each other over power and old tribal issues. You can put some blame on Europeans who drew up these false borders, never allowed local institutions to flourish, and then withdrew, leaving a power vacuum that Africans have been slaughtering each other to fill for generations.

    “They effectively own and control these resources, and share in the spoils with the African elites, just as the European elites share in the spoils with the Chinese elites, as when the EU pressured the Chinese government not to improve working conditions in Chinese factories”

    I cant find any evidence of EU pressuring Chinese to not improve working conditions. But, I can find plenty of times US did the opposite.

    Western corporations often do still control some industries in Africa. Although most of the control has now been taken by locals (either government or war lords usually). Especially, in the countries or provinces with most instability and fighting. In these places it’s hard to maintain a business if you are not a warlord. In African nations that are now under stable government control, western corporations maintain strong business relations with African governments and/or corporations. But what happens is West buys natural resources from Africans (usually at established market rates) and then are blamed because these African leaders fail to properly utilize these funds for betterment of their own society. The world buys lots of Oil and other natural resources from Nigeria and folks like you complain that the world is stealing your resources. No we are buying them from your governments who fail to properly utilize windfall to develop the economy.

    1)”The threat of economic sanctions and/or withdrawal of aid to cajole African governments to open their markets and deregulate the manner in which foreign companies can operate in their own countries”

    Withdrawal of aid or support is often used. Can’t find any instance of sanctions being threatened over refusal to participate in trade bloc or agreement. Like I said it’s a competitive world and those that can use tools to improve their own lot often do. Unfortunately for most of Africa, they do not have the power to control events as US, China, Japan, and most western European nations can. I never said West does not manipulate world affairs in their benefit, when they can. I simply say that others would do same if they could and in past have done so, and that these western actions are rarely deserving of the lion’s share of the credit for poor situations in third world. It’s usually internal problems that are most to blame. But, it’s easier to blame the big bad wolf.

    Multi-national Corporations like most any human institution utilize the tools available, and do attempt to improve their chances for greater profits. This includes buying of government leaders so as to establish rules that are kind to them. These corporations don’t just bribe western leaders but often find it easier to bribe leaders in third world countries. Multi-nationals do the same inside western nations.

    2) “the use of aid as a “sweetener” to induce African governments to sign off on neoliberal policies”

    Neoliberal policies are not to blame for most of Africa’s problems. Its more to do with poor governance, corruption, in-fighting and tribal/religious warfare, and general lack of order, stability, and rule of law. Combine that with governments and elites who get rich selling Africas resources and do nothing to develop infrastructure, and Its hard to get an economy going. These problems do not come from neo-liberal policies. These exist based on much more local institutions. The world could completely pull out of Africa right now and leave Africa to its own devices and Africa would not be better off. If capitalism and Milton Friedman type liberal policies were so bad you would expect that the US and western Europe would be total economic messes and comparatively that’s far from truth. Friedman economics is not good for populations in my view but a far bigger problems is warlords.

    “the patent regime that makes it extremely difficult and expensive for Africa to acquire the technological knowledge that it needs to industrialize, as well as to fully service the health needs of its people; 5) clauses in bilateral agreements that extend the rights of foreign investors at the expense of the host country and its peoples; 6) the threat of legal action when African governments do things that a corporation feels cut into its “projected profits”, even when there is no contractual obligation between the two and even when the action by the government is imperative from a humanitarian point of view (eg. allowing generic drugs to be sold on the market at much lower prices alongside the exorbitantly expensive drugs sold by a Western corporation)”

    Sounds like you think that western firms should just give Africa the patents they worked hard and invested much to develop. If Africa, Brazil and others wants these free they should develop it themselves. I can tell you that for many drugs, (HIV drugs in particular) African nations get these at a subsidized rate compared to what western citizens and governments get these at (even though they were developed in west and often had development costs subsidized by western citizens). I think the drug companies are making a killing (Meds for one HIV+ person in US cost roughly $2000-$3000 monthly and almost always these are paid by public tax payer funded institutions). But Africa is getting a good deal compared to western citizens. I work with a lady that goes yearly to Africa (forgot what country) with a church organization (Florida based church) to not only provide free HIV meds and condoms but to educate. What she tells me is that many folks refuse to take the medication. In fact most refuse to get tested and if tested refuse to tell anyone including their sex partners because of the stigma associated with HIV. Worst of all these same folks mostly refuse to use condoms. That is why HIV is destroying parts of Africa. But, of course you blame the west. To add, these same issues exist in many of the poorer communities here in the US. Which is why even with the huge public health efforts, HIV remains a problem in US too. Instead of blaming the west for all of Africa’s problems maybe you should look to fix the issues internally. Would Ebola have been brought under control without western efforts?

    I’ll make it simple: those that succeeded used protectionist policies and strong state intervention that allowed their local industries to develop, those that followed the advice of the IMF got screwed over. In other words, the ones that developed were those that used the policies of the Western countries who are now trying to impose market fundamentalist policies on poor countries and pretending that this will lead to “development”.

    I can disagree in some ways but I mostly agree with above statement so I will leave it alone.

  10. @ Picard & Luis

    I wont go into your argument about capitalists and intentions with refugees but I can say this.

    The West better protect its borders because otherwise we will one day be the ones complaining about how other nations are to blame for what will be a failed society and state.

    I can speak for US and say that the constant influx of immigrants across the Caribbean Sea and southern border is greatly burdening our social welfare system and depressing wages in various industries. Not to mention that the economically depressed neighborhoods that these immigrants create become breeding grounds for crime (usually by the 2nd and 3rd generations not so much the adult immigrants).

    Part of the problem is that many of these immigrants come without skills or education that can lead them to success but even more is the fact that they are not given right to participate in much of the economy (cant work legally and hence dont pay federal taxes) property rights are limited, and ability to seek legal protection is limited.

    The only ones that benefit are the corporations (mostly in construction, agricultural industries) that utilize this system to maintain cheap labor. But, the general population pays dearly.

    I would grant legal rights to all immigrants but first you have to close down the borders. Otherwise, Mexico, Central America, and most of the Caribbean would empty out into the US.

    They don’t like us but given the chance they all want to be us.

    We have to be smart about utilizing immigration to our benefit and admitting those that benefit the country.

    • RE: Immigrants, there is also an issue that any society has a limit at how quickly it can integrate immigrants. If that limit is exceeded, we get a “ghettoing” issue, where immigrants form mini-societies and enclaves isolated from the society at large. That in turn leads to friction with the main society, and ultimately conflict, weakening of the super-society and possibly its destruction (e.g., Roman Empire).

  11. @ Luis

    I am still working on the topic of functions of “imperial system”, “South Korean development state”; “Haitian farmers”; “Intellectual property rights and patents regime”; “Generic drugs sold on the South African market”; “Grain dumping by the EU”, trade liberalization, debts to Haiti, Narcotics, Colombia, Venezuela, Batista regime, etc.

    I am again responding to some of your claims but need more time to properly analyse the rest.

    Here we go:

    “I’ll make it simple: those that succeeded used protectionist policies and strong state intervention that allowed their local industries to develop, those that followed the advice of the IMF got screwed over. In other words, the ones that developed were those that used the policies of the Western countries who are now trying to impose market fundamentalist policies on poor countries and pretending that this will lead to “development”.

    I can disagree in some ways but I mostly agree with above statement so I will leave it alone.

    “True. Different countries have different functions within the imperial system. Some are allowed to develop for strategic reasons, some aren’t and occupy a different position in the imperial value chain. The latter come to be ruled by corrupt elites who are in cahoots with the West, as is perfectly predictable for the reasons given earlier: extremes of inequality, which flow inexorably from neoliberal policies, lead inevitably to corruption by elites who see themselves as the rightful custodians of this wealth”

    You seem to have a great deal of internal knowledge about this “imperial system”. Or, are you making a bunch of assumptions to fit your view? Maybe, just maybe, some nations develop due to legitimate factors and some fail due to legitimately poor internal systems? You Credit the US & West way too much. According to you “The West” controls nearly every detail of what happens in every part of the world. This is a claim with little legitimate data and even poor judgement in analysis. Some noted level of involvement (mostly of an economic & geopolitical nature) is present in nearly most nations worldwide, this is known. This does not translate to control of governments or society and local players.

    “You give the perfect impression that it’s indeed you who needs to “study human history”, particularly the history that’s taken place over the past 100 or so years. Good starting points would be the following: “IMF and World Bank loan conditionalities”; “Bechtel Corporation in Bolivia”; “Pinochet and the CIA”; “School of the Americas”; “Guatemalan genocide”; “South Korean development state”; “Haitian farmers”; “Intellectual property rights and patents regime”; “Generic drugs sold on the South African market”; “Grain dumping by the EU”. The list goes on and on about things you seem not to include under the rubric of “important”, with the unifying theme seemingly being “this makes us look bad, therefore it’s secondary”.

    “IMF and World Bank loan conditionality”:

    Conditionality’s such as public-sector wage cuts, demanded strict budget cuts in exchange for aid, “It’s like at the barrel of a gun,” Griffiths said. “Those are decisions that are political and should be made in consultation with the people in those countries, and not through negotiations” with the IMF.
    Yes maybe true but most of these nations put themselves in that position through poor governance and now they have to deal with conditions from IMF that IMF believes makes it more likely debt will be repaid.
    IMF is a private institution not a public one.
    Lets look at Ghana: Conditions imposed by the IMF include Ghana allowing its currency to depreciate, making cuts in government spending, reducing or removing subsidies and increasing the price of utilities.
    First of all if Ghana had made better decisions internally they would not need IMF “bail-out”. When you have to beg for help you put yourself in a tough position.
    We can argue all day as to whether Western Involvement pushed Ghana’s leadership into taking these bad loans but, we both can’t prove or disprove this. What is known is that since 1950’s Ghana has had its own government and laws at all levels. Ghana has struggled with leaders refusing to give up office and constant coups and military interventions. I don’t blame this on Africans just because they are African. It does likely have to do with process of rebuilding a society after a couple centuries of colonialism. But, it serves no purpose to continue to blame the West (although West likely is to blame in good part) for these local issues. Africa is just going to have to go through process. Just like China and India are doing and like Europe had to do after fall of Roman Empire.
    Second, allowing currency to depreciate has effect of making imports more expensive and rising inflation. All depends on level of importing Ghana does. But, it also makes the nations exports more competitive in world markets and possibly brings in foreign factories. Depends on many factors whether depreciation is helpful or hurtful. Currency depreciation has been very helpful to China but, could be very hurtful to a place like the UK, for example.
    Third, high government spending and subsidies to so many things including utilities are the reason why Ghana needs a “bail-out”. It makes sense that to avoid illiquidity and a loan default Ghana has to stop spending money it does not have.
    Maybe IMF conditions are not helpful, that can be argued both ways. IMF only cares about getting paid back not necessarily the living standards of the local population. If you don’t like conditions, don’t ask for loans.

    Ghana faces a trade deficit as a result of rising imports, including food items, unmatched by exports. Its main exports—cocoa and gold—have not fared well recently. Gold prices fell approximately 2% in 2013, closing at $1,200 per ounce, and this year’s recovery has been slow. After reaching an all-time high in 2011, cocoa has also experienced downward pressure.
    This year Ghana’s budget deficit is estimated to be 8.5% of GDP. To reduce or eliminate this shortfall, the government may need to cut its workforce and prune other expenses. With about 70% of state expenditure going to workers, the impact of such a cut will be significant.

    Bechtel Corporation in Bolivia:

    Anyone can research this topic on google and Wikipedia. There is much debate as to gains and losses associated with the World banks conditions involving the already highly indebted and corrupt public utilities in Bolivia. It is pretty clear that there was much corruption involved between World Bank and Bechtel officials and Bolivian government entities. But, this type of corruption is rampant throughout Latin America and can’t be blamed on “Western Interventions”. As usual the power players make $$$ and the poor get screwed. That is not an issue with “Western Capitalism”, it’s an issue with human nature that takes hold when the nations system of laws is not strong enough to prevent this innate human corruption. This is an issue internally in US as well. Just not to the level of Latin America.

    Pinochet & CIA:

    Well, there looks to be some pretty condemning evidence to assert that US Gov./CIA directly supported Pinochet. Also seems like US Gov. and Corporations have had a pretty strong involvement in Chilean high level affairs since late 19th century. I do find it interesting that in a nation where US has clearly taken an interest and US has been strongly involved in (politically at high levels and economically more generally), you find one of the strongest economies and living standards in Latin America. In fact, the earth quake in Chile (just a few month after) was stronger than one in Haiti but with little negative effects. In Haiti, where (due to lack of geopolitical and economic importance as well as overall social & political disorder which makes it a difficult place to “invest in”) US has had little internal control or economic investment, the nation falls into humanitarian chaos after a relatively minor earthquake. Interesting to analyze, don’t you think?

    “School of the Americas”:

    I do have to say that I had failed to study the history of Central America and I am now trying to correct that. I am surprised by the level of intervention and full-fledged criminality the US government and US corporate entities are responsible for. I can’t expect any nation to progress under that level of corporate control and foreign installed repressive dictatorships. The administrations of presidents Eisenhower through Reagan should be tried for war crimes just based on Central America. The shame is that 99% of Americans don’t know this. I consider myself amongst the most educated Americans when it comes to history and world affairs. If I did not know this, I guarantee you very few Americans do.

    Since 1946, more than 57,700 officers, cadets, and non-commissioned officers have been trained at SOA. As reflected in the 1993 debate, most concerns about the School have centered on graduates who have been implicated in–or are alleged to be responsible for-human rights violations in their countries. According to critics, the School has a history and tradition of abusive graduates who violate human rights. Observers point out that School alumni include: 48 out of 69 Salvadoran military members cited in the U.N. Truth Commission’s report on El Salvador for involvement in human rights violations (including 19 of 27 military members implicated in the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests), more than 100 Colombian military officers alleged to be responsible for human rights violations by a 1992 report. Critics have labeled the School of the Americas a “school for dictators.” The ten former Latin American heads of state who attended the School of the Americas include General Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama, military ruler from 1983 until his ouster from power by U.S. forces in December 1989. Two additional School alumni who overthrew elected civilian governments are Major General Guillermo Rodriguez (1972-76), who overthrew Ecuadorian President Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra, and Major General Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968-1975), who overthrew Peruvian President Fernando Belaunde Terry. Breaking with the pattern of previous military leaders in these two countries, Rodriguez and Alvarado initiated extensive periods of direct military rule, seven years in Ecuador and twelve years in Peru.
    The six remaining Latin American military rulers who attended the School of the Americas consist of two each from Argentina, Bolivia, and Honduras, all of whom succeeded military rulers. In Argentina, Lieutenant General Roberto Viola led a short-lived military government from March to December 1981, but was ousted because of his failure to contain a rapidly deteriorating economy.
    Major Michael Travaglione, a former chaplain for the School asserts that there is a hostile attitude among the students regarding the mandatory human rights training. A former School logistics instructor, retired Army Major Joseph Blair, maintains that the human rights message is not taken seriously by the Latin American students and contends that the soldiers associate human rights with subversives. 6 A guest human rights lecturer at the School believes that the School’s changes in its human rights curriculum is nothing more than a facelift, and asserts that “much of the training at the School is done by officers from Latin American militaries, which have strongly resisted increased civilian control and accountability.” 7 Some critics maintain that the Latin American students are somewhat isolated at the School of the Americas facility, with courses held entirely in Spanish and many taught by Latin American instructors. To break this isolation, critics have recommended that the students be trained at other U.S. facilities where there is more contact with U.S. soldiers and where training is conducted in English only by U.S. instructors.

    Guatemala and UFCO:

    US funding and training of a Guatemalan Military Junta led to the overthrow of that nations elected government (in the eraly 1950’s) who was instituting many policies deemed communist. This took place mostly due to lobbying efforts of The United Fruit Company (UFCO) who owned much of Guatemala’s best agricultural lands. The next 40+ years were filled with constant coups and rebellions and constant violent oppression by the military governments. The oppression was mostly directed at the countryside were the indigenous population was economically and politically repressed. Due to the militaries scorched earth repression it is believed that roughly one million Guatemalans were displaced internally and tens of thousands fled to Mexico. In the meantime, UDCO was able to continue to take advantage of cheap indigenous labor and manipulate land and zoning regulations to its benefit. Training and funding of the Guatemalan military dictatorship continued to the end of the cold war.
    In El Salvador the US involvement was less direct but US did support government’s repressive civil war beginning in 1979 against various leftist guerrillas supported by Cuba & Nicaragua. This civil war much like in Guatemala devastated the country.
    Honduras was the Base of UFCO. From 1903 American banana companies owned much of the country and controlled the economy and government to the company’s benefits. Any sign of rebellion was quickly put down by American interventions. Throughout the cold war, Honduras was able to avoid the civil wars and heavy handed repression of some of its neighbors but UFCO and other American companies pretty much maintained control.
    The situations in Nicaragua and Panama have been very similar to what has occurred in the more northern neighbors mentioned above. With Guatemala probably being were the US government was most directly involved.

    • “You seem to have a great deal of internal knowledge about this “imperial system”. Or, are you making a bunch of assumptions to fit your view? Maybe, just maybe, some nations develop due to legitimate factors and some fail due to legitimately poor internal systems? You Credit the US & West way too much. According to you “The West” controls nearly every detail of what happens in every part of the world.”

      No, not “every detail”, just the overall conditions in which development can (or can’t) take place. The West doesn’t usually micromanage what goes on in the Third World; they impose conditions, in which the poor nations must accommodate themselves.

      “Conditionality’s such as public-sector wage cuts, demanded strict budget cuts in exchange for aid, “It’s like at the barrel of a gun,” Griffiths said. “Those are decisions that are political and should be made in consultation with the people in those countries, and not through negotiations” with the IMF.
      Yes maybe true but most of these nations put themselves in that position through poor governance and now they have to deal with conditions from IMF that IMF believes makes it more likely debt will be repaid.”

      You keep coming back to “poor governance”, yet what would be an example of good governance? The IMF also has its criteria of good governance, and it’s been imposed with devastating effects on the population. Evidently, for the IMF good governance has little to do with governing on behalf of the people.

      “IMF is a private institution not a public one.”

      The IMF is an instrument of Western (but primarily US) foreign economic policy. The US and other Western states wouldn’t fund the IMF to the extent that they do if it didn’t serve some very important structural function. Therefore, it’s useless to analyze the IMF as though it were a separate entity detached from the overall interests of Western capitalist states. The IMF represents and embodies an ideological and policy position favored by the West.

      “First of all if Ghana had made better decisions internally they would not need IMF “bail-out”. When you have to beg for help you put yourself in a tough position
      We can argue all day as to whether Western Involvement pushed Ghana’s leadership into taking these bad loans but, we both can’t prove or disprove this.”

      Why not? It’s entirely likely that the West imposed on Ghana the conditions that later compelled it to seek an IMF loan. That would be a hugely relevant thing to take into account when analyzing the factors that are pertinent to the prospects for counties like Ghana to develop.

      “What is known is that since 1950’s Ghana has had its own government and laws at all levels. Ghana has struggled with leaders refusing to give up office and constant coups and military interventions. I don’t blame this on Africans just because they are African. It does likely have to do with process of rebuilding a society after a couple centuries of colonialism. But, it serves no purpose to continue to blame the West (although West likely is to blame in good part) for these local issues.”

      That’s true (notwithstanding whatever Western involvement there was in these coups and military interventions), but again, I’m talking about the international environment within which Ghana must try to develop. There are things that the government can do that will either help the country or harm it, that’s true. But it would be difficult to sustain the notion that countries like Ghana are at an enormous disadvantage within an overall international system that favors the Western states (unsurprisingly, given that the Western states largely crafted this system for their own advantage, and navigating this system is akin to navigating a minefield where one wrong step could spell disaster, whether or not “sensible” decisions are taken. For example a leader could endeavor to take a path that would nominally benefit the people, but would go against the interests of Western capital, and thus make the country a target for the latter’s subversion. Or he could take a decision that makes his country fully integrated within that system, but allows his country only a type of quasi-development in which the country is perpetually dependent upon the large powers. Third World countries are at present stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to these sorts of problems; they cannot simply “decide” to develop, as though that was something that was only up to them. They must work within a context, and that context is coercive, undemocratic and fundamentally uneven, no matter how much good governance – however defined – the country enjoys).

      “Africa is just going to have to go through process.”

      Even the way you say that implicitly acknowledges that there is a heavy burden at play on Africa, without simultaneously failing to acknowledge that this is in fact largely the West’s fault. This is akin to saying, “Well, I’m occupying your home and helping myself to your daughter, but it’s a fact, so you’ll just have to live through it, therefore it’s not my fault.” It’s easy for the West to declare that something is just a “fact of life” when it’s the one imposing that thing. That’s really entirely my point: the West has the power to impose conditions. Yet this is something that, ironically, you deny, or at least severely downplay.

      “Just like China and India are doing and like Europe had to do after fall of Roman Empire.”

      No, these are very poor analogies. China detached itself from imperialism after the 1949 revolution, and was able to carve out for itself a developmental path that didn’t consist of becoming a surrogate to Western capital (not to mention that it also benefitted from Soviet assistance, at least up till the Soviet-Sino split). China has an enormous population and was able to mobilize its resources to do this. China is today a full-fledged capitalist state (but one in which all problems can be conveniently swept under the “communist” rug by Western onlookers who cheers its capitalist path while wanting to deny its worst aspects) that is becoming an imperialist state in its own right. It, too, will become (indeed, already is) an exploiter of Africa (under Mao, relations with Africa were done on a basis of mutual solidarity and anti-imperialism. Today, only money talks among the capitalist usurpers in China). India also has a huge population and resources, but has been relatively crippled due to the comprador nature of its state (though India has semi-imperialist inclinations of its own with regard to Nepal, and India is gravitating towards a capitalist bloc, in the form of BRICS, independent of the West). India’s current neoliberal fervor has seen attacks on workers and women’s rights, and cannot possibly be sustainable, ecological or socially. Indeed, Modi’s path smacks of a desperation to save neoliberalism form itself by simply pressing ahead with it, even though it’s been a disaster in country after country. Europe was a constellation of feudal formations after the fall of the Roman Empire for centuries and languished behind the Islamic caliphates when it came to scientific advance; how long are you implying that Africa should “go through the process” in order to be allowed to develop?

      “Maybe IMF conditions are not helpful, that can be argued both ways. IMF only cares about getting paid back not necessarily the living standards of the local population. If you don’t like conditions, don’t ask for loans.”

      Well, there’s the rub, isn’t it? In order to “demonstrate” to the West that it’s under the control of “good governance”, Ghana takes out IMF loans in order to attract foreign investment. If they don’t do what the IMF says, this investment doesn’t materialize.

      “Ghana faces a trade deficit as a result of rising imports, including food items, unmatched by exports. Its main exports—cocoa and gold—have not fared well recently. Gold prices fell approximately 2% in 2013, closing at $1,200 per ounce, and this year’s recovery has been slow. After reaching an all-time high in 2011, cocoa has also experienced downward pressure.
      This year Ghana’s budget deficit is estimated to be 8.5% of GDP. To reduce or eliminate this shortfall, the government may need to cut its workforce and prune other expenses. With about 70% of state expenditure going to workers, the impact of such a cut will be significant.”

      So disaster all-round either way, then. Again, the context shows its preeminence.

      “Bechtel Corporation in Bolivia:”

      “Anyone can research this topic on google and Wikipedia. There is much debate as to gains and losses associated with the World banks conditions involving the already highly indebted and corrupt public utilities in Bolivia. It is pretty clear that there was much corruption involved between World Bank and Bechtel officials and Bolivian government entities. But, this type of corruption is rampant throughout Latin America and can’t be blamed on “Western Interventions”. As usual the power players make $$$ and the poor get screwed. That is not an issue with “Western Capitalism”, it’s an issue with human nature that takes hold when the nations system of laws is not strong enough to prevent this innate human corruption. This is an issue internally in US as well. Just not to the level of Latin America.”

      It seems that whenever you’re confronted with a clear-cut case of what I’m talking about, you shift the focus onto some amorphous “‘human nature”, thus sidelining all the structural and institutional factors that give play to things such as privatization of public utilities in Bolivia. Bechtel was doing exactly what it’s programmed to do: maximize profit. This shows the pathological nature of corporate capitalism, not “human nature”, into which absolutely every human behavior ever undertaken by humans can be subsumed (making it a useless category for analysis of the specifics).

      “I do find it interesting that in a nation where US has clearly taken an interest and US has been strongly involved in (politically at high levels and economically more generally), you find one of the strongest economies and living standards in Latin America.”

      Firstly, this is in spite of US involvement, not because of it. Secondly, do you also apply your logic to those countries in which US involvement is high but the country is extremely poor and conflict-ridden? You’re starting to (your examples of Central America are a good start). But you tend to acknowledge a positive external role in the case of Chile, while failing to acknowledge a negative role in the case of Africa (where everything bad that happens is entirely due to “internal factors”). Of course, it may well be that Chile has benefited from US policies, at least to an extent. But even that would in no way negate that US policies have been devastating to other countries. It should be noted that in Chile, the US waged a conscious policy of economic warfare against the Allende government (as a means of increasing discontent towards it and thus encouraging an overthrow, or allowing for the conditions in which a coup would be widely accepted by the population). Nixon gave the order: “Make the economy scream.” This program of capital strike turns the failure of socialist policies by a targeted government into a self-fulfilling policy: if you adopt socialist measures, they’re going to fail because we’re going to make sure they do, and we’re going to use this as the moral rationale for a coup that we’ll support. Pinochet’s government saw economic growth relative to the Allende years, but this should in no way be credited to its economic “competence”. It’s simply that the capital strike effort was lifted, since capitalist interests were safely back in control, and so the economy was allowed to normalize (albeit with a persistent poverty rate of about 40 percent, which is entirely consistent with neoliberal regimes).

      “In fact, the earth quake in Chile (just a few month after) was stronger than one in Haiti but with little negative effects. In Haiti, where (due to lack of geopolitical and economic importance as well as overall social & political disorder which makes it a difficult place to “invest in”) US has had little internal control or economic investment, the nation falls into humanitarian chaos after a relatively minor earthquake. Interesting to analyze, don’t you think?”

      US control of Haiti is far greater than that of US control of Chile. Haiti has been deliberately devastated and immiserated on a scale that almost beggars belief, by conscious decisions to that effect taken in Washington and Paris. Haiti has NEVER been allowed to develop. It’s true that Haiti isn’t a very lucrative investment environment for Western capital, but it still serves a higher purpose within the framework of capitalism: as a warning of what happens when you go against the United States. Perhaps Haiti will be allowed to develop one day when the continent scoffs at this threat, but for now, Haiti’s torture continues.

      “I am surprised by the level of intervention and full-fledged criminality the US government and US corporate entities are responsible for.”

      Why on Earth would you be “surprised”? Heck, this is one of the very reasons that the Cuban revolution occurred. Still! I commend you on endeavoring to learn more about this history. It’s an extremely important part of Latin America’s current context and the attitude of its people towards US involvement.

      “US funding and training of a Guatemalan Military Junta led to the overthrow of that nations elected government (in the early 1950’s) who was instituting many policies deemed communist.”

      Many of these “communist” policies were simply developmental measures that the US itself encouraged (and often instituted) in Japan and later in South Korea so that they could, ironically, act as showcases AGAINST communism!

      “This took place mostly due to lobbying efforts of The United Fruit Company (UFCO) who owned much of Guatemala’s best agricultural lands. The next 40+ years were filled with constant coups and rebellions and constant violent oppression by the military governments. The oppression was mostly directed at the countryside were the indigenous population was economically and politically repressed. Due to the militaries scorched earth repression it is believed that roughly one million Guatemalans were displaced internally and tens of thousands fled to Mexico.”

      Also, some 100,000 Mayan Indians were killed and perhaps another 100,000 other Guatemalans met a similar fate.

      “In the meantime, UDCO was able to continue to take advantage of cheap indigenous labor and manipulate land and zoning regulations to its benefit. Training and funding of the Guatemalan military dictatorship continued to the end of the cold war.
      In El Salvador the US involvement was less direct but US did support government’s repressive civil war beginning in 1979 against various leftist guerrillas supported by Cuba & Nicaragua.”

      It was more than simply “support”. The US sent “advisors” to El Salvador to meticulously reorganize that military’s battalions into death squads. One of these guys, James Steele, was later sent to Iraq by Cheney (I hesitate to say “Bush”, since I view him as more of a figurehead) to do exactly the same thing inside the Iraqi Interior Ministry (this was known as the “Salvador Option”), along with John Negraponte, who, as ambassador to Honduras during that country’s military rule in the 1980s, helped ensure that death squad activity exploded, with civilian deaths that were in the hundreds at the beginning of his tenure skyrocketing into the tens of thousands by the end of it.

      • It is correct that Cuba had few interests (in a traditional sense) in Angola and yes Cuba did put a lot of resources into Angola in some ways hurting its own economy. What you are not seeing is that from early 1970’s through1988 Cuba used Africa as a pressure release valve for its own young male population.

        Going to Africa was an attractive adventure for the most spirited Cuban men. Due largely to local resources and Soviet Aid, Cuba’s people (military one non-military) in Angola lived a better lifestyle then back at home. Being stuck in Cuba with no prospects for much of anything many of these young adventurous Cuban young men would have likely caused trouble for Castro.

        My father in law (born in Cuba in 1949 moved to US in 1997) spent the better part of 14 years (1977-1991) in Angola and he better than most can tell you that Africa served as a great way of getting the populace of Cuba focused on issues outside and as a tool for Castro controlled media to rile up nationalistic fervor. Castro painted the noble Cuban revolutionaries as fighting against the imperialist superpower to the north and the evil S. African apartheid. Cubans were being oppressed and opposition jailed and killed and the population was getting poorer. But, Africa was such a nice distraction. I will try to see if my father in law will agree to take the time to contribute his insights to this post. Very few people outside of Cuba know about Cuba’s Angola adventure better then him. And, he still to this date maintains relations in Angola & other parts of Africa.

        When Castro took power he knew the best way to form a strong loyalist portion of society was to grant power and privilege to the sections of society that had (before his revolution) occupied the lower rungs of society. In small and large towns across Cuba the men sitting unemployed drinking rum on street intersections where all of a sudden leaders of the local communist party. The un-educated laborer was all of a sudden the boss. He guaranteed himself a loyal power structure in doing this.
        Cuba’s blacks were and are a large portion of the population (larger then Census number will say since many blacks call themselves mulatos and many mulatos call themselves white in Census polls) and had been (as in US in 1959) mostly denied access to power and economic opportunities.

        One of Castro’s first actions was to empower blacks and therefore guaranteeing their loyal support as well. The operations in Africa were one more way of painting Castro revolution as fighting for the rights of black peoples. Still today, Castro finds his greatest support among black Cubans. Just look at those fleeing the Island in droves. The large majority are white or mixed Cubans. Very few blacks (although blacks are large and growing portion of populace) attempt to flee even though blacks are just as poor in today’s Cuba as anyone else. Why? Because, Castro has been a hero to them. Maybe it’s deserved but, Castro is smart enough to know it also guarantees him a loyal power base.

        “No, not “every detail”, just the overall conditions in which development can (or can’t) take place. The West doesn’t usually micromanage what goes on in the Third World; they impose conditions, in which the poor nations must accommodate themselves.
        Conditionality’s such as public-sector wage cuts, demanded strict budget cuts in exchange for aid”

        Without loans the government would run out of money and even larger cuts would be required. These conditions you mention are in many ways beneficial for a government that is unable to control its own spending and are necessary because of the prime reason the IMF/world bank is involved. This is because the government was bankrupt and required foreign funding to avoid default or avoid even larger cuts.

        “You keep coming back to “poor governance”, yet what would be an example of good governance”

        First requirement is stability and rule of law. Like a Haitian friend of mine who used to own a few businesses in Haiti recently told me “I can figure out how to function under most systems, the problem is that with all this political fighting I don’t know what the rules will be tomorrow. It depends on who controls the government. If Haiti had a stable government and stable laws I would go back tomorrow”

        Tribalism, Corrupt institutions, and constant violence are other problems. One of the biggies is that when a government takes power it usually attempts to gain total control and also (especially in Africa) power leads to immense wealth. Those in power exploit the nation’s wealth for their own and their power core’s benefit.

        Again Luis, Africa needs to fix its internal issues that are African problems not anyone else’s. Again, if Europe & the US completely pulled out of Africa, Africa would not be in any better position. Maybe worse.

        “The IMF also has its criteria of good governance, and it’s been imposed with devastating effects on the population. Evidently, for the IMF good governance has little to do with governing on behalf of the people”

        When a citizen has a mortgage and defaults if the sale value of the home that protects the loan is higher than remaining debt, the bank wants nothing more than to hurry through process and take your home. If the house value has fallen below debt amount the bank will delay, play nice and give you time. Of course most states in US have laws that regulate what banks can do in these scenarios. This is not really true in international loans.

        The IMF (like any Bank) cares about one thing only. Will I be re-paid, will I make a profit. If you put yourself in a position to be dictated to by IMF you are in trouble, before and after.

        “The US and other Western states wouldn’t fund the IMF to the extent that they do if it didn’t serve some very important structural function.

        The IMF serves a function I’m sure. Truly, international finance is not an area I know well. And, it is a very complicated subject.

        Again Luis, it’s a competitive world. If an individual, company, or nation wants to prosper it must make smart decisions. Africa is behind the eight ball partly due to colonization from late 1700’s to mid-1900’s. But, its time to start taking local responsibility if Africa wishes to ever overcome.

        In response to your take on China; China under Mao was very poor. Not an example anyone wants to repeat I’m sure. Living standards were a century behind, and starvation was a common worry amongst most of populace. China during Mao was somewhat like N. Korea is today. China under new semi-capitalist system is more akin to S. Korea. Chinas new capitalism is not perfect but it’s gone a long way toward making China’s living standards better. India has had to overcome same type of colonialism that Africa faced and has less natural resources. But India is on the right path and making progress.

        I agree that Europe has much blame due to its past colonialism which Africa is still trying to overcome. But, today and for many decades Africa’s problems are internal. Africa is now free to play the game as everyone else. Is the game easier to succeed in when you are already in prime position? Of course! Is it difficult for third world nations to overcome? Of course! But, the difficulties are mostly due to poor social/political habits and other internal factors I have mentioned. The international factors are secondary Luis.

        At no point have you or likely will you ever admit that the problems in the third world are mostly internal. All you have ever shown is a propensity to blame Europe & US. I have to admit I have learned a few things from our debate. And, you have made some good points but you are never going to come off of this blame everyone but myself tirade. I believe most of it is truly jealousy.

        “It seems that whenever you’re confronted with a clear-cut case of what I’m talking about, you shift the focus onto some amorphous “‘human nature”, thus sidelining all the structural and institutional factors that give play to things such as privatization of public utilities in Bolivia. Bechtel was doing exactly what it’s programmed to do: maximize profit. This shows the pathological nature of corporate capitalism, not “human nature”, into which absolutely every human behavior ever undertaken by humans can be subsumed (making it a useless category for analysis of the specifics)”.

        There is nothing clear cut Luis. Anyone can research it themselves. There are structural institutional factors I said that before but, these are mostly local factors. You are the one who blindly denies the internal factors always blaming some perceived global scheme.

        “US control of Haiti is far greater than that of US control of Chile. Haiti has been deliberately devastated and immiserated on a scale that almost beggars belief, by conscious decisions to that effect taken in Washington and Paris. Haiti has NEVER been allowed to develop”.

        Completely false Luis. Haiti is un-important little island nation to US as is most of Caribbean. There is very little US involvement there. Most of “US involvement” in Haiti is really ex-patriates who operate in Haiti out of US base because you can’t live in Haiti. Haiti’s problems are mostly internal Haitian issues and have been for almost 100 years. It’s difficult for even American businesses to function there. Too much chaos and violence. Haiti is The Poorest nation in Western hemisphere and it’s one of the ones with the least US involvement.

        According to you capitalism is so bad. Maybe that’s why the Capitalist west has the highest living standards in the history of the world. Maybe that’s why everyone wants to come here. Maybe that’s why we have to protect our borders to prevent the world from emptying out. Capitalism and the West have internal issues too but they are minor comparatively. You can’t argue with the success.

        I don’t know anyone that has lived in a non-capitalist system (Cuba, E. Germany, Venezuela, Hungary, Serbia, Latvia, Russia [I have or have had close friends from all these]) that wants to go back to that. I also know a few folks (friends and/or co-workers) that were born and lived in Africa for most of their adult lives (benefit of living in Florida, we are such a melting pot) and not a one will agree with most of your theories. All I hear is how government was corrupt and oppressive at all levels, how folks with some power abused the poor, how the only folks living well and with money were those with government powers, how the laws applied only to some and not others, how the powerful bought the courts, and lots of poorness, hunger, lack of upward mobility, etc, etc.

        I talk to a lot of people Luis and people want to talk to me (benefit of being a real nice guy in my real life). I do hear a lot of anti-American feelings from many immigrants but it’s usually very childish type stuff regarding American culture. Granted that most of these folks I talk to are not highly educated.

        You Luis do seem to be a highly educated person. But, educated people can be also blinded by emotion. You will claim that its me that’s blinded I will say its you. I am getting tired of these debate to be honest.

        I will endeavor from this point on to only respond to data and facts you present (and you do present some) and try to ignore all of your emotional claims, assumptions, accusations, and generalizations. We will never go anywhere or agree on these.

        Honestly, I think this conversation has yielded as much as it will. I have limited time and it might be better spent on other debate.

    • “Going to Africa was an attractive adventure for the most spirited Cuban men. Due largely to local resources and Soviet Aid, Cuba’s people (military one non-military) in Angola lived a better lifestyle then back at home.”

      You have to be joking. What “resources”? Angola was a shattered post-colonial society in the midst of a civil war.

      “But, Africa was such a nice distraction. I will try to see if my father in law will agree to take the time to contribute his insights to this post. Very few people outside of Cuba know about Cuba’s Angola adventure better then him. And, he still to this date maintains relations in Angola & other parts of Africa.”

      The problem with these personal accounts is that everyone who gives them thinks that he/she owns the issue, and that they’re seeing things without the tint of their own assumptions, ideological position and the like. There will be Cubans with many fond memories of serving in Angola, while others are cynical about it.

      “When Castro took power he knew the best way to form a strong loyalist portion of society was to grant power and privilege to the sections of society that had (before his revolution) occupied the lower rungs of society. In small and large towns across Cuba the men sitting unemployed drinking rum on street intersections where all of a sudden leaders of the local communist party. The un-educated laborer was all of a sudden the boss. He guaranteed himself a loyal power structure in doing this.”

      Actually, the entire point of the revolution was to emancipate people on these lower rungs. But it makes sense that you reduce it simply to what was “useful for Castro”.

      “One of Castro’s first actions was to empower blacks and therefore guaranteeing their loyal support as well.”

      Should he not have empowered blacks?

      “The operations in Africa were one more way of painting Castro revolution as fighting for the rights of black peoples.”

      Right, more of that “painting”. Castro only did things in order to “paint” himself this way or that.

      “Without loans the government would run out of money and even larger cuts would be required. These conditions you mention are in many ways beneficial for a government that is unable to control its own spending and are necessary because of the prime reason the IMF/world bank is involved. This is because the government was bankrupt and required foreign funding to avoid default or avoid even larger cuts.”

      I’m sure these conditions are beneficial for the government, but I was talking more about the people, for whom they’re a disaster. The IMF could defend its policies more easily if it simply prescribed spending cuts rather than throwing economies into disarray and demanding that spending be slashed on essential human services. And what excuses are left for the IMF when its own former people come out and call its policies “mistakes”?

      “First requirement is stability and rule of law.”

      IMF prescriptions are incapable of facilitating these. Saying that “stability” is a “first requirement” is like prescribing to a starving person “first, eat food”. The problem is how to ATTAIN stability.

      “Again Luis, Africa needs to fix its internal issues that are African problems not anyone else’s. Again, if Europe & the US completely pulled out of Africa, Africa would not be in any better position. Maybe worse.”

      How on Earth can you possibly know that? The US and Europe have been in Africa for decades, with a whole web of influence, control and interference in every sphere of life.

      “The IMF (like any Bank) cares about one thing only. Will I be re-paid, will I make a profit. If you put yourself in a position to be dictated to by IMF you are in trouble, before and after.”

      Wrong, it doesn’t “care about only one thing”, and what it cares primarily about is fulfilling the structural role for which it was established in the first place. The IMF routinely sets up conditions that make it impossible to pay back the debt. Pretty weird if the “only thing it cares about” is to be repaid.

      “In response to your take on China; China under Mao was very poor.”

      Yes, and that had nothing to do with Mao per se. Under Mao, China was far LESS poor than it had been under Chiang Kai-shek, and enormous advances in healthcare were made, life expectancy basically doubled, the role and status of women was elevated to heights unthinkable during pre-revolutionary China, and education and science were made available to the population. Say what you like about Mao and communist ideology, but these are facts. It’s true that China was still a poor country by the time the capitalist-roaders took power in the 1980s, but extreme poverty was rare and the country was among the most equal in the world. Contrary to capitalist propaganda, China’s economy was still growing strongly (as it had during most of the Mao period, even if we count the bad years of the Great Leap period). There are some things to consider when lambasting Mao for China’s poverty: under Mao, China was forbidden to exploit and rob other countries (surely a “failure” of communism by your lights, given that it denied the country gloating rights of the sort we hear from all imperialist exploiters who chalk their success up to their own brilliance rather than the benefits they derive from imposing conditions on the weak. but please, feel free to helpfully remind me that “it’s a competitive world”, which means that by your logic the Chinese were being “cruel” by being too humane to the Third World. If this isn’t an imperialist chauvinist attitude, I don’t know what could qualify); it had to develop technological capabilities largely by itself given the embargo on technology imposed by the West (which has since been mostly lifted as China has “opened up” by adopting capitalist production and becoming part of the “club”) and its bans on foreign capital exploiting its workers (also since lifted); and the infrastructure that has made China’s capitalist boom possible was actually constructed under Mao and then co-opted by the capitalists. The state-owned enterprises still exert the decisive role in the economy, and act as the primary mechanism by which the Chinese state reinvests capital. It should be noted that for the amount of pollution, environmental degradation and grotesque levels of inequality, the Chinese people get very little value for money.

      “Not an example anyone wants to repeat I’m sure.”

      Pure ignorance. Many of the world’s masses looked to China during the Cold War as an inspiration. Again, say what you like about Mao and communist ideology, but these too are facts. When you say that China was an example “no one” wanted to emulate, this is the complete opposite of the truth.

      “Living standards were a century behind,”

      Utterly wrong. While they were certainly nowhere as high as the West, it would be absurd to claim that the advances in public health made in China could have happened without real increases in living standards.

      “and starvation was a common worry amongst most of populace.”

      Wrong. Starvation was a common worry during centuries of China’s history, and it was during the Mao period that the infrastructure and organization was built up that finally ended China’s cycle of famines. It’s true that a large famine took place during the Mao period, with a variety of factors playing a role, but to suppose that this famine was simply the doing of Mao or that it represented something new in the country’s history is absurd.

      “China during Mao was somewhat like N. Korea is today.”

      Wrong. The North Korean leadership were actually scared witless by the Cultural Revolution, fearing that it could extend to their own realm.

      “China under new semi-capitalist system is more akin to S. Korea. Chinas new capitalism is not perfect but it’s gone a long way toward making China’s living standards better.”

      While also throwing hundreds of millions back into poverty or hardship, polluting the environment to such an extent that over half of China’s formerly arable land is no longer useable, killing over 100,000 people every year from smog alone, destroying social cohesion and solidarity, and turning the country into an imperialist power that seeks to exploit Africa, Latin America and Asia. China’s inequality is even more extreme than the United States’. And now there are signs that its capitalist boom is facing serious problems, as the chickens of its consumer, corporate and government debt comes home to roost. What capitalist expansion gives in terms of rising living standards for some, it can also take back in the form of recessions, depressions, the constant push for replace workers with machines, and financial instability.

      “India has had to overcome same type of colonialism that Africa faced and has less natural resources. But India is on the right path and making progress.”

      India is on the neoliberal path, which cannot possibly be sustainable.

      “I agree that Europe has much blame due to its past colonialism which Africa is still trying to overcome. But, today and for many decades Africa’s problems are internal.”

      I gave multiple examples of why this isn’t true.

      “Africa is now free to play the game as everyone else. Is the game easier to succeed in when you are already in prime position? Of course! Is it difficult for third world nations to overcome? Of course!”

      The last two sentences contradict the first one. One cannot possibly be “free to play the game as everyone else is” except only in the most circumscribed sense. the game is RIGGED. You don’t set up the conditions to favor yourself and disadvantage the other party and then get to seriously intone “They’re just as free to play the game as I am.”

      “At no point have you or likely will you ever admit that the problems in the third world are mostly internal. All you have ever shown is a propensity to blame Europe & US. I have to admit I have learned a few things from our debate. And, you have made some good points but you are never going to come off of this blame everyone but myself tirade. I believe most of it is truly jealousy.”

      “Jealousy” is the canard trotted out by those who refuse to acknowledge a structural problem in society. Thus, those who wish to deny the existence of white privilege will accuse blacks of being jealous of whites, while those who call for greater equality and a fairer distribution of wealth will be accused of being jealous of the rich and of wanting to “punish success”. But really, what on Earth are you talking about? I l currently live in the United States and I grew up in Australia.

      “There is nothing clear cut Luis. Anyone can research it themselves. There are structural institutional factors I said that before but, these are mostly local factors.”

      Wait: Bechtel’s greed is a “local factor”? That’s pretty novel, blaming a poor country for the greed and rapaciousness of a Western corporation. I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.

      “You are the one who blindly denies the internal factors always blaming some perceived global scheme.”

      The example of Bechtel had nothing to do with “internal factors”, except insofar as people living inside Bolivia almost universally opposed the privatization of water utilities, so why bring that up? You really are blinded by an ideological commitment to sugar-coating capitalism. It seems that “responsibility” is only something to demand of the poor; when the rich do something heinous, like the example I cited, you fall back on not only denying that the rich have responsibilities and not only try to rationalize this with appeals to “well, it’s a competitive world”, you even BLAME the victims for being “putting themselves in that position” whereby they’re victimized!

      “Completely false Luis. Haiti is un-important little island nation to US as is most of Caribbean.”

      And yet, the US has been intimately involved in its politics, such as trying to stop Aristide from returning to Haiti, to supporting the Duvalier dictatorship, to occupying Haiti (twice within the space of a few decades), to imposing economic policies on its farmers (for which Clinton later not only acknowledged his role but even APOLOGIZED).

      “There is very little US involvement there.”

      Apart from vetting stooge politicians and can be presented as the people’s “democratic choice” in rigged elections.

      “Most of “US involvement” in Haiti is really ex-patriates who operate in Haiti out of US base because you can’t live in Haiti. Haiti’s problems are mostly internal Haitian issues and have been for almost 100 years.”

      “have been for almost 100 years”. This is a uniquely ignorant statement.

      “It’s difficult for even American businesses to function there. Too much chaos and violence. Haiti is The Poorest nation in Western hemisphere and it’s one of the ones with the least US involvement.”

      Wrong. You’re focusing on the involvement of US businesses. Politically, there is a lot of US involvement. US NGOs are legion in Haiti. Indeed, Haiti has been called “the country of the NGOs”. Even when Aristide was in power, he couldn’t implement most of the stuff he wanted to because the agreement was that he could be “leader” so long as he didn’t govern for the nation’s benefit. Even when he had some power, he was overthrown in 2004 in a US-backed coup.

      “According to you capitalism is so bad.”

      No, I’m saying that capitalism has many bad elements and that its dynamics lead inexorably to inequality, environmental degradation and alienaton, even if these can be ameliorated by social-democratic measures in the short-term. I don’t issue blanket condemnations against it.

      “Maybe that’s why the Capitalist west has the highest living standards in the history of the world.”

      This ignores that much of the wealth that the West was built upon came from the labor of exploited Africans, Asians and Latin Americans, and that much of the rest has been built upon a mountain of debt.

      “Maybe that’s why everyone wants to come here.”

      Mexicans who want to emigrate to the US do so because the prospects in their own capitalist country are pretty dire (thanks largely to capitalist agreements like NAFTA). Mexicans do so not out of a special love for the US, but because the prospects at home are bad. Again: most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world is poor. Of course people will want to move to the richer sectors of the capitalist world system.

      “Maybe that’s why we have to protect our borders to prevent the world from emptying out. Capitalism and the West have internal issues too but they are minor comparatively. You can’t argue with the success.”

      I don’t argue with the success, I just look at where I came from. And a lot of it isn’t pretty.

      “I don’t know anyone that has lived in a non-capitalist system (Cuba, E. Germany, Venezuela, Hungary, Serbia, Latvia, Russia [I have or have had close friends from all these]) that wants to go back to that.”

      That says nothing at all. By definition, anyone who leaves these countries (and please don’t include Venezuela as a “non-capitalist” country. Having a leftist-reformist government in power doesn’t make the country “non-capitalist”) doesn’t want to “go back to that”.

      “I also know a few folks (friends and/or co-workers) that were born and lived in Africa for most of their adult lives (benefit of living in Florida, we are such a melting pot) and not a one will agree with most of your theories. All I hear is how government was corrupt and oppressive at all levels, how folks with some power abused the poor, how the only folks living well and with money were those with government powers, how the laws applied only to some and not others, how the powerful bought the courts, and lots of poorness, hunger, lack of upward mobility, etc, etc.”

      Congratulations – you’ve just described the direction the US has been heading in for the past few decades. Read Glenn Greenwald’s book “With liberty and justice for some” for the details. When the shit really hits the fan and the capitalist system runs into real hard times, all the precious “rights” that you think you have won’t mean a damn thing to the elites.

      • There were plenty riches and resources in Angola still are. Its just in the hands of Angola’s elite and powerful while the rest starve. The resources coming from USSR & western bloc alone were enough. Luanda was a city like many in the west. Outside of Luanda that’s another story.

        Angola was a civil war with many local factions fighting for power and $$$. The many factions started partnering with outside supporters who had some interests in play and then Castro sent in his army. After that S. African state felt threatened by SWAPO and other groups out of Angola and got involved too. It was a messy civil war that many groups local and foreign participated in and had interests in.

        Don’t complicate it and make it into something it was not with all your “theories”

        US was always wishy washy about the issue and played a minor role. S. Africa was a partner but then due to apartheid becoming a well known issue US joined embargo against S. Africa. US supported one group then tried supporting another, etc. US operations in Angola lacked commitment and were poorly run due to varying views inside US.

        Castro on another hand once committed, realized he could not lose without serious repercussions at home. He had a well planned and committed involvement. for US Angola was a minor side skirmish.

        How many years did you spend in Angola Luis?

        You don’t know Fidel like my family does. like most Cubans do. He does nothing without a well calculated reason. He is a ruthless dictator and he is a genius.

        Blacks in Cuba are not better off than before. Except for those few in upper rungs of power (which was not possible before) it is just that they are now equally disadvantaged as the whites. It was not just blacks it was massive social engineering.

        I almost lost my mind reading the rest of your argument.

        The US has internal issues but compared to internal/social issues in most places you defend we have no problems.

        White privilege, I knew you would mention this.

        I grew up in probably the poorest most crime filled neighborhood in Miami (maybe the nation) in the 1980’s and 90’s. I went to the same schools as these people that claim to be disadvantaged.

        The only disadvantage is not having parents that care or are present. Seeing and hearing things all day that reinforce negative behaviors and beliefs etc, etc.

        I dont think I would have grown to be anything useful if I had parents like that either.

        The black kids i knew that had decent parents all got out and are now successful. The ones who are still in poverty, and/or in prison are the ones who’s had no parents.

        I learned as a young kid what a piece of shit was from getting to know some of my peers families. and then working as a corrections officer for 3 1/2 years I had flash backs again. All these government programs and non-profits wasting money in the hood. If you want these kids to have “white privilege” then remove them from their parents and family and have them be raised by a good family, thats the core issue. without that you will continue the cycle and some people will continue to claim 200 years from now its due to white privilege.

        Its not just Blacks or Hispanics. If you go to the poor crime filled white neighborhoods that do exist you find the same issues.

        But no one wants to see the elephant in the room. Its easier to blame someone else instead of take responsibility. You been doing it in a Macro sense, now you are doing same thing in Mezzo, and Micro level. It is a theme for you Luis.

        One of the hardest things for me to do during my time as a social worker was bite my tongue and not tell some of these people that “you are a f…ing retard and thats the reason why you are in this mess. And, you are also F…ing up your kids life because you are worthless as a parent. Of course i did not say this (why I lasted all those years in SW field) and I did try to help them but no one could ever look at the elephant in the room, you were supposed to ignore it and instead blame society and in the case of minorities, blame the white men.

        Luis i’m done with you. Half of what you claim as fact is wrong or made up. The other half is made up assumptions with no data or fact to back it. You state opinion as fact. Everything you write is (As you say) “heavily tinted by your own assumptions, ideological position and the like”.

        You are educated enough to be able to continue this argument but blinded to the point that you cant make a rational argument.

        I have better more useful things to do with my time then to argue with someone like you.

        Enjoy your life here in the US taking advantage of all we offer while you demonize all we do.

        You know Luis, like I’ve told a few people before (mostly Mexicans who are so jealous of the US and so proud of “la madre patria” yet fall over themselves to leave Mexico and come to the US).

        If you think we are such crap why you came here for?

  12. “There were plenty riches and resources in Angola still are. Its just in the hands of Angola’s elite and powerful while the rest starve.”

    This is true, but the Cubans weren’t enjoying luxury lifestyles in Angola.

    “Angola was a civil war with many local factions fighting for power and $$$.”

    Well, yes, that’s necessarily what ALWAYS happens in a civil war. Without power and money, you lose the war, by definition. The phrase “fighting for power and money” is vacuous because it tells us precisely nothing.

    “The many factions started partnering with outside supporters who had some interests in play and then Castro sent in his army. After that S. African state felt threatened by SWAPO and other groups out of Angola and got involved too.”

    This is a miserable mischaracterization of what happened, not least because it places the South African regime as the victim, who “feared” SWAPO (which, by the way, was fighting mostly in Namibia, another apartheid state at the time). The reality is that the South African army was conducting routine cross-border terrorism into Angola, and the MPLA had no means of stopping this. It was under those conditions that “Castro sent his army” (eve here you make it sound as though Cuba’s army is a mere plaything of “Castro”), at the explicit request of the MPLA government. Evidently, only the South Africans were entitled to being “afraid”, even though they were the ones with the most monstrous means of violence at their disposal, which they repeatedly used. The only “interests” that the US had in Angola was to undermine Soviet and Cuban influence (publicly conflated, with the latter being denounced as a derivative of the former, when in fact even CIA analysts knew that Cuba was acting largely outside of Soviet wishes).

    “Don’t complicate it and make it into something it was not with all your “theories””

    What “theories” would those be? Everything I said about Angola was perfectly accurate.

    “US was always wishy washy about the issue and played a minor role.”

    Even though the US role was RELATIVELY minor, it had serious ramifications for Angola. Their implicit support for South Africa was indeed later dropped, but the point is that it was kept up until it was no longer politically feasible.

    “S. Africa was a partner but then due to apartheid becoming a well known issue US joined embargo against S. Africa. US supported one group then tried supporting another, etc. US operations in Angola lacked commitment and were poorly run due to varying views inside US.”

    True. The overall US role, however, was regressive and harmful. It’s true that the US joined the anti-apartheid embargo, but this can hardly be termed “moral” when the SU government was FORCED by international public opinion to change course. Cuba, on the other hand, was willing to stake its friendship with the USSR on the Angola issue, and risked making itself more vulnerable to US attack by diverting its resources and personnel to Angola. This was a level of genuine moral commitment that the opportunistic and amoral US position couldn’t be compared to in any way. This is undoubtedly true no matter what you think of Castro.

    “Castro on another hand once committed, realized he could not lose without serious repercussions at home. He had a well planned and committed involvement. for US Angola was a minor side skirmish.”

    So you manage to turn Cuba’s involvement into a negative, while the US gets points simply for being a superpower. When a small, poor nation diverts resources to an internationalist mission, it is castigated for the supposed machinations of its leader, while the US is in effect congratulated for its “minor” role and “joining in the embargo against apartheid”. And you call me blinded by ideology!

    “How many years did you spend in Angola Luis?”

    Zero. And that’s also irrelevant, given that even if I had spent decades there, it wouldn’t change the fact that, whatever experiences or views I would have accumulated there, there would still be many other people with vastly different views and experiences.

    “You don’t know Fidel like my family does. like most Cubans do. He does nothing without a well calculated reason. He is a ruthless dictator and he is a genius.”

    This is pure liberal vulgarization. You see everything at the level of individuals and their desires, substituting for class interests and strategic actions the personal predilections and personal power opportunities of leaders. But let me turn the question around on you: how many family members have you had killed in air strikes against refugee camps by the South African air force? How many of your children who survived such attacks did you raise and educate? Once again, and with all due respect to your family, you don’t own the issue. Imagine if someone analyzed the Vietnam War only from the point of view of the victims of the Viet Cong, while ignoring the victims of US imperialism. In Angola, the vast bulk of the victims were the victims of South Africa and its proxy army UNITA.

    “Blacks in Cuba are not better off than before.”

    This makes no sense, since you just stated that Blacks continue to be “Castro’s loyal followers”.

    “Except for those few in upper rungs of power (which was not possible before) it is just that they are now equally disadvantaged as the whites. It was not just blacks it was massive social engineering.”

    There are, I’m afraid to say, strong elements of racial chauvinism in your words. It seems that for you, it is the natural state of affairs for whites to be “advantaged”, and for blacks to want nothing else than to “get even” with whites even if it means living in poverty and continuing “disadvantage”. Also, I roll my eyes whenever I see the phrase “social engineering” as though it was exclusively the preserve of socialist regimes, and as though capitalist forces don’t engage in continuing and massive social engineering. Check out the website theconsumertrap.com for ongoing example after example of how, for example, corporate propaganda (advertising) has insidiously made its way into every aspect of life in the Western capitalist countries, how Facebook is essentially little more than a massive data-mining operation designed to help corporations target consumers more effectively, and how the very term “consumer” has been embedded into the culture of these countries as a wedge to turn people into surrogates of corporate capital. The scale, expense and sophistication of all this far surpasses anything attempted by the socialist states.

    “I almost lost my mind reading the rest of your argument.”

    ??? Now THIS I’m curious about.

    “The US has internal issues but compared to internal/social issues in most places you defend we have no problems.”

    Please know that I don’t seek to “defend” these regimes, only to raise the level of analysis higher than mere vulgarization and caricature that serves the interests of imperialist violence and unrestrained capitalism. I don’t issue blanket condemnations against capitalism, but nor do I issue blanket condemnations against those whom the US happens to be targeting at any moment (with the exception of a group like ISIS, which is regressive and completely beyond redemption). To do so is to become an appendage of imperialism, a role that the corporate media fills with unflinching devotion.

    “White privilege, I knew you would mention this.

    “The black kids i knew that had decent parents all got out and are now successful. The ones who are still in poverty, and/or in prison are the ones who’s had no parents.

    “Its not just Blacks or Hispanics. If you go to the poor crime filled white neighborhoods that do exist you find the same issues.”

    I’ll address this because it at least gets a bit closer to the elephant in the room that you’re not seeing. The issue is of course precisely poverty, and it’s precisely that blacks are systematically kept, through a whole web of factors, in such conditions, with their parents being more likely to be arrested for drug offenses even though whites do drugs at about the same rate. The war on drugs is racist to the core, and has served only to decimate the prospects for millions of blacks, who, through circumstance, have grown up (as you mention) without adequate parental support. There’s a cycle of poverty that is maintained through structural factors. Citing abstract “parents” just begs the question of why those parents aren’t there.

    “But no one wants to see the elephant in the room.”

    That’s true! This is why white privilege is still not acknowledged by many whites, in spite of the numerous studies showing its devastating effects, from the housing market, to the extension of credit, to policing practices for the same crimes (indeed, one studies showed that blacks who are NOT in possession of guns or drugs while driving are MORE likely to be pulled over and searched than whites who are ARE in possession of guns and drugs), to the length of jail time for the same crimes, to the frequency of arrest for the same crimes (drug related in this case), to hiring practices for people with the same qualifications, and so on and on. It would literally take a Nazi-like mass extermination campaign against blacks for many white people to even begin acknowledging that there’s a serious problem that goes well beyond “bad parenting” or some other trope reflexively brought out by white people who don’t want to acknowledge their own responsibility for the state of affairs in the US. Just witness the trollish hatred for Beyonce’s new song by many white people, even though she is presenting a mild message of “please don’t shoot us”. Even THAT is perceived as an “attack” by many whites. Blacks don’t even have the benefit of requesting that they not be shot without this being seen as an attack against white people!

    This is the pitiful level of politics in the US.

    “Its easier to blame someone else instead of take responsibility.”

    True, which is why many whites prefer to simply not hear the screams and to side with the torturers and murderers in the police force who brutalize blacks on the flimsiest pretexts. These whites then turn around and denounce as “racist” the mere hint that the academic studies show something bad is going on. For these whites, the “real” racial problem in the US is that they have to “keep hearing about” the “problems of black people”. So your trope about “it’s easier to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility” is true, but it applies in a way that you don’t perceive.

    “Luis i’m done with you. Half of what you claim as fact is wrong or made up.”

    You haven’t demonstrated that, only proclaimed it, and many of your own claims are laden with unsubstantiated assumptions, hints of chauvinism and even outright falsehoods (Please note that I’m not accusing you of deliberately lying, only that some of your claims aren’t true). But I can see that you’re in the grips of powerful emotions, and that’s fine.

    “The other half is made up assumptions with no data or fact to back it.”

    There are numerous studies on anti-black racism in US society and of its effects; there is also a fairly comprehensive book about the diplomacy, politics and military aspects of the Angolan civil war as seen from the Cuban, Soviet, South African and American perspectives called “Visions of Freedom” (I recommend it, even though it’s a dry read in places, with pages devoted to the splits within the State Department, the Republican Party and so forth about how to handle Cuban involvement in Angola).

    “You state opinion as fact. Everything you write is (As you say) “heavily tinted by your own assumptions, ideological position and the like”.”

    Exactly like yours, as you’ve demonstrated with your ignorance of how white privilege is manifested in US society.

    “You are educated enough to be able to continue this argument but blinded to the point that you cant make a rational argument.”

    I would argue this is your problem.

    “Enjoy your life here in the US taking advantage of all we offer while you demonize all we do.”

    Please show me where I did this. I don’t equivocate US imperialist actions with “all” that the US (however defined) does.

    “You know Luis, like I’ve told a few people before (mostly Mexicans who are so jealous of the US and so proud of “la madre patria” yet fall over themselves to leave Mexico and come to the US).”

    As I explained, this isn’t “jealousy”, it’s basic necessity.

    “If you think we are such crap why you came here for?”

    I never said “you’re” “such crap”.

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