Archive for October 14th, 2013

by lizard

The economic warfare that’s been waged against the third world for decades is being fully implemented here in the states. Self-described economic hit man, John Perkins, had his personal account of his role in this warfare published in 2004, titled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Here’s the wikipedia summary:

According to his book, Perkins’ function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and USAID. Saddled with debts they could not hope to pay, those countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues. Perkins argues in his book that developing nations were effectively neutralized politically, had their wealth gaps driven wider and economies crippled in the long run.

Sound familiar?

The main trial balloon for how this will work is Detroit:

Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager says a $350 million loan has been secured to help the city pay its way out of a complicated deal involving major creditors.

Kevyn Orr said Friday that the money committed by Barclays will help with Detroit’s reconstruction as he tries to take the city into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The loan still has to be approved by a bankruptcy court judge.

About $230 million would be used to pay off some obligations related to its pension debt. The rest would be used to improve basic city services and technology infrastructure.

The city says the loan is secured with pledges of casino and income tax revenue, and cash from the potential value of assets that exceed $10 million.

Remember, the “state-appointed emergency manager” is an unelected person given sweeping powers by Michigan’s truly disturbing and potentially racist emergency manager law.

If you want to hear from Perkins, this Democracy Now interview is worth checking out.

Knowing all this, what can we do about it? There’s enough brainwashing on the right regarding debt to provide cover for the austerity attacks, and enough fecklessness on the left to provide reliable failure. Third party alternatives just get absorbed and politically weaponized by one side or the other.

Maybe shutdown is the answer. Maybe the “radical” environmentalists had it right with sugar in the tank and spikes in the trees. Maybe we can wed government hatred from the tea party with the sentiment expressed by Mario Savio:

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

I should note that quote came from a speech given at Sproul Hall on the Berkley campus on December 2nd, 1964.

It’s too bad that kind of post-WWII campus radicalism got effectively derailed by hippie hedonism, but I think it’s coming back, as evidenced by the growing Millennial appreciation for socialism.

Or we could keep pretending that we have a representative government capable of countering the influence of obscene wealth concentration and the political influence that wealth can purchase.

by lizard

America doesn’t have troops in Iraq not because president Obama wanted it that way, but because Maliki kicked us out:

The claim that President Obama met a campaign promise today is technically true – but only because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki forced him to. Obama was seeking to keep troops in Iraq, perhaps as many as 15,000 of them, beyond the Dec. 31 withdrawal date.

Despite the best efforts of Obama, it was the Bush SOFA (status of forces agreement) that gave al-Makiki the grounds to reassert Iraq’s sovereignty. Now this exact dilemma is being replayed in Afghanistan, and once again our Nobel Peace prize winning president is trying to extend a US troop presence beyond 2014:

The United States and Afghanistan agreed Saturday on a draft deal that would keep some U.S. forces in Afghanistan past next year, but only if Afghan political and tribal leaders agree to a key U.S. demand that American troops not be subject to Afghan law, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the framework security agreement meets his demands regarding counterterrorism operations on Afghan soil and respects Afghan sovereignty. The U.S. demand to retain legal jurisdiction over all remaining U.S. forces will be put before a loya jirga, Karzai said. He plans to convene the Afghan tribal consultation body next month.

Did you catch that? Karzai isn’t making this decision unilaterally. What about the Obama administration? Does Congress or the American people count in the decision making process to make America’s longest war even longer? Here’s an excerpt from the end of Ochenski’s column in the Missoulian today (I suggest reading the whole thing):

First, Kerry isn’t telling Congress what bargains he’s making, nor asking their approval. Instead, he’s been talking with Obama appointees, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and national security adviser Susan Rice, neither of whom is elected nor represents the American people.

In short, America, which lauds itself as the greatest democracy in the world, is using an undemocratic secret process to extend an unpopular and expensive war. Were we the democracy we claim to be, any bargain Kerry strikes should first be submitted to Congress and the American people for approval before it is enacted.

The Obama administration is undoubtedly still smarting from the overwhelming rejection of its plans to militarily intrude in Syria. The lesson it should have learned is that the American people are tired of futile foreign wars. Instead, they are now trying to wage war in secret. Obama says he is comfortable with the pullout of all American troops by the end of 2014. Kerry ought to heed his boss and drop all plans to keep another 10,000 Americans killing and dying in Afghanistan indefinitely into the future.

Ochenski is being very generous here, assuming what Obama has said in public about ending the Afghanistan war correlates to his actual wishes. Personally, I don’t think any statement from the president should be taken at face value.

For a non-American perspective, Moon of Alabama has a post titled The Afghan SOFA Farce. The question concluding the post is worth contemplating:

What is the significance of Afghanistan that makes the Obama administration seek a continued U.S. participation in the war? After twelve full years no success has been achieved in Afghanistan while hundreds of billions have been spent on it. Why continue for longer at such immense costs?

There are a few reasons I can think of, but none of them have a thing to do with fighting terrorism. There is the vast mineral wealth publicized three years ago waiting to be exploited, there are pipelines to build, and there is also the “golden crescent” of opiate production, specifically heroin, which has greatly expanded, post-invasion/occupation.

It’s understandable the American public is focused on shutdowns and debt default, but while we are focused on the class war being waged within our borders, we are ignoring what the warmonger in the White House is trying to achieve abroad.

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