Saturday, July 31, 2010

American Fascism’s Continuing Assault on ‘Useless Eaters’: Phyllis Schlafly Smears ‘Unmarried Moms’ Receiving Unemployment Benefits

By Charlie Eisenhood
Think Progress | Jul 30th, 2010
schlafly American Fascism’s Continuing Assault on ‘Useless Eaters’: Phyllis Schlafly Smears ‘Unmarried Moms’ Receiving Unemployment Benefits
Over the past two months, many Republican pundits and members of Congress have been calling for the end of unemployment benefit extensions for the millions of Americans who can’t find work. Meanwhile, GOP Senators held the unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill hostage for weeks as 2.5 million Americans were left without the “desperately needed lifeline” of UI benefits. Even as five workers fight for every one job opening, Republicans are still calling the unemployed “spoiled” and suggesting that blocking benefits is fine because it only affects a “small amount of people.”

Last week at a fundraiser for Michigan GOP congressional candidate Rocky Raczowski, conservative pundit Phyllis Schlafly added her voice to the chorus crying out against government assistance for the poor or unemployed:
One of the things Obama’s been doing is deliberately trying to increase the percentage of our population that is dependent on government for your living. For example, do you know what was the second biggest demographic group that voted for Obama? Obviously the blacks were the biggest demographic, y’all know what was the second biggest? Unmarried women. 70% of unmarried women voted for Obama. And this is because when you kick your husband out, you’ve got to have Big Brother Government to be your provider. And they know that. They’ve admitted it. And they have all kinds of bills to continue to subsidize illegitimacy…
The Obama administration wants to continue to subsidize this group because they know they are Democratic votes.
Schlafly’s argument is specious. She talks about “subsidizing illegitimacy,” but not all single women are mothers. Less than 20 percent are mothers to young children. The rest include millions of widows, millions of young never-married women, and plenty in between — some of whom have kids, but most of whom do not.

Friday, July 30, 2010

FBI admits probing ‘radical’ historian Zinn for criticizing bureau

While many babble on about how free people are in America I have tended to question the reality of that freedom. Too often that freedom seems to mean one is free to work wages so mean and parsimonious as to give meaning to the term "wage slavery".  Oddly that freedom doesn't seem to extend to the rights of labor to organize, form unions and strike for better conditions, otherwise why would workers who try to exercise that freedom be fired, subjected to beatings and arrest or sometimes even murdered by those who are authorized to enforce the nations laws.

Why are people of color, women, LGBT/TQ people considered subversive and anti-American when they ask that the nation that claims to stand foursquare for freedom, justice and equality honor those claims by giving people of color, women and LGBT/TQ people those things the nation says it is most proud of.

Why are those who peacefully dissent and point out the short-comings, the bait and switch nature of these claims spied upon by secret police when our government tells us that only totalitarian governments use secret police to spy upon citizens who peacefully dissent.  Why is it okay for a nation that claims to stand for freedom of speech turns around and black lists those who have the audacity to speak out against the injustices of racism, imperialism, sexism and homophobia?  Are terminations and black listing the marks of freedom or of an authoritarian police state?

Is it more radical to petition an authoritarian state to be allowed to become part of that authoritarian state than it is to work to end the authoritarian state that oppresses so many?
The late Howard Zinn exposed the reality behind America's image and showed us how it was so often a bright and shining lie.

For this he was investigated by the FBI and I am sure by secret police squads all over the country.  His crime being a truth teller with the courage to speak that truth to power. I am not surprised at their attempts to have him fired and blacklisted as that is the nature of those involved in the maintaining of the authoritarian aspects of corporate freedom and the government by and for the rich.

By Daniel Tencer
Friday, July 30th, 2010 -- 3:22 pm

FBI files show bureau may have tried to get Zinn fired from Boston University for his political opinions

Those who knew of the dissident historian Howard Zinn would not be surprised that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI kept tabs on him for decades during the Cold War.

But in a release of documents pertaining to Zinn, the bureau admitted that one of its investigations into the left-wing academic was prompted not by suspicion of criminal activity, but by Zinn's criticism of the FBI's record on civil rights investigations.

"In 1949, the FBI opened a domestic security investigation on Zinn," the bureau states. "The Bureau noted Zinn’s activities in what were called Communist Front Groups and received informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the CPUSA; Zinn denied ever being a member when he was questioned by agents in the 1950s.

"In the 1960s, the Bureau took another look at Zinn on account of his criticism of the FBI’s civil rights investigations."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

UN declares access to clean water a human right

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 -- 11:02 pm

UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly on Wednesday recognized access to clean water and sanitation as a human right, a move hailed by water advocates as a momentous step toward a future treaty.
After more than 15 years of contentious debate on the issue, 122 countries voted in favor of a compromise Bolivian resolution enshrining the right, while the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and 37 other nations abstained.

The non-binding text "declares the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life."

It expresses deep concern that 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and that more 2.6 billion do not have access to basic sanitation.

It notes that roughly two million people die every year from diseases caused by unsafe water and sanitation, most of them small children.

Barcelona, Spain: CNT Occupies the Health Department to Protest the Dismissal of 107 workers

From Info Shop News

Thursday, July 29 2010 @ 10:45 AM UTC
Contributed by: WorkerFreedom

As part of the campaign for the reinstatement of 107 Catalan 061* service workers fired in March, a couple dozen activists from the CNT occupied the headquarters of the Department of Health on the afternoon of July 23 to demand a meeting with the System of Medical Emergencies (SEM).

(*Note: 061 is the phone number to dial for medical emergencies.)

For some months, the Syndical Section has been carrying out a series of legal and union actions against the company ATENTO, which manages the service, to denounce the injustice and illegality of the firings.

Because of the reluctance of the company to negotiate with CNT, it was decided to escalate the struggle, while also pressing the Department of Health, which is also considered responsible for the situation of the dismissed comrades. It is unacceptable that the Department supports the attitude of ATENTO, allowing the company to systematically ignore the rights of their workers, in a service so essential to the welfare of the population like the SEM.

On account of the SEM's continued refusal to meet with workers, the CNT decided to occupy the premises of the Department of Health to demand a meeting to address the situation of the redundant workers. The occupation went absolutely smoothly, without incident. The occupiers waited inside while our comrades met with representatives of the Department.

At the same time, about fifty people gathered at the gates of the Department to show solidarity with the dismissed workers and support the action of the occupiers. With a playful but combative spirit, the protesters performed a small play which satirized the management of industrial relations in the 061 by ATENTO and SEM. Later, a manifesto by the Syndical Section was read denouncing the unfair situation of workers and, finally, an effigy of the Health Councillor, Marina Geli, was hung, symbolizing the workers' relentless condemnation of the way of managing the Catalan health system and in particular the emergency medical service. The demonstrators also unfurled a banner calling for participation in the assembly of September 15 in Plaça Universitat convened by the Workers' Assembly of Barcelona.

After fixing a meeting for next Tuesday, the occupiers left the building and joined the protest, communicating the success of the action to their comrades and leaving peacefully.

The CNT will continue to act by all means at its disposal to undo the dismissals and to achieve the reinstatement of the comrades. However, we consider it important to emphasize that our struggle is not only for the defense of a few jobs , a defense made more and more necessary by the current offensive of the bosses and government; it is also a struggle to ensure the quality public services for the people and against the covert privatization of these services.

Finally, we would like to thank all the comrades of the CNT from diferent regional unions and the Forestry Workers Union from CNT Guaites, CNT-Catalunya, the CGT trade union section in ATENTO, En Lluita and in general, to thank all who participated and supported the action.

‘Worst Bush-era policies’ becoming the ‘new normal’: ACLU

By Muriel Kane
Thursday, July 29th, 2010 -- 1:19 pm

From the point of view of civil libertarians, the Obama administration has been an exercise in frustration, with every hopeful sign followed by failures to live up to its own promises.
The ACLU has just issued a report (pdf), titled "Establishing a New Normal: National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Under the Obama Administration," which focuses on this pattern of inconsistency.
"The administration has displayed a decidedly mixed record," explains ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romaro, "resulting, on a range of issues, in the very real danger that the Obama administration will institutionalize some of the most troublesome policies of the previous administration -- in essence, creating a troubling 'new normal.'"
As summarized in a press release announcing the report, "President Obama has made great strides in some areas, such as his auspicious first steps to categorically prohibit torture, outlaw the CIA's use of secret overseas detention sites and release the Bush administration's torture memos, but he has failed to eliminate some of the worst policies put in place by President Bush, such as military commissions and indefinite detention. He has also expanded the Bush administration's 'targeted killing' program."

Continue reading at:

Hundreds of FBI agents probed over cheating on surveillance test

  By The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 -- 6:06 pm

FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress on Wednesday that he does not know how many of his agents cheated on an important exam on the bureau's policies, an embarrassing revelation that raises questions about whether the FBI knows its own rules for conducting surveillance on Americans.
The Justice Department inspector general is investigating whether hundreds of agents cheated on the test. Some took the open-book test together, violating rules that they take it alone. Others finished the lengthy exam unusually quickly, current and former officials said.
The test was supposed to ensure that FBI agents understand new rules allowing them to conduct surveillance and open files on Americans without evidence of criminal wrongdoing. If agents can't pass that test without cheating, civil liberties groups ask, how can they follow them?
Asked about an Associated Press report about the cheating investigation, Mueller said he does not know how widespread the problem was.

Continue reading at:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Fracking" Poisons Your Drinking Water: Stand Up to the Oil Giants and Help Stop the Catastrophe

From Alternet:
By John Sellers, Agit-Pop
Posted on July 26, 2010, Printed on July 28, 2010

Seems like everyone is singing the praises of Natural Gas, our newest greenest most homegrown and secure source of American Energy. NOT!  "Clean Natural" Gas is neither. Gas extraction, made possible by hydraulic fracturing (or fracking for short) has to sit right beside Deep Sea Drilling, Mountain Top Removal, and Dirty Tar Sands Oil in the pantheon of insane ways to get our carbon fix.

Did you know that Halliburton (yes that Halliburton) patented fracking: a process that mixes millions of gallons of precious fresh water with a proprietary cocktail of toxins, injects it through our drinking water table, and into the ground at a pressure that will fracture rock? Did you know that when Dick Cheney (yes that Dick) was the VP he fracked the EPA to make sure that this insanity would be exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act?

Stand Up, New York!

Fracking has brought the gas rush to New York. Some of the biggest and dirtiest names in Big Oil are coming to frack you. And they will not be gentle with New York's world class water features.

You can expect the same dirty drilling that has poisoned the water in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Ohio. Who will be at risk? Everyone downstream. Including the drinking water of tens of million in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
If you love NY and NY State as I do (or just love someone who does) then please watch our video, go to, and DO SOMETHING!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Peter Gelderloos: The Crisis as Pacification

Sunday, July 25 2010 @ 03:44 PM UTC

The Crisis as Pacification

by Peter Gelderloos
Cascades: Conversations in Crisis
Coming back to the US after four years living abroad, I’ve been surprised to see a proliferation of tent cities, foreclosed home occupations, squatting, university occupations, illegal urban gardening, immigrant solidarity rallies, and anti-police riots from one coast to the other.

On the one hand, there seems to be a country-wide level of resistance, a potential boiling-over, not seen in this country in decades. On the other hand, the collective feeling of being in a revolutionary moment, the emotional reality of participating in a strong and global struggle, seems suspiciously absent. People don’t dare to get their hopes up, when precisely what a struggle needs to have any hope of accomplishing anything is to be bold. Yet the reality of the NGO-style activism to which many people consign themselves, and which has controlled social movements in this country for years, is nothing if not demoralizing.

Many people have pointed out that “crisis is business as usual”, or that crisis is a normal part of the ebbs and flows of capitalism. Another good way to understand crisis is as the pacification of social movements. Capitalism is always exploiting us, and the government is always trying to pull one over on us and increase its powers. Perhaps the most tragic element of the current crisis is how much they have been able to get away with, precisely because we have been pacified.

In Barcelona, where I currently live, the practice of squatting abandoned buildings for housing and social centers has coalesced into a major movement with an evolved ability to defend itself. Nearby in Greece, a deeply rooted anarchist struggle has gained ground time and again in urban land occupations, workers’ movements, immigrant struggles, responses to police brutality, and more.

Contrasting the situation in the US with the situation in those two countries, one can tease out a number of lessons that could be helpful here.

Democracy Is Not Your Friend

Both Spain and Greece transitioned from fascist or military dictatorship to democracy in the ‘70s, and both dictatorships were instituted with the complicity of the bourgeoisie at a time of growing anarchist and communist social struggles. Because they have kept this memory alive, more people are aware that democracy and dictatorship are just two sides of the same coin, and it is a coin the elite will fl ip whenever they need to improve their luck. There is less trust in government; therefore the illusion of social peace and the trick of participation, the two tools a democracy has that a dictatorship does not, are less effective. Anarchists in these two countries do not consider themselves a part of the Left, because they understand the Left to be nothing more than the leftwing of Capital. Just as the state has two wings, it has two basic strategies of counterinsurgency: repression--violently crushing social struggles; and recuperation- -bribing and diverting social struggles to become civil and focus on rejuvenating the system rather than destroying it.

Using democracy as a good term, understanding it as anything other than the slave system it is and has always been going back to ancient Athens, prevents us from understanding the primary way social movements are defeated these days: by being tricked into participating in the system and trusting the authorities who are to blame for all the problems we are opposing.*[footnote]

In Spain and in Greece, anti-capitalists understand that NGOs are the enemy every bit as much as the police are. NGOs get their funding from the Ford Foundation, the government, and similar state and capitalist enterprises precisely because they provide such a useful safety valve, preventing social tensions from becoming social struggles. NGOs turn revolutionaries into careerists, radical politics into office politics, struggles into bureaucracies.

The Left, through its political parties as much as through its non-governmental organizations, is structured to control resistance. Those of us who really want a free and egalitarian world in which everyone can meet their needs and pursue their desires would be better off understanding our relationship with the democratic system as an antagonistic one.

People in the social movements in the US need to assert the autonomy of our struggles. Political parties, politicians, and corporate or state funding are not welcome. Projects that do need to rely on funding to alleviate harm in the short-term need to be open and honest that they have traded in their autonomy, and while they are doing important, compassionate work, they have not embarked on a sustainable, long-term path of struggle that can address the root causes of social harm.

History Dies Without Our Love

Social struggles in Spain and in Greece benefit from longer historical memories that allow collective lessons, momentum, and continuity to survive from one generation to the next. Their deeper analysis of democracy would not be possible if the histories of past struggles had died out. US society, on the other hand, suffers from a pronounced amnesia, and this is because the social movements in this country have chosen, by omission, to let histories of struggle die out. History has no objective existence. It dries up if it is not nourished, and replenished, and taken out for walks. History cannot live on the pages of a book; it can only live in the streets.

What better example of the power and vulnerability of history than May Day. A struggle waged 114 years ago throughout this country gave birth to a force that anti-capitalist movements around the world can still draw on today, yet in this country, May Day had become all but extinct until immigrants brought it back to life in 2006. Losing this history accompanied losing the ability to fight against capitalism armed with the knowledge that democratic peace has never existed, that we have always been fighting back. Historical depth corresponds with political depth. Without it, all we can do is beg for scraps and oppose the most recent outrages while leaving the broader system intact. This speaks to a great weakness of the anti-globalization movement. A common leftist politics, lacking that historical depth, could only challenge neoliberalism, while remaining silent on the deeper global structures that produced neoliberalism, and for which neoliberalism was only an alternative strategy.

The history of struggle is generally the history of our defeats, but these defeats are dear to us, because they remind us that we are brave, that we are capable of fighting back, and they teach us how to do better next time. Just a few decades ago, the US was home to powerful social struggles that are still an inspiration for other radicals and anti-capitalists around the globe. The Black Panthers, for example, spoke not just to African-Americans, but to the entire world.

In Barcelona, anarchist squatters are still talking about the eviction of the social center Cine Princesa 14 years after the fact. The resistance failed, the building was evicted, but people inspired themselves by fighting back, they made the state think twice before the next eviction, and they held on to the memory of this battle, inspiring future generations.

As a whole we have allowed these histories to be stolen from us in this country. Many people becoming politically active today learn about past struggles through books and documentaries, not from commemorative vigils, protests and parades, posters, celebrations, and movement holidays. The revolutionary struggles in the ‘60s and ‘70s were defeated by effective government repression, by a large part of the movement selling out and opting for peaceful, civic politics and a cushy place within the system, and by others adopting
increasingly authoritarian forms of organization, which predictably led to factionalism, power plays, and infighting. Unfortunately, today more people are choosing to reinvent the wheel rather than to engage honestly with the depth of this defeat.

The ghosts of past struggles can give us strength, but only if we continue to talk to them, to learn from them, to bring them back into the streets.

In the US, we should begin commemorating the anniversaries of important riots, killings by police, land occupations, and other events of struggle by holding protests and festivals, recreating this history in the public eye, and reminding ourselves that we have always been struggling. We should publicly remember slavery, segregation, and genocide against indigenous nations, not to show how far we’ve come, as the Left does, but to show how the present system has built up its power, and how many times it has changed its

The Public Does Not Exist

Another strength of the anarchists in Spain and Greece is that in general, they do not talk to the media. They understand that the media are not an ally but a part of the democratic system of control. The problem is not just “corporate media,” when the same corporation that makes the bombs also makes the news explaining how and why the bombs were used, and makes the movie glorifying the people who used the bombs, although this is clearly an intensification of the problem. It goes much deeper, to the structure
of a society in which news is created by specialized producers, and circulated in specific spaces through flows which are regulated and non-reciprocal. In other words, the structure of media creates producers and consumers of fact and culture. In a truly free society, everyone would be making the news and shaping their culture, and sharing it reciprocally.

In specific cases, media coverage can be influenced to make a concrete difference, but the media will never communicate the ideas we need to communicate in order to achieve lasting social change. Instead, the anarchists in Greece and Spain focus on counterinformation--communicating directly with society through posters, flyers, graffiti, demos, protest marches, and face to face conversations in order to counter the lies spread by the media.

In the US, the media have social movements dangling from a string, and most activists put themselves in this position voluntarily. US radicals are so sensitive to public opinion, it seems they have no grasp of what kind of institution the press is. The most important thing to realize is that the public does not exist. The public is an imaginary product of a media-driven democracy. The public is created through one-way flows of information (e.g. television and newspapers, advertising) and the framing of the debate. One could easily
control society even if people were allowed to vote on every decision (e.g. “direct democracy”), as long as one could frame what questions were asked and how. Public opinion will never support prison abolition, because on the one hand that question is never posed (instead, the reporter will ask, “do you think the police are doing their job well?”), and on the other hand, the public is constantly bombarded with stories of rising crime. The root causes of crime, or what crime even means as a social construct and who gets to define it, never enter into the public debate.

Being sensitive to public opinion regarding what tactics we use in our struggles is like asking the FBI to draft our political strategies.

Revolutionaries in the US need to recognize that in fact, changing our entire society is a scary prospect, and requires rocking the boat considerably. Being pragmatic and playing the PR game brings short-term gains while making long-term change impossible. For the time being, we have to risk being unpopular, until through repetition, hard work, boldness, and constant engagement with social conflicts, we make radical ideas normal, and radical tactics attractive.

Actions Come Before Popularity

The public is not the same as society, but it is more accessible. Under capitalism, society is largely invisible, whereas the public is highly visible, even though the latter is real and the former is imaginary. It is absolutely vital to communicate with society, but no one actually knows what society thinks, least of all society itself.
What we do know is that society is full of people who silently applaud every time someone shoots back at the police, people who one day snap and hijack a bulldozer to demolish city hall, people so disgusted with the sanitized, controlled facade of urban space that they cover it with graffiti, people who think they are alone in their hatred of the system. The signs of rebellion are everywhere.

We need to have confidence in our own analysis, and take action against the system even without a popular mandate. Capitalism is based on cognitive dissonance, on trained self-betrayal, and to attack it, people must attack their own chains, their own life-support system. In Greece, for years it was only the anarchists practicing the unpopular and unpragmatic tactics of holding open assemblies, organizing indefinite occupations, smashing banks, and attacking police stations. But in the massive social uprising in December
2008 and since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been using those tactics, including people who previously criticized them.

People will never support a struggle on a massive scale until that struggle is real, because only a struggle that has already begun to create power can sustain people along the difficult path of fighting back against the systems that are exploiting them. In the meantime, struggles can only be initiated by those who dare.
Direct attacks against capitalism, the state, and the structures of white supremacy and patriarchy will win sympathy. This sympathy will never register in the media and in the conversations of professional activists, but it will be audible in the streets, on the buses, in the high schools. In the beginning it will necessarily be a minority position, as only those whose rejection of the current order is most visceral and uncompromising join in, but as this struggle becomes less apologetic and asserts itself as a real force in all the social movements and along all the fault lines of social conflict, more and more people will admit that in fact it does make sense to fight back against a system that constitutes exploitation, humiliation, and warfare against all of us.

Peter Gelderloos is an activist and author currently living in Barcelona. He is the author of several books including ‘How Nonviolence Protects the State’, ‘Consensus: A New Handbook for Grassroots Social, Political, and Environmental Groups’, ‘What is Democracy?’ and ‘Anarchy Works’. 

*[footnote]Take the anti-war movement in this country. It wasn’t defeated through repression. It killed itself. By being peaceful, by being civil, by making demands of the authorities and thus investing our trust in them, by participating in elections, it lost its ability to inspire and to create power.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Man With neo-Nazi Ties Leading Patrols in AZ

Published: July 17, 2010

Filed at 12:09 p.m. ET

PHOENIX (AP) -- A militia led by a reputed neo-Nazi has been conducting heavily armed patrols in recent weeks to catch illegal aliens and drug smugglers in the Arizona desert.

Militia leader Jason ''J.T.'' Ready says he isn't waiting for the government anymore, and he's declaring war on drug cartels.

No incidents have been reported with Ready's militia, but some law enforcement officials say groups like his could cause problems for law enforcement.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu says he wants the militia to stay out of his county, where the group has been monitoring a well-known smuggling corridor.

Ready takes offense at the label ''neo-Nazi,'' but says he identifies with the National Socialist Movement, a white supremacist group.

It’s the End of the World As We Know It

From Jesse' Cafe Americain:

By Phil of Phil’s Stock World

What are 308,367,109 Americans supposed to do?

First of all, despite clamping down on immigration, our population grew by 2.6M people last year. Unfortunately, not only did we not create jobs for those 2.6M new people but we lost about 4M jobs so what are these new people going to do? Not only that, but nobody is talking about the another major job issue: People aren’t retiring! They can’t afford to because the economy is bad – that means there are even less job openings… The pimply faced kid can’t get a job delivering pizza because his grandpa’s doing it.

There are some brilliant pundits who believe cutting retirement benefits will fix our economy. How will that work exactly? Pay old people less money, don’t cover their medical care and what happens? Then they need money. If they need money, they need to work and if they need to work they increase the supply of labor, which reduces wages and leaves all 308,367,109 of us with less money. Oh sorry, not ALL 308,367,109 – just 308,337,109 – the top 30,000 (0.01%) own the business the other 308,337,109 work at and they will be raking it in because labor is roughly 1/3 of the cost of doing business in America and our great and powerful capitalists have already cut their manufacturing costs by shipping all those jobs overseas, where they pay as little as $1 a day for a human life so now, in order to increase their profits (because profits MUST be increased) they have now turned inward to see what they can shave off in America.

How does one decrease the cost of labor in America? Well first, you have to bust the unions. Check. Then you have to create a pressing need for people to work – perhaps give them easy access to credit and then get them to go so deeply into debt that they will have to work until they die to pay them off. Check. It also helps if you push up the cost of living by manipulating commodity prices. Check. Then, take away people’s retirement savings. Check. Lower interest rates to make savings futile and interest income inadequate. Check. And finally, threaten to take away the 12% a year that people have been saving for retirement by labeling Social Security an “entitlement” program – as if it wasn’t money Americans worked their whole lives to save and gave to the government in good faith. Check.

As Allen Smith says: “Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan pulled off one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated against the American people in the history of this great nation, and the underlying scam is still alive and well, more than a quarter century later. It represents the very foundation upon which the economic malpractice that led the nation to the great economic collapse of 2008 was built. Essentially, Reagan switched the federal government from what he critically called, a “tax and spend” policy, to a “borrow and spend” policy, where the government continued its heavy spending, but used borrowed money instead of tax revenue to pay the bills. The results were catastrophic. Although it had taken the United States more than 200 years to accumulate the first $1 trillion of national debt, it took only five years under Reagan to add the second one trillion dollars to the debt. By the end of the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush administrations, the national debt had quadrupled to $4 trillion!

Continue Reading at:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tea Party Equals Nazi Party

The Tea Party does not represent American Values. Perhaps it represents Confederate values. But like Rush Limbaugh it is racist to the core.

If it represents any values what so ever it represents Klu Klux Klan or Nazi values.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vigilante illegal alien list ‘most likely’ sprang from Utah state agency

From Raw Story:

David Edwards

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 -- 2:08 pm

"Vigilante illegal alien list ‘most likely’ sprang from Utah state agency"

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has ordered an investigation regarding a list of 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants that was sent to state and federal agencies by an unknown group.

The New York Daily News reports, "The list has Utah's Hispanic community filled with fear."

Social Security numbers for 31 people are on the list, as well as the names and dates of more than 200 children and the due dates of six pregnant women, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Continue Reading at:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Remember when Reagan met with Taliban leaders in the White House?

Remember when Reagan met with Taliban leaders in the White House?

No? Here’s a picture of the meeting between Reagan and the ‘freedom fighters’ (which is what Reagan referred to the Taliban as back in the 80’s and also considered them to be no different than America’s Founding Fathers)…

Nice huh?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Package bomb goes off at Houston oil executive’s home

From Raw Story

Disclaimer: Vandalism is one thing. Damage to property is one thing. Targeting people with bombs or other forms of weapons that indiscriminately kill or maim is unethical and not a place we should go.

By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, July 11th, 2010 -- 9:43 pm

Pipe bomb disguised as chocolates sends woman to hospital

A seemingly anonymous gift left on the front porch of a Houston home owned by an oil company executive has the city's affluent population of oil profiteers on edge this weekend, after that package exploded and seriously injured a 62-year-old woman.

Neighbors of the victim told an ABC News affiliate in Houston that the bomb was disguised as a box of chocolates in a gift bag, left on the home's doorstep around Thursday.

Instead, it contained what authorities described as a pipe bomb carrying a load of thumb tacks and nails. When she opened the package on Friday evening, standing on her back porch around 6:30, it resulted in shrapnel embedded across the woman's face -- injuries police said were not life-threatening.

Continue reading at:

Sen. Kyl: $678-billion tax break for rich should not be offset

From Raw Story

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
Sunday, July 11th, 2010 -- 2:06 pm

Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, believes that any extension to unemployment benefits "ought to be paid for." But when it comes to the $678-billion cost of extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy, the senator says no offsetting is necessary.

In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday, Kyl argued that Congress and the Obama administration should extend the tax cuts enacted by President George W. Bush during his first term.

Extending the entire package of tax cuts would cost the US $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years. The Obama administration has argued in favor of allowing to expire at least the part of the tax cuts that applies to people earning over $250,000 a year. That portion is estimated to cost $678 billion over 10 years.

"Tell me, how are you going to pay that $678 billion to keep those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy?" Wallace asked Kyl.

"You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes," Kyl said. "Surely Congress has the authority -- and it would be right -- if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans."

Continue reading at:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Greece: Letter from the Revolutionary Struggle Three

From Infoshop News:

Translated by This Is Our Job

From Liberación Total (June 17, 2010):

On April 10, 2010, the Anti-terrorist Department of the Greek Police arrested six people in Athens: Nikos Maziotis, Panagiota “Pola” Roupa, Kostas Gournas, Vaggelis Stathopoulos, Sarandos Nikitopoulos, and Christoforos Kortesis. All were known for their long presence in the anarchist/anti-authoritarian movement. Two weeks later, Maziotis, Roupa, and Gournas admitted to participating in the organization known as Revolutionary Struggle (Epanastatikos Agonas). Stathopoulos, Nikitopoulos, and Kortesis denied the charges and stated that they were being persecuted for their years of anarchist activity and their comradely political relationships with the others.

The following is the complete declaration of the Revolutionary Struggle Three:


We are taking responsibility for our participation in Revolutionary Struggle. We declare that comrade Lambros Foundas, who died in Dafni on March 10, 2010 after a battle with the police, also participated in Revolutionary Struggle. The battle was part of the subversive project decided on collectively by Revolutionary Struggle. It was a battle for revolution and freedom.

We also declare that we are very proud of our Revolutionary Struggle organization. We are proud of our history and of each moment of our political activity. We are proud of our comrade, whom we honor and will always honor.

And if the mechanisms of repression believe that imprisoning us will finish us off politically, they are wrong. Whether inside or outside prison, for us the struggle is and will continue to be a question of honor and dignity.

And if the terrorists Papandreou and Chrysohoidis are laughing (in vain) about our arrests; if they believe they have thus guaranteed the necessary security for their social-fascist party to easily continue imposing their criminal projects on society, wagging their tails to please their American masters; if they are hoping they have eliminated a serious threat to their regime, we assure them that it will not be so easy to do away with us.

While we live and breathe, we will do everything possible to cause trouble for their antisocial, criminal projects.

And if our persecutors and this country’s political establishment believe they have all of society on their side, if they believe most people see us as a “social threat,” then they are wrong. To the majority, the social threat is represented by the government, which passes one package of antisocial measures after another according to the recommendations of the “vultures” of Capital, who “grease” the State machinery so it functions smoothly. Terrorism is the neoliberal policy imposed for years by the parties in power and supported or tolerated by the smaller parties. Terrorism is the application of the “stability program.” Significant parts of the population—until now paralyzed by fear—are watching an unprecedented attack being launched against them, an attack still in its development phase.

Terrorism is not having the basics for survival. It’s having your wages and your pension cut. It’s having your house seized by some bank. It’s being surrounded by deadly pollution. Terrorism is living under a regime of daily fear for your survival.

To most of society, the terrorists and criminals are those who govern: the regime’s politicians, the rich, and the privileged castes, who exploit the workers and prosper by simply participating in the economic and political establishment. The enemies of society are those who—after years of stealing, getting rich, and taking advantage of a barbaric and grossly unjust system—are asking us to donate our blood in order to save the life of the regime’s putrid corpse now that the system is going through the biggest crisis in its history.

When the social-fascists in power claim to have the popular mandate to apply these policies, they provoke even more social indignation. In addition, they have already lost their legitimacy because no one has forgotten how PASOK extensively cheated broad strata of society during its election campaign. This is the same PASOK that took power by pure deception during the last election; lied about the so-called “redistribution policy” it supposedly wanted to apply, which was to benefit the poor; and lied when it promised salary and pension increases and a way out of the crisis, quickly and without undue aggravation.

They lied without knowing the country’s real financial situation, they lied about the state of the economy and its potential, and they lied in order to supposedly obtain the needed funds from privileged people. They stole power like liars, like vermin, like frauds. If they had revealed even the smallest part of their project before the election, they would now not only be out of the government but also out of parliament. The social consensus they are calling for is a monstrous lie provoking fierce social rage.

Right after the election, but still before PASOK revealed its true intentions, we as Revolutionary Struggle were already saying that the most brutal neoliberal offensive was on its way and would be launched in the name of “confronting the crisis and financial problems.” This has now been confirmed.

Additionally, we talked about the Papandreou government’s imminent political failure, which we expect to see shortly, because this is very much about a perishable government quickly nearing its expiration date.

Their criminal faces revealed, the keepers of political power nevertheless continue to deceive and trifle with us while insisting that what they are doing is “for everyone’s benefit.” Papandreou and his collaborators make us laugh when they call for patriotism, when they refer to the harsh measures they are imposing as “measures dictated by the national interest,” and when they talk about “saving the country.” And the culmination of this synchronized mockery comes when they say their efforts to ward off bankruptcy are for the benefit of the disadvantaged.

It’s “a matter of national emergency” when they drive large portions of the population into poverty and misery in order to “steady the markets” (“markets” mean “savage beasts created by transnational economic elites”), stop speculation with Greek debt, and finally lower public sector interest rates.

In fact, they have no interest in protecting either the country or the breakdown’s public sector. Most people are already worn out by the savage policies being applied to them, and their bankruptcy is a preliminary condition for the maintenance of privileged social strata. Pensions and salaries are being reduced or eliminated; hundreds of thousands of people are being laid off or will be laid off in the near future; tax audits are increasing; social security funds—after years of plundering, negligent policies by the State—are being allowed to disintegrate; and health services are being decimated while public hospitals fail and are left to deteriorate until they close, thus delivering the coup de grâce to any part of the public health system still left standing.

This situation is not something temporary that will improve in two to three years, like the powerful proclaim in order to reassure society, but something that will progressively worsen given the continuing efforts by the political elite to “get the country out of the crisis”—in other words, to save the economic and political ruling class.

After all the monstrous lies told by the government, we heard a number of quite earnest statements (for example, from Economic Minister Katseli) to the effect that “the crisis in Greece provides a great opportunity to apply the changes needed for global economic restructuring.” Of course, that means “the only opportunity to pass all the neoliberal reforms,” which previous governments didn’t even think of proposing due to the feared political cost of the social responses to such reforms.

They are talking about their only opportunity to quickly do away with every achievement and social gain once and for all, privatize benefits and the health sector, drastically reduce the cost of labor, and transform Greece into an exploitation paradise for Capital, with a large quantity of cheap labor devoid of all rights. They are talking about their only opportunity to bring about the cruelest redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top.

They are not interested in saving the disadvantaged, whom these policies condemn to a slow economic and social death. They want to save Greek capitalists, banks, big business, and arms manufacturers. They want to protect investors and every greedy opportunist who gambles with Greek debt and has thus far turned a profit. They want to protect themselves and the rest of the country’s political elite from the fall of the regime, which will also mean the dismantling of the state machinery. They want to protect themselves and the privileged people who relish taking part in the system.

The disadvantaged, who are simply disposable material to be used for the survival of the powerful, are now guaranteed the most profound economic and social collapse the country has seen since German occupation. PASOK is handing over land and sea to big capital; it is selling the entire country in order to save the skin of the local political and economic elite.

If only the lies would stop. Who are they hoping to fool when they say the financial collapse will mainly affect the poor, when they try to convince us that it’s in our own interest to “help overcome the crisis”? Anyway, by the time the country “has been saved,” all of us will already be dead. There will be no work, poverty will infect everyone like the plague, people will get sick and die without being able to do a thing about it, and the standard of living will be like that of a country at war. Because we are now at war. This has nothing to do with the war referred to by the lying Papandreou. The government didn’t declare any war on the markets and the speculators, like they say. The ridiculous statements we’ve been hearing all this time, especially from the mouth of the aforementioned actor who now manages the country’s destruction, only serve to confuse society.

We are facing a social and class war of an unprecedented level of intensity. The privileged social strata are synchronizing and coordinating their forces in order to launch an attack against our class, an attack of dimensions never before seen in these parts. This is a war that the capitalists, with help from the government, have declared against the workers. This is a war of the powerful against those who struggle.

We are facing a unique social situation in which the social and economic links between the privileged and the disadvantaged are breaking, one after another. An enormous social rupture is looming, along with an unprecedented political antithesis between the elite and the social base, and that has explosive potential.

In this situation of a never-before-seen terrorist attack launched by capital and the state, and while the overwhelming majority of people are experiencing a previously unimaginable state of fear and insecurity, it would be truly ridiculous to assert—like the authorities do—that our arrests have something to do with “confronting a social threat” and that the objective of Revolutionary Struggle was to “seriously frighten the population,” as the charges state.

We are certain that most do not perceive the lengthy, consistent political presence of Revolutionary Struggle as a “threat to society,” but rather as a political presence always with the oppressed and against the political and economic elite, on the side of those who live under the yoke of Power and against those who exercise it.

Despite the ideological counteroffensive unleashed against us by the government and mass media, most of the population understands that the war against us is a war against those who want to forcefully resist; it is an instrument of intimidation and terror to be used against those who are thinking about rising up in defiance of the criminal policies of power.

Anyone who looked closely at the trajectory of Revolutionary Struggle would understand the obsolescence of the assertions by the political establishment and its henchmen in the media about how our actions “constitute a threat to all of society.” Which of our actions terrorized society or were directed against it? Was it the attacks against the Economic and Labor Ministries, which are hated by the majority, and where the most antisocial policies are approved and decreed?

Was it the attacks against riot police, who terrorize the streets every day, who beat demonstrators, and whose sole mission is the violent repression of social struggles? Does it have something to do with our attacks against police stations, which give shelter to the regime’s trained killers, and where those who fall into the hands of the pigs are tortured, beaten, and murdered on a daily basis?

Did the attack against Voulgarakis—who was personally implicated in two huge scandals (wiretapping and the abduction of Pakistanis), and who used his ministerial seat to increase his family fortune through public land deals (the Vatopedi case—terrorize society? Most people who live in this country would very much like to see him, as well as all those mixed up in similar cases of insatiable theft of government property, hung in Syntagma Square.

Was the attack against the U.S. Embassy an act of terrorism against society? Don’t our persecutors and their superiors know that this attack was contentedly received by a large portion of Greek society, which is not especially friendly toward the United States?

Did the attack against the multinational Shell—which for decades has plundered the natural resources of many countries, exploited entire peoples, and contributed to the destruction of the planet—terrorize the population?

Or was it the attack against Citibank, one of the main gangs of international financial terrorists, which for decades has played an important role in the process of capital accumulation by stealing the wealth of innumerable countries via speculation with their national debts, thus bringing them to often irreversible economic and social ruin? Was attacking this multinational economic criminal, which is the ringleader of those who created the crisis we are now going through, an antisocial act?

Or was the attack against the Stock Exchange—that Temple of money, and one of the main channels for the plundering of social wealth and its transfer from the social base to the economic elite—an act of terrorism against society?

The only ones who were terrorized by these political actions were the political and economic authorities. The criminals are the capitalists, who are concerned about their “investments” and simply afraid of not being able to effortlessly cross the borders of their own modern dictatorship. If these attacks constitute a threat to anyone, it’s only to those who are enjoying the economic and social power derived from the current regime and from social slavery.

Therefore, our imprisonment is not a solution to the problem of public safety, but exactly the reverse: It is the attempted answer to a political threat to the regime, which allows capital and the state to most reliably exercise mass terror against the most people. Our persecutors’ objective is to eliminate an element capable of waking up society politically. Their objective is to erase a revolutionary threat.

For much of the international political and economic elite (including the IMF vultures as well), the global economic crisis is already over, and the economic recovery has now haltingly taken its place. Prospects look good, while the crisis in Greece is nothing more than the result of poor management by previous governments. The economic and political system’s defenders and apologists only identified “the crisis” with the shake-up in the international financial system, and since that seems rescued thanks to generous cash loans offered by the governments, they are now talking about an end to the system’s problems and the beginning of a perhaps grueling and none-too-short economic recovery process, but only on the condition that governments apply the necessary austerity measures.

The regime’s analysts also view the Greek crisis with the same superficial focus, which divides it into several separate (and for many, also independent) dimensions. To them, the economic crisis is simply a consequence of poor management of the system, which with some specific adjustments will return to its previous harmonious functioning.

To those who take part in the system’s leadership, the financial crisis in Greece is nothing but a secondary effect of the global economic crisis. It’s a problem that stems from poor management of public funds by previous governments. Of course, we won’t question the fact that all those different governments systematically and without exception plundered public funds. With wealth siphoned from the social base by the state, every administrator’s gang—bar none—was getting rich and living off of squandered public funds. Every now and then, they would perhaps throw out a few crusts of bread for the remainder of the population in an attempt to gain votes. The big party thieves amassed enormous fortunes, built mansions, bought yachts, and secured a life of luxury for themselves while the majority are living in a state of economic terror imposed by the state and capital. However, when the IMF and European Union vultures accuse previous governments of wasting public money, they aren’t referring to what we’ve mentioned, nor are they referring to the billions of euros those governments gave away to capitalists of every nationality operating in Greece. Instead, they are accusing previous governments of wasting public money on salaries and pensions, squandering it on public health and the education sector, and being too reluctant to tax the social base.

The Greek state has been bankrupt for a long time, whether the government admits it or not. The support mechanism constituted by the IMF, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank has already taken the reins of power, and its mission is to lend Greece cash in order to pay off those who took loans out of Greek public funds in the form of bonds. The trade-off for this “economic salvation” will be the cruelest pillaging of society by transnational capital.

Greece’s financial problems (apart from the plundering of public funds for personal benefit by those in charge) stem from the dominant model of development adopted during the past few years, as well as the link represented by Greece in the chain of the global production process. Greece’s role in Europe has always been that of a market for European products. And while the expensive euro was preventing European products from competing with the much cheaper products manufactured outside the European Union, the small Greek market was obligated to consume as many products from “eurozone” countries as it possibly could.

The assertion that “Europe is offering economic security to Greece” is nothing but a monstrous lie. From the beginning, the imperative of Europe’s economic strategy for Greece was to dismantle the previous production model and force the Greek state to stimulate consumption via loans. Greek governments continued to offer loans to finance the investments of EU companies in the Greek market, and simultaneously helped out Greek capitalists.

Moreover, after incessant propaganda from the banking groups, Greek society entered the loan labyrinth, which is exactly where a large portion now finds itself trapped.

Even in the midst of the crisis, with public as well as private Greek debt having already reached the amount of 1 trillion euros, President Trichet of the European Central Bank enthusiastically declared that “the Greeks still have a margin for new loans.” In other words: Keep consuming in order to support crisis-weakened European growth and the continuing profitability of the banks and corporations.

Illusory prosperity and high growth rates never correspond to the true economic situation; rather, they reflect the huge profits of capital. Plus, we had already pointed this out in 2005, at a time when everyone was still talking about the “strong Greek economy.” Even then we had predicted big economic problems and a real risk of insolvency, which Greece will face in the event a crisis of global dimensions explodes.

To all kinds of speculators/managers and owners of big capital, the crisis leaves no margin for the high profitability of the traditional sectors of the economy. Even many Stock Exchanges aren’t offering sufficient returns to satisfy the greedy capitalists, nor are the raw materials and foodstuff markets (despite the fact that prices are too high given the global decrease in demand) offering—at least for the moment—the possibility of an increase similar to that of 2008. And all this is going on despite investors doing everything possible to expand the bubble now present on certain Stock Exchanges.

On the other hand, national debts represent the best opportunity for transnational capital to extract—in the midst of crisis!—enormous profits. The international debt bubble in the main capitalist countries is now very large, but speculators of all kinds don’t want it to stop. They want just the opposite: to continue exploiting it until the end. The derailment of public debt in the central countries is a function of the enormous financial aid packages dispensed by their governments in order to save the global financial system. In short, for most people in the central countries, the financial crisis has been overcome, at least for now. The governments of these countries are going to systematically default, depositing public wealth into the black-hole accounts of the same big financial groups that created the crisis.

The gigantic dimensions of the financial sector (in 2006, before the crisis, the world GDP reached $47 trillion, the total value of all shares of stock exceeded $50 trillion, the value of all bonds was around $70 trillion, while the value of all derivatives exceeded $470 trillion—in other words, an amount ten times greater than the world GDP) is quite disproportionate to the number of people involved in it as well the size of the economies of the most developed capitalist countries. The efforts of governments to carry the debts of these banking and investment monstrosities on their shoulders is going to bankrupt many of these economies, even those that have been strong until now.

The entire planet’s economic elite contributes to all this while continuing to gamble with international debts. A large portion of the cash frozen by the crisis was viewed as a profitable way out of public debt, thus nourishing the bubble, which was highly destructive to the population and whose cracks that same population will be forced to pay for.

The game of great speculative attacks against national debts began with Greece, which due to its poor public finances and enormous debt appeared to be “the perfect client” for the markets. High interest rates, which according to “investors” reflect economic insecurity and an increase in potential indebtedness, yielded huge profits for everyone who “gambled” with Greek debt, until now. In case after case, increased market volatility always corresponds to higher profitability.

All the world’s economic elite took part in the creation of the debt bubble, once again believing they could siphon enormous profits from public debts. After all, according to the statements of their spokespeople, “countries will not be allowed to fall into bankruptcy.” This is the same notion that emerged during the previous debt crisis involving the peripheral countries in the ’80s. As much then as now, the big capitalists were of the opinion that “sovereign nations do not go bankrupt.” Along those lines of thought, Greece managed to get into debt with interest rates that exceeded 9% (and sometimes reached 15%), and the government fell into the arms of the IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank “rescue mission,” which will now officially save the Greek state from economic ruin.

The capitalists’ statement that “sovereign nations do not go bankrupt” indirectly expresses the pressure those same capitalists are applying in order to take control of the international mechanisms “saving” the indebted countries. That way, they won’t risk the capital they’ve invested in debt, and they can peacefully continue to profit. Still, the greed of transnational capitalists is growing so quickly that even “rescue” mechanisms like the IMF can’t cope with it.

In Greece, there is lots of insulting talk about “speculators,” but it’s never specified who they are. It certainly isn’t just a question of the white-collar youth employed by the transnational investment firms, “seated in front of their computers while they gamble with the country’s debt,” like Papandreou said recently. It’s about the entire economic elite. A large portion of Greek debt is in the hands of Greek banks, and through them the “cream” of the Greek plutocracy and all respectable businessmen command the respect of the country’s political elite.

And let’s not forget the scandalous process by which Greek banks are raising money at almost zero interest from the European Central Bank, offering as collateral public sector bonds they obtained for free via the 28-billion-euro aid package (approved by the previous government). They then offer loans to the state at the market’s highest interest rate. And all this is taking place after they’ve already put away billions in cash in their vaults, thus ensuring their own liquidity while the government—which under the current circumstances is selling off the country for loans—is calling on them to make use of the “unofficial” remainder of the aid package.

The famous “gun,” usually invoked by the ridiculous Papandreou whenever he receives some verbal support from his “fellow” higher-ups in Europe, isn’t pointing at any speculator. The weapon does exist, but it is pointing at most of this country’s population, making them submit to the threats of the government and the saviors of the Greek political system. Papandreou, like a modern Tsolakoglou, has now ushered the country into a new era of occupation—this time by transnational capital, with the IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank supervising the austerity and reform programs under the slogan of “saving the country,” all in order to finance regular payments to the Greek State’s creditors.

All the promises about the “credible role of the IMF” and other attempts to positively portray events—made as much by the government as by the IMF lackeys themselves—aren’t worth much. We know that every country the IMF touches suffers devastating consequences. In Africa, Asia, and South America, the IMF has been responsible for the destruction of economies, systems, and production models that weren’t profitable to the vultures of transnational capital it serves. In many cases, these “beneficial” interventions resulted in famine, disease, civil war, social catastrophe, and irreparable damage to the environment.

It also sounds like a bad joke when, after decades of IMF activity always yielding the same disastrous results, many—primarily leftists and social-democrats—continue to describe the IMF’s brutal neoliberal formulas as merely “strategic errors.” They can’t possibly believe it’s simply a question of a few incompetents. They know exactly what they’re doing, and their interests are very specific.

Debt that a country is incapable of paying represents an opportunity for the economic elite, through the IMF, to bring that country to its knees, annihilate it, and conquer it. After bleeding it dry, they lead it into bankruptcy. Then come the vultures of Capital, who—for breadcrumbs—buy up everything valuable in order to later exploit it until said country becomes a paradise for capitalist exploitation, where inhuman working conditions finally prevail. This is the IMF plan for Greece: a plan that quickly leads to the hyper-accumulation of economic and social power in even fewer hands, and drives the people into misery.

If we allow the regime’s criminals to continue these policies, it means that we are surrendering to the most disgraceful slavery of all, feeding the country and our children’s future to the shark’s teeth of big capital, and accepting a life of constant terror from the international economic and political oligarchy.

No free person can accept such treatment. No dignified person can give up without resisting. While the system itself is burning the bridges that connect it to the social majority and taking an openly hostile position against that majority, it would be a serious mistake to try to rebuild those connections from below. In one way or another, the leftist parties that participate in the political system will attempt to weaken social conflict and do everything possible to avoid the imminent social explosions. And even though they may gnash their teeth over the government’s decisions, in no way will they break with the system.

On the other side, the disadvantaged await a new political force, independent of any political motive or desire to manipulate; a force capable of creating the political ground on which they can plant their feet and fight the brutal conditions imposed on them by modern life. This new political force can’t be anything other than a broad radical movement—without inhibitions or reluctance, without a guilt complex or illusions about whether or not total confrontation with the regime is necessary—capable of outlining a project for the destruction of the system and inspiring as many of the oppressed as possible toward a liberatory direction.

Today, when we find ourselves living under the pure, harsh Dictatorship of the markets, anyone who still keeps shouting that “the objective conditions are premature” is someone who isn’t willing to practice subversion.

The objective conditions are more than ideal.

Let’s also create the subjective conditions needed to bring about the revolution. This is our chance.




—Pola Roupa
—Nikos Maziotis
—Kostas Gournas

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wyoming threatens to sell prime Grand Teton land


Majestic views of the Teton Range. Prime location for luxury resort, home development. Pristine habitat for moose, elk, wolves, grizzlies.

Price: $125 million. Call: Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

Wyoming is trying to force the Interior Department to trade land, minerals or mineral royalties for 1,366 acres it owns within the majestic park. If the foot-dragging feds don't agree to a deal - soon - Freudenthal threatens to put a For Sale sign on the property.

Wyoming has owned the land since statehood in 1890, when the federal government set aside land in new Western states to be mined, logged or leased to raise money for public education. Wyoming kept its so-called "school sections" after Grand Teton National Park was established in 1950.

The state has tried for a decade to negotiate some kind of trade. Saying that his patience is running out, Freudenthal, a Democrat, sent an ultimatum recently to park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott.

"I think he wants to pound the (for sale) sign in himself," said Ed Grant, director of the Office of State Lands and Investments.

Wyoming gets just $3,000 a year from the land by leasing it for cattle grazing. Sold with the proceeds invested at 3 percent, the land easily could bring in $3.75 million a year.

The state constitution requires state officials to manage state lands for maximum profit. Their oaths of office require them to act.

"If it's to recreate on, or if it's a new ski lodge, highest and best use," said Susan Child, deputy director of the state lands office. "It's obviously not grazing."

Even in pro-development Wyoming, however, selling off land in a national park isn't a popular idea. Some are protesting already.

But Freudenthal, who has a long history of run-ins with the Interior Department over endangered species and snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, isn't stepping on any toes he hasn't smashed already. What's more, he's wrapping up his second term and will leave office next year. He's all but enshrined as one of the most popular governors in Wyoming history.

"We're going to continue to push on it," he said. "Somehow we've got to get some attention."

Freudenthal certainly has grabbed the park's.

"These are wildlife-rich habitats completely surrounded by pristine park land," said park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs. "For obvious reasons, Grand Teton National Park would be very, very concerned and disappointed if these lands were sold for development."

A deal wouldn't be unprecedented: Utah in 1999 worked out an elaborate swap involving nearly 600 square miles of state land within several national parks, monuments and recreation areas. The state got $50 million plus 240 square miles of federal land in return.

In 2003, Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., got a bill passed that was supposed to encourage some kind of swap in Grand Teton. But Thomas died in 2007 and a deal has been elusive.

Discussions to trade the Grand Teton land for 800,000 acres of U.S. Bureau of Land Management land got nowhere. Wyoming officials said the BLM land is undesirable.

"Trash land," said Grant. "The state said, 'No, we've got prime, in-park real estate.'"

A plan to trade coal rights bogged down when Wyoming didn't agree to a federal plan for valuing the reserves.

"I admit we're not as bright as those boys on the Potomac," Freudenthal said. "But it's not our first county fair."

The Interior Department continues to work with Wyoming to resolve the matter, said Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff.

Both sides are working on getting an updated appraisal for the state land. A 2005 appraisal put the land's value at $98.5 million. Wyoming officials figure it's now worth between $100 million and $125 million.

The land consists of two parcels of a square mile each plus a handful of other lots. All are in the southern end of Grand Teton with views of the world-famous Teton Range.

The only real value comparison is the private land remaining in Grand Teton.

Such "inholdings" are among the most desirable properties in pricey Jackson Hole. A 0.86-acre inholding with a modest house, for example, listed for $1.9 million in 2007.

"It was a feeding frenzy. We had three offers in 24 hours," said David Viehman, with Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates.

The National Park Service has been gradually acquiring inholdings to add to the park over the years, leaving Wyoming by far the largest owner of park inholdings.

"They've been pretty aggressive about picking up private inholdings to keep people from developing them, and have always assumed they got the use of the state's land without paying for it," Freudenthal grumbled. "Why buy the cow when the milk's free?"

Public opposition could tamp down the value of the state land as a property that realistically could be developed, giving the federal government an upper hand in negotiations. Recently a group called Save Historic Jackson Hole took out an ad in the Jackson Hole News & Guide urging people to write Freudenthal and oppose any auction.

"We don't think that's a good solution, to go the private sector," said the group's executive director, Armond Acri. "Any development there is going to be problematic."


Grand Teton National Park online: