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Opinion
A revolution against neoliberalism?
If rebellion results in a retrenchment of neoliberalism, millions will feel cheated.
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2011 17:04 GMT
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/02/201122414315249621.html



"..................................

Rhetoric vs. reality

Two observations about Egypt’s history as a neoliberal state are in order. First, Mubarak’s Egypt was considered to be at the forefront of instituting neoliberal policies in the Middle East (not un-coincidentally, so was Ben Ali’s Tunisia). Secondly, the reality of Egypt’s political economy during the Mubarak era was very different than the rhetoric, as was the case in every other neoliberal state from Chile to Indonesia. Political scientist Timothy Mitchell published a revealing essay about Egypt’s brand of neoliberalism in his book Rule of Experts (the chapter titled "Dreamland" — named after a housing development built by Ahmad Bahgat, one of the Mubarak cronies now discredited by the fall of the regime). The gist of Mitchell’s portrait of Egyptian neoliberalism was that while Egypt was lauded by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund as a beacon of free-market success, the standard tools for measuring economies gave a grossly inadequate picture of the Egyptian economy. In reality the unfettering of markets and agenda of privatization were applied unevenly at best.

The only people for whom Egyptian neoliberalism worked "by the book" were the most vulnerable members of society, and their experience with neoliberalism was not a pretty picture. Organised labor was fiercely suppressed. The public education and the health care systems were gutted by a combination of neglect and privatization. Much of the population suffered stagnant or falling wages relative to inflation. Official unemployment was estimated at approximately 9.4% last year (and much higher for the youth who spearheaded the January 25th Revolution), and about 20% of the population is said to live below a poverty line defined as $2 per day per person.

For the wealthy, the rules were very different. Egypt did not so much shrink its public sector, as neoliberal doctrine would have it, as it reallocated public resources for the benefit of a small and already affluent elite. Privatization provided windfalls for politically well-connected individuals who could purchase state-owned assets for much less than their market value, or monopolise rents from such diverse sources as tourism and foreign aid. Huge proportions of the profits made by companies that supplied basic construction materials like steel and cement came from government contracts, a proportion of which in turn were related to aid from foreign governments.

Most importantly, the very limited function for the state recommended by neoliberal doctrine in the abstract was turned on its head in reality. In Mubarak’s Egypt business and government were so tightly intertwined that it was often difficult for an outside observer to tease them apart. Since political connections were the surest route to astronomical profits, businessmen had powerful incentives to buy political office in the phony elections run by the ruling National Democratic Party. Whatever competition there was for seats in the Peoples’ Assembly and Consultative Council took place mainly within the NDP. Non-NDP representation in parliament by opposition parties was strictly a matter of the political calculations made for a given elections: let in a few independent candidates known to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in 2005 (and set off tremors of fear in Washington); dictate total NDP domination in 2010 (and clear the path for an expected new round of distributing public assets to "private" investors).

Parallels with America

The political economy of the Mubarak regime was shaped by many currents in Egypt’s own history, but its broad outlines were by no means unique. Similar stories can be told throughout the rest of the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Everywhere neoliberalism has been tried, the results are similar: living up to the utopian ideal is impossible; formal measures of economic activity mask huge disparities in the fortunes of the rich and poor; elites become "masters of the universe," using force to defend their prerogatives, and manipulating the economy to their advantage, but never living in anything resembling the heavily marketised worlds that are imposed on the poor.

20111269047437112_20.jpg
Unemployment was a major grievance for millions of Egyptian protesters [EPA]

The story should sound familiar to Americans as well. For example, the vast fortunes of Bush era cabinet members Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, through their involvement with companies like Halliburton and Gilead Sciences, are the product of a political system that allows them — more or less legally — to have one foot planted in "business" and another in "government" to the point that the distinction between them becomes blurred. Politicians move from the office to the boardroom to the lobbying organization and back again. 

(It is always a matter of characters, not of systems Can we afford leading figures with ellbow- brutality , selfish maniacs intrigueing against everybody and everything from behind the curtain in closed circles? Do we really believe this kind of behaviour does not  show any consequences onto us all ? It already shows its brutal consequeces. )

As neoliberal dogma disallows any legitimate role for government other than guarding the sanctity of free markets, recent American history has been marked by the steady privatization of services and resources formerly supplied or controlled by the government. But it is inevitably those with closest access to the government who are best positioned to profit from government campaigns to sell off the functions it formerly performed. It is not just Republicans who are implicated in this systemic corruption. Clinton-era Secretary of Treasury Robert Rubin’s involvement with Citigroup does not bear close scrutiny. Lawrence Summers gave crucial support for the deregulation of financial derivatives contracts while Secretary of Treasury under Clinton, and profited handsomely from companies involved in the same practices while working for Obama (and of course deregulated derivatives were a key element in the financial crisis that led to a massive Federal bailout of the entire banking industry).

So in Egyptian terms, when General Secretary of the NDP Ahmad Ezz cornered the market on steel and was given contracts to build public-private construction projects, or when former Minister of Parliament Talaat Mustafa purchased vast tracts of land for the upscale Madinaty housing development without having to engage in a competitive bidding process (but with the benefit of state-provided road and utility infrastructure), they may have been practicing corruption logically and morally. But what they were doing was also as American as apple pie, at least within the scope of the past two decades. ..............."



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                              The Empires facing  Mr. Davis.


February 23th 2011
http://alles-schallundrauch.blogspot.com/2011/02/cia-gab-nuklearmaterial-terroristen-in.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SchallUndRauch+%28Schall+und+Rauch%29

"....The Pakistani authorities knew Davis was in contact with the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). His phone records show he was communicating with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant group with close links to the TTP.

There are newspaper reports in Pakistan, Davis was the deputy to Jonathan Banks, the former CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan,........... . Davis was then the acting head of the CIA in Pakistan. The main purpose here was to collect all the information for the drone attacks and keep the existing network of spies in the tribal areas and the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa intact.

The tension continued to rise, as a Pakistani judge refused to give in to American demands and ordered the imprisonment of Davis for another 14 days. This triggered an immediate threat of the National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, who announced the Pakistani Ambassador Hussain Hawwani, the Obama administration will throw him from the United States to close the American consulate in Pakistan and to cancel the impending visit of President Zardari in Washington when her CIA husband will not be released immediately.

The Pakistanis have ...........pointed to their successful launch of a cruise missile on 10 February's enclosure that may be equipped with a nuclear warhead. The HATF-VII missile, named after the Muslim rulers from the 16th Century, the empire founded Mughla can, "strategic and conventional warheads have added, stealth, is a low-flying, terrain adaptive missile with high accuracy," said Chairman of the General Staff, Major General Khalid Shamim Wynne.

Pakistan has an arsenal of nuclear missiles, short-, medium-to long-range missiles like the Prithvi-II with a range of 350 km, the Agni-I and 700 km and the HATF V with 1,300 km.

The situation is constantly critical, because Russia's SVR foreign intelligence service on 20 let February according to daily india leak, the ISI had secret documents that Davis had found with him, showing that the CIA has "nuclear material" and "biological material" given to the "terrorists" in Pakistan to carry out such an attack against the United States can. Such an  attack as a "false flag operation" would allow Washington to start a massive counter-attack, if not even start a big war to distract from the imminent total economic collapse.........

.......The government is totally bankrupt and the IMF on 10 February even called upon the U.S. dollar will be the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) is replaced as a world currency in order to stabilize the global financial system.

On 9 February, Janet Napolitano, chief of homeland security, given before the security committee of the Senate an urgent warning. She said the danger  of a terrorist attack on the United States as high as since the 11th September 2001. "We are under the assumptions, based on the latest intelligence and arrests recently that individuals are willing to terrorist attacks and violent acts within the United States to carry out and they could perform these acts of violence with little or no warning," said Napolitano.

The bad thing about the whole thing, the complicity of the U.S. media. Rather than educate the American people, they are veiled and covered up. Dan Baquet of The New York Times has now admitted they knew for a long time the role of Raymond Davis, but have kept quiet because the Obama administration ....."





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                                       ..its in the details......

 

http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/02/founding-fathers-would-be-proud-of.html

 

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Founding Fathers Would Be Proud of the People of Egypt ... And Disgusted With the People of America


America's founding fathers stood up for their freedom, winning it from the British (with the help of the French).

The Egyptian people have stood up for their freedom, winning it from the Mubarak dictatorship (with the help of the army, which refused to fire a shot at the people, and may even have helped convince Mubarak to leave. See this and this).

The Egyptian people found their courage even when Mubarak's thugs flew fighter jets low over their heads, beat and murdered protesters, and otherwise threatened violence.

But the American people today have been cowed into passivity by an irrational fear of terrorism, laziness and mindlessness.

Comparisons

But obviously, the American government is nothing like the Egyptian dictatorship, right?

Let's compare:

  • There is a stunning amount of inequality in Egypt. But America is even worse

  • Mubarak was supported by the military. But the military -industrial complex has taken over America as well (moreover, there is a tradition in countries like Turkey for the military to ensure that religious fanatics do not take over the country)

  • Mubarak ignored the wishes of his people. But the American government hasn't been listening to it's people either. For example, a 2010 Rasmussen poll found that "just 21% of voters nationwide believe that the federal government enjoys the consent of the governed". A 2010 Gallup poll determined that nearly half of all Americans believe "the Federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens". Poll after poll shows that "both national parties are deeply unpopular with an electorate looking for something new and different". Polls reveal that 82% of all Americans wanted Wall Street to be reined in in a substantial and meaningful manner, and yet nothing has really changed, and the government has let Wall Street have it's way on all the important issues. Polls find that Americans want the big financial players who acted with fraud to be punished, and yet the government has let all of the big fish off the hook. And the government has ignored many other desires of the American people, including investigations into torture and spying on Americans, impeaching George W. Bush if he lied about Iraqi WMDs (which he did)

  • Mubarak murdered and tortured people without following the rule of law. America hasn't been wholly saintly in this regard over the last 10 years either (and see this)

I'm not saying that America is Egypt. I am saying that America today has a lot of problems also. (And if you think those problems started on 9/11, remember that virtually all of the current domestic and foreign policies were already in place or planned before 9/11.)

But unlike the Egyptian people, Americans have become scared of their own shadow. We have forgotten that courage and hope are choices - which do not have to come from John Wayne levels of testosterone, but can simply arise from loving something enough to want to protect it.

How Did We Turn Into the Oppressor?

England oppressed America. We were the downtrodden who broke free. But now, America has helped to repress the Egyptian people (and see this and this).

How did we get on the wrong side of history?

The Egyptian People Have Changed the World

Minister Jim Wallis writes in an open letter to the Egyptian protesters today entitled "The Egyptian People Have Changed the World -- It's Their Turn to Lead":

You have changed the world.
***
Remember, the United States was not talking about democracy in Egypt, not advocating it, not saying a transition is necessary and urgent, UNTIL you risked your security, safety and lives for the sake of democracy. You changed the conversation, and the conversation would be the same as it has been for decades if you hadn't done what you did. Your generational peers are now watching what you are doing in countries across the Arab world, and beyond. This is the moment for you and for us.
***
You represent a new generation, a new leadership, and a new hope for the possibility of real democracy. Keep leading. My government, which still calls itself the beacon of freedom, has sacrificed democracy in your region of the world (and many other places) for American "interests." And our foreign policy around the globe has put our interests before our principles. But they are not really the interests of the American people, but of oil companies, big banks and corporations, and rich and powerful people. Their interest in stability is very different from ours in democracy. So don't be fooled, don't listen to the so-called "wise" voices that have been part of the old reality and want to now thank you for your service to democracy, but are offering to take it from here.
Don't let them. Keep demanding democracy -- real democracy. Because, for the rest of us, democracy is the best defense of our "interests," and the best path to genuine "stability." And, for our part, we will do our best to stand with you. That will likely take sacrifice from all of us, because real change always does.

The Founding Fathers would be proud of the Egyptian people, just as they supported the French revolution. They would be disgusted at the spineless sheep that the American people have become.

Note: I love America and have lived here all my life. I criticize my country because I want to save her from the self-destructive, anti-American path that Bush and Obama have put us on. Just as the Egyptian people felt a need to speak out, so do I.

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
-Thomas Jefferson

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."
– Teddy Roosevelt

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
– Teddy Roosevelt

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."
- Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural

"These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for."
- Franklin Roosevelt

"Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Ben Franklin




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    The biggest show on earth:  MASQUERADE REALITY

From an european point of view , there is so much to say about our good old friends from overseas, that my heart gets  overwhelmed by a storm of mighty feelings  once the brain starts to think about our relationship and about the mental condition of the population in the US,  in Europe and elsewhere.   It is not necessary to compose an essay of a hundred thousand words to catch a view on the big picture. It is not necessary   following  each tiny aspect,  dealing with history, persons, datas, numbers and statistics and clever relations. The more refinement, the more words, the more confusion.
 Once you start to refuse to obey "words", things get  clearer - and easy. There are words and there are facts. I prefer to handle facts and I prefer the original amongst the copys, if avaiable. Anything that happens happens by purpose, `cause somebody or something wants it to happen. The terms "random" , "by accident" and "coincidence" are  masquerade terms, that make no sense and which are  used to prevent us from   asking and thinking. 
But it is possible to wake up. Each one has the chance to decide which role to play. And each one has a clear chance to remember  ............ . Common people are incredibly rich. There is so much inside of us. For free. The more of our heritage  gets remembered the less the chances of the hypnotists become.




ANOMALIES

http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2011-02-18.asp

Hornberger's Blog
Friday, February 18, 2010

 

Hornberger’s Blog IndexInformation about RSS

REMINDER: The Jacob Hornberger Show every Saturday at 7-8 pm EST. Listen and watch live on the Internet: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-future-of-freedom-foundation

The U.S. Military Empire Meets Dictatorship in Bahrain
by Jacob G. Hornberger

The U.S. Empire includes 750-1,000 military bases in more than 130 countries. The reality of that extensive military empire has come to the forefront in Bahrain, where the authoritarian government in that country is cracking down on protestors with round-ups, jail, torture, and even extra-judicial execution.

Of course, it’s a familiar story, one that is confronting Americans every day. People are risking their lives in the attempt to oust brutal authoritarian dictatorships from power — dictatorships that are partners, allies, friends, and loyal members of the U.S. Empire … and recipients of billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid that has been used not only to line the personal pockets of the dictators and their henchmen but also to fund the instruments of torture and pay the salaries of the jailers and torturers themselves.

Now, in Bahrain, we see another factor involved in the U.S. Empire’s support of dictatorship — U.S. foreign military bases — one of the many hundreds all across the world. The dictatorship in Bahrain has permitted the Empire to establish and maintain a base there for the Empire’s Fifth Fleet.

So, why should it surprise anyone that the U.S. government, especially the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would favor the “order and stability” that comes with dictatorship? Hey, democracy is unpredictable. People might not like the idea that a foreign regime maintains a huge military base within their nation. Look at the people of Okinawa, who are trying their best to end the longtime U.S. military occupation of their land. Wouldn’t most Americans resent it if foreign regimes, including Muslim ones, maintained enormous military bases here in the United States?

Dictators are easier to deal with when it comes to U.S. military bases, especially when billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money and military armaments (which can be used to suppress dissent) are placed into his hands of the dictatorship by the Empire. It all makes for a cozy relationship. We’ll line your pockets with cash and give you military armaments to maintain your dictatorship, and you’ll let us keep our military base.

The imperialists say that the Fifth Fleet ensures the flow of oil to the West. That’s inane. It’s sort of like the fly on the automobile wheel that convinces himself that his presence on the wheel is what is propelling the car. Or like the rooster who crows every morning and is convinced that his crowing is bringing up the sun.

It’s no different with respect to the U.S. Empire and its massive overseas military establishments. The Empire is convinced that its presence in the Middle East is what is ensuring the flow of oil needed by the West (including the U.S. government’s massive military machine that consumes so much of the oil).

Not so. The world would function quite well without the Empire’s presence. Owners of oil would sell their oil into the marketplace, just like people sell other things throughout the world. People sell things to make money. Venezuela, whose officials hate the U.S. government, nonetheless sells its own to the United States, not because the U.S Navy is forcing it to do so but because Venezuela wants the money.

Anyway, if owners decide not to sell what they own, that is their right. That’s part of what being an owner is all about — deciding whether to sell and on what terms.

The widespread protests in the Middle East are bringing the ugly reality of U.S. foreign policy into the consciousness of the American people. While most Americans are sympathizing with the people who are risking their lives in resistance to tyranny, Americans are also having to face the discomforting fact that their very own government is, in large part, responsible for the tyranny that those people are opposing. Through a combination of U.S. foreign aid and U.S. foreign military bases, the U.S. government has been partnering with, cozying up to, training, and supporting the tyrannical regimes that foreign citizens are now rebelling against.

Shouldn’t all this give pause to Americans and cause them to begin thinking about rejecting the paradigm of empire and intervention that has held our nation in its grip for so long, including an end to all foreign aid, the closure of all foreign military bases, and the bringing of all the troops home from everywhere and discharging them? As the people of the Middle East rise up against the dictatorships that have brutally oppressed them for so long, hasn’t the time arrived for the American people to restore the paradigm of a constitutionally limited republic and non-interventionism on which our nation was founded?

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.


Hornberger’s Blog Archives


ADDITION: Most of the  printed paper cash given to foreign governments by  the "Empires"  flows back into the Empires, inasmuch as it is used by figures of those gifted governments for personal wealth ( corrruption) ,  to import socalled consumer goods and , mainly, to buy weapons and militäry know-how from the Empires. The financing of the state system, the police apparatus and the army robbs another part of the ressources.
`Cause a lot of  money vanishs that way, there is not that much left to invest into infrastructure and education. This is done by purpose  full aware of the consequences and the impact. An egoistic system  investing  too much into education is preparing its own funeral. But egoistic systems will  be burried anyway.
 Why not change the course now ?
Is there a   demand for  an exceptionally  intelligent and warm hearted empathizing population ? In my opinion , today there is a worldwide strong demand for this typ of independent human being . The old ideas ( reflexive behaviour ) have created the problems of today. They are part of the problem, not able to present solutions.

osd

PS: To be clear,   the term "Empires" is used in the sense of  "small groups of wide awake highly selfish intelligent entities". "Empires"  does not mean geographic areas, certain races, religius bound communities  or particular  nations.

   


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