Dan Scanlan | 1 Dec 01:30 2003
Picon

score card

Score card for Americans to remember (from Z Magazine).....

MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO'S THE BIGGEST ROGUE OF ALL?

Richard Du Boff

1. Comprehensive [Nuclear] Test Ban Treaty, 1996. Signed by 164
nations and ratified by 89 including France, Great Britain, and
Russia; signed by President Clinton in 1996 but rejected by the
Senate in 1999. The US is one of 13 nonratifiers among countries that
have nuclear weapons or nuclear power programs. In November 2001, the
US forced a vote in the UN Committee on Disarmament and Security to
demonstrate its opposition to the Treaty, and announced plans to
resume nuclear testing for development of new short-range tactical
nuclear weapons.

2. Antiballistic Missile Treaty, 1972. In December 2001, the US
officially withdrew from the landmark agreement--the first time in
the nuclear era that the US renounced a major arms control accord.

3. Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, 1972, ratified by 144
nations including the US. In July 2001 the US walked out of a London
conference to discuss a 1994 protocol designed to strengthen the
Convention by providing for on-site inspections. At Geneva in
November 2001, Undersecretary of State for arms control John Bolton
stated that "the protocol is dead," at the same time accusing Iraq,
Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and Syria of violating the
Convention but offering no specific allegations or supporting
evidence to substantiate the charges. In May 2002 Bolton accused Cuba
of carrying out germ-warfare research, again producing no evidence.
(Continue reading)

Eubulides | 1 Dec 05:40 2003
Picon
Picon

Britain: sex and pensions

Baby boom or pensions bust

Larry Elliott
Monday December 1, 2003
The Guardian

Perhaps the most powerful contraceptive in the world is the notion that
making babies is the answer to the pensions' crisis. As a come-on,
whispering sweet nothings about the demographic time bomb is not exactly
Cary Grant.

It may, however, come to that. People are living longer and one way of
paying for their extended retirement is to increase the size of the future
workforce. We've had digging for victory; soon it could be bonking for
Britain.

All parties know that there is a problem looming out there. As Adair
Turner, who is heading the independent pension commission, puts it,
Britain has accepted for years that state pensions are less generous than
in other developed countries but we reaassured ourselves that the success
of our occupational pensions made up for it.

Today things look a lot less promising. Companies have been closing
defined benefit schemes - where they guarantee an employee a proportion of
their final salary on retirement - in favour of defined contribution
schemes, where the size of the pot depends on how well an individual's
investment performs. Risk has been transferred from companies to
individuals, who can see the value of their pension nest egg plummet in
turbulent times.

(Continue reading)

Eubulides | 1 Dec 05:45 2003
Picon
Picon

goodbye steel tariffs

Bush Dropping Steel Tariffs to Avert Trade War
Mixed Reaction Likely at Home

By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 1, 2003; Page A01

The Bush administration has decided to repeal its 20-month-old tariffs on
imported steel to head off a trade war that would have included foreign
retaliation against products from politically crucial states,
administration and industry sources said yesterday.

The officials would not say when President Bush will announce the decision
but said it is likely to be this week. The officials said they had to
allow for the possibility that he would make some change in the plan, but
a source close to the White House said it was "all but set in stone."

European countries had vowed to respond to the tariffs, which were ruled
illegal by the World Trade Organization, by imposing sanctions on up to
$2.2 billion in imports from the United States, beginning as soon as Dec.
15. Japan issued a similar threat Wednesday. The sources said Bush's aides
concluded they could not run the risk that the European Union would carry
out its threat to impose sanctions on citrus fruit from Florida, farm
machinery, textiles and other products.

Bush advisers said they were aware the reversal could produce a backlash
against him in several steel-producing states of the Rust Belt --
including Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. That arc of states has
been hit severely by losses in manufacturing jobs and will be among the
most closely contested in his reelection race.
(Continue reading)

Jurriaan Bendien | 1 Dec 06:18 2003
Picon

Re: David Harvey: it's about a New Deal

> I am disappointed that David Harvey believes that a global New Deal would
> accomplish anything. It didn't the first time around. WWII lifted the USA
> out of the depression, not deficit spending.

Disappointment is neither here nor there, I would think, the point is to
understand the analysis being made. The relevant question is what exactly
such a New Deal would consist in, in a debt-ridden world plagued by
financial instability, and what preconditions would be necessary for it. I
haven't yet read Harvey's new book on the "new imperialism", so there is
little I can say at this stage, but there is a sense in which he appears to
turn the problems of capitalist competition on their head; i.e. it is the
inability to negotiate a New Deal under current socio-economic conditions,
which explains increased imperialist aggression. That aggression is not a
simply a whim or policy option, but a response to intensified competition
and economic difficulties. The structural imperatives of the system can be
overlaid with all sorts of ideological-cultural arguments influencing
policy, but the basic economic agenda should not me lost sight of.

Abstractly speaking and in a simplified way, the structural problem is, that
if the magnitude of the new value product has a tendency to stagnate, such
that the rate of real economic growth declines, then it is possible to
increase real incomes or the accumulation of capital only at the expense of
another group, class or country; that is however what intensifies the
political and economic conflict, because new means are sought to facilitate
capitalist growth and create new markets while socio-economic inequality is
increasing. In other words, the expanded reproduction of capital under
conditions of relative stagnation can occur only by exascerbating income
inequalities that already exist.

A New Deal would involve some kind of redistribution of incomes and assets
(Continue reading)

Michael Pollak | 1 Dec 08:02 2003
Picon

Shop 'til you drop

   URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3249574.stm

   BBC NEWS

   Woman crushed in rush at DVD sale

   A US store chain has apologised to a woman knocked unconscious as
   shoppers rushed for a sale of DVD players.

   Patricia VanLester was knocked to the ground in the frenzied dash for
   a $29 DVD player at a Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Orange City, Florida.

   The 41-year-old had been first in the queue when the post-Thanksgiving
   sale opened at 6am local time on Friday.

   "She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of
   elephants," said her sister, Linda Ellzey.

   Paramedics called to the store found VanLester unconscious on top of a
   DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to her, Mark
   O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance, told Associated Press.

   Doctors at the hospital which admitted Ms VanLester said she had
   suffered a seizure after being knocked down and would probably remain
   in care for the rest of the weekend.

   'Stop stepping on her!'

   Ms Ellzey said some shoppers had tried to help her sister, and one
   employee helped rescue the woman, but most people just continued their
(Continue reading)

Jurriaan Bendien | 1 Dec 13:56 2003
Picon

National liberation and religion

Sharing a vision: Palestinian Christians

By Khalid Amayreh in West Bank

Sunday 30 November 2003, 19:43 Makka Time, 16:43 GMT

The Israeli policy of divide and conquer has not split Christian and Muslim
Palestinians despite attempts to sow discord between the two communities.
According to Palestinian Christian leaders, Israeli military authorities
have tried repeatedly to "foster an atmosphere of mistrust between the two
communities", for the purpose of eroding Palestinian national unity and
crushing Palestinian aspirations for freedom and liberation. Christians,
though a minority, have always been an integral part of the Palestinian
social, cultural and political fabric. As Talal Sidr, a Hebron community
leader and a religious affairs adviser to President Yasir Arafat, points
out, the Christian community in Palestine predates Islam by several
centuries. "They were here first, this is a historical fact. They belong
here as much as we do," says Sidr.

United in conflict

Sidr reminds people that Palestinian Christians, like many Christians of the
Near East, fought the "Franks" or Crusaders alongside their Muslim
countrymen. In modern times, especially since the Nakba or catastrophe in
1948, when the bulk of the Palestinian people were uprooted from their
ancestral homeland in what is now Israel, Christians as well as Muslims
suffered the agony of homelessness and exile. Moreover, like other
Palestinians, Christians have actively joined the national struggle against
the Israeli occupation, with some occupying leading positions in the various
factions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
(Continue reading)

dsquared | 1 Dec 14:28 2003

Re: Question for Louis Proyect

On Sun, 30 Nov 2003 18:52:38 -0500, Louis Proyect wrote:

>
> Michael Dawson wrote:
> >I did not call you an FBI agent on LBO-talk, though I
> did say you have penis
> >envy regarding Doug Henwood.
>

Time to resubscribe to lbo-talk ....

dd

Jurriaan Bendien | 1 Dec 14:38 2003
Picon

In Germany, Marx comes third, outdone by Martin Luther and Konrad Adenauer

Konrad Adenauer, the first post-war West german leader has been chosen by TV
watchers as the "greatest German" in the ZDF-show called Unsere Besten. When
3,2 million Germans voted in the finals, he beat Martin Luther (second) and
Karl Marx (third). The ZDF-show was ridiculed by some, but the producers of
the show point out that millions of people watched discussion for days about
the pro's and con's of Bach, Gutenberg, Goethe en Willy Brandt. Throughout
the ex-DDR (as well as in Hamburg en Bremen) Marx came out number 1,
staunchly defended on TV by ex-PDS-leider Gregor Gysi, who promoted a vision
of a world without exploitation. "We can be proud that one of us thought of
that", he said. But there are five times as many West Germans. Konrad
Adenauer was praised by tv-historian Guido Knopp as father of freedom and
the happy Federal Republic, with an integrity which politicians today don't
have.  Luther probably profited in the ratings from a recent movie about his
life. In fourth place were the student Sophie Scholl en her brother Hans.
They were executed by Hitler, who was not included in the competition.

From: http://www.volkskrant.nl/buitenland/1070179262819.html

Louis Proyect | 1 Dec 14:54 2003
Picon

[Fwd: [Marxism] Krugman and capitalist successes]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Marxism] Krugman and capitalist successes
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 18:19:46 +1300
From: Philip Ferguson <plf13@...>
Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
<marxism@...>
To: marxism@...

One of the things about Krugmann and others who hold up South Korea and
a couple of small Asian countries as examples of the viability of
capitalism to transform the Third World, is that capitalism has been
operating in these parts of the world for hundreds of years and, in its
imperialist phase, for about a century.

South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.  Two small-medium
countries and two city-states have made the transition to something
approximating First World living standards since Japan.  Even if we
simply accepted this view that they've made it and they've made it
because of capitalism, it's hardly a lot to show for all that capitalist
history and blood, sweat and tears globally.

In any case, these are rather bogus examples.  South Korea and Taiwan
succeeded for a couple of very specific reasons.  During the Cold War,
the US needed to oversee a couple of capitalist success stories in Asia
to counteract the example of China.  So the US specifically helped South
Korea and Taiwan in a way that imperialism normally wouldn't.

Secondly, South Korea and Taiwan had brutal military dictatorships up
until very recently, which extracted vast amounts of surplus-value
through intense exploitation of their own workers.  So is Krugmann
(Continue reading)

Jurriaan Bendien | 1 Dec 15:04 2003
Picon

The end game of the multiculturalism discourse in digitalised world

AMSTERDAM - Faced with a community backlash against ethnic crime and
headline-stealing violence, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has in
principle backed the idea of sentencing immigrants who commit crime
differently than Dutch nationals.
But the conservative Christian Democrat CDA minister stressed in an
interview with the Amnesty International magazine that he was in favour of
"different", rather than tougher sentencing.

Complete article:
http://www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=1&story_id=269
5

Meanwhile, demonstrators on Monday gathered in Maastricht for opening by
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the summit of the Organisation
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Balkenende is to address
representatives from 55 countries during a reception at the local government
building for Limburg Province, het Gouvernement, where the Maastricht Treaty
for the EU was signed in 1992. The meeting in the southern Dutch city will
discuss a range of issues including the political crisis in Georgia, racism
and discrimination, and the battle against human smuggling and the
international drugs trade. In his opening speech, Balkenende mentioned three
"alarming" developments in recent years: terrorism, slavery and smuggling
people, and growing intolerance and discrimination. Citing ex-minister for
foreign affairs Max van der Stoel (also exOSCE commissioner for minorities)
in answer to the question of what to do, Balkenende declared "In history a
consensus has emerged about the rights of the individual. That is what we
call civilisation. That is what I adhere to." Today Balkenende is talking
with Russian foreign affairs minister Ivanov and Georgian interim president
Burdzjanadze, and then will return to The Hague. Foreign Affairs minister
and incumbent NATO leader De Hoop Scheffer is chairing the summit, which
(Continue reading)


Gmane