My Bookmarx 10/27/2010
27 أكتوبر 2010 بواسطة Tamer Mowafy
French Revolutions: What Do the Anti-Austerity Protests in France Mean for the U.S.? <span class="“> – Annotated
“The historic protests are in response to the French government’s proposed austerity measures (reductions in government services, the most unpopular of them a decision to delay the pension age by two years). An alliance of trade unions, students and young people, and leftist political parties has mobilized millions to challenge the French establishment with an intensity not seen for decades.”
Many of the protesters would define “austerity” as making the mass of people pay for fixing the global economic crisis
that they did not cause. Having suffered the unemployment
, and other deep social costs of the crisis itself, they are now told to accept more suffering as their governments offset the costs of supporting failed corporations.
A clear two-thirds of French people support or sympathize with the goals of the demonstrators and strikers.
many nations are facing the same issue: First governments borrowed to bail out an economic system that had exploded and stopped functioning, and now governments need to raise the money to pay back the borrowed funds with interest. So they propose policies such as cutting teachers in public schools, reducing help to the unemployed, and reneging on decades of promises to workers about when they will get retirement pensions. What governments do not
do is tax corporations and the wealthy
to raise the money needed to fix their messes.
Elsewhere in Europe, people follow the French events with the intense interest of those who sense that they are seeing their own futures unfold. What will be the outcome of a mass movement that says no to the subordination of people and governments to the profits, crises, and bailouts of a poorly functioning capitalist system?
In the United States, unemployment rose twice as much after the crash as it did in France. Meanwhile, austerity is well underway. Federal law denies states and municipalities the right to borrow money to balance their operating budgets. Hence, their response to sharp declines in tax revenues caused by the economic crisis has been to lay off workers and cut government services.
It is widely rumored that President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission will propose, after the election, that eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits be pushed back some years (just what Sarkozy tried). That would keep older workers from retiring, blocking the unemployed and younger workers from replacing them.
As in France, there is an opportunity to inspire those dissatisfied by the current economic system
and increasingly interested in moving beyond it
. Once before, after all, a revolution in France inspired one here.
Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs <span class="“> – Annotated
“The publication of a mother lode of secret field reports from the Iraq War are shining a bright light on heretofore unknown or under-reported suspicions about the power of private security contractors and the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by their fellow Iraqis, often with their United States military counterparts “turning a blind eye”. “
The WikiLeaks disclosures fall into five categories: reliance on private
contractors; the so-called “surge”, the addition of 30,000 additional US troops
to work with willing Iraqis; the deaths of Iraqi civilians – killed mostly by
other Iraqis, but also by the US military; a litany of prisoner abuse by Iraqis
– from which US officials sometimes turned a blind eye – even more lurid than
the infamous photographs of torture from Abu Ghraib prison in 2004; and the
“aggressive” intervention of Iran’s military providing “weapons, training and
sanctuary” to Shi’ite combatants.
But the WikiLeaks disclosures, while reporting little that was unknown, paint a
far more detailed picture of the military sea-change that defined the United
States’ involvement in Iraq. The New York Times says, “The early days of the
Iraq war, with all its Wild West chaos, ushered in the era of the private
contractor, wearing no uniform but fighting and dying in battle, gathering and
disseminating intelligence and killing presumed insurgents.”
The struggle is far from over | SocialistWorker.org <span class="“> – Annotated
“SINCE LAST May, the situation in France has been marked by mobilizations against the pension law. Day of action after day of action, the movement against pension reform continues to develop and put down roots. It is the confirmation of a mass movement that is rejecting not only pension reform, but President Nicolas Sarkozy’s anti-social, racist and authoritarian policies as a whole, as well as the injustices accentuated by the economic crisis, both among the young and the wage earners”
Already, at this stage of the mobilization, the government has lost the battle of public opinion. Seventy percent of the population support the protests and oppose this reform.
ongoing strike action has never been so much discussed in all sectors of activity as in recent weeks, to the point that 61 percent of those polled favor prolonged strikes. The problem is the leaders of the trade union confederations who, even if they are pushed by the rank and file to continue, make sure they avoid calling for a general strike.
Israel releases papers detailing formula of Gaza blockade – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News <span class="“> – Annotated
“Since Hamas took control of Gaza, officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor goods from aid groups entering the Strip to ensure amount was in line with what Israel permitted.”
The formulas used coefficients and a formulation for “breathing space,” a term used by COGAT authorities to refer to the number of days remaining until a certain supply runs out in Gaza, to determine allowed quantities.
The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions <span class="“> – Annotated
“It was 1991 and Noam Chomsky had just finished a lecture in Berkeley on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was taking questions from the audience. An Arab-American asked him to explain his position regarding the influence of America’s Israel lobby. “
Chomsky replied that its reputation was generally exaggerated and, like other lobbies, it only appears to be powerful when its position lines up with that of the “elites” who determine policy in Washington. Earlier in the evening, he had asserted that Israel received support from the United States as a reward for the services it provides as the US’s “cop-on-the-beat” in the Middle East.
Chomsky’s position on the lobby had been established well before that Berkeley evening. In The Fateful Triangle, published in 1983, he assigned it little weight:
The “special relationship” is often attributed to domestic political pressures, in particular the effectiveness of the American Jewish community in political life and in influencing opinion. While there is some truth to this it underestimates the scope of the “support for Israel,” and it overestimates the role of political pressure groups in decision making.
This is hardly the first time that Jews have been in the upper echelons of power, as Benjamin Ginsberg points out in The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State; but there has never been a situation anything like the present. This was how Ginzberg began his book:
Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade’s corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today, though barely 2 % of the nation’s population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation’s largest newspaper chain and the most influential single newspaper, the New York Times.
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