Thursday, April 28, 2016

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's April 25, 2016 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter)

"April 25, 2016

"Dear Comrades,

"Hope you’re OK. More than OK, actually, to take on the dark forces eating us up.

"The Panama Papers, a one-year investigation by more than 100 reporters worldwide revealed that as much as $21 trillion in global wealth is being hidden behind thousands of largely untraceable shell companies so rich crooks can avoid paying tax, the majority of them operating accounts through three big banks, UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs. And if you add in the gold, yachts and racehorses that aren’t included, the theft is even worse.

"The papers gave us the merest sniff of the endemic corruption engulfing the world, with the ongoing deterioration in public services, crushing of trade unions, increase in poverty and collapse of the world’s ecosystems where `the market’ decides our fate. Unfortunately most people see these as isolated events, rather than as a deliberate coherent policy - neoliberalism.

"The term neoliberalism was first defined at a meeting in Paris in 1938 by two exiles from Austria, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek who argued that government planning crushed individualism. IN 1947, Hayek set up a transatlantic network of rich individuals to promote his views, backed by powerful think tanks, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Center for Police Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. But neoliberalism stayed on the margins until the 1970s when it entered the mainstream with the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, and elements were adopted by the Carter White House and Britain's Callaghan Government. 

"After the election of Reagan and Thatcher, however, it really took off, using the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht Treaty and World Trade organisation; and it was even promoted by parties nominally considered ‘left’ (think Keating's strident deregulation/privatisation campaign).

"As Noam Chomsky points out, it might seem odd that a doctrine preaching choice and freedom used the slogan ‘there is no alternative’, but neoliberalism’s definition of ‘freedom’ means freedom to suppress wages, freedom to poison rivers, freedom to screw the poor and freedom to lie and cheat The ‘trickle down’ bullshit that tax cuts for the wealthy would create jobs for the masses saw all the wealth gush upwards while wages trickled down.

"Fascist movements build their base, not from the politically active but from the politically inactive, among the ‘losers’ who feel they have no voice or role to play in society, but it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. We must present a coherent alternative by talking and debating and challenging authority. But no debate here. Just silence

"Our public education is also up for grabs as if State Aid hasn’t decimated it. While state schools struggle for the basics, millions of taxpayer dollars are being funnelled to some of the wealthiest schools in the country for tennis courts, aquatic centres, research facilities and multi-purpose halls with orchestra pits.

"Vanguard has posted an excellent article about plans to further bugger up state education with some very nasty edu-business groups sniffing around to reshape it in the US mould by exploiting the various ‘free’ trade agreements, especially the monstrous Trans Pacific Partnership or Trade In Services Agreement. Unless we specifically exclude education, private companies are gearing up to ‘move in’.

"I share John Pilger’s rage about the destruction of our world and how people are being conned. In 2009, President Obama pledged to an adoring crowd in Prague to ‘free the world of nuclear weapons’. And did the very opposite by building more nuclear weapons, warheads, delivery systems and nuclear factories than any other US president, costing more than $1 trillion.

"Ukraine - once part of the Soviet Union - has become a CIA theme park, a regime full of Nazis who openly praise Hitler. In Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - next door to Russia - the US is deploying troops, tanks and heavy weapons, with a parallel campaign against China. 

"‘President Cool’ recently sent in drones to slaughter hundreds in Somalia and every Tuesday he’s handed a list of ‘candidates’ for ‘death by drone’

"Trump is hateful, but not nearly as dangerous as Hillary Clinton. Backed to the hilt by the political and financial elites, she’s hailed as the first female president, a facade to hide her past as the embodiment of a violent imperial system

"And then we have Fidel Castro. A giant of a man who berated ‘Brother Obama’ during his Cuban visit for what he didn’t say ‘…native populations don’t exist in Obama’s mind. Nor does he say that the Revolution swept away racial discrimination, or that pensions and salaries for all Cubans were decreed by it before Mr Barack Obama was ten years old.

"The hateful, racist bourgeois custom of hiring strongmen to expel Black citizens from recreational centres was swept away by the Cuban Revolution’ and so much more.

"Hated by Washington who wanted him dead. Like Hugo Chavez, who is dead. A crushing loss.

" Stories about Hugo Chavez’ death have resurfaced by Eva Golinger, author/lawyer who has written extensively about US intervention in Venezuela. Sounds like fiction, but FOI provided irrefutable evidence of CIA complicity behind the 2002 coup when Chavez was kidnapped and set up to be killed.

"There were many other assassination attempts that were thwarted, some involving terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, but the most shocking was the role of Leamsy Salazar, one of Chavez’ closest aides and key member of his inner circle who, after Chavez’ death, was secretly flown to the US by a US secret agency as part of a witness protection programme. 

"Collaborator? Traitor? Part of a CIA Black Op to assassinate Chavez? Did he administer the poison?

" And then there was the role of another aide, Captain Velazquez and his wife Claudia, Chavez’ nurse for several years who looked after his health. Both appeared in the Panama Papers as owning a shell company worth millions of dollars and a lot of other property, impossible amounts for an army captain to have earned legitimately.

"We know that the US Army was developing an injectable radiation weapon for political assassinations as far back as 1948 and the Church Commission hearings into the Kennedy assassination also uncovered the existence of CIA weapons to induce heart attacks and soft-tissue cancers. More than 60 years later, we can only imagine.

"Land of the Free and Home of the Brave? You’ve got to be joking. Killings and wars are Washington’s main business. 

"Viva Fidel! Viva Cuba!

"Joan Coxsedge"

Monday, April 25, 2016

`How Harvard Rules' lyrics

There's a filthy rich school in Cambridge
And across the Charles River, too
It got rich by evading taxes
And that's How Harvard Rules.

Enron ripped off consumers and engaged in accounting fraud
While a top Enron executive sat on Harvard's board
A policy group at Harvard got big money from Enron
To produce biased research that backed no regulation
And before Enron went bankrupt and its executives were sent to jail
Enron paid Harvard profs to say "Enron is doing well." (chorus)

Harvard's Center for Risk Analysis gets sixty percent of its funds
From chemical, drug and oil firms like Monsanto, Lilly and Exxon
Dioxin, driver cell phones and second-hand smoke, Harvard claimed it "posed no risk"
Since Dioxin producers, AT & T and Phillip Morris also gave Harvard gifts. (chorus)

Harvard claims to be "non-profit" yet it owns billions in corporate stock
And hundreds of acres of real estate and a New Zealand lumber forest
Harvard Law and Harvard Business School are money-making machines
And Harvard's money managers get $20 million dollars annually. (chorus)

If you're a janitor at Harvard, you don't get a living wage
And they'll try to bust your union if you're a workers who shows some rage
Yet Harvard Corporation is run by billionaires
And if you didn't go to prep school, they prefer you don't study there
Excluded by its admissions office: 90 percent of applicants
Yet only Harvard graduates control the Supreme Court. (chorus)

The Harvard Corporation it meets so secretly
With all minutes kept secret except from the seven trustees
It secretly picks a president who won't challenge corporate greed
So Microsoft gives millions for a new engineering building
Harvard secretly bought up real estate in Boston's Allston neighborhood
And drove out working-class tenants so Harvard's campus can expand. (chorus)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Revisiting The Clintons of Arkansas's Pre-2016 Presidential Campaign's Pre-1996 Political Record: Part 2

In 2016 the Clintons of Arkansas are campaigning for a third term in the White House after January 21, 2017. Yet the Clintons' political record when Bill Clinton was Arkansas's governor (at the same time that his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, represented Arkansas corporate establishment clients as a corporate lawyer for Arkansas's Rose Law firm and sat on the board of directors of the Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Corporation)--was apparently not considered to be an ethical political record by the Center for Public Integrity. As Charles Lewis and the Center for Pubic Integrity's 1996 book, The Buying Of The President, recalled:

"...The point of Whitewater and Bill Clinton's public service career in Arkansas is that long before the presidential election of 1992, his political identity as an accommodator of the largest, most powerful monied interests was well established. While he was governor, millions of dollars in private favors at public expense accrued to various companies and individuals, and Clinton's professional career as a politician wasa supported by the Arkansas financial and political elites.

"Bill Clinton...has always understood the political importance of raising substantial campaign funds. What is most striking about his first campaign is how a 28-year-old assistant professor of law in Fayetteville, Arkansas, running for a seat in the Congress for the first time, could raise more money than the incumbent four-term Republican congressman. During that 1974 election Clinton raised $178,000, about $20,000 more than John Hammerschmidt, from traditional Democratic party sources.

"In 1974 as well as 1992, candidate Clinton has actually embraced powerful corporate interests and much of their agenda despite his rhetoric against them. When Clinton ran for Congress in 1974 the largest employer in the Third District of Arkansas was Tyson Foods, based in Springdale, which was well on its way to becoming the nation's largest poultry producer...

"The chairman, Don Tyson, is a colorful figure who in the late 1970s designed his corporate office as a replica of the Oval Office in the White House, with doorknobs shaped like chicken eggs. Tyson was estimated to be worth $800 million. He supported Clinton in the 1974 race and according to author David Maraniss, the Tyson family donated a campaign telephone bank which was operated from an apartment near the University of Arkansas, although it should be noted that no such `in-kind' contribution was reported by the campaign to the Federal Election Commission. Clinton never talked much about the company itself publicly, but, instead spoke empathetically about the plight of chicken farmers.

"The Tyson-Clinton relationship continued in Washington, of course, and it grew out of a special culture. Probably no one has better captured the real essence of the political-financial nexus in Arkansas than journalist Michael Kelly, who wrote that Arkansas:

"`...has been ruled for almost all of its existence, and is largely ruled still, by a thin upper crust of Democratic party officials and Democratic legislative leaders and important landholders and businessmen. This elite, bound together not by party or even ideology but by mutually advantageous relationships, holds sway over a small and politically disorganized middle class and a large but well-beaten population of the poor. The contradiction is that Arkansas voters, in a class-based reaction against this condition, perpetually favor politicians who are `common' in touch, populist in theology, and reformist in policies.'

"To be plausible and acceptable to the political and financial elite of Arkansas, a politician certainly cna and must relate well to the people. But he or she must not substantially interfere with the daily commerce of the state, the business status quo. Every candidate in Arkansas instinctively knows this or learns it the hard way. Such is the theater into which Bill Clinton's political career was born." 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Revisiting The Clintons of Arkansas's Pre-2016 Presidential Campaign's Pre-1996 Political Record: Part 1

In 2016 the Clintons of Arkansas are campaigning for a third term in the White House after January 21, 2017. Yet the Clintons' political record when Bill Clinton was Arkansas's governor (at the same time that his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, represented Arkansas corporate establishment clients as a corporate lawyer for Arkansas's Rose Law firm and sat on the board of directors of the Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Corporation)--was apparently not considered to be an ethical political record by the Center for Public Integrity. As Charles Lewis and the Center for Pubic Integrity's 1996 book, The Buying Of The President, recalled:

"There is probably no case more instructive of private and public interest and the incestuousness of Arkansas business and political elites than that somewhat complicated affair known as Whitewater. When Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas in 1978, he and Hillary Rodham [Clinton] got into a real estate deal with James B. McDougal and his wife, Susan, to develop 230 acres along the White River in Madison County. An unsecured loan of $20,000 was made by a Little Rock bank to Hillary Rodham as a down payment, and Governor Clinton later hired fellow investor McDougal onto the public payroll. To add conflict upon conflict, McDougal purchased a thrift, Madison Guaranty, represented by Hillary Clinton before state regulators.

"In what might be the clearest quid pro quo for McDougal, Governor Clinton apparently cleared the way for state agencies to move into a building owned by the S&L, for which they paid an estimated $200,000 in yearly rent. The Associated Press discovered an April 23, 1987 memo that recounted allegations made by Greg Hopkins, an attorney working for former Madison official Charles Peacock III. The memo said, `Mr. Hopkins stated that a portion of the loan proceeds made to Dixie Continental leasing [Mr. Peacock's company] went to Bill Clinton's campaign, and that in return for the substantial campaign contribution, Bill Clinton assured Jim McDougal that a state agency would lease space from Madison at its headquarters on Main Street in Little Rock.'

"The Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA), headed by longtime Clinton aide Bob Nash (who served as director of presidential personnel in the Clinton White House), subsequently moved into the building despite protests from within the agency. Other state agencies were also housed in the building.

"No one in Arkansas officialdom or the news media noticed anything peculiar about any of these dealings. As Arkansas columnist John Brummert observed, `Bill Clinton's Arkansas was a place without an opposing party, with a press that was...lax for years in coverage of the underlying financial angle of politics, with politicians and business people who had overlapping and sometimes intimately curious associations.'

"President Clinton declined to be interviewed for this book or to respond to written questions submitted by the Center for Public Integrity..."