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Index May 2008

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What’s really driving the high price of oil

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Published on, by Ralph Nader, 30 May, 2008.

3 excerpts: … What factors are causing the zooming price of crude oil, gasoline and heating products? What is going to be done about it?

Don’t rely on the White House – with Bush and Cheney marinated in oil – or the Congress – which has hearings that grill oil executives who know that nothing is going to happen on Capitol Hill either …

… Iran, for instance, is storing 25 million barrels of heavy, sour crude oil because, in the words of Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, Iran’s oil governor, “there are simply no buyers because the market has more than enough oil.”

Mike Wittner, head of oil research at Societe Generale in London agrees. “There’s various signals out there saying for right now, the markets are well supplied with crude” …

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Netherlands Fellowship Programme NFP

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has scholarships available to attend those courses at Wageningen International

Received by mail:

From: Scholarship and Job”
Date: 30/05/2008

Scholarship and Job are posted at Cambodia Jobs.

The NFP scholarship covers the following costs: Tuition fees, Travel costs, Full-board accommodation, Health insurance, Allowance for personal expenses.

Fellowships are available for candidates from the following Asian countries: Bangladesh , Bhutan , Cambodia , China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao ), India , Indonesia , Mongolia , Nepal , Pakistan , Philippines , Sri Lanka , Thailand and Vietnam .

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A Tale Of Two Storms: Myanmar And New Orleans

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Linked with Linked with The BLACK CoMMentator.

Published on Black Commentator, by Bill Fletcher Jr., 22 May, 2008.

Sometimes you hear things that are so unbelievable that you wonder whether it was all in your imagination. That is precisely the way that i felt in listening to comments by the Bush administration on the disastrous cyclone that hit the south Asian nation of Myanmar (Burma).

Don’t get me wrong. I am no fan of the military junta that runs Myanmar and has both repressed its people and served the multinational corporations. I am sickened by their anemic approach in responding to the disaster, one in which it is now estimated that at least 127,000 people may be dead. Yet in listening to the Bush administration and their rants against the Myanmar junta’s approach to the disaster, one could get the impression that there had never been something called the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
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Why the demise of civilisation may be inevitable

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… or seems to do so …

Published on Detainees, by Debora MacKenzie in New Scientist, April 2008.

… From the moment our ancestors started to settle down and build cities, we have had to find solutions to the problems that success brings. “For the past 10,000 years, problem solving has produced increasing complexity in human societies,” says Joseph Tainter, an archaeologist at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and author of the 1988 book The Collapse of Complex Societies …

… To keep growing, societies must keep solving problems as they arise. Yet each problem solved means more complexity. Success generates a larger population, more kinds of specialists, more resources to manage, more information to juggle – and, ultimately, less bang for your buck …

… A networked society behaves like a multicellular organism,” says Bar-Yam, “random damage is like lopping a chunk off a sheep.” Whether or not the sheep survives depends on which chunk is lost. And while we are pretty sure which chunks a sheep needs, it isn’t clear – it may not even be predictable – which chunks of our densely networked civilisation are critical, until it’s too late … and so on

(My comment: very interesting article, but going not further than the mainstream allows. My opposition comes with a reflection I made for myself since decades: what is described here is correct as long as you are in a hierarchically managed society. What if you would look at a huge complexity, working perfectly like our own physical body does … just look how it is managed: there are countless section that have been subdivided and thus they are making their work without any hierarchical superior order, just adapting to situations (unfortunately also to wrong situations … then in holistic medicine this is named illness).

Thus, my statement: if this humanity wants survive, we have to abolish aristocratic, hierarchical management and let … learn! … the subdivisions make their job. Point.

WITH our aristocratic paradigm (the stronger eats the weaker, instead of healing him/her), yes, if we hold on this, then what tells this article will happen. But this will be our choice, our responsibility … our default program running if we do not move the A…

So, stop weeping and let’s do the job).

Aerial view of Tangjiashan quake lake

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7 aerial photos taken on May 26, 2008 show Chinese armed policemen work on the landslide mud that formed the Tangjiashan quake lake near Beichuan County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The earthquake-induced lake is at risk of bursting and threatening thousands of people downstream. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei, on the english

Video: Armed police arrive at major quake lake, english video on Chinaview;

Top legislator visits quake-hit Sichuan;

Reconstruction after Earthquake: photogallery of rescue-work, Gov. action, quake impact, relief & donation, moving stories, world reaction, media comments … etc. … links here.

Link: general photo gallery of Chinaview.

The Saudi Exception

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Published on, by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, 23 May, 2008.

… The Bush White House with its democratic war doctrine has threatened world peace and by using coercion and threat of war is bent on depriving Iran of civilian nuclear technology, even though Iran has not violated the NPT. Yet, in a move that defies all logic, Mr. Bush has offered Saudi Arabia nuclear technology. Given the Kingdom’s past attempts to gain access to nuclear weapons and its record on human rights violations, either his sanity is questionable or his motives.

According to documents released from the British National Archives under the 30 year rule (dated December 12, 1973 and marked ‘UK Eyes Alpha’), it was revealed that after the 1973 war, “[that] British intelligence believed the United States was ready to take military action” that is, invade, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, “to prevent further disruption to oil supplies” and “to secure control of their oil fields”.

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There is more than meets the eye

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… about the world food crisis

Published on Online Journal, by Eric Walberg, May 19, 2008.

Trying to come to grips with the world food crisis, it?s hard not to subscribe to some version of a conspiracy theory – that somehow, for some reason, this rush towards widespread world famine is actually a plan by a world clique intent on drastically reducing the world population, accelerating the collapse of national governments, allowing gigantic world corporations effectively to take their place, controlling vast areas of land, leading towards a world governed by these corporations. Especially with the US so clear in its assumption that indeed widespread famine is in the cards, for which it does not want to be held responsible. Forget about global warming (which is of course very real and harmful to food production). Here are a few more red flags.

First, the WB and IMF, set up largely by the US following WWII, are notorious for refusing to advance loans to poor countries unless they agree to Structural Adjustment Programmes that require the loan recipients to devalue their currencies, cut taxes, privatise utilities and reduce or eliminate support programmes for farmers. The results are a weakened state, impoverished local farmers and increased economic domination by international corporations. Combined with this is constant pressure on poor countries to lower tariffs, preventing them from building up their industrial potential, often destituting their farmers who cannot compete with heavily subsidised produce from rich nations.

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Taxes, America and Aaron Russo

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Linked (thematically) with Dominique Plihon – France, with G. Edward Griffin – USA and his book The Creature from Jekyll Island, A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, and with Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Aaron Russo (1943 – 2007) was an American entertainment businessman, film maker, and libertarian political activist … (full text).

Published by Google-Video – all following Aaron Russo’s Interview-Videos run running under the same URL:

Historic Interview with Aaron Russo, Fighting Cancer and the New World Order, 69 min, Jan. 30, 2007;

The Aaron Russo Interview, 54 min – Oct. 23, 2006;

AMERICA: Freedom To Fascism, 36 min, June 8, 2006;

… and more …

and under this URL you may find:

Aaron Russo talks with Ron Paul, 7 min, 11.03.2007.

… and more …

Real World Economics

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a post-autistic economics reader

Linked with Bernd Senf – Germany.

Find The website post-autistic economics and the subscription to their newsletter (inkl. links to back-issues), and also their four latest articles:

Die natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung

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Linked with Bernd Senf – Germany.

Ein Buch von Silvio Gesell (1862 – 1930 zum herunterladen, zum Beilspiel von dieser Webseite: Freie Hochschule Berlin, Userpage.FU-Berlin.DE, (Einführungen, Teile I – V und ihre Kapitel).

Darüber, und noch viel mehr, spricht Prof. Bernd Senf, Berlin, in zwei Videos: Was Wilhelm Reich, Viktor Schauberger und Silvio Gesell gemeinsam haben, die Lösung … , 69 und 78 Minuten, aufzufinden über das key-Wort ‘Silvio Gesell’ per Google Video-search … oder per einzelner Link: Teil 1, 69 Minuten, und Teil 2, 78 Minuten.


Alternative Lebensformen;

Materialien zu Silvio Gesell, auf deutsch und englisch, zum herunterladen;

Silvio Gesell auf;

Initiative für natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung;


Vereinigungen, welche an der natürlichen Wirtschaftsordnung arbeiten.

The Natural Economic Order

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Linked with Bernd Senf – Germany.

A book by Silvio Gesell – Belgium & Germany (1862 – 1930).

Published on many websites to be downloaded, so also here: Download, part 1 to V, and chapter by chapter, what is considered as his main work, translated from german in english: The Natural Economic Order.

Some comments on the book:

  • “I believe that the future will learn more from the spirit of Gesell than from that of Marx” – J.M. Keynes;
  • “Clarity and literary grace .. theoretically perfectly sound” – Hugh Gaitskell;
  • “May I say at once how delighted I am that there is to be a translation of this book?” – Professor E.A.G. Robinson, Joint Editor of the Economic Journal, 1957;
  • … The book gives the economist, the politician and the businessman clear insight into the mechanism and dangers of inflation and deflation and contains an authorative account of unhoardable money, money that causes its holder carrying costs – a completely original idea important in monetary theory and practice (CES Community Exchange System, South Africa.

… (full text).

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Better in America?

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Tech-entrepreneurialism in Europe vs the US

Published on Lunch over IP, by guest blogger Andreas Göldi, February 16, 2007 (but maybe still worth).

But first a good link, still worth today: Social Entrepreneurship driven by the web 2.0, Febr. 20, 2007.

The World Wide Web, MP3, Skype (peer-to-peer VoIP), Linux:

These four key innovations have one common characteristic: They were all invented in Europe, but were leveraged into profitable products and services primarily by American companies, typically by relatively young ones such as Microsoft, Google, eBay, Amazon and Yahoo. Which would seem to confirm the old stereotype that Europeans are often the best researchers, while clearly Americans are better entrepreneurs.

Why is it so? I’ve spent now some eight months in Boston at MIT, one of the centers of American tech-entrepreneurialism.

Based on the insights I could gather here and on my previous experiences as a co-founder of an Internet company in Europe, I would like to offer a few reasons why things are different in America for people that want to start a company. And what Europeans could possibly learn: …

… (follows a list of five items why it is so) …

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The Autopsy Report

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Publishhed on The New Republic, by John B. Judis, May 21, 2008.

Exploring the political reasons for Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

… Finally, Clinton lost the opinion-making class’s vote during those fateful early weeks of the primary season. This included her fellow politicians, who would serve as superdelegates, and the media. Even though Obama appeared to be on the skids after losing New Hampshire, he won a bunch of endorsements leading up to the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday, most notably from Senator Ted Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, and Maria Shriver; Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (who helped Obama win Missouri) and former Senator Jean Carnahan; Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson; Vermont Senator Pat Leahy; Massachusetts Senator John Kerry; and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Some of these endorsements might have come anyway, but several of the most important were provoked by Clinton’s campaign.

There was a similar turn in the media. It showed up in newspaper endorsements. In backing Obama, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch admitted “to a certain ‘Clinton fatigue,’” before launching into this: “The emergence of the former president as the Luca Brasi of the campaign trail reminds us of the worst of the Clinton years; the divisiveness and the bickering; the too-casual, if artful, blend of truth and half-truth. We’re not eager for the replay.” I heard the same refrain from journalists and bloggers who had been either pro-Hillary or on the fence. They used the same two words to explain their disenchantment with the Clinton campaign: “South Carolina.” Indeed, I went from being pro-Hillary (because of her experience and comparative electability in a general election) to a fence-sitter during this period, and when primary day in Maryland came along, I left the booth without casting a vote.

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Manufacturing a Food Crisis

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Published on The Nation, by Walden Bello, May 15, 2008.

3 excerpts: When tens of thousands of people staged demonstrations in Mexico last year to protest a 60 percent increase in the price of tortillas, many analysts pointed to biofuel as the culprit. Because of US government subsidies, American farmers were devoting more and more acreage to corn for ethanol than for food, which sparked a steep rise in corn prices. The diversion of corn from tortillas to biofuel was certainly one cause of skyrocketing prices, though speculation on biofuel demand by transnational middlemen may have played a bigger role. However, an intriguing question escaped many observers: how on earth did Mexicans, who live in the land where corn was domesticated, become dependent on US imports in the first place? …

… There is little room for the hundreds of millions of rural and urban poor in this integrated global market. They are confined to giant suburban favelas, where they contend with food prices that are often much higher than the supermarket prices, or to rural reservations, where they are trapped in marginal agricultural activities and increasingly vulnerable to hunger. Indeed, within the same country, famine in the marginalized sector sometimes coexists with prosperity in the globalized sector …

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Sustainable Development Report on Africa SDRA

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Five-year review of the implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development Outcomes in Africa (WSSD+5)

Picked up on Weitzenegger’s Website for International Development Cooperation, and its monthly Newsletter.

Published on,

Click on the link: Download the SDRA Full Version of 186 pdf-pages.

Executive summary:

  • Introduction
  • Sustainable development governance in Africa
  • Poverty eradication and socially sustainable development
  • Sustainable Consumption and Production
  • Natural resource base of economic and social development
  • Means of implementation
  • Harnessing the interlinkages

Speculation and collapse: enough!

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All versions of this article also in Deutsch English Esperanto Español français italiano Português

Linked with Dominique Plihon – France.

Published on, by the initiator collectif, 24 March 2008.

Sign the petition online:

Freedom for finance is destroying society. Every day, in both North and South, shareholders silently pressure firms and workers to extract higher and higher returns. The situation becomes dramatically visible when major crises display the excesses of speculative greed and its backlash on growth and employment. Lay-offs, precarious work, deepening inequalities: workers and the poor suffer most from both the speculation and the toxic effects of subsequent financial collapse.

During the last two decades, world finance has brought little but crisis: 1987: stock market crash; 1990: housing crisis in the US, Europe and Japan; 1994: US Treasury bonds crash; 1997 and 1998: international financial crisis; 2000-2002: the internet bubble bursts; and now 2007-2008: the subprime mortgage crisis spilling over into sector after sector and possibly becoming a major global financial crisis.

We refuse to wait passively for the next crisis to occur and to endure any longer the enormous inequalities fuelled by market finance and the dangers it creates for everybody. Because instability is intrinsic to financial deregulation, calls for greater “transparency” or “morality” are worthless and can have no effect, much less prevent the same causes from leading to the same outcomes.

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Success: NPR pledges to disclose analysts’ conflicts of interest

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Received by mail:

De: Just Foreign Policy
Date: 16/05/2008

(Just Foreign Home, and contact by e-mail; Home, and contact on the website).

Dear Supporter of a Just Foreign Policy,

We have made important progress toward keeping Pentagon shills from being presented as neutral commentators on the public airwaves. NPR has pledged to subject their commentators to greater scrutiny and to disclose potential conflicts of interest. The NPR Ombudsman acknowledged there has been a failure to do this in the past.(1)

NPR’s action is in response to the kind of feedback that Just Foreign Policy supporters have been sending all this month. While we should continue to tell NPR that we expect them to fulfill their pledges, we should also thank them for taking this seriously.(2) We can also hold up their example to the TV news networks, which, with the exception of CNN and PBS, have completely blacked out discussion of this Pentagon program,(3) despite the fact that they cited the Pentagon’s analysts 4,500 times since 2002.(4)

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debitism and other economics

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Linked with The Specter of Deflation, with Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, with G. Edward Griffin – USA and his book The Creature from Jekyll Island.

What is Debitism: The theory of the debitism was described by of Bremen professors Gunnar Heinsohn and Otto Steiger … 1996 for the first time in the book “property, interest and money” (sorry, you should pay for the text). Paul C. Martin described, developed further and popularized this theory. (

Google videos found with the key words property, interest and money.

The political economy (VWL, in former times also political economy or economic political sciences) is a subsection of the economic science. It examines problems, which result from the fundamental phenomenon of the scarceness of goods. The scarceness requires economizing the restaurant subjects. This area of conflict models the VWL both einzelwirtschaftlich and overallally economic. (

An email-discussion between Blaise Mouttet (USPTO) and Erich Bieramperl (inventor) about the recent Peer to Patent Project, 8 pdf-pages;

Comments on The Specter of Deflation, December 28, 2006;

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The Specter of Deflation

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Published on BULL, by Michael Nystrom, December 28, 2006.

… From what we know of economic history, credit expansions lead to economic booms – this much is clear. What comes next is still up for debate. Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises tells us “The boom can last only as long as the credit expansion progresses at an ever-accelerated pace. The credit expansion boom is built on the sands of banknotes and deposits. It must collapse. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion” (emphasis mine). Current Fed Chief Ben “Printing Press” Bernanke begs to differ. He earned his nickname in the now infamous 2002 speech, “Making Sure ‘It’ Doesn’t Happen Here” prior to his ascension to the Chairmanship. Though Bernanke never admits to it in his speech, the unspeakable “it” is more than just deflation, but the very “final collapse” that that Mises warns of …

… And thus begins the deflationary spiral. Credit is destroyed, jobs are lost, payments are missed, bankruptcies declared …

Um, Earth to Bernanke – We have a problem. If you want to preempt deflation, here is your chance!

In the latter half of his 2002 speech, Bernanke launches into numerous ways the Fed could stimulate an economy suffering from deflation. Compared to stories about alchemists and printing presses, this part of his speech is relatively boring, and you can practically hear him mumbling through the text. It all boils down to one thing anyway: lowering interest rates. This, Bernanke says, would solve deflation.

But would it?

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Why Myanmar should fear us

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Linked with Pablo Ouziel – Spain.

Published on Online Journal, by Pablo Ouziel, May 14, 2008.

In the chaotic West it is often difficult to gain the attention of the public, but one must be committed to trying due to the severity of our current existential crisis.

We are psychotic as a society, we have become so dumb and manipulable that we are truly being led towards digging our own graves and smiling while working. We cannot go on like this. We cannot pretend that we are a decent society with good intentions any longer. We are not! The West as a civilization is corrupt and decrepit; we are not the bearers of morality in the eyes of the other peoples. We are not an exemplary civilization which people admire and adulate. We are too arrogant and ignorant to realize, that we are seen by the others as the enemy, because we are.

As a collective of people, the West believes itself to be the holder of the truth, the one which understands what is good for the world. This West doesn’t exist however, it is a figment of our imagination, a division which has been indoctrinated to make us feel we are superior …

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Campaign Pains

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Linked with Shabnam Hashmi – India.

Published on TEHELKA, by , May 17, 2008.

A coalition of 150 NGOs campaigning against the BJP in poll-bound Karnataka have run afoul of the State Election Commission.

POLITICAL PARTIES are not the only ones engaged in a pitched battle in election bound Karnataka. People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) – a statewide coalition comprising 150 NGOs that work on a range of issues from Dalit and women’s rights to farmers’ issues, caste politics and labour – is actively engaged in campaigning against what it calls the BJPs ‘communal agenda’. Says KL Ashok, a PAD convenor, “We have no doubt that the BJP is a communal party committed to treating Dalits, Muslims, women and the working masses as second-class citizens. We have seen what they did in 20 months when they were in power in Karnataka. We are saying – never again!” …

… When the coalition obtained copies of the SC order, they found that it had nothing to do with their case, and instead pertained to cable television advertisements by Gujarat political parties during elections. When PAD representatives reverted to the CEO, he was apologetic but held that having submitted the poster for clearance, they had no choice but to wait for the ECI’S decision. With first phase of polling starting on on May 10, the coalition representatives are infuriated, but so far the only reply they have received from the SEC is that the matter is pending due to delays with the ECI in New Delhi.
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Changes in Cuba?

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Linked with Salim Lamrani – France.

Published on ZNet, by Salim Lamrani, April 30, 2008.

The Western press has been untiring with respect to the changes happening in Cuba after Raúl Castro’s election as president of the Republic and celebrated a possible liberalization of the island’s economy. (1) But, as always when Cuba is talked about, this reality is treated superficially and erroneously. Whether it is about acquiring electric devices, hotels, or cell phones, the restrictions which were valid until recently had rational explanations, but the information multinationals have not touched upon them. In reality, an intense debate was launched at the beginning of 2008, shortly before Fidel Castro’s decision not to run for reelection, with the objective to improve Cuban socialism. This debate involved the entire population and generated 1.3 million proposals …

… Economic liberalization?
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Military or Market-Driven Empire Building: 1950-2008

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Published on, by James Petras, May 3, 2008.

… From the middle of the 19th century but especially after the Second World War, two models of empire building competed on a world scale: One predominantly based on military conquests, involving direct invasions, proxy invading armies and subsidized separatist military forces; and the other predominantly based on large-scale, long-term economic penetration via a combination of investments, loans, credits and trade in which ‘market’ power and the superiority (greater productivity) in the means of production led to the construction of a virtual empire …

… Market-driven empire building has both resulted from and created a strong civil society in which socio-economic priorities take precedent in defining domestic and foreign economic policy over military priorities and definitions of international reality. US empire builders, academics and political advisers have interpreted, what they call ‘the rise of US global power its victory in the Cold War and the decline of Communism’ as a vindication of military-driven empire building. They have ignored the rise of capitalist competitors and the relative and absolute decline of the US as an economic power. It can be argued that the newly emerging market-driven former Communist countries (like China and Russia) represent a greater global challenge to the US Empire than the previous stagnant bureaucratic Communist regimes.
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Dalits In U.P. Face Hunger, Deaths And Suicides

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Published on, by S.R.Darapuri, 09 May, 2008.

When George Bush is admonishing India for eating too much, Dalits in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh face hunger deaths and suicides

The state of Uttarpradesh (U.P) in India has the distinction of having 3.51 crores of Dalits at 2001 census constituting 21.1 % of the total population (16.6 crores) of the state. U.P. holds 1st rank and the 4th rank in terms of absolute number of SC population and its proportion to total population respectively among all the States and Union Territories. The state has a total of sixty six (66) Schedules Castes. U.P. has also got the distinction of having a dalit lady Miss Mayawati as Chief Minister for the fourth time. U.P. has also won the distinction of being one the most under developed states of India. It has got the largest number of illiterate, malnourished persons, polio, leprosy and TB cases.

The SCs in U.P. are predominantly rural as 87.7 % of them live in villages. Their literacy rate is 46.3 % which is much lower than the national average (54.7 %) aggregated for all SCs. Male and female literacy rates (60.3 % and 30.5 % respectively) among the SCs is also lower than those recorded for all SCs at he national level (66.6 % and 41.9% respectively) …

… The main question which needs immediate attention of all concerned with dalits’ plight in U.P. is the ever increasing number of suicides and hunger deaths among dalits as well as other weaker sections of society especially in the BundelKhand region consisting of Jhansi, Chitrakoot, Jalaun, Lalitpr, Mahoba and Banda districts.

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Submission made by the Belgian Association for Solidarity with Jammu and Kashmir BASJAK, related to Pakistan, during the now running session, May 2008 in Geneva (you find the whole 5 page pdf-text on their website).

INTRODUCTION: The least that can be said is that the Human Rights situation in Pakistan is far from ideal. Throughout its history, since obtaining independence from the British rule in August 1947, this country was many times ruled by military dictators.
The latest in the row of military dictators is General Musharraf who ousted in 1999 the then democratically elected Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif. Since, he is ruling the country with an iron fist and through all kinds of undemocratic manipulations he succeeded in becoming President of Pakistan.

DENIAL OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS TO THE PEOPLE OF GILGIT-BALTISTAN ALSO KNOWN AS THE NORTHERN AREAS Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Jammu and Kashmir. The area is of strategic importance as it has borders with Afghanistan and China … (full long text).

about our money … on videos

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Ron Paul, World Bank and Poverty Speech, 2.18 min, 2007.

Ron Paul 0wnz the Federal Reserve, 5.09 min, 2007.

more video-search results with Ron Paul.

Michael Parenti on Dept, 2.31 min,

more video-search results with Michael Parenti.

Uncovering the Conspiracy: Bank of America, 3.26 min, 2007.

more video-search results with ‘Bank of America’.

Bangalore pictures

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Contemplate a big handfull of pictures about Bangalore city (now Bengaluru), India, on the blog named ‘BANGALORE VIEW‘, created by Arun Ramarathnam.

Giving Knowledge for Free

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The Emergence of Open Educational Resources

Published on…

Download an english pdf version free of charge, 153 pdf-pages.

Other possibilities to obtain this publication (book in english: ISBN: 9789264032125, 149 pages) … and other language versions here online.

Learning resources are often considered key intellectual property in a competitive higher education world. However, more and more institutions and individuals are sharing their digital learning resources over the Internet, openly and for free, as Open Educational Resources (OER). This study, building on previous OECD work on e-learning, asks why this is happening, who is involved and what the most important implications of this development are.

The report offers a comprehensive overview of the rapidly changing phenomenon of Open Educational Resources and the challenges it poses for higher education. It examines reasons for individuals and institutions to share resources for free, and looks at copyright issues, sustainability and business models as well as policy implications. It will be of particular interest to those involved in e-learning or strategic decision making within higher education, to researchers and to students of new technologies.

The Iranian Chessboard

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Five Ways to Think about Iran under the Gun

Published on Tomdispatch, by Pepe Escobar, May 01, 2008.

… Heading down the New Silk Road:

Reformist friends in Tehran keep telling me the country is now immersed in an atmosphere similar to the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s in China or the 1980s rectification campaign in Cuba – and nothing “velvet” or “orange” or “tulip” or any of the other color-coded Western-style movements that Washington might dream of is, as yet, on the horizon.

Under such conditions, what if there were an American air attack on Iran? The Supreme Leader, on the record, offered his own version of threats in 2006. If Iran were attacked, he said, the retaliation would be doubly powerful against U.S. interests elsewhere in the world.

From American supply lines and bases in southern Iraq to the Straits of Hormuz, the Iranians, though no military powerhouse, do have the ability to cause real damage to American forces and interests – and certainly to drive the price of oil into the stratosphere. Such a “war” would clearly be a disaster for everyone.
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INDIA/IRAN: Course Correction

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Published on IPS, by Praful Bidwai, May 2, 2008.

NEW DELHI, May 2 (IPS) – Relations between India and Iran, which deteriorated over the past three years from traditional friendship and warmth into mutual suspicion and tension, have started looking up again.

This development has significant implications for India’s role in West Asia and Central Asia as well as ties with its new ’strategic partner’, the United States.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s one-day visit to New Delhi on Tuesday is expected to kickstart talks aimed at reviving long-stalled contracts for the purchase of natural gas, and at improving cooperation in a number of areas, including industry, communications and trade.

This was the first visit to India by an Iranian President since January 2003 …

… India has agreed to help Iran build a crucial 600-km rail link in the north-south corridor of the proposed Trans-Asian Railway project. This will run from the Iranian port of Chabahar to Fahraj, and through Azerbaijan and Russia all the way to St Petersburg.
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A barrage of US threats against Iran

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Published on WSWS, by Peter Symonds, May 1, 2008.

During a press conference on Tuesday, US President George Bush spelled out the threat to Iran contained in last week’s release of CIA intelligence on an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor. As well as warning Syria and North Korea, which purportedly helped construct the building, he declared that the US was “sending a message to Iran, and the world for that matter, about just how destabilising a nuclear proliferation would be in the Middle East” …

… The escalating barrage of American propaganda bears an ominous resemblance to the falsehoods told to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The technique of the big lie—the endless recycling of unsubstantiated accusations as fact—is again being employed. A CIA dossier on Syria’s nuclear reactor is to be followed by another on Iranian interference in Iraq. The Bush administration’s vocal right-wing allies are already proclaiming that the White House must respond to Iran’s “proxy war” against the US in Iraq.
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Perhaps 60% of today’s oil price is pure speculation

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Published on Global, by F. William Engdahl, May 2, 2008.

The price of crude oil today is not made according to any traditional relation of supply to demand. It’s controlled by an elaborate financial market system as well as by the four major Anglo-American oil companies. As much as 60% of today’s crude oil price is pure speculation driven by large trader banks and hedge funds. It has nothing to do with the convenient myths of Peak Oil. It has to do with control of oil and its price. How?

First, the crucial role of the international oil exchanges in London and New York is crucial to the game. Nymex in New York and the ICE Futures in London today control global benchmark oil prices which in turn set most of the freely traded oil cargo. They do so via oil futures contracts on two grades of crude oil—West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent … (full text).

The Canterbury Community Dollar CCD – New Zealand

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a blog

Linked with The Community Exchange System CES, and with Dominique Plihon – France.

The Canterbury Community Dollars (CCD) is a local community trading system, using it’s own currency. We are located in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Homepage).

There are exchange groups of the Community Exchange System (CES) in many countries around the world (see home page for details). These are all linked through the computerised network so inter-exchange trading is possible. Register with an exchange close to you, start a new exchange in your area or link an existing exchange to the network. Join the exchange by filling in the online Registation Form:

Contact us: by phone on (NZ) 03 366 1992, or by email.

Economic Democracy, A Worthy Socialism That Would Really Work

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Published on Loyola University Chicago’s personal pages, (taken from Science & Society, Vol. 56, No. 1, Spring 1992, pages 9-38), by DAVID SCHWEICKART.

MARXISTS ARE SKEPTICAL OF BLUEPRINTS, always have been. We all remember Marx’s polemic against Proudhon, the Manifesto’s critique of “historical action [yielding] to personal inventive action, historically created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones, and the gradual spontaneous class organizations of the proletariat to an organization of society specially contrived by these inventors” (Marx and Engels, 1986, 64), and the numerous other occasions when the fathers of “scientific socialism” went after the “utopians.” In general this Marxian aversion to drawing up blueprints has been healthy, fueled at least in part by a respect for the concrete specificity of the revolutionary situation and for the agents engaged in revolutionary activity: it is not the business of Marxist intellectuals to tell the agents of revolution how they are to construct their postrevolutionary economy.

Yet the historical dialectic is a funny thing: virtues sometimes turn into vices, and vice versa. At this particular historical moment, the skeptical aversion to blueprints is out of place. Such is my contention. At this present historical conjuncture, we need a “blueprint” � a theoretical model of a viable, desirable socialism. It is no secret that the long-standing argument that socialism cannot work has been given a powerful boost by the recent and still unfolding events in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Indeed, the breadth and depth of the anti-socialist, pro-capitalist feelings among those who have lived or are still living under “actually existing socialism” cannot but be disturbing, even to those of us who have long been critical of that brand of socialism …

follows an excerpt from the pages 10 – 36

A Brief Conclusion:
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The Lords of Capital Decree Mass Death by Starvation

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Linked with Glen Ford – USA, with The Black Agenda Report, and with Obama’s Race Neutral Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions. See also videos by the keywords hunger Haiti, or Jean-Ziegler, and right to food.

Published on Black Agenda Report, by Glen Ford, 16 April, 2008.

.. Haitian Kid.

No amount of emergency aid is sufficient to make up for the wild price rises that have already occurred.

Fidel Castro called biofuels genocide, and he was right. And there can be no question as to the identity of the perpetrators of this global genocide: the Lords of Capital that formulate the foreign and domestic policy of the United States. That policy calls for 20 million acres of corn from states like Iowa to be converted from food to fuel. As should have been expected, such a massive diversion almost immediately pushed up the price of all other basic foodstuffs – a global disaster made quick and easy by the fact that, over the past several decades, planetary food production has been taken over by agribusiness – the speculative human parasites that control how food is bought and sold, and to whom, and for what purpose. These Lords of Capital are killers on a mass scale …

… Agribusiness wiped out small farmers in the U.S., and impoverished and pushed off the land untold millions of peasants, worldwide. Now the Lords of Capital have imposed a triage of death by starvation on the planet. The people who live on two dollars or less per day will have to die, and then, as prices rise, the three dollar people will follow.

The men who profit from such mass murder use terms like “structural adjustment” and “economic fundamentals” to attach a veneer of rationality to a chaotic system they have created on the fly for the sole purpose of mega-theft. In the end, the Lords of Capital have mastered only one art: the production of overlapping calamities, each more lethal than the last. Soon, if not already, the Haitian poor will have no cooking oil to mix with clay for their diet of dirt pies. The Lords of Capital will have turned them into dirt for another Haitian’s consumption and demise. (full text).

The Fed sinks the Dollar

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Published on Counterpunch, by MICHAEL HUDSON, May 1, 2008.

Against the recommendations of most economists and even the Financial Times of London, the Federal Reserve Board yesterday cut its discount rate by yet another quarter-point, to just 2%. Ostensibly, the intention is to try and spur economic recovery – as if a cut in the interest rates would do this. At first glance this seems to reflect the Fed’s ideology that manipulating the interest alone can expand or contract the economy – as if it is like a balloon, with its structure is pre-printed on it, to be inflated or deflated at will to control the level of activity …

… In the 1930s, countries competed with one another by imposing rival tariff walls and non-tariff trade barriers (led by the United States) and beggar my neighbor currency depreciation (again, led by the United States). But European central bankers for their part are so brainwashed with modern Chicago School monetarist ideology – and so unaware of their own continent’s economic history – that they pursue a knee-jerk reaction to domestic inflation by raising interest rates. This merely increases their currency value all the more, attracting yet more foreign carry trade loans. (Economists call this a backward bending demand curve and find it an anomaly, as they find most reality to be these days.) So while U.S. monetary policy helps subsidize the banking system relative to the industrial sector and labor, European monetary policy goes along with today’s parallel-universe thinking and undercuts its own industry.
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