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Showing posts from February 3, 2008

Ha-Joon Chang on Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

The blurb follows; dig this speech. This man is not only brilliant, but also has courage, which is more important.
According to the conventional wisdom popularized by Thomas Friedman, countries can grow rich only by means of unfettered capitalism and pure free trade. In his controversial book, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism, Ha-Joon Chang takes aim at this orthodoxy. Combining irreverent wit with scholarly rigor, Chang shows that nations like the U.S. that achieved their present wealth by means of economic nationalism now preach an entirely different set of policies to the developing world, via the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization. Chang calls on us not only to re-evaluate the policies we promote to countries seeking to grow rich, but also to become reacquainted with our own forgotten economic history.

Ha-Joon Chang has been described by one economist as "the most exciting thinker our profession has tu…

Exclusive! The FBI Deputizes Business, The Progressive

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law. InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.The ACLU on this in 2004: The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.

Ha-Joon Chang: An Economist Worth Reading

Link to his home page above. This guy is the real deal. He'll be on CSPAN Book TV soon:
Ha-Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

Oxford University [wrong; he's at Cambridge] economist Ha-Joon Chang argues against unregulated international trade. Mr. Chang contends that the GDP of many developing countries was higher prior to deregulation, and that the pressure of countries such as the United States and Britain to follow this model is false, as these countries built their economies with the assistance of government intervention.
(Sunday [Feb. 9] 2:15 PM ET)I'll post the vid once it's out.

Some more reading (all PDFs):
Kicking Away the Ladder: The “Real” History of Free Trade
Why Developing Countries Need Tariffs? How WTO NAMA Negotiations Could Deny Developing Countries’ Right To A Future.

Humane Society Slaughterhouse Videos

Enjoy your meat!
HSUS Investigates Slaughterhouse
Cruel and Unhealthy Practices Uncovered

Graphic video: An HSUS investigation reveals one of the leading suppliers of the national school lunch program is permitting sick and injured dairy cows to enter the food supply.
Cheap Meat
Working in a Slaughterhouse

Warning: This video contains graphic and disturbing footage. In it, an HSUS investigator describes his experience working undercover in a slaughterhouse.

The lights have been turned off, Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz

Key quote:
The [Israeli] Supreme Court is authorizing collective punishment, which is specifically forbidden under international law (Article 33 of the Geneva Convention). Henceforth, Israel will no longer be able to complain about attacks against innocents in Israel: If all the residents of the Gaza Strip deserve to be punished because of the Qassam rockets, then maybe all Israelis deserve to be punished because of the occupation?Indeed.

"Water Lillies" -- Stunning Fractal Art

Original link (via Google Images) in title above; here's the gorgeous image, which you can click to see full size:

Nader at San Francisco Green Presidential Debate / January 13th, 2008

Nader definitely points the way toward a workable left-populist movement. Good stuff.

Opening Statement and response to questions - Ralph Nader (Note: Nader is not a declared candidate for the Green Party Presidential nomination at the time of this event) (32:39)

More on corporate fascism (possibly a redundant term):

Here is the website for last year's conference: Taming the Giant Corporation, and here are two videos worth watching:

1. Amy Goodman interviews Ralph Nader:

2. Carl Mayer on corporations and the constitution:

New Book Alleges 9/11 Commissioner Philip Zelikow Minimized Scrutiny of Bush Admin Failure to Prevent al-Qaeda Attack

Excellent report on Democracy Now! -- starts off with Sandy Berger's tawdry and craven stealing of documents from the National Archives (at Bill Clinton's behest) and then moves into Zelikow's mole-like status on the commission. Which more than one person wondered about at the time, just based on Zelikow's CV and networks; for example, Judith Miller in October 2002 was already accurately portraying Zelikow as follows:The study, sponsored by the Markle Foundation, was conducted with two influential research groups -- the Brookings Institution and the Center for Strategic and International Studies -- and with the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. The center's president, Philip Zelikow, a former White House official who is close to Bush administration officials, is the task force's executive director. ''Our study shows that the information and technology that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks already exists,'' Mr. …

Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class

Click above to launch a Flash video of this CSPAN-filmed event. CSPAN has revamped their website, including adding this cool page: CSPAN Video Library. Dig it.

It's a bit sketchy in its whirlwind tour through history, world and American, but settles down on more American political history and political theory. Yes, it's annoying that Hartmann thinks that Rousseau wrote in the 1600s (born in 1712, that'd be a neat trick) or that Darwin wrote The Descent of Man in "the early 1800s" (born the same day as Lincoln -- February 12, 1809 -- that, too would be a neat trick -- Descent was published in 1871). His statements on Darwin, Darwinism, and so forth, are more than a bit philosophically naive:

But the general point is well-taken, and I can think of many personal friends who really need to hear this, but will never listen -- even though it's smack-dab in the center of their interests. Not as much fun as hating dusky Others, though, so...

US Rules of Engagement in Iraq

Click the title for the original publication of the leak, which has been written about in many journals, such as the New York Times.

I love the administration response: what everyone else in the world, especially the Iranians and Syrians, knew to be the case is somehow going to "harm the troops" -- since now the American public is (potentially) aware of it, too. Ah, yes, I see.

Who is the real enemy, I ask you? We, the people, are. The government -- any government -- is deathly afraid of us.

The (Discretionary) Budget and Oreo Cookies