Military Industrial Complex - The Hunger Games Economy

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Published by Administrator in Economy


The Hunger Games Economy
Jeff Faux: Dreams of Wall St. and Military Industrial Complex are not compatible with dreams of American middle class
Jeff Faux is the Founder and now Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC. He is an activist, economist and writer, He has written extensively on issues from globalization to neighborhood development. His latest book is “The Servant Economy; Where America¹s Elite is Sending the Middle Class.”
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.
There's been some debate amongst the American governing elite about America's place in the world and its declining power. Barack Obama went to Australia not long ago and declared that America will continue to be an Asia-Pacific power. And the issue of the Brzezinskian grand chessboard is still very much on their mind. But what does this maintaining America's position in the world mean for ordinary Americans? Who's going to pay for all this? When it comes to competitiveness, it really means wages, although that word doesn't get talked about very much, not in the mainstream press or in the halls of Congress.
Well, it does get talked about in a piece written by Jeff Faux, and he's now joining us. Jeff is a founder and distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. He's an activist, economist, and writer. He's written extensively on issues from globalization to neighborhood development, and his latest book is The Servant Economy: Where America's Elite is Sending the Middle Class. Thanks very much for joining us, Jeff.
JEFF FAUX, AUTHOR: Oh, it's great to be here, Paul. Thank you.
JAY: So, I mean, clearly we are dealing with a different world. And it's not just that it's militarily different, in the sense that China's now somewhat of a power, so is Russia and—back somewhat of a power—I mean, nothing on the scale of the United States, but the geopolitics and chessboard has changed somewhat. But where it's changed a lot more is with this massive industrial capacity in areas of the world where 20, 30 years ago there was nothing like it—advanced technology, high-quality production, very low wages. And America wants to maintain its competitiveness in all of this. So talk a bit about that and what that might mean for ordinary Americans, and maybe what the word competitiveness means.
FAUX: Well, I think—start from what I think is the basic assumption, and that is the United States can no longer satisfy the three great dreams that have driven American politics over the last decades. The first dream is the dream of Wall Street and business for unregulated access to speculative profits. The second dream is the dream of the military and foreign-policy elite and the military-industrial complex for global hegemony. The third dream is the dream of ordinary Americans for a rising living standard.
Now, we can have one out of three, certainly. Two out of three, maybe. Three out of three? No way. So in effect the decision is being made right now—or has been made—by this country's elite.
There's a lot of talk in Washington, as you know, about the grand bargain between Republicans and Democrats over budgets and taxes. But the real deal has already been cut. The average American income in real wages is going to decline over the next 10 years, 15 years, as far into the future as we can see. Now, this has been coming for a long time. It's not just about the recession and it's not temporary. As you probably know, for the last 30 years we've had stagnant wages in America. After wages rise steadily since World War II, they flattened out after 1979 and essentially have been flat.
So the question is: if wages were flat, how come everything looked so good? That is, people went to shopping centers and bought cars and houses during those 30 years that ended in 2008. And the reason is two. One, family incomes kept up because we sent more members of the family to work, usually the wife. Now there are more women than men in the labor force so that that strategy for most people is exhausted. The second is debt. People weren't getting raises, but they were getting access to cheaper and accessible credit. That has evaporated with the collapse of the financial sector.
JAY: Jeff, before you continue, let me ask: so if this process more or less began in the '70s, why? What happened? Why? If you could—you know, to some extent one could say that third dream of ordinary Americans, you know, to own a house, send the kids to college, not to be terrified of losing their job, to some extent that's—dream was still possible, at least in the early '60s.
FAUX: Oh, yeah. And the reason—.
JAY: So what happens?
FAUX: Yeah. There are three things that happened since the end of the '70s. The data starts from 1979; the kink in the curve starts from 1979. One was globalization, and by that I mean, essentially, exposing American workers to a very brutal and competitive global labor market before they were prepared.
Second, the weakening of the bargaining position of the average American worker. A lot of that had to do with the decline of unions. But it affected union members and nonunion members. The second thing that happened was the weakening of the bargaining position of the average American worker. This was not just about weaker unions, but weaker unions played a key role, not just for union members, but for people who aren't union members. Because unions were strong—or certainly stronger than they are now—the threat of unionization kept the bosses and kept the employers from cutting wages too much, cutting pensions too much, even though they would have liked to. So weaker unions, weaker bargaining positions [crosstalk]
JAY: And is weaker unions and bargaining positions linked to number one, which is globalization and the threat of moving offshore?
FAUX: That's right, certainly linked to number one. And number three, later, was the shredding of the safety net, the real value of the minimum wage, and the kinds of New Deal protections for labor that have been frayed away over the last 10 or 15 years.
But on the first, on globalization, there's something very important here to remember, and that is it not only affected working people, but it changed the culture of the American elite. You know, if you go back to the early part of the 20th century, labor and capital were in fierce struggles. But both labor and capital knew that they needed each other and were stuck in the same country. So, you know, when Henry Ford raised the wages of his Ford employees to $5 a day, the Wall Street guys said, Henry, what are you doing here? I mean, you can't pay—you're spoiling these people, you're paying them too much. And Henry Ford, who was a SOB union buster, said, look, I've got to pay them enough to come in to make the cars, but I also need to pay them enough to buy the cars. So it was an economy in which, while there were labor and capital disputes, we were all in it together.
What happened—what's happened since the 1980s is that globalization, the deregulation of trade and investment, has allowed the American commercial and economic elite to roam the world in search of lower wages, in search of government subsidies by Third World countries, etc.
JAY: Yeah, so you now have a situation where they saved GM and Chrysler, but workers'—starting worker wages go from, what, $26 to $14 an hour, and you probably couldn't buy a new car at $14 an hour.
FAUX: Exactly. And unlike Henry Ford, the people who run the Ford Motor Company today, you know, have other people they can use to sell their cars to. And so high wages, which we sort of learned after the 1930s were good for the economy because it created consumer demand and consumers bought the goods that were being produced, high wages in America are no longer what they were. They're now a threat to multinational corporations who still produce and sell things. And that's been a critical change.
JAY: They also seem to no longer think they need an educated workforce. I used to—in the '50s and '60s, all this talk about, you know, America will compete because it's going to be the most educated working class and this and that, they don't seem to care anymore. The public school system can go to hell and they don't seem to care.
FAUX: They don't care. But that's sort of the last excuse of the political governing class. I mean, whether it's, you know, Barack Obama, George Bush, Bill Clinton, they're all the so-called education presidents, and their answer to this decline in living standards and wages is not to worry, just go get an education. Barack Obama was in Florida about a year ago touring the country, saying the way we're going to compete in the world is to out-educate everyone.
Well, first what's obvious: that we're shrinking the schools, we're laying off teachers, kids can't go to college because it costs too much. But second, which is really important, we are not creating jobs for educated young people. You go into Apple, in the Apple Store, there is the future. And it's not the technology. It's in all those smart college-educated kids working as retail clerks for $10, $12 an hour. The Bureau of Labour Statistics—government agency—projects that between 2010-2020, the largest, fastest-growing occupations in this country, of the ten largest and fastest-growing, only one requires a college education.
JAY: Well, Jeff, we're going to pick this up in part two, and what I'll be asking in part two is it seems to me while this may make sense for Apple and it may make sense for a lot of individual companies to drive wages down and have more and more service jobs, as an economy somebody's got to be making money to buy all this stuff, and that seems to be where the rub is. So join us for part two of our series of interviews with Jeff Faux on The Real News Network.

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داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه Image


داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه

 داعش و دام اسلامی کردن خاورمیانه
ژرفشی پیرامون ژاژخایی بارک الحسین آل اوباما در مبارزه علیه ددمنشان داعش.
نویسنده وگوینده: نیک پاکپور
به باور گوینده، آنچه را که ما امروز در میین استریم مه دییا ” Mainstream media” غربی، به عنوان جنجال جنگی غرب علیه جهادیزم جانی، وحشی ـ وهابی، اسلامی ـ ارتجاعی، در منطقه خاورمیانه شاهد هستیم، در اصل و اساسش چیزی به جز یک رجز خوانی ره توریک گونه یا تبلیغات تعفن بار و تهوع آور، آغشته و آمیخته به انواع ترفندها، تزویرها، تحریک ها و توطئه های تموچین گونه برای تسخیر، تقسیم و تصرف و سپس تهی کردن و تخلیه کردن خاورمیانه از منابع، معادن و مینرال سرشار نفتی و گازی اش نمی باشد که از سالها پیش توست استراتژیست های ”Anglo-American” آلبته با سروری و سردمداری سبعانه و ساویج گونه زایونیزم جهاتی بطور مکارانه و مزورانه و میرغضبانه، مهندسی و معماری شده است

نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد Image


نیک پاکپور - تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

تراژدی تاریخی 28 مرداد

سیر و سیاحتی به مناسبت 61 مین سالگرد کودتای ننگین 28 مرداد

گوینده: نیک پاکپور

پیش از اینکه با سنبه وسوندی سنباننده به سفتن مدخل ومجرای، بحثی تاریخی، در مورد کودتای 28 مرداد سال 1332 خورشیدی ایران را، باز کنم، لازم می بینم که نخست بطور مختصر و مرخم ومفید، اشاراتی نیز داشته باشم به شیوها وشگردهای شیادانه و شعبده بازانه تعداد بسیار، بسیار اندکی از مائوئیست های متاسیون شده و کمونيیست های Quisling شده به همراه مونارکیست های منحط و متواری، مومیایی شده، که درطی دهه های گذشته، بویژه پس از انقراض و اضمحال یا انحطاط بساط سلطه و سیطره ارتجاع ، استعمار و استکبار جهانی در ایران، که اغلب بخاطر مزد و معاش در جهت ارتزاق و ارتشاف شخصی و شکمی، با تغذیه از اسناد استفراغ زده شده و آروغ زده شده ارتجاع جهانی، بسان رجاله گان سیاسی، با رجزخوانی رذیلانه، برای رضی و راضی نگهداشتن دشمنان دژنام ایرانی، در رسانه ها و روزنامه های باصطلاع فارسی زبان زیر سیطره و ساطور سیاه سازمان های اطلاعاتی lntelligency چون CIA امریکا و MI6 انگلستان و DGSE فرانسه، BND آلمان و موساد اسرائیل بنام صدای امریکا و رادیوی فریب و Fradulent فردا، بی بی سی، رادیوی RFI، رادیوی دویچه وله فارسی، صدای شوم Zionism جهانی، یعنی اسرايیل، البته با مدد سفسطه ولی با سکسکه سفیل ، سفیهانه و سالوسانه، علیه سیمای ستبر مردم ایران یا سخن پراکنی کرده یا با کمک مستقیم و غیر مستقیم Benefit سیاسی ارتجاع جهانی، مرتکب نسک و نشر و جهل، جوزن وجادوگری تاریخی شده اند، و بارها و بارها به کرات و مرات با کراهت و گژبینی گزند گونه در سنگر گزیزگاه دشمن با کرنش و کمر خم کنی خماننده ولی با نیش و نیشتر و نیرنگی فریبنده، برای توجیه و تطهیر و تبرئه عاملان و قاتلان و خائنان داخلی و خاری کودتای 28 مرداد، نوکربابانه یا نطق کرده یا نسک نگاشته اند. لطفآ بقیه را در video توجه فرمائید!


گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب Image


گوینده: نیک پاکپور - بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب

بنیاد بریکس و بیم غرب
گوینده: نیک پاکپور
1-Putin and BRICS form Seed Crystal of a New International Monetary Pole
William Engdahl | July 25, 2014
2-BRICS establish $100bn bank and currency pool to cut out Western dominance
By RT: Published time: July 15, 2014 18:14
3-BRICS against Washington consensus
BY By Pepe Escobar “Asia Times: Jul 15, '14”
4-Dollar dying; multi-polar world in offing
By F.William engdahl
4-US Dollar Suffers Serious Setback
By By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
5-Throwing BRICS at Israel
By Johnny Punish


MH17: The Untold story (Promo) Image


MH17: The Untold story (Promo)

War blocks the MH17 probe from reaching the crash site. The wreckage should have been collected and re-assembled. Until it is, evidence can only be gleaned from images, recorders and eye-witness testimony. Did a rocket fired from the fired from the ground or gunfire from a military jet bring down MH17? Watch October 22 on http://RTD.rt.com/RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

CrossTalk: Recognizing Palestine (ft. Norman Finkelstein) Image


CrossTalk: Recognizing Palestine (ft. Norman Finkelstein)

Why have Western countries only now decided to vote to recognize the state of Palestine? What will be the outcome? Will a legitimate Palestinian state bring peace to the region? Is an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan a dead end?CrossTalking with Norman Finkelstein and Amir Oren. Watch all CrossTalk shows here:http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL75A81D67D2955F81 (Sep 2009 - Feb 2011)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K12YqkZDcnaHfDd5cptKhs9 (Mar 2011 - Jul 2012)http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPszygYHA9K1wI7Kcpxfq6NviCKYKjXAn (Jul 2012 - current)RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.


'We are ready!' Tens of thousands of Catalans rally, demand early elections

About 110,000 people gathered in the center of Barcelona to call for snap regional elections after Catalonia was forced to cancel its November 9 independence referendum under pressure from Madrid. READ MORE: http://on.rt.com/7hadwcCOURTESY: RT's RUPTLY video agency, NO RE-UPLOAD, NO REUSE - FOR LICENSING, PLEASE, CONTACT http://ruptly.tvRT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Middle east

CrossTalk: Eternal War against ISIS? Image


CrossTalk: Eternal War against ISIS?

Taking on the Islamic State or an excuse to fight whoever you want? Each member of Washington's coalition of the reluctant has its own agenda - and rarely directed against this terrorist group. It is not surprising that we are told destroying the Islamic State will take a very long time. CrossTalking with Oubai Shahbandar, Brian Becker and Revd Nadim Nassar.RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-airSubscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaTodayLike us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnewsFollow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_comFollow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rtFollow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RTRT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

After Ignoring ISIS Assault on Kobani, U.S. Launches Major Strikes & Arms Turkey’s Kurdish Foes Image


After Ignoring ISIS Assault on Kobani, U.S. Launches Major Strikes & Arms Turkey’s Kurdish Foes

After Ignoring ISIS Assault on Kobani, U.S. Launches Major Strikes & Arms Turkey’s Kurdish Foes

Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would not act to prevent the Islamic State from seizing Kobani because the Syrian Kurdish town was not a "strategic objective." But as news cameras on the Turkish-Syrian border showed Islamic State fighters assaulting a town in plain sight, the U.S.-led coalition responded with the most airstrikes of its Syria campaign. The U.S.-led coalition has also begun dropping air supplies of weapons and aid to the Syrian Kurds, a move it had resisted for weeks. Now Turkey says it will open its border with Syria to let Iraqi Kurdish fighters join the fight. The Turkish government had opposed aiding the Syrian Kurds in Kobani because of their links to Turkey’s longtime foe, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK. To help us sort out this complicated picture, we are joined by longtime international law professor and former United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, who has just returned from four months in Turkey.

Islamic state


Islamic state 'sells women and child for $12' Girls Forced to Marry

The armed group Islamic State is holding hundreds of Yezidi men, women, and children from Iraq captive in formal and makeshift detention facilities in Iraq and Syria. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/10/11/iraq-forced-marriage-conversion-yezidis The group has systematically separated young women and teenage girls from their families and has forced some of them to marry its fighters, according to dozens of relatives of the detainees, 16 Yezidis who escaped Islamic State detention, and two detained women interviewed by phone. They said the group has also taken away boys and forced captives to convert to Islam.

United state

American Exceptionalism at Play in Interpreting the Convention on Torture Image


American Exceptionalism at Play in Interpreting the Convention on Torture

Michael Ratner of the Centre for Constitutional Rights rejects the idea that the convention on torture exempts the US outside its borders


In U.N. Speech, Noam Chomsky Image


In U.N. Speech, Noam Chomsky

In U.N. Speech, Noam Chomsky Blasts United States for Supporting Israel, Blocking Palestinian State

As U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announces plans to set up an investigation into the attacks on United Nations facilities during Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza Strip, we broadcast the speech of world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky, who recently spoke in the hall of the U.N. General Assembly at an event sponsored by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. "The pattern that was set in January 1976 continues to the present," said Chomsky, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Israel rejects a settlement of these terms and for many years has been devoting extensive resources to ensuring it will not be implemented with the unremitting and decisive support of the United States — military, economic, diplomatic and ideological."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he is setting up an investigation into the attacks on U.N. facilities during Israel’s recent assault on Gaza. Some 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilian, were killed in the conflict, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel.
Well, today we spend the hour with Professor Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author. He’s Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than half a century. In a rare event that took place last Tuesday, 800 people packed the hall of the U.N. General Assembly to see Noam Chomsky—ambassadors and the public from around the world. The event was hosted by the [Committee on the] Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Noam Chomsky gave a major address, and I followed with a public interview. First, the speech.
NOAM CHOMSKY: It’s a pleasure to be here to be able to talk with you and discuss with you afterwards.
Many of the world’s problems are so intractable that it’s hard to think of ways even to take steps towards mitigating them. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not one of these. On the contrary, the general outlines of a diplomatic solution have been clear for at least 40 years. Not the end of the road—nothing ever is—but a significant step forward. And the obstacles to a resolution are also quite clear.
The basic outlines were presented here in a resolution brought to the U.N. Security Council in January 1976. It called for a two-state settlement on the internationally recognized border—and now I’m quoting—"with guarantees for the rights of both states to exist in peace and security within secure and recognized borders." The resolution was brought by the three major Arab states: Egypt, Jordan, Syria—sometimes called the "confrontation states." Israel refused to attend the session. The resolution was vetoed by the United States. A U.S. veto typically is a double veto: The veto, the resolution is not implemented, and the event is vetoed from history, so you have to look hard to find the record, but it is there. That has set the pattern that has continued since. The most recent U.S. veto was in February 2011—that’s President Obama—when his administration vetoed a resolution calling for implementation of official U.S. policy opposition to expansion of settlements. And it’s worth bearing in mind that expansion of settlements is not really the issue; it’s the settlements, unquestionably illegal, along with the infrastructure projects supporting them.
For a long time, there has been an overwhelming international consensus in support of a settlement along these general lines. The pattern that was set in January 1976 continues to the present. Israel rejects a settlement of these terms and for many years has been devoting extensive resources to ensuring that it will not be implemented, with the unremitting and decisive support of the United States—military, economic, diplomatic and indeed ideological—by establishing how the conflict is viewed and interpreted in the United States and within its broad sphere of influence.

48th Anniversary of the Founding of the Black Panther Party Image


48th Anniversary of the Founding of the Black Panther Party

Former Black Panther Eddie Conway describes the political and social conditions that gave rise to the militancy and politics of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

Marshall "Eddie" Conway was a Leader of the Baltimore chapter of the Black Panther Party. Conway was released from prison on March 4, 2014 after having served 43 years and 11 months. He is currently a producer at the Real News Network.
48th Anniversary of the Founding of the Black Panther PartySHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.
This week is the anniversary of the formation of the Black Panther Party. That was 1966, 48 eight years ago. The original six members of the Black Panther Party were--and they are depicted in this photograph. From the top left is Elbert "Big Man" Howard; Huey P. Newton, the defense minister; Sherwin Forte; Bobby Seale, the chairman; and in the bottom row is Reggie Forte; Little Bobby Hutton, the treasurer.
To talk about all of this history, with us today is the former Black Panther Party member in Baltimore, is Eddie Conway. Eddie Conway was a member of the Baltimore Black Panther Party who spent 44 years in prison for an alleged crime of killing a police officer, a crime that he did not commit.
If you are curious--and you should be--watch the series that The Real News has with Eddie Conway on Reality Asserts Itself, or you can make a donation to The Real News and get a copy of his book, Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther.
Thank you so much for joining us, Eddie.
PERIES: Eddie, take us back in time and describe the conditions that the African Americans in this country were facing at the time the Black Panther Party was formed.
CONWAY: Well, I think the Black Panther Party grew out of the disappointment of the civil rights movement and its failure to make really significant changes. I think initially, from, like, the early '50s on up to the mid '60s, in the South there was a massive movement to desegregate things there, to make the buses, the interstate highways safe to travel on the buses for blacks and whites together. There was a number of bills and laws put in to get voting rights. And I think we thought in the black community that that would solve the problem of racism, that would solve the problem of police brutality, that would solve the problem of poverty, and that would solve the problem of a redline districting in terms of us being forced to live in ghettos.
After those bills were passed, after those minor victories were made, we found out that we still suffered the same conditions. Racism still existed. Poverty was still widespread through our community. We did not have enough money even though we had integrated our lunch counters. We had had the right then to send our children to college. We couldn't afford to do that. We didn't have the jobs that would afford us the kind of payrolls, paychecks that would allow us to do that.
So the brutality continued. Every week in some city, and in most cities across the country, young black men were being killed or beaten to death by the police department.
And as a result of all this, I think people decided that, well, they needed to organize a different way instead of nonviolent protests in order to change their conditions. And one of the things that they concluded, at least young people, is that if they were going to organize, they weren't going to allow theirself to be attacked by dogs or water hoses or be beaten in the street by police. So they decided to organize in a self-defensive manner.
PERIES: Eddie, this was a time that the civil rights movement had actually made some gains--the ending of Jim Crow and racial segregation. And they did it through civil disobedience, they did it through peaceful means, as far as the civil rights movement was concerned. It was known worldwide for being a fairly peaceful and nonviolent movement.
However, the African-American community that was so disenfranchised, especially in urban cities, felt the need to take up arms to defend themselves. And this was particularly because of the police brutality that they were experiencing. Tell us about that experience.
CONWAY: It was the police brutality, but it also involved attacks against the people who were organized in a nonviolent manner. Churches were being bombed. Buses were being burned by unruly mobs. People were being attacked in the middle of the night and dumped in the rivers in Mississippi and in other places. So to organize--some of the key organizers were being assassinated on their front steps.
So I think younger people that decided that they would take up the banner of continuing the fight to organize for social justice and human rights decided that if they wanted to organize, then they needed to organize in a way in which they could defend theirself. So a lot of organizations sprung up, but one of them was the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.
PERIES: And that was taking up arms to defend themselves against police and, at the time, KKK brutalities that they were also experiencing.
CONWAY: Yes. And it was legal to do that, because the laws in America said that everybody had a right to have weapons. And all the other organizations--the States' Rights Party, the Minutemen, the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klans, every organization was allowed to have weapons. And the individual citizens was riding around with weapons in the back of their truck on gun racks. So the reaction to the Black Panther Party was strictly a racist reaction, and it didn't have anything to do with their legality of us being armed.
PERIES: In addition to the racism, the situation for--African-Americans in urban cities were exasperated by the fact that the jobs that most of them had come to the city to acquire had actually by this time moved out of the cities and into the suburbs, along with white migration out of urban centers. And describe that for us, joblessness, access to housing. And housing at the time was in substandard conditions when it came to African Americans. That added to this desire for a more militant resistance.
CONWAY: Yes, because they--at that time was something we call white flight. Black people were allowed to move in, because of integration, into other neighborhoods. The white residents in those neighborhoods fled to suburbia. A lot of federal money, a lot of money government money was going to build up suburbia, the interstate highways and all the rest of that stuff. And consequently, jobs and factories moved out to those areas. And inner-city people could not get out there, because of lack of transportation or because they were just not desirable as the workforce.
So the community continued to be impoverished. It got more impoverished. And this created a lot of rage and frustration, which led to a lot of conflicts with the police and police brutality, and ultimately riots. And so there was a period from 65 to 70 where there were hundreds and hundreds of riots all across America. Almost every major city had a major riot--as a result of police brutality, primarily, but as a real result of the poverty and the conditions that people were living in.
PERIES: And the levels of poverty you were just talking about were grave. And I don't think enough people today realize the dire poverty that African Americans were living in. I know some stories that I've heard. You know, people actually used to just have one meal a day because they couldn't afford it. And these are the conditions in which you were working and organizing the Black Panther Party here in Baltimore.
CONWAY: Yes. Well, one of the things that we discovered early on was that children were going to school hungry. I mean, this was a national epidemic. And we decided to start free breakfast programs for children. And we had no idea it would be successful. We created those programs, we opened the door. Hundreds of thousands of children came every morning on their own accord to get something to eat, because we learned that if you send children to school hungry, they don't learn anything. They're miserable most of the day, and then they're not going to be very attentive in terms of finding out stuff. And I think that was one of the really--problems of poverty in our community.
But the other problem, which was a major problem, was the lack of health care. The only way you got medical care in the black community during that period was that you had to have some sort of a traumatic event, a wound or injury of--.
PERIES: An emergency.
CONWAY: Emergency. And then you could go to the emergency. Other than that, there was no health insurance for most of the population. There was no way to get medical care. There was no preventive health. So we organized health clinics in the cities and ambulance services. And also at that time, even though it was just beginning, the prison-industrial complex, the prisons were located out in rural white communities, and most family members could not afford to get out there, catch buses, have transportation back and forth, or make those long trips and stay overnight in those what was then very racist kind of communities. So we created free bus services and stuff. So there was a number of things that were going on. So we created a food co-op, say, for instance, because people were running out of food one week before they got their food stamps or whatever. Yeah.
PERIES: So the socialization that took place, I mean, the Black Panther Party is, of course, known for their militancy and taking up arms in order to defend themselves, but there was also a socialization that was taking place through the breakfast programs, and the politics were getting more radical and different than the civil rights movement. And take us through that path of the difference between the politics of the civil rights movement and the politics of the Black Panthers.
CONWAY: Well, the politics of the civil rights movement was pretty much we wanted a piece of the pie. We wanted to live the American dream. We wanted to have a black capitalist society. The Black Panther Party started off at the very beginning and said that this economic social arrangement wasn't working for the majority of poor people in the community and we needed to organize around collective kind of economics or organize where we could talk about economic democracy and we could share the wealth of the community. And we did story after story in the Black Panther Party paper about that.
But what we found out was that in our community, people learned from example. So we organized the resources in the community to feed the children. We showed how you could take the things that was available to us, we could harness those resources and then direct them to solving a problem. And it was socialism by example. And so even though people could read and understand those ideas, they could actually live and see those ideas when they realize that they could collectively pool their resources, get a mass amount of stuff, and then sell it very cheap and undercut the capitalist merchants, say, for instance. And that idea transferred itself into other communities.
And I think that's what made the Black Panther Party a pariah for the government is that the American Indian movement took up those ideas and principles. The Latino group the Brown Berets, they took up that idea. The White Panther Party sprung up, took up that idea. The Young Lords, the Puerto Ricans, they took up that idea. The Asian revolutionary groups, they took up that idea. And the Black Panther Party ideas of collective socialism and so on spread to India. So they end up with New Delhi Panthers. It spread to Australia. They end up with Australian Panthers. New Zealand Panthers. Israeli Panthers, of all things. The Panther Party sprung up in Africa. It sprung up in Europe.
And this became a problem for the American government, because those ideas were rapidly traveling around the globe. But they were also saying that the richest country in the world had a real problem of poverty in large segments of its population, white and black, and that it wasn't racist issue; it was really an economic issue.
PERIES: Let's fast-forward to today. I mean, the conditions that African-Americans were facing at that time--and you look at examples of Ferguson, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and the list goes on. But some of the conditions that you were facing at that time is still present. You got out of prison 44 years later. The conditions seems to be more or less similar, with perhaps a few games.
What now for the young people that are organizing and working, trying to dismantle this horrid conditions, segregated conditions in large parts of Baltimore? What do you have to say to them?
CONWAY: Well, one, I'm going to disagree about the conditions being similar. No, the conditions are worse.
There is a segment of our population--I'm talking the black population right now--there's a segment of our population that has, quote-unquote, arrived, you know, the P. Diddys, the Oprahs, the Bill Cosbys, the Jay-Zs or Beyoncés, etc., entertainers pretty much or whatever. But for the most part, most of our population is impoverished, unemployed, suffering from drug epidemics. Even those that are working and are working for large places like Walmart or Target and whatnot, they are receiving food stamps. They need food stamps to augment their salaries. So even those hard-working people that work 40 hours a week still can't afford to live in America. So the conditions are far worse. And I think the brutality in Ferguson or Cincinnati or in New York or in Oakland--and there's case after case after case--in Houston, in Baltimore, has gotten completely out of control.
And I think young people today probably need to go back to the basics. They need to organize in their community in ways in which they can create food security. They need to create their own particular jobs. They need to start talking about community control of the police. They need to make a determination of what they can do to gain control of the housing stock, the unused land, etc. But most of all, probably--and I don't know how successful they will be with this, but they need to develop schools and academies, or even reading our study groups, where they can start studying history and studying what's going on and come up with some solutions of what to do.
PERIES: Also, the community control of the media. This is why you're at The Real News.
CONWAY: Yes, yes, yes, because obviously 85 percent of the media now in America is owned by six multinational corporations that certainly don't have the interests of people down on the ground, poor people in particular, at heart. They work in the interests of an elite, and most of the key reporters and stars of those things, they're millionaires theirself. And so they're certainly not going to report the news from the ground. And I think that's what The Real News does, anyway.
PERIES: Eddie, thank you so much for joining us.
CONWAY: Okay. Thank you.
PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

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  • Ottawa on lockdown after 3 shooting incidents incl parliament, manhunt unfolds
    Ottawa on lockdown after 3 shooting incidents incl parliament, manhunt unfolds By RT A manhunt is on for one or more armed assailants after several rounds of gunfire tore through Parliament Hill, as well as National War Memorial and near a shopping mall in Ottawa, Canada. The city of Ottawa is on lockdown as police try to locate culprits.-1 solider dead, at least 2 other people injured-1 shooter shot and killed by police-3 separate shooting sites-3 - at least one still at large"Incidents occurred at National War Memorial, near the Rideau Centre and Parliament Hill this morning," Ottawa Police said on their Twitter feed. The shootings began just before 10am on Wednesday when a soldier was wounded in the war memorial shooting.One CAF solider has been killed, reported Conservative MP John Williamson. He was a reservist serving in Hamilton from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, reported the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Several shots rang through Parliament Hill, prompting concern over the ease with which the gunman apparently accessed the site. Police officers guard Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014.(Reuters / Chris Wattie)“So I’m locked down in Center Block on Parliament Hill after at least one shooter burst in and opened fire,” local reporter Josh Wingrove stated. “I heard dozens of gunshots and the smell of gunpowder is heavy in the hallways right now.” Wingrove also reported seeing a motionless body inside the parliament building, which he could not confirm to be either dead or alive.Some 30 shots were fired inside the building, an eyewitness told Reuters. The gunman was subsequently chased by police into the center block of the building. Armed RCMP officers head towards the Langevin Block on Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014.(Reuters / Chris Wattie)Prime Minister Stephen Harper managed to exit the building safely. Ottawa Hospital received three patients - two of whom had non-life-threatening injuries, according to a hospital statement seen by Reuters.
  • What Submarine in Sweden?
    What Submarine in Sweden? A Swedish Defense Farce By JAN OBERG "Counter Punch" Lund, Sweden.You have heard that Sweden is hunting a ”submarine” and that it is ”presumed to be Russian”. Here is an example Financial Times of October 21 - which incidentally also announces that the Swedish Prime Minister vows to increase defence spending. Not the slightest evidence There are only three problems with this:1) There is not the slightest evidence of there being anything military, neither that it is a submarine nor that, whatever the object might be, it is Russian.2) Even with CNN, BBC and AlJazeera this is nothing but speculative low-grade yellow press journalism.This is possible in the field of defence, security and peace because much less is required of journalists when they write about these matters than when they write about, say, domestic politics, economics, sports, books or food and wine. In these fields you are expected to have some knowledge and media consumers are able to check.3) It serves other purposes than bringing you information: either to increase further the negative image of Russia, push Sweden into full NATO membership – see the remarkable offer by NATOs former Allied Supreme Commander, Stavridis about NATO to come and help Sweden – or to scare the Swedes into feeling that it is necessary to pay even more to the Swedish military (a mechanism also called fearology).Virtually every aspect of the media hype is based on prejudices instead of interest-based analysis and on partial and paid expertise that follows the ‘party line’. Russia has ‘denied’ it is there; Holland has ‘dismissed’ that its submarine should be there.With one or two exceptions, all Swedish and international media have avoided asking: Could it be something else but a sub and somebody else but the Russians – or nothing at all?The alleged-ness of it all is good enough to pass for objective reporting in the – alleged – free media.Swedish Defense FarceWorse, the Swedish military has already made a fool of itself – not to be expected given the fairly large resources it has at its disposal.It has sold off helicopters it now dearly needs.It’s been – at least officially – relying on tips from ordinary citizens and one wonders where the intelligence (in more than one sense of that word) is.A suspicion that a (Russian) special forces man had gone on land turned out to be an Swedish pensioner out fishing.It has published a blurred photo of a wave-covered ‘object’ to be seen far out through some trees and indicated wrongly where that photo was taken.One indeed wonders whether this farcical performance is made to show that it is so helpless that it must have large resources?The more relevant consideration would be: How on earth can such amateurism be so easily accepted by the government, media and the people – and even used as an argument for what the PM has just announced?Or to put it crudely: What do the Swedes get for their tax money?Sweden is Not a Helpless Pawn in the GameSweden with a population of roughly 9 million is # 33 on the world list of military expenditures, spending US $ 6,2 billion per year. That is US $ 657 per capita, # 17 in the world.Russia spends US$ 403 per capita and its overall military expenditures is 8% of NATO’s.Sweden, thus, is not a helpless pawn in some game. If its military isn’t able to do better when it is really needed, some should be made responsible. Is it Russian? If there is something out there, is it likely to be Russian? Not very likely.Moscow knows very well that if a Russian submarine was found and brought up to the surface, it would mean a huge boost for those in Sweden and elsewhere who would like to see Sweden as a full NATO member. That is not in Russia’s interest.But of course, the Russians could play a high-risk game in these waters with some NATO subs, or be plain foolish. It can’t be excluded – but it isn’t very likely that the object is Russian.If it Russian, Sweden itself may anyhow have an interest in not officially finding anything – to keep the Russians in the dark about how much it knows (how good it is at this) and whether or not there already is a NATO assistance in this case.In both cases we are likely to never be told what it was all about. Could it be from NATO? Could it be from a NATO country? If so, we’ll also never know that.The Swedish Chief of Staff has said that if something is found it would be shot at to come up to the surface. But it’s unthinkable that Sweden, if it knew an object to be from a NATO country – would a) shoot at it and b) tell the world that it knew.After all, most violations of the Swedish air space has been known since the 1980s to be done by NATO fighters but it’s basically only when Russian fighters come near or violate that the Swedish defence establishment leaks it or the media are interested in it.Sweden isn’t a neutral country today, if it ever were.Could NATO have an interest in these waters? In the wake of the Ukraine crisis we are back to a kind of Cold War situation and NATO has moved its military positions forward in various ways and held a steady focus on the Baltic States.So, yes, NATO could be in Swedish waters with or without the knowledge or consent of the Swedes; it could be roaming around to check on the Russians simply because tension has built up.It could be placing sonars or whatever devices for future emergencies – while not wanting Sweden to know that it considers Sweden so close to NATO that it can just as well be used.And if so, Sweden would rather not be told. Clear is that Sweden could not officially endorse a NATO submarine presence on its territory as part of Anti-Submarine Warfare or planning for future war with Russia. Both parties know that. Prediction My concluding prediction is therefore rather simple: for the above reasons the Swedish military will soon call off the whole thing and the affair will have served its purpose – precisely by not stating what it was, who it was or why it was. Or if it was.What the purpose of the event may be remains to be revealed at some point in the future. Or perhaps never – if the purpose was fearology for increased militarisation.Somebody somewhere knows what’s going on. And they put citizens’ security at risk for purposes they would never tell you.Jan Oberg is director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research.
  • The Growth of Opium Trade in Afghanistan is a Direct Result of US Invasion
    The Growth of Opium Trade in Afghanistan is a Direct Result of US InvasionBy Prof. James Petras An American political commentator says the resurgence of opium trade in Afghanistan is a “direct result of the US invasion” in 2001.“I think the growth of the opium trade in Afghanistan is a direct result of the US invasion of Afghanistan,” James Petras, retired Bartle Prof. of sociology at Binghamton University, told Press TV in an interview on Tuesday.According to US federal auditors, Afghanistan’s opium industry is booming despite $7.6 billion spent in US counternarcotics efforts since 2002.The most recent report was released on Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).SIGAR said the net land area used for poppy cultivation in 2013 was more than 500,000 acres, a 36 percent jump from the previous year and a historic record.The United Nations said that the majority of the cultivation happened in Helmand and Kandahar provinces that were the focus of the 33,000-strong American troop surge four years ago. “The antinarcotics international agencies all noted that during the reign of the Taliban, there were [sic] virtually no poppies being grown,” Petras said. “The Taliban was strictly enforcing the outlawing of the growing of the narcotic plants.”“Subsequent to the invasion, we have the breakdown of government responsibilities, the imposition of US rule through warlords and selected client regimes which had no authority, no influence over the countryside,” Petras continued.He noted that the Afghan government under the influence of US presence had no influence on rural areas of the country and bribed tribal leaders by letting them grow narcotics.“One way they attempted to secure the allegiances of various tribal and rural leaders was by tolerating the growth of opium and other narcotic plants as a way of trying to outlaw the Taliban,” he said.Petras concluded that the end of the US military occupation in Afghanistan and large scale alternative farming and subsidies could end the “narcotics epidemic” in the country.
  • US Imposes Sanctions against Hungarian Citizens
    US Imposes Sanctions against Hungarian Citizens By Pyotr ISKENDEROV | 22.10.2014 | 09:00"Strategic Culture Foundation" The United States and the European Union have unleashed a «war of sanctions» against Russia. Now many start to doubt the wisdom of this policy. The world markets face another downfall to bode ill as a new economic crisis starts to loom. The European Central Bank has failed to find additional financial incentives to drag the European economy out of economic slump. The Bank’s efforts to introduce emergency measures hit snags on the way because Germany opposes the policy. «People are really concerned about the European situation and the deterioration of economic numbers we’ve seen», says Walter Todd is Chief Investment Officer/Managing Director at Greenwood Capital Associates LLC. (1)The International Monetary Fund has come up with downward revisions for world economy. The top management of US Federal Reserve System admitted that it can negatively affect the national GDP growth.«We’re likely to see more volatility», said Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager who helps oversee $1 billion in equities at Pengana Capital Ltd. in Melbourne. «As growth continues to disappoint, there’s ongoing concern about geopolitical risks and the spread of the Ebola virus.» (2)This is the background against which Washington and Brussels want European countries to suspend many profitable joint projects with Russia. No wonder the resistance to the pressure is on the rise.Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post, writes, «So let’s consider Hungary, a NATO member whose prime minister recently named Putin’s Russia as a political model to be emulated. Or NATO member Slovakia, whose leftist prime minister likened the possible deployment of NATO troops in his country to the Soviet invasion of 1968. Or NATO member Czech Republic, where the defense minister made a similar comparison and where the government joined Slovakia and Hungary in fighting the European Union’s sanctions against Russia». (3) The author points out that all the countries mentioned in the article are NATO members. Further the author expresses his concern over the fact that there are strong pro-Russian sentiments in Serbia, a candidate for EU entry. Jackson Diehl admits that many NATO members are tacitly angling to side with Moscow.Actually Europeans are compelled to make the choice they are not ready to accept and would like to avoid.The US decision to impose sanctions against some Hungarian politicians, businessmen and tax officials has evoked a shock reaction in Budapest. Even the European Commission has not dared to do anything similar, no matter it has many times accused Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban of violating EU regulations and standards. No wonder! There is something important at stake – the fate of the most important endeavor ever undertaken since the Second World War. The goal is to use sanctions and other means of pressure to subjugate Russia and make it serve the vital interests of the West. Hungary has happened to be a «weak link» among the European Union’s ranks.Actually Hungary leads a group of nations inside the EU that are reluctant to follow the anti-Russian policy of Brussels and Washington.Hungarian Foreign Affairs Minister Péter Szijjártó has criticized the EU’s policy of sanctions against Russia questioning their effectiveness for spurring the process of de-escalation in Ukraine. «These sanctions have not given us the result we hoped for in Ukraine – the conflict is clearly not de-escalating. Meanwhile, Europe’s economy is suffering and central Europe has suffered the most», he said. (4) So far, Hungary is losing Ft50m each day due to the sanctions regime, according to Mr. Szijjártó. «Russia is our third largest trade partner and unfortunately we have lost 12 per cent of our exports to Russia and CIS so far this year», he said. (5)The Hungarian neighbors – the Czech Republic and Slovakia – stick to the same position on the sanctions issue. Some EU «old timers» like Finland, for instance, that have suffered significant damage as a result of the «war of sanctions», start swinging to their side.All told, the propaganda story of European «unity», or Europe united under anti-Russian slogans, does not ring true anymore. The plans of US President Obama to isolate Russia have been stymied. The United States itself looks more and more isolated. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe, that have always been instruments to implement the policy aimed at reaching US geopolitical objectives, now express discontent. The Washington Post is right saying that President Obama did not notice how «Russophobes’ in Eastern Europe had left the place to politicians who are not ready to sacrifice national economic interests by severing ties with Russia to serve the goals set by NATO.There are new political events ahead, in particular, the meeting of the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives slated for on October 28. According to the sources from Brussels, the agenda includes «a review of the situation in Ukraine in order to identify the possibility of a revision of sanction against Russia». At the forum the opponents of sanctions may join together putting in doubt the anti-Russia sanctions policy initiated by Washington and Brussels.Washington wants to «stay one step ahead». The United States could not openly say that banning Hungarian citizens from entry was an act of punishing Budapest for disobedience on foreign policy issues and a warning signal to other European states. The officially stated justification of the black list is tax irregularities applied to US companies. The tax problems have been part of the agenda for many months but the choice of the moment to react is indicative. Hungarian media is puzzled. The US says it is concerned over the Hungarian tax system. Then why does the ban include the head of think tank and research center Century Economic Research Inc. (Századvég Gazdaságkutató in Hungarian)? The think tank is linked to Fidesz, the Hungarian ruling party. Some businessmen are also blacklisted. Hungarian Voice Internet news blog says the real reason for the ban is not the discontent provoked by Hungarian leaders’ statements, but rather the general trend of «rapprochement between Russia and Hungary».The economic crisis in Europe had made the Hungarian government keep away from many steps taken by Brussels before. The sanctions policy imposed by the United States and the European Union has only made Budapest lean more toward independent foreign policy. Of course, the NATO and EU membership presupposes serious restrictions but the general shift to self-determination is obvious. That’s what causes the Washington’s displeasure, not the problems with the tax collecting system that hinder the activities of US companies in Hungary.Hungary encounters problems with the European Union. Tibor Navracsics, a candidate to become one of the members of the European Commission, was found unfit for the job of Commissioner for education, culture, youth and citizenship. The competent parliamentary committees hold two votes for each candidate - one on his competences and one on whether he is appropriate to take a post. In this way, the former foreign minister of Hungary proved competent to be Commissioner but inappropriate to take the post. The candidacy was dismissed by the very same majority that had demanded to sever the ties with Russia.Among other things they cannot forgive him what he has said to Die Welt in an interview. In the capacity of Hungarian Foreign Chief he told the German newspaper that the introduction of sanctions will only distance Russia from Europe. The first signs are already emerging. China and other states provide Moscow with what it does not get from the West anymore. Now Russia redirects its energy supplies to these countries. European Union sanctions will only make Russia turn away from Europe to weaken the old continent. According to him, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban is not the only politician with this view, but he is then one who has said it most clearly. (6)Endnotes:1. washpost.bloomberg.com2. washpost.bloomberg.com3. washingtonpost.com4. www.ft.com5. Ibidem6. «Russland wird sich von Europa abwenden». Die Welt [online edition, 5 September 2014].
  • UK prisons chief warns over suicides
    England and Wales prisons chief warns of ‘terrible toll’ of inmate suicides Nick Hardwick says 69% rise in self inflicted deaths during 2013-14 provides evidence for rapidly deteriorating safety in jails By Owen Bowcott, Matthew Taylor and Sandra Laville "The Guardian, Tuesday 21 October 2014 21.16 BST" The findings follow a Guardian investigation into the rise in suicides, which records an average of more than six a month. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PAA warning over a steep rise in prisoner suicides formed the heart of a critical report from the chief inspector of prisons on Tuesday as he said that jails were gripped by rising violence, worsening safety and overcrowding.Nick Hardwick, giving his annual report, said the rate of self inflicted deaths was at its highest for a decade amongst inmates in England and Wales and had risen by 69% during 2013-14.The chief inspector described the number of suicides as “the most unacceptable feature” of a prison system facing a “rapid deterioration” in safety.“It is important that the bald statistics do not disguise the dreadful nature of each incident and the distress caused to the prisoner’s family, other prisoners and staff,” he said. “It is a terrible toll.”The findings follow a Guardian investigation into the rise in suicides which for the first time identified all 134 who died from January 2013 to 2 October 2014, an average of more than six a month. The investigation exposed repeated failings which were contributory factors in the deaths and told the stories of some of those who died.Lynda and Jeff Davison, whose son Steven suffered serious mental health problems and killed himself at HMP Glen Parva in September 2013 after being locked up “for his own safety”, called on ministers to take action. “I think the government need to address this urgently – it has gone too far. Our family is still experiencing the ‘terrible toll’ this report talks about. We don’t want other families going through what we are.”Hardwick’s report painted a graphic picture of life inside prison, where violence between men is at its highest recorded rate, bullying is rife and legal highs are widely available.“At its worst, overcrowding meant two prisoners sharing a six foot by 10 foot cell designed for one, with bunks along one wall, a table and chair for one, some shelves, a small TV, an unscreened toilet at the foot of the bunks, little ventilation and a sheet as a makeshift curtain.“A few prisoners might spend 23 hours a day in such a cell. Twenty hours was relatively common in a local prison. Prisoners would eat most of their meals in their cell. The food budget was reduced from £2.20 per prisoner per day in 2012 to £1.96 a day in 2013.”Hardwick said a shortage of experienced staff and resources combined with a growing prison population – from 84,083 in April 2013 to 85,252 in March 2014 – was also contributing to the rise in self-inflicted deaths. “Increases in self-inflicted deaths, self-harm and violence cannot be attributed to a single cause,” he said. “They reflect some deep-seated trends and affect prisons in both the public and private sector.“Nevertheless, in my view, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the conjunction of resource, population and policy pressures … was a very significant factor for the rapid deterioration in safety.”Asked whether the service had been fortunate to avoid riots, Hardwick said: “Managers nationally and locally have been very effective at spinning a lot of plates ... One of the reasons why things have not been as bad as we might expect has been down to the work on the ground.” The prison system was running at 99% operating capacity, he added.Responding, the Ministry of Justice said it was not the case that staffing cuts or overcrowding were responsible for the rise in suicides. “There is no evidence to link staffing levels, or crowding levels, to the number of self-inflicted deaths across the estate. We always closely monitor any possible trends,” said a spokesperson.Andrew Selous, the prisons minister, added that past year had “seen the prison service manage major organisational change” to save the taxpayer money.He said ministers were committed to reducing violence and understanding the reasons for the recent rise in self-inflicted deaths. “But this is a complex issue and the chief inspector has failed to provide any evidence to support his assertion that this is linked to the reforms made under this government.”Deborah Coles from Inquest, which works with families of those have died in custody, said: “This is a national scandal presided over by a justice secretary and ministers refusing to accept their responsibility.”
  • Russian bases to span entire Arctic border by end of 2014
    Russian bases to span entire Arctic border by end of 2014 By RT Russia will have military control of the entirety of its 6,200 km Arctic coastal zone by the end of 2014, just a year after Moscow announced its ambitious plan to build military presence in the region, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has announced.“We have set quite a pace in our foray into the Arctic,” Shoigu said during a military council meeting in Moscow. “By the end of the year we will already deploy most of our units in the region – from Murmansk to Chukotka.”Moscow announced its intentions to create a special force grouping in the strategic region in December last year, with Vladimir Putin saying that Russia needs to activate “all the levers for the protection of its security and national interests” in the “promising region.”The undertaking, which Shoigu labeled “fundamental,” is now in full flow.“Many of the sites in the region have to be repaired. In fact, a lot of them, such as airfields, logistics facilities, water intakes, power stations will have to be built from scratch, which is what we are doing right now.” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.(RIA Novosti / Igor Russak)Russia’s Northern Fleet, which is headquartered in Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula, has been assigned as the core of the new Joint Strategic Command, and also the main strike force.READ MORE: Ice voyage challenge: RT joins Russian Navy fleet in Arctic base build-up missionTwo Borey-class nuclear submarines, which will form the spine of the refurbished fleet, have been armed this year, and a third one has just completed trials. In total, eight Borey vessels are expected to be built by the end of the decade, though some of them may be re-deployed with the Pacific fleet. RIA Novosti / Vladislav BelogrudRussia is also in the process of unsealing at least seven airstrips that were shut down following the collapse of the Soviet Union, with Tiksi in Yakutia expected to house the bulk of the Arctic air force.Work also began in September on a permanent base located on the New Siberian Islands in the Laptev Sea. A military group consisting of two brigades will be stationed in the far North as part of the new military district.The Arctic has attracted an increasingly intense gaze from the powerful nations that border it in the past decade, not least because it is thought to contain up to 30 percent of the world’s oil and gas. As technologies have advanced, more and more of those hydrocarbons have become recoverable and viable. The stretch of sea can also provide new shipping lanes for goods traveling between Asia and America and Europe. Airport in village of Tiksi in Sakha-Yakutia.(RIA Novosti / Valeriy Yarmolenko)Russia already has rights to any territories located within 370 km of its border, but has lodged claims on a much bigger part of the territory with the UN, due to the existence of an underwater shelf, which would make a sizeable portion of the Arctic an extension of Russian territory.Canada and other Arctic powers have followed suit, with the exact divisions of territories expected to be decided over the course of the next decade.Despite concerns from environmentalists, Shoigu said that the military would play a positive role in safeguarding the unique Arctic environment, and said that units are already engaged in a program of clearing up debris “that has accumulated for centuries.”
  • Ebola Epidemic Linked to CIA: Former NSA Contractor
    Ebola Epidemic Linked to CIA: Former NSA ContractorBy Kurt Nimmo "Infowars" Investigative journalist and former NSA contractor Wayne Madsen told Press TV on Monday the latest Ebola outbreak in Africa may be a resurfacing of an earlier infection linked to the CIA.“We see a year [1976] when the US was violating a Senate law that forbid the US from engaging in the Angolan Civil War and we saw Zaire being used as a bait for the CIA and then we saw the outbreak of Ebola in Zaire. The same year that George H. W. Bush was the director of the CIA,” Madsen said.“In 1980 we saw the outbreak of HIV in Zaire and Angola where the CIA was operating,” he said.“I think what we need to see is an investigation of how intense the CIA biological warfare program was in Zaire and Angola between 1976 and 1980, and what has hit in Sierra Leon and other countries is the Zaire strain of Ebola.”Madsen said the militarization of the U.S. Ebola effort in West Africa is suspicious. “It’s very peculiar that the US is sending the military in when obviously health workers, doctors, and other health care professionals are needed,” he said.CIA and U.S. military involvement in the use of biological pathogens as weapons is well documented. In the 1970s, evidence was revealed by the Church Committee.“Although such military research was highly classified, by 1975 concern over revelations of myriad intelligence abuses led to a comprehensive investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee, which published a CIA memorandum listing the deadly chemical agents and toxins then stockpiled at Fort Detrick. These included anthrax, encephalitis, tuberculosis, lethal snake venom, shellfish toxin, and half a dozen lethal food poisons, some of which, the committee learned, had been shipped in the early 1960s to Congo and to Cuba in unsuccessful CIA attempts to assassinate Patrice Lumumba and Fidel Castro,” Ellen Ray and Willam H. Schaap write in Bioterror: Manufacturing Wars the American Way.Citing the Tuskegee syphilis experiments and the 1978 hepatitis-B experiments as a precedent, researchers also believe the CIA is behind the AIDS epidemic originating in West-central Africa. Many prominent Africans, including former South African President Thabo Mbeki and Wangari Mathai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, believe the CIA is responsible.In the 1980s, John Stockwell, a former CIA paramilitary intelligence case officer stationed in Angola, said there is circumstantial evidence the CIA was involved in spreading the deadly virus.Stockwell suggested the origin of AIDS may be linked to a mass smallpox inoculation conducted by WHO and that the disease was used by the agency intentionally to target gay men and intravenous drug users.  
  • ISIS earned $2mn per day on illegal oil trade prior US-led strikes – report
    ISIS earned $2mn per day on illegal oil trade prior US-led strikes – report By RT The Islamic State was making up to $2 million per day, or $800 million a year, by selling oil at roughly half the official price on the black market before the US-led airstrikes, a new study by a US-based consultant group revealed.“Oil fuels ISIL’s [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] war machine, notably including the military vehicles vital to its movements and fighting capabilities,” according to the IHS analysis. “Oil directly finances ISIL’s myriad activities and encourages the activities of middlemen who sell, transport and export the oil and thus have a vested interest in ISIL.”READ MORE: ISIS daily profits from oil, theft, human trafficking exceed $3mn – reportMilitants have seized control of a total about 350,000 barrels per day in Iraq and Syria, the report by IHS consulting group estimated.Producing up to 60,000 barrels a day, the IS was selling the crude between $25 and $60 a barrel, roughly half of the official price. The IS is consuming about half of its production for its own use. A chimney at an oil field in Sheikhan, northeast of the city of Mosul in northern Iraq and near the Kurdish city of Dohuk, an area where Kurdish peshmerga forces are fighting to stop the advance of Islamic State (IS) fighters. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye)Militants are still possibly selling oil at an average of $40 a barrel, compared with $85.40 per barrel settled by international benchmark Brent oil, the report said."This fraction of pre-war capacity is the result of warfare, shut-ins and [IS's] limited technical prowess operating the fields," IHS said in its study as cited by Reuters.“This is financing and fueling a lot of their activities, military and otherwise,” Bhushan Bahree, a co-author of the report, told Bloomberg.Most of the crude is moved via trucks along smuggling routes on the Turkish border, Jordan or Iraq, IHS said.“It is very hard to intercept,” Bahree said. “There has probably been smuggling of all sorts of things in this place for thousands of years.”So far, US-led airstrikes have not completely eliminated truck-mounted refineries that militants use to produce fuel. But bombing them could be the only way to stop illegal oil trade that also fuels the war in the region, Bahree said.The IS’s capacity to produce oil has been affected by airstrikes, but the report did not estimate by how much.“For argument’s sake, let’s say their capacity was cut by half. They’ll still have $400 million coming in. This is many times more than any other source of funding we know of,” Bahree said.HIS said it can’t tell how many refining capacity, easily transported mobile plants, militants have after the US-led strikes.
  • GMO backlash: Syngenta faces mounting lawsuits over genetically-modified seeds
    GMO backlash: Syngenta faces mounting lawsuits over genetically-modified seeds By RT Agribusiness giant Syngenta AG now faces lawsuits from farmers in 11 US states claiming the seed-and-chemical company’s sale of a genetically-engineered variant of corn yet to receive approval in China depressed market prices for the grain.At issue is Syngenta’s 2009 release and distribution of its MIR162 genetically-modified corn known as Agrisure Viptera, which is engineered to fend off certain insects known to decimate corn crops. While approved for use in the United States, Chinese regulators have yet to sanction the export of Viptera.Last November, China began rejecting US corn shipments based on the existence of Viptera leading to more than $1 billion in damages for US farmers, plaintiffs in 11 states have alleged in various lawsuits filed in federal courts in recent weeks. RT reported earlier this month on three of these lawsuits against Switzerland-based Syngenta.Farmers in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi joined the fray last week, as plaintiffs aim to reach class-action status with their combined suits, The Wall Street Journal reported. Different varieties of wild or experimental peppers are displayed on a tablein a greenhouse, part of a global center which selects vegetable and fruit seeds, owned by global Swiss agribusiness Syngenta AG, in Sarrians, southeastern France. (AFP Photo / Sandra Laffont)A lawsuit filed in Iowa alleged that the release of Syngenta’s Viptera caused the US-to-China corn export market to fall by 85 percent. "Syngenta's decision to bring Viptera to the market crippled the 2013-14 corn export market to China," plaintiffs in Nebraska stated in their own suit.Plaintiffs have accused the company of engaging in willful misrepresentation. Syngenta has claimed that "the vast majority of corn produced in the US is used domestically," plaintiffs have alleged, and that exports are not as important, though the US Department of Agriculture says 20 percent of corn produced in the US is exported.   Syngenta has maintained that it is not at fault for the plunge in corn prices, that it has always been open about Viptera’s approval status, and that the Chinese government should not be able to tell US farmers what corn they can grow.“We continue to believe that [we have] complied with all the laws, rules and regulations of the countries in which we’re selling the product,” John Ramsay, Syngenta’s chief financial officer, said Thursday during a conference call, according to the Wall Street Journal.Viptera has been sold legally to farmers in the US, Argentina, and Brazil since 2011. The GMO strain of corn is said to heighten protection against the likes of black cutworms and corn earworms.James Pizzirusso, a partner at Hausfeld LLP, a law firm involved in some of the suits against Syngenta, echoed accusations that the company has not been transparent with Viptera and its status in Beijing.“Syngenta should not have marketed and aggressively promoted Viptera while misrepresenting that Chinese approval was imminent and also downplaying the importance of the Chinese export market,” Pizzirusso said, according to the Wall Street Journal.In addition to the at least $1 billion in damages, the farmers seek an end of the cultivation and marketing of Viptera.Though Viptera has been planted on only about three percent of US farm acreage, it is difficult to say for sure "that any shipments of US corn will not be contaminated with trace amounts of MIR162," the Nebraska plaintiffs said in their suit filed earlier this month.The commingling of corn from various sources at corn distribution centers is “essentially impossible," according to the Iowa complaint, which cited other major grain companies Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill Inc., which do not accept Viptera.Syngenta has been encouraged by the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) to stop selling Viptera, according to the Iowa claim. The NGFA has estimated that actions taken in China against US corn have caused prices to drop by 11 cents per bushel.In April, the NGFA, a trade organization for grain elevators, reported that China had barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since 2013, resulting in about $427 million in lost sales. The US Department of Agriculture building (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)The farmers’ lawsuits join cases filed by Cargill and Trans Coastal Supply Co., grain exporters that also blame Syngenta for the loss of tens of millions of dollars based on Chinese rejection of GMO corn.In 2011, Syngenta requested in federal court that a grain elevator firm, Bunge North America, remove signs that said it would not accept Viptera-variety corn. The request was denied in 2012.Yet on Monday, a federal appeals court revived a false advertising claim in Syngenta’s lawsuit against Bunge, sending the claim back to a lower court for review.The US Department of Agriculture expects 10 states to set records for corn production this year, though high productivity will likely lead to lower prices.
  • Rouhani's 'economic package' is empty
    Rouhani's 'economic package' is empty By Ismael Hossein-Zadeh"Asia Times" Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing. Tired of the oppressive financial hardship wrought largely by as imperialist economic war against Iran, the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani president in June 2013 because he promised economic revival. He premised his pledge of economic recovery mainly on his alleged ability to bring the brutal sanctions against Iran to an end and to integrate the Iranian economy into the global capitalist system.His promise of removing or alleviating sanctions, however, seems to have been based on an optimistic perception that a combination of a so-called charm offensive and far-reaching compromises over Iran's nuclear technology would suffice to alter the Western powers' sanctions policy against Iran.More than a year later, while Iran's peaceful nuclear technology is reduced from a fairly advanced to a relatively primitive level (from 20% to below 5% uranium enrichment), critical sanctions remain in place and economic recovery remains a dream.To mitigate the oppressive burden of so-called stagflation, a combination of stagnation and inflation, the president and his economic team recently crafted an economic plan, titled the "Proposed Package to Turn Stagnation to Expansion", which turns out to be disappointingly devoid of any specific guideline or clear policy for economic recovery.Slightly more than 40% of the package is devoted to a withering criticism of economic policies of the previous (Ahmadinejad's) administration, which is not only full of factual falsehoods and distortions but is also dubious on theoretical grounds. The rest of the package consists of a series of vague statements and general descriptions that fall way short of a meaningful economic plan or program.The package reads like the lecture notes of an academic economist writing on neoclassical/neoliberal macroeconomic theory, not a policy prescription or an economic agenda. The sentences and, indeed, the entire text of the package make use of an exclusively passive voice (which is characteristic of a theoretical narrative, or a self-protective language designed to avoid responsibility for action) instead of an active voice characteristic of a policy agenda to be acted upon. Implicit in the use of the passive voice in the composition of the text of the package is that the subject/agent, or do-er, is market mechanism, not public policy. [1]The purpose of this essay is not to show the emptiness of Rouhani's economic plan, since this is amply established by many other critics of the package. [2] It is rather to show why it is empty, and why this should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his economic outlook or philosophy, as reflected, for example, in his book, National Security and Economic System of Iran (2010). Neoliberal economic outlook President Rouhani's economic policy package is devoid of specific development plans or industrialization projects because the president and most of his economic advisors subscribe to an economic doctrine that frowns upon government intervention in economic affairs - unless such interventions help "pave the way" for unfettered market operations.According to this doctrine, called supply-side or neoliberal economics, solutions to economic stagnation, poverty and under-development lie in unhindered market mechanism and unreserved integration into the global capitalist system.Recessions, joblessness and economic hardship in many less-developed countries are not so much due to economic mismanagement or the nature of global capitalism as they are because of government intervention and/or exclusion from world capitalist markets.Neoliberal prescriptions that are portrayed as enabling the less-developed countries to harness "benevolent dynamics" of capitalism include: tax breaks for the wealthy and/or big business; privatization of public sector assets, enterprises and services; undermining labor unions and minimizing workers' wages and benefits; eliminating or diluting environmental and workplace safety standards; deregulating markets; opening of the domestic market to unrestricted foreign investment/trade; and the like.The claim that President Rouhani is a proponent of neoliberal economics is not speculation; it follows from his many speeches and statements, from his recently proposed "economic package" to fight stagflation and, as mentioned earlier, from his book, National Security and Economic System of Iran. It is also evident from his policy prescriptions.The president's book deplores Iran's "very oppressive" labor laws. It argues that the minimum wage must be slashed and restrictions on the laying off of workers eliminated if Iran's "owners of capital" are to have the "freedom" to create prosperity. "One of the main challenges that employers and our factories face," Rouhani writes, "is the existence of labor unions. Workers should be more pliant toward the demands of job-creators." [3]Rouhani's book also sheds important light on the link between his administration's turn toward Washington and its plans to restructure the Iranian economy after the model of neoliberalism:There is a close correlation between economic development and political stability, which means maintaining dialogue and friendly relations with the outside world. As stable international relations paves the grounds for economic development, economic development, in turn, makes a country more secure or stable as it makes the country less vulnerable to external threats. Thus, there is a positive correlation, akin to a virtuous cycle, between the goal of economic development and the policy of establishing or maintaining friendly relations with the outside world. [4]This passage (among many similar statements the president has made on numerous occasions) explains why Rouhani has made the solution to Iran's economic problems contingent upon political d'etente or friendly relations with the United States and its allies. In general, there is of course nothing wrong with the desire to establish friendly relations with the US, or any other country for that matter; it could, indeed, be of mutual benefit if it is based on mutual respect for national sovereignty of countries involved.The problem with the Rouhani administration's pursuit of an amicable relationship with the US, however, is that it has tied the urgently needed solutions to Iran's economic difficulties to that unpredictable and unreliable relationship.The administration's misguided perception that the mere establishment of relations with the US would serve as a panacea to Iran's economic woes has basically made the fate of Iran's economy hostage to the unforeseeable outcome of its negotiations with the United States and, therefore, hostage to the endless, and increasingly futile, nuclear negotiations with the group of the so-called 5+1 countries (the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany), dominated by the United States.This explains Rouhani's dilemma: he has essentially trapped himself into an illusion, the illusion that a combination of charm offensives, smiley faces and diplomatic niceties (in place of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's undiplomatic demeanor) would suffice to change imperialist policies toward Iran. In reality, however, the US policy toward Iran (or any other country, for that matter) is based on an agenda, an imperialistic agenda that consists of a series of demands and expectations, not on diplomatic decorum, or the type of language its leaders use.President Rouhani's neoliberal economic views are evident from his occasional statements and speeches on economic policy. For example, in an August 16 (25 Mordad 1393, Iranian calendar) speech in Tehran, designed to explain his administration's policies to fight economic stagnation, the president fervently maintained that state intervention in economic affairs is often more detrimental than beneficial, arguing that "the state must stay out of economic activities, and place those activities at the disposal of the private sector ? The private sector understands the economy much better, and it knows where to invest". [5](Incidentally, this statement is uncannily similar to what president Ronald Reagan famously said about the economic role of the government: "The government can help the economy by staying out of it.")The neoliberal policies of the Rouhani administration are, however, best reflected in the actual economic measures the administration has adopted. One such measure has been drastic reductions in a number of import duties, or tariffs, including reduction of tariffs on imports that have competitive domestic substitutes.For example, Mahmoud Sedaqat, vice president of the Association of UPVC Window & Door Profiles Manufacturers, recently complained (during a news briefing in Tehran) that while domestic production capacity of this petrochemical is more than twice as much as domestic needs, the government reduced import tariffs for this product from 30% to 15%.Sedaqat further pointed out that government's careless trade policy and a lack of protection for domestic producers has led to an atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty among domestic producers, which is contributing to further aggravation of the ongoing economic stagnation [6].Another example of the neoliberal policies of the Rouhani administration is its policy of fighting inflation. According to the president and his economic advisors, government spending and/or excessive money supply are the major cause for the hyperinflation in Iran. This view of inflation is based on the notorious International Monetary Fund diagnosis for the plague of inflation not only in Iran but almost everywhere in the world.The essence of this approach to inflation, which is part of the IMF's so-called "Structural Adjustment Program", can be summarized as follows: (1) excessive government spending contributes to the growth of money supply; (2) growth of money supply automatically leads to inflation; and (3) to control inflation, therefore, requires rolling back government spending, or implementing austerity measures.The real economic world is of course very different from this purely academic, nearly mechanical, correlation. An often-cited case in this context is the German experience of the immediate post-World War II period.Evidence shows that while the volume of cash and demand deposits rose 2.4 times and the volume of bank loans, both short and long term, rose more than ten-fold in the 1948-54 period, this significant rise in liquidity not only did not lead to a rise in the level of prices but it was, in fact, accompanied by a decline in the general level of prices - the consumer price index declined from 112 to 110 during that period. Why? Because the increase in liquidity was accompanied by an even bigger increase in output. While anecdotal, this experience nonetheless shows that, if or when used productively, a large money supply does not automatically lead to high inflation.While it is true that, under certain circumstances, excess liquidity can be inflationary, I also strongly suspect that the inflationary role of liquidity is often exaggerated in order to justify and implement the anti-welfare, neoliberal policies of economic austerity.To the extent that curtailment of social spending may lead to curtailment of inflation, it also leads to curtailment of employment, purchasing power, demand and, therefore, economic growth, ie to stagnation - a side effect which is much worse than the plague of inflation. This explains, at least in part, the failure of the Rouhani administration's neoliberal fight against inflation: not only has it not curtailed inflation, it has also aggravated stagnation by cutting social spending and undermining demand.Like their neoliberal counterparts elsewhere, Iranian neoliberals view government spending as a cost that must be minimized. In reality, however, judicious government spending (whether on soft/social infrastructure such as education, health and nutrition or on physical infrastructure such as transportation and communication projects) is an investment in the long-term development of a society, not a cost. It is not surprising, then, that the IMF-sponsored curtailment of government spending in pursuit of lowering inflation has often led to economic stagnation and underdevelopment. One of the first victims of the neoliberal economic policies of the Rouhani administration was the government-sponsored housing project that was put in place by the previous administration in order to make home-ownership affordable to working and low-income classes. Called Maskan-e Mehr (Goodwill Housing), not only did it allow 4.4 million low-income families to become homeowners, it also significantly contributed to economic growth and employment. Despite its success, the Rouhani administration has decided to discontinue the project. Class interests as economic theory Neoliberalism is essentially an ideology or doctrine that is designed to promote and/or justify policies of economic austerity, thereby serving the interests of the plutocratic 1% at the expense of the overwhelming majority of citizens. This is accomplished through an ad-hoc, utilitarian economic theory that postulates that unhindered market mechanism and unrestricted pursuit of self-interest lead to economic expansion and prosperity for all, that state-sponsored social safety-net programs are "burdens" or "costly trade-offs" in terms of lost productivity and that, therefore, government intervention in economic affairs must be avoided.This neoliberal ideology is promoted and propagated so effectively that it has evolved, more or less, like a religion, market religion - or as Alex Andrews of The Guardian newspaper puts it, "the market a god and economics a form of theology." Indeed, the faith in market mechanism is more akin to blind cultism than rational belief of intelligent people in otherworldly religion.Viewing market mechanism as almost infallible and blaming capitalism's systemic failures on the "irrational behavior of market players" is tantamount to some simplistic interpretations of religion that attribute humans' misfortunes or miseries to their deviations from God's ways; that is, in the same way that humans' "sinful" deeds are said to condemn them to a wretched Otherworld, economic agents' deviations from market rules are believed to lead to economic crises that would doom them to financial misery in this world.Cleverly, this theory is called supply-side economics, implying that economic policy makers should not or need not concern themselves with the demand-side of the economy, that is, with the purchasing power or the ability of the people to buy or demand. Instead, if policy makers only focused on the production side of the economy and created conditions favorable to expanded growth or a bigger supply, the resulting "trickle-down" effects would automatically benefit the demand-side of the economy.And what are those favorable conditions? They include market deregulations, lax labor and environmental standards, supply-side tax breaks, minimizing wages and benefits, removal of restrictions on international capital flows, long hours and subjection of labor to strict management discipline, denial of trade union rights and suppression of workers' political actions, and the like.The division or dichotomy between supply-side and demand-side of an economy is, however, a scam: an artificial, utilitarian and arbitrary division that is crafted largely on abstract theoretical grounds, and for ideological reasons. A real world economy is a totality where supply and demand are two sides of the same coin, meaning that the two sides need to be dealt with simultaneously.For example, the need for health care coverage, the critical necessity of public education, or social safety need programs such as provision of subsistence nutrition for the needy cannot be neglected or put on the backburner in the hope of some illusory effects of "trickle-down" economics. Supply side is a facade, a misleading or obfuscationist theory that is designed to camouflage the neoliberal philosophy of social Darwinism.The experience of the IMF-sponsored "structural adjustment programs" in many "developing" countries around the world shows that curtailing critical social spending in the name of boosting the supply-side of the economy is a counterproductive policy that tends to undermine long-term growth and development by cutting vital investment in both social and physical infrastructures.This can also be seen, even more clearly, in the context of the crisis-ridden core capitalist countries since the 2008 financial collapse, where extensive neoliberal austerity cuts have resulted in widespread misery and escalating inequality without reviving the stagnant economies of these countries.While the supply-side doctrine has a long history (going back all the way to the classical economist Jean-Baptiste Say, 1767-1832, who famously expressed the doctrine as: "supply creates its own demand"), its latest revival started in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the US and UK, which brought forth two of its most effective propagandists: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It has since been systematically entrenched not only in the core capitalist countries but also in many less-developed countries, including Iran.In Iran, the turn to neoliberal economics started under the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani. It was somewhat contained under the presidency of Ahmadinejad (although he too had his share of extensive privatizations); but with the election of President Rouhani it is once again gathering speed - Rouhani is basically picking up where Rafsanjani left off.To point out that President Rouhani and most of his economic advisors are advocates of neoliberal economics is not to say that they lack compassion, or that they do not care about the lot of the working and needy classes.It is rather to point out that their policy prescription to remedy the financial distress that plagues the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people is misguided. It rests upon the idea of capitalism as a benign sphere of human activity where innovating entrepreneurs generate wealth to such an extent that some of it is bound to "trickle-down" to the population at large.It is necessary to point out here that trickle-down theory may have had some validity in the earlier (industrial or manufacturing) stages of capitalism where the rise in the wealth of nations also meant expanded (real) production and the rise in employment. However, in the era of heavily financialized economies, where the dominant form of capitalist wealth comes not so much from real production of goods and services as it does from asset price inflations, that is, from financial bubbles, trickle-down theory has lost whatever minimal validity it may have had at earlier phases of capitalism.Illusion and misconceptionsPresident Rouhani's (and most of his economic advisors') perception that the solution to Iran's economic problems lies in an unrestrained integration into world capitalism and a wholesale privatization of the Iranian economy is overly optimistic. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that, during the past several decades, neoliberalism's dismantlement of socialist, social-democratic and other welfare state economies across the world has invariably led to drastic declines in employment, wages and living standards of the overwhelming majority of the people, thereby further aggravating poverty and inequality on a global level.In many "developing" countries that are integrated into globalized neoliberal capitalism, the living conditions of the majority of their citizens have, in fact, deteriorated. To the extent that workers can find employment, they are often paid poverty wages; and they are increasingly forced to hold several jobs, often detrimental to their health and family life. As Ben Selwyn (among many others) has pointed out:The contemporary world has unprecedented wealth, and mass poverty. Total global wealth was $241 trillion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $334 trillion by 2018. Yet the majority of people live in poverty. The World Bank and its defenders argue that global poverty has declined under neoliberalism. They can only make these arguments because the World Bank defines the poverty line as $1.25 a day, below which it is impossible to lead a dignified life.Lant Pritchett, a critical World Bank economist, suggests a more humane $10 a day poverty line; according to his calculations, 88% of the world population lives in poverty. [7]Summarizing his study of the relationship between globalization of neoliberalism and its impact on the living conditions of the worldwide masses of citizens, Selwyn concludes: "Far from a ladder of opportunity, workers in globalized production networks are incorporated into economic systems that reproduce their poverty to sustain corporation profits". [8]Contrary to claims of neoliberalism, major economic developments, critical infrastructural projects and significant industrialization achievements under capitalism have been made possible either directly by the public sector or by the state support for the private sector.For example, in the aftermath of the Great Depression and WW II, most European countries embarked on extensive state-sponsored industrialization and/or development projects under social-democratic, labor or socialist governments, not so much to bring about "genuine" socialism as it was to rebuild the war-torn European economies by mobilizing and pulling together national resources and funneling them toward development projects. Similar policies were successfully carried out in other major capitalist countries such as the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and South Korea.In Iran too most industrialization projects and infrastructural developments since the 1979 revolution have taken place under direct or supervisory role of the state - when the country relied on its domestic talents, resources, and capabilities in pursuit of self-reliance in the face of hostile imperialist powers and their cruel economic sanctions. Such developments were brought about even under the highly inauspicious conditions of the war, the eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and brutal economic sanctions.By contrast, extensive privatizations and systematic spread of neoliberal capitalism of recent years, especially since the election of President Rouhani, has basically meant stagnation of the real sector and development of speculative, parasitic or financial sector of the economy.Evidence shows that, at the early or formative stages of their development, all the presently industrialized countries vigorously carried out policies of export promotion and import substitution; that is, policies that protected their "infant industries" against the more competitive foreign exporters while promoting their own exports abroad.For example, Britain's adoption of mercantilist and/or protectionist policies of economic development in the early stages of its industrialization, which erected prohibitive tariffs against the then more competitive Dutch exporters, played a significant role in nurturing the country's manufacturers to excel in global markets.Likewise, the United States pursued vigorous policies of protecting its "infant industries" against the more productive European exporters until the early to mid-twentieth century, when its producers became competitive in global markets. Similar protectionist policies were followed by Japan, South Korea and other core capitalist countries in the formative phases of their industrialization and development. [9]Thus, the neoliberal outlook of President Rouhani (and most of his economic advisors) that ties solutions to Iran's economic difficulties to integration of the country's economy into global capitalism and further curtailment of the economic role of the government is far from warranted; it is, indeed, contradicted by development experiences of most countries around the world.Notes:1. The Farsi article is available online here.2. For a sample of critical reviews of the Rouhani administration's proposed economic package see(1) Ahmad Tavakoli and Elias Naderan, here;(2) Farshad Moumeni here;(3) Raja News here;(4) Hossein Shamsyan, here.3. As excerpted by Keith Jones, "Iranian president declares country 'open for business'," here.4. (Paraphrased) translation by the author from the abstract/introduction to the first edition of President Rouhani's book, National Security and Economic System of Iran.5. "Rouhani Explains Anti-Stagnation Economic Policies," available here.6. Mahmood Sedaqat, Kayhan, Mordad 25, 1393 (August 16, 2014).7. Ben Selwyn, "Global Poverty and Neoliberalism: Development by the Elites, For the Elites" .8. Ibid.9. For an illuminating discussion of the impact of trade on development see Professor Michael Hudson's Trade, Development and Foreign Debt, Pluto Press 1993.Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing. Articles submitted for this section allow our readers to express their opinions and do not necessarily meet the same editorial standards of Asia Times Online's regular contributors. Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (Routledge 2014), The Political Economy of US Militarism (Palgrave - Macmillan 2007), and Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser's Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He is also a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press 2012).