Tuesday, January 31, 2017

"The Arab uprisings were followed by a great deal of bitter violence, repression, counter-revolution, and cynical regional and international great power manipulation. On the other hand, these uprisings showed that ‘presidents-for-life’ and parts of regimes could be overthrown or substantially threatened by ‘people power’ – a fundamental innovation on the post-colonial stage in the MENA region. They have exposed the bankruptcy and violence of command and control structures that rely solely on violence and coercion. They have drawn attention to the importance of trans-local, transregional and transnational forms of politics. They have also underlined the importance in the MENA region of the question of radically democratic, de-centralized, and leaderful organizing — its possibilities and limits." — John Chalcraft

The Middle East: an interview with J. Chalcraft

Monday, January 30, 2017

This is really poor by the Washington Post

Why are so many Tunisians joining ISIS?

A better ethnographic study by a Tunisian wasn't satisfying, either. I still recommend it though.
"It is critical to recognize and fight against the unique elements of Trump’s extremism, but also to acknowledge that a substantial portion of it has roots in political and cultural developments that long precede him. Immigration horror stories — including families being torn apart — are nothing new. As ABC News noted last August, “The Obama administration has deported more people than any other president’s administration in history. In fact, they have deported more than the sum of all the presidents of the 20th century.”

And the reason Trump is able so easily to tap into a groundswell of anti-Muslim fears and bigotry is because they have been cultivated for 16 years as the central fuel driving the war on terror. There are factions on both the center-left and right that are primarily devoted to demonizing Muslims and Islam. A government can get away with bombing, invading, and droning the same group of people for more than 15 years only by constantly demonizing and dehumanizing that group and maintaining high fear levels, which is exactly what the U.S. has done under two successive administrations. Both the Bush and Obama administrations ushered in all-new and quite extreme civil liberties erosions aimed primarily if not exclusively at Muslims.

Trump did not appear out of nowhere. He is the logical and most grotesque expression of a variety of trends we have allowed to fester: endless war, a virtually omnipotent presidency, unlimited war powers from spying to due process-free imprisonment to torture to assassinations, repeated civil liberties erosions in the name of illusory guarantees of security, and the sustained demonization of Muslims as scary, primitive, uniquely violent Others.

A country that engages in endless war against multiple countries not only kills a lot of people but degrades its own citizenry. Trump is the rotted fruit that inevitably sprouts from such fetid roots.

Trump is not a Russian phenomenon, nor an Italian one, nor Latin American: He is distinctly and consummately American, merely the most extreme face yet from America’s endless war on terror and its post-2008 lurch toward oligarchy. Pretending that Trump is some grand aberration, some radical departure from U.S. history and values, is simply a deceitful way of whitewashing what we have collectively endorsed and allowed."

Friday, January 27, 2017

Keynes's economic theory voted most influential academic book on British life. A public vote to decide which scholarly book has had the greatest impact on Britain has chosen The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
"Keynes knew what he was on to when he wrote The General Theory. In a letter to playwright and socialist George Bernard Shaw, he wrote: “I believe myself to be writing a book on economic theory, which will largely revolutionise – not, I suppose, at once but in the course of the next few years – the way the world thinks about economic problems.”
WAS HE RIGHT ABOUT ITS INFLUENCE?
"The book formed the basis for Keynesian economics, which has been a hugely influential economic model in the UK since the Great Depression, and, thanks to Keynesian advocate Gordon Brown, played a key role following the 2008 crash. Brown’s famous quote “no more boom and bust” was a direct reference to The General Theory’s central thesis.
WELL, THAT DID NOT WORK OUT!
"Keynes 1936 opus posits that during recessions economic output is strongly influenced by total spending in the economy in the short term and advocates state intervention to moderate “boom and bust” cycles. It challenged neoclassical economics by relating employment not to the price of labour but to the spending of money, which creates demand.
BUT WHAT CREATES DEMAND?
"Commenting on the book, John Kay, visiting professor of economics at the London School of Economics, said: “The analysis of the book was the dominant influence on macroeconomic policies in the 30 years that followed the second world war, and we still debate, and employ, Keynesian policies today.”
YES, THE MAIN INFLUENCE ON THE LABOUR MOVEMENT - UNFORTUNATELY.

— Via Micheal Roberts


Monday, January 23, 2017

“Toward the end of 1951, Secretary of State Dean Acheson formed a special committee on the Arab world under the chairmanship of Kermit Roosevelt, from the newly established CIA. The committee suggested the need for “an Arab leader who would have more power in his hands than any other Arab leader ever had before, ‘power to make an unpopular decision’ … one who deeply desires to have power, and who desires to have it primarily for the mere sake of power.” This recommendation was made more explicit in a British Foreign Office minute on December 3, 1951, which described the joint American-British view as follows: “the only sort of Government with which we can hope to get an accommodation is a frankly authoritarian government … both ruthless and efficient … We need another Mustafa Kemal [the Turkish officer who led a modernizing coup in 1921, and assumed the title Atatürk, the father of the Turks], to secularize and Westernize his country … Even though Egyptians are not Turks, and men like Mustafa Kemal cannot be ordered à la carte!”

— Kandil, Hazem. “Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen”, pp. 36-7, Verso 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Patriotism

"I propose the following definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community-and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.... Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.... Finally, [the nation] is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willing to die for such limited imaginings.”  — Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 25-6, Verso 2006 ed.

"No one can be a true nationalist who is incapable of feeling ‘ashamed’ if her state or government commits crimes, including those against her fellow citizens. Although she has done nothing individually that is bad, as a member of the common project, she will feel morally implicated in everything done in that project’s name." — B. A.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sadly, last Friday Mark Fisher took his own life

"The first configuration is what I came to call the Vampires’ Castle. The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt. It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd. The danger in attacking the Vampires’ Castle is that it can look as if – and it will do everything it can to reinforce this thought – that one is also attacking the struggles against racism, sexism, heterosexism. But, far from being the only legitimate expression of such struggles, the Vampires’ Castle is best understood as a bourgeois-liberal perversion and appropriation of the energy of these movements. The Vampires’ Castle was born the moment when the struggle not to be defined by identitarian categories became the quest to have ‘identities’ recognised by a bourgeois big Other.
The privilege I certainly enjoy as a white male consists in part in my not being aware of my ethnicity and my gender, and it is a sobering and revelatory experience to occasionally be made aware of these blind-spots. But, rather than seeking a world in which everyone achieves freedom from identitarian classification, the Vampires’ Castle seeks to corral people back into identi-camps, where they are forever defined in the terms set by dominant power, crippled by self-consciousness and isolated by a logic of solipsism which insists that we cannot understand one another unless we belong to the same identity group.
I’ve noticed a fascinating magical inversion projection-disavowal mechanism whereby the sheer mention of class is now automatically treated as if that means one is trying to downgrade the importance of race and gender. In fact, the exact opposite is the case, as the Vampires’ Castle uses an ultimately liberal understanding of race and gender to obfuscate class.  In all of the absurd and traumatic twitterstorms about privilege earlier this year it was noticeable that the discussion of class privilege was entirely absent.  The task, as ever, remains the articulation of class, gender and race  – but the founding move of the Vampires’ Castle is the dis-articulation of class from other categories.
This is a good long read. 

I have a thought though on the last parargraph: the writer delves into what formed Fanon, especially the context of colonization and how it shaped the mind, pshycology and plight of the colonized. The author, I think, fails to use the same method when it comes to "Davos" and "Dabiq" or Globalisationa and the so-called Islamic State. Is not the latter a product of globalization (global capitalism and imperialism). Davos is the context, Dabiq was spawned by Davos like the violence directed by Algerians against the colonizers and the settlers was born in the context of colonisation. Is it not the context of global capitalism and its functions that creates wars, invasions, dictatorships, neoliberalism, power struggles, geopolitics, "civil wars", uneven-development, neofascism etc?

Where Life is Seized

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"In the context of young parenthood, societies in Eastern Europe, in the Soviet era, were different from Western Europe in two important ways. Firstly, early parenthood in Eastern Europe does not carry the same social stigma that it tends to have in Western countries, as it was much more common. Secondly, Soviet countries had pro-natalist policies and tended to put greater investment into state resources available to families. This meant that relative to Western Europe, socio-economic differences, usually described as levels of inequality, were smaller and in particular young parents suffered fewer relative disadvanatges."

The mother of all problems?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"As well as former Labour MP Mr Straw, the case brought by Mr Belhaj and his wife is against former senior MI6 official Sir Mark Allen, the UK security services, the Foreign Office and the Home Office - all have denied liability."

The rendition programme was/ has bren a well-known criminal, terrorist programme. The terrorist states of the US and Britain and others in collaboration with others states, inlcuding Arab and non Arab ones, have been involved in this programme. Denying any involvement is not a surpriss; history is full of such examples. Denial also demonstrates cowardliness.

For a background of the story, see

September 11 and the functions of the 'war on terror"

"Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries"

A good article. Useful data. In his 2013 book Globalisation in Africa Daniel Offiong mentioned that in every $1 that goes into Africa $10 leave the country.

I don't think the author's suggestions as a solution would work though. It is because the motive force of the capitalist system (led by corporations and especially Western governments and international instituions) is ignored. Corporations seek profit even if that happens at the account of people and the earth. A high enough rate of profit makes the system greased. Otherwise stagnation or crisis takes place. One should add of course the context of neocolonialism and the way it operates in making other countries dependent. The author, or probably the Guardian editor, has not used the appropriate terms to describe the situation: capitalism, imperialism (through institutions or violence), and neocolonialism, support of the status quo, including supporting coups (in the aftermath of the nominal independence) and co-opting uprisings or revolutions in poor countries. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

"As [Walter] Benjamin pointed out, fascism gave the masses an opportunity to “express themselves,” but only by abdicating themselves. This is true not only of fascism, but is endemic in modern politics."
"No one would accuse this incumbent of want of humane feeling: tears for the death of schoolchildren in New England have moved the nation, and appeals for gun control converted not a few. If a great many more children, most without even schools, have died at his own hands in Ghazni or Waziristan, that is no reason for loss of presidential sleep. Predators are more accurate than automatic rifles, and the Pentagon can always express an occasional regret. The logic of empire, not the unction of the ruler, sets the moral standard."

— Perry Anderson, "Predator drone: American foreign policy under Obama"
Predator drone: American foreign policy under Obama

"Under Obama, drones became the weapon of choice for the White House, the Predators of “Task Force Liberty” raining Hellfire missiles on suspect villages in the Northwest Frontier, wiping out women and children along with warriors in the ongoing battle against terrorism: seven times more covert strikes than launched by the Republican administration. Determined to show he could be as tough as Bush, Obama readied for war with Pakistan should it resist the US raid dispatched to kill Bin Laden in Abbottabad, for domestic purposes the leading trophy in his conduct of international affairs. Assassinations by drone, initiated under his predecessor, became the Nobel laureate’s trademark. In his first term, Obama ordered one such execution every four days — over ten times the rate under Bush.

The War on Terror, now rebaptized at presidential instruction “Overseas Contingency Operations” — a coinage to rank with the “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” of the Bush period — has proceeded unabated, at home and abroad. Torturers have been awarded impunity, while torture itself, officially disavowed and largely replaced by assassination, could still if necessary be outsourced to other intelligence services, above suspicion of maltreating captives rendered to them. Guantánamo, its closure once promised, has continued as before. Within two years of his election in 2008, Obama’s administration had created no less than sixty-three new counterterrorism agencies.

Over all of this, the presidential mantle of secrecy has been drawn tighter than ever before, with a more relentless harassment and prosecution of anyone daring to break official omertà than its predecessor. War criminals are protected; revelation of war crimes punished — notoriously, in the case of Private Manning, with an unprecedented cruelty, sanctioned by the commander-in-chief himself. The motto of the administration’s campaign of killings has been, in the words of one of its senior officials, “precision, economy and deniability.” Only the last is accurate; collateral damage covers the rest. Since the Second World War, presidential lawlessness has been the rule rather than the exception, and Obama has lived up to it. To get rid of another military regime disliked by the US, he launched missile and air attacks on Libya without congressional authorization, in violation both of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, claiming that this assault did not constitute ‘hostilities’, because no American troops were involved, but merely “kinetic military action.” With this corollary to Nixon’s dictum that “if the President does it, that means it is not illegal,” a new benchmark for the exercise of imperial powers by the presidency has been set. The upshot, if less rousing at home, was more substantial than the raid on Abbottabad. The Libyan campaign, the easy destruction of a weak state at bay to a rising against it, refurbished the credentials of humanitarian intervention dimmed by the war in Iraq, and restored working military cooperation — as in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan — with Europe under the banner of NATO, Germany alone abstaining. An ideological and diplomatic success, Operation Odyssey Dawn offered a template for further defence of human rights in the Arab world, where these were not a domestic matter for friendly states.

The full article was written in 2013 

before the "weak Russian support" of the Syrian regime became a strong support and direct involvement in the war.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

— Turkey has long prioritized fighting Kurdish forces over deposing Assad.
— ISIS gained a foothold in the city in 2013, but was kicked out in early 2014 thanks to massive popular mobilizations and armed opposition groups linked principally to the FSA. Jabhat al-Nusra next faced this democratic opposition to its reactionary and authoritarian practices.
— Residents also established popular organizations and put together democratic, social, educational, and cultural activities. Local radio stations and newspapers sprang up. Many campaigns opposing both the regime and Islamic fundamentalist forces emerged.
— Other liberated Syrian areas look a lot like eastern Aleppo. As a result, they have been the Assad regime’s and its allies’ primary targets. Aleppo suffered under a stream of fire since the summer of 2013; Russian air forces joined the assault in October 2015.
— Between March 2011 and June 2016, 382 medical facilities were attacked, killing more than 700 medical workers. Assad and Putin are responsible for 90 percent of these assaults. They have also bombed other civilian institutions, including humanitarian workers, as well as bakeries, schools, and factories.
— Global powers want to liquidate the Syrian revolution’s democratic aspirations in the name of the “war on terror.” Donald Trump’s victory only strengthens this, as he has declared on several occasions that he wants to work with Putin on resolving the Syrian war.
— The Western states’ — and even certain left-wing forces’ — so-called realist policy toward Assad rests on the belief that they can get rid of ISIS and its sister organizations by empowering the very elements that fueled their development. That is, they will continue to support the dictatorial regimes that enacted neoliberal policies and allowed Western military intervention to proliferate throughout the region, both of which directly produced groups like ISIS.

What happened in Aleppo?
"It is a peculiarity of capitalists and the bourgeoisie to think that we workers have no culture," adds the novelist, whose many tattoos include one of Karl Marx on his left arm.

Argentine cleaner's double life as prize-winning novelist

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


The Gulistān (Rose-Garden) of Saʿdī of Shiraz. The book was written in 1258.

The most recent translator of the Gulistān says:

'Saʿdi’s Gulistan must be one of the most widely read books ever produced. Almost from the time it was written it was the first book studied by school children throughout the entire Persian-speaking and -reading world—from Constantinople to Bengal and from Central Asia to East Africa.'

"The story of the Qāḍī of Hamadān appears in the chapter of the Gulistān on “Love and Youth.” For those readers unfamiliar with the story, I will present it here in summary, mainly in my own words, but also sometimes in Saʿdī’s— very much, one might say, in the manner that the story might have been narrated to largely illiterate audiences down the centuries in various social settings. The story goes thus (any phrase in full quotation marks, or for which I provide a Persian transliteration is a direct quotation from Saʿdī; also, any direct speech in single quotation marks is a paraphrase of direct speech in Saʿdī).

The Qadi of Hamadān fell madly in love with a blacksmith’s boy “as tall as a cypress.” The boy rebuffed his advances in the street with insults and stones. The Qadi’s friends and retainers learned what had happened and, concerned for the reputation of the honourable judge and of his high office, urged him to “roll up the carpet of inflamed desire." The Qadi agreed that their advice was correct and “in the interest of welfare in the situation [maṣlaḥat-i ḥāl],” but said he simply could not help himself—“the horse-shoe of his heart was in there” and there was nothing to be done about it: “You can’t wash the black of an African.” Anyway, the short of it is that the boy eventually relented and the Qāḍī finally managed to spend a night alone with him, which he passed, in Saʿdī’s puckish rhyming phrase, sharāb dar sar va shabāb dar bar, “with wine in his head, and the youth in his arm.” Of this blissful moment, Saʿdī interpolates:

Perhaps this night the cockerel will not crow upon its hour: 
The lovers are not done with embraces and kisses!

Alas for the Qāḍī, someone informed the muḥtasib (the official responsible for the regulation of market transactions, and for public morality) of these goings-on and word was swiftly passed to the King of the “wrong-doing [munkar] taking place.” King could not believe his ears that such could be true of someone whom “I know to be one of the most distinguished personages of the age”; and suspecting that the Qāḍī was being slandered, went personally to the Qāḍī’s bedchamber to ascertain the truth for his royal self. The scene that presented itself there is vividly portrayed by Saʿdī in one of his most memorable lines of rhyming prose: “a candle standing, a witness- of-Divine-Beauty singing, wine spilled, goblets broken, and the Qāḍī in a drunken dream oblivious to the world of being [shamʿ īstādah va shāhid ni- shastah va may rīkhtah va qadaḥ shikastah va qāżī dar khwāb-i mastī bī- khabar az mulk-i hastī].”  

Very gently (as Saʿdī expressly tells us), the King roused the Qāḍī from his stupor. Awake, the Qāḍī immediately grasped the peril of the situation and exclaimed: “From which direction did the sun rise?” “From the east,” answered the King. “God be praised!” cried the Qāḍī, “for then, in accordance with the Hadith: The doors of repentance are not locked upon my servants until the sun rises in the West. I seek your forgiveness, O God, and I repent to you!” 
‘Hang on a minute!’ said the King, ‘Now that you know you’re done for, it’s too late for you to repent! Have you forgotten that the Qur’ān says: But their faith after they beheld our punishment availed them naught?’ ( This is is the verse in the Qur’ān that follows on from God’s words. And when they saw Our punishment they said, ‘We believe in God, alone, and reject that in which we used to associate.’ But their faith after they beheld our punishment availed them naught: this is the way of God which is established for his bondsmen).”  The Qāḍī clasped the hem of the King’s gown and pleaded for mercy. “No!” said the King, “it is impossible in reason and is against the sharīʿah [muḥāl-i ʿaql-ast va khilāf-i sharʿ ] (in another recension: “impossible in reason, and against that which has been transmited [muḥāl-i ʿaql-ast va khilāf-i naql]”) for you to be released from the grip of my punishment on the basis of your knowledge and eloquence. Rather, I deem it in the interest of welfare [maṣlaḥat] that I have you thrown off the walls of my fortress so that others are admonished [naṣīhat pazīrand] and learn a lesson [ʿibrat gīrand] thereby.” 

‘Sovereign of the World!’ said the Qāḍī, ‘but, in that case, there are many people in your kingdom who have committed the same offence as I. Perhaps you could take one of them and throw him off  the fortress walls: I would most certainly learn my lesson from observing his fate!’ Upon this, the King could not help himself and burst out laughing. ‘All right,’ he said, ‘release this fellow!’ Some of the courtiers protested the decision, but to them the King said:

You all carry your own faults:
Do not accuse the faults of others! 

[That was in the 13th century!]

Source: Ahmed Shahab, What is Islam?, Princeton 2016

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Da’esh is a degeneration that storms our society, due to prolonged political and religious manipulation by aggressive international powers, and regional powers with no cause or principle."

It is a good analysis on the whole, but I don't think describing "Daesh" as imperialist is accurate at all.

The Genealogy of Daesh



"It’s Brechtian, yes, but more than that, it opens up narratives into multiplicity and uncertainty."

Winter Solstice
“I unhesitatingly identify myself with the just cause and the pain of those whom the state of Israel (and cousins of mine) are afflicting to a degree that is tragically totalitarian.” —  writer and art critic John Berger

A story-teller and a friend of Palestine


In Ways of Seeing’s final episode, Berger discusses how the goddesses of art became the models of contemporary advertising, and suddenly it was no longer only men looking at images of women lustfully. Advertising tells us that buying a product will transform us by showing pictures of those who have already been transformed by it – these are people we should aspire to be like or be with. An image of an underwear model is desired by men and envied by women. “This state of being envied is what constitutes glamour, and publicity is the process of manufacturing glamour,” Berger says. “Glamour is supposed to go deeper than looks, but it depends upon them, utterly,” he says.


Why we still need John Berger's Ways of Seeing

Monday, January 09, 2017

“The [Charlie Hebdo] cartoon simply fails as satire, because it is indistinguishable from straightforward racist graffiti.” 

Charlie Hebdo, The Poverty of Satire

"Whatever the variety of causes we could discuss, the fact is that the Muslim – from Mohammed to our own time – became Charlie Hebdo’s ‘bad object of desire’. Mocking Muslims and making fun of their mannerisms became this declining ‘comedic’ magazine’s stock in trade, a bit like how a century ago Bécassine made fun of the poor (and at that time, Christian…) peasants who came from Brittany to wipe the arses of the children of the Parisian bourgeoisie."


Journalist: M. Ben M'Hidi, don't you think it's a bit cowardly to use women's baskets and handbags to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people?

Ben M'Hidi: And doesn't it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, so that there are a thousand times more innocent victims? Of course, if we had your airplanes it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and you can have our baskets. 


The Battle of Algiers

The BBC bunkruptcy in equating two completely different attacks of two completely different contexts.
He concedes he did not want to spend the rest of his life in a “militaristic” and “racist” society, but Germany was a practical choice. His grandfather was a German Jew who was forced to escape from Berlin when the Nazis came to power. On that background, Dayan was able to obtain German citizenship, an irony, he points out, considering Germany’s position on the Palestinian right of return.
“Germany is a big supporter of denying Palestinians their right of return. But I got my documents very quickly,” he said.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Against Diversity

This was written in 2008. It is good to remember what has produced Trumpism.
Proctor explains that ignorance can often be propagated under the guise of balanced debate. For example, the common idea that there will always be two opposing views does not always result in a rational conclusion.

“Although for most things this is trivial – like, for example, the boiling point of mercury – but for bigger questions of political and philosophical import, the knowledge people have often comes from faith or tradition, or propaganda, more than anywhere else.”

The man who studies the spread of ignorance
"The State is a relation of men dominating men, a relation supported by means of legitimate (i.e. considered to be legitimate) violence."
— Max Weber, 'Politik als Beruf' (1919)
Note: Weber, unlike Marx ang Engels, substitutes "class" by the individual/individuals.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Like any commodity, she is subject to supply and demand.

"In recent decades it has become a trend in China for a man to give his wife-to-be's family a cash sum, like a reverse dowry. But the "bride price" has been rising, particularly in poorer rural areas where there are fewer potential wives, reaching more than 100,000 yuan ($14,000; £12,000) in some places." 

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Here is how a terrorist settler-colonial state justifies its actions and portrays itself:

"top military figures were quick to say that his actions did not reflect the values of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF)."

"In their indictment, prosecutors said Sgt Azaria "violated the rules of engagement without operational justification as the terrorist was lying on the ground wounded and represented no immediate threat for the accused or others who were present".

The victim is a terrorist and the terrorist upholds the law!

Background

"Hebron, the Occupation's Factory of Hate"

Israel's never-ending crimes

Monday, January 02, 2017

كُلُّ الذين ماتوا نجوا من الحياةِ بأُعْجوبة

محمود درويش  

All those who have died have miraculously escaped life.

Mamoud Darwish
Perspectives

"Though new technologies will not completely erase the benefit of cheap labor, they will reduce the number of opportunities countries have to industrialize, diversify and grow their economies...

As advanced, industrialized countries no longer have to rely on low-wage labor in far-off places, they will take advantage of new technologies and start producing low-end goods closer to home. States that have not yet begun to industrialize will have the hardest time; the longer it takes them to develop over the next few decades, the more difficult it will be for them to do so as the growth of advanced manufacturing elsewhere shrinks the opportunities available for emerging manufacturers."

One can imagine what the fall-outs are in the "developping" countries: higher unemployment, more erosion of social services, more migration, social unrest, uprisings, coups, wars, etc.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

"You sanctimonious philistines, who scoff at me!
What has your politics fed on
since you've been ruling the world?
On butchery and murder!"

— Charles de Coster, Till Ulenspiegel
"In relevant part, under the applicable Convention, genocide means "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; or (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part". Each and every one of these sign-posts of genocide has been perpetrated by Israel, seemingly with almost proud boast, and no accountability, for almost 70 unbroken years."

Israel's never-ending crimes
"Speaking of the happy new year, I wonder if any year ever had less chance of being happy. It’s as though the whole race were indulging in a kind of species introversion — as though we looked inward on our neuroses. And the thing we see isn’t very pretty… So we go into this happy new year, knowing that our species has learned nothing, can, as a race, learn nothing — that the experience of ten thousand years has made no impression on the instincts of the million years that preceded." — John Steibeck, 01 January 1941

Necessary contradictions of the human nature

“ This will repeat in other places ,” Dr. Monzer Khalil, a health official in rebel-held Idlib, said a day after treating victims of the re...