Bulletin 680



Subject: Ruling-class fantasies are working-class nightmares.



25 January 20!6 [“JOIE” when read upside down in a mirror reflection] 
Grenoble, France



Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,


This new year has delivered increased dangers to humanity and at the same time my 70th birthday. Like many of my generation, I have out lived my parents and my grandparents. The human progress in physical health, daily diets, longevity, education, communication and creature comforts, etc.  for most people on our planet is undeniable. Still the uneven development and the regressive policies of reactionary political leaders continue to cause unjustifiable misery for millions of people around the world. The retro-ideologies of neo-liberalism and nationalism, coupled with religious bigotry and ethnic and gender prejudices, serve as a cover for the relentless private profit motive which remains the notorious motorforce of our political economy.  On this front, despite the obvious progress in science and technology, we have made no advance and indeed are moving blithely toward irreversible decline (perhaps, in the opinion of some experts, toward the self-inflicted death of our species).


In the midst of today’s insane “sanity” --to coin a Foucaudian concept—we engage in somewhat predictable responses, which offer new opportunities to our superiors, i.e. those who have placed themselves above us in an imaginary political power pyramid of “superiors/inferiors” –financially, intellectually, culturally, militarily, and/or biologically dominant—to profit even more.


Several years ago, the famous US foreign policy historian, William Blum, author of  Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II-- , sent us the following short description of just such an illegitimate political power hierarchy in operatioin :





by Per Fagereng


Picture this standard experiment in psychology: A group of rats is placed on an electric grid and the voltage is slowly increased. After a while the rats feel a burning tingle in their feet. The experimenters up the voltage some more, and watch the rats dance and bite each other.

The experimenters are seeking knowledge, and the rats’ pain is presumably worth it. The experimenters don’t blame the rats for fighting each other, or punish the more aggressive ones. They know that individuals react to pain in different ways.

Now picture the economic terrain as a different kind of pain grid. Instead of electric shocks, the inhabitants experience job loss, higher prices, less pay, overwork, polluted neighborhoods and so on. Controlling the grid are not psychologists, but CEOs and bankers. Instead of knowledge, they are seeking profit. And so they up the pain, but not because they want to hurt people. They are really trying to up their profits, and the pain is a side effect.

After a while people on the grid do nasty things to each other, everything from domestic violence to immigrant-bashing to crime. Unlike the rats, the people get blamed for their misbehavior. We are told to point our fingers at the victims on the grid, instead of at the economic rulers who keep increasing the pain.

You’d think that the CEOs and bankers would ease up on the pain, but think again. They continue to demand more sacrifice from the poor, knowing full well how they’ll react.

Would you call this a big conspiracy? Or the sum of many small conspiracies? Maybe it doesn’t matter that much. I’m not a mind reader. The point is, the economic rulers pursue their profits and they know the consequences. So to that extent, they are choosing to inflict pain.



Despite the grave shortcomings of our political economy, faults which are becoming exceedingly apparent, we extend to CEIMSA readers our wish for a fulfilling and effective year of rebellion.


To further this objective, we are honored to share with you the following 15 items which can only contribute to a more complete understanding of the practico-inert which presents a challenge to us on a daily basis.



in solidarity,

Francis Feeley


Professor of American Studies

University of Grenoble-3

Director of Research

University of Paris-Nanterre

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements

The University of California-San Diego









See original image






Another Fine Mess: NATO’s 'Laurel & Hardy Act' In Libya Not Getting Laughs


by Finian Cunningham





Jihadists Deepen Collaboration in North Africa






Subsistence societies, globalisation,climate change and genocide:discourses of vulnerability and resilience







World War 3 is Coming - Shocking Predictions Coming True







From: "Edward S, Herman" <hermane@wharton.upenn.edu>
Sent: Friday, 1 January, 2016 10:56:51 PM
Subject: Ed Herman. Review of Weisbrot's Failed: What the Experts Got Wrong on the Global Ecoonomy


[Z Magazine, January 2016]


Failed: What The “Experts” Got Wrong About The Global Economy


By Mark Weisbrot


(Oxford University Press, 2015, 293 pp.)


Review by Edward S. Herman


Mark Weisbrot, a co-director with Dean Baker of the  Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), has written an enlightening book that pulls together many of the analyses that CEPR has been producing over the past several decades.  The book is important and useful because it provides an alternative framework of analysis to the one used by establishment experts, media and policy-makers. What is more, this alternative framework and description of reality is well supported by empirical evidence and is convincing.  It is marginalized in the mainstream because it  runs counter to the interests of the powerful,  who over the past three decades have successfully pushed for a neoliberal world order that scales back the earlier welfare state advances and pursues trickle-down economics and the well-being of the affluent.


In fact, an important feature of Weisbrot’s analysis is his recognition of the extent to which policy failures have flowed from biased analyses that serve a small elite and punish the majority, and that policy successes have often followed the  loss of power by those serving elite interests. His first chapter is entitled “Troubles in Euroland: When the Cures Worsen the Disease,” whose central theme is that the long crisis and malperformance of  Europe’s economies, and especially the weaker ones of Greece, Portugal, Spain and to a lesser extent, Italy, were in large measure the result of  poor policy choices.  The crisis, which dates back to 2008, was not due to high sovereign debt, which was only threateningly high in Greece, but rather the refusal of the policy-making “troika,”  the European Central Bank (ECB), European Community and IMF, to carry out expansionary policies that would allow the poor countries to grow out of their deficit position.


The Fed met the U.S. crisis with an easy money program which, when combined with modest fiscal expansion efforts quickly mitigated this crisis (although the fiscal actions fell short of what was needed for a full recovery). But the ECB refused to carry out a comparable expansion policy, and there was no Europe-wide fiscal program in the EU system. So the poor countries were forced to depend for recovery on an “internal devaluation” of cutbacks in mainly social budgets, given that external devaluations for individual countries were ruled out by the use of  a common currency, the euro.  This didn’t do the job, so the eurozone remained in a depressed state, even up to the present.


Weisbrot shows that this policy failure was deliberate, with the troika leaders--mainly the ECB-- taking advantage of the weaker countries vulnerability to force on them structural and policy changes that served the interests of  the international business elite. These changes, including cutbacks on public outlays for education, health care, social security, and poverty alleviation, mainly harmed ordinary citizens. So did the enforced pro-cyclical monetary and fiscal policies themselves, which produced a eurozone crisis of unemployment and foregone output  that extended for six years and is still ongoing. Weisbrot points out that this policy and process was a notable application of Naomi Klein’s “shock doctrine,” according to which elites take advantage of  painful developments (here macro-distress) to  force policy changes that could not be obtained through a democratic process like a national political vote of approval. Weisbrot shows that the troika leaders were quite conscious of the fact that they were pursuing “reforms” that the public wouldn’t support outside of shock conditions.


This process rested on the undemocratic structure of macro-policy-making in the European community. One of neoliberalism’s instruments is an “independent” central bank, where independent means not subject to democratic control. The ECB meets that standard well, more so than the Fed; and in its statute the ECB is only required to meet a price stability objective, so it is free to ignore unemployment and even deliberately increase it. Neoliberal practice is also encouraged by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, which placed ceilings on the size of budget deficits and total public debt (3 and 60 percent respectively). These unnecessary ceilings are often breached, but provide levers to put pressure on weaker countries.


The countries victimized by the ECB’s pressure for painful internal devaluation could in theory exit from the euro and rely on expansion via currency devaluation and newly feasible monetary and fiscal expansion. But the risks in  the cutoff of  aid and money market access and the turmoil in any transition are severe, and although Syriza was voted into power in Greece on  an anti-austerity program and pledge, it did not see fit to exit.. In this connection Weisbrot discusses the case of Argentina, which, in the midst of a calamitous recession in 2001-2002 did default on its large external debt, ended its peg of the peso to the dollar, froze bank deposit accounts, and installed controls over capital movements.  This caused immediate chaos and  a worsened crisis, but as Weisbrot stresses, after only a single quarter of further GDP decline (5 percent), freed of its externally imposed constraints, Argentina began its recovery, taking three and a half years to  regain its pre-recession level of output, but with real growth of some 100 percent over the next 11 years. Greece, which had a peak GDP loss of  25 percent, and  which is still mired in a badly depressed economy, could hardly have fared worse than Argentina if it had exited years ago. Whether that option should still be taken is debatable, and Weisbrot discusses the pros and cons without coming to a definite conclusion, but that an exit might well have a positive result is suggested by the Argentinian experience.


A major theme of Failed is the negative impact of neoliberalism on the growth of low and middle-income countries and the welfare of their people. A major chapter on “The Latin American Spring” features evidence that the triumph of neoliberalism in the years  from 1980 to the end of the 1990s was a dismal economic and welfare failure,  Per capita GDP growth  fell from 3.3. percent per year, 1960-1980 to 0.4 percent 1980-2000, rising again to 1.8 percent in the years 2000-2014. The earlier period (1960-1980) was one of widespread government intervention in the interest of rapid economic development; the middle years were dominated by the triumph of neoliberalism, with widespread imposition of structural adjustment programs under IMF and World Bank auspices, lowering trade and investment barriers, and ruthlessly cutting back  development and welfare state programs. The years 2000-2014 saw a resurgence of  economic growth, but not up to the pre-Reagan years.


Weisbrot shows that the new spurt in economic growth was closely associated with the victory of  leftist governments in quite a few Latin American states, starting in 1998, He also presents a great deal of evidence showing that the growth spurt resulted in major improvements in a range of  human welfare indicators, like reduced infant mortality, poverty reduction,  more widepread schooling, enlarged pensions, and  greater income equality. Thus, for example, the Brazilian poverty rate, which had remained virtually unchanged in the eight neoliberal years before the victory of the Workers Party, saw a 55 percent  drop in that rate during the years 2002-2013. Similar changes in this and other welfare measures took place in Ecuador, Bolivia and other Latin states that escaped the neoliberal trap. Although  these changes brought improved lives and prospects to millions, Weisbrot points out that the U.S. mainstream has played dumb, refusing to feature and reflect on the significance of  this widespread improvement in human welfare and its strange efflorescence associated with the decline in U.S. and IMF-World Bank influence in Latin America.


Weisbrot stresses the importance of  democratization and policy space in these growth and welfare improvements.  The ECB narrowed that policy space in the eurozone, making it difficult for national leaders to  expand  or otherwise help improve social conditions. This reflected the weakening of democracy in the eurozone, with the ECB, EC and IMF able to make decisions that local democratic governments would not be able to make.  Similarly, the loss of  power over Latin governments by the U.S. and IMF following the left political triumphs from 1998, and their record of  anti-people actions and other policy failures, made for policy space. So also did the rise of China as an economic power, providing a market for Latin products and  loans without political conditions. Weisbrot notes that the common orthodox position that the democratic West would be more likely to help poorer countries develop democracies as compared with what authoritarian China would likely do is fallacious. China  lends widely without intervening politically. The United States has a long record of  support of undemocratic regimes that will serve as its political instruments and/or provide a “favorable climate of investment.” (This writer’s The Real Terror Network was a dossier of U.S. support of  National Security States in Latin America and of  its active involvement in many counter-revolutionary “regime changes.”)


It is arguable that an unrecognized benefit of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars was their distracting U.S. officials from major efforts  to halt the trend toward democratic government in Latin America, although their participation in the attempts at regime change in Venezuela and their successful support of an undemocratic coup in Honduras in 2009 shows that the longstanding anti-democratic policy thrust of the U.S. leadership is not dead. (Mrs. Clinton of course fully supported the Honduras coup. So we may see a more energetic pursuit of the traditional U.S. policy of hostility to democracy in Latin America  with her election.)


Weisbrot stresses throughout the importance of  per capita growth for  improving the human condition. A problem with this premise is that the human race may be  growing too fast for ecological survival.  Weisbrot confronts this issue, arguing that while population growth is a definite negative productivity growth may on  balance  be a means of coping by increasing  food output and lowering the cost of  wind turbines, solar panels and other improvements. However, increases in incomes tend to increase the preference for meat, larger houses, and other resource depleters, so that productivity improvements may, on balance,  place even more pressure on the environment.


Weisbrot is possibly over-optimistic on this front. But his book is rich in compelling analyses and data that show how the mainstream live in an Alice-In-Wonderland economic world and the important things we may do to escape that Wonderland.





The Secure and the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations Are Shaping a Climate-Changed World

(with three short video)


by Nick Buxton





Why Engineers Can’t Stop Los Angeles' Enormous Methane Leak






Watch Fracking Gas Flares Light Up the Earth at Night


by Kaleigh Rogers






logo and head


I'm stuck in the East Coast blizzard trying to get home, and it occurred to me that you might have missed some news about our amazing victories this week. So here's a quick email in the form of a highlight reel about all the #Winning we did in the last seven days. It's exciting stuff, and proves the power of our advocacy together. So if you want to see more victories like this, why not chip in $15, $25 or $50 to make it happen?

Koch Out, Science in
Last year more than 550,000 people, including tens of thousands of Environmental Action members, demanded that climate-denier David Koch be kicked off the boards of our biggest science museums. Well, as of this week David Koch is no longer on the board of the American Museum of Natural History in New York!1 Click here to share the news!


Kamala answers our Call
Just hours after our latest action online, we got word that California Attorney General (AG) Kamala Harris will be launching an investigation into Exxon's climate cover-up. Harris follows New York AG, Eric Schneiderman, who launched an investigation last year to determine if Exxon has been misleading investors since the 1970s, when their own research revealed the reality and dangers of climate change. The research also revealed that the burning of fossil fuels is the primary cause of climate disruption. Click here to sign the thank you card!


New Methane Rules
This one you might have missed, since it came out late on Friday as the snow started to fly and all the news was focused on the blizzard: President Obama's Interior Department issued a long-awaited rule to clamp down on leaks of methane (or fracked gas) on public land and raise the costs of dirty drilling on government property. The rule only applies to federal lands, but here's why it's still encouraging: Interior applied the rule retroactively to both new and existing infrastructure. That's exactly what we've been telling EPA to do -- plug ALL the fracking leaks -- and now there's added pressure on them to do it because of Interior's move.2


Standing up to FERC and Bank of America.
Our friends at Beyond Extreme energy were in fine form last Thursday - disrupting the monthly meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deliver a message that it's time to stop permitting big new oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure -- what Bill McKibben calls "Zombie Fossil Fuels."3 Later in the day, they made the same point in a different way, protesting at a Bank of America next door to the White House to call on the mega-bank to stop funding fracking infrastructure. Whether by regulation or by shutting off their investors -- we're making progress to shut down fossil fuel infrastructure this year and put us on a path to keeping 80 percent of fossil fuels in the ground.


This is the kind of action we take, and the kind of results we can get, when we act together. If you want to see more victories like this, why not chip in $15, $25 or $50 to make it happen? Even better, consider an ongoing, monthly donation -- monthly giving is the best way to support us because it keeps our overhead costs down, meaning there's more money available to fight polluters and politicians. It also means you wont get as many fundraising phone calls and emails (so it's more convenient for you too, we hope).

Thanks again,

Drew and the winning team at Environmental Action

1 - Katie Herzog, Koch brother resigns from museum board after calls from scientists, Grist, January 21 2016

2 - Coral Davenport, U.S. Moves to Limit Emissions of Planet-Warming Methane, The New York Times, January 22, 2016

3 - RT America, Activists protest FERC support for pipelines and fracking permits, RT NewsJanuary 22, 2016





Over 140 Haitian-American Groups and Leaders Warn Kerry: Going ahead with fraudulent elections in Haiti “a recipe for unrest”



Haiti: Going ahead with Fraudulent Elections "a Recipe for Unrest"

Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti




Poland: Massive Marches against Growing Authoritarian Threat from Far-Right

Common Dreams

January 23, 2016




A candidate of by and for the 0.01%: Former NY Mayor Bloomberg,

Fearing a Trump/Sanders Race,

Eyes Presidential Race


By Dave Lindorff

[ Former NY Mayor Bloomberg, 8th richest billionaire in the US, is thinking of running for president if the choice is Trump or Sanders. Here are five pros and cons of having a candidate from the 0.01% running for president of the USA from TCBH! journalist Dave Lindorff. ]




Our George Orwell/Noam Chomsky Paradox: Let’s Decipher the Doublethink Media and Government Peddles About U.S. Foreign Policy






From: "Jim O'Brien" <jimobrien48@gmail.com>
To: haw-info@stopthewars.org
Sent: Monday, 4 January, 2016 6:34:21 PM
Subject: [haw-info] HAW Notes 1/4/16: links to recent articles of interest




Links to Recent Articles of Interest


"The Shockingly High Number of Casualties of America's Nuclear Weapons Program"

By Lawrence S. Wittner, History News Network, posted January 1

The author is a professor of history emeritus at SUNY Albany.


"Why the Srebnicka Massacre Should Not Be Used as an Excuse for Intervention"

By David N. Gibbs, History News Network, posted December 27

The author teaches history at the University of Arizona.


"ISIS vs. History"

By Allen Fromherz, The National Interest, posted December 23

The author is director of the Middle East Studies Center at Georgia State University.


"U.S. Cold War Target Lists Declassified for the First Time"

Edited and introduced by William Burr, National Security Archive, posted December 22


"The Basics of Islamic Terrorist Ideology"

By Gary Leupp, CounterPunch.org, posted December 18

The author teaches history and religion at Tufts University.


"Churchill's Lesson: We Shouldn't Be Afraid of an Alliance with Russia against ISIS"

By Walter G. Moss, History News Network, posted December 13

The author is a professor of history emeritus at Eastern Michigan University.


"Gangsta Jihad" [review of Jason Burke's The New Threat: The Past, Present, and Future of Islamic Militany]

By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, posted December 16 

The author is a professor of history and international relations emeritus at Boston University.


"Review of 'Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan,' Edited by Beth Bailey and Richard H. Immerman"

By Murray Polnar, History News Network, posted November 30


"Falling into the ISIS Trap"

By William R. Polk, Consortium News, posted November 17

The author is a former State Department official and former University of Chicago history professor.


Thanks to James Swarts, Steve Gosch, and an anonymous reader for contributing suggestions for the above list. Suggests can be sent to jimobrien48@gmail.com.