Thursday 30th June 2016

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Editorial
NEOLIBERALISM ON THE ROPES PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 June 2016 07:20

In a nutshell, neoliberalism is a version of the reigning capitalist economic system where the private sector led market is given more leeway, prominence even leadership in general societal matters: and pivotal role in all economic undertakings. It is synonymous with laissez-faire capitalism, i.e. unencumbered ‘open & free’ market activities. Amongst its corner stones; privatization instead of state-ization and deregulation instead of regulation stand out. Results and consequences of the recent intense global neoliberalism are coming in droves. A whole lot of these outcomes are not very appetizing, to say the least. Today we will look at some of the real, real bad ones!

Thanks to imprudent deregulation of the financial sector, very much pushed by the usual culprits-the banking cabal, our current world finds itself in unprecedented situation where the basic tenets of capitalism are shaken (might even shatter completely) to the core. To begin with, modern finance has already become the top predator of the capitalist world order as of at least the early 1970s. Subsequently, it also managed to construct (financial) schemes that are unbecoming of capitalism itself, as we know it. For example, we now have an economic reality, not a fiction, where there is literally no cost for capital, i.e., saved money yields zero or negative return. This has become the norm in a number of advanced industrialized countries; Japan, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, etc. Without a doubt, this is a major distortion of classical capitalism, whatever that is/was! There are already many visible consequences of this unusual and bizarre theory of the globally entrenched financial oligarchs and their state accomplices (central banks, etc.)!  Add a comment

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MUHAMMAD ALI (1942-2016) PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 June 2016 07:14

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky (USA) in 1942. Cassius Clay Sr., his father, was a house and billboard painter and an amateur musician. His mother was a humble homemaker and a domestic worker. Ali’s father died in 1990 and his mother in 1994. Even though his father took up the name of the famous abolitionist, Cassius Clay, the son reckoned it was not good enough for him. Cassius Clay Jr. changed his name to Muhammad Aliand joined the ‘Nation of Islam’ immediately after he defeated the fearsome heavyweight champion of the world Sonny Liston, at the age of 22. Muhammad Ali, probably the most celebrated sport personality of the 20th century died on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74. He is survived by his nine children. Add a comment

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BANKS MANUFACTURE INEQUITY PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 07:24

As we always say, ‘fractional reserve banking/fiat currency is the worst non-violent crime of the millennium.’ As a dominant, dreaded and despised enterprise of the modern world system, banking must be continuously reexamined and reconstructed, given its tendency to devastate ordinary life within days. The so-called Great Financial Crisis (GFC) has thrown some light on the potential damage deep financial crisis can cause. Iceland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, etc., of the OECD (rich countries) and the commodity exporting countries of Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa, etc., are all facing difficulties, mostly because of protracted mispricing of goods and services, compliment of phony money based financial system. Even China is now in the thickest of this problem! African countries, once again, are looking at impending disasters!
Banks have always been core members of the ‘deep state’. For our purpose, we have defined the prevailing ‘deep state’ of the usually strong states (but not exclusively confined to them) as the military-intelligence-industrial-banking-media-complex, which run the show behind the elected formal state! As a result, it has become difficult to have democratic and enlightened debates on the existing global financial architecture, even in the universities. That is why we have chosen the phrase ‘indoctrination institutions’ to describe the current orientation/status of these once centers of learning, teaching and reflection. Nonetheless, because of the gross inequity of the global system, there is now a critical number of the global sheeple (human mass) willing to take matters in its own hand, particularly in regards to the fraudulent creation of phony money that is substantively funneled to the global oligarchs at the expense of the global masses. The rise of alternative currencies, (crypto-currencies, coupons, points, etc.) as means of exchange is just one option that is gaining traction. We sincerely advise the power that be (TPTB) to drastically change its ways before the s@#$ starts hitting the fan!
May be it is wise to listen to more versed/prominent personalities than us when it comes to modern banking. Here is the former governor of the Bank of England and president of the Rothschild Bank. ‘The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin. Bankers own the Earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again. Take this great power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. But if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit.”  Sir Josiah Stamp, the second richest man in UK (1927). ‘The creation of fiat currency should be a government monopoly.’ Milton Friedman. J.P. Morgan’s words to Congress in 1912: “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” ‘There can be few fields of human endeavor in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present’. John Kenneth Galbraith. Let us contextualize the fraudulent system’s operation by referencing it to our own country.
Ethiopia’s working stiff (entrepreneurs and workers) are dropping out like flies from genuine economic activities opening up more space to the ascending feudal lords (rent seekers), mostly comprising of Ethiopia’s newly minted financial and landed aristocracy! This fused aristocracy is now at the forefront of Ethiopia’s fledging land lordism! We will look at one of the most ridiculous sector that is absolutely wallowing in pyramidal scheme. Ethiopia’s private banks now pay dividend, ranging from 20% to 90% per annum! Theoretically, banks are presumed to be intermediaries, i.e., they are supposed to mobilize finance capital to lend out to the productive sector. But Ethiopia’s productive sector that is supposed to utilize banks’ credit/loan cannot make a return of 20 to 90% on a yearly basis. Then how are banks to pay such incredible dividends, when their supposed profit largely comes from interests and other fees, which are regulated and modest, if not nominal? Most importantly, this sends a dangerous signal to a would be business operator. Why engage in difficult and risky productive activities when banking (which is protected by the state, at least to a large extent) is giving such a return? We can only say; ‘Eat your heart out Charles Ponzi’!
In a system that is overarched by greed, the desire to beat regulation can be overwhelming to many and overpowering to the chronically selfish. Ethiopia’s (current) lucrative banking sector is closed to outsiders, including the Ethiopian diaspora. Of course, given such returns, (which hardly exist in normal business operations anywhere) all and sundry are eager to get in the game. To this end, ‘next to kin’ or fronting lackeys are employed to access this lucrative business or financial rent, to use a more appropriate phrase. Such regulation beating arrangements are quite common in other sectors as well, supposedly restricted to the poor natives, including retail, hospitality (small hotels/motels/guesthouses, restaurants, etc.) land, real estate, import, etc. Phony money, imported or not, is systemically and aggressively disfranchising the settled from their homes, businesses, etc. Frightening disempowerment and unfair uprooting of citizens has become the order of the day. Don’t forget; ‘printing money out of thin air does not increase wealth, it only increases claims on existing wealth.’ (Charles Hugh Smith) This is exactly how Ethiopians are getting dispossessed, under various pretexts, like privatization, open tenders/competition, blah, blah. The ultimate objective behind these charades is to allow oligarchs (both domestic & foreign) secure long-term stream of income and real assets, by utilizing phony/bank money (only available to them, via cross shareholding of banks, etc.) before the jig is up. This is dispossession by stealth par excellence! See Ellen’s article next column, Whitney’s, Bonner’s and Smiths’ on page 38, 39 and 46.
Sooner than later, popular reaction against such fraud and injustice is bound to appear on the horizon, with a potential to undermine peace and stability in this diverse country (think Somalia, Libya, even Nigeria, etc.)! Unfortunately, a good portion of Ethiopia’s intellectual elite seems to have lost its honesty and professional integrity, all to the ‘good life’ facilitated by easy & unearned money. It is not inclined to critiquing the ongoing criminal accumulation and its potential consequences. In fact, it seems to have become part and parcel of the wholesome scheming; materially, morally, spiritually, emotionally and culturally. Under all sorts of ploys, the connected few (not excluding degenerate top officials) are looting as if there is no tomorrow! But we believe tomorrow, when it comes (coming days, months, years, etc.) might not be all that forgiving! As the young Spanish leader recently proved: “Populism Rises from Failures of the Elite.” Pablo Iglesias (PODEMOS.) Good Day!

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WAR PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 18 January 2016 08:13

Warfare is one chronic societal deficiency that flares up from time to time. This phenomenon is quite difficult if not impossible to stop or control altogether on a permanent basis. Hence, the art and science of warfare are/have been ongoing preoccupations of the dominant prowling primate--Homo sapiens! No matter how much we humans are enlightened about the precarious nature of life on this irreplaceable blue planet or its very rarity in the whole universe (at least in the part of the universe that is seemingly susceptible to our understanding), our craving to wage wars (at the slightest provocation), with the explicit desire of inflicting incalculable damage to life, property and nature is one of our demented characteristics! Even a cursory survey of human and natural history conclusively validates this inherent destructiveness of the (uprightly) walking monkey, whatever its color! Unfortunately, the usual chest thumbing of this hairless ape is, once again, becoming visibly dangerous.
The core principles around which societies are organized can also give impetus to wars, particularly given our inherent proclivity for irresponsible competition. Greed based societies, which currently are the predominant form of collective existence, are quite prone to waging impulsive destructions left and right, mostly on the account of incessant drive for continuous accumulation. In our global societies, wars can be waged under various pretexts using both violent and non-violent means of destruction!. To pacify this built-in weakness of humanity, the social system that is operating (in a particular place) must be acutely aware of factors/sentiments that bluntly encourage and propel confrontations. This is where substantive ideology comes in. Parroting ideology as if it were only some kind of superficial political construct is and has always been a non-starter and in fact was the Achilles hill of the various ‘socialisms’ (Marxist, Shavian, etc.) of the recent past. Ideology, first and foremost, must be value laden and value driven. It must start from respect, both of the self and the non-self, i.e., anything that physically or tangibly exists outside of the individual. Allowing benefit of a doubt to all and sundry opens up the mind, which of course is the very beginning of discourse.
The sanctity of all lives, respect for different cultures, ethnicities, races, or in other words, nature in its totality; the sovereignty of nations, etc. are the real issues that are at stake today. These ingrained human values come with the territory, i.e., from being a thinking social animal.
The important resistant battles that are being waged across the globe are essentially to assert the above principles on a daily basis. The other side of the battle front is occupied by dead labour- capital! Capital worshipping societies of our modern world system are not particularly sensitive to what is going on inside the collective human psyche! The status quo seems to assume that almost all solutions to thorny and protracted confrontational issues must be resolved by resorting to be ‘barrel of the gun’, to use an outdated adage of Mao. Keeping current, perhaps this saying should be modified to ‘bombing countries to stone age’! This is what the current empire is willing to do to have its ways! Isn’t there a way out of the war quagmire?
Before we even start entertaining such fantasies, we need to get rid of all psychopaths from positions of power and responsibility! These people are naturally incapable of empathy and emotions, which are the gluing force of various human bondages that ultimately help to facilitate societal cohesion and cooperation. Even though psychopaths/sociopaths only number less than 5% of the world’s population, their potential destructive power is unimaginably huge, particularly given the myriad technical gizmos that are easily available in the world. No matter; these individuals must be kept at arms length! Other parasitic elements of society must also be relegated to minor positions/occupations, if humanity wants to avoid catastrophic warfare. In this category, we can easily include plenty of the so-called professions that directly or indirectly serve the cause war (banks, etc.).
Nations should try to uphold basic human rights/dignity, even amidst all the ongoing/lingering evils (mostly as a consequence of greed based economic system) citizen face on a daily basis, at whatever cost! At the level of the individual animal, dignity remains paramount! If one tramples with it, we are sure to have wars of all sorts. The rich and powerful can field thousands of people with the latest killing gadgets, while the poor and powerless resort to ‘terror’. As they say: “Terrorism is war on a budget.” Good Day!

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MULTILATERALISM BITES PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 06:47

Half a century ago the world, for the most part, was divided into two main geopolitical camps. The West, which was/is adamantly pro capital was forced to temper social relations with attendant benefits of social democracy and also had marked economic dominance.  The East, the political East that is, (USSR and allies) was determined to bring all means of production under the dictatorship of the working class/proletariat. To this end, it pursued a policy of ‘catching up’ (with the west) and as a consequence made average life difficult to the sheeple (human mass)! In between, we also had non-aligned states that were not very significant in the scheme of things, at least at the time. In short, it was an era of bipolarity: East vs. West or the Cold war! A quarter of a century ago, Sovietism collapsed and the world was left with a hegemon (the US) to run things as it saw fit! The world was transformed from a bipolar to a unipolar world and today the unipolar world is giving way, albeit gradually, to a multipolar world order!
Fundamental or transformative changes are in the offing in our modern world system, which has been around for at least half a millennium. Empire (most of the OECD) is gradually losing its economic, political, cultural and military clout. Even the hegemon is no more poised and assertive; in fact, it has become erratic and ingenuous, if not outright juvenile in its major global undertakings. The case of the Ukrainian coup d’état and its subsequent blunders, like the downing of the Malaysian airline, the human slaughtering in Odessa, and the various botched attempts at cover up (all incidents), indicate an empire/hegemon that has lost its ways. See Black’s article on page 36. Empire has significantly degenerated, particularly in the past decade and half. Its strategic thinking along with its clumsy tactics has become depressingly mundane and grossly inept. Naturally, it (empire) is now relegated from being the sole arbiter of global issues to a mere participant, though still a powerful one (Minsk agreement, etc.) Other rising powers (regional or global) are gradually asserting their positions in the world system and are slowly but surely building a political economy of their own. The cases of the ‘Iran nuclear deal’, the Syrian ‘sarin' gas issue and the rest of the Syrian conundrum (civil war) etc. are all examples of important matters that are defying the same old heavy-handed western treatment! See Bridge’s article next column and Anderson’s on page 46.
On the economic front, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are pursuing their own objectives without giving too much attention to the global status quo and its blatant ambitions for further domination. BRICS Bank is now set up. These countries are also developing payment systems that are immune to the sanction/trigger happy west. The Russian payment system is now up and running, thanks to flirtations of sanctions (in regards to SWIFT- global payment system.) The Chinese system is also ready. Both systems will coordinate financial transactions across the world. The status of the US dollar as a global reserve currency is also being eroded faster than expected. Global trade in commodities (agriculture, industrial, etc…) is increasingly leveraging other currencies. See the articles on page 34. This spells trouble to the hegemon, as it is this particular privilege that has made it the most formidable force on the planet. Most importantly and looking forward, the massive landmass with the most people and arguably the most resources on the earth is now open to nations that never belonged to the core of the existing modern world system. To this end, the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIDB) will be the main financial facilitator and not the old Bretton Woods, dominated by the west. The political umbrella to this massive undertaking will definitely be the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In all these initiatives the west can only play, at the most, a secondary role, if not worse! Whether we like it or not, Eurasia will be one of the major economic frontier, if not the major game changer of the 21st century. See Korybko article on page 35. The fast decaying and disintegrating modern world system seems to anoint its own replacement.
Economics usually dictates culture and politics, unless of course the economic system becomes severely polarizing/alienating (to the human soul) and triggers a not so rational and protracted response/struggle against the whole edifice. Extreme injustice forces unusual behaviors to take over sanity. For instance, until and unless the lopsided cruel and manipulative scheme of the prevailing world system is straightened out, in favor of the sheeple’s interests, the grossly victimized generation (the current youth for example) is bound to derail the incumbent order in whatever ways and forms it sees fit! The youth fighting along side the IS of this world, is one such lost generation who is desperately trying to find meaning in an increasingly meaningless world. Dismissing them as pure lunatics, we believe, is not only unwise, but is rather callous! Closely observing some of these youth, who were born and bred in the very womb of the beast (Western Islamic fundamentalists) and yet fanatically joining the likes of the IS, throws a shining light on the severity of the adjustment problematic (maladjustment). After all, these individuals were supposed to be ‘living the dream’ in the west, remember the American dream? The scenario we are witnessing is a sad indictment of the current Western value system, which has become decidedly materialistic and waywardly inhumane. President Assad was astonished to find out that the worst of the Jihadists fighting in Syria were coming from the Scandinavian countries! Incidentally and along the cultural front, the BRICS, Russia, China, South America (teleSur) etc. are on their way to setting up global media networks to diffuse and counteract the asymmetrical propaganda that is spewed out from dominant media, compliment of the deep states of the west. Remember our definition of the deep state? It is the military-intelligence-industrial-banking-media-complex that actually run the show behind the powerful states, mostly of the west!
On the military/tech front, the unwinding of the supremacy of the west continues unabated. NATO (read USA) is very extended and has lost its vision and mission. Many of its members are half hearted about its (NATO) current objectives and ambitions, as can be n from their lackluster financial contribution to its ever expanding budget! After the Warsaw Pact (read USSR) was voluntarily disbanded, the need for NATO was principally extinguished. But the sole hegemon decided, not only to retain the whole dangerous infrastructure, but expanded it (we might add irrationally and irresponsibly) all the way to the Russian border. Such a move, we believe, is provocative and extremely dangerous! At the same time, Russia was not asleep on the wheels, as many thought. See Carley’s article on page 34. Once Russia correctly diagnosed NATO/US ambition, it decided to overhaul its defense strategy. Consequently, the Russian military was gradually transformed into a formidable fighting force in a rather short period of time. Unlike before though, it is now very nimble and high tech. It thoroughly and meticulously pursues an anti-symmetric posture, vis-à-vis all US/NATO weapon systems and maneuverings. The results are nothing short of astounding. From anti missiles shields, to satellite killers, from potent electronic jamming of weapon systems, to highly effective nuclear deterrent schemes, from a highly dynamic rapid and versatile ground forces, to a robotic mechanized brigade, etc., Russia’s military is on a progressive rise, to say nothing about China’s preparedness along these lines. Don’t forget, these two countries are the anchor states of the SCO. We only offer our humble advice to empire and its hegemon; it is wise to look at previous empires. "Do not hold the delusion that your advancement is accomplished by crushing others." Marcus Tullius Cicero - (106-43 B.C.) Roman Statesman, Philosopher and Orator. Good Day!

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POLL 2

2. Do you think the water problem in Addis Ababa will be solved by next year?

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