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Archive for June, 2009

The “Anti-Darwinism” of Marx/Engels never existed

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Many people claim that Marx and Engels were anti-scientific and anti-Darwinistic. However Engels showed great respect for Darwin in his opening to Marx’s Communist Manifesto. I have used an internet link as my source, but print versions of the introduction match it identically.
http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/classics/manifesto.html

This proposition (The Communist Manifesto), which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin’s theory has done for biology, we both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845.

Obama’s First Coup d’Etat

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

By Eva Golinger — Global Research

President Zelaya of Honduras has just been kidnapped
[Note: As of 11:15am, Caracas time, President Zelaya is speaking live on Telesur from San Jose, Costa Rica. He has verified the soldiers entered his residence in the early morning hours, firing guns and threatening to kill him and his family if he resisted the coup. He was forced to go with the soldiers who took him to the air base and flew him to Costa Rica. He has requested the U.S. Government make a public statement condemning the coup, otherwise, it will indicate their compliance.]

Caracas, Venezuela – The text message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read “Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d’etat underway in Honduras, spread the word.” It’s a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans that were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution. Supposedly at the center of the controversary is today’s scheduled referendum, which is not a binding vote but merely an opinion poll to determine whether or not a majority of Hondurans desire to eventually enter into a process to modify their constitution.

Such an initiative has never taken place in the Central American nation, which has a very limited constitution that allows minimal participation by the people of Honduras in their political processes. The current constitution, written in 1982 during the height of the Reagan Administration’s dirty war in Central America, was designed to ensure those in power, both economic and political, would retain it with little interference from the people. Zelaya, elected in November 2005 on the platform of Honduras’ Liberal Party, had proposed the opinion poll be conducted to determine if a majority of citizens agreed that constitutional reform was necessary. He was backed by a majority of labor unions and social movements in the country. If the poll had occured, depending on the results, a referendum would have been conducted during the upcoming elections in November to vote on convening a constitutional assembly. Nevertheless, today’s scheduled poll was not binding by law.

In fact, several days before the poll was to occur, Honduras’ Supreme Court ruled it illegal, upon request by the Congress, both of which are led by anti-Zelaya majorities and members of the ultra-conservative party, National Party of Honduras (PNH). This move led to massive protests in the streets in favor of President Zelaya. On June 24, the president fired the head of the high military command, General Romeo Vásquez, after he refused to allow the military to distribute the electoral material for Sunday’s elections. General Romeo Vásquez held the material under tight military control, refusing to release it even to the president’s followers, stating that the scheduled referendum had been determined illegal by the Supreme Court and therefore he could not comply with the president’s order. As in the Unted States, the president of Honduras is Commander in Chief and has the final say on the military’s actions, and so he ordered the General’s removal. The Minister of Defense, Angel Edmundo Orellana, also resigned in response to this increasingly tense situation.

But the following day, Honduras’ Supreme Court reinstated General Romeo Vásquez to the high military command, ruling his firing as “unconstitutional’. Thousands poured into the streets of Honduras’ capital, Tegucigalpa, showing support for President Zelaya and evidencing their determination to ensure Sunday’s non-binding referendum would take place. On Friday, the president and a group of hundreds of supporters, marched to the nearby air base to collect the electoral material that had been previously held by the military. That evening, Zelaya gave a national press conference along with a group of politicians from different political parties and social movements, calling for unity and peace in the country.

As of Saturday, the situation in Honduras was reported as calm. But early Sunday morning, a group of approximately 60 armed soldiers entered the presidential residence and took Zelaya hostage. After several hours of confusion, reports surfaced claiming the president had been taken to a nearby air force base and flown to neighboring Costa Rica. No images have been seen of the president so far and it is unknown whether or not his life is still endangered.

President Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, speaking live on Telesur at approximately 10:00am Caracas time, denounced that in early hours of Sunday morning, the soldiers stormed their residence, firing shots throughout the house, beating and then taking the president. “It was an act of cowardness”, said the first lady, referring to the illegal kidnapping occuring during a time when no one would know or react until it was all over. Casto de Zelaya also called for the “preservation” of her husband’s life, indicating that she herself is unaware of his whereabouts. She claimed their lives are all still in “serious danger” and made a call for the international community to denounce this illegal coup d’etat and to act rapidly to reinstate constitutional order in the country, which includes the rescue and return of the democratically elected Zelaya.

Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela have both made public statements on Sunday morning condeming the coup d’etat in Honduras and calling on the international community to react to ensure democracy is restored and the constitutional president is reinstated. Last Wednesday, June 24, an extraordinary meeting of the member nations of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), of which Honduras is a member, was convened in Venezuela to welcome Ecuador, Antigua & Barbados and St. Vincent to its ranks. During the meeting, which was attended by Honduras’ Foreign Minister, Patricia Rodas, a statement was read supporting President Zelaya and condenming any attempts to undermine his mandate and Honduras’ democratic processes.

Reports coming out of Honduras have informed that the public television channel, Canal 8, has been shut down by the coup forces. Just minutes ago, Telesur announced that the military in Honduras is shutting down all electricity throughout the country. Those television and radio stations still transmitting are not reporting the coup d’etat or the kidnapping of President Zelaya, according to Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas. “Telephones and electricity are being cut off”, confirmed Rodas just minutes ago via Telesur. “The media are showing cartoons and soap operas and are not informing the people of Honduras about what is happening”. The situation is eerily reminiscent of the April 2002 coup d’etat against President Chávez in Venezuela, when the media played a key role by first manipulating information to support the coup and then later blacking out all information when the people began protesting and eventually overcame and defeated the coup forces, rescuing Chávez (who had also been kidnapped by the military) and restoring constitutional order.

Honduras is a nation that has been the victim of dictatorships and massive U.S. intervention during the past century, including several military invasions. The last major U.S. government intervention in Honduras occured during the 1980s, when the Reagain Administration funded death squads and paramilitaries to eliminate any potential “communist threats” in Central America. At the time, John Negroponte, was the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras and was responsible for directly funding and training Honduran death squads that were responsable for thousands of disappeared and assassinated throughout the region.

On Friday, the Organization of American States (OAS), convened a special meeting to discuss the crisis in Honduras, later issuing a statement condeming the threats to democracy and authorizing a convoy of representatives to travel to OAS to investigate further. Nevertheless, on Friday, Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, Phillip J. Crowley, refused to clarify the U.S. government’s position in reference to the potential coup against President Zelaya, and instead issued a more ambiguous statement that implied Washington’s support for the opposition to the Honduran president. While most other Latin American governments had clearly indicated their adamant condemnation of the coup plans underway in Honduras and their solid support for Honduras’ constitutionally elected president, Manual Zelaya, the U.S. spokesman stated the following, “We are concerned about the breakdown in the political dialogue among Honduran politicians over the proposed June 28 poll on constitutional reform. We urge all sides to seek a consensual democratic resolution in the current political impasse that adheres to the Honduran constitution and to Honduran laws consistent with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.”

As of 10:30am, Sunday morning, no further statements have been issued by the Washington concerning the military coup in Honduras. The Central American nation is highly dependent on the U.S. economy, which ensures one of its top sources of income, the monies sent from Hondurans working in the U.S. under the “temporary protected status” program that was implemented during Washington’s dirty war in the 1980s as a result of massive immigration to U.S. territory to escape the war zone. Another major source of funding in Honduras is USAID, providing over US$ 50 millon annually for “democracy promotion” programs, which generally supports NGOs and political parties favorable to U.S. interests, as has been the case in Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the region. The Pentagon also maintains a military base in Honduras in Soto Cano, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous air force combat planes and helicopters.

Foreign Minister Rodas has stated that she has repeatedly tried to make contact with the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, who has not responded to any of her calls thus far. The modus operandi of the coup makes clear that Washington is involved. Neither the Honduran military, which is majority trained by U.S. forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the U.S. government. President Zelaya has increasingly come under attack by the conservative forces in Honduras for his growing relationship with the ALBA countries, and particularly Venezuela and President Chávez. Many believe the coup has been executed as a method of ensuring Honduras does not continue to unify with the more leftist and socialist countries in Latin America.

Futuristic Vision of the Third Position

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Eye on the future.
Foot on the gas.
Forward motion to shoot for.
No looking back.

New Nationalism, technnocratic
That’s the habbit
Call me an addict
Get a board to draw from scratch – on it.

Responsible technocracy is the way
Nationalism must follow it today,
Ignore the disrupters, who stray,
Reactionaries from the past cannot play.

We don’t need
to appeal to the past deeds.
Hitler is not the model
Foward looking, hand on the thottle.

Comparisons to Reich number three are absurd.
Contingency is the way, new ideologies must be heard.
Progressive nationalism is the vision.
Welcome to the third position.

Class conscious, we reject bourgeois lies.
Race and ethnicity analyzed
Through the eyes
Of the scientific mind.

Realism is the name
Of the game.
False theories of the past
Are labeled as lame.

Eye on the future.
Foot on the gas.
Forward motion to shoot for.
No looking back.

The proletarian force
Lead to nationalism.
Class antagonism
Is dissolved for a new course.

Revisionists we may be.
We do not seek to repeat history.
The future is the way.
All eyes watch, no delay.

Get your mind out of the past.
New ideologies are vast.
Critical thinking can cast
The chains off of your back.

Contingency, we analyze.
Every situation is new.
Old ideologies we vandalize.
The past is done and that is through.

Eye on the future.
Foot on the gas.
Forward motion to shoot for.
No looking back.

The next big thing,
Futuristic nationalists, let the bells ring.
Clinching and waving the fist,
as you get the jist.

Prepared for war, in any fashion to begin.
We will not follow the disruptor.
Clowns who claim to represent nationalism,
They won’t be interrupters.

Futuristic technocracy with a third position,
If you haven’t seen it you better listen.
Its implementation is a goal and a mission.
Get that straight, it is the vision.

Eye on the future.
Foot on the gas.
Forward motion to shoot for.
No looking back.

13 reasons to not support democracy

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

http://www.politicsforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=95651

1. Corruption – politicians receive large sums of money from businesses and other special interests (e.g. unions) in exchange for implementing specific policies. Politicians depend on such contributions for campaign funding.

2. Lack of accountability – because any given politician or party has such limited power for such limited periods of time it is difficult to evaluate their impact. Power often oscillates from one party to the next such that outcomes can easily be attributed to the party currently in power or, similarly easily, to the party previously in power. Power is divided between various branches and levels of government and among numerous politicians such that responsibility and accountability are dispersed and confused.

3. Incoherence – the division of power, both between different levels of government and within each level of government, can lead to an assemblage of policies that are inconsistent in terms of there objectives and implementation.
Example: Division of power requires compromise between those who support the complete ban of a substance and those who favor no restrictions. The compromise reached is to criminalize the production of the substance but not its use, thereby allowing unfettered demand to combine with exclusion of legal production to produce a huge market for organized crime.

4. Gridlock/delay – disagreement within government and so-called “checks and balances” delay the implementation of much needed policy changes. Consultation of “the people” takes time.

5. Fuzziness of the concept – the very meaning of democracy is unclear. Whether a given system of government is more democratic than another is frequently disputed among proponents of democracy.

6. Corporate (etc) media influence – much media is delivered by corporations with their own interests that could influence their reporting. Media depends on advertising for much of its funding and could be compelled to report in ways favorable to current and prospective advertisers. Such reporting heavily influences the voting public.

7. Lack of effective/powerful international/supranational government and impracticality of its formation within a democratic framework – practically precludes comprehensive, substantial, global cooperation and coordination to solve problems.
Example: Two states share a border. One of the states implements a strict ban while the other does not. Consequently, the state with the ban has much greater difficulty enforcing its ban.

8. Instability – governments and policies often change frequently resulting in wastage of resources from starting and undoing programs and lack of sustained long-term policies/projects. Incentives become less effective due to uncertainty.

9. Political myopia – campaigning focuses on short-term goals, accomplishments, and results. Politics becomes overly focused on shot-run outcomes.

10. Superficiality/triviality – voters are unwilling and/or unable to dedicate much time or effort to investigate or analyze political issues. Consequently, politics becomes focused on rhetoric, emotions, trivialities and is overly simplistic. Policies and candidates are selected within the context of the aforementioned state of political discourse.

11. Division/partisanship “democracy fosters division along party lines” people are expected to adopt particular ideological identities (opposition vs government etc) – unity is precluded (granted, Russia may be an exception).

12. Democracy allows good governments to be voted out of office.

13. “Human rights” often promoted as essential components to democracy. Many of these “human rights” interfere with the implementation of good policy.

Readers, I direct you to an interesting discussion taking place on “politics forum” which is a high end political discussion forum.  Feel free to add your opinion if you would like to.

Ideology, Action and Statistics

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

It is a legitimate point that many people who claim an ideology functionally act in a way that does not fit the ideology they claim. For example, many people who claim to be Catholics support abortion. Many people who claim to be against racism support racism against Whites. Many people who claim to be individualists are really collectivists and vice versa. These people claim an ideology as a means to enter into a movement but then advance an agenda that counters the movement’s agenda.

Perhaps the best way to discern a given person’s true ideology is to observe the disposition other people have towards the individual with proper methodology. Differences exist between good methodology and bad methodology. Statistically representative samples (in an academic sense) using the correct inductive authorities would have to be observed instead of disorganized opinion. Perhaps methodology similar to this can tell more about a person’s true motives than the ideological flag a person waves. For instance, Trotsky claimed to be a Bolshevik himself but the inductive authorities who were qualified to judge overwhelmingly disagreed when surveyed.

A final note is that qualification of inductive authorities must be based on credentials, not public opinion. Otherwise the system of ideological examination could never properly work. If the public can vote standards on a whim, then the standards of ideology cease to have meaning.

The American Media is a Textbook Economic Oligopoly

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

The definition of an oligopoly:

A market structure in which a few firms sell either a standardized or differentiated product, into which entry is difficult, in which the firm has limited control over product price because of mutual interdependence, and in which there is typically nonprice competition.  (McConnell, G-17)

I will compare this definition to the contemporary American Media.

Category 1 – Are there few firms involved in the industry?
Answer : Yes, the television and paper media are controlled by a small amount of powerful corporations, General Electric and Microsoft being examples.

Category 2 – Is entry difficult into the media market?
Answer : Yes, it is difficult to create a media outlet on cable news or print media. Technical, fiscal, competitive, operational and substitution-oriented (the internet) barriers to entry exist.

Category 3 – Do firms have limited control over price due to interdependence?
Answer : Yes, access to all networks is sold in the same cable and satellite packages. A buyer purchases packages from satellite and cable companies instead of individual products from companies or even retailers. There may be more control over price with print media, but other economic forces drive it down.

Category 4 – Is there “non-price” competition instead of price competition?
Answer : Absolutely. Olberman vs. O’Riley. Fox vs Msnbc. This is non-price competition.

Ladies and gentlemen, the American news media is an oligopoly.

Works Cited

McConnell, Campbell R., and Stanley L. Brue. Economics : Principles, Problems, and Policies. 16th ed. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2005.  G-17.

Free Media Productions does not require its members to converge on every issue

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I wanted to clarify this, as a few people have claimed that the website operates analogous to a political party. We agree on many things but the website is still essentially a news media organization, not a political party that marches in step.

A comment on FMP’s stance towards Iran

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Free Media Productions has continuously and consistently upheld a line of support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This much is apparent in our official Editorial policy in regards to Iran; but some readers have accused us of “revisionism,” and others have even gone so far as to accuse FMP of “crypto-fascism.”

However, these uninformed and misguided individuals, only pretending to analyze the current situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran through a scientific Marxist-Leninist lens,  fail to understand the very fundamental foundation of Marxist-Leninist thought. As Marxist-Leninists, we approach each and every situation with a view to understanding and applying the methodology of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin – not merely an abstract application of their conclusions.

To our assortment of critics and slanderers, this isn’t good enough. While we at FMP strive to assess the situation based on the application of the science of dialectics to the material conditions as they exist, they think profess a view rife with two particularly dangerous tendencies that have proliferated throughout so-called Western “Marxist” circles: ultra-left dogmatism and right-opportunist deviationism.

The ultra-leftists say that Iran needs a “proletarian revolution” against the Islamic government. According to these people, regardless of the current situation, no support ought to be given to any ruling government that is not explicitly Communist in its orientation or character. Likewise, the ultra-left camp condemns FMP for its principled stance in support for the anti-imperialist tendencies of President Mahmoud AHmadinejad.

As for the right-deviationists, they claim that Iran is ruled by an ultra-reactionary caste of mullahs whose theocratic-fascism must be opposed. From this it logically follows, according to the right-deviationists, that the petite-bourgeois reformist camp in the Islamic Republic of Iran – led by Mir-Hossein Mousavi, deserves support for its liberal platform against the ruling Islamic Revolutionary government. The right-deviationists, operating under the mask of Marxism, claim that real progress can be made in Iran only through a more liberal, reformist policy alignment directed by the petite-bourgeoisie.

Free Media Productions wholeheartedly rejects both these claims as two-sides of the same coin of revisionist, unscientific and un-Marxist thinking. Instead, we endorse the view that the major contradictions facing the Iranian nation comes not from within its own society, but from outside, hostile foreign powers who seek to undermine Iran’s sovereignty and exploit its resources. International capital has a vested interest in reverting Iran back to its neo-colonial status under the Shah – and several Western foreign intelligence agencies have gone to task to subvert the regime to those very ends.

That much being said, Free Media Productions shows unwavering and unquestionable support for the Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for their sincere ability and willingness to protect and defend the interests, independence and sovereignty of the Iranian nation. Furthermore, we believe that socialism can only be built when it is the expressed view of the majority of the working class. In the Islamic Republic of Iran the working masses have shown their support not for an insurrectionary revolutionary movement against the Islamic government, but instead voiced majority support for the recently re-elected President Ahmadinejad.

Finally, given Iran’s need to defend its interests against US and Zionist imperialism, the current material conditions (as they exist now) dictate that an internal revolutionary insurrection would only destabilize and threaten the overall security of the Iranian people. Such adventurism would be easily exploited by Iran’s enemies who eagerly wait on the edge of their seats for such a situation to arise.

Therefore, on these grounds, Free Media Productions will continue to show its support for the Islamic Revolutionary government in Iran and the President of the Iranian people, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Crossword Puzzle

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Click the Puzzle to view it larger!

A CACM article on Modern Technology and Privacy Implications

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

An article from the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery is now available for public view on the internet. It is one of the better articles written before the magazine majority changed its staff and strategy in recent times. It describes how technology makes data mining easier and why this is a dangerous situation. Smart people, especially political dissidents, must be aware of the risks and indeed aware of the fact that people are “out to get” them. A defensive action plan is required in cyber warfare.  Here are some particularly important excerpts quoted below by the author Ken Thompson.

Today, we must question our trust in all aspects of the information environment, including online companies and even the infrastructure of the Internet. We live in an era of rampant data disclosure and ubiquitous implied trust-two factors that will come to haunt us in the near future.

Despite the best intentions of those doing the collecting or communicating, it is impossible to guarantee it (your personal information) will stay private or not be used for some malicious purpose.

As an example, AOL disclosed, in August 2006, the search queries of some 657,000 of its users that contained sensitive and personally identifying information.

Free online services aren’t really free; we pay for them with micropayments in the form of personal information.

In some ways, trust is increasingly irrelevant, because, if we are to be members of the Internet-enabled society, we have no option but to rely on the powerful tools that we have at our disposal (such as those provided by major search engines). Like rats forced to endure electric shocks to acquire food, we must use these tools to acquire information and communicate. The implications of data disclosure and retention are profound, including cooperate and law-enforcement abuses and identity theft, as well as second and third-order effects impossible to predict. Those of us who are aware of the risks already self-censor our activities, even if we continue to indulge in them.

What is most worrisome is less that the data is being collected at any given moment and more how it will be used (and abused) in the future. Future advances in data mining, profiling, and machine learning are particularly worrisome. While I don’t foresee a dystopia in the near future, I do see a steady decline in individual freedoms and liberties. This decline is not new, dating back to at least the 1970s when large computerized databases of personal information were being formed in earnest. The pace accelerated globally in the aftermath of 9/11. Will we eventually reach equilibrium?  I think not. The gravitational pull of both profit and power will continue to drive decline.

Public outcry may have the power to stem the tide, but public opinion is fickle.

Those in power are loathe to relinquish or even share it. And, as the power and control of this information (and its data-minded results) provides over hundreds of millions of citizens is seductive, corruption is inevitable. Action is critical, before it is too late to forestall individuals from losing control of their own data and perhaps even of their digital identities.

The moral of the story is to be careful with whom and where you associate, and to protect your personal information. Good luck.


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