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Tue, 30 May 2023
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So if this isn't capitalism, what is?

Lately I've been pointing out that what we have in America today is not capitalism but, rather, neo-feudalism, with corporate owners in the place of the lords of the manor of old and the majority of Americans as serfs dependent upon their overlords for their every need. There are trappings of capitalism, sure. There are still markets, there are still a few small businesses bravely struggling along as chain stores and big box stores take over everything thanks to regulatory capture and monopolization of capital markets, there are still a few people who manage to create new and innovative businesses that make it. But by and large, this is feudalism, not capitalism.

Capitalism, fundamentally, is not markets. Markets can exist in the absence of capitalism, indeed, even in the absence of money, though money tends to be invented relatively rapidly because barter is such an inefficient way of handling trade. Rather, capitalism is, fundamentally, a method of time travel.

Bad Guys

Argentina: 12 Given Life Sentences for Crimes During Dictatorship

Alfredo Astiz and 11 other former military and police officers have been sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, a court announced Wednesday. Mr. Astiz, 59, nicknamed the "Blond Angel of Death," was convicted for his role in executing human rights activists in 1977; they were tortured at the Navy Mechanics School, known as ESMA, and then dropped from navy airplanes into the South Atlantic.

Arrow Down

Canadian court blocks Bush prosecution


Former US president George W. Bush: wanted for crimes against humanity
A criminal court in Canada has blocked an attempt by a human rights group to prosecute former US president George W. Bush for war crimes.

The Canadian Center for International Justice filed a private four-count complaint and received a January 9 hearing date at the British Columbia Provincial Court in Surrey, The Associated Press reported.

The complaint was issued on the same day when Bush was in Vancouver for a speech, along with his predecessor Bill Clinton.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three former Guantanamo detainees and one man who has been imprisoned there without any charge for more than nine years.


US: Padilla revives lawsuit against Rumsfeld for alleged torture

Lawyers for Jose Padilla, the US citizen arrested in 2002 for an alleged "dirty bomb" plot, launched an action to try to revive a lawsuit over his alleged torture at an American naval base.

Padilla, who is incarcerated at a high security jail in Colorado, previously sued in an attempt to hold former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other US officials accountable for his suffering, but a district court judge granted the latter immunity and dismissed the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in a federal appeals court Wednesday, however, said the case should be reinstated as Padilla was imprisoned without trial for four years and subjected to a range of abuse.


Libya to Try Kadhafi Killers as UN Ends Mandate

© Agence France-Presse / Abdullah Doma
Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council
Libya's new leaders vowed on Thursday to bring Moamer Kadhafi's killers to justice in a sharp break with their previous insistence he was caught in the crossfire with his own loyalists.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to end the mandate for international military action in Libya, ending another chapter in the war against Kadhafi's toppled regime.

"With regards to Kadhafi, we do not wait for anybody to tell us," Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC), told a news conference in Benghazi.

"We had already launched an investigation. We have issued a code of ethics in handling of prisoners of war. There were some violations by those who are unfortunately described as revolutionaries. I am sure that was an individual act and not an act of revolutionaries or the national army," the top interim official said.

"We had issued a statement saying that any violations of human rights will be investigated by the NTC. Whoever is responsible for that (Kadhafi's killing) will be judged and given a fair trial."

Ghoga, who spoke in Arabic and whose remarks were translated by an official interpreter, was responding to specific questions about Kadhafi's death and potential abuses.


France FM: Fall of Assad government in Syria 'unavoidable'

Bashar Assad
© Associated Press
Syrian President Bashar Assad, June 2011.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says pressure of protests and sanctions will eventually oust Bashar Assad from power but process will take time due to complexity of internal and regional politics.

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad will almost certainly fall under the pressure of protests and sanctions, but it will take time due to the complexity of internal and regional politics, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Wednesday.

With a crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Syria now seven months old, Western powers including France are relying on a combination of sanctions and diplomatic pressure to weaken Assad's hold on power.


Obama Rapidly Expanding Police State!

It's official. Federal goons squads from the TSA are now operating unconstitutional checkpoints on US highways in Tennessee.

From AntiWar.com...
If you thought the Transportation Security Administration would limit itself to conducting unconstitutional searches at airports, think again. The agency intends to assert jurisdiction over our nation's highways, waterways, and railroads as well. TSA launched a new campaign of random checkpoints on Tennessee highways last week, complete with a sinister military-style acronym - VIPR - as a name for the program.

As with TSA's random searches at airports, these roadside searches are not based on any actual suspicion of criminal activity or any factual evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever by those detained. They are, in effect, completely random. So first we are told by the U.S. Supreme Court that American citizens have no 4th Amendment protections at border crossings, even when standing on U.S. soil. Now TSA takes the next logical step and simply detains and searches U.S. citizens at wholly internal checkpoints.

The slippery slope is here. When does it end? How many more infringements on our liberties, our property, and our basic human rights to travel freely will it take before people become fed up enough to demand respect from their government? When will we demand that the government heed obvious constitutional limitations and stop treating ordinary Americans as criminal suspects in the absence of probable cause?
Homeland security set to seize television and radio airwaves. FEMA will now have the power to shut down communications. The same tactic is used by 3rd world dictators around the world.


The US Is Fast Becoming a Third World Police State

© oldamericancentury.org
As a P.T. (often referred to as perpetual traveller, permanent tourist or prior taxpayer), I have travelled to nearly 100 countries. During those travels there has always been one defining moment, upon entry into a country, which shows that the country is what is generally thought of as a "third world country".

It is the moment when, upon arrival, you are charged a fee to enter the country. The reason generally being that the government of the country has so destroyed the economy and/or they have so little understanding of what creates wealth that they think that the way to make their country prosperous is to charge a fee upon entry rather than allowing people to enter freely and transact, trade and spend their money in the economy. Either that or the government is so desperate for money that it uses this as a significant source of revenue.

They have this in Cambodia, Indonesia, Bolivia and numerous other similar countries. And now, they have it in the US.

The US has long-used "visa application fees" to bilk money from people in countries like Thailand as a way to raise money but now the US has announced that they are going to charge a $5.50 fee to Canadians upon entering the US.

The fee is ludicrous and counterproductive for many reasons. Not least of which is making it five dollars and fifty cents, ensuring that payment of the transaction will take twice as long as normal to make the extra change. Canadians who are one of the only large groups of people still bringing some economic activity into the US will both be turned off by having to pay to enter the US but also by the extra long lines to enter as they make change for this fee.

Not to mention the hilarity of calling it an "inspection fee". Does this mean that if we would not like to be inspected then we don't have to pay?

Bad Guys

Tip-toe totalitarianism: Commissioner Rehn gets more powers over national economies and euro


Mirror image: pathocracy uber alles
Economic and monetary affairs commissioner to get wider remit to monitor national fiscal policies.

Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, is to get expanded powers to oversee the eurozone's economy and the euro, Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced today.

Barroso said that Rehn to will be appointed vice-president within the Commission in charge of the euro and will be given a wider remit to more effectively monitor national fiscal policies.

Barroso announced the plans just hours after the end of a European Council and summit of eurozone leaders that led to agreement on a package of measures to tackle the eurozone's debt crisis.

The Commission president said the change to Rehn's position was to reflect the endorsement of his plans by EU leaders at their talks on Wednesday (26 October). A statement issued by leaders of eurozone countries issued this morning welcomed the intention of the Commission "to strengthen ... the role of the competent commissioner for closer monitoring and additional enforcement".

Control Panel

Euro debt crisis: MEPs call for closer economic union


"It's working Angie!"

"I know, soon we will be victorious!"
MEPs press for additional, faster steps to stabilise the eurozone, following EU deal on debt management.

MEPs today broadly welcomed EU's latest package of measures to contain the eurozone crisis as a step in the right direction.

However, the parliamentary debate in Strasbourg, held just hours after the conclusion of two emergency summits in Brussels, made clear that MEPs feel that the measures - the EU's most comprehensive response yet presented - need to be followed by further, significant steps to stabilise the euro and forge a closer economic union.

Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, spent much of the debate on the defensive.

'More fiscal integration'

Joseph Daul, the leader of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the largest bloc in the Parliament, urged Van Rompuy and Barroso to push for more fiscal and economic integration to address shortcomings in the current system of economic governance.