The Latin American Decision

April 8th, 2006

The Latin American trend of populist movements may be getting new support as two more countries stand on the brink of free-market democracy and left-wing socialism. In two days, Peru is scheduled to hold its presidential election in which Ollanta Humala, a left-wing Chavez sympathizer and former military officer, is one of the front runners. In opposition Lourdes Flores runs as a supporter of free market neo-liberalism, causing the state to choose between the loss of national control and state domination. Additionally, Mexico is also having an election soon in which Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a socialist, is getting major support. If both these countries elect the socialist candidate, they will join the ranks of Cesar Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, and of course Fidel Castro in Cuba.
The logical question then is why is this happening? To answer this question, it is necessary to look at the progress that free-market neo-liberalism has brought to Latin America. The idea of neo-liberalism revolves around the mechanism of the market to produce equilibrium. Simple and effective, yes, but that is not what has happened. The United States and other developed nations have sold the neo-liberal ideology as the solution to poverty by giving access to the foreign markets of developed states. However, the United States has maintained barriers to its markets, especially on products where other developing states have a comparable advantage. In addition, large multinational corporations have moved into underdeveloped states and exploited their land, labor, and natural resources. Environmental regulations and labor laws are considered barriers to trade, causing them to be lifted. This deregulation exploits the environment, and marginalizes the local people. Intellectual property rights are another problem. Instead of benefiting from foreign direct investment, these patents keep the local population from benefiting off the technology brought by large corporate companies. Large US farm corporations also exploit these states as they inundate them with American subsidized products, undercutting the prices of goods produced by small local farmers. The result has been an undereducated youth, environmental degradation and the transformation of small subsistence farmers, to paupers. The informal sector has grown as a result of this transformation and wealth has been concentrated in smaller populations while poverty continues to climb.
Is it any wonder that the populations are choosing anything but the submission to American economic hegemony? This is the reason why a terrorist organization like Hammas can gain control of Palestine through a democratic election. America has lost the trust of the rest of the world. After giving up everything to receive but a few crumbs off America’s table, popular movements that preach nationalism and anti-American rhetoric become rather enticing. Do I think that socialism is the answer? No, I do not. I will be the first to admit that many of these left-wing parties turn into repressive dictatorships. My problem is that by ruining the reputation of democracy, America has failed as an ambassador of representative government. As much as I like Marx, Polanyi, and the idea of a communal equality, I fear that the revolution in Latin America will spawn another bout of regional instability.
So what to do? I just don’t know. I would say that people should vote for the left-centrist candidates like Alan Garcia in Peru, but I think people feel those candidates are too corruptible. America is now at war against the boogieman, and too busy to deal with an anti-communism campaign so I guess we will see what happens. If you have any ideas pleas let me know. Let me know someone is watching. - knockemdown

A quick post on immigration

March 27th, 2006

Id like to take a moment to contemplate what happens when a state sends off half of the poor population to other states, and then holds city elections without them. The city of New Orleans is doing just that. Its like the ultimate gerrymander, most of the black, poor population that made up New Orleans is gone. Now Ray Nagin, the incumbent mayor, is proposing a new development plan for all the land that was bought by developers at forty percent off the pre-Katrina price. The plan is to rebuild the city with urban planning for just half the amount of inhabitants that used to live there. To exacerbate the injustice, citizens that live in other places are disenfranchised because they are too poor to make the trip to New Orleans, or have no idea where to go to vote. Currently there are NGOs that offer services to help the displaced residents, but are not effective enough at getting people to the poles. The amount of displaced is still more than has returned. The number of refugees in Houston alone is enough to win the election. Some estimate that it will be another two years before refugees get back to their city. I fear that they will never make it because their city was washed away and replaced with yuppie condos and subdivisions. New Orleans will not be what it once was, the culture is gone, the town is gone, and the people are gone. I know that the city was not exactly a great place anyway. It had bad crime; there were lots of dilapidated structures and a sanitation problem. But it was what it was; a cultural center for African Americans and now it’s gone…Sad.
As long as Im talking about race and culture, Im wondering what to think about the new legislation for Mexican immigration. In Los Angeles the Mexicans are protesting a dehumanizing piece of legislation. First of all, there is a proposed wall that is to be built on the US/Mexican boarder. I don’t know what the purpose of that is. I mean, these people risk life and limb combating gangs, jumping on and off moving trains, crossing a desert and the threat of being shot, and they think a wall is going to stop them? Second, I don’t know what kind of person would actually support legislation that makes it a felony for being in the US illegally. What’s more is that those who help these people are also subject to criminal prosecution. So a hospital can refuse someone because they aren’t a citizen? “Oh no sorry sir, you can just lie there and die, but not before we book you for entering the US illegally”. I don’t know, maybe there is good reason for all this, its not like they’re good for anything right? I’m sure plenty of Americans will be happy to take jobs picking strawberries at a buck an hour. All I’m saying is, I don’t think putting up walls and legal barriers is the answer. We need to develop a better relationship with our neighbors than that. Besides, we already engage in free trade with Mexico, so it seems kind of silly that their products can come over, but not their people. I gotta go to class…see ya! - Knockemdown

Military Imperialism

March 13th, 2006

I saw this film called “Why We Fight” yesterday, and I think that everyone reading this post should see it. It’s about the military industrial complex and the huge military machine that the United States has become. We espouse a benevolent hegemonic discourse, but for some reason we cannot keep out of violent conflicts. Every decade or so, there must be a war, a war against some other country that defies the United States and its ideologies. We are an empire in denial. Our powerful military is funded and maintained through a constant stream of war profiteering from government contracts to huge corporations like Halliburton, that absorb more than half the national budget each year. Make no mistake about it, were not in it for the cause, for an ideology, or even for the glory, we’re in it for the money. America bleeds green, and that’s what all of our troops are dying for.
Before the film, there was a short documentary on the initial attacks on Faluja in Iraq. It was shot by an American troop and media personnel from both countries. In fear for retaliation for speaking the truth, the names were not listed on the film. It showed what the media failed to report. While Bush and the corporate-led media declared victory over the enemy, there were hundreds of thousands fleeing for their lives, with no place to go. When they returned, they found nothing but a shell of a city. Upon entering the new checkpoints, they were treated like prisoners. After being searched at gunpoint, and herded like cattle, they were all bar-coded and sent into the city with nothing but the cloths on their backs, and no way out. They had no clean water, no food, barely any medical facilities or other important infrastructure. One man described the water as “dirty” so much that it had to be filtered through cloth and even then, “you would not want to wash dishes or cloths in it much less drink it”. With no place to come home to, they found shelter in anyplace they could. Bodies lay strewn across the streets, 95% of them civilians.
How did this happen to a people that we were told we were liberating? We were lied to, not necessarily by the media, but by the government. Much of the media was held back from the fighting, and kept in the dark by government officials and the corporate leaders of media networks. With all the money that we spend on military, you would think that we would know what was going to happen, and be prepared to help those we were “liberating”. Instead the truth remains to be seen. At least we know that we don’t know the truth. We know now that Iraq had no connection with 9/11, we know they had no WMD’s, we know there was no threat of Saddam attacking us in such a significant way that we needed to go to war. The administration says that we had to go to war and almost as many Americans that died in 9/11, died in this war and are still dying for an injustice.
So why do we fight? We do this because its big business, and because it’s profitable. Charlmers Johnson was in the film and he made a brilliant remark (as usual). He said, (regarding increases in military contract profits) “when war becomes that profitable, you’re going to see a lot more of it”. Wars are not just a matter of power and profit. War is holding up a large part of our domestic economy. Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing make war planes in parts. Each part is made in a different state, so that if ever they were to try and phase out a weapons manufacturing program, congressional leaders would make sure the programs continue to support their districts. The problem is larger than I could outline in this blog and it’s larger than the film could begin to cover; but its enough to worry the average citizen who does not view us as an empire, and believes that America fights for the freedom of the sovereign state.
Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower both warned against standing armies and the uncontrolled growth of the military industrial complex. They said that it would be the one thing that could give the president enough power to become a tyrannical dictator. Today I see this being manifested through the corporate dominated media, government, and industry. Without getting the public to stop being complicit and start getting active in the few representative channels that exist today, empire is a word that will commonly be used to describe America’s history.

The Good Ol Boys Club

March 10th, 2006

Well it seems that the recent Dubai ports deal has fallen due to a blatant prejudice against the United Arab Emirates. Make no mistake about it; the decision was based on the nationality of its people. The company has the best record for port operations in the world; it passed an initial background inspection, and agreed to comply with another inspection as well. There is no reason why this company should not be allowed to operate our ports, as we operate air fields and other facilities in their countries. There is some speculation out there as to the motives behind George Bush’s advocacy for the whole deal, I think we all know that it’s not and altruistic one, but the reasoning behind killing the deal is what bothers me. If we are to push for “free trade” and inundate the rest of the world with American corporate capitalism, how can we deny access to our markets and expect other countries to open theirs up to America? This is nothing but a double standard put up by American industry. I know that’s a harsh statement, but this is not the first time this has happened. It happened with the Unocal deal, it happened with NAFTA and the US (corporate) Farm Bill, and it is also going to happen to CAFTA countries once that trade agreement goes into effect.

I don’t endorse many of these deals in the first place. I didn’t like the Unocal deal for instance, but again I’m simply pointing out the motives here. I don’t like the idea of free trade as it stands today because I think its going to commodify things that shouldn’t be commodities i.e. human beings, and I see these things as major flaws in the theory of free trade. American corporations want to rule the world through maintaining protections for their industries while the rest of the world is subjected to a market economy. One of the largest problems involves our reliance on investment in the US economy. If we put up such a barrier to our markets here, how can we expect continued investment in our economy? Foreign investors will not want to invest in our industries because both the time and money initiating the deal has a good chance of being wasted; and in the event that a foreign company secures American assets, this barrier makes selling them outside America questionable. I guess my whole point is that this is a major embarrassment to America as a nation. It is going to send a message to the world that America has no real interest in forming a communal relationship with nations unlike ours, and that our interest is to exploit their markets and their people.

But let’s not forget whose fault this is….the American voters. That’s right, all those people who blindly follow the status quo and all those people who support this type of action and all the people who refused to vote. Contrary to what my friends believe, I think that ours is a representative government, and we as a civilization decide not to acknowledge the problems we have. We continue to support oil dependency through the use of gas guzzling cars and voting out mass transit. We tolerate the blatant lies about why our men and women are dying in an unnecessary war, and adopt the propaganda against other cultures that the media feeds us. The list continues to encapsulate the situation in which we find ourselves today. The root of all our problems boils down to the way we participate in our politics. We simply don’t demand enough. We don’t demand more parties; we don’t demand politicians that have the interests of the American people in mind. Instead we elect these rich shmucks that operate in the interests of their good ol boys club in which you and I are not members. So this is what we get, and if you don’t like it you can start with you’re local and state elections and preach voting to everyone you know. It works for the religious groups and voting should appeal to all Americans. Have a nice day - Knockemdown

Citizen Accountability

March 2nd, 2006

I have seen President Bush lie, steal, cheat, kill, destroy civil liberties, deny our history of scientific discovery, promote the parochial religious belief of creationism, create a culture of fear and the illusion of representative government, and get re-elected. Now a new and improved section in the recently renewed Patriot Act gives continued power to government agencies to monitor its citizens, only now it has some new limitations which are purely cosmetic in protecting constitutional rights. My question is….how does this not smack of a rising dictatorship? What is to become of democracy when we tolerate blatant violations of our fundamental principals?
How about Iraq? What is happening over there that was so unexpected that it turned the initial estimated cost of 1.7 billion into 280 billion? Don’t tell me they didn’t count on the insurgency or terrorist tactics, doesn’t anyone remember Vietnam? And are we supposed to be the purveyors of democracy to a country that has never had it or even asked for it? Why is there so much support for Bush and his war by the christians…. seriously, WWJD? If this is not an imperial and religious conquest, then what is this…. benevolent hegemony? Really?
I’m afraid this is not the end of the erosion of freedoms, it is only the begining of a slow process that will eventually make the Constitution what the monarchy is in England, a symbolic gesture. The opposition to restoring the integrity of our founding docterine is huge. Worst of all most of us will only find out what happend when its too late. The media is simply a propaganda tool for the government and industry, and most people are either too busy or too lazy to investigate the crap the media feeds them or even participate in democratically important processes. We desperately need new parties, new ideas and a new set of officials that will work for the majority of Americans, not cater to the ultra rich minority. But somehow such a revolutionary idea sounds redundant, what happened to the accountability of the citizen to act and be involved? I have actually heard a person say that he/she expects the politician in their state to act in they’re best interest….without this individual’s participation. What did we expect to happen? Do we still want democracy? All I know is, we need to vote in EVERY election and take part in our communities. For Elections in your area, please call 1-888-VOTE-SMART (1-888-868-3762) and visit - Knockemdown

war “quickie”

February 25th, 2006

Well I’m happy to be back up and running on our new permanent site. Thanks to my friend and some excellent directions from word press we switched from to without loosing data. So…. here we are. I read recently in the news that the war in Iraq is becoming less of an insurrection against American forces, and more of a civil war between the Shiites and the Sunnies. Both parties seem to have formed militias and in recent weeks a riot has broken out. I don’t know how the president did not see this coming. It would be one thing if the people asked for our help, but going there and forcing democracy down the throat of an entire nation has few possible reactions, none of which can be favorable. Civil war seems to be imminent and the number of religious and political parties is taking up arms and with their private militias they will soon be after one another like that of the Hutu and Tootsie populations - Genocide. Now George Bush is looking at Iran with its hands full. Iran is enriching Uranium and has every aspiration to make nuclear weapons. In addition, nations like Palestine, South Korea, and Syria continue to have anti-American sentiments and brood hatred which perpetutates terrorism. Funny, the war on terrorism is causing more terrorism. We continue to threaten other nations for aspiring to enter the neuclear age, but these threats are being de-clawed as a result of our failure in Iraq. We were so arogant going into all this. We said that the war would be over in a few months, butI met a millitary general that is stationed over there who said that troops will be there for the next ten years. We thought that Iraqis would love us and see us a liberators from a tyranical government, but they have been devided even more by US involvement. Are’nt we an empire in denial? I think so beacause we keep thinking that if we enforce the rules of the US in other nations, they will prosper like America, and we can profit off that. We even thought that Iraqi oil could pay for the war, nope wrong again. I would like any person reading this to reply and tell me what you would do. Where do we go from here? - Knockemdown.


January 30th, 2006

Great  Expectations If you, like many others, are wondering why it is that a group like Hamas was elected, it is a simple case of pride. Its the same feeling that we Americans got when we decided to rebel against Brittish rule in 1776. The only difference is, we Americans are now the big imperial masters of the world, and continue to exploit nations based on religious and cultural divisions. For as far back as I have read (history of the peloponesian war) it seems that those who persistantly domninate will eventually fall. Is this to be America’s fate? Well it does not look good thus far. We are being bankrupted by the war in Iraq and Afganistan, while we continue to fund Israel in its fight against Palistine. Yet somehow we feel like these “terrorists” just don’t like us because theyre jealous of our wealth and power. A war on terror is like the war on drugs, un-winable, only the enemy is more passionate about its cause. Ask yourself why the only reaction to this problem was war. How does war make peace? First of all, I think that we could keep terrorists away if we spent as much money on intellegence and security than we do on the war, but that dosent make for record breaking government contracts. That might not give a good enough reason to make bigger profits in the energy industry. We need to look at what has happened, and what our experiences have been before Bush is allowed go ahead with anymore of his unethical and ineffective plans. Watch the State of the Union from last term, tell me what you think he has accomplished thus far. Has he done anything for the American people, except place them in a dangerous situation? I gotta go - knockemdown. Picture Copyright New York Times

In the news, and not.

January 28th, 2006

Amidst the nice tropical breeze in a botanical garden, I read the New York Times while drinking my morning coffee. I thought about how lucky I was to be sitting there, instead of the mess of a world that the Times reports on. With each turn to read the extensions of headline articles, I am horrified at the number of potential crisiss that lie abroad, and the corrupt politics that we continue to endure here at home.
In one article I read about Hammas and how the group has won the election in Palestine and so dictates where the relations with both the US and Israel will go. Bush and the Israel prime minister do not intend on considering any agreements as long as they keep up their terrorist activity, but I think its that activity that got them democratically elected. The results of the Palestinian election pose many questions within the global community (if there is one) as to how Palestine will react toward the globalization movement. It seems that this area is the center point of the Judeo Christian/ Muslim conflict and may hinder the US endeavor of economic enslavement in the region. Well, Im sure the war will continue with more walls going up between the nations, and less progress in the way of social development. I hate being pessimistic.
There are also two simultaneous world forums going on. The World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum represent the dialectical process of globalization, the former being that imposed from above and the later being reconfigured from below. The populations attending are even proportional. The World Economic Forum is smaller in numbers that that of the World Social Forum, but the concentration of wealth is much greater. Unfortunately there has been literally no coverage of the World Social Forum even though its being held on three different continents. The World Economic Forum however, is being covered quite sufficiently. It continues to espouse the Neo-liberal plan of the global elite, the latest of which is 401K-like healthcare savings accounts that Bush is pushing, in addition to all the other privatization and fuck you, pay me schemes. These new accounts MUST be tied in with a high deductible insurance plan, and allow a person to extract invested money from the account for medical purposes tax-free. If the person wants to take the money out for anything else, they are subject to penalties and taxes. This essentially allows banks to accrue billions of dollars in new accounts to further their speculative investments in two percent of the population, at the cost of the rest of the American people.
In another revolting development, it seems that 80% of the black population will most-likely not be returning to New Orleans. Instead of footing the bill for Bushs political malfeasance, the state feels that leaving the blacks in their relocations is the best option. Most the white population will be returning though, and there will be more to come. Much of the land has been bought by the state for 60% of what it was worth before Katrina, and sold to developers for new development. So buy land in New Orleans, its Rich, its White, and its Republican.
Well thats the news for now, I gotta go. I have some studying to attend to. - Knockemdown

Free from Liberty

January 10th, 2006

I dont understand the tolerance that Americans seem to have for the trumping of our civil liberties. The recent issues that have come about with regard to unwarranted spying on Americans drew no real outrage by the general public. There were no protests, and no real resistance against what I see as a major problem. Why are people supporting this administrations actions that erode American Civil Liberty and protections? Are people too busy to care? One of the most absurd claims that have gained popularity is that these measures are needed for security and for freedom. I cant believe that Americans are buying that crap. How can we be free, if we give up our Constitutional rights? The Fourth Amendment, the protection from illegal search and seizure, from a police state, from a dictator, has all but faded out of existence.

The Fourth Amendment states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Today, all but the home can be searched without a warrant. Beginning with the Detention Short of Arrest: Stop-and-Frisk called a Terry search, police are allowed to search for weapons without any kind of warrant or probable cause. Vehicular Searches are also allowed under the same Terry V. Ohio Supreme Court decision. The home continues to be protected form warrentless search; however, a recent move by the President has usurped the Constitution in the name of freedom by allowing wiretaps on American phone lines, and monitoring of e-mail transfers. Lately, there has also been a report of regular mail scanning and the opening of mail coming from outside America.

I see this as a major change from the democratic system that America once was. Bush and his henchmen Carl Rove, Tom Delay, and now Jack Amberhof have disregarded the laws America set in place to preserve democratic control, and they continue to go unpunished because of the apathy of the American people. People want to think that things are A OK, but the truth is, theyre not. Something is wrong with American government. We continue to loose benefits for the poor and needy and spend all our taxes making the elite few even richer. I see it as an insult when the administration administers a tax cut that grants the corporate elite huge savings on providing for the American people, while barely throwing a bone to those that really need a break, but thats what won the election. People are content with too little form their corporate masters. I want a change so bad, and I know its coming, and that its only going to bite me in the ass. Even if we get a great revolutionary in there like Ralph Nadir, how would he clean up this mess Bush created? Could it really be done in two terms? I think not. I think we will all feel the problems from what this administration has done for a long time, and so we are putting off a realization until the point of desperation. We will just continue to feed the international hatred for America, continue to consume, to make sure above all else, that we are comfortable, even if it means hell for someone else.

A change needs to be made, and we as Americans must stand against the domination of the Global Elite. Globalization is here, and it truly is us against them. - Knockemdown

Pulse Post

November 1st, 2005

I have not written in almost a month. I thought that it would be nice to enter into November with a fresh post. So here it is. I would first like to talk about the Scooter Libby indictment. I cannot believe that this guy is the only one who could be found guilty of any wrong doing. Seriously, we all know that it was Carl Rove who leaked the information with his double super secret e-mail, so why cant we get him indicted? I suppose its a matter of national security. Could you immagine what would happen if Bush had no top advisor? I think he would break yet another record for the stupidest president in the history of the United States. Without his top man, someone else would have to take over as puppeteer, and I just dont think that Chaney could pull off the whole speaking without moving his lips bit. So we need him, unfortunately, and it really does not matter anyway. Once Bush is on his way out, Bush will pardon Libby and no harm done, right? Well I have to go now, have fun and work hard at whatever you do. - Knockemdown