Thursday, September 25, 2008

USA 700b bailout "for the System" (Bush)

Vantage Point
By Luis V. Teodoro
Master of double standard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor and political activist Noam Chomsky, the world.s best known public intellectual, says somewhere that the United States. prescriptions for other economies it wouldn.t dare follow itself, knowing how catastrophic the consequences could be to its own economy.

As if to once again prove Chomsky right, the US government has put together a record-breaking $700-billion plan to acquire the distressed assets of US private banks and other financial firms to save them from ruin, and possibly stave off a devastating depression.

To be financed by the taxes of middle- and working-class Americans, among whom many have gone bankrupt and lost their homes precisely because of the gargantuan CEO salaries and mega-risks those very same firms their government would now save took, the plan is on top of the $85-billion federal government bailout last week of US top insurer AIG, and earlier, the $200 billion rescue of the mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The total cost to US taxpayers of the Paulson Plan (drawn up by US Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr.) and other bailouts is estimated at $1.4 trillion.

US prescriptions on how other countries should run their economies the US usually delivers via the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, both of which it dominates. (Paul Wolfowitz, former US deputy secretary of defense, and one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq, was WB president, for example.) IMF-WB prescriptions are in fact reducible to the one basic economic principle to which the US claims loyalty: it is to allow market forces free rein without State interference.

Both institutions impose observance of this principle by making adherence to economic policies known as Structural Adjustment Programs, or SAPs, a condition to qualify for IMF-WB loans. But the only saps are the recipients of IMF-WB conditionalities. Although modified when needed to suit the specific conditions of each country, SAPs demand the devaluation of local currencies against the dollar; the dismantling of price controls; and the privatization and liberalization of the economy (meaning no state industries, and allowing foreign companies unlimited entry), among others.

SAPs are the vehicle for the implementation on a global scale of the Reaganite policies that from the 1980s onward have made the world so profitable for US multinationals and impoverished third world nations, cut programs in education and health, and allowed the spiraling of basic food costs for the world.s poor.

Obviously, those principles are only for the rest of the world and not for the United States. State intervention . some have erroneously called it "socialism" . to save the finance privateers been raking in millions with hardly any interference all these years from the elite-dominated US government is apparently acceptable, for so long as it.s the US that.s doing it and it.s the taxpayers who.ll foot the bill while those responsible remain at large. The privateers brought the entire planet to the edge of ruin will in fact even be rewarded via the boost in the value of the stocks of the companies pillaged.

But wait. It.s not just in the economic realm that the US has a double standard (what.s good for us isn.t necessarily good for them), but also in foreign policy. US foreign policy divides countries into those it likes, and those it doesn.t. The basic criterion to qualify for either category . and where you belong can decide whether you.ll get millions in military and economic aid or be at the receiving end of smart bombs, Tomahawk missiles, and the M-16s of trigger-happy GIs from the trailer parks of Alabama and Iowa . is how friendly you are to US multinationals, US aims, and US interests.

Thus was Saddam Hussein.s Iraq shocked and awed in 40 days and nights of bombing because, while previously allied with the US, he wouldn.t let US oil companies into Iraq to exploit its oil resources . and thus is Israel the largest recipient of US military aid and a power whose nuclear arms are of no concern to the US because it.s been the US. Middle East capo and enforcer since the 1960s.

Israel is not incidentally also the biggest violator of UN resolutions, including those protective of Palestinian rights in Israeli-occupied territories, which are themselves the subject of other UN resolutions for being illegal. What.s significant is that the US invaded Iraq in 2003, to, among other "reasons," enforce a UN resolution demanding that Iraq disarm, but hasn.t done the same to Israel. Instead Israel receives the biggest slice of US military aid at US$3 billion a year.

Then there.s the arena of human rights, about which the US is so vociferous . but only when it comes to countries too independent to bow to the bottom-line precept of US policy (which, former US President and George W.s father, George F. Bush said in 1991, is "What we say, goes").

The US has loudly chastised and actively intervened in China on the Tibetan issue and the Chinese government.s treatment of the Falun Gong religious sect, with US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice taking every opportunity to take the Chinese to task. But it totally ignores the Israeli military.s treatment of Palestinian civilians, which has included bulldozing and bombing the homes of suspected terrorists even at the cost of civilian deaths.

And there.s US condemnation of human rights violations in countries like Cuba, while it unlawfully detains and tortures suspected terrorists in its prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo, or transfers them to other countries for torture.

Meanwhile, the US recently condemned Russia for invading the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, which US President George W. Bush described as a "sovereign country"-- which Iraq was, too, at least until 2003. That fact didn.t stop the US from doing to Iraq what the Russians did to Georgia.

The US has long beaten the Russians in the invasion game by staying on and on in Iraq. Republican Party presidential candidate John McCain, has even pledged to keep US troops there for a hundred years should he win-- so they can continue committing one atrocity after another including torture, rape, and the killing of women and children.

The would-be Master of the Universe --the jury.s still out on whether it can achieve that not-so-secret ambition without destroying itself and the planet; there.s one thing the US surely is, and that.s the Master of the Double Standard.
Friday, September 26, 2008 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

We whities can only but laugh about the poor little brown people struggling
for survival while we shout ourselves bail outs and resource-grabbing financial strangeholds over the dumb people whop cannot rule themselves.
Never mind historic plunder... and destruction of brown people like the
massacre on philippinos that officially ended on July 4, 1902.
Remnants of the Philippine Army and other resistance groups continued hostilities against American rule until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions as part of the war.
On July 7, 1892 Andrés Bonifacio, a warehouseman and clerk from Manila, and a few others met secretly in a house in Tondo and decided to form the Katipunan, a secret organization which aimed to gain independence from Spanish colonial rule by armed revolt.
The Philippine Declaration of Independence occurred on June 12, 1898, when Filipino revolutionary forces under Aguinaldo proclaimed the sovereignty.
The declaration, however, was not recognized by the United States....

(the "war")

there were 4,196 American soldiers dead, It is estimated that some 34,000 Filipino soldiers lost their lives and as many as 200,000 civilians may have died
The Philippine-American War Centennial Initiative gives an estimate of 510,000 civilian deaths, and 20,000 military deaths, excluding 100,000 deaths from the Moro Rebellion.

General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order "KILL EVERY ONE OVER TEN".
"I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States"
Sergeant Hallock testified in the Lodge Committee that natives were given the water cure, order to secure information of the murder of Private O'Herne of Company I, who had been not only killed, but roasted and otherwise tortured before death ensued..

During the closing months of 1899 Emilio Aguinaldo attempted to counter General Otis.s account by suggesting that neutral parties . foreign journalists or representatives of the International Red Cross . inspect his military operations. Otis refused, but Emilio Aguinaldo managed to smuggle in four reporters . two English, one Canadian, and a Japanese . into the Philippines. The correspondents returned to Manila to report that American captives were .treated more like guests than prisoners,. were .fed the best that the country affords, and everything is done to gain their favor.. The story went on to say that American prisoners were offered commissions in the Filipino army and that three had accepted

Emilio Aguinaldo also released some American prisoners so they could tell their own stories. In a Boston Globe article entitled .With the Goo Goo.s. Paul Spillane described his fair treatment as a prisoner. Emilio Aguinaldo had even invited American captives to the christening of his baby and had given each a present of four dollars, Spillane recounted.

Naval Lieutenant J.C. Gilmore, whose release was forced by American cavalry pursuing Aguinaldo into the mountains, insisted that he had received .considerable treatment. and that he was no more starved than were his captors. Otis responded to these two articles by ordering the .capture. of the two authors, and that they be .investigated., therefore questioning their loyalty

When F.A. Blake of the International Red Cross arrived at Emilio Aguinaldo.s request, Otis kept him confined to Manila, where Otis.s staff explained all of the Filipinos' violations of civilized warfare. Blake managed to slip away from an escort and venture into the field. Blake never made it past American lines, but even within American lines he saw burned out villages and .horribly mutilated bodies, with stomachs slit open and occasionally decapitated.. Blake waited to return to San Francisco, where he told one reporter that .American soldiers are determined to kill every Filipino in sight.."

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posted by u2r2h at 9:35 AM


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