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November 11 2011

China's role in world history? | 2011-11-09

People sometimes want to make large statements about China's future in the coming fifty years. These range from a Sinocentric paen -- "The twenty-first century will be marked by a hegemonic China on the world stage", to the dubious -- "China's polity will ultimately shatter under the pressures of regional inequalities and competing political interests among elites." Generally speaking all these large claims seem a bit Hegelian to me; I don't think we can make large predictions about the course of world history. So I don't think that China's role is pre-ordained.

That said, a few things seem fairly clear in China's present, and these features have some implications for the future as well.

One is that China has embarked an a remarkable expansion of its university system in the past twenty years, and these efforts have turned the corner when it comes to the production of talented young people and significant, original innovations in science and technology. There are now something like 15 million university students in China, including a significant percentage in the elite national universities. This is something like a 15-fold increase in the past 30 years. China's research centers in many areas of technology and engineering are world-class today, and they are getting better every year. This means that China will have the talent needed to confront almost any large technological problem. Think of the Great Wall, planned and implemented by a million talented new engineering graduates. For example, the concentration on optoelectronics in Wuhan in universities, research centers, and private companies seems to make it highly likely that China will be a leader in this field in the future. So the idea that many in the West have that the universities in Europe, Australia, or North America are of higher quality, or that the research that takes place in the West is more innovative, seem to be based on wishful thinking rather than sober factual analysis. If the West has an edge in any of these areas today, it is one that is likely enough to disappear in the medium-term future.

It is also worth noting that there is a very high degree of exchange of talent between China and the West. Many of the scientists and leaders one meets in universities and research institutes have done some or all of their advanced training in the United States or the UK or have spent time there as post-doctoral students. I'm sure there are "styles" of Chinese research organization that are distinct from Western models. But there seems to be no reason at all to expect that the rate of new discovery in the future will be substantially different in the West and in China. And given that China is establishing a larger base of research resources, this seems to imply that the production of innovation will shift to China.

Second, and related to this first idea, China's leaders and guiding ministries are very deliberately seeking to steer China's economic activities up the value chain. Much of China's growth in the past thirty years was based on low-wage manufacturing. But China's leaders inside and outside of government are very explicit in their goals of shifting to higher-level goods and services -- exactly the areas where European and American leaders hope to dominate. Moreover, China seems to be much more deliberate than Western governments about the need to invest in the infrastructure that will provide the basis of this transformation. China has invested massively in transportation, research centers, and universities throughout the country. These investments are synergistic: they make the next steps of high-end development multiplicative rather than additive. The coordination and cooperation that are facilitated by high-speed rail and air connections amplify the ability of researchers, planners, and entrepreneurs to bring their projects to completion. And the investment funds made available by further economic growth success in turn amplify the state's ability, and the growing private sector's ability, to make expanded investment in the following periods.

These factors would point us in the direction of expecting China to move to a position of global economic preeminence in a fairly short period of time. However, contemporary China has obstacles to further progress that are fairly large as well.

One of these handicaps is the governing party's fundamental view of the appropriate flow of information within society. The government seems to take the position that it needs to carefully manage the access to information that the public is able to gain. Its willingness to censor the Internet for its citizens is a symptom of this view. Chinese society would be stronger if there were a fundamental rethinking of openness about information. And eventually China's leaders will need to recognize that Chinese society is stronger, not weaker, when citizens can freely express their views and interests.

Second is the fact of persistent inequalities in Chinese society, by sector (rural-urban), by status (resident and well educated / migrant and poorly educated), and by region (coastal-western regions). These inequalities will eventually hold China back -- they reduce the talent pool and they stimulate resentment and disassociation among the disadvantaged groups.

Third, government non-accountability and its cousin, corruption, create serious obstacles to effective forward progress. The apparent problems of accountability and perhaps corruption that came to light in the railroad ministry a few months ago cast a shadow about the integrity of the rapid expansion of high speed rail -- from safety procedures to construction standards to administrative effectiveness. So more accountability and transparency will be needed in the future, or else China's major aspirations will be frustrated by ineffective implementation.

These are fairly systemic factors that seem likely to impede China's progress in the future. Here is a fact that will seem trivial by comparison, but I think it is not. It is the factor of traffic and pedestrian safety. Each city I've visited has a traffic environment that can only be described as barely constrained anarchy. Drivers cross four lanes of traffic to make an abrupt right turn; motor bikes roar up the inner lane in the wrong direction; traffic snarls to a stop when a bus gets sideways at an intersection; pedestrians try to make their way across eight lanes of non-stop vehicles; drivers hurtle towards pedestrians and bicyclists until they scatter. This sounds trivial (until you're caught in the middle of those eight lanes of traffic), but it seems to reflect a more basic and important fact. Doesn't sound urban planning involve careful design of a traffic system that keeps vehicles moving in the same direction; where pedestrians are largely separated from vehicles; and where signals and road design permit safe pedestrian crossing? And yet those rational plans seem not to have been developed in China's cities. One possible reason is that China's planners have simply not given sufficient priority to creating rules and structures that protect the public's interests -- whether in traffic control or in food safety. Build the buildings, stimulate the economic growth, and don't worry too much about the consequences. If this is correct, it too indicates a feature that will interfere with China's future development.

In brief, contemporary China seems to display dynamic properties that point in contradictory directions. On the one hand, any visitor can see the dynamic, fast-moving creativity and intelligence that are transforming China and its universities and businesses. On the other hand, there are barriers to "business as usual" development that perhaps set limits to how much further China can go without some important reforms. And it's possible that the governing party may find those reforms to be unacceptable for one reason or another.

So the Owl of Minerva still has its wings quietly folded when it comes to China's role in future world history. It remains for China's people and its governing institutions to write the story.

Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

October 31 2011

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Naomi Klein - The Paradox of Crisis - Youtube video ~25min

Uploaded by TransitionTownTotnes on Mar 24, 2011

Looking at the various crises going on around the world, what are the challenges ahead and the opportunities for us as a community? Can we meet these challenges skillfully? World-renowned activist Naomi Klein, author of 'No Logo' and 'The Shock Doctrine', on a rare visit to Totnes, hosts an evening of discussion and participation. All welcome
Reposted bydatenwolfcheg00

Egyptian Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah Detained for 15 Days Pending Military Investigation

Egypt’s veteran blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah (@alaa) was detained today (Sunday, Oct. 30) for 15 days pending investigation after refusing to be interrogated by a military investigator, insisting on his right to be tried before a civil court.

Alaa was called in for investigation last week in light of the Maspiro events in Cairo, where 27 people died and many more were injured after the army cracked down on a Christian-majority demonstration. Alaa was very active in the aftermath of these tragic events, and spent two days at the morgue alongside other activists in solidarity with the victims’ families, while trying to convince them to agree to autopsies and trying to make sure the reports of the autopsies are correctly documented. Alaa wrote a very moving piece of that experience in Al Shorouk newspaper (a translation of which can be found here) in which he repeatedly reminded everyone that solidarity is the way out of any problems in Egypt.

Alaa was in San Francisco when he was called to the investigation last week. His father, veteran human rights lawyer Ahmed Seif El Islam Abdel Fattah, appeared in court and asked for the case to be postponed. Alaa came back to Cairo on Saturday afternoon and appeared in court on Sunday morning. The military prosecutor has filed five charges against him including demonstrating, inciting to demonstrate, assaulting military personnel, destroying public property, and stealing military weapons. Alaa, whose sister Mona Seif (@monasosh) is one of the founders of the No to Military Trials for Civilians group, insisted to be interrogated before a civic judge, especially in light of the fact that the army is facing law suits accusing it as a defendant in the same case, which constitutes a clear conflict of interest. He was detained as a result pending further military investigation.

Alaa has been very active on the blogging scene in Egypt since 2004, when he and his wife Manal Hassan (@manal) started the award-winner blog and aggregator Manal and Alaa’s Bit Bucket ( Both bloggers have been very active online and offline in fighting the old regime in Egypt and making sure cases of corruption and police brutality were broken into traditional media. Alaa was detained before in 2006 for 45 days.

Many believe Alaa’s detention comes as a warning to other bloggers and political activists as another step in a series of violations against freedom of expression committed by the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt. Several bloggers were interrogated and/or detained including Asmaa Mahfouz, Hossam El Hamalawy, Loai Nagati, and Maikel Nabil, who has been on a hunger strike since August 22.

The No to Military Trials for Civilians group has published a press release condemning Alaa’s arrest in the strong possible words, and asking for his immediate release, together with the other 12,000 victims of military trials in Egypt, who should at least be retried before a civil court. The group called upon Egyptians to refuse to cooperate with military interrogation and to support the cause of No to Military Trials for Civilians. You can read the press release in its entirety here.


From my Colorado Street Medic friends: info on chemical weapons and self defense
by Flora Lee Bernard on Sunday, 30 October 2011 at 16:51

There is a lot of bad information circulating around Occupy Denver about chemical weapons and how to treat them. Here are our protocols that we use for Tear Gas and Pepper Spray. Circulate very widely.

Please use this information to prepare yourself and your friends. To run as a Street Medic, please attend a training. You can also attend health and safety classes taught by Street Medics for more in depth education.

Remember that none of these effects are universal. People respond very differently to chemical weapons

ALSO! These weapons are primarily weapons of fear. One of the best things everyone can do is help spread calm to panicking people, walk away from the scene (don't run!) and get people to medics.

There is a lot of bad information and stupid protocol out there. Be aware when you go online or read things.

Being Prepared

  • NEVER wear contacts to a demonstration.

  • Dress in layers

  • Wear sunscreen regularly every day year-round, especially in Colorado. Oil-free is best, but in Colorado particularly it is always better to wear sunscreen rather than be exposed to chemical weapons on a sunburn

  • Wear closed toed shoes that are broken in with socks

  • Do not wear dangling earrings. Take out facial piercings

  • Bring a change of clothing (at least a shirt) sealed in a plastic bag

  • Do not bring animals to a demonstration

  • Be aware that there are additional health risks posed to children, elders, people with chronic medical problems (like asthma, COPD and heart conditions) and those that are pregnant. Street Medics strongly encourage these groups of people to avoid scenes with potential for chemical weapons (i.e. police are holding them, in riot gear, etc)

Tear Gas

Deployed by canisters which are fired or thrown in grenades into a crowd. These canisters are also full of smoke. Sometimes they will have BBs and other projectiles mixed in. Tear Gas is not commonly used in busy urban areas, especially in Denver, as it lingers in the air for prolonged periods. The effects of tear gas diminish drastically once you move away from the gas.


  • Irritation: eyes, skin, mucous membranes

  • Breathing trouble

  • Nausea & vomiting

  • Panic

  • Damage to the eyes (if you are wearing contacts)

Tear gas can have long terms side effects such as flu-like symptoms, disruption to menstrual cycles and other complications.

Pepper Spray

Deployment: A foam or liquid fired from canisters, guns that look like super-soakers, swabbed onto the skin (done in prisons/jails, sit-ins and tree sits) and pepper balls (paint balls filled with concentrated powdered capsaicin)


  • Panic

  • Burning

  • Nausea

  • Breathing problems

Eye and Respiratory Protection

Eyes: Swim goggles with rubber seals and no foam will protect eyes sufficiently. Do not wear contacts even if you have eye protection!

Respiratory: A bandana soaked in apple cider vinegar and sealed in a ziploc bag is the easiest protection to wear. Tie this over the mouth and nose when you suspect weapons will be deployed. Wearing a dry bandana underneath can make the smell more tolerable. These are relatively short acting, so once weapons are deployed, make an exit. A respirator with N95 Chemical Particulate filters can be found at most hardware stores and will also work. Note: Respirators do not work if you have facial hair.

Gas Masks: Make sure your mask does not have glass lenses, as these will shatter and damage the eye. Gas masks are hot and hard to wear. If you get a gas mask, practice putting it on until you can do so smoothly and running in it. See if you can seriously wear one for prolonged periods of time.

What To Do

  • Evacuate the area. Walk. Encourage others to walk.

  • Find a medic or someone that can do an eye wash.

  • Do not rub your eyes.

Eye washes

Eye washes are a forceful flush of water in the eyes. We use the squeezable bike water bottles (NOT drinking water bottles.) NEVER use anything but water for eye washes. WATER ONLY. Street Medics can teach you how to do an eye wash. Do not touch your face or rub your eyes.

You may hear about using something called LAW (liquid antacid and water) for pepper spray in eyes. Many medic collective have success with LAW. However, there are specific risks and instructions for making and using LAW. Unless you have received this training, use WATER ONLY


Washing skin with castile soap is the best way to get chemical weapons off. Wash so that water runs away from the eyes and use cold water.


After being exposed to chemical weapons, it is important to remember that there will be a residue remaining on your clothing long after you are actually exposed to the chemicals. If you enter and sort of closed space while wearing contaminated clothing, the residue from your clothes will contaminate the room.

How to properly decontaminate:

  1. As soon as possible, and before entering an uncontaminated area, remove any exposed clothing and any other articles that may have been contaminated, tightly seal them in a plastic bag, and mark the bag “contaminated”.

  2. Shower in the coldest water you can possibly stand, scrubbing with soap. Do not use warm/hot water and do not take a bath.

  3. Wash contaminated clothes in a harsh detergent, dumping them straight from the sealed bag into the washing machine.

After exposure to chemical weapons, be sure to drink a lot of water. Be aware that these weapons contain chemicals that can have lasting health issues. Eating healthy foods (leafy greens, grains), avoiding drugs/alcohol and being more health conscious after an action can help you recover faster.

A few important things to remember in general:

  1. If you are hurt or need a medic and can walk, please come to our marked treatment areas or approach us

  2. If you cannot move or see someone that cannot move, yell "MEDIC"

  3. Many people have valuable training in medicine, but Street Medic trainings use specific and time tested methods for protest specific injuries. Please do not represent yourself as a street medic or intervene in Street Medic treatments. We would be happy to do a bridge training so you can run with us or help set up a role for you if you contact us in advance.

— Via Joe Brown at oAnth - Diaspora* | info on chemical weapons and self defense | 2011-10-31
Reposted by99percent 99percent

October 30 2011


Friedrich Kittler 1943 - 2011 | in memoriam - obituaries - Nachrufe

Friedrich Kittler obituary | 2011-10-21

Philosopher and media theorist known as the 'Derrida of the digital age'

For Friedrich Kittler, both technology and education should be open and free | 2011-10-29

The late German theorist was a great admirer of Bletchley Park – and championed an approach that valued arts and science


Zum Tod von Friedrich Kittler | 2011-10-18

Zum Tod von Friedrich Kittler sind heute im Laufe des Tages die ersten Nachrufe erschienen. Es folgte eine Zusammenstellung der interessantesten Artikel, ganz subjektiv absteigend gewichtet:

Egypt: Blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah Detained for 15 Days

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Activist and blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah has been detained for 15 days, after refusing to be interrogated by the Military Prosecutor, in protest against its legitimacy.

He appeared at the Military Prosecutor, along with fellow activist Bahaa Saber, today as supporters gathered outside, denouncing military trials. Since January 28, more than 12,000 civilians have been tried by military courts in Egypt. Abd El Fattah has since been transferred to prison, while Saber will soon be released.

Both activists were imprisoned in 2006 under Hosni Mubarak's regime.

Sharif Kouddous notes:

@sharifkouddous: Unbelievable. @alaa and Bahaa get 15 days detention sparking outrage from supporters outside

Bahaa Saber, left, and Alaa Abd El Fattah outside the court earlier today. Photo by Sharif Kouddous

Lawyer Gamal Eid tweets the allegations against Alaa, Bahaa and Mina Daniel, who was killed in the October 9 Maspero massacre. He writes [ar]:

الاتهامات الموجهة للنشطاء: التحريض التجمهر والاستيلاء على سلاح للقوات المسلحة ، واتلاف منشأت عسكرية

@gamaleid: The activists are accused of: instigating gatherings, overtaking the armed forces weapons and damaging military equipment

He adds:

علاء سيف رفض التحقيق من النيابة العسكرية باعتبارها تابعة للجيش ، والجيش نفسه متهم في الجريمة وبالتلي لا يجوز لمتهم ان يحقق مع متهم أخ

@gamaleid: Alaa Seif refused to be interrogated by the Military Prosecutor because it is part of the army and the army itself is accused in the crime. It is illegal for an accused to interrogate another accused party

Alaa's sister Mona Seif notes [ar]:

علاء و بهاء موقفهم كان قوي لأنهم رفضوا يعترفوا بشرعية النيابة العسكرية

@Monasosh: Alaa and Bahaa's stance was strong because they refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the military prosecutor.

Mohamed Abdelfattah reacts:

@mfatta7: Salutations to the courage of @alaa as he refuses 2b interrogated by the military authority he is actually accusing.

Jonathan Rashad adds:

@JonathanRashad: It's kind of ironic to see @alaa facing mil prosecution fall 2011 when his sister @Monasosh has been fighting mil trials since spring 2011.

And Jonathan Moremi asks:

@Jonamorem: What about the promise not to try civilians in front of military court anymore, Tantawi? Is lying all #SCAF can do? #FreeAlaa #noMilTrials

Along with many others, Gigi Ibrahim is livid Daniel is among those accused. She tweets:

@Gsquare86: They killed Mina Daniel and he is dead and they are charging him of “inciting violence” ?!!! #WTF #SCAF has gone metal

At the time this post was published, Bahaa Saber was still being interrogated.

Mona Seif tweeted [ar]:

بهاء صابر لسة التحقيق معاه مأخلصش
@Monasosh: Bahaa Saber is still being interrogated. He is not done yet.

Further Reading:

Egyptian Blogger's Summons Adds Fuel to Campaign Against Military Trials

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

October 29 2011

via Marine Veteran Whose Skull Was Fractured In Oakland Protests Was Peacefully Standing When Attacked by Police

Did Oakland Police Intentionally Shoot Marine Vet Scott Olsen In the Head?

( article with several videos, and photographs - 2011-10-28)
Reposted by99percentkrekkeat-slow

October 28 2011


U B U W E B - Film & Video: Walter Benjamin - One Way Street: Fragments for Walter Benjamin (1993)

Duration: 58 min.
Directed by John Hughes

One way street explores the life and work of German Jewish critic and philosopher, Walter Benjamin, who died escaping the Gestapo in 1940. Although Benjamin's work is little known in this country, he is regarded in Europe as one of the most influential figures in 20th Century thought.

One way street provides clear and accessible introductions to some of the central ideas in Benjamin's writings. Expert commentary from a range of English scholars situate Benjamin's work in the context of their time and evoke a sense of the excitement that his work has generated. A heightened visual style, montage structure and strong musical treatments correspond in evocative and powerful ways with the concerns and the strategies of Benjamin himself.

Egypt: Yet Another Case of Post-Revolution Torture

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

On the eve of the day Egyptians decided they will flock back to Tahrir Square to “reclaim their revolution,” shocking news added a further reminder why this revolution is far from over.

Al Nadeem Center for the rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence announced on its Facebook page :

as a punishment for his smuggling of a mobile sim card to his cell in Turah Prison, Essam Ali Atta who was sentenced to two years in prison by a military tribunal on February 25th, was brutally tortured via inserting water hoses in his mouse and anus. He was transported, without the knowledge of his parents, to the Qasr El Eini hospital were he died

The Facebook page of Egypt's famous martyr Khaled Said later published a photograph of Atta's corpse
and repeated claims that his death was the result of physical torture.

The news of Atta's shocking death caused an uproar on social media websites, particularly Twitter, where users anxiously followed the updates of lawyer Malek Adly as he went down to provide legal support for the family of the victim.

Adly reported on his account that he saw the body of Essam Atta and that it was:

أنا شفت جثمان عصام الله يرحمه مفيهوش إصابات بس هدومه متقطعه وبيجيب مياه من فتحات جسمه
@malekadly: I saw Essam Atta's body. He was not injured but his clothes were torn and there was fluid pouring from every opening in his body

He later tweeted that the official reason for his death:

قئ دموي حاد أدي لهبوط حاد ف الدوره الدمويه وتوقف عضلة القلب نتيجة تسمم غير معروف..دا الثابت ف المحضر 5537 إداري مصر القديمه
@malekadly: Vomiting blood that led to a circulatory failure and his heart stopped beating as a result of unknown poisoning. This is what's been written in report no. 5537 in the police district of Misr Al Qadima

Adly's tweets drove some tweeps like Adel Salib and Peter Ramzy to go down to the Zeinhom morgue, where the body was, to support Atta's family.

Activist Mona Saif, the coordinator of the No to Military Trials for Civilians group, provided more information about Atta's case.

“Essam Ali Atta, 23, was sentenced to two years in front of a military tribunal. We were in the process of appealing this sentence but he died today as a result of torture.”

Reactions on Twitter were mostly anger and frustration; tweeps created the hashtag #EssamAtta to express their frustration that a practice such as systematic torture still exists in post-revolution Egypt.

The incident came two days after the case of Khaled Said ended with a seven-year verdict against the informer and the police corporal responsible for his death. The verdict was seen by many as “too lenient” and blamed the judiciary system who treated the case as Second degree murder as a result of severe beating instead of a First-degree murder.

It seems that frustration with the performance of Egypt's ruling military council in leading the transitional period is mounting and some say that a confrontation is looming on the horizon.

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

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Right-Wing Filmmaker Gives Away Bongs And Che Guevara Rolling Papers At Occupy Wall Street | Addicting Info2011-10-26
Reposted by99percentjiivankrekk

October 27 2011

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Egyptian Activists: We Are Happy to See Occupy Wall Street Movement Stand Up For Justice - YouTube

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Uploaded by yt-account democracynow on Oct 27, 2011 - A pair of Egyptian police officers were sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison for the beating death of 28 year-old man. The 2010 killing of Khaled Said helped to spark the Egyptian revolution that ultimately toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak. The officers were both charged with manslaughter. Members of Said's family and pro-democracy protesters argued the sentence was too light. Two Egyptian youth leaders, Ahmed Maher and Basem Fathy, are interviewed on Democracy Now! about Egypt after the fall of Mubarak, as well as the growing protests they have witnessed n the United States. "Regarding the Occupy movement ... we are — in the April 6th Movement and the activists in Egypt — standing for very clear values: social justice and democracy, and justice in general," says Fathy. "We're going to support this everywhere, and let's say frankly, that we're happy for finding the people trying to correct the bad way of democracy, even in the United States."

For the complete transcript, podcast, and for additional Democracy Now! reports on the Egyptian revolution and the Occupy movement sweeping the U.S. and around the world, visit
Reposted by99percent 99percent

#economics #politics #anarchism

  • Global Resilience Requires Novelty – A Speech by Buzz Holling link
  • Deric Shannon: What Do We Mean By “Works”? Anarchist Economics and the Occupy X Movement link

#agriculture #food #urbanfarming

  • Worst Food Additive Ever? It's in Half of All Foods We Eat and Its Production Destroys Rainforests and Enslaves Children link
  • Marc Alt on Hacking the Food System: Urban Rural Global Local link

#arduino #diy #openhardware

  • The Making of Arduino link
  • Open-source hardware… coming from Facebook? link

#floss #gimp

  • Subtle patterns available for GIMP link
— links by Julien Guigner via oAnth at Diaspora* | 2011-10-27
Play fullscreen
2011-10-26 - Growing Gap, with Robert Reich - Countdown with Keith Olbermann - Occupy movement
yt-account MiniRtist
Reposted by99percentlaflacaeat-slowkrekk
Play fullscreen
satirical and subversive one-man anti-corporativism activism in UK

via oAnth at Diaspora*
Reposted bykrekkdombi99percent

October 26 2011

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Chris Hedges interviewed in a Canadian TV show

Video text [complete quote] by [yt-account] AgendaStevePaikin on Oct 25, 2010

// Read our blog "Chris Hedges is Mad as Hell"
Subscribe to The Agenda's podcast:

American journalist and author Chris Hedges will discuss his upcoming book "Death of the Liberal Class", where he laments the failure of the liberal class to act as a moderating influence in public life - and has allowed for the rise of radicalism - the very threat to liberal democracy. //


text added by oAnth


Reposted fromunbill unbill
02mydafsoup-01 - privat war gestern - logo - startseite
Hier gibt es den Bundestrojaner zum Download [nur für Mutige - oAnth]!
Reposted byeat-slowtcmphr33kdarksideofthemoon

October 24 2011


j-node: the network of global corporate control - revisited | James Glattfelder - 2011-10-03

complex systems, vast amounts of data and self-organization...
We spend billions of dollars trying to understand the origins of the universe, while we still don't understand the conditions for a stable society, a functioning economy, or peace.
(D. Helbing quoted from here)

The upcoming publication The Network of Global Corporate Control has gained some attention in the news (, and the blogosphere (for instance,, and Because some reactions have been particularly hostile, for instance Ms. Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism (see also our responses here and in their comment section), or have inspired the conspiracy theory camp, please let me recapitulate what our paper is and isn't and address some of the voiced concerns, in order to avoid misconceptions.


Egypt: Catch the Former Regime Remnants

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011.

Last April, an Egyptian court ordered the dissolution of the political organization that had ruled the nation for decades, the National Democratic Party (NDP). At the time, the verdict was considered by many, including the Egyptian blogger, Zeinobia, as one of the achievements of the revolution, and a punishment for those who contaminated the political life in Egypt during Mubarak's era.

She wrote:

This long waited verdict is the best slap on the arrogance of the NDP members “former members to be accurate” who do not want to give up and admit the crimes they have committed against this great nation.

Since then the word “Felool” [ar], which translates to the “remnants of the former regime”, has become the newest addition to the daily vocabulary of Egyptians. Mohammad Salah described the meaning of the word in more detail:

Between seriousness and comedy, the word “remnants” has become the most frequently used word within Egyptian circles after the Revolution. The remnants are the defeated, or the leftovers of the former regime: whether those who worked within the executive apparatus and assumed high-ranking government positions; prominent figures of the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP); MPs in the People’s Assembly and Shura Council who would gain their seats through fraud; or people affiliated with the Mubarak regime even if they did not work in the government or engaged in politics directly – such as businessmen, celebrities, artists, football players and people the regime would use to promote itself or to justify certain behavior, allow certain decisions to pass and promote the issue of Mubarak’s son inheriting the presidency!

And while the Egyptians are getting themselves ready for the parliamentary elections in November, the remnants of Mubarak regime became a serious issue to many of them. Some former members of the NDP launched new political parties, and some others will run independently. Even when it comes to other established parties, some of them decided to rely on the popularity of some ex-NDP members to gain more seats in parliament.

Azza Sedky wrote how Al-Wafd - one of the oldest Egyptian parties - is accused of integrating ex-members of the National Democratic Party into its lists.

She explained:

However, even the Wafd seems to be having issues with its lists, as certain members insist on running in the parliamentary polls, while the party's high commission thinks otherwise. Mostafa El-Gendy, who recently resigned from the party, was among those who censured the Wafd for allegedly integrating ex-members of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) into its lists.

Also Ramy Mahrous tweeted:

@RamyMahrous: Ayman @ayman_shweky claims some Parliament candidates belong to “Alwast” Party are ex-NDP #Matrouh #Egypt #Parliament #Elections

Issues like this resulted in many arguments either within the parties or between different parties within political blocs, and Bassem Sabry reported one of those example in his blog:

Reasons for the split include ex-NDP members running with the Egyptian Bloc, and also (of course) the allocation of seats within the Bloc.

A list of ndp spin-off parties, tweeted by maram adel

One of the proposed solutions was a law that bans members of the former Egyptian ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections. However, this caused much controversy as some political forces view it as necessary for a real democracy in Egypt, while others have criticized it for setting a precedent of political isolation.

Such a law is still being studied by the Higher Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), and it is hard to wait for it with the elections around the corner, so some revolutionary youth came out with another solution. They created a new platform under the name Emsek-flol (Catch the former regime remnants) to list all those former NDP members and the electoral districts they are going to run in. Zeinobia blogged about the website here:

Just like Catch a thief Egyptian political groups and activists including April 6th Youth , Revolution Youth coalition and The Egyptian National Council “Mamdouh Hamza” have launched a great website that called :
This fantastic website includes all the names of ex-NDP leaders and important members as well former NDP members of the parliament , local councils and NDP’s headquarters in all our governorates. It is huge fantastic work. You can find names based on governorates with brief details about their positions in the NDP.
The most interesting section is the cadres of the NDP , its leaders. That list includes very powerful businessmen who are untouched up till now. The website includes the names of the parties made by the NDP remnants, of course they are more than 8 now.

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011.

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