Posted by: quiscus | May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012

1. “Songs of War

We follow a Sesame Street composer as he learns how his music has been used to torture detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Award-winning musician Christopher Cerf has composed music for the famous children’s television show Sesame Street for 40 years. During this time, he has written more than 200 songs intended to help children learn how to read and write.

But these innocent children’s songs were abused for inhumane purposes.

“It is music’s capacity to take over your mind and invade your inner experience that makes it so terrifying as a potential weapon.”

– Thomas Keenan, the director of the Human Right’s Project at Bard College

In 2003, it transpired that US intelligence services had tortured detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib with music from Sesame Street.”

2. “Germany’s six-point plan for sweatshop Europe

It is now common practice to smash up wages and workers’ rights by initiating bankruptcy proceedings. The best known case is the American auto giant General Motors, which laid off 30,000 workers, slashed wages in half for new-hires, and cut retiree benefits. If the German government gets its way, this procedure will be applied to entire countries.

According to a report in the news magazine Der Spiegel, the chancellery in Berlin has drawn up a six-point plan for far-reaching “structural reforms” in Greece and other highly indebted European Union countries. The plan includes the sale of state enterprises, the gutting of employment protection rights, the promotion of a low-wage labor sector, the removal of constraints on businesses, and the establishment of special economic zones and privatization agencies modeled on the German Treuhand.

The model for the privatization agencies recommended by the experts in the chancellor’s office is the Treuhand, which obliterated the industrial landscape of East Germany following the collapse of the Stalinist regime in 1989. Run by hand-picked confidants of big business and the banks and not answerable to any democratic bodies, the Treuhand decided the fate of millions. It sold off 8,500 companies with 45,000 facilities at fire-sale prices or simply shut them down. Only a small fraction of the original 4 million industrial jobs remained.

The term “protectorate” evokes ghastly memories. British imperialism referred to its former colonies as protectorates when it permitted local puppets, as in Egypt and several Gulf sheikdoms, to play at being heads of state. In run-up to World War II the term became infamous following the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia and establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

At the same time, the European Union is preparing for Greek national bankruptcy and the exit of Greece from the euro. The Euro Working Group, a committee of the finance ministries of all 17 euro countries, has instructed all governments to prepare emergency plans for a Greek euro exit. In Greece itself, the ruling class is secretly drawing up plans to use the military to crush popular opposition to the austerity measures.

Greece makes clear what confronts the working class throughout Europe. Nearly four years after the eruption of the global financial crisis, democratic structures are collapsing and the representatives of the financial and corporate elite are defending their rule by endless attacks on wages, jobs and social programs.

The working class can counter this offensive only by closing ranks internationally and fighting for a socialist program. The task is not to reform the European Union but to mobilize the working class for its overthrow and replacement by the United Socialist States of Europe.”

3. “If Violent Crime Rate is at 40-Year Low, Why is U.S. Spending S100 Billion a Year on Police?”


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