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Daily Archives: 29/01/2011

(@marcinhosavant) URGENT MESSAGE FROM ACTIVIST IN EGYPT. PLEASE REPOST IF YOU CAN!

Alicia Ali Marsden

To all the people of world

The people in Egypt are under governmental siege. Mubarak regime is banning Facebook, Twitter, and all other popular internet sites Now, the internet are completely blocked in Egypt. Tomorrow the government will block the 3 mobile phone network will be completely blocked.

And there is news that even the phone landlines will be cut tomorrow, to prevent any news agency from following what will happen.

Suez city is already under siege now. The government cut the water supply and electricity, people, including, children and elderly are suffering there now. The patients in hospitals cannot get urgent medical care. The injured protesters are lying in the streets and the riot police are preventing people from helping them. The families of the killed protesters cannot get the bodies of their sons to bury them. This picture is the same in north Saini (El-Sheikh zoyad city) and in western Egypt (Al-salom). The riot police is cracking down on protesters in Ismailia, Alexandria, Fayoum, Shbin Elkoum, and Cairo, the capital, in many neighborhoods across the city.

The government is preparing to crackdown on the protesters in all Egyptian cities. They are using tear gas bombs, rubber and plastic pullets, chemicals like dilutes mustard gas against protesters. Several protesters today have been killed when the armored vehicles of the riot police hit them. Officials in plain clothes carrying blades and knives used to intimidate protesters. Thugs deployed by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior are roaming the streets of Cairo, setting fire on car-wheels as means of black propaganda to demonize protesters and justify police beatings and state torture

All this has been taken place over the past three days during the peaceful demonstrations in Cairo and other cities. Now, with the suspicious silence of the local media and the lack of coverage from the international media, Mubarak and his gang are blocking all the channels that can tell the world about what is happening.

People who call for their freedom need your support and help. Will you give them a hand?

The activists are flooding the net (youtube and other sites) with thousands of pictures and videos showing the riot police firing on armless people. The police started to use ammunition against protesters. 15-year old girl has been injured and another 25 year old man has been shot in the mouth. While nothing of these has appeared in the media, there is more to happen tomorrow. Will you keep silent? Will you keep your mouth shut while seeing all these cruelty and inhumane actions?

We don’t ask for much, just broadcast what is happening

Written by: Mariam Hussien

Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/8fflmc

(c4ss.org) I’m frequently asked how an anarchist society would deal with things like pollution and other kinds of corporate malfeasance in the absence of a regulatory state.

One remedy commonly put forward by market anarchists is tort liability, enforced by local juries or arbitration services. For example, a corporation that spilled large quantities of gasoline and polluted the groundwater would be sued by the farmers whose wells were affected.

Libertarian writer Don Boudreaux (“Demsetz on the Costs of Markets,” Cafe Hayek, Jan. 21)  cites economist Harold Demsetz to the effect that property rights (like the right to clean air) may go unprotected in a free market because protection costs too much. The transaction costs of defining the property rights, assigning a market value to them, and identifying and punishing violations, are simply more than it’s worth to those who are protected.

If this is the case, Boudreaux’s argument essentially mirrors that of progressives:
That the prevention of pollution is a public good. They simply disagree on whether the market’s forbearance is a “market failure” or a rational allocation of resources away from an activity that’s just not worth it.

I don’t think either is correct.

If we look at the actual historical record of how tort liability law has dealt with negative externalities like pollution, it’s clear that the state has had a huge effect on shifting the comparative transaction costs of enforcing different kinds of property rights in a particular direction — namely, reducing the costs for large property owners (in particular firms in extractive industries) to enforce their rights against squatters and trespassers, while increasing the costs of small interests enforcing (for example) rights against polluters.

The bare act of large-scale engrossment of vacant land by the early American state, followed by large-scale land grants or grants of preferential access to favored railroad, mining, drilling, timber and ranching interests, is one example.

Another is the changes which American courts made in common law liability rules, as described by Morton Horwitz in “The Transformation of American Law.” The common law of liability was substantially changed in the early decades of the nineteenth century to protect businesses against liability for things that were regarded as a normal part of doing business, even if it resulted in real harms to third parties.

Yet a third example is the twentieth century regulatory state, which preempted common law liability altogether and created safe harbors for those who met its dumbed-down standards. In functional terms, this was a direct continuation of the process Horwitz described. A polluter who meets EPA standards can point to that as a legal defense, even if a plaintiff can marshal good scientific evidence that the pollution caused her significant harm.

According to Gabriel Kolko, in “The Triumph of Conservatism,” a good deal of the Progressive Era regulatory agenda was actually promoted by the regulated industries, as a way of creating de facto regulatory cartels that would apply the same standards to an entire industry across the board — thereby removing the subject matter of the regulations as an issue of cost competition between firms in the industry.

In fact, in some industries we actually see federal regulatory standards being used as a pretext by some businesses for preventing their competitors from voluntarily adhering to standards more stringent than those set by the regulatory authorities.

So we have not had a free marketplace, where civil protections against pollution and other tortious activity never arose because the transaction costs were too high. What we have actually had is a state capitalist marketplace, where the state artificially raised the transaction costs of enforcing civil protections against pollution — and thereby reduced the transaction costs of pollution.

As always, it’s not a question of what we’ll do when the state stops solving the problem. It’s a question of how to stop the state from creating the problem.

by Kevin Carson

Source: http://c4ss.org/content/5915

(eitb.com) Workers in the Basque Country are staging a general strike to protest government plans to raise the retirement age to 67 from 65 despite resistance from opposition parties and labour unions as part of austerity measures searching to slash its budget deficit and overcome recession.

This is the first general strike in the Basque Country in 2010 and marks a divorce between nationalist and non-nationalist unions. Basque unions LAB, STEE-EILAS, EHNE and HIRU support the call for a general strike whereas CC.OO and UGT do not support the call and are trying to reach an agreement with the Spanish Government.

The strike goes under the name of “No to the sacking of the pensions”. Read more…

(Wlcentral.org) 01/29/2011 by clayclai – Now that Mubarak is trying to pull the plug on the Internet in Egypt, the hacker activist group Anonymous is going Old-School, dusting off the old fax machines and using them to agitate for change in Egypt.

According to the website Fast Company:

Members of the group are organizing to fax copies of the Egypt-related cables that WikiLeaks released today to schools in Egypt. The hope apparently is that if they can get the faxes into the hands of students, students will distribute them to other protesters. A source told Forbes the goal was to warn them that the police could not be trusted. The WikiLeaks cables, which describe human rights abuses and political arrests, “are just more proof of that,” the source said.

In another trip down memory lane in the area of communications technology, some activists in Egypt are digging their modems out of storage as Anonymous plans how to spread the word about a French ISP that is setting up free dial-up Internet access for people in Egypt.

Read More

(wsm.ie) ‘End this Corrupt Regime’   – That’s what one young man screams into a camera as thousands of people clash with cops on the streets of Cairo. Just how corrupt is this regime.  Mubarak may have started his career commanding an air force against Israel, but in the 30 years in power, he has become another champion of enterprise and the neo-liberal open economy.  Democracy occasionally held up like some beacon has constantly been promised but never really acted upon.  2011 is the year that has scheduled Presidential Elections, but obviously the Egyptian masses aren’t happy with the promises of something better to come.

Hosni Mubarak came to power after Anwar al-Sadat was assassinated in 1981.  Mubarak was the commander in chief of the air force which launched the surprise attack in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, and by 1975 he was the unlikely vice president to Sadat.

Open economies tend to suit those in power, and so it comes as no surprise to know that the rich and powerful are friendly with Mubarak.  The co-owner of Easter Mediterranean Gas Company, Hussein Salem, is a good friend of President Mubarak.  When not selling Egypt’s natural gas to Israel (Gas started flowing in 2008) he also happens to be a hotel magnate and  arms-dealer.

The estimates run that Mubarak regime has over 17,000 political prisoners.  Unemployment runs at about 26.3 per cent, globalisation has lead to inflation.  $62 billion dollars has flown into Egypt since 1977 from the US in aid.  Most Egyptians get by on $2 a day.

Like all rulers, everything is submissive to survival.  Relations with Israel appear to be quite friendly in the background, up to and including gassing people in tunnels leading out of Gaza, and keeping the border firmly shut at Rafah, even when Israel goes to war against the Palestinians.

Egypt is building a wall 18 meters underground made from super-strength steel in order to seal off all tunnels that lead into Gaza.  The Mubarak regime first of all kept this a secret and now refers to this as ‘engineering installations.’

As Adam Shatz wrote in his excellent report ‘Mubarak’s Last Breath’ in the London Review of Books –

Mubarak’s Egypt is often compared to Iran in the last days of the Shah: a middle class squeezed by inflation; anger at the regime’s alliances with the US and Israel; a profound sense of humiliation that is increasingly expressed in Islamic fervour; near universal contempt for the country’s ruling class; a state whose legitimacy has almost entirely eroded.”

Mubarak does not have an enemy in Israel, he has a market.  His enemies are at home.  They are internal and are leftist, human rights activists and above all, Islamists.   This has lead to regular torture of people in police stations and to the establishment of the Ministry of the Interior (MOI)_.  Not much happens with their approval.  It is also estimated that one in forty Egyptians are employed as informers to the MOI.

Mubarak had to come up with some sort of democratic front- to give the veneer that people were being listened too, but because the Muslim Brotherhood won 88 of 160 seats in Legislative elections in 2005.  Since then they’ve been put back in their box.  They were refused the right to run in elections to the upper house, polling stations were attacked and arrests followed. An Emergency law exists which conveniently for Mubarak does not allow freedom of assembly, which curtails the possibility of any political movement or party getting off the ground.

Gamal – son of Mubarak has flown out of the country. He was obviously being groomed as the successor – a man versed in private equity firms, he was a man who could sell off state assets for a profit.  But the recent unrest saw he flea.

US foreign policy is neatly reflected in Egypt.  Recently the US forked over $260 million in what was called ‘supplementary security assistance’ and Egypt also bought 24 F-16 fighter jets plus other equipment worth a reported $3.2billon.  A cosy relationship exists and whilst it would be nice to have a democracy in Egypt – it may not be as easily controlled or bought off as the Mubarak Regime is.  One hand rubs the other and business is good.

All data quoted from the longer article found in London Review of Books – ‘Mubarak’s Last Breath’ Vol. 32 No. 10 27th May 2010