Chomsky on Orwell, Propaganda & Neoconservatism


Authoritarianism and anarchism are two sides of the same coin. Anarcho-capitalism and insurgent anarchists are one in the same; furthermore they rely on state sponsorship; and they are tied financially.

I wouldn’t doubt a dubious relationship between the GOP, AIPAC, Tea Party, Israel, Multi-National Corporations and pseudo-Islamic, fanatical, and violent terrorist networks like ISIS and al Qaeda.

Colonialism, capitalism, neoconservatism, totalitarianism, fascism, and authoritarianism, communism = tools of imperial domination = discourage individual innovation, socio-economic justice on national and global levels.

Mixed economics > capitalism, communism, fascism, etc.

 

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Does Foreign Aid Perpetuate Terrorism?


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The purpose of this article is to analyze the strengths, weaknesses as well as the overall implications of five separate research studies on the subject of foreign aid and its relationship to politics development. The general tendency based on the research suggests that foreign aid has a negative relationship with development, that is, the more foreign aid a country receives, the less likely they are to enact the reforms conducive to development. While there are some exceptions. It is argued that countries with effective financial management that receive large sums foreign aid are likely to exhibit stability and at least some levels of development and redistribution.

The body of this paper will be separated into five sections in which I summarize the main points of each article as well as the potential weaknesses of the research. After this segment, I follow up with a section about the theoretical and policy implications of these findings, and what this could mean for the world today, as well as in the future.

In Moss, Peterson and Walle’s article, the hypothesis is that large sustained aid flows fundamentally alter the relationship between citizenry and the government. The financial flow alters the incentive of the recipient government, and may undercut the very principles the aid seeks to promote: ownership, accountability and participation. States that raise a substantial amount of revenue from the international community are less inclined to usher reform or to cultivate public institutions, having a harmful effect on institutional development. The focus of this research is specifically on Sub-Saharan Africa. As the author’s cross-sectional time series indicates, countries that receive higher levels of foreign aid exhibit lower tax shares as percent of their GDP, meaning there is less incentive to invest in and cultivate public institutions when a significant percentage of the GNI is received in foreign aid. In sum, the literature and research suggest a negative relationship between foreign aid and political development. Perhaps the greatest weakness of this research is that it covers only a period of 17 years, making it more difficult to make far-reaching conclusions regarding the data. Furthermore, the authors could control for natural resource endowment as well as cultural relativity by considering the same measurements for non-African states with lower incomes. It would also be interesting to measure the the effect of foreign aid on countries with high levels of income per capita, which could help further contextualize the data on lower income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Svenssons’s research in “Foreign Aid and Rent-Seeking” is rather interesting as it makes strong claims. Among other findings, Svensson argues that donors countries do not discriminate based on corruption levels, which means that foreign aid is given despite how corrupt the recipient may be. Svensson also finds that only in cases where a binding policy commitment is enacted can there be expected to be an increase in public spending. However, the data indicates that in most cases foreign aid perpetuates rent-seeking and reduces public spending. Furthermore, the data suggests that countries with competing social groups are likely to exhibit fluctuations in foreign aid. The research method was rather reliable, in that intervening variables such as infant mortality rate and arms imports so as to isolate the effects of foreign aid from the health and military dynamics of the subject states. Svens son’s control for ethnicity exposed the relative weakness of the coefficients of other variables, such as trade restrictions and protection from the international community. Of the four assumptions listed by the author, two particularly stood out. First, the assumption that that the larger the budget, the more likely a government is going to be corrupt. Perhaps stretching the boundaries of this study outside of Africa might provide a clearer indication of this assumption. What about countries with vast natural resource endowments? Are they less more or less likely to exhibit corruption? The second assumption that stood out was that donors at least partly care about the recipient’s welfare. The author suggests that much of the literature on this subject confirms the statement, however, I find it hard to believe that global hegemonies are more concerned with well-being of their recipients of foreign aid than perhaps the preservation of their own economic assets. Is it not surprising that countries which receive high levels of aid invest less in public institutions? Would this not be at the detriment of the recipient? That countries with tensions between social groups are likely to receive large swaths of foreign aid confirms this notion, in that global hegemonies are likely to provide aid if it secures their interests and prevents the threat of competing forces. How could this be regarded as “caring about the recipient’s welfare?” This leads directly into the next article.

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In their article “Aid, Policies & Growth”, the Burns & Dollar suggest foreign aid is often wielded as a tool for global hegemonies pursuing their own strategic interests. In other words, governments may receive aid — but not necessarily their people. Since the vast majority of countries that receive aid are underdeveloped or engulfed in conflict between competing social groups, the authors’ findings and assertions come as no surprise. How could it be assumed that donors care about their recipient’s well-being if the recipient state constantly receiving foreign aid is essentially in the hands of a small, political elite?  The research method is rather reliable as it includes a large sample size of 56 developing countries as well as wide-ranging time series covering two decades between 1970-1993. In terms of policy, the authors find that foreign aid has no effect in ensuring policy change, usually due to the donor’s lack of interest in policy-change. Rather, the donor is focused on its strategic interests. The positive outcome of foreign aid has been in the realm of income growth. How is it possible that state policy remains unaffected while incomes rise? Perhaps a common thread among the recipient states is a lack of natural resource endowment, making them more dependent on foreign aid. What could be said about the universality of democratic political development given that incomes rise despite a lack of institutional reform? That the budget for foreign aid is shrinking while policies tend to improve in poor countries, there is reason to believe there is a negative correlation between foreign aid and institutional development.

In their article, Easterly, Revise and Roodman seek to debunk some of the claims made by the previous article. The authors argue that the idea that foreign aid results in positive growth in countries with good financial management presumes that foreign aid causes growth and that countries with good policies should be the target of foreign aid donors. Their belief is that such conclusions were reached due to limited data availability.

The most crucial element of the data is in the time-series. By extending the period of analysis to from 1993 to 1997, the authors reduced confidence in the assertion that foreign aid causes growth. This is a significant finding as it parallels my concerns regarding the contexts of the research method. Furthermore, this study illuminates the dangers of presumptuous research methods in that minor alterations to the study produced completely different results, challenging previous literature.

In his article on the influence of non-tax revenue on political development and regime security, author Kevin Morrison illustrates that revenue accrued by governments from non-taxable revenues like from oil or foreign aid essentially secure regimes and their grasp on power. This in turn reduces the incentive for reform and public investment. The reliability of the data is quite strong, given that the time series stretches from 1973-1999. I wonder still, given that in the previous study where only three years were added therein altering the findings, if perhaps adding a few more years to this study would have the same effect. That 80 countries were tested, a relatively large sample size, is another indication of the strength of this research method. While the authors generally tend to control for the more common variable of ethnicity and natural resource endowment, perhaps controlling for other variables might affect the outcome of the study, variables such as religious homogeneity, security threats, cultural relativity and historical evolution. How do we know that the religious dynamic, or the threat of religious militants, or perhaps the mere cultural differences of a region are not responsible for the level of redistribution and political development within a respective country?

The common thread among these articles is that there is a negative relationship between foreign aid and political development. That is, the more foreign aid a government receives, the less likely it is to implement the changes that foreign aid was intended to induce. For the most part the research methods were rather reliable, however contextualizing the data by measuring it against non-African states, as well as broadening the time-series spectrum, could provided more accurate indications of the relationship between foreign aid and development. While there are some cases of incomes rising as a result of foreign aid, generally, as indicated in “Aid, Policies and Growth”, as the global budget for foreign aid shrinks, better policies continue to blossom in poor countries where foreign aid may have once paralyzed institutional development and public investment. Further studies indicate that rises in growth via income are poor indicators of the positive impact of foreign aid on political development, especially when the research covers a more broad time-series. Perhaps future studies could focus on trying to gather data that covers a wider time range. Furthermore, researchers could create ways to control for the aforementioned variables of religious homogeneity, stability (via the stability index), terrorist threats and cultural relativity.

The implications of these findings are far-reaching. They suggest that the motives of foreign aid donors have been rather inconsistent with their principles, and that they have in fact perpetuated corruption. It is not surprising that global hegemonies seek their own strategic interests. What is more surprising is the threats to international security this dynamic could cause. As donors funnel foreign aid to authoritarian regimes, especially those that govern countries with tensions between social groups, it forces analysts to wonder whether there is a correlation between these provisions, which prop up and support oppressive and divisive regimes, and the rise of insurgent military movements in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries.

Perhaps looking at countries on a case by case could show other country specific qualities such as resource endowment, geography, economics, culture, and history. These are more qualitative in nature, underscoring my emphasis on the presence of prejudgments in the scholarly tradition.

A 3:2 ratio that long prevailed in the overall levels of U.S. aid to Israel and Egypt was applied to the reduction in economic aid ($60 million reduction for Israel and $40 million reduction for Egypt), but Egypt did not receive an increase in military assistance. Thus, Congress reduced ESF aid to Egypt from $815 million in FY1998 to $411 million in FY2008 (Sharp 2015).

Blind Populism – 2016


The Democrat-Republican, left-right, Atheist-Cleric dichotomy is a farce.

Political elites know human beings are more inclined to “defend” something than to attack it.

So they create a delusion of competition between theories, such as atheism and religion, which appear to be opposite, and lets say, communism and libertarianism, or democracy and republicanism, so as to keep constituencies controlled and voting for the supposed “opposition”.

But in reality, all of these guys, atheists, clerics, libertarians, socialists – they are all more concerned with promoting their “belief system” or the “lack thereof” than pointing out what is right or wrong, from a rationally based moral system.

These guys, Ben Carson, the Young Turks…they will all promote their bigotry with a slight hint of moral discourse but they will ALWAYS fall short of addressing the main global issues facing us from an impartial standpoint because it threatens their social status and employment.

This applies to Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Glen Beck & Hillary Clintons (neo-cons and/or closet conservatives)

It also applies to the Bernie Sanders, Bill Mahers & Salman Rushdies (populist socialists and/or militant atheists)

You see I put my faith in less ideologically inclined individuals. I prefer to trust individuals of conviction and moderation; those who understand the complexity of human nature. These figures tend to be closer to the “ideological center” of the political spectrum, preferring the wisdom of moderation over the perhaps shortsighted instant-gratification of ideological-populism.

To be frank, of the three contenders, the one who exhibited this type of humility the most was Governor Martin O’Malley, who is least likely of them to win.

He was the only contender to say “Black Lives Matter”.

Remembering Anthony Shadid (1968-2012)


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On September 1st, 2011, late journalist & NYT foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid came to speak to UCF students about his recent escapades in the Middle East, namely his most recent experiences in Libya, where Shadid recalled being taken hostage with two other associates for three days.

I am grateful to say I had the opportunity to sit in on his speech. I was even able to meet with Shadid shortly after his speech during which I introduced myself. He was quick to smile with news that I am Syrian. I purchased his most recent book, Night Draws Near, in which he left me a little note, perhaps a little naive in hindsight, or just rashly hopeful as all Arabs tend to be. “See you in Damascus,” he uttered.

Anthony Shadid reminded me what it means to be an Arab, aside from the ordinary customs, our cuisine, language music and traditions. Anthony Shadid reminded me that at the heart of being Arab is the nature of resilience; our ability to laugh and chuckle even amidst the darkest of chaos. I vaguely remember a story told to me by close friend of mine, a Palestinian political activist from Ramallah, Tami Rafidi. Rafidi, whose husband was taken captive by Israeli forces never to be returned, embodied this resilience. Despite her frustrations; anger & suffering, Rafidi recalled memories of running wildly along the rugged Palestinian terrain dodging Israel fire while laughing, telling jokes & drinking the famous Arab liquor – ‘arak’.

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In 2006, when Israel began bombing Hezbollah sites in Lebanon, the Lebanese people were seeking refuge by day; clubbing relentlessly by night. Despite all the misery and control, the Arabs found a way; an outlet.

It is Tami’s resilience, the resilience of the Lebanese people, which echoed the sentiments of Anthony Shadid, who did not stop short of asserting during his speech: “At the heart of the Arab struggle is Palestine, a very dear subject for the Arab & Muslim world. This cannot be understated.”

I admire this man for his courage and resolve.

In 2012, during a trip to Syria where he was capturing stories about the ensuing conflict in the region, Shadid suffered what appeared to be a asthma attack. Shortly after Shadid passed. I was shocked by the news. Without any history of medical complications except for minor sensitivities to allergens, Shadid was not on course for any type of health issues.

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I remember having met his daughter at the time of his speech. She was quite young, very polite & beautiful. My prayers and thanks are with her, wherever she may be, for having had such an amazing man as a father. My dream is to honor his legacy and the struggle of the Arab people all over the world, which he represented so well.

I did not want to go into any details or elaborate on the possibility of foul-play regarding Shadid’s death, out of respect for him & his family. I will add, however that with regards to the Middle East, there is without a doubt an unrelenting fear among journalists, dissidents or activists of any sort, of persecution for propagating legitimate news, especially if it poses a threat to the interests of particular political actors. His bodies of work, including the aforementioned book, shows no restraint in exposing the consequences of the US government’s disastrous policies which would usher in violent instability & chaos that has yet to conclude, even a decade after the US initiated the invasion.

I pray that in the case of Shadid, his passing was a matter of fate and nature. Nonetheless, his legacy remains & the struggle for Arab dignity continues.

RIP Anthony Shadid. Thank you. May the children of Iraq see justice one day. Long live the Arab struggle for freedom & may Palestine one day be free!

Saudi Arabia: Now What?


The King of Saudi Arabia is dead.

His successor? Crown-Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

This is an opportunity for Arabs to vent their frustrations; duly, since Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, while the Arab people remain largely part of the third world.

This vast oil-wealth, coupled with the establishment of Israel in 1948, and generally speaking, Saudi’s negligence towards the plight of the Palestinian, pan-Arab cause has certainly made these criticisms legitimate.

Where are we headed?

It looks like not much can change. The system in Saudi Arabia is deeply rooted. It is the hotbed of ultraconservative Islam & ironically, it is responsible for exporting the ideology, funding & support of international terrorism. Remember, bin Laden was a Saudi. His family is still there.

But while this desire to criticize our fellow Arab leaders is tempting, it is important for us to remember that our aim as an Arab people is to unite, empower one another against our common oppressor.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has let down the Arab people. It’s concerns with economic & security interests, as revealed by WikiLeaks documents, take precedence over human rights.

How can Saudi Arabia juggle it’s economic interests & reconcile its relationship with the Arab world; namely the resistance—Palestine that is.

Regardless of our imperfections as an Arab nation we mustn’t forget that our fellow Arabs are not the causes of our misery. Terrorist organizations & extremist groups, & pro-Israeli agents are keen on exploiting our anger. Right now, groups like ISIS & Al Qaeda are working to taint the image of Islam & to distract Arabs from their actual oppression, Israel, and to direct it towards their own leaders. Such is the case with Syria & President Bashar al-Assad.

But not all Arab leaders & not all muslims are fanatic dictators. The erratic cases, such as Saddam Hussein & Gaddafi took care of themselves. But even now, what progress have these countries made? Very little, which goes to show that true change & justice in the Middle East has little to do with revolutions & overthrowing leaders as much as it does with unity, wisdom & loyalty.

May King Abdullah rest in peace. May justice be brought to the Arabian Peninsula & the rest of the Arab world. May the hypocrisies & extremes of few be exposed & distinguished from the light of many. May Palestine one day be free.

Solutions?

Introduce proper economic reforms in order to balance spoils of oil wealth in the region. Reconcile relationships between neighboring countries which have been divided by foreign colonialists; this includes relationship between Iran & Saudi, Syria & Turkey, Egypt & the rest of the Arab world. Essentially what we need is unity, and the greatest threat to this comes in two forms: religious/ideological fanaticism & foreign imperialism, which are in essence inseparable. Socio-economic & political unity are preconditions for improving living conditions for Arabs and most importantly, for focusing on the crux of the pan-Arab tradition; the liberation of Palestine.

Who are the greatest agents of religious extremism & global imperialism? Well let’s just say it comes largely from the West; mainly conservative branches of government; and it just so happens to be their most crucial interest in the region happens to be Israel.

Before accusations of anti-semitism are leveled against me let it be known that the assertion that Judaism & Zionism are indistinguishable is downright incorrect, firstly because Arabs are semites too, and also because criticism of Israeli expansionism has nothing to do with hatred of a group of people as it does with voicing the struggle of an occupied people…as a matter of fact, the irony is that Palestinians are the ones suffering from the racist ideology of Zionism; which is essentially the relentless justification of expansionism & the insistence on the need for an ethno-religious political, ‘Jewish’ entity to exist…despite the terrible consequences & violations of human rights which it entails. Sounds like religious stubbornness to me. And that is precisely what it is.

Here is a quote via The Associated Press, referencing Crown-Prince of Saudi Arabia Salman himself, who will be crowned King on this evening:

In discussions w/ U.S. diplomats in 2007, Salman added that Jewish and Christian extremism has fed Islamic extremism, even warning that the United States will one day see a threat from Jewish and Christian radicals. He told Americans key 2 bringing stability to ME is 2 resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding Israel is “a burden on the U.S.”

With President Obama & John Kerry snubbing Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US; there is no telling how much longer the strained relationship will endure.

On Democratic Socialism & Hip-Hop’s Place in America Today


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Recent tension between hip-hop artists Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea inspired me to address the issue, and how the undertones resonate loudly in America, with associations to systems of cultural repression such as racism, jim crow, the prison-industrial complex, corporate hoarding and finally US foreign policy; and ultimately how all of these issues are in actuality the products of one giant injustice; institutionalized discrimination.

Liberty and individualism are often associated with the American conservative model of capitalism but in reality this model more closely resembles theocratic-nepotism. True free markets, competition and prosperity are more closely associated with genuine democracy and social redistribution of resources in order to correct historical injustices and imbalances as well as to assure that the basic needs of individuals are met as they seek to establish a method for sustenance by relying on themselves.

The reality is that America’s brand of capitalism, especially as it has unfolded in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is less capitalism-based and more authoritarian; more Randian, if anything.

The system which disenfranchised African-Americans is responsible for propping up images like Iggy. That system I refer to is a cult-like religion of people who believe in a disney-esque fairy tale-like America where innocence remains and hypocrisy is rampant.

That’s the point. Racism guised. Zionism hidden. Anarcho-capitalism fully realized.

The selling of a false American Dream which is essentially conformity to a culture of bigotry.

The brainwashing of American children into following the Biebers and Iggys so as to suppress independent thinking.

And the questioning of US decency.

American is the crown jewel of self-idolatry and pseudo-freedom. It is the center-piece of vanity and pretentious ownership of earth.

You don’t have to preach to us about the doctrine of competition of free market that isn’t our problem.

We compete all day the problem is your false portrayal of reality and the hoarding of earths resources under the banner of Americanism.

The world is victim so a false sense of entitlement to consumer culture.

This will end.

Obama to detail groundbreaking ‘immigration overhaul’ tonight


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Tonight is of great importance to the immigrants of America, however tonights speech by President Obama and the subsequent policy changes and announced reforms will have far-reaching implications that extend beyond the borders of America; even beyond the confines of the immigration issue itself.

It will affect the economy certainly. In the bigger picture, this effect will likely be positive.

More importantly, this will affect the lives of human beings who have been ostracized from society and even their families. Basic human rights which they have been denied will finally be directly addressed by the President of the United States.