Archive for the Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives Category

Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech [The Intercept / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Corporate Media Critique, National Security Agency / NSA, New York Times lie, NSA, Psychological warfare, Russia, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam on April 29, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Glenn Greenwald


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Hillary Clinton’s fake feminist branding [FAIR / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Gaza, Honduras, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine, State Department, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US drone strikes, USA, Yemen, Zelaya coup on April 29, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“Hillary Clinton and the Feminism of Exclusion” – Media don’t ask which women she crusades for

By Rania Khalek
Jan 1, 2015


As the 2016 US presidential election nears, Hillary Clinton, the projected frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, is painting herself as a champion of women’s rights. As a result, she is being lionized in the corporate press as a feminist crusader across the globe.

On International Women’s Day, Clinton proclaimed that “the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.” The New York Daily News (3/7/14) summed up, “Clinton has made women’s issues a centerpiece of her agenda.”

Clinton boasts of having incorporated feminism into US foreign policy. As Time (6/12/14) reported:

As the former US Secretary of State, Clinton discussed how feminism plays a key role in the US’s foreign policy. “Women and girls … [are] central to our foreign policy,” she said, explaining that nations that support women are more stable and “less likely to breed extremism.”

“Clinton has focused much of her career as first lady, senator and then secretary of State on issues affecting women and girls,” asserted (9/18/14), citing comments she made about the “glass ceiling.” Even the progressive American Prospect (6/25/14) labeled Clinton’s tenure as secretary of State “unabashedly feminist.”

None of these outlets bothered to compare Clinton’s statements with her actual record, choosing instead to act as stenographers and at times cheerleaders for Clinton’s feminist branding campaign. This suggests a definition of feminism so shallow as to be virtually empty, attaching automatically to any woman who wields power of any kind, toward any end.

An established foreign policy hawk, Clinton has vociferously defended the US drone strikes that terrorize, maim and kill women and girls in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan (Reuters, 6/7/12). As 9-year-old Nabila Rehman (Truthout, 11/1/13) — whose grandmother was obliterated before her eyes by a US drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan — told a US congressional briefing, “Now, I am always scared.”

Following Israel’s merciless bombing campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip last summer — which killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, 70 percent of them civilians, including 287 women and 190 girls (UNOCHA, 10/31/14, 10/3/14) — Clinton blamed Palestinians, telling the Atlantic (8/10/14) that “Israel did what it had to do,” accusing Hamas of “stage-managing” the slaughter of children to gain international sympathy.

Apparently Clinton’s version of female empowerment doesn’t extend to Palestinian women and girls living under the fanatical rule of Israeli lawmakers like Ayelet Shaked, a senior partner in the governing coalition Clinton vehemently defends. Just before the Gaza onslaught, Shaked called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers to prevent them from birthing “little snakes” (Electronic Intifada, 7/7/14).

Another group of women and girls unworthy of Clinton’s empowerment agenda are those escaping violence in a nation she helped destabilize. As tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing Central American violence were detained while crossing the US/Mexico border, Clinton told CNN (6/17/14) that “they should be sent back” to “send a clear message” to their parents that “just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.”

The media generally fail to mention (Extra!, 9/14) that over 13,000 of the estimated 47,000 children detained between October 2013 to May 2014 came from Honduras, more than from any other country. This was more than 13 times as many Honduran children as were detained in 2009, the year a US-backed military coup ousted democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (Pew Research Center, 6/10/14)

In her book Hard Choices, Clinton acknowledged playing a key role in solidifying the coup leadership’s grip on power by preventing Zelaya’s return to office (to “render the question of Zelaya moot,” as she put it) — a move that helped plunge Honduras in further violence, causing children to flee for their lives (Al Jazeera America, 9/29/14).

If this suggests to some that Clinton’s feminism necessarily takes a back seat to foreign policy goals, her history on the domestic front is no better.

In her memoir, she brags about working tirelessly “to round up votes” in 1996 for her husband’s welfare reform bill (New York Times, 4/11/08), legislation that saw the number of households with children living in deep poverty skyrocket (National Poverty Center, 2/12). It was especially disastrous for single mothers (New York Times, 4/8/12).

No wonder Wall Street is prepared to shower this pro-austerity feminist hawk with an endless stream of cash to get her elected in 2016 (Politico, 11/11/14). Clinton’s version of feminism is one of exclusion, serving state power and capital under the banner of gender equality. It is the kind of feminism that Wall Street, US empire and corporate media outlets can get behind precisely because of who it shuts out.

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China’s new grand canal brings water to arid north [China Daily / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archive]

Posted in Beijing, China, CPC, Employment, Hangzhou, Henan Province, Mao Zedong, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Tianjin on March 21, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手


~ Largest project of its kind, proposed in 1952, took more than a decade to construct ~

More than 1,400 kilometers of canal and pipeline began transferring water on Friday from China’s longest river, the Yangtze, to the country’s arid northern regions, including the nation’s capital, Beijing.

Completion of this section marks major progress in the enormous South-to-North Water Diversion Project, costing an estimated 500 billion yuan ($80 billion) and the largest of its kind in the world.

President Xi Jinping sent his congratulations on Friday to workers and people “who have made contributions” to the middle route project, calling the achievement a “major event” in the nation’s modernization drive.

He said the success has come through ceaseless effort by hundreds of thousands of people since construction started on Dec 30, 2003. More than 200,000 workers participated in the construction.

Xi described the project as important strategic infrastructure that would optimize water resources, boost sustainable economic and social development, and improve people’s livelihoods.

The south-north water diversion project is another feat of Chinese engineering, in the style of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the world’s longest man-made river, constructed in the 13th century to transport grain between the south and north.

Water will eventually flow via eastern, middle and western routes along canals, pipelines and tunnels. It took eight years for engineers and workers to complete two 4,000-meter-long tunnels under the riverbed of the Yellow River, China’s second largest.

The first-stage of the project, the eastern route, went into operation last year, sending water to Shandong province. By 2050, as many as 440 million people could benefit from the diversion of 44.8 billion cubic meters of water each year.

The middle route begins at Danjiangkou reservoir, in Hubei province, and runs for 1,432 km. It will supply 9.5 billion cu m of water per year to some 100 million people in the dry northern regions, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and provinces of Henan and Hebei.

The water will meet household, industrial and agricultural demand, benefiting more than 100 counties.

President Xi urged the route’s management to protect the quality of water and to save water.

Work still needs to be done to ensure the livelihoods and employment of the 400,000 people displaced by the construction, including 345,000 people whose hometown was submerged as part of the massive Danjiangkou reservoir.

Premier Li Keqiang said the project will benefit both current and future generations, and urged the project management team to ensure the security and stability of supply.

The project was conceived by late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1952 but only approved by the State Council in December 2002, after nearly half a century of debate.

It has been widely hailed as an example of how the Chinese people are capable of bettering their lives through hard work. But the new waterway presents fresh challenges, such as the protection of water quality from unforeseen natural risks in the future.

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Confucius hometown offers free tours for Analects-quoting foreigners [Xinhua / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]]

Posted in China, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Tourism, UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage on March 8, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Here’s the Confucius quotes I would use, they are some of the pithiest:

#1. 2:12 “The noble person is not a tool.”

#2. 4:16 “The noble person is concerned with rightness; the small person is concerned with profit.”

#3. 15:38 “In education there should be no class distinctions.”

#4. 15:23 “[Reciprocity]…what you do not want for yourself, do not do to others.”

#5 17:19 “The village paragon is the thief of virtue.”
[from “Sources of Chinese Tradition Vol. 1”, comp. by W.T. deBary & I. Bloom, Colombia Univ. Press, 1999.]

JINAN, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — Foreigners who can recite five famous quotes of Confucius will be given free tours to his birthplace, according to a new policy by China’s Qufu City aimed at promoting the wisdom of the ancient philosopher.

The city in east China’s Shandong Province says from Friday foreigners can get free tickets for its three Confucius-related UNESCO World Heritage Sites if they can recite five sentences from the Analects, or the Analects of Confucius.

The Analects is a collection of famous sayings of Confucius, a philosopher and educator during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC) whose thinking has greatly influenced Chinese cultures.

The sentences can be recited in Chinese, English or other native languages of applicants. Successful challengers will be issued a certificate of honor that will exempt them of the ticket fees at the Temple of Confucius, the Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion.

The three sites receive 150,000 foreign visitors annually, and the free-ticket policy is meant to enhance the interaction between foreign visitors and the Confucian culture, said an official with the Qufu’s cultural heritage administration.

The city rolled out the policy for Chinese tourists in 2013. Since then, 170,000 people have joined the test, about 65 percent of whom passed.

Editor: An

Article’s original title: “Confucius hometown offers free tours for Analects-chanting foreigners”

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After three years of Kim Jong-un, skyscrapers popping up on Pyongyang’s skyline [The Hankyoreh 한겨레 / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in DPR Korea, Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives on January 6, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

OMG, a positive article about DPR Korea. A necessary corrective to the hysteria surrounding the propaganda film “The Interview”, US government lies and related hateful distortions by corporate media. – Zuo Shou

Dec 29, 2014

Three years after Kim Jong-un came to power in North Korea, the streets of Pyongyang look much different. The streets of the city are lined with new 40-floor skyscrapers, and taxis drive down them [sic]. Before, they had been dark at night, but now they are illuminated by bright lights, while smartphone-toting women are dressed more smartly than before. The unanimous testimony of recent visitors to Pyongyang is that the North Korean city has doffed its drab garb in favor of a coat of many colors.

“It was my first visit to North Korea in five years, and I was shocked by how much the atmosphere had changed,” Jang Yong-cheol, permanent director for the Isang Yun Peace Foundation, told the Hankyoreh on Dec. 16. Jang was in Pyongyang for five days in October.

“I was surprised to see taxis of various colors not only in front of the Pothonggang Hotel where I was staying but also in every street,” Jang said.

“The economy appears to be moving briskly in Pyongyang these days. What particularly stood out were the large apartment buildings being built in various parts of the city and the bustling activity at the markets. You can really feel how much it’s thriving,” said Jin Zhe, Director of Northeast Asia Studies for the Liaoning Academy of Social Science, who also visited North Korea recently.

Last year, the number of taxis in Pyongyang reportedly surpassed 1,500. Shortly after coming to power in 2011, Kim Jong-un ordered officials to promote the taxi business as a means of developing the tourism industry. A series of joint ventures were established with Japanese and Chinese companies, leading to a rapid increase in the number of taxis. In the past, there had been around 700 taxis in the city.

Not only foreign travelers, but also residents of Pyongyang are freely able to ride in the taxis.

During a recent media interview, Park Chan-mo, former president of Pohang University of Science and Technology and honorary president of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, said it cost about US$5 to take a taxi from downtown Pyongyang to Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, a journey of about 25km.

The changing appearance of Pyongyang is understood to reflect to some degree the current state of the North Korean economy, which has been [improving] since Kim Jong-un came to power three years ago.

Indeed, North Korea has recorded positive economic growth in each of those years. Production of agricultural and industrial goods is on the rise.

Favorable weather has apparently played a role, with North Korea managing to avoid typhoon and flood damage over that period. Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea seems to have been spared the vexing problem of feeding the people, which had troubled the rule of Kim Jong-il during the “arduous march” in the mid- and late 1990s.

Experts largely attribute the growth in the North Korean economy to measures adopted by the government since Kim came to power including the June 28 Plan, which was implemented on a trial basis, and the May 30 Measures, which represented an expansion of June 28 Plan.

…Kim appears to have chosen…the option of implementing economic reforms to increase productivity.

“The May 30 Measures increased the autonomous management of factories, corporations, farms, local government bodies, economic development zones, and the central bank. Sometime next year, specific measures are likely to be taken to follow up on the May 30 Measures,” said Jin Jingyi, professor at Peking University.

In addition to giving companies and farms more authority to dispose of surplus products, this shift toward independent management has also led to an expansion of the incentive system, which bases workers’ pay on their performance.

In April, the Choson Shinbo, a newspaper printed by Chongryon, a pro-North Korean organization in Japan, ran a report about one factory in Pyongyang that was allowed to manage itself. According to the paper, the introduction of an incentive system spurred workers to work harder, leading to a dramatic increase of productivity. Some workers saw their monthly salary increase 100-fold, the paper claimed.

Similar effects have been seen in the area of agriculture under the field assignment system, which reduces the unit size on collective farms to something akin to a family farm. Thanks to this system, total agricultural production in 2013 increased by around 20%, reports say.

The North Korean economy gets another shot in the arm from infusions of foreign currency. There are from 50,000 to 100,000 North Koreans working overseas who send home around US$300 million a year, while an estimated 300,000 tourists from China and other countries spend foreign currency during their stays. The massive constructions projects that are transforming the skyline of Pyongyang are also thought to be contributing substantially to the boost in domestic demand.

While the circulation of cash has led to a modest improvement in the lives of North Koreans, it is unclear whether the North Korean economy will ultimately return to its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. The most pressing problem is that North Korea has had trouble convincing foreign investors to set up factories in the five special government-designated economic zones and the 19 economic development zones.

The North Korean authorities claimed to have secured US$1.44 billion in investment from 306 foreign companies, but the actual [sic] figure is probably closer to US$400 million of foreign investment, with all of this in the Rason Special Economic Zone…

…“The growth of the markets has reached the level where North Koreans can manage to support themselves through running a business. In order to bring the North Korean economy to the next level, the North Korean authorities need to…formally [institute] the May 30 Measures and by taking steps to alleviate [income?] polarization,” said Cho Bong-hyun, a senior researcher for IBK Economic Research Institute.
By Son Won-je, staff reporter and Seong Yeon-cheol, Beijing correspondent

Edited & excerpted by Zuo Shou

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Doom and Gloom or Economic Boom? The Myth of the “North Korean Collapse” [Asia-Pacific Journal / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Anti-communism, Black propaganda, Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, DPR Korea, Kim Il Sung, Media smear campaign, Photos, Pyongyang, Seoul, south Korea, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives on August 11, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

If you read one article about North (sic) Korea this year — or perhaps this decade — this is the one to provide the antidote to capitalist media’s endless disinformation and vilification of that dynamic and resolute nation – Zuo Shou

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 18, No. 3, May 5, 2014.
Doom and Gloom or Economic Boom? The Myth of the “North Korean Collapse” 破綻か好況か 「北朝鮮崩壊」という神話

Henri Feron

Abstract: The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is said to be an economist’s nightmare. There are almost no reliable statistics available, making any analysis speculative at best. The few useable figures that we have, though, fly in the face of the media’s curious insistence on a looming collapse. Food production and trade volumes indicate that the DPRK has largely recovered from the economic catastrophe of the 1990s. Indeed, Pyongyang’s reported rising budget figures appear more plausible than Seoul’s pessimistic politicized estimates. Obviously, sanctions, while damaging, have failed to nail the country down. There are signs that it is now beginning to open up and prepare to exploit its substantial mineral wealth. Could we soon be witnessing the rise of Asia’s next economic tiger?

There is hardly an economy in the world that is as little understood as the economy of the Democractic [sic] People’s Republic of Korea (aka “North Korea”). Comprehensive government statistics have not been made public since the 1960s. Even if production figures were available, the non-convertibility of the domestic currency and the distortion of commodity prices in the DPRK’s planned economy would still prevent us from computing something as basic as a GDP or GDP growth figure. In the end, this dearth of public or useable primary data means that outside analysis is generally based more on speculation or politicized conslusions than on actual information. Unfortunately, the greater the province of speculation, the greater also the possibility of distortion, and hence of misinformation, or even disinformation.

The dominant narrative in the Western press is that the DPRK is on the verge of collapse. What commentators lack in hard data to prove this, they often try to invent…

Excerpted; full article link with footnotes:

Americans’ confidence in big business is low: Gallup [Xinhua / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, USA on June 16, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

WASHINGTON, May 27 (Xinhua) — A majority of Americans say large U.S. companies do a poor job in helping the U.S. economy, with 43 percent saying the companies are weak in creating jobs for Americans, Gallup found in a poll released Tuesday.

The poll comes amid a still flagging U.S. economy in terms of jobs growth, with continuing high U.S. unemployment nationwide…

…Americans in general have a less-than-stellar image of big business, with a mere 22 percent in previous Gallup polls saying they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in big business — one of the lowest confidence ratings of any of the institutions Gallup has tested, Gallup said…

Excerpted; full article link: