We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Helen Thomas deviates from the terrorism script

By Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com 

Also, see this for Ray McGovern's answer to her question.

The Post-Journalism Era?

By Russ Baker, an investigative journalist

New Year but No Relief for Strapped States

From the NY Times, a registration site.

Yemen: Behind Al-Qaeda Scenarios, a Geopolitical Oil Chokepoint to Eurasia

By F. William Engdahl from Voltaire.net

The Road to Health Care Reform is Paved With Bad Intentions

Some Principles of the Commons

By Peter Linebaugh from Counterpunch

Heads in the Sand? Or, Why Don’t Governments Talk about Peak Oil?

 By Shane Mulligan, posted in the Oil Drum.

The ongoing borrowing binge, dressed up as a Keynesian stimulus, seems to many an utterly unsustainable corporate welfare scheme being loaded on the backs of generations yet to come. If governments realize that the old game of capitalism cannot be sustained under conditions of declining energy, then the future of capitalism – at least under existing rules – becomes somewhat irrelevant. In that case, perhaps the only thing to do is seek to gain whatever can be withdrawn from the system prior to a major rule-change. Whether these advantages will still hold under whatever new rules emerge remains an open question.
Some knowledgeable sources have stated that we have already passed peak oil. But, in any case, it is clear to me that this is a major dilemma for the capitalist classes. Capitalism assumes unlimited growth, unlimited energy and other resources, and unlimited consumption. The system is in basic contradiction to the physical laws of our planet and universe. Because they so far have refused to face up to these facts, we will continue to experience more wars, environmental destruction, and energy depletion at an unacceptable rate--unless, of course, if we the people do nothing.
    

US scientists demand government ban on mountaintop mining

By Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent for The Guardian

Power versus the press

By Mark Weisbrot of The Guardian

Excellent article about the ongoing struggle in South America of the people versus the owning classes over the content of information that is allowed to be expressed in their media.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Never Mind the Facts, let’s have a war…

By Finian Cunningham of Global Research

Good analysis of a frequent propaganda theme used by the Western press against Iran and to portray Israel as victim.

Letter from climate prisoners in Denmark

From Climate Justice Action website:
Something is rotten (but not just) in Denmark. As a matter of fact, thousands of people have been considered, without any evidence, a threat to the society. Hundreds have been arrested and some are still under detention, waiting for judgement or under investigation. Among them, us, the undersigned.


We want to tell the story from the peculiar viewpoint of those that still see the sky from behind the bars.

Obama rules out sackings over three main blunders

I'm posting this mostly to make a comment. It just seems so strange to me that in three of US's biggest disasters where gross incompetence was revealed--Katrina rescue efforts, 9/11, financial collapse, and now in this dangerous airline incident where flagrant blunders were made by intelligence agencies, no one has been fired or even disciplined!! On the other hand, Clinton was impeached for a blow job! Meanwhile, ordinary people will have to put up with more stress and hassles when they travel by air.

The United States of America - An American Tragedy

By Darryl Robert Schoon of 24hGold
This blogger provides an historical frame for the current crisis with a lot of valid insights on the finance industry.  Also he quotes extensively from an excellent article published in the Atlantic Monthly last May. He, like many other people in business, look at the problem of economic collapse within the framework of capitalism. However, even being limited to this framework, the article is worth reading. You should note that he has a pro-gold bias because that is his business. 

A Destructive Culinary Preference

A book review of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  The book is mostly about the hazards of factory farms.

Lying Big to the Public

By Kim Petersen from Dissident Voice

A review of a new book entitled, The Bid Lie, by Allen K. Smith re the ongoing theft from the Social Security fund.

Curiosity


Court dismisses atheist soldier's suit against Pentagon

The Ultimate Eco-Friendly Ride: Bamboo Bikes

By Andrea Reidl of Der Spiegel


Carbon fiber and aluminum are so 2009. This year's best bicycling model is made out of bamboo and hemp. A new generation of manufacturers are coming up with some of the most environmentally friendly transport yet. Lighter, stronger, more comfortable and these bikes have also got a much smaller carbon footprint.

"The Worst is Yet To Come” (4:47m video)

This economist is obviously not giving CNBC, the guardians of public opinions, the kind of message that they would like to hear. Clearly they invited the wrong person to interview on their program. This cracked me up.

Viva Palestina's bumpy road

By Dr Hanan Chehata of Al Jazeera

She is travelling with the Viva Palestina convoy.
In an international effort to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, Viva Palestina (VP) volunteers from around the world have left their families and in some cases resigned from their jobs in order to take part in this humanitarian undertaking.

They have done this for no other reason than that they feel strongly about the crisis in Gaza. The images that they saw flash across their television screens during the assault on Gaza in 2008-9 has been seared into their minds.



Thursday, January 7, 2010

It’s Time to View Good Jobs as a National Resource

By Robert Reich (former Sec. of Labor during the Clinton administration)

This article, IMO, is an excellent illustration of an American liberal point of view on the economy. Of course he assumes that there is no alternative to the capitalist system.  He looks at the economy from a naively nationalistic point of view--what is good for ordinary Americans (as if this was of any interest to the governing class). It seems to me that he, intentionally or not, entirely misses the point of the globalization strategy under the capitalist system--to increase profits for the owning class. Why hire American workers at $15/hr when you can get the same work done in Cambodia from desperate workers at $.50/hr, where environmental and labor laws are not enforced, and the tax rate is low or non-existent? Capitalists are global profiteers first, and Americans or some other national identity, second.  

Notice that the only industry that is not outsourced in the US is the so-called "defense industry"--the manufacture of weapons, including weapons of mass destruction. That is because the dominant capitalist class in the world are US capitalists, and they intend to remain the dominant enforcer of the capitalist system. Also the US needs to be the world's enforcer for the capitalist class in order to protect the value of its fiat money. Investors and capitalist-run countries will continue to buy US IOU's  to secure their wealth as long as the US remains the "baddest ass" in the world community.

Are Progressives Depressed or Too Privileged to Produce Social Change? Or Are We Just Failing to Organize Effectively?

By Don Hazen and Les Leopold and Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet

I think that working people are still in a state of shock over the fact that their support for Obama has changed nothing, and are hoping that government and Wall Street are right about assurances that this is just another little cycle, soon things will be back to normal.

Nation Ready To Be Lied To About Economy Again

Although this little jewel is from Onion's website of last May, it is still very timely. People appear to be still in a state of shock and want to believe anything positive.

Hundreds of Afghans rally against NATO forces

Unlike the protests in Iran, you will have to look long and hard to find out about these protests in the media.

Living on Nothing but Food Stamps

New York Times reports that 1 in 50 Americans (about 6 million people) are living on food stamps only!

The Anti-Empire Report [Jan. 7, 2010]

By William Blum 

Sub-headings for this report are:
  • The American elite
  • Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be Nobel Peace Prize winners 
  • Cuba. Again. Still. Forever.

Who Would Benefit Politically from a Terrorist Incident on American Soil? The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab

By Tom Burghardt on Global Research

Guantánamo Recidivism: Mainstream Media Parrot Pentagon Propaganda (Again)

By Andy Worthington, Truthout.org

The title says it all.

'Sovereignty of Labor:' A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles

By John McNamara from SolidariyEconomy.net

Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP (2 min video)

Humor

'Avatar' arouses conservatives' ire

Geithner’s New York Fed Told AIG to Limit Swaps Disclosure

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

China's netizens pressure Beijing

A 3:16m video.


The Chinese government is feeling threatened by citizen bloggers ("netizens") who criticize too much. In the US the ruling class has much more experience and skills in imposing there will on the public. They are attempting to use more indirect means of controlling internet content. See this, this, and this.

Bloggers arise, you have nothing to lose but your access to the internet! 

Suicide claims more US military lives than Afghan war

By James Cogan of World Socialist Website

Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution

By Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson of The Huffington Post
 

Personally I always bank at a credit union.

Baton of competition passes to Asia

By Joergen Oerstroem Moeller from Asia Times Online.

Shows how world financial institutions have greatly increased their concentration since the economic collapse and the difficulties this poses for the Asian economies.

Fannie, Freddie, and the New Red and Blue

Matt Taibbi, a rising star in investigative journalism, tells it courageously like he sees it.  I love this guy.
Everyone was involved in the mortgage scam. At the lender level the deceptions were myriad; liar’s loans, fraudulent income documentation, negative amortization loans, HELOCs, etc. The rush to get as many loans written as possible and then get those hot potatoes moved to the next sucker in the line was furious and extended from coast to coast, sinking one lender after another in Ponzoid debt and indictments.


Lawsuit Demands Answers About Social-Networking Surveillance

We can thank The Electronic Frontier Foundation for information about the latest Big Brother surveillance of our communications.

Joan Rivers Steamed Over Airport Incident (Humor)

 "David Letterman joked on the "Late Show with David Letterman" that, "It's fascinating to me: We got Joan Rivers, and we still can't get Osama Bin Laden!

Personally I don't think that she would ever blow up a million dollars worth of plastic surgery.

The New Scarlet Letters: ‘NC’

By Sybel Edmonds


About widespread use of security clearances among civilian employees in the private sector.  This well known whistle blower, Sybel Edmonds, argues that the widespread use of security clearances is leading to its use as a widespread suppression of dissent.

Michael Klare, The Blowback Effect, 2020

More about prospects and trends in the decade ahead.

Economy USA 2010: From the Scandalous Past to the Uncertain Future

IRAN: New Revelations Tear Holes in Nuclear Trigger Story

Analysis by Gareth Porter

Who Will Grow Your Food? Part I: The Coming Demographic Crisis in Agriculture

How the Super-Rich Are Coping with the Crisis: The Dark Side of Wealth

If those of you who are living on unemployment checks and food stamps think you have it bad, read about the trials and tribulations of the super-rich. 

Optimist? Or pessimist? Test your 2010 strategy!

By Paul B. Farrell of Market Watch.
Clearly some members of the ruling class are very concerned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Up in the Air and the social calamity in the US

By Joanne Laurier from World Socialist Website

A film review.

17,000 potentially harmful chemicals kept secret under obscure law

From Raw Story

A little humor helps the news go down


The Year of the Assassin

By Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse 

A look ahead in this new year for likely developments in the Empire's never ending wars.

Accuracy and Truth

By Douglas K. Smith.  

I try to stay current, but just stumbled on this thought provoking essay which helps one to think a bit more critically about shared "truths" or assumed-to-be truths.  The essay leads me to an even more profound understanding of the tremendous power that the powerful capitalist ruling class has at its disposal: the ownership of all major media that most people access for their "truths".

10 Courageous Things You Can Do to Build Community

Honduran Elections a Parody of Democracy

By Laura Carlsen, from Foreign Policy in Focus.


Looking at the Honduran elections as theater, very bad theater.  But this is an excellent example of how the Empire crafts "elections" to cover the obscenity of imperialism--using brute force via the US trained Honduran military to bring the country solidly back into compliance with the needs of Empire.  

Sailing legend looks into power

Because of the resources marshaled for this film and the fact that the people with the money behind it are anonymous, I suspect that we have another example of important segments (energy industry?) of the ruling class that have decided to move back into nuclear energy in a big way and need to "manage the consent" of the general public ("educate the public about the subject").

Arne Duncan’s History Lesson to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT): Elevating the Teaching Profession? Part 3

By Danny Weil from Dissident Voice
I have only had the time to read this current article, Part 3, but it looks very interesting especially for those who follow educational issues. Here are the links to the previous articles in this series:

Working people’s blood for sale — prices lower than ever!

By Caleb T. Maupin

It appears that Big Pharma is literally sucking the blood out of workers for profit.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Three Approved GMOs Linked to Organ Damage

By Rady Ananda

School to Prison Pipeline

Learn how easy it is to go from today's urban schools to the prison system. Take the ACLU test to find out if you could avoid prison.

A New Era Has Begun

By Richard C. Cook

A little inspiration always helps to greet in a New Year and decade.  I can go along with god-stuff like this.

Gandhi and The Dalai Lama Are Not Opposed to Guns

From Washington's Blog


A good review of the literature and arguments about gun control. This blogger is clearly getting to the end of his rope as many Americans are about the US government, and the need to change it.

Amazing Speech by War Veteran

A must-see 4:39m video.

Get ready for another Wall Street bailout

From The Economic Populist

For your viewing pleasure


Now I'm Really Getting Pissed Off

 By David Michael Green

Great humor by D. Green about the Obama presidency. But, of course, he is expressing in his humor the great frustration and disappointment that many people who voted for Obama feel. I swear I saw this coming a year and a half ago and felt quite conflicted. On the one hand I thought it terribly funny, but at the same time I saw the swooning and fawning over Obama's candidacy disturbing because it reflected an exceptionally naive political understanding of power in the US. Is dark skin and a gift for rhetoric all it takes to make a great President that will serve the needs of ordinary people?  I felt likewise about the positive reactions I saw from many women over Hillary's candidacy--as if the equipment one carries between one's legs makes a political difference. US elections are just spectacles choreographed much like the professional wrestling matches seen on TV. Or beauty contests to see who represent the country. Every candidate that the ruling class deigns to run in their election spectacles are carefully screened to make sure that they represent the interests of the ruling class. Yes, those people who give us never ending wars, bail out the banksters, and wreck the economy for ordinary people.

The US and China: One Side is Losing, the Other is Winning

By James Petras

The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

By Tom Burghardt

The article points out a lot of similarities with the 9/11 failures, and casts doubt on just "mistakes".

Sunday, January 3, 2010