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, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Saturday, January 9, 2010
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 In that case, perhaps the only thing to do is seek to gain whatever can be withdrawn from the system prior to a major rule-change.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.
Friday, January 8, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
Who Would Benefit Politically from a Terrorist Incident on American Soil? The Strange Case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab
The title says it all.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
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!
Shows how world financial institutions have greatly increased their concentration since the economic collapse and the difficulties this poses for the Asian economies.
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.
Personally I don't think that she would ever blow up a million dollars worth of plastic surgery.
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.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
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".
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.
Arne Duncan’s History Lesson to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT): Elevating the Teaching Profession? Part 3
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:
- Arne Duncan’s History Lesson to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT): Elevating the Teaching Profession? Part 2
January 4th, 2010 by Danny Weil (1)
- Arne Duncan’s History Lesson to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT): Elevating the Teaching Profession?
One teachers response: Part 1
January 3rd, 2010 by Danny Weil (3)
It appears that Big Pharma is literally sucking the blood out of workers for profit.
Monday, January 4, 2010
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.
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.