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 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
The film elaborates on the aggressive, vulgar, orchestrated amplification of fear amongst Israelis and Zionist Jews. “We are raised to believe that we are hated” says an Israeli high school girl....
Arrayed against us, the people, is a vast apparatus of control and manipulation that embraces governmental, ‘non’-governmental, private foundations, the media, state and corporate, ‘entertainment’ in all it’s wondrous forms, think tanks, institutes, foundations, academia, formal and informal bodies, both national and transnational, associations, ngos and ‘ngos’, charities and ‘charities’, all of which are heavily subsidized by the state and / or corporations. Who needs ‘The Illuminati’ when we have all this arrayed against us?
The movement in Brazil differs from those of other countries, because it combines three dimensions, said FBES executive secretary Daniel Tygel. Besides the economic aspect, which comprises self-management and the creation of cooperatives and networks, it includes a cultural dimension, related to consumption, gender relations and areas like free software, as well as a policy of social transformation.
In the long term, "we want to change the model of production and the direction of development, towards a model that is not harmful to life," said Tygel.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Hugo Blanco was leader of the Quechua peasant uprising in the Cuzco region of Peru in the early 1960s. He was captured by the military and sentenced to 25 years in El Fronton Island prison for his activities, but an international defence campaign won his freedom. He continues to play an active role in Peru's Indigenous, campesino, and environmental movements, and writes on Peruvian, indigenous and Latin American issues. He edits the Lucha Indigena newspaper
Notice the rank hypocrisy from US administration figures re this issue. What about the use of telecommunication services in the US to spy on its citizens? See this and this. It is rather nauseating to see US government leaders wrap themselves in civil rights righteousness when they are so deep into this surveillance activity.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Poor Harold Ford. Having created the model of a right-wing, corporate Black Democratic politician in search of a national podium, he was eclipsed by the more talented Barack Obama. But the backing of a few billionaires changes all the odds in 21st century America, where the “corporate boardroom is the equivalent of Hollywood's casting couch.”
The language he uses reflects this kind of thinking. His unrelenting hatred of the Soviet Union, and now Russia, has informed his views on US relations with that country. He was the main architect behind the US sponsorship of the Mujaheddin and Obama bin Laden in their fight against the Soviet Union.
I think that, while listening to this interview, one should pay particular attention to the words he uses to disguise and legitimatize a foreign policy that advocates domination, or the use of force, over other counties. He uses terms like engagement to mean domination, and when the skillful interviewer translates "engagement" to domination, he replies that domination merely means "the ability to manage." In his circumlocutions about what our policy in the region should be, he vaguely suggests that we need to be "engaged" there so that we can "manage" the resources of the region and so that they don't fall into the hands of some other power. Later he says, "The fact is that to some extent our participation in the Eurasian game is also a source of stability and prevents eruptions that could affect us very directly or our immediately friends very directly."
It is people like him who view other countries and their people like mere pawns in the Great Games that ruling people like to play, and which result in the devastated lives of so many ordinary working people.
More than 185,000 U.S. troops have been forced to extend their time in the military under the “stop loss” policy since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he hopes the practice can be scaled back drastically in the next two years.
Report of the Bloomington Peak Oil Task Force: Redefining Prosperity: Energy Descent and Community Resilience
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
In the long run, those opposed to debt repudiation may have to answer a very difficult question. Just how much national wealth and treasure, how much future productive capacity, are going to be called on to right the policy wrongs of the past? Much as in the manner of the "debt holidays" mandated for every seven years by the Old Testament, debt repudiation may eventually come to be seen as the only real solution to the gross misallocation of national wealth and income that has attended the past three decades of world capitalist excess.
The idea of "full spectrum dominance" is about threatening to cut energy flows not only to China but even to the European Union (EU) or anyone for that matter who crosses Washington's policy makers. And it's as much about Saudi Arabia as about China. As Saudi oil exports also have to negotiate the Bab el-Mandab, US "interest" in Yemen means a graphic warning to the House of Saud: don't even think of trading oil in euros or in a basket of currencies including the Chinese yuan.
...in 2008, Play Fair and The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) published a report called Clearing the Hurdles: Steps to improving working conditions in the global sportswear industry. We identified four key hurdles facing workers in the sportswear industry and recommended four ways to overcome them:See the response chart.
1. Develop a positive climate for freedom of association and collective bargaining;
2. Eliminate the use of precarious employment in sportswear supply chains;
3. Lessen both the frequency and negative impacts of factory closures; and
4. Take steps to improve worker incomes, with the goal of reaching a living wage for all workers.
In these pages the Play Fair Campaign and MSN present responses from Nike, Adidas, Pentland, Puma, Lotto, New Balance, Asics and Mizuno on their willingness to meet 36 specific targets to overcome the four hurdles facing workers in the sportswear industry. Although company responses on all 36 proposals are available here, we are highlighting their responses on 12 key proposals that best illustrate the brand’s commitment to meeting the Play Fair targets. Where necessary we have summarized brand answers to fit in the allotted space, while providing access to the full answers (in the company's own words) via links below [adjacent to] each summary.
A new study quantifies for the first time what happens to long-term policy options if mid-term emissions targets are not met.
The study was published by scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, and the Energy Research Center in the Netherlands.
This is a guest post by Lionel Orford. Lionel is a professional electrical engineer with an interest in peak oil and sustainability. This past year he has been researching and developing a book with the working title, "Peak Capitalism: Our Opportunity to Choose between Transformation and Collapse."
We do have a culture capable of solving problems – but only when it is widely understood by the general populace that emergency measures and major changes are required. Once we shift to emergency mode, we can overcome our cultural resistance to change and make major changes to the way we operate our society. I believe (and hope) that once the failure of our economic system becomes obvious to all, we will have an opportunity to form the political will to make the fundamental changes required to avoid catastrophe.
Money from taxpayer bailout that went to help US banks recover, also went to Dubai’s extravaganza
Dubai is where the rich and wannabees go to party. “It will take more than bad debt to stop the partying in Dubai, as Collette Lyons found out when she took a job on a magazine in the hedonists' paradise”
See what life is really like in this “glittering monument to Arab enterprise and Western capitalism”.
As of this writing, it is not yet possible to provide a comprehensive answer as to why these events unfolded as they did. I am however, certain of one thing: the Obama administration, the security agencies presumably under its control and the corporate media, johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to covering-up imperialism's multitude of crimes, are lying to the American people.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Taped in late 2005 before Peak Moment began, this conversation feels eerily prescient about the effects of the 2008 financial collapse. William Stewart reflects on the shadow side of the fossil fuel bonanza, which enabled hyper-individualism and mobility that have shredded our connections to community and place, along with increased violence and dysfunction. Likening our oil-dependent culture to an addict who must first bottom out, he suggests there may be a silken lining after collapse: the possibility of more communal and connected ways of life.
The corporate capitalist system is destroying people and the planet. Can we imagine alternatives? Ravi Logan and Jason Schreiner’s model is based on valuing our interrelatedness and interdependency within the natural world. It replaces profit-driven with cooperative enterprises, and emphasizes a balance between local self-reliance and bioregional networks, with some global structures to meet global needs like telecommunications. They describe applying permaculture principles like the zone approach in on-the-ground projects in Eugene, Oregon.
the appointment of John McLaughlin, former deputy CIA director, to head the internal investigation of the intelligence failures that led to the Christmas Day attempted bombing of a Delta airliner headed for Detroit as well as the events leading to the shootings at Fort Hood in November.
Talk about "counter-insurgency" as much as you want, but this is another kind of battlefield, and "protecting the people" plays no part in it. And this is only what can be gleaned from afar about a semi-secret war that is being poorly reported. Who knows what it costs when you include the US hired guns, the Afghan contractors, the bases, the drones and the rest of the personnel and infrastructure? Nor do we know what else, or who else, is involved, and what else is being done. Clearly, however, all those billions of "intelligence" dollars are going into the blackest of black holes.
...the truth is that the same pack of greaseball oligarchs have done it again. Managed to slip the schnickle to the proles – again. Because in the big picture, the one where the money is counted (and money is the only thing that counts in capitalism's big picture) they own the game and make the rules.
"The urgency of the situation demands that as a global community we not only reverse the rate of loss, but that we stop the loss altogether and begin restoring the ecological infrastructure that has been damaged and degraded over the previous century or so."
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I agree with much of what he writes (especially about "terrorism"), except his take on these invasions as a product of American naiveté. On the contrary, even though the invasions create a lot of chaos and destruction, they are intentionally planned to insure US ruling class domination of the resource rich Middle East and thus the world. I think a case can be made that they deliberately create chaos in these countries the better to control them and to justify a long term presence. All the media propaganda about Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and terrorists is mostly for public consumption to justify US aggression and the cost in lives and weapons of war that working people have to pay for.
It’s against this backdrop that this week’s long-awaited initial public hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission are so critical. This is the bipartisan panel that Congress mandated last spring to investigate the still murky story of what happened in the meltdown. Phil Angelides, the former California treasurer who is the inquiry’s chairman, told me in interviews late last year that he has been busy deploying a tough investigative staff and will not allow the proceedings to devolve into a typical blue-ribbon Beltway exercise in toothless bloviation.I must admit, I have my doubts (to say the least).
JAY: Now, one of the things that came out of the McClatchy series was that Goldman was betting against its own properties it was selling clients. So it was selling these bundled mortgages to a pension fund, and over here is buying insurance from AIG because they knew that the whole thing was going to crash. But there was no regulation that caused them to disclose to their clients that they're betting the other way over here. What do you do in an environment where the people writing the regulation, they're all coming from Goldman, so that the people who were playing that game are the ones supposed to be writing the rules now?
I find it very interesting that MSM has completely ignored the issue of factory farmed meat, and the fact that the common name of the virus was changed from "swine flu" virus to H1N1. Can't offend the big agri-businesses, can we?
Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution find themselves surrounded by no less than thirteen US military bases in Colombia, Panama, Aruba, and Curacao, as well as the aircraft carriers and warships of the 4th Fleet. President Obama seems to have given the Pentagon a free hand. Would the people of the world allow a new crime against democracy to be carried out in Latin America?
My only criticism of this fine article is the use of the word "consumerism". It seems to me that it is used to hide the system of capitalism, because capitalism is not something that the liberal British newspaper wants to challenge in any way. "Consumerism" elevates the practice of consuming to an ideology, but in fact it is only a necessary component of the capitalist system. So I think that this is another way, among many others, to deflect any examination of the system which provides the governing class with so much wealth and power.