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

Ted Rall by Ted Rall

Why ‘Community’ Might Not Need ‘Organising’

A fascinating article from Transition Culture website.

Welcome to Third Life - Wikitopia

Introducing a website devoted to creating a virtual world order to serve human needs and sustain all life.

World Social Forum: New and Old, US Groups Forge Broad Alliances

From IPS news service.

Zbigniew Brzezinski: How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen

This is a document to support my view expressed in Thursdays post re the interview with Brzezinski in which he down-played a major role in organizing a terrorist group, the Mujahideen (later to become al Qaeda), to use against the Soviet Union back in the 1980s. This is an example of The Great Games that ruling elites love to play (and later try to cover up), and result in terrible crimes against humanity that continue for many years into the future.

Tinpot tyrant ain't seen nothing yet

By George Galloway in The Daily Record website. The humanitarian peace convoy called Viva Palestina made it to Gaza successfully and distributed their supplies. However it was a harrowing journey due to the threats and actions of Egyptian authorities.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Must-See Film: Defamation

By Gilad Atzmon, from Dissident Voice website.
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....

A fight against the odds

By Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt.  Another excellent look at the realities hidden behind mainstream media's portrayal of "al Qaeda".

For your viewing pleasure

(Borrowed from Naked Capitalism website.)

Obama’s “Get Tough on Banks” Again Tries to Play the Public for Fools

By "Yves Smith" at Naked Capitalism website.

The Instrumental and Subordinate Nature of Capital: Looking Deeper at the Mondragon Principles

From Solidarity Economy website.

Arctic permafrost leaking methane at record levels, figures show

From the Guardian.

Naomi Klein Issues Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert (4:07m video)

From Democracy Now 

Tectonics and poor construction conspired to create devastation in Haiti

From the LA Times. 

Germany's Endless Search for a Nuclear Waste Dump

From Der Spiegel. Most media articles on nuclear energy fail to address the ongoing disposal problem connected with nuclear energy.

Britain: Number of armed forces' veterans in jail 'on the rise'

From The Observer. It is likely that this is the same for the US, maybe worse. I haven't seen any coverage of this problem in the US.

Britain: Of course class still matters – it influences everything that we do

From The Observer. It is about the almost instinctive sense of fairness versus class privileges created by the capitalist system. This applies to all class structured countries, but the British are talking about it.

Bilderbergs of the World Unite!

By William Bowles, from Global Research website. A must-read article--it contains more fundamental realities about the world we live in than any other article I've posted up to now. 
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?

Brazil: Solidarity Economy Thriving

From IPS news service.
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.

Neoliberalism Ailing but Alive

From IPS news service.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Losing the Internet as We Know It

From the Huffington Post.

What You're Not Hearing about Haiti (But Should Be)

By Carl Lindskoog from Common Dreams website.

Green Jobs and Power

From Ecosocialism Canada website.

The banks and socialism

From World Socialist Web Site

False values and structural blackmail Pt3

Conclusion of interview with economist, James Crotty.  

The Afghan war and the 'Grand Chessboard' Pt2 (10:26m video)

This concludes the interview with that great Cold Warrior, Zbigniew Brzezinski. He again downplays his role and US's in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and their subsequent withdrawal. However, the evidence that the astute interviewer from Real News Network presents clearly links Brzezinski's/US's strategy to 9/11 and to the current war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This a perfect example of "blowback" that so often happens after The Great Games that Brzezinski and members of the ruling class like to play have ended. In other words, the games that these war criminals play often result in the suffering of many millions of ordinary people like you and me.

Hugo Blanco: `Only extinction of capitalism will ensure the survival of our species’

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

Nuclear Deceit - The Times and Iran

Because there was no permalink to this article on MediaLens' website, I have linked to Dissident Voice. This is about mainstream media's propagation of deceptions about Iran's nuclear program.

The Truth about Haiti’s Suffering

From Global Research website.

US-UN Corruption Tie In?

From Naked Capitalism website's blogger, "Yves Smith", a pseudonym.

(click on cartoon to view)

America’s quest for 'Buck Rogers Death Ray' continues

From RT, a Russian television network whose programs are carried in many cable systems throughout the world, much like the BBC. I often find that news and commentary sources that are located in countries foreign to the topic reported or analyzed can be the most accurate and revealing.

China responds to Google hacking claims

From the Guardian in Beijing.

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


From the National Journal

How Harold Ford Blazed the Trail For Barack Obama

By Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report.
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.”

Goldman Sachs admits 'improper' actions in sales of securities (3:17m video and article)

Reported by McClatchy news service. A report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission hearings currently going on in Washington, DC. 

Millions more US children in poverty

By Tom Eley from the World Socialist Website re recent findings of a study from the Brookings Institute

The Afghan war and the 'Grand Chessboard' Pt1 (16:46m video)

A Real News Network interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the more influential advisers on US foreign policy over the past 50 years. He was born and partially raised in Poland by parents in the Polish aristocracy. His father was in that country's diplomatic service and served in several Polish embassies until his final post in Canada as ambassador.  Soon his country was overrun by both Soviet and German invasions in 1939. Brzezinski's life lead him to be a student and professor at Harvard University where he taught for several years, and then on to Columbia University and became known as an expert on Eastern European political affairs and what is known as "the Great Game." In other words, he identifies with ruling class perspectives and the political games they play on the world stage. 

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.

Soldier jailed after recording angry rap song

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.

If Government Won't Break Up the Giant Banks, Let's Do It Ourselves

From Washington's Blog.

Liberal Arts Education and the Growing Class Divide

By Valerie Saturen from In These Times

Invasive Species Multiply in U.S. Waterways

By Matthew Berger, from IPS.

Problems exacerbated by climate change.

Report of the Bloomington Peak Oil Task Force: Redefining Prosperity: Energy Descent and Community Resilience

A dramatic community action plan devised by a volunteer citizen panel was adopted by the city of Bloomington, Indiana to prepare for the peak oil crisis.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For-profit Education

By Paul A. Moore on Dissident Voice website.  He is a teacher at Carol City Senior High School in Miami.

Shuttin Detroit Down Music Video

Iceland points to the future

By Julian Delasantellis at Asia Times website.
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.

Empire reloaded

By Pepe Escobar from Asia Times website.
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.


By Dmitry Orlov.  Although this is a gloom and doom prediction for the coming decade, it is one that many informed people see as very possible if action is not taken soon to avert these events. Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. He was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the late eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer with a BS in Computer Engineering and an MA in Applied Linguistics.

Surviving US health care

See how major sportswear brands rate on workers' rights

From Clearing the Hurdles website.
 ...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:

   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.

See the response chart.

Disappearing Options

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.

Jevons’ Law: Enforcing the Age of Energy Decline - Part 1

From the Oil Drum website:
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.

'The Slums of the 21st Century Are Being Built in Dubai'

Spiegel Interview with Architect Albert Speer Jr.  

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”.

Flight 253: Anatomy of a Cover-Up

 By Tom Burghardt from the Global Research website.  He concludes his analysis of a number of bits of information that he has assembled:
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

Reflections on the End of the World as We Know It (22:07m video)

A conversation on rebuilding communities for survival. 
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.

A New Paradigm for Development (27:33m video)

A conversation about a new development model.
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.

Lost Decade for Jobs or Disturbing Trend in Graphs

Dramatic graphic evidence of the decline in jobs since globalization started under the Clinton administration.

President Obama, the CIA and the Master of the Cover-Up

By Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout.org. About...
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.

Wall Street Will Be Back for More

By Chris Hedges.  About corporate culture and the sociopaths it fosters.

Federal Reserve Seeks to Block Release of U.S. Bailout Secrets

By David Glovin of Bloomberg.com.

The shadow war in Afghanistan

By Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse from Asia Times website.
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. 

Taking Tea with the Lizards

By Joe Bageant. About Tea Parties, health care, and managing the consent of working people in the US.
...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.

America slides deeper into depression as Wall Street revels

The author, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, has covered world politics and economics for a quarter century, based in Europe, the US, and Latin America. He joined the Telegraph in 1991, serving as Washington correspondent and later Europe correspondent in Brussels. He is now International Business Editor in London. 

World's biodiversity 'crisis' needs action, says UN

 According to Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Program:
"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." 

Israeli general Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam denies Iran is nuclear threat

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yemen – America’s second Afghanistan and third Vietnam

An essay of recent US invasions in the Mid East by Uri Avnery in Redress Information & Analysis.

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.

The Other Plot to Wreck America

Op-ed by Frank Rich of the NY Times
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).

The (In)dispensable Public: Public opinion mainly a prop for corporate press

By Janine Jackson of FAIR

Tax the speculators and create a public bank (12:29m video)

The Real News Network interview with Robert Pollin is Professor of Economics and founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Excellent exposé of the recent bankster shenanigans and changes that should be made (but likely will not be).

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?

"False values" and "structural blackmail" Part 2 (7:27m video)

Interview with James Crotty, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, by Real News Network. (Note: the first part of interview, which I have not posted to this website, took place on January 8.)

Evils of False Progress Interfere in Fight for Climate - Now It's up to Us

By Jan Lundberg of Culture Change

Factory Farmed Meat Can Trigger a Global Pandemic That Wipes Out Sixty Percent of Those Infected

By Kathy Freston, AlterNet

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 Surrounded

An IPS article by Ignacio Ramonet, editor of Le Monde Diplomatique.
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?

Well, it's a thought...

Nigeria: Lake Communities Left High and Dry

From Inter Press Service (IPS)

Be prepared to be reading more and more articles like this in the decades ahead.

Planning for plan B

I think George Monbiot (read article below) is appropriately depressed over the results of Copenhagen. It appears from this article that the earth's ruling classes are counting on geoengineering to rescue them from the head-on crash of their favorite system of capitalism with the self-regulating systems of the earth. I think this is pure insanity!

After this 60-year feeding frenzy, Earth itself has become disposable

By George Monbiot of the Guardian

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.

The year climate science caught up with what top scientists have been saying privately for years

From ClimateProgress.org