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 23, 2010
Organic Consumers Association members concerned that Monsanto and Big Food corporations have inordinate and dangerous power over where our food comes from and how it's produced, sent 8954 letters to the Department of Justice last month. Here's a bit of what they had to say.
Everything a person does publicly on their social-networking accounts can be found by market researchers if the user's privacy settings allow it.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Copenhagen has also seen the radicalisation of many environmentalists as the vested interests that require to be challenged in order to prevent further degradation of the planet have been brought to the fore. There is a rising grassroots movement that identifies the dividing line of the environmental question, as between those that want to put an end to the exploitation of nature to accumulate wealth, and those that want to continue “business as usual,” regardless of the effects it may have on the planet.
Agricultural employment has always fluctuated seasonally, so the growth of housing developments in the Central Valley over the last 30 years has given workers the option of steady construction work. The housing boom, which began on the heels of the collapse of the dotcom bubble in 2001, increased the need for workers until the housing bubble itself collapsed in 2007. Along with the drop in construction jobs, drought conditions have combined with increasing mechanisation and concentration of agricultural production to throw even more people out of work. There are simply fewer farms, each significantly larger in size, that produce larger yields per acre. This process of increasing capitalist centralisation in a region that was already the first in the US to have industrial agribusiness on a mass scale continues the process of replacing people with machines, substituting ‘dead labour' for living workers.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Obama administration officials and Democratic congressional leaders reached agreement Tuesday on the establishment of a bipartisan commission that would put recommendations for drastic budget cuts to a vote in Congress before the end of 2010. The commission would have unprecedented legal authority to propose changes in both the tax code and major entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with Congress required to hold an up-or-down vote on its recommendations.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said Tuesday that international adoption should be the ‘last resort’ for children orphaned by last week’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.
Can these radio jockeys really believe half of what they say? They serve the system that butters their croissants. They are the corporate media, they are the Republicratic party—two sides of the same coin—the tarnished coin, the cheapened, sinking coin of this realm.
Independents are now the majority in America—not Republicans, not Democrats. When we wake to our real power, we can change this world.
I am staggered. There are 10,000 ‘NGOs’ (Non-Governmental Organizations) in Haiti, one for every 900 inhabitants and each one of them has no doubt at least one Westerner working within, yet aside from the Cuban health workers, it seems they could do nothing until the gringos arrived with their Blackhawks and nuclear-tipped aircraft carrier and of course, the 82nd Airborne, paying yet another ‘visit’ to this benighted and super-exploited land to ’secure’ the place for the locust storm of aid to come (too late for too many).
Whatever the underlying reasons, Americans are just beginning to feel the economic, social and political consequences of having abdicated their power to incompetent and/or immoral leaders. It doesn't take "boots on the ground" (in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen or anywhere else) to fire cruise missiles into neighborhoods filled with women and children or to send unmanned drones into villages, and hope they hit the desired mark. It doesn't take brains, courage or good leadership skills either. What it does is insure a self-perpetuating cycle of endless war. That may enrich the military-technological complex for a minute, but it is guaranteed to impoverish the rest of us for generations to come.
There are serious and inspired protests being planned while the athletic festival is underway. That's what happens when the myth of what the International Olympic Committee promises (economic largess) runs up against the reality (gentrification, displacement, budget cuts, police repression).
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
It affects everyone. Generally speaking, the more media literate (familiar with how the media operates), the more educated, the more critically thinking people are, the less likely [they are] to be swayed by it. People who just have more opportunity to think and evaluate information and who have access to more information and to different kinds of media are less likely to be so directly influenced.
As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to rule on fundamental issues of internet neutrality, the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens, LULAC, have aligned themselves with the likes of Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. The Urban League and the National Council of La Raza are claiming to have open minds, but look ready to go where the money is.
The IPCC says the broader conclusion of the report is unaffected: that glaciers have melted significantly, that this will accelerate and affect the supply of water from major mountain ranges "where more than one-sixth of the world population currently lives".
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chair of the IPCC, added that the mistake did nothing to undermine the large body of evidence that showed the climate was warming and that human activity was largely to blame. He told BBC News: "I don't see how one mistake in a 3,000-page report can damage the credibility of the overall report. "See also Der Speigel's coverage.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
In spite of the unfolding humanitarian disaster, the US media has increasingly shifted its focus to “the security situation” in Haiti, as the Post put it. In tones reminiscent of its coverage of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, the US media is now replete with references to “looters,” “gangs,” and “street violence.”
Monday, January 18, 2010
Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama's closest confidants.
Sunstein advocates that the Government's stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups." He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging....
Last fall, the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, a multibillion dollar cooperative based in the Basque region of Spain, formed an alliance with the United Steelworkers, the largest industrial trade union in the U.S. The two announced that they would develop Mondragon manufacturing cooperatives in the United States and Canada that would "adapt collective bargaining principles."