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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Israel: Global NATO’s 29th Member

by Rick Rozoff on Voltaire website. This hasn't happened yet, but will if the world Zionist network has its way. This is a lengthy and comprehensive article.

Freedom of Speech for a Fiction

by Christopher Ketcham on Counterpunch. More on the absurdity of "corporate persons"--the fiction created by our beloved ruling class to subvert this so-called "democracy".

How Wall Street Destroyed Health Care

by Paul Craig Roberts on Counterpunch. Roberts was in the Reagan administration--hard to believe sometimes!

Millions Against Monsanto

 from Daily Kos website. Sorry I missed this article earlier this month.

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.

GOP-linked company tracks online users’ ‘loan-worthiness’

from Raw Story website.
Everything a person does publicly on their social-networking accounts can be found by market researchers if the user's privacy settings allow it.

Government posting wealth of info on Internet

from First Amendment Center website. This may be useful for gathering government information, but of course, the most important information is classified and won't be available.

Are Corporations People? (4:25m video)

from Yes! Magazine website. 

Whose Rights?

from Yes! website. The authors, and

Liberal radio network Air America to go silent

from The Guardian website. The "public airways" continue to grow ever narrower under corporate sponsorship.

Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination, study finds

from The Guardian website.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Copenhagen World Leaders Fail the Planet

by Frontline. An independent Marxist review from Scotland, carried on Red Flag website.
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.

The mendacity of hope

by Roger D. Hodge from Harper's Magazine.

Where are the real populists now?

by Joe Conason from Salon website. Re yesterday's Supreme Court decision:

Tea-party activists claim to represent Main Street, not Wall Street. So will they let corporate money rule America? 

Supreme Court lifts the ruse

 from New Deal 2.0 website.

All you have to do is peruse Open Secrets for a few minutes to see how pervasive and powerful corporate money is in our political process.

Another toothless bank “reform” from Obama

from World Socialist Web Site.

Bankster and cop

Don’t Ridicule the Tea-Baggers — Recruit Them

by Ernest Partridge from Dissident Voice website. He offers some excellent lessons on how to talk to "tea-baggers".

Crisis in California - everything touched by capital turns toxic

from Libcom.org website. This is a fairly lengthy, but comprehensive analysis of the current economic conditions in California and their development over time under the system of capitalism.

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.

Greenhouse gases are amping ocean acidification, 15-year study shows

from Investigate West website.

Past Decade Warmest on Record, NASA Data Shows

from the NY Times, registration required. This seems to be getting some coverage in mainstream media, but I have little doubt that some scientist somewhere in the world will, once again, report the opposite and that will be covered much more extensively in MSM.

When the Media Is the Disaster

by Rebecca Solnit from TomDispatch.com. I suggest that you omit Tom Engelhardt's introduction and scroll down to the article.

One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars - not people, new figures show

from The Guardian.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Court Decision Radically Overhauls Campaign Finance Laws in Favor of Corporations

from Truthout website. I'm not really convinced that the "democratic" elections exercise in the US can get any worse than it already is.

US: Democrats agree on commission to cut Social Security, Medicare

from World Socialist Web Site.
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.

Tragedy Exploited: A Sad History Repeating Itself in Haiti

from Dissident Voice website. 
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.

Massachusetts Calling

by Gary Corseri on Dissident Voice website.
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.

Disasters are Big Business

by William Bowles. 
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).

B.C. by Hart

Beware of the upcoming 2nd wave of real estate defaults

from Agora Financial website.

So Why is the Fed So Desperate to Keep Maiden Lane III Details Secret?

from Naked Capitalism website. Yves Smith critiques the information contained in a Bloomberg report that casts further shadows on the Federal Reserve and its attempts to cover up the AIG and counter-party generous bailouts.

We Have Met the Enemy - and They’re Not in Yemen

from Toward Freedom website. The author brings a lot of clarity and depth to an understanding of recent events in Yemen.
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. 

Melting Glaciers Scientist Blames Issue on Misquote

From Bloomberg News website. It is clear to me that the governing class's mainstream media, which is designed to influence working people, will go to any lengths to find flaws with the overwhelming body of scientific, peer reviewed evidence that climate change is real. Of course, because the evidence clearly implies a collision course between environmental limits and the governing class's cherished system of capitalism, they must attack the messengers. You will see some corrective articles like this in their own media (Bloomberg News) because capitalists depend to a great extent on reliable information in order to make sound investments. In spite of this, their biases often cloud their judgment.

Resistance is Coming to the Vancouver Olympics

From The Nation website.
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

FBI agents seeking phone records used 'startling' methods

From the Washington Post. Also see links at end of the article for more background information.

The Results Are in: Massachusetts Chooses Tweedledum over Tweedledee!

By Ron Jacobs from Dissident Voice website.

The states budget crisis about to get much worse

From the Economic Populist website.

The Known Universe (6:31m video)

Produced by NASA and borrowed from Naked Capitalism website.

Ted Rall by Ted Rall [click on cartoon to enlarge]

Turning ‘Combat Casualties’ into ‘Victims’ & Vice Versa

From Sibel Edmonds' excellent website, Boiling Frogs. Read how this famous government whistle blower critically reads ruling class propaganda.

How Effective Are Misinformation Campaigns to Manipulate Public Opinion?

From Scientific American website--an interview with David Altheide, a sociologist at Arizona State University in Tempe.
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.

Big business plots to block EPA

By Jim Snyder from The Hill website.

NAACP Sells Out “Civil Rights” to Net Neutrality

By Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report. 
 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.

IPCC officials admit mistake over melting Himalayan glaciers

From The Guardian website. "Senior members of the UN's climate science body admit a claim that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035 was unfounded" The headlines here were designed to discredit the reported facts about the rapid melting of the Himalayan glaciers; but if one reads the report carefully, it only refers to the prediction regarding the specific year when the glaciers will melt away.

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.

"Glacier gate" - how the Murdoch press have got it wrong on the Himalayan big melt

From Climate Action Centre website.  Read a much more balanced report on this incident reported on by mainstream media as illustrated in the above post.

William Astore, Going Rogue in Combat Boots: A Very American Coup

From Tom Dispatch website. About more military spending and a look at what will likely be the scene in 2016--unless you and I do something about it!

Defeat of Ukraine's "Orange Revolution": Yanukovich -- Man for all Seasons

From Global Research website. This provides an update on political events in Ukraine since the widely ballyhooed Western media coverage about the "orange revolution" in 2004 when US political operatives were actively trying to subvert democracy in that country. 

Gaza blockade threatens health of 1.4 million, aid agencies warn

From The Guardian website. "Israeli and Egyptian blockade means nearly one-fifth of requests to leave for treatment are refused or delayed...."

Israel Crushes Local Dissent, Attacks Global Criticism

From IPS news service. Israel responds aggressively to world wide criticisms and condemnations of their human rights violations.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Backers fight for US consumer agency's survival

From Reuters news service

32,000 Scientists (9:55m video)

From Ecosocialism Canada website exposing climate change deniers' outrageous claims widely reported in mainstream media.

US military to enforce state of emergency in Haiti

From World Socialist Web Site. "...working people in the US have donated a record amount of money."
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.”

Disputes emerge over Haiti aid control (3:09m video)

From Real News Network

Wall Street's Power Grab

By Michael Hudson. Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books.

Fractured Narrative: Haitian Calm, American Cynicism

By Chris Floyd. Since 2000, Floyd has worked as a freelance journalist and as a writer and researcher for Oxford University. He is also the Chief Editor of Atlantic Free Press.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Obama Executive Order Seeks to “Synchronize and Integrate” State and Federal Military Forces

By Tom Burghardt from Dissident Voice website.

"Slow Death" in Europe

The Economic Populist reports on Greece, the latest serious casualty in the economic collapse after Latvia, Iceland, and Ukraine. 

How to Help Haiti

From the excellent Washington's Blog.  In this article he provides a number of excellent links on background information re Haiti.

U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes

The latest from ABC News re your religious-military-industrial complex.

Obama confidant's spine-chilling proposal

Glenn Greenwald on Salon website provides more evidence that the recent ruling class organized elections change nothing when it comes to managing consent of the people.
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....

Preparing for a snowball fight

The Right Testicle of Hell: History of a Haitian Holocaust

Greg Palast's report on rescue efforts in Haiti.

The Most Neglected Labor Story of Last Year

From Progressive Review website.

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."

Organizing: Movement, Community, or Pressure Group?

By Jerry Silberman from Energy Bulletin website. The author continues the discussion about organizing in the US.

The Key to Local Food Systems' Survival: Strong Community Support

From Planet Green website.

Egypt joins Israel in blockade of Gaza

From World Socialist Web Site

Frustration mounts over Haiti aid

From Al Jazeera website. 

"Some aid agencies have complained about a lack of co-ordination at the Port-au-Prince airport, where the US military has taken over operations."

Israel Threatens Palestinian Authority: Defer UN Vote on Goldstone or Face 'Second Gaza'

From Global Research website.

India: Hill Women Form Cooperative, Turn Entrepreneurs

From IPS news service. I don't see what "entrepreneurs" have to do with this--it's about cooperatives!

Bass Boats and Queer Marriage

This working class journalist-in-exile, Joe Bageant, expounds in his inimitable style on the American Way of Life and politics. 

What is wrong with the Olympics? [Vancouver]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Transitioning to a more just decentralized economy

From the P2P Foundation.

If the climate were a bank, they’d have saved it by now

An editorial from Green Left website in which they review the results of Copenhagen's UN conference. They conclude that "it confirmed the world’s corporate rulers were simply unwilling to act in defence of people and the planet". But they also view the prospect of "a people’s movement that exploded onto the scene both inside and outside the summit — is to gather strength and grow, until it can indeed defeat the corporate criminals and the governments that now do their bidding."

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

By Janine Jackson of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) website. She illustrates how the governing class's media shape public opinion by its use of opinion polls.

For your amusement (click on cartoon to view)

Iraq Political Fissures Widen as March Vote Nears

By Dahr Jamail. More turmoil is seen in Iraq because of the recent actions by "US-appointed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki" banning numerous opposition parties from the upcoming election.

Media Promotes Flawed Haiti Narrative

From the TPM (Talking Points Memo) website.

Avatar is real: Pandora is located in Central and South America and Africa

From Venezuela Analysis website. Author provides a number of illustrations, which correspond with the movie, of the reality of corporate/military efforts  to wipe out indigenous peoples in order to extract their resources. 

John Pilger: Welcome to Orwell’s world

From Green Left website.