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
Friday, April 16, 2010
I welcome people who share my view that the capitalist system is on a collision course with a planet capable of sustaining human (and other life) to post articles with me that will help us to head off this catastrophe. If interested, email me.
Today I'll leave you with one article from Joe Bageant that I just received.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Ben Burkett, National Family Farm Coalition president and Mississippi family farmer, added, “Corporate control over inputs and the free trade agenda have destroyed the livelihoods of so many farmers at home and abroad. That’s why farmers worldwide are calling for food sovereignty—the right to choose fair and sustainable farming practices that protect our local food and livelihood security. This is what works best for our farms and communities.”
...for the majority of students, acquiring a certificate is no guarantee for the future which promises simply more precarity and constant self-recycling. Many students realise that capitalism has nothing to offer this generation, that no ‘new deal' is possible...
...just as it was in the health “debate,” single payer, improved Medicare for All, was also excluded from the film. The major point of the influence of health industry dollars on the reform process which should have been mentioned is that these dollars were spent in order to restrict the debate and protect industry profits. The lucrative status quo would have been threatened if single payer had been openly discussed because a publicly-financed national health program can provide high quality universal health care and control health care costs, something that a private insurance based system cannot accomplish.
While the mainstream media has been agog over the massive payouts to hedge fund managers, few journalists have asked a simple question: What benefit do hedge funds provide for all these riches? And how can it be that a handful of investors are reaping billions at a time when the unemployment rate is still pushing 10 percent, few jobs are being created, and average wages are stagnant or falling?
It appears to me, and many others, that reliance of the anemic oversight of the official regulatory agencies (FDA and USDA) is comparable to the oversight, or lack thereof, provided by similar agencies over the banking and finance corporations that has led to the economic collapse.
A common complaint is that the U.S. government conducts no independent testing of these biotech crops before they are approved, and does little to track their consequences after.Then the article cites some independent research that has revealed evidence to suggest serious problems caused by the consumption of GMO products.
The developers of these crop technologies, including Monsanto and its chief rival DuPont, tightly curtail independent scientists from conducting their own studies. Because the companies patent their genetic alterations, outsiders are barred from testing the biotech seeds without company approvals.
...only three unifying concepts [of the National Tea Party Federation] were announced: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets — all vague terms overused by any corporate Republican.
...Because the three unifying ideas are so vague, special interests will fill in the blanks when needed. For example, does a “constitutionally limited government” allow the economy to be dominated by giant corporations? Does “fiscal responsibility” mean that the U.S. should spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on foreign wars? Does “free markets” mean that Wall Street should be allowed to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants? The answers to these questions, according to the National Tea Party Federation, will all be YES!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A document accidentally left on a European hotel computer and passed to the Guardian reveals the US government's increasingly controversial strategy in the global UN climate talks.
The [Obama] administration had come under strong pressure from Democratic leaders in Congress as well as environmental organisations to try to block the loan.
'The Fourteenth Banker,' Anonymous Bank Insider, Describes His Moral Crisis: 'The System Is Built To Be Gamed'
...teachers are being deskilled, unceremoniously removed from the process of school governance, largely reduced to technicians or subordinated to the authority of security guards. Underlying these transformations are a number of forces eager to privatize schools, substitute vocational training for education and reduce teaching and learning to reductive modes of testing and evaluation.
As the author writes:
These comments show that the central bankers knew exactly what was going on, a full two-and-a-half years before the big bang. All the ingredients of the looming disaster had been neatly laid out on the table in front of them: defective rating agencies, loans repackaged to the point of being unrecognizable, dubious practices of American mortgage lenders, the risks of low-interest policies. But no action was taken. Meanwhile, the Fed continued to raise interest rates in nothing more than tiny increments....IMO (and I just heard White on the video say essentially the same thing!), they ignored the warnings because capitalists are sociopaths who are motivated by private short term gain and there were huge gains to be had. The system inevitably filters out normal people who have a social conscience and care about future generations and a healthy earth.
The not-so-hidden agenda of "nuclear Obama" was basically to gather global support for a tougher round of sanctions on Iran. Obama wants new sanctions in place by June.
As the Magnetar-Rahm connection highlights, Obama raised more money from financial services players than any previous presidential candidate, so it can hardly be a surprise that he and his minions are happy to give the industry a free pass. Key policy figures maintain that no one was at fault, that there was a pervasive lack of regulation, and there are therefore no bad actors. That party line also means that destructive behavior is and will remain unquestioned, unexamined, uncorrected, and unpunished.
A color revolution against a regime backed by the United States was not considered possible until this week. Indeed, how could such a thing happen, when it was the US that invented color revolutions to effect regime change in countries outside its sphere of influence?
A federal court has put the FCC’s version of “internet neutrality” in question, encouraging corporate forces that would turn the Net into a toll road. But real activists don’t rely on courts and legislatures to achieve social and institutional progress. “Until we return to genuine grassroots and radically political social movement no technology can be used for liberation."
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
For some reason, that desire for great expectations unmoored from reality perseveres, and remains enchanted by a political and economic paradise that is not only incorrect, but impossible. Instead of continuing to rely on those who can't seem to separate their perception from reality, we should be ignoring them outright. If anything, we shouldn't keep paying them for being wrong when it literally counts, which starts with the headlines and ends with our wallets.
According to bankers and others involved, the Magnetar Trade worked this way: The hedge fund bought the riskiest portion of a kind of securities known as collateralized debt obligations -- CDOs. If housing prices kept rising, this would provide a solid return for many years. But that's not what hedge funds are after. They want outsized gains, the sooner the better, and Magnetar set itself up for a huge win: It placed bets that portions of its own deals would fail.
The aim, however, is the same: to create the conditions for stepped-up sanctions against Iran, to threaten North Korea with retaliation over its alleged trafficking in missiles and nuclear technology, and to sustain US military hegemony, both in conventional and nuclear weapons, against potential challenges from more formidable powers, including China and Russia.
The Western media perpetually broadcasts the suffering in Congo, but the propaganda is simplistic disinformation, and the Western “news”-consuming public eats it up and dismisses the Congo, abandoning the people whose lives are determined in part by the raw materials stolen from them in a state of war and organized crime. These include diamonds, gold, columbium-tantalite, cobalt, copper, petroleum, germanium, tin, tungsten, palm oil, coffee and chocolate (sold in Whole Foods groceries stores).Then he goes on to make this startling allegation:
But the value of Congo’s greatest natural “resource” exceeds the value of all the above resources combined: the biggest western moneymaker in Congo is humanitarian aid, charity and international relief—Save the Children, CARE, UNICEF, UNHCR—a.k.a., and the misery industry.
The fed and Treasury are not giving more chips to those who need them: the American consumer. Instead, they are giving chips to the 800-pound gorillas at the poker table, such as Wall Street investment banks.So...isn't the capitalist system supposed to be about maximizing private gains? Of course, its proponents argue that by maximizing private gains, everyone benefits. But that is just propaganda. Who can argue against the proposition that money is power, otherwise known as the "golden rule"--those with the gold rule? In other words, they (the gold holders) make the rules that protects and enhances their interests--not society's.
The Fed “Owns Credit-Default Swaps ... On Debt Owed by California and Nevada. So the Fed Would Profit If One of Those States Defaulted on its Debt.”
American people's interests - are not necessarily aligned with the Fed's interests.
Americans have been fed a diet of fictionalized accounts about the war in Afghanistan, thanks to our military which cannot be trusted to tell the public the truth about what they do. We can only wonder what might happen to support for the war if Americans got truthful accounts from its military about what happens in Afghanistan, instead of lies that have to be "outed" by the very few brave independent reporters who have the integrity to undertake that task, no matter the cost.
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The District Court ruling seems like a victory, but I wouldn't be so sure that it will change anything. It may just be overturned by the Supreme Court, or what I think is more likely, it will simply be ignored. The laws and the enforcement system is for us little people--the governing class is exempt.
Once you follow that trail and understand what took place in Jefferson County, there's really no room left for illusions. We live in a gangster state, and our days of laughing at other countries are over. It's our turn to get laughed at. In Birmingham, lots of people have gone to jail for the crime.... But those who greenlighted the bribes and profited most from the scam remain largely untouched. "It never gets back to JP Morgan," says Pack.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
We are heading toward economic, political and social collapse, and every day that passes brings it closer. But we just don't know when to stop, do we? Which part of "the harder we try, the harder we fail" can't we understand? Why can't we understand that each additional dollar of debt will drive us into national bankruptcy faster, harder and deeper? Why can't we grasp the concept that each additional dollar of military spending further undermines our security? Is there some sort of cognitive impairment that prevents us from understanding that each additional dollar sunk into the medical industry will only make us sicker? Why can't we see that each incremental child we bear into this untenable situation will make life harder for all children? In short, what on earth is our problem?*************************************
Once we dispense with the idea that competition is in any sense necessary, or even desirable, new avenues of thought open up.
This transportation was an extraordinary feat [erecting huge statues] and could only be performed using vast numbers of wooden rollers, sledges and levers, not to mention the incredible number of man hours per statue. The capacity of the island to provide a relatively easy living (what we would call the EROEI) so as to free up so many workers for seemingly non-productive activity must have been considerable.
But over the centuries, this non-productive use of the forests, combined with increased need for timber due to population growth, would have gradually resulted in progressive deforestation, loss of habitat for a variety of edible plants, birds and animals, loss of protection from sun and wind, loss of fire wood and erosion of soil.The parallels with today's world dominated by the capitalist system, which produces profits for a few while generating so many unnecessary toys and luxuries, is the obvious, and important point of this article.