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, June 5, 2010
Dumps, landfills, even oceans--sites the world over are covered in the collective detritus of our go-go consumer culture. Yesterday's hottest gadgets and plastic trinkets litter the planet. Some companies are working to make their waste more environmentally-friendly, and there have been successful efforts educating the public about the dangers of eWaste, but those initiatives don't address our deeper, habitual behavior of consumption.
The US can run an American political system, where power notoriously lies with money, and still keep 250 million people thinking they’re in a democracy, by a variety of means, partly profoundly ideological. There is that deeply-held American opposition to ‘the state’, even though people depend on it for so many things. ...it has the capacity to call the shots globally, which allows a large part of the population to consume and to fulfill their personal dreams, within limits.
The National Geographic Greendex survey of sustainable consumption is out, and most of the 17 countries in the study have improved over the past year. In the lowest-scoring one, though, consumers are actually less concerned about the environment and think that the whole issue is being exaggerated. And a majority in that country believe their current habits are unsustainable, but they're cool with letting their grandkids deal with it.Judging by my own observations in the condominium community where I live, I have to confirm the survey's results as accurately describing my neighbors behavior. However, it appears to me that this phenomenon has little to do with age as suggested by the writer of the article. In fact, it appears to me that younger people are most negligent about recycling and sorting of recyclable materials.
A casino capitalist zombie politics views competition as a form of social combat, celebrates war as an extension of politics and legitimates a ruthless social Darwinism in which particular individuals and groups are considered simply redundant, disposable - nothing more than human waste left to stew in their own misfortune - easy prey for the zombies who have a ravenous appetite for chaos and revel in apocalyptic visions filled with destruction, decay, abandoned houses, burned out cars, guttered landscapes and trashed gas stations.
As the Obama administration's educational reform movement increasingly adopts the interests and values of a "free-market" culture, many students graduate public schooling and higher education with an impoverished political imagination, unable to recognize injustice and unfairness. They often find themselves invested in a notion of unattached individualism that severs them from any sense of moral and social responsibility to others or to a larger notion of the common good.
...in the U.S....great opportunities were beginning to surface for those wealthy enough to purchase a Greek island of their own. Bargain hunting for real estate in the Aegean and Ionian Seas has become a new American pastime, made all the more appealing by the advent of the summer holidays.
Banks Profit From Near-Zero Interest Rates: Another Reason For States To Own Their Own Banks by Dr. Ellen Brown
While the banks responsible for today’s economic crisis are enjoying unprecedented benefits, state and local governments are forced to maintain very large and wasteful rainy day funds, even as they are slashing services to balance their budgets. They have to do this because they do not have the secure, nearly-interest-free credit lines available to private banks.
So economic activity requires energy, and a growing economy requires more energy. Next, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the probabilities of energy sector accidents increase with – you got it – the level of activity in the energy sector! And gambling with the energy sector is no Saturday jaunt to the tribal casino, where you might hit the jackpot and make an escape. We’re talking about national and global economies – tens of thousands of oil wells, thousands of coal mines, hundreds of nuclear plants, etc. – operating 24/7 and into the long run.Because capitalism requires growth, we can look forward to more disasters if we, the people, allow this system to continue! To assume that we can tame this carnivorous monster into being satisfied with only small portions of a vegetarian diet is sheer lunacy!
That means the “probabilities” play out!
As the Security Council, controlled on this issue by the U.S., the UK and France, protects Israel, "We are seeing the emergence of a remarkable phenomenon: militant activism by thousands from all over the world taking action that is the best hope for forcing a change that could end the blockade, end the settlements and has the potential to bring peace,"
Friday, June 4, 2010
This is an introduction to a post by Astore, but I recommend the introduction itself. It observes the seeming unraveling of the policies of the Empire. My only criticism is that it places too much emphasis on Obama's role in events. Obama is merely the figurehead, or salesman, for the Empire policies that are directed by international capitalist elites.
American strategists have struggled mightily against independent nationalism for decades as they constructed and maintained a worldwide system of indirect empire. This has meant propping up corrupt and self-interested local rulers who reliably carry out US orders, maintain regional systems favorable to US power and enrich themselves while diverting much-needed resources from domestic needs to serve the interests of wealthy, Western investors. To put down resistance both domestically and among potential regional rivals, these client regimes are given military and diplomatic assistance from the US that allows them to use any means available to maintain a favorable balance of power.***************
That two third world countries came together in direct defiance of US orders and undercut such a longstanding, key diplomatic effort is without precedent in this strategically crucial region, both revealing and contributing to the decline of US power.
The center of the power is the dollar. As Kissinger said in the '70s, if you control the money, you control the entire world. And the Gods of Money book [referring to his latest book] was written as a third part in this Kissinger trilogy, if you will: the oil, the food, and the money.
I have a some problems with an article like this. It purports to have a lot of knowledge about this organization called the Bilderberg Group which has been the subject of so much speculation over the years. Because it is a highly secretive organization and consists of the major capitalist power players in the world, it is easy to imagine all kinds of mischief that they are up to. But to a careful reader, one should always require some kinds of supporting evidence and sources of information.
I have no doubt that this organization is a key governing center of the global capitalist elites. There are also many other organizations that function to make the real decisions that governments dutifully support with legislation and policies, but this one appears to serve elites at the international level. They all mostly function in secret with any public exposure carefully crafted by public relations considerations. The Bilderberg Group practices total secrecy, or at least, they try to.
Hence, one is always on rather shaky grounds to assert too much knowledge about what they are actually doing. We can mostly infer this from indirect evidence and confidential sources which is what most investigative journalists do. I have doubts that this article meets many rigorous tests of journalistic credibility while, at the same time, feel that many of their observations are likely correct.
Faced with what the Wall Street Journal calls "one of Israel's worst international relations disasters in years", the right-wing leadership of the so-called "Israel Lobby" has been pulling out all the stops to defend the Jewish state against global outrage over its deadly seizure of a Gaza-bound vessel in international waters carrying humanitarian supplies early on Monday morning.
Politicians serve the interests of richly-funded special interest groups, rather than the long-term welfare of citizens. That leaves civil resistance as the only tool available to stop the slide toward global warming, and it explains why Hansen has used this tool. ”It is up to you,” he says repeatedly to those more concerned about the future of their grandchildren than political influence.
...illegal fishing by foreign fleets and the more serious nuclear and toxic waste dumping from the industrialised world pose...an environmental, socio-economic and ecological threat, which is unparalleled.
Safe places to walk, bike and accessible teen-friendly destinations promote healthy weight, study finds
Thursday, June 3, 2010
One thousand years ago the monarchs owned the bulk of land, and many would be shocked to realize that so very little has changed in the present.
...the global beverages giant [Coca Cola] was given a platform to present itself as ecologically progressive by one of the European Union’s (EU) most powerful bodies.
Friends of Europe, the event organiser, was founded in 1999 and relies heavily on corporate funding for its work. Describing itself as the "most dynamic think tank" in Brussels, it is led by Giles Merritt who doubles up as a journalist and corporate lobbyist.
Secretive housing units inside federal prisons in which prisoners are condemned to live in stark isolation from the outside world are unconstitutional, violate the religious rights of prisoners and are at odds with U.S. treaty obligations, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The title is rather misleading, but the article provides an interesting and inspiring contrast of courses in the manual arts as usually offered by US school systems and some organized by local citizens and small businesses in their communities.
...we’re raising an entire generation who haven’t learned (in public school at least) how things work…and how to work with things. (We’ve also not been very good about teaching how to work with others....
This famous journalist observes that the leaders of the Western nations have lost all moral integrity in their refusal to condemn Israeli murderous actions against the relief convoy and to defend the human rights of Palestinians. Now, only when it is the lives ordinary people from all over the world who are attempting to save Palestinian lives do we hear, at most, expressions of "regret" from European leaders.
...it is a fact that it is ordinary people, activists, call them what you will, who now take decisions to change events. Our politicians are too spineless, too cowardly, to take decisions to save lives.From the Guardian, this statement by US Vice President, Joe Biden: "So what's the big deal here?"
I am very moved to note that the remaining vessel, the Rachel Corrie MV--named after another ordinary woman who was from my State of Washington here in the US and who was killed by Israelis while defending the homes of Palestinians--is resuming the attempt to reach Gaza with humanitarian supplies.
Because of events like this and the ongoing destruction of the Gulf of Mexico, due to the obsession of corporations to secure more oil, that I am thoroughly convinced that world leaders have utterly failed to govern under the system of representative democracy.
Under the power of capitalist systems, representative democracy has turned into total fakery--a facade behind which people who own the economy hide and control our lives like puppeteers who manage our every move. We, as ordinary people, cannot allow this to continue if our existence is going to survive in any form other than pure barbarism. It falls upon us, as ordinary people, to take back control of our societies from those among us who have usurped that control and, in the process, prevent the destruction of human and many other life forms.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Big agribusiness has taken over your dinner table. This corporate domination has harmed farmers, who are stuck buying inputs and selling product to a tiny number of corporations. Monopoly power over our food has also limited the number of consumer choices to a few brands of unhealthy processed foods, and many neighborhoods are left without any fresh produce at all. This corporate food chain is being exported worldwide by these same companies. What we need instead is a just and sustainable food system that makes sure farmers make a decent living and everyone can afford good food.
"The Lost Soul of Higher Education: Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom and the End of the American University"
"In reacting to the economic insecurities of the past forty years, the nation's colleges and universities have adopted corporate practices that degrade undergraduate instruction, marginalize faculty members, and threaten the very mission of the academy as an institution devoted to the common good."In my opinion, one should enter higher education with the knowledge that it has a strong component of pro-capitalist indoctrination built into it. You won't get any kind of accurate picture of labor history and any history that undermines the legitimacy of capitalist interests and rule. Hence, its value lies mostly in teaching technological skills.
Be sure to view this brief ACLU produced animated video regarding online privacy concerns.
Raytheon is a leading U.S. arms manufacturer. It produces Tomahawk cruise missiles, Sidewinder missiles, Hellfire missiles, the "bunker buster" bombs, the delivery systems for cluster bombs, white phosphate and Napalm. The Derry plant manufactured guidance systems for Israeli missiles that have been used to kill and maim Palestinian and Lebanese people.
The stinking rich are planning billion-dollar luxury liners that keep the land-based Americans they've plundered at a safe distance.
The lesson from this is clear. We, the people, must politically grow up and not continue to allow ourselves to be manipulated by the governing class that likes to dupe us into supporting their appointed leaders.
This intrepid investigative reporter worked over many years to uncover the truth about this 1980 uprising of people in South Korea that was brutally crushed by a military junta with the blessings of US authorities.
Over the years, I gradually obtained more documentation. But until now, I had never written about the new documents. A few years ago, with the help of the National Security Archives, I obtained 10 State Department documents that had previously been released but heavily redacted. Then, after an 11-year appeals process, the CIA released to me several Top Secret reports....
Congress is so addicted to the economic payouts from the military contractors that it can't give up even the asterisk of all budget items, the second F-35 engine, even when so many of the members understand the absurdity of the situation. And Washington, in general, is so addicted to U.S. military control of the world that it can't give up a single base or allied operation....
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Chomsky begins with the case of Joseph Andrew Stack, who crashed his small plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, hitting an IRS office, committing suicide, as an example of the tragic lives that working people experience in many other countries as a result of the dynamics of capitalism. He goes on to the describe the many crimes throughout the world and illusions used by the ruling classes to cover up their crimes and confuse working people. He concludes by calling for a "radical imagination".
Well, for the radical imagination to be rekindled and to lead the way out of this desert, what is needed is people who will work to sweep away the mists of carefully contrived illusion, reveal the stark reality, and also to be directly engaged in popular struggles that they sometimes help galvanize.
No one excels in post-Orwellian, war-is-peace newspeak as Israel. Not only the Israeli commandos are being spun as the victims; the world is being subjected to a complete Israeli-orchestrated news blackout. Nobody really knows how many civilians were killed (nine, 19,20? Mostly Turkish? Maybe two Algerians? Any Americans or Europeans?) Nobody really knows if they were carrying "weapons". Nobody really knows at what point the commandos freaked out (eyewitnesses tell of people being killed in their sleep).
Could it be that capitalists are starting to question the system that brings them so much wealth and power? Would they give it up to secure a healthy and sustainable planet? Read this for some answers.
For better or worse, it seems unlikely that many western politicians, outside the environmental movement, will repudiate the pursuit of economic growth as one of the goals of public policy. Some have occasionally toyed with this thought. In 1979, US President Jimmy Carter made a speech in which he argued that “owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning”. A year later, he went down to defeat to Ronald Reagan, whose most effective electoral tactic was repeatedly to ask Americans if they felt better off than four years previously.
The silk could also have applications in bulletproof vests and improved car airbags.Just think, corporations and investors could make a killing off this!
[Josh] Fox pointed out one important detail which may help explain the surge in shale gas production during the past half-decade: the 2005 energy bill suddenly exempted the natural gas industry from the Safe Water Drinking Act. According to Fox, “The EPA was totally 100% taken off the job” and state inspectors are overwhelmed.Once again, it is clear that the US ruling class places it top priority, above all other considerations, on securing more energy to fuel the voracious appetite of the capitalist system--the system that lays their golden eggs of power and wealth.
Our only defense against the crushing weight of these forces will be to aggressively improve efficiency.
Those who would shut down offshore oil drilling might want to consider this: Over the next 20 years, the only real alternatives to offshore drilling are to become even more dependent on oil imports at the worst possible time, or trade it for the environmental horror of tar sands and coal-to-liquids production.The article is also reprinted in the Energy Bulletin which is a leading online publication re peak energy that supports much of what passes for "green" policy initiatives in the US. Although the website lists a disclaimer as to opinions expressed in their articles, one can only infer that they regard the thinking that prevails in this article as having merit. I believe that the article does, indeed, reflect much thinking in the US green movement, and if it continues to prevail, we might as well prepare for the demise of a habitable environment.
The mainstream green movement is so contaminated with the ideology of capitalism that they too believe that there is no alternative, and this article illustrates this myopic point of view. In fact the issue of this system which requires growth to exist, is hardly ever discussed in US green circles. It is a given. Once you accept their unspoken premise, you really have to accept their conclusions. Then the only real alternative is for more deep water and other types of high risk drilling for more oil. Likewise, one would also have to accept more wars to secure access to oil rich areas of the globe.
“We now know that hundreds of men were wrongly imprisoned at Guantánamo because of the previous administration’s decision to abandon the rule of law. If the Obama administration continues to detain dozens of men on the basis of suspicion rather than evidence, the shameful Guantánamo detention regime will live on even if the prison itself is ultimately closed."
The corporate media is tracking the disaster with front-page articles and nightly news headlines every day (if it bleeds, or spills, it leads!), but the under-reported aspects to this nightmarish tale paint the most chilling picture of the actors and actions behind the catastrophe.
...Israel is enjoying an unconditional impunity from all of the international rules, laws and regulations and acts like an autonomous state which does not come in terms with any obligation and responsibility. After the dissolution of South Africa's apartheid regime, which was recently revealed to have had a nuclear deal with Tel Aviv in 1957, Israel is the only apartheid entity which remains on the face of the world map and the unyielding supports of the superpowers holds up this flimsy existence....
Monday, May 31, 2010
The author provides an excellent historical overview of the struggle for workplace democracy in North America. She provides the broad outlines of how the "owners" of our economy have fought the inherent desire by people to assume control over the productive activities of their lives. It is clear that the "owners" have largely won the battle, but there is an increasing awareness among working people that things must change before any kind of sustainable environment can be achieved. So it's not only social justice at stake, but survivability of the human race.
If we want sustainability, we must abandon the corporatist notions of maximum profitability, limitless consumption, ever increasing production of all kinds of stuff. If these old priorities are abandoned then there is no further need or use for Mr. Taylor’s scientific management, or the hierarchies of authority or management methods designed to keep reluctant workers tethered to their machines. If enterprises are expected to be mindful of their impact on people and communities, then people and communities must play a part in deciding how those enterprises operate, what they do, how they do it… and all of this means that we will need ways of working together that no longer involve imposed decisions. The situation seems to cry out for workplace democracy – the real kind.”
Going green in the kitchen can be one of the biggest ways to reduce your impact on the planet. Luckily, in our tech-savvy world, we have access to some great online and electronic tools that help us eat more eco-friendly without adding any hassle to our daily lives. Here are ten resources that will help you make your kitchen an earth-friendly and incredibly appetizing place to hang out.
So just to summarize here: the deficit is caused by tax cuts for the rich, an economic collapse caused by wealthy bankers which resulted in bailouts for those wealthy bankers plus massive pain for middle income and poor people, tax loopholes and corporate subsidies designed to help the wealthy, plus two wars and wasteful defense spending (much of which goes into the pockets of wealthy defense contractors). And the solution for the deficit hawks: target middle class and lower seniors for social security cuts, and put in a regressive tax that is a burden to low and middle income people.
Justice: American style.
Obama Talks Left To Move Right, As Wall Street Criminals Are Given A Free Pass And Reforms Are Watered Down
But even as he was feigning left, he and his main economic operative, Tim Geithner, were moving right, to kill off amendments that the bankers hated, like Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposal for a deep audit of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Brown-Kaufman Amendment that would have broken up the six biggest banks in America.
As I write this piece the scale of the Israeli lethal slaughter at sea is yet to be clear. However we already know that at around 4am Gaza time, hundreds of IDF commandos storn inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by pmed the Free Gaza international humanitarian fleet. We learn from the Arab press that at least 16 peace activists have been murdered and more than 50 were injured. Once again it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
...despite the dominance of the development ideology, it is fair to say that there have been some significant achievements in the fight to get rid of the legitimating myths of capitalist modernity and lay the foundations for a truly alternative political paradigm.
People from this website come from experience with computer networking, and as such, they present a rather unique perspective on human connectedness and what the possibilities are for designing better models of connectedness. At least, that is my take on their perpective. If this turns you on, be sure to also read, "About Peer To Peer Foundation".
This is not a very current article that I normally post, but it is a good one given the mass media campaign to discredit any research which shows that climate change is real and man-made. I wonder, though, if the denialists won't go into hiding for a while given the fact that the Gulf of Mexico is filling up with oil, and we've only begun to see the devastating environmental consequences. Although they may continue to deny that the burning of fossil fuels is causing climate change, they may find it difficult to continue to deny that the mad pursuit of mining fossil fuels is causing environmental havoc.
Denialism is a process that employs some or all of five characteristic elements in a concerted way.