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 LappĆ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Call for a Democratic Economy

from Yes! Magazine. The author reviews a new book by Raj Patel entitled, The Value of Nothing, that calls for an economy brought under democratic control.
Patel’s solution is one of radical democracy, but radical only when compared to our current celebrity political culture. Instead of voting for our favorite overlord every four years, citizens should be organizing and taking an active role in establishing the rules that govern their own lives. These kinds of societies have existed before, and exist today. Patel’s primary models are ancient Athenians and the contemporary Zapatistas. For the Zapatistas, democracy is a way of life, rather than a rare and unpleasant ritual. 
Notice how the timid liberal reviewer assures us that the proposal is "radical only when compared to our current celebrity political culture". The proposal is very radical, indeed! It is one that the ruling class, whose rule depends on the their dominance of the economy and society, would never tolerate without a fight.

The ruling class frequently make use of the word, "democracy". But for them, it is only a buzz word that has been emptied of all substance, or it is just a synonym for capitalism. They know that for working people everywhere, it is mostly a long lost dream of everyone participating in the affairs of society. Hence they often use it to conjure up these feelings just like they drape scantily clad women over the latest cars in order to sell them.

A Union of Capital

from New Left Project. The article features an interview with a Dutch socialist who explains how European capitalist elites have hyjacked any element of democratic process to rule over European economy--in their interests, of course.
...it involves a process of ‘depoliticisation’. So the decision to make Greece’s workers pay the bills run up by the tax-dodging rich and their allies in Wall Street ceases to be seen as a vicious attack on the working class and comes to be defined as an unavoidable policy based on technical details beyond the understanding of mortal man or woman.

Washington Post and transparency: total strangers

by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. This esteemed investigative journalist, formerly a constitutional law and civil rights litigator, looks at how mainstream media manages the news while acting like the secretive government agencies that they protect.

With Income Gap at 80-Year High, Solutions Remain Elusive

from The Washington Independent. 
A new report shows that the income gap between rich and poor in America is at an eight-decade high — the largest differential since the period immediately preceding the Great Depression. And economists fear that the education and job-creation programs that could bridge this gap are lacking in the recessionary economy.

Shrinking Labor Force Masks Deepening Jobless Crisis

from The Washington Independent. The author offers the real stories behind the unemployment headlines and the so-called recovery.

Clinton Renews U.S. Claims On Former Soviet Space

by Rick Rozoff from Voltaire Net. 

The article illustrates and reveals a lot about the hypocrisies of US Empire agents and the very selection of such people, as they move the Empire into areas formerly under the domination of the former Soviet Union.

The Democratic Party, a pretense of an alternative party of the US Empire, offered much ballyhooed new alternatives to the American electorate in the 2008 show elections: a Black man and a woman while proclaiming changes in policies. Many people were hoodwinked, once again, and enthusiastically voted for them. The Black man is a man of mixed race who was thoroughly indoctrinated by a white, successful, banker grandmother. The woman is the wife of the promoter of the globalization phase of capitalism that has sent so many US jobs to foreign countries. It seems so easy to fool the American people who are so desperate for change that they are willing to believe it when comes packaged in different wrappings.

The following quote reveals why the ruling class moved Obama quickly into the role of President in the play called "democracy":
Two years after being catapulted from the Illinois state legislature (where few outside his Chicago district had heard of him) into the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama spoke at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs...:

"We must maintain the strongest, best-equipped military in the world in order to defeat and deter conventional threats....I strongly support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines....No President should ever hesitate to use force – unilaterally if necessary – to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened."

U.S. Hijacks ICC conference

from Voltaire Net. Read this to learn how the Empire has its way with international organizations that might impede its rule. The ICC is the International Criminal Court. 
The ICC Review Conference in Kampala last month reached the historic agreement to include the crime of agression under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. However, the United States successfully maneuvred to subvert the process.

Time out

A number of years ago a cartoonist, Fred Wright, illustrated some lessons about the profit system.

Jump Starting the First Amendment

from Counterpunch
The tired argument that the suspension of a free press and/or free speech is sometimes necessary in the name of national security is quickly exposed as little more than a mask for the true underlying motive which is not national security, but national greed.
With reference to the last "national" in this quote, I think it would be more accurate to replace it with "ruling class", or better yet, replace "national greed" with "ruling class security". Whenever a document such as a constitution gets in the way of what a ruling class wants to do, they simply ignore or work around it. Hence, there is no point in expressing moral outrage over such commonplace events as this unless it is to demonstrate the real nature of class governance.

Liberal writers such as this cannot envision a thoroughly democratic society, and therefore, a classless society such as we would have under Inclusive Democracy and the other alternatives listed on this blog.

Israel: a Failing Colonial Project?

from Counterpunch. 
...Israel is not an autonomous state.

It could not sustain its current military posture without the annual military grant of some three billion dollars from the United States and the tax-free donations from American Jews. More importantly, without the US veto at the United Nations, Israel could not continue its occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights, its siege of Gaza, its pre-emptive wars against its neighbors, and its policy of assassinations against Arabs. In short, without US-backed immunity, Israel would become a pariah state.

The Worst of Times, the Best of Times

by Alexander Cockburn from Counterpunch. 

The author looks at the "state of the Union". Of course, it is not pretty, but it seems to be the way the system works. You see, this is just another normal economic cycle. It's the natural state of things. So accept it, and move on. Get a life, if you can. (There doesn't seem to be an emoticon for dripping sarcasm.)

Private Universities Spend Twice as Much as Publics on Teaching

from Bloomberg News. 

The article reveals how, like most everything else, education is also a commodity under the capitalist system. It also demonstrates the deterioration of access to education under neoliberalism--you know, the latest version of this barbaric system of capitalism that is accelerating the war on working people, the climate, and the environment.

What Is the Ultimate Yachting Experience on the Mediterranean?

by Jamie Johnson from Vanity Fair. This is my weekly offering about the top 1% of our fellow Americans.  After all, they have worries and concerns too. We are all in the same boat and we need to keep in touch with all the passengers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Obama Is Slow on Global Warming Legislation

from US News and World Report. Just because the ruling class changes the cast of actors in the play called "Government", why should anyone expect changes?

Drill or Die

from Common Dreams. The title refers to the oil industries public relations theme that more drilling is the only alternative. The article goes on to explore the power of Big Oil over all the institutions of government.
...politics is all about perception, and if Obama is to survive politically in a corporate political culture, his options, at least in his own mind, are limited. Taking on Big Oil means engaging in a power struggle with one of the most powerful forces in the political universe -- what some have called the “corporate oligopoly.”

If past behavior is any indicator, that is something Obama is unlikely to do in his political lifetime. The president understands all too well that it is the corporate oligopoly who helped put him where he is today -- and it is they who can take him out.

Austerity for workers, tax cuts for business—Europe’s class policy

from World Socialist Web Site. Class war is raging in Europe as in the US.
Big business, the banks and the super rich are being increasingly relieved of paying taxes. The resulting deficits in state budgets, exacerbated by the hundreds of billions awarded to the banks in government rescue packages, are now being addressed through a combination of increased consumption taxes, which fall most heavily on the working class, and savage cuts in social programs and public sector jobs and wages.

Was the Social Security Money “Borrowed” or “Stolen”?

by Allen W. Smith from Dissident Voice

Read how the ruling class "borrowed" worker's Social Security fund, and now don't want to pay it back. It's like Warren Buffet said, "yes, there's class war, and we are winning!"
Over the past 25 years, five presidents, and the members of Congress, have participated in the great Social Security scam.  All Social Security contributions made by working Americans, except the amount which was needed to pay current retirement benefits, has been funneled into the general fund  and used for non-Social Security purposes.  Some like to say that the government just “borrowed” the money during the time period when it was not needed to pay benefits.

Time out

What work is really worth

from Le Monde Diplomatique. 

Most people who grow up in a capitalist society have little idea of how much indoctrination they have been subject to in order to turn them into true believers of the religion of capitalism. This article refers to a new study that will help you to step out of that soul destroying indoctrination to look at the value of individual work from a social utility point of view. If one understands this point of view, then it is obvious that capitalism does not serve social needs, but only the material needs of the few who can "win" in this barbaric system. 
Imagine for a moment we asked a crucial, and crucially different, economic question – not what are you paid, but what is the social return on the investment that is your pay? What do you contribute to society in exchange for your pay? It’s a reversed version of the usual monetary value question: what do you contribute to shareholders for your cost?
But the study's researchers reach some astounding conclusions: they favor changes to the subsystem of remuneration under capitalism ("market system"), progressive taxation, and restrictions on so-called "free trade". The latter, of course, permits corporations to outsource their operations to cheap labor countries where oppressive labor laws and little environmental enforcement exist.

Thus, it is clear that the researchers have also been so thoroughly indoctrinated that they cannot see that the remuneration of work, "free trade", oppressive taxation policies, etc. are products of the system. Apparently, like Margaret Thatcher and company, they don't see any alternative to capitalism. Or could it be that they dare not question the system if they are to continue receiving research grants and career advancement?

Spinning a Resource War in Afghanistan

from Toward Freedom. 

This is the way the capitalist ruling classes look at the war in Afghanistan and thus shape news coverage in positive ways to keep you on board the war effort:
In the world of such cold and inhuman accounting, the price tag on over 1,500 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan (or who died of their wounds in military hospitals such as Landstuhl in Germany, and other emergency care centers outside of the region) might seem acceptable. Assuming that on average a soldier posted in Afghanistan was deployed there for 2 years at a cost of $1 million dollars a year, the 1,500 lost lives purely and coldly seen from an economic vantage point have cost the US Government approximately $2 billion. Roughly calculated that amounts to less than one percent of the mineral treasures assumed to be buried in Afghanistan, once extracted.(14) Those who stand to gain from any mineral bonanza in Afghanistan are most likely not those who have paid the immeasurable personal and emotional toll of losing loved ones in the Afghan conflict.

Happy Meal Feud Heats Up

from Los Angeles Times. Corporate strategy in the pursuit of profits undermines parent's control over what their children eat.
Center for Science in the Public Interest's litigation director, Stephen Gardner, said he hoped McDonald's would negotiate an end to the practice of using toys to market unhealthful foods to children.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Octavia Nasr's firing and what the liberal media allows

by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. The article provides an excellent survey of the many journalists who have lost their jobs in mainstream media because of their unacceptable views--unacceptable to the rulers of the Empire. 

However, he does miss one that I remember--Ray Bonner of the NY Times for reporting on a massacre in 1982 by the US supported Salvadorean army.  Technically, he wasn't fired--just given a desk job. He quit soon afterward. 

Such disciplinary actions like this serve as warnings to many other journalists not to stray to far from the capitalist party line.

Dr. Peniel Joseph: Peoples Historian or Establishment Courtier?

by Bruce A. Dixon from Black Agenda Report. 

The author discusses the uses and misuses of political terms, especially "democracy" or "democratic" in the writings of various authors to determine whether they are mere propaganda products or honest essays. In most US communications the word meanings range from little more than a buzz word that means to suggest warm, fuzzy feelings about the American Way of Life to that of simply the holding of elections regardless of how corrupt the selection of candidates might be.

Austerity is not the only option

by Michael Hudson from Financial Times (registration required, but free). 

Of course, there are many other options, but this is probably the only other one available to the reigning capitalist system. Hudson gives the ruling classes more credit for intelligence than I would give them.

I think that FD Roosevelt was a lucky exception for the ruling class back in the 1930s. Having come from old, inherited capitalist wealth, he had a more calm regard for the 30s economic crisis. He knew that the system was under severe threats from working people who were beginning to see the flaws in the capitalist system and were looking at other arrangements. Also he needed their cooperation to fight the rival German capitalists who were competing for world hegemony with Anglo-Americans. He wisely pursued policies that offered some minor concessions to working people--enough to take the pressure off for real change. 

Nevertheless, his reforms were too much for most members of his class. They did everything to undermine his programs, and some among them even planned for FDR's removal from office by assassination if necessary. After WWII was won, they were poised and ready to cutback all of his programs and progressive ideas and to stifle dissent (McCarthy period).

This time I think things are going to be very different. I see unrelenting war against working people. Capitalism has gone global and the US enjoys no special privileges in this global system. Thus, policies of "structural adjustment" are being inflicted upon Americans just like they have been used, and are being used, on many other countries. True, the US is the enforcer of this Empire, but anti-working class policies just means that working people in the US will find few opportunities other than in the armed forces of the Empire.

Two Sides of the Same Coin: Global Capitalism & U.S. Militarism

from Free the Land. The author gives an African-American perspective on capitalism and militarism.
...the Obama administration has continued the militaristic policies of the Bush administration by swelling the number of special operations troops in 75 countries compared to 60 at the beginning of last year. This illustrates that Black faces in high places (neocolonialism) doesn’t necessarily mean a change in policy.
Very true. Even more, I think it means that the ruling class is very adept at manipulating the minds of ordinary people. Putting Obama in the lead role of the governing drama has fooled so many people, defused opposition to the wars and the loss of jobs, the robbing of pensions, public services cutbacks, bailing out the banks, and the many other Empire policies.

The ruling class turned racism on its head by giving us a Black face, and by doing so demonstrate that they are far less racist than we generally are. They knew that "blackness" may only be skin deep. They knew after vetting Obama that he was thoroughly indoctrinated in the values of the ruling class. And, why not? He was mostly raised by a successful white banker-grandmother and further indoctrinated at the elite's favorite school, Harvard.

The same applies to women candidates. The Democrats also offered us Hillary Clinton in the last election. The Republicans seem to be grooming Sara Palin. Unless ordinary people wise up to these games, stop confusing image with substance, we are all doomed. Capitalists have refined the art of "the management of consent" through their vast experience with peddling many useless products onto working people via advertising.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

United Farm Workers: “Take Our Jobs” [4:18m video]

from Crop to Cuisine. The simple fact is that these farm workers are exploited workers who bring big profits to farmers, agri-businesses, meat packing plants, etc. and provide cheap food for US citizens. It's another way that capitalism works.
Farming is some of the most challenging work available. You wake up before the sun rises, and often finish your day after it sets. It takes dedication and a work ethic rivaled by most.

And the need for healthy food is ever growing.Yet despite a national unemployment rate of 10%, the population of farm workers in this country is overwhelmingly made up of immigrants. 85 percent are born outside of the United States. And we haven’t seen that number change much since this recession began. Clearly many of us aren’t rushing to the chance at weeding, plowing or irrigating our farm land.

Thats the premise behind The United Farm Workers new national campaign, entitled ‘Take Our Jobs’.

The campaign is challenging U.S. Citizens to replace the immigrant communities responsible for the seeds sown and the crops harvested throughout the country.

Arturo Rodriguez is the UFW’s President, and speaks with Crop To Cuisine about the issues surrounding immigration, farming and the nation.

America's Tragic Descent into Empire

from AlterNet. Excerpts from Tom Engelhardt's recently published book.
Engelhardt's new book, "The American Way of War," explores the U.S.'s jaw-dropping transformation into a global military empire.
Here is just one excerpt:
Because the United States does not look like a militarized country, it's hard for Americans to grasp that Washington is a war capital, that the United States is a war state, that it garrisons much of the planet, and that the norm for us is to be at war somewhere (usually, in fact, many places) at any moment.  
Read the article for many more.


Congress' Oil Industry "Reforms" = Election-Year Greenwashing

from Mother Jones. Read how our faux democracy works, how our elected representatives appear to represent our interests while serving the interests of their real masters.

However, I don't agree with the author when he writes,
In sum, the citizens of the United States have given over the greatest natural resource wealth of our nation to private business interests—who naturally run it for their own profit, rather than for the public good. In return, we have demanded virtually nothing. And the little we have demanded—the most basic of safety precautions, the most modest of demands for fair pricing—have been ignored and derided by companies that regularly top the Global 500 list for profitability.
Our oil wealth was taken from us by stealth and bribery. Don't blame the victim!

Newest Medical Combine: Delis and Hungry Docs

by James Ridgeway from his blog, the Unsilent Generation.
Over the last year or so, there has been a campaign to break the hold of the pharmaceutical companies on doctors. The aim is to get more transparency so as to show the true relations between the drug industry and doctors, which involves taking gift , getting exotic all-expense- paid vacations, signing their names to articles they didn’t write, and on and on. The ultimate goal is to expose and eventually stop these practices.

Time out

Never mind protests, you can change things

by Djelloul Marbrook from his blog. 

The author has an idea for retired folks to become citizen journalists to restore some measure of idealistic journalism that has disappeard from the US.

Exxon Valdez Oil on Alaska Beaches – July 4th 2010 [2:08 video]

from Fire Dog Lake. 

In case you are thinking that the Gulf gusher will be taken care of sooner or later and everything will be back to normal, view this short video.

Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball

by Joe Bageant from his blog, Deer Hunting with Jesus. 

Can you imagine the nerve of this guy? He hides out in Mexico where he apparently spends most of his time "waltzing" with all those cute seƱoritas, and then hammers us with outrageous claims that everything that a good American believes in is so much BS! And that we are all up shit creek! Ssssssnooze. Gee, do ya think he might be right?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Globalization and its human consequences: The Red Tail

by Joanne Laurier from World Socialist Web Site. The author writes of the film,
The Red Tail, a documentary co-directed by Dawn Mikkelson and Melissa Koch, treats a question of immense importance: the consequences of a globally-integrated economy and the efforts by workers to defend their interests in the new conditions.
And she continues on to give some insightful comments about unions and the working class.

Can We "Fix" the Oil and Financial Crisis Before Its too Late?

by Danny Schlechter from Creative-i. 

From my hasty reading of this article, I think that he is making the argument that BP oil drilling disaster illustrates the workings of the larger capitalist system--they are both the result of criminal behavior inflicted upon society by the ruling class of capitalists.

"Graduating" from Graduating from College: The Ivory Tower Crumbles

by Carolyn Baker from her blog, Speaking Truth to Power. 

Lots of words of wisdom, especially for young people. I'm personally horrified by the future I see for young people; and if I were young, I would be terrified.

The BP/Government police state

by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. 

This, and other reports, illustrate once again the close collaboration between the dominate institutions of our society and its police forces. Greenwald is shocked, but he apparently has little understanding of enforcement agencies' true purpose which, except for situations like this, is usually very much disguised with the help of mainstream media. Can there still be doubts in your mind as to the purpose of police forces in a class society?

Time out

Left-Leaning Despisers of the 9/11 Truth Movement: Do You Really Believe in Miracles?

by David Ray Griffin from Global Research. The author continues the debate on 9/11 with this comprehensive argument that the evidence in support of a 9/11 conspiracy is overwhelming.

Some Reflections on ‘The Big Society’….

by Rob Hopkins from Transition Culture. 

I remain very skeptical of the Transition Movement whose guru is Rob Hopkins. I try to remain open to new information that will convince me that his ideas are constructive. However, there continue to be pieces like this that reinforce my skepticism. He seems to be quite the politician by acknowledging different points of view and thus appearing to be broadminded on any given subject. However, he clearly steers people in the direction of his movement and its collaboration with the policies of the ruling class.

For example, in this article he acknowledges a critical view:
Of course the cynic might point out that the reason for the Big Society is the sweeping cuts in public spending that are only just beginning.  If you replace the word ‘localism’ with ‘privatisation’, it is not that different in some ways from the Thatcher government’s agenda.  There is a challenge within it around what people are actually capable of doing in their spare time.  Working full time, and also running a school?  Working, managing a family, looking after an ailing relative, and running a Community Land Trust?  Of course there are incredible people out there who do that, but it will have its limits unless people are supported in other ways too.
But, as you can see, he dismisses it as cynical and continues on with the great opportunities the "Big Society" presents for the Transition Movement.
Having said that though, I welcome the potential that the Big Society represents.  It offers a context within which Transition can really step up to the plate.  It explicitly states that it wants to see communities stepping up and taking control, and that can only be to the good.  It has lots of hooks onto which Transition groups can hang their projects, and it also raises lots of questions which Transition initiatives have hard-won experience they can feed into.

Some thoughts on "patriotism" written on July 4

by William Blum from his blog, The Anti-Empire Report. He touches on his thoughts about patriotism, the oil disaster in the Gulf, health care, Oliver Stone's new film, and US's new war lord in Afghanistan.

The USSF [US Social Forum] - We Need Unity in Action

by Susan Rosenthal - Canada. The author is a Toronto-area physician and the author of SICK and SICKER: Essays on Class, Health and Health Care. This is a reproduction of an article I received from her via email about the recently held US Social Forum in Detroit.

Amazingly diverse. Frustratingly fragmented. The recent US Social Forum showed both of these faces.

Under the banner, “Another World is Possible. Another US is Necessary,” between 10,000 and 15,000 people of all ages, colors, sexual and political persuasions converged on Detroit, June 22 -26.

The shear size of the event was overwhelming, with more than 1,000 workshops to choose from, nearly 50 People’s Movement Assemblies and multiple performances, cultural events and parties.

I attended some useful workshops featuring campaigns to stop cuts to public services and cross-border organizing around issues of common concern. The sharing of information and experiences was inspiring, and many of us exchanged contact information for continuing cooperation.

The goal of the Forum, in the words of the organizers, was to engage in “a political process through which we work to align and strengthen our communities, weaving ourselves into a movement that transcends oppression and opposition, increasing our collective power and resilience.” Unfortunately, when put to the test, these words failed to materialize into action.

On the Friday, I had just left a workshop on building labor-community alliances when I saw a group of medics employed by the Detroit Fire Department demonstrating against cuts to the city’s emergency medical service. The Fire Department and the medics’ rally were both located directly across the street from Cobo Hall, the main venue of the Forum.

I joined the medics and suggested that we bring their bullhorn into Cobo Hall and gather a crowd to swell the rally – it was lunch break and no workshops were in session. To my surprise, we had a difficult time rounding up even a dozen people out of the thousands that heard our appeal for a show of solidarity.

In front of Cobo Hall, I saw a small march being organized behind the banner “Migrant Rights are Human Rights.” I appealed to the people at the front of the march to swing by our corner, stay a minute or two to chant with us, and then proceed on their way. They marched by us but did not stop, missing the opportunity to build support for their cause by supporting someone else's cause.

My heart sank, as I overheard one of the medics say, “There are 5,000 people over there, why don’t they support us?” Fortunately, we were able to gather a dozen or so enthusiastic supporters who chanted at the top of their lungs. The medics were extremely grateful.
Actions speak louder than words

We could have done much more. The Forum could have featured the medics’ fight by asking them to speak at a workshop, organizing a massive rally outside the Fire Department and collecting thousands of signatures to petition Detroit City Council. Such actions would have brought life to our words.

Capitalism is trying to solve its financial problems by attacking all workers. This attack takes multiple forms: cuts to health, education and social services; attacks on immigrant rights; racist and anti-gay legislation; loss of reproductive rights; foreclosures; police repression; attacks on unions; and attacks on our working conditions. We can defend our rights only by fighting back as a class. “An injury to one is an injury to all” means that we must treat every battle as our own.

Fouling all our futures

from Le Monde Diplomatique. 
Take millions of men and women seeking security after working all their lives and turn them into greedy robots, closer to the directors of BP than the fishermen of Louisiana. That is the nature of the system, kept going by the misplaced loyalties which one crisis after another expose.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Psychopharmaceutical Industrial Complex

from The Public Record. The pharmaceutical industry allied with insurance corporations and the medical establishment may be hazardous to your mental health.
For the past two decades, the Psychopharmaceutical Industrial Complex has been the driving force behind the epidemic of mental illness in the United States with the promotion of biological psychiatry and a bogus “chemical imbalance” in the brain theory.

Dangerous Crossroads in World History: Obama’s New Iran Sanctions: An Act of War

by Shamus Cooke from Global Research.
Whereas the Obama Administration calmly portrays economic sanctions as “peaceful” solutions to political problems, they are anything but. The strategy here is to economically attack Iran until it responds militarily, giving the U.S. a fake moral high ground to “defend” itself, since the other side supposedly attacked first.

But the U.S. is provoking militarily too. According to the New York Times: “The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships [war ships] off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four [surrounding] Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.”

A Fracking First in Pennsylvania: Cattle Quarantine

from Pro Publica. 
...reports have proliferated of groundwater pollution, spills and other impacts of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that injects massive amounts of water, sand and chemicals underground to break up the formations that hold the gas.

Time out

AP owes China an apology

by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. You see, it all "depends on whose ox is being gored", or whose forearm is being burnt.
Given the standards of Good Journalism prevailing in the U.S. media, as taught to us just this weekend by high-level executives at the NYT and The Washington Post (and previously at NPR):  what right does AP have to "take sides" in this dispute by substituting its own judgment about "torture" for the Chinese Government's?

7 Outrageous Examples of Police Spying and Harrassment Toward Peaceful Activists

from Alternet. We declared independence from Britain 234 years ago, only to become dependent on those who "own" our economy and government. Read this to learn how their government enforces thought control. These examples are only the silliest ones to illustrate how paranoid our ruling class enforcers are.
 According to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), law enforcement agencies around the country have acted as diligent Thought Police, relying on dubious justifications to spy on Americans based on little more than their political beliefs.

How the TeleCom Industry Plans to Take Over the Internet in Four Easy Steps

from Common Dreams. 

The four steps are not unique to the issue of the internet. It's the way US government routinely works for the rich and against working people. Nevertheless, it is important to review how the ruling class manages its rather docile, misinformed citizens, and keeps them that way.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Film Recommendation

by Ron Horn. I viewed the film, "The End of Poverty?", last night and was astonished at its high level quality. Over the years I have spent a lot of time unlearning much of what I was taught in US schools. This film can deprogram your thinking about history and foreign affairs in the space of about 2 hours. This is a must-see film.

Managed News: Inside The US/NATO Military Industrial Media Empire

from The Daily Censored. The authors cite some of the Empire's most egregious attempts to manage the news in recent years.
Managed news creates a Truth Emergency for the public inside the US/NATO Military Industrial Media Empire. Deliberate news management undermines the freedom of information on the doings of the powerful military/corporate entities though overt censorship, mass distractions, and artificial news— including stories timed for release to influence public opinion (i.e., propaganda).

David Bollier on the Academic Commons

from P2P Foundation. Excerpts from a lecture that discusses the ever increasing attacks on the intellectual commons by corporations who are facing some real competition from a "robust Commons Sector".
Much of the tumult that we are experiencing can be traced to what I call The Great Value Shift. In the networked environment, we are being forced to recognize that markets — and hierarchical, centralized institutions such as the corporation — no longer have a monopoly on the ability to generate value. Self-organized communities can frequently do things faster, more creatively and more efficiently than conventional markets.

The commons is beginning to out-compete — or out-cooperate — the market. There is now, in fact, a robust Commons Sector. We can see this in the rise of the Linux computer operating system vs. Microsoft; the rise of Wikipedia as a challenger to Encyclopedia Brittanica; the triumph of Craigslist over newspaper classified ads; the popularity of serious blogs as trusted alternatives to conventional journalism; among countless other examples.

July Fourth Outrage: British Gov't Elevates Disgraced BP Boss

from The Daily Beast. The British ruling class promotes arguably the worst environmental criminal in history.

Time out

Can the world run on renewables, nuclear energy and geo-sequestration? The negative case

by Ted Trainer from Culture Change. This is a condensed version of a much longer article. It provides technical arguments to support its case that capitalism cannot be sustained by alternative sources of energy.
If this argument is valid it reinforces the case that major global problems such as the greenhouse effect, peak oil, energy supply, resource scarcity, Third World “development” and environmental destruction cannot be solved on the supply side, i.e., by finding more resources or moving to alternative technologies. These rapidly worsening problems can only be solved by dramatically reducing consumption. This means consumer-capitalist society cannot be fixed; it must be replaced by what I refer to as The Simpler way.

Education — a ‘culture-killing weapon’?

from Green Left. This is a review of Noam Chomsky's new book, New World of Indigenous Resistance, and the responses to the book by indigenous critics. 
Chomsky then reflected upon the commentaries. The result is a book that could change the way its readers think about education forever.

Chomsky points out early on that education is used as a homogenising force. But his respondents pull no punches.
Under the control of capitalist ruling classes, education has both positive and negative features, and people must be aware of both. The negative side, as many indigenous critics have pointed out, is the destruction of indigenous language and thought that contain perspectives beneficial to the survival of the human race. Even Chomsky was surprised by some of the responses.

The black art of news management

by John Pilger from Green Left. The author details how the Empire "manages consent" for wars.
How do wars begin? With a “master illusion”, according to Ralph McGehee, one of the CIA’s pioneers in “black propaganda”, known today as “news management”.

In 1983, he described to me how the CIA had faked an “incident” that became the “conclusive proof of North Vietnam’s aggression”.