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, July 17, 2010

Shock Doctrine in action

from New Left Project. (UK) This is classic neo-liberalism in action in the UK, but it is also happening in the US.

Consumer or Citizen?

by Micki Krimmel from Shareable

I'm not so much interested in the speeches by former President Carter as I am in the helpful suggestions about creating sustainability contained in the last three paragraphs.

CIA without news of Osama bin Laden for almost 9 years

from Voltaire Net. This is a very concise article that makes its point very well.

The Agency and the political establishment consider him to be the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, again contradicting the official version, the FBI’s most wanted fugitive list does not feature OBL in connection with 9/11.

Corporate Control of Our Democracy: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

by Radhika Balakrishnan and James Heintz from The Huffington Post

Articles like this offer some understanding of corporate power, but provide little understanding of how degraded the so-called democratic system is in the US. Of course, liberal websites such as this have no interest in thoroughly understanding the warped US governing system because they have no interest in any fundamental change.

Roots of Sustainability

by Joe Roman, Tess Croner, Will Raap, Wes Jackson from Solutions

They provide an excellent historical perspective on the degradation of soils and argue for their own solutions from the 50-Year Farm Bill and those of the Worldwatch Institute's Mitigating Climate Change through Food and Land Use. 

However, I don't think that they really answer the question they posed early in the article:
When it is used and abused, soil becomes a nonrenewable resource, like fossil fuels. But there's no Big Soil, with friends and lobbyists on Capitol Hill. So how do we turn this around?
They seem to think that merely having sensible solutions will automatically transform into social policy.

Time out

How Obama can wean the country off oil without help from Congress

by Christian Parenti from Grist

The author supplies some excellent ideas about transitioning from fossil fuels to non-polluting energy sources. However his understanding of how our society is governed seems incredibly naive to me. 

First off, he suggests that the formal head of the US, Obama, can do this. A sensible view holds that Obama is merely an employee of the ruling class who was selected for this job of President, but which is actually only a public relations function of the Empire. If he didn't follow his employer's instructions, he would be removed one way or another. And there isn't the slightest bit of evidence that suggests Obama will do anything other than please his masters.

Secondly, to go "green" very suddenly requires extensive retooling and changes of infrastructure that is now totally designed for fossil fuel engines. Such efforts would require huge amounts of investment that would require government subsidies in various forms for a number of years. That would likely mean higher taxes that would suppress consumption of profit making junk that corporations sell to satisfy their reason-to-be--profits. So what the author is asking is that the corporate ruling class forgo profits for probably two decades in order to restore a stable climate and a sustainable world. Such an argument ignores the fact that corporations are motivated by short term profits. Most cannot see beyond the next quarter's financial statements. Their whole system of individual rewards and punishments is based on quarterly performance.

Thirdly, he concludes his article with this absurd statement:
At one level, the mad Tea Partyers are correct: government is leviathan-a monster. But it is our monster, and with proper leadership even this government in the current climate could jump-start a clean-energy revolution.
The government is not "our monster", it belongs, quite literally, to the 1%. Also, that 1% will never give working people, a "proper leadership", that is, a leadership that serves our interests. Until we grow out of these childish notions, there will be no hope for change.

The best part of his essay is when he states,
Gates explained to the Washington Post that much of what is touted as free-market innovation was born of government subsidies: "The Internet and the microprocessor, which were very fundamental to Microsoft being able to take the magic of software and having the PC explode, were among many of the elements that came through government research and development."
This was quite an admission, but an honest one. The ruling class relies a lot on government subsidies of various forms and has benefited greatly from taxpayer funded research. But then ruling classes always benefit from their dominant position and resist any changes that might reduce their benefits. 

The only real solution is to replace the current system of capitalism with a fully functioning, participatory, inclusive democratic system.

President Obama's Most Inexplicable Failure

by Melvin A. Goodman from Truthout

There are so many articles like this that illustrate the poor understanding Americans have of their governing system. Hence, the poverty of ideas to create real change. See the above post, and all others tagged with "Obama" for my response.
President Barack Obama has been a major disappointment to a liberal community that rallied to his call for genuine change. His administration has made no attempt to investigate the crimes that were committed by the Bush administration, including torture and abuse, secret prisons and renditions. President Obama rescued Wall Street, but not Main Street. And he has expanded the self-destructive war in Afghanistan, where there is no end in sight.

What Is the Ultimate Yachting Experience on the Mediterranean?

by Jamie Johnson from Vanity Fair. We all need to keep in touch with our fellow top 1% Americans to learn about their concerns and worries. 
How much for a private island? Which M.B.A. program has the richest grads? Who sleeps where on Air Force One? When readers ask VF.com questions, our experts are there to answer. 

Hey,You Liberal Dummies. It’s the Tenth Amendment

by James Ridgeway from his blog, Unsilent Generation. Quite a measure of sarcasm in this piece; but with mainstream media coverage so awful, it seems quite appropriate.
The mainstream press has been gushing on for months about the jobless economic recovery, when in fact, the recession never ended–just ask the people who have been on unemployment for well over a year and still can’t find jobs. The press and the pols say they’re just recalcitrant bums,too lazy to work, and all we’ve got to do is throw out the Mexicans and force our guys to pick up the broom. Maybe we can motivate the slugs by removing unemployment insurance.

solutions NASA: First half of 2010 breaks the thermometer — despite “recent minimum of solar irradiance”

from Climate Progress.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heat waves and extremely high temperatures could be commonplace in the U.S. by 2039, Stanford study finds

by Mark Shwartz from Stanford University News
Exceptionally long heat waves and other hot events could become commonplace in the United States in the next 30 years, according to a new study by Stanford University climate scientists.

The Administration Double Speak on Jobs & Exports

from The Economic Populist

The author does not seem to understand that the system, capitalism, in an age of globalization requires the government to pursue such policies. He offers the former CEO of IBM as an alternative voice that supports national capitalist policies, but such thinking is now out of date. 

Today's capitalists are doing everything they can to erase boundaries for their activities while strenthening them in order to control working people. They couldn't care less if their workers are Hungarian. Nigerian, or Paraguayan. What they do care about is cheap labor, weak labor regulations, weak unions, weak or unenforced environmental regualtions, and strong property rights laws.

He seems to take too seriously public propaganda statements about the importance of job creation for American workers.
The most absurd thing is happening. Claiming to push exports, President Obama is planning on pushing a host of policies that are well documented to offshore outsource jobs and displace U.S. workers. On Obama's export council is Verizon, a notorious labor arbitrager. Ford, Disney, Pfizer (another notorious offshore outsourcer of advanced R&D), and Dow Chemical are also appointed.

Business Week:

    He’ll have to push new trade agreements, higher quotas for skilled foreign workers, and tougher enforcement of intellectual-property rights.

Jay Bybee's sociopathic self-absorption

by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. He comments on another sociopath that the system has produced:
That's what happens when you create a society where elites can engage in the most wretched and destructive acts with total impunity:  it engenders a blinding, empathy-free, effete sense of entitlement whereby they see themselves as the only ones who matter and their own plight as the only one worthy of consideration.  If you build a political system grounded in the premise that there's an elite caste so special and elevated that they are entitled even to hover above the laws and rules to which everyone else is subjected, the beneficiaries of that caste system are always the first to believe in its virtue.
That's what happens in any kind of class structured society. 

Time out

Rich countries set intellectual property rules in secret: What’s ours will stay that way

by Philippe Rivière from Le Monde Diplomatique

Rich capitalist corporations of the West are secretly attempting to secure more rights of ownership over ideas. The private ownership of economic property is the foundation of the capitalist system. Intellectual property which includes many life saving drugs, even life forms, are the latest battles being waged by capitalists to secure the benefits for them to the detriment of the many. 

This is not about individuals being rewarded for their creative efforts. Individuals mostly work in corporate settings where the corporations own, under the property laws of capitalism, everything that is produced there. Or they work in public institutions where the institution owns the ideas and inventions, and in turn sells them at bargain prices to corporations.
From their start in 2008, ACTA negotiations were held behind closed doors by an ad-hoc club of rich countries. No one knew where the negotiations were taking place and who was representing which country, let alone the contents of the text, made available to a few select lobbyists for the music, cinema and pharmaceutical sectors in the US.

Chile's Social Earthquake

by Roger Burbach from Global Alternatives. The author provides an honest update on Chilean society under the post Pinochet governments that have been touted so much in US media as a paragon of neo-liberal virtues.
The rampant ideology of the free market has produced a deep sense of alienation among much of the population. Although a coalition of center left parties replaced the Pinochet regime twenty years ago, it opted to depoliticize the country, to rule from the top down, allowing controlled elections every few years, shunting aside the popular organizations and social movements that had brought down the dictatorship.
The Chilean people seem to be way ahead of activists in the US who can't seem to imagine working outside the system to protect their communities and promote real change.
A coalition of over sixty social and nongovernmental organizations released a letter stating: “In these dramatic circumstances, organized citizens have proven capable of providing urgent, rapid and creative responses to the social crisis that millions of families are experiencing. The most diverse organizations--neighborhood associations, housing and homeless committees, trade unions, university federations and student centers, cultural organizations, environmental groups—are mobilizing, demonstrating the imaginative potential and solidarity of communities.”

Why Power Is Not a Dirty Word

by Frances Moore Lappé from Energy Bulletin. Although supposedly originally sourced in Yes! Magazine, this version of her article is better.
In recent decades, a revolution in our understanding of human nature has produced evidence from neuroscience to anthropology that we have all the social “wiring” needed to make the turn toward life. It turns out we’ve evolved to take pleasure in and to need cooperation, empathy, fairness, and efficacy.

Then what is preventing us from moving toward the world that almost all of us want? My short answer is that we feel powerless. We feel powerless to act on what we know.

And what robs us of power?
Yes, there has been much encouraging research findings regarding human nature and it is necessary that we think about the implications of this research for social change. This article, while inspirational, suggests mostly conventional methods to bring about social change.
...we can each press our representatives to get on board. We can make campaign finance reform a sexy, compelling issue, knowing it’s needed to move on everything from serious climate-change legislation to remaking our banking system.
If the history of the US in the past 50 years has taught anything at all, it is the futility of working through the existing political system. That is why people feel powerless. We must come up with alternative methods if we are to accomplish anything, and especially to rid ourselves of this sense of powerlessness. 

The Simpler Way model at the top right of this blog offers some constructive ideas, but we need many more. We need many more people working on alternative ideas and methods in order to harness our new understandings of human nature to the critical task of changing our societies whose ruling classes seem hell-bent on letting capitalism run us off the cliffs of climate change and environmental degradation.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The G20 Plan for Prosperity: Rubber Bullets and Shredded Social Safety Net

by Paul Jay from New Deal 2.0. The author who usually does the interviews for The Real News Network writes about his observations and significance of the recent G20 summit in Toronto.
The Toronto G-20 summit sent a message to poor and working people in Europe and North America. “You will pay for the global financial crisis through cuts to your social safety nets. There will be no taxing of those who actually caused the crisis and made fortunes in the various bubbles over the last decades.”
He also observed that it was easy for the Canadian ruling class to suspend the civil rights of Canadians. You see, these rights are always subject to be ignored at the whim of the governing classes everywhere. Laws are designed to regulate and control the behavior of working people, and any rights that they theoretically enjoy can be removed at any time.

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

from Time Magazine online. 

This is an abridged version of a longer article in the magazine which I have not read, however this version is quite astonishing! I really don't know what to make of it. Here is a mainstream media corporation telling us what is all too evident, but usually covered up as much as possible.

Ads Backed by Fossil-Fuel Interests Argue 'CO2 Is Green'

from the NY Times. The fossil energy corporations are not only polluting the Gulf, they are also trying to contaminate our minds.
"This Big Oil front group wants people to think Congress is going to raise taxes, kill jobs, spill more oil, take our children and charge us for the pleasure."

Time out

How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from smoke to global warming

by John Atcheson from Climate Progress. This is a review of a new book entitled, Merchants of Doubt. The book is an important read in how disinformation is spread in the US in service of the Empire and capitalism.
An almost religious conviction in small government and the potential evils of big government; a doctrinaire belief in unconstrained free markets and the purity of capitalism; and the conviction that “environmentalism” and other do-gooder efforts threatened our free market, capitalistic system.
This statement by the reviewer supports the argument I have often made--that capitalism is essentially a religion in the US and protected by all the fervor of any sacred religion. Hence the high priests of this religion will reward those who affirm the religion and will go to any lengths to punish those who criticize or threaten it.

George Carlin on The American Dream

George Carlin explains that the "American Dream" is being taken from ordinary Americans by the owners of the US, but many of the former still believe in it because they are asleep.

The 50-Year Farm Bill

from Solutions. 

The article offers, what appears to me to be, some very sound long range planning to preserve US soils, farming, and food production. The chief obstacle to plans like this is the short term thinking of the profit obsessed corporations under the existing economic system.
Our vision is predicated on the need to end the ecological damage to agricultural land associated with grain production—damage such as soil erosion, poisoning by pesticides, and biodiversity loss. The most cost-effective way to do this and stay fed is to perennialize the landscape.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Death on Your Doorstep

by Nick Turse from Tom Dispatch. 

The author reviews a documentary film entitled, "Restrepo" by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. He contrasts their portrayal of the Afghan war, which has been received with widespread acclaim in mainstream media, with mainstream coverage of the Vietnam War, and the volunteer soldier with the citizen soldier of that earlier war.
It didn’t take rocket-scientists to figure out that you couldn’t conduct long-term, wheel-spinning occupations in distant lands with a military like that [ref. Vietnam War].  And so the long-occupation-friendly all-volunteer force that Junger has come to know was born.  That he has such a hard time understanding the citizen-soldier response to the American lost cause in Vietnam essentially ensures that the civilian story of war, especially that of alien civilians in a distant land, would evade his understanding.  This is what makes the relative isolation of the unit he deals with in Restrepo so useful, even comfortable for him as he assesses a very American version of what war is all about.
Having lived through the Vietnam War as an at-home anti-war activist, I don't recall the coverage of that war as portraying the civilian side of it very much, but these current wars have been extremely sanitized. The ruling class has learned much about how to conduct its wars.

Indigenous Struggle, Ecology, and Capitalist Resource Extraction in Ecuador

from Socialist Project. This is a transcript of an interview conducted by Jeffrey Webber of the University of Regina (Canada) with an indigenous leader of Ecuador. It confirms much of what I believe it to be true about the so-called "leftist" regimes of South America.
Indigenous peoples are not seen as being a part of this process. Rather, indigenous peoples and other sectors are seen as a disturbance. Because we're opposed to IIRSA, for example. It's going to have a negative impact on indigenous territories and indigenous rights. Just imagine it, from Manta-Manaos Brazil to the Ecuadorean Amazon they're going to build a giant highway. For what? To exploit oil, minerals, and forests. And the countries that are going to buy these primary products – Japan, Brazil, and Europe – are the same capitalist countries as always. At the moment, Peru and Colombia are negotiating new trade agreements with Europe.

It is simply the case that the mask has changed. Because capitalism continues in Latin America. Socialism of the Twenty-First century is not a communitarian socialism that respects indigenous rights. It's a copy of Western capitalism, which was clearly a failure. It's a new type of capitalism in Latin America. And it too is going to prove to be a failure.
See also yesterday's post where I made the following comments:
This is an interview with Alberto Acosta, ex-Minister of Energy and Mines, and ex-President of the Constituent Assembly [Ecuador], in his Quito office on July 8, 2010. In the interview he makes some very interesting comments about the dependence of his country and others to sell their resources on the world market. I'm inclined to think that he is correct when he states,
Socialism of the twenty-first century has absolutely no meaning. It has no meaning. We need to rescue socialism from the errors of the last century, but we can’t do this by promoting some kind of “new age” socialism. For me, twenty-first century socialism has no meaning, it is pure rhetoric. 
It appears to me that leftist leaders of South America are following the lead of China and Brazil by instituting more government control over their capitalist economies to serve national interests instead of merely the Empire's, and providing some concessions to minority participation in decision making.

Black American Politics in the 21st Century: Is It Time For A New Plan?

by Bruce A. Dixon from Black Agenda. 

The author makes a number of good points from an African-American perspective. The most important one, based on his review of American history, is that Black people (of course, this applies to all working people) must not be blinded by allegiances to one of the two capitalist parties, which in the end always betrays them. But then he ends up advocating the takeover of the various state Green parties, and that is where I part company with him. 

In my opinion, Dixon has too much of a Black perspective. It appears that he would be perfectly happy with the existing system if Black Americans were not discriminated against. One of the most useful strategies of the ruling class continues to be the old "divide and conquer" strategy which pits various groups against each other--Blacks, whites, immigrant workers, gays, women, Muslims, people of various national origins, etc.

The only true progressive agenda is to organize people power from the neighborhoods on up according to bottom-up authority principles. (See alternatives at top right on this blog.) 

Time out

Local Booksellers, National Trade Associations, ACLU, and Others Sue to Block Internet Censorship Law

from the American Civil Liberties Union.
"While this Act may have been motivated by the desire to protect children from sexual predators on the Internet, its effect is much broader," said John Reinstein, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts.  "Its inevitable effect, if permitted to stand, is that Internet content providers will limit the range of their speech. There are no reasonable technological means that allow Internet users to ascertain the age of anyone who might access their online communications and then restrict access for minors."

Israel's 'street apartheid'

from Al Jazeera. The article focuses on street life in Jerusalem and the glaring contrasts between the Palestinian and Jewish settler sections.
A young Israeli Jew, fresh from army service, simply remarks, "It's a kind of psychological warfare. The idea is to get [Palestinians] to leave."

When Teachers Unions Back War Escalation

by David Swanson from Global Research.
On July 12th I received an Email from the American Federation of Teachers with a soft pink headline and an image of a heart.  It said: "Pink Hearts.  Not Pink Slips."  That sounded nice.  The text continued:

"Now is the time to tell the Senate to put our children first.  The House of Representatives approved an emergency spending bill that included $10 billion to save educator jobs and $5 billion for Pell Grants. It is now up to the Senate to do its part and approve the same level of assistance when it returns to Washington, D.C., this week."
That was true, I suppose, in as far as it went, but horribly misleading because of what it left unsaid.  Congress had not passed an emergency bill to save teachers' jobs.  Congress doesn't treat such things as emergencies.  This was a bill that had been sat on for half a year, and the teacher funding was an amendment tacked onto it.  The bill itself served primarily to dump $33.5 billion into escalating a war in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 more troops plus contractors.  It was called an "emergency" bill purely in order to keep war spending off the books and make the government's overall budget look less imbalanced than it is.
The capitalist ruling class has many such tricks in its bag of tricks designed to fool working people.
This bill combines several.  

It keeps war spending off the books so that war spending is always much higher than official data reveals. This is very useful when so many public expenditures are cut back--you know, like extending unemployment benefits. 

They often put together completely unrelated funding items in order to sweeten a bill that would otherwise be totally unpalatable to working people. You can see that it worked in this case with the teacher's union. 

This way of designing bills also taps into the indoctrination that we've all been subject to in the US--the extreme individualist theme that we must always look ONLY after our own immediate interests.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dupont, Monsanto, and Obama Versus the World’s Family Farmers

from Organic Consumers Association. 

The author puts things in perspective from an organic food point of view, and takes on Obama's cozy relationship with agribusinesses that places the latter in the driver's seat in determining food and farming policies. Also see this.

'Just Business': Capitalism is an Anti-Social Disease

by Dave Lindorff from This Can't Be Happening. Great read. So many insightful observations about the nature of capitalism. Here is just one:
For a while, mankind, and the earth, could tolerate this sociopathic ideology, but we’ve clearly reached the point where it has to be recognized as a fatal disease. Capitalism and the greed it engenders and elevates to a virtue now threatens to finish us all off.
This touches on the purpose of my blog--that capitalism cannot co-exist with planetary limits and thus is doomed. We will go down with it if we do nothing. It's no longer a matter of social justice, it's now a matter of survivability.

BP Ignoring Dispersant Limits With Coast Guard's Consent

from Mother Jones. It's clear who is actually in charge of the Gulf cleanup efforts.

The author asks this rather naive question:
The repeated exemptions of course beg the question: What's the point in setting limits on dispersant use—an acknowledgment that these chemicals themselves present serious environmental concerns—if they're going to be ignored almost every day? 
The democratic facade, behind which hides the real rulers of the world, require the latter to perform their democratic dance for the duped working people in the audience. Ruling class media participates in this deception by giving wide coverage to the restrictions of the Coast Guard and little coverage to the exemptions and lack of enforcement.

Time out

Sovereign Debt: The Death of Nations vs. the Wealth of Nations

from Council on Renewal.

I'm not sure where these people are coming from--probably libertarianism, but this is a very insightful article on so-called "sovereign debt" and the banking industry.

Saving the system to what end?

from Lance Mannion's blog. 

So, it appears that once again the ruling class has saved the system--at least for now. But, is that good for working people? Great article, except the author never gets around to naming the system. That is because in our society it is taboo to name the religion of Capitalism especially in the context of criticisms or failings.
The system is this: The bankers and the stockbrokers run everything, they and their richest clients get rich and richer, the rest of us hope that some of the buckets they’re holding up to catch all the money raining down from the sky overflow into our outstretched hands.

Jobless Produce U.S. Profit on Productivity With Less Inflation

from Bloomberg News. The ruling class loves recessions/depressions like this.
The 6.8 million Americans out of work for 27 weeks or longer -- a record 46 percent of all the unemployed -- are providing U.S. companies with an eager, skilled and cheap labor pool.
The Washington Post finds many lawmakers (representatives sponsored by corporations) in agreement to keep workers from getting extended unemployment benefits:
 Congress's inaction has been accompanied by a growing sentiment among lawmakers that long-term unemployment benefits create a disincentive for the jobless to find work.

"Workers are less likely to look for work, or accept less-than-ideal jobs, as long as they are protected from the full consequences of being unemployed,"
Also, there is the added benefit of a slew of recruits for its military adventures around the world. Before this economic collapse, US Armed Services were having difficulty meeting recruitment goals. Hence, recessions/depressions are good for the Empire.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ecuador’s Economy Under Rafael Correa: Twenty-First Century Socialism or the New-Extractivism?

from Unside Down World. 

This is an interview with Alberto Acosta, ex-Minister of Energy and Mines, and ex-President of the Constituent Assembly [Ecuador], in his Quito office on July 8, 2010. In the interview he makes some very interesting comments about the dependence of his country and others to sell their resources on the world market. I'm inclined to think that he is correct when he states,
Socialism of the twenty-first century has absolutely no meaning. It has no meaning. We need to rescue socialism from the errors of the last century, but we can’t do this by promoting some kind of “new age” socialism. For me, twenty-first century socialism has no meaning, it is pure rhetoric. 
It appears to me that leftist leaders of South America are following the lead of China and Brazil by instituting more government control over their capitalist economies to serve national interests instead of merely the Empire's, and providing some concessions to minority participation in decision making.

The European right is capitalising on a crisis

by Mark Weisbrot from the Guardian. 
What is really going on is that powerful interests within these countries – including Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal – are taking advantage of the situation to make the changes that they want. Perhaps even more importantly, the European authorities – including the European commission, the European central bank and the IMF – who are holding the purse strings of any bailout funds, are even more committed than the national governments to rightwing policy changes. And they are further removed from any accountability to any electorate.
They are merely pursuing Emanuel Rahm's Doctrine--“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”

Stimulus vs. Austerity

from The Economic Populist. What the author of this fairly long article is describing is class war in full bloom. Working people must take control of their economies if there is any hope for real change.
Austerity measures aren't designed to help the general economy or the public. Austerity measures are designed to help the banks and multinational financial interests only.

This is a good thing to keep in mind if a politician or talking head on TV tries to tell you that things will be worse if we don't sacrifice. They are either ignorant, or are lying. The politicians want the working class to compensate the bankers for their losses in order to "save the financial system".

The austerity measures, which are always targeted at labor and the poor, never at the wealthy and the people who caused the crisis, are not in your interests. If you trace the crisis, bailouts, and austerity measures, there is a common thread - the rich are taken care of at the expense of the working class at every single step. 
And it is obvious that we can't look to corporate controlled governments for our salvation. We've must do it ourselves. 

Time out

In the shadow of the dragon

from Asia Times Online. 

The author provides evidence that China's ruling class knows how to play the game of capitalism better than the West whose main focus seems to be on constructing obscure financial instruments to suck wealth out of working people and the environment. In any case, capitalism is a no-win game for working people and the planet if it is allowed to continue much longer.
While a rebalancing of the Chinese economy towards domestic consumption is increasingly evident, the Chinese are also aggressively focusing investments toward emerging markets. By securing precious natural resources, developing infrastructure and deepening trade relations with the developing world, the Chinese are lessening their economic dependence on the mature markets of the US and EU.
And they are starting to outsource production to cheaper labor countries in Asia!

Oops, I tweeted again

from Asia Times Online. 

The author seems to take an excessively cavalier approach to this news item which illustrates, one again, the power of the Zionist lobby in the US to stifle dissent in any form if it doesn't please the governing class of Israel. However, the author is focusing on the larger topic of freedom of expression made more available by internet technology versus the use of the latter by governing classes to stifle dissent.
Political faux pas are here to grow exponentially in an invasive era where privacy is being battered on an unprecedented scale via linked information networks. The Internet leads the trend as a double-edged sword, ie as a liberator from the stranglehold of conservative governments, traditional newspapers and magazines, and as an equally potent weapon in the hands of peeved establishments that now have tweets as smoking guns to discipline loose cannons.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Return of the Bicycle

from IPS news service. 
The bicycle has many attractions as a form of personal transportation. It alleviates congestion, lowers air pollution, reduces obesity, increases physical fitness, does not emit climate-disrupting carbon dioxide, and is priced within the reach of the billions of people who cannot afford a car.

Pfizer: The Drug Giant That Makes Bank from Drugs That Can Kill You

from Alter Net. This is not news, but a recent examination of how profit seeking corporations--and they do, indeed, reap huge profits--deliver medicine to sick people. Obama's recent health reform bill secures their hold on health care profits.
...the "world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company" which sits between Goldman Sachs and Marathon Oil on the Fortune 500, is also closely associated with a seemingly never-ending series of scandals.

Dear Candidate - What Will You Do if Growth Is Over...?

from The Oil Drum. 

This excellent website is inhabited by many people who have been highly trained in the technical sciences. The institutions of higher learning have done, for the most part, an excellent job of training people in these sciences. But one must also be aware that along with these skills, such institutions, particularly in the US, impart a great deal of indoctrination that favors the system which supports the ruling class of capitalists. Such indoctrination supplies both misinformation and obfuscation of the facts of social-political realities. One example is the belief in unending economic growth which the capitalist system requires and that science can solve all problems that get in the way of growth.

Another example is the belief that our society is governed by a democratic process. This view, which is a conventional one supported by all the propagandists of the system's ruling class, conveys the usual mistaken belief that influence and power function in a somewhat democratic fashion simply because of the outward trappings of democracy in the form of elections and the fact that they, the propagandists (school, media, and political authorities), say so. 

If you accept this argument and the fact that economic growth is coming up against environmental limits, then the following statement from the article becomes understandable:
Given the stakes, it is quite worrying that in all the institutionalized economic projections of late, decline or zero growth aren't even mentioned as a possibility. One can speculate why this is the case, but I think there is significant evidence that only limited efforts- if any - are being allocated to understanding the possible consequences and required mitigation strategies of such a trajectory. I'm not so sanguine about the fact that so few people seem to be ready to think the not-so-unthinkable.
My argument also suggests that trying to work through the established system is a waste of time. Working as best we can to create new viable, sustainable ways of living is the way to go. The existing system is doomed, but we must not blindly follow its dictates because we too will be doomed. Therefore we must do what we can to hasten its demise while constructing new societies.

Time out

Those Extinguishing Life Count on Shakier and Shakier Status Quo

by Jan Lundberg from Culture Change. 

The author sees devastation all around him and the threats to human and other lives, and in some places appears to believe that it is a system's fault, but is unable to name the system. He comes close when he mentions the "growth-economy", but usually it is just the "status quo". Mostly he seems to suggest that it is because of pathological people, but also that we all must take responsibility. In a limited sense the latter is true, but such a perspective distracts us from the source of the problems and thus impedes constructive attempts to avert disaster.

Media ran with now-retracted attack on IPCC in their assault on global warming science

from Climate Progress. The article illustrates the extent to which propaganda organs of capitalist elites engage in desperate attempts to deny what is going to destroy their favorite system, human life, and many other life forms.

Fouling all our futures

from Le Monde Diplomatique. What do you think is fouling all our futures? And what system is the author referring to?
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.