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, October 22, 2011

What Quantitative Easing Really Means

Click here to access article by Ismael Hossein-zadeh from OpEd News.

Exotic terms like "quantitative easing" are bandied about endlessly in the media without any clarification of what such terms means. This is done deliberately to keep you ignorant about the crimes being committed by the financial aristocracy.

In an otherwise excellent explanation of the term and how the banks benefit from it, he fails to explain that the banks use these Fed created funds, for which they pay only .25% interest, to buy 5 year Treasury bonds that obligate the government (that's us taxpayers) to pay them 2.5% interest!

The Iraq War Ain’t Over, No Matter What Obama Says

Click here to access article by Spencer Ackerman from Wired.

While US mainstream media is reporting the "complete withdrawal of US Forces from Iraq", once again, we are being lied to. This article explains:
But the fact is America’s military efforts in Iraq aren’t coming to an end. They are instead entering a new phase. On January 1, 2012, the State Department will command a hired army of about 5,500 security contractors, all to protect the largest U.S. diplomatic presence anywhere overseas.
And, as Glenn Greenwald reports:
...the Obama administration has been working for months to persuade, pressure and cajole Iraq to allow U.S. troops to remain in that country beyond the deadline. The reason they’re being withdrawn isn’t because Obama insisted on this, but because he tried — but failed — to get out of this obligation.
But, you need not worry that Obama is becoming some sort of peacenik--he's sending troops, excuse me, "advisers" into the heart of Africa.

Without credit card donations, WikiLeaks facing funding crisis

Click here to access article by Mark Seibel from McClatchy Newspapers. 
Censorship, like everything else in the West, has been privatized.  [from WikiLeaks website]
This article requires action instead of commentary.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gaddafi's Murder and International Law [12:52m video]

Here is Paul Jay's interview with Firoze Manji of Pambazuka News in London that focuses on African social justice issues. He and Paul Jay explore various themes in an attempt to shed light on what the Empire's motivations are for NATO's destabilization of Libya. They end with a hopeful note about the Occupy Wall Street actions going on all over the world.

Has the CIA infiltrated U.S. colleges?

Click here to access article by Amy Nichol Smith from The Monitor (Texas). 

The article is about a recently published book entitled, The CIA on Campus: Essays on Academic Freedom and the National Security State, edited by Professor Philip Zwerling of the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas. The book provides evidence to show that the CIA is back once again infiltrating, training agents, influencing courses on university campuses:
I started hearing these stories that not only was there CIA recruitment of students on campus, but in fact, the CIA had a program where they subsidized courses and a degree program that students were able to major in courses that were called … Global Studies, but involved really trying to identify and groom future employees for the CIA. 
Sibel Edmonds in her blog has provided an audio interview with the professor behind a pay-wall.

‘High-class terrorists running US, UK and France’ [4:10m video]

Click here to access the video and script of this interview from RT (Russia Today) with international financial consultant and Argentine author Adrian Salbuchi. 

Salbuchi's incisive view of events in Libya offers a much needed antidote to the nauseating coverage we are getting from US mainstream media that is engaging in an orgy of triumph following Qaddafi's death.

The 4 Pyramids of the Extreme Capitalist Ponzi Scheme [9:48m video]

While researching the background of Adrian Salbuchi for the posting above, I found this video from 2009 in which he provides a concise and helpful explanation of how financial capitalism has caused so much havoc in the world.

I am beginning to see a number of capitalist oriented critics across the globe like this one who see the tremendous damage that has been done by financial players ensconced in all the major banking institutions of the world. Such people in the US include people across the political spectrum from libertarian Ron Paul to liberals such as Elizabeth Warren, the popular blogger Yves Smith, the people at the American Monetary Institute, the Roosevelt Institute, and to some extent Paul Krugman

I identify this group as industrial capitalists, and what they all share in common is the belief that capitalism can be reformed and regulated to serve a healthy economy, and that financial capitalists have corrupted the system. They completely ignore all the exploitation of working people that has occurred over the 300 odd years comprising the history of industrial capitalism.

As I and many others see it, financial capitalism is only the final stage of the logical development of a system that converts everything into a commodity to be controlled by and for the benefit of a few--the (less than) one percent. Financial players in various banking systems have done precisely that with their control over the creation of money.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What ‘diversity of tactics’ really means for Occupy Wall Street

Click here to access article by Nathan Schneider from Waging Nonviolence. 

While recognizing that consensus was not reached about the use of "nonviolence", the author praised the OWS activists for their lack of violence in recent actions which earned them wide sympathy among the general public and decent press coverage. Clearly the author's and this website's bias is unconditionally prohibiting any use of violence either in the form of property destruction or against people, especially authorities. 

Consensus among OWS participants was reached concerning "diversity of tactics"; however the author argues, based on what actually happened recently, that this should mean the use of  non-violent tactics. Also, he doesn't deal with the messy issue of police attacks on activists and how participants should deal with this.
If it is true, as I’ve come to think, that a diversity of tactics has been meaningfully practiced by the occupation movement even while remaining nonviolent, then a definition of the phrase like George Lakey’s is in need of revision. Rather than being merely a license to use violence, respecting a diversity of tactics is in its own right a robust approach to conducting resistance—and one that is arguably all the more powerful when it remains nonviolent.
He then shows how the movement in New York City has been rewarded by good press coverage and public support. For people at this website, and the advocates of "non-violence" in general, obtaining positive mainstream press coverage always seems to be a prime consideration when discussing tactics. Others regard "non-violence" as almost a religion, and often cite Gandhi and M L King as saints in this religion. (See this article entitled, "Crunch time for Occupy Wall Street".)

A good response to such a position is provided by Peter Gelderloos in his book, How Nonviolence Protects the State, in which he writes:
The liberation movement in India failed. The British were not forced to quit India, Rather, they chose to transfer territory from direct colonial rule to neocolonial rule. ...The British authored the new constitution and turned power over to handpicked successors. They fanned the flames of religious and ethnic separatism so that India would be divided against itself...[by separating the mostly Muslim population in the north (Pakistan) from mostly Hindus in the rest of India].
After citing the important roles of the Black Panthers and Malcolm X in the Civil Rights Movement, he concludes his argument:
...from India to Birmingham, nonviolence failed to sufficiently empower its practitioners, whereas the use of a diversity of tactics got results. Put simply, if a movement is not a threat, it cannot change a system based on centralized coercion and violence, and if that movement does not realize and exercise the power that makes it a threat , it cannot destroy such a system. ...The elite cannot be persuaded by appeals to their conscience. Individuals [among the elite] who do change their minds and find a better morality will be fired, impeached, replaced, recalled, assassinated. 
I think that OWS activists were correct in affirming only the diversity of tactics while affirming the right of subgroups to initiate independent actions. I think that this issue of tactics will take care of itself because the fundamental values of the movement promote respect for all people and the environment. People grounded in these values will respect the feelings of others, will refuse to use gratuitous violence against people or destroy property belonging to people. The movement will decide when and if their actions should be informed by the quality of coverage provided by ruling class media, and when such considerations are irrelevant.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seize the Moment! The 99% Declaration, Plan of Action, and Resolution

Naomi Klein exhorts the 99% to seize the moment . . .

And, be sure to check out this major document coming out of the OWS movement:


Bank of America's Socialize the Risk and Reap the Reward Business Model

Click here to access article by Robert Oak from The Economic Populist.
By moving toxic assets, i.e. derivatives, into a FDIC insured subsidiary, gives BoA's Merrill derivative holdings indirect access to the Federal Reserve discount window and also if the bank fails where the derivatives are now located, the FDIC is required to pay depositors through their insurance guarantee. It appears from Bloomberg's report that $53 trillion of BoA's derivatives are being tied into depositors*, which implies the Federal Reserve and the U.S. taxpayer have the potential to be on the hook.
This latest bankster crime against the US public is being reported on numerous websites.

'Entire US anti-Iran plot, fabrication' [4:18m video & transcript]

Click here to access interview with Ralph Schoenman from PressTV. 

This life-long leftist activist places the recent anti-Iranian fabricated plot regarding the attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in the context of Bahrain and its significance for Empire control of the Middle East.

What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism

Click here to access article featuring an interview with Fred Magdoff, coauthor of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know about Capitalism. 

Magdoff explains the extent to which "there is no alternative" thinking has infected even the most independent thinkers preventing real solutions to our growing problems with extreme weather and environmental degradation.
As people talked about the variety of problems facing the earth and humanity I had the feeling that they were constantly “beating around the bush.”  So when it was my time to talk, I discarded my notes dealing with ecology and agriculture, and said that I thought a central issue was being ignored.  I explained that I was going to speak about “the bush” that I thought everyone was beating around — that is, the capitalist system and how in its very essence it is destructive of the environment.  This approach was a real stumbling block for most people there.  They were very interesting and innovative people — many would be considered “out of the box” thinkers.  But, I realized that they, and those in the environmental movement in general, were unable to think outside of capitalism.
It is quite amazing when one really thinks about it: how successful the thought control  and propaganda agents of capitalism have been in managing the minds of even the most independent thinkers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's Consensus Process [8:26m video]

Click here to access video and brief summary from Shareable.
This mini-doc shows in some detail how the general assembly - the heart of the occupy movement - operates. They make decisions by consensus and anyone can join the assembly. Through this process, the occupy movement models its own radically inclusive political economy and thus demonstrates that it's more than a protest movement.
Indeed! I think that what these brave young men and women are attempting to create is nothing less than a complete social and cultural revolution. 

They are beginning the hard work of creating the mechanics of inclusive democracy, developing the process that can create inclusive participation in order to create a sense of empowerment of all people--something which is terribly missing from the present political system, a system that only includes the ruling class consisting of private "owners" of socially produced wealth, a system that excludes everyone else. 

The mechanics consist of all sorts of creative devices such as hand signals, placing people on a "stack" to speak to the assembly, repeating what is said so that everyone can hear, setting up working groups, etc. They are creating a whole new mindset--from "me" to "we". Listen to what they are saying:
We're all in this together. The only way you keep people involved in a movement like this is you have a process where everyone's voice can be heard.
In our movement it is really important to have our means reflect the ends we want to create.
People come to a consensus meeting in the attitude that I want to make a decision that everyone is comfortable with.

Because I know what it is like to have my viewpoints honored when they are unpopular, I rejoice in the opportunity to honor someone else's very different viewpoints. but because I was part of the process, because I see how it was made, I saw how good the intentions were, I honor the decision even if I don't agree with it.

It's an entirely different way of thinking that is inclusive, and it is working. It's messy and time consuming, but it is the only way to change the system...I think.

Europe's Politicians Side with the Protesters

Click here to access article from Spiegel Online.

The article is important because it describes how the "protests" are spreading all over Europe. What it doesn't mention is that this phenomenon is spreading all over the world. However, what this media source and the European politicians, like their American counterparts, don't comprehend is that this is no mere protest. (They still believe that there is no alternative to capitalism.) It is a rapidly developing a revolutionary consciousness among its young participants who are becoming aware that the present system is devouring whole populations and the planet that sustains them.

New Film Exposes Connection Between the Kochs and a Small Community Dying of Cancer

Click here to access article by Tara Lohan from AlterNet.

What the author and the liberals at AlterNet don't seem to understand is that this is only another crime against humanity among a long list of crimes perpetrated by a ruling class whose system produces such sociopathic behavior. Hence, the solutions are NOT stronger regulatory agencies, lawsuits, or public pressure put on corporations to behave better:
...there can be a variety of potential solutions, whether it be the EPA, whether it be a lawsuit, whether it be that Georgia Pacific decides it must do the right thing.
Fortunately, the people at the Occupying Wall Street sites all over the world know that systemic solutions are what is required.

MSNBC Dylan Ratigan show [9:27m video]

In this show's episode we see the host leading a discussion with David DeGraw of Amped Status and William Black, a professor of economics at the University of Missouri and a former prosecutor of miscreants during the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s

I post this to illustrate how the liberal wing of ruling class media is attempting to confine the significance of the Occupy Wall Street movement within "acceptable" limits of discussion. They do this by supplying ample doses of outrageous sentiment combined with framing the issues as simply criminal behavior that needs to be prosecuted. They refuse to see such behavior as an integral part of a system which rewards a few people with so much wealth and power. Thus, they don't want you to see that the solution is systemic. Instead, they want to divert attention away from such an insight onto simple criminal behavior that needs to be prosecuted.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Now That We're All Awake

By E B Bortz from his blog, October 16, 2011. 
 occupy your neighborhood

it's time to
not breathe easier
but deeper
we can open every window
prop them all up
human arms become
the counterweight
sharing the weight
by all means
dream/build a new world
neighborhood by neighborhood
sweat & stress
a protective ring
around the most vulnerable
tune out the noise
.....& phony leaders
after the banks go bust
there's still a planet to save

A Movement Too Big to Fail

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from Truthdig.

Hedges is one of America's most articulate and eloquent political critics. Here he does a marvelous job of castigating American liberals who have so effectively served the needs of the ruling class of capitalists and their Empire.
The liberal class functions in a traditional, capitalist democracy as a safety valve. It lets off enough steam to keep the system intact. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. This is what happened during the Great Depression and the New Deal. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. Liberals in a functioning capitalist democracy are at the same time tasked with discrediting radicals....
They are now politically dead--but, may they NOT rest in peace.

Dante’s inferno: massive riots in Rome — pictures and videos

Click here to access article by Jérôme E. Roos from RoarMag.
200,000 peaceful protesters march on Rome, but an army of riot police and a small militia of anti-capitalist urban guerrillas wreak havoc across the city.

167 Million People Support Occupy Wall Street

Click here to access article by Kevin Young from Indypendent.

This article focuses on recent US mainstream poll results of public opinion regarding the OWS movement. As carefully designed as they are to influence the results in favor of ruling class interests, they still suggest that OWS events all over the US are having a major impact in shaping public opinion. No doubt, the ruling class political operative are watching these results carefully and thus, are currently causing them to limit the use of their police enforcers from stirring up more of a public backlash.

The author's insights about the function of such movements to educate the public is particularly useful. The ruling classes all over the world are in a real bind because if they react to harshly they stir up more public reaction; but if they allow the Occupying movement to go on too long, they risk not only a public that becomes more in sympathy with the movement's messages, but also a weakening of resolve in their police state enforcers to execute the orders of their bosses.

15 October 2011 – Occupy the world

Click here to access article from Eagainst.com.

The article clearly illustrates with pictures that this is a global phenomenon that has the world's governing classes shaking in their boots. Could October 15, 2011 (10/15) go down in history as being far more important than September 11, 2001 (9/11)? Stay tuned. Better yet, be a part of history by your participation in creating it.

Next Steps for the Occupy Movement

Click here to access article by Shamus Cooke from ZCommunications. 

The author explains why common messages or demands are now needed by the Movement. He first quotes Chris Hedges:  
"The state and corporate forces are determined to crush this... They are terrified this will spread. They have their long phalanxes of police on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy wagons, their foot soldiers hunting for you on the streets with pepper spray and orange plastic nets..."
Then Cooke writes:
 ...To combat this dynamic, the Occupy Movement people needs to unite around common messages that they can effectively broadcast to those 99% not yet on the streets; or to maintain the sympathy of those who've already attended large marches and demonstrations.

The only reason that surviving occupied spots have been spared is because of the broader sympathy of the 99% combined with the direct participation of large sections of working people at marches and demonstrations. The corporate elite fear a strong, united movement like vampires fear sunlight.
And, he offers some suggestions. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wall Street occupation ignites mass movement

Click here to access article by Pham Binh from Green Left. 
OWS has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations thus far, and we need to be clear and honest about what can be done better if we hope to build on this success and reign in the most greedy, powerful and ruthless 1% the world has ever known.
The movement should celebrate how far we have come in such short time, but we cannot rest with these accomplishments.  

The author takes a much needed critical look at the WSO, its current state of development and its difficulties to help the movement move ahead with advances and solutions. General assemblies have been very useful in bringing together and encouraging participation by all. But, as he points out, they can be unwieldy and can, thus, prove too draining of energy needed to otherwise promote effective development of the movement. This is all a part of the growing pains of organizing.

I think that organizing efforts must now focus on breaking the large assembles down into small groups of people who will provide the nucleus of the movement upon which all else is constructed. Using the human body as metaphor, I can see parallel forms consisting of cells of 8-12 people, the cells forming molecules, and the latter supporting organs that are assigned to areas of responsibility. Later, a central nervous system can be constructed to coordinate all efforts. 

All levels of organization, in contrast to the reigning hierarchical arrangements of oppressive organizations of the ruling class, must function at the direction of the levels below them. Such a structure provides participation, efficiency, and effectiveness that will inspire further participation and commitment to the movement. I really don't see any alternative, except more of the same political activity that has gotten us into the hellhole we are now in.

This effort to construct such a bottom-up organizational structure will require the discarding of thought habits that have infected our minds about how social organizations are constructed. More people are becoming aware that hierarchy is dysfunctional for all except those at the top of the power pyramid--a ruling class. Still, although less than 2% of human existence, we have been conditioned by the experience of the last 10,000 years to think of organizing according to this model. (Read this about someone who is dealing with his own conditioning.) These thought patterns must be deconstructed in order to create a new system that will serve everyone in society. Such a system would be truly a revolutionary one that can overturn the current social-political arrangements.

Continuing with my body metaphor, the current Squares Occupations must begin the process of constructing such a system. They can be regarded as the ova where the activists are the fertilizing sperm that can create the system embryos which can be incubated in the Squares Occupations until fully formed.

“Let All Indignados in all the squares join together”: Wall Street and the growing movement

Click here to access article by Joseph Ritchie from his blog, A Scanner Despairingly. 

This independent leftist author from the UK offers some interesting reflections on the Squares movement in an effort to understand what is happening.
This basic idea that the hierarchical control of society via wealth can be overcome is central to these movements.

Occupy protest critics exploit anti-Semitism

Click here to access article by MJ Rosenberg from Al Jazeera.

It appears that the American ultra-right is desperately using the "antisemitism" ploy to try to discredit the Wall Street Occupations.
Panicked conservatives are labeling the Occupy protests as 'anti-Semitic' in an attempt to break up the movement.

Argentina to Wall Street

Click here to access article from New Compass.

The article suggests that the experiences of the people of Argentina after their economic collapse in 2001 and others in coping with economic crises in recent times can provide useful lessons to today's Occupy Wall Street protest. Then it describes what is happening at the Wall Street Occupation.
These are just a handful of movements and grassroots initiatives that provide helpful models (in both their victories and failures) for decentralizing political and economic power, and putting decision making into the hands of the people.

Obama Is Tip Of Wall Street Iceberg

Click here to access article by Allen L Roland from Veterans Today.
President Obama is in deep re-election trouble, for not only do the majority of Americans not trust the global elite and Wall Street but that mistrust also extends to Obama ~ whose re-election campaign pockets are lined with ongoing donations from his corporate base. In essence, American taxpayers are being ripped off by Wall Street and Obama is being paid off to look the other way.
It is becoming increasingly clear that wide sections of the US public is becoming thoroughly disenchanted with the Democratic party: these include students, young people, homeless, the unemployed, and wide sections of the working and middle classes. This article posted on a veteran's website suggests that veterans are likewise. It looks to me like the upcoming electoral circuses featuring featuring the elephants and the donkey will be just that to many Americans--a circus that is for entertainment only. Well, it's about time!

From Me Culture to We Culture: There IS An Alternative

Click here to access article by Kristine Mattis from Common Dreams.
Now, the first contradiction of capitalism has at last emerged, just as predicted. (So has the second, more ominous contraction which involves the ecosystem rather than the economic system, but that vital subject will have to be left to another conversation.) In an era marked by the election of yet another phony Presidential savior, the somnambulant masses have been forced to awaken.  Not only have the conditions for the already marginalized grown excruciatingly horrific, but the members of socioeconomic classes who formerly expected to have a solid, productive outlook have been offered instead a harsh present and a bleak future. And even those who once assumed their lives secure have found their assumptions trashed along with their savings. It took these dismal conditions for people to finally proclaim that enough was enough, and for some of them to rise up and speak out on their own behalves.
A new, rather subversive consciousness appears to be infecting many Americans.  
...the movement will be worthwhile and long-lasting if it can embrace a future society in which “we” always comes before “me.” There is a better alternative. It is here now, unless we retreat back to our superficial comforts, unless we surrender to our own egos, unless we cease to envision a healthier tomorrow for us all.

Food chain slaves

Click here to access article and 25:01 video from Al Jazeera. 
It is a nation built on the abolition of slavery, but there are at least 40,000 slaves in the US today.
Capitalism is a system whereby sociopaths are rewarded for exploiting the wealth produced by others. Slavery is the most egregious form. That this practice exists in the US today is a dirty little secret that their propaganda agents--the mainstream media--carefully omit in their news coverage. Be sure to view the video to learn more about it.