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, December 3, 2011

American exceptionalism — A survey

By William Blum excerpted from his latest Empire Report.

The leaders of imperial powers have traditionally told themselves and their citizens that their country was exceptional and that their subjugation of a particular foreign land should be seen as a "civilizing mission", a "liberation", "God's will", and of course bringing "freedom and democracy" to the benighted and downtrodden. It is difficult to kill large numbers of people without a claim to virtue. I wonder if this sense of exceptionalism has been embedded anywhere more deeply than in the United States, where it is drilled into every cell and ganglion of American consciousness from kindergarten on. If we measure the degree of indoctrination (I'll resist the temptation to use the word "brainwashing") of a population as the gap between what the people believe their government has done in the world and what the actual (very sordid) facts are, the American people are clearly the most indoctrinated people on the planet. The role of the American media is of course indispensable to this process — Try naming a single American daily newspaper or TV network that was unequivocally against the US attacks on Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam. Or even against any two of them. How about one? Which of the mainstream media expressed real skepticism of The War on Terror in its early years?

Overloaded with a sense of America's moral superiority, each year the State Department judges the world, issuing reports evaluating the behavior of all other nations, often accompanied by sanctions of one kind or another. There are different reports rating how each lesser nation has performed in the previous year in the areas of religious freedom, human rights, the war on drugs, trafficking in persons, and counterterrorism, as well as maintaining a list of international "terrorist" groups. The criteria used in these reports are mainly political, wherever applicable; Cuba, for example, is always listed as a supporter of terrorism whereas anti-Castro exile groups in Florida, which have committed literally hundreds of terrorist acts, are not listed as terrorist groups.
  • "The causes of the malady are not entirely clear but its recurrence is one of the uniformities of history: power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations — to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image." — Former US Senator William Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power (1966)
  • "We Americans are the peculiar, chosen people –– the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world. ... God has predestined, mankind expects, great things from our race; and great things we feel in our souls." — Herman Melville, White-Jacket (1850)
  • "God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America's Middle Eastern policy and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist." — John le Carré, London Times, January 15, 2003
  • "Neoconservatism ... traded upon the historic American myths of innocence, exceptionalism, triumphalism and Manifest Destiny. It offered a vision of what the United States should do with its unrivaled global power. In its most rhetorically-seductive messianic versions, it conflated the expansion of American power with the dream of universal democracy. In all of this, it proclaimed that the maximal use of American power was good for both America and the world." — Columbia University Professor Gary Dorrien, The Christian Century magazine, January 22, 2007
  • "To most of its citizens, America is exceptional, and it's only natural that it should take exception to certain international standards." — Michael Ignatieff, Washington Post columnist, Legal Affairs, May-June, 2002
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, US Army War College, 1997: "Our country is a force for good without precedent".
    Thomas Barnett, US Naval War College: "The US military is a force for global good that ... has no equal." — The Guardian (London), December 27, 2005
  • John Bolton, future US ambassador to the United Nations, writing in 2000: Because of its unique status, the United States could not be "legally bound" or constrained in any way by its international treaty obligations. The U.S. needed to "be unashamed, unapologetic, uncompromising American constitutional hegemonists," so that their "senior decision makers" could be free to use force unilaterally.
    Condoleezza Rice, future US Secretary of State, writing in 2000, was equally contemptuous of international law. She claimed that in the pursuit of its national security the United States no longer needed to be guided by "notions of international law and norms" or "institutions like the United Nations" because it was "on the right side of history." — Z Magazine, July/August 2004
  • "The president [George W. Bush] said he didn't want other countries dictating terms or conditions for the war on terrorism. 'At some point, we may be the only ones left. That's okay with me. We are America'." — Washington Post, January 31, 2002
  • "Reinhold Niebuhr got it right a half-century ago: What persists — and promises no end of grief — is our conviction that Providence has summoned America to tutor all of humankind on its pilgrimage to perfection." — Andrew Bacevich, professor of international relations, Boston University
  • In commenting on Woodrow Wilson's moral lecturing of his European colleagues at the Versailles peace table following the First World War, Winston Churchill remarked that he found it hard to believe that the European emigrants, who brought to America the virtues of the lands from which they sprang, had left behind all their vices. — The World Crisis, Vol. V, The Aftermath, 1929
  • "Behold a republic, gradually but surely becoming the supreme moral factor to the world's progress and the accepted arbiter of the world's disputes." — William Jennings Bryan, US Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, In His Image (1922)
  • Newsweek editor Michael Hirsch: "U.S. allies must accept that some U.S. unilateralism is inevitable, even desirable. This mainly involves accepting the reality of America's supreme might — and truthfully, appreciating how historically lucky they are to be protected by such a relatively benign power." — Foreign Affairs, November, 2002
  • Colin Powell speaking before the Republican National Convention, August 13, 1996: The United States is "a country that exists by the grace of a divine providence."
  • "The US media always has an underlying acceptance of the mythology of American exceptionalism, that the US, in everything it does, is the last best hope of humanity." — Rahul Mahajan, author of: The New Crusade: America's War on Terrorism, and Full Spectrum Dominance
  • "The fundamental problem is that the Americans do not respect anybody except themselves," said Col. Mir Jan, a spokesman for the Afghan Defense Ministry. "They say, 'We are the God of the world,' and they don't consult us."Washington Post, August 3, 2002
  • "If we have to use force, it is because we are America! We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future." — Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, 1998

This Is What Conspiracy Really Looks Like

Click here to access article by Lincoln Stoller posted on OpEd News. 

Once in a while individuals are able to escape their cultural conditioning (also known as "brainwashing") that has trained them to believe that the political facade that surrounds their daily life is real. The braver ones, such as this author, wander behind this facade to find a totally different reality, and try to make some sense of it.

He concludes his essay with this statement:
This is the nature of our system which has private corporations buying influence in systems that are supposed to be democratic. This cannot be changed by singling out specific groups or erecting single-issue fire walls. This is not the result of a few rotten apples. It is the fungus of international corporate capitalism operating in the "fruit salad" of selectively democratic republics.
Although this is a good start, I don't think that he quite grasps the reality of today's governance issues. I don't pretend to have a monopoly of understanding of this reality, but I feel that I have had more time to explore it. 

As I see it, ruling classes which have existed for the last ten to fifteen thousand years--less than 2% of human history--have always erected phony systems of belief to justify their existence, their privileges, and wealth. The latest class rulers, the capitalist class, several hundred years ago first saw great opportunities to accumulate wealth and power under a system of private ownership of socially produced wealth that could be possible if existing property was not limited by the rule of the landed aristocracy. 

So, they had to usurp power from the latter class, and to do this they had to enlist the support of ordinary working people who they needed to fight in their armies. They appealed to them with all sorts of radical ideas about democracy, such as those espoused sincerely by Thomas Paine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Once this was accomplished, first in the American Revolution followed closely by the French Revolution, the new capitalist class were stuck with all these notions of liberty, justice, and democracy. Thus, they had to erect political institutions that appeared to embody these ideas. Thomas Paine was henceforth ignored and died in obscurity. Fortunately, Rousseau escaped this fate by dying a natural death just before the French Revolution. 

To prevent any real liberty from happening, our benevolent (sarcasm) Founding Fathers (they have been deified) carefully limited the vote to only owners of large properties, and found that mixing people into large voting areas tended to dilute any real democratic pressures from below. (Remember that roads were poor and the means of communication was limited.) It has been taught to us, along with a lot of other garbage, that the system of checks and balances that is a part of the design of our government was to protect against autocrats from coming to power. The truth is, the new American ruling class led by Hamilton and the banker Morris had a terrible fear of citizens and designed the new government to protect them from the "unwashed masses". (Read Unruly Americans by Woody Holton and An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States by Charles Beard.) 

Since then we have witnessed the extension of voting rights to most of the rest of the population, but this was only allowed because the new ruling class had a tight grip on the media, education, and control over what political parties were allowed to participate. They never had the slightest hesitation to hire private hooligans (for example, the Pinkertons), the FBI, aggressive police forces, or even the National Guard (for example, the Kent State massacre) to insure that their interests and policies were protected.

What is now placed on the shoulders of mostly young people throughout the world is the necessity of finally fulfilling the democratic dreams of working people to emancipate themselves from class rule. This is a huge task to ask of any generation, but nothing less will insure the survival of the human race. Should they succeed, they will surely become history's greatest heroes.

Occupy Homes lauds a radical new phase for the movement

Click here to access article by Jérôme E. Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.
...this Tuesday activists all over the United States will be taking the struggle indoors: to the homes of poor families who are under threat of being evicted by large and powerful Wall Street banks. The move from occupying public space to reclaiming private property marks a radical escalation of civil disobedience, striking the capitalist system right at its institutional heart.
Outside of New York City or San Francisco Bay Area, I am not sure that other Occupier activists are ready for this stage of activism--but, we shall see. It has to start sometime and somewhere in the US. On the other hand, we could just "throw in the towel", and pledge allegiance to the Empire and its global financial ruling class. 

I am proud to report that Occupiers here in the Seattle area seem to be ready for this phase of the revolution. Read this piece entitled, "Occupied Warehouse on Capitol Hill!". 
Let us be clear: this is only the beginning, a hint of what might come. If we are arrested, if we are removed from this building with guns in our faces and our hands bound behind our backs, it is neither unexpected nor a sign of failure. It is instead a sign that we constitute a real threat to capitalism and to the very concept of private property. There is no other option left but to recognize which side we are on. We say this not as martyrs, but as those who have chosen to live.

From Occupation to “Occupy”: The Israelification of American Domestic Security

Click here to access article by Max Blumenthal from al-Akhbar. 

There is not only collaboration among police/security agencies within the US as reported here: this article exposes the collaboration of the Empire's militarized polices across the globe, particularly influenced by the Israeli model.
The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Coal study names top 20 'climate killer' banks

Click here to access article by Fiona Harvey from The Guardian. 

After destroying the economy the financial elites, who form a core part of our ruling class, are now busy destroying our climate to satisfy their addiction to profits.

However, Africans and concerned people from all over the world are still fighting back. Read this piece entitled, "Thousands to Protest at COP 17 in Durban: Demanding Action to Save the Planet."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Feinstein Amendment Punts Issue of Indefinite Detention of Americans to Courts

Click here to access article David Dayen from FireDogLake.
Can Americans be indefinitely detained by the military on suspicion of terrorism if arrested on American soil? Thursday evening the Senate added a compromise amendment to the defense spending bill that states: Maybe.
It seems that the corporate sponsored US Senators just won't give up on an attempt to impose a police state on the US. They must be getting worried about a domestic insurrection. Meanwhile, mainstream media omits this coverage and encourages people to just go Christmas shopping (with their credit cards).

See also this piece from Wired entitled, "Senate Wants the Military to Lock You Up Without Trial".

See also yesterday's assessment of this bill by Glenn Greenwald who has a background in constitutional law. He rightfully says that the government is already doing what this bill proposes. Still, it is another nail in our civil rights coffin.

NAFTA - the Neo-Liberal Destruction of Mexican Culture & Anarchist Responses from Zapatistas to Drug Cartels

Click here to access article by John Kelley posted on OpEd News.

This article provides a good history of the Mexican people's struggle against the privatizing of their lands, and the more recent devastating effects of NAFTA on both US and Mexican workers--a good illustration of how neoliberalism plays off one nation's workers against another for the enrichment of corporations and their owners and ending in the exploitation of workers and the destruction of their lives.

Occupy Wall Street: The Enthusiasm Gap

Click here to access article by Bob Burnett from OpEd News. 
The latest polls indicate that approximately 75 percent of Americans agree with the goals of Occupy Wall Street.  Nonetheless, only 29 percent consider themselves supporters of OWS.  What accounts for this enthusiasm gap?
I also greatly worry about this. I think that my fellow Americans have been subject to so many years of indoctrination that filters down from the ruling class into every institution--schools, mainstream media particularly the "boob tube" (TV), corporate employers, non-profit administrators, churches, etc, that they will be very slow to respond to ruling class imposed crises. People have been taught to believe that it is far better to defer to authority than to think critically, that bad things happen to you when you start to question. "Better to go along to get along."

The shadow war in Syria

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online. 
It's fair to argue that masses of Syrians want something other than the Assad regime - but certainly not some variant of humanitarian bombing, not to mention civil war. They saw NATO's legacy in Libya - virtually the whole infrastructure of the country destroyed, cities bombed to dust, tens of thousands of dead and wounded, al-Qaeda-linked fanatics wielding power in Tripoli, widespread ethnic hatred. They don't want a brand new massacre. But NATOGCC does. 

Student Protests Spread Throughout Region [Latin America]

Click here to access article by Pamela Sepúlveda from The Indypendent. 
In support of Chile’s ongoing student protests, and voicing their own demands, thousands of people took to the streets in more than a dozen cities in Latin America Thursday demanding quality public education.

Thawing permafrost vents gases to worsen warming

Click here to access article by Seth Borenstein of AP posted in Yahoo News.
Massive amounts of greenhouse gases trapped below thawing permafrost will likely seep into the air over the next several decades, accelerating and amplifying global warming, scientists warn.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The future of growing old in America

Click here to access article by James Ridgeway from The Guardian. 

The ruling One Percent have absolutely no shame in going after the most vulnerable people in our society--the poor, the disabled, and the elderly--in order to pursue their wars and protect their profits.
It's hard to argue that social security benefits are too generous, or that retirees enjoy extravagant lifestyles. The average social security benefit currently stands at just over $1,100 a month. As the Center for Economic and Policy Research's Dean Baker notes, "More than 75% of benefits go to individuals with non-social security income of less than $20,000 a year and more than 90% of benefits go to individuals with non-social security income of less than $40,000 a year."

Fed bailing out the Euro

Click here to access article from Russia Today. 
Markets are rallying, traders are full of optimism and the Euro is up. The only loser is the dollar: the good old buck has weakened compared to other currencies. The reason? An announcement from the Fed, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and Swiss National Bank reveals that they are going to provide troubled European banks with massive amounts of cash – cheaper and faster than ever before. Obviously, the lion’s share of assets will be provided by the US Federal Reserve.
For more details and a deeper analysis of the latest European bank bailout by the Fed, read this piece by Naomi Prins, formerly of Goldman Sachs, in which she states:
...we...know from the US bailouts in phase one of the global meltdown, that providing ‘liquidity' or ‘greasing the wheels of ‘ banks in times of ‘emergency’ does absolute nothing for the Main Street Economy. Not in the US. And not in Europe. It also doesn’t fix anything, it just funds bad trades with impunity.
Well, should we be surprised? The Empire's ruling class is there to serve the one percent, and that is what they are doing. The solution, broadly speaking, is to remove the one percent from power and create classless societies designed to serve the needs of everyone. Until that happens, we will continue to see the 99% serving the needs of the one percent (in this case, covering their bad bets), more extremes of wealth and poverty, more wars, and more environmental degradation.

Here, in a nutshell, is the way I understand this whole bailout phenomenon. The controlling center of capitalism are the financial elites in the US, Europe, and Japan under the leadership of US bankers. Their top controlling institution is the Federal Reserve which creates money backed largely by the power of the US and NATO military, and their Arab oil cronies . The financial elites have no problem creating money to bailout members of their class who made bad bets on mortgage securities and all kinds of derivative bets, but they have an almost obsessive fear of that money circulating among the general population. You see, if that money circulates widely, money cheapens, prices rise, inflation results and the value of the bonds that mostly elites buy are devalued.

Britain's Massive Anti-Austerity Strike: Could It Happen Here?

Click here to access article by Richard Eskow from Huffington Post.

This event was almost totally ignored in US media--it might give workers the wrong ideas!
Millions of employees mounted Great Britain's first General Strike in many years today after the government threatened to impose more cuts in retirement benefits and pay for public workers.

It was a smash success. As many as two million strikers proved that the public's patience with the unjust fiscal regime known as 'austerity economics' has its limits. It highlighted the important role unions can and must play in the fight for a more just and stable economy.

Dardari: The Trojan Horse of Neoliberal Syria

Click here to access article by Ghadi Francis from Al-Akhbar.

This piece provides an interesting thesis that Abdallah Dardari, the former Syrian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, functioned as a neo-liberal Trojan Horse. But when the usual destructive effects of neoliberalism occurred in Syria, he wisely "hopped into a lifeboat and paddled safely to the UN." He is now a part of the opposition. 

With the wrecked economy, (in my opinion) NATO imperialists see another splendid opportunity to move another chess piece in place to put Iran into checkmate. 

Global rebellion: The coming chaos?

Click here to access article by William I. Robinson from Al Jazeera. 

I am not posting this piece because I think it provides precise insights on our current social-economic and war disasters, but because it is broadly accurate and requires urgent action by the 99%. It is a liberal interpretation of crucial world events produced by an academic who consciously or unconsciously provides a more bland analysis of world events in order to keep his job or to enhance his career prospects. For example, he uses concepts like "social reproduction" to cover over unpleasant realities that you and I face--loss of pensions, loss of homes, huge debts, loss of jobs, standing in line at food banks, etc. 

And there are many other parts of his analysis that I would interpret quite differently. However, I really don't have the time or interest to do so. What is important is his main conclusion with which I agree:
Global elites are confused, reactive, and sinking into the quagmire of their own making. It is noteworthy that those struggling around the world have been shown a strong sense of solidarity and are in communications across whole continents. ...As global elites regroup and assess the new conjuncture and the threat of mass global revolution, they will - and have already begun to - organise coordinated mass repression, new wars and interventions, and mechanisms and projects of co-optation in their efforts to restore hegemony.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street's anarchist roots

Click here to access article by David Graeber from Al Jazeera.
"How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership structure or make a practical list of demands? And what's with all this anarchist nonsense - the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don't you realise all this radical language is going to alienate people? You're never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this sort of thing!"
The author provides some excellent answers to people who are confused about the Occupy movement and its practices. He does this by reviewing anarchist movements throughout history and their struggles with all class ruled societies, and by offering insights on what anarchism really is: a radical form of democracy which all governing classes of hierarchical systems loath. 

It is clear to me that the re-birth of this model of social organization offers the last best hope for humanity to survive in any form other than barbarism--indeed, to survive at all in the face of planetary destruction by profit-addicted capitalist ruling classes.

(Note: It appears to me that there is one minor typo in the following sentence: "Perhaps this is not surprising: We are facing conditions that rival those of the 1930s, the main difference being that the media seems stubbornly willing [unwilling] to acknowledge it.")

The Power of Occupy Wall Street Is Not Just What They're Doing, But How They're Doing It

Click here to access article by Sarah Jaffe from AlterNet. 
The people who seem unable to comprehend horizontalism are mostly those who come from hierarchical institutions themselves. (There isn't a more hierarchically structured media organization than the New York Times, for instance, which also sits at the top of the hierarchy of mainstream media as the “paper of record.”) But horizontalism has proved appealing to the Occupy protesters, I think, because those same hierarchical institutions, from Congress to churches to universities, and obviously, corporations have utterly failed most Americans.
She provides a very good discussion of the contribution of direct democracy (horizontalism) that the Occupy movement is practicing.

UK public sector stages national one-day walkout

Click here to access article from World Socialist Web Site.
More than two million workers across the public sector in the UK are taking part in today’s Day of Action against the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition’s attack on their pensions. For the first time since the government took office 18 months ago, working people have the opportunity to show their opposition to its policies, and they are doing so in their hundreds of thousands.
This major UK event is being given scant coverage here in the US--for obvious reasons.

Ruth Marcus reveals another journalistic value

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. 

This piece is about prominent journalists who espouse values of US mainstream journalism--it's all about "respect for authority". If you want a career with corporate media, it would be useful to adopt these values. 

Every hierarchical social system, other than totalitarian systems of governance, realizes the importance of indoctrinating its subjects in the values of deference to authority. The latter system is much more efficient in bringing about compliance with the policies of ruling classes than the former which require a  huge, expensive security apparatus (police, surveillance of citizens, prisons, etc) to enforce compliance. It seems that our ruling class is playing it safe by promoting both.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up of American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window

Click here to access article from American Civil Liberties Union.
The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. 
I have been expecting a desperate reaction from the ruling capitalist class who fear the Occupy movement and the threat it poses to their legitimacy. The one percent are a frightened and cowardly people who fear the 99%. We have seen brutal police attacks on protestors in Oakland and Davis, California, and other cities; now there is a move on in corporate sponsored Congress to make it lawful to employ US army troops against its own citizens! WE MUST FIGHT BACK! Use the form provided in the article to contact your corporate sponsored Senator to tell them, "hell no!" (in so many words). 

Unknown Snipers and Western backed "Regime Change"

Click here to access article by Gearóid Ó Colmáin from Global Research. 

I've been noticing reports of unknown snipers in Syria and recall Mahdi Nazemroaya, a Canadian journalist, who reported about snipers while trapped in a hotel in Tripoli in August.  (See first video regarding a video phone interview with Nazemroaya in article that I posted on August 22nd at segments 0:55 - 1:18 and 4:55 - 6:55m.) I began to wonder if this was a standard destabilization tactic used against targeted countries. This article provides considerable evidence that it is.

The US has a criminal record of training and sponsoring terrorists through its School of the Americas in the US state of Georgia. Graduate from these schools have gone on to promote death squads in many countries in Latin America and other places.
The use of mercenaries, death squads and snipers by Western intelligence agencies is well documented.  No rational government attempting to stay in power would resort to unknown snipers to intimidate its opponents. Shooting at innocent protestors would be counterproductive in the face of unmitigated pressure from Western governments determined to install a client regime in Damascus. Shooting of unarmed protestors is only acceptable in dictatorships that enjoy the unconditional support of Western governments such as Bahrain, Honduras or Colombia.

Media Lies Used to Provide a Pretext for Another "Humanitarian War": Protest in Syria: Who Counts the Dead?

Click here to access article by Julie Lévesque from Global Research.
The "Syrian uprising" seems to be a copy and paste of the "protest movement" in Libya, which was conducive to a NATO invasion and regime change. The mainstream press has once again one principal source of information – the opposition groups. The media neglects military casualties and fails to report that armed gunmen, 17,000 according to a report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, are among the protesters. A non-elected body, the SNC, ironically is upheld as a democratic movement and is offered "credibility" as well as extensive mainstream media coverage.
The author provides a lot evidence and arguments that there is a massive disinformation campaign going against the Syrian government to prepare the way for another NATO "humanitarian mission". I don't wish to imply that there is no legitimate opposition against the current ruling administration, but it appears to me that it is being grossly exaggerated and exploited by Western political operatives.

Rich nations 'give up' on new climate treaty until 2020

Click here to access article by Fiona Harvey from The Guardian. 
Postponing an operational agreement until 2020 would be fatal to hopes of avoiding catastrophic climate change, according to scientists, economists and green campaigners.
We are now witnessing the growth imperative of capitalism colliding with the ecological limits of our planet. Because capitalist ruling classes are so addicted to their profits, they are hopelessly unable to avert the disasters that are in the future for all of us. Because we share the same planet, we simply cannot idly stand by and let them have their way. Apparently the issues related to social-economic justice were not sufficient for people to rise up and demand changes in the past; but with the dire threats to our planetary home on the horizon, surely humanity will no longer tolerate such a destructive system.

The warnings of climate disaster are now occurring almost everywhere. Here in the Northwest of the United States we see oyster die-offs due to ocean acidification, in Texas severe droughts, earlier this year we saw flash flooding in eastern US, and this same pattern is occurring all over the Earth. 

Meanwhile, ruling capitalist classes do their best to keep their citizens ignorant of the evidence which makes the necessary connections between extreme weather, accelerated climate change, and fossil fuel consumption. For example, the latest refusal of TV broadcasters in Britain, US and other countries to televise a final segment of a series of programs apparently because the program made those connections. 

Witness now how the ruling elites are once again "stonewalling" the issue in the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa.
The reality is that to stave off the Venus Syndrome – indeed, to maintain temperature rise to 2°C – the better part of known reserves of fossil fuels must remain untouched in the ground. But to the contrary, while the UN stalls and governments stonewall, corporations and the World Bank continue to invest wildly in expanding the fossil-fuel frontier through deep-sea drilling and exploitation of shale gas and tar sands, scraping the bottom of the oil barrel and locking us into a path of high emissions and a toxic future. Venus, here we come. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Feminism, Finance and the Future of #Occupy - An interview with Silvia Federici

Click here to access article from Infoshop News. 

This piece presents an interview with a feminist of long experience who offers her insights on the important contributions of the still-active feminist movement on the current Occupy movement and the latter movement's struggle with the capitalist ruling class of the one percent. 
...in the present economic context, is it [is] impossible to take on Wall Street’s ‘crimes’ without confronting the entire economic system at the basis of its abuses. As with any other movements, there are different strands within the Occupations. Some participants may be satisfied with just obtaining a more regulated banking system, or a return to Keynesianism. But the economic crisis is bringing to light, in a dramatic way, the fact that the capitalist class has nothing to offer to the majority of the population except more misery, more destruction of the environment, and more war. 

Linda Katehi and the neoliberal reform of Greek Higher Education

Click here to access article by Panagiotis Sotiris from Greek Left Review. 

The recent publicity of police brutality against UC Davis students prompted this author to report on efforts by UC Davis Chancellor Katehi and other capitalist agents to "reform" Greek education to fit with neo-liberal values. 
...the main ruling body in every Greek University is going to be a ‘Directing Board’ comprised by academics but also external members and representatives of the world of business. This board is going to be responsible for all major policy decisions, including the selection of potential Rectors and Deans. Student and academic participation is drastically limited. Many university departments face closure in what is described as a process of ‘reorganization’ of Higher Education, but also in the name of budget cuts and austerity policies. Faculty promotion and tenure is going to become more difficult.

Lies and truths about Syria

Click here to access article Thierry Meyssan from Voltaire.

According to this French journalist, there is a massive media campaign underway in the West to justify aggressive actions toward Syria coinciding with an active project of destabilization of that country.

And this article from al-Akhbar (Lebanon). 
In a show of public support for the regime, tens of thousands of Syrians took to the streets on Monday to protest Arab sanctions on Damascus.

Pro-regime protests were held in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Hasaka, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, Sweida, and Tartus.
With Western media cranked up to support another invasion after NATO's victory in Libya--this time in Syria--it is important that we obtain alternative sources of information.  

Cairo’s Liberation by Innovation

Click here to access article by Mohammed Shoair  al-Akhbar (Lebanon). 
From onions, to milk, to shoe polish bombs, protesters in Cairo are coming up with new ways to counter the regime’s new weapons of stifling dissent.

The Egyptian revolution carries on with an unparalleled creative spirit. A rebellious and vibrant imagination is pushing up against a stultifying and authoritarian military regime

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dangerous Times

by Ron Horn.

As I scan various opinion and news articles this morning, I am left with a very uneasy feeling that the world is heading for major conflict, not in the distant future, but in the near future: within a year. I hope I am wrong. But, consider the following facts and analyses to see if you are able to arrive at a different point of view: 
  • There are widespread, angry people in the MENA countries. Currently we are seeing the US trained and equipped Egyptian military being confronted by widespread public opposition to their rule. NATO has been attempting to exploit the unrest throughout the region, under the covering propaganda of humanitarian missions, seeing this as an opportunity to strengthen its hold on more neutral governments in the region. NATO leaders are celebrating their recent triumph in Libya and planning to secure new military bases in that country. Now they are once again beating the war drums against Iran over their alleged threat of nuclear weapons.  (See this, this and this for more details on what appears to be an overall NATO strategy.) Now NATO may be in danger of losing one of its key stooges in Asia over their latest attack on Pakistani troops.
  • There is considerable evidence that the strife going on in Syria is being exploited by Western secret agencies by supplying opposition forces with weapons from nearby Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Although Western media usually attributes them to Syrian government sources, there are reports of mysterious sniper attacks on civilians which is creating chaos in the country. 
  • There are nearly worldwide Occupy protests, and those in Western countries are creating problems for police agencies and are attempting to turn public opinion against the ruling one percent.
  • There are widespread banking problems, sovereign debt issues, and austerity measures causing major civilian crises across Western countries.
Wouldn't a major conflagration be seen as a way for Western ruling classes to divert attention and energy away from their dissidents and onto what they would see as more constructive pursuits--people supporting more wars which are always waged in defense of security and freedoms and for humanitarian purposes? And war is always good for the military-industrial complex and the one percent who live off their profits.

God, I hope I'm wrong!

Our University: On Police Violence at CUNY

Click here to access article by Anthony Alessandrini from Jadaliyya. 
Over the past few months, around the world, we have seen how tyrants, no longer able to hide behind the empty rhetoric of “democracy” that includes neither enfranchisement nor representation, have fallen back on their only other option: brute violence. We are seeing precisely the same thing on our university campuses. University officials have become accustomed to the privilege of remaining unaccountable...and simply being able to ignore the demands of students, teachers, and workers.