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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Evidence Homeland Security Coordinated Occupy Crackdown

Click here to access article by Dave Lindorff from CounterPunch. 

The author provides more evidence of a coordinated effort by top-level government officials to suppress the Occupier protests across the country. Clearly the enforcers of the One Percent are worried about the Occupy movement:
“The documents we received were only from the highest officials in DHS,” she stresses, “which shows that the government was highly concerned about Occupy at the highest levels of government.”
For more information on this subject see also this, this, this, and this (originally published in Ramparts magazine in Oct 1973).

“Be More Aggressive In Repossessing Properties!” Rothschilds’ Irish Mouthpiece Tells Banks

Click here to access article by Gabriel Donohoe from his blog entitled Fools Crow's Blog.
Our only hope for the future rests in a debt-free, interest-free currency issued and supervised by the People and based upon the productivity and natural resources of the Irish Nation as a whole.

U.S. shifts from 'winter' to 'spring'

Click here to access article by Russell McLendon from Mother Nature Network.
Spring has officially sprung in the U.S. But for many Americans, winter felt like spring and now spring feels like summer. So what will summer feel like?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Common Sense: Occupation, Assembly and the Future of Liberty

Click here to access article featuring Dan Hind, author of a new ebook entitled, Common Sense: Occupation, Assembly and the Future of Liberty, is interviewed by Guy Aitchison, from New Left Project (UK). (Note: Guy Aitchison was involved full-time in the occupation at University College, London (UCL). He is a contributing editor at openDemocracy and a PhD student of Political Theory at UCL’s School of Public Policy.)

Quote from Hind's ebook:
The organization of prestige found in the political class, in the media, and in academia is now indefensible. The bankruptcy of the Western economies is mirrored by an intellectual bankruptcy that those who currently hold power cannot adequately acknowledge. The triumph of the market faith was so complete that there is hardly anyone with public status who can afford to state openly what is obviously the case: the promoters of the old, exploded common sense – including its many tame experts – are ridiculous. So the show continues, as though they are not. This is the stuff from which revolutions are made.

But if we can no longer leave the market or the expert to secure the general interest, we are left with only one other means. It is not mentioned on the evening news. Indeed, as far as the mainstream of political comment is concerned, it does not exist. Our last hope is everywhere and everywhere it is overlooked.

Our last hope is everyone.

Magic Money the Government Makes

Click here to access article by Robert Oak from The Economic Populist.

I won't pretend that I understand all of this piece, but then that is a problem for most of the 99 Percent. The money system and the "financialization" of our economy has been so obscured behind many layers of secrecy and deceptions that few people understand how it really works. And that ignorance works against us. What is clear to me is the incestuous relationship that exists between the banksters and the government which has resulted in social-economic catastrophes and wars.

The title which refers to the government making money is part of the Fed's public relations effort to legitimatize the control by the Fed of the nation's money supply. They pay back to the US Treasury a small portion of the fabulous profits they make by loaning the US Treasury money the Fed creates on their computers. It's an irrational circular system that feeds the banking parasites who suck out much of the wealth created by the 99 Percent and keeps us in debt servitude forever. 

One must give them credit for creating such a brilliant scam! Of course, the current banksters didn't invent this system yesterday, they, as ruling classes or in close collaboration with ruling classes, have been working on it over more than 5000 years in class structured societies such as our own. (Read The Lost Science of Money by Zarlenga and Debt: The First 5,000 Years by Graeber, also an online series is helpful entitled "Wizards of Money".

Making sense of Egypt: Part One, in defence of conspiracy as a method

Click here to access article by Ahmed Badawi from openDemocracy (UK). 

I am posting this article (Part One only) as a study in the necessity of forming alternative theories for events which cannot be satisfactorily explained by theories or reports handed down from various authorities of the ruling class. Such efforts have been widely smeared in mainstream media using pejorative labels-- "conspiracy theories" and "conspiracy theorists".
It is here that the assumption of conspiracy is most useful. When information is imperfect, it helps to complete the picture and to join the dots. It is a device, a method of explanation. It allows us to examine and make sense of a complex world, dominated by powerful associations of men and women who do not readily make their selfish objectives, and the strategies they use to pursue them, known to the wider public, and to well-meaning but gullible ethnographers and journalists. It is a tool of critique. It helps to expand the scope of analysis, to throw doubt on and question that which is supposed to be taken at face value and not to be questioned. It is an intuitive attempt to counter dubious accounts of reality produced by those who are in power, their agents and those who wittingly or unwittingly come under the sway of the words and images they circulate and unreflectively propagate them. One of the most powerful tools those unscrupulous power holders have to discredit their critics is to describe their counter-claims as a conspiracy theory, exactly what someone like Tony Blair did when he denied any complicity between his government and giant oil firms before the invasion of Iraq.     

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Back To The Future: One More Argument For Non-Violent Action

Click here to access article by Emily Lehr from Portland Occupier [Oregon]

It seems to me that this otherwise excellent article is mis-titled. The central theme of the essay is on what the Occupy movement must focus on: creating a living model of the future within a movement opposed to the present oppressive structure. She expresses this so well:
We have to resist, first, the cultural values so ingrained on our psyches—things like competition, and distrust of strangers. We have to confront our own privilege, and the ways in which we are oppressed, so that we can be ready to be open to the ways that those privileges and oppressions intersect with the people we will be working with. We have to really listen to one another, be ready for the long hard work of real dialogue, ready to value disagreements as opportunities for new solutions. We must be ready to accept that some of us are angry, or sad, or tired; and are going to be that way for a long time. We must be there to listen, to offer care and to offer alternatives for support outside the dominant system. We have to fight the anger and sadness and weariness by making joy, with play; with art; with creativity; with action. With values that have nothing to do with buying and selling and labor-for- pay.
Of course, this is much easier said than done, but it is important as a direction for the Occupy movement. It serves to give it a sense of mission and an affirmation of radically different values from the dominant system so that it can sustain the movement over the difficult days ahead. However, what I don't see are any arguments against using tactics of disruption of capitalist business as usual or damage to capitalist property, and using methods of self-defense against police brutality when deemed appropriate by the Occupiers.

On conspiracy theories

Click here to access article by Julien Febvre from Eagainst. 

Separating out fact from fiction in conspiracy propaganda can be very challenging. The problem is that conspiracists always use mostly real facts within which they plant seeds of misinformation, irrational fear, and misdirected anger. Because of an almost total lack of training in critical thinking, many Americans are fairly easy prey to such propaganda.

What Isn’t for Sale?

Click here to access article by Michael J. Sandel from The Atlantic. 

After running through a list of examples of corruption due to the "market system", this "leading philosopher" of the One Percent writes:
These examples illustrate a broader point: some of the good things in life are degraded if turned into commodities. So to decide where the market belongs, and where it should be kept at a distance, we have to decide how to value the goods in question—health, education, family life, nature, art, civic duties, and so on. These are moral and political questions, not merely economic ones. To resolve them, we have to debate, case by case, the moral meaning of these goods, and the proper way of valuing them.

This is a debate we didn’t have during the era of market triumphalism. As a result, without quite realizing it—without ever deciding to do so—we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society.
First of all, I notice the omission of the naming of the system of capitalism from his essay. (One must never use the term "capitalism" in polite company in the US.) Also, he omits any mention of the never-ending wars, of the huge industrial-prison complex, of the social-economic devastation caused by a boom and bust economic system, of all the degrading effects on the environment caused by capitalism's growth imperative.

However. overall the essay suggests to me that the One Percent ruling class is becoming very worried about their beloved system of capitalism: "Today, that faith is in question." he writes, and continues on to reassure people that we only need to "to grapple with big questions about the morality of markets", and then we can make adjustments to the system to make everything okay. Of course, he is addressing his profound remarks to other members of the One Percent. Other than soothing, moralistic pieces like this, these spokespeople for the One Percent will keep their heads firmly buried beneath the sand, and rely on their military and police forces to have their way in the world.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Insider trading 9/11 ... the facts laid bare [a must read]

Click here to access article by Lars Schall from Asia Times Online.

This allegation of very unusual insider trading in relation to the 9/11 tragedy has been made by a number of knowledgeable people for the past decade. This researcher brings us up-to-date and provides some shocking new evidence. Of course, the SEC, the FBI, and others connected to this issue all deny insider trading in relation to 9/11. They also continue to resist looking at, or commenting on, these new findings. Finally, it appears that this investigator himself is now being targeted by the FBI:
At the end of this article, I should perhaps mention that this research ultimately led to negative consequences for me. After I contacted the FBI, I was informed by the publisher of a German financial website, for which I conducted interviews for a professional fee (and had already prepared more work), that no further cooperation was possible. Now that I will come in one way or another into the focus of the FBI, any association with me would be undesirable.

The Problem of the Biodegradibility of Revolution

Click here to access article by Jim Macdonald from Northern Rockies Independent Media Network. 

This piece offers a prime example of the thinking of people in the current Occupy movement. They are learning from history, and understand that to build a new society, present class structured societies must be fought with radically different revolutionary movement systems--ones that are not power-structured in any way, where power is generated by consensus, and upon which a social structure is constructed on a foundation of small groups at the local level. Only such a revolutionary force can change the existing social arrangements and result in socially just societies, societies that are capable of existing in harmony with nature. I can see no other alternative for the survival of the human race in any form except a nightmarish dystopia.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stop letting economists off the hook

Click here to access article by Philip Soos from Business Spectator.
...wealth-maximising economists will serve monied interests in order to enrich themselves, regardless of the effects upon others. Within modern economies, the wealthy are increasingly invested in the financial rather than industrial sectors. Accordingly, economists seek to work at the behest of financial institutions: commercial lenders, investment banks, hedge funds, money management funds, etc. The owners and managers of these institutions, dedicated to maximising short-term profit and power, naturally seek that economists advocate theories and policies that empower them economically and politically.
The author offers the details on how academic people are co-opted to serve the ruling class in a capitalist class structured society--an example of how all class structured social systems function to influence all the subsystems in hierarchically organized societies. He seems to understand how the system works, however he fails to accept the consequences of such a social system. Instead, he lamely offers a moral imperative--"Stop letting economists off the hook".

A Barbarian in Rome

Click here to access article by Sinan Antoon from Jadaliyya.

This diary-style report offers some poignant sketches in the life of an Iraqi in exile, a "barbarian" living somewhere in the Empire.

The Politics of the Impossible

Click here to access article by Doug Enna Greene from The Occupied Wall Street Journal. 
Instead of accepting the parameters of possibility which the system gives us, people within the Occupy Movement are questioning them. Within Occupy, discussions range from capitalism to the nature of work to the future we want to build. This flowering of truly open, critical discussion challenges the politics of the possible.

Private Equity’s Foreclosures for Rentals Net 8%: Mortgages

Click here to access article by Edward Robinson from Bloomberg News.

Have I got a hot tip for all sociopathic investors! Get into buying up foreclosed homes! Under the capitalist system, everything becomes a commodity, even homes where people live, raise families, have ties with friends, neighbors, communities, and schools. But, there is an upside--one family's tragedy can make someone else rich. You, too, can make a killing by investing in this widely available commodity!
Wiel says the agency [Federal Housing Finance Agency] may auction pools of properties to investors, perhaps coupled with federally guaranteed financing that lowers their cost of capital significantly. The Resolution Trust Corp. employed a similar policy in the early 1990s to sell off mortgages held by failed savings and loan banks.
 On Feb. 27, the FHFA unveiled a pilot program to sell repossessed houses in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Florida (SPCSMIA) and other hard-hit markets to investors who qualify with the agency. Waypoint submitted an application. “This could be a total game changer for us,” Wiel says.
It’s striking that Washington is looking to Wall Street for answers after investors’ zeal for subprime mortgages helped foment the housing morass, Green says. She says a boom in rentals may encourage mortgage lenders to foreclose on delinquent homeowners instead of reworking their loans to be more affordable.
The US is truly the land of opportunity. Anyone, without a conscience and with insider knowledge, can get rich here. Economic busts as well as booms offer opportunities--for the One Percent. Ain't capitalism wonderful?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The ICNC Role in the Arab Spring

Click here to access article by Stuart Bramhall from her blog The Most Revolutionary Act. 
(This is the last of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance)
There is much food for thought in this piece, specifically about the extent of US manipulation of events in the MENA region. My own view is that the insurrections began spontaneously, but were quickly infiltrated and influenced by political operatives of the Empire. I can't believe that they were instigated by the operatives. But, clearly these operatives have been behind all the other "color revolutions" on states bordering the Empire that had some level of discontent to build on: Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine, Libya, etc, and now in Syria.

Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg’s NYPD arrests French bagpipe players at OWS six-month celebration in Zuccotti Park. Also, police violence against the non-violent

Click here to access article & 16:04m video from Naked Capitalism. 

Isn't it a bit strange that we hear so little from political liberals about police brutality against people acting on their Constitutional right to assemble and protest? They seem to be more worried about protestors breaking windows. 

Read also Phil Rockstroh's more profound views on this event entitled, “Our Rights do not End where the Caprice of Authoritarian Bullies Begins”.

Fracking: Pennsylvania Gags Physicians

Click here to access article by Walter Brasch from Dissident Voice. 

Because fossil fuels fuel the profits of the One Percent, it is clear that they shall have priority over public health in the US. 

The offensive clause in this bill just passed in Pennsylvania in February reads as follows:
If a health professional determines that a medical emergency exists and the specific identity and amount of any chemicals claimed to be a trade secret or confidential proprietary information are necessary for emergency treatment, the vendor, service provider or operator shall immediately disclose the information to the health professional upon a verbal acknowledgment by the health professional that the information may not be used for purposes other than the health needs asserted and the health professional shall maintain the information as confidential.

Heat Wave Sizzles On, Toppling More Than 2,000 Records

Click here to access article by Andrew Freedman from Climate Central.

As the weather extremes become more dramatic, I am wondering how long the directors of capitalist media will continue to ignore any connection between this weather and global warming and fossil fuel consumption. Mostly what I have seen in mainstream media are welcoming comments from some residents in the eastern states of the US who enjoy the early summer weather and low fuel bills.

Olga Bonfiglio offers an explanation for the disconnect in her article entitled, "Some Sociological Explanations for Climate Change Denial" in which she writes:
...deniers are organized by conservative think tanks funded by the fossil fuel industry that attempt to create doubt about climate science and block actions that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create clean energy alternatives.

To do this they use conspiracy theories and "fake" experts with no background in climate science.  They insist on absolute certainty, cherry-pick the data and ignore the larger body of evidence or misrepresent data and promote logical fallacies like "the climate has changed in the past, therefore current change is natural." 

Video: Shut Down Monsanto Protest at the Gates Foundation

Click here to access 2:54 video and brief article posted on Climate Connections. 

I mostly watch TV for local news, but I had to find this in alternative media because it was totally missing from the coverage of events in the Seattle area where I live. (The Gates Foundation is in Seattle.)

Social or Anti-Social Media?

Click here to access article by Frank Scott from Dissident Voice.

The author argues that social media is a two-way street: one direction heads toward greater social connection and participation, but the other direction heads toward more manipulation by the One Percent.
Present campaigns to militarily intervene in Syria and attack Iran are stress signs in a global economy wildly enriching fewer people while reducing greater majorities to indebtedness, warfare and poverty. Popular confusion is not only due to major corporate media but also to weapons of mass disinformation that can be sent directly into our heads by the new social media. And whether in the Middle East or the Middle West, suffering increases for many so that a few can live in luxury.
Thus, critical thinking and alternative media are now more urgent than ever.

Widespread torture of [US arrested] prisoners in Afghan jails: report

Click here to access article from Al Akhbar and AFP. 

The horrifying practices of torture of Iraqi prisoners by US personnel in recent years in Iraq apparently has not altered much for our Afghan prisoners, except that now we outsource the torture to Afghan collaborators. 
Torture in Afghan prisons is widespread with detainees arrested by US troops regularly tortured after being transferred to Afghan custody, a new report has said.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Occupy and kicking out the management

Click here to access article from In Bed with the Resistance.

The author points to a problem for many activists who are trying to work together within horizontal democratic collectives: each individual's history of socialization in pervasive hierarchical settings within the dominant culture.
The problems of collective working in our society are often presented as the problem of getting people to stop thinking individually and start thinking collectively. This may sometimes be the case but I would attribute a lot of the problems to something else entirely: that we are used to being managed.

Kandahar massacre revenge for attack on US troops: Afghan report

Click here to access article and this 8:38m video interview with senior editor from Veterans Today are sourced from PressTV:

Six Ways the Media Has Misreported Syria

Click here to access article by Afshin Mehrpouya from Voltaire Network.

I have been amazed by the incessant, monolithic reporting in Western media about the Syrian insurrections. I think that this is a result of all the growing collaboration among capitalist elites as evidenced by all the summit meetings (G-8, G-20, NATO, The World Economic Forum, etc.) they hold. Clearly the coordinating and direction of mainstream media is provided by the leadership of the Empire's ruling Once Percent who come together at these various summits.

A Close Look at Gene Sharp’s Past

Click here to access article by Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall from her blog, The Most Revolutionary Act.
(This is the fourth of five posts about the American godfather of nonviolent resistance, Gene Sharp, and the role of CIA and Pentagon-funded foundations and think tanks in funding and promoting nonviolent resistance.)