We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Everything They’re Telling Us About Syria….is False?

Click here to access article by Russ Baker from WhoWhatWhy. 

Despite the fact that mainstream mind manipulators, also known as mainstream media operators, have been producing a daily avalanche of news reports on Syrian atrocities (always attributed to the Syrian government) and US electioneering, the main reports that the public are following are those related to the domestic economy. Worse for the propagandists, the public appears uninterested, and even opposed to engaging in more foreign wars. (See this, this, and this.) 

No doubt the One Percent directors of mainstream media are desperately trying to distract attention away from a banker engineered economic collapse that has had such dire consequences for so many people. (See this, this, and this.) Also, they are hoping to prepare the American public to go along with another "humanitarian" war in the Mid-East. 

The author of this article critically examines recent media propaganda and manages to sift out some truth using his investigative journalistic skills. He concludes his examination with this statement:
There’s a growing body of evidence that we Americans are being lied to by our government, with nary a peep from the people’s representatives in the press. That’s one development, sadly, that really is not news.
Surely, he is not naive enough to believe that the American people have "representatives" in the media that have any influence over what is broadcast or printed! And zounds!--To think that our government would lie to us! (sarcasm)

War By Other Means: Attacking Iran Through Sanctions

Click here to access article by Conn Hallinan from CounterPunch.

The Empire is aggressively pursuing world domination everywhere, but I think the hubris of these imperial directors is nowhere more evident than the economic attacks on Iran which has played by all international rules. The constant threats of invasion by Israel and Zionist war-hawks in the US government have absolutely no legitimate justification. It's merely the old, barbaric law of the jungle

This author provides a rather complete list of all the ways that the Empire and its surrogates are attacking Iran and the effects of these attacks on Iran.
Now that the talks with Iran on its nuclear program appear to be on the ropes, are we on the road to war? The Israelis threaten it almost weekly, and the Obama administration has reportedly drawn up an attack plan. But in a sense, we are already at war with Iran.

Fantasties and (Possible) Realities: The Meaning of Mondragon

Click here to access article by Bernard Marszalek from CounterPunch.

In contrast to many aficionados of Mondragon, the author provides a much more sober assessment of the possible contributions that Mondragon and other cooperatives can make in building a new economy and society.
As co-ops demonstrate, beyond their everyday work, their organizational abilities to create financial institutions, develop co-op educational projects, secure land and buildings through land trusts and develop housing, healthcare and recreational facilities, they enhance their economic resilience, and in doing so, demonstrate to other groups ways of forging durability through bottom-up alliances. The cooperatives, in other words, might act as catalyzing agents for the grassroots economy, not to lead it, but to contribute their organizational expertise to the larger alternative economy.

Preview of Selected Interviews

Click here to access the interviews and an appeal for support to complete film project by Keith Harmon Snow. 

Snow is one of a handful of independent journalists specializing in central African affairs. Because of this and the exploitative interests of Western corporations, Western mainstream media's coverage has been characterized by disinformation and omissions of atrocities by Western backed forces there. Snow is doing everything he can to provide accurate information. We must help him.
Posted below is our first promotional video created to provide some explanation about our independent documentary film and book project currently titled -- Witchdoctors of Watutsiland. Learn more about the Witchdoctors President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Hyppolite Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) of the Congo. These are the great manipulators, backed by the West, whose crimes are whitewashed by western public relations agencies paid millions by these regimes.  Facilitating the western plunder and occupation of Central Africa, they are responsible in large part for over ten million people dead since the U.S.-backed invasion of 1996.  Of course, these are the black African faces of western occupation.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Weaponization of Economic Theory

Click here to access the source of this excerpt by Michael Hudson from his blog. 

The first sections of the article, "The Weaponization of Economic Theory", provides his speculations on how the dilemmas of the current world economic crisis are going to play out. What really bothered me in the early sections was his apparent acceptance of private control over the issuance of money in the form of debt--the most pernicious of all capitalist practices! What I believe is more useful is the last section of the essay which I am reproducing below in its entirety. 

He imposes a classic economic liberal framework on the issues, and seems to suggest that present events are the result of abandoning those early beliefs. I think that this is clearly wrong as Marx and Marxists have argued over the past 150 years. This early ideology of capitalism was designed to dismantle feudal institutions and all the restrictions they imposed on privately run commercial enterprises whose sole objective was a sociopathic one of private wealth accumulation.

The other side of the coin of capitalism is power. Together with the accumulation of wealth is the accumulation of power. The system requires endless growth--no one disputes that--thus, wealth and power both grow. The endgame of capitalism is the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few people as we are seeing today. Because the system is now running up against resource and ecological limits of our finite planet, the extraction of wealth from industrial growth is becoming increasingly difficult and is threatening to destabilize the entire ecosystem of the Earth. Hence, capitalists see that the most favorable method to increase their wealth is through debt peonage: placing entire populations in debt and working mostly to pay interest to the ruling capitalist class. Because of their huge accumulation of wealth and power, they exhibit the most arrogant attitudes in their determination to accomplish this.
The neoliberal challenge

The term “neoliberalism” misrepresents and even inverts the classical liberal idea of free markets. It is a weaponization of economic theory, kidnapping the original liberal ethic that sought to defend against special privilege and unearned income. To classical economists, a free market meant one free of unearned income, defined as land rent, natural resource rent, monopoly rent and rent-extracting privilege. But to neoliberals a free market is one free from taxes or regulation of such rentier income, and indeed gives it tax favoritism over wages and profits.

Neoliberalism and neo-conservatism are complementary doctrines of power and autocracy combined with deregulation and dismantling of democratic law. The aim is to replace government power as used to protect the people with an oligarchic power to oppress the people.

Today, the neoliberal aim is to cripple government power, enabling a free-for-all for the financial sector. Protecting civil freedoms are also heavily signposted, but the high price of legal representation is a barrier for most. A doctrine primarily of the financial sector, the aim is to un-tax banks and financial institutions and their major customers: real estate and monopolies.

Neoliberalism is a doctrine of central planning, which is to be shifted from governments to the more highly centralized financial centers. This requires disabling public power to regulate and tax banking and finance. As a transition, ideological deregulators such as Alan Greenspan and Tim Geithner have been appointed to the key regulatory positions in the United States.

The result is a doctrine of financial war not only against labor but also against industry and government. Gaining the financial power to indebt economies at increasing speed, the banking and financial sector is siphoning resources away from the real economy. Its business plan is not based on employing labor to expand output, but simply to transfer as much of the existing flow of revenue as possible into its own hands, by capitalizing all such revenue into interest payments, on loans collateralized and pledged to creditors.
The effect is no more democratic than the Roman democracy, which arranged voting by “centuries” headed by the largest landowners – essentially an acre-per-vote, to make an analogy. In the U.S. case, votes are bought not by land as such, but by dollars – mainly from the financial sector. In the end, to be sure, most dollars come from rent extraction.

The result must be economic polarization, above all between creditors and debtors as in Rome. So the end stage of neoliberalism threatens a Dark Age of poverty/immiseration – most characteristically, one of debt peonage. And just as Rome’s creditor class and its predatory imperial expansion brought down the Roman Empire and reduced it to mere subsistence, so the combination of neoliberalism and neo-conservatism today seeks to globalize itself, spreading austerity even as it brings technological progress to sovereign debtors. 

U.S. Gave Tens of Billions to Libor-Manipulating Banks … Even AFTER Learning about the Manipulation

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog. 

The problem I find with this blog is that the author tends to throw so much detail at you that one's loses sight of the forest because of all the trees (details). He seems more intent upon revealing sensational scandals than on creating understanding of how the system of financial capitalism has grown into the powerful monster that it is today. 

The major problem which has been at the center of capitalist rule is the function of private bankers, especially those lodged in central banks, to control the creation of money. Added to that are all the ways (derivative financial instruments) they have  to get around any existing regulations which are weak at best. These instruments are used as gambling devices to enrich the One Percents when they win their bets; and when they lose, we of the 99 Percent are stuck with the debts. Added to this mix is the huge concentration of wealth they have accumulated that enables the banking elite to subvert any public initiatives through government to support an economy in the public interest, and to control the information the public receives.

In recent years there has been some laudable attempts and successes by sections of the One Percent to obtain information on the government bailouts and the role of the Federal Reserve. I'm thinking of Sen. Bernie Sanders' effort to force the Fed to undergo a partial audit, Bloomberg's effort under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose the banks the Fed has been loaning money to at very low interest, and the amounts. Currently Sen. Ron Paul's bill for a major audit of the Fed is winding its way through Congress. 

As a result of these efforts, a lot of information as been obtained and bloggers such as the author of this blog have published many bits and pieces of it, all of which paints a picture of tremendous fraud and corruption. However, because the financial elites wield so much overwhelming power, very little of this information makes its way into mainstream media; and when it does, it is framed in such a way as to minimize damage. The public at large remains largely ignorant of the scale of corruption, how it has destroyed the economy for ordinary people and resulted in the gutting of all kinds of public services. The current election mud-slinging and the disinformation campaign related to the Syrian crisis provides mountains of distractions that mainstream media uses to prevent ordinary citizens from understanding the more serious issues.

Bill to Stop Modern Day Slavery under Government Contracts

Click here to access article by Devon Chaffee from American Civil Liberties Union.

Here is another example of how political operatives of the One Percent have no compunctions about engaging in any kind of exploitation that they can get away with to serve the Empire.
Last month the ACLU released a joint report with Yale Law School, Victims of Complacency, that documents the ongoing trafficking, forced labor and abuse of foreign workers hired through U.S. government contracts to work in support of U.S. military and diplomatic missions abroad.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Evolving Beliefs [51:00m audio]

Click here to access audio presentation from KPFA radio, Berkeley, CA. (Note: KPFA is a listener supported radio station.)

Program host Sasha Lilley interviews anthropologist and author Agustín Fuentes on the broad topic of human nature. 
Conventional wisdom has it that humans are monogamous, aggressive, and innately warlike. But what if we're as much wired to be polygamous, peaceful, and egalitarian? Drawing on his own work with primates, anthropologist Agustín Fuentes discusses a number of myths about sexual differences, monogamy, aggression, and race -- all justified by misconceptions about evolution and biology.
Although barely hinted at in the interview, it is clear to me that many of the current myths about human nature have been shaped by the ruling capitalist class. As you listen to this excellent interview, I suggest that you consider how these myths serve ruling class interests. For example, the way the Katrina disaster was reported by mainstream media and what researchers found later. As the Sasha Lilley summarized in one part of the interview, "culture provides a context in which ideas are examined, discarded or embraced." Culture is largely shaped by the ruling class.

Police crackdown as striking miners march on Madrid

Click here to access article, videos, and photos posted by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution. 

The author provides videos and photos depicting attacks on civilians by the enforcers of Spain's One Percent. They are stepping up their aggression to inflict injuries on those who are protesting the austerity measures imposed by European bankers. Rubber bullets and beatings are now their methods of choice to subdue citizens in what is becoming an overt class war in a military sense. 
At least 73 were injured as riot police indiscriminately fired rubber bullets into the crowds and protesters retaliated by throwing bottles, trash and fireworks back at police. Images circulating on Twitter showed a journalist lying injured on the ground and a young child (below) with a massive bruise from a rubber bullet. One particularly disturbing image showed a woman bleeding protrusively from the head as she was being led away by riot police. The clashes are remarkable because, in contrast to Barcelona and Athens, protests in Madrid have tended to stay relatively peaceful so far.

“If [Spanish Prime Minister] Rajoy had any dignity, he would resign”

Click here to access article by Carlos Delclós from Reflections on a Revolution. (Includes 4:52m video from RT)

Spain is another example of capitalist "democracy" in action. They hold their carefully managed elections where candidates approved by the One Percent make all kinds of promises to citizens, then betray them.
Following yesterday’s violent police crackdown on peaceful protesters in Madrid, ROAR contributor Carlos Delclos, a lecturer in Sociology at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, appeared on RT News to denounce the brutality of police and the sudden volte-face of Prime Minister Rajoy, who announced even deeper austerity measures yesterday — and whose government has so far broken virtually every election promise it made before coming to power.

Investing Cash Hoarded by Large Corporations

Click here to access article from InterOccupy. 

I am posting this article to point out that not all ideas presented under the banner of the Occupy movement are constructive or legitimate. I really don't know whether this website represents merely very naive, right-wing views within the Occupy movement, or if it is a subversive front to contain and confuse real activists in Occupy. I have seen other articles posted on this website that aroused my suspicion, but this one really rang my bells. Read it to see what you think.

It is hard to believe that the author of the proposal, Carmine Gorga, is sincerely offering his proposal to fix the economy. I can't believe that corporations and stockholders are going to be persuaded by his moral argument that they should redistribute their wealth in order to fix the economy. And, I can't believe any sane person would think such a thing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The high cost of private profit in health care

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog, Systemic Disorder. 

This author, activist, and journalist specializes in analysis of major issues so that ordinary people can understand them. 
Each U.S. citizen’s annual share of wasteful, excess spending on health care — excess spending that goes into the coffers of some of the country’s largest corporations among the many industry profiteers — amounts to $3,846. Business leaders, their lavishly funded think tanks and pressure groups, and the public-office officials who represent them continually assert that private enterprise is always more efficient. It would seem that the efficiency lies in extracting money and wealth. [my emphasis]
 Well, of course! That is what capitalism is all about: wealth (and power) accumulation by capitalists! What could be easier to understand? What is more difficult to understand is why the 99 Percent put up with it.

And, Diane Ravitch reports on capitalists looking to charter schools for more profits in her article entitled, "How to Make Big Money in Education".

Decriminalization of Drug Possession Doesn't Increase Drug Use, New Report Finds

Click here to access article by Ernest Drucker from Huffington Post.

Of course, evidence such as found in the report will have no effect on drug policies simply because the illicit drug trade greatly benefits major banking institutions whose directors and owners represent the key decision-makers in the ruling One Percent. See this, this, this, and this.

Lessons of the Cold War: [Part 1] The Corporate War on Labor, at Home and Abroad

Click here to access article by Gerard Colby from Toward Freedom. 

Check out the author's background:
Gerard Colby is the author of Du Pont: Behind The Nylon Curtain (Prentice Hall, 1974), Du Pont Dynasty (Lyle Stuart, 1984), and with Charlotte Dennett of THY WILL BE DONE, The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil (HarperCollins, 2005). He was the lead contributor to Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press (ed. Kristina Borjesson), winner of the National Press Club’s first Arthur Kruse Award for Press Criticism. He has taught international economics, political science and the history of Latin American political economy at various colleges, has lectured throughout the U.S. and Brazil, and has done investigative journalism for national and local news services for over 30 years. From 2004 to 2009 he served as President of the National Writers Union, Local 1981 of the Technical, Office and Professional Division of the United Auto Workers.
Colby provides a much needed working class history of the US since WWII in this first of two(?) series. Such histories are vitally needed to correct all the falsifications and omissions presented to the 99 Percent through the One Percent's ownership and control of all mainstream ideological organs--schools and media. Only with a proper understanding of history and current events can the 99 Percent effectively mount a campaign for real change.

Part II is here

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Police and the Occupy Movement: An Interview With Kristian Williams

Click here to access the interview conducted by Collin Harris. [This is a must-read article for all activists]

It is quite rare that I run across an article that provides significant original thoughts on activist issues, and by doing so, advances the activist movement. This one definitely does that. Kristian William's views on the vital subject of relations with the enforcers of the One Percent (cops and military) is clearly based on a lot of research into a broad reach of history which is informed by a social justice perspective. This interview has inspired me to read his two books: Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America and American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination.

Mexico: the Neo-Liberal "Drugs War'

Click here to access transcript of interview with author Peter Watt from Latin America Bureau (UK). 
A new book looks beyond the clichés to examine the causes of the violence associated with illegal drugs trafficking in Mexico. LAB talks to one of its authors, Peter Watt.
If this author is correct, Mexico's political version of Tweedledee and Tweedledum will continue the violence, the battles over drug turfs, and even provide new venues of crime all participated in by Mexico's One Percent.

The Rules of the Game

Click here to access article by Jim O’Reilly from his blog Comments on Global Political Economy.

Although one might dispute the last clause of the last sentence in the article, this retired maverick banker knows full well that there are other alternatives to "business as usual" with the implication that capitalist rules of their game might be subject to change by the 99 Percent.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Iran won't crack

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online.

The author ridicules US political operatives and the directors in their mad pursuit of bringing Iran to its knees. They seem stuck in neoconservative policies which produced the Iraq disaster. 

In my opinion, they seem unable to face a deteriorating dominance that they have taken for granted since WWII. They remind me of the Nazi high command which saw Western capitalist countries cater to their every whim, giving them one country after another, until the Nazis began to see themselves as invincible. Instead of merely going east to attack the Soviet Union as was hoped by Western elites, they rolled their Panzers into Western European countries and sent bombing raids against Britain. Although I don't expect that a major war to break out over this Iranian obsession, Empire directors are playing a very risky game.

The Paraguayan Coup: How agribusiness, landowning and media elite, and the U.S. are paving a way for regional destabilization

Click here to access article by Francesca Fiorentini from Climate Connections. 

This author provides one of the most comprehensive explanations I've seen regarding the recent parliamentary engineered coup in Paraguay. 
...when looking at the powers at play in Paraguay it becomes clear that the past is not so far behind. They are the powers behind this unbelievably sordid coup, an event that appears to have been merely a step toward fulfilling longstanding agreements made between the Paraguayan oligarchy, multinational agribusiness interests, and the United States.

CIA torture whistleblower faces trial

Click here to access article by Vladimir Gladkov from The Voice of Russia. 

This is just another illustration of a basic and critically important truth:
...whoever is the president of the United States, the White House will continue to hide unpleasant truth from the public and will fight anyone who dares to stand in its way.
This is true simply because it doesn't matter whom the ruling class put into the White House, the real decision-makers always stay hidden behind the facade of official government.

Italy in Crisis: The Decline of the Roman Democracy and Rise of the ‘Super Mario’ Technocracy (Part 1)

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from his website. 

By using excerpts of recently written rough drafts from a forthcoming book, the author puts together all the details of Italy's process of surrender to European and US banking elites. This series offers an excellent study that illustrates how banking elites are taking over governments in Europe to serve the needs of bankers and banking shareholders.

Part 2 is here.

To understand what is happening in Europe, it would be desirable to have an understanding of the whole issue of derivative instrument trading on Wall Street that played a major role in the economic collapse. See this, this, and this.

Also, PBS TV has recently run a very good, though flawed in some respects, 4-part series on derivative trading called "Money, Power and Wall Street". They can be viewed online here, here, here, and here. Or you can purchase the 2-CD set that includes all four programs from PBS here for $29.99US.

Weird summer weather 'is what global warming looks like,' experts say

Click here to access article by Seth Borenstein from the Mercury News. 

Scientists are now saying, "we told you so". But, is that really fair? Mainstream media continues to ignore any linkage between weird weather and associated events like forest fires with global warming.
"This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level," said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. "The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.

"Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in fire-charred Colorado, said these are the very record-breaking conditions he has said would happen, but many people wouldn't listen. So it's I told-you-so time, he said.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

US war crimes from Vietnam to Obama

Click here to access article by John Pilger from Green Left (Australia). 

The presiding formal head of the Empire follows in what is becoming a tradition in the US--war crimes against humanity. Obama, of course, it just a flunky, a hired slick super-salesman working a gullible public to sell them the worst vehicles in history. The real criminals are the ones who hired him and control his actions. They are the political operatives of the One Percent who currently direct an Empire based on the most exploitative, the most hazardous of systems to organize human life ever before in human history. That system is capitalism.
On May 28, US President Barack Obama launched a campaign to falsify the history of the war in Vietnam. To Obama, there was no Agent Orange, no free-fire zones, no turkey shoots, no cover-ups of massacres, no rampant racism, no suicides (as many Americans took their own lives as died in the war), no defeat by a resistance army drawn from an impoverished society.

It was, said Mr Hopey Changey, "one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of [US] military history".

The next day, the New York Times published a long article documenting how Obama personally selects the victims of his drone attacks across the world. He does this on "terror Tuesdays" when he browses through mug shots on a "kill list", some of them teenagers, including "a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years". Many are unknown or simply of military age.

The Corporate Media Occupies a News Blackout

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust.

The author argues that we should stop complaining about mainstream media because they are only doing what they are supposed to do--maintain the ruling class in power. Our attention needs to be elsewhere.
The media can't be "fixed" any more than all the other dying institutions (banking, health care, education, etc.) can be. So, I say: Let the corporate press rot while we utilize our resources to create an entirely new model.

To help make this happen, we need more of the 99% to join us and thus, must reach out far and wide, keep whispering the truth, and continue working to model new alternatives.