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

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mining Conflicts and The Politics of Post-Nationalization Bolivia

Click here to access article by Dylan Harris from Upside Down World.
In line with the trend of nationalization in Bolivia, President Evo Morales recently ousted a Swiss multi-national corporation from the valuable Colquiri mine located near La Paz.  The most lucrative part of the mine is said to have nearly 5 billion mineral deposits. Morales divided control for the mine between the two camps, which are now at the heart of the conflict.
The author is at a loss to explain this conflict. Strewn throughout the article are words like complicated and complex. This situation illustrates that worker cooperatives are not the final answer to social conflict, as many on the left believe. Yugoslavia was organized this way and they had numerous inter-cooperative conflicts. Such arrangements tend to reproduce the values and psychology of private ownership among workers in cooperatives and ultimately pits workers against each other. 

I think this conflict illustrates two problems. One, the difficulties of introducing collective ownership in one area of a capitalist world. Profit-seeking capitalists are willing to pay premium prices for diminishing raw materials that seduce cooperatives, even entire state administrations as in Bolivia, into meeting their requests. Second, a society needs to create political institutions that will insure that worker produced wealth is shared justly and equitably among all members of society.

How class tunnel vision hurts social movements

Click here to access article by George Lakey from Waging Nonviolence.

The author essentially argues that lower social classes have been indoctrinated by the ruling class in their self-serving ideology of individualism to disable any kind of vision that includes collaborating and organizing across social classes. 
I see only two alternatives for us in what Warren Buffett describes as a class war: either we become strategically sharper, or we become aware of how much our class conditioning makes us duller, and then develop work-arounds.

How Occupy birthed a rhizome

Click here to access article by Joan Donovan from Waging Nonviolence

The author reviews the significance of the one year old Occupy movement, and sees the birth of the "rhizome" concept which many believe can challenge the One Percent's capitalist rule. She sees some roots in the key influences of the Situationists that led up to the May '68 protests in France.
Recalling the hundreds of direct actions that sprouted across the globe in the last year under the banner of #Occupy, I am struck most by the fluidity of information passed between radicals in Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, the United States, Canada and more that led to international solidarity against austerity. Like the pioneers of 1968, the Occupiers of 2011 could not understand the importance or scope of their actions, but they were generating thousands of terabytes of footage, accounts, pictures and more so that no potentially revolutionary moment went to waste. But what kind of revolution were the occupiers of 2011 participating in, if any at all? Looking at the networks and technologies developed from the camps helps us begin to think about what their legacy might be and about the revolutions that might be already underway.

From Kermit to Coal, Book Reveals How World's Top Brands Greenwash The Public

Click here to access article by Graham Readfearn from DeSmogBlog (Canada). 

Okay, I know you won't be surprised by this, but the fact is that many people tend to believe what they see on the idiot box. Guy Pearse, an Australian researcher and author of a recent book,  ...
...spent close to four years immersing himself in some 3000 TV commercials and viewing about 4000 print and web adverts, all of which make claims of climate friendliness....

After checking the brands' actual contribution to climate change (or their lack of transparency) in more than 700 company reports, Pearse finds in Greenwash: Big Brands and Carbon Scams that the green revolution is being either grossly overblown or faked.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Make-Believe Crisis in Iran

Click here to access article by Patrick Foy from CounterPunch

This author, unfortunately, watches the boob tube. However, unlike many Americans, he watches it with a very critical eye. He was astonished by what he viewed on a recent McLaughlin Group program.

Obama Can Keep the Change?

Click here to access article by P. Sainath from CounterPunch

For those of you who watched the latest performance of "American democracy" (Obama-Romney debate) put on by the One Percent to citizens who want to believe in fairy tales about how they are governed, I offer this piece as an antidote to any sickening aftereffects. It is a surefire cure. But, if that doesn't work, try this.

Point of no return in Europe

Click here to access article by Gerry Gold from A World to Win

The author essentially argues that the crisis in most of Europe--and it is spreading--has passed a tipping point:
Humanity stands at the threshold of an evolutionary leap in social organisation. Either we cross it, building a not-for profit economy and society based upon co-operation and collective stewardship of the world’s resources, or we will become capitalism's victims.

Education Profiteering; Wall Street's Next Big Thing?

Click here to access article by Jeff Faux from Huffington Post.
The end of the Chicago teachers' strike was but a temporary regional truce in the civil war that plagues the nation's public schools. There is no end in sight, in part because -- as often happens in wartime -- the conflict is increasingly being driven by profiteers.
The familiar media narrative tells us that this is a fight over how to improve our schools.
After demolishing the myths about charter schools, which is another one of those public-private partnership scams, the author explains what is driving the campaign to privatize schools (read this). After finishing with the mortgage scam, they see another golden profit opportunity -- harvesting your kids. (For example, read this) But, to make big bucks they need to get rid of teachers.

More Than Skin Deep

Click here to access article by David Glenn Cox from OpEdNews. 

The author provides some concrete examples to illustrate how banksters and corporate officers are continuing their creative ways of milking the wealth produced by working people, but nowadays it is with the direct collusion of the government. 
The bank forecloses on a family and throws them out into the
street and your government goes into a partnership deal and guarantees a
profit to the bank.
If you closely examine this author's statement, you will find that it contains one major error, an error which is a deception commonly used by One Percent propagandists. It is not "your government"! In spite of their periodic election charades designed to dupe you into thinking that you have a real choice, it is the government of, by, and for the One Percent. Thus, how could one expect it to function any differently than it has?

It is very useful to know the meaning of his reference to the film Soylent Green. I don't think I ever saw the film, although I am familiar with its general theme. This time I was particularly impressed with the fact that it was released in 1973. 

Once again, this fact is another piece of evidence which proves that forty years ago many people were clearly aware of where society was heading due to the exhaustion of resources, particularly easily accessed fossil fuels, and over-population. What most of these people didn't understand at that time is that capitalism requires constant growth. What they also didn't understand is that the system skews the distribution of wealth to a small minority with the vast majority living in poverty. The latter are forced to have large families as a way to insure their survival into old age. For many, large families are their social security. Thus, such developments that the film foresaw are inevitable as long as we are plagued with this system.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hegemony and Propaganda: The Importance of Trivialisation in Cementing Social Control

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from Global Research
What better way to control a population than through inducing apathy and banality and encouraging the trivialization of causes, ideas or the plights of certain folk?
The author provides numerous illustrations of these methods so often used by the One Percent to dull the wits of the 99 Percent. It's much more cost effective to control a population this way than using police state methods, but they have the latter ready to use just in case the usual methods fail.

Another important way, which the author does not touch on, is the use of simplified enemies--commies, terrorists, evil-doers, evil empires, etc.--that must be defended against and used to justify all sorts of violations of civil rights and crimes against humanity: 

Dumbing down of the 99 Percent is a deliberate strategy of the One Percent's political operatives. Thus, we see public school teachers under fire, larger class sizes, privatization of education, higher tuition fees to exclude people from obtaining a higher education (see this).  

The road to inequality is paved with low-paying jobs (2 charts)

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

This economist has assembled information in the form of charts regarding changes in jobs and wages that compares the period of recession defined as 1st quarter of 2008 to 1st quarter of 2010 with that of "recovery" defined as 1st quarter of 2010 to 1st quarter of 2012. As you may have already guessed, it illustrates the inevitable outcome of the dynamics of capitalism: the One Percent are getting richer while the 99 Percent are getting poorer. Another end result of capitalist dynamics is the ever increasing use of fossil fuels which is destroying our ecosystem.

Of course, these continuing trends will inevitably lead to destruction of the capitalist system (revolution) possibly leading to another, more socially just organization of society, or it will lead to a totally fascist state, and it will lead eventually to a planet that cannot support human life (read some of the latest, depressing thoughts on this subject). What outcomes would you like to see? Okay, get active and contribute, in any way you can, toward building a just, sustainable society.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

General Electric Makes Billions Off The Backs Of Taxpayers

Click here to access article by Susie Madrak from Crooks and Liars

After reading this you may gain a new appreciation for the creativity of capitalists to use their system to milk the wealth created by workers all over the world.

Madrid on the Brink

Click here to access the source of this posting by Diane Sweet from occuworld

In contrast to Quebec, because the Spanish protests are more directed at capitalist institutions, we see the full force of fascist capitalism being applied against activists. 

The Anti-Empire Report #109

Click here to access report by William Blum. 

The author's reports, because of the way they are formatted, are not easily used by my blog. Because he covers several topics in the same report and I am normally interested in re-posting only one, I am forced to copy and republish the entire topic. This time I am only posting a link to the whole report as a way to introduce those of you who are not yet familiar with his writings. I want to encourage you to subscribe to his reports as I have.

I receive his reports approximately once a month and I always find them so refreshing. It's like after wading through a pool of excrement, taking a shower to wash off. Or, like spending time in an insane asylum talking to the inmates, and being freed to associate with sane human beings. 

The whole purpose of my blog is to encourage people to connect with observers who post articles on the internet and have a good understanding of the critical issues facing humanity today. It is not to encourage more people to follow my blog so that I can earn more money from ads (I don't run any ads). I am retired and have the time to search the internet for perceptive, independent, and reliable sources of information and analysis. Many of you do not. 

I welcome suggestions of other such sources or articles (both should include links) that I may have overlooked. Obviously, they should be appropriate for this type of blog and its general perspective. (Contact me at goatmeal36@yahoo.com) If I use your suggestions, please let me know if you want to be credited for the link (either "anonymous" or name and/or location, e.g. Ron from Bellingham, WA; Ed Kumba from Nairobi, Kenya; anonymous from London, England; anonymous; or New York).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Social Movements Making an Impact in Quebec

Click here to access article by Yves Engler from Dissident Voice.
For those in Québec, recent gains should inspire further mobilizations. For those outside, the PQ’s reforms are a reminder that determined grassroots movements can create a political climate in which governments place environmental concerns and social rights over the interests of corporations and the wealthy.
Ruling class political operatives respond to mass movements in two ways: they either use more force to discourage dissent or they provide some accommodation to the demands of the dissident movement in order to defuse opposition, and especially opposition that is likely to turn against the system of capitalism. 

Neoliberal and austerity policies are not going away because capitalism in Canada is much like most other capitalist countries: their ruling class is exploiting the opportunities of globalized operations and the military incursions that support them. In fact, capitalists are themselves globalized. They don't think about national boundaries which are eliminated for them. Well policed boundaries are only to control the movement of working people.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bankers And Their Dirty Tricks

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch
...Mr. Bernanke’s trickle down monetary theories aren’t really working at all. Instead of the savings being passed along to homeowners in the form of lower rates, the banks are juicing profits by taking a bigger share for themselves. Who could have known?
The author explains how the banksters are back again with their old tried and true formulas for making money without contributing anything of value for the 99 Percent.

US increases support for Syrian opposition as Aleppo burns

Click here to access article by Niall Green from World Socialist Web Site.

The author provides the real story hidden behind the recent Clinton announcement about more US aid to the Empire's terrorists.
Direct US aid only makes up a fraction of the total support granted by Washington to the Syrian opposition. The Obama administration, through the operations of the CIA inside Turkey, oversees the supply of financial and military support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to various anti-Assad militants.


Click here to access article from nsnbc.

The author(s) has dug up a lot of evidence to suggest that Israel and agents within the US government may be preparing for a false flag operation to justify an attack on Iran.

National Pentagon Radio (NPR) Watch

Click here to access article by John V. Walsh from Dissident Voice

I have on numerous occasions become enraged by the flagrant propaganda style of "news" reporting on NPR. I have seen NPR grow from a few radio stations to stations situated all over the radio dial. Corresponding with its growth has been its ever more biased coverage of information in the world. I see it now as a primary propaganda tool of the Empire's One Percent. It functions very much like Radio Free Europe and Voice of America did (the VOA still does) to counter left wing influences in various parts of the world during the Cold War. It is essentially the One Percent's Ministry of Truth.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Human rights and humanitarian imperialism in Syria

Click here to access article by Ajamu Baraka from Pambazuka News. 

Although the website is based in South Africa, the writer is an African American human rights defender. Thus, it is interesting to read his views on the Empire's use of "human rights" increasingly to justify intervention in other countries. Because I am entertaining a guest today, I have only had time to scan this article; but I think it presents an interesting point of view.
Syria is just the latest in a long line of international crimes perpetrated by Western powers. But what makes the crimes in Syria, as those in Libya, even more offensive, is the cynical use of human rights to advance the diabolical interests of Western imperialism.

Climate Change Kills 400,000 a Year, New Report Reveals

Click here to access article from The Daily Beast.
What is new about the Climate Vulnerability Monitor report is its calculation of 400,000 annual deaths from climate change. That is a significant increase over previous estimates. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the gold standard for climate science, said in its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 that climate change caused 150,000 extra deaths a year.