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, November 17, 2012

In Leaked Docs, Honeywell Cites Obama Ties As Key to Anti-Union Strategy

Click here to access article by Mike Elk from In These Times.
In These Times has exclusively obtained a leaked internal Honeywell document outlining an anti-union strategy that includes leveraging Obama administration connections. The documents suggest that the megacorporation is deeply concerned about recent union activity at its factories and the bad press that has resulted....
Well, of course, corporations have an ongoing agenda of cutting labor costs which reduce their profits, and unions often stand in their way. This point is explicitly made in slide 31 which states "30-40% cost increase off the bottom line if a union comes."

Honeywell corporation is a major "defense" contractor that feeds at the government trough. Some other typical facts about this Fortune 500 corporation are the following:
  • In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized Honeywell International for spending $18.30 million on lobbying and not paying any taxes during 2008–2010, instead getting $34 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $4.9 billion, laying off 968 workers since 2008, and increasing executive pay by 15% to $54.2 million in 2010 for its top 5 executives. (link)
  • They are a major sponsor of congressional members of both parties. (See this)
  • 16 members of Congress own substantial shares of Honeywell stock including Rep. John Boehner, a leading advocate of social spending cuts. (See this, bottom of page)
  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that no corporation has been linked to a greater number of Superfund toxic waste sites than has Honeywell. Honeywell ranks 44th in a list of U.S. corporations most responsible for air pollution, releasing more than 4.25 million kg (9.4 million pounds) of toxins per year into the air. (link)
  • During and after the Vietnam Era, Honeywell's defense division produced a number of products, including cluster bombs, missile guidance systems, napalm and land mines. (link)
Most important of all disclosed in the article is the close connection between Obama and Honeywell's CEO.
The plan suggests that Honeywell's Government Relations division can be used to “break up union cohesion across the country.” A picture of President Obama speaking at a Honeywell plant is included (see above), with a caption reading “HON has great relationships with Federal officials, focus is needed at the State and local levels."

Indeed, President Obama and Honeywell CEO Dave E. Cote have a very close relationship. Cote visited with Obama at the White House this past Wednesday to push him to cut budget spending. Cote is considered one of Obama’s closest allies in the business community. In January of 2009, Cote introduced Obama’s stimulus package in a White House speech. Cote was subsequently appointed by Obama to serve on the Deficit Commission. President Obama even flew with Cote to India while a lockout at Honeywell's Metropolis, Ill. uranium plant was ongoing. Cote returned the favor by giving heavily to the Democratic Party. In the 2010 election cycle when the Met, Honeywell was the top corporate PAC contributor to the Democratic Party.

The Casino Economy Harms Needed Public Services

Click here to access article by Lisa Lindsley from Policy Shop.

This liberal author makes some very good points, but fails to understand that what we are currently witnessing is the natural endgame of capitalism.
Among the casualties of the financial crisis are the workers who haul your garbage, drive your kids to school, provide emergency services, deliver health care, operate libraries, protect your family’s water supply, and more.  This segment of the US workforce has lost 605,000 jobs since 2008.  In addition, over half a million new public sector workers should have been added to keep pace with population growth since 2009.  The combined effect of layoffs and failure to hire is that over a million public service workers are missing and unable to provide these critical services.

Fiscal Cliff Scare Talk Follows Shock Doctrine Script

Click here to access article by Dave Johnson from Campaign for America’s Future.
All of the people who had been hysterical about the budget deficit "crisis" are now hysterical that taxes will go up and spending will go down. Go figure. 
Well, of course, they are specifically concerned about spending cuts in support of the US Empire's military adventures around the world. Because Social Security surplus contributions by workers will soon no longer provide a source of revenue for military spending, they want to cut it. (See this)

Gas Industry Attacks Scientists After Research Finds Triple The Normal Levels Of Methane At Australian Gas Fields

Click here to access article by Graham Readfearn from Desmogblog.

It seems that the oil and gas fracking industry doesn't like independent studies. Notice this excerpt:
Last August, a Right to Information request submitted by me and reported in the Brisbane Times revealed that the state's government [Australia] was prepared to rely on industry-funded research when it came to understanding the industry's carbon footprint.
And this:
The Federal Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has also waved away suggestions that the government should commission its own independent research into CSG emissions, and was reported as saying such a study was "unnecessary".

Friday, November 16, 2012

Long-term peace was within reach before Israeli attack

Click here to access 4:48m video and transcript of interview.
Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin spoke to RT confirming that Ahmen Jabari was involved in peace settlement negotiations with Israel and was due to send Hamas’ version of a peace draft to Baskin on Wednesday evening before he was killed. 

Myanmar: New Geopolitical Status

Click here to access article by Igor Ignatchenko from Strategic Culture Foundation.

In this article we learn that both the US and China are actively courting Myanmar as a part of the "big game" now being played out in southeast Asia.

The Life & Debt of Capitalism

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

The author describes a new proposal being discussed by OWS:
Building on the deep community connections forged by standing alongside (among others) rent strikers, immigrant workers, and those impacted by Hurricane Sandy, one faction of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has conjured up an innovative new outreach idea: A Rolling Debt Jubilee.
However, he argues that its best benefit lies in the short term to build an anti-capitalist consciousness and possibly an organization for the bigger, and critically necessary goal of eliminating the system that is destroying our lives:
Capitalism is an economic system based on perpetual growth and the relentless exploitation of what we've come to call "natural resources." By definition, such an approach is unsustainable, cannot be reformed, and is thus, anti-life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Broadwell Defended Petraeus’ Village Destruction Policy

Click here to access article by Gareth Porter from Inter Press Service.

Because I always make every effort to uncover war crimes perpetrated by Empire agents, I was very surprised to read about this general's most egregious war crimes that have occurred during the past two years. Then I did a search on Google to look for any earlier reporting of this and found only the posting "The Unforgivable Horror of Village Razing" by Joshua Foust on his obscure blog (registan) in January 2011 that was mentioned in this article. Please check out the above link to the article by Foust for the details of the war crimes committed by the Empire's celebrated "war hero".

The Situation in Gaza

Click here if you wish to access source of 5:01m video interview with Ali Abunimah from Al Jazeera via Jadaliyya (I gave up trying to locate this on Al Jazeera's website.)

This report about the latest Israeli incursions into Palestinian Territory has the ring of authenticity about it that is missing elsewhere. Anyway, a good antidote to the mis-information supplied by US mainstream media.

Also, I just discovered this report from Mondoweis entitled "Gaza Under Attack: International eyewitnesses call for action" that may be of interest to you.

#14N: millions join largest European strike ever

Click here to access videos and photos of mass protests across Europe, from Reflections on a Revolution.

Mainstream media in the US seems totally focused on a few stories--the Petraeus scandal, the "fiscal cliff", Israel "defending" itself against Palestinian rocket attacks, and some kind of settlement between the US Justice department and BP related to criminal charges (of course, this "settlement is subject to federal judicial review", which means that it may be held up in the courts for a decade or more like the Exxon-Valdez case.) Hence, I thought I'd try to fill in another story that One Percent directors of mainstream media really don't want you to think about: the ongoing huge protests across southern Europe against austerity policies.

U.S. Energy Insecurity: Why Fracking for Oil and Natural Gas Is a False Solution

Click here to access article from Food & Water Watch.

There has been a lot of hoopla broadcast in mainstream media about the abundance of energy we have in the US based on estimated reserves of shale oil and gas. This well researched article, and the study (please read it) on which the article is based, disputes that. 

Still, you might think that the authors from this website are biased. Well, then I would like to refer you to an article entitled, "IEA Oil Forecast Unrealistically High; Misses Diminishing Returns", written by independent analyst Gail Tverberg who has specialized in subjects related to the fossil fuel industry.
The statements about rising oil production in the US are just a distraction. Diminishing returns mean that US oil production will never increase very much. Oil costs will remain high, and this will be the real issue disturbing economies around the world.
I believe what lies behind all this hoopla are the high profits that can be generated in the short term by, and for, the highly subsidized fossil fuel industry.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Strike in Southern Europe

Click here to access article by Sahra Wagenknecht from MRzine.
A storm is brewing in Southern Europe.  In Greece on November 6 and 7 another general strike will take place.  On November 14 Portuguese, Cypriot, Spanish, and Italian trade unions intend to go on strike in opposition to the austerity policies of the European Union.  Belgian and British trade unions, as well as the European and German trade union confederations, are also calling for action.  If the mobilization is successful, this transnational strike will be a milestone in the formation of a European protest movement desperately needed to prevent the final demolition of the European welfare states. 
See this, this, and this for an update and more details on this protest.

The Long Con: Social Security and Medicare in the “Grand Bargain”

Click here to access article by Jim Kavanagh from his blog The Polemicist.

The author provides a very good explanation as to why Social Security and Medicare, two vital retirement support programs paid into like insurance programs, are not a significant factor in the current government debt problems. The major factors are due to the costly invasions of other countries, maintaining a huge military establishment (nearly as large as all other countries combined), and the ongoing support of the banking industry whose reckless behavior is being paid for by the US government. What we are now seeing in Washington is the latest act in a play called "Budget Crisis" performed by the Democrats and the Republicans. He explains all this.

What many people do not understood, including Reagan in the 1980s (see video in article), is that these funds have not been set up as a conventional trust fund. This is best explained by Allen W. Smith in a June post that I commented on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The People Vs. the War on Drugs: Filmmaker Tackles the "Predatory Monster"

Click here to access article by Maya Schenwar from Truthout.

The author interviews filmmaker Eugene Jarecki about his recently released film "The House I Live In". 

You may be surprise by what Jarecki discovered through his interviews with people in the law enforcement industry. It appears that the jig is up on the War on Drugs which has been plaguing communities here in the US for the last 40 years. 
Across the country, we found this almost unanimous chorus of voices agreeing that this system doesn't make any sense. It is a victim of the same corruption of politics that's ruining so many walks of life in America: corporate America and Congress are in an unholy alliance with each other, in which Congress members ensure their electability by servicing their corporate patrons, who then bring jobs to their districts and money to their campaign coffers. That unholy alliance is behind the military industrial complex, it's behind the pharmaceutical industry, it's why we have the insurance corruption we have, it's behind the banks, it's why the polluters get away with murder. The prison-industrial complex is just, perhaps, the most obscene example of that phenomenon that has taken over every walk of American life.
However, while doing a search on where it might be showing in my area, I found nothing. Also, I noticed that many other people were having the same experience.

Skyfall, starring David Petraeus

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

The author uses his inimitable sarcastic humor to ridicule the media's portrayal of Petraeus' downfall as a Hollywood production. And I think, with many others, that it has about as much to do with reality as a Hollywood film.
With US corporate media now totally berserk, the master narrative remains that The Samurai General did the honorable thing by resigning. It all goes back to good ol' American Puritanism. You can be a killing machine, responsible for the death of untold numbers of civilians. But don't you dare betraying your devoted wife.
If you believe this story, then likely you believed all the other Empire productions such as the reasons for going to war against Iraq, all the official reports on the 9/11 tragedy, the Kennedy assassination, etc.

The N.Y. Times Imagines Post-Sandy Looters

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

The One Percent's media love to feature the most luridly sensational news stories about individuals committing heinous acts against their fellow citizens. They never go into any depth to tease out the circumstances that might have created such incidents. Obviously, the object is to keep citizens from trusting, relying on, and cooperating with one another so that they will never pose an organized threat to the ruling One Percent. After having lived mostly out of the country from 2002 to 2006, upon return I noticed that my fellow Americans seemed significantly more suspicious of each other.

In this article the author provides the latest illustration of this tactic.
Thanks to the corporate media and some imaginary looters, much of the 99% will remain more suspicious of their neighbors than of the global criminals that helped create the impact and aftermath of Sandy.

Corporate media outlets like the New York Times have a vested interest in shattering the links cultivated by solidarity and mutual aid. The 1% maintains power by using its propaganda wing to sow fear, distrust, and paranoia amongst the huddled masses.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Argentina Unrest: Brought to you by Goldman Sachs

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from his blog Land Destroyer Report.

Although I haven't seen this reported in mainstream media (I don't spend much time watching it), there have been reports in CNN, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, BBC, etc, of huge demonstrations in Argentina against the populist Kirchener government. Cartalucci finds evidence that this has been engineered by behind-the-scenes actors promoting neo-liberal agendas. As is typical in such situations, we see the footprints of Goldman Sachs here. We also see that social media has been used as was the case in other "color revolution" protests.

For more information regarding these protests and neo-liberal actions in South America, I recommend the following:

Who Backs 'Won’t Back Down'? A not very "feel-good" attack on public education

Click here to access article by Felicia Gustin from WarTimes
The war on public education continues with the now familiar one-two punch of demonizing teachers and discrediting teachers unions. And it's come to a theater near you in the form of the heavily promoted new film, Won't Back Down, starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Holly Hunter.
Capitalist agents prefer to use their control of media to infiltrate and subvert the minds of their citizens in order to serve their class that benefits from the system of private ownership of the economy. It is clear to me that a major propaganda war on public education is now being waged by these propagandists to justify and continue their current attack on public education following the conclusion of the Chicago teacher's strike. This is a part of the overall campaign to promote cutbacks to the social sector so that more money can be diverted to expenditures on the military and the US Empire. Also, big money can be made by software corporations that are preparing to exploit the introduction of more computers and software in education as a substitute for teachers. I just witnessed a hugely funded and successful campaign to promote charter schools here in Washington state.

Self-directed workers as a “cure for capitalism”

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

This is a review of a new book Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism by Richard Wolff. The book promotes cooperative enterprises as a "cure for capitalism", and the author...
...argues that the ability of the workers of an enterprise to be involved in all its strategic decisions is the most important principal to bring about economic democracy, without which political democracy is a formal, empty shell. He introduces the term “workers’ self-directed enterprises” to encompass such enterprises. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Climate Change Report Outlines Perils for U.S. Military

Click here to access article by John M. Broder from The New York Times.

One learns from this article that your the One Percent's government knows about the threats from global warming.
...in a study commissioned by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies that clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems.
It is clear to me that such findings, some of which are classified, are suppressed from nearly all mainstream media for an obvious reason--the 99 Percent might demand changes from capitalist management of the world's economies. This prospect, of course, is intolerable among the world's ruling One Percents who are addicted to the power and profits that their system supplies.