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 5, 2013

A Brave New Transatlantic Partnership: the social & environmental consequences of the proposed EU-US trade deal

Click here to access article from Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

This piece is an introduction to a downloadable 28 page dissection of the proposed "EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and its socio-economic & environmental consequences" now being negotiated in closed door hearings by corporate sponsored government representatives. In a nutshell the European-American capitalist class are proposing to establish private tribunals that would supersede national regulations and courts while promoting corporate interests in the United States and European Union.
As the second round of negotiations on the EU-US trade agreement kick off in Brussels next week, a new report published by members of the Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B), including CEO, reveals the true human and environmental costs of the proposed deal. The report shows that the promises of job creation and growth are illusions; and that the real impetus behind a deal comes from major EU and US corporations that have joined forces to remove as many labour, health and environmental standards as possible in a devastating race to the bottom. 

Capitalism or a healthy environment — time to choose

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from New Commune-ist.

The international capitalist class keeps telling us:
“You must choose between economic prosperity and what is good for the environment, because you can’t have both.”

If we continue with capitalism they are correct.
But, why continue with a system that rewards a tiny few while it destroys the environment and creates poverty and wars which affect the rest of us? They say there is no alternative. What do you say?

Mainstream Media's Ongoing Disinformation Campaign on Iran.

Click here to access article by Nima Shirazi from Wide Asleep in America.

This piece illustrates the maxim practiced by all nefarious propagandists: "repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth" (or some variation of this). 
In just the past month alone, numerous networks, newspapers and websites have referred, both implicitly and overtly, to an Iranian "nuclear weapons program," despite the fact that, for years now, United States intelligence community and its allies have long assessed that Iran is not and never has been in possession of nuclear weapons, is not building nuclear weapons, and its leadership has not made any decision to build nuclear weapons.

The National Weather Service Sends Hidden Message To Congress In Forecast

Click here to access notice from Techdirt that was first posted on Twitter by meteorologist Mike Masco. (humor)
You may have heard that the federal government is shut down. Some have been sent home, while others are still working -- though many of those still on the job aren't getting paid. They're getting IOUs for payment once the government finally starts back up again. Apparently, some folks at the National Weather Service are still on the job, and they've used their forecasting notices to send a secret message to Congress....

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Epochal Crisis

Click here to access article by John Bellamy Foster from Monthly Review

Foster explains some basic Marxist concepts upon which others have since continued to build upon. As a result we now have a theoretical edifice that goes a long way to explaining the current "epochal crisis" that is becoming obvious to so many people. 

In this essay you will encounter concepts like labor arbitrage, M-CK-M′, metabolic interaction between nature and man, metabolic rift, symbolic versus material needs, etc. You will see how these concepts explain the unequal ecological exchange between technologically advanced countries versus less advanced and the necessity for "breaking with capitalism’s expansionist drive, which is now destroying the Earth as a 'safe operating space for humanity', through the crossing of critical planetary boundaries." 

And, in capitalism's place we must construct societies which restore social use values at the core of all economic activity. He insists that this is possible:
The gigantic misuse of human and natural resources that constitutes the modern capitalist economy means that we already have the potential many times over to redirect production and consumption to meet human needs and to practice conservation on a global level, creating a society of ecological sustainability and substantive equality.
On one side of this struggle we see people who believe solely in individualist values reflected in the capitalist mantra that "there is no alternative", in Thatcher's comment that "there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families", and in the French expression après moi, le déluge. This is pure sociopathy. The problem for humanity and its survival is that the sociopaths have accumulated so many powerful weapons in their hands that it is questionable whether the great mass of humanity who function according to social ethics are now able defeat these people and their system.

Asma and Bashar al-Assad

Click here to access article by Gilles d'Aymery from Swans Commentary

This author has done some clever sleuthing of mainstream media's portrayal of Bashar Assad and his wife Asma over time to provide us with another brilliant illustration of how ruling class gatekeepers manipulate information to support the interests of their capitalist masters. The ownership of media provides the most powerful tool in the arsenal of ruling class weapons, and it is astounding to me that most ordinary people are still  unaware that corporate media largely serves to manipulate their views of the world. 

Nearly a hundred years ago people like Upton Sinclair in Brass Check and George Seldes in Even the Gods Can't Change History tried to warn us about the many lies constructed by capitalist media to manipulate ordinary working people. Since then there have been many others like Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. Yet, I still find many of my fellow Americans who naively believe whatever the boob tube talking heads tell them. No doubt the educational system of the ruling class has also contributed to this mindset of believing whatever authority figures tell them.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Video: Fred Magdoff on the global climate emergency

Click here to access a two-part video of a recent Magdoff lecture posted on Climate & Capitalism.

In a total of 30:39m the professor deals with a lot of the issues related to climate change. I think you will find the lecture very stimulating and entertaining.
Fred Magdoff is Professor Emeritus in Plant and Soil Science, University of Vermont and co-author, with John Bellamy Foster, of What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism.
On September 23, 2013, he spoke to over 200 people in downtown Vancouver, Canada, un-ceded Coast Salish Territory. The public forum, which also featured Jane Sterk, outgoing leader of the British Columbia Green Party, was sponsored the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group and SFU Labour Studies Program.

Netanyahu’s UN speech: Sounds like a sociopath?

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar posted on RT.
Iranian missiles will hit New York in “three to four years”. A nuclear Iran is like “50 North Koreas”.
This could be the sound of a deranged, dangerous sociopath, or this could be the sound of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu addressing the UN General Assembly. 
Compare [decide] for yourself.

TransCanada Corporation – Kings of the Keystone Pipeline: Global Power Project, Part 10

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from Occupy.com

The author explains how North American capitalists tied to big oil companies are employing all their weapons against vigorous opposition to their project which brings some of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth to the Gulf states via the Keystone Pipeline. This is information that your local corporate media does not report on for obvious reasons. For example, did you know the following information?
In the United States, TransCanada has been suing American citizens who refuse to allow the pipeline to cross their property, threatening to confiscate their lands through the application of "eminent domain," which allows for the confiscation of private property if “it is judged to serve a larger public good.”

Because the Land Is Ours – The Rights of Mother Earth v. Carbon Trading

Click here to access article from sustainablog.

The anonymous author explains the flaws behind REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), a program promoted by international capitalists to continue their exploitation of resources anywhere in the world under the guise of protecting the environment. The writer introduces his essay with the recent experience of an indigenous group in Panama.
In October 2011, the US-based Wildlife Works Carbon presented a REDD proposal to the Kuna Yala. The fifty-one communities spent a year and a half in consultation. In June 2013, the Kuna Yala general congress voted to reject the corporate proposal. They declared, further, their complete withdrawal “from all discussions at the national and international level on the REDD issue” and a prohibition on “organizing events, conferences, workshops and other activities on the issue.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

They frack because clear air and water aren’t profitable

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder (Britain).
Having government in their pockets means they do it because they can, but the reasons go well beyond that. Pleading for them to act responsibility is of no use as capitalism requires them to act in socially irresponsible ways. Companies with stock traded on exchanges are legally required to earn the biggest possible profit on behalf of their shareholders, regardless of any other considerations. The rigors of competition also mandate this: If a company doesn’t grow, its competitors will and put it out of business.
The author goes on to explain the details about fracking or hydraulic fracturing, how the ruling class's government paved the way for this technology, and the environmental and health costs that are now appearing.

No Time for Jubilation Washington Will Only Continue Its Crimes as long as MIC [Military-Industrial Complex]

Click here to access article by William C. Lewis from The 4th Media
This war, foreign and domestic doesn’t just end–and people shouldn’t attempt to fool themselves or others.

Perpetual mass-media deception and pervasive surveillance encompass a never ending train of abuse that won’t end any time soon. As long as armaments factories continue producing weapons of death for the fortune 500 Wall Street elite who reside in U.S. capitalist society, war and threats of war will continue to expand and take on an ever deadly character.
Well, I don't think that US capitalists along with their NATO associates have a monopoly on profiting off of weapons and war, they are merely the most organized and have the most weapons at this stage of history. Yesterday it was the German capitalists, tomorrow it might be Chinese capitalists or Russian capitalists or Brazilian capitalists and we will likely see wars of competition and dominance among them. So long as the capitalist system exists, we will have weapons of mass destruction, wars, and environmental destruction. There is no mystery here--it pays in enormous profits and power for a tiny few who control the system.

We have a choice: we can simply give up and accept a dreadful future or we change the system.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Click here to access article by Gary Steven Corseri from Brave New World.

As a grownup Corseri, who is one of my favorite contemporary writers, finds that the much of the ideology he was taught as an innocent youth is not valid for living in today's world. Instead, after much life experience and contemplation, he has found other sources of inspiration that ruling class culture has mostly ignored. He warns that in this time of crisis we all must do this for our own survival:
Now in this burgeoning new millennium our old republic has lost its intellectual and moral moorings, jolting from crisis to crisis. In Jefferson’s time we were all about separating ourselves from our “Mother Country,” and we have been on a rampage ever since to define ourselves as “exceptional,” with a “manifest destiny.” And we have ransacked the planet to prove it! But, if we are to survive this century, we best learn how to reconnect—with ourselves, our global neighbors, Nature.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Obamacare fraud and the case for socialized medicine

Click here to access article by Kate Randall from World Socialist Web Site.

This article makes an excellent contribution to the understanding of the favorite strategy of political liberals in crafting legislation that serves the ruling class while dressed up in populist clothing. While sold as "reform" legislation to provide medical coverage for many Americans who formerly could not afford medical insurance, in reality the Affordable Care Act in its finished form is all about cutting costs to employers and providing a bonanza of profits to the insurance companies. Once again we see the One Percent sticking it to the 99 Percent while pretending to benefit the latter. 

The method used to deform the original material of promises into the finished product might be characterized as the "good cop, bad cop" strategy with Tea Party Republicans playing the bad cop and liberal members of Congress playing the good cop.
Even after the bill’s passage, without the much-vaunted “public option,” one concession after another was made to big business: only companies with 50 or more employees would have to provide insurance, only those working 30 hours or more had to be covered. Bare-bones, “skinny” plans—without hospitalization and surgery coverage—would be considered “adequate” employee-sponsored plans. Those businesses that do not comply would face minimal penalties.
See more about this strategy in a recent article entitled "The good cop/bad cop routine in Washington".

Nuclear Engineer: Japan's PM "Lying to the Japanese People" About Safety of Fukushima

Click here to access the 7:01m video and transcript of interview with nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson.

So, they are lying. But, how could one expect otherwise from a capitalist ruling class? The same thing would be happening here--wait a second--maybe it is already happening here! So far I have been unable to find websites that are publishing any scientific research on the potential hazards to us in the US related to radioactive hazards from Fukushima. Tepco specialists have been unable to control the ongoing leakage of highly active radioactive material into the ocean, and winds are carrying radioactive material to our shores as shown graphically in this YouTube video, however the source is not indicated:

The interviewer asks Gunderson this important question:
...why do you think there hasn't been more worldwide reaction to the disaster in Japan? I mean, in terms of nuclear power, we've seen Germany has decided to phase out its nuclear power by 2022, but we really haven't heard about this elsewhere.
His answer was that advanced countries are addicted to nuclear power. I find his answer ridiculous. It is like claiming that heroin users are addicted to needles. The capitalist ruling classes are simply protecting their system which requires growth in a world where fossil fuels are increasingly hard to extract economically. They are addicted alright, but their addiction is to the wealth and power that the capitalist system provides them. They will do anything to protect this system--that is the addiction, and we must take that addiction away from them.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wall Street to Earth: ‘We don’t mind and you don’t matter’

Click here to access article by Chris Williams from Climate & Capitalism

On Friday, the 27th of September, knowing that the IPCC report was to be released the author anxiously awaited the opening of the stock market to see what effect it would have on the fossil fuel related stocks. 
...the overwhelming majority of oil, coal and gas reserves can never be fracked, drilled or mined,  even though they are worth trillions of dollars on the balance sheets of those corporations.  A suitably devastating prognosis for corporate survival that it would surely have to be reflected in market valuations the second the IPCC report went public.

Of course, that is not what happened.
In a nutshell: capitalism and a healthy ecosystem are incompatible, and capitalism will always take priority with the wealth and power addicted ruling class. The author provides all the troubling, but realistic details; and explains why it is up to us to make the necessary changes.

A Distillation of DOD Funding Priorities for August 2013

Click here to access article by Christian Sorensen for Boiling Frogs

This is a lengthy and detailed report on where at least half of your tax dollars are going. So, I recommend scanning it. 

It's clear that military-industrial part of the ruling class is doing well at the trough of government expenditures. Do you have any doubts as to whether their corporations will be affected by a possible government shutdown over the current budget crisis in Washington? Of course not. The shutdown show is being performed by the corporate sponsored Congress because the ruling class directors want social expenditures cut, especially The Affordable Care Act. 

I certainly do not support this program which I regard as an expensive gift to the insurance companies. However, it is arguably better than nothing. The right-wing puppets in Congress have no alternative medical plan for Americans whom they view as merely a source of expendable labor, while left-wing puppets want to reward the insurance companies. An obvious and inexpensive solution is to extend Medicare to everyone.

Revolution is a Rhizome

Click here to access article from AdBusters.

AdBusters has been given a lot of credit for inspiring the 2011 Occupy protests, and now on the 2nd anniversary they, with this piece, want to re-inspire young people as they go back to campuses across the country. While enjoying the article's inspiration, I remain skeptical of this effort. For me there are too many nuances of shallowness, of light-weight revolutionary thinking in the article. And, to my dismay, their gullibility is on display by their acceptance of the Empire's allegations about the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons. If they can't see through that lie, how many others do they accept?

They specialize in using "memes" and images to undermine capitalist culture. I may be old-fashioned but it seems to me that memes are to ideology as Twitter is to a book. Or, in other words, they are small, easily comprehended, quickly consumed and transmitted units of thought or images--sort of like the internet's version of a Big Mac. Youthful enthusiasm is charming, but can it build a revolutionary movement? 

Well, let me leave this with a positive thought. Maybe AdBusters have a useful contribution to make to a revolutionary movement simply by their efforts to undermine the values and assumptions of capitalist culture. However, I don't think anyone should take them seriously as leading such a movement, and I hope that they don't either. After all, political vanguards are so 20th century! 

If they humbly see themselves as only contributing to fertilizing the ideological soil of capitalist opposition, then maybe they can help grow a revolutionary rhizome capable of creating a healthy alternative to the weed of capitalism that threatens to destroy humanity and so many other plants in the garden of life on Earth.

Imposters ruin pipeline company's campaign of lies

Click here to access article by Andy Bichlbaum from Yes Lab.

The author reports on a very inspiring action by Canadians concerned about the environmental destruction, fossil fuel burning, and climate disasters.
In towns across Canada, troupes of mischievous activists are successfully derailing the attempts of TransCanada—the company building the stalled Keystone XL pipeline—to ram through their latest proposed project, the Energy East pipeline, which would bring over a million barrels of Tar Sands oil to the East Coast for export, primarily to Europe and Asia.

Photo-essay: Goldcorp's Endless Mine In Guatemala Creating Endless Division And Harm

Click here to access article by the Rights Action Team from their website.

I get reports like this almost daily relating to North American corporate operations in Central America.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Battle for Hearts and Minds

Click here to access article by Asad Zaman from WEA Pedagogy Blog.
Capitalism is a system which generates extreme inequalities in wealth, and repeated economic crises which cause misery for millions but leave the top echelon unaffected. ...capitalism cannot survive without a massive propaganda effort to make it appear good, and to hide its defects. This propaganda is amazingly powerful and effective. Even the unemployed and the ones hurt by capitalist medical industry have an unthinking allergy to the idea of socialized medicine and government provision of a living wage for everyone. It is a wonder how propaganda trumps even self-interest, 

Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media

Click here to access article by Lisa O'Carroll from The Guardian
...the New York Times...spends "so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would" – or the death of Osama bin Laden. "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true," he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.
Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing.
It's great to hear that he is writing a book. It seems like it has been too long since he's written anything. His critical voice has been missed.

The Rouhani Week

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.

While the honeymoon with Iran's Rouhani is currently in progress, this blogger inserts a bit of skepticism as to how long it will last in this otherwise quite optimistic take on the talks.
We can expect some open and some hidden dirty tricks to derail any successful talks between Iran and the United States.