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, February 20, 2010

Bill Gates: the Most Important Climate Speech of the Year

by Alex Steffen from World Changing. While celebrating Gate's thesis that carbon emissions must go to zero, the author points out some important flaws in his argument.
We can reinvent what prosperity means and how it works, and, in the process both reduce the ecological demands of that prosperity and improve the quality of our lives. In most cases, this is a smarter approach than simply improving efficiency.
There is only one small problem--this cannot be done within the system of capitalism.

Why Factories Aren't Efficient

by John M. Greer from his blog, The Archdruid Report.
...the primary factor that drove the rise of industrial civilization, and made possible the lavish lifestyles of the recent past, was the recklessness with which the earth’s fossil fuel reserves have been extracted and burnt over the last few centuries. The explosion of technical knowledge was a consequence of that, not a cause.

Redefining Sustainable Agriculture at PASA

from Civil Eats. 
    ...Snyder said a truly sustainable farmer wakes every morning with two thoughts in mind. The first is one of gratitude that the land we are privileged to own, rent or be paid to cultivate has been given to us, and we must give it back in better shape than we found it.

    “Second,” Snyder said, “we as individual farmers are limited and essentially dependent on each other to figure out what’s best to do with this land in order to honor it, improve it and make a living from it and one day to deliver it back to the source from whence it came.”


Terrorism: the most meaningless and manipulated word

by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. 
If we're really going to vest virtually unlimited power in the Government to do anything it wants to people they call "Terrorists," we ought at least to have a common understanding of what the term means.  But there is none.  It's just become a malleable, all-justifying term to allow the U.S. Government carte blanche to do whatever it wants to Muslims it does not like or who do not like it (i.e., The Terrorists).

Time out for some amusment

We Won't Bow Down

from Yes! website.
[Mardi Gras, for people] reinforces...their ongoing survival of capitalism and racism. Carnival also reinforces joy and ownership of public space and a kind of confidence in coexisting with a wide array of strangers.

Canada's Aboriginal Show and Tell

 by Martin Lukacs from Counterpunch.
Ever-sensitive about their reputation as a land of the fair-minded, Canada's Olympic planners [corporations and major developers] have gone to lengths to showcase the nation's respect for aboriginals. They made an Inuit design the official logo. They ran the torch-relay through scores of reservations. And they bought the support and participation of local First Nations with a few million in bonds, business ventures and gleaming buildings. An absolute bargain, if this aboriginal gilding can blind Canadians and the world to the country's secret shame: the true state of its Indigenous peoples.

Teach Your Children Well: There Is No Law but Might and Murder

buy Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque. 
...on Friday, February 19, 2010, the administration of President Barack Obama declared that not only will it not prosecute the avowed and boastful perpetrators and accomplices of the capital crime of torture, it will not impose even the mildest of administrative or professional reprimands upon them. For the foulest of tortures, reaching even to murder, the government of the United States will do nothing: no investigation, no prosecution, no penalty.

Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for Readers

from Electronic Frontier Foundation. 
After several years of false starts, the universe of digital books seems at last poised to expand dramatically. Readers should view this expansion with both excitement and wariness. Excitement because digital books could revolutionize reading, making more books more findable and more accessible to more people in more ways than ever before. Wariness because the various entities that will help make this digital book revolution possible may not always respect the rights and expectations that readers, authors, booksellers and librarians have built up, and defended, over generations of experience with physical books.

Euro not for Europe's Poor

from IPS news service. Globalized capitalism works the same everywhere. It is impoverishing the most vulnerable people, people that the system finds dispensable because they have neither capital nor the kind of skilled labor power to enrich those who "own" the economy under this system.
"It is not Greece that is suffering but the Greek working people, the people who are always at the bottom of the pile," he told IPS. "If you want to have a reduction of the deficit, the first thing to do should not be to hit the most vulnerable parts of society, the low-paid civil servants and the working class. You should hit big capital, the people who profited out of the extreme neo- liberal organisation of the markets."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cognitive Infiltration: Your Government Appointees At Work

from Toward Freedom. The author looks closely at this paragraph written by an Obama appointee:
[W]e suggest a distinctive tactic for breaking up the hard core of extremists who supply conspiracy theories: cognitive infiltration of extremist groups, whereby government agents or their allies (acting either virtually or in real space, and either openly or anonymously) will undermine the crippled epistemology of believers by planting doubts about the theories and stylized facts that circulate within such groups, thereby introducing beneficial cognitive diversity.

Norman Finkelstein: One man's struggle for justice (25:05m video)

 from RT (Russia Today), Norman Finkelstein debates an Israeli Zionist.

Nine Months Before Operation Northwoods, Government Leaders Suggested False Flag Terror in the Dominican Republic

from Washington's Blog. This astute blogger reports on some past US false flag conspiracies that are now documented.

American blitzkrieg

from Asia Times. 
This idolization of the German military was a telling manifestation of a growing militarism within an American society which remained remarkably oblivious to the slow strangulation of its citizen-soldier ideal. At the same time, the American military began to glorify a new generation of warrior-leaders by a selective reading of its past. 

Violent Backlash Starting?

by Yves Smith from her blog, Naked Capitalism. This article, which is about the recent plane crash into the US federal offices in Texas, looks at the incident in a wider context of a trend in the US--anger at the rising gap between the rich and everyone else. Also you can read the suicide note which the fellow left of his website which is no longer accessible there due to the efforts of the FBI.

Wall Street's Bailout Hustle

Matt Taibbi of Rollingstone lists and describes the various hustles used by the financial institutions to grab more money. The hustles are well known in the criminal world.

World's top firms cause $2.2tn of environmental damage, report estimates

from The Guardian. 
Report for the UN into the activities of the world's 3,000 biggest companies estimates one-third of profits would be lost if firms were forced to pay for use, loss and damage of environment.

Perpetual Wars & the Permanent Wartime Presidency

from Sibel Ednmond's blog, The Boiling Frog. Sibel is one of the most courageous of whistle blowers. Here she traces the development of permanent wars and the consequences this has for any significant rule of constitutional law.

Time out

Jitters over China’s waning taste for T-bills

from Financial Times. 
If there is one thing that gets investors twitchy, it is the fear that China is losing its appetite for US government bonds.

securities thumbAs the biggest and most liquid pool of assets in the world, the US Treasury market lies at the heart of the global financial system and allows the American government to finance its trillion-dollar budget deficits. Until recently, China has been the largest foreign official holder of US debt.

The Role of the Bicycle In Transit Oriented-Development

from ReConnecting America. This is part one of a series (how many?) on integrating bicycling into any regional bicycling plans. See also part 2, The Bikeway Network.

Peak Oil: Looking for the Wrong Symptoms?

by "Gail the Actuary" from The Oil Drum. I almost always enjoy her posts and the discussions (comments) that follow them from these highly educated and astute followers of this website.

The Mossad's secret wars

from Al Jazeera. The article chronicles the successes and failures of Israel's goon squad.

Angry demonstrators demand Sarkozy to pay up and return Aristide to Haiti

by Kevin Pina from Haiti Action.
Aristide was forced out of the country in a coup ten months later on Feb. 29, 2004 and flown to the former French colony of the Central African Republic. Although the main author of the coup is still seen as the administration of George W. Bush, Haitians have never forgotten the role that France played in supporting the opposition movement to Aristide and their demands that he resign.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crisis of climate-change confidence

from The Age. The article makes clear that there is no issue among the overwhelming body of scientists or scientific institutions re the reality of human caused climate change, but the attacks of leading capitalist corporations are having a definite adverse impact on the public. 

See also this report form Union of Concerned Scientists on Exxon-Mobil's efforts to discredit scientific findings.

Meanwhile scientific research keeps indicating that the situation is growing worse. See this, this, and this.

The Great Transition [a proposal]

from The E. F. Schumacher Society. You may want to skip the introduction and go straight to the title, "The Great Transition".
New Economics Foundation policy director Andrew Simms put it like this.
"For years we have been told that there is no alternative to an economy that
wrecks the environment and worsens inequality. We've been told that we live
in a time of prosperity, when really we're no happier than we were thirty
years ago. We've been told that crashes, bubbles and recessions are all
part of the 'natural cycle' of economies. But faced with potentially
irreversible climate change and corrosive inequality, these are dangerous
fairy tales. The Great Transition shows we have a chance of a better
reality."


Mexico: Celebrating Indigenous Culture, Zapotec Autonomy and Uncontaminated Corn

from Upside Down World. The article describes their celebration of their victory for preserving their food, but also indicates that they are under siege by corporations who grab their resources and spoil their environment.
...the 4th annual Zapotec Feria of the Cornfield - Globalization and the Natural Resources - is not only concerned with the problems and struggles facing the Zapotec communities, but is also a celebration of their rich culture and food sovereignty. Day two of the feria brought a festive culinary demonstration of a myriad of corn dishes and locally produced food.

Pimping Weapons to the World

by Frida Berrigan from Tom Dispatch. The US leads the world in the export of military weapons. It is about the only major industry in the US that has not been outsourced--for obvious reasons. Of course, all the export arms go to The Empire's accomplices to maintain its hegemony over the world. The weapons industry is also highly lucrative because the sales go to governments that taxes its working people to pay for them.

The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America - Part I

from Amped Status. The articles provide a rather comprehensive survey of the damage inflicted upon the American people by the ruling class ("economic elite"); and actions of the latter that has caused the damage, all of which, is viewed as a class war against working people.

Part II: The Rise of the Economic Elite — Economic Elite Vs. The People

from Amped Status. The articles provide a rather comprehensive survey of the damage inflicted upon the American people by the ruling class ("economic elite"); and actions of the latter that has caused the damage, all of which, is viewed as a class war against working people.

The Unstated Script of the Wiesel Open Letter to President Obama

from Dissident Voice. Very insightful analysis of the likely motives behind this unusual media blitz by Zionists, i.e., to divert attention away from their war crimes in Gaza as well as to focus the world's attention on Iran.

Time out

Yet Another Congressman Questions 9/11

from Washington's Blog. This blogger assembles a considerable list of prominent people who are having doubts about the official version of 9/11.

"Behind Each Great Historical Phenomenon Lies A Financial Secret"

from Washington's Blog. The article illustrates how much influence big banking institutions have had in history. The example regarding Lincoln's decision to have the US government issue its own money was a blow to private financial interests. Hence the implications for today's Federal Reserve's monopoly over the issuance of money.  Read Ellen Hodgson Brown's highly readable "Web of Debt" for a comprehensive examination of this subject.

Obama: The Making of a Clean Coal President

 from Solve Climate. US capitalist ruling class knows that it can't exist without constant growth which requires increasing consumption of energy and raw materials. I doesn't matter who the ruling class appoints as its chief spokesperson.
In insecure economic times, the legacy energy industries have another advantage: They play powerfully inside a global economic system built on the assumption of limitless economic growth, and which is in dire need of boost in the wake of the US mortgage crisis. The coal supply remains a commodity that needs to be mined, shipped, exported and traded — a BTU bonanza for the nations that have it in abundance like the U.S., Russia, China, India and Australia. 

Cluster Bomb Ban to Become Law – Without U.S.

from IPS news service. I don't think that The Empire could exist without terrorist weapons such as cluster bombs, land mines and the weapons of mass destruction--hence capitalists and their system likely would not survive. The only people that are really committed to this system are banksters and corporate execs. 

Seeds of discontent: the 'miracle' crop that has failed to deliver

from The Independent. 
A "miracle" plant, once thought to be as the answer to producing renewable biofuels on a vast scale, is driving thousands of farmers in the developing world into food poverty, a damning report concludes today.

Is the global economy a Ponzi scheme?

 by Joe Romm from Climate Progess.  The "we" that the article blames for this problem seems to be deflected onto the human race, instead of on a system created by a relatively few sociopaths who are addicted to wealth and power--the capitalist ruling classes. However if Tom Friedman, capitalism's media rep, is getting worried, there might be reason to hope.
By enriching those who did the most plundering the most, we enabled them to fund lobbying and disinformation campaigns to convince substantial fractions of the public and media that there is no Ponzi scheme — that global warming is “too complicated for the public to understand” and nothing to worry about.

The illustrated guide to the latest climate science

from Climate Progress.  The article also appears to contain some very useful links.
In 2009, the scientific literature caught up with what top climate scientists have been saying privately for a few years now:
  • Many of the predicted impacts of human-caused climate change are occurring much faster than anybody expected — particularly ice melt, everywhere you look on the planet.
  • If we stay anywhere near our current emissions path, we are facing incalculable catastrophes by century’s end, including rapid sea level rise, massive wildfires, widespread Dust-Bowlification, large oceanic dead zones, and 9°F warming — much of which could be all but irreversible for centuries. And that’s not the worst-case scenario!
  • The consequences for human health and well being would be extreme.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Transition Towns Movement: Its Huge Significance and a Friendly Criticism

by Ted Trainer from (We) Can Do Better. This is a must read article--probably the most important one I've posted thus far.  For myself, I printed out a hard copy on Word to study it more thoroughly.

Monsanto 'faked' data for approvals claims its ex-chief

from India Today. 
"The Central Insecticide Board was supposed to give these approvals based on the location and crop-specific data from India. But it simply accepted foreign data supplied by Monsanto. They did not even have a test tube to validate the data and, at times, the data itself was faked," Jagadisan said.

The US puts “regime change” in Iran on agenda

from World Socialist Web Site. 
As part of its drive for punitive new sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programs, the Obama administration launched a major diplomatic offensive in the Middle East this week to enlist the support of its allies in the region. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, Central Command head General David Petraeus and top State Department officials are taking part in the operation.

Governments ADMIT That They Carry Out False Flag Terror

from Washington's Blog. 
This essay will solely discuss government admissions to the use of false flag terror.

When is a Fraud Not a Fraud? (Greece-Goldman Edition)

by Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism. 
Although there is a considerable amount of well-warranted consternation about how Goldman sold swaps to Greece that allowed it to mask how bad its deteriorating finances were from the EU budget police, there has been perilous little discussion of why the fact that this was permissible says there is something very wrong with the rules in place.

It Looks Like We're Going To Have To Blow Up Another Continent To Realize The Effect Of Wall Street's Destructiveness

from Business Insider.
Surprise, surprise: Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece, Spain, Portugal, and undermined the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.

Obama's Nuclear Boondoggle

from Mother Jones. 
In its eagerness to woo Republicans with nuclear-friendly policies, the Obama administration plans to hand out $54.5 billion in government-backed loans to kick-start a nuclear renaissance. On Tuesday, it announced the first beneficiary of this largesse—and apparently the best candidate it could find was a proposed plant that's been put on hold by federal regulators due to serious safety concerns.   

All Systems Go: No Disfunction in Profitable Afghan Enterprise

by Chris Floyd from his blog, Empire Burlesque. Re the recent killing of civilians in Afghanistan.
But nothing is going wrong. When you read of children lying in a broken heap, their lifeblood draining away into dark, coagulated pools -- that means the system is functioning properly. That's what the system does. That is what it is there to do: to kill, destroy and dominate. That's why we have installed the system in Afghanistan.

Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker

Accessed by way of ProPublica. This appears to be a very useful resource for gathering information about foreign lobbyists in relation to US legislators. The link below "Watch the ForeignLobbying.org screencast" illustrates how to use it.

Hamas man's Dubai death was a Mossad-style execution

from Haaretz. Mossad is Israel's terrorist organization whose primary assignment is to assassinate people seen as enemies of Israel by the Zionist ruling class. The uproar in much of the world's media over this incident seems to be more related to the theft of passports issued by various countries rather than to the assassinations.

The Real Reason for Sanctions Against Iran: America's Quest for Global Miliitary Dominance

from Global Research. For many of you who follow this website, the points made in this article may seem rather obvious.

Wall Street’s War against Main Street America

by Michael Hudson from Global Research.
[The financial crisis] is caused by replacing progressive taxation with regressive taxes, and above all by untaxing finance and real estate. Take the case of California, where tears are being shed over the dismantling of the once elite University of California California’s real estate costs are just as high with its property taxes froze, but the rising rental value of land has been paid to the banks – forcing the state to slash its fiscal budget or else raise taxes on labor and consumers. system. Since American independence, education has been financed by the property tax. But Proposition 13 has “freed” property from taxation – so that its rental value can be borrowed against and turned into interest payments to banks.
It would be very helpful to me and others who are not economists or financial types if the professor would explain or expand on the last sentence. Too often academic types who understand the details of how the system works, write about it in terms that mostly only other academics can understand. Otherwise a very good article.

What is clear to me is that the "owning" class plays their capitalist game by rules that they have largely created; and as in the game of Monopoly where one person ends up owning everything, in the real world the game results in a relatively few people "owning" everything.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America

from The Atlantic. This is a fairly lengthy and comprehensive look at the current unemployment problems and future anticipated problems that unemployment will cause for working people in US society. This magazine is directed toward the liberal wing of the ruling capitalist class, and therefore it will honestly look at social problems as it does here--and that is why I recommend the article. 
"The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come." 
The picture the article paints is clearly one of social devastation for working people. Coming from a liberal slant it provides only safe expert views on the problem, and never calls into question the system itself which is at the root of the problem. Thus by implication it is warning its ruling class audience that this is a potentially explosive problem and may threaten them. Hence the author concludes with the need to ameliorate the problem by liberal employment and unemployment benefit programs.

The Art of Corporate Mind Control (5:00m video and script)

from ICH.  Protests the effects of television to shape our thoughts and control our behavior.

Capitalism cut adrift, Pt 1

by William Bowles from Strategic Culture Foundation. 
There’s no doubt about it, three decades of unregulated ‘free market’ financialized capitalism in the UK has proved to be a total disaster, but not in the ‘classical marxist’ sense of a struggle between capital and labour being played out in the streets or in our (non-existent) factories let alone in our decrepid and corruption political institutions. Instead, ‘neo-liberalism’ has failed not only on an economic level but more importantly it’s been a cultural and ideological failure, hence all the talk about regaining the ‘trust’ of the populace and lots of hot air about ‘consultations’ and ‘town hall meetings’ and of course, the inevitable patriotic jingoism about our ‘glorious’ imperial past. 

Food for thought (and cars)

Energy Transitions and the Next "Paradigmatic Image of the World"

 by David Murphy from The Oil Drum. I am always amazed at the ability of educated people to engage in circumlocution when discussing economics.  This writer offers some astute observations about the development and demise of economic systems without ever mentioning the word "capitalism" or "capitalists". Instead he uses terms like "industrialization", "neoclassical macroeconomic theory", and "Classical Economists". It demonstrates the power and effectiveness of many decades of capitalist propaganda and indoctrination to divert attention away from a system which is increasingly being seen as dysfunctional.
A new economic model is needed--one that focuses on human welfare as being separate from income, and one that focuses on the resiliency of society rather than the growth of society over the long term.

"Economic Terrorism": The Consequences are Poverty and Mass Unemployment

from Global Research. The author provides a documented survey of all the ruling class attacks on working people of all  working classes in the US.

U.S.: Telecom Lobby Tests Pledge of Transparency

from IPS news service. 
Despite President Barack Obama's pledge in his State of the Union address last month to "require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or Congress," the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says the Obama administration has been "fighting hard to stop the release of the names of these representatives."

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Do Empires Do?

by Michael Parenti, original source in Common Dreams, but more readable here at ICH. 
"Empire" seems nowadays to mean simply dominion and control. Empire---for most of these late-coming critics--- is concerned almost exclusively with power and prestige.  What is usually missing from the public discourse is the process of empire and its politico-economic content.  In other words, while we hear a lot about empire, we hear very little about imperialism.  

As Defense Budget Soars, Security Firms Reap Huge Profits, Go Offshore to Avoid Taxes

by Tom Burghardt from Dissident Voice.
While the overall budget deficit will balloon to a staggering $1.6 trillion in 2011, the result of massive tax cuts for the rich, declining revenues, a by-product of capitalism’s economic meltdown, imperial adventures abroad and general corporate malfeasance (the old tax-dodge grift), the administration plans to cut $250 billion over three years from non-military “discretionary spending” on domestic social programs.

Leading Austrian Economist: Some Conspiracy Theories Are True

from Washington's Blog. Another excellent article from this blog about conspiracies and their self-interested deniers.

Fear Inc.

by Tom Engelhardt from Tomdispatch.  A very good analysis of the use of fear to manipulate the American public.
The fear of terrorism has, by now, been institutionalized in our society -- quite literally so -- even if the thing we’re afraid of has, on the scale of human problems, something of the will o’ the wisp about it.

Arctic climate changing faster than expected

from Reuters news service. 
The research project involved more than 370 scientists from 27 countries who collectively spent 15 months, starting in June 2007, aboard a research vessel above the Arctic Circle. It marked the first time a ship has stayed mobile in Canada's high Arctic for an entire winter.

Ethics, Epistemology and “Dirty Rotten Strategies”

from Health After Oil. This is a review of a book by this name authored by Ian Mitroff and Abraham Silvers. Their take on the subject seems a bit too intellectualized for my taste.
These errors are endemic because –despite all remonstrance to the contrary- Americans are not consistently socialized, educated and rewarded to value thinking in terms of systems and complexity.
Of course they're not socialized this way (the authors of the next article are an example)--they would be a danger to the interests of the ruling class if they were. However insights like the following suggest that the authors have a good understanding of their subject:
…modern capitalism has a number of the critical characteristics associated with sociopathology, for example, the commission of unethical acts intentionally designed to hoodwink the public; the glorification of unethical behavior, such as unrestrained greed; and little or no guilt associated with deceptive and unethical behavior.

Climate Catastrophe: Surviving the 21st Century

from Common Dreams. This article is a good example of how many people in the US simply don't understand social-economic systems and changing those systems. The authors, who otherwise provide a lot good information about the sources and symptoms of environmental destruction, their recommended solutions are completely reformist and do not support the following introductory statements in their article:
Climate Stabilization Requires a Cultural and Political Revolution
There is still hope if we are willing to confront the hydra-headed monsters that block our path, and move ahead with a decisive plan of action. The inspirational message we need to deliver is that we're not just talking about drastically reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, but rebuilding society, creating in effect a New Woman and a New Man for the 21st Century.
What we are witnessing are the early stages of a mass grassroots consciousness-raising and taking back of power from out-of-control corporations, banks, corporate-controlled media, and politicians. This cultural and political revolution will empower us to to carry out a deep and profound retrofitting of industry, government, education, health care, housing, neighborhoods, transportation, food and farming systems, as well as our diets and lifestyles.

Viral collapse

from Nature Bats Last. 
According to economists, the beauty of globalization [the current version of capitalism] is worldwide access to materials and cheap (or free) labor to bring the materials to powerful countries. We provide garbage, pollution, and low wages — or, in the “best” cases we enslave workers — and we obtain materials and finished goods. This is the rising economic tide that floats all boats.

Time out

 

Americans stock up to be ready for end of the world

from The Guardian. I wonder how people in this "preppers" movement compare to people in the transition movement. Seems like the preppers are more individualistic, reflecting a prominent characteristic of an advanced capitalist society.
Unlike the 1990s survivalists, preppers come from all backgrounds and live all over America. They are just as likely to be found in a suburb or downtown loft as a remote ranch in the mountains. Prepping networks, which have sprung up all over the country in the past few years, provide advice on how to prepare food reserves, how to grow crops in your garden, how to hunt and how to defend yourself. There are prepping books, online shops, radio shows, countless blogs, prepping courses and prepping conferences.

EU biofuels significantly harming food production in developing countries

from The Guardian. 
EU companies have taken millions of acres of land out of food production in Africa, central America and Asia to grow biofuels for transport, according to development campaigners. The consequences of European biofuel targets, said the report by ActionAid, could be up to 100 million more hungry people, increased food prices and landlessness.

The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement

by Elizabeth Woodworth from Global Research. 
Eight countries – Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Russia – have allowed their publicly-owned broadcasting stations to air the full spectrum of evidence challenging the truth of the official account of 9/11.

This more open approach taken in the international media – I could also have included the Japanese media – might be a sign that worldwide public and corporate media organizations are positioning themselves, and preparing their audiences, for a possible revelation of the truth of the claim that forces within the US government were complicit in the attacks – a revelation that would call into question the publicly given rationale for the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.



New World Order Hollywood "Feel Good" Initiative

by Danny Schechter from Global Research. Capitalism tends to spoil everything the system lays its hands on. This article illustrates this with a charitable event for a people who have suffered so much.
There is nothing controversial or angry about the new We Are The World, and that may be one off its problems because syrupy high profile celebrity events are now co-opted corporate-embraced commodities in our commercial culture. They are almost an expected Made in the USA genre, slick and all too often self-congratulatory commercials for compassion. They are effusively praised by the powers that be who pat all the high-profile artists on their heads, and then, in the end, ignore their passion. They also become one-shot stories and marketing vehicles.

Resistance Casts Pall over 2010 Olympic Festivities

from IPS news service. I think that the Games should be about a celebration of athletic excellence by bringing together the world's best athletes. To some extent it is. But this celebration, IMO, is often contaminated by nationalism that is manipulated by a mostly globalized capitalist class that exploits patriotism to accumulate even more wealth. While the wealthier celebrants play and the athletes perform and the contractors and corporations count their money, many people are suffering even more due to the economic collapse.
A recent tally by the Vancouver Sun estimated that at least eight billion dollars will be spent on the Games, and there are an estimated 15,000 homeless people in British Columbia. According to a report released by University of British Columbia researchers last December, the number of homeless in Vancouver more than doubled in the years leading up to the Games.

Accordingly, the slogan "homes not games," was found on many placards, and was a popular chant both before and during the march.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

America Disconnected

by William K. Wolfrum from TPM.
The disconnect never fails to amaze me. Death on a personal level is a heart-wrenching, life-altering affair. The recovery is a long process, filled with grief. Losing a loved one stays with you until you finally join them. But being part of the machine that gives others the same grief on a spectacular level has little to no effect.

An Israeli-inspired scandal to undermine Palestinians

by Uri Avnery from Redress. This is about the latest attempts of the Israeli ruling class to not only undermine Palestinians, but to "manage the consent" of the Israeli people.

The Dominant Critique: Empty Politics of Many Progressives

 by Jan Lundberg from Culture Change.
In addition to greater employment -- resulting in harmful economic growth -- there are many issues that liberal/left/progressive journalists and activists address, and rightly so. But overall the Dominant Critique does not question or reject the system or foresee its collapse.

Unemployment Insurance Tracker

from ProPublica. "Is Your State's Unemployment System in Danger? See how your state ranks when it comes to its unemployment system."

Snow storms and climate change

Sidelining Cap and Trade’s Green Critics

from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. 
The sweeping bill to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that moved through Congress over the last year received relatively scant media attention, taking a distant back seat to the healthcare reform bill and its attendant public uproar. And, much like the healthcare debate (Extra!, 10/09), coverage of climate-change legislation ended up obscuring the issues as much as it explained them, viewing a Democratic compromise bill through the lens of right-wing and corporate criticism, while marginalizing progressive critics who said the legislation was insufficient to the task at hand.

Contrasting viewpoints on copyright (16:05m video)

from P2P. It mostly argues for the Creative Commons Share Alike license for artistic works featuring one artist who encountered numerous difficulties producing her works while coping with copyrights owned by corporations.

Winter Olympics athletes blame hosts for death of Nodar Kumaritashvili

 from The Guardian.
...in the run-up to these games, the hosts – or at least the Canadian Olympic Committee – seemed to have mislaid their manners. "Own the podium," it implored its athletes in an initiative aimed at ensuring the host nation finishes at the top of the medals table at these games. Money has been poured into training, while a hard-edged approach has been adopted in dealing with other teams, most noticeably in granting them only limited access to facilities such as the sliding track.

Climate scientists have long been targets for sceptics

from The Guardian. 
Attacks designed to force researchers to resign or get fired is nothing new - the denialist industry has been at it for years

Think-tanks take oil money and use it to fund climate deniers

from The Independent. 
Free-market, anti-climate change think-tanks such as the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in the US and the International Policy Network in the UK have received grants totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds from the multinational energy company ExxonMobil. Both organisations have funded international seminars pulling together climate change deniers from across the globe.