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, March 6, 2010

Want the Good Life? Your Neighbors Need It, Too

from Yes! website. 
We've got to get this structure of equality much more deeply embedded in our society. I think that means more economic democracy, or workplace democracy, of every kind. We're talking about friendly societies, mutual societies, employee ownership, employee representatives on the board, cooperatives—ways in which business is subjected to democratic influence.

Murray Bookchin on Growth and Consumerism

a condensed reprint of an article by Murrary Bookchin from Climate and Capitalism.
It’s not enough, however, to blame our environmental problems on the obsession with growth. A system of deeply entrenched structures — of which growth is merely a surface manifestation — makes up our society. These structures are beyond moral control, much as the flow of adrenaline is beyond the control of a frightened creature This system has, in effect, the commanding quality of natural law. ….

Unless growth is traced to its basic source — competition in a grow-or-die market society — the demand for controlling growth is meaningless as well as unattainable. We can no more arrest growth while leaving the market intact than we can arrest egoism while leaving rivalry intact.

Déjà vu, all over again. And again. And again.

by Russ Baker, investigative journalist extraordinaire, from his blog, Who What Why.
The disappearance of harmful documentation and related amnesia is a leitmotif of the George W. Bush administration, but also of his father’s political career.

Bolivia: Women a driving force in the revolutionary process

from International Journal of Socialist Renewal. 
In January, Bolivia’s left-wing President Evo Morales began his second term by appointing a new cabinet in which women are equally represented for the first time. Morales, Bolivia’s first president from the nation’s long-oppressed Indigenous majority, is leading a revolutionary process of transformation. The 10 women ministers are from a wide range of backgrounds, and three of them are Indigenous.

Time out (click on image to enlarge)

The right kind of bigotry

by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. Nowadays in the freedom loving country of USA, bigotry is becoming socially acceptable, even fashionable if its directed against the right people.

Those Salem Witchs - I mean, American Terrorists

from New American. A rather different view on an alleged terrorist that the US government is targeting in its "war on terror", and the methods they use--but then it's okay when they are Muslims.

Whose Bank? Public Investment, Not Private Debt

from Yes! website. 
The public bank concept is gaining ground on the state level, attracting proponents across the political spectrum. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Story So Far on the Gov’t Loan Mod Program

from Pro-Publica.
The administration’s foreclosure prevention program began operation last April.
We at ProPublica have been closely covering the problems that homeowners have encountered since the program’s launch. Delays and frustration [4] have been common: Homeowners and housing counselors frequently complain that servicers lose financial documents [5] and make mistakes [6]. Many struggling homeowners have waited several months [7] for an answer from their mortgage servicers.

March 5: Building a Movement, Starting Today

 from the Daily Californian.
Today our newspapers will be dominated by the headlines that March 4 was a historic day for public education. They will say that never before have so many people from all the sectors of education mobilized across the state and country.

They are right that March 4 should be remembered for all of these things. Unfortunately, the real history-making day will have been misquoted. It is our actions and decisions on March 5 that will truly mark just how determined we are to transform our broken education system. 

Economists: Another Financial Crisis on the Way

from ABC news service. 
Even as many Americans still struggle to recover from the country's worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, another crisis – one that will be even worse than the current one – is looming, according to a new report from a group of leading economists, financiers, and former federal regulators. 

Mexico Subdued by the Empire

 from Strategic Culture Foundation.
The resistance to privatization is mounting. The oil sector is actively defending itself. The electric power industry trade union is fighting against personnel cuts. Over 44,000 protesters who had lost their jobs put tents at the El Zokalo square in Mexico City. They are determined to continue struggling despite the threat of repressions from Calderon and the business who believe “social peace” should be ensured across the country, if necessary by force. 

Time out (click on cartoon to enlarge)

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: Federal Reserve System is Corrupt and Undermines Democracy

from Washington's Blog. 
Joseph Stiglitz - former head economist at the World Bank and a nobel-prize winner - said yesterday that the very structure of the Federal Reserve system is so fraught with conflicts that it is "corrupt" and undermines democracy.

The European strikes and the trade unions

from World Socialist Web Site. The author uses the current European economic crisis to illustrate how unions under capitalism collaborate with capitalists to maintain the system.
Last week was marked by two significant developments. [First] A strike wave hit Europe as workers in a series of countries began to demonstrate their opposition to the austerity measures demanded by the European Union and the banks.
[Second] In all countries, the trade unions responded by isolating and suppressing the workers’ actions and closing ranks with their respective governments and the European financial elite. The central concern of the unions was to prevent the working people of Europe from uniting in a common struggle against their common enemy—the European bourgeoisie and its agents in the national governments and the European Union.

Study Says Undersea Release of Methane Is Under Way

from the NY Times. 
Climate scientists have long warned that global warming could unlock vast stores of the greenhouse gas methane that are frozen into the Arctic permafrost, setting off potentially significant increases in global warming.

Now researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and elsewhere say this change is under way in a little-studied area under the sea, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, west of the Bering Strait. 

DoD Releases Records of Illegal Surveillance

from Truthout. 
Much of the improper activity consisted of intelligence gathering on so-called "US Persons," including citizens, permanent residents and US-based organizations.

Consumers Are Sleeping With the Enemy

 from Toward Freedom
In the same way consumers have become captive to the social networking industry, we have likewise become captive to the telecommunications, satellite television, pharmaceutical, fossil fuel, fast food and credit card industries (to name a few). We may not like the ways in which these corporate behemoths treat us, but we’re too addicted to their products to do much about it. Those addictions to everything corporate may offer the only cogent explanation of why we remain paralyzed in the face of apparently unlimited corporate power. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Max Keiser Interviews David DeGraw — The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the USA [video]

originally from RT, but carried here on Amped Status. Be sure to activate the 13m video at approximately 13:26m into the video. As you may be aware, six previous segments on DeGraw's views have been presented in articles on this website. Unfortunately, his conclusions at the end of the interview suggest that he thinks that the system can be fixed or reformed to work better.

"It is Not Because Things are Difficult that We Do Not Dare; It Is Because We Do Not Dare that They are Difficult.”

from Washington's Blog. This astute blogger offers a re-post of an earlier article of his to those of you who occasionally get discouraged about changing the world.
I don't know about you . . . but I don't have the luxury of giving up hope. When I get depressed, overwhelmed or exhausted by the stunning acts of savagery, treason, and disinformation carried out by the imperialists, or the willful ignorance of many Americans, I will myself into finding some reason to have hope.

Call for Iran sanctions backed by muscle

by Jim Lobe from Asia Times Online. The US Zionist lobby is cranking up its pro-war efforts toward Iran.
"It's clear to me that the clock toward the collapse of this regime works much slower than the clock which ticks toward Iran becoming [a] nuclear military power," Barak told an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think-tank closely tied to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the leading Israel Lobby organization. 

On the Escalating Rahm Drama

by Yves Smith from her blog, "Naked Capitalism". I've also noticed some news rumblings about conflict in the Obama administration and have wondered what was going on. Yves Smith delves further into this subject.
...we are left with two possible conclusions:

    1. Obama is an even bigger wuss than I thought (and I already gave him very high marks in the wuss department)

    2. Obama is on board with this PR campaign
For excellent background information on Rahm Emanuel, read this.

Life After Growth

by Richard Heinberg from Post Carbon Institute. 
Let's be clear: I believe we are in for some very hard times. The transitional period on our way toward a post-growth, equilibrium economy will prove to be the most challenging time any of us has ever lived through. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we can survive this collective journey, and that if we make sound choices as families and communities, life can actually be better for us in the decades ahead than it was during the heady days of seemingly endless economic expansion.
The last part of this fairly lengthy article starting with, "My Personal Story of Waking Up to Limits", goes into more detail about how he arrived at the awareness of global limits and their implications.

Shocked Greeks digest cuts, unions call strikes

from Reuters news service. 
...protesters occupied the finance ministry and Greece's main unions called a 3-hour work stoppage for Friday in mounting discontent at austerity measures designed to stem the country's debt crisis.

Mordechai Vanunu’s Nobel Stand

from Global Research.  Other war criminals in addition to Shimon Peres have received the so-called Nobel Peace Prize: Henry Kissinger, Yitzhak Rabin, and Barack Hussein Obama. Although the latter did not start any wars, he is vigorously pursuing the wars he has inherited. 

UK mulling 'war crimes arrest' curb

from Al Jazeera. Speaking of war criminals, the British ruling class that has spawned so many can't tolerate the arrest of Israeli war criminals.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Chamber of Commerce vs. Climate Science

from Mother Jones. 
...the business lobby group hopes to once again muddy the public understanding of climate change by seeking a high-profile forum in which it can argue that the science isn't settled.

State Crimes Against Democracy

from Dissident Voice. 
New research in the journal American Behavioral Scientist (Sage publications, February 2010) addresses the concept of “State Crimes Against Democracy” (SCAD). Professor Lance deHaven-Smith from Florida State University writes that SCADs involve highlevel government officials, often in combination with private interests, that engage in covert activities for political advantages and power.

New strikes called as more social cuts are prepared in Greece

from World Socialist Web Site.
The Greek trade unions announced new strikes yesterday against further budget cuts demanded by banks and European institutions, amid the ongoing Greek debt crisis. This comes less than one week after a one-day national strike against budget cuts on February 24, in which an estimated 2 million workers participated.

Time out (click on cartoon to enlarge)

Mercenaries Circling Haiti

from Common Dreams.
Patrick Elie, the former Minister of Defence in Haiti, told Anthony Fenton of the Inter Press Service that "these guys are like vultures coming to grab the loot over this disaster, and probably money that might have been injected into the Haitian economy is just going to be grabbed by these companies and I'm sure they are not the only these mercenary companies but also other companies like Haliburton or these other ones that always come on the heels of the troops."

Swaps and Robbers

from The Automatic Earth. Ignore the old photo which this group of bloggers like to post on their site. The author, and linked authors, like to point to credit default swaps, as THE problem. Well, they did play a major part in bringing down the economies of the world. But the point I'd like to make is that the players in this system of capitalism will always come up with new "financial instruments" to prey on unsuspecting victims. The system rewards such creativity. So abolishing one instrument doesn't prevent others from being created. Also, setting up all kinds of regulatory systems under the control of capitalists is like having a fox guarding the hen house. To paraphrase that great US globalization President (Clinton), "it's the economic system, stupid!"

Breaking Yugoslavia

(Link broken, see this) An excellent interview with Diana Johnstone who sheds so much light on this subject. From New Left Project. She was asked:
You argue that Western governments bear significant responsibility for the wars in the former Yugoslavia by encouraging the secession of the constituent republics. Was the West not merely supporting those states in their struggle for self-determination?

The last days of economic growth

from Life After Oil. This is a book review of a recently released book published in Swedish only; but the review summarize a lot of valuable content which illustrates the inability of capitalist media to cope realistically with the issue of peak oil, just as it can't with any other issue that suggests that economic growth, from a capitalist point of view, must stop. Thus capitalist media coverage of such issues often takes on Orwellian characteristics such as "newspeak".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

White Collars Are Feeling the Blue-Collar Woes

from Truthout. 
This time, it's not just factory workers getting laid off or suffering the health consequences. Americans who never imagined themselves vulnerable -- including the journalists who didn't cover those hurting factory workers -- are losing their jobs at unprecedented rates. Often, laid-off professionals are losing their health care, too.

Banksters Win Yet Again: Dodd Proposes Putting Consumer Protection Agency at the Fed

by Yves Smith from her blog, Naked Capitalism. 
Congress was prepared to strip the Fed of some of its authority three years ago due to its abysmal failure to do anything about subprime abuses, even in the face of rising defaults, media coverage of fraud, and pressure from Capitol Hill. Now Dodd is prepared to reward the Fed for the very same conduct he roundly criticized three years ago. We can only assume he has already started serving his post-Congressional constituency. [Looking forward to a plush bankster appointment?]

Payment Solidarity: Looking Deeper at the Mondragon Principles

from Solidarity Economy. "Cooperative ‘Payment Solidarity’ Means a Prevailing Wage or Better"

Tim Kasser on Consumerism, Psychology, Transition and Resilience. Part Two

from Transition Culture. 
So, I think what we really need to be doing now from my perspective is developing and fleshing out and thinking through the multitude of options, not because we think we’re ultimately going to chose one of those things from the menu, but because we recognise that we’re actually going to have to chose the whole buffet, and implement them now, as soon as possible. Once we get one implemented people will be more open to the next one and the next one and then you can affect that kind of change reasonably quickly. And that’s what gives me hope.

The US in a high emissions scenario

originally from Early Warning, but much more readable at Energy Bulletin. This scientist/author read the full, authoritative report entitled, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, and condenses its findings into this article. 

Time out

"Growth versus Development"

from The Oil Drum. Professor Dennis Meadows offers some simple lessons re peak oil for your friends who simply just don't get it. View video (8:34m) or read the transcript.

Troops deployed in quake-hit Chile

from Al Jazeera. Isn't it interesting that the first priority in capitalist countries after a disaster is to rush in troops to secure private property (life saving food and water from nearby stores), rather than to rush in food, water, medical supplies, and physicians. What would you do if your area was the scene of a devastating natural disaster and you were hungry, thirsty, cold, and injured and there was a nearby store (damaged also) with all of the provisions necessary to take care of these dire needs? Perhaps you would stand patiently in front of the store waiting for it to re-open for business?

The Road to Dictatorship

by Justin Raimondo from Anti-War. Americans seem to have little concern about the destruction of the Fourth Amendment to their Constitution which reads: 
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Socialists Get Newfound Attention as 'Red-Baiting' Draws Interest From Youth

from Common Dreams. When capitalists become defensive after wrecking the economy for working people, they cry "socialism" (their version of "wolf") at any attempts to curb their power. Few Americans have any idea what the word means after so many years of indoctrination in the merits of capitalism. Actually, it is a quite complicated word in that its advocates support a variety of ways toward the goal of social-economic justice. It's great to see the younger generation actually wanting to take a hard look at it. Most people of my generation in the US quite literally have mental spasms when they hear the word.

Corporate Lobbyists and Public Relations Firms behind Cable News Outlets

from Global Research. 
"When there's a whole host of pundits on the airwaves touting the same agenda at the same time, you get a cumulative effect that shapes public opinion toward their agenda,"

Monday, March 1, 2010

The importance of envisioning “community” (part 3)

by Gary Clausheide from Energy Bulletin. For 99% plus of human history...
we evolved within community, the spirit that arises naturally amongst relatively small groups of people who live and work with and for one another and as equals, and with the land as commonwealth. That spirit was lost when ruling elites took control of societies and organized “the people” to work for them. Moved then out of villages where they could cooperatively take care of themselves, into cities where they became extremely dependent on governments and corporations. We can regain community when we are ready to accept one another as equals and learn to live and work with and for one another-- when we are ready to organize ourselves for our ends rather than to allow more dominant forces to organize us for theirs.

Tim Kasser on Consumerism, Psychology, Transition and Resilience. Part Two

 from Transition Culture.
Five companies own ninety five per cent of the media outlets and they’re all for profit, so if you try to critique capitalism in a for profit system, you’re never going to get in the media.

Empire, Oligarchy and Democracy

 by Ralph Nader from Common Dreams.
The American people must realize that their reckless government and corporate contractors are banking lots of revenge among the occupied regions that may come back to haunt. We have much more to lose by flouting international law than the suicidal terrorists reacting to what they believe is the West's state terrorism against their people and the West's historical backing of dictatorships which oppress their own population.

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010 [and 2009]

from Project Censored.

State by State, Unions Matter

 from Truthout. The author examines a study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
...the findings show clearly that "unions substantially improved the pay and benefits of workers in every state."

Beyond that, unionized workers have a greater say, not only about their working conditions, but also in political affairs and community activities, given organized labor's prominence in such matters.

A large part of the reason many workers nevertheless remain outside of unions is the notoriously lax enforcement of the laws that were designed to guarantee working Americans the unfettered right to unionization.

Jobless benefits cut off for a million US workers

from World Socialist Web Site. 
No senator, Republican or Democrat, will return home to a house that is facing foreclosure or lacking heat because of a utility shutoff. The majority of senators are millionaires, and all of them owe their allegiance to the financial aristocracy.

Time out


The Death and Life of American Journalism Pt.2 (11:01m Video)

 Paul Jay of Real News Network concludes the interview with McChesney and Nichols in which they discuss some proposals to improve the dismal state of US journalism.
...why not take something like the AmeriCorps program for teachers, which sends young kids out to teach for a year to rural areas and inner cities where they can't find teachers, and do that for journalists? Send 25,000 people, who have to be journalists working for websites, nonprofit, noncommercial broadcasters all across the country covering these communities.


Will Capitalism Absorb the WSF?

from MR Zine. The article features an interview with activists who have participated in the World Social Forums. 

People Power Trumps Corporate Power

by Carolyn Baker from her blog.
When I lived in Vermont, I personally witnessed Kathleen's struggle along with other Vermonters to organize for the closing of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, and I stand in awe of her and their accomplishment. Thanks to these dedicated activists, the Vermont Senate voted to close Yankee on February 24.

Israel's new war on Islamic sites

from Al Jazeera. 
In a move that appears to be a celebration of the 16th anniversary of the massacre of 29 worshippers by the terrorist Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli government has proclaimed that the Ibrahimi Mosque in Khalil (Hebron) and Masjid Bilal ibn Rabah (mosque) in Bethlehem are "Jewish Heritage sites".

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Network Nukes Boosters

from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Read how the corporate media "manufactures consent" for new government loan guarantees to corporations to build nuclear plants--sounds like "socialism" to me. Why don't they let the glorious market and private enterprise take care of this?! Ah, but it's part of a jobs program promised by the Obama administration. Silly me for questioning it. But then I notice the the Union of Concerned Scientists are also opposed to building more nuclear plants--see this--due to their enormous expense and cost over-runs. Maybe that is why the Obama administration is asking for loan guarantees for corporations.

US Using Iraqi Political Discord to Justify Continuance of Occupation

by Dahr Jamail from his blog. Surprise, surprise--the US occupation will be "delayed" because of "political instability". The Empire will always find excuses to invade and occupy indefinitely. Okay, so they supposedly haven't decided yet to "delay"--I insist that they are merely preparing the US public for the inevitable. Or, in other words, the ruling class is once again "manufacturing consent".

Do you have to be Jewish to report on Israel for the New York Times?

by Jonathan Cook from Redress. More about how Zionists have such a powerful influence in the way US media covers issues related to Israel. The article, like others, exposes the incestuous relationship that US media has with Israeli authorities, but I think that Cook also "pulls his punches" when he writes:
I do not want here to suggest there is anything unique about this relationship of almost utter dependence. To a degree, this is how most specialists in the mainstream media operate. Think of the local crime reporter. How effective would he be (and it is invariably a he) if he alienated the senior police officers who provide the inside information he needs for his regular supply of stories? Might he not prefer to turn a blind eye to a scoop revealing that one of his main informants is taking bribes, if publishing such a story would lose him his “access” and his posting? This is a simple cost-benefit analysis made both by the reporter and the editors who assign him that almost always favours the powerful over the weak, the interests of the journalist over the reader.
So, is he suggesting that this police agency-criminal metaphor applies to Israel's relationship to the Palestinian Territory or to the neighboring Arab states? Apparently he is. His comment also begs the question, "why don't media journalists need the same access to Palestinian or other Arab authorities?"

Greece: Theives [sic] fall out, workers suffer

from Green Left Online (abridged from MR Zine). The article uncovers some details of the raid on the Greek economy (specifically, on the economy of the working people of Greece) that mainstream media doesn't want you to know about--an illustration of how, under capitalism, the strong prey on the weak.

Beer globalisation hits Latin America

by Benjamin Dangl from Green Left Online.  While the beer industry consolidates and concentrates, as an example of the globalization of capitalism, Bolivia strives to go local with its home grown beverages.