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, January 4, 2014

In India, a Spectre is Haunting Us All

Click here to access article by John Pilger from CounterPunch.
India has become a model of the imperial cult of “neo-liberalism” – almost everything must be privatized, sold off. The worldwide assault on social democracy and the collusion of major parliamentary parties — begun in the US and Britain in the 1980s– has produced in India a dystopia of extremes and a spectre for us all.

Susan George on the secret capitalist cabal behind European austerity

Click here to access article by Claire Provost from The Guardian

Susan George is one of my favorite contemporary authors. As you can see, her previously published The Lugano Report is on my essential readings list. She is one of the cleverest authors on the left which she demonstrated in the latter book, and appears to be doing so in her latest book. Her literary medium is the most piercing satire of the rich ruling classes imaginable.

I'm not sure that this liberal writer for The Guardian quite got George's irony when she wrote this:
If George can seem obsessed with secret cabals hatching grand plans for world domination, she's quick to say she does not believe in conspiracies – only interests and well-thought-out strategies to further them.
Essentially George is attacking the neoliberal order which is creating islands of the very rich and powerful amidst oceans of poor everywhere in the world. 

Land Conflicts in Argentina: From Resistance to Systemic Transformation

Click here to access article by Zoe Brent  from Up Side Down World.
As conflicts over land have increased in Argentina, resistance efforts by peasant farmers and indigenous communities have taken many forms. From land occupation to a politics of participation and appealing to international human rights declarations, indigenous communities and peasants are using a combination of legal tools, international appeals and direct action to resist dispossession. .... In order to directly challenge dominant systems of production in Argentina, the MNCI [National Peasant and Indigenous Movement] embeds these legal strategies in a broader political project of promoting food sovereignty through collective action. 

Tailored for Sharks

Click here to access article by Mary Louise Malig from the Transnational Institute.

This is the introduction and content directory from the linked-to PDF document which succinctly reports on everything that ordinary people need to know about the World Trade Organization. The introduction lists the key questions that the report aims to answer. 

Although the PDF document indicates that it is 24 pages in length, in reality the script is much shorter due to charts, blank pages, references, and other formatting.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Major social transformation is closer than you may think

Click here to access article by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers from Reflections on a Revolution. (Please note that the Bill Moyer referred to in the article is the American activist and should not be confused with PBS's Bill Moyers.)
The social movement in 2014 is poised to begin an exciting era of broadening and deepening the growing consensus for social and economic justice. This articles focuses on where we stand — in other words, at what stage of the progression of social movements we find ourselves — and broadly outlines the next steps.

Saudi ‘Gift’ to Hide its Terror Hand

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Press TV.

There have been many horrific terrorist events in the past month in Iraq, Russia, and Lebanon, and in the past decade in the Middle East, Eurasia, and Russia. Evidence keeps accumulating to indicate that the Saudi Kingdom is behind them with the US Empire and Israel often complicit in these crimes. Remember also that there was significant involvement in 9/11 by Saudi citizens. 

See this, this, this, this, this, and this for more information about the evidence.

See this for the latest update on the "gift". This is another illustration of how Saudi oil money collaborates with Western weapons manufacturers to sow chaos in the Middle East.

An Open Letter to the Makers of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf Himself

Click here to access article by Christina McDowell from LA Weekly.

The author who has tons of inside knowledge about the events depicted in a recently released film, "The Wolf of Wall Street", blasts Hollywood for glorifying greed. Well, isn't that the purpose of all institutions in a social system organized by capitalism? After all, there is no alternative, so we might as well "suck it up"--even better, to glorify the capitalist lifestyle. (sarcasm)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Economic winners and losers in the US since 2007

To access the source of these graphs from postings by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog, click here and here

Economists love to make charts, but there are two I found today which really portrays what you probably suspected was happening in the US. Since they crashed the economy (2007-2008) with their housing bubble, distorting the economy with accelerated military spending, and gambling with their new, exotic financial instruments, our rich masters in the capitalist ruling class have gotten much richer and the rest of us much poorer. Warren Buffet was absolutely correct when he said even as early as 2006 that "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.” The question I have for my readers in the 99 Percent is how much longer are we going to passively submit to this war on our lives?

Although economists at this website are great at producing such charts, they are rather empty-headed when it comes to interpreting them. It is said that a picture can convey a thousand words, but these graphs suggest a far greater number of words. 

In my ramblings on the world wide web this morning, I found what I believe to be an adequate interpretation of these charts. This is a piece written by Christopher Ketcham written in the autumn of 2010 and published a year later in Orion magazine. It is entitled "The Reign of the One Percenters". I highly recommend it.

Showdown in Seattle: Boeing Workers Take a Stand & Take the Heat

Click here to access article by Carl Finamore from CounterPunch.

The current negotiations over a labor contract between Boeing and the International Association of Machinists union provides a good illustration of what even organized union workers are up against when facing corporate Goliaths. Machinists (Local IAM District 751) at the Seattle area Boeing plants are putting up a brave fight against the takeaways that Boeing demands, and they must also contend with their parent union officials.
...Boeing workers are up against mounting threats of job losses. They are feeling it every day from the media, from politicians, from government, from Boeing, and most disgracefully, they are experiencing gross interference from their own international officers under the pretext of giving members a right to vote.

The Jan. 3 vote will be watched closely. Don’t these workers deserve our full support if ever we are to escape the spiral of concession bargaining and “race to the bottom?”
However, not only does Boeing want to take away benefits from Boeing machinists, they also are demanding and getting from the state of Washington substantial benefits. Without these jobs the local economy and tax revenues to the state could be greatly impaired.
...Washington state passed legislation offering Boeing $8.7 billion in tax breaks over 16 years, the largest state corporate subsidy in U.S. history.
Also, to get more details on what Boeing workers are up against, read this piece by a machinist posted on Labor Notes.
Here 35-year Machinist Jim Levitt gives a shop-floor view of the dispute, with Boeing and IAM International leaders on one side and local officers and members on the other.

Typical Media Doublespeak - You Never Get to Retire

Click here to access article by Rowan Wolf from Uncommon Thought Journal. 
In typical corporate media fashion, my local paper places totally contradictory articles - not only in the same edition, but on the same page. The big headline reads "Portraits in Aging Gracefully." It is a human interest story about three local women in an upscale "retirement community."  The women interviewed in the article "talk about lives well lived and what lies ahead." Just to the left of the banner story is "Retirement fiscal cliff is looming worldwide".... 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Flirting with Sauron: The Risks of Trusting the Snowden Story

Click here to access article by Kevin Ryan from his blog Dig Within.

Ryan is another alert blogger who is troubled by the latest twists and turns of the NSA's documents related to the agency's surveillance of electronic communications of people throughout the world. The first person, that I know of, to question some of the inconsistencies in Snowden's release of a few of his stolen documents was Naomi Wolf, and more recently joined by the most fearless truth-seeker and whistleblower of all, Sibel Edmonds, at her Boiling Frogs website.

Given the ruling class's propensity and long history of contriving and manipulating information and events along with their other powerful weapons in their huge arsenal they use in their insatiable addiction to more wealth and power, we must always be on guard for such practices. Thus far I have not reached any conclusions about the Snowden story, but I think we all must have the courage demonstrated by real whistleblowers such as Edmonds to examine the evidence carefully as it is revealed. Ryan provides an update on some of the most troubling aspects and provides a summary of various people who have questioned and continue to question.

2014: One step ahead

Click here to access article by Michael Theødosiadis from Eagainst (Greece).

If you want to review significant events from 2013 with their implications for the year ahead, you can't do much better than this article.
Here is 2014, one step ahead, a year where the spirit of resistance has to continue everywhere, where the struggle against oppression, whether it is called neoliberalism or religious fundamentalism has to carry on.

US farmers caught in GM herbicide-resistance treadmill

Click here to access article re-posted by the Global Justice Ecology Project team in Climate Connections from Biosafety Information Centre

I normally post articles from their original online source, but in this case GJEP team's introduction to the article offered additional insights as to the significance of the scientific evidence reported in the article from Biosafety Information Centre.
This is the same line of thinking followed by the GE tree industry.  Creating herbicide resistant or pesticide producing trees will not decrease the amount of herbicides and pesticides used in industrial timber plantations.  Instead, it will create resistant weeds and pests, requiring new herbicides and pesticides.  This, of course, is actually good news for the biotech and chemical industries, since their profits will increase when growers have to buy new and more chemicals, or more high tech seeds and seedlings, to deal with the supposedly ‘unforeseen’ consequences of previous seed traits.  As they say, capitalism is a pyramid scheme.

-The GJEP Team

Warming climate may cut cloud cover, push temperatures even higher

Click here to access article by Tim Radford from Climate News Network.

Scientists have recently found another deadly feedback phenomenon driving global temperatures higher than previously thought.
“Climate skeptics like to criticise climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect, but what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by those models that predict less warming, not those that predict more”, said Professor Sherwood.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Washington plays Russian roulette with missile defense

Click here to access article by William Engdahl from RT

This geopolitical analyst extraordinaire exposes the lies of nuclear defense to Western audiences inundated by the lies manufactured by corporate propaganda machinery. 

What remains unspoken, however, is the bigger lie that capitalist regimes can ever have relationships of peaceful coexistence with each other. This class of people whose ancestors invented the system of ownership over wealth producing enterprises are now addicts to the wealth and power with which their system provides exclusively for them. The addictive obsession to acquire more of wealth and power requires that you compete with others who have the same motivation or who present obstacles to your pursuit of both.

With the technical ability to destroy one's competitors--in this case entire nations--seemly without suffering retaliation is now a reality that lies under the control of the Empire's sociopathic leaders. Once again, we see the specter of a nuclear Armageddon haunting our very existence. 

The pseudo-legal arguments for a police state

Click here to access article by Tom Carter from World Socialist Web Site.
Responding to United States District Court judge Richard Leon’s decision earlier this month calling NSA surveillance “almost Orwellian,” Judge Pauley employs the argument that every dictatorship throughout history has made in one form or another: that “national security” and the threat of “terrorism” necessitate the abrogation of democratic rights.

Zapatismo and the Latin American cycle of struggles

Click here to access article by Raúl Zibechi from Reflections on a Revolution.

This militant journalist and writer from Uruguay provides us with a survey of grass-roots organizations in Latin America and points to some interesting commonalities among them.

Argentina Heat Wave Stirs Pot of Political Unrest in Buenos Aires

Click here to access article from Revolution News.

Are we seeing our future in the current heat crisis in Argentina?

The lights are out in Buenos Aires. Citizens of at least 11 districts in the capital city of Argentina have been without power for 2+ weeks. Water supplies run on electrical pumps so many are also without water. Early reports said at least 374,000 families have been affected by the blackouts according to Infomedia Argentina.

A scorching heatwave hit the country 2 weeks ago with temps over 100 F / 40 C. The increase in demand caused massive failure of the power grid and no one is sure when or how it can be fixed. Mauricio Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires has declared a state of emergency. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Is the New York Fed Too Deeply Conflicted to Regulate Wall Street?

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

Although naive liberals like this author fail to understand the class nature of our government, they perform a valuable role in our understanding of how government functions because of their knowledge gained from actually working in key institutions and/or their academic study of these institutions.  

New York bankers have historically have played key roles in our ruling class and its government. The roots are seen in the histories of key banking families: the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Warburgs who were related to the Rothchilds international banking family. (See also this and this.)

US judge rules NSA phone surveillance program is legal

Click here to access article from RT.

Recent court rulings related to lawsuits against the NSA for spying waged by citizens and citizen advocates. Only a few weeks ago a District Court judge ruled in favor of citizens in a lawsuit filed by a conservative legal activist, today we learn that another District Court judge ruled in favor of the NSA's right to spy on Americans in a lawsuit filed by the liberal American Civil Liberties Union. Who do you think will eventually win on this vital Constitutional issue? If you understand how the One Percent's government works to serve their needs, then you will easily arrive at the correct answer--the NSA and all other government/private contractor spying programs. 

The issue really goes back to the original meeting held behind closed doors by key figures of the emerging property class in the US following their successful War of Independence from Great Britain. They came up with a new set of rules known as the US Constitution to replace the rules known as the Articles of Confederation to consolidate their power in a much more centralized government. Then they needed to have this version passed by two thirds of the thirteen states.

Having been indoctrinated by the One Percent's schools, most people do not understand how the Amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights came about. The newly formed capitalist class needed to add "a spoonful of sugar" in order to get their property oriented constitution ratified by the states. Thus, the Bill of Rights was tacked on the original Constitution because of widespread opposition by ordinary people in the original 13 semi-autonomous states of the United States. The ruling class's promotion of this new Constitution was essentially a coup engineered behind closed doors by major property holders of the states while attending a convention that was only supposed to be modifying the Articles of Confederation.  

They knew perfectly well that under their new Constitution that they could control a powerful centralized government from any democratic inference from below, and therefore they need not worry about the Amendments. To illustrate how seriously these people, reverently referred to as our "Founding Fathers", took these Amendments, bear in mind that only nine years after the Constitution went into effect they passed the Sedition Act which made it a crime...
To write, print, utter or publish, or cause it to be done, or assist in it, any false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the United States, or either House of Congress, or the President, with intent to defame, or bring either into contempt or disrepute, or to excite against either the hatred of the people of the United States, or to stir up sedition, or to excite unlawful combinations against the government, or to resist it....
Our ruling class has never hesitated to pass such legislation whenever it suited them as we've seen with the Espionage Act of 1917 and the imprisonment of citizens of Japanese ancestry during WWII as the most egregious examples. So, you see that these Amendments which supposedly secured liberties for citizens was never taken seriously by this new ruling class. 

Now we are witnessing a very paranoid ruling class who insist on full spectrum surveillance over all citizen activities including journalists and their courts will, without doubt, find that these practices are permitted under the US Constitution.

Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit

Click here to access article from the staff at Der Spiegel (Germany).
It was thanks to the garage door opener episode that Texans learned just how far the NSA's work had encroached upon their daily lives.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.

Click here to access article by xraymike79 from Collapse of Industrial Civilization. 

If you are able to look at humanity's future trajectory squarely in the face, then you must follow this blog which captures it with artistic flair. Although I'm still not satisfied with its emphasis on the correlation between this trajectory and "industrial civilization", the blog continues to introduce in one way or another the role of capitalism in determining the trajectory. 

The system of capitalism, which was constructed by a class of people whose rule is based on the exploitation of their fellow men and nature, is now confronting the natural limits of the biosphere. We humans have a choice. We either affirm life by overthrowing the system and the One Percent who profit from it, or we just continue "to go along to get along" and keep our eyes averted from the inevitable: a harrowing dystopia and extinction. 

A manifesto for independent media

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.

The author from this revolutionary collective sees the crucial necessity for an independent media if there is to be any hope of escaping the rapidly developing dystopia of capitalism. Any victories we achieve can only come about by breaking the corporate media and conventional academic lenses that prevent us from seeing our way out of this dark cave of despair and doom.
...if we don’t find ways to connect our various national struggles by articulating a global critique of the capitalist world-system and a radical vision of a post-capitalist society, we will be forever doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
He insists that the tools and the material are available for us to construct an alternative to the mind numbing and distorting views of capitalist disinformation. It is time for the construction to begin. 
Only by collectively constructing our own autonomous nodes and networks of communication, only by generating our own participatory platforms to mediate other ways of seeing things, other ways of engaging with the world around us, can we liberate ourselves from the mental incarceration forced upon us by those in power.