A discussion of the capitalist economic system would not be complete without an examination of the issue of externalities incurred within it. An externality is a cost or benefit that is thrust upon a group that did not choose or cause it. Externalities are a natural byproduct of a capitalist, free market system and are a major factor when considering the causes of global climate change. These externalities would include such things as industrial manufacturing causing extreme air pollution, which effects human and non-human life, water pollution caused by the runoff of chemicals in industrial farming practices, massive over-fishing that depletes the fish stock for small communities and individual families, a high unemployment rate and extreme income disparities, and so on.
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, June 28, 2014
Because corporate media omits so much about what corporations and their ruling class agents are doing in Honduras in their news coverage, most Americans have no idea why Honduran children and many adults, not only from Honduras but most of Central America, are fleeing their countries. These authors are trying to fill that gap with this article which most Americans will overlook in the plethora of dumbed-down corporate news coverage.
While the Honduran president enjoys World Cup soccer games in Brazil, over 50,000 children, many Honduran, are detained in detention centers and warehouses on the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Republicans and even Hilary Clinton have called for immediate deportation and for these children to be “sent back.” Politicians claim these children are migrating because of DACA or the possibility of gaining legal resident status. While the U.S. media has focused on wild sensationalist stories about kids being told to migrate, their reports obscure that crossing Mexico is perilous and most Central American immigrants face rape, assault, dismemberment, hunger and even death.
A report from The International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations presents alarming case studies of protest suppression and criminalization of political and social dissent around the world.It seems to me that there are three other obstacles preventing the overwhelming majority of the world's population from asserting power for themselves: the insistence of dissent only in the form of non-violence to counter ruling class violence, the belief in the legitimacy of elections managed by ruling classes, and ruling class's 24/7 indoctrination programs in media and schools.
The insistence on only the most passive non-violent forms of protest by "peace" activists such as Chris Hedges in the face of increasing violent methods of police forces regardless of constitutional guarantees has discouraged many from engaging in any public displays of protest. I think it is imperative that citizens throughout the world recognize that constitutions are not worth the paper they're printed on when tiny ruling classes control the means of violence. Participating in elections rarely change in a significant way the policies of ruling classes. At most, they can delay the worst policies. Finally, the 24/7 indoctrination programs colonize the minds of citizens to confuse and distract them from a real understanding of the oppression they are suffering from.
To counter the four obstacles--the violence of police forces, the belief that we must only engage in the most passive forms of non-violent protest, participating in meaningless elections, being dumbed down by ruling class indoctrination--we, the people of the world, must be willing to consider other forms of protests; participate only in elections if we can delay the worst of ruling class policies; establish our own media and think about establishing our own schools if we cannot exercise sufficient control over public schools.
Tony Blair was involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital in London this morning following what doctors describe as an extended period of delusional behaviour.
This is another contribution to my occasional practice on Saturdays to run articles about our fellow citizens of the One Percent (actually .01 of the 1%, or one out of every 10,000 of us) hoping that by doing this that we don't lose touch with their world and their concerns--you know, to promote understanding. It is important that we become better acquainted so that we can serve them better and make it easier for them to carry out the daily burden of making important decisions, decisions which affect whether we go off to war in foreign lands to kill their enemies, if we have jobs, if we live in a home or under a bridge, if we can afford their health care services, education, etc.
Unfortunately, for some reason they tend to hide their lives from the rest of us behind walls of secrecy, literal walls of guarded gated communities, private clubs, esoteric publications, by traveling with private jets, etc. We should not let that deter us.
From CNN we learn that the One Percent have worries too--I'll bet you are surprised.
Just because you make seven -- or eight -- figures, doesn't mean you live on Easy Street. The rich are just as stressed about money as the rest of us. Here are five things that keep the 1% up at night.According to Emily they go to bed worrying about the hassles of where to park their yachts and Lear jets. Now, I'm sure those are things that you don't have to contend with. But, that's not all--another major worry of theirs that we don't have is hiring the right help. So, consider yourself lucky!
The ultra wealthy need a lawyer, an accountant, at least one housekeeper, a nanny, a chef, chauffeur, landscaper, decorator, personal assistant, security, and possibly a crew for a yacht or jet.
And their standards can be high. It's not easy to find a nanny who speaks three languages and knows martial arts, or a body guard with a concealed weapons permit who can travel the world.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Although this writer could have done a better job of documenting his allegations, his analysis of the operations of US ruling class directors, their allies, especially rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council in creating ISIS, the general chaos in Iraq, and nearby areas is very accurate based on my own close observations of events in the Middle East. US actions were engineered largely by neocons in the Bush administration and still active in the Obama administration who, of course, closely identify with the interests of Israel.
An all-out regional sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites might not have been the goal, but it is certainly the result. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the region should have known that Iraq, Libya and Syria, without strongmen like Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Bashar al-Assad at their helm, were likely to implode into chaos. Who might ultimately profit from fueling a fratricidal war within Islam? Could this be a strategy of ash and ruins, preliminary to the expansion of the Jewish state into the so-called Greater Israel?See also "The rise of ISIS in Iraq is a neocon’s dream" from Al Arabiya, "US-Sponsored Terrorism in Iraq and “Constructive Chaos” in the Middle East" from Global Research, and "Fear and loathing at Hotel Babylon" (Pepe Escobar) from Asia Times Online.
Teachers in Seattle are standing up to plutocrats like Bill Gates to oppose their view of education:
In 2014 political power resides in monetary wealth and public policy is being determined by the mega-rich not the expert practitioner-in many professions. No one is asking teachers what schools need. .... People must stand up to this oligarchical shift and reclaim public schools with the whole child at the center. Business reformers need to spread their expertise in places where they know what they are talking about. Teachers are experts when it comes to student learning. Ask us what kids need to thrive and learn. We are happy to tell you.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
The Chairman of the Largest Private Company in America Just Told the 1 Percent to Worry About Climate Change
Eshelman describes a report supported by some highly influential capitalists warning about the economic consequences of climate change to their capitalist enterprises.
The report, titled "Risky Business," is the first comprehensive assessment of the economic risks of climate change to the United States. It was commissioned by a panel of influential business leaders and former government officials, including hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Bush administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.I scanned the report for any specific recommendations, but could find none. So, I don't think we can infer from the report that our masters as a ruling class will do anything substantial about this threat. The goose of capitalism lays far too many golden eggs of wealth and power for this tiny class for them to seriously do anything about it. Too many of them are aware that to do anything serious would result in the killing of their goose. Like alcoholics most of them will continue to deny that their habits are destructive, and continue with fantasies about having their goose and a sustainable planet. So, the question remains: are we going to allow them to destroy the planet's biosphere that can support human and other life forms?
...Page's [Executive Chairman of Cargill and co-author of report] concern about the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change on US food production has been rejected by the members of Congress who most benefit from Cargill's political contributions. Among the leading recipients of Cargill campaign cash are House Committee on Agricultural Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), Vice Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), all of who seek to strip the US Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Cargill did not respond to a request for comment on how Page's call for action on climate change conflicts with the views of those the company supports financially.
Ortega explains not only what Piketty forgot, but provides a good summary of his thesis in Piketty's important tome entitled Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
Exactingly empirical and deeply multidisciplinary, [Capital in the Twenty-First Century] is an extremely important contribution to the study of economics and inequality over the last few centuries. But because it fails to address the real limits on growth—namely our ecological crisis—it can’t be a roadmap for the next.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
In order to press ahead and open economies to private concerns, proponents of economic neoliberalism are always fond of stating that ‘regulatory blockages' must be removed. The continued pursuit of such economic policies serves to widen the chasm between rich and poor and is putting the livelihoods of hundreds of millions at risk. If particular ‘blockages' stemming from legitimate protest and dissent cannot be dealt with by peaceful means, other methods will be used. W hen increasing mass surveillance or widespread ideological attempts to discredit and smear do not secure compliance or dilute the power of protest, beefed up ‘homeland security' and paramilitary force is an ever-present option.
Across the globe, powerful corporations and their compliant politicians seek to sweep away peoples and their indigenous knowledge and culture in the chase for profit and control. They call this ‘development'. They will allow no one to stand in their way.
...accessible pirate radio transmitters built from Raspberry Pi boards can join projects like PirateBox, Project Byzantium, Serval, and other tools to create local communication networks. While PirateBox and Project Byzantium create localized Internets and Serval connects mobile phones without the need for network coverage, pirate radio stations create localized radio content that can be used to connect us to our neighbors and greater community for entertainment and useful information - and help during dire emergencies when centralized infrastructure fails.
While many appear frozen in perpetual fear of Internet "kill switches," the growing surveillance state, and a creeping Orwellian control grid, others are building alternatives that circumvent, undermine, and will eventually replace the increasingly unappealing nature of big-telecom. Indeed "kill switches" and invasive surveillance are problems, which is precisely why communities must unite and build alternatives that eliminate dependency on compromised infrastructure in the first place.
Ahmed has recently discovered the works of Robert David Steele and is quite impressed with his vision and optimism about the future. Ahmed first discovered Steele's vision by reading his books. Then he followed this by a recent interview with the author which is detailed in the article.
Although people like Ahmed, the people at Reclaim, and Occupy Wall Street are very impressed with Steele's vision, I remain rather skeptical. There is nothing that I've read in this and related articles about an economy centered on the core concept of private ownership of socially produced wealth. Such an economy is the cornerstone of the powerful edifice of capitalism and its tiny ruling class. This system not only provides enormous wealth to its owners, but the more addictive substances of overwhelming power and control. Addicted people do not give up their drugs of choice lightly. In spite of all the neat charts and the mantra-like repetition of "Open Source", I don't see much hard evidence to support Steele's optimistic vision. Nevertheless, with such people behind it, I think it is worth our examination.
The first of a new generation of genetically modified crops is poised to win government approval in the United States, igniting a controversy that may continue for years, and foreshadowing the future of genetically modified crops.Referring to what Dow Chemical calls the Enlist Weed Control System, Keim reports:
If there’s any common ground, it’s this: If the Enlist system is approved, much more herbicide will be used in the United States. According to the USDA, somewhere between 78 and 176 million pounds of additional 2,4-D could be used on U.S. crops by 2020, up from 26 million in 2011.
A widely used class of insecticides poses a threat on par with that of DDT and is harming ecosystems worldwide, a global team of scientists finds.
Their damning analysis based on 800 peer-reviewed reports, the Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems (WIA), puts a spotlight on neonicotinoids, or "neonics," whose use they say poses a threat to global biodiversity.According to Wikipedia, the pesticides are produced and marketed by some of the largest chemical corporations across the globe: Bayer, Dow Chemical, Sumitomo Chemical, Sygenta, etc.
See also this article from Friends of the Earth: "New tests find bee-killing pesticides in 51% of “bee-friendly” plants from garden centers across U.S. and Canada".
The world's oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel [Global Oceans Commission] said Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
In terms of cost to the United States, hundreds of thousands of soldiers who had served in the war zones have sustained severe physical and mental injuries, while thousands have died directly or indirectly through an epidemic of soldier suicides. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost the United States trillions of dollars and counting. Despite the immense costs to the American people, the military-industrial complex and the pro-Israel power configuration continue to keep the US government on a wartime economy – undermining the domestic social safety net and standard of living of many millions.
The two authors provide us with an excellent examination of Black Bloc tactics as recently practiced in Brazil.
Due to the explicit distrust that the majority of Black Bloc supporters have towards the media, especially the mainstream channels, it is really hard for society at large to obtain access to the ideologies and reasoning that guide their actions on the streets. The key, and most provocative, element that causes a big fuss in public opinion is the use of violence as a legitimate tool of protest. The arguments given by Black Bloc participants to justify their sometimes violent direct actions are essential to understanding all the dimensions of that phenomenon. Still, the ideological motivations and reasoning behind these actions is not well understood by the great majority of the population, whose only contact with the Black Bloc is through the mainstream media.
David Graeber: “Spotlight on the financial sector did make apparent just how bizarrely skewed our economy is in terms of who gets rewarded”
David Graeber is an American anthropologist who teaches at the London School of Economics. .... Last year, he wrote a much-discussed essay asking what happened to society’s old promise of more leisure time for workers; for the tasks that have come to occupy the hours that were once promised to be ours, Graeber invented the delicate and slightly obscure label, “bullshit jobs.”Graeber seems to be the current American left's contribution to radical thought, but I have my doubts. In this commentary I am going to argue that he is functioning more as a gatekeeper for the capitalist ruling class than undermining their rule and their system. See if you agree.
I charge him with "gatekeeping" because the thrust of his thesis about the many jobs which he alleges serves no purpose diverts attention away from the capitalist system onto unspecified others. Thus, no one is to blame or everyone is to blame. It seems that everyone is stupid or irrational by working in "bullshit jobs". Graeber's use of this expletive reminds me of many people who use such words when they don't have a solid argument: an expletive serves to drive a point through its shock value.
Initially in the interview he seems to be blaming socialists for the emphasis on work as a value in and of itself. Later he makes a tentative reference to a system, but immediately directs your attention elsewhere: mostly onto a universal "we". Examine two key passages:
We see in the first passage that he mentions an "economic system", but then immediately directs our attention to a labor movement. Instead of explaining why the system produces "bullshit jobs", most of his arguments in this interview seem to imply that the unnamed system is simply stupid. (In his original essay of last year, he mentioned the capitalist system, but only once!) He totally overlooks the radical fact that the controllers of the capitalist system, from which they derive so much wealth and power, have provided many "bullshit" jobs in their economy in order to make the system function. I'll give one example from my own experience.
- I think we need to attack the core of the problem, which is that we have an economic system that, by its very nature, will always reward people who make other people’s lives worse and punish those who make them better. I’m thinking of a labor movement, but one very different than the kind we’ve already seen. A labor movement that manages to finally ditch all traces of the ideology that says that work is a value in itself, but rather redefines labor as caring for other people.
- I think we need to start by redefining labor itself, maybe, start with classic “women’s work,” nurturing children, looking after things, as the paradigm for labor itself and then it will be much harder to be confused about what’s really valuable and what isn’t. As I say, we’re already seeing the first stirrings of this sort of thing. It’s both a political and a moral transformation and think it’s the only way we can overcome the system that puts so many of us in bullshit jobs.
For about six years I worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor serving adults with a wide range of disabilities: from drug/alcohol addiction to physical disabilities. Theoretically, we provided job counseling, training, and medical services in order to make them employable. However, under a capitalist bureaucracy our jobs inevitably evolved into "bullshit jobs" in order to crank out numbers of successful "rehabilitation closures" to justify bigger budgets and bigger bureaucratic empires.
To accomplish the latter, we were pressured to accept for services everyone who entered our building, workup an extensive file on them, and then close them as successful. At one time I estimated the amount of time I was doing the actual work of making real disabled people employable versus the others. I realized that I was spending 50% of my time doing "bullshit" work. The ruling class directorate didn't really care about putting people with disabilities to work. What they really wanted and got was providing jobs for educated, angry young people during the period when so many were protesting against the Vietnam War.
During these years I was sufficiently aware of why these jobs were created by the system and why they functioned the way they did. They were set up under the Lyndon Johnson administration in order to pacify the anti-war movement and generally stifle dissent among the college student population by providing them with jobs. In those days young people were questioning everything, particularly the Vietnam War, the oppression of minorities and women, the assassinations of the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Black Nationalists, and other activists. Thus, "bullshit" jobs were needed to pacify the population. There are many other reasons for such jobs, but there are always reasons as to why they exist in terms of serving the system and its ruling class. Hence, they rarely are "bullshit" to the masters of the system.
However, this sort of analysis is completely missing from Graeber comments. He seems to suggest that we are all responsible and need to re-orient our thinking. He refers to an ideology, but fails to elaborate on how the ideology serves the system and how a labor movement could overcome this powerful weapon of the ruling class. I wonder if this sort of political analysis is the reason that Graeber was hired by a major ruling class university in their economics department.
Monday, June 23, 2014
From Ten Yeas On we learn:
Sami Ramadani was a political refugee from Saddam's regime, and is now a senior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University. Sami was active in campaigning against the brutal sanctions imposed on Iraq in the '90s, and against the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.
Although US corporate media constantly portray the current conflicts in Iraq as sectarian, Meyssan develops the unique argument that such reports provide cover for the real competition of giant oil corporations.
While the Western media portray the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant as a group of jihadists reciting the Qur’an, the ISIL has started the oil war in Iraq. With the help of Israel, it has cut off Syria’s supply and guaranteed the theft of oil from Kirkuk by the local government of Kurdistan. The sale will be assured by Aramco who will camouflage this diversion as increased "Saudi" production.
Vltchek's article and photos provide an excellent antidote to all the hate-filled propaganda one gets in corporate media. The article follows the introduction by Patrice Greanville, the editor of The Greanville Post.
What I found was an impressive country. Under embargo, under constant threat of war and annihilation, yet proud, self-reliant, hard working but also fun loving.
People of this country can sing and dance, they can enjoy free time, but also produce rockets and automobiles, even communication tablets. I saw a lot of love and tenderness between the parents and their children, as well as between spouses. I saw cities being built for the people, not against them, as they are in turbo capitalist or feudal countries like Indonesia or Philippines.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements
Right now, the representatives of many of these firms are engaged in late-stage negotiations with the U.S. and European political leaders that would make it financially calamitous for a nation-state to take any actions against the interest of corporations. If passed — and at this rate, it almost certainly will be — it will be the biggest bilateral trade deal in the history of mankind.
LS: Are Wall Street interests at the very heart of the deep state?
PDS: ...CIA is as powerful as it is because of its connections to Wall Street and – it used to be almost the same thing – its connections to big oil, because the big oil companies used to be based in New York and they were put together by, and they operated as a cartel that was defended successfully by Sullivan & Cromwell, which was a Wall Street law firm that — not accidentally — John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were senior members of.
Yes, the Wall Street is important; it was then, it is historically easy to show, in the 1950s and I do in my book. It is harder to show in the present but there are many indications I think … One thing is, the deep state, we should mention, is going more and more multinational as the corporations go multinational. Exxon is a multinational firm and there are some US firms, notably Blackwater, which is this kind of private army that turns up in various places. Germany I'm seeing, I believe in Germany your press has said that Blackwater or a subsidiary of Blackwater is operating in the Ukraine.
LS: Yes, that is true.
PDS: What we call an American corporation has now technically its headquarters in Qatar, in the Persian Gulf.
...now that child migrants from Honduras and other Central American countries have begun appearing on America’s doorstep, the formerly negligible crises in the region has suddenly been upgraded to an “urgent humanitarian situation” by President Barack Obama.The writer lists some of the US promoted crimes against the people of Central America, but seems to be blaming the American people for their lack of interest until it impacts them. Well, there is plenty of blame to go around, and we ordinary Americans share some of it.
But the most blame must be put on the doorsteps on ruling class media which does not report the crimes that US and Canada corporations, paramilitary armies, and US puppet governments commit against Central American populations. You see, it's bad for business, for the business of these corporations is to get access to the silver, gold, and other minerals that lie beneath their lands. I know generally what is going there because I receive almost daily reports of atrocities committed against these people, all of which goes unreported here.