As long as the companies running the banks are driven by capitalist values they must be driven by the drive for profit, and therefore risk. This would not be so important if the activities of the privatised banking sector were not a liability on the public. But the financial system is interconnected and the only way to save some parts is to save the whole. The speculative sector can only be separated if the deposit-based sector is not part of the capitalist system and if its credit creation capacity is brought under democratic control.
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, May 15, 2010
Until all of our students gather around the same table for organic food grown in their own communities, the parents and teachers talking about it are like the adults we can’t understand in a Charlie Brown movie.
Political waters are boiling all across America, including California. One of the areas this is happening is the Tenth Amendment Movement, which takes seriously the last of the Bill of Rights, which reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
How many local governments got sucker punched on fancy financial deals, and how much is it going to cost taxpayers to pay Wall Street? Nobody knows.
We continue to find examples of hard-earned taxpayer dollars going to Wall Street. Money that should be invested in students, classrooms, and fixing infrastructure in Pennsylvania is instead lining pockets on Wall Street.
Video showing his photographs
In early February, the cost of insuring against a sovereign default in Western Europe exceeded the price of similar protection against default by North American investment-grade companies. That was the first time this had happened....It appears to me that we, the ordinary and working people of the planet, are approaching a scenario that reminds me of the old mining and timber companies in the US where everyone "owes their soul to the company store"--the latter being the world banking and financial elites. In this scenario, everyone works their entire lives to pay off the debts to the company store, but somehow always end up going deeper into debt.
Whether directly through an increased US military presence or indirectly by compelling the Pakistani military to go on the offensive in North Waziristan and other areas, the Obama administration is drawing Pakistan into the broader American quagmire in the region. It is no accident that increased pressure on Islamabad comes as the US military is preparing to launch a major offensive to stamp its control over the southeastern Afghan city of Kandahar. The Times Square incident is simply a convenient pretext to demand parallel action on the Pakistani side of the border.
Under the banner of the “war on terrorism,” President Obama has escalated his so-called AfPak war, which, along with the occupation of Iraq, is aimed at securing American economic and strategic dominance in the key energy-rich regions of Central Asia and the Middle East.
Friday, May 14, 2010
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Obama administration’s chief budget official sounded a similar note, warning that Washington must take action to slash its deficit, which is expected to exceed $1.5 trillion this fiscal year, or “wind up facing the sorts of choices that Greece now faces.”
Urban sprawl, roads choked at rush hour, motorways swamped by lorries, are everyday phenomena. Capitalism in its current form, built around the detached house and the car, around just-in-time distribution and the free movement of merchandise, has also globalised the city. The watchword of modernity, mobility (of things, capital, even people), has superseded all other considerations. Everything must move all the time. This generates gigantic infrastructure projects that turn the city upside down, transforming it into a thoroughfare. Have the architects of this frenzy forgotten that cities are also home to people who want a peaceful life?
When the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) met in Chicago last week they were, no doubt, elated to hear that the U.S. State Department would be aggressively confronting critics of agricultural biotechnology.
Wouldn't you think the State Department might have more pressing issues than carrying water for Monsanto and the rest of the biotechnology industry?
In the weeks following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, regulators at the federal Minerals Management Service granted approval for 27 new drilling plans in the region—and exempted 26 projects from environmental review. While the Obama administration has put the brakes on new drilling, a number of exploration plans already in the works appear to have been green-lighted.
...they discovered that teenagers who had received higher-quality child care were less likely to report engaging in problem behaviors such as arguing, being mean to others and getting into fights. Those who spent more hours in child care of any kind were more likely to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors. And those who received moderately high- or high-quality care scored higher on tests gauging cognitive and academic achievement.
...The researchers stressed that the benefits of higher-quality care were modest -- a difference of just a few points on standardized tests measuring reading, math, memory and other cognitive abilities, and self-reports of behavioral problems. Other factors, such as the influence of parents and family members, were clearly more important. However, the findings held true even after the researchers took those and other factors into account.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
For the last two years, the weak economy has provided an opportunity for employers to do what they would have done anyway: dismiss millions of people — like file clerks, ticket agents and autoworkers — who were displaced by technological advances and international trade.This report provides an excellent illustration of what lies ahead for working people as technology enables capitalists to increasingly dispense with workers in their relentless search for profits.
It must be understood that this technology has been the result of the creative efforts of many generations of working people since the time when humans first began using tools. Before capitalism came on the scene and after the advent of class based societies, only the wealth produced by working people was largely claimed by their masters or rulers. However, shortly after the Enlightment human intelligence gave humans the ability to harness nature's gift of fossil fuels to replace the most onerous forms of human labor, and technology along with productivity developed at a rapid pace.
Out of this new development a new ruling class called capitalists took control of societies and laid claim to all the technology that workers developed as they learned how to exploit this new form of energy by inventing machines. These claims constitute the private property laws that capitalists created. (Hence it is still true today that any new technique that workers discover or create is claimed by the owner of the property on which this happened.) Capitalism accelerated this process stoked by the fabulous wealth that could be accumulated by individual owners of productive property.
As a result we have today a tiny population of owners of all this wondrous technology and productive capacity and the rest of us are becoming increasingly disposable. That, and capitalist outsourcing to cheap labor countries, is mainly why working people throughout much of the advanced Western world are coming under increasing attacks not only in the form of unemployment, but attacks against social entitlement programs, pensions, and welfare safety nets.
However the impending decline of resources, especially fossil fuels and the climate distortions caused by this form of energy, will be having a major impact on all our futures. Capitalists are increasingly using war as a means to control access to resources. Employment in the military is increasingly being seen by young people as the last opportunity for income security. It is becoming obvious that "these are times that try men's souls"--like never before in human history.
The working class will now pay for these huge sums of money in the form of welfare cuts, wage cuts and unemployment. With the new euro rescue package, the European governments have placed themselves completely at the mercy of international financial capital. If they do not drastically reduce their budget deficits, the next wave of speculation will inevitably follow. If the financial guarantees are then called upon, the holes in the state budgets will grow, demanding even greater austerity measures.
May has seen an upsurge in local organizations exercising their human rights to housing. Most people recognize that international human rights guarantee all humans a right to housing. With the millions of homeless living in our communities and the millions of empty foreclosed houses all across our communities, groups have decided to put them together.
I really don't like the title of this article. I think it should be something like "US ruling class disinformation campaigns since WWII"--and as such it provides an excellent summary of these campaigns that all Americans need to study. The campaigns primary role was to roll back all the gains made in the 1930s by the labor movement and the liberal capitalist reforms advocated under the Roosevelt administration. It is astonishing to me that this old Cold War mentality is still functioning among US propagandists and political figures on the right.
Nowadays this campaign has been surpassed by propaganda associated with the "war on terror", and "anti-immigration" is also finding its uses.
A change of lifestyle cannot be imposed; it has to evolve from insight, wise restraint and changes in perspectives on social values. In some areas this is already visible: buying food from ever farther away is no longer quite so popular. Local products – especially food – are already showing that nearness has strengths, and can compete with distance. ...People can find more calm in nearness. Bike rides can reveal undiscovered qualities in closeness, in lieu of sitting in weekend traffic jams on the motorway.
"It Is OUTRAGEOUS That The Banks Are Coining This Much Money From A Subsidy That No One Even Remembers Any More!" (4:14m video)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
...Prof. Dr. Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen (France) and his co-workers who came under severe attacks by representatives of the agro-biotechnology industry and aligned scientists.
It’s a good thing for Elena Kagan that there’s no non-GMO litmus test for Supreme Court nominees. She’d flunk.
Listen Tonight! KBOO Special Report: The Insanity Of Our Oil Addiction - Connecting The Dots In The BP Oil Disaster - Tonight 6-7 PM Pacific Time
Air date: Wed, 05/12/2010 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm Pacific Time
Featuring radical Texas populist Jim Hightower, renowned author and activist Antonia Juhasz (The Tyranny of Oil), discussing the real issues behind the BP oil spill currently gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer and public speaker who has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.
Pressure: We’ll be facing a whole lot more of it in the future, is my prediction. So instead of cowering and crying “Uncle!” before the action really gets going, I’d like to suggest that you consider what’s coming a sort of tempering of will, a survival challenge, a check on community resilience, and a test to measure your sanity. Don’t bow. Don’t apologize. Don’t back down and say “I’m not up for the challenge.” Be feisty.
Ask yourselves: is it possible for mortgage originators, ratings agencies, underwriters, insurers and supervising agencies NOT to have known that the system of housing finance had become infested with fraud? Every statistical indicator of fraudulent practice – growth and profitability – suggests otherwise. Every examination of the record so far suggests otherwise. The very language in use: "liars' loans," "ninja loans," "neutron loans," and "toxic waste," tells you that people knew. I have also heard the expression, "IBG,YBG;" the meaning of that bit of code was: "I'll be gone, you'll be gone."The basic problem with his conclusion, "Either the legal system must do its work. Or the market system cannot be restored." is patently false. The ruling class has always functioned in this fashion until the system breaks down. This is followed by a lot of hand-wringing, blame laying, Mea Culpas, etc, and then the process starts all over again.
He perpetuates the myth that the US has a body of laws that are based on a democratic system. The reality is that the capitalist elites essentially make their own laws--obviously to serve their interests. What we have, that is, what they have designed for us, is an elaborate fake democracy behind which they hide their crimes. This will continue as long as the system continues.
So his Mea Culpa for the economist's profession rings false. The reality is that economists under this system serve the ruling capitalist class and their interests. Their careers depend on it.
So long as nations have hierarchical leadership, they will have escalating hierarchical greed, power hunger and destructive folly -- and therefore, eventually approach hierarchical evil at some point. It may be an old saw, but power does corrupt.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
For more information on this subject, see this.
WMR [Wayne Madsen Report] has been informed by sources in the US Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the Obama White House and British Petroleum (BP), which pumped $71,000 into Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign -- more than John McCain or Hillary Clinton, are covering up the magnitude of the volcanic-level oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and working together to limit BP's liability for damage caused by what can be called a "mega-disaster."
High Frequency Terrorism: How the Big Banks and Federal Reserve Maintained Their Death Grip Over the United States
This is part 3 of 6 (a link to all parts are in the article), but I found it to be the most interesting, and their explanation for the sudden dramatic drops in the stock market very plausible. I think that they have constructed a very good case for the stranglehold of the US economy and society by the financial elites.
At the end of the article they provide links to a website devoted to solutions which I feel are only an attempt to reform the capitalist system. Their solutions may provide some short term relief, and as such I would not oppose them. However, I believe the system itself is totally incompatible with ecological limits and social justice, and thus I feel that it must be fundamentally changed.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I've been surprised and pleased at how easily doors open to relocalization efforts. It seems like a series of no-brainers, people doing the obvious. People seem ready to move into action. Perhaps that's because the need for it is real and people realize that!
The current oil spill invites a coming together of many social movements, including those inspired by the recent indigenous gathering in Bolivia and mainstream groups with a new opportunity for principled battle against the Obama administration’s embarrassing energy legislation which green-lights more off-shore drilling. It remains for progressives to move beyond a single-issue focus to make the connections between Wall Street, war, and environmental destruction.The fundamental connection, of course, is the system of capitalism which Hayden is unable to name.
These events have revolutionary consequences internationally. As speculation rises against Portugal, Spain, and other European countries, it is increasingly clear that workers around the world face a common enemy: a parasitic ruling class that has enriched itself through the bailout of the financial system and wants to enforce huge cuts in jobs, pay, and benefits everywhere.
This well argued and supported article that our economic system is leading ordinary Americans into ever increasing debts and poverty illustrates how left political thinkers in the US are unable to name the real economic system. Here it is called by various names: neo-feudalism, peonage, and serfdom. The author came closest when he made reference to "globalization", the current phase of capitalism.
Whether such authors understandably do this to protect their careers or are simply in denial that the capitalist system could lead to such undesirable effects is not clear.
Here is part 2.
New analysis of 40-year-old recording of Kent State shootings reveals that Ohio Guard was given an order to prepare to fire
What a dilemma! The planet can’t sustain our pattern of consumption, but people get steamrolled in the economy when consumption slows down. The solution is to figure out how to structure the economy so that people can meet their needs without trashing the planet.
If President Obama has his way, Elena Kagan will replace John Paul Stevens -- and the Supreme Court will move rightward. The nomination is very disturbing, especially because it's part of a pattern.
The biodiversity trends are almost all negative: the declines are exponential and potential tipping points loom, Lovejoy, a leading tropical biologist, told Tierramérica. He led the scientific review committee of the GBO3 and will publicly launch the report Monday at the opening of the Convention on Biological Diversity science meeting in Nairobi.
Fundamentally of course there is very little difference between the three parties, thus it’ll be a haggle over things like ‘reforming’ the electoral system, education and perhaps scrapping the ID card. But the buzzword is ‘the national interest’, something the three parties and the media are all agreed on. But with the electorate almost equally divided, what does the term ‘national interest’ mean? Perhaps a visit to Greece is in order after all? The bottom line is that all three parties are agreed that some ‘painful’ decisions are going to have to be made, the only difference being when and who is going to need a shot of morphine and a side order of Valium.
...So this is what is meant by ‘national interest’. ...the ‘national interest’ is newsspeak for preserving the rule of capital and making us pay for it.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
SB 1070 makes it crime to walk the streets of this state without clutching your passport, green card, visa, or state ID. It not only empowers, but requires cops to demand paperwork if they so much as suspect a person of being undocumented.
The bill also makes it a class one misdemeanor for anyone to “pick up passengers for work” if their vehicle blocks traffic. And it makes a second violation of any aspect of the law a felony.
It’s fitting that the notion of climate debt reverses the normal debt relationship between the First and Third worlds. For decades, rich world governments and banks have insisted poor countries repay high-interest loans on time, regardless of the dreadful social outcomes.
When any country has defaulted on its repayments, powerful creditors such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank step in with privatisation programs and other neoliberal measures. Such programs have benefited Western corporations, while worsening poverty for people in the global South.