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 10, 2012

Understanding Unemployment: Keynesian vs. Marxian Explanations

Click here to access article by Ismael Hossein-zadeh from State of Nature. 

The author takes on the widely publicized Keynesian advocates and uses Marxian concepts to argue his central thesis: 
A major flaw of the Keynesian reform or restructuring package is that it consists of a set of populist proposals that are devoid of politics, that is, of political mechanisms that would be necessary to carry them out. They rest largely on the hope that, in an independent or disinterested fashion, the state can control and manage capitalism in the interest of all. This is, however, no more than wishful thinking, since in reality it is the powerful capitalist interests that elect and control the government, not the other way around.

Students: Plan your escape from academia before you enter it

Click here to access article by Denis G. Rancourt from his blog, Activist Teacher. 

It appears from the content in his article that he is really telling students, "plan your escape from [the brainwashing of] academia before you enter it."
Plan to weather the storm without buying into the lies. Cynicism is only a face-saving way to buy into the lie. It won't save you. You need to actively push the limits of your resistance every step of the process in order to discover yourself and preserve yourself. This will also expose the true nature of the beast that wants to eat you.

You won't make friends with the bosses and you won't be rewarded with high grades and praise but you will learn more and be more authentic. You will prepare yourself for a real life in the real world, not a class-secluded life in a superficial world. You will be more able to love yourself and to love others. It's not called "the good fight" for nothing.
Few people, either entering students or people who have come out of the system by graduating, understand the insidious indoctrination that occurs in higher education. This is carefully hidden from all because of the current ruling class's need to disguise its rule by their constant use of democratic rhetoric to describe our system of government. Indoctrinated education is only another illustration of the principle of hierarchically designed societies: the top or ruling class will always influence subsystems to serve their interests.

For more details on this process of indoctrination, I highly recommend that you read a book entitled Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt.

Scooter Libby v. Bradley Manning

Click here to access article by Saul Landau from CounterPunch. 

The author provides us with an excellent opportunity to compare two outcomes based on the release of state secrets by someone who serves the One Percent ruling class with someone who serves the interest of the rest of us--the 99 Percent. In the first case there was a lot of information also released that was intentionally deceptive and resulted in millions of deaths resulting from war. Of course, this disparity in justice runs throughout the legal system, as well as every other system of this class structured society that pretends to be democratic.

Privatized Meat Inspection Experiment Jeopardizes Food Safety

Click here to access article by Anna Ghosh from Food & Water Watch.

Austerity explanations are used to transfer government assets and agency roles into private ones for the obvious benefit of the ruling One Percent. This article illustrates this trend with the current Department of Agriculture's experiment with private inspection of the meat and poultry you eat. Yes, that's right, we should turn over meat and poultry inspection to unaccountable profit oriented companies because government must cut costs.
In the name of budget-cutting, more defective and unsanitary poultry contaminated with feathers, bile and feces could make its way to consumers if the USDA’s controversial pilot project for privatized inspection in poultry slaughter plants is expanded.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Meet Occupy Wall Street’s ‘outside agitators’

Click here to access article featuring a fairly lengthy interview with two activists, from Waging Nonviolence.

The activists are "among the most vocal and respected advocates of anarchist ideas in Occupy Wall Street’s Direct Action Working Group [in NY City]." 
Sparrow: Quite frankly, I view every article that has come out—Chris Hedges, and Rebecca Solnit to a slightly lesser degree, but in other ways more insidiously in my opinion—as playing into that strategy of divide-and-conquer, where we are pitted against each other and put in the position of having to reaffirm the solidarity that we have taken for granted. We’re made to be accountable for the actions of people that we don’t even know because we support their overall struggle. Also, we’re wasting our time on constantly bickering about whether or not Oakland should have brought shields while they were being shot with flash bang grenades.

That narrative, first of all, is incredibly statist. It reaffirms state power. It is allowing the state to set our agenda for us. It is allowing the state to manipulate us and tell us who our friends are and are not.
...It also in many ways erases the real conversation that we should be having, which is that the police are brutalizing people. Every single day. Not just in the context of Occupy, the police brutalize people constantly. And, by talking about whether or not Oakland should have brought shields to this march is absurd in the extreme. We should be talking about the fact that they were being shot at in the first place.

Five Things American Youth Will Do To Change the World in 2012

Click here to access article by Mikayla McDonald from John Perkins.Org. 
Youth in America is objectified and sold as a product. Its materiality is assigned incredible monetary value. Yet the intangible merits of youth – its passion, its energy, its idealism, its creativity – are dangerous to the status quo, and we are therefore repressed whenever our rebellious acts move past “cute” or “iconic”. We are one of the most manipulated populations in the United States: our forms are idealized while our mental attributes are belittled and devalued.

UN torture official denounces US treatment of Bradley Manning

Click here to access article by Kate Randall from World Socialist Web Site. 
The UN torture investigator’s denunciation of Manning’s treatment concerns the eight months he was held in Quantico....

During this period, Manning was held in maximum custody and virtual isolation, locked in his cell 23 hours a day and kept under 24-hour surveillance. He was stripped of his clothing at night, and permitted extremely limited access to reading material. For more than a week in early March 2011 he was forced to stand totally naked for morning inspection in front of his cell.

US 'Offered Israel New Arms To Delay Iran Attack'

Click here to access article from AFP (French news service). 
Israeli daily Maariv reported on Thursday.

Citing unnamed Western diplomats and intelligence sources, the report said that during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week, the US administration offered to supply Israel with advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refuelling planes.
It reportedly is a conditional offer: Israel must wait until after the US elections to use the bombs!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cheat, lie, break the law? Chances are, you’re rich

Click here to access article by Martin Mittelstaedt from Globe and Mail (Canada).

As is well known by now, capitalism produces extremes in the distribution of wealth with most going to a tiny minority currently known as the One Percent. (Actually, they constitute about .1 of 1%.) This class of people not only hoard wealth that is produced by the 99 Percent, but they likewise hoard all political power--in spite of what you learned in school. So, I think it is a good idea to learn what this ruling class of people are really like. This study found evidence to indicate that...
The wealthy really are different from everyone else: They’re more likely to cheat, lie, and break the law.
What they didn't mention is that these people break the law with impunity, unless they cheat or steal from members of their own class such as happened with Bernie Madoff and Conrad Black. You see, they make the laws which are designed to be applied to us in the 99 Percent.

The New Orleans Saints’ “bounty” program and violence in American sports

Click here to access article by David Walsh from World Socialist Web Site. 

I think that most people are completely unaware how the top social strata in a hierarchically designed system affects every other element in that system. The capitalist system, which is based on the private ownership of socially produced wealth, functions precisely this way. Here is an illustration of how the One Percent's interest in more profit and power affects the sports sector and leads to some of the grossest practices.
On March 2, the National Football League (NFL) issued a statement detailing the findings of a lengthy investigation into a “bounty” program operated by an assistant coach and between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Bringing Truth to the Youth: AE911Truth University Outreach Repeats its Success at St. Mary’s College

Click here to access article by Hoda El Hamrouni from Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. 

This organization is deconstructing official 9/11 myths one campus at a time. 
The explosive 9/11 evidence may be coming to a college near you. AE911Truth will be targeting the college speaking circuit in 2012, and there are plenty of ways you can help.

The Obama Admins 'Death Committee'

9:53m video excerpt from Russia Today via YouTube.

Columbia law school professor Scott Horton comments on Attorney General Eric Holder's attempt to justify the Obama's administration's declaration that they can decide to kill you if they regard you as a threat. 

Isn't capitalist "democracy" wonderful where one is given the opportunity to choose leaders from the sordid assortment offered by the political parties of the One Percent? Of course, these candidates are not the real decision makers, but the 99 Percent must have their delusions about elections and "democracy" maintained. But, you say, "what about the Constitution? Well yes, that is a nice document, but rather quaint, don't you think?

A more comprehensive report on how Attorney General Holder attempted to justify this new policy is provided by David Swanson from AlterNet. 

Companies Financing Nuclear Weapons Producers

Click here to access article by Tim Wright from Don't Bank on the Bomb. 

There are a few surprises in this rogue's gallery, but mostly it consists of banks, investment companies, insurance companies, and pension funds. Such companies are the feed troughs for the global One Percent ruling classes. It looks to me like they are investing in nuclear weapons not so much because they think they can make an investment killing, but more to keep themselves and their capitalist system safe from the 99 Percent. You see, capitalists can only depend upon their weapons of violence to keep their parasitical system going, and nuclear weapons are the most effective killing machines. Makes sense, doesn't it? Capitalists are the most violent people on the face of the Earth.

What the Frack is in That Water?

Click here to access article by Lena Groeger from ProPublica. 

The latest evidence about the chemicals that may be contaminating your water aquifers and impairing your health.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Attorney General Holder defends execution without charges

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from Salon.

It seems that there is hardly a week goes by that further evidence of the descent into fascism appears. This is change alright, but I doubt that it is "change we can believe in".
In a speech at Northwestern University yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder provided the most detailed explanation yet for why the Obama administration believes it has the authority to secretly target U.S. citizens for execution by the CIA without even charging them with a crime, notifying them of the accusations, or affording them an opportunity to respond, instead condemning them to death without a shred of transparency or judicial oversight.
The article is fairly lengthy. For something shorter I recommend this piece from the ACLU entitled, "Video: Holder Talks About Targeted Killing Program While DOJ Says It Can't".

The “Cancer” In Occupy? An Anarchist Reponds

Click here to access article by David Graeber from The Occupied Wall Street Journal. 

This is a modified version of Graeber's piece originally run on an obscure website called N+1 on February 9th, which I posted here on February 11th. Because Chris Hedges' article trashing the Occupier movement got so much attention over the internet, and Graeber's response has gotten so little until now, I am posting this slightly modified article once again. 

Graeber, unlike Hedges who loves to sermonize from a privileged middle class position, is thoroughly qualified to speak about Occupier tactics having been a participant observer for several years, a professional anthropologist, and anarchist. 

He is the author of an excellent anthropological study entitled, Direct Action, which is about direct actions used in anti-globalization protests at various elite summit meetings . I cannot recommend this book enough to understand all issues related to Occupier activism occurring today.

Movements are planning European mass protests against policies of pauperization

Click here to access article from European Resistance
The 400 participants of the Action Conference from February 24th to 26th in Frankfurt/ Main, Germany, have decided to call for days of protest from May 17th to 19th against the crisis dictatorship of the European Union. We resist the disaster that is applied to Greece and other countries, against the impoverishment and denial of rights of millions of people and the practical abolition of democratic procedures resulting from the decisions of the Troika consisting of ECB, EU and IMF. 

#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines

Click here to access article by Jennifer Sacks from The Occupied Wall Street Journal. 

I am posting this to let all non-activists know that the Occupier movement in the US is alive and well and active across the country. It is so inspiring to see courageous young people, and not so young, across the country organizing and fighting for their futures. This is only a taste of what is to come later this year. Corporate media will have a hard time ignoring their efforts in spite of all their coverage of infotainment, election circuses, and celebrity fixations. 
This week in Occupy, more than 80 Shut Down the Corporations actions on #F29 signaled a spring resurgence, student activists across the nation marched for an affordable education and the Occupy movement introduced the mainstream media—and the country—to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Shot in the Face: Pepper-Sprayed U.C. Davis Students Tell Their Story

Click here to access article from ACLU.

Last Fall UC Davis students learned how police function when they merely sit down in protest at tuition hikes. Read and listen to their comments about this experience. 

Nowadays, people who protest or actively resist policies dictated by the One Percent are treated like Israeli police treat Palestinians. Political operatives of the One Percent have learned from their Israeli counterparts how to deal with dissidents. We of the wide-awake 99 Percent are all Palestinians now.

Republic Windows Workers Consider Employee-Owned Co-Op

Click here to access article by Laura Flanders from The Nation.
They are on an exciting track. If we are going to create an economy of justice, we need not just new popular pressure and new politicians; we need new models of production, distribution, marketing and ownership.
I'm not as excited about this development as this liberal author is. Worker coops are at best a defensive action to save jobs. They can also act as laboratories for workers to learn how to manage their own enterprises democratically. However, even the best run such enterprises must function within an economic system that treats them with actions ranging from benign neglect to hostility. The laws governing enterprises are founded on private enterprise models that emphasize hierarchical systems of authority. Thus, the real solution is to reorganize the entire economic system so that democratically run enterprises can flourish.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“We gather together today not to praise capitalism, but to bury it.” An Anti-Eulogy

Click here to access article by Charles from Revolution by the Book. 

Having once lived in Oakland, California, I know that Oaklanders love to party and recently they came up with a grand idea...well, actually a fantasy about the death of capitalism and they decided that a (early) celebration would be great fun. In these dark days where the brute force of capitalism is not only using its instruments of violence to secure its domination over every place that might have resources that can be turned into profit, but is threatening the very ecosystem upon which we all depend, we need such fantasies to sustain our hope for the battle ahead, to give us the courage to wage the daily effort it will require to transform this fantasy into a glorious reality. 

Read the article and join the celebration!

Jadaliyya Roundtable on Targeted Killing: Introduction

Click here to access article by the editors of Jadaliyya.

The political operatives of the Empire have used targeted killings carried out secretly by the CIA, CIA contractors, and the Mossad for a number of years. With the recent advent of drone technology this has become much more convenient, and clearly they cherish their new weapon of choice to terrorize people into submitting to their dictates.  Now this practice is no longer a secret, and it has become official policy. However, there is one problem they have to deal with--state sponsored terrorism violates national and international laws. There are also other ominous consequences:
...the influence of US and Israeli arguments about the legality and legitimacy of targeted killings may embolden other states to follow suit, adopting the practice and asserting its legality. He warns that because the international community would probably respond to targeted killings by other regimes as terrorism, the current situation portends double standards similar to those which exist in relation to criminal accountability for gross crimes, and the proliferation of nuclear weaponry. He also argues that the use of self-defense rationales by the US to justify targeted killings in various countries has the potential to convert the whole world into a global battleground.
Here are links to four additional segments of this six part series. Apparently there is one yet to be posted.

Hot Earth: Science and anti-science at the AAAS

Click here to access article from Climate Code Red and Radio Ecoshock Show. 

The linked recordings of speeches contained in the article are from a recent conference of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science held in Vancouver, BC. Thus far I have listened only to James Hansen's 29 minute presentation which I found to be outstanding. It is a bit technical in places for ordinary people, but overall I think it provides a clear picture of the crisis that our ecosystem faces if we continue much longer with business as usual.
Dr. James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warns it isn't enough to reduce our emissions. We must actually take carbon dioxide back out of the air, to avoid entering a new and dangerous age of greenhouse living.  

Natural Disasters In 2011 Made For Costliest Year Ever

Click here to access article, a United Nations release on Huffington Post. 

Capitalism's assault on our planet's ecology achieves a new record...for destruction!

US will ensure Israel's "military superiority": Panetta [to AIPAC]

Click here to access article from Al-Akhbar and AFP. 
He touted President Barack Obama's record of security assistance to Israel, saying the administration has "dramatically" increased military aid since Obama entered the White House in 2009, despite the superpower's ongoing economic woes.
I've always wondered what Congressional bills that are used to authorize this welfare grant to Israel for the last--what, 40 years? Unlike bills related to health, education, and welfare in our country, I never hear reports of it being discussed, much less debated. The official figure is always around $3 billion dollars, but I have read reports of military donations being simply flown into Israel and left--which is not accounted for in US assistance figures.

I may have a suspicious mind, but I often imagine that a lot of this money circulates back into the pockets of Congressional representatives to influence their votes.

Yes, I know that Fort Israel is needed by the Empire to control the Middle East, I just wish that there were a little more transparency in this policy. (cynicism)

Treating Sick Rich Folks

Click here to access article by Jim Hightower from Truthout. 
...many hospitals are now going the extra mile to provide top quality care for all.

For all super-rich people....
The author sees a growing trend in hospitals to cater to the whims of the One Percent while cutting back health care for the 99 Percent. This is only a another piece of evidence of what the future in the US will be like under the control of the One Percent. Get used to it...or get active!

Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Fund an American Police State: Real Money for an Imaginary War

Click here to access article by Stephan Salisbury from TomDispatch. (You may want to skip the usual introduction and scroll down to the article.)

The article provides a very good update on the efforts of the One Percent to establish a police state in the US. Although most Americans seem blissfully unaware, it looks to me like this has been largely accomplished. 

It also seems to me that the author doesn't really understand this phenomenon given the subtitle, "Real Money for an Imaginary War". The political operatives of the One Percent are not concerned about some imaginary foreign Muslim agent or terrorist operating in the US to subvert our great "democracy" even though they try their hardest, and sometime succeed, to set up some unsuspecting Muslim to commit a suspicious crime. This is their cover story. These political operatives are not fools.

If you have been awake and follow the hard news, not the usual infotainment one gets from mainstream media, you are already aware that dissidents in the US such as the Occupiers are the real target. You are also likely aware that the One Percent has been globalized--they exist on tiny islands all over the capitalist globe. While they have erased boundaries for themselves, they have set up well policed boundaries for the 99 Percent. Within these areas they carefully surveil any opposition to their rule. They are clearly afraid of us, as well they should be.

On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Conversation

Click here to access video from C-Span's video library.

Yesterday I was lucky to view about two thirds of this C-Span production over the local PBS TV station. It features two very interesting individuals who discuss a variety of controversial political subjects. It is about an hour and half program available at the above link online. I highly recommend it. 
Filmmaker Oliver Stone and author and filmmaker Tariq Ali present their thoughts on the politics of history and what they consider to be hidden aspects of American history. Their discussion ranges across several topics,from American involvement against the Russian Revolution to a profile of the labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World. Oliver  Stone andTariq Ali speak at the New York Public Library in New York City.

Syria and “Conspiracy Theories”: It is a Conspiracy

Click here to access article by Felicity Arbuthnot from Global Research.

The author provides solid documentation to support the well known thesis that the current war in Syria is, at least to a considerable extent, a part of an overall plan to destabilize countries in the Middle East that pursue policies independent of the Empire and to create a new a "New Middle East" that is compatible with the interests of the Empire. 

The first three documents are most important: the first report is on the emergence of this strategy in in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The second is from a US Army War College Quarterly which explains the mission of the US Army: "The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault." The third document is a Wikileaks release of a State Department cable outlining a strategy to destabilize the Syrian government. 

The Saga of Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Wikileaks, to be put to ballad and film

Click here to access article by William Blum from his blog. 

In Bladley's own words:
"If you had free reign over classified networks ... and you saw incredible things, awful things ... things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC ... what would you do? ... God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. ... I want people to see the truth ... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public." 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Witch-Hunt Against CAP & Media Matters Escalates

Click here to access article by Omar Baddar from Jadaliyya.

Israeli leaders and their US Zionist allies are putting enormous pressure on the Obama administration to provide guarantees for a nuclear-weapon-free Iran. Of course, their first preference is that US forces take out Iranian nuclear facilities. They are even going so far as to threaten unilateral military strikes against Iran without these guarantees thinking that their ace-in-the-hole US Zionist supporters will force the US to come to the aid of Israel should the latter start a war with Iran. 

It is a very high-stakes game that Israeli leaders are playing by risking so much harm to Israeli citizens in the event of a war--unless of course they are bluffing. From this article it appears that US Zionists are using every conceivable ploy including a well-funded media campaign and attacks on critics of Israel in order to obtain this guarantee. Of course, the fact the Israel has nuclear arms is simply never mentioned.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the smear campaign launched against two progressive groups, the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Media Matters, for the crime of permitting criticism of Israel to occasionally appear in their analyses. That “crime” is then grossly exaggerated not only into “anti-Israel” accusations, but also into accusations of “anti-Semitism.” The latter charge comes in line with a long history of baseless accusations of “anti-Semitism” leveled against groups, academics, and intellectuals who are critical of Israeli policies. The smear campaign has been exposed and combatted by many....

A Letter To Other Occupiers

Click here to access article by Staughton Lynd from ZCommunications. 

This long time activist and friend of all working people appears to be immortal. I remember reading about, and admiring, all his activist activities in my youth--and I am approaching 76 years of age! 

He brings to this article all the wisdom of a lifetime devoted to peace and social justice. His remarks are centered on three crucial subjects: the importance of building lasting working class institutions, learning from past mistakes made by activist organizers, and the complicated, yet important nature of the practice of non-violence in building trust. Trust is the necessary glue that is needed to bind together the 99 Percent to form a powerful force that can successfully take control back from the One Percent. The prize in this victory is the construction of an egalitarian society where humans can fulfill their wonderful potential, live in peace and in harmony with nature.
We should understand consensus and nonviolence not as rigid rules, or as boundaries never to be crossed, but as a core or center from which our common actions radiate.

Oakland Police Victim
However, Lynd may not be as aware of the more brutal methods that police are using nowadays against protesters and activists. Their arsenal includes much more harmful forms of tear gas, pepper gas, flash bang grenades, bean bag projectiles, rubber coated steel bullets, and many others less-than-lethal weapons. Often they deliberately misuse some of these weapons to injure people by firing at too close of range or aiming at their faces.  

Here in the northwest of the US there are currently three major city police departments that are under investigative for using brutal methods on minorities and protesters--Seattle, Spokane, and Portland. It is exceedingly rare that any disciplinary action is ever taken against a police officer accused of brutality. See this, this, and this.

Everywhere people who protest against the policies and practices of the Empire are now, in a very real sense, all

“Bashar Assad rapes children”: BBC propaganda

Click here to access article by As'ad AbuKhalil from Al Akhbar (Lebanon). 
...the BBC – like all other Western and Arab (read Saudi and Qatari) media rely on whatever accounts the media outlet of the Syrian opposition (all under the control of the propaganda apparatus of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood) provide. Thus, a mere statement by a “witness” is sufficient. And those low standards of journalism are only permitted against the Syrian regime and against the Iranian regime.
The author really should have provided a BBC link to support the title, but I think I have found what he is referring to in this piece from the BBC in which the following statement is made:
"Those responsible for the murder of entire families, the shelling of homes, the execution of detainees, the cleansing of political opponents and the torture and rape of women and children must be held to account," he said. (Foreign Secretary of the UK, William Hague.)
The information coming from the Ministry of Truth (Western media sources under the control of the 1% of the One Percent) is becoming evermore one sided, sensational, and even blatantly false

States Crack Down On Animal Welfare Activists And Their Undercover Videos Eliza Barclay from NPR.

Click here to access article by Eliza Barclay from NPR.

Big Ag is gearing up for a campaign to influence more state legislatures to ban investigative undercover work to expose the practices that occur routinely in their factory farms. Once you watch this 3:47m video, you will understand why. Notice how NPR, a government entity under the control of the One Percent, frames the subject to detract attention away from corporations by its focus on states cracking down on journalists.

Thanks to New Economic Perspectives blog for the posting of video.

You don't need to understand Italian to understand the message in this 2:35m video.