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, September 22, 2012

Former US Ambassador Outlines Post-Election Interventions against Venezuela

Click here to access article by Lee Brown posted on Upside Down World via Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

The significance of this report regarding efforts to subvert the Venezuelan government following their upcoming elections is that it is published in a prominent US ruling class journal, Council on Foreign Relations, and authored by a former US ambassador to that country. This illustrates once again that subverting governments all over the world to serve the interests of the Empire and its One Percents is an ongoing operation.
In an extraordinary paper released last week, former US Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy, outlined a range of military, financial and diplomatic measures that the US should be prepared to take against the Chavez government after the coming elections on October 7th.
In the paper, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, Duddy’s recommendations include that in the event of “an outbreak of violence and/or interruption of democracy” the US should use various means to “to communicate to the Venezuelan military leadership that they are obliged to uphold their constitution, respect human rights, and protect their country's democratic tradition” and “organize a coalition of partners to limit an illegitimate Venezuelan administration's access to government assets held abroad as well as to the international financial system.”

Over 150 Organizations to Call for Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing Through the Global Frackdown

Click here to access article from Food and Water Watch

The article reports on the growing worldwide opposition to hydraulic fracturing.
"...the good news is that communities all over the world aren’t buying what the oil and gas industry is selling: more extreme energy fueling more extreme weather. They’re organizing inspiring actions all over the world to turn up the heat on the fossil fuel industry and its bought-and-paid-for political cronies.”

An increasingly controversial form of energy extraction, fracking involves blasting millions of gallons of water mixed with carcinogenic chemicals underground to release natural gas and oil from tight rock formations. Drilling and fracking has been linked to water contamination and climate change, and the process has been responsible for industrializing rural areas, destroying property values and undermining local economies.

A Lukewarm Victory: The End of the Chicago Teachers’ Strike

Click here to access article by Matt Reichel from CounterPunch.

Since the end of the teacher's strike in Chicago (Sept. 18), which many have seen as a pivotal event in the war on public education perpetrated by the One Percent, I have been trying to assess the results by surveying a number of online articles. All sides have claimed victory, but it is clear that one's evaluation is based on one's standard of success. This article is one of the more balanced assessments in terms of the interests of the 99 Percent. 

However, I thought it useful to offer a sampling of various points of view. Probably the most informative with a broader perspective is this. As could be predicted, the worst piece from a mainstream media source, which represents the One Percent, was this from Fox News. The most positive assessment from a left source was this. The most negative from a left source was this.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Seven Left Myths about Capitalism

Click here to access article by G.B. Taylor from the Institute for Social Ecology

This author provides a much needed critique of what passes for leftist views in the US. Maybe it's all an issue of semantics over what constitutes the "left". The whole political spectrum has shifted to the right in the US since the end of WWII. However, I think his criticisms are directed too much at Occupier activists many of whom are not, and have never identified themselves, as the "left". They are simply large numbers of people who have been severely threatened by the recent collapse of the economy. The old, real left was decimated and nearly totally destroyed, and many of their followers contaminated by limiting liberal views. He only touches on this in a few sentences:
Many historical factors sustain today’s fuzzy thinking about capitalism. One is the legacy of the Cold War: the collapse of “actually existing socialism” and resulting “End of History” consensus only strengthened a hysterical anticommunism that made talking about capitalism, let alone socialism or communism, almost impossible in the United States. Systematic repression from McCarthyism to COINTELPRO also contributed to the rise of a left which largely neglected political economy for 40 years, while more robust critiques and history of capitalism languished in ever-dwindling sectarian Marxist circles.
As I see it, after the McCarthy period, the US ruling class focused on destroying their "communist" rival, any government under their influence, and attaining world dominance under a capitalist system. They relied heavily on building a huge military machine and engaging in both direct and indirect wars against any governments who impeded their ambitions. This gradually took a toll on US workers in the form of a slow, steady decline in their wages and living standards. Then with the neo-liberal regime takeover of government in the 1980s, the US ruling class went global in their capitalist operations. They no longer needed American workers --there were so many in the 3rd world and developing countries that were much easier to exploit. To pacify and/or distract US workers from this development, One Percent propagandists have continued to refine and use more subtle methods to increase their control over all forms of indoctrination and by providing numerous forms of entertainment and consumer gadgets.  

This history, I think, accounts for the degeneration of the US left which in the 1930s represented real threats to the system. So, it is not surprising to me to find current activist critiques as weak, confused, and misdirected as they are. Most of the current, remaining capitalist critics are liberals whose critiques are as he has described in his insightful article. It will take time and experience for many people to recover a more fundamental, radical view of capitalist societies and what is needed to establish a new system to serve the needs of the 99 Percent. Taylor's criticisms of existing activist views contributes to this process of radicalization.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pacific FTAs advance amid Sino-Japanese tensions

Click here to access article by Bill Weinberg from World War 4 Report. 

This acute observer of world political events offers some interesting views on the ominous current events in the Far East. The title of his blog indicates that he understands that politics in our post-WWII capitalist era is really warfare by another means (compare with Clausewitz aphorism), and he interprets recent events in this area accordingly. However, as he points out, there are two competing tendencies: toward conflict over resources in the East China Sea and toward cooperation in the form of neoliberal policy agreements. Then there is the love-hate relationship between US corporations who love cheap Chinese labor, but worry about the growing power of China as a threat to the Empire's world dominance.

It's all very complicated, and who knows how it will play out. One thing is sure: if we as working people continue to allow ruling classes to manipulate us to serve their interests and dictate our history as we have in the past, then we can expect devastating wars, economic and social disasters, police state rule, and ecosystem destruction to be our future.

WikiLeaks: America’s Shia Tools in Lebanon

Click here to access article by Sabah Ayoub from Al Akhbar

Wikileaks scores again! This time it is through intercepted cables between the embassy in Lebanon and Washington; cables which illustrate how the ongoing use of bribes and other rewards are used to undermine political processes in targeted countries via NGO financing to serve the interests of the Empire. 
...as the leaked cables demonstrate, even the US diplomats were surprised by the enthusiasm, courage and initiative shown by some informers. From 2006 to 2010, these individuals and others provided the US embassy with detailed information and analyses on every arcane issue the embassy had inquired about – and sometimes even without it asking.
This select series of cables highlight the US plan and identifies some of the Lebanese Shia proxies used to implement it, including politicians, civil society activists and clerics. 
(There are still many ways to donate money to Wikileaks to support their efforts and Julian Assange and Bradley Manning in their legal battles.) 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Undercover cops secretly use smartphones, face recognition to spy on crowds

Click here to access article by Darlene Storm from ComputerWorld

This article illustrates that the One Percent's enforcers are continuing to refine their police state methods by the using uncover agents to fill databases with activist facial photos. The databases can then be used to track activists with sophisticated facial recognition software.

Craving for More and More Wealth. Refusing Capitalism

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from Global Research

In this succinct article the author demonstrates that he clearly understands the system that is destroying our lives and the planet. For example:
Capitalism does not want a well-informed, educated populace that is aware of its disfranchisement, exploitation and manipulation. It does not require disenchantment and revolutionary murmurs, but acquiescence and passivity from a population that is distracted by infotainment and the advertising industry and its products and looks to its leaders to save it from their fears and confusions.

Global economic inequality: the billionaires vs. the penniless

Click here to access article by Deniz Kellecioglu from Real-World Economics Review Blog

In contrast to the ongoing devastation to the lives of the 99 Percent, the One Percent is richer than ever. But, that is inevitable under the system of capitalism which is controlled by them for their benefit. The liberal author carefully avoids mentioning the system; but, to his credit, he points briefly to a very subversive idea:
Surely an inclusive, participatory and democratically functioning economy is the ideal alternative. The real challenge is, in my opinion, how to get there (the transition), especially considering the necessary process of empowerment and disempowerment.

Demolishing Palestine

Click here to access article by Michelle Woodward from Jadaliyya

This might be more poignantly entitled, "Demolishing Palestine--One Palestinian Home at a Time". The article captures this ongoing tragedy and human rights crime against Palestinians better than any article I've seen for some time. It was to stop these crimes that Rachel Corrie, a Washington state neighbor of mine, lost her life to an Israeli bulldozer while protesting.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

180+ arrests on Occupy Wall St. anniversary — in pictures

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

The author posts more photos of the deterioration of dissent in the US. Is it possible now that the One Percent control all mainstream media versions and images of "freedom and democracy" in their New World Order, public displays of dissent will no longer be tolerated? Could it be that even the most peaceful displays of dissent is now verboten and any who engage in it will be subject to arrest? 

From this site and others (see this and this) we learn that the enforcers of the One Percent are employing a new method to intimidate protesters:
The NYPD learned from last year that kettling and mass-arresting 700 people on the Brooklyn Bridge only adds fuel to the populist fire of the movement. They've now resorted to random snatch-and-grab tactics, meant to disrupt group solidarity, stir up confusion and fear, and minimize media exposure. And given that thousands of Occupiers from across the country are in New York this weekend to celebrate the movement's 1-year anniversary, the snatch-and-grabs of September 15th, mainly targeted at journalists and originators of chants, are meant to do little other than intimidate the group and discourage others from marching on the 17th. [my emphasis]

In contrast to Amerika, people in many parts of Europe are still allowed to protest by the authorities. In Portugal we see dissenters turning out in massive numbers.

#StrikeDebt: Occupy morphs into debt resistance movement

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution
On Monday, Occupy Wall Street celebrated its first birthday. As thousands descended upon Lower Manhattan and poured back into Zuccotti Park, home to the protest camp of last year, an interesting buzz has been doing the rounds in the media and blogosphere on where the movement currently stands — and where it might be headed in the future. Predictably, those on the right claim that Occupy is dead, while those on the left maintain that it’s only barely begun.
It’s all a familiar ideological gainsaying that will ultimately do very little to change the predicament in which we find ourselves. Whether Occupy is dead or not, the goal should be neither the revival nor the survival of the movement in its old form — the point is to perpetually keep evolving, devising new forms of action to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Interestingly, this is precisely what appears to have happened over the summer. [my emphasis]

Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You!

Click here to access article by David Graeber from The Anarchist Library

Take Graeber's test to find out if you are an (shudder!) anarchist! You may not want to take the test; because if you, indeed, are an anarchist, you must be prepared to be excommunicated by much of American society that has been taught that anarchists are right up there on the list of America's enemies along with Muslims, terrorists, rapists, and child molesters.

Monday, September 17, 2012

South East China Sea; A Perfect Crisis for the International Crisis Group

Click here to access article by Christopher Black, James Henry Fetzer, Alex Mezyaev, and Christof Lehmann from nsnbc.

This lengthy article provides a major and important political analysis of the US/NATO Empire, its radically regressive policies, methods, and intentions all of which are leading the world down the path of barbarism. The authors provide some suggestions about how nations can counter and reverse this catastrophic path.

The title is meant to be ironic in that it refers to a group sponsored by George Soros called the "International Crisis Group".
With respect to the  territorial dispute about areas in the South China Sea, between the Philippines and China, a recent report by the European, Soros Funded, International Crisis Group, ICG, is revealing US/NATO´s strategy. While the ICG is overtly claiming to be working on crisis resolution, the report has in fact to be understood as an analysis of, how the crisis can be managed to secure the best possible outcome for the modo-colonial and globalist powers.

Hungary Throws Out Monsanto AND The IMF

Click here to access article by Raúl Ilargi Meijer from The Automatic Earth.

What the satisfying title leaves out is that the IMF, which is a prime force for neoliberalism, is bringing its weapons of mass financial destruction to bear on Hungary.
The IMF and EU, like the tandem team of Monsanto and Washington before them, act like schoolyard bullies. It's become their standard MO, and it usually works. Portraits of Orbán [Hungary's Prime Minister] as a fool, a reckless idiot and a dangerous populist, on par with that of Hugo Chavez or newly found international enemy Rafael Correa, are much easier to find than those links to Wikileaks Monsanto cables. It would be good to see Orbán continue to stand up to the IMF bullies, but he may not have that choice. They can simply financially bleed him dry, like they have so many other countries and their leaders. It's a time tested model.    

Hollywood stirs Middle East plot

Click here to access article by Christof Lehmann from Asia Times Online.

In this article the author raises a question to which he offers an answer.
The low budget movie that by ridiculing Islam triggered violent protests throughout the Middle East and the storming of US embassies raises the question of whether the explosive reactions to such insults are really caused by a few Mohammed cartoons, as in 2006, and cheap movies, which very few in the West had even heard of before the protests they apparently create.

Climate Armageddon: How the World's Weather Could Quickly Run Amok

Click here to access article by Fred Guterl from Scientific American

This article is adapted from Guterl's recently published book, Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It. Because recent evidence is causing many scientists to re-examine their timelines of climate change, he looks at nine potential tipping points that could each radically alter our planet's ecosystem and force much more catastrophic effects within the next 300 years. Then, if they all happen at once and reinforce each other, it could be much sooner. Fred Guterl is an award winning journalist and executive editor of Scientific American.
Climate scientists think a perfect storm of climate "flips" could cause massive upheavals in a matter of years.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kevin Kumashiro on Chicago teachers' strike

Click here to access brief article and audio player to hear this professor talk (from 9:25m to 19:00m on the player) about the real issues related to the current Chicago teachers strike, how they are being framed by major media in conformance with leading neo-liberal advocates of both political parties, that these views on education are based on ideology and not on research, and how the framing of educational issues is being carefully limited to narrow, commonsensical constructs to distract from the larger issues of poverty, racism, class size, and widely varying school resources. 

Sinister September: Zionist Anti-Islam Plot Simmering

Click here to access article by Ismail Salami from The Palestine Chronicle.

More than the recent film, the author writes about all the current and recent efforts of anti-Islamists and Zionists to defame Islam which mainstream media mostly ignores. He paints a much larger, more serious picture that suggests an international campaign.
...western mainstream media try to deceive public opinion and interpret the making of the film in the light of freedom of speech. Hurting the sentiments of over one billion Muslims across the world does not fit in the definition of freedom of speech. In fact, it is an affront not only to all the Muslims but also to believers of all faiths and religions.