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    Friday
    Apr102015

    Yanis Varoufakis and the Economic Wave of the Future

               Greek Finance Minster, Yanis Varoufakis (who apparently keeps his resignation letter in is pocket just in case he ever begins to feel like he’s turning into a politician), cites Dr. Strangelove, The Matrix, Star Trek Voyager, Mephisto, and the Invasion of the Body Snatchers in this 5/2013 speech, entitled  Confessions of an Erratic Marxist.  It’s a thorough breakdown of modern human economics from a revolutionary Grecian professor who speaks better English than all of us and explains why he is temporarily willing to work with the financial power structure (such as the IMF) in effort to save the Euro in the short-term, thus averting a depression, in order to destroy it in the end.   I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and I hopefully think that he knows what he's doing. 

     

     

    Sunday
    Mar012015

    Ben Swann on the Origin of ISIS

    Ben Swann breaks down how the United States, which will go down as the stupidest Empire in history, is actually responsible for creating the very terrorist group it is now preparing to launch a massive military campaign against, in a region where U.S foreign policy shenanigans have shattered millions of lives and created a Hell on Earth.

     


    Excerpt from the linked article:

    McAdams described the U.S. government as a victim of its own insane policies, due to the fact that it is “very good at blowing things up, but really bad at putting them back together.”

    In determining whether or not McAdams’ statement was true, Swann listed three facts:

    Fact #1: “Our government armed Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and created al-Qaeda.”

    Fact #2: “Our government put Saddam Hussein into power – we helped supply and create chemical weapons for him to use against Iran in 1980 – and then we overthrew him in 2003.”

    Fact #3: “Our government trained rebel fighters in Syria who would become the group today known as ISIS. We have watched them commit every violent atrocity you can imagine to people living in Iraq and Syria, and now we want American taxpayers to fund a 30-year war with them.”

    Swann came to the conclusion that it isn’t the U.S. government being held hostage by crazy policies; rather it is the American people.

    “It is time that we reject the destruction of people groups around the world for the sake of foreign policy that makes so-called defense contractors rich, and perpetuates violence, death, and the destruction of entire people groups,” Swann said. “This is the central issue of our time – because humanity is greater than politics.”

    Saturday
    Feb142015

    Ashton Carter: No Word of Peace

              Alice Slater, New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, breaks down Obama’s pick for the next Secretary of Defense (head of the U.S military), Ashton Carter.  She scratches the surface of this man’s past genuflections toward the weapons and defense industry.   The Senate approved his nomination 93 – 5, which demonstrates the obsequious, acquiescent, complacent, and no-questions-asked nature of the military-industrial-Congressional-complex.  Previously serving as the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer, Carter has advocated preemptively bombing North Korea, arming the Ukrainian government, and opposes shutting down Guantanamo Bay.  He has made tens of thousands of dollars from advocating war, pushes nuclear weapons production, and has consulted for defense corporations time and time again. Due to previous conflicts of interest, Cater required an ethics wavier to join the pro-war Obama administration.

     

     

     

             There is no word of peace from this man.  Please, for the love God, do not vote for any major party in the 2016 U.S National Elections. 

     

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LkyWQ2RS8Zk/VNLW9erMweI/AAAAAAAAQig/U_r2jkpPKEU/s1600/EUCOM%2BImage.jpg
    Image from: http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2015/02/obamas-new-secretary-of-war-ashton.html

    Wednesday
    Jan282015

    The State of the Union Address vs. Helena Norberg-Hodge, the Importance of Localization, and the Death of the Techno-Economic Juggernaut

    As for the developed countries from which this corrupting ethos of progress goes out: more and more their “growthmania” distorts their environments and robs the world of its nonrenewable resources for no better end than to increase the output of ballistic missiles, electric hairdryers, and eight-track stereophonic tape recorders.  But in the statistics of the economic index such mad waste measures out as “productivity,” and all looks rosy.

                                                                                                                                    -E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

     

    During the State of Union address last week, President Barack Obama insinuated that Congress should grant him Fast Track authority (trade promotion authority that cannot be blocked by Congress) to make real the embryonic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TPP) without directly referring to this nascent legislative monstrosity by name.  He promised that, unlike previous trade agreements (such as NAFTA), the TPP would lead to domestic job creation, boost worker protections, and help the United States maintain its economic lead over China.  Obama was speaking to a vegetated Congress comprised largely of sluggish old white men, and upon hearing a reference to a trade deal the pyschostimulants in what is left of their brains kicked-in and they went wild. 

    At a time when we should be talking about devising and supporting policies and practices to safeguard the natural world and restore the health of the global forests and seas, the corporate-backed government of the United States, in pushing forward the TPP, is talking about propping-up and perpetuating a money-driven, consumption-obsessed, and self-destructive economic system which sees the all the earth as fecund land that is to be transformed or exploited for private profit and the oceans as expansive aquatic interstates upon which to transport plastics and electronic goods to market. 

    In times such as these, it would behoove us to turn away from the opportunistic talking heads that care little about the health of the planet and those that reside upon it, and listen to those people who have for decades advocated a system of economics which respects and supports life.  One such person is Swedish-born author and activist Helena Norberg-Hodge, and here is video footage, accompanied by excerpt highlights, of her Economics of Happiness Speech at the International Forum on Globalization’s October 2014 conference, Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth:

     


            I really believe that we need a global movement to deal with a global problem, which is the global economy. 

            We really are now talking about the ninety-nine percent waking up to the immense suffering that is being imposed on them by a blind, giant, techno-economic system.  It’s a juggernaut that we should best understand as a machine that is being pushed by less than one-percent of the global population, pushed, actively pushed…far less than one-percent of the global population because, in increasing the scale of this techno-economic juggernaut, what we’re talking about is the trade treaties that we have been trying to raise awareness about in the IFG.  These trade treaties are the…is the arena where governments are sitting around the table lobbied by big banks and big corporations to give those giant global businesses more freedom.  Free trade is freedom for the giants to move in and now of local, regional, national spaces and economies.   The latest incarnation of this, the TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – sounds very friendly – is going to further this situation where corporations can sue governments if they dare to protect the environment or their citizens against the rape and pillage that is happening in the name of free trade…


    http://cleantechnica.com/files/2009/03/1200px-bagger-garzweiler.jpg
    Bucket Wheel Excavator.  Image from http://cleantechnica.com/files/2009/03/1200px-bagger-garzweiler.jpg

    We need to distinguish between collaboration to protect Mother Earth and to protect society, and collaboration to increase the scale of economic activity.  And as we increase the scale of economic activity, we’re talking about increasing the scale of the players, the giants that are merging – Exxon Mobile; it’s not enough to be a giant multinational, to surivive within the globalizing rat race, you have to keep on getting bigger and bigger and bigger – and what we have, as I say, is a system that we should understand as a sort of machine, an empire in the sky that is, it is a tsunami that is about to hit in a much, much more dramatic way than we’ve experienced…

    http://disinfo.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/U.S.-Army-Celebrates-its-230th-Birthday-at-the-NYSE-300x132.jpg
    US Army Celebrating its 230th Birthday at the NYSE

                So localizing, as a systematic shift away from this madness, needs the big picture activism to make all those narrow constituencies – all of them very important in value – but to link together, to see that this escalation in the global path above all is a massive increase in energy consumption every step of the way.  Globalizing the economy means the distances are growing by the minute.  We have countries importing and exporting the same food.  Last time we looked the U.S was exporting 900,000 tons of beef and veal while importing, guess what, about 900,000 tons of beef and veal.  The U.K exports roughly as much milk and butter as it imports.  And regularly you will have fish flown across the world, apparently tuna here form the east coast will be flown to Japan to be weighed before it comes back to the sushi bars here.  Shrimp are flown from the UK to Thailand to be peeled, flown back again.  Apples flown to South Africa to be washed and waxed, flown back again.  When we talk about CO2 emissions, let’s link it to corporate-rule and a systematic escalation in CO2 emissions.  Let’s really get away from an Al Gore framing which told you, “go home and change your light bulb to something rather toxic, don’t drive your car, don’t travel.”  In the meanwhile the purveyors of the global narrative are traveling faster and more than ever…

                As I say, localizing, for me and for an increasing number of people, is the clear, opposite matrix to the continuing global monoculture corporate machine.  Localizing is not about just acting local, it’s not about buying local.  If I say to people, “buy local food, only eat local,” in many parts of the world they’ll be eating cotton or coffee.  We’re talking about working to build up the localized structures that not only allow for but that nurture diversified small-scale food production.  As Vandana pointed out, that is the only way to feed the world.  It is far more productive in every sense of the word...

                …the dominant global market which will fly in and deliver things from 10,000 miles away, costing less than local products.  One of the many bits of information we need to look at in our big picture activism is how can it be that food – which is fresh and needs to be fresh, is perishable – how can something from 10,000 miles away be deliver in your local market costing less than a fresh local apple or banana from only a mile away – that what’s happening.  Because, we have not been told by either left or right that we are subsidizing the long distances.  By subsidizing the long distances, by subsidizing export-import, we are subsidizing these giant corporations.  We want to shift those subsidies and with that, we want to shift the regulation that de-regulate the global while over-regulating the local. 

    Tuesday
    Jan132015

    A Word on France: Charlie Hebdo and Jeremy Scahill

    Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.

                                                                                                                                                                                  -Montaigne


    The Duel After the Masquerade, Jean-Léon Gérôme

           As most of Paris mourns and some take reprisal actions against the general Muslim community who had nothing to do with last Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo attacks, it’s important to take a step back and consider events in a broader historical, geographic, and demographic perspective.  It is worth noting that the number of people killed in Paris is substantially less than those killed in less stable and affluent areas of the world around the same time last week.  On the same day as the Paris killings, upwards of thirty people were killed at an attack on a police academy in Yemen.  Also last week, Boko Haram militants carried out an attack in Baga, Nigeria which killed hundreds, possibly 2,000 people.  Over the weekend, the United States carried-out over thirty airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, where a purported fifty civilian prisoners have been killed in an airstrike which took place on December, 28th.  

            In response to the attacks, thousands of French military forces have been dispatched to watch over what can already be classified as a surveillance-state.  There is no question that, just like the US and UK, civil liberties and privacy rights will be rolled back in France.  Western military forces will increase drone strikes in the Middle-East and deprived individuals inspired by the Paris attacks and embittered by the drone strikes will opt to become martyrs.  The cycle of revenge killings, revenge drone strikes, and Islamophobia shall continue until sensible people take control of the governments and militaries of the western world.  As Jeremy Sachill points out, it is almost laughable that the leaders of certain western states that have prosecuted whistleblowers and killed journalists partook in the French unity march in defense of freedom of speech.  The heads of state from Israel, Egypt, Gabon, the UK – countries which have all targeted journalists – participated in the march. 

            Despite all the fear-mongering broadcast throughout mainstream media, the death rattle has yet to manifest.  In 2012, murder rates in France were at their lowest (430 murders) in history, which is progress for a country which, like most others, has emerged from an extremely bloody past.  I have a feeling that just as we do not hear too much about ISIS and Ebola right now (Until those items made headlines, I thought Ebola was a country and that ISIS was an ice cream sandwich), mainstream media will soon turn our attention elsewhere.  Yet regardless of where the spotlight falls, it will involve a group of people who will be portrayed as non-people.  They will show us these people and say, “Look at these animals, you must fear them, you must hate them.”  There is too much hatred in the world right now, and it must be rejected. 

    In a Democracy Now interview yesterday, Jeremy Scahill provides an excellent answer in response to a question raised by freedom-fighter extraordinaire, Amy Goodman:

    AMY GOODMAN: How do they prepare for future attacks?

    JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, I mean, the discussion you would hear on big corporate television about that is going to be about how do we defend our society, how do we integrate these networks, how do we do surveillance on these people. You know, this is probably going to be an unpopular thing to say, but I’ll say it because I believe it: The only way I think we’re ever going to effectively be able to confront this kind of terrorism is to take away the justification or the motivation of people who are not already sort of committed radical individuals who believe that what they’re doing is justified and they’re not afraid to die.

    You know, this is probably going to be an unpopular thing to say, but I’ll say it because I believe it: The only way I think we’re ever going to effectively be able to confront this kind of terrorism is to take away the justification or the motivation of people who are not already sort of committed radical individuals who believe that what they’re doing is justified and they’re not afraid to die.

    You know, the Taliban fighters always say, you know, "We love death as much as you love life." But a lot of these people who do these attacks, something happened in their life somewhere—similar to what happens with school shootings here, you know, what happened at Columbine. I liken a lot of these guys to people who go through some kind of period where they’re lost in life, and then they’re falling. Who catches you when you fall? A lot of times in a society that’s been decimated, a religion that’s been humiliated, people are looking for some kind of greater meaning, and there are a lot of people willing to take advantage of them.

    But in a broader sense, what we’ve done since 9/11, and actually going back well before 9/11, with the unquestioning support for Israel, with the drone bombing campaigns, with the invasions and occupations of countries, with the torture of prisoners around the world, we have projected a message that we are at war with a religion. When Rupert Murdoch, the most powerful media figure in the world, goes on Twitter and uses the word "Moslem," but says that basically all Muslims are to blame for this until they stop it, that’s not lost on people around the world. And Bush used the word "crusade" in the early stages of the post-9/11 aftermath. So, I’m not saying that any of this is justified as a result of U.S. policy. But if we really want to confront this, we have to understand our own role in legitimizing it.

     

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