Talk:Represent The People
Additional Research Notes; Follow-Up
Links and notes (potentially) related to main article. Figure out where to insert later. Might fold into main article or jump to separate article.
The hope is for the main article's underlying theme to eventually lead into a discussion of strategies and tactics people can use to
- - recognize the benefits of organizing at the community level
- - refashion local and regional economies to directly benefit the long-term interests of the people who live there (as opposed to, for instance, a transnational entity with no interest in the community beyond the "value" it is motivated to extract)
- - build healthy communities while warding off any kind of Balkanization (self-imposed or imposed by other means)
- - understand the reasons why "business as usual" (ie: the globalized neoliberal economic policies imposed by the "developed world's" primary institutions and planners) is collapsing, and how people at the community level might respond
Films & Documentaries
Actions / Events -- Local, National, International
- Rural Rebels and Useless Airports: La ZAD – Europe’s largest Postcapitalist land occupation.
Kill Wall Street
- Aiming to spark a “mass upsurge of debt resistance”, the Strike Debt campaign is one of the most promising initiatives to have emerged out of Occupy to date.
- Join your host Robert Foster and his guests, Terrence Moonseed and General Baxter, as they conduct an in-depth rap analysis into the future, and humanity's place in it.
- Occupy Portland | Occupy Portland
- Occupy Portland is a nonviolent movement for accountability in the United States government. At 12PM on October 6th, 2011. We will assemble at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 Southwest Naito Parkway in Portland, Oregon.
- OCCUPY TOGETHER
- OCCUPY TOGETHER is a hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
- OCTOBER 2011
- "Join us in Freedom Plaza starting October 6th (2011)!"
- October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.
- A worldwide shift in revolutionary tactics is underway right now that bodes well for the future. The spirit of this fresh tactic, a fusion of Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain, is captured in this quote:
- The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people.
- —- Raimundo Viejo, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain
- The antiglobalization movement was the first step on the road. Back then our model was to attack the system like a pack of wolves. There was an alpha male, a wolf who led the pack, and those who followed behind. Now the model has evolved. Today we are one big swarm of people.
- 'We won't put up with their greed any more': Demonstrators try to take over Wall Street in protest against corruption and budget cuts
- - More than 1,000 protesters wanted to create an ‘American Tahrir Square’
- - But police put Wall Street under lockdown after reading plans on Twitter
- - Protests were fraction of the size organisers Adbusters had hoped for
- Updated, 5:22 p.m. | 19 September 2011 | In a continuation of the demonstrations that began on Saturday, nearly 200 protesters marched along Wall Street and other parts of the financial district Monday morning, brandishing American flags and signs denouncing the economic system. At least six of them were arrested.
On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares.
From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest.
The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end.
United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us.
On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen.
It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen.
People of the world, rise up on October 15th!
- (10 - 12 September, 2011) | 2011 CIVICUS World Assembly to tackle essential role of civil society in global decision-making.
- “As governments of varied ideological persuasions crack down ever more harshly against dissent, challenges to their authority or lack of accountability and basic freedoms of expression and association, it is clear that civil society needs to come together urgently, across thematic and regional divides, to identify and implement strategies to protect the space and role of civil society globally.”
- -- Ingrid Srinath, CIVICUS Secretary General
News & Links: Actions; Uprisings
- New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent
- Could world social unrest hit America's streets?: Historian Rick Perlstein says union protests in Wisconsin show the birth of a movement. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has suggested the unrest that rocked the streets of Cairo and Madrid this year could spread to the US.
Militarism; War Profiteering
We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. War is not the answer. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
There have been so many wars, practically every year throughout the world for the last five thousand years and more. War, that means, every year killing, killing, killing; how many millions have suffered, shed tears, felt the flame of loneliness, and yet we do not apparently use our intelligence to stop this cruelty, this bestiality of violence...
- A U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks provides evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence, during a controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi.
- War is a Force that Gives us Meaning with Chris Hedges (Video lecture.)
- Veteran New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges has covered conflicts in Bosnia, El Salvador and Israel. Tune in for this thought-provoking lecture based on his best selling book that argues life is lived most intensely in times of war, often with tragic consequences.
- Ray McGovern introduces a short documentary deconstructing events revealed by WikiLeaks. Original version broadcast by German television program Panorama.
- How US firms profited from torture flights: Court documents illustrate how US contracted out secret rendition transportation to a network of private companies
- As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the mass of invoices, receipts, contracts and email correspondence – submitted as evidence to a court in upstate New York – provides a unique glimpse into a world in which the "war on terror" became just another charter opportunity for American businesses.
- "Ten years have passed, and there is still much to grieve about September 11, 2001." In the weeks and years that followed 9/11, we lost the chance for a politics built around the kind of social solidarity embodied by those law enforcement officers and firefighters who responded first to the attacks and expressed by the society so moved by their sacrifice.
- Ten years after 9/11, the “entire litany of vicious crimes against humanity, fitting for horrid, inhuman terrorist groups or Third World mongrels, now belongs to America”.
- TEN YEARS AGO America and the world were shocked by the most horrific foreign attack on U.S. soil in our history. In the decade since we have learned a great deal about ourselves, about how to handle the terrorist threat and about what works and doesn’t work in combating terrorism.
- Perhaps it was inevitable in America’s self-absorbed culture that the tragedy of 9/11 would be politicized and counter-politicized, forged into a weapon by ideological forces to wield against their enemies in the never-ending “culture wars.”
- The terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, sent the United States into a 10-year downward spiral, not because of the attacks themselves but because of disastrous political judgments that followed.
- What if the United States had responded with demands for justice, not wars of conquest.
- Senior Pentagon officials scrubbed key details about a top-secret military intelligence unit's efforts in tracking Osama bin Laden and suspected al-Qaeda terrorists from official reports they prepared for a Congressional committee probing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, new documents obtained by Truthout reveal.
- A Year Before 9/11, Intelligence Unit Determined World Trade Center, Pentagon "Most Likely Buildings to Be Attacked"
- The "intelligence failures" leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are an issue the media - and lawmakers - put to bed years ago, despite the fact that new information continues to trickle out, undercutting the integrity of the official investigations into who knew what and when.
- Part One: Saudi link to 9/11 hijackers found in Sarasota but not revealed by FBI
- Part Two: Sen. Bob Graham wanted to publish results of Saudi investigation, Bush ordered it redacted
- With mission accomplished in Libya, Africom now has few obstacles to its military ambitions on the continent
- The military-industrial complex is pulling out all the stops to ensure that not one dime of its vast federal largess is taken away even as the nation faces nearly $15 trillion in debt. Defense contractors, Representatives and Senators, and current and former Defense Secretaries are working together to thwart actual and potential cuts in defense spending resulting from the August debt ceiling deal.
- We've spent nearly $8 trillion on counterterrorism since 9/11. It's time to assess the results.
- New projects, including Kathryn Bigelow's bin Laden film, show rising pressure on filmmakers to please the military.
- Despite budget woes, the military is preparing for a conflict with our biggest rival -- and we should be worried.
- China just launched a refitted Ukrainian aircraft carrier from the 1990s on its first test run -- and that’s what the only projected "great power" enemy of the U.S. has to offer for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the U.S. Navy has 11 aircraft carrier task forces to cruise the seven seas and plans to keep that many through 2045. Like so much else, when it comes to the American military, all comparisons are ludicrous. In any normal sense, the United States stands alone in military terms. Its expenditures make up almost 50% of global military spending; it dominates the global arms market; and it has countless more bases, pilotless drones, military bands, and almost anything else military you’d care to mention than does any other power.
- As President Obama gives his speech on how important it is for the government and the country to produce more jobs, and as the budget noose starts to tighten on all government programs, including the Department of Defense (DoD) this time, the DoD will flood the Congress with charts and statistics on how cutting the DoD will also cut important defense manufacturing jobs across the US.
- A Topline View of U.S. Defense Budget History | American Foreign Policy: Active and Interventionist Positions
- While often deemed synonymous with "neoconservative" (a label given to defectors from the Left who came to embrace this approach in light of the Cold War) foreign policy, emphasis on strong national defense, active promotion of democracy around the globe, and attempts at "nation building" have become the reality of America's role in the world today.
Secret Detention • Torture • Kill Lists
- Globalizing Torture is the most comprehensive account yet assembled of the human rights abuses associated with CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations. It details for the first time what was done to the 136 known victims, and lists the 54 foreign governments that participated in these operations. It shows that responsibility for the abuses lies not only with the United States but with dozens of foreign governments that were complicit.
- Survey shows Obama has done little to rescue civil liberties from predecessor's damage and much to deepen concern.
- The president's partisan lawyers purport to vest him with the most extreme power a political leader can seize
- How a Washington Global Torture Gulag Was Turned Into the Only Gulag-Free Zone on Earth
- After the 9-11 attacks against the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency conspired with dozens of governments to build a secret extraordinary rendition and detention program that spanned the globe. Extraordinary rendition is the transfer—without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation. The program was intended to protect America. But, as described in the Open Society Justice Initiative’s new report, it stripped people of their most basic rights, facilitated gruesome forms of torture, at times captured the wrong people, and debased the United States’ human rights reputation world-wide. To date, the United States and the vast majority of the other governments involved—more than 50 in all—have refused to acknowledge their participation, compensate the victims, or hold accountable those most responsible for the program and its abuses.
- Such accountability for high-level government officials is inconceivable in the US, highlighting its culture of impunity.
Killer Drones & Robotic Warfare
- US drone kills in Pakistan are not the precision strikes against top-level al-Qaeda terrorists they are portrayed as by the Obama administration. Instead, many of the attacks are aimed at suspected low-level tribal militants, who may pose no direct danger to the United States.
- Other than invading Afghanistan and Iraq, this shift from capturing suspected terrorists to killing them was the most important and enduring counterterrorism policy decision made since 9/11.
- Counterterrorism officials began to rethink the strategy for the secret war. Armed drones, and targeted killings in general, offered a new direction. Killing by remote control was the antithesis of the dirty, intimate work of interrogation. Targeted killings were cheered by Republicans and Democrats alike, and using drones flown by pilots who were stationed thousands of miles away made the whole strategy seem risk-free. Before long the C.I.A. would go from being the long-term jailer of America’s enemies to a military organization that erased them.
- Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said the department will not use two small drones it obtained through a federal grant. The unmanned aerial vehicles will be returned to the vendor.
- The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees “three guys doing jumping jacks,” the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp.
- While four American citizens are known to have been killed by drones in the past decade, the strikes have killed an estimated total of 2,600 to 4,700 people over the same period.
The focus on American citizens overshadows a far more common, and less understood, type of strike: those that do not target American citizens, Al Qaeda leaders, or, in fact, any other specific individual.
In these attacks, known as “signature strikes,” drone operators fire on people whose identities they do not know based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other “signatures.” According to anonymously sourced media reports, such attacks on unidentified targets account for many, or even most, drone strikes.
- The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans calls Obama's policy on the right to kill Americans who are associated with terrorist organizations either at home or abroad murder, which constitutes evil in the Christian tradition. The Holy Scripture says, "THOU SHALT NOT KILL".
- In our own country, we don't allow the government to torture criminal suspects and/or kill people without trial – because it's wrong. If it's wrong here, it's wrong in Yemen or Iraq or Afghanistan; if it's wrong to do it to an American citizen, it's wrong to do it to a Pakistani. Our failure to recognize that and our increasingly desperate attempts to rationalize or legitimize this hideous program gives the entire world an automatic show of proof of American bigotry and stupidity. And cowardice, by the way. What kind of a people kills children by remote control? If you're going to assassinate someone, you'd better be able to look him in the eye first – and not hide behind some rubber-stamp secret court that tells you it's okay.
- Rise of the Drones (PBS, Nova)
Meet a new breed of flying robots, from tiny swarming vehicles to giant unmanned planes.
- Lockheed's sponsorship of Nova's Rise of the Drones violates underwriting rules.
- A United Nations expert has launched an investigation of drone attacks and targeted killings, scrutinizing a deeply controversial tool in the United States’ battle against Al Qaeda. Though other countries are believed to have drones or the technology behind them, the debate over the unmanned aircraft most often swirls around the United States, which has intensified drone use under the Obama administration.
- You might have heard about the “kill list.” You’ve certainly heard about drones. But the details of the U.S. campaign against militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia -- a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s national security approach – remain shrouded in secrecy. Here’s our guide to what we know—and what we don’t know.
- Everyone is talking about drones. Also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or UAVs, remote-piloted aircrafts have become a controversial centerpiece of the Obama administration's counter-terrorism strategy. Domestically, their surveillance power is being hyped for everything from fighting crime to monitoring hurricanes or spawning salmon. Meanwhile, concerns are cropping up about privacy, ethics and safety. We've rounded up some of the best coverage of drones to get you oriented.
- President Obama handed the agency extraordinary authority in Pakistan. Now it wants these powers in Yemen too.
- Book Review: Killing by remote control is no game, peace activist Medea Benjamin argues in “Drone Warfare.” We know that drones kill civilians and inflame hatred against the United States—but can we stop them?
- A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can't do it anymore.
- This 50-page report outlines concerns about these fully autonomous weapons, which would inherently lack human qualities that provide legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians. In addition, the obstacles to holding anyone accountable for harm caused by the weapons would weaken the law’s power to deter future violations.
- Sure, we as a nation have always killed people. A lot of people. But no president has ever waged war by killing enemies one by one, targeting them individually for execution, wherever they are. The Obama administration has taken pains to tell us, over and over again, that they are careful, scrupulous of our laws, and determined to avoid the loss of collateral, innocent lives. They're careful because when it comes to waging war on individuals, the distinction between war and murder becomes a fine one. Especially when, on occasion, the individuals we target are Americans and when, in one instance, the collateral damage was an American boy.
- ‘It is beyond my imagination how they can lack all mercy and compassion, and carry on doing this for years. They are not human beings.’
- The Air Force is pursuing a game based on remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to help persuade recruits that this could be a cool career path to explore.
- The global market for drones is booming. But what does the coming arms race mean for US national security interests — and the future of warfare? GlobalPost correspondents report from critical locations around the world, from Israel to Iran to Yemen to Brazil — where unmanned aerial vehicles are radically transforming combat and surveillance.
- In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false.
- CIA drone strikes tend to be reported on a case-by-case basis. Yet it became clear to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that a number of specific tactics were being deployed. These included multiple attacks by drones on rescuers attempting to aid victims of previous strikes. There were also a number of credible reports of funerals and mourners being attacked by CIA drones.
- According to new study released by the US Air Force, an overwhelming number of the pilots that command unmanned robotic drones from operation centers in America are suffering from intense stress, even if they are on the other side of the world from where their attacks are being carried out. With the US continuing drone strikes despite opposition from allies overseas such as Pakistan, the toll that the task of commanding the controversial crafts could be having on its pilots could be detrimental to the Department of Defense, who insists on pushing through with the program even with the end result including droves of dead civilians since the missions began.
- Drone-related coverage from The Real News Network.
War On Drugs
- Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal.
- Throwaways: Recruited by Police & Thrown into Danger, Young Informants are Drug War’s Latest Victims
- Gary Webb's outstanding investigative report on the CIA's complicity with and contribution to the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic.
- Mexican President Felipe Calderon: “It is impossible to pass tons of drugs or cocaine to U.S. without some grade of complicity of some American authorities.”
- Spokesman for Chihuahua state says US agencies don't want to end drug trade, a claim denied by other Mexican officials.
- Israel and the Upcoming Nuclear War: The “Unthinkable” is Now Inevitable
Homeland Secure? The Rise of the Police & Surveillance State
|“||The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.||”|
- The unrelenting attack on our civil liberties and our privacy continues.
- Cyber-threats are the new pretext to justify expansion of power and profit for the public-private National Security State
- Most recent Transparency Report from web giant reveals 136% increase in user data requests from US since 2009
- The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.
- New emails released by WikiLeaks indicate that TrapWire, a defense contractor owned and operated by ex-CIA operatives, sits at the heart of American intelligence. Everything from incidents on military base to calls to NYC's "See Something, Say Something" are routed through TrapWire.
- Across the United States, abusive and unlawful protest regulation and policing practices have been and continue to be alarmingly evident. This 195 page report follows a review of thousands of news reports and hundreds of hours of video, extensive firsthand observation, and detailed witness interviews.
- “Frictionless Surveillance” - That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker
- With Occupy protesters gearing up for a spring resurgence, Salisbury spells out just what activists will be up against -- think unmanned drones, tanks, and super-sophisticated surveillance systems from New York City to Scottsbluff, Nebraska -- in the months ahead.
- At the height of the Occupy Wall Street evictions, it seemed as though some diminutive version of “shock and awe” had stumbled from Baghdad, Iraq, to Oakland, California. American police forces had been “militarized,” many commentators worried, as though the firepower and callous tactics on display were anomalies, surprises bursting upon us from nowhere. There should have been no surprise. Those flash grenades exploding in Oakland and the sound cannons on New York’s streets simply opened small windows onto a national policing landscape long in the process of militarization — a bleak domestic no man’s land marked by tanks and drones, robot bomb detectors, grenade launchers, tasers, and most of all, interlinked video surveillance cameras and information databases growing quietly on unobtrusive server farms everywhere.
- Kolin, a political science professor at Hilbert College in Buffalo, New York, has done a masterful job of tracing the origins of the "political repression of mass-based movements" and the rise of the "police state" in his exhaustively researched book, State Power and Democracy: Before and During The Presidency of George W. Bush. All police states, "and Germany in the [1930s] is the classic example," develop by "crushing democracy."
- Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower warned of the ‘disastrous rise’ of the military-industrial complex. His fears proved all too accurate. Now in the post-9/11 world, the threat goes even further: the military-industrial complex is evolving into the military-intelligence complex. It is a world, I fear, that is propelling us into a dystopian surveillance nightmare.
- Ten years after the devastating attacks on New York and Washington, the fundamental promises of American democracy are hanging by a thin thread. Promoted by a culture of war and fear, the US government has steadily chipped away at those legal protections that enabled 'we the people' to rule ourselves. "Ten Years Later: Surveillance in the Homeland" charts the course of this shift, exposing the rapid advent of a technologically advanced surveillance state in the shadows of the Twin Towers.
- "Top Secret America" is a project nearly two years in the making that describes the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. When it comes to national security, all too often no expense is spared and few questions are asked - with the result an enterprise so massive that nobody in government has a full understanding of it. It is, as Dana Priest and William M. Arkin have found, ubiquitous, often inefficient and mostly invisible to the people it is meant to protect and who fund it.
- Border security constitutes the single largest line item in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget. Nonetheless, DHS has failed to develop a border security strategy that complements US domestic and national security objectives.
- The Department Of Homeland Security is the very epitome of unnecessary bureaucracy. Its formation was predicated on the existence of terrorist threats, many of which the U.S. government and orbiting alphabet agencies either created through acts of war, or fabricated out of thin air. Its policies of centralization were sold to the public as necessary to prevent systemic “miscommunications” that never actually took place. Throughout our history, it has been a rare occasion indeed when an attack falls upon American infrastructure or interests that was not influenced, directly or indirectly, by the actions of agencies which were supposedly employed to prevent such events from ever occurring. Whether through ‘blowback’, or through ‘false flag’, frankly, most of the harm that comes to our nation is perpetrated by the guiding hand of our inexorably corrupt government.
Environment; Climate Change
- Some mainstream environmental organizations are trying to wean themselves from fossil fuel investments—but some aren’t.
- Hopes for 'safe' temperature increase within 2C fade as Hawaii station documents second-greatest emissions increase
- Are we on the road to climate extinction? Dr. Guy McPherson lays out the case in this speech at Bluegrass Bioneers in Kentucky. Then the World Bank says "Turn Down the Heat". Daphne Wysham on their coal addiction, and Olivia Maria Serdeczny from the Potsdam Institute in Germany, authors of the report for the Bank. Is collapse our best way out of a Hellish future?
- Fast-rising carbon emissions mean that worst-case predictions for climate change are coming true
- University of Utah Physics Professor Dr. Tim Garrett explains why fossil-based wealth leads to both hyper-inflation and a ruined climate. All from a published, peer-reviewed paper in Journal Climatic Change. According to our energy and wealth equation, only a sudden economic collapse could save us from 5 degrees Celsius global temperature rise (or more) by 2100. And we'll get over 100% inflation along the way.
- - ENERGY = WEALTH = INFLATION + RUINED ATMOSPHERE (Transcript)
- Since 1999, the non-profit charity Donors Trust has handed out nearly $400 million in private donations to more than 1,000 right-wing and libertarian groups.
- While the secretive Donors Trust has given millions to a variety of right-wing causes, denying climate change appears to be its top priority. An analysis by the environmentalist group Greenpeace reveals Donors Trust has funneled more than one-third of its donations — at least $146 million — to more than 100 climate change denial groups over the past decade. In 2010, 12 of these groups received between 30 to 70 percent of their funding from Donors Trust.
- The secretive funding network distributed $118m to 102 groups including some of the best-known thinktanks on the right
- Philippines is having to adapt and adjust to rapidly deteriorating climatic trends at a great cost to its economy
- Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science
- The secretive funding network distributed $118m to 102 groups including some of the best-known thinktanks on the right
- Here is the reality: the burning of fossil fuels is the leading contributor of gases that are already changing the planet’s delicate climate, and the climate will continue to change in an exponentially increasing and worsening way unless we reduce emissions.
- Here is the gap: we continue to make decisions in every phase of our lives ignoring the reality of climate change. Incrementally, each of our decisions might be, or at least appear to be, minor in the grand scheme of things. Combined, they propel us forward on a path to disaster.
- Environmental devastation of the land, water, and air - the largest industrial energy project in the world is extracting crude oil from bitumen found beneath the pristine boreal forest of Alberta, Canada. Effecting a land mass equivalent in size to Florida or England, Both industry and government are putting money before the health and security of its people and the environment. Tar sands take 3 barrels of water to process every barrel of oil extracted. Ninety percent of this water becomes so toxic that it must be stored in tailing ponds. Unfortunately these ponds regularly leach pollution into the third largest watershed in the world. Water depletion, exploitation, privatization and contamination has become one of the most important issues facing humanity this century.
- “Renewable technologies are now the most economic solution for new capacity in an increasing number of countries and regions,” IRENA concluded upon analyzing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) among the some 8,000 renewable power projects in its database and related literature.
- Proposed Export Pipeline Will Significantly Expand Tar Sands Industry
- The impacts of climate change driven by human activity are spreading through the United States faster than had been predicted, increasingly threatening infrastructure, water supplies, crops and shorelines, according to a federal advisory committee.
- Emissions are rising, ice is melting and yet the response of governments is simply to pretend that none of it is happening
- Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis (National Research Council's climate change report to the CIA.)
- Climate change can reasonably be expected to increase the frequency and intensity of a variety of potentially disruptive environmental events-slowly at first, but then more quickly. It is prudent to expect to be surprised by the way in which these events may cascade, or have far-reaching effects. Over the coming decade, some climate-related events will produce consequences that exceed the capacity of affected societies or global systems to manage; these may have global security implications. Although focused on events outside the United States, Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis recommends a range of research and policy actions to create a whole-of-government approach to increasing understanding of complex and contingent connections between climate and security, and to inform choices about adapting to and reducing vulnerability to climate change.
- With Arctic ice melting at record pace, the world’s superpowers are increasingly jockeying for political influence and economic position in outposts like this one, previously regarded as barren wastelands.
- Recordings from The New Emergency Conference: Managing Risk and Building Resilience in a Resource Constrained World.
- The scientific community has long agreed that our dependence on fossil fuels inflicts massive damage on the environment and our health, while warming the globe in the process. But beyond the damage these fuels cause to us now, what will happen when the world's supply of oil runs out? Bill McKibben, Noam Chomsky, Nicole Foss, Richard Heinberg and the other scientists, researchers and writers interviewed throughout “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” describe the diminishing returns our world can expect as it deals with the consequences of peak oil even as it continues to pretend it doesn’t exist. These experts predict substantially increased transportation costs, decreased industrial production, unemployment, hunger and social chaos as the supplies of the fuels on which we rely dwindle and eventually disappear.
- "Phase out of emissions from coal is itself an enormous challenge. However, if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over. There is no practical way to capture the CO2 emitted while burning oil, which is used principally in vehicles."
- The fight against oil and gas giants is heating up in the U.S., with new waves of protest and civil disobedience springing up across the country.
- A new era of depletion, collapse and austerity
- The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all national security issues.
- Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade--like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over.
- As climate change works against the browning landscape of the American West, crazed humans use all the water they can find to make still more methane and carbon dioxide, to make more money with oil and gas.
- Within a week of the ExxonMobil tar sands oil pipeline burst in Mayflower, Arkansas, ExxonMobil was in charge of the clean-up, the U.S. government had established a no-fly zone over the area, some 40 residents were starting their second week of evacuation, ExxonMobil was threatening to arrest reporters trying to cover the spill...
- According to an internal memorandum obtained by Postmedia's Mike De Souza, the tailings ponds holding billions of litres of tar sands waste are leaking into Alberta's groundwater. The document, released through Access to Information legislation, confirms groundwater toxins related to bitumen mining and upgrading are seeping from tailings ponds and are not naturally occurring as government and industry have previously stated.
- The True Cost of Coal (Beehive Collective)
- After two years of collaborative research, storysharing, metaphor crafting, and meticulous illustrating, the bees have completed an epic illustration about mountaintop removal coal mining!
- The True Cost of Coal (The Atlantic)
- Coal accounts for more than half of America's electricity because it is so cheap—and it remains cheap because no one pays the very large hidden costs of its mining and burning
- The great pacific garbage patch, also described as the pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of marine litter in the central north pacific ocean.
- 1. Part ONE
- Instead of honoring its victims at this time Chernobyl is referenced to minimize the impact of Fukuchima. Supposedly only 35 people died. The World Health Organization and the IAEA, whose mission is to promote nuclear power, claim that "there is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality rates or in rates of non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure from Chernobyl." That the reality on the ground is very different comes to life in a book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment.
- 2. Part TWO
- The extensive section on health effects in this book offers a whole new view of the consequences of radiation induced disease. Yes, there are cancers to specific organs, many thyroid cancers caused by Iodine 131 and 129 but there are also diseases that affect body systems such as the whole endocrine system, not just the thyroid, or the immune system, the respiratory and the reproductive systems. - Also a brief explanation of "half life" "hot spots" and why background radiation is different from radiation from nuclear processes.
- 3. Part THREE
- This program presents the consequences of the Chernobyl explosion on the environment. How has the radiation affected - and continues to affect air, water, the soil, plants and animals. How does radiation move, disperse, bio-accumulate and enter the food chain. Specific examples are from studies on rivers and lakes, wild and domestic animals, birds, fish, fungi, bacteria, viruses, studies that show that they were all affected, in varying degrees, but without exception.
- 4. Part FOUR
- This last episode presents important information on the plight of the children of Chernobyl who - to this day - need vacations in uncontaminated areas to detoxify their bodies from some of the embedded radioactive substances that they absorb in every day life, substances such as cesium, cobalt, thorium, plutonium etc. Also explained is the danger of contaminated food, and how to set up ongoing projects, under control of local communities, to deal with the persisting radiation and find methods to measure the burden of internal radiation.
- The Battle of Chernobyl (Feature length documentary.)
- Governor: "This is disturbing news"
Relocalization; Degrowth; Peak Oil; Economic Collapse
- Conventional economic theory flies in the face of ecological reality. How can a global economy premised on perpetual growth survive in a closed system, which is our planet earth? On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with Richard Heinberg, author of a new book, , which proposes a startling diagnosis: the expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits which include resource depletion, environmental impacts of unfettered industrial growth and crushing levels of debt. We discuss what policymakers, communities, and families can do to build a new economy that operates within Earth’s budget of energy and resources and how we can thrive during the transition if we set goals that promote human and environmental well-being, rather than continuing to pursue the now-unattainable prize of ever-expanding GDP.
- Media Education Foundation - Michael Klare: The primary US objective in the region is to support authoritarian regimes that guarantee the flow of oil.
- Manufactured Landscapes is a 2006 feature length documentary film about the work of photographer Ed Burtynsky. It was directed by Jennifer Baichwal and is distributed by Zeitgeist Films.
- The problem that faces our societies is that we have developed industries and policies that were appropriate at a certain moment, but now start to reduce human welfare, like for example the oil and car industry. Their political and financial power is so great and they can prevent change. It is my expectation that they will succeed. This means that we are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change.
- Arithmetic, Population, and Energy
- University of Colorado-Boulder Physics Professor Albert Bartlett (Retired): "Arithmetic, Population, and Energy"
- Eight-part video series uses simple math to demonstrate why unfolding catastrophes involving global finance, peak oil, climate change and severe natural resource depletion are underway now.
- Sustainability & Collapse Mitigation With Cuban Characteristics
- Only Cuba provides a decent standard of living for its people without consuming more than its fair share of (global) resources.
- Collapse Network's so-called "Compass Points" are one of the "core documents" from Michael Ruppert's Collapse Network." The compass points include (in directional order):
- NORTH – A New, Sustainable Human Paradigm Must Be Rooted In Local, Chemical-Free Food Production, Extended Family And Community
- SOUTH – Until The Way Money Works Changes, Our Species Is Trapped In An Infinite-Growth Paradigm Which Threatens All Life
- EAST – Infinite Growth On A Finite Planet Is Not Possible
- WEST – Human Population Will Inevitably Reduce By Billions Of People Amidst Great Suffering As The Sun Sets On Industrial Civilization
- The collapse prep checklist includes
- Acquire at least three month’s worth of food for your household and encourage everyone close to you to do the same.
- Secure an emergency water supply.
- Acquire Potassium Iodide for radioactive fallout protection.
- Get in shape.
- Stockpile at least ten gallons of fuel.
- Keep a small store of physical cash but trade in most of your dollars for tangible goods and/or precious metals.
- Conduct yourself with confidence.
- Sell off luxuries and acquire essentials.
- Put together a bailout kit and make contingency plans.
- Share your plans with friends, family, and trustworthy neighbors.
- "Unless you change how money works, you change nothing. We live in an infinite growth economy, in other words -- a ponzi scheme. Infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible. Those species who cannot get out of their paradigm are doomed to go extinct. Can we disengage from our paradigm?"
Dmitry Orlov & Peak Oil Lessons From The Soviet Union
- Dmitry Orlov, engineer and author, warns that the US's reliance on diminishing fuel supplies might be sending it down the same path the Soviet Union took before it collapsed. Orlov, who was an eyewitness to the collapse of the Soviet Union, asserts that run-away debt and national bankruptcy will lead the US to its demise, just as it did for Moscow. "As oil becomes more expensive and scarcer, the US will no longer be able to finance its importation and the economy will hit a wall. Sixty percent of all of our transportation fuels are imported—a lot of that is on credit. A large chunk of the trade deficit is actually in transportation fuels. When those stop arriving because of our inability to borrow more money, then the economy is at a standstill."
- The Twilight of the Antipodes and the Cultural Flip (Power point presentation from talk.)
- Comment from viewer: "Very good synthesis, and honest, radical views. Think for a second about a future where you have to unlearn consumerism, bike around more and recycle your plastic bottles. Then ponder a future where the only reliable forms of transportation available are boats, horses and your feet! :D That's what I mean by an honest view on the current collapse. We're very far from sustainabilty, and it's time we get a clear picture. No matter how ridiculously scary."
- Dmitry Orlov, author of Reinventing Collapse:The Soviet Example and American Prospects, explored the question “What is it that we are looking at here, and what can we do about it?” He believes that there is not much hope for a global financial system and economy, nor should there be given the huge problems it is causing with the environment. If this is the case, then what can people do, in terms of coping with financial collapse, creating community resilience, and re-skilling for the new, local, self-reliant, highly manual age that is coming?
- Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation (Orlov's notes and power point slides.)
- Inherent within the challenges of peak oil and climate change is an extraordinary opportunity to reinvent, rethink, and rebuild the world around us.
- - Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook.
- Transition PDX: Recovery Zone on 08/24/11
- - Program: Recovery Zone | Air date: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 11:00am - 11:30am
- - Short Description: Transition PDX working for sustainability and ecological resilience.
- We live in an oil-dependent world, and became this dependent in a very short space of time, using vast reserves of oil in the process – without planning for when the supply is not so plentiful. The Transition Movement began in 2005 in Totnes in the UK with a vote by the town council to work toward energy independence and a sustainable future. The idea spread quickly. There are now over 300 communities recognized as official Transition Towns in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy and Chile. Host Stephanie Potter will be speaking with David Johnson and Jim Newcomer who are with the Transition PDX here in Portland, Oregon. Johnson is also on the Board of Transition US and serves as a Transition Trainer. Transition PDX is loosely organized into a network of groups comprised of people coming together to overcome the challenges of peak oil, economic stagnation and the climate crisis, and to explore how the transition model can be applied in the Portland area to create thriving neighborhoods.
- City Repair is an organized group action that educates and inspires communities and individuals to creatively transform the places where they live.
The Tyranny of the CorpoReich
|“||Neoliberal financial-market capitalism has dragged the world into a crisis which threatens human civilisation as such. It is characterised by an extreme form of the combination of, on the one hand, the expansion of production, transport and life-style, with, on the other, the destruction of its own foundations, and suffers from a crisis of social reproduction, societal integration, democratic identification and security. Climate destruction, resource wars, terror, the transformation of democracy into oligarchy, class divides, a new racism and fundamentalism, etc. are unavoidable. It therefore leads to a crisis of civilisation, and produces ever stronger elements of barbarism and authoritarian power, which can only be contained at ever greater expense.||”|
— The World Crisis and Beyond - Building a New Global Solidarity
- Did you know that less than 1% of the world’s transnational corporations, mostly banks, control the share of 40% of global businesses? Did you know that 0.001% of the world’s population (corresponding to roughly one pixel on your computer screen) controls assets worth $14.6 trillion — or over 20% of global annual GDP?
- Corporate wealth translates into political power through campaign financing, corporate lobbying and the revolving door of jobs between government and industry; and political power translates into further wealth through tax cuts, deregulation and sweetheart contracts between government and industry. Wealth begets power, and power begets wealth.
- - Bill Moyers: Politics Today is Money Laundering (Part One)
- - Bill Moyers: Politics Today is Money Laundering (Part Two)
- “Wall Street owns the country…. Money rules…. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us.”
- (The Powell Memo) laid out a plan to take control off all the institutions that determine the direction of the United States, not just the government but the media and academia as well. Forty years later we can see that this plan has been followed, pro-business think tanks have been developed along with pro-corporate publications, colleges and universities have been greatly influenced by corporate funding and the power of corporations to influence elections has dramatically increased thanks to a series of court and legislative decisions. Today, concentrated corporate power has a grip on all of these institutions and sets the direction for U.S. policy through government and other institutions.
- Stocks have become the playthings of hedge funds, warping corporate motivation and eroding stock market returns. The biggest ill has been to align top executives pay with performance, usually measured by the stock price. This has proven to be "a disaster." Managers have become share price obsessed. By focusing on short-term stock moves, prices managers are eroding the long-term value of their franchises. Economists have promulgated the idea of shareholder über alles, based on a misreading of corporate law. In 1970, Milton Friedman wrote an article for The New York Times Magazine that contended "the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits." Two business professors, Michael Jensen and William Meckling, expanded on the idea in their paper "The Theory of the Firm," arguing that the only obligation corporations had was to increase profits for their owners, the shareholders.
- Many people are spending a lot of their time volunteering to stop specific environmental threats, to address a specific labor issue, or to stop various other corporate abuses to our communities. The number of problems seems endless. Isn't there a faster way to save the world? This page is devoted to those who are interested in getting to the root of society's problems.
- Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy issued a major study of the federal income taxes paid, or not paid, by 280 big, profitable Fortune 500 corporations. That report found, among other things, that 30 of the companies paid no net federal income tax from 2008 through 2010. New information for 2011 shows that almost all these 30 companies have maintained their tax dodging ways.
- The Colombia Free Trade Agreement opens Colombia to foreign corporations and investment, creating an improved environment for the exploitation of natural resources and labor. Union leaders, activists, farmers, indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples are paying the price - in blood.
- So now let’s look at the big picture. The final totals are $59 billion, 3 percent of the total federal budget, for regular welfare and $92 billion, 5 percent of the total federal budget, for corporations. So, the government spends roughly 50% more on corporate welfare than it does on these particular public assistance programs.
- Welfare queens may actually look more like giant corporations. The government spent about $59 billion to pay for traditional social welfare programs like food stamps and housing assistance in 2006, while Uncle Sam doled out $92 billion in assistance to corporations during the same year. That means that big, and in many cases profitable, corporations got nearly double the money from the government that needy individuals got.
- A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.
- A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts
- This report analyzes the retirement policies of the U.S. corporations leading the “Fix the Debt” campaign, which is calling for reduced spending on senior citizens’ benefits as part of a deal on the national debt.
- The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:
- - $80.4 billion in incentives each year
- - 1,874 No. of programs
Prison Industrial Complex
- US breeds a Chinese-style inmate labor scheme on its own soil. Both state and some of the biggest private companies are now enjoying the fruits of a cheap and readily available work force, with tens of millions of dollars spent by private prisons to keep their jails full.
- Prison Labor as the Past -- and Future -- of American “Free-Market” Capitalism
- "This is an industry that needs misery, long sentences, rounded-up undocumented immigrants and increasing crime to flourish."
Big Oil, Gas, Coal, Nuclear
- Critics question the legitimacy of industry-funded ‘frackademia.’
- If you still doubt that the profit motive is one of the most horrific curses on humanity, listen to this report. The profit motive drove Big Pharma to kill up to twelve million people -- double what Hitler's Holocaust murdered -- by blocking availability of generic AIDS drugs to impoverished Africans. It's no wonder that the lust for money is considered at the root of all evil. The profit motive is the taproot of all evil.
- Big Pharma pushes American diplomats to pressure host countries -- the Philippines, Turkey, and India, for example -- to help them make more money, often by limiting the country from making its own generic version of the drugs and extending the length of patents so the companies can charge a premium price for longer.
- Prometheus gave man fire, thankfully he didn’t charge every time man lit a match. Prometheus Labs in contrast wants to charge patients for a rule that says when to increase or decrease a drug in response to a blood test.
- The Future of Food is a 2004 American documentary film which makes an in-depth investigation into unlabelled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have made their way onto grocery stores in the United States for the past decade. In addition to the US there is a focus on Canada and Mexico.
- The Future of Food / O Futuro da Comida (Full-length video on YouTube. Available as of 11:09, 22 July 2012 (PDT).)
- Food, Inc. is a 2009 American documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner. The film examines corporate farming in the United States, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees.
- Food Inc. (Full-length documentary -- with Spanish subtitles -- available on Vimeo as of 11:09, 22 July 2012 (PDT).)
- Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he eats only McDonald's food. The film documents this lifestyle's drastic effects on Spurlock's physical and psychological well-being, and explores the fast food industry's corporate influence, including how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.
- The World According to Monsanto is a 2008 documentary film directed by Marie-Monique Robin. Originally released in French as Le monde selon Monsanto, the film is based on Robin's three-year long investigation into the US agricultural giant Monsanto corporation's practices around the world. The World According to Monsanto is also a book written by Marie-Monique Robin winner of the Rachel Carson Prize (a Norwegian prize for female environmentalists),  the book was translated to many languages.
- The World According to Monsanto (Google Video)
- The World According to Monsanto is a documentary first aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural TV channel). It was produced by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin. It's unlikely you'll see this documentary on American television. The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years.
- Special Report: Marinaleda is run along the lines of a communist Utopia and boasts collectivised lands
- America is a plutocracy through and through -- what are we going to do about it?
- The total wealth of this global ruling class grew 35 per cent year to year topping $3.5 trillion, while income levels for the lower 55 per cent of the world’s 6-billion-strong population declined or stagnated. Put another way, one hundred millionth of the world’s population (1/100,000,000) owns more than over 3 billion people. Over half of the current billionaires (523) came from just 3 countries: the US (415), Germany (55) and Russia (53). The 35 per cent increase in wealth mostly came from speculation on equity markets, real estate and commodity trading, rather than from technical innovations, investments in job-creating industries or social services.
- Wealth Inequality in America (YouTube)
- More than 90% of Americans polled said that wealth should be divided more equitably than what they thought was the current wealth division. Unfortunately, the "unequal" division of wealth they thought was the current reality is itself a much more equitable distribution of wealth than that which actually exists in the United States.
- Stacked Deck: How the Dominance of Politics by the Affluent & Business Undermines Economic Mobility in America
- As private interests have come to wield more influence over public policy, with ever larger sums of money shaping elections and the policymaking process, our political system has become less responsive to those looking for a fair shot to improve their lives and move upward.
- The world must urgently set goals to tackle extreme inequality and extreme wealth
- In some countries there are genuine oligarchies that govern economic and political affairs. Elsewhere there are classes of self-styled "job creators" who believe their wealth and financial acumen alone entitle them to special treatment under the law. Pointing out that no entrepreneur or mogul is an island of economic productivity too often elicits cries of "class warfare" from the right and the rich. But if we are to maintain and improve the institutions and ideas (public education and affordable healthcare among them) that underpin modern society and its aspirations, every individual, particularly the wealthy, has a civic responsibility to pay his or her fair share.
- This document focuses on the "Top 1%" as a whole because that's been the traditional cut-off point for "the top" in academic studies, and because it's easy for us to keep in mind that we are talking about one in a hundred. But it is also important to realize that the lower half of that top 1% has far less than those in the top half; in fact, both wealth and income are super-concentrated in the top 0.1%, which is just one in a thousand. (To get an idea of the differences, take a look at an insider account by a long-time investment manager who works for the well-to-do and very rich.
- While other Americans’ life expectancy has advanced, the life expectancy of whites without high school diplomas has declined since 1990 — by three years among men and five years among women. The market is not just redistributing income in the United States, then. It is redistributing life.
- Professor Richard D. Wolff - Class Warfare (Alternative Radio Podcast)
- People dread taxes. The tax code is a labyrinth few citizens dare to enter save for the rich and powerful who hire lawyers and accountants to figure out ways to game the system. One corporation paid $26,000 a year to maintain a post office box in Bermuda as its legal headquarters. That little trick saved them $40 million in corporate taxes. Not bad. Taxes on the wealthy used to be high. During the Eisenhower years in the 1950′s, a fairly conservative period which saw tremendous economic growth, the tax rate for the haves was 91 percent. Today it’s a third of that, and few actually pay that much. In true Orwellian fashion, if you raise these issues you are accused of class warfare. There is class warfare all right. It’s been successfully waged by the affluent 1 percent against everybody else.
- Why the Economic Crisis Deepens, Professor Richard Wolff
- From Coastal Progressives -- "This is an excellent review of, and wide-ranging discussion about, our current economic situation. It's clear, comprehensive, enlightening (he even talks about Oregon, if you can imagine!), insightful and frank. He covers an incredibly complex field of information about history, culture, psychology, ethics, and economics easily and lucidly. It really needs to be seen by more people. The not so rhetorical questions he asks need to be more widely known."
- From web site -- Watch as Professor Richard Wolff breaks down the root causes of today's economic crisis, showing how it was decades in the making and in fact reflects seismic failures within the structures of American-style capitalism itself. Wolff traces the source of the economic crisis to the 1970s, when wages began to stagnate and American workers were forced into a dysfunctional spiral of borrowing and debt that ultimately exploded in the mortgage meltdown. By placing the crisis within this larger historical and systemic frame, Wolff argues convincingly that the proposed government "bailouts," stimulus packages, and calls for increased market regulation will not be enough to address the real causes of the crisis, in the end suggesting that far more fundamental change will be necessary to avoid future catastrophes. Richly illustrated with motion graphics, this is a superb introduction designed to help ordinary citizens understand, and react to, the unraveling economic crisis.
- So, what are the protesters so upset about, really? Do they have legitimate gripes? To answer the latter question first, yes, they have very legitimate gripes. And if America cannot figure out a way to address these gripes, the country will likely become increasingly "de-stabilized," as sociologists might say. And in that scenario, the current protests will likely be only the beginning. The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high. In other words, in the never-ending tug-of-war between "labor" and "capital," there has rarely—if ever—been a time when "capital" was so clearly winning.
- The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Cliché, sure, but it's more true than at any time since the Gilded Age. While politicians gloat about our "recovery," our poor are getting poorer, our average wages are still falling behind inflation, and social mobility is at an all-time low. But, yes, if you're in that top 1%, life in America is grand.
- Back in 1981 David Stockman was the wonderkid of the Reagan administration--the director of the Office of Management and Budget who’d craft in actual budgets the trickle-down miracle Reagan had promised on the campaign trail: lower budgets, lower spending, higher tax revenue. But trickle-down economics was a wish, not a reality. It’s never worked. Lower taxes don’t generate more revenue. They generate deficits. Reagan knew it. So did Stockman. So did their guru, Friederich von Hayek. The deficits were intentional all along. They were designed to “starve the beast,” meaning intentionally cut revenue as a way of pressuring Congress to cut the New Deal programs Reagan wanted to demolish. “The plan,” Stockman told Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan at the time, ”was to have a strategic deficit that would give you an argument for cutting back the programs that weren’t desired. It got out of hand.”
- “If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product...”
- A grand delusion has been planted in the minds of Americans, that privately run systems are more efficient and less costly than those in the public sector. Most of the evidence points the other way. Private initiatives generally produce mediocre or substandard results while experiencing the usual travails of unregulated capitalism -- higher prices, limited services, and lower wages for all but a few 'entrepreneurs.'
|“||What we do know is that the financial collapse and economic crisis cost many tens of trillions of dollars and it also caused vast, often unquantifiable, and still-ongoing human suffering, from skyrocketing unemployment, millions of home foreclosures, widespread poverty, and enormous wealth destruction, to lost retirements, obliterated college funds, and, for many, the loss of faith in the American Dream. These events and their costs proved yet again that, other than war, nothing devastates a country more than the economic ruin that follows a financial crisis such as the one that began in 2007.||”|
Wall Street Caused The Crisis
- On March 16, 2007, Morgan Stanley employees working on one of the toxic assets that helped blow up the world economy discussed what to name it. Among the team members' suggestions: "Subprime Meltdown," "Hitman," "Nuclear Holocaust," "Mike Tyson's Punchout," and the simple-yet-direct: "Shitbag." Ha ha. Those hilarious investment bankers. Then they gave it its real name and sold it to a Chinese bank.
- Consumer advocates have complained that U.S. mortgage lenders are getting off easy in a deal to settle charges that they wrongfully foreclosed on many homeowners. Now it turns out the deal is even sweeter for the lenders than it appears: Taxpayers will subsidize them for the money they're ponying up. The Internal Revenue Service regards the lenders' compensation to homeowners as a cost incurred in the course of doing business. Result: It's fully tax-deductible.
- Some four years after the 2008 financial crisis, public trust in banks is as low as ever. Sophisticated investors describe big banks as “black boxes” that may still be concealing enormous risks—the sort that could again take down the economy. A close investigation of a supposedly conservative bank’s financial records uncovers the reason for these fears—and points the way toward urgent reforms.
- The federal rescue of Wall Street didn’t fix the economy – it created a permanent bailout state based on a Ponzi-like confidence scheme. And the worst may be yet to come.
- One outcome of the TARP and other bank rescue efforts following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008 is that the United States has essentially formalized a commitment to a “too big to fail” (TBTF) policy for major banks. This paper uses data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) on the relative cost of funds for TBTF banks and other banks, before and after the crisis, to quantify the value of the government protection provided by the TBTF policy.
- The nation’s largest banks are facing a fresh torrent of lawsuits asserting that they sold shoddy mortgage securities that imploded during the financial crisis, potentially adding significantly to the tens of billions of dollars the banks have already paid to settle other cases.
- CEO Council Demands Cuts To Poor, Elderly While Reaping Billions In Government Contracts, Tax Breaks
- CEOs belonging to what the campaign calls its CEO Fiscal Leadership Council -- most visibly, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell's David Cote -- have barnstormed the media, making the case that the only way to cut the deficit is to severely scale back social safety-net programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security -- which would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly. As part of their push, they are advocating a "territorial tax system" that would exempt their companies' foreign profits from taxation, netting them about $134 billion in tax savings, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies titled "The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks" -- money that could help pay off the federal budget deficit.
- Interest charges are a strongly regressive tax that the poor pay to the rich. A public banking system could realize savings up to 40 percent - allowing taxes to be cut, services increased and market stability created - with banks feeding the economy rather than feeding off it.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has produced several timelines to illustrate how events have unfolded. In both timelines, each event entry contains a link that takes you to the original government announcement or a recent news source for additional information.
- That number includes – lost gross domestic product, destroyed household wealth, unemployment and underemployment, foreclosures, government bailouts, emergency spending measures, and other government actions that prevented a second Great Depression.
- Washington coddles and subsidizes the biggest banks - not to encourage lending, not to encourage saving, and not to better the country, but to contain harsh truths about how badly banks played, and are still playing, the nation.
- How the GOP presidential candidate and his private equity firm staged an epic wealth grab, destroyed jobs – and stuck others with the bill
- A Scorecard For This Summer’s Bank Scandals (ProPublica)
- Thanks to a leaked video, we know that Mitt Romney divides the country into those who pay taxes and those who don't, the makers and the moochers. There is one perhaps surprising group you can put in the latter category: the nation's banks.
- The Mapping Financial Secrecy project is the database that lies behind the Financial Secrecy Index. It should also be considered a major research project in its own right, with extensive and varied findings. Like its predecessor in 2009, entitled Mapping the Faultlines, this is the largest single research project into global financial secrecy in world history.
- The Financial Secrecy Index is a tool for understanding global financial secrecy, corruption and illicit financial flows. By ranking secrecy jurisdictions according to both their secrecy, and the scale of their activities, it allows a politically neutral ranking of the biggest players.
- (Series produced by The Real News Network.)
- Wall Street banks and the hedge fund Magnetar worked together to build mortgage-backed deals that the hedge fund also bet against. The more than $40 billion of deals helped fuel the crash of 2008.
- Thomas Palley, the former Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Growth fellow at the New America Foundation and former assistant director of public policy at the AFL-CIO, makes the case that the 2008 financial crisis was a “crisis of bad ideas.”
- A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet – and even solve the euro crisis
- Money, Power and Wall Street | FRONTLINE | PBS - Four part series. Lots of good follow-up info.
|“||A new study from Switzerland's University of St. Gallen (shows) that the most successful of the global financial elite probably pose more of a menace to society than known psychopaths. The researchers note that achieving overall success was less important to the stock speculators than the sadistic drive "to damage their opponents."||”|
- The bank has defrauded everyone from investors and insurers to homeowners and the unemployed. So why does the government keep bailing it out?
- The Wall Street Pentagon Papers: Biggest Scam In World History Exposed: Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Too Big To Comprehend?
- In just this one peek we got at its operations, we learned that the Fed doled out $12.3 trillion in near-zero interest loans, without Congressional input. The audacity and absurdity of it all is mind boggling. It seems that the average person doesn’t comprehend how much a trillion dollars is, let alone 12.3 trillion. You might as well just say 12.3 gazillion, because people don’t grasp a number that large, nor do they understand what would be possible if that money was used in other ways. Can you imagine what we could do to restructure society with $12.3 trillion? People also can’t grasp the colossal crime committed because they keep hearing the word “loans.” People think of the loans they get. You borrow money, you pay it back with interest, no big deal. That’s not what happened here. The Fed doled out $12.3 trillion in near-zero interest loans, using the American people as collateral, demanding nothing in return, other than a bunch of toxic assets in some cases. They only gave this money to a select group of insiders, at a time when very few had any money because all these same insiders and speculators crashed the system.
- Rob Johnson: Financial institutions planning to use crisis to privatize and monopolize.
- EDITOR NOTES: This topic is crucial for people to understand. The same forces whose antics brought the global economy to its knees while accumulating unimaginable "paper" wealth are scooping up every tangible asset they can get their hands on while prices for those assets are cheap and before their currency becomes worthless.
- - Wall Street lobbyists trying to slow down trading regulations and defund Commission
- - Massive spikes in price of food, oil, natural gas and silver cannot be the result of supply and demand
- - For regulations to be effective, there has to be political will and proper resources
- - Regulator gets "around 100 visits from finance reps for every one from community advocates"
- Iceland was one of the hardest hit nations in the immediate aftermath of the September 2008 economic meltdown. Asked by their own government to pay Britain and Holland for bailing out their Icesave-exposed banks, the people overwhelmingly said "no." Do the actions of the Icelandic people present an example for the rest of the world as we see the global economy teetering on the edge of collapse?
- The "money note" comes at the end of the discussion:
- Q: Do we need Goldman Sachs? What do they contribute to the economy? Is there any need for any of these institutions?
- A: These are very large institutions, very profitable institutions with essentially zero social value. If they disappeared overnight, I think the world would be a better rather than a worse place.
- Derivatives: The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks - (Awesome graphics!)
- SHORT STORY: Pick something of value, make bets on the future value of "something", add contract & you have a derivative. Banks make massive profits on derivatives, and when the bubble bursts chances are the tax payer will end up with the bill. This visualizes the total coverage for derivatives (notional). Similar to insurance company's total coverage for all cars.
- How America's biggest banks took part in a nationwide bid-rigging conspiracy - until they were caught on tape.
- Without accountability, says former watchdog, the 'unending parade of megabanks scandals will inevitably continue'
- Former Tarp Inspector General, Neil Barofsky discusses his new book Bailout: An Insider Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street. Topics include the widespread fraud in the TARP program, how the HAMP program was designed to provide a "soft landing" for banks the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street and getting a "Bullet or Bribe" Colombian Drug Cartel Style offer from the former head of TARP, Herb Allison.
- Goldman Sachs pays vast fines to avoid prosecution for mortgage securities fraud. Barclays manipulates interest rates. The Senate exposes HSBC as a racketeering enterprise, laundering money for drug cartels. Banks are laden with bad assets. And Wall Street, Washington, the press corps, everyone sits and stares like so many dumb cows.
- Unlike private lenders, the federal government has extraordinary tools for collection that it has extended to the collection firms.
- As debt provides a gateway into a radical conversation about the capitalist system itself, strategic and analytical questions arise about the role of the state — questions that have always haunted OWS as a movement grounded in anarchist principles. What can we learn from the debt cancellation forced upon the Icelandic government by citizens earlier this year? How do we connect the dots between “personal” debt and the public debt of municipalities and governments subjected to corporate bondholders and credit-rating agencies? How do we link struggles against budgetary austerity with the grievances of the indebted? As Andrew Ross asked on Democracy Now! last fall, “How might debt be rethought as something socially productive and collectively managed, rather than as an engine of predatory profiteering for the 1%?”
- Nonprofit group lets donors fly 'totally under the radar'
- Steve Horn: ALEC is only one of several right wing organizations that write model big business friendly laws for state legislatures across the country.
- Psywar Film Reveals The Hidden Battle for Your Mind: Psywar explores corporate and government use of propaganda and public relations to manipulate American people. The movie shows how the U.S. government staged events to manipulate public opinion about the Iraq war, like the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, the supposedly spontaneous mob that pulled over the larger-than-life statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It also discusses the Pentagon pundit scandal, and the hidden activities of the Rendon Group, a PR firm specializing in spinning war. The film exposes government and corporate activities to blur the lines between real news and fake news, as well as the development over time of public relations misinformation campaigns, strategic corporate campaigns to generate goodwill and the perception of good works, the use of staged photo-ops, and other manipulative PR tools that have turned the land of the free and the home of the brave into a place where citizens are now manipulated with great efficiency, and on a massive scale.
- Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media: Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda
- Alex Carey: Corporations and Propaganda: How Corporations Destroyed US Democracy Through Propaganda
- Summary: The people of the US have been subjected to the most costly, unparalleled, 3/4 century propaganda effort by corporations in order to expand corporate rights, limit democracy and destroy the unions. This two part radio broadcast explores the history From WWI to Reagan.
- Credits: Producer: Maria Gilardin email@example.com
- - "...Americans are the most propagandized people of any nation."
- - "...The success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century."
- - "[The common man's] most intimate conceptions of himself, of his needs, and indeed of the very nature of human nature, have been subject to skilled manipulation and construction in the interests of corporate efficiency and profit."
- Carey was a professor of psychology and industrial relations at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
- From Publisher: This compelling book examines the twentieth-century history of corporate propaganda as practiced by U.S. businesses and its export to and adoption by other western democracies, chiefly the United Kingdom and Australia.
"A uniquely important work on the 'ideal of a propaganda-managed democracy."
- --Noam Chomsky
- "Illuminates how big business propaganda, waged by PR experts, subverts democracy and ensures corporate dominance."
- --John Stauber, coauthor of Toxic Sludge Is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry
- "A unique study of the growth and development of corporate propaganda in western democracies. . . . Timely, and useful for anyone concerned about the influence of methods of mass persuasion in undermining democracy."
- --Elaine Bernard, Harvard University Trade Union Program
- Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, is an analysis of the news media as business. The title derives from the phrase “the manufacture of consent” that essayist–editor Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) employed in the book Public Opinion (1922).
- Noam Chomsky - The Political Economy of the Mass Media - Part 1
- Noam Chomsky - The Political Economy of the Mass Media - Part 2
- Noam Chomsky's talk called "Controlling the Public Mind", taped March 1 1996, sponsored by the B.C. Federation of Labour and the Vancouver and District Labour Council. Over 1000 people came to hear Dr. Chomsky at the Hotel Vancouver on a cold rainy Sunday night. His flight from Boston was delayed and he didn't arrive till after 11 pm, for an event scheduled to begin at 7 pm. Nevertheless the room was full when he began speaking. Nearly everyone had waited over 4 hours to hear him.
- “The Century of the Self”, reveals the intricacies of psycho-manipulative social engineering through propaganda. Propaganda is a type of communication which is aimed at influencing a community toward a cause. Media utilizes propaganda by constantly dispersing certain information over a wide spectrum of mainstream media outlets (e.g.:ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News) or more recently internet social networks (e.g:Facebook and Twitter) to sequester the desired attitudes from it.
- The financial crisis, which is very much still with us, did not result from accident or miscalculation; neither did it result because of a flaw in Alan Greenspan’s theory, as he told Congress when a feeble effort was made to hold him accountable. It was the intentional result of people motivated by short-term profits who wanted to get theirs and get out.
- Who Owns The Media? The 6 Monolithic Corporations That Control Almost Everything We Watch, Hear And Read
- Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.
Money in Politics
- While other campaign committees, from labor unions to Super PACs, face strict transparency rules, trade associations enjoy unparalleled power to covertly manipulate elections using corporate money. Ads bankrolled by entities like American Petroleum Institute (API) helped deliver one of the greatest midterm election upsets in American history. For the first time, outside spending groups eclipsed party spending. The young president, with his party’s ranks decimated and the House flipped into the hands of the far right, was forced to abandon much of his domestic agenda.
- Despite unprecedented spending at all levels of elections this cycle, the Washington Post reports that “three-quarters of Americans have either heard 'a little' (36 percent) or 'nothing at all' (39 percent) about 'increased spending in this year’s presidential election by outside groups not associated with the candidates or campaigns.'"
- - 94% of all individual donations to super-PACs in the 2012 cycle came from just 1,082 people.
- - 57% of all individual super-PAC donations came from just 47 people, each giving $1M or more.
- - The top five dark-money nonprofit groups have spent $53 million on ads. They disclosed just $420,920--or 0.79%.
- - Five big outside-spending groups have accounted for over half of all outside spending in the 2012 cycle.
Narrative of a Failed State
- Morris Berman - Why America failed (YouTube - Lecture)
- Extraenvironmentalist #34: Morris Berman - Why America Failed
- Twilight is on the horizon for American culture. After spreading an ideology of endless economic growth around the world, the definition of modernity has been defined by the United States. American values are now written into the cultural textbook for nations across the globe. Now that America is failing, what does it feel like to look back and what did we achieve? Was the collapse written in the opening chapters? What if our technological legacy comes with a terrible dark side?
Social Control Through Fear & Hate
- From Report: As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the Islamophobia network will be working overtime. The anniversary could be manipulated to ratchet up the nonexistent threat of Sharia and warn of apocalyptic dangers stemming from Muslims living in America.
- Selected Quotes From Report
- From Page 2: A small group of foundations and wealthy donors are the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America, providing critical funding to a clutch of right-wing think tanks that peddle hate and fear of Muslims and Islam—in the form of books, reports, websites, blogs, and carefully crafted talking points that anti-Islam grassroots organizations and some right-wing religious groups use as propaganda for their constituency.
- Full Report: Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America
- Related Article: New report maps the roots of Islamophobia: A new report traces the flow -- and funding -- of anti-Muslim ideas >> In a 140-page report released Friday, researchers at the Center for American Progress have traced the origins of rising Islamophobia in the United States to what they call a "small, tightly networked group of misinformation experts guiding an effort that reaches millions of Americans through effective advocates, media partners, and grassroots organizing."
- ↑ Wall Street Protest Begins, With Demonstrators Blocked
- ↑ National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) Main Web Site
- ↑ Jiddu Krishnamurti on Security
- ↑ State Power and Democracy
- ↑ State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W. Bush (Excerpt from book.)
With the recent emergence of the nationwide “Occupy” movement in the United States, there is reason to hope that a mass-based progressive movement could develop to challenge the power of an American police state.
- ↑ Ten Years Later: Surveillance in the "Homeland"
- ↑ Hadley Center: “Catastrophic” 5-7°C warming by 2100 on current emissions path (McPherson actually understated the Hadley prediction.)
- ↑ Transition Initiatives Directory
- ↑ Transition United States: Bringing a new world to life.
- ↑ The World Crisis and Beyond - Building a New Global Solidarity
- ↑ Severson, Kim. "Eat, Drink, Think, Change." The New York Times. June 3, 2009.
- ↑ The World According to Monsanto IMDb Page
- ↑ The World According to Monsanto
- ↑ "Charlie Rose Interviews Charles Ferguson on his documentary 'Inside Job'", February 25, 2011
- ↑ Usage of Federal Reserve Credit and Liquidity Facilities
The Federal Reserve also provided credit to several systemically important financial institutions. These actions were taken to avoid the disorderly failure of these institutions and the potential catastrophic consequences for the U.S. financial system and economy. All extensions of credit were fully secured and are in the process of being fully repaid.
- ↑ Occupy Student Debt: Students Urged to Refuse to Pay Off Loans as Schools Hike Tuition
- ↑ OCCUPY STUDENT DEBT CAMPAIGN
- ↑ Psywar Film Reveals The Hidden Battle for Your Mind
- ↑ Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America -- Conclusion