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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 65,079

Journal Archives

Eric Holder's Complex Legacy: Voting Rights Advocate, Enemy of Press Freedom, Friend of Wall Street


Corporations Are Not Going to Save Us From Climate Disruption

(Truthout) This past week in New York saw some remarkable actions around climate change. The massive People's Climate March was perhaps the main media spectacle, but it was not the only, or necessarily the most important event. Another important one: the Climate Justice Summit, which featured the voices and testimonials of people all around the country and the globe who are on the frontlines, bearing the brunt of both ruthless extraction and destruction of their lands and livelihoods, and also experiencing most directly the impacts of climate change itself. Many were tearful as they described lives and lands laid to ruin by tar sands, fracking, coal, uranium mining and more. The brutal, relentless and rapacious greed of corporate profiteers in the fossil fuel industries, big agribusiness and forestry and financial sectors seems almost unfathomable.

Clearly, the United Nations is not going to do what is necessary to change the path we are on, but rather is mired in blame and conflict, relegated to endlessly reenacting and rehashing the history of colonialism, apparently utterly incapable of taking any steps that could be construed as challenging to the economic status quo much less calling out capitalism. Why? Because the UN itself is beholden to corporate puppet masters.

With apparent naïveté, the UN insists on taking its cue from the very corporations who are responsible for degrading the planet, destroying lives and creating the crisis in the first place. This is pervasive throughout institutions and governments across the globe, not only the UN. The reason is money. With a handful of corporations owning and controlling most of the world's wealth, little can be funded and executed on a large scale without the funding, involvement and decision making of the handful of ultra wealthy. Which means ceding control to those corporate interests and doing their bidding. Money is power - but not the only kind!

The proliferation of "public-private partnerships" is one of the manifestations of this political and economic reality. These are presented in diplomatic terms as attempts to "bring together" the public and private sectors with civil society, to ensure all "stakeholders" are represented in working toward various goals. Many are either initiated by, or granted a platform in, the UN. One such partnership in particular that was in the limelight at this climate summit was the "Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture." .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26501-corporations-are-not-going-to-save-us-from-climate-disruption

Amy Goodman: Global Warming and Global Warring

from truthdig:

Global Warming and Global Warring
Posted on Sep 24, 2014

By Amy Goodman

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Hours after 400,000 people joined in the largest climate march in history, the United States began bombing Syria, starting yet another war. The Pentagon claims that the targets were military installations of the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq, as well a newly revealed terrorist outfit, the Khorasan Group. President Barack Obama is again leading the way to war, while simultaneously failing to address our rapidly worsening climate. The world is beset with twin crises, inextricably linked: global warming and global warring. Solutions to both exist, but won’t be achieved by bombing.

“In today’s wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict are sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, children scarred.” These words were spoken on Dec. 10, 2009, by that year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Barack Obama. Five years later, his pronouncement reads like a daily headline. The peace group Code Pink is calling on President Obama to return his Nobel medal.

“The world must come together to confront climate change,” Obama said in that same Nobel acceptance speech. “There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, more famine, more mass displacement—all of which will fuel more conflict for decades.” Obama even made the key point that “it is not merely scientists and environmental activists who call for swift and forceful action—it’s military leaders in my own country and others who understand our common security hangs in the balance.”

Indeed, the Pentagon has long considered climate change to be a major threat to the national security of the United States. In its 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon noted that the many impacts of climate change “will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions—conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.” ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/global_warming_and_global_warring_20140924

Robert Parry: Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria

from Consortium News:

Obama’s Novel Lawyering to Bomb Syria
September 23, 2014

Exclusive: The U.S. government likes international law when it serves Washington’s purposes, but not when it constrains U.S. desires to use military force. Then, the rules are bent, ignored or subjected to novel lawyering, as President Obama is doing with airstrikes into Syria, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Obama administration has devised an extraordinary legal justification for carrying out bombing attacks inside Syria – that the United States and its Persian Gulf allies have the right to defend Iraq against the Islamic State because the Syrian government is unable to stop the cross-border terror group.

“The Syrian regime has shown that it cannot and will not confront these safe havens effectively itself,” said the U.S. letter delivered by Ambassador Samantha Power to United Nations officials. “Accordingly, the United States has initiated necessary and proportionate military actions in Syria in order to eliminate the ongoing ISIL threat to Iraq, including by protecting Iraqi citizens from further attacks and by enabling Iraqi forces to regain control of Iraq’s borders.”

Yet, beyond the danger to world order if such an expansive theory is embraced by the international community (does anyone remember how World War One got started?), there is the hypocrisy of the U.S. government and many of those same Gulf allies arming, training and funding Syrian rebels for the purpose of preventing the Syrian military from controlling its territory and then citing that lack of control as the rationale to ignore Syria’s sovereignty.

In other words, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and other enemies of Syria covertly backed the rebels inside Syria and watched as many of them – including thousands of the U.S.-preferred “moderates” – took their newly acquired military skills to al-Qaeda affiliates and other terrorist organizations. Then, the U.S. and its allies have the audacity to point to the existence of those terror groups inside Syria as a rationale for flying bombing raids into Syria. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/23/obamas-novel-lawyering-to-bomb-syria/

Naomi Klein on Cause of Climate Crisis: "Capitalism Is Stupid"

from Truthout:


In this book, you say what people just aren't supposed to say: that fixing the climate is incompatible with capitalism. In particular, you point out the ways that the profit motive has proved corrupting, in some cases to green groups themselves, in other cases to the supposedly beneficent pledges made by the superrich. Can you talk a little bit about how profit hasn't been able to, and won't be able to, solve the crisis?

Naomi Klein: There's a chapter in the book on why the billionaires won't save us, and the point of that chapter is not to play gotcha with Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson. It's actually to say OK, let's say that these are the most enlightened billionaires on the planet. And let's say that they at various points have had the shit scared out of them about climate change. But locked within the imperatives of their model, it's possible for Michael Bloomberg to simultaneously understand the medium-term risk of fossil fuels and to back reports like "Risky Business" that are all about warnings about the billions of dollars in costs that come with a destabilized climate, and Michael Bloomberg, as an investor, to choose, in a very short-term way, to put his billions in oil and gas, which is what he does.

There was this idea that it was just a process of convincing very wealthy people that this really was a problem and that there really were costs down the road and that in the long term it would be better to prevent it from happening.

The problem is, capitalism is stupid. You know that cover of Bloomberg Businessweek, "It's Global Warming, Stupid," well, it is global warming, but capitalism is stupid in that it doesn't actually think. It seeks the maximum short-term profit. I think people are mistaking the fact that there are billionaires out there that do get the extent of the problem and really do talk a good game about carbon bubbles and the economic risk, for the idea that that's going to translate into action. Where that becomes really dangerous is that the UN believes this too. I keep getting press releases from the UN about how the best part of the summit is that it has unprecedented participation from multinationals and CEOs from Bank of America and Walmart and McDonald's and Amoco. It's still this same idea that getting people around the table with the right information and the right incentives in place will solve this from the top, and there won't need to be any friction.

I think the real difference is that now there's a movement on the outside that says no, that understands that the imperatives for the fossil fuel industry are fundamentally incompatible with a livable climate. That's the point of the carbon tracker research that kicked off the fossil fuel divestment movement because students look at those numbers and go OK, my university is investing in companies that have made a bet against my future. You can debate fossil fuel divestment as a tactic, but I think that it's important to understand what you're up against, and I think there's much more clarity in the movement now than there has been in decades. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://truth-out.org/news/item/26369-naomi-klein-on-cause-of-climate-crisis-capitalism-is-stupid

Sept 20: Bernie Sanders - Bill McKibben - Naomi Klein - Kshama Sawant - Chris Hedges - Brian Lehrer

Published on Sep 21, 2014
The Talk before the Walk, the night before the 9/21 climate change march in NYC: Among issues raised, elected socialist Kshama Sawant declares saving the planet requires the public taking ownership of the public corporations, especially Big Oil, so they actually serve the public and the planet !!! plus: Will Bernie please run against Hillary? Bill MiKibben, Bernie Sanders, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, Kshama Sawant, on a panel moderated by Brian Lehrer with a huge crowd at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Manhattan.
video, unedited, by Joe Friendly

Chicago’s Cop Watchers: Youth stand up to police violence

from In These Times:

Chicago’s Cop Watchers
Youth stand up to police violence.


The spontaneous uprising in Ferguson over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown has cast the national spotlight on racially charged police violence, a slower-burning but increasingly potent movement has been building in Chicago. Young activists and veteran organizers are working to demand accountability and justice for communities that routinely endure violence and harassment at the hands of the city’s police force.

In late August and early September, hundreds of people marched in a series of protests on the West Side against the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh. As in Ferguson, community members are demanding the department release the name of the officer who shot McIntosh. Police say McIntosh pointed a gun at officers; community members have said he was unarmed and on his knees when he was killed.

Chicago has a long history of struggles between communities and police, from union members who fought with police in the 1800s to the Black Panthers in the 1960s to the 1990s-2000s movement against police torture—namely the alleged systematic use of electric shocks, beatings and other brutality to obtain confessions under former Police Commander Jon Burge. Burge is now in prison, serving a four-and-a-half-year sentence for perjury and obstruction. But police brutality, misconduct and shootings continue to make headlines and roil communities in Chicago.

In late August, for example, prosecutors brought charges against a West Side police commander accused of shoving a gun down a man’s throat, holding a Taser to his groin and threatening to kill him during an incident in 2013. A lawsuit filed this spring involved officers videotaped beating and threatening a handcuffed, diminutive woman who managed a tanning salon being raided over prostitution allegations. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17147/chicagos_cop_watchers

Great (and currently apropos) quote from Hannah Arendt:

“There is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that only the future will reveal its merits.” -- from The Origins of Totalitarianism

Your Beer Are Belong to Us !!!!

Giant Corporations Want to Control All of Your Beer

Monday, 22 September 2014 11:04
By Benjamin Dangl, Toward Freedom | Report

The variety of the craft-brewing wave sweeping the US makes drinking beer more fun than ever. Maine’s Flying Dog Brewery brews a beer from local oysters, and the Delaware-based Dogfish Head uses an ancient beer recipe they dug up from 2,700-year-old drinking vessels in the tomb of King Midas.

But as this trend spreads, there’s another revolution going on that’s concentrating most of the world’s beer into the hands of just a few mega-corporations. These kings of beer are riding the wave of craft brewing enthusiasm, buying up smaller breweries, and duping customers along the way.

“If you want to listen to Milli Vanilli, I suppose that’s a choice you get to make. Just know that you’re making that choice,” is how Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Company put it.

Take Blue Point, Long Island’s first microbrewery. A couple of home brewers started the company ten years ago, but this year, Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Blue Point for $24 million. John Hall, the founder of Chicago’s Goose Island beer, told a reporter in 2013, “Goose Island is a craft beer, period.” Yet it too was sold to AB InBev in 2011. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26351-giant-corporations-want-to-control-all-of-your-beer

Laura Flanders: It's Not the Carbon; It's the Capitalism!

by Laura Flanders

The big climate march in New York City and a big new book have concentrated attention on the climate. Enough denial and delay the marchers chant; This Changes Everything, says Naomi Klein in her latest call to action.

"It's not about carbon, it's about capitalism," says Klein.

I couldn't agree more. It's time we faced not just the symptoms, but the system that is cozying us up to catastrophe.

Our economic system of extract, exploit and profit is colliding with our eco-system, writes Klein and in case anyone is unclear about the consequences of that: when the ideology of infinite growth meets the reality of finite fuel and earth, reality is the odds-on favorite. We can't keep drilling and billing the future forever.

It's a relief to see people in the streets and a relief to see Crisis and Capitalism in the same sentence. We heard plenty about the crisis of capitalism during the last recession. What Klein keeps us thinking about is the crisis that is capitalism. After all, only people in crisis will work long hours for low pay and someone else's profit. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/26372-it-s-not-the-carbon-it-s-the-capitalism

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