Sunday READ – 3 November 2013
* OUR INVISIBLE REVOLUTION
By Chris Hedges, PopularResistance
“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.”
Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.
It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect. The ideas that sustain the corporate state are swiftly losing their efficacy across the political spectrum. The ideas that are rising to take their place, however, are inchoate. The right has retreated into Christian fascism and a celebration of the gun culture. The left, knocked off balance by decades of fierce state repression in the name of anti-communism, is struggling to rebuild and define itself. Popular revulsion for the ruling elite, however, is nearly universal. It is a question of which ideas will capture the public’s imagination.
Revolution usually erupts over events that would, in normal circumstances, be considered meaningless or minor acts of injustice by the state. But once the tinder of revolt has piled up, as it has in the United States, an insignificant spark easily ignites popular rebellion. No person or movement can ignite this tinder. No one knows where or when the eruption will take place. No one knows the form it will take. But it is certain now that a popular revolt is coming. The refusal by the corporate state to address even the minimal grievances of the citizenry, along with the abject failure to remedy the mounting state repression, the chronic unemployment and underemployment, the massive debt peonage that is crippling more than half of Americans, and the loss of hope and widespread despair, means that blowback is inevitable.
“Because revolution is evolution at its boiling point you cannot ‘make’ a real revolution any more than you can hasten the boiling of a tea kettle,” Berkman wrote. “It is the fire underneath that makes it boil: how quickly it will come to the boiling point will depend on how strong the fire is.”
Revolutions, when they erupt, appear to the elites and the establishment to be sudden and unexpected. This is because the real work of revolutionary ferment and consciousness is unseen by the mainstream society, noticed only after it has largely been completed. Throughout history, those who have sought radical change have always had to first discredit the ideas used to prop up ruling elites and construct alternative ideas for society, ideas often embodied in a utopian revolutionary myth. The articulation of a viable socialism as an alternative to corporate tyranny—as attempted by the book “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and the websitePopular Resistance—is, for me, paramount. Once ideas shift for a large portion of a population, once the vision of a new society grips the popular imagination, the old regime is finished. […]
READ @ http://www.popularresistance.org/our-invisible-revolution/—————————————————————–
* REPORT FINDS POLICE WORLDWIDE CRIMINALIZE DISSENT, ASSERT NEW POWERS IN CRACKDOWN ON PROTESTS
* FRACK CHECKED VIDEOS 1 & 2
Source: Frack Free Colorado
Proof that the Oil and Gas industry lied about our groundwater being safe from fracking!
Tony Ingraffea, Dwight C. Baum Professorship in Engineering at Cornell and former consultant for the oil and gas industry for 25 years, debunks the Oil & Gas industry statement “We’ve been fracking safely since 1947”.
Take action @ www.frackfreecolorado.com
* FUKUSHIMA – A GLOBAL THREAT THE REQUIRES A GLOBAL RESPONSE
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Truthout
The story of Fukushima should be on the front pages of every newspaper. Instead, it is rarely mentioned. The problems at Fukushima are unprecedented in human experience and involve a high risk of radiation events larger than any that the global community has ever experienced. It is going to take the best engineering minds in the world to solve these problems and to diminish their global impact.
When we researched the realities of Fukushima in preparation for this article, words like apocalyptic, cataclysmic and Earth-threatening came to mind. But, when we say such things, people react as if we were the little red hen screaming “the sky is falling” and the reports are ignored. So, we’re going to present what is known in this article and you can decide whether we are facing a potentially cataclysmic event.
Either way, it is clear that the problems at Fukushima demand that the world’s best nuclear engineers and other experts advise and assist in the efforts to solve them. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds.org and an international team of scientists created a 15-point plan to address the crises at Fukushima.
A subcommittee of the Green Shadow Cabinet (of which we are members), which includes long-time nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman, is circulating a sign-on letter and a petition calling on the United Nations and Japanese government to put in place the Gundersen et al plan and to provide 24-hour media access to information about the crises at Fukushima. There is also a call for international days of action on the weekend of November 9 and 10. The letter and petitions will be delivered to the UN on November 11 which is both Armistice Day and the 32nd month anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster. […]
READ @ http://truth-out.org/news/item/19547-fukushima-a-global-threat-that-requires-a-global-response—————————————————————–
* THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP: A ‘TRADE’ AGREEMENT FOR PROTECTIONISTS
By Dean Baker, Post Globalization Initiative
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) stands at the top of the Obama administration’s trade agenda. The argument from its supporters is that this agreement is part of the never ending quest for freer trade. The evidence from what we know of this still secret pact is that the TPP has little to do with free trade. It can more accurately be described as a pact designed to increase the wealth and power of crony capitalists.
At this point, with few exceptions formal trade barriers, such as tariffs and quotas, are not very large. If lowering or eliminating the formal barriers that remain were the main agenda of this pact, there would be relatively little interest. Rather, the purpose of the pact is to use an international trade agreement to create a regulatory structure that is much more favorable to corporate interests than they would be able to get through the domestic political process in the United States and in the other countries in the pact.
The gap between free trade and the agenda of the TPP is clearest in the case of prescription drugs. The U.S. drug companies have a major seat at the negotiating table. They will be trying to craft rules that increase the strength of patent and related protections. The explicit purpose is to raise (as in not lower) the price of drugs in the countries signing the TPP.
Note that this goal is the opposite of what we would expect in an agreement designed to promote free trade. Instead of having drug companies at the table, we might envision that we would have representatives of consumer groups who would try to negotiate rules that could ensure safe drugs at lower prices. Instead of using a “trade” agreement to try to push drug prices in other countries up, we could actually use trade to bring the price of drugs in the United States down to the levels seen elsewhere. […]
* PUBLIC INTEREST ANALYSIS OF LEAKED TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (TPP)
Source: Public Citizen
FR: Lori Wallach and Todd Tucker, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
DT: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
RE: Public Interest Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Investment Text
After more than two years of negotiations under conditions of extreme secrecy, on June 12, 2012, a leaked copy of the investment chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement was posted at http://tinyurl.com/tppinvestment. Public Citizen has verified that the text is authentic.
The leaked text provides stark warnings about the dangers of “trade” negotiations occurring without press, public or policymaker oversight. It reveals that negotiators already have agreed to many radical terms granting expansive new rights and privileges for foreign investors and their private corporate enforcement through extra-judicial “investor-state” tribunals.
Although TPP has been branded as a “trade” agreement, the leaked text shows that TPP would limit how signatory countries may regulate foreign firms operating within their boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms. The leaked text reveals a two-track legal system, with foreign firms empowered to skirt domestic courts and laws to directly sue TPP governments in foreign tribunals. There they can demand compensation for domestic financial, health, environmental, land use laws and other laws they claim undermine their new TPP privileges.
The leak also reveals that all countries involved in TPP talks – except Australia – have agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of such foreign tribunals, which would be empowered to order payment of unlimited government Treasury funds to foreign investors over TPP claims. As revealed in Section B of the leaked text, these tribunals would not meet standards of transparency, consistency or due process common to TPP countries’ domestic legal systems or provide fair, independent or balanced venues for resolving disputes between sovereign nations and private investors. For instance, in a manner that would be unethical for judges, the tribunals would be staffed by private sector lawyers that rotate between acting as “judges” and as advocates for the investors suing the governments.
U.S. negotiators are alone in seeking to expand this extra-judicial enforcement system to also allow the use of foreign tribunals to enforce contracts foreign investors may have with a government for government procurement or to operate utilities contracts and even for concessions related to natural resources on federal lands. (Text that is not yet agreed in the leaked text appears in square brackets and Public Citizen has seen a version of the text that lists which countries support various proposals.)
While 600 official U.S. corporate advisors have access to TPP texts and have a special role in advising U.S. negotiators, for the public, press and policymakers, this leak provides the first access to one of the proposed agreement’s most controversial chapters. In May, Sen. Ron Wyden, the Chair of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Trade – the U.S. congressional committee with jurisdiction over TPP – submitted legislation requiring that access be provided to members of Congress and their staff after he and his staff were denied access to even the U.S. TPP text proposals submitted during negotiations.
The TPP may well be the last trade agreement that the U.S. negotiates. This is because the TPP, if completed, would have a new feature: it would be open for any other country to later join. TPP offered an opportunity to develop a new trade agreement model that could deliver the benefits of expanded trade without undermining signatory nations’ domestic public interest policies or establishing special privileges for foreign corporations. President Obama campaigned on fixing these investment rules to protect public interest. Unfortunately,PublicCitizen’s analysis of this text shows that the U.S. positions do not reflect the changes that candidate Obama pledged to remedy this regime’s threats. […]
* WHY SCIENCE IS TELLING ALL OF US TO REVOLT AND CHANGE OUR LIVES BEFORE WE DESTROY THE PLANET
By Naomi Klein, Alternet
In December 2012, a pink-haired complex systems researcher named Brad Werner made his way through the throng of 24,000 earth and space scientists at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held annually in San Francisco. This year’s conference had some big-name participants, from Ed Stone of Nasa’s Voyager project, explaining a new milestone on the path to interstellar space, to the film-maker James Cameron, discussing his adventures in deep-sea submersibles.
But it was Werner’s own session that was attracting much of the buzz. It was titled “Is Earth F**ked?” (full title: “Is Earth F**ked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possibilities for Sustainability via Direct Action Activism”).
Standing at the front of the conference room, the geophysicist from the University of California, San Diego walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he was using to answer that question. He talked about system boundaries, perturbations, dissipation, attractors, bifurcations and a whole bunch of other stuff largely incomprehensible to those of us uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”
There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”. According to the abstract for his presentation, this includes “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups”. […]
* PERPETUAL WAR: HOW DOES THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR EVER END?
By Jeremy Scahill, CommonDreams
[…] Redefining “Imminent Threat”
In early 2013, a Department of Justice “white paper” surfaced that laid out the “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen.” The government lawyers who wrote the 16-page document asserted that the government need not possess specific intelligence indicating that an American citizen is actively engaged in a particular or active terror plot in order to be cleared for targeted killing. Instead, the paper argued that a determination from a “well-informed high level administration official” that a target represents an “imminent threat” to the United States is a sufficient basis to order the killing of an American citizen. But the Justice Department’s lawyers sought to alter the definition of “imminent,” advocating what they called a “broader concept of imminence.”
They wrote, “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.” The government lawyers argued that waiting for a targeted killing of a suspect “until preparations for an attack are concluded, would not allow the United States sufficient time to defend itself.” They asserted that such an operation constitutes “a lawful killing in self-defense” and is “not an assassination.”
Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU called the white paper a “chilling document,” saying that “it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen.” Jaffer added, “This power is going to be available to the next administration and the one after that, and it’s going to be available in every future conflict, not just the conflict against al-Qaeda. And according to the [Obama] administration, the power is available all over the world, not just on geographically cabined battlefields. So it really is a sweeping proposition.”
In October 2002, as the Bush administration prepared to invade Iraq, Barack Obama gave the first major speech of his national political career. The then-state senator came out forcefully against going to war in Iraq, but he began his speech with a clarification. “Although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances… I don’t oppose all wars.” Obama declared, “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.” During his first campaign for president, Obama had blasted the Bush administration for fighting the wrong war — Iraq — and repeatedly criticized his opponent, Senator John McCain, for not articulating how he would take the fight to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
As his first term in office wound down, the overwhelming majority of U.S. military forces had been withdrawn from Iraq and plans for a similar drawdown in Afghanistan in 2014 were being openly discussed. The administration had succeeded in convincing the American public that Obama was waging a smarter war than his predecessor. As he ran for reelection, Obama was asked about charges from his Republican opponents that his foreign policy was based on appeasement. “Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaeda leaders who have been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement,” Obama replied. “Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that.”
As the war on terror entered a second decade, the fantasy of a clean war took hold. It was a myth fostered by the Obama administration, and it found a ready audience. All polls indicated that Americans were tired of large military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and the mounting U.S. troop casualties that came with them. A 2012 poll found that 83% of Americans supported Obama’s drone program, with 77% of self-identified liberal Democrats supporting such strikes. The Washington Post–ABC News poll determined that support for drone strikes declined “only somewhat” in cases where a U.S. citizen was the target.
President Obama and his advisers seldom mentioned the drone program publicly. In fact, the first known confirmation of the use of armed drones by the president came several years into Obama’s first term. It was not in the form of a legal brief or a press conference, but rather on a Google+ “Hangout” as the president took questions from the public. Obama was asked about his use of drones. “I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” Obama said. “For the most part, they have been very precise, precision strikes against al-Qaeda and their affiliates. And we are very careful in terms of how it’s been applied.” […]