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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 20,582

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America’s Deficit Attention Disorder

(This also applies to Canada and many other countries, in case someone thinks I'm not being fair by posting it here. I just thought it was a very good read.)

Published Aug 15 2012 by Yes! Magazine, Archived Aug 15 2012
America’s Deficit Attention Disorder
by David Korten



......There is no magic bullet quick fix. We must reframe the debate by bringing life values and living systems logic to the fore and turning the prevailing rights hierarchy on its head. The rights of nature must come first, because without nature, humans do not exist. As living beings, our rights are derivative of and ultimately subordinate to the rights of Earth’s living systems.

Human rights come, in turn, before property rights, because property rights are a human creation. They have no existence without humans and no purpose other than to serve the human and natural interest. Corporations are a form of property and any rights we may choose to grant to them are derivative of individual property rights and therefore properly subordinate to them.

The step to a prosperous human future requires that we acknowledge life, not money, as our defining value, accept our responsibilities to and for one another and nature, and bring to the fore of the debate the social and bio-system deficits that are the true threat to the human future.

Replacing cultures and institutions that value money more than life with cultures and institutions that value life more than money is a daunting challenge. Fortunately, it is also an invigorating and hopeful challenge because it reconnects us with our true nature as living beings and offers a win-win alternative to the no-win status quo."

"Back Off": Assange Attorney Michael Ratner Urges U.K., U.S. to Respect Asylum Decision, Int’l Law


Video, August, 19 2012 Michael Ratner


Sunday, August 19, 2012

By Michael Ratner and Amy Goodman

Source: Democracy Now

Michael Ratner, a member of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team, reacts to the breaking news that Ecuador has approved Assange’s request for political asylum.

Michael Ratner, a member of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team, reacts to the breaking news that Ecuador has approved Assange’s request for political asylum two months after Assange took refuge in its London embassy. Britain says it still plans to extradite Assange to Sweden, where he faces questioning for alleged sexual misconduct. "The British ought to just back off, and the U.S. ought to just back off," Ratner says. "For the British to say that they’re going to go into the embassy and get out someone who’s been granted asylum would turn the refugee convention and asylum completely on its head. ... [Assange] has a right to leave that embassy, get on a plane and go to Ecuador. ... That’s the law."

The United States And Its Comrade-In-Arms, Al Qaeda. And Other Tales Of An Empire Gone Mad

By William Blum

Source: Killinghope.org

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s ... Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s ... Libya 2011 ... Syria 2012 ... In military conflicts in each of these countries the United States and al Qaeda (or one of its associates) have been on the same side. 1

What does this tell us about the United States' "War On Terrorism"?

Regime change has been the American goal on each occasion: overthrowing communists (or "communists", Serbians, Slobodan Milosevic, Moammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad ... all heretics or infidels, all non-believers in the empire, all inconvenient to the empire.

Why, if the enemy is Islamic terrorism, has the United States invested so much blood and treasure against the PLO, Iraq, and Libya, and now Syria, all mideast secular governments? More ....

Re-reading The Limits to Growth

Published Aug 13 2012 by thenextwave, Archived Aug 13 2012

by Andrew Curry
The Limits to Growth tells a credible, and alarming, story about likely outcomes for the planet over the next two decades. But these are still scenarios, not predictions.



To write this post, I’ve been back through Limits to Growth, pulling out important parts of the argument. So first, the components of the model. World3 simplifies the world into these main components: population, industrial capital, non-renewable resources, industrial output, pollution, and agricultural production. Because it is a systems dynamics model, there is feedback between different elements, which, when combined with delays, create complexity and non-linear behaviour.

This is my large simplification of the model that sits behind World3 (to be clear, this does not come from Limits to Growth).

In summary, industrial capital and non-renewable resources combine to create industrial output, which in terms creates persistent pollution. This then reduces food production – and so capital is diverted from industrial production to agricultural production, and so, in turn, industrial output declines.

From this, the Limits to Growth team developed 10 scenarios, representing different paths and making different assumptions about rates of population growth and industrial output. The most common outcome, after thousands of runs of the model, is “overshoot and collapse”, with industrial output declining in the 2020s and population declining in the 2030s. As they say, you don’t necessarily need a model to understand this, but a model enables you to be clear about your assumptions about the world.

Collapse is not inevitable

But (and these are important buts) collapse is not inevitable, even though we have now overshot, with the human footprint exceeding the resources of the planet. Growth does not, inevitably, lead to collapse; it depends on how you organise the growth. It is possible, even now, to get to “overshoot and oscillation” at which production and consumption are re-stabilised at a level within the carrying capacity of the planet. But to achieve this, the system needs to retain enough capacity to repair itself. more.

Organizing To Win A Better World

By Michael Albert and D.J. Buschini

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I could also envision elites thinking that while elites certainly need to protect themselves and their assets from environmental harm by coercive state intervention, they can do it with protected gated communities writ large, not by opening the gates ––their attitude being, ‘to hell with the rest of the world.’ They would impose restrictions, very strong ones, on economic activity, but they would also be sure that those restrictions left their privilege and power intact, or even enhanced, whatever the cost to others.

Consider, again by analogy, that the economic calamity, made up of the ongoing financial meltdowns around the world, is also incredibly harmful -- indeed, at the moment way more obviously and immediately destructive to people's life options than current environmental failings.

Elites don't say, in response: what do we need to do to get everyone out of harm's way? No. They say: how do we, ourselves, escape harm? In fact, how can we come out better than before, no matter what suffering that imposes on others? Their approach, without powerful pressure from movements, is and will remain similar for the ecological as for the economic crisis. That is what society’s institutions force them to do. Try to right the ship - but while still commanding it.

According to the author, a list of what is needed:

• a venue for participatory and inclusive economic decision-making
in place of owner or coordinator-class rule, which obliterate ecological sanity, impose class rule, deny self management, and destroy solidarity. Such a venue is found in parecon's self-managing workers’ and consumers’ councils.
• a norm for equitable distribution of society's products in place of reward for property, power, or output, each of which also obliterate prospects for sustainability, classlessness, self management, and solidarity. Such a norm would be available in parecon's remuneration for duration, intensity, and onerousness of socially valued labor -- or, if a person can't work, average remuneration adapted in accord with need.
• a new logic and practice of workplace organization to replace corporate divisions of labor that obliterate prospects for sustainability, classlessness, self management, and solidarity. Such a logic occurs in parecon’s “balanced job complexes,” which convey a fair share of empowering and disempowering work to all actors, so that none are, by virtue of their work-day, persistently in charge of others, but, instead, all are prepared to fully participate.
• a new approach to allocation, to replace markets and also central planning, each of which are literally the antithesis of ecological sanity, classlessness, self management, and solidarity. Such an appraoch informs the cooperative negotiation of inputs and outputs by workers and consumers in self-managing councils, which is called participatory planning.

20 Million Gallons of Agent Orange

By Tom Hayden

Source: Tom Hayden.com

Monday, August 13, 2012


August 10 marked the dark anniversary of the first US spraying of Vietnam with Agent Orange, containing the carcinogen dioxin, a defoliant that fell on millions of human beings, including American soldiers, causing a legacy of cancers and birth defects.

When I visited an Agent Orange conference in Hanoi in 2008, it was stunning to meet professionally attired, suitcase-carrying Vietnamese experts on Agent Orange who were themselves deformed by the effects of the carcinogen. With conspicuous dignity, they represented the cause of disability rights in their own country while demanding reparations for obvious crimes of war from the United States. For decades, the US has refused to recognize the health and environmental impacts of the spraying, while spending billions on health care and disability costs for former American soldiers harmed by the herbicide.

The US has since broke new ground by commencing a modest $43 million clean up of dioxin at one site near Da Nang, a fraction of the 5.5 million acres destroyed by the spraying during the war.

The Peace and Justice Resource Center asked Bob Mulholland, a Vietnam veteran who was immersed in Agent Orange during his service in Vietnam, to reflect on the continuing legacy. He wrote:

51 Years After the Chemical War Began in Vietnam, Be Silent, Then Take Action

By Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


August 10, 2012, At Noon: 51 Years After The Chemical War Began In Vietnam, We Should Be Silent In Memory, Then Take Action To Remedy

The use of Agent Orange on civilian populations violated the laws of war and yet no one has been held to account. Taxpayers pick up the tab of the Agent Orange Compensation fund for the U. S. Veterans at a cost of 1.52 billion dollars a year. The chemical companies, most specifically Dow and Monsanto, which profited from the manufacture of Agent Orange, paid a pittance to settle the veterans’ lawsuit to compensate them, as the unintended victims, for their Agent Orange related illnesses. But the Vietnamese continue to suffer from these violations with almost no recognition, as do the offspring of Agent Orange-exposed U.S. veterans and Vietnamese-Americans.

It is time that right makes might.

August 10th marks 51 years since the beginning of the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam. In commemoration, the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign urges you to observe 51 seconds of silence at 12 noon, to think about the horrors of wars which have occurred. We ask you to take action so as not to see future images of naked children running from napalm, or young soldiers wiping out the population of an entire village, or other atrocities associated with war, poverty, and violence around the world. We urge you to take at least 51 seconds for your action. In the United States, you can sign an orange post card to the U.S. Congress asking it to pass HR 2634. This would be a good start to assist the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange as well as the next generations of those exposed to these dangerous chemicals in both Vietnam and the United States.


Where the Wounds Refuse to Heal

Down the Mean Streets of Central America


By Andre Vltchek

Source: Counterpunch

Monday, August 06, 2012

It is getting dark and my friend Manuel, a local journalist, is driving me in his battered old pickup truck through the ruined streets of the tough and violent Panamanian city on the Caribbean coast – Colon.

"Near the first corner where we stop I spot an old woman puffing on something wrapped in a makeshift paper cone. The smoke is heavy and it stinks: it is neither tobacco nor marijuana; it is something unidentifiable and thoroughly vile. She spits on the ground and then looks straight at me with provocative and bloodshot eyes. I say nothing, she says very little; but those few words that she utters represent the lowest grade of the language that used to serve such great poets like Cervantes and Octavio Paz. Her Spanish is indeed as degraded as the stuff she is smoking, but she does not care, nothing seems to matter to her anymore......."
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