Nov 292016
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva-3-400x305

Left-wing academics, writers and journalists have written tendentious articles where they manage to transform reactionary political leaders into working class heroes and present their dreadful policies as progressive advances.

Recently, leftist pundits throughout US and Latin America have plagued the reading public with gross distortions of historical events contributing, in their own way, to the demise of the left and the rise of the right.

The leading international figures in this deceptive left-wing punditry include the famous Noam Chomsky, once eulogized by the New York Times (NYT) as ‘America’s most important public intellectual’. Such effusion is not surprising: Professor Chomsky and the NYT both supported the presidential candidacy of the warmongering Hillary Clinton, the perpetrator of seven wars that uprooted 20 million people from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, sub-Sahara Africa (Is this any different from Stalin in the ‘30s?) and author/supporter of numerous coups and attempted ‘regime changes’ in Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Ukraine.

The same MIT intellectual turned his prestige-laden ire on the authors of the definitive critique of the pro-Israel lobby (The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (2007)) and slandered the most effective activist group against Israeli colonial land grabbers – the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). So much for America’s most ‘prominent intellectual’ – a crypto-warmonger, who not only supported the candidacy of the blood-gorged war goddess Clinton, but has become a leader of the post-election propaganda and ‘regime change’ campaign to overthrow the buffoonish President-Elect Donald Trump. Chomsky’s diatribe against Trump claimed nothing less than the world now faced the gravest danger in all its history with the election of the real estate-casino King Donald. Noam deftly papered over his defeated candidate Hillary’s vow to unleash possible nuclear war by shooting down Russian planes over Syria – in opposition to Trump’s reasoned proposal to work with Putin in ending the brutal war in Syria.

There are different versions of the ‘leftist’-imperial-collaborator apologist Chomsky throughout Latin America. One is Emir Sader.

Emir Sader, professor of Political Science at the University of Rio de Janeiro and author of the book celebrating the first ‘workers’ President of Brazil, Lula DaSilva (Without Fear of Being Happy: Lula, The Workers Party and Brazil(1991)) is a frequent contributor to the leading ‘progressive’ daily newspapers throughout Latin America, including La Jornada of Mexico, as well as the influential bi-monthly The New Left Review in Great Britain.

Lula
Lula

Needless to say, Sader never cited any inconvenient facts when praising the leadership of Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s last two elected presidents from the Workers Party. For example, Sader omitted the fact that President Da Silva implemented an IMF-mandated austerity program upon taking office. He tiptoed around the Wall Street Bankers’ awarding Lula a “Man of the Year” prize. Professor Sader forgot to cite the abrupt drop in farmland expropriations (guaranteed under Brazil’s Constitution) for rural landless workers movement (MST) – leaving hundreds of thousands of landless peasant families under thin plastic tents. His ‘Worker President’ Lula appointed neo-liberal economists and central bank directors to his cabinet. Lula supported the interests of big agro-business, big oil and big mining oligarchs who slashed and burned the Amazon rain forest murdering indigenous leaders, peasants and ecologists who resisted the devastation and displacement.

Sader lauded, as ‘generous’, the monthly ‘food baskets’, equivalent to $60 dollars, which the local Workers Party operative passed out to about 30 million destitute families to create a rural client-base. Sader and his string of leftist followers in North and South America, England and France never attacked the high level bribery, fraud and corruption linking Workers Party leaders to construction multi-nationals and Petrobras, the state oil company and billions of state contracts.

Sader and his international acolytes celebrated Brazil’s ascent to world power as a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) with Lula as a leader in bringing the poor into the ‘middle class’. He never stopped to analyze how Lula managed to balance the interests of the IMF, Wall Street, agro-business, bankers while enticing a huge voting majority among the poor and workers.

Lula’s ‘miracle’ was a temporary mirage, its reality evident to only a few critics who pointed to the reliance on a prolong commodity export boom. The business elites backed Lula because of state subsidies and tax incentives. Hundreds of right-wing Congress people and cabinet members jumped on the Workers Party bandwagon to enjoy the payola payoffs from contractors. But by the end of Lula’s eight year term, exports of primary commodities to China sharply declined, commodity prices collapsed and the business elites and bankers turned their backs on the ‘Worker President’ as they looked for a new regime to rescue them by sacrificing the poor.

The rest of the story is well known: Former PT allies launched corruption investigations to pull down the PT government. Twice-elected President Dilma Rouseff was impeached in a bizarre legislative coup, orchestrated by a corrupt PT ally from a right-wing party, Congressional head Eduardo Cunhal; Rouseff’s corrupt Vice President Temer took over and Lula was indicted for corruption by right-wing prosecutors appointed by the PT. The House of Cards in Brasilia became a grotesque comic opera with all the major players waltzing in and out of jail (except the impeached Rouseff).

But Professor Sader did not looked back in contemplation, let alone class analysis, at the 13 years of Worker Party power in coalition with the worst of Brazil’s crooks. Instead, he bellowed that Lula’s former allies, the corrupt politicians from the right-wing parties, had unjustly ousted the PT. These ‘traitors’ were the same politicians that Professor Sader embraced as ‘strategic allies’ from 2003 to 2014. Any serious observer could understand why Lula’s was first embraced and then divorced by the financial elite – for its own class interest.

Lula and Dilma’s ‘Three-Cornered Ménage’ with Bankers

Contrary to Sader’s PT propaganda and the predictably ill-informed kudos of Chomsky, et al, the Workers Party policies benefited the banks and the agro-business elites above all others, to the detriment of the popular movements and the Brazilian people. Brazilian investment bank revenues rose from $200 million dollars in 2004 to $1.6 billion dollars in 2007 and remained close to the peak until the commodity crash reduced bank revenues drastically. Likewise, the financial speculators and corporate monopolies took part in the capitalist bonanza under Presidents Lula and Dilma. Merger and acquisitions (M&As) rose from $40 billion in 2007 to $140 billion in 2010 but then sharply declined with the drop in world commodity prices down to $25 billion in 2015. The banks made billions of dollars in management fees for arranging the M&A’s over the eight-year period (2007-2015).

The Fall of Banking Revenues and the Rise of Corporate Activists

If we examine Brazilian merger and acquisitions activity and investment bank revenues, one sees a close correlation with the rise and fall of the PT regime. In other words, when the bankers, speculators and monopolists flourished under the PT policies, they supported the government of Lula and Dilma. When the export agro-mining commodity boom collapsed, slashing profits, management fees and interest, the financial sector immediately mobilized their right-wing allies in congress, allied prosecutors and judges and successfully pushed for Dilma’s impeachment, Lula’s indictment, the arrest of former PT allies and the appointment of Vice President Temer to the Presidency.

With the recession fully underway, the business and banking elite demanded large-scale, long-term cuts in public expenditures, slashing budgets for the poor, education, health, housing and pensions, severe wage reduction and a sharp limit on consumer credit. At the same time they pushed through the privatization of the multi-billion dollar petroleum industry (Petrobras) and related state industries, as well as public ports, airlines and airfields, highways and whatever else among Brazil’s public jewels could compensate for their drop in investment bank revenues and management fees for M&As.

For the finance sector, Lula and Dilma’s main crime lay in their reluctance to impose the brutal ‘new austerity policies’ fast enough or totally privatize public enterprises, reverse subsidies to the destitute, freeze wages and slash social budgets for the next two decades.

As soon as the economic elite successfully ousted President Dilma Rousseff through a legislative ‘coup’, their newly enthroned (Vice) President Michel Temer rose to the task: He immediately announced the privatization of Petrobras and froze health and educational budget for the next twenty years. Instead of recognizing the true nature of the ruling class interests behind the coup against Dilma and the arrest of Lula, the PT party hacks and writers denounced political ‘plotters’ and “traitors” and imperialist agents … puppets who were only following orders from the banking and export elite.

After the fall of Dilma and faced with resounding defeats in the 2016 municipal elections wiping out almost all of the PT big city mayors and city officials, Lula finally called for a ‘Left Front’ – fifteen years after having pursued an allied bankers’ front!

Reflections on a Debacle

What stands out is how pro-PT intellectuals and writers have failed to understand that the party’s vulnerability, opportunism and corruption were present early on and reflected the class composition, policy decisions and lack of ethical principles among the PT leadership. Wide-eyed and seduced at their warm reception at PT functions and international conferences, the ill-informed US, Canadian and European intellectuals understood nothing about the real structural and strategic flaws within the party and instead published hundreds of shallow ‘puff pieces’ about Lula’s poverty reduction, minimum wage increases, and consumer credit – ignoring the real nature of class power in Brazil.

Apparently, they threw out two centuries of even the most basic grammar school level history lessons describing the cyclical boom and bust nature of commodity export economies. They ignored a half-century of left-right ‘populist front’ governments, which collapsed into coups once bourgeois support was withdrawn – and instead whined about ‘betrayals’ – as if the elite were capable of anything else.

The fundamental problem was not the stratospheric intellectual pronouncements – the key was the economic and political strategies and policies under Lula and Dilma

The PT Presidents failed to diversify the economy, institute an industrial program, impose content regulations on foreign producers, nationalize the banks and monopolies, prosecute corrupt political officials (including PT leaders) and stop the practice of funding political campaigns through kick-back rewards for rotten deals with construction contractor-cronies.

Once in power, the PT ran expensive campaigns with heavy mass media saturation, while rejecting their own twenty years of effective class struggle that had built the political party with a strong working class cadre.

By the time it was elected to the presidency, the PT membership had shifted dramatically – from workers to middle class professionals. By 2002, 70% of active party members were professionals. They formed the leadership base running for office, designed the new strategies and forged new allies.

The PT discarded its popular class allies in order to gain short-term capitalist alliances based on the export commodity boom economy. During the height of the ‘boom’ they managed to satisfy the bankers and stockbrokers, while providing some subsidies to workers and the poor. When the budgets and the boom economy crashed, the business allies turned against the PT. Meanwhile, the PT had also lost its mass base, which was experiencing double-digit unemployment. The once reliable PT voters knew that, while they suffered, some of their ‘Workers Party’ leaders had become millionaires through corruption and were living in ‘soap-opera’-style luxury. They could imagine them consulting their gold Rolex watches so not to miss an appointment with the corrupt contractors…

Lacking critical and knowledgeable advisers, depending on allies and ministers from the capitalist elite, abandoning the politics of class struggle, and failing to implement any national industrial strategy – including the most basic processing of Brazil’s agro-mineral products, the Left disintegrated losing Latin America’s historic best opportunity to build a workers’ and peasant government from below.

The fiasco of left intellectuals and politicos is not confined to the case of Brazil. The same capitulation to the hard-right keeps happening: In the US, France, England, Greece and Portugal, there were the Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomskys and a small army of left journalists and identity activists rushing to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton — the most bellicose imperial politician in recent memory. Despite her record of supporting or launching seven wars, creating twenty-million refugees and over one million deaths, despite her reckless advocacy of nuclear war with Russia over Syria, the self-declared ‘anti-fascists’ joined hands to support a recidivist catastrophe-candidate, whose only real success would be her million-dollar speeches before the financial elite and speculators! But then again, the famously furious Greek Left voted for Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras who then imposed history’s worst peacetime austerity program on the people of Greece. It must console Lula and Dilma to know they have plenty of company among the left politicians who speak to the workers and work for the bankers.

James Petras is author of  The End of the Republic and the Delusion of EmpireExtractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier (with Henry Veltmeyer), and The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle EastRead other articles by James, or visit James’s website.

 

May 192013
 

By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III), Axis of Logic

eduardo_-_wake_up497

An interesting juxtaposition occurred in 2008. “With the enactment of the 2008 Constitution, Ecuador became the first country in the world to codify the Rights of Nature.”1 (Bolivia made a similar law in 2011.) Meanwhile, the United States Empire (USE) — though it was really the People who were affected — saw its housing bubble burst, the economy take a stinking nose-dive, and, while some big bank-institutions went under, some were (by the grace of In God We Trust) bailed out.Here we have the essence of one of the biggest dichotomies, the choice of our times ― Nature or Mammon, Compassion or Commodity.In his new book, Children of the Days, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano sums up the mind-set of the-powers-that-be, as well as showing us how to shift our priorities: “If nature were a bank, they would have already rescued it.”2

Nature is, in fact, a bank of real wealth (providing the resources that fuel our lives), as well as its own slow food movement (plant a seed and the instant gratification you get will not fill your belly, rather nourish your mind and soul).

In a 2008 article, “Eduardo Galeano’s Earth Day Exclusive,” Galeano pinpoints the origin of this great divide: “The communion between nature and people, a pagan custom, was abolished in the name of God and later in the name of Civilization. Throughout the Americas, and the world, we are paying the consequences of this divorce.”3

A recent headline was a real button-pusher for a lot of people: “Supreme Court Says Monsanto Has ‘Control Over Product of Life.’”4 Monsanto’s attempt to monopolize control of seeds and prices can be linked to East Indian farmer suicides and other tragedies. This ongoing expression of absurd corporate(Monsanto)-state(court system) hubris got me thinking how these behemoths exhibit a maniacal sense of ‘playing God’ over life. And that’s nothing new.

The 500-plus years old “Doctrine of Christian Discovery” (keenly explained by Steven Newcomb in his wonderful book, Pagans in the Promised Land), proves that church and state are still not separate. The essence of the Doctrine states that, land uninhabited by Christians was up for Christians’ grab (see Pope Alexander’s Inter Caetera papal bull, 1493), hence the genocidal ‘discovery’ of the Americas. In some instances, patents (corporatism) issued to seafaring ‘discoverers’ with the twisted blessing of the church (theology) and nation (state) created a perfect storm called theofascism.

As a later example, “Sir Robert Heath’s Patent 5 Charles 1st; October, 30 1629”:5

“Charles by the grace of God of England Scotland France & Ireland King Defender of the faith . . . A certaine Region or Territory to bee hereafter described, in our lands in the parts of America betwixt one & thirety & 36 degrees of northerne latitude inclusively placed (yet hitherto untild, neither inhabited by ours or the subjects of any other Christian king, Prince or state But some parts of it inhabited by certain Barbarous men who have not any knowledge of the Divine Dietye) He being about to lead thither a Colonye of men large & plentifull, professing the true religion; seduously & industriously applying themselves to the culture of the sayd lands & to merchandising to be performed by industry & at his owne charges & others by his example.”

This “merchandising/industry” (corporate) under the banner of “God of England Scotland France & Ireland” (church and state), reveals a phase in the ongoing theofascist recipe for Global Corporate Empire disaster.

According to Benito Mussolini, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” Maybe we could call it theo-corporatism, but whatever the name, for the masses, it sucks!

The Urban Dictionary states: “Theofascist: Theology based totalitarian government.” A corporate-state collusion, driven by an ideology of supremacist God-hood.

Pledge Drive Down Memory Lane

Let’s take a look in the rearview mirror of history as well as a gander under the God-hood to see how this beastly vehicle operates.

The USE interstate highway system was patterned after the autobahn which was a creation of the Third Reich:

“At the outset of World War II in Europe, the autobahn proved to be a key asset to Germany. The German blitzkrieg (“lightning war”), which involved massive coordinated air and ground attacks to stun opponents into defeat, was a key to the German defeat of Poland in 1939, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands in 1940, and the Soviet Army in 1941. The highway network also enhanced Germany’s ability to fight on two fronts – Europe in the west, the Soviet Union in the east.”6

It is worth noting that what Americans now typically call “the highway,” was originally “The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways”7 (bold added).

In the 1940s, “Lobbyists from the oil, tire, and automobile industries, among others, had persuaded state and federal agencies to assume that fundamental expense. Had the big auto companies been required to pay for the roads ― in the same way that trolley companies had to lay and maintain track ― the landscape of the American West would look quite different today,” wrote Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.

Thus, oil, tire, and auto companies, with government backing, conspired and bought up and drove out (no pun intended) the trolley system, and so, ahem, paved the way for the modern American interstate as well as the oxymoronic, fast-paced yet lazy lifestyle still haunting us today.

Nowadays one can readily see fast food restaurants flying their American flags. They appear as forts . . . dotting the landscape . . . symbols of the conquerors.

As an example of malnutrition being a side effect of warfare, “The Lakota were eventually confined onto reservations, prevented from hunting buffalo and forced to accept government food distribution.”8

More currently, on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Reservations,

“Children attend after-school programs to take advantage of snacks as it is often the only food they will have for dinner. Government food programs are not designed for sharing societies . . . There are no food banks or food resources available to regularly meet basic food needs not covered by the government programs. There is also an extremely high incidence of diabetes and other health problems that are likely related at least in part to diet. Government programs provide a high starch diet with little fruits and vegetables.”9

Since the pledge of allegiance to said flag includes “one Nation under God,” once again a recipe of theofascism. And, to connect the plethora of fast food restaurants and gas stations at virtually every corner of suburban America, an old billboard text comes to mind: “Eat Here Get Gas.”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti calls the overall side effects of vehicular addiction “autogeddon.” The recent report of carbon dioxide levels reaching their highest recorded parts-per-million attests to that.10

In his book Fast Food Nation, Schlosser also exposes how flavors can be created from chemical manipulations, revealing that so-called “natural flavors” (approved by the FDA) may be anything but. The main culprit of these taste-bud deceptions is International Flavors and Fragrances, which happens to have a manufacturing facility along the not-so-fragrant New Jersey Turnpike.

Let’s break this down and try to digest it

“According to the study, a whopping $17 billion of the total $260 billion the government spent subsidizing agriculture went to just four common food additives: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch and soy oils.”11

“Why is corn everywhere? Part of the reason is a subsidy system that has helped glut the marketplace with corn and left the government to find ways to use it. Nowadays, ranchers feed corn to their cows and chickens, and food companies sweeten their foodstuffs with it.”12

“That the $100-billion fast food industry rests on a foundation of corn has been known more through inference and observation than hard scientific fact — until now.

“Chemical analysis from restaurants across the United States shows that nearly every cow or chicken used in fast food is raised on a diet of corn, prompting fresh criticism of the government’s role in subsidizing poor eating habits.”13

In a nutshell, the government subsidy of corn pumps up the fast food industry as well as the shelves of supermarkets and mini-marts, not to mention the pockets of those pushing this instant gratification food system like a street-drug.

“ ‘Government subsidies make sweet food very cheap’, says Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University and author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, pointing to one of the most prevalent sweeteners: high fructose corn syrup, which sweetens most soda pop while upping the calories.” . . . Michael Pollan, food author, sums it up: ‘We’re subsidizing obesity’.”14

There exist other problems behind the scenes of fast, super sweet, and cheap meals — revealing how all is connected.

According to Pollan, “Hybrid corn is the greediest of plants, consuming more fertilizer than any other crop.”

Add to this the questionable safety of agri-business GMO corn and suddenly the problem threatens to reduce our even having a choice as to what kind of foods to eat.

Also, corn requires lots of water. “Consider the Ogallala Aquifer, the huge underground reservoir underlying eight states from Texas to South Dakota… By some estimates, the Ogallala could be used up in as little as 25 years. From a water point of view alone, our rush to corn does not seem sustainable.”15

With the mention of the Ogallala Aquifer we come full circle to the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island and the current battle to prevent the Keystone XL pipeline from ruining the water supplies and further tainting Mother Earth.

William Salatin and Polyface, Inc. farm encourage “Grass-based, pastured livestock and poultry, moved frequently to new “salad bars,” offer landscape healing and nutritional superiority.”16

The documentary “Food, Inc.” portrays some of his holistic methods, plus the nasty side of agri-business and the mistreatment of animals.

Of course, the government could support farmers AND nutrition, but that’s another story.

Lording over the Earth or Working with it

Another recent juxtaposition pits new heights against grassroots, or potentially treeroots, uprisings. In a two-day time-span, the new “spire that will make One World Trade Center the tallest in the Western Hemisphere was moved into place”17 and the Dow and S&P hit new highs.18

Despite the nationalist-mammonistic euphoria of all that, over a longer period of time (befitting the seed metaphor), there has developed a series of fast food worker strikes.

April, 2013: “In what people are calling the largest ever protest of its kind, over 400 workers from the country’s biggest corporate “food” chains—including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, and KFC among others—took part in the action.”19

May, 2013: “They came to New York City. Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit. And on Wednesday the wave of strikes by fast food workers has come to Milwaukee, where hundreds of workers are echoing the chorus of voices calling for $15 an hour and the right to unionize.”20

My sentiments are certainly with the workers because, for one, it’s hard work, and two, fast food is the only industry available to many workers in the USE.

Another example points to an evolutionary leap of efficiently out-smarting the theofascist, fast food, industrial-complex.

“After 14 years in the nation and despite many campaigns and promos McDonald’s was forced to close in 2002, its 8 Bolivian restaurants in the major cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.”

Why? Because, as “El Polvorin blog noted, ‘Fast-food represents the complete opposite of what Bolivians consider a meal should be. To be a good meal, food has to be prepared with love, dedication, certain hygiene standards and proper cook time.’”21

Farmworkers are also affected, the best known being the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

“The Coalition has had an impressive wave of wins as many companies — eleven to date — have signed an agreement to improve conditions for farmworkers. Of the top five fast food chains, McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and Yum! Brands (owners of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC and A&W) have all joined the Fair Food Program . . . By signing on to the agreement, companies must now comply with a code of conduct that includes protections for cases of wage theft, sexual harassment, and forced labor. Companies also agree to pay a small premium for tomatoes — just a penny more per pound. As a result, workers have safer working conditions and have started seeing increases in their paychecks for the first time in more than 30 years.”22

While there is a positive side to fast food, namely the apparatus from which to feed large numbers of people efficiently, unless the food quality and worker treatment improves the overall process will continue to reflect a culture of slave labor, highly questionable food products, and a collusion-based system more interested in profit than people.

An antidote to the overall situation comes from the wise sarcasm of Eduardo Galeano:

“Nature has a lot to say, and it has long been time for us, her children, to stop playing deaf. Maybe even God will hear the cry rising from this Andean country and add an eleventh amendment, which he left out when he handed down instructions from Mount Sinai: ‘Love nature, which you are a part of.’”23

As the Aymara Peoples of the Andes are reminding us, there is “the law of Pachacuti, that says the Earth is in a time of recovery. In order to heal, just like us, the Earth must rest . . . we must let the Earth rest so that it may protect us in the future.”24

person holding a leaf with small earth

Theofascism and its overlord Mammon are addicted to a boom-time buffet. That boom is not only funded by subsidies, it is also funded by the People’s participation. The next time you consider doing something or eating something, at least ask the question: would it be better if I gave it a rest

READ MORE OF MANKH’S POEMS AND ESSAYS ON AXIS OF LOGIC

Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. He edited and published the book, The (Un)Occupy Movement: Autonomy of Consciousness, Practical Solutions, Human Equality, and hosts an audio show “Between the Lines: listening to literature online.” You can contact him via his literary website.

Notes

1. “Rights of Nature
2. “The Life and Death of Words, People, and Even Nature”
3. “Eduard Galeano’s Earth Day Exlusive”
4. “Corporate Win
5. “Sir Robert Heath’s Patent 5 Charles 1st; October, 30 1629
6. “The Reichsautobahnen
7. “Interstate Highway System
8. “Lakota people”
9. “PROJECT SHARE: A Food Co-op Program”
10. “400 Parts Per Million
11. “Billions In Farm Subsidies
12. “Corn Subsidies
13. ”Fast Food: Just Another Name for Corn
14. “Corn Subsidies
15. Ibid
16. “Polyface farm
17. “Spire hoisted to top of One World Trade Center
18. “New stock market milestone
19. “‘We Deserve Better’: Striking NYC Fast Food Workers Demand Higher Pay
20. “Momentum of Fast Food Workers Strikes Sweeping Nation Hits Milwaukee
21. “No More “Fast Food” in Bolivia
22. “Calling on the Fast Food Giant to Stand up For Farmworkers
23. “Eduard Galeano’s Earth Day Exclusive
24.”Earth Wisdom: For a World in Crisis”

READ @ http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/printer_65657.shtml

Jun 142012
 

 

Posted by greydogg

A Guardian article entitled, Doctors back denial of treatment for smokers and the obese, reports the findings of a survey stating that 54% of doctors think the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment to patients unless they lose weight or stop smoking:

A majority of doctors support measures to deny treatment to smokers and the obese, according to a survey that has sparked a row over theNHS‘s growing use of “lifestyle rationing”.

Some 54% of doctors who took part said the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatment from patients who do not lose weight or stop smoking. Some medics believe unhealthy behaviour can make procedures less likely to work, and that the service is not obliged to devote scarce resources to them.

However, senior doctors and patient groups have voiced alarm at what they call “blackmailing” of the sick, and denial of their human rights.

———————

Doctors in the UK are arguing that obese persons and smokers should be refused medical care under the national health insurance? Doctors who think they should refuse treatment to anyone seeking it should have their licenses revoked, as far as I am concerned. The lack of humanity and compassion is stunning. Hippocratic Oath? Anyone????

That said, I also considered that the report is propaganda, designed to soften the targets. No one will get health care so no one should expect health care. If you’re fat or smoke you don’t get care; if you’re skinny and don’t smoke, you don’t need care. Denied or not needed.

It reminds me of how the sadistic class stations fully armed police officers in US schools K-12. Cops literally arrest kids for normal bad behavior / harmless pranks. What kid doesn’t have a bad day in school or pull an occasional prank? Do kids really need to be traumatized by being placed in handcuffs and frogmarched into a holding cell? Are teachers and principals so inept that they can no longer deal with students’  behavioral issues? Aren’t they trained to deal with these issues?

But, it’s not about that. It is an effective way to soften the target and brainwash the next generation into accepting the police state that is already here.

Nothing is an accident. Leaks are not leaks. Reports are not reports. Polls are not polls. The agenda is hidden in plain sight because peacock proud psychopaths like to show their work.

 

Oct 182011
 

 

The thing about lying is that if you want people to believe your lies, you have to remember every single lie you told and who you told it to. For a serial liar, that is a lot to keep track of. This is where the corporate-owned U.S. Government and media slip up, every time. For some, the non-stop, daily slew of lies being hurled at us are ridiculously blatant and easily disprovable. However, too many Americans turn on the TV and tune out reality, abandoning critical thinking in favor of willful ignorance.

The relentless 24/7 cycle of the corporate-owned media propaganda permeating network news, radio and print is just one problem in the multitude of negative manifestations arising from the enormous income disparity in the U.S. We are a purposefully divided nation, and the cause of that division is based on corporate propaganda, not the facts. Six corporations own and control the media in the U.S. with the sole purpose of controlling what you think.

Corporations effectively use the mainstream media to control and frame the message. By design, this provides an opaque cover for all three branches of the government. The media smokescreen allows for gross dereliction of duties by our ‘elected representatives’. While the chattering nimrods of the media assign the blame for all of the country’s woes to the victims, the corporate-sponsored Congress robotically crams through one abhorrent ALEC-written law after another, which is promptly and obediently signed by a lickspittle President, at the behest and benefit of the 1% and to the detriment of the 99%.

As a result, all three branches of the corporate-owned government, their media propagandists, and the millions of Americans who tune in have abandoned their traditional roles. Government no longer represents the People. The press no longer holds government accountable, and the willful ignorance of far too many of our fellow citizens deprives all of us of representation. The entire system is so completely corrupted and dysfunctional, that we are at a point where we need to scrap the whole thing and begin anew. Enter Occupy Wall Street.

From the very beginning of Occupy Wall Street, the response from the media and the government has been to marginalize and discredit this fast growing grass roots movement. Rejecting the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, many city governments are using violent means to shut down these occupations. Several examples of the political problem facing Occupy Wall Street play out daily in NYC, where unprovoked random acts of violence perpetrated by the disgraceful NYPD ‘white shirts’ have been documented on video for the whole world to see.

Despite the prevailing toxic winds coming from the general direction of the establishment, heavily laced with feigned ignorance, the question of how America arrived at this juncture is not a mystery. If you are someone who claims not to understand what Occupy Wall Street is about, then you are part of the problem.

No matter how wildly the media spins Occupy Wall Street, make no mistake about it. What is going on in city squares worldwide is nothing less than a long overdue, peaceful revolution. And just in case you forgot, all of the occupations, the marches, and the General Assemblies happening throughout the country and the world are what real democracy looks like.

Oct 132011
 

 

The election process in the United States has long passed the last putrid stages of a terminal disease. It is so fetid now that it is well beyond reform.

A terminal virus invaded the U.S. electoral system after the stunning 2000 United States Supreme Court decision, Bush V. Gore, cast the Peoples’ votes aside and selected George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to occupy the Oval Office. Election integrity in America officially died that day, December 12, 2000.

Eleven years later, American elections are nothing more than a propped up dead corpse receiving life support from easily hackable electronic voting machines, owned by private partisan companies who operate in pitch black cesspools of corruption.

On September 27, 2011, bradblog.com blogger, Brad Friedman, wrote:

It could be one of the most disturbing e-voting machine hacks to date.

Voting machines used by as many as a quarter of American voters heading to the polls in 2012 can be hacked with just $10.50 in parts and an 8th grade science education, according to computer science and security experts at the Vulnerability Assessment Team at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. The experts say the newly developed hack could change voting results while leaving absolutely no trace of the manipulation behind.

“We believe these man-in-the-middle attacks are potentially possible on a wide variety of electronic voting machines,” said Roger Johnston, leader of the assessment team “We think we can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine.”

READ the whole post @ http://www.bradblog.com/?p=8785

To add insult to outrage, Congress is well aware of vote rigging as current standard practice, but does nothing to stop it.

READ computer cyber security expert Stephen Spoonamore’s signed affidavit of September 17, 2008 @ http://www.rawstory.com/images/other/SpoonamoreAffidavit.pdf

On December 13th, 2004, Stephen Spoonamore gave sworn testimony at a congressional hearing in Columbus, Ohio regarding vote rigging.

You can watch the video @ http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8e5_1303705066

Election integrity is the most vital component to democracy, yet, not only does congress ignore the vote rigging issue, they are the featured actors in the grotesque theater of the U.S. campaign season. As it stands now, democracy in America has been replaced by a corrupted election cycle, consisting of obscene amounts of corporate dollars flooding into campaign coffers, which is then used by politicians to deliver deceitful messages rolled into digestible sound bites that echo throughout the corporate-owned media, ad nauseam.

It is no wonder that recent polls indicate that the U.S. Congress has a 9% approval rating. The only surprise is that their approval rating is so high. Consider that when Congress DOES come to work, they are ready, willing and able to sell out 99% of the American public at the behest and benefit of the 1%, in exchange for a few shekels. Most current members of the U.S. Congress are hopeless failures. They do not represent the 99%. They have sold out the 99%.

This campaign season, I will be ignoring all articles, debates, stump speeches and mind numbing media speculation about the candidates. It’s a complete waste of my time. I am not going to learn anything I don’t already know and it’s not going to influence my vote, counted or hacked. The larger issue isn’t who you are going to vote for, but how you are going to ensure that your vote is counted.

Oct 112011
 
The People occupying THEIR HOUSE in the Capitol Rotunda in Madison, Wisconsin     Photo by Peter Gorman

 

In October, 2009, a public exhibition entitled, ”We did not give it up – stories of the 20th century”, was on display in various locations around the center of Prague. The exhibition commemorated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain and honored the dissidents of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during WWII and during 40 years of Communism. ”We did not give it up – stories of the 20th century”, consisted of 150 panels showing the portraits of war veterans, anti-fascists, anti-communists, dissidents and students of the November 17, 1989 Velvet Revolution. The exhibition documented the real life stories of the thousands of Czech heroes who, at great personal sacrifice, fought for the freedom of 10.5 million fellow citizens and their nation.

I see the reflection of present day America in this piece of Czech history. Like the Czechs, too few Americans have reacted strongly in opposition when the rule of law and social justice were in peril. History, in many instances, teaches us that while thousands of heroes have risked their lives for the freedom of their nation, the vast majority have met the urgency of political challenges with an apathetic and weak-spirited response of selfishness, denial and fear.

The current global economic crisis and a peoples’ response to it varies from country to country. Inasmuch as we need every man, woman and child in this fight to preserve democracy, the majority will wallow in self-imposed ignorance until after the wicked ruling class have been defeated. Then, they will appear in the city squares and capitols, in great numbers, shaking their keys in solidarity with the dissidents, who at great personal expense, paid the price for their freedom . In Czechoslovakia, it took 40 years to bring down an oppressive regime. And 20 years later, it’s still not over. The wounds and scars will take generations to heal.

The reaction to austerity measures in Spain paved the way for a dissident movement who call themselves Los Indignados. They are organizing protests in the city squares and in the neighborhoods and are currently marching from Madrid to Brussels, to raise awareness for their cause. And in Greece, people from all walks of life; students, parents, children, grandparents, public workers, professionals, etc. have come together in Syntagma Square, to protest Goldman Sachs’s brand of global economic terrorism and the nation crushing demands of the IMF.  The common thread in Europe is that the majority of Europeans know who the enemy is and are not blaming each other for the severe austerity measures imposed on them. They are standing up, in solidarity, and pushing back against  their corrupt governments for breaking the social contract at the behest of the global financial terrorists and the IMF.

In the U.S., inspired by the spirit of Madison, Wisconsin, Americans have held numerous protests at state capitols, especially since the November 2010 ‘election’ of 29 Tea Party Republican Governors  These Koch-funded, corporate-owned, dieblod-selected governors, and their Republican legislator lackies have been cramming through ALEC legistlation at a frightening speed, to the detriment of the vast majority of their citizens.

There is a critical difference between the challenges facing U.S. dissidents and their European counterparts. For decades, in the U.S., billions of dollars have been dedicated to creating a dominant propaganda network to support the current fascist coup. And it’s paying off in spades! The coupsters are winning the information war with a divide and conquer strategy through total media dominance, misinformation, hatred, and blatant lies. Calling ourselves the United States is nothing but a cynical paradox when we can’t even agree on what the truth is. Instead of focusing on the serious issues of the day, Americans have been mercilessly manipulated by the mind numbing propaganda machine (via TV, radio and print) that frames the ‘debate’ with non issues, false arguments, false equivalence, outright lies and absurdity.

History repeatedly tells us that when you believe lies, you give your power away. This condition creates a climate where atrocities can easily ensue. The current global paradigm shift is filled with lies and atrocities, like the austerity measures imposed on the middle class and poor for the benefit of the wealthy. And, this current paradigm shift will affect everyone, regardless of whether people choose to take it standing up or lying down.