* BILL MOYERS: OCCUPY A CAUSE (VIDEO)
By Bill Moyers, Truthout
What’s the common cause behind Occupy protesters?
The Moyers & Company team visited the Occupy Wall Street site several times between October and December in 2011 — visits that reveal real faces, real people, and a true common cause. In this premiere Bill Moyers Essay, Bill talks about their anger — not at the concept of wealth itself, but at the crony capitalists who resort to tricks, loopholes, and hard, cold cash for politicians to make sure insiders prosper… and then pull up the ladder behind them. […]
* CORRUPT REGIMES CRUMBLE WHEN THE FOOT SOLDIERS REFUSE TO CARRY OUT THE TYRANT’S DRACONIAN ORDERS
By George Washington, Washington’s Blog
“Its Always When The Foot Soldiers of the Elite Won’t Carry Out the Forms of Draconian Control that These Dead Regimes Crumble”
Pulitzer prize winning reporter Chris Hedges pointed out recently (starting at 5:05):
I was in Leipzig on November 9, 1989 with leaders of East German opposition and they told me that – perhaps within a year – there would be free passes back and forth across the Berlin wall.
Within a few hours, the Berlin Wall, at least as far as an impediment to human traffic, did not exist.
Week after week, month after month, these clergy in Leipzig held these candlelit vigils. And it was slow at first … people forget. Just like the Egyptian revolution has been percolating for many many months, and even years.
And suddenly, it began to grow. [Indeed, a study of history shows over and over that people don’t realize how close they may be to a positive turning point … if they just persist.]
And Honecker – who had been in ruling East Germany since the time of the dinosaurs – sent down a paratroop division to Leipzig .. . and they won’t attack the demonstrators.
It’s always when the foot soldiers of the elite won’t carry out the forms of draconian control that these dead regimes crumble.
And that’s why its so important not to respond to police provocation. […]
* ICELAND EXITS RECESSION
Decision to force bondholders to pay for banking system’s collapse appears to pay off as economy grows 1.2% in third quarter
By Phillip Inman, Guardian UK
Iceland‘s decision two years ago to force bondholders to pay for the banking system’s collapse appeared to pay off after official figures showed the country exited recession in the third quarter.
The Icelandic economy, which contracted for seven consecutive quarters until the summer, grew by 1.2% in the three months to the end of September.
Iceland famously agreed in a referendum to reject a scheme to repay most of its debts that were once worth 11 times its total national income.
In contrast to Ireland, Iceland’s taxpayers refused to foot the bill for the debts accumulated by the banking sector. Bondholders were told to accept dramatic reductions in the value of repayments on bank debt after the sector borrowed beyond its means to fund ambitious investments abroad.
The return to growth is likely to put pressure on Irish politicians to explain why Dublin rejected a more radical restructuring of its debts and a departure from the eurozone. […]
* THE GREEK PARENTS TOO POOR TO CARE FOR THEIR CHILDREN
By Chloe Hadjimatheou, BBC World Service, Athens
Greece’s financial crisis has made some families so desperate they are giving up the most precious thing of all – their children.
One morning a few weeks before Christmas a kindergarten teacher in Athens found a note about one of her four-year-old pupils.
“I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her,” it read. “Please take good care of her. Sorry. Her mother.”
In the last two months Father Antonios, a young Orthodox priest who runs a youth centre for the city’s poor, has found four children on his doorstep – including a baby just days old.
Another charity was approached by a couple whose twin babies were in hospital being treated for malnutrition, because the mother herself was malnourished and unable to breastfeed.
Cases like this are shocking a country where family ties are strong, and failure to look after children is socially unacceptable – and it’s not happening in a country ravaged by war or famine, but in their own capital city. […]
* DEGRADE THIS: WALL STREET’S RATINGS AGENCIES UNDERMINE EUROPE’S ATTEMPT AT RECOVERY ACTION LIKE FINANCIAL TERRORISTS
By Danny Schecter, Common Dreams
We live in an increasingly degraded country.
Our politics are degraded and a laughing stock to the word. Our military is demoralized and degraded with soldiers urinating on dead civilians and awaiting deployment orders for the next illegal intervention.
Our education system has been degraded with standards falling and pervasive defunding. Our transportation system, ditto.
I could go on, but I don’t have to. We are all living the decline with downward mobility, jobless and foreclosures, to cite a few trends that make life so miserable for so many.
Now, our godlike financial ratings agencies have decided to degrade nine countries struggling to fix their financial crisis. The decision by Standard & Poors (Best renamed, “It is now Standard to Be Poor”) to downgrade credit ratings for France, Italy, Austria and six other European countries signals those nations that Wall Street has them by the cojones. Their costs for borrowing will go up.
They are being warned: We are in Charge. Do as we say! […]
* AS CENTRALIZED SYSTEMS DEVOLVE, THE SOLUTION IS LOCALISM
By Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds
Depending on Central State/central bank borrowing and spending to prop up the Status Quo is a doomed strategy.
I think the thread between these three seemingly disparate stories is clearly visible. I am indebted to longtime correspondent Joel M. for sending me these articles:
A Dimly Flickering Light in a Darkened Downtown. An Ohio mill town’s once-bustling main street is now a ghost town; people are desperate to sell their family heirlooms to one of the downtown’s few remaining businesses, a vintage shop, to raise cash.
A Fight for Post Offices and Towns’ Souls. Even as the number of family farms rises for the first time in decades in the U.S., long-standing services to rural communities such as post offices and schools are being slashed.
With Work Scarce in Athens, Greeks Go Back to the Land. As Greece’s economy plunges and unemployment rises, many Greeks are fleeing to the countryside and looking to the nation’s rich agricultural past as a guide to the future.
The thread that connects these stories is the devolution of centralized concentrations of control and the power of localism to fill the void.
As I have often noted here, the expansive Central State is on an S-curve of decline, and this is most apparent in places such as Greece that cannot print a couple trillion dollars a year to fund a bloated Status Quo like the U.S. can (at least for now).
But the Central State is on an S-curve even in nations such as the U.S. and “socialist” France, where rural post offices are also being closed or their hours drastically slashed for budgetary reasons. […]
* SO YOU STILL THINK THE INTERNET IS FREE … (CHARTS)
CHARTS @ http://open.youyuxi.com/
* EPIC – FOIA DOCUMENTS REVEAL HOMELAND SECURITY IS MONITORING PUBLIC DESENT
As the result of EPIC v. DHS, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has obtained nearly thee hundred pages of documents detailing a Department of Homeland Security’s surveillance program. The documents include contracts and statements of work with General Dynamics for 24/7 media and social network monitoring and periodic reports to DHS. The documents reveal that the agency is tracking media stories that “reflect adversely” on DHS or the U.S. government. One tracking report — “Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish MI” — summarizes dissent on blogs and social networking cites, quoting commenters. EPIC sent a request for these documents in April 2004 and filed suit against the agency in December. For more information, see PDF: EPIC: EPIC v. Department of Homeland Security: Media Monitoring.
* 2-MINUTE VIDEO OF IRAN’S PEOPLE: ARREST WAR CRIMINALS PLANNING THIER MURDERS
By Carl Herman, Washington’s Blog
Documentation to prove the “emperor has no clothes” obvious facts: US constantly violates war law; arrest Obama before ‘false flag’ war on Iran
* WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY … AND FIGHTING BACK IS “AGGRESSION”
By Kevin Carson, Information Clearing House
The US Department of Defense recently promulgated a new “defense” guidance document: “Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense.” I use scare quotes because it just doesn’t seem quite right to use “defense” to describe a document that — like its predecessors — envisions something like an American Thousand-Year Reich.
The greatest shift in emphasis is in the section “Project power despite Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges.” The “threat” to be countered is that China and Iran “will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter our power projection capabilities.”
That refers to a long-standing phenomenon: What Pentagon analysts call “Assassin’s Mace” weapons — cheap, agile weapons that render expensive, high-tech, weapons systems ineffective at a cost several orders of magnitude cheaper than the Pentagon’s gold-plated turds. In the context of “area denial,” they include cheap anti-ship mines, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship missiles like the Sunburn (which some believe could destroy or severely damage aircraft carriers).
Thus the Pentagon defines as a “threat” a country’s ability to defend itself effectively against attack or to prevent an enemy from putting offensive forces into place to attack it. Yes, you read that right: To the American national security establishment, it’s considered threatening when you prepare to defend yourself against attack by the United States. It’s the perspective of a Family Circus character: “Mommy, he hit me back!” That kind of double standard is pretty common in the National Security State’s assessment of the world. […]
* RAHM CAUGHT RED HANDED BY STATE OFFICIALS
By Hyde Park Johnny, Daily Kos
In a reversal of fortunes Rahm’s bullying and union busting tactics have not only been uncovered, but challenged by state officials on the Chicago Facilities Task Force Force. What was established by evidence and eyewitness testimony in a hearing on January 12, 2012 is that Rahm Emanuel’s push to turn over public schools to private operators is his use of textbook union busting schemes to get what he wants. The most disturbing revelations about mayor 1% was the use of paid outside agitators to speak in favor of closing public schools and Board officials forging documents to push out homeless students from one school.
State Representative Esther Golar said she was at the meeting about Reed School in Englewood, which is set to receive Guggenheim students, and saw people arrive on a bus. She said she talked to them and discovered they were from a halfway house and were paid $25 to come to the meeting. […]
* WALKERGATE EXPANDS, TOP AIDE GIVEN IMMUNITY
By Kenneth Quinnell, Crooks And Liars
An ongoing John Doe investigation into possible illegal activity by aides to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) expanded when Walker’s spokesperson, Cullen Werwie, was given prosecutorial immunity. Speculation as to the reasons for the immunity, which authorities haven’t revealed, don’t signal good news for Walker:
During the 2010 Republican Lt. Governor race, Werwie worked for the campaign of former Republican State Rep. Brett Davis. After Davis was defeated in the September 2010 Republican Lt. Governor primary, Werwie went to work as the traveling press person for Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaign. In that role, Werwie would have traveled everywhere Scott Walker went, working in close proximity to Walker, no doubt leaving Werwie privy to most – if not all – of Scott Walker’s communications while on the campaign trail.
So what could Cullen Werwie have knowledge of? Were there more widespread campaign finance violations beyond those that have already been exposed and prosecuted?
Could there have been “pay to play” going on within the campaign?
What about the possibility that Milwaukee County resources (or man hours) were used for the benefit of Walker’s gubernatorial campaign?
Despite conservative pundits’ claims that the investigation is a witch-hunt, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm says the investigation is ongoing and it has already produced one conviction and numerous charges against Walker aides.
* HOW GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS COULD AFFECT OUR HEALTH IN UNEXPECTED WAYS
By Ari LeVaux, AlterNet
|Chinese researchers have found small pieces of rice ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to receptors in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood.
The type of RNA in question is called microRNA (abbreviated to miRNA) due to its small size. MiRNAs have been studied extensively since their discovery ten years ago, and have been implicated as players in several human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. They usually function by turning down or shutting down certain genes. The Chinese research provides the first in vivo example of ingested plant miRNA surviving digestion and influencing human cell function in this way.
Should the research survive scientific scrutiny — a serious hurdle — it could prove a game changer in many fields. It would mean that we’re eating not just vitamins, protein, and fuel, but gene regulators as well. […]