Archive for the fossil fuel Category

The real reasons for threats of war against Syria

Posted in American politics, analysis, Barack Obama, Brzezinski, China, collapse, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, elite, empire, end-game, fossil fuel, geopolitics, imperialism, nuclear war, nuclear weapons, Obama, oil, peace, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, resources, Russia, smedley butler, sovereignty, sustainability, Syria, war, war crimes, war on democracy, War on Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by jtoddring

(that the mass media won’t tell you about)

1. The Middle East holds 60% of the world’s remaining energy reserves: therefore, the entire region is critical to control – for anyone with an empire fetish, that is. And if you’re serious about controlling the Middle Eastern oil reserves, then you must control, not just the oil-rich nations, but also the nations surrounding them.

2. Washington has played the role of “gangster for capitalism” – to use General Smedley Butler’s term – for a very long time. Washington is the hired thug for the global banking and corporate elite – and they want to control the entire Middle East, because oil profits are simply astronomical.

3. The banking and corporate elite who control Washington also love war, since war is also astronomically profitable to them – and they don’t care that it is disastrous to human life, the environment or national economies.

4. The Middle East is the linch-pin to the entire Eurasian continent (as well as a major key to controlling mineral-rich Africa). Eurasia holds the majority of the world’s population and resources. And historically, whoever controls Eurasia, dominates the world. Controlling the Middle East is therefore seen as critical, as the leading geo-strategic planner for the Western power elite, Zbigniew Brzezinski has said explicitly (see, The Grand Chessboard).

5. The US and Europe are in severe and deepening economic crisis, and also, in a severe and growing political crisis, as the people become increasingly frustrated by growing inequality, poverty and insecurity. And as Orwell described so accurately, perpetual war is a way to distract the people from their problems at home, and to deflect anger away from governments and powers at home, onto a vilified “other.” How did the ruling elite control the rabble of Europe in the Middle Ages when famine, hunger and injustice fuelled the fires of discontent? Send them off on a holy war, a crusade, and let them vent their anger at an official “enemy” – any enemy: anybody, anywhere, just so long as the anger is deflected off of us. The same principle applies today.

6. While the Western powers face a growing and profound crisis of legitimacy at home (just as the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc did before its collapse), they – the US and Europe and the Western business elite – are sinking globally, in relative terms, and are losing their global dominance as the rising super-powers of China, India, Russia, Brazil and other BRIC nations continue to gain ground. The Western business elite apparently see the global domination game as a winner-take all scenario, and they are not planning to lose – no matter what the stakes, the cost, the death toll, or the risk to life on earth.

The risks and costs of war against Syria? Extreme.

  1. Great human death toll.
  2. Further moral bankruptcy of the US government and its allies and further erosion of their credibility at home and abroad.
  3. Further squandering of huge sums of money on death and destruction while people go hungry and homeless, and jobs, social programs, economic recovery and environmental programs go begging and get only lip service, hollow rhetoric, empty promises and token gestures for the sake of PR.
  4. Serious risk that war with Syria may lead to the involvement of Russia and/or China – with the very real danger of the outbreak of World War III. Russian and Chinese high officials have said that any violation by the US of any nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated, and “all options are on the table” – which means nuclear war.

The insanity of further intensification of warfare in the Middle East could not be greater. Stop this madness now. Speak up.

When Washington stops killing innocent men, women, children and civilians with drone strikes in countries around the world, then, perhaps, it may begin to have some moral ground for speaking against another country. It certainly has no right to bomb or attack another country, hypocrisy aside.

Stop the insanity now. No to war with Syria.

J. Todd Ring,
August 28, 2013

Americans Now Primed for WWIII

Posted in American politics, Barack Obama, dollar crisis, end-game, fossil fuel, geopolitics, imperialism, Iran, nuclear, nuclear war, nuclear weapons, Obama, oil, peace, political economy, politics, politics of oil, propaganda, U.S., war with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by jtoddring

(Gallup: Staggering 99 Percent of Americans See Iran’s Nuclear Program as ‘Threat’
Americans See Civilian Program as a Bigger Threat Than North Korea’s Actual Nukes
by Jason Ditz, February 20, 2013)

            “A grim new poll from Gallup shows an overwhelming majority of Americans, indeed 99 percent of them, believe that Iran’s civilian nuclear program is a threat “to the vital interests of the United States.”

            The poll reflects the near complete saturation of American opinion with politicians’ claims of the “threat” posed by Iran’s civilian program, in spite of repeated reports conceding that Iran isn’t presently developing nuclear weapons and that it may indeed never choose to do so.

            This disconnect from reality is underscored when compared with other questions in the same poll, with only 97 percent viewing North Korea’s actual nuclear weapons a threat, despite North Korea itself spending a large amount of time trying to convince people that it is a threat.

            This was the first time Gallup specifically asked about either nation’s nuclear program, and previously had only asked about their respective militaries. Past polls have showed Americans believing Iran to be their “greatest enemy,” though its military was not perceived as an enormous threat in and of itself.

            The poll will likely be a complicating matter for the P5+1 talks with Iran later this month, as Iran is hoping to negotiate a solution which will end international military threats against it, but the popular sentiment seems to be clearly averse to Iran keeping its civilian program.”

This is extremely dangerous. War with Iran would mean WWIII – as the world’s leading trend analyst, Gerald Celente has made clear – since China and Russia have an economic and military alliance with Iran, and both are, of course, nuclear super-powers. Russia and China have been conducting joint military defense operations with Iran for some time now. China in particular is dependent upon Iran’s oil, and is highly protective of Iran. Both Chinese and Russian top officials, including the Russian president, have said that they would not tolerate an invasion or attack on Iran: and all options are on the table – just as Obama has said – including nuclear weapons.

Following a massive build up of US naval forces in the region, Russia has now executed its largest naval deployment in decades, and has centred it in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, within striking distance of most US bases and US naval ships in the Middle East. All of this is extremely foreboding – and insanely reckless and Strangelovian on the part of the aggressors who are threatening war: the Washington and Wall Street elites, and their crony allies.

See Gerald Celente, Noam Chomsky, Max Keiser, Global Research and Michel Chossudovsky for more on the issue. Only global warming and Fukushima-type nuclear disasters present as great a danger as nuclear war – although nuclear war would be slightly quicker in making the earth uninhabitable for humans – and war with Iran presents the highest risk of starting a global nuclear holocaust. Preventing war with Iran is therefore the highest priority of any issue at present, along with the fight to halt global warming, and efforts to rapidly shift away from nuclear power. Nothing compares in magnitude to these three giant threats to human safety and survival.

War with Iran must be prevented at all costs. They have no nuclear weapons program, as intelligence sources confirm, but like the lies about weapons of mass destruction that led the American people to support war on Iraq, lies may work again. And the propaganda machine is gearing up – and more disturbingly, it is winning.

As Chomsky has said, if we want nuclear non-proliferation in the region, we should make it a nuclear weapons free zone, as most nations in the region want. The problem is, the nation in the region with nuclear weapons – Israel – doesn’t want a nuclear weapons-free zone, and neither does its close ally and dominant benefactor, the United States. Attempts to create a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region have been blocked repeatedly by Washington and Israel. This is the problem. Washington has no interest in nuclear non-proliferation. If it did, it would commence disarmament itself, and also stop blocking the establishment of nuclear weapons-free zones.

Washington wants global hegemony, as it has proven for a very long time, over and over again. Now, the Washington political elite, and the financial elite and military-industrial-security complex, which together control Washington, are risking global thermo-nuclear war, for the sake of dollar hegemony, further astronomical profits, and the propping up of the Western corporate empire. This is beyond mad.

The risk is as extreme as it gets. War with Iran risks the entire northern hemisphere of the globe becoming uninhabitable for the next 100,000 years. And war could erupt literally any day now. The forces are all in place, and the war drums are beating.

Speak up now, or prepare to move to somewhere a lot closer to the South Pole.

JTR,
February 21, 2013

Reclaiming democracy for the common good – and for the survival and future of our children: the political economy of environmental sanity and democratic renewal

Posted in activism, AFA, AFC, alternative, alternatives, American Freedom Agenda, American Freedom Campaign, analysis, books, capitalism, Chomsky, class, climate change, common ground, consciousness, conservation, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, crisis of legitimacy, democracy, democratic deficit, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, Eric Fromm, fascism, Feudalism, fossil fuel, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, globalization, imperialism, inspiration, money, must-read, national democracies, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, oil, peak oil, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, reading, renewable, resources, social theory, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by jtoddring

September 27, 2011, the Global Footprint Network declared as Earth Overshoot Day: the day that humans have used up all renewable resources available for the year. Not good. This obviously cannot continue. Limitless growth in material consumption and “production” clearly cannot be sustained on a finite planet. (We can have limitless growth in culture, the arts, science, the mind, spirituality and quality of life, but not in material production and consumption.) We are depleting our collective inheritance: which should rightfully be shared equitably, through democratic popular control of the commons to which we all share usafructory rights – despite our present unjust and unwise socio-economic, legal and cultural norms – as well as used wisely and compassionately, and not squandered. We are rapidly draining nature’s capital, to put it in crass economic terms, which are the only terms most politicians and pundits and corporate elites seem to understand. We are racing towards ecological bankruptcy at an ever-accelerating rate, and will see our children live as beggars in an ocean of toxic waste if we don’t change our course, and fast. Of course, most people – aside from the business and political elite – understand this by now. But awareness is not enough. It is high time for much more serious action.

“Climate change — human-made global warming — is happening.  It is already having noticeable impacts…. If we stay on with business as usual, the southern U.S. will become almost uninhabitable…. It is time for all of us to get Tea-Party-angry about what our political system has become and about the intergenerational injustice being perpetrated on young people.”
– NASA’s leading climatologist

Addressing the present and rapidly escalating environmental crisis which humanity undeniably faces will require more of us than a simple act of recycling or “buying green.” It will require, above all, a restoration and a renewal of democracy – a reclaiming of democracy from the ruling and highly pathological corporate elite. We must reclaim our democracy, or the earth will not be a habitable place for any human beings to live, in just a few short decades or less. If you want a future for humanity on this planet, reclaim your democracy now, or there will be none. This is the reality of our time. Let us do what needs to be done.

Why don’t we have a massive infusion of investment of public funds in clean, renewable energy? Because the big oil, gas and coal companies don’t want it: they are profiting from the status quo, they have a vested interest in the status quo, so the answer is an emphatic, “No.” If we shifted the subsidies that are presently given out to the oil, gas and coal giants, and put it into clean, renewable solar, wind, co-generation and geothermal energy instead, we would be making rapid progress, by leaps and bounds every year, not only in greening our energy and transportation systems and becoming a truly sustainable society, but also in terms of energy self-reliance, economic strength and job creation. But Exxon and company have our politicians by the, um, purse strings: and so they pull the strings, and we the people, as well as the earth, lose out.

Why are we the people being treated as guinea pigs while the earth is being treated as a laboratory, when hundreds of responsible scientists have warned that genetically engineered foods and crops pose serious and largely unforseeable dangers to human health and the environment, and that such practices are unethical, irresponsible, highly imprudent, highly reckless and highly dangerous? The majority of people are rightly wary about genetically modified food and crops, and are generally opposed to these: but the biotech giants have the clout in our political arenas; they pull the purse strings of our politicians, and so, what big money wants, big money gets –  democracy and the people be damned.

Why don’t we shift our tax system from taxing employment through payroll taxes, which works directly against job creation, and also shift the tax burden off of small and medium businesses, the poor and the middle class, and instead tax pollution, thus easing the burden on the majority of families and businesses while creating incentives to pollution reduction? We don’t have sane and effective, just and fair and environmentally sensible tax laws, because while this would benefit the great majority of the people, create jobs and economic vitality, help clean up the environment and steer us in the direction of true sustainability – while improving the quality of our air, soil, food and water and also strengthening small business – it is not what the corporate giants want: so again, it is a no go.

Why do we not have a smog tax for vehicles that get less than 30mpg, and a government rebate for vehicles that get better than 40mpg or have ultra-low or zero emmissions? Because this would require the auto industry and the car manufacturing giants to improve their standards, and worse, it would mean that the oil companies wouldn’t make their usual obscenely stratospheric profits. Big oil and big auto says no, so again, this is a no-go, and the politicians defer as usual to their masters.

Why do we have massive farm subsidies benefitting mainly the agribusiness,  petrochemical, biotech and junk food giants, and an escalating war on organic farming? As Richard Heinberg has said, petro-chemical industrial agriculture has been nothing short of an ecological catastrophy – it is utterly unsustainable. We need to shift to clean, healthy and sustainable organic agriculture en mass, and as rapidly as possible, just as we need to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and switch to clean, renewable energy. But do we see a shift in the multi-billion dollar subsidies anywhere on the horizon? No, we do not, and the reason we do not is that the current government policies benefit the petrochemical, biotech, agribusiness and processed food giants. Monsanto, MacDonalds, Nestle and Kraft are making a killing on the existing system, quite literally as well as figuratively, and if they say no, our political elites say, “Ok boss – whatever you say.” Poison the people and the planet, just don’t cut off my re-election financing.

Why was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gutted over the past decade? Because that is what big business wanted, and what big business wants, big business gets – at least unless and until we the people reclaim our democracy, and push back the vested interests of the corporate elite so that democracy can function, and not simply be a hollow shell run by and for the ruling business elite, with little more than a rubber stamp action on the part of the bought and paid for political elite.

It is not widely known, but it is a fact: when the tar sands are counted, and the exaggerated claims of the Saudi reserves are corrected for accuracy, Canada has the largest remaining oil reserves in the world. And while Canada is rapidly expanding its environmentally devastating oil extraction from the tar sands and plans for a new pipeline are being laid to suck the black gold from out under the people’s feet, and the oil companies are raking in many billions of dollars a year in profits, why is it that it is unspeakable and unthinkable to charge a fair and just price for the extraction by these companies in the form of royalty payments made to the Canadian people? When certain Scandinavian countries charge $8 a barrel in extraction fees, paid as royalties to the people of the land, and Canada charges less than a dollar a barrel – while massively subsidizing the already profitable oil giants – something is clearly awry. Why is it that a fair price for extraction of a public resource, a resource of the commons, a resource that belongs to the people, paid to the people in return for the very lucrative opportunity to carry off this national treasure to whomever will pay the highest price abroad, is an utterly inexpressible, unutterable thought, and nary a word is whispered of this most obvious and patently just and sensible notion by the political elite or the mass media? The answer is as clear as the profits are exorbitant: big oil dominates the capital and the political process, and none dare speak the truth that stares us daily in the face, let alone challenge the situation and right the wrong. Raising the extraction rates by seven dollars a barrel would still leave the oil companies with large, fat profits, although admitedly, the tar sands might be less lucrative, and possibly not feasible economically for some few years, until the price of oil rises further on the world stage, as it will. Such a modest and completely justified increase in extraction rates, as decided upon and enacted by a democratic government of the people, by the people, for the people, would flood the public coffers with funds, making ample money available for the development and creation of a clean and green, renewable energy and transportation system for the nation, as well as for social programs such as health care, education, day care and affordable housing. But while this should be an obvious and immediate step that is taken at once to bolster funding for a transition to a green and just society as well as the funding of much loved and overwhelmingly popular social programs, it is not even possible to mention the idea without immediately being excommunicated from the mainstream political discourse, raising the fevered ire of the corporate elite, and possibly risking a burning at the stake. Oil companies rule this fair and gentle land, and once again, the people and the earth be damned.

Why do we not have a massive and much-needed investment by governments in infrastructure, creating not just the groundwork and foundation for an ecological society, but truly enormous job creation and economic stimulus in the process, launching continent-wide energy-efficient light rail, mass transit networks and a clean, renewable solar-hydrogen infrastructure? California put in place the first leg of a hydrogen highway, at a cost of $100 million. For under $20 billion we could have a zero-emmission, clean, renewable solar-hydrogen fuel and transportation network that spans all of North America – this may sound like a lot of money, and it is, but it is just 10% of the annual cost of maintaining the imperial wars in the Middle East and North Africa. The money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone have now cost over $2.5 trillion. That is approximately 100 times the amount needed to build a zero-emmission, clean, renewable, energy self-reliant solar-hydrogen infrastructure for the entire continent of North America. The U.S. federal government has admitted that over $1.2 trillion goes missing every year into black ops – Congress is unable to trace it, but it is acknowledged. Get rid of the military-industrial complex and the CIA and there will be over $1.5 trillion a year for green infrastructure, environmental protection and remediation, and also funds to help the rapidly sinking great majority of the American people and create jobs through such green infrastructure projects. Why don’t we have an enormous and urgently needed green infrastructure program right now? Because vested interests oppose it – because the Wall St. kleptocrats and their political allies have pillaged the nation to the extent that the country is now on the brink of bankruptcy, and more importantly, because the corporate elite insist upon ongoing, astronomically expensive and murderous wars for oil and other natural resources, thus entailing an absolute paucity of funds for anything that matters in terms of ecological sanity or human well-being. Bringing the troops home and ending wars for oil and other natural resources would save more than enough to build a continent-wide clean and renewable, green transportation infrastructure, massively stimulating the economy and creating millions of jobs in the process – and it would still leave many hundreds of billions a year left over for funding schools, health care and other human needs. But we don’t have a green transportation infrastructure on the table, because this is not what the big oil, gas, coal, automotive and military-industrial giants want. Again, the people and the earth lose, because money rules over our politics, and not common sense, human decency, or environmental sensibility or even basic sanity.

Why do we still have millions of people dying and being killed in wars for oil and other minerals, bankrupting the country and draining off critically needed funds that could and should be used to create a green economy and infrastructure, employing millions of people in the process, and pulling the people out of a financial and economic tail-spin? Because the oil and military-industrial complex corporate giants want it this way, and the people and the earth can go to hell, as far as they are concerned – and because Wall St. dictates the policies of Washington, Ottawa, Paris and London. If we want a green economy, a full employment economy, a just economy, an end to poverty, an end to imperial wars, or a future for our children, we will have to wrest control over our democracy from the corporate elite that now dominate it and severely limit and constrain our policy choices.

Our financially dependent political elite are in the pockets of the oil, gas, coal, biotech, agribusiness, petrochemical and other corporate giants, so policies and programs that are good for the environment and for the people are just not on the table – regardless of whether they would be good for human well-being, regardless of whether they would stimulate the economy and create jobs, regardless if they are arguably necessary for human life to continue beyond the next couple of decades on this planet, and regardless of whether the majority of the people want them – which they do. The great majority of people now want stronger environmental policies, programs and legislation – as well as peace, social justice and meaningful democracy, human rights and civil liberties. The corporate giants do not, so the people get the shaft. This is not about being anti-business; it is about democratic control of our environmental policies and programs, our economy and the commons, for the benefit of all. Corporate influence is in the way. They are the barricade in the hall. They must be moved aside – and firmly if necessary.

You don’t have to be anti-business to be opposed to corporate rule, by the way: to be opposed to rule by corporate elites is simply to favour democracy; and frankly, to call it as it is: to oppose fascism. Corporatism, as Mussolini himself defined, is the merger of business with the state. Anyone who values freedom or democracy must therefore oppose corporatism: which is the unchecked power of business elites, and an empire of corporate dominance over all aspects of society, including the economy, politics, culture and the media. To be anti-corporatist is not to be anti-business: it is simply to understand that any form of unchecked power invariably leads to tyranny and the destruction of freedom; and therefore, to be opposed to such unchecked powers by any kind of elite.

You don’t have to be anti-business to oppose the take-over of democratic government by business elites – you simply have to be sane. You can be pro-business and anti-corporatist: and anyone who truly values democracy must, of logical and practical necessity, be anti-corporatist, regardless of their views on business. I am belabouring the point because the corporate-owned and dominated media repeatedly portray any kind of critique of unchecked corporate powers as leftist lunacy. Here is breaking news for anyone who still buys into this red-scare propaganda that lingers from the McCarthy era, like a can of rotting tuna stinking up the entire house and driving the people to nausea and revulsion: people on the right and the left and in the centre politically are, by an overwhelming majority, in favour of constitutional democracy, and opposed to any kind of dominance over the democratic political process by any kind of elite, including the now globally dominant business elite.

“America’s political classes would do well to listen to the grievances of those involved with Occupy Wall Street, for they undoubtedly represent a set of anxieties shared by a great deal of the population. The corporate take-over of the American political process has not gone unnoticed, neither has the disparity between continued Wall Street profits and the cuts to the welfare state. As unemployment continues at high numbers, resentment surely stirs among those whose lives are slowly being drained at the expense of the corporate state. Recently, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that there would be riots in the streets if Washington does not create more jobs, warning of an American Arab Spring.”
– Emily Manuel, In These Times

“There has been a corporate takeover of politics. You have something called ALEC—the American Legislative Exchange Council—where corporations literally will pay huge sums of money to get together with politicians, draft model legislation that is, then put across the US through state legislation, which is easier to pass than federal legislation.”
– Global Comment writer Anna Lekas Miller

Where once we had to wrest power from the church and the aristocracy who were overstepping their bounds, in order to secure democracy, human rights and freedom, we now must wrest power from an unwieldy and overbearing, frankly tyrannical and self-serving business elite – and everybody who is in the least way sane and rational, who is not neck-deep in denial and who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past fifty years, knows it.

Support for constitutional democracy and checks on corporate power, and the resultant or concomitant opposition to corporate rule, now cuts across the political spectrum. The people are no longer fooled by the red-scare tactics, nor by the broader corporate spin which seeks to mask the obvious: the emperor has no clothes, and everybody knows it – corporations have usurped democratic political powers, and are far over-stepping their proper bounds. Conservatives, liberals and progressives alike now understand this, and know this quite viscerally – and are rightly concerned and rapidly running out of patience in the face of an intolerable situation of corporate oligarchy that seeks limitless powers for itself, while undermining every human value and endangering our very survival on this earth.

We now have grassroots populist conservatives such as Ron Paul and Alex Jones, along with Texas Republicans and the Mainstreet Alliance of Small Business Owners saying the same thing as progressives and people on the left: corporations are out of control, pillaging the nation and the planet, threatening democracy and running rampant – and they need to be reigned in; the people must reclaim their democracy. It is clear now that what I had called for four years ago, which is a coalition of the grassroots, a new union of the people to restore democracy, is not only feasible – it is being born. And that is precisely what we need now.

The reality, which virtually everyone knows, is that the democratic governments of the world are now in hoc, in debt, in dependency and in servitude to a globally dominant international business elite; and virtually all of the major political parties are now the servile lackeys to the ruling corporate empire. Meanwhile, the people increasingly see through this whole pathetic charade, and are becoming quite fed up with it.

You don’t have to lean toward the left politically to be opposed to corporate rule: and at the level of the grassroots, people from the right and the left, conservatives, liberals and progressives, are now beyond wary of unchecked corporate powers – and wish to see democracy reclaimed by the people. What is needed now is a coalition of all those who favour democracy over corporate empire and corporate rule. This is beginning to emerge, and none too soon.

The suicidal kleptocracy of our presently reigning global order of neo-feudal corporatism must end – and now, before we extinguish ourselves from this small and beautiful, fragile, little blue planet. Democracy must be restored: and with power returned to the people, where it rightfully belongs, the commons can once again be protected and shared, wisely and judiciously, for the benefit of all.

If we wish for survival, for a future worth living, or for any future for our children and the children of the earth, then it is absolutely necessary that democracy be reclaimed by the people. This is the most urgent necessity of the time. If Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington or Voltaire were alive today, they most assuredly would be urging it. We should heed their call, the call of their distant but ever-near voices of reason and common sense, and reclaim our power. Restore democracy now. Bring the power back to the people, and let us begin again.

Let it begin. The great turning is here. A new renaissance is being born. Let us work together to bring about a better future and a better world for all. The power is in our hands. We must simply own it, and acknowledge that it is ours.

We have run out of time for idle chit-chat, partisan zealotry and pleasant euphemisms, for polite evasiveness and meek avoidance of the realities that we face. Let us now renew and reclaim our democracy: and we shall in the process, and by this means only, renew and reclaim the commons, for the common good of all. It is this, or it is a dark age ahead – make no mistake. Make your choice wisely. Our future, and our children’s future, depend upon the choices we make now.

Be bold I say, and let us reclaim our future, and the future of humanity – if not for ourselves, then most certainly and assuredly, for the sake of the children of this earth. Their lives and their future cannot be written off, even if we are willing to write off our own. Act now.

“The other superpower” is beginning to stir: humanity is beginning to awake. And nothing, no reactionary force, can stop the rising tide of an awakened humanity. The future is in our hands. I urge all of us now to embrace that power, and to act together to reclaim our future and our world, by first reclaiming our democracy and our power.

Unite now, and let us restore democracy to its proper place – in the hands of the people. Our future and our children’s future hangs in the balance. Let us not hesitate now – we cannot afford to do so. Let us begin, or begin again with renewed energy and a deepened commitment: for we shall succeed, and humanity shall have a new day.

I would like to end this conversation, which I hope will be only the beginning of an ongoing conversation, and more importantly, the basis of strong, bold and dedicated collective action, with one of my favourite quotations, which seems ever-fitting – and especially so now:

“There is more day yet to dawn.
The sun is but a morning star.”
– Henry David Thoreau

And a second, which is equally powerful, equally apt, and equally appropriate to our time:

“It is within our power now to begin the world anew.”
– Thomas Paine

And one last quote: one that is oft-used, and yet profoundly underappreciated – and also extremely relevant to our time and to the task at hand:

“We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately….
United we stand, divided we fall.”
– Benjamin Franklin

As Arundhati Roy so eloquently and beautifully put it, another world is not only possible: she is already being born. Go now – reflect, read, ponder and discuss: then let us act together to bring in a new day and a new dawn for humanity and this earth. I urge you, act now. It is not too late, and what we do or fail to do now, will decide our future, and the future of humanity.

Above all, unite the people to reclaim their democracy. This is the most pivotal and most urgent of tasks at hand. Unite now, and let democracy reign!

The people will reclaim their power. It has already begun. The writing is on the wall. The corporate empire – the last of a series of empires that have risen and fallen through the past five thousand years of history, the clay feet that David spoke of – is teetering and about to fall. It is a wounded and dying, and still yet a dangerous beast, to be sure, but this latest of empires is now crumbling – even while it flails madly in its death throes to preserve its life and maintain its power, and flaunts its power with brazen disregard and sheer contempt for humanity, democracy and life on earth. Its legitimacy is destroyed, by its own acts of malfeasance and abuse of power; and it is only a matter of time before its final demise. The people should see and clearly recognize the opportunity, and reclaim their power and their democracy now.

Rise now and unite. It is time for the full flowering of democracy, and the healing of this fair earth and all our communities. Unite! And let us take back our democracy, for the benefit of all, and for the future of all life on earth, including our own children, and our children’s children. Act now. The time has come for a new dawn.

JTR,
September 28, 2011

 

See Daly and Cobb, For the Common Good, as a prime example of economics that are not insane.

See also:

The Corporation – Joel Bakan (Canadian constitutional lawyer)

Power To the People (In Suits) – Paul Bigioni on Z Net

A Brief History of Progress – Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed – Jared Diamond

The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies – Richard Heinberg

Power Down – Richard Heinberg

Mutual Aid – Peter Kropotkin

The Ecology of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

The Poverty of Affluence – Paul Watchel

Small Is Beautiful- E. F. Schumacher

Year 501 – Noam Chomsky

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

Escape From Freedom – Erich Fromm

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

Global Showdown – Maude Barlow

On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude – Etienne De La Boittee

The Great Turning – David C. Korten

Links: videos, films, books and articles

Leading trend analyst Gerald Celente on economic crisis, plunder, corporate fascism and the emerging renaissance – YouTube

NASA’s Hansen: “If We Stay on With Business as Usual, the Southern U.S. Will Become Almost Uninhabitable.” | ThinkProgress

Power to the People (In Suits) How a whole new kind of business lobby is a threat to democracy by Paul Bigioni

Fears of a corporate police state – David Sirota – Salon.com

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail? | Rolling Stone Politics

Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal

Main Street Alliance Open Letter To Obama On Jobs

It’s Time to Unstack the Money in Politics Deck

Three Things That Must Happen for Us to Rise Up and Defeat the Corporatocracy | Truthout

Occupy Wall Street: Creating Political Change? — In These Times

Big Ideas That Changed The World : DemocracyTony Benn

Talk – David Korten – The Great Turning – YouTube

Joanna Macy on The Great Turning – YouTube

The Corporation (complete, chapters 1 to 23) – YouTube

Life and Debt [HQ Full Movie] – YouTube

The Yes Men – Trailer – YouTube

The Secret Government: The Constitution In Crisis (1 of 9) – YouTube

The Shock Doctrine (2009) — Naomi Klein – YouTube – full length film

“The End of America” Full Length HQ Film – YouTube

Jared DiamondCollapse! part 1 – YouTube

Amazon.com: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (9780743247443): Joel Bakan: Books

The Corporation Film: About the Book

Orwell Rolls in his Grave (Full 3HR Documentary) – YouTube
Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky and the Mass Media – 1/17 – YouTube
Confronting the Empire, by Noam Chomsky (Talk delivered at the III World Social Forum)
The Take – Trailer – YouTube
The Take (La Toma) English subtitles (1/9) – YouTube
The Project Gutenberg eBook – On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

#Science Earth’s Annual Resources Used Up Today, Group Says bit.ly/n8flsq

Amazon.com: For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future (9780807047057): Herman E. Daly, John B. Cobb Jr.: Books

The Growing World Food Crisis: Context, Analysis & Action

Posted in alternative, alternatives, analysis, biofuel, capitalism, carbon, class, climate change, CO2, collapse, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crash, disaster, drought, ecological crisis, ecology, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, ethanol, events, flood, fossil fuel, geopolitics, global warming, globalism, human rights, imperialism, peak oil, policy, political economy, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, renewable, resources, Rockefeller, sustainability, video, war with tags , , , , on May 14, 2008 by jtoddring

World food riots have begun. There is social unrest, precipitated by the deepening world food crisis and rising food prices, in at least 30 nations, and spreading rapidly. Food shortages – primarily a crisis of distribution, and not supply – grow while prices rise, as global warming, biofuel production, environmental degradation, commodities speculation, oil depletion, rising energy costs, rising meat and dairy intake, over-consumption, hording and waste, as well as the increasing global economic madness of a predatory neoliberal corporate dominated world economy, drive the crisis to deepening levels. The crisis is world-wide, affecting North and South, East and West, though Africa, Asia and Latin America are taking the worst of the brunt, as usual. However, this is a truly global crisis, particularly as the middle class is being wiped out in the “advanced” industrial nations, and no stop-gap measures will suffice to remedy the growing problem. It is a problem of spreading poverty, primarily, with ecological and geological factors weighing in heavily as well. It is primarily a testimony to the utter failure of the global corporatist order of neoliberal politics and economics – or its success, depending on whether you are among the tiny business elite, or among the vast majority of the world’s polulation, which is sliding rapidly downward into not only serfdom, but also abject poverty. It is the latest chapter in the rape of the Earth.

Common sense, cooperation and basic human traits such as solidarity and sharing will be needed to resolve this growing disaster. That may be a tall order, but within reach.

However, as much as this is the case, soon we will hear the cries of the giant agro-chemical-biotech corporations (which are all now merged) – the same corporations that bear a large portion of the responsibility for undermining ecosystems, world food security and equitable food distribution, helping to cause the crisis they will claim to solve – claiming again that genetically modified foods will be the salvation of the world.

As most people now are aware, genetically modified (GM) foods pose far too great a risk to humanity and the earth, as their effects are unknown. The popular film I Am Legend speaks eloquently of the more dire possibilities arising from unleashing technology we do not understand. But we should be ready for the PR campaign, as it will unfold shortly.

Half a dozen giant corporations dominate the world food system. It is these same giants that have been deeply involved in the food crisis which has unfolded and worsened over many decades, and who will shortly present their highly deceitful plans to “save the world” from hunger, through biotechnology and genetic engineering – a move that will only increase the risks to humanity, while further increasing the already great control over world food production and distribution which is held by the world’s financial elite. Watch for this.

While the biotech and agrochemical giants are storing the world’s seeds in a Doomsday Vault in Norway, they are simulataneously preparing to push genetically modified food crops on Africa. Something truly nefarious is in the works. I shudder to think what the robber barons have in mind this time. Probably they plan to use a global food crisis, which they have consciously helped to create, to bring about the wide-spread implementation of bio-tech foods, which will give them even greater profits and even greater control over the world’s food system – which means greater power over the world’s population, and which will effectively consolidate their position as the Lords of the Earth. At least, this seems to be the general outline of what the world’s business elite have in mind. And for anyone who has any knowledge of the history of the past 150 years, this should come as no big surprise, considering the unspeakable record of the food and chemical giants – United Fruit, Unilever, IG Farben, Dow, Dupont, Cargill, Monstanto and Union Carbide to name a few – and with the generally appalling record of contempt for humanity shown by the world’s corporate elite more generally.

The leading figure in both the GM foods drive and the Doomsday Vault in Norway, appears to be none other than the most powerful businessman in the Americas, head of the Trilateral Commission as well as City Bank, America’s biggest bank, and half a dozen other corporate lobby groups and think tanks: the most slithery David Rockefeller. God help us all.

Thankfully, such megalomaniacal power plays have never faired well through history, and every one of them has been ultimately defeated, as we will do once again.

The clear aim of the world’s business elite is simply world dominance – as was the case for every power monger and would be emperor of the past. The strategy, apparently, of the global business elite, now that scaring the public into submission is not working as well as was hoped, seems to be to starve us into submission. There seem to be two interwoven strategies for global dominance on the part of the world’s financial barons. One is to frighten the people into submission, via the “war on terror” – and since the effectiveness of that stratggy is waning and falling short, there will likely be a devoted search for new ways to scare us into giving up our liberties, our rights and our power. The second strategy is even more dark, if that is possible, and that is to lay seige to the world: to squeeze the public so tightly economically, including the method of depriving the basics of life, such as food, so that surrender is obtained. I would dare speculate that this is the second part of the strategy. Intimidation, manipulation, deciet, and seige: in short, psychological warfare and control of resources – strange that the tactics of empires have changed so little over the ages. In any case, the necessary actions on our part are the same.

While the corporate players work their dark schemes, back here in the world of basic sanity and simple human decency, we can see pretty clearly what needs to be done, if we are willing to look.

A number of actions must be taken collectively if we are to seriously address and resolve the world’s growing food crisis, including a rapid shift to organic farming and green energy (and not biofuels which effectively burn food), the protection of forests, wetlands and farmland, reduction of meat and dairy consumption, a dramatic reduction in consumption and waste among the consuming classes, a re-orientation of the economy, including production, distribution and purchasing, toward re-localization and bioregionalism, and above all, the elimination of poverty, which in turn requires a radical restructuring of the global economy, away from its present drive for accumulation of massive wealth and power in the hands of a few, and towards an economic system which benefits all.

The most pointed part of the question concerns resource allocation, including access to land, food and water, as well as equitable and universal economic empowerment more broadly. While we must address the environmental causes of the food crisis, as well as biofuel usage, the current problem is not one of supply but of distribution. If we continue to destroy the environment, then we will soon have supply problems as well – and of vast proportions. Naturally, we must cease to destroy the basis of agricultural production, viable living oceans and life on earth generally. But the primary cause of hunger and the growing food crisis at present has nothing to do with supply, and everything to do with control.

It is a matter of the globalization of poverty, as Ottawa University economics professor Michel Chossudovsky has called it, under a global neoliberal economic order which effectively consolidates dominance over the world’s economy as well as the world’s food system in the hands of a few giant transnational corporations. Three companies control over 90% of world trade in bananas. Three companies dominate the world trade in coffee. One company controls 90% of world tea markets (Unilever). One company dominates in world grain distribution (Cargill). With such a stranglehold, the biggest corporations can squeeze both the farmers who produce the food, paying them as little as possible, and less every year, while queezing the consumers as well, driving prices up for the end buyer while robbing the farmer. Hence, world prices for bulk coffee have plummetted over the past 30 years, while the end consumer still pays dearly enough to ensure Nestle makes nice fat, growing profits. Coffee farmers can barely survive, but Nestle seems happy. Prices of bread and rice rise to levels world wide where more and more people can’t afford to eat properly, but Cargill has record profits, rising every year. It is a shell game, the natural result of monopoly capitalism. If we want food security or food availability for all, then the robber barons must go. Until this happens, the world’s food crisis will continue to deepen, and social and political instability, including the eruption of violence and wars, will continue to escalate.

The world currently produces enough food to feed all. The problem, presently, is not production but distribution. If we cut waste and over-consumption, learn to share equitably, as kindergarten was supposed to teach us, we will have a future of mutual abundance. Population must be addressed, but population is not the primary issue: 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the world’s resources; a trend that is only worsening. Further, experience has shown that the best way to halt population growth is to end poverty. When poor people know that their only security in later years of life comes from their children, and half their children will die before adulthood, they will continue to have large families. End poverty, and children become an expense, rather than an insurance policy, and population growth halts, as has heppened in every region, state and nation where poverty has been substantively reduced (Kerala State in India being the text book example). Therefore the choice we face is clear: war and greed, or peace and solidarity with sharing and dignity for all. A choice is at hand. Freedom, abundance and dignity for all is a possibility, if we choose to act on it.

We cannot understand nor realistically address the growing world food crisis if we do not understand its causes. Basic common sense and human decency are all that is required. But we will have to act quickly and decisively.

I hope this overview has been of some small help in dealing with this issue, which is but one more of the great and troubling issues plaguing the world and begging for action – one more issue which is intertwined with the rest. Empire, poverty, destruction, war and greed, or freedom, equality, peace and sustainability? The choices become more stark by the day. And these are all tied together.

J. Todd Ring,
May 14, 2008

Writings of J. Todd Ring

World Food Crisis: Video Archive Primer

Hydrogen: Cutting Through the Mental Smog

Posted in biofuel, electric car, environment, fossil fuel, fuel cell, green car, hydrogen, oil, renewable, sustainability on June 27, 2007 by jtoddring


An Overview: Where we stand with hydrogen fuel now

1. We need to get off polluting fossil fuels asap. This is obvious to just about everyone now.

2. Biofuels are better than fossil fuels – lower emissions for example – but with the possible
exception of celulosic bio-ethanol, they amount to the burning of food for the morally
questionable purpose of hauling our asses around in 2 tons of steel and glass. Unless
celulosic bio-ethanol makes major advances, biofuels are a very poor answer. Presently,
biofuels are biocidal: they amount to mass starvation if implemented widely. Biofuel may
be better than fossil fuel, but not by much.

3. Both hydrogen and electric vehicles offer zero emissions from the tail pipe (with H2 ICEs –
internal combustion engines – there is a tiny amount of NOXs, but practically zero when
compared to dino-juice burners). These two technologies are presently available, but only
on micro-scale: mass implementation is urgently needed.

4. Hydrogen and electric vehicles are demonstrated and proven viable. However, we cannot
wait for mass production of electric or hydrogen vehicles. The auto industry is too slow, and
besides, there are over 1 billion fossil fuel-burning vehicles on the planet now, with a median
life expectancy of 17 years. We cannot wait to retire and replace these vehicles. We must
begin converting all existing vehicles to green energy systems now, and as quickly as possible.

5. Hydrogen or electric? Electric cars are better than fossil fuel burners, but the power grid is
heavily polluting and heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Electric cars are only clean if they are
re-charged with an off-grid clean, renewable energy system. The same is true for the
sourcing of energy for hydrogen vehicles: hydrogen from fossil fuels is not a smart
answer – unless you’re an oil and gas company. Hydrogen only makes true environmental
sense when it is derived from clean, renewable wind or solar power, using waste (methane
from sewage, landfills or compost) or water – via reformation or electrolysis. In either case,
a distributed, decentralized green energy supply is what is needed, along with immediate
vehicle conversions.
There are passionate supporters of both green-tech camps, but the fact is, both are viable
and ready to go now, and either would be clean, renewable, and infinitely preferable to fossil
fuels, so long as they are implemented intelligently.

Re: Hydrogen generation through electrolysis requires more energy input than you get out.

(A reply to comments on Autoblog)

If we erroneously view hydrogen as an energy source, then this is an insurmountable problem: an energy source is not an energy source if it consumes more energy than it produces – obviously. There may be ways to harness hydrogen energy aside from electrolysis that are net energy producing processes, however, the point here is that hydrogen produced by electrolysis is not an energy source, but an energy carrier – like a battery. You don’t say, well, batteries are only energy carriers, not an energy source, therefore electric cars are non-feasible. You don’t say batteries defy the second law of thermodynamics because they require more energy than they produce – of course, because they do not produce energy; they merely store it.

Hydrogen produced by electrolysis likewise is a means to store energy – in hydrogen – for a hydrogen vehicle for example, just as a battery stores energy in an electric vehicle. In either case, the battery or the hydrogen is simply an energy storage medium, and either requires a primary energy source – ideally, solar or wind. Is this not clear enough? It is amazing how intelligent people can miss the obvious.

We don’t need to resort to physics principles to figure this out; we need merely to think it through. Hydrogen vehicles, using electrolysis generation systems which are powered by solar or wind power, are a viable and proven, clean, renewable and sustainable technology, right now. We should stop the non-sense and start implementing solar-hydrogen systems immediately. The energy may cost more than gas and oil, but gas and oil are costing us our future on this planet. The transition must begin.

Re: Big oil and energy companies control energy distribution networks

In the future – or now – households, businesses and communities can produce their own clean, green, sustainable energy – yes. And that being the case, they can also generate their own hydrogen fuel for transportation using solar and wind powered electrolysis. Big oil, big coal, and the corporate energy companies in general – including the giant contractor/construction firms that build the nuke plants – can all go the way of the dodo. Hydrogen is not antithetical to such a distributed, decentralized, locally-controlled non-fossil fuel clean energy infrastructure, but instead a vital component.

Fury and Fanfare Over Brad Pitt’s BMW Hydrogen 7

Reply to comments on Autoblog Green

I’m glad to see such a passionate and intelligent discussion about the relative advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen vehicles as compared with electric vehicles, even if it is a bit over-zealous at times. (The perfection of a given alternative may end up having less of an ecological impact than the speed of implementation of alternatives to fossil fuels, imperfect as those alternatives may be: perfectionism x micro-scale = minimal effect; whereas, a step forward that is widely adopted = major positive impact.)

A couple of points of clarification:

1. Hydrogen does not have to be produced from fossil fuels. The oil and gas companies want this, naturally, so that they will be the ones to control the hydrogen infrastructure for the coming decades, but such a solution is ridiculous, as was pointed out above. Hydrogen only makes sense when it is produced using non-fossil fuel green energy, such as solar or wind, utilizing electrolysis of water or reformation of methane from sewage or landfill waste. If done in this way, hydrogen is a clean, renewable fuel.

2. Electric vehicles require a primary source of power, just as hydrogen vehicles do: with electric vehicles, the primary source of power at present is the power grid, which is heavily polluting due to its heavy reliance on coal and other fossil fuels.

Electric vehicles are not green unless their power source is solar or wind: exactly as with hydrogen vehicles.

Let’s stop the tribal warfare. You’d think the hydrogen and electric vehicle advocates were the Hatfields and McCoys.

If we were to compare the best application of hydrogen (distributed green energy generation) with the worst application of electric vehicles (plug into the largely coal-fired power grid), we could come to an equally one-sided view in abhorrence of the latter in favour of the former. Let’s try to be fair-minded and clear-headed here.

3. There are 1 billion fossil fuel ICEs on the planet now, with a median life expectancy of 17 years. There is no way we can wait until these vehicles are retired and replaced. We need to switch to some combination of hydrogen and electric vehicles right now – or stop driving.

4. We do not have to wait – nor can we wait – for mass production of either electric vehicles or hydrogen FCVs (fuel cell vehicles) or ICEs: any existing ICE can be converted to either hydrogen or electric now. Take your choice, but one of these – or a combination of both – must be done asap.

5. Locally-based, distributed green energy generation, in combination with hydrogen and/or electric vehicle conversion, is what we urgently need. The rest is pretty much academic.

(P.S.: Hydrogen is safer than gasoline. Research it for yourself if you have any doubt. The public has been misinformed on that point. I had assumed in writing this post that the audience already had such basic understanding.)

J. Todd Ring,
June 26, 2007

See also:

BMW officially announces the BMW Hydrogen 7 – AutoblogGreen

Brad Pitt thinks BMW’s Hydrogen 7 is perfect for Ocean’s 13 premiere – AutoblogGreen

Psst, Deputy Mayor of London, wanna free BMW Hydrogen 7 ?

Hydrogen Madness @ NY Auto Show | ecorazzi.com :: the latest in green gossip

Honda’s FCX makes European debut – AutoblogGreen

Canada To Build Hydrogen Super Highway

California Hydrogen Highway Spans 800 Miles

Quantum’s Hydrogen Prius at Norsk Hydro’s first hydrogen station – AutoblogGreen

* Energy self-sufficient Danish community makes hydrogen using wind power

Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies

Smelling Land: The hydrogen defense against climate catastrophy

H2.ca – Hydrogen Strategy for Canada

Powell’s Books – Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction by Terry Tamminen

Powell’s Books – It’s the Crude, Dude: Greed, Gas, War, and the American Way by Linda Mcquaig

Powell’s Books – The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery

Powell’s Books – The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies by Richard Heinberg

Winning the Oil Endgame

Amazon.com: The Hydrogen Economy: Books: Jeremy Rifkin

Amazon.com: Tomorrow’s Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet: Books: Peter Hoffmann,Tom Harkin

Amazon.com: Amory B. Lovins: Building the hydrogen economy. (Conversations).: An article from: E: Books: Jim Motavalli

Amazon.com: The Solar Hydrogen Civilization: The Future of Energy Is the Future of Our Global Economy: Books: Roy McAlister

Readings: hydrogen economy course – UC Davis: Institute of Transportation Studies

Search this blog: “green cars”……there’s tons more info here.

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