Monday, February 16, 2009

ECOnomy: The Stuff of Business, The Bounty of Other Exchange

Business has enveloped all aspects of culture. Not for a moment are we able to escape from a sea of messages with two common denominators: stimulate a spiritual sort of consumption and misinform the public. Whether it is in the kitchen with the tube on in the background or at a urinal on a Friday night at the bar, we are implored to hand over our hard-earned cash—or, more dangerously, our credit cards—creating demand and debt, in a vicious feedback loop that, through inherent processes such as interest and inflation, sets its own illusory stage higher; Proverb: the higher you climb, the further you fall. The monetary system at present, as the vehicle of business, is, for a multitude of reasons, insufficient for a modern thinking society. It cannot support itself, for it depends on chance asset bubbles—such as the .com boom or oil, just as the gold standard relied on chance gold discoveries such as the Gold Rush in California—and growth for the benefit of the top sectors at the expense of the lower echelons of society. Poverty is a must, for the entire system depends on our inability to pay back our debts. Just imagine if we all paid back our debts. There’d be no money in circulation. Private Banks such as the Fed (why the fuck is it called the Fed?) or the Bank of England, etc. would have all money.

Wages are falling due to soaring food and energy prices, while consumer debt and housing foreclosures are at historic highs. 600,000 American jobs are currently being lost a month, while 10,000 homes are being foreclosed. The criminal increase in the gap between rich and poor is conducive to social collapse by way of crime and genocide (genocide, by the way, is official Washington Policy). The threat of social turmoil further undermines our system of governance, while, meanwhile, England has already implemented the meat of a Police State. The United States military is already prepared to deal with social unrest, and, when we look to history for answers, we understand State violence against American citizens is the status quo. Oh, how the world begins to resemble feudal Europe! Excessive consumption—encouraged by cartels that set the agenda for a consumer society—is to blame for the collapse of ecosystems. All the while government responses have been enacted at the behest of multinationals, resulting in a considerable devaluing of the dollar: Almost ten trillion dollars—that is, simply speaking, upwards of 90 trillion, due to current reserve policies—has been spent by the US government alone to repair the economy. Foretelling of further systemic failures in our societal superstructure is congresses current irrelevance in face of empire sized corporations. Not to mention that, in today's America, the congress is routinely threatened with martial law, should it not pass Executive decrees. And you really think your congressman understands the ways in which our economy has been hijacked? Ha! Unless he/she is in cahoots with Bilderberg or a free-thinker like Ron Paul, fat chance! Culture gasps for air but comes up short. We are business, business is us.

It’s time for a new way of exchanging goods and services by evaluating economic performance against such indicators as healthy children, families, communities, relationships and natural systems.

Wall Street has historically claimed their trading activities create wealth for all, provide the funds that keep the business functioning, increases the velocity of exchange and stabilizes markets. The financial meltdown, however, has given us all a crash course in finance: a world of corruption based on speculation, the stripping of corporate assets, predatory lending, and asset bubbles is revealed. The 50 highest-paid private investment fund managers in 2007 averaged $588 million in compensation-19,000 time’s as much as average worker pay. One of the main purposes of the FED, as they will tell you, is to maintain stability within the economy, however, it has functioned just as a private corporation does, working only towards increasing profits.

The losses of the masses must be recovered. The Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington D.C. think tank, outlined in “A Sensible Plan for Recovery” some measures that ought to be heeded. In suggesting that Congress make Wall Street pay for both the bailout and a true economic stimulus package, the IPS recommended a securities transactions tax, a minimum corporate income tax, recovery of bonuses paid to Wall Street CEOs responsible for the crisis, an end to corporate tax havens, and an end to tax loopholes for CEO pay: Fair regulation of financial markets. Further measures will be needed to break up concentrations of corporate power. As David Corten suggested, market prices must internalize full social and environmental costs, trades between nations must be in balance, investment must be local, no player can be big enough to directly influence market price, power must be equitably distributed, the market must depend on the free flow of information (no intellectual property rights). For instance, conglomerations dishing out millions on greenwashing campaigns rarely implement the green protocols they champion. Such practices must stop immediately, and actual immediate change must begin to fuel a new economy based on resources and creative endeavors, with full transformation coming about slowly. (an economy changed hastily will end up authoritarian, with power accumulating among the most politically and economically powerful lenders.

Senator Bernie Sanders observed, “If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.” Institutions must be vulnerable to challenge by uninstitutionalized groups of individuals forming specifically for the task of disputing illegitimate power. The work of these theoretical individuals would most likely be to disperse power among a greater number of people. Let’s work from the assumption that power corrupts, our founding fathers believed this to be so. So, all power is illegitimate, except for that of the parent protecting a child. Of course dominion will exist, though in a severely debased and checked form.

The current economic system posits consumers as slaves to be herded by their colonial master. We just happen to be awfully free these days. The Federal Reserve and Wall Street’s biggest players have control over the money supply, over predatory lending practices (Proverb: The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave.), and over lobbying and campaign contributions used to suppress wages, dismantle social safety nets, and capture the value of productivity gains for themselves. The top 1 percent of the U.S. income earners increased their share of national cash income from 9 percent to 19 percent between 1980 and 2005, according to Charles R. Morris. Income for 90 percent of households fell relative to inflation, household savings rates dropped to less than one percent, and household debt soared as Main Street workers struggled to hold their lives together. It hasn’t worked. The base economic structure, the family, has failed in modern US society: fifty percent end in divorce and fifty percent of spouses find themselves in the sack with someone other than their partner. No wonder why we kids are so fucking mental! Drink, Drank, Punk! (Or you’re half-baked).

A distribution of wealth through progressive tax rates, increasing the minimum wage, containing health care costs, and regulating mortgage and credit card interest rates is crucial to moving forward. Whether we stay the current course or not, American free market capitalism is dead, so stop groping. Combine this with a debt free money system—or one based on resources instead of moneydebt—and Main Streets dependence on Wall Street financing is eliminated. To finance Main Street economies a network of independent and locally owned community banks will serve fine. They, in turn, would fund a projected central bank, whose power comes from the network of local banks, among whom power is dispersed equally.

Foreign Policy Advisor, as well as Bilderberg group and trilateral commission member, Zbigniew Brzezinksi admits that we live in a more enlightened world than ever. In such a world the only function of a legitimate economic system is to serve life. Currently economic success is gauged solely against financial indicators such as gross domestic product and stock prices, with social and environmental consequences going nearly wholly neglected. In our current economy 51 of the top 100 economies are corporations, and, in some cases, individuals. The new political and economic structure of America is an outcome thereof. Simultaneously, as many researchers note, happiness, and traditional indicators of social and environmental health, have declined while GDP increases.

We must change the way we create money. Wall Street benefits hugely from our current practice of money creation, whereby private banks create money through bookkeeping entries each time they make a loan, a process which creates only the principal, and not interest, save for when the economy grows at quick enough a pace for loans to create the new money needed to pay of the interest payments on previous loans. It is interesting to note that only three percent of money in the economy exists in physical form, the rest is theoretical, digital in "trans-nature." Interest, then, motors the economy, fueling inflation, while being totally dependent on growing inequality as well as Gross Domestic Product. The basis of our current economy--that is, the things we produce to make up our GDP's--are obsolete. Instead of producing disposable consumer goods, we, again, need an economy based on resources and creative endeavors, with an open system of education based on social experience within a human-community. New early pedagogy practices emphasizing the potential of the individual as a player in a community are a good place to start.

The likes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin advocated replacing the system of bank-created debt-money with an alternative system in which the government creates debt-free money by spending it into existence to fund public goods like infrastructure or education. The main change in such a system is that the entry is made by government for a public good rather than by a private bank for private profit. The colonies, in fact, had their own debt-free money in the form of Colonial Scrip. This was unacceptable to the Bank of England (private corporation), and pushed through Parliament acts which stripped the colonies of their right to issue their own currency, effectively placing them on a gold/silver coin system. Hence, the revolution; your history teacher served you a nice fat fib, probably non-cognizant of it, when they said the colonists revolted over a tea tax.

The current debt-money system adds to debt and taxes, while also bearing responsibility for environmental destruction, not solely because it is based on unending growth, but because within a consumer society WASTE and PROGRESS are dear concepts to businesses with limited capacity to adapt within their own product space. Product space refers to the options a company has available to itself within an economy through time. For example, though apple has come up with a myriad of cool gadgets, it still remains there is only a limited amount of new ideas and capacity for production of new technologies apple can embark upon. That the Apple customer should want to throw away last years ipod is crucial to the perpetuation of the product space apple inhabits. If, instead of stressing the hyperupgrade of disposable consumer goods, stressed the extraction, production or discovery of clean energies (albeit completely new energies, considering current options fall short of what's needed) and nutritious resources for food, an ever expanding economy could benefit man.

Inherent also to the money-deby system is extreme inequality, since it insures the upward flow of wealth from main street to wall street, as well as instability within the economic system owing to the issuing of loans that promote reckless speculation, and therefore short term profits for banks. Aside from the debt-free money, desired because it greatly reduces debt, taxes, and environmental harm, is more equitable and increases financial stability, is the aforementioned economy based on resources. Mind you, money has no inherent value except for the belief in it by people. For that reason, we can use a plethora of stuff as our means of exchanging goods and services.

A world economy based on resources involves a full-fledged mobilization towards the development of new, clean, and renewable sources of energy: geothermal; controlled fusion; solar; photovoltaic; wind, wave and tidal power; and even fuel from the oceans. We must reorganize our cities, modes of transportations and industry on the basis of serving people... This sound ridiculous Justin, you’re a woolgatherer. Yes, true, I know; however, many ecologists and anthropologists believe that much of the Amazon is a human artifact, so…

Hitler laughed at the US military before and at the onset of World War II. What amateurs we were! (Tell that to post-world war 2 inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere, where we’ve murdered ten million in explicit depopulation programs.) At the beginning of the Second World War the US had a scant 600 first-class fighting aircraft. In a short span of time, however, we were turning out more than 90,000 planes a year! (Oh, how the bankers who made the loans to the military industrial complex on all sides profited!) Did we have enough funds to produce the required war materials? No, we did not. We had the resources, though. Such resources and man power, unfortunately, are put only into high tech technologies geared towards social control and war. We’re okay with that, cause’ Al Qaeda and the Taliban are out there lurking in the night! (read: bogey men) Baaah.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We Watch While the World burns

I write these words
with my pad and my pen
seeing the world through words
trying to make senSe
we open up our minds
with tones and symbols
looking for answers
held in the middle
of the rhythm state,
mind creates
enunciates words that
connect with me
stealing my attention
while healing my sanity
the vanity in the world
makes it hard to suggest
so theories are named conspiracy
when there is social unrest
the upset billions of the
worldly masses
pay for our sins with
flowers and open caskets
trying to react to industrialism
while we buy our cars in
our lavish living
taking everything and giving
nothing in return
we watch
while the world burns

Monday, February 9, 2009

THe CIA's Bizarre Plan to Win Hearts and Hard-ons in Afghanistan, by Jim Hightower

You've gotta love the CIA for always giving it the old college try. The "it" can be highly questionable, even criminal, but the agency's operatives keep trying all sorts of dandy, innovative tricks to do whatever the it is.

Take the plan years ago to assassinate Fidel Castro by getting him to light up an exploding cigar. Obviously, it fizzled, but the gambit did show a sense of humor. Or, was it stupidity? Whichever.

Every now and then, however, one of the CIA's tricks works. In Afghanistan, for example, agents have been trying to lure tribal patriarchs to stop protecting Taliban commanders and Islamist terrorists in their regions. They've tried offering cash, cars, jewelry, etc. - all with little success.

Then, last year, a CIA officer reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a big one. He was wooing a 60-something-year-old chieftain in Southern Afghanistan who was suffering an embarrassing decline in something essential for a guy who has four - count 'em, four - younger wives: a firm sexual drive. "Take one of these," said the agent, "you'll love it." What he offered was four Viagra pills. Hey, if Bob Dole likes them, why not a needy senior in a remote Afghan village?

Indeed, the blue pills turned out to be golden. Four days later, the CIA agent returned to the village, and the old tribal leader was wreathed in a big grin that only sex can induce. "You are a great man," he exulted! And, while the chieftain had never before taken sides in the American offensive, suddenly he was a spewing fountain of information about the Taliban's movements in his area. All he requested in exchange was more of those blue pills.

Who says America's leaders have no rational policy in this complex and dangerous region? The CIA plans to lift us to victory - one libido at a time!

"Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan,", December 26, 2008.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the new book, "Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow." (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly "Hightower Lowdown," co-edited by Phillip Frazer.
© 2009 All rights reserved.
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Revolt Spreads Across the Globe as "Crisis" Continues to Unfold

Unrest rocks the streets of China, France, Russia, Mexico, and elsewhere. And it is spreading...

“They say that the fires of revolt will spread everywhere, and we see acts like damage to bank branches or state buildings and claims of solidarity with the Greek rioters.”

After numerous European governments expressed fear that the unrest in Greece would spread to neighboring countries and perhaps around the world, the spreading global revolt has taken on another tone: that of confronting the elite for their manipulation of the economic “crisis” (which is really a systemic collapse) in order to consolidate yet even more wealth as the masses of the world suffer the brunt of the former’s greed. The spirit of the Greek revolt has not been forgotten, however, for it is clear whose interests the police serve and protect (as America was recently reminded in Oakland).

As Iceland became the first country to fall due to popular revolt against the economic elite, and then proceeded to elect their first female PM, who is also openly gay, things are heating up around the globe. Recently, over 1,000 protesters assembled illegally to protest the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, and while the protests were overwhelmingly peaceful, fear of unrest prompted the police to systematically target and arrest known and identified militants and revolutionaries.

As GNN’s Grady reports, in China “2,000 workers and farmers held wage protests for twelve days outside of Shanghai” in December 2008, “striking workers and security guards clash in a textile factory in Dongguan” on January 15th, and on January 16th, “100 police officers stage a rally in Shenzhen after being sacked from their jobs.” The Times Online also reportsthat in the southern province of Guangdong, “three jobless men detonated a bomb in a business travellers’ hotel in the commercial city of Foshan to extort money from the management.” In the 12 days of mass demonstrations last December, the Times reports:

...angry workers besieged labour offices and government buildings after dozens of factories closed their doors without paying wages and their owners went back to Hong Kong, Taiwan or South Korea. In southern China, hundreds of workers blocked a highway to protest against pay cuts imposed by managers. At several factories, there were scenes of chaos as police were called to stop creditors breaking in to seize equipment in lieu of debts.

In France, an estimated 2.5 million people hit the streets in a national general strike in response to the global economic collapse, and in disdain of the handling of the so-called “crisis” by their country’s ruling-class economic elite. The Telegraph reported that “the streets filled with flag-waving protesters and in Paris protesters clashed with police, throwing bottles, overturning cars and starting a fire in the street. After a day of peaceful protests, violence erupted on the fringes of the Paris protest. Dozens of young men wearing scarves across their face were charged down by riot police after throwing stones and bottles, tearing up manhole covers and lighting fires in the Opera district.”

Anger is growing in France and around the world

The Beeb reports:

Across Europe, victims of the economic slump who are losing their jobs in their tens of thousands are furious that public money is being doled out to the banks. In some countries, they are more willing to vent their anger. As huge crowds took to the streets across France this week, in a national day of protests and strikes, the far left points to a boost in the number of its supporters in times of financial gloom.

Certainly, ministers in Paris are wary of some form of insurrection. Recent intelligence reports talk about an “elevated threat” from an “international European network… with a strong presence in France” and a “new generation of activists”, possibly a “re-birth of the violent extreme left”. A spokesman for the interior ministry, Gerard Gachet, told the BBC that the threat was real. “The term ‘ultra-left’ was used by the interior minister to set this group apart from the extreme left who turn up for elections and keep within the parameters of democratic debate,” he says. But talking of more radical groups, he points to recent pamphlets and books published anonymously, but sometimes with a circulation of about 20,000, with titles such as How to Start a Civil War and The Insurrection That is Coming. “They say that the fires of revolt will spread everywhere,” he says, “and we see acts like damage to bank branches or state buildings and claims of solidarity with the Greek rioters.”

The Guardian reported that “the French government fears a wave of extreme left-wing terrorism this year with the possible sabotage of key infrastructure, kidnappings of major business figures or even bomb attacks. Last week hundreds of fly-posters around Paris called on young people ‘forced to work for a world that poisons us’ to follow the example of their Greek counterparts. ‘The insurrection goes on. If it takes hold everywhere, no one can stop it,’ the posters said.”

In another article entitled “Governments across Europe tremble as angry people take to the streets,” The Guardian reported: “France paralysed by a wave of strike action, the boulevards of Paris resembling a debris-strewn battlefield. The Hungarian currency sinks to its lowest level ever against the euro, as the unemployment figure rises. Greek farmers block the road into Bulgaria in protest at low prices for their produce. New figures from the biggest bank in the Baltic show that the three post-Soviet states there face the biggest recessions in Europe.”

Across Russia, thousands of protesters demonstrated against their government’s economic policies and response to the global economic crisis, echoing the grievances of others around the globe. Al Jazeera reports that “Russian police forcefully broke up many of the anti-government protests on Saturday, arresting dozens of demonstrators.”

In Mexico City, the BBC reports, thousands of people “protested against what they say is the inadequate response by the government to growing economic problems in Mexico.”

As the global economic collapse continues to unfold, the spirit of revolt and resistance is being rekindled within the hearts of the masses, and the people of the world are rising up. Resistance is spreading from Athens, Riga, Paris, Budapest, Kiev, Reykjavik, China, Mexico, and elsewhere.

Chris Hedges recently wrote that “the daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. The street protests, strikes and riots that have rattled France, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Iceland will descend on us. It is only a matter of time. And not much time.” He continues:

At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has collapsed. How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations? Will we heed those who are sober and rational, those who speak of a new simplicity and humility, or will we follow the demagogues and charlatans who rise up out of the slime in moments of crisis to offer fantastic visions? Will we radically transform our system to one that protects the ordinary citizen and fosters the common good, that defies the corporate state, or will we employ the brutality and technology of our internal security and surveillance apparatus to crush all dissent? We won’t have to wait long to find out.

Joshua Holland, in a recent piece on AlterNet entitled “The Whole World Is Rioting as the Economic Crisis Worsens — Why Aren’t We?,” reported that “explosive anger is spilling out onto the streets of Europe. The meltdown of the global economy is igniting massive social unrest in a region that has long been a symbol of political stability and social cohesion. It’s not a new trend: A wave of upheaval is spreading from the poorer countries on the periphery of the global economy to the prosperous core.” He continues:

Over the past few years, a series of riots spread across what is patronizingly known as the Third World. Furious mobs have raged against skyrocketing food and energy prices, stagnating wages and unemployment in India, Senegal, Yemen, Indonesia, Morocco, Cameroon, Brazil, Panama, the Philippines, Egypt, Mexico and elsewhere. For the most part, those living in wealthier countries took little notice. But now, with the global economy crashing down around us, people in even the wealthiest nations are mad as hell and reacting violently to what they view as an inadequate response to their tumbling economies. At least in Western Europe, cries of “burn the shit down!” are being heard in countries with some of the highest standards of living in the world — states with adequate social safety nets; countries where all citizens have access to decent health care and heavily subsidized educations. Places where minimum wages are also living wages, and a dignified retirement is in large part guaranteed. The far ends of the ideological spectrum appear to be gaining currency as the crisis develops, and people grow increasingly hostile toward the politics of the status quo.

How will the people of America respond to the systematic consolidation of wealth within their own country, coupled with environmental degradation and the unfolding police state? At what threshold will the people of America have had enough? At what point will we stand up and resist our own destruction? The choice is ours.

“You shouldn’t be so timid—you are not alone. There are millions of us waiting for you to make yourself known, ready to love you and laugh with you and fight at your side for a better world. Follow your heart to the places we will meet. Please don’t be too late.”— Fighting For Our Lives

Nathan Coe is a guerrilla journalist and rebel insurgent residing in the mountains of Southwest Colorado, who also works with SW(A)RM, subMedia, and Indymedia. He can be contacted at or via his blog at