Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Entering a systemic revolution by David S. Mason

...The idea and language of “paradigm shift” actually comes from the history of science rather than social or political history. In his canonical 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn shows that the major breakthroughs in science constitute such a paradigm shift, when new evidence or experiments simply don't fit the established theory any more. A new theory is designed to accommodate the new data, and “an older paradigm is replaced in whole or in part by an incompatible new one.” The theory of evolution and natural selection, for example, emerged when Darwin's meticulous collection of data during his voyage on the Beagle did not fit into the existing—most Biblical—notions of the emergence of species. His theories—a revolutionary overthrow of the old—became the fundamental basis of the biological sciences. The theory of Evolution not only survived, but was reinforced, by the wealth of new evidence as the discovery of DNA and the development of genetics.

A similar paradigm shift occurs during systemic revolutions in the political and economic sphere. Perhaps the best way to explain this is to use some historical examples. I will focus on modern Europe, but there are plenty of examples from other times and places as well. Systemic revolutions in modern Europe include not only the Darwinian Revolution of the mid 19th Century, but also The French Revolution of 1789, the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century, and the Russian Revolution of 1917. The French and Russian revolutions are, arguably, primarily “political” revolutions, in that they effected the overthrow of one ruling system and class with another. The Industrial Revolution and the Darwinian Revolution are different creatures altogether. They certainly affected politics in important ways, but their impact was much more diffuse, with the Industrial Revolution laying the ground for mass production, capitalism, urbanization, and social change; and Darwinism shaking the foundations of both science and religion, and even of the way we think about ourselves as human beings.

[ ... ]

The decline of the U.S. has potentially revolutionary implications both at home and around the world; though it is the global impact of American decline that leads me to group it with the “systemic revolutions” of recent history. But let me first briefly address the remote—though real—possibility of a political revolution here in the U.S. The intensity and speed of U.S. economic decline certainly creates some of the preconditions for revolution. Think about the U.S. situation in light of some of the most prevalent theories of the causes of revolution: the growing “immiseration” of the working class (Marx); “rising expectations”—after a period of growing affluence, people expect more, but the improvements slow down or reverse; increasing inequality and a growing gap between rich and poor; the weakening and breakdown of state organizations (Skocpol). All of these things are happening now, in varying degrees, and these processes seem unlikely to reverse anytime soon. Whether they are sufficient to lead to political revolution, however, is a separate issue from that of systemic revolution.

Whether or not there is an internal revolution in the U.S., the global changes caused by America's decline by themselves constitute a transformation on the scale of a systemic revolution. The U.S. has dominated the globe for at least a half century and, one could argue, even longer. The country had the biggest economy, the wealthiest citizenry, the strongest military, and the most admired political system; its language and its money were considered the global standards; its popular culture, fads, trademarks and consumer goods were coveted and mimicked around the globe. No country in history has so dominated the world as the U.S. did during the American Century.

With the disappearance of U.S. hegemony, all that has changed. The U.S. economy—of free-market capitalism—is no longer the standard or the model—especially now that its weaknesses are so manifest. American-style democracy, so corrupted by money and special interests, is no longer the “beacon on the hill.” Many foreigners see American individualism and exceptionalism as a weakness rather than a strength, and even a kind of perversion. Americans' appetite for consumer goods, it is now becoming clear, has hurt the planet and its people by exhausting its resources and polluting its environment.

So the collapse of the U.S. as a global hegemon creates a big hole in the center of the economic and political universe. Some analysts, mostly Anglo-Americans, worry that the world will be less stable and less peaceful without the dominating presence of the U.S. The British historian Niall Ferguson frets about “apolarity”—a global vacuum of power leading to “a new Dark Age” that will be both chaotic and violent.[3] Such a view, however, is overly generous in its assessment of America's recent role in the world, which has had as many negative as positive consequences. The global economic meltdown—originating on Wall Street—is just the most recent example.

While Ferguson's apocalyptic view may be too extreme, it does point to the extensive nature of global changes occasioned by the withering of the American superpower. These changes will be momentous and wrenching both for American citizens and for the rest of the world. A more “natural” U.S. GDP—one that matches more closely the size, wealth and productivity of the U.S. compared to the rest of the world—would be about half the size of the present one.  An economic decline of this scale—50%--would be close to that of the Depression and will be extraordinarily traumatic for Americans, and probably result in a truly revolutionary transformation of the economy—if not an actual revolution...

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Italy convicts 'U.S. agents' in CIA kidnap trial

Two dozen Americans -- most thought to work for the CIA -- were sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday by an Italian court for their role in the seizing of a suspected terrorist off the streets of Milan in 2003, Italian media reported.

They did not appear for trial and are not in custody, but the ruling could effectively make them international fugitives.

The trial was the first to deal with a practice that human rights groups call "extraordinary rendition," and they say the United States has often sent suspects to countries that practice torture.

Washington acknowledges making secret "rendition" transfers of terrorism suspects between countries but denies using torture or handing suspects over to countries that do.

The case centered on the extraordinary rendition of a Muslim cleric, Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, or Abu Omar.

He was transferred to Egypt and tortured, he says. He was suspected of recruiting men to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and was under heavy surveillance by Italy's intelligence agency.

Cases were dismissed against the man assumed to be the CIA station chief in Rome at the time on the grounds that he had diplomatic immunity from prosecution and against the heads of Italy's intelligence service because of state secrecy provisions.

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Artificial scarcity and the anatomy of the 2009 Swine Flu



This video breaks down some facts about the 2009 H1N1 alleged pandemic and the psychological warfare being waged on the public by the media and government

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US offers Taliban 6 provinces for 8 bases

The emboldened Taliban movement in Afghanistan turned down an American offer of power-sharing in exchange for accepting the presence of foreign troops, Afghan government sources confirmed.

"US negotiators had offered the Taliban leadership through Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakkil (former Taliban foreign minister) that if they accept the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan, they would be given the governorship of six provinces in the south and northeast," a senior Afghan Foreign Ministry official told IslamOnline.net requesting anonymity for not being authorized to talk about the sensitive issue with the media.

He said the talks, brokered by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, continued for weeks at different locations including the Afghan capital Kabul.

Saudi Arabia, along with Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, were the only states to recognize the Taliban regime which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Turkish Prime Minister Reccap Erodgan has reportedly been active in brokering talks between the two sides.

His emissaries are in contact with Hizb-e-Islami (of former prime minister Gulbadin Hikmatyar) too because he is an important factor in northeastern Afghanistan."

A Taliban spokesman admitted indirect talks with the US.

"Yes, there were some indirect talks, but they did not work," Yousaf Ahmedi, the Taliban spokesman in southern Afghanistan, told IOL from an unknown location via satellite phone.

"There are some people who are conveying each others' (Taliban and US) messages. But there were no direct talks between us and America," he explained.

Afghan and Taliban sources said Mutawakkil and Mullah Mohammad Zaeef, a former envoy to Pakistan who had taken part in previous talks, represented the Taliban side in the recent talks.

The US Embassy in Kabul denied any such talks.

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[ via CLG News ]

Humanizing the Dehumanized

From a favorite blog by the creator of Belacqua Jones :

Empires need labels because they dehumanize so effectively. (Everyone labels, but empires thrive on them.) Our empire swarms with labels: Muslim, Islamofascist, terrorist, narcostate and illegal immigrant. The list goes on and on. Once a label is assigned, a human being is transformed into a subhuman “Other.”

The last thing we want to hear is the voice of the Other. We tolerate only two things from the Other: to frighten us and in doing to justify its death and destruction.

What follows is a voice of the Other speaking with power and eloquence. It is a voice that reclaims its humanity and shows it to us all.


Daring To Understand
By Maryam Sakeenah
31 October, 2009Countercurrents.org

A Suicide bomber: A grotesque, bloodthirsty monster. And this haggard, greying old man with his vacant eyes and broken slipper, like the broken spirit within as the cameras stare into his face and the headlines are splashed across interfaces: Suicide Bomber. Caught in the Act. A thrilling, juicy piece of news. It will fly. And it will sell. Fast. Fast like the sleek and swanky black limousines that whoosh past you through the Main Boulevard making the dust fly off in all directions; the dust that finally settles on the dusty roadside beggar, adding another layer to shroud him into dusty oblivion; it settles slowly, holding out against the fast limousines, the fast traffic, the fast music and the fast food. Slowly, like death. Fast and slow, making the rhythm of the city_ the thoughtlessly fast, and the resiliently slow_ fighting life's battle in the streets of my city.

The Monster returns. He's unconventional, though. Not with the horns and the fangs and all. But with dark circles, the sunken, dimmed eyes, the creased-up face with his advancing years, the silver in his hair. Sun-beaten, sun-worn, threadbare_ my definition of the Monster. The definers have hammered the definition on me with authoritative finality. I succumb_ like everybody else. I ought to believe he is dangerous. I am supposed to condemn him, get frightened of him, loathe him, spit in his face, and righteously pronounce him horrendously sinful, perverted, hideous, damned, hell-bound, with all the wealth of jingoistic and religious rhetoric at my disposal. I cannot but obey. I join the chorus. Like everybody else.

And I kill me softly. I stifle the human essence, the still small voice that resists. The voice that questions. The militant voice_ always politically incorrect. It questions 'why?' It does not allow me the comfort of following the crowd and biding my time. It discomforts me with the instinct to seek out the answers for myself. It makes me wonder why I have to buy the definition and believe that the pathetic grey man was a vile monster. It makes me wonder why, after all, he was a monster, perhaps_ or so it seems?

I do not judge. I do not allow myself the terrible privilege. I just wonder, and want my right to ask questions. I want my right to feel, to understand. I want my right to be and stay human. And I simply wonder what went wrong...

In 2001, when the United States pounded Afghanistan with their firepower just across the border on a flimsy pretext, my people here in Pakistan were hurt too, because the national boundary running through the northern tribes does not cut across eon-old tribal affiliation. With the Pashtuns on the other side of the Durand Line under occupation, the Pashtuns on this side considered it a tribal obligation and religious duty to assist. That is the ethic running in the blood of the Pathans_ the ethic they grow up with, just as their fathers, grandfathers and greatgrandfathers had grown up with it. You cannot hope to extort it from the hearts of men. The freedom they prize is a treasure they would not give up for the world. This fierce defence of their freedom is something you simply cannot hope to extricate. Not with all your arsenal, your marines armed to the teeth.

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All the evidence activists, truth seekers and men and women need to make a change!

From the Independence Limited blog :

...The reason the system’s perfect is because it’s ultimately benign and blame cannot be attributed to it, this is solely due to people feeding its existence everyday through jobs they all invariably dislike and buying into Hyper-Consumption, thus putting the onus on everyone with varying levels of responsibility.

Contrary to popular (make) belief, this system we presently feed is not NORMAL behaviour, it’s plainly counter-intuitive to Humanity, Earth and the Universe, peoples depression and the dwindling resources is the manifestation of this. But through the endless deceptions within media like ‘weekend getaways’, ‘essential oils for relaxation’, ‘fast and fresh food for busy people’ and even NLP-inspired news articles on increased stress in the workplace, all people deliberately grasp are the tangible uncomfortable truths and the manipulation of deep-rooted emotive stimuli like, ‘we’re in it together and there is nothing we can do about it’ or ‘you can get away from it for a while if you work harder’. Unfortunately, all this amounts to the fortification of the invisible prison of fear most people live within.

Recently, it was reported that Local Councils are using people’s money to monitor Mums and Dads whilst they take their kids to playgrounds; recruiting kids as young as 10 to spy on their neighbours; and are planning to employ many techniques in spying upon you including new powers to snoop on your bank accounts. The Police are also portraying we need to protect our Society from nasty neighbours and reviving the old Wartime posters playing with the fear of violence the Police have recently been nurturing by using such TV Programmes like Brit Cops: Zero Tolerance.

So if this invisible Panopticon prison we call Western Society is steadily degrading, utterly unsustainable and is wholly inhumane, then why are most people continuing to handover more and more of his or her own resources and freedom to keep this Society alive?

During the 2005 UK Elections only around 61.4% of people in the British Isles were convinced that through subscribing to opinions from various spectrums of the economy and politics makes a difference. This is not a great statistic and according to the chart below, peoples’ faith in politicians has been dwindling since 1945. So the question on the system’s lips must be, how long can we last until our power crumbles?...

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Words From Mayan Grand Elder Wakatel Utiw (Wandering Wolf)

...The National Counsel of Elders Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna of Guatemala are here in fulfillment of the Prophecies of the 13 Baktun and 13 Ajau. This Counsel is the true authority whose dignitaries – 275 men and 175 women at present – ¬have always been, are and will be there to lead their communities and to overlook for the well being of their people, in the social order, in the correct application of justice, as well as living in harmonic coexistence with mother Nature. This Maya National Counsel of Elders is, and continues to be, autonomous despite the fact of this autonomy not being recognized by the government. This Counsel of Elders does not belong to any political party nor is it a Counsel of the government. This is a Counsel for the People. This knowledge in the exercise of the authority has been transmitted by our Ancestors in the traditional oral way.

We have several prophecies concerning the time we are living in, and it is in fulfillment of the Prophecies that we are here today. I will mention some of them:

“At the time of the 13 Baktun and 13 Ahau is the time of the return of our Ancestors and the return of the men of wisdom.” That time is now.

Another one says: “Arise, everyone, stand up! Not one, nor two groups be left behind the rest”. This prophecy is in reference to all: rich or poor, black or white, men or women, indigenous or non indigenous, we all are equal, we all have dignity, we all deserve respect, we all deserve happiness; we all are useful and necessary to the growth of the country and to make a nation where we can live with respect among the different cultures.

The Prophecy says: “Those of the Center, with their mystical bird Quetzal, make unite the Eagle of the North with the Condor of the South; we will meet because we are one, like the fingers of the hand.” This prophecy means that the Indigenous People of the North and the Indigenous People of the South, through those of the Center, will come together to strengthen the recovery of the ancestral science; recovery of our identity, art, spirituality and Cosmo-vision on life and death that the different Cultures have.

We the Indigenous People join together in defense of the life of the human species, in defense of the life of our brother animals and the trees and in defense of the life of Mother Earth, because the life of the Planet Earth is in danger. We all know that what is happening in the world now is not a coincidence. As examples: The hurricanes and the heavy storms that are menacing different places in the world; the high temperatures that day by day rise to higher degree, while in other parts of the world the cold becomes more intense; rivers are drying out and others are disappearing; the glaciers are melting; many places in the world are suffering the effects of natural disasters; and all of these are the result of our imbalance with Nature. One other thing, our country, our communities are living under fear due to the violence, the drugs, and confrontations with those who are in search for power and wealth.

It is necessary that the behavior of human beings all over the world has to change; the life of the Planet Earth is responsibility of all and that is why the invitation from the Indigenous people is for everyone, to help save human life, save the planet thus inheriting a healthy future to the new generations. It is for this reason that we invite everyone, indigenous and non indigenous to understand and respect each other; we invite each one to make an effort to change the negative attitude towards the indigenous and towards women in general. We invite each minister, each public employee, to work for the eradication of racism, discrimination and the inequality that exist in our country.

The Mayan Prophecy says: “Let my big Melody play, let my small Melody play, let my dancers loose, let my prisoners be free; these are my valleys, these are my mountains.” These are the words of Rabinal Achi. Why do I say “my valleys and mountains are prisoners”? Because they are being used as centers for nuclear testing, because they are being perforated without compassion, drawing the blood of Mother Earth, extracting her oil and minerals that only increase the contamination and bring about destruction. The mountains are prisoners of men because with the chainsaw of the big monopolies are murdering its trees, and with it go the animals that inhabit them. They say that we the indigenous, the country people, and the poor Ladinos are the ones killing the trees, and only for the small amount of wood that we use for cooking our sacred nourishment. This is not true. One can never compare the use we make of the trees with the commercial objectives that the big corporations have with the trees. It is not true that we the poor and the indigenous are the ones who are killing the trees when we are not even owners of land. This way of thinking is simply part of the same racism. It is easy to blame the weak. From the Maya Cosmo-vision point of view, no one owns the land; we are just one more element of life and of Nature, and this is why we are inviting every human being to help save our Mother Earth.

According to the Maya Long Count Calendar, we are finalizing the 13 Baktun and 13 Ahau, thus approaching the YEAR CERO. We are at the doorsteps of the ending of another period of the Sun, a period that lasts 5,200 years and ends with several hours of darkness. After this period of darkness there comes a new period of the Sun; it will be the 6th one. In each period of the Sun there is an adjustment for the planet and it brings changes in the weather conditions and in social and political life as well.

The world is transformed and we enter a period of understanding and harmonious coexistence where there is social justice and equality for all. It is a new way of life. With a new social order there comes a time of freedom where we can move like the clouds, without limitations, without borders. We will travel like the birds, without the need for passports. We will travel like the rivers, all heading towards the same point…the same objective. The Mayan prophecies are announcing a time of change. The Pop Wuj, the book of the Counsel, tells us, “It is time for dawn; let the dawn come, for the task to be finished.” ...

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The Scorpio Path of the Bardo by Franco Santoro

From a note on Facebook :

“When confronted by our worst nightmares the choices are few: fight or flight. We hope to find the strength to stand against our fears, but sometimes, despite ourselves, we run. What if the nightmare gives chase? Where do we hide then?” (Heroes, Season 2. Episode 5)

The seasonal time of Scorpio can provide abundant blessings and opportunities for uncovering hidden secrets, especially on what we truly are beyond the identification with our conscious life. Here Scorpio often comes as the Grim Reaper, dissolving the quiet routine of ordinary existence and unleashing shadowy elements in our life. These elements tend to shed light upon the inevitable loss or date of expiry of many things we take for granted in life, including the end of life itself, death.

The awareness of death, which is what Scorpio tenaciously holds, is paradoxically the most pragmatic reality check and the foremost activator of the awareness of life. Death is “the central dream from which all illusions stem” (ACIM, M27:1.1), and Scorpio’s full immersion into its mystery, far from being a sinister life-denying development, is certainly a key stride for truly understanding and mastering life itself.

Scorpio possesses the dazzling capacity of amplifying what keeps us in darkness and hides the awareness of who we are at a multidimensional level, so that it can be released, allowing our real self to become transparent and ultimately shine throughout our life. Grievances, fears, despair and all kinds of unpleasant thoughts or emotions show what is not there and hide from us what we would see if we acknowledged our authentic luminous identity. In order to see, we need to lay grievances aside, practising release, or forgiveness, as the supreme act of letting go of our separated perception.

Scorpio teaches that just as darkness appears to reach its peak in life, light can shine it all away, if we firmly choose to connect with our multidimensional self and the web of life...

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For information on astroshamanism see: http://www.facebook.com/Astroshamanism
For information on Franco Santoro see: http://www.facebook.com/Santoro.uk

Folding the US into a single global currency

There have been several suggestions by China, Brazil, Russia and other countries, and by a U.N. Commission headed by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, as well as by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for a new global reserve currency to replace the U.S. dollar. Increasingly, the media are running stories and comments about the "demise of the dollar."

Recently, I asked the president of the Single Global Currency Association, Morrison Bonpasse, about his take on the future of the U.S. dollar and the global monetary system. In previous interviews, we've explored the idea of a single global currency.

Here's what Bonpasse had to say about the recent events and the calls to move the world's monetary system away from the U.S. dollar.

Theodore F. di Stefano: Why must the current role of the U.S. dollar be changed?

Morrison Bonpasse: As the Chinese Central Bank Governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, stated last spring when proposing a new global reserve currency, it no longer makes sense for the currency of one nation to have such a primary role as the U.S. dollar.

This statement echoes former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker's wise refrain, "A global economy requires a global currency." The U.S. dollar is one of many symbols of U.S. power after World War II and after the end of the Cold War, but we are now in an increasingly multipolar collegial world. For a global currency to be trusted and valued, it must be for today, even for this hour, and not for the past.

di Stefano: What should replace the U.S. dollar?

Bonpasse: Very simply, a single global currency, managed by a Global Central Bank within a Global Monetary Union, should succeed the dollar. Such a currency should incorporate the U.S. dollar and not just push it aside, as the dollar did to the UK pound in the 20th century. The model for the dollar's future incorporation into a monetary union was the role of the Deutschmark in the formation of the European Monetary Union.

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Ellsberg: From Vietnam to Afghanistan

From The Real News :



Ellsberg: As President Obama decides what to do in Afghanistan he must learn the lessons of Vietnam.

Mideast: Israelis show the light to Palestinian herders

Hundreds of impoverished Palestinian herders and farmers living in caves and tents in a remote area of the Palestinian West Bank have been provided free electricity due to the ingenuity of two Israeli physicists.

The goat and sheep farming community of Susya, comprising clans of about 25 large families, had until recently followed a centuries-old tradition of subsistence farming without access to electricity.

They have over recent years been the target of a concerted campaign by Israeli authorities to drive them off their land for the benefit of the neighbouring Israeli settlement Susya. Their community up in the hills of the southern West Bank have twice been expelled from their original homes and forced to resettle.

Electricity cables run above their homes and nearby pylons supply the Israeli settlement with power, but the Palestinian farmers and their families have been denied access to electricity, running water and other infrastructure.

The villagers have been denied use of the settlers only bypass road, and prevented from accessing much of their farm and grazing land except for a few days a year under Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) coordination. This land has been appropriated by the settlers.

But following the intervention of Comet-ME, one of 12 finalists of the BBC's World Challenge, a global competition aimed at projects showing enterprise and innovation at a grassroots level, Susya made international headlines.

Israeli physicist Elad Orian together with fellow physicist Noam Dotan, both pro-peace activists and founders of Comet-ME, have spent the last two years installing a high-grid wind and solar system free of charge in Susya.

"The core of our activity is the provision of basic energy services for off-grid communities using solar and wind power, in a way that is both environmentally and socially sustainable," Orian told IPS.

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Comet-me.org from comet-me on Vimeo.



http://www.comet-me.org/

Civilization collapsed after cutting key trees

Rossella Lorenzi reports for Discovery News :

The ancient Nazca people, who once flourished in the valleys of south coastal Peru, literally fell with the trees they chopped down, new research has concluded.

The Nazca caused their own collapse when they cleared their forests in order to make way for agriculture, thus exposing the landscape to wind and flood erosion, according to a study published in the journal Latin American Antiquity.

Best known for carving hundreds of geometric lines and images of animals and birds in the Peruvian desert that are fully visible from the air, the Nazca flourished between the first century B.C. and the fifth century A.D.

During these centuries they made sophisticated ceramics and textiles and amassed one of South America's largest collection of human trophy heads.

Then, between 500 and 600 A.D., this enigmatic civilization slid into oblivion.

"It was not just that they were hit by a huge mega El Nino in about 500 A.D., but that they had already cleared their forests of huarango, a tree that lives in highly arid zones and stabilizes the soil with some of the deepest roots of any tree known-and can live up to 1000 years," Alex J. Chepstow-Lusty a palaeoecologist from the French Institute for Andean Studies in Lima, Peru, told Discovery News.

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Billion dollar babies

fits my rant at the moment...

Google
 

image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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