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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Untold Genius of Einstein

The Untold Genius of Einstein

By Andrew Dilks
Disinformation
January 30, 2013

“What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To
answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then,
you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and
that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate
but almost disqualified for life.”

So begins Albert Einstein’s The World As I See It, a collection of
essays, articles and letters written between 1922 and 1934 focusing
on the humane aspect of this scientific genius and revealing him as
a man of compassion and wisdom all too aware of the pressing need
for science to serve the well-being of humanity.

There are countless documentaries and books discussing Einstein’s
enduring legacy to modern science – few are unaware of his
contributions to the field of theoretical physics: the general theory
of relativity and the E = mc2 formula for mass-energy equivalence
are perhaps universally known (if not necessarily understood).

By comparison, his political and religious views go largely
unmentioned, concealed beneath the giant shadow looming
from his immense scientific achievements.

Reading The World As I See It and it is clear that overlooking this
aspect of Einstein’s life and thinking is a dramatic oversight.

On the meaning of life – a loaded subject on which “everybody has
certain ideals which determine the direction of his endeavours and
judgements” – Einstein writes:

“The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time
have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth,
Goodness and Beauty. Without the sense of fellowship with men of
like mind, of preoccupation with the objective, the eternally
unattainable in the field of art and scientific research, life would
have seemed to me empty. The ordinary objects of human endeavour
property, outward success, luxury – have always seemed to me
contemptible.”

While Einstein supported the political model in the United States of
America (a very different beast at the time of writing compared to
today) his sense of social justice prevented him from perceiving the
State as superior to man himself.

“The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me
not the State but the creative, sentient individual, the personality;
it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such
remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.”

Moreover, he saw how the shortcomings of political systems
undermined culture and society:

“The lack of outstanding figures is particularly striking in the domain
of art. Painting and music have definitely degenerated and largely
lost their popular appeal. In politics not only are leaders lacking, but
the independence of spirit and sense of justice of the citizen have to
a great extent declined."

"The democratic, parliamentarian regime, which is based on such
independence, has in many places been shaken, dictatorships have
sprung up and are tolerated, because men’s sense of dignity and the
rights of the individual is no longer strong enough."

"In two weeks the sheep-like masses can be worked up by the
newspapers into such a state of excited fury that the men are
prepared to put on an uniform and kill and be killed, for the sake of vthe worthless aims of a few interested parties. Compulsory military
service seems to me the most disgraceful symptom of that deficiency
in personal dignity from which civilized mankind is suffering today.”

Einstein’s unequivocal condemnation of the military is clear – he
views it as an institution which represents the ultimate debasement
of the human spirit.

“That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the
strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only
been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed.
Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense
that goes by the name of patriotism – how I hate them!”

Yet he recognized the dynamics which created the perpetual state of
military “necessity”.

“The armament industry is one of the greatest dangers that beset
mankind. It is the hidden evil power behind the nationalism which
is rampant everywhere.”

In later life, true enough, Einstein supported the Manhattan Project
and the creation of the atom bomb, but did so only out of the sense
of a pressing need to develop one before the Germans did.

Doubtless, he would have been unaware at the time – as most
were, and still are to this day – of the ties between the American
establishment and the Nazis.

The admittedly significant moral dilemma of the atom bomb aside,
Einstein’s pacifism is clear in his earlier writings, as is his awareness
of its potential shortcomings.

“A pacifism which does not actually try to prevent the nations from
arming is and must remain impotent. May the conscience and the
common sense of the people be awakened, so that we may reach a
new stage in the life of nations, where people look back on war as
an incomprehensible aberration of their forefathers!”

It is difficult to imagine how deeply his disappointment ran towards
the end of his life after the Second World War…

“We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human
beings.”

He also understood that the problem permeated through all aspects
of life:

“Exaggerated respect for athletics, an excess of coarse impressions
which the complications of life through the technical discoveries
of recent years has brought with it, the increased severity of the
struggle for existence due to the economic crisis, the brutalization
of political life – all these factors are hostile to the ripening of the
character and the desire for real culture, and stamp our age as
barbarous, materialistic, and superficial.”

What despair might Einstein have felt were he alive today to witness
the propaganda which passes for political discourse and the vain,
superficial cult of celebrity, the mark of a culture in seemingly
inexorable decline.

But underneath it all at the heart of Einstein’s thinking lies a sense
of optimism - a deeply profound understanding of man’s true
potential to be a fully realized spiritual being.

He views man’s progression from religions of fear to ones of morality
as a great step, and envisions a new religion emerging in the distance.

”The religion of the future will be cosmic religion. It will transcend
personal God and avoid dogma and theology.”

In an era when quantum physics is rapidly making discoveries which
have huge implications for metaphysics, Einstein too saw the
connection between science and spirit.

”Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science
becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the
Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in
the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

And our place in this, according to Einstein’s view?

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part
limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts
and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical
delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for
us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this
prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living
creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

http://www.disinfo.com/2013/01/the-untold-genius-of-einstein

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The U.S. National Debt


The U.S. government has now racked up more than $16 trillion
dollars in debt.

The U.S. debt is now bigger than the entire U.S. economy.

The U.S. national debt was $10.626 trillion dollars on the first day President Barack Obama took office back on January 20, 2009.

The U.S. national debt as of today, January 27, 2013 is, $16.444 trillion dollars.

The U.S. national debt has now been increased by $5.8 trillion
dollars, or two-thirds of it's 2009 amount.

President Barack Obama has now overseen the largest debt
explosion in U.S. history.

So, how much is a trillion dollars?

Well, a million seconds is 11.5 days, a billion seconds is almost
32 years, and a trillion seconds is almost 32,000 years.

So, if you spent one dollar every second around the clock, it would
take you 31,688 years to spend a trillion dollars.

Now, If we wanted to pay down a trillion dollars of the U.S. national
debt, paying one dollar a second, with no interest, it would take us
almost 32,000 years.

Western civilization hasn't even existed for 32,000 years.

Washington’s crazed debt addiction is uncontrollable and endemic.

U.S. politicians have now strapped an inconceivably large debt
burden, directly onto the backs of the American People.

While often described as, “the richest nation in the world,” the
reality is, the United States of America is, "the most indebted
nation in the world."

No other government in the world even comes close to matching
the debt burden that has been dumped onto every U.S. taxpayer.

The U.S. government is rampantly incurring debt in your name,
and you have no way to stop it or to slow it down.

Standing in free speech zones with protest signs didn’t work when
it came to stopping the war(s) or when it came to stopping the
wall street crony bailouts, and it won’t work for stopping the debt
burden either.

The U.S. government has now overspent your money, not by $1
trillion, not by $2 trillion, $5 trillion, or even $10 trillion dollars.

The U.S. government has now overspent your hard-earned
money, and money not yet earned by your children, and by
your grandchildren, by over $16 trillion dollars.

You and I, didn’t overspend the $16 trillion. Our government did.

But you and I, and our families, are all now on the hook, for it all.

So, how long will it take for you and I, to pay for all of their
overspending?

To pay back one trillion dollars, at a rate of one dollar per second,
would take 31,688 years.

The median American household income is about $50,000 per year.

That translates to less than one tenth, of one cent, per second.

So, if your family earns $50,000 per year, and if you spend none of
that on food, rent, transportation, income tax or pursuing your own
happiness, and if you take all of your family’s household income and
use it to pay off just $1 trillion dollars of the current U.S. national
debt, it would take you and your family, "32 MILLION YEARS" to pay
off this debt.

Now, multiply that number by 16, because the United States of
America is now over $16 trillion dollars in debt, and 32 million
years, multiplied by 16, equals, "512,000,000 MILLION YEARS."

That’s five hundred and twelve million years.

That’s insane.

That's criminal.

That's treasonous.

That's our government.

That's our reality.

That's our cue.

Power To The People!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reclaiming Our Imaginations from 'There Is No Alternative'

Reclaiming Our Imaginations from 'There Is No Alternative'

By Andrea Brower
Common Dreams
January 25, 2013

We live in a time of heavy fog. A time when, though many of us
dissent and resist, humanity seems committed to a course of
collective suicide in the name of preserving an economic system
that generates scarcity no matter how much is actually produced.

To demand that all have enough to eat on a planet that grows enough
food, that absurd numbers of people do not die from preventable
disease, that utter human deprivation amongst plenty is not
tolerated, or that we put the natural laws of the biosphere above
socially constructed economic, “laws” is presented as unrealistic as
the fantasy of idealists or those who are naive to the, “complexity”
of the world’s problems.

If we create and recreate the world everyday, then how has it become
so supposedly absurd to believe we might actually create a world that
is honestly making the possibilities of egalitarianism, justice and
democracy?

Capitalism — the logic of subordinating every aspect of life to the
accumulation of profit (i.e. the “rules of the market”) has become
today’s, “common sense.”

It has become almost unthinkable to imagine coherent alternatives
to this logic, even when considering the most basic of human needs
food, water, healthcare, education.

Though many have an understanding of capitalism’s failings, there
is a resignation towards its inevitability.

Margaret Thatcher’s famous words, “There Is No Alternative,” no
longer need to be spoken, they are simply accepted as normal,
non-ideological, neutral.

What sustains the tragic myth that There Is No Alternative?

Those committed to building a more just future must begin re-
thinking and revealing the taken-for-granted assumptions that
make capitalism, “common sense” and bring these into the
realm of mainstream public debate in order to widen horizons
of possibility.

We can’t leave this task to the pages of peer-reviewed journals
and classrooms of social theory, these conversations must enter
also into the family dining rooms and TV screens.

Here are some thoughts on conversation starters:

Alternatives could never work.

Does capitalism, “work”?

Even by its own indicators, as we’ve become more capitalist (i.e.
neoliberalism), economic growth and productivity has actually declined.

Today’s globalized world is too complex to organize things any
differently.

Of course the world is complex.

Each of us is a bundle of contradictions and we need look no further
than the dynamics of a single relationship to make a case for social
complexity.

But things are also quite simple.

We live in a world where one billion people go hungry while we
literally dump half of all food produced.

Can we not come up with a productive socio-economic system
that also meets people’s most basic needs?

The gift of today is that we have the ability to reflect and draw-upon
many forms, past and present, of non-capitalist social organization,
and to creatively experiment with blending the best of these
possibilities.

The fact that we are more connected than ever before and have
advanced so far technologically gives us more possibilities, not
less.

Because of our, “Human Nature” we can only create economic
systems based on competition, greed and self-interest.

This is not only utterly pessimistic, but plain wrong.

Again, we can start by remembering all sorts of societies that have
existed through history. Then just look around and ask the question,
what motivates you and the people you know?

Fields as diverse as neuroscience and anthropology have mounted
evidence showing humans’ incredible capacity for cooperation and
sensitivity to fairness.

We are actually all quite capable of anything; but it is up to us
to decide how to use our capabilities, and of course that will be
dictated by what our social systems encourage and teach us to
value.

If there is one thing that can be said about, “human nature” it is
that we construct ourselves from within our societies and we are
incredibly malleable.

Freedom is only realizable through a free-market.

Attaching our values of freedom to the market is not only
de-humanizing, but it also fails to recognize how one person’s,
“freedom” to economic choice is another’s imprisonment in a
life of exploitation and deprivation.

There is no possibility for freedom and emancipation until we are
all free, and this will only come through a much richer and deeper
conception of human freedom than one that is premised upon going
to a grocery store and, “choosing” between 5,000 variations of
processed corn.

Capitalism is the only system that encourages innovation and
progress.

Progress towards what?

And how does enclosing common knowledge through intellectual
property rights, or excluding most of the world from quality
education, or depriving half of humanity from the basic life-
sustaining goods needed to function healthily, lead to greater
innovation?

Just begin to imagine the innovative possibilities of a world where
all people had access to everything they needed to live, to think,
and to contribute to the common good.

Things could be worse.

Of course they could, but they could also be better.

Does the fact that we’ve lived through bloody dictatorships mean
that we should settle for a representative democracy where the
main thing being represented is money?

Things are getting better.

Can we really say that things are getting better as we head towards
the annihilation of our own species?

Sure, we may have our first black president and be making small
gains in LGBT rights or in women’s representation in the workforce;
but let’s not neglect the fact that capital is more concentrated and
centralized than it has ever been and that its logic now penetrates
into the most basic building blocks of life.

I think we should give ourselves more credit than to settle for this,
“better.”

Change is slow.

Slow is not in the vocabulary of the corporations who are stealing
our common genetic heritage, or their buddies who are getting
rich playing virtual money games that legally rob us all.

The enclosure of our commons and the concentration of capital is
not happening slowly.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, change is happening, what is
up for grabs is the direction of that change.

The best we can hope for is “green” and “ethical” capitalism.

The logic of this belief is fundamentally flawed because it assumes
that within capitalism, businesses can prioritize anything above the
bottom-line.

In actuality, businesses that commit themselves first and foremost
to being truly and fully ethical and green will find it very difficult to
stay in business.

Of course there are great models of ethical business, worker-owned organic farms, for instance, but these cannot thrive and become
the dominant norm when they are functioning within an economic
structure that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of
Monsanto.

And while we should support these alternatives that exist within
capitalism, we need to recognize that it’s way too little, way too
late.

Structural change must (and will) happen, one way or another.

Getting rid of capitalism means abandoning markets as a tool
of social organization.

This is not necessarily true, although perhaps we would do best
without markets anyways.

Societies have existed that have used markets but restrained
oligopoly capitalism, and many brilliant thinkers have envisioned a
transition to a society structured by norms of equality and sharing
where markets do play a role.

I’m not advocating for or against any specific proposals here, but
the point is that this assumption is historically inaccurate and we
have barely begun to give serious thought to other possibilities.

People don’t care.

People may be distracted by consumerism, may only have enough
energy to struggle to pay their bills, may be fearful, may lack access
to good information... but none of these things mean that they don’t
care.

Show anybody an image of a starving child who works in the cacao
fields but can’t afford to eat (much less taste chocolate), and they
will feel disgust.

The charity industry is thriving precisely because so many people
do feel implicated in the revolting manifestations of capitalism.

But people’s sense of outrage has been channeled away from
collective political action and towards ethical buying and holiday-time
charitable donations.

Without an honest and sophisticated society-wide conversation about
the structural issues we are facing, people’s care is reduced to
individual guilt and disempowerment.

People won’t stop consuming, plus all the poor people want what the
rich people have.

Of course they do!

Doing away with capitalism doesn’t mean resorting to primitivism,
or abandoning all of our washing machines, or leaving the poor
destitute.

While of course there are limits to the earth’s resources (fossil-fuels
in particular), this doesn’t mean that we can’t organize a productive,
equitable and sustainable social order that includes many of the
comforts of modern life and excitements of technology.

We need not abandon desire with capitalism.

In fact, getting rid of capitalism gives us the best chance of having
time to organize a sustainable system of consumption before it is too
late.

Staying hooked into capitalism may actually be the quickest route
to primitivism.

Capital’s enclosure of our commons, our common resources, genes
and even intellect, has been accompanied by an enclosure of our
imaginations.

We need to re-claim and re-orient what it is to be “realistic” from
the falsehoods of There Is No Alternative.

This is not a call for pure imaginations of some future utopia. It is
not a fantastic plea for a sudden and complete dissolving of all the
social structures that currently pattern our lives.

Instead, it is a call to take what is already going on all around us, all
the time cooperation, sharing, empathy and let these aspects of our
humanity that we most cherish guide our future.

To begin to re-direct and re-structure our social systems towards the
things we most desire and value, caring for and cooperating with one
another, true participation and democracy, human freedom and free
time, peace and co-existence and in doing so, to watch these things
begin to flourish.

If it is naive to believe that we can structure society to reward
goodness instead of greed and prioritize people instead of profit,
then I’m fighting until the bitter end to maintain my naiveté!

Things become possible when we believe they are possible; so let’s
start believing.



Andrea Brower is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at
the University of Auckland. She has been very active in alternative
food and global social justice movements, and spent several years
co-directing the non-profit Malama Kauai in Hawaii, where she is originally from.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/01/25-2

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Extremist Cult of Capitalism

The Extremist Cult of Capitalism

By Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams
January 22, 2013

A 'cult,' according to Merriam-Webster, can be defined as "Great
devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work..(and)..
a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion."

Capitalism has been defined by adherents and detractors.

Milton Friedman said, "The problem of social organization is how
to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm,
capitalism is that kind of a system."

John Maynard Keynes said, "Capitalism is the astounding belief that
the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for
the greatest good of everyone."

Perhaps it's best to turn to someone who actually practiced the art:

"Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class." Al Capone
said that.

Capitalism is a cult. It is devoted to the ideals of privatization over
the common good, profit over social needs, and control by a small
group of people who defy the public's will.

The tenets of the cult lead to extremes rather than to compromise.

Examples are not hard to find.

1. Extremes of Income

By sitting on their growing investments, the richest five Americans
made almost $7 billion each in one year.

That's $3,500,000.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped
workers is $2.13 per hour.

Our unregulated capitalist financial system allows a few well-
positioned individuals to divert billions of dollars from the
needs of society.

If the 400 richest Americans lumped together their investment
profits from last year, the total would pay in-state tuition and
fees for EVERY college student in the United States.

2. Extremes of Wealth

The combined net worth of the world's 250 richest individuals
is more than the total annual living expenses of almost half
the world - three billion people.

Within our own borders the disparity is no less shocking.

For every one dollar of assets owned by a single black or Hispanic
woman, a member of the Forbes 400 has over forty million dollars.

That's equivalent to a can of soup versus a mansion, a yacht,
and a private jet.

Most of the Forbes 400 wealth has accrued from nonproductive
capital gains.

It's little wonder that with the exception of Russia, Ukraine, and
Lebanon, the U.S. has the highest degree of wealth inequality in
the world.

3. Extremes of Debt

Up until the 1970s U.S. households had virtually no debt. Now the
total is $13 trillion, which averages out to $100,000 per American
family.

Debt appears to be the only recourse for 21 to 35 year-olds, who
have lost, on average, 68% of their median net worth since 1984,
leaving each of them about $4,000.

4. Extremes of Health Care

A butler in black vest and tie passed the atrium waterfall and entered
the $2,400 suite, where the linens were provided by the high-end
bedding designer Frette of Italy and the bathroom glimmered with
polished marble.

Inside a senior financial executive awaited his 'concierge' doctor for
private treatment.

He was waiting in the penthouse suite of the New York Presbyterian
Hospital.

On the streets outside were some of the 26,000 Americans who will
die this year because they are without health care.

In 2010, 50 million Americans had no health insurance coverage.

5. Extremes of Justice

William James Rummel stole $80 with a credit card, then passed
a bad check for $24, then refused to return $120 for a repair job
gone bad. He got life in prison.

Christopher Williams is facing over 80 years in prison for selling
medical marijuana in Montana, a state which allows medical
marijuana.

Patricia Spottedcrow got 12 years for a $31 marijuana sale, and
has seen her children only twice in the past two years.

Numerous elderly Americans are in prison for life for non-violent
marijuana offenses.

Banking giant HSBC, whose mission statement urges employees, "to
act with courageous integrity" in all they do, was described by a U.S.
Senate report as having "exposed the U.S. financial system to a wide
array of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorist financing'"
in their dealings with Mexico's Sinaloa cartel, which is considered the
deadliest drug gang in the world.

HSBC received a fine equivalent to four weeks' profits.

The bank's CEO said, "we are profoundly sorry."

In the words of Bertrand Russell, "Advocates of capitalism are very
apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied
in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise
of tyranny over the unfortunate."

Accurate to the extreme.



Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut
Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational
websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org)

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/01/21

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dulling Down Dr. King’s Message

Dulling Down Dr. King’s Message

By Gary G. Kohls
Consortiumnews.com
January 19, 2013

Where did Martin Luther King draw his courage to risk martyrdom
for the cause of black liberation, to keep on going despite the
daily death threats against him and his family?

King was motivated by his unshakable faith in the practicality of
the non-violent gospel ethics of Jesus of Nazareth, teachings that
had also inspired a multitude of similarly silenced courageous and
embattled prophets.

Those prophets include such inspirations as Hindu Mohandas Gandhi
of India and Russian Leo Tolstoy, both anti-imperialist and anti-war
activists.

But such whistle-blowers always get marginalized, demonized or
disappeared by the Principalities and Powers.

Those shadowy-elite One Percenter groups are usually very adept
at censoring out, via their media empires, the unwanted truths
that hinder the agendas of state, corporate and even church elites,
most or all of whom utilize the violence of racism, militarism,
poverty, brain-washing, fear, ignorance and suspicion to keep the
increasingly impoverished and brain-washed masses under control.

The anti-Vietnam war stance of King, when combined with his
leadership efforts demanding the liberation of blacks, minorities
and poor people, was so intolerable to the powers-that-be that he
and his radical left-wing message had to be eliminated.

The suspicion that King’s gospel-based nonviolent message has
been effectively scrubbed from our consciousness, a view widely
held in the Christian faith-based peace-and-justice movement,
was reinforced for me a few years back when my wife came back
from a trip that included Atlanta’s King Center and all I got out
of the trip was an official tee shirt that had printed on it the,
“seven steps to social change.”

That tee shirt was the most radical one available at the center,
and it totally ignored King’s oft-repeated message about the
ethics of Jesus.

Any non-religious social justice advocate could have authored the
quote.

Clearly something is going on behind the scenes to silence the real
voice of the prophet.

As black poet Carl Wendell Hines wrote:

Now that he is safely dead let us praise him

build monuments to his glory

sing hosannas to his name.

Dead men make such convenient heroes:

They cannot rise to challenge the images

we would fashion from their lives.

And besides, it is easier to build monuments

than to make a better world.

So, in support of the assertions above, I submit some quotes from
King’s writings. Most of them won’t even get honorable mention in
the media reports about this Monday’s National Holiday celebrations,
“honoring” King.

We can only hope that some of the events will talk about King’s and
Jesus’s disappearing truths about Christian nonviolence, the reality
that is perhaps the last and only hope for real peace on earth.

“We have power, a power that cannot be found in bullets and guns,
but we have power. It is a power as old as the insights of Jesus of
Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mahatma Gandhi. …
The Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian
method of nonviolence is one of the most potent weapons available.”

“Evil may so shape events that Caesar may occupy a palace and
Christ a cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and split
history into AD and BC so that even the life of Caesar must be
dated by His name … God is more fundamental than sin or evil.
Good Friday must give way to Easter Sunday.”

“I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi
and all the other southern states. I have looked at her beautiful
churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld
the impressive outlay of her massive religious education buildings.
Over and over again I have found myself asking: ‘What kind of
people worship here? Who is their God?’”

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the
servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It
must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.
If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become
an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

“In recent months several people have said to me ‘Since violence is
the new cry, isn’t there a danger you will lose touch with the people
and be out of step with the times if you don’t change your views on nonviolence?’ My answer is always the same. Occasionally in life one
develops a conviction so precious and meaningful that he will stand
on it till the end. That is what I have found in nonviolence.

“I have decided I am going to do battle for my philosophy. You ought
to believe something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you
will stand up with it until the end of your days. I can’t believe that
God wants us to hate. I am tired of violence. What kind of nation is
it that applauds nonviolence whenever Negroes face white people in
the streets of the United States but applauds violence and burning
and death when these same Negroes are sent to the fields of
Vietnam?”

“A time comes when silence is betrayal … but the calling to speak is
often a vocation of agony.”

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on
military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching
spiritual death.”

“We must pursue peaceful ends by peaceful means. Many people cry,
‘Peace, Peace’ but they refuse to do the things that make for peace.
… The stage of history is replete with the chants and choruses of the
conquerors of old who came killing in pursuit of peace.”

“We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to
endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force.
Do to us what you will; we will still love you. We cannot in conscience
obey your unjust laws. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral
obligation as cooperation with good.”

“We must pursue peaceful ends by peaceful means. I’m committed to
nonviolence absolutely, I am just not going to kill anybody, whether
it’s in Vietnam or here at home. … If nonviolent protest fails this
summer, I will continue to preach and teach it. … I plan to stand by
nonviolence (because) only a refusal to hate or kill can put an end to
the chain of violence in the world and lead toward community where
people live together without fear.”

“Violence and nonviolence agree that suffering can be a very
powerful social force. But there is a difference. Violence says
suffering can be a powerful social force by inflicting it on somebody
else, so this is what we do in war. … The nonviolent say that
suffering becomes a powerful social force when you willingly accept
the violence on yourself, so that self-suffering stands at the center
of the nonviolent movement. …

“There is no easy way to create a world where people can live
together … but if such a world is created … it will be accomplished by
persons who have the language to put an end to suffering by willingly
suffering themselves rather than inflicting suffering on others. …
Unearned suffering is redemptive.”

“Those who adhere to or follow the philosophy of nonviolence must
follow a consistent principle of non-injury. They must consistently
refuse to inflict injury upon another.”

“Humanity is waiting for something other than blind imitation of the
past. … If we want truly to advance a step further, if we want to turn
over a new leaf and really set a new man afoot, we must begin to
turn humanity away from the long and desolate night of violence. May
it not be that the new person that the world needs is the nonviolent
person. … A dark, desperate, sin-sick world waits for this new kind of
person, this new kind of power.”

“I am in eternal opposition to poverty, racism and militarism … and
committed to nonviolence absolutely.”

“What is the summum bonum of life? I think I have discovered the
highest good. It is love. This principle stands at the center of the
cosmos. As John says, ‘God is love.’ He who loves is a participant
in the being of God. He who hates does not know God.”

“There is no graded scale of essential worth (among people); there
is no divine right of another. Every human being has etched in his
or her personality the indelible stamp of the Creator. Every person
must be respected because God loves him or her. The worth of an
individual does not lie in the measure of his intellect, his racial
origin or his social position. Human worth lies in relatedness to
God. An individual has value because he or she has value to God.”

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own
government.”

“If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned part of the autopsy
must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys
the deepest hopes of men the world over.”

“War is not the answer. We still have a choice today; nonviolent
coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision
to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace and justice
throughout the developing world – a world that borders on our doors.
If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and
shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power
without compassion, might without morality and strength without
sight.”

“Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and
bitter – but beautiful – struggle for a new world. This is the calling
of the sons (and daughters) of God, and our brothers (and sisters)
wait eagerly for our response.”



Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician, a co-founder of Every Church
A Peace Church, and an anti-war activist from Duluth, Minnesota.

http://consortiumnews.com/2013/01/17/dulling-down-dr-kings-
message

Thursday, January 17, 2013

King: I Have a Dream Obama: I Have a Drone

King: I Have a Dream Obama: I Have a Drone

By Norman Solomon
Disinformation
January 17, 2012

A simple twist of fate has set President Obama’s second Inaugural
Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr.
national holiday.

Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years
ago but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much
to distinguish himself from the man who said, “I have a dream.”

After his speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
in August 1963, King went on to take great risks as a passionate
advocate for peace.

After his Inaugural speech in January 2009, Obama has pursued
policies that epitomize King’s grim warning in 1967:

“When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with
guided missiles and misguided men.”

But Obama has not ignored King’s anti-war legacy. On the contrary,
the president has gone out of his way to distort and belittle it.

In his eleventh month as president while escalating the U.S. war
effort in Afghanistan, a process that tripled the American troop
levels there, Obama traveled to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace
Prize.

In his speech, he cast aspersions on the peace advocacy of another
Nobel Peace laureate: Martin Luther King Jr.

The president struck a respectful tone as he whetted the rhetorical
knife before twisting.

“I know there’s nothing weak, nothing passive, nothing naive, in
the creed and lives of Gandhi and King,” he said, just before swiftly
implying that those two advocates of nonviolent direct action were,
in fact, passive and naive.

“I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats
to the American people,” Obama added.

Moments later, he was straining to justify American warfare: past,
present, future.

“To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call
to cynicism, it is a recognition of history; the imperfections
of man and the limits of reason,” Obama said.

“I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries
there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter
what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion
of America, the world’s sole military superpower.”

Then came the jingo pitch:

“Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The
United States of America has helped underwrite global security
for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the
strength of our arms.”

Crowing about the moral virtues of making war while accepting
a peace prize might seem a bit odd, but Obama’s rhetoric was
in sync with a key dictum from Orwell:

“Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present
controls the past.”

Laboring to denigrate King’s anti-war past while boasting about Uncle
Sam’s past (albeit acknowledging “mistakes,” a classic retrospective
euphemism for carnage from the vantage point of perpetrators),
Obama marshaled his oratory to foreshadow and justify the killing yet
to come under his authority.

Two weeks before the start of Obama’s second term, the British daily
The Guardian noted that, “U.S. use of drones has soared during
Obama’s time in office, with the White House authorizing attacks in
at least four countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It
is estimated that the CIA and the U.S. military have undertaken more
than 300 drone strikes and killed about 2,500 people.”

The newspaper reported that a former member of Obama’s,
“counter-terrorism group” during the 2008 campaign, Michael
Boyle, says the White House is now understating the number
of civilian deaths due to the drone strikes, with loosened
standards for when and where to attack:

“The consequences can be seen in the targeting of mosques
or funeral processions that kill non-combatants and tear at
the social fabric of the regions where they occur. No one
really knows the number of deaths caused by drones in these
distant, sometimes ungoverned, lands.”

Although Obama criticized the Bush-era, “war on terror” several
years ago, Boyle points out, President Obama, “has been just as
ruthless and indifferent to the rule of law as his predecessor.”

Boyle’s assessment, consistent with the conclusions of many other
policy analysts, found the Obama administration’s use of drones is,
“encouraging a new arms race that will empower current and future
rivals and lay the foundations for an international system that is
increasingly violent.”

In recent weeks, more than 50,000 Americans have signed a
petition to Ban Weaponized Drones from the World.

The petition says that, “weaponized drones are no more
acceptable than land mines, cluster bombs or chemical
weapons.”

It calls for President Obama, “to abandon the use of weaponized vdrones, and to abandon his ‘kill list’ program regardless of the
technology employed.”

Count on lofty rhetoric from the Inaugural podium.

The spirit of Dr. King will be elsewhere.



Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding
director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He co-chairs the
Healthcare Not Warfare campaign organized by Progressive
Democrats of America. His books include “War Made Easy: How
Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” and the related
film War Made Easy. He writes the Political Culture 2013 column.

http://www.disinfo.com/2013/01/king-i-have-a-dream-obama-
i-have-a-drone

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Killer President

Our Killer President

By Arthur Silber
Information Clearing House
January 11, 2013

The killer said:

“Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22 out of 30 top al-Qaeda leaders
who’ve been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement,”
the president fired back at an impromptu news conference at the
White House.

“Or whoever’s left out there,” he added. “Ask them about that.”

He speaks of murder, yet the words are breezy and casual: this is
a murderer so used to killing that he talks of his past and future
victims interchangeably, and in terms of approximation.

Just, "whoever's left out there."

He wants to be sure you know he'll order all of them killed in time.

His face is expressionless, the eyes dead.

This is a man without a soul in any healthy, positive sense.

He murders, and he's proud of it.

More than a million innocent Iraqis were murdered as the result
of the United States criminal war of aggression on that country.

Obama has heralded America's "success" in Iraq as,
"an extraordinary achievement."

The continuing murders in Pakistan and Afghanistan are
so numerous and so regular that they barely merit notice
for more than a few days, at least as far as the United
States government and most Americans are concerned.

Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, the United States
government murdered at least 25 Pakistanis. NATO and
the U.S. government are indistinguishable in any matter
of importance, in any matter of murders of this kind.

Pakistan is deeply angry and unhappy.

The United States government and Obama are concerned only to
the extent that Pakistan's unhappiness might interfere with the
U.S.'s intention to dominate and control that part of the world.

The U.S. government and Obama aren't particularly upset about the
murders, but about the strategic problem that might result from the
murders.

On the same weekend:

"Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike
in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Thursday."

The story has already fallen into the well of forgetfulness.

It must be the case that incidents like this occur at least once a day
given the number of military operations ordered by the Murderer-in-
Chief and carried out by those who follow his orders.

Perhaps only one innocent person is killed, "Only" one. Perhaps we
should ask "whoever's left out there" what that one loss signifies.

Earlier in November, there was this story:

Last Friday, I met a boy, just before he was assassinated by the
CIA.

Tariq Aziz was 16, a quiet young man from North Waziristan, who,
like most teenagers, enjoyed soccer. Seventy-two hours later, a
Hellfire missile is believed to have killed him as he was travelling
in a car to meet his aunt in Miran Shah, to take her home after her
wedding. Killed with him was his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed Khan.

Over 2,300 people in Pakistan have been killed by such missiles
carried by drone aircraft such as the Predator and the Reaper,
and launched by remote control from Langley, Virginia.

Tariq and Waheed brought the known total of children killed in this
way to 175, according to statistics maintained by the organisation I
work for, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Unless the CIA can prove that Tariq Aziz posed an imminent threat
as the White House's legal advice stipulates a targeted killing must
in order for an attack to be carried out, or that he was a key planner
in a war against the US or Pakistan, the killing of this 16 year old
was murder, and any jury should convict the CIA accordingly.

These are only a few of the stories we know about, and only from
a very brief period of time.

Countless other murders take place all over the world, and we can
only gather the dim outlines of what is occurring.

This is not to mention numerous lesser acts of cruelty and violence,
many of which will alter lives in searing ways, for all the desolate
years to follow.

Consider:

Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out
a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you're done, for the day.

Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force
within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority
of the world's countries.

Last year, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post
reported that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in 75
countries, up from 60 at the end of the Bush presidency.

By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command [SOCOM]
spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach
120.

"We do a lot of traveling, a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq," he
said recently.

This global presence in about 60% of the world's nations and far larger
than previously acknowledged provides striking new evidence of a
rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all
corners of the world.

In 120 countries across the globe, troops from Special Operations
Command carry out their secret war of high-profile assassinations,
low-level targeted killings, capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-
the-door night raids, joint operations with foreign forces, and
training missions with indigenous partners as part of a shadowy
conflict unknown to most Americans.

Once, "special" for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they
are special for their power, access, influence, and aura.

No minimally decent human being would choose to have anything
whatsoever to do with a government which systematically engages
in acts of this kind.

This is true of anyone who is part of the national governing apparatus, or wishes to be.

It is most especially true of anyone who wishes to become president.

Even if a person declares his or her absolute commitment to ending
all of this, it is impossible for one person to do it.

The massive bureaucracy of death which carries out these acts was
erected over decades; all such bureaucratic monstrosities take on
lives of their own.

It will not be dismantled by a single individual overnight, or even in
a matter of months or probably years. That means the murders will
go on.

It may be that at some point this machinery of death will be
brought down comparatively quickly.

If that happens, it will not be the result of one person's actions,
but of calamitous events on a momentous scale: widening war,
catastrophic natural disasters, widespread financial collapse,
and/or massive social unrest and violence.

In the meantime, a reverence for life demands that we see the
Death State exactly for what it is and walk away to the fullest
extent we can.

That is not the course Barack Obama chose.

He wanted to be, he now is the Murderer-in-Chief.

He is proud of his achievement.

Thus, the words I wrote over five years ago continue to hold a
relevance and meaning that fill me with the deepest despair.

I desperately wish that I had never had cause to compose this
passage, and that I did not feel compelled to repeat it now:

If you have ever wondered how a serial murderer, a murderer who
is sane and fully aware of the acts he has committed, can remain
steadfastly convinced of his own moral superiority and show not
even the slightest glimmer of remorse, you should not wonder any
longer.

The United States government is such a murderer.

It conducts its murders in full view of the entire world.

It even boasts of them.

Our government, and all our leading commentators, still maintain
that the end justifies the means and that even the slaughter of
hundreds of thousands of innocents is of no moral consequence,
provided a sufficient number of people can delude themselves into
believing the final result is a, "success."

We can appeal all we want to, "American exceptionalism," but any,
"exceptionalism" that remains ours is that of a mass murderer
without a soul, and without a conscience.

It is useless to appeal to any, "American" sense of morality: we
have none.

It does not matter how immense the pile of corpses grows: we will
not surrender or even question our delusion that we are right, and
that nothing we do can be profoundly, unforgivably wrong.



Arthur Silber blogs at powerofnarrative.blogspot.com

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33583.htm

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Whatever Happened To The Leisure Society?

Whatever Happened To The Leisure Society?

By Philip Ferguson
Redline
January 08, 2013

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, one of the biggest ideas
being talked about by liberal supporters of capitalism was ‘the
leisure society’.

Automation and the development of computers, people were told,
meant that what once took 40 or 50 or 60 hours to produce now
took much less time and soon would take so little that the work
week would get shorter and shorter.

Because the same, or even more, goods and services would be
produced, we could still get the same pay and be able to buy more
and more.

The big struggle we’d have would not be making ends meet or
trying to find time for leisure, but what on earth we’d do with
all our new leisure time.

Indeed, this idea of a leisure society had been discussed even
earlier, in fact right near the start of the Great Depression, by
the leading bourgeois economist of that era, John Maynard Keynes.

In a 1930 article, “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”
Keynes had looked beyond the increasing economic difficulties,
mass unemployment and poverty of the Depression to a period
of dramatic recovery and improvement in the living conditions
of the masses.

He noted that from the period of several thousand years before
when Christ is supposed to have been born up until the early
1700s, living standards hadn’t changed much in what he called,
“the civilised centres of the earth”.

From the 1500s on, and especially the 1700s on, “the great age
of science and technical inventions began”, making it possible
to improve the living conditions of people, even while population
increased dramatically.

He estimated that within the lifetime of people of his own
generation, “we may be able to perform all the operations
of agriculture, mining, and manufacture with a quarter of
the human effort to which we have been accustomed.”

He predicted that in 100 years, that is, by 2030, living standards
in the advanced capitalist countries would be, “between four and
eight times as high” as they were in 1930.

Indeed, he felt, “It would not be foolish to contemplate the
possibility of a far greater progress still.”

The Depression, he claimed, was a sort of blip which would be
overcome without too much trouble. Avarice and usury, “must
be our gods for a little longer still.”

However, what he called, “the economic problem” and defined as,
“the struggle for subsistence” which had gone on for thousands of
years, would be solved altogether by the time his generation’s
grandchildren reached adulthood.

At this time, he noted, a work week might consist of five shifts of
three hours!

“Thus,” he wrote, “for the first time since his creation man will be
faced with his real, his permanent problem, how to use his freedom
from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure which
science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely
and agreeably and well.”

The future dread would not be the dread of want but the insecurity
of having so much leisure time that people wouldn’t know how to fill
it up.

Because people’s needs were being met and they could devote
time to things other than toil in a workplace, people would be
less obsessed about amassing money.

In this situation, “the love of money as a possession, as
distinguished from the love of money as a means to the
enjoyments and realities of life, will be recognised for
what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those
semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one
hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental health.”

Distasteful and unjust practices, which might be necessary to
accumulation of capital up until then, Keynes said, “we shall
then be free, at last, to discard.”

The years following Keynes’ essay saw a deepening of the
Depression and then a horrendous world war.

After that war, however, and largely due to it and the Depression,
the accumulation of capital could resume.

The postwar boom, which lasted until the early 1970s, saw a
massive expansion of production. Globally output grew several
times over.

Technological developments seemed, eventually, to confirm
Keynes’ optimism.

Leisure studies even emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s
as an academic discipline. At the end of the 1960s, right-wing
US president Richard Nixon declared “We are all Keynesians now”
and the leisure society became part of mainstream discourse.

In 1975, American sociologist Max Kaplan noted that in the United
States, “the normal extension of automation has reduced weekly
work hours roughly from 70 to 37 in the past century, almost four
hours per week less each decade; thus an additional reduction of
12 hours by the year 2000″.

He went on to make what he described as an, “oversimplified
projection” but one that was nevertheless, he felt, generally valid:
“with the help of computerization, the additional time off could be
five hours in the 1970s, six in the 1980s, and seven in the 1990s.
The result could be a workweek of 20 hours at century’s end.”

Yet the new discourse was barely established when the postwar
boom came to an end.

Economic stagnation and crisis quickly dominated discussion.
Mass unemployment returned.

Workers might have found they suddenly had plenty of leisure time,
but it was because they had been made jobless and wageless.

The struggle to make ends meet occupied workers’ minds, rather
than notions of the leisure society and how they’d fill up all the
leisure from a 15 hour work week for the same pay they’d previously
gotten for a 40-hour week.

Some workers who still had jobs found they had less hours and
less pay. Other workers found their work week lengthening.

The very problems of capitalism, which ensure that crises are
a regular part of the system, had returned with a vengeance.

In the four decades since, capitalism has been unable to generate a
new period of expansion in any way comparable to the long postwar
boom.

So the world of work today is far, far removed from Keynes’ 1930
optimism and from the superficial leisure society prognostications
of liberal sociologists and pundits in the late 1960s and very early
1970s.

Last month, for instance, a leading recruitment agency, Randstad,
published a survey which showed that over 50% of New Zealanders
feel that their work and private lives cannot be separated.

Far from having a leisure society, or even a work-life balance,
the line between work and private time is well and truly blurred.

Randstad’s New Zealand director Paul Robinson told TV1’s Breakfast,
“I think this has huge significance and is definitely a trend that will
continue to grow.” Bosses, he said, have increased the pressure on
employees to prove their commitment by working outside of
their contracted hours.

Not only did 56% of the respondents find themselves doing this,
but 59% were getting emails and phone calls about work outside
their contracted hours.

Almost a third of workers stated that their bosses expected them
to be effectively on-call 24 hours a day seven days a week, while
60% said work dominated their lives.

Not surprisingly, 68% of the respondents said their pay didn’t match
their work performance and 54% said they would be up for emigrating
to get better pay and conditions.

The latest statistics indicate that in New Zealand there has been a
steady increase in the work week. So much so that 35.98% of men
working full-time worked 50 or more hours (308,079), while 18.77%
of women working full-time worked long hours (107,562).

Almost 16.5% of full-time male workers and almost 8.5% of full-time
female workers actually work more than 60 hours a week.

Over half of agricultural and fisheries workers and about 35% of
plant and machine operators and assemblers work more than
50 hours a week and a majority of both these groups working
more than 50 hours are actually doing more than 60 hours a week.

By far the largest number of male workers plus the largest number
of female workers work 40-49 hours week.

Instead of life getting easier, it’s getting more filled up with work.

Over a century after the achievement of the 40-hour week, most
workers are working more than 40 hours, while many other workers
are under-employed through being in part-time and insecure jobs on
low wages or are unemployed and struggling to get by on the measly
dole or some other benefit like the DPB.

In the United States, the richest capitalist country of all, Michael
Yates reports, “In 2008, half of working men 65 and older were
working full-time, up from 38 percent in 1994. For women, the
change was from 23 percent in 1994 to one third in 2008” and
that, “Surveys of those between 45 and 59 years of age indicate
that a very high share of both men and women expect to continue
working after they reach 65.

This share is more than double the fraction of those 65 and older
who are now working; therefore, the trend toward rising employment
among the elderly will almost certainly continue.”

In Spain, the retirement age has been raised to 67, and in Ireland
the Labour-Fine Gael coalition is raising at 7-year intervals from
2014, so it will be 68 in 2028.

One of the cruel ironies is that Keynes was actually right about the
technological capacity existing by now for us to have a 15 hour work
week and all have enough income to live well.

What he didn’t take into account, however, was that capital doesn’t
just develop technology; it continually throws obstacles in the way of
how that technology might be effectively used to better the lives of
everyone on the planet.

The development and spread of technology and its benefits is
constrained by the fact that, under capitalism, human need is
subordinated to private profit.

In this set-up, production and distribution are regulated by the
market, a mere thing, rather than by democratic and conscious
human planning.

The forces of production (which can expand, at least potentially,
to provide material abundance for all) are continuously held within
the limits of the social relations of production where the means of
production are privately-owned and operate on the basis of the
exploitation of workers by capitalists.

This contradiction is, in turn, the source of regular economic crises
in which workers’ pay and conditions are worsened and the rate
of exploitation is stepped up by the bosses as they try to get out
of crisis.

This requires them to make us work longer, harder, faster and for
relatively less.

Whereas the work week shortened substantially between the late
1800s and the mid-1900s, no such further reductions in working
hours have taken place.

The possibility of Kaplan’s 20-hour work week by the year 2000, let
alone Keynes’ 15-hour work week, are further away than they were
when those two people were writing.

So much for all the pooh-poohing of Marx as an outdated Victorian
era economist.

Indeed, in 1994 a look at work and exhaustion in New Zealand by the
TV1 current affairs programme Assignment noted that it now took 60
hours of work a week to maintain a lifestyle commensurate with one
based on 40 hours of work in the 1960s.

And so we come to the situation today where Labour, one of the two
main capitalist parties, wants to raise the retirement age, ensuring
that more of us work until we drop.

In the meantime, low pay, longer hours and less social mobility, and
more blurred lines between work time and personal time are the best
the system can do for us.

This is as good as it gets.

What happened to the leisure society?

Capitalism happened.

http://rdln.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/whatever-happened-to-the-
leisure-society

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Revolutionary Resolution 2013

My Revolutionary Resolution 2013

Dearest Friends, Colleagues, and Family:

My revolutionary resolution for 2013, is to bring together a very,
very, large group of people and organizations, to help me launch
a multi-billion dollar Internet start-up called, Expotera.

Expotera bundles together a patchwork of innovations in a
seemingly amorphous way, to create an easy and duplicatable
way for billions of connected individuals, to actively
participate in global technological innvovation global
wealth creation, global social development, as well as the
global elimination of starvation, poverty, and homelessness.

Expotera empowers each individual to be a viable economic
entity and solution in a shared global community that empowers
the human race to empower each individual, exponentially.

My Friends, my revolutionary resolution for 2013, is, "to bring
plenty out of lack and justice out of injustice" and in the words
of Goran Persson, "Let all of our New Years resolution be this:
we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity,
in the finest sense of the word."

A Deeply Happy New Year and Power To The People!!

Sincerely,
Tony

www.expotera.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Revolutionary Resolutions for 2013

Revolutionary Resolutions for 2013

The Editors
Waging Nonviolence.org
January 02, 2013

Mark Twain once said, “New Year’s is a harmless annual institution,
of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous
drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.”

Although there isn’t much evidence to dispute such a claim,
perhaps it’s time to create some.

With that in mind, we decided to reach out to some truly bold social
movement thinkers and ask for their revolutionary resolutions, the
things they are most looking forward to in their own work for the
coming year, and what they hope can come from people-powered
struggles for justice in 2013.

May these offerings spark your own imagination and help you
ring in the New Year with some dangerous ideas for a better
world.

“I’ve pledged myself since I was a young student back in Burma to
advocate for human rights for every human being while ensuring
that contemporary consumerist capitalism will not persist, for the
sake of humanity and the environment. One thing I’m looking
forward to is to start working on UNESCO’s upcoming Fourth
Annual Regional Forum in Uruguay sometime in fall of 2013, as
well as to launch an innovative project in Burma to provide basic
education to children who are working over 16 hours every day at
local teashops.” – Tim Aye-Hardy, chairperson of the UNESCO Chair International Forum Planning Committee and Burmese human rights activist

“Kids are the target of violence and hatred all over the world, from
Damascus to Detroit, Herat to Hartford, Najaf to Newtown. As a
new parent, I ache and weep and rage at each new story. I wonder
about how to care for and raise my own kids and be a full and active
participant in movements for peace and justice while being in
relationship with those on the margins. In the coming year, I want to
explore that balance within parenting, nurturing new life, feathering
the nest, delighting in each step and word and move, while
organizing and fighting to make the world welcoming, equitable,
safe, sustainable and peaceful for all children. It may even be
easier than giving up sugar or practicing my concertina, right?”
– Frida Berrigan, organizer with Witness Against Torture and WNV
columnist

“My revolutionary resolution is to make decisions from a place
of love… really. In the wake of the recent storms, tragedies and
inexplicable loss of lives close to me, and as a parent of a pre-teen
in a world going to hell in a climate handbasket, I don’t know what
else to say that means anything. In order to mobilize the masses
needed to win against egregious corporations and big banks, it’s
imperative that we all bridge from outrage to the courage to
stand up for what we love, our families, friends, health, land,
water, communities. To take care of each other, believe we can
make change and fight from love.” – Nadine Bloch, trainer, activist
and WNV columnist

“To use the signs of climate change I experience daily not as
a motive for depression but as a basis for connecting with other
people. To hold up the possibility of common preservation in the
midst of mutual destruction.” - Jeremy Brecher, author of Save
the Humans: Common Preservation in Action and Strike!

“2013 will be the year of training for nonviolent change.
Nonviolence training is the backbone of successful people
power movements. It provides a vision of how social change
works, the tools to make it happen, and the grounding for
individuals and groups to face the challenges and opportunities
that come with changing the world. Over the next 12 months,
Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service will work with other nonviolence
training organizations to nurture the emergence of a
comprehensive network of trainers and to help establish local,
regional, and national trainings to support a wide range of
campaigns and movements for powerful social change.”
– Ken Butigan, Waging Nonviolence columnist, director of
Pace e Bene and author of Pilgrimage Through a Burning World:
Spiritual Practice and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site

“I ended 2012 with a peace pilgrimage to Afghanistan, a powerful
experience where I witnessed the horrors of war and poverty, but
also the hope of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a beautiful group
of young people committed to nonviolence. In this New Year, I’m
interested in plumbing anew the inner spiritual depths of peace
and nonviolence in the midst of my activism and public work, that
I might discover deeper causes for hope. Can I become more a
person of prayer, and discover the connections between the inner
work of disarming the heart and the public work of disarming the
world? Dare I push the mystical boundaries of peace, and engage
a new kind of dangerous holiness that threatens war, empire,
corporate greed and nuclear weapons, and so radiate a universal,
compassionate, forgiving, nonviolent love for everyone, and remain
centered in the eternal present moment of peace? That kind of
peacemaking, I believe, is spiritually explosive, globally
revolutionary and astonishingly hopeful, and I find it the highest
goal worth seeking.” – Rev. John Dear, activist and author of 30
books on peace and nonviolence, most recently Lazarus, Come Forth!

“As 2012 wound down, low-wage workers started to stand up at
Walmarts, McDonald’s, car washes and grocery stores across New
York, warehouse workers in Illinois and California, security workers
at JFK airport. We’ve been stuck with a low-wage economy for too
long, and these workers are doing something to change it. In 2013,
I expect much more, more strikes, more struggle, more wins. It’s
going to be a long slow process of changing the way our society
thinks about and treats its lowest-paid employees, but it’s one
of the most important fights I can think of. And my resolution is
to be there for as much of it as I can.” – Sarah Jaffe, independent
journalist and WNV contributor

“This year I resolve to be the best bridge-builder I can be. I believe
2013 will be a year of connection and synergy. This February will see
the largest mobilization yet to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline with
new and renewed alliances across the spectrum of social movements.
In June 350.org and our allies are bringing together 500 youth from
over 75 different countries in a convergence called Global Power Shift
in Istanbul to build skills, share strategy and build political alignment
to tackle the root causes of the climate crisis. Our friends working
to stop fossil fuel extraction (fracking, oil, coal, gas) are bringing
together people across different struggles and movements in the
Extreme Energy Summit. The U.S. Climate Justice Alignment process
is bringing together frontline communities in an Our Power gathering
hosted by the Black Mesa Water Coalition on the Navajo Reservation.
Students and community groups are on fire with campaigns to divest
from fossil fuels, bringing new allies and stakeholders into the
movement. All of this work inspires me, and I think we will see
our movements swell with broader alliances, new entry points for
people who never considered themselves ‘activists,’ and new bold
strategies.” – Joshua Kahn Russell, author of Organizing Cools the
Planet and U.S. actions coordinator for 350.org

“As 2012 came to a close, televised reports showed demonstrations
in Iraq with tens of thousands of Sunni demonstrators in Anbar
province protesting the allegedly sectarian policies of Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki. The images remain in my mind as a signal of the
widening awareness of the field of nonviolent struggle; aggrieved
Iraqis, who comprehend the logic of nonviolent resistance, were
fighting with political tools rather than IEDs. The exact outcome
remains unclear, but the imagery on Al Jazeera prompts my personal
resolution: I shall work even harder in 2013 for depth of worldwide
understanding of how civil resistance can be used to press for serious
social and political change in acute conflicts, without bloodshed.”
– Mary Elizabeth King, WNV columnist and author of A Quiet
Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance

“Our resolution at 350.org is to take the fight to the fossil fuel
industry as hard as we can–we’re tired of playing around with
their puppets in D.C. and eager to take on the guys pulling the
strings.” – Bill McKibben, environmental author, activist and
founder of 350.org

“Metta’s main contribution to a nonviolent future is an ambitious
scheme called Roadmap that lays out a three-phase, long-term,
nonviolent strategy for ‘the great turning.’ It builds up to resistance
through personal empowerment and constructive program. Roadmap
will be on the inside front cover of the January issue of Tikkun, etc.
and we are creating an interactive tool on our website so that anyone
can participate at whatever level feels right. We particularly invite
Occupiers to come have a look at Roadmap as we go forward: our
emphasis on constructive program should resonate well with their
most recent (and brilliant) “occupations”: Sandy relief and the
Rolling Jubilee.” – Michael Nagler – President of the Metta Center
for Nonviolence and author of Search for a Nonviolent Future

“In the year 2013, I expect even more affirmation of people power
and its basic concepts. We can expect tough nonviolent struggles for
democracy, human rights and social justice worldwide, from Rangoon
to Cairo, from Madrid to New York, from Moscow to Male. If there is
one thing I may wish it is that we all learn how to best educate,
promote and support hundreds of thousands brave activists engaged
in this conflicts.” – Srdja Popovic, former Otpor leader and founder
of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS)

Churchill is reported to have declared that “History is written by
the victors.” How the history of the Arab Spring is written will
have a profound effect upon the future of nonviolent struggle and
the type of action used to conduct future campaigns. It is possible
that 2013 will see the field locked in a battle of analysis over how
the victories and losses of recent years have come about and whether
these events have led to positive changes for the societies in which
these struggles were waged. A victory for strategic nonviolent
struggle on the ground could be rolled back by the lack of careful
analysis and documentation of the events based on historical reality.
Access to information about the requirements for success of
nonviolent struggle can help people understand past struggles,
and help to make future ones more effective. The Albert Einstein
Institution s looking forward to expanding its programs and
activities this year in order to contribute to increasing that
knowledge and understanding. - Jamila Raqib, Executive Director,
The Albert Einstein Institution.

http://wagingnonviolence.org/2013/01/revolutionary-resolutions-for
-2013