Today marks the 50th anniversary of when some brave activists broke into FBI offices and shared documents they obtained that described the FBI surveillance program known as COINTELPRO.
Infinite economic growth flies in the face of real limits that exist in the Earth’s biosphere. Excessive loading of carbon into the atmosphere has disrupted the earth’s natural carbon cycle and has changed our weather patterns that were stable before the industrial revolution. Our monoculture and corresponding destruction of diversity has led to a global pandemic that is threatening to bring down civilization as we know it. These phenomena are integrally linked to humanity’s obsession with growth. Time for de-growth!
I have long been an advocate for California’s secession from the union. Recently some pro-secession folks hired a mariachi band to play in front of an ICE director’s McMansion.
While Chris Hedges is considered far too radical by many, he has keen insights into the whys and wherefores of our present predicament. By sharing this interview on my blog, I am not endorsing XR America. Apparently Extinction Rebellion has had a bit of a schism in the USA due to either immature, megalomaniacal leadership and/or state subterfuge. Regardless, the interview with Chris stands on its own merit. Highly recommended!
The CORVID-19 pandemic and our response to it has exposed systemic flaws in our civilization in a crescendo manner. The protagonist in this moment is the federal government, which was by benevolent design intended to have command and control of the resources necessary to mobilize a response at the scope and scale necessary to deal with a national emergency. In my emergency management career, I have worked for government at all levels, including FEMA. For the most part I’m an unabashed believer in government, at times like this especially. I shake my head when I see how government has been stripped of its power (and effectiveness) and replaced with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism. Starting with Reagan, the solution to waste and inefficiency in government (not to mention increased taxes and regulations) was to reduce the size of government and shift its traditional duties and responsibilities to the private sector. A neutered government rendered incapable of mounting the necessary response in a timely manner. The end result? The circulation of do-it-yourself recipes for constructing face masks. Shame on us.
It wasn’t always like this. During the mobilization for WWII, the Richmond shipyards on the west coast built a ship a day. That’s right, a ship a day. That was before neoliberalism. Look at us now. When President Trump was pressed to enact the Defense Production Act to manufacture masks and ventilators that are in short supply and critical to mitigate the pandemic and save lives, he basically said the private sector will handle it, refusing to enact the statute. Excuse me? Do you mean to say that the private sector where parties are competing with one another relentlessly pursuing profitability are going to cooperate and scale up in a timely manner? The slogan now being heard in widening circles is ‘people before profits’. Hence the tyranny of private sector corporations that have no accountability to the people. None whatsoever. Of course, as everybody knows people can vote with their dollar and take it elsewhere. Meanwhile, how many people will become infected and die during this pandemic? Government anyone?
The rich and powerful who have by omission or commission neutered government are to blame for the present situation we find ourselves in. Their emissary in the White House is their wet dream come true, a person mentally deranged, a loose cannon if you will, but brazen enough to do the unthinkable. Like refusing to utilize the Defense Production Act. The elite who can afford treatment at any cost simply do not care. In this moment I witness neoliberalism as being vicious, cruel and uncaring. Democratic socialism anyone?
I have a special relationship with Bolivia having been there five times over the years, courtesy of the Partners of the Americas and Fulbright programs. The situation in Bolivia today is a complicated one and it has been instructive for me to witness the mis- and disinformation generated from recent events there in recent weeks following the national election. In today’s saturating infosphere, separating fact from fiction, and truths from untruths, is no small job. This is especially difficult given the manipulative and coercive power of weaponized information, combined with the increasing absence of critical thinking in our culture. One must remain vigilant and open minded, always seeking truth and facts so as to not find oneself inadvertently having adopted hard-line positions on either the Left or the Right. Typically, upon closer examination, you will find elements of the truth to be found on both sides and the truth, my dear, will set you free (from deception and ignorance).
Given the capitalist’s and imperialist’s dominance of mass media in the world today, I feel it is important to lift up powerful voices that are being silenced and ignored (and in this case, also demonized) by the powers that be. It is in this spirit that I want to share this recent interview with the (now deposed) president of Bolivia Evo Morales. Listen closely with an open mind, you might learn something.
I just stumbled across this video which talks about politics on the web. Of course despite this video’s misleading inference, before there was the web, the internet existed. Before the public rollout of hypertext, i.e. the web, full blown grassroot politics had already been going on for about a decade. I know this first hand because I was the programmer and director of ECONET in the mid-eighties, a network devoted to appropriate technology and environmentalism. For all you history buffs…enjoy!