Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category

Ebola’s grim original secret: How capitalism and obscene military spending got us here

October 22, 2014

WEDNESDAY, OCT 22, 2014 07:30 AM CDT

It’s time to look at America’s perverted sense of death, health and prevention — and how we’re spending our money
ROBERT HENNELLY
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TOPICS: EBOLA, CAPITALISM, FREE MARKET, MILITARY, VIRUS, MEDIA CRITICISM, LIBERIA, PUBLIC HEALTH, FEDERAL BUDGET, HEALTH, DEATH, POLITICS NEWS

Ebola’s grim original secret: How capitalism and obscene military spending got us here
(Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
This week stateside, the edge may be off the Ebola story for the U.S. news media, as those people in Dallas who were close to the late Thomas Eric Duncan emerge from their 21-day quarantine. The Obama administration has appointed an Ebola czar and the military is pulling together a kind of infectious disease SWAT team that can helicopter in the next time a “world-class” American hospital fumbles an Ebola case.

Glad that’s resolved.

What a human tragedy it will be if we fail to grasp what are the existing pre-conditions that set the stage for this unprecedented global outbreak of Ebola.

Missing from the wall-to-wall coverage of the global Ebola crisis is a root-cause analysis that shows how unfettered free market global capitalism and our obscene spending on the military both play a part in creating the environment for this latest outbreak and the ones that are sure to follow.

Annually the world spends more than $1.7 trillion on the military. According to the Wall Street Journal the world spends a whopping $27 billion on the world’s public health. Keep that obscene imbalance in your mind the next time you see pictures of Liberians bleeding out in the street.

No missile killed them, but our greed and global death-oriented spending priorities have left fingerprints on all these bodies.

Here in the U.S. we spend close to $700 billion on the military annually, roughly 20 percent of the federal budget, equivalent to just under $2,500 per capita. Contrast that with our foreign aid for things like public health where we part with just $19 billon, or .6 percent of the federal budget, just $61 per capita. Twenty other nations actually give a higher percentage of their gross national product in non-military aid to nations in need than we do.

Our military spending squeezes out so much that needs to be done both at home and abroad. And there are lost opportunity costs of not doing what needs to be done, like seeing to it that places like West Africa, the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak, have a basic public health infrastructure.

This latest global pandemic shows just how yesterday our “homeland security” threat–based security matrix is. In the jet age of hop-and-a-skip Ebola, it feels fatally provincial. Ultimately, our essential homeland is planet Earth.

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As President Obama does his best to shift back and forth from commander in chief of the war on terror to global public health advocate, he is going to find maintaining the public’s trust, both here and abroad, essential but difficult. For quite a while now the U.S. brand has been tied to its myopic prosecution of the the war on terror, even if it killed innocent civilians and put the global public health at risk.

How else does one explain the CIA’s fraudulent use of a public health vaccination program in Pakistan to harvest DNA from households they suspected of harboring Osama bin Laden? As a direct consequence of the CIA’s subterfuge bin Laden supporters targeted several public health workers administering polio vaccination for assassination.

Although that particular CIA strategy did not help the U.S. achieve its ultimate goal, there was major blowback. The U.N. had to shut down its polio eradication efforts in Pakistan, one of only a handful of countries in the world at the time where wild polio transmission still happens. So severe were the potential consequences that in January of 2013 deans of the 12 leading American schools of public health wrote President Obama directly, taking the CIA to task. “This disguising of an intelligence gathering effort as a humanitarian public health service has resulted in serious collateral consequences that affect the public health community,” read a press release put out along with the letter.

A week later Lisa Monaco, the White House’s top counter-terror and homeland security expert, wrote back pledging the CIA would not repeat the ruse.

But the damage may have been done, especially in the parts of the world where U.S.-based pharma multinationals’ vaccination products have long been viewed as suspect and with the same skepticism expressed by vaccination opponents stateside. By in the spring of this year the World Health Organization was reporting a resurgence of polio centered in the Middle East and Africa that “constitutes an extraordinary event and a public health risk to other States for which a coordinated international response is essential,” WHO warned the world. “If unchecked, this situation could result in failure to eradicate globally one of the most serious vaccine preventable diseases.”

For global context, keep in mind that in 1979 polio had been eradicated in the United States, but experts say maintaining that status requires high vaccination rates here and an aggressive program around the world. In an increasingly mobile world, the Centers for Disease Control warns that without a coordinated international effort “scenarios for polio being introduced into the United States are easy to imagine.”

No doubt this reality creates a dynamic tension between public health and commerce that is so present in the current “fly–no fly” Ebola debate. We have a media-induced near religious belief that only through unfettered global free trade and travel can a brighter tomorrow dawn. We think we have conquered the natural world but it can still kick us in the ass with fatal results. We have failed to grasp even the basic consequences of the mobility many of us take for granted. We are blind to the social and ecological costs exacted on the people of Africa by transnationals in the hot pursuit of everything from bauxite to crude oil.

Despite our 21st century genius we lose jet airliners and killer epidemics can percolate for several months in remote places like West Africa, impoverished by an extraction industry like the mining of bauxite used to make the aluminum we need for the planes we fly and the latest high-tech gadgets we depend on to stay connected. Our pressing question all too often is, Can we get an upgrade?

Suffice to say most Americans have no idea where this virulent Ebola strain has come from or how many people it has already killed. Media figures vary. Laurie Garrett, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations, told the PBS News Hour this week that for the first time officials at the World Health Organization had conceded the “bad news” that they had no real data from Liberia. Garrett says she estimates the actual Ebola death toll is between 15,000 and 16,000 deaths.

There is expert consensus that the Ebola tide has to be turned where it originated. We can’t just hermetically seal our borders.

According to the World Health Organization, “ground zero” for the outbreak was “in the remote Guinean village of Meliandou” where the borders of the West African nations Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone all meet. The first fatality, according to WHO, was a 2-year-old boy who died two days after he became sick around Christmastime of last year.

Within a matter of weeks his 3-year-old sister, mother and grandmother all had succumbed to what was still at that point a mysterious disease to the local doctors who were unfamiliar with Ebola because it had previously been only associated with countries in Central Africa. In one of the most medically underserved places in the world, local doctors were all too familiar with the regular outbreaks of infectious diseases like cholera and malaria but were baffled by what they were facing.

“Following the young boy’s death, the mysterious disease continued to smolder undetected, causing several chains of deadly transmission,” according to WHO’s account. “Who could have ever guessed that such a notorious disease, previously confined to Central Africa and Gabon, would crop up in another distant part of the continent?”

It was not until March of this year that WHO officially posted the Ebola outbreak advisory. For months there was lots of public health hand-wringing. Experts were lured into complacency when local outbreaks seemed to wane, only to resurge with a vengeance, decimating a part of the world that, despite its great natural resource wealth, lacks basic public health infrastructure.

For Africa in the age of unfettered global capitalism, the leverage is still with transnational corporations that can easily exploit the corruption and political instability that grips so much of the continent. “With 24 percent of the world’s infectious disease burden, Africa has only 3 percent of the world’s health professionals, with massive shortages of physicians, nurses, technicians, health administrators and planners,” writes Jennifer Cooke, author of “Public Health in Africa.”

Any effort at coming to understand Ebola has to be pursued holistically. As reported earlier this month in the Digital Journal, there are expert estimates that West Africa has lost as much as 90 percent of its virgin forest lands to human activities including farming and mining. Scientists believe there is a corollary between deforestation and the increasing frequency and severity of Ebola outbreaks.

Ebola is a zoonotic disease, transmitted from animals to people. As the population grows and human settlement expands into the shrinking tropical forests, the local population, which survives off bush meat, is increasingly exposed to the disease present in species like fruit bats and chimpanzees. Such was the conclusion reached in the 2012 report “Ebola Virus Outbreaks in Africa and Present” published in the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Medicine.

At the same time a never-ending cycle of political violence in the region makes it impossible to achieve the stability needed to establish and maintain the public health infrastructure necessary for a traumatized and often at risk population. All too often African leaders decide it’s more critical to spend money to buttress their military for their own self-preservation, as opposed to investing in the public health of their constituents. Add into the mix a terrorist group like Boko Haram and you have a civil society constantly under duress.

Historically, for Americans and Europeans, Africa was a place to get slaves, free labor. In modern times it is a place from which we extract diamonds, gold, bauxite, oil, whatever, at the lowest possible price, so as to make the most profit. It is just business. If you can add to your mass consumer market in the process, that’s fine too. But, overwhelmingly, the majority of Africans are left out of the global free trade wealth-creating machine that is fueled by Africa’s natural resources.

As for the U.S., with the fall of the Soviet Union and after Sept. 11, we have increasingly asserted ourselves with drone attacks and strategic military raids in Africa aimed at disrupting terrorist networks.

Despite all the rhetoric about being interconnected it is hard to get the developed world to really have skin in the game over the long term. Yes, President George W. Bush’s focused efforts to spend billions to fight HIV-AIDS in Africa was a bipartisan success that made a difference for millions.

Yet last year the Washington Post reported that President Obama actually became the first president since Reagan to back off the U.S. commitment to fighting HIV-AIDS, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from the program.

What this Ebola outbreak has to drive home is the reality that U.S. aid to support public health in Africa is not a selfless act of charity but one of self -preservation. Over the decades of African relief ads on late-night TV we may have become inured to the image of starving and disease-stricken children. That’s not to say the world has not made progress. Consider that in 1990 the World Health Organization reported that around the world 12.6 million children under age 5 died. That’s almost two Holocausts a year.

By 2012 that was down to 6.6 million dead children and about half of them were from sub-Saharan Africa. But as we have seen with the death of the 2-year-old in Guinea last Christmas, the loss of just one can have repercussions felt around the world.

MORE ROBERT HENNELLY.

What Markets Will

October 19, 2014

Paul Krugman. (photo: NYT)
Paul Krugman. (photo: NYT)

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

18 October 14

 

n the Middle Ages, the call for a crusade to conquer the Holy Land was met with cries of “Deus vult!” — God wills it. But did the crusaders really know what God wanted? Given how the venture turned out, apparently not.

Now, that was a long time ago, and, in the areas I write about, invocations of God’s presumed will are rare. You do, however, see a lot of policy crusades, and these are often justified with implicit cries of “Mercatus vult!” — the market wills it. But do those invoking the will of the market really know what markets want? Again, apparently not.

And the financial turmoil of the past few days has widened the gap between what we’re told must be done to appease the market and what markets actually seem to be asking for.

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Naomi Klein says climate activists need to get comfortable attacking capitalism

October 10, 2014

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Naomi Klein — “the most visible and influential figure on the American left,” as The New Yorker puts it — dropped by the Grist office to chat with David Roberts about her new book. They kicked things off by discussing its provocative title: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

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Grist is giving away a signed copy of This Changes Everything. If you’re subscribed to a Grist newsletter, you’re already entered to win. If you’re not, sign up here.

VIDEO: RSA Replay: Inequality and the 1 Percent

October 6, 2014

Wall Street Protests Fort Lauderdale

It’s true—the ideas and lives of the 1 percent are greatly impacting the rest of us. So what do we do about this inequality?

Leading social geographer Danny Dorling unpacks the latest research into how the lives and ideas of the 1 percent impact the remaining 99 percent.

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce): an enlightenment organization committed to finding innovative and creative practical solutions to today’s social challenges. Through its ideas, research and 27,000-strong Fellowship it seeks to harness the extraordinary amount of untapped creative potential in society—by empowering people to be active participants in creating a better world.

How 14 People Made More Money than the Entire Food Stamp Budget for 50,000,000 People

October 6, 2014

Occupy Wall Street Movement Joins With Activists Group For May Day Demonstrations

So little of our national wealth is going to feed people or provide jobs and instead, the richest Americans increased their wealth this past year. What do you think vaulted these individuals to the top?

For the second year in a row, America’s richest 14 individuals made morefrom their annual investments than the $80 billion provided for people in need of food. Nearly half of the food-deprived are children. Perversely, the food stamp program was CUT because of a lack of federal funding.

In a testament to the inability — or unwillingness — of Congress to doanything about the incessant upward re-distribution of America’s wealth, therichest 14 Americans increased their wealth from $507 billion to $589 billionin ONE YEAR from their investment earnings. As stated by Forbes, “All together the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago.”

The Richest 14 Made Enough Money to Hire Two Million Pre-School Teachers or Emergency Medical Technicians

Billions of dollars of wealth, derived from years of American productivity, have been transferred to a few financially savvy and well-connected individuals who have spent a generation shaping trading rules and tax laws to their own advantage. It’s so inexplicably one-sided that the 2013 investment earnings of the richest 1% of Americans ($1.8 trillion) was more than the entire budget for Social Security ($860 billion), Medicare ($524 billion), and Medicaid ($304 billion).

Why Does So Little of Our National Wealth Go to Feed People or Provide Jobs?

The fruits of American productivity go to the richest Americans, who can afford to hold onto their fortunes, defer taxes indefinitely, and then pay asmaller capital gains rate when they eventually decide to cash in. Worse yet, they can stash their winnings overseas, tax-free. It is estimated that $7.6 trillion of personal wealth is hidden in tax havens. That means, stunningly, that $1 of every $12 of worldwide wealth is hidden in a haven.

America has no wealth tax, no financial speculation tax, no means of stopping the rampant redistribution of money to the rich. As Noam Chomsky said, The concept of the Common Good that is being relentlessly driven into our heads demands that we focus on our own private gain, and suppress normal human emotions of solidarity, mutual support and concern for others.

Who Are These People Taking All the Big Money?

A review of the richest 20 shows that opportunism and ruthless businesspractices and tax avoidance, rather than entrepreneurship, vaulted these individuals to the top:

Bill Gates used someone else’s operating system to start Microsoft.

According to the New York Post, Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, “openly admits that it owes back taxes since as long ago as 2002.”

Koch Industries is jeopardizing our clean air and water, moving its toxic waste to Detroit and Chicago, trying to take away the minimum wage, seeking to take down renewable energy initiatives, and laying off thousands of workers.

Walmart makes $13,000 in pre-tax profits per employee (after paying salaries), yet takes a taxpayer subsidy of $5,815 per worker.

Jeff Bezos has spent millions of dollars per year on lobbyists, lawyers, and political campaigns to maintain Amazon’s tax-free sales in order to undercut competitors and drive them out of business.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the founders of Google, which has gained recognition as one of the world’s biggest tax avoiders, a master at the“Double Irish” revenue shift to Bermuda tax havens, and a beneficiary of tax loopholes that bring money back to the U.S. without paying taxes on it.

Zuckerberg, like Gates, was an opportunist, overcoming superior competitionwith his Harvard connection, gaining better financial support, and — allegedly — hacking competitors’ computers to compromise their user data.

Job Creators?

As for the argument that Microsoft, Google, etc. created products and jobs: It was the industry that did it, supported by decades of research and innovation, and involving tens of thousands of American workers, from scientists to database clerks. Our nation’s winner-take-all philosophy makes it look like one person did the work of all these contributors. That’s wrong as can be, especially for this year’s version of the richest Americans.

Transcript: Conversation Between Noam Chomsky, Paul Craig Roberts and Rob Kall part 1– the future of capitalism

September 28, 2014

 

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Paul Craig Roberts and Noam Chomsky
(image by Paul Craig Roberts image by Paul Craig Roberts Noam Chomsky image by Rob Kall)
This is part 1 of the transcript of my interview with Paul Craig Roberts and Noam Chomsky. More parts will follow in the coming days.

Welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township reaching Metro Philly and South Jersey. Online at opednews.com/podcasts and at iTunes under my name, Rob Kall, K-A-L-L.

My guests tonight, I’m very excited to say, are Noam Chomsky and Paul Craig Roberts. And we don’t have a lot of time so I’m going to skip the introductions and go right to getting this conversation started. There are a lot of different things that you could talk about. I’m hoping that what will happen is you will do some jazz and blues, and riff off of each other and have an interesting conversation that will enlighten both of us and each of you.

I’ll start off with a quote from each of you. Paul Craig Roberts recently wrote “eventually the large US trade deficits produced by offshoring the production of goods and services sold into US markets and the collapse of the middle class and tax base caused by jobs offshoring will destroy the value of the US dollar. When that day arrives, US living standards, already endangered, will plummet. American power will have been destroyed by corporate greed and the Fed’s policy of sacrificing the US economy in order to save four or five mega-banks, whose former executives control the Fed, the US Treasury, and the federal financial regulatory agencies.”

Noam wrote, in a forward to the book, Realizing Hope: Life Beyond Capitalism, “It is surely necessary to resist oppression and pursue liberation — and also to advance towards realizing hope by gaining clarity about our objectives and constructing paths to attain them.”

So there’s a whole lot of things I’d like to cover and I’d be happy with any of them. I’ll just throw some topics at you and I’ll throw a first question, and you can go where you want with it. Nationalism, Imperialism, Fascism, Corporatism, Capitalism, Industrialization, Neo-Liberals, the US economy…my topic that I like is ‘Top down and Bottom up,’ patriarchy, power, wealth inequality, psychopathy, sociopathy and narcissism, Bottom-up — decentralization, localization, beyond the Arab Spring, revolution…there’s Congress and the Supreme Court, and Citizens United, Global Warming,…and, because it is hard to ignore, Scotland, ISIL and Ukraine and Russia.

So the first question, just to get things started, what’s the future of the US economy and capitalism?

NC: Who’s supposed to answer? Who are you posing it to?

PCR: You have a shot at it.

NC: Okay.

Rob: Go ahead Noam.

NC: Well the first point to mention is that we’re very far from a capitalist economy and have never been one — it’s a state capitalist economy with substantial state intervention that, in many respects from basic research and development to manipulating interest rates to determining the laws that administer regulations that permit CEOs to pick their own boards and hence to enhance their salaries, and thousands of other ways. What’s the future of it? That depends on how the public will respond to the circumstances in which there are. I mean, there is an institutional logic which will perpetuate things in a certain direction, but it is not graven in stone. It has been in the past, and can be in the future, influenced, modified, even radically changed by public engagement and action. And there’s no way to predict that — those are matters for action not for speculation.

Rob: OK, Paul?

PCR: Well I think that’s a very insightful view of it. All I would add is that in more recent years, the private interest groups seem to have taken control of the government. Wall Street, Military Security Complex, Agribusiness, the extractive industries — their campaign donations elect the House, the Senate, the President, and they then write most of the bills that Congress passes and the President signs, so it’s a form of state capitalism in which the capitalists seem to have the upper hand.

I think that greed has run away with them to such an extent that they have let it undermine the domestic economy on which they themselves depend. For example, they greatly increased profits in managerial or executive performance bonuses by offshoring so many of the middle class jobs, not only the manufacturing jobs but the professional tradable service jobs, such as software engineering, research, design — these things have left, or a large percentage of them, and it erodes consumer purchasing power. The middle class is damaged, the kids who graduate from university expecting jobs find that jobs are offshored, they’ve got debts, increasingly the big retail box stores just offer part-time employment — you can’t form a household on one of those jobs. You can’t get married, buy a house. You have to work two of those jobs, some people three. There are no benefits, no pension. The years of zero interest rate, in order to save the big mega banks, have caused the retired element to have to draw down their savings because they don’t get any interest income, and so inheritance for children is disappearing. And so the whole system has become a house of cards.

Massive debt/money creation is not matched by the increase in real goods and services. As Chomsky said, interest rates are rigged, the gold price is rigged, the stock market is a bubble, the dollar is a bubble — in a way it’s a house of cards. And the power of the United States rests, to a substantial extent, on the dollar being the world reserve currency. And yet, when you create massive new dollars to support quantitative easing but the goods and services don’t increase, you worry the whole world about their dollar holdings. And then you step in and threaten other countries with sanctions? That gives them an incentive to leave the dollar payment system, which means the demand for dollars drops.

So, I think the whole thing is a house of cards and that change could come from a substantial collapse that simply totally discredits the elites from both parties; and some kind of collapse of that extent would give room for the sort of thing Noam mentioned — that people could get back in and be determining factors in the process and some kind of new leadership could arise.

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Rob: You had a question for Noam?

PCR: No, not about that. I was just adding my two cents to his two dollars worth.

Rob: OK, Noam, do you have a response to Paul?

NC: Well, I mean there…he brought up a great many points. I think a lot of them merit much closer scrutiny and discussion. We don’t have time for it now, but I think there’s some…I would just like to say that what he’s describing, you know, we can disagree about this and that part, but the major picture that he’s describing does reflect a certain logic of the state capitalist institutional structure as it now exists. So let’s say take offshoring, the CEO of a corporation has actually a legal obligation to maximize profit and market share. Beyond that legal obligation, if the CEO doesn’t do it, and, let’s say, decides to do something that will, say, benefit the population and not increase profit, he or she is not going to be CEO much longer — they’ll be replaced by somebody who does do it.

Also, the government has stepped in — partly I think because of the enormously increasing power of financial institutions and decision making in the last generation — it has stepped in to provide mechanisms by which this institutional obligation of CEOs is magnified. For a particular CEO, actually Hacker and Pearson had a good discussion of this years ago, it used to be the case, say, 50 years ago 60 years ago, that the CEO of a corporation had a stake in the survival and growth of that corporation. That’s much less true today because of the way compensations are determined. For today’s CEO, because of the mechanisms that allow them to essentially set their own salaries, bonus systems and so on, the incentive is to guarantee profit in the short term– the next quarter– no matter what happens to the institution. That way they’ll become the multibillionaires who are forming the fraction of 1% who are designing policy. Those are very perverse incentives. And they are now part of the basic logic of an institutional system that is driving towards serious disaster. Now I hope we don’t have to wait for a catastrophe for the population of the country to act in ways to reverse this. If we do, it’ll be I think too late. But clearly these are tasks that have to be undertaken. And there are others.

For example, we were marching — well, there was a big global march, a march on global warming a couple days ago, drew a couple hundred thousand people to New York, that happened to take place on the same day that an international commission that monitors global emissions reported that global emissions had increased to a record level last year by over 2%, and in the United States by even higher than the global average. Another report predicted that in another…it reported that August was the hottest month yet and that in another maybe 30 years the number of over 90 degree days in New York would probably triple with much more dire effects in warmer climates — all of these things are happening and we’re reaching a point of literal no return. If they pass a certain not very distant level we can be quite confident that the basis for the decent survival will have been seriously eroded. And we can’t wait for a catastrophe to bring a change in policy — that has to be done very quickly.

Rob: You had a question for Noam?

PCR: No, not about that. I was just adding my two cents to his two dollars worth.

Rob: OK, Noam, do you have a response to Paul?

NC: Well, I mean there…he brought up a great many points. I think a lot of them merit much closer scrutiny and discussion. We don’t have time for it now, but I think there’s some…I would just like to say that what he’s describing, you know, we can disagree about this and that part, but the major picture that he’s describing does reflect a certain logic of the state capitalist institutional structure as it now exists. So let’s say take offshoring, the CEO of a corporation has actually a legal obligation to maximize profit and market share. Beyond that legal obligation, if the CEO doesn’t do it, and, let’s say, decides to do something that will, say, benefit the population and not increase profit, he or she is not going to be CEO much longer — they’ll be replaced by somebody who does do it.

Also, the government has stepped in — partly I think because of the enormously increasing power of financial institutions and decision making in the last generation — it has stepped in to provide mechanisms by which this institutional obligation of CEOs is magnified. For a particular CEO, actually Hacker and Pearson had a good discussion of this years ago, it used to be the case, say, 50 years ago 60 years ago, that the CEO of a corporation had a stake in the survival and growth of that corporation. That’s much less true today because of the way compensations are determined. For today’s CEO, because of the mechanisms that allow them to essentially set their own salaries, bonus systems and so on, the incentive is to guarantee profit in the short term– the next quarter– no matter what happens to the institution. That way they’ll become the multibillionaires who are forming the fraction of 1% who are designing policy. Those are very perverse incentives. And they are now part of the basic logic of an institutional system that is driving towards serious disaster. Now I hope we don’t have to wait for a catastrophe for the population of the country to act in ways to reverse this. If we do, it’ll be I think too late. But clearly these are tasks that have to be undertaken. And there are others.

For example, we were marching — well, there was a big global march, a march on global warming a couple days ago, drew a couple hundred thousand people to New York, that happened to take place on the same day that an international commission that monitors global emissions reported that global emissions had increased to a record level last year by over 2%, and in the United States by even higher than the global average. Another report predicted that in another…it reported that August was the hottest month yet and that in another maybe 30 years the number of over 90 degree days in New York would probably triple with much more dire effects in warmer climates — all of these things are happening and we’re reaching a point of literal no return. If they pass a certain not very distant level we can be quite confident that the basis for the decent survival will have been seriously eroded. And we can’t wait for a catastrophe to bring a change in policy — that has to be done very quickly.

Rob: Now, my next question, well, is going to be about climate change. What role will climate change play in the future of economics and world power balances? Why don’t you keep going Noam.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer– first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978–Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story– each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people’s consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com– which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up(egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up– The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also (more…)

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer– first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978–Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story– each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people’s consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com– which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up(egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up– The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also (more…)

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Watch Naomi Klein shred capitalism on the Colbert Report

September 25, 2014

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Knocking capitalism in front of Stephen Colbert is one step away from saying bald eagles are merely fishy freegans instead of patriotic predators. But author Naomi Klein took free markets to task on Tuesday night’s Colbert Report. “You have this tension between a system that needs to grow, grow, grow indiscriminately, and a planet going, ‘Guys, I have had it,’” Klein said.

Watch the ensuing capitalism vs. climate change throwdown above, and read more about Klein’s new book This Changes Everything.

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Grist is giving away a signed copy of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. If you’re signed up for a Grist newsletter, you’re already entered to win. If you’re not, sign up here.

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Capitalism vs. the Climate: Naomi Klein on Need for New Economic Model to Address Ecological Crisis

September 21, 2014

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As the United Nations prepares to hold one-day global summit on climate change, we speak to award-winning author Naomi Klein about her new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.” In the book, Klein details how our neoliberal economic system and our planetary system are now at war. With global emissions at an all-time high, Klein says radical action is needed. “We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis,” Klein writes. “We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.”

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Capitalism vs. the Climate: Naomi Klein on Need for New Economic Model to Address Ecological Crisis
As the United Nations prepares to hold one-day global summit on climate change, we speak to award-winning…

Corporate Personhood Is the Ebola Virus of Climate Chaos

September 20, 2014

ENERGYINSIGHTSNUCLEAR

Harvey Wasserman | September 18, 2014 8:32 am | Comments
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Unrestrained corporate power is the Ebola virus of our global ecological crisis. Rooting it out will demand a whole new level of resistance.

The worldwide march for the climate this weekend is focussed on moving us to a Solartopian energy supply, a green-powered Earth.

corporatepersonhood
The core engine of our economy must at last be made directly accountable to humankind and our Mother Earth. Until that happens, we are an endangered species.
But those who march must also focus on the real core problem: the nature of the modern corporation.

As currently structured, the corporation’s sole mandate is to make profit. Its insatiable need for more and more money, and its immunity from the consequences of its actions, are unsustainable in any sense.

Its fossil fuels heat our planet. Its atomic reactors threaten us all.

Meanwhile, solar, wind and other Solartopian technologies plunge in price while surging in efficiency. It’s now abundantly clear they can power our civilization cleaner, cheaper, more reliably and with more job creation than old King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes and Gas).

In a free and open marketplace, they would have won long ago.

But it’s the inherent nature of corporations to HATE the marketplace.

They always demand monopoly. They push complex, capital-intensive, centralized technologies that only they can control.

They fight off any social or ecological responsibilities. And they do not tolerate competition.

Not on the internet, where they want to kill net neutrality and monopolize the flow of ideas and information.

Nor from green energy technologies that threaten their profits and control.

Windmills have been around for centuries. The photovoltaic cell was born six decades ago. A 1952 federal report predicted 13 million solar-heated U.S. homes by 1975.

By all rights, we should already have a green-powered planet.

Today’s climate crisis was avoidable.

But in the fossil/nuke world it currently rules, King CONG is above the law. It’s been cheaper for the fossil/nuke corporations to wreck the Earth—and our health—than to protect them.

So now we must take the next step.

It’s a great thing to march on climate chaos, and to finally know that our power can and must come in concert with our Mother Earth, rather than at war with her.

Keystone XL, tar sands, oil leases, mountaintop removal, fracking, nukes … these all must be stopped.

A carbon tax, environmental regulation, Solartopian technologies … these all must be put in place.

But nothing truly lasting will happen until we eradicate the virus that’s killing us all—the unrestrained corporate power over our lives and planet.

The core engine of our economy must at last be made directly accountable to humankind and our Mother Earth.

Until that happens, we are an endangered species.

 

Slaughter the Planet or Exterminate Capitalism?

September 4, 2014

DENNIS TRAINOR, JR.
ACRONYM TV / VIDEO REPORT
Published: Tuesday 2 September 2014
Humans are constantly destroying the Earth, but trying to fix what we broke is too expensive. The global elite, who can help, would not profit from helping save our planet so we cannot rely on them.

Get your complimentary 200 page guide to GMO-free living.

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Humanity is flying headlong over a climate cliff and reversing course does not project to be very profitable for the global elite.

So, without a growing number of us holding their feet to the ever warming fire, a much need reversal will not happen and the corporately controlled main stream media will continue to portray this topic as one where there are two sides to the story. Consider this typical news copy, filed by the AP, describing the 2012 UN Climate meeting, “the two decade old talks have not fulfilled their main purpose, reducing the greenhouse gas emission that scientists say are warming the earth.” (Emphasis added)

What is that extraneous phrase always included – “that scientists say” included as a qualifier? I mean, it is not as if the AP would, in captioning a satellite picture of Earth, would write, “here is a picture of the planet earth, which scientists say is not flat.

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ABOUT DENNIS TRAINOR, JR.

Dennis Trainor, Jr. (writer & host of Acronym TV) is also the director of the Occupy Wall St. documentary, American Autumn: an OccudocAcronym TV is an independent news program with over 21 thousand subscribers and 31 million video views and counting.


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