Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Venezuela to Sell Cheap Oil to U.S. Poor

Are you freezing cold this winter? Can't afford to drive to the supermarket? Maybe Chavez's socialism can help.

"Venezuela will soon begin selling heating oil at
discount prices to poor communities in Boston and New
York, following up on a promise by President Hugo
Chavez, Venezuela's state oil company announced.

"Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil
company that runs roughly 16,000 gas stations in the
United States, will offer fuel at discounted rates in
Boston as early as next week, according to a statement
posted Friday on the company's Web site.

. . . .

"Chavez often blames the plight of the poor on
unbridled capitalism and strongly criticizes the Bush
administration for failing to reduce poverty in the
United States."

--thanks to C.B. for this lead to cheap oil

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Get Down on Intelligent Design

The most intelligent comment about Intelligent Design thus far, is to be found above at Get Your War On

Giving Thanks to a Dying Indian-American

Thanking an Indian Leader
The Miami Herald

It is fitting that Vine Deloria Jr.'s spirit chose to pass on Nov. 13, so close to Thanksgiving.
Deloria, famous for his acerbic wit as he punched holes in American Indian stereotypes, would have appreciated the irony of dying days before a holiday that mythologizes the American Indian.

A Standing Rock Sioux, he was nearly as influential to contemporary American Indians as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was to blacks.

Deloria hit mainstream America's radar in 1969 with the publication of his book Custer Died for Your Sins, a scathing review of Indian and American relations. His New York Times obituary mentions how he once called the 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn - when Sioux and Cheyenne warriors defeated Gen. George Custer and his troops - a "sensitivity training session."

In his more than 20 subsequent books, he gave voice to the American-Indian experience in the United States from a unique point of view, often using Indian humor, which always comes with a bite.

Not merely an angry young Indian man venting his rage, Deloria came to represent a growing cadre of Indian intelligentsia. His books gave articulate voice to the anger of young native people and created a milieu for discussing contemporary native issues.

As a young native woman coming to grips with my own sense of disfranchisement with mainstream culture and education, I found inspiration and validation through his books. Reading his work shaped my desire to become a journalist and affirmed my dream of giving a true and genuine face to Indian people in the media. I was empowered by the notion that the white man's version of history, science and wisdom was simply that - one group's version.

Deloria's work offered an intellectual doorway through which young Indians could pass, find their own way and be taken seriously.

Deloria, born in 1933 near the Pine Ridge reservation, was the son of an Indian Episcopal clergyman. Like his father, Deloria was a seminarian, as well as trained in law school. His deep appreciation and understanding of the power of spirituality was evident in his book God Is Red. It offers a look at native cosmology and describes the sophistication of Indian spirituality. It also questions the dominance of modern Christianity in American culture.

What's more, Deloria debunks the simplistic view of Indians as noble savages in harmony with nature. It should be required reading for white America, especially those looking to expropriate our spirituality and ceremonies.

Deloria's books surely will continue to politicize, motivate and inspire countless future generations of young people.

During this Thanksgiving season, I say, "Chi-megwitch" (thank you very much), Vine Deloria.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
-- by Mary Annette Pember, of the Red Cliff Ojibwe tribe, who is a past president of the Native American Journalists Association.
Browse Deloria's books online at:

Friday, November 25, 2005


"One must always be a little improbable."
--Oscar Wilde

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Empowerment Through Hopelessness

Bush would like us to merely hope for a better world sometime tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes, as we all know. But the deeper problem is the nature of this "hope" which brings more anxiety and despair, and further displaces actual change. So today, our bloggence provides another free paradox: an excerpt from "Letting Go of Hope" By Margaret Wheatley}

. . . East German dissident Rudolf Bahro said: "When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure." Could insecurity, self-doubt, be a good trait? I find it hard to imagine how I can work for the future without feeling grounded in the belief that my actions will make a difference. But Bahro offers a new prospect, that feeling insecure, even groundless, might actually increase my ability to stay in the work. I've read about groundlessness - especially in Buddhism - and recently have experienced it quite a bit. I haven't liked it at all, but as the dying culture turns to mush, could I give up seeking ground to stand on?

Vaclav Havel helped me become further attracted to insecurity and not-knowing: "Hope," he states, "is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out."

Havel seems to be describing not hope, but hopelessness. Being liberated from results, giving up outcomes, doing what feels right rather than effective. He helps me recall the Buddhist teaching that hopelessness is not the opposite of hope. Fear is. Hope and fear are inescapable partners. Anytime we hope for a certain outcome, and work hard to make it happen, then we also introduce fear - fear of failing, fear of loss. Hopelessness is free of fear and thus can feel quite liberating. I've listened to others describe this state. Unburdened of strong emotions, they describe the miraculous appearance of clarity and energy. . . .

See her essay at
And the link above is to "The Impossible" dot org, or Paul Loeb's website, with more about Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time and the anthology:The Impossible Will Take a Little While.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wu Ming - Download Our Books (novels, essays and short stories)

Free downloads of novels, short stories, etc., by the infamous band of 5: Wu Ming the autonomist collective formerly known as Luther Blisset.

[Language Note #314: The new nom de plume, Wu Ming, in Chinese sounds like both "5 names" and "No name". Clever anonymous quintet aren't they?]

Monday, November 21, 2005

16,000 Protest at U.S. Torture School

The latest protest at the infamous torture training Fort Benning School of the Americas brought out the largest crowd so far there. At least 40 were arrested:
A local paper reported that:

"Protesters came to hear from leaders about many issues, from protecting Mother Earth to songs about President George W. Bush. They heard speeches about unions working to raise the wages of farm workers and boycotting U.S. corporations — including Coca-Cola — for not treating their workers well. . . .

"Speakers included union leaders from the Unites States and Latin countries; the moderator of the Presbyterian Church, USA; a pastor and representative of the Florida Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; sweatshop protesters; a former prisoner who had been jailed for crossing into Fort Benning during previous protests; authors; and many others. . . ."

In addition to the link above, see also:

Sunday, November 20, 2005

John Rendon: Weird Pro of Propaganda

excerpt from The Man Who Sold the War by James Bamford

. . . By law, the Bush administration is expressly prohibited from disseminating government propaganda at home. But in an age of global communications, there is nothing to stop it from planting a phony pro-war story overseas - knowing with certainty that it will reach American citizens almost instantly. A recent congressional report suggests that the Pentagon may be relying on "covert psychological operations affecting audiences within friendly nations." In a "secret amendment" to Pentagon policy, the report warns, "psyops funds might be used to publish stories favorable to American policies, or hire outside contractors without obvious ties to the Pentagon to organize rallies in support of administration policies." The report also concludes that military planners are shifting away from the Cold War view that power comes from superior weapons systems. Instead, the Pentagon now believes that "combat power can be enhanced by communications networks and technologies that control access to, and directly manipulate, information. As a result, information itself is now both a tool and a target of warfare."

It is a belief John Rendon encapsulated in a speech to cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1996. "I am not a national-security strategist or a military tactician," he declared. "I am a politician, a person who uses communication to meet public-policy or corporate-policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager." To explain his philosophy, Rendon paraphrased a journalist he knew from his days as a staffer on the presidential campaigns of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter: "This is probably best described in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, when he wrote, 'When things turn weird, the weird turn pro.'"

John Walter Rendon Jr. rises at 3 a.m. each morning after six hours of sleep, turns on his Apple computer and begins ingesting information - overnight news reports, e-mail messages, foreign and domestic newspapers, and an assortment of government documents, many of them available only to those with the highest security clearance. According to Pentagon documents obtained by Rolling Stone, the Rendon Group is authorized "to research and analyze information classified up to Top Secret/SCI/SI/TK/G/HCS" - an extraordinarily high level of clearance granted to only a handful of defense contractors. "SCI" stands for Sensitive Compartmented Information, data classified higher than Top Secret. "SI" is Special Intelligence, very secret communications intercepted by the National Security Agency. "TK" refers to Talent/Keyhole, code names for imagery from reconnaissance aircraft and spy satellites. "G" stands for Gamma (communications intercepts from extremely sensitive sources) and "HCS" means Humint Control System (information from a very sensitive human source). Taken together, the acronyms indicate that Rendon enjoys access to the most secret information from all three forms of intelligence collection: eavesdropping, imaging satellites and human spies.

Rendon lives in a multimillion-dollar home in Washington's exclusive Kalorama neighborhood. A few doors down from Rendon is the home of former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara; just around the corner lives current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. At fifty-six, Rendon wears owlish glasses and combs his thick mane of silver-gray hair to the side, Kennedy-style. He heads to work each morning clad in a custom-made shirt with his monogram on the right cuff and a sharply tailored blue blazer that hangs loose around his bulky frame. By the time he pulls up to the Rendon Group's headquarters near Dupont Circle, he has already racked up a handsome fee for the morning's work: According to federal records, Rendon charges the CIA and the Pentagon $311.26 an hour for his services.

Rendon is one of the most influential of the private contractors in Washington who are increasingly taking over jobs long reserved for highly trained CIA employees. In recent years, spies-for-hire have begun to replace regional desk officers, who control clandestine operations around the world; watch officers at the agency's twenty-four-hour crisis center; analysts, who sift through reams of intelligence data; and even counterintelligence officers in the field, who oversee meetings between agents and their recruited spies. According to one senior administration official involved in intelligence-budget decisions, half of the CIA's work is now performed by private contractors - people completely unaccountable to Congress. Another senior budget official acknowledges privately that lawmakers have no idea how many rent-a-spies the CIA currently employs - or how much unchecked power they enjoy.

Unlike many newcomers to the field, however, Rendon is a battle-tested veteran who has been secretly involved in nearly every American shooting conflict in the past two decades. In the first interview he has granted in decades, Rendon offered a peek through the keyhole of this seldom-seen world of corporate spooks - a rarefied but growing profession. Over a dinner of lamb chops and a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape at a private Washington club, Rendon was guarded about the details of his clandestine work - but he boasted openly of the sweep and importance of his firm's efforts as a for-profit spy. "We've worked in ninety-one countries," he said. "Going all the way back to Panama, we've been involved in every war, with the exception of Somalia." . . . .

{Short excerpt from feature article linked above -- most of this article details his outrageous manipulation of propanda in order to support a war on Iraq.}

Friday, November 18, 2005

How to Speak and Why: Said

No one can speak up all the time on all the issues. But, I believe, there is a special duty to address the constituted and authorized powers of one's own society, which are accountable to its citizenry, particularly when those powers are exercised in a manifestly disproportionate and immoral war, or in a deliberate program of discrimination, repression, and collective cruelty. . . . all of us live inside national borders, we use national languages, we address (most of the time) our national communities. For an intellectual who lives in America, there is a reality to be faced, namely that our country is first of all an extremely diverse immigrant society, with fantastic resources and accomplishments, but it also contains a redoubtable set of internal inequities and external interventions that cannot be ignored. While I cannot speak for intellectuals everywhere, surely the basic point remains pertinent, with the difference that in other countries the state in question is not a global power like the U.S.

In all these instances, the intellectual meaning of a situation is arrived at by comparing the known and available facts with a norm, also known and available. This is not an easy task, since documentation, research, probings are required in order to get beyond the usually piecemeal, fragmentary and necessarily flawed way in which information is presented. But in most cases it is possible, I believe, to ascertain whether in fact a massacre was committed or an official cover-up produced. The first imperative is to find out what occured and then why, not as isolated events but as part of an unfolding history whose broad contours include one's own nation as an actor. The incoherence of the standard foreign policy analysis performed by apologists, strategists and planners is that it concentrates on others as the objects of a situation, rarely on "our" involvement and what it wrought. Even more rarely is it compared to a moral norm.

The goal of speaking the truth is, in so administered a mass society as ours, mainly to project a better state of affairs and one that corresponds more closely to a set of moral principles -- peace, reconciliation, abatement of suffering -- applied to the known facts. This has been called abduction by the American pragmatist philosopher C.S. Peirce, and has been used effectively by the celebrated contemporary intellectual Noam Chomsky (in Language & Mind, 1972). Certainly in writing and speaking, one's aim is not to show everyone how right one is but rather to induce a change in the moral climate whereby aggression is seen as such, the unjust punishment of peoples or individuals is either prevented or given up, the recognition of rights and democratic freedoms is established as a norm for everyone, not invidiously for a select few. . . .

Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming too controversial; you need the approval of a boss or an authority figure; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream . . .

For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. . . .

--Excerpt from the late Edward Said's chapter, "Speaking Truth to Power" in Representations of the Intellectual pp. 98-100.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Capra on Leonardo's Science

Fritjov Capra, author of several important books*, is now working on a new project to be published in 2007.
He's going to summarize the enormous mass of manuscript notes left by Leonardo aa Vinci with an eye for Leonardo's qualitative science of natural forms. This work has still not been digested. Here's an excerpt from Capra's home page about this work in progress:

"One hundred years before Galileo and Bacon, Leonardo developed a new scientific method, involving the systematic observation of nature, reasoning, drawing, and writing. Leonardo's approach is that of a painter. "Painting embraces within itself all forms of nature," he wrote, and he asserted that the science of painting involves the study of nature's forms. His systematic studies of living and nonliving forms amounted to a qualitative science, a science of patterns and processes.

Leonardo's exploration of patterns, interconnecting phenomena from a vast range of fields, can now be recognized as an early precursor of today's theories of complex living systems. This pioneering scientific work was virtually unknown during his lifetime and remained hidden for over two centuries after his death . . . "

* The Tao of Physics
* Uncommon Wisdom
* The Turning Point
* The Web of Life
* The Hidden Connections

More for Fritjov Capra's books here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Friedman's Upside Down World

Thomas Friedman, as you may unfortunately recall, is an opinion pundit for The New York Times and a major cheerleader for transnational capitalism. We've pointed out before why his widely reviewed book, The World is Flat is a work of almost malicious stupidity. Not surprisingly, he has not grasped such obvious criticisms of his views about the flat world of a global free market as progressive salvation. The essential error of his view is not that he describes the emerging flat world of global free exploitation, but rather that he prescribes this as the next Good News. He continues to publish this gospel of his toxic confusionism as the voice of capitalist common sense in The New York Times.

Let's look at a key example of Friedman's flat confusionism:

The fact that a top German politician has resorted to
attacking capitalism to win votes tells you just how
explosive the next decade in Western Europe could be,
as some of these aging, inflexible economies -- which
have grown used to six-week vacations and unemployment
insurance that is almost as good as having a job --
become more intimately integrated with Eastern Europe,
India and China in a flattening world.

To appreciate just how explosive, come to Bangalore,
India, the outsourcing capital of the world. The dirty
little secret is that India is taking work from Europe
or America not simply because of low wages. It is also
because Indians are ready to work harder and can do
anything from answering your phone to designing your
next airplane or car. They are not racing us to the
bottom. They are racing us to the top.

Indeed, there is a huge famine breaking out all over
India today, an incredible hunger. But it is not for
food. It is a hunger for opportunity that has been
pent up like volcanic lava under four decades of
socialism, and it's now just bursting out with India's
young generation.
[excerpt from Thomas Friedman's column in theNY Times, June 3, 2005. Thanks to C.B. for sending this in.]

Friedman has a flat mind, so well suited for a wannabee ideologue. Yet, his worldview is not so much "flat" as it is upside down:
Germany's advanced economy which (nevertheless! ah, subtle dialectics) affords leisure time, quality of life, and basic social services like education, health, retirement, and insurance -- this country Friedman views as a serious problem for some fetish idolatry called the "Economy"! On top of that, his inverted view must then place the suddenly superior and enviable country of India. Does he somehow bracket out and set aside India's poverty, unemployment, and lack of social services? No! These are included in his upside down view.
Capitalist progress means that Germany must become more like India. This is his flipped view of a "race to the top", a view which if we then turn his upside down world back the rightside up, is more reasonably called the "race to the bottom", a.k.a., one the most damning and critical problems for any cheerleader of globalized capitalism.

German quality of life must be overcome if we are to have economic progress, he insists. How so? By turning Germany into another India, where workers are "hungry" as he put it, desperate to do anything in order to survive, working longer and harder amidst surroundings thoroughly polluted by the byproducts of production, working without expectation of health care or retirement or the kids' education or even for a minimum wage.

This coming progress for the Economy is Friedman's capitalist Eden, wherein the European Adam & Eve, no longer fallen socialists, are now free from society -- that is to say, from community, communication, and the commons -- as free agents, temp workers responsible for their own education, medicine, and retirement, now fully privatized. This new ownership paradise in which the new Adam & Eve are given dominion over all others (and so in turn all other creatures are likewise given free reign to compete for dominion over them too) is in Friedman's view clearly heralded forth as the coming dawn of a flat world of Indias. Germany as India. France as India. England as India. America as India, etc, etc, etc.

The phase of the class war that is happening now shows that this view is no mere prophecy, ravings of a deluded Economic saint. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, fully underway. This gospel is being forced on us by every means available: altering and eliminating legal protections; deregulating sectors of the economy; privatizing the commons -- now including water and soon enough, air too; taxing the poor to subsidize corporations; censoring, spying on, and slandering critics; planting propaganda in the media; and covertly undermining nations that aren't playing the new game, i.e., Venezuela. Instead this war is sponsoring the Friedmans of the flat world.

This, too, is your brain gone flat: a world upside down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Orwellian Denials: See with your own eyes

Orwellian disinformation continues . . .

1. "The C.I.A. asked the Justice Department to open an investigation to find out who leaked information about a network of secret U.S.-run torture centers (known as "black sites") to the Washington Post. When asked about the prisons, President George W. Bush said, "We do not torture." U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley later clarified Bush's statement, suggesting that there were some cases in which torture is appropriate. "

Why isn't it the other way around by the way -- isn't the Justice Dept supposed to be investigating this CIA violation of the American Constitution? And does Bush really believe that we are that stupid? Are we?

2. "A former U.S. soldier named Jeff Englehart said that he witnessed "burned bodies, burned children, and burned women" after a white phosphorus attack on Fallujah in 2004. The United States Army denied that it had used white phosphorus in the attack. "

White phosphorus is the new jargon for napalm bombing which is illegal now. See with your own eyes the video below if you want to realize what is meant by Orwellian denials by the US Army. But be forewarned of graphic scenes of reality, including burned children.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Teaching Terrorism

Another warning sign of the times:

"The College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor specializing in global terrorism. . . ."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thick Headed Meditation

excerpt from LiveScience

Meditation alters brain patterns in ways that are likely permanent, scientists have known. But a new study shows key parts of the brain actually get thicker through the practice.

Brain imaging of regular working folks who meditate regularly revealed increased thickness in cortical regions related to sensory, auditory and visual perception, as well as internal perception -- the automatic monitoring of heart rate or breathing, for example.

The study also indicates that regular meditation may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex.

"What is most fascinating to me is the suggestion that meditation practice can change anyone's gray matter," said study team member Jeremy Gray, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale. "The study participants were people with jobs and families. They just meditated on average 40 minutes each day, you don't have to be a monk."

The research was led by Sara Lazar, assistant in psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital. It is detailed in the November issue of the journal NeuroReport.

The study involved a small number of people, just 20. All had extensive training in Buddhist Insight meditation. But the researchers say the results are significant.

Most of the brain regions identified to be changed through meditation were found in the right hemisphere, which is essential for sustaining attention. And attention is the focus of the meditation.
. . . .

New Voice of Environmental Movement

The New Face of Environmentalism

. . . .
By the time the final speaker addressed the crowd, people shuffled restlessly in their seats as a lone infant wailed. Van Jones, a tall, dark-skinned man wearing a "Kanye was right" T-shirt under his black blazer, seemed to have little in common with his audience of predominately white hippies. Feeling the energy in the room ebbing straight from the stage, he later said, Jones decided to throw out the talk he had planned to deliver about the work of his human-rights organization, the Ella Baker Center. Instead, he asked the name of the squalling baby. "Tavio," the mother replied.

"Tavio is a social entrepreneur," Jones said. "Tavio is changing the rules - see? Speak when you want to speak."

The crowd laughed, and Tavio's parents smiled beatifically.

Then Jones alluded to what he had heard from some of the other speakers that day. "They're calling out for us to be brave again," he said. "To break out of patterns, start breaking some rules, try some new stuff." He explicitly challenged the ponytailed speaker's notion that social entrepreneurs such as he are isolated heroes. Jones said he personally would be "babbling on a street corner" somewhere if not for the support of his colleagues. He instead insisted that each member of the audience had the potential to light a fire that could change the world.

Jones quickly involved others in his presentation by lobbing questions back at his audience; each raised hand signaled another person won over. "Is there anyone here who has a recurring dream that there's something you're supposed to be doing?" he asked. "You look at your journal and the same idea keeps coming back? Is there anyone here who ever swallowed hard and took a stand for something that you knew was unpopular? Has anybody in this room ever really, really screwed something up, and then tried again? Well, I would say if you answered yes to any of those questions, you are a social entrepreneur."

The activists hung on Jones' words, captivated by the potential that he described within each of them. He finished with an exhortation worthy of a revival: "Our species is struggling to live through you, through that dream, through that journal entry that keeps recurring," he said, his voice quivering with passion. "I beg you, I beg you, embrace that rule-breaking, life-affirming, risk-taking you that the world needs so desperately right now."

. . . .
{article continues at link above}

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Making France and Influencing Media

Making France and Influencing Media
by "Hoipolloi Cassidy"


". . .Fifty years ago, in a brilliant, premonitory book entitled France Against Herself, Herbert Luethy pointed out the incredible, contradictory existence of a fascist police state within an open, democratic society. This contradiction goes back to the French Revolution when the Republic, One and Indivisible, found it needed to reaffirm its uniqueness, its indivisibility and generosity by imprisoning, excluding or murdering off all who would threaten it, including of course its own children. A highly centralized authority balanced an iron repression of all non-assimilable elements with remarkable benevolence, arguing that it acted against a part of itself for the greater good of itself as a whole. The theories of a Robespierre are already colonialist: the "immigrant problem" is built into the French political system."

{continues to relate personal experience in France to the inexorable revolt there}

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Questions for Middle Class Professionals

Yesterday's bloggence was about a case of forced labor in Taiwan that ended in violence and deportation, in a situation where migrant workers' contracts are sometimes rewritten without consent, where sometimes most of their pay (already minimal) is substracted and withheld for miscellaneous unknown charges, where working conditions are sometimes unsafe and inhumane, where protests are met with private police forces and deportation -- while legal authorities look the other way, turn off their cell phones, and delete their emails. Surplus exploitation is not a farsighted way toward a happy society. It damages the exploiters along with the victims.

I would like to remind those same authorities that I too am a guest worker, and that when they come for me, that I have more access to media channels and lawyers and other forms of struggle that one shouldn't mention in a public forum.

The point here is not about me, but rather about the need for new types of workers' organizations and legal protections in a newly globalized economy. Guest workers, migrant labor, temp staff, immigrants, outsourced overseas labor, and so forth are the now dominant mode of production under globalization. If we continue to allow the most exploited workers at the bottom to be abused and punished, then we will never see progress at other socio-economic levels. But the introduction of human decency at the bottom will be a necessary prelude to much broader forms of fairness and happiness, perhaps even all the way to the top.

My questions today are directed to middle class professions:

  • Media professionals in Taiwan: Where is your camera pointing? Why not interview the workers?
  • Jurists and attorneys: Why don't you apply the laws? Isn't that what you profess to do?
  • Legislators: Are your current regulations of globalized capital sufficient to secure human rights?
  • Teachers: Why do you treat education as corporate job training rather than as exposure to truths?
  • Managers of capitalist enterprise: Why are you so unhappy?

Forced Labor & Slaves: 12,300,000 People

Today's bloggence points to the larger picture of surplus exploitation at the black market level of organized crime where it oddly overlaps with the surplus exploitation at the "legitimate" level of business as usual (or: see yesterday's bloggence).

Forced labor –a global menace

"Anna, now 21 years old, was born in the Ukrainian town of Kamenets-Podolsky, then still a part of the Soviet Union. During her early childhood, she led a typical family life and her basic needs were met. She lived with her mother and father, who was an engineer.

"Her life began to change radically in 1991, when socialism in the USSR was dismantled. Her entire town was plunged into poverty as the town’s main employer shut down. Her family was left jobless, until her father went to work for lower wages as a mason. The transition proved too much a shock for him and he died.

"With her family life destroyed, Anna became desperate. She struggled on until someone she had met offered her a job working at a hotel in another country. Anna accepted the position in hopes of finding a better life.

"Her dreams were dashed, however. After being taken abroad, and after a trip across a desert on a pickup truck, she was locked inside an apartment. There was no hotel job waiting for her, nor was there a hotel. Instead, she was raped up to nine times a day by different men who paid her captors for the sex. Anna had unwittingly become trapped in sex slavery.

Anna eventually escaped, according to the Chasing the Dream Project (, which published her story online. She was lucky. However, countless others around the world are not so lucky.

Forced labor is pervasive

At least 12.3 million people in the world today work in slave-like conditions — and, in many cases, in actual slavery — says a May 2005 report on forced labor by the International Labor Organization (ILO), a United Nations-affiliated group dedicated to labor rights around the world. . . ."

{article continue at link above}

Monday, November 07, 2005

Guest Workers Beaten in Taiwan

Cheated, beaten, and forcibly removed

Sunday, November 06, 2005

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

Would be genuinely funny if it were not also too true.
Thanks to C.B. for the link.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

China has worst air and water in the world

China's water crisis worst in the world: government official

Space photos show Beijing has worst air pollution in the world

The Cheney Plan to Rule the World

Concluding excerpt from David Armstrong's article in Harper's, Dick Cheney's Song of America (, which long before the war began exposed the neocon imperialist project to achieve total dominance over both enemies and allies:

"The Bush Administration and its loyal opposition seem not to grasp that the quests for dominance generate backlash. Those threatened with preemption may themselves launch preemptory strikes. And even those who are successfully "preempted" or dominated may object and find means to strike back. Pursuing such strategies may, paradoxically, result in greater factionalism and rivalry, precisely the things we seek to end.

Not all Americans share Colin Powell's desire to be "the bully on the block." In fact, some believe that by following a different path the United States has an opportunity to establish a more lasting security environment. As Dartmouth professors Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth wrote recently in Foreign Affairs, "Unipolarity makes it possible to be the global bully -- but it also offers the United States the luxury of being able to look beyond its immediate needs to its own, and the world's, long-term interests. . . . Magnanimity and restraint in the face of temptation are tenets of successful statecraft that have proved their worth. Perhaps, in short, we can achieve our desired ends by means other than global domination."