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Gender: Male
Current location: NC
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,359

Journal Archives

Chris Hedges: Welcome to the Asylum


Welcome to the Asylum

Posted on Apr 30, 2012
By Chris Hedges

When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “At times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”

The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum.

When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive” societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.

The war on the Native Americans, like the wars waged by colonialists around the globe, was waged to eradicate not only a people but a competing ethic. The older form of human community was antithetical and hostile to capitalism, the primacy of the technological state and the demands of empire. This struggle between belief systems was not lost on Marx. “The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx” is a series of observations derived from Marx’s reading of works by historians and anthropologists. He took notes about the traditions, practices, social structure, economic systems and beliefs of numerous indigenous cultures targeted for destruction. Marx noted arcane details about the formation of Native American society, but also that “lands [were] owned by the tribes in common, while tenement-houses [were] owned jointly by their occupants.” He wrote of the Aztecs, “Commune tenure of lands; Life in large households composed of a number of related families.” He went on, “… reasons for believing they practiced communism in living in the household.” Native Americans, especially the Iroquois, provided the governing model for the union of the American colonies, and also proved vital to Marx and Engel’s vision of communism.


Risk of Mass Solidarity On May 1st: SEVERE


Risk of Mass Solidarity On May 1st: SEVERE

Posted 5 hours ago on April 27, 2012, 6:13 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

severe solidarity

In a move reminiscent of Bush era fear-mongering, the Obama Administration has released to corporate media a vague bulletin warning of possible terrorist attacks on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. While the actual date of bin Laden’s death is May 2nd, many media outlets (including the Huffington Post, Fox News, the New York Post, and Gothamist) have reported the date as May 1st. In reality, President Obama announced the successful mission just before midnight on May 1st EST, but bin Laden was killed on May 2nd Pakistan time. The Associated Press, who were the first to report the bulletin, correctly cite the date as May 2nd.

While both the FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security (who released the bulletin), as well as the White House and top NYPD officials, have said there are no “credible” or “specific” threats, New York Congressman Peter King told local media the public “might notice increased security” on May 1st. He went on to say, “Obviously if police or anyone questions you or asks you questions, understand why it’s being done.” The same day, DHS Secretary Napolitano told a Senate hearing that her agency was helping coordinate local policing efforts:

During a Senate hearing Wednesday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said DHS efforts "to get information, tools and resources out of Washington, D.C., and into the hands of state and local officials and first responders" have "led to significant advances" in protecting the homeland.

Meanwhile in Chicago, the Sun Times reports the head of the NATO Host Committee was “blindsided by the federal government’s decision to create a militarized ’Red Zone’ in the Loop [downtown Chicago]” weeks before the NATO summit, which is expecting massive protests from a coalition of Occupy, peace, labor, and immigration activists. The paper goes on to say (emphasis added):

The image of federal agents on downtown streets far from McCormick Place — in battle gear, weapons slung — three weeks before the summit is certain to have a chilling effect on those who live and work in the Loop. It also calls into question Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healey’s oft-repeated message that Chicago will remain “open for business” during the summit. [...]

The Federal Protective Service will deploy additional personnel beginning May 1, bringing in more people from out of town and outfitting them in “battle dress uniform.” They will be carrying “non-lethal” long guns — bean bag weapons — in a show of force that at the same time will allow people to move in and out of the zone freely, federal employees were told.

Just months after Obama signed the NDAA “indefinite detention” legislation into law, federal officials’ intentions to drastically increase security for May 1st conveniently coincide with the May Day General Strike in over 120 cities across the U.S. President Obama has already deported more immigrants than the Bush Administration; failed to close Guantanamo; continues to prosecute whistle-blower Pfc. Manning for taking an ethical stand by exposing horrendous U.S. war crimes; frequently invokes “state secrets” to carry out unaccountable, covert spying on U.S. residents; and continues the widespread use of unilateral drone strikes and targeted political assassinations. In response to the U.S. government’s escalating repression, thinly-veiled Islamophobia, and attempts to militarize our cities and borders while scapegoating immigrants, OccupyWallSt.org hereby issues our own warning: A Solidarity Warning to the 1% and their beneficiaries and bodyguards in government. The 99% will not be intimidated or divided. We will stand together and protect one another. We will not be terrorized. We will not be afraid.

Further, we reject any attempt to co-opt May Day -- an historic, international celebration of labor and immigrants rights -- by the government or media. For over a century, May Day has been a day of militant resistance against economic inequality. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the 1% used the imaginary threat of an immigrant-led Communist conspiracy to ensure May Day (which commemorates events in Chicago) would not become a federally-recognized holiday in the U.S., as it is in over 80 countries. Instead, they attempted to re-brand May 1st variously as Americanization Day, Loyalty Day, and Law Day. We must not let them do it again. Through the Red Scare to the War on Terror, we must honor the true history of May 1st. As we have seen countless times throughout history, we cannot rely on politicians from any political party to sincerely look out for our interests. They serve only the wealthy financial elite. We must stand together as the 99%.

However, we must also recognize that the State’s “anti-terrorism” efforts target particular communities within the 99%. This May Day, organizers are taking precautions to ensure the fullest protection possible for undocumented and/or criminalized communities who wish to exercise their right to free speech safely on May Day. See here for more information on ways everyone can take part in May Day festivities!
And remember: If you notice suspicious people in uniform carrying weapons or plotting to spread fear through well-coordinated violent attacks on civilians on May 1st, alert your local Occupy community. If you see something wrong with racism and vast income inequality defended by a militarized government in this country, say something with us in the streets this May Day!

Looming Crisis: Officials Close Gulf Waters to Shrimping As Reports of Deformed Seafood Intensify

Looming Crisis: Officials Close Gulf Waters to Shrimping As Reports of Deformed Seafood Intensify

Last edited Thu Apr 26, 2012, 03:41 PM USA/ET - Edit history (1)
Source: Energy News

State officials shut down shrimping in Gulf amid scientists finding deformities and ‘horrifying creatures’ — Media attributes closure to lesions, then retracts

Title: Looming Crisis: Officials Close Gulf Waters to Shrimping As Reports of Deformed Seafood Intensify
Source: Stuart H. Smith
Date: April 23, 2012

Alarmed by widespread reports of visibly sick, deformed seafood coming out of the Gulf of Mexico, state officials have closed area waters to shrimping this morning (April 23). The waters will be closed indefinitely as scientists run tests in an effort to get a handle on a situation that is fast becoming a full-blown crisis on the Gulf Coast.

The closures – including all waters in the Mississippi Sound, Mobile Bay, areas of Bon Secour, Wolf Bay and Little Lagoon – mark the first official step in responding to increasingly urgent reports from fishermen and scientists of grotesquely disfigured seafood from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.

I am deeply saddened but not surprised by the shrimping closures. I applaud the courageous move by state officials to put consumer safety first. There’s no doubt in my mind – as I’ve said for months on end – that seafood coming out of the Gulf of Mexico is unfit for human consumption.

Read more: http://enenews.com/state-officials-shut-down-shrimping-in-gulf-amid-scientists-finding-deformities-and-horrifying-creatures-media-attributes-closure-to-lesions-then-retracts

Activists Disrupt Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting

Activists Disrupt Wells Fargo Shareholders Meeting

by Aarti Shahani
April 25, 2012

April 25, 2012 from KQED Some Wells Fargo shareholders were arrested Tuesday after disrupting the annual meeting in San Francisco. They had bought shares specifically so they could attend the meeting and disrupt the proceedings. Their protest is part of a new strategy by the Occupy movement and housing activists to target corporations

Listen to the Story

Mitt Romney: man of the people (Tom Tomorrow)




Republicans want to put your boss in charge of your health care.

Is your boss a doctor? Probably not. And even if your boss IS a doctor, do you really want your boss deciding what kind of health care you’re able to get?

If Republicans get their way, you could be denied coverage for contraception or any other treatment your boss doesn’t feel like you should have.

Don’t let Republicans turn your boss into your doctor -- sign this petition now!

Ann Romney: 'I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice'


Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 09:55 AM PDT.

Ann Romney: 'I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice'
by Kaili Joy GrayFollow

Ann Romney, the hardest workin' hard worker ever and Mitt's "greatest asset" as well as his chief adviser on Stuff That Ladies Care AboutTM, continued her "I'm every woman" tour yesterday with an address to the bluest of the blue collars:

Romney told the audience at the Connecticut Republican Party’s Prescott Bush Awards Dinner in Stamford of the exhausting nature of the campaign and the unfairness of the news cycle.

Ann shared many harrowing tales of struggle, from having to watch her husband "not getting the proper treatment at times," to doing laundry. Because Mitt Romney's chief lady stuff adviser is quite certain that the best way for her to connect with the common (wo)man, is to continue insisting that she, the wife of a multi-millionaire, is just a regular mom with regular problems and regular struggles and she knows just how hard it is to raise a family on nothing but your husband's stock portfolio, the house your father-in-law the governor bought you, and today's equivalent of a couple hundred grand.

And then Ann shared this terribly empathic sentiment:

I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too. And sometimes life isn’t easy for any of us.

Knowledge Is Your Weapon: say NO to palm oil!


Op-Ed: Outrage as palm oil companies exterminate hundreds of orang-utans
ElizabethBy Elizabeth Batt
Mar 31, 2012

Banda Aceh - Devastating fires deliberately set by palm oil companies in Indonesia may have killed hundreds of Sumatran orang-utans. And the land grab means the creatures may have only weeks or a few months, before disappearing forever.

The fires are the latest move in a sickening and gut-wrenching war waged on orang-utans by palm oil companies over land in northern Indonesia, says the UK's Daily Mail.

Hundreds of the arboreal great apes, recognized by their reddish-brown hair and uniquely expressive faces, may have perished in the fires allegedly started by palm oil companies in the Tripa forest on the coast of Aceh province. It is one of the largest remaining populations of wild orangutans in the world.

More devastating, are the reported claims of palm oil employees forcing fleeing orang-utans back into the burning forest, to their deaths. An action, said Ian Singleton of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, that has cost the apes dearly. He told The Mail:

"It is no longer several years away, but just a few months or even weeks before this iconic creature disappears."

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/322150#ixzz1sJndiLvT





Send John Boehner a mutant shrimp picture


Send John Boehner a mutant shrimp picture

With mutant seafood devastating Gulf Coast fisheries, we are sending a picture of a mutant shrimp to Speaker John Boehner. We are including a petition telling Boehner to pass legislation mandating that fines paid by BP go toward clean up and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

Please, add your name to the picture and the petition. The Senate has already passed such legislation with overwhelming, bipartisan support, and it is time for the House to do the same

To Speaker John Boehner:

It is time for the House of Representatives to join the Senate in passing legislation mandating that fines paid by BP go toward clean up and restoration of the Gulf Coast.



Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 08:15 AM PDT.

"We've Never Seen Anything Like This" Mutations and Deformities in Gulf Seafood Post BP Spill

The words "We've never seen anything like it" are repeated by scientists, seafood processors and fishermen throughout the gulf region. A feature article from Al Jazeera English, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/04/201241682318260912.html
Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists, examines the alarming abnormalities turning up in fish, shrimp, crab and other species since the BP oil spill.

BP's Deepwater Horizon spill and the subsequent, unprecedented dump of toxic chemical dispersants has damaged fisheries and affected the genomes of gulf seafood.

Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
The Al Jazeera piece is a must read. I can't do it justice here with just a few paragraphs but here are some quotes from various fishers and scientists interviewed for the article. The eerily constant refrain of "we've never seen anything like this" runs through the piece.


Statement by President Clinton on the passing of Levon Helm

(posted at FB, not able to find a link)

Statement by President Clinton on the passing of Levon Helm

April 19, 2012 | New York, NY | Bill Clinton | Statements

“I was saddened to learn of the death of my fellow Arkansan Levon Helm. Levon was one of America’s great musicians. His music, with the Hawks, the Band, and throughout his career, and his standout performance in Coal Miner’s Daughter, touched a cord with me and with many Americans. He never forgot his roots. I was always grateful that he helped the annual Delta Blues Festival get off the ground. He will be deeply missed.”..
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