Friday, August 26, 2011

violence may be invisible, but it remains inscribed in the very logic of our economic common sense

However tawdry their origins, the creation of new media of exchange – coinage appeared almost simultaneously in Greece, India, and China – appears to have had profound intellectual effects. Some have even gone so far as to argue that Greek philosophy was itself made possible by conceptual innovations introduced by coinage. The most remarkable pattern, though, is the emergence, in almost the exact times and places where one also sees the early spread of coinage, of what were to become modern world religions: prophetic Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, Taoism, and eventually, Islam. While the precise links are yet to be fully explored, in certain ways, these religions appear to have arisen in direct reaction to the logic of the market. To put the matter somewhat crudely: if one relegates a certain social space simply to the selfish acquisition of material things, it is almost inevitable that soon someone else will come to set aside another domain in which to preach that, from the perspective of ultimate values, material things are unimportant, and selfishness – or even the self – illusory.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Impacts 'more likely' to have spread life from Earth

Asteroid impacts on the Earth may have scattered more life-bearing debris to Mars, Jupiter or beyond our Solar System than previously thought.

Marriage and divorce 'up weight'

To some extent, marriages for women promote weight gains that may be large enough to pose a health risk

Friday, August 19, 2011

States are, after all, ultimately forms of violence

There is another factor here that is even less remarked, but I think equally important. Everyone knows that faced with a broad and potentially revolutionary coalition, any governments’ first move will be to try to split in it. Making concessions to placate the moderates while selectively criminalizing the radicals — this is Art of Governance 101. The US government, though, is in possession of a global empire constantly mobilized for war, and this gives it another option that most governments do not. Those running it can, pretty much any time they like, decide to ratchet up the level of violence overseas. This has proved a remarkably effective way to defuse social movements founded around domestic concerns. It seems no coincidence that the civil rights movement was followed by major political concessions and a rapid escalation of the war in Vietnam; that the anti-nuclear movement was followed by the abandonment of nuclear power and a ramping up of the Cold War, with Star Wars programs and proxy wars in Afghanistan and Central America; that the Global Justice Movement was followed by the collapse the Washington consensus and the War on Terror. As a result early SDS had to put aside its early emphasis on participatory democracy to become a mere anti-war movement; the anti-nuclear movement morphed into a nuclear freeze movement; the horizontal structures of DAN and PGA gave way to top-down mass organizations like ANSWER and UFPJ. From the point of view of government the military solution does have its risks. The whole thing can blow up in one’s face, as it did in Vietnam (hence the obsession, at least since the first Gulf War to design a war that was effectively protest-proof.) There is also always a small risk some miscalculation will accidentally trigger a nuclear Armageddon and destroy the planet. But these are risks politicians faced with civil unrest appear to have normally been more than willing to take — if only because directly democratic movements genuinely scare them, while anti-war movements are their preferred adversary. States are, after all, ultimately forms of violence. For them, changing the argument to one about violence is taking things back to their home turf, what they really prefer to talk about. Organizations designed either to wage, or to oppose, wars will always tend to be more hierarchically organized than those designed with almost anything else in mind. This is certainly what happened in the case of the anti-nuclear movement. While the anti-war mobilizations of the ‘80s turned out far larger numbers than Clamshell or Abalone ever had, but it also marked a return to marching along with signs, permitted rallies, and abandoning experiments with new forms of direct democracy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A globalization movement?

The phrase ‘anti-globalization movement’ is a coinage of the US media and activists have never felt comfortable with it. Insofar as this is a movement against anything, it’s against neoliberalism, which can be defined as a kind of market fundamentalism—or, better, market Stalinism—that holds there is only one possible direction for human historical development. The map is held by an elite of economists and corporate flacks, to whom must be ceded all power once held by institutions with any shred of democratic accountability; from now on it will be wielded largely through unelected treaty organizations like the IMF, WTO or NAFTA.

The empire of debt

The fact that we have cast such institutions in a language of freedom does not mean that what we now think of as economic freedom does not ultimately rest on a logic that has for most of human history been considered the very essence of slavery.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Investment Manager's View on the Top 1%

Unlike those in the lower half of the top 1%, those in the top half and, particularly, top 0.1%, can often borrow for almost nothing, keep profits and production overseas, hold personal assets in tax havens, ride out down markets and economies, and influence legislation in the U.S. They have access to the very best in accounting firms, tax and other attorneys, numerous consultants, private wealth managers, a network of other wealthy and powerful friends, lucrative business opportunities, and many other benefits. Most of those in the bottom half of the top 1% lack power and global flexibility and are essentially well-compensated workhorses for the top 0.5%, just like the bottom 99%. In my view, the American dream of striking it rich is merely a well-marketed fantasy that keeps the bottom 99.5% hoping for better and prevents social and political instability. The odds of getting into that top 0.5% are very slim and the door is kept firmly shut by those within it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Johan Galtung, Peace & Conflict Pioneer, on How to Stop Extremism that Fueled Shooting

So Breivik talks cultures where the Nazis talked race. But otherwise, the similarity is almost point to point.

But you see, then, when again you ask the question, "What does it remind you of?" there is a horrifying answer, which will be very difficult for Norway to process. This is exactly the ideology of the Washington-led attack on Muslim countries. There’s a civil war in Europe. It’s called "clash of civilizations,".... The road is greased by failed states and by local groups taking command those failed states, so that in these failed states, the local groups, be they Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, these groups can launch decisive attacks on the Christian Western mainland, and particularly then U.S. And 9/11 is then interpreted in that context. And point three, makes no sense to have any dialogue. These people, you cannot talk with them. Terrible as it is, the only language they understand is violence. Well, my country, Norway, is a part of that: sharpshooters in Afghanistan killing Taliban.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Individuals Tending to Savagery

MEXICO CITY -- An anti-technology group calling itself "Individuals Tending to Savagery" was responsible for a package bomb that injured two university professors just outside Mexico City, a prosecutor said Tuesday.The explosion at the Monterrey Technological Institute's campus in the State of Mexico on the outskirts of the capital Monday injured two professors, one of whom was involved in robotics research. Neither suffered life-threatening injuries.
"The ITS is a movement that, in accordance with its ideals, opposes any development of neo- or nanotechnology anywhere in the world, and they are linked to attacks in several different countries of Europe, including Spain and France," Castillo said.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monckton shows IPCC Pachauri is dishonest

Lord Monkton shows how Pachauri was told about bad graphs and dishonest conclusions but stills continues to ignore this advice.

Really amazing, because Lord Monckton asks Phil Jones if the warming trend is accelerating and he says no. He then asks additional climate body's, and they ALL state no! Then he asks the US scientists to evaluate the SAME data, and they state YES (in other words, the flat out lie!).

Climategate 'hide the decline' explained by Berkeley professor Richard A. Muller

Fraud by leading "scientists" of the global warming scam exposed.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thank climate change for the rise of humans

SOME claim climate change will destroy our species; now it seems it also helped forge it. The rapid fluctuations in temperature that characterised the global climate between 2 and 3 million years ago coincided with a golden age in human evolution.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is nothing sacred? The sad demise of Norway's "sex priest"

“Christendom, as propagated by the church,” he says, “has been more hostile to sex than any other religion,” leading directly to widespread rape, abuse, and general unhappiness.