Monday, July 18, 2011

Trained for Pain: Get your Torture Degree from School of Americas


It's been 30 years since Colombian soldiers kidnapped, beat, tortured, starved and electro-shocked Hector Aristizabal — but it's a memory he lives with everyday. Aristizabal said the Colombian military held and tortured him for ten days, all for having a "subversive book." "Few people have survived torture in Colombia, so I am very lucky to tell this story. Most people get tortured for ten days, that's the standard, and then they get shot and killed," said Aristizabal. "Many have been disappeared — more than 80,000." Aristizabal says that the Colombian soldiers who tortured him and later killed his brother were trained right here on American soil, at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. Retired Army Major Joseph Blair was an instructor at the School of the Americas, which has since been renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. "I was very much in favor of the School of the Americas during the Cold War era," Major Blair said. But Major Blair said he was horrified to learn of what his former students did with their anti-communist training in their own countries. "The classified manuals that the Army School of the Americas used had the words interrogate, extortion, assassinate, neutralize — in common layman's terms, it all equates to torture," Blair said. Graduates from the School of the Americas have been implicated in massacres and torture throughout the hemisphere — including the murder of six Jesuit priests and four American churchwomen in El Salvador.

Chavez, Trotsky, And Permanent Revolution

Chavez appears at public event, FOX News

Ailing President Hugo Chavez appeared cheerful here Thursday at an event to celebrate the bicentennial of Venezuelan independence, where he said that the socialist revolution he had led for 12 years is "eternal."

Dressed in a military uniform, Chavez made a brief televised speech in which he said that the cancer from which he is suffering had made him feel "a million times more love" for his people and for himself and he repeated that he is convinced he will win this "battle" against the often fatal disease.

Chavez returned to Venezuela on July 4 after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in Cuba, and since then he has adhered to a strict recovery plan, which he said on Wednesday has now entered a new phase during which it could be necessary for him to have radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

The Venezuelan leader swore that he will continue doing "everything that I may need to do" to win this "difficult" battle.

"I swear it a million times: I will live, we will live, for the fatherland, for life," he exclaimed.

"Our revolution that is now beginning the 21st century was born to transform itself into the eternal revolution, into the permanent revolution, into the perpetual revolution," he shouted.


Uneven and combined development affects not only the shape and pace of advance of the means of production of a society, but also the class structure. In the Russian case it meant a small and weak domestic capitalist class, heavily penetrated by external financiers, a colossal and repressive bureaucracy, and a freshly formed and small, but potentially powerful, urban working class.

This had implications for the coming Russian Revolution. The largest social group, the peasantry, lacked the cohesion or commonality of interest necessary to lead a revolution. It could play a revolutionary role only insomuch as it could connect to a revolutionary class in the cities. The bourgeoisie would not play a revolutionary role, because it feared and was antagonistic towards the working class that it oppressed and exploited.

This posed a problem for the country’s socialist movement, which was divided between its Bolshevik and Menshevik factions. For the Mensheviks, the coming revolution would be bourgeois in character. Therefore it would be made by the “democratic bourgeoisie”. Workers might assist as part of a democratic coalition of forces, but could at best act as a kind of ginger group assuring certain rights for workers in the ensuing democratic regime.13 The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, recognised the need for a militant struggle by workers. In their formulation there would be a “revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry” which would drive the revolution through. The proletariat would, according to this rather vague scenario, limit itself to the tasks appropriate to a bourgeois revolution.14 This formulation persisted until 1917, when, in the course of the revolution, Lenin won the Bolshevik Party (which Trotsky had by then joined) to a perspective remarkably similar to that of permanent revolution.15

For Trotsky the solution to the problems faced by Russia—an agrarian revolution to resolve the land question, the overthrow or Tsarism and the introduction of democracy, and so on—could only be brought about by workers. This struggle might begin with tasks common to the bourgeois revolutions of the past (the English Revolution of the 17th century or the French and American revolutions of the 18th), “but the principal driving force of the Russian Revolution is the proletariat, and that is why, so far as its methods are concerned, it is a proletarian revolution”.16 Faced with this, “the proletariat is driven by the internal progress of events towards hegemony over the peasantry and to the struggle for state power”.17 Having established a workers’ state, it was implausible to suggest that the workers would accept a self-denying ordnance and stop at purely “democratic” or “bourgeois” tasks. On the contrary, they would use their power to wrest economic, social and political control from the old ruling class.18

In other words, the revolution could pass directly over into a social revolution leading towards the establishment of socialism and becoming “permanent”.19 However, having made such a revolution the working class would face a potentially hostile mass of peasantry, who, having taken control of their land in alliance with the workers, would now have quite different interests. This would mean the eventual overturning of the revolution unless the workers could prove that socialism offered greater potential than private capitalist agriculture. But that meant accessing far greater material and cultural resources than were available in Russia. Successful revolution would again run up against the limits of the pre-requisites for socialism.

For Trotsky, the pre-requisites did not exist on the national terrain. He insisted on the international nature of revolution because the prerequisites only existed on a world scale. Russia must provide the prologue for the European, and ultimately the world, revolution.
As capitalism is an international system, connected both through imperialism and the world market, crises provoking revolutionary situations were likely to be regional or global in scale. The other dimension to the “permanence” of the Russian Revolution was, therefore, that revolutions would have to follow in major European countries. The revolutionary wave that followed 1917 was confirmation of the viability of Trotsky’s theory; the ultimate defeat of this wave, which paved the way for Stalinist counterrevolution, was, in a negative sense, also a confirmation.

The Handbook of Human Ownership - A Manual for New Tax Farmers


Hey -- seriously - congratulations on your new political post! 

If you are reading this, it means that you have ascended to the highest levels of government, so it's really, really important that you don't do or say anything stupid, and screw things up for the rest of us.

The first thing to remember is that you are a figurehead, about as relevant to the direction of the state as a hood ornament is to the direction of a car -- but you are a very important distraction, the "smiling face" of the fist of power. So hold your nose, kiss the babies, and just think how good you would look on a stamp.

Now, before we go into your media responsibilities, you must understand the true history of political power, so you don't accidentally act on the naive idealism you are required to project to the general public.

The reality of political power is very simple: bad farmers own crops and livestock -- good farmers own human beings...

Korea: Citizens’ tax revolution

The Tax Revolution Party (TRP), a citizen taxpayer organization, officially launched on Friday. They stated, “Tax justice is being severely compromised because of a tax system that one-sidedly favors conglomerates and the real estate tycoons, and the expedients they use.” TRP also announced the goals of “realizing participatory democracy and rectifying tax justice by placing direct political pressure on the government and politicians.”

The TRP has said that rather than being a political party, it would operate as a permanent organization like the U.S. organization MoveOn working to uphold citizen rights and set an agenda. The participants are passionate in their desire to effect financial reforms and realize tax justice. We look forward to seeing TRP set deep roots and serving as a catalyst for change in the framework of national finances.

Taxes are the fundamental reason that the Lee Myung-bak administration’s “Fair Society” campaign pledge rings hollow. The tax burden on high-income earners has dropped sharply due to tax cuts for the wealthy, and passing down property without taxes has persisted as people have evaded lax law enforcement. Low-income earners in need of assistance are driven into critical circumstances as budget monies become poured into construction projects and development, and even fiscal soundness is deteriorating.

~ more... ~

Every Day In Palestine

Another Palestinian protest in Nabi Saleh over the Israeli "expropriation" of its land and water, another tear-gas-fueled overreaction by IDF forces. Amidst the scuffles and hopeful handful of protesters chanting "We are peaceful" and "We need water" and the cluster, thank God, of cameras recording it all,  remember: somewhere in Palestine, it happens every day.

The Fountainhead of Satanism

By Joe Carter, On The Square

Over the past few years, Anton LaVey and his book The Satanic Bible has grown increasingly popular, selling thousands of new copies. His impact has been especially pronounced in our nation’s capital. One U.S. senator has publicly confessed to being a fan of the The Satanic Bible while another calls it his “foundation book.” On the other side of Congress, a representative speaks highly of LaVey and recommends that his staffers read the book.

A leading radio host called LaVey “brilliant” and quotations from the The Satanic Bible can be glimpsed on placards at political rallies. More recently, a respected theologian dared to criticize the founder of the Church of Satan in the pages of a religious and cultural journal and was roundly criticized by dozens of fellow Christians.

Surprisingly little concern, much less outrage, has erupted over this phenomenon. Shouldn’t we be appalled by the ascendancy of this evangelist of anti-Christian philosophy? Shouldn’t we all—especially we Christians—be mobilizing to counter the malevolent force of this man on our culture and politics?

As you’ve probably guessed by this point, I’m not really talking about LaVey but about his mentor, Ayn Rand. The ascendency of LaVey and his embrace by “conservative” leaders would indeed cause paroxysms of indignation. Yet, while the two figures’ philosophies are nearly identical, Rand appears to have received a pass. Why is that?

UK in Afghanistan-Double Standards


In this edition of Double Standards, Afshin Rattansi talks to a former British officer about the longest war in the US history and the destabilization of an oil super power in Latin America.

It is also presented how liberal papers in the West have drawn a bleak picture of Chavez. However, the man has been very effective to improve the situation in Venezuela. Indeed, he has removed poverty from the country very severely[sic].

Syntagma, Butler and the Power of the Performative


...An identity injunction hovers over Athens:” Gender, Democracy, Social harmony, Unity, Ethics and all the other huge structural state organs reeking of death for years have layed out their desperate arms. In today’s neo nihilistic repetitive, irrational, ultra-modern world, it’s easy to forget what inspiring actors human beings can be. If I empower myself to change and work on creative solutions together with others, perhaps through this collective singular exchange, P2P, a larger change is possible...




Embedded with Greece's Los Indignados

From Teacher Dude:



ART LIFE, THE FUTURISM REVOLUTION PROMO

ART LIFE, THE FUTURISM REVOLUTION
52 minutes - full HD. The first Futurist documentary on Futurism.

Reenactments, international scholars and critics, hitherto unpublished archive images and works of art.

A graphic opera, with new subjective and emotional viewpoint.

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti tells the story in the first person about the birth and evolution of the Futurist Movement and its visionary impact on art and society from the early Twentieth century until today.

Dynamicity. Simultaneity. Speed. This is how the docudrama tells the story about the Futurist Movement, focusing on the intensity of the communication in order to involve and surprise the spectator.

To Marinetti communication, in every form, was the fulcrum of the Futurist Avant-garde, the lever with which to revolutionize early Twentieth century society: every expression of creativity could be, and had to be, Futurist.

A true break with the past, illustrated with the works of the protagonists: from Boccioni to Balla, from Sant'Elia to Depero and the many others who joined the movement.

The representation of a cross section of the European society of the early years of the century, and the explosive impact the Movement had on thought and on art.

Israeli navy attacks intl. monitoring vessel in Gaza


Israeli gunboats attacked international activists and fishermen in Gaza. A press TV correspondent was injured during the attack. 

Press TV's Ashraf Shannon reports from Gaza.

Will British News of the World scandal really expose underlying corruption?-The Agenda

http://www.presstv.com/Program/189475.html

The topic of this edition of the show is the News of the World phone hacking scandal. 

The News of the World phone hacking scandal has taking the world by storm. The actions of a few investigative journalists have brought into question the lack of ethics in the mainstream media. The government's action or lack of action has been called into question.

Art Is Either Plagiarism Or Revolution


Kirk on Life is a Warhol-esque rant series that covers social and political issues using pop culture images as a form of expression.

What’s the Likelihood of the Singularity? Part Two: Uploading the Brain

This is the second part of my look at Charlie Stross’ three arguments against the Singularity. You can read part one here and part three here.

The second aspect of the Singularity that Stross takes a look at in his anti-Singularity arguments is the prospect of uploading the brain into a computer,which is a popular means in speculative fiction for a type of immortality. For three excellent fictional examples, see Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, or Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon. For a very bad one, see the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Schizoid Man.” In essence, though, the idea is that your memories, personality and “soul” if you will can be uploaded into a computer, then transferred to a robot body, a cloned body, a simulated environment, or whatever.

~ more... ~

Freemason arrest sanctioned

From The Voice Of Russia:


A committee in the Italian Parliament has sanctioned the arrest of the lawmaker from the governing People of Freedom party Alfonso Papa, who is wanted by prosecutors on charges of bribe-taking and setting up an illegal organization.

The ‘yes’ vote became possible after the committee members from the Northern League, which usually supports the People of Freedom, chose to abstain.

Mr Papa is believed to be a key figure in an illegal Masonic lodge. The cell is known as P-4.

Predicting future actions from human brain activity

From Kurzweil:

In yet another Minority Report scenario, researchers at The University of Western Ontario from The Centre for Brain and Mind can now determine the action a person was planning — moments before that action is actually executed.

Human subjects had their brain activity scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed one of three hand movements: grasping the top of an object, grasping the bottom of the object, or simply reaching out and touching the object.

“Being able to predict a human’s desired movements using brain signals takes us one step closer to using those signals to control prosthetic limbs in movement-impaired patient populations, like those who suffer from spinal cord injuries or locked-in syndrome,” said Jason Gallivan.

Ref.: J. C. Culham, Decoding Action Intentions from Preparatory Brain Activity in Human Parieto-Frontal Networks,Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (26): 9599 [DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0080-11.2011]


Protesters gather outside Bohemian Grove

By Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat

About 45 people showed up Wednesday near the entrance to the Bohemian Grove in Monte Rio, marking the first protest against the summer encampment of the wealthy and powerful Bohemians.


The protesters, whose presence was reported at 6:45 a.m., were standing on the right shoulder of the road and were not breaking any laws, CHP Officer Jon Sloat said.

“Everybody was peaceful and law-abiding,” he said.

Two CHP officers remained at the scene along with Sonoma County sheriff's deputies. By 11:45 a.m. the protesters were gone, he said.

Sloat said he did not know who had organized the protest,and protesters issued no public statement.

The encampment, expected to draw 2,400 male members and their guests, begins Friday and runs through July 31 at the Bohemian Club's 2,700-acre enclave along the Russian River.


The Great Global Debt Depression: It's All Greek To Me

By Andrew Gavin Marshall, Global Research

In late June of 2011, the Greek government passed another round of austerity measures, ostensibly aimed at getting Greece “back on track” to economic progress, but in reality, implementing a systematic program of ‘social genocide’ in the name of servicing an endless and illegitimate debt to foreign banks. Right on cue, protests and riots broke out in Athens against the draconian measures, and the state moved in to do what states do best: oppress the people with riot police, tear gas and bashing batons, leaving roughly 300 people injured.
 
Is Greece simply a case of a country full of lazy people who spent beyond their means and are now paying for their own decadence? Or, is there something much larger at stake – and at play – here? Greece is, in fact, a microcosm of the global economy: mired in excessive debt, economically ruined, increasingly politically repressive and socially explosive. This report takes a look at the case of the Greek debt crisis specifically, and places it within a wider global context. The conclusion is clear: what happens in Greece will happen here.
 
This report examines the Greek crisis, as well as the larger global economic crisis, including the origins of the housing bubble, the bailouts, the banks, and the major actors and institutions which will come to dominate the stage over the next decade in what will play out as ‘The Great Global Debt Depression.’



Welcome to the Police State

Time to rise up!


The world is being controlled by a select few with "power." It is up to us to create a better reality for everyone on this planet. The time to rise up against those who seek to oppress the public is NOW! Stay informed and show up at every protest you can! Start to organize your own demonstrations in your hometown, even if it's just you by yourself on a street corner with a sign. We can't afford to waste any more time! Get out there and make some change we can really believe in!

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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