Over The Rainbow By Stephen Lendman (Ellen Brown)

By Stephen Lendman
May 22, 2009 “ICH”

This writer just completed a six-part series on Ellen Brown’s remarkable 2007 book titled “Web of Debt.” This article follows from it by picking up on the theme she struck, using L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as a combination parable, monetary allegory, and political manifesto for change at a time it’s most needed.

Published in 1900 as an American fairytale, it became a popular staple, later made into the classic 1939 film staring Judy Garland, the 1975 award-winning Broadway musical, The Wiz, featuring the first-ever all-black cast, followed by a hit film on the stage production.

As Brown explained, who would have thought this “charming tale….was drawn from that most obscure and tedious of subjects, banking and finance,” and (in the wrong hands) the chokehold they have on societies. Who understood that it was “all about people power, manifesting your dreams, (and) finding what you wanted in your own backyard.” Who also could have imagined that “the real-life folk heros who inspired (Baum’s) plot may have had the answer to” today’s global economic crisis.

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Capitalism Produces Rich Bankers, but Socialism Produces Happiness By Phillip Bannowsky

Dandelion Salad

By Phillip Bannowsky
May 25, 2009 “News Journal

Socialism is better than capitalism. So say 20 percent of Americans, and another 27 percent say they can’t say which is better, according to an April 9 Rasmussen poll.

There’s hope.

When you consider that virtually no newspaper, broadcaster, well-funded think tank, teacher, or anybody’s boss or commander ever said something nice about socialism, it’s remarkable that only 53 percent of us still favor rule by the moneyed class. Perhaps folks are learning how capitalism sacrifices happiness for individual gain.

As Billy Bragg exhorts us in his update of the socialist anthem “The Internationale”: “Stand up, all victims of oppression/for tyrants fear your might/Don’t cling so hard to your possessions/For you have nothing if you have no rights.”

No less a “capitalist tool” than Forbes Magazine let a red cat out of the bag with a report this month that the happiest countries tend to be Scandinavian socialist democracies. High per-capita GDP certainly plays a role in their felicity, but even social democratic New Zealand, with per-capita GDP only 64 percent of the United States’, ranks with the 10 democracies above us in the happiness index. They pay high taxes in these pinkotopias, but folks enjoy entitlements like free college, extensive elder care, and 52-week paid maternity leave.


via Capitalism Produces Rich Bankers, but Socialism Produces Happiness

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Hundreds ‘tortured’ in Iraqi prisons

Dandelion Salad

Mon, 25 May 2009 05:35:12 GMT

Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights has declared in a report that hundreds of people were tortured in Iraqi prisons last year.

According to the report published in Baghdad’s al-Sabbah newspaper Sunday, of the 306 cases of torture and abuse in Iraqi prisons, 107 took place in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has also declared that the torture or abuse of Iraqi prisoners is “routine and commonplace.”

The group said that detainees were suspended for long periods of time with their hands tied behind their back, routinely beaten with cables and metal rods and had shocks administered to their earlobes and genitals by security officers, DPA reported.


via Hundreds ‘tortured’ in Iraqi prisons.

h/t: CLG

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‘Clean’ Energy and Poisoned Water by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
May 25, 2009

In the musical “Urinetown,” a severe drought leaves the dwindling supplies of clean water in the hands of a corporation called Urine Good Company. Urine Good Company makes a fortune selling the precious commodity and running public toilets. It pays off politicians to ward off regulation and inspection. It uses the mechanisms of state control to repress an increasingly desperate and impoverished population. Continue reading

James Handley: Cap and trade won’t cut it

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Updated: May 27, 2009 added Pt 2


James Handley: Obama admin’s plan offers too much to Big Coal and Wall St to meaningfully cut emissions

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Mexico’s “war on drugs” employs army torture and police-state tactics

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By Rafael Azul and Kevin Kearney
25 May 2009

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission CNDH, an independent government agency, has reported that the Mexican army is torturing citizens just across the US border in its war on drug cartels. The report reveals a systematic practice of arbitrary detentions, beatings and electrical shocks against innocent citizens with no connection to the drug trade.

Continuing policies implemented under Bush, the Obama administration wholeheartedly supports the current military operations in Mexico. Since early 2007, the US government has provided millions in cash, military technology and military trainers, promising billions more in the coming years. Just a month before the latest torture revelations emerged, Obama described the US as a “full partner” in Mexico’s bloody drug war, sending “hundreds of federal agents along with high-tech surveillance equipment…to help Mexico fight the cartels,” the BBC reported.


via Mexico’s “war on drugs” employs army torture and police-state tactics

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The Crisis of Finance Capitalism By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on TPJmagazine
May 25, 2009

Among all of the others that we know of on Earth, the human species is unique in a number of ways.  One is that while members of other species certainly can communicate with each other in a variety of ways, including sound, we are the only one (as far as we know, and outside of Pixar films) that has a complex language.  We are unique in that we are the only one that for our survival needs to convert various elements found in our natural environment into more complex substances.  And so foodstuffs, raw meat, vegetables, grains and etc., become food.  Trees become wood, become shelter.  Iron ore becomes iron, becomes at first various tools and other implements, and then more complex things, especially when we make it into steel.  Thus the members of the other species can each take what they need for survival from the environment directly (assuming there is enough of it). If we are to survive, as individuals and as a species, ours needs to make the various elements that we find in the environment into a whole range of products made from those elements.

One term for the various modes of conversion from environmental elements into usable substances, structures, and so forth is “means of production.”  Because the existence of each of us is dependent on such means, without them, our species would quickly die out. Very early humans presumably did their own personal conversions, for themselves and/or their family units, of hunted and gathered foodstuffs into food, of trees into wood into shelter, of animal skins into clothing, and so on and so forth.  As those early humans began to organize themselves into social units, it certainly would have been possible for them to organize the control of the means of production so that it was shared in one way or another among all of the members of each social unit. But that is not what happened.

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To save planet, end capitalism, Morales says

Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly

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by Simon Butler
Green Left
9 May 2009

Bolivian President Evo Morales called a special press conference in New York on April 22. The UN general assembly had passed a motion put by Bolivia’s radical, pro-poor government to make that day “International Mother Earth Day”.

Morales said the 21st century must be dedicated to stopping environmental destruction and climate change, because “we are strangling the planet — strangling ourselves”.

Since his election in December 2005, Morales has stood out as one of the few world leaders prepared to argue for serious action towards a carbon-neutral economy. This is an essential move to prevent runaway climate change.

Morales said it was necessary to recognise that “we don’t own the planet [but rather] we belong to it”.

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