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Fascinating article by Thomas Barker- here is the conclusion.  Find the rest on Counterpunch.



As with so much of the racial tension in the United States, the origins of the present situation can be traced back to slavery. In his ground-breaking work on the American slave system, the historian John Blassingame has suggested that black passivity in the antebellum South existed primarily in the minds of whites—on the one hand, to justify white paternalism, and, on the other, to dispel the fear that they felt toward slaves: ‘Like a man whistling in the dark to bolster his courage, the white man had to portray the slave as [passive].’ Although, of course, much has changed since the transatlantic slave trade, there is no reason to suspect this ideology has been altogether vanquished. The underlying cause, it seems, is still fear – a fear which drives liberals to identify black victimhood only with the passive. However, fear does not only manifest itself as whistling in the dark, or in the lies told to maintain high spirits, but also in the clenched fist – poised, ready to defend. The liberal media’s bitter condemnation of black radicals as mindless killers is the expressive form of this anger, of this perceived insurgent threat. And so they should feel threatened – they have no stake in eliminating racial oppression. It is, simply put, not in their class-interest.

Though, of course, the Eric Garners and the Trayvon Martins of history are deserving of immense respect, and their murderers bitter condemnation, we must not be fooled into canonizing only those who the liberal media consider to be true victims. In the fight against racism in the US, it is frequently those who fight the hardest, who in every respect give their lives to the struggle, that are excluded from the liturgy of black victims. Indeed, such individuals are frequently portrayed as the opposite, as perpetrators of unjust violence. The ideology of black victimhood which predominates in the liberal media would have us believe that only the helpless can be victims – on the contrary, I argue that those who use violent methods in the struggle against racist oppression are victims nevertheless, and worthy of remembrance. To be sure, it is only through an appreciation of such individuals that a legitimate strategy for racial equality will emerge.

Remember Garner, yes. But also remember Little Bobby Hutton, Fred Hampton, and Malcolm X.


This guy is an elected official, and he’s serious.

earthblowingupI’m at the point in life where I’m not really all about saving the planet anymore.  Oh sure, I recycle, carpool when I can all of those little personal things one can do to be more “earth friendly” but until we reform our current ‘limitless growth paradigm’, we are well and truly screwed. Hence the reason why my Eco-consciousness is changing from saving the planet to hoping that the shit doesn’t hit the fan during my lifetime.

“At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world.

The paper contends that we have already crossed four “planetary boundaries.” They are the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean.”

Well that is all rainbows and unicorns, no? It gets worse…

“What the science has shown is that human activities — economic growth, technology, consumption — are destabilizing the global environment,” said Will Steffen, who holds appointments at the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Center and is the lead author of the paper.

“The researchers focused on nine separate planetary boundaries first identified by scientists in a 2009 paper. These boundaries set theoretical limits on changes to the environment, and include ozone depletion, freshwater use, ocean acidification, atmospheric aerosol pollution and the introduction of exotic chemicals and modified organisms.”

Well, four down five to go. We can do this, right?

[Source:Washington Post]


    Some beliefs are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them.  –  Sam Harris.

This is a dangerous quote from Mr.Harris because it muddles the line between action and intent.  How can there be any sort of dialogue when one faction can be singled out for death for nothing that they have done, but their beliefs.

Consider how easy it would be for opponents of US policy to follow this same doctrine – would they too be taking ethical action?

Harris, in this context, is not adding clarity to the complex problem of the interaction of secular and religious ideals.


Greek_legislative_election_2015_map.svg*Update – The election results are in.

There might be hope for the people of Greece in their upcoming elections.  Excerpts of an interview of Tariq Ali hosted by Kostas Vlahopoulos and Thomas Giourgas.

“3. What is your view of the current sociopolitical situation in Greece?

Tariq Ali: The situation is polarised. The fascists of Golden Dawn and the Conservative descendants of the wrong side in the Greek Civil war have the support of a sizeable section of the Greek population. This cannot be ignored and we do so at our peril. The emergence and growing support for SYRIZA (and PODEMOS in Spain) is the post positive development in Europe, but in order for it to move another step forward without moving backwards it will have to challenge the Greek oligarchs, confront the ship-owners mafia that owns the media, that pays few taxes, if any, and also to remove the tax free status of the Orthodox Church. Its not that the Church is poor. Its ownership of property makes the institution an oligarch in its own right. In the case of the ship-owners they must be compelled to pay taxes in retrospect so that the country can move forward economically again and start functioning properly. Such a move will annoy the more backward sections of the EU elite but will be popular in Europe as a whole and will lay the basis for a political battle with the Troika by splitting their supporters.



1. For the first time in Greek political history, a radical left party, SYRIZA, is the strong favorite to win the general elections taking place in January the 25th. What kind of reaction do you expect from the neo-liberal Europe and in particular from Germany?

Tariq Ali: If SYRIZA wins it will mark the beginnings of a fightback against austerity and neo-liberalism in Europe. Two concurrent processes will be in motion from the beginning of the victory. There will be a strong attempt by the EU elite led by Germany to try and tame SYRIZA via a combination of threats and concessions. The aim of this operation is simple. To try and split SYRIZA at a very early stage.

Secondly there will be a high level of expectation from SYRIZA’s electorate and beyond. Mass mobilizations will be extremely important to sustain the new government and push it to carry through the first necessary measures. The debt and the readjustment measures must be repudiated immediately before moving on to implement a plan that restores the social gains that have been achieved and are being dismantled by the Troika-led governments. The first three months will be decisive in terms of revealing the contours of the political and economic landscape envisaged by SYRIZA. Neo-liberalism can not be dismantled overnight but the will to do so must be paramount. Bandwagon careerists must not be allowed to sabotage what can and should be done

6. Financial markets are considered to be the omnipotent regulators of politics and democracy itself in some cases. Could it be possible for a left government to clash with market system within the capitalist framework?

Tariq Ali: Yes, that is what is on the agenda today and what the Bolivarian governments in South America have been doing for the last fifteen years with relative success. Market-fundamentalism has led to a sharp decline in democracy (Wolfgang Streek, the German sociologist has explained the process of decline very well in his books and essays) and the Wall Street crash of 2008. What is needed is a combination of regulation, state intervention to take back the public utilities and create and own industries that can help fund the former andsenhanced democracy on every level to ensure popular participation.

This can be our only minimum programme at the present moment.”

One can only hope that the push back against the neo-liberal tide will take root in Greece, blazing the trail for the rest of the EU to follow.

Orange    We can file this Orange Juice Fiasco safely under the heading of corporate conduct that manages to screw the consumer, adhere to the barest letter of the law, and be scandalously profitable all at same time!   Heuristically speaking, what the major orange juice producers are doing is considered the standard of corporate behaviour.  So when your right-wing friends tell you about how evil restrictive government policies/regulations are literally choking the life out of the (sacrosanct) market you can tell them about this orange juice story and watch them wiggle and squirm as they try to think of what combination of market theology/bombast will shut you the hell up.

“The cartons say “100% pure and natural.” But juice-drinkers who believe that premium juice is minimally processed and freshly made may find that their glass is only half full.

A joint investigation by CBC Marketplace and Radio-Canada’s L’épicerie reveals that much of the premium not-from-concentrate orange juice on the market, including juices from Tropicana, Simply Orange, Oasis and others, is highly processed and may be stored for several months before making its way to supermarket shelves.

That processing may keep the juice from spoiling, but it also strips the flavour, which has to be put back into the product to give the juice its orange flavour.

“If you’re paying premium thinking that it’s a fresh-squeezed product, then there is a problem there, because it’s not,” Alissa Hamilton, […]”

Not past your first cup of life yet, let me highlight the key point – Your premium “freshly squeezed” OJ has probably been stored in a vat for serveral months, in a flavourless, pasteurized state.  To make it palatable, they have to add orange concentrate back into the mix.   I know I’m jumping ahead here, but this is the gist of what is going on in the OJ industry.

“But many leading juice companies do not disclose, either in marketing or on the packaging, that they add natural flavour to juice.”

Whoops.   Not like consumers would need to know about that right?  It wouldn’t be like they were contradicting themselves or anything with the rest of the OJ label claiming to be “freshly squeezed”.

“Canadians spend almost $500 million a year on orange juice, including premium juice, which is often marketed as “fresh,” “pure,” “natural” and “not from concentrate.”

And that premium comes at, well, a premium.

“’Not from concentrate’ costs quite a bit more than ‘from concentrate,'” says Hamilton. “They’re trying to convince you that that’s because of the fresher product, that you should pay that much more.”

The Marketplace survey, conducted online by the polling firm EKOS in November 2014, also found that 62 per cent of Canadian orange juice drinkers said they believed that premium juice is fresher than juice made from concentrate, and 58 per cent say they believe it’s more natural.

In fact, 46 per cent were willing to pay more for these juices because they believe them to be more natural.

The survey involved English speakers who said they had bought or consumed orange juice in the last six months.

But Hamilton says that “what you’re getting back in these flavour packs is an engineered product.”

Shocked I tell you, just shocked am I about juice producers dishonestly labelling their products to make a buck.

“Flavour packs are made when fragrance companies take extracts from orange peel to reproduce the aroma and taste of freshly squeezed oranges.”

Mmmmmm…I love the taste of freshly squeezed flavour packs in the morning…

“Solange Doré, vice president of Lassonde Beverages Canada, which makes Oasis juices, told L’épicerie “these are flavours that come from the fruit, they are an integral part of the fruit. So, in essence they’ve been lost and we collect them and restore them.

“So we’re not adding synthetic flavours, it’s very important to understand that difference,” she said.

For that reason, juice companies don’t feel that the labelling is misleading and say that the packaging complies with existing regulations.

Coca-Cola, which owns popular brands Simply Orange and Minute Maid, told Marketplace in a statement, “orange oil and orange essence is extracted during juicing to capture the natural orange taste and aroma, which may be later blended back into the juice to ensure a consistent, fresh-squeezed taste.

“The amount of orange oil or orange essence that may be re-added to the juice is within the range that is commonly found in freshly squeezed orange juice,” the statement said.”

Well, there is the greasy technicality they are using to bilk you, gentle Canadian reader, out of your hard earned dollars.

The immoral of the story, as usual, with corporations is that greed and the bottom line take precedence over all other concerns.  Take heed conservative voters who think that deregulation and ‘cutting red tape’ are mega-fracking awesome ideas because this OJ debacle is only a minor jaunt into the world of corporate malfeasance.




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