We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Genetics Is Giving Way to a New Science of Life

Click here to access article by Jonathan Latham, PhD from Independent Science News

I am not well qualified to comment on the merits of this article, but it makes a lot of intuitive sense to me. I hope that among my many readers there will be one or two, skilled in biological sciences, who will give their informed opinion about Latham's arguments in the comments section. I urge them to do so.

My intuitive understanding of the merits of Latham's arguments is based on my more skilled understanding of societies. They are quintessentially systems. However, ruling classes that arose several millennia ago through violence, the threat of violence, or some other threat to the welfare of their resistors have also played the same game by convincing their subjects that their rule and their ruling system was the legitimate locus of control over the entire society. 

After ruling classes took control, they then went to work on existing religions to insure that supporting myths were included to affirm their legitimate control of societies. In our more modern age ruling classes depend more on indoctrination agents that they use to staff educational institutions, book publishers, book authors, media, etc. to support their ideological version of social arrangements. Many political projects have been driven by the wealth and power benefits practically guaranteed to such ruling classes. It seems reasonable to suspecct the same is true of DNA as the focus of biological science today. The author hints at this explanation at the end of the article, and promises a more substantive explanation in the near future.
How is it that, if organisms are the principal objects of biological study, and the standard explanation of their origin and operation is so scientifically weak that it has to award DNA imaginary superpowers of “expression” and “control” to paper over the cracks, have scientists nevertheless clung to it? [emphasis in the original]
Why is it that, rather than celebrating and investing in Rashevsky, Kauffman, Noble, et al., as pioneers of necessary and potentially fruitful and unifying paradigms, have these researchers been ignored by mainstream biology?

What is the big attraction of genetic determinism?

A compelling and non-intuitive explanation for the monomania of biology does exist. It is set out in a second and forthcoming article: The Meaning of Life. It is an explanation that requires going behind the window dressing of science and examining its active and symbiotic relation to power in modern political systems.

Video: A Closing Prayer for Standing Rock’s Oceti Sakowin

Click here to access article by Jihan Hafiz from The Intercept.
“To me, it looks like 1890, Wounded Knee,” said an elder. “They were all probably standing there [police and military units]  like that before they started slaughtering our people.”

Now dispersed, the water protectors removed from Oceti Sakowin are regrouping in other protest camps near the pipeline. Meanwhile, court documents just filed by Energy Transfer Partners indicate that oil could be flowing in less than two weeks.
See also Unicorn Riot's coverage of the military assault on the Oceti protest encampment.

And the latest I could find on this assault is from the following RT video:

 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch

It looks like the neoconservative part of our deep state has scored a major victory by replacing Mike Flynn as National Security Advisor with H.R. McMaster according to Whitney's well argued essay. 

This is not surprising to me that a major and successful player at the capitalist game plays to his own interests even if by playing he cooperates with other power figures which he disagrees with. Winning in American capitalist culture is, to paraphrase noted sports figures, not only everything, it is the only thing that is worth doing. And "winning" in America is achieving wealth and power, the ability to dominate and control others, even torture or crush them if necessary to win. The winning rich and powerful have so thoroughly indoctrinated most of us in this ideology that we eagerly pack stadiums in the 100s of thousands every game day in hopes of seeing "our" team (owned by some rich guy) win, that is, thoroughly dominate, control, and even crush their opponents.

This same ethic of "winning" applies to our ruling class. The are out to dominate, even crush, opponents like Russia and China. Given that winning is the only thing, they will risk a nuclear war in order to "win". Now that Trump has moved from the "national league" to the "international league" he is beginning to learn a few new rules of winning at this level. I have no doubt that he will learn them, and "win" again depending on who puts enough pressure on him. Regardless of the outcome, the rest of us will lose, and lose big with even more deterioration of our nation's infrastructure, loss of more jobs, becoming ever deeper in debt, possibly even more wars, and more extreme weather events due to a destabilizing climate.

Donald Trump is only another human product of this system. He, like most of us, believes in the game, and has clearly demonstrated that he is a "winner". He is not only fabulously rich and powerful, he has a gorgeous trophy wife to prove it. We may not like him, but we must understand that he, like most of us, is only playing to the rules of the capitalist game. If we don't like the kind of people and the results that the game produces, we must collaborate with other like-minded people to change the system so that other rules and morals apply--rules which promote collaboration and cooperation, sustainable production so that everyone benefits, opportunities to participate in major decisions, and to foster some hope of a future for the generations of humans that follow us on our finite planet.

Review: A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA

Click here to access a review by Loren Goldner of Joshua Kurlantzick's new book posted on Insurgent Notes.

Although reading this article is made difficult in places due to long paragraphs, obscure references, and typos, it is a very important history of a major CIA operation that led to its rise as a formidable force to use in other areas where the capitalist ruling class has important interests. After reading this article and books like the Imperial Brain Trust, I'm starting to regard the CIA as a deep state that lies within the deep state of Empire "think tanks". And knowing that the book was authored by "a senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations (a major think tank of the deep state) who has published articles in the Economist, Time, the New Republic, Mother Jones and Rolling Stone", adds even more importance to the book.

Capitalist regimes always have a latent fascist component as an integral part of their class rule which surfaces whenever their control over a nation is sufficiently threatened. The disastrous Vietnam War and the strong domestic opposition to it created that threat. Although Nixon was elected in 1968 with a promise to end the war, he like all capitalist politicians lied to the American people. By massively extending the war secretly to nearby Laos and Cambodia, he still thought he could salvage some sort of victory or a least an "honorable" end to the war. Besides that interest, he and his ilk among the ruling class's functionaries resented all the young people who so vigorously opposed the war and wanted to take revenge on them by massively extending the war.

This resentment reminds me of the current ruling class's feeling about all the young people who supported Bernie Sanders' political campaign. Although there are differences, I think today we have a similar situation with so much opposition by young people to the Trump administration. The main difference is that the CIA has also launched a vigorous campaign in corporate media, which they control, to threaten and insure that the Trump administration follows their neoconservative imperial policies. Although CIA efforts appear to converge with the opposition and protests of young people which they seem to encourage, they are appearances only. Should the CIA be successful in aligning Trump's policies with theirs, you won't see anymore attacks on Trump in corporate media.

Trump's new jobs program

by editorial cartoonist Jimmy Margulies

Friday, February 24, 2017

Trump and Climate Catastrophe

Click here to access article by John Bellamy Foster from Monthly Review.
The alarm bells are ringing. The climate-change denialism of the Trump administration, coupled with its goal of maximizing fossil-fuel extraction and consumption at all costs, constitutes, in the words of Noam Chomsky, “almost a death knell for the human species.” As noted climatologist Michael E. Mann has declared, “I fear that this may be game over for the climate.”

Extreme Weather and Global Warming: News Abuse and The Enviornment

Click here to access article by Ruben Saucedo, a a mechanical engineering student at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, California.  
In the United States, the corporate media dictates public information which heavily impacts the public opinion.  Stories of little importance permeate coverage and relegate relevant issues that the country is currently facing.  In addition, important stories addressed by the corporate media are constantly obfuscated or hidden entirely for a multitude of corporate and political reasons.  The result is an uninformed or misinformed public, unaware of important issues that affect the world and the next generations.  In 2016, the corporate media ignored the critical connection between extreme weather and global warming while the independent media covered it.

In 2016, the independent media covered the correlation between extreme weather and global warming.
Although I don't know what grade I'd give to this paper (simply because I don't know what material he has studied), if I were Saucedo's academic advisor I would direct him to political sociology sources that could explain why corporate media are very selective in what they publish or broadcast. (In another post for today is an illustration of this type of censorship.) I would suggest books like Imperial Brain Trust by Shoup and Minter and other books on my list of recommended readings.

Such books and materials would explain to him what kind of a society that he lives in--something which humanity courses use to attempt to provide. It is no accident that humanity courses have been slashed from university budgets and cut from academic curricula. If students like Saucedo really understood the fragmented class nature of our society, the capitalist class domination of every institution in the US for self-serving purposes, and the critical nature of class rule under capitalism that provides private ownership over socially produced goods, services, ideas, and inventions, and that this capitalist regime (def. 2) gives enormous benefits in terms of wealth and power to this class, he might very well understand why the directors of this class would insure that media under their control would not publish or broadcast any content that might undermine their system.

I would also advise him that some media sources that appear to be "independent" are not so because they receive funding from capitalist class sources. Such information is usually carefully hidden from the public. This applies to Democracy Now which he believes is an independent media source. I would also advise him that the ruling capitalist class often fund people who appear to be independent to use them as gatekeepers of information to guide dissidents away from issues they regard as critical to the legitimacy of their rule and regime. This class will fund such "independent" gatekeepers in order to keep many dissidents away from knowledge about major crimes that they have committed in wars, their involvement with assassinations of major political figures, 9/11 and other terrorist events, etc. For example, "Democracy Now!" have never had anyone on their program who seriously questioned the official story of 9/11.

Of course, no one like me would be hired as a professor in any respectable institution of higher learning. I would have been (and was) filtered out long before even applying for such a faculty position. (Read Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt)

Pablo Escobar’s Son Reveals His Dad “Worked for the CIA Selling Cocaine” — Media Silent

Click here to access article by Claire Bernish from The Free Thought Project
Juan Pablo Escobar Henao, son of notorious Medellín cartel drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar, now says his father “worked for the CIA.”

In a new book, “Pablo Escobar In Fraganti,” Escobar, who lives under the pseudonym, Juan Sebastián Marroquín, explains his “father worked for the CIA selling cocaine to finance the fight against Communism in Central America.”

“The drug business is very different than what we dreamed,” he continues. “What the CIA was doing was buying the controls to get the drug into their country and getting a wonderful deal.”

“He did not make the money alone,” Marroquín elaborated in an interview, “but with US agencies that allowed him access to this money. He had direct relations with the CIA.”

Man as a product of capitalism

by British illustrator and animator Steve Cutts from his website.



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution

Click here to access article by CJ Hopkins from CounterPunch

Nowadays I see the term "deep-state" bandied about by writers who apparently have little idea of what it is, but they use it anyway likely because they want to impress readers that they have special knowledge. Often they use it as a synonym for the "intelligence" (spy) services which are spying on everyone including Americans. Hopkins actually defines what he means by the term.
The deep state, of course, is not a conspiracy. It is simply the interdependent network of structures where actual power resides (i.e., the military-industrial complex, multinational corporations, Wall Street, the corporate media, and so on). Its purpose is to maintain the stability of the system regardless of which party controls the government. These are the folks, when a president takes office, who show up and brief him on what is and isn’t “possible” given economic and political “realities.” .... It is a collection of military and intelligence officers, CEOs, corporate lobbyists, lawyers, bankers, politicians, power brokers, aides, advisers, and assorted other permanent members of the government and the corporate and financial classes. Just as presidents come and go, so do the individuals comprising the deep state, albeit on a longer rotation schedule. And, thus, it is not a monolithic entity. Like any other decentralized network, it contains contradictions, conflicts of interest. However, what remains a constant is the deep state’s commitment to preserving the system … which, in our case, that system is global Capitalism.
He continues on by using the term in many different contexts. but then he makes this sarcastic statement which I believe confuses the issue.
...this is a time for all loyal Americans to set aside their critical thinking and support democracy, the corporate media, and the NSA, and CIA, and the rest of the deep state (which doesn’t exist) as they take whatever measures are necessary to defend us from Putin’s diabolical plot to Nazify the United States and reenact the Holocaust for no discernible reason.
So, apparently the surveillance services and corporate media are not a part of the "deep state" as he uses the term. Logically it follows that the latter function independent of his definition of the "deep state". If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

Also, his definition declares that the "deep state, of course, is not a conspiracy". "Conspiracy" is also a confusing term, but most dictionary definitions declare that it means...
An agreement between two or more persons to engage jointly in an unlawful or criminal act ....
However, what if one believes that a certain group of people plan and engage in anti-social acts through deception (lies) and/or intimidation (loss of one's job, even threats to one's life--which is illegal) to further their own interests? Some people have applied the term "conspiracy" as describing the activities of the capitalist deep state, that is, hidden organizations of capitalists that have decisive influence over government decisions. The problem is that under the system of capitalism, capitalists make the laws and select the staff (of the legal sub-system) who favor their interests of profit and power. So, what capitalists do may or may not be entirely legal, but they rather easily get away with their planned activities anyway.

In an otherwise good article, I fault Hopkins for engaging in a bit of hubris by so glibly writing about the deep state. It is a major part of one grand deception engaged in by a socioeconomic class of people who benefit from the system of capitalism which provides them with so much wealth and power. Critical people throughout the history of its existence have been striving to understand how this mysterious, deceptive system works, and there is no one who has a perfect understanding.

Artificial Intelligence: Frankenstein or Capitalist Money Machine

Click here to access article by James Petras from Dissident Voice.
The fundamental questions that must be raised include: 1) AI [artificial intelligence], for whom?; 2) How are the productivity gains of AI to be distributed between capital and labor? 3) How are work time, income and pensions distributed between the owners of technology and the labor force?; and 4) What kinds of socio-economic activity does AI serve?
Artificial Intelligence and related technological innovations are financed, designed, controlled and ultimately applied by the major corporations and financial institutions in order to reduce the cost of labor and to enhance profits and competitiveness between capitalist rivals.

The bait and switch of public-private partnerships

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.
This being the age of public relations, the genteel term “public-private partnership” is used instead of corporate plunder. A “partnership” such deals may be, but it isn’t the public who gets the benefits.

We’ll be hearing more about so-called “public-private partnerships” in coming weeks because the new U.S. president, Donald Trump, is promoting these as the basis for a promised $1 trillion in new infrastructure investments. ....

Public-private partnerships are one of the surest ways of shoveling money into the gaping maws of corporate wallets, used, with varying names, by neoliberal governments around the world, particularly in Europe and North America. The result has been disastrous....

Trump plans tax cuts for the rich to create more jobs

by editorial cartoonist David Horsey.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How India became Bill Gates' guinea pig: A conspiracy as recounted by the main actors

Click here to access article by Norbert Häring (Germany) from his website. 

First, by way of explanation, he uses extensive quotes from a forum organized by the US Treasury Department like the following:
Speaking for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the “Financial Inclusion Forum” in Washington, organized by the Treasury Department and USAID on December 1, 2015, Bill Gates said (min 17):
"min 17" refers to roughly 17 minutes into the video recording of this extensive forum which he provides a link to.

I think Häring is being too cautious about being objective by labeling his views about the Gates driven "financial inclusion" system as a "conspiracy theory". As laid out in this detailed, compelling article, it seems obvious that our financial masters of the US-led Empire see in this new system a vast potential for tracking everybody via their transactions in that part of the world they control to serve their security and profit interests at the expense of our security and material needs. By tracking transactions through US banks and financial services companies, the system would also be accessible by US "security services" like the CIA, NSA, etc.

True to form in this age of public relations newspeak, they keep telling us ordinary people (and themselves) that it is for our own good. They use phrases like the following to describe the benefits of this system to us:
  • it makes financial services to the poor better
  • can furnish financial advice to the poor
  • financial empowerment for many people
  • expand affordable and safe access to financial services
  • to help people to a brighter and more secure future
  • getting the poor out of poverty 
Also, see Engdahl's take on the cash topic in my other post today. 

Washington's Dangerous War On Cash: What It's Really About

Click here to access a 57:05m interview with F. William Engdahl on Bonnie Faulner's Guns and Butter program posted on SoundCloud, a program from KPFA in Berkeley, California.

In the interview Engdahl, in addition to Häring in today's post, gives his views on India's withdrawal of some cash-notes from circulation, and then expands to other related topics that includes the following:
India withdraws 86% of the value of all currency in circulation; USAID; Project Catalyst; Global Innovation Exchange; Better Than Cash Alliance; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; UNICEF; UN Development Program; Mitre Corporation; the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA); Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); the larger global agenda of total control; ECB set up to favor Germany; Trade Czar Peter Navarro; US currency war aimed at destroying the Euro; US planned destruction of the Eurozone; glyphosate; fascism of EU bureaucracy in Brussels; assassination of Chairman of Deutsche Bank, Alfred Herrhausen; US emerging as the biggest tax haven in the world.
Engdahl gives some very important insights about how the leading US financial institutions are behind the drive to use economic weapons in order to maintain dominance over nations and people living in those nations controlled by the US-led Empire. It is important to understand that these financial institutions contain the most influential actors of the Empire's unaccountable and secretive deep state. They are sick people who are thoroughly addicted to profits and power, and unfortunately rule much of the world today. 

The Deep State Goes Shallow

Click here to access article by Edward Curtin from his blog. 
Trump’s fatal mistake was saying that he wanted to get along with Russia, that Putin was a good leader, and that he wanted to end the war against Syria and pull the U.S. back from foreign wars.  This was verboten.  And when he said nuclear war was absurd and would only result in nuclear conflagration, he had crossed the Rubicon.  That sealed his fate.  Misogyny, racism, support for Republican conservative positions on a host of issues – all fine.  Opposing foreign wars, especially with Russia – not fine.
Curtin sees liberals and conservatives coming together to denounce Trump for his heresy of wanting to get along with Russia. As such he sees only a unified deep state which may not be the case. Thus I think his "deep state" may be only scratching the surface of the real, very deep and secretive, deep state. But then, who knows at this time what reality really exists, and who and how many are really pulling the strings of the puppets on the "reality" show reported nightly over corporate media.

The bait and switch of public-private partnerships

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder
This being the age of public relations, the genteel term “public-private partnership” is used instead of corporate plunder. A “partnership” such deals may be, but it isn’t the public who gets the benefits.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

US Meddling in Ecuador Likely to Continue if Left Wins Election

Click here to access article by Eirik Vold from TeleSur.
U.S. meddling in Ecuador's politics is likely to continue, especially if President Rafael Correa's ally and former vice president, Lenin Moreno, wins the upcoming presidential election, an expert on U.S. intervention in the South American country told teleSUR. 
The author's English as demonstrated in this article is rather inadequate, but I think one can rather easily comprehend most of the history he has provided of the interference of the US in Ecuadorian elections, and the obvious US's ruling class interest in interfering with this one given this history, that of US general relations with Ecuador, and all other countries who haven't demonstrated sufficient compliance with US ruling class interests. Also the ruling class has the special interest of causing Julian Assange to be ejected from the Ecuadorian embassy in London if the conservative candidate wins the election.

The latest news regarding the election suggests that there is a suspicious delay going on regarding the results and that many Ecuadorians are upset. See this article from a US expat online media source entitled "Country is in crisis mode as it awaits election results: rumors swirl as crowds gather at election headquarters in Quito, Guayaquil".

Tom Brokaw Unwittingly Reveals Whats Wrong With Corporate Journalists

Jimmy Dore gives his sarcastic take on one of corporate media's most useful idiot talking heads in its ignominious history.

Monday, February 20, 2017

China and Trumpism: The Political Contradictions of Global Capitalism

Click here to access article by William I. Robinson from TeleSur. (My interpretation and commentary was edited for clarity around 6:30 PM Seattle time.)

This sociology professor at UC Santa Barbara offers his explanation of a world crisis that is both economic and political. 
The U.S. and Chinese economies are inextricably interwoven. They are less autonomous national economies than two key constituent parts of an integrated global economy. Trump has accused China of manipulating its currency, threatened to levy a 45 percent tariff on certain Chinese goods, and suggested he would use the “one China” policy as a bargaining tool in trade negotiations. Yet the simple fact is the TCC [transnational capitalist class] in both China and the United States are dependent on their expanding economic ties.
I think that the most valuable insight that Robinson offers is that there is a clash of factions within the transnational capitalist class (TCC) that inextricably links all member of this emerging class across all borders against more nationally oriented capitalists. In addition he explains that there is a difference in the orientation of US capitalists who manage the US economy solely on the basis of profits über alles and world dominance in contrast to China in which the Communist Party guides capitalist decisions by invoking additional criteria that serves a more harmonious relationship with other states. The latter faction, consisting of the BRIC states, is increasingly challenging the US Empire's faction which has constructed the framework of the post WWII international capitalist institutions and insured the dominance of US capitalists.
Trumpism encapsulates the conflicting economic and political pressures on the U.S. state. The crisis of global capitalism has become more acute in the face of economic stagnation and the rise of anti-globalization populism on both the left and the right of the political spectrum. Trumpism does not represent a break with capitalist globalization as much as a conflictive recomposition of political forces and ideological discourse as the crisis deepens and as international tensions reach new depths.
Regardless of how these struggles among capitalist factions work out, and they can only work against the interests of workers, only workers organized across borders can defeat the TCC, avoid further wars, and construct a system that can serve the vast majority of the people and function in harmony with nature.