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 LappĂ©, Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Art of War: NATO’s Global Offensive

Click here to access article by Manlio Dinucci from Il Manifesto (Italian publication) via Global Research and translated into English. 

This Italian news source reveals to we Americans what US corporate media is not telling us: that our tax dollars are very busy at work maintaining the Empire's global operations.
No holiday this summer for NATO; it’s working overtime. In preparation for the Summit of Heads of State and Government on September 4-5 in Newport, Wales, NATO will set down the blueprint for ‘”strategic adaptation” for military initiatives directed against Russia.
As already announced by U.S. General Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, it “will cost money, time and effort.” 

Palestinians cram overcrowded UN shelter in Gaza

Click here to access article from AFP, a French news service, via Al Akhbar.

The report provides a disturbing picture of what life is like for Palestinians in one of 85 UN shelters:

Dozens of displaced Gaza families flooded into a UN school early Tuesday after Israel warned them to leave their homes, struggling to set up camp in a cramped, dirty courtyard.

Hundreds of homeless Gazans were already living there, with this school in the northern town of Jabalia packed to overflowing.

Rubbish piled up outside the school walls, filling the air with a foul stench, as women used brooms and muddy water to clean up their new accommodation -- festering classrooms packed with dirty mattresses and bedclothes.

Meanwhile, back at the "official" headquarters of the Empire, the US Congress, we learn what our Zionist-funded representatives are doing. 
As the civilian death toll in Gaza continues to climb, the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a symbolic resolution—backed by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee—blaming Hamas for the bloodshed and condemning them for the alleged use of "human shields."

The middle class is 20 percent poorer than it was in 1984

Click here to access article by Matt O'Brien from The Washington Post.

Referring to a recently released study by the Russell Sage Foundation, O'Brien writes:

Nostalgia is just about the only thing the middle class can still afford. That's because median wealth is about 20 percent lower today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was in 1984. 

Yes, that's three lost decades. ....

At this rate, it won't be long until the American Dream isn't even a memory for the middle class. 

The graph at the left says it all, except what Wolf Richter points out: "What the report wisely left untouched is how the real winners of the Fed’s policies, the 99.9th percentile, made out."

The NSA’s New Partner in Spying: Saudi Arabia’s Brutal State Police

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain from The Intercept.

It is often said that one can judge a person by the friends he/she has. If this is true and can be applied to ruling classes, then what are we to think of the US One Percent?
The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world’s most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency’s plans “to provide direct analytic and technical support” to the Saudis on “internal security” matters.

Mega Drought?

Click here to access article by Robert Hunziker from Dissident Voice.
Droughts are a natural part of the climate cycle. As a matter of fact, studies of tree rings going back 1,000 years show mega droughts lasting for decades. Then, nature alone was the culprit, but what happens now when global warming/climate change is superimposed onto nature’s handiwork?

Dirty Coal Exports Are a 'Global Shell Game'

Click here to access article by Deirdre Fulton from Common Dreams.
It is difficult to calculate exactly how much pollution results from U.S. coal exports. When it comes to new export terminals, such as those proposed in Oregon and Washington, the federal government has been reluctant to assess how coal that originates in the U.S. could contribute to global warming.
Here in the Northwest of the US, we are seeing a surge of mile long oil and coal trains going through our cities and plans to build coal export terminals to increase coal exports to Asia. Meanwhile, little is reported by local media about the ongoing protests against these operations which only increase global warming and risky disastors. Instead, most coverage is only about immediate effects on the local economy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Is the New BRICS Bank a Challenge to US Global Financial Power?

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of the discussion of this theme by liberal Michael Hudson and Marxist Leo Panitch monitored by Real News interviewer Paul Jay.

It seems to me that this discussion suggests the main difference between their two orientations: Hudson sees the BRIC attempts at independence from Anglo-American hegemony as dramatic and good for what they often see as a "multi-polar" world, while Panitch sees this development as only a new capitalist gang trying to assert more of their own capitalist interests within a world dominated by the US-led Empire gang. 

Many other liberals are also seeing the development of BRIC power and a multi-polar world as a solution to the present world crises, but Panitch correctly sees BRIC power as only serving another capitalist gang that wants basically the same thing as Empire ruling classes: exploitation of people and resources to promote their wealth and power. We have already seen the devastating results of inter-capitalist class competition in the last century. Surely, no one wants a repeat of that!!!

I've just listened to another interview given by Paul Jay with Patrick Bond of South Africa in which this distinction is made much clearer.

It's going to take a world-wide, organized opposition by the 99 Percent who must stop this capitalist train from driving all of us over the cliffs of climate destabilization, wars, and famine.

A struggle to save Europe’s soul from privatization

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.
It should be clear by now that the privatization process, in all its scandalous ugliness, is little more than an attempt to enclose the commons and extract as much value as possible from a country whose population has already been sucked dry by the European banking elite amidst a catastrophic four-year-old depression. Completing the privatizations is a prerequisite for the release of Greece’s bailout funds, and it is common knowledge that Troika officials have been playing a leading role in drafting up many of the plans in great detail.
However, there is active opposition growing among the Greek people who are fighting to keep their islands, their beaches, and their classic Greek heritage from being put up for sale. Roos provides the details. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

American Empire: Reaping What It Has Sown in Latin America

Click here to access article by xraymike79 from Collapse of Industrial Civilization.
...after destroying the means of survival for so many in Latin America, the poor and destitute turn to whatever means necessary in order to stay alive — crime, gangs, and the drug trade. The U.S. has reacted to this lawlessness by militarizing the “war on drugs”, providing even more weaponry and support to fascist governments who can then brutally squash any grassroots social movements which challenge the neoliberal capitalist order. It’s a vicious feedback loop in which the U.S. is forced to combat the very social disintegration of Latin America that U.S. economic policy has created. Thus, a fourth factor in America’s immigration crisis is the neocon militarization of the drug war and support of fascist governments aligned with U.S. corporate interests....
Because I am on a email list from Rights Action, I get nearly daily reports from their observers of all kinds of atrocities that people in Central America suffer at the hands of US and Canadian corporations, paramilitary armies, their corrupt governments, and occasionally direct US military actions. Very little of these reports are reflected in mainstream media. So, now we see the blow-back from such activities by recent sensational and highly distorted coverage of children fleeing these violence ridden countries and entering the US. Thus, as always, we get the blow-back without the "blow", and, as always, the American people are easily misled and manipulated by media owned by the ruling class that has perpetrated the atrocities. 

Do I need to state the obvious solution? Well, it seems that I do. The solution is: support those who are attempting to provide honest news by reputable journalists and other observers, and doing so with very little funding. Support and follow the websites listed on my website for starters. Although I spend four to five hours daily on my project, I don't need your financial support because I am retired with enough to live on. But, many other sites do need your support to simply exist.

Gen Dempsey: “We’re Pulling Out Our Cold War Military Plans Over Ukraine”

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit.
Hours after the U.S. State Department on Thursday claimed (though failed to describe) new evidence that Russia’s military was both increasing the flow of arms to rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine and firing artillery at Ukrainian Army positions across its border, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey elevated the rhetoric against Russian President Vladimir Putin and directly invoked the idea that a new Cold War-like posture is now being taken by the U.S. military.

Introducing Oligrapher: power mapping on LittleSis

Click here to access article by Kevin Connor from LittleSis Blog.
From Wikileaks to Edward Snowden to the rise of investigative media organizations like ProPublica and First Look there are some signs that a century after Brandeis and other muckrakers took it to J.P. Morgan, Standard Oil, and other monopolists, we are entering a new era of modern-day muckraking. This seems true even in spite of the extraordinary pressures on the field of journalism. And whether modern-day muckrakers are looking at the defense and intelligence apparatus, Wall Street, Big Oil, or some other industry or issue area, corrupt and cozy elite networks often end up at the center of the story. Some of the information dug up on these networks can be molded into a compelling narrative, and good stories will of course always be essential. But sometimes having another way to look at these connections and networks can be really helpful – that’s where Oligrapher comes in.

Israeli Comfort Women?

Click here to access article by Daniel Johnson from The Media Co-op (Canada).

The Israeli Defence Forces online social networking propaganda campaign, which so far has included government employees, youth groups and now a student grant for pro-Israeli spam trolling, has now taken a turn to the downright surreal on July 23, 2014, with the launch of the 'Standing With The IDF Facebook Group'.

Also, The Media Co-op is an excellent example of what people-powered journalism is all about. Canadian activists must be commended for bringing about this network from across Canada, and by activists who are committed to countering ruling class media with a media that supplies information that ordinary people need access to.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Science of Thought Control

Click here to access article by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, a retired psychiatrist and political refugee from Seattle and now living in New Zealand,  posted on her website The Most Revolutionary Act.
Prior to World War I politicians and businesses used facts and information to win votes or to persuade people to buy their products. When Woodrow Wilson hired him to run his Committee for Public Information to produce pro-World War I propaganda, Bernays incorporated Sigmund Freud’s theory that human behavior was based on unconscious instinctual drives. By appealing to these unconscious and irrational feelings, he succeeded in selling World War I to a profoundly isolationist American public.
It (the science of thought control) all started with the astounding success of a campaign launched during WWI to turn Americans from strong opposition to the war into supporters of US participation. American bankers had a huge investment riding on the success of the Allies in WWI, and they started worrying about outcome of the war and having their loans repaid. So, what to do? Well, what they did was to launch a vigorous pro-war campaign.  

The campaign went into high gear building on the sensationalism of the 1915 sinking of the Lusitania, a British luxury passenger ship, by German U-Boats because it was known by the Germans to be carrying munitions to Europe, but for some strange reason it was unknown to US passengers. Obviously, it was known to the British and should have been known to US agents.

Thinly Veiled Code for Genocide: Israel’s War of Attrition in Gaza

Click here to access article by Rob Urie from CounterPunch. 
...the Israeli pilots bombing Gaza today do so from safe distances and can tell themselves that they are bombing ‘targets’ rather than human beings. Left unsaid is that killing and maiming a civilian population to affect a political outcome is the definition of terrorism. This is the ‘practical’ purpose of the Israeli ‘human shield’ charge against Hamas— to shift culpability for terrorist violence onto its (Israel’s) victims.

The Colorado River Basin Has Lost Enough Water To Fill Lake Mead Twice Over

Click here to access article by Jeff Spross from ClimateProgress.
That’s the word from a new study by researchers at NASA and the University of California, who used satellite data to do a first-ever quantifiable measure of how much groundwater people in the American west and southwest have used up in the current spate of droughts.

The Human Rights Shop

Click here to access article by Mouwafak Chourbagui from CairoScene. [parody]
With his tongue firmly in his cheek, Mouwafak Chourbagui speaks to the owner of a new business that promises human rights in exchange for services, essentially breaking the glass ceiling of basic freedoms...

Tom Simmons – Money Is Our God [Satire]

Click here if you wish to access the posting on 2012 The Awakening.

Friday, July 25, 2014

'Witch Hunt': Fired MSNBC Contributor Speaks Out on Suppression of Israel-Palestine Debate

Click here to access article by Max Blumenthal from AlterNet. 

What liberals like Blumenthal and the disciplined NBC journalists fail to understand is that mainstream media is an organ of a ruling class in a class structured society. This media belongs to the ruling One Percent (owners of the economy and directors of their Empire) whose interests are often in opposition to the 99 Percent class of workers. 

Chris Hayes and others in mainstream media know this and quietly submit their on-air behavior to the dictates of their bosses. Perhaps Blumenthal knows this, but he, too, avoids mentioning the basic reality of this country in order to keep his job or avoid repercussions. Instead, it is much safer to wring one's hands at the awful behavior of NBC.  

These two journalists were not the first to go up against the One Percent's media and feel their wrath. Others include Ray Bonner, Gary Webb, Octavia Nasr, Helen Thomas, Eason Jordan, Peter Arnett, Phil Donahue, Ashleigh Banfield, Bill Maher, Ward Churchill, and Van Jones. How many fired, disciplined, and ruined careers of journalists does it take to understand this reality?

The solution, of course, is that we in the 99 Percent must take responsibility for establishing our own media as they appear to be doing in Spain, and to recruit and support truth-tellers such as the above journalists who are currently working for peanuts in current alternative media such as Boiling Frogs Post or The Greanville Post.

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

Click here to access article by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux from The Intercept.
The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place entire “categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.”
I can't help but wonder if this report wasn't deliberately leaked to frighten dissidents into more passive and ineffective means of resistance to the actions of the ruling class's government. Usually when they are genuinely concerned about a leak, there is an uproar, an investigation, and harassment of all those connected with the leaked report.

Still, it is useful for many people to know the details of what they might expect if they have reasonable suspicion that they are on the government's "watchlist" for terrorism. Also, it's useful for many liberals to know that the ruling class and their government, one which is supposedly "of, by, and for the people", must be afraid of the people--maybe even terrified of the people--to go to such an extent rather than relying on normal police procedures. Referring to the report, the authors write:
It reveals a confounding and convoluted system filled with exceptions to its own rules, and it relies on the elastic concept of “reasonable suspicion” as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat. Because the government tracks “suspected terrorists” as well as “known terrorists,” individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being a suspected terrorist, or if they are suspected of associating with people who are suspected of terrorism activity.
Obviously, what they are really afraid of is an organized opposition of the 99 Percent who might use violence against them. Violence is one thing they really understand because they are world's premier practitioners of violence. To take this document at face value, one would have to conclude that the government, especially those who control the government, are the real terrorists because they have a long record of using terrorism against many people in foreign lands in the forms of torture, drone warfare, direct invasions and bombings, etc. 
In general, TERRORISM and/or TERRORIST ACTIVITIES are acts that: (a) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure.... (b) appear intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking. This includes activities that facilitate or support....

Collapse of Ukraine Government: Prime Minister Yatsenyuk Resigns amidst Pressures Exerted by the IMF

Click here to access article by Michel Chossudovsky from Global Research. 

The right-wing supported oligarchic government in Ukraine has collapsed due to the failure of the parliament to approve two key IMF demands. The author discusses what the likely consequences are. 
President Poroshenko (left) has intimated that the resignation of the cabinet has paved the way for a process of meaningful political restructuring:  “Society wants a full reset of state authorities,” said Mr Poroshenko.
What is implied by Poroshenko’s statement is that the parliamentary process is slated to become defunct inasmuch as Rada is obligated to adopt the legislation demanded by the IMF and the European Union. And if the Rada does not adopt the legislation, the composition of the Parliament will be changed through a process of outright political manipulation.

Live Free or Die: Palestinian Unity Resurrected

Click here to access article from Muftah.
As the death count in Gaza crept even closer to 1000 today, it seemed the imprisoned, ghettoized residents of the Strip were more alone than ever. But their Palestinian brothers and sisters in Occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank sent them a strong and clear message tonight: Kill one, kill a million - our resistance will continue. #Palestine demands justice
Also, from Muftah, "Palestine: Is It Resistance or Not?"
I believe is the only meaningful question for understanding and stopping this nightmare and its inevitable recurrence: “Do Palestinians have a justifiable reason to resist Israel or not?”
It is the most basic of questions, but it is astonishingly unaddressed by the official discourse. Confronting this question would finally frame the arguments and narratives faithfully enough to make progress possible, and encourage a discourse that is not hijacked by unproductive, nonsensical, and defaming perspectives.

Israel/Palestine: Some Of What The Media Ignores

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust.
It doesn’t make me a supporter of Hamas if I point out how imbalanced the media coverage is and has been. It doesn’t make me a hater of Israel when I remind you of what’s not being said.
So, in the interest of provoking a more informed discussion, I’d like to share some of the crucial but neglected fact. Simply put, I feel it’s impossible to have a useful debate on the conflicts if you haven’t factored in the following realities: 
He then lists a number of realities conveniently missing from Zionist influenced media.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Large Corporations Seek U.S.–European ‘Free Trade Agreement’ to Further Global Dominance

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from AlterNet.

Although Marshall's headline suggests that he sees the Empire's aggressive pursuit of "free trade agreements" as a way to promote their agenda of global dominance, he doesn't supply much information in this article as to how a US-European trade agreement would promote their global dominance. Instead, he supplies a lot of views from trans-Atlantic ruling class figures and think tanks to justify and promote such an agreement while narrowly focusing on corporations and the benefits they would enjoy to the detriment of ordinary people.
Corporations are undertaking unprecedented drives for the accumulation of profit and power, promoting agendas and projects which re-shape the world in their image, treating governments as toys, the environment as an enemy, and impoverishing populations around the world. We are witnessing a transnational social engineering project, driven by large corporations, aimed at facilitating economic, financial, political and social consolidation into their hands.

Welcome to the era of Cosmopolitical Corporate Consolidation and Colonization.
Thus, he seems to miss the fact that global corporations are the engines of the US-led Empire's financial elites who are the key drivers behind the quest for global dominance. As globalists, of course they want to exploit cheap labor wherever they can find it, and want to reduce social costs to a minimum in their home countries. But what is missing is the reality of this capitalist gang's pursuit of global dominance to counter any opposition both domestically and internationally, especially competition from the rising economies of the BRIC countries which have shown far too much independence. 

As capitalist gangs come up against finite resource limits of the planet, the competition for resources and markets is becoming much more intense and dangerous. Hence, we are witnessing regional wars waged by powerful Empire sub-players such as Saudi Arabian led GCC and Israel to secure dominance in the Middle East along with the US Empire's subversion of Ukraine in opposition to Russia. Because Marshall's focus on corporations is too narrow, he misses the wider global geopolitical contest that is driving the Empire's quest for global dominance.

We cannot shop our way out of environmental crisis, ‘green’ or not

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder. 

Using Richard Smith's longer article, Dolack explores the deceptions that lie behind the ruling class's campaign to delude the public into believing that they can "have their cake and eat it, too". It's called "green capitalism". 
Trapped in an idealist mirage that capitalism can be “tamed” or “repurposed,” green capitalists, through seeking individual solutions to structural and systemic problems, not only miss the forest for the trees but leave the economic structure responsible untouched.

World breaks temperature record for June after hottest May

Click here to access article from the Associated Press via The Guardian.

Our planet continues to heat up while global capitalist ruling classes, who are addicted to power and wealth, continue to supply their profit engines with fossil fuels. Thus, we as a human race continue our march to catastrophic climate destabilization.

Israel’s War Against Gaza’s Women & Their Bodies

Click here to access article by David Sheen from Muftah. 

Sheen, a reporter for a liberal Israeli publication, provides more evidence in addition to what Jerome Roos reported in his recent article that, indeed, many Israelis are becoming dehumanized by their government's campaign of brutalization of Palestinians.
As Israel’s latest assault on Gaza enters its third week, the destructive force unleashed upon the Strip has taken a massive toll, leaving over 650 Palestinians dead, over 4,200 wounded – mostly civilians – and over a hundred thousand homeless. As Gaza is pummeled, the level of anti-Palestinian racist incitement from top Israeli political, religious and cultural figures continues to ring at peak pitch, and has taken on a dangerous misogynistic tone.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A chessboard drenched in blood

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online. 
The "policy" of the Empire of Chaos is clear, and multi-pronged; diversify the "pivot to Asia" by establishing a beachhead in Ukraine to sabotage trade between Europe and Russia; expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Ukraine; break the Russia-China strategic partnership; prevent by all means the trade/economic integration of Eurasia, from the Russia-Germany partnership to the New Silk Roads converging from China to the Ruhr; keep Europe under US hegemony. 
I thoroughly agree with his reference to a thesis advanced by Immanuel Wallerstein:
In this piece (in Spanish) Wallerstein argues that the Empire of Chaos simply can't accept its geopolitical decadence - and that's why it has become so dangerous. Restoring its hegemony in the world-system has become the supreme obsession; and that's where the whole "policy" that is an essential background to the MH17 tragedy reveals Ukraine as the definitive do or die battleground.

China Blasts "One-Sided Western Rush To Judge Russia" Over MH17

Click here to access article by Tyler Durden from Zero Hedge.

Durden has followed mainstream media in China to find their reaction to the current tragedy of the Malaysian Airline MH17.
China appears to have crossed the line, siding very clearly with Russia as they conclude, "It is yet another example of the power of Western opinion as a political tool."

Foundation of the US Empire: Axes of Evil

Click here to access article by James Petras posted on Boiling Frogs Post.
The US Empire, like previous ones, depends on a host of alliances and axes of power to sustain it and compensate for military, political and economic limitations in resources and personnel. With regard to the main region of direct US involvement, the Middle East, Washington has embraced three sets of alliances with partners who have played a paradoxical role in both sustaining and eroding the US Empire.
He analyzes the cost/benefits of each alliance to reach this conclusion about two of the most important:
The US political leadership, beholden to unconditional supporters of Israel, has committed the most damaging policies in US history. First and foremost, these elite-educated policymakers have degraded the entire economic dimensions of empire by pursuing a relentless military agenda – destroying oil producers, raising world prices, sowing instability and by bleeding the US Treasury of trillions of dollars – with few returns.
However, it is not only the empire’s alliance with Israel which is driving the empire to crisis. The Saudi-US axis has given immense power to the most retrograde satraps and barbaric armed insurgents running amok in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. An empire, associated with the most parasitic Arab ‘rentiers’ who send their own fanatical offspring to self-immolate for a head-beheading new world order has scarce resonance in the modern world.
An empire, organized around axes of evil and directed by political leaders loyal to satraps, has no material or moral foundations to justify its existence.