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
Monday, June 27, 2016
Lauria is no anti-capitalist but he insists on discerning and telling the truth about political events as best he can. In this piece he reveals many cracks (including the Brexit vote), cracks that are usually never reported in US corporate media, that are appearing especially in European governing circles in relation to the US Empire's control over Europe and their anti-Russian campaign.
This evaluation of the Brexit vote and the British shadow government looks "spot on" as the Brits would say. He also reports receiving many loud complaints about a previous article entitled "Brexit and the diseased liberal mind" which exposed liberals in all their obscene pro-establishment nakedness.
This recent incident in Jordan highlights more evidence of the Empire's military support of terrorist armies that are trying to bring down the Syrian government.
Weapons from the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia intended for a Syrian rebel training program were stolen by Jordanian intelligence agents and sold on the black market, U.S. and Jordanian officials said in a joint investigation by Al-Jazeera and The New York Times....Just before my deadline I found this piece entitled "'Jordan Bad,' Officials Tell NYT - Pressure For A New Southern Front Attack?" from Moon of Alabama which adds more ramifications to this report.
Climate scientists have coolly established the mechanism by which a warming Arctic will accelerate the warming of the whole world. It’s simple: as the permafrost warms and dries, it will release ever greater quantities of carbon dioxide from the Arctic soils.
And those bits of tundra that warm, thaw and become increasingly soggy will release ever greater quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG) more short-lived but also a far more potent heat trap than CO2.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Sovietophobia remained strong in both the United States and Britain. British generals hated the Soviet Union, and did not hide their animosity. Churchill, who was no Roosevelt, had trouble hiding his fear of the Soviet "crocodile". In the British Foreign Office, not a bastion of Sovietophilia, officials worried about the raving British generals who could set back Anglo-Soviet relations by 100 years. Those officials were right to worry. If you start the clock in 1917, the centennial comes up next year, not exactly a date to celebrate.As I see it, the Grand Alliance that consisted of Britain, USA, and Soviet Union was solely an alliance of necessity that was held together only by their mutual interests to defeat Nazi Germany and its allies of Italy and Japan. This was in an era of a true multi-polar capitalist world in which a powerful Nazi Germany emerged due to the encouragement and support from capitalists of the other countries who saw Germany as a useful agent to destroy their non-capitalist nemesis, the Soviet Union. But when Germany threatened both the dominance of the British Empire and its ally USA, things dramatically changed.
Perhaps, the people in Moscow making Russian foreign policy should keep in mind the history of western-Soviet and western-Russian relations since 1917. With the partial exception of the Grand Alliance, this history is one of unrelenting western hostility toward Russia… before 1941 and after 1945. Let’s call it Acts 1 and 2 of the Cold War.
It all began when capitalists all over Europe and the US reacted with indifference to Germany's unilateral abrogation of many of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, the treaty concluded after WWI to constrain German militarism. The fascist powers first demonstrated their usefulness with their crushing of the leftist Spanish Republic in 1938 while the US, Britain, and France maintained strict neutrality. Soon they stood passively by as Germany went on to take control of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and finally Poland. Because the latter country had a mutual defense treaty with Britain, the latter formally declared war on Germany. What ensued over the next nine months was widely referred to as "the phony war" because Britain and France did nothing militarily against Germany. But then Germany made the great mistake of attacking Belgian, Holland, France, and Britain which greatly upset Western capitalists and threatened the British Empire.
The alliance began formally in January of 1942, but really didn't function seriously until after the winter of 1942-43 during which the Battle of Stalingrad saw the German armies decisively defeated by Russian forces. Only then did the US and Britain aid and collaborate with the Soviets, and opened a second front to defeat the Axis powers. Thus the alliance immediately fell apart after the conclusion of the war.
I don't pretend to have firm opinions about European political affairs, but it seems to me that this writer untangled some of the confusion about the attitudes of Britishers regarding the Brexit issue. In a nutshell voters were motivated by mainly two concerns 1) class politics combined with opposition to the anti-democratic European Union versus 2) what is essentially identity politics in relationship to the hordes of migrants swarming all over Europe to escape the trauma of living in the war zone of Syria and Iraq.
Essays which saw the winning vote motivated by #1 are the following:
- Brexit Shatters EU and Its Washington Bond
- UK after the rain
- US imperialism the BREXIT culprit
- Why the British Said No to Europe
- What Now for TTIP, CETA and UK Trade?
Cartalucci explains why Hezbollah and other countries are so heavily invested with the fighting in Syria against the proxy terrorist armies funded by the US and its regional allies.
Syria’s battle is Lebanon’s battle. It is also Iran’s battle, as well as Russia’s and even China’s. These nations do not support and defend the Syrian government out of an obligation to an ally alone. They do so with the realization of where the conflict will lead to later if not ended in Syria now.
This is precisely why Syria, Russia, Iran, and Lebanon – and to a lesser extent, China – cannot afford to abandon Syria. This is also why “assurances” from the US that if only “regime change” is accomplished in Syria, the conflict will end, cannot and should not be entertained.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of Russian General Staff, said that Russia’s patience is waning over the situation in Syria. ....
.... In an unusually harsh statement, John Kerry warned Russia on June 15 that US patience on the Syrian conflict and the fate of its President Bashar Assad was running out.
Absolutely excellent! Carley reviews the history of relations between the West and Russia/Soviet Union since the Russian Revolution of 1917 in order to provide an understanding to lessor informed minds about the present conflicts between the West and today's Russia.
I have read a considerable amount of this history, but Carley gives additional details to this history that I found absolutely fascinating. And he provides numerous original posters to illustrate this history.
Essentially this very accurate history suggests that the West regarded the Russian Revolution has bringing to power a system that was in extreme opposition to capitalism, a system that had provided capitalists in the West with so much wealth and power. The Soviet Union was the ultimate apostate that rejected private ownership of an economy--blasphemous to the religious-like devotion of capitalists to their system! This single event became a prime factor in understanding the rest of the history of the 20th century. In this 21st century the global domination agenda of the neoliberalist Empire does not tolerate any challenges from countries that aspire to be independent. It is this that drives the US-led Empire's aggressive actions against present day Russia (and China).
Because I don't want to burden readers of my blog with too much, I will post the second and concluding part tomorrow. But if you, like myself, are too curious to wait, here is the second part.
The author offers his views on the recent leaked State Department memo.
The so-called "rebels" backed by Washington are not only in a state of shambles, but are turning the guns supplied by the CIA and the Pentagon against each other.
The cease-fire, which the State Department dissidents claim to want to enforce through military escalation, has been used by Washington to funnel more weapons to the Islamist militias, reposition their forces and blunt the Russian-backed Syrian army offensive. It has not, however, succeeded in shifting the tide of battle in support of the Western-backed forces.
Thus the need for what the State Department operatives call “a more militarily assertive US role in Syria, ...."
Who knows how many parts this will have and the author ain't tellin'; but it appears to be most clever and amusing, and besides, we may learn a few things. It appears to be a self-parodying kind of thing combining elements of cults and hacktivist culture. While we are dedicated to figuring out how to stop the extinction of humans, we need a little break from time to time to amuse ourselves in order to maintain our sanity and restore our forces for the coming challenges.
Friday, June 24, 2016
Wow! Street give us so much in this rather lengthy review of musical production which is being heavily subsidized by the rich so that every kid in the New York area will see it. I can imagine that all the schools, especially the public schools, will be herding their students in mass to the local theater to attend this performance. It is a musical play done to rap music that transforms American history into pure capitalist indoctrination about one of the key "Founding Fathers", Alexander Hamilton.
Hamilton agreed with Jay that “those who own the country ought to govern it” – govern it in accord with their own specific class interests, sold as the general interest of “all classes of people.”In contrast to this fake version of American history, Street gives us the true history of the antidemocratic capitalist founders--and I bet that you never received this lesson in the schools you attended. He also sees Obama's presidential performance as essentially continuing this Hamiltonian love of the rich and powerful , but in a slicked up version that comes with a shiny veneer of virtuous concern for ordinary Americans. You see, the science of "public relations" did not exist back in Hamilton's day.
(Note: there is one slight error in his otherwise accurate history of the period. Ordinary revolutionary soldiers were paid in scrip called "Continental currency"--Street referred to this paper money as "bonds"--while officers, of wealthier backgrounds, were paid in gold. The British during the American Revolutionary War also printed up volumes of this money in order to undermine this currency. After the war as the soldiers returned home they found that this money was nearly worthless or about 5%-10% of its face value. In a desperate attempt to put their former economic lives together they began selling it at these rates in exchange for gold or silver. Meanwhile Hamilton and his friends decided that the new government under the Constitution would honor these scrips at face value, but they didn't let anyone know except their friends and relatives among the rich set. The latter made a killing on buying up this nearly worthless scrip and selling to the government at par value. So you see, our early "Founding Fathers" established a grand tradition of fleecing ordinary people of their wealth.
My history is based on books by Charles Beard, the noted historian and political scientist of the early 20th century, in his seminal work, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution, and his book entitled Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy.)
Once upon a time humans lived in small nomadic groups that supported themselves by hunting and gathering roots and fruits that nature supplied. Cooperation was essential for their survival. This type of existence last for the first 98% of nearly 200,000 years of humans as we know them today. In the last 2%, roughly around 10,000 years, many of these groups started to learn how to grow crops which enabled them to remain in one location.
This was revolutionary in that it marked the beginning what we now know as civilization: written language that could pass knowledge within and between human societies and to the next generations. Humans soon learned how to efficiently provide for their needs and to secure their safety from the hazards of nature.
Because they were poorly socialized or mutants (I don't really know), some humans soon realized that they could acquire all their material needs by the use of violence (or the threat of violence) and later deception. They soon took control of societies and evolved into ruling classes that dominated the rest of the cooperative humans. By evolving into nations with governments and all the trappings of laws, agents of enforcement, courts, these ruling classes transformed the more personal form of violence (or the threat of violence) into new and improved impersonal forms, often referred to as political power, and gave them a veneer of legitimacy. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Cartalucci in this essay describes how contemporary ruling classes called capitalists have perfected a third way to acquire power and wealth: induce with their wealth, or bribe, others to serve their interests. He focuses on one of the prime organizations, the National Endowment for Democracy, and illustrates how the capitalist ruling class has used this deceptive front organization to serve their interests of wealth and power in Thailand where he has lived for a number of years.
Supposedly liberal-progress NGOs around the world taking money from corporate-financiers, warmongers, and right-wing ideologues embodies perfectly the notion of a fraudulent front used to conceal criminal intentions under the guise of a noble cause.
Todhunter, who knows India very well having lived in the country for a number of years, gives us an illustration of how neoliberalism works its magic to plunder a country for the benefit of transnational corporations while leaving many people in dire poverty.
The long-term plan is for an urbanised India with a fraction of the population left in farming working on contracts for large suppliers and Wal-Mart-type supermarkets that offer highly processed, denutrified, genetically altered food contaminated with chemicals and grown in increasingly degraded soils according to an unsustainable model of agriculture that is less climate/drought resistant, less diverse and unable to achieve food security. This would be disastrous for farmers, public health and local livelihoods.
Well the Brits did vote to leave the European Union in spite of all the scary stories and threats. That could never have happened in the USA because our masters would manage the elections to produce a positive outcome (for them). Richter finds some people who claim that in Europe this vote will be ignored just like many others or until they vote right.
...Daiwa’s prediction that a Brexit vote may not lead to a Brexit is well-founded in the EU’s gloriously democratic history: referendum results when people voted the “wrong way” have been disposed of one way or the other every time.Also Bernhard of Moon of Alabama doesn't think that Brexit will be permitted by Empire masters in an article entitled "The #ReverseBrexit Campaign Has Begun".
Capitalists are very much like alcoholics who are experiencing the final stage of cirrhosis of the liver and told by their doctor that death would soon follow. Better informed capitalists know that they have been living off of the benefits of very cheap energy, fossil fuels, and they are only going to get much more expensive in the future. Meanwhile their system needs to grow or die--and they refuse to concede the latter. Much like alcoholics capitalists engage in various fantasies about new cheap fuel sources. Just in the past decade I remember two such forms that were widely publicized as the answer: hydrogen and fusion fuels, but I haven't heard anything about them for several years. Now we learn of this bionic leaf fuel source.
The wiser capitalists know that they cannot keep their enterprises expanding on a finite planet, so they also tend to fantasize about traveling to other planets. Billionaire Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has purchased his own space travel company, Blue Origin, complete with rockets and facilities apparently with this in mind. I imagine the fantasy must be that once they're through trashing this planet, Bezos and others will throw it in the cosmic dumpster, and head for another planet.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
I recently mentioned that I don't like to indulge in speculations about recent events, but there are major exceptions. I really do think it is important, even critically important, to speculate with reason and evidence about future major geopolitical actions of the "deep state". Because the deep state functions in secret in the various ruling class "think tanks" (the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, etc.) and secret agencies (CIA, NSA, etc.), we have no choice but to intelligently speculate on what this governing class directorate is going to do so that we can effectively respond.
We can only do this by examining the overt clues that corporate media supplies us with. I recently made an attempt to do this by considering two events that have received considerable coverage in corporate media: vigorous opposition to Donald Trump and the recent deliberate leak of State Department staff who advocate more aggressive actions against Syria. Cunningham focuses on the latter and the key role that Saudi Arabia has nefariously played in supporting the policies and actions of the US-led Empire's directorate. He makes a compelling case that the US ruling class directorate are likely to use a military effort to solve the Syrian crisis in the near future, probably under the next administration. This, of course, will put the US on a dangerous collision course with Russia.
Washington’s dissent on Syria is thus a signal for ramped-up war. It may be put on hold for a few months, but it seems almost certain that a wider war is being prepared. And that’s largely because US regime change objectives in Syria have been thwarted up to now. Failure begets petulance.
The writer makes a devastating attack on mainstream media which always defends business-as-usual and the capitalist trajectory that is leading us over the cliffs of a nuclear conflagration and climate destabilization. This may be radical politics 101, but we can't ignore reality: most people are so habituated to corporate media and naively believe that it offers an accurate lens on reality. Thus I see the final paragraph as an understatement of the year:
...relying on journalists in the corporate media, not least the BBC, to exercise such responsibility is a forlorn hope. We should reject the elite media which exists to serve elite interests. Instead, we need to develop and support alternative means of informing and empowering the public in the vital struggle for climate protection, peace and equality. [emphasis added]
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
"God, I love this guy!" That was my reaction after reading this article. With this piece Dolack rose in my pantheon of political thinkers to the very top. Read it and see what you think.
With the Pentagon and its NATO army testing and provoking the Russians on a daily basis and the advanced weapons of war that exist now and are on the planning boards, we who follow these terrifying events are more concerned than ever that capitalism will cause our extinction even earlier than Mother Nature will.
When we think of existential threats to our descendants’ world, we tend to focus on global warming, environmental degradation and the looming collapse of capitalist industrialism, of the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet. That is properly so, and these do seem to be the gravest challenges that will face us across the 21st century. But technology applied to perfecting military killing machines is within the human imagination. ....
...in a world of vast inequality, of an industrial and financial elite willing to do anything, even put the planet’s health at risk, for the sake of acquiring more wealth, the potential for evil applications of technology are ever present.
One more reason, if we didn’t already have enough, to bring into being a better world, one built for human need and environmental harmony rather than private profit. We then wouldn’t need to endure a mad pursuit of fetishized technological advancement; instead we could harness technology for the greater good as necessary. Barbarism remains the likely alternative.
I think this is an excellent descriptive summary of what occurred in this conference of Bernie activists--and Romer should be congratulated. That is the only thing that I can write in a positive sense about it. My immediate reactions: the conference was one part grieving over the loss of their hero in the primary elections and one part inspiration to move on--where to move on was left undecided, but it appears that most people left with this hopeful answer: we need to wait to see what Bernie says.(!)
Then I had some secondary reactions. I noticed that the attendees did not seem very representative of the vast numbers of Sanders' supporters--there was marked disproportionate number of older people in attendance. It was highly organized by the organizations of nurses, unionists, and professional liberals who imposed a top-down control of the convention. The latter people allowed the testimonies of "bottom" people to vent their sorrows as a way of "healing", as they would put it. But as I would put it, it was a method designed to defuse the grieving so that people could move on to the next stage which would be the necessity to support Hillary in the final presidential election.
This is "new politics"?! This political movement would be an hilarious joke if it didn't have such dire consequences for real change at the center of the Empire.
Why is it that many people who consider themselves left-wing have such difficulty grasping that the EU is a deeply reactionary institution? The mere fact that those running the EU present it as an internationalist venture dedicated to the creation of a world free of nationalist enmities does not make it so. If we want to examine the EU in its proper light, then we should ignore the high-flown rhetoric in which its supporters indulge, and consider its actual record. [emphasis added]
Evo Morales’ government has suffered two significant electoral setbacks in the past year and is currently mired in scandal, which has put its long term projections – planned for up to 2025 - into question. Why is one of the America’s most progressive government’s stumbling at this juncture?It appears that another left experiment, Bolivia and its MAS party movement, in South America is coming to an end like what has already happened in Argentina, and is happening in Venezuela and Brazil. Farthing attributes this to the usual reasons for reformist type movements to succeed over the long term:
Undoubtedly the MAS has lost sight of its original path in part because of the deals it cut with the wealthy landowners in the east. Increasingly the traditional elites don’t see the MAS as a threat, and in fact, as an ally in expanding the agricultural frontier. Political opportunists of every stripe have joined the party, as the state structure has always been perceived as a lucrative source of jobs and opportunities for corruption.Because these experiments in left-reformist governments never rid themselves of their capitalist sectors, I never held out much hope for them. They are compromised from the beginning and often with the collusion with capitalist ruling classes who see them as very co-optable (to use a new word that expresses a very useful concept). I believe their failures have implications for real political change: only revolutions that thoroughly replace capitalist ruling classes with bottom-up authority structures can be successful in the long run.
All this has seriously weakened the MAS and its original agenda, but allowed it to stay in power. Like so many others before them and so many yet come – in Bolivia and everywhere else, the MAS’s principal objective has transformed over time into staying in power. The rationale is familiar: retaining power is seen as the only way to ensure that the ‘process of change’ as the MAS agenda is called, will continue.
But I also think that it is true, as Soviet leaders like Lenin and Trotsky first realized, that a thorough anti-capitalist revolution in one country is not viable. The Soviet leaders knew that their chances of succeeding were slim if the Soviet revolution was not soon followed by a revolution in (especially) Germany. There was a German revolutionary party led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht that tried to take power in 1919, but they were assassinated and the movement was crushed.
Thus revolutionaries are left with only one promising solution. Only a fairly well coordinated series of revolutions in many countries can overcome the highly organized and managed international power of capitalism that is represented most aggressively by the US-led Empire.
Here's the latest report from the continuing protests and insurrections in France, and it appears they have spread to Belgium.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
In defense of its unjust and destructive system, capitalists must use massive amounts of deception to hide the grossest crimes they commit against the rest of humanity. This author sheds much light on their transformation of the most virulent class form of dominance, fascism, into mostly a curse word used against various opponents in order to hide this obscene intrinsic feature of capitalist class rule whenever this rule is threatened. And he explains what fascism really is:
...fascism is a social-political strategy or tool that is employed by big business, or the ruling capitalist class, to simultaneously pacify the discontented public and fend off radical, socialistic developments.
The 4th Amendment:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."The judges of the Supreme Court appointed by our masters in the ruling class have taken us down another step into the hell-hole of a police state. Recall that all of these Amendments known as the Bill of Rights were only added by the rich land speculators, owners of slave plantations, and merchants (all reverently referred to by many as the "Founding Fathers") after they met widespread opposition to their newly proposed Constitution (See my post and commentary here which provides much of the history) in order to get it ratified by the states.
Nissani doesn't just believe in exposing the lies of our masters in the Empire's ruling capitalist class, he likes to go on the offensive by bringing evidence to bear on conspiracies that suggest they are guilty of major crimes. This article provides an illustration.
Although I don't usually post articles that are speculative, he carefully constructs a case that our masters may be guilty of assassinating Jo Cox, a member of the British parliament, by examining patterns of past assassinations based on historical facts, and especially in the context of "cui bono" (who benefits). The examination of these patterns are, in themselves, worthy of our attention.
Nissani concludes his investigation with this statement:
For my part, I don’t claim to know who killed Jo Cox; I only know who the prime suspect is. A genuine investigation, it seems to me, would have started with this question: Who has been “helping” Tommy Mair? Sadly, this is the one question that will never be asked by our rulers and by their lackeys in the press, government, police, and fake dissident camp.