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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Identity Politics and Class Struggle

Click here to access article by Robin D. G. Kelley originally published in New Politics, winter of 1997, and now posted in libcom.org.

For some time I have attacked the limitations of identity politics (see this, and this) as a strategy encouraged by the capitalist ruling class to divert political resistance to their rule onto fairly harmless activities. Although in one article I tried to argue that I wasn't opposed to identity politics--indeed, I wrote that we all benefited from it--but it simply wasn't revolutionary. This post by Kelley gives a much more vigorous defense of identity politics that has modified my views on the subject.

Historically the capitalists have frequently used identity politics as a method to divide workers. For example, when I lived in Hawaii for five years in the 1970s, I learned the history of the big plantation owners that were engaged in sugar cane farming and sugar refining and how they learned to effectively pit one nationality of workers against others by playing them off against each other. They imported workers from numerous countries: Japan, China, Portugal, the Philippines, etc., and encouraged them to fight each other for favorable treatment by the owners. That still occurs, but nowadays more frequently capitalists prefer to keep politically active people engaged in identity politics. 

However engagement in identity politics can be very revolutionary if it serves to eliminate competition or adversarial relations between social identities so that the ruling class can no longer use it as a tool to divide us. I remember with some embarrassment in my past political activities that men thoroughly dominated anti-Vietnam War organizations. And for similar reasons, no African-Americans or Latinos participated. The activism was largely an all white, male dominated affair. There is still work to be done on social identity issues and I support such activities, but we also need to work together on class-based politics because that is the only way we will overcome the class-based theft of our creativity and hard work and the destruction of our planet.

While consciously pursuing revolutionary class politics we also need to be aware of the marked tendency of upper-middle class professionals to identify with the ruling capitalist class. Such people are very active on the web to suppress revolutionary thinking. They do this consciously to serve their masters in the ruling class or unconsciously because their political views are compromised due to the fear of losing their comfortable lifestyle. I've specifically targeted the issue in this post, to some extent in this post, and this is illustrated in the following post for today.

The CIA’s 60-Year History of Fake News: How the Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers

Click here to access a 32:38m video and transcript of an interview by Robert Scheer with Joel Whitney the author of a new book entitled Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers.

This is a particularly timely book because it illustrates how the CIA and other organs of the capitalist deep state intentionally practiced fake news operations over three decades following the end of WWII. Not that there wasn't fake news perpetrated by the capitalist ruling class before then, but it wasn't so intentionally and systematically practiced. The book also shows how easily highly educated and literate people of the upper middle class can be so easily induced with money to participate in programs which are intended to spread propaganda or fake news.

What the book doesn't deal with are the systematic attempts to issue fake news since this period. I've read several books by authors that claim that such systematic methods are no longer used because they are unnecessary: media corporations have been so thoroughly cleansed of genuine journalists who are dedicated to reporting reality, and the existing staff so thoroughly indoctrinated in the values and views of the Empire's capitalism that they have no problem with fake news.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

US Media’s Global Warming Denialism

Click here to access article by Jonathan Marshall from ConsortiumNews

This essay is an archetype of a liberal position on a major issue--climate destabilization. It implies that the problem is all Trump's fault; and if we had voted for Hillary Clinton, everything would be fine. 

Liberal capitalists hidden in the deep state, which really is in control of our fates, much prefer the deceptions of a Democratic Party rather than an open and honest Republican administration that promotes expansive, fossil-fuel dependent capitalist enterprise. Capitalists are very much like drug addicts: they only care about getting their next fix of profits, and to do that they must exercise maximum control over the rest of humanity and the planet. To get their next fix of profits, they must use a cheap source of energy; and fossil fuels (although becoming more expensive to obtain) supply that source rather abundantly. 

However, for decades scientists have been accumulating evidence that the fossil-fueled enterprises of capitalism are killing the biosphere on which human life (and many other creatures) depend.  It is clear to most sophisticated capitalists as well as scientists that renewable energy sources cannot supply the amounts of cheap energy that capitalist enterprises need to supply them with their drugs of profits and power. Like any hardcore addict, most capitalists simply deny reality. Thus the human designed capitalist system is on a collision course with the needs of the planet, and unfortunately the drug addicted capitalists are in control of our future. Guess who will win and who will lose.

There is a growing awareness that liberal capitalists, and their propagandists like Jonathan Marshall, serve the preservation of the system just like conservative capitalists do, but they do it much more deceptively. Many capitalists in the deep state are worried that the Trump administration's clumsy efforts will give away the ruse that the ruling capitalist class care about the future of humanity (or the present condition of humans outside their own class).

It's sad to see that Robert Parry, as a truth-seeker, honest journalist, and editor of this website, is going along with this ruse by posting such an article. He, along with so many upper middle class people who serve, or have served, the ruling class and their capitalist system so effectively, are so well indoctrinated in the tenets of capitalism that they cannot imagine any other way to live.

Consuming ourselves to death

by political cartoonist Stephanie McMillan posted on Cartoon Movement.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Five Ways Cybersecurity Will Suffer If Congress Repeals the FCC Privacy Rules

Click here to access article by Peter Eckersley and Jeremy Gillula from Electronic Frontier Foundation.
...last Thursday, Republicans in the Senate voted to repeal those rules. If the House of Representatives votes the same way and the rules are repealed, it’s pretty obvious that the results for American’s privacy will be disastrous.

But what many people don’t realize is that Americans’ cybersecurity is also at risk. That’s because privacy and security are two sides of the same coin: privacy is about controlling who has access to information about you, and security is how you maintain that control. You usually can’t break one without breaking the other, and that’s especially true in this context. To show how, here are five ways repealing the FCC’s privacy rules will weaken Americans’ cybersecurity.
The authors writing for this foundation are likely internet geeks who are bit challenged in their understanding of political reality. The last time I tried appealing to Congress to urge any action was when the Boland Amendment was being considered for passage in 1982. Our government during the Reagan administration was actively organizing and supporting a terrorist army known as the Contras that were based in nearby Honduras to sow chaos in Nicaragua (does this sound familiar?). About this time I had returned from a trip to Nicaragua where I saw schools and clinics funded by the Sandinista government that were attacked and destroyed by the Contras. I and many activists engaged in a massive campaign to inform Americans of this and succeeded in gaining overwhelming public opposition to our government's support of the Contras, and support for the Boland Amendment which prohibited such support.

Yes, this resolution passed, but ruling class operatives (mostly in the CIA) soon engineered other ways around Congressional authority to fund their terrorist army. They used the Contras to supply a burgeoning drug operation that saw massive amounts of cocaine imported into the US, primarily into the African-American ghettos of the large cities in the US. And they sold weapons to Iran.

This experience proved to be the last straw in my hope that working through the official, supposedly democratic, institutions could change anything. I had already lived through the Vietnam War and saw corporate media engage in massive disinformation campaign to hide the realities of that war. I had already lived through the assassinations of any public figure who tried to argue against our official policies. I became convinced that the only way to bring about significant change was through revolution and the overthrow of the real controllers of our society--the capitalist class. 

Modi, Yunus and the financial inclusion mafia

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

Modi is of course the prime minister of India and Yunus is a micro-lending banker in nearby Bangladesh. Häring connects these two figures with the World Bank, USAID, Citi Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Master Card, Omidyar Network (Paypal), and the United Nation Capital Development Fund which together conspire to use credit as a method to gain control and ownership over everything of worth in the world. The mafia-like scheme represents the latest capitalist class war against the poor and gullible workers of the world.
The war on cash that is currently being waged in India and other developing countries is the culmination of a "financial inclusion”-campaign originating in the US in the 1990s. The purported goal and the US institutions pushing the agenda are the same as in two earlier financial-inclusion-drives, which have been thoroughly discredited: the subprime mortgage banking frenzy in the US and the microcredit-hype around Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank. 

Gas From Israel And The Flynn Wiretapping - Behind The Deep-State Infighting Over The Trump Election

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama
What is really behind the deep-state infighting over the U.S. elections and the "wire tapping" of the Trump campaign? Why was the CIA-Neocon axis vehemently lobbying against Trump? What foreign interests and what money is involved in this? Answers to these questions are now emerging.
The author, who is noted for his expert sleuthing, has laid out a convincing real story that lies behind the fake news story issued by corporate media of the firing of the National Security Advisor under the Trump administration. 

VOTE: The 2017 Horace Greeley Award for Best Fake News Journalist

Click here to access article from 21st Century Wire.

This article gives you the opportunity to vote on the best fake news story that was issued by media corporations in recent years.
If you’ve been following this year’s Fake News Final Four at 21WIRE, you will have also heard about the prestigious award for the best individual fake news journalist or media personality, because to call some of these people journalists would be inappropriate.

Here are the Top 10 finalist nominees for the first annual Horace Greeley Award for Outstanding Work in Fake News Journalism…

Sunday, March 26, 2017

How US Flooded the World with Psyops

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews. (Editing for clarity at 5 PM Seattle time.)
Newly declassified documents from the Reagan presidential library help explain how the U.S. government developed its sophisticated psychological operations capabilities that – over the past three decades – have created an alternative reality both for people in targeted countries and for American citizens, a structure that expanded U.S. influence abroad and quieted dissent at home.
This article represents an excellent piece of investigative journalism from a journalist who has already achieved renown as a genuine independent journalist. He is an example of someone who must be a part of a citizen-funded independent alternative media organization that I suggested in a piece entitled "Some observations and solutions about the contemporary class war being waged (on us) by our capitalist ruling class". 

After studying government documents he received under FOIA, Parry reports on many systemic attempts in the 1980s to influence world opinion, both within the US and abroad, to support the many crimes committed by the capitalist directors of the US-led Empire. Propaganda and psyop programs were set up, some privately funded with close collaboration by hidden figures behind the facade of government, to insure that their crimes were hidden under a media barrage of fake "humanitarian" and "democratic" themes. It is clear from the current onslaught of anti-Putin and anti-Russian stories that are inflicted upon us daily that these programs have only gotten bigger. From my observations, corporate media, including the government chartered NPR and PBS, are almost exclusively publishing fake stories and censoring out real reports of any topic that is politically sensitive.

D. Rockefeller’s Gruesome Legacy

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook. (Editing for clarity at 5 PM Seattle time.)

Engdahl unwraps one of the capitalism's most secretive and powerful actors and finds the stench of a self-seeking misanthrope who devoted his entire life to satisfying his own excessive needs for power and wealth at the expense of untold number of lives across the globe. Instead of eulogizing such infantile behavior as corporate media has done, Engdahl tells the real, gruesome story of his life. 

Capitalism is a kind of religion that extols the merits of self-seeking behavior. To practice self-seeking they see the necessity to dominate and control others. Its adherents claim that the practice of self-seeking is beneficial to all. Of course, this is only a ruse to hide their ambitions to control everything in the world for their sole benefit. A capitalist has the personality development of a two year old child who is devoted entirely to its own satisfaction. 

Although capitalism as a system benefits only a few, capitalist ideologues indoctrinate all citizens in the goodness of this lifestyle from birth; and this influence continues throughout their lives in schools, corporate media, and entertainment. The end result is a full-spectrum ideological dominance over citizens to such an extent that people can no long imagine any other social-economic system in spite of the fact of the system's many deleterious effects (wars, poverty, environmental destruction, etc) on people all over our planet.

As our Empire's transnational ruling class is becoming desperate to maintain their objective of securing the entire world as their oyster, they are increasingly resorting to desperate measures that include full-spectrum surveillance of citizens and systematic propaganda and psyop programs to manage their consent to continue with the capitalists' obsession to obtain for themselves every last thing of value on the planet.

Democratic Party floats proposal for a palace coup

Click here to access article by Andre Damon from World Socialist Web Site.
Far from appealing to the broad popular opposition to Trump that began to erupt in the days after his inauguration, the Democratic Party is fixated on avoiding at all costs the emergence of a movement of the working masses. That is why it appeals to the military/intelligence apparatus and the corporate aristocracy in its struggle with the faction of the ruling class represented by Trump.

The war between the two is a war of liars between two deeply reactionary factions of the same capitalist elite. The Trump camp seeks to pursue a different approach in the drive of US imperialism for global hegemony—putting off for now war plans against Russia in order to focus US aggression first on China.

Both factions would drag the people of the United States and the world into a third world war, with the prospect of nuclear annihilation. And there is no difference between the two on the need to escalate the war against the working class.
I don't think that Friedman's open letter in the NY Times has all that much to do with the Democratic Party as it has more to do with the struggle of the two factions as argued in the above quote. As an illustration, the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act was rejected by a combination of both political parties even though its repeal has long been advocated by Republicans. Both factions of the ruling class simply did not think it was in their best interest to provoke more anti-government opposition, and instructed their puppets in Congress to vote accordingly.

The perfect consumer of capitalism's products

by British illustrator and animator Steve Cutts from his website.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Abby Martin & Lee Camp [of Redacted Tonight] Reveal The Truth Behind The Headlines

Listen/view via YouTube especially to Abbie Martin on Camp's Redacted Tonight's RT show discuss issues. Martin is featured during the first 16:20m of the 26:10m show.
In this episode of Redacted Tonight VIP, host Lee Camp interviews the one and only Abby Martin. Abby is a brilliant, cutting-edge investigative journalist and host of the Empire Files. She’s constantly speaking truth to power and calling out the US war machine and the failings of the corporate mainstream media. Lee and Abby discuss all of this, as well as the apartheid state that is Israel-Palestine. This is an interview not to be missed. In the second half of VIP, Lee discusses how the systems that rely on our ignorance are now trying to come up with ways to keep us dumb. He talks about the fast food industry. They’re trying to trick us into eating their food, even though most of us already know it’s poison. They’re trying to rebrand as healthy, even though they are everything but. 

Keeping the Myth and the Islamic State Alive

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.

The US Empire and its partners in war crimes (the medieval Gulf kingdoms, Turkey, and Israel) have employed a grand myth of Islamic terrorist armies acting independently to sow discord in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, as a propaganda cover to promote their sponsorship of these terrorist armies in order to overthrow the Syrian government. The success of Russia's injection of forces to support the Syrian government, at the latter's invitation, has threatened this myth and Empire propagandists, who control nearly all corporate media, have had to work overtime to invent new lies to prop up this myth. Cartalucci sums up this dilemma in the following paragraph and expands on the use of phony terrorist armies in the rest of the article. (I took the liberty to edit this paragraph to add greater clarity to it.)
...many of these groups face defeat within Syria, prompting their foreign sponsors into two courses of action: 1) posing as the forces responsible for their defeat as the US and Turkey are attempting to do amid their respective, illegal incursions into Syrian territory, and 2) creating a narrative to serve as cover for the evacuation and harboring of these militant groups elsewhere for future use.
Someone, who is an unidentified "military-diplomatic source", has likely exposed the second narrative of this propaganda: the semi-encirclement of Mosul by Empire's coalition of forces in this piece entitled "US, Saudis to grant 9,000 ISIS fighters free passage from Iraqi Mosul to Syria – source".

This grand myth is like all the other myths (War on Drugs, Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, 9/11, the assassinations of the John & Bobby Kennedy, ML King, etc.) promulgated by the Empire's corporate media. With the huge wealth that the transnational capitalist class has accumulated, they are now able to create whatever myths that support their criminal actions and have their media and entertainment corporations (even educational institutions) repeat endless narratives to support the myths until they become "reality" for most Americans. That is precisely why Karl Rove made that infamous statement shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. 
We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
Today the American people (and many others) are like Truman Burbank in the "Truman Show". At the beginning the character doesn't realize that his existence and notion of reality is thoroughly controlled by the show's directors. But towards the end Truman is starting to realize that his view of reality does not make sense, and eventually he escapes this artificial reality of the "show". I keep asking myself: can this happen to all the present day Trumans of the world?  

North Korea: The really serious options on the table

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online.

Escobar sees important changes both within, and between relations, in the following countries: China, Japan, the two Koreas, and the US that might bring about some major political change in the year or two ahead.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Russophobia – Symptom of US Implosion

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation
Unable to accept the reality that the governing structure of the US has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the people, that the people rebelled by electing an outsider in the form of business mogul-turned-politician Donald Trump, that the collapse of American traditional politics is due to the atrophy of its bankrupt capitalist economy over several decades – the ruling class have fabricated their own excuse for demise by blaming it all on Russia.

The American ruling class cannot accept, or come to terms, with the fact of systemic failure in their own political system.

A Tale of Two Cities: Aleppo and Mosul

Click here to access article by James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law from New Eastern Outlook.

After comparing the Empire's corporate media coverage of the two battle-scarred cities, he asks the obvious questions and reaches obvious conclusions.
Why does the western media not ask the obvious questions, such as how is it possible for these disparate terrorist groups to go on fighting for years, with limitless access to modern armaments? Or why are wounded terrorist fighters treated in Israeli and Turkish military hospitals and allowed to return to the fighting?

They avoid these questions for the reasons given above. It would expose the real reasons for US and their allies’ military intervention in the Middle East and their support for terrorist groups as an instrument of foreign policy. Promoting sectarian warfare is an essential component of that policy.

Those policies are unlikely to ever change as long as the media continues its role as essentially a propaganda outlet for unbalanced depictions of what is actually happening in the Syrian and Iraqi war zones. Aleppo and Mosul are but two illustrations of a wider process.
In another article posted in New Eastern Outlook, Tony Cartalucci provides more fuel to the increasing alternative media fire that exposes these phony terrorist army themes that the Empire's media are full of.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The United States of Cognitive Dissonance

Click here to access article by CJ Hopkins from CounterPunch.

Hopkins argues (maybe tongue-in-cheek) that Americans (and many in the world) are infected with a deadly mind disease called "cognitive dissonance". And he describes how this process works: (I have taken the liberty of changing the pronoun and corresponding verb.)
Imagine [yourself] strapped in a chair like Alex was in Clockwork Orange, barraged with images of frightening terrorists until [your] mind accepts them as “the enemy,” at which point “the enemy” is immediately switched, and now it’s Hitler that is coming to get [you], which, after a time, [you come] to accept (and [forget] the former terrorist “enemy”), at which point “the enemy” is switched once again, and now it’s Putin and the Russians who are after [you]. And so on … until [your] mind just snaps and surrenders to whatever official “reality” is being fed into it any given day. At which point [they] have rendered the subject [yourself] a totally compliant, scramble-headed, functionally psychotic member of society, whose attention span is about twenty seconds, and whose brain [they] can fill full of fancy pharmaceuticals to keep it from completely melting down in response to the stress of the cognitive dissonance that it has to deal with on a daily basis.
Are our fellow Americans really like this? Well, I know of some who fit this description, but others more skilled (and therefore employed and paid well) are simply following the orders of their capitalist masters and agents in order to feed their families and pay their next month's mortgage payment. Most of them don't believe such nonsense, but they feel that their only choice is to go along to get along. These people are well educated and indoctrinated to follow orders and thus are employed at living salaries to serve the capitalist ruling class in the latter's corporations. Possibly many other Americans who are employed as wage workers (if they are lucky) at less than living wages, and less skilled and less educated, are like this. I simply don't know. I do know that the key to the ruling class's success is dependent on the salaried workers willingness to serve the interests of their capitalist masters and agents.

Hopkins also observes that such conditioning seems to be tapering off, and he argues that this is because Trump's attackers can not come up with any proof to support some of their crazy notions about Trump. However, I think it is tapering off because Trump is slowly being turned (or intimidated) to support a dominate faction in Wall Street that is promoting an anti-Russian agenda.

We’re All Minorities Now

Click here to access article by Pam Martens and Russ Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

The authors ask:
How did a society that fought a brutal and bloody revolution to throw off the yoke of one percent rule end up where we find ourselves today?
My answer is that the people were lied to and fooled into supporting the new capitalist plunderers of America against the British monarchy.

The causes they list are simply effects that have developed ever since that capitalist American revolution.
...we believe the major causes are as follows: a highly consolidated corporate media that failed to tackle these issues with regularity and force; a timid Internal Revenue Service that was afraid to take on the billionaire class for setting up faux citizen front groups that drowned out the voice and views of real citizens; and, of course, an abjectly corrupt system of billionaire financing of political campaigns. 

Trump's military tower

by editorial cartoonist Joe Heller.