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, Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Saker interview with Jeff J. Brown

Click here to access article featuring a Saker interview with Jeff Brown from Saker's website, A bird's eye view of the Vineyard.
...now it is all very clear to me. Western colonialism, false flags and color revolutions have never stopped since 1492. The methods and instruments of destabilization, exploitation and resource extraction have simply adapted. Empire, with its capitalism, war and fascism, is a three-headed Hydra, and it is insatiable.

There is a titanic struggle for the soul of humanity, our survival as a species into the 21st century, and it is Western Empire versus China, Russia, BRICS, ALBA CELAC and NAM. It is Xi, Putin, Maduro, Castro, Correa, Kirchner, Zuma, Afwerki and all the hundreds of world leaders the West has assassinated or deposed, versus Obama, Cameron, Hollande, Merkel, Abe and their thousands of satraps in the hallowed hall of imperial power.
I've spent all morning on this rather lengthy interview being totally mesmerized by Brown's observations and impressed by his life experience. While reading this, I've wondered how I have missed his writing. I then did a search on my website and discovered that I did post another article of his back in February and rated it a "best post". Why I did not follow up with his subsequent articles from his website is a complete mystery to me. This time I will not fail to do so.

Because my knowledge and understanding of China's rise on the world stage using capitalist machinery governed by the Chinese Communist party is so weak, such articles as this help satisfy a ravenous appetite for such knowledge. China since Mao's demise has been a complete mystery to me. Combining a Communist Party with a capitalist engine has always seemed like an impossible feat and loaded with contradictions that would soon likely devolve into complete capitalist control and all that such a development implies. I'm still not convinced otherwise, but I continue to be impressed with China's leadership, and this interview by such a fascinating author has greatly amplified this impression.

Monday, May 25, 2015

ISIS Furious About 9/11 Conspiracy Theories!

Click here to access a 10 minute video and notes by James Corbett from his website. 

The title to this very interesting 10 minute video report do not do the contents justice. I think the really important parts are 1) an online slick magazine (PDF doc) that "ISIS" is publishing which provides an excellent illustration of why many people find it so laughable as to its authenticity, and it also serves up some very interesting propaganda about conspiracy theories; 2) some new additional material obtained from a secret PDF document (linked to here) that a right-wing website, Judicial Watch, obtained and which they used merely to smear the Obama administration and by extension Hillary Clinton. However, other people have scanned the report and found some very interesting material showing that US authorities had knowledge about the arms smuggling from Libya to Syria and that the US supported the overthrow of the Syrian government. 

How the White House plans to help the humble bee maintain its buzz

Click here to access article from The Washington Post.  

Read the article as background for this cartoon created by Gregory Crawford and posted on World News Trust. It shows Obama working for "Big Everything" by posing as an environmentalist to distract people while his bosses go to work on Congress. The cartoon illustrates that our masters knew what they were doing when they promoted Obama to be president.

Ice and the Sky review – powerful eco doc fronts up to climate change deniers

Click here to access this film review by Andrew Pulver from The Guardian.
...Jacquet returns to the Antarctic to tell the life story of climatologist Claude Lorius, now in his 80s, who has spent his life drilling out ice cores at enormous depth, and whose resulting analysis proved key in linking climate change and “greenhouse” gases.
Jacquet presents his film very much as a head-on challenge to climate change deniers: by simply talking us through Lorius’s career, and the progress of his work, we understand the methodical processes by which he came to his conclusions. Essentially, it’s a rebuttal to background-noise deniers’ complaints about flawed science: Lorius says what he found, and what it means, with calm, unflappable detachment. 
The author concludes his review with this statement:
Jacquet’s film is ... a call to arms to the environmental movement destabilised and buffeted by the denial industry. Ice and the Sky ends with a direct challenge to the viewer: “Now that you know, what are you going to do?” What, indeed. This is a powerful testament, and one that ought to have a considerable impact.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from Insurge Intelligence.

The evidence keeps mounting that US intelligence agencies knew that the Islamic State was going  to appear in the area, and then the Empire intentionally supported them in an effort to destabilize the Assad government in Syria. 
A declassified secret US government document obtained by the conservative public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

The document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Ramadi and America’s Fracturing of Iraq

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from Stop Imperialism. 

Draitser also supports independent journalist Pepe Escobar's apt label for the US-led capitalist Empire as being an Empire of Chaos in the sense that their policies intentionally promote chaos. Together with the cultivation of sect rivalries, the Empire and its head-chopping allies support terrorist armies in order to promote their objective of political fragmentation of the area, a favorite imperial policy of "divide and conquer".
Since the US campaign against the group in Iraq began, there have been countless media reports of US weapons and supplies falling directly into the clutches of ISIS, succoring it at precisely the time that it has suffered heavy losses at the hands of Shiite militias in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah across the border in Syria. As Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for one of the main groups fighting ISIS in Tikrit told the NY Times, “We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS… In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake.”

This fact is critical to understanding the true motivation of Washington in this campaign, namely inflicting maximum damage on both ISIS and Shiite militias fighting it. In effect, this ‘controlled chaos’ strategy promotes and extends, rather than concludes the war.

Israel thanks US for opposing Arab plan for nuke-free Mideast

Click here to access article from Middle East Eye.

Here we see the Empire exposing its hypocrisy about nuclear weapons, peace, and disarmament. After years of accusations and sanctions against the supposed development of nuclear weapons in Iran, which were found to be false by a Western intelligence agencies, the Empire balked at declaring the Middle East a nuclear free zone as proposed by Arab countries. The reason? It's clear that they wanted to protect nuclear-armed Israel that looks after Empire interests in the Middle East. This incident is another illustration of the principle of imperialism that guide's the Empire's policies. Everything is decided on the basis of promoting, defending, and expanding the power of the US Empire.

Heat Waves: Exposure to Increase 4-Fold by 2050

Click here to access article by Bryan Jones, Brian C. O’Neill, Larry McDaniel, Seth McGinnis, Linda O. Mearns & Claudia Tebaldi from Nature Climate Change (behind paywall) via Nature World News.
With climate change causing much of the world's hot extremes, heat waves are likely to become more common. Well, now new research shows that, at least in the United States, exposure to extreme heat could increase four- to six-fold by 2050, due to both a warming climate and a population that's growing especially fast in the hottest regions of the country.

Surprisingly, extreme heat kills more people in the United States than any other weather-related event. And with blazing heat becoming the new norm, the number of deadly heat waves, and therefore fatalities, are expected to increase as the climate warms.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

It’s time to Flood, Occupy, Blockade and Shut Down the systems jeopardizing our future

Click here to access article from Occupy Wall Street.

The article introduces us to an action by Rising Tide North America which is organizing anti-capitalist actions in the fall. I don't know anything about this organization, but Occupy Wall Street has an excellent reputation.
Beginning today, our allies at Rising Tide North America are calling for mass actions in the Fall of 2015 to shut down the economic and political systems threatening our survival. Already, hundreds of thousands  have taken to the streets to fight back against climate chaos, capitalism and white supremacy.

The Problem With the TPP is Capitalism

Click here to access article by Rob Urie from CounterPunch.

Urie provides a devastating attack on all the justifications and theories used by capitalist elites and their agents such as Obama to eliminate all vestiges of citizen control over their respective nation's economy. 
Understanding what Western elites really want from the TPP and TTIP is crucial. President Obama argues that either ‘we’ write the global trade rules going forward or the Chinese will. Point one is that trade rules are not ‘free-trade’ in the sense of an absence of rules— what is being negotiated is ‘managed’ trade. Point two is that the ‘we’ writing the rules are corporate representatives— Bank of America and Monsanto do not represent the public interest and the assertion that they do is profoundly anti-democratic. And despite lip service to the contrary, the ISDS mechanism of these (and past) trade agreements is designed to preclude effective environmental and labor regulations by allowing corporations to sue for wholly imagined ‘lost profits’ that might result from them. In other words, and with apologies to George Orwell, (economic) freedom is slavery.

Implied in Mr. Obama’s view is a unipolar world run by multi-national corporations for their own benefit. Wall Street would be near the top of this food chain— the same Wall Street that got everything it asked for in terms of ‘freedom’ from oversight and regulation and nevertheless killed the global economy in 2008 and exists today on public guarantees, transfers and implied future too-big-to-fail bailouts. 
However, I must take issue with the way he writes. The problem I always have with his articles is their difficulty in comprehension, and I am probably better able than most ordinary people to comprehend them. Too often he uses obscure language and long convoluted sentences. While his attack on capitalist propaganda is very revealing and his exposures of the real effects of the neoliberal trade treaties very useful, considering his writing style he seems to be addressing only an academic audience. Academics are very much controlled by department heads and boards of directors (Board of Regents) that are heavily populated by capitalist agents. 

I think he should be writing clearly to ordinary people because it is these people who can bring about real change. And as he finally concludes, the only real solution is revolution.
For those of us stuck on the choice between Hillary or Jeb, Democrats or Republicans, what they can do— all that they can do, is drop bombs, exacerbate environmental catastrophe and be really mean to poor people. There is truth in the idea that societies are judged by how we treat the ‘least’ among us, not in some cosmic accounting, but by how we live our lives in the present. From one side the question is: how much crap do ‘we’ really need and from the other, what is the true cost of it and who pays this cost? Vote if you care to, call ‘your’ representatives to vote down trade agreements if you think doing so is useful, but revolution is the solution.

Manufacturing the Global Food and Agricultural Crisis

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from CounterPunch.

Read this to see how the British author, who has lived in India for a number of years, carefully builds with evidence this towering conclusion:
...big agribusiness in collusion with big pharma will continue to control our food and define our healthcare by pushing their highly profitable ‘miracle solutions’ for the health and environmental problems which they conspired to create in the first place. It is all part of the wider corporate-elite agenda to colonise and control every facet of human existence.

The wretched of the sea [an African point of view regarding refugees fleeing to Europe]

Click here to access article by Hamza Hamouchene from Pambazuka News (Africa).
Despite the chaos and mayhem caused by the NATO intervention in Libya, the country is still a key transit point for illegal migration from to Europe. A significant number of the black Africans living and working in Libya find themselves forced to escape to Europe because of the deep instability as well as the vicious racism they face.
But the author also is very critical of Algeria which is also the source of many refugees along with other countries in which capitalist exploitation forces people to flee.
People in Algeria and elsewhere in the global south immigrate because their countries’ economies are failing them, due to the ongoing capitalist exploitation and western imperialist domination that go hand in hand with repressive and corrupt regimes. 

Jeb Bush and Brotherly Love

Click here to access video cartoon by Mark Fiore from Vimeo.

It's election time again when our masters provide us with their selection of (very willing) puppets that will occupy government offices and play like they're making decisions. Then we get to vote on which ones we like best to perform in the show. Ain't capitalist democracy wonderful? Of course, it might be just a show, but it is entertaining, isn't it?

Anyway, here is Fiore's take on one such puppet. Too bad he didn't make one for Hillary--maybe next week.

Friday, May 22, 2015

U.S. Intelligence Predicted: U.S. Support For Rebels in Syria Would Lead To Fall of Ramadi

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.

The author digs up more evidence that the Empire directors knew and executed plans to use terrorist groups, which were trained, supplied, and funded by the Empire, its Medieval Arab allies, and Turkey to overthrow the Syrian government and to generally create chaos in the region. 
Three new news items provide that the Obama administration, as well as Turkey and other countries, have knowingly created the current situation in Syria and Iraq. They knew that their support of the opposition which from the beginning included Al Qaeda would likely lead to the creation of an Islamic State. The administration was warned as early as August 2012 that this would then lead to the fall of Mosul and Ramadi to an Al Qaeda entity. 

As the Empire's secret terrorist army, ISIS, wracks up one more victory, the fall of Ramadi, capital of Anbar province in Iraq, the Empire does nothing while they pretend to be fighting ISIS.

Matt Taibbi on Democracy Now: Banks Admit to Crimes, Pay $5 Billion, And Still No One Goes to Jail

Click here to access article by Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism.

As we learn of another white cop shooting unarmed African-Americans suspected of shoplifting some cartons of beer, we also learn about another example of banksters robbing the entire economy with impunity. The banks merely pay fines which do not appear to function as a deterrent to discourage further bankster crimes. Many keen observers see this as very similar to a mafia style "protection racket": banks pay the fines and their banksters go free to commit more crimes. The banks' reactions? Oh, but it's just a case of a few bad apples.

The article exposes the lies of former Attorney General Eric Holder, one of the ruling class's favorite "house niggers", who promised with great fanfare in February that his Dept. of Justice would be prosecuting banksters for their crimes.

A Toxic Affair: How the chemical lobby blocked action on hormone disrupting chemicals

Click here to access article from Corporate Europe Observatory.
An investigation led by research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and journalist Stéphane Horel exposes corporate lobby groups mobilising to stop the EU taking action on hormone (endocrine) disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The report sheds light on how corporations and their lobby groups have used numerous tactics from the corporate lobbying playbook: scaremongering, evidence-discrediting, and delaying tactics, as well as using the ongoing TTIP negotiations as a leverage. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why does Greece not simply get it over with and default?

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution
History has shown that defaulting countries tend to fall harder but recover faster. So why does Greece’s left-led government not simply get it over with?
Roos's essay provides some answers to this question and to Greece's dilemma as the Syriza administration play this game of chicken with their international creditors. So far the creditors seem to be set on an uncompromising hardline course--perhaps because their capitalist "house of cards" is so fragile that they have no choice. So, it appears that the outcome is finally up to ordinary Greek citizens. Their dilemma and ultimate choice brings to mind the soliloquy of Shakespeare's Hamlet
To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them?
Should the Greece government default, the consequences could have widespread geopolitical as well as economic reverberations throughout the world. As usual, the vast majority of my fellow Americans are sound asleep, and their dreams are filled with illusions purveyed by corporate media which have little to do with the real world.

Greece Says That It Will Default On June 5th, And Moody’s Warns Of A ‘Deposit Freeze’

Click here to access article by Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse.

This author specializes in market analysis, and he is clearly worried (from a capitalist point of view) about the likely Greek default.
Sadly, most people living in North America (which is most of my audience) does not really care much about what happens on the other side of the world.

But they should care.
In addition to Moody's cautionary steps several paragraphs later, he bolsters his warning with this observation: 
According to the Bank for International Settlements, 74 trillion dollars in derivatives are directly tied to the value of the euro, the value of the U.S. dollar and the value of other global currencies.

So if you believe that what is happening in Greece cannot have massive ramifications for the entire global financial system, you are dead wrong.

Sowing The GM Seeds Of Depopulation?

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest
While most of the literature on GMOs is concerned with the impacts of crops that have been genetically modified to deal with pests or herbicide spraying, there are very worrying trends regarding plants being genetically modified to contain industrial pharmaceuticals or possess possible contraceptive traits.
Then in the next paragraph he attacks the overpopulation argument that capitalist ideologues often make as the basic problem that threatens survival today:
The world’s problems are not being caused by overpopulation, as Turner states, but by greed and a system of ownership and global power relations that ensures wealth flows from bottom to top. The issue at hand should not be about stopping population growth in its tracks but about changing a socially divisive global economic system and the unsustainable depletion of natural resources.
While I think this attack is valid, I think it is inadequate because it does not make clear that overpopulation is an effect of capitalism rather than a cause of many economic problems. His argument leaves out the underlying reasons why the system, which results in such extremes of wealth and poverty, causes overpopulation: the extreme insecurity imposed by the capitalist system on the majority of the world's adults. Please spare me the effort of repeating my argument by reading the commentary in this previous post entitled "OVERdevelopment, OVERpopulation, OVERshoot".

And the War Just Keeps on Comin'

Click here to access article by Phillip A. Farruggio from World News Trust.

The author suggests reading Orwell's 1984 as an antidote to a current war propagandist. He ends his passionate anti-war, anti-propaganda essay with this conclusion: 
As our cities crumble, both economically and physically, and more of us working stiffs are struggling to make ends meet... folks wake up! The enemy is not just those crazies in the Middle East that our Shock and Awe campaign helped ISIS to recruit. NO, the real enemy is greed and the quest for total dominance that, sadly, our empire is guilty of... As well as all the political and business leaders of all the nations of this tired and beaten down planet.

Many good souls I know who agree with this writer keep talking of Revolution. No! What we need is Realization first, and then Rejection of the processes that allow the status quo. Not an easy task for all working stiffs worldwide, but...
But, doesn't ending "the processes that allow the status quo" mean that we have to start talking about revolution? What do you, Phillip Farruggio, want us to do, sign another petition? Vote more Democrats into office for the "Change We Can Believe In"? I've signed thousands of petitions throughout my life and things have steadily gotten worse. And, I've long lost any illusions about electing left-wing capitalists, aka Democrats.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Russia Turkey and the New Greek Sirtaki

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.

Engdahl uses a popular Greek dance, Sirtaki, as a metaphor for the celebration of an apparent Russian deal with both Turkey and Greece to build an pipeline through their countries. And, Putin apparently also offered money to the Greek government to sweeten the deal. The Greek and Turkish governments may be celebrating, but will Europe join in the dance? Stay tuned for the next episodes.
...Russia and Turkey have completed the landmark deal to begin deliveries of Gazprom Russian gas via a new “Turkish Stream” pipeline into and across Turkey through a pipeline now in construction. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced on May 7 that, “An agreement has been made on the beginning of exploitation and deliveries of [Russian] gas along the Turkish Stream in December 2016.” The statement came following Miller’s meeting earlier in the day with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız. The new pipeline will travel through Turkey to a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border for further distribution to European customers.

Holloway: Critical Thought against the Capitalist Hydra

Click here to access article by John Holloway from Reflections on a Revolution. 

From May 3rd through the 9th Zapatistas held a seminar at the University of Chiapas Land in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico to which many foreign activist and intellectual guests were invited. One of them, John Holloway, spoke at the seminar. This is a text of his talk.

Holloway introduces his main theme by referring to the plague of debt ("storm") that is placing enormous burdens on the workers of the world while enriching the holders of the debt-- creditors who are mostly capitalists.
...if we cannot extract the profit we need, then we shall pretend that it exists, we shall create a monetary representation for value that has not been produced, we are going to expand debt in order to survive and also try to use it to impose the discipline that is necessary. This expansion of debt is at the same time the expansion of finance capital, expression of the violent weakness of capital as a social relation.
He then puts into an interesting perspective what the struggles of those in attendance is all about.
Capital depends on us, because if we do not create profit (surplus value) directly or indirectly, then capital cannot exist. We create capital and if capital is in crisis, it is because we are not creating the profit necessary for capital’s existence: that is why they are attacking us with such violence.

In this situation there are really two options of struggle. We can say “Yes, all right, we shall carry on producing capital, we shall continue to promote the accumulation of capital, but we need better living conditions for everybody.” ....

The other possibility is to say “Goodbye, capital, time for you to go, we are going to create other ways of living, other ways of relating to one another, both among humans and between humans and other forms of life, ways of living that are not determined by money and the pursuit of profit, but by our own collective decisions.”

Here in this seminar we are at the very center of this second option.

Tour Guide to the Khilafah

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from INSURGE intelligence.

This crowd-funded independent journalist examines a document used to recruit Muslims into ISIS especially in Britain and finds links to MI5, the British counterpart to the FBI. Ahmed adds more evidence to support the growing widespread suspicions and evidence of involvement by foreign intelligence services in addition to Saudi funding in the creation of ISIS and its ongoing operations (see this, this, this, this, and this). How else can one account for the sudden rise of this militarily well-equipped terrorist organization that uses internet software in a very sophisticated fashion? 

The document appears to be appealing to the millions of poverty-stricken Muslims throughout Europe.
...what is...revealing...is the entire focus of the document. There are no substantive theological references or justifications, no references to Islamic canonical texts. The document is not attempting to convince those who already reject ISIS’ twisted theology — but is aimed at those who, sympathetic to its professed goals, sceptical of Western reporting on ISIS, sceptical of Western foreign policies generally, might be nudged into believing that ISIS represents not a totalitarian fascist abomination, but an authentic utopian experiment.

The entire pitch is about the promise of a better life in this world, appealing not to spiritual sentiments or religious convictions, or even to a hunger for glory or meaning through martyrdom — but simply to material wants and needs. This reveals that the target audience is very specific: if you are already verging toward ISIS sympathy, are hungry, poor, and lack opportunities, here’s the utopia you always wanted — “no glass ceilings here” ....