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, July 18, 2018

Capitalism's obsession

by British award winning illustrator and animator Steve Cutts from his website.

Recommended articles for Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Coming Coup Against Trump

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Sputnik. (Thanks go to an activist who alerted me to this article.)

The long campaign by the ruling class to remove Trump from office is finally coming to a head, or at least, that is the opinion of this Irish independent journalist. After reading his arguments, I agree with him.
An American president holds a long-overdue meeting with the leader of the world's second nuclear power. The meeting was a success in terms of opening a friendly dialogue between the two leaders. And yet the US ruling class excoriate this event as a "disgrace" and "criminal collusion".

The interests of ordinary American citizens, as with the mass of people around the world, are not served by irrational hostility towards Russia. It is in our interests to have peaceful dialogue and to develop mutual understanding between the US and Russia to avert confrontations.

It is only an unrepresentative elite who could possibly want hostility.
This showdown promises to be filled with drama--of what kind, it is impossible to tell at this point. I believe that it will be far more dramatic than the historical Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. One thing I am sure of: the political consciousness of many ordinary Americans will never be the same again.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Trump, NATO and ‘Russian aggression’

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

Escobar continues his long-standing argument, that the US Empire is succumbing to the leadership of China and Russia, convincingly by interpreting the latest Trump's actions at the recent NATO meeting in Brussels, the European headquarters of the US-led Empire.
... Trump’s demand for 4% of GDP on defense spending for all NATO members will never fly. The sales pitch should be seen for what it is: a tentative “invitation” for an increased EU and NATO shopping spree on US military hardware.

In a nutshell, the key factor remains that Trump’s Brussels blitzkrieg did make his case. Russia cannot be a “threat” and a reliable energy partner at the same time. As much as NATO poodles may be terrified of “Russian aggression”, the facts spell out they won’t put their money where their rhetorical hysteria is.
But will the Deep State and its Empire go down willingly? Stay tuned, or better yet, stay aware and active. 

                                                                                             ********

Trump's behavior at the NATO meeting and the upcoming meeting with Putin in Helsinki deserves great satire, and Finian Cunningham supplies it with his piece "Trump Defects to Russia?"

America

Click here to access article by Caitlin Johnstone from her website. (Edited for greater clarity at 10:12 PM CT.)
Americans are in their nature as compassionate and generous a people as you will ever meet anywhere else on earth; they’ve just got manipulative sociopaths elbows-deep in their minds conducting psyops all the time, and it makes them a bit weird. But their good-naturedness is evident in the fact that even the propaganda used to manipulate them into consenting to depraved war agendas is always meant to exploit their caring and compassion: it’s always about saving children from a monstrous dictator, or spreading freedom and democracy. Americans are blasted in the face with so many hero narratives from Hollywood and television that this makes perfect sense to them, and of course they want their military to do something heroic and save those poor kids. Even the sick things they consent to are rooted in basic good intentions. America is a country full of decent people with propaganda boxes around their brains.
 

Propaganda is what makes America America.
It is my conviction that ordinary people of the world are "full of decent people"; but when there are self-serving, sociopathic ruling classes, the latter will always find ways to control ordinary people who are under-educated, indoctrinated, and propagandized to serve their masters. The only solution is to rid the world of systems that give advantages to some humans at the expense of others. All people must be empowered.

While reading this article, I was sad to see this brilliant woman use the feudal term "aristocrats" to refer to our ruling masters. She has succumbed to the influence of people like Eric Zuesse who, like her, has not rid himself of capitalist indoctrination. Using the term detracts from the insight that our masters are capitalists--not aristocrats ruling over medieval fiefdoms. Using the term "aristocrats" is a type of circumlocution that our slave-holding, "Founding Fathers" engaged in to avoid talking about slavery, indentured servants, etc, that existed during their time while they were celebrating the liberties of liberalism, the ideology of capitalism.

The feudal ruling classes were hereditary and their rule was based on the use of weapons to maintain control of land and its inhabitants during a time when humans engaged in rather primitive agriculture. During the current era it is necessary to distinguish a new ruling class from the old ruling class. They are called capitalists. This new class essentially sanctified the ownership of private property under the rules of capitalism. Their rule is based on the ownership of the much more elaborate means of production produced with advanced technology that humans first developed using scientific methods during the Age of Enlightenment. Now we see the result: gross inequality, the concentration of ownership of the means of production among a relatively few powerful people, never-ending wars, and a destabilization of our planets ecosystem that portends catastrophic consequences for the existence of human life.

China’s silky charming of Arabia

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

The Brazilian independent journalist reports on China's influence in the Middle East and in Germany that may portend a dramatic shift in the political winds in these important areas. There are even some indications of this in Iraq where the US Empire destroyed so much of its physical and political infrastructure.
Under the radar, away from World Cup frenzy and the merger and acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo Inc. and Fiat, the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), established in 2004, sailed on in Beijing, hosted by President Xi Jinping.

Amid the torrential pledge of loans and aid, China committed to invest right across the Arab world in transportation infrastructure, oil and gas, finance, digital economy and artificial intelligence (AI).

Friday, July 13, 2018

5 Times the US Actively Supported ISIS or Similar Groups

Click here to access article from MintPress News.
Everyone knows U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has more to do with destabilization than diplomacy. Whether arming terror states like Israel and Saudi Arabia or flattening entire countries like Libya and Iraq, American intervention is pretty much always a humanitarian disaster. At times, this policy has even included arming ISIS — the very terror group Washington claims to oppose.

The reason for this help is that ISIS assists U.S. foreign policy goals. It is no secret that the U.S. has tried to overthrow the democratically elected Syrian government for years. To further their goals, the U.S. regime has more or less aligned with just about every terrorist group short of ISIS publicly, including Jahbat al-Nusra.

Yet at times this alliance has extended past terror groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army banner. In many situations, the U.S. has seemingly supported ISIS. Whether these instances are mere coincidence or represent a pattern of support is up to you to decide. Below are five strongest instances of the U.S. helping ISIS and other terrorist groups.
 Then the author(s) follow this with an itemized list that is backed by very good documentation.

Τhe structural, fundamental factors pushing Western Capitalism into producing Totalitarianism and War. The role of Trump and the Neocons (Part 1 of 3)

Click here to access the first segment of  speech delivered by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos to the 2nd international Congress on Marx and Marxism, held at the Beijing University on the 5th and 6th of last May and posted on the website of Defend Democracy Press. (I will not necessarily be posting the next two segments of his speech.)

I must warn you that this is a very lengthy post (you might want to start at the eighth paragraph) and it is only one segment, however I felt that the speaker's general overview of the main currents of geopolitical history since, and including, the Nazi era offered so much that was valid and insightful in this last capitalist stage of imperialism. Here is only one sample of his perspective:
[Capitalism] seems able to produce only or mainly catastrophes. It is true that many people around the globe believe global socialism is unrealistic, that talk about it is, at best, a romantic exercise. But in reality, if there is something totally unrealistic and completely utopian is to hope that Humanity will be able to survive this century without inventing a radical new and human order. This is today much more clear than it was at the time Marx and Engels were writing their Communist Manifesto or Rosa Luxembourg was formulating her dilemma “Socialism or Barbarism”. And it is true for the whole world, not only for the Global South and West, but also for China, in spite of its tremendous achievements. It has become long ago impossible to separate the destiny of any state, country, nation, or continent, even of the strongest ones, from the destiny of the world.

Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch

The author reveals the true nature of our "Founding Fathers", who were mostly slaveholders, and their capitalist philosophy called liberalism, a philosophy loaded with hypocrisy, which took great lengths to hide their own self-seeking rule behind a fake ideology which extolled liberties and democracy. He focuses on the legal structure that these slaveholders constructed, from which we are now seeing the inevitable results: the concentration of wealth and power among a very few, never-ending wars, and the continuing assault on the environment. He frames his exposé with the childhood game of Simon Says.

He exhorts us to end this arrangement of US society by reaching this conclusion:
... we must demand a new national charter, committed to the Holy Founders’ ultimate nightmare: popular sovereignty in defense and advance of the commons, broadly understood. Playing “Simon Says” with Virginia slaveholders and merchant capitalists and their clever statesmen from the 1780s is mass suicide in 2018.
However, I think we must come up with other methods than simply demanding.

The Lonely Road Of The Free Thinker

Click here to access article by Tim Bryant from The Last American Vagabond.

As a free thinker I could identify with the ideas in this article. I was a bit impatient reading the first several paragraphs in which he omitted any mention of class structure, and any implication that the ruling class defines and models norms, ideas, and views that free thinkers must contend with. 

It is class structured societies which we must eliminate from our planet Earth if we are to survive. While I agree with the author in promoting free thinkers, it does come with a price. Not only is this a lonely road and can incur "even physical harm on some issues", it also prevents one from enjoying a remunerative career, the personal security that goes with such a career, and makes it nearly impossible for one to support a family. These are costs which most people avoid by accepting the dominant values, views, and ideas of the ruling class. I can't blame them.

On the other hand, people who value living an authentic life, there is no other choice than to seek the truth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

8 Great Myths That Keep America Running

View this video in which Lee Camp comically demolishes eight myths that we in the USA are conditioned to believe from cradle to the grave. Although he doesn't mention the system of advanced capitalism in which inevitably give rise to such myths, he demonstrates what many people are beginning to understand: the fake indoctrination that we are all subject to.

Ed Schultz Death: What MSNBC Won’t Tell You

View this 16:15m video from the Jimmy Dore show which focuses on the recently deceased Ed Schultz as he tells his story about some of his conflicts with the management of MSNBC that led to his firing as "news" anchor. Dore explains that this is common practice at all the corporate media companies and cites a number of other people who were fired for basically the same reason.

China’s Human Robot Labor Force: The Highest Rate of Surplus Value in the History of Capitalism!

Click here to access article by Massoud Nayeri from Global Research. (This is an excellent followup of Michel Chossudovsky's article that I posted last Saturday.) (I noticed and corrected a glaring error at 7:52 AM CT on 7/12/2018--I thought I had corrected it before.)

The 45:54m video within this article focuses on the largest factory in the world called Eüfa located in China. The factory employs 17000 workers and covers .7 square miles. The video illustrates how China has become the factory of the world. 

Initially the Chinese government invited Western corporations into under contract to construct parts and products using the designs of the corporations. They were able to entice these corporations with fabulous profits by using China's cheap labor force and thorough organization of labor. This illustrates the win-win principle (corporations enjoy huge profits and China acquires technological skills) advanced by Deng Xiaoping who took over China's Communist government in the late 1970s after Mao Tse-Tung died. 

The next stages of this evolution saw China's engineers and technicians improving on the design of components, and later the whole product. Now frequently Western corporations simply make contracts with China's factories to produce products of China's design. While Western corporations enjoy huge profits, their labor forces often become deskilled. But capitalism is all about making profits for the owners, and there is little regard for the welfare of workers. 

China has now achieved world status in most fields of technology in only decades, and at the same time China is said to have several hundred billionaires. Although China is theoretically under the control of the Communist Party, I wonder if the party can avoid being corrupted by so much wealth in the hands of a few.

Western Elites Decrying ‘Populism’ Betrays Fear of Democracy

Click here to access article by the Irish independent journalist Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation. (Updated at 7:38 AM CT)
There has always been a wariness among ruling elites on both sides of the Atlantic towards a genuine democratic order breaking out, as Noam Chomsky discusses in his book ‘Deterring Democracy’. Western elites have typically viewed the masses as “rabble rousers” who are deemed to be “incapable” of governing society in the “proper way” that benefits the elites, protects their profits and property, and safeguards their imperial war-making overseas.

This underlying tension about the control of political power in Western societies encapsulates the present historical juncture where the word “populist” is being increasingly deployed. It is a term of disparagement by a failing Western establishment. What the failed order is trying to do is divert genuine popular challenge by painting it as something uncouth, vulgar, noxious, or manipulated by foreign enemies like Russia.
For another insightful analysis you might be interested in another article by the same author entitled "Trump Treats EU Like Bozos" from Sputnik.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki

Click here to access article by CJ Hopkins from CounterPunch. ("Helsinki", Finland in the title refers to the upcoming meeting place between Trump and Putin.)

Hopkins uses sharp-honed satire to attack the unending campaign of corporate media (and their controllers) to render ordinary Americans into mindless cult members, much like the Manson girls, who will accept, or collaborate in, the most heinous acts of their masters.
If you believe cults work because people are gullible, or stupid, you need to do some research. Cults work because their members are gradually conditioned to detach from “society” (i.e., the social body that conditioned them as children) and conform to the social body of the cult. This conditioning happens systematically, often over the course of years. Scientology cult members are not introduced to the “body thetans” story the day they walk in. Nor were the Manson girls ready to butcher a house full of people for Charlie at first … it took months of orgies, acid trips, and other de- and re-programming techniques to get them to buy into his paranoid prophecy of Imminent Racist Hippie Apocalypse.

Which is what I find so disturbing, presently.

Monday, July 9, 2018

100 Kids, 100 Toys: The Rich Are Only Rich If We Let Them Be.

Click here to access article by Dariel Garner from Popular Resistance.  (Thanks go to an activist who alerted me to this post.)

This delightful allegory explains some of the painful realty of inequality. But, leaving us with "the rich are only rich if we let them be" seemed rather unsatisfactory to me. It got me thinking about how we could embellish the allegory to make it more meaningful. If we equate the enjoyment of toys with political power, we come much closer. 

We should explain how this arrangement came about. Thus, we may add to the allegory that the biggest kids with the aid of other kids formed a gang. The gang formed classes: the very biggest became known as the upper class, the next biggest became known as the upper-middle class, and the bigger than average became known as the middle class. This gang led by the biggest kids beat up and threatened the disorganized smaller kids, and the gang ended up getting all of the toys. Over time they set up a complex series of rules that make it so easy for the gang to acquire new toys that are created by the poor kids with the assistance of kids from the upper-middle and middle classes. Blinded by this system of rules, the vast majority of poor kids simply go along with the ruse.

The first step in changing this arrangement, the poor kids, who are the majority, must see how the arrangement works to insure that they remain without any toys. Much work must be done to educate them about this system of unfair rules. Then, they must organize to take toys away from the upper classes and smash their system of rules that creates so much inequality.

The straight-forward climate question Josh Frydenberg will not answer

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red (Australia). (Edited for greater accuracy and clarity at 5:30 PM CT on 7/10/2018.

Josh Frydenberg is the Australian government's Minister for the Environment and Energy. A member of the Australian parliament, Adam Bandt, asked him five questions in relation to the threat of global warming. David Spratt is puzzled about the delay in answers to Bandt's questions.

There has been much talk in ruling class circles about imposing carbon taxes on industrial companies that emit carbon into the air, and many capitalist countries see this as a way toward a "market" or capitalist solution to global warming (see this and this). The author noticed that there was a marked delay in the minister's answers to the questions posed by Bandt, which, in turn evoked some of his own questions contained in the last paragraph.
So what's the problem? Perhaps the minister does not want say “no”, climate change is not an existential risk, because the evidence is to the contrary, and he does not want to say “yes”, because that would imply a duty of care that his government has chosen not to exercise?
I will supply my own answer to Spratt's questions. The Australian minister knows that there is no solution to the impending climate crisis that capitalists will go along with. Carbon taxes interfere with profits and power. 

The issue is much like the practice of slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries. The leading capitalist nation, England, made the practice illegal in England in 1772 simply because the ruling class had their own labor supply to exploit as indentured servants or those that ended up in workhouses, but they would never interfere with the practice in their colonies (until 1834) where the colonial ruling classes depended largely on slave labor. Both members of England's and America's ruling classes, despite their fervent affirmations of the liberties of liberalism (the ideology of capitalism) engaged in numerous circumlocutions and hypocrisy in order to continue the practice in the colonies. (Read especially Liberalism by Domenico Losurdo for numerous, well-documented illustrations.) 

Thus, the capitalist nations of the world, especially under the US Empire, will pretend to take actions against the impending climate destabilization, but will not do anything serious that might interfere with their pursuit of profits and power. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

China and the Restoration of Capitalism. The Largest Cheap Labor Factory in the World

Click here to access article by Michel Chossudovsky, editor and founder of Global Research.

As a contrary view I am offering this to left-wing readers who are attracted to the rise of China in world affairs. I would like much more documentation of his views from independent sources, but the article presents a much needed contrary view to many left-wingers in the West who view China in such glowing terms. I, myself, remain skeptical and ambivalent about the astonishing economic development of China. However, I view the rise of China and other independent nations as a positive development to counter the obsessive imperialism of the US-led Empire.

It will be most interesting to see how Trump's trade war with China unfolds. Hopefully for us ordinary people in the US, it won't be devastating for our well-being. However, if it is, it might furnish fertile soil for growing a revolution that will replace capitalism with a system that can serve and empower all of the people.

The Parallel Universe of BBC Panorama

Click here to access article by Kit from Off Guardian

This website is devoted to exposing the Guardian's website and their print reports as engaging in fake news and views . I suspect that the website was started by people who witnessed around 2012 the steady decline of the paper into pure propaganda serving the imperialist policies of the Empire much like what we have in the USA. The Guardian was formerly recognized as providing reasonably independent news and criticism of the British government's policies. Then something happened. Likely agents of the ruling classes of the Empire infiltrated, threatened, and co-opted some of the editorial staff who hadn't already left in disgust.

The same goes for all mainstream media like the BBC. Here in this piece the author targets a particular program carried on BBC television.
The BBC flag-ship documentary series “Panorama” has long been a stalwart of state-funded television propaganda. They can always be relied upon to tell us what we’re supposed to think. In August 2013, on the very day of the Commons vote on military intervention in Syria, BBC News at 10 aired some dishonest footage from “Panorama: Saving Syria’s Children”. The full docoumentary, a shambolic piece fiction designed to outrage the public into supporting war, was aired just a month later.