We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Luxury Socialized Medicine

Click here to access article by Meagan Day from Jacobin. (My thanks go to Christopher in northwest Oregon for alerting me to this article.)
Forget rationing and waiting lists. Socialized medicine delivers comforts and convenience that Americans can only dream about.
As an elder I no longer can receive adequate health care. No physician in private practice will take me on as a patient, because I can no longer afford supplementary health plans (to grow old in the USA is to sink into poverty) issued by insurers to add a subsidy to Medicare. I don't blame the physicians because the payments under Medicare are inadequate. Now only when I'm very sick (not for physical examinations, or minor ailments) can I receive Medicare coverage for health care from a charity clinic staffed by very poor physicians who apparently can't get a job working for clinics and hospitals. Very fortunately for me, I have taken good care of myself all my life, and as a result I enjoy excellent health, but sooner or later this will change. Yes, I agree, the USA is an "exceptional nation", but only in the sense that our nation, or more accurately, our ruling class, refuses to provide universal coverage for its citizens.    

The struggle for a Catalan Republic enters a new stage

Click here to access article by Jorge Martin from In Defense of Marxism.
The proclamation of the Republic by the Catalan Parliament on October 27th was short-lived. The Spanish state was ready to crush it decisively, while the Catalan government had no plans and no strategy to defend it. That, however, is not the end of the movement.
The author uses a class analysis to frame the future of the Catalan movement for independence. He sees an organization the emergence of the Committees for the Defence of the Republic as a constructive step toward a revolutionary movement of the people instead of merely the capitalist class in the Catalan province. (This step reminds one of the broad steps of the 1917 Russian Revolution.) The next official step of the Spanish government will be the holding of elections in Catalonia on December 21. 

The American Brainwash: Guess what, Ma, capitalism is not Americanness

Click here to access article by Patrice Greanville from The Greanville Post
Virtually unchallenged to this day, corporate media are accustomed to using a number of misleading “cultural equations” to hide the existence of undemocratic institutions at the core of the American system. Thus, capitalism, a “hierarchic tyranny” as Chomsky calls it, is usually identified by its euphemisms: “Free Enterprise,” “market system,” “private enterprise,” “the American Way,” etc. Academia also cheerfully participates in this deliberate cosmetisation [def.] of what otherwise many people would begin to recognize as something unhealthy and malodorous in their midst. But of all these quaint labels and false equations the most outrageous and cynically deceptive is that which makes “Americanness”—the very national identity of the United States— identical with capitalism, both concepts one and inseparable. [my link]
Our masters in the capitalist ruling class play all sorts of tricks on our minds by conflating the "American way of life" with capitalism and the latter as simply a state of nature or as the highest state of achieved by humans in their quest for the perfect economic and political system. Hence, the "end of history" argued by Francis Fukuyama, a noted capitalist ideologist. But what Greanville overlooks is the fact that every ruling class puts its ideological stamp on every society over which they have ruled since the beginning of civilization. Ideology, or the belief system of a society, is critically important to maintain a ruling class in power. They must convince their subjects to be loyal to their rule or else they must maintain their rule by force which is very expensive. 

That is why capitalist regimes, when they get in trouble, always revert to fascism. That is precisely why fascism was so attractive to the ruling capitalist classes of Western countries (and Japan) during the Great Depression of the 1930s when the Soviet Union was improving their economy by "leaps and bounds" (def.) and where there was no unemployment. And, that is why we are witnessing today the growing rise of fascism  in the USA after the collapse of the economy in 2008 known as the Great Recession from which many economists argue that we still have not recovered. 

In this fake form of democracy capitalist elites control all the political institutions ranging from the original adoption of the constitution to their control over political parties that are allowed to function. Only when humans have gotten rid of all class structured societies and achieve something like true equality can real democracy exist. That means control by the people, and for the people, every institution of society including especially the economy.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Trump era sparks debate about nuclear war authority

Click here to access article by Robert Burns of The Associated Press posted at Real Clear Defense.

I've been wondering if the Deep State has set up controls on Trump to prevent him from launching nuclear armed missiles against any nation. It has become clear that he has exhibited and impulsive, volatile behavior which is not exactly what anyone wants who has his "fingers" on the triggers of nuclear weapons. Apparently there are members of Congress who have similar worries.
This past week’s Senate hearing was the first in Congress on presidential authority to use nuclear weapons since 1976, when a Democratic congressman from New York, Richard L. Ottinger, pushed for the U.S. to declare it would never initiate a nuclear war. Ottinger said he wanted to “eliminate the prospect that human ignorance and potential human failure in the use of nuclear materials, especially nuclear weapons, will lead to the destruction of civilization.”

....

“We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said at the outset of last week’s hearing.
In case you are a member of one of the younger generations that has been raised on Star Wars, Star Trek, and all the computer games featuring futuristic combat by "good guys" and "bad guys" where the good guys always "win" in the end, I think you might be interested in a little realism that is offered in the following videos about nuclear war.




Saturday, November 18, 2017

Capitalism Collapsing from Inequality... Blame Russia!

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.

The Irish journalist sees capitalism, which has brought so much wealth and power to so few in those elites associated with the US-led Empire, in its death throes as illustrated by its official leaders neurotically declaiming about the wickedness of Russia.
Inequality, poverty and the denial of decent existence to the majority of people stands out as the clarion condemnation of capitalism and its organization of society under private profit. The human suffering, hardships, austerity and crippled potential that flow from this condition represent the crisis of our time. Yet instead of an earnest public debate and struggle to overcome this crisis, we are forced by our elites to focus on false, even surreal problems.

American politics has become paralyzed by an endless elite squabble over whether Russia meddled in the presidential elections and claims that Russian news media continue to interfere in American democracy. Of course, the US corporate-controlled news media, who are an integral part of the plutocracy, lend credibility to this circus. Ditto European corporate-controlled media.
All of this hysterical behavior that we are daily witnessing, he sees as a neurotic response psychologically defending them from the frightful reality that the end of a system and their rule is approaching, a system that has served this tiny ruling class so well over the past several hundred years. And he concludes with a warning to us ordinary people that we need to do something before they take us with them in a nuclear war conflagration or, more slowly, in a deteriorating environment that can no longer support human life.
The biggest disconnect is the obscene inequality of wealth and resources that capitalism has engendered in the 21st century. That monstrous dysfunction is also causally related to why the US and its Western allies like Britain are pushing belligerence and wars around the planet. It is all part of their elitist denial of reality. The reality that capitalism is the biggest threat to humanity’s future.

Do we let these mentally deficient, deceptive political elites and their media dictate the nonsense? Or will the mass of people do the right thing and sweep them aside?
 
We are increasingly noticing others who think that capitalism has become thoroughly dysfunctional. Read this review of a book entitled How will capitalism end? by Wolfgang Streeck re-posted in Real-World Economics Review Blog.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Who’s Afraid of Corporate COINTELPRO?

Click here to access article by C.J. Hopkins from CounterPunch. (Updated commentary at 10:45 AM Seattle time.)
... these days most elitist wankers are trained how to write, and read, and think, in MFA conformity factories, where they screen out any unstable weirdos with unhealthy interests in political matters. This is to avoid embarrassing episodes like Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize lecture (which, if you haven’t read it, you probably should), and is why so much of contemporary literature is so well-behaved and instantly forgettable. This institutionalized screening system is also why the majority of journalists employed by mainstream media outlets understand, without having to be told, what they are, and are not, allowed to report.
Hopkins writes in a chatty style to explain how he learned about the subtle ways corporations have to discourage people from writing or accessing ideas that the ruling capitalist class finds objectionable. The reference to COINTELPRO is intentional to convey the hidden or secret nature of these methods. He doesn't see the methods as constituting outright censorship, but adapted from earlier forms to fit in the contemporary "brave new world" of digital media. As a writer and thinker he tells his personal story of his road to discovery of the pitfalls that any independent thinker/writer should consider when writing for this brave new digital world, or by implication, the difficulties that others might encounter trying to access material by independent thinkers and writers.

Actually the methods aren't all that new because I, personally, have experienced their analogs (def.) while working for bosses throughout much of my life. They have just been re-adapted to fit the online world. You see, our ruling masters want us to continue to believe the myths propagated by their system of indoctrination that all of their subjects (that's us) are exposed to all of their (our) lives; you know, the myths about all the freedoms we enjoy as Americans living in an exceptional country. So, what's a ruling class to do under those circumstances? Well, they have found sure-fire methods to discourage anyone from straying from their capitalist ideology while either writing for, or perusing, the World Wide Web. Read about Hopkins' experience to learn more, and you might find some similarities in your own experience either online or off.

You may also be interested in the growing effort to privatize the internet--the better to (def.) control its content--by reading "'Time to Raise Hell': Internet Defenders Mobilize as FCC Aims to Kill Net Neutrality Within Month".

The Russian Civil War: an international struggle

Click here to access article by Jules Legendre from In Defense of Marxism. (Note: As long as I continue to discover excellent articles on the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, I will post the them.) 

The profound effects of the revolution on the rest of the world only started after the Bolsheviks took power. The capitalist ruling classes throughout the West looked upon this workers state with horror, and from the beginning saw the necessity to crush it. They saw it like a virus that could be spread to workers in their own countries and threaten their rule. In fact, as you will see in succeeding posts, this nightmare for the capitalists shaped most of the subsequent events of the 20th century.
Initially, Lenin seemed to be right when he declared that the civil war phase of the revolution was over and that the Bolsheviks could now concentrate on the peaceful construction of the new regime. But this idea was soon to be shattered by events.

Whereas the anti-communist counter-revolution – also known as the White movement, as opposed to the Reds – was militarily and politically defeated, its leaders who were living on the country's borders received enormous military assistance from the great imperialist powers of the time. This started already in the early days of 1918. White units were equipped with high-tech weaponry, such as tanks and planes: all things that were lacking to the young Soviet republic.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A People’s History of the Russian Revolution pits new scholarship vs. Mainstream Media [part 1 of 5]

Click here to access article by the Iranian-American Ramin Mazaheri posted on The Greanville Post. (This is part 1 of 5 articles that will be posted. It is likely that I will re-post all of them by this excellent political analyst who tells it like it really is--no euphemisms like "market economy" or "Wall Street" for the real thing (capitalism).

It occurred to me this morning that there is another war going on that you may not be aware of. It is a war for your mind, that is, for the control of your mind about all things political. The capitalist US-led Empire is under siege by the new technologies of the Information Age, and the war is being fought over your allegiance to both the Empire and capitalism, the ideological foundation of the Empire. Being aware of this war should encourage you to take much greater care on what to believe about the world you live in. I hope this website and this post contributes to that process.

This series of posts, which is based on new book entitled A People’s History of the Russian Revolution by Neil Faulkner, promises to offer you a much better understanding of the realities and the significance of the 1917 Russian Revolution which has had such a profound impact on subsequent world events. The book, and I think this series, presents a very different view of the revolution that you may be getting from mainstream media or what you were taught in schools.
... on the book’s very first page the author describes the formula of any successful popular revolution, just like the Iranian Revolution of 1979: “In essence, the Russian Revolution was an explosion of democracy and activity from below.”

Mainstream media and all bourgeois (US/West European) democracies have no interest in such explosions, and it is for this reason that they purposely distort not just the 1917 Russian Revolution but all anti-capitalist, pro-socialist, and anti-imperialist cultures. And they always will, because that is the only way they can try to preserve their status quo dominance.

‘The Atlantic’ Commits Malpractice, Selectively Edits To Smear WikiLeaks

Click here to access article by Caitlin Johnstone from The Greanville Post.
Everyone was buzzing about the shocking, bombshell new report by The Atlantic yesterday, which revealed that Donald Trump Jr. and the WikiLeaks Twitter account had engaged in a “largely one-sided” conversation in private messages over the course of several months.

Don Jr. actually comes off looking fairly normal in the report, while WikiLeaks comes off looking weird and sleazy in a way that will likely damage its reputation even further than the mainstream media campaign to smear the outlet already has.
 
The author explains how a major capitalist publication manufactured a smear against one of the world's greatest sources of exposures of Empire lies and secrets. Julia Ioffe can expect a "brilliant" and well-paid career ahead of her as a propaganda specialist for media corporations. 

Reforms, Freedoms, Maidan: The Recycled Lexicon of Victoria Nuland's Successor

Click here to access article by Ollie Richardson from Stalker Zone

In this article you will learn about how well-indoctrinated US government sociopaths, accompanied by bodyguards, pay phony respects to a monument that they, and their associates, helped to erect in Ukraine. But first, if you are a bit hazy about the history of US interference in Ukraine's affairs, you should see this and this. Then if you are totally clueless about the US interference in their affairs which brought about the establishment of an overt fascist government, you can click on the category "Ukraine" (on the lower right-hand side) to find out more.

Pride, Pain and War

Click here to access poem that was written by Michael John Pike (Spike the Poet) who reads his poem in a video posted by BSNews (Britain).  
Spike is a former [British] soldier, now a poet and peace activist. Once his experiences drove him on a path to self destruction. But through poetry, he has found an outlet. He is now a performance poet and speaker where he attacks the establishment that thrives on war. He is polemic and unswerving in his damning condemnation of the war machine.
It seems to me that many combat veterans like Spike could benefit psychologically by engaging in anti-war and anti-establishment activities that a genuine revolutionary movement could provide for them. The challenge to return such veterans to civilian life is monumental, but mainly the ruling class has taken this challenge by keeping damaged veterans in ideologically controlled "therapy" sessions. In other words, the veterans are lied to by the ruling class to sign up for such killing activities and they lie to them again when they return damaged in body and soul to civilian life by portraying them as heroes, people who have "sacrificed" for some noble cause. It seems to me that a real healing, a real return to psychological health could be provided by a revolutionary movement that would engage these wounded people in activities that would serve to undermine the power of their real enemies: the ruling capitalist class.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying: The great pressure on artists to pull their punches

Click here to access article by David Walsh from World Socialist Web Site.
...the film (like Ponicsan’s novel [on which it was based] sharply pulls its punches. Given the scale of the crimes involved, millions dead in Vietnam, millions more in the Middle East, the threat of even more horrifying wars… Last Flag Flying hardly begins to come to terms with things. It’s not much more than a mild rebuke.

Too many elements undermine what could have been a much stronger, fiercer work.
In my opinion David Walsh is the best American film reviewer by far, and he certainly demonstrates his skill and moral conscience in this review. I was sad to learn that the film, which Walsh faulted for its obvious suppression of dissent about two of our many wars, was directed by Richard Linklater whose films I've often admired. 

It's clear in the present ideological environment that no one could make a stronger anti-war film that exposed the lies of our ruling class's government. Thus, the film serves as another illustration of the role that Hollywood plays to sell supportive ideological propaganda to brainwash the American people. As Walsh suggests, the ideological climate today is much worse than it was in the early 1970s--which was far from good.
To oppose that [US military establishment] consciously and resolutely, to suggest that the US military is not, in the end, an “honorable” and “patriotic” institution, but a sinister and murderous one, will bring down upon the filmmaker denunciations and threaten his or her career, perhaps his or her life.

What’s China up to in Syria? Economic realpolitik, basically

Click here to access article by

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Abby Martin Exposes Untold History of U.S. Empire

The following video from a YouTube channel called the Empire Files features two of my favorite people who discuss the gross disinformation and propaganda disseminated by media corporations. Thus I am offering this post as a red pill (The Matrix) that you can take to maintain your (as well as my) sanity and grasp of reality. I think that the post would be better entitled as "Abby Martin and Jimmy Dore discuss the deplorable state of corporate news and other political matters".

Bombshell Report Confirms US Coalition Struck A Deal With ISIS

Click here to access article by Tyler Durden from ZeroHedge.

Durden concludes the article with this perceptive statement:
So it appears that the US allowed ISIS terrorists to freely leave areas under coalition control, according to no less than the BBC, while at the same time attempting to make the case before the public that a permanent Pentagon presence is needed in case of ISIS' return. But it’s a familiar pattern by now: yesterday's proxies become today's terrorists, which return to being proxies again, all as part of justifying permanent US military presence on another nation's sovereign territory.

America's Syrian adventure went from public declarations of “we’re staying out” to “just some logistical aid to rebels” to “okay, some mere light arms to fight the evil dictator” to “well, a few anti-tank missiles wouldn’t hurt” to “we gotta bomb the new super-bad terror group that emerged!” to “ah but no boots on the ground!” to “alright kinetic strikes as a deterrent” to “but special forces aren’t really boots on the ground per se, right?” to yesterday's Mattis declaration of an open-ended commitment. And on and on it goes.

Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery

Click here to access article by Jon Schwarz from The Intercept.  (Updated with more commentary at 11 PM Seattle time.)

Strange, but I've never heard of this verse, or heard it sung. So, I googled it, and sure enough Kaepernick is right! Now I will forever associate that verse with the national anthem.
Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect African-American players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.

Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse and you’ll see why “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not just a musical atrocity, it’s an intellectual and moral one, too.
Francis Scott Key, the author of "our" national anthem, was obviously from well-heeled and well-educated British stock who saw the US has any opportunist bourgeois of the era saw it: splendid opportunities to grow rich by plundering the American continent. And he apparently unconsciously accepted the Marxist axiom that all value comes from labor by casually accepting the use of human property to create value for this new class of capitalists. The latter just needed workers to work for them to help them plunder and clear the continent of those "savages" who were living there. They couldn't get enough workers from Europe to immigrate, so they captured, imported, purchased, and used Africans to produce their wealth. 

Meanwhile, the British tried to undermine the economy of the USA by offering slaves freedom if they could make it to their Canadian colony. What treachery! Those British scoundrels who taught Americans to believe in the sanctity of property were trying to steal American property!