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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia

Click here to access article by Jacques R. Pauwels from CounterPunch

This article should have been posted last year during the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Anyway, I will re-post it because I think it is an accurate report of the strong efforts by the capitalist allies to overturn the socialist revolution. Also, most schools in the USA ignore this history with the result that few Americans know about it.

Big oil and gas nations sideline the science at Katowice, even as emissions rise and warming accelerates

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red (Australia). (I added an extra post to this article at 7:57 AM CT.)
Just as four big oil and gas producers block the UN climate policymaking conference in Katowice, Poland from welcoming a report on the science of the 1.5 degree Celsius (°C) target which it had commissioned three years earlier in Paris, new evidence has emerged of the striking contradiction between word and deed at the 24th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP24).
Well, what could anyone expect from the ruling capitalist classes of the world and their dependent allies? They simply must lie. The striking underlying problem is that their economics depend on fossil fuels like an addict needs to consume his/her drugs ... until they kill themselves. The only problem is that they will bring the world's population along with them to extinction.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C report states in plain language that averting a climate crisis will require a wholesale reinvention of the global economy. By 2040, the report predicts, there could be global food shortages, the inundation of coastal cities and a refugee crisis unlike the world has ever seen. A number of scientists contend that the report wasn't strong enough and that it downplayed the full extent of the real threat. They say it doesn't account for all of the warming that has already occurred and that it downplays the economic costs of severe storms and displacement of people through drought and deadly heat waves. [my emphasis]
An article related to this entitled "The G20 and the Counter-Protests in Argentina" from LeftEast provides an excellent example of a nation going into deep debt in an effort to expand their GDP.
Economists have proven that GDP growth cannot be ‘decoupled’ from the energy sources that power economic growth. Put simply you need more energy to power more GDP and most of this energy still comes from fossil fuels. The planet needs a new energy source. We know now that we cannot burn all of the known reserves of fossil fuels (like Vaca Muerta) into our atmosphere. Explaining this to an oil or coal company is analogous to giving an alcoholic a bottle of whiskey and telling him not to drain the last sip. But as the oil companies point out they just extract the oil they don’t burn it. Industry will not change either because, for a while anyway, any transition from fossil fuel implies less energy consumption. Less energy means less profits and less GDP, which means less debt repayments and less economic growth!

Scientists tell us we need to get off fossil fuels fast.
 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Watch Vigil for Assange

Click here if you wish to access the video directly from Consortium News.
ConsortiumNews broadcast the latest vigil for Julian Assange as the publisher comes under new pressure to be expelled from Ecuador’s London embassy, while charges await him in the United States.

The broadcast was Friday night. With Ray McGovern, Chris Hedges, Margaret Kimberly, Suzie Dawson and more:

Book review: Professor Stephen Cohen’s “War with Russia?”

Click here to access article by Yvonne Lorenzo from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard.
Over ten years ago, one of the few voices that I listened to that provided facts outside the propaganda narrative of the legacy mass media and the U.S. government on what the situation was regarding Georgia fighting with Russia was from Russia scholar Professor Stephen Cohen. I felt blessed to discover him and his work.

After the events in Ukraine, where a U.S. sponsored putsch installed a fascist government in power, he and conservative radio talk show host John Batchelor held numerous conversations on the “New Cold War” with Russia. Professor Cohen has decided to collect the summaries of those conversations, up to recent events including the Kerch incident, in a new book, War with Russia?: From Putin and Ukraine To Trump and Russiagate. While Professor Cohen has written several works of scholarship and is unique in not sticking to the “party line” that Russia is greatest enemy of America and the West, this book is special because it’s both timely and accessible to interested readers.

Articles/videos relating to the "yellow vest" uprising in France

Saturday, December 8, 2018

How Big Brother Grips Americans’ Minds to Support Invasions

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Strategic Culture Foundation. (Added additional content at 10:55 AM CT, and another edit for clarity at 6:08 PM CT.)

I don't mean to shock my fellow Americans, who have not been following my blog, by attacking the arguments of this old-fashioned liberal who sees the rich (he frequently refers to them as "aristocrats") as the root of all evil in America today. This view conveniently diverts attention from the rise of American fascism. Under the insidious guidance of fascist American capitalists, this development can be dated from about 1941 when the well-connected (to the rich ruling class) Henry Luce, owner of Time Magazine, published his propaganda piece entitled "The American Century". (Previously this fascist element hid under the label of "isolationists". They often had supportive ties with European fascist capitalists. Incidentally, there were real isolationists who opposed getting into European wars.) This event was the launch of American fascism, the inevitable final stage of capitalism, which eventually turns the capitalist ruling class into fascist capitalists.

Under fascist capitalism the addiction to the drugs of wealth and power reach a final stage in which its addicts can no longer function rationally, and must increasingly rely more on the use of violence and deceit to maintain their rule. In order to maintain their system of capitalism, which provides them with the drugs of power and wealth, their use of deceit must increasingly be used to induce beliefs in the general population that share in, and reflect, their fantasies about global power. It is now evident from the author's solid citation of a recent Gallup poll survey that Americans overwhelmingly share in their fantasies of being an "exceptional nation" that should rule the world.

Unfortunately, Zuesse is an old-fashioned liberal much like Pat Buchanan is an old-fashioned conservative. These capitalist ideologues were left behind when American fascist capitalists decided to launch their empire project in 1941. And did they ever launch it! It is now a masterpiece and a monument to the celebration of skulduggery! I am not going to explain how they did it in this commentary because I've devoted much of my website for the last nine years to explain the process. (Look under the label-categories: history, CIA, ruling class, best posts, etc. on the right hand side of this website toward the bottom.) But I insist that fascist capitalism is an inevitable development once the system of capitalism was established in the world first in Holland and Britain in the 17th century, in France and the USA in the 18th century, in Germany in the 19th century. From these powerful colonial nations it metastasized to the rest of the world. 

Anyway, the point I wish to make in this commentary is that Zuesse, as an old-fashioned liberal, has the naive conviction that only if the rich didn't lie, we would enjoy the benefits of a "democracy". 

If you have read most of his other essays, you will notice that he rarely, if ever, mentions the word "capitalism". You will also notice that he always cites the rich capitalists, which he frequently describes with the feudal term "aristocracy", as the root cause of all our problems today. As such, he, along with many other old-fashioned liberals, functions as a welcome propagandist for the fascist capitalist ruling class by diverting our attention from the system that produced the fascists to the rich. Notice, like all old-fashioned liberals, he looks back affectionately to Franklin Roosevelt as a good president who tried to set the USA on a good path. But, alas, the evil rich "aristocracy" took over control of the nation by lying their way to power. This simplistic, childish notion ignores the fact that every ruling class has historically lied their way to power, and they must lie to maintain themselves as a ruling class! 
Only if the population boycott lying individuals and organizations, is democracy even possible to exist in a nation. Democracy can’t possibly exist more than truth does. In political matters, deceit is always treachery; and its practitioners, whenever the evidence for it is overwhelming and irrefutable, should experience whatever the standard penalty is for treachery. Only in a land such as that, can democracy possibly exist. Elsewhere, it simply can’t. The only basis for democracy, is truth. Deceit is for dictators, not for democrats. And deceit reigns, in the U.S. and in its allied countries. Is this really tolerable? Americans, at least, tolerate it. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Recommended articles for Friday, December 7, 2018

  • 9/11 Breakthrough? News provided by Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry posted on PR Newswire. (This article was suggested to me by a diligent activist.)

Whitewash - The 'Last Bastion Of Freedom' Is An Al-Qaeda Infested Town

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama

The author blasts the shoddy piece of propaganda about an Syrian town controlled by Al-Qaeda, one of the Empire's terrorist mercenary armies.
In reality "an alternative history" is not what happened to Saraqib, but what is presented in the New Yorker piece. It is a whitewash of a brutal international attack on Syria. A hagiography of one Osama al-Hossein, a Muslim Brotherhood 'activist', who got funding from the United States. It includes every false propaganda cliche about 'barrel bombs' and 'moderate rebels', who never were moderate, that the 'western' agencies inserted into the news stream. It is also full of stupid and nonfactual assertions.
The major question in my mind is: how did the respectable, although ruling class magazine, become a conduit for pure Empire propaganda? This could be asked about a number of ruling class sources of information and opinion. And, what happened to the articles authored by Seymour Hersh? The New Yorker previously published them. Why has he been forced to publish his recent articles abroad? I think these are more indications of the inherent weakness of the Empire and its desperate attempts to cling to power. Don't misunderstand me. The capitalist US-led Empire is most dangerous when it is seriously threatened.

The latest news on the plight of Julian Assange

 (An activist alerted me to this news.)
  • Julian Assange: Wikileaks founder rejects deal allowing him to leave Ecuador embassy in London after six years by Adam Forrest from The Independent.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Recommended articles for Wednesday, December 5, 2018

By allowing capitalism to run wild, President Bush Sr. hoped to extend prosperity to the world. But capitalism is not a political project, it is simply a system of logic designed for creating profit [for capitalists]. The logic of the US multinationals was to increase their profits by delocalising production to China, where it is now possible, and where workers are the lowest paid in the world.  [my insertion]

Checklist: Are You Organizing Democratically?

Click here to access article by Matt Noyes from Labor Notes

Although this is written for labor organizers who work within a capitalist system, there are also important suggestions for organizing an effective bottom-up authority structures absolutely necessary for any kind of authentic revolutionary movement. Unfortunately, many labor organizers, especially those who are indoctrinated in sociopathic norms of a capitalist society, are co-opted by corporations in order to help them manage workers into supporting their profit objectives. But let us examine and take seriously some of Noyes's recommendations. One thing he failed to mention: above all, such organizers must be appointed and controlled by members of any society, be it a group or a nation.

Americans’ Self-Contradictory Views of Socialized Healthcare

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse posted on Washington's Blog.

I'm not so sure that Zuesse's argument is correct. He does support his argument by furnishing data, but I think he is drawing the wrong conclusions. Permit me to argue for another interpretation. 

The data suggests not that the American people hold contradictory views on government administration of universal medical care, but they, consciously or not, do not want the government of the ruling class to administer it. They have already experienced the government's administration of Social Security and Medicare, and they don't like it for quite rational reasons: poor service and/or benefits because the administration of these programs are deeply biased to prevent ordinary Americans from receiving benefits, frequently they reward privately owned insurance corporations abundant opportunities to enrich themselves, and experts like Allen Smith argues that much of the funds of the Social Security Administration are "borrowed" to cover government deficits.
... the truth about the trust fund has been kept from the general public for the past 30 years. Every dollar of the $2.7 trillion in surplus revenue generated by the 1983 payroll tax hike was embezzled by the government and transferred to the general fund. As the government spent the Social Security surplus money, the actual money was replaced with IOUs, which the government calls “special issues of the Treasury.” The public has been led to believe that the IOUs are real bonds, just like the marketable Treasury bonds held by China, and our other creditors. But the IOUs are not at all like the marketable Treasury bonds. They cannot be sold or used to pay benefits. They represent only an accounting record of how much Social Security money has been spent on other things.
Corporate media is flooded with reports emanating from so-called taxpayer and ruling class sources who do no want government funds be diverted to helping people. Instead they want government funds used to enrich themselves which means billions for weapons, support for war policies which require weapons production, and crumbs for the poor. You will rarely find articles posted in corporate media that reflect criticisms of users of government programs. Instead, you will find them in alternative, independent websites that the ruling class is trying to limit via their control of giant internet corporations like Google, Facebook, etc. You must search out and find critical articles from independent websites such as the following: Shock Therapy: Perfect Storm, Seniors Need To Be Tenacious In Appeals To Medicare, In Time for Christmas: A Social Security Plan Only Scrooge Could Love, Social Security: The 14th Amendment and “Odious Debt”, and Social Security in the Great Jambalaya.

Ordinary people need help from the ravages of ruling class government, but they won't get it from a government controlled by the rich and powerful ruling class. Only a government controlled by the people and for the people can accomplish this.

Left-liberals such as Zuesse frequently criticizes government policies, but cannot overcome their well-educated mindset that has been formed through so many years of capitalist indoctrination in capitalist ruling class-controlled schools.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Chomsky Proves George H.W. Bush Was War Criminal

Jimmy Dore provides a clip of Noam Chomsky explaining to the interviewer about the war crimes committed by George H.W. Bush. This is furnished as an antidote to all the sickening corporate coverage extolling the virtues of this war criminal.

Sir David Attenborough Predicts the ‘Collapse of Civilization’ at UN Climate Summit

Click here to access article by Brandon Specktor from Live Science.
"Right now, we're facing a man-made disaster of global scale," Attenborough told delegates from almost 200 nations. "Our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change. If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon."

Nations as Foreign Capital Corporations

Click here to access article by Francisco Fernández-Bullón from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard

The article is not well written (or translated), but one still gets a realist impression that many of the Latin American countries (the US's "backyard") are ruled by mafia-like corporate gangs who have plundered such countries for many decades. Such insights are helpful in understanding why so many Central Americans are marching to the US border
The foreign capital company strips all of the homelands of its excess inhabitants, who then have to migrate on foot looking for other lands. The only nationals that Honduras has at the moment are Orlando Hernandez and his cadre of cocaine traffickers who are the only ones who feel at home in the country (although they would probably prefer to live in Miami and be North Americans) and perhaps the high-ranking US military stationed at the base of Palmerola. .... However scarce the rights enjoyed by the Hondurans that manage to enter the stepmother country of adoption that could be the USA, they’ll always have more than in their own country, where they have none and where their death isn’t news. Now finally they have become “news” after many decades of being anonymous victims, thanks to an epic journey on foot, crossing the hostile lands of Central America and North America: lands hostile to those who don’t have more capital than only their hands or their wit, as long as they do not use it to foment crime and robbery.

Who I Am, Where I Stand, And What I’m Trying To Do Here

Click here to access article by Caitlin Johnstone from her blog. 

In this article the increasingly popular Australian online activist reveals all about where she is coming from intellectually and personally. 
My goal here in this little slot of digital real estate is to do every little thing I can to help save the world. Humanity appears to be hurtling toward extinction by way of climate destruction or nuclear annihilation, both of which are movements held in place by a transnational alliance of plutocrats and secretive government agencies. This unelected power establishment (which is sometimes referred to as the deep state, a term I now avoid since Republican partisans have distorted its meaning) seems to be motivated not by any ideology, nor by any loyalty to any particular nation or government, but by sheer hunger for limitless power. I place emphasis on the United States, because that’s where the largest amount of power appears to be centralized.

In a system where money both (A) translates directly to political power and (B) comes most abundantly to whoever is sufficiently cold and unfeeling to do whatever it takes in order to become immensely wealthy, we naturally find ourselves in a world ruled by sociopaths.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Capitalism Is Dead, But We Still Dance With The Corpse

Click here to access article by Joe Bageant posted on Titanic Lifeboat Academy.
As an Anglo European white guy from a very long line of white guys, I want to thank all the brown, black, yellow and red people for a marvelous three-century joy ride. During the past 300 years of the industrial age, as Europeans, and later as Americans, we have managed to consume infinitely more than we ever produced, thanks to colonialism, crooked deals with despotic potentates and good old gunboats and grapeshot.
Yes, we have lived, and still live, extravagant lifestyles far above the rest of you. And so, my sincere thanks to all of you folks around the world working in sweatshops, or living on two bucks a day, even though you sit on vast oil deposits. And to those outside my window here in Mexico this morning, the two guys pruning the retired gringo's hedges with what look like pocket knives, I say, keep up the good work. It's the world's cheap labor guys like you -- the black, brown and yellow folks who take it up the shorts -- who make capitalism look like it actually works. So keep on humping. Remember: We've got predator drones.
I remember reading that Bageant was living in Belize back around 2011, but I was sad to learn only today that he left us sometime during that year. I was moved by his articles because I think he and I were very much alike. I even thought about moving to Belize among several other places like Mexico and Ecuador--anyplace to escape brainwashed Americans. (Thank god that I was able to live in Canada for four years shortly after "9/11" when in the US a softer, although more effective, slide toward fascism began!) So, I am posting this as a token of appreciation for all of his writings.

Anyway, I thank the serious activists at Titanic Lifeboat Academy for this post. They tried in vain for many years to teach their fellow Americans about the environmental crisis we were facing and the necessity to live more simply and ecologically.  

Remembering

Click here to access article by Ghada Chehade from her website Ghada's SoapBox.

I can only read and understand her poems when I am not bothered by all the distractions that direct our attention elsewhere ranging from the maintenance of our personal lives to the more insidious and ubiquitous distractions of our capitalist world. I must be still and isolated from all these distractions, and I frequently find that it is quite a challenge. 

I've long tried to listen to my inner voice in spite of all the pressures to conform to the norms of behavior and thought that growing up in a capitalist world entails. Such an orientation is not recommended if you "want to get ahead" in what Chehade and others refer to as a "rat race". However, it is recommended to those who struggle to live their own lives freely. What do I mean by this last statement? 

Well, I think Chehade focuses on that in her poem. She finds it a struggle to listen to her own inner voice while living in a capitalist world in which so many powerful voices demand our attention. Most of us are overwhelmed by these latter voices which smother our inner voices to the extent that we lose ourselves in the melee. We often become like automatons which are programmed by our masters to think and act in certain ways. Jay Dyer has studied this phenomenon and has some interesting and helpful insights regarding this dilemma which Chehade expresses existentially in her poem.  

US coal firm launches NAFTA suit against Alberta over coal phase-out

Click here to access article from ISDS Platform.

The ISDS Platform, a non-profit NGO, tracks such cases throughout the world. I am posting this article to illustrate the powerful control that the advanced version of capitalism, neoliberalism, has, and that their capitalist beneficiaries enjoy, under the domination of the US-led Empire. One little clause that is inserted in every neoliberal agreement requires a nation to submit to a private court any laws that are passed that might result in a loss to private owners. 
ISDS is a mechanism included in many trade and investment agreements to settle disputes. Settling these investor disputes relies on arbitration rather than public courts. Under agreements which include ISDS mechanisms, a company from one signatory state investing in another signatory state can argue that new laws or regulations could negatively affect its expected profits or investment potential, and seek compensation in a binding arbitration tribunal. Corporations typically seek compensation which may amount to millions or billions of US dollars.
Capitalists have always regarded the ownership of economic property as sacred. International corporations have managed with the backing of the US Empire to insert such clauses in every economic agreement between and among nations. Nations must accept such neoliberal clauses if they want to do business with nations under the control of the US Empire which is most of the world. Also recalcitrant nations will likely be denied loans from international banking agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank. Such agreements are especially onerous for nations that have suffered many decades, even centuries, of exploitation by foreign corporations under colonial regimes.

In this example where a Canadian province decided to stop coal production as a means to allay global warming, they are likely to be forced to pay billions of dollars in compensation to the coal companies. While reading this article, you might also notice other examples this organization has tracked.