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
Saturday, August 18, 2018
My curiosity was piqued yesterday by weather reports on area (Minneapolis) weather reports that it was unhealthy to exercise outside because of the smoke from Canadian wildfires. (I wanted to ride my bicycle on a route through my town as a routine exercise.) Scanning several weather broadcasts from other channels, I found the same reports, that is, that wildfires in Canada were the cause of the darkened sky. Because I was skeptical that the smoky skies were all caused by Canadian wildfires, this morning I decides to scan reports from the web. Guess what?
There are fires reported across the globe from Siberia to Greece to Portugal as well as the west coasts of USA and Canada (see also this, this, this, and this). The Guardian even announced that it was time to do something about climate change! But "not to worry" because the Secretary of the Interior says that it's all the fault of environmentalists!
Thursday, August 16, 2018
- Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well from Rolling Stone.
- Why Are ATMs Disappearing at an Alarming Rate after a Wave of Branch Closures? by Don Quijones (a Brit who lives mostly in Spain) from Wolf Street.
Corporate media has given such unusual coverage to a report published in a subscription-only scientific journal that the editors have since removed it from a paywall. Could it be that this was caused by concern about feedback loops reported by the scientists in addition to the extreme weather that nearly everyone is experiencing?
As the Earth warms, positive (amplifying) feedbacks are becoming stronger: the authors identify ten that have global impacts and that could be radically accelerated by relatively small temperature increases, including thawing permafrost, release of ocean floor methane hydrates, weakened land and oceanic CO2 absorption, increasing bacterial respiration in the oceans, dieback of Amazon and/or boreal forests, reduced northern snow cover, loss of Arctic and/or Antarctic sea ice, and melting of polar ice sheets.Angus quotes their conclusions:
Any one of these could substantially accelerate global warming, and if one passes a tipping point, it may trigger a “tipping cascade,” permanently accelerating others.
“Incremental linear changes to the present socioeconomic system are not enough to stabilize the Earth System. Widespread, rapid, and fundamental transformations will likely be required to reduce the risk of crossing the threshold and locking in the Hothouse Earth pathway....And then states the following:
“The contemporary way of guiding development founded on theories, tools, and beliefs of gradual or incremental change, with a focus on economy efficiency, will likely not be adequate to cope with this trajectory. …
“To avoid crossing a planetary threshold … a deep transformation based on a fundamental reorientation of human values, equity, behavior, institutions, economies, and technologies is required.”
Although stated in very general terms, these points have deeply radical implications.Do you think that our masters who are addicted to profit and power supplied by their system of capitalism can even consider such changes? If not, then who? (The revolutionary question of our time.)
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
This white man is not my enemy
No, this white man hasn’t done shit to me
Let’s talk about the E-C-O-N-O-M-Y
That’s the real issue here
Don’t. You. See.
It’s not just about race,
but economic d-i-s-p-a-r-i-t-y
Most white men today are suffering just like me
You see, the problem aint with the majority
But a tiny little minority:
The Uber Wealthy Authority
That enslave us through financial s-u-p-e-r-i-o-r-i-t-y
Black and brown do have it worse
But economic suffering is a global curse
Orchestrated by and for the globalists’ purse
And when we turn on each other
We. Make. The. Situation. Worse
For divide and conquer is an age old trick
It makes the majority weaker
And the rich more slick
Able to stop us from seeing our common plight
And prevent us from waging a common fight
Against the ones with all the Authority…
That. Uber. Wealthy. Minority.
... climate change denialism was heavily promoted by corporate and partisan (right wing) media, and by legions of corporate agents, flacks and factotums masquerading as elected representatives in federal and state governments. That has now changed.What is the likely response by our masters' bought-and-paid-for government?
Climate change is now all over the front pages of the newspapers and is the headline story of the mainstream mass media ....
Big Capital is now openly scared about climate change, and that is what we are now seeing as headline news.
We will also be seeing urgent promotions – presented as mass media news and commentary – for varieties of government subsidized protection for those sectors of Big Business that feel most financially threatened by the biting furies of climate change.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
You will learn about Assange's health, the legal aspects of his case, the significance of his ongoing persecution by agents of the US Empire, among other topics related to Julian Assange, the renowned activist who has led the effort in countering the Empire's dirty secrets.
- Jordan – Staunch Western Ally – Angry and Confused by Andre Vltchek from New Eastern Outlook. He visits Jordan and reports on what he finds in this colony of the US Empire which it faithfully serves.
- Brecht: On the matter of political illiteracy from The Greanville Post.
- Bunker Mentality: Start Preparing for Ecological & Economic Disaster Free of Corporate Overlords by Robert Bridge from Strategic Culture Foundation.
It’s time to stop acting like children and face an ugly truth: our current materialistic lifestyles are not sustainable in the long-term, and probably not in the short term either. Our incredible level of wastefulness, compounded by Earth’s finite resources, guarantees that the planet’s 7 billion people are living on borrowed time. Exactly what ‘short-term’ means, however, is a question none of us can really answer. It may mean the day after tomorrow or another 500 years. Again, nobody can say. But given the upsurge of interest, for example, in “doomsday prepping” among people of average means (a topic that even the high-brow Financial Times reported on), to the construction of sprawling underground bunkers for the elite, there is a growing consensus among many people that it is time to start taking back some control of our lives.
- America’s unending reign of police terror by Niles Niemuth from World Socialist Web Site.
While racism plays a role in some police killings, and in the brutal measures directed against immigrants, this is entirely subordinate to the role of the state as an instrument of class rule. It is not a matter of making the police more racially diverse or electing more African American prosecutors. Decades of racially integrated police forces have illustrated quite starkly that black cops can be just as vicious, corrupt and murderous as their white counterparts.
The fight against police violence is a class question.
This Australian wonder woman strikes again with this brilliant essay about how our masters thoroughly manipulate the news about major events in order to control us for their benefit of power and profits. In this essay her remarkable imagination takes us into a world where we are only fed raw material about events across the world, and what that would be like. Unfortunately, most people already believe what they are fed by mainstream sources is raw material instead of fabricated stories. But there are increasing numbers who believe the exact opposite, and someday maybe they will prevail. She imagines that someday.
Saturday, August 11, 2018
This is a major geopolitical alert! With Erdogan of Turkey laying down the gauntlet (def), it looks obvious to me that the current economic warfare of the Trump administration waged against Turkey portends a major shift from Turkey's lukewarm alliance with the US Empire to the emerging powers of Russia, China, etc.
The author argues that the effects of climate destabilization confronts us humans with only two stark choices: staying with the existing system of capitalism or replacing it with a sustainable system.
The author writes about his personal extensive efforts, and that of his friends, extending over many years to warn about the future destabilization of the biosphere followed by the likely extinction of humans and other "higher" life forms.
I personally, in a number of public meetings, was called a “kook catastrophist,” a “Neo-Malthusian,” an “apolitical tree hugger,” and many other negative epithets – I haven’t heard any of that in-your-face name calling in the last six or seven years.
So what has changed? Reality. If you have been paying attention and are not mired in rigid ideology, then continued denial is no longer an option.
Friday, August 10, 2018
- Washington Has Lured EU into Anti-China Trade Front by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.
- Why Trump Cancelled the Iran Deal by Eric Zuesse from Strategic Culture Foundation.
- Who Has Profited From Your Beliefs? by Caitlin Johnstone from her website.
The fact of the matter is that the ideas which have taken the most widespread hold in social consciousness are those which were advanced by people with influence over society, and the people with the most influence over society are, and always have been, those in power. It is self-evident that those in power are always going to encourage belief systems within the populace which benefit those in power, so, logically, most of the popular beliefs, values and ideas in our society exist predominantly because at some point, someone powerful wanted them to.
So now we’ve got a world in which powerful people inject beliefs into social consciousness that benefit the powerful, as well as vestigial, culturally ubiquitous ideas from ages past about how important it is to be placid and obedient.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
- Washington allies with ISIS as great power conflict trumps “war on terror” by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.
- Eternity, nature, society and the absurd fantasies of the rich by Kurt Cobb from Resource Insights.
- Trump’s Talk of Isolating Iran Speaks More to US Global Isolation by independent Irish journalist Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.
I thoroughly agree with his argument that Trump's sanctions against Iran is very likely to backfire to the detriment of the US economy and ultimately the hegemony of the US Empire over the entire world. However, I would not lay the responsibility for this foreign policy entirely on Trump. I think that the entire American (and much of the British) ruling class supports such a move, and this support would exist whoever was president. However, there is a split among European corporations over this policy, and the policy is likely to sow dissension among Europeans and ultimately impact NATO.
Together with the trade war against China, such policies illustrate the desperation that the American capitalist ruling class are now experiencing. Hopefully they will not do something foolish that will have much worse consequences. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans remain unaware as to the ultimate effects of these policies on their already deteriorating standard of living, and it will be a rude awakening for them.