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

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The two-tiered justice system: an illustration

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from Salon.

This outstanding investigative journalist and former constitutional lawyer illustrates what is obvious to many of us: the class based legal system provides free passes to the "one-percent". It is clear to me that the law, like all other institutions in the US, serves only the interests of the ruling capitalist class. And how could this be otherwise? By definition, a ruling class makes the rules. Should it be surprising that they make the rules to serve their interests and needs? 

See also this 10:13m video of a CNN interview with Eliot Spitzer and Matt Taibbi regarding the lack of prosecutions of Wall Street criminals.

There are people who would argue that such a CNN report illustrates that corporate media is doing its job. And, also they would argue that a number of corporate figures have been prosecuted, examples include Bernie Madoff and others (see this). My response is that in almost every case the crimes affected the interests of other capitalists.

“Grassroots” Fraud Suits Corporations to a Tea

Click here to access article by Russ Baker from Who What Why.
It’s time for a much more concerted look at the growing role of corporations—domestic and foreign—in subverting American democracy.

Iceland's Message to Portugal

Click here to access article by Nick Dearden from CounterPunch.
The people of Iceland have stood up for their sovereignty. Their future looks considerably brighter than those of Ireland or Portugal. The people of Greece are just beginning their struggle. The outcomes will have a monumental impact on the fight against poverty and inequality across the world.
It is clear that the class war "game" is raging throughout the US and Europe. So far the score is Capitalists 5 (US, Britain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland) and Workers 1 (Iceland). But the game is far from over. 

In contrast to the economic war in the US and Europe, the uprisings throughout the MENA countries are of a political nature: to free themselves of the domination of Western capitalist countries. But the source of both wars is the capitalist system, only the surface manifestations are different. 

There will never be peace among peoples as long as societies are organized in a way that gives power and wealth to one small segment of these societies. The system that allows private appropriation of the wealth that is socially produced must be abolished forever if we are to have peace among ourselves, and if we are to have economies which can exist sustainably with the Earth's ecosystem.

Bob Parsons [Go Daddy CEO] Shooting an Elephant on Safari Nails the Worst Hunting Stereotypes

Click here to access article by Jamie Johnson from Vanity Fair. 

Here is an example of how the America rich use their tax free dollars. How much of the estimated $500,000 plus that this excursion probably cost do you think will trickle down to you? 
Last week, the impetuous billionaire and Go Daddy C.E.O. Bob Parsons placed himself at the center of an unusual public controversy. He posted a video on his Web site that shows him fatally shooting an elephant during a recent hunting excursion in Zimbabwe.
Jamie shows how rich Italians have their fun smashing expensive cars.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Libya: blood bonanza for contractors [3:45m video and script]

Click here to access video and script from RT.

I think that there is more substance in this report than first meets the eye. As corporations become ever more powerful in today's world, they are frequently using private armies to protect their interests. The resulting human rights abuses are dreadful. But, are private armies really that much different from government armies? 

Private armies are distinguished from government armies only in the degree to which they can function without compliance to any rules or regulations. Frequently, secret government agencies like the CIA use private armies to pursue their "interests", which ultimately means corporate interests. And, as we've seen in so many of the wars engaged in by official armies, there have been numerous human rights abuses. (If you have been asleep for the past 40 years, see this, this, this, and this.)

A prime example of this is the US military, the Goliath of national military forces. Many American youth join the military only because they see no alternative in order to obtain a decent lifestyle (health care, higher education, housing, pensions, etc). Nominally, the US military is government owned and controlled, but what does that really mean when there is so much evidence to show that the US government itself is largely controlled by corporations.

Since WWII the Executive branch of US government has not bothered with the Constitutional requirement to officially declare its wars. Due to the legally recognized rule of precedence, the Executive branch can now direct military action anywhere in the world to secure or enhance "US interests"--the interests of the financial-industrial-military complex. 

Corporations have become so concentrated and so large that they now exercise far more power than most national governments in the world. All levels of government whether municipal, State or provincial, and even national governments compete to have corporate enterprises locate to their areas. In the US, military related industries have been deliberately scattered throughout every State in the Union in order to create political constituencies (in support of jobs and local economies). Thus, governments are forced to offer all kinds of incentives such as tax reductions, infrastructure, low or subsidized wages, training of workers, exemptions from environmental laws, etc, in order to secure employment for their citizens.

Whether private or governmental, armies are now being used to secure the interests of wealth producing corporations for the one-percent of the world who claim ownership rights to them under the system of capitalism.

Obama administration announces massive coal mining expansion

Click here to access article by Glenn Hurowitz from Grist. (Sorry about the late posting of this article which is dated three weeks ago. However, in my defense it needs to be recognized that mainstream media keeps news like this out of the public eye as much as possible.)
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday an enormous expansion in coal mining that threatens to increase U.S. climate pollution by an amount equivalent to more than half of what the United States currently emits in a year.

Crazy Weather and Climate: Do Dots Connect?

Click here to access article by Bruce Dorminey from Miller-McCune.

Is the extreme weather we have been experiencing related to climate change? Is climate change caused by humans? To answer these questions, the author interviews "Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The climatologist, a leading member on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 when it was awarded to the IPCC."
The thing that is most clear is the increasing temperatures. We can look to sea levels rising, Arctic sea ice and glaciers melting. ...All this is consistent with this warming. There’s also pretty good evidence that when it rains, it rains harder than it used to especially across the U.S. That’s due to anthropogenic climate change, and that’s only going to get bigger.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Obama Delivers Republican Arguments [17:22m video]

Click here to access the Real News interview with economist Bill Black.

Another very good antidote to the speech given by the Public Relations Chief (President) of the US ruling class.

Large Corporations Getting Away without Paying Taxes? San Mateo Activists To Show How Wrong It Is

Click here to access article by R. Stevens from IndyBay. (San Francisco,USA area)

The "Yes Men" strike again! This appears to be a good way to harass corporations and raise political consciousness. 

And, for people in the San Francisco Bay Area (where I lived for 20 years), this weekend, there is a protest action you can participate in to fight back against the corporate tax dodgers .

The Real Housewives of Wall Street

Click here to access article by Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone.
This is what welfare for the rich looks like.

Mistreatment of Manning Criticized by UN Torture Investigator, Hundreds of Legal Academics and Hundreds of Thousands

Click here to access article by Kevin Zeese from OpEd News.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Middle East: Obama’s counter-revolution

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet.

The author presents quite a few details about US Empire designs on Libya and the African continent, and its current attempts to contain, if not rollback, the insurrections in this part of the world.
The issue has been settled. After a pacifying discourse on human rights and its enthusiastic acclaim of the "Arab Spring", the Obama administration has chosen the strong-arm solution to save what can still be salvaged.

...Washington has picked its Saudi client to lead the counter-revolutionary charge. It armed a faction of the Libyan opposition, and hijacked the UN debate over sanctions against Libya by imposing the debate over the no-fly zone, tantamount to a military intervention. It organized a military intervention in Bahrain.

'US at loss over self-contradictions'

Click here to access interview with Dr. E. Michael Jones, Editor of Culture Wars Magazine, US.
The US response to the uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa has received widespread condemnations over America's 'hypocrisy' in dealing with democratic movements. 

Kucinich: Obama Admin Transferring Wealth to the Few [7:26m video]

Click here to access video from Real News. 

After listening to most of Pres. Obama's talk this morning about tax reform, my head hurt and I needed an antidote. This interview with Kucinich and the article below worked better than aspirin. 

Although speech writers composed his speech, Obama is an expert on a delivery that disguises reality behind feel-good rhetoric. No doubt, that is why the US ruling class hired him to be President.
The deficit and the reason why we have it underscores the transfer of wealth that's occurring in this country from the great mass of people into the hands of a few. And the Obama administration's actually presiding over that.
This piece entitled, "White House budget deal imposes cuts in health care, education, home heating aid" from WSWS also sets the record straight.

The much ballyhooed mainstream media reporting regarding the differences between the budget cutting Republicans and Obama Democrats is a perfect illustration of the "good cop, bad cop" ploy that the ruling class has used so effectively on American workers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Have yet to change

Click here to access article by Gihan Shahine from Al-Ahram.

This is the best article I've seen so far on the post-Mubarak state of affairs in Egypt. The author provides a comprehensive view of the changes over time and across the various social classes.

Some things are returning to the past:
...in the wake of the revolution, the spirit of togetherness is starting to give way to negative social aspects. To many, the future remains largely foggy, and this has reflected on the public mood. Mixed feelings of bewilderment, fear, hope, frustration and despondence are producing emotional highs and lows. There is a serious economic problem, sectarian rifts have resurfaced, the unprecedented rise of Islamists is causing social turmoil, and the prevalence of thugs and a marked rise in crime are worrying everybody.
Read also this piece entitled, "Egypt blogger given 3 years for criticizing military" 

But, some things have really changed:
"Egyptians have, forever, broken the barrier of fear, not just of the former regime, but also of all kinds of authority over minds and thought," Naim said. "They proved they have persistence, a sense of patriotism, political awareness and are civil by nature."

Int'l community [Western media] has forgotten Bahrain

Click here to access this interview from Press TV.  [11:03m video and transcript]
Press TV interviewed Nabeel al-Samman of Al-Watan Newspaper in Damascus regarding the revolution in Bahrain.
Only the Iranians are interested in covering this story while the West's media coverage of the "humanitarian" mission in Libya is huge. 

French Nuclear Group Warns that Children and Pregnant Mothers Should Protect Themselves from Radiation

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog. 

The French are advising its citizens about the risks of radiation from the Japanese disaster, but authorities in the US where radiation levels are 8-10 time higher are strangely silent. Could it be that the US ruling class is more interested in protecting its plans to use nuclear power than it is in protecting the health of its citizens?

Ikea's Third World outsourcing adventure -- in the U.S.

Click here to access article by Andrew Leonard from Salon.

This offers more evidence to support a view I've held for the past 10 years: the world is changing into a tiny 1st world and a huge 3rd world, everywhere in the world. The US is not exempt! 

Mostly it will be only workers in the US military-industrial complex that will enjoy 1st world treatment. Thus, it appears that world capitalists have assigned to the US the function of supplying young men and women to serve in their mercenary armies and to produce weapons of mass destruction. 

With US unemployment so high and limited educational opportunities due to all the cutbacks, joining the armed forces or working in military production facilities are largely the only opportunities available for young people hoping to support a decent lifestyle and retirement.

Gas From Fracking More Damaging to Climate Than Coal?

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

Obama's Franco moment

Click here to access article by James Petras from Al-Ahram.
The basic difference between the military capability of the pro-government Libyan forces and the Libyan rebels, backed by both Western imperialists and "progressives", lies in their motivation, values and material advances. Western imperialist intervention has heightened national consciousness among the Libyan people, who now view their confrontation with the anti-Gaddafi rebels as a fight to defend their homeland from foreign air and sea power and puppet land troops -- a powerful incentive for any people or army. The opposite is true for the rebels whose leaders have surrendered their national identity and depend entirely on imperialist military intervention to put them in power. Which rank and file rebel fighters are going to risk their lives, fighting their own compatriots, just to place their country under an imperialist or neo-colonial rule?
I think that this is precisely why China and Russia decided to abstain from voting on the UN Security Council's resolution in support of a military incursion in Libya: they saw that the West's knee-jerk neo-colonialist impulses would likely backfire on them. 


Monday, April 11, 2011

Libya Rebels had NATO Weapons from Day 1 [9:13m video]

Click here to access video by Nikolay Starikov (Russia) via Global Research TV (GRTV).

I think he presents evidence that should be considered seriously. The violent attempt to overthrow the Gaddafi regime using a sponsored insurgent group fits perfectly with Western interests and CIA methods of regime change. (Read The Mighty Wurlitzer by Hugh Wilford and The Secret Team by (Ret.) Col. L. Fletcher Prouty.)

See also Pepe Escobar's observations about the Libyan situation. (Warning: ads on Asia Times have taken a quantum leap.)

Lesser-Evil Math Doesn't Compute: Freedom Plaza Has the Same Name as Tahrir Square

Click here to access article by David Swanson from War Is a Crime. 

The author show some signs of growing in his political awareness. He sees the citizen strategy of voting for the lesser evil as futile, which I believe is absolutely correct. But, what about his proposal which consists of two basic features?
1) We could all refuse to support candidates that make things worse than they were in the past, even if it risks allowing the greater of two evils to win an election or two.
2)  ...pack [Freedom Plaza in Washington,DC] with millions of Americans and march to and nonviolently shut down the Capitol, the White House, and the Pentagon.
It might be something to consider for the next Presidential election in 2012. Frankly, I don't believe that this strategy would be successful, but it might be useful to demonstrate to US citizens that the existing governing capitalist class will never voluntarily surrender its control over society to serve the interests of working people. Thus, it might set the stage for greater class consciousness and political awareness to prepare people to create more powerful strategies in this class war.

WikiLeaks Demonstrates Where Citizens Must Apply Pressure to Advance Media Reform and Justice

Click here to access article by Kevin Gosztola from OpEd News.

This is a summary report of the conference held in Boston over the weekend called National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) put on by Free Press.

It's clear to me that we are in the midst of a raging class war and WikiLeaks is on the front-lines. Because mainstream journalists act as gatekeepers of information for the Empire, information is used to manipulate working people to comply with capitalist authorities and always results in more oppression. That is precisely why we must counter this insidious method of control over our lives.
When it comes to journalism and public media, WikiLeaks shows how professional journalists in the corporate or Beltway media find themselves to be part of an elite class. They think citizens need them to understand and process current events and the political issues of the day. They find they should be deciding what to cover and what to leak and should cooperate with government when making decisions on coverage and leaks. Their worst fear is an organization like WikiLeaks that levels the playing field and challenges their "gatekeeper" role in society by publishing previously secret information for the public to read and cover on their own blog. They do not want citizen journalists to become as credible as they have historically been because then they might have to confront their allegiance and fealty to power. They do not want to be held accountable for failing to engage in the investigative journalism Americans should expect from the press.
So far, we are losing the class war and time is running out for us to win it. Essentially, I think it is now time to man the barricades, metaphorically speaking, or we, our children, and grandchildren can look forward to a nightmarish dystopia characterized by endless wars, greater extreme wealth and poverty, climate change related conditions of famine and extreme weather, and environmental devastation.  

The Afghan Drug Trade and the Elephant in the Room

Click here to access article by Jeremy R. Hammond from Foreign Policy Journal.

Several authors in the past have tried to uncover the truth about drug trafficking, but all seem to be swimming hard against the overwhelming current of mainstream media that obscures the reality. (For other excellent online sources of information, see this, this, and this.) This author makes another contribution to truth.
...big money interests and power players within the United States have a financial interest in the preservation of the global drug trade, and U.S. policies and foreign interventions have often historically been aligned with that goal – including in present day Afghanistan.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Army "ready to use force" to clear Cairo square

from Reuters report

I have been looking forward with great anticipation to see how the unfinished revolution in Egypt would take shape in view of the fact that the US trained and equipped Egyptian military was still in charge. The events in this article have not been widely disseminated in US media which wants to focus on Libya and Syria--two "rogue" states that the Empire would like to crush. 
Egypt's ruling generals said on Saturday they were ready to use force to end protests in Tahrir Square after troops cracked down on demonstrators overnight and sparked violence that medical sources said killed two people.

The Hypocrisy of U.S. Military Withdrawal From Iraq

by Dave Lefcourt from OpEd News
With American domestic politics lately focusing on a possible government shutdown along with the lingering effects of the great recession America's wars seem largely forgotten by most Americans, a sign of how detached we are on issues that don't impact us directly.
The gap between political reality of the US Empire and what ordinary Americans want has widened into a huge canyon. But the multiple crises foisted onto ordinary Americans by the capitalist ruling class is effectively used, along with entertainment distractions and outright lies, to obscure this astonishing reality.

The Rivkin Project: How Globalism Uses Multiculturalism to Subvert Sovereign Nations

by Dr. K R Bolton from Foreign Policy Journal.

The author takes a rather innocent looking Wiki-leaked document and clarifies its benign-sounding language to reveal the underlying truth about an insidious project to influence French culture to serve the interests of the US led Empire. Take particular notice of statements like the following:
...the Ambassador's inter-agency Youth Outreach Initiative aims to
engender a positive dynamic among French youth that leads to
greater support for U.S. objectives and values.

...we will support, train, and engage media
and political activists who share our values.

...we will continue our project of sharing
best practices with young leaders in all fields, including
young political leaders of all moderate parties....

...we plan to track trends and, ideally, predict change in the status of
minorities in France, estimating how this change will impact
U.S. interests. 
Once again, one sees the use of the term "US interests" or "our interests" without ever exploring precisely what is meant by such terms. Most Americans slide right over phrases like this thinking that these interests are in their interest also. 

The use of subversive cultural methods as illustrated by this project is another important tool in the arsenal of the US led Empire of capitalists that is used to achieve worldwide dominance, a topic explored in depth and with great foresight by Bertrand Gross in his 1980 book entitled, Friendly Fascism.