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, June 2, 2012

Unraveling the Welfare Safety Net: Europe Moves Closer to Banktatorship

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from CounterPunch. 

(Note: the following commentary was modified at 9:45pm Sunday, Seattle time.)

Europe's One Percent is aggressively pursuing the destruction of their social safety nets while bringing the governments of the smaller countries under the control of the One Percent's financial institutions.
The eurozone’s permanent bailout fund, the ESM [European Stability Mechanism], has not yet been ratified by all 17 members and already the European Commission wants to change its mandate to include direct bailouts to banks. The direct funding of underwater banks is a blatant power-grab, an attempt to establish the primacy of banks in the same way that the TARP was used to create Too Big To Fail in the US. TBTF means that the banks have merged with the state and that taxpayers provide blanket guarantees for their survival. Europe is moving fast towards this same model.
It appears to me that Western capitalist governments are sliding down the slippery slope to some version of fascism--a system of government that relies heavily on the rich and their engines of wealth: private ownership and control of banks and industry, and the open use of police state methods to enforce their interests. 

The capitalist ruling class has always used both hard and soft power, but it is only when the capitalist ruling class relies mostly on hard power, particularly police-state methods, that their rule is described as fascist. Usually they prefer to use soft power and forms of representative "democracy"; and when they practice these forms, their propaganda organs frequently refer to their rule as "democratic".

There is a lot of confusion about the term fascism--often it has been reduced to a swear word--I think mostly because writers from the One Percent like to cause confusion about concepts that are too revealing about their rule. Most of the confusion can be attributed to differences in style and methods used in different historical periods. One must not confuse form and substance.

In the classic period of fascism characterized by Germany and Italy in the 1930s, capitalists allied themselves mostly with the sub-class of small business people and unemployed and solicited the support of many others with nationalistic, patriotic, and racist appeals. But these methods were adopted because the capitalist class found them to be useful in that period. Nowadays, they rely much more on fears of "terrorism" and immigrants, and phony anti-drug campaigns. Thus, fascism is an integral part of capitalism, but usually in latent form until periods when other devices fail to work. Then the velvet gloves come off to reveal the mailed fist.

So, what do we have today? It appears to me that the governing One Percent is using a mixture of both hard and soft power, but increasingly preparing to use and using hard power as people are starting to resist their austerity policies and as wide sections of populations experience declining living standards.  At times the ruling classes show their friendly "democratic" face, at other times the soulless expression of a banker-vampire; but when their rule is threatened, they will take off their "democratic" masks and turn their enforcer dogs on anyone who opposes them. Ask any Occupier activist about this.

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Click here to access article by Joseph E. Stiglitz from Vanity Fair. 

THE FAT AND THE FURIOUS The top 1 percent may have the best houses, educations, and lifestyles, says the author, but “their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.”

This is the first of two articles in a magazine and website directed to the One Percent in which the author is trying to pound into the heads of the rich and powerful that inequality is threatening their cherished system. Thus, in the second article he makes explicit a theme that only sociopaths, which constitute a large section of the One Percent, can understand:
Harden your hearts. When invited to consider proposals to reduce inequality—by raising taxes and investing in education, public works, health care, and science—put any latent notions of altruism aside and reduce the idea to one of unadulterated self-interest. Don’t embrace it because it helps other people. Just do it for yourself.
As I and many others see it, the basic problem is that their voracious system of capitalism is running up against limits of our finite planet: declining fossil fuels and other natural resources, and industrial activity that threatens an increasingly fragile ecosystem. Hence, they have turned to extracting more wealth from working people and the poor through all the obscure methods of financial capitalism. The end result is what we see today: so many people are descending into debt servitude and suffering the cutbacks in public services--education, health, recreation, and welfare.

The Occupy Movement and the Politics of Educated Hope

Click here to access article by Henry A. Giroux from Truthout. 

This liberal author provides a very articulate description of the looming class war, but his "politics of educated hope" is lost in vague abstractions as depicted here:
There is more at stake here than saying no, making power visible and recognizing that our individual and collective experiences are not dictated by fate. There is also the challenge of confronting the actual with the possible, of pulling hope down to earth, of making sure that the possibilities we mobilize engage real problems and concrete expressions of domination and power. In addition, there is the need to translate theoretical concerns into public action, lift up the level of discourse in an attempt to connect the academy to the dynamics of everyday life and give worldly expression to our critical work. Politics as an act of translation is essential to the struggle against the coming darkness that brands critical judgment as an enemy of the state and destroys public space, paving the way for existing elements of authoritarianism to crystallize into new forms that deform language. A democratic politics may take many forms, but central to connecting its diverse expressions is the need for individuals, groups and social movements to be able to reveal individual problems as public concerns, use theoretical resources to change concrete and systemic relations of power and challenge "a hateful politics toward the public realm, toward politics."

Tough Guy Leaking: Iran edition

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from Salon. 

Forget about this liberal blogger's emphasis on Obama. Simply replace Obama with President X because it doesn't matter who they put in office. This truism applies most definitely to foreign affairs. With domestic issues one finds mostly stylistic differences. There is a section of the One Percent ruling class that loves the way Obama has finessed imperialist policies, the continued favoring of financial institutions, and his austerity policies. The other section led by the Republican party prefers more direct attacks on working people.

Liberal bloggers are very useful when it comes to uncovering the ploys of the ruling class. This author provides evidence that political operatives of this class have found an additional way to cultivate fear in citizens in order to serve their interests of power and profit.
The primary fear-mongering agenda item for the National Security and Surveillance State industry is now cyberwarfare. The Washington cadre of former military officials who seek to personally profit by exploiting national security issues — represented by Adm. Michael McConnell and Gen. Michael Hayden — has been running around for several years shrilly warning that cyberwarfare is the greatest threat posed by Terrorists and other of America’s enemies....

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hymns to the Violence: The NYT’s Love Letter to Obama's Murder Racket

Click here to access article by Chris Floyd from Empire Burlesque. 

Referring to Monday's New York Times article on the death squad that Barack Obama is personally directing from the White House, Floyd writes:
It is not so much a newspaper story as a love letter -- a love letter to death, to the awe-inspiring and fear-inducing power of death, as personified by Barack Obama in his temporary role as the manager of a ruthless, lawless imperial state. In the cringing obsequiousness of the multitude of insiders and sycophants who march in goose-step through the story, we can see the awe and fear -- indeed, the worship -- of death-dealing power. This enthrallment permeates the story, both in the words of the cringers and in the giddy thrill the writers display in gaining such delicious access to the inner sanctum.
See also this piece entitled "Barack Obama: an out of control psychopath with a God complex from Ceasefire (UK).

Although Floyd's article frames this story by hinting at a deeper security state, both unfortunately place too much emphasis on Obama. Obama is essentially only a smooth talking salesman for the inner security establishment that serve as political operatives for the key decision-makers of the One Percent. As Floyd stated at one point in his article, Obama is only a "temporary manager". Obama was raised with the values of the One Percent by his white banker grandmother who enrolled him in an elite school in Hawaii, and from there he went on to further indoctrination in ruling class values at Harvard. Because of this indoctrination, his natural gifts as a public relations officer, and all the rewards he has received by serving the ruling class, he very willingly serves the needs of the Empire.

Obviously, because the real decision-makers function mostly in secret, it is always hard to determine who the key actors really are. Names that are mentioned in the NY Times article are Leon E. Panetta (CIA Director), John O. Brennan (chief counterterrorism advisor), David Axelrod (personal advisor to Obama), and Hillary Clinton (Secretary of State). What must be emphasized is that these people frequently are appointed by key political operatives. For example, in the video interview below from The Real News, former CIA officer Ray McGovern reports that George Tenet first appointed John Brennan. Tenet is very likely a key political operative. The latter, it turn, answers to key decision-makers who are well connected to Wall Street and the Federal Reserve bankers. (For example, Jamie Dimon head of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve is likely a key decision-maker.) What is most important to keep in mind is that the real key actor is a system--capitalism. 

In this video McGovern gives us a much deeper analysis of what is going on behind the scenes of this NY Times report:

What both of these articles and many others like those written by David DeGraw miss is the systemic nature of the regime that controls our government. I am certainly not trying to excuse the people listed in the NY Times report, but only to accurately focus in on the problem so that real corrective action can be devised: the replacement of a system designed to allow the private accumulation of socially produced wealth--capitalism--with one that is socially and environmentally sustainable. If many activists continue to think in such narrow terms as various liberal authors do, we will never solve our problems.

Slaughter Slant: Houla Massacre Sparks Media Blame-game

Click here to access article by Keith Harmon Snow from Dissident Voice. 

Here is the fake Syrian atrocity photo first published by the BBC:

Italian photographer, Marco Di Lauro, has exposed the BBC which illegally used one of his photographs taken in Iraq as anti-Syrian Propaganda on their website’s front page.            

Snow's article refers to this photo that has been shown all over mainstream media.
Like all mainstream corporate press agency photographers covering wars their images are sold and used for propaganda purposes. The statement by Marco di Lauro is hypocritical, since his work has been used over and over to sell the Pentagon and NATO wars. Marco di Lauro sells his images through Time, Getty Images, Associated Press and others, and they have been used to sell the illegal NATO military interventions in Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other places. 

CIA Whistleblower Talks of 12 Month Incarceration over 9-11

Click here to access article by Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall from her blog, The Most Revolutionary Act. 

I highly recommend this most fascinating talk by a former CIA operative and commend Bramhall for bringing it to our attention.

(Note: the video link to Susan Lindauer's approximately 30 minute talk and one hour question and answer session was in Portland, Oregon last September at the Lucky Lab Brewing Company.)

Many activists will doubt the integrity of Bramhall when they read her reference to CIA backed foundations' funding of such left media sources as Democracy Now! But this does in fact happen and has been happening since the founding of the CIA in 1947. (Read The Mighty Wurlitzer by Hugh Wilford.) Left wing media are always starved for cash and can be financially seduced to modify their coverage in order to stay in existence. They probably justify this in their minds by repressing information about where the source of the funding lies, and by reasoning that with additional money they can do a more effective job of alternative reporting. To keep receiving this funding, such compromised media progressives will stop just short of any exposures that are too revealing of truth that the ruling class finds most damning.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Blue Bloc Targets OWS

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust. 

I loved this article! Unlike Chris Hedges, this author knows how to put the issues relating to Black Bloc tactics in their proper perspective. 

China-Japan currency deal ushers in a new era

Click here to access article by Wang Xiaotian and Gao Changxin from China Daily.

It seems to me that this is a major economic development that indicates another slippage for the US ruling class and their Empire down a very slippery slope to loss of power in the world. I'm sure this is making the political operatives of the Empire very nervous.

The rule of the US Empire depends upon two main sources of power--military and economic. The US spends more on its powerful military than all other countries combined. It also has dominant positions in the major financial institutions--World Bank and IMF. In order to support these two powers and salvaging the US dollar as an international currency after running up enormous debts in the Vietnam War while pacifying their own citizens with a "War on Poverty", in 1974 US political operatives (mainly Kissinger) worked out a deal with the Saudi family which controls the major source of oil in the world. The Saudi monarchy agreed to sell their vast supplies of oil only in US dollars in return for protection by the Empire. If this appears like a Mafia style arrangement, it appears so because it is. Let me explain how this works with a simple story.

Once upon a time many centuries ago there was an isolated community in which a bully lived and who was armed to the teeth. The bully spent so much money on weapons to beat up neighbors who didn't like him throwing his weight around that he soon ran out of money. He suddenly came up with a brilliant idea to deal with this problem. This bully offered protection to a neighbor who had most of the forest on his land (specifically the head of the family who was not well liked by his neighbors or even by members of his own family), if that neighbor-patriarch would sell his logs only in the bully's currency. Wood was used for all sorts of things, most essentially for heating and cooking. The bully had long insisted that everyone use his currency to buy things, but this arrangement insured their use of his money. Now the he could spend as much as he liked by printing his own money and everyone had to accept it. 

Those who made money in this currency like the forest guy accumulated so much of this currency that they lent it back to the bully and everyone else that would borrow his money just to get rid of it and earn at least some interest off it. This caused havoc among some of the neighbors who couldn't pay back the loans. 

But there was one family, a huge family with lots of strapping sons, who also accumulated a lot of this money selling useful and low cost products through their hard work at very low wages. Their labor was so cheap that some members of the bully's family decided to take advantage of this by hiring some of them to make products for them to sell on the local market where they made loads of money. 

Then one day the huge family decided to cut deals with individual neighbors to accept the neighbor's currency for their products. In the past the bully would beat up such a rebellious family (think Iraq, Iran, Venezuela), but in this case the bully looked at this huge family and decided that this might not be a good idea. Besides, the bully liked all the products they made for him to sell, and the products that his family purchased and consumed with money from his crude printing press.

What Israel’s anti-African pogroms tell us about Zionism

Click here to access article by Robert Kazandjian, Ali Hocine Dimerdji, and Samantha.Asumadu from Ceasefire (UK). 
A week ago, Tel Aviv's African migrant community came under a sustained mob attack, including vandalism, looting and firebombing. [The authors] argue that these events, and their aftermath, provide further evidence of the inherently racist nature of political Zionism. 

Most Aid to Athens Circles Back to Europe

Click here to access article by Liz Alderman and Jack Ewing from Other News. 

This present crazy arrangement imposed on Greece by Europe's One Percent only insures that the latter receive interest payments indefinitely. 
In an elaborate payment system that began after the May 6 election that brought down the Greek government and is meant to ensure that the Greeks do not touch the cash, the big three creditors are now wiring bailout payments to an escrow account in Greece. There the money sits for two or three days — before much of it is sent back to the troika as interest payments on the Greek bonds that Europe accepted under terms of the bailout deal struck in February.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Return of the Russian Revolution: Nature and Perspectives of the New Wave of Social Protest

Click here to access article by Alexei Gusev from Znet.

Although this fairly lengthy article was written in February, it is only now that it is appearing on this website. This Russian writer appears to be an astute observer of historical and political events, and here he trains his penetrating vision on recent events in Russia to signal that the country is likely in a pre-stage of revolution.
The demonstrations of December 10th and 24th in Moscow, in which tens of thousands of people took part, show clearly that the period of social passivity in Russia is over ; the Putin era is nearing its end. The last time such large demonstrations took place in Moscow was in 1990-91 at the height of the democratic wave directed against the domination of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Then, following these mass actions,[RG1] the whole party-state system of the USSR was broken.[RG2] Those who participated in those events twenty years ago are feeling the same atmosphere again: revolution is in the air.
There are insights here on revolution that US activists should find useful. For example:
You can’t discuss revolution without raising the question of violence. Government propaganda tries to identify these two notions, to persuade the population that revolution always means blood, death and general ruin. But in reality mass democratic movements are hostile to violence and never use it first ; on the contrary, it is most often unleashed by regimes that want to hold on to power at any price. Violence is the last recourse of these regimes, who have exhausted all other means of struggle against the social movement. That is why an important condition for the success of the revolution is a split within the forces of order where part of their personnel refuses to put down the protesters. If that eventuality seems real or extremely probable, the authorities will hesitate to have recourse to violence, which will increase the chance of a peaceful, soft victory for the revolution. This was one of the important causes of the success of the Russian revolutions in February 1917 and August 1991, as well as the ‘velvet’ revolutions in East Europe and the ‘color’ revolutions in the ex-USSR.

SYRIA: Killing Innocent Civilians as part of a US Covert Op. Mobilizing Public Support for a R2P War against Syria

Click here to access article by Michel Chossudovsky from Global Research (Canada). 

The author argues that the recent atrocity in Syria was likely engineered by Western subversive agencies due to their long history of using such incidents to justify use of military force to pursue Empire interests. Indeed, many feel that the 9/11 attack was one such operation to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. In any case, there is no evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for it. In spite of this, Western governments and media are blaming the Syrian government and pounding the drums for more sanctions against Syria and military intervention.

See also this assessment of the incident by Ralph Schoenman from the same website. 

Just this morning I received an email from what is probably a subversive internet source posing as a progressive organization and sponsored by political operatives of the Empire that pulls at one's heartstrings in order to encourage people to support more aggressive actions against Syria. Here is a short version of the email I received posted on the related Avaaz website. Checking in Wikipedia I find out that this organization is funded by MoveOn.org and George Soros.

What Me Worry? The rise of the surveillance state and what we can do about it

A 32:54n video presentation by Scott Crow sourced from Infoshop News.

I highly recommend this to all activists and people thinking about becoming activists. The speaker is a longtime activist who knows of what he speaks.
A presentation from scott crow at the Law and Disorder conference in 2012. It covers the 'War on Terror' giving some historical background on repression of previous political movements from COINTELPRO, political prisoners (past and present) and the current security state and how current political movements can effective fight back.

Pentagon Consolidates Control Over Balkans

Click here to access article by Rick Rozoff from OpEd News.

One of the early successful projects of NATO was the subversion, the attacks on, and the dismantling of Yugoslavia. Read this to find out how the new small states have been incorporated into the Empire to serve its strategic interests.

Pay-to-play economists

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog. 
In an excerpt from his new book, Predator Nation, Charles H. Ferguson, the director of Inside Job, describes how “significant portions of American academia have deteriorated into ‘pay to play’ activities.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

From the streets of Montreal: Le printemps érable

Click here to access article from The Institute for Social Ecology. 

The article provides some very inspiring reports from observers of the mass uprising in Quebec. Clearly Quebecers are feeling their power and the joy of collectively fighting back against austerity policies of their One Percent. The article points to an excellent website where we can find and feel the spirit of this rebellion--here is one stirring sample of this Quebec fighting spirit:
The grandmother and grandfather found a bench to sit on.  They tapped, trembling, on their casseroles [saucepans].  There were a hundred people, then two hundred, then a thousand.  We started to walk.  Police cars arrived on the street corners and in the alleyways.  We crossed paths a few times.  Young people looked straight into the eyes of police, without fear and without arrogance, but with conviction.  I even saw police officers lower their eyes.  I saw one in particular.  He was the same age as the students.  I got the feeling that he realized he had chosen a line of work he wasn’t passionate about.  This night, I think, he wasn’t doing what he dreamed he would be doing.
Children, men, women, seniors, people in wheelchairs, people of all nationalities, the crowd took the path it wanted, and did so in spite of police, in spite of the law.  All along the way, on the balconies, in the windows, people came out with their casseroles, and they made noise too, scratching away at the special law one tap at a time.  People protests and laughed and shouted.  People clapped.  People tapped, loud.  Loud.  Loud. 

Recovery or Collapse? Bet on Collapse

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog. 

This is more evidence that solid members of the One Percent are losing faith in their capitalist religion. As a member who has been thoroughly indoctrinated in this religion and practiced it in universities and the government throughout his life, Roberts seems to be panicking at the prospect of its demise. This is the end of capitalism! This is the end of Western Civilization! 

To be sure his kind is in the minority among the One Percent. Still, his example and that of others: Michael Hudson, Jan Lundberg, Yves Smith, ascetics and lifestyle reformers like John Michael Greer, John Howard Kunstler, Jan Lundberg and a host of other doubters who severely criticize the high priests of capitalism must be worrying for other prominent members of this church who are committing so many sins and creating so much havoc in the world. Unfortunately, none of these critics want to overthrow the capitalist arrangements of the economy--frequently they can't even accurately name the system, much less criticize it for fear of excommunication. They just want people to behave better, to enact regulations curbing the excesses, and to make individual lifestyle choices that use less amounts of fossil fuels.

'Faster Than We Thought': An Epitaph for Planet Earth

Click here to access article by John Atcheson from Common Dreams. 

This writer and culture critic provides an answer as to why nothing significant is being done to prevent global warming and ecosystem collapse. It's in our DNA! (God or Allah help us from critics like this!)

Muslim Brotherhood are Western Proxies

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from his blog Land Destroyer Report. 

The author provides some eye-opening evidence of how the Muslim Brotherhood has been groomed for years to serve the interests of the Empire. However, he and others go a bit too far in alleging that the Arab Spring was all a plot or conspiracy by Western interests. Political operatives of the Empire are always looking for alternative players on their behalf in case things go wrong with their primary actors. It is the same here in the US. Financial and corporate interests back both the Democrats and the Republicans, not only to create the illusion of choice and "democracy", but to insure that whatever goes wrong with one party in office, the same basic policies can be pursued with the other party.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust.

The author directs our attention to the ongoing police violence used against certain communities in NY City on an ongoing basis. 
No one has to tell those involved with Occupy Wall Street (OWS) that the NYPD is "out of control" and my next article will touch on this (and related) issues. However, even with all the overt repression being heaped upon occupiers across the globe, we must never forget those communities who have endured for generations under the racist tyranny of the State.
I must take exception to his portrayal of the cops being "out of control". I'm sure that there are some individual cops who in the course of their work have been so dehumanized and indoctrinated that they have become sadistic and racist in their police work. However, I think the majority are very much under the control of authorities of the One Percent. How can we understand this? Is this just old-fashioned racism? 

I recommend some insights provided by British writers Camille Barbagallo and Nicholas Beuret in their essay published in Occupy Everything. Their argument essentially is that the current economy under capitalism has reached the limits of exploitable growth and simultaneously has eliminated most subsistence activities outside of the formal economy. The capitalist economy no longer needs as many people to obtain their profits under a no-growth scenario. It has created surplus people who are a problem that capitalist authorities are having to deal with. Borrowing from BBC journalist Paul Mason and his often referenced essay, "Twenty reasons why it's kicking off everywhere", they write:
Over the last 40 years the world has seen the birth of a new kind of worker--a worker bereft of work. Workers who inhabit precarity and are deemed to be superfluous to the requirement of capital.
So, this begs the question: how are the political operatives of the One Percent dealing with this problem? Barbagallo and Beuret have a very interesting answer. They borrow a concept from African philosopher Achille Mmembe called "necropolitics" where death assumes an important function of elite governance. Here is an excerpt from their illuminating essay which expands on this concept and provides an answer to this question.
With a surplus population, managing death is the core concern of political activity. One of the key political tasks is allowing them to die without endangering the section of the social body that must remain productive. Surplus humanity--the bodies dwelling in slums, ghettos, refugee camps, prisons, old people's home, ..., and of course those existing in the informal economy that are beyond any utility for capital--it is these bodies that are abandoned at as little cost as possible. This is necropolitics: the politics of containment and abandonment in a world without resources beyond the market.
This practice of allowing people to "fall behind" operates through a range of practices and discourses centred on a kind of Darwinian racism: a purity of ideas perfectly matched to the rhetoric of neoliberalism and "right to be unequal" held so dear. Necropolitics operates through diffused institutions--private companies, aid and disaster relief bodies, personal militias and government agencies. It creates a series of fragmented territories that disable mobility--territories in both the physical (slums, estates and prisons) and social sense (as in the idea of hoodies or welfare cheats).
Walled off and policed, these territories are maintained separately from those spaces deemed productive. Through a permanent state of siege the borders are maintained by either postcolonial policing (racial profiling, stop and search powers, ASBOs, anti-gang activities etc.), economic exclusion (such as redlining, or lack of educational facilities) or ideological public campaigns of shame and stigmatisation (against the unemployed, the migrant, the diseased or disabled). For all the differences that exits between exclusion through ASBOs vs containment via migration regimes or precarious service industry work vs informal micro-credit debt, the underlying logic is the same: contain, fragment, isolate and abandon. Kept apart as less than fully human, as not able to contribute, as a threat and contagion, these bodies are then allowed to die. Slowly. Inch by inch. Through hunger, ill health, disaster, gang violence, poverty and disease. This is the fate outlined by capital for one third of humanity today.

The hands behind Sudan’s Oil War

Click here to access article by Ramzy Baroud from Ceasefire (UK). 

Wherever there are few independent journalists and outside observers--and this applies most frequently in Africa--one finds highly distorted information in US mainstream media designed to further the interests of the Empire and its corporations in the region. Ramzy Baroud's piece is a good attempt to correct this problem regarding the ongoing turmoil in Sudan.

The destabilization and balkanization of resource rich countries is one way for powerful countries to gain access to resources of poorer counties. The British practiced this most effectively with their carving up of the Middle East into compliant, weaker countries that they could play off against each other, followed by the division of India along religious lines. More recently we've seen this with the breakup of Yugoslavia by the US Empire.

U.S. Human rights activists document U.S. participation in massacre of Moskito people

Click here to access article from Rights Action. 

Being on several list-serves, I receive frequent reports like this related to mostly US and Canadian mining corporations who need to drive indigenous people off their lands to gain access to valuable resources. Of course, such reports almost never make it into mainstream news media and most North Americans are completely unaware of these atrocities.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Compare and Contrast Two News Reports of an Atrocity

by Ron Horn for this blog.

I woke up this morning with a dramatic NPR news report on my clock radio which claimed that the UN verified a report of an atrocity in which some 90 people were killed in Syria by forces of the Syrian government. They also reported that the matter was being sent to the UN for a special meeting.

Oh god, I thought, here we go again. Another Libyan style "humanitarian" NATO mission. And, of course, I had strong doubts about the accuracy of the reported atrocity.

Now I just read a report of the same incident from Al Jazeera. Here are the key paragraphs:
Major General Robert Mood, the chief of the UN observer mission deployed to Syria, said monitors touring the area had counted 85 bodies, including 34 children under the age of 10 and seven women.
"Whoever started, whoever responded and whoever supported this deplorable act of violence should be held responsible."  Mood said about Friday's assault.
He told Al Jazeera that a residential area had been hit with a range of weapons, including "rifles, machine guns, artillery shells, tank shells," but stressed that the circumstances that "led to the tragic deaths" were still unclear.
"Whatever I learned on the ground in Syria ... is that I should not jump to conclusions."
Earlier, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan condemned the assault, calling it an "appalling and brutal" breach of international law.
"This appalling and brutal crime, involving indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force, is a flagrant violation of international law and of the commitments of the Syrian government to cease the use of heavy weapons in population centres and violence in all its forms," a statement issued on behalf of the two officials said.
The Syrian government completely denies being in any way responsible for this atrocity.

Just a few minutes ago, I read this breaking headline on Al Jazeera's website:
UN Security Council to meet on Syria later on Sunday: diplomats. More soon...
Al Jazeera, which is essentially owned by the Emir of Qatar, has degenerated quite a bit into a propaganda outlet for the Empire, but their journalists still try to put out accurate reports--and I think this is one. The real facts of the incident will eventually leak out just like it has with Libya, but it may be too late to prevent another Libyan style invasion. And when they do leak out, you can be sure they will be ignored by US mainstream media.

I find it hard to believe that the other ruling classes of the NATO countries have the stomach for another contrived war in the Middle East given all the economic problems they are having. But then, haven't all capitalist ruling classes found wars to be a good way to distract the attention of their subjects away from economic problems?

‘The Great Big Book of Horrible Things’: WWII and Climate Change

Click here to access article by Bill Blakemore from ABC News (USA). 

I was stunned when I came across this article today! This source, which is a major mainstream media corporation, is acknowledging man-made global warming!!! Because I follow news and commentary on the internet quite extensively--although not mainstream media--I can't understand why I have just encountered it now, or why others have not made reference to it. I also haven't seen evidence of this revelation reflected in TV coverage. Maybe it is a kind of trial balloon. The piece was posted on May 20, but then I realized that it was a second in series with the first one posted on May 6.

After so many years of denial by omission of any coverage of the abundance of scientific reports warning about this, and their practice of running mostly news reports from a few, mostly well-connected scientists with industry and government scientists who, if they didn't deny global warming, cast so many doubts about these findings. For every scientific report that suggested man-made global warming, they ran at least 20 news and commentary items that denied or questioned it.

(For the benefit of people reading this commentary who have not followed my blog, let me back up a bit to clarify my view of the function of mainstream media. It is an integral part of the One Percent ruling class that serves to manage the perceptions of the 99 Percent so that the latter will continue in their role of subservience to the former, not ask disturbing questions about wages, wars, economic disasters, climatic changes, etc., and especially so that they don't take any effective actions to counter the rule of the former. It has been a major thesis of this blog that global warming cannot be dealt with effectively under the reign of capitalism.)

It has been clear to many knowledgeable people that the practices of capitalism are in direct conflict with a sustainable ecosystem. Thus, up until now these managers of public opinion have had to cover up or deny these perceptions. Apparently the evidence of man-made global warming has now become so obvious that they can no longer persist in this effort. After my initial shock while reading the first paragraphs, I was full of anticipation as to how the author was going to deal with this new ominous reality. Now they admit it, but how are they going to manage how people cope with this shocking knowledge so that this awareness does not interfere with the One Percent's ongoing project of appropriating the wealth they extract from the exploitation of human and natural resources???

Well, the first article of May 6 entitled "‘Hug the Monster’ for Realistic Hope in Global Warming (or How to Transform Your Fearful Inner Climate)" was all about preparing the public for this shocking new view. They gave some tips from pop psychology that suggests there is hope before they launch into the subject of their huge admission.
“Hug the monster” is a metaphor taught by U.S. Air Force trainers to those headed into harm’s way.
The monster is your fear in a sudden crisis — as when you find yourself trapped in a downed plane or a burning house.
If you freeze or panic — if you go into merely reactive “brainlock” — you’re lost.
But if your mind has been prepared in advance to recognize the psychological grip of fear, focus on it, and then transform its intense energy into action — sometimes even by changing it into anger — and by also engaging the thinking part of your brain to work the problem, your chances of survival go way up.
How about the concluding paragraphs! To me, they reek of paternalism and hypocrisy.
For us journalists, the core responsibilities of our profession include knowing how to report unpleasant but important facts — and to do so in ways that nonetheless engage groups small and large, even in a sense “entertain” them, as in entertaining the mind, and to try to win their tacit appreciation for doing so.
Obviously, when the news is horrendous, such as, say, a looming world war or the rapid climb in global temperature and ocean acidification, our job includes the very essence of what it means to hug the monster.
But as this reporter and a growing number of others now working the story can report, once we do so, man-made global warming transforms into “a great story” (in our profession’s term of art) — and even one in which it is possible to glimpse a number of reasons for “realistic hope.”
Okay, now to the second article, "‘The Great Big Book of Horrible Things’". The author starts by establishing a frame of historical disasters to introduce the topic of "The Rapidly Approaching Climate Catastrophe" which is a subheading in the article. He particularly focuses on WWII, and his take on this is particularly revealing of a One Percent ruling class bias.

The author uses a quote from John Kennedy's 1940 book While England Slept to highlight (using bold emphasis) his own and the ruling class bias (journalists working for mainstream media must have a basic ruling class view) to explain why WWII happened. No, it didn't happen because of inter-capitalist class rivalries.
“To say that all the blame must rest on the shoulders of Neville Chamberlain or of Stanly Baldwin, is to overlook the obvious.  As the leaders, they are, of course, gravely and seriously responsible.  But, given the conditions of democratic government, a free press, public elections, and a cabinet responsible to Parliament and thus to the people, given rule by the majority, it is unreasonable to blame the entire situation on one man or group…”
A Free Press, Public Elections, A Cabinet Responsible to the People, Rule by Majority…
In case anyone missed this point, the ABC author follows this quote by repeating the thesis. At first I thought he was suggesting that democratic government, free press, elections, and majority rule caused WWII. But no, he was only arguing that these alleged institutions could not prevent the war. He is justifying the recent decades of denial of global warming by his masters in the One Percent by comparing it with the denial that occurred in the 1930s. In other words, this recent denial of global warming just couldn't be helped or averted--it's just in the nature of humanity, humanity is at fault! 

Wow! Such blatant self-serving hypocrisy and blame shifting is truly remarkable! I can't wait to read his future articles in this series.

(Note: After writing the above, I examined his past articles, I could see that he started preparing for this series with an article on April 1st entitled "Global Warming Denialism ‘Just Foolishness,’ Scientist Peter Raven Says".)