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, August 11, 2012

Iran and the Petrodollar Threat to U.S. Empire

Click here to access article by Christopher Doran from New Left Project. 
Iran poses a far more serious threat to the U.S. than its disputed nuclear aspirations. Over the last few years, Iran has unleashed a weapon of mass destruction of a very different kind, one that directly challenges a key underpinning of American hegemony: the U.S. dollar as the exclusive global currency for all oil transactions. 
See my comments from an earlier post on this general subject.

Gen. Wesley Clark Shocker on 9/11 “Policy Coup”

Click here to access source, posted by James Huang from WhoWhatWhy. Because it is brief, I am re-posting all of it.
In this stunning but little-known speech from 2007, Gen. Wesley Clark claims America underwent a “policy coup” at the time of the 9/11 attacks. In this video, he reveals that, right after 9/11, he was privy to information contained in a classified memo: US plans to attack and remove governments in seven countries over five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.
He was told: “We learned that we can use our military without being challenged …. We’ve got about five years to clean up the Soviet client regimes before another superpower comes along and challenges us.”
“This was a policy coup…these people took control of policy in the United States….” 
I have long argued that there is an official, but largely fake, government in Washington DC and there is a shadow government that really shapes foreign policies, and to a lessor extent, domestic policies in the US. I first began to sense this after the Kennedy assassinations, then ML King, Malcolm X, and many lessor know figures. I noticed all the lies to cover US atrocities and aims in Vietnam, the destabilization of Chile after their citizens elected a socialist President. Further on I saw how this shadow government subverted policies of Congress by secretly supporting a mercenary army called the "Contras" in order to destroy an independent government in Nicaragua. And there were many other subterfuges, destabilizations, and invasions that were covered up or media-managed to hide their true natures. 

However, it has always been difficult to find out about this hidden government. One usually could only read between the lines of mostly unknown documents like "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century.", and search through alternative media and books to find clues of its reality. The best single source of all was a book written by a participant from 1955-1964 at the Pentagon--Col. (retired) L. Fletcher Prouty, entitled "The Secret Team".

In the following video we see how shocked Gen. Clark was to find out over the course of several visits to the Pentagon after 9-11-2001 what the real, operative policies were in the Mid-East. He, like most Americans, was thoroughly indoctrinated in the official version of how our government functions. 

Defense Motion Details Horrific Conditions Bradley Manning Was Subjected to at Quantico

Click here to access article by Kevin Gosztola from The Dissenter.

This is what the government of the One Percent, by the One Percent, and for the One Percent does to people who reveal their dirty secrets. 
A more than one hundred page defense motion detailing how Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, was subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment while held at Quantico Marine Brig has been made public.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Six Arguments for the Elimination of Capitalism

Click here to access article by Christy Rodgers from Dissident Voice.

The author provides a critical review of Jerry Mander’s new book The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System.
In liberal punditry, the acceptable spectrum of discourse does not even permit use of the word [capitalism], and in the foundation-sponsored non-profit sector, such talk would be financial suicide. Nor are US trade unions, what’s left of them, anti-capitalist. (In fact their leaders explicitly claim their aim is to get capitalism to work better.) As he correctly points out, there is an unspoken consensus: “it is as if global capitalism” – a human creation – “occupies a virtually permanent existence, like a religion, a gift of God, infallible.”
I have long thought that capitalism functioned as a religion, especially in the US. But, it is a very peculiar kind--a religion that none dares speak its name. Instead, public figures tend to use more socially acceptable words such as "free market system", "private enterprise", or even "democracy". I think this is intentionally done by capitalist propagandists to discourage any associations with socialist critics of capitalism like Karl Marx and Lenin, or anarchists such as Kropotkin and Bookchin.

Rodgers finds a basic flaw--typical of many contemporary American critics--in Mander's view that small, localized capitalism that existed in its earlier stages was just fine:
...the exploitation of human labor, and the creation of degrading and inescapable poverty are endemic to capitalism, and they are barely dealt with here. The attempt to defend small-scale capitalism as “not the problem,” means that a systemic critique is further weakened. Is it a totalizing system or isn’t it? All capitalism started out as petty capitalism. It will be replaced only by an evolution of society to a place where it is as irrelevant, at any scale, as a system of divine monarchy. We need some thinkers who are able to start envisioning such an evolutionary process, and are not limited by the inevitable cries of how “impractical” that is right now.

The Fed, Ben Bernanke and the rotten Libor

Click here to access article by Dean Baker from Al Jazeera.
Ben Bernanke had an obligation as Fed chair to expose and stop the rigging of inter-bank lending rates.
This sub-headline is nonsense if one understands society from a class point of view--which this liberal author cannot. Instead, he serves to maintain fantasies about our government. Such as the "obligations" mandated by Congress, especially the one about maintaining full employment are only ruses to legitimate the function of the Federal Reserve--a self-interested consortium of private bankers. 

In the US the sixteen trillion dollars used mostly to bail out domestic and foreign banks could have been a bonanza in the creation of full employment if it had been used in the reconstruction of the antiquated infrastructure in the US. But, in the real world the so-called Federal Reserve is really only obligated to their fellow bankers--the international bankers club that largely rules the world. Thus, Bernanke and his fellow bankers at the "Federal Reserve" fulfilled their true obligations!

Likewise, the government prosecutors fulfilled their obligation to their masters in the banking sector by not prosecuting Goldman Sachs that benefited from both the profits from selling financial products they knew were defective and the bailout of AIG that insured their bad bets.

The age of rage: welcome to the world revolution

Click here to access article by Andrew Marshall from Reflections on a Revolution

Specifically, the author is looking to answer this question: "Are we witnessing the start of a global revolution?" He starts off with warnings from Zbigniew Brzezinski, the perceptive and immoral adviser to capitalist power figures, about a worldwide reaction against social injustice; and then provides a review of all the incidents of rebellions, insurrections, and protests that have appeared worldwide during the past five years.

Given the determination of the global capitalist elites to use methods of coercion to maintain their wealth and power, I think that as more global crises occur in the forms of energy depletion and climate related catastrophes, we will see increasing waves of rebellion--but also efforts to crush these rebellions. Needless to say the future looks very ominous and the subtitle of the article, "welcome to the revolution", seems appropriate only if one is watching events from Mars. To contain the violence and suffering that lies ahead, an enormous burden of responsibility is on activists to organize an effective revolution to both contain the suffering and to construct a new social system on a foundation of social justice.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The corporate steamroller of gentrification is a deliberate process

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder. 
Gentrification is an ongoing process, of which we’ve had two reminders in the past month in New York City. The recent closing of the Bowery Poetry Club is a sad reminder of the dwindling number of community spaces — and one need only look across the street to see a high-end corporate clothing boutique occupying the space where CBGB showcased musical acts for more than three decades.
While witnessing recent changes in a neighborhood in New York, he discerns a pattern that may reveal a strategy of "deliberate gentrification" that remakes organic neighborhoods to serve the interests of profit for the One Percent. 

The author's breadth of vision sees this as a part of the historical experience of the capitalist class that first saw them clearing people from the commons in Britain in the18th century to make way for more profitable sheep farming. Many people were forced to work in their woolen mills for long hours and low wages. Others were forced to immigrate to the British Empire's newly conquered possessions.

Neocons vs. the 'Arab Spring': Back on the Warpath

Click here to access article by Ramzy Baroud from The Palestine Chronicle. 

He provides the details to back his argument that:
The neoconservatives are back with a vengeance. While popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and other Arab countries had briefly rendered them irrelevant in the region, Western intervention in Libya signaled a new opportunity. Now Syria promises to usher a full return of neoconservatives into the Middle East fray.

If Bradley Manning Were Chinese…..

Click here to access article by Hameed Abdul Karim from Lankaweb (Sri Lanka). 

The author contrasts US media treatment of a Chinese ‘dissident’ with that of Bradley Manning. 
In the forefront of the minds of readers and viewers were images of a kind, altruistic and benign America doing all it has to do for a freedom loving man like Chen and negative images of China oppressing its own people who are craving for freedom and justice from the ‘communist regime’.
This brings us to another dissident. He is an American and his name is Bradley Manning.
Unfortunately, there are so many naive Americans who view "news and information" coming out of their TV mind-altering-box as reality. Like so many wonderful inventions produced by the rational discipline of science, television, instead of enriching our lives and promoting our liberation, has been hijacked by the One Percent to exploit and oppress us.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Hunger Wars in Our Future

Click here to access article by Michael T. Klare from TomDispatch. (Note: you may wish to skip the introduction by Tom Engelhardt and scroll down to the article.)

Although the near future effects of climate change cannot be predicted with great accuracy, such dark scenarios that Klare and others present must be regarded as very possible. Notice, however, that this liberal commentator avoids any mention of the profits that the rich are going to reap from the tragedies by investing, as they are now doing, in the futures markets. For more background on the role of financial speculation to increase food prices, see these two excellent sources:

Sinai Attack Aftermath: More Questions Than Answers

Click here to access article by Muhammad al-Khouli from Al Akhbar. 

I don't usually post news reports such as this, but this mysterious incident looks like it could have far reaching consequences. I'm betting that Israel had a hand in it.

For the latest news from Reuters, see this. Don't be swayed by the "to Israeli approval" statement.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Financial Bearings of “Manufactured Dissent”

Click here to access article by Prof. James F. Tracy from his blog Memory Gap. A MUST READ

The author provides an especially valuable contribution to critical thought with this article. He exposes a prime method used by the ruling class to contain and, in many cases, co-opt writers on the left to stay within acceptable journalistic limits, that is, acceptable to the One Percent ruling class. It is an exceptionally clever and pernicious way of effectively managing opposition to their rule. 

As he makes clear the ruling class has had experience with this method for over a hundred years. However, their application of it has accelerated in recent decades as the One Percent has accelerated their concentration of power and wealth to the detriment of the 99 Percent. 

It follows logically and politically, that activists must, if they are serious about changing anything, establish their own media to serve interests that are wedded to grass roots organizations. Unfortunately, this type of consciousness is still a long way off based on what I have observed in the US. Hopefully, articles like this will facilitate a growing awareness of the subtle methods used by the ruling class to control information ordinary people are exposed to.

World Being Readied for Aggression Against Syria

Click here to access 4:19m video interview with F. William Engdahl from Global Research TV via Russia Today. 
World opinion is being orchestrated towards a military operation against the Syrian regime, researcher and author F. William Engdahl told RT. Still, any decisive action against Assad will be postponed until after the US presidential election.
While observing current news from mainstream US and Canadian media, I have been amazed at this tired, old rerun of war preparations now being used with Syria, and soon, Iran. In spite of massive propaganda efforts, I fail to see how they can put this one over on ordinary Americans who are engaged in a daily struggle to keep their homes and jobs while seeing their public services cut to the bone, and daily threats against Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The current situation in the US is aptly described by David Glenn Cox in an article entitled, "How Can We Live Without Our Lives?".

It seems to me that this current media war campaign waged by Empire's ruling classes is taking on a quality of desperation. Perhaps they think that once again they can use war to divert attention away from domestic problems. If so, I think this is a dangerous, high stakes gamble on their part.

Obama Trumps AIPAC, Romney, Republicans With Yet More Iranian Sanctions

Click here to access article by Franklin Lamb from Counter Currents. 

If you want to see a sickening, but probably realistic, version of “American democracy at work”, you should read this. 
According to the Obama Presidential campaign issues staff, temporarily operating out of the Democratic National Committee HQ at 430 South Capitol Street, SE in Washington DC, Team Obama scored an electoral coup again rival Mitt Romney this week by moving fast to pull the rug from Romney’s hoped for advantage from his obsequious Israel trip. That visit, which ranks among the all-time most groveling led to even Zionist media outlets including the New York Times and Washington Post dissing Mitt’s trip as “un-presidential.”
I think that these very friendly-to-Israel media outlets were repelled because Romney was too obvious about his obeisance to Zionist interests. To be "presidential", one must be more deceptive, as is Obama.

Syria's Pipelineistan war

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Al Jazeera. 
During the past 12 months, with Syria plunged into civil war, there was no pipeline talk. Up until now. The European Union's supreme paranoia is to become a hostage of Russia's Gazprom. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversify Europe's energy supplies away from Russia.

This Is What Global Warming Looks Like (2012 Edition)

Click here to access article and source of this video from Huffington Post.

This 1:36m video portrays only a small indication of weather related disasters that we will experience on a massive scale in the future if we continue to passively let the ruling One Percents continue to ravage our planetary home in their mad pursuit of power and wealth. See this for what is likely to occur in our more immediate future.

Monday, August 6, 2012

US Intervention Continues to Undermine Egyptian Revolution

Click here to access article by Suzanne Adely, Corinna Mullin and Azadeh Shahshahani from Truthout.

The information contained in this article is not news to many followers of this blog, however it does confirm what I foresaw happening last year when US agents rushed to Egypt at the breakout of the protests.  See this, this, and this.

It also touches on some key features of US imperial rule which combines neoliberal policies enforced through their control of international financial institutions--World Bank and IMF--with the forging of ties with the military establishments of target countries by the provision of generous military aid, training, and social relations through perks such as junkets to the US.

It is clear to me that something like the latter method has been employed within the US. I am thinking of the generous supply of military equipment, training, and other perks supplied to local police forces by federal agencies, particularly the Department of Homeland Security. This has progressed to a stage where local governments cannot exercise much control over their local police forces. As a consequence we are seeing more aggressive and abusive behavior by police departments against protestors, immigrants, poor people, and Muslims. We have recently seen evidence that the Dept. of Homeland Security have coordinated strategies with local police agencies against Occupier protests across the country.

The Emirates Crackdown

Click here to access article by Vijay Prashad from CounterPunch.
Rarely reported in the West has been the concerted repression of democracy activists on the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia, the first among equals in the peninsula, has been ruthless against any suggestion of democratic reform.
When contemporary writers refer to "democracy" they mean the anemic version that has developed under capitalist rule. The capitalist classes first supported "democratic" ideas in their battle against the land-owning aristocracy. The most well-known illustration was their affirmation of such ideas during the 1789 French revolution. No doubt, the US revolutionary movement shortly preceding this influenced the rising capitalist class to spread the same ideas in France. 

It is commonly thought, having been thoroughly expounded in media and education among capitalist countries, that the US Revolutionary War was a political revolution. This is false. It was most profoundly a class revolution having been instigated by emerging North American capitalists who realized the vast potential of the North American continent for their exploitation, but suffering under the constraints of British imperial interests guided by the latter's ruling aristocracy.

The French bourgeoisie succeeded by using such democratic propaganda as their American counterparts had. The rising capitalist classes of both countries used people like Thomas Paine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to spread ideas of equality, but after their revolutions were accomplished they and their ideas were either forgotten or discredited. Instead, the instituted governments that were elected only by property owners. Since then they have gradually expanded the voting franchise as they have perfected their control of the political process of elections.

However, the ruling capitalist classes have since have kept such democratic verbiage after carefully circumscribing what they actually mean. Today, they mean "democracy" to mean societies where elections are held, especially those under the supervision of capitalist ruling classes. Thus, many identify this corrupted version as "bourgeois democracy". 

But other systems will do in a pinch when they support the interests of the ruling classes of the dominant US Empire. Saudi Arabia is a prime example of an extremely oppressive medieval-like kingdom that serves the Empire. Hence, the total exclusion of information about all the social crimes committed by their rulers from Western mainstream media. Vijay Prashad's report of Saudi crimes is another example of an article that will never be carried by mainstream media.

Tehran reaches out to Egypt’s Morsi

Click here to access article by Melkulangara K. Bhadrakumar from Voltaire Network.

The author provides a very interesting perspective that suggests many in the Middle East are becoming wise to the divide and rule strategies of the Empire.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Dark Victory: How vested interests defeated climate science

Click here to access article by Robert Manne from The Monthly (Australia).
...the determination is political – the willingness of large numbers of people to listen to those who are telling them that the group of experts upon whom they customarily rely, the relevant cadre of trained and published scientists, have comprehensively got things wrong.
This is the real tragedy of the human race. The Age of Enlightenment seemed to promise so much--many thought that it was the full flourishing of humans. This era saw us take giant steps forward out of superstition into an age of seeking truth based on rigorous, disciplined methods that evolved into the refined methods of science of today.  

No, it wasn't a simple "willingness" by the vast majority that is the problem. It is that scientific methods have been hijacked, like everything else, by the One Percents and used to capture and control our minds. Although we have overcome superstition, we remain mesmerized by modern methods of managing what we believe to be true in order to serve the needs of a small group of people who "own" and control our economies--the One Percents. What was so full of promise for the flourishing of the human race has been reduced to serving the narrow, selfish interests of a small class of people; and by doing so, threatens the entire human race with extinction.

The fact that the author is only able to name these people as "vested interests" is another small indication of the power of these "vested interests"--the One Percents of the world.

It appears that we have entered a new, and final stage labeled as "neo-environmentalism" by this Guardian author. Our masters now insist that they can also manage the Earth's ecosystem so that it doesn't interfere with their compulsive pursuit of power and profit. Can conscious activists of the 99 Percents prevent these mad men and women of the One Percents from destroying everything they hold dear? Stay tuned--better yet, stay active!

Your consensus decision-making sucks a lot sometimes

Click here to access article from In Bed with the Resistance (UK). 

This critique of consensus decision-making is most important in building new methods of activism and to build an ideological nucleus for new societies. Personally, I have long supported this form of decision-making that he briefly alludes to:
Nested councils in which the councils at the bottom choose a spokesperson to go to the next level council. The morbid fear of representation among some activists often prevents this happening, though it has appeared in the form of a ‘spokes council’ from time to time. The key thing is to view the spokesperson not as a representative but as a delegate who can be overruled from below at any time. This system too will have disadvantages, but since it is the one the Spanish CNT – the biggest and most success horizontal organisation I know of – uses, we know that it does work to some extent. Unlike consensus decision-making in big groups of people.  

London 2012: Has Money Killed The Olympic Spirit?

Click here to access article by David Smith from Economy Watch.

The article will give you a good idea of who really benefits from the Olympics. I certainly don't want to take anything away from the athletes who have worked so long and so hard to refine their skills, but really...
The Games are put on by the 1 percent for the 1 percent, reflecting growing corporate power and income inequalities. It’s no longer about sport, but about spectacle.
Also, this piece entitled, "Greek Olympic officials spend thousands on exclusive club despite country's dire economy" by Mark Blunden from The Independent (UK), might also give you some flavor of the class nature of the 2012 Olympics.