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, September 29, 2012
The "9 frightening things" about New York City's police force is that it adds up to fascism. The total picture describes the use of force to protect Wall Street (capitalism) from any interference and to promote its operations.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Iran and the Bomb, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Facts
This piece provides an excellent antidote to the pervasive propaganda put out by the One Percent's media regarding Iran's nuclear program.
Given how easily the American public and media were manipulated into believing that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, this moment should give us some pause. The disastrous effects of that $3 Trillion Dollar War are still being felt across the world. For those not interested in seeing a much-bloodier, costlier sequel, I offer this introductory course in intellectual self-defense. The only way to rebuff and dismantle propaganda is to be aware of the truth on which it claims to comment.
This perceptive author writes about the political aspects of the development of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and beyond to show how it has been shaped by the Empire's power interests.
Friday, September 28, 2012
The author describes the contradictory nature of China and US relations. Of course, with both countries based on class structured societies, the real contradiction that the author misses is between the interests of the Chinese and American ruling classes. Because this liberal author doesn't use a class analysis, his title suggests that he thinks the US government and corporations have separate interests. They are essentially the same, it is just that the US government is the agency that the US ruling class use, to a large extent, in the form of military power to serve their collective corporate interests.
Both ruling classes benefit by exploiting the Chinese working class. But, while the US economy is being hollowed out due to the loss of US worker skills, US industrial infrastructure, and loss of national earnings (balance of payments), China's industrial sector is strengthened along with their workers' skills.
Also, China uses their surplus dollars to repatriate them back to the US by buying US government treasury bills, bonds, etc. This, of course, puts the US taxpayer ever deeper in debt to the Chinese government, while US corporations prosper. The arrangement has encouraged the US capitalist class to become completely addicted to short-term profits while providing them with the use of overwhelming military power to have their way in the world. Meanwhile, they have ignored the deteriorating effect this has on the US economy. The author correctly points out that this strategy is ultimately untenable. The Chinese ruling class appear to be smarter by placing their bets on their strengthening economy.
As long as we have societies directed by ruling classes, we will have national rivalries for dominance as we have seen in the devastating world wars of the 20th century and the never ending local proxy wars that we are still witnessing today. Peace will never be achieved until humanity can build societies without ruling classes. The questions that the author poses toward the end of the article indicates that he fails to understand this. He merely wants the US ruling class to win this rivalry.
Justice Department documents released today by the ACLU reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans’ electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
The Fed can create money but if it doesn't end up as household income it is "dead money."From time to time there have been reports in the media announcing "quantitative easing" by the Fed. Many observers see this as essentially printing money. This writer sheds some light on the effects of this central bank issuing money by looking at where the money actually circulates.
Many commentators and economists wonder if the US is able to turn its ailing economy around. The reality is that it is bankrupt. However, as long as the dollar remains the world currency, the US can continue to pay its bills by simply printing more money. But once the world no longer accepts the dollar as world reserve currency, the US will no longer be able to continue to pay its way or to fund its wars by relying on what would then be a relatively valueless paper currency.The author writes about the implications of this trend, some of which are very ominous.
This piece provides a well documented exposition of how Empire media dramatically treats the issue of nuclear weapons differently with regard to Israel and Iran.
The corporate media have been given their orders to throw the focus back on to Iran.
Here is a recap of what they are trying to make you forget.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I have often been struck by a belief I often encounter that presumes that we need only convert business enterprises into cooperatives and capitalist competition will cease.
Both today’s report and our lawsuit make clear that the gap between what the government wants to tell the public about drones and what independent academics, journalists, and researchers have documented has now become a chasm.
Violent clashes between the people and the enforcers of the One Percent are once again occurring in Europe.
RT provides us with a video and report of such recent street battles in Greece.
Police in Athens have clashed with protesters during a nationwide strike in protest at a new round of austerity cuts introduced in return for vital EU-IMF loans.
The protesters threw firebombs, smashed windows and set fire to garbage on the sidelines of the demonstration on Wednesday near luxury hotels on the capital's central Syntagma square.
The police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse a group of around 200 protesters.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Should we survive this ongoing nightmare of living in a society governed by monsters, I'm sure that future generations will regard Phil Rockstroh as the greatest American writer of our current period. He will be regarded as someone who captured the essence of coping with life in a not-very-sane society, and someone who offered sound suggestions on how to live in a society run by monsters in order to preserve one's humanity and to avoid becoming a monster, too.
By a refusal to grieve, by lapsing into a host of manic evasions, one risks becoming a monster -- a being devoid of empathy that, in an attempt to avoid experiencing suffering, will wound, demean, and exploit the things of the world.
In collective terms, we know this state as the agendas of empire. Conversely, to embrace one's humanity, one must accept being shattered by grief, yet restored by love, simultaneously. Being in unashamed possession of a heart, both broken and whole, serves to mitigate the compulsion to act in the manner of a monster.
In this interview Stanley explains the bizarre extent to which casino capitalism has reached. Nowadays capitalists can make huge bets with "derivatives" that can, and often do, create huge disasters for ordinary people. His agency is trying to put this derivative, dangerous genie back into its bottle, or at least "regulate" it. That will never happen. The genie itself must be destroyed and replaced by the genie of a common humanity liberating itself from any class system.
The author sees many parallels between the current situation in Afghanistan and the US flight from Vietnam nearly four decades ago. After trashing yet another country, the Empire will find it much more difficult to get out than it was to get in. What we now see is...
...the end of a massive PR campaign - sold to Western public opinion - that even boasted its own Dari slogan; shohna ba shohna ("shoulder by shoulder"), as in "good" Westerners side by side with Afghans fighting the "evil" Taliban.
Moreover, what this implies is there's no soft exit strategy for the US and NATO. Sooner rather than later - in this case December 2014 - a Saigon moment looms in the Hindu Kush. [my link]
Whenever I see or hear the words "public-private partnership", alarm bells go off in my head. This is how the latest initiative coming from the executive branch is being packaged and sold along with extravagant claims of improved broadband service. The author expresses her skepticism:
...do not let the corporate-funded dog-and-pony show fool you. As the US government begins plans to take-over, re-shape and sell back to you through corporate relationships, a new version of the internet, we should all we wary.Sascha Segan of PCMag is very doubtful. He writes:
The broadband crisis in the U.S. is about slow, expensive connections in the "last mile" to people's homes, not about backbone capacity and 3D medical imaging. The government could do something about that, but it won't.Craig Settles of Fighting the Next Good Fight is openly critical:
Will the government require the organizations that lease the land to build open access networks? Let’s cut to the chase. Broadband in the U.S. sucks in large part because we have little or no competition to the dominant telco or cableco at the local level. If this Executive Order lacks an open access requirement, incumbents can just roll into cheap deals courtesy of the Feds and then freeze out any meaningful competition. Think it won’t happen? Then you haven’t been paying attention.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Of course, what the author is referring to when he uses the word "democracy" is the capitalist fake version of democracy that they hide behind to serve their interests (the One Percent) while pretending to serve the public interest. This fake version of democracy is widely known throughout the world as "bourgeois democracy".
The author clearly understands who really rules behind their elaborate facades of "democracy" and elections and spells them out in this and other articles on his website. In this article he also offers his ideas on what can be done to begin to inject real democracy into our society.
It becomes obvious that to rebalance this equation in our favor, we must stop paying our time, money, and attention to the corporate-financier elite's corporations, institutions, and organizations. It also quickly becomes obvious that in order to stop paying into these concentrated, centralized conglomerations of power, wealth and influence, we must devise decentralized, local alternatives.
Empire operatives like to use to their advantage sensational controversies like the recent anti-American protests across the Middle East and North Africa. "Never let a crisis go to waste" is the mantra of Empire operatives so well articulated by former Obama Chief of Staff and Zionist Rahm Emanuel. While protests are making the headlines, the IMF in collusion with Egyptian leaders are arranging more loans partly to pay off debts with which Mubarak stuck the Egyptian people, but also to promote privatization projects under the guise of "public-private partnerships".
The latter is another one of those favorite terms that Empire operatives love to use to hide their social crimes (others include "reform" and "structural adjustment"). Like the term "Federal Reserve" it hides the reality of private control behind a thin veneer of government participation using friendly, and often bribed, agents within targeted governments.
The storming of the US embassy in Cairo has diverted attention once again from the real issues facing Egypt. It couldn't have come at a better time for those who want to convince the Egyptian people to accept an International Monetary Fund loan, and extend former president Hosni Mubarak's liberalisation of the economy.
Many articles on this issue on other sites emphasize that cash was used to bribe Congress. This is the political liberal's way of staying safely within permissible limits of criticism within the Empire. "It's corrupt Congress people who are at fault." This, of course, justifies giving more power to the executive branch as has been occurring, most dramatically since 9/11. However, it could be very enlightening if we could uncover where all that money to bribe Congress was coming from. I can't believe that the MEK is that rich.
In contrast to liberal coverage, this independent observer accurately reports that the use of terrorist groups has been a common practice by US political operatives who have a long history of sponsoring terrorist groups to further the interests of the Empire. In this case, the MEK will be helpful in the undeclared war against Iran.
While the melting of the Arctic ice cap is worrying to scientists, environmentalists, and other concerned citizens, corporate executives and bankers see it as a great opportunity to satisfy their addiction to profits.
While these troubling statements tend to frighten most people, international investors are already rubbing their hands. The largest ice melt in the recent history of mankind means gaining access to a part of the world that was previously closed to them.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
This excellent independent reporter reveals how the banking establishment went to work on the recently passed Dodd-Frank bill designed to curb the kinds of duplicitous banking scams that greatly contributed to the economic collapse, a calamity that mostly affected the 99 Percent. Such scams were used on public entities over much of the world to place citizens into perpetual debt to bankers. The Dodd-Frank bill was designed mostly as a public relations gimmick to calm the 99 Percent, for it was already full of exemptions and loopholes.
But, part of it interfered with the old banking scams, and bankers who constitute a key part of the One Percent went to work on modifying it so that they can continue to play their old, lucrative games at public expense. Safe to say, you will not hear anything about this in their mainstream media which seem devoted almost entirely with the exciting (sarcasm) Obama-Romney political race to see who serves the One Percent next.
This is a well articulated rant, but the appreciation and understanding of it requires a knowledge of central banks and the way they create money. Unfortunately, most of the 99 Percent lack this understanding.
Regarding "Draghi's bond buying scheme and Ben Bernanke's QE3", he writes:
The question then becomes: is it worth it? The answer to that is a resounding YES if you're a banker or a stock investor or an incumbent politician (Bernanke announced QE3 a comfortable 7 weeks before the US presidential elections). The answer is an equally resounding, if not outright debilitating, NO if you're not part of that small world where politics and money meet and live in relative splendor. Those who are not invited to that party will be called upon to foot the bill, without having anything to show for it.
Like many perceptive others this author considers the assassination of the US ambassador in Libya as a blowback incident. Even more important is that he uses prime US ruling class sources to reveal that ruling class operatives are consciously using Al Qaeda factions for their own purposes. After using Al Qaeda as a key component of its widely ballyhooed "war on terror" propaganda campaigns, their current hypocritical use of Al Qaeda recalls a statement attributed to President Roosevelt in 1939:
Though the Somozas were generally regarded as ruthless dictators, the United States continued to support them as a non-communist stronghold in Nicaragua. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) supposedly remarked in 1939 that "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."When it comes to foreign policy, this principle expressed so elegantly by Roosevelt has continued to be used by foreign policy operatives of the Empire in pursuit of their mad quest to gain control over resources and markets throughout the world. This is the fundamental principle that guides all capitalist political policies and actions.