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, May 18, 2013

The Real IRS Scandal That No One Is Talking About

Click here to access article by Kurt Eichenwald from Vanity Fair

Another report confirming Pam Marten's exposé, this one from an upscale magazine.
Unfortunately, given the way this I.R.S. scandal slid so easily into ideological definitions, I fear that few non-politicos are recognizing the real disgrace here: that the federal government—Congress, the White House, the tax agency, and the Supreme Court—has created a situation where blatantly political organizations are able to legally break the law by pretending they’re something that they’re not.

Bombing Story Mysteries

Click here to access article by Russ Baker from his blog WhoWhatWhy.
It is the job of journalism not only to report what authorities say, but also to confirm their claims, and address anomalies, errors, inconsistencies, outright lies, and cover-ups, large and small.
When it comes to falsehoods of all types, we’ve seen plenty of doozies, and you don’t have to go all the way back to the Tonkin Gulf incident—which helped pave the way for the escalation of the Vietnam conflict. Most people now understand that circa 2002-2003, the George W. Bush Administration knowingly exaggerated and deceived in order to justify a desired invasion of Iraq.
Baker is an investigative journalist who, like myself, is appalled by the collusion of mainstream media with official government sources regarding the event. In this Orwellian time that we are now living in, corporate media has become nothing more than a propaganda organ of the ruling capitalist class.

Now that they have drilled their messages on the Boston bombing into the minds of the 99 Percent, mainstream media has gone on to other subjects like the persecution of Tea Partiers by the IRS. However, this investigative journalist is just beginning to examine the evidence, and to look for more, in order to unravel the many mysteries related to this incident that he outlines in this article.

The latest mystery, that Baker didn't mention, is the very recent "discovery" of a note supposedly written by the younger brother on the side of the boat where he was hiding. As reported by Ray McGovern, I find it rather mysterious that a former intelligence officer, now CBS correspondent, broke the "news" about the note. I also wonder how many mainstream media personnel have intelligence/CIA backgrounds. Like the Mafia, they say that once one becomes a member of the CIA family, one can never really leave.

Deceptions and Lies About the CIA's Operations in North Africa

Click here to access article by Horace Campbell from CounterPunch.
Two years after the failed NATO intervention, Libyan society is in chaos. Over 50,000 were killed in a mission that was meant to protect civilians, and there are reportedly more than 1,700 competing militias marauding the streets. One outcome of this chaos was the attack on U.S. mission in Benghazi which led to the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens on September 11, 2012. There have been Congressional hearings on this attack....
But, are we of the 99 Percent learning anything of value from these hearings? Campbell thinks not.
...these hearings did not come close to the real questions that should be posed to David Petraeus: what role did the use of Benghazi as a CIA station for the training of Jihadists play in the attack?

Washington gets explicit: its 'war on terror' is permanent

Click here to access article by Glenn Greenwald from The Guardian.
The genius of America's endless war machine is that, learning from the unplesantness of the Vietnam war protests, it has rendered the costs of war largely invisible. That is accomplished by heaping all of the fighting burden on a tiny and mostly economically marginalized faction of the population, by using sterile, mechanized instruments to deliver the violence, and by suppressing any real discussion in establishment media circles of America's innocent victims and the worldwide anti-American rage that generates.

Though rarely visible, the costs are nonetheless gargantuan.

Tar Sands Makes Climate Change “Unsolvable”

Click here to access article by Andy Rowell from The Price of Oil.
One of the world’s leading climate scientists Dr James Hansen has warned British MPs that exploiting the tar sands and oil shale would make the problem of climate change “unsolvable”.
Also, see this article entitled "Our Oil Addiction Ignores CO2 Milestone" posted on the same website and by the same author.
...scientists have called the 400-ppm threshold a sobering milestone which should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to support clean-energy and reduce our dependence on oil. But the ripple the milestone caused last week has quietly passed. It is back to business as usual.

Everywhere you look our addiction continues unabated. One of the world’s leading universities, Oxford has since announced a £6 million tie up with global oil giant Shell.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Just Obey!

Click here if you wish to access the posting of this 51:47m film on Raging Bull-Shit. (My commentary on this film was fairly lengthy, but somehow on 10-9-2014 while viewing that the YouTube film was missing. I corrected that, but somehow ended up inadvertently destroying my comments. However, I will leave the film posting intact.)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Corporate Enclosure of Seeds Intensifies

Click here to access article by David Bollier from his blog David Bollier: news and perspectives on the commons.

The title makes reference to the classic event of enclosure in Britain starting in the 16th century (see this) and the subject of a classic work by Karl Polanyi entitled The Great Transformation. It had profound effects on working people in Britain, and continues to be employed today by capitalist agents in their quest to "own" everything everywhere that might be of value to anyone (see this).

In this article we see the same principle pursued by global corporations to "own" seeds.
In a sign of how far the forces of enclosure have come, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that re-using seeds that are patented, knowingly or not, amounts to an act of piracy.  Of course, re-using seeds has been the tradition in agriculture for millennia, just as re-using songs and text is an essential element of culture.
No matter.  The masters of "intellectual property" hold the whip hand, and they don't want us to re-use and share seeds as the natural course of things. If you think that a farmer ought to be able to use the seeds from one crop in the next season, you are entertaining  illegal ideas.

Pioneers of Ecological Humanism

Click here to access article by Janet Biehl from New Compass (Norway).

Biehl, in her review of a new book by Brian Morris entitled Pioneers of Ecological Humanism, makes reference to profound views by recent thinkers who have been forgotten. I believe this happened because such views had to be "disappeared" from all media controlled by the One Percent. This demonstrates the power of mainstream media and educational institutions to control how and what we think.
Several thinkers whose names have since faded from memory were, back then, innovators in formulating the ecological critique of industrial capitalism that we take for granted today. Among them were Lewis Mumford (1895-1990), René Dubos (1901-82) and Murray Bookchin (1921-2006).

They have, Brian Morris argues, been forgotten too quickly. At a time when we are still struggling—intellectually, politically, and ethically—to grasp the reality of climate change, to face its implications, and to prevent it from getting worse (and in some cases even acknowledge its existence), the work of these three philosophers contains wisdom that is stimulating and germane. In Pioneers of Ecological Humanism, Morris has taken on task of demonstrating their intellectual stature and reaffirming their continued relevance.

Is Malaysia Teetering on the Edge of an Islamist Knife?

Click here to access article by Nile Bowie from Global Research

This writer provides further support to the article in Land Destroyer which is in opposition to a corresponding one in Open Democracy as I reported in this posting. Also, see this.

Why Europe can’t just “fix” youth unemployment

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.

This European writer, while noticing a sudden concern among European political leaders agents regarding youth unemployment, explains why their formulation of this problem is self-serving and simply wrong. He has a hunch what this concern is really about.

This article is an introduction to some proposed answers to what he regards as the key problem and question:
How could Europe’s downtrodden youth ever possibly conceive of shaking the global financial order? It is to this impossible question that I will turn in my next post. 

It Wasn’t Conservatives That Were Being Investigated by the IRS; It Was the Koch Brothers’ Front Groups

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade
...the Koch brothers must be laughing all the way to the bank.
While mainstream US media plays up the persecution of the Tea Party theme, we have here an alternative report on what the real story is. I suspect that the widespread reporting of this manufactured scandal provides a useful distraction from the real scandal of government spying on the private communications of journalists.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Israel’s Act of War Against Syria—Madness or Cold Calculation?

Click here to access article by  F. William Engdahl from Voltaire.

This sharp-eyed global-political analyst brings together various pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of the Syrian crisis to form a coherent picture of recent events.

US Prepares to Overthrow Malaysian Government

Click here to access article from Alternative Thai News Network
The street protests conducted by Bersih have all the hallmarks of US-backed "color revolutions," and this recent attempt to overturn election results that do not favor an overt US-proxy, foreshadows the same destructive, divisive, violent, and regressive unrest that has plagued Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria after US-engineered uprisings have left each in turn destabilized, failed states overrun by extremists, dictators, and traitors many times worse than the governments activists sought to overthrow.
I think that the headline should be stated as a question, however the article provides substantial evidence in the affirmative.

Collective Punishment Advocates Cry Foul Over Stephen Hawking’s Support of BDS

Click here to access article by Murtaza Hussain from Muftah
The decision last week by British physicist Stephen Hawking to abide by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel has predictably touched off a major controversy. While he has attracted many supporters, Hawking has also received a large degree of vitriol from certain pro-Israel quarters.
Could Hawking be (shudder!) an anti-Semite, too? (sarcasm) 

Meanwhile, back at the Israeli ranch we find institutionalized racism reported in this article.

The Project to Expose Power Structures

Click here to access posting by Andrew Gavin Marshall from his blog.

Because I have an extreme dislike for commercials--no doubt, from being daily bombarded by them--I have intentionally omitted any from my blog. This may be the closest I've come to featuring one, but in this pitch no one is getting rich and powerful from supporting the work of Marshall. 
See the world through a different lens [with] Andrew Gavin Marshall
On the other hand, we might think about ourselves all getting a bit more powerful by reading his well-documented and well-reasoned material. (Some examples: this, this, and this.) This brilliant scholar, in contrast to media directors hired by the One Percent, has dedicated his life to unraveling the truth that they hide behind many layers of deception. He, no doubt, could earn a very comfortable income working in some academic institution writing obscure intellectual articles that served the interests of the One Percent. His dedication serves us by empowering us with knowledge about the real world so that we can create effective tools to re-arrange the organization of existing societies to serve OUR needs, not theirs.


Papelitos: An Economic Parable For Our Times

Click here to access article posted by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit.

This parable has much to teach people about the complex betting schemes used by the One Percent at the capitalist casino to enrich themselves while creating havoc in our lives. For obvious reasons, such simple explanations are missing in mainstream media and other organs of indoctrination.
Part children’s fable, part economic parable, Papelitos was written by Hernán Casciari, one of the rising stars of Argentinean literature, with the help of his eight-year old daughter Nina. It is a tale about how a small, idyllic village succumbs to the destructive influence of financial speculation, triggering asset bubbles and ultimately wealth destruction for most of its inhabitants.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Secret U.S. Trawl of AP Calls Decried by Press Groups

Click here to access article by Jim Snyder from Bloomberg News.  

Even this prime Wall Street media source is concerned about this late-breaking revelation of US government surveillance of the personal communications of AP journalists. It appears that the full-spectrum surveillance structures that have been set up in recent years is now being applied on journalists. The end effect, of course, will be to intimidate journalists, especially independent journalists, their sources, and whistle-blowers. Welcome to the Orwellian world of "thought police".
Media groups and government watchdogs said the U.S. Justice Department interfered with press freedom when it secretly collected telephone records from Associated Press reporters and editors over a two-month period last year.
Eric Draitser provides us with the more chilling implications of this incident in the last part of this 3:32m video from RT.

The criminalization of political dissent in America

Click here to access article by Tom Carter from World Socialist Web Site.
Two essential factors are driving the trampling of democratic rights and the shift towards authoritarian rule. The first is the massive growth of social inequality, which in turn is driven by the historic crisis of the world capitalist system. While it robs the population in order to pile up ever greater and more obscene levels of private wealth, the financial aristocracy is terrified of the emergence of social opposition. Not from a position of strength, but out of extreme fear and vulnerability, the billionaires look to police state repression as a means to preserve their status, power and wealth.
Second, just as democracy is incompatible with such levels of social inequality, it is incompatible with imperialist war. The US military and intelligence agencies have for twelve years been wading in blood in a drive to plunder the world's strategic resources. The dead, wounded and displaced number in the millions.

Russia's Plan For The BRICS To Dismantle The Dollar System

Click here to access article by Valentin Mândrăşescu posted on Testosterone Pit
The status of the US dollar as the world reserve currency gives the US a number of advantages over other countries. The world’s most important commodities are priced and traded in dollars, even if most of these commodities are not produced in the US. The fact that the world’s financial system is based on the dollar allows the Federal Reserve to export inflation to other countries, while the Federal Government runs a huge deficit with impunity.
This article provides a perfect segue to my yesterday's commentary in relation to Marshall's excellent study entitled "Large Corporations Seek U.S.–European 'Free Trade Agreement' to Further Global Dominance".

Monday, May 13, 2013

Large Corporations Seek U.S.–European 'Free Trade Agreement' to Further Global Dominance

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from AlterNet.

This study represents a major contribution to the understanding of the current operations, goals, rhetoric, power structure, and organizations of Western capitalist elites. You will learn about all the groups through which they are pushing their policies, and you will learn the names of major individual and corporate players. 

There is so much here.  This piece should not be read as some sort of quick-written opinion piece. It is a rigorous piece of research backed by solid documentation. It is alarming. And, it is a call to action. It probably should be printed out and studied, but then you lose access to the links which are also valuable. 

If you have been following important news over the years, you have encountered so many capitalist organizations representing advocacy groups, policy formulating groups, think tanks, business associations, international trades groups, G-7, G-8, G-20, etc. The list is endless. In this study you will also learn about new ones that have recently been established to promote a major push for a trans-Atlantic trade agreement called the "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership" (TTIP). You see, capitalists are always advancing their individual power and wealth interests by combining with others against others for dominance in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. Thus, one can regard all the above organizations as efforts at networking to establish alliances. 

A major one that is now emerging is this TTIP which, in addition to TPP, is not only a method to meet the threat posed by the ascendancy of the BRIC countries (especially China and Russia), but over what remains of any domestic "democratic" institutions that get in the way of capitalist interests.

If you think about it, it is a totally logical development following their frequent use of NATO and its application of force to extend Empire interests. An economic integration of Europe (including members of the old English Empire: Canada, Australia, and India) with the United States under neoliberal principles, directed by and serving Western capitalist elites, is the perfect complement to NATO.  
Corporations are undertaking unprecedented drives for the accumulation of profit and power, promoting agendas and projects which re-shape the world in their image, treating governments as toys, the environment as an enemy, and impoverishing populations around the world. We are witnessing a transnational social engineering project, driven by large corporations, aimed at facilitating economic, financial, political and social consolidation into their hands.

Welcome to the era of Cosmopolitical Corporate Consolidation and Colonization.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

More Than Skin Deep

Click here to access article by David Glenn Cox from OpEd News.

Although everything in his article points to a class war, the author only speculates that "perhaps" there is a "civil war".
Perhaps then, the civil war has already begun.... Our lives become
changed and mutated by these experiences. A child born into wealth lives
in a far different life, a life filled with opportunities. While a
child born into this existence without wealth, is offered a life in the
new American, post industrial poverty, decorated with a continuous
subtle fear and a blankness of opportunity.

These are not the children of one America, but of two peoples.
What I felt was especially valuable in the article is his description of how the Federal Reserve's policy of "quantitative easing", or expanding the money supply, is actually functioning.

WaPo Fudges Libyan Protests

Click here to access article by Bernhard from his blog Moon of Alabama.

The author is peeved that this prominent US newspaper tries to obscure the fact that our ruling class has produced another failed state in which chaos reigns. He is right. Our Empire agents know full well that so shortly after liberating Libya from Ghadaffi for "humanitarian" reasons and producing a failed state as a result would upset ordinary Americans too much. They might not support another "humanitarian" adventure these agents are preparing for Syria.
The Washington Post lauded the intervention in Libya. The demise of Gaddhafi threw the country into deep chaos. The Washington Post is now working to instigate a like intervention in Syria. To be able to do so it has to hide the chaos in Libya. 
And, then Bernhard continues by reporting on the real chaos carefully omitted by this US "newspaper of record".

New report: no austerity for EU military spending

Click here to access article by the ROAR Collective from Reflections on a Revolution.
High levels of military spending played a key role in the unfolding European sovereign debt crisis — and continue to undermine efforts to resolve it.
From all that I have read, it appears that the US spends even more on military items than all Europeans combined to insure the Empire's control over the world's markets and resources. And you can be dead-certain that no sequester cuts will occur for direct military weapons and supplies to continue and expand this control. Pentagon spending is so obscured--deliberately so--by "black budgets" that nobody knows what they really spend. David Vine has long made efforts to ascertain how much they spend, and this is what he concluded:
Wanting to figure out the real costs of garrisoning the planet myself, for more than three years, as part of a global investigation of bases abroad, I’ve talked to budget experts, current and former Pentagon officials, and base budget officers. Many politely suggested that this was a fool’s errand given the number of bases involved, the complexity of distinguishing overseas from domestic spending, the secrecy of Pentagon budgets, and the “frequently fictional” nature of Pentagon figures. (The Department of Defense remains the only federal agency unable to pass a financial audit.)
You can be sure that the ruling capitalist class will not in any way be inconvenienced by such cuts: witness the quick exemption on cuts to air traffic control which was inconveniencing their travel. And likewise for Israel-firsters who are currently making efforts to exempt our generous "welfare" package to Israel (see this and this).

Thus, this is how ruling class operatives will protect their "good cop" Obama: he will be spared any embarrassment from a compromise with the "bad cop" Republicans over the issue of automatic budget cuts. Meanwhile, they can continue with their Empire business as usual.

US prepares war with Syria as pro-US opposition loses ground

Click here to access article by Thomas Gaist from World Socialist Web Site.

In contrast to the headline, the content of this article shows that the Empire is proceeding along a two-track path--threatening stepped up direct attacks and negotiating some sort of deal with Russia (and possibly China). Meanwhile the Syrian nation is being destroyed and its people suffering widespread miseries. But no price is too high for Empire agents in order to extend their control over the planet.
The ramping up of US military operations against Syria is accompanied by diplomatic efforts to bring about a post-Assad government on terms favorable to US imperialism. Secretary of State John Kerry has sought an agreement with Russia, which would pave the way for a power-sharing arrangement. 

Getting Crushed by the European Gravy Train

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit

This article from a British author describes somewhat different political arrangements in Europe compared to what we find in the US to diminish the influence of ordinary people over important political matters. 

In the US we find direct subversion of the superficial "democratic" institutions through the tight control of the election machinery and funding of candidates. In Europe they have established supra-national bodies rationalized by the need for European unity and consolidation in a continent historically wracked by inter-nation conflicts in a patchwork of nations. However, these bodies are unelected and are heavily influenced by close ties with powerful actors in the ruling capitalist class. 

One key element is shared by both divisions of the NATO Empire: both have banking cartels in control of the issuance of money. In the US it is the Federal Reserve and in Europe it is the European Central Bank. In the US control of important decisions regarding the spending of US government revenues has been largely under the control of the Treasury Department which is almost always staffed by key actors from major banking institutions. In Europe this function appears to be managed by the European Stability Mechanism, and again we find key actors from major banking institutions. All political bodies are subject to influence from well-financed corporate lobbies.

The end result in both divisions of the Empire are the same: both arrangements preserve the appearance of democratic control of decisions while maintaining real control in the hands of the capitalist class. In both sections of the Empire important decisions are made in secrecy behind closed doors and serve the interests of their class.

For more details on European political-economic arrangements, I highly recommend viewing the following 1:25:21m film. (As of this writing I've been able to watch the first 20 minutes.) The film reports on the determined efforts of the narrator, an environmental activist, and his associates to uncover the realities of who really makes the important decisions in Europe.