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 1, 2013

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

Click here to access article by Alex Newman from The New American.

This article, from what appears to me to be a Ron Paul type libertarian source, makes reference to comments by a former World Bank official and a study of the inter-relationships of top economic players to reveal what keen left observers have known for a long time: top financial institutions lie at the core of a web of financial and industrial corporations whose power is highly concentrated, so much so, that they have taken a large measure of control of governments and the media.
A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes....
While such libertarians can see the unfairness all around them that the capitalist system has wrought, they have an undying faith in the system itself. Thus, they essentially say "keep the faith"--we only need to reform the system by a return to a mostly mythical past in which the economy was characterized by small competing industrial units using "precious metals" as its currency. 

After reading this, you may want to read an alternative take on what makes the world tick posted on the Occupy Oakland Media collective's website entitled, "I Want to Believe". Although they don't disagree with the phenomenon of power concentration, essentially their message is "it's the [economic system], stupid!"

Friday, May 31, 2013

Beyond Personhood: Why Corporations Love the Constitution More Than You do

Click here to access article by Shannon Biggs and Randy Hayes from Common Dreams

The authors make some very good points in this article with their analysis of the important parts of the Constitution and what they mean, but this focus misses a fundamental truth: constitutions are like rule books for any game, they are written by authors to serve their purposes. 

The US Constitution was written by the ruling class for their purposes which was to make possible to their members the ownership of all things economic (capitalism). This ruling class depends, and have depended, upon their system of capitalism and their instruments of violence to give them the power: 1st, to have written the original rule book; 2nd, to make all the amendments to their rule book; and 3rd, to interpret their rule book by their judges who they appoint. Therefore, it is futile to focus on writing a new rule book and ignoring the class-based system and the ruling class's control over the means of violence to insure their control. We must focus on the huge task of taking control away from this ruling class, abolishing all ruling classes, and preventing the establishment of any system than gives special privileges to certain members of society.

How Corporations Are Subverting Attempts to Rein in Their Power

Click here to access article by Thomas McDonagh from AlterNet.
Citizens have won important policy victories only to be undermined by the growing web of international investment rules and arbitration courts.

Storytelling: NATO rewrites the Syrian conflict

Click here to access article from VoltaireNet.

This piece focuses on the geopolitical views of what appears to be a key figure, Yossef Bodansky,  in the formation of Empire political strategy and propaganda. According to Wikipedia:
Yossef Bodansky (born in Israel) is an Israeli-American political scientist who served as Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US House of Representatives from 1988 to 2004. He is also Director of Research of the International Strategic Studies Association and has been a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In the 1980s, he served as a senior consultant for the Department of Defense and the Department of State.
He is also a senior editor for the Defense and Foreign Affairs group of publications and a contributor to the International Military and Defense Encyclopedia and is on the Advisory Council of The Intelligence Summit. Bodansky's numerous articles have been published in Global Affairs, Jane's Defense Weekly, Defense and Foreign Affairs: Strategic Policy and other periodicals.

Boston and the CIA ‘Snafu’: The grey eminence behind Turkey’s Erdogan and AKP

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

In this piece the author puts together more pieces--CIA operations against Russia, Muslim terrorist organizations, and Boston bombing figures--in the jigsaw puzzle that continues to suggest a picture in which elements in the US power structure are deliberately promoting Muslim terrorists to further their Empire's control of Eurasia. 
In the first part, geopolitical analyst William Engdahl discussed the role of CIA’s Graham Fuller in creating the policy of using angry Jihadist Muslims as trained terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere against the Soviet Union. Herein—largely drawing on the revelations made by FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edwards—Engdahl throws the spotlight on the entire CIA-sponsored Islamic Jihadist operations run through Fetullah Gülen across Turkey into Central Asia and Russia and China.

Book Review: Gunnar Rundgren’s “Garden Earth”

Click here to access this review by Grace Gershuny from the Institute for Social Ecology.
 “Capitalism is dependent on a thriving society and on the exploitation of nature’s resources for its existence.  At the same time, capitalism undermines both those fundamentals of its own existence.  This is the real crisis of capitalism.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The AP Spying Story: What You Aren’t Being Told

Click here if you wish to access the source of this 12:46 video by James Corbett posted on Boiling Frogs.

The surveillance of journalists is bad enough, but James Corbett points to the larger issue of unconstitutional government surveillance over all digital communication of US citizens that is being ignored by mainstream media including the Associated Press that is upset over being surveilled.

March against Monsanto: Rallying for our Future

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from RT.
This weekend’s marches against Monsanto were a wonderful demonstration of the popular anger over the monopolization of agriculture by corporate interests.

Hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of hundreds of cities around the world demanding an end to the poisoning of our bodies, our children, and our environment. In New York, for example, the march was punctuated by chants of “Hey hey, ho ho…GMOs have got to go” and “Hell no G-M-O…hell no G-M-O”, as men, women, and children marched in a long, unbroken line of citizens unwilling to swallow the lies and poisons they’re being fed.

However, what is missing from many of the articles being written by concerned journalists and bloggers the world over is the fact that the fight against Monsanto and corporate control over the global food system is not relegated to one day of demonstrations.
Also, I highly recommend this article entitled "Is Monsanto Really Wicked or Misunderstood?" from The Progressive Press.

The Death of a Journalist

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

I think it was in early 2001 that I attended a talk given by Gary Webb in Eugene, Oregon. He recounted his efforts at the San Jose Mercury to run a series of articles that was reporting on his investigation of drug running that gave indications of government involvement. He had no idea when he began his investigation where this story would lead, but the more he investigated, the more evidence he found of this connection. The impression I left with was that Webb was a dedicated investigative journalist who had innocently did what investigative journalists were supposed to do--get at the underlying facts of the story.

I was in California at the time the series was published, and I was quite shocked at their appearance in the Mercury. Somehow the usual methods of managing such journalists failed to prevent his reports from showing up in the San Jose newspaper. He had clearly stumbled onto a major story of government involvement in supplying drugs to the inner cities of the US, something which many of us who were politically aware already suspected. Clearly he had to be stopped. I knew that the ruling class was somehow going to retaliate. It was a number of years later that I learned the full story of how they retaliated.   

Years later I learned that after a two week hiatus following the series, during which time major media ignored his reports, the directors of the One Percent went to work to destroy him and his career.
As for the media’s role in Gary Webb’s tragic demise, it just confirms, once again, the lengths to which our bastardised fourth estate will go to make sure that certain compromising truths never make it out into the cold light of day. Rather than serving as a counterweight and protection against the entrenched interests of the rich and powerful, the media has been moulded by the corporatocracy into an essential form of social control. Its main functions are to sell things (including wars), to delude, distract and deceive (especially on economic matters) and to exercise effective damage control whenever compromising information leaks out.
After quitting his job at the Mercury, Webb went on to write about his experiences in a book. He introduced the material in the book with the following statement:
Dark Alliance does not propound a conspiracy theory; there is nothing theoretical about history. In this case, it is undeniable that a wildly successful conspiracy to import cocaine existed for many years, and that innumerable American citizens--most of them poor and black--paid an enormous price as a result.
The book probably sealed his fate.As in the murders of John Kennedy, M. L. King, Malcolm X, many Black Panthers, and others, once again I was astonished at how effectively the directors in the ruling class accomplished their work without creating a backlash among the public. I have had this experience repeated many times since then--the latest being the Boston bombing. I wonder in amazement at the apparent ease with which these ruling class operators can control the minds of the public.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Popular Resistance and the Structural Power of Financial Capital in the European Debt Crisis

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

This is a very important study to promote an understanding of our current economic crisis and strategies to protect ourselves and prevent further crises, hopefully by finally undermining and overthrowing the rule of capital and replacing it by rule of the people. 

However, to fully understand it, it requires some understanding of the creation of money, the medium of exchange between economic actors. Also, because this is written for an academic journal, it also requires some familiarity with this type of discourse. He uses abbreviations of European institutions that may not be familiar to Americans. As always, simply run your cursor over such abbreviations and Google (etc) them.

Surely, in this current period many can understand how communities, even large cities, must cater to the needs of corporations by offering tax incentives, building related infrastructure, training of future employees, etc, all at local expense. They understand that large corporations have taken over most production of goods and services that local communities depend on, and thus, they must defer to the needs of these giants. 

The same phenomenon has occurred with the most critical economic function of all--the issuance of money and credit which has been gradually concentrated into the hand of a relatively few actors concentrated in banking. Now we see entire nations catering to the whims of banking elites. This concentration, which is a natural byproduct of all capitalist enterprises, creates huge crises not only for people, but crises that threatens the banking system which functions at the core of capitalism.
...in today’s global financial system dominated by high-leverage fractional reserve banking and complex financial derivatives, the control over credit has increasingly become the domain of commercial banks.... The shadowy US derivatives market, for instance, estimated to be worth in excess of $700 trillion – well over eight times annual global economic output – is dominated entirely by five of the six largest Wall Street banks, which collectively hold over 90 percent of all derivatives contracts. Together with a handful of others, these banks are now the main creators of credit-money and therefore the principal financiers of government and the main investors in the “real” economy. It is this “royal warrant of appointment” that gives the banks their privileged position in the democratic [political] process, leaving political leaders – both of the left and of the right – ever less willing and ever more incapable of pursuing the policies their constituents expect them to carry out. [my correction]
The author explores this new phenomenon and looks for effective ways that we, the people, can use to fight back, and win this contest over who rules our societies. Guess what? People in some places in the world already discovered what to do, and did it. However, they didn't realize that they had the solution and failed to carry on; instead they succumbed to short-term relief that banking elites offered them in order to save the latter's precious control of credit and money-issuance. People need to learn these lessons.

European Against The Political System

Click here to access article from Eagainst (Greece).
The more the State and the economic-political oligarchies feel that the crisis they created turns back against them threatening their interests, the more they lay aside the meaningless, statutory declarations-wishes about democracy and freedom, and turn relentlessly against those struggling for social revolution, for a society of equality and freedom.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

World - Naked Citizens

Click here to access this 32:41m video from Journeyman Pictures.

Britain appears to be leading the way to an Orwellian world.
"I woke up to pounding on my door", says Andrej Holm, a sociologist from the Humboldt University. In what felt like a scene from a movie, he was taken from his Berlin home by armed men after a systematic monitoring of his academic research deemed him the probable leader of a militant group. After 30 days in solitary confinement, he was released without charges. Across Western Europe and the USA, surveillance of civilians has become a major business. With one camera for every 14 people in London and drones being used by police to track individuals, the threat of living in a Big Brother state is becoming a reality. At an annual conference of hackers, keynote speaker Jacob Appelbaum asserts, "to be free of suspicion is the most important right to be truly free". But with most people having a limited understanding of this world of cyber surveillance and how to protect ourselves, are our basic freedoms already being lost? 

Government Favored Oil Companies Over Shelter For Children

Click here to access article by Pam Brammann from The Progressive Press.

People all across the US are starting to realize what corporate rule means. In this piece the author points to a lack of concern for the lives of children in Oklahoma. 

Under the drive to pare down teaching to a factory-like system , a Chicago teacher can no longer function in a school system that dis-empowers teachers in favor of mandated teaching plans that prepare students to take standardized tests. Aside from the immediate benefits to computer technology corporations, the orientation of this type of education is to prepare young people to work in corporate environments in which what they do, how they do it, and what they think about what they are doing will be carefully controlled by their masters in the One Percent. 

In my own state of Washington people are seeing the effects of cutbacks everywhere in public services: state and national parks charge fees and limiting visits, bridges collapsing and deteriorating infrastructure, and more young people can no longer afford higher tuition and fees for higher education.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Engineering Empire: An Introduction to the Intellectuals and Institutions of American Imperialism

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from The Hampton Institute: A Working Class Think Tank.
Empires don't just happen; they are constructed. They can also be deconstructed and dismantled, but that doesn't just happen either. Opposing empire is not a passive act: it requires dedication and information, action and reaction. As relatively privileged individuals in western state-capitalist societies, we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to understand and oppose what our governments do abroad, how they treat the people of the world, how they engage with the world. It is our responsibility to do something, precisely because we have the opportunity to do so, unlike the majority of the world's population who live in abject poverty, under ruthless dictators that we arm and maintain, in countries we bomb and regions we dominate. We exist in the epicenter of empire, and thus: we are the only ones capable of ending empire.
This researcher has dedicated his life to providing information to us in the 99 Percent about our masters in the One Percent. He outlines the history of the construction of the American Empire starting from the conclusion of WWII and the defeat of the German capitalists. The latter had their own empire building designs when they decided to sponsor the Nazi party.

In this introduction, Marshall takes us on a tour of the many ruling class think tanks and other institutions. During this grand tour we will meet the ruling class political directors who have constructed the current Anglo-American Empire. What is particularly useful to us is his decoding of their public speeches and writings to reveal what they really meant. This is good training for us to learn how to decode their current public pronouncements to keep us from constantly being manipulated and fooled into supporting their projects.

The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist

Click here to access this review by Dominic Alexander of Antony Lerman’s "remarkable memoir".
It is very hard indeed to give up a perspective that a person has taken as the foundation of their active life. It is only experience, over time, of the contradictions in a position that can enable a break with those original premises. For Lerman there was an increasingly serious gap between what he saw as the core values of his Jewish heritage, and the actual practices of the Israeli state, and it was this contradiction that caused him to dissent from the dominant pro-Israeli line. Important in the growth of his awareness of the problem appears to be his disquiet at appearances of anti-Arab racism in Israel, which he notes as they occur in the course of his experiences of Israeli life.
I think that this statement pertains not only to Zionists, but to everyone who has been subjected to capitalist indoctrination and discover that there are deep conflicts between their experience and what they have been taught to believe. Because of the many rewards awaiting people who serve power, most people repress the voices of their conscience and conform, others end up directly serving their oppressors. Lerman was clearly made of different stuff.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Syria as a Game-Changer: US Political Impotence

Click here to access article by Ramzy Baroud from Uncommon Thought Journal.

The author provides a very interesting perspective based on the period since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The latter game-changing event apparently caused the directors of the US ruling class to become so inebriated with a sense of power that they went on to engage in all sorts of conflicts to build their empire. Such military adventures have resulted in all kinds of major crimes against humanity and leaving entire nations in chaos. He sees the conflict in Syria as another historical game-changer, as a "Waterloo" for the current Empire.

However, that begs some important questions. A fundamental question is this: are we ordinary people going to allow these elites to determine our fates with their never-ending competition to rule the world? If we continue to permit them to determine our fates, we can expect the same horrors that we have experienced since WW1--and worse. 

This competition to rule the world is driven by a system that refuses to recognize ecological limits, and therefore it, capitalism, is now threatening to destroy our planet's ability to sustain human and other life forms. There is now far too much at stake to continue "business as usual".

If You're a Wahhabi Nutcase, You Will be Offered a Job by a Western Intelligence Service

Click here if you wish to access original posting on YouTube.

This 3:02 video refers, of course, to the beheading of a British soldier in the Woolwich section of London. The video creator, Eretz Zen, put together video footage from PressTV, BBC, and RT to provide a much more revealing context to the gory incident. In this horrifying incident we see an attempt to recruit a terrorist to serve the Empire, only this time it backfired. But this is no problem for Empire media directors. They frame the incident as a illustration of barbaric Muslims terrorizing the West.

One of the two Woolwich attackers, Michael Adebolajo, was seen as a follower of Wahhabi extremist radical cleric Anjem Choudary, and was highly influenced by Salafi hate preacher Omar Bakri, a cleric that teaches body mutilation and violence.
In a recent interview with Adebolajo's close friend, Abu Nusaybah, he revealed that the Woolwich attacker was harassed by MI5, the British Security Service. He also mentioned that MI5 ended up offering Adebolajo a job with the agency. After finishing the interview, he was arrested by MI5.

When Banks and Hedge Funds (Directly) Own Newspapers

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit.
“In a newspaper like El País it is no longer possible to criticize the main Spanish banks. And you have to be very careful when talking about the Government, in case it gets angry: its benevolence is needed in order to avoid bankruptcy.”
Of course, banks and hedge funds don't need to directly own newspapers to shape news coverage because they are a major part of the web of class rule that controls media coverage.

FBI Agents Killed in Virginia Were Investigating the Boston Bombing

Click here to access article by JG Vibes from IntelliHub.
Two FBI agents died in a “fall” from a helicopter in Virginia this week.  Days later it has emerged that these agents were involved in the arrest of  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
The Boston bombing incident is beginning to remind me so much of what happened after the Kennedy (John) assassination: so many people associated with the assassination died under mysterious or questionable circumstances.