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 8, 2013

We’re Being Watched: How Corporations and Law Enforcement Are Spying on Environmentalists [updated commentary]

Click here to access article by Adam Federman from Earth Island Journal.

A grass-roots group in Pennsylvania decided to form a coalition focused on finding out the truth about any public health hazards from fracking operations.
Since the group had never engaged in any kind of illegal activity or particularly radical forms of protest, it came as a shock when GDAC members learned that their organization had been featured in intelligence bulletins compiled by a private security firm, The Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR). Equally shocking was the revelation that the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security had distributed those bulletins to local police chiefs, state, federal, and private intelligence agencies, and the security directors of the natural gas companies, as well as industry groups and PR firms.
The depths of naiveté among my fellow Americans seem bottomless. Actually, I admit that I am, too, a bit surprised by the aggressive way that this group has been treated. In the past our masters in the One Percent would use a much softer, although no less effective, way of silencing these people. This aggressive approach illustrates that we are well down the path to a police state as well as the new arrogant attitude of our masters.

We Call a Top NSA Whistleblower … And Get the REAL SCOOP on Spying

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog.

It seems that the public relations officer of the One Percent (Obama) can get away with lying about internet/phone content being analyzed--he said that the government wasn't doing this--by having this function outsourced to private corporations. This reminds me of the lie Clinton told when asked if he ever smoked marijuana: "Yes, but I didn't inhale." 

According to one former National Security Agency (NSA) director:
Binney explained that the government is taking the position that it can gather and use any information about American citizens living on U.S. soil if it comes from...
Any service provider … any third party … any commercial company – like a telecom or internet service provider, libraries, medical companies – holding data about anyone, any U.S. citizen or anyone else. 
And, Binney went on to say that...
...the government is gathering everything, including content.
See also this piece which explains how the NSA has access to computers with the Windows operating system. 

Just a Taste - The Covert Formula

Click here to access a great little video exposé of how government "intelligence" subversive agencies function--posted on The Solari Report

Note that the government "intelligence agencies" work on behalf of the corporations.

Western – Russian Stand-Off over Syria Intensifies as “Rebels” suffer Decisive Defeat

Click here to access article by Christof Lehmann from nsnbc.
Insurgents in Syria continue suffering decisive defeats. During the second half of 2012 the Syrian Arab Army successfully began implementing a counter-insurgency strategy which is partially based on Russian experience from fighting insurgents in Chechnya.
Analysts largely agree that the insurgent´s increased introduction of chemical weapons into the theater is a sign of desperation and an attempt to create a political discourse for a western military intervention.

Reconstruction in Syria: All Eyes on the Prize

Click here to access article by Hassan Chakrani posted on Al-Akhbar.

This is one of the most sickening pieces I've read in some time. I advise you not to read it after a full meal--you may lose it! It illustrates how crassly and cynically capitalists view wars, and why they like to promote them. What is surprising is that they usually hide such feelings from the "unwashed masses" for obvious reasons. But, here it is blatantly spelled out for you.
The ambassadors of France, Italy, and Spain attended the event [“Prospects and Opportunities for Postwar Growth in Lebanon and Syria” seminar], representing three major European nations that have considerable international influence. If anything, this reveals that there is clear European enthusiasm for a new phase in Syria that may be just on the horizon.

Friday, June 7, 2013

As Nation-States Falter, Capitalism Shines

Click here to access article by Robert Hunziker from Dissident Voice.
...society is witnessing one of the biggest socio-economic disruptions in history as capitalism, consisting of transnational entities, overwhelms, and cripples, the capabilities of nation-states to function.

The inchoate corporate state is a reality, and it knows no borders or allegiances beyond other corporate interests. This is transnationalism at work, and it is feverishly conquering the planet, pushing aside weakened nation-states, which are powerless in the face of rampant, unchecked capitalism.
Unfortunately, he ends this insightful essay by suggesting that capitalist ruling directors, who are addicted to the power and wealth that capitalism gives them, can reform themselves.

The Pentagon pivoting dance

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT

Once again Escobar shears the thick veils of Empire propaganda and reveals what their words really mean. Meanwhile, China's leaders are making it clear that it too understands what the Empire is up to, and will not tolerate interference in their interests.

Clearly the Empire has demonstrated its proneness to wars and creating social chaos, but there are no real "good guys" here. Only "governments" that are built on the foundation of grass-roots participation can guarantee peace and social justice. Until such people-powered "governments" are established, there will never be peace or social justice. There will only be national or international ruling classes competing for dominance. This means endless wars, chaos, suffering, and deprivation for ordinary people throughout the world. This means that as long as people are willing to permit ruling classes to determine their lives, we can look forward to more of the same.

Actually, it's worse than that--now we are confronting unprecedented environmental and climatic catastrophes created by the reigning system of capitalism which all dominant players are using, and this will propel us to our extinction.

Progressive thinkers must not be fooled by phoney "left revolutions" represented by the populist governments of Venezuela or Bolivian. We are now seeing the "Bolivarian socialist" government of Venezuela pivoting toward the Empire; no doubt because its rulers sees many rewards coming their way if they "suck up" to them.

Syria: Israel Is Losing the Battle

Click here to access article by Gilad Atzmon from Global Research
...in case anyone fails to grasp why the pro-Israeli Lobby is pushing for an immediate intervention, Debka, an Israeli news outlet provides the answer. Seemingly, the Syrian army is winning on all fronts. Israel’s military and geo-political calculations are proved to be wrong.
On the other hand, the author sees "self-criticism" as an Israeli strength.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

One Nation, Under Surveillance: U.S. Government Now Monitoring Your Phone Calls

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

This is really not news, but now that a "respected" liberal publication has printed a "top secret" memo documenting this fact, it is now public knowledge. You can be sure that the Guardian or Glenn Greenwald will not be prosecuted as whistle-blowers. As part of the establishment (the One Percent) they no doubt got clearance to make this public. In fact, it is likely that the directors of the One Percent deliberately leaked this document because in their overwhelming arrogance they want to let people (us) know that they are doing this. I wonder why. Could it be that they fear us?  And they want to intimidate us?

Of course it's not only phone calls, it's emails, stationary public surveillance cameras, drone cameras, DNA testing, etc, too. It is "full-spectrum" surveillance. 

The Tragedy of Forgotten Wisdom

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

This piece is all about defending the idea of conspiracy which is usually defined as an agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime at some time in the future. Of course, for obvious reasons real conspirators never want people to believe that such activities exist, or at least not emanating from the elite. Because there is so much widespread evidence that major conspiracies have been perpetrated by members of the One Percent ruling class, we now see a backlash from their spokespeople who try to discourage such speculations. One such person is New York Times columnist Roger Cohen who charges that only weak people engage in conspiracies theories. This is a response to that charge.

There is a war on ordinary people and feminists are needed at the front

Click here to access article by John Pilger from his blog.

This Australian journalist shows the hypocrisy that lies behind the gender-war theme with which corporate media likes to divide us in the ongoing class war.
The problem with media-run “conversations” on gender is not merely the almost total absence of male participants, but the suppression of class. It is tempting to say real politics are missing, too, but bourgeois boundaries and prescriptions are real enough. Thus, gender, like race, can be presented in isolation. Class is a forbidden word; and gender subordinate to class is heresy. The Daily Mail model is built on this.

There is indeed a crisis among men – actually ordinary men and women – and it is not their masculinity that is to blame, but the neutering of any credible resistance to a sociopathic system now given the Orwellian title of “austerity”. 

Turkey: Workers Begin General Strike as Protests and Government Repression Continue

Click here to access article by Steven Argue posted on Santa Cruz (California) Indymedia.
The wave of massive protests that started in Turkey on Friday has not stopped. In addition, organized labor is joining the struggle. On Tuesday (June 4), 240,000 Turkish government workers in the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) walked off the job. The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) is scheduled to join the general strike today (June 5th). 

Enclosure, Luddism, and Magna Carta

Click here to access the 55:00m audio interview with Peter Linebaugh, a social historian, at the studios of KPFA in Berkeley, California. 

As humanity approaches the limits of resource extraction, as "ownership" of everything is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, we are witnessing enormous social problems in a variety of forms. This is an issue of privatization that has become a major source of conflict in the world. But, it is not new. It is only now that this issue is creating unprecedented worldwide economic and social crises due to the extreme concentration of ownership under the system of capitalism.

Privatization has created problems for working people over many centuries, and Linebaugh traces the historical record of these conflicts which began with the enclosure of the commons and when craftsmen created machines which came under the "ownership" of the new class of capitalists. The latter used the machines against the interests and welfare of working people--and they fought back. He gives us history lessons that were likely missing in our education.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Money, Finance, and the Power of Symbols

Click here to access this 55:00m audio interview on KPFA Berkeley, California featuring David Hawkes, Professor of English at Arizona State University and author of a number of books. (Note: the following commentary is based on the first 31 minutes of listening to this interview.)

Hawkes provides the clearest explanation of concepts like objectification and alienation in relation to wage labor and money that I have ever encountered, and I highly recommend listening to his thoughtful observations--at least to the first 12:38 minutes. 

However, it seems to me that he misses one fundamental fact which obscures many realities of capitalism: money, usury, and related concepts are enforced by the state which is controlled by a small class of people to serve their interests. It is this fact and its enforcement, if necessary by state violence, that is the foundation of what money is, which he insists is merely a collective illusion. Illusions about money as well as many other elements related to class power is strongly encouraged by this ruling class in order to hide the realities of social injustice. Defining money as only a "collective illusion" hides or obscures its class basis and how money is used to serve class interests. 

It always makes me wonder about academics who introduce such abstract explanations into their discourse. It seems to me to be a politically safe way of providing some insights on an obscure subject while, at the same time, not disturbing any power relationships inherent in capitalist societies (or any class structured society). 

This Is The Way Blue-Collar America Ends

Click here to access article by Sophie Quinton from The Atlantic.

The author sheds light on the job implications for Americans under globalized capitalism by examining the workforce at Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
...the seven counties in southeastern Wisconsin saw a loss of 83,000 jobs, according to Vanderwalle & Associates, a Wisconsin economic strategy firm.

Many jobs disappeared altogether, as high-tech equipment replaced manual labor. The jobs that remain increasingly require applicants to present a two-year degree or a specific certification. Today, fewer than 40 percent of U.S. manufacturing employees have jobs in actual production, according to the Congressional Research Service. The loss of manufacturing jobs had devastating impact on Milwaukee. 

Turkey in Turmoil: Et tu, Gul? Then fall, Erdogan

Click here to access article by M K Bhadrakumar from Asia Times Online.

The author provides some interesting connections between Turkish President Abdullah Gul and the CIA which leads him to speculate if there could be plans underway to replace Prime Minister Erdogan with a more compliant leader as what happened in Egypt. After all, isn't that a principle of our Empire directors so well expressed by former Chief of Staff to Obama and now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: "never let a crisis go to waste".
Make no mistake, Turkey's unrest is not going to wither away. Gulen is making his epic move to bring about an "in-house" political coup within the AKP to bring Gul to the fore. Gulen has Washington's support for this "regime change" in Turkey. The Middle East situation has reached a criticality, and who rules Turkey becomes of seminal importance.

Bradley Manning Is Guilty of "Aiding the Enemy" -- If the Enemy Is Democracy

Click here to access article by Norman Solomon from RootsAction
...the unnamed “enemy” aided by Bradley Manning’s courageous actions -- the people at the grassroots who can bring democracy to life beyond rhetoric -- are a real potential threat to [ruling class] power.

Congress to Freak Out Today Over Front Page of Wall Street Journal

Click here to access article by Pam Martens from Wall Street on Parade
With the U.S. job market still weak, small businesses having a tough time getting loans, and Wall Street abuses still coming to light, that two of the major firms would think it appropriate to resuscitate a thoroughly discredited practice tells all one needs to know about the impact of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.
I doubt that they will "freak out". They have been just following orders given them by their masters in the One Percent who, no doubt, will take care of them. Oh, some might be voted out of office, but they will be rewarded with lucrative jobs in corporations. That's the way the system works... for the One Percent, and against us.

US health reform to slash care, leave millions uninsured

Click here to access article by Kate Randall from World Socialist Web Site

The author collects a lot evidence about the Obama administration's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which strongly supports her disturbing headline. We will see the realities unfold after January 2014 when the bill goes into effect. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Tragedy of Forgotten Wisdom

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

The author does us a great service by critically examining the subject of conspiracies that One Percent propagandists disparagingly frame as "conspiracy theories" in order to deter us from examining such phenomena. He supplies some great quotes from out of the mouths of past members of the One Percent that belie this type of framing.

Vio.Me: Self-Organization in Greece

Click here if you wish to access the source of this 21:44m video posting from Global Uprisings.
The workers at the Vio.Me. Factory in Thessaloniki, Greece have quickly grown into a symbol of self-management internationally. After going on strike and occupying their factory, on February 12, 2013 they re-opened the factory and started production under worker’s control. For many, the factory represents a new potential way forward for unemployed workers in Greece – seizing the means of production, running factories without bosses, producing only goods that are needed, and distributing them through solidarity networks.

“Every extra profit we make will be given out to people who need it. Our plan is to offer help to unemployed people or others who are in great need,” says  Dimitrios Koumasiouras, a worker from Vio.Me.

This film tells the story of how the worker’s re-opened the factory under self-management and looks to where the factory is headed now.
Here is a key statement from the film: 
...the workers did not give up, they showed the way for a different workers movement with bottom up processes, with direct democracy, with general assemblies, unions based in the grass roots and the real struggle for workers' needs.

Turkey: the triple strike that could change everything

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution
The confluence of a public sector strike, a manufacturing strike and an investor strike could combine to bring the Turkish government to its knees.
For other perspectives of what is going on in Turkey, I recommend this piece from Muftah entitled "RIP: The Turkish Model", this piece by Finian Cunningham, and two short videos posted by an activist in Turkey and one in Egypt who is following events in Turkey.

Ireland and the Basque Country: Massive Flight (Emigration) or General Strike?

Click here to access article by James Petras from his blog.

This retired American sociology professor examines worker responses to the aggressive neoliberal campaigns to dismantle Europe's system of social supports for working people and to burden European governments with debts that must be paid by sacrificing workers. To do this he visited and studied developments in Ireland and Spain and found two very different responses.
To learn first-hand about the capitalist crisis and the workers’ responses, I spent the better part of May in Ireland and the Basque country meeting with labor leaders, rank and file militants, unemployed workers, political activists, academics and journalists. Numerous interviews, observations, publications, visits to job sites and households - in cities and villages -provide the basis for this essay. 
What he learned was that in Ireland the classic divide and rule strategies of the ruling One Percent were effective causing thousands of talented young people to emigrate; whereas in Spain, particularly in the Basque country where independent working class organizations have developed over a long period, workers are staying and fighting back. 

US Supreme Court allows police to take DNA samples of arrestees

Click here to access article by Joseph Kishore from World Socialist Web Site.

Another cornerstone in the foundation of the One Percent's construction of a police state has just been laid by their court. This author writes about the disturbing implications.
Over the past decade, the state, under the banner of the “war on terror,” has begun constructing vast databases of emails, text messages, Internet activity, financial information and criminal and medical records. There is no doubt that DNA data will be incorporated into this systematic spying operation directed at the American people.

Today’s World Environment Reflects Crisis Of Capitalist Civilization

Click here to access article by Farooque Chowdhury from CounterCurrents.
The state of today’s global environment reflects the contradiction between the ownership of the world resources by a miniscule group and billions of resource-producing, but resource-starved humans, the contradiction created by an ever accumulating economy, the contradiction between ever greedy capital owners and humanity in chains.  
He continues on by providing a survey of evidence of climate related disasters and corporate assaults on the environment.

United against the Troika

Click here to access article by Esther Vivas posted on the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt.
Who is the Troika?
A year ago few knew the answer to this question. We knew it by reference, to its stay in Greece, and it wasn’t good. The Troika was synonymous with austerity, adjustment and cuts, hardship, hunger and unemployment.
But it was not until the arrival in Spain of the much denied rescue, in June 2012, that the “men in black” and “Troika” became a household name. Today, a year later, people, sick and tired, are coming out into the streets to say loud and clear: “Troika, go home”. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

“The machiavelian threefold game of the neoconservatives”

Click here to access article by Laurent Guyénot from VoltaireNet.

In this rather lengthy examination the author has put together well known historical facts (some not so well known), candid statements from Zionists, with sound arguments that constructs a picture of at least a well-oiled Zionist fifth column machine in the US that serves Israeli-Zionist interests. This has resulted in our prosecution of so many military adventures in the Mid-East, the commission of war crimes, and the bleeding of American treasure mostly on behalf of Israeli imperial ambitions. But, he goes even further to describe a "Zionist cabal" that is directing US policy:
...it appears that a Zionist cabal is interested in a new kind of world war, one that would weaken and fragment all the enemies of Israel for decades to come, putting it in a position to surpass even the United States, who would be ruined by their ruthless military spending (just like the USSR in the 80s) and hated across the globe. Little, it would seem, stands in the way of the final phase of the Zionist plan: a thorough ethnic cleansing and the annexation of the whole of Palestine.

FBI Director Candidate Comey Complicit in “Dark Chapter” in US History

Click here to access article by Bill Conroy from The Narcosphere.

The shadow government of the US One Percent (working through their employee Obama) comes up with another shady character to head their FBI and our growing police state. Read all about it in this rather lengthy piece--that is, if you can stomach it.
...we can’t expect Congress or the commercial media to do anything to delve deeper into Comey’s role in the House of Death, or to force the release of the long-buried JAT report, because to date they essentially have helped to provide cover for the cover-up.

And it is equally the case that the Obama administration, once Comey is nominated officially, will have no political incentive to air their own candidate’s dirty laundry in the House of Death mass murder.

So it seems the die is cast, and we as a nation will likely put a man in one of the most powerful posts in the nation, a position where he will make calls daily on civil rights, and life and death, without fully vetting his role in what former DEA Special Agent in Charge Gonzalez describes as one of “the darkest chapters in the history of U.S. federal law enforcement.”

Help Us Counter the ‘Dumb-ification of the Masses’- Support a Real Independent Alternative

Click here to access this appeal by Sibel Edmonds from Boiling Frogs.

She puts it very well:
We can’t have it both ways: On one hand moan and complain about the ‘dependent’ mainstream and pseudo alternative propaganda machine, but on the other hand not back and support the very few independent alternative mediums. We can’t; pure and simple. 
They and others like Andrew Gavin Marshall are leading the fight against "dumb-ification" of the American people. People like Bradley Manning and Julian Assange have already sacrificed so much more for us. We simply must support all of these heroes in these efforts! We are all in this together.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Political Prisoner Alert — Bradley Manning Trial: An American Hero Gets Court-Martialed On June 3

Click here to access article by Erin Lahman posted on Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle.  
Manning is an American hero who made the decision to leak these classified documents as a service to the general public. He testified, “I believe that if the general public had access to the information, this could spark a domestic debate as to the role of the military and foreign policy in general.” He added, “I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”
See also this piece from RT entitled "Worldwide protests ahead of Bradley Manning's Monday trial".

June 6 is D(isinformation) Day: The “Good War” Lie

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

The author provides a very good contribution to the deconstruction of a frequent form of mythology used by media operators employed by the One Percent to glorify WWII and war in general. I would only add a few things.

First of all, Hitler was brought to power by German industrialists, most notably Fritz Thyssen (see this and this) who was a leading steel magnate. He and other industrialists were extremely concerned about Russian-inspired radical ideas that nearly brought about a revolution in Germany in 1919. With the depression hitting all Western capitalist countries in the early 1930s, he and other industrialists were again concerned about the prospect of revolution. Thus, they decided to back Hitler and the Nazi party. In other words, fascism in Germany, as is always the case, was sponsored by leading capitalists when they felt their system threatened.

2nd, after fascism gained considerable support in Germany and Italy, capitalist ruling classes were split in the other Western countries. Mickey Z. only refers to IT&T head and the Dulles brothers in the US, but there were many others in the US, Britain, and France who were very pro-Nazi. The primary source of this split was the concern among many in the Anglo-American ruling circles that Germany would become a dominant force in the capitalist world thereby threatening Anglo-American dominance, while others saw fascism as necessary to counter radical movements in their own country and that German fascism was a force that could eliminate the Soviet Union. This had consequences for the lead-up to the war and how the war was fought.

This split accounts for why early on leaders in the other Western countries were so accommodating to German demands. They very much wanted to encourage Germany to move east and dispose of their Soviet nemesis. Even after war was declared by Britain when German troops moved into Poland, there was an initial nine month period (popularly known as "the phony war") when no action was taken against Germany. The problem for the German industrialists is that they couldn't always control Hitler and the Nazis. The big mistake the latter made, probably due to overwhelming arrogance, was to move their army against the other West European countries. This was a direct challenge to Anglo-American capitalists and they responded, although rather feebly until the Russians broke the back of the German army at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-43. 

For more details on all this, I highly recommend that you read books by independent sources of that time: several books by George Seldes and Charles Higham's American Swastika.

Defiant Turks: “this is only just the beginning” [updated posting]

Click here to access article by the ROAR Collective from their website.
It started with hundreds of peaceful protesters resisting the demolition of Gezi Park, one of the very few green spaces left in the center of Istanbul. There are plans to replace it with yet another shopping mall. The disproportionate police response to the peaceful Gezi protests has triggered a nationwide revolt within a matter of days. What we have witnessed since the early hours of May 30 is not only a display of the collective will of Istanbul residents claiming their right to the city but also a broad-based rebellion against the authoritarianism of Turkey’s conservative neo-liberal Islamist government.
I also recommend this piece from Eagainst (Greece) entitled "In solidarity with the protesters in Turkey", and this piece entitled "What is Happening in Istanbul?" (added at 4pm PST)

Dark Homes: inside the world’s most expensive residence

Click here to access article by Michael Barker from Ceasefire (Britain). 
One Hyde Park, in the heart of London, is considered to be the world’s most expensive residential building. Beneath the glittery surface, however, a snapshot of its owners and residents can tell us a great deal about the nature of modern capitalism. 
Well, actually not so much about "modern capitalism" as about modern capitalists who are mostly "absentee owners, hiding behind offshore corporations based in tax havens" and who "live in fear of contact with the rest of the world."