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 15, 2013

What do Bosnia, Bulgaria and Brazil have in common?

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

We have seen citizens protesting and rebelling in many areas of the world in the past few years. To be sure, some of the factors that have ignited them have been local, but this author sees some very significant underlying forces which are not so obvious.
At first sight, it may seem like these protests are all simply responses to local grievances and should be read as such. But while each context has its own specificities that must be taken into account, it would be naive to discard the common themes uniting them. As my friend, colleague and fellow ROAR contributor Leonidas Oikonomakis just pointed out in a new opinion piece, the Turkish uprising may have started over a couple of trees, but we shouldn’t let that blind us to the forest: the obvious structural dimension at play in this new wave of struggles.

Occupy ERT [Greece's PBS]: the revolution will be live-streamed

Click here to access article by Leonidas Oikonomakis from Reflections on a Revolution
...in the morning of June 12, 2013 Greece woke up without a public TV channel or public radio, while 2,700 ERT workers woke up unemployed. Ever since, the fired workers of ERT have occupied the station’s headquarters in Athens and have kept broadcasting through live-streaming. That makes ERT the first public television network under workers’ control in Europe, and maybe the first in the world.
Hopefully, their public TV is better than PBS regarding news coverage.

Obama starts Syria war to deviate [distract?] from Snowden scandal

Click here if you wish to access the source of the following 4:53m video featuring Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar from RT via YouTube:

Whether to distract or not, it seems to me that Snowden has caught the US regime with its pants down which Escobar aptly compares with the past scandal regarding Clinton and his mistress. I agree that there is a connection between Snowden's revelations and the decision to furnish heavy weapons to the Syrian gangs, but I think that the motivation for the decision was influenced more by the facts on the ground which do not look good for the Empire's mercenaries. No doubt Zionist members of the Empire's directorate also influenced the decision. They would like nothing more than to see the bleeding of Syria continuing. 

However, I think that this decision will only lead to more disasters, not only for the people in that region, but also for the imperial ambitions of the hegemons. This decision and Snowden's revelations could mark a turning point in the fortunes of the Empire builders. Or, at least, we can hope so.

A transatlantic corporate bill of rights

Click here to access article posted on Corporate Europe Observatory.
Leaked draft versions of the EU negotiating mandate for a far-reaching free trade agreement with the US – to be approved at next week’s trade minister meeting (14 June) – reveal the European Commission’s plans to enshrine more powers for corporations in the deal. The proposal follows a persistent campaign by industry lobby groups and law firms to empower large companies to challenge regulations both at home and abroad if they affect their profits. As a result, EU member states could soon find domestic laws to protect the public interest challenged in secretive, offshore tribunals where national laws have no weight and politicians no powers to intervene.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The History of America’s Secret Wars: Corporate Espionage and the Outsourcing of National Security

Click here to access article which contain excerpts from Greg Guma's 2011 book entitled Big Lies, and was posted on Global Research.

This provides a good followup for people shocked by the recent revelations of government spying on its own citizens. Of course, the rot in our society goes much further, and this author supplies some valuable additional information on the rot. 

The excerpts provide a detailed description of what is essentially a contemporary fascist empire whose main ingredients are secrecy, close collaboration among secret government spy and clandestine operations agencies, both government and private militaries, and corporations. The latter not only consist of those who hugely benefit from no-bid military contracts, but media corporations that are needed to support this military-industrial complex by carefully managing what they report. The collaboration is so complete that often the same people circulate throughout the various departments of the complex. That is the essence of contemporary fascism: the complete integration of military and corporations in government. The only ingredient missing in the article are the financial elites who function at the core of this fascist regime. 

What mainly distinguishes this 21st century fascism from its predecessor in the 20th century is its international character. It is the political counterpart to it economic brother--neoliberalism. Both are eliminating national boundaries that inhibit their pursuit of power and profits. This contemporary form is operated by international capitalists who have a global outlook and no commitments to any one nation including the US, if they cease to be supportive of their projects.

TPP negotiations quietly arrive in Canada

Click here to access article posted by Lindsey Pinto on OpenMedia (Canada).
...it’s more that just a simple trade agreement: Leaked documents show that the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] would have a hugely negative effect on the open Internet – the agreement includes an intellectual property chapter that would drastically increase Internet surveillance, increase Big Media's Internet lockdown powers, and criminalize content sharing in general, with a likelihood of harsher penalties.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Global Power Project, Part 1: Exposing the Transnational Capitalist Class

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

We are witnessing conflicts, insurrections, protests, small wars, etc that are occurring in many parts of the world; but to gain a real understanding of these events, we must carefully examine the primary engine that is driving such events--capitalism. Marshall is doing this with every article he writes. In this piece he focuses the spotlight on the people who operate this system--the transnational capitalist class. 

After citing numerous statistics on the concentration of wealth which one can often find in many liberal publications, he goes deeper to show us that wealth concentration does not only mean a lot of poverty amidst plenty which is what liberal commentators do. He shows the really dangerous aspect of the concentration of wealth: excessive wealth means power, it means domination by a few over the vast majority. What is so infuriating about this is that these people try to hide this contemporary dictatorship of wealth behind the rhetoric of "democracy". 

When people wake to this fact, they usually take to the streets in an orgy of outrage as we see once again today in Turkey. Such displays of outrage are completely understandable, but we must understand that this international ruling class of capitalists are well prepared for such events. They have armed their governments with many weapons to be used against their own populations which they fear: truncheons to smash skulls, several kinds of gas and chemical sprays, M3 shotguns and rubber bullets, water cannons, stun grenades, etc. Only a movement that is informed and dedicated to the overthrow of the system can successfully challenge and defeat such power, and finally end the social and environmental crises that we are witnessing almost daily across the globe.

Erdogan looses Grip on Power. Deep Cracks in AKP Government as Opposition Grows and Police Brutality Continues

Click here to access article by Christof Lehmann from nsnbc

I wouldn't be surprised if Empire agents weren't already on the ground in Turkey trying to engineer a "Morsi" operation that was so successful in Egypt. You may recall that Obama quickly sent Frank Wisner to Egypt early in 2011 to manage the political crisis in Egypt. Actually his name is Frank Wisner, Jr. and the son of Frank Wisner the number two CIA man who long served under Allen Dulles.
Prime Minister Erdogan is increasingly coming under pressure from international organizations, including UN organizations, leading members of E.U. member state´s governments and other, who criticize the Prime Minister and his administration for police brutality.

The prime Minister´s Parliamentary Group and the Justice and Development Party is increasingly showing cracks and the number of top party members as well as AKP supporters at the basis who criticize Erdogan or demand that he steps down is growing with every new police crack-down.

Joe Biden tours a middle class Colombian flower farm

Click here to access article by Jim O’Reilly from his blog Comments on Global Political Economy.

The author offers a biting parody of a recent visit Vice-President Biden made to Columbia and an article he wrote about his visit for the Wall Street Journal in which he extolled the virtues of what he saw as "middle class" society. What may come as a shock to you is that this piece wasn't written by some radical, window-breaking anarchist, but a retired banker!

The term "middle class" is a prominent theme in the rhetoric of capitalist propagandists. As I learned in my college sociology classes, the term essentially described those Americans who served in some sort of privileged occupation that was important to the functioning of the capitalist economy. Characteristics included advanced education, attributes of a professional occupation (salaried, many perks, pension, etc), home ownership (or potential for achieving this), and enjoying a comfortable income that permitted a lifestyle characterized by "conspicuous consumption". The middle class was aptly defined as a socio-economic status between the capitalist class who lived substantially off of income derived from the "ownership" of enterprises and the working class whose work was merely rented by capitalists.

The middle class really burst into view in the 30 years following WWII when the US assumed world domination and profited from it. This era of prosperity produced significant numbers of people who enjoyed middle class status, and was celebrated by Empire propagandists as a sign of success of the capitalist system. Since the advent of the neo-liberal stage of capitalism in the 1970s, the incomes enjoyed by this class stagnated until the recent economic collapse, following which we have seen a devastating impact on their numbers and future prospects. Nevertheless, prominent old capitalist ideologues like Biden keep trying to preserve the myths associated with this class.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Snowden Litmus Test

Click here to access article by Margaret Kimberley from Black Agenda Report
The normally cool Obama and his top staffers are a bit off stride and noticeably panicking. In his increasingly annoying and halting monotone he assured us that [the government] wasn’t listening to our phone calls. And just in case that less than comforting statement didn’t work for you he also claims that the spying program has thwarted terror plots on our behalf. It wasn’t clear if these were the plots invented by the FBI and their informants, but I digress. Raising the specter of terror has become the last refuge of scoundrels.
The author then explains what she means by a "litmus test".

US to pursue Snowden ‘with a sledgehammer’ for NSA leak

Click here if you wish to access the source of this 4:50m video from RT and to see a transcript of this interview with Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Dennis Bernstein of KPFA interviews former FBI agent Coleen Rowley regarding NSA surveillance

Click here to access a 16:35m interview with Rowley on KPFA's Flashpoints program. (Note: the interview is the first 16:35m of the one hour program.)

This 24 year veteran of the FBI reveals the origins of NSA's massive surveillance program which was brought again to public awareness by Edward Snowden. The program was first proposed publicly by the infamous John Poindexter and was "supposedly squelched by the American people" in 2003. She reports on many of the details associated with NSA and many other government agencies, and the dangers of such surveillance for American citizens. 

If you have the time, you might be even more interested in the next segment of the program in which Bernstein  interviews Norman Solomon regarding Snowden's revelations and the "national security state". (approx. 17 minutes)

See also this article entitled "Our Privatized National Security State" from National Journal.

Thank NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Click here to access a way you can support the heroic effort by Edward Snowden.
A whistleblower has boldly stepped forward to expose the National Security Agency's vast spying on our phone records and online communications.

Sign a thank-you note that will be delivered to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Greek government shuts down National Broadcasting Services

Click here to access article from Eagainst (Greece).
Meanwhile, journalists and other staff at the country’s public television and radio stations continue broadcasting online, after the police forces switched off all the transmitters yesterday, while thousands of media workers remained outside ERT’s headquarters through the night expressing their disagreement with this decision. The protests were joined by supporters of opposition parties (namely of the Communist KKE and SYRIZA), trade unionists and ordinary citizens who criticized this move as being undemocratic.
It's wonderful to see people rising up all over the world (see also what's happening in London) against the capitalist Empire and its satellite leaders who pretend to govern under the mantle of "democracy". Hopefully this is only the first stage in a world revolution that will result in a real democracy created by the people, for the people against those few who would "own" everything that is of value to us the people, and keep us in perpetual debt bondage in order to secure what we need.

The ECB’s Forked-Tongue Policy To Save The Euro

Click here to access article by Wolf Richter from his blog Testosterone Pit.

Richter reports that European bankers ensconced in the European Central Bank are saying they are committed to supplying unlimited money to cover debts when talking to speculators and bankers who have supplied credit to governments; but when in a German court in order to reassure the judges, they say their support is limited because they will not bail out countries who they judge to be "profligate". 

In any case, the German court is forced to deal with another contradiction of capitalist practices which violate constitutional law. Guess who wins out. Richter doesn't have to guess.
During oral arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Court weighs if OMT violates the constitution’s requirement that budget matters be controlled by Parliament, but a ruling will be delayed until after the general elections on September 22. If the Court, which has no authority over the ECB, rules that aspects of OMT are unconstitutional in Germany, it could forbid the Bundesbank from participating in the one measure that has kept the Eurozone together. The Eurozone as we know it would unravel.
In practice, the Court would never do that.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Digital Blackwater rules

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online.

Escobar's comments about corporate media coverage of Snowden's whistleblowing matches my observations since yesterday.
True to form, as soon as Snowden revealed his identity US corporate media privileged shooting the messenger instead of poring over the message. That included everything from cheap character assassination to the usual former CIA asset spinning that in Washington many were looking at Snowden as an agent in a potential Chinese espionage plot.

The Silent Death of the American Left

Click here to access article by Jeffrey St. Clair from CounterPunch.

Although this was written before the latest revelations about government spying on its own citizens thanks to the heroic actions of Edward Snowden, this author's message is now more relevant than ever.

It has always been clear to me that most Americans willingly collaborate with their oppressors whenever they anticipate short-term benefits by doing so. Over the years I kept rationalizing with every ruling class crime that maybe these events would ultimately be good because people will eventually wake up when things get bad enough. Since then I've witnessed one US invasion after another, many assassinations of anyone who stood in the way of a growing shadow government, contrived shocking events like 9/11 and the Boston bombing all engineered to take away more civil liberties, Wall Street bailouts after they in their reckless gambling schemes have wrecked the economy for most of us. In other words, things have continued to get worse and worse, and still very little reaction. This author expresses my frustration very well. 

At the same time, I have not given up hope for change...especially now when people are fighting back against the forces of capitalist elites in many places in the world, especially when whistle-blowers like Snowden, Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange are risking their lives for us, when writers like Andrew Gavin Marshall and Sibel Edmonds have dedicated their lives to waking us up. 

It is mostly leftists ensconced comfortably in universities and subject to ruling class discipline who disappoint me. The latter seem to be most of the people who write for publications like Monthly Review and New Left Review who confine their writings to abstract theoretical critiques of capitalism. As for CounterPunch, it features too many liberal commentators who like to rant and rave about superficial aspects of a growing police state while decrying any form of protest that goes beyond simply marching down the street with a protest placard.
We can and do at CounterPunch and in similar publications, such as Monthly Review and the New Left Review, publish analyses of capitalism and its inherent vulnerabilities, catalogue its predations and wars of military conquest and imperial exploitation. But where is our capacity to confront the daily horrors of drone strikes, kill lists, mass layoffs, pension raids and the looming nightmare of climate change?

It is a bitter reality, brought into vivid focus by five years of Obama, that the Left is an immobilized and politically impotent force at the very moment when the economic inequalities engineered by our overlords at Goldman Sachs who manage the global economy, should have recharged a long-moribund resistance movement back to life.

One American Who Isn’t for Sale

Click here to access article by Robert Scheer from TruthDig.

What isn't made explicit in this article, but is implicit in its content, is the marvelous way our ruling class has slipped fascism into our government and lives. I'm referring to the integration of corporations with the government, and the absolute control of the latter by the former. 

The beauty of their accomplishment is that few people recognize it for what it is simply because our clever ruling capitalist class directors have dressed it in different clothing. We don't see goose-stepping soldiers parading down the street. We don't see references to a "fatherland". We don't see a half-crazed fuhrer spouting hatred against some minority groups. This current neoliberal brand of fascism comes packaged with an articulate, charming, nice African-American fellow who lulls us to sleep with pleasant reassurances. 
Our data is their commerce, and ever since 9/11, observing us has become mega lucrative. “Booz Allen Hamilton,” The New York Times reported Sunday, “has become one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States almost exclusively by serving a single client: the government of the United States.” The word “serving” might be pushing it here, since 98 percent of the firm’s revenue of $5.8 billion last year came from the taxpayers, who are the same folks being spied upon.

Things Get “Scorchio” As Temperature Rises in Spain

Click here to access article and 13:43m video posted by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit.

It looks like a long, hot summer ahead as the class war heats up, especially in Europe and parts of the Middle-East. People, especially the young who see little future ahead for them under the rule of neoliberal elites, are fighting back against the troops of the capitalist ruling class.
The images below, of recent clashes between the police and protestors in Madrid, are a perfect illustration of why it’s probably not a good idea to let millions of your best and brightest languish on the margins of society, feeling betrayed and deprived of all hope of a brighter future. As trends forecaster supreme Gerald Celente is wont to say, “when the people lose everything, they tend to lose it in the streets.”
Unfortunately, the troops are ordinary working people who want to make a decent living and this is the easiest way of doing that. There will always be opportunities for the young if they want to defend the neoliberal ruling classes against the people, but only the morally weak or sociopaths can stomach such work. 

Also, see the Turks battling their police here.

The G8′s great land-grab

Click here to access article by Nick Jacobs from EUobserver.

The author explains how the one of the latest Orwellian-named projects put together by the G8 called "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition" is anything but. Once again, we see our neo-liberal masters branding their theft of property under a benign, even humanitarian sounding name. But, as the writer explains, it is all about theft.
What is striking is how brazen and unapologetic the New Alliance is in its quest to open up African farmland – memorably described by the World Bank as the ‘last frontier’ for multinationals – to an unprecedented wave of industrial-scale investment. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

Click here to access article and 12:35m video interview written and conducted by Glenn Greenwald and others from The Guardian.

In contrast to my cynical comments following the disclosure last week in The Guardian, I am now quite convinced that this whistle-blower is authentic and the information that he disclosed about massive spying on US citizens was not deliberately leaked to the media by government operators. 

With such a massive program the probability that persons of conscience will provide leaks is very high. More and more such people (for example, see this), in contrast to our sociopathic masters and their collaborators, are now doing so. The fact that he went public with this disclosure is probably the safest way to save his life. With widespread public knowledge of his actions--and it is getting extensive media coverage--ruling class directors will likely engage in more conservative tactics for the immediate future. I predict that they will wait until the public furor dies down and the story is forgotten by the media, and hence the public anger fades--then they'll move against him. It goes without saying that if they, the directors of our police state (known in polite circles by the Orwellian term "national security state"), can smear him in any way based on any dirt they can dig up, they will. In any case, it will be interesting to see how they deal with Snowden.

You may also want to read what Yves Smith has found in an early survey of reactions from various sources across the political spectrum.

I share his fear that he so eloquently expressed in the interview:
The greatest fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change.
People will see in the media all these disclosures, they'll know the length that the government is going to grant themselves power unilaterally to create greater control over American society and global society. But, they don't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things....
The video interview is obviously an extract of what is described in the article as an interview lasting several hours. 

Is This the REAL Reason for the Government Spying On Americans?

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog.

Although I only scanned this article, I don't see that this blogger answered the question posed in the headline. But, he does provide considerable evidence of the construction of a police state in the US since 9/11 which was used to justify the construction. This suggests that the construction of the police state is the answer. This was only a means to an end.

Permit me to offer a succinct answer. The real reason is that the shadow government
represents a capitalist class that has since WWII painstakingly constructed their shadow government because they no longer wanted to be faced with all the messy complications and expense of maintaining a pseudo-democracy. The latter interfered with their agenda of world domination under the control of financial and industrial corporate elites. 

Recall that they have spent so many years and money maintaining a pseudo-democracy whose propagandists espoused self-determination, "democracy", elections, freedom of the press, human and civil rights, etc, and now these ideological structures function to inhibit their designs for world domination. They expect eventually that regular citizens will wake up and fight back. Thus, they have prepared all the mechanisms of a police state to guard against this: full-spectrum surveillance, a huge prison complex, the elimination of all constitutional impediments that this article documents, and the establishment of a national, militarized police force under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security.  

The Judicial Lynching of Bradley Manning

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from TruthDig
The Army private first class is not permitted to argue that he had a moral and legal obligation under international law to make public the war crimes he uncovered. The documents that detail the crimes, torture and killing Manning revealed, because they are classified, have been barred from discussion in court, effectively removing the fundamental issue of war crimes from the trial. Manning is forbidden by the court to challenge the government’s unverified assertion that he harmed national security. ....
Manning is also barred from presenting to the court his motives for giving the website WikiLeaks hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, and videos. The issues of his motives and potentially harming national security can be raised only at the time of sentencing, but by then it will be too late. 

What future for the Turkish uprising?

Click here to access article by Mehmet Döşemeci from Reflections on a Revolution

The author, who is an assistant professor of history at Bucknell University (Pennsylvania), provides us with an honest attempt to both assess what has occurred so far and analyze the possible outcomes of the people's uprising in Turkey. However, I would never carelessly use the word "democracy" to describe any existing government.
Provided the uprising is not quashed by murderous repression, hijacked by a nationalist discourse that serves only to empower the opposition, and does not fizzle out through exhaustion, it has the potential to create long-lasting changes in the practice of citizenship and representation in Turkish democracy. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Peak soil: industrial civilisation is on the verge of eating itself

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from The Guardian

Notice that this liberal publication diverts attention away from "capitalism" by using the euphemism "industrial civilization". Therefore, what are we to conclude but the obvious one that we must return to to a pre-civilization state which, of course, is not an option that many people will take seriously? Thus, this type of analysis is another way of directing you to their faith-based capitalist premise so well expressed in their mantra: "there is no alternative".

Otherwise, this piece provides a well written description of the catastrophes awaiting humanity because humanity has allowed a cancer-like system, and a ruling class that benefits from it, to rule over the world.