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, July 6, 2013

What's Plan C for Egypt? The Fall of Morsi and the Neocolonial Project

Click here to access article by Dan Glazebrook from CounterPunch.

The author provides an excellent, brief analysis of the Empire's Egyptian neocolonial project and poses a critically important question: "What's plan C for Egypt?"

It is hard for me to think of any other plan than what the author hints at--the Salvador Option. (See also this posting for more details of recent applications of this strategy.) The more I think about this, the more it makes sense from an Empire director's point of view. 

Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were the perfect choice to implement the neoliberal, imperial agenda in Egypt. Now the Egyptian people have emphatically rejected that option. However, there is more than one way for Empire operatives to divide a people, and they are masters at doing that. On the other hand, this latest heroic resistance to the Empire's agenda waged by Egyptians and the Syrian people as well could represent a turning point in the imperial agenda, at least for the MENA region. There is evidence of repercussions for the Empire's Syrian mercenaries. Stay tuned, better yet, stay active and informed.
Much as the imperial powers would love to see Egypt implode into a sectarian disaster along the lines pioneered in Iraq and now being spread to Libya and Syria, the dividing line is NOT between Sunni and Shia, or between Islamist and secularist. It is between those who support genuine independence (the prerequisite for any meaningful moves towards social justice or democracy), and those who support continued collaboration with the imperial project to plunder and cripple the region.

When Will Americans Resist?

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

Of course, individual Americans are increasingly resisting as we've seen with Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and many others. But still there is that vast majority who are remaining silent and passive. I've puzzled over this question throughout much of my long life. I can't say that I have ever arrived at a convincing answer. 

I think that the many decades of brainwashing by corporate media, educational institutions, and entertainment industries, where ruling class directors are all strategically located, have so dumbed-down Americans that they have little understanding of what is occurring all around them and throughout the world.

Decade after decade I've thought that it was only a matter of time: things only needed to get worse before they could get better. Well, I have been waiting for nearly 50 years during which time things have steadily gotten worse, and still no significant resistance. My only explanation is that this is simply because there is not widespread political awareness. Corporate America still owns the minds of the vast majority like they own everything else of value in the US. 

Anglo Irish Bank tapes: executives mock Germans amid bailout

Click here to access article by Henry McDonald from The Guardian

Somehow I've managed to miss this story which first appeared at the Independent in Ireland after some whistleblower-leaked recordings were finally published. It is making big news in Europe, while in the US it seems that it only appeared briefly in major business media.

The recordings illustrate how banksters talk and behave with each other while planning their banking schemes to stick the public with their betting losses. What is especially wonderful about this whistleblowing event is that it is another example of people risking their careers, maybe lives, to expose the crimes of our ruling classes.

For more details on this latest banking scandal I suggest you read this, this, and this.

The NSA Comes Recruiting

Click here to access article by Madiha R. Tahir from her blog The Mob and the Multitude

This independent journalist provides a delightful transcript (I couldn't find the audio recording link) of her and other students' recent confrontation with NSA recruiters at the University of Wisconsin campus. 

This illustrates another form of political activism. People everywhere are beginning to stand up to confront the Empire's banksters, spies, and operatives.

The Ten Most Disturbing Things You Should Know About the FBI Since 9/11

Click here to access article the American Civil Liberties Union.

I was familiar with all but the third and ninth--I was especially surprised about the ninth. 

Hotter and hotter, stormier and stormier

Click here to access article by Gabriel Levy and friends from People and Nature.

Meteorologists’ conclusions about global weather in the decade 2001-2010 were published yesterday, and they make uncomfortable reading: the 2000s was the warmest decade since modern measurements began in 1850, and the world experienced “unprecedented high-impact climate extremes”.
Now we are finally starting to see reports of horrendous wildfires reported in mainstream media. Better late than never? I'm not so sure.

Friday, July 5, 2013

In Egypt, the real regime still has to fall

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution (Netherlands).
Egypt’s revolutionary process is a complicated convolution of people power and military co-optation. To succeed, it will have to take on the army anew.
The present revolutionary situation in Egypt could not be expressed more accurately and succinctly. The huge problem facing revolutionaries in Egypt is that the co-optation involves the most militarily powerful nation in history.

The Bubble Economy as a 2 part play for Privatisation

Click here to access article by Michael Hudson from his blog.

This economist-educator describes the latest games of the ruling class to extract more wealth from the rest of us. For example, speculators pay cash gained from their last housing scam to purchase all the bank owned distressed properties at bargain prices and rent them to us. Then there is the arbitrage scam: borrowing from the Fed's giveaway money program and purchasing bonds issued by governments all over the world whose citizens will be taxed to pay off the interest and principle at maturity. 

New Documents Shed Light on NSA's Dragnet Surveillance

Click here to access article by Tom Burghardt from his blog Antifascist Calling.

The authors assembles considerable details on the government spy programs which government authorities continue to lie about. Unfortunately, the author can't seem to get beyond targeting the presidential administrations for these sins. Americans need to get beyond such shallow thinking to see the real political operators who are employed by a ruling class and the system of capitalism that sustains them. 

Another example of this sort of thinking is illustrated by this piece entitled "Rule of Law vs. Rule by Law" from Raging Bull-Shit. The author adds his rant against government spying to the chorus of liberals, and concludes his essay with this:
...the U.S. government has gone rogue, succumbing to a shadow government that operates in complete secrecy and holds itself and its corporate partners above all laws of all lands. Once a beacon of hope and inspiration for a world grown weary of monarchical tryanny, the U.S. consitution has been rendered almost entirely meaningless — apart from as a rallying point for those who, like Snowden, continue to see the difference between the rule of law and the law of rule. It is now up to them — and all other supporters of democracy and freedom across the globe — to reclaim the democratic heritage bestowed upon us by the founding fathers.
The author has swallowed all the indoctrination provided by educational institutions, corporate media and entertainment industries. He celebrates the "founding fathers" who brought their European system to North America to plunder the continent and establish their very own empire independent of the British which merely wanted a colony serving their Empire. Our "founding fathers" were mostly slaveholders, land speculators, and bankers.

Such thinking is like someone who exclaims against some evil monster, but fondly remembers this monster when it was young and supposedly cute and cuddly when it was a baby. Simply put, when you have a system that allows individual to "own" economic property which by nature is social property, and you celebrate and encourage in every way the concentration of ownership in ever fewer hands, then you arrive at where we are today. The monster has simply grown up and wrecking havoc on the societies that nurtured it and the entire world.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Global Power Project, Part 4: Banking on Influence with JPMorgan Chase

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from Occupy.com.

In this fourth installment the author focuses his penetrating intellect on the people ensconced in the powerful core financial institutions of the capitalist world, the small fraction of the one percent, to reveal where real power lies hidden from the eyes of the 99 Percent. He has devoted most attention on the biggest bank to illustrate the international nature of this ruling class.
Not only is JPMorgan Chase the biggest bank in the world with over $4 trillion in assets, but its power and influence extends far beyond financial matters. It is a major political force in the world, highly integrated within the network of global elites who make up the plutocratic ruling class. As the subject of study for the Global Power Project, I examined 55 people at JPMorgan Chase, including all members of the executive committee, the board of directors and the international advisory council.

Egyptian army coup topples Islamist president Mursi

Click here to access article by  Johannes Stern and Alex Lantier from World Socialist Web Site.
The ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, following four days of nationwide mass protests, has placed power in the hands of a military junta which is committed to the defense of the economic interests of the country’s ruling class and to the geo-political aims of American imperialism.
It is clear to me that the Egyptian military (SCAF), which is now directly ruling Egypt, is very much wedded to the Pentagon and the Empire. This has been accomplished by three means: 1) the annual $1.3 billion in military aid, 2) training of the Egyptian military officers in the US, and 3) the promotion of social ties between Pentagon generals and their Egyptian counterparts by sponsoring social events to include both. 

It is also clear that US officials are in constant contact with SCAF officials and are likely decisively managing events. Empire operatives are totally incapable of directing Egypt's affairs to the satisfaction of Egypt's 99 Percent as is evident once again with the example of the Muslim Brotherhood's regime. They will have to come up with some other party to serve their neoliberal interests and, once again, manage elections so that their puppets win. That won't be easy this time. The Egyptian people were not prepared last time when opposition parties were not allowed under the Mubarak regime. (see this) This time may be a different story. Thus, I expect to see a lot more turmoil ahead.

Also, see this coverage on the Egyptian crisis from Reflections on a Revolution
Clearly, these critical power resources of the Egyptian military stand in constant conflict with one another. The army’s need for popular legitimacy constantly runs up against the elite’s continued pandering to US and Israeli interests, as well as the enormous wealth its leadership has acquired over the decades. This is why the army constantly needs to radiate an aura of patriotism that claims to align the military command with the wishes of the people and the goals of the revolution; even if these wishes and goals are in many way in direct opposition to the army’s social dominance and its unaccountable “autonomous” role within the state apparatus.

Washington Is Driving The World To The Final War

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog.

This former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under the Reagan administration along with Bill Moyers who served as Press Secretary for Lyndon Johnson must have felt severe pangs of guilt after their services to the US government. They now feel the need to expiate their sins by attacking the end result for which they both contributed: an arrogant ruling class that merely uses government offices to carry out its global domination agenda. 

To his credit, Roberts exhorts American on this Independence Day to act in the spirit of independence and true patriotism by emulating current dissidents who are sacrificing so much on our behalf.
If you, an American, living in superpower America lack the courage to stand up to the evil that is “your” government, perhaps the courage of Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and tiny Ecuador will give you heart.
For the latest message from Edward Snowden, see this.

Air Farce One: Morales skyjacking sparks anger in S. America

Click here if you wish to access source of this 6:21m video from RT via YouTube.

As long as we permit ruling classes and Empires to rule countries and the world, such concepts as international law and "rule according to law" are merely camouflage used to hide the domination of the One Percents through their control of powerful economic and military weapons .

EPA’s Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat of Many

Click here to access article by Abrahm Lustgarten from ProPublica.

EPA is a prime example of a typical capitalist government agency that pretends to serve the public interest, in this instance pretending to protect the environment. The agency is like the proverbial fox guarding the hen-house.
When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.

Stop tailoring global warming scenarios to make them “politically palatable” says leading climate scientist

Click here to access article featuring an interview with climate scientist Kevin Anderson from People and Nature
The reality about the greenhouse gas emissions cuts needed to avoid dangerous global warming is obscured in UK government scenarios, climate scientist Kevin Anderson has said.
In the US things are even worse: ruling class media are only tentatively beginning to associate wildfires raging across the American Southwest with global warming--far short of connecting this with the excessive burning of fossil fuels without which capitalism is doomed.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Capitalism and the destruction of life on Earth: Six theses on saving the humans [must read]

Click here to access article by Richard Smith of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, London from Real-World Economics Review. (PDF doc as of this time.)

You may be surprised as I was by the conclusion drawn by this economist in this just published piece in a reformist oriented economics journal. Indeed, I was rather shocked, but also delighted. It "made (more than) my day"! This is the best piece that I have posted in my more than three and half years of blogging. If this is an opening crack in the iron wall of capitalist economics thinking, then the possibilities for the survival of the human race and many other species are greatly enhanced. 
When, on May 10th, scientists at Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island of Hawaii announced that global CO2 emissions had crossed a threshold at 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in millions of years, a sense of dread spread around the world and not only among climate scientists.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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

Click here to access article by John Pilger from New Statesman (Britain).

Obviously, the people who benefit from a class structured society are always the top class, more accurately referred to as the "ruling class". 

Feudalism benefited the aristocratic ruling class; and with their overthrow, a new class took over: the bourgeoisie or capitalist class. Feudalism's claim to legitimacy was sanctioned by religion, ultimately by a "god" who was the central power especially in Western religions. The capitalist class rallied working people to their side in order to defeat the aristocracy by espousing "natural rights", "liberty", "equality", and "fraternity", "social contract", "freedom", sovereignty of the people as opposed to "divine rights" of kings, etc. But always included in this new ideology of capitalism was "property rights", and it was this element that the new class really took seriously. The rest of the propaganda was just window dressing to sell to the unwashed masses the new system where rights (freedom) and influence were in reality based on the ownership of (economic) property. 

Once the new capitalist class became the ruling class, they proceeded by hook or by crook to accumulate as much property as possible as a means to thoroughly dominate societies. One primary method in what evolved into an ongoing class war was their use of "divide and conquer". Their cultivation of gender wars is another form of this strategy. This author describes how the ruling class uses this form to divert attention away from their "austerity" policies.

Change in Qatar?

Click here to access article by As'ad AbuKhalil from Al Akhbar.
There has been an unprecedented campaign of festive coverage in the Western (and paid oil and gas Arab) media for the ascension of a new emir for Qatar. The event is treated (especially but not exclusively in Qatari-paid media) as part of the supposed march of the “Arab Spring.” Little mention is made to the history of Gulf dynasties in which a brother surrenders power to another brother, or a father to a son. For some reason, the abdication of the unelected emir – an absolute ruler – to another unelected emir – an absolute ruler – is treated bizarrely as a democratic event. 
The hidden hand of Empire operatives is hinted at all over this article.

The Espionage Act

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust
“The Obama administration has been quite hypocritical about its promises of openness, transparency and accountability,” says Jesselyn Radack, the director for national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project. “All presidents hate leaks, but pursuing whistle-blowers as spies is heavy-handed and beyond the scope of the law.”
The article provides a brief, but good background on the Espionage Act.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Info Wars: Paranoia, Surveillance And An Empire In Decline

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from CounterCurrents.

This piece brings to my mind the Bob Dylan song, "The Times They Are a-Changin'". He writes about the new opportunities to be informed made possible by internet technology.
Enter some balance. Enter the internet, Press TV, RT and the ‘alternative media'. The media landscape has been transformed. In recent years, the US  has had to face up to the harsh truth that it cannot dominate the global debate to the extent it once did when it comes to shaping the analysis and reporting of news through its compliant media outlets. 

Philip Agee, the CIA agent who spied on Ecuador and then told all

Click here to access article by Jean-Guy Allard from CubaDebate (Cuba).

In a surprisingly good machine translation of the Cuban article, the author reports on the life of an early CIA whistle-blower who was hounded all of his life by his government because he could no longer tolerate being a part of their Mafia-style activities. 

Over the years I read many of his articles in obscure left publications, but I never knew about his many difficulties in eluding his vindictive CIA pursuers. Philip Agee, a courageous man of conscience, is another American hero. 

I am puzzled and rather resentful that I learn only now of the details about his difficulties and the ongoing threats he faced from his government--and only from a Cuban source. Thankfully, this is not the case with Snowden and his contemporaries as this piece entitled "Edward Snowden’s Long Flight" (the article follows the introduction by Tom Engelhardt) written by a relatively minor whistleblower illustrates. The author, Peter Van Buren, gives us a poignant description of what Snowden must be experiencing based on his own experience.

On the other hand, Buren's piece also illustrates the general naïve level of the political awareness of Americans. There is no acknowledgement of class rule that really functions behind the vacant facade of the Constitution and the pretense of the rule of law. The author only points his finger at the Obama administration when it is clear in the article that this has been the pattern over many administrations. Operatives of the ruling class have long since tightened their grip over the executive branch as well as all other branches of government. Obama is little more than the public relations officer for the Empire. (For an illustration of a contrasting political consciousness, read the above post.)

When push comes to shove, class interests always rule. It is only on minor issues that the rule of law has some influence. This is always the case with any class-structured society: a ruling class always needs some ideological supports (constitutions, rule of law, divine sanction, an elaborate mythology, etc) to justify and to disguise their naked class interests.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Secrets and Lies

Click here to access article by David Malone from his blog Golem XIV (Britain).

This blogger confronts the argument posed by ruling class people: their governments need to lie and function in secrecy for our own good.
A few weeks ago I sat and listened to the former leader of the Conservative party, now an elder statesman of British politics, Michael Howard, tell an audience that governments need to lie. He is a clever man. 

Energy Products: Return on Investment is Already Too Low

Click here to access article by Gail Tverberg from Our Finite World.
My major point ... [is] that our economy’s overall energy return on investment is already too low to maintain the economic system we are accustomed to.
This is the first indication I have seen from the writings of this esteemed fossil fuel industry analyst that both makes a cogent argument that we are running up against energy resource limits and that this is related to an economic system. From here it is only a short hop, skip, and jump to an idea that just maybe we ought to be considering another system. She still doesn't go there, but what she does do is important: all the evidence she provides adds up to the dramatic conclusion that the (capitalist) system is headed for collapse due to the increasing costs of extracting fossil fuels required by this growth-addicted system.

NSA - Recording One Billion Phonecalls Per Day

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama

After listening to a talk given by Glenn Greenwald at the Socialism 2013 conference regarding the latest government surveillance revelations, Bernhard reaches a somewhat different conclusion than Greenwald who concluded: "It is a globalized system designed to destroy all privacy."