Bill talks with journalist Mark Leibovich about his latest book, This Town, a city where money rules the day and status is determined by who you know and what they can do for you. “If you can sell yourself as someone who knows how Washington works, someone who has these relationships,” Leibovich explains, “that’s a very marketable commodity. If you’re seen as someone who knows how this town works, someone who is a usual suspect in this town, you can dine out for years — that’s why no one leaves.”Bill Moyers actually uses the forbidden word "revolution" in his introduction to the interview in which the author describes his findings about the extreme and widespread corruption he found in his research on the Washington scene. Leibovich's focus is on the people who are part of the "revolving door" phenomenon, and the corruption of government that results. He recounts incident after incident of government officials/lobbyists who have engaged in corrupt practices that serve corporate/financial interests of the ruling class.
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, August 24, 2013
Targeting independent journalists and leakers has become a major preoccupation for Empire enforcers to keep the unwashed masses (aka the hoi polloi) in ignorance.
You should not be surprised because you should know what Western states like the United States and the United Kingdom have become in the world today – hit squads for a transnational elite, the global 1%. They have no allegiance, they have no care for legality, and they have no real legitimacy. And what’s more, they know it. It’s about power, which is an end not a means to an end.
Recent research suggests that the ecosystem has already experienced a dreaded feedback effect which could mean that the tipping point has passed when climate destabilization becomes inevitable. (Burning of fossil fuels spews excessive carbon into the atmosphere which causes global warming which causes extreme weather which causes vegetation to absorb less carbon, thus more ends up in the atmosphere.)
The team then fed the various readings into complex computer models to calculate the global effect of extreme weather on the carbon balance. The models showed that the effect is indeed extreme: on average, vegetation absorbs 11 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide than it would in a climate that does not experience extremes. “It is therefore by no means negligible,” says Reichstein.
This writer confirms my observations about mainstream media's reporting on the reality of climate change: the capitalist ruling classes now recognize it, but their policies haven't changed. It's getting weirder and weirder. His quote by Gopal Dayaneni is absolutely accurate as a description of capitalist attitudes:
Somehow it’s easier to envision the end of the world than the end of this economy.Nevertheless, this liberal writer insists on more letters and petitions to capitalist authorities to solve the problem.
Friday, August 23, 2013
This rather lengthy article is an example of a liberal critique of education in the US. This academic writer, Giroux, provides the most articulate of what passes as left social criticism in our country today. It also profoundly reflects a middle class perspective on contemporary issues of education which is focused on the latest onslaught against public education by the ruling class.
Because of major advances in technology, today this class is promoting the latest version of capitalism, neoliberalism, which is a much more aggressive, slicked up version that intends to transform the entire world into material and labor that ruling classes can use to accumulate more wealth and power. A part of this project is to "reform" or streamline education so that it directly meets the needs of today's corporations. They now need only a relatively few highly skilled people who are completely indoctrinated in the tenets and values of neoliberal capitalism. Privatized schooling can meet these needs--so why support public education anymore? Thus, most students will be left in prison-like schools to flounder as best they can.
So, a fundamental question I think needs addressing is: what is this middle class perspective and what informs this perspective? And, why is it deficient in its critique of neoliberal educational policies?
If one examines history from a radical perspective, one knows that the capitalist class rose to ascendency through a compromise with workers, or rather, with one section of workers--a fairly broad sector made up of highly skilled workers, managers, and professionals. (Disregarding the many false uses of the term "middle class" used by media propagandists, these workers are quintessentially the middle class.) That informal compromise is referred to by historians as "the social contract". The following description, from an Israeli source, is the most accurate (after decoding it), succinct description that I have ever encountered:
One of the basic assumptions...is thatAny radical knows that capitalists often use the word "democracy" (or "democratic") as a code word for capitalism, and the "state" is one in which they control. By translating these code words, we can now fully understand the meaning of the social contract. By this contract the ascendant capitalist class bought off the allegiance of these workers. But, it was only expedient and necessary up until now. With the advances in technology many workers in today's middle class are being threatened with the loss of their jobs because they have been automated out of existence. The capitalist system no longer needs nearly as many "middle class" workers to function. That is the fundamental reason why they want to "reform" education.
democratic[capitalist] society is based on a tacit social contract between the state and its citizens, according to which, in return for the citizens abiding by the state’s laws and agreeing to fulfill their duties to it (like paying taxes and serving in the armed forces), the state has an obligation to guarantee and actively promote individual and collective social security, social justice and effective forms of social solidarity. Besides direct assistance to the weaker parts of the population, the state is expected to ensure that its middle classes are able to obtain affordable housing and maintain a decent standard of living.
A liberal critique of education such as this one clearly implies that past educational policies were perfectly fine. Therefore, we just need to return to the past. A radical critique would suggest that while past educational policies were better, they still served the needs of a ruling class and not those of workers or fully participating citizens. And, there is no return to the past simply because of the addiction of capitalists to wealth and power, and they can satisfy this addiction even better under neoliberalism--at least, until they destroy human habitat. But, addicts never worry about the long term.
The only real solution is the transformation of society into one where there are no classes, where no members are given special rights such as the current class of capitalists who can derive wealth/power from the work of others through the legal framework of private "ownership" of socially produced wealth.
This writer clearly sees that capitalism is the real religion that directors of most countries practice and preach in today's world. Formal religions have long been used by ruling classes to serve their interests of power and exploitation.
He then proceeds to attack the liberal position which merely wants to reform capitalism. Most of his article focuses on the deep contradictions between the system and a sustainable planet, or one that can sustain human and many other life forms.
This piece provides an excellent illustration of how capitalist social criminals function today. It is a real story involving complex financial instruments that few people understand but are used by powerful sociopathic bankers and speculators who engage in devious and criminal schemes, even by their laws, to enrich themselves while causing monumental disasters for the rest of society. Of course, if you believe in the capitalist dogma that "there is no such thing as society only individuals and their families", you don't concern yourself with such consequences.
To cover for their crimes and to maintain the fiction of a just society, banksters occasionally have their enforcement agencies convict some rather ordinary person, a scapegoat or "patsy", like Lee Harvey Oswald, a low level CIA agent, who was immediately convicted and executed for assassinating President Kennedy by our justice seeking authorities to prevent the conspiracy from unraveling in a trial.
In this case, the rather ordinary person is Fabrice Tourre, a young, mid-level employee of Goldman Sachs in France.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Here we go again with the same ploy by Empire directors to justify a NATO attack on Syria.
Alleged Photo Evidence in “Opposition Handouts to Media” staged, say experts. Yesterday night, nsnbc international contacted two active duty members of the Danish Civil Defense Services who are experts in chemical weapons.Also see M K Bhadrakumar's attempt to unravel the political intrigues and mysteries related to this event.
The experts, who wish to protect their identity, were shown the alleged photographic evidence that has been handed out to media by the Syrian opposition.
Both experts unequivocally expounded, that the likelihood, that the alleged photographic evidence is showing images that have been taken at the scene of a real chemical weapons attack is close to zero
in[if] not zero.
One of the two experts went as far as to say, that it is not even a well-staged falsification. Both of the experts pointed out that the medical staff, shown in the images, does not wear gloves, does not wear protective suits, and does not protect their airways.
Amazing! Just three days after UN chemical weapons inspectors arrived in Damascus to investigate some older claims of chemical weapons use, this incident supposedly happens about 10 miles away from the inspectors hotel! Bottom line for me is that it looks like a desperate move on the part of the Empire to salvage some sort of victory out their failed attempt to remove Bashar al-Assad from Syria and install a puppet government.
Engdahl argues that Saudi Arabia is acting against, or at least independent of, Empire policies which have accommodated the Muslim Brotherhood, because of their own rivalries with the latter. This, of course, has caused friction with Turkey's Erdogan who has had rather close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
As much respect I have for Engdahl's expertise and knowledge about international political affairs, I think he is wrong about this subject. Although the Egyptian's coup against Morsi has caused some diplomatic headaches for Empire directors, it is consistent with their general policies of promoting inter-sect rivalries among Arabs. On this subject, I have to go along with M. K. Bhadrakumar's position as reported in Strategic Culture:
Make no mistake about it that the US game plan is to destabilize and destroy Egypt just the same way Iraq and Syria have been destroyed so that Israel’s absolute security is assured in the region for the conceivable future.
This is the conclusion that can be safely drawn as the Egyptian junta launched the mass murder of hundreds of Egyptian protestors on Wednesday. A bloodbath of horrendous proportions has commenced in Egypt.
The Egyptian military is literally the creation of the US. The American military aid is the vital lifeline for the Egyptian junta. The real agenda behind the overthrow of the elected government of President Mohamed Morsi cannot any longer be hidden.
Agriculture as it exists today developed over 11,000 years of rather remarkable climate stability. It has evolved to maximize production within that climate system. Now, suddenly, the climate is changing. With each passing year, the agricultural system is becoming more out of sync with the climate system.He also explains his concerns in the following video from the Earth Policy Institute which he heads.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Overall I think that this is an excellent contribution to understanding how the capitalist system can so easily control their populations through the method of divide and control. However, I think it has some weaknesses which can lead one into the favorite liberal critique of society--that of identity politics. This view tries to emphasize that we are all entitled to respect regardless of our "place" in the social class structure of such societies. Thus, such a political critique emphasizes political action toward eliminating inter-group rivalries and invidious distinctions that such rivalries naturally promote. Such emphasis diverts attention away from the system itself and the necessity to change the system--not merely hierarchy which is an effect, not a cause.
...the goal is to completely abolish hierarchy, which only the people can do.I do not believe that it helps to dignify the work that many wage slaves must perform in order to survive.
This is how hierarchy works - someone has to rank at the bottom in order for those on top to be recognized as the "winners." Without such ranking, everyone would be equal. Moreover, society absolutely depends on workers to clean, maintain, repair and service various sectors of society, including private property and public commons. These individuals provide an extremely valuable service that allows society to function yet the system gives them no credit and, in fact, looks down on them and blames them for being in that position. Just imagine a society without sanitation workers to haul off your waste and keep the streets clean, or maintenance workers to keep your buildings running and the AC flowing when it's 100 degrees outside, or grocery clerks who stock your food and water so you can conveniently pick it up and feed your family. Without them, doctors, lawyers, engineers and other members of the professional class could not go about their business. But society has little respect for these individuals who are often paid minimum wage with no benefits; yet they are the very people who make society function.Such efforts are very misleading. The work that many people have to do is of course necessary to the functioning of society, but the low pay they receive limits the opportunities they and their families have in order to participate in society in meaningful ways outside of their work hours. Such limitations are the direct actions of the capitalist system and directly contributes to worker low self-esteem. Here I am thinking mostly about low wage worker opportunities in education and lack of participation in decision making, not only in their work places, but also in society as citizens. In other words, low-paid, low-skilled work is intrinsically demeaning, and we should acknowledge that and not pretend otherwise. That doesn't mean, of course, that we should treat such workers with contempt, but rather with sympathy and understanding, and as comrades.
These limitations are an inherent part of any class-structured society, and extremely evident in our present capitalist society. Hierarchy must be studied as a method of controlling populations in order to provide lavish benefits to a ruling class while exploiting the vast majority, and not simply as producing bitter rivalries and invidious attitudes among competing worker groups. And, it is only one method among many: chief of which includes agencies of indoctrination throughout society.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
I have read widely on the topic of JFK's assassination, and I followed this event from the very beginning. My research and experience supports all the observations by this author except for a few details that I wasn't aware of or have forgotten (for example, that Permindex was a front-company for CIA, MI-6 and Mossad). And I thoroughly agree with Broeckers that this was the pivotal event of the second half of the 20th century.
Actually, I think it could be argued successfully that it is the most influential single event in US history. Everything of political significance that has happened since then, wherever the US has been involved, has antecedents in that event (examples: the assassinations of ML King and Bobby Kennedy, the "War on Drugs", most of the invasions and subversions of other countries, 9/11, the never-ending "War on Terror", and the NSA revelations). Because the American people were not able to successfully challenge the coverups by ruling class directors and their involvement in the event, this country and the world has descended into a new dark age, although this time a political/economic one in which we are living today. By successfully accomplishing the assassination of the president, they then knew they could get away with anything.
My knowledge of US history also confirms Broeckers' conclusion that the assassination was inevitable given the power that had been amassed by Wall Street connected people following WWII. What was not inevitable is the fact that they got away with the crime.
There are some glimmers of hopeful light in the world, and this article reports on one of them.
All those activists, young and old, have dreamt of a better world — a horizontal world without domination and exploitation — and the Zapatistas took up the opportunity to propose what that such a world might look like: by letting their alumn@s live it for a week. After all, for all these years, the creation and evolution of this better world in Chiapas has been safeguarded by activists from all over Mexico and the world — and now the Zapatista communities took the responsibility to show them the results. Not to provide a “guide” or “blueprint” of what autonomy should be like, but to present what they have come up with, and to prove that a better world is not only possible — it exists here and now.
This medieval kingdom, a key ally of Empire directors and a specialist in beheadings, has been a major player in recent events in Egypt. This political analyst provides an insightful study of their strategies and tactics often using their abundant oil wealth to maintain a hegemonic position not only within Saudi Arabia, but throughout the region. But, all is not well within kingdom.
Monday, August 19, 2013
I have posted a number of articles on the ongoing Egyptian revolution since January of 2011. This is for two basic reasons: first, we as citizens of the US are involved through our government's funding of the Egyptian military and other supports; second, what we are seeing in Egypt is an ongoing revolutionary development that we can study and learn from. It is the latter reason that I think is of critical importance for our own salvation. Let me explain.
Humanity must, in order to survive, rid itself of the dangerous cancer of capitalism which is destroying one society after another as well as an ecology capable of supporting human and many other life forms. Thus, revolution must be on the agenda of every serious activist. We must learn how to do them; and to do this, we must learn all we can about revolutionary and counter-revolutionary events. The current scene in Egypt provides a living experiment that we can study and learn from to create our own mandatory revolution.
Empire directors have at their disposal a long history of ruling class techniques that they have consolidated into a finely honed expertise in controlling, manipulating, and exploiting populations in support of their interests of power and wealth. We must develop ours, and do so in a hurry because our lives and those who follow us are at stake. This article makes an excellent contribution to this vital project.
I had to laugh at this headline because from my reading of history, banksters have always been top dog in the US. It's just that banksters have over the years, and especially under the guidance of neoconservatives and neoliberals, have greatly consolidated their wealth/power to an extent that became obvious to every awake person that they not only made the laws, but were above the laws they made.
From the very beginning of the US after the American Revolution, Alexander Hamilton and war profiteer Robert Morris set about establishing the Bank of North America. From the successful establishment of the Bank of England as a "central bank" in 1694, they clearly saw the wonderful profit opportunities in such a privately owned bank which used the traditional scam of fractional reserve banking, and was authorized to issue a nation's currency backed by the government and all of its instruments of enforcement. However, that bank soon failed because of one missing ingredient--a powerful, centralized government to guarantee and enforce their bank's money as legal tender.
This defect was quickly remedied by the coup that occurred with the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that was supposed to merely reform the Articles of Confederation. Instead they crafted a powerful central government. Then the early banksters made haste to successfully establish the First Bank of the United States which lasted until 1811. Following that bank there was a Second Bank of the United States from 1816 to 1836, and finally the Federal Reserve was established in 1911. All of these central banks along with non-central banks were always heavily involved in major scandals as we see today. Whereas the first two central banks were abolished by government, what is different now is that the government is completely at the mercy of the all-powerful banksters.
Incidentally, the only time that the US government issued its own currency was during the Civil War under Lincoln whose administration issued "greenbacks" to fund the war because the banks demanded exorbitant rates of interest. Lincoln was assassinated after the Civil War and it is likely that his assassination was motivated by this innovation which removed private bankers from using this scam.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
One might say that "the more things change, the more they stay the same". As one country after another is destabilized using death squads, terrorist groups, and adjunct militaries, the change of US administrations changes nothing. That is simply because behind the smoke and mirrors of capitalist electioneering, there exists the same shadow government dominated by banksters and their hired operatives that have the same agenda--world domination by any means necessary.
The appointment of Robert Ford as the new American ambassador to Egypt was indeed an ominous sign that the Obama administration expected civil war conditions to arise in Egypt. Ford’s forte during his hugely successful "diplomatic" assignment in Baghdad in the middle of the last decade was to organize the notorious death squads, which tore Mesopotamia apart and destroyed Iraq almost irreparably.
Equally, Ford played a seminal role in his subsequent ambassadorial assignment in Damascus in 2011 in successfully triggering the Syrian civil war. Ford is the living embodiment of the stunning reality that between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, there has been no real shift in the United States’ policies in the Middle East aimed at perpetuating its regional hegemony…However, I don't share his cynical regard for the great Egyptian tragedy of the past month as just another geopolitical game being played by Empire directors. The author is no anti-capitalist, he just wants geopolitical players to play nice, and when they don't--which is nearly always--he trots out his cynicism, and even goes so far as to justify the military's brutal repression. (Note in the following paragraph that "pluralist democracy" is Empire newspeak for capitalist electioneering.)
... a strategic ambivalence has developed – as had happened during the brutal civil war in Algeria – to the effect that political Islam is a pernicious thing and is antithetical to pluralist democracy and human rights, and sometimes coercion and even military force may become necessary to counter its surge.Nowadays ruling classes and empires are being threatened by freedom and peace loving people everywhere. The "Arab Spring" was an example of this. As a result we see the capitalist directors and their Medieval cronies resorting to the most barbaric methods possible to make the Egyptians, the Libyans, the Iraqis, and the Syrians as examples to deter any more freedom loving people from aspiring to a better life. However, I don't think this story is over yet.
The article explains how the ruling class loves to use celebrities to provide cover for their sins, to co-opt environmentalists into colluding with them, and to divert attention and resources away from genuine activist movements. They often succeed, but not always as the author reports. However, in Armstrong's case, it was he who used the same model to cover his own sins.
This widely respected specialist on peak oil issues describes the dilemma posed by the increasing costs of extracting oil from the earth without any other cheap source of energy in view. She is of the mainstream camp that sees no alternative to a capitalist system (TINA). Thus, necessarily the future of humanity looks very depressing. I have to give her credit for facing extremely unpleasant facts with directness and honesty, but I fault her for not factoring in the capitalist system which makes such depressing implications unavoidable. Why can't she see the necessity to imagine how societies could be organized in another way so that the contradictions she poses could be, if not avoided, considerably ameliorated?
According to this columnist from this obviously Russian-based website (they purport to be transnational), the neoliberal vultures are busy picking the flesh off of what is left of Greece. There is a hint of bias in that she seems to suggest that dealing with Russian or Chinese vultures would suit them better. In any case, the situation in Greece looks even grimmer than I thought.
Although there is no linked reference to the quoted statement, the following quote really captures the unvarnished ugliness of sociopathic capitalists and their regard for society:
As Wall Street trader A. Rastani stated not long before Lucas Papademos was appointed prime minister of Greece, "we don't really care that much how they're going to fix the economy, how they're going to fix the whole situation; our job is to make money from it and personally I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession...When the market crashes...if you know what to do, if you have the right plan to set up you can make a lot of money from this."
Well, whaddya know. Here we see a columnist in capitalism's primary publication finally reporting what has been well known by serious environmentalists for the past 40 years--the prospect of radical global warming. Well, better late than never--but really?