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, November 2, 2013

The Austerity Swindle: Debt and Deficit as Shock Therapy

Click here to access article by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh from CounterPunch. (Note: You will need to scroll down past the donor pitch to access the article.)

The author contributes to the decoding of one of the games that the ruling class likes to play through their government--austerity or else! It seems so appropriate at this time of year to reference spooks and hobgoblins to scare the bejesus out of the populace so that they will take their awful tasting austerity medicine, so that they will accept the heretofore unacceptable cuts to programs fought for as far back as the 1930s by working people on the streets all across the US.
“Wherever we look, there are hobgoblins. The latest is … DEFAULT. Oooooo.

Apparently the threats of international terror and China rising aren’t enough to keep us alarmed and eager for the tether. These things do tend to wear thin with time. But good old default can be taken off the shelf every now and then. It works like a charm every time.

No, no, not default! Anything but default!”

Working for a living in an irrational economic system

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from New Commune-ist Manifesto (Canada).

Under capitalism some peoples' "work" has taken on new meaning besides producing/creating a product or service that is useful to others. This author examines the "work" of such people who function in a capitalist society to provide rich people with more money, and compares them with people whose work provides real benefits to others in society. He concludes his examination with a very useful "cornfield and mazes" metaphor to distinguish the two types of work. 

Paving the Way for a Future US Military Strike? Syria Meets Deadline to Destroy Chemical Production Facilities then Israel Attacks Weapons Depot in Latakia

Click here to access article by Timothy Alexander Guzman from Silent Crow News

The author argues that the removal of chemical weapons from Syria does nothing to change the Empire's clearly stated plans for Syria--even worse: the removal sets the stage for more attacks.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste

Click here to access a book review by Neil Faulkner of Philip Mirowski's book by the above title posted on Counterfire (Britain). 

According to Faulkner the book's author explains that "neoliberalism" is merely the latest version of capitalist ideology used to justify the exploitation of working people by the "ownership" class. Author Mirowski apparently felt compelled to demolish this theory because it has been regarded by other economists as a serious academic discipline.
Neoclassical economics provides a fascinating study in the resilience of fatuousness in the service of greed and power. When, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Ricardo realised that labour was the source of all wealth, the vast majority of economists, faithful to the new capitalist order whose spokespersons they were, began a retreat into obscurantist nonsense.
The book's author goes on to explain that neoliberalism is only the latest "obscurantist nonsense". With the repeated disasters to the economy, the disconnect between ideology and reality grows ever wider. As the gap approaches a canyon of disbelief among the public, we are steadily seeing the re-emergence of a finance/corporate controlled police state, otherwise known as fascism.

So, what have our ruling class masters accomplished so as not to "waste" this crisis? The reviewer seems to suggest the following, but surely these must have been cited by the book's author as the ultimate consequences:
Mirowski’s answer is that neoliberalism is now hard-wired into the psyche and everyday behaviour of the mass of humanity.

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste is an insightful and highly relevant social critique from a radical historian and philosopher of economic thought. For that reason, it is often a joy and a tonic to read. However, as with all such dystopias, we are left deflated by a sense of powerlessness. The people are present only as manipulated, brainwashed, ‘neoliberalised’ victims of an all-powerful corporate juggernaut. They are one-dimensional idiots; consuming pointlessly, obsessing about lifestyle, gawping at celebrities, gazing blankly at moronic TV game shows, forever grasping towards the next, vacuous, artificial ‘want’ created by Global Gobble Corporation.

Cameron threatens media over NSA leaks

From RT via YouTube.

The ruling capitalist classes love to go on incessantly with their rhetoric about all the "democratic" freedoms that people enjoy in the West, but the reality is starting to show through the veils of rhetoric regarding a free press. Whenever our government's secrets--leaders always insist they are necessary for reasons of "national security"--are reported by any renegade corporations of their "free press", the hidden fist of fascism is revealed in their response.

Skull and Bones Forever

Click here to access article by Russ Baker from his blog WhoWhatWhy.

In the words of Baker this particular article...
...is the second part of a ten-part series of excerpts from ... Russ Baker’s bestseller, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years
The whole series as well as the book itself might be of interest to those who would like to know much more about the Bush clan which has played important roles in what I often refer to as a "shadow government". Because this series focuses on George H. W. Bush in relation to the assassination of Kennedy, I decided not to re-post the series as a whole because of its narrow focus. 

However, I am posting this piece because it provides some excellent details on one clan who have figured prominently in this shadow government. George H. W. Bush, unlike most members, played a more overt role by assuming various official posts in the government. Setting aside this exceptional role, the details on this clan's role in the "directorate" of the shadow government is well described, and thus provides an illustration of many members of this shadow government and their activities related to its construction following WWII. 

This construction had definite antecedents in the 1930s as manifested by the activities of the Dies Committee, the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, the whole right wing establishment that was sympathetic to Nazi Germany before their invasion of Poland, and especially the right-wing attempt to engineer a coup against President F. D. Roosevelt (read The Plot to Seize the White House by Jules Archer).

The Priest and the Devil

Click here to access article by Féodor Dostoyevsky from Eagainst (Greece).

This website has republished a timeless parable by the famous Russian author in which he exposed the hypocrisy of a religious collaborator with an earlier form of class rule. 
(The Russian realist, 1821–1881, wrote this little story upon the wall of his Siberian prison)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The NGO sector: The Trojan horse of capitalism

Click here to access article by "Crn Blok" - an anarchist group from Macedonia posted on libcom. (Note: The translated pamphlet is broken into translated segments following this first segment.)

Much has been written about the role of NGOs in stifling, managing, and even engineering dissent (think "color revolutions"), but this appears to me (I've only read the first two segments at this time) to be an excellent in-depth study of their operations. The first paragraph starts with this perceptive statement:
There is a good reason why we, anarchists, would pay some attention to the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) sector, principally because the general public considers this "third sector" as a tool for democratisation of society, and even worse, as an alternative to the struggle against centralized authority, oppression, poverty and all the other collective misfortunes of the people. To us, this is yet another of the great deceptions of capitalism that serve to keep the illusion of choice and freedom alive.

Feds Accused of Harassing “Boston Bomber” Friends, and Friends of Friends

Click here to access article by  Dave Lindorff, Russ Baker and Milicent Cranor from WhoWhatWhy.

In what is reminding many about the aftermath of President Kennedy's assassination, there are a number of disturbing reports about FBI's conduct following the Boston bombing event.
In the six months since the Boston Marathon bombing, the FBI has by all appearances been relentlessly intimidating, punishing, deporting and, in one case, shooting to death, persons connected, sometimes only tangentially, with the alleged bombers.

All of these individuals have something in common: If afforded constitutional protections and treated as witnesses instead of perpetrators, they could potentially help clear up questions about the violence of April 15.

2nd Saudi Strike on Russia after Putin´s Dismissal of Bandar´s Threat

Click here to access article by Christof Lehmann from nsnbc

The author uses a recent terrorist bombing in southern Russia reported by RT to link the event to a veiled threat from Saudi Arabia´s Intelligence Chief, Prince Bandar, in a meeting in which he was trying to bribe Putin with weapons and oil deals. Bandar has been quoted as saying to Putin:
I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the direction of the Syrian territory without coordinating with us. These groups don´t scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria´s political future.
The relationship seems very plausible given that Saudi Arabia seems linked in one way or another to so many terrorist events, 9/11 being the most prominent.

Why science is telling all of us to revolt and change our lives before we destroy the planet

Click here to access article by Naomi Klein from AlterNet via Climate Connections (much more readable).

Scientists are increasingly becoming alarmed by the evidence which they are discovering that indicates we are heading for climate catastrophes.
...the bottom line [referring to the evidence] was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less.”

There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope.
Read the article to find out what this hope is.

However as the article makes clear, the scientists are also meeting counter resistance from the directors of the One Percent who are addicted to the system of capitalism which provides the latter with so much power and wealth. Like any addict, they are promising to reduce tomorrow their use of fossil fuels which the system requires, doing their best to hide their present use of fossil fuels, and some still engaging in denial about catastrophic climate change. Have you noticed that some of them are coming up with geo-engineering fantasies about cooling the Earth

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Two parties, one system

Click here to access article by Richard D. Wolff originally from The Guardian via the Brecht Forum. (Note: I am posting this from the Brecht Forum because I like their headline better than The Guardian's.)

Back in the 18th century the emerging capitalist class had originally held out the carrot of a "social contract" and the "rule of law" (of course, they have enforced the laws only against ordinary people--unless the crimes were committed against others among the ruling class, some recent examples: Bernie Madoff and Michael Milken), and  to entice the vast majority to support their struggle against the rule of monarchs and aristocracy. Hence, they set up political parties for the hoi polloi to choose among capitalist sponsored candidates to provide the illusion of choice, the illusion of "democracy". (Over time to reduce costs, our US capitalist masters reduced these parties to only two.) Unfortunately, most ordinary people took the bait (or were forced to), and since then we have seen nothing but exploitation, poverty and riches, wars, etc.

Following WWII we in the US had the only major intact industrial country in the world, and because of this we experienced unparalleled levels of prosperity. However, we also saw the dismantling of militant labor organizations and leaders who had accomplished so much on our behalf during the 1930s. And, we failed to notice an emerging empire built on militarism, subversion of governments, mini-wars, sponsorship of corrupt allies, and the construction of a powerful financial-industrial-military complex that has brought us where we are today: a "new normal" launched by the evolution of capitalism into its neoliberal stage. The origins of this evolution is described in more detail by Wolff:
Recent political gridlock, shutdowns, etc suggest a "new normal" has arrived. Political combat between the parties has become more intense and intractable, because capitalism has changed since the 1970s. By then, the post second world war boom in western Europe, north America and Japan – and also anxieties about the USSR, China, and their allies – had lofted real wages and government-funded social services far above their levels in capitalism's global hinterland, especially Asia, Africa and Latin America. Capitalists in western Europe, North America, and Japan were therefore eager to evade both the high wages and the taxes they faced.

Saudi Arabia’s UN Sulk Aims at Obama (Part 2)

Click here to access article by Melkulangara Bhadrakumar from Strategic Culture Foundation.

The author offers his assessment of the current Saudi "tantrum" toward the recent policies of Empire directors (naively ascribed by the author to the "Obama administration") whose policies toward Egypt, Iran, and Syria have provoked the ire of the rulers of this Medieval regime. They have been stuck in this time warp because of the protection given by the Empire in exchange for its oil resources and its role in backing the US dollar as an international currency (see this key historical analysis by F. William Engdahl). 

I don't think that the cronies of the Empire (including Israel) in the Middle East have ever been so at odds with the directors of the Empire as they are today. It would be merely fascinating to watch how all this unfolds; but given the economic importance of this region for fueling the capitalist world, the "unfolding" could also have highly dangerous unforeseen consequences.

If this view is not confusing enough for you, then read the article which introduces Israel and Turkey into the scene: "On the Military Alliance of Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran" by Nikolai Bobkin from the same website.

I had a problem with the following long sentence in Bobkin's article:
Besides enmity toward Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia share the common goal of overthrowing the regime in Syria, Tel Aviv and Riyadh are united in supporting the military government in Egypt, and they have also found common ground with regard to the unacceptability of an increase in the geopolitical role of their common rival Turkey. 
I think it would be clearer if re-stated as follows:
Besides enmity toward Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia share the common goal of overthrowing the regime in Syria and are united in supporting the military government in Egypt. They have also found common ground with regard to the unacceptability of an increase in the geopolitical role of their common rival Turkey. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Glenn Greenwald and the Future of Leaks

Click here to access article by David Cay Johnston from Newsweek.

If you are wondering, as I was, about Glenn Greenwald since he left The Guardian, this is a good place to start. You will learn that he is living and working in Rio de Janeiro under the protection of the Brazilian government. And, there are several other links to important articles (which also contain links) about him and his associates, and his plans to set up his own "web-based news outlet".

I admire his courage and determination to fight back against the Empire's intrusion in our private lives and its promotion of a police state to control our lives. What I think he still does not understand is that abuses of power are inevitable wherever one finds concentration of power, and the latter is inevitable in a system (capitalism) which promotes the concentration of wealth.
Washington “runs on leaks and Bob Woodward has become the richest journalist in America because of leaks. But because those leaks serve the interests of those in power, no one would compare him to Kim Philby,” Greenwald says, referring to a notorious Cold War spy for the Soviets.

He believes the Snowden case and other recent leaks have evoked “the authoritarian response that at its core says when someone in power decrees something is secret we have to quiver in deference, and to challenge that decree is somehow a moral and legal crime. I reject that.
“My nature is that when I see abuses of power, I want to expose those abuses.”   
So, am I arguing that it is futile to engage in battles against abuses of power? No. It is important for him and others to engage in these battles, especially over securing information that the powerful wish to hide, in order to rouse the public sufficiently so that they will ultimately wage a war against the system.

(You may also be interested in this piece entitled "Silencing journalists: An alarming global trend" from Al Jazeera.)

Cutting food stamps: The ruthlessness of the American ruling class

Click here to access article by Andre Damon and Barry Grey from World Socialist Web Site.

Instead of a "war on poverty" the war on the poor continues unabated by the nation's One Percent. The latter would much rather fund jihadies in Syria, drones over Pakistan, and surveillance over the entire world than provide food or decent paying jobs for its own citizens. But, this is the direction that 21st century capitalism is heading, and it's only going to get worse--unless there is an organized fight-back by citizens.
...this brutal cut takes place under conditions of continuing mass unemployment and economic slump, with record numbers of people living in poverty and homelessness and hunger on the rise, testifies to the ruthlessness of the American ruling class. The callous indifference of the media and the entire political establishment, beginning with the Obama White House, to the suffering of broad layers of the population is reflected in their virtual silence on the imminent cutback in benefits.
If this doesn't disgust you sufficiently, then I suggest you read this and view the video enclosed.

Of course, the real answer is not to depend on the One Percent who currently "own" and control our economy. The real answer is for us to take ownership and control of the economy so that our labor serves us rather than the One Percent.

GMO Wars: The Global Battlefield

Click here to access article by Walden Bello from Foreign Policy in Focus.
The case against GMOs has strengthened steadily over the last few years, even as the industry has expanded all over the world.
I'm proud to report that Washington state where I reside has an initiative on the November ballot to force food companies to disclose on their labels if they contain genetically modified ingredients. And, we are going to win! 

Ten Years of Fukushima Radiation Crossing the Pacific Ocean

Click here to access article by Jim Lee from CV News
TEPCO’s claims are not to be trusted.  Their lies are well documented, and their numbers are speculation. TEPCO does not know the following:
  •     Which nuclear materials are in the water and in what amounts (strontium, tritium, plutonium, cesium)
  •     The rate of water leaving the plant
  •     The level of radioactivity of the water.
Without these variables, scientists model “best guess” scenarios which may be misleading to government leaders who make decisions based on their estimates.  What we do know is that massive amounts of radioactive material are making their way across the Pacific ocean, and that the greatest threat to life worldwide comes from bioaccumulation (also known as biomagnification).
(Read also this piece entitled " Robert Stone must film Fukushima now" from War Is a Crime, and/or this piece entitled "Fukushima Brings New Agenda For Renewables" from Dissident Voice.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress

Click here to access article by Congressman Alan Grayson from The Guardian.

Of course, the representative from Florida is correct, and this truth is long overdue to be recognized along with all the other commonly held beliefs about "democratic" government. 

A review of history shows clearly that after WWII, our capitalist ruling class saw a huge power vacuum in the world which they decided to fill, in collaboration with the weakened British imperialists, to pursue a campaign of world domination. But first, they needed to circumvent any vestiges of popular influence over government by establishing secret agencies immune from any significant government oversight. This they accomplished under the leadership of Wall Street lawyers such as Allen Dulles and Frank Wisner Sr. by establishing new secret agencies such as the CIA and NSA and strengthening 14 others already established during and before WWII. 

To accomplish their world domination plans, it is clear that ruling class directors regarded the official bodies of government, whose members were carefully selected and sponsored by major corporations, as a hindrance to such plans because they were too susceptible to popular pressures from the people who merely wanted peace and prosperity. They also saw that the outward  trappings of "democratic" government should be preserved to maintain its legitimacy in the eyes of the public, but it was also necessary to do an "end run" around these institutions by establishing these secret agencies which have evolved into a shadow government. The core of this shadow government consist of major capitalists in financial and large industrial corporations in close collaboration with top military leaders. 

If this state of affairs reminds you of fascism, that is because it is the 21st century's version of the old form of fascism. (The best definition of the old model of fascism remains that of the Communist Third International who in 1935 defined it as follows: “Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism.”) However, this definition must be updated.

What we now have is the new and improved version dressed up to include official leaders who function as polished public relations officers. They are especially skilled at using Orwellian language: the Empire's use of force against citizens of other countries is portrayed in their media as efforts to make us secure from terrorists whom we must fight in an endless "War on Terror"; when we invade other countries it is for "humanitarian" reasons; and we have a "War on Drugs" which in reality is essentially about militarizing local police forces. The other major changes in the new version of fascism is that it is carefully hidden behind the secret agencies mentioned above and includes a shadow government of key ruling class decision-makers who make all the important decisions. With only a few exceptions the official decision-makers in all branches of government are mainly puppets.


Under this regime of the shadow government some of us now see through the fog of propaganda the establishment of a police state whose instruments of violence are used to terrorize citizens who engage in any forms of serious, but lawful dissent.

We are seeing more and more evidence that local police forces are increasingly under the covert control of a centralized agency in Washington, the Department of Homeland Security, which provides generous amounts of military equipment (including surveillance drones), supplies, and training to local law enforcement agencies.

28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima

Click here to access article by Michael Snyder from The Truth.

While I don't think that the evidence he provides supports the title, still he gives us a valuable up-to-date collection of evidence and projections which are very worrisome given the fact that Japan's Tepco corporation is unable to stop the spilling of radioactive material into the Pacific ocean. 
Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean.  That means that the total amount of radioactive material released from Fukushima is constantly increasing, and it is steadily building up in our food chain.  Ultimately, all of this nuclear radiation will outlive all of us by a very wide margin.  They are saying that it could take up to 40 years to clean up the Fukushima disaster, and meanwhile countless innocent people will develop cancer and other health problems as a result of exposure to high levels of nuclear radiation.  


If you wish to access the source of this and other animated videos created by Steve Cutts click here.

As Paul Craig Roberts wrote earlier this year, "Only in science fiction can humans escape the consequences of destroying their own habitat." Unable to deal with the glaring contradictions of capitalism and a healthy planet, our capitalist masters are forced by their addiction to power and profits to engage in fantasy. Here Roberts, while borrowing from Heinlein, describes what I think is the ultimate capitalist fantasy and its consequences:
In Robert A. Heinlein’s Time Enough For Love, the “Great Diaspora of the Human Race” began “more than two millennia ago” and has spread to more than “two thousand colonized planets.”  The once “lovely green planet” Earth is a slum planet barely able to support life where only the poorest live, Earth’s natural capital having been consumed over two thousand years ago. Humans have found the ability to rejuvenate themselves and to live almost endless lives, but they are unable to rejuvenate the planets whose natural capital they devour. Humans have not encountered “one race as mean, as nasty, as deadly as our own.” As homo sapiens use up the environments of colonized planets, “human intergalactic colony ships are already headed out into the Endless Deeps,” leaving their ruins behind them.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pandora's False Promises [Propaganda alert!]

Click here to access article from Beyond Nuclear.

I learned from a recent email that on November 7, CNN will air the pro-nuclear power documentary Pandora's Promise. I totally missed the fact that it was already released to cinemas during the summer. Anyway, TV coverage, especially from CNN, is far worse because it reaches so many more people.  

A significant section of our ruling class directors finally understand the risks of climate destabilization related to fossil fuel use. Despite the ongoing spilling of dangerous radioactive materials in the ocean off Fukushima, they really have no alternative but to turn to nuclear energy to sustain the growth required by the capitalist organization of society upon which their wealth and power depend. This latest cinematic production, Pandora's Promise, is designed to counter any ideas you might have about the obvious threats posed by nuclear power.
Pandora's Promise, is a new pro-nuclear propaganda documentary released theatrically in the US in July 2013. It is funded in part by individuals with a vested interest in seeing the development of new reactors and is seemingly a vehicle by which to raise the profile of the anti-environmental Oakland think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, whose personnel feature prominently in the film. Despite the film's premise and early claim that it features "a growing number of leading former anti-nuclear activists" who now support nuclear energy, no one in the film ever led the anti-nuclear movement. Nor was any credible, independent scientific or medical professional with expertise in the areas covered in the film consulted or featured. Beyond Nuclear has bird-dogged the film from the beginning, and has produced numerous critiques.

For the sins of the fathers: Caribbean countries sue for slavery, but what could it mean for SA?

Click here to access article by Rebecca Davis from Daily Maverick (South Africa).

Capitalist historians don't like to write about how capitalist ruling classes were constructed on the backs and sweat of slave labor, but descendents of slaves seem unwilling to forgive and forget.
Regional Caribbean organisation Caricom, through its British law firm Leigh Day, will seek to make the case in the Hague that through their colonial participation in the slave-trade, Britain, France and the Netherlands essentially contributed towards the stunting of Caribbean development, and now owe 14 Caribbean nations reparations for slavery and an apology.
It seems that while ruling classes don't mind so much about apologizing, they don't want to "cough up" any significant money.

Attention Shoppers! The Westgate Mall In America's Jihad Bargain

Click here to access article by the blogger of the Polemicist.
For Americans who might have more than a passing interest in understanding why such atrocities happen, and who might want to do more than shake their heads, after the fact, in bafflement and moral self-righteousness, one might start out with the always-cogent Jeremy Scahill’s explanation of “where al-Shabaab came from,” and how it came to target Kenya.
The blogger provides information to indicate the Kenyan mall terrorists were another creation of the Empire. Unfortunately, his myopic perspective attributes agency to ruling class public relations employees such as Obama and UN Ambassador Samatha Powers.