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, December 28, 2013

Fed Up with the Fed

Click here to access article by Carol Harvey from IndyBay San Francisco (California).
After sunset at 5:00 p.m., on Monday, December 23, 2013, FedUp100.org, a national coalition of activists spanning a wide political spectrum called to action several 100th anniversary illuminated Birthday Un-Celebrations in front of eight Federal Reserve buildings in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, Orlando, Dallas, Cleveland, and Chicago.
.... In San Francisco, 101 Market Street protestors chalked a beautiful sidewalk Monopoly board with rules to show how this rigged game is played. The debt will never be paid because the Banksters make money off it.
The Fed was created shortly before Christmas in 1913 when the banksters in our ruling One Percent slipped through Congress a bill that enabled one of their biggest scams of all time at the expense of American workers.
On December 22, 1913, after most of Congress left for Christmas, the remaining members passed The Federal Reserve Act. President Wilson's signature established the Federal Reserve System, legally empowering The Fed to issue Bank Notes --- or dollars --- as legal tender. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 also gave The Fed the exclusive right to loan money to Congress. 

A Master Class On How The Banks Took Over “Our” World

Click here to access an introduction to two six plus minute videos posted by Don Quijones on his blog Raging Bull-Shit.

What is particularly unique about these short lectures on money creation by bankster scams is that they were delivered (last year) by a 12 year old Canadian girl.

Of course, if you have followed my blog for any length of time, you would know that I don't see private bank created money as the major source of most of the obvious problems we see in the world today. I see it only as another very significant illicit means of making money within a system (capitalism) which promotes the accumulation of wealth in ever greater concentrations by people who, according the rules of this system, are "owners" of economies. It is this private "ownership" of an intrinsically social creation that is the major crime perpetrated against the vast majority by a small minority. Still, these bankster money scams are of great importance because of the added misery they cause.

Brainwashed by the cult of the super-rich

Click here to access article by Priyamvada Gopal from the Guardian.

This author offers a British take on the "Greed is Good" cult and their right-wing followers.
The rich are not merely different: they've become a cult which drafts us as members. We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled "aspiration". 

Christmas, Right-Wingers, The Red Pope, and Jesus

Click here to access article by Jim Hightower from Nation of Change.

This piece offers some welcome humor from that liberal Texan who loves to poke fun at our right-wing neighbors who seem to get high on Fox TV, left-wing conspiracies, End Time scenarios, and mindless entertainment.
Ah, 'tis the season for family, friends, eggnog, chipmunks singing Christmas carols — and all-out, no-mercy, blow-'em-all-to-hell WAR.

Not war like in Afghanistan. No, no — this is the far-right's God-awful "War on the War on Christmas."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Real Progressive Economic Change

Click here if you wish to access the source posting of this 10:22m video from Richard Wolff's website.

I don't know of anyone that can explain radical politics clearer than Prof. Wolff. The divide between reformers (liberals) and revolutionaries has always posed problems for activists throughout the past several centuries. He offers a very simple solution on how to combine both.
Professor Wolff joins David Pakman, host of The Pakman Show,  to discuss potential strategies to bring progressive economic change, including incremental vs systemic approaches, as well as economic rights, unionism, and small producerism.

Creeping annexation, ethnic cleansing and ‘the politics of fragmentation’ inflicted by criminals who strut the world stage and thumb their noses at international law

Click here to access article, posted on Fig Trees and Vineyards, which features an interview with international law authority Richard Falk. (Note: this article is prefaced by a report entitled "Temper Tantrums in US, Canada over Falk Comments to RT", which is interesting in itself, but far more interesting is the interview which follows.)

The implications of Falk's observations about the UN with regard to the Palestinian people illustrates the sad fact that world's capitalist ruling classes, for all their pretenses about the rule of law, still rule according to the principle that "might makes right". Therefore, there will be no advances in human welfare, and indeed, the very existence of the human race is now at stake if the tiny population of "owners" and their system of capitalism, or any other class system, is allowed to continue.
The bottom line is that we live in a world in which the primacy of hard power prevails in the relationship among states.
 Of course, we should add the obvious: "hard power within states as well, in addition to the pervasive use of soft power in the form of ruling class indoctrination".

Taxpayer money spent to develop GM blight-resistant potato using genes from non-GM naturally blight-resistant potato

Click here to access article by Barbara H. Peterson from Farm Wars.

The science of biotechnology has opened wide the gate of opportunity for more profit-addicted capitalists. Here their legal subsystem has legitimated their "ownership" of seeds where they have tinkered with the DNA of seeds. This article shows how extreme the effects of the addiction to profits is to our masters in the One Percent.

The Rise of Superweeds—and What to Do About It

Click here to access article from Union of Concerned Scientists.

It sounds like a sci-fi movie: American farmers fighting desperately to hold back an onslaught of herbicide-defying "superweeds."

But there's nothing imaginary—or entertaining—about this scenario. Superweeds are all too real, and they have now spread to over 60 million acres of our farmland, wreaking environmental and economic havoc wherever they go.

How did we get into this mess, and how do we fix it?

For another threat posed by corporate agriculture and their mad pursuit of profits, see also this piece from the NY Times entitled " European Agency Warns of Risk to Humans in Pesticides Tied to Bee Deaths".

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Getting Ahead: A Memoir on the Complexities of Class in the U.S.

Click here to access article by William T. Hathaway from The Hampton Institute. 

This autobiographical sketch captures all the essential class-based qualities and values both contemporary and historical of American life, and explains how the fast fading "American Dream is built on the American Nightmare." Absolutely brilliant--a must read!

Everyday communism and the “spirit of Christmas”

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution
In the Western world, at least, Christmas is a profoundly schizophrenic time of year. On the one hand, the holidays bring out some of the best aspects of what it means to be human: people coming together to share food and gifts in a communal spirit that temporarily breaks with the alienation of everyday life. But, at the same time, the holidays shine a light on some of the worst elements of consumerism and false pretense that have come to pervade the social fabric....
After moving to Athens the author reports on "everyday communism" and how it has helped the Greeks to survive the devastating attacks on their economy by international banksters. This phenomenon is in direct contradiction to what the ideology of capitalism regards as human nature.

Edward Snowden: Power, Privacy And The Public Good

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from his blog East by Northwest. 

Here in the US on their mega-channels of corporate TV our masters allowed us to watch a highly abbreviated version (about 5 seconds) of Snowden's address broadcast over British TV in which any mention of George Orwell was censored. Well, I'm sure they were only looking out for our peace of mind and welfare. (sarcasm)

Vimeo has provided us with Snowden's complete alternative Christmas message here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Now, it's Snowden: the book and, maybe, the film

Click here to access article from China.org.cn.

We learn from this article, as well as from other reports, that three major media figures are vying to cash in on Snowden's revelations about widespread NSA spying. These journalists have been well connected to major media outlets: the liberal Guardian and the Empire's Washington Post (a history of collaboration with the CIA and now this). Meanwhile, US government authorities have no problem with their promised releases of more NSA documents. This, of course, raises a lot of questions about what really is going on.

The first to raise questions was a former whistleblower Sibel Edmonds who in this one hour video discusses many of these questions with internet colleagues James Corbett and Guillermo Jimenez. Maybe I missed some commentators, but I have only found one other person on the web who has raised serious questions about these commercial ventures of Greenwald, Harding, and Gellman with whom Snowden left so much of the NSA evidence. (See this piece entitled "Cowards Profit by Snowden's Risk Like Manning's" posted on Cryptome.

Some of the questions that I have are the following: can we rely on these three well-connected entrepreneurs to release any revealing and damaging NSA documents? Or are they going to engage in damage control on behalf of the Empire while profiting from the scandal? Was Snowden a bit naive to trust these people? It's hard to question Snowden's motives because his revelations have, indeed, damaged US relations with many governments while putting himself in grave danger. It's my guess that he is keeping quiet about this strange turn of events in order to ameliorate his own tenuous situation.

Jesus Rebranded

Click here to access introduction and 1:41m video by Mark Fiore from his website.
Between the "War on Christmas" and the accusations that Pope Francis is a Marxist, some people can't seem to make up their mind.  Who better to wage a war on Christmas than the people who want the Pope to be more of a capitalist! 

Workers and their unions must fight climate change

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

While this writer recognizes the most basic of all problems that workers must fight for, he seems to leave us thinking that unions can do this within the system of capitalism. Only by scanning other sections of this website can I glean the idea that the system itself must be destroyed and replaced with one that is sustainable and serves human needs.
...when we come together in a union we acknowledge certain basic social priorities. Thus the first unions fought for a living wage, the eight-hour day, public schools, pensions etc., not simply more money. Without the basics of life, being able to buy more things is meaningless.

And that’s how we need to think about our environment and especially global warming.  

What do you wanna be when/if you grow up?

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust.
As the rain forests vanish, oceans acidify, temperatures rise, and extinctions accelerate, we adults should stop asking young children about their future and instead start fighting to insure they have one.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Walking in an Anthropocene Wonderland

Click here to access article by Phil Rockstroh from Dissident Voice

This artisan of written language provides us with an excellent description of where we stand in our "Anthropocene Wonderland". It is a very mixed message of gloom and hope.

...what kind of suicidal clowns flounce through life gibbering on about bacon straws, cupcakes, online images of kitty cats, and the latest Playstation model when the specter of extinction looms and their psychotic leaders are doubling down on the criteria of doom?
....  Bafflingly, despite the vast carnage inflicted and multiple promises betrayed, why does the storyline of the capitalist/consumer state still resonant with so many? 
Stoned-faced phalanxes of soldiers and bristling clutches of militarized cops stand guard before the entrances of shoddy, swaying towers. But lies cannot be built to last. The lipless grins of a billion skulls mock the illusory staying power of deceit, while the perennial yearnings of the heart and its perpetual coupling with the eternal present endure. Love songs ring out among the rot of empires.

Reigniting the debate: Climate change is fundamentally a human story

Click here to access article by Kieran Cooke from Climate Code Red

It seems that most people simply refuse to engage in conversation about the threats posed by climate change. The article takes off from the experience reported by one communication specialist who has long tried to engage people.
I’m always casual about it – after all, no one wants to find themselves sitting next to a zealot on a long-distance train journey. But I need not worry because, however I say it, the result is almost always the same: the words collapse, sink and die in mid-air and the conversation suddenly changes course…it’s like an invisible force field that you only discover when you barge right into it. Few people ever do, because, without having ever been told, they have somehow learned that this topic is out of bounds.
Wow! Can I ever relate to this article! Much of my life has devoted to questioning the socioeconomic system of capitalism and the coming environmental crises both of which I am convinced are directly related. Over the years I've tried to engage many people--including friends and relatives--in conversation about these subjects and I've almost always encountered a wall of resistance. Because of these experiences I've become fascinated about the way a ruling class--this ruling capitalist class in particular--is able to manage the minds of its subjects.

Delving further into this phenomenon has led me to understand the incredible power that today's thought managers of the capitalist class have over what ordinary people talk about to each other, and even think about; and has led me to understand their overwhelming control of all institutions in society. With the rewards of access to good paying jobs, to media exposure, to funding of cultural and scientific projects, and their use of foundation money to influence information and opinions (see this), they exercise profound influence throughout society--more now than ever before. 

With such power, and the confidence that is generated by such power, it is no wonder that the ruling capitalist class has aggressively gone on the offensive to enact measures that are totally self-serving and attacking all social programs in spite of having just tanked the economic well-being of many ordinary people in the Western countries. And now we face the worst future of all: catastrophic climate events. How different our current period is from the 1930s after the ruling class destroyed the economy in the Crash of 1929!  Then, they were very much on the defensive.

A Little Dash Of Christmas Humour

I've borrowed the following humorous post from Raging Bull-Shit:

Monday, December 23, 2013

FED up? Hundred years of manipulating the US dollar

Click here to access article by Adrian Salbuchi from RT.

This piece has one of the best succinct explanations regarding the Fed that I have seen on the web. Could this be because the writer is a foreigner? 
Monday 23 December marks the 100th Anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve System - the Central Bank of the United States of America.

The mainstream media are keeping remarkably quiet about this key milestone.
[my emphasis]

PBS Drops a Bombshell on the Federal Reserve’s 100th Birthday Party

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

The word "bombshell" in the title might be a bit too dramatic, but nevertheless the two financial experts (see bio on James Grant) on this PBS program made reference to a few lesser known actual policies of the officially authorized issuer of our money: the consortium of private bankers known as the Federal Reserve or the Fed. It seems that the old and tired trickle down philosophy is still guiding their functions. Well, after all, it seems to be working very well for them, but creating misery for the rest of us.

Not Just the Koch Brothers: New Drexel Study Reveals Funders Behind the Climate Change Denial Effort

Click here to access article by Alex McKechnie from Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). 
If you want to understand what’s driving this movement, you have to look at what’s going on behind the scenes.

To uncover how the countermovement was built and maintained, Brulle developed a listing of 118 important climate denial organizations in the U.S. He then coded data on philanthropic funding for each organization, combining information from the Foundation Center with financial data submitted by organizations to the Internal Revenue Service.

The final sample for analysis consisted of 140 foundations making 5,299 grants totaling $558 million to 91 organizations from 2003 to 2010. The data shows that these 91 organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. Since the majority of the organizations are multiple focus organizations, not all of this income was devoted to climate change activities, Brulle notes.
While the researchers focus only on efforts to conceal the sources of funding regarding the denial of climate change, what I think is even of greater significance is a broader examination of the methods that major capitalists and their corporations use to influence important policies throughout society: the impacts of these foundations on the disseminators of information and shapers of opinion in the institutions of education and media. This wider view reveals one of the secrets behind the rule of the private "owners" of our economy, which the system of capitalism has made possible, and puts the lie to all their pretenses about democratic rule. (The other major secret is their funding of our representatives at all levels of government.) This view reveals the naked truth about what left critics refer to as bourgeois democracy or capitalist democracy. It is a totally fake version of democracy. 

Concessions disguised as compromise

Click here to access article by Nicole Colson from SocialistWorker
Once again, to get a budget deal, the Democrats accepted deeply unpopular cuts--despite the polls showing that Americans would rather prioritize spending on social services and unemployment than on deficit reduction, and that a solid majority favors increasing taxes on the wealthy. Instead of push for these popular ideas, however, Democrats agreed to a budget that is much closer to what Paul Ryan wanted all along.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

CIA’s Trojan Horse enters the Heart of India

Click here to access article by Shelley Kasli from Great Game India (India).
The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source. From the early 1950s to the present the CIA’s intrusion into the foundation field was and is huge. .... The collaboration of respectable and prestigious foundations, according to one former CIA operative, allowed the Agency to fund “a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses and other private institutions”.
Unlike so many social-political critics in the US, this writer is well aware of how the directors of the Empire rely heavily on insidious methods of managing the minds of populations to make the world safe for their projects of profit and power. The Empire's "security" services do their dirty work through front groups such as foundations everywhere that the Empire has penetrated--doubtless even more so within the US. This is a rather lengthy exposé of these subversive operations that are as important, if not more so, as the prolific military and police weapons they use to threaten nations and their populations.

US nuclear missiles are a force in much distress

Click here to access article by Robert Burns of the Associated Press.

US officials, corporate media pundits, and their Zionist dogs howl about Iran's nuclear power projects as if this were an imminent threat to world security. The reality seems to be quite different when you consider the reports like this, and others like this and this. Consider also the record of US non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) about which arms control specialist Thomas Graham Jr. stated:
The NPT is based on a central bargain: the NPT non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and the NPT nuclear-weapon states in exchange agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals. To use the words of a former Indian foreign minster, the NPT was not designed to establish “nuclear apartheid,” permanently authorizing great-power status and nuclear weapons to a small group of states and assigning the rest of the world to permanent second-class status. Maintaining both ends of this central bargain is vitally important to the long-term viability of the NPT.