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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Color Revolutions and Geopolitics: Part 1 of a dossier on destabilizing tactics used by the Empire.

Click here to access article by Eric Pottenger and Jeff Friesen, extracts from their website posted at The Greanville Post. (Commentary amended 7 AM 1/1/2015, also updated on 1/3/2015)

The authors examine a popular strategy used recently by Empire directors to destabilize governments and bring them into the NATO umbrella, the Empire's army. It's important to understand how this latest form of imperialism, especially for Americans, because they appear to be using many of the similar strategy here in the US to co-opt and control dissidents as they do in foreign countries to destabilize their governments. (See my commentary about such a suspect organization that I posted in November.)
It’s a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and “channel” local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.
The latest selections in this "dossier" are Part 2 and Part 3 which I will not post individually.

2014: The Year the American Justice System Officially Died

Click here to access article by Carey Wedler from The Anti-Media.
In 2014, the problem of police brutality forced itself to the forefront of the national conversation following the brutal killing of Americans at the hands of the police. This increased attention has been a success for activists from all walks of life and for the well-being of citizens. The problem of racism and police murders that involve it is finally receiving widespread acknowledgment and opposition.

But as much as the issue of police abuse needs attention, it remains that injustice in America permeates layers of society that transcend law enforcement, race, and problems of direct violence against citizens.
I just discovered this website this morning and I like what they are doing: promoting citizen news gathering and analysis. In this article Wedler writes about the corruption of the justice system which, as he argues while citing numerous examples of injustice and morally compromised events, has reached a terminal phase in the US. I think that this view reflects a growing recognition that something is basically wrong with our society, however the basis for this wrongness still eludes this writer and many others. 

Because of the thorough indoctrination they have received in schools, media, and even entertainment, many people are unable to see the basic organization of our society which is capitalism. This is a system that divides people between a tiny few who literally "own" (according to capitalist rules) our economy and those whose labor is rented in a labor market by the "owners" for their profit. Such "ownership" over time has resulted in a concentration of a few fabulously rich and powerful and many who struggle to make a decent living. This is the basic injustice from which all other injustices are derived. Those tiny few really constitute a ruling class because their wealth gives them the power to control all other sub-systems in society--media, education, government (including justice), entertainment, etc. This societal arrangement is fundamentally unfair and immoral, and is the basis of all corruption of our society.

As FBI’s Amerithrax Case Continues to Crumble, Bureau Digs in on North Korea Claims

Click here to access article by Marcy Wheeler from emptywheel.

As a part of the trend of aggressiveness demonstrated by the Empire's directors, their government's lies also seem to be accelerating especially since 9/11. Whether this is out of arrogance or desperation (as I tend to view it) is anybody's guess. The FBI's almost instant claim that North Korea hacked Sony appears to be leaking credibility rapidly. Wheeler reminds us first about the anthrax attacks following 9/11 which the FBI investigated as an introduction to her review of their latest claims of North Korean responsibility.
The FBI still hasn’t solved one of the most alarming terrorist attacks in this country, an attempt to kill two sitting US Senators. Instead, it persists in a claim (versus Ivins) that doesn’t comport with the science, to say nothing of the other circumstantial evidence. FBI only ever sustained that claim by assuming — based on no known evidence — that a Lone Wolf, rather than conspirators, launched the attack.

Even as new evidence undermining the FBI’s obstinate claims about Ivins got released, the FBI has been making equally obstinate claims that North Korea is behind the Sony hack.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People

Click here to access article by Sam Mitrani from Labor and Working-Class History Association. 
This liberal way of viewing the problem rests on a misunderstanding of the origins of the police and what they were created to do. The police were not created to protect and serve the population. They were not created to stop crime, at least not as most people understand it. And they were certainly not created to promote justice. They were created to protect the new form of wage-labor capitalism that emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century from the threat posed by that system’s offspring, the working class.

US Armed Rebels Gave TOW missiles to Al Qaeda

Click here to access article by Maram Susli from New Eastern Outlook.

This Syrian author contributes more evidence to the pile of reports from other sources about US collaboration with ISIS which she says is a branch of Al Qaeda and the most effective group trying to topple Assad's government.
US supplied TOW anti-tank missiles have ended up in the hands of Jabhat Al Nusra, Syria’s branch of Al Qaeda. The US provided the missiles to CIA vetted Syrian rebel faction Harakat Hazm in May. A video posted by Al Nusra shows the weapons being used to take over Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh in Idlib province.

A story that should have been headline news of Obama’s arming of Al Qaeda across all US media, largely went unnoticed.
She reaches this conclusion which again is supported by several other independent sources in the Middle East:
Whilst in future these weapons may be used against American personnel, for now the US is desperate for a victory against the Syrian government. The US might find reports of arms ending up with Al Qaeda embarrassing, but such embarrassment can be mitigated by controlling the amount of attention it gets from the US run media.

Therefore the purpose of advertising a ‘moderate rebel force’ is to maintain plausible deniability whilst still supporting what is largely an Al Qaeda rebellion against the Syrian government.

Facebook: Colonialism 2.0

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.

Cartalucci makes a compelling case that Facebook is the 21st century's version of Orwellian indoctrination by selecting content that the current Big Brother feels is in our best interests.
The Western media has attempted to portray Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious plan to get every human being online as altruistic at first, but later revealed as simply what could be called “profitable empathy.” In reality however, the truth is much more sinister, with Facebook already revealed to be much more than a mere corporation run by Zuckerberg and his “ideas”.

Facebook is the pinnacle of social engineering....

Unsustainable growth can’t be wished away

Click here to access article by Ian Angus from Climate & Capitalism. 
When it comes to explaining destructive growth, many green writers confuse cause and effect
Hint: It's the nature of the beast of capitalism--it is always hungry for more. Now that it is so huge along with its appetite, our Earth can no longer tolerate it.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Victory of ‘Perception Management’

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews

Parry in this lengthy article traces the history of "perception management" back to the Vietnam war and the large domestic opposition to that war. He offers a lot of the details of the growing role of the CIA in shaping news to fit administration policies. My only criticism of the essay is its liberal bias: too much agency is given to Reagan's role, the assumption that perception management started under Reagan's administration, and its corollary that we had anything like a free press before this time. I grant that during this period, the ruling class was greatly disturbed by the anti-Vietnam War movement, and sought to accelerate the use of propaganda and discipline renegade reporters who didn't following ruling class script.
Though Reagan’s creation of a domestic propaganda bureaucracy began more than three decades ago – and Bush’s vanquishing of the Vietnam Syndrome was more than two decades ago – the legacy of those actions continue to reverberate today in how the perceptions of the American people are now routinely managed. That was true during last decade’s Iraq War and this decade’s conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine as well as the economic sanctions against Iran and Russia.
.... At this advanced stage of America’s quiet surrender to “perception management,” it is even hard to envision how one could retrace the many steps that would lead back to the concept of a democratic Republic based on an informed electorate.

Brace Yourself for Oil Shock Future. It Won't Be Pretty

Click here to access article by Chris Martenson from Peak Prosperity (behind a paywall) via Russia Insider. (My comments were amended at 4 Pm Seattle time.)

I think that this is a very important study of future oil/gas supply and its various effects on our societies. I have been favorably impressed with this author in the past. Most recently I encountered him in the interview he conducted with geoscientist David Hughes and posted at the Post Carbon Institute. Also, the implications of his analysis correspond closely with those of Gail Tverberg who is a widely respected expert on fossil fuels, and whose writings I have followed for quite some time.

The graph at the left illustrates the effect on prices caused by diminishing fossil fuel supplies together with higher costs of extraction. He sees extreme volatility in prices as central banks attempt to cope with higher costs of extraction.

You see, the Empire's main central bank, the Federal Reserve, is owned by private banks which, in turn, are owned by the richest (and the most powerful) of the ruling One Percent. The capitalist system under which the economy is run requires economic growth to feed them their interest payments on money they have created out of thin air, backed mostly by the Empire's control of oil resources (and the threat of various forms of violence both overt and covert), and loaned to oil companies and capitalist investors. This is the way Martenson explains it:
I don't know when, but there will come a moment when the world realizes that the trillions and trillions of dollars worth of paper claims in the form of currency, bonds, and derivatives only have value in relation to the actual things they can buy.

At this magic moment in time, the scales will fall off the world's eyes and it will realize that oil is the king of economic energy sources. And that less oil means less real wealth for all those claims to go chase.

Without the economic growth that oil provides, you cannot make a reasonable case for constantly expanding the debt loads of a society.

The logic of constantly expanding debts only works with the assumption of perpetual future growth.
To avoid any misunderstanding, I am not supporting his argument that the current fall in oil prices is solely due to capitalist economic factors. I think there is a confluence of factors which led to this decision by Empire directors to cause this current fall in oil prices, and the timing of this was due overwhelmingly to geopolitical reasons: to damage Russian, Iranian, Venezuelan economies. And there are other factors such as the opportunity for major oil companies to buy up many smaller companies at bargain prices.

No, the War in Afghanistan Did Not End

Click here to access article by Jim White from the Emptywheel. 
Unfortunately, the AP headline is total bullshit. There was indeed a ceremony in Kabul yesterday. And yes, it did mark (for the second time), the end of the international force called ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) assembled under NATO as the lead in the war in Afghanistan. The new NATO mission, dubbed Operation Resolute Support, also under NATO leadership, is proclaimed most often to consist only of training and support to Afghan forces who will do all the fighting.

The problem with that description is that it is a lie.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

China challenges US economic war against Russia

Click here to access article by Alex Lantier from World Socialist Web Site.

I was particularly concerned about this and following paragraphs which increase my general anxiety that the insane directors of the Empire are preparing for a global war against Russia and China because their governments refuse to submit to the Empire's rule. Note that the source of the comments come from a prime spokesman from a main media source of US capitalist information and policies.
A year ago, in an article titled “China must not copy the Kaiser’s errors,” Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf warned China against any action that could be construed as a challenge to US global hegemony. He indicated that a Chinese policy replicating the German Kaiser’s challenge to British hegemony before the outbreak of World War I in 1914 would lead to a similar outcome: all-out conflict.
Meanwhile back here in the bosom of the Empire the people are mostly busy shopping and focusing their attention on college and professional football (American) matches.

Power Anywhere Where There’s People

Click here to access article by Cynthia Peters who interviews Ayana Aubourg, a member of Youth Against Mass Incarceration, from Telesur.

Aubourg and her friends at Youth Against Mass Incarceration (YAMI) in Boston are clearly doing very constructive political work with their efforts to educate themselves, recover their own history, acts of solidarity, and constructing relations among themselves that a healthy society should include.
We believe that capitalism and white supremacy have created a system where most people suffer in order for a few people at the top to benefit. Most crimes committed today occur are greatly a result of the system that we live in. Capitalism, racism, sexism, and homophobia drive people apart. They leave some people with more power than others and cause some people to behave oppressively towards others. In a better world, we wouldn’t need prisons. We would have structures in the community that would hold people accountable. We would develop approaches to justice that would be restorative and transformative and not punitive. 

N.Y.P.D. Officers Earn Disrespect - Except One Of Them

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama

Going against the direction of a herd of sheep can often be very difficult, but it has become imperative in today's world in which capitalist ruling classes are herding sheeple off the cliffs of never-ending wars, a nuclear war conflagration, and catastrophic climate destabilization. Bernhard offers a brief, but poignant lesson about this.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Empire is Crumbling, That is Why it Needs War: 2015 Will See Decisive Battles

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from CounterPunch.

Although Vltchek makes many important points, particularly about the apparent desperation of the directors of the Empire to crush all opposition, he, like many others, does not zero in on the basic problem--inequality. I'm referring here to an organization of society in which inequality is built into it, and which inevitably produces a class-structured society. 

The current form of society was established by capitalists starting mostly in the 18th century. They became increasingly powerful and wrested control from aristocracies and monarchies whose power was based on control over land. Under capitalism today's societies are basically divided into two classes: those whose primary income comes from the "ownership" of capital and those whose primary income comes from their labor. The former class of people have over time become very rich and powerful and nowadays they constitute a tiny section of our population in contrast to the vast majority who work for a living--if they are lucky--by selling their labor in a labor market. 

Vltchek and many others like Pepe Escobar and William Engdahl correctly see the true nature of what has evolved into a marauding US-led Empire which tolerates no opposition to its rule. However, they do not see the underlying system which has produced such a destructive empire. Apparently they have not learned from history the underlying dynamics of capitalist class rule that produced the imperialist British Empire, Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, or the Japanese Empire. 

These people merely see the surface realities of a marauding US Empire and look to Russia, China, and the rest of the BRIC countries to counter the US-led Empire and thereby create a peaceful "multipolar" capitalist world. They have not learned the lessons of the capitalist empires of the 20th century when capitalist gangs vied for dominance much like street gangs or mafia organizations do in today's world. Because they don't see the same imperialist traits in the leadership of China or Russia, they think that they will remain this way in the future. That is very naive thinking. 

No, the only way humanity will achieve peace is through organization of societies based on structured equality. That is the challenge we ordinary people must strive for. There is now so much at stake. There are threats to the very existence of humanity: never-ending wars, catastrophic nuclear wars and climate destabilization.

Selling ‘Peace Groups’ on US-Led Wars

Click here to access article by Margaret Sarfehjooy and Coleen Rowley from ConsortiumNews
Since the anti-war protests on Vietnam, the U.S. government has made “perception management” of the American people a high priority, feeding them a steady diet of propaganda about foreign crises, even getting “peace groups” to buy into “pro-democracy” wars, write Margaret Sarfehjooy and Coleen Rowley.

Police Violence and Violence Against the Police

Click here to access article by Rob Urie from CounterPunch.

It looks like people are starting to realize that a ruling class can engage in domestic imperialism against ordinary people within a class structured society just like they do against foreign countries. The end result is the same: people will fight back, and they have a human right to fight back.
The existence of a heavily armed, highly militarized, wholly unaccountable army to protect a class and race based social order is totalitarian by degree— those on the side being repressed bear the brunt leaving the illusion of justice for those not paying attention. The one-sided response of the political leadership and police spokespersons to the tragic murder of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos is evidence of the social order being protected. Left entirely unaddressed is the historical role of the police in maintaining an unjust race and class based social order from slave patrols to convict leasing to mass incarceration and for-profit prisons to class and race-based enforcement of selectively repressive laws. And to be clear, it is the political leadership that has designated and so-armed the police to be the quasi-military force they now are.

Cheney to Lead Torture-Pride March

Click here to access article by Andy Borowitz from The New Yorker. (satire)

“This is a chance for all of us torturers to say, ‘Look at us, this is who we are,’” Cheney, who will be the Grand Marshall of the parade, said. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Blackwater Lobbyist Will Manage the House Intelligence Committee

Click here to access article by Lee Fang from Republic Report. 

This piece lends more support to those who argue that the fascization of the US is accelerating.
After lobbyist-run SuperPACs and big money efforts dominated the last election, legislators are now appointing lobbyists to literally manage the day-to-day affairs of Congress. For the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees government intelligence operations and agencies, the changing of the guard means a lobbyist for Academi, the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, is now in charge.
Well, of course, for a long time there has been  a growing merger of corporate, military, and government interests by the accelerated movement of personnel and funding by the rich and their corporations between and among these sectors. The frog of democracy (which was never very healthy) is being roasted alive by the gradual heating of the water of corporate/military control of all society.

From Energy War to Currency War: America’s Attack on the Russian Ruble

Click here to access article by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya from Strategic Culture Foundation.

This Canadian sociologist and independent journalist provides a rather comprehensive review of the Empire's latest war, this time on Russia--although an economic war, who knows where it will end up? He concludes by suggesting that it likely will be a world changing event. Let us pray that this will not be in the form of a nuclear Armageddon.
The coming century will not be the "American Century" as the neo-conservatives in Washington think. It will be a "Eurasian Century". Washington has taken on more than it can handle.... Despite this, the architecture of the post-Second World War or post-1945 global order is now in its death bed and finished.

LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Wolf Street.
...U.S. lobbying efforts, through groups such as the Orwellian-named “Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade”, have been pushing for “interoperability” between European and American rules on both sides of the Atlantic. That basically means a mutual recognition on the respective rules on both sides of the Atlantic. The only catch: in the United States there are currently no comprehensive data protection laws in place.

If the U.S. negotiators get their way – and let’s face it, when it comes to its dealings with its so-called “allies,” Washington invariably does – multinational corporations will have carte blanche to pry into just about every facet of the working and personal lives of the inhabitants of roughly a quarter of the world’s 200-or-so nations. 

Africa's Land Rush

Click here to access the audio link to a 55 minute interview with sociologist Fouad Makki available online from people sponsored KPFA radio in Berkeley, California.

Makki describes the appropriation of African lands and their privatization, to serve corporate and foreign state interests much like what happened in Britain driven by capitalists in the 18th century. The latter has been well described in the classic book The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi.
In Africa, corporations and nation-states are acquiring vast amounts of land, in a move reminiscent of classical imperialism. Sociologist Fouad Makki discusses the enclosure, or privatization, of land in countries like Ethiopia, with terrible social and ecological consequences. He traces the land rush to the global financial crisis, rising food prices, and the inner dynamics of capitalism itself.

Food Safety Experts Slam USDA over Dicamba GM Crops

Click here to access article from Sustainable Pulse.
“Should both agencies approve this application, Center for Food Safety will pursue all available legal options to halt the introduction of this dangerous crop.”

First approved in the 1967, dicamba is a potent broadleaf herbicide that in epidemiology studies has been linked to increased rates of cancer in farmers and birth defects in their male offspring.  Dicamba is moderately persistent and frequently detected in surface waters.  Farmers are particularly concerned by dicamba’s propensity to drift and damage neighboring crops.  Dicamba drift also threatens flowering plants that provide nectar for pollinators and habitat for other species. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Economic Myths of Santa Claus

Click here to access article by K.J. Noh from CounterPunch.

I found this essay very interesting because it conveyed a lot of the history behind the Santa Claus mythology and how it is used today to cover up some very harsh realities. However, I don't feel that Noh really answered the questions he posed at the beginning:
Why is this myth so powerful?  Why does it capture imagination so deeply?  Why do generations perpetuate this massive fraud to their children?
His answers seem to blame the victims, us, for the ideological weapons (which are ultimately backed by their state sanctioned violence) used by a tiny capitalist class to maintain and enhance their powerful position in society and the world. On the other hand, we do share in the responsibility for our subordination to this exploitative ruling class, and he exhorts us to take responsibility for our gullibility and our collusion with the masters of our society.
...the sleigh of mystification flies triumphally in the dusk of reason, against the harsh, dark night of capitalism.  It’s incumbent on those of us with thinking minds and caring hearts, to eschew this palliative narcotic and to aspire for ourselves and others, the true flight that a critical, liberated mind can attain, to struggle for the heights of justice, equality, solidarity.  Thinking critically can start the journey that lightens all our hearts and souls, the better to serve one another in the dialectical expression of justice called Love. This is the best gift you can give yourself and your children for Christmas.

And To All, A Good Night - A Contemporary Christmas Tale

Click here to access article by John Chuckman from Uncommon Thought Journal. (satire) 
It was only a matter of time before Santa Claus himself came under the Neanderthal-eyed scrutiny of American intelligence. After all, Santa's citizenship is unknown, and he crosses borders with no passport or other form of identification. No one knows whether he even has a valid pilot's license. 

Goodbye privacy, hello censorship if secret TISA pact is approved

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.

I've been wondering how and when our masters in the capitalist class would come after dissident bloggers like me. In the so-called "liberal democracies" they still much prefer indirect methods, frequently in legal form as cover, to deal with dissidents or people who interfere with profit opportunities of the ruling capitalist class. Here is another effort negotiated in secrecy by our masters to interfere with the internet, which was developed with taxpayer money, on behalf of corporate interests.
U.S. telecommunications corporations bitterly oppose net neutrality because, under this principle, they can’t speed up or slow down online content according to who pays them, or doesn’t, for special treatment. And any dilution of net neutrality opens the floodgates to censorship of the Internet, whether government or corporate.
.... That the Trade In Services Agreement, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), have to be negotiated in total secrecy, with only corporate lobbyists having access to texts or meaningful input, speaks for itself. The empty shell of formal democracy under capitalism gets ever emptier.

How Facebook Killed the Internet

Click here to access article by David Rovics from CounterPunch.

This is a topic worth thinking about, and I have been. I've wondered about the realities of social media, their impact on people who might access this blog. I'm really quite ignorant on this subject. Are the little handheld gadgets really conducive to reading and thinking about material on my blog? If not, do most people have computers or access to them anymore? Is social media just a trendy habit that will soon change? If you have any informed opinions on this topic, I would appreciate hearing from you.

It appears to me that social media has had a damaging impact on citizen journalism as exemplified by the many Indymedia outlets that have gone away (I was unable to access Seattle Indymedia this morning). This is especially worrisome because I regard citizen journalism as the highest priority to enable us to take control of society away from warmongers, worker exploiters, climate and habitat destroyers.

Origins of the police

Click here to access article by David Whitehouse from Libcom.

This is a quite lengthy history not only about the rise of modern police forces but it also includes historical material about the rise of the capitalist ruling classes and worker history. I read most of it as of the time of this posting. I consider myself well-read about the history of this period, but I still learned more. This is essential reading for most of us who have only been exposed in schools to capitalist perspectives which have omitted and distorted the history of workers. 
We’ll see that, in the North, the invention of the police was just one part of a state effort to manage and shape the workforce on a day-to-day basis. Governments also expanded their systems of poor relief in order to regulate the labor market, and they developed the system of public education to regulate workers’ minds. I will connect those points to police work later on, but mostly I’ll be focusing on how the police developed in London, New York, Charleston (South Carolina), and Philadelphia.

Bahrain adopts Israel strategy to alter demographics: activist

Click here to access article from Al Akhbar.
Prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab accused Bahrain’s ruling family of seeking to change Bahrain’s demography by adopting a strategy similar to that used by the UK in the creation of Israel.

Talking to Iranian news channel Press TV, Rajab said the systematic naturalization of foreigners and the deportation of locals after revoking their citizenships are proof that al-Khalifa family is implementing the same strategy that Britain implemented in Palestine.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Russia, China mock divide and rule

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

Escobar heaps scorn on the Empire's economic blitzkrieg and NATO buildup on the border of Russia to intimidate Russia into submission before tackling China.
Essentially, the Empire of Chaos is bluffing, using Europe as pawns. The Empire of Chaos is as lousy at chess as it is at history. What it excels in is in upping the ante to force Russia to back down. Russia won't back down.
From all appearances the Empire's gamble of intimidating Russia is likely to backfire causing more losses to Empire interests. 
A case can be made that the geopolitical shift towards Russia-China integration is arguably the greatest strategic maneuver of the last 100 years. Xi's ultimate master plan is unambiguous: a Russia-China-Germany trade/commerce alliance. German business/industry wants it badly, although German politicians still haven't got the message. Xi - and Putin - are building a new economic reality on the Eurasian ground, crammed with crucial political, economic and strategic ramifications.
Can we be assured that the capitalist directors of the Empire are sane people who will use good judgement in the face of many ongoing disastrous consequence to their interests? I think it is unlikely. Therefore, the only hope I see of avoiding the ultimate disaster of a nuclear Armageddon lies with activists and the Ninety-Nine Percent especially here in the US.

World War III - The Calm Before the Storm

Click here to access article from StormCloudsGathering.

The author warns us about all the provocative steps that the Empire is taking to prepare for an insane war with Russia while keeping the American sheeple shopping and otherwise asleep. Then he/she concludes:
Heading into 2015, it may have appeared that we were having something of a calm before the storm, but that was an illusion (created by selective reporting). This war is already hot on multiple fronts. It has been for years. All it takes is one stupid move for proxy wars to cut out the middle man, and then all bets are off.

To even consider a direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia is insane. The consequences would be nothing short of unthinkable. Yet, humanity seems to be sleepwalking right into that very scenario.

Could we as a people stop this? Of course we could. These so called rulers don't actually have power, they just have your obedience
[and ignorance].

Sony Hack - Likely Inside Attacker Found - Obama Claim Discredited

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.

Surely you don't imagine for one minute that Obama the directors of the ruling glass would lie to us! The American sheeple will likely not even question the statements issued by their authorities (FBI, NY Times, Obama, etc.), but instead will exercise their "freedom" by attending a showing of this film which "terrorists" didn't want them to see. (sarcasm)

I keep wondering when the gullible of the American population will finally use some independent judgement that is required of a genuinely free people instead of being led by the nose into one disaster after another.

In Greece, as the state collapses, the neighborhoods organize - An interview with a member of the Athenian assembly movement

Click here to access article translated and posted on Libcom. (Note: this interview with a member of the Greek Assembly Movement was first published in a French periodical, Z, in 2013.)

Although US conditions do not favor neighborhood organizations yet, this article is highly recommended to all community activists and organizers because of its many hard fought experiences of organizing within a larger collapse of Greek ruling class institutions. Also, it is clear that Greek organizers have drawn on the experience of organizers in several other countries.
The assembly movement owes a great deal to what took place in Argentina. Although there is no direct connection, the influence is real. During the first general strikes, we were inspired by the Argentinian experience, and later also by the Tunisian and Egyptian events. Another important influence was the self-reduction movements in Italy during the seventies: groups organized to not pay rents, electric bills or transport fares. In our assembly, particularly, many people were inspired by the Zapatista struggle in Mexico and its quest for autonomy. We participate in solidarity actions with these struggles in our neighborhood.

‘Noche de los Shoppings’ and Other Terrifying Consumeristic Niceties

Click here to access article by Adam Corl from The Bubble (Argentina).

Here we get a taste of what Christmas shopping is like in Argentina.
In addition to being a gross misuse of a gerund, a “shopping” is a mall. Malls have gifts – you need gifts. Do the math. Night of the Shoppings is the Argentine answer to the North American “Black Friday”. This is about as close to finding something “on sale” as you can get in a place that is notoriously harsh on importing anything you might want.

For a few hours every year, malls are turned into capitalistic hellscapes. Full of loud music, horns, wistels, and employees in terrifying elf costumes. There are actual sales that occur on top of “happy hours” which are intense sales periods for specific stores that get yelled out over loudspeakers and last for about 5 minutes....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

S.O.S. Alternatives to Capitalism

Click here to access article which is a book review by Mike Carr from System Change not Climate Change.
This critical book will be controversial for much of the left from social democrats to autonomists, but it opens many much needed crucial questions.  It is grounded in an impressive base in the literature of alternatives to capitalism and in a wide knowledge of many social movements around the world.  Swift’s creative approach to imagining alternatives to capitalism has sparked this reviewer’s imagination, and I hope it will yours. 
Here are some quotes from the book that I really like:
Clearly, there are limits to growth on a finite planet.  The earth’s capacity to adsorb “the filthy by-products of global capitalism’s voracious metabolism is maxing out”.  As Swift underlines: “Have no doubt – de-growth there will be!  It is just a question of weather this will result in equitable and democratic social arrangements or in gate-guarded communities serviced by underpaid workers and surrounded by large populations of environmental refugees”.

Federal Court Gives “Early Christmas Present” to War Criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Others, Immunizing Them From Civil Inquiry Regarding Iraq War

Click here to access article by Inder Comar from Global Research.

The fact that these war criminals will not be persecuted illustrates the class nature of the US justice institution. This is a perfect illustration that proves the fact of a ruling class which, by definition, rules over every important institution of society which includes justice and the rule of (their) law. This ruling class is obviously the American capitalist class that is populated at the highest levels by people in finance, major corporations, and military. The Iraq War was pursued for their geopolitical interests, not for the interests of ordinary Americans. That is precisely why they lied to us and arranged for the 9/11 false-flag tragedy. That is why they continue to lie to us about Ukraine, their economic war against Russia, and most everything else.

China challenges US economic war against Russia

Click here to access article by Alex Lantier from World Socialist Web Site.
Directly challenging the NATO powers’ policy of cutting off credit to Russia to undermine the ruble and bankrupt the Russian economy, China is pledging to extend financial aid to Moscow.
Lantier cites numerous important sources to support the title of this article, but as usual with WSWS policy, he does not provide any links to external sources. In spite of the fact that this website is quite reliable in reporting news from other sources, I find this policy very annoying. No one is infallible, and people differ in the way they interpret information. By not providing links to references from external sources, we can not be certain if their interpretation is correct unless we take a lot more time hunting down the references. This policy is another illustration of their Trotskyist "vanguard" orientation.

GMOs And The Seeds Of Profit, Power And Geopolitics

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

Todhunter examines the use of GMOs by Empire corporations from a purely power/control point of view by first posing this question:
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not essential for feeding the world, but if they were to lead to increased productivity, did not harm the environment and did not negatively impact biodiversity and human health, would we be wise to embrace them anyhow?

Monday, December 22, 2014

The China-Russia Double Helix [a must read]

Click here to access article by the "Saker" from his website. 

(This posted article is only an introduction to what I think is a major exposition of a Chinese ruling class point of view on very important recent geopolitical events. Following the introduction, the Saker provides numerous options to download the paper. I used Adobe Reader which is common in the US.)

I have spent considerable time this morning reading this "white paper" provided by the Saker which purports to present a thoroughly Chinese point of view on the current rapprochement between Russia and China to preserve their independence in the face of the rampaging Empire which this unknown Chinese author refers to as the Hegemon. (Another reference he uses is Gen. Shoygu who is the Russian Minister of Defense.)

Throughout the 25 page essay the author uses the metaphor of the "double helix" of the DNA's structure to describe what appears to be the development of a close collaboration between Russia and China to secure their independence and the independence of other nations oppressed by the Hegemon, and to preserve world peace. 

I am posting this piece as a "must read" because I was impressed with its internal logic from a Chinese point of view. I found its geopolitical analysis breathtaking. That doesn't mean that I don't have reservations about its conclusion--I've just run out of time to make any comments on it.
Most of us will live to see a new international, global dynamic. Some of us will
feel its nourishment. Some of us will be stuck in the cavern of Elites who have
run the world for centuries. Just as the North Pole shifts, geopolitical poles shift.
Economic poles shift, also. A containment policy or exclusionary trade treaty or
covert destabilization program cannot stop 3.5 billion people inspired by two
enlightened leaders who have the same metaphorical DNA. The tectonic shift is
too much for mere mortals of the West who have run out of ideas, lies, bullets,
bombs, false flags and proxies to win and control mankind. The Hegemon has bad
DNA that cannot adapt to the fresh air and sunlight of the truth. Humanity will
win its freedom and civilizations will prosper.

Grisly Peshawar Slaughter - Who Created Taliban, Who Still Funds Them?

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer. 
It is clear that to the West, as they were during the proxy war against the Soviets, and during attempts to forge an oil pipeline across Afghan territory, the Taliban remain a tool, not an ally - to be used and abused whenever and however necessary to advance Wall Street and Washington's agenda - a self-serving Machiavellian agenda clearly devoid of principles.

This can be seen in play, even now as the Taliban serve as a proxy force to torment the West's political enemies in Pakistan with and serve as a perpetual justification for military intervention in neighboring Afghanistan.
It's clear from this and many other articles that the Empire of Chaos, as Pepe Escobar likes to refer to the US Empire, sponsors terrorist groups to serve their imperialist agendas. We've seen this in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Iraq, Chechnya, Syria to name a few countries, and we've seen widespread evidence of government agency involvement with domestic terrorist incidents (Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11, Boston Bombing, several "terrorist" incidents organized by the FBI through entrapment) in the US to justify the construction of a police state that for now stays somewhat hidden behind a veneer of rule of law.

Basically terrorism sows fear among the targeted population which can further the imperialist agenda abroad and the containment of political opposition here at home. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Locked-Up Inside the Complexity Trap

Click here to access article by xraymike79 from Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

I think the complexity of understanding and coping with biospheric degradation leading to the destruction of human habitat exists only because a small segment of humanity controls our societies, and their control is threatened by their system of capitalism that delivers to them the powerfully addictive drugs of power and wealth. They refuse to see the "writing on the wall": their system which requires constant growth is reaching the finite limits of our planet. Hence, they refuse to seriously take measures to solve the crisis, keep postponing any significant actions, make promises they can't keep, and indulge in all kinds of fantasies. If this reminds you of an alcoholic, the comparison is very apt. 

The only solution I see is a fundamental re-organization of our societies. This, of course, means that we must take away private ownership of our economies so that we, the people, can rationally cope with the crises we are now facing. However, this task of radical re-organization of societies is really complicated given that fact that these tiny ruling classes control all media and indoctrination agencies in addition to police-military agencies. Catastrophic climate destabilization is solvable, but only if we can solve the problem of a world-wide social-economic revolution. That is the real complexity.
After a few centuries of burning fossil fuels and the accumulation of vast amounts of climate science data, techno-capitalist carbon man is also being forced to react to the fact that the earth’s atmosphere is not an infinite pollution sink for his endless consumption of energy. The problem is that several planetary tipping points have already been irreversibly transgressed, threatening the very habitability of earth. Our [The capitalist ruling class's] predictable collective response is to try to techno-fix the problem rather than entertain any fundamental rethink of the pillars of the capitalist economic system and the scientific reductionism that have led us to this impasse.

The Cops Hate Being Filmed. So Why Are They OK With Body Cameras?

Click here to access article by Raven Rakia from The Nation.

There are many reasons that community activists have supplied. Here is a one from a New Yorker:
Andrew Padilla is disturbed “that all this energy towards accountability…can be flipped into increased surveillance in communities of color and increased budgets to police.” The body cameras point at civilians, giving the police’s perspective of the interaction. In many videos released from officer body cameras, the police officer has their gun drawn but it cannot be seen in the shot. “Body cameras on police [are] fundamentally the opposite of cop watch,” Andrew Padilla argued. “Body cameras on police…record civilians. In cop watch, you record police.”
Another investigation found...
One key problem: officers control the record button. They decide when to turn on and off the cameras and have little to fear when violating department policies about recording, Fusion’s analysis found. In many use of force incidents, camera footage doesn’t exist, is only partially available, or can’t be found. And when body cameras are turned on, the footage usually favors the officer’s account, according to police, law enforcement experts and public defenders we spoke with.

The “Impending” Russian Maidan

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.

This is another extremely well researched article (with linked documentation) from Cartalucci who zeros in on the Empire's ongoing methods of subversion of countries that refuse to bow to the diktats of the Empire's directors. Cartalucci supplies solid evidence that these methods are now being applied to Russia in preparation of another color-style regime change.
The coordinated manipulation of global energy prices, a NATO build-up in Eastern Europe, and the rekindling of terrorism in Russia’s southern Caucasus region all appear to be ever-increasing crescendos toward a much larger event – a “Russian Maidan.”

The necessary components of a successful Western bid to overthrow the Russian political order include a political front protesting in Russia’s major cities, as well as a full-spectrum economic war to put pressure on Russia’s population, increasing dissent as well as swelling the ranks of staged protests Wall Street and Washington put in Russian streets. Another necessary component includes armed components to act under cover of “peaceful protesters” to escalate street demonstrations, prevent security forces from restoring order, and to carry out the actual physical overthrow of these security forces.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Crazy US ‘Group Think’ on Russia

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews.
Has anyone in Official Washington thought through the latest foreign policy “group think,” the plan to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia? All the “smart” people, including the New York Times editors, are rubbing their hands with glee over the financial crisis being imposed on Russia because of the Ukraine crisis, but no one, it seems, is looking down the road.

This reckless strategy appears to be another neocon-driven “regime change” scheme....

Go West, Young Han

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

While the US Empire is sowing chaos in the Middle East and eastern Europe, China appears to be rapidly creating a 21st century version of the ancient Silk Road. They are not only establishing commercial ties with Europe, but commercial and military ties with Russia. The directors of the Empire are very worried: their "pivot to Asia"--that's Newspeak for a China containment policy--may be too late, and their declared economic war on Russia may backfire.
Now, mix the Silk Road strategy with heightened cooperation among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), with accelerated cooperation among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with a more influential Chinese role over the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) - no wonder there's the perception across the Global South that, while the US remains embroiled in its endless wars, the world is defecting to the East.

Who is responsible for the Pakistan school massacre?

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from his blog The Cutting Edge. 

After building a very convincing case that the directors of the Empire have provided huge amounts of "counter-terrorism" funding to Pakistan, has had close relations with Pakistani ISI (their counterpart to the CIA), which in turn supported various terrorist groups in Pakistan/Afghanistan with the full knowledge of the US directors, he concludes with a liberal solution! 
In theory, there is a way out. The US must wind-down its self-serving obsession with military aid to Pakistan, much of which is being used to finance the very enemies we are supposedly fighting. Instead of providing billions of dollars of ‘counterterrorism’ focused aid to a hopelessly corrupt government, such billions could be used in coordination with the state to empower genuine grassroots networks....
Then I waited to read of a realistic solution, but none came.

My first impression is that he has been so deeply affected by his years in liberal media such as The Guardian that he is still unable to engage in sound reasoning. My second impression is that maybe he is only safeguarding his future while uncovering the very nasty truths that might otherwise endanger his writing career, and maybe even his life. 

However, I am posting this article because he has uncovered important documented truths which condemn the Empire for its support of terrorism. Pepe Escobar expresses this truth so well and so succinctly by referring to the Empire as the Empire of Chaos after reporting extensively on its history of cultivating terrorist groups in the post-9/11 era.

Reason Number 13,336 why capitalism will be the death of us

Click here if you wish to access this brief article by William Blum from The Anti-Empire Report #135.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria – the “superbugs” – if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.”

The problem, it appears, is that “Antibiotics generally provide low returns on investment, so they are not a highly attractive area for research and development.”

Aha! “Low returns on investment”! What could be simpler to understand? Is it not a concept worth killing and dying for? Just as millions of Americans died in the 20th century so corporations could optimize profits by not protecting the public from tobacco, lead, and asbestos.

Corporations are programmed to optimize profits without regard for the society in which they operate, in much the same way that cancer cells are programmed to proliferate without regard for the health of their host.

CIA denounces S&M club as “far too lightweight”

Click here to access article from The Pan-Arabia Enquirer (Dubai, United Arab Emirates).

From the rich city of Dubai, we get a taste of Arab satire in this timely piece.
BEIRUT: CIA director John Brennan has strong denounced a Beirut-based sadomasochistic club as being “a bunch of lightweights” for its “lenient” spanking and whipping policy.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Economic theory creates the world we live in, and the rules we live by

Click here to access article by Asad Zaman from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

This is a short, well expressed summary of capitalist indoctrination.

Ukraine: Foreign Banks Rape, Pillage and Plunder

Click here to access article by William Engdahl from Libya 360°.

You couldn't write script like this for even a Hollywood movie:
The new Ukrainian Finance Minister, the one who will control the money and decides where it goes, is one Natalia A. Jaresko. She speaks fluent Ukrainian. Only problem—she is an American citizen....

Revolution, Part 1: The End of Growth?

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from Degrowth

Although Ahmed provides convincing data to support the argument that we humans are rapidly approaching the limits to growth on our finite planet due to the unsustainability of capitalism, however my reaction to the article was one of surprise regarding his benign attitude about this world changing event. I couldn't help but wonder if he wasn't on a high dosage of Elavil when he wrote this piece. It seemed as if he were examining an ant colony that might experience dramatic changes. You will find no mention of threats from nuclear wars or catastrophic climate destabilization leading to mass starvation, or loss of millions of lives due to flooding of highly populated coastal areas, etc.
[The crisis] begins to make sense when we re-frame the crisis as not simply an economic one, but as a “bio-economic” one, in which exponential material consumption is increasingly destabilizing the biosphere. This environmental ‘overshoot’ explains “the inability on the part of the capitalist system to continue to produce social well-being and to face the ecological question with any efficaciousness.”

Civilization is thus undergoing a huge, momentous ‘phase shift’ to a new era as the current form of global predatory capitalism crumbles beneath the weight of its own mounting unsustainability. As this process unfolds, it simultaneously opens up a range of scenarios for new forms of society, within which there is an opportunity for “a great transition towards new institutional forms” that could include greater “democratic self-government of communities and their territories.”

Why the war on ISIS will fail

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
It is clear that the ISIS threat was NATO all along, the culmination of a conspiracy spanning at least two US Presidential administrations, and resulting in a regional conflict marked by some of the most horrific barbarism documented in modern history.

With NATO feeding the ISIS threat directly, no serious attempt to destroy ISIS in either Syria or Iraq can be attempted without first cutting its supply lines leading from NATO territory. Clearly the United States, NATO, or regional partners like Israel, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia have any intention of doing so.
Read also Nafeez Ahmed's article "Why the war on ISIS will fail" from Middle East Eye. Here this fired columnist for The Guardian wavers between a theme of the Empire's incompetence to intentional support of ISIS, but the evidence he cites supports the latter.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sen. Coburn Blasted for Blocking Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill

Click here to access article from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Due to the action of one U.S. Senator, critical legislation that would address the epidemic of veteran suicide was today blocked in the Senate. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), which spearheaded the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans....
We have constantly heard the theme "support our troops" in mainstream media whenever our masters in the ruling capitalist class want ordinary young Americans to serve in their imperial armies. Have you noticed how they ignore this theme after they are finished using these young Americans? This article reports on another illustration of this. 

One might argue that this is an incorrect interpretation because the House of Representatives passed the bill unanimously. I don't think for one minute that Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was strictly acting independently. After all, such an extremely unpopular action would jeopardize his re-election. He very likely received his orders from the directors of the ruling class who are far more interested in supplying war materials to Ukraine than to "support our (former) troops". Coburn knows that he can rely on the ruling class to provide him with all the money he needs to be re-elected, or else they will find him a high-income cushy job in a corporation or some branch of government. In short, he will be well taken care of.

Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking

Click here to access article by Dennis Kucinich from Truthdig.

From Kucinich's description of the passage of this bill it appears that our masters in the One Percent have perfected the means of efficiently passing whatever they want through Congress. 
Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.

Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved: 

Economic warfare the main Western weapon [against Russia]

Click here to access article by Takis Fotopoulos from Inclusive Democracy (Greece based).
It is...clear that Saudi Arabia’s action in precipitating the dramatic fall in the price of oil was far from accidental. Furthermore, It was hardly motivated by a Saudi attempt to keep its dominant share in the oil market, supposedly threatened by the US shale oil production. This explanation, given by the ‘globalist’ faction within the Russian elite and the liberal “Left” in the West, was in fact an alibi used by the TE [transnational elites] itself and the Saudis in order to disguise the real aim of this action.
If the "transnational elites", or the Empire directors, have any success at this project, you can expect another effort at an "Orange Revolution" as we witnessed in Ukraine.

Citizen Journalists: We Couldn’t Do it Without You

Click here to access article by Prof. of Journalism Michael I. Niman from The Public (Buffalo, NY).

I have frequently urged a citizen controlled media network, and Niman lends strong support for this argument to counter ruling class controlled mainstream media.
Traditionally something else has been going on in mainstream journalism. That is, with rare exceptions, journalists have always shied away from reporting on police crime. Beat reporters usually rely on police contacts to feed them easy-to-report stories—which is why the vast majority of crime stories are based on or dominated by “official sources” rather than independent witnesses. If a reporter damages his or her rapport with the cops, this conduit for easy, sloppy stories dries up.

But the problem is more serious than lazy (or, now more commonly, overworked) reporters relying on police contacts. There’s also the fact that over the past few decades, many reporters who document police crime have themselves fallen victim to police crime.
Of course, beyond a network of citizen journalists, we ordinary citizens must find a way to financially and otherwise support citizen journalists.

Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds

Click here to access article by  Kate Kelland from Reuters news service.
A banking culture that implicitly puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the findings of a scientific study.
What a surprise! (sarcasm) Of course, the same applies to corporations and the entire capitalist system.

Obama, Castro move to “normalize” US-Cuba ties

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.
These moves come more than half a century after Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Havana and imposed a punishing economic blockade on the Caribbean island nation as part of a concerted and protracted effort by successive US administrations, the CIA and the Pentagon to overthrow the Cuban government and assassinate its leaders.

Washington's anger over the measures taken by the Cuban Revolution against American profit interests has not abated. The US is merely adopting a new tactic for reversing them.

Rafael Correa : Hugo Chavez’s Political Successor?

Click here to access article by Nil Nikandrov from Libya 360°

Rafael Correa has contributed much to the independence of not only Ecuador, but to South America. 
Ecuador has done much to coordinate efforts for the creation of such integration mechanisms as the South American Bank, the South American School of Defence, a criminal court, and an electoral monitoring group. A South American Arbitration Centre is also going to be established, which will allow the region to free itself from the influence of transnational capital. "Together, we will be able to dictate the terms of international capital", said Rafael Correa. The concept of South American citizenship, which will give people the right to move around the region and get a job and an education anywhere on the continent, is an important achievement of the summit in Ecuador. Five hundred million people will receive such a ‘South American passport’!
Thus, we can look forward to attempts by the Empire to counter his efforts and his regime.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Imperialism And The Politics Of Torture

Click here to access article by James Petras from CounterCurrents.

The most valuable contribution Petras makes in this essay is his explanation of why torture is used by imperialists: not so much to obtain information, but to terrorize their subjugated populations from collaborating with freedom fighters. After that his essay deteriorates into moralism.

His political analysis of various government actors who acquiesced in, or facilitated, the practice of torture is more moralistic than sound political reasoning. As a result, he denigrates the concept of a deep state and reduces everything to morally tarnished government actors who, he insists, should be punished. Of course, they should be punished, but that moralistic statement like all the others does not shed light on the reasons they are not punished, why government officials engaged in such devious behavior, nor why ruling class figures weigh the use of torture purely on a pragmatic basis.

It's clear to me that once a ruling class decides to engage in imperialist actions for reasons of self interest, all their following actions are immoral but necessary to accomplish their crimes against oppressed populations. Imperialism is intrinsically an anti-social act, and therefore immoral. However, once a decision is made by a ruling class to engage in such anti-social behavior, they are often forced to use secrecy, public reports that are heavily redacted to protect the perpetrators, excuses about not knowing, and a refusal to punish anyone.

The same reasoning applies within class structured societies in which a ruling class secures its self-interests at the expense of the greater society by various anti-social methods all of which are covered up and/or justified by indoctrination agencies and media. Their enforcement agencies avoid using torture as punishment against law-breakers in most cases because of the threat of exposure, but they will engage in milder forms of torture such as we witnessed in the case of Chelsea Manning or aggressive police actions against poor African-Americans as long has their indoctrination and media agencies can cover it up and/or enable the wider public to accept it.

The problem with liberals (or capitalist left-wingers) like Petras is that they refuse to frame issues within a class analysis, or expose a "deep state", because that would undermine the legitimacy of the ruling class and reveal their widespread exploitation of the rest of society. Liberal educators serve "domestic imperialism" because they, like their counterparts in government who permitted or facilitated the torture of foreigners, have always been so well rewarded for doing so. The system of capitalism inevitably results in a ruling class with enormous wealth which is used to offer material rewards to collaborators (from government officials to torturers to liberal academics) of their class rule.

Who Really Runs the United States? Jamie Dimon

Click here to access article by Bill Bonner from Bonner & Partners via Wolf Street

Some people in the financial industry are waking up to the fact that those who command great wealth in today's capitalist system really govern the society. In my terms they constitute a ruling class. This has always been the case in the US since its founding by early plantation and business owners in the 18th century. Only now with the evolution of capitalism, that is, the greater and greater concentrations of wealth in fewer hands has this become apparent to people in the financial industry. Well, to be more accurate, Bonner and others are recognizing individuals like Dimon as people who really run our government. They don't yet recognize a ruling class.

For some reason Dimon always gets publicity when most ruling class directors stay carefully out of sight. Our ruling class is much like an onion: there are many layers near the core. It's possible that Dimon is at the 2nd or 3rd layer. People like the Rockefeller family are at the core.

(See also this, this, this, this, and this for humor.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Impressions of Rojava: a report from the revolution

Click here to access article by Janet Biehl from Reflections on a Revolution. 

Every once in while in history we find examples of revolutionary societies that inspire real progressive people, people looking for social solutions to deal with the myriad problems facing societies in today's capitalist ruled world. We are now seeing reports (see this and this) of such developments in the tiny autonomous area of Rojava which is formally a part of Syria.

Normally in such conflicted areas, radical experiments are compromised by the needs of security from outside threats as happened in the Soviet Union following the 1917 revolution, and to a lesser extent in Cuba following their revolution in 1959. Such compromises do not seem to be happening in Rojava. Although Biehl makes references to problems, she doesn't list any--I wish she had.
In nine days we could not possibly have scoured Rojava for all problems, and our interlocutors candidly admitted that Rojava is hardly above criticism....
This excellent report--there are hints of more to come--reminded me of some speculations I had after reading about the Soviet revolution in the excellent book entitled The Prophet Armed (v.1) by Isaac Deutscher. In the chaos of the aftermath the Bolsheviks were faced with invasions by Western capitalist armies, counter-revolutionary insurrections from within, widespread hunger, epidemics, a devastated country ravaged by WWI, etc. I have speculated that the very understandable mistake that Trotsky made as commander of the new Soviet army was to fall back on what he regarded as the only form of organization that an army could have to secure the revolution while facing foreign armies: the traditional rigid hierarchical structure. Deutscher wrote on page 416:
The task...to be accomplished was to centralize the Red Army and to establish single command. Trotsky went on to disband the Red Guards and the partisan detachments. The incorporation of the partisan units proved unsatisfactory, because it infected the regular detachments with the 'guerrilla spirit'. .... He insisted on the organization of the entire army into uniformly constituted divisions and regiments.
This I think was a fatal mistake that had many future adverse consequences for the success of the revolution. Although it did secure the revolution for the immediate future, it was in a distorted bureaucratic form which led to its corruption and ultimate deterioration into bureaucratic ruling class government.   

An alternative would have been to supply local sympathetic revolutionary populations with arms, training, and political education. Whether this alternative could have been successful under such chaotic conditions in 1917 is debatable, but I think it was necessary to keep the revolution alive and sustainable.

This alternative appears to be operational in Rojava's revolution. Should this alternative survive and thrive, I will not only have a confirmation of my speculation; but of far more importance, there is promise of a successful revolutionary model that the rest of the world's majority can follow.

The Shocking Data Behind Shale Oil

Click here to access article posted on Post Carbon Institute in which Chris Martenson introduces a 47:23m interview (with transcript) with David Hughes who has thoroughly studied the shale oil industry. 
To help us understand all of this we could not have a better guess today than David Hughes, a geo-scientist who has studied the energy resources of Canada for nearly four decades including 32 years with The Geological Survey of Canada as a scientist and research manager. Now it is his work with The Post Carbon Institute that has really caught my eye. That includes "Drill Baby Drill," a 2013 report. Probably the most comprehensive, publicly available analysis to date of the prospects for shale gas and tight oil, as shale oil is usually called in the United States.
I ran out of time this morning to listen to all of this interview, but it looks very promising in terms of understanding the many ramifications that this industry holds for our future.

The Sad Future of Our Planet

Click here to access article by Roberto Savio from Inter Press Service.
The agreement is based on the idea that every country will publicly commit itself to adopting its own plan for reducing emissions, based on criteria established by national governments on the basis of their domestic politics – not on what scientists have been indicating as absolutely necessary.
"National governments" in the above paragraph hides the overwhelming fact of private control of governments and economies governed by capitalist principles to serve those tiny few who rule most of the world. Such people must promote growth of their economies to obtain the wealth and power that are the drugs that feed their addictions to wealth and power. 

However, like any addicted alcoholic, they like to make the appearance that everything is under control. Hence, we see these meetings where nothing of substance ever happens. Only if the vast majority of humans wake up and rid themselves of this human-habitat-destroying system will there be any hope for any agreements to prevent catastrophic climate destabilization.

Of course, the planet will continue on without humans just as it as has when numerous other species appeared for a while and then disappeared because they could not adapt to the planet's conditions. What will be really sad is if the vast majority of humans permit this tiny group of addicted people to destroy their adaptation. A sentient being looking back after the disappearance of humans will be thoroughly perplexed by this puzzle.

Now, contrast this article entitled "Lima Climate COP Fails (of course)" from a liberal source with this brief article from a real alternative media source, Climate Connections. The author, Anne Petermann, has a much better understanding of what is needed to really change things.
Fortunately, more and more people (except for the big green NGOs) recognize that these climate COPs will never get it done and are organizing peoples’ summits where grassroots climate activists, Indigenous Peoples and impacted community members can gather to discuss what to do about climate change from the bottom up....

Monday, December 15, 2014

America Sets Six Record Lows This Year

Click here to access article by Pam and Russ Martens from Wall Street on Parade.
Just as a business succeeds or fails on the basis of trust by its customers, it can also be said that a nation succeeds, over the long term, through the trust and confidence of its citizens. There are now ample warning signs that America is dangerously heading in the wrong direction.

U.S. Congress Now Virtually 100% All-In on Ukraine’s War Against Russia; Americans Are at Least 67% Opposed

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from RINF. (Note: Somehow I missed this coverage in mainstream media [sarcasm].)

This is another illustration of the reality that Congress serves the ruling class's shadow government rather than the American people.
Last night, December 11th, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously as the U.S. House had previously voted 98%: to join Ukraine’s war against Russia and against Ukraine’s own ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s southeastern districts, in order to eliminate those resistant Ukrainians and their families.

The U.S. is now throwing down the gauntlet to Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, and daring him to defend openly the ethnic Russians that the U.S.-installed Ukrainian Government is now trying to exterminate in the eastern districts, the places where the present Ukrainian Government is rejected by almost all of the residents.

Russia Pivots to Eurasia for Trade and Military Alliances

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of an interview with Michael Hudson as well as the 12:32m video from The Real News.

I've seen widespread daily coverage in mainstream media (gloatingly) reports that the sanctions are hurting the Russian economy. The reports usually refer to the declining rate of exchange between the US dollar and Euros with the Russian ruble. Hudson explains why these exchange rates are irrelevant to the new Russian economic realities, and suggests that the effort to isolate Russia from Europe will backfire on the Empire's neoconservative directors.
...the result of these changes is the opposite of what American strategy was based on for the last half-century, the idea of dividing and conquering Eurasia by setting Russia against China, by isolating Iran, by preventing India, the Near East, and other Asian countries from joining together to create some kind of alternative to the dollar area. In fact, the American sanctions and the new Cold War policy of the neocons are driving these Asian countries together, in association with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as an alternative to NATO, and the BRICS are trying to make an alternative to dealing with the dollar area and with the IMF and the World Bank that represent U.S. policy.

So, regarding Europe, America's insistence that it join this new Cold War policy by imposing sanctions on Russia, and especially by blocking Russian oil and gas imports, is--aggravated the Eurozone's austerity, and it's just turning it into a dead zone.

The Congressional report on torture confirms that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attacks of September 11

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet.

I'm not sure that he proves his argument, but he makes a very convincing argument that the CIA's involvement was largely to obtain false confessions that linked Al Qaeda to 9/11.
Let’s be clear: the Senate Committee [report]...states that the CIA did not question the detainees, but it conditioned them to confess to acts of which they knew nothing. The Commission states that the CIA agents did not even look to see what the detainees had confessed during previous interrogations with the authorities who arrested them. In other words not only has the CIA not investigated whether al Qaeda was involved in the attacks or not, but its action had no other purpose than to generate false evidence attesting to the involvement of al-Qaeda in the attacks of September 11. 
Considering that 9/11 critics have assembled considerable evidence implicating the CIA in the 9/11 attacks to justify the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the whole "war on terror" to justify the construction of many elements of a police state domestically, such CIA actions in relation to these prisoners as argued by Meyssan make perfect sense. The link between 9/11 and Al Qaeda, which was alleged by government officials immediately after 9/11, had to be firmly established by these pseudo confessions to complete the false flag scenario concocted by the CIA.

Power, Profit And The GMO Issue

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest.
...[genetic engineering] technology is first and foremost an instrument of corporate power, a tool to ensure profit. Beyond that, it is intended to serve US global geopolitical interests. Indeed, agriculture has for a long time been central to US foreign policy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ten Reasons Why a Severe Drop in Oil Prices is a Problem

Click here to access article by Gail Tverberg from her blog Our Finite World.

This highly respected analyst of fossil fuels lends her insights about the likely impacts that low oil prices will have to reach this overall conclusion:
In my view, a rapid drop in oil prices is likely a symptom that we are approaching a debt-related collapse.... Underlying this debt-related collapse is the fact that we seem to be reaching the limits of a finite world. There is a growing mismatch between what workers in oil importing countries can afford, and the rising real costs of extraction, including associated governmental costs. This has been covered up to date by rising debt, but at some point, it will not be possible to keep increasing the debt sufficiently.
Because the collapse in oil prices was caused by the Medieval rulers of Saudi Arabian in collaboration with the directors of the Empire mainly to undermine the economies of Russia (as they did in the 1980s) and Iran, I think that the numerous negative impacts that she outlines in her report will not be as negative as she argues--at least, not this time around. Thus, what the Empire directors and their Saudi collaborators decided will be reversed as soon as the impacts become too negative for Empire interests. Meanwhile, many major oil companies will simply take advantage of the situation by buying up smaller companies at bargain prices. 

I have followed her writing for at least five years and I know that she previously argued that peak oil/financial collapse would come in cycles, with each one more damaging than the preceding one. But this time, the drop in prices was decided not by the market, but by political considerations. Thus, I think she is getting ahead of herself in this article.

School of the Americas Morphs Into US Training Industrial Complex

Click here to access article by JP Sottile from TruthOut

I've just discovered this valuable study on the history of the infamous School of the Americas (SOA) and its evolution into its current globalized form. Because of the sordid history that included terrorism, assassinations, subversion, paramilitaries, torture, and drug-trafficking, our ruling class directorate decided to change its name to The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). Sottile then suggests that other manifestations of this school have turned up in other parts of the world, but only cites Africa as an example. 
Just as the Cold War often provided ideological cover for repression of reformers, activists and inconvenient obstacles to "development," so too have the wars on Drugs and Terror allowed the America's infrastructure of cooperation and training to pivot forces around the world - and particularly to the new frontier in Africa. 

 However the "school" in Africa appears to be administered by AFRICOM. It's rather difficult to unravel the chain of command, but it appears to me that the original SOA has been duplicated with schools in most other command areas. Thus, it is difficult to claim that those in other command areas are "satellite campuses". In any case, it's obvious that the directors of the US-led Empire have truly global aspirations as reflected in the Dept. of Defense command structure.

As a summary of the "school" programs in Africa, he makes a general observation about all such "schools":
The common thread through all of these initiatives is the use of training to establish "cooperative" or client relationships that place key military personnel in crucial positions in nations around the globe. To wit, Foreign Policy reported in 2012 that "the United States delivered bilateral security assistance to 134 countries - meaning that every country on Earth had about a 75 percent chance of receiving US military aid."

This "satellite campus" system of the "New" School of the America is expanding at the same time the traditional model is drawing tens of thousands of soldiers and police to "275 known military school and installations." Amnesty International estimates that the United States "trains at least 100,000 foreign soldiers and police from more than 150 countries each year at a cost of tens of millions of dollars" and thereby seems to have created a Training-Industrial Complex.