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, January 25, 2014

State of Power 2014: Exposing the Davos Class

Click here to access article by Nick Buxton posted on Reflections on a Revolution. 

Buxton provides a good introduction to a comprehensive report on the significance of the annual World Economic Forums at Davos, Switzerland, a ski resort. This is timely because the 2014 Forum is currently being held there.
The Transnational Institute is proud to launch its third annual ‘State of Power’ report as the World Economic Forum meets in Davos. This anthology exposes and  analyses the principal power-brokers, members of the “Davos class”, who have caused financial, economic, social and ecological crises worldwide. Unless we know which elites control our wealth and resources, understand how they influence political and social processes, and can identify the systems, structures and policies by which they maintain their power, TNI believes our hopes for advancing social and environmental justice are slim. Justice demands a recalibration of power and that requires us to better understand it.

Masters of War

Click here to access the 5:14 video with lyrics from Raging Bull-Shit.

This is for those among us who choose life rather than death, cooperation rather than domination, sharing rather than selfishness, and love rather than hate. We also acknowledge that there are weak people among us who choose the opposite because they are seduced by the immediate gratification of profit and power offered by the current reigning capitalist system. 

Inside the Obscene Lifestyles of the New Global Super-Rich

Click here to access article by Lynn Stuart Parramore from AlterNet. 

This is another contribution to my practice on Saturdays to run articles about our fellow citizens of the One Percent (actually .01 of the 1%, or one out of every 10,000 of us) hoping that by doing this that we don't lose touch with their world and their concerns--you know, to promote understanding. It is important that we become better acquainted so that we can serve them better and make it easier for them to carry out the daily burden of making important decisions, decisions which affect whether we go off to war in foreign lands to kill their enemies, if we have jobs, if we live in a home or under a bridge, if we can afford their health care services, education, etc.

Unfortunately, for some reason they tend to hide their lives from the rest of us behind walls of secrecy, literal walls of guarded gated communities, private clubs, esoteric publications, by traveling with private jets, etc. We should not let that deter us. 

In this piece we learn:
A new crop of global super-rich is pouring into the United States, changing the economic landscape from Manhattan to Los Angeles. They’re driving up the price of real estate, pushing out the middle class and going on buying binges that would make Gilded Age robber barons blush.
We also learn about a new TV program on the rich and their extravagant lifestyle. It seems that the rich want to rub their rich lifestyles in our faces, or maybe they hope that we want to vicariously enjoy their lives like our grandparents did during the 1930s when films about the rich were popular.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Turkish PM Erdogan: The Speedy Transformation of an Imperial Puppet [Part 2 of 2]

Click here to access article by Sibel Edmonds from Boiling Frogs Post. 

Edmonds continues in this piece to explain why Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has gone from hero to villain in the US media as she described in her previous post. If you are familiar with US history you will soon learn that they are the same reasons as to why other foreign leaders such as dictators Manuel Noriega of Panama, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and many others were taken down: they all violated certain commandments of the Empire. Erdogan appears to be headed in this direction also. She explains this in the article.

Tricks of the Trade: How Big Polluters Hide Climate Lobbying Behind Trade Groups

Click here to access article by Ben Jervey from DeSmogBlog.
What do large companies do when they want to lobby against climate change and carbon mitigation measures without looking publicly like they're pro-pollution?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Symptoms of Imperial Soldiers

Click here to access article by Mouwafak Chourbagui from CairoScene.
Are Egypt's "elite" blindly fighting for the imperialistic, capitalist system that actually enslaves them? Yes, says Mouwafak Chourbagui, and he should know - he is one of them, after all. Do you suffer from these symptoms, too?
Absolutely outstanding! This piece really impressed me, and then a secondary reaction left me with an even greater insight, indeed, a revelation that under globalization the whole world is ruled by a tiny class whose system imposes so much poverty, both material and psychological, on the rest of us. To accomplish this arrangement our capitalist rulers have constructed an entire culture which is deeply colonialist in the sense that they impose their values, lifestyles, classism, racism on the rest of us who, by and large, buy into this oppressive culture. 

But, this fellow does not. Although he could have easily gone along with this hegemonic culture and enjoy the many material benefits it offers, somehow he was prevented by some human spark of integrity and refused this easy path to riches by critically examining the fake, colonial mentalities, and the social injustice of this dominant culture.

Yes, I too, could identify with his feeling and insights here in the northwest of the United States of America whose ruling class constitutes the core of the global ruling capitalist class. Here, too, the vast majority are suffering from a lack of occupational opportunities, education, health and general welfare--and they, too, often subscribe to the same values and perspectives of their oppressors. Of course, they like their colonial counterparts in third world countries, don't see that they are being oppressed. That's the genius of colonial rule. Under the rule of globalized capitalism, often referred to as neoliberalism, a tiny First World and a huge Third World exists everywhere in the world.

Preparing Geneva-2

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet. 

If you have watched too much propaganda from corporate-sponsored media regarding Syrian events, you no doubt are totally confused about what has gone on there, the present negotiations starting today in Switzerland known as "Geneva 2", and the humanitarian crises in the nearby areas. Meyssan in this article adds much clarity to our understanding of these tragic events.
The last days of a war are always the deadliest. Routed armies avenge their defeat by committing futile atrocities, as we have seen in Adra where the tortures inflicted on loyalist workers have nothing to envy those committed during the fall of the Third Reich. But the situation is exacerbated by the collapse of what remains of the international anti-Syria coalition, each ex-partner trying to protect his interests at the expense of his former allies.

Politico’s Ben White Writes a Dubious Piece on Wall Street and Gets Slapped Down By Media Peers

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

This liberal Wall Street critic gives a piece posted in Politico a well-deserved trashing or thrashing. You might want to read the Politico article first--it is astonishing in its naiveté. 

Liberal critics like Marten perform a valuable service to anti-capitalists by occasionally revealing some of their dirtier secrets. Here is one jewel of a secret that she points to in her article:
White drops a clue in the article as to whom or what might be fueling this new-think. White says Hamilton Place Strategies, a D.C. consulting firm, is “working with banks on image repair.” The web site for Hamilton Place Strategies says it “brings experience and issue expertise to bear for managing media…” Should media be managed? It also says it “shapes the way people and policy makers think about issues and ideas. We bring decades of experience and relationships with leading thought leaders and journalists in Washington and around the world.” And, finally, it notes that it has monitoring techniques “to measure the effectiveness of a communications strategy.”
The problem with liberal critics like Martens is that they cling to the illusion of a kinder, gentler form of capitalism that has never existed or will ever exist. In spite of all the recent crimes against society, she soldiers on to joust the evil-doers on Wall Street. I admire her courage, but fault her for her illusory thinking.

Corporate Criminals, Billionaires Gather for World Economic Forum in Davos

Click here to access article by Andre Damon from Global Research. 

This piece informs us that global capitalist directors are holding another one of their annual celebrations (much like the Bohemian Grove and other such gatherings). This one is located in one of the favorite hangouts of the rich, Davos, a ski resort in Switzerland. 

While some members of their class are concerned about what they see as a major threat to their beloved system, the rest remain so completely committed to the system which gives them so much wealth and power that they ignore the warnings. This is another sure sign of an addiction (in addition to the threat of climate destabilization). With reference to these warnings, Damon writes:
No one at the conference, however, is proposing any social reforms to ameliorate the plight of the working class or redistribute wealth downwards from the top. On the contrary, the watchword is “structural reform,” a euphemism for stripping workers of all protections, dismantling what remains of the welfare state, and removing all environmental and health and safety rules that restrict corporate profit.
So, what are the significance of these meetings and why should we even bother reading about them? I think they serve the important function of promoting and consolidating a class consciousness, an identification with others who own and control for their own benefit much of the world's economy.

If You See Something, Say Something: Another Top Climatologist On The Necessity Of Speaking Out

Click here to access article by Joe Romm from ClimateProgress. 

All liberal critics who see the threat of climate destabilization can do in the face of so much scientific evidence is wring their hands at what they seem to see as some sort of weakness in human nature which accounts for the repeated suppression of this evidence and/or ignoring the evidence. Because such critics are also committed to the capitalist system, they are blinded to the fact that the existence of capitalism is totally incompatible with a stable climate.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The European periphery as a political laboratory

Click here to access article by Ricardo Campos from Reflections on a Revolution. 

The author looks at recent events in the periphery of Europe and sees it as a neoliberal laboratory for the transformation of European social democracy into a neoliberal economic and political region. 

European social democratic governments were established following WWII to counter the widespread radical ideas of militant labor groups. Such governments and the machinations of counter-revolutionary Gladio type projects did stabilize and secure Europe for capitalist domination and integration into NATO and the Empire. Now we are seeing the dismantling of these structures which have begun most aggressively in the periphery of Europe (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc.) and their replacement by the construction of neoliberal forms of economic and political rule. The author also looks at the implications for contesting this neoliberal project by revolutionary groups.

There are a few typographic errors in the text, for example: 
the transformation of political choices in technical imperatives crystallized in law;  
should read: "the transformation of political choices into technical imperatives crystallized in law;"
and a society that exists trough and for the market,
should read: "and a society that exists through and for the market,"

How Shrewd this Empire Be!

Click here to access article by Philip A. Farruggio from World News Trust.
The highly controlled mainstream news always does the bidding of our Military Industrial Empire… always!
As most folks should know, there is this constitutional caveat called sequestration that requires cuts in federal spending to help balance budgets. So, what does the war mongering cabal do? Well, read on....
The article also quotes some of the grossest Orwellian examples of Empire propaganda.

A tale of two reports: Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

Click here to access article from the blogger at Interventions Watch.

This is another illustration of how corporate media function to support the interests of the One Percent's Empire by managing information and analysis. The blogger looks at the contradictions and inconsistencies from corporate media when reporting the same crimes:
  • When reports are published alleging crimes by states who are our [the Empire's] Official Enemies, the background of the people who commissioned the report is irrelevant in judging its veracity and objectivity, and it should cause ‘global outrage’ against the accused and their international backers. 
  • When (arguably more credible) reports are published alleging crimes by states who are our [the Empire's] Official Allies, the background of the people who commissioned the report is relevant in judging its veracity and objectivity, and we must question why this state, but not others, is being singled out.
The moral of this article and similar ones is...read/view corporate media reports critically! 

Boeing Deal: A Defeat for Us All

Click here to access article by Andy Piascik from CounterPunch.
In a move that strikes yet another blow to democracy and the living standards of working Americans, Boeing forced major givebacks on its 30,000 union employees in the state of Washington while simultaneously pulling off what may be the biggest welfare rip-off in the nation’s history. 

Drugs Displace Maize on Mexico’s Small Farms

Click here to access article by Emilio Godoy from Inter Press Service.
As the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) passes its 20-year milestone, Mexico is seeing the displacement of traditional crops like maize by marihuana and opium poppy as a result of falling prices for the country’s most important agricultural product.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Turkish PM Erdogan: The Speedy Transformation of an Imperial Puppet [Part 1 of 2]

Click here to access article by Sibel Edmonds from Boiling Frogs

Edmonds provides a brilliant exposé of how international political figures are "marketed" to American citizens using the Turkish Prime Minister as an example. This former whistleblower extraordinaire is very knowledgeable about Turkish affairs given her Turkish origins and her former work with the FBI as a Turkish translator. With considerable documentation she, like an astute lawyer, builds an airtight case to illustrate how our ruling class has used major media to shift from extremely positive coverage of Erdogan's rule to extremely negative as is evident today based on his actions in relation to Empire interests.

From this illustration we learn the larger lesson of how the ruling class, through their control of mainstream media, have converted the latter into propaganda organs to serve the interests of their class.

Because of the first-rate quality of the articles posted on this website, we all must support their work through subscriptions or donations.

85 people versus 3.5 billion people – the OXFAM report

Click here to access article posted by Edward Fullbrook from Real-World Economics Review Blog.

Fullbrook provides a brief summary of report from one of the quintessential liberal activist organizations. While citing the widely known trends in inequality throughout the world, OXFAM's report contains more of the same illusory recommendations that liberals are famous for.
Oxfam is calling on them [the world's capitalist leaders meeting in Davos] to pledge that they will:  
  • Not dodge taxes in their own countries or in countries where they invest
    and operate,by using tax havens;
  • Not use their economic wealth to seek political favors that undermine the democratic will of their fellow citizens;
  • Make public all the investments in companies and trusts for which they are the ultimate beneficial owners;
  •  Support progressive taxation on wealth and income;
  • Challenge governments to use their tax revenue to provide universal health care, education and social protection for citizens;
  • Demand a living wage in all the companies they own or control;
  •  Challenge other economic elites to join them in these pledges.

Christie = Symptom. Two-party = Disease

Click here to access article by Mickey Z. from World News Trust. 
...America’s two-party system is like buying a ticket on a commercial airline. You can request a seat on the right side or you can request a seat on the left side of the plane. But it doesn’t matter because the same pilot controls both wings.
The author doesn't really spend much time on New Jersey Governor Christie, but instead he makes a valiant effort to disabuse many ordinary Americans of their belief in the carefully managed elections as an exercise in "democracy", especially liberals who election after election become enamored of some candidate who makes nice sounding promises to create a more decent, peaceful society. (I have frequently lived in college towns where many liberals hang out, and have witnessed this phenomenon throughout my long life.)  

I have become rather cynical about such an effort as this. In the past I kept thinking that people would "wise up" to this political scam after so many lies have been told, and after things keep getting worse. But no--I continue to see cars in my area with Obama bumper stickers plastered on them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Final Solutions: Human nature, Capitalism, and Genocide

Click here to access this review (reviewer is Neil Faulkner) of a new book by the above title authored by Sabby Sagall posted on CounterFire (Britain).
Sabby Sagall, a former senior lecturer in sociology at the University of East London and a lifelong revolutionary activist, was prompted to write Final Solutions by the approaching sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in 2005. He was persuaded to expand the remit to genocide in general, and the result, seven years in the writing, is a comprehensive survey of relevant Marxist and Freudian theories along with four excellent case-studies covering the Native American, Armenian, Nazi, and Rwandan Holocausts.

Green Capitalism: The God That Failed

Click here to access a review from TruthOut of a book by Richard Smith, a re-posting of an article from March 2011 that appeared in Real-World Economics Review and Climate and Capitalism which I re-posted on my website in May 2011, then again the next day after a complete reading with this commentary.

It is a hopeful sign when liberal media sources such as Truthout republish articles like this, even though belatedly.

The truth about Israel's secret nuclear arsenal

Click here to access article by Julian Borger from The Guardian. 
Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s. And western governments, including Britain and the US, turn a blind eye. But how can we expect Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions if the Israelis won't come clean?
This is the first major article, that I know of, in a significant Western news source for general public consumption to discuss the open secret of Israel's atomic weapons program--finally, after more than 50 years of hiding this fact as well as the Empire's non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty negotiated in 1968. Still, this does not deter the Empire's directorate from discriminatory policies against nations identified as their enemies--Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran--

For a more detailed report on the history of Israel's atomic weapons program, see this from Federation of American Scientists.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Remembering the Officially Deleted Dr. King

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch. 

To commemorate Martin Luther King day (Monday), I am posting this piece which provides us with a much needed history lesson about another American hero whose significance in our lives has been eviscerated by ruling class media. Indeed, King's activities and words were so significant that they had to assassinate him (read An Act of State by William Pepper).
“The black revolution,” King wrote in a posthumously published 1969 essay titled “A Testament of Hope”...“is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws – racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism. It is exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction society of society itself is the real issue to be faced.”

John Ball Was Right!

Click here to access article by John Spritzler from New Democracy World.

The author draws insight and inspiration from English history in 1381.
The story of what happened as a result of the failure of the Peasant Rebellion of 1381 illustrates a lesson that bears on an important question we face today. What changes do we need to make to our society in order to prevent the re-emergence of what is clearly unacceptable...? Do we need merely to make some reforms that would reign in the excessive behavior of capitalists while continuing to accept the legitimacy of capitalism itself, with its competition and private ownership of productive land and mines and factories and offices, leading to winners and losers and rich and poor? Or do we need to make a fundamental egalitarian revolution...?

Impunity and Excess, Desperation and Violence: Two Worlds Collide in Spain

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit. 

The class war where the neoliberal One Percent rich is pitted against the 99 Percent is raging across Spain.
And it’s this culture of impunity, entitlement, hubris and wretched excess that has taken grip among Spain’s business and political elite that ultimately threatens the long-term viability of Spain’s fragile (some might say, phantom) recovery. More worrisome still, as the world of this elite repeatedly collides with that of the growing ranks of the abandoned, disenfranchised, desperate and resentful masses, the tenuously woven fabric of Spain’s post-Franco civil society continues to unravel at a disqueiting pace.

Weekend Funnies for the Depressed Collapsitarian #8

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

The author provides us with a much needed antidote to all the violence, inequality, and exploitation in today's world.
Wow, it’s been 3 months since we’ve done one of these, and I think we need a laugh or a chuckle.