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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

FBI Continues To Withhold Information On Occupy Assassination Plots

Click here to access article by Katie Rucke from Mint Press News.

I have run a number of articles of the Empire's use of snipers in their regime change operations that have been appearing with increasing frequency. (Type "snipers" in the search box located upper left side of this website.) I have also argued that many of the strategies and tactics that Empire directors use against activists in other areas of the world will also likely be used against their domestic counterparts. This is the first evidence, that I have found, of the considered use of snipers here in the US.
It was quietly reported last June that the FBI was aware that an organization — possibly a law enforcement agency — had plans to assassinate leaders of the Occupy movement, and the bureau did nothing about it. Now a U.S. District Court judge says the FBI has some explaining to do.
Well, the District Court judge may think that, but the FBI, or any other agency of the One Percent, will never explain any of their terrorist strategies and tactics they have used, are implementing, or are planned against their domestic enemies--the activists of the 99 Percent! They never explained the assassinations of Black Power activists, of Malcom X and Martin Luther King, or the Kennedys, etc.

America the Beautiful

Click here to access Abby Zimet's posting of a 1:52m video featuring Willie Nelson singing a new, updated version of "America the Beautiful".
The indomitable Willie Nelson has joined the fight against mountaintop removal in Appalachia with a dark and stirring rendition of "America the Beautiful." More performers and actions from the Natural Resources Defense Council's "Music Saves Mountains" campaign.

State allowed logging on plateau above slope involved in deadly Oregon [sic] mudslide

Click here to access article by Mike Baker, Ken Armstrong and Hal Bernton of the Seattle Times via Climate Connections. (Note I am using this post because Seattle Times limits access a bit to subscribers.)

This was one of the rare local reports linking this terrible tragedy (north of Seattle in Washington state) to clear-cutting of forests by timber corporations. Local area TV coverage has only focused on themes of pathos and heroism. Apparently, local corporate media do not want people to know much about this dangerous practice of clear-cutting--it might interfere with corporate profits. Having lived in Oregon for a number of years, I witnessed several such slides which were all eventually linked to this practice. The coverage from faraway places like Boston and even Britain (the best coverage) had no problem making this connection. 

Just as after the disasters in Oregon over the last 30 years, we once again learn that official authorities knew about the practices and the danger of building homes in these areas, but they did nothing to enforce laws prohibiting these practices or settlements in this area. This tragedy in Washington state is one more illustration that the capitalist ruling class will let nothing get in the way of enriching their members of the One Percent--the timber harvesters, the developers, and real estate brokers. Meanwhile, they succeeded, once again, in keeping the 99 Percent in ignorance.

US Bans The Import Of Russian Vodka

Click here to access article from The Daily Currant. (satire)
The U.S. says it may lift the ban if Russia pulls back their troops and recognizes Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea.

“We’ll also be open to re-establishing trade of vodka if they agree to give us back Edward Snowden, we just want to talk to him,” an inebriated Kerry told reporters later that night outside of his local D.C. bar. “Just talk to that little prick, that’s all.”

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Golden Era of the 1950s/60s Was an Anomaly, Not the Default Setting

Click here to access article by Charles Hugh Smith from Washington's Blog.
If there is one thing that unites trade unionists, Keynesian Cargo Cultists, free-market fans [Liberals, libertarians, and old-fashioned conservatives] and believers in American exceptionalism, it’s a misty-eyed nostalgia for the Golden Era of the 1950s and 60s, when one wage-earner earned enough to buy all the goodies of a middle-class lifestyle because everything was cheap. Food was cheap, land was cheap, houses were cheap, college was cheap and most importantly, oil was cheap.

The entire political spectrum looks back at this Golden Age with longing because it was an era of “the rising tide raises all ships:” essentially full employment, a strong U.S. dollar and overseas demand for U.S. goods combined to raise wages while keeping inflation low. 
Smith does an excellent job of identifying such views of this period as idealized myths that are easily explained by historical factors, although his explanations of the causes of the decline in conditions favorable to ordinary Americans are good, but very limited.

Since this ideal period spokespeople from these ideological camps are disturbed by the many social and economic problems that have since developed in US society. They fail to understand that the natural evolution of capitalism toward ever greater concentrations of wealth (and power) has created these problems. They cling to beliefs that we can fix the system and return to the wonderful days of yore. Such critics get wide exposure on the web and thus create distractions for serious criticism of the capitalist system that many people are looking for as an alternative to the views purveyed by mainstream media.

Ethics and morality at the end of history

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder. 
 Strange, isn’t it, that the system supposedly representing the apex of human development — even the end of history — has no place for ethics or morality.

Perhaps this becomes inevitable when an ideology develops to the point where the economy is considered to be outside the environment. From that dubious...vantage point, the journey to seeing the environment, and the natural resources and life it contains, as nothing more than a cow to be milked at will is not a long one.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Controlling the Lens: The Media War Being Fought Over Ukraine Between the Western Bloc and Russia

Click here to access article by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya from Global Research.
The aims of information warfare are to use discourse to influence populations across the world and to establish a total monopoly on the flow of information, the perceptions of audiences, and the discursive processes shaping the modern world. At its basis power and relationships are being realized through mass media communication.

The messages and ideas that the mass media transmit through mass communication are constructed by those that control the media and, in succession, used by them to construct the perceptions of audiences. Since what the majority of people in most modern societies know is heavily shaped by the mass media, the mass media is used to lead audiences into forming certain opinions and to make their decisions on the bases of those opinions. 
Nazemroaya provides an excellent examination of the appearance of (non-NATO) competing sources of information provided especially by Russia Today (RT) and to a much lessor extent by Iran's Press TV and Chinese Central Television (CCTV). 

I've long argued that control of media by capitalist directors is a major factor in their self-serving class rule and all the associated problems ranging from social injustice to wars. The news coverage and analysis from these alternative national media are very helpful in breaking down the propaganda-fueled news reports from Western mainstream media. However, what is crucially needed is news media run by ordinary working people. Media representing various sections of the capitalist world can be helpful in contests between rival capitalist gangs, but they still represent interests of the One Percents.

George Soros‘ INET: An institute to improve the world or a Trojan horse of the financial oligarchy?

Click here to access article by Norbert Haering from Real-World Economics Review Blog.
Let’s assume that there is a financial oligarchy which exerts strong political influence due to the vast amounts of money it controls. Let’s further assume that this financial oligarchy has succeeded in having financial markets deregulated and that this has enabled the financial industry to expand their business massively. Then, in some near or far future, their artfully constructed financial edifice breaks down, because it cannot be hidden any more that the accumulated claims cannot be serviced by the real economy. ....
The financial oligarchy might also recollect that economics is their most important ally in shaping public opinion and policies in their favor. To prevent a loss of power as it happened hence, they might want to make sure first that economics will not challenge the notion of leaving financial markets mostly to themselves and will continue to downplay the role of money and the power of the financial oligarchy, and of power in general.
Let me be clear: this website is a publication of a liberal organization of economists called "World Economics Association". It is quintessentially liberal in that it functions to contain any critique of capitalism within limits permitted by the ruling capitalist class. This means that they limit their critiques to reforms of the existing capitalist system.

Thus, Haering's criticism is aimed at the existing rule of financial oligarchies that has resulted from the concentration of wealth and power that is an inherent tendency of capitalism. Liberals and libertarians fail to recognize that this is an inherent tendency and insist that we can turn back the clock on capitalism to an earlier stage of development characterized by more competing sectors of capitalists,  especially industrial capitalists, a stronger social safety net, a nationally oriented economy, and a thriving middle class that enabled the system to function. This type of capitalism represents, in their eyes, an ideal form of society.

This liberal economist and author reveals how major capitalist directors contain dissent limited to a discussion of reforms by examining the operations of well-funded non-profit think tanks, especially that of George Soros' INET. However, much of Haering's examination also applies to an understanding of how all ideological institutions of the capitalist system function to exclude more radical critiques.

IMF Unleashes 18 Billion on Ukraine’s Economy and People

Click here to access article by Christof Lehmann from nsnbc. 
The measures expected by the IMF include drastic austerity measures which will drastically increase already rampant poverty in the country. Analysts warn that the IMF package that was unleashed on the Ukraine and measures, expected to be taken by the government, will result in a new wave of social unrest.
Compare this report with those of mainstream capitalist media such as from the liberal Guardian and Reuters which celebrate the IMF loan program as a "bailout" and "lifeline".

The end result will be the neoliberal agenda we've seen elsewhere: Ukraine's economy will be open to Western corporate takeover by such firms as Cargill and Monsanto, the IMF loan will go to pay off the loans of oligarchs and banks, and the Ukrainian people will experience even more austerity to pay off the IMF.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BFP EyeOpener Report-The Psychology of Cognitive Dissonance

Click here if you wish to access the original posted article and 10:12m video narrated by James Corbett on Boiling Frog's website.

Excellent assemblage of video excerpts to explain and illustrate this important psychological mechanism which functions to prevent us from acknowledging, or even considering, evidence that conflicts with society's authority figures. This is a sample of the rich source of material awaiting those who subscribe to Boiling Frogs.
The theory of cognitive dissonance was first posited by American social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1957 to explain the discomfort and mental stress that we feel when our beliefs, ideals or values don’t match up to reality. Festinger’s theory states that when people are in a state of dissonance, that is, when their beliefs or values don’t match up with their behavior or experiences, they will adjust those beliefs or values, or even adjust their perception of reality, in order to achieve consonance. Furthermore, Festinger showed that people will actively avoid situations or information that might challenge those beliefs and values in order to avoid dissonance.

Shocking Videos: Here is Ukraine since the NATO Coup

Click here to access article by William Engdahl posted on Boiling Frogs.

Engdahl has obtained some video footage of US backed neo-nazis showing their style in actions to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine. Paraphrasing a statement attributed to Franklin Roosevelt, "they may be sons-of-bitches, but they are our sons-of-bitches."
What has been deliberately censored from Western media is the reality on the ground. Here are a number of amateur videos filmed during and after the coup that paint an alarming picture of the new regime that now might join NATO if Washington has its way.

While thousands of honest Ukrainians protested peacefully for change and against the official corruption, the control of the opposition was always in the hands of brutal, organized neo-nazi groups such as Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) and, behind them, the hard-core trained killers of UNA-UNSO (Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Defense Organization).... The fascist thugs, in many ways comparable to the Black Shirts of Mussolini fascists, are tied intimately to the parliamentary party, Svoboda....

Finance Capital Uses Non-Profits for Privatization Agenda

Click here to access article by Danny Haiphong from Global Research.

NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) have been in the news a lot recently, and often for rather nefarious reasons as regime change agents of the Empire. Such organizations are usually referred to as non-profits when operating within the US. The various schemes used by Empire capitalist agents abroad often are used in some form here in the US and vice versa--let us be clear, our masters in the One Percent ruling class think and act globally. Thus, we need to learn as much as we can. I believe that this article contributes a good deal to this examination.

Haiphong describes the role of non-profits in the US this way:
...the original purpose of the non-profit as a mechanism [was] to smooth over the roughest edges of US capitalism.  However, in the age of neo-liberal monopoly capitalism, existing programs that address the needs of the exploited are being rolled back to feed the bottom line of Finance capital.  Wall Street has transferred most of the world’s wealth into their dollar schemes. The ultimate goal of Wall Street is to privatize Medicaid, Social Security, public education, and the entire public sector to subsidize its losses and crashes.  Non-profits are being employed by finance capital to cement its privatization agenda, thus making the institution not only limiting in nature but thoroughly corrupting as well.

Ukraine - the corporate annexation

Click here to access article by JP Sottile from Ecologist. 
As the US and EU apply sanctions on Russia over its annexation' of Crimea, JP Sottile reveals the corporate annexation of Ukraine. For Cargill, Chevron, Monsanto, there's a gold mine of profits to be made from agri-business and energy exploitation.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of this inteview from the direct posting at Real News Network.

George Irvin, who is Research Professor at the University of London and author of Super Rich: The Rise of Inequality in Britain and the United States, provides a useful summary or overview of what has happened to the economies of Britian and the US since the beginning of the neoliberal era of capitalism.

Too many highly educated observers still think is is useful to frame their analysis in nationalistic terms; and thus, ignore the globalization of capitalism that has logically developed, under the rules of capitalism, in the neoliberal era. The neoliberal Western directors of capitalism, a system which is driven by its capitalist actors to seek ever greater accumulations of wealth and the power associated with wealth, have been enabled to expand beyond national boundaries by the advances of technology, and have been forced to do so by the increasing competition from low-wage countries beginning in the 1970s as explained by Irvin.

Thus, Western capitalists dominated mostly by US and British capitalists have gone global in their investments and logically found better profit-making opportunities in many low wage countries. Capitalists are organized like gangs to control access to resources, markets, and low wage labor; and they have used NATO as the ultimate weapon to insure this access. This larger view is much more important to understanding the current world we live in than the narrow nationalistic view that many observers still cling to despite this dramatic change in capitalist organization. Therefore, to me the question posed in the title and the related answer is not very useful.

These Charts Show What is Wrong With American Capitalism

Click here to access article by Yves Smith (pseudonym) from her blog Naked Capitalism.

As is frequently the case with her articles, this one contains a lot of specialized financial concepts and jargon (for example, ZIRP which means zero interest rate policy). However, I'm really not so much interested in her charts and arguments as I am in the effort, itself, to explain the problems of capitalism.

What is of special interest to me is that Smith is frequently raising questions about what is wrong with capitalist practices and the fact that her blog is followed by a high number of well-educated middle class people in finance, economics, and business. Because of the latter fact, I frequently read the very interesting comments following her articles, and I encourage you to do likewise. 

Liberal critics of current capitalism such as Smith are hampered, I believe, not only by their religious-like faith in capitalism, but also in a kind of trained incapacity or incompetence (see this and this). They confine their views to the specialized knowledge in which they have received so much training, but in doing this they miss the bigger picture as in the blind men and the elephant fable. Notice also that the very framing of her question, as she does in the title of the article, is completely inadequate in this age of globalized capitalism.

What I regard as most significant is that Smith, and the many middle class people who follow this blog, make the system function; and they are questioning it like never before because of the obvious social problems it is causing. Most of them, like Smith, still believe in the system and are almost desperately trying to figure out how to fix it. Think what might happen should sufficient numbers of them begin to understand that the system itself is defective!? 

Political apathy as a symptom

Click here to access article by Michael Theodosiadis from Eagainst (Greece).

The author provides a very thought-provoking and disturbing examination of political apathy which afflicts so many people during these times when action is so desperately needed.
...the lack of passion for politics...is dominant in all capitalist authoritarian societies. It is fed by them and easily becomes attached in most of its institutions, expressed through excessive consumerism, religion,...adherence to political parties, lifestyle and commercial sports (soccer, etc).

Why the EU won’t annex Ukraine

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT
Hysterical 24/7 Western spin conveys the impression Ukraine will be annexed by a (mostly bankrupt) EU tomorrow. No so fast!
His argument supports this thesis:
...Ukraine is on the road to become legally bound to NATO’s overall project. Along with other independent analysts, I’ve argued from the start that this whole geopolitical drama is first and foremost about NATO annexing Ukraine.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Revealed: Visitor logs show full extent of Pierre and Pamela Omidyar’s cozy White House ties

Click here to access article by Paul Carr from Pando. 
 To put the numbers in perspective, Omidyar’s six visits compare to four visits during the same period by NBCUniversal chief Stephen Burke, two by Fox News boss Roger Ailes, two by MSNBC’s Phil Griffin, one by New York Times owner Arthur O Sulzberger, and one each by Dow Jones’ Robert Thompson, Gannett/USA Today’s Gracia Martore and Omidyar’s fellow tech billionaire turned media owner, Jeff Bezos.
Although I applaud the evidence the author has dug up regarding media visitors to the White House, I think by focusing so much interest on one tree, the Omidyars, he misses a view of the forest. 

The White House functions as a nerve center for the Empire and is occupied by the directors of the One Percent ruling class. The evidence supplied here illustrates how the latter are so concerned about getting the Empire's stories covered properly that they have these frequent face-to-face meetings and other forms of contacts with media executives. Thus, the directors located in the White House serve as an Orwellian Ministry of Information. (By the way, it doesn't matter who is designated as "President" because whoever this person is, he/she functions as another public relations officer for the Empire.) If we truly had an independent media, do you think we would see such close collaboration?

US Forsakes Gay Saudi Diplomat: A Story of Western Hypocrisy

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer Report.

The Empire's Ministry of Information seems to being achieving new highs in hypocritical news coverage and editorial bias. If it doesn't serve the interests of the Empire, news simply isn't covered. What is served up to us as information is a daily dose of Empire propaganda to keep us wage slaves from revolting, and if necessary, risking our lives to kill anyone who refuses to take orders from them. Cartalucci slams them for their coverage of global gay issues and tells us what is really happening.
While human right crusades are dominated by headlines involving the “homophobic” Russian government and tales of homosexuals being strung up across Iran, there is a larger, more sinister violator of human rights operating right within an intentional, self-imposed media blackhole created by the West. That violator is Saudi Arabia, who not only has outlawed homosexuality, but reserves execution as punishment if caught. 

The Financial Elite and the Global Land Grab

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from New Eastern Outlook. 

It appears from this and other reports that the "next big thing" for capitalist gamblers is placing bets on land. The One Percent are now intent upon literally buying all the surface of the Earth that is worth anything. Welcome, peasants, to the new feudal lord of the global manor.
The global financial crisis, which began in 2008, has significantly altered the way many speculators and financial institutions invest. Rather than taking huge risks with dodgy derivatives like credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities, both of which have proven to be particularly volatile, many speculators have instead begun to invest in the most tangible asset of all: land.

Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people

Click here to access article by Seth Borenstein from The Big Story.

Capitalist politicians discussing global warming (by Isaac Cordal)

If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming.

In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

22M: Madrid Protests on March 22, 2014

Click here to access the dramatic 10:56 video from Global Uprisings.

The video contains numerous scenes of violent clashes between protestors and police. You won't see any candlelight marches here. Perhaps we are seeing a new stage of conflict which borders on insurrection between Europeans and their ruling class enforcers. 
Hundreds of thousands of protesters protested against government imposed austerity measures in Madrid, Spain.
Shortly after dark, protesters and police clashed in central Madrid. 

Kiev Snipers Hired by Maidan Nazi Leaders

Click here to access article by Alexandra Valiente from Libya 360°.

There are an increasing number of articles showing up on alternative websites dealing with the use of snipers in the recent Ukrainian coup. I am posting this one because it provides a useful summary of this evidence and, especially, because it provides a link to the best historical article that I have seen on the use of snipers for regime change projects. (As a rule, I only post current articles on my website.) I highly recommend that you read that article.

The only problem with this posted article is that I found no evidence in the article which supported the headline. We don't know who precisely hired them, but we in alternative websites are gathering considerable evidence that points generally to Empire operatives.

Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of the 21:50m interview with Jeffrey Sommers and Michael Hudson directly from Real News. (If you listen carefully, you will notice that Hudson makes one slip-of-the tongue error which is, no doubt, due to his rapid-fire delivery: "blocking" instead of "backing".)


Click here to access article by Paul Davidson from Real-World Economics Review.
What those who are promoting the notion that Bitcoin is some real, if virtual, money fail to comprehend is that all market transactions involving production and sales in any developed nation are organized through the use of that nation’s money denominated legal contracts.

Money (or currency), whether fiat or backed by gold or silver, is therefore defined as that thing that by delivery discharges all legal contractual obligations. Only the government, as the enforcer of contractual obligations, can determine that thing that is legally MONEY, i.e., what thing(s) will discharge contracts under that nation’s civil law of contracts.
When Bitcoins first made a splash in the media (I think it was nearly a year ago), I immediately thought that it could not be considered legal money. Yet, so much of Wall Street and mainstream media took it seriously. I was extremely puzzled because the control of money is vital to the power of any ruling class and their governments. Any contracts involving such fabricated money would not be enforceable in their courts of law. I wanted to issue a statement explaining why Bitcoins were not legal money, but I thought that others, with far more credentials than I have, would do so. I have had to wait until now with this piece. But, this puzzling phenomenon begs an obvious question: why has Bitcoin been taken so seriously so long by the One Percent ruling class?

I am convinced that it is making it easier for them to move money around any legal regulations that restrict their commerce (for example, illicit drug transactions) and to avoid taxes. But, this is for someone else with far more credentials than I have to write about at any length. If you have followed my thoughts about governments, you will recognize immediately the logic of my following summary statement. 

Because existing governments are controlled by capitalist ruling classes and Bitcoins are very useful to this class, they will exhibit a lot of ambivalence about using the weight of their governments' enforcement authorities to interfere with their use. Of course, this liberal economist cannot, or avoids, making such an explanation.