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, April 5, 2014

Capitalism's intellectual sell-outs

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from Rabble (Canada). 
The choices offered young writers, journalists and academics who aspire to earn a decent living at their craft are not great today. There are many more opportunities to voice opinions supporting the system than to criticize it. If you do get a job in a shrinking newsroom or social science department the best way to get ahead is always to support the existing power structure, not oppose it. Arguing in favour of the rich and powerful certainly pays better.
Those who sell their integrity to intellectual pimps of the ruling class are serving the criminal organization of capitalism. But, it pays well and offers promising career prospects along with social status--what more could a young man or woman want? (sarcasm)

In contrast, for young writers, journalists and academics who choose to maintain their integrity and their humanity, they can only look forward--at best--to low paying jobs, rented apartments, being single with no family, and low social status in the dominant culture. Such people have two choices: 1) drop out of society or 2) if they want to live meaningful lives, they must choose to become revolutionaries by dedicating their lives to destroying the organized criminal organization known as capitalism, by any and every means possible and effective, and building a new society based on truth and people power.

Top 0.1% wealth share in the U.S., 1913-2012

Click here if you wish to access source of this posting from Real-World Economics Review.

This chart, from the work of Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman [pdf], illustrates the large increase in top 0.1% wealth share since the 1980s (top 0.1% = wealth above $20 million today. In other words, the inequality in the distribution of wealth in the United States is back to what it was just prior to the first Great Depression. 

Amazing Graphic Shows Chicago’s Middle Class Disappear Before Your Eyes

Click here to access article and view the graphic by from his blog City Notes. 
...the obvious and immediate reaction to these maps is to see them as a direct consequence of rising income inequality. ...but the researchers from which much of this data came have already discovered that income segregation has actually risen faster than inequality.

...here you go: the disappearance of Chicago’s middle-class and mixed-income neighborhoods since 1970, measured by each Census tract’s median family income as a percentage of the median family income for the Chicago metropolitan region as a whole.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ex-CIA agent reveals how Venezuelan “students” get putschist training

Click here to access article originally posted on a Venezuelan website, and translated into English by Sabina Becker (Canadian) for her blog News of the Restless.

This is a fairly lengthy interview conducted in Cuba by a reporter from Chávez Vive, which I assume is a Venezuelan magazine, with a former Cuban double-agent who knows intimately how the Empire's regime-change agents function. Although the translation of it suffers a bit in places, I think there is a tremendous amount of valuable information we can learn from the interview about the Empire's regime-change strategies and tactics that we've seen most recently in operation in Ukraine, and in the past played a role in the Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring uprisings.
Raúl Capote is a Cuban. But not just any Cuban. In his youth, he was caught up by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They offered him an infinite amount of money to conspire in Cuba. But then something unexpected for the US happened. Capote, in reality, was working for Cuban national security. From then on, he served as a double agent. Learn his story, by way of an exclusive interview with Chávez Vive, which he gave in Havana.

Egypt and the Right to Truth

Click here to access article by Mohamed El-Shewy from Muftah

Obviously Egypt's January 25th (2011) uprising, although it removed one dictator, did not succeed in a full social revolution. The same power remains intact in the form of the Egyptian military which is largely a puppet regime having been armed, trained, and financed by the US. During the course of the political events since there have been numerous human rights violations committed by succeeding governments, all of which remain largely covered up. This article is devoted to the importance and difficulty in uncovering the truth about these violations.
This issue raises questions regarding the ability of repressive governments to engage in legitimate processes of truth-seeking. Events in Egypt over the past three years serve as a stark reminder of this problem.

Successive governments have sought to control the narrative of events since the fall of former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. This manipulation of truth can easily lead to a rise in collective paranoia and scapegoating, as without truth, “society will continue to live in confusion and illusion.”
However, I would like to argue that truth-seeking is vitally important before such human rights violations occur, and this can only happen in egalitarian societies. In other words, without a political climate that supports truth-telling, human rights violations are likely to eventually occur. And, this cannot happen in class-structured societies which--almost by definition--make such violations happen at sometime during their rule. 

This is obviously true because they have established one segment, their own class, in control all of society to serve their interests. It is in the DNA of humans to resist such an arrangement; thus it is imperative for the ruling segment to indoctrinate its subjects in the virtues of their rule, or to disguise the fact of their rule, and to suppress any truths about it being unjust. Thus, I would alter one sentence in this article to establish an important political principle:
A typical facet of authoritarian regimes [ruling classes] however, is their enthusiasm for writing and rewriting history and controlling the truth for the purposes of self-legitimisation.

How climate pain is being spun into corporate gain

Click here to access article by Fred Pearce from New Scientist. 

You will never guess what "the next big thing" is for capitalists. Climate destablization!

Pearce reviews a new book entitled Windfall: The booming business of global warming by McKenzie Funk in which Funk describes how capitalists see many profit-making opportunities offered by climate destablilization.
... journalist McKenzie Funk tells the story of the people and corporations trying to profit from climate change. Many of them don't want to halt its progress, they want to bring it on.

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold

Click here if you wish to access the original posting by Abby Zimet from Common Dreams.
Aiming to create awareness of today's estimated 27 million slaves around the world "hidden in plain sight," the folks at the Freedom For All Foundation have been holding slave auctions in New York City as part of their "Stop the Nightmare" campaign. See the chilling one on Wall Street, and the stunned looks of spectators. And these "slaves" are young adults; real sex trafficking victims can be as young as 12.

Liberal activists like to do actions like this, but I would like to see activists do something much more radical: an auction for wage-slaves. All they would need to do is label each person's national and/or regional origin, hold the auction in terms of hourly wages and benefits, and have worker-slaves auction themselves off to corporations. People from poorer countries/regions would under bid those labeled as being from richer countries/regions. This would dramatically illustrate the reality of  corporations pitting workers against each other all over the world to work for them at the lowest wages and benefits.

After all, is wage-slavery such a great advance over classic slavery? Capitalists would have you believe that this is "freedom"! But, what kind of freedom is this if a small segment of the population owns all the tools which workers made in the past, and they won't let present day workers use them unless they compete to be employed by capitalists for wages in a labor market? Freedom to starve? Freedom to live under a bridge?

Also, think about the advantages of classic slavery. If some person or corporation has purchased you in order to work on their property, they have an investment in you and are likely to take good care of you like they do with the machinery they own. Thus, they are likely to maintain you in good health, train you, and provide you with shelter so that they can keep exploiting the value you produce, recover their investment, and make a profit. That isn't the case with wage-slavery where they can simply and immediately replace you with someone else who is in better health and has more training purchased at their own expense.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

No Fooling - When a Retired Conservative Politician Warns About Oligarchy...

Click here to access article by Roy M. Poses MD from Health Care Renewal. 

From time to time we hear from One Percent insiders some concerns about the growing income and wealth gap in the US. They are worried that the hoi polloi will think that there is a growing condition of social injustice in our country and that notions about democracy might even be fake. In other words, the jig will be up for the ruling class. The author found another agent of the One Percent who has such misgivings who said this:
When we conclude that in reality our government is controlled by the rich and super-rich, not the people, we will experience a great legitimacy crisis; our government will no longer feel legitimate to us, and thus it will not receive the deference that legitimate authority is entitled to. Lawlessness and disorder will follow.
Oh, now I see--he's worried that we will come to his home and take his toys away!

The Shocking Rise of Wealth Inequality: Is it Worse Than We Thought?

Click here to access article by Jordan Weissmann from Slate.

The author's examination of wealth and income data suggests some new insights about the growing gap between socio-economic classes in the US:
Forget the 1 percent. The winners of this race, according to Zucman and Saez, have been the 0.1 percent. Since the 1960s, the richest one-thousandth of U.S. households, with a minimum net worth today above $20 million, have more than doubled their share of U.S. wealth, from around 10 percent to more than 20 percent. Take a moment to process that. One-thousandth of the country owns one-fifth of the wealth. By comparison, the entire top 1 percent of households takes in about 22 percent of U.S. income, counting capital gains.

Conditionally yours: An analysis of the policy conditions attached to IMF loans

Click here to access article from Eurodad.
Loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) largely come with policy change conditions attached – conditions that the IMF has played a significant role in developing. .... The IMF claims to have limited its conditions to critical reforms agreed by recipient governments. However, the worrying findings of this research suggest that the IMF is going backwards – increasing the number of structural conditions that mandate policy changes per loan, and remaining heavily engaged in highly sensitive and political policy areas.  
I think one can ignore the last part of the article which focuses on how the IMF should function.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Wall Street settlements and the new aristocracy

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

The article provides a good summary of the most obvious crimes committed by Wall Street financial organizations and how the ruling class's legal institutions dealt with them.
The settlements themselves were worked out between the banks and their regulators so as to have the maximum public relations effect, creating the appearance that the banks were being held accountable while minimizing the financial impact on the companies. The banks write off the fines—many of which are tax deductible—as part of the “cost of doing business.”

Not only have no top bankers been prosecuted, no major US banks have been broken up or nationalized.

The EyeOpener Report- Sibel Edmonds Examines the Turkish False Flag Leak

Click here to access post of a 12:33m video with James Corbett interviewing Sibel Edmonds regarding the recent "leak" of a false flag conspiracy involving Turkey.

Warning: This report is for advanced students of covert operations and dirty tricks as well as people knowledgeable of recent Turkish politics. For those of you who qualify, this interview provides a rich source of 1) understanding how Western media provides extensive propaganda coverage for deep political machinations, 2) an explanation of recent Turkish political events and the production of a leak manufactured to influence recent Turkish elections, and 3) and an explanation of how this "leak" provides an unintended positive consequence of alerting people to the existence of false-flag operations.

For those of you whose knowledge of Turkish politics in relation to Empire operations is weak, you can bring yourselves up-to-speed by a comprehensive review here of background material from this website. 

As many of you know, Sibel Edmonds is an FBI whistleblower who worked for the FBI in 2001 and 2002 as a Turkish-English translator of highly classified communications between the two countries. As such she is highly qualified to write and speak of such matters. She also has a strong background in Turkey and the Middle East where she was born and raised. From Wikipedia we learn:
The daughter of an Iranian Azerbaijani father and Turkish mother, Edmonds lived in Iran and then Turkey before coming to the United States as a student in 1988. Fluent in Turkish, Persian, English and Azerbaijani, Edmonds earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University and her master's in public policy and international commerce from George Mason University.

Secret History: Operation Gladio

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit to read his introduction for a 1992 documentary film on Operation Gladio and view his posting of the 2hr25m YouTube video.
The following two-and-a-half hour BBC documentary may not be of the best visual quality, but is nonetheless vital viewing for anyone wanting to understand how Europe was clandestinely “rebuilt” from the ashes of the Second World War in preparation for the Cold War.
Every serious activist must learn about the Empire's strategies and related tactics, especially those that were employed in Europe following WWII under a CIA program known as "Operation Gladio". These secret activities laid the foundation for the more sophisticated Empire regime-change programs that we have seen operating most recently in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Ukraine. Others have argued that the "Color Revolutions"  and the "Arab Spring" uprisings were "engineered" using such methods. Indeed, the evidence the latter have uncovered is considerable and substantial.

Radical U.N. Report Promotes Democratic Control of Food and an End to Corporate Domination

Click here to access article by Sonali Kolhatkar from Truthdig. 
A new report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the “Right to Food” took aim at the entire basis on which food is produced and distributed on a global scale. Reflecting the type of progressive analysis of our food system from experts like Vandana Shiva and Michael Pollan, report author Olivier De Schutter called for an undermining of large agribusinesses and an infusion of democratic control.
Although the report’s recommendations are revolutionary, news of its release went largely unreported in the major U.S. media.  
Of course, the recommendations seem equally valid for the rest of the economy, and the author hints at this with this statement:
Like other basic human needs such as water, shelter and health care, our food shouldn’t be subject to the drive for profit. In calling for democratic control of our food, De Schutter and Patel are threatening the business interests of some of the world’s largest and wealthiest corporations.
However, she ends the paragraph with an extremely understated, or else very naïve, recommendation for action:
Given that De Schutter’s report has been submitted to the highest international representatives of civil society, it has the potential to effect change, but only if there is enough pressure from below.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In each other we trust: coining alternatives to capitalism

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.

Wow! I'm a bit overwhelmed by the many insights offered by the article and its abundant links which I've only begun to mine. I used the verb "to mine" deliberately to suggest that this article contains a virtual goldmine of insights on the subject of money. This subject which has been brought into popular consciousness by experiments with alternative currencies, particularly the Bitcoin. The understanding of money has been long obscured by ruling classes which have always benefited by using money to dominate and exploit their subordinate classes.

About four or five years ago I became aware of the importance of money in maintaining class rule, and my readings and study of the subject only deepened my conviction that it was a primary instrument of oppression used by ruling classes. Still the scarcity of current information seemed like a barrier to further understanding. I couldn't understand why so few people on the left engaged in the study of this vital topic.

Apparently, I have been looking in the wrong places, because this article makes clear to me that there has been an explosion of interest in this subject in the past few years. Now there are many people looking into it and discovering new insights which  are being shared with others. Roos was prompted to write this article after attending one such sharing event which he attended last weekend in Amsterdam: the MoneyLab conference organized by the Institute of Network Cultures.

Syria’s Victory Is Turning Point For Western Global Hegemony

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

The author continues to provide articles from a quintessentially geopolitical point of view and which offer brilliant analyses of the ongoing competition between power structures and ruling classes. To be sure, the most aggressive of these contenders for dominance in today's world is the US-led Empire, and, Cartalucci rightfully condemns their actions while favoring the lessor evils of more benign contenders such as China and Russia.
While the West compounds its growing impotence globally by insisting on the continued pursuit of its failed unipolar model built on achieving global hegemony, nations like Russia and China insist on mutual partnerships with other nations in a multipolar world – neither dictating nor violating the sovereignty of any nation beyond its borders.
While I admire his brilliant efforts at explicating these contests, I don't see that he is otherwise contributing much to the establishment of genuine people power which can only exist in classless societies. I am most troubled by his continued framing of the uprisings in the popularly referred to "Arab Spring" countries beginning in 2011 as US-engineered. By painting them with this one brush, he loses the many nuances of these uprisings that contained genuine, popular struggles of working people to achieve more power in their societies.

It’s very easy to get onto the terrorist database, and impossible to get off it

Click here to access article by Mary O’hara from Vice via Climate Connections (better format).

Lauren Regan, executive director of Oregon’s Civil Liberties Defense Center, offered some observations on this subject:
“In the last several years, you see young, very young activists who are 19 years old and doing their first protest, those people now have an FBI number.” ....

“One of the biggest impacts on civil liberties is the chilling effect on normal people,” she added. “Putting everyday people on these watchlists, the effect of that is ‘be afraid of being branded a terrorist if you go to a single protest.’” Regan believes this is the point of the operation: “The volume of the information they’re collecting, most of that information isn’t useful to the feds, but the paranoia that the collection instills is useful.”

Monday, March 31, 2014

National Endowment for Democracy and North Korean Regime Change

Click here to access article by Dae-Han Song & Christine Hong from Critical Asian Studies.  

Because we real-democracy advocates and ordinary citizens of the world have been witnessing one "regime change" after another often resulting in failed states and other negative consequences, it is of interest to all of us to study this phenomenon carefully. This fairly lengthy article which applies to regime change efforts directed toward North Korea provides an excellent source of information about the Empire's propaganda efforts directed by NGOs like National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and their application against North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK).

Critical Asian Studies is an academic journal and as such uses academic wordage which in some instances obscures meaning for ordinary people. However, I don't think the article is significantly offputting to the average educated reader. And, it offers a much needed, critical look at both the operations of NED in general, and its role specifically in ongoing attempts at regime in North Korea. The article is also broken down into sections conveniently enabling the reader to pick and choose which sections are most interesting.

You will learn that "democracy promotion" became the new theme that was adopted most seriously by NED to provide cover for US imperial propaganda which is a very important component in the overall regime change strategy of the US Empire. Propaganda has always been used by Empire agents since WWII, but this new theme was adopted to replace anti-communist propaganda which outgrew its usefulness as the Cold War was ending. 

Various components of their regime change strategy package is starting to be noticed by many political activists on the left especially with the recent successes Empire agents have achieved in Ukraine, Libya, Iraq, and the ongoing attempt in Syria. The best information about this strategy that I've found online is contained in a film study of the Romanian Revolution of 1989 by Susanne Brandstätter entitled "Checkmate - Strategy of a Revolution" that is available for viewing in a series of YouTube videos listed at Cassiopaea Forum website.

Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come

Click here to access article by Justin Gillis from The New York Times (free registration required).

I try to avoid articles that lie behind paywalls and registration-walls; but given that this crucial topic is causing all kinds of headaches for the ruling capitalist classes, I thought it best to see how a leading Empire publication reacted to another report just released from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a prestigious UN research group. (Other current postings of this report are here and here.) 

First of all, I found no mention in this article (or any other articles) that the capitalist system is any kind of factor driving this threat to human existence. That causal factor is clearly off the table around which sit representatives of the dominant ruling capitalist classes. So, how do they deal with a report that predicts so many dire consequences of climate change destabilization that are already starting to happen in many parts of the world?

The emphasis is all on adaptation with some general comments thrown in about the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels. But their record during the past 20 years regarding fossil fuel usage makes it obvious that our masters have given up on the latter option simply because their system requires growth which, in turn, requires easily available, and relatively cheap fossil fuels. So we find reassuring paragraphs like the following in this NY Times' article:
The experts did find a bright spot, however. Since the group issued its report in 2007, it has found growing evidence that governments and businesses around the world are starting extensive plans to adapt to climate disruptions, even as some conservatives in the United States and a small number of scientists continue to deny that a problem exists.

“I think that dealing effectively with climate change is just going to be something that great nations do,” said Christopher B. Field, co-chairman of the working group that wrote the report, and an earth scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif.
So, what do they have in mind as adaptations? I could find only two examples in this article: build higher walls to protect critical infrastructure from rising sea levels, and "improved crop varieties and farming techniques". In a Guardian article, one fellow recommended insurance policies!

Then I noticed that authorities were so concerned about some dire parts of this report that they simply deleted them from reports that would be read by the "deciders".
[The report] cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries.

The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders. It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during a dayslong editing session in Yokohama.

The edit came after several rich countries, including the United States, raised questions about the language, according to several people who were in the room at the time but did not wish to be identified....

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Managing disorder: towards a global state of control?

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution.
Refusing to tackle the causes of our troubles and allow public space for dissent, the neoliberal state is sliding inexorably towards authoritarianism.
Of course, the new World Order, a neoliberal order, cannot "tackle the causes of our troubles" because their order is designed to serve only the One Percent and their addictions to wealth and power. If they were to address the "root causes" of our troubles, they would have to abolish the capitalist system; they would have to commit suicide as a class with special privileges; they would have to give up their ownership and control of the economy and reconstitute it as a social property under genuinely democratic social control. Because they can't fool the people forever, we are seeing the inevitable resort to violence to maintain their rule.  

We of the 99 Percent have two choices: 1) complete submission to the rule of a tiny minority in a police state, acceptance of a future of deteriorating living conditions, and the destruction of our ecosystem, or 2) we can dedicate our lives to a thorough regime change and construct a classless society controlled by ordinary, engaged citizens. Number one might seem easier, but ultimately it will end with very tragic consequences. 

Supporter Destroys the Illusions of The Fake Left [sic]

Click here if you wish to access the source of this post from StormCloudsGathering.  

In just four minutes Carey Wedler, a former Obama supporter, cuts right through the corporate branding and describes the administration as it really is. Her message, though directed at Barack himself, is actually a challenge to the left [liberals]. Are you going to keep silent? Are you going to keep covering for this administration's blatant crimes? Or do you have enough integrity to admit you were bamboozled by slick marketing campaign? The emperor wears no clothes. You can stop clinging to his imaginary coattails.
This post illustrates how so many Americans have a warped political perspective. Wedler, in this video, and like so many American liberals, think of themselves and Obama supporters as being on the left. She also sees contemporary problems as caused by "the institution of government". At least she understands, unlike many Americans, that it doesn't matter who is in office--we still get the same government. 

This dramatic shift of the political spectrum to the right has been accomplished first by the massive attacks on the genuine left following WWII during the McCarthy period when real left people were effectively purged by political and legal harassment and loss of their careers. Others, like teachers, had to sign a loyalty oath. In fact, in California and a few other states, you still must do so to obtain employment as a teacher (see this and this). Since then, widespread indoctrination in the schools, media, and movie industry have finished the job of turning people who ask serious questions about social justice and the capitalist system into liberals who merely want a kinder, gentler form of capitalism

NYT Fails to Cover Civilization Collapse

Click here to access article by Michael M’Gehee from the NYT eXaminer.

Referring to a recently published and rigorous scientific study funded by NASA on the prospects of a complete collapse in civilization which was not reported in the NY Times, M’Gehee writes:
This is very alarming.

While various news agencies around the world quickly picked up and reported the study, the New York Times has yet to provide any coverage.

Times’ readers should wonder why it is that the “paper of record” does not find the prospects of a full-collapse of civilization “fit to print.”
The NY Times is a prime ruling class newspaper, and as such, the material it prints must never lead one to question the system which gives so much power and wealth to this ruling class.

M’Gehee selects some choice quotes from the study.

Understanding the intellectual whores of capitalism

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from New Commune-ist Manifesto.
The choices offered young writers, journalists and academics who aspire to earn a decent living at their craft are not great today. There are many more opportunities to voice opinions supporting the system than to criticize it. If you do get a job in a shrinking newsroom or social science department the best way to get ahead is always to support the existing power structure, not oppose it. Arguing in favour of the rich and powerful certainly pays better.

And in a time when the Left seldom confronts capitalism, confining its criticisms to tinkering around the edges, rather than offering a vision of an alternative system, should it be a surprise that the easiest route to intellectual success is selling out to the highest bidder? 

Brainwashed The Indoctrinated West

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from CounterPunch. 
Now, please, I am not trying to be funny and I am not trying to play with words: I am honestly wondering… I am humbly asking: “Are people in the West, particularly in Europe… are they pretending that they don’t know what is happening in Syria, Venezuela, Thailand and now, particularly, in Ukraine? Or have they simply turned into a cynical assembly of brainwashed degenerates?

Where is that fabled diversity? Where is intellectual courage?