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 12, 2014

The McCutcheon ruling and zombie democracy in the U.S.

Click here to access article by Ajamu Baraka from CounterPunch and his blog A Voice from the Margins.
...the McCutcheon decision, which makes it easier for the corporate and financial elite to buy elections and candidates, is a serious ruling that conveys a devastatingly simple message: that the furtherance of the neoliberal project and the maintenance of the U.S. Empire require the evisceration of democracy. 

That message has always been clear to those of us on the margins who have never had the luxury of embracing illusion as a way of life. For us, democracy in the U.S. has always been a “zombie democracy”—a rotten facsimile that looked a little like democracy, sounded like democracy and even had some democratic forms, but was never the real thing, never really alive.
His very accurate description of the founding of the US government and its constitution makes clear that from the very beginning the nascent capitalist class who at that time consisted of land speculators like George Washington, slave owners like Thomas Jefferson, bankers like Alexander Hamilton, and merchants like Robert Morris (traded with both sides during the Revolutionary War) successfully established a nation based on capitalism and its sacred component of private ownership of the economy. They looked at the continent, on which they occupied a small part, and saw the huge potential for exploitation of its riches. Only "savages" and the British government stood in their way.  

Capitalist historians like to refer reverently to "the Founding Fathers", but this brief article sets the record straight. The democratic themes they wrote in the Declaration of Independence before the revolution were quickly forgotten once the Founding Fathers succeeded in separating the colonies from Britain. They merely used these themes to induce many ordinary Americans to support their project of establishing a nation under their control. Once this was accomplished, they then secretly conspired to secure their control by writing a new constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation.
The possibility of democracy was aborted by Thomas Jefferson and the white, male, property-owning, settler “revolutionaries” who declared their independence in 1776. It was aborted by the first American coup in Philadelphia in 1787, when men of property ignored the mandate from their state legislatures to strengthen the Articles of Confederation and instead met in secret to produce a document that would solidify their power.  The resulting Constitution consolidated a white, male, property-owning republic that reduced black people to 3/5th of a person, marked the indigenous for genocide and did not mention democracy anywhere in its text. 
Likewise, the European capitalist classes first supported these democratic themes in their battle against the land-owning aristocracy. The success of the US revolutionary movement inspired the French bourgeoisie to use the same strategy in the 1789 French revolution.

The rising capitalist classes of both countries used people like Thomas Paine and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to spread ideas of equality; but after their revolutions were accomplished, their ideas were continued only in their propaganda and indoctrination programs. They held elections to choose leaders, but only property owners were allowed to participate. Since then they have gradually expanded the voting franchise as they perfected their control of the political machinery of elections, instituted indoctrination into education, and spread their propaganda throughout their media. 

Sheldon Adelson's Menagerie

Click here to access 2:02m video by Mark Fiore from his website. (satire)

Sheldon Adelson
In case you missed it, a number of potential Republican presidential candidates went down to Las Vegas to bow at the feet of Sheldon Adelson, democracy-meddling billionaire extraordinaire.  It was a pretty sorry sight as each of the potential candidates tried to out-Israel and out-tough the other as they vied for Adelson's attention.  (And mustn't forget Sheldon bestowing actual awards for being a "great Zionist" in the past.)

Even though ol' Sheldon didn't have a very good track record on his bets last go-round, he has a huge impact on the primaries, even if his horses don't win in the end.  We are witnessing the selling out of democracy to cheesy casino-owners.  (Because, y'know, some people have more free speech than others if they have a few billion to throw around.)

Besides the presidential candidates, Sheldon's casino cash is buying some favorable legislation that would knock out some online gaming competitors.  Thanks, Lindsey Graham, glad to see you're representing your good ol' Southern Baptist constituents!  Enjoy the cartoon, and hold onto your hats now that the Supreme Court just threw more cash into the mix.

Friday, April 11, 2014

How the Media Whitewash the Face of Capitalism

Click here to access article by Patrice Greanville from The Greanville Post.

What is a bit discouraging about this excellent post is that it was written and published in their print edition back in 1982, almost 32 years ago! It's clear that such views didn't make a dent in the American psyche. Even today, many people who are upset about things only want wars to go away. 

Such is the case with Rick Staggenborg, MD who writes today in opposition to wars by explaining that they have something to do with our history since WWII, and something to do with corporate war profiteers and their propaganda. What he writes is all true, but why can't he then take the next step and tie it to the system of capitalism? It seems that he is another victim of not only the propaganda that he writes about, but the whole system of capitalist indoctrination. He has bought into one of the basic myths of this indoctrination that Greanville exposed 32 years ago--that capitalism is based on human nature:
This propaganda equation [myth] is one of the oldest and most effective ideological weapons utilized in defense of capitalism. It pays off handsomely in a number of important ways. ...if capitalism is congruent with “human nature,” then the capitalist system must be the most “natural” and “logical” form of social organization, as people will have a built-in tendency to observe its basic rules.
Of course, these capitalist myths which they have poured into the minds of citizens since birth are not just the result of journalistic media. They are proliferated everywhere: in all education, in entertainment, in our workplaces, etc., repeated endlessly by our peers and families, and it may be in the very air we breath. The fact is, this 24/7 brainwashing is absolutely necessary if the ruling One Percent class is to continue with their system, the goose which lays them so many golden eggs. It is necessary in order to get us to serve them, to stop what we're doing and go off to kill people who are their enemies in foreign lands, to get us to work for paltry wages, to determine what work we do and when, to endure unemployment, poverty, ill health, etc.

We don't have wars merely because of corporate propaganda, but because corporate propaganda is an integral and inevitable part of capitalism.

So, the big question for today is: are we going to continue to be brainwashed by their indoctrination and propaganda, and thereby insure that we continue to be plagued by wars, unemployment, austerity, poverty, etc? There is now much more at stake--think about it: if capitalism continues, we face climate destabilization and the end of the human race along with other species!

CNN's Chicagoland: An 8 Part Miniseries Campaign Commercial For Rahm Emanuel and Urban Neoliberalism

Click here to access article by Bruce A. Dixon from Black Agenda Report.

This new TV series provides an excellent illustration of how our ruling One Percent uses entertainment to indoctrinate us into supporting their agenda. Dixon reveals what this new TV series is really designed to do:
Chicagoland nimbly ignores our capacity for rational thought, aiming instead at our guts and feelings. It shifts rapidly from gritty, compelling image to image, from sports stadiums as economic development tools, to Isaiah Thomas, Magic Johnson & Duane Wade as token sports figures offering “inspiration” and mentoring as the answer to job and education opportunities that don't exist. It depicts implacable urban violence as an existential fact kept at bay by the thin blue line of the city's police. This vision of urban life has a name. It's called neoliberalism.

Under neoliberalism, the problems of poverty and the poor are deemed unsolvable. The neoliberal vision calls upon us all to instead to retool and reform our individual lives, to pull ourselves up by bootstraps or whatever, seek or be role models, mentors and mentees, to adjust our expectations of society and solidarity downward and our positive attitudes upward. That's the unspoken vision Chicagoland is selling.
If you think that this is an extreme example or that you wouldn't encounter this on "public TV", then you are very naive. For example, read this piece entitled "Why Is Public Television Against Public Schools?" in which the author, Peter Dreier, only provides liberal hints to the answer:
PBS once received a significant amount of money from the federal government. But conservatives saw to it that Washington gradually slashed much of that subsidy from what used to be called "educational television." To keep going, PBS stations around the country have relied more and more on financial support not only from "viewers like you" but also from big corporations and their foundations. The people chosen to run PBS and many of its local affiliates are no longer experienced broadcasters but sycophantic fundraisers.

So when it comes to assigning reporters and camerapersons to poke behind the wall of billionaire backing for school privatization, public TV has been, for the most part, missing-in-action.
The fact is, there has never been a real "public TV", that is, a TV organization that supports the interests of the 99 Percent. PBS is under the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and as such is very well integrated with the ruling One Percent. Although local TV stations have some independence, they are run by boards of directors made up of local One Percenters.

From Cheerleader to Enemy of the State

Click here to access article which is an excerpt from a book Radical Peace: Refusing War by William Hathaway posted on World News Trust.

The excerpt gives us an idea of what happens to teachers if they try to teach real facts:
The long, flouncy curls from Judy Davis's cheerleader days are gone. Her straight blonde hair is now cut short. Large blue eyes stand out in a face pale without makeup. Her soft Southern drawl has an undertone of determination. "It's taken me awhile, but now I'm glad to be considered an 'unsuitable influence.' That was how the school board justified my firing. That and 'deviating from the curriculum.' It's like they were implying I was a deviant. And according to their norms, I am."

The 29-year-old was fired for teaching her high school students how U.S. foreign policy has provoked terrorism. This struggle with her school board turned her from a Republican into a revolutionary for peace.
He elicits a number of interesting views from her about the future and activism such as this:
"What do you see happening?" I asked her.

"Guerrilla warfare will gradually defeat the empire overseas, prevent it from expanding. So it'll turn inward and start squeezing its own people more. Since it's inherently unjust, that's the only way it can maintain itself. When we revolt against that, it'll turn fascist. In a couple of generations we'll overthrow the fascism. And then we'll build ... who knows? That's a long ways away, and we have a lot to do until then."
At one point she makes the following statement:
"The founding fathers were just rich men looking after their own interests. Just like our current leaders are. We need to knock these patriarchs off their pedestals.

"They've become masters at recruiting women to serve their interests. Most women politicians are offering us the same old system dressed up in a new outfit, just patriarchy with perfume."
I asked her how she thinks we should oppose patriarchy.
Unfortunately, Hathaway's response seems to frame the incident and the general problem of capitalist ruling class control of education as a cultural problem (together with the sub-headline "Radical Peace is a collection of reports from antiwar activists, the true stories of their efforts to change our warrior culture")--one of patriarchy, and diverts the discussion into her observations about patriarchy.

But, it's clear to me that she doesn't see it that way--women are equally susceptible of supporting capitalism as are men. Patriarchy is just an additional problem that women have to deal with. 

New American Reality: An Empire beyond Salvation

Click here to access article by Ramzy Baroud from Cyrano's Journal.

Baroud surveys the many hot spots in the world and concludes that the Empire's position in the world is very much on the defensive in spite of their recent "victory" in Ukraine. If he is right, we can expect more foreign wars and more repression at home. But then, who knows what opportunities might open up to improve the lot of the 99 Percent at home? We also might get ideas about liberation.
The state of US foreign policy in the Middle East, but also around the world, cannot be described with any buoyant language. In some instances, as in Syria, Libya, Egypt, the Ukraine, and most recently in Palestine and Israel, too many calamitous scenarios have exposed the fault lines of US foreign policy. The succession of crises is not allowing the US to cut its losses in the Middle East and stage a calculated ‘pivot’ to Asia following its disastrous Iraq war.

US foreign policy is almost entirely crippled.

For the Obama administration, it has been a continuous firefighting mission since George W. Bush left office.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Where is the protest? A reply to Graeber and Lapavitsas

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

In this article Roos discusses the apparent decline in protests and finds wanting the explanations of two other intellectual activists. Then he proceeds to offer his own explanation.

I think that activists in Europe and the US have previously protested from a view of social-economic change that lies within the framework of acceptable social change actions permitted by the Western capitalist rule. This form of mass participation in protest on the streets has been met time after time with brutal and subversive actions (infiltration of activist groups with informers, spying on their political meetings, use of agent provocateurs, etc.) which have succeeded in discouraging such actions. These responses by capitalist ruling classes are, I think, partly a result of a great concentration of wealth and power: they no longer fear this type of activism.

Also, I think that their system which requires constant growth is running up against the limits of a finite planet. Thus, they can only formulate policies that impose harsh austerity actions that destroy the social fabric that has produced their wealth and power. Such policies require oppression and control of their resisting populations: the use of violent and subversive actions by their police and armies.

Andre Damon and Barry Grey write in their article "Police killings in America" at the World Socialist Web Site
The ruling class has nothing to offer a population that faces permanent economic insecurity, declining living standards and growing poverty, hunger and homelessness. It lives in mortal fear of the emergence of mass social opposition to its economic and political system.

Its response—in the US and internationally—is to attack democratic rights, throw off the restrictions on its actions bound up with constitutional and democratic processes, and prepare to meet social opposition by means of mass repression and dictatorship.

The “counterinsurgency” methods of mass violence employed in America’s dirty neocolonial wars abroad—in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya—are being adapted for use at home.
I think that in time most people will reach the conclusion that nothing short of a revolution is required, and to start building revolutionary organizations with the avowed purpose of overthrowing the capitalist organization of society and the rule of capitalists. After this consciousness develops, I think then the first order of business is to construct an organized alternative media.

As Damon and Grey conclude in their article:
The class war has to this point been one-sided. The American working class has not yet responded in a mass way. But that will come, sooner than many think. 

Leaked IPCC climate plan to worsen global warming - ecologists

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from The Guardian.

Referring to a leaked report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  to be released next week, the author writes:
Dr Rachel Smolker, co-director of Biofuelwatch, said that the report's embrace of "largely untested" and "very risky" technologies like bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS), will "exacerbate" climate change, agricultural problems, water scarcity, soil erosion and energy challenges, "rather than improving them."
We can expect to see capitalist ruling circles to engage in a desperate search for strategies to deal with the threat of climate destabilization while preserving their ability to use relatively cheap fossil fuels. Such an effort can only produce futile and even dangerous ideas (for example, see this).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Capitalists say the darndest things

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from his blog Systemic Disorder.
It’s no secret that some of the world’s biggest corporations are draining aquifers and reselling tap water at enormous profit. But they want to go further and make paying for water mandatory. Water is simply another “market commodity” in this view — most notoriously propagated by Nestlé S.A. Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe in a six-minute video issued by his company. It’s fair to say that the apparent attempt by Nestlé to project an image of a company soberly grappling with the world’s problems through a stern rationality backfired spectacularly. 

Western-style “Democracy” Unravels in Southeast Asia’s Thailand

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

Cartalucci exposes the Empire's most frequently used propaganda theme and regime-change program they refer to as promoting "democracy, and shows how it has been applied in Thailand. It doesn't matter to Empire agents who they back as promoting "democracy"; it doesn't matter that their stooge in Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, is a convicted criminal and wanted by Thai authorities. He still rules in absentia through his sister by holding carefully managed elections.
Despite Thaksin Shinawatra’s demonstrably destructive policies and his autocratic, brutal style of dictatorship – when his overtly criminal actions were ever called into question, he simply held “elections” to give himself a renewed mandate to remain in office. His success at the polls was due to his iron grip on Thailand’s populous, but sorely undeveloped rural northeast region. An array of government subsidies, cheap loans, literal cash handouts, and a Tammany Hall-style political machine ensured not only victory after victory at the polls, but a growing sense of political and legal impunity.
And, of course, elections = "democracy", according to Empire agents. In this article Cartalucci, who refers to this as a "democracy racket", explains how it has failed in Thailand in contrast to so many other Empire applications elsewhere--for example, in nearby Myanmar (see this).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The FIRST REAL Russian Retaliation for US-led Sanctions: Far More Harmful to…

Click here to access article by Ian Welsh from The 4th Media.
The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar.

If Sechin
[CEO of Russian oil company Rosneft] decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.

It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for the American currency.
Since the regime-change events in Ukraine we are seeing a heating up of inter-capitalist ruling class rivalries. This article explains some steps Russia and other countries are taking to counter the global hegemonic plays of the US-based Empire. 

This scene reminds me so much of what happened during the 1930s when the economies of most of the capitalist world lay in ruin. The appeal of fascist parties for capitalist elites was widespread across the world to deal with rising labor organizing and opposition. They took over in Germany, but also had very significant influence in France, England, Spain, and the US. The US ruling class under Franklin Roosevelt and their British counterparts adopted a more Keynesian approach to deal with their domestic opposition. The ruling elites of France and most of mainland Europe were so totally divided that they easily succumbed to German invasions. The contest devolved into a contest for world domination by these two camps which ended in the conflagration of WWII.

I think we could very well expect the same result today except for the fact of nuclear weapons. Capitalist love destroying things because they can then invest in reconstruction. However, with nuclear weapons the destruction is far too much and unpredictable. No sane person would contemplate using such weapons. (Let us pray that our masters maintain their sanity.) Therefore, we are seeing these battles waged on the economic front, but we can also expect to see more regime-change attempts from the Empire.

The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene

Click here to access article by Kyle Dropp, Joshua D. Kertzer and Thomas Zeitzoff from The Washington Post.
Does it really matter whether Americans can put Ukraine on a map? Previous research would suggest yes: Information, or the absence thereof, can influence Americans’ attitudes about the kind of policies they want their government to carry out and the ability of elites to shape that agenda.

In this article published in a prime ruling class newspaper, I detect a peculiar satisfaction in reporting on the relationship between ignorance and citizen support of US military adventures. Of course, it wasn't really a discovery as the authors seem to suggest. Our ruling class has known this for a long time. That is precisely why they have always engaged in dumbing down Americans through mindless entertainment, propaganda that passes as news reports, and indoctrination that passes as education in schools.

Don't Pray for Venezuela: The Struggle Against Contemporary Fascism

Click here to access article by Chris Gilbert from MRZine.

The author provides an excellent attack on the Popular Front strategy that still lingers in Venezuela because of, what Gilbert argues is, an exaggerated fear of US intervention. The Popular Front strategy did have some (although, I think mistaken) rational basis its promotion by Stalin in the lead-up to WWII: to provide additional time for the Soviet Union to prepare for the inevitable attack from Nazi Germany. However, this strategy is now well past its for-sale-by-date, but yet it still is pursued by many would-be revolutionary leaders or leftists as we have seen in Venezuela.

The Anti-Empire Report #127

Click here to access article by William Blum from his blog.

Blum gives his thoughts about the recent renewal of the Cold War and some related historical material, and observations about the ongoing subversive attacks on Cuba.

Rebuilding the commons through economic democracy

Click here to access article by Gary Engler from the New Commune-ist Manifesto (Canada). 
When commons were common, through tens of thousands of years, people mostly developed technology and systems of usage that respected the land, ocean, river, forest, grassland and creatures that lived there. They did this because it was in their collective self-interest to do so. This was reflected in their religions and how their societies were organized, including the ways people thought of themselves.

Mutual respect, independence, collective responsibility, reciprocity, community and what we would now call a sense of ecology were encouraged because all served a society that held its resources in common. 

Constructing the North Korean Revolution

Click here to access this book review by Gregory Elich of a book entitled Everyday Life in the North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950, by Suzy Kim, posted on MRZine.
...Suzy Kim has filled a major gap in the history of North Korea.  In the West, it has become customary to fixate on the top leadership in historical coverage of the subject.  That approach stems partly from lack of access to North Korean archives, but perhaps more strongly from an inclination to smooth over complexities in order to supply a simplified narrative that is easily digestible and harmonious with the imperatives of Western policy.

Kim has drawn upon North Korean materials captured by the U.S. military during the Korean War, housed at the National Archives II in College Park, Maryland.  These documents have enabled her to provide a unique perspective on the early years of the North Korean revolution.
To argue that there is "a major gap in the history of North Korea" for Western audiences is one of the biggest understatements of the year. Whenever such gaps exist, Empire propagandists see as a splendid opportunity to fill in the gaps with their Empire perspectives. The bigger the gap, the bigger the lies they tell.

Of course, all propaganda contain elements of truth. This is so in order for the lies to be believed. Thus, rare books like this can help us separate out all the lies. 

Another very excellent researcher and author is Prof. Bruce Cumings who has written several outstanding books on Korean history and numerous scholarly articles.

Monday, April 7, 2014

White House Lies to EU about US Gas Supply

Click here to access article by William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.
The White House and State Department have engaged in brazen lying to EU governments regarding the ability of the US to supply more than enough natural gas to replace Russian gas deliveries. Recent statements by US President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are so patently false that it betrays an incredible desperation in Washington over the situation in Ukraine versus Moscow. Or it suggests that Washington is so out of touch with any factual reality she simply doesn’t care what she says. Either way, it suggests an unreliable diplomatic partner for the EU. 
That this is a lie, there is no doubt. Gail Tverberg, another specialist in all things energy, in a recent article entitled "The Absurdity of US Natural Gas Exports" has laid out considerable evidence which confirms Engdahl's claim about US officials lying.

Engdahl catches the Empire agents in such a big lie that one has to wonder why they made up such a big fib. However, the place where Obama made his statement might suggest the answer.
After his recent meeting with EU leaders Obama issued the incredible statement that the secret Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being secretly negotiated behind closed doors by the major private multinational companies would make it easier for the United States to export gas to Europe and help it reduce its dependency on Russian energy: “Once we have a trade agreement in place, export licenses for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today’s geopolitical environment,” Obama stated.
Thus, it seems that the neoliberal project of bringing Europe into the TTIP is a top priority. Also, it appears that Empire policy makers want to promote more European dependency on the US in addition to punishing Russia.

McCutcheon took us back in time, but it might just birth the next Occupy

Click here to access article by Robert B Reich from The Guardian. 

Reich, the former Sec. of Labor under President Clinton, frequently writes for publications expressing a quintessential liberal point of view. He is on the left end of the liberal spectrum in the US because he is a strong advocate of labor rights and civil liberties. Generally, he is most concerned about the growing fact of income inequality in the US and the growing evidence of police-state type measures. 

In this article he expresses concerns about the influence of money in elections which was just made more convenient by a recent Supreme Court decision that prompted his article. As in this article, he has written many articles expressing concern over the rightward drift in US politics. Generally over the past 50 years, the whole political spectrum has moved from the liberal end to the right. He, like other liberals, are mostly concerned about the political stability of the capitalist ruling class given such aggressive attacks on the poor, on civil liberties, and as we see here, on the strong influence of money in the electoral system. 

To understand the US ruling class power structure, it is helpful to acknowledge that there are differences among those supposedly elected to represent Americans, but they are always sponsored by the One Percent.  One must not be confused about party labels because each party has members with varying views on issues. Parties largely exist to provide the appearance of choice, therefore the trappings of "democracy". Although individual political agents do express differences on various issues, their view are always within limits tolerated by the ruling capitalist class. If agents stray too far from these limits, they soon lose their offices--for example, Sen. Frank Church who aggressively sought to investigate and control the activities of the CIA and NSA. I distinguish basically three political positions within this ruling class: 1) neoconservatives, 2) liberals, and 3) old-fashioned conservatives. They all strongly support a capitalist system. (No other political orientation is allowed any influence.)

The first group, the neoconservatives, have now largely taken control of US society. This takeover roughly dates from the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. Their outlook tends to be strongly influenced by imperialist policies (spreading the Empire's capitalist domination over as much of the world as possible) has a strong component of Zionist influence, and an aggressive anti-working class/pro-business orientation domestically. They also advocate strong authoritarian policies to control dissent. 

The second group, the liberals, are characterized by a concern for civil liberties, pretend to be concerned about the preservation of social welfare systems and the interests of labor unions, and are more oriented toward the interests of the middle class (managers, professionals, and highly skilled technologists). Generally speaking, the want to preserve some remnants of the social contract. Most liberals only pay lip service to concerns about climate destabilization. This group presently has little influence over government policies. Liberals largely serve the function of providing alternative views which ruling class media publish to provide the appearance of differing points of views in the government. 

The third group, the old-fashioned conservatives, are a vanishing breed of politicos. They are against the imperial adventures of the neoconservatives, they have some concerns about civil liberties and a growing police state, but otherwise they mostly want to promote domestic private enterprise. I would include libertarians such as Ron Paul in this group, but figures such as Pat Buchanan and Paul Craig Roberts best express their politics. 

Addendum, 4-8-2014. The term "libertarian" is a very confusing concept in the US. People such as David Koch identify themselves as libertarian. I think the term has been appropriated by many of the right wing who are, in fact, fascists (they promote the unfettered rule of corporations in a police state). "Libertarian" sounds a lot nicer.

Dear Humanity, Time Is Running Out

Click here to access article by Jon Queally from Common Dreams.

Although under a lot of political pressure, scientists in capitalist countries keep telling the world that humanity faces serious threats from climate destabilization. The means to solve these problems are within humanity's technological abilities, but the political control of capitalist elites prevents any significant implementation--such actions interfere with corporate profits. Now scientists are telling us that time is running out. 

Still, judging by the authoritative US ruling class newspaper, the Washington Post, our masters have their heads stuck in the sand of cold war politics. They want to drill like never before in order to destabilize the Russian economy. (See also this.) They want more production of natural gas domestically to provide more energy to Europe to lessen their dependence on Russian energy. Russia needs to be punished for standing in the way of the capitalist Empire's agenda to control the world.

What is most startling of all, scientists seem to be aware that more than just a reduction in fossil fuel use is required: they recognise that basic changes in the structures of societies are needed! Referring to a report to be released next week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the author writes: 
 ...the report will say, society will not only need to rapidly reduce use of fossil fuels, but also revolutionize the structures of its economies, food systems, and energy grids.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hersh: Turkey Behind Sarin Attacks In Syria

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

Bernhard provides an excellent summary to the much longer article by Seymour Hersh carried in the London Review of Books. Hersh essentially provides an update on all the Empire's secret machinations of the their direct, and indirect support via Turkey, of the jihadist opposition forces in Syria. The crucial events were the bombing of the US embassy and CIA offices in Bengazi, Libya which brought a halt to direct weapons transfer to Turkey (the "rat line"), and the desperate act of Turkish authorities to instigate the false-flag operation of the gas attack supposedly launched by the Syrian government.

It is always interesting and a challenge to tease out the actual decision-makers in the US government. Notice that Hersh's unnamed, but trusted, sources frequently use the expression "the White House" in reference to decisions made, although occasionally the reference is to Obama. It is important to be aware that the White House is not only the residence of the president, but also contains the powerful National Security Council and the White House staff. Obama functions formally, and probably literally, as chairman of the NSC. 

From my observations over many years, I have concluded that the president's main role, especially for the last few decades, is largely that of a public relations officer for the ruling class's government. It is unclear to me who functions as primary "deciders" within the National Security Council. Notice in one part of the article that the Chief of the White House Staff apparently made a very important decision independently:
In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.
And, behind the National Security Council and the While House staff functions the general foreign policy making center of the US, the Council on Foreign Relations.

Afghan Elections for Another Fake Regime

Click here to access article by Eric Margolis from Common Dreams. 
Afghanistan’s national election held this week is a sham. A group of candidates, handpicked by the US, will pretend to compete in an election whose outcome has already been determined – by Washington.

The candidates include US groomed politicians, and drug-dealing warlords from the Tajik and Uzbek north. Chief among them, Rashid Dostam, a major war criminal and principal CIA ally who ordered the massacre of over 2,000 Taliban prisoners.
Margolis focuses only on Afghanistan, but he should make clear that democracy = elections is a prime program method that the Empire uses to legitimatize governments that serve their capitalist interests. I want to make clear that this method applies to the US as well, although the process by which they implement it is a little more sophisticated here in the US and in other advanced capitalist governments.

Looking at the candidates and their backgrounds as described by Margolis, you can see that the Empire will use anybody who is willing to serve the Empire, and then use elections to "certify" them as "democratically elected" and legitimate. Following such "elections" the Empire's media always portray their regimes as democratic which justify all kinds of policies from invading their country to save "democracy", to stationing huge military bases on their land, and to justify giving foreign aid to the regime.

We politically aware activists can view this with cynicism, but it works with the vast majority of American people. Thus, the only way we, and other people, can make progress against this capitalist Empire juggernaut and all ruling class governments is by establishing our own media, and using it to raise the political consciousness of people. There are elements of alternative media all over the place, but they are underfunded, and unorganized. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate destabilization, widespread poverty and misery, wars between contending capitalist regimes, and police states, we must direct our efforts to bring about our own organized and sufficiently funded media. This is our basic task on which all other progressive changes depend.