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, May 24, 2014

“Finance is a Power Game”

Click here if you wish to access the edited transcript featuring financial journalist Lars Schall's 50 minute interview with author Naomi Prins. (Note: One should have at least a rough knowledge of the history of finance in the US in order to follow this interview.)

Prins is a person who had a career in banking, became disillusioned with all the scandals she witnesses, and started a deep examination of the roots of the crises and the realities that lay behind them. 

All of her findings suggest a powerful group of banking families who use their close ties, usually money ties, with government officials to increase both their power and their wealth. It is a history starting from 1907 of the financial sector which lies just behind the industrial power of capitalism, where the former's power is based on the control of money (stored wealth) and where it is used, and the latter is based on the ownership of productive facilities which generates wealth. Together they make up the capitalist class whose power is based on the private ownership of capital. But, it is the control and ownership of money that makes up the most power segment of the ruling capitalist class.

She also explains how the banksters have undergone a major shift in their ambitions and perspectives since the 1970s when the US dollar went off the gold standard and was replaced with petrodollars. (See "Dollar fiat money" in an article at this link for further details.) 

Her studies provide an empirical validation of much of Marxism. Although she does not use his theories or terms in her studies, her findings prove the class nature of power based on private ownership of wealth in the US and throughout the world.

Down With Western ‘Democracy’! More Than a Voting Booth

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from CounterPunch.

Vltchek provides some great insights and many examples of the West, under the control of capitalists (although he doesn't make that explicit), using the historic dream of real democracy of billions across the globe to manipulate people into serving ruling capitalist class interests.


Click here to access article and a great satirical cartoon video by Mark Fiore from his website.
We have to decrease competition in order to increase competition!  Sit back, relax and get ready for humongous corporations to explain how fewer choices mean more and better choices.  (Or so goes one of the arguments in support of the AT&T and DirecTV deal.)

FCC Responds to Net Neutrality Ruling

Click here if you wish to access original posting from The Second City. (A parody from a comedy club based in Chicago) 

Don’t worry we won’t FCC you.

Congress Reluctant To Cut Funding For Tank That Just Spins Around And Self-Destructs

Click here to access article from The Onion. (Satire in the form of spoof, but not far from reality.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

The new aristocracy in Britain

Click here to access article by Jordan Shilton from World Socialist Web Site.
...the maintenance of even the basic necessities of daily life for the vast majority is incompatible with the existence of a financial aristocracy, whose vast wealth contributes nothing to society. That is, not a single problem confronting working people can be resolved without a political struggle being waged against the root cause of ever worsening social inequality, the capitalist profit system.
Of course, what has happened in Britain is happening throughout most of the world under the domination of capitalist regimes.

West Antarctic ice collapse 'could drown Middle East and Asia crops'

Click here to access article by Suzanne Goldenberg from The Guardian. 

Goldenberg writes about a new report just released by a ruling class NGO (the link in the article is incorrect) that appears to be a response to the anticipated effects from the impending collapse of a section of Antarctic ice sheet. The effects are from predictions contained in two recent studies that warns of a variety of dire consequences. 

It's clear that the more serious effects of climate destabilization are now imminent, and that some sections of the US ruling class is starting to take them seriously. This, of course, doesn't mean that our masters will cope with the expected disasters from anything like a social justice perspective or that it will lead to an examination of the system of capitalism that is causing the expected disasters to materialize. That will be a responsibility for us in the 99 Percent.
The ongoing collapse of a large part of the Antarctica ice sheet could devastate global food supply, drowning vast areas of crop lands across the Middle East and Asia, according to new research.    

Business-As-Usual on a Dying Planet

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

It's becoming clearer everyday that if we continue with "business-as-usual", we humans are headed to extinction.
...for the future, think moonscapes, tumbleweeds, and the creaking sheet metal of rusted-out cars. The hyper-reality of megacities, with their pulsating neon lights and traffic-filled streets, will fall into silence and decay. Coastal cities will be swallowed up in watery graves. The impotence of man’s technology will become painfully evident as the global-scale geochemical disruptions caused by man quickly unfold, ripping asunder any hold we once had on Earth..

Israel’s Water Genocide

Click here to access article by Elias Akleh from Media with Conscience.
International laws and universally accepted sanitation standards have been set up to protect the right to access clean water and to protect environment and water conservation.  In occupied Palestine the Israeli government is violating all these rights, and had turned water into weapon of slow graduated genocide.

China Bans Windows 8 From Government Computers After Leaked Warning By Germany About Backdoor To NSA

Click here to access article by Wolf Richter from Testosterone Pit.
...Windows 8 with TPM 2.0 allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a built-in backdoor. Keys to that backdoor are likely accessible to the NSA.
And, Richter warns about a slippery new policy by PayPal. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

West promotes election held at gunpoint in Ukraine

Click here to access article by Bill Van Auken from World Socialist Web Site.

Empire directors are experts at creating demonstration elections. They've done this many times before and have perfected the political technology. (See this, this, this, and this.) 
Washington and its Western European allies are promoting Sunday’s election as a means of legitimizing the Western-backed, neo-fascist-led coup which toppled Ukraine’s elected president and installed an illegal regime whose leaders were handpicked by US officials.
The idea that a legitimate election could be held, as the army employs tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships to suppress political opposition in large portions of the country, is ludicrous.
Though similar in many ways, I don't think we can classify elections held here in the US as demonstration elections--they are managed by the ruling class, but they're much too institutionalized, too much embedded in the 235 year history of the US.

It just occurred to me that the high priest of protests, Chris Hedges, has been completely silent on the Empire-promoted violent takeover of Ukraine. Strange how violence against elected governments in foreign lands seems to be okay, but here at home even breaking a few bank windows cannot be tolerated by liberals such as Chris Hedges. In the article published in 2012, he condemned anarchists who broke windows and fought with police while defending their comrades from police brutality as "the cancer of the Occupy movement.” 

Secrets, lies and Snowden's email: why I was forced to shut down Lavabit

Click here to access article by Ladar Levison from The Guardian.

A major part of the huge facade, which our capitalist master indoctrinate us into believing represents "democracy", is the rule of law. This rule of law is related to the other parts of the facade: the selection of representatives through elections, which are managed by the ruling capitalist class, to government bodies that pass the laws. Then their selected formal executive, the President, appoints the judges to preside over courts which enforce these laws. The capitalist hand is everywhere in this process of the "rule of law". Levison's experience in this "rule of law" offers a striking example of how it actually works in the real world when the interests of the ruling capitalist class are involved.
...the founder of an encrypted email startup that was supposed to insure privacy for all reveals how the FBI and the US legal system made sure we don't have the right to much privacy in the first place.

Pepe Escobar Thailand's coup in four minutes

A 4:15m video of Pepe Escobar explaining current political condition in Thailand, from RT.

He provides an excellent summary of a complicated current scene in Thailand in a short time. (By the way, he early on makes reference to the elderly Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Global Warming is Melting and Burning the Planet

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

'We've created, in very short order, a new planet, still recognizable but fundamentally different.' 

The world is hot.

The world is melting.

The world is burning.

This is what climate change looks like.

Of course, the term "climate change" is a ruling class euphemism for climate destabilization.

Meanwhile, we see the polar ice caps melting.

Click here to access article entitled "Doubling of Antarctic ice loss revealed by European satellite" by Damian Carrington from The Guardian.

Russian Counter-offensive on the eastern front

Click here to access article by Manlio Dinucci from VoltaireNet.
The tactic of the United States to economically isolate Russia to prevent it from coming to the aid of the Ukrainian population has had the opposite effect to what was intended: it is pushing Moscow in the arms of Beijing, so that, in the long run, the Eastern European-Asian block which is gaining steam will surpass the power of Western countries.
This, of course, is good news to all those people who believe in multi-polar capitalist gangs as a way toward peace. I, on the other hand, believe that the world will become more dangerous as the new gangs gain ground and fight for ascendancy, and the old gang, the US Empire, fights to hold on.

As Putin looks east, China and Russia sign huge gas supply deal

Click here to access article by Alexei Anishchuk from Reuters.

I don't normally post topical events, but in this case I believe the news is a true pivotal event in world affairs. Thus, I am posting it immediately, instead of waiting for my usual publishing deadline of noon. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What Drives The West’s Self-Destructive Belligerence?

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

There seems to be many outstanding journalists like Cartalucci and Pepe Escobar that place their hopes on a "multi-polar world" in which the directors of the US Empire abandon their mission for world domination. 

In this piece Cartalucci sees clearly that the directors of the US Empire have overreached themselves and are headed for decline.
In reality, Western policies makers are driven by the same arrogant mentality that drove all empires before it. They labor under the delusion that they are invincible, particularly after the fall of the Soviet Union, believing that their military prowess, grip on the hearts and minds of the global population, and economic wizardry were such that no power, however determined to rebuild and reassert itself, could ever challenge them. Additionally, just as all empires before it, the American-led “international order” was built on a geopolitical and economic model of perpetual expansion. “Living and letting live” was simply not an option for Washington, Wall Street, and the City of London.
Combined, this arrogance and need for perpetual expansion has resulted in the one and only possible outcome for any pyramid scheme financial or geopolitical – collapse.
However, he seems to think that the ruling classes of emerging countries like Russia and China will forever maintain a  "legitimacy through consistent merit and substance" and a respect for a multi-polar world. 
As Russia, and even China, seek to counter Western sanctions, encirclement, and containment, they must resist the temptation to construct their own empires. Instead, they must look inward toward socioeconomic and technological development that renders restrictions placed upon them moot while reinforcing a multipolar world order of independent but collaborating nations rather than a unipolar order that demands centralized interdependence.
Why such optimism? He recognizes that the US Empire "was built on a geopolitical and economic model of perpetual expansion", but what is this model called? Capitalism. No one disputes that it is a system that requires growth and expansion. So, are not Russia and China capitalist countries? How can he argue that they will "resist the temptation to construct their own empires"? Of course, the way all capitalist countries are destroying the planet for human habitation, it is unlikely that we will need to worry about any more ravaging empires.

In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russia

Click here to access article by John Pilger from The Guardian.
The name of "our" enemy has changed over the years, from communism to Islamism, but generally it is any society independent of western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory, or merely offering an alternative to US domination. The leaders of these obstructive nations are usually violently shoved aside, such as the democrats Muhammad Mossedeq in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala and Salvador Allende in Chile, or they are murdered like Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo. All are subjected to a western media campaign of vilification – think Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, now Vladimir Putin.

Kiev Snipers: Mystery Solved

Click here to access article by Henry Kamens from New Eastern Outlook.

I'm not sure the mystery is "solved", but he has done a lot of research into this covered up story and found a lot of evidence pointing to US funded military contractors like Archangel Group.

The Globalization of Special Forces

Click here to access article by Manlio Dinucci from VoltaireNet.

Referring to the use of Special Forces in the Mid-East and Eurasia under the command of USSOCOM, Dinucci writes:
USSOCOM looks beyond : in its "Vision 2020", it foresees "building a global network of special operations forces ," including those of allied countries, including Italy, placed under U.S. command. In this way, the decision to go to war becomes the more exclusive domain of power cliques, and parliaments lose the little decision-making power they have left. And war will disappear more and more in the eyes of public opinion, already widely accustomed to believing that what we see is all there is, or rather, what we are seeing in the mainstream media distorting and falsifying reality.

People vs. corporate rule: Some personal notes from my participation in Thessaloniki’s great #vote4water referendum

Click here to access article by Theodoros Karyotis from Eagainst (Greece).

A water referendum in this Greek city which passed overwhelmingly to oppose privatization has also inspired people to become more politically active and to revitalize real democracy that was invented in Greece.
On 18th May we thus planted a small seed of direct democracy and citizens’ participation in political matters. Of course a lot of what passes as direct democracy today in Greece is seriously misguided, a common formula being “representative democracy + referendums on important matters = direct democracy”. Far from that, direct democracy is the unmediated participation of the whole of society in political governance from the local level up, without the need for representational structures and frequent rituals of delegation of our political power, such as the national elections. But of course the way to this ideal of engaged and active citizens that have taken their lives into their own hands passes through direct involvement with the local community, awareness raising and education in solidarity and cooperation, through breaking loose from a lifelong learning in individualism, consumerism and social isolation. This is another aspect where the referendum has been crucial: in creating political consciousness and collective empowerment.

Sweden’s Great Welfare Heist

Click here to access article by Adam Bott from Red Pepper (Britain).
The ‘New Nordic Model’ promises to finally free the public sector from the dead hand of bureaucracy, although curiously no other Nordic country has actually implemented it.  
When I tell Swedes this they laugh. Then they squint at me uncomfortably, trying to work out if this is one of those off-key English jokes.  
At home the system is felt to be in crisis.

The Biggest Mideast Crisis You Probably Don't Know Enough About

Click here to access article by Thomas W. Lippman from Inter Press Service.
The Middle East’s seemingly endless conflicts are diverting attention and resources from a graver long-term threat that looms over the whole region: the growing scarcity of water. And the situation will get worse before it gets better — if it ever does get better. 
Years of war, careless water supply management, unchecked population growth, ill-advised agricultural policies, and subsidies that encourage consumption have turned a basically arid part of the world into a voracious consumer of water. The trajectory is not sustainable.

Monday, May 19, 2014

China pivot fuels Eurasian century

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

It appears that we are entering a new stage in inter-capitalist gang competition for world dominance. 
...as much as the US may fight the emergence of a multipolar, multi-powered world, economic facts on the ground regularly point to such developments. The question remains: will the decline of the hegemon be slow and reasonably dignified, or will the whole world be dragged down with it in what has been called "the Samson option"? 
With so many neoconservatives playing important roles in our ruling class, I wouldn't rule out "the Samson option".

So, my fellow humans across the planet, it looks like we are caught between the devil of inter-capitalist gang wars and the deep blue sea of climate destabilization. If one doesn't kill us all off, the other one will...unless, of course, we take matters in our own hands.

Libya: CIA’s General Khalifa Hifter Ousts Tripoli Government

Click here to access article by Christof Lehmann from nsnbc.

Surprise, surprise. The Libyan general that just stormed into the Libyan parliament and forced it to dissolve is a CIA agent!

This is really the type of government that our ruling class believes in.
Hifter forms provisional government. Speaking on national television after Sunday’s coup, General Mokhtar Farnana announced on behalf of General Hifter, that a 60 member constituent assembly had been appointed and taken over government.

Bee losses highlight urgent need to restrict pesticides, shift to sustainable agriculture

Click here to access article from Friend of the Earth.
Scientists have attributed alarming bee declines in recent years to several key factors, including exposure to the world’s most widely used class of pesticides, neonicotinoids. A recent study by Harvard School of Public Health identifies neonicotinoid pesticides as “likely the main culprit” in Colony Collapse Disorder and adds to the strong body of evidence implicating these pesticides as a key contributing factor to bee declines.
At this link see the familiar ways that trans-national agricultural corporations are fighting back against any restrictions affecting their huge investments in pesticides.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

US Doubles Down on Failed Military Strategy in Syria

Click here to access article by Sarah Lazare from Common Dreams.

It appears that our masters in the One Percent are determined to continue their war crimes against the ravaged Syrian people. This policy is, no doubt, partly intended to punish Russia for interfering with the Empire's plans to dominate the entire planet. Where are the Nuremberg type war crimes trials now? 

Back at the American ranch, people seem blissfully unaware or unconcerned about what their masters are doing: destroying societies and creating chaos in many parts of the world. Although there are some differences in style, I can understand what it was essentially like living in Germany during the 1930s when capitalist-sponsored Nazi's committed their crimes.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed on Thursday to step-up U.S. backing of armed opponents of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad as part of an 11-nation "redoubled" effort that critics warn will bring further military escalation to the war-torn country.

The New York Times on the F.C.C. and Net Neutrality

Click here to access article from The Polemicist.

Managing news to serve the interests of the One Percent is a major function of US's prime "newspaper of record", The New York Times, particularly managing news coverage about events that go against the interests of the 99 Percent. This blogger illustrates this by examining how the NY Times covered the latest move to give corporations primary access to the internet.

'Worst of All Worlds' as Neoliberal BJP Wins India Elections in Landslide

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

Guess what? India's ruling class just held elections in which they gave their subjects a choice between a thoroughly corrupt candidate and party, and a candidate and party of a fascist neoliberal type. Sounds familiar? Well, they held elections, so they must have a "democracy", right? This is the type of "democracy" one gets from capitalist ruling classes all over the world. Read this and weep. 

Thousands across Europe rally against EU policies

Click here to access article by from Strategic Culture Foundation.
Thousands of activists took to the streets of Germany and Spain on Saturday to protest the EU’s policies as the union prepares for parliamentary elections at the end of May.

Olympic Capitalism: Bread and Circuses Without the Bread

Click here to access article by David Swanson from The PeaceWorker.

Systems by definition are made up of inter-related, inter-acting parts. If one acknowledges that societies are social systems, and that current societies are dominated by ruling classes, then it is relatively easy to understand that a ruling class's influence is pervasive throughout societies. 

In this piece, Swanson examines the history of the Olympics and how the Brazilian ruling capitalist class is hosting the World Cup of soccer this year and planning for the Olympics in 2016. Instead of arranging sports events as a celebration of athletic prowess and bringing nations together, capitalist interests see it as another opportunity for profit-making, promoting nationalism and the military establishment, and even an excuse to cutback civil liberties.
At some point the prestige and the profits and the corruption and the commercialism seem to take over the athletics.  “[T]he Olympics aren’t about  sport any more than the Iraq war was about democracy,” Zirin writes. “The Olympics are not about athletes.  And they’re definitely not about bringing together the ‘community of nations.’ They are a neoliberal Trojan horse aimed at bringing in business and rolling back the most basic civil liberties.”