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, July 12, 2014

The Return of George Orwell and Big Brother’s War: On Israel, Ukraine and Truth

Click here to access article by John Pilger from CounterPunch.

George Orwell learned his profound insights about the skullduggery of Western capitalist propaganda agents while fighting in the battlefields of Spain (Spanish Civil War) serving the cause of the newly liberated Spanish people from the threat of fascist forces gathering all across Europe who feared the threat of a great example established by freedom-loving Spanish revolutionaries. While German and Italian capitalists turned to their fascist thugs to quell the rising tide of people yearning to be free not only in Spain, but all across Europe, Anglo-American capitalist gangs, who also hated the leftist character of the new Spanish republic but with their own ambitions to plunder the world, stood by with a pretense of neutrality as fascist forces gradually crushed the International Spanish Brigades

Meanwhile, on the home-fronts in England and the US, the propaganda machinery worked overtime to maintain their phony neutrality. Likewise, the Soviet ruling class under Stalin's leadership initially supplied some military equipment to the newly established popular Spanish government, but their support was abandoned as they became aware of the threat to their own survival posed by the rising tide of capitalist sponsored fascist forces in Europe. It is tragically clear from more recent historical events that Orwell's warnings about ruling class propaganda were wasted on future generations. The warnings which were so dramatically described in his classic book 1984 have long since turned into prophecy.
In politics as in journalism and the arts, it seems that dissent once tolerated in the “mainstream” has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground. When I began a career in Britain’s Fleet Street in the 1960s, it was acceptable to critique western power as a rapacious force. Read James Cameron’s celebrated reports of the explosion of the Hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, the barbaric war in Korea and the American bombing of North Vietnam. Today’s grand illusion is of an information age when, in truth, we live in a media age in which incessant corporate propaganda is insidious, contagious, effective and liberal.

Spin and Self Delusion: Ignorance Is Bliss

Click here to access article by Meltem Arikan from the News Junkie Post.
I don’t understand how violence escalates in the world while thousands of people make an extraordinary effort to build peace within themselves with meditation and within the world with the power of thought or breath control. Ignorance is bliss.
While journalists are imprisoned in countries which their leaders claim to be democratically ruled, while corruption of one leader after another is revealed, and while people waste year after year of their lives in jail simply because they’ve voiced opposition, how is it that these countries’ citizens continue to choose to believe in their leaders? How can they believe that they are democratically ruled?

Prince Bandar back in the Driver’s Seat in Riyadh

Click here to access article by Wayne Madsen from Strategic Culture Foundation.

Yes, the mysterious "Bandar Bush" seems to be back at pursuing his nefarious schemes.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulazia bin Saud is the godfather behind the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now called the «Islamic State» or «Islamic Caliphate». Without Saudi support for the most radical of the Islamist opposition forces battling Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, it is doubtful that ISIL would have ever incubated beyond a fringe group in Syria. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Obama and the CIA—who runs Washington?

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

Referring to Obama, Van Auken writes:
He has no separate interests from theirs, serving as their figurehead “commander-in-chief.” His job is not to rein in the military and the intelligence agencies, but rather to provide them with public relations services, trying to convince the American and world public that wholesale spying, drone assassinations—whose targets he helps select at the White House’s “terror Tuesdays”—and military massacres are all necessary instruments of the “war on terror,” and in harmony with democratic rights and methods of rule.
The last president that was determined to control the military-industrial-financial complex (the shadow government) was John Kennedy, and you know what happened to him and his brother. 

Chomsky, BDS And The Jewish Left Paradigm

Click here to access article by Gilad Atzmon from Veterans News Now.

Atzmon's critical review of a recent article by Noam Chomsky provides an outstanding illustration of the role of a left-wing "gatekeeper" who even went to the extent of fabricating an historical fact (I cannot excuse Chomsky on the grounds of sloppy reading of historical facts.)
In his latest article in The Nation, Noam Chomsky selectively cherry picks the facts that fit his preferred narrative, while ignoring and disguising relevant details that contradict his thesis.  One would expect an academic of Chomsky’s stature to perform at a much higher standard of intellectual integrity.
Reviewing Chomsky’s latest criticism of the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] reveals that the MIT linguist borders on deception. It is especially fascinating to examine Chomsky’s tactics in light of the current violent events in Israel/Palestine.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Federal Reserve talks jobs, but (in)action speaks louder than words

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.

Dolack addresses two issues in this latest article: inequality that appears to be forever and the Fed's creation of money as debt owed by us to the bankers and the über-rich. They have a nice name for the latter: it's called "quantitative easing" or QE.

Judge Griesa: It is just not to pay an illegitimate and immoral debt

Click here to access article by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel from the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt.
An open letter from Nobel Peace Laureate, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, to Thomas Griesa, the US judge presiding over the ‘debt trial of the century’ between Argentina and two vulture funds in New York.

Where’s the Evolution?

Click here to access article by xraymike79 from his blog Collapse of Industrial Civilization.
As cracks and holes in the Earth’s biosphere grow ever larger, the natural response of capitalist carbon man ensconced within his protective energy shell is to try to put a price tag on what is being burned, i.e. fossil fuels, rather than deal with the deeper root cause of an unsustainable economic system and way of life which demands such exorbitant consumption of resources.

Strikes by public sector workers largest in three years [Britain]

Click here to access article by Matthew Taylor and Rowena Mason from The Guardian.
Britain is to witness the biggest round of industrial action for three years as teachers and firefighters join care workers, refuse collectors, librarians and other civil servants at picket lines and rallies across the country.
Up to a million people are expected to take part in the protest on Thursday, as workers protest about the public sector pay freeze, falling living standards and pensions.
See also "#J10: the people strike back" from CounterFire (Britain). 
We need further co-ordinated strike action. But at the same time as pushing for further strikes we need to develop the alliance between unions and the majority who are under attack.
If we are divided there is a danger that the government can force through austerity despite the anger people feel. If the unions keep up the action and build stronger and stronger links with the wider public, they could be in a position to spearhead a great movement for change.

IDF's Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from The Guardian.
The Israel-Palestine conflict is clearly not all about resources. But in an age of expensive energy, competition to dominate regional fossil fuels are increasingly influencing the critical decisions that can inflame war.

Makerspaces: More Than a Fad

Click here to access article from LocalOrg.
While the business model aspect of a makerspace can be compared to a health club, the output of a makerspace is quite different. While makerspaces are meeting and workspaces where both business and socialization (and a combination of the two) can occur, they also serve as local educational institutions, SME (small and medium enterprises) incubators, skill training centers, as well as a focal point where communities can gather and collectively pool resources and pragmatically, technologically solve problems.
Here are some other illustrations of this concept:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

US military studied how to influence Twitter users in Darpa-funded research

Click here to access article by Ben Quinn and James Ball from The Guardian.
“Through the program, Darpa [Pentagon's research arm] seeks to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information."
However, papers leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate that US and British intelligence agencies have been deeply engaged in planning ways to covertly use social media for purposes of propaganda and deception.
Although it is important for all activists to be aware of the issue of our the ruling class government's attempt to engineer favorable public reactions to their policies, it really should not be surprising. To start getting an intellectual handle on this, one needs to be aware of who is in control of the government. It's a fairly simple logical process that proceeds from the fundamental belief that today's societies are class structured with a ruling class at the top that exercises control, although variable from one society to another, over all important institutions. 

I think that there is considerable evidence that the US ruling class has excelled in this control to where it has become pervasive. That belief is founded on my nearly 60 years of adult experience both as an activist and an intellectual who has read widely about related matters. In the US I think that the process of control has advanced to a stage in which the ruling One Percent (based on private ownership of the economy) has obtained overwhelming control over all institutions of socialization and indoctrination: education, information and entertainment media, and government. Thus, nowadays when they want to advance certain ideas favorable to their interests, they use all these institutions simultaneously. There is a history behind this development because it didn't just magically appear one day.

They have attained such success over the last 100 years through their experience with manipulating public opinion to serve their interests of wealth accumulation and power. Their first experience occurred in events leading up to the entry of the US in WWI

Major US banks, particularly the J. P. Morgan bank, had lent enormous amounts of money to England and France to finance military expenditures in their war with Germany and Austria-Hungary which began in 1914. In fact, the "House of Morgan" was designated by both England and France as their agent in selling war bonds to American investors amounting to half a billion dollars in addition to the direct loans by the banks. Thus, the ruling US capitalist class, which had already concentrated their ownership over every important economic enterprise, had a lot of money invested (several billion dollars) or bet on England and France, the Allies, winning the war. By 1917 the war did not look good for the latter, thus the US ruling class led by major banks decided that the US would have to enter the war to insure that the Allies would win, and their debts repaid. However, there was one major problem: public opinion in the US was very much against participating in the war, and something had to be done to change that.

That "something" was a major publicity campaign. J. Pierpont Morgan and Company were not merely a leading bank in the US, they had major holdings in nearly every sector of the US economy. Collectively, all these holdings comprised what was called the "House of Morgan". Major industrial corporations such as Bethlehem Steel saw the potential for huge profits if the US entered the war. Thus, the US ruling class led by financial and industrial corporations initiated a publicity campaign to get the American public on board with their interests. 

The campaign went into high gear after the Lusitania, a luxury passenger ship, was sunk by German U-Boats because--somehow unbeknownst to passengers for some mysterious reason (a type of Gulf of Tonkin incident or 9/11?--it was carrying munitions to England as was much later revealed. Anyway, to make a long story short, the ruling class learned from their success in turning American public opinion around in support of direct US participation in this war the tremendous value of what they referred to as a "public relations". The latter developed into a major industry which has greatly expanded ever since then to what it is now: a very sophisticated and coordinated method used by some kind of directorate of the ruling class to shape US public opinion through news and entertainment media and government official announcements.

TTIP: debunking the business propaganda over investor rights

Click here to access article from Corporate Europe Observatory.
In the face of fierce public opposition to the granting of these extraordinary powers to foreign investors, business associations as well as lawyers who make money from investor-state claims have begun a misleading propaganda drive. Their strategy: to appease the public by downplaying the risks of investment arbitration and to divert attention from the fundamental problems of the system by publicly supporting the EU’s cosmetic reforms around the edges. Behind closed doors, however, they are lobbying hard to ensure that the reforms don’t go too far.
The article deconstructs ten claims used by the propaganda campaign to persuade the European public that the terms of the agreement are in the public's interest. 

Washington’s Corporate Media and the Imperial War on Korea

Click here to access article by Danny Haiphong from Black Agenda Report.

From my own experience I have found a way to distinguish factual reporting from deceptive reporting with regard to areas of the world. In areas where there are few independent journalists, one will find considerable distortion of factual material presented by mainstream media to fit with ruling class interests. This is especially true of stories reported in mainstream news about Africa (see this, this, and this) and North Korea. 
There is no limit to the slanders spewed by U.S. corporate media – from so-called journalists to filmmakers to comedians – against North Korea, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. “The racist and inaccurate discourse around the DPRK helps justify the almost daily military operations the US backs in South Korea.” The 60-year long propaganda campaign is “part and parcel of the US imperialist agenda to militarize the Asia Pacific.”
Of course, this is modified by another consideration: the extent to which the report relates to vital interests of the ruling class. The latter consideration has a major impact on whether any news coverage is provided on any given area in the world. US mainstream media coverage has become so political that almost no coverage is given to stories where US ruling class interests are unaffected. Or, when incidents that happen that are an embarrassment to this class, they may go entirely unreported (for example, see this and this).

On US TV, Israel is 'Striking Back'

Click here to access article by Peter Hart from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.
Framing Israel's actions as a form of retaliation is problematic, since the airstrikes, arrests and house raids are directed at people who had nothing to do with the murders.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Dark Alliance: European Union Joins Forces With Wall Street

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Wolf Street. (Formerly of Raging Bull-Shit, this is Quijones' new website home.)

I have posted a number of articles by this perceptive author on my website, but I now see evidence of some impairment of his vision in this article. Referring to the watering down water of all forms of financial regulation, he seems to have discovered a new phenomenon:
...contrary to popular wisdom, it’s not the U.S. government that is leading the charge, but rather an unholy alliance between the European Commission, Wall Street, and the City of London. 
Too often, even the most astute political observers accept the fabricated lies that the ruling One Percent must use in order to hide the realities of their class rule behind carefully constructed facades that pretend to represent the workings of "democracy" and national constructs of political institutions. Many have yet to catch up with a new world being constructed by global elites who have a global vision in which national boundaries no longer apply. The following statement in Quijones' article is an example of this type of analysis:
To its credit, the U.S. government continues to hold firm against EU pressure. U.S. treasury secretary Jack Lew has repeatedly stated that he opposed the inclusion of financial regulation in the TTIP on the grounds that “normally in a trade agreement, the pressure is to lower standards on things like [financial regulation or environmental regulation or labor rules]”. He also said that the U.S. would “not allow these agreements to serve as an opportunity to water down domestic financial regulatory standards”, or “dilute the impact of the steps that we’ve taken to safeguard the US economy.”
However, in the very next paragraph Quijones acknowledges:
However, given how often and how easily the Obama Administration has caved in to Wall Street’s demands since the financial crisis, it’s probably only a matter of time before the Commission and banking lobby groups get their way.
And, of course, his headline suggests a very different reality. 

Lew was only playing the "smoke and mirrors" game that elites must play to hide their class rule behind operations of mainstream political institutions. Sec. of the Treasury Jack Lew is a well tested and trusted member of the One Percent who always have loyal members such as Lew assume this role in order to have their hands in our national pocket (Treasury Dept).

The reality is that we now have an Empire governed by US and loyal European capitalist elites who have their own army called NATO. National boundaries are being removed by them and their representatives in secret meetings of the TTIP, TISA, and TTP. For this ruling class national boundaries are only useful in order to control the movement of workers to, and within, their Empire.

Amid Populist Surge, Hillary Clinton to Wall Street's Rescue?

Click here to access article by Jon Queally from Common Dreams.
Financial elite reportedly sees Hillary Clinton as "a solution" to those calling for stronger economic reforms and regulations
Well, selecting a candidate that looks different to suggest different policies worked in 2008, didn't it? Judging by a NY Times article endorsing her, it appears that the liberal wing of the One Percent have selected Hillary to assume this role in 2016. Of course, if we don't vote for her, arguably we will get a worse candidate from their other party. The political game that our masters like to play must be very amusing for them.  If it weren't so deadly for us, it's possible that we, too, could sit back and enjoy it like any other sport.

Kurdistan and the Caliphate

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet.
In a few weeks, two entities to which few people gave a future are taking shape: Kurdistan and the Caliphate. Thierry Meyssan’s analysis indicating these two entities are being propelled by Washington is confirmed by events. He examines the latest developments.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Geoengineering SRM: Dark Clouds and Shady Solutions

Click here to access article by Jim Lee posted on Climate Viewer News.

This post contains a considerable amount of information on geoengineering methods (solar radiation management, or SRM) to cope with the growing amounts of greenhouse gases that are being spewed into the atmosphere by the growing capitalist economies and causing global warming which, it turn, is causing climate destabilization and related disasters. It appears to be a last desperate attempt by ruling capitalist classes to have growth, which their system requires, and a stable climate. The only other method involves the fantasy of fusion fuel, and it is becoming apparent that they have given up on this idea for the foreseeable future.
Geoengineering SRM is a dangerous idea. Scientists think they can mimic volcanoes’ natural process of cooling our planet by spraying sulfur into the sky using planes, drones, and floating hoses.  You cannot solve pollution with more pollution, and Geoengineering SRM proponents cannot predict nor control the weather.  After 60 years of cloud-seeding, the weather modification industry cannot accurately predict the outcomes of their “experiments” on a small scale so why would anyone believe it is possible to regulate global temperatures using weather manipulation techniques worldwide? Let us start with a video explaining exactly what SRM is.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

World of Resistance Report [Part 3]: Davos Class Jittery Amid Growing Warnings of Global Unrest

Click here to access article by Andrew Gavin Marshall from Occupy.com.

Reports issued by the World Economic Forum, a major meeting of the global capitalist elites, indicate that this global ruling class is very worried about the growing inequality resulting from the operation of their system, and especially worried about the younger generation who they refer to as a "lost generation".
It’s an interesting paradox for an organization to see the greatest threat to its ideological and social power being “the future of the youth” when it has already written off the present generation as “lost.” However, this is a view shared not only by the World Economic Forum but, increasingly, by other powerful institutions creating something of an echo chamber through the mainstream media.
They have written off the "lost generation" because they are fully aware that their system cannot solve the crises that capitalism is causing: increasing costs of energy and other resources needed to fuel their growth system due to the depletion of readily and cheaply accessible resources, the destabilizing (and costly) effects on the climate caused by the use of fossil fuels, and the steadily increasing concentration of wealth and power in fewer hands. They can only respond with police state methods of surveillance and violence against dissenters. There is a lesson here for the world's 99 Percent: if we limit our resistance to traditional peaceful methods such as candlelight marches, we will inevitably lose the struggle for our very survival.  

Everything Is for the Best: The US and Egypt one year after the coup

Click here to access article by Norman Finkelstein from his blog.

While Empire propagandists make enormous efforts to cover the crimes of their friends in the Middle East, Finkelstein insists that we look at the hideous facts.
It is now a year since the coup took place, and barely a week passes without the media reporting yet another human rights atrocity committed by the Egyptian government. Still, the Obama administration, like Dr. Pangloss, optimistically maintains that Egypt is passing through a democratic transition. How does it manage to reconcile the shocking facts with its unshakeable faith? 

The "Threat" of Iran? Or the Threat of Saying "No" to Washington?

Click here to access article by SteveMC from his blog Reports from Underground.

A ruling class of an imperial nation must always convince its citizens that its aggressive actions are always legitimate. Whenever another nation stands in the way of its imperial ambitions by objecting to their actions, such nations become a target. To do this, they often portray the other nation as a threat. The author in this article explains how the Empire currently uses this ruse in the face of startlingly contradictory facts, and comes to this conclusion:
...we should look critically at the validity of any media or politicians claims in relation to the existence of an outside threat, we should understand that the US is the world’s largest and quite possible will be the only truly global, hegemonic superpower, and that a superpower of this magnitude, and power systems in general, necessitate a perceived outside threat as a means of mobilizing popular support for imperialistic military ventures, as well as to justify the containment of other powers, the domination of strategic regions, and the acquisition of resources conducive to global power and influence.