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, September 6, 2014

The State, Occupy, and Disaster: What Radical Movement Builders Can Learn from the Case of Occupy Sandy

Click here to access article by Easton Smith posted at Occupy Wall Street. 

In this rather lengthy but important article, Smith examines a report issued by the Department of Homeland Security regarding the Occupy Sandy project and finds that it offers lessons for future grassroots organizing.
The achievements and pitfalls of the Occupy Sandy’s tactics and strategy contain salient lessons about how to build large scale, direct-aid organizations and broad social movements in horizontal and effective ways. The ways in which Occupy Sandy interacted with the state in a crisis situation can likewise teach us valuable lessons about how to effectively organize radical projects without being co-opted, marginalized or outright repressed. The activist community in the United States as a whole, however, does not know that much about what happened in the weeks and months following the storm, and those who participated in the efforts have few resources for reflecting on and understanding the value of their work.

The History of CIA-Funded Foundations: Why the CIA Deliberately Funds Socialists and Liberals

Click here to access article by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall from Veterans Today. 

Bramhall summarizes the information regarding CIA activities to limit dissent in the US and Europe contained in a book entitled Who Paid the Piper: The Cultural Cold War1 by Frances Stoner Saunders published in 1999. Coincidentally I mentioned in yesterday's post, which dealt with a recent CIA-connected journalist, a book I read several years ago entitled The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (2008) by Hugh Wilford that also covered the same subject and roughly the same period of time. 

This raises the question in my mind as to why they both ended their histories when they did when both books were written decades later. Were both authors suggesting that such practices ended then? Or, could it be that more recent material is too risky to write about?

How To Reduce Living Standards Without A Revolution: Slowly & Lie About It

Click here to access article by Roger Boyd from his blog Humanity's Test.

The author provides us with an explanation of the various methods the One Percent ruling classes use to reduce payments to Social Security recipients and to disguise the falling living standards faced by all Americans--except, of course, the One Percent. 
The rich, together with their bought-and-paid-for politicians, saw that it was impossible to explicitly reduce well-regarded programs such as Social Security (government-provided pensions) that benefitted the mass of the population rather than just themselves. So instead, they decided to reduce them a little bit each year by falsifying the CPI, upon which the yearly “cost of living” increases were based, in a way that made it underestimate the actual rate of inflation. 

Will We Adopt the Indian Way?

Click here to access article by John Pennington from his blog Class War in America.
Nobody in the world expresses rage at injustice better than Arundhati Roy, complete with all the data and bitter irony that clinches the case. Her recent book, Walking With the Comrades, is enough to boil your blood. Genocide comes to central India, compliments of corrupt government and Big Business, which are more or less identical.

Friday, September 5, 2014

US created ISIS to topple Libya

Click here to access a 21 minute video presentation on the origins of ISIS posted on Brasscheck TV.

To tell the story of the Empire's promotion of terrorist groups in the Middle East and Eurasia in 21 minutes necessitates a rapid fire delivery which is evident in this video. This works best for an audience of people who are reviewing bits and pieces of information that they have been exposed to in the past, but I question its effectiveness in reaching people, the vast majority of Americans, who have relied on mainstream media for their information. And, of course, the promotion and use of terrorist groups in only one part of the picture. 

A much broader effort is required: an effort sustained over significant periods of time which includes oil and gas pipelines, the history of the Empire's efforts at destabilizing nations, an understanding of climate destabilization, and an examination of the engine of the Empire, capitalism, that is driving these all these actions. Nothing short of an organized global effort by an independent media network designed to raise people's consciousness will be sufficient to change the nihilistic course of capitalist activities that are now promoting endless wars which could easily lead to a nuclear war, actions that are creating islands of the rich among oceans of the poor, and causing catastrophic climate destabilization.

This is not meant to be critical of the overall effort of Brasscheck who are busy providing other consciousness raising videos. It is meant to be critical of an attitude evident in the concluding remarks of this video that seem to suggest that the problem of terrorism is both isolated from other issues and that it can be solved by talking to our neighbors, etc. We the people of the world's Ninety-Nine Percent must be aware of the enormous task ahead in order to prepare an adequate response. I am convinced that nothing short of a global network of independent media will be adequate to change the deadly course we are now on.

Grassroots Resistance as 'Police Militarization' Expo Descends on Oakland

Click here to access article by Sarah Lazare from Common Dreams.
As the summer closes on a note of outrage, forces driving police militarization — including defense contractors, law enforcement agencies, and SWAT teams from around the world — are converging in Oakland, California on September 4th through 8th for the 9th annual "Urban Shield" exercise and weapons technology expo that is bankrolled by arms manufacturers and the Department of Homeland Security.
They are being met with protests from grassroots organizations and local residents who say Urban Shield is not welcome in their city — or anywhere.

The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication

Click here to access article by Ken Silverstein from The Intercept.

Although Silverstein focuses mostly on one L. A. Times reporter, he also supplies evidence from FOIA documents that other reporters have close ties with the CIA. 

Of course, the CIA has a long history of infiltrating media organization and recruiting journalists to serve the Empire's secret subversion service. Hugh Wilford covered much of this early in his 2008 book entitled The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America. Unfortunately, he stops his history in the 1970s with the Rampart revelations, the Pike and Church Committee investigations and leaving the naive reader to believe that CIA activities to influence media ended at this time. It appears from this report that they only became more effective at hiding their activities.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The concrete roots of capitalism’s magical thinking

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

Dolack makes an excellent contribution to an understanding of how capitalists succeed in such a class based system by manufacturing so many illusions to justify their system, to defuse and confuse opposition, and finally to blame the victims of the system when all else fails. Their control over society is rooted in the capitalist concept of property which gives them control over every ideological institution, and thus the ideas and views of its subjects. 

Because capitalism requires incessant growth, their system is coming up against finite limits of the Earth. Because the system requires profits for capitalists, the system is also bringing about the destruction of communities and jobs, the slashing of social supports to people who cannot function, wars, economic upheavals, etc. Conditions of human life are rapidly devolving into a tiny class of the rich and a huge mass of the poor, like rich islands in an ocean of the poor. Thus, the engines of indoctrination, propaganda, and distraction are now taking on Orwellian qualities to keep people from being aware of all the crises that are crushing their lives. 

What They Mean when They Say Peace

Click here to access article from CrimethInc (a worker's collective based in Salem, Oregon)

This article explains how the justification of preserving piece was used recently in the Ferguson riots and the broader meaning of peace that is used by members of the ruling class. It is a peace that preserves their rule and class/race-based justice to subvert its real meaning: peace founded on justice.   

It seems that ruling class media directors continue to be successful in diverting attention away from the endemic injustice of their capitalist system by filling their media programs with carefully screened news, entertainment, and trivia. Most Americans will only pay attention to the realities of injustice in society if they are confronted by scenes of riots and militarized police forces in their TV news reports. The authors finally reach this conclusion:
Let us not resent those who get out of hand for reminding us of the conflicts that remain unresolved in our society. On the contrary, we should be grateful. They are not disturbing the peace; they are simply bringing to light that there never was any peace, there never was any justice in the first place. At tremendous risk to themselves, they are giving us a gift: a chance to recognize the suffering around us and to rediscover our capacity to identify and sympathize with those who experience it.

For we can only experience tragedies such as the death of Michael Brown for what they are when we see other people responding to them as tragedies. Otherwise, unless the events touch us directly, we remain numb. If you want people to register an injustice, you have to react to it immediately, the way people did in Ferguson.

The Global Reality Freak Show

Click here to access article by xraymike79 from Collapse of Industrial Civilization.
Civilization is not in of itself evil; the problem lies in how it is organized and functions. Capitalism encourages the unregulated growth of gigantic corporations that exploit the environment and people, create economic disparity, promote hyper-consumerism, and usurp and corrupt governments. In addition to using military might for exploiting foreign resources and pools of labor, capitalism encourage war for the sole purpose of profit, i.e the military industrial complex. It also encourages overpopulation by the gross maldistribution of wealth....

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NATO’s Expansion Would be a Huge Mistake

Click here to access article by Alexander Clackson from New Eastern Outlook.
NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made an announcement this week that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is for the first time looking to deploy its forces at new bases in Eastern Europe, in response to the Ukraine crisis and in an attempt to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from “causing trouble in the former Soviet Baltic republics”. He added that the organisations’s summit in Wales on 4 to 5 September 2014 will aim to form an agreement between NATO’s members to send forces from the military alliance to Russia’s borders.  Far from deterring Putin, this move would in fact be a grave mistake and a terrible blunder from the West.
The recent hyper-aggressive actions of Empire directors continue to amaze me. It seems to me that either the old Cold Warriors are at the helm of NATO policies or else the current directors are functioning from a sense of desperation. If you think about it, there are some astonishing similarities between the Empire and Nazi Germany. Like Germany of the 1930s, could it be that the Empire is so burdened by debts that it must pursue these aggressive policies in order to gain control of more assets to keep from collapsing? The astonishing increase of fabricated news and views in US media looks strikingly similar to the Nazi's outlandish use of fake propaganda to provide cover for its imperialism.

It appears that the heavily guarded NATO meeting in Wales tomorrow and Friday may be crucial in determining our future. I wouldn't bet on a positive result. The only way for peace and sustainability to be realized in our future is for us in the global Ninety-Nine Percent to throw off the rampaging monster of capitalism, and then construct a new system to insure peace and survival of the human species.

Novorussia: independent, associated or (con)federated?

Click here to access article by The Saker from The Vineyard of the Saker. 

"The Saker" appears to be a Russian-American living in Florida. His writings suggest a high level of knowledge about Russia and Russian politics. In this very lengthy piece he attempts to both explain, and speculate on the outcome of, the current conflict in Ukraine. 

Once again we see a geopolitical analyst touting the goal of a "multi-polar world", and implying that this is all that Russian and Chinese leaders want. Well, that may be true for the time being; but if such a scenario was established, how could we expect Russian or Chinese capitalists to act any differently than Euro-American capitalists?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Fascist Beast and the New World Order

Click here to access article by Mathew Maavak from Uncommon Thought Journal.

I hesitated in posting this article this morning even though I felt in sympathy with most of his portrayal of the "fascist beast and the New World Order" otherwise widely known as the Empire which is led by the US capitalist gang. The problem I have with it is that it is loaded with cynicism, and wallowing in this type of feeling can be hazardous to one's health. 

However, he did provide me with a link to one important antidote: a report from RT describing the influx of volunteer fighters to the separatist regions of Ukraine to defend them from the fascist beast much like the International Brigades that poured into Spain during their war against fascists in the 1930s. This time we can only pray that the outcome will be different. It absolutely must be different if there is to be any hope for a brighter future.

Maavak sees many parallels with current events in Europe with that of the 1930s. I think that they are entirely appropriate. The same social-political dynamics are playing out simply because they are basically the same as what occurred in the 1930s. Unfortunately for us fascism wasn't defeated then, and thus we are faced once again with this beast that we simply must defeat this time--because time is rapidly running out for the human species. German based fascism was defeated mostly by the Russians under the Soviet Union, but unfortunately for the world the latter country was so defective that a US-led fascist beast was easily able to take control, to expand its influence, and morph into the beastly Empire that we see today destroying one country after another. 

The international brigades of today called "United Continent" may succeed in securing southeast Ukraine from fascist control, but can it create a people-powered democracy? It's very doubtful. Only a worldwide upheaval of the Ninety-Nine Percent (NNP) and organized resistance on a global scale can bring the current fascist beast to its knees. But our work will not be finished until we of the world's NNP construct genuine people's democracies everywhere in the world. As I see it, the first step must be the construction of our own media to inform us on what is going on in the world. (I've just discovered what purports to be a grass-roots independent media group that is reporting on the conflict in Ukraine. It's called Voice of Sevastopol. You might want to check it out.)

Senior [retired] U.S. Intelligence Officers: Beware Flimsy “Intelligence”

Click here to access article in the form of an open letter dated Sept. 2 to Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, posted on The Greanville Post.

The retired US military officers have had first hand experience with the Empire's fabrication of military intelligence, and want to prevent further bloodshed by informing Merkel of their experience. 
Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days.  More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week. [Sept. 4-5] 

How Can You Tell Whether Russia Has Invaded Ukraine?

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog.

This is an excellent introduction to Orlov's counter-attack on mainstream media's ridiculous propaganda that is being endlessly repeated so that most Americans believe it. I continue to be absolutely shocked at the extent of the lies being fabricated by the ruling One Percent. On the other hand, they have gotten away with so many lies in the past, why not continue with even less believable ones? There seems to be no limit to the gullibility of the American Sheeple.

The U.S. Owns the Narrative on Ukraine: Return of the Evil Empire

Click here to access article by Jason Hirthler from CounterPunch.

Yes, the ruling One Percent "own" the narrative because they literally own, according to capitalist property rights, the means of nearly all news dissemination in the US and much of the world. Any serious attack on their rule will necessitate a counter-media organized and operated with a lot of volunteer labor on behalf of truth for the benefit of the Ninety-Nine Percent. Until such time, we activists and concerned citizens are all just pissing in the wind.

This resurrected theme of the "evil empire", of course, hides the reality of an extant evil empire led by the US ruling class heavily infected by Zionist influences. Russia and any other nation that stands in the way of this real evil empire will face the latter's wrath, bombs, sanctions, subversive NGOs, mercenary armies, lies, etc.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Full Spectrum Dominance: US Policy From Iraq to Ukraine

Click here to access article by Thomas S. Harrington from Common Dreams. 

Having spent a number of years in Europe, this author provides a unique perspective on changes he has observed with European media. He suggests a dumbing-down of Europeans by establishment media much as we have witnessed here in the US.

Referring to parts of the European press as American stooges, he writes:
...for much of the last three decades, they constituted but one current among many other competing strains in the European press.

Since approximately 2004, however, their specific gravity within European opinion-making apparatus—as evidenced by the changes at El País and other similar “liberal” media outlets—has increased dramatically. Now simplistic American assumptions about who is bad and who is good once chuckled at on the continent, are the new normal in the editorial boards Europe’s “prestige press”.

America’s Gamble: Wealth, War and Power. “Russian Roulette” and the Drive To Nuclear Armageddon?

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from Global Research.
...it is Washington that accused Moscow of invading Ukraine, based on flimsy or no evidence at all. Washington has accused Moscow of having a hand in the downing of a commercially airliner based on no evidence at all. As a result of this invisible Russian ‘aggression’, Washington has slapped sanctions on Moscow, which are hurting Europe more they are hurting the US. But that’s the point: to de-link Europe’s economy from Russia in terms of trade and energy and weaken Europe to ensure it remains dependent on Washington.

The mainstream corporate media in the West parrots the accusations against Moscow as fact, despite Washington having cooked up evidence or invented baseless pretexts. The western corporate media’s role is to cheer-lead official policies and wars. 
His take on the latest hyper-aggressive actions of the Empire are more pessimistic than mine. I think that they will rely on weapons in their arsenal such as economic sanctions, subversive NGOs, possibly even private mercenary armies, etc. to bring about regime change in Russia, but will avoid a direct war with Russia which would likely involve the use of nuclear weapons. While wars in general are good for capitalist economies, imperialists know that a nuclear war would destroy far too much of the Empire's investments. However, I could easily be wrong in my assessment of the sanity of the Empire's directorate.

The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals

Click here to access article by Chris Hedges from TruthDig.

I have a hunch that Hedges in this piece is really writing about himself, that is, his transformation from a liberal critic to a radical critic. If he is sincere, perhaps we can forgive him for caustically criticizing the Occupy Movement and his plagiarism. In this piece he arrives at a political position that he has never articulated before:
Resistance will come from those willing to breach police barricades. Resistance will mean jail time and direct confrontation. Resistance will mean physically disrupting the corporate machinery. Resistance will mean severing ourselves from the dominant culture to build small, self-sustaining communities. This resistance will be effective only when we refuse to do what we are told, when we turn from a liberal agenda of reform to embrace a radical agenda of revolt. 
However, resistance will mean more than "severing ourselves from the dominant culture"; it must mean devising strategies to defeat the dominant culture and replacing it with a pro-life economy and culture. It's hard to tell from this one piece how much he has been transformed.

The Peak Oil Crisis: When?

Click here to access article by Tom Whipple from Post Carbon Institute.
For those following the world oil production situation, it has been clear for some time that the only factor keeping global crude output from moving lower is the continuing increase in U.S. shale oil production, mostly from Texas and North Dakota. Needless to say, once the fabled “peak” comes oil and gasoline prices are certain to move higher, triggering a series of economic events – most of which will not be good for the global economy.
....  Usually missing from optimistic estimates for future U.S. shale oil production is any discussion of just how fast production from fracked wells declines.
He concludes along with many independent observers that production will peak during 2016-2017 and will fall off dramatically after that. Could this be one reason why the One Percent ruling class is pursuing foreign adventures so aggressively, and their corporate media has hyped-up its bellicose propaganda in support of these adventures? Considering that their system of capitalism requires growth, the eminent prospect of diminishing supplies of cheap fossil fuels to keep their system going could explain, at least in part, why they are acting so crazy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Democracy? What democracy?

Click here to access article by Terry Bell from Daily Maverick (So. Africa). 
The interests of politicians, many of whom move seamlessly from political office to the boardrooms of big business, lie not with the voters, but with party bureaucracies. These bureaucracies, in turn, rely for much of their funding on the financial elites whose fundamental interests are diametrically opposed to those of the majority of the population. And they who pay the piper tend always to call the tune.
Terry Bell, a South African, offers an excellent examination of what real democracy must consist of in contrast to the fake version, wrapped in a pretty "Bill of Rights", that capitalist ruling classes provide their subjects in today's world. Bell even provides some sound practical information on how a real democracy could be implemented. 

This critique of existing "democracy" is what I'd like to see coming from US citizens and others throughout the world. The fact that this sort of critique is largely absent is testimony to the success of capitalist indoctrination. Thus, the political awareness necessary to change things for the better is mostly absent among the world's Ninety-Nine Percent. This is quite astonishing to me given the widespread suffering that is being inflicted upon the people of the world by capitalist ruling classes: endless wars, poverty, exploitation of workers, and their pollution of the environment that is leading inevitably to catastrophic climate destabilization. 

Instead, what we get from critics are "reforms" to the system, little micro-fixes such as tax-the-rich proposals, candlelight peace marches, passing laws restricting the militarization of police forces, registering poor and minority voters so that they can vote in elections managed by the ruling class, etc.

The Covert Origins of ISIS

Click here to access article from StormCloudsGathering.

Over the past several years I have occasionally read articles on this website that appeared to be well written, well reasoned, and well documented. However, when I've looked into them further, I have always been left with an uneasy feeling. This happened again today. 

Once again upon reading this article through most of the article I was impressed with the well documented facts and the sound reasoning that lead to sound conclusions about ISIS. But after this, I and the reader, is led down to some very prescriptive conclusions that end up nowhere substantial. First there is this:
Now you might be thinking: "This all sounds fine and good, but what does this have to do with me? I can't influence this situation."
.... I'll be honest with you though, this isn't going to be easy. To succeed we have to start thinking strategically. Like it or not, this is a chess game. If we really want to rock the boat, we have to start reaching out to people in positions of influence. This can mean talking to broadcasters at your local radio station, news paper, or t.v. station, or it can mean contacting influential bloggers, celebrities, business figures or government officials. Reaching out to current serving military and young people who may be considering joining up is also important. But even if it's just your neighbor, or your coworker, every single person we can reach brings us closer to critical mass. The most important step is to start trying.
Then we are led to a 13:47m video entitled "The Road to WW 3" which refers us to "The Natural Rights Foundation". Trying to locate the latter website seems only to lead to Common Ground which provides little substance and merely asks one to subscribe to the website as does the StormCloudsGathering website. 

Such an experience feeds my suspicions (paranoid fantasies, "conspiracy theories"?) about how national security agencies might want to gather information about activists and potential revolutionaries by luring them into their data bases by running articles like this. Just a thought. You must decide for yourselves.

"Holy Bejeezus!": I Know What We Did This Summer, In Gaza

Click here to access article from The Polemicist.

With two videos the authors dramatically show us what our tax dollars ($3 billions plus, yearly) are paying for in the latest Israeli massacre of Palestinians.