Mathias Broeckers says that the 19 hijackers who are said to have been recruited by Osama Bin Laden to crash the American Airlines and United Airlines planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and Pentagon were being closely monitored by the CIA while they were in the United States, but for unknown reasons, the federal police were prevented from taking legal action against them.
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 13, 2014
Referring to the media blitz of ISIS beheadings and other sordid happenings, Ahmed writes:
Missing from the chorus of outrage, however, has been any acknowledgement of the integral role of covert US and British regional military intelligence strategy in empowering and even directly sponsoring the very same virulent Islamist militants in Iraq, Syria and beyond, that went on to break away from al-Qaeda and form ‘ISIS’, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or now simply, the Islamic State (IS).
Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa.
The latest decision to bomb Iraq by the directors of the Empire raises some doubts and questions in this author's mind. For example:
...how serious should we take a request for foreign intervention from a government essentially created and installed by the very powers that destroyed the country in the first place, and supported and funded the 'threat' they're being asked to eliminate?!
I love this piece with its satiric edge regarding Empire propaganda portraying its various enemies as the latest versions of Hitler. However, only in the final paragraph is there a hint of a deeper insight that is missing from the most of the satire. Aren't we really witnessing what psychologists refer to as "projection", that is the projection of one's own embarrassing qualities onto another as a way of warding off any conscious awareness of these qualities in oneself?
I think this term is very apt with one exception. I don't think that the directors of today's capitalist Empire are unaware of what they are really doing using this type of propaganda. They just don't want us to become aware that they are the new Hitlers and the new Nazis.
Despite the attractive use of "humanitarian" packaging, what is the essential difference in today's world to that of the German capitalist would-be empire? Are we not seeing another capitalist empire engaged in constant bombings and invasions by its NATO armies, by "coalitions of the willing", and by proxy armies against any country that offers any resistance to the Empire's interests?
This is another contribution to my occasional practice on Saturdays to run articles about lifestyles of people in our ruling class also known as the One Percent (actually .01 of the 1%, or one out of every 10,000 of us) who, under the rules of capitalism, essentially "own" the economy in which we work--in effect, we all work for them to support their lifestyle. I hope that by doing this that we don't lose touch with their world and their concerns--you know, to promote better understanding. It is important that we become better acquainted so that we can serve them better and make it easier for them to carry out the daily burden of making important decisions, decisions which affect whether we go off to war in foreign lands to kill their enemies, if we have jobs, if we live in a home or under a bridge, if we can afford their health care services, education, etc.
Unfortunately, for some reason they tend to hide their lives from the rest of us behind walls of secrecy, literal walls of guarded gated communities, private clubs, esoteric publications, by traveling with private jets, etc. We should not let that deter us.
Ordinary young people today often idolize rich kids and their opulent lifestyle, but there is a darker side. In the lyrics to this song Frank Ocean puts a spotlight on what life is like for some kids that grow up in households of the rich. Apparently after becoming acquainted with some rich kids, this popular rap artist wrote the lyrics and music to this revealing song. Here is the way it starts:
Too many bottles of this wine we can't pronounce
Too many bowls of that green, no lucky charms
The maids come around too much
Parents ain't around enough
Too many joy rides in daddy's jaguar
Too many white lies and white lines
Super rich kids with nothing but loose ends
Super rich kids with nothing but fake friends
Friday, September 12, 2014
This subject has been treated many times before, but it bears repeating many times more because the world's Ninety-Nine Percent just don't seem to understand it.
I could go on and on detailing the damage done by Edward Bernays and his ilk yet never keep up with the deluge. In the era of social media and a 24-hour news cycle, we are now exposed to more propaganda than ever before as Bernays’ PR progeny continue refining and honing their skills -- keeping us passive, divided, and distracted.
The wars, the environmental devastation, the oppression of all life -- this homicidal/suicidal pattern can end one of two ways. We can continue willfully falling for the charade until everything collapses or we can wake the fuck up, rediscover the subversive pleasure of independent thought, and create urgent change.
For the global Ninety-Nine Percent to really make sense of this article, and many others like it, one must translate capitalist language into real ordinary language, especially whenever reference is made to various nations or block of nations. For example in this paragraph:
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization [, an organization of capitalist gangs located in Asia,] of course, is no military alliance, and even less a rival of NATO [, the military arm of the US-led capitalist gang]. Its memberNow we are beginning to see the emergence of a much vaunted multi-polar world of capitalist gangs, however it is not the rosy, tolerant competition foreseen by otherwise very astute geopolitical analysts like William Engdahl or independent journalists like Pepe Escobar. Instead we are witnessing the cutthroat attacks on each other for world dominance much like we saw in the 20th century's world wars.
states[capitalist gangs] however, are closely watching the US [capitalist gang]-Russian [capitalist gang] match being played out at the western end on the great Eurasian continent. Some, like the Central Asian states[gangs] are essentially ducking, hedging, or running for cover. China[The Chinese gang], which seeks to defend its own core interests in East Asia and the Western Pacific, looks at the current Russian-American [capitalist gang] competition through the prism of its own relations with Washington and Moscow[each of these gangs].
There is no possibility for cooperation among cancers, and capitalism functions much like a cancer which eventually metastasizes. One must win out over the other until the whole corpus of humanity is destroyed. In contrast to the early 20th century, we now live in an age in which capitalist gangs possess nuclear weapons; and there is little reason to doubt, when push comes to shove, that they will use them. If somehow we miraculously escape a nuclear holocaust, we still have climate destabilization to worry about given capitalism's addiction to growth which requires more burning of fossil fuels.
Are we now witnessing the final days of us humans who appear to be so flawed by a childish worship of authority and so easily distracted by the latest i-Gadgets and mindless entertainments that capitalist authorities give us? Are we in the global Ninety-Nine Percent going to either passively accept the fate that awaits us, or worse, join in with our respective capitalist authorities in their mad quest for dominance? Or, are we going "to take arms against a sea of troubles [caused by capitalist elites and their system], and by opposing end them?" To be, or not to be is the final question that we are all faced with now.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Boris Kagarlitsky is the director of the Moscow-based Institute for Studies in Globalization and Social Movements.Kagarlitsky's description of the events in Ukraine, and related events elsewhere, supplemented by an astute class analysis provides an excellent understanding of the current complex nature of the Ukrainian conflict. What we've gotten up till now from most of the alternative media are one-dimensional views portraying the conflict as a popular resistance against a Western sponsored regime in Kiev, or the good versus evil Manichean paradigm. The scene in Ukraine and Europe is much more complicated than that. Just take a cursory look at the following excerpted paragraphs, then read and study the complete article.
This crisis [the global economic crisis in 2008] not only undermined the capacity of the Ukrainian elite to achieve compromise but it also brought in new players such as the EU, the US and Nato. Given the level of crisis in the West, the important factor for stabilising the system became its expansion. And the EU is very much in trouble, especially in the south – the capacity of these societies to reproduce themselves is so undermined by neoliberal policies – that you can hardly say how to keep these societies functioning without moving away from neoliberalism. But this is precisely what the neoliberal elites are not going to allow. The only chance to escape or solve these contradictions is to expand the system, and shift more resources into the system.
There is a permanent conflict among the Russian elites, especially after the first wave of sanctions against Ukraine. Sections of the Russian elite began to panic, and also they hate these people’s republics because they are very threatening for the Russian state, raising debates about nationalisation, overthrowing the oligarchy and so on.
While there are progressive demands on the one hand from the grassroots, there are also bourgeois elements within the republican leaderships, and also constant pressure from Moscow not to move in these more progressive directions, using its capacity to control the frontier and provide or stop supplies of food and ammunition to blackmail the republics. For example, they tried hard to block nationalisation programmes that were declared in both republics, unfortunately with some success. If they were to go forward, Moscow would cut supplies. So there is a constant struggle. But there is also a constant struggle inside Russia because there is a growing movement to defend these republics, and there’s a growing movement to support these very demands. So it’s a struggle that’s continuing on both sides of the frontier.
Antiwar protests, for example, have continued in Ukraine following the ceasefire announcement. The population of southeast Ukraine has already taken measures to curb the economic domination of the billionaires who own the large industries in the region. Considering the elite’s support to Kyiv’s war, anti-oligarch measures are likely to deepen. This will appeal to others in Ukraine as the austerity program of President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk bites deeper. It will also be noticed in Russia, where the economic elite and its corrupt capitalism are not popular. (Coincidentally, the regional government in Crimea has recently seized and will put up for sale the assets of Ukraine’s most notorious, right-wing billionaire, Ihor Kolomoisky.)
It is clear that the US has created ISIS, and is to this day using it as both a means to target and attack its enemies across the Middle East, as well as serve as a pretext for direct US military intervention when proxy wars flounder. It is also being used in a third context – on the domestic front – as a manufactured and perpetual threat with which to further justify the militarization and centralization of America’s police forces and the continued expansion of the NSA’s invasive domestic spying.
There’s no way around it - climate change is the defining issue of my generation.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
On Sept. 10, the sites for dozens of major tech companies and thousands of organizations will display a slow-loading icon to give people a taste of what the Internet could look like without Net Neutrality. Clicking the icons will take Internet users to a series of actions at battleforthenet.com/september10th. The main push: to get Congress to stand up for the open Internet — and to get Wheeler to drop his proposal.
(Note: after initially succeeding in pasting their icon on my site, it disappeared and I was no longer able to reinstall it.)
The Arab Spring phenomena generated of controversy which condensed into two views:
The compelling story behind [Egypt’s January 25] youth-led revolt of 2011 is not quite the romantic tale of liberation through the emancipatory power of communications technologies that many initially supposed it to be. Nor can Egypt’s internet politics be reduced to widely circulating conspiracies about hidden hands from the United States and elsewhere orchestrating people and events from behind the scenes. But let us be clear: there are some hidden hands that need to be brought to light and understood.I think that the rest of the article suggests that we can learn much about this controversial issue from this author who identifies herself as a political anthropologist.
[Herrera] The memes, messages, and entities circulating on social media are often not what they appear. They require a high degree of “virtual intelligence,” painstaking research, analytical skills, and ability to work across all kinds of disciplinary and professional boundaries to decipher them.
.... It [her book] tells a blended story about the inspirational and oftentimes astounding ways people use new communication tools for freedom, to deliberate, create, organize, and confront oppression and injustice. It also tells a cautionary tale about ways virtual spaces are coopted by vested interests, and how they are susceptible to anti-democratic and even tyrannical regimes that put the lives and liberties of users at risk.
The rule change may not have much effect in a crash, but where it will have a major effect is on the cost of credit, which will increase for municipal governments and decrease for corporate and financial institutions. The result will be to further shift power and financial resources from the public sector to the private sector.I spent about an hour looking for mainstream financial analysts to address this development, and I found nothing. There were a couple who suggesting dumping municipal bonds, but for other reasons. I also could find nothing to suggest that municipal authorities were at all concerned. However, I cannot see any reason to disagree with the logic of Brown or the Martens on this issue.
Steven Salaita, a university professor whose appointment at the University of Illinois was withdrawn last month after he was critical of Israel on Twitter, spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday, saying he should be reinstated on the grounds of academic freedom.I think he will soon learn that academic freedom, or any other kind of freedom that threatens the directors of the Empire, will no longer be tolerated.
Concentrations of carbon dioxide, the major cause of global warming, increased at their fastest rate for 30 years in 2013, despite warnings from the world’s scientists of the need to cut emissions to halt temperature rises.
Experts warned that the world was “running out of time” to reverse rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) to tackle climate change.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
So exciting — thousands are joining events around the globe to make the People’s Climate Mobilisation a historic climate moment!See a trailer of a major film regarding climate destabilization just released online a few days ago that is related to this major global event. Then view the whole 52:26m film online here.
Just so you know: right now there are events registered in more than 130 countries which will be joined by many others like you — people from all backgrounds and cultures, holding a common ask for world leaders gathering in New York for the United Nations Climate Summit: it’s time for Actions, Not Words.
Climate change is affecting all of us in many disastrous ways, no matter who or where we are. And pushing heads of state to be serious on climate is not something that just some of us must do — to make our voices really really loud on September 21, we’ll need everyone, everywhere to take action.
...it is clear that U.S. corporate power and the monstrous military machine it has funded by expropriating more than half the federal budget every year for decades is an enemy of the people of the whole world and a threat to all forms of life on earth.The author cites report after report issued by US military sources that the military establishment views climate destabilization only as a threat to capitalist rule which they must protect and promote.
Americans Now Fear ISIS Sleeper Cells Are Living in the U.S., Overwhelmingly Support Military Action
This article provides more illustration of the power that capitalist agents of propaganda have over the US population to manipulate the latter's views in support of their war agendas.
The U.S. government is paying private contractors billions of dollars to support secretive military units with drones, surveillance technology, and “psychological operations,” according to new research.This article is essentially a summary of, and an introduction to, a research report issued by Remote Control Project, a British organization specializing in the examination of a new form of warfare using drones. This new type of warfare is not only controversial because it circumvents international norms and national constitutions, but it also illustrates the fascist component that is driving the Empire's new form of warfare. Fascism is the unvarnished form of capitalist rule which uses corporations, its engines of wealth production, as an integral part of its operations. Fascism is capitalist rule shorn of its decorative covering known as the "rule of law" to reveal the naked fist of violence or the threat of violence against any target that gets in its way toward power and wealth accumulation.
Also, along the same lines, you might be interested in this article entitled "Obama’s ISIS War: Profit for Military Contractors" by Kurt Nimmo.
The Pentagon has converted Iraq with its violent sectarian rivalries into a lucrative business opportunity for a burgeoning mercenary and contractor industry that has blossomed in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Obama’s ISIS war arrives at an opportune time for contractors.
Hudson provides many details on the Empire's economic warfare strategies against Russia, and it appears from his analysis that the strategies are rife with contradictions.
The IMF’s Articles of Agreement forbid it to make loans to countries that clearly cannot pay, prompting its economists to complain at last year’s October 2013 annual meeting in Washington that their institution was violating its rules by making bad loans “to states unable to repay their debts.” In practice, the IMF simply advances however much a government needs to bail out its bankers and bondholders, pretending that more austerity enhances the ability to pay, not worsen it. Ukraine looks like a replay of the Greek situation with an exclamation mark! One official last year called its Debt Sustainability Analysis, “‘a joke,’ a [European] commission official described it ‘a fairy tale to put children to sleep’ and a Greek finance ministry official said it was ‘scientifically ridiculous.’”
Monday, September 8, 2014
This important paper, published in what appears to be an alternative economics journal, challenges the basic tenets of traditional economics textbooks used in institutions of higher learning in the US. From my cursory reading of the article this morning, I think what the author couches in diplomatic language of academia is really an indictment of economics teaching as mostly propaganda serving the interests of the ruling capitalist class.
According to Goodwin:
This started in the 1890s, when Alfred Marshall wrote the first edition of his text, called Principles of Economics. It went through 8 editions, the last being published in 1920. For a large part of the English-speaking world Marshall’s textbook continued to define the field (especially the microeconomics basics) until the middle of the 20th century, when it was replaced by Paul Samuelson’s Economics (first published in 1948). That set the standard for about the next 60 years.I believe that this development corresponds perfectly with what I regard as the consolidation of power by the US plutocracy in the 1890s when they defeated all opponents which included radical labor organizers and the agrarian Populist Movement. This was a period in which the major capitalists such as Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Morgan, known widely by the people as robber barons, rose to prominence. (read The Lords of Creation by Frederick L. Allen)
Then following the near collapse of the economy in 1907 by their reckless gambles, in order to assure the public that this would never happen again, they constructed the Federal Reserve under their domination to take control of the money supply. Thereafter, this class has remained supreme.
They likewise gained control of every institution in society, not the least of which was education. They saw the urgency of teaching economics to add legitimacy to the system which was the goose that laid their golden eggs of power and wealth. This paper tells that story.
However, don't be reassured that now everything will be fixed with regard to the teaching of economics. It's just that the failures of the capitalist system is becoming so outrageously apparent that they need to come up with better teachings to explain these failures while preserving the legitimacy of the system.
Engdahl pieces various items of evidence together to unravel the mysteries of ISIS, and they are leading in this direction:
Another operation to weaken Iran’s influence in the region & reshape the geopolitical map with the aim of a major energy power shift in gas and oil pipelines
The authors review recent oppositional movements which they now declare as deficient for the goal of transforming society.
We need a unifying political project that can articulate a compelling vision of a new society, bring together disparate campaigns and organizations on an ongoing and coordinated basis, and mount a general political offensive against the system in its totality.And, they announce their intentions to contribute to this process.
Since its inception, Jacobin has sought to play a role in this process by creating an intellectual space for socialists across organizational boundaries. With the aid of full-time organizers, over the next year we will be expanding the scope of that mission by facilitating nationwide reading clubs and events in order to help cultivate a culture of friendly debate and non-sectarian politicization among young radicals.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Political analysis doesn't get any better than illustrated in this article. I hope that readers will not be satisfied with his lead-in short version; because the rest of the article carefully analyses, with a lot of supporting documentation, US foreign policy in this volatile region and leads to an understanding of its extremely devious and Orwellian character.
Saudi Arabia and Israel might have their reasons for wanting jihadis to replace Assad, but what are ours? Do you think it’s because our government consistently adopts the Saudi line? Perhaps the ISIS horror will reveal, to a few more people who think on these questions, how particularly pointless and dangerous it is for America to be playing this game, whoever’s it is.
To evoke yet another stated policy for which today’s jihadis are conveniently helpful, we should recognize that ISIS is finishing off the destruction and breakup of the Iraqi state that the U.S. began with its invasion in 2003. In Iraq, ISIS is executing an American plan, proposed by Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb in 2006, and endorsed by the U.S. Senate in 2007, to split into three parts—Sunni, Shia, and Kurd.30
That plan is itself uncannily similar—pure coincidence, I am sure—to an Israeli plan, The Yinon Plan of 1982....
This article contains the best detailed report on the recent victories by separatist rebels in Ukraine over the Western installed Kiev government. Although the report is laced with some Western biases, on the whole it is probably the best coverage one can get on this event from Western sources.
The fortunes of war have changed dramatically in the past two weeks. In spring, anti-Kiev rebels, taking the new and revolutionary Ukrainian government by surprise, seized towns and cities across the two predominantly industrial and mining regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. At first, Ukrainian forces either fell apart, were captured, or defected to the rebel side. By summer, however, the Ukrainians were better organized and went on the offensive driving the rebels back.
.... Then, in the last two weeks of August, everything changed again.
I found this report to be the most comprehensive and objective on the web. The others were mostly pro-NATO public relations type reports or very cynical reports. I believe an accurate summary would be that the conference produced agreement on mostly threatening gestures against Russia and no agreement on actions against ISIS. Note that the conference was held immediately after the devastating losses suffered by the Western established Kiev government in Ukraine.
As cities around the globe continue to grow far beyond their city limits, heavily patrolled perimeter fencing and high walls are becoming a common feature of the urban and suburban landscape. Intended to provide a sense of serenity and security for high-income city dwellers, gated communities are sprouting like transgenic mushrooms, including in relatively low-crime regions of North America and Europe.The author points to a growing trend for world's One Percent ruling capitalist classes to insulate themselves from the threatening rabble that they are creating--us.
This 5:32m video illustrates one such exclusive housing arrangement near London.