Has anyone in Official Washington thought through the latest foreign policy “group think,” the plan to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia? All the “smart” people, including the New York Times editors, are rubbing their hands with glee over the financial crisis being imposed on Russia because of the Ukraine crisis, but no one, it seems, is looking down the road.
This reckless strategy appears to be another neocon-driven “regime change” scheme....
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, December 20, 2014
While the US Empire is sowing chaos in the Middle East and eastern Europe, China appears to be rapidly creating a 21st century version of the ancient Silk Road. They are not only establishing commercial ties with Europe, but commercial and military ties with Russia. The directors of the Empire are very worried: their "pivot to Asia"--that's Newspeak for a China containment policy--may be too late, and their declared economic war on Russia may backfire.
Now, mix the Silk Road strategy with heightened cooperation among the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), with accelerated cooperation among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with a more influential Chinese role over the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) - no wonder there's the perception across the Global South that, while the US remains embroiled in its endless wars, the world is defecting to the East.
After building a very convincing case that the directors of the Empire have provided huge amounts of "counter-terrorism" funding to Pakistan, has had close relations with Pakistani ISI (their counterpart to the CIA), which in turn supported various terrorist groups in Pakistan/Afghanistan with the full knowledge of the US directors, he concludes with a liberal solution!
In theory, there is a way out. The US must wind-down its self-serving obsession with military aid to Pakistan, much of which is being used to finance the very enemies we are supposedly fighting. Instead of providing billions of dollars of ‘counterterrorism’ focused aid to a hopelessly corrupt government, such billions could be used in coordination with the state to empower genuine grassroots networks....Then I waited to read of a realistic solution, but none came.
My first impression is that he has been so deeply affected by his years in liberal media such as The Guardian that he is still unable to engage in sound reasoning. My second impression is that maybe he is only safeguarding his future while uncovering the very nasty truths that might otherwise endanger his writing career, and maybe even his life.
However, I am posting this article because he has uncovered important documented truths which condemn the Empire for its support of terrorism. Pepe Escobar expresses this truth so well and so succinctly by referring to the Empire as the Empire of Chaos after reporting extensively on its history of cultivating terrorist groups in the post-9/11 era.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria – the “superbugs” – if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.”
The problem, it appears, is that “Antibiotics generally provide low returns on investment, so they are not a highly attractive area for research and development.”
Aha! “Low returns on investment”! What could be simpler to understand? Is it not a concept worth killing and dying for? Just as millions of Americans died in the 20th century so corporations could optimize profits by not protecting the public from tobacco, lead, and asbestos.
Corporations are programmed to optimize profits without regard for the society in which they operate, in much the same way that cancer cells are programmed to proliferate without regard for the health of their host.
From the rich city of Dubai, we get a taste of Arab satire in this timely piece.
BEIRUT: CIA director John Brennan has strong denounced a Beirut-based sadomasochistic club as being “a bunch of lightweights” for its “lenient” spanking and whipping policy.
Friday, December 19, 2014
This is a short, well expressed summary of capitalist indoctrination.
You couldn't write script like this for even a Hollywood movie:
The new Ukrainian Finance Minister, the one who will control the money and decides where it goes, is one Natalia A. Jaresko. She speaks fluent Ukrainian. Only problem—she is an American citizen....
Although Ahmed provides convincing data to support the argument that we humans are rapidly approaching the limits to growth on our finite planet due to the unsustainability of capitalism, however my reaction to the article was one of surprise regarding his benign attitude about this world changing event. I couldn't help but wonder if he wasn't on a high dosage of Elavil when he wrote this piece. It seemed as if he were examining an ant colony that might experience dramatic changes. You will find no mention of threats from nuclear wars or catastrophic climate destabilization leading to mass starvation, or loss of millions of lives due to flooding of highly populated coastal areas, etc.
[The crisis] begins to make sense when we re-frame the crisis as not simply an economic one, but as a “bio-economic” one, in which exponential material consumption is increasingly destabilizing the biosphere. This environmental ‘overshoot’ explains “the inability on the part of the capitalist system to continue to produce social well-being and to face the ecological question with any efficaciousness.”
Civilization is thus undergoing a huge, momentous ‘phase shift’ to a new era as the current form of global predatory capitalism crumbles beneath the weight of its own mounting unsustainability. As this process unfolds, it simultaneously opens up a range of scenarios for new forms of society, within which there is an opportunity for “a great transition towards new institutional forms” that could include greater “democratic self-government of communities and their territories.”
It is clear that the ISIS threat was NATO all along, the culmination of a conspiracy spanning at least two US Presidential administrations, and resulting in a regional conflict marked by some of the most horrific barbarism documented in modern history.Read also Nafeez Ahmed's article "Why the war on ISIS will fail" from Middle East Eye. Here this fired columnist for The Guardian wavers between a theme of the Empire's incompetence to intentional support of ISIS, but the evidence he cites supports the latter.
With NATO feeding the ISIS threat directly, no serious attempt to destroy ISIS in either Syria or Iraq can be attempted without first cutting its supply lines leading from NATO territory. Clearly the United States, NATO, or regional partners like Israel, Qatar, or Saudi Arabia have any intention of doing so.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Due to the action of one U.S. Senator, critical legislation that would address the epidemic of veteran suicide was today blocked in the Senate. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), which spearheaded the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans....We have constantly heard the theme "support our troops" in mainstream media whenever our masters in the ruling capitalist class want ordinary young Americans to serve in their imperial armies. Have you noticed how they ignore this theme after they are finished using these young Americans? This article reports on another illustration of this.
One might argue that this is an incorrect interpretation because the House of Representatives passed the bill unanimously. I don't think for one minute that Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was strictly acting independently. After all, such an extremely unpopular action would jeopardize his re-election. He very likely received his orders from the directors of the ruling class who are far more interested in supplying war materials to Ukraine than to "support our (former) troops". Coburn knows that he can rely on the ruling class to provide him with all the money he needs to be re-elected, or else they will find him a high-income cushy job in a corporation or some branch of government. In short, he will be well taken care of.
From Kucinich's description of the passage of this bill it appears that our masters in the One Percent have perfected the means of efficiently passing whatever they want through Congress.
Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.
Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved:
It is...clear that Saudi Arabia’s action in precipitating the dramatic fall in the price of oil was far from accidental. Furthermore, It was hardly motivated by a Saudi attempt to keep its dominant share in the oil market, supposedly threatened by the US shale oil production. This explanation, given by the ‘globalist’ faction within the Russian elite and the liberal “Left” in the West, was in fact an alibi used by the TE [transnational elites] itself and the Saudis in order to disguise the real aim of this action.If the "transnational elites", or the Empire directors, have any success at this project, you can expect another effort at an "Orange Revolution" as we witnessed in Ukraine.
I have frequently urged a citizen controlled media network, and Niman lends strong support for this argument to counter ruling class controlled mainstream media.
Traditionally something else has been going on in mainstream journalism. That is, with rare exceptions, journalists have always shied away from reporting on police crime. Beat reporters usually rely on police contacts to feed them easy-to-report stories—which is why the vast majority of crime stories are based on or dominated by “official sources” rather than independent witnesses. If a reporter damages his or her rapport with the cops, this conduit for easy, sloppy stories dries up.Of course, beyond a network of citizen journalists, we ordinary citizens must find a way to financially and otherwise support citizen journalists.
But the problem is more serious than lazy (or, now more commonly, overworked) reporters relying on police contacts. There’s also the fact that over the past few decades, many reporters who document police crime have themselves fallen victim to police crime.
A banking culture that implicitly puts financial gain above all else fuels greed and dishonesty and makes bankers more likely to cheat, according to the findings of a scientific study.What a surprise! (sarcasm) Of course, the same applies to corporations and the entire capitalist system.
These moves come more than half a century after Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Havana and imposed a punishing economic blockade on the Caribbean island nation as part of a concerted and protracted effort by successive US administrations, the CIA and the Pentagon to overthrow the Cuban government and assassinate its leaders.
Washington's anger over the measures taken by the Cuban Revolution against American profit interests has not abated. The US is merely adopting a new tactic for reversing them.
Rafael Correa has contributed much to the independence of not only Ecuador, but to South America.
Ecuador has done much to coordinate efforts for the creation of such integration mechanisms as the South American Bank, the South American School of Defence, a criminal court, and an electoral monitoring group. A South American Arbitration Centre is also going to be established, which will allow the region to free itself from the influence of transnational capital. "Together, we will be able to dictate the terms of international capital", said Rafael Correa. The concept of South American citizenship, which will give people the right to move around the region and get a job and an education anywhere on the continent, is an important achievement of the summit in Ecuador. Five hundred million people will receive such a ‘South American passport’!Thus, we can look forward to attempts by the Empire to counter his efforts and his regime.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The most valuable contribution Petras makes in this essay is his explanation of why torture is used by imperialists: not so much to obtain information, but to terrorize their subjugated populations from collaborating with freedom fighters. After that his essay deteriorates into moralism.
His political analysis of various government actors who acquiesced in, or facilitated, the practice of torture is more moralistic than sound political reasoning. As a result, he denigrates the concept of a deep state and reduces everything to morally tarnished government actors who, he insists, should be punished. Of course, they should be punished, but that moralistic statement like all the others does not shed light on the reasons they are not punished, why government officials engaged in such devious behavior, nor why ruling class figures weigh the use of torture purely on a pragmatic basis.
It's clear to me that once a ruling class decides to engage in imperialist actions for reasons of self interest, all their following actions are immoral but necessary to accomplish their crimes against oppressed populations. Imperialism is intrinsically an anti-social act, and therefore immoral. However, once a decision is made by a ruling class to engage in such anti-social behavior, they are often forced to use secrecy, public reports that are heavily redacted to protect the perpetrators, excuses about not knowing, and a refusal to punish anyone.
The same reasoning applies within class structured societies in which a ruling class secures its self-interests at the expense of the greater society by various anti-social methods all of which are covered up and/or justified by indoctrination agencies and media. Their enforcement agencies avoid using torture as punishment against law-breakers in most cases because of the threat of exposure, but they will engage in milder forms of torture such as we witnessed in the case of Chelsea Manning or aggressive police actions against poor African-Americans as long has their indoctrination and media agencies can cover it up and/or enable the wider public to accept it.
The problem with liberals (or capitalist left-wingers) like Petras is that they refuse to frame issues within a class analysis, or expose a "deep state", because that would undermine the legitimacy of the ruling class and reveal their widespread exploitation of the rest of society. Liberal educators serve "domestic imperialism" because they, like their counterparts in government who permitted or facilitated the torture of foreigners, have always been so well rewarded for doing so. The system of capitalism inevitably results in a ruling class with enormous wealth which is used to offer material rewards to collaborators (from government officials to torturers to liberal academics) of their class rule.
For some reason Dimon always gets publicity when most ruling class directors stay carefully out of sight. Our ruling class is much like an onion: there are many layers near the core. It's possible that Dimon is at the 2nd or 3rd layer. People like the Rockefeller family are at the core.
(See also this, this, this, this, and this for humor.)
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
this and this) of such developments in the tiny autonomous area of Rojava which is formally a part of Syria.
Normally in such conflicted areas, radical experiments are compromised by the needs of security from outside threats as happened in the Soviet Union following the 1917 revolution, and to a lesser extent in Cuba following their revolution in 1959. Such compromises do not seem to be happening in Rojava. Although Biehl makes references to problems, she doesn't list any--I wish she had.
In nine days we could not possibly have scoured Rojava for all problems, and our interlocutors candidly admitted that Rojava is hardly above criticism....This excellent report--there are hints of more to come--reminded me of some speculations I had after reading about the Soviet revolution in the excellent book entitled The Prophet Armed (v.1) by Isaac Deutscher. In the chaos of the aftermath the Bolsheviks were faced with invasions by Western capitalist armies, counter-revolutionary insurrections from within, widespread hunger, epidemics, a devastated country ravaged by WWI, etc. I have speculated that the very understandable mistake that Trotsky made as commander of the new Soviet army was to fall back on what he regarded as the only form of organization that an army could have to secure the revolution while facing foreign armies: the traditional rigid hierarchical structure. Deutscher wrote on page 416:
The task...to be accomplished was to centralize the Red Army and to establish single command. Trotsky went on to disband the Red Guards and the partisan detachments. The incorporation of the partisan units proved unsatisfactory, because it infected the regular detachments with the 'guerrilla spirit'. .... He insisted on the organization of the entire army into uniformly constituted divisions and regiments.This I think was a fatal mistake that had many future adverse consequences for the success of the revolution. Although it did secure the revolution for the immediate future, it was in a distorted bureaucratic form which led to its corruption and ultimate deterioration into bureaucratic ruling class government.
An alternative would have been to supply local sympathetic revolutionary populations with arms, training, and political education. Whether this alternative could have been successful under such chaotic conditions in 1917 is debatable, but I think it was necessary to keep the revolution alive and sustainable.
This alternative appears to be operational in Rojava's revolution. Should this alternative survive and thrive, I will not only have a confirmation of my speculation; but of far more importance, there is promise of a successful revolutionary model that the rest of the world's majority can follow.
To help us understand all of this we could not have a better guess today than David Hughes, a geo-scientist who has studied the energy resources of Canada for nearly four decades including 32 years with The Geological Survey of Canada as a scientist and research manager. Now it is his work with The Post Carbon Institute that has really caught my eye. That includes "Drill Baby Drill," a 2013 report. Probably the most comprehensive, publicly available analysis to date of the prospects for shale gas and tight oil, as shale oil is usually called in the United States.I ran out of time this morning to listen to all of this interview, but it looks very promising in terms of understanding the many ramifications that this industry holds for our future.
The agreement is based on the idea that every country will publicly commit itself to adopting its own plan for reducing emissions, based on criteria established by national governments on the basis of their domestic politics – not on what scientists have been indicating as absolutely necessary."National governments" in the above paragraph hides the overwhelming fact of private control of governments and economies governed by capitalist principles to serve those tiny few who rule most of the world. Such people must promote growth of their economies to obtain the wealth and power that are the drugs that feed their addictions to wealth and power.
However, like any addicted alcoholic, they like to make the appearance that everything is under control. Hence, we see these meetings where nothing of substance ever happens. Only if the vast majority of humans wake up and rid themselves of this human-habitat-destroying system will there be any hope for any agreements to prevent catastrophic climate destabilization.
Of course, the planet will continue on without humans just as it as has when numerous other species appeared for a while and then disappeared because they could not adapt to the planet's conditions. What will be really sad is if the vast majority of humans permit this tiny group of addicted people to destroy their adaptation. A sentient being looking back after the disappearance of humans will be thoroughly perplexed by this puzzle.
Now, contrast this article entitled "Lima Climate COP Fails (of course)" from a liberal source with this brief article from a real alternative media source, Climate Connections. The author, Anne Petermann, has a much better understanding of what is needed to really change things.
Fortunately, more and more people (except for the big green NGOs) recognize that these climate COPs will never get it done and are organizing peoples’ summits where grassroots climate activists, Indigenous Peoples and impacted community members can gather to discuss what to do about climate change from the bottom up....
Monday, December 15, 2014
Just as a business succeeds or fails on the basis of trust by its customers, it can also be said that a nation succeeds, over the long term, through the trust and confidence of its citizens. There are now ample warning signs that America is dangerously heading in the wrong direction.
U.S. Congress Now Virtually 100% All-In on Ukraine’s War Against Russia; Americans Are at Least 67% Opposed
This is another illustration of the reality that Congress serves the ruling class's shadow government rather than the American people.
Last night, December 11th, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously as the U.S. House had previously voted 98%: to join Ukraine’s war against Russia and against Ukraine’s own ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s southeastern districts, in order to eliminate those resistant Ukrainians and their families.
The U.S. is now throwing down the gauntlet to Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, and daring him to defend openly the ethnic Russians that the U.S.-installed Ukrainian Government is now trying to exterminate in the eastern districts, the places where the present Ukrainian Government is rejected by almost all of the residents.
I've seen widespread daily coverage in mainstream media (gloatingly) reports that the sanctions are hurting the Russian economy. The reports usually refer to the declining rate of exchange between the US dollar and Euros with the Russian ruble. Hudson explains why these exchange rates are irrelevant to the new Russian economic realities, and suggests that the effort to isolate Russia from Europe will backfire on the Empire's neoconservative directors.
...the result of these changes is the opposite of what American strategy was based on for the last half-century, the idea of dividing and conquering Eurasia by setting Russia against China, by isolating Iran, by preventing India, the Near East, and other Asian countries from joining together to create some kind of alternative to the dollar area. In fact, the American sanctions and the new Cold War policy of the neocons are driving these Asian countries together, in association with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as an alternative to NATO, and the BRICS are trying to make an alternative to dealing with the dollar area and with the IMF and the World Bank that represent U.S. policy.
So, regarding Europe, America's insistence that it join this new Cold War policy by imposing sanctions on Russia, and especially by blocking Russian oil and gas imports, is--aggravated the Eurozone's austerity, and it's just turning it into a dead zone.
The Congressional report on torture confirms that Al Qaeda was not involved in the attacks of September 11
I'm not sure that he proves his argument, but he makes a very convincing argument that the CIA's involvement was largely to obtain false confessions that linked Al Qaeda to 9/11.
Let’s be clear: the Senate Committee [report]...states that the CIA did not question the detainees, but it conditioned them to confess to acts of which they knew nothing. The Commission states that the CIA agents did not even look to see what the detainees had confessed during previous interrogations with the authorities who arrested them. In other words not only has the CIA not investigated whether al Qaeda was involved in the attacks or not, but its action had no other purpose than to generate false evidence attesting to the involvement of al-Qaeda in the attacks of September 11.Considering that 9/11 critics have assembled considerable evidence implicating the CIA in the 9/11 attacks to justify the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the whole "war on terror" to justify the construction of many elements of a police state domestically, such CIA actions in relation to these prisoners as argued by Meyssan make perfect sense. The link between 9/11 and Al Qaeda, which was alleged by government officials immediately after 9/11, had to be firmly established by these pseudo confessions to complete the false flag scenario concocted by the CIA.
...[genetic engineering] technology is first and foremost an instrument of corporate power, a tool to ensure profit. Beyond that, it is intended to serve US global geopolitical interests. Indeed, agriculture has for a long time been central to US foreign policy.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
This highly respected analyst of fossil fuels lends her insights about the likely impacts that low oil prices will have to reach this overall conclusion:
In my view, a rapid drop in oil prices is likely a symptom that we are approaching a debt-related collapse.... Underlying this debt-related collapse is the fact that we seem to be reaching the limits of a finite world. There is a growing mismatch between what workers in oil importing countries can afford, and the rising real costs of extraction, including associated governmental costs. This has been covered up to date by rising debt, but at some point, it will not be possible to keep increasing the debt sufficiently.Because the collapse in oil prices was caused by the Medieval rulers of Saudi Arabian in collaboration with the directors of the Empire mainly to undermine the economies of Russia (as they did in the 1980s) and Iran, I think that the numerous negative impacts that she outlines in her report will not be as negative as she argues--at least, not this time around. Thus, what the Empire directors and their Saudi collaborators decided will be reversed as soon as the impacts become too negative for Empire interests. Meanwhile, many major oil companies will simply take advantage of the situation by buying up smaller companies at bargain prices.
I have followed her writing for at least five years and I know that she previously argued that peak oil/financial collapse would come in cycles, with each one more damaging than the preceding one. But this time, the drop in prices was decided not by the market, but by political considerations. Thus, I think she is getting ahead of herself in this article.
I've just discovered this valuable study on the history of the infamous School of the Americas (SOA) and its evolution into its current globalized form. Because of the sordid history that included terrorism, assassinations, subversion, paramilitaries, torture, and drug-trafficking, our ruling class directorate decided to change its name to The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). Sottile then suggests that other manifestations of this school have turned up in other parts of the world, but only cites Africa as an example.
Just as the Cold War often provided ideological cover for repression of reformers, activists and inconvenient obstacles to "development," so too have the wars on Drugs and Terror allowed the America's infrastructure of cooperation and training to pivot forces around the world - and particularly to the new frontier in Africa.
However the "school" in Africa appears to be administered by AFRICOM. It's rather difficult to unravel the chain of command, but it appears to me that the original SOA has been duplicated with schools in most other command areas. Thus, it is difficult to claim that those in other command areas are "satellite campuses". In any case, it's obvious that the directors of the US-led Empire have truly global aspirations as reflected in the Dept. of Defense command structure.
As a summary of the "school" programs in Africa, he makes a general observation about all such "schools":
The common thread through all of these initiatives is the use of training to establish "cooperative" or client relationships that place key military personnel in crucial positions in nations around the globe. To wit, Foreign Policy reported in 2012 that "the United States delivered bilateral security assistance to 134 countries - meaning that every country on Earth had about a 75 percent chance of receiving US military aid."
This "satellite campus" system of the "New" School of the America is expanding at the same time the traditional model is drawing tens of thousands of soldiers and police to "275 known military school and installations." Amnesty International estimates that the United States "trains at least 100,000 foreign soldiers and police from more than 150 countries each year at a cost of tens of millions of dollars" and thereby seems to have created a Training-Industrial Complex.