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 LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Does the USA sponsor revolutions?

Click here if you wish to access the video from YouTube directly. Video was produced by Journeyman Pictures. A transcript of the video is accessed here from American Buddha Online Library and is recommended to follow along with the video.

The End of Endless Growth: Part 2

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from Motherboard. 
The pseudo-debate over whether 2015 entails recession or recovery overlooks the bigger picture: that the global economic crisis is simply a stage in the long decline of a paradigm that has outlasted its usefulness.

Far from being all doom and gloom, continuing global economic fragility is symptomatic of a fundamental shift in the very nature of civilization itself. The new era of slow growth and austerity has emerged because the biosphere is forcing us to adapt to the consequences of breaching environmental limits.

This fundamental shift has also brought about significant changes that offer profound opportunities for systemic transformation that could benefit humanity and the planet. These five interlinked revolutions in information, food, energy, finance and ethics are opening up opportunities for communities to co-create new ways of being that work for everyone. This year we could discover that the very disruption of capitalism itself is part of a major tipping point in the transition to a new post-industrial, post-capitalist paradigm.

Did the U.S. and the Saudis Conspire to Push Down Oil Prices?

Click here to access article by Mike Whitney from Information Clearing House.
Of course, they’re in bed together. Saudi Arabia is a US client. It’s not autonomous or sovereign in any meaningful way. It’s a US protectorate, a satellite, a colony. They do what they’re told. Period. True, the relationship is complex, but let’s not be ridiculous. The Saudis are not calling the shots. The idea is absurd. Do you really think that Washington would let Riyadh fiddle prices in a way that destroyed critical US domestic energy industries, ravaged the junk bond market, and generated widespread financial instability without uttering a peep of protest on the matter?

Dream on! If the US was unhappy with the Saudis, we’d all know about it in short-order because it would be raining Daisy Cutters from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, which is the way that Washington normally expresses its displeasure on such matters. The fact that Obama has not even alluded to the shocking plunge in prices just proves that the policy coincides with Washington’s broader geopolitical strategy.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews

I, and many others (for a recent example, see this), have noticed and commented on the appearance of a very controlled and coordinated media that spews out the same Empire propaganda on every media outlet here in the US. I've wondered for a long time how this could have been organized and details about its organization. Now thanks to people like Parry, FBI whistleblower extraordinaire Sibel Edmonds, and others, this conspiracy by leading members of the ruling capitalist class is rapidly coming into focus.

Of course, I was keenly aware that the media under ownership and sponsorship of major corporations have always to a more limited extent provided biased coverage, however this trend of propaganda skewed coverage increased during the Vietnam War, and accelerated most dramatically since 9/11. What I now see today are symptoms which suggest that major media are under tightly organized and centralized control, something like what Orwell described as the "Ministry of Truth" in Nineteen Eighty-Four. 

So, the question remains as to how major media is so well managed and coordinated to produce such monolithic propaganda. I read in Sibel Edmond's recently published outstanding book of political fiction (if you don't how political fiction can serve the truth, click on this link!) entitled The Lone Gladio, in which she has CIA personnel located in every major media outlet. This makes complete sense to me because there have been many reports in the past of journalists paid by the CIA in such books as The Mighty Wurlitzer by Hugh Wilford. On pages 226-227 he writes:
Estimates of the number f U.S. reporters who carried out secret assignments for the CIA vary: in 1973, the Agency itself conceded,in the face of questioning from newspaper publishers, a figure of "some three dozen"; a congressional inquiry conducted in 1976 concluded that the total was more like fifty; a year later, Carl Bernstein calculated that as many as four hundred American journalist had worked for the CIA sin 1952.
Now Parry brings us up-to-date on this subject in this article with his survey of recently released FOIA documents related to this subject. His findings brings the truth into much sharper focus. These documents clearly show that...
...right-wing media executives Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife [were brought] into a CIA-organized “perception management” operation which aimed Cold War-style propaganda at the American people in the 1980s, according to declassified U.S. government records.

.... A driving force behind creation of Reagan’s extraordinary propaganda bureaucracy was CIA Director William Casey who dispatched one of the CIA’s top covert action specialists, Walter Raymond Jr., to the National Security Council to oversee the project. According to the documents, Murdoch was brought into the operation in 1983....
Now, it appears that CIA personnel sit at the highest levels of management in media corporations to insure that the organizations report the news "correctly".

The End of Endless Growth: Part 1

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from Motherboard. 
It’s the New Year, and the global economic crisis is still going strong. But while pundits cross words over whether 2015 holds greater likelihood of a recovery or a renewed recession, new research suggests they all may be missing the bigger picture: that the economic crisis is symptomatic of a deeper crisis of industrial civilization’s relationship with nature.

Far from implying the end of the world, some economists see the current era of slow growth and austerity as part of a momentous, transitional shift to a new form of civilization that could either adapt in the face of natural limits and prosper, or crumble in denial as nature restores its own balance. So could 2015 herald the dawn of a new era of prosperity, or the breakdown of the global economy?

Spectating at the End of the World

Click here to access article by xraymike79 from Collapse of Industrial Civilization.
With all the disjointed and delusional thinking out there, I feel compelled to write a blog post periodically to get the facts straight and assure myself that what I see and hear every day is really happening. Yes, we really are terraforming the Earth into a barren wasteland while convincing ourselves that it’s worth it for the sake of a cubicle job and life in cookie-cutter suburbia. Yes, we really are ruled by the Washington-Wall Street-Pentagon complex. No, you will never get the raw truth from mainstream news outlets. .... Yes, industrial civilization is still on track to collapse within my lifetime. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The US cannot start a major war in Ukraine

Click here to access article by Nikolai Starikov (translated by Val from Osa) from The Vineyard of the Saker.

This article is not easy to read because, first of all, it was written in Russian for a Russian audience; second, it occasionally presents translation problems even though it is one of the better translations of Russian articles that I've seen on this website. (For example: "The existence of the DNR and LNR as Anti-anti-Russia is the key to inability of the West to start a war between Ukraine and Russia." I think "DNR and LNR" refer to sections of Novorussia. Thus, the sentence is better translated as follows: "The existence of the Novorussia as Anti-anti-Russia is the key to inability of the West....") 

In spite of these difficulties, I think the author offers some very important insights on the chess-like game being played out in Ukraine by the directors of the Empire (and other strife-ridden areas of the world) and the clever counter-moves by Russian leaders.

Starikov first sets the stage for this game being played in Ukraine as follows:
The United States and the West are facing of the strongest crises in its history. The strength and depth of the problem are compounded by the fact that ... the West has won. It incorporated practically all of Europe, crushed, to varying degrees, the whole world with a few exceptions.

Therein lies the problem – all its life the West lived by robbery. Now those who can be robbed are fewer and fewer, and those with whom it is necessary to share the "stolen goods", that is the standard of living that rests on unrestricted dollar emissions, are more and more. Hence the huge national debt. In the United States it is 18 trillion dollars, but such debts, and even worse ratios of the national debt to GDP, exist in all so-called developed countries.

What solution the US and its closest allies are looking for in this situation? It is now evident to everyone. The solution is war. Chaos. But this chaos and this war must lead to a "controlled collapse".

As a result the US must eliminate two threats to its power - China and Russia. Ideally, make them clash with each other. To do this the US need to change regime in one of these countries. Obviously, the Americans think that the regime change in Russia is an easier task.
Then Starikov argues that a grand strategy (neo-imperialism?) has been applied in Ukraine in order to establish a government hostile to Ukraine, draw Russia into aggressive military actions in response, create (hopefully only) a regional war between Russia and Ukraine with the Empire backing Ukraine. This creates tension within Russia, and with other subversive measures such as economic sanctions and collapsing the price of oil could lead to the destabilization of Russia. Then, on to China for the next application.

As explained by Starikov, I see three sub-elements to this strategy that the Empire's uses to destabilize a country to further its interests (which differ from one target to another): 1) create chaos which largely destroys the economy of country, 2) create two main adversaries (divide and conquer), and 3) provide substantial financial support for one side (this provides income for desperate people as mercenary soldiers). 

But like any good chess player, Russian leaders are not playing into the Empire's game, and Sarikov argues that the Empire is losing in its effort to destabilize Russia.

Why America Annexed Texas And Loves Saudi Dictators

Click here to access article by Robert Barsocchini from CounterCurrents.

By examining US policies in the history of Texas and and our current relations with Saudi Arabia, Barsocchini illustrates the truth of the capitalist imperial creed: 
[By] gaining a monopoly on production of the world's most important commodity [one can] place other nations at one's feet.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Color Revolutions and Geopolitics: Part 1 of a dossier on destabilizing tactics used by the Empire.

Click here to access article by Eric Pottenger and Jeff Friesen, extracts from their website posted at The Greanville Post. (Commentary amended 7 AM 1/1/2015, also updated on 1/3/2015)

The authors examine a popular strategy used recently by Empire directors to destabilize governments and bring them into the NATO umbrella, the Empire's army. It's important to understand how this latest form of imperialism, especially for Americans, because they appear to be using many of the similar strategy here in the US to co-opt and control dissidents as they do in foreign countries to destabilize their governments. (See my commentary about such a suspect organization that I posted in November.)
It’s a fact that Western governments (especially the US government) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) spend millions of dollars to co-opt and “channel” local populations of targeted countries against their own political leadership.

Empty democracy slogans and flashy colors aside, we argue that color revolutions are good old-fashioned regime change operations: destabilization without the tanks.
The latest selections in this "dossier" are Part 2 and Part 3 which I will not post individually.

2014: The Year the American Justice System Officially Died

Click here to access article by Carey Wedler from The Anti-Media.
In 2014, the problem of police brutality forced itself to the forefront of the national conversation following the brutal killing of Americans at the hands of the police. This increased attention has been a success for activists from all walks of life and for the well-being of citizens. The problem of racism and police murders that involve it is finally receiving widespread acknowledgment and opposition.

But as much as the issue of police abuse needs attention, it remains that injustice in America permeates layers of society that transcend law enforcement, race, and problems of direct violence against citizens.
I just discovered this website this morning and I like what they are doing: promoting citizen news gathering and analysis. In this article Wedler writes about the corruption of the justice system which, as he argues while citing numerous examples of injustice and morally compromised events, has reached a terminal phase in the US. I think that this view reflects a growing recognition that something is basically wrong with our society, however the basis for this wrongness still eludes this writer and many others. 

Because of the thorough indoctrination they have received in schools, media, and even entertainment, many people are unable to see the basic organization of our society which is capitalism. This is a system that divides people between a tiny few who literally "own" (according to capitalist rules) our economy and those whose labor is rented in a labor market by the "owners" for their profit. Such "ownership" over time has resulted in a concentration of a few fabulously rich and powerful and many who struggle to make a decent living. This is the basic injustice from which all other injustices are derived. Those tiny few really constitute a ruling class because their wealth gives them the power to control all other sub-systems in society--media, education, government (including justice), entertainment, etc. This societal arrangement is fundamentally unfair and immoral, and is the basis of all corruption of our society.

As FBI’s Amerithrax Case Continues to Crumble, Bureau Digs in on North Korea Claims

Click here to access article by Marcy Wheeler from emptywheel.

As a part of the trend of aggressiveness demonstrated by the Empire's directors, their government's lies also seem to be accelerating especially since 9/11. Whether this is out of arrogance or desperation (as I tend to view it) is anybody's guess. The FBI's almost instant claim that North Korea hacked Sony appears to be leaking credibility rapidly. Wheeler reminds us first about the anthrax attacks following 9/11 which the FBI investigated as an introduction to her review of their latest claims of North Korean responsibility.
The FBI still hasn’t solved one of the most alarming terrorist attacks in this country, an attempt to kill two sitting US Senators. Instead, it persists in a claim (versus Ivins) that doesn’t comport with the science, to say nothing of the other circumstantial evidence. FBI only ever sustained that claim by assuming — based on no known evidence — that a Lone Wolf, rather than conspirators, launched the attack.

Even as new evidence undermining the FBI’s obstinate claims about Ivins got released, the FBI has been making equally obstinate claims that North Korea is behind the Sony hack.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People

Click here to access article by Sam Mitrani from Labor and Working-Class History Association. 
This liberal way of viewing the problem rests on a misunderstanding of the origins of the police and what they were created to do. The police were not created to protect and serve the population. They were not created to stop crime, at least not as most people understand it. And they were certainly not created to promote justice. They were created to protect the new form of wage-labor capitalism that emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century from the threat posed by that system’s offspring, the working class.

US Armed Rebels Gave TOW missiles to Al Qaeda

Click here to access article by Maram Susli from New Eastern Outlook.

This Syrian author contributes more evidence to the pile of reports from other sources about US collaboration with ISIS which she says is a branch of Al Qaeda and the most effective group trying to topple Assad's government.
US supplied TOW anti-tank missiles have ended up in the hands of Jabhat Al Nusra, Syria’s branch of Al Qaeda. The US provided the missiles to CIA vetted Syrian rebel faction Harakat Hazm in May. A video posted by Al Nusra shows the weapons being used to take over Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh in Idlib province.

A story that should have been headline news of Obama’s arming of Al Qaeda across all US media, largely went unnoticed.
She reaches this conclusion which again is supported by several other independent sources in the Middle East:
Whilst in future these weapons may be used against American personnel, for now the US is desperate for a victory against the Syrian government. The US might find reports of arms ending up with Al Qaeda embarrassing, but such embarrassment can be mitigated by controlling the amount of attention it gets from the US run media.

Therefore the purpose of advertising a ‘moderate rebel force’ is to maintain plausible deniability whilst still supporting what is largely an Al Qaeda rebellion against the Syrian government.

Facebook: Colonialism 2.0

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

Cartalucci makes a compelling case that Facebook is the 21st century's version of Orwellian indoctrination by selecting content that the current Big Brother feels is in our best interests.
The Western media has attempted to portray Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious plan to get every human being online as altruistic at first, but later revealed as simply what could be called “profitable empathy.” In reality however, the truth is much more sinister, with Facebook already revealed to be much more than a mere corporation run by Zuckerberg and his “ideas”.

Facebook is the pinnacle of social engineering....

Unsustainable growth can’t be wished away

Click here to access article by Ian Angus from Climate & Capitalism. 
When it comes to explaining destructive growth, many green writers confuse cause and effect
Hint: It's the nature of the beast of capitalism--it is always hungry for more. Now that it is so huge along with its appetite, our Earth can no longer tolerate it.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Victory of ‘Perception Management’

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews

Parry in this lengthy article traces the history of "perception management" back to the Vietnam war and the large domestic opposition to that war. He offers a lot of the details of the growing role of the CIA in shaping news to fit administration policies. My only criticism of the essay is its liberal bias: too much agency is given to Reagan's role, the assumption that perception management started under Reagan's administration, and its corollary that we had anything like a free press before this time. I grant that during this period, the ruling class was greatly disturbed by the anti-Vietnam War movement, and sought to accelerate the use of propaganda and discipline renegade reporters who didn't following ruling class script.
Though Reagan’s creation of a domestic propaganda bureaucracy began more than three decades ago – and Bush’s vanquishing of the Vietnam Syndrome was more than two decades ago – the legacy of those actions continue to reverberate today in how the perceptions of the American people are now routinely managed. That was true during last decade’s Iraq War and this decade’s conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine as well as the economic sanctions against Iran and Russia.
.... At this advanced stage of America’s quiet surrender to “perception management,” it is even hard to envision how one could retrace the many steps that would lead back to the concept of a democratic Republic based on an informed electorate.

Brace Yourself for Oil Shock Future. It Won't Be Pretty

Click here to access article by Chris Martenson from Peak Prosperity (behind a paywall) via Russia Insider. (My comments were amended at 4 Pm Seattle time.)

I think that this is a very important study of future oil/gas supply and its various effects on our societies. I have been favorably impressed with this author in the past. Most recently I encountered him in the interview he conducted with geoscientist David Hughes and posted at the Post Carbon Institute. Also, the implications of his analysis correspond closely with those of Gail Tverberg who is a widely respected expert on fossil fuels, and whose writings I have followed for quite some time.

The graph at the left illustrates the effect on prices caused by diminishing fossil fuel supplies together with higher costs of extraction. He sees extreme volatility in prices as central banks attempt to cope with higher costs of extraction.

You see, the Empire's main central bank, the Federal Reserve, is owned by private banks which, in turn, are owned by the richest (and the most powerful) of the ruling One Percent. The capitalist system under which the economy is run requires economic growth to feed them their interest payments on money they have created out of thin air, backed mostly by the Empire's control of oil resources (and the threat of various forms of violence both overt and covert), and loaned to oil companies and capitalist investors. This is the way Martenson explains it:
I don't know when, but there will come a moment when the world realizes that the trillions and trillions of dollars worth of paper claims in the form of currency, bonds, and derivatives only have value in relation to the actual things they can buy.

At this magic moment in time, the scales will fall off the world's eyes and it will realize that oil is the king of economic energy sources. And that less oil means less real wealth for all those claims to go chase.

Without the economic growth that oil provides, you cannot make a reasonable case for constantly expanding the debt loads of a society.

The logic of constantly expanding debts only works with the assumption of perpetual future growth.
To avoid any misunderstanding, I am not supporting his argument that the current fall in oil prices is solely due to capitalist economic factors. I think there is a confluence of factors which led to this decision by Empire directors to cause this current fall in oil prices, and the timing of this was due overwhelmingly to geopolitical reasons: to damage Russian, Iranian, Venezuelan economies. And there are other factors such as the opportunity for major oil companies to buy up many smaller companies at bargain prices.

No, the War in Afghanistan Did Not End

Click here to access article by Jim White from the Emptywheel. 
Unfortunately, the AP headline is total bullshit. There was indeed a ceremony in Kabul yesterday. And yes, it did mark (for the second time), the end of the international force called ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) assembled under NATO as the lead in the war in Afghanistan. The new NATO mission, dubbed Operation Resolute Support, also under NATO leadership, is proclaimed most often to consist only of training and support to Afghan forces who will do all the fighting.

The problem with that description is that it is a lie.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

China challenges US economic war against Russia

Click here to access article by Alex Lantier from World Socialist Web Site.

I was particularly concerned about this and following paragraphs which increase my general anxiety that the insane directors of the Empire are preparing for a global war against Russia and China because their governments refuse to submit to the Empire's rule. Note that the source of the comments come from a prime spokesman from a main media source of US capitalist information and policies.
A year ago, in an article titled “China must not copy the Kaiser’s errors,” Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf warned China against any action that could be construed as a challenge to US global hegemony. He indicated that a Chinese policy replicating the German Kaiser’s challenge to British hegemony before the outbreak of World War I in 1914 would lead to a similar outcome: all-out conflict.
Meanwhile back here in the bosom of the Empire the people are mostly busy shopping and focusing their attention on college and professional football (American) matches.

Power Anywhere Where There’s People

Click here to access article by Cynthia Peters who interviews Ayana Aubourg, a member of Youth Against Mass Incarceration, from Telesur.

Aubourg and her friends at Youth Against Mass Incarceration (YAMI) in Boston are clearly doing very constructive political work with their efforts to educate themselves, recover their own history, acts of solidarity, and constructing relations among themselves that a healthy society should include.
We believe that capitalism and white supremacy have created a system where most people suffer in order for a few people at the top to benefit. Most crimes committed today occur are greatly a result of the system that we live in. Capitalism, racism, sexism, and homophobia drive people apart. They leave some people with more power than others and cause some people to behave oppressively towards others. In a better world, we wouldn’t need prisons. We would have structures in the community that would hold people accountable. We would develop approaches to justice that would be restorative and transformative and not punitive. 

N.Y.P.D. Officers Earn Disrespect - Except One Of Them

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama

Going against the direction of a herd of sheep can often be very difficult, but it has become imperative in today's world in which capitalist ruling classes are herding sheeple off the cliffs of never-ending wars, a nuclear war conflagration, and catastrophic climate destabilization. Bernhard offers a brief, but poignant lesson about this.