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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Creating Sunnistan: Foreign Affairs Calls for Syria and Iraq to be Balkanized

Click here to access article by Steven MacMillan from New Eastern Outlook.

In the following paragraph MacMillan makes reference to a recent paper published by Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations which is a prime hangout for the directors of the US-led Empire:
The Western elite’s strategy is to create a Middle East (and a world for that matter) devoid of strong, sovereign, independent nation-states that can resist imperial advances. Fracturing countries into feuding micro-states ensures Western interests are not confronted with a cohesive entity which can collectively unite to oppose this belligerent force. “Divide and conquer” as Mendelsohn’s article is titled, the ancient strategy used by an array of imperial powers, from the Roman’s to the British, remains the strategy of the Western Empire today.

Imperial Social Media: Avaaz and the Arms Merchants

Click here to access article by Jay Taber from the Wrong Kind of Green
Promoting the imperial social media fad of equivocating on US and NATO invasions that destroy entire societies, ostensibly because the current head of state is ruthless or corrupt, Avaaz apologists neglect the growing list of countries where these invasions have made things worse. Indeed, I am at a loss to find a country in my lifetime (1952-present) where US military aggression — either directly or through proxy mercenaries and US-financed and trained death squads — made things better.

Of course, if you look at militarism as a market-oriented strategy, then making war or creating armed mayhem is just part of doing business.

2015: Just Another Year for Empire

Click here to access article by

'Free Basics' Will Take Away More Than Our Right to the Internet

Click here to access article by Vandana Shiva from Common Dreams. (Note: Shiva uses a couple of abbreviations commonly used in India: "SEZ" and "TRAI".)

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has raised the ire of activists in India to what they see as another corporate attempt to exploit their society for profits.
Facebook’s Free Basics is a repackaged internet.org, or in other words, a system where Facebook decides what parts of the internet are important to users.
These activists have already witnessed the devastation that Monsanto Corporation has caused for farming in India (see numerous articles by Colin Todhunter by entering his name in one of my search boxes), and they don't like his latest profit-making effort to act as a gatekeeper to limit what people see over the internet.

Vandana Shiva has been one of the most vocal critics of this trend of corporate takeover and makeover of Indian society. As a strident critic of Monsanto Corporation and frankenfoods produced by using grains from Monsanto's bio-engineered crops, she writes:
The right to the internet is the right to choose what spaces and media we access; to choose spaces that enrich us — not what companies think should be our ‘basics’.

Our right to know what we are eating is as essential our right to information, all information. Our right to an open internet is as essential to our democracy as our right to save, exchange and sell open pollinated farmers’ seeds.

In the ultimate Orwellian doublespeak, “free” for Zuckerberg means “privatised”, a far cry from privacy — a word Zuckerberg does not believe in. And like corporate-written “free” trade agreements, Free Basics is anything but free for citizens. It is an enclosure of the commons, which are ‘commons’ because they guarantee access to the commoner, whether it be seed, water, information or internet. What Monsanto’s IPRs
[Intellectual Property Rights] are to seed, Free Basics is to information.

Tax evasion and weapon production: Letterbox arms companies in the Netherlands

Click here to access introduction to a study (pdf) by Martin Broek from Transnational Institute (TNI) which is based in the Netherlands.
Amongst the big companies using the Dutch evasion routes are a large number of arms manufacturers and major international defence companies. Their almost empty offices or even only mailboxes in the Netherlands gives them the legal possibility pay as little tax as possible with all available legal tricks.
.... Who are these tax evading arms companies and what are their strategies? In this report, Stop Wapenhandel publishes its findings resulting from a search through the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. We found a large number of arms producing companies with shell companies established in the Netherlands. The major production of these companies takes place in the major western arms producing countries; the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Climate Image of the Year: Hurricane Patricia

Click here to access article by Brian Kahn from Climate Central.
In October, Hurricane Patricia became the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the western hemisphere. It grew from a tropical storm to a hurricane in the span of a few days and became a roaring Category 5 storm — the highest level on the Saffir Simpson scale — with winds up to 200 mph before slamming into Mexico.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Where did ISIS fighters go too before the battle of Ramadi? [and] The United States is imposing radical changes on Baghdad

Click here to access article by Elijah J. Magnier from Middle East Politics.

You may have already noticed translation errors from the original article written in Arabic. Still, one can get the implications that the author, a Kuwaiti reporter, is making as to the real involvement of US forces in Iraq. 

It appears from this report that the new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is, for several reasons, much more amenable to US influence than the former Prime Minister al-Maliki; and the US is using this influence to both appear to be aiding Iraq in the battle against ISIS while securing the lives of the latter's troops. The US objectives appear to be the carving up of Iraq as seen by the author and his sources:
The Iraqi Prime Ministre is aware of the possibility that the U.S would like to see 3 Iraqi cantons, one for the Kurds, one for the Sunni and another one for the Shia. The Americans are also supporting the Turkish presence in Iraq, to meet the say of the French Intelligence Service director who said: The Middle East will never be the same as before. What is becoming more clear now that ISIS is a toy used by players for their agenda and plans to reshuffle the map of the Middle East”.

ISIS medieval style combined with modern technology

This cartoon was posted in an article by Elijah J. Magnier, a Kuwaiti reporter. I can't decipher the cartoonist, but this dramatically points to a major contradiction about the Empire's favorite terrorist army.  

Saudi "Anti-Terror Coalition" a Facade to Hide Yet More Terrorism

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
Likely what Saudi Arabia is doing, is attempting to reboot a narrative that, as of late, is increasingly implicating it and many of the members of its "coalition" as the very source of global terrorism. 
It appears to me that the Saudi medieval leaders have learned from their US and Zionist advisers how to deceive people with facades and false-flag operations. Although Saudi Arabia still uses an ancient method of executing people for petty crimes, their official statements look very similar to those typical of Empire officials. For example, look at the CNN quote from a Saudi leader:
“This announcement comes from the Islamic world’s vigilance in fighting this disease so it can be a partner, as a group of countries, in the fight against this disease,” Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said.
Asked whether the new coalition could include ground forces, Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that “nothing is off the table.”
Cartalucci provides material from the Empire's euphemistically named "Department of Defense" which actually acknowledges the reality behind the deceptive facade constructed by Saudi leaders. But don't worry, our media will never report this. So, clearly it never happened. (sarcasm)

Star Wars and the Death of American Cinema

Click here to access article by John Wight from CounterPunch

I recently watched as TV "news" program after program dramatically announcing the current showing of the latest Star Wars flick thereby insuring not only a big box office bonanza of profits, but more importantly, another propaganda loaded movie to insure that Americans understand that their country and its military are heroes by fighting all the "evil-doers".
‘Star Wars’ is a simple story, simply told, of good versus evil, light versus darkness, and freedom versus tyranny. In other words it is the story of America’s struggle to preserve democracy and civilization in a world beset by evil and ‘evildoers’.

Movies and political propaganda have long walked hand in hand. Indeed if ever a medium was suited to propaganda it is the medium of cinema. 
He also makes an astute comparison of movies today in contrast with movies made in the 1960s, an era when our generation questioned everything and caught our masters by surprise. We also spawned the movements for minority, feminist and gay rights. But this questioning of conventions and authority was not to last. Our masters in the capitalist ruling class rallied to install increasingly repressive administrations, more wars, more censorship, more propaganda loaded "news" programs, movies, etc to dumb down succeeding generations of young people in support of Empire interests of profit and power.

Which came first, the prayer or the bomb?

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

The poem, which is much like the "chicken and egg" dilemma, attempts to answer another quandary about whether prayer (or one's religion) or the bomb came first. It begins this way:
My God is bigger than your God
My weapons are bigger than your weapons
Because my God is bigger than your God

Inside the Paris Climate Agreement: Hope or Hype?

Click here to access article by Brian Tokar from CounterPunch

Tokar begins this excellent review of the recent climate conference in Paris this way:
It has become a predictable pattern at the annual UN climate conferences for participants to describe the outcome in widely divergent ways. This was first apparent after the high-profile Copenhagen conference in 2009, when a four-page non-agreement was praised by diplomats, but denounced by well-known critics as a “sham,” a “farce,” and a mere face-saver. UN insiders proclaimed the divisive 2013 Warsaw climate conference a success, even though global South delegates and most civil society observers had staged an angry walk-out a day prior to its scheduled conclusion.

So it was no surprise when this happened again on December 12th in Paris.
He then launches into what we might expect in the future, but finally concludes with the observation that it will take much more than conferences and promises to turn around our trajectory that is headed straight toward climate destabilization.
Clearly, it will require more than statements of ambitious climate goals to corral the overarching capitalist imperative to grow and expand, or even to rein in political pressures to keep diverting public funds to support fossil fuel corporations.

This, of course, is where the worldwide climate movement comes in.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Production of inequality ignorance and knowledge

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Occasional Links & Commentary

Ruccio offers several explanations as to why American workers have been mostly in the dark about knowledge of gross inequality under capitalism.

Saudi riyal in danger as oil war escalates

Click here to access article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard from The Telegraph (Britain).

This highly respected international business analyst writes about the deteriorating economic conditions in Saudi Arabia. 
Saudi Arabia is burning through foreign reserves at an unsustainable rate and may be forced to give up its prized dollar exchange peg as the oil slump drags on, the country’s former reserve chief has warned.

“If anything happens to the riyal exchange peg, the consequences will be dramatic. There will be a serious loss of confidence,” said Khalid Alsweilem, the former head of asset management at the Saudi central bank.
The latter is a key Empire ally that has furnished all kinds of contributions to US-Israeli false-flag terrorist operations in many parts of the world from Afghanistan to the New York trade center

Saudi Arabia also provides key backing for the US dollar ever since the US went off the gold standard in 1971 following the run-up of huge debts incurred during the Vietnam War. This dramatic event was followed in 1974 by an agreement secured by Henry Kissinger with Saudi authorities who agreed to sell oil only in US dollars and to recycle those dollars into US Treasury bonds and US stocks. In return the Saudis were guaranteed security by the US. As Michael Hudson stated:
Saudi Arabia realizes that it exists only with U.S. support. Doing what U.S. diplomats tell them to do lets them keep their oil resources rather than being treated like Iraq and Iran.
This crucial agreement effectively backed US dollars with oil ("petrodollars") because other nations since then have been forced to buy and hold US dollars in order to purchase oil.

We’re #1!

Click here to access article by David F. Ruccio from Occasional Links & Commentary
Last year, the United States led the world in arms sales, with a total of $36.2 billion in worldwide arms transfer agreements. Russia took a distant second place with $10.2 billion in agreements, out of a global total of $71.8 billion in 2014.

In other words, according to new report from the Congressional Research Service on “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2007-2014” (pdf), dated 21 December 2015, the United States is far and away the number one military-industrial complex in the world.

Identity politics: dead end for student activism

Click here to access article by Miriam Padilla from Freedom Socialist

Padilla, a student at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, writes about her experience with activist groups on campus.
...the divisiveness that I have seen on campus has been one of my most disappointing experiences in college.
Many campus groups claim to be in solidarity with other organizations and struggles, but in reality they act more like exclusive social clubs. They think we should stick within our own circle of the persecuted — Chicanos with Chicanos, Blacks with Blacks, etc. This makes no sense to me. You can’t truly be in solidarity if you intentionally isolate yourself. Many students of color care about radically changing things. We all need to seek out each other and organize in one big circle. That’s often just not happening.

Monday, December 28, 2015

“How money corrupts academic world”

Click here to access article by David F. Ruccio from Occasional Links & Commentary

He makes his point of how the rich are shaping higher education by focusing on two illustrations: what has happened to two major public universities in Kentucky. 
I was wrong: it’s not just a Koch problem. The problem is much larger. It’s the selling-off of higher education to the highest bidder.
In Kentucky, the two major public universities—the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville—have been undermining the idea of the university since at least 2003, when BB&T Corporation and the BB&T Charitable Foundation pledged $2.5 million to the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics to "support a learning laboratory on capitalism, a speaker series, an annual student paper competition, and annual fellowship and research grant awards."
I have always argued that the control of all institutions of indoctrination--media, education, and entertainment--is vital to the continuing hegemony of capitalists over their nations and the world.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction

Click here to access article which consists of "Excerpts from the introduction of Christopher L. Brennan's recently released Book" posted on Global Research.
...the West’s ongoing involvement in the “Arab Spring” is part of a larger offensive to maintain the status quo of Western and Israeli hegemony. This was done—not through the crude and direct means of the Bush II regime—but more indirectly and via a sustained synergy of hard and soft power: so-called ‘smart power.’ This was supplemented and spearheaded through the techniques of the ‘color revolution.’ Thus, although a new cadre emerged with the onset of the Obama regime, the status quo imperative to secure Israel remained, and Obama administration introduced new techniques of projecting power. Whereas the second Bush administration was blunt and bellicose, the Obama regime acted more indirectly and surreptitiously, often relying on local proxies and ambitious regional powers such as Qatar and Turkey. This approach can be aptly labeled ‘imperialism on the cheap.’ It has been the defining foreign policy strategy of the Obama presidency.
Based on these excerpts, it appears that Brennan's analysis of Empire's policies, both hard and soft, corresponds well with a book I am now reading entitled Force Multipliers by M. Forte (see this post). The latter book also examines these imperial strategies, but Forte's focus is on the pseudo-scientific language that current imperial directors use to refer to them.

Syria: Has Anyone Stepped Back from the Brink?

Click here to access article by Michael Jabara Carley from Strategic Culture Foundation.

The new peace process adopted by the UN with the backing of all major powers has me puzzled. Carley in this article expresses most of my doubts about how this quagmire in Syria/Iraq can be solved given the wide and dedicated conflicting interests that are involved.

(Note: Carley must be from Texas because he uses a metaphor that completely escaped me--"asps". I initially thought it was a typo error that was meant for "wasps", but I finally realized that he was referring to a stinging caterpillar commonly found in Texas.)

Cli-fi is all the rage

Click here to access article by Kieran Cooke from Climate News Network.

"Cli-fi" is now a recognized literary category.
Cli-fi – along with its elder brother sci-fi – is now considered part of modern literature’s classification system. Though some titles make only a passing reference to climate change, while others are more concerned with murder, mayhem and sex than with global warming, others are more thoughtful, science-based works.

Well-established novelists have used climate change as a backdrop in their books. 
Read the article to peruse some illustrations of this type of literature which sees disasters in our human future.

Rich helping the poor (and the shrinking middle class)

by Ruben Bolling posted on Occasional Links & Commentary

The cartoonist's reference to "polo ponies" escaped me, but here is an explanatory link.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Empire of Chaos preparing for more fireworks in 2016

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT.

This widely respected Brazilian journalist peers into his geopolitical crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2016 and beyond. It ain't pretty or even reassuring. 
It’s all here: unilateral Exceptionalistan in action against anyone who dares to defy imperial diktats.

From Ukraine to Syria, and all across MENA (Middle East and North Africa), the proxy war between Washington and Moscow, with higher and higher stakes, won’t abate. Imperial despair over the irreversible Chinese ascent also won’t abate. As the New Great Game picks up speed, and Russia supplies Eurasian powers Iran, China and India with missile defense systems beyond anything the West has, get used to the new normal; Cold War 2.0 between Washington and Beijing-Moscow.
Andre Damon in article posted on World Socialist Web Site agrees with Escobar. However in contrast to Escobar who like many others hopes to secure peace in a multipolar capitalist world, Damon knows that the only way for peace to be established is for working people to end the rule of capitalist hegemons all over the world.
Anyone who has observed the world in 2015 must expect that 2016 will be a year of unprecedented violence and social misery. But the same processes driving the world to the brink of world war are those that must give rise to social struggle by the working class.

Unlike the professional liars and opinion-makers of the financial elite and its political representatives, the working masses of humanity take the ideals of universal peace and brotherhood seriously. They genuinely hope and strive for a better world, and will fight for it. In the coming period, millions will conclude that an independent political struggle by the working class, armed with a socialist perspective of overthrowing capitalism and reorganizing society on an internationalist basis, is the only means to achieve “peace on earth.”

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Grimmer Story Behind ‘Trumbo’

Click here to access article by James DiEugenio from ConsortiumNews. (Some revisions made up till 5 PM Seattle time.)

This is a review by the author of the recently released film, Trumbo, directed by Jay Roach. It is a decidedly liberal view of the persecution of leftists in Hollywood which was one aspect of a post-war right-wing coup that to a great extent successfully resulted in the purging of leftists from the entire society. This very little understood dark period in American history, like all of the other historical events that cast doubts about our capitalist ruling class, has been carefully excised from most American history books. DiEugenio does a fair job within the limits of a film review of including the wider historical context (from a liberal perspective) in which the persecution of Trumbo occurred.

An even deeper historical context should also include the 1930s, especially after the collapse of many economies in the Great Depression, when many Western capitalists were threatened with widespread opposition by people who were beginning to understand class conflict. Many of these capitalists wanted to dispense with their facades of "democratic" institutions in order to establish authoritarian governments, or naked capitalist class rule known as fascism. They were also terrified by the success of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and wanted the Soviet Union destroyed by the rising fascist forces in Europe. 

In the US these capitalists hid under the more respectable label of "isolationists". To be sure, there were genuine isolationists, or principled anti-war people, but the latter were a minority. What was peculiar about most of these "isolationists" was that they included many capitalists who are normally notorious for supporting wars simply because they always reap huge profits from them. Also many capitalists, who didn't identify themselves as "isolationists", were very ambivalent against curbing the fascist forces that were overrunning Europe, especially after they turned eastward toward Russia. In the end the Soviet armies broke the back of the German army and then the Allies entered the war very seriously to insure that the newly merged Anglo-American alliance would rule in the post-war world. Thus one might argue that the Third Reich exists--except that it flies an American instead of a Nazi flag.

Instead of reporting this history, our masters as usual have written about the glories of a "good war", a simplified story of good guys (us) versus bad guys that they feed constantly to ordinary people. 

After WWII these former fascist-friendly American capitalists came out of their "isolationist" closet; and they were clearly prepared to reverse the more friendly (to labor) social-democratic governance of the Roosevelt administration, to purge America of all these "rabid" leftists, to take back the many gains of labor unions that had occurred under FDR, and to gain right-wing control over every institution in America, especially institutions of indoctrination: media, education, and entertainment. 

The more moderate wing of the capitalist ruling class merely stood by and watched as the fascist types hauled cultural artists like Trumbo before their inquisition, mostly the House Un-American Activities Committee, rolled back labor rights, made teachers swear loyalty oaths, and began their wars, both overt and subversive: against progressive movements and labor unions in Europe with the clandestine Gladio project, and with war against the revolutionary movement in Korea (read The Origins of the Korean War by Bruce Cumings). It was only after the lunatic Sen. Joseph McCarthy began to question the loyalty of members of the Armed Services that the moderate wing stepped in and put a halt to this inquisition. 

However, once they accomplished the purge of domestic leftists, they went on from there to engage in all kinds of subversive and violent methods to overturn governments of foreign countries and their progressive movements which did not serve Empire interests in one country after another all over the world.  

The Dirty War on Syria: Washington Supports the Islamic State (ISIS)--The Evidence

Click here to access article by Prof. Tim Anderson for Global Research. (Some revision at 9:30 PM Seattle time.)

Anderson uses an academic style with linked references after his essay to document his evidence. After perusing his references, I think that he presents a solid essay in support of the headline and the two myths used to justify US foreign policy:
Washington maintains two closely linked myths as regards terrorism in the Middle East. Then there is a ‘fall-back’ story. The first ‘existential myth’ is that, from 2014, the US became engaged in a war against extremist terrorists, in both Iraq and Syria. This followed several years of trying to topple the Syrian Government by backing illegal armed groups, which it calls ‘moderate’. Through this myth the US claims to be playing a protective role for the benefit of the peoples of the region. The second myth is that there is a significant difference between the ‘moderate rebels’ the US arms, finances and trains, and the extremist terrorists (DAESH or ISIS) it claims to be fighting.

These claims represented a shift in the rationale for the war on Syria, from one of ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a revival of the Bush era ‘war on terror’.
The Empire is clearly attempting to destroy the Assad government in Syria and replace it with one more supportive of Empire interests, and is using these myths to justify their actions for the gullible American public.

UK Blames Saudi Arabia After Hackers Trace ISIS Accounts To UK Gov’t

Click here to access article from Shadowproof
IP addresses are frequently resold as more and more Internet users, as well an ever-increasing number of Internet-enabled devices, try to get online. However, the link to Saudi Arabia is one more piece of evidence that the powerful Middle Eastern nation may be funding or otherwise supporting terrorism. On Dec. 7, German officials warned that Saudi Arabia must stop supporting Wahhabism, an extremist form of Islam that many believe is the inspiration for terrorist groups ranging from Daesh to al-Qaida.

Many other analysts have echoed these sentiments....

The Christmas Day that Peace Broke Out

Click here to access article by Michael Winship from Moyers & Company.

This historical incident, which occasionally squeaks through on liberal websites, is often viewed as an embarrassment by our capitalist masters because it is a rare event in which soldiers refused to kill each other for their masters' benefit.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hollow Promises and Ugly Unspoken Realities

Click here to access article by "xraymike79" from his website Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

This website administrator and blogger, who specializes in graphics, provides us with a wealth of graphics, links, and insights about capitalism and its death-march toward the destruction of our habitat that will result in human extinction. This end of humans and many other species is inevitable as long as we sit back and resign ourselves to the capitalists' obsession with never-ending growth along with many other disasters such as wars and widespread poverty for the many amidst unimaginable wealth for a few.
The institution of capitalism, which has been copied and exported all over the world since WW II, has established widespread acceptance for the condition of mass production, mass consumption, and waste at an ever accelerating rate, pushing the world deeper and deeper into ecological crisis.
A most mind-bending graphic which especially impressed me:

Then he provides us with an entertaining and insightful link to a 3:59m comedy routine by Tom Simmons entitled "Worried About The Environment". 

Paris agreement satire

by David Fitzsimmons whose cartoons are run in the Arizona Daily Star.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Western Propaganda an Encouraging Sign for Russia in Syria

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer Report.

Very recently I've noticed a number of such reports in Western media and in the media of countries in the Middle East allied with the US Empire. I think that Cartalucci correctly identifies this phenomenon as a propaganda campaign. Which begs some questions in my mind: how is such a campaign decided, and by whom? On the other hand, it could have been merely started by various media imitating others, especially major Western media. But I wonder. I think that the process likely included both factors: a decision made by Empire directors, relayed to their major media, and then imitated by many foreign media companies which generally serve the Empire.

However, I am puzzled by one statement that Cartalucci makes: "Attempts to broker a 'ceasefire' and thus save the remnants of NATO's proxy forces has also failed." This essay must have been written before the recent UN Resolution 2254 which endorses the Vienna peace process and specifically calls for a "nationwide ceasefire to begin as soon as the parties concerned had taken initial steps towards a political transition." Many of its other provisions are vague, but the ceasefire which doesn't include terrorist armies is very problematic. (see also this and this.) 

This is a major change and the outcome has aroused all kinds of speculation--see particularly F. William Engdahl's concerns as I point out in my nest post.

Erdoğan, Salman and the Coming ‘Sunni’ War for Oil

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.

After speculating on a conspiracy led by King Salman of Saudi Arabia and President Erdoğan of Turkey to control oil resources in the Middle East, he launches into his concerns about the recent UN Resolution 2254 (see also this and this) which calls for a Syrian ceasefire by all belligerents except the terrorist armies backed by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. You might want to skip down to the section entitled "Deceptive US Peace Offer in UN". He warns:
The reality is that the agreed UN ceasefire and simultaneous political transition to Washington’s “moderate Syrian opposition” will force Russia, the Assad Syrian government, Hezbollah and Iran military actions to halt, while Saudi-Turkish-Qatari DAESH and Al Qaeda Al Nusra Front and allied terror bands will have free reign to grab the oil riches of Syria and then of northern Iraq.

At that point, the trap will have been set and Washington will no doubt spring it, with Russia, Iran and Assad at that point able to do little to prevent it.

Council of monkeys – 12 exhibits comparing the U.S. to other countries

Click here to access article by David Ruccio from Real-World Economics Review Blog.
Business people and investors in the United States have a reputation, even after the spectacular crash of 2008, to be worldly, no-nonsense, bring-it-on types. They’re supposed to know what is going on in the world and to react to the news with dispatch, making the hard decisions that lead to efficient outcomes.

However, they’re actually like a council of monkeys, sitting on a pile of cash: hear no bad news, see no bad news, speak no bad news.
After these opening remarks, Ruccio proceed to tell them the bad news portrayed in dramatic fashion by the series of graphs. The graphs also illustrate why the US can engage in so many wars (either directly or indirectly), spend so much on weapons, and maintain around a 1000 military installations overseas. To me they also are another indication of why Americans put up with second-class citizenship among developed nations: instead of hard data like this, their reality is created for them by corporate media. All they have to do is flip on the "on" switch to their boob-tubes.

However, I must take issue with Ruccio about his "council of monkeys" metaphor. To be sure many capitalist advisers are chronically optimistic for various reasons, but the top ones who are our ruling directors are not stupid. They want their wave-slaves to believe in the system and the future despite all the evidence (like the evidence presented in the graphs which wage-slaves never see) to the contrary.

They make millions per employee and cry they don’t make enough

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder

Dolack provides us with business research data which bring out in stark relief the obsessive pursuit of wealth by a class of people who justify their claims on profits at the expense of workers due to their "ownership" of enterprises. Such a system known as capitalism inevitably produces the extreme inequality and associated effects like wars, famine, homelessness, poor health care existing alongside ostentatious displays of wealth that one observes today in most places of the world. Over the centuries the system has also created a self-serving ruling classes which now controls every important institution in most societies.

The justification of "ownership" which the capitalist class insert into the brains of working people from the cradle to the grave insures that workers never know the real source of wealth--their labor. In schools workers are never exposed to real history, and you can be sure that workers are taught only the history which their masters see fit to teach them. Only a few manage to escape this brainwashing to find other sources of information in libraries and alternative media which expose their lies. Fortunately, we have people like Dolack on his alternative website to dig up information like this so that we can begin to understand how the system works.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Propaganda Can’t Melt Steel Beams

Click here to access article by Kevin Ryan from Dig Within.

This former Site Manager, for the environmental testing division of Underwriters Laboratories, has an extensive history of investigations regarding 9/11. In this article he cites the continuing efforts of corporate media to provide propaganda to account for the melting of the steel beams of the World Trade Center buildings.
Sources like The Posts, The New York Times and some “alternative media” continue to work hard to support the official myth of 9/11. That effort is not easy because they must do so while providing as little actual information about 9/11 as possible. The dumbing down of the average citizen is a full time job for such propagandists. Luckily for them, American students receive almost no historical context that encourages them to think critically or consider ideas that conflict with blind allegiance to their government. When it comes to the WTC, it also helps that almost 80% of Americans are scientifically illiterate.

As media companies attempt to confuse the public about 9/11, they must avoid relating details that might actually get citizens interested in the subject.

Turkish Party Member Claims Syria Chemical Weapons Attack Committed By Jihadists With Help From Turkey

Click here to access article by Brandon Turbeville from Activist Post
In August, 2013, a horrendous chemical attack took place in Ghouta, a Damascus suburb in which a number of civilians were killed. Immediately, images of the dead and dying were broadcast across Western television screens and the blame was placed on the shoulders of Bashar al-Assad’s secular government by Western governments such as the United States, the NATO alliance, the GCC, and Israel. This attack was very nearly the trigger for a direct NATO invasion of Syria on the basis of “humanitarian intervention” until the Russians stepped in and negotiated a plan with Assad to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
"Assad must go!" This lie has been repeated so many times by Western leaders, their lackeys in the Middle East, and especially Western corporate media that in the minds of ordinary people all over the world it has attained the status of a fact. The lie has been used to justify all kinds of war crimes that the West has engaged in against Syria. 

This lie has been exposed many times by knowledgeable people and other independent sources, and now a courageous member of Turkey's parliament, Eren Erdem, has added more details about Turkish and Western nations' involvement that exposes the lie. Like numerous whistleblowers in the US who have exposed their nation's crimes and charged under the Espionage Act of 1917, Erdem is now under investigation for treason, threatened with loss of parliamentary immunity, and receiving numerous death threats.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Empire Files: 'This Ship is Sinking' Says Former Bush Official

Click here if you wish to access this interview conducted by Abby Martin with retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson from Telesur
Abby Martin interviews retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both Bush administrations. Today, he is honest about the unfixable corruption inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign policy. Hear a rare insider's view of what interests are behind U.S. wars, the manipulation of intelligence, the intertwining of the military and corporate world, and why the U.S. Empire is doomed.
After Martin asks him "what can we do preventing this government, the military industrial complex, from crushing us?" He concludes the interview with this astonishing statement: 
It would take a substantial minority, or even a majority of the people to stand up and say no more.  Does that mean revolution?  Possibly.
It's unfortunate that so many people who have served the Empire only speak critically about its policies after they retire. But then, one must keep in mind that Empire directors are a ruthless lot and they have no compunctions about destroying, either literally or figuratively speaking, the lives of people who rat on them.

This is not a refugee crisis

Click here to access article by Paul Walsh from Reflections on a Revolution (ROAR).

I have been spending considerable time this morning reading many fascinating articles recently published in this new magazine published by ROAR. (We simply must support them.) The focus of this website and magazine is European politics from a left-wing perspective. And European politics are becoming inextricably connected with the Middle East hotbed of politics. This article really puts in graphic clarity the experience of Europeans with the current flood of refugees fleeing for their lives from ongoing wars in the Middle East to a safe haven in Europe.
The refugee issue is used by far-right, populist groups to build power and extend beyond their small base of supporters, especially in the few countries willing to open their doors, like Sweden and Germany. The issue is also used by domestic elites for political ends.

But do political leaders understand what is happening? We are moving towards a divided Europe: those who want to help, and those who want to hate—with the majority unsure and anxious. Grassroots citizens’ initiatives are working across these divides, growing from the soil of government failure. But grassroots initiatives have limited resources, and can only do so much.

This isn’t a refugee crisis at all; it’s a crisis of racism, of hatred, of information.

Most smuggled ISIS oil goes to Turkey, sold at low prices – Norwegian report

Click here to access article from RT.
A newly-leaked report on illegal oil sales by Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL), which was ordered to be compiled by Norway, has revealed that most of the IS-smuggled oil has been destined for Turkey, where it is sold off at bargain low prices.

Norwegian daily Klassekampen leaked details of the report, which was put together by Rystad Energy, an independent oil and gas consulting firm, at the request of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. 

Pro-Capitalist Climate Problem Needs Anti-Capitalist Solution

Click here to access article by Frank Scott from Legalienate. 
The future of humanity calls for an end to the system of private profit and public loss that has brought wonderful lives to many – as did feudalism and slavery – but misery and deprivation to even more, with the number of humans carrying the loss rising dangerously as profits grow for an ever smaller population.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Military to Military: Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war

Click here to access article by Seymour Hersh from London Review of Books.

You can be certain that many geopolitical analysts will be commenting on, and quoting from, this recent current article in the London Review of Books. Apparently The New Yorker, which formerly carried his articles, found his insider information too hot to handle.

Hersh seems to have insider contacts everywhere that give him confidential information, that is, except within the Obama administration. In the article he quotes a number of sources, particularly within the Joint Chief of Staff, who know that the administration's position against Assad runs counter to all intelligence reports. So, what is missing from Hersh's report is any information on the unknown 800 pound gorilla in the room: any insider reports on why the Empire's Chief Executive's office is pursuing so vigorously and consistently their anti-Assad crusade in spite of its own intelligence reports. (This is not the first time this has happened.)
Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of disdain for Assad and support for Erdoğan. Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case.
However it is not hard to figure out. I have offered an explanation many times in my commentaries. The Empire's capitalist masters, who are addicted to wealth and power, simply must pursue control of the world's resources and markets regardless of the many devastating effects on societies, causing climate destabilization, and posing the threat of a nuclear war.

How a Nation Self-destructs

Click here to access article by Harvey Lothian from Dissident Voice.

I believe that this brief article contains a profound insight of which few people are aware: how the withering away of the social fabric can destroy a nation. And this is currently, in my opinion, a deliberate policy by our capitalist masters who are now moving step by fascist step to make the world safe for corporate rule.

I am particularly struck by an awareness of how most people get their interpretations of major issues through CIA-infiltrated media corporations, and repeat their views endlessly and unquestioningly to each other as if they were based on fact. The way corporate media reports on crimes and terrorist incidents accelerates a fear of not only Muslims but all other people in society that ordinary Americans regard as strangers. 

As a result Americans are encouraged to support more oppressive police measures and/or to buy guns to protect themselves from these threats. If Lothian's observations are correct and my observation is correct about a massively misinformed American public, then American society may be well on its way to self-destructing. In spite of this conclusion, I remain optimistic that there will be sufficient number of people who will opt for sanity, follow reliable alternative media, and join together to rid society of capitalist rule.

Climate Denial's Ugly Side: Hate Mail to Scientists

Click here to access article by Katherine Bagley and Naveena Sadasivam from Inside Climate News. 
While fervent public mistrust of established science is not unique to climate change ..., the level of cruelty of climate harassment is alarming, and is also largely a U.S. phenomenon.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center shows that only 45 percent of Americans—compared to 54 percent of people worldwide (and nearly 100 percent of working U.S. climate scientists)—believe climate change is a serious problem. Among Republicans, that percentage falls to 20 percent.

A strenthening economy--according to the Fed

Click here if you wish to access this cartoon by Patrick Chappatte directly from the NY Times

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Soros Plays Both Ends in Syria Refugee Chaos

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.

Engdahl reveals how tax-exempt foundations for the rich have been used as another major weapon to promote the Empire's policy of domination both over the resource rich Middle East and Europe. To do this, he uses as an illustration the many Soros funded foundations which are some of the most active foundations promoting the Empire's agendas. What makes his article especially interesting is his revelation about a research report's findings regarding Tweets and Facebook communications: they encouraged the exodus of desperate refugees most of whom were lured by these social media to settle in Germany.
The vast majority of these “Germany welcomes refugee” Tweets come not from Germany, but from the United States and from the UK, the two countries up to their necks in the bloody deeds of ISIS and Al Qaeda and countless other terror gangs rampaging across Syria the past four years.

Shalak analyzed 5,704 original tweets containing a “#RefugeesWelcome” hashtag and a country name which welcomes them. It showed almost 80% of all Tweets claimed that Germany was the most-welcoming country in Europe. The second most welcoming country found was Austria with 12%. However, the study also found that those “Germany welcomes you” Tweets did not originate from inside Germany. Over 40% of all the Tweets originated from the USA, UK or Australia. Only 6.4% originated inside Germany.
However he doesn't supply any evidence to indicate that the Soros foundations were behind this effort except to report on similar efforts by these foundations to encourage the exodus of refugees to Europe.

Wanted for Destroying Our Future: AVAAZ

Click here to access article from Wrong Kind of Green.

The article focuses on one NGO, AVAAZ, and especially their major staff members who have sold their souls to this devil-foundation for a few shekels.
Grassroots groups across the world are calling for a dismantling of the suicidal capitalist economic system. But a group of climate criminals (also known as the non-profit industrial complex) is trying to stop this imperative. Their tactics are different, but their end game is the same: shift the focus away from necessary emissions targets and keep first world consumption and the capitalist economic system dependent on infinite growth at the centre of “human development”. 

ISIS IP Addresses Traced Back To Saudi Arabia and UK Governments

Click here to access article by Brandon Turbeville from Activist Post.

Turbeville reports on another piece of evidence tying the US Empire, or at least the British section, to the world's premier terrorist organization. 
The Mirror reports it has learned that the British government sold a significant number of IP addresses to two Saudi Arabian firms and, after the sale in October, the IP addresses were being used to spread ISIS propaganda. These IP addresses were apparently not the only ones sold to Saudi Arabia in October, however, but little information is available as to how many others were sold and what they are being used for.

But while the sale of the IP addresses might shift the blame from the UK government on the Saudi Arabian government, the question still remains as to how and why the addresses can be traced back to the DWP
[Department of Work and Pensions in the UK].

US-NATO’s “Counter-Christmas Crusade” against the Cradle of Civilization and the Holy Land

Click here to access article by Felicity Arbuthnot from Global Research
There has been a searing irony to Christmas since August 1990 and the decimating embargo on Iraq. It marked the beginning of the destruction of the region where the three Abrahamic religions were born at Ur in southern Iraq, where the Garden of Eden is believed to have flourished at Al-Qurnah, translation “connection” or “joint”, since it is where the Biblical Tigris and Euphrates rivers join.
And she continues on to juxtapose many ancient religious sites with the Empire's criminal, moralistic war leaders who continue to destroy the region (in order to control the region's resources).

Friday, December 18, 2015

The IMF Changes its Rules to Isolate China and Russia

Click here to access article by Michael Hudson from CounterPunch

This very astute politically oriented economist analyses many of the ramifications of the recent IMF rule changes which dramatically changes their rules to omit enforcement of debts to Russia or China. This radical change of rules presents all kinds tortured legal and political problems for Empire strategists who are obsessed with the challenges posed by Russia and China to thwart its quest for total world domination. He see that these changes are fraught with peril and likely will backfire. 
Few have calculated the degree to which America’s New Cold War with Russia is creating a reaction that is tearing up the world’s linkages put in place since World War II. Beyond pulling the IMF and World Bank tightly into U.S. unilateralist geopolitics, how long will Western Europe be willing to forego its trade and investment interest with Russia? Germany, Italy and France already are feeling the strains. If and when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.
However he appears to suggest that a multi-polar capitalist world is both desirable and possible. Therefore, his analysis of the recent IMF dramatic change of rules to omit enforcement of debts to Russia or China appears to suggest an anomaly in capitalism's evolution. This is contrary to my opinion.

While both Russia and China do have significant segments of their economies that function according to capitalist principles, Russia is guided by a strong nationalist ethos while China's economy is supervised by a Communist Party which is attempting to use capitalist operations in limited sections of their economy in order to import investment capital and technology. Thus, once the Empire's virulent capitalist form is defeated, I am currently thinking that both Russia, China, and the rest of the world will abandon or sharply limit capitalist practices in their economies.

France’s Former Foreign Minister: UK Government Prepared War in Syria Two Years Before 2011 Protests

Click here if you wish to access this video directly from OffGuardian

The role of Israel is always downplayed in Western media, but here is a post from 21st Century Wire about a year ago that documents many attacks from Israel on Syria and Israeli support for the many forces trying to bring down the Syrian government.

If you prefer listening to recorded interviews of credible geopolitical analysts on an audio platform such as SoundCloud, I recommend listening to those featuring Patrick Henningsen, the founder of 21st Century Wire.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Seven Wrinkles in the Paris Climate Deal

Click here to access article by Oscar Reyes from Foreign Policy in Focus
The headlines from the Paris climate talks tell an inspiring story. Agence France-Presse reported an outbreak of “euphoria” as the international climate accord was sealed. Reuters hailed a global “turn from fossil fuels.” The Guardian headlined “a major leap for mankind.”

The celebratory tone is partly relief at the fact that 195 countries managed to agree to any kind of climate deal at all.

Why capitalism is addicted to oil and coal

Click here to access a review by Martin Empson of a new book by Andreas Malm entitled FOSSIL CAPITAL: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming posted on Climate & Capitalism.

The book really strives to answer only one question: why are our ruling capitalist masters addicted to profits? As I have argued many times in the past, profits are only one source of the addiction puzzle. It is the power of domination over others, over societies, over nations which is derived from huge wealth accumulations that is the most intoxicating ingredient. 

Although originally capitalists were merely addicted to profits, nowadays capitalists are more driven by this derivative intoxicant to exploit man and nature and to engage in the grossest of war crimes to gain control of fossil fuels. Thus, it follows that any truly revolutionary movement that strives to save humans from extinction must take as its prime goal the destruction of a system whose primary function is to supply capitalists with the drugs of profits and especially power (hegemony). It also follows that individual or family enterprises for profit can be permitted, but not the huge concentrations of capital as seen in large corporations today.

Referring to our ruling capitalist masters, Empson writes:
The vested interests have no intention of changing their behaviour. While there are profits to be made, coal and oil will be extracted from the ground. The machinery to do so has to make a return and that means production might continue for a very long time. Malm gives one example if an oil platform built in 1982 whose one million tonnes of concrete represents an enormous investment that will see a return only after many decades of use. He quotes David Harvey, “When capitalists purchase fixed capital, they are obliged to use it until its value… is fully retrieved”. But from inside the environmental crisis of climate change, this obligation will doom the entire planet.
.... Even installing renewable energy doesn’t replace fossil fuels on a like for like basis. Malm quotes a study that demonstrates for every one percent increase in renewable energy, fossil fuel generated power only decreases by 0.1 percent. The logic of capitalism is to simply expand. What needs to be done is to “pull the plug” on fossil fuels – the shutting down of the fossil fuel industry; the closure of coal mines and oil fields. It is an inherently revolutionary perspective that cannot wait till after some future revolution, but needs to be initiated today.

India Announces Plans To Double Coal Output After Paris Agreement

Click here to access article by Dan Wright from ShadowProof.
It looks like former NASA scientist James Hansen was on to something when he called the Paris climate agreement, known as COP21, a bullshit PR exercise. The lack of enforcement mechanisms for emission targets is already proving to be problematic.

On Monday, just days after India and over 190 other countries signed the Paris agreement, a senior official in the India Coal Ministry named Anil Swarup revealed that India plans to double coal output by 2020 and plans to use coal for decades into the future.

Global Financial Order Could Utterly Collapse on Dec. 21

Click here to access article by Valentin Katasonov from Strategic Culture Foundation.
The fund’s recent decisions have created a precedent for a game played without rules, and it is almost impossible to calculate the consequences for international finance.

.... Washington ordered the fund to rewrite the rules so that even if Kiev defaults on what it owes Moscow, the IMF could still lend Ukraine money. The fund – ever submissive – fulfilled this seemingly unfulfillable command.

.... There have been few decisions of such a radical nature in the IMF’s history.
First, I would like to make it clear that I condemn the rhetorical headline of this article. I don't know if the author or the editors of the website chose it in order to dramatically draw attention to the essay, but what I do know is that his essay does not support it. However, what Katasonov does draw attention to are the desperate measures, rewriting the rules of the IMF, that the directors of the Empire have resorted to in order to damage Russia. 

It's becoming clearer day by day that these directors are willing to engage in desperate measures to prevent Russia, as a leader of a bloc of nations including China and Iran and a host of movements, from interfering with the Empire's hegemonic agenda. So, could this lead to a nuclear conflagration? It seems very possible so to me (and to Pepe Escobar). Whether our extinction is caused ultimately by climate destabilization in the long run, or in the short run by nuclear wars, I am convinced that the only way we humans can save ourselves is by working to end the rule of capitalists.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Are The US And Al Qaeda Friends Again?

Click here to access article by Dan Wright from ShadowProof

Wright puts together an excellent clip via YouTube of Joe Biden's speech on October 2nd of last year when he tried to deflect any blame for various terrorist armies onto Turkey and Saudi Arabia and its associates. The posting was obviously prompted by a long article in this month's Harper's Magazine entitled "A Special Relationship: The United States is teaming up with Al Qaeda, again." 

To be fair, I must admit that I have only had time to skim this latter article; but it appears to me that it too attempts to soften are role in creating ISIS by directing most of our attention to the machinations of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, etc. I also did a search for the terms "Israel" and "Zionist" on the pages of the Harper's article and neither was mentioned in this lengthy article! 

Harper's is a liberal magazine and while it occasionally exposes the dirty deeds of the Empire's directors, it must finally in the end provide some excuses for these deeds so that we are left with a reformist attitude that permits us to think that mistakes were made but they can be corrected in the future under the existing system. Hence the title of the article and this post. 

Last year I posted an article from RT which also cited Joe Biden's speech, and in my commentary I felt that his accusations about the role of Turkey and Saudi Arabia were an inept gaff. Now I feel that his speech was a conscious attempt at damage control directed toward liberals and assorted intellectuals (after all he was speaking to an educated audience) who have been exposed to many leaks of information that revealed US involvement. 

The Harper's article fully acknowledges the US sponsorship of the terrorist army called Mujaheddin to fight the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan--but this might be considered ancient history and excused as payback to the Soviets for their support of the Vietnamese. After this history lesson the author implies that we had very little to do with Al Qaeda and sees the recent events in Syria as mostly a mistaken renewed friendship. Notice that the author totally buys into the mainstream story about 9/11 and omits any CIA involvement in that major terrorist event:
...Al Qaeda, employing a largely Saudi suicide squad, destroyed the World Trade Center. In a sane world, this disaster might have permanently ended Washington’s long-standing taste for mixing Islam with politics. But old habits die hard.
Although the author admits CIA involvement in the terrorist armies in Syria, the overwhelming emphasis is on the various machinations and conspiracies going on in the nearby Arab countries. If I am correct, then the Harper's article is also such an attempt at damage control for US Empire directors.

For a brief, but accurate history of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and associated terrorist groups, you must read today's post by Tony Cartalucci entitled "Islamic State or Wahhabi Colony?".

Islamic State or Wahhabi Colony?

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.
Al Qaeda’s original inception itself was a joint product of US-Saudi geopolitical ambitions. The Muslim Brotherhood, destroyed and scattered in Syria by Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s father, President Hafez Al Assad, was reorganized and sent to Afghanistan by the US and Saudi Arabia to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Since then, the group has serendipitously found itself engaged on every battlefield and in every region the US has sought to influence, whether it was in the Balkans and Chechnya, across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), or even as far flung as Southeast Asia.

Business as usual at Paris: summit won’t stop global warming

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder.
What mechanisms will be created to ensure that the “Parties” (national governments) to carry out these plans? They “shall” report their progress, “shall undergo a technical expert review” (article 13) and discuss their progress five years from now (article 14). Governments will develop technology (article 10) and will “build mutual trust” through “transparency” (article 13).

In other words, peer pressure is the mechanism. There are no binding legal agreements requiring any country to achieve the reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions pledged for the Paris Climate Summit.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What Stinks in Saudi Ain’t the Camel Dung

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from OffGuardian

I regard Engdahl as a first-rate geopolitical analyst. In this explosive article he assembles many facts, most of which I have found documented by credible observers over the past decade, which he sums up with these two statements:
  • ISIS is simply a “Saudi army in disguise.”
  • What stinks in Saudi Arabia ain’t the camel dung. It’s the monarchy of King Salman and his hot-headed son, Prince Salman. For decades they have financed terrorism under a fake religious disguise, to advance their private plutocratic agenda. It has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with money and oil. A look at the ISIS map from Iraq to Syria shows that they precisely targeted the oil riches of those two sovereign states. Saudi control of that oil wealth via their ISIS agents, along with her clear plan to take out the US shale oil competition, or so Riyadh reckons, would make the Saudi monarchy a vastly richer state, one, perhaps because of that money, finally respected by white western rich men and their society.
What I fault him for in this article is what I fault him for in most of his articles: he doesn't provide any links to documentation to back up his facts. Either he is exhibiting what I refer to as a "professorial arrogance" or he is guarding his sources in his soon to be published book or other books he has authored. I can't fault him if it is the latter reason--he simply needs to be economically self-sustaining in order to maintain his independence to be regarded as a credible geopolitical analyst.

Shaker Aamer’s First Interview: ‘Everything That Happened To Us Is a War Crime’

Click here to access article by Kevin Gosztola from ShadowProof.

Shaker Aamer, a British citizen, who was recently released from Guantanamo talked about his experience in that hellish prison.
The psychological torture was the worst for Aamer. He mentioned the pain from physical torture would go away eventually. However, being psychologically manipulated, “You feel like every time they find something new to do.”

“Their goal is to scare you, to make you submit, make you understand that if you refuse to comply with the orders it means you are going to get this punishment all the time,” Aamer additionally claimed.

“They want you to submit to them. They want you to understand that they are overpowering you and you have no right to say yes or no, just do what they tell you, even if its a silly thing, a little thing like an apple stem.”

Given this testimony, it makes sense that Aamer believes Guantanamo is run by doctors and psychologists.

“Guantanamo’s been built on how to destroy a human being totally, how to damage him mentally, physically, spiritually,” Aamer declared in the ITV interview. “It’s a program that’s been designed by psychologists. I assure you that I can prove to the world who runs Guantanamo is not a military administration. It’s doctors [and] psychologists.”
This revealing testimony of his physical and mental torture over the past 14 years offers a graphic illustration of a fascist mindset that has infected the Empire's ruling class. It is challenging to read material like this without having a negative attitude toward the nature of humans. All sensitive humans are embarrassed by such reports. Yet, I think this taps into a profound and common orientation of humanity's relationship to the world that we simply must question.

One effect that civilization has promoted is a deep detachment from other humans, and indeed from nature itself. Thus such a mindset easily succumbs to the use of force to dominate both other humans and nature that especially characterizes the worst aspects of civilization that we see reported daily. Such a perspective promotes sociopathy among the morally weakest, or least socialized, of humans.

This profound evil effect has been observed and commented on by many to the extent that some even condemn civilization itself and has caused them to argue that humans must return to some more idyllic primeval existence. This, to me, is a most foolish idea. Such people have very little idea of what life would be like under such conditions. No--it's too much like the idea of throwing out the baby with the bath water because the latter is soiled. However, we are left with what to do about this "soiled bath water". This concern is often expressed with variations on this theme: "Any society (one can substitute "civilization" or "government", etc) should be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens", and then a moral condemnation is followed with reference to a specific entity.

I don't have a definitive answer to this question, but I think that the continued existence of humans depends on how, or if, this challenging question is solved. It appears to me that once one surrenders to the perspective that sees themselves and reality in terms of subject and object, one can easily succumb to a kind of pure utilitarian relationship to others and to nature. Then one can easily be led to engage in all kinds of horrible crimes against other humans and nature that is illustrated most dramatically in the history of fascism, the most extreme authoritarian form of capitalism. I think the general solution lies in our ability to see ourselves correctly as a part of the web of life and nature. Only then will we be able to treat each other and all of nature with respect. Only then can we humans live in peace with each other and survive in nature.

More specifically speaking, I am convinced that capitalism systematizes this utilitarian kind of relationship to the world, and that is why I have devoted most of my life to destroying the system of capitalism and replacing it with one that reflects the true reality of existence.

Assessing Venezuela’s Elections: The Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from Global Independent Analytics.

It was very interesting to me on a personal level to read Draitser's recent experiences while visiting Venezuela and his assessment of the dramatic losses of the Chavista party known as Socialist Party (PSUV) in the recent elections. 

In late 2005 I toured many of the places he mentioned, was exposed to the many kinds of people who he encountered, and listened to a talk by one PSUV leader who was a member of the government. I was singularly unimpressed with the latter. Subsequently I followed events in Venezuela quite closely in alternative websites and finally concluded that a traditional cultural practice of South America known as clientelism had carried over into the new ruling Chavista party and government and would limit how far the revolution would go. Although there were writings and speeches about a bottom-up political process, the reality was that too many educated people gravitated to the party to enhance their careers, and not for reasons of social justice. Thus political patronage and careerism infected the party and contaminated its political ideology with the result that the party led a government that in reality practiced social democratic principles instead of the truly radical principles that was espoused by Hugo Chávez and his ideologists.

Draitser concludes his assessment of the current political conditions in Venezuela with this observation that rings true for me:
Above all else, there is one common theme that I have heard repeated ad nauseam these last few days: the vote was a vote against the PSUV, not for the MUD. In other words many, if not most, of those ballots cast for the opposition were simply a rebuke of the government, rather than an endorsement of the neoliberal capitalism that MUD represents. While this is undeniably frustrating, it is also heartening in a sense, because it demonstrates clearly that the general principles of the vast majority of the country remain unchanged: they want socialism and the Bolivarian Revolution, they simply want it to be improved. I heard this nearly everywhere I went, from the 23 January to El Valle, from San Agustín to the Simón Bolivar commune.

In other words, Chavismo is alive and well in Venezuela, it is the Party itself that has lost the support of many of the people.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Poisoned Agriculture: Depopulation and Human Extinction

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from Global Research

Todhunter is a British writer who has lived in India for extended periods of time and has done a considerable amount of study on the deleterious effects of biochemical technology widely used by multi-national corporations engaged in agricultural operations. I have followed Todhunter's essays for a number of years and I regard him as an especially reliable and credible source of information regarding his area of expertise.

In this article he focuses on a recent paper published in a major scientific journal (behind a paywall) authored by Rosemary A. Mason which makes some startling accusations regarding the widespread application of biochemical substances used by agribusinesses throughout the world.
She claims that plans are under way to depopulate the planet’s seven million plus people to a more manageable level of between 500–2000 million by a combination of means, including the poisoning and contamination of the planet’s food and water supplies via chemical-intensive industrialised agriculture. Mason also notes that health-damaging GMOs are being made available to the masses (under the guise of ‘feeding the poor’), while elites are more prone to eat organic food.

Although Mason cites evidence to show that a section of the US elite has a depopulation agenda, given the amount of poisons being pumped into the environment and into humans, the thrust of her argument is that we could all be extinct before this comes to fruition – both rich and poor alike.
Mason's evidence supports Todhunter's numerous findings about this type of agriculture which he studied in India, and he agrees with her conclusion that "the public must place pressure on governments and hold agribusiness to account." He argues that this is not enough, makes vague references to capitalism, but then ultimately arrives at his own recommendations which, in my mind, do not hold much more promise than Mason's: 
...both farmers and consumers must organise to challenge governments, corrupt regulatory bodies and big agribusiness at every available opportunity.
It seems to me that his conclusion negates any suggestion about the role of capitalism in causation of this huge problem. Capitalist directors such as Bill Gates and the Rockefeller clan today have firm control of the Empire's governments along with all other major institutions. So, it may do some temporary good to appeal to, or "challenge", their governments, etc, but how is this going to solve the problem in the long run? If the cause is an economic system, then the remedy is to organize to overthrow the rule of the system and the rule of the tiny fraction of humanity that it serves.

[An encouraging news item that might interest you, but don't count on capitalist appointed judges for future victories.] 

Paris agreement papers over failure to act on climate change

Click here to access article by Patrick Martin from World Socialist Web Site

In contrast to corporate media which paints the Paris agreement as a "success", Martin reveals the vacuous agreement that world capitalist leaders came up with to solve the growing problem of climate destabilization as a kind of public relations stunt.
The two-week climate summit could perhaps be summed up with a variation on the saying, “The operation was a success but the patient died.” In this case, the political operation in Paris was a great success for those who organized it, principally Hollande, Obama and other leaders of the major world powers who sought to posture as environmentalists concerned about the future of “the only planet we have.” The prognosis for the planet, however, remains terminal, so long as it remains imprisoned by the global capitalist system.

After the Paris climate talks: stay in the streets

Click here to access article by Elaine Graham-Leigh from CounterFire.

This writer for the mildly left wing British publication agrees with other non-establishment observers that the Paris climate talks were "much ado about nothing". 
A turning point in human history? Elaine Graham-Leigh takes a closer and more critical look at what the Paris talks really mean for our planet
Still she argues that the street protests accomplished a lot by forcing these capitalist officials to make many promises ("pledges") to do better, and that we should "stay in the streets" apparently because that this will be force them to make more promises! One might easily think that this publication could come up with something more radical after perusing the website which makes references to Marxism and socialism. 

For something more accurate and radical, read this article entitled "Paris agreement papers over failure to act on climate change".

Paris deal: Epic fail on a planetary scale

Click here to access article by Danny Chivers and Jess Worth from New Internationalist.
Before the talks began, social movements, environmental groups, and trade unions around the world came together and agreed on a set of criteria that the Paris deal would need to meet in order to be effective and fair. This ‘People’s Test’ is based on climate science and the needs of communities affected by climate change and other injustices across the globe.

To meet the People’s Test, the Paris deal would need to do the following four things:

1. Catalyze immediate, urgent and drastic emission reductions;
2. Provide adequate support for transformation;
3. Deliver justice for impacted people;
4. Focus on genuine, effective action rather than false solutions;

Does the deal pass the test?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Who is the Real Axis of Evil?

Click here to access article by Jim Dean from New Eastern Outlook.
The Russian Defense Ministry won the quote of the week award with its “theater of the absurd” description of the US State Department’s and Pentagon’s denials that they knew anything about Turkey’s aiding and abetting ISIL via the massive oil smuggling operations from Syria. They were lying of course, and admitted that Turkey was guilty for not only the oil smuggling but all the other supplies crossing the border for ISIL.
See also this piece entitled "US accomplice with ruling Wahhabism" which makes essentially the same argument.

How U.S. and EU Manipulate Public Consciousness: Montenegro

Click here to access article by Ion Todescu from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard.

Todescu provides an excellent case study of how Empire subversive directors apply their color revolution scheme. However this time its application is not to overthrow the government and/or dismember the country (that was already accomplished with the dismemberment of Yugoslavia), but to pave the way for Montenegro's integration into NATO.
Since Montenegro had regained its independence the U.S. and the EU have created a multi-layered hierarchical system comprising multiple structures and organizations in order to reshape the public consciousness of Montenegrins and guarantee that the country joins NATO. This sophisticated ‘network of networks’ has engulfed government structures, NGOs and commercial companies working for one purpose. This method proved to be successful in Ukraine, where the U.S. and EU have achieved their goals. As for Montenegro, only time will tell.

Euphoria as Paris finally seals the deal

Click here to access article by Paul Brown from Climate News Network.

Many leaders and website writers are heaping praise for the very recently concluded Paris agreement of climate goals. But, as far as I can see, they are only pledges or promises to do better. And, what has been the record of previous pledges? Very poor. My feelings correspond well with some of the skeptics:
Helen Szoke, executive director, Oxfam, summed up for the doubters: “This deal offers a frayed life-line to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Only the vague promise of a new future climate funding target has been made, while the deal does not force countries to cut emissions fast enough to forestall a climate change catastrophe. This will only ramp up adaptation costs further in the future.”

And this was the summing-up from one leading British scientist, Professor Chris Rapley, of University College London: “Time will reveal the true nature of the COP21 deal. From epic turning point, to naive expression of hope, it is the real-world actions that follow which will decide. 
Here is interesting 7:20m video from Climate Interactive that presents all kinds of "what ifs" that could bring the global average increase in temperatures below 2°C. 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

What’s class got to do with it?

Click here to access article by David F. Ruccio from his blog Occasional Links & Commentary.

This economist posts a graph from the St. Louis Federal Reserve to dramatically show the constant increasing inequality in the US, particularly accelerating after every recession. It seems that our capitalist class masters like recessions because they present opportunities for them to increase their wealth (and its associated power). He also provides a commentary on an an article--from a site supported by a government workers union--whose author, Jared Bernstein, provides many graphs of a similar nature.


However Ruccio complains about the lack of examination of the system of capitalism contained in Bernstein's series of articles. Such myopia is a disease of many union writers and organizers, and likely the reason that unions have declined in both membership and influence.