We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Who ordered the attack against Charlie Hebdo?

Click here to access article by Thierry Meyssan from VoltaireNet.

This French intellectual and geopolitical analyst sees many incongruities between Jihadist beliefs/practices and what happened in the so-called Muslim "terrorist" incident in Paris. He concludes this analysis with the following statement:
We do not know who sponsored this professional operation against Charlie Hebdo, but we should not allow ourselves to be swept up. We should consider all assumptions and admit that at this stage, its most likely purpose is to divide us; and its sponsors are most likely in Washington.
Meanwhile, more and more skeptics are poking holes in the official stories coming from mainstream media. See this, this, and this

In the last link Paul Craig Roberts makes a perceptive observation about two groups of people:
Government tells Americans whatever story the government puts together and sits and laughs at the gullibility of the public.

Today the US public is divided between those who rely on the “mainstream media” and those who rely on the alternative Internet media. Only the latter have any clue as to what is really happening.

The stories of Charlie Hebdo and the Tsarnaev brothers will be based not on facts but on the interests of government. As in the past, the government’s interest will prevail over the facts. 

The West is Manufacturing Muslim Monsters

Click here to access article by Andre Vltchek from CounterPunch.

Vltchek examines the great history of Muslim nations and its decline since WWII engineered by the capitalist Empire which he refers to as the "West".
From the hopes of those post-WWII years, to the total gloom of the present days – what a long and terrible journey is has been!

The Muslim world is now injured, humiliated and confused, almost always on the defensive.

It is misunderstood by the outsiders, and often even by its own people who are frequently forced to rely on Western and Christian views of the world.

What used to make the culture of Islam so attractive – tolerance, learning, concern for the wellbeing of the people – has been amputated from the Muslim realm, destroyed from abroad. What was left was only religion.

Now most of the Muslim countries are ruled by despots, by the military or corrupt cliques. All of them closely linked with the West and its global regime and interests.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Economics of the Anthropocene

Click here if you wish to access this 20:49m video presentation by Joshua Farley from the original posting on the Post Carbon Institute's website which provides more details about the talk.

The title of this posting did little to evoke much interest in me; but as I started listening to Dr. Farley, I realized that it was very important. The vague title reminded me once again of  a phenomenon that has entered my consciousness more frequently in recent months: the use of high level abstractions to hide uncomfortable ideas. After listening to this presentation, I'll bet that you can come up with a headline that is much more descriptive of what he has talked about. This is my choice: "The inefficiency of the capitalist system to meet people's needs, and what an efficient system would look like" I am not criticizing him for this. It's the only way one can survive in an institution controlled by a capitalist ruling class.

After listening to his talk, if you are interested in reading a more detailed exposition of his ideas, I recommend this article (scroll down to it) entitled "Ecological Economics" at the same website. Notice in the talk and in the article how this academic carefully chooses his words so as not to offend his capitalist oriented masters in academia. For example he writes:
We must push for the reform of our political and economic institutions so that they once again act for the public good. From local government policies to international agreements, the structures that define how our world works are ultimately products of political consent, and thus can be changed with sufficient political will.
Instead of writing:
We must find a way to end the existence of capitalism so that we can create an economy that serves public needs rather than the wealth and power accumulation of capitalists.

“Free Speech” hypocrisy in the aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo

Click here to access article by David North from World Socialist Web Site. 
...President François Hollande is striving to transform France into the United States’ principal ally in the “war on terror,” the attack in Paris plays into his hands.

In these efforts Hollande can rely on the media, which in such circumstances directs all its energies toward the emotional manipulation and political disorientation of the public. The capitalist media, skillfully combining the suppression of information with half-truths and outright lies, devises a narrative that is calculated to appeal not only to the basest instincts of the broad public, but also to its democratic and idealistic sentiments.

Throughout Europe and the United States, the claim is being made that the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo was an assault on the freedom of the press and the unalienable right of journalists in a democratic society to express themselves....
Following this, North reminds us of the many historical facts that suggest the Empire sees many journalists as their enemy.

Also read this piece from the same website entitled "Gunmen were 'probably followed' by French police before Paris massacre" which arouses suspicions about a false-flag operation. A TV report from Bloomberg news entitled "How Much Did U.S. Know About France Terror Attacks?" does the same--although unintentionally.

Federal Government Releases Environmental Activist Eric McDavid From Prison

Click here to access article from Civil Liberties Defense Center

This report is an excellent followup illustration of an article I posted recently of the aggressive policies of the ruling class enforcement agencies against environmental activists here in the Northwest. In this report there is substantial evidence to indicate that Eric McDavid was a victim of FBI entrapment used to discredit all environmental activists. 
“Since 9-11, the United States government has mercilessly entrapped people, destroying their lives just to make political examples of them, especially in Muslim communities,” said Jenny Esquivel, Eric McDavid’s partner and an organizer with his support committee. “The government has targeted leftists and anarchists with similar fervor. This, like so many other alleged conspiracies the public hears about, are FBI inventions from the start,” Esquivel said.
We have seen numerous instances of FBI/police involvement with entrapments of Muslims and political activists in the US in order to arouse public sentiment against all Muslims and political activists in general.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Russia Blamed, US Taxpayers on the Hook, as Fracking Boom Collapses

Click here to access article by Ben Ptashnik from TruthOut.

To be absolutely candid, I don't fully understand this issue after perusing a number of articles (like this and this) related to the subject. However, it certainly appears that the banking industry, which are worried about their loans to the oil fracking industry and their derivative bets, has sought, and apparently succeeded, in protecting themselves from losses (by dumping them on taxpayers) from the Empire's oil dumping strategy to destabilize the Russian economy.

This seems like a hugely risky ploy because another bailout would likely trigger major threats to the capitalist class. But then, it seems like all the other actions that the directors of the Empire have taken in the past several years have seemed desperate to me. Nevertheless, I urge you to use your own judgement, as always.
After last minute, heavy lobbying on the budget bill by Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase and an army of 3,000 Wall Street lobbyists, it appears that once again sufficient insecurity and fear had been spread among the political class regarding destabilization of the financial markets (or withdrawal of campaign financing). They allowed a last minute amendment that killed Dodd-Frank protections, and allowed US taxpayers to be shaken down to cover Wall Street's shale gambling debacle.

Who profits from killing Charlie?

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from Asia Times Online. 

Escobar expresses skepticism about the Paris "terrorist" incident with his typically sarcasm-loaded style. However, while doing so he asks important questions, and the answers suggests that the victims "were sacrificial lambs in a much nastier, gruesome, never-ending shadowplay."

Paris Shooters Just Returned from NATO’s Proxy War in Syria

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

Cartalucci sees similar patterns in the Paris "terrorist" attack as we have seen in other false-flag operations.
In an all too familiar pattern and as predicted, the shooters involved in the attack in Paris Wednesday, January 7, 2015, were French citizens, radicalized in Europe and exported to Syria to fight in NATO’s proxy war against the government in Damascus, then brought back where they have now carried out a domestic attack. Additionally, as have been many other domestic attacks, the suspects were long under the watch of Western intelligence services, with at least one suspect having already been arrested on terrorism charges.

A Rothschild Plot against Putin?

Click here to access article by Filip Kovacevic from Boiling Frogs Post. 

In this article the author focuses on only one Russian oligarch and his ties with a prominent Western capitalist. Of course, Putin and his numerous ordinary Russian supporters have many oligarchs to worry about. Will they support Russian interests or sell out to Western capitalists, and by doing so, get even richer? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

5 Times “Obeying the Law” in America was a Terrible Idea

Click here to access article by Carey Wedler from The Anti-Media Daily Newsletter.

Wedler demystifies the idea that "the law" is somehow sacred, always legitimate, and always to be obeyed, or if not, then punishment is due the offender. He offers the worst examples of unjust, immoral laws to illustrate his point that there are some laws that should not be obeyed because they are unjust or not fair. This is a good attack on the views of many people who deify "the law" as something absolute and sacred, instead of something that has been created by humans. Of course, this also applies to religious texts and preachings which are often regarded in the same way.

However, there is something very basic that is missing from this liberal view. What if the organization of society is basically unjust or unfair by giving some people more rights and privileges than others to the point that some people are given more opportunities to create laws than other people. Couldn't this arrangement of a society result in the entire system of laws and their enforcement being illegitimate? 

This is easy to recognize in a racist or theocratic society where one is born with characteristics identified with a certain race or is assigned by parents and the larger society as being identified with a certain religion or historical ethnicity. Thus, it was easy to identify South Africa or USA as racist societies in their earlier history, or to recognize Israel as a quasi racist-religious society today.

But doesn't the same principle of unfairness exist in all capitalist societies? Do you really think that someone born into a family, who under the rules of capitalism "owns" a town's main industry, is provided with same opportunities as someone born into a family whose adult members must sell their labor for wages to the "owner's" family? Yet, that is the arrangement we have in all capitalist societies, and over time wealth accumulation in such societies becomes ever more concentrated in fewer families. Such societies inevitably deteriorate into well-defined classist societies the reality of which must be hidden from people's consciousness. That is because human nature dictates that relations among humans must be "fair" and "just". Fairness and justice are fundamental human characteristics which distinguishes us from other animals.

So, what we find in classist societies are powerful attempts to deny the realities of their unfairness or to justify this unfairness. (As I type, I immediately notice another illustration of this denial: my software does not even recognize "classist" as a word!) Thus, the more powerful class attempt to indoctrinate the less powerful people into believing that such societies are fair and just through their control of education, media, and even entertainment. These attempts have obviously succeeded so well in our capitalist society that most people are like this author who can only recognize unfairness in the most egregious laws in US history. 

However, because capitalism has existed for several hundred years, societies are now wracked with such extreme inequality that the inherent unjustness and unfairness is being recognized by more and more people with the result that capitalist authorities are being increasingly challenged. They are now reacting to this challenge with more onerous laws and severe enforcement that is typical of an advanced capitalist society in which indoctrination no longer works and the ruling capitalist class must resort to police state methods to maintain their unjust rule. In the 20th century we witnessed the most dramatic examples of this tendency in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and imperial Japan. Now in the 21st century, this deterioration of a capitalist organized society into a police state, as illustrated by its huge prison system, is arguably most pronounced in the USA.

FBI harassing fossil fuel activists in the Pacific northwest

Click here to access article by Alexander Reid Ross from Ecologist
A grassroots movement of eco-activists is achieving unprecedented success in challenging fossil fuel developments in the Cascadia region of the US's Pacific northwest, writes Alexander Reid Ross. And that has attracted the wrong kind of attention - from local police, FBI and right-wing legislators determined to protect the corporate right to exploit and pollute.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When History Knocks

Click here to access article by Sam Gindin from Jacobin

Gindin in this essay gives far too much credit to Naomi Klein's views as expressed in her recently published book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. Gindin has had a long career as an academic who frequently writes in left-wing publications about socialism. He is currently the Packer Chair in Social Justice at York University, a major university in Toronto. Having a career as a leftist academic in both the US and Canada means that you have to be careful about how far you go in attacking capitalism. Gindin like many others has been careful. He is also careful in criticizing Klein's views as expressed in her book. 

For example, he marvels at Klein's ability to get mainstream media coverage:
Who else on the Left gets a sympathetic interview on the evening news of Canada’s publicly owned television broadcaster before the release of her latest book? And who else, as a preview of that book, is immediately given a chance to explain to a national audience why, from the perspective of the environment, capitalism is “the main enemy?”

Klein’s writings and talks have provided “the movement” with needed context and coherence, and served as a conduit and catalyst for discussions, contributing to its recruitment and growth. ....

This shift centers on both her assessment of the movement — more than ever before, Klein expresses frustrations with the movement she is part of and still sees as fundamental to social change — and her deeper appreciation of capitalism “as the main enemy.” 
Only later on in the essay he mildly chides her for providing "wiggle room" in her critique of capitalism--which, of course, is precisely why she gets exposure in capitalist media.
Klein deserves enormous credit for putting capitalism in the dock. Yet she leaves too much wiggle room for capitalism to escape a definitive condemnation. There is already great confusion and division among social activists over what “anti-capitalism” means. For many if not most, it is not the capitalist system that is at issue but particular sub-categories of villains: big business, banks, foreign companies, multinationals.

Klein is contradictory on this score. She seems clear enough in the analysis that pervades the book that it is capitalism, yet she repeatedly qualifies this position by decrying “the kind of capitalism we now have,” “neoliberal” capitalism, “deregulated” capitalism, “unfettered” capitalism, “predatory” capitalism, “extractive” capitalism, and so on.
So, is she really anti-capitalist? The implication of her views is clearly that there is an acceptable capitalism.

Pensions of Union Workers Cut in Federal Budget

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of this interview on Real News with Michael Hudson as he elaborates on yesterday's post entitled "Big Fish, Little Fish".

From the latter post we learned:
On the Senate’s last day in session in December, it approved the government’s $1.1 trillion budget for coming fiscal year.

Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical.
Today on the Real News interview Hudson goes into more detail on the following:
They rewrote two laws. One of the laws was about bank derivatives that Elizabeth Warren has spoken about, promising to bail out Citibank and other banks. If they lose on derivatives, they're going to get bailed out like they did in 2008.

And the other was a decision not to bail out the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the government's pension fund insurer. They've decided--they passed a new law. They rewrote the law. They declared the 1974 ERISA act protecting pensions illegal, and they said if pension funds cannot pay their retirees, they get to be cut back and they don't get to go to the government to get guarantee. We've abolished the government guarantee on ...a multiemployer fund that has more than one employer contributing to it, like airline funds, truckers funds, Teamsters funds if you're a truck driver, insurance employees, we're going to give the fund managers, mainly the financial managers on Wall Street, the right to cut back on these pensions that are due. 

One for the Record Books: 2014 Officially Hottest Year

Click here to access article by Brian Kahn from Climate Central. 

It’s official: 2014 has taken the title of hottest year on record. That ranking comes courtesy of data released Monday by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the first of four major global temperature recordkeepers to release their data for last year.

The upward march of the world’s average temperature since 1891 is a trademark of human-influenced global warming with 2014 being the latest stop on the climb. All 10 of the hottest years have come since 1998.

A good follow-up article to this is one by Naomi Oreskes found in the NY Times entitled "Playing Dumb on Climate Change".
Scientists have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.
Science is conservative, and new claims of knowledge are greeted with high degrees of skepticism.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Going a little MAD

Click here to access article from EUbrainwashing.
If I got to express my anger, my breath snagging rage, my stuttering red-faced fury, people would look at me as if I am MAD! What a flipping joke. That I keep myself contained - that's what is mad.

I watch what I say and to who I say it. I see podgy fools collecting money at the door of supermarkets in the name of military veteran's charity 'Help for Heros'. Their 'heros' are no more than gullible stooges, duped to work as the dogs of war for conflicts they did not start to understand. And when they get
their bodies mashed and their minds trashed they are used all over again by painting them as Heros, not victims of their ignorance, and using their distress for the continued manipulations of state beneficial propaganda.

What is mad is people tend not to see any of this. 
The way that ruling classes brainwash people is through their control of all media, education, and even entertainment. Thus, they are able duplicate what researchers found in experiments that measured conformity to perceived group pressure portrayed in this video:

Sony Hack a Prime Excuse for New US Cybersecurity Laws

Click here to access article by Jason Ditz from Antiwar
Congress has been reluctant to pass the various draconian cybersecurity laws pushed by the administration in recent years, but that may be changing because of the high-profile Sony Pictures hack.

With the FBI ‘successfully’ pinning it on North Korea, at least so far as everyone on Capital Hill is concerned, there is a great deal of pressure for Congress to “do something,” and little interest in the evidence that North Korea had nothing to do with it.
This suggests that the Sony hack was another false flag operation by ruling class operatives designed to remove troublesome blogs from the internet.

How Bloomberg ‘News’ Lies

Click here to access article by Eric Zuesse from Washington's Blog.

I'm sure that this piece will come as no shock to people who have been aware of ruling class lies for many decades; but for those who have been consumed by the lies, this article provides an excellent antidote to their brainwashing.

In the article Zuesse makes a devastating attack on a piece of propaganda published in one of Wall Street's premier publications, Bloomberg News.
On December 31st, Josh Rogin of Bloomberg ‘News’ headlined “Inside Obama’s Secret Outreach to Russia,” and his opening sentence ‘reported’ on “the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little interest in … halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.”

How to Stop Capitalism in its Tracks: An indefatigable cultural critic tries to educate the public about the reality of life under capitalism.

Click here to access article by Mark Hand from The Greanville Post.
An example of Stephanie’s work

If capitalism keeps chugging along, we’re all in big trouble. That’s the prognosis of Stephanie McMillan, an award-winning political cartoonist and author of the new book, Capitalism Must Die! A Basic Introduction to Capitalism: What It Is, Why It Sucks, and How to Crush It.

Big Fish, Little Fish

Click here to access article by Michael Hudson from his blog.

The biggest fish in this metaphor are, of course, the Wall Street banks who are owned and controlled by the ruling One Percent class. They also essentially "own" Congress.
On the Senate’s last day in session in December, it approved the government’s $1.1 trillion budget for coming fiscal year.

Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical.

.... Congress has just legislated the right to scale back pension funds if they’re managed by labor unions, e.g. on multi-employer contributors. This will hit blue collar labor the hardest, especially unionized building superintendents, and service workers.

Once this is done, the idea of rolling back pensions can spread to other kinds of pension funds besides union funds. State and local pensions, corporate pensions and even insurance company annuities can be cut back. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

ALL forms of capitalism are bad

Click here to access article by Eric Schechter from The Greanville Post.
Liberal and progressive activists are trying to tweak our economic system with reforms, to make capitalism fair, humane, and sustainable. In their constant battle against “unfettered capitalism” or “predatory capitalism” or “corporate capitalism,” they believe they are struggling toward some other sort of capitalism, a healthy and enlightened capitalism, which surely must be just past the horizon. Their intentions are good, but that’s not enough. Their efforts are wasted, because their maps are wrong; that fabled land of healthy capitalism does not exist. Bourgeois democracy cannot function as advertised, because the ideas in its advertisement actually contradict each other.

Without Truth, Life is Worthless : On Sibel Edmonds’ The Lone Gladio

Click here to access article by Filip Kovacevic from Libya 360°. 

This article contains not only another review of Edmond's recently published book The Lone Gladio, but numerous links to background material of her exposé of Glacio B contained in this work of political fiction. Gladio B is the new updated version of Gladio which refers to CIA subversive operations in Europe from the end of WWII to the collapse of the Soviet Union around 1990. The earlier version of Gladio has been very well covered in a very important book by Daniel Ganser entitled NATO's Secret Armies.
Edmonds, who has Middle Eastern origins, was hired by the FBI shortly after 9/11 because of her fluency in a number of Middle Eastern languages to translate numerous documents that were streaming into FBI offices during this period. While working there she came across information which revealed major illegal operations and war crimes perpetrated by secret agencies of the US government. FBI personnel made a huge mistake in this hire; because as they soon found out, she was a highly intelligent, courageous, and principled woman who could not be intimidated into silence.
...in every age and every culture, there are those who have and will pursue the path of true knowledge and wisdom, no matter what. The motivation to pursue justice and truth is passed on to them from their elders like a torch and they will carry it forward into the next generation. It is a process both psychological and metaphysical. Yet until they organize, until they pull together their abilities and strengths, until they form their own unique community across their different nationalities, religions, and languages, their victories, if any, will remain provisional and short-lasting.

U.S. Citizens Continue to Infiltrate Eastern European Governments

Click here to access article by Wayne Madsen from Strategic Culture Foundation.

The article provides many details on the widespread practice of installing US citizens in government posts in many eastern European governments. Although Madsen is usually sparse on links to supporting documents, I have reason to believe that his investigative journalism is reliable.

Washington's Quiet Proxy War Against Vietnam

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer. 
 ...NED's bid to overturn the political order in Vietnam is linked directly to Wall Street and Washington's bid to turn all of Southeast Asia into a unified proxy front to wield against China. Identical campaigns of political subversion in Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar to install into power Thaksin Shinawatra, Anwar Ibrahim, and Aung San Suu Kyi respectively, would yield a regional bloc led by a collection of client states and puppet dictators propped up by and in the service of the West.

With corporate-financier hegemony ensured via economic "free  trade" agreements like the unpalatable ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China would not only be politically isolated from Southeast Asia, but economically as well. As with NATO in Europe, the US plans to create an ASEAN military alliance it itself leads, meaning in addition to political and economic isolation, Beijing will be militarily encircled as well.