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

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The High Cost of Capitalism

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from his blog.

I continue to be astonished by his commentaries. Here this former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration takes direct aim at capitalism.

Noam Chomsky Compares Right-Wing Media to Nazi Germany

Click here if you wish to access this 3:18m video of Chomsky's comments directly from The Greanville Post. This talk was over five years ago. I wonder what he would think today. I think that ruling class media and the ruling class government is far worse than it was then. Forget about right-wing or left-wing--there is now only a desperate imperialist wing.

Sami Al-Arian, Professor Who Defeated Controversial Terrorism Charges, is Deported from U.S.

Click here to access article by Murtaza Hussain and Glenn Greenwald from The Intercept.

This provides an excellent illustration that the US ruling class under Zionist influence will prosecute thought and free speech crimes to the fullest extent that they can get away with. The way Al-Arian was treated by US authorities for advocating Palestinian causes can be described as kafkaesque--his experience reads like a horror story.
Describing his visceral, firsthand experience of America’s eroding democratic values Al-Arian said, “I came to the United States because I valued living as a free person, one who is able to advocate in a democratic society. Unfortunately, the U.S. has been turning into a less free society, a police and surveillance state, especially after 9/11.”

West's agri-giants snap up Ukraine

Click here to access article by Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute, from Uncommon Thought Journal.
Western corporations have not just taken control of certain profitable agribusinesses and agricultural activities, they have now initiated a vertical integration of the agricultural sector and extended their grip on infrastructure and shipping.
My only criticism of this report is that the author too frequently uses a favorite term of neoliberal agents to provide a nice sounding cover for activities that promote the purchase of assets in foreign countries by capitalists in the Empire: "reform".

Polymer diet

Click here if you wish to access this cartoon by Max Gustafson directly from his website.

Bush Campaign Hopes to Stoke Nostalgia for Nation’s Most Glorious Era

Click here to access article by Andy Borowitz from The New Yorker. (satire)

A centerpiece of the marketing strategy [for the Jeb Bush campaign] will be evoking memories of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. “It’s been a long time since the United States has [directly] invaded another country for no reason,” he said. “People are sentimental about those simpler times.”

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why Local Matters, and Why It’s Inevitable

Click here to access article by Asher Miller, the Executive Director of the Post Carbon Institute. 

At a recent conference Miller gave a slide and lecture presentation in which he provided an excellent perspective on the use of fossil fuels and their impact over the last century on the economy. This perspective functions to introduce his main thesis advocating local conservation measures. He refers to the latter as a "critical strategy in reversing and responding to many of our environmental, energy, economic, and equity issues." Ironically, he prefaces this thesis with a gross understatement: "Of course, 'going local' doesn’t solve everything, particularly problems—like climate change—that are global in nature."

While offering some very important insights on the major issues facing humans today such as climate destabilization and the problems posed by the rising cost of energy, he can only offer an anemic solution. "Going local" will hardly make a dent in all these problems! I think it is very likely that such an intelligent person knows what the real fundamental problem is and the real solution, but he must engage in self-censorship in order to keep his job at the institute which is funded by major foundations and the rich-- after all, their wealth and influence depend on the capitalist system. Meanwhile, working people (if they are lucky enough to be working at all) are so bamboozled by the lies and distractions proliferated in corporate media that they are effectively neutralized as a force for change.

If the capitalist ruling classes had not come to power, and in their place cooperative, publicly owned, and democratically controlled economies had taken control, we more likely would have seen the benefits of cheap energy raising the material living conditions of the vast majority instead of a tiny minority, avoidance of so many devastating wars, and a responsible usage of fossil fuels that wouldn't be threatening climate destabilization as we see today.

U.S. Pushes For War In Europe

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.
It is pretty obvious that significant forces in Washington push for a big war in Europe, cold at least but hot if possible. European countries, aside from some small U.S. puppets, are well aware that they would be hit hard in such a war, and do not want it.

The U.S. wants to deliver additional weapons to Ukraine and to thereby goad Russia into such a wider war.

Gallup CEO Fears He Might “Suddenly Disappear” for Questioning U.S. Jobs Data

Click here to access article by Pam Martens and Russ Martens from Wall Street on Parade.
The fact that hourly earnings are not improving with the improvement in the official unemployment rate and that the labor force participation rate of working age men (ages 25 to 54) now stands at the lowest level since the BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] started keeping records more than 60 years ago adds further fodder to “The Big Lie” theory. [my link]

Two degrees of warming closer than you may think

Click here to access article by David Spratt from Climate Code Red. 
It's taken a hundred years of human-caused greenhouse emissions to push the global temperature up almost one degree Celsius (1C°), so another degree is still some time away. Right?  And there seems to have been a "pause" in warming over the last two decades, so getting to 2C° is going to take a good while, and we may have more time that we thought.
Wrong on both counts. 
Spratt provides the latest scientific findings on climate change, and it's a rather complicated picture. One thing is becoming certain--we humans are in deep doo-doo thanks to capitalists' addictions to wealth and power and our acceptance of their rule.

How Warming May Alter Critical ‘Atmospheric Rivers’

Click here to access article by Andrea Thompson from Climate Central.
The relentless drought in California, now in its fourth year, has left the state with a dismal snowpack and below-normal stores in many reservoirs, which has hobbled the state’s agriculture and sent some communities to the brink of waterlessness, among numerous other impacts.
Although the information provided in this article focuses on California, the current weather and rising temperatures apply to the entire west coast of the US. Unlike California, we have received plenty of rain over the past several years, but the rain, because of higher temperatures, is falling onto the land and going right down to the sea. We have much less snow pack than usual, and water supply to the greater Seattle area depends on snow pack. Ski areas in the mountains are mostly closed. The warmer temperatures have been great for my heating bill, but otherwise they are deadly harbingers of things to come over the next decades. 

Meanwhile, TV talking heads employed by our ruling capitalist class, a class whose perspective is limited to next quarter's financial statements, report record temperatures as some kind of an achievement like the breaking of Olympic records. 

Meanwhile, try out an excellent interactive graphic from Climate Central at this link to see how your area's temperatures will change by 2100.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Perpetrators of the 2001 Anthrax Attacks Are Still At Large

Click here if you wish to access the transcript of this important interview posted on nsnbc. (This is a best post.)

So far I have had time to listen to over half of this fascinating one hour interview involving one professor who has done considerable research on the anthrax attacks. He has uncovered numerous connections between people connected with 9/11, media deceptions regarding the anthrax attacks, and other information all of which show signs of another false-flag attempt that was successfully used to pressure Congress into passing the first Patriot Act. 
In this podcast interview, German journalist Lars Schall talks with Dr. Graeme MacQueen, founding Director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University in Canada. Topic of their discussion: the research that MacQueen did for his recent book “The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy.” Moreover, they address the fact that the 9/11 Commission Report is heavily based on tortured testimony.

Graeme MacQueen received his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University and taught in the Religious Studies Department of McMaster University for 30 years. While at McMaster he became founding Director of its Centre for Peace Studies, after which he helped develop the B.A. program in Peace Studies and oversaw the development of peace-building projects in Sri Lanka, Gaza, Croatia and Afghanistan. Graeme MacQueen was a member of the organizing committee of the “Toronto Hearings” held on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and is co-editor of “The Journal of 9/11 Studies” – a peer-reviewed, electronic-only journal covering research related to the events of September 11, 2001. For an overview of MacQueen’s book “The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy” see here. And here you can read a review of MacQueen’s book by Professor Edward Curtin.

Al-Qaeda, Saudi Arabia and Israel

Click here to access article by Robert Parry from ConsortiumNews.

I am very impressed with the way Parry has carefully assembled many bits and pieces of evidence to construct an interpretation of events that remain obscured by the Empire's propaganda machinery. His construction ties together so many very important events reaching back to 9/11 and "terrorist" incidents even before then, terrorist events in Chechnya, the overthrow of Ukraine's government by neo-Nazis, and recent events in the Middle East. The project he constructs is still unfinished, but it contributes another major part of the giant puzzle that other honest geopolitical analysts can add to. His construction also confirms many suspicions about the major role of the Zionist/neocon faction in determining Empire actions.

Earth is crossing multiple points of no return

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder
If we are to be serious about reversing global warming and repairing the environment, we have to create an economic system based on human need, that is stable as a steady-state system and under democratic control, rather than our present authoritarian system that is designed to maximize private profit. The scientists who prepared the Planetary Boundaries paper no doubt have the highest sincerity, but they have much company in being unable to imagine a world without capitalism. Until we do live in such a world, we will continue to hurtle toward catastrophe regardless of good intentions and well-designed research reports.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dr. Daniele Ganser : NATO's Secret Armies - GLADIO & The Strategy of Tension

Click here to access the introduction and the link to the audio interview from The Mind Renewed.

While the Empire's capitalist authorities always suppressed any information about their secret armies following WWII; after they were discovered in the early 1990s, they tried to portray Operation Gladio as a purely defensive operation to protect western European countries from a Russian invasion. In reality its actual operations served to smash radical labor unions, left-wing parties, to rig elections all to protect capitalist rule in Europe following WWII. Operation Gladio were paramilitary armies often using former Nazis and false-flag terrorist operations (sound familiar?) to serve the early Anglo-American Empire's control of western Europe against any kind of challenge from left-wing groups.

This 1hr 21m interview offers an excellent summary of Ganser's very important book entitled NATO's Secret Armies. (I especially urge you to listen to this if you don't have time to read the book).

Examining the Stasi, Seeing the NSA

Click here to access article by Elizabeth Murray from ConsortiumNews.

After a group of former intelligence officers in the spy services of the US and Britain toured a Stasi museum in the former East Germany (German Democratic Republic), they commented on their observations. Here are two: 
Annie Machon, a ... former MI5 officer who lived in exile for three years after blowing the whistle on MI5 illegalities along with her then-partner David Shayler, commented that the techniques used by the Stasi “brought back a lot of memories for me from the 1990s. Despite it being the analog [versus digital] era, it was startling how much personal data they could capture — and how much worse it is now for all of us.”
Former FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley ... commented that “what jumped out at me from that [Stasi Museum] tour in comparing all the excessive spying on the personal lives of citizens and oppression and abuse during that period of East German history was that — despite the use of different ideologies, religions and loyalty groups, and despite the use of new spy technologies — what remains constant is this form of ‘control-freak’ perceived need for domination.

“Those in power do tend to be ‘true believers’ in their own noble cause justifying their terribly wrongful, illegal methods.”

Rowley added that current “FBI-CIA methods against the Muslim community in the United States are not much different [from Stasi tactics], most likely also assisted by intelligence unlawfully gained through electronic surveillance to extort and coerce collusion.”
However, I think that authorities in the former East Germany had much more of an excuse to engage in such activities than their counterparts today in the Empire. They were very much under the threat of subversive activities from the West. Thus, their police state activities were purely defensive. This is not to justify such activities, but given the aggressive activities and intentions from the West, it is much more understandable.

Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Intelligence Community: Allies Against 9/11 Transparency?

Click here to access article by Brian McGlinchey from 28Pages.org.

While the people behind this website, most often families of 9/11 victims, have relentlessly pursued the truth behind the 9/11 tragedy, their political analysis of the event falls short due to a naive understanding of capitalist geopolitics.
Saudi Arabia’s reasons for wanting the 28 pages kept secret are clear, but what about America’s intelligence community? Actually, its motives are likely identical: Shielding itself from public humiliation and the consequences that would accompany it.
Saudi Arabia is a key ally in the Empire's ruling class due to the fact of their enormous oil resources and the deal engineered in the 1970s by Kissinger (see this or this) to insure that their country lent its support to the dollar by selling oil only in US dollars and storing their money in US banks in return for protection. This medieval kingdom would have long ago disappeared into history without this protection and the US dollar would have become nearly worthless. This is why the US can sustain it's trillion dollar annual deficits, fund its huge military, 1000 plus military bases all over the world, and fund it's subversive activities all for the purpose of serving the Empire's ruling capitalist class.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

“While the capitalists are winning every battle between the two classes, they are nonetheless losing the war.”

Click here to access article from The New Inquiry.

Much food for thought in this article...
...the social forces of production have today become entirely incompatible with the nation state and national politics. Which is to say, SYRIZA’s politics may ultimately turn out to be merely a progressive variant of neoliberalism — and this may just be a final expression of bourgeois politics, rather than a true anti-politics.... 
...considering this piece and this.

Russia And China’s Growing Energy Relationship

Click here to access article by Nick Cunningham from OilPrice. 

Capitalist gangs will always vie for dominance versus competitors with the ultimate aim of attaining a dominant position. Much like street gangs that want to attain dominance in a neighborhood, capitalist powers are out to obtain dominance in the world neighborhood. 

The 21st century has seen the rise of new capitalist gangs that are challenging the heretofore mostly dominant Western gang led by the USA. The latter has been aggressively pursuing its aims since the end of WWII when it survived with its industrial and military establishment largely intact. The new challengers most effectively represented by Russia and China refuse to take orders from the dominant capitalist gang. Consequently we are witnessing a closer relationship between Russian and China and a new ramped-up cold war between the latter two countries and the US-led Empire in the form of mostly an economic war, but also we are noticing that the participants are beefing up their military capabilities which, of course, includes devastating nuclear weapons. This on top of the never-ending "terrorist wars" is signalling that we are entering a new and very dangerous phase in human history.

Cunningham reports on the type of deals that the two countries, Russia and China, have made in reaction to the Empire's aggressive policies toward Russia, and to a lessor extent toward China.
Russia’s economic freefall and isolation from the West has made it increasingly eager to build its relationship with China, even at the cost of lost leverage with Beijing.

But new economic data from China shows that Russia has succeeded in capturing a larger share of the massive – and growing – Chinese oil import market. 

David Harvey: Looking Toward a Moneyless Economy and Sleeping Well at Night

Click here to access article by Laura Flanders from TruthOut. 

This is rather light stuff when it comes to an anti-capitalist critique and pro-social ideas, but it may open more minds to more ideas now that the defects of capitalism are becoming harder to ignore. 

This article starts with an introduction to David Harvey, and then features a 17:16m video segment of Flanders' show in which she interviews Harvey regarding his ideas. A transcript of the interview follows the YouTube video.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Doomsday Clock Moves to Three Minutes to Midnight

Click here to access article by John Harrison from Sputnik International.

Atomic scientists at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have moved their clock closest to midnight not seen since 1984. Addressing this change (in this rather confusing article), the first part features a 15:03m audio recording of an interview conducted by Harrison with two scientists:
One of the clock’s timekeepers; Dr. Kennette Benedict, Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and also Mr. John Large, an independent nuclear expert, and Consulting Engineer with Large & Associates in London....
Following this interview there is a transcript of another interview with Sharon Squassoni who is a member of the Doomsday Clock committee of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. She highlights the current international situation in comparison to the Cold War era.
The tensions of the Cold War period look almost calm in comparison to what is happening now internationally, with at least two international conflicts occurring, each one of which could lead to a Third World War. From this perspective, the Cold War period looks almost safe. Then there are Climate Change issues, which are just as serious, although because of their delayed effect, easier to ignore. As a result, a group of scientists has come up with a sobering reflection of the salience of current international events. The Doomsday Clock.
It's clear to me that the increasing tension in the world and desire of many smaller countries to obtain nuclear weapons are related, and both are related to the rampaging US Empire to control the entire world. The latter's activities are provoking countries like Russia and China, whose ruling capitalist classes refuse to take orders from the Empire, to beef up their nuclear arsenals. Noam Chomsky also supports this view and corroborates the views of these scientists in a post on RT entitled "World ominously close to nuclear war".

Europe slouching towards anxiety & war

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT

Escobar, who has been recently reading Edward Gibbon's classic book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, sees many parallels with Roman history and Greek mythology in the ominous scene developing in Europe. Although the current war is strictly economic (except for the real war in Ukraine), with European masters firmly wedded to the Empire, things could spiral out of control. So far, he sees the Greeks under the new party Syriza standing firm against the masters of the European division of the Empire.
For the moment, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is definitely bluffing, warning Greek Prime Minister Tsipras that the eurozone could survive without Greece ("We no longer have to worry like we did back then.")

If, however, Brussels admits a de facto, even partial, default, it would result in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and scores of other EU sufferers screaming “We want the same deal.”
Then there is the Russian card that factors into this scene which Escobar explores. 

I think that Syriza leaders are also bluffing, and we will see extended negotiations that will result in a reduction of Greek debts owed to European banks many of which were assumed by previous neoliberal Greek governments. However, Escobar is right: such a compromise will trigger demands by the other debt ridden countries for the same deal. So, European events will likely generate even more anxieties in the near future.

Venezuela: a Coup in Real Time

Click here to access article by Eva Golinger from CounterPunch. 
There is a coup underway in Venezuela. The pieces are all falling into place like a bad CIA movie. At every turn a new traitor is revealed, a betrayal is born, full of promises to reveal the smoking gun that will justify the unjustifiable. Infiltrations are rampant, rumors spread like wildfire, and the panic mentality threatens to overcome logic. Headlines scream danger, crisis and imminent demise, while the usual suspects declare covert war on a people whose only crime is being gatekeeper to the largest pot of black gold in the world.
The Empire directors have unleashed a propaganda war against the government of Venezuela in our media, and we can only imagine what they are up to inside Venezuela. Besides the NY Times, The Atlantic, and NPR mentioned in the article, there appears to be a broad-base propaganda attack being launched in the US and Britain to smear the government of Venezuela. I've found similar articles in liberal media such as The Guardian and the Huffington Post. I find it hard to believe that this coverage is purely coincidental.

One antidote to this Empire propaganda is this piece from Venezuela Analysis by Cory Fischer-Hoffman which reports on views of ordinary Venezuelans. They appear to be much smarter about the Empire's intentions than they were in the years before the CIA engineered coup attempt in 2002

Sunday, February 1, 2015

After the Peak

Click here to access article by Richard Heinberg from Post Carbon Institute.

After reading this article affirming peak oil theory and others which are disputing peak oil theory (conveniently after this current glut of oil on world markets), I am reminded of the metaphor regarding the blind men and the elephant. Obviously, peak oil deniers are so focused on this short term oil glut as well as being committed to capitalism that they refuse to look at the science of peak oil.  

Heinberg has written in support of the science behind peak oil theory since the beginning and is highly regarded as an expert. I, also, am thoroughly convinced of the validity of this theory after having read many articles on the subject. However, his overwhelming focus on only one part of this phenomenon has skewed his perception of related issues. I am referring here to his omission, or ignorance about, the capitalist system. Thus, he looks around and finds only the economics profession to blame for the failure of peak oil warnings!
There’s no cause for shame in that: the deck was stacked against us. The economics profession, which has a stranglehold on government policy, steadfastly continues to insist that energy is a fully substitutable ingredient in the economy, and that resource depletion poses no limit to economic growth. Believing this to be true, policy makers have effectively had their fingers jammed in their ears.
He appears to be totally unaware that capitalism requires growth and cheap, abundant energy to exist. Those who receive huge benefits from the system in terms of wealth and especially overwhelming political power cannot but resist and deny peak oil warnings. 

If people are not sufficiently motivated by the social disasters produced by capitalism, then surely they must be by the disasters that lie ahead for their children, grandchildren, and the human race due to diminishing supplies of cheap oil and climate destabilization caused by the overuse of fossil fuels. Thus, peak oil as well as climate destabilization are revolutionary issues.

British Police Do NOT Want You Watching Live Terror Events! Why might that be?

Click here to access article by Stuart J. Hooper from 21st Century Wire. 
We are told that there are “fears that broadcast of live images could increase difficulties for police and military and risk lives of hostages”. Alternatively, we could suggest that ‘authorities’ do not want anybody to have any evidence available to them that could possibly used to argue against, and damage, their ‘official’ narrative of an event.

.... A detailed analysis of the events in Paris, including expert testimony on what was witnessed, suggests that the attacks fit the bill for what can deemed a false flag event for geopolitical purposes.