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, February 14, 2015

Ownership & Business Models as Social & Ideological Battle Fields

Click here to access article by Roger Boyd from Humanity's Test.

This article is a highly academic treatment of the evolution of forms of ownership over the past 10,000 years to its highly concentrated form of capitalism that we see in existence today. Boyd only refers rather obliquely to the violence that has been used by various group down through this period to acquire ownership over land and resources. Such violence by warlords, colonialists, etc, served to provide the foundation of the accumulation of wealth that made possible the acceleration of capitalist concentration of ownership witnessed in the 20th century and continues today.

Still, he offers a critique of capitalism by showing how its resulting concentration of wealth and power is not legitimate according to any democratic standard. By presenting this broad historical perspective, he reminds people that the current reality, and those benefiting from it, strive to obscure alternative methods of organizing an economy.
The history of alternative ownership and business models and the power struggles that lead to the current reality have been mostly forgotten, as they do not fit the current ruling discourse. Instead, the current ahistorical ideology takes the status quo as a starting point. The modern vanguard of cultural and ideological imperialism is that of neoclassical economics, and its emissaries such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which treat private property with a near-religious reverence.

ISIS Commander Confesses The Terror Group Is Receiving Funds Via The US

Click here to access article from The Anti-Media.

The brief article contains links to documentation that support the argument that US and its medieval kingdom allies are providing financial support to ISIS. This corroborates the  impressions of many independent journalists and other Middle East observers who have argued that ISIS is another terrorist instrument of the Empire. A consensus among such people is that ISIS was organized by Saudi Arabia and associates and now evidence is surfacing that the US is also providing funding. 

The directors of the Empire found terrorist armies particularly useful in the 1980s especially after their successful applications in Nicaragua with their support of the Contras which overthrew the Sandinista government, and then in Afghanistan with their sponsorship of the Mujahideen armies which managed to overthrow the government of Afghanistan that had close relations with the Soviet Union. 

Netanyahu adds Washington DC dates to his 20th Anniversary ‘Will Someone Please Bomb Iran’ world tour

Click here to access article from The Pan-Arabia Enquire. (satire)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Obama administration seeks blank check for perpetual war

Click here to access article by Joseph Kishore from The Greanville Post. 
In an attempt to delude the American public, which is overwhelmingly opposed to war, that the new operations are to be limited in scope, the authorization states that it does not provide for “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” Again, the wording is formulated so as to allow virtually any type of military action. There is no definition of “enduring” or “offensive.”

Extended combat operations in Iraq, Syria or another country could be justified on the grounds that they were “defensive” or not “enduring.”

And of course there is widespread skepticism among Arabs about who the Americans will really target as reflected in this cartoon carried at a Muslim website in the Middle East.

Meanwhile back at the Empire's Afghanistan ranch, the war doesn't seem to be over according to this analyst in an article entitled "Military Just Can’t Kick Its Afghanistan Habit, Picks Up Pace of Night Raids".
The US military’s addiction to war in Afghanistan is now in its fourteenth year. Such a long addiction can’t just be ended in a weekend of going cold turkey. Much of the effort to end the war has been cosmetic and semantic. Although troop levels are now down dramatically from the peak of Obama’s surge, Obama’s tactic at the end of 2014 was to declare the war “over” while at the same time signing a secret order allowing for expanded activities by those troops remaining in the country.

The military has joined in Obama’s gamesmanship, taking as much of the war effort behind curtains of secrecy as it possibly can.

The Minsk Peace Deal: Farce Or Sellout?

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

There are plenty of reasons to cast doubt on the latest Minsk peace agreement. Roberts lists many of the most obvious. It seems that whenever the Empire's installed government in Ukraine loses on the battlefield, they readily make these agreements to provide more time for the arrival of US military aid.

I think that Bernhard is spot-on in this article entitled "Minsk 2.0 Is Just The Pause Button". 

And the Saker is even more cynical in regard to this treaty in an article entitled "The useless agreement which everybody wanted". In the article he makes reference to Debaltsevo, an area where an estimated 5000 Kiev troops are surrounded by Novorussians.

Meanwhile it appears that the Kiev regime does not have much support of its own people to fight in the regime's war.

HSBC and the upside-down world of austerity politics

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution. 

The headline refers to this news report:
This week it was revealed that HSBC — Europe’s biggest bank — has been actively running and propagating a massive tax evasion scheme through its Swiss subsidiary, allowing some of its wealthiest international clients to hide over $120bn in undeclared assets in 30.000 secret Swiss bank accounts.
Roos goes on to explain this represents one of two major systemic methods the rich use to keep wealth trickling up from the bottom to them. By putting these thefts in a larger, more meaningful framework, Roos leads us to a real solution--system change.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong -- part 1 and part 2

Click here to access the 20 minute video interview and transcript for part 1, from Democracy Now!  

Click here to access the 11:13m video interview and transcript for part 2, from Democracy Now! 

In this two part series Ami Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interview British journalist Johann Hari, author of the new book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War of Drugs. He explains the dramatic headline based on his extensive investigations into the drug war and its background. 

While his discoveries about past drug policies and the "War of Drugs" is very good, I noticed that Goodman carefully avoided any followup of his comments about the relationship of drug problems to capitalism. Early in the interview Hari explicitly connected drug addiction to life in a capitalist society.

We have created a society where huge numbers of our fellow citizens can’t bear to be present in their lives and have to medicate themselves to get through the day with these drugs. You know, there’s nothing—a hypercapitalist, hyperindividualist society makes people feel like the rats in that first cage, that they’re cut off, they’re cut off from the source. I mean, there’s nothing—as Bruce explains, there’s nothing in human evolution that prepares us for being as isolated as the—you know, as the ideal citizen of a hypercapitalist, hyperconsumerist country like yours and mine.
This key observation by Hari received no followup questions by either interviewer and thus disappears from the discussion altogether. Instead, we are exposed to the tragedies of drug addicts past and present, and left with the impression that all that is needed are programs to make drugs freely available to drug addicts, to pay employers temporarily to train and hire drug addicts, and to set up programs to prevent child abuse: all liberal, or capitalist left-wing, causes.  

This is very typical of Goodman's Democracy Now! programs which discuss controversial topics but carefully deflects any implications the issues might have for the capitalist system. Amy Goodman and her program are beneficiaries of generous grants from wealthy foundations and charities whose purpose is precisely that.

Did Obama just declare war on Syria?

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from The Greanville Post. 
A careful examination of some key provisions of the president’s proposal reveals that, contrary to the rhetoric, this is in fact a declaration of war on Syria. The internationally, and legally, recognized government of Syria, led by Bashar al-Assad, has provided no such authorization, nor have they been consulted, let alone asked for consent, in the US decision. Therefore, any US military action occurring within Syria’s borders would unquestionably be a violation of international law.

According to the NY Times, Obama’s proposal “would prohibit the use of ‘enduring offensive ground forces’ and limit engagement to three years.” The understandable reaction from a casual reader would be that Obama is trying to avoid any kind of real war, and is instead just looking to engage in limited combat operations against a specific threat. However, that is simply not true....

Saudi’s new king of terror

Click here to access article by Nafeez Ahmed from Middle East Eye. 

Despite the abundance of evidence uncovered by independent journalist regarding this medieval kingdom's role in sponsoring various terrorist armies and their numerous fingerprints all over 9/11, US authorities have always resisted any attempts to investigate the evidence to the extent that they have actually blocked such attempts. This again is evident in the article as well as the extraordinary support by Empire directors in support of the new Saudi rulers. Yet, Ahmed, like many other investigative journalists, seems to go out of his way to avoid the implications of the abundant evidence indicating Saudi sponsorship of terrorism that serves the interests of the Empire, especially its Zionist wing, with weak statements like this:
Ongoing efforts by Western leaders to cozy-up with King Salman, despite the extensive evidence of militant financing by he and other senior members of the royal family, raise urgent questions about how serious our governments really are about fighting terror.
One exception to this generalization about investigative journalists is the Brazilian Pepe Escobar who does not mince words when refers to the US Empire as the Empire of Chaos. But then we must make allowances for journalists who write in media located in the Empire. They obviously must tread carefully on these powerful "evil doers".

Measles vs. MMR Vaccine: Risks and Benefits

Click here to access article by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD from LewRockwell.
Donald Miller...is a retired cardiac surgeon and Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles on a variety of subjects for LewRockwell.com . His web site is www.donaldmiller.com.
This is another article regarding the issue of vaccinations which corporate media has been pushing to make mandatory. Because of the tendency for corporate media to serve corporate interests rather than the people's interests, I am running some articles I find from credible sources that provides a more balanced or alternative view.

Here is one entitled "What’s Behind Big Pharma’s Freak-out Media Blitz Over Measles?" which presents a decidedly alternative view.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The book “Bought Journalists”

Click here to access article by Udo Ulfkotte, translated and posted in The Greanville Post.

Ulfkotte, the German journalist, expands on the themes of his book published last year. In this article he shows how many journalists and others are not aware of how they serve a vast network coordinated by the CIA which he identifies as the Transatlantic Policy Network--it's an actual organization.  
Many of those whom I have named in this book will now likely maintain that they did not know what was happening around them. They will claim that they were too stupid, too naive or too incompetent. But it’s all so transparent: the leading people on the transatlantic campaigns are members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR is intimately connected to the CIA. And the CFR has many offshoots – such as the German Council on Foreign Relations (better known to Germans as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik (DGAP) – whose godfather at its founding was the CFR. Almost all the pro-American lobby organisations are linked through the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN) – which is a lobby organisation representing European and American big business, media and think-tanks.
The same integration with the CIA applies to major media within the US (see this and this)

Greek debt, austerity and past military contracts

Click here to access article by Sara Flounders from Workers World. 

Flounders tells the real truth about Greek debt and many other sovereign debts that few others are willing to reveal:
The corporate media tell the same lie to workers in Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and to the workers in Germany whose incomes have shrunk, and in the U.S. to the working people of Detroit. This lie must be challenged politically on every front so that the people understand that their modest gains are not the source of the problem. The capitalist system and its inevitable crises are the problem.

Military spending
And, she touches on the post-WWII history of Greece and the Empire's suppression of left-wing parties and their support of fascist regimes.

The Vaccine Safety Myth

Click here to access article by Jamie Deckoff-Jones, MD from GreenMedInfo.

During the past week I've noticed a barrage of aggressive reporting attacking parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated. This is an issue that I know little about because it doesn't personally affect me. But such aggressive reporting sets off little warning bells in my head that corporate TV may be hiding something or are pushing the interests of the ruling One Percent. I pay attention to these little bells after many decades of being lied to by corporate media that engage in extensive coverage offering only a monolithic view on certain issues. 

Also, my personal experience with various doctors who have tried to get me to receive a shingles vaccination has contributed to these warning bells. I thought about it, but being a senior myself and mingling a lot with other seniors, I had never heard of anyone in my peer group getting shingles. So, I declined. I've always wondered since then if doctors aren't being induced somehow to push drugs onto patients as some people have suspected.

Anyway, I am offering this post to provide another view on this issue. Because it is written by physician, it suffers a bit from the overuse of abbreviations and medical knowledge not shared by the average person. But, it was the best I could find this morning.

Undercover Informant Involved In Canadian ISIS Terror Cell

Click here to access article and 6:18m video from Press For Truth (Canada).

From our Canadian activist neighbors we learn about police operations that we are very familiar with here in the US--entrapment. They call it a "Mr. Big" sting operation. The similarities are not accidental, all police agencies under the US-led Empire--and Canada is a part of this Empire--receive essentially the same training by Empire police agencies.
The stage is being set and Canadians are being conditioned to accept nearly any Draconian measure that ensure their safety. In this video Dan Dicks breaks down the latest manipulation techniques used by the Canadian government to convince you to give up your freedoms!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Researchers figured out when companies think about replacing workers with robots

Click here to access article by Lewis Krauskopf of Reuters via Business Insider.
Companies tend to start thinking about replacing workers when the costs of owning and operating a system come at a 15 percent discount to employing a human counterpart.
This, of course, is great news for the "owners" of the robots. What would otherwise be a blessing for humankind has, in fact, become a curse under the system of capitalism which benefits only a few people called owners, capitalists, or investors. These robots will be bring even more wealth and power to this tiny segment of humanity, and the chasm between them and us will grow even wider than it is now.

If, instead, all technology and its applications were correctly viewed as a heritage handed down over the generations of workers who steadily improved them, then we would see robots publicly owned as well as the wealth that is produced. Workers would be liberated from mind-numbing, monotonous tasks to enjoy an abundance of leisure time to pursue a variety of meaningful activities that would enrich the lives of everyone, and they would enjoy these pursuits without fearing poverty.

FBI really doesn’t want anyone to know about “stingray” use by local cops

Click here to access article by Cyrus Farivar from Ars Technica.

While this article is excellent in bringing this media-obscured issue to our consciousness, it doesn't really examine the important implications for activists that wish to use their limited First Amendment rights to protest, and to engage in political organizing against government actions. I continue to be amazed at the extent of people's naivete regarding government agencies surveillance of citizens and their extensive efforts to coverup such activities. This seems to be especially true of "techno-geeks" like the people who work at Ars Technica. The author seems to be puzzled over the fact that the FBI is opposing any attempts to reveal this type of intrusive surveillance. However, once we learn that the company is owned by Condé Nast, a media corporation serving the One Percent, this is no longer surprising.
If you’ve ever filed a public records request with your local police department to learn more about how cell-site simulators are used in your community—chances are good that the FBI knows about it. And the FBI will attempt to “prevent disclosure” of such information.

Not only can these devices, commonly known as "stingrays," be used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages,

Tsipras pledges to fight austerity but ‘observe euro norms’ as bankers prepare to stonewall Syriza

Click here to access article by Fred Goldstein from Workers World. 
Right now the Syriza leaders are publicly underestimating the enemy. Instead, preparations for a financial and economic assault should be underway. And all revolutionary forces in Greece should be looking for ways to unite in the struggle in the face of the crisis. This applies especially to the working-class organizations and the strategically situated trade unions, which have a glorious history of resisting political reaction, repression and exploitation.

Any strong initiative taken by the Greek masses to ward off the coming attacks would undoubtedly resonate in southern Europe and other European countries. Taking a struggle initiative in Greece is the most certain way to generate international solidarity.

The struggle against austerity and economic strangulation must lead down the path of class struggle and working-class organization for defense of the people.

French Website Shutdown Law Decried as Attack on Free Speech

Click here to access article by Nadia Prupis from Common Dreams.

Here we see another measure from Empire puppets in Europe to circumvent their much heralded "rule of law" and to replace it with ruling class bureaucratic directives. Apparently their legal system was not sufficiently efficient in enforcing their will upon the French Ninety-Nine Percent. Can you now see how effective the use of "terrorist" incidents are in promoting such actions? One might be tempted to think, if one were a member of this ruling class, that creating such incidents might be good for the nation, and incidentally, one's interests. (sorry--a bit of sarcasm)
A new law enacted Monday in France will allow the government to shut down websites without a court order, in a move that officials say will help combat terrorism and child pornography but which civil liberties advocates warn threatens free speech rights.

The law, which has been under consideration for years, gained new traction after last month's attack against the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris.

The great illusion of free press

Click here to access article by Mike Walsh from Euro Weekly News

Walsh brags about his publication's commitment to freedom of the press:
I regularly enjoy coffee with two mainstream media editor friends.

Neither will carry my articles because of my ‘pro-Russian leanings.’ I won’t play a part in mainstream media’s orchestrated anti-Russian rhetoric. Be proud of me; my candid nature suggests that, in the Euro Weekly News at least, you enjoy a free press.
Then he continues on to devote merely 440 words to this vital subject. Well, that is something that is better than nothing which is what we get in major media, but I think it is really not something to boast about. Euro Weekly News may not be a major media corporation, but it is of significant size and thus is clearly dependent on advertising by private businesses and corporations. Thus, it's content can hardly offer a significant challenge to their interests. The subject of a free press (or lack of) is of critical importance, and thus deserves a whole series of lengthy articles devoted to it--something that the managers/owners of Euro Weekly News will never permit.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Part III: Killing the dominant male

Click here to access article by Tanja Nijmeijer from FARC-EP/Columbia

I was astonished to find this article from a FARC website about my favorite revolutionary organization, PKK, a Kurdish revolutionary party in control of a Kurdish region (Rojava) in northern Syria. (See my previous posts here, here, and here.) The article, and the series, features a representative from FARC interviewing two women from PKK. The links to the previous installments of the interview are included in this post. I'm not sure which of the parts are of most importance--I strongly recommend all three.
PKK, the Workers Party of Kurdistán: many people know their name, few really know what their struggle is about. [FARC-EP/Columbia] had the opportunity to speak with two representatives of the PKK's women's organization - PAJK, Zelal Dersim and Asia Dicle, about the situation in the Middle-East, IS, the role of the United States, the peace process with the Turkish government and, last but not least, the PKK struggle for freedom. This is the third part of the interview.
There is quite an alphabet soup of abbreviations and other references made in the articles, most of which are identified. Here are two which are not: HWP and Abdullah Öcalan

I was particularly interested in their views of ISIS (identified as "IS" in the article) which was presented in part II. Here is the start of this discussion:
Why do you think the US is fighting against IS now?

Zelal: First of all, we know that the US, when they said they had bombed IS, what they were really bombing was desert. They know perfectly well where the central command posts of IS are located so there is no way of talking about mistakes here. There has never been any US attack against IS. All the terrorists of IS travel freely between Turkey (where there are some of their camps) and Syria. They go to the hospital in Turkey when they are wounded and travel to Syria again without any problem. Turkey also supports them.

Why are they holding up the facade of combating IS then?

Imperialist hypocrisy over ISIS execution

Click here to access article by Barry Grey from The Greanville Post.
The release of a video showing the immolation of captured Jordanian pilot First Lt. Moaz al-Kasabeh by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been followed by a wave of hypocritical moralizing, combined with threats of more violence, from the imperialist powers and their regional allies.
And, there are some already beginning to question this latest highly sophisticated video production of another ISIS execution.

Ukraine: Use Of U.S. Ambassador's "False Flag" Offer Aborted

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.

Bernhard digs up a lot of material online to illustrate how desperate the Empire's Ukraine fascists are for a major war.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Europe Wary of US ‘All Options’ Threat to Russia

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation.
What has probably galvanised the European leaders to push the diplomatic envelope is the reckless proposal from Washington earlier in the week to send more military weapons to the Kiev regime. Notably, Berlin and Paris said they were against supplying any more arms into the Ukraine crisis. Even the British government, normally a stalwart ally of Washington, voiced objection to the latest American weapons proposal. ....
While Merkel and Hollande were earnestly endeavouring to find a peaceful way out of the impasse with Putin, it was apparent that a significant divergence between Europe and Washington had emerged. 

American Workers ‘Roadkill’ for Lobbyists, Immigration Lawyers

Click here to access article by Wolf Richter from Wolf Street. 

Referring to the H-1B Program which is often portrayed to the gullible public as protecting American workers from losing their job to foreign workers, Richter writes about a provision of the act which actually makes this legal:
This provision makes it perfectly legal to replace an American at will by an H-1B worker if that worker is paid more than $60,000 or has a master’s degree. You hire a worker with a notorious “Master’s in Computer Applications” from an Indian diploma mill, and you can replace an American. Or, you pay more than $60,000 (the average programmer wage in LA is over $90,000) and you can do the same.

And thus, American workers remain roadkill for lobbyists and immigration lawyers.
Meanwhile, corporations such as Southern California Edison are taking advantage by replacing American workers.

Stop kidding yourself: SYRIZA is an unlikely model for the U.S. Left

Click here to access article by Jehu from The Real Movement. 

The author challenges the hoopla we are witnessing in liberal-left circles in the US over the latest hope for radical change: Syriza party in Greece.
Briefly stated, any serious examination of SYRIZA’s victory will show that victory was a triumph for many of the principles on which neoliberalism is founded.
Also, read Pepe Escobar's take on what's happening to Greece.
It is now crystal clear the ECB will pull no punches to turn Greece into a European failed state. The rationale: others – from Spain to even, in the near future, France – must not entertain funny ideas. Toe the austerity line, or we’ll get medieval on you.

Let liberal Jews weep for their dream of Israel, and move on

Click here to access article by Philip Weiss from Mondoweiss.

From Our Body Ourselves website we learn:
Alice Rothchild is a Boston ob-gyn who has been active in the women’s movement since the early 1970s, when she worked on the first “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and joined her first consciousness raising group.

She also became involved in the health care reform movement and is a longtime member of Physicians for a National Health Program. She currently is focused on the Israel/Palestine conflict and co-organizes health and human rights delegations to Israel/Palestine through American Jews for a Just Peace. She is also active in Jewish Voice for Peace Boston.
Weiss provides two videos and a report by Rothchild on her widespread efforts to demolish the myths about Israel that many Jews have which are based on their experience in Nazi Germany and their subsequent hopes and dreams for Israel, and the indoctrination in these myths by other Zionists and Jewish sympathizers.
The other night I went to Hunter College to hear Alice Rothchild read from her new book, On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion. The room was jammed with students and faculty, and Rothchild, a doctor and activist, was engaging, lively, warm, and genuine– the most you could ask from someone describing what she’d seen and seeking to change people’s minds back home.