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, June 6, 2015

Happiest Place on Earth? Disney forces laid-off employees to train low-paid replacements

Click here to access article by "james321" from Daily Kos. (I am posting news of this event here rather than the NY Times because the latter requires (free) registration that many of you may not have.)

Since this happened the Disney stock reportedly went up 236%. This always happens when a corporation lays off numerous workers or, in this case, hires cheap foreign workers to replace American workers. This illustrates the phony claims that corporations always make about their interest in creating jobs. The reality is that jobs are a cost of doing business which cuts into profits. Hence corporations are always looking for ways to cut costs by replacing workers with machines or hiring cheaper labor. So, whenever corporations like Shell advertise that you should support environmentally destructive projects because they will create jobs, think of reports like this.

Blackwater Trained Some of World’s Top Terrorists

Click here to access article from Washington's Blog.

This blogger has dug up more evidence that our masters have trained terrorist armies. 

Incidentally, the quote from The Atlantic contains one error when it stated, “It seems to have marked the first time the U.S. government outsourced a covert assassination service to private enterprise.” I would argue that it is only the first time that a government official admitted to outsourcing an assassination. There is substantial to abundant evidence that the assassinations of John, and his brother Robert, Kennedy, Malcom X, Martin Luther King, and the attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro were all contracted out.

A Case Study in Distortion and Bias on Syria by PBS

Click here to access article by Rick Sterling from CounterPunch.

Sterling provides us with an excellent analysis and another illustration of the methods used by our masters to manage our views to make them aligned with our masters' ambitions to dominate the world. I remember in the '80s and '90s when PBS's Frontline often offered quality critical programs on foreign affairs, but over the years since I've noticed a steady devolution into pure ruling class propaganda.

Bush Sorry Patriot Act Repealed Before He Got Chance to Read It

Click here to access article by Andy Borowitz from The New Yorker. (satire)
“At the time when it was being passed and whatnot, people around the White House were saying it was a really good law,” Bush said at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. “I remember saying to myself, ‘I really need to read that.’ ”

Friday, June 5, 2015

Kurdish autonomy between dream and reality

Click here to access article by Alex de Jong from Reflections on a Revolution
Alex de Jong is editor of the socialist journal Grenzeloos and an activist in the Netherlands.
The Kurdish people in the Rojava region of northern Syria have been a source of revolutionary inspiration for activists throughout the world. Because of the chaos imposed on the region through the policies and actions of Zionist influenced Empire directors and their Arab cronies, the Kurdish people especially in the Rojava region of northern Syria have been forced to deal with the realities of revolutionary issues on an almost daily basis. This Dutch activist is clearly well-informed about their struggles and offers his views of what is going on.

A 44 Days Reality Map: If China Were the USA… China in the Americas

Click here to access article by Jeff J. Brown from 44 Days

Brown constructs a map of USA showing analogous Chinese aggressive intrusions on the US that the US is, and has been, imposing on China.
Read...the details about how you would feel, if you were a Chinese citizen or Baba Beijing (China’s leadership). Looking at this reality map, you can appreciate why China has every right to (privately) hate the United States.

Breaking the promise to Russia

Click here to access article by Jonathan Power from TFF Associates.

Power supplies us with a well-researched piece that provides details on Gorbechev's claim that there were promises and assurances made to him at the end of the Cold War.
At the end of the Cold War and with agreement on the NATO-Russia Founding Act it seemed that big steps towards that goal were being taken. First, Russia would have a seat at NATO’s table. Later it would join NATO. Later still, the European Union. Some said this would happen over ten years, others 20.
.... As ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has said on many occasions there was a promise not to expand NATO “as much as a thumb’s width further to the East.” 
Meanwhile, back at the Empire's ranch we see that the Empire's war lords are continuing to taunt Russia by planting stories in mainstream media suggesting additional nuclear threats directed toward Russia. Are they trying to intimidate Russian leaders or to bait a Russian aggressive response? Surely they can't be so ignorant as to believe that they can intimidate Russian leadership. Or, are they looking for excuses to ramp up their nuclear weapons in Europe in preparation for a war against Russia?

Pakistan, India (And Possibly Iran) Said To Be Upgraded To Members Of The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

Click here to access article from Emerging Equity.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers has decided to upgrade the status of India and Pakistan in the bloc from observers to members, which is set to be finalized during the SCO and BRICs summit in July, Russia’s Sputnik news reported on Thursday, citing Pakistan’s ambassador to Russia.
The news, although not yet made official, comes following a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the Kremlin on Wednesday.
More news here for the directors of the Empire to worry about. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Politics and Propaganda of Kiev’s War on Ukraine

Click here to access a recording of a 9:02m excerpt of a 30 minute podcast produced by Community Progressive Radio which features a report by Eric Draitser and re-posted on his website Stop Imperialism.
Eric Draitser appears on Community Public Radio’s CPR News (June 3, 2015) to discuss the latest developments in the ongoing war in Ukraine.  Draitser explains that the increased shelling and other attacks perpetrated by Kiev against the people of Donbass signal an important escalation of this conflict, one that could see both the humanitarian and political situation further deteriorate. He notes the innumerable war crimes being committed by the US-backed Ukrainian regime, including the shelling of civilians in Donetsk and surrounding areas, as well as Kiev’s political goals: submission, subjugation, and ethnic cleansing of the Russian-speakers of the East.  Draitser also explains the hypocrisy of the western media’s coverage of the conflict, as well as the shifting strategy from Kiev.  He discusses the significance of the appointment of former Georgian President Saakashvili as Governor of Odessa, and what implications that could have on the war as a whole.  All this and more in this jam packed interview.
And you might be interested in this piece entitled "Leaked documents expose American scheme arming Ukrainian Nazis through Bulgaria" from Fort Russ

NATO’s Black Sea bloc gets busy [part 1 of 2]

Click here to access article by Andrew Korybko from Oriental Review.

There have been numerous articles reporting on separate aggressive actions of the US Empire aimed at Russia and China. These reports have provided details of NATO military training exercises, US supplied military weapons, subversive efforts, and formal alliance agreements. Part I of his report provides a useful overall perspective on the threats that Empire actions pose for Russia on the western front. Korybko organizes these anti-Russian actions into six blocks which make up three fronts--Arctic/Baltic, Eastern Europe, and the Black Sea. Most Americans are completely uninformed about these actions simply because corporate media rarely reports on them.
When one adds the Black Sea Bloc of Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Georgia to the previously mentioned Viking and Commonwealth Blocs of Greater Scandinavia and the former Polish conquests, a startling realization occurs – Pilsudski’s Intermarium ‘cordon sanitaire’ has finally been created. Stratfor’s George Friedman, who has advocated its revival, describes it as a belt of anti-Russian states stretching from the Baltic to the Black Seas, which is the pure geographic definition of the interlinked Viking-Commonwealth-Black Sea Bloc. This Intermarium allows NATO to form three separate fronts against Russian interests, targeting it from the Arctic/Baltic, Eastern Europe, and the Black Sea, respectively.

As an incidental strategic touch, however, it is the Black Sea Bloc, the weakest and least integrated of the three, that could ultimately destabilize Russian interests the most. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Current Overproduction Crisis And War

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

Using another blogger's post about the ongoing real recession--not the fake recovery as advertised on TV--Bernhard points to some of the major contradictions of current capitalist policies that attempt to solve the ongoing economic crisis as well as what we can expect as likely solutions coming from our masters in capitalist ruling classes. The first one is highly unlikely, and the other one is too dreadful for ordinary people to contemplate. The only real solution, revolution, can only be implemented by a conscious Ninety-Nine Percent, and that doesn't look very promising right now.

The signs of the Empire's hyper-militaristic policies are everywhere. Just follow Stop NATO…Opposition to global militarism for a week and this will become very evident. I really don't think that our masters in our ruling class are so stupid as to think that they can intimidate the rulers of Russia and China with all these military threats. And given that the Russia-China alliance is very likely only to grow stronger, why not strike now? This I think likely characterizes the insane outlook of our Empire masters. 

Corporate Media Blacks Out Pentagon Report that Exposes U.S. Role in the Creation of ISIS

Click here to access article by Jay Syrmopoulos from The Free Thought Project. 
Possibly more terrifying than the report itself may be the fact that this information has been virtually blacked out across global mainstream media.

This silence speaks volumes as to the weight of this information. It illustrates the complicity of the English-speaking media, in collusion with government, to keep people ignorant of the harsh realities of U.S. style realpolitik.

The stunning report, dated August 2012, proved that the growth and expansion of ISIS was a direct result of arms being sent by the U.S. to anti-Assad Islamists, with the strategic U.S. intention of toppling the Assad regime in Syria.
It's clear from Nafeez Ahmed's comments (quoted in the article) in an interview with Josh Cook of Truth In Media that journalists know what is permitted and what is forbidden in writing about certain issues. They don't need to be told explicitly not to report, or how to report, on these issues because they get the message about what is permitted in many ways, some of which are quite painful as far as their careers are concerned. This phenomenon is referred to as "self censorship". (Ahmed elaborates on this point at 11:17 in the audio recording of his interview contained in the article.)

The Bankster Suicides

Click here to access article by James Corbett from The Corbett Report.

Corbett provides a good history of the unusually high incidence of banker "suicides" that have occurred in recent years based on investigative reports provided by journalists Pam and Russ Martens. He also questions the way mainstream media reports on these suicides: the coverage seems to go to some lengths to obscure understanding of these suicides rather than shed any light on them. It seems that banks and other corporations in recent years have been providing life insurance coverage on their employees that is payable to themselves. Corbett along with the Martens find this very suspicious.

For very recent reference to this, you might want to read the Martens' latest offering entitled "Wall Street Banker Deaths Continue; Where Are the Serious Investigations?".

Jamie Dimon’s Legacy: GAO — Americans Face Stark Retirement Prospects

Click here to access article by Pam Martens and Russ Martens from Wall Street on Parade.

Americans in their retirement years depend on investment income that is managed through various job-related retirement programs by Wall Street mega-banks to supplement their very inadequate Social Security retirement income. However, due to the large management fees that are being charged to handle their savings plans, many working people face retirement with very inadequate means of supporting themselves. 

In contrast to these workers the authors refer to today's announcement, as celebrated this morning by Bloomberg TV, that Jamie Diamond, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has recently become a billionaire . (I watched this announcement on Bloomberg TV this morning and the TV hosts went gaga over his achieving billionaire status.) It's clear that the mega-bankers are, like all of the One Percent, doing very well while most ordinary working Americans are facing a dreadful future in their retirement years.
The conclusion to draw from this study is that millions of Americans will never be able to stop working, to enjoy a financially-worry free retirement, to have a nest-egg into their 80s, or even to eat nutritionally balanced meals in retirement because Wall Street’s megabanks that Jamie Dimon concocted with Sandy Weill have eaten America’s lunch – and its future. Occupy Wall Street was right: the megabanks got bailed out; Americans got sold out – and are still being sold out by the self-declared felonious megabanks who have found ever creative ways of siphoning off trillions from the pockets of the working class while paying back pennies on the dollar, courtesy of the revolving-door regulators and sycophants in Congress.

The destruction of Jamaica’s economy through austerity

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

Dolack reports on another national disaster caused by capitalist rule.  The increasing frequency of sovereign debt crises is a consequence of the capitalist dynamic which results in ever more concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer people. Because of our finite planet the wealth hoarders can no longer tap into the development of new lands and markets to keep their cancer-like growth machine going, they are putting entire nations into debt to serve their insatiable appetites for more wealth.
A small country immiserates itself under orders of international lenders; unemployment and poverty rise, the debt burden increases and investment is starved in favor of paying interest on loans. If this sounds familiar, it is, but the country here is Jamaica.

So disastrous has austerity been for Jamaica that its per capita gross domestic product is lower than it was 20 years ago, the worst performance of any country in the Western Hemisphere.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Qatar’s World Cup Slaves: The Crushing Truth About Qatar’s World Cup Bid

Click here if you wish to access the introduction from Raging Bull-Shit to a very revealing 45:23m video report (reproduced below) by "Journeyman" on modern slavery as practiced by one of the Empire's devoted Arab friends.

What is of greater significance is that this form of exploitation is widely practiced throughout Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.

Monday, June 1, 2015

‘Modest changes to US Patriot Act left major problems unresolved’

Click here to access an interview with Kevin Zeese from RT.
Kevin Zeese: [Yesterday] the Senate basically decided to go forward with the USA Freedom Act, which will make some modest changes to the Patriot Act. The main change will be that the metadata will no longer be stored by the federal government or the NSA, rather it will be stored by the telephone companies, and then if the NSA wants to get access, they have to apply, and get a warrant from a judge to do so.
I've spent considerable time this morning trying to find out information on the new "USA Freedom Act" which the Empire's corporate-controlled Congress is substituting for the illegal Patriot Act which they let expire midnight last night. I've found that Zeese provides what I believe to be the best succinct summary of this new Orwellian-named law. 

This morning I mostly found left-wing capitalists, also known as "liberals", extolling the bravery of Sen. Rand Paul who I suspect is playing to the media by opposing key sections of the Patriot Act which have already been determined to be unconstitutional by a Federal District Court judge

So, how does a fascist regime pretending to be a nation of laws and democracy do in such a situation? They merely plan to pass another law, the "USA Freedom Act", which circumvents the Constitution by outsourcing the collection of phone records to telecommunication corporations and throw in a provision for easily obtained court orders. All the left-wing capitalists and phony socialists like Bernie Sanders who vote for it are happy. So now when we think of government spying on its citizens, we will associate this with "freedom".   

Record heat hits #Alaska

Click here to access article from Media with Conscience.
The state with the Arctic Circle running through it is warmer than most of the US.

Alaska, usually frozen until June, has recently been experiencing something of a heatwave. Long-held temperature records have been broken and the winter roads that are made entirely of ice, are melting earlier than usual.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

New Silk Road Could Change Global Economics Forever

Click here to access article by Robert Berke from Oilprice.

I think that this article is excellent considering the fact that it comes from an energy financial analyst whose perspective is informed by global capitalist economics. Such a perspective, which is focused narrowly on profit opportunities, is typical of capitalist players in today's world.  It may also explain why so many of the Empire's members have joined China's various projects.
The idea for reviving the New Silk Road was first announced in 2013 by the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. As part of the financing of the plan, in 2014, the Chinese leader also announced the launch of an Asian International Infrastructure Bank (AIIB), providing seed funding for the project, with an initial Chinese contribution of $47 billion.

China has invited the international community of nations to take a major role as bank charter members and partners in the project. Members will be expected to contribute, with additional funding by international funds, including the World Bank, investments from private and public companies, and local governments.

Some 58 nations have signed on to become charter bank members, including most of Western Europe, along with many Silk Road and Asian countries. There are 12 NATO countries among AIIB´s founding member states (UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Norway), along with three of the main US military allies in Asia (Australia, S. Korea and New Zealand).
Consider also this interesting tidbit that I hadn't heard about before:
The project is expected to take decades, with costs running into the hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions. What that will mean for the world economy and trade is almost inconceivable. Is it any wonder then, that the world’s largest hedge funds, like Goldman Sachs and Blackstone, are rushing to market new multi-billion dollar international infrastructure investment funds? [my emphasis]
I have long considered a theory which could explain China's actions under the leadership of their Communist party. After the death of Mao, the ascendent Chinese Communist leadership decided that the only way to counter the aggressive hegemonic mammoth of the US Empire was to outperform them at their own game--capitalism. They would use capitalists' greed for short term profits to quickly develop China's economy and power in order to counter the Empire.

To implement this plan, they first had to permit and promote the establishment of Chinese private enterprises. The second step was to use their cheap and well-controlled labor force as a way to entice Western capitalist enterprises to move their operations to China and/or to use Chinese companies to manufacture their products.  I don't know the details, but they also built into this project methods which permitted the transfer of Western technology to Chinese producers. In addition, they also used other less legitimate methods to obtain Western technological secrets. The inducements of great profits for Western capitalist enterprises was so great that they overrode any concerns about such technological and intellectual transfers. Also, contributing to this lack of concern was, I think, an inherent racist attitude about the Chinese and their lack of ability to offer any kind of threat to the Empire. 

Now we are witnessing the results. The Chinese Communist party is embarking on a grand project to develop Eurasia using their highly developed capitalist engines, technology, and their accumulation of wealth. They are inviting others (and have succeeded) to join them in this development. Once again, we see capitalists from everywhere seeing the great opportunities for profits in this grand development project, and joining the Chinese organizations--they want to reap profit-rewards from this splendid project, and they don't care who runs the show!

Meanwhile, back at the Empire's ranch the hegemon's leaders are in a quandary. They have always relied on overwhelming military force to have their way in the world. By spending so much money on their military, subversive efforts, and proxy armies to enforce their will (guided by their global financial and industrial interests of power and profits), they now find themselves in this present predicament.

I've always had a lot of questions about this theory. What were the long term goals of China's Communist party besides securing their country from predations of the Empire? How could they not be subverted by this new capitalist class that they were creating?

Anyway, leaving the realm of this theory aside, I wonder where this will all end. In a nuclear war conflagration? Accelerating the degradation of the biosphere and the demise of the human race?

Sovereignty, Sedition and Russia’s Undesirable NGOs

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.
Russia has been targeted by political NGO’s operating on instructions from the US State Department and US intelligence since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the beginning of the 1990’s. The NGOs have financed and trained hand-picked opposition figures such as Alexei Navalny, member of a group called Russian Opposition Coordination Council. Navalny received money from the Washington NGO National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an acknowledged front for CIA political dirty tricks in their “weaponization of human rights and democracy” project
As Cold War 2.0 heats up, Engdahl reports on how the Russian government is securing its nation against US sponsored NGOs and their ongoing efforts to create a "color revolution" within Russia.   

Interior contradicts climate objectives with carbon bomb in Wyoming

Click here to access article by Kate Colwell from Friends of the Earth. 

The report provides another illustration of how energy policies guided by capitalist concerns to promote growth of their enterprises always trumps environmental concerns. While the government of the ruling capitalist class must appear, in response to citizens' concerns, to be promoting environmental policies, they will always in reality be guided by concerns of profits and power.
The Department of Interior released its Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Buffalo planning area in north-central Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management currently manages 780,000 acres of surface lands and 4.8 million acres of federal minerals in the Buffalo planning area under a 30-year-old management plan. The updated plan authorizes the production of 10.2 billion tons of coal, estimated to produce nearly 17 billion tons of carbon pollution, and thousands of new oil and gas wells. Not included in the updated plan are reclamation plans for old, idle, or abandoned wells and mined lands, consideration of the climate impacts of new fossil fuel development, and adequate conservation measures to protect vulnerable wildlife populations and their habitats....

Will Paris be another 'Hopenhagen'? Time is running out for climate negotiators

Click here to access article by Illari Aragon from Ecologist.
With barely six months until the Paris climate conference begins, negotiating texts remain a morass of alternative wordings, square brackets and legal uncertainties, writes Illari Aragon. With deep divisions between countries on major points of principle, negotiators are meeting next week in Bonn to thrash out differences - but it's far from certain that they will be able to do so.
Meanwhile, India is burning up according to this article entitled "India's killer heatwave - a deadly warning of the world we face, without climate action".
India is currently in the throes of yet another extreme heat event, with the death toll rising past 1,100. The current heatwave began on May 21, with temperatures in many regions exceeding 45C [113F], and reaching 47.6C [118F] and beyond.

Extreme heat is expected to continue for at least another week....