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, June 20, 2015

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs.’ Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?

Click here to access article by Anthea Butler from The Washington Post. (Anthea Butler is an associate professor of religion and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania.)

I never thought I would post an article from this mainstream source, but the writer (who is not a staff writer for the Post) clearly points to the discrepancies in media reports of crimes according to race of the perpetrators.  
This time, I hope journalists will ask questions that get to the root of racially motivated violence in America. Where did this man learn to hate black people so much? Did he have an allegiance to the Confederate flag that continues to fly over the South Carolina capitol? Was he influenced by the right-wing media’s endless portrayals of black Americans as lazy and violent?

I hope the coverage won’t fall back on the typical narrative ascribed to white, male shooters: lone, disturbed or mentally ill young men failed by society. 
Another good piece of analysis on this tragedy comes from Mint Press entitled "Why Conservatives Can Only Talk About ‘Religious Liberty’ In Charleston".

The partition of 'Syraq'

Click here to access article by Pepe Escobar from RT
With less than two weeks before a possible nuclear deal being struck between Iran and the P5+1, the brinkmanship across the “wilderness of mirrors” of Middle Eastern intel is reaching fever pitch. Spin reigns supreme. And nothing is what it seems.
Here in the US today, "nothing is [truly] what it seems". And, I'm not just referring to the Middle East, but most of life. The assault on what the American people believe has never been so thorough than it is today. It's truly a ruling class propaganda version of "full-spectrum dominance" over the minds of its citizens. Thanks to independent journalists like Pepe Escobar, I can maintain some semblance of sanity while living in the lunatic asylum that life in the US has become.

Toxic algae bloom shuts down West Coast fisheries

Click here to access article by Joseph Serna from Los Angeles Times

I am totally amazed by the lack of coverage of this event from local mainstream media. I have perused a number of websites for coverage and I've noticed some major patterns. Website from publications on the West coast of the US are giving minimum coverage, and the coverage they do provide are in brief articles with human scale photos missing. Instead what photos they do show are the effects on marine life as in this article, microscopic pictures of algae, high level photos, or rather irrelevant photos of crab pots. The best photo coverage is from locations far away like this photo taken in Oregon from a Florida website, or this one from a Dubai website.

I can only speculate that media directors in the highly concentrated major media corporations do not want to adversely affect tourism along the coast this summer and/or that they do not want people to connect this increasing phenomenon with global warming.   

What Drought? Oblivious Rich People Whine About Brown Golf Courses, Normal People Drought-Shame Them

Click here to access article by Abby Zimet from Common Dreams.
Despite dramatic new NASA studies finding that the world is running out of water and the historic drought now ravaging California, irritated rich people are having none of this alarmist nonsense, defending their innate right to use obscene amounts of our natural resources because, as one aggrieved woman actually put  it, "What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our houses?"
It appears that the drought in California is causing some class conflicts. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Saudis to Offer Putin a Deal He Can’t Refuse?

Click here to access article by Ulson Gunnar from New Eastern Outlook.

Directors of the US Empire have long supported the most despicable nations and leaders that will collude with them to maintain the Empire hegemony in the world. Gunnar supports this argument and that the Saudi's current and past efforts to find favor with other nations is a lost cause because of their past crimes. There is just too much evidence that Saudi Arabia has been dealing and supporting terrorist armies on behalf of Empire interests and in collusion with Empire directors. They have become an international pariah.

Saudi Prince Bandar "Bush" confers with George W. Bush
at his ranch in Crawford, Texas 

 ...Bandar’s gloating about Riyadh’s role in creating and controlling some of the most vicious terrorist organizations on Earth confirms what has been reported elsewhere across both the alternative and even mainstream press. It also confirms that while Washington, London and Brussels disingenuously wring their hands about the threat of “Islamists,” they are allied closest with the very nation responsible for this very threat.

Also see this, this, this, and this.  

The US’ “Asia Pivot” is in Doldrums

Click here to access article by Salman Rafi Sheikh from New Eastern Outlook.

Sheikh argues that not only is the "pivot" not working, but sees evidence that suggests a reverse pivot away from the US Empire is underway and impacting US strategies.
...it is quite an evident fact that China is playing a long game, and it is scoring points slowly but steadily while the US struggles to carry out its much-advertised “pivot.” With US attention currently occupied by Iraq, Syria and now Yemen, developments in Asia that clamor for closer attention from the US once again seem to be getting drowned out by the din from the Middle East. However, it is also a fact that the US-Iran rapprochement is kind of a US response to Chinese assertiveness in East Asia.

Laughs All Round as Lagarde Jokes That IMF Is Criminal Organization

Click here to access article by Don Quijones from Raging Bull-Shit. 

This British ex-pat, who lives in Spain and writes with a pseudonym, resurrects a very timely and excellent article he wrote over two years ago castigating the IMF and exposing its crimes. Now we see its head Christine LaGarde joking about being the chief criminal in charge. Maybe she was really expressing more than a grain of truth. Read the article to find out.

I simply must find time to read economist Davison Budhoo's 1998 150 page resignation letter to the IMF.

The Injustice Handed Out To Julian Assange Must End

Click here to access article by John Pilger from Information Clearing House. 

Once again we are witnessing the results of class power. This capitalist class happens to be one that is located in the US Empire, who by default inherited world hegemony after WWII, and are now showing signs of being thoroughly addicted to power. This is just another illustration among many.
I am often asked if I think Assange has been "forgotten". It is my experience that countless ordinary people all over the world, especially in Australia, his homeland, understand perfectly well the injustice being meted out to Julian Assange. They credit him and WikiLeaks with having performed an epic public service by informing millions about what the powerful plan for them behind their backs, the lies governments and their vested interests tell, the violence they initiate. Power that is corrupt loathes this, because it is true democracy in action. 
The only thing I would like to add to this brief protest piece is that power always corrupts. I'm specifically referring to power based on violence or threats of violence, on money, on "ownership" of substantial economic properties--every relationship other that the support of ordinary people in one's location. Hence, human survival demands the construction of radical egalitarian societies to replace class power systems in order to create real "democracy in action" all over the world. 

Another illustration--should you need one--is that of the arrest of FIFA officials in Switzerland initiated by the US Dept. of Justice (?). Margaret Kimberly from Black Agenda Report provides this illustration in an article entitled "Freedom Rider: America Prosecutes the World". She writes:

On May 27, 2015, the Swiss government arrested seven men in Geneva at the behest of the United States. The individuals were officials from the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) the body which governs international soccer.

The United States Justice Department charged these FIFA officials with corruption in awarding soccer World Cup sites. The existence of bribery in awarding international sporting events such as the World Cup and Olympic games has been an open secret for many years. It was the American claim of jurisdiction to carry out these prosecutions which caught the world by surprise.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pepe Escobar [is interviewed by Eric Draitser on China's strategies]

Click here to access the podcast recording of this interview from CounterPunch in which two of the of world's top independent journalists discuss the various dramatic ventures of China. I don't usually post long interviews like this (70 minutes), but the material these top notch journalists discuss is of vital importance in our attempt to understand the world we live in.
This week, CounterPunch Radio host Eric Draitser sits down with journalist and author Pepe Escobar to talk geopolitics and the emerging conflicts of the 21st Century. Eric and Pepe discuss the much publicized tensions between the US and China in the South China Sea, examining some of the principal motivations of China and its neighbors and competitors. They go in depth about the Chinese New Silk Roads strategy and what it means for political and economic development and integration in Eurasia. Eric and Pepe also explore the vast implications of the Chinese and Russian moves, and the ways in which the West is attempting to counter some of these developments, including Washington's corporate-sponsored power grabs of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

Russia Gets Very Serious on De-dollarizing

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

Russia is about to take another major step towards liberating the Ruble from the Dollar System. Its Finance Ministry just revealed it is considering issuing Russian state debt in Chinese Yuan. That would be an elegant way to decouple from the dependence and blackmail pressures from the US Treasury financial terrorism operations while at the same time strengthening the bonds between China and Russia–Washington’s worst geopolitical nightmare.

How the Pentagon plans to defeat Eurasia and roll out Robotic Warfare

Click here to access article by Andrew Korybko from Oriental Review. (Korybko is an American political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow.)
Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work expounded upon the US’ military strategy in Eurasia during a speech at the Army War College Strategy Conference on 8 April, revealing critical insight into the Pentagon’s formal approach to forthcoming conflicts. Work’s words should be read in full by any strategist endeavoring to understand the imperatives that guide the world’s most armed forces. He elaborates on the theoretical foundations of American military might, including how the Pentagon plans to counter the three types of wars supposedly being waged by Iran, Russia, and China.
The US military and, from all appearances, the directors of the US Empire are intending to counter the rise of China and Russia, independent actors on the world stage that threaten their hegemony, by military means. This likely could mean a devastating nuclear conflagration. The ruling directors appear to be stuck in 20th century thinking. And it seems that most of my fellow Americans are fast asleep or busy shopping in the malls across the US.

Read this and the following segment if you wish to learn more about what our masters' plans are to upgrade their weapons of mass destruction to insure their dominance in the world.

TPP promises health care for profits, not patients

Click here to access article by Pete Dolack from Systemic Disorder. 
Health care will take a large step toward becoming a privilege for those who can afford it rather than a human right under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Government programs to hold down the cost of medications are targeted for elimination in the TPP, which, if adopted, would grant pharmaceutical companies new powers over health care.

This has implications around the globe, as such rules could become precedents for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Trade In Services Agreement, two other deals being negotiated in secret.

Eritrea, Human Rights, and Neocolonial Propaganda

Click here to access article by Eric Draitser from New Eastern Outlook.

Once again Draitser scores with this penetrating examination of a UN report which after his examination is revealed to be infected with a neocolonial virus. It appears that the Eritrean government is a bit too independent for the masters of the Empire.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued an allegedly damning report detailing what it claims are “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” taking place in Eritrea. Media coverage has similarly echoed those claims, presenting Eritrea to a western audience as a backward and “brutal dictatorship,” playing on the traditional stereotypes of totalitarianism from East Germany to Stalin’s Soviet Union.

However, a closer and more critical analysis of both the report, and the true agendas of the western institutions promoting its narrative, reveals a vastly different motivation to this report and the continued anti-Eritrean narrative. It could be called politically motivated propaganda, and that would be correct. It could be called a distorted and biased perspective rooted in fundamental misunderstandings of both politics and history, and that would also be correct. It could, quite simply, be called abject neo-colonialism of the worst sort, and that too would also be correct.

Feedback needed

I have received a report that the lines from my website were running off the screen. I don't know what kind of device the person was referring to or if this occurred when I was in the middle of working to correct the website. So, please, if there are problems that you are now experiencing, let me know by emailing me at goatmeal36@yahoo.com. Specify the device you use.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Toxic algae bloom might be largest ever

Click here to access article by Sandi Doughton from The Seattle Times.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are seeing symptoms of global warming.
Scientists suspect this year’s unseasonably high temperatures are playing a role, along with “the blob” — a vast pool of unusually warm water that blossomed in the northeastern Pacific late last year. The blob has morphed since then, but offshore waters are still about two degrees warmer than normal, said University of Washington climate scientist Nick Bond, who coined the blob nickname.
Also the Oregonian out of Portland, Oregon is reporting on the same algae bloom in this article entitled "Biggest-ever toxic algal bloom hits West Coast, shutting down shellfish industries". 

And I've found other articles indicating that this is happening in many parts of the world. For example, see this from southeast Pacific island of Tonga.

Not good news

While I was tinkering with my website/blog last night, I suddenly saw it revert to a very primitive form. I was shocked to say the least. After only a few hours sleep last night, I am prepared at 5 AM today to do battle with it. I think Google is trying to force me to use one of their templates. I think I will surrender. Anyway, there may, or may not, be any posts today.

Update at 6:25 AM Seattle time: success!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Semantics of Terrorism

Click here to access article by Edward S. Herman, a re-posting from Information Clearing House of a 2000 article that was originally posted in Centre for World Dialogue

As far as I know, no one has written a better book exposing the uses of terrorism propaganda and its actual application by US Empire actors than Herman and Gerry O’Sullivan, The “Terrorism” Industry: The Experts and Institutions That Shape Our View of Terror (1990). This essay is founded on that seminal work. 

The use of propaganda to serve Western ruling classes and their interests of profits and power has been an extremely important weapon aimed at us ordinary people ever since their unexpected and wildly successful campaign to transform the isolationist attitudes of the vast majority of Americans to one of support for US entry into WWI on the side of Britain and France. This was undertaken largely because major US banks had lent large amounts to both countries and by late 1916 they feared that they would lose repayments on these loans if Britain and France lost the war. (See my commentary in a previous article here for the details.) 

Since then the industry of propaganda, which the ruling class renamed as "public relations", greatly expanded to manage the consent/dissent of US citizenry for other purposes, both political and business. Such practices were soon picked up by other Western countries, most notably by Nazi Germany under the direction of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. This article examines the history of how citizens of the US-led Empire have been deceived by focusing on only one major theme, "terrorism", that their ruling classes have used to manage the consent/dissent of their citizens for their imperialist policies.

Syriza: Plunder, Pillage, and Prostration

Click here to access article by James Petras from Dissident Voice.

Petras continues his cynical outlook on Greece's left governing party with this essay (see a previous article). Given his experience with past Greek governments, one needs to take his views seriously. He functioned as a consultant to former Greek prime minister, Andreas Papandreou, who was a Harvard-trained academic.
Early on, the Syriza leadership, headed by Alexis Tsipras, adopted several strategic positions with fatal consequences – in terms of implementing their electoral promises to raise living standards, end vassalage to the ‘Troika’ and pursue an independent foreign policy.

We will proceed by outlining the initial systemic failures of Syriza and the subsequent concessions further eroding Greek living standards and deepening Greece’s role as an active collaborator of US and Israeli imperialism.

Ukraine and the Apocalyptic Risk of Propagandized Ignorance

Click here to access a book review by David Swanson from Dissident Voice.
I’m not sure if there’s been a better written book published yet this year than Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard and How the West Was Checkmated, but I’m confident there’s not been a more important one. With some 17,000 nuclear bombs in the world, the United States and Russia have about 16,000 of them. The United States is aggressively flirting with World War III, the people of the United States have not the foggiest notion of how or why....
I haven't yet read the book, but I very much like the title of this article and its contents. I share Swanson's fear that the American public is being led sleep-walking along a precipice below which lies an apocalyptic risk of a nuclear war.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Anglo-American Insanity

Click here to access article by Finian Cunningham from Strategic Culture Foundation. (substantially edited for clarity at 4:30 PM Seattle time)

The thesis of this essay is as reflected in the title: the directors of the US-led Empire are insane or irrational at best. Although this may characterize some officials in the Empire, I think, to put it in the form of a colloquialism, "there is a method to their madness". Thus, I believe there is a rational basis within a capitalist context that is motivating their dangerous propaganda--and by all appearances--their actual implemented policies.

On the eve of WWII the sovereign debts of Nazi Germany were huge, and the only way forward was through imperialist policies which would make possible the theft of other countries assets. Germany's remarkable "economic recovery" was possible through the forgiveness of many debts imposed on the country by the Versailles Treaty and by borrowing heavily. 

On the eve of WWII Germany had amassed a huge debt. They could easily have been stopped by the other Western capitalist powers, but the latter always knew that Hitler's plans were against the Soviet Union which was always seen as a threat to capitalist rule. Thus, they acquiesced in his absorption of Austria and part of Czechoslovakia. Then the Nazis moved east against Poland where they aroused the ire of the British ruling class because they had made a mutual defense treaty with Poland. Here I'm not sure why the British honored their pact with Poland. In any case Britain and France formally declared war on Germany, but actual warfare was delayed for over eight months, a period often referred to as the "phony war". Apparently they expected that Germany would move east via Czechoslovakia and then move against Ukraine which was a part of the Soviet Union.

It is important to realize that because of the split among both British and French ruling capitalist classes--pro-fascist and nationalist camps--German armies easily overran resistance posed by armies of Holland, Belgian, French, and British forces (that fought in continental Europe at the start of the war.) It was not because of the superior fighting power of the German army as is always reported by Western authorities.

We now see the US becoming heavily indebted owing in part to the vast industrial-military complex and the Empire's many foreign military adventures, but also in part due to bailouts of US and other banks during the recent economic collapse. The US in now facing increasing triple deficits--national debt at over $18 trillion, ongoing annual trade deficits, and savings deficit among its citizens. Thus, I think that our ruling masters with their huge military are using the threat of overpowering military force, if not outright aggression, in an attempt to intimidate the rising powers of China (which holds a huge amount of US debt) and Russia as a solution to their debt crisis very much like what we saw with Nazi Germany. Of course, in the context of our today's world where numerous countries possess nuclear weapons, it is insanity. But our masters seem to be stuck in the 20th century in their thinking.

Treasury Reveals What JPMorgan Was Really Doing With London Whale Trades

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

(From their website: "WallStreetOnParade.com is a financial news site operated by Russ and Pam Martens to help the investing public better understand systemic corruption on Wall Street. Ms. Martens is a former Wall Street veteran with a background in journalism. Mr. Martens' career spans four decades in printing and publishing management.")

I have been following this website for some time and I am impressed with the dogged efforts of this couple to unravel the many ploys by Wall Street actors to circumvent any attempts to thwart their pursuit of profits regardless of its ultimate adverse effects on the capitalist economy. Individual greed is the prime ethic of capitalists which guides them in their actions. Margaret Thatcher recognized this in her pithy definition of this ethic:
...there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first.
In this article they summarize a little known report issued by a new agency created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that was passed after the recent bailouts of major banks to prevent another occurrence of this economy destroying event. They reach the following conclusion from their examination of the agency's report which relates to the JPMorgan’s London Whale trade scandal:
The report ... notes that there is “limited counterparty information available to bank supervisors when a bank turns to a hedge fund, private equity firm, or other nonbank to buy credit protection, since those companies are outside the jurisdiction of bank supervisors.”

Let that sink in for a few seconds: some of the most dangerous Wall Street banks on the planet are able to dodge their capital requirements by buying protection from even more dangerous, unsupervised hedge funds.

Israel Plans To Steal More Syrian Land

Click here to access article by Bernhard from Moon of Alabama.
One part of the Israeli plan behind its support for AlQaeda is to hurt the Syrian state as much as possible. A destroyed Syria is no threat to Israel but the destruction of the Syrian state would be a welcome excuse to appeal for more military help from its allies because of the "chaos" beyond its borders. Another part of the plan is to simply steal more Syrian land. Israel has already occupied the south western Golan heights and top positions on the heights. It is now planning to steal the north eastern parts and to control the valuable water resources there. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Ignoring Reality, Subverting Morality: GMOs And The Neoliberal Apologists

Click here to access article by Colin Todhunter from East by Northwest.

I think this is one of the best articles written by this British blogger who has witnessed the effects of industrial agriculture in India where he has spent so much time. He has frequently aimed his intellectual weapons at Monsanto as a prime example of a multinational corporation that is having adverse effects not only on food and health but also on the social structure of farming communities in India.

capitalism as a rhizome plant

In this piece he digs deeper to show how the underlying rhizome-like plant structure of capitalism is spreading its tentacles everywhere in search of profits for its ruling classes embedded in most societies of the world with the most aggressive rooted in Western nations. He examines the root structure of oligarchs, think tanks, and financial institutions which make up this structure of capitalism. Thus, it wouldn't matter if Monsanto or Bill Gates suddenly disappeared, because some other corporation or oligarch would soon appear to function the same way. To paraphrase that great sage Bill Clinton, "It's the [economic system], stupid."


East Must Provide Alternative to, Not Replace Western Hegemony

Click here to access article by Ulson Gunnar from New Eastern Outlook.

Gunnar is known as a geopolitical analyst, and another one who sees a shift in the global power struggle which ruling classes like to engage in. However, unlike so many others who seem to be jumping gleefully on the Chinese/Russian or BRICS wagon (for example, see this), he asks some penetrating questions. Although I think his imagination of an alternative is formatted in, what I believe to be, an archaic societal arrangement of national states, his effort to conceive of a new world political arrangement is an important step in the right direction.
Recent news has shown China quickly gaining ground against a West which has for centuries maintained hegemony over Asia Pacific. Beyond Asia, China has been steadily expanding its influence throughout Africa and the Middle East. Together with Russia, Iran and other nations of the “East,” they are constructing what is commonly referred to as a “multi-polar” world order.

This multi-polar world order stands in contrast to the unipolar order the West has sought to impose for decades after the end of the World Wars and is a continuation of Western imperialism carried out by the British and other European empires during the decline of the Ottoman Empire.

But is what the East doing truly building an alternative to the West’s brand of hegemonic imperialism? Or is it simply more of the same under a different label?

Russia through Western & Chinese eyes: a Study in Contrasts

Click here to access article by Jeff J. Brown from A bird's eye view of the Vineyard.

Brown, as a guest American writer now living in China, writes about the parallel efforts by both Russian and Chinese governments to prevent Western funded NGOs to work their destabilization magic in their respective countries. In contrast to anti-Russian propaganda found in Western media, he reports on the growing positive relationship between Russia and China, and finally reinforces this theme with numerous illustrations from Chinese social media.

Fast-track Hands the Money Monopoly to Private Banks — Permanently

Click here to access article by Ellen Brown from her blog Web of Debt.
In March 2014, the Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. So wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month, referring to a BOE paper called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy.” The paper stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

The revelation may have done more than that. The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could help explain the desperate rush to “fast track” not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud.