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, August 15, 2015

Non-Profits and the Pacification of the Black Lives Matter Movement

Click here to access article by Brendan McQuade from CounterPunch
For the past year, much attention has focused on the most dramatic responses to the Black Lives Matter movement: the militarized police and smoke grenades, states of emergency and curfews, government surveillance and fears of infiltration. While these forms of repression should not be discounted, they should be properly understood. Heavy-handed responses polarize the struggle. The middle ground disappears and both sides radicalize. For those seeking to maintain the status quo, this is not the best outcome.

It’s much better to co-opt moderates and divide the opposition.

The Death of Satire

Click here to access article by Ted Gioia from The Daily Beast.

On Saturdays I had adopted a practice of featuring satire to lighten the weekend for most hard-working people, but I've found that I had to spend hours looking for something that really subverted conventional themes purveyed through corporate media by our masters in the ruling class. It's the same way this morning--I'm wasting my time.

I experienced the 1960s and 1970s when Mort Sahl, San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Tom Lehrer, The Smother's Brothers TV show, and in the 1980s George Carlin among others attacked the political establishment. There is no one of their caliber today. The masters of what we have become, a New Empire Order (to paraphrase), have so frightened Americans with their almost weekly CIA false-flag terrorist events and FBI instigated terrorists that we no longer can ridicule and laugh at our rulers.

Cowboy Bernie's Roundup of Political Strays

By Bob R. posted on CounterPunch for their Weekend Edition of August 14-16, 2015.


Friday, August 14, 2015

“Lone Wolf” Terror and the PsyWar on American Public Opinion

Click here to access article by James Tracy from his blog Memory Hole.
The corporate media chieftains and their subordinate producers and editors overseeing the modern consciousness industry thus have free reign to manipulate the thoughts, fears, even the dreams of the populace, thereby shaping the psychic basis for what is deemed desirable public policy. They choose specific stories and gauge the extent of their exposure to craft national public opinion and dismiss others not upholding certain agendas, such as race-based social tension and gun control. As the observations below suggest, Time Warner’s CNN is a central agent in bolstering such perspectives.
There have been so many false flag operations perpetrated by our masters for more obvious reasons that I have ignored some that exhibited less obvious reasons. However, after reading this careful analysis of differential coverage of mass-murder events in recent years, I think Tracy has opened many questions about the agendas of our masters' corporate media.
How can one explain such disparate coverage? It may be attributable to the random nature of editorial decision-making at major news outlets. A more critical analysis, however, suggests a coordinated effort to maneuver public opinion behind the “war on terror” and continued public acceptance of America’s police state.
It appears that all coverage provided via TV is carefully managed to instill in the minds of Americans the political interests of our masters and to insure that ordinary American support their interests. Consider another illustration of this regarding a completely different issue--China's recent devaluation of their currency by 2%. Pepe Escobar's take on this in an article entitled "What the Latest Currency 'War' is All About" clarifies for us what our masters' TV coverage of this event really is--another attack by our ruling capitalist class on China and to encourage ordinary Americans to see China as an enemy. Even traditional conservative Americans like Ron Paul are seeing this as a ruse.

Hiding in plain sight: the history of the War on Drugs

Click here to access article by Paul Bermanzohn posted on Reflections on a Revolution.

I've seen evidence this morning that people are moving from the ideological position of reforming capitalism and class rule to one that recognizes the imperative of revolution, the complete end of class rule under a capitalist system (for another example, see this). This new consciousness is illustrated in this edited transcript of a speech in which the author recognizes the need to recover our history as a first step toward a revolutionary consciousness. In his speech, especially the unedited transcript from his website, Bermanzohn provides a sketch of the highlights of the history of the 1960s which our masters are trying so hard to erase.
Part of developing a new revolutionary movement is reclaiming our history. The masters keep us enslaved by blinding us to our collective strength. The story of the ‘60’s uprisings is one rich in power and agency, the reason the rulers want to erase the ‘60’s altogether.
To build an effective revolutionary consciousness, activists must establish networks of support and organizations which have as their purpose the recovery of this history. Also, simultaneously with this effort, activists must collaborate in support of a network of communications about what is currently happening in today's world. Such a network must find a means of supporting people who have reporting skills as well as a revolutionary consciousness. As I daily review many articles written by devoted activists, I see them almost begging for financial support in order to continue their work. We simply must support them in any way we can. 

Yes, "Black Lives Matter!" But, then, all lives matter in a revolutionary movement regardless of where one lives on this planet or one's skin color. The old revolutionary slogan, "Workers of the World Unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains" can now be updated to "Save the Humans!" This is the stark reality that we are all facing: survival in today's world which is threatened by never-ending wars, immigrants fleeing from their wars, a likely future nuclear conflagration between gangs of capitalists, and a climate that is under the imminent threat of destabilization caused by capitalism's growth imperative in a finite planet. 

Underground Desert Aquifers Could Hold Missing Carbon

Click here to access article by Andrea Thompson from Climate Central. 

Scientists are beginning to look for the huge amounts of missing carbon created by capitalism's dependence on fossil fuels that don't end up in our atmosphere and creating havoc with our climate.
Here’s what we know: Carbon dioxide is building up in the atmosphere as the result of manmade emissions, trapping more and more heat and warming the planet. Here’s what we’re still working on: Of the excess CO2 that doesn’t stick around in the atmosphere — about 60 percent of it — exactly how much gets pulled into various so-called carbon sinks, such as the world’s oceans and forests, and where exactly the main sinks are located.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Social Cost of Capitalism

Click here to access article by Paul Craig Roberts from Information Clearing House. 

I keep being astounded by what comes from the pen of this former official in Reagan's Department of the Treasury. He even attacks "regulated capitalism"! In this piece he takes issue with both the right-wing libertarians and progressives in the US. He correctly calls them "romanticists".
Our romanticists need to learn how less valuable lands are traded for more valuable public lands in order to transfer wealth from the public to private hands. They need to learn that allowing ranchers to utilize public lands results in habitat destruction and the destruction of stream banks and aquatic life. They need to understand that the heads of the federal protective agencies themselves are timber, mining, and ranching operatives who work for private companies and not for the public. Americans of all persuasions need to understand that just as senators and representatives are bought and paid for by the military/security complex, Wall Street, and the Israel Lobby, they are owned also by mining, timber and ranching interests.

US’s Saudi Oil Deal from Win-Win to Mega-Loose (sic)

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook. (Note: I realize that "loose", as he used the word, seems to be rapidly entering the English language through frequent (mis-)usage, but I resist. The correct hyphenated word should have been "Mega-Lose". See conventional definitions of "lose" and "loose".)

Are Saudi leaders becoming mavericks while deviating from the grand strategies of the Empire? Engdahl finds evidence to suggest the affirmative.
Who would’ve thought it would come to this? Certainly not the Obama Administration, and their brilliant geo-political think-tank neo-conservative strategists. John Kerry’s brilliant “win-win” proposal of last September during his September 11 Jeddah meeting with ailing Saudi King Abdullah was simple: Do a rerun of the highly successful State Department-Saudi deal in 1986 when Washington persuaded the Saudis to flood the world market at a time of over-supply in order to collapse oil prices worldwide, a kind of “oil shock in reverse.” In 1986 was successful in helping to break the back of a faltering Soviet Union highly dependent on dollar oil export revenues for maintaining its grip on power.

So, though it was not made public, Kerry and Abdullah agreed on September 11, 2014 that the Saudis would use their oil muscle to bring Putin’s Russia to their knees today.

It seemed brilliant at the time no doubt.

US gets the war it has always wanted…begins bombing Assad forces U

Click here to access article by "alexrpt" editor of Red Pill Times

This article condenses information provided by RT (with extensive quotes from an RT report) to arrive at what he/she sees as the main purpose behind the US backed strategy to destabilize Syria. The argument is very convincing regarding the real motivations which are covered over by a massive propaganda effort directed toward Americans via corporate media. 
This latest US war is so simple. Remove Assad in order to remove Russia’s gas supplies to Europe. Once Assad is gone the US can put its very own, home grown dictator to oversee the construction of a Qatar gas pipeline to Europe.

Syria is all about the US’s fixation with destroying Russia…fixation, obsession really.
What is really complicated for Empire directors is mediating the various motives of the many participating actors so that this managed chaos can accomplish their objective. It's no wonder that some US generals are confused about the strategy.

Got Enmeshed in Own Fabrications about North Korea?

Click here to access article by Konstantin Asmolov from New Eastern Outlook.

The author finds much of the propaganda issued by South Korean media to be unbelievable if not outright ludicrous. The problem for ordinary Americans is that such misinformation is often repeated in the US's ruling class media. This nation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the first victim of US's "full spectrum" military aggression following WWII, and the country was nearly totally destroyed. To be sure, North Korean leaders often display paranoia regarding the West, but who can blame them?
According to opportunistic propagandists from the Republic of Korea, the “crazy bloody tyrant” Kim Jong-un became notorious for a number of outrageous crimes. Here are some of them.

Summary of False Flag Operations and False Flag Terrorism

Click here to access article by from WantToKnow
There are many examples of false flag attacks throughout history.
This type of operation has been used by ruling classes who want a war in spite of opposition from their subjects who usually want peace. This article provides brief information on the most flagrant examples in recent history, and provides links to more details about each such event. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ford Foundation Fabrications About the “New Student Power” Movement

Click here to access article by Vincent Kelley from CounterPunch. 

It appears that NGOs have become the weapon of choice by our masters to both transform our society into a neoliberal cog in their "new world order" and to co-opt and control any dissent from those politically conscious enough to resist. This article focuses on the latter function that the Ford Foundation is using to contain any dissent from today's students. They obviously learned from the 1960s that students can cause them a great deal of trouble.
...it is clear that the Ford Foundation’s mission is to make sure these students’ voices are never heard or are nipped in the bud before they can even articulate themselves. A great way to do this is to invite student activists to present stories like the OSA’s in front of “a rapt audience of funders, organizers, and leaders at ‘The New Student Power’ a convening held at the Ford Foundation’s headquarters in New York City.” There’s nothing like attending a conference hosted by the company whose ‘innovations’ have come to stand for the exploitation and alienation of 20th century capitalism in one word—“Fordism”—to silence any rumbles of revolution.

The Nonprofit Industrial Complex’s Role in Imposing Neoliberalism on Public Education

Click here to access article by Robert D. Skeels posted on The Wrong Kind of Green.
Taking neoliberalism as the modern term describing the “Washington Consensus” policies of deregulation, austerity, and privatization, we can best describe the current assault on public education as “neoliberal corporate education reform.” .... [Instead of focusing on major NGOs and non-profit foundations advancing this agenda,] we will focus on a single city. Perhaps because of its size, or its proximity to The Broad Foundation’s headquarters, Los Angeles has been one of the central fronts on which the neoliberal ideologues have waged their war on public education. Evidenced by the staggering amounts the ruling class spends on school board and related elections, the number of well funded NPICs working as a neoliberal axis, and the collusion of the corporate media, those in power see Los Angeles as a high value target. In a word, it is a microcosm of what is happening to education everywhere. 
After reporting what neoliberal agents are doing in Los Angeles, Skeels points to organizations that have demonstrated effective resistance.

U.S. escalation of war against Syria undermines Iran pact

Click here to access article by Sara Flounders from Workers World
International attention is focusing on the coming struggle in the U.S. Congress to pass the Iran nuclear deal at the same time that the U.S. and Turkey have stepped up intervention in Syria. Under those conditions, we need to consider: Will militarist forces attempt to sabotage the agreement with Iran by provoking a wider war against Syria, which has an alliance with Iran?
It does seem like more than a coincidence that this attack on Syrian territory by Turkish and US militaries happened so soon after the Iran deal was negotiated.

The Eurozone’s Pyrrhic victory over Greece

Click here to access article by Jerome Roos from Reflections on a Revolution. 
The Eurozone has imposed a Carthaginian peace upon the Greeks, but the lessons of King Pyrrhus loom large: one more such victory would utterly undo it.
Mark Twain is credited with the observation that "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." The recent victory of the Eurozone over Greece suggests the truth of this aphorism which refers to the victory of King Pyrrhus over the Romans. Or, at least, Roos thinks so and explains why.
While Tsipras’ demise will be welcomed by the hardliners inside the creditor camp, the truth is that the Eurozone has shortsightedly set itself up for a fall. What makes the third bailout different is that, after Tsipras, there will be no one left inside Greece to credibly manage the memorandum. With the centrist and right-wing opposition in complete disarray, the leftists were quite literally the last hope for political stability and reform. Now, with SYRIZA on the verge of a split and Tsipras bound to suffer growing popular opposition and the withdrawal of grassroots support, it is not clear what pro-EU partner can step into the void and act as the creditors’ mouthpiece inside their newly acquired debt colony.

In short, the third bailout agreement destroyed everything and resolved nothing. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don’t Be Fooled by the Political Game: The Illusion of Freedom in America

Click here to access article by John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute.

Whitehead joins many other members of the middle class in condemning the trend toward what they see as the rule of wealth, plutocracy, or an oligarchy of wealth. However, notice that nowhere in this essay will you see the system which make this development inevitable over time--capitalism. That is because the middle class are only starting to awaken that they too are dispensable in this system and they fear that their children will have little chance to secure a good living. Working class people have long felt this way as they fought to secure a living in a system that turned them into a commodity, a rental commodity for the rich to use and dispose of as they wished.  

The middle class has consisted of managers, highly skilled professionals and technical people. These people are truly indispensable to running a capitalist society. But their relationship to capitalists, who constitute the ruling class, is very much like the African-American concept of one type of slave relationship with the master of the house or plantation that existed in our period of slavery. Over 50 years ago Malcolm X expressed a metaphor that is very apt in describing the privileged position of the middle class (especially after WWII) when he spoke these words:
There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved himself. 
Now we are seeing that this class is being threatened by technological innovation in the forms of automation and artificial intelligence that this middle class created but under the rules of capitalism were soon "owned" by capitalists. Also people in this middle class are keenly aware that in this neoliberal world capitalists are erasing boundaries (for themselves), and they can easily recruit people with middle class skills from poorer countries at cheaper rates. Thus, they now feel the capitalist heel pushing down on them much like working people have for centuries.

WikiLeaks goes after hyper-secret Euro-American trade pact

Click here to access article from Wikileaks.
Today, Tuesday 11th August, 9:15 BST, WikiLeaks has launched a campaign to crowd-source a €100,000 reward for Europe’s most wanted secret: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The following 11:00m video posted in this article offers the clearest explanation I've seen about these secret agreements, why they have been formulated, why they are secret, and why they pose dangerous threats to people power and world peace.


Economics departments — breeding generation after generation of idiot savants

Click here to access article by Lars Syll from Real-World Economics Review Blog.
It is...a fact that within mainstream economics internal validity is everything and external validity nothing. Why anyone should be interested in that kind of theories and models is beyond my imagination. As long as mainstream economists do not come up with any export-licenses for their theories and models to the real world in which we live, they really should not be surprised if people say that this is not science, but autism!

Studying mathematics and logics is interesting and fun. It sharpens the mind. In pure mathematics and logics we do not have to worry about external validity. But economics is not pure mathematics or logics. It’s about society. The real world. Forgetting that, economics is really in dire straits.
Of course, economic models, like everything else in today's world, are under the control of our capitalist masters. If they were to really test these models and theories, they would fail miserably. They have to make up all kinds of lies, fudge numbers, and keep repeating the mantra that "there is no alternative" to support their system of capitalism. Hence, their supporting theory and models have become a mythology that only capitalists really believe in, or a dogma that capitalist priests keep preaching after it has long failed to explain anything happening in the real world.
Cartoon created by Monte Wolverton via CagleCartoons.com and occasional links & commentary on economics, culture and society by blogger David F. Ruccio.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Murray Bookchin and the Kurdish resistance

Click here to access article by Joris Leverink from Reflections on a Revolution

Revolutionary Kurds have been influenced by the writings of the late American activist Murray Bookchin. Leverink reports on efforts in the Kurdish resistance to implement his ideas, and how other activists can support this new model of social ecology. This model has arisen in opposition to dysfunctional and ultimately unsustainable model of human organization which is characterized by political structures based on man's domination of man and the environment.
Bookchin opposed the ideas and practices of the emerging environmentalist movements, accusing them of advocating mere “technical fixes” of capitalism, counter-posing it to an ecological approach that seeks to address the root causes of the systemic problem. In his view, capitalism’s fatal flaw lay not in its exploitation of the working class, as Marxists believe, but rather in its conflict with the natural environment which, if allowed to develop unopposed, would inevitably lead to the dehumanization of people and the destruction of nature.

The Next Revolution includes the 1992 essay The Ecological Crisis and the Need to Remake Society. In it, Bookchin argues that “the most fundamental message that social ecology advances is that the very idea of dominating nature stems from the domination of human by human.” For an ecological society to develop, first the inter-human domination must be eradicated.
Thus a sustainable alternative political structure of human societies must be built upon a foundation of face-to-face social units where all power must reside, and which supports a dependent political superstructure that plans, coordinates, and implements the ideas coming from the base. Such a social organization of human society would recognize the basic reality of human existence: human connectedness with each other and with the environment.

While recognizing the need to support, and to be inspired by, these revolutionary Kurds in their struggle, Leverink doesn't want this to be turned into merely a kind of spectator sport. 
The revolution in Rojava has been compared to Barcelona in 1936 and the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. The radical left needs its own mythology as much as everybody else, and in this sense Rojava, Barcelona and Chiapas serve as hopeful reminders that there is an alternative; that it is possible to organize society in a different way.

However, by merely placing these instances of radical organization on a pedestal, as a beacon of hope to be revered when times get rough, our support for these struggles is often not very different from the support we display when we cheer on our favorite football team on TV. The Zapatistas in the jungles of Chiapas and the Kurds on the Mesopotamian plains have come a long way by relying on nothing but their own strength and determination. Their relative isolation has allowed for the development of their radical alternatives, but for these experiments to survive in the long run they need more than supporters and sympathizers. They need partners. 
And, he concludes with suggestions for the best way to support them and their quest to create societies based on the principles of social ecology.

On America, part 1 [of 3]: Making Millionaires

Click here to access article by "Chilli Sauce" from libcom
It seems to be off-limits to even ask why so much poverty and misery exists amidst a world of plenty. And the core tenant of capitalism – that labor is directed toward profit – remains unexamined.

The simple reality is that the work we do keeps society functioning. Yet, we don't control the products of our labor. Our labor, instead of being something that benefits ourselves and our communities, only makes someone else rich.

How U.S. Achieves a 5.3% Unemployment Rate: If You Earn No Money, You Can Still Be Counted as Employed

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

These independent investigators of crimes committed on Wall Street and in its subsidiary in Washington DC known as the US government have shed light on how our masters in the subsidiary lie about unemployment.
Even for a government hell bent on putting the best possible spin on overcoming the Wall Street train wreck of 2008, which brought on the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, characterizing someone working one hour a week in a lawn job as “employed” seems like the height of duplicity.

Speed of Glacier Retreat ‘Historically Unprecedented’

Click here to access article by Tim Radford from The Guardian.
The world’s glaciers are in retreat. The great tongues of ice high in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps and the Rockies are going back uphill at ever greater speeds, according to new research.

And this loss of ice is both accelerating and “historically unprecedented”, say scientists who report in the Journal of Glaciology.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Who Gets the Money? The Secret Bank Bailout

I credit "Don Quijones" of Raging Bull-Shit for this post and the German company, wocomoDOCS for producing this video. I haven't had time to listen to all of it, but I think that the film-makers have made a diligent and honest attempt to uncover the mysteries behind the bailouts of banks and the resulting severe austerity policies imposed by ruling class financial institutions. In the video the investigator makes a determined effort to find out who the real creditors are--something that is always hidden from the public. I also like the introduction of the video from Raging Bull-Shit which is reproduced below.
Where has all the money gone? That is the question that desperately needs asking (and answering) now that the European Union has morphed into one humongous orgy of national bailouts.

In his 2013 documentary “The Secret Bank Bailout,” German investigative journalist Harald Schumann documents how the peoples of Ireland, Cyprus and Spain were not bailed out. The biggest recipients of the Irish bailout that saved Anglo-Irish Bank were British, French and German banks, including Union Investment Privatfonds, Rothschild et Compagnie Gestion, and Deutsche Bank.

German and French banks accounted for 50 out of the 80 bondholders. Without the clandestine bailouts these banks received, they would have almost certainly gone under.
I think that these problems are basically caused by the dense concentration of power by capitalists over our societies through the private ownership of key sectors of the economy. They control money issuance, they control what money gets spent on, they control large segments of the economy, they control governments, and they control every important institution of society including media, education, and entertainment. 

I also recommend from the same filmmakers a more recent video entitled "The Trail of the Troika (HD 720p) | A must-see to understand the situation in Greece" that can be accessed here

Fourteen Incredible Facts About 9/11

Click here to access article by Kevin Ryan from 911blogger.
As the 14th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, it’s important to remind people that we still don’t know what happened that day. What is known about 9/11 is that there are many incredible facts that continue to be ignored by the government and the mainstream media. Here are fourteen.

National Endowment for Democracy is Now Officially “Undesirable” in Russia

Click here to access article by F. William Engdahl from New Eastern Outlook.
Vladimir Putin! Now you’ve really done it. You have had the temerity to declare our National Endowment for Democracy (NED), America’s most important Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to be “undesirable.” Where will this end? Don’t you respect our right, as a US Government-financed NGO, to meddle in internal Russian affairs? After all, we are the most important NGO of the world’s Sole Superpower. We can go wherever we want and do whatever we like. We are truly upset!

This is the clear reaction of Washington to the decision by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on July 28 to declare the activities of the US National Endowment for Democracy as “undesirable in the territory of Russia.”