Central bankers are watching Marx's dictum "all that is solid melts into air" play out in global stock markets with a terror informed by the scalding memories of 2008's global financial meltdown.This reads like a tongue-in-cheek spoof, but actually I think that this is what capitalist leaders have been doing for several years to keep their profit and power machine going. When all the steps listed by Smith fail, I fear that they will opt for a nuclear conflagration in order to destroy capital so they can re-create it as they did with WWII. This might go under "doing whatever it takes" category. Gotta keep the profit machine going! Otherwise it's the end of the world for capitalists!
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 22, 2015
The capitalist propensity to "own" everything has also gone global in the form of private armies, spy services, security services, etc., all in support of the application of violence to promote their interests of power and profits. These new privatized agencies of violence have stealthily eroded what we were familiar with: state monopoly of violence and the embryonic development of international laws and norms governing the use of violence. As the state also morphs into an essentially privatized entity, governments often contract out their applications of violence to these agencies especially if they are illegal and secret such as false flag operations. Or if the operation is not secret, the government can directly hire and train combat units consisting of mostly foreign mercenaries as they have done, and will continue to do, under the Division 30 project for attacks against Syria. Fitts offers a brief review of a new book that deals with this new, mostly unrecognized phenomenon.
I often find myself in awe of the creativity of our masters in the capitalist class. I'm referring to the endless ways they have devised to place bets on Wall Street, where the world's two largest stock exchanges are located, and the many other places that these casinos are located throughout the world. Also what comes to mind are the imaginative ways they have to get around any restrictions or requirements posed by campaign finance laws, weak as they are, to purchase and promote influence anonymously with their favorite political prostitutes. This article provides some insights on one very ingenious way they do this by using companies that are legally chartered as "limited liability companies" (LLC).
When the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 to end a ban on corporate spending to influence elections, detractors envisioned an era when huge companies like Wal-Mart Stores or ExxonMobil would dominate politics in pursuit of profits. The reality is proving far different. Most business donations are coming from little-known LLCs whose founders and officers often don’t have to be disclosed anywhere. In a few cases, it’s so difficult to identify the source that the donations might as well be anonymous.
In the market for a private island? Take a look at some of the most stunning and remote properties out there
I'm sure some of my readers have hundreds of millions stashed away in some off-shore bank that they don't know what to do with. Well, there is one solution that can also give you privacy, insulate you from the maddening crowds, and give you complete security from the hordes of crazy activists who want to take your toys away: buy your own developed island. And, come to think of it, check out the Greek government which may be having a fire sale on their islands.
But what if you can't find one in a location that you want? Well, there is a solution for that too. Check out this post entitled "World's first portable islands will let super-rich create eco-friendly getaways anywhere on Earth".
Friday, August 21, 2015
I have been following rather superficially the news from British left media sources, primarily CounterFire, about the popular rise of Jeremy Corbyn who earlier this year announced that he was running for the leadership position in the Labor Party. This would set him up as a candidate for Prime Minister in Britain's next election scheduled in 2020, but which could happen sooner should there be a parliamentary vote of no confidence.
I have been very skeptical about Corbyn for mainly two reasons: 1) I find it hard to believe that the Labor Party which elected Tony Blair could seriously allow a genuine left opposition leader who advocate policies such as Corbyn's to rise in their leadership. I have been feeling that he was very much like Sen. Bernie Sanders, a pseudo-socialist and genuine Zionist candidate who is running for president in the US Democratic Party primary elections in order to collect and gather discouraged/disillusioned people back into the fold of Democratic party supporters. 2) Even though Corbyn has received support from British left-wing media sources like CounterFire, British left-wingers have a history of diluting radical opposition with compromised reform politicos who at best tend to delay any substantial change in governing policies, and at worst betray their supporters and pursue the most pro-establishment policies. I agree with many who have observed that if capitalist elections could change anything of significance, they would be illegal.
Already the British media campaign to discredit Corbyn is well underway. The slander and vilification being fired at the 66-year-old politician is going to get even more vicious over the next month. And if he wins, as the polls suggest, we can expect a full-on media war to destroy him over the next five years towards Britain’s 2020 general election.If by some miracle Corbyn is genuine and becomes Prime Minister, or even the probability of becoming Prime Minister, I think he would likely be assassinated.
What this reveals, starkly, is just how undemocratic Britain is. Any politician who steps outside the establishment is liable for destruction by the ruling forces.
As I listened to Brown and followed along by reading the article, I was not impressed with about the first half of his presentation which kept claiming that China was a socialist and communist country while arguing that China had far outperformed US and Western capitalist countries, and then quoted a large section of China's constitution and statements made by China's first post-Mao leader Deng Xiaoping as supporting documents. While listening to his delivery I was a bit put off by a delivery that seemed loaded with sarcasm toward an audience that already agreed with him.
However, I did find worthwhile substance about two-thirds of the way through the article which argued, and backed up by data, that China's economy is thoroughly under the control of the Communist Party and its state organs.
Because of the fact that we in the West have received so much disinformation about China and that authentic sources are very difficult to obtain, I think that this alternative source is well worth following, but one should do so with some critical reservations.
After noting the similarities of debt problems between Greece and Puerto Rico, Roos points out the selective treatment of creditors when Puerto Ricans were faced with default.
But for all these obvious similarities, there is one puzzling difference: while Puerto Rico was allowed to default on its debts without drawing much ire – or interest – from the US government, Greece has not been able to do the same. Why was Puerto Rico allowed to default while Greece was not? The answer is simple: first follow the rules, then follow the money – and you will see.Thus, if you are a creditor in the US One Percent, you will be paid in this default arrangement, but many thousands of small Puerto Rican creditors consisting of ordinary savers via their credit unions were conveniently sacrificed. Otherwise, the ultimate effects on Puerto Rican society as a whole remain the same as in Greece: public expenditures for health, education, and welfare are being slashed to pay off these One Percent creditors.
Because of the prejudiced coverage of the global warming issue that’s common in much of the press, I have decided to present highlights from one of the most comprehensive articles that’s now being considered by one of the world’s top scientific journals on the topic: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. This is the latest scientific knowledge on the subject.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
In this interview Draitser provides an excellent overview primarily of US military involvement in Africa to check China's influence in the continent. Maybe not so coincidentally with this involvement there has been a rise in terrorist activity resulting in chaos and destabilization of existing governments. He also contrasts China's infrastructure investment programs with loans from US based investment agencies that often result in unpayable sovereign debts.
Long after the anti-war activists from the Vietnam War dispersed to all corners of the US--some went to living off the land individually or in communes while others tried to reintegrate themselves into mainstream society--George Carlin was using humor and satire to try to educate American especially in the 1980s and 90s as to the realities that lay behind the facade of American "democracy". He wasn't kidding nor "joking" even though he used humor as a medium--he was serious and smart. And that is why the US capitalist ruling class were sufficiently worried about him to watch him closely.
It was clear to me then that they need not worry because the overwhelming majority of my fellow Americans, once the Vietnam War was concluded, placed themselves back into the harnesses of the capitalist system in their attempt to achieve the American Dream. Of course, it was always only a dream that was used to lure Americans tired of the war back into conventional life.
Using their ubiquitous propaganda machinery of corporate media to soothe Americans, they soon slashed government expenditures that benefited the public, attacked and weakened labor unions, supported vast military programs, and prepared for a much more aggressive foreign policy by integrating rabid Zionists into the ruling directorate--people like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Robert Kagan and his wife, Victoria Nuland, who is now Asst. Secretary of State and widely credited with masterminding the overthrow of the previous Ukrainian government.
Unfortunately with the passing of Carlin in 2008, there seems to be no one to replace him and his ability to remove the fog of propaganda in front of American eyes to see clearly the realities of a ruthless ruling class who are drunk on power and profits and recklessly driving us toward climate destabilization and/or a nuclear war.
It is clear that Thailand has been in the process of gradually escaping out from under American hegemony for years, with the recent ousting of Thaksin Shinawatra and his regime, along with strengthening ties with China creating an almost palpable desperation for American hegemony in Asia.This Bangkok based geopolitical analyst extraordinaire weaves together considerable evidence of a long standing and consistent US Empire strategy to contain China as an effort to answer the question about who might have the necessary motive to instigate the terrorist bomb explosion in Bangkok.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
This article and the one linked to in the article entitled "When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job", which I will post following this post, are two of the most significant articles I that I have run on my website in quite some time. Read the article to see how Zaman leads to this conclusion:
...the radical changes required to save the planet is a radical transformation of the economic system. We must go back to pre-modern models of social responsibility, where individual goals are subordinated to social concerns. A key priority has to be a reduction in standards of living to levels which are feasible with life on the planet. Instead of growth, we need to pursue de-growth. Interestingly, happiness research shows that simple ways of living produce more happiness at lower cost than our currently targeted ever-increasing standards of luxury. Currently, our lives are devoted to huge amounts of over-production and over-consumption of useless or wasteful goods. This producing and consuming leaves no time for pursuing more precious aspects of living, such as achieving excellence in different dimensions such as spiritual, moral or physical. We are too busy to cultivate friendships, and to give time to our loved ones. Agreements cannot be reached on environmental protocols because every group wants to consume more at the expense of others. To save the planet, it will be necessary to join hands in a collective effort, which puts social concerns ahead of private individual ones. Little wonder that climatologists are in despair.I would go further and write that to save the planet "it will be necessary to join hands in a collective effort" to overthrow the rule of capitalists and their soul and climate destroying system of capitalism.
I am disturbed that I didn't pick this up sooner because I like to post current articles (within one month). I was alerted to it by the lead article in today's selection of articles entitled "Saving the planet". I seem to be having greater difficulties in finding articles from scientific sources that seriously challenge more conventional views which have drifted somewhat from their earlier denial characteristics to one of downplaying the threats to civilization and humanity. I believe that this article goes a long way to explaining my difficulties, but more importantly, why scientists are continuing to have difficulties influencing public opinion.
However, in my opinion, it doesn't go far enough to explicitly name the source of their opposition and their interests in managing information that might cast doubts about their system and its threats to human life. Of course I am referring to the system of capitalism that serves the addictive needs (power and profit) of only one tiny segment of humans, but is having a major and destructive impact on all human life (and many other species).
The incident was small, but Jason Box doesn't want to talk about it. He's been skittish about the media since it happened. This was last summer, as he was reading the cheery blog posts transmitted by the chief scientist on the Swedish icebreaker Oden, which was exploring the Arctic for an international expedition led by Stockholm University. "Our first observations of elevated methane levels, about ten times higher than in background seawater, were documented . . . we discovered over 100 new methane seep sites.... The weather Gods are still on our side as we steam through a now ice-free Laptev Sea...."Read about the tweet and how it changed scientist Jason Box's life forever. Also, be sure to listen to the interview by Mark Warren of Esquire with journalist Mark Richardson who has followed climate issues for a long time.
As a leading climatologist who spent many years studying the Arctic at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State, Box knew that this breezy scientific detachment described one of the nightmare long-shot climate scenarios: a feedback loop where warming seas release methane that causes warming that releases more methane that causes more warming, on and on until the planet is incompatible with human life. And he knew there were similar methane releases occurring in the area. On impulse, he sent out a tweet.
Penny and her friend on returning to Britain are shocked by the way British corporate media are treating people fleeing for their lives from wars and destitution brought about by Britain's participation in the Empire's neoliberal and imperial policies. This is an old divide and conquer strategy which she describes very well. The British and European capitalist ruling classes are apparently succeeding in frightening their subjects with the consequence that most ordinary people see migrants as a threat instead of the neo-imperial and fascistic policies of their ruling classes whose policies have created the problem along with a number of others. Chalk up another victory for ruling classes in class-structured societies!
The behaviour of the British and wider European elite towards migrants is not simple inhumanity. It is strategic inhumanity. It is weaponised inhumanity designed to convince populations fracturing under hammer-blows of austerity and economic chaos that the enemy is out there, that there is an “us” that must be protected from “them”.
.... Human decency, however, has been factored out of the equation – on purpose. Britain and the rest of Europe have deliberately been whipped up into a state of panic over migration, and when people are panicking, they don’t really listen to reason.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
I share nearly all of the views that Smith expresses in this perceptive article. His worried suspicions about a phony war being a prelude to catastrophe is especially worrisome to me as I see more and more indications that Empire directors are preparing for war. Just this morning I came across this view expressed by the head of the Donetsk People's Republic.
My most positive interpretation of these numerous preparations for war directly or indirectly against Russia is that they are designed as a means to provoke Russia into an expensive arms race which could weaken that country as the policy did in the 1980s under the Reagan administration. The worst interpretation is that our masters have decided to do another rerun of WWII in which they hope the Russian menace will be eliminated along with a resurrection of a failing domestic economy. Perhaps most worrisome of all is that there is domestic component of the ruling class made up of militarists, weapons contractors, and Zionists who are aggressively trying to get their hands on the steering wheel of foreign policy.
Also, Smith's other observations about NGOs operating in Russia and the MH-17 issues are very perceptive and on the mark.
If there's one thing politicians of all stripes seem to agree on it's the market. Textbooks tell us how a free market economy is “dynamic” and “competitive”. Markets themselves are often used as a byword for “democracy”, yet very little effort is made to explain how markets even function, much less how they function for us.
Yet, when we look at the struggles most of us face on a regular basis – finding a steady job with good pay, decent affordable housing, reasonably priced childcare – it should be pretty obvious that markets don't work in our interests as working people.
The experience of South Africa, which the Marikana massacre highlights, offers another lesson: the vital requirement of any pretense to democracy is that the people must control their economy and the currency that flows like blood through a body. The people of South Africa, or at least the indigenous leadership, did not understand that or easily succumbed to the material rewards of holding government offices. Most Americans still do not understand this lesson despite a long history of worker massacres.
Monday, August 17, 2015
It seems to me that Fletcher starts his argument with a false premise: viewing capitalism as the problem requires that we ignore racism. As such it is a "straw man" argument. Oh, I'm sure someone at sometime or other has downplayed racist issues as divisive; but to characterize all politically aware people, or even a majority of activists, as arguing that we should ignore racism is ridiculous.
Capitalism by its nature divides people into classes with conflicting interests. And ruling classes have always attempted to create divisions within the ranks of their opposition which in capitalism is among workers. Thus, race has been one of the major divisive wedges they have used. Religion is another which we see used in the Middle East. Racism has been so long used in the US that it is a major issue which divides Americans. It has functioned much like a virus which affects everyone deeply--all races and colors.
Because it has so profoundly worked to corrupt our consciousness, we must fight it. But at the same time, we must be aware of how the ruling capitalist class uses it to divide us. Racism, as an issue, is now much better than it was in past generations, but the ruling class are desperate and they are once again trying to use it to divide workers. That, I think, accounts for the recent murders of African-Americans by European-American cops. They want to stir up Black activists, then their media will do its job to create fear among White people. Our desperate ruling class is pulling out all the levers of fear (contrived terrorism, immigrants are going to take our jobs, now racism) to immobilize and divide Americans. That is why we must deal with it in our ranks. Thus, we must not see it as something within our human nature that is defective and that we should feel guilty about. We must never lose sight of those who are using it to divide us and crush us. It is an integral part of a strategy to protect the ruling class and the system that delivers to them their golden eggs of power and wealth!
I have a problem with this essay which has caused me much hesitation about posting it because it otherwise reports on the many lies about the US "aristocracy" and their media. Of course, for those who follow independent news sources and are politically aware, such exposures of lies have been exposed previously by many independent source. So, really, how much is really new here? How does this contribute to our understanding of political reality?
Well it does gather a lot of past information to answer the question posed in the headline. By doing so, it may raise the consciousness of some people, who have been asleep for decades, that US policy has been designed to make Russia into a prey for US corporations to plunder and profit from. However, the problem for me is it fundamental premise which is carefully and subtly slipped in at the very beginning of this article: capitalism should be considered totally separate from fascism, capitalism is good if it is regulated and prevented from blatantly stealing public enterprises.
Overtly conservative, nationalistic, ‘news’ media wouldn’t be able to sell to anyone who isn’t already on-board with privatizations of government assets as being a fundamental “free market” principle (i.e, equating fascism — the actual originator of privatizations — with constituting ‘capitalism,’ confusing the two systems as being one-and-the-same). So: not only the fascist media are anti-Putin, but media that pretend not to be are also.The link in this above quote takes us to an introduction to another article by Zuesse written by a liberal (left-wing capitalist) blogger who argues what I believe illustrates a position of most pseudo critics of capitalism:
Here’s the key: If these resources had always been in the private sector, that would be fine … that would be free market capitalism.Hence, they see capitalism as a good system, but our present leaders are straying from that into the bad system of fascism in which capitalist enterprises are unregulated and are permitted to steal public assets. I see this theme being argued by many critics of US policies such as Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, and numerous others we encounter on the World Wide Web.
But if they were purchased on the people’s dime with our blood, tears, sweat and taxpayer funds – and then sold to the big boys for pennies on the dollar – that’s not capitalism … that’s looting. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Nazis, Italian fascists, and modern American “leaders” are doing.
Another cue that often suggests such a pseudo-critical position are the frequent use of the term "aristocracy", a term that accurately refers to the ruling class in feudalism, to refer to the ruling class in capitalism which, of course, are capitalists. "Aristocracy" for most Americans has connotations associated with opulence, splendor, people elegantly dressed and dancing to a Strauss waltz. Thus, the word has much nicer connotations than the term "ruling class", and even more so than a word like "capitalist". Such terms like the latter could easily lead us into thinking about issues of class, class interests, class conflicts, and even Marxist critical views of capitalism!
Could these critics be well-meaning even though politically retarded? Could they be doing the work of "gatekeepers" for our capitalist ruling class? As Lenin said many years ago, "The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves." Either way they obscure the political realities of today's world and thus prevent real solutions.
Fascist governments differ from capitalist governments in only one way: they take their "democratic" gloves off to reveal a vicious brass-knuckled fist. To explain my position regarding such terms and these frequent pseudo-arguments that fascism is somehow a corruption of capitalism, rather than repeat myself, I am going to refer you to commentaries I wrote in previous posts (see this, this, this, and this).
Sunday, August 16, 2015
How is it that a large portion of the general European and North American populous still believe in democracy’s modern form is difficult to understand. The fact is that capitalism is inherently opposed to democratic social relations. This basic reality has reared its head once again, this time through what Henry Giroux labelled as Financial Authoritarianism. In other words: “The episode in Greece foreshadows a new kind of financial authoritarianism. Elections are now worthless since the financial institutions now control the economies of nation states. That is what this Greek debacle is all about. It is really a hard line message that the financial elite will not tolerate any left party arguing for social and economic investments against austerity.”
But the focus of this essay is not critique. The focus, instead, is a much more difficult course of reflection on how autonomous movements and leftist government policy might begin to subvert the current political and economic system from within, for the benefit of a fundamental transition out of capitalism.
...the reports in the capitalist media about the tragic flood of emigrants from Africa and the Middle East avoid even mentioning the wars that laid the basis for it — even when on the same page or in the same television news program other reports tell of the drone strikes, the training and deployment of troops in the area under Western command and so on.
Can this be mere coincidence? That defies credibility. The reporters know the score. But the editors rule — and linking this unfolding tragedy of historic proportions to what their imperialist buddies have done to the region is verboten.