Can something as basic as love become an addiction? Artists have always said so. Now, scientific researchers find that intense preoccupation with a love object lights up the brain with chemicals in ways that can be as compelling as shooting up. But unlike the pipe, the blackjack table or the online escort service, intense romantic attachments are a culturally sanctioned mode of escape.I would express the last sentence even stronger by writing that romantic love in a capitalist society is promoted to fill the alienated lives of workers, to encourage isolated nuclear families so that ordinary people will look to capitalist designated authorities for guidance on all matters instead of their friends and neighbors, to pass on the accumulated wealth of the capitalist class to heirs which contributes to the concentration of wealth and power, to sell all the accouterments necessary to make one an attractive love object, among a number of other reasons. Thus we ordinary people are all strongly induced to become addicts to romantic love as the ruling capitalist class are encouraged to become addicts to wealth and power.
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, September 5, 2015
She draws one obvious inference for why the Obama administration so aggressively promoted this legislation. There are also others such as appealing to liberal voters for political support for the left-wing of the capitalist ruling class, and to improve the image of the US which was previously negative in comparison to many other industrialized nations who have universal health plans provided at low cost to the government.
Friday, September 4, 2015
In this special episode of the Keiser Report from New York City, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the ‘frack now, pay later’ economics of a desperate energy sector. In the second half, Max interviews Michael Hudson, author of Killing the Host, about how the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors compromise our economies.I've only had time to listen to a part of both segments, but the content looks very informative about rent issues and the concentration of wealth.
It is not only Syrians who are heading for Europe and the UK but also people from Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Countries that Britain has helped to devastate as part of the US-led long war based on the Project for a New American Century and the US right to intervene unilaterally as and when it deems fit under the notion of the US ‘exceptionalism’ (better known as the project for a new imperialism - the ‘Wolfowitz Doctrine’).Leaving the suffering of millions of refugees aside for the moment, I am beginning to wonder if European workers are stupid, or what could account for their toleration of policies which damage their economy like the Russian sanctions and places other burdens on them like this refugee crisis. (Such problems do not directly affect American workers, so maybe there is some excuse for their tolerance.)
The new colonialism as financial asset transfer takes several practical forms: as wealth transfer in the form of interest payments on ever rising debt, in firesales of government assets sold directly to the colonizer’s investors and bankers, and in the de facto takeover the colony’s banking system and bank assets in order to transfer wealth to shareholders of the colonizing country’s private bankers and investors.Ramos then goes on to explain to us how these weapons of the "new colonialism" inflict destruction on countries like Greece and Ukraine.
Peter Fleming, the author of this book, was on his way to work when suddenly he had an epiphany: the costs of attaining and holding a job offered by the "owners" is externalized onto the worker themselves. For workers a job has become an all-consuming expense and project that all other activities of life must be subordinate to. Also with the advent of cellphones and emails, work for many, especially in the middle class, has become a 24 hour job. The only escape is to be sick, and that appears to be under attack.
The author, who usually posts his articles on his own website (Collapse of Industrial Civilization), is finally getting attention from other websites that post articles of authors who are critical of the social and economic arrangements of our existing world.
Notwithstanding the armchair technotopian dreams of a future world that includes driverless cars, zero-point energy, and asteroid mining, we are living at the peak of capitalist industrial civilization which produces a continual flood of products promising to improve and enhance our lives but which, in the end, only complicate them. We are trapped between mindless consumerism and the thoughtless destruction of the environment.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
This veteran journalist reviews the history of censorship, psy-ops, the attacks on journalists which has led to the official recognition of such practices with the recent publication of the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual.
As reflected in a recent NATO conference in Latvia and in the Pentagon’s new “Law of War” manual, the U.S. government has come to view the control and manipulation of information as a “soft power” weapon, merging psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs under the catch phrase “strategic communications.”Later in the article North reports how this new strategy was expressed in "Newspeak" at the NATO conference in Lativia.
This attitude has led to treating psy-ops – manipulative techniques for influencing a target population’s state of mind and surreptitiously shaping people’s perceptions – as just a normal part of U.S. and NATO’s information policy.
On Aug. 20, some of the most influential minds from the world of “strategic communications” gathered in Latvia’s capital of Riga for a two-day conference entitled “Perception Matters.” A quotation headlined in all its communications read: “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed” – noble sentiments perhaps but not always reflected in the remarks by more than 200 defense and communications experts, many of whom viewed information not as some neutral factor necessary for enlightening the public and nourishing democracy, but as a “soft power” weapon to be wielded against an adversary.
Because we live in a globalized world dominated by the US-led capitalist Empire, this is vital information that all activists need to study simply because the same methods will be used here in the US as elsewhere to support their interests of power and profit, and to prevent any genuine movement to overthrow the rule of the capitalist class.
In this article the author builds on a previous article entitled "Color Revolution In Lebanon Designed To Weaken Hezbollah, Syria, Iran" by providing us with more information to support his argument that what is happening currently in Lebanon is to a large measure guided by the subversive methods of what has become known as a "color revolution" project. The same methods met with success in places like Georgia and Ukraine, and now there is considerable evidence, which Turbeville supplies, that they are now being applied in Lebanon.
...all of these aspects – shadowy reasons like “government corruption” for protesting, lack of demands, violence, and infiltrators – are hallmarks of a color revolution. So are the clever marketing strategies of “Branding” that see a protest movement, allegedly organic and spread across so many differing and various sectarian groups, develop a mutually agreed upon name for itself so early on.The author then provides us with some very interesting information about the ties of several of the leaders of this "You Stink! Movement" to US funded agencies.
The most telling aspect of whether or not a movement is actually a color revolution, however, is the “leadership” of that movement and the connections that leadership may have to the color revolution apparatus.
In the case of the You Stink! Movement, those connections are becoming increasingly visible.
Dolack provides disturbing evidence that this process is already underway. Under corporation control the public parks will be relaxing restrictions on mining, drilling, timber harvesting, and cattle grazing. As government, which is essentially owned and controlled by the capitalist class, imposes more austerity cuts on park services, this trend is likely to accelerate.
Given the corporatization of ever more commons, we may yet be visiting Golden Arches National Park or Disneyland Dinosaur National Monument. Even if the most extreme right-wing plans to auction off public lands don’t ever come to fruition, ongoing neglect can only promise creeping corporate colonization of the United States National Park system.Added to this corporate threat, global warming is also damaging public parks.
Commercialization is still relatively minimal in national parks, but worrying signs are there.
Unfortunately, after providing considerable evidence that major corporations are undermining all efforts to contain global warming by reducing reliance on fossil fuels, Collins then naively urges us to support a divestment campaign which he hopes will change their ways. This is a good way to defuse dissent this capitalist controlled website, which looks to me like it is funded by major foundations and the rich, away from any effective actions against an industry that is vital in creating profits and power to our capitalist masters.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Although the capitalist ruling class has learned some lessons from the 1929 economic collapse, they are stuck in an economic system that serves only one tiny class at the expense of the vast majority of society. Given that an economy is a crucial part of a society as a whole, an economic system that serves only one tiny segment, whose policies often conflict with the interests of the vast majority, inevitably collapses periodically.
Let's examine only one of the most important institutions controlled by the ruling class--the Federal Reserve which is owned and overwhelmingly controlled by the ruling capitalist class. They control the issuance of our currency: how much is issued, to whom it is issued, and what it is used for.
What capitalists live for, and on, are profits from their investments in "ownership" of economic enterprises both productive and financial. The latter serve the former by lending money to the former and to investors. The Fed serves all of them by issuing money for investment whether such investments are socially useful or not--it doesn't matter as long as profits can be achieved. To cite one of the worst examples, the lending of money could be for enterprises involved in the manufacture of weapons, even weapons of mass destruction.
Profits become an obsession with a capitalist class because it not only gives them tremendous wealth, but even more importantly it gives them overwhelming power over all institutions of society. With the Fed under capitalist control the Fed gives them the opportunity to issue money in the form of loans to capitalist investors who are obsessively looking for opportunities to realize profits. Whitney in this article explains how these loans have recently been used for a new purpose: to prop up their failure-prone system.
To protect their neighborhoods against police violence, Cop Watch groups in the U.S. patrol and document police activity, hoping to abate the harassment.As an introduction Bruinsma writes:
Police brutality and harassment are problems in all modern [capitalist] societies. Those at the lower ends of class and race hierarchies stand a much higher chance of being targeted, brutalized, and ultimately killed by the ‘forces of order’. Irrespective of the country they live in, their neighborhoods are heavily patrolled and can often look like occupied territory. From Italy to the United States, from the Netherlands to Brazil, lives have been destroyed.And in conclusion the author cites some critically important factors in defending communities from police who are controlled by the ruling capitalist class:
But of all western countries, none stands out so much as the United States.
One key requirement for the success of any such project, however, is a civil society that cares. Spreading videos of brutalities is making an appeal to the moral consciousness of the viewer. Documenting incidents can help, but has to be supplemented by dedicated organizing by groups across the spectrum.
This British independent journalist provides us with his views of the unusual candidate Jeremy Corbyn to lead the Labor party by reviewing some comments from another critical Brit, Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. More importantly Cook informs his views with a "structural" analysis (by which he means a class analysis) of British history since WWII which illustrates why so many people, mostly middle class people, joined the ruling class in order to enhance their careers and fortunes.
I have only one criticism, a sort of pet peeve of mine directed against many social critics, when Cook makes this statement:
Hard as it is to recall today, the NHS was long presented as a radical, dangerous idea – reminding us how crazy ideological assumptions can comfortably dominate even democratic systems.This sentence and much of his analysis seem to represent an oxymoron. His analysis indicates that capitalist societies are fractured into classes with a dominate class or ruling class which determines broad social policies. So, how can such a class governing system dominate a democratic (egalitarian) system if the latter is genuine? Of course the "democracy" in Britain and elsewhere is fake. It was devised by the ruling capitalist classes to fool ordinary people into believing that they enjoyed some meaningful participation in government.
Either his, along with many other social critics, concept of democracy is so stunted and corrupted by his ideological conditioning or he simply doesn't understand class (or "structural") analysis. I think both. If he thoroughly understood class analysis, he would understand that Corbyn, if he is genuine, could never be elected to lead a country ruled by a capitalist class that would never tolerate his leadership. They will find a way to destroy him--if he is genuine. (For a more elaborate explanation of my views on Jeremy Corbyn, see my commentary at this post.)
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
In the first part of a series, Brandon Martinez of Non-Aligned Media unravels the murky origins of ISIS and unveils how the group’s meteoric rise in Iraq and Syria is a continuation of US psychological warfare designed to facilitate the Zionist-Neocon agenda of toppling seven sovereign Middle Eastern and North African States. [my reference link]
After offering the obvious explanation as to how the US could stop ISIS, he concludes what many other independent observers have argued:
ISIS is both a creation and intentional perpetuation of US foreign policy. Just as the US so many years ago colluded with Saudi Arabia in the creation of Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan in the first place, it to this day colludes with its regional allies to use Al Qaeda and its various rebrandings – including ISIS – to fight wars Western troops cannot fight. This includes dividing and destroying Syria – the overtly stated, true objective of US policymakers.
One might ask how – in the context of international law – it is possible for unelected absolute autocracies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE to intervene militarily in Yemen with naval blockades, aerial bombardments, and now an overt ground invasion including armor columns to restore an ousted regime. This is done with seemingly little concern from the United Nations and with the enthusiastic support both politically and militarily of the United States.
The answer to this question becomes more confounding still when considering Western condemnation of Russia for any attempt to support or defend the ousted government of Ukraine, a nation now overrun by NATO-backed Neo-Nazi militias who in turn are backing a criminal regime in Kiev which includes foreigners assigned to cabinet positions and even as governors. Saudi and UAE military aggression in Yemen makes it increasingly difficult for the West to maintain the illusion of moral superiority regarding Ukraine.
Russia’s relative restraint when compared to US-backed aggression on the Arabian Peninsula exposes once again the pervasive hypocrisy consuming Western legitimacy.
This may be yet another reason the Western media refuses to cover the events unfolding in Yemen.
Given all of his compelling reasons to support the thesis stated in the headline, I am wondering why the Empire concluded this nuclear deal with Iran unless it was a setup for renewed hostile actions against Iran.
Events since then have suggested a major reason for the Empire in concluding this deal. First, there was the agreement with Erdogan's government in Turkey (who have their own reasons), to use their airbases and together with Turkey to wage a pretense of campaign against ISIS, but in reality a military campaign against Syria. Thus with the Iran nuclear agreement and the lifting of sanctions by the UN, Empire directors saw the Iran deal as a way to neutralize Iran in their efforts to topple the Syrian government, and more recently to support Saudia Arabia's war in Yemen which has stepped up. As Eric Draitser argued in his balanced assessment of the Iran deal:
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the harsh sanctions and restrictions on Iran gave it far more freedom to act independently in the region as it was exposed to far less economic risk. Were Iran instead cooperating with the West, it is a virtual certainty that the Syrian government would have long since fallen, and Syria would be a failed state similar to Libya or, at best, a puppet state of Turkey.
The importance of this point should not be understated. Iran’s lack of economic engagement with the West allowed it to grow into the counter-terrorism force that it has become in the region.
Monday, August 31, 2015
It is worth repeating again and again that the bulk of America’s mainline media is owned and controlled by a mere 6 corporations. This, of course, means that unless you’re already consciously avoiding these mainline media sources, then most of the news and entertainment that makes it onto your screen and into your mind comes from a small pool of corporate sources, all of which play important roles in delivering propaganda, social programming and perpetual crisis narratives to the public.Most of the data presented in this article is based on data from 2011, and thus needs to be updated. Still, according to Wikipedia six corporations control 90% of the US media today. However this obscures the fact of overlapping ownership in addition to overlapping boards of directors in these corporation. Due to the tendency for capitalism to treat everything as a commodity to be bought and sold for profit, even companies are regarded as commodities which results in this ever changing and complicated ownership data.
Of course even common sense and the viewing of TV "news" programs, one can arrive at essentially the same conclusion. By hopping from one corporate TV station to another, one encounters much the same content delivered in a slightly different style.
Occasionally I've seen reports about CIA placing news stories with media corporations to manage the perceptions of people. For example, former CIA boss General Petraeus stated in 2006 that his strategy was to wage a war of perceptions conducted continuously through the news media. Reports of the CIA using social media have also recently surfaced. I've even read credible reports that CIA agents have been placed at all major media outlets (although I can't locate the sources immediately).
If things continue to get worse for the ruling capitalist class, who knows but that the Empire directors will follow the advice of a West Point professor as reported by The Guardian in an article entitled "West Point professor calls on US military to target legal critics of war on terror".
...the wealth of the financial elite cannot come from nowhere. Ultimately, the continual infusion of asset bubbles is the form taken by a massive transfer of wealth, from the working class to the banks, investors and super-rich. The corollary to the rise of the stock market is the endless demands, all over the world, for austerity, cuts in wages, attacks on health care and pensions.
Nowhere are these processes more clear than in the US.
Michael Hudson’s New Book: Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts — Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
In his new book, “Killing the Host,” Hudson hones an exquisitely gripping journey from Wall Street’s original role as capital allocator to its present-day parasitism that has replaced U.S. capitalism as an entrenched, politically-enforced economic model across America.What Martens and Hudson and other such critics fail to understand and are concerned about is that we live in a system called capitalism which inevitably results in the accumulation of wealth by a tiny group of capitalists amid billions of poor, and such a system cannot sustain societies or their economies. It's not because of "greed" or parasites--it is endemic to the system of capitalism. It is only now when middle class people (people with retirement plans) are being adversely affected that liberal critics are alarmed.
This book is a must-read for anyone hoping to escape the most corrupt era in American history with a shirt still on his parasite-riddled back.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
In a well-deserved attack on the appearance of Obama in New Orleans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of New Orleans' recovery from Hurricane Katrina, the authors write:
Obama’s remarks paid little heed to the solemnity of the occasion, the worst natural disaster in American history, with more than 1,800 killed in five states, and one of the country’s iconic cities, a historical center of both culture and commerce, virtually destroyed.
Instead, Obama used the occasion to celebrate, in an unseemly, even grotesque fashion, the supposed successes of the capitalist system, both in America as a whole, and in New Orleans in particular.
Quite a number of people have speculated that the Donald Trump candidacy for president in the Republican party is all a part of setup to clear the path of any Republican candidate that could derail the shadow government's long planned installation of Hillary Clinton for the Executive Office. Of course, this is an example of a conspiracy theory. So, should we just dismiss it with the pejorative statement that it is just a "conspiracy theory" like we are urged to do by those in our ruling class that attempt to hide their conspiracies? There are good theories and bad theories depending on the evidence and arguments assembled to support it. I think that Dykes assembles both in support of this conspiracy. Read the article and see what you think.
...if anyone ever had half a chance in Hell of changing anything in this country, rest assured The Powers That Shouldn’t Be would not let that person anywhere near the Oval Office. The last time this country had a president that tried to change things, that person got his brains blown out in front of the entire country.The only problem I have with her analysis is a problem that I have with many American critical observers: they use euphemisms like "aristocracy" or "powers that be" in place of a meaningful identification like the "ruling capitalist class". This practice serves to hide the reality of class rule which helps to maintain the fake democracy indoctrination of this ruling class.
But here’s what actually going on.
These two indefatigable investigative journalists who specialize on Wall Street issues point to two problems that are contributing to the economy's current doldrums: corporations buying back their own stock with near zero rate loans (under the Fed's "quantitative easing" policies) and a recurrence of "dodgy practices" that brought down the economy in 2007-2008.
This independent Irish journalist provides an historical perspective on mainstream media reports of an accidental toxic spill of waste water from a disused gold mine in Colorado. Could this have been a deliberate ploy to take over more land that appears to have valuable minerals?
Earlier this month, on August 5, a huge toxic spill of waste water from a disused gold mine in Colorado made international headlines when it flowed into several major rivers. Less publicised is that the contaminated waterways are vital for irrigation and drinking water in the Four Corners territory, upon which the Navajo people depend for their livelihoods.Considering the history of the ruling capitalist class in America in taking by various means the lands from Native Americans, this contention seems plausible.
The historical precedent is also strongly indicative of a nefarious purpose. The history of Washington’s dealings with Native American nations is one of treachery, chicanery and genocide on the altar of capitalist exploitation orchestrated from corporate-controlled politicians sitting in Washington.This summary statement hides such 19th century crimes as deliberately distributing blankets that were inflected with smallpox and other diseases to Native Americans in order to kill them.
Nowadays, according to the almost daily reports I receive, US, Canadian, and British mining corporations backed by their governments are engaged in many acts of genocide against native peoples in Central America for the same purposes.
This is an example of the military orientation of our ruling class who with the aid of defense contractors, empire builders, and Zionist agents have adopted general policies that look more and more like what we witnessed in fascist countries and fascist circles in Allied countries that led to WWII.