We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Military spectacle and American sport

Click here to access article by Eric London from World Socialist Web Site.
The report, titled “Tackling Paid Patriotism,” shows that the Pentagon paid sports teams across the country millions of dollars for allowing the military-intelligence agencies to carry out hundreds of displays of pro-war, pro-military propaganda.

Defending Socialism: Foner and Sanders v. Eugene Debs

Click here to access article by Paul Street from CounterPunch.

Although I found it a bit of a challenge to wade through Street's awkward writing, he does manage to excoriate a left "socialist" politician and one of many academic "leftists" who, in order to please their ruling class masters and thus advance their careers, are attempting to redefine socialism and use it as bait to lure back--since it's election time once again--the politically alienated and disaffected populace into the capitalist funded and organized Democratic Party .

Environmental crises and liberal solutions

by cartoonist Stephanie McMillan.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The myth of US democracy

Click here to access article by Asad Zaman from The Express Tribune.

This is another expression of middle class opposition to the declining prospects of this shrinking class as capitalist ownership over more sophisticated technologies reduce their need for middle class managers, highly skilled technicians, and assorted other professionals. A few members of this class are now expressing their outrage about this trend as an attack on democracy which they always posit as existing previously when substantial numbers of their class were required by capitalists. 

Members of this class have also played a critical role in indoctrinating workers from the cradle to the grave that the latter were living in a democratic system, a system best expressed in the Declaration of Independence as "government of the people, by the people, and for the people". This extravagant promise was delivered to early European farmers and workers on the North American continent when the rising capitalist class here wanted to have the "freedom" to acquire riches and power like their European counterparts instead of assuming a more subordinate role of colonialists who supplied European countries with raw materials. Of course, no such "democratic" government ever existed before or since the American Revolution in the US or any other government since the rise of civilization. 

Still it is the dream of the billions of ordinary people across the globe, and this is precisely why our middle class indoctrinators keep referencing this dream whenever they want to disguise the reality of class rule. But how the times have changed! The prospects of this middle class who have been loyally serving the One Percent are now clearly diminishing.

So, read the article because these middle class ideologists do correctly point out the growing concentration of wealth and power. But just keep in mind that when they talk about "democracy", they do so from a very self-serving perspective on history.

US in Syria: Stopping the "Arsonist-Firefighter"

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from New Eastern Outlook.

Once again Cartalucci uses major Empire sources to unravel the many conspiracies our masters are hatching to provide for themselves more power and wealth throughout the world. In this piece the author focuses on the latest region that our hegemons are targeting to destabilize and absorb into their plans--Syria. 

The problem for Empire hegemons is that major powers are standing in their way: Russia and Iran directly, China indirectly. This area could very well become a pivotal contest between these nations, and the Empire directors know this very well. Thus they will employ all of their strategies and tactics to defeat the inference of their plans for Syria coming from Russia, Iran, and China. Cartalucci in this article cites these strategies and tactics which he has obtained directly from Empire sources.
...Washington Post... reveal[s] the true intentions of the US and its "boots on the ground" in Syria. While they claim they seek to "fight ISIS," the truth is far more sinister. Under the pretext of fighting ISIS, these US forces, backing militants armed, trained, and funded by the US and its regional allies, will take and hold territory, effectively fulfilling US policy papers that have long-expressed the desire to "deconstruct" Syria as a secondary means of destroying it as a functioning nation-state if direct regime change was unachievable.

The Washington Post states specifically:
Defeating the Islamic State in Syria, under Obama’s strategy, rests on enabling   local Syrian forces not only to beat back Islamic State fighters but to hold freed territory until a new central government, established in Damascus, can take over.
Since there is already an established central government in Damascus, it is safe to assume these regions carved out by US-backed militants will never be relinquished until Damascus falls. If successful, it will mean the Balkanization of Syria, and its cessation as a unified nation.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that this could readily escalate into a nuclear holocaust. I think the outcome depends in large part on the activists within the Empire can muster to oppose the Empire directors and the degree to which the latter are hopelessly addicted to power.

Secret TPP Text Unveiled: It’s Worse Than We Thought....

Click here to access article by Nick Florko and Valerie Holdford from Public Citizen.
Secret TPP Text Unveiled: It’s Worse Than We Thought, With Limits on Food Safety and Controversial Investor-State System Expanded, Rollback of Bush-Era Medicine Access and Environmental Terms
Because I didn't see anywhere in the article a link to the actual document, I finally accessed a government document which pretended to be the real thing, only it appeared like a sales pitch. I believe the actual document is around 6000 pages, so I think we will have to depend on scholars and lawyers like these authors to find out its actual contents, and the sections that really matter.

Failing the planet: UN climate talks from Kyoto to Paris

Click here to access article by Elaine Graham-Leigh from CounterFire (Britain). 
In the run-up to the UN Climate talks in Paris this December, it is clear that substantial, immediate cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions are needed if we are to keep global warming to less than 2C and avoid the most catastrophic climate effects. While the science is clear, the likelihood of such decisive action by the assembled governments is rather less so.
She goes on in detail to describe the failed results of each of these conferences, but she ends with this ambiguous conclusion:
One conclusion to be drawn from all this is that we cannot rely on our governments to come to a deal that will actually achieve the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, but then we have already learnt that lesson from summits from Copenhagen on. This does not mean however that the talks are unimportant. What is often lost in the technical discussion and diplomatic wrangling around the climate summits is that climate change is not a technical problem, but a political one.
There is nothing in her article to indicate that a change in the economic system is imperative, or that it is the system of capitalism that make climate destabilization inevitable. So her final solution is for large demonstrations to convince our masters that they must enact political solutions within the system of capitalism. She, too, appears to be a liberal believer in the capitalist mantra that there is no alternative.

We’re the ‘Weeds’ for Monsanto Roundup Weed Killer

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

Engdahl cites a number of convincing reasons why we should be paranoid about the motivations of our masters.
What the scientists discovered should set alarm bells ringing around the world. Have you heard even so much as a jingle bell so far?

Is Charlie Hebdo a Western Hate-Machine?

Click here to access article by Ahmed Rajeev (Bangladesh) from Oriental Review
[Charlie Hebdo] is a Western tool to promote psychopathic hatred among different racial and cultural groups in the name of “freedom of expression” to serve geopolitical purposes of their masters. 
Left: Daesh: Russia’s aviation intensifies its bombardments. Right: The dangers of low-cost Russia. I should have taken Air Cocaine.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Washington prepares for World War III

Click here to access article by Patrick Martin from World Socialist Web Site

With regard to the possibility of WWIII, Martin reveals the rather stark contrast between the bellicose views of the military section of the US ruling class with the frayed social fabric of the US that would be necessary in fighting even a conventional war with Russia and/or China. 

Even though our masters in the ruling capitalist class express some worry about the latter, their addiction to power and profits prevents them from taking the problem very seriously, much less prevents them from any considerations about strengthening the social fabric. Thus, the social fabric will continue to fray while the delusions of our addicted rulers will only increase. This, of course, is a recipe for a disaster. It seems sometimes that only a religious faith in the revolutionary potential of American workers can provide comfort from the prospect of such a disaster, but how realistic is that when so many Americans are dumbed-down with corporate issued news reporting and distracted with mindless entertainment?

I think that the best we can hope for is that there are a sufficient number of ordinary Americans who will keep reminding their masters of their determined opposition through massive demonstrations, hacking into their computers and revealing their criminal secrets, writing about their lies and crimes in alternative media, a refusal to let them divide us by race/ethnicity, and in a thousand ways obstructing and/or, refusing to cooperate with, their policies and actions. 

This is probably necessary but not sufficient to save us from a nuclear holocaust. It will likely take more: at the very least, European governments breaking away from the Empire (for example, read this); and the best would be successful revolutionary movements in nations currently within the Empire (for example, read this). Such developments could seriously weaken the Empire to a point in which our masters come to their senses and realize that they cannot win even with their many weapons of mass destruction.

'Let's Bring In Our Pentagon Spokesman' - Bombing Syria

Click here to access article from Media Lens.

The editor of Media Lens aids us in identifying how "embedded" journalists report (illegal) war news to US citizens by comparing reports by one embedded journalist when he reported on US bombing raids in Syria with his reports of similar Russian raids. To introduce this article, the author reminds of a revealing slip by one Fox news announcer which really defines what embedded war reporting really is. 

TTIP: corporate power grab

Click here if you wish to directly access this series of short videos from Transnational Institute (TNI).

John Hilary, who is associated with War on Want in Britain, explains why we should be opposed to TTIP. 
ISDS is a mechanism engraved in (bilateral) investment treaties or an investment chapter of trade agreements which allows multinational corporations to sue governments in ad hoc tribunals. It is an extrajudicial system with special privileges and rights just for one class: Foreign investors, giving them more power relatively to citizens and governments.

Capitalist Democracy in Action

by cartoonist Jen Sorensen posted on Occasional Links & Commentary

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Climate change: it’s going to take a revolution

Click here if you wish to directly access this 13:09m video by Suhail Ilyas posted on Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21) [Britain].
Climate change is real, it’s here and it’s going to get worse. We’ve known about it for decades, and real solutions exist. But the leaders of the world appear determined to do nothing about it. All the signs are that the international COP21 climate talks in Paris this December will produce an agreement to let us burn.

This new video, directed by Suhail Ilyas, looks at how the obstacles to solving the problem are intrinsic to our capitalist system. The growing strength of the climate movement around the world gives us great hope, but it’s going to take a revolution to make the world inhabitable for future generations.

Arguments for revolution

Click here to access article by Jack Farmer from Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21) [Britain]. 

It seems to me that the workers of Europe will be the first to make cracks in the capitalist Empire's domination of the world. This appears to be case because they are suffering the worst under the Empire's austerity and neoliberal policies, and economic sanctions against Russia. Added to these frustrations are the Empire's destabilization actions against nearby countries which have resulted in never-ending wars, destruction of entire countries, the rise of fascist groups, and waves of immigrants fleeing from war torn areas. This article from a revolutionary oriented group in Britain is another indication that revolution is once again on the agenda of at least left-wing British workers.

I am especially impressed with Farmer's closing paragraphs:
Whatever happens in the coming months, we must build up the social movement that sparked Corbyn’s rise and without which he will be powerless. For a radical left that has spent decades in a defensive posture, there is a big danger that we position ourselves on the sidelines, smugly preaching the impossibility of change within the framework of parliament or capitalism. Instead, we’ve got to be shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone desperate for Labour to deliver change, while arguing that only the growing self-activity of ordinary people can win the change people yearn for. Just like a TV gameshow, you’ve got to be in it to win it.

Revolutionary socialists have a lot to teach – and a lot to learn. We draw inspiration and lessons from history, and especially from the experience of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, but if we allow ourselves to be satisfied with just an unchanging, desiccated “Leninism”, we’re dead. Marxism means learning: learning from each other’s mistakes and successes, learning from the past, learning how to intervene today to ignite people’s self-confidence. We never really graduate from the school of rebellion.

Putting this kind of politics into practice is far more difficult than politics-as-usual, leaving it to the professionals. But changing the world is never going to be easy.

The Anti-Empire Report #140: Are you confused by the Middle East? Here are some things you should know. (But you’ll probably still be confused.)

Click here to access article by William Blum. 

I completely endorse 99% of this article. The remaining 1% consists of this paragraph:
The candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a “democratic socialist”, for the US presidency has produced an unprecedented barrage of discussion in the American media about just what is this thing called “socialism”. Most of the discussion centers around the question of government ownership and control of the economy versus private ownership and control. This is, of course, a very old question; the meat and potatoes of the Cold War ideological competition.
I haven't seen any discussion about what socialism really is in American media--if by that he means mainstream media. The elaboration of the concept, if any, is limited to more generous welfare benefits, enhancement of labor protections, and more government spending on public projects. I have seen nothing about public ownership of the economy. This is blasphemy to a capitalist and anyone who affirms such a notion is immediately excommunicated.

As I've said before, Sanders' role for the ruling class is to make nice sounding words that will herd independent sheep back into the corral of the Democratic Party where they can once again be forced down the chute to the capitalist slaughterhouse. Obama performed this task last time, Gore the time before last, Bill Clinton prior to Gore, ad infinitum. Hillary can't do this now because she is too busy demonstrating that she is a tough "broad" for the more patriarchal right-wing voters in the US.

'Ed Snowden of Banking' Refuses to Appear in Swiss Trial

Click here if you wish to directly access this 4:51m interview and transcript with an independent investigative journalist about a banking whistleblower posted on Real News Network
He's a name you might not have heard of, but you should know: Herve Falciani. He is sometimes called the Ed Snowden of banking. Back in 2008 he committed the most significant theft of data in banking history. The former systems engineer at the Swiss subsidiary of HSBC downloaded details of more than 100,000 potential tax evaders and made the information available to the account holders' national tax agencies. He's been wanted by the Swiss government for seven years and counting.

Here to discuss his case is James Henry. James is a leading economist, attorney, and investigative journalist who has written extensively about global issues.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Russia Can Solve All Economic Problems Itself

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

Engdahl introduces an excellent idea to fund Russia's infrastructure after reviewing the recent history which transferred the control of Russian money from the state to an independent central bank at the instigation of Western ideologists. This independent bank poses a barrier to the construction of badly needed infrastructure development in Russia. His idea provides an end-run around this barrier.
There is a secret about economic infrastructure investment. Unlike various literal “windmill-building” government subsidized projects in today’s EU or USA, construction of necessary economic infrastructure such as high-speed rails–projects that make the arteries of the national and international economy flow faster and more efficiently–such infrastructure projects bring manifold economic gains to the overall economy. This is the long-forgotten “secret” of infrastructure investment discovered in America during the Great Depression when the government issued bonds to build the huge hydroelectric complex in the Government’s Tennessee Valley Authority and other massive infrastructure projects.

Various USA studies from the 1960’s, back when America still invested in its national infrastructure, found that spending on such vital economic infrastructure repays the state in new tax revenues approximately 11 dollars, or in this case rubles, for every dollar or ruble initially invested. That is the secret of well-conceived infrastructure spending.

The Sacrifice of Soldiers

by cartoonist Andy Singer posted on occasional links & commentary.


Washington Post Confirms: ISIS Supplied Via Turkey, a US Excuse to Seize Syria

Click here to access article by Tony Cartalucci from Land Destroyer Report.

Using primary sources from the Empire's media, Cartalucci reveals the elaborate subterfuge used to support elements in Syria to overthrow the Assad government, and to justify illegal US/coalition attacks on Syrian territory.

Halitosis—a capitalist disease

as posted on Occasional Links & Commentary

Another apt title could be "How a corporation turned a floor cleaner into a breath freshener".

Monday, November 2, 2015

How Will We Reach an Ecological Civilization and Who Will Build It?

Click here to access article by Chris Williams from TruthOut. (a must-read article)

In this very thought provoking article Williams examines the many facets of the contradictions of capitalism for a sustainable planet, that is, a planet that can sustain human life. He also examines the many ways that capitalist directors can prolong their system in spite of its increasing deleterious effects. For humanity to save itself from extinction, he recognizes the imperative of a complete transformation of societies by posing and answering this question:
If we agree that we have entered a new epoch of geological time dominated by the activities of humans, through the actions and social relations engendered by capitalism, then what happens if we manage to overthrow capitalist social relations?
And then he argues what such a necessary revolutionary force and their new system would look like: 
Ultimately, it is vital that fighters for social emancipation, human freedom and ecological sanity recognize that capitalism represents the annihilation of nature and a functioning and diverse biosphere and, thus, human civilization. A system based on cooperation, genuine bottom-up democracy, long-term planning and production for need, not profit, i.e. ecosocialism, represents the reconciliation of humanity with nature.

The necessary gravedigger

Click here to access article by Kit Klarenberg from CounterFire (Britain).

Klarenberg offers a critical review of Canadian author Mike Lebowitz's new book entitled The Socialist Imperative.

Marxist theorists have always seen the working class as "the necessary gravedigger" of capitalism, and in this review Klarenberg reports that Lebowitz sees this necessity more imperative than ever before:
...as modern capitalism increasingly threatens not only the stability of the environment, but our very species survival, he considers it a more morally crucial objective than ever. In attempting to establish a framework for socialist victory in the twenty-first century, he assesses why previous efforts were unsuccessful, how capitalism came to be embraced – or, at least, tolerated – by the people who would benefit most from a more equitable configuration of society, and advances a modernised vision of collectivist organisation.  

'Absolute Crap' But Brilliant: Corporate America's Plan to 'Misbehave Without Reproach

Click here to access article by Jon Queally from Common Dreams

It appears that our corporate-connected masters are now inserting a clause into consumer contracts to circumvent laws and due process by shunting consumer disputes to more friendly "arbitration panels" instead of courts of law. Notice the similarity here with the Investor-State Dispute Settlement in relation to international trade treaties which places corporations on an equal plane with nation-states and disputes are settled in a business-friendly arbitration tribunal.
An independent investigation by journalists featured in the New York Times on Sunday offers an in-depth look at the way American corporations have used the inclusion of "arbitration clauses" within consumer contracts to strategically circumvent judicial review of their behavior and immunize themselves from class action lawsuits –"realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices." 

US Threatens UK over Brexit Vote

Click here to access article by "Don Quijones" from Wolf Street

A referendum scheduled in 2017 in Britain to determine whether they stay in the European Union has provoked a warning from the Empire's trade czar, Michael Froman. This ex-patriot British blogger, who lives in Spain most of the time, sees this as a threat to the Empire's hegemony over Europe. 
...the business and political establishment in Brussels, London, and now Washington will stop at nothing to make sure that when the big day comes, the British people, like the Irish before them (second time around, of course), vote the right way.
This article provides an excellent followup to another article recently posted by this author entitled "The CIA Connection: How US Spy Chiefs Co-Financed European Federalists".

Introducing Speaker Ryan

by cartoonist Gregory Crawford posted on World News Trust

I think the photo is of Ayn Rand who has had much influence among fascist members of the US ruling class.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

America's Unofficial Religion - The War on an Idea

The Real News produced the video below which provides us within 29:10m an excellent history of the war that US capitalists have waged in all their ideological institutions against anyone arguing the notion of public ownership and control of the economy. At the same time they have essentially elevated the economic system of capitalism to that of a religion. Those who question or dissent from this religion are subject to many forms of "excommunication" such as ridicule, ostracism, unemployment, poverty, and killing if necessary.

(On a personal note, as an activist in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and 70s, I knew of Richard Becker, a leader of a leftist party, who spoke at many rallies. Brian Becker, who recounts a lot of socialist history in the video, looks astonishingly identical to him.)

I disagree with Brian Becker with respect to his portrayal of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party's campaign. Our ruling class is simply using Sanders to continue their re-definition of "socialism" as "social democracy" (capitalism with significant welfare and public spending programs)--which they can barely tolerate--in order to divert people's attention away from public ownership and control of the economy. In the context of electoral campaigns they often do this to bring unwitting dissenters and activists, who have difficulty with harsh austerity policies, back into supporting the Democratic Party and its candidates. 

Our ruling capitalist directors have so successfully managed to conflate socialism with the nice sounding label of "social democracy" that many Americans today confuse social democracy with socialism. Historically I think this began in the 1930s when Norman Thomas was a perennial candidate of the Socialist Party of America which by the 1930s, due to issues related to the Soviet revolution of 1917, had become largely transformed from a radical anti-capitalist party to a social democratic type of party. Thomas collaborated with, and supported, FDR's attempts to introduce a variety of social welfare and public spending programs. 

Rapidly Warming Waters Have Thwarted Efforts to Save the Cod

Click here to access article by Phil McKenna from Inside Climate News.

This report cites another instance of environmental degradation caused by the human invention of capitalism which drives a few individuals (capitalists) to accumulate more wealth and power for themselves while degrading our home--planet Earth. I think if we allow these childish simple-minded people, who unfortunately are our housemates, to keep damaging our Earth-home, nature acting much like a landlord will simply evict all of us via increasingly extreme weather events such as Hurricane Patricia and the profound destabilization of our climate in general. By allowing these immature people to have their way, we will all become homeless (extinct).
The number of Atlantic cod in the Gulf of Maine has hit an all-time low in recent years despite strong fishing regulations, and scientists now attribute it to rapidly rising water temperatures, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.

Sea surface temperatures have increased in the Gulf of Maine faster than almost anywhere else in the world, causing the cold-water species that had already been decimated by centuries of overfishing to reach the verge of collapse.